I was reading one of your responses about Minerva not having any female friends, and I donít think it should be something to worry about too much. From the way youíve portrayed her, it seems like the only person she could really get along with is Grimm, and none of the female characters in the story seem like a fitting friend for her. I always imagined her as a recluse person without that many friends, so your image of her fits perfectly in my head.
Referencing the point I just made to the chapter in hand, you showed how different she was with the others, as she doesnít seem to miss the fact that sheís no longer part of the mass. You showed that though she seemed friendly with her quidditch team, she was still apart from them, and the bit about whether to confiscate the first years things reminded me of Percy, as he was recluse and almost isolated too.
I liked seeing the beginnings of what would be the death eaters; they already are rather chilling in the way they acted towards Grimm. I liked how you showed that Riddle was still human, as he seemed rather hurt that Minerva was betraying him for Grimm, but at the same time heís still such a cold character. This is another complex thing about Grimmís character, as he hasnít really aligned himself with either side of the war. He dislikes both Riddle and Grimm, and it almost seems odd that someone as opinionated as him doesnít have a strong feeling on a matter as strong as this.
I liked the mention towards the two Black boys, as it reminded me of Regulus and Sirius. They were both Black boys too, but one of them decided to go the other way. It was interesting to see how history always has itís ways at repeating itself.
Your writing amazes me so much! The way you manage to go from such a tense scene, to one of romance bordering on fluff with the kiss so smoothly is outstanding. The thoughts in Minervaís head prior to the kiss were perfect, and you could sense how the timing was finally right for the kiss, and that she had given into her feelings. Of course only those two would suggest having an agreement about the state of their relationship in writing!
I liked how you still manage to retain their character and friendship despite the kiss. I hate it when authors suddenly make them clones of one another, and cannot abide a second a part so I very much preferred this version. If only the gossipers of the Great Hall knew the truth of their relationship. Iím sure they would be talking in something significantly louder than a whisper.
I really liked the scene with Moody, and it seemed fitting that his mother is a tomb breaker! Of course someone like him would have to have parents with such adventurous jobs! You wrote Dumbledore perfectly again. It seemed fitting that he would trust Minerva with a lot of private thoughts, and foreshadows what comes to be their relationship later on.
Another excellent chapter!
Author's Response: Thank you for your kind words! It's good to hear that the absence of female friends for Minerva doesn't stand out. I hadn't realized it until too late, and it had me worried that it would compromise the story - there are very few female characters in it, especially compared with the number of males. One way I can think of to rationalize it is that sometimes the world feels that way - Minerva has to work doubly hard to make an impression because she is a girl. She has to live up to higher standards and it seems like she has to do everything, including care for Grimm. And in this story, Grimm constantly turns out to be the weak one - he needs Minerva far more than she needs him, but only she recognizes that. At the same time, by isolating herself from other witches, Minerva places herself at a noticeable disadvantage. She seems to see herself as above them in terms of brains and public presence, but it hides the insecurities she harbours regarding her appearance and her background. She thinks that she can never be as "feminine" as many of them are, and so she goes about "making up for it" in other ways.
Wow, she is a complicated character. I hadn't really noticed that before, not to this degree.
It's interesting what you've noted about Grimm, how he doesn't openly align himself with either Riddle or Dumbledore. He does have powerful responses to issues, but on the whole, he is a pacifist - he dislikes open conflict, just like he hates the sight of blood. He's too much the academic, preferring the isolation of the library or laboratory to being out in the world. Even if he agrees with why the war is being fought, he still hates how war works, how it uses brute force and causes physical harm. To bring more of the history into this, I would guess that he would have supported the League of Nations and its efforts to achieve peace before war broke out again.
Grimm doesn't like Dumbledore for other reasons, though - it's not the same as his dislike of Riddle. He has a negative instinctual reaction to Dumbledore, and while he can respect Dumbledore's knowledge and experience, he can't admire him because there's always a bad feeling there. It could be jealousy, but maybe he senses Dumbledore's guilt and ambiguity. Maybe he doesn't like how manipulative Dumbledore can be. He does learn in this story to trust Dumbledore to a certain degree, but he'll never be able to bring himself to like Dumbledore, certainly not as much as Minerva does.
*blushes* Thank you for that compliment! It's lovely of you to say it, and I'm really glad that the jump between tense action to romance worked. You're right that the timing worked out for Grimm and Minerva - they're brought together by the darker aspects of this story, the mystery and the drama going on with Riddle. This story may have two sides to it, but in scenes like this, they come together, and it's fantastic to hear that it works. Also thank you for your comments on Moody and Dumbledore. :D