|Reviews for The New Skin|
| Guest chapter 1 . 12/18/2015
Beautiful story wich brought me hope along with improving m'y english, thank you a lot! Hope to see the next story soon! With most relationship with severus and Dick and the description of severus healing process! But thanks again for yr humour with severus healing with his ras membre and Dick and the bit with the parcelaes prise was priceless and the jingle too!
| MissScorp chapter 3 . 8/17/2015
Hi there! Back again!
So I really like this chapter because it finally tells me about who Snape was repeatedly asking if they got out. I like that he rationales he needs to return to England and essentially take care of Harry because Harry flubbed up and killed Voldemort without realizing that he was, himself, a horcrux. Of course, we know that Harry recognized that Voldemort left a part of himself inside Harry on the night he killed his parents, and that he essentially killed that part of Voldemort in order to make the Dark Lord vulnerable to being defeated.
((However, it wouldn't be advisable to walk around a crowded city in the day disillusioned, especially if there was much traffic...))—I must agree here with Snape’s thoughts. It might sound like a great idea in theory, but if you are in a crowd of people, it’s not really going to do much to help keep him concealed, yanno?
Snape’s voice here: ((I stared at my newly shorn reflection in the basin. Did my ears really stick out like that? I folded them both back with my hands, but when I took my hands away they sprung back, looking shockingly pink. Dear lord.)) is really quite lovely. I can hear his horror and see his disbelief all in these very simple lines. That he’s not a man who cares about his appearance generally comes across keen in how he has never before realized how his ears stick out as they do. It shows that he valued more than his looks and paid more attention to his studies and potions than to things like his physical appearance.
His grief here: ((Only a few names in I stopped at Vincent Crabbe. Vincent.)) about the loss of Crabbe really strikes home and makes me realize that Snape did care about the children who were in his house, in his own way, at least. He knows that Crabbe, Goyle and Malfoy are going to be used by their parents as a means of getting back/into the good graces of the Dark Lord. So he tries to save them best as he can, helping them surreptitiously by teaching them what they needed to know in order to survive. However he also acknowledges that Crabbe was so busy trying to stand out and shine (since we all know he wasn’t very bright and not that great a wizard) that he doesn’t pay close attention to what Snape says. I also like that you deepen his grief and his feelings of guilt later on here: ((Fiendfyre. I had to lay the paper flat; it was shaking. I traced the word with my finger. He had burned to death, they didn't get him out. Draco and Greg saw their friend burn to death.)) by including in that he failed to essentially prevent Draco and Greg from watching their friend die.
This: ((I was two hours late to his rebirth and he said so calmly, "Severus, stand before me.")) was an ominous way to set up the dream sequence about to overtake Snape. It works to remind us about how precarious a position that Snape had with the Dark Lord, and how vile and nasty that Voldemort could be if someone did not fall at his feels when he commanded them to do so. Snape had to walk a very tight line and play a very dangerous game with a man who had killed others for simply breathing.
In all, this was another great chapter!
| MissScorp chapter 2 . 8/17/2015
Hi again! Again, I like how you are showing that Snape is suffering some severe side effects of his ordeal. He’s physically not well, but even more importantly; he’s not mentally well, either. He’s plagued and haunted by the chain of events that he’s been a key player in for the majority of two decades or more. I like that you show how he’s hounded by nightmares, especially here where he ((…came out of a dream shivering and sweating.)). It illustrates how powerful the dreams that are plaguing him are. Even more importantly, the repetition on this: ((I had to get them out…)) without defining who they are (yet) really works to showcase how Snape was working to save as many people as he could from the fallout of Voldemort’s plans.
This here: ((I lay for long hours trembling as every seam between walls, ceiling and floor split and expanded to reveal the endless darkness beyond.)) is a wonderful way to illustrate what a fevered mind can make you see while it ravages your brain and body.
((DWFKAHWMNBN))—I love how the name given to Voldemort is essentially a whole long list of letters lol it disempowers the name of Voldemort, who has terrorized the wizarding world for so long, and essentially tells the world that he while he is no longer a threat, nor are they going to give him the infamy of the name he built for himself. It’s a gentle slap in the face to both the Dark Lord and all those who chose to follow him.
