I can't believe I hadn't seen this before! Especially as I've read the others in the series and really liked them.
And, you know, I don't think thinks too depressing at all, like you mentioned in the a/n. I think it's very hopeful. Yes, he is writing to a dead person, but ultimately he is telling her (or, really,himself, since the letter is more for him than it is for her as she will never see it) that he is not going to give up and he will fight for a better world, and not waste his remaining time. That last sentiment, pparticularly resonates with me, and I think is one that is quite strong for people who have just lost someone, as Severus has.
His introspection is spot on as well. There was a line in there about living in the past and having no place in the future, which, ah! is just so good, it's really profound ,and ultimately true as he doesn't have much longer. His outlook on life is pretty bleak by this point but also... True? And how he recognizes his faults but insists he can't change, and, well, he never did. So it does get bleak but the fact that he perseveres despite that and because of a past friendship that he never let go of, it's quite layered and I just love it.
I also love the idea that he had friends. Only 3, maybe, and they were so different, but it's nice to think that they had each other, especially in a time that was so divisive.
This was great!! You rule.
Okay, you really didn't have to, but thank you! You are the bestest! <3
Better late than never, right? :P (Kidding...) I'm happy you stopped by this story! :)
Yes, that's true, he's saying that he's not going to give up, so I guess that is hopeful? And yes, I guess when you lose someone you want to do your best because it's your way to honour them? I'm happy this resonated with you. Well, not happy, but you know what I mean...
I think that's just very much Severus? Like, he doesn't feel like he can change, or maybe he can't really find a good enough reason to? And he does kind of live in the past with the way he clinges to Lily's memory and keeps holding the grudge against James?
But yes, it is nice to think that he did have friends, at least. And that he still had at least Emmeline after the first war...
Thank you so much, your reviews are always the best! :)
Hi Chiara! Here for our swap! <3
I always delight in reading your one-shots, because you manage to capture the essence of the characters you talk about in such a short amount of time. I also feel like your writing style is slightly different in your one-shots; it often focuses more on description rather than plot, and I love that.
LET’S TALK ABOUT THE BEAUTY OF THIS STORY, SHALL WE.
I just wanted to begin with how much I love your title. I think it’s fitting for this story, because not only does “Dear Emmeline” represent the opening of a letter, but it’s also basically what he calls her throughout the entire story: “dear Em.” So I think it’s a perfect title for this one-shot.
Additionally, you’ve written the story from such an interesting POV! Haha, at first I misread “Severus” as “Sirius” in the summary, so I went into this story thinking that Sirius was the one writing the letter. But then I got confused very quickly because I was like, Sirius is dead though?? BUT THEN I FIGURED IT OUT, IT’S ALL GOOD. So anyway, I love what you’ve done with Snape here. He had an idyllic first few years at Hogwarts, and I love that you’ve included Emmeline and Edgar as the Hufflepuff and Ravenclaw of their friend group. I mean, the fact that Emmeline was the glue, and that she worked hard to bring everyone together is so sweet. I can see why Snape loved her as a person. I’d probably love her, too.
You wrote such a beautiful line here: “I like to imagine you there, seated crossed legged in a wide, green field, with the sun shining and fairies flying around you.” Ahhh gorgeous. Emmeline sounds like she was a beautiful human being. <3
What I find most impressive about this letter is that you’ve managed to detail Snape’s growth as a character. He’s wondering about his own soul, and whether it’ll go to heaven or hell, but he’s also talking about making a better difference in the world.
(And was that last word intentional? Because that’s his most famous line, isn’t it? :P)
You did a beautiful job with this. I love reading your stories so much, Chiara. <3
Hi, Eva, darling!
Aww... you flatter me... I guess my writing style is a bit more description-oriented in one-shots, now that you mention it... I suppose it's harder when you have a novel to move on... anyway, thank you!
Glad you found the title to be fitting. And that you enjoyed Severus' POV as well. When I first thought about my interhouse quartet, one of my purposes was to give Snape some healthy friendship, because he's such a lonely character and I think he needs it... (I know you don't particularly like Snape, and in all honesty neither do I, but I still feel so bad for him because he didn't have anyone aside Lily and the Death Eaters in canon, and that's just so sad... anyway...)
