*falls to her knees*
Oh, you had me at the title. And the headers, which hit every desire I have for a Snape story dead-on. But then? It just got better, and better, and better.
I kept stopping after finishing a scene, making myself go and do something else, before returning to read more. Because I simply couldn't bear for this story to end.
Mystery author, I can't possibly make you feel as happy as your story has made me. But I'm going to try my best.
*takes a breath*
Holy Mother of God, I loved this story. I'm thinking that you must be not only on my flist, but on some of my smaller filters, because you work in so many references to things I like or even cherish. Truly, this story has everything: a complex, intelligent, angsty plot, superb characterization, original use of magic, phrasing so perfect that I occasionally caught my breath, and wicked clever little exchanges like this one:
"That was fun, dear."
"Shut up. Obliviate," Harry said, and left the bathroom
He Obliviates his own damn mirror. Jesus on toast, how much do I love this Harry! He knows where this is leading, and can't stop himself. He thinks he'll come up with something to save the day, heh. You reckless Gryfindor, addicted to bravery and getting through on sheer guts. Oh, it doesn't always work that way, Harry.
And yet, you're spot-on there: I am sure that canon Harry became addicted, by the end, to the rush and crystal-sharp certainties that danger and a struggle against a moral evil can bring. And then, in peacetime, he is driven to recreate those feelings again.
And ahhhhhh, the steady, mounting obsession with every detail of Snape's body. Yessssss, this is the sort of detail I was hoping for: a persuasive dissection of one of the many avenues that polyjuice (and other sorts of sex magic) might open up for those who used them.
And the juxtaposition with the mundane, tedious tasks of daily domesticity and childrearing: oh, so perfect.
In the final analysis---as the title foreshadows---this story's premise is almost epistemological, forcing Harry (and the reader) to consider and reconsider how he knows what he knows, and what the nature of identity is. I was enraptured by the complexities here.
"You have to believe in something," Harry said, "And I believe in you."
Oh, Harry. *tears up* Yes, of course. For you it truly is that simple. This moment-which Harry has been working towards for the whole story---is such a jewel of characterization that I choked up.
Your Snape is also simply a triumph, in that confrontation after Harry's figured it out, and goes to see him in the inn: most truly himself without a single one of the canon/fanon markers of personality and identity: eyes, hair, voice. Rather, you convey the essentials of how he thinks and his values without needing to fall back on a single physical marker. I am stunned.