I like this: ((Of course he hadn't paid attention, he had simply "killed" the Dark Lord, and now, and now I would have to… I was promptly sick on the floor.)) because it illustrates that Snape doesn’t know everything about Harry or the situation with the horcruxes and Voldemort.
((I doubted any other country would willingly import this rubbish.))—love how you subtly remind us that Snape is not American here and that he would find little things to be clearly obscure and ridiculous.
((I caught my breath sprawled on a cold stone floor.))-this line needs something to make it flow a bit more smoothly. May I suggest: (...breath as I sprawled...)?
((If he thought I was a loyal Death Eater and wanted to trick me, but then why heal me and send me away?))-just delete the but since it does not fall in line with what you are conveying.
Another very nice chapter. Good job!
| MissScorp chapter 1 . 8/17/2015
Hi there! I am a moderator from the Reviews Lounge, Too who will be giving your story some love today since it is an under-reviewed story. I am not fandom blind to Harry Potter and have always thought Snape and Aberforth never got enough character moments in the trilogy. Writing in the first person narrative is always difficult because of the limitation that it gives us as authors on what we can and cannot show, but you handle that well I think in this opening chapter. I didn't feel like anything was out of step or misplaced and that everything lined up as it should from Snape's POV.
This here: ((He dressed me as the strengthening solution took effect. I could hold my head up now on my own, though turning it was another matter; a sharp pain lanced up into my skull when I tried. I kept my head still.)) really works to illustrate how physically unwell that Snape is, and how the potion he takes is slowly working to repair the parts of his body that got damaged. I also like the rationale that while he knows that the potion is working, it causes him pain and so he keeps his head still. This plays well to illustrate how serious the pain is as well as to add depth to Snape's character. He has to set aside that stubborn and prideful nature of his and allow his body to recuperate as it must or risk further damage and potential discovery. It shows his cunning and intelligence in a different arena and reminds us that fooling Voldemort is not all that Snape is capable of.
I think this line here: ((It was my sleeping-bag, shrunken. Top of the line, all the bells and whistles, automatic warming- and cooling-charms, built-in padding and pillow, completely weatherproof and windproof, self-shrinking. Recreational Enchanters, Inc, the very best.)) is a great bit of description. It takes an ordinary thing like a sleeping bag and adds that magical element that is so necessary in a series like Harry Potter. I also like the association between the sleeping bag and the person who gave it to him: Dumbledore. That Snape ((hated the sight of it.)) reminds us about what he'd been forced to do by Dumbledore-something that he promised but loathed with every fiber of his being. I also like the scrap of memory that comes with seeing the sleeping bag. It shows how interwoven the two are, but also how much that Snape at times did not appreciate the whimsical humor of the Headmaster. He's not a camper, but is given a sleeping bag as a present without once realizing that Dumbledore never gave gifts without there being some need for that gift. Clearly, that gift now fulfills a larger need and Snape will have to contend with that and his memories on his journey.
((He motioned to the ashtray. I touched it and was gone.))-I honestly love the ashtray as the portkey that is used to send Snape off to wherever he ends up. It's uniquely different and something that identifies that Snape is no longer in the safe world of Hogwarts. It is also a firm reminder about how everything in Potterverse can be used as part of some spell or incantation. Even an earring could be charmed as a portkey to wherever.
This line here: ((Before the walls had risen up to a dim ceiling, but here they sank in darkness to a glimmering river somewhere below me.)) is just really kind of confusing when I read it. Maybe try: (Before, the walls had risen up to a dim ceiling. Now they sank through the darkness to a glimmering river I could see flowing below me.)?
In all, this was a good start on a uniquely original story. Good job!
| Wendy Brune chapter 3 . 7/23/2015
As a side note, your opening AN made me giggle. I resisted swooning the best I could. ;)
Even though this chapter was a little bit of an info dump with what's going on in the UK Wizarding world, I still actually found it more engaging and faster paced then the last chapter. Overall, you handled the 'info dump' part of this chapter as well as anyone could. It's understandably a lot to have to recap, but doing so through flashbacks and the newspapers kept it interesting. Plus, breaking up the new's with Snape's thoughts and little asides really helped it from ever feeling monotonous.
