Tagging you from Review Tag!
There's a great deal of content to this chapter, which is something I actually like. I don't believe in being afraid of writing long chapters, and you filled this one to the brim with interesting new details and happenings.
The first section, with the girls chatting it up as they worked on their homework, continue to build nicely on the romantic lives -- or lack thereof ;) -- that you started to explain in chapter 1. Mandy's fascination with Sirius doesn't seem like something that's going to end well for her. He's not really what I'd call "relationship material". At least Melanie is following the code, staying away from her friend's crush.
I liked your introduction of Lily. Still the consummate teacher's pet, especially for Slughorn. And old Sluggy, still playing favorites, was also nicely in character. The Draught of Living Death was a nice tip of the hat to the beginning of HBP.
So the next section is where I thought you had the most room for improvement. First off, there were the Quidditch try-outs. I get that the team captain is meant to be a jerk who's doing nothing more than playing favorites with his friends to the detriment of Slytherin's team. I'm just not altogether sure how that fits into the bigger picture. It was sort of like, "Melanie and Mandy don't think they'll make the team; Melanie and Mandy try out for the team; Melanie and Mandy don't make the team". I would have liked to have seen that tied into the bigger picture of the chapter somehow. If the point is that Melanie and Mandy aren't part of the "in crowd" of Slytherin House, I think you should have made that more explicit. Perhaps added a quick paragraph or two where Simms is high-riving his mates and laughing at Melanie and Mandy for having the audacity to try out.
The second thing that bugged me more than a bit about this section was the invisibility cloak. In canon, true invisibility cloaks are supposed to be extremely rare. It felt a bit too convenient that there would be not one but two of them skulking around the hall of the castle at the same time. I like what you are doing with it as a plot device, mind you, but I think you could have made your characters even more interesting without it. And then the odds that they would just happen to bump into James and Sirius in the middle of the night in a building the size of Hogwarts Castle was kind of a stretch.
Ha! I love that Mandy presses their new-found advantage to try to cause a break-up between Sirius and his girlfriend. Again, I doubt this is going to work out well for her in the end, but it exactly the sort of thing a teenage girl with a crush might do. Sirius plays it off in typical Sirius Black fashion, though. He's smooth, you have to hand him that!
The prank war between Marauders and Anti-Marauders could go some very interesting places. I'm really curious what you have in store for that.
Probably my favorite thing in the chapter was the way that Melanie and Mandy stand up for the Second Year Gryffindor boy. If you were looking for a way to show that they aren't part of the Slytherin mainstream, this was actually a fantastic way to go about it. Jasper was a perfectly nasty piece of work, a fantastic example of a pureblood supremacist bully. You did a great job with the confrontation. And it provides such a natural segue into what seems like the first halfway real conversation between our heroines and the Marauders.
“It didn’t take five years,” said Peter. “Only four. I’ll always treasure the memory of Mulciber’s face after you hexed him in front of McGonagall last year.” His face took on a dreamy quality, and I unintentionally let out a snort of laughter. -- Wow. I have to say that you've made Peter a lot more interesting than he usually is in stories set in this era. I hope you can keep letting him shine through the shadows of his more popular friends.
Oh, boy. Well, something interesting is bound to come of Mandy deciding that Melanie must have a date for Hogsmeade. You've set the stage for some neat new developments.
Great chapter. Your writing was really good, as it always seems to be. No typos or grammatical problems that I could see. Well done!
Author's Response: Wow, what a long, thorough review! I'm glad you like the length of the chapter; it's good to hear long chapters don't put people off!
I'm glad you liked the continued introductions of the characters! As for the Quidditch team, you mentioned the bigger picture - and truthfully, some scenes in this story don't have a bigger picture other than just the ups and downs of daily life. It's meant to feel realistic, and in that scene I think I was just trying to point out that not every student is like Harry, who tries out for the team and ta-da! they're a Quidditch star. Some people try and then fail. So, yeah I agree it's probably an unnecessary scene, but it's meant to be just an average day. I hope that didn't take away from the story too much. :-/
Your next point, though, I do agree... I wrote the beginning chapters of this story years ago, and still keep finding things I'm not 100% happy with, and this is one of them. According to JKR's "Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them", Demiguise hair is used to make invisibility cloaks so that's what Mandy's is - I don't know if that makes it a "true" one. Either way, you're right, it is a little ridiculous that they ran into James and Sirius outside Gryffindor Tower. My attempt at realistic failed there. :p
It's lovely to hear that you liked Melanie's confrontation with Jasper, and Peter's role in the conversation. Despite how awful Peter became later, he was their friend at school and that wouldn't really make sense if Peter was just a boring bump on a log.
Thank you so much for your compliments on my writing. Your reviews are so thoughtful, I appreciate it a lot!