Oooooh, I really ought to be crowned the Queen of the Late Response. Many, many apologies. It was so exciting to receive this comment, because I was elated (I still am) by the artistry of the fic you wrote for me. It currently resides on my list of favorites, to be taken out and re-read when I need to bathe in its stormy, silvery beauty. So there's a special pleasure in knowing that you enjoyed this fic, because it's almost like being able to give you a gift in return (although this is, and always will be, for Flora).
The scene in the marsh - yes, yes, I'm so glad it felt right to you. Because it wasn't about magic at all, and I wanted to show that the fundamental rift between Lily and Severus was as typical and sad and familiar as any adolescent cock-up. Because that's the age at which most of us engage in side-taking and loyalty-trading, in bolstering our self-worth by demoting unpopular friendships or spurning overtures from kids who don't quite make the grade. It's humiliating and cringe-worthy, and it happens all the time. And there are always levels, such as Severus being homosexual and inarticulate, doomed not to recognize what Lily needed and what he could not give, that can't be openly acknowledged because, well, in that time and that place there were no words for it.
Among other things, I tried to peel back the layers a little on the ending that canon gave us, to show why the placid, happy, outwardly perfect life that a mother, an author, might want for her darling, isn't necessarily fitting or even true. Surfaces can deceive. And we know what a conformist Harry is by the end of the series, and how easy it would be for him to accept without question the role already prepared for him. He's been groomed to view a "normal" life as the answer to his problems. But canon also leaves us with something so intense and unresolved between Snape and Harry, at a breaking point in Snape's life when he could finally have been free, when Harry is finally of an age where he can understand the parallels between himself and Snape, and their joint sacrifice to a cause, a need, that sets them apart from their peers . . Well, we all know Snape is capable of passion, and I decided that both Harry and Severus should be allowed, each in his own way, to know tenderness, too. Following through on Harry's alleged power to love, and on the theme that our choices are what really matter, made it possible to write their possible future together as something worth choosing, as Lily does at the end, consciously, as a kind of salvation for them both.
It thrills me that you were listening to music while reading this, that pure chance collaborated to produce the perfect emotional background, to heighten your experience of the ending. Because I absolutely believe in music's power to soar beyond words and convey what words can't, to uplift and fill, capturing subtleties, unspoken longings, that get caught in the throat. So, how wonderful, and I'm so glad you told me, because I know exactly what you mean and I treasure moments like that. So now I can vicariously treasure yours.
Thank you for a breathtaking response. This is one of the undefinable and totally unpredictable rewards of writing, to be the means of striking a deep, sublime chord in a reader. It's one of the great joys of loving a character so much, because sometimes, that love connects between reader and writer. Your comment touched me deeply. Thank you more than I can say.