Hello, again! You know, some day in the not too distant future, I'm going to run out of chapters to read. And when I do, I'm going to be sad. How say really depends on how the story ends, but at a minimum I know I'll be bummed about coming to the end of the journey. This story is so good. I can't believe that more people aren't reading it; well, reviewing it, anyway. It's tough to gain a following, I think, for a Next Gen story that isn't one of the angsty-teen-drama-unrequited-romance-premarital-pregnancy-happy-ending affairs that seem to dominate the genre. This one is definitely a hidden gem.
Your opening is another great example of something that I think I mentioned before: you really can write nearly any story you want on HPFF without violating the rules as long as you're clever about it. All of the little insinuations and suggestive details that you worked into this really stimulate the reader's imagination to the point where not much is left to the imagination, if that made any sense at all. I especially loved Rose's "solution" to Viktor's problem of banging his head on the ceiling and his reaction to it. I thought that one little moment spoke volumes about both characters.
Rose was happy. For the first time in a very long time, she found herself letting go - not overanalyzing everything, not playing through every possible scenario in her head. - I love this moment for her. Again, it says a lot about the person she is compared to the person she wants to be.
Krum sat up, pressing his finger to her lips, silencing her. "You don't have to ask my permission to speak to someone, Rose. You're your own person. I don't control you. Do you understand?" She nodded. "Good. I donít ever want to hear you make that mistake again." - OK, I'm sorry. I think this is going to be one of those chapters where I spend a lot of time quoting your own words back to you. But I particularly liked this paragraph because it neatly highlights what I'm starting to think of as the two sides of Viktor Krum. On the one hand, his words tell Rose that he values her for her independence, yet in the very next sentence he's making demands of her. To loosely paraphrase: "These are the things I like about you; I forbid you to change any of them."
She sort of turns the tables on him with the conversation turns to "that bloke" Albus. He's not the only one who's allowed to keep secrets and spring them onto her.
Krum shook his head. "No, it's not. But it's important Peter doesn't know that." - I have the strangest feeling, as though this will turn out to be important somehow...
The rest of their conversation had a nice, easy sort of feel to it. They continue to play their little cat-and-mouse game with information about Viktor's life, but that's just become sort of endearing at this point. My big take-away from that are that Viktor does have a spot to run to if things really get bad, but it isn't the most pleasant of options. No wonder he prefers living in London on somebody else's dime.
I really love the role you've given Albus in this story. He's become "that friend" -- I think everybody had at least one in their early-to-mid 20's -- who's basically a screw-up but after some life-changing catastrophe he/she suddenly creates at least the appearance of pulling their life together and turning into a responsible adult. And it causes all of his/her friends to stop and rethink their lives. "Wow. We're all getting older. So-and-So used to live for one night stands and holiday weekend benders and now he/she is getting married and having a kid. What am I doing with my life?" But first, another line that I'd be remiss not to point out:
"What have you been doing in there? And what's that smell?" - Ewww!!! ;)
Dang it, you figured out a way to keep me from using any more quotes in this review: Heart filled them all full of non-12+ words! I said it before and I'll say it again, he's a beautiful bastard! He's already figured out the business angle on this crisis in his head and he's not going to pass on the advantage, even at the price of Rose's reputation. He's full steam ahead, strike while the iron is hot. For his character, I also liked the way he was so belittling of her. Like it never occurred to him that she was anything less than a sucker for Krum's manly charms.
Looking ahead, I'm very excited to see what happens when she arrives on her parents doorstep. I'm not quite sure whether Hermione will rationalize the whole thing and be clinical about it or turn into the freaked-out, over-protective mom, but it will be awkward either way. Which should be a walk in the proverbial park compared to how Ron responds. ;)
Lovely chapter, as always! I'll be back soon!
Author's Response: Thank you so much! I'm so glad you're liking the story. I'm terribly self-conscious when it comes to my writing and tend to assume people are just saying they like it to be nice, but it's great to hear regardless. And I'm pretty used to the low read/review numbers (and I'd probably only half the totals I do now if Jami hadn't been so nice to recommend it to people), but I guess that goes with writing unusual ships. People aren't all that crazy about my Lily/Scorpius story either :P
I'm glad that line of Rose's stood out to you. I think it's easy to see what Krum gets out of the relationship, but I thought it was important to show that Rose is really getting something in return -- a chance to be outside herself a bit.
Quote away! It worked on Rose :P Seriously though, I'm glad you liked that part. I see Krum as working mostly on emotion. He likes that she's independent, but he also likes that she does what he tells her. It doesn't bother him that he's inconsistent, but it can be hard on the people around him.
Viktor's house does return in the future, though in retrospect, probably not as much as it should in the overall story arc.
I kind of like Al too, if that isn't terrible to say. I definitely know a few of them myself. More than that though, I wanted SOMEONE in the story to remind Rose and the reader that life exists beyond what's happening with Krum and the book -- my feeble attempts at a sub-plot.
Hahaha! That line... Originally it was meant to refer to the cigarette smoke smell that clings to smokers' clothes, even after they quit, but as soon as I wrote it, I realized what it looked like. I don't know what it says about me that I kept it in...
I know Heart can be a little much as a character, but I really don't see him as a bad person and hopefully that comes through and gives him some dimension... even when he is doing things that border on the despicable.
Thanks again for the wonderful review. I can't wait to see if the Ron/Hermione bits live up to expectations.