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Review #26, by SlideOff the Rails: forty-two

6th March 2013:
Yay James Quidditch history. I know this is a framework but the background pleases me. Typical James that he thinks these achievements aren't a big deal; no wonder he has so many inferiority issues. It's kind of down-to-earth of him - he gets tense but he just tries his best, so he doesn't see how GOOD his best is. But this is still something different.

Interfering housemate, go! They have a sacred duty as gatekeepers. And part of that sacred duty is knowing when to ignore instructions. But not give away too much. BECAUSE SHE'S DYING. Totally it. Heh, this one's a good gatekeeper. I approve of her.

And now we go. Carla's cautious, she should be. But she wants him to know the truth already, because him KNOWING isn't the worst part, the worst part is telling. Yes, James - honesty is the best policy right now, because if nothing else, you've got nothing to lose. Can't end worse than it is right now. I think. Interestingly, she's wrong, I think - I think James knows he doesn't need her to stop him from screwing up because he fixed HIMSELF. Which is a glorious thing and such a glorious thing about this story, it's not "girl saves damaged guy from himself", damaged guy saves himself and goes after the girl.

Less commentary on the next bit. Because it's a sorely important issue being addressed, something a lot more real than we usually put in our fanfiction - even if we go serious, we tend to go very high fantasy serious (how many of us deal with the actual fallout of war, for instance, even if the subject matter in itself is deathly serious). I think it's best letting your prose speak for itself in this, and to say I think you're tackling this with every inch of appropriate dignity and care.

But, now. She's lashing out to drive him off, of course, because that makes it easier. I can see why; James might be sincere but has he thought through everything this means? It's a tall order for anyone, and while it would be easy to say "TRUE LOVE CONQUERS ALL", the real world is a lot nastier and tougher than that. He's only just found out. Still, I trust him to do right. And, he's kind of right. Leave for now, because SHE needs to think this through as well as he does.

Okay, Gatekeeper Felicity is smart, sensible, and READING MY MIND.

So! There it is, the big Real Reveal of this, and there's the movie which you said would spoil everything. I've not actually seen it. And though people saw the broad gist coming, we didn't see the ACTUAL truth coming, and it's one of those things which, even if you know roughly what's bearing down on you, that doesn't lessen the impact when it hits. It's not so much a twist as an added layer, and the added layer is good and it is deep. I am only keen to see where we go from here. Of course, the question will come up on what magic can do for the situation, because that must be addressed.

We Shall See. But good stuff, truly. Most excellent tackling of serious issues, and so fie on anyone who says you can't do serious proper things with fanfic! Fie on them, I say! I doff my hat to you on this one.

Author's Response: Glad you liked the background, I certainly enjoyed writing it! I know pretty much everything of James' life, so it's nice to throw things in every now and again, just to flesh his character out. And yes, once more he undervalues his own achievements, the poor kid.

Interfering housemate indeed! Felicity's role ended up as rather a bigger one than I'd intended - in that I hadn't intended to write her into this chapter at all! But I felt that her perspective on things was needed, for James' sake more than anything else, so in she went.

Aand Carlotta does, indeed, have A Bad Illness, as you'd suspected for a long while. Her wanting him to know the truth is partly the fear of doing the Telling, and is partly because if he already knew then it meant he didn't care about it. Her main fears about the whole situation are the effect she might have on his life, and that he wouldn't want anything to do with her once he knew. And so there was a part of her that was hoping that he would have learned about the illness already and that he was still keen in spite of it, even if did then try to get rid of him.

I'm glad you liked their discussion. It was definitely one of the hardest parts of this story to write, given its importance. Obviously Carlotta, as much as she wants to be with James, can't bear to put him through such a terrible ordeal - because of course that's what she sees it as. And yet James can't bear to let her go. So we have a conflict of interests. She wins the battle - because she's right, he DOESN'T know what he's getting himself into and he really needs to have some idea of what's going on before he commits - but he's adamant that he'll win the war.

I didn't necessarily expect you to have seen the movie, but all the same it was best to just keep everything quiet in the event that you'd somehow stumble across the plot and thus work out what was going on. I'm actually glad that this didn't seem like a twist because I didn't want it to seem like a left-field issue. It did give me a sense of satisfaction to see (read?) everybody speculating over What Was Wrong! Well, now you know. :) There IS the possibility that magic might help; that question gets a part answer in the next chapter but it will be a continuing issue right through into the sequel.

Very glad you enjoyed, thanks very much for the review! :)


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Review #27, by SlideOff the Rails: forty-one

6th March 2013:
At least James is philosophical about the ire he's won from the Prophet. But it's only the Prophet. They're plonkers anyway. And at least he knows it, knowing they'll blame him for losing Ginny. Don't lose sleep over it, James! Heh, that's so typical him, to cancel his subscription by default rather than by intention.

But, bless him, again he's the voice of reason in the Freddie-Brigid situation. Poor guy, he's not in an easy spot, even if they're worse off. And Brigid is smart enough to see both sides even if she's also proud and occasionally insecure to blind herself to it.

Ha, typical man, Freddie, to tell her his issues and then seem to do nothing about it. Good on Brigid to not lap it up; he has problems and problems need WORK. She does also have a point about James - it isn't his place, so much, but he is a friend and so there are things he could have done. Being hands-off is sometimes about respecting people's business - but sometimes it's a handy excuse. Poor Brigid, anyway. Freddie has my sympathy but it's her I really feel for in this, mostly because she has no control over the situation and she's doing about the best she can, but she's STILL unhappy.

Yay Al is here. And it's time for Potter-brothers-insecurities, and of course Al is more sensible than James about this. But Al would have to be mental to be less sensible than James about this! It's also nice to remind us that Al and Lily have a very close and healthy relationship - because there's so much closeness with James and Lily and so much distance with James and Albus, it's easy to assume that Albus and Lily are also distant, because we don't see it. But they are still brothers, and brothers give each other advice! Sensible Al.

It's always cute to see the little domestic hints of Harry and Ginny's life together. Even if it'll always be skewed when seen through their son's perspective. I couldn't see Harry taking the teaching job either - he'd love it and he'd be good at it, but this is the man who became an Auror even after defeating Voldemort. He clearly doesn't have much of a 'retire on a farm' streak in him like most heroes. Interesting, he had the file all along. And, of course, there's a page missing (listing some HORRIBLE ILLNESS I'm sure). He's right to keep it hidden, I think, but also right to light a fire under James to make him talk with her. It's not an easy situation to be in but he's done well.

Nice chapter with Potter men fun! The fic's focused so much on James-Lily and James-Ginny so it's good to see some more of Al and Harry.

Author's Response: James has re-evaluated many, many things. Like how little he actually cares about what people think of him. He always disliked most of the Prophet's reporters though, so it's not too much of an evaluation. ;) Nevertheless, he won't be losing sleep over his public opinion ratings!

Brigid is smart. And knows what's good for her. But she also knows what she WANTS, and that's where her problem is - she wants someone who is making himself unattainable. James WAS an idiot by not getting involved sooner - because the hands-off approach only works for so long in this kind of situation. He's only a couple of years late. In some sense, Brigid has no control - but because Freddie is point-blank refusing to do anything, that almost puts the ball back in her court because if anything is going to happen here it has to be on her terms. It's not an ideal situation really. Good to see that all parties are understandable here. :)

This was possibly one of my favourite chapters to write so far, because of the Potter men! Much conversation has obviously been had about the joys of writing a post-Voldemort, carefree Harry, but I haven't had that opportunity yet because in James' eyes he wasn't that person. Sigh. But he is now! Albus, too, gets his moment with his bro. He is most definitely the more grounded, sensible brother, although I'm sure James would enjoy the task of loosening him up a little bit. Yep, he gets on very well with Lily - neither of them are nearly as messed up as James, so there's really nothing to get in the way of a healthy sibling relationship! And Harry. Definitely won't take the teaching job. Not until he's got a beard to rival Dumbledore's at any rate. He had the file - how else was he going to get in the way of the Obliviators? I love your determination that there's a horrible illness on the missing page. EVEN IF you've already read the next chapter by now. Thanks for reviewing!


