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Dumbledore's Army
Reviews for: Speak with the Dead
Review(s): 131

Reviewer: Jae CulmerDate: 2008-03-31
Reviewid: 150692Chapter: 16
I had almost given up on this story adn then i noticed there were some modifications and decided to re-read it. OMG I am so glad that I did. it was thrilling. I hope you post a new chapter soon. i lov how detailed everything is but especially how exquisite the detail of Sev and Lourdes rekindling is. Lourdes feels like canon now and Sev finally has a real say and POV. I loved it!!!!

Reviewer: SnowyOwlDate: 2007-12-27
Reviewid: 150221Chapter: 1
Um, hi, I was wondering if i could get in touch with you, I've read this fanfiction and Lourdes as an Evocater has really intriged me, I would really like to know what research you've done and have a quite alot of questions for you. And I was wondering if you could please send me the links from which your information came. The idea of an Evocator, I was wondering if you had made the term yourself or was it pre-existing. Like I said, I'm truly curious about this, you seemed to put a great deal of time and hard work into your story, and I would like to know more about the mythology behind this and even if there is any.

Reviewer: MishDate: 2007-07-20
Reviewid: 148623Chapter: 16
Yay Lourdes! She's come a long way, and it's been great to follow her character development. I enjoyed how we got to see things from both Lourdes and Hashim's POV, it was interesting to see her from another angle--especially after hearing about Hashim previously. And when she gave him the manual back at the end of the chapter, priceless!

Severus is having a time with the Occlumency, isn't he? My head hurts for him. I think you took a great line with Severus' dislike of Harry in that he's defensive of his own (and Lourdes') work, amongst other things. His lack of hesitation to break Harry if he saw fit was fairly ruthless, not that I expected any less. I particularly enjoyed reading that whole scene, I haven't been able to find much for Snape's POV in the books.

Oh, the kiss. Cheers for Lourdes going for it and Severus' reaction! The moment when everything ground to a halt for him was great for his character.

Great chapter! I can't wait to read the next one!

Reviewer: SnowyowlDate: 2007-06-02
Reviewid: 148165Chapter: 16
Anya!Enough already,you're driving me crazy waiting on you to update!Okay,now that that is out of my system,I have some real comments.Lourdes is quite possibly one of my favorite OC's,she so...fascinating,(yes I have a morbid sense of curiousity)but the pain and emotions she goes through seems so believable,so real,and like that Severus' reasons for coming back were real and not too mushy like some fics I've read,and I must say,Severus and Lourdes together,perfect match,Lourdes is like a female version of Severus!And your Severus is very real,like he could come right out of my compouter and sneer at me(though hopefully that doesn't happen.

Reviewer: EowynDate: 2007-04-30
Reviewid: 147880Chapter: 2
Just a responce to your tidbit at the end. Did you know that there was a
Roman emperor named Severus? His full name was Septimus Severus.

Reviewer: Ada KensingtonDate: 2007-04-07
Reviewid: 147696Chapter: 16
First of all... great chapter title. Why? Merely because I'm a bit of a Shylock fan. Alas that Shakespeare, while undoubtedly a genius, was very much a man of his time. I'm wondering what the connection is, though... something to do with Lourdes and this nasty Hashim (whose name I've heard bandied about your LJ?) or something to do with the deal Lourdes and Dumbledore struck... Hmmmm...

Virgin parchment! I know a wee bit about this and how it's made - basically, it's just really good vellum (the younger the animal, the better because this skin is softer, and if it's taken from an unborn animal, then there'll be less hair to scrape off) which has been prepared and consecrated in a particular way - but I had another scout around and I was interested to find that it can also be made from the caulks of newborn children. Bits of the amniotic sac, in other words. Eeehhh... Messy. The things Anya's writing teaches! ^_^

"But she eyed him with even more suspicion when he asked her for four meters of the red sinistral woven silk ribbon."

So we should eye with suspicion all those who wear the 'left-weave' jeans from Gap? I KNEW Gap was evil. I just never had proof before now.

"As he was the resident Dark Arts expert amongst the teachers, this theory was accepted without much question."

And NOT Lupin. *hem hem*

The Nautilus boats. I wouldn't go on one. They sound a bit creaky and a wee bit too leaky for my liking. They sound like the EasyJet planes of the Wizarding World, to me.

"Severus' instinctual reaction was to go rigid as a corpse at this sudden, uninvited invasion of space, his hands flew up to her stomach instantly and he meant to push her away."

This was just genius. It's a perfect image, and so vivid in my mind - I can't tell you... Everything about that moment: before, during and after the kiss is so well-concieved - elegant in its understatement but cleverly written and not skipping on the ol' emotional undercurrent. And SO IN-CHARACTER! Yup. You nailed it. Bang on. Cheers for that. ^_^

"Through some horrible combination of a late ticket purchase and foul luck, Lourdes had wound up in the center of a row next to a witch with two squalling offspring, one still in nappies and another with extremely sticky, grabby hands."

This was another vivid image that made me squirm on Lourdes' behalf. It was the 'sticky, grabby hands' that did it this time, lol. *shudders* I can't help but wonder if this little scene was based on real-life experience of the author?

"All she needed to force them into obedience was superior presence of mind, and to know what rules they were believed to operate by, which was the tricky part because there were always variations in the myths that kept such creatures alive."

Sweet would be interested to know about this... I'm thinking he asked her during that little talk they had in your birthday fic and she gave him loads of interesting info he could research and use for an article! ^_^ Lourdes, after all, is a goldmine of information.

"She couldn't be sure whether it was a ploy to elicit a response from the killer, or simply an attempt to show the public Magical Law Enforcement did know its arse from its elbow."

*cracks up* XD

Just have to say: I'm loving the murder sub-plot. You should write dark, nasty thrillers for a living - or maybe as a supplement to your income when you become a tailor. ^_^

"...when his brain involuntarily cranked out a stream of self loathing images of Rookwood, oily and yellow like a corpse crawling all over her."

That was fantastic. So disgusting. It made me uncomfortable... but I loved it for that reason. ^_^

"He was wasting so much time on this, perfectly good evenings that could be spent in so many other ways."

Lol, this has totally corrupted OotP for me. Everytime I re-read this scene now, I'll be thinking, "Man, Snape's just cranky because he wants Teh Lourdes Sexz."

"His face contorted into one of undisguised rage and he bared his teeth at the prone form gasping for air on the floor."

I always thought Snape even agreeing to give Harry Legilimency lessons was potentially VERY dangerous for him. Silly Harry for not biting the bullet and just listening to the man. Though Snape does underestimate him...

"At night it looked as though you had walked into the sky, surrounded by stars and the whispers of people meeting in anonymous dark corners."

Odalisque's Court. Sounds rather beautiful. I'd like to go there - accompanied by a guide, of course, if it's that dodgy...

"The guards, a superstitious lot, had nicknamed her Azrael and accordingly chained every one of her limbs with a heavy web of iron that stretched to all corners of the vast cell..."

Azrael, the Angel of Death according to Islam, if I'm not mistaken? And the chains are those that bind him? Sorry... I'm always chuffed when I spot something I actually know in your stories. They're so chock-full of occult, mythological and cultural references that there's no way in hell I'll ever catch them all unless you go through and point them all out. ^_^ And I like how you've developed Hashim so far. I think he does care about his job, but he's feeling downtrodden, depressed and incredibly stressed.

"A predator molded so that her natural behavior benefited the general population like the tigers that jumped through flaming hoops at the circus."

Hmmm... this relationship between Lourdes and Hashim is rather complex, methinks. Hashim doesn't know what to think: half the time he sees her as something approaching a human being, in that he wants to jump in the sack with her (and has in the past), and half the time he considers her as merely a tool, albiet a dangerous one, he can use to fit his purpose. Understandably, this breeds tension. Well observed. ^_^

"That was a salve for his pride after the second divorce and the struggles he'd had establishing the department. To have a predator turn its gaze on you admiringly when it would otherwise smile only for a kill, felt like quite the achievement."

Ahhhh... I see. The motivation. A shade egotistical, methinks...

"It was like finding the key to a wind up doll. He slipped the key in without pity, twisted it just so and she danced accordingly."

Another really good line. Wish I'd come up with it, lol. ^_^

"On the second level, sitting on a cushion like Alice's know-it-all caterpillar, was Koray. Dumpy and pale as a maggot with fat grubby little hands wrapped around the mouthpiece of a narghile spewing the spicy madak smoke."

Excellent, excellent description yet again. That club sounds hellish (though I've been in places uncomfortably like it, so it's easier for me to imagine).

But yes... Excellent work again, Anya. Hashim was brilliant. Seriously. Great characterisation. The kiss wasn't half-bad either... ;)

Reviewer: St. MargaretsDate: 2007-03-07
Reviewid: 147405Chapter: 16
Aw, nice kiss. I like the clicking film projector and the warm calm after. Just love, o graduate of the fluff thread!

Lovely description of a horrible stuffy public transport with horrible children as well. I never thought of a magical sub. Very Jules Verne.

Oh, you did a great job with the Harry-Snape scene. It was excruciating for both of them. No Star Trek mind meld here. I remember thinking that the first time I read it and I thought it again today.

Poor Lourdes. I love this:

<i>It did no good to be angry about it now. If she let this anger poison her, if she let it stay in her flesh, the wound wouldn't ever heal. And a wound was only useful if it eventually became a scar.</i> You know how much I love healing and watching a character put it together. YOu did this so well here with both flashback and the present action. And it's in the right place in the story line - too soon and it would seem false - and much later it would look like a "deathbed" danger kind of change of heart. This was very powerful.

I liked that you made the character of Hashim so complex - you could see what made him attractive to her at first and then what turned her off. It's always good to the "wrong" ones in a character's life as well as the right ones. I liked the contrast with good ol' Abeforth and Snape.

I'm always amazed at your wide knowledge and at the research you do for your stories, while never losing sight of the characters or the story line. Well done! It was worth the wait.

Reviewer: TDUDate: 2007-03-07
Reviewid: 147404Chapter: 16
Hooray! See, I said I would. You'll be expecting intelligent comment next.

Reviewer: mullvaneyDate: 2007-03-05
Reviewid: 147368Chapter: 16
Great chapter! I can see why it was so hard; you must have done days and days worth of research for this.

The best thing about this story is your research, you're so thorough that all of it is 100% believable. You could make a career out of fact-checking or research.
Lourdes is really cutting herself free; I can see her at the end of this story, turning her back on everything she's done and walking off alone into the mountains. Somehow, it seems to me she will end up alone, and fine with it.

Reviewer: dogstarDate: 2007-03-04
Reviewid: 147350Chapter: 16
This is a brilliant chapter Anya. The atmosphere and descriptions are so wonderfully rich in detail. Your writing is always like that of course but it bears repeating! It kept me occupied during most of a 90 minute car journey today, and I'm a fast reader!

Where to begin? At the beginning, why not? With that wonderful moment of intimacy. Intimacy and Severus Snape are two things that might not seem to go together on the surface (no, really) but the way you wrote it was so deliberate, slow and restrained that it is perfectly believable. I really got the sense of how big a risk Lourdes was taking and the tension until we find out it has paid off is excruciating. Then his moment of decision, of sinking into the physical sensation is beautifully done.

~His eyes snapped shut and the world slid incoherently into a rush of sensation and instinct where the dominant feeling was one of peculiar comfort, like waking up warm and well rested.

I love that image, it's perfect for your characters and the knife-edge they are living on every day. I also loved the additional bit of reflection you gave Lourdes on the boat. It begins the journey of learning more about her character (that is the point of this chapter - no?) with an emotion we can all recognise and empathise with.

The procedural stuff was amazing. I am in awe of how you write about very difficult subjects with such control and imagination and never overload us with boring superfluous information for the sake of being excessively grisly, which is the reason I rarely read murder novels. Nothing in this chapter seems extraneous to the main plot, the details of the killer being used to give us an insight into Lourdes' particular expertise and what drives her. I loved all the stuff about art and the motivation you gave the killer - fascinating stuff. The Turkey scenes are amazing, as were the details of the dive boat early on. the stale air, warm gin and packets of peanuts! Hilarious.

I enjoyed the character of Hashim - suitably scary in his lust for control and his black and white view of the world. The further details of Lourdes' incaraceration were horrifying. Somehow you extend JKR's world in a way that is eminently plausible, while being hugely original at the same time.

