Heeello! I read this chapter last night, so I can give you a really comprehensive review this afternoon, now that I'm reading for a second time. :)
At the beginning... Wow, Orion is so domineering and mean. No wonder Sirius hates his parents--they offer no sympathy or love or anything that parents should give to their children. (Of course, the kicking was really annoying. Repetitive actions like that usually are, unless you're the person who's doing the action. But still...) What makes this such a big deal to me is the contrast between Orion and James' father. Orion just assumes that he has complete authority over Sirius that his very gaze is enough to stop his son in his tracks. He doesn't realize that he is not a deity to Sirius, that Sirius hates him and that because of this, he has absolutely zero respect for him. It's kind of like leadership--if a leader is domineering and expects his peers to obey his every command, it will only breed contempt. Orion and Sirius have that kind of unhealthy relationship, and it's fairly disgusting.
The only complaint I have about that part is that when you said "Pollux" and then you said "his father" (referring to Sirius' father), it seemed like Pollux was his father. I really need a Black Family Tree in front of me every time I read a story about the Blacks, just so I can make sure that I know which parent goes with which child. I'm just a bit confused about the Pollux-to-Orion switch. Did you mean for Pollux to say "Would you stop?" and then for Orion to snap at Sirius? If so, a little clarification of that might be nice, if only for confused little me. :)
Oh good, Narcissa isn't dead! Another death is the LAST thing they need, but I'm sure that there will be more before we're through. I love the point about the Blacks not inviting the Aurors over because of their various objects of Dark Magic. Calling all the bluffs! :D And despite his bitter hatred of his family, I think it's good that Sirius feels remorse about Narcissa's accident. I'm still not even sure if it was totally his fault or not, but remorse is good. That's why he's not the killer, right?
And Regulus and Barty are having their little whisper sessions again--and I'm willing to bet that it probably isn't about Puddlemere. What's the deal there? Is it something that can be shipped? I've been naming a lot of couples lately, so I'm going to call their little interactions "Bartegulus" from now on. The ship seems to be getting stronger, ahaha, and so I'm sorry if you don't want me to ship them or name their relationship. It just seems like an inevitability, and a dangerous one, at that!
Going on to the next section... Regulus is a bit of a git. Not that Sirius isn't a git most of the time, but really, of all the cheap ways to wake people up! Sirius and Regulus display the stupidity of sibling rivalry at its finest, and no matter how mean my sister and I are to each other, I'm super glad that we're never THAT bad. :P
I'm particularly in love with this line: "In fact, if he didn't know better he'd say that they'd been frozen in time; a eulogy in tableau to the stiff, upper-class remainders of pureblood society." It's so well-written and just brilliant! Imagery abounds! I could totally imagine the Black family in a wax museum. That would be really creepy for sure!
Oh man, ALPHARD!!! His introduction just ups the crazy level of the Black family that much more. He is probably more likable than the rest of them, but still, he seems to have a hint of the Black evil in him nevertheless. All I know about Alphard from canon is that he got blasted off the family tree for giving money to Sirius, and his behavior at this point in the timeline definitely has him on a fast track to family tree extinction. He's brash and somewhat rude--that nickname for sissy Walburga, HAH! And I know that Cygnus was probably intolerable and horrid, but the fact that he brings up the death as a way to make everyone uncomfortable is just plain mean. He's a mixed bag of traits, I guess, and since I've never seen him in fanfiction before, this version of him seems to make total sense.
And now, let's talk about my favorite part: The part where Bartegulus totally becomes canon. HAHAHA. Leave it to Uncle Alphard to call them out on it!! I mean, I'm not saying that it's an actual thing, but the way the lads reacted kind of put a layer of ambiguity in there... What DO they do when there alone? Again, I'm sure it's not bemoaning the fact that the Puddlemere team is looking bad. If not canoodling, they're probably whispering secrets to each other--secrets that don't need to be told. I, for one, would like to believe that they're canoodling on the sly, and that Barty is a total jerkface who's going around and causing trouble in the already-troubled House of Black.