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Review #28, by SlideOff the Rails: forty

6th March 2013:
I see everyone shoves James into the firing line. Such fair teammates! Their logic is sound but it also seems like they want to avoid Sinead's ire. Cunning. Yay more Quidditch lore! This pleases me perhaps more than it should. It's interesting and makes its own kind of sense while being as appropriately madcap as anything in the wizarding world should be.

Good we see some of James' tactical chops in this scene. I always like it when the silly bugger is granted a chance to show that he's no slouch professionally and there is a REASON why he is in the position he's in. Of course it's a Cannons match. And they will get pulverised. Ron has to enjoy losing by now, but good on him for remaining a true and loyal fan!

Yay it's Maddie! Even for a short cameo. A Cato-themed cameo, hee. Oop, drama on the horizon, at last a Freddie-Brigid talk, and a duh duh DUH ending. I look forward to it. Not much to say on this chapter but I enjoyed it. I like the little details of it.

Author's Response: Yup! Nobody's angry at James for basically running out on them for a month - but if someone has to enter the lion's den, they'll make sure it's him! ;) But also the more senior players can see that Sinead thinks a lot of James and will react well to his input. Additionally it will do HIM the world of good to be involved in that kind of situation; to be able to play on strengths which he perhaps doesn't realise he has. So it's a win-win! Glad you liked the Quidditchy stuff, it got too confusing at first so I had to simplify it a bit. I realise that things CAN be entirely bonkers and still fit in, such is the nature of Quidditch and the wizarding world as a whole - but things went too far. SO. This is what we have. Madness. But evidently enjoyable. :)

I really did feel for Ron when writing this scene. The poor Cannons! But it had to happen. And he is, indeed, loyal to a fault. But then, that's why we love him, isn't it?

I missed Maddie. It was an utter joy to throw her back into the mix. Just you wait; a few chapters down the line she should steal the show. Excited! Cato-themed cameo indeed, because the Bagman deserves a bit of loving. Glad you enjoyed, thanks for reviewing!


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Review #29, by SlideOff the Rails: thirty-nine

6th March 2013:
*looks mournful* Here! No excuses. *chirps up* Chapters!

James has probably been on a broom since he could work (or before, if his father's anything to go by); six weeks on the ground is no laughing matter. If we didn't know it was serious before, we sure do now!

But he's being grown up about it. He has screwed his England chances (barring some mishap, which I'm not ruling out - but under current circumstances he's not coming back) and so is focusing on the team. It's good, it's a show of his growth and humility. But I particularly like it because this isn't a NEW side of James; he's always taken his work seriously, and this is more that aspect of him rising to the forefront than a whole new leaf.

All right, maybe a new leaf if he's not drinking with Freddie! Brigid may need a job which introduces her to more men who, as James says, AREN'T her clients. I mean, good for her, but that's a disaster in the making. At least they're rich sportsmen. She could do worse! Speaking of... Freddie...

And James passes on some of his refound maturity. By yelling, but - well, passes on his wisdom of not sitting around feeling sorry for one's self. And Freddie shows JUST HOW DEEP his damage goes. Woah, poor guy. I feel for him, but he is not his parents. This sounds more like an excuse shielding his own insecurities than literally "I don't know how to love her"; perhaps "I don't know how to be loved", because being raised in a loveless marriage is likely to mess with your head in a multitude of ways - but regardless of Freddie's EXACT damage, it's still legitimate damage. Clearly Freddie does know what a loving relationship LOOKS like, but I guess this means he knows he wasn't born of one.

James still says all the right things. Much love for James, as ever. I must again gush over him; it's hard to write a story from such a narrow perspective (if you're me), but James remains a nuanced and likeable character even if he's being childish or unlikeable, and so it keeps us reading, for him. It might be lovely to see other characters through his eyes, but we're still mostly here for him, for how others relate TO him. That said, I think this is why Lily is such a stand-out character in the story, because she has her Own Dramatic Impetus in a way nobody but James does.

BUT I DIGRESS. It's good that, even 30 years later, the war's not gone. It shouldn't be and wouldn't be. The parents were all so YOUNG when it happened, and that makes it all the more likely their suffering would pass on, even a little, to their children. It makes you wonder how much damage binds people together, and how much that matters. Still. They do have each other, and that's the part that shines through the most, and matters most. Good little chapter.

Author's Response: Yep, currently James' imminent England prospects are looking pretty non-existent. He HAS matured some - the him of old would've found it much harder to tell himself to move on with things, and he took the news of his drop pretty badly in the first place, of course. But he's learning to re-evaluate his priorities. And he HAS always been incredibly loyal towards the Falcons, but this is him realising that the team is bigger than him right now. And he'll have more chances. He's still only young!

Oh, Freddie. He's messed up. He's incredibly insecure, of course he is! It's almost an inferiority complex - given who his best pal is and who his family are, it's not hard to see why doubts might creep in. In essence, he cares too much for Brigid and doesn't want to allow himself that chance to screw things up - so he instead screws up his entire friendship with her. Of course he's capable of being in a loving relationship, it's just the entire concept is alien to him and so it scares him off. James ... is in a bit of an unfamiliar situation here. But nevertheless, he does a good job at telling Freddie what he needs to hear! Whether it actually has the desired effect is of course another issue entirely.

It really is reassuring to know that James remains loveable and understandable no matter how idiotic he's being! Having a more limited perspective DOES make it harder to portray him well when he's being a bit of a douche, because there's no other perspective to freshen things up or even things out, so I'm glad as always to know that he remains in people's good books! (Totally unsure about apostrophe usage there. YOU HAVE MADE ME PARANOID.)

Yes, war scars still remain. But they'll all get by, eventually, in their own ways. James is making progress, and Freddie is learning that he too can become his own person. Thanks for reviewing!


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Review #30, by SlideOff the Rails: thirty-eight

28th January 2013:
Awww, Neville lives completely away from his family most of the time. Even if they're busy, this saddens me! But if it works well for them, then it's nice that the family can cope with the distance etc and get on with their lives merrily. Hopefully it's HEALTHY and I'm a weird fan of unconventional family and relationship lifestyles which are nevertheless happy.

Ginny would make a good flying instructor. I can assume that her and Harry have a similarly whirlwind sort of opportunity at spending time together. But HARRY? Leaving the MLE to be a teacher? While that might be healthy for him, I wonder if he'd want it! And aww, grown-up Percy is a much more sensible man. I think Audrey would have been good for him, because Percy was always grounded in some ways and NOT in others, and if she could drag down those other ways he'd always be a decent bloke. But then I have a soft spot for Percy. Nice exploration of Ginny's choices. And nice to address that it's OKAY for her to choose her family above her career, that these are all GOOD choices! *feminist fist-bump*

And yes, we're due Carla resolution, methinks. Or James is getting to the point where he needs to take some action. Ginny is right in why she managed to slip past James' defences, methinks. And good that he has realised that he does want to fight; therein lay the trouble. Can't sort your life out if you don't know what you want from it.

Heh! Rose and Scorpius. Not carbon copies indeed. Good stuff!

Author's Response: I like to think that Neville would visit his family a lot during term time - and in this fic his kids are currently at Hogwarts so he'd see them more than Hannah would during term time! (Incidentally Alice is Hugo's friend-but-they-want-to-be-more, and Maddie makes a reference to her in chapter eighteen. BUT I DIGRESS.) I can imagine that teaching at Hogwarts could be quite a lonely career path. Certainly in this case, though, the Longbottoms have it all sorted and they're all happy. As James says, Hannah being the landlady of the Leaky Cauldron almost helps the situation, because they're used to the unconventional.

Ginny would be good at the job. Harry would be better at the job. But you're right, he wouldn't want to leave the MLE; he may not enjoy every moment like he might do if he were the flying instructor, but he still has a lot of unfinished business in the Ministry.

