So as soon as I saw wolf my first thought was admittedly Remus, because well he is obviously one. And it was confusing for a moment before I thought that probably it was Teddy. So I was on the lookout for him everywhere after that.
I also love the idea that Rose has to decide what the wolf means, has to one day learn that "there is far more to Seeing than looking into a cup." There's a contradictory nature to that advice and to Divination in general, which is what Rose says she doesn't like about it: she likes to think that her future is up to her and Divination seems to contradict that, but at the same time, she gets to decide the significance of things in her life and ultimately has control over her future. It's like--BRM inception noise.
Your description of China is so earthy and real, I feel like I'm there! It looks very green to me, and red, like clay, and I feel like you have the perfect tone for the enormity of the country but also the closeness and mysticism of the kind of old-world Seer.
Lily's letter is obviously infuriating--I have read stories about her before being generally unpleasant but here you can tell she's playing a game. Her letter appears too wholly innocent to actually be that way. And poor Albus--I also like that he and Rose are close friends. I always have imagined them that way and the way you've written their characters from what we can see in this chapter supports their friendship.
This chapter also made me suspicious of Scorpius's intentions. I couldn't tell here if he was after nursing his own broken heart, which despite in the first chapter seeming empty and hollow, I believe he has. I couldn't tell also if he was after revenge...
I think the flower thing is something perfect that Albus would say. It's easy going and joking enough but you can tell it's kind of an angry thing. Still made me laugh--my name is Lily and I've been jokingly called almost every other everyday flower name over the whole of my life that this little quip even added to the reality of the story. It seems surreal in a way, that she's so far away and still can't escape her home life...but at the same time, the pacing of Rose's thoughts, the way they bounce around, the way she's hard on herself and doesn't stay away and actually plans to go back...it's all so real at the same time.
Author's Response: Haha, because Teddy could pop out at any moment, even when Rose is halfway across the world (it was actually part of the original plan to make him pop up in China, but sadly, I put that aside as the story developed - it would have been fun, though). Anyway, you're right that the reading of tea leaves is primarily based on one's own interpretation rather than what's in a book because it's very much like those Freud ink blots - it's impossible to see exactly what it is, rather your imagination does the work for you. Whether Rose or Ming had Teddy in mind, I don't know - it could just have been a dog (to signify Scorpius's behaviour? :P That'd be cruel to dogs). I love what you've said about Rose choosing her own future, though - she's very independent, and she spends most of her time paving her own way even though she could have had it easy and let things play out as others (her parents, for example, or Scorpius) wished them, but that's not how she is. It gets her into trouble, but maybe in the end it'll work out for the better. ;)
I'm very glad to hear that the description of China had the right feel to it - I've never been there, and was just guessing based on National Geographic's photos and what I've seen on television. Rose is definitely in one of the rural parts of the country, a valley somewhere near the mountains, so there's more of a feeling of vastness and openness that greatly appeals to her. She'll always have a connection to that place, even though she'll spend most of her life in England.
When I think about it, I can't remember why I made Lily such a nasty character - she's manipulative, almost more than Scorpius because she lacks his repressed emotions and down-to-earth side (that Rose typically brought out of him). Her letter, more than anything else, throws Rose over the edge because it goes too far - it's testing Rose, in a lot of ways, and catches at her weaknesses.
Albus has a very different personality, and even now I can't explain why Lily is the way that she is - I guess siblings are like that sometimes, so perhaps it's possible. I'm glad that you like him, though, as he's one of my favourite next-gen characters to write. He's got a lot of common sense, which Rose lacks in many ways (she's more of the intuitive type). The flower joke was bound to come up sometime - JKR includes so many flower names in her story that she's got a lovely English garden amongst her witches. XD
Thank you so much for reading and reviewing this story! It means a lot to hear from you and I love how detailed your reviews are! ^_^