And Bellatrix at the end... Dear God, that's one of the creepiest chapter endings I've ever read. Yeesh. Why is she laughing so much?! Perhaps she's just really amused by the thought of Bartegulus (I know I am). Or perhaps she walked in on them while they were "talking..." Hmmm... I hope we find out what's up with that in the next chapter! Her maniacal laughter continues in the vein of "Bellatrix is a crazy psychopath, everyone please step away from the cage" that the earlier chapters have, but this is just so much worse than her earlier instances of mania. The fact that you wrote her like this is brilliant and... much too disturbing.
Another point of confusion: When Barty stood up with his fists clenched, who was the person that pulled him back down? I wasn't sure if it was Sirius or Regulus.
Ooh, this story just keeps getting weirder and more insane as it progresses! I hope that chapter nine is going well for you! :)
Author's Response: Hey there - I'm so excited to see you back again! :) And when you said it was a comprehensive review, you really weren't joking, were you? haha. This is slightly intimidating, but so so wonderful to get! :)
Yeah, Orion isn't the greatest father. He's not very hands-on, not very involved with them and he definitely thinks authority is the way to go! He's being harsher than he normally would be here because of what happened to Narcissa, and the kicking, so it is a sort of combination of annoyance and genuine anger at what happened and things, so it's not wholly insane, but it is pretty over the top in terms of reactions. And yeah, it's a pretty big difference between Orion and James' father - Orion knows it's understood, doesn't care whether it is or isn't, anyway, and just expects Sirius to obey. It really isn't a great relationship, but I think it's one which has deteriorated over time, you know, and it's only getting worse. It's kinda sad for both of them, imo. They should get on. They're father and son! :(
Ooh yes, yes I did mean that! Sorry - I'm so used to writing this and having all the relationships sorted in my head I sometimes forget other people don't so thank you for pointing that out! I'll definitely go back and look at making it clearer (if I haven't already - I tend to go back as soon as I get your reviews :P).
There... will be more deaths! That I can say with confidence! :D And you're right about them not needing any more deaths - it's not a great forecast for them atm... :P Yeah, I had to put that in! Like the Blacks would call the Aurors... particularly on one of their own! And yeah, I think Sirius has the capacity to feel bad, particularly when it's not like he particularly hates her or anything, really, so it's very much a good thing ;) As for that being why he's not the killer... well, remorse for one action does not mean remorse for them all. Truth! :P
Whisper sessions! Alone... oh! *wolf whistles* Mahaha, I think you definitely can ship it, and I lovelovelove the name 'Bartegulus'. Ah, brilliant! Don't apologise! It's fine! ;)
Yeah, they really do take it to a new level. I mean, waking someone up with water isn't that bad, particularly with magic - the worst that happens is someone gets wet and perhaps a little cold - but it's unnecessary, really. And same here - I have two sisters and boy I'm glad it's never been quite like that!
Gah, thank you so much! I did like that line when I wrote it, haha (which is pretty rare for me). And that... is disturbingly creepy. Reeally, reeeaally creepy. Black family wax museum... O.O
Alphard! I'm so glad you like him - I wasn't originally planning on having him actually turn up, just letters and things, but then I felt I should :P He's more charismatic, I think, though I wouldn't quite describe him as more likeable, perhaps... oh yeah, he's definitely going to get blasted off - he's not really a favourite family member, haha! I liked writing him, particularly since he's very much in opposition to a particular other character who I like very much ;)
Oh gosh, yes, haha! Uncle Alphard isn't quite calling anyone out on anything, but he's definitely stirred something up! :D They did react weirdly, hmm... :P You would like to believe that, and, if I may say, I would like to believe that ;) Buuut, you'll have to wait and see!
I'm so glad you liked the ending! I was so nervous writing it because I didn't think, honestly, it was very good... Eh, she's just laughing... she's a bit mad :P Can't take everything she does seriously...
Ah, yeah, I wondered about that bit... it's Sirius (oddly enough), but again I'll look it over and make it clearer! Thanks for pointing it out! :)
Thank you so so much for this wonderful review! It was so brilliant to get - and I'm really sorry this response is shorter than the review, but, gah, you were so lovely and I just don't really know what to say! Thank you! :)