I really enjoyed Hashim's look at Lourdes from the outside and how much she's changed. Then, of course, I *loved* Lourdes' self-revelation at the end. A real watershed. Despite the things she still has to do and the continual danger - she has moved on, she is growing, she's even happy.

~This time, when she tried to concentrate on what mattered - Aberforth, and his crooked, manic grin, Severus, with his hands around her waist, stunned for a moment before he could really lean in and return the gesture.

Maybe it would last, maybe it wouldn't, but it was worth it for now...

I hope we meet Aberforth one day :) Sorry this has been a bit incoherent - it's late and I'm on someone else's computer with a very clicky keyboard and a sleeping mum and babe in the next room!

OMG I nearly forgot the Occlumency - in a word - brilliant, perfect. That's two. It really drives home the point that Harry and Snape's conflict and lack of understanding is key in so many ways. And Severus having a lightning flash of him and Lourdes and thinking, 'Damn another thing to hide from the brat' was rather funny also. :D I am on *tenterhooks* as to how you will write SWM, please tell me I don't have too long to wait?

Reviewer: AmandaBDate: 2007-03-02
Reviewid: 147336Chapter: 16
Good work, and well worth the wait, as always. The kiss was interesting, and very in character. The line about fifth years in the common room was great. I also like how you portray Severus's anger and annoyance at how much Harry doesn't know about Voldemort, and how he is playing a very dangerous line. The pity in Harry's eyes is something that I also agree Snape wouldn't be able to stand. The peek into Lourdes's past was interesting, and explains both how dangerous she is (a panther is very appropriate) and how good she is at her job. Although it was more gritty and dark then other chapters, the description of the murders wasn't too bad, because you didn't put in too much detail (that's one of the reasons I don't watch CSI). Keep going.

Reviewer: MishDate: 2007-02-11
Reviewid: 147168Chapter: 15
I looked for you in the library, panicked, then found you on the Professor's Bookshelf. Interesting, that. Cheers!

Here's me anxiously awaiting a new chapter, and going back over old ones until then.

Hope all's well, Mish

Reviewer: marietDate: 2007-01-19
Reviewid: 146919Chapter: 13
I've restisted reading your story because of an ingrained anti-Snape feeling but a few days ago I read a snippet of yours on the Fluff LJ thread- a party snippet- and in a moment of weakness I hunted for your stuff. I was hooked immediately, read half of it at a sitting and the next half at work when I should have been researching very different things.

I love the way you keep Snape in character and though I can't usually conjure much feeling for OCs, I am drawn to your portrayal of Lourdes, maybe because she is so rounded as a real character, from beginning to end reacting as I would expect her to. Nothing jarring, and I don't mean nothing shocking.

[i]Lourdes’ fault, too; if she didn’t drink painkillers and sedatives like they were tea he might be able to keep them somewhere other than the locked cabinet in the kitchen. [/i]

This was great, Lourdes is by no means an un-flawed person! Severus knows everything there is to be known about her faults but it doesn't stop him being drawn to her, though expressing any part of it involves exposing huge vulnerabilities.

I like the way Severus is able to be protective of Lourdes in the midst of looking out for himself.

There seem to be big disrepancies between what's posted on SQ and what you've written about Snape and Lourdes (looking at snippets from the Fluff thread). Do you have more stories archived elsewhere? I really want to see what happens!

Fantastic story.


Reviewer: mary ellisDate: 2007-01-14
Reviewid: 146860Chapter: 15
"Right now, more than ever, he hated the feeling of his brain clicking into action and making a thousand calculations at top speed - rushing to evaluate the risk of letting her in versus the risk of keeping her out."--this reminds me of every episode fo the West Wing I've ever seen--and the reason I stopped watching by the way. Poor Severus--the need to make the right move--even with someone you shold be able to trust--just wears you down, doesn't it?

Reviewer: mary ellisDate: 2007-01-14
Reviewid: 146858Chapter: 14
Your supple descriptions and characterizations--carefully crafted without seeming so--wash over us--nourishing and at the same time leaching out some unsuspected feelings, plunging us readers into a series of touching and tantalizing and terrifying moments.

Reviewer: DragoDate: 2007-01-09
Reviewid: 146813Chapter: 7
hey there, I'm new so you'll have to forgive any discrinpenses - is that spelt right, lol.

Being a Potter-fan I have been reading stories on this site for years but never thought enough of my writing skills to right a fanfic, I'm mpore of an original fiction person myself. But having discovered your story in the 'Latest Fanfiction' menu I have become enthralled with the plot.

Your characterisation skills are immense - I love the depth you have gone into to create a bitter, - somewhat evil?- isolated character with such a convince story-background. I enjoyed it so much so that I was wondering if you would allow me the honour of writing a prologue of sorts to this fic - one of prehpas Lourdes at Hogwarts? I would be very grateful of the chance to do so, but I'd have to make you aware that I haven't written any HP stuff ... ever because, as I have already said, I am more of an original fiction writer myself, though I have never 'published' my works :(

Oh I'm rambling sorry. I know this shoulkd probably have gone in a PM but never, I would love to hear back from you about if you'd care to read about my interpratation of Lourdes' Hogwarts life.

You'll have to give me a chance to get up to chapter 15 but I shall review every chapter forthwith!

Thanks for your time, prehaps you could PM concerning the Lourdes' idea?



Reviewer: MullvaneyDate: 2006-12-09
Reviewid: 146416Chapter: 15
*claps* Very nice! I love your calculating, measured pace, esepecialy during this allignment of three very calculating, very circumspect, very *closeted* people! If they played poker, it would take *years*. And the Bible verse! You *heretic*! ;P You are so very true to your characters, and I have to say, Snape letting Lourdes read his worst memory would be like hopping in the sack for anyone else. Excellent subliminated sexual tension.
I also liked how Dumbledore was playing it close to the vest (oooo! another poker reference!), Snape noticed it, and Lourdes manipulated it. None of them is sure of the others. I like that you portrayed Dumbledore as cagey; he isn't Santa Clause, for god's sake!
Bravo on the excruciating pace, there's not many who could pull it off!

Reviewer: IseultDate: 2006-12-07
Reviewid: 146399Chapter: 15
Thrilled you're back Anya-another beautifully written chapter. Can't wait for the next.

Reviewer: Ada KensingtonDate: 2006-12-07
Reviewid: 146397Chapter: 15
Please forgive me if this review is rambling, but I feel like I haven't stopped for a whole week. My brain is fried. Here endeth the disclaimer.

It has been a long wait for chapter fifteen of SwtD, but dear sweet god was it worth the wait.

The first thing I loved about this chapter was that I was confronted with something unfamiliar at the off. I found myself having to look up what syzygy meant, which was wonderfully refreshing, because I haven't found a nice new word for a while now. You're right, too. It's appropriate in so many ways: Lourdes and Snape have 'aligned' themselves to one another in more ways than one, in that they finally understand one another, and in that they're going to end up joined at the hip for the forseeable future with Lourdes' very handy 'get out of jail free card'. It's also appropriate in that we've reached a turning point, plot-wise, and that revelations and epiphanies are following on one from another in snowball fashion. Brilliance.

The other thing that I loved about this chapter was your thoughts on Occlumency. I'm trying to gather together some myself for writing Sweet, you see, but the way you have Lourdes describe it was utterly fantastic. It's obvious you've done a lot of research into it, because it shows in the quality of the scene Snape lets Lourdes into his mind. Actually, it was so good, I'm rather jealous of that scene. =P It was the perfect paradox: detached and incredibly, incredibly intimate. Gah. Genius.

Finally, I liked your Dumbledore. I completely and utterly agree with you that Dumbledore isn't merely the sweets-toting babysitter we're treated to courtesy of the early Harry-filter. We see it in HBP in the cave scene, and, as St. Margarets righty deduced in your LJ, in the overheard argument between DD and Snape. Your Dumbledore is a general, and he's working with his two most trusted spies. I'd say he's bang in character. Besides, as you said, we're seeing him through the Lourdes/Snape filter. The poor man's been filtered so many times that I'm wondering whether any of we readers really know him at all. =P

Oh! And another little thing to add: I love the way you've fit canon into this. I would take my hat off to you, if I were wearing one. Also, the sly (authorial?) aside that Severus keeps the cheap, elf-made wine for unpleasant company made me chortle.

Cheers for such a brilliant installment, Anya. May the next one arrive on swift wings.

Reviewer: dogstarDate: 2006-12-06
Reviewid: 146385Chapter: 15
OK - so re-reading bits of this story yesterday made me see that I need to re-read all of it, because it's such a densely layereed story it's all too easy to forget about vital information! So, if this review is a bit crap, I'm sorry but I figured you'd rather have this now than in 6 months time!

So Severus' father is vicar, eh? Or ... a grave digger? LOL, forgive the idle speculation. I'll find out soon enough. But I of course I *loved* the domestic details of Spinners End - Severus relaxing into the familiar, soothing surroundings of home. In canon he has the 'knack' of making his office, his classroom (and Spinners End too of course) his own personal space which he *inhabits* totally. I loved how you brought this out by showing how comfortable he is there, even while being ashamed of the 'tackiness' of the fortune-telling cups. Hey, his mother needed to make a living - and what occupation better for Snape's mother than gulling the susperstitious?

I really enjoyed the description of Legilimency, I always found the Pensieve a bit of an easy way out, not to mention the bizarre claim that memories can be unravelled and presented as *objective truth*. Your way is much more interesting.

So, Lourdes believes Severus is a practised poisoner ... but am I right that there is a hint that this was to be his first kill, to prove himself to the Dark Lord? You leave it interestingly ambiguous. I fond it ironic that Lourdes finds it 'nauseating' that Severus appears to be good at his job, given her own history. The account of the battle and Severus's emotions during it and during the memory of the torture that followed was well-done - difficult to read, which I'm sure you'll take as the compliment it's meant.

I particularly liked your portrayal of Albus in this chapter. His authority and control of the situation seemed effortless, without being at all heavy-handed.

I'm very intrigued by the prospect of the bolt-hole. Can't wait for the next chapter!

Reviewer: St. MargaretsDate: 2006-12-06
Reviewid: 146384Chapter: 15
Oh, what a tale we weave! I love how you used the info from HBP to good effect here - from Severus's memories of his house and his mother to how Albus comes to understand what Voldy is up to. (He had some help!)

Snapes' worst memory was really well done - but my favorite parts were those little tea and sympathy moments between Lourdes and Snape. *We* can see how the puzzle pieces of their characters fit together, but they still can't. Clouded, cloudy, - such good ways to describe how they see each other - even with Legilimency.

And the torture - I haven't read your LJ entry yet - but in this story the effects seem to be that of a cloud as well - nothing can be experienced except through its distorting fog.

A wonderful job as always!

Reviewer: Reader 2Date: 2006-12-06
Reviewid: 146383Chapter: 15
Good luck and thanks for the story.

Reviewer: BarbDate: 2006-12-06
Reviewid: 146379Chapter: 15
Hey! I finished reading chapter 14 just in time to get this one a day later! Just wanted to say that your chapter is really well written. I like the way you made Severus' decision to change sides so true and explainable. You are so right in saying that torture stays with you forever, but I would go even further in saying that even humiliation stays for a very long time. Torture can traumatise you, but usually it won't motivate you to go against the torturer (you even have stories of tortured people who fell in love with the people who tortured them). However, humiliation by someone in front of a crowd will make you do that and I really like that you include that aspect into your story.

I also really like how you made Lourdes so much more humane in this chapter, with her understanding Severus, being so fragile and standing up to Albus. However, your portrayal of Albus (as someone else noted earlier) seems to me to be a bit harsh. I wouldn't really see Albus being that mean on Lourdes for her doing what she had to to stay in her position. But that's only my opinion and your description is still very good.

Anyway, I'm really looking forward to the next chapter! You're doing a great job! And good luck for that apprenticeship!


Reviewer: Madaline FabrayDate: 2006-12-06
Reviewid: 146378Chapter: 15
Great to see you back here, and best of luck! Another good chapter. I like the tension, but growing trust between Lourdes and Snape. Nice snippets of history and lore, too.

Reviewer: PygmyPuffDate: 2006-12-06
Reviewid: 146377Chapter: 15
Interesting...I expected after last chapter to have more empathy with Lourdes but now I feel pretty horrible on Snape's account. Loved how you fit canon in! I wonder what would ever happen if Lourdes or Snape started drinking something other than tea. Anything other. It seems such a characteristic feature of their relationship by now.

