Reviews for Proof of Life
Cookiepowderefil chapter 54 . 5/19
Why this eternal cliffhanger?!
Well other than that GREAT STORY! I love their interactions and development! PLS COME BACK
Temple Cloud chapter 46 . 5/19
It's so STUPID that people assume flying is Dark magic just because it was a power Voldemort had! I wonder if Severus is ever going to explain to Lily, 'I learned how to do this from your granny. She was my friend when we were children, and she worked out how to fly, all by herself, when she was nine, before she went to Hogwarts, before she even knew that she was a witch. She was called Lily, like you...'

"You're dating a Seeker from a rival team?"

Says the man whose first girlfriend was the Ravenclaw Seeker, whose previous boyfriend had been the Hufflepuff Seeker (and Dudley also tauntingly accuses Harry of being Cedric's boyfriend) - could this be the reason so many fanfic writers want to ship Harry with Draco?
Temple Cloud chapter 39 . 5/12
"Everything is a competitive sport, as far as Snape is concerned." How true! Often, the reason the Sorting Hat identifies people such as Harry and Severus as Slytherins is their urgent need to prove themselves.

Neville gently showing Harry how much worse it could have been, by inviting Harry to spend time with Neville's parents - he really has grown a lot in confidence from being a boy who worried that Harry and Ron might bully him if they found out that he had disabled parents. And it looks as if Alice and Frank have also made quite a bit of progress since then - living with Neville and seeing him every day, so that they are at least faintly aware that he seems familiar, undoubtedly helps.

I love the metaphor of grafting two incompatible plants for the problematic relationship between Harry and Severus.
Temple Cloud chapter 30 . 4/30
I'm relieved that Ron and Hermione are trying to talk some sense into Harry. It shows how much they've grown up since their schooldays - and how much Harry hasn't (or had started to and then regressed). When they were teenagers, Ron probably wouldn't have worried about someone hurting someone whom he didn't like (such as Montague), and Hermione was passionately protective of anyone she felt was getting a raw deal (especially house-elves) but ruthless against anyone she saw as an enemy - anyone who betrays the heroes' secret is obviously a bad person who deserves to get scarred for life, regardless of the circumstances and whether they have any choice! As adults, they can see that it's wrong to behave like this, but Harry - in spite of having found out how wrong he had been about so many things and people in his life, and that people who seem to be enemies may have been allies all along, like Snape, or can change for the better, like Dudley - still thinks like an angry teenager.

I know I've commented before on the similarities and differences between the way you handle themes and plot motifs in this story and Ashes of Armageddon. This is a much subtler, more naturalistic treatment (because it stems from Harry's own personality and emotions, rather than a curse) of a Harry who is heading alarmingly towards the Dark Side and his friends trying to warn him off. But because in this version, Severus isn't the direct victim of Harry's brutality, he is able to take a more dispassionate view of what is going on, less 'Well, with James Potter as a father and Petunia Evans and her husband as foster-parents, that kid was always going to be a psychopath, I tried to warn people and would they listen?' and more, 'Well, I've been his teacher for six years and he wouldn't listen to me then - or, most of the time, to sensible advice from ANY adults, even the ones he liked and trusted - so I'd probably better leave it to Weasley R. and Granger to try to get through to him.'
Temple Cloud chapter 29 . 4/28
"I say this information is worth a few broken noses, or rules," - Harry, haven't you learned anything? You didn't get the information by beating a prisoner unconscious, you got it because he was on Veritaserum! Okay, I know what Percy means (and what Harry means): on the one hand, field workers often fail to preserve enough emotional detachment to carry out an interrogation properly, especially as, when here, it's personal; but on the other hand, people without field experience don't necessarily realise what are the important questions to ask. Ideally, they should have arranged to let Harry question the prisoner but have someone there to supervise him if he was known to give in to anger - but they probably can't spare the personnel for that.

