Wow! After a couple of relatively slow, introspective chapters, you blew the lid off with this one.
You really threw a curveball on Geoffrey's character in this chapter. He went from being sort of sage-like and protective and reassuring to being completely creepy in a very short space. It's hard to exactly say why. Maybe Geoffrey feels like he's been found out, that the game he's been playing is finally up where Harry is concerned. Or maybe he's just trying to teach Devlin a lesson about being more careful. Regardless, the effect was pretty chilling. I love how protective Devlin gets in the first scene:
"She isn't going to be like me. I'm like me so she isn't like me. Don't you understand, traitor?" -- It's a bit ironic that Devlin is referring to Geoffrey's betrayal of Voldemort -- I think, anyway -- but it's the betrayal of his family that he's most concerned about.
And just when I was ready to write Geoffrey off, he comes back with that line about Devlin being better than Voldemort. Gah, that guy is so incredibly complicated!
Emma just cuts Devlin to the bone in this chapter. She literally opens him up for everyone to see. It felt like she also reawakened something inside of him. That had been Devlin, clawing his way back into his own head; knowing he would have to be there to protect her. Devlin, who did not know about death. Yay for Devlin! Visit often! Stick around!
I'll confess that the exchange between Emma and Devlin was a bit hard to follow in places. It took me a few readings to figure out that Emma was the one talking about Scorpius Malfoy. She's an incredibly perceptive little girl to take that away from Devlin's unguarded comment in the last chapter. I guess "perceptive" runs strong in the Potter children. At the same time, though, there were bits and pieces that were unmistakably the "logic" of a young child. That arguing technique where you simply throw everything you have at the other person, whether or not it's relevant to the topic at hand.
Wow. So Voldemort told Devlin the story of his grandmother, only with a very different spin on it. I love that twist.
The whole story of Devlin being made to fight Scorpius... wow. There are so many neat things going on there, it's hard to know where to start. Maybe I'll start by pointing out one thing that might be a typo:
Malfoy didn't like it. Voldemort saw seen, and he didn't like it. So he said it. -- I'm thinking maybe the word "seen" doesn't belong?
Anyway, I love Devlin's analysis of Voldemort's cruelty. I love the fact that Devlin does things, or refrains from doing things, just to avoid pleasing Bellatrix. And I think this is one of my favorite descriptions of a look that I've ever read: "The one he gets when he has just thought of something interesting to do." I really don't like the idea of things that Voldemort finds interesting. The point of not doing things -- fixing your hair, straightening your clothes, rubbing a cut... -- just because something even worse is about to happen was terribly sad. I am always in awe of your ability to capture the brutality of life among the Death Eaters in the most casual-sounding ways.
Draco's dream was a really neat interlude in the middle of this long, tense chapter. I think it makes perfect sense that if Draco had it to do over again, he would have simply killed Devlin and spared himself a lot of struggle and suffering. Oh, and look: he's out of prison already. That didn't take long.
I figured that picture would pop up again at some point. It nearly sends Devlin over the edge, but it seems like Harry's figured out a way to rope him back in a bit. Interesting.
So I admit I got a little lost when Harry took Devlin out for a walk. They were in a forest and then it seemed like the sharpness sort of took over and then an instant later, they were back at the Potter house, which was under attack.
The attack itself was beautifully done. I loved the unspoken communication between Harry and Alexandra. I wanted to cheer for Devlin when he chose Harry over the werewolf Keen. Harry used some brilliant tactics to get out of the house, although it seemed like he played right into the Death Eaters' hand.
Devlin was awesome as he ordered Malfoy around and baited the Death Eaters into the critical error. Devlin's escape was really cool to read. I had almost forgotten about his ability to transform. It served him beautifully here. And then he curses Malfoy... I just wanted to stand up and cheer! He didn't run away, even when he had the chance. I felt like a corner was turned here.
So one more little typo: He had been feverish that entire day, in and out of seizures that had felt like someone were killing him. -- was killing him.
This was a blockbuster chapter! I loved every bit of it. Great job!
Author's Response: I think I will be really sad the day that Geoffrey finally revealed himself, because I do so enjoy keeping everyone on their toes about his motives. Perhaps, in this instance, he was warning Devlin of one thing, because he thought Devlin WASN'T actually as strong as he proved himself to be. Perhaps Geoffrey wanted Devlin to make the choice. Perhaps he merely reacted on gut instinct - to protect Devlin. We don't yet know all of their history and all the ways in which Geoffrey has previously protected him.
I'll take another look at Emma's scene; I certainly didn't mean for it to be confusing! I kind of felt these were cumulative observations that this once instance ("I just don't think you know anything" = always stupid thing to say, Devlin), brought of Emma in a sort of vindictive way. In my mind, she sort of stumbles upon the reason. She throws lots of things at him that - that he has a wand, that he likes her friend (Maria), that he has FRIENDS he doesn't share with her, and then this thing about the boy he was talking about comes out too. She knows him too - doesn't Devlin see how important she is? She knows someone he knows, and since he only speaks to Geoffrey about this boy, it must be one of the friends he won't share with her. She rubs his perceived friend into the mud "he's a stuck up jerk". In someways, I think she over generalizes and simply falls upon the truth. Sometimes, children say/realize things we think is so amazing that they have, and yet when asked about it later - they don't actually seem as conscious of this discovery as we would have thought. I admit though - it's hard to create those scenes in writing, because a reader assumes whatever you put in writing is a direct reflection upon the character's abilities/personality, etc. etc.
"Wow. So Voldemort told Devlin the story of his grandmother, only with a very different spin on it. I love that twist." YES, it has actually been referenced before, but not so blatantly. It's the story his grandfather told him so he'd remember not to be without a wand - he recalls it a couple times, very early on, I think.
The Scorpius scene was very fun to write!
" I really don't like the idea of things that Voldemort finds interesting. " I'm laughing at this, because this will be Alexandra's sentiment to a conversation she ends up having with Devlin pretty soon.
"I am always in awe of your ability to capture the brutality of life among the Death Eaters in the most casual-sounding ways." Thank you. :) It seems to be one of the only proper ways to capture it through a child.
I could hear your sarcasm practically soaking your words in this: "Oh, and look: he's out of prison already. That didn't take long." I laughed, but try to see it from Devlin's perspective and believe he has something less comfortable than a cold floor coming to him...
Okay, the Harry and Devlin photograph scene. It started out as this whole alternative plot, then I got midway through and it decided to throw me for a loop. It is meant to be a dream. He dreams of his magic pulsing against the wards as he tries to disapparate, when in reality he is sensing the wards being broken. His sharpness finally interrupts the dream when they find themselves in the woods that open into the field - and the sharpness wakes him by taking over. One clue is that Harry never gets the pajamas that Devlin was wearing, back. You'll note from Draco's description they aren't torn in the Potter residence. It is a symbol in Devlin's mind. :) I have an one-shot AU companion story written in which a slightly older Devlin finds Harry on his own, brining that piece of fabric as proof of his identity.
To make this clearer the text was meant to be italicized, but that apparently didn't come through... I will fix it in the morning. :)
Thank you for a brilliant review, as always. I'm afraid I've lagged terribly behind on replying to them, but I will try to catch up. :)