I suppose Hashim is her contact who owes her something? I can't wait to see Lourdes interacting with someone other than Severus or Albus, we don't see very much of that at all.

Very intrigued by the idea of them having an escape route...I wonder if it would be something that Snape could include Draco in...

Anyhow, can't wait for the next chapter! :)

Reviewer: Sannali aka MorwenDate: 2006-12-05
Reviewid: 146370Chapter: 15
Yay, Lourdes is back! I've missed this story. I love the way you're incorporating the new information from HBP.

Reviewer: MishDate: 2006-12-05
Reviewid: 146364Chapter: 15
*keels over*

Joy. Pure, gleeful, fannish joy.

I was surprised by Lourdes' making a deal with Albus, but it worked well. I liked that he took it in stride. I'll be interested in that little jaunt. I also enjoyed the chapter title, it was very clever. And interesting-looking, if a word can be interesting-looking.

I'm glad to hear that the hiatus in writing had business behind it, I was worried. I hope that your opportunity pans out, I have some friends that are going to school for theater, so I appreciate what you're doing. Best of luck, and thanks for the update!!!

Reviewer: AmandaBDate: 2006-12-05
Reviewid: 146360Chapter: 15
Yeah, an update! Don't worry, real life has a way of delaying a lot of things, doesn't it? I loved how Snape took care of the little things for her (the bath, the tea, etc). I wonder how her friend in Turkey will great her. The image of them sitting in the rain together is a true indication of how much he feels for her, since I can't imagine him doing that with anyone else. Keep writing.

Reviewer: BarbDate: 2006-12-04
Reviewid: 146353Chapter: 14
Hey there!

I had started reading your story earlier, bookmarked it and forgot about it for a while. I've just looked thru my bookmarks and found your story, re-read it from the begining in a week (I still do have to study and write papers!). I have to say great job up to now! Your characterization is great and I love Lourdes' character. By the way, Lourdes does mean heavy in french, however, it is the plural feminine form, as in heavy boxes (lourdes boîtes) or heavy burdens (lourdes tâches or lourdes responsabilités). Great job and please post the next installment soon!


Reviewer: MishDate: 2006-10-26
Reviewid: 145945Chapter: 1
I miss Lourdes and Severus...

Hope everything's okay, Mish

Reviewer: IseultDate: 2006-09-14
Reviewid: 145336Chapter: 1
Desparate for an update-missing Lourdes hugely.
Chapter 13 was almost fluffy and I wondered where you would go next but chapter 14 put paid to any worries on that score.Brilliant but dark. Ada K has mentioned elsewhere that you are "going places in more ways than one" COME BACK!!

Reviewer: MishDate: 2006-08-11
Reviewid: 144763Chapter: 14
Whew! I hoped I'd squeak in before your next update. What a chapter! I don't know where to begin:

I think Snape "devising other methods to enjoy Lourdes" was cleverly done. Coy bastard indeed. Who does he think he's fooling? By the way, I nearly keeled over at the fruit-eating scene.

Lourdes' first one-on-one with Voldemort was very intense, if not a little heart-wrenching when she forgot her name and actually thought it was Lich.

Lastly, Snape pulling Lourdes back from the ledge was great. It's really interesting to see him see how far he's come- "Now he couldn’t see anything but the woman…"

Thanks again for a great chapter, I can't wait to see where they go from here!

Reviewer: mullvaneyDate: 2006-07-30
Reviewid: 144544Chapter: 14
I printed the whole thing out, and have been carying it around for 3 days. I love it. Firstly, you've done your research, both in canon and outside it. You've filled this up with so many arcane goodies, I was clapping with glee! You've taken Snape, the most loathsome person at Hogwarts, and made him HUMAN and LIKABLE. Lourdes is great too, so nice to find a female OC who isn't a telvision character. Not to mention her fascinating culture, brokeness, addiction, temerity, timidity, lust for research, lust for Severus, and wit. Very cruel of you, though, to put them together, in a one-bedroom apartment, with a history of longing for each other, both of them experiencing a loooong dry spell, and keeping them apart. OH, the AGONY! They're both BROKEN and they need some COMFORT! Please, let them snuggle on the couch, at least!
It is great to see a story that contains magic from outside the realm of Harry Potter, it makes it so much more real. BTW- where did you find all of it? 'cause I've been looking for certain things, and I just can't find anything useful . . . Also-your WWN is a lot like NPR, do you listen to public radio?

I have to say, I find your Dumbledore to be a bit, irresponsible, passive-agressive, and slightly self-righteous. But, as we're looking at this from Snape's and Lourdes's points of view, I can see how they might see him that way. Still, I have a suspicion that he is not going to be much help to them; they're going to have to extricate themselves from some catastrophic mess, aren't they?

I'm looking forward to the rest of this!

Reviewer: Falling DampsDate: 2006-07-04
Reviewid: 143954Chapter: 14
Okay, here we go, the long overdue review!! *is sorry* Anya, okay, of course this was a brilliant chapter. Every time I read more of this I just can't wrap my head around how well you have depicted Snape and Lourdes, two so very complicated characters... and just how well you write in general. It BLOWS MY MIND!!

But on to the review: Several things in particular I liked about this chapter were Snape's observations of Lourdes (suuure, like THATS all he's interested in. Nice try. I can't wait to see until this plan fails too and THEN where will he be?? Well, I think he's already lost it by the end of the chapter, but, you know), the description of Voldemort's soul (which was bone-chilling and appropriate and made me want to throw up, the whole scene, POOR Lourdes), and of course the entire scene on the cliff.

Because, you know, it was when you posted that snippet in its first incarnation back on the fluff thread that I thought, "I need to talk to this girl," which is why I first PMd you! And so, you know, this holds special significance! :D But, really, it's an unbelievable passage. I will not lie, and I am not fishing, but the second half of this chapter honestly made me feel like what I do is just messing around compared with what you've written. It was beautiful and so emotional, and there were so many lines but one of my favorites was "suddenly she shifted in his grip to face him, arms braced against his chest as she laid her head on his shoulder. It felt like a seismic change, a heavy chunk of the cliff surrendering to the persistent sea." That's just... I have no words.

There was no bright glow of a soul, only a seemingly endless rotten black. Lourdes felt her magic propel itself in two directions forward reflexively, feeling for something familiar in this mess, and outward, trying to unwind itself from the stolen life. And only after a frantic minute of trying to disentangle herself, Lourdes caught a hint of something in the roaring darkness - the pathetic pulsing of whatever scrap of a soul was left in this body, dense and dim as a dying star. Instinctually, one black tendril reached out to brush the edges of it and there was the immediate impression of raggedness before she began to travel away from it suddenly.

Reviewer: Ada KensingtonDate: 2006-07-02
Reviewid: 143897Chapter: 14
What a nice surprise for my return from hermitdom - another chapter of Speak With the Dead! *does a dance of glee*

Prepare for another badly-structured, incoherant review! ^_^

Right... I'll start with my absolute favourite part of the chapter: Snape telling himself he's doing all those nice things for Lourdes out of a desire to conduct an experiment. Yeah, sure, Snape. "Experiment." *wink* The scene where he lapped up the pomegranate from the palm of Lourdes' hand was absolutely scandalous, not least the fact that the pomegranate has been (and still is) considered by many societies to have aphrodisiac qualities. Though I'm sure you're all too aware of that. *grin*

Onto the scene with Voldemort on "VOLDIE SMASH" mode...

To give all credit where credit is due, you say that I'm a brilliant darkficcer - well you damn well made me shiver when Voldemort whispered "give me eighty". That was spine-tinglingly chilling in the best way possible. A few moments later, I realised that and grinned. Then I stopped grinning when Lourdes was tortured. I like Lourdes - she's one of my all-time favourite OCs - and you wrote her pain so well it almost made me lapse into "ADA SMASH" mode. And when Severus caught her before she fell to her death in the elegantly and hauntingly evocative closing paragraphs (not least due to the fact that Severus has now realised how he really feels about Lourdes' presence in his life and work, though both are one and the same) I smiled.

Another bloody brilliant chapter, Anya. Roll on the next! ^_^

- Ada.

Reviewer: Madaline FabrayDate: 2006-07-02
Reviewid: 143894Chapter: 14
Hot dog! I've finally caught up *dancedancedancedance* So much to say, where do I start?

The scene with the pomogranite was great -- heh heh, forbidden fruit, much? Those two are absolutely, frustratingly (and entertainingly) impossible.

That scene with Avery and Voldemort *brrrr* Stellar Hawk had told me there was something that creeped even Voldie out, but refused to divulge details. That was bone chilling. Lourdes confirmed what we have all suspected, that Voldemort isn't even human anymore. That must have been awful, and that comes across as clear as crystal.

I think I mentioned this before, but it really resonates in this chapter. I always thought how chilling it was that Voldemort always called Lourdes "lich," not even addressing her by name. She is nothing more than a tool, a torture machine. A step above the Inferi, perhaps (him calling her corpse). And Snape realizes this, and realizes that he thinks of her as the human being. Is he *gasp* finally admitting, just a bit, that he just might have a heart? Woooow, big revelation for our Potions master.

Reviewer: Madaline FabrayDate: 2006-07-02
Reviewid: 143891Chapter: 12
Wow, I loved the mind match between Dumbledore and Lourdes. They both have good points. Dumbledore is right, though, about her shutting away her heart. Excellent dialogue. Also LOVED the stream of thoughts from Snape on Potter. His absolute hatred for the boy comes through so clearly. A bit chilling, too.

Reviewer: moonetteDate: 2006-07-02
Reviewid: 143875Chapter: 1
Wow, Anya. I have been promising myself that I would read your fic for months. I'm so sorry it's taken me so long. And it will probably take me a while to get through it, since my free time is super limited right now. But I have finally started it, and chapter one really starts out with a bang. I love your humor. I love the unique way you have of describing things. I love your Lourdes - a most unusual OC. I love how you don't hid her flaws, and, in fact, flaunt them. And of course I LOVE how you write Snape. You have an amazing sense of humor and timing. This is going to be a great read, I can tell. Thanks.

Reviewer: magicaljulesDate: 2006-07-01
Reviewid: 143869Chapter: 9
Okay, so I feel kinda stupid leaving a review now, in chapter *looks at top of page* 9, when I've been reading this fic hungrily for two days whenever I get a chance, but I just had to say something quickly.


>>Children were like grapes really- the harder you trod on them the more juice you got (and he might as well have been teaching raisins).<<

is brilliant, and so very perfectly Snape. I don't read Snape fics, not because I don't like him (and I don't), but because he is almost never ever characterized well. The two or three fics I've ever read (and I'll freely admit that I don't read anything that is not at the Quill and I certainly have not read everything that is archived here, either) that had Snape characterized well, probably did so because they only briefly mentioned him, or because they -meant- to make him only be seen as mean and vicious or even comical. But you have captured the real Snape and -still- have made me sympathetic. Damn you! :P

Really, really great work. And now I'm going back to reading, kthanx. ;)



Reviewer: dogstarDate: 2006-07-01
Reviewid: 143865Chapter: 14
First off, much as I like any mention of Neville, I think it was a little harsh to make him turn in a poor essay on the properties of a *plant*! Bad Anya. OK - that's the concrit ;)

I loved the idea of Severus collecting expressions from Lourdes to store up and enjoy. You're being sweet to the woman you love, Severus - deal with it! Your Severus has passion, he isn't a dried-up pomegranate husk and I think that's very true to the character. I love the sensual details you use to describe the tea, the food, the fruit - really beautiful.

The scene with Voldemort and Avery *shudders*. Very good. And I loved the chase through the forest afterwards, a great evocation (hee) of the landscape and then coming out onto the cliffs with the roaring water ... worked really well. *descends into incoherence*

I found Severus' thought process as his pangs of conscience start to bite easier to trace in this version. Mind you, that could be because I've read the rest of the story at this point! This time round, the elemental imagery is as wonderful as I remember and you manage to weave that into to what's happening between the two characters and their individual private turmoil without it being at all cheesy or obvious. That's hard to do, a real achievement I think.

And the 'seismic change, a heavy chunk of the cliff surrendering to the persistent sea' is beautiful and perfect for Lourdes. She can't push those feelings down any longer! These two need each other as more than work colleagues and it feels absolutely right that Severus has acknowledged this. I'd like to see more happy moments for these two in between the terrible episodes they have to endure.

