Wow, this was such a powerful story! I'm always impressed by your writing, they way you put words to life and create both fantastic plots and beautiful, vivid descriptions. I'm not surprised to say that this story was not an exception.
First of all, it was very interesting that you wrote about a christening! I've always figured that the wizards aren't religious, or that they at least didn't believe in Muggle religions, but sure, why not? I can easily see this happening. However, I think I would find it even more believable if it had been Alice who wanted Neville to be christened, since she was both a bit eccentric and interested in Muggles! You could have her being the one to suggest it, but Augusta could still insist on doing it properly, if they would do it all. But that's just my opinion. Honestly, it works really well like this too :)
So, one of the first things that I fell in love with about this story was the fact that Alice reminded me a lot about Neville! Just like you said, he had some M'Alice in him, even though she, sadly enough, never really got to see it. They do share some traits, which was wonderful to see. It was also really believable that Augusta didn't quite like Alice, but doted on Frank, considering that she's quite disappointed in Neville later for not being as brave as his dad. Maybe it was because she saw too much of Alice in him, and not enough of Frank?
Alice didn't just remind me of Neville; she was also a lot like Luna. I find that very sweet, because it makes me think that it was that strange connection that made Neville and Luna become friends! (And have a summer fling. I choose to believe that, even if it was only in the movies!)
I noticed to things. The first one was just a typo, in the paragraph that begins with "These were dark years" you've written: "from all the danger that was all to harshly real," and I think it's supposed to be 'too harshly real', right? Also, (and I'm not sure about this because I'm not British myself), I read somewhere that the British use 'nappy' instead of 'diaper'. But maybe they use both, I'm not really sure! I just figured that you'd want to use the British version, since Alice is British ;)
And I have to comment on this sentence: "Alice knew that they would be safe here, that in moments she could seize Neville and Apparate them back to their safe house, but seeing him a few feet away, separated by Marlene's protective arms, made her very nervous indeed." That's just a perfect description of a mother's love and worry for her child! I am not a mother myself, but I can still relate to that feeling of, in this case, wanting to hold Neville herself because she knew she would be able to run away with him sooner.
And then there's this paragraph: "She had saved herself and her son, but within half a year the Death Eaters would find them, and she would be brutally cut from him forever. Frank had refused to run." It's great and all, but it implies that they would have survived if they had only run. But weren't they attack after Voldemort's fall? Wouldn't they have come back? Although, come to think of it, maybe it was never specified how long after Voldemort's fall that Bellatrix and the others went after Frank and Alice, so you can just ignore that if you want to ;)
I absolutely loved this! It reminded me of how tragic Neville's story really is, and I especially loved the last paragraphs when you described Alice's insanity, and how she would somehow recognize him a bit, but never enough. I loved the fact that you referred to her husband as 'Frank, the man'. Because they didn't recognize each other either. It is all so tragic and it makes me want to cry, but it's beautifully written, and without having read any of the other challenge entries, I'll cross my fingers and hope that you'll win and get all the recognition you deserve, you extremely talented writer whom I admire so very much! :)
Author's Response: Hello! :) I'm very honoured that you liked this story, and excited because I was a little uncertain about how it turned out! Thank you so much for all your lovely words.
The challenge I wrote this for assigned me to write about Neville's christening, and since I know next to nothing about religious ceremonies I wanted to frame it around the event but tell lots of details from Alice's life! :P I'm just waiting for someone to tell me I got some facts wrong about christenings, haha. That is a good point about Alice being more eccentric: it worked for the story that Alice was upset about having to leave the safety of the house, but I'll try and fit in a little better how Augusta and other older wizards might be religious. :)
Aw, I'm glad you liked Alice as a character and that she reminded you of Neville! I loved writing her quirkiness, though I felt bad for letting her get bullied at Hogwarts! She's unique, like Neville, and not the kind of person Augusta could easily understand. You're exactly right about Augusta's love for Neville: she can't properly appreciate the "M'alice" in him, and the Frank part of him is a painful reminder of how her son used to be.
Alice is a lot like Luna, too! :D And I definitely think Neville and Luna would have had a summer fling, before Rolf Scamader showed up out of nowhere and somehow stole Luna from Nev! :O
I shall go back and fix those things! :) I think nappies sounds better than diapers, anyhow!
I'm glad you felt like I captured the motherly feeling well! I'm not a mother either so knowing that it came across as authentic is really good to hear! And that's a good point about when the Longbottoms were actually incapacitated. I'm going to confirm at some point, but in this story I imagined Lily's secret keeper bond being broken with her death, then a few days later before the Longbottoms really had time to process the shock and realize they were still in danger, Bellatrix etc. managed to come for them.
Again, I'm so flattered that you liked this story, and your review was such a wonderful one to receive, as per always! :D I really appreciate all your thoughtful comments, kind words and helpful suggestions!!! :)