I'm probably going to be saying this every chapter, but again, your descriptive prowess is outstanding. I really like the little, seemingly unimportant details you throw in that actually do a great service to characterization. Good example: the bit about growing a pencil mustache. It was funny and added a dash of lightness to the story, but it also helped establish that Snape is a human being beyond just what we know of him in Harry Potter - that he had a life before the 'boy who lived.' Plus, you establish with the whole bit about being threatened to shave it off that Snape is a man who can succumb to peer pressure. It seems like a detail that could be important later on if you delve into his past involvement with Voldemort. Lots of good info from just a little aside.
I really like the idea that Snape was looking out for Crabbe and not just Draco. Crabbe and Goyle were sorely underdeveloped by Rowling, and you've given Crabbe life with just the details we get from Snape. Reading about Snape's violent reaction actually made me feel sad about Crabbe's death for the first time possibly ever.
The only thing I'm wondering is what the implications are about Snape faking memories. Which memory was faked, exactly? I didn't fully understand. I think the "Always" scene, but what was your purpose for including that detail. What am I supposed to take away? Was Snape actually over Lily? Was he still in love with her but not so sentimental? Wondering if this will be explained later.
I really enjoyed this chapter. :D
| Wendy Brune chapter 2 . 7/23/2015
Chapter two, alright! I'll be upfront: I've read the first eight chapters thus far, and this one ended up being my least favorite. Overall, this chapter felt like the main points could have been combined with chapter three for quicker pacing. That being said, since I'm actually at chapter eight, I know that it picks up and I'm impressed with how the pace has improved.
That small bit of criticism out of the way, I will say that I do appreciate how detailed you've made this world. There were lots of small lit bits that come from you, not canon, and yet make SO much sense. The whole paragraph about the blood replenishers was really interesting to me. I love reading stories where authors dive into political and medical implications of Rowling's world, and your take on it was super believable. It also helped develop Snape's character in a non-direct way. Even if I was fandom-blind, I would definitely get the sense that he's analytical, detail-oriented and extremely intelligent without you just flat out telling me these facts.
I also really liked how you described the room in the second and third chapters. I'm a sucker for awesome descriptions, and your imagery of once cheery walls and battered doors created a very vivid setting for me. At the same time, these paragraphs didn't feel obtrusive or just like another info/image dump.
OH, and I love love love the idea that Snape would think he needed to kill Harry after the defeat of Voldemort. What an awesome plot thread you came up with. Honestly, I was hoping that this would be a bigger part of the story, though I of course know now that Snape realizes his mistake. It was a very good detail, though, and would make an AWESOME AU follow-up fic.
Good job. :)
| Wendy Brune chapter 1 . 7/23/2015
Hi there! As a member of Team Four in the Reviews Lounge, Too Book Nook, I'm excited to dig into your multi-chaptered fic this month. (I wrote that at the beginning of the month, then read a lot and took notes and never got around to finishing the first review. Bad Wendy!)
Overall this chapter was a solid start. I'll get my biggest criticism out of the way first: if I hadn't read the description first, I would have NO idea who this was about. There's nothing here that actually establishes that this is from Snape's POV. A fandom-blind reader wouldn't be able to tell anything about who our main character is, or even what situation he's coming from. Fair enough, this is FANfiction, so it's completely reasonable to assume that the reader will have this pre-existing knowledge. But you can really elevate your writing, even in the fanfiction setting, by establishing important details within the body of the story.
With that out of the way, I have nothing left but praise! :D My favorite thing about this chapter is your description of the "purgatory" that Snape finds himself in at the opening. The second paragraph, in particular, does a really nice job of fading between the real world and the next one. The inverse of colors with the blood during white against black floors was a really tantalizing image. Also liked the sentence about the 'horrible, dark thing' coming out of the water. Comparing it to an alphabet letter was an unexpected simile, but it worked really well.
I also really liked your characterization of Aberforth. As the reader I was left questioning his motives, which works since he is a rather shifty character. Even fandom-blind readers would have gotten that sense about him from his quick manner and more vague manner of speaking and reacting.
