Finally, finally, finally.
I'm finally happy with this story. Nine months after I pulled it from my submission list, after getting two pairs of fresh eyes on it, after tearing my hair out and wondering what the frell was wrong with it...it's done and I actually like it.
Not only did I figure out how to make my protagonist protag, but I tweaked the final scene so it wasn't bugging me anymore. It's a tiny tweak, but it makes all the difference in the character's outlook and his AHA moment. Also, his utter capitulation. *evil laughter*
Seriously, this story is a hundred percent better than it was. Of course, it's also 1500 words longer, but hey.
I think I'll ship it off to Writers of the Future today.