And Alice and Frank - first FD and now you sneaking those two in to wrench my heart.

I'm glad he's taking her home, I look forward to the next chapter to see them interacting in a new domestic environment. That will be very interesting.

I know I've concentrated on the Severus / Lourdes characterisation in this review but I am also very interested in Voldemort and what Lourdes saw when she was connected to him. I thought the description of his 'tattered' and rotten soul fragment was very interesting and gave me much food for thought - which is what we all want from the best fanfic, right?

Good work!

Reviewer: CassieDate: 2006-06-30
Reviewid: 143851Chapter: 14
Wow! I have just read all 14 chapters of the story and I think it's brilliant. It's too easy to think of Snape as a man with no feelings behind his overgrownbatness, but you have really convincingly put forward other sides of his personality. Lourdes is a great character and you have written her really well. I'm looking forward to reading some more!

Cass x.

Reviewer: ValaDate: 2006-06-30
Reviewid: 143842Chapter: 14
Wow. I'd say Lourdes had a rough chapter. I know that you were having trouble with parts of this, but it came out beautifully. It's always worth the wait for all of the work you put into it. It's just the right balance of fluff, snark, and CREEPY! I have no idea how you make Snape fluffy and keep him incredibly in character. So props for that!

Reviewer: AmandaBDate: 2006-06-29
Reviewid: 143813Chapter: 14
Dancing around the issue are they? It doesn't surprise me, and I agree that both would think that the war is more important then any budding attraction between them. The scene with Voldemort was creepy, and it's even more chilling to know that Lourdes could be killed very easily, though it's not surprising. I'm glad that Snape has decided that she should be helped, by passing on his knowledge of spying, and I wonder where Home is (Spinner's End?) Keep those chapters coming, they are worth the wait.

Reviewer: PygmyPuffDate: 2006-06-29
Reviewid: 143811Chapter: 14
A very conflicted chapter. Watching Lourdes at work...I mean, reading your descriptions of Lourdes at always fascinating; I love how detailed you get, how visual. A lot going on here about death and life and pain. The fluff is even getting rather serious. All these dark issues are getting worked out one by one; the integration of backstory in this fic works so ideally I'm jealous. ;) Is home going to be Spinner's End? I'm in total suspense, post again soon! :)

Reviewer: St. MargaretsDate: 2006-06-29
Reviewid: 143807Chapter: 14
I'm just in time to read this before I go away! Yay!

~~with some senses strangely dulled and others oddly heightened.~~
Ooo, I like this description of UST!

~~The damn dreams always woke her straight up, right as they seemed to be building up to a head and then left her in a sticky sweat with no relief from the heat.~~

And of course, we're not talking about the weather. Very sensual, Anya!

Ah, pommegrates, the original apple in Eden - food fluff! You have learned that lesson well! And look at the beautiful white space!

She said nothing.

He said nothing.

The perfect reaction!

I love the double meaning of the "waiting" conversation. Yes - that applies to their love life and to their mission.

Creepy with Voldy and how she knew something was totally wrong with his bit 'o soul. Poor Lourdes is always getting hurt. It hurts to read, which shows your talent as an author.

I love the rewritten cliff scene. It really fits with the more streamline tone of this chapter. There is way less ambivalence in your characters and therefore less in their thoughts and actions. You're instinctively honing in on this and showing us the simple truths about them underneath their very complicated lives. That's why I like the final line so much.

Great chapter title btw - it works for Snape/Lourdes - but it also works for Voldy and how he feels some weakness in that scene.

Well done as always!

Reviewer: Madaline FabrayDate: 2006-05-20
Reviewid: 142914Chapter: 11
Heh, Snape going through that litany of potions and supplies, the strange thought of "Fred and George would be envious" crossed my mind. Don't know why, exactly.

Wow, Lourdes is creepy. I think my skin crawled away, out the door, across the street and down the block.

I love/hate your Pettigrew. I love how you've made Pettigrew into more than just a simpering sycophant -- he has ambitions of his own. It rings true with canon. But...I hate him, grrrr. Want to wring his neck, except I'd hate to touch something that foul. Drat, what a conundrum! Mouse trap, perhaps?

Heh heh, poor Snape. He's caught between a rock and a hard place.

Reviewer: MishDate: 2006-05-19
Reviewid: 142894Chapter: 13
"The things they loved the best…"

*pout* Poor Lourdes. I love the moth theme though. Usually I don't have an affinity for moths, but they suit Lourdes so well I kinda find them cute now.

"The presence of that creature, or maybe it had been the dreams, made Severus feel uncomfortably young and small even in his own living room."

I just think of that scene with Snape crying in the corner from book 5, which I know you mentioned earlier, but feeling small just really brings it back.

"“Not suffocating Tom Riddle in his bed?” Severus said bleakly."

I read that line to my roommate and SHE loved it. That was a riot.

"Severus’ problem, he was often told, was his remoteness and an almost pathological lack of empathy that Albus tried very hard to “cure.”"

So true, so true.

"If he liked, he might alter the thought, bare skin instead of night shirt in intimate silence, dress robes and the sound of envious chatter as they left a party.

It wouldn’t hurt to just think about it…so long as he kept it contained."

Gasp! Dreaming? Snape? Hope? And yet- artfully done. I appreciate it.

"To such a degree that this chapter probably wouldn't have been here if it werent for a few hardy souls what talked me off a ledge!" LEDGE?!?!?! WHAT LEDGE?!?! DON'T GO TOWARDS THE LEDGE!!!! If this story were to stop I might have a small but contained heart-attack, or at least a very large tantrum.

Enough groveling now. Seriously, this is excellent work. I hope you're happy with it, because I certainly am. Great chapter, I eagerly await the next one.

Reviewer: St. MargaretsDate: 2006-05-12
Reviewid: 142748Chapter: 13
As always it's fascinating to see the context of the scenes you have shared. Wow - your almost fluff scene is so much hawter after the matching dreams and the search for tea. As always I'm amazed at your research and your imaginative use of magic. By having Lourdes without a wand you've really added something here. The fire demons and her connection to ancient magic makes her fascinating to us, so it makes sense she would be fascinating to Severus.

I liked the way you did his backstory in that little kid diction - that kept if from being over-the-top angsty. I also like the little kid acceptance of such a bad situation - that's just the way it works - and of course, the adult Severus wants to be angry and to rebel against that acceptance when there is no one to rebel against . . . Then Lourdes with her physical scars to match Severus's emotional ones. A fascinating prelude to these two getting together.

I know this was a difficult chapter to write but it certainly was easy to read. LOL. That's the way it's supposed to be I guess. Well done as always.

Reviewer: ValaDate: 2006-05-08
Reviewid: 142667Chapter: 13
Yep! I'm up here already! And the psychos are oddly quiet for it being finals week...but I'm sure Sirius will start to wake up right in the middle of my Spanish final tomorrow.

So, onto the chapter. Why am I not surprised that Lourdes is on friendly terms with fire demons? That's so cool and creepy at the same time. I was also quite impressed with the expansion of what Harry saw in canon when he decided to do a shield charm against Snape's OMG so scary brain attack ;) And it's about damn time that those two moved to a first name basis. I think the "We used to be friends" really kind of makes that transition that much more powerful because things hadn't always been so formal. I loved how well the flashbacks were worked in and then the ankle hooking (ankles are so scandalous aren't they :P) kind of bringing both the past and present together.

This chapter was well worth the wait. It was well structured and written, and is kind of a story in itself. It's a very good transition from the last chapter and hard to believe that it really doesn't take place in a long period of time. Lots of deep emotional stuff going on and it never got boring. Disturbed characters are so fun :D

Reviewer: mary ellisDate: 2006-05-07
Reviewid: 142641Chapter: 13
Oh, I do like hearing about the headaches generated by the 'damn Occlumency lessons' from Severus' POV. Harry ain't the only one who suffers.

So many of your images of frustrated passion resonate with my youth as a very Irish-Catholic girl trying hard to keep her legs crossed. It was such a different world back then. I think I understand Snape a little better now--and why he attracts me.

I was pouting over your lateness, but this chapter reminds me of why it's worth the wait. Cheers to your friends who talked you off the quitting ledge and cheers to you for keeping faith with your own talent, and not rushing in to plug the gap with some schlocky bit of fluff.

These glimpses of passion and magic (the Tngri--fascinating) and Snape's father's personal demons are soooo utterly satisfying--and tantalizing. Hmmmm--perhaps that ledge was what you needed to catch the wind of inspiration. It certainly brought your Muses rallying 'round.

Reviewer: Falling DampsDate: 2006-05-06
Reviewid: 142595Chapter: 13
Anya, this was brilliant. Where do I start?

The dream sequences: The symbolism of the moths, and the last phrase, <i>"the things they loved the best"</i> sent such a chill down my spine that you wouldn't believe it. And the view of Severus' home life was so intense, so vividly drawn, and even though I already knew about Tobias' condition your description still threw it into such sharp view.

I am literally speechless. Anya! How in heaven's name... they were both IN CHARACTER. The WHOLE TIME. There was not even a moment where I thought, "Oh, Snape wouldn't say that," or "He'd never have that thought." You illustrated this scene - so important in the development of the story and the characters - so vividly. Their thoughts were interwoven very naturally with their actions, it didn't seem contrived, or awkward, just the perfect progression of their relationship into an even more unresolved state.

I am not just saying this because you are my favorite dark twin - this is a brilliant chapter and it makes me want to go rec SWTD from here until eternity. Congratulations - YOU DID IT! - and I am once again blown away at my good luck that you'd want to co-write a story with me.

*shakes head, still in utter disbelief*

Reviewer: AmandaBDate: 2006-05-05
Reviewid: 142563Chapter: 13
Thanks for updating. I loved the fact that even though Snape is trying his hardest to get her off his mind, he's not having any success. He thinks it's just the usual tension, but I think it's something more, an emotion that he realizes will complicate matters. I'm glad that Lourdes finally realized that it's possible to act on her attraction to Severus. The kiss was tender and unexpected, though I totally agree with Snape's dislike for talking about it afterwards. The hesitation and tension between them was not only realistic, but also quite in character, as I get the feeling both of them are quite good at repressing emotions. I look forward to how this relationship, and this story, develops as you continue.

Reviewer: dogstarDate: 2006-05-05
Reviewid: 142555Chapter: 13
Well - this is the chapter we've all been waiting for with bated breath! I loved Snape's characterisation in this chapter. Commanding his body to obey him through a haze of pain, the poignant description of his family life and early childhood - the way he adapts himself to his unhappy circumstances and the implications.

Interesting that he does appear to get empathy from his mother and seems to have a reasonably functioning relationship with her, despite her cares - perhaps we need more information on how his social isolation at Hogwarts comes about? (apart from his friendship with Lourdes).

The heat building in the rest of the chapter carried me along with it wonderfully. I really liked the way the 'on the surface' strand of their conversation continued while the undercurrents (visible all along to the reader) gradually came to the fore in Severus' and Lourdes' awareness. Don't know if that sentence makes sense - hopefully you get my drift ;)

The kiss was wonderful. I don't think you needed the bit about her mouth being more intimidating. Never explain, never apologise. As they say. I really liked Severus connecting with Lourdes by asking about her scars. I loved her settling into his lap. I would have liked a little more of Lourdes's response from her POV towards the end, to follow up Severus' observations of her leaning into his touch 'entirely too eagerly' Mrrow!

Wonderful chapter - thank you again for keeping him Snape but doing such a wonderful job of humanising him too. Oh, and your writing - as ever - is wonderful in general, not just the bits I've pointed out. The concrit is *really* a compliment you know :)

Reviewer: Ada KensingtonDate: 2006-05-05
Reviewid: 142554Chapter: 13
Silly little fic, nothing! This is brilliant stuff, Anya. Tsk! That's why you have so many fans. ^_^ But no Snape chunks? Aww...

Right. Enough of that. Onto the semi-coherant and badly-structured review!

The moths... That was amazing. Short, sweet and deliciously dark. It made me think of Buffalo Bill from "Silence of the Lambs" for some reason. Probably the scary moth-love. *shiver* Is Lourdes' dream anything to do with the Death's Head moth? Ominous foreshadowing? And the description of the "flabby lips", for me, recalled Umbridge and it immediately made me want to vom. Ugh... Flabby lips. *shudder*

The little dreamshot of Severus' childhood was wonderful. And I loved how you didn't make Tobias the archetypal abusive father. I very much appreciate your appreciation of shades of grey. ^_^

The Tngri: I want one. It reminds me of Calcifer from Howl's Moving Castle (God I love that movie), and that's probably where Diana Wynne-Jones got her inspiration from. Nice one. How much are they?