As a side note, I think Cyril Ramson is a very plausible Snape name. ;)
Although I had some issues with this chapter, I think overall it's a very solid start. Looking forward to more.
| Luna Rapunzel chapter 36 . 7/18/2015
OH MY GOD, PROFESSOR WORMBURG AND THE SERPENT! I remember loving that anecdote when Dick mentioned it when Snape first moved into Wormburg's quarters, but I thought it was just a throwaway funny story and NEVER would have expected them to show up from their journey at the end of the story. It was a fantastic surprise and a brilliant image, especially as the thing to end the story on.
I have to say, I did find the ending kind of - disorienting? I was expecting there to eventually be some resolution with finding out exactly why Aberforth helped him or whether he had an ulterior motive, or getting tracked down by Kingsley or someone involved in the Ministry, so to never hear from any of the British characters again made things feel unfinished. (I know there's a sequel, and maybe you address it there, but either way, I felt like it would have belonged best in this story, at least a little.) I also still REALLY REALLY REALLY want to know what the "other place" from the first chapter was and what its significance was, which again I feel like is resolution that belongs better in this story than in a sequel (assuming you did address it there, but why would you when it happened so long before the sequel is set?), and it feels like an unsatisfying loose end to not have it addressed exactly what was going on there when that happened.
I do really like that you end this with Snape's urgency to pack up and move on again, though. Weirdly, it gives the story a nice sense of closure that it both opened and ended with Snape having to uproot everything and make a new life - even though the story ends with us having no idea where he's off to next, it demonstrates that that's the kind of existence he's having to lead after filling in the answers to everything that happened in his first fresh start after leaving Britain, and there was a nice sense of unity in that way between beginning and end.
I'll be honest, this story took a few chapters to really grow on me, but I ended up REALLY REALLY enjoying it once Snape got to Brazil and thereafter, and I'm so glad that I discovered and read this story all the way through. Congratulations on what a great story you've told here!
| Luna Rapunzel chapter 35 . 7/18/2015
Oh, man, finally the breakdown comes. It's REALLY good to see Snape finally express and verbalize and accept everything he's going through and be able to validate it against Dick, between his feeling responsible for not having been able to save Crabbe or any of the other students or even his mother and his massive control issues ("No, it's not, if things are out of my control it's dangerous, it's very dangerous!" - ridiculously irrational yet very sad as a representation of what Snape's experiences have conditioned him to feel and believe) as an unsustainable coping mechanism. I loved that you showed the alcohol and the calming draught slowly ebbing at his inability to keep his face impassive like he wants it to be: sure it makes him feel exposed, but I think it's good for him in the end to be forced into a situation where he /has/ to let everything go, as long as he's in trustworthy company when it happens, which he is since Dick was able to whisk him off and away from everyone else before he fully broke down.
At first I was confused by why exactly he reacted the way he did to learning he had won the Paracelsus, but it makes perfect sense once he explains it, and in retrospect I really really love that /that/ was the venue you used to finally show Snape's breakdown because it's such an indicator of how badly damaged he is that something supposed to be positive resulted in such a freakout and that it's only in that kind of situation where he's finally able to lose control (not that he was /trying/ to lose control in the first place, but you know).
| Luna Rapunzel chapter 34 . 7/17/2015
I'm not sure how I feel about how you're resolving the Snape/Uli relationship. On the one hand, I really like how you've developed her character by showing her mixed sadness and eventual nonchalance/no-hard-feelings attitude: it's clear she cares and feels hurt by Snape's distance and unwillingness to communicate, but it's true to her character that she doesn't get weighed down carrying a grudge or dwelling too much on the past after it's over, and that contrast adds some nice complexity to her character. But on the other, it does feel sort of anticlimactic, especially since (as I've mentioned) I felt ambivalent toward how quickly they leapt from shippable mutually attracted acquaintances to banging, so even that hadn't really fully sunken in and gotten me super invested in their relationship by the time it was over. Great for Uli's character (and even for Snape's character, as of course he's going to withdraw at a time like this), but maybe not so great for relationship trajectory and timing?