I love Emmeline, she's such a sweetheart, and of course, being the Hufflepuff in their group, she would be the one who worked the hardest to keep the friendship alive, wouldn't she? I'm glad you loved that line, too. :)
Snape knows his flaws, but he also knows that he can make a difference, and I wanted to show that. He made a lot of bad choices in his life, but I do believe that he really wanted to make his part in the end, and not just for Lily but because it was right. Or at least I like to think so, because I like to believe that everyone is foundamentally good... guess it's the Hufflepuff in me...
Yes, the last word was intentional... I do love that line and I can't help but include it when I write Snape... I mean, not always, but... (yes, this was intentional, too... :P)
Thank you so much for the wonderful review and for swapping!
Lots of love,
Hello, love! I’m here for the swap! I’m sorry I took so long.
So I was totally going to continue on with Liar, until I was scrolling and saw Severus. You know I can’t not read Severus. XD
This was such a different pair to read! Emmeline (who I have a soft spot for), and Sev. I don’t think I’ve ever seen it before. Another reason I decided to stop here.
I really love this idea that he had her, as well as Lily, and Edgar (Edgar Bones! You’re hitting all my minor character loves!). And a quartet with people from each of the houses, I just love it!
This letter was so sad. I really enjoy reading softer Severus. Where his walls aren’t up and he lets his guard down. The pain in his “voice” here is so prevalent. You can tell he really, really cared for her. The part where he spoke of how she died fighting really brought that to light, and absolutely broke my heart.
I adored the way you let him appear so vunerable, and scared of what would happen when he died. I’m sure he wondered about that. If he would get to go to a peaceful resting place, or if he would be doomed to a hell for eternity. I think he’d be alright though. He more than made up for his wrong doings.
Was there romantic feelings there for him? Or were they just really close friends? It really could have read either way, to be honest. Which is cool, because it lets the reader make up their own mind when it comes to the extent of their relationship. To me it felt like a love that never had the chance to be. Heartbreaking. :(
Uuugh the fact that he new he was going to die, when he really wasn’t that much older than I am when he died, tore me apart. Because he was expecting it, ready for it, and even sort of at peace with it. I can’t imagine being in my 30’s, and being like, “yeah, I’m okay with this.” Such a brave man.
I love this. This was so sweet and sad and just a wonderful read. I’m going to definitely get back to Liar, but I am so glad I decided to stop here along the way. Thanks so much for the swap, lovely!
Tons of love and hugs!
Meg!!! Hello, my dear! :)
Ahahah! That's okay, everyone has their favourites, right? ;)
I've written these four before, the first time in my one-shot Seven Years Later. I just wanted to explore a friendship made of four people from all four different houses and these four seemed to work well together... :P I like Hufflepuff Emmeline quite a lot, btw (I might be partial, but...)
I do believe that Severus has a softer side, he just keeps it hidden very well. I agree with you that it is a nice change to see him when he lets his guard down. And yes, he did care for her a lot...
He would wonder about that, wouldn't he? I think there are many things he never forgave himself for and he is a bit of a gray character, not exactly bad, but not exactly good either... I do believe he would be alright in the end, still I can see him having doubts.
No, I didn't think about their relationship in a romantic way, but yes, I suppose it is a possible interpretation and I like to give the reader freedom to interpret things. It's quite painful either way.
I think I already told you somewhere else (maybe?) but what always struck me so hard is how young the people involved in both wars were. How many died (and voluntarily took the risk) when they were just around my age, or even much younger *cough* Regulus? *cough* I think at this point in his life Severus is just tired. He's so alone, he's lost so much, so I guess he would just want it all to be over. No one should be ready to die at 38, but then again no one should go through what all these characters went through in the wars, especially when they were little more than kids.
Thank you so much for the swap and the lovely review! We should do this again sometime! :)
Lots of love,
I LOVED this.The way you portrayed Sev here was just amazing!!!! How do you do it?! I need this skill!!!! I am glad I read this! It made me sad but in a good way. You really do have a way with words. I LOVE your work. I plan to read more of it soon. I just need to work out a schedule for that but don't worry more reading a d reviewing will commence soon! Loved this. Keep writing!!!!
I'm so glad you enjoyed this story, too, and the way I wrote Severus.
