Hi Maia! :) I'm here for your second prize review!
This was a great story and I think you write this style really well from what I've seen- I'm speaking of the "leaves a lump in the reader's throat and makes them dwell on the story for hours later," of course. I've never really thought about this pairing before but it was so real and vivid that I'm sure I'll be shipping them for a long time afterwards.
Regulus was really interesting here, and I quite enjoyed his narration. He comes across as very playful and thoughtful, and with a great deal of perception and maturity what with how much he analyzed Mary's character and understood his own feelings of grief towards her, which I thought was really powerful. A part I particularly liked was when he was talking about how maybe he'd kill Voldemort as a present for Mary, which is sort of what he tries to do with the Horcruxes, and I thought that was a really amazing tie-in to canon. I love the idea of Regulus changing his mind and his family ties because of Mary. It kind of highlighted an interesting difference between him and Sirius too: while Sirius is very brazen and open about his beliefs, Regulus seems more Slytherin-esque in that he goes undercover and takes out his enemies by stealth and knows when to play it cool- sort of like Snape, in a way.
As for Mary herself, I thought her character was so interesting even though she's already dead, and the complexities and flaws of her personality were really brought to life through Regulus. It was clear how well they knew each other. Something I thought interesting was how she seemed very insecure and self-centered about how others perceive her, what with wanting to seem mysterious and desirable. But then there's these hints that others teased her for this and that she wasn't necessarily popular, but that her death brought people together to mourn for her even if they didn't really like her. I guess that was just what she wanted, and I thought it was a sort of tragic thing that she killed herself in order to obtain the attention she craved. :( But then there are other hints that she might have had some depression issues, I thought, and her need to stay in control while always being unpredictable was an interesting dynamic as well. I thought it was a really poignant and tragic portrayal of suicide with how immature and insecure Mary clearly was.
I also thought Mary seemed rather selfish, too, both when she was alive and dead. She clearly had a lot of the control in the relationship what with getting angry with Regulus for being late (loved the idea of playing house in the room of requirement, by the way!). And then leaving Regulus there when she probably knew how he was in danger of being recruited by the DEs seemed selfish as well, so it made me hate her a little bit through Regulus' anger.
On that subject, I thought Reg's bitterness towards Mary and his competing adoration of her were great contrasts which I loved reading about. His admissions that they both had problems and that she wasn't perfect were really important in rounding out their characters, and I loved the part when he sort of snidely said that her note wasn't as scandalous as she would have hoped it would be, it really showed his anger well.
But then there were some really beautiful, poignant lines as well: I especially loved the ending with the image of her flying through the sky. It was really poetic and lovely, but with the added bit of character about how she hated broomsticks which showed Regulus' character really well but also how well he knew Mary. I think it was the perfect way to end the piece, and show how much he loves her despite everything. :)
Amazing job, I'm so glad I read this! :D
Author's Response: Hiya! Sorry it's taken me a trillion years to respond to this review!
The "leaves a lump in the reader's throat and makes them dwell on the story for hours later," style was exactly what I was going for, so I'm glad you liked it! Haha. I'd never really thought about this pairing either to be honest - I'm not even sure if they ARE a pairing outside this one weird little chunk of my brain - but I'm glad I could make you ship them!
Regulus is one of the few minor characters I have a very solid headcanon about, so I really just wrote his personality here the way I always imagine him - which is very mature, but also very emotional and vulnerable. I'm so glad you enjoyed his narration because I really grew to love this version of him quite strongly as I was writing this! I also wanted to tie it in to canon without putting a focus on that side of him, hence the nod to the Death Eaters - it's good to hear you think that worked.
Mary was definitely a complex and in ways fractured character. She was sometimes hugely confident and outgoing, putting off an arrogant vibe, but at the same time very insecure inside. She definitely had hints of depression as well as strong insecurities that led to her suicide. I feel like she was, really, just an overly extreme person - she would swing to the one extreme of the most outgoing and self centered person in the room, then swing the other way and become tragically nervous of what everyone else was thinking of her. I like how you put it - she was, basically, immature. She had a lot of flaws but she also had good points, and I think that's what Regulus is trying to find the balance of here.
This review is just lovely, thank you so much! I'm really glad you enjoyed the story :D