Hi, there! It's been a while, but I'm back. Silly career...
I love how the nightmare from the last chapter flowed seamlessly into the beginning of this one. I feel like I finally understand most of the picture of how Devlin survived Voldemort. When Devlin shuts down, the wolf takes over. And the behaviors that the wolf exhibits in the face of extreme danger -- show no weakness, don't scream -- were probably a part of what made Devlin so interesting to Voldemort in the first place.
"I didn't want to play with you," -- Again, we see the wolf trying to make the most of Devlin's limited vocabulary and perspective. It would be cute if the game itself wasn't so deadly.
It's amazing that Devlin found a part of his mind to hide in that was so deep that not even Voldemort could touch him there. Actually, I guess that's not quite right. It's amazing that he was able to find his way out again. It brings to mind Frank and Alice Longbottom. Whatever depths of their minds they fell into to escape the pain sent by Crouch, Jr. and the Lestranges, they never found their way back out. Perhaps it's the potion that the Dark Lord brewed for Devlin. Maybe that's what enabled him to find his way back out instead of succumbing to the Cruciatus damage. That would make a certain amount of sense, actually. Because he took an interest in Dubhán, he chose to bring the boy back from the brink of nothingness. And now Devlin is convinced that Voldemort will find him. And when that happens, Voldemort will have figured out that Devlin is not his loyal servant nor a younger version of himself. So he will literally be tortured into nothingness. Do I have that basically correct?
It seems like Snape has found his faith in Devlin, and Devlin's ability to fool Voldemort. And there's probably no greater authority on fooling Voldemort than Snape. I loved the conversation between the two of them. There's so much that goes unsaid because it's simply understood between two people who survived for so long in the Dark Lord's shadow. Brilliantly done!
I'm curious about the intended symbolism of the other prisoners inside Devlin's mind. Are those the people that Devlin saw the Dark Lord actually torture into nothingness? It seems strange that Devlin would be "sheltering" these others inside his mind.
I loved the little mention of Lily as they were preparing to exit Devlin's mind.
So what happens next is the only part of the chapter that bothered me a little. Devlin has just "returned" after his body was controlled by his wolf for some period of time. I wouldn't expect to find him calmly sipping tea when Severus comes back to the real world. I would have expected Harry and Sirius and everyone else to be fussing over Devlin, asking him how he felt, asking him what happened, etc. It just seemed sort of blasé compared to what happened.
Snape's reaction, however, was perfect. Show no weakness, show no surprise or emotion, act as though nothing of import has happened.
I'm sure that Devlin is still a bit annoyed at Geoffrey, but I also have a strong suspicion that he's trying to protect the older werewolf in a way. By pushing Geoffrey away, he's trying to distance Geoffrey from his own betrayal of the Dark Lord. He should probably realize that it isn't possible; Voldemort could never forgive Geoffrey without losing face with all of his other followers. Geoffrey knows the boy so well, though. He drips in a little more information, something that Devlin cannot afford to ignore. He starts to explain the connection between Harry and Voldemort and it throws Devlin for a loop. I doubt he ever imagined in his wildest dreams that the Great and Noble Harry Potter shared anything with the Dark Lord, let alone things so important.
I saw a couple of small typos as I was reading:
Then the boy had feinted and he had been plunged into darkness alongside him. -- should be fainted, unless you're talking about the kind of feint you see in fencing.
-Because, if you hadn't already than there would be no reason for this place to exist.- -- then there would be
Awesome chapter! I felt like some of the last pieces fell into place explaining Devlin's survival and I think Devlin came away from this chapter with some new things to think about. Good job!
Author's Response: Great to see you. Careers can be so empowering and annoying at the same time. Ugh. But your reviews are always worth the wait!
I'm glad this chapter helped you understand Devlin's survival better. I know for many they would have liked this to have come sooner (and I may go back and put hints in the first chapter), but I really feel as if it weren't natural until it happened now. There is no terror at Harry's house, and Devlin hasn't known how to deal with the comparatively little hiccups because he hasn't actually truly dealt with ANY of the gruesome things - his wolf has. When a normal child would dissociate, Devlin's wolf comes forward. I imagine after it happened the first couple times Devlin learned to use it as a tool and they tagged team on their combined survival. This exposed the wolf to the human world more and more. There is something damaged about them both, which is the only reason this is possible.
The words themselves "I didn't want to play with you," are Devlin's, but the wolf has urged him and had believed at the time that the words were fierce because that was how Devlin perceived them. And with a child staring up at you, unblinking, unemotional, those words might be taken as something slightly more than childish, too.
I can't yet comment on what made it possible for Devlin to come out of the nothingness. :)
Devlin does not believe Voldemort will kill him - and this is not really a pleasant thought for him, I don't think. I'm not entirely sure he's accurate, on the idea or not (okay I know but I won't tell). He believes he will be tortured into nothingness, or he will be cursed, or he will be obliviated, or Emma will be used against him. But he fears the nothingness the most. So yes, you have that right.
You've got it there! Devlin hasn't yet figured out why he feels differently about Snape, but he will come to realize too that Snape and he are alike - they have both fooled the Dark Lord and lived to tell. I can't wait to get further along because there is actually more Snape/Devlin to come! :D
The prisoners are episodes where the wolf has taken over and he's dissociated or something else (Geoffrey) has otherwise caused him to locked them away in his head. He's alluded to the last prisoner a couple times and he will actually be quite important (anything I bother to have Devlin remind us of several times will be).
Thanks about the Lily part.
Okay, this is interesting how you took that. I meant to symbolize that time had gone by - that Devlin had woken before Snape. I imagine Harry would have tried to comfort, fuss, etc and Devlin would have quickly reminded him not too. Maybe I'll have to go back and put in a couple words to make that clearer.
I did like Snape's exit. :D
I'm curious to know whether you think Geoffrey told Devlin these things in good faith or for something bad. I think he's trying to push Devlin to a realization that Devlin doesn't yet have. There are things in Devlin's head, obviously, that he hasn't connected to Harry. We don't even know if Harry has connected them to himself yet (or Dumbledore). But yes, Harry is more like Devlin than Devlin has ever fathomed.
Thank you for the lovely review! I'll get the typos!