Grown-up Percy has his moments of wisdom in Rails! We don't see much of him, because he's not exactly James' favourite uncle, but I certainly don't endeavour to make him the boring, stuck-up one like a lot of authors seem to do. He came round at the end of DH, and I highly doubt he'd let himself go back to being that person. That, and Audrey as I portray her would certainly bring out the good parts of him. As a couple, they balance each other out wonderfully in my Railsverse, and there is so much temptation to write more about them as a couple! One of many in a long list of one-shot ideas which I really don't need hanging around right now.

Ginny's career choice is hugely important, because it shows James that actually, Quidditch doesn't have to be his be-all-and-end-all; there are things that could become more important to him! He's learned how much he loves the game, and now he learns to not let it be the only thing in his life. And I like writing mushy Harry/Ginny because I love them.

Carlotta resolution is coming! It's a couple of chapters away now. But it DOES require James to do something, which is why it's not happened yet; he's dealing with his family and career first. Now that's all sorted, he can think about what he wants, and how to go about getting it. Progress is being made!

Thought you might like the little Scorose at the end. :) Thanks for reviewing!


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Review #31, by SlideOff the Rails: thirty-seven

28th January 2013:
I don't have much to say on the Sinead backstory other than "I like it". But I do like it, I like how it's something that's been an influence on James. I guess I like how you bring the backstory of James and the others out very effectively through this story; at no point have you had to sit and Infodump at us, nor have I been left going "but I don't understand". The gaps have been questions which I've looked forward to getting answered. Or, like with this, they were things I didn't know I didn't know (if you follow) and it's a pleasure to see them come out as elaborations on James' life. And the elaborations on why James works well as a Chaser rather than a Seeker also make perfect sense.

And Sinead plays hardball. Well, she has to. James has to prove himself, even if just verbally. And she has a good point, this did happen and he has to make sure it won't again. And he's not addressed the roots of it. Stopping drinking is a sensible first step. Sensible woman, doing what's right for James AND for the team. And sensible James putting England out of his mind.

Yay Audrey's here! And yes, James, you do have anger issues. Audrey, of course, speaks sense. About that, and about James and attention. And while he's right that he will always be linked to Harry I guess it ties in that he will never be able to tell how much of his media attention is for himself. Which has got to make it all the more galling. But he's going to have to live with it, and at least it looks like he might succeed now!

Author's Response: And I like that you like the Sinead backstory! It's not necessarily essential to the fic, but I wanted to put it in, to show why James thinks so highly of her. I have so much backstory, and there's always the danger of throwing too much backstory into a fic where it really adds nothing to it, so I'm glad you liked this bit. And James' reflections on Chaser v Seeker came out of nowhere - every time I write about the dynamics of Quidditch I discover something new, it seems!

This was one of those really difficult situations where - even if I didn't need James back on the team for plot purposes - the strong likelihood was that he was going to get his spot back. But I didn't want it to be too easy for him, and certainly Sinead isn't the type of character to make it easy for someone like James. But at the same time, she realises his worth, and so her main aim here was to try to make him see exactly where he went wrong, and how not to do it again - and also how much his place on the team means to him. Not drinking is, indeed, a wise move. Glad you liked that whole passage :)

I knew you'd like Audrey showing up! Can't keep her away for that long! And that's the crux of the matter with James - he doesn't like the attention but he exacerbates the problem through his career choice. Silly boy. But, as you say, he needs to learn to live with it! He's a bit wiser to it now though, so yes, he has more chance of coping with it now he's had his little breakdown. Thanks for reviewing :)


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Review #32, by SlideOff the Rails: thirty-six

25th January 2013:
Huzzah, Freddie. James is probably right, he's the easy person to bring around. Start small now your family's fine, mm? And good to see that it looks like Brigid is going to be as guilty as she is angry. It's only fair - neither of them have acted well all the time, but James doing wrong doesn't erase HER wrong and vice versa. I can see how poor Brigid tried to do best by James, after all, with Ingrid. Though ouch on how it all went down. This explains a LOT. They're like a slightly more dysfunctional and yet mundane Trio, complete with the Potter sticking his head in the sand come the big rows, and bonding over a fight.

Very interesting to see the Freddie/Brigid conflict, though. I like it, it's very REAL sort of personality clashes, the kind of things which are fundamental if they can't learn to compromise. And that takes a demonstration of compromise, not just ardent declarations of affection. And YES Freddie knows it.

Oh good, a Ginny-intervention. Because God knows the Potter men won't sort it PROPERLY out themselves. And also glad that just one nice conversation between Harry and James hasn't fixed everything. Life is Complicated. Glad Ginny's career is going to do fine without being stuck with one paper. Press regulation! How Topical. :D

Eeeshk. Yes, James, get it off your chest but do you want your second salvo to be taking her to task over Ingrid? Oh, well, it's honesty, and it's not WRONG, she just might not LISTEN. We'll see. At least you're explaining yourself in full, and at least she IS giving you the chance to get it out.

Aww, instead it's a heartbreaking reconciliation. And a good demonstration of why problems like this can't be sat on. Obviously Brigid knows how to fix things! Yay, she's been running his life for so long I don't think poor James would know what to do without her. D'aww, poor James with no chance to get back on England. Though I suspect someone might have a stroke of bad luck to see him on there... or this is it for good, who knows! At least he'll have another shot in a few years.

Good stuff!

Author's Response: Yeah, Freddie's the easy target. Because he's a bloke, and blokes are simple. IN THEORY. And also because James has more grovelling to do with Brigid than he does with Freddie - he didn't actually offend Freddie, but he messed things up big style with Brigid. And I'm glad that you like that Brigid IS at fault here, as well as the boys, because that's proving a contentious issue. I don't want James to seem like the victim in this, but at the same time Brigid was also in the wrong, regardless of her motives.

Glad that you find the whole backstory satisfying. It is a HUGE part of the New Trio's current interactions, mainly the Freddie/Brigid issues. And yes, James is a big fan of head-burying.

The Ginny/James chat needed to happen because Harry would NEVER tell James about his own insecurities off his own back. Their chat resolved a lot, but it didn't solve everything, and so Ginny needed to speak up at this point to clear up any lingering confusion. I thought you'd like the press regulation bit when it finally cropped up here :)

James did the right thing here, in getting his feelings about Brigid off his chest. Because how could they resolve things otherwise? Yes, it was risky, but at the end of the day SHE values their friendship too much to not understand where he's coming from. And yes, she runs his life. A lot. It's part of the problem with James - he's never had a chance to properly grow up, because he's always had his family and Brigid there to manage him. Not necessarily a good thing, though Brigid's ability to mend things does come in handy here. Certainly James' England chances look shot, barring a miracle! Cheers for the review :)


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Review #33, by SlideOff the Rails: thirty-five

8th January 2013:
All right, James. You've had your kick up the rear. I've got my coffee. Let's see what you're going to do. This better be good, kiddo.

Ooh. Carla. This is GONNA be good. James' self-reflection on his attitude to women is quite sweet and does help remind us of why he is quite as messed up as he is. Fame would do that to anyone. And I really like the Resolution to do Something but not knowing what it is; it's very Real!

Now, how and why does Carla know to be here, hmm? Or has she just reached her own conclusions and quickly picked up that everything went wrong? Hm. Clearly something is up. Oh, OOOH. 'You don't need me, you just think you do'. That's INTERESTING. And cold but not necessarily untrue. How much has he attached to her the qualities he looks for - her not fawning over him for his fame because she's from a different world - whether or not they're there? There's chemistry, for sure, but... oh, well, this is just interesting. OR she's trying to hold him at arms' length; she's seeming awfully defensive for someone who seems to have gone out of her way to help him.