I really hope I'll see you back on my AP again and that you'll enjoy my other works, too.
I'm a man trapped in the past, and when you are trapped in the past you have no future.
Woah, what? I honestly shivered.
I liked this little oneshot a lot as we never see takes on Severus with other people besides Lily - I mean, let's cut the poor sod some slack, he MUST have had other friends - and I loved the part in which he wondered if his soul was too corrupted to enter Heaven.
Also, it's so Severus to completely ignore that Lily's probably with James in the afterlife - ugh, let's ignore the Potters and their stupid hair, am i right? ahaha
Good job! Only thing I would suggest - a residual of my high school italian professor, a real bitch, let me tell you - to maybe use less rhetorical questions, but other than that, it was amazing!
So much Hufflepuff pride right now :)
Ciao, Elena! :)
Thank you for such a lovely review, I'm so glad you liked this so much!
Yes, Severus is such a lonely character, so I liked the idea of giving him some friends aside Lily and the Death Eater circle... I'm glad you liked the idea of his friendship with Emmeline. And also all his doubts and weaknesses.
Ahahah! I beg your pardon, did you say Potter? What does the arrogant git have to do with anything? :P (Btw, I'm a big Jily shipper... don't tell Sev, though...)
Oh, yes, I see what you mean... you are probably right... even if it was sort of wanted, you know? I meant this to be a stream of consciousness, with Severus just throwing out all his feelings in one go, without really thinking about it, so that's the reason for all the questions, rhetorical or not. Does it make sense?
Thank you so much again for the lovely review, it was lovely swapping with you! (We should do that again sometime...)
Chiara, my dear, I'm here for our swap.
Only a few minutes into scrolling your AP and I knew I had to read this one. I'm a sucker for epistolary stories, and this one absolutely didn't disappoint. And despite the fact that I'm not very familiar with your Lily, Edgar, Emmaline, and Severus quartet, this short piece did an amazing job of painting a picture for me. I could tell how close they were, how much pain Severus was in as he was writing the letter.
This letter was extremely emotional, and I applaud you for it. I loved the repetition of Do you remember, and then going off to specific moments of their friendship. I also love the idea that Severus was friends with more than just Lily; it makes sense, and I feel like I should ship Severus and Emmaline? He clearly adored her, and I'm so curious to see what their interactions would have been like if she survived while he was being a double agent. I love this idea that she would have at least doubted him.
The guilt he feels throughout this is so painful, I actually want to hug him. I'm not sure how you do it -- make me feel for characters like Severus and Peter, but you manage to do it in such a believable way. It's a gift for sure ♥
Anyway, before I get too rambly, I just wanted to let you know how much I adored this, and I hope you write more epistolaries soon, or in the not-so-distant future.
Great job with this, my dear! ♥ ♥ ♥
First of all, thank you for swapping, I always love your stories AND your reviews! *wub*
I don't know why, but I wasn't really expecting you to pick this... I'm happy you did, though. I love epistolary stories, too. :)
I'm so glad you could picture their friendship from this piece, even if you are not familiar with the quartet. (This reminds me I need to get back to "In Between"... when I will be done with Jimmy, I suppose...) I'm so glad you could feel Severus' pain, too.
I love the idea of Severus having other friends beside Lily and future Death Eaters, too. I liked the idea of a friendship among members of all four houses, which is how the quartet was built in my head in the first place. The relationship between Emmeline and Severus is completely platonic, no romance involved (actually, I think Emmeline and Edgar were in a sort of relationship, of the constantly bickering type, but I'm digressing). They did care about each other a lot, though, and I'm quite sure if someone could see through the double acting, that would be her.
I have a problem... a very Hufflepuff-y one... I think that everyone is foundamentally good and I try to understand and prove sympathy for everyone... and I love to do that especially with controversial characters, so... I'm glad I can make you feel for them, anyway...
Thank you so much, darling! I can't promise anything, but who knows? Maybe?
Thank you so much for swapping and for such a lovely, flattering review!
