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Review: All Who Wander
Title: All Who Wander
Author: Anonymous
Rating: NC-17
Word Count: 19,300 words
Warning(s): (highlight for spoilers) *Magical AU*
Summary: Severus, a self-exiled British wizard, lives a solitary life on the American plains, studying the magic of the land. Harry, a reluctant newlywed traveling west, is found by Severus, half-dead and miles from his party. The two have much more in common than it would appear, and embark on a quest together to bring Harry home – wherever that may be.

Utilizing the spare setting and quiet atmosphere of Brokeback Mountain as inspiration, this fic tells the story of English wizard Severus Snape and his encounter with Harry Potter, a young newlywed who’s been felled in an accident and requires healing at Snape’s hands. A dose of Pepper Up potion reveals that Potter is a wizard, but this is news to the young man, who latches on to his new identity with alacrity. Snape takes on the task of seeing Potter healed and educated in at least rudimentary magic, and over the course of long days and nights spent together on the open trail of the American Southwest, the two men slowly come to appreciate one another - first as mentor and student, and later as men.

The unhurried pacing and the natural evolution of the Snape/Harry relationship comes through in such a way that even before they come together sexually, the intimacy of their relationship shines through and is the true focus of the piece. The fic is heart-warming and uplifting and well-crafted as well as gives a resolute but positive closure to Harry's past with Ginny and offers a promising future for Severus and Harry.


Review: Miles to Go
Title: Miles to Go
Author: Anonymous
Rating: R
Word Count: 1,900 words
Warning(s): (highlight for spoilers) *Depression and recovery*
Summary: But I have promises to keep, and miles to go before I sleep, and miles to go before I sleep. ~Robert Frost

Sometimes, a small story, this one just under two thousand words, delivers a powerful effect in all its brevity. Miles to Go contains its action in a single room – Harry’s bedroom at Grimmauld Place – and features only Harry and Severus as Harry fights post-war depression. The intense focus on Harry and Severus in the small space plays upon the reader, who feels even more Harry’s exhaustion and Severus’ frustration at wanting to help but not being able to pull Harry out of his depression. Severus’ powerlessness to do anything may seem like a failure to him, but in the end, it is in being there, in not leaving, in accepting Harry’s need of him at this moment in that room, that turns the tide. This little gem of a story tugged at my heart and made me hurt for Harry and Severus, but ended, like the night, with a faint glow on the horizon.


Review: One For Sorrow, Two For Joy
Title: One For Sorrow, Two For Joy
Author: Anonymous
Rating: NC-17
Word Count: 21,595 words
Content/Warning(s): (highlight for spoilers) *None*
Summary: A tale of chance and change in two parts; written for two principals, several secondaries, a choir of children and a bird.

When Headmaster Severus Snape diagnoses himself with the dreaded AOAD (Adult Onset Animagus Disorder), he consults the resident AOAD specialist at St. Mungo’s, Harry Potter. He’s been hiding his symptoms fairly well, but Harry recommends embracing his inner form instead of hiding it, and starts Severus off with an intensive week-long therapy session at the hospital. What results is a lovely re-acquaintance as Harry visits Hogwarts regularly to check on his patient and provide follow-up consultation. In the meantime, Severus deals with an inter-school Quidditch competition, students and faculty who get wind of his sensitive condition, and a very distracting obsession with shiny baubles and colorful trinkets – and with Harry Potter himself. This story simply soars on its own, and the free flight is bolstered with the Quidditch intrigue and Severus’ avian Animagus form. Healer Potter wants to help. He is sincere, and his bedside manner patient and professional (“How did that make you feel?” or “Say it again, Severus. Out loud.”). The contrast of the normally acerbic headmaster with the man in front of Harry, transfixed by a yo-yo, is so incongruous yet so masterfully drawn that the reader can’t help but root first for Severus, then for Severus and Harry, as they realize that Severus’ Animagus form is…well…looking for a mate. One for Sorrow, Two for Joy is a delightful, intriguing read from beginning to end, featuring an inspired Animagus form for Severus, an interesting career for Harry, a cast of well-drawn canonical and original characters and, at the end, a Severus who finds it “good, so very good, to fly.”


Review: Sleeping in the Light
Title: Sleeping in the Light
Author: Anonymous
Rating: R
Word Count: 5,550 words
Content/Warning(s): (highlight for spoilers) *None*
Summary: That impossible light in his cell, like daylight, only sharper, fiercer, angrier. It singed his eyes, making them ache, it made him nauseated, it seemed to find its way even under the blanket he’d throw over his head. There was no escaping that light. And yet, he got used to it. And then – he realized he couldn’t do without it anymore.

When I read this story the first time, I was left with the memory of beaches in the sunlight, the way the sun reflects on the sand and makes everything too bright, lighting even the back of your eyelids when your eyes are closed. Sleeping in the Light is the tale of Harry and Severus after Severus is released from Azkaban, and agrees to go to a home Harry has purchased for them in Mexico. Harry is so patient, and Severus wants so much for things to return to normal, but they fumble around – literally and figuratively – until finally Harry understands and gives Severus the light he needs, but does not know how to request. Eloquently told in a quiet, understated way, the story unfolds in the quiet space of a sunny bedroom and in the golden light of a single candle. A beautiful, hopeful tale of patience and recovery.


Review: Waking Dreams
Title: Waking Dreams
Author: Anonymous
Rating: NC-17
Word Count: 23,300 words
Warning(s): (highlight for spoilers) *A bond and quite a bit of whisky.*
Summary: Two men in a bar, a strange case, the Dark Mark, old relationships, and new beginnings.

Waking Dreams brings us a Harry Potter who, realizing he couldn’t continue to live a lie with Ginny, confesses his homosexuality and leaves her. They have a son – James – and the story opens as Harry attends Ginny’s wedding – to Draco Malfoy. But the wedding is really a device to launch the story, for Severus Snape appears at the wedding, and Harry’s thoughts are turned back to the unexpected relationship he had with Snape during his eighth year at Hogwarts. Harry begins to turn up at the Hog’s Head and he and Severus become reacquainted. The bits of conversation to which the author treats us are wistful, and the back story of Harry and Severus is slowly and satisfyingly filled in.

When the Dark Mark appears over a Muggle home and Harry’s scar begins to hurt again, we’re drawn into a mystery that deepens the burgeoning relationship between Harry and Severus. In the end, desperate to know if a remnant of Voldemort still lives within him, Harry allows Severus to use a form of Legilimency to search his very soul.

This story explores the concept of soul bonds in a fresh and original way, spinning off from canon but changing some elements in a way that truly enhances the story. The Ginny/Draco relationship is in the background, but used to develop Harry and explore his role as a father and the shared custody arrangement, and does not intrude on the story in any way. The children – both Harry and Ginny’s James and Ron and Hermione’s Rose – are cute but not distracting, both used, again, in a fluid, natural way to advance the plot and develop character. This is a story of a mature Harry, with conflicted but mature feelings, and of Severus, wanting Harry again, but not quite wanting the control that Harry is willing to give him. Waking Dreams is a beautiful story of Harry and Severus finding their way back to each other.

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