A perfect example of the power of simplicity. You're a beautiful writer, Marina.
I wasn't certain whether or not you intended it to be this way, but there was a bit of a rhyme in the first sentence that was really pleasant. It's probably one of the simpler opening sentences I've come across, to be honest. I've seen stories with similar beginnings, in which we open up with the sound of rain to pull the readers into the immediate atmosphere of the story, and while they've all been fine and good in the past, this is the first time I've seen this kind of beginning really have an affect. Even if that affect was simply 'I wonder if she did that rhyme on purpose?', it's still more than I've ever gotten from a story with weather. And the further I read into the story, the more I got a handle on your writing, the more I realized how every word you use is specifically selected for a reason and to serve a purpose, I decided that you probably wrote that sentence with precise intention. You're clearly one of those authors who knows exactly which word to use where in order to pull us readers in and hold us captivated throughout a story. That talent shined here.
So sticking with that first sentence for a moment longer, the fact that the rain pleased him was a nice change from the norm as well - the norm being a really whiny teen who seems unable to find joy in anything. I call it the 'Bella Swan Syndrome', but that's unimportant here. Part of me wonders, though, if that's entirely accurate for Filch's character, only because I assume that rain means mud, which means students spreading mud through Hogwarts for him to clean up. And yet, even with that idea in the back of my head, the rain pleasing him still seems to fit perfectly... How'd you like that for a contradicting opinion, eh? ^.^
You had this truly clever twist in the beginning, where we immediately read the story believing it to be in the POV of Filch, only to discover that it's Rosmerta and her observations that we're hearing here. And I have to say that I love how observant she is in this fic, how she seemed to know Filch so well that I actually believed it was his POV! And the crazy thing is, that she actually doesn't know him well at all! Because he won't let her. But she has learned to understand that side of him, the exterior, so in depth that it truly could have been his thoughts, not hers.
"The caretaker did not value emotions nearly as much as his pride." - Ah, this sentence is just such a perfect description of Filch, so unattached to emotions, so against showing any softer side, so prideful - exactly. And then to follow it up with this: "Hopelessly English, the only place I could enter were his eyes." - Gorgeous. And sad. Almost heartbreaking how incredibly closed off he is and how badly Rosmerta just wants to be let in further. And even when she tried in the past, she was proven unsuccessful at digging into the life of Argus Filch. And I loved that decision to leave him as such a mystery to us, because for the first time ever, I would really like to learn more about Filch. I would love to hear your version of the man behind the eyes here. Just, you know, in case you ever think about writing him more fully... *pokes* ;-)
It's incredible how full of a character you made Filch into. And you did it without even giving us that many details about him - the story focused on his exterior, but I feel like I learned a lot, regardless of the fact that all of the actual substance and story would be in the other details, the things we don't learn here, the internal. But something as simple as telling us that Rosmerta can't even ask him 'How are you tonight, Argus?' makes it so clear how very little he will allow himself to be effected, to be seen as anything other than the caretaker.
While I can't say that I support Rosmerta longing for Filch, the fact that you made this extremely odd pairing work so flawlessly, it's just an incredible reflection on your talents as an author. I never would have walked into a story like this because I would have assumed that there was just no way I could be swayed in the slightest, but here it is - and I think that's due in large part because of the fact that you used so much restraint with their relationship. What really won me over with the pairing was the paragraph about how she seemed to enjoy the indifference, the fact that she was ineffectual to him, and how through her attempts to get him to open up to her, she ended up revealing more about herself than with anyone else. And that actually made me sort of question Filch and his ability to maybe keep a secret, to take Rosmerta's words and keep them for himself. It's almost sweet - something I never thought I would say about Argus Filch. ^.^
The ending: Again, while I'm certainly not about to start shipping Filch/Rosmerta, you understood how bizarre the couple was and that throwing them into a romantic situation all at once would just be way to much for the readers, and so you laid this simple, subtle chemistry - this really beautiful moment where, for the first time, Filch has allowed a small smile to reach his mouth and Rosmerta has found the courage to touch her lips to his cheek. It was really sweet and simple and touching that such a small gesture made me smile.
The description in this entire piece was just stunning. And I could go on forever with examples and explanations, but I would never wrap this review up! Still, I had to point it out because it truly deserves the acknowledgement. You write your descriptions with clear and precise intentions and it makes reading your writing an absolute joy.
I LOVE YOU!
Author's Response: Tanya, I keep trying to reply to this review but I don't think there are really any words I can say that match the awesomeness that is this review. It's actually an essay! I wrote this during my crazy Marina/Filch stage, when I decided that I was going to make Filch a cool guy, or at least a guy with some depth. Pretty much everyone characterises him as this mean old grumpy caretaker when he's actually really attractive. Or not. But, you know, let's pretend?
Haha, whatever. Basically, thank you for the super awesome indepth and flattering review. I'll be coming back to this one every time I need a smile :)