She's totally dying! *clings to tin-foil hat*

Now it's time for the Daddy talk I've been looking for and this time am not terrified of! And James is right (I hope) to bank on some unconditional parental love. Except Harry's playing it a bit cool. I hope this is just an initial tension, if he keeps this up he'll be losing his moral high ground. Oh, phew. Good Harry, sensible Harry. He's right; in some ways being a Squib is a great thing to happen to Lily, even if she wouldn't choose it herself nor should one wish it upon her. But it means that no matter what she'll never be Just Harry Potter's Kid. And I am beginning to seriously love Harry in this conversation. AND NOW GINNY. I think Ginny is my favourite of your canon characters, she is the most AMAZING mother. She rocks, seriously.

And now I'm back to being so emotional about Harry going to the Falcons games. Then I'll be weird and be happy that you're invoking smell in this scene, because, yes, it's important and connected with MEMORY and... yes. All good. Hurr, legwork.

YAY LILY. YAY HAPPY. OKAY it's time for me to have an incoherent chapter review. BECAUSE LILY AND JAMES ARE HAPPY and this makes me happy. I SUSPECTED it might have been her who went to Carla. LOVE LILY. LOVE ALL OF THE THINGS. LOVE POTTER FAMILY.

I'm going to give up here because I'm becoming incoherent with Squee.

Author's Response: Yeah, James needed to learn that trying to avoid being used and hurt by women wasn't going to work in the long run - aside from becoming a little bit dysfunctional in that respect himself he also hurt a lot of women by acting how he did! But he's making progress, even if he doesn't have a clue what to do next. I'm glad you find him realistic; that's been the hardest challenge in this arc, keeping his actions realistic so that people don't stop empathising with him. At the end of the day, he's just a good egg who's become a little over-paranoid about people's motives and has made a couple of mistakes along the way.

Carlotta ... yeah, that's a tricky one, because obviously the logical thought is that he only likes her BECAUSE she doesn't care about his surname, which is something she herself addressed when things blew up between them. It's going to take a lot for him to convince her that that's not the case - indeed, he needs to settle in his own mind that he's not just interested because of that, although he's obviously gone a long way towards admitting to himself just how he feels about her, so that one shouldn't be too hard. Convincing HER of that will be more of a challenge - and not the only one. I will treat your continuing theory the way you treat mine. KARMA.

This is definitely the Daddy talk you wanted; the one before was just a face-to-face admission of everything that had gone wrong between them, this one attempts to rectify it all. And it pretty much does the job. Harry's a bit quiet at first because while he cares about James, he wants to make sure that James recognises where he's gone wrong. Which, of course, he does. And then Harry realises that he contributed to James' state of mind and the guilt overwhelms him, bless. Lily's situation isn't ideal but Harry HAS prioritised her over his sons, and it's backfired on James.

Ginny is the bee's knees, which is interesting given that it took me a long time to warm to her in the books; I really wasn't a fan of H/G for a long time! But yes, she's one of my own favourites if I do say so myself. And IT'S OKAY I've left you that many incoherent reviews that I'm probably owed one in return, haha. Glad you liked, thanks for reviewing!


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Review #34, by SlideOff the Rails: thirty-four

3rd January 2013:
He's drinking in a run-down bar during the day. He just needs whisky, a cigar, and some country music ("The music of pain") and he's doing fine.

...good for Roxie? Well, something good's coming of all of this. I also randomly demand to know more of this random Welsh burly Beater. Funnily enough I have a soft spot for them. ;) Though perhaps this random drunkard is more pressing. Or at the very least he's the common man telling James what a silly bugger he's been playing at being these past few weeks!

Oh ho ho, who're YOU. YES I knew there was a mysterious ex. This must be her! Yes. *sips coffee* She's a smart cookie. Their story sounds rather tragic, and it looks like she'd have been good for James, but I'm glad she's being helpful and supportive! And if she's been out of the picture a while I guess James has a harder time assuming that she's out to get him/judging, etc.

...dying guy. Oh God, there's no good bit in here, not if Carla's ALSO got something heinous. Poor Ingrid. Gives up everything for the guy, loses the guy. But hopefully she's smart and capable enough to do all right, at least, after this. It'd just be good if she has people to support her! Like James. They clearly make good friends.

Hmm. We'll see how he does trying to fix his life. Got a lot of work to do, Jimmy-boy!

Author's Response: Yes! Whisky and country music solve everything! He's probably consuming a lot of Firewhisky, so that's one element sorted, right?

Roxanne has benefited from James' meltdown, but it can't be easy for her given that it's not only a teammate, but a cousin, who is going through such trouble. Haha, the random drunkard. He wasn't meant to have had a role at all; none of the patrons were meant to talk to him at all! But then I decided it might be better this way. So James gets life advice from a Hog's Head regular. :)

Random burly Welsh Beater? Meh, he's not interesting at all!

Mysterious ex makes her appearance. And helps things. Their story is a bit of a sad one. Their relationship might not have lasted that long after school, who knows, but she was certainly good for James at the time, and even now she's one of few people who truly know how best to deal with him. It does help that she's not been around, because it certainly makes James feel as though she means everything she says and doesn't have any ulterior motives - and more importantly, SHE'S not done anything wrong to him that he can get angry about!

Dying guy. Because, you know, I like to make my characters' lives as hard as possible. But Ingrid's a strong woman, she'll be okay. This isn't the last we've seen of her!

I still love your Carlotta theory, haha. Utter win for crackpot theories!

Life-fixing begins next chapter. Excited? GOOD. Thanks for reviewing!


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Review #35, by SlideOff the Rails: thirty-three

3rd January 2013:
And from the first sentence I am all excitement! Apprehensive excitement. This is perfect, I must doff my figurative hat to you, because I have been chomping at the bit for Harry/James stuff and now you deliver it when my instinctive reaction is, "Oh, no, not NOW" because James is so delicate I can only feel SORRY for him. So you give me what I want, and now I don't want it!! It's THAT good!

And disappointed Ginny. Oh dear. And Harry is within his rights to be this angry, and James is within HIS rights to be this angry, and even if it's horrid and unfair all round it's really the only way it would go. ...I should have guessed, really, that it wasn't merely LUCK which got James out of being arrested. OMG Harry PAID HIM OFF? No wonder he's hitting the roof. Wow. Wow. Harry must HATE to have to do that. James has 'made' him use his wealth and connections to keep him out of trouble, which Harry has to HATE doing, and yet...

Oh, this is so good.

And Harry confirms much of what I had assumed. But GINNY. Wow. I need more words than 'wow', but it's a good one. They are so awesome in their thoroughly messed up way. And Ginny's editor is something I can't possibly name with these ratings on these reviews. And also perhaps not very bright. Hmm, WAS it Albus who told Harry? Not 100% on that.

And James is rocketing from 'understandable crazy' to 'jerk crazy' by, again, invoking the "my life is so hard compared to Lily's", and this is going to end badly and - Oh. Well, that was an understatement. Yeah, um. James. Bad James. No wonder Harry's storming off. You lost all moral high ground there -

Wait, wait, wait, you're ANGRY WITH GINNY THERE? No. Oh, no, James. You keep on finding lower and lower to sink and I still love you but this is crossing one hell of a line. If Brigid can't break through, if Lily can't break through, if his parents can't break through, I really don't know who can. Because I assume Carla won't just swan in through the door and make everything okay, unless more is going on behind the scenes, but I don't think it IS.

THIS IS DELICIOUS. OM NOM ANGST.

Author's Response: You can't ask me for something and then complain when I give it to you! But yes, this is entirely the wrong time for Harry to visit James, but Harry is a bit clueless and I like making things difficult for James, so this is what you get.

Yes, Harry has used his name and connections to get James off scot-free. He's stooped to the very same level that he despises other people operating on, has done the one thing he hates the most, just to help his son. And James seems ungrateful for it. Of course, Harry can't understand how James could have let this happen when he had everything he ever wanted. And James, in his current state, feels victimised by this attitude of his father's.

