Oh, shit, I did it again
This is delightful - a fantastic zigzag of plot and jumble of marvelously drawn characters and magical embellishments and rough sex and the absolutely best damn dialogue. And such a foul-mouthed, give-no-quarter, intensely charismatic Snape.
There's so much to love about this story, partly because it's so inventive - Harry floundering about in an arseholish way as his marriage falls apart, Trelawney at the circus, the clever resolution of the dead-Snape issue - because of course he might still be alive in an alternate universe! The moment he opens his mouth it's clear who he is, the voice is so stamped with his flamboyantly harsh personality. I love the welcome Hermione gives the prodigal Harry, and then the introduction to the apothecary's crew of nutters and incompetents. Regulus is a charmer, and I salute you for including his silver arm and the reason for it - plus it makes me wonder what kinds of hijinks Reg and Remus get up to when Teddy's asleep. All the magical details and Harry's apprenticeship in cauldrons and ingredients are fascinating. I really enjoyed how ferocious and uncompromising Severus is and yet how his few friends rally around nonetheless and try to protect him. The scene where the polyjuice wears off is very well-described and disturbing, and once it segues into Eileen's story and Snape's resurrection, it gets darker and spookier and even more poignant. The ritual is intense, and the enormity of Eileen's sacrifice horrifying and austere - she takes on her son's thankless death and consigns herself to nothingness. When blood leaks from Snape's nose and Harry runs out the door, I wanted to smack him. Good thing he redeems himself later.
The courtship between Harry and Severus is spot-on, I think - utterly unsentimental, with Harry impetuous and horny and grateful, Snape possessive and crude and unwilling to trust. Lots of chemistry here, and the verbal sparring is half the pleasure. I could read your dialogue for days.
"Settle a quick argument?" Draco asked.
Snape rolled his eyes. "Proceed."
"What do you call the thing between the dick and the arsehole?"
Snape's glance shifted from Draco to Harry. "The coffee table."
"I don't get it," Draco shrugged as Regulus and Remus escorted him out.
Bwahaha! Draco, you idiot.
But you also killed me with those offhand, unexpected moments that wrenched my heart. These lines, for example:
It was quite possibly the most perfect start to a perfect day. And then Snape's hand trembled uncontrollably in Harry's.
Ow. Oh, Severus. Luckily Harry is still Harry and therefore constitutionally incapable of not sticking his nose in where it doesn't belong, especially when it's Snape's business.