OH MY GOODNESS, JANE.
That's pretty much all I can think of right now. This was fanstastic; so well-written and an excellent look into the mind of Dolohov that made me look at him in a new light.
I love the contrast between the present and past versions of Dolohov, how disillusioned he was by the promises they were fed by Voldemort. It's interesting how he didn't realize it would go as far as it did and it was at that point that he started to rethink things. The manic excitement he displays in his confrontation with the Prewett brothers, that pride that he would be the one to claim these murders as his own, is such a stark contrast to the tired, resigned man we see who can't sleep and loses himself in waking nightmares while smoking through packs of cigarettes (and that he's even more afraid of the nightmares never going away once in Azkaban is even more heartbreaking).
With the first flashback, I was waiting in anticipation while we figured out who Dolohov was after and then, oh my god, my heart stopped when I realized you were writing Fabian and Gideon's deaths. It's just so heartbreaking - they were waiting for them, basically, like they knew what their fates were and they were simply just waiting for the Death Eaters to find them. And then Fabian told Gideon to stay where he was, a foolish attempt to save his brother, perhaps, and seriously, MY HEART JUST BROKE. And then you just smashed it into even tinier pieces when Gideon just stared at Dolohov, resigned to die, and wow! Dolohov does have a heart, at least a little one. The whole line about 'no point in tidying a house for dead men' just about killed me even further.
THIS STORY. MY HEART. Everything about it. The ending, especially, the idea that he's just waiting for the day that he goes to Azkaban, knowing that he deserves to rot in that prison for the crimes he committed - and I love how you say that they commit it in Voldemort's name, like they're sort of unloading their guilt onto Voldemort because he made them do it.
I LOVED THIS (and everything you write).
Author's Response: MISSY. HOW AM I SUPPOSED TO RESPOND TO THIS. I am just so glad that you can read this after reading some of my more, ahem, recent things, and leave such a lovely review to boot! It's a huge confidence boost. :)
It took me a while to write this because I wanted to get those emotions as spot-on as possible -- that guilt, that contrast between past and present -- and I just... I cannot even begin to express my appreciation for this. :D It so broke my heart to write Fabian and Gideon's deaths, but at the same time, I didn't want to sugarcoat it or make it less than I saw it in my head. I thought it was very important to show that brutality, and maybe if I hadn't, the first part might not have juxtaposed so jarringly. I'm not sure.
But anyway, rambling aside -- thank you so much for this, and I'm so, so glad you've enjoyed it, too! You are fabulous and I am immensely appreciative that you are willing to leave such lovely things in your reader-y wake. ♥