This is a total 360 on the emotional scale of how I typically see Severus Snape portrayed (and it's entirely refreshing). I love the fact that four entirely different people (Edgar, Emmeline, Severus, and Lily) could come together thanks to one person. Severus missing Emmeline, admitting his own faults in genuine, and missing Lily -- it's all so sad. And then, even more touching, is the contemplation of an afterlife, wishing that she still existed somewhere--happy and free, full of peace. Severus' worry that his soul might be compromised, the questions to Em--it's all so sweet and sad! I think the kickers are, of course, that Severus feels trapped in the past (where he has no chance of future) and the gratitude towards Lily, Em, and Edgar for teaching him life. This was so, so good! Severus' character has so much depth and I really love Emmeline, even from a secondary perspective!
Thank you so, so, so much for all the lovely reviews you left me during this round of snowball fight, they really made my day!
You don't always get a very emotional Severus, do you? I'm so glad you found this refreshing!
I first wrote about these four characters in my one-shot Seven Years Later (I wanted to try and see what would happen putting four people from all different houses together) and I loved them so much that I decided to explore them some more. I'm so glad you liked the idea of their friendship. I'm also so glad that you liked Severus' honesty in writing the letter, I was totally going for it.
I'm so glad you liked Severus' thoughts about the afterlife and his hope that Emmeline still existed somewhere. And yes, there are so many questions without answer when we mourn a loss... :(
I'm so glad you liked the concept of Severus feeling trapped in the past and also his gratitude towards the other three for teaching him life. I'm so glad you loved both Severus and Emmeline.
Thank you so much for the beautiful review!
Hey there, here for the Prefect inter-house friendship challenge!
This is such a beautiful piece! I think you’ve done a great job in showing off Snape's sensitive side, which we know he has thanks to Lily. You really feel the emotion reading this piece, largely down too your choice of language but then the use of ‘always’ to end it really added a whole other level to this piece!
This was an interesting take on the challenge, and I think you managed to pull it off because even though we can’t see them interacting as friends, the examples you give really show the friendship they had. “You know me too well, know my struggles too well” It seems like they were the kind of friends that told each other the truth, whether they wanted to hear it or not which is nice to read about. Sometimes friendship calls or tough love!
This was a really nice piece to read, great job and thanks for entering the challenge! :)
Hi, Shaza! Thank you so much for stopping by!
I'm so glad you liked this! I'm glad you liked my Snape and all the emotion in the piece, I wanted to show a more human side to him and I'm glad it worked.
Yeah, I think my approach to the challenge was a bit unconventional... *hides* I'm glad it worked anyway, even if their interaction isn't shown explicitly. And yes, I think the fulcrum of their friendship was exactly that, that they could be honest with each other and support each other, even if they have different values and ideas and they don't always agree/understand each other.
Thank you for hosting the challenge and for the lovely review! :)
Hey Chiara! I'm here to review your entry to the August prefect challenge :) (and also *squee* because you dedicated to me, ahhh! <3)
I really love these characters, and what you've done with them, and the idea that their friendship group is made up of all four Houses. So I think what makes this so much sadder is that only one person from that group is alive.
I love that he finally visited Lily's grave, and I love how he tries to imagine Emmeline in heaven, especially the scene where she's sitting with her friends. It's so sad that he's not even sure if his soul deserves to join her in heaven one day.
I love that even though it's a letter to Em, her personality really shines through still. It's making me want to read more of her when she was alive, so maybe I'll pester you to write that soon :P
This was so amazing, Chiara, I'm so proud of you, and thank you so much for the dedication <3 and thank you for entering the challenge! :)
B!!! *hug* *wub*
Of course I dedicated this to you! I love you (and Ysh and Renee) so much and you inspire me to write more and write better! This story wouldn't even exist without our little Skype chat, so...
I love these characters and their friendship, too, and I'm so glad you do as well. Yes, I know... it's so sad that only Severus is alive at this point... unfortunately, war does that... :(
It's nice to imagine the people we loved being happy in heaven, isn't it? It's a way to still feel connected to them, I think. Yes, it's sad that Severus thinks that way, but it's understandable too, considering how is life played out. At least, I think.
I'm so glad Em's personality shined through as well. :) Yes, well... I really want to go back to In Between one day or another... maybe I'll write a new chapter of that soon, I just need to figure out which perspective I want to use (what do you say, Lily or Edgar?) and what I want to happen in it...
Thanks to you for being awesome! I'm so glad you liked this! Love thee, little B!
