This chapter basically yanked my heart out of my chest, turned it into a corkscrew, stomped and smashed it, jerked it inside out, and then stuffed it back in. And even though I say this for nearly every chapter, this was honestly one of my very favorites for those exact reasons. ♥
I don't think it's anything like a secret that I've got slightly masochistic tendencies about me, or that the sadder something is, the more I like it. But you are so thoroughly good at writing sad things (which is a high compliment, so you shouldn't take it otherwise!) that I honestly cannot help but love them. You are extremely, extremely deft at toying with your readers' emotions, making them feel exactly what they should feel. And even though I read (and sniffled over) this chapter last night, there's still a painful, just-punched feeling inside me, re-reading bits of it now.
I detest you for making it come to this: Fred versus Colin, two of the most innocent and lighthearted characters in the entire series. I'm still praying for some kind of miracle ending, in which they both come out on top -- even if that's not even the remotest of possibilities -- because I can't bear to lose either of them. Colin just... gahhh. You killed me with his section.
Oh God, why. Taking pictures of him, remembering his life -- I AM TEARING UP AGAIN, DARN YOU. I can't even form coherent sentences right now, and it's just really hard to tell you how much I just thoroughly enjoyed this chapter. I hurt so much for him, Colin. But Fred, too. And Remus in this chapter, just because I'm sort of thinking now that he's got to see one or the other of them die, hasn't he? I reiterate my previous statement: Why on earth (or Cliodna's Clock) would anyone even enter the Devil's Duel. I'm biting my nails to the quick just to see which of them's going to be left standing at the next chapter.
SO EXCITED FOR THE FINAL ROUND, BY THE WAY, BECAUSE THAT IDEA. THAT IDEAAA. ♥ I love, love, love the concept of it -- somehow it seems kind of video game-esque, but they're down to their last lives. Which is kind of a stupid allusion but then, it works, you know? Gahh, how do you even conceive these ideas. When you go into a story, you don't do anything halfway. You don't start with loads of enthusiasm and just sort of fade out midway through; each successive chapter is as real and honest and captivating as the next, and that's something I strive for. I will learn from you how to do these things. :)
Worst. Cliffhanger. Ever.
OH MY GOSH BUT NOW IT'S JUST HIT ME THAT /NEXT WEDNESDAY/. I WILL KNOW THINGS I SIMULTANEOUSLY CRAVE TO KNOW, AND AM SO MUCH BETTER OFF NOT KNOWING. DO YOU REALIZE HOW INTENSE THAT'S GOING TO BE. Can you please make Wednesday now?!
This freaking story, man. ♥ You're so genius.
Author's Response: It is pathetic that I have taken so long to get around to this. I blame the fact that you leave me the longest, best, and most intimidating reviews. I would rather write twenty reviews than answer one of yours because I just ramble and never do it justice.
Fred vs. Colin. Honestly, I thought you would be suspicious from the start that I would be carrying Fred through to the end. I started this on the heels of So, Listen..., some of the reasoning being that I wasn't ready to put his character away yet, so I was paranoid throughout this entire story that you would know he would be one of the competitors in the final round.
Video game-esque, heee. I can see that. And you have no idea how happy your comment about making each chapter just as good as the last one makes me; it was very, very important to me to try to keep the momentum constantly building. A lot of stories have all of the plot in the first handful of chapters, and everything winds down so quickly. The only way I was able to achieve lasting momentum was to end the story at the final round, and to make sure in advance that each round was interesting in their own right and I had enough information and characters to fill the gaps between those duel chapters. It was a challenge, which was why I loved writing it so much. It's rewarding to receive praise for that since I worked so hard on it.
YOU'VE ALREADY READ THE WHOLE THING, SO NO USE REPLYING TO YOUR LAST PARAGRAPH. ♥