Re: My respects !
Sorry, sorry! I didn't mean to ignore you, but I was away all weekend, and since my return have been dealing with work-related nightmares. Please forgive me if my response is a bit disjointed; I'm too tired to be coherent but I absolutely have to respond to such wonderful feedback.
First, I love that you caught on to the underlying tension: at the same time right and wrong, disturbing and appeasing. This very neatly sums up the complexity of emotions that guided me in writing this fic. Deathly Hallows broke my heart, but as you say, and as a friend of mine helped me to understand, Severus' death is a mirror of his life: bleak, painful, horribly lonely and not utterly wasted only by virtue of the desperate effort he makes as he dies. He gives his fate meaning by doing the impossible; he finds a way to convey what Harry must do in order to triumph, and in terms that, while violating Severus' own privacy, leave Harry no choice but to believe him. There's no redemption, gratitude, or forgiveness for Severus; no one mourns or misses him, but in his own way he's faithful to the bitter end.
I agree that he's not the sort of character to ever find peace; even if he'd survived, the damage that made him who he was could never be undone. His life was too obsessive, too full of deprivation, not to leave a permanent mark - not a literal Dark Mark, but a deformity of the soul. I wanted that to be true in this story as well, partly so that Lily could recognize it and still, with oblique compassion, give him her blessing. Severus is so indelibly himself that restoring him to life doesn't necessarily mean absolving him of guilt. It could mean he's purged enough that he's able to shift his intensity to someone else. That the successor to his affections should be Lily's son makes a disturbing (that word again) amount of sense to me.
I suspect I have more issues with the series and how it played out than you do, and this fic is both a love story - love in all its facets - and at the same time an impassioned debate with JKR's intentions. In the process, I created for myself a clearer sense of who Lily was, and why she and Severus were friends; and by extension, wholly apart from Severus' immaturity and prejudice, why they could never have been lovers. I think what Lily represented to Severus transcended ordinary relationships; she was something magical to him, but on the evidence of the books I'd say they never really understood each other.
I don't like Manichean treatments of complex characters, but I do tend to prefer ambiguity to outright tragedy.
I have more to say, and I'll be back once I've conquered insomnia and my workload. But for now, thank you so much for this perceptive and exhilarating comment!