"It had caused all sorts of sticky, nervous feelings when he realized that she might be laughing at him like all those other girls, and that was a shame because she’d been so easy to talk to before."

This whole section was just fabulous. You really do know your characters - both Severus and Lourdes, and you get into their heads and rummage around in there with admirable results. Finally, Severus is coming to terms with the fact that he fancies the pants off Lourdes. Ya harr! ^_^

'“Not suffocating Tom Riddle in his bed?” Severus said bleakly.'

Definitely one of Dumbledore's biggest regrets... *chortles*

And... Gasp! Incoherant splutter! Dance of glee! They kissed! They finally kissed! And you know what the best part about it was? It was such an in-character kiss! How, you might ask, could a kiss be in character? Just read Anya's Severus/Lourdes kiss scene, for crying out loud!

Great chapter, Anya. Looking forward to the next one. And thanks for taking their relationship a bit further. It'll whet everyone's appetite for more, because you're right - they're still figuring things out. ^_^

- Ada.

Reviewer: PygmyPuffDate: 2006-05-04
Reviewid: 142537Chapter: 13
Ooh, good chapter. I'm glad that the fluff was interwoven with all those darker things--explanations for the scars! wow!--and that Severus and Lourdes stayed in character. I can't wait to hear what *her* thoughts were on the whole, erm, episode. In an odd way I liked her summoning the demon, it was strangely practical and endearing. :)

Reviewer: MishDate: 2006-04-29
Reviewid: 142370Chapter: 12
Please forgive the late response, I assure you I've read this at least three times. It took me two read-throughs just to get it, actually.

Dumbledore's "interrogation" of Lourdes was wonderfully written. Her thoughts afterward added a whole new dimension to her character for me.

"She must have been wanting for something, because he had never directed even a moment's ardent effort at her. He went after those well heeled pure-blood girls, the ideal witches. Worst of all, there was no blaming her magic for her being passed over because Severus saw her for who she was, not what she was. It hurt more than anything to know who she was must have been lacking."

Poor thing.

Severus in this chapter... Wow.

"Potter wanted that too, did he? Did Potter want to watch torture, and spend fourteen years watching every word, maintaining every connection in a network of people that would turn his stomach? Did Potter want to live in limbo, chained to a teacher's desk with a quill marking down essays while his contemporaries rose ever higher in their fields?

It didn't matter, Potter couldn't have the job.

It's MINE."

That pretty much sums up the Snape/Potter hatred thing. Yep. That'll do it.

I'd put in the last two paragraphs, but I think that'd be a little excessive. Suffice it to say that they're the most plausible way for Snape to think about really caring about someone.

I love it, I couldn't wait for them to figure it out, and now they have, and now I have to wait!

Great job on this, I can't wait for the next chapter!

Reviewer: dogstarDate: 2006-04-13
Reviewid: 141868Chapter: 12
So, I'm all caught up and nothing now to do but wait for chapter 13! I liked what you did with the Occlumency lesson - it feels like you cut it down since I read it on your LJ. I'm reminded again of what an ambitious project this is - to take on a character who is still shrouded in mystery. You capture the ambiguity of Severus' position perfectly and make a very plausible case for his motivations.

The only bit I wasn't sure about was the explanation of why their friendship had not developed into more while at school. Instead of a somewhat weak justification about his wish to move up in the world and the girls he went after because of it, at that point I would perhaps have liked Severus remembering a specific incident during one of their Library / practice sessions and recontextualising it in the light of his newly discovered feelings for Lourdes now. I wasn't convinced that he would necessarily have been so aware of her crush back then ...

I think I might go and read last week's fluff snippet again to keep me going until ch.13 sees the light of day - I'm glad it's going well :)

Reviewer: dogstarDate: 2006-04-10
Reviewid: 141811Chapter: 11
Anya, you'll be pleased to hear that ch.11 broke new ground for me, personally ;), being the first fic I've ever printed off to read on the tube. I really enjoyed it, things are certainly hotting up between the two of them - jealousy and nursing will always move things along :) Slightly worried, as I'm finding Severus *rather* attractive at the moment - I'm sure I'll receive a cold shower of some sort before too long. I enjoyed the blend of ointments, charms and leeches - it was well done. Pettigrew was convincingly rat-like - I liked the glimmers of cunning, boldness and ambition and the intimations that his servile fawning and simpering is a clever act. Straight onto ch12!

Reviewer: dogstarDate: 2006-03-31
Reviewid: 141491Chapter: 10
It’s another essay I’m afraid, Anya – but if you will insist on writing such long, interesting chapters!

I loved the humour of the opening section – for example, these clever, funny ideas:
~In between stitches, she assembled profiles on the soap opera characters. One had to stay sharp, after all. That and she still couldn't figure out why nobody had managed to defeat the wicked Lord Lyle yet. LOL - *thanks St. Margarets for loaning them*
~instant heat Whizz Dinners (pull the cord and watch it cook!)
~American Federal Magic Bureau (subject: trauma in children whose first act of magic results in violence)

I also enjoyed the Healing research subplot - as you might expect! Will Severus succeed? I hope so &#9786;

I was sorry initially to turn away from the domesticity but then you give me so much to enjoy with Voldy's *high court* that I didn't resent it.

Thank you for a better justification than we ever get in canon (IIRC) for something that's always niggled me :
~What a blessing it is that we may take advantage of the sloppy security measures that are now so common-place.

Intricate neat plotting here:
~That was part of the reason Severus was supposed to have been stationed at Hogwarts originally, as a gateway and a monitor for the Monster of Slytherin's progress purging the school.

Also, very interesting to use Pettigrew and Lourdes' ability to remove life to serve your plot. These additions to canon are very creative and plausible. I don't know why you say you are better at characters than plotting. For me, as a reader, character-driven stories are always more satisfying but good characters tend to lead a good plot and you show (in common with JKR) that it’s still possible to tie things up neatly &#9786;

Moving on to the description of Voldy torturing Malfoy. I didn't get the feeling that you particularly relished writing this bit. Nasty physical violence and sadistic torture – I’m glad there wasn’t too much of it. I felt that you glossed over it, moving on quite quickly to the description of Lourdes taking the life, then transferring it to Voldemort and Severus' reaction – which you then lingered on, brilliantly. However, I wasn’t keen on the Mafia simile because it jarred me out of the magical world for a second without adding anything because I didn't get the reference. Hum – don’t know if I’ve actually got anything useful to say about this bit – maybe that you did an excellent job with challenging subject-matter!

Still, I was a happy bunny when I touched back down into the world of emotional landscapes and relationships ;) I very much liked Severus being uneasy and sickened by Lourdes being touched by Voldemort. Not at all obvious – just right.

I thought I’d detected a bit of a contradiction in Lourdes’ character, with this (rather beautiful) sentence:
~The irony of a trained psychologist who preferred to sleep through her life and avoid her conscious issues had never been lost on her.

A-ha, I thought, but does she sleep? (not getting the feeling that Lourdes would turn away from intimacy if it were available):
~The words were reassuring, not so much so as a pair of warm arms or the vote of confidence from her superiors, but they did their job well.

Your Lourdes has passion and empathy in bucketloads. But then of course, I realised all over again that the way she shut herself off when she was in OHK was in response to earlier abandonment: one we already know some details of ie. when she was sent away from Hogsmeade and the second being the death of her family. So, you totally got me there ;)

Is this the first reference to her whole family dying btw? I’m sorry, I still don’t remember :blushes:. I should go back and re-read – but I’m sure it’ll fall into place if I just keep reading!

Oh, loved this:
~You are worthy, you belong; that was the message they had been longing to hear. That was the message that he'd been drunk on every time the Dark Lord looked his way, the one she'd given up everything for.

Slightly cynical, perhaps:
~ It was the rhetoric that kept him loyal here under Albus.

Only that? Just like it’s ‘only’ research to find a cure for Cruciatus? I’m looking forward to learning more about your Severus and to what extent (if any) he has human feelings in the remaining chapters!

This raised a slight questionmark for me:
~both men had given her the wary look she had seen many times before, albeit from the inside of a prison cell. It stung a bit more than she remembered.

Albus, wary? Doesn’t he *know* what she is? I would have thought Albus is the embodiment of Lourdes’ parents’ maxim: what a person is, is less important that what they do...I don’t know why this bit surprised me – maybe it was that there weren’t quite enough of a hint/reminder at the time of the life-stealing that this is something terribly dark and abhorrent. Or is Lourdes reading something into Albus’ and Snape’s expressions that isn't there, making an assumption because she has been shunned and lonely for so long?

I don’t know – maybe this could be a bit clearer.

One last tiny bit of concrit – I wasn’t convinced by Malfoy giving Severus the brandy after that little stunt he pulled. I know you give a justification for it – to reinforce his superiority – but I didn’t buy it. Isn’t there *any* way he could have afforded it or got it from somewhere else? I wanted them to have the brandy too! But then, I have no idea how much that stuff costs ;) I probably would have made them be happy with Mme Rosmerta’s finest oak-matured mead…

Loved this:
~Something reminded her that Severus rarely allowed himself 'feelings,' so she ought to just let him ride it out.

And the awkward hug – touching, perfect, another wonderful chapter ending that makes me crazy to read more!

Reviewer: St. MargaretsDate: 2006-03-31
Reviewid: 141489Chapter: 12
Oh structure again! You have Dumbledore break into Lourdes as Harry does to Snape. They who resist what's inside themselves can't ultimately hide. Poor Lourdes realizing her own vulnerability and screaming with the pain of it. You did a great job with the dialogue - weaving in her history and the current conversation. Those types of scenes are so hard to write! It was taunt and compelling and full of emotion. Snape's scene with Harry I've read before, but I'll say it again - that must have been excruciating to write. You do such a good job with "mixed signals" here. And with the worry of the Snape fan girls and Harry fan girls on top of it all. No worries - this is so firmly in Snape's POV that I don't think you have to worry about readers thinking you don't like Harry - it's Snape who does not.

But thankfully - a glimpse of an imagined future and therefore hope - that fluffy image of a snarky eyebrow lift at a Potion's conference. The boy got it bad.

I'm all caught up! Can't wait to see what Chapter 13 brings!

Reviewer: St. MargaretsDate: 2006-03-31
Reviewid: 141488Chapter: 11
OMG - so Peter is still stuck in highschool - of all the terrible things Lourdes had to endure - the anxiety beforehand - the soul removal - the raid and being surrounded by Dementors - being left behind by Malfoy (*smirk - very IC*)- being groped by Peter had to be the worst thing. Gah! My teeth were on edge and you played it out nicely.

I really like the incongruity of the sky burial and how she uses it to disarm the Dementors. Death is a release and there is something oddly beautiful in the concept although the Death Eaters who are so afraid of Death would never see it.

More Snape fluff! Carrying her through the forest to the castle - ministering to her wounds, reassuring her about her looks, having carnel thoughts and a cold tub! LOL. The Snapey part was that he took the bathroom for himself first. LOL. He's in lurve!

Reviewer: St. MargaretsDate: 2006-03-31
Reviewid: 141487Chapter: 10
I remember the beginning of this story now. It's been fun to see where these scenes you've previously have shared wind up in the context of your story. In this case a Summons to Voldy. I know I shouldn't feel "good" about Malfoy being tortured and having ten years taken - but still. If you must do these things in a fic. he is my character of choice.

We know the Azkaban raid is sucessful, so it will be interesting to see how Peter conducts himself. What I paid the most attention to in this chapter was Lourde's continuing distaste/fascination with her work and I loved how she pulled out Jung for comfort as well as her training book. (*Huggles Jung*) That whole individual/organization thing is something a lot of people don't think about too much - but it is big for this character and for Snape. You do a good job paralleling both Severus's and Lourdes's struggles with this.

And you started out your chapter with gifts and ended with gifts. Very nicely structured. And I actually knew that about Mary Magadalene - I don't know "nothin'" about Tibetan stuff, but I do know my saints! :)

And a hug - you are an old softie, aren't you?