Ginny's editor is indeed an idiot. But then, he's a Prophet employee; what do you expect? And Albus was the one who told Harry about Kreacher. Again, he cares about James in his own way, but right now that won't endear Albus to James at all.

All of James' life, Ginny has been the one person who's supported him the most, and so the thought that she's siding with Harry, of all people, against him, hurts a lot. In reality, she was scared of James at that moment. All very sad. But she does want to help. He just won't let her.

ANGST indeed! Thanks for reviewing :)


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Review #36, by SlideOff the Rails: thirty-two

3rd January 2013:
I'm here! I'm here! It's okay.

*sniffle* Poor James. I still want more of the Daddy issues, but it's all SAD. You got yourself into this, but you're still such a SILLY boy, James, you really do need help.

Oh, God, it's Brigid. Of course it is. I mean, of course there's work, but she would of course GO there. And would support and help him, but no wonder he can't face the outside world. Suspension. Eeshk. Not a huge surprise.

And Audray rocks, as always. And suspended from the England Squad, which... is not a huge surprise. Wow, his life really is going to hell in a handbasket. Not at all a surprise, considering he's going to be lucky if he's not arrested (which would have probably already happened), but these sorts of things can hardly stand.

*wibble* Yeah. Lily's right. Pretty much all around. It's horrid, and he's ruined his dreams for a good few years, but it's all he can really do to start turning his life around. And I have a horrid feeling he won't do it.

Great stuff, as always.

Author's Response: You want Daddy issues? BE CAREFUL WHAT YOU WISH FOR.

Brigid wants to help James now. But he doesn't want to be helped by her! He is a frustrating one. Suspended, from club and country. It was going to come to this, in the end. He's been lucky in that things COULD be worse for him; he could have charges hanging over his head! Nevertheless, he still needs to fix things. And he's not very good at that. Thanks for reviewing!


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Review #37, by SlideEducating Albus: Educating Albus

3rd January 2013:
Starting off with the most adorable callback: that knitted jumper from Mrs Weasley. I find it impossible to believe Molly didn't know the significance of what she was doing, or at least didn't have a good guess, and that makes it such an awesomely heartwarming thing.

Organising Christmas for a family as big as the Weasley-Potter brood does sound next to impossible, mind. So, is it Rose or Hugo who's got a birthday on Christmas or Boxing Day?

Hee, little James being so JAMES already. "He's fine, I'm hungry". You little tyke. And good, it's about time Harry explains the Severus name! Because! Well, we've talked about this. *sips coffee and kicks back for Harry-logic*

"You named me after a DEATH EATER?" A very, very, very good question, Al. Okay, yes, Snape making the deal with Voldemort meant that Lily got to CHOOSE to sacrifice herself but... but... Okay, I have Snape-related problems. This is explained as well as it can be, I just can't get past my own "Snape is still a BAD MAN" hangups. It's very apt for Harry to look at it this way, mind!

And, yes, naming Albus after Dumbledore is a good choice, and it's good that Al knows the good and bad about Dumbledore too! But take Dumbledore as the footsteps (hopefully slightly less manipulative footsteps) to follow. Not Snape.

Hee, so glad to see this Scorpius is a little pain in the rear, too. Draco was a bad man to name his son 'Scorpius Hyperion'.

This was a very sweet little piece. My own Snape-related hangups aside, it does lovely work in tying together the family, Harry and Albus, in giving us a slightly more genuine 'stroppy kid' perspective onto figure we met in the epilogue, and in, as the title, goes, Educating Albus.

I just don't like Snape. ;)

Author's Response: I love the Weasley jumpers, which is why James remembers all of his in Rails! Molly TOTALLY knew what she was doing, at least in that she knew that Harry wasn't going to get any presents from family and wanted him to have one. It's one of so many reasons why I love the Weasley family so much!

Whose birthday is Christmas time? It's, ahem, it's Rose's. Clearly. I didn't forget to check out birthdays before deciding that Hermione going into labour would be an entertaining Christmas time diversion, no, not me!

James at this age was an utter joy to write! Even if he does seem utterly uncaring.

We have, indeed, talked about this Snape issue. It can't be easy for Albus to be named after him! I think Harry would be keen to put as positive a spin as possible on Snape, while still emphasising that what he did was BAD. Because more than anything else, he kind of owes it to his kid to give him a nice(ish) account of the guy he named his son after. It still strikes me as odd that he named Albus like he did! I mean, Dumbledore, fair enough, but at least make it the poor kid's middle name! Or name him Brian or something. But I figured I'd give it a go rationalising why Harry did what he did.

Scorpius is a total pain in the rear. It's okay, Al gets his own back in time with Bulbadox Powder.

I'm glad you liked this, especially given your Snape hate! I wasn't sure that I was going to post it here at first, but figured I may as well. It was nice to write about a Potter family who actually TALK to each other, which has become a bit of a novel concept in Rails. Thanks for reading and reviewing! :)


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Review #38, by SlideOff the Rails: thirty-one

7th December 2012:
Yay! Rose! Round X of People take Chunks out of James. I'll bring the big foam hand, though I don't know who I'm cheering on here. Drama? I am intrigued by the friendship of Albus and Rose. I guess they're the same age but I'm always curious about these particular friendships which spring up across a huge family - why THESE two people out of ALL the Weasley options? Living together after school and so forth. But, I'm sure all in good time. Less speculation, back to the words.

And, Rose is starting out comparing James badly to Albus. *facepalm* Bad, Rose, Bad. Unhelpful!

Hee, Albus pranking Scorpius. Good to know he's not completely above it all. And... well, Rose is right, James was horrid to his brother, and Albus does deserve an apology, but I can only question Rose for going around to tell James off for insulting Albus when Albus came to HIM.

And James is about to throw away all of that moral high ground. I still love James but he is starting to move away from Understandable Explosion into "clip around the ear territory". Don't get me wrong, as a reader this is still delicious to me, but right now he's even moved from "I have reasons to be upset with these people and now I'm angry it's all coming out" to "I will use any words at my disposal to hurt them so they go away". It's a subtle but important difference and I think it's the last step before the Point of No Return. Though there may be more steps. STILL he needs help.

Also not okay with him throwing things at her! I don't know why that's line-crossy. I guess a paperweight could hurt? Ha.

Aww, Freddie. It's nice that James has some support. I mean, he needs to be held accountable but equally he'll go nuts if nobody's on his side, ever. Aaand he's bringing him alcohol, way to enable - ooh, smart boy, Freddie, now trying to coax him around. Yeah, I'm warming to Freddie a lot. Helpful, smart, and thoughtful, in a very Bromance sort of way.

Oh JAMES. It was such a good idea. No wonder he's fit to burst but that Point of No Return? He's really on the threshold of it. If this is treated as serious and possibly criminal, I wouldn't be surprised if Daddy gets involved.

Off the Rails indeed!

Author's Response: I guess in this case, my Albus and Rose are such close friends because they were in the same year and house at school. They're not the only ones though; take James and Freddie for a start! Depends on proximity I guess; which family members they're more exposed to while growing up. They live together because Albus needed to stumble across Scorpius somehow. There is creative reasoning behind this one. ;)

Meet Rose. Ron and Hermione Weasley's daughter. Therefore not the most tactful of people, and with a bit too much moral righteousness. Unhelpful indeed! And her actions are questionable, and definitely not required at this stage. James is straying into very dangerous territory here; he's gotten to the point where he's picking faults with absolutely everyone, regardless of whether they deserve it or not. Only going to end badly! Object-throwing is VERY bad, especially paperweights! Definitely line-crossy. Wanting to inflict physical injury is a little bit more serious than throwing insults around, don't you think?

Albus pranking Scorpius. His actions, like Rose's, are explained through parentage. His mother is Ginny Potter. ;)

Freddie does nothing wrong here. In fact at the moment he's probably the only person who's going about this in the right way. He's far more aware than he appears - with James at any rate. Unfortunately, what seems like an okay idea goes very wrong, for reasons beyond his control. On the threshold indeed. Daddy involvement? Coming up!

