Here I am, at -- for now, at least -- the end. What a fun, clever journey it's been. I'm already looking forward to more.
Interesting... so it seems that Al has a darker side to his personality than what we've seen so far. With this Jessica girl attempting to sow mayhem in Al and Lexi's relationship, it makes me wonder whether we'll see some of that before everything is said and done. There's certainly plenty of wholly justifiable anger floating around at the beginning of this. It seems like a volatile situation.
I don't think you've mentioned in the past that Emmett comes from a wealthy, pure blood family. Which obviously could have been on purpose, but nevertheless it was surprising to discover the opulence of his spread. But then you go into the reasons why his family pays for him to live like this and it was really sad. Up to this point, you've portrayed your gay characters as being accepted rather unconditionally by their families. OK, I guess Hugo makes Ron kind of upset, but that's just Ron being Ron. It isn't as though Ron is chasing him away. To me, it added an important element of realism to see that not every family is so accepting.
Ha! I was right about Emmett's mystery lover! Pardon me while I do the Prescient Reader Dance. Actually, I'm at work, so I'll skip that. Boy, this seems awkward. Lexi is struggling because she knows Hugo from growing up. Darcy is struggling because Hugo is hot. Emmett is struggling because his carefully woven curtain of secrecy has been torn away, exposing his truth to the light. I love it! And then the girls give Hugo the third degree while Emmett squirms. This is awesome!
You did a really good job of writing the controlled chaos of a Weasley (extended) family gathering. It felt like a churning mass of activity with a miraculously thin layer of order keeping the whole thing from bursting. I also liked your thoughts on the varying degrees of lycanthropy that affect Bill, Teddy and Louis. You didn't lay it on too thick. Just enough to support your plot point and then we moved right along.
I liked all the verbal sparring between Lexi and Al's siblings. She really does feel like one of the family at this point. She even manages to get the upper hand on the seemingly untouchable Lily.
Ha! Al made it seem like he was so calm about Hugo and Emmett's relationship. Then he sics Ron on them. Genius! What a devious prat!
I love the kiss that they share. I was sitting here through the whole thing, thinking, "Al's gonna wuss out. Al's gonna wuss out. Al's gonna wuss out..." And then he not only doesn't wuss out, he lays a capital-V Very capital-S Serious smooch on her! Way to go, Al!
You promised me an explanation of why Ginny agreed to name Albus partly after Snape and you didn't disappoint. I really didn't mind that she didn't go into too much detail about the war. That isn't really the focus of this story. But the things that she did say solidified the characterization you've given her as a very thoughtful, level-headed person.
Let's see, what else before I get to the big finale? Kieron and Dom are getting married. Should be a very classy, very nice wedding. I can see why Lexi wants to be involved in the planning. I have to imagine that it's going to start her thinking about her own situation with Al, as well.
And then the explosion at the end. That was an emotional roller coaster. I felt badly for Xavier on one level. He's just realized that a completely traumatic, horrible episode of his life was based on a lie. But Stewart had the only point, at the end of the day, that really mattered. What Xavier was doing wasn't good for Ethan at all. It was heart-breaking to read about the little boy crying, trying to find comfort and understand why everyone was yelling and his mother was crying. Tasha comes off seeming like a pretty horrible person, although I suspect you'll show us more complexities to her character before it's all said and done.
You continue to do a great job of showing all the relationship pitfalls that Al and Lexi are desperately trying to avoid. I agree with Lexi. I hope that PB and J is able to hold together. Anything less will be pretty sad to read.