LOL - Days of Destiny! You can't *not* listen to it. :)

Reviewer: St. MargaretsDate: 2006-03-31
Reviewid: 141486Chapter: 9
Wow! What a chapter! You start out reminding us of Mr. Weasley (Potter who?) and then you rightly send us on a more compelling adventure. I really liked all the ideas they had about Voldy at this point - which shows that you have put a lot of thought into possible scenarios. That's what's fun about a different POV - to watch different characters come the same conclusions and the same end point but in different ways. I like how you don't make them all knowing.

But - no matter how busy - there's always a bit of time for some fluff - love the chaste bed scene. They are so much fun to read - I don't know what it is about stealing covers and all of that, but it makes me happy.

Then the pretty boy who answered the door - just a bit of a rivalry - you didn't over play this at all. It was a great way to reveal details about Lourdes and about Severus.

~~She didn't seem to realize what she'd said- never had time- and in a flash Severus knew~~ He's actually thinking how he's going to use this in the middle of an assignment. That's Slytherin fluff for you.

~~They're like unforgivable curses, nobody's ever thought to do the research," Severus said scornfully. ~~ Ha! No one's thought of it until Anya! I wish I could intelligently discuss this entire sequence - the wraiths,the "baby" Dementors, the ley lines, what they feed on, the wards and spells Lourdes uses - but I can't since there is so much I don't know about this! I'm in awe of your knowledge and of your research and the effort you put into providing this scene for us. Order of Merlin, First Class! Speaking of which - you do a good job showing how much that still means to Snape. It's not quite Walter Mitty - but it's close and it's endearing.

~~"I came back because I missed everyone. I missed Aberforth, I missed you, and I even missed the bloody goats."~~ I remember this line! It really rings true at this point in your story - after the bad memories the Dementors call forth and the good ones a Patronus demands. Love how simple her language is - she's not hiding.

Speaking of Patronuses - thank you for the fox and for not going for the obvious snake or bat. Your quote makes prefect sense and shows how Snape's Patronus fits into the Potter universe seamlessly. Well done!

~~There was enough to write about today to keep the journals interested, and her next to him, for a year at least. That was a start. ~~ "A Year of Writing Reports" - the fluffy sequel to "Speak With The Dead." This is a great ending line for the chapter.

One thing I did want to know - not that it needed to be in the story - but your opinion. Where do you think the souls went? What happened to them while they were in the Dementor - do you think they were tortured or numb or what? If you don't have an answer - I understand - I'm just interested.

Reviewer: Madaline FabrayDate: 2006-03-29
Reviewid: 141438Chapter: 9
Best comic moments: The mental image of Snape wearing wool trousers and a trilby hat (hee hee hee!) Snape's inner dialogue as he wrestles with his feelings. Liked the sly reference of Lourdes carrying a torch for Snape, heh heh. I love the research and work you put into this. Creepy moments: the entire thing with the Dementors. I got goosebumps. Well thought out and downright bloodcurdling.

Reviewer: dogstarDate: 2006-03-27
Reviewid: 141387Chapter: 9
~If there was a purgatory worse than being forced to teach an art you excelled at to students who did not care, Severus could not think of it.

I like this because it gives an insight into the way Snape acts in lessons, which a lot of people use to characterise him as a 'child-abuser' and other such nonsense. I've never really had that much of a problem with it - yes, favouritism sucks and his teaching style isn't really suited to Neville, but haven't we ALL had horrible teachers? It isn't as though he's giving out detentions where students have to carve into their hands. Also, Harry doesn't have quite such a problem being the favourite himself, when he miraculously becomes so talented at potions.

I would perhaps have welcomed a bit of *signposting for dummies* when they wake up the next day, around about the point where you describe their clothes. I know you do this later, when Lourdes describes the Castle but there is quite a lot of snarkiness over breakfast beforehand. It's probably just me - maybe nothing is missing and I just wasn't that interested in Lourdes' outfit and her revolting-sounding breakfast.

I agree with Severus - I thought Lourdes was a bit hard on old Lupin :)

I thought you slipped a little bit out of Severus' point of view here.
~It opened just a crack, revealing a sliver of a twenty-something boy, one of those fine-boned types with that lemon-fresh healthy good look about him. All that was not lost on Lourdes, who slid her sunglasses down her nose a bit, presumably to better take in the sights. Severus' face, though, twisted up into an annoyed sneer.

Somehow, I just can't hear him thinking 'fine-boned' and 'lemon-healthy'.

Another POV shift happened here:
"She donned a pair of giant mirrored sunglasses to hide her tattoos " If you're in Severus' POV, I think it should be something like:
"Lourdes reached into her bag and brought out a pair of giant mirrored sunglasses. Once on, they completely hid the tattoos on her cheeks."
I actually think you could have lost quite a lot of the section about Brandon - unless he becomes important later? I didn't like him any more than Severus and thought he was a bit of a distraction.

Ok - that's enough concrit. I hope you're not reeling.

I *loved* the section with the Dementors. And I'm someone who doesn't even like CSI. Zombie movies I can take or leave. I thought the breeding / law of balance / soul theorising was totally convincing and Lourdes flashback to her worst memory was impeccably done. I really liked the way they worked so well together as a team and the descriptions of the spellcasting were wonderful.

So much beautiful writing here: but THIS is my favourite passage:
~The initial searing blaze of heat was followed by a soft coolness, the protective line activating itself. Ghostly blue runes glowed on the floor, their soft light extending up to a smooth blue circle that floated in the air just above Severus' wand. Through the barrier she could see the whole floor lit up with molten heat that bubbled and lapped up the walls.
Slowly, steadily, it enveloped the whole room, while Severus kept his eyes narrowed in intense concentration. It was beautiful; blazing gold and orange swirling and leaping across the walls and ceiling, dripping back down onto the floor like rain. If anything survived it would be a miracle. The fire ebbed away, and when it slid back down the walls the air was clear, the atmosphere was normal again.
"Finite." He looked a little pale and sweaty from the obvious effort and took a none-too-stable step forward in an attempt to collect himself. This time, she caught him.

And then more scholarly one-upmanship and some lovely shipping to end on! I hope you don't make their relationship *too* creepy. I'm a romantic old soul. I want more of this, please, please, pretty please:
~He knew it; Severus was getting rather good at reading between her lines. She said "Tibet is really all I have left," and she meant "tell me you want me to stay."

Reviewer: ValaDate: 2006-03-27
Reviewid: 141376Chapter: 6
I'm so not going in order by how I read, since I've been trying to be as detailed as possible. However I just wanted to say "awwwww" at the ending. And I loved finally getting parts of Lourdes backstory after you've been tossing around juicy hints. Especially her bitterness toward being left to hang by the same people that used her specialties. It explains where her opium habit came from, in my opinion. I love she describes herself as feeling squishy (which amuses me to no end) and as always there were so many lines that made me glad that my coffee wasn't finished brewing yet. Particularly this one:

"Have I been calling you names?" she said evasively. "Because I assure you I probably mean each and every one of them."

What can I say? I love the psycho biatch. :D

Reviewer: ValaDate: 2006-03-26
Reviewid: 141351Chapter: 1
Great start! Though I already knew that Lourdes is an intriguing character, this is the first time I'm seeing her within the context of something a great deal bigger. I shall read as I take a break from my paper so I'll of course read on. I'm now hooked!

I love her interaction with Albus. He's able to pick her weak spots like no one else can (without getting knifed, anyway) I love how you only give glimpses of her past without giving the full story and leaving the reader to wonder. Great stuff!

Reviewer: St. MargaretsDate: 2006-03-26
Reviewid: 141345Chapter: 8
I like the PoV of Albus here - You use him in the same way JKR does - that is - giving out info and also hinting at what conclusions we should be able to draw about these two characters. Having his thoughts adds even more. This was a good bridge scene between their argument and their next confrontation.

More important, though, was knowing that she was still in there somewhere… Aw, fluff in the middle of breaking seven souls out of the mirror.

And more fluff after a fascinating discussion about the soul(thing with wings!) and the afterlife and time:

~~leaving him almost hungry- if that was even the word for it. The tarts did nothing for it ~~
You are a writer after my own heart!

~~That was the approach they used: the promise of unbridled study.~~ This makes sense for Snape - sort of a free college education if you enlist in the army.

~~There was another shadow in the background behind her, but it was indistinct. Something just on the verge she thought… ~~

What or who could that be? ;)

~~In their latter years at Hogwarts, when they sat and studied in the library, she would slide her leg over and hook her ankle around his- nobody ever noticed. He’d given her a shock the first time he showed up at the Hog’s Head to share her break when he repeated the simple gesture. ~~ Such a nice image.

‘Skin hunger, - well that kind of sums up Lourdes and Snape doesn't it? He used the word hunger and so did she to describe it. I like how these two understand so much about professionalism and study and even the afterlife - but the simple stuff is beyond them at this point. (Not just in understanding, but in their imagined idea that they are forever barred from fulfilling that hunger.) This is a wonderful set up that you continue to develop.

Reviewer: dogstarDate: 2006-03-25
Reviewid: 141327Chapter: 8
I'm getting more and more into the shipping, I have to say. I'm SO shallow.

~He’d given her a shock the first time he showed up at the Hog’s Head to share her break when he repeated the simple gesture.

Squee - is the appropriate term I believe. I wonder if it's filtered in the review section? I so much prefer romance when it's leavened with snarkiness and black humour. Severus' bathing cap - how could you? LOL.

Um, what else? Snape's envy of Lourdes childhood was very poignant and I really like the way you contrast their respective motivations for power / greatness. Two very different, complex people.

Reviewer: dogstarDate: 2006-03-25
Reviewid: 141324Chapter: 7
I really enjoyed the character development in this chapter, in particular the flashback to their childhood Occlumency / Legilimency practice. The interrogation and resulting fight was well done - there was a real sense of the advantage shifting back and forth between them. Onto the next chapter!

Reviewer: Ada KensingtonDate: 2006-03-24
Reviewid: 141281Chapter: 12
Anya... I'm going to come out and ask the question everyone's been dying to ask but have been too shy to.

When the hell are Severus and Lourdes gonna get it on? I can feel the pent-up frustration and tension, and sooner or later, it's just got to explode. Either that, or I can see Severus doing so:

Severus: *trembling and breaking out in a cold sweat* "Ms Merzaci, would you kindly put your shirt back-- ARRRRRRRGH!!!"


Lourdes: "Whoa..." *blinks and flicks a steaming chunk of Snape from her shoulder* "These flashbacks are getting weird." *trots off to have a swim.*

Reviewer: St. MargaretsDate: 2006-03-24
Reviewid: 141276Chapter: 7
A little review for you. I recognized the scene between Lourdes and Snape when she's trying to break him. Even though it's painful to read (and must have been painful to write) I really like the mutual wounding they do here. You do a good job with the back and forth as well. One minute she has the upper hand and the next he does - and then - they're both writhing in pain. Very powerful.

I also like how you resolved it - in a fashion - before the close of the chapter. A lot of writers would have left the fight hanging in the air - but this isn't a story about their ability to hurt one another - is it? That's just characterization and your fluffy way of showing how deeply they are tied even though they don't realize it yet.

Well done. Even those this is a grim chapter - I enjoyed your bits of humor - the "giggles" Snape managed to find in a Saturday at Hogwarts -"eating through flagstones" etc . . .

I'm also interested in this promise and how it connects to your wider themes. You do such a good job of making Snape horrible and understandable and at times sympathetic. I love how you're playing with the heart/head stuff but in your own wonderful way.

I'm also looking forward to more of your and Lourdes's thoughts on TR and Horcruxes.

Reviewer: Falling DampsDate: 2006-03-24
Reviewid: 141257Chapter: 2
Ahh... the blessed relief. Sometimes, Anya, I just *need* a little outright snarkiness! ;)

Things that I want to know: What on earth is that creepy unhealed wound? Yeech. What didn't Albus explain to Snape before he left? (what on earth was Alastor going off about? though I doubt you'll get around to explaining that one) And still... what is an Evocator? I'm guessing it has to do with some odd abnormal magic, since apparently Lourdes can't perform any of her own...

In other things - "But then again, hallucinations rarely involved having his nose buried in a dusty carpet." *snort* I would imagine not! The image of Snape being bodytackled to the ground is one that I will carry with me to my dying day.

Your description of Lourdes was very vivid, particularly in the way she moved - great descriptions of tossing the lemon into Dumbledore's tea, crunching the porcelain under her feet. Snape hasn't really come into his own yet - but then again, he's just been body-tackled, for pete's sake, and he appears to be in a bit of a shock.

