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Review:Toujours Padfoot says:
♥ ♥ ♥ Firstly, I am very happy you did not give up on memory!Albus, and secondly, this was a fabulous fabulous fabulous birthday present and you did not have to and ♥ (hug)

I have a massive thing for ghosts. Most of my original fictions have involved them in at least some small way, and a lot of my fan fictions feature ghosts as well. Death is something I really fear because it is infinite and permanent and unknown and since I am a morbid, masochistic soul I write about it and read about it constantly. Your portrayals of the dead here, with Albus and his ghosts and Albus slowly sliding from afraid and wanting to be normal to sort of becoming a ghost even while still alive - were amazing.

I loved the charred patterns on Lily, James, and Severus's bodies, connecting together. I love that they had color and walked on the ground but emitted no noise, no footsteps. I love that Lily kept pointing at the sky, to beyond, and that her expression was everlasting death etched over her features forever, capturing her last moments in life. It was terrifying and it gave me goosebumps, so of course I loved it.

Their haunting hollowness, just standing there by Albus's bed watching him relentlessly, driving him into sleepless obsession, was skdjfkjf so chilling, so dark. It felt like shadows crept into the story itself and wrapped around Albus and wrapped around me and all I felt was cold, cold, cold.

I know I should feel awful for Albus's family, who don't see it coming - especially James, who will probably feel some sort of responsibility since he knew certain things but will of course feel he didn't try hard enough to learn more - but strangely I feel at peace with it. Albus's ghosts took him at last, after draining the life out of him for months, and I don't know if it was a decision of full awareness or an extremely addled mind, but I will consciously choose that this was Albus's destiny. Even if he's dead. Even if the ghosts weren't just Albus's ghosts but also his demons, and he lost to them.

You write darkness so well, and I think that's wonderful. It makes all the lighter bits, by contrast, very bright. And everything, as always, is poignant and beautiful and meaningful, every word deliberate. I absolutely love this story. I need to pick your brains later to see if the ghosts were real or metaphorical, and what happened to Albus after he finally journeyed to wherever Lily was pointing to.

You are the best. ♥ I LOVE YOU!

Author's Response: Of COURSE I had to -- and yes, I am already feeling bad enough that a one-shot I'd already started writing anyway turned into your birthday present. ♥ I do know how much you love ghosts just from how often you include them, and you've made me really, really interested in them through that, I think. And not only is writing crazies cathartic for getting out the inner crazy, but writing about ghosts is too, because just like you said, death and the unknown absolutely TERRIFY me. Writing about ghosts and death put those fears temporarily at bay. Is that why I write sad, crazy, death-y things all the time? Existential crisis.

And I am actually weirdly attached to my ghosts, which aren't ghosts but memories -- I'd like to explore them further, actually. (Thing # 1,485 you need to talk me out of, because now I want to do a memory!Albus novella.) There is something both creepy and comforting about the fact that your dead grandparents are watching over you, but don't we always say that to people whose loved ones have died? It just happens to be that Albus, in this case, can see them. They are sad and lovely and SO dark, and going off that color thing I've mentioned to you before, this story is almost entirely painted in shadows: Black, dark brown, dark gray, and navy blue. Cold, dark, chilling colors, and it's interesting to me that Al ends up drawing comfort from them.

(I apologize so much for spending most of this review in self-analysis. This is pretty much the least helpful thing I've ever typed.)

I adore, adore, adore that you said you feel at peace at the end of the story -- because typing it all out, and bringing Albus to his end, that was exactly how I felt. And HE was so at peace with dying, too, that it made me really accepting of having to write it. I know his friends and family will mourn him, but as far as he's concerned, that is 100% the way he wanted to go. I'm of the opinion that from day one, that was Albus's fate (although I don't necessarily believe in pre-destination as a rule).

I'm so glad you like my darkness. ♥ I love writing it, more than writing fluff, however fun that can be. It's twistier and it takes more of me, and I want to put myself into every story I write. That's something that just doesn't happen when I write romcom. My dark stories, there are bits and pieces of my personality and mindsets sprinked through them. Wee Horcrux stories!

I hope you had a happy birthday, because you of all people totally deserve it. And I hope you have many more happy birthdays, and I'll get to write you many more stories! I LOVE YOU!

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