He certainly wasn't expecting to hear how brutal Frank and Alice Longbottom had been. It had been bad enough finding out that his own father was a vicious bully and his mother wasn't exactly a loyal friend either, but Neville must have inherited the genes to be a nice person from somewhere, and it certainly wasn't from his great-uncle (and probably not from his grandmother either). And it was entirely plausible (Whitehound's interpretation, which makes sense to me) that Snape had never personally disliked Neville in the same way that he did Harry, but was just bad-tempered around him because he was nervous that Neville's clumsiness, and his insistence on carrying his pet toad around with him everywhere, could cause a dangerous accident - and that he didn't understand how frightened of him Neville was, because he didn't realise that Neville was being abused at home and that, in Neville's experience, people who think you are incompetent are likely to attempt to murder you, even if they are family members, let alone teachers at school.
Temple Cloud chapter 28 . 4/28
Ugh, the signs of turning to the Dark Side that Harry was starting to show in the later books (especially by Deathly Hallows) haven't got any better as he's grown up, have they? At least he isn't using Unforgiveables now (just as well, since this would probably be legally a lot MORE unforgiveable as a grown-up, qualified Auditor questioning a prisoner than as a teenager in a battle situation), but what does it achieve to punch and taunt someone who is tied up and unable to defend himself, other than to make you nearly as bad as the people you're working to defeat? Harry, I know you're sleep-deprived and angry about how Severus was abused and, by the end of this chapter, very frightened for his safety, but for goodness' sake, learn to keep calm, control your temper and just get on with asking questions!
Temple Cloud chapter 23 . 4/22
Wow, Severus is sufficiently recovered to be able to dare to tease Harry! And also aware that being free means that he CAN leave if he wants to, not that he HAS to leave. At least in this scenario, where Harry hadn't intended to become his 'Master' and has been nothing but kind and encouraging to him, rather than abusive as in 'Ashes of Armageddon', they don't have to negotiate the problem of 'I feel attracted to someone who has been abusive to me and even if it wasn't his fault because he wasn't in his right mind, it was so traumatic that I need to keep away from him for either of us to retain any grasp of sanity - but I long for his touch even though I know that I'd find actually being touched by him horribly reminiscent of him torturing me.' And he is starting to realise (maybe) that wanting intimacy with Harry isn't necessarily a result of the slave-bond so much as that it is normal and human to want love, and this is the first time in his entire life when he has actually had anyone in his life who cared about him.
Temple Cloud chapter 21 . 4/18
"I'm not dating Marietta!" Harry protested instantly.
"Well if you won't, I will,'" Luna warned.

This could be - interesting. We aren't told anything about Marietta's sexuality or love life in the books (because she's a minor character whom no-one is close friends with apart from Cho, and we don't know whether their friendship survived after the Dumbledore's Army incident), nor Luna's (because she's just the eccentric girl who is considered weird even by wizarding standards, and until she is fourteen doesn't even manage to make any friends, let alone meet anyone who is interested in dating her). So they might well get together - but if Marietta feels that Luna is only spending time with her out of pity, it probably won't work out. Not that Luna means it in a patronising way - she's just a very kind, extremely direct and honest person who knows how it feels to be lonely. But most people, especially people who have had a harsh life, don't expect 'kind' and 'honest' to go together - the default assumption is that 'speaking your mind' equates to 'saying something rude and critical'.
Temple Cloud chapter 20 . 4/18
Wow - it's good that Severus is recovered enough to be able to explain to Harry the technical details of how the slave-bond works. When he arrived, he wouldn't have dared say anything beyond, 'Yes, Master,' and, 'Sorry, Master.'

"I'll order a wand from Ollivander..." - would this work as well as if Severus goes into the shop to try one out for himself? I imagined that each wand is unique, so it isn't just a matter of buying one the same size, wood and core as whatever type of wand Severus originally had. And talking to Ollivander about this would mean letting him know that Severus Snape is alive anyway, and as long as Severus was in disguise, no-one else would need to know. Taking him out of the house when he's so nervous and emotionally fragile would be a risk, but once he feels ready for it, it might be helpful for him to get out.

Agghhh, poor Draco! And it's not surprising that he didn't trust anyone in the group enough to talk to them about this, and couldn't even cope with fire-calling to say he needed time off, so - he just didn't show up.
Temple Cloud chapter 18 . 4/18
'Severus was... clearly on the mend. The time of desperate dependency was over,' - I hope this is true, but Harry, please be careful of thinking this out loud! If you think it in front of the author (and the readers) you're setting yourself (and Severus) up for those hopes to be dashed!
Temple Cloud chapter 16 . 4/18
I was hoping the Legilimency spell would work, too - but that would be too simple, wouldn't it? Still - Severus has found the confidence to defy Harry, which is very encouraging - and I hope he can manage to realise, eventually, that Harry isn't angry with him for this, and that nothing terrible is going to happen in retribution.

Severus: 'Punish me!'
Harry: 'All right, uh - go and clean the cellar.'

This is probably about the best decision Harry could have made. Severus wouldn't have been confident that the situation had been resolved if Harry had failed to punish him at all, and if Harry had given him a mild physical punishment - say, a token slap - then, considering how desperate for any physical contact with Harry Severus is, it would likely have degenerated into Severus becoming addicted to being hit. Giving him a chore to do is exactly the sort of punishment that Severus, as a teacher, would have imposed on Harry or any other misbehaving pupil: non-violent, non-dangerous, and productive.

But - of course, it's not going to be that simple, and of course Severus in his present state would interpret this as, 'I'm being banished to the cellar.' But he is gradually starting to understand that Harry genuinely does care about him.
Temple Cloud chapter 17 . 4/18
"if you had any idea of the depth and intensity of slave-bonds, you'd have left him with a good friend of his..." yes, but does Severus have ANYONE he could consider a friend, by this point? Draco perhaps? - but much as he loved Draco, the Draco he had known as a child and teenager was a whiny, self-centred brat whom no-one could rely on, and who had been brought up to believe that it was right to hurt and humiliate your social inferiors. He can't be sure whether adult Draco will be any better - which, combined with the fact that Draco is from a family of Death Eaters and knows that Snape was a secret agent working to overthrow Voldemort, would probably make him at least as nervous as being around Harry.

