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Review:CambAngst says:
Hi, there! I'm getting all caught up on my stories today. Fun!

If Harry could have chosen how the world worked, he would be having his first conversation about death with Devlin over the tidily dug grave for Zee, when the boy was years older and so much more innocent. -- I love the contrast here! Such a poignant sentiment!

Harry and Devlin picked an interesting time to get all tense and weird around one another, but I guess the events around the Death Eater attack left everyone feeling a little off. I love the consistency you've been able to maintain in Devlin's world view as the story progresses. I know from first-hand experience that it isn't easy to do that. I get so wrapped up in my characters that I want better things for them and sometimes that colors my writing. You've managed to keep Devlin trapped in this mindset that enabled him to survive Voldemort but hampers his ability to understand life on the outside.

I'm not 100% sure why Harry's words made Devlin upset, but I'm suspecting it has to do with the amount of credit that Devlin gives himself for surviving Voldemort. Not to say that he doesn't deserve a lot of credit, but perhaps not quite as much as he's giving himself. He looks at Harry and the connection Harry shares with Voldemort and compares it to the way he believes that he deceived Voldemort into getting the two of them tangled up in Voldemort's mind. Harry's survival must seem easy to him. And then for Harry to claim credit for it, I imagine that rubs Devlin the wrong way.

Then we move on to something that Devlin seems to consider even harder: relating to kids his own age. It's heart-breaking, the way that something that should come so easily frightens him almost more than facing Voldemort. His brain almost seems to freeze up, like he's lost the instruction manual. I love the short, mechanical responses and the half-hearted joke about the cake.

Wow. I almost don't know what to make of the conversation between Devlin and Maria. It's like he craves her acceptance, needs her to tell him that everything is alright even though he's the reason things are alright. In a funny way, she almost seems to understand him better than any of the adults aside from Geoffrey. I guess that goes with having been Voldemort's captive for a time. The common experience means that they both see certain things clearly, but through the eyes of a child.

The ending exchange, where he explains to her how he was able to convince Voldemort not to kill him, was probably the single most heart-breaking thing you've written so far. I've always related really strongly to stories about characters who were forced to change who they were in order to fit in. In Devlin's case, it was about far more than just fitting in, but I think there's a common thread that runs through it. The idea of forced transformation and the way that it can make a child feel... just wrong. I hated it for Devlin and Maria both. I hated the way that he feels ugly, dirty... compromised. It's awful, but it happens far too often in life.

The matter-of-fact way that he tells her he's about to have a seizure was the last straw. I felt like crying for him.

This was a beautifully written, intensely emotional chapter. I don't think there are enough nice things I can say about it.

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