I was really amused by Snape's "having a small shout" at his RAs for showing up to work hungover during the festival and very grudgingly giving them time off to get themselves together in order to get solid work done. I have to say, the RAs have been providing REALLY entertaining comic relief ever since you introduced them, and they (along with Benji) are one of my favorite parts of the story as a whole with their well-meaning immaturity and all the ridiculous antics that they get up to and that they get Snape involved in (or involve themselves in, in the case of Snape's business that he'd wanted to keep private). I was glad to see Dick calling Snape out on his terrible letters of recommendation and really entertained by the translation/rewrite Dick insisted on doing - it was funny, for one thing, but it also was SO true to Snape's character that he would be incredibly negative in his wording without realizing that that was a problem (and the ironic contrast between his offhand remark that the references were easy to write since he has so much practice doing it and then seeing Dick's reaction to the letters was great, too).
Great science again in this chapter with the specific results of the Chicago study coming in and your description of what went wrong with the allergic reactions and whatnot (and I got a HUGE KICK out of the werewolf who ignored commands deliberately because he wanted to eat the goat meat, screwing over the integrity of the results in the process). I'm not sure how realistic to how research actually works it was that Dick specifically /didn't/ want his lab to be the one to develop the idea further like with testing it on dragonpox and instead wanted to focus on publishing broader concepts for other labs to pick up on and implement in specific applications, but hey, every research institution is different and my university is a major one with lots of funding, so maybe that actually /is/ a thing at smaller labs like the one Dick is running and I'm just not aware of it because I don't work in that kind of environment, who knows.
| Luna Rapunzel chapter 33 . 7/17/2015
You did an excellent job as always with the science-potions connections in this chapter when depicting the results of the clinical trial in San Paolo, which for me was my favorite part of this chapter. I got a big kick out of the fact that Groups C and D's reaction was to eat all of the test objects - that's hilarious, and the matter-of-fact wording you used to inform us of it made it even more so. I really liked all the little research details you peppered in, like Dick's insistence that it's okay that the potions used in the Chicago trials won't be brewed under Snape's supervision because the results need to be independently replicable to begin with (and the way Dick sort of used that factoid to his advantage to encourage Snape to visit the facilities if they get it wrong). Snape's conviction that the results weren't statistically significant enough to qualify as an accomplishment, let alone merit publication, was spot-on for his character, and the banter between him and Dick about it was very charming.
[We went to her flat, to her little jungle, and pretended.] - Best line of the chapter, in my opinion. Painfully poignantly worded and captured SO much about their relationship and about Snape's trauma in so few words. Also, I was glad to notice that Uli's unique speech and voice seemed in character to me again, especially during her explanation that she was trying to be accommodating but can't keep pretending and not confronting the elephants in the room. Sad to see how things ended between the two of them, but even more sad was the obvious fact that Snape's in a BIG downward spiral and completely throwing himself into his work (both in the lab and before with ridding himself of the skin) to try to push the pain down, and I thought you did a nice job of capturing that avoidance in the narrative voice.
Snape chewing out the donor was fantastic, as was the scorecard Dick drew up at the end of the chapter and all the banter that went with it. Loved it.
| acctdisabled chapter 36 . 7/17/2015
The last chapter- I’m actually sad about this, because your story has really grown on me. The direction and narrative you took it was completely unexpected, and I am so happy to have had the opportunity to review this story because many of the hidden gems in the HP world go unnoticed. This to me, grew to be a gem in my opinion and really gave a new dimension to Snape’s journey. And for that, I thank you.
Wow- so Ben actually knew who Snape was? I really was not expecting that, and what a fact to drop in the last chapter because nowhere in the story was it hinted that any of his RA’s figured out about his true identity. The Canutspiem part totally makes sense about the scar part, and that is interesting that Dick was not forward with Snape from the get go about the possibility he would be outed for his true identity, his real skin. I thought it was great that instead of snapping at others for being mad about figuring out his identity, he took accountability and realized that perhaps his lack of communication and unwillingness to be open with others are a part of the problem.
