I almost donít want to accept that this is the end of This Longing, as itís just been a fantastic read, but I guess Iíll have to :(
The beginning of the chapter was really fantastic with the with all these final moments and how even though Minerva didnít want Grimm to go in this journey she was going to have let him, and by helping him along the way it sort of enabled her to cope with it. It just had this wonderful melancholy air to it really and it made me want to never let this moment go because like with the changing landscape in Europe, they were changing so much too and could never really go back to before.
The second sort of beginning section (if that makes sense) was just so tender and wonderful and yeah I loved it! I think you caught the goodbye tension between them perfectly because they were always incapable of not talking, so to see them so silent and solemn really showed us they were probably feeling more pain over this than I was. I rather liked the idea of the memento too, because they can be a rather old fashioned pair at times so it suited them so well.
Grimmís morning was just eurgh I donít it was just perfect really. The mingled in bits of flashback were really effective, almost more so than the real thing as they private too so it was a way of just leaving that final moment for them. Itís so hard to figure out whether Grimm really wants this moment right now or not. He has all these fond memories but then thereís need to go to war too, I guess heís just confused like me :P
Minervaís section had this wonderful detached air to it, almost as if she couldnít believe that the events of the previous night occurred and then it was only strengthened when she saw he wasnít at the Ravenclaw table. I think thatís why I found her conversation with Dumbledore even more interesting because it was one of the few times that we saw real emotion in her, even anger, and it gave me some hope she could live on without Grimm.
The epilogue was fantastic as an ending and in contrast with Minervaís final section. You did a really great job of tying all of the ends together in such a subtle I really felt as if I knew which path each person would take (admittedly having read the follow on one-shot may have helped with that!). There was the air of hope for Minerva too with her conversation with Moody as it gave her some hope she could go on and fight her own battles if Grimm got his, and it was nice to have a sign of hope there.
The closing lines were really fantastic and showed Minerva as the independent woman that she is, and it was great to see that strong trait of hers still shine through here. Thank you for writing such a fantastic story which has been a real pleasure to read, and with this ending it gives me an excuse to come and read more of your stories!
Author's Response: Thank you for reading and reviewing right to the end, Kiana. It has meant a lot to have you along for the last leg of the journey through this novel - I don't know if I could have finished it, after having abandoned it once, maybe twice, and just feeling that it'd never be good enough to satisfy the vision I had of how the story should be. But it's done! And in a way that, I think, actually works. So thank you for your inspiration and support! :D
I really like how you've discussed the different parts of this chapter, how each captures a different mood, representing a separate stage of endingness. Much of it follows Minerva's coping process as she comes to terms with the present and finds a way of looking forward - even if it seems bleak, there is a ray of hope: her own strength to persevere.
Grimm's ending is more conflicted because he's an unwilling subject in it - in much of this story's conclusion, really, from Myrtle's death onward, his fate spiralling downward. He knows that this isn't the ending he'd choose for himself, but at the same time, he doesn't know what end he'd choose. He does have one choice, though: whether to escape from war or escape from Minerva and the complex relationship that's sprung up between them (far more complex than he ever anticipated - he wanted her love without understanding what it would mean to love in return). His side of the plot resolves in an entirely unsatisfactory way, yet it's the best way for him - he still has a lot of experience to gain, a lot of self-searching to do.
In the end, the story wasn't his story at all, but rather Minerva's. It's interesting because in my original plan for the novel, it was supposed to have been his story, mostly told from his perspective, but it didn't take long to realize that the real "hero" is Minerva, that she's the one who grows the most from this experience and is able to actually move forward from it on her own accord. By that final scene, she is the witch who will lead Hogwarts, and it's fantastic to hear that you liked how both her strength and the air of hope comes through there.
*huggles* Thank you again!