|Review:||Violet Gryfindor says:|
Every time I try to write a review for this story, I end up with unintelligible squees and ughs because the story has left me with lots of feelings. In short, this story is beautiful and original, taking an entirely different perspective on the Black brothers and their relationship, all filtered through Molly's point of view.
Using Molly in a story like this is something I don't recall seeing before, yet when looking closely at OotP, there are so many ways that she and Sirius interact, sharing the same house - one as owner and the other as housewife (for lack of a better term) - perhaps the only two characters who are always in the house. She would have seen parts of Grimmauld Place only known to Sirius, like Regulus's room, or places that Sirius has forgotten, like that cupboard behind the tapestry. On a side note, it was fantastic that you also included that scene with Kreacher - he's such an integral part of Grimmauld Place that story about it wouldn't be the same without him, but at the same time, there's that implied connection between Kreacher and Regulus that one can't escape.
And then the letters and the scene with Sirius. *sobbing* It's better that you don't explain Sirius's side of things, but instead maintain a distance from Sirius. He's almost menacing in this story, a looming shadow - and it suits his post-Azkaban characterization in a way that I think many authors neglect to mention. In the books there's this tension between Sirius-the-adult who has experienced pain and betrayal, and the Sirius-who-never-grew-up, and its this latter Sirius who comes through in the letters. He still sounds like a teenager in that letter, especially with that last line, where he visualizes his childhood with painful clarity - it's not a memory, but something that will happen if Regulus reads the letters. No wonder Molly is overcome with feeling. It's a simple letter, but so loaded with years of everything that imagining a pile of such letters is overwhelming.
The letters raise an interesting point that I have also not seen in fanfiction. I'm sure you've seen how many Regulus-centric stories include references to his perceptions of Sirius, usually how devoted he is to his brother's memory, wanting that connection between the brothers to be resorted. Here, though, you've shown how Sirius may not have been so dismissive of his brother after all. He needs to connect, and being in Grimmauld Place again constantly reminds him of Regulus, so he reaches out to that untapped potential, that brotherhood of blood. At school, he had the Marauders to fill that gap in his life, but now, with the Marauders broken and James dead, that's gone too. His letter reveals the old jealousy, but he needs to "talk to" someone who understands Grimmauld Place and being a Black.
You show how privately Sirius suffers, how he really is a Black, wearing a mask for the world, but no one can know what's going on beneath it. He can't even get angry with Molly - I think, from her side of things, it would have been easier to deal with the situation if he had yelled or lashed out - but instead, he's perfectly silent, and that's more terrifying. It's a fantastic portrayal of Sirius.
There's more I could say about this story, especially your perfect characterization of Molly and all the little details about the house and her family. The references to Ginny's dungbomb and the twins' antics cemented this story's relationship to canon, making this a perfect "lost moment" from OotP. It's an amazing one-shot and I'm very glad that I was finally able to read it. :D
Author's Response: Funny -- the exact same things are happening to me now in trying to respond to this review! I'll start out by saying just how glad I am that you enjoyed this story. :) Your opinion on my writing really does mean a lot to me!
I've necessarily had to write a lot of Sirius in my Marauder stories, and it was kind of neat to examine him from Molly's perspective in this -- and that's one of my favorite things about writing fan fiction in general, the fact that all these characters are so complex that they can be examined differently through the eyes of other characters. The song "20 Years" by the Civil Wars addresses the listener, and because that's the song that sparked inspiration for this story, it made sense to me to tell it from the point of view of someone other than Sirius.
And Sirius IS more complex than a lot of people realize, too. He's got a lot of dark sides that he purposefully masks under pranks and jokes and there is so much sadness in him that I think he couldn't help but let it out when he thought no one was looking. No matter how much he professed to hate his brother, they were brothers nonetheless, and that sort of blood bond can't be broken just because you don't agree with your brother's choices. He's always been one of the darker, brooding figures in my mind, though admittedly not on a level with Snape, and I'm really pleased you thought I did him justice in that respect!
I love writing last moments. ♥ They are arguably my favorite sort of one-shot, and I need to re-read the books here soon so I can add more to my stockpile of things I'd like to eventually write about.
I'm so happy that you took the time to read this for me! And I apologize that it took a bit longer than necessary to respond to your review properly. Honestly, Susan, thank you so much. :D