I’ve never found anything about Severus Snape with which I could relate. Even when I enjoy stories in which he is set as the romantic lead, I still find him to be a big git. So it was startling to me to see so much of myself in him in this fic. I suspect it is because, like him, I’ve been struggling to reinvent myself lately. I’ve noticed that for many of us at this age, it’s not uncommon to find ourselves at this strange who-the-heck-am-I? place in our lives. We may not have survived a massive war as Snape has, but that doesn’t mean we can’t still relate to a nearly-40-year-old adult trying to figure out his place in the world. Lariope does a marvelous job in making this snarky git someone with whom it’s easy to empathize because of this sense of frustration, ennui and anchor-less, even rudder-less, self-doubt. The fact that she accomplishes all that without softening his character or turning him into a cuddly teddy bear is remarkable. It’s hard enough to relate to someone whose circumstances are so far removed from mine. But for her to create such a feeling of connection with a man who probably represents all my worst traits, and many which I hope I’ll never display, is truly amazing. As I reflect on this, though, I can see that this is a part of her entire story’s purpose: to draw people together from vastly different backgrounds and teach them to relate to one another in spite of their differing circumstances.
There’s much more that I could say about this introspective, surprisingly romantic story, but I don’t want to spoil it for you. Snape’s post-Deathly Hallows survival earns it the “EWE” tag (Epilogue, What Epilogue?). But it’s otherwise so very much in keeping with what I would imagine post-war from the widely-varied characters depicted here. It is not at all angsty. Rather, I found it to be a very soothing story, with one of the most romantic, intimate, sweet love scenes I’ve ever read. It’s inspired me to go re-read many of Lariope’s older stories, as her talent is very apparent in this fic.