Not all the time, you understand. Just at those pivotal moments when you open that letter to find out that:
Maybe you didn’t get the promotion out of the customer service pool that you were gunning for and on top of that your boss has announced layoffs!
Yeah, we know, believe us, we know!
And once again your fully employed (with benefits!), Ivy League degree-holding, suburban living, two-car owning friends and relatives with excellent credit are telling you to pick yourself up, dust yourself off, and start all over again.
Well screw that!
Why waste your time putting on a Pollyanna façade when you just want to scream? Or weep? Or wail? Sometimes you need to feel the pain before it pries its claws out of your hide and slithers back into the hole from which it ambushed you. You need to wallow in the angst and cry your tears before the pain is purged.
So, to help get you through your real-world agony – and let you enjoy watching someone else suffer for a while – here are
Let’s just go right for the jugular shall we? In this offering from the Severitus subgenre, Severus Snape and Harry Potter find out they are father and son just when Harry discovers he has cancer.
True, the bitter potions master is much less so here as he uses all of his magical and muggle pharmaceutical knowledge to help Harry in an effort to make up for his past bullying behavior as well as lost time. But it doesn’t ease the pain of watching Harry suffer and fight a battle which no one can prophesize he’ll win.
Currently, the story sits at “To be continued” status and was last updated in 2012. However, with 45 chapters already completed, you’ll get more than your fill of needed angst.
This unflinching look at life after the Battle of Hogwarts pulls no punches in exploring the wounds carried by the survivors who return to the school to help with the rebuilding effort. From Draco Malfoy’s inability to stop cutting himself, to Lavender Brown’s compulsive promiscuity, to Theodore Nott’s alcoholism, and Hermione Granger’s crushing depression, this story is a long slow grind of heartbreak and healing.
When the wounded survivors keep coming, eventually they decide to form a support group where they try to help each other overcome or at least cope with their afflictions. But it quickly becomes clear that there is no magic that can help them.
All they can do is hold each other’s hands as they walk through the shadow of their suffering and look for some light. Just like the survivors, you’ll leave this story unsettled and hurting because it’s clear these characters will never be completely okay again.
Here is another redemption tale, this time featuring Severus Snape. In a narrative that’s part fanfic and part fairy tale, Snape runs from the atrocities he committed and those committed against him by joining the “folk of the wood.”
These are the sentient trees that once were humans crushed by their own or others’ wrongs. Through the process of growing year after year from spindly twigs to towering oaks their souls regenerate until they are able to move on.
You can almost feel the sunlight shining through the branches as you read it and watch Snape move from sorrow to serenity.
Once again, we have a tale where Harry Potter is in dire peril. But this time, instead of magic he’s saved by…Dudley!
Set during Harry’s fifth year just after the Dementors strike, Dudley’s recovery from the experience – which forced him to feel the misery he’d inflicted on his cousin and others – starts him questioning his parents’ behavior.
He comes to realize that they’re abusing Harry and when Vernon’s abuse leaves Harry critically injured, Dudley decides to step up and play hero. He gets a message off to members of the Order of the Phoenix then throws a barely conscious Harry into a “borrowed” car and tries to find them.
The story leaves you on a knife’s edge, horrified at Harry’s predicament, hopeful that Dudley gets help in time, and heartbroken over how different Harry’s life could have been if just one Dursley had bothered to help.
A different child is imperiled in this fanfic. Harry’s daughter Lily Luna is ill and even the healers at St. Mungo’s can’t find a cure.
When Harry discovers that Severus Snape is his father, he doesn’t want to know or have any kind of relationship with the man. But when he realizes the potions master might have specialized knowledge that could help Lily, he has to put his resentment aside and break through the man’s bitterness in order to help his daughter.
Unfortunately, he finds he may have come to this conclusion too late – a mistake that costs him dearly.
This is a harrowing Draco/Hermione romance that starts in horrific circumstances. Hermione wakes up covered in blood and trapped in a room with Death Eater Draco Malfoy.
Things are not what they seem, however. And as Hermione struggles to unravel the puzzle of how she got there while struggling to survive in the same space as an apparently homicidal Draco (who hears voices!), she discovers that Voldemort wasn’t the only psychopath inhabiting Malfoy Manor.
More horror show than weep-fest, this fanfic will nevertheless leave you heartbroken as you follow Hermione’s discovery of what happened to Draco at Malfoy Manor when the Dark Lord came to stay.
It’s tempting to say this story will only give you happy tears because it’s all about what should have been.
What would have happened if Petunia Dursley had actually had a soul and treated Harry with the loving kindness any child deserves? What would have happened if Petunia had brought Harry and Dudley up as brothers with the sturdier Dudley in the role of protective big brother?
And what would have happened if Petunia had refused to let those magical people make her feel less-than and instead used every muggle means at her command to fight for Harry against Death Eaters and delusional do-gooder wizards (yeah, we’re looking at you, Dumbles)?
What happens is you find yourself caught between tears of happiness at seeing Harry get the life he deserved and tears of anguish at knowing it never was and never could be.
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