I've been looking forward all week to getting back and reading this chapter -- somehow, what with this week's massive load of deadlines, nothing sounded more appealing to me than dropping it all and immersing myself in fan fiction, and yours was one of the ones I was most anxious to get back to. I just can't help rooting for Severus and Avrille!
This was my absolute favorite quote from this chapter --
I started slightly at his question since I had been strangely mesmerized by the way his thumb had been caressing the twig’s smooth bark.
And the reason I think that I liked it so much was because that you, like me, seem to think Severus's hands are fantastic -- and we've never really seen them in canon, either! I thought that was so neat, and allowed myself to daydream just for a bit about them. :3
Your Lockhart continues to impress and amuse me greatly -- by far he blows most other Lockharts out of the water, with the obvious exception of JKR's own. But yours reads very much like that one, which is such a lovely relief and pleasure. His line about the staining possibilities of the salve, especially, because it is just like him to worry about something like that. :D It's really a wonder all the other professors didn't murder him in his sleep.
With each new chapter I read from Avrille's perspective, the more and more I am coming to like her. (And before I forget this, since I did on the last chapter of hers, I love that you're setting up a friendship between her and Professor Sinistra. I think she needs someone like that there!) She is so strong, and it makes me want a friend exactly like her -- she'd be a very good one. She complements Snape very well, the sort of light to his dark, and I think they are a very good match. And in my opinion, Snape's a hard one to find a match for, so I really have to commend you on that!
Loved this, of course -- your story hooks deeper claws in me each time I return. And the next chapter is Severus's and I am absolutely floored for that, so hopefully you will see me back before long! Excellent work! ♥
Author's Response: I know what you mean about just wanting to sit down and read! That's how I've been all week. I know I don't have a lot of spare time lately after my son goes to bed since it takes him so long to get settled, so I usually have just enough time to read a chapter of "In The Black" and look forward to doing so and being alone in the quiet. I'm also really pushing myself to try and read at least a chapter a day because I honestly don't think I've ever finished a novel-length fan fic besides one I beta'd, so I'd love to have that sense of accomplishment. I'm hoping to get back to many written by friends that I started years back but never finished. But yours comes first!
I somehow knew you'd like that line. I just always imagined Severus having amazing hands. If you want to see my Severus-hands inspiration, you should search YouTube for the "Dance D'Amour" music video (12+ish) by The 69 Eyes. The lead singer, Jyrki, is my inspiration for Severus (like, if Severus was a rock star :D) and he is just gor-ge-ous in that video.
Lockhart really was insanely fun to write. I probably should have put more of him in the story, but he really doesn't have much to do with the plot between Avrille and Severus except for providing a good get-moving-kick-in-the-pants for Severus in chappie 16. I really enjoyed writing both the buffoonish fop aspect of Lockhart, but also the slightly darker side that we see a glimpse of when he tries to erase Harry and Ron's memories in CoS. He might seem like a annoying, harmless egoist, but Lockhart is definitely not a nice man.
Lavinia provides a good counter-balance to Avrille's dedication to her school work. I figured she needed someone to just be girly with once in a while so she didn't go totally beserk with unrequited feelings for her supervisor. I also found is amusing to have Avrille's good friend be someone who Severus would consider a complete flake.
The next chapter personally isn't one of my favorites, though it definitely has funny moments. Something about is just sort of "meh" for me. It was one of those ones that I wrote near the end since I had this huge chunk of time to fill in basically between Avrille's arrival at Hogwarts and December :D But after this one, I really have to say I love every single one of my chapters. Thank you as always for your reviews, and I'm hoping I might have a bit of time now to at least start your next chapter! ~Renny