See what I did with that there story title? ;) Cheers for reviewing!


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Review #39, by SlideOff the Rails: thirty

7th December 2012:
I... see your logic, James, in getting a woman's attention. Now excuse me while I hide in this nuclear bunker. Though now I want to see more of Louis. He sounds like fun! And that headline does NOT. Criminal charges, James! Bad idea! Daddy will be displeased. Which is good because I want to see me more of them daddy issues. Less good for James, obviously.

Oh, no, don't get angry. Because while Brigid might be being harsh, she is technically right. Relationships are a two-way thing but James had a responsibility to Carla the moment he got her involved in the wizarding world - and not just a responsibility to her, a responsibility to WIZARDING SOCIETY. I mean, that sucks big-time for a small-time fling of a relationship, but it is reality, and just because she walked out 'more' doesn't mean that he can just swan off. You silly boy, James, though I do love you.

Okay, now you're being harsh to Brigid, for whom I can only feel sorry. Though, ooh, new issues. Delicious issues. Aaand... even if James has a point, he loses this one for me for being way too harsh. Of course, this is all still delicious because I'm kind of nuts like that. Brigid is totally right to walk out on him while he's like this; even if it's a two-way street (ha!) between them, he won't acknowledge it or change it in this state.

And now your Mum is aaangry...! You have made Kreacher, tending to Lily, adorable. I don't know if that's something wrong with you or something wrong with me but the idea is still ADORABLE. Just hope that Kreacher doesn't tell Harry, okay, James? I imagine he would frown upon this.

Ooh, Albus! We haven't seen much of Rails Albus. *settles down with more coffee* Drinking during the day, James? Tsk. Bad habit. Especially if it's WHISKY. Oh, Albus. Someone DOES need to knock some sense into James but I get the impression you, very much your father's son, the responsible one, is not going to be the one who'll be able to do it right now. James is going to be too busy with peripheral resentment to throw at you. And... yep, James says pretty much what I expected! Always satisfying. Even if it's unhealthy.

Ooh. 'Repugnant'. Spent time with your aunt, Albus? It's a good word. Well, it's a horrid word to make James feel horrid and so I suppose it's fit for purpose! I would like to see more of Albus. The insights so far are interesting and I'm sure he's got his own issues being his father's son (and the crack about never getting girls screams for more information). Good stuff!

Author's Response: Louis is, indeed, bags of fun! He was clearly always planned this way, haha.

Daddy issues are imminent! Along with criminal charge chat. All bad for James, but it's worth a little sacrifice on his part to give us some good entertainment, eh?

James is perpetually angry these days, of COURSE he's going to argue his case here. He does indeed have a huge responsibility, which is the exact reason why Brigid said it would be a bad idea in the first place. Her fear wasn't misplaced! New issues. My FAVOURITE issue of the story, if I do say so myself. Very excited for THAT one to unfold. TWO-WAY STREET, it always comes down to it being a two-way street! Brigid is right but insensitive; James is right in some ways, wrong in others, and VERY badly wounded emotionally. It's not a good recipe for a healthy discussion.

Yes, the Kreacher thing. I had a feeling you would have a thought on this! House elves in Railsverse have not made the gains which they have in Ignite, sadly. However there are still Good House Elf Owners and Bad House Elf Owners, and while Harry falls into the first category, James' use of Kreacher here falls more into the second. This issue gets more of an airing in a couple of chapters' time and there WILL be more focus on house elves in general as we go on, which will hopefully please you. :)

I also had a feeling you'd like some more Albus! Not that James is nice to him AT ALL. And he lives with Rose, hardly a surprise he's throwing words like "repugnant" around ;) He, too, will have more screen time; he definitely does have his own issues, the poor thing! Although they're clearly nowhere near as bad as James' and he actually DEALS with any insecurities which he may have. The girl comment is just a VERY low blow from James, who has girls fawning over him all the time and likes it very much thank you, to his nerdy younger brother who clearly doesn't get any attention from females because he never has drunken pulls like his big bro. The ultimate barometer on success with women! Thanks for reviewing :)


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Review #40, by SlideOff the Rails: twenty-nine

11th November 2012:
Uh oh, it's crackpot theory time (remember how well those work out?). Well, the most obvious theory is: Carla's been Obliviated. That's why she doesn't react to him. The next question is: Who's done this? I reckon Harry - not even vindictively, but trying to tie up loose ends after his son. After all, if Carla knows about magic, but they're not together any more, this could lead to James getting into SERIOUS trouble (especially since Harry doesn't know Carla and has no reason to trust her to keep her mouth shut). I reckon Ginny found out, and that's why she cancelled the breakfast - specifically to try to make James and Harry talk. Though if that's the case it's not her BEST plan ever, but I imagine the Potter men are being stubborn.

*removes tin foil hat* So, ASIDE from all that conspiracy theorising - great chapter! It continues to do the great stuff of making me feel really sorry for James for having wound up in this situation, and yet wanting to smack him upside the head for being a bit of a berk about it still. Family are nagging family (love Audrey still), but it's not cool of him to still be convinced Brigid is the only one who needs to apologise. But it's a lovely, realistic sort of reaction from a proud guy like him.

Still, something's got to give, soon enough. It's like tension's being poured into a bottle right now and eventually that bottle's going to explode - with women, with family, with Carla. God I'm still chomping at the bit when it comes to these daddy issues, there's DEFINITELY still more here!

Good chapter!

Author's Response: ...I love your conspiracy theories! On this one, I will put you out of your misery and tell you that you are incorrect. Carlotta just didn't want to talk to James. But ... dang, that's a good idea! That would be an amazing plot! And then James would be angry with his family FOREVER, and he'd try to get with Carlotta again, and he'd have to tell her about magic again ... that's better than what I've got planned! Oh, that would be an AWESOME story. BACK TO THE DRAWING BOARD.

I jest, I jest. I LOVE what I have planned. But rest assured, nobody's gone addling with Carlotta's memory. Glad that you're feeling both sympathetic and frustrated about James' plight; I certainly don't want people to start hating him, but at the same time he has brought much of this on himself. He's not going to admit to any fault regarding Brigid, because that's just the way he is, unfortunately. And something HAS got to give. There are developments in the next chapter, and even bigger ones in the one after that. It's all very exciting! Unless you're James. Thanks for reviewing!


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Review #41, by SlideOff the Rails: twenty-eight

9th November 2012:
I think this might be my favourite chapter, despite being maybe the shortest. In some ways it works well *because* it's so short. But as everything comes to a head and as the fights break out, this does exactly what I want to see from these situations: Nobody's 100% right, and nobody's 100% wrong. There is a possibility that Allegra's drawn to James a wee bit because of his status not because of his personality, so James' frustration when he remembers that is not unreasonable - but he's still treating her horribly and the girl will deserve an apology. Brigid IS his agent and helping him protect himself from and manage the media is her job; it was remiss of her to not have a warning for him of what might get thrown at him before his big interview - but he was still bang out of order in how he reacted, blowing it out of all proportion. And he might be being a bit hard on Freddie but Freddie's being an Oblivious Bloke, it happens.

So, unsurprisingly, in a chapter where your characters emotionally maul one another and tensions finally hit critical mass and explode everywhere, I'm happy! This is the kind of stuff I love, the pay-off of these conflicts, and so I'm as pleased as punch with this chapter.

And guffawed like a lunatic at the end.

Author's Response: I LOVE that you love this chapter, because I honestly didn't think it was up to much. What's THERE is good, but I kind of ground to a halt and was struggling and couldn't go anywhere else with it, so I figured I'd throw it up and have a fresh start on a new chapter. So VERY GLAD that you like! But yes, things are beginning to Go Wrong for James.

Allegra honestly and genuinely likes him for who he is underneath, and couldn't give a fig about the status, that's why she was concerned in the last chapter about the possibility of him hitting on her while seeing another girl. So her remark here wasn't meant to upset him at all, but unfortunately it just triggered everything off, and so her own anger in turn was justified because she's been unfairly thought of as "one of those women". Poor girl.

