I loved this, it gave me chills and depicted a whole new side of Lily's feelings for Severus that I never considered before: the temptation to darkness. I absolutely love your careful, detailed examination of Lily's feelings as she descends into the dungeons in search of Severus. The romantic anticipation turns to fear as she contemplates how he is changing, turning to stone.
Passage I wish I wrote: ;)
"Each drop of water into a distant hole, each scrabbling of a rat's claws, each tormented spider's cry, resounded like a pealing bell. No words could be spoken that could not be heard by another. It was at once a place of silence and of endless sounds, the castle settling all around them, leaning into the mountain's embrace."
Gorgeous chilling description. I felt I was immediately there with the damp dungeon walls around me.
Another passage I wish I wrote:
"He was becoming an object of horror, a shadow too fine for her fingers to grasp, a mere spectre among the monsters. To see him as follower when he could be so much more. He had a voice that could stir the soul, a mind as sharp as a fatal blade, but ever did he bury himself in the depths of these dungeons, a pawn in the games of others when he could be their king."
You've captured something I've been trying to say about Snape; why does he maneuver into subservient positions when he is such a powerful person? Character wise, I've wondered whether his half blood status made him feel inferior enough to constantly underrate himself. Certainly after Lily's murder I can see why he demeans himself. Or does he play it deliberately to keep his cards close at hand? I'd love to hear what you think.
When I finished this one shot I had the immediate desire to work on my Snape/Lily which I've been stuck on for weeks! So thank you for that as well! And if there's a little darker twist to that romance in the next installment, I'll tip my hat to you!
Author's Response: Thank you so much, Mary! I'm glad I was able to nab a spot in your review line for this story - you and academica are the two main names that come to mind for Snape/Lily, and hearing your opinion is a wonderful treat. That those opinions are complimentary... well... there's nothing better. :D
It's interesting that Lily's temptation is something rarely examined because I've seen it in Sirius/Lily stories, but only there a couple of times. Surely someone who had been such a close friend to Snape, growing up in the shadow of a looming war, would have been tempted. Voldemort had respected her, in his own strange way, for her power, so he must have asked her to join him (now there's a story I'd love to write!). I generally like to push the boundaries of Lily's characterization, which is sadly limited in both canon and fanon, but this may be the only time that it's actually worked. I liked the idea of using the temptation/descent into the underworld model to demonstrate how Lily observed Snape's slow "transformation" from childhood friend into Death Eater. She doesn't see his love, doesn't see that he isn't really transforming at all - he's adapting to his surroundings in order to survive.
I'm so glad that you like that description! It's my attempt to immerse the reader into the world of the dungeons using sound. When you're in a place like that, the echoes are terrifying in their volume. It's fantastic that the description did its job! :D
That's definitely a major question about Snape that JKR never really answered. He has /something/ about him that places him at the hand of the leader of both sides of a war - how can both Voldemort and Dumbledore trust him unless he has a silvertongue, a way with words that makes him utterly convincing. Even his introduction to the first years in PS was astounding in its power, and while it had a negative effect on Harry, it certainly captured my attention. I agree that it was likely his social/blood status that held him back, as well as the aftereffects of his father's abuse and the Marauders' bullying. His self-confidence must have had a delicate balance, and although Tom Riddle was also a half-blood, he was also handsome and charming, which would have made a difference in the amount of power he could gain over others. Does that make sense? It's something I need to think over more - until this story, I hadn't considered that aspect of his character, but it is worthwhile to explore further. :)
Thank you very much for your amazing review! I'm really glad that you liked this story and that it has inspired you with your story! ^_^