I loved the part where Dick mentioned that Grossman “respects you a great deal and he wouldn’t do anything to hurt you.” This goes to show that on some level Snape is likeable, and commands a lot more appreciation from those he works with than he realizes. I can see why Snape is concerned that Aberforth would recognize his new name, but why the paranoia Snape? Aberforth has done nothing (allegedly) since helping him out during the beginning of the story. The paragraph where Dick recalls talking about his experiences of living in the jungle and not wanting to come back were great, but I recommend breaking the paragraph up to make it more readable to those viewing it. It was also great to see Dick call out Snape on his tendency to disappear on others, and the ‘we will have our letters’ was a touching nod to how their relationship started. I really hope Snape could come back to Brazil, as the friendship development between him and Dick was nicely done.
The part where you say ‘but I knew reporters’ should probably have ‘were coming,’ since that is what is the context is implying rather than Snape personally knows reporters. Dick made a good call by making the RA party not a surprise, because I wouldn’t have been surprised if Snape dropped dead of a heart attack. That was also nice to see the party went well, but Mata sending him an empty cigarette box was the best thing ever! What a great way to show that Snape has made a profound impact on his students, both in and out of the lab. The knife names were humorous as well. So Professor Wormburg is finally back after all of those years? “The serpent ignored him, as should any intelligent beast,” showed that even with conflict, Snape feels it is still okay to insult Grossman. Loved that the serpent ate all of the piranhas too. The only suggestion I have for this part is to make the reunion a little more lively and emotional between Dick and Wormwod- after not seeing each other for years given they work together I would imagine the reaction would be a little more visceral.
“Dear lord, was I really going to be going camping after all?” God, I feel Snape on that one. I loved the ending too, because now I have to find out what happened to Snape in the end. Now, you are making me want to read the next story, as I am curious to see how the rest of Snape’s journey unfolds. Thank you for writing this unique and enjoyable story, and it has been fun reviewing your story as a part of the Book Nook contest.
| acctdisabled chapter 35 . 7/17/2015
Okay, so the first paragraph of the chapter showed that Snape still feels that the only progress to be made is that having actual results instead of eliminating any dead ends. Dead end solutions are still great in research because that means you are one step closer to finding out the actual solution. I loved the fact everyone through him a party and he was too oblivious to realize that was why his RA’s were missing from their usual stations in the lab. Even Dr. Zosimos congratulated him, which was really surprising to be honest to see play out. However, the ‘your distiller’ part killed me, because once again Zosimos is over inflating his actual talent- good thing for Zosimos because clearly he is why Snape was successful- ha!
Very awesome of Dick to secretly nominate Snape, who of course reacted the way he would. The thing I find compelling about your interpretation of Snape is that he is very contradictory in his need for attention. He likes to think of himself as superior to others, and yet part of him is very uncomfortable when he actually gets the right kind of attention. Here, he is awarded something many researchers dream of achieving, and yet his visceral response is shock and fear over it. Now, he is faced with the dilemma of going back to where he was from, and this is what he chose to focus on instead of celebrating the moment. Granted, he has a valid reason to feel the way he does, but yet again Snape cannot relax and simply enjoy the present.
I liked the line where you mention “cold air, wet grass, mud, and blood,” which is a subtle yet effective reference to his ‘death.’ However, to make this scenery more powerful, I suggest having an actual flashback here (a small one)- this would convey his fear and trepidation more than a hint, especially since a little lower in the paragraph Snape tries to ‘pull himself’ back into the present, so to speak. The mum part was really sad, and is something at least in this story that Snape didn’t address too much, but the nonetheless has really impacted him. It was very thoughtful and a tad bit heartwrenching to see Snape and Dick talk about her death, but on the other hand this shows Snape’s growth. Never in a million years would he open up about his frustrations about not being able to save people in the beginning of the story.
“I’m always too late” was a line that really summarized his distorted belief system that it is his job to save everyone, when in fact a reality of life is that you aren’t responsible and are not able to save everyone. The part where Snape talks about his students was really sad, but to make the emotional impact stronger, add dialogue tags and describe how he felt when recalling this. This part of the chapter seemed kind of rushed and honestly is the best part that should be highlighted more. Especially the part about Crabbe, because Snape obviously holds major regret about his death. Dick’s reaction about needing to let it go was exactly what Snape needed to hear, because something you have done a good job throughout the story is highlighting Snape’s inability to let go. I am so, so glad Snape finally cried and let his emotions out- I’ve been waiting for this the whole story!