I'm here for the request you made in the staffreview thread and I'm excited because it feels like forever since I read one of your stories!
First of all I must say that despite this being a letter, the message you put in this (whether intentionally or not), about the fact that all four of them came from different Houses and were united at multiple points, especially in a time like that, show that unity can be possible, even at hard times. And while we all know about that, know what we all came to be, it is definitely a thing of hope and powerful just the same. Very nicely done.
Aside from that I must say that I love how different a Snape you write from what we all see in the books - the closed book. The man who has to hold up many fronts and make sure he is believed by both sides in order to fulfill his role in the war. The fact that he can be this emotional regardless, yet remain himself in other ways like admitting that he never was a genuine person and capable of caring at the same time, really comes through in this story.
And it's especially poignant how well it all works in the theme of things. That he suspected Emmeline would have doubts regardless about his true nature. It says a lot about every single one of them as a person, which really is amazing as well because of the fact that this is solely Snape's POV.
Really well done on this story! xx
I'm so happy to have you here! Yes, it's been a while, I need to stop by your AP too one of these days...
I'm glad you liked the friendship among all different houses aspect. When I first wrote about their quartet in Seven Years Later one of my goals was exactly that, showing that a friendship among members of all different houses is hard but possible. And when the Inter-House friendship challenge was posted I decided that I wanted to explore them some more, and this is what happened...
I'm glad you liked my interpretation of Snape, too. I wanted Snape to have someone with whom he could just stop pretending and be himself and even if Emmeline can't be with him in person, I think he would need to just loosen up at times and this letter is his way to pull out what he really has inside. I think? Does it make sense?
It's great to know that, despite this being from Severus' POV, you could understand the other characters and their relatioship as well.
Thank you so much for this lovely review, I'm so glad you enjoyed the story!
It's me - I mean, you already know me, obviously - QB1. But I'm here and uhh...I just wanted to let you know how much I liked your words. I do art too, but it's more like drawing and sculpting. I drew an eye once that people liked.
Anyway, uhh...this story was real interesting because it's a perspective we don't see a lot of. There's lots of sides to people and this letter showed a different one from Severus. He's a pretty stoic (I got that word from Julie) character and we don't see much emotion from him except when he's talking about Lily - or dying too I guess. But we get to see from your story that he actually did have other friends and maybe he wasn't just obsessive with love. Maybe he could do it more than we would think before we read your story.
It was also real neat how you used so many questions. At first it threw me a little bit. Kinda like when you see the secondary shift from man into zone coverage. But it was a real effective device because, you know, it forced the words Severus was using to smack up against a wall, like...unanswered. And that's tough, I know from my Dad, being the person left behind and you just want to say things that you never got a chance to, but it's too late. You just wonder how things are and I think you really showed that in a pretty awesome way.
Thanks for putting this story out there. Artist to artist I really appreciated reading it.
Hello, QB1! Thank you for stopping by! :)
Oh, I'm very glad you liked this story. And I would love to see some of your art sometime!
I'm glad you liked my interpretation of Severus in here. I agree with you, people are often more complex than what they (decide to) show and Severus in particular is someone who is so used to hide his true self... I like to imagine that he wasn't as lonely as he appeared in the books, it's one of the reasons I've created the Seven Years Later/In Between universe.
I think that's part of the mourning process, isn't it? There are so many questions that remain without an answer. You just wish you could talk to them again and, like you said, tell them all the things you never got the chance to. I'm glad you thought it was effective, even if it threw you off a bit at first.
Thank you so much for your lovely review, I really appreciated hearing your thoughts about it! :)
I was so excited to see this in another format. I have been craving to see someone (anyone) step outside of the box, out of their comfort zone and do something different. I mean, fan fiction has been around for a long, long time, and the same old stuff and challenges have been recycled over, and over, and over. I mean, granted the books have been around forever, too, but it’s refreshing it see a breath of fresh air.
I like how you take one pivotal moment and you spin on it. The fact that Emmeline Vance even exists is said because she’s barely, like, there in canon. She’s in the old Order, she’s picking up Harry in the advance guard, and she’s on Downing Street. And, oh, yes, dead. Literally, that’s it. That doesn't even qualify for a breath.