End of chapter: Awww - even if Severus can't bring himself to trust any humans, at least he feels comfortable around Tripod, and confident that Harry, whatever other atrocities Severus might imagine him doing, isn't a cat-abuser. Progress!
Temple Cloud chapter 14 . 4/18
Wow, it must have taken courage for Marietta to come back to Dumbledore's Army, after what happened! If she didn't really, really care about Snape - and respect how well Harry is working at looking after him - I don't expect she would have turned up.

Kreacher died - well, that makes sense. We had been told that he was very, very old, even for a house-elf. I wonder whether he was disappointed to die a natural death rather than be beheaded?

If Snape is capable of conjuring a Patronus, would it even still be the doe? The last seven years have changed him so much, after all. If what he was hoping for was that some day, Harry would eventually rescue him, might this mean that he has fixated on Harry and his Patronus is now a stag?

In a fanfic I'm following where Snape actually manages to catch a break for once - Fawkes heals him after he gets attacked by Nagini, he is able to prove that he is innocent, and he gets referred to a therapist to work through some of the trauma of everything life has dealt him - he discovers that after a while, looking back over his relationship with Lily and realising that she wasn't the perfect person he had idolised all these years, with the result that for a while, he can't conjure a Patronus at all, and then it takes a new form, as he starts to develop enough self-confidence to produce one that expresses his own personality. It's fun imagining what form his Patronus might take if he wasn't fixated on Lily - the author in that story decides on a raven, which I like (loyal, highly intelligent, and traditionally seen in folklore as messengers), but I could also imagine Snape's Patronus being a bat or an Acromantula, or something else entirely. I expect you've had your own thoughts on this one.
Temple Cloud chapter 12 . 4/18
Severus must be feeling really confused and scared now. He was trying to do something to please his Master, but his Master told him to stop, so - when is he going to be punished, and how?

This reminds me of a story I read when, after the Battle of Hogwarts, Severus Snape is de-aged to the age of eleven (and this isn't one of these 'adult trapped in his younger self's body' stories - he's an actual eleven-year-old who is just inexplicably twenty-seven years in the future, in a time when his parents are dead, Lily is dead, people seem to be angry with him for reasons he doesn't understand, and the only person available to foster him is a man who is apparently Lily's son). Unfortunately, when Severus reaches puberty, neither eleven-year-old Severus nor eighteen-year-old Harry has had enough sex education, or enough general grounding in normal values, to understand that getting sexually involved with your foster-kids is not okay.

Incidentally, this is a totally random question, but I don't know whether you've read the Miles Vorkosigan books, by Lois McMaster Bujold? If not, I think you might like them. Possibly I'm primed to look for similarities because I'm currently writing a Vorkosigan/Harry Potter/Star Wars crossover, but some of the situations you describe here (for example, how destructive even well-meant mental health counselling might be if your actual experiences don't correspond to those the counsellor expects you to have had - in the first of the Vorkosigan books, the main character actually has to defect from her home planet to escape this sort of involuntary therapy) ring bells for me.
Temple Cloud chapter 11 . 4/18
So Harry is starting to work some things out - for example, that he can enable Snape to be honest about his preferences as long as he phrases questions as direct orders like 'I want you to tell me if I should leave you alone.' And yes, Snape desperately needs affection and reassurance, but equally, I can see Marietta's point that after years of being abused to the point where he no longer has any concept of boundaries, Harry having ANY physical contact with him is dangerously close to dubious consent. It's a difficult tightrope for them to walk. If Snape was a bit stabler, spending at least some respite time staying with other members of the Order, like Ron and Hermione, who aren't his legal owners, ought to ease the stress of worrying about whether he is doing the right thing to please his Master - but as it is, after seven years of being tortured by Death Eaters (which to him felt like Harry having handed him over to the Death Eaters, even though it wasn't deliberate) means he can't feel safe with anyone, so I think Harry is right that what he mainly needs at the moment is some sort of stability and continuity, instead of being constantly moved from place to place.

I haven't written comments on every chapter, but - I love this story. I love the way you've developed Marietta - such a minor character in the books - and I really like your version of her, and her protectiveness of Snape and the way that it's not a matter of House solidarity (since she's a Ravenclaw) but empathising with him as someone who has suffered, combined with the professional ethics she would apply to any patient. I loved the chapter with Draco, and the recognition of how far both sides have exploited Snape and treated him as less than human. I love Ron and Harry being supportive friends, and Ginny being understandably exhausted - though it's probably going to be a lot longer before Snape can really accept that the break-up of the marriage isn't about his coming here, but just about Harry being a rubbish husband.

Just one question - where is Kreacher in all of this? I would have thought that the experience of living with Kreacher and having to get used to the idea that, while neither of them likes it or would have chosen the situation, they are legally bonded as master and slave and will just have to find a way of coping with this, would have given Harry some preparation for looking after an enslaved Snape - especially as Snape is so traumatised by his experience in captivity that his mentality is currently more like that of a house-elf than like the teacher Harry remembers from his adolescence.
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