You Can’t Have One Without The Other – RachelW
Rating: Acceptable Minus
The Basics: Phoenix Era, Angst, 100k
Warnings: Non-Con-ish, BDSM, Abuse-ish, NC-17 Sexual Content, Darkfic
Hermione Granger is forced by new Marriage Laws to make a difficult choice. She makes the best decision that she can, but is she ready to deal with the consequences?
First off, one very important thing to know is that this story has two different endings. If you read it the story on Ashwinder, it has an unhappy, non-romance, non-thoughtful ending. Do not recommend. I actually gave this my lowest recommendation until I read somewhere that the Petulant Poetess ending was different. That ending was BRILLIANT! It’s still not what I would call a romance, but it’s beautiful and interesting enough to make the story worthwhile, in my opinion.
The story is beautifully written, but I must strongly insist that there is a ton of barely consensual brutal sex. The author calls it BDSM, but I am not quite sure I agree, as BDSM takes place between equal and willing partners and that is definitely not what you have in this fic. It’s just short of sexual and psychological abuse and torture, in my opinion, but sex + pain is not my preference. This sex is almost nothing but aggressive ‘BDSM’ sex, so if you don’t like that, you might want to skip this one.
That said, I did find the strong, independent Hermione to pretty fabulous. I liked her immensely. But I don’t read SSHG fanfiction for a fabulous Hermione – I read it for fabulous SSHG.
The bottom line: Barely an SSHG romance. Definitely not an SSHG friendship. Snape is very nearly the villain. It’s sort of an uneasy, imperfect, incredibly dark take on the relationship, but the unique and thoughtful ending (Petulant Poetess version only) is enough for me to still recommend it, if you can tolerate the metric truckload of BDSM sex. I’m not sure I would recommend it to myself, but for people with stronger tastes for pain + sex, maybe. The writing is fantastic.