The whole ending was excellent, from "In that case let me ask you something..." on. What a question - and he had no answer. The last line - chilling!

*searches for concrit* Perhaps the pov changes could have been a bit smoother... in a couple of places they jolted me out of the story, and I had to slow down my reading and double-check where I was and what was happening. But that's a teeny nitpick in an excellent chapter!

Reviewer: dogstarDate: 2006-03-23
Reviewid: 141247Chapter: 6
Hmmm - not a very nice line of work Lourdes was in. And I'm becoming increasingly intrigued about Aberforth's role in all this. Once again, you've woven in the canon details most impressively - the plan for the Azkaban break-out is entirely plausible.

Your writing is wonderfully detailed and economical. I love sentences like this one:

~Once again, Aberforth insisted it wasn't his place to say exactly what was troubling Lourdes and begged him to try discussing it with her, or at the very least slip a little Draught of Dreamless Sleep into her tea.

Character development *and* loads of information, in one beautifully-modulated and rhythmic sentence. Bravo.

I think you missed a trick slightly with Lucius at the start - I would have liked a closer look at him while he's actually 'on stage' to round out his charaterisation. He's a shadowy figure for the rest of the chapter, so I think a tiny bit more fleshing out during the DoM scene would help the reader to maintain a sense of him. With a light touch, obviously, perhaps not even a whole sentence but just a little something to add to the 'determined' look on his face (which reminded me of Harry I have to say!) and his unusually unshowy dress.

I've been thinking about Snape's quarters (again) and I have a question about 'the kitchen' - sorry! As the Professors eat all their meals in the Great Hall, Oxbridge-fashion, do you think they would have a fully-equipped kitchen in their private quarters as well? I can imagine a couple of gas rings - for potions recipes and more mundane tea-brewing :) - but that's about it. But maybe you gave a perfectly good explanation and should just go back and re-read chapter 5!

And Oh! What a sweet ending. "carting her off, threading an arm around her..." *such* a lovely combination of informality and tenderness. But still totally Snape.

Reviewer: Falling DampsDate: 2006-03-23
Reviewid: 141211Chapter: 1
Anya!!! I really can't believe that I didn't start reading this earlier! Wow! I really love this.

This may be the most interesting and grabbing first chapter of a fic I have ever read. Snape, just as he's going back to spy... Lourdes, who is fascinating and refreshingly NOT a Mary Sue, with hints at a darker past, a life debt... and what on earth is an Evocator?

"A thick haze of heat hung over Istanbul that night, diffusing the neon lights and lending to the dreamy atmosphere of mingled antique tile and cold concrete in the cities sprawling Grand Bazaar." I loved this sentence, such a vivid description, really gave me a mental image of the place you're describing.

So far, your characterizations are very well done. I'm just one chapter into it, and already you've depicted canon-compliant Snape and Dumbledore (NOT easy to do) and a well developed OC, with a recognizable voice of her own. I suppose the best thing I can say is... I care! About your characters and I'm curious to see what happens to them in the future.

How did Lourdes incur a life debt? Why has she been living off in Istanbul by herself? And... WHAT is an Evocator? "Voldemort had so very little to do with her, he was no more than newspaper clippings and tragic stories." I get the feeling this is going to change very shortly...

Great first chapter!!! Even better than I expected, and I had high expectations. :)

Reviewer: dogstarDate: 2006-03-21
Reviewid: 141177Chapter: 5
This chapter lost me a little - I found the description of Snape's quarters a little too cliched gothic and the comforts of knitting wool and bath things, while perfectly reasonable, didn't seem grounded enough in what we've learned about Lourdes' character thus far.

I appreciate that this chapter came after a long break (and loss of laptop too, poor you) and it seemed as though you were struggling just a little at times to get back inside the characters' heads. Having said that, the characterisation is still head and shoulders above most fan fiction, so I hope you'll forgive my nitpicking :)

Still lots to love about your writing in this chapter - and what's wrong with sentence fragments anyway? Tell that to Virginia Woolf.

Loved this:
~Only lazy people bother the dead when the answer is already right here.
and this:
~ Unpleasant women had emerged from every crevice to assume his jobs.

Such an interesting relationship. I'm looking forward to seeing how it develops.

I'm also looking forward to tracing the events of OotP, with (already!) Horcrux foreshadowing. Really, really good.

Reviewer: Eudora HawkinsDate: 2006-03-19
Reviewid: 141083Chapter: 7
The confrontation between Snape and lourdes was pure fireworks. I love the way you (as Snape) describe Lourdes:
"Her expression had changed to the intense look of a predator about to enjoy it’s first taste of blood, and he saw her tongue flicker between her lips to wet them."

Interesting theory on Snape's motivations too. Very plausible.

"He snapped at the teachers, came extraordinarily close to throwing Dolores Umbridge out a window, reduced five students to tears, and demolished several desks in an unused class room the old fashioned way, by throwing them against the wall." Now that confrontation with Umbridge would have been fun to see. LOL!

And Snape's regret over his broken promises was palpable. Can't wait to see how he's going to fix this one.

Reviewer: Madaline FabrayDate: 2006-03-18
Reviewid: 141040Chapter: 8
Wow, that was an excellent chapter. Heh, I love how Snape dismisses Lourdes in the last chapter, yet absently thinks of her charms in this one. He doth protest too much. The scene with the mirror was very creepy, and nice canon detail about the unicorn blood. That meshed well.

Reviewer: mary ellisDate: 2006-03-17
Reviewid: 141024Chapter: 12
I cherish Snape's insights in this chapter:

On Draco:

"...some of [Snape's] Slytherins were acting up and out...He'd done his best to station himself in their discourage any unseemly taunting. Not that his presence affected that little Malfoy idiot, who made it clear he was ready to get his Dark Mark right now." Tee hee! I can just see DM throwing a tantrum in front of Voldie. (Could you do a sketch of that maybe?)

On teaching Harry Occlumency:

"Was Severus also supposed to figure out how Potter's miniscule mind worked and then devise an infantile list of steps on how to shut it down? You either could, or you couldn't..." Ouch!

And this refreshing twist:

"Was Severus spending all those hours down there training his replacement? Who needed a spy in the flesh if you had one who could circumvent all the tedious networking and delve straight into the Dark Lord's mind?" What a thought! Just like it is in the Muggle world.

On Lily:

"Her sacrifice was hardly the baby's boon, but it had overshadowed Severus's turn from the Dark Lord."

On Harry:

"The boy was a perfect mixture of the righteous indignation of Lily and that feeling of superiority by virtue of blood and riches from James." Oh, nasty!

On James:

"James' worst sin was leaving Severus in his debt before Severus had a chance to humiliate and humble him by coming to the rescue, to make James taste the bitterness of life after rescue by an enemy. Who would remember that James Potter saved Snape from a werewolf, when Severus Snape would save James Potter from the Dark Lord? Potter would never know that Severus hated him because he had stolen everything that was supposed to be his..." (This whole scenario is soooo tantalizing. It's canon-friendly too. Yum.)

On Lourdes:

"...when Lourdes focused that raw gaze on you in any positive sense, you began thinking like she did. That if you just fought harder or thought harder you could do anything." This snippet helped me get what Lourdes' was agonizing about, but I still don't know what Dumbledore is driving at--but then I never did understand the man.

And this telling metaphor of life at Malfoy Manor:

They were a sad pair of planets set in solitary orbits around a distant sun, absorbed in their respective lives. Draco and the household became Narcissa's world, and Lucius struck out to expand his fortunes. Once in awhile they aligned, but not often enough to bring real warmth to their lives.

Great read, as usual. Gives me much to think about. Worth waiting for.

Reviewer: dogstarDate: 2006-03-17
Reviewid: 141020Chapter: 4
I'm so impressed with how you create the dark and chilling atmosphere of the harsh landscape with the shadowy DEs in the background. I often don't like switches of point of view mid-chapter unless it's really well-done, as it is here - seamless because your characters are so distinctive.

You nailed Voldemort and even Malfoy in his brief appearance. Very impressed too with your depiction of Severus' and Lourdes' Occlumency and the description of what it *feels* like to have Legilimency performed on you by Voldemort. I liked the contrast between his and Dumbledore's magic - there is something truly seductive about his power that we don't see in canon because the *good* character's perspective is privileged. You'll have me thinking of Harry and all those Gryffindors as dull and uncomplicated if I'm not careful!

The Hag, the prophecy, the description of the evocation - really good. I was interested to find out what 'burning off life' involved. Thanks for the AN - I'd forgotten about Mother Shipton and that added yet another layer - just - wow ...

So many good things in this chapter - I want to rush off and read the next one now but I'm going to force myself to wait :)

Reviewer: dogstarDate: 2006-03-16
Reviewid: 140986Chapter: 3
Whew - backstory. Lots of it :) In common with everyone else, I really enjoyed the story of Lourdes family, her childhood and the discovery of her powers.

I also liked the vivid picture you draw of the underground cellar, Lourdes' activities down there and the relationships with her jailers. The oubliette was a nice touch and seems in keeping with Grimmauld Place.

I thought it seemed in character for her to be addicted to Muggle narcotics, given that she was wrenched from her culture and abandoned / ignored (seemingly) without really knowing the reason why. Do we know where her Mama and Papa are now? I can't remember if we've been told ...

I also found it in character that Severus was not judgemental but dispassionate and scientific about this discovery. It fits in with his canon treatment of Lupin in PoA with the Wolfsbane potion, whether or not one sees this as an act of humanity / kindness in him or something else. It's a quality for which I have a sneaking admiration (in canon Snape and here) anyway.

Not sure how coherent all that was! Roll on Chapter 4.

Reviewer: PygmyPuffDate: 2006-03-15
Reviewid: 140959Chapter: 12
And the tension builds! Albus dressing-down Lourdes was priceless and precise. Ouch. She is about to explode and I rather look forward to the explosion next chapter. At least Snape's getting more honest with himself about his attraction to Lourdes. Nothing like a soul-removal and Dementor encounter on an Azkaban mission to shake things up a bit. This chapter was very character-development oriented, a nice pause from the action. I can't wait to see the next chapter!

Reviewer: dogstarDate: 2006-03-14
Reviewid: 140930Chapter: 2
OK - I'm even more hooked now. But the next chapter will have to wait!

~coming back from the dead seemed to be all the rage these days

LOL seems a little inappropriate somehow (though I did) - maybe it was more of a sardonic chuckle of recognition. So canon - wonderful.

~And, he reasoned, when a person hallucinated they probably did not feel a bizarre alien pain somewhere in the region of their chest.

Oh! I want to know. I want to know.

~bringing years of feelings kept under careful lock and key

I prescribe 'Speak With the Dead' to all simple-minded Snape-detractors. He's not nice. He's not a Gryffindor. AND ...? Your point is?

Great stuff, Anya. :D

Reviewer: AmandaBDate: 2006-03-13
Reviewid: 140890Chapter: 12
I love how you show that Lourdes is attracted to Snape, but is sure that there is no chance with him now. The line about desire being shed I loved. Snape's musings on why he needs to remain a spy was interesting, and I like how you draw the parallel with both of them aware their attraction to each other can't be categorized and so put away. Snape's comparison to hate was fascinating, and I felt sad that he didn't feel the courage to ask to change their relationship, since he is comfortable with stability. I look forward to how (or even if) these two will deepen their relationship. It can't be easy to write a more emotional side to Snape, but you've captured his unease, possesiveness, and confusion well here.

Reviewer: dogstarDate: 2006-03-12
Reviewid: 140848Chapter: 1
I'm going to review this chapter by chapter as it may take me some time to read. Loved the canon details - beautifully accurate even though the style and tone is more adult than the books. Very interesting seeing familiar characters through unfamiliar eyes, especially Dumbledore. I'm looking forward to getting to know your Snape, he doesn't disappoint! Wonderful descriptions of old Istanbul and the bazaars - transported me back in time to when I lived in the Middle East as a child. I'm fascinated by Lourdes and her background and personal history already. Lots more to follow - yay! :)

Reviewer: Madaline FabrayDate: 2006-03-11
Reviewid: 140795Chapter: 7
You strike a very nice balance between a sympathetic Snape and one whose loyalties could be called questionable. Talk about an uneasy truce, at the end. My skin crawled during that interrogation! Good job!

Reviewer: Madaline FabrayDate: 2006-03-11
Reviewid: 140794Chapter: 4
*That* was creepy. Nice bit of research you did -- I like the footnotes. LOVED Snape's story at the end about Ginny, and his caution to Lourdes.

