Hiya! (LOVING the regular updates, btw.)
The only thought in my head after reading this chapter: Oh, Nick! Just so much sympathy and pain for him. He's already feeling terrible about possibly losing his long-term girlfriend and then his entire family is killed because of his actions. And not only killed...I really hope nobody lets him see his parents and his little sister. Just devastating.
That being said, I kind of love the Nick-Jennifer-Gabe triangle. Jennifer has loved Nick for so long and I think she wants to love him (and keeps telling herself she does), and yet it seems like she doesn't truly respect him. There's just something about Gabe that she can't get out of her head, and it's really fun to watch these interactions. Though once again, poor Nick. I would love to see another scene between Nick and Jennifer :)
I also really liked the brief scene where Tanith thinks about Toby.
"Come back. Come back to me from the far side of the world, when the war’s over and we don’t risk death every day just to bring a little bit of hope and justice to the country wrapped up in darkness. Then we’ll talk about promises." — What a great line!
I love what you're doing here in terms of having these characters grow from teenagers into adults by way of their relationships. Most fanfictions have these 17-year-olds falling madly in love with their first loves and those relationships lasting "forever." But in truth, the strongest relationships are more complicated. Puppy love is wonderful and you never forget your first love, but grown-up relationships between two people who have loved and lost before and who have a better sense of who they are because of that are much more interesting to see. And with N-J-G and David-Tanith-Toby, you have these girls figuring that out, which I really appreciate.
(Of course, I may just be projecting and you may not mean any of that!)
As always, beautiful and heartbreaking.
Author's Response: Yeah, Nick Wilson, that big old bag of self doubt under a veneer of alpha male, someone who has been made a better person due to a horrid war where horrid things happen to people... there's not much more to say about his story than that, which is why he's never been a centre-stage character. But no, while the Lions have the resources to learn specifically what happened (especially since Lestrange WANTS people to know), he would have no opportunity to SEE the scene.
His relationship with Jen is one which probably wouldn't last once they were out of school, but then the war happened, and they remained attached and comfortable with one another, so they neither had the time nor opportunity to analyse their relationship. Perhaps I should see what I can do about a closer look at the two of them, though - because every triangle needs all three corners strong to be decent!
And that is, indeed, the point. First love's intoxicating and world-changing and powerful, but I think people learn things from holding someone else's heart in their hands, and people build on that experience and take it with them into future relationships. One way I've always described the Tobias/Tanith romance in particular is that it's a romance between two people who might BECOME perfect for one another, but they're not done becoming those people yet, and who knows where they'll be down the line. And while some of that Becoming is in learning to be together, or learning to be independent, some of it boils down to learning how to be with other people and with the world at large and - no, basically, I don't think you're projecting. David's important, but if I were to be crass about my own work and summarise what he means, he means 'TANITH GETS TO BE WITH SOMEONE ELSE FOR A CHANGE'. I just like to word it all fancy, like.
Ahem. Thanks for reviewing!