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This story takes the Severus/Lily relationship, with all its red flags for his abusive home life and association with the Death Eaters, and justifies it by first letting his entire canon life happen and then sending him back to try again. As a result, Severus is very aware of his own failings, both those that he can share and those he has to conceal for the sake of the war, and he has decades of experience in living his life for Lily's sake. With his greater patience and maturity, and especially when he turns his back on the Death Eaters, Lily is willing to forgive him and give their friendship another chance.
The highlight of the story has to be its characterisation of Severus, his pride and devotion and regrets and triumphs, and the second feature is its depiction of his relationship with Lily - including alternating between their two points of view, allowing the reader to watch them grow closer, watch Lily learn to accept how strongly he feels about her and Severus gradually soften as he becomes more confident of her love in return. He isn't whitewashed, but his strengths and talents are respected alongside his faults. Lily's character is obviously much less blemished, never having lived through war or served the darkness, but her relative inexperience and sometimes impulsiveness are visible alongside her kind heart and intuitive magical skill.
Some readers may be bothered by the level of codependency on display, especially when Lily's safety is on the table; Severus makes it very clear that he cannot handle the idea of losing her, and is willing to go to great lengths to minimise her risks, even against her will. Besides the fact that this is quite a realistic reaction from him, though, a careful reading shows that it isn't really abusive. He doesn't keep her locked up in a cage, she has plenty of agency and contributes a great deal to society, and he does encourage her in that - so long as it doesn't put her at the front lines of the war. Even his need to know where she is, though a clear sign of his known emotional health issues, does not cross the line into actually punishing her for going out without him knowing; he simply spent a sleepless night waiting for her. And he is happy for that tracking to go both ways. And, being happier than he has ever been before in either lifetime, Severus' heart gradually softens, even toward the bumbling students he used to despise and the Marauders who made his life miserable.
There are also some really touching events that I don't recall seeing in other fics, such as Dumbledore being able to use the Resurrection Stone to make the apologies he was so desperate for in canon, and the Grey Lady similarly using it to find peace and pass on. The redemption of several students who would have become Death Eaters, through Severus' political machinations within Slytherin House, is nice to see, too.
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