Hi, there! I am gradually unraveling the crushing complexities of life and getting back to things I enjoy. Including this story.
Harry has some pretty sage advice for Devlin here. And I think it says something about the way their relationship has evolved that Devlin was smart enough to take it. He's such a perceptive kid, but even perceptive kids can take a while to come to terms with what's happening, so it seemed appropriate that the fact that the Ministry had come for him didn't sink in for Devlin right away.
Gotta love the loyalty of Harry's men. Even when they're sent on a mission that Harry clearly has been kept in the dark about, Damian is still doing what little he can to help. Devlin's little flashback was also tantalizing. It seems that Alex is wrapped up in these jarring mental images of his, as well.
The book... wow. I'm not sure that I think it's a horcrux, just based on the way that it interacts with Devlin. That said, however, Voldemort has plainly put a lot of himself into it. It seems to know exactly what to say in order to kick Devlin's self-control and self-preservation instincts back into action. Devlin's thoughts as he puts the book away were chilling, but also hopeful in a way: "You are worth something. You are good. I value you. You are still mine." Here's hoping that Devlin will eventually start to appreciate the difference between the possessive way that Voldemort values him and the selfless, unconditional way that Harry and Alex value him.
"You packed a bag, huh? Clever boy. Come here, lets have a look. Go fetch your jacket from the hook, yeah?" -- I see what you did here. The contrast with Voldemort's voice in his head, calling him a "foolish boy". I like it!
The bit where Harry asks for his backup wand is just brilliant. I kind of suspected that Harry knew and I really wondered when you'd spring that on us. Excellent timing. And the fact that Devlin trusts him enough to do it says something as well. The hiding spot under the floorboard was the coup de grace here. Something that Devlin would certainly respect.
When she was furious she looked like him. -- I have to say that for a chapter where she doesn't speak a word, you've done some pretty nifty character development for Alexandra here.
I absolutely love what you've done with Rufus Scrimgeour in this chapter. He's somebody that Devlin wouldn't necessarily know, so using descriptions was a great way to capture Devlin's point of view. Scrimgeour's voice sounds perfectly reminiscent of the books. A soldier trying to be a politician. Forced politeness with steel lurking just beneath the surface. The lion was a fantastic analogy.
Devlin does a tremendous job of acting his age. Very literally acting, at least until the end. I wanted to ruffle his hair and tell him I was proud of him, although I suspect he'd have said, "Don't touch me." I loved the way that he used Voldemort's chastising words to help him figure out what he should be doing in each situation. That was brilliantly written.
"In a deadly conversation, always keep the quaffle in their hands; it is easier to dodge than to aim when you are scrambling. Voldemort did not make quidditch metaphors. Dubhán couldn't quite remember who had made that one." -- Ha! Well, I definitely have a few suspicions. I love when little bits of his pre-Voldemort life filter to the surface and confuse him.
Devlin was just brilliant in front of the Minister and the others. I especially loved the way that he was about to wrap it all up. He did show Scrimgeour why he was beyond his reach. He did win the battle, if not necessarily the war. And he did it without uttering a curse or a threat. He found a new source of power, one very different from the kind he tasted as Voldemort's prized possession. Good on him, I'd say.
Now the last thing he says before stepping into the floo... that could have probably used a bit more thought. I'm sure he'll hear all about it very soon.
One small typo I noticed: He was important to Voldemort - and they would try to charm him before they tried to torture him - today's happenings had proved they're first move wasn't wands and curses and screams. -- their first move
Otherwise, superb writing! Looking forward to the next!
Author's Response: Congrats on beginning to unravel the crushing complexities of life - I'll be doing that same thing starting next week. Finally going back to school after a year away due to a car accident. The good news is my writing usually improves rather than suffers as I procrastinate on both the homework and the writing - going to one or the other when I am stuck.
We certainly saw some relationship growth between Harry and Devlin in this chapter and also Alexandra to an extent: he used the mirror, when he thought of what it would have meant at Voldemort's side when someone said "she'll come with us" he was ready to make sure she wasn't hurt.
You know I actually have a note about you in this chapter on the document: what will CambAngst think of this book? As I have said, you are so perceptive as you read, and I was deviously thrilled that all the guesses you made about the shrunken book were wrong. When a writer can keep a reader like you guessing is when they know they're doing a good job on deciding how to phrase things and what details to give or hide. :) I think you'll be further surprised by the book, to be honest.
"Here's hoping that Devlin will eventually start to appreciate the difference between the possessive way that Voldemort values him and the selfless, unconditional way that Harry and Alex value him." I think he will fully recognize that when/if Voldemort dies - because until that time Voldemort will still be a threat and he will still feel some tiny degree of need to protect his value to this threat.
I'm glad you liked how Harry dealt with this. :)
It was more fun than I suspected to write Rufus. I'm glad he came out as realistically similar to himself in the books.
To be honest Voldemort's chastising words kinda helped me make sure I was writing Devlin in a different enough way, but still remaining true so it would be plainly clear it was an act. And yeah, he definitely would have said "Don't touch me". LOL
I'm glad you liked how Devlin dealt with this. I really enjoyed writing him like this - under real pressure. I especially liked his boyish act at the end.
"Now the last thing he says before stepping into the floo... that could have probably used a bit more thought. I'm sure he'll hear all about it very soon." ...yeah he says he knows why he's done it but I'm not sure he really had the right idea going when he said that. Harry will certainly have something to say about it.
I just finished re-reading the next chapter and know where I'm beginning the next one (I hate posting before I've started the next one). I swear I've re-read it ten times but I always find a sentence I feel MUST be tweaked or surely the reader will be led in an entirely different direction than I intended...I'm a bit OCD. Anyways - it will be up soon. :)
Thanks for the wonderful review!