Dick’s line about Snape’s donor count was hilarious! I really hope Snape changes his mind though, he truly deserves the recognition and a moment in the sun after all of the crap he has been through. Great job with this chapter!
| Luna Rapunzel chapter 32 . 7/17/2015
Your opening two lines in this chapter - [I still had to find away to make the potion repeat. I still had to find a way to make sure the skin would not repeat.] - are awesome. I love the connection Snape draws between the two: it's poetic, and even just the wording of it does a great job of showing his mental state at the time and his sort of unhealthy, singular fixation on these two things.
It took me a minute to make the connection that Avery was masquerading under the clerk's identity, but once I did, I really appreciated that detail (and really enjoyed seeing Snape play up the ditzy-girl persona under the Polyjuice in order to extract Avery's handwriting to give to the skin). I love that Snape's plan alluded to in the previous chapter turned out to be to reset the skin to work against Avery instead of against him, and I love how subtly you revealed that in the narrative by showing it as Snape was doing it instead of having laid it all out and info-dumped it as soon as he formulated the plan in the previous chapter.
The flashback at the end to his betraying Avery in their alliance in the Hunt back in Slytherin house was great, too. For the same reason as with the rewiring-the-skin plan, I love that you've been showing Snape reflecting back on his memories of the Hunt throughout the story without explicitly dumping all at once an explanation of what it is - that's a really nice, organic way to weave it realistically into the way he would think about it instead of getting trapped into awkwardly pausing the narrative to explain at length.
| Luna Rapunzel chapter 31 . 7/17/2015
Ooh, this was a really compelling chapter and I have /thoughts/!
Loved Snape's sarcastic nature coming through when he remarks on how Dick "kindly extracted" his blood to soak the dirty socks in and leave as bait in the forest. Really makes you wonder exactly what spell Dick used to do the extracting, too, haha.
I thought you did a really nice job in this chapter of integrating the summary/description of Snape's latest nightmare - the trapped bird dream that prompted his decision to go get the bag out of the bait and keep it on his person - into the body of the chapter. I know I commented a few chapters ago on the structure of opening chapters with nightmare sequences starting to get repetitive, and this is exactly how I was hoping you would break the mold - still incorporating the dreams with all their significance, but not doing it in such a rigid format each time. (Snape's paranoia about the bag was great, too, and clearly warranted given that it paid off a very short time later.)
I got really excited about your depiction of the modifications Snape made to the Wolfsbane Potion variant he was working on - yay for thorough descriptions merging potioneering with chemistry! I was really amused by Dick's insistence later in the chapter that Snape publish his current results instead of waiting until he'd also made a single dose last through multiple months. Priorities!
Another thing that amused me was this entire paragraph: [Bloody hell, what was pocket in Portuguese? The only thing I could seem to remember were swears. I said all of them. The skin made a convulsive movement against me and drew me in up to my shoulder. I closed my eyes and tried to picture my Portuguese textbook. Chapter 7: Let's Go Shopping! Estes sapatos estao apertados. No! That wasn't right!] The "I said all of them" quip about only being able to remember swearwords was perfect and fitting, and the juxtaposition of the ridiculousness of "Let's Go Shopping!" (especially when compared to the translated meaning of the Portuguese quote that you provide in the author's note at the bottom) with the horrifying thing happening was fantastic comedic timing.
Fantastic attention to detail with the "J. Williams" paper and Snape making the connection that the library clerk was the person whom the skin had been made from - it's really nice to see you bridging the gaps between the different settings within the story. You did a nice job showing Snape's default reaction to trauma, too, in the paragraph in which he starts dwelling on all the reasons why he got lucky and could have gotten himself killed, then tries to bury the thoughts. So much repression so very typical of your Snape. I would have liked to see a /little/ more of an emotional reaction from him, but I'll live.
Interesting worldviews from Snape at two particular moments toward the end of the chapter: first the sentiment that [Whether he believed it or not was less important than if he would play along] when he needs Mata to agree not to tell anyone about the skin, which was interesting, and then Snape's reaction that Mata saving his life was "another debt," which was in-character and suitably Slytherin but also very sad.