Ho, ho, ho! This is your Holiday Review Swap review.
I'm really, really glad I got a chance to read this. I thought you did a fantastic job of capturing the devastation that George must have felt after losing his twin brother and you put it into words with uncommon finesse. Even the story title was a really good choice. People who have just suffered a terrible loss have a tendency to focus on certain small details. It's a defense mechanism, I think. Something that the mind can occupy itself with rather than being overwhelmed by the enormity of what's happened. The recurring appearance of dust and smoke in the story was perfectly consistent with the surreal quality that events must have taken on to George after finding out that Fred had been killed.
The description of Fred's death was, I think, mostly consistent with canon. I'm not aware of Rookwood using the killing curse on him, but I suppose there's no way we can be sure that it didn't happen. Regardless, the scene was beautifully done in a horrible sort of way. You gave the events an almost liquid quality, which was a good way to reinforce the slow-motion perception of events that George seems to have.
Something about the idea of George needing to push his mother and the rest of his family away from Fred's body, his need to have his brother all to himself, really hit a nerve. I'm not quite sure what it was about it, but it was a powerful image.
From that point on, George seems very disconnected from the events that follow. It's something of a miracle that he survived the final battle, to be honest. I thought the idea of him "assuming" Fred's body was really clever. It seemed very real to George, even though it's just something that the two of them have done for as long as they could probably remember. Pretending to be somebody else, but because you're identical to them, it's real. The whole scene was heart-breaking.
Seeing Bill, Charlie and Percy try -- and fail -- to separate George from Fred's body after the battle ended just continued to ratchet up the difficult feelings for me. He's obviously so devastated. He knows he needs to let go, to start to accept his brother's death, but he can't. I thought you made an interesting choice to have Ginny be the one who finally -- slowly -- figures out how to start to get him to let go. It's her tears, her sadness, that seem to make him realize that he's not suffering alone.
You manage to get one more good yank at the old heart strings on the way out. For George Weasley to hear laughter and find the sound unfamiliar was perhaps the most awful commentary on his state of mind that you possibly could have concocted.
I thought your writing was brilliant in this. Everything flowed beautifully. It was compact and rather spartan, which meshed really well with the subject matter. I didn't see any typos or grammatical problems to interrupt me.
Author's Response: Aaahh I keep reading and re-reading this wonderful detailed review of yours! And find myself grinning moronically each time.
But first I have to apologise for taking such an awfully long time to respond. Gah, procrastination and all that.
You've pretty much got everything about this chapter. I was trying to portray the sense of shock and grief and isolation that George felt upon witnessing the death of Fred. And I was trying not to be too melodramatic, and hopefully I was at least marginally successful with this :)
I'm glad you noticed the details of certain things, and yet the overall sparseness of description of the rest of the battle. I wouldn't think George would be able to focus on the whole scene once That Thing happened xD. Giving a complete and full account of the battle would have strayed much too far from George's POV.
It doesn't actually mention that the killing curse was used in the books. You're right about that. And it was only implied that Rookwood was involved, rather than confirmed. So I took a bit of liberty with canon :D Also, I like the idea of Fred getting Avada Kedavra-ed...wait that's not what I mean...What I mean is, in the next chapter, I needed to have Fred have a very distinct experience of death (next chapter is in Fred's POV) which would probably have not been possible if a simple loose rock had come along and knocked his head in.
So anyway I'm so glad you liked this! Thank you so so much for this review, for the detail of it it! I'm still rather blown away :DD It was great doing the swap with you!