Hi! Oh, I think there's room for interpretation regarding Snape's sexuality. We see him almost exclusively from Harry's POV, and Harry clearly doesn't find him attractive (which admittedly makes the reciprocal interest in this fic the biggest AU of them all). I'm bisexual myself, and I came up through the San Francisco gay/lesbian ranks, and my community orientation is mostly queer. I have gay male friends who experienced being 'the wrong type' during the Castro clone days (clone fashion = buzz cuts, mustaches, gym muscles, alligator-label polo shirts, machismo, and tanning-parlor-darkened white skin). They identify Severus as gay, gay, gay - but self-hating. Granted, they don't take HP or my involvement in fandom at all seriously, but one friend (a Chicano man who got snubbed a lot for being brown and androgynous) sees Snape as totally queer, totally repressed, and totally fucked up, the kind of bloke who'd go south of Market for sex and risk getting the crap beat out of him because he so obviously doesn't belong. I think it all depends on how you adjust the lens.
I don't see Snape as straight - it simply doesn't work for me - although one of my 'versions' (I have a spectrum of ways I can write and imagine his character) is perfectly capable of dividing himself erotically and emotionally, divorcing love from sex. I agree that Harry's bisexual, which I glossed over in this fic because I had too many other plot points I was trying to juggle.
Sorry, that's probably *far* more than you needed to know about my opinion of Snape's sexuality.
On a different note, I'm so glad you enjoyed the cast of characters, as I'm a very character-driven writer and that matters to me perhaps more than anything else. Creating a coherent version of Lily was a fascinating process, partly because I was never very taken with her in canon. Once I'd tied Lily, Severus, and Harry together along intersecting lines of guilt and desire, longing and forgiveness, she became more than just a moral arbiter, more than just a bridge between her son and her former friend; she became a person in her own right.
Oh, Albus. I have a fic brewing that deals with Albus' ambiguities and his treatment of Severus. It exaggerates his manipulative side and portrays him as arguably more self-deceiving and exploitative than he really is. He's a very slippery character, however you feel about him. I find him both admirable and slightly horrifying.
Ah, you see, I do think Severus would cross the line into torture. When he murdered Dumbledore, it proved to me that he wouldn't balk at much once he'd convinced himself it was necessary. In canon he takes his greatest risks in the name of loyalty, debases himself and participates in acts of violence as a means to an end. I agree that, generally speaking, his bark is far worse than his bite, although in the matter of Wormtail at Spinner's End I suspect JKR simply forgot that she'd stuck Lily's betrayer under the same roof as Lily's avenger. More a dangling plot thread than evidence of Snape's passivity, if you see what I mean.
Thank you for the concrit! I was a sleep-deprived idiot when I inadvertently swapped 'ring' for 'locket', and I've since corrected it in posts to archives and my journal. I cleaned up the fic then and added a couple of scenes. Alas, once a fest fic posts, the writer has no access to it and can't address the mistakes. I'll also hunt down the typo, because I can't remember whether I caught it or not. And I'll change 'candy' to 'sweets.'
Your feedback is lovely, and it gave me an unexpected thrill. I don't know if you found your way here from the painting I commissioned from ac1d6urn, but if you haven't seen it yet, she just posted a fantastic depiction of the scene in the Shack here.