Hey there - sorry for the delay in getting this to you! :)
First off, I really love the premise of this story. Baron/Helena isn't a common pairing - a shame, really, since I'd love to read more of them - and, being Founders, it's pretty brave of you to go for them - all that historical context, etc. to deal with. Still, I think you did really well with it.
I loved how you had the Baron effectively chasing her since they were both young - how he just assumed that they would get married when they were older, how he become so obsessed with her, particularly in her absence when he was talking to her mother. It was such an oddly heartbreaking idea - that a mother can miss her child to that extent, you know, that she needs someone else who cared about them to be there. He seems so strong in some ways, but then kinda foolish and arrogant with how he just assumes things, but ultimately, he's not really that bad a guy. The phrase 'it was an accident. I didn't mean to' might be overused, but it works perfectly in this situation - and I loved how you worked it in. It was so sudden that I was almost shocked by it, and I knew it was coming, lol.
Helena... okay, so I've read a few Helena's (not many, though) but yours is definitely one of the better ones I've seen. She's headstrong and independent and studious and somewhat ambitious and bitter and malicious and manipulative... she's, frankly, such a mess that she's not a particularly nice person, but a brilliant character. I loved how you had her mother refuse to admit the deceit, as well, so that the Baron himself didn't even know the diadem was gone or the real reason Helena ran away right until the end when she told him. The casual way you had her reveal all her lies to him kinda rammed the impact home better than if you'd had her draw it out. She never loved him, she stole the diadem, she hated her mother. It was kinda like... woah. Okay then. The kind of moment where you have to blink, take it in and then read it again to make sure.
Also, I loved the references to phoenix song and the section with them as ghosts at the end. The idea that even after so long he still hasn't been able to have the courage/strength to approach her about, well, everything is really haunting. I did like how you suggested she's not too angry with him at the end, it's more pity and hurt and disgust rather than fury. Since they're ghosts their story doesn't end with them dying, you know, so it makes so much sense to include them as ghosts (that being said I've never seen someone do that before...) and show what it's like after all of it... And a little cameo from Fawkes... he's totally my favourite magical creature, not gonna lie... ;)
So yeah, I really, really enjoyed this. It could perhaps do with a little more description, but the characterisation, plot - everything was just so good that it's really not that important.
Author's Response: Ha, this one-shot was an experimentation. Wow, this review really makes me less embarrassed by the thing.
I have a hard time writing sad/dramatic/dark stories, so I wasn't expecting this kind of response to it :D Wow, thank you so much.
The bloody baron was a hard character to figure out. Why did he, exactly, kill Helena? This is my interpretation of it, that he became so obsessed with her, that her rejection would have pushed him to the point of murder.
Helena was less challenging, maybe because the HP series gives the story from her account, so I kind of knew where to start with her. She was cast into the shadow of her mother that she tried to escape from, hurting those around her in the process. I wanted to make her a strong female character :) I'm glad you liked the climax of the story. I didn't really want to make it the murder scene, but the part where she reveals her motives and cuts the baron down.
The ending...I re-wrote this ending a million times, because it's a sad story. I did some research and found that the Grey Lady only speaks to those in her house. What does this mean for the baron? Either she is too furious with him, or disgusted. I obviously chose disgusted ;)
Fawkes...so I tried to revolve this story around the greek mythology of Sirens. A siren is a creature that attracts men with their voice, but kills them. They are unattractive creatures, but their voices cause them to be attracted. The final scene where she effectively hurts him with her voice, sending him into rage, is like a siren, killing her victim. Did I just blow your mind? No? Eh, I tried. I added Fawkes in to add to this allusion of sing-song voices.
This is actually my least favorite one-shot because I don't think I did a very good job in the narrative and description. Thank you for your awesome review!
Oh man, thanks again,