I like that Severus drafts a letter because it says so much. I barely met my maternal Japanese grandmother and randomly heard of her death years ago. It was… strange. I often express myself better through the written word than vocally. I wrote my dead grandmother a letter. It didn't go anywhere, obviously because she’s dead. But it was cathartic. Can I say cathartic?
This, which I have read three times over the last few days, reminded me of that.
I like that Snape portrayed as a human here and not just a figurehead for either Dumbledore or Voldemort. Say what you will about Dumbledore, but he played the same card in a different hand of the game. I’m not knocking him here, you see, I’m pointing that out. I always thought that it was so random how whatever he did in that tip off led to the capture and murder of Emmeline. And then, you, as the reader, had to be like, “Right. And who is this Emmeline Vance person? Oh, her. Yes, okay, proceed.” I was like that for years.
I like that you point out the only person for Severus wasn't Lily. Thank God. No one is that isolated unless you’re Voldemort and he chose to be that way. It’s interesting, although he understandably struggled with it, that Severus tried to fit into a niche. He seems on some level to have made that. It’s interesting that you bring in the idea of heaven. I know JKR doesn't touch it for obvious reasons, at least not overtly, but I like that Severus has an idea of peace and reaching a finish line.
Doesn't Rickman look so tortured in DH? He’s so done with it. Whatever the costs, whatever the whatever. That scene, that scene, is what you make me think of beautifully here! The only flaw that I see in this piece is that the commas are oddly placed which throws off the sentence structure. Perhaps the name Em is mentioned too much? I can tell you I’m arguing with myself and saying that is NOT the case because this illustrates Severus arguing with himself to justify something …. anything. That's fucking brilliant!!!!
Oh my God, that gave me chills. It’s rare you find a gem in fanfiction even if you’re digging for it. This is the best I have read in ages. And you thought to present it in such style, such elegance, such a voice. And the letter choice? Good girl.
What challenge was this for? I wonder what he did with the letter? It just occurred to me he keeps saying “Emmeline, Emmeline” because he gave the tipoff on her murder. Nice illustration of Severus’s soul. Fantastic. Well done.
Aww, you have no idea how much this review made me happy! It's always so wonderful to get unexpected feedback, and I'm so, so glad this story touched you so much!
I've been meaning to try the epistolar genre for a while, now, and I'm happy I could make it work for this. There are a lot of great stories with this style around. One that I particularly love (I might be biased, but still...) is Flaming Quilltips by FlamingQuilltips (yes, the story title and the author penname are the same). Anyway, I'm glad you liked the style and found it original.
Yes, Emmeline is one of those character we hardly know anything about. A long time ago, I wrote a little piece about Severus, Lily, Emmeline and Edgar meeting on their first trip on the Hogwarts Express and becoming friends. The idea behind that was to have a friendship among people from all different houses (Emmeline is a Puff and Edgar is a Claw) and I just chose two very minor character to fill in the role. This story is linked to that one.
Oh, it's so sweet that this reminded you of something so personal. I completely understand that you find simpler to express yourself with writing, for me is the same. And writing a letter to a dear one who's gone can really help dealing with the grief and letting those feelings out.
Dumbledore did use people, I think everyone can agree on that. Sure, he did it for noble causes, but he still did it. And Severus was a pawn in many people's plans. But this isn't about it, this is about Snape being honest with himself and his feelings, which makes a big difference. And yes, I did want to give Severus someone else, not to have him totally alone (even if he is at this stage of time). That's one of the reasons I wrote Seven Years Later. To be fair, though, he did have friends in canon. Not the right ones, but he did. (I'm talking about Avery and Mulciber and any other future Death Eater he linked with as a boy).
We don't exactly know what were the common beliefs about religion and afterlife for the wizarding community, so I don't see any reason for them not having the same beliefs as Muggles. I don't think Severus would be much religious at all, but in this particular moment he just needs to believe in something.
This was meant as a stream of consciousness, and I actually wrote it like that, on the spur of the moment (I did edit it and tried to make it flow better after first writing). He's sort of asking for her help, guidance and understanding, and that's the reason he keeps calling her name. At least, I think.
I'm so, so glad you liked this and it emotioned you so much! Thank you for this incredibly thoughtful, surprise review. It really made my day!
Tons of love and hugs,