Reviewer: Eudora HawkinsDate: 2006-02-27
Reviewid: 140336Chapter: 6
Very nice job with Broderick Bode under the Imperious! And I also liked how you worked in Snape's memory of the Prophecy. Good use of dialogue to fill us in on the details of Lourde's history as well. And what a chilling past it was. Yikes!

Reviewer: St. MargaretsDate: 2006-02-17
Reviewid: 139970Chapter: 6
"Spoiling" sounds hideous. *shudder* and so does "Preventative law enforcement."

~~It's not so much the prison that bothered me, what really drove me off the edge was the circumstances. I lost credibility for my work and every ounce of respect I'd spent so much time earning with my abilities, and after all that I was the only one they put in prison.~~

Oh, that pride of a job well-done and the thirst for recognition - how they are well-suited.

~~You know, you can force me off the opium but things that made me want it still exist. I still resent the suspicion that goes along with the way I was born. I resent the punishment, the limitations.~~ That's where the 'just say no' people sort of lose touch. People do drugs for a reason. Sigh. Lourdes is just so heart-breaking.

~~creepy tongue-pink color Aberforth had selected~~

Had to stick tongue in there some way, didn't you? LOL

~~Severus was carting her off, threading an arm around her and guiding her toward the little nest in the bedroom.~~

Swoon . . . Foresooth - I since fluff foreshadowing!

Poor Lourdes - I'm glad she is going to finally get some sleep - lovely, beautiful sleep!

I really enjoyed this chapter - you did a great job with backstory. Lourdes is frighteningly knowledgeable and you realize it even more when you read about Dumbledore's lame attempts to protect the prophecy and Voldemort's even lamer attempts to steal it.

LOL Poor JKR really wan't trying to write crime novels - as you can see by the elaborately stupid plan to take Harry away from Hogwarts in GoF, Voldemort's befuddlement with the prophecy in OotP, and Draco's awesome use of eleven year old girl!Crabbe and Goyle in HBP. Reading your fan fiction really brings that home! Bless you for treating canon so reverently.

I'm also intrigued with Aberforth - so different from Albus. :)

Reviewer: Eudora HawkinsDate: 2006-02-12
Reviewid: 139704Chapter: 5
"It was after him, an unfathomable fear, a chill that bloomed in his mind. In the midst of her presumably involuntary attack, he noticed another whisper of malignant magic lodged somewhere around her heart." Yikes! Very creepy Voldemort! The way he rummages through people's minds. I loved Ursula's prophesy and the demonstration of Lourdes's brand of magic.

You must have had a ball writing the cantankerous banter between Lourdes and Snape. And now we have Malfoy and Umbridge to complicate things. Very interesting!

"I am not reading fairy tales Mister Snape. I am researching the historical concept of the external soul in folk literature. Albus' idea." I loved this. Hints of Horcruxes?!

Reviewer: mary ellisDate: 2006-02-07
Reviewid: 139509Chapter: 11
Gosh, I had so many flashbacks during this chapter--Snape giving out ampoules and vials made me think of those de-rigueur scenes in the Bond books of all the nasty little gizmos the lab techs dreamed up for him, and yes, I saw Emma Peel in that livid wet-suit too! You're just going to have to move to Hollywood and write the screenplay for the next Mission Impossible. (Move over, Robert Towne.)

I think your artists eye is showing in this as well:

'Lourdes chose to watch the sun die for the night, while the grey, watery curve of the earth began to blur into the dark sky.'

'...she saw a warm glow of light through their robes and carcasses, right in their centers, making them look like so many little milky galaxies floating in mid air.'

And the psychologist's ear:

'She remained a mere object, simply an inhuman extension of Severus’ power.'

'Even wizards could not resist cold lead.'

'She wasn’t walking the line so much as she was balancing on it blindfolded…'

'There was the thought that she would just vanish as she had before, taking all the years and hours together, denying him something he hadn’t even realized he wanted.'

And the description of the soulless state was so realistic:

'Now she could see the life burning off her body and the four others in the little boat with her as the seconds ticked steadily by. The presence of all that warm, abundant life summoned a primal hunger in the back of her brain that she had to work very hard to control.

And, oh, I hope Severus wasn't angry about losing all that gillyweed.

Reviewer: PygmyPuffDate: 2006-02-06
Reviewid: 139435Chapter: 11
Eeeee! Great chapter. Always great to see Lourdes at work, it's so interesting every time. Surprising that neither Lourdes nor Snape thought at all about the significance of her entrusting her soul to him. The tension between them is getting highly intersting. Does Lourdes realize she's got to him? It seems like she has. The Pettigrew element really ups the interest; I can't predict how he's going to complicate things, and it's even more intriguing given that we know Pettigrew will be staying with Snape at Spinner's End the next summer... The story is getting more and more interestingly complex all the time, I love how you're developing their relationship. Lourdes is always a delight to read; consistent character but never dull. Keep on posting!

Reviewer: MishDate: 2006-02-05
Reviewid: 139375Chapter: 11
YAY!!! UPDATE!!! This happens to be the second-to-last day of my J-term break, made all-the-more great by this latest chapter, which was glorious by the way.

Cheers for Pettigrew with something that vaguely resembles a spine. He was interesting- I like how Lourdes could tell flat out that the whole snivelling thing was an act, that's a take I haven't heard so much of. Pettigrew trying to use his own faults to his advantage? What's this?

Lourdes was appropriately badass, as I expected. I was really looking forward to this chapter, to see how her role in the breakout would play out. Her whole exchange with the Dementors was fantastic.

*insert* Dementor communication- nifty.

I also particularly enjoyed just how driven up the wall Severus was during the whole clean-up, while Lourdes seemed completely unconcerned. Classic.

My favorite line:

Severus’ brain launched itself into a mental recitation of the ingredients of the most gruesome potion he knew

I'm glad I wasn't eating or drinking at that point, because I might have died.

Snape's starting to figure it out. When he wanted to kill "the rat" for touching Lourdes I was like, "That's about as endearing as Snape's ever really gonna get..."

Cold shower. *giggle*

Yeah, I can't wait for it to dawn on him. Should be interesting.

Thanks for another great chapter, can't wait to find out what happens next! *runs in circles until passing out*

Reviewer: AmandaBDate: 2006-02-05
Reviewid: 139373Chapter: 11
I loved Pettigrew in this chapter, though I had to shudder for poor Lourdes during the broom ride. You've made him appropriately creepy, while still being whimpering. The scene with the Dementors is chilling, but also explains why they wouldn't have noticed the escape of the prisoners. I must say that it's hard for me to imagine Snape blushing, but then again, attraction and caring are pretty unknown to him, and I could see them leaving him quite distrubed, and even more curt, unaware of how to handle the emotions. He loves to be in control, and Lourdes is very good at surprising him, even if she is quite often unaware she is doing so. I loved the paragraph about women being either too old or too young for him, but as Lourdes is neither, he doesn't know how to handle her (no pun intended). But if anyone is able to get through his walls, it would be Lourdes. I look forward to reading more.

Reviewer: AmandaBDate: 2006-01-30
Reviewid: 139046Chapter: 10
Lourdes is one of the most unique characters I've read in fanfiction, and that's good, since coming up with compelling original characters is always challenging. I like the fact that Severus has a friendship with her, despite how preciarious it is, and that he respects her but is also wary of her knowledge of the Dark Arts. Your explanation of the plan to free the Death Eaters is interesting, since I never thought of how they had escaped, but it makes sense they had help outside of the Dementors rebelling. It doesn't surprise me that Snape can cook well, since cooking can be quite precise, with measuring ingredients and recipes, like potions in that regard. I hope Pettigrew takes good care of Lourdes, because I'm curious to see where this is headed.

Reviewer: Eudora HawkinsDate: 2006-01-28
Reviewid: 138985Chapter: 3
This fic has been on my must-read radar since your first post on the Fluff thread. I've just read the first three chapters. What a great start! You have a way with description, Anya.

[quote]Severus plucked a small, battered gray moth from a lock of hair on the side of his head, and held it up. As Dumbledore watched the moth flap its wings furiously to attempt an escape, a curious expression overcame his face, as if someone had just been kind enough to turn on a light for him.

"Ah…" was all he said. [unquote]
Loved this! Your characterizations of Dumbledore and Snape are particularly strong.

[quote]If it wasn't really her, it was a damn fine recreation; this woman had the same eyes. Murky poison green in color, a shade he remembered especially because it's presence in a potion meant certain death.

"Who are you?" he demanded.

Whoever, whatever, it was stumbled away from the couch and the broken teacup looking ferocious and flustered, as her fingers worked the buttons on her high-necked robes. And when the left side was jerked away from her chest, Severus had to bite his tongue to keep from gasping. There between her collarbone and the rise of her breast was a familiar starburst wound, half healed and held together by a web of miniscule gold filaments. [unquote]
I also love your original character in Lourdes. No Mary Sue, this one!

In several places, the exposition to fill in back story threw me out of the action. But I did enjoy the flashback scene of Lourdes's first magic. I would have liked that scene earlier. It colors so much of our understanding of Lourdes.

Well done overall, Anya! I'm looking forward to reading more of your wonderfully original tale.

Reviewer: St. MargaretsDate: 2006-01-21
Reviewid: 138771Chapter: 5
<That was actually a lie, Severus happened to know that her favorite fruit was pomegranate> Well, goddess of love move over! LOL. Love fruit symbolism and jammies with pears. :)

<Rightly so, Severus kept his own stash of unusual teas and had been hoarding them to spite her.> I like the immaturity of both of them. Esp. since they both have such important, noble, jobs to do. LOL. Snape seems to have never left high school in his own mind at times.

<Severus Snape, she noted, was a very ugly man.> What? What is this blasphemy? LOL no wonder you're not posting at the Snape-centric sites. Those are fightn' words.

<The only thing she was ever dedicated to was herself. People like that, he knew, were very hard to trust...> Sweet irony.

I liked this chapter - it was a bit of calm after all the manuevering in the previous chapters. You've developed Snape and Lourdes in new ways and caged them in a room together with Umbridge and Malfoy as minor threats and the big V as a major threat - excellent set up for fluff or violence. :)

Reviewer: mindibindiDate: 2006-01-17
Reviewid: 138635Chapter: 10
That was creepy. You were definitely channeling Voldy in this piece. Having Lourdes take away ten years of your life, is evil and very accurate to what I think Voldemort would do if he had a Evocator. So I know being told you channel Voldemort might sound bad, here its a good thing. Really. :-)

I thought the "hug" was hilarious. I have no idea how you're gonna get these two together in any kind of dare I say it "fluffy" moment without making them sound totally out of character is beyond me but I have faith.

Reviewer: St. MargaretsDate: 2006-01-16
Reviewid: 138613Chapter: 4
It was after him, an unfathomable fear, a chill that bloomed in his mind.

I could see how Voldemort would fear someone with her powers.

She'd have to remember to send him a much nicer gift basket this year.

<If she couldn't keep the spirit firmly under her thumb, it might break the triangle and go for her body, or worse, head for someone else.> Ooo, creepy and a nice set up before showing her spellwork.

<Deaths Head Moth, Lourdes smiled weakly at the downy little brown and gold insect. It wasn't scary at all, but the poor thing had been labeled the harbinger of death, war, and pestilence. I guess you arrived just in time hum?> That's fascinating about the moths.

<It wasn't the body he wanted, that was inconsequential. He wanted the power. > That's Voldy all right!

Aw, poor Ginny - I think ol' Lourdes has had it harder than that, though. A creepy chapter - but it shows us what Lourdes is made of. How she can trick Voldy in her own way.

Reviewer: MishDate: 2006-01-16
Reviewid: 138601Chapter: 10
*finishes reading the footnotes* You're a genius.

*remembers quote from last chapter* Heh. But true!!!

No better way to finish the weekend- thanks for that.

As much as I felt for Lourdes for being used in this not-so-happy capacity as an Evocator, I did feel a bit of evil glee as Malfoy got some of his life taken away. Poor Lourdes though. I loved the insight afterwards, about the two of them just wanting to be accepted somewhere...

The hug was brilliant. I particularly enjoyed "awkward, convex".

I too appreciate the background that goes into your work, it's mindboggling. At least once (more like two or three times) a chapter I find myself thinking: HOW DOES SHE KNOW ALL THIS?!?!

Excellent chapter!!!

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