Brigid. Oh, Brigid. There's a lot of lingering issues between these two which haven't really come to the fore yet, but they're beginning to do so now, because her mishap has made James angry, and he's going to start digging it all up. She should have warned him, but she doesn't deserve the anger coming her way now. Much more to come on that front.

Freddie is Oblivious a lot of the time, but he does have his rare insightful moments. He will come to the fore in a few chapters' time (I hope!), though of course he does get a good bit of advice in here.

And James duly ignores it, like the fool he is.

Much, much more conflict to come, and I hope it meets your expectations! Thanks for reviewing :)


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Review #42, by SlideOff the Rails: twenty-seven

29th October 2012:
Aw yeahh. Chapter chapter chapter. *bounces in eagerly* Oh GOOD, acknowledgement that Ginny rocks despite not playing internationally. Not that your Ginny has been anything but awesome, but though Ginny isn't a favourite of mine I get so over-protective of her due to fandom hate! Also for some reason I'm tipping my hat at correct use of possessive apostrophes on "writer's childrens'". You'd be surprised how easy it is to please me sometimes. BUT. Important stuff.

Hah. Sorry. Before important stuff, giggling at the author's rose-tinted glasses impression that Harry was a good student academically.

Oh yes. Daddy issues. Let's dig in. Wait, Carla's issues first. Okay, yes, if nothing else - history of persecution and social issues aside, not that they're easily pushed to one side, James has no real leg to stand on with how his family's fame should have guaranteed his romances would fall into the stage of public attention. Which DOES affect Carla, and she's well within her rights to be irked he didn't warn her. And that she'd find out and, hey, yes, lying isn't cool. She's angry but she's right to be, and she's right on the money with her accusations. Let's see how James copes.

Eeeshk. Okay, aside from his justifiable frustration at not being his own man, Not Cool for him to act as if Lily's better off than him. I mean, she's happy, she has a life, that's good - but it's not what she would have chosen, and I can only imagine the horror and heartbreak she went through, and how she has to compartmentalise her ENTIRE LIFE, being neither a full member of the Wizarding World and incapable of being a full member of the Muggle world - so, yeah, no love for that one, James. Even if it's just on this one issue, and I know he's irked and I'll forgive him soon enough, bad James. No biscuit.

Okay, that forgiveness was quick. Had to suck for an eleven year-old, and all the more love for Brigid and Ryan. And being hand-waved to good grades, Yowch. And all that - okay. Good reasons to be bitter, James. But, oh dear. I would imagine that Harry's more awkward and incapable, and likely gave Lily more attention because she needed reassurance, and Al the attention because he actually COULD help him with Auror stuff, whereas James has likely done fine by himself, to Harry's eyes, so he left him to it and now there's a rift fuelled by James' bitterness and Harry doesn't know how to fit it. That's my guess, anyway, which still makes Harry a bit of a pillock, just a believable pillock.

Oh - oh dear. 'Stupid fling.' Oh, oh dear, duck and cover. Yeahh, that wasn't going to go any differently after that point. Both of them being stressed and stupid and that's what happens under such circumstances. They're both wrong and they're both wronged and that's how it works. I'm not too worried, though; they wouldn't be the first people to say bad things in the heat of the moment and then move past it. Go forth, James! Go forth and celebrate and drown your sorrows!

Oh, look, it's a disaster on leggy legs. Fantabulous chapter.

Author's Response: Yes, we love Ginny! Although I'll admit, I used to hate Harry/Ginny. I love them now though - naturally, or I'd have split them up! ;)

BLEURGH apostrophes let's move on.

Oh, I reckon that the wizarding world would COMPLETELY fabricate Harry's academic history. Besides, he defeated Voldemort so he MUST have been a top student, right? Heck, back in the day Skeeter seemed to think he was top of the class. Before she decided she hated him, that is. Possibly the most frustrating thing for poor James; feeling as though he's overshadowed by an academic success that Harry never actually HAD.

Yup, Carla definitely has a MASSIVE point here. She's being gossiped about in the paper; she had a right to know about Harry and the connotations that his fame has. Course, James genuinely didn't know that she was being speculated over, but he should have realised that there was a very strong chance that this would be the case. Alas, he doesn't often think things through properly.

James ... is messed up. As you can now see. Underneath his exterior he's very insecure and resentful. In his eyes, Lily DOES have it better, because his issue is the attention he gets and the comparisons to Harry - and she gets none of it. And he sees that she's happy and coping with things, and so doesn't think about just how hard it IS for her, being a Squib. So it's an understandable feeling for him to have. As for the speculation on Harry's perspective ... you are partly right. Keep that all in mind. We'll get his side of things eventually. You may not think of him as quite so much of a pillock. :)

...disaster indeed. Thanks for reviewing!


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Review #43, by SlideOff the Rails: twenty-six

26th October 2012:
This beginning made me think about time zones, which got complicated and my head hurt. So that's bad. The rest, however, is very good. Ha, James doing that betting we sports fans do of "I hope we don't come up against X team" and then you realise there are LOTS of teams like that and, some day, you'll have to beat one of them. Of COURSE he's in the team. Well, it's the plot, innit? Good for James.

D'aww Ginny. Mum of the century in this, it's great to see. And channelling her mother a little bit which is extra sweet. OOH DADDY ISSUES. Go on, James, talk to Harry. Give me the low-down. The sitch. Gimme.

I still love the levels of detail in the Quidditch 'politics' and intricacies. Makes it all feel alive, you know? But then you know I like adding detail to those bits of the wizarding world, figuring out how they might work. And roll on the media fuss! James might be used to it in theory but now he'll be famous in his own right and so that's likely to get more nasty.

...very nasty, very quickly. Well, I can see why he got prickly but he's going to have to learn to live with that kind of hard questioning from the press, and harder! Tsh, James, making life difficult.

Oh dear. She knows. That one was always going to bite you in the rear some day. Today's the day, Jimmy-boy! Delicious chapter.

Author's Response: Time zones made YOUR head hurt? Try being the one WRITING that bit! I kept forgetting countries and having to go back and add them in, it was a nightmare!

James made the team. SURPRISE! Didn't expect THAT, did you? ;) It is, indeed, the plot. How successful he is though, time will tell :)

We do have a mutual appreciation for fleshing out previously-vague aspects of the wizarding world. Of course, here it would be a complete failure of a Quidditch fic if I didn't! But it's all part of the fun. Glad you like it all :)

James doesn't deal well with press, and unwanted attention. As you can see. He wants to make a name for himself on his own terms, for purely Quidditch reasons, so he really doesn't react well when people are interested in other stuff. Something that he will have to learn to overcome, and fast. Thanks for reviewing :)


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Review #44, by SlideOff the Rails: twenty-five

26th October 2012:
Failed to review this chapter after reading it? Moi? Nooo. No. Not meee. Okay, maybe me. Good stuff, again. You know me and the Quidditch scenes; love 'em. Obviously all chapters are James chapters but this is a really GOOD James chapter, it's very much About Him and presents him in his best light. I do love James. Him rising to the occasion after all the horrendous tension is both heartening and adorable. And Daddy issues! Must know! Must know! *claws at screen*

Stefan better make it on his team now. Not just because he's a sweetheart, but also because James will feel awful if he misses out because of him. And it would be a bit of a silly thing for Stefan to do, sweet as it might be! Hrrm. Cato going to this dance. This must be happening for a Bigger Dramatic Reason. I have Suspicions.

Author's Response: Oh, you and your forgetfulness! Yeah, this is definitely the point at which the pressure on James threatens to cripple him. Luckily, here he has the strength of mind to overcome it, though he wasn't far off a complete melt down! Daddy issues. Well, you know them now; that's what happens when it takes me a week to reply!

