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Fic Recs: September 8, 2022

Phew. It's been a hot minute. (And I do mean hot—as I write, it's over 100 °F/80 °C for the fourth consecutive day chez Squibstress.)

My fic reading and reccing has fallen way, way behind, but I recently finished two longer pieces that desperately need reccing, both of which feature unusual takes on familiar tropes and characters.

Author: margaretrevie
Rating: R/M
Word Count:35,0075
Characters: Albus Dumbledore/Minerva McGonagall, many canon and original characters
Summary:The interweaving paths of Minerva McGonagall and Albus Dumbledore. Their lives may not have turned out as they thought, but they are forever intertwined. MMAD fic, featuring lots of OCs, plus Poppy, Augusta, and Rolanda. Re-doing and updating in 2021. Warning for character deaths. Cross-posted to FFNet under the same username.

Why You Should Read It:

This is a long-arc story that hits—and artfully subverts—many of the usual tropes and expectations for an Albus/Minerva fic. It wins a place alongside some of my favorites because it delivers what I always want but seldom get from fic about this ship: a deep and unflinching exploration of the complexities of a relationship between two powerful, flawed characters. It digs beyond the obvious issues of power dynamics and age differences to get at fundamental differences between their personalities and worldviews which love may or may not overcome.

This Minerva and Albus are each far from perfect, and far from perfect for one another, and author margaretrevie doesn’t shy away from the less attractive aspects of their personalities: Albus’s enormous ego and his desperate need to be admired, and Minerva’s intolerance of what she sees as frailty or moral imperfection. The length of the fic gives the characters room to change and grow over time, which is part of what makes it such a satisfying read.

The story also features some powerful magic of a kind that one encounters in other fics, but rarely are the practical and emotional ramifications for the characters who practice it so thoughtfully and poignantly explored. I won’t spoil it for you with too much detail, but the author takes a trope particularly beloved of AD/MM shippers and gives it a realistic (in the HP realm) treatment that delivers a punch to the gut.

Added to all that, you’ll find satisfying and surprising backstory for several familiar HP characters as icing on this lovely, richly textured cake.

Author: ScarlettWriter91
Rating: PG-13/T
Word Count: 213,405
Characters: Severus Snape, Harry Potter, Remus Lupin, Albus Dumbledore/Minerva McGonagall
Summary: Severus Snape has agreed to take in Harry Potter during the summer before his Third Year. Temporarily. Just until the end of summer and not a day longer. But secrets about Harry’s home life are being revealed and things are changing too fast for Harry to keep up. Can he and Snape survive their time together? If not, it’s going to make for a very long summer. I’ve moved up the blowing up of Marge to the very beginning of summer.

Why You Should Read It: This is a (slightly AU) Severitus story that manages to keep Severus in character even as it explores a side of him we don’t see in canon and that is often unbelievable in fic. Not here.

ScarlettWriter91 manages to thread the needle between depicting an in-character (read: grumpy, often mean) Snape and imagining the man he might have become had someone (anyone!) intervened during his miserable youth.

The depictions of PTSD and Severus’s methods of helping young Harry are so poignant and painful (and content warnings all around, BTW, for anyone potentially triggered by depictions of child abuse), and the story’s resolution so satisfying without being saccharine or unbelievable. (It’s actually a bit heartbreaking in a meta sort of way to see what might have become of Severus had he received any support as an adolescent.) Read it with a hankie close to hand.