Stefan's act wasn't necessarily a silly one - take James' performance out of the equation and it's quite easy to reason that Stefan did what he did because he felt that the Falcons didn't have a big enough points barrier; that they could score more goals and get a better points difference. In effect, he backed himself to still be the one to catch the Snitch even if he missed his first chance. That's what makes him such a good Seeker, and is why there was never any doubt in him making his squad :) But yes, James would have been a bit of a wreck if that had backfired! Cato going to the dance HAS REASONS. You will like. I hope. But you will have to wait for that :) Thanks for reviewing!


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Review #45, by SlideFrozen: Illuminated

22nd October 2012:
I held off on reviewing until I knew I could sit down, with a coffee, and properly concentrate! So, here we go. Oooh, cells. Ooh, who on Earth could - I'm betting Sirius, then. I had assumed a bigger time skip, interesting. But it makes sense, since Sirius is probably Major Character #4 and now one of the last 2 alive. Gah, poor Sirius. I mean, poor Araminta, too, but right now, poor, poor Sirius.

Oh, OUCH. Ouch. and yet - necessary. To preserve canon - we cannot forget that people did not believe Sirius, mostly because the people alive were not in a position to do so; Araminta WAS and that would have been a hole (that, and nobody's a fan of the lone believer in Sirius running around for 15 years not being listened to). Dramatically, for just this story, it was necessary; there aren't just No Consequences for betrayal and spying, and though it would have been interesting to see what Araminta would have done had she survived, it would have been a whole new story - her story.

I must also extend kudos for doing it sharply, suddenly, cruelly. Because that's how such murders would be? Or even, casualties in a war. It Happens. This is not the epic tale of heroism of Harry, this is the story of the people on the ground, and the First War was notably bloodier than the Second. It's cruel. It's horrid. It's apt.

Hats off to you, for this final decision, for this final chapter, and for the whole story! It's been a thoroughly entertaining ride. I shall miss my Minty-G and Giddy-P. ;)

Author's Response: I'm intrigued that you imagined a bigger time skip. I never wanted to say too much because I feared that if I let slip that the time skip was to an important date, you'd guess that it was Halloween and the Potters' deaths. It's about a month between this chapter and the last.

For a long time, Araminta was meant to survive this story. I felt that killing her was the easy way out; that her surviving would be more cruel, and the more rewarding ending. But this was before she grew to like Sirius. And the moment that she DID decide that she liked him, as opposed to hating him on principle, she had to die, because there was no way that she would accept his betrayal without talking to him about it - and finding out his innocence. In the interests of canon, she then had to die because I'm not interested in a 'nutter who believes he's innocent for 15 years' story either, and besides, she would have cropped up in OotP if not earlier had she lived. It would be too OOC for her not to. So, she effectively signed her own death sentence. And, of course, it ends everything neatly with no need for further explanation or elaboration. Which, sadly, is another, purely creative, reason for Arieda's death previously.

So, Araminta leaves this world - possibly fitting, that it's inflicted by Bellatrix's wand in the end. Sharply because, as you say, that's reality. Unlike Snape, Bellatrix wouldn't have given time for an epitaph.

Thank you hugely for all your reviews! They began just as I was trying to sum up the motivation to finish this as my NaNo project, and I can't express the amount that your words inspired and encouraged me to carry on, so thank you so so much for that! I'm glad you enjoyed the final resolution, and indeed the story as a whole, as I certainly enjoyed writing it! Thanks for reviewing :)


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Review #46, by SlideFrozen: Oh, Maker

16th October 2012:
I made the most undignified noise in the world when she brought out Fabian's watch. Most excellent, and also most excellent as to why it was Fabian's and not Gideon's! Pocketwatches. Aren't pocketwatches AWESOME for this kind of thing? I think they are.

Good for Araminta. She's grieving, she's struggling, but she's going to persevere. I don't think you've put a foot wrong with either this chapter or the last; it's been sudden, it's been horrid, then it's been bittersweet in all the right ways. This is entirely the right place to leave it; it's shutting the door on Gideon's life, and it's not only making it clear that the door's not shut one Araminta's - but right now, what's BEYOND that door is an unknown. Which is terrifying and heartbreaking and hopeful all at once.

GOOD STUFF.

Author's Response: YES, I do get a lot of satisfaction out of how the watch thing unfolds. Hence my satisfaction when you observed that Fabian's watch got mentioned in an earlier chapter and about how it went to Harry in the end. I don't know why I decided to pick Gideon over Fabian to write about - perhaps I just prefer the name - but this tied in so neatly in the end.

I'm glad these chapters have worked. Obviously killing a main character is something that has to be done justice and I certainly didn't want to crash and burn at the end! I'm excited for you to read the last chapter now because I absolutely LOVE it. Thanks for reviewing :)


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Review #47, by SlideFrozen: Born to Die

15th October 2012:
Oh, wow. I didn't realise This Would Be It. I knew we were approaching the end, of course, and that the end demanded Gideon's death, but... but...! That worked, really, for some reason I didn't think it was going to happen THIS chapter - I think because it came so hot on the heels of Arieda's death, so I was still reeling from that AND assumed there'd be more space between, more time to chew on the deaths, but of course it's horrendous and realistic for them to come on the trot so bravo, bravo!

Oh, Bellatrix. Of course she killed them, and that makes that Molly will have her in just over fifteen years all the more satisfying. She will save her daughter and avenge her brothers.

This does drive home what we should have really always known: this story is Araminta's more than Gideon's. I mean, they share it, and Gideon was the torch-bearer for the POV originally, but it's more how he introduced us to her. That and we always knew he'd die - the HOW is an important question, but the huge question mark's over her. I'm boundlessly curious to see how her story will end. So many questions but I'm sure they'll get answered!

So! Good stuff! OF COURSE!

Author's Response: Yeah, I was always sitting here quite smugly in the knowledge that people would expect him to die with perhaps one chapter to go, but not with two to go. Surprise! There's no respite for poor old Araminta.

We know from canon that it took five people including Dolohov to kill Gideon and Fabian. From then on it was vague, and it was very much my own decision that Bellatrix was one of them. It does give Molly that extra bit of motivation for killing her - and, of course, who else was going to be behind the death of the man Araminta loved than Bellatrix? Life is cruel to Minty-G.

It's funny, that this story ended up being Araminta's, because it was always meant to be Gideon's. Araminta was never even meant to have a narrative voice. In the end this was Gideon's story up until Marlene died and Araminta confessed. The moment the barriers were down, it was her story. And hopefully her story will meet a fitting end, and all questions will be answered. Thanks for reviewing :)


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Review #48, by SlideOff the Rails: twenty-four

5th October 2012:
Bad memory, hmm? A bad memory because she's DYING? Wait, wait, now I'm cooking up crazy conspiracy theories like maybe she knows she's dying, somehow learnt about magic, and is trying to use James to get access to a cure and doesn't REALLY care about him! Muwahahaha! No, I don't think that's actually going on.

Okay, you're right, Kit's growing on me and grew a lot on me this chapter. Poor boy; you can tell he's been friends with girls lots if he knows so automatically to apply tea and chocolate to a crisis. Is there nothing these staples of Britishness cannot solve? AWW poor Lily. She's breaking my heart! Of course she'd have issues of intimacy after everything backfiring, and it's made all the more heartening because she's been such a trooper about being a Squib, so when she's really letting it get to her, you know it's really bad. Even if this is more about being whittled down overall than this individual incident.

For a 'fluff' chapter (and I love my fluff chapters) this one is particularly adorable. Everyone's on top form for characterisation, James is sweet, Lily is endearing, Kit is coming into his own a bit more (as he's been easily overshadowed by Lily and Maddie in the past) and Maddie remains Maddie and I, of course, wish to see more.

Good stuff!

Author's Response: I love your conspiracy theories over what might happen, haha. Keep thinking ;)

Yeah, this was definitely Kit's moment to shine; he's more in touch with his emotions and generally more well-rounded than Maddie is, so this is where he really has a part to play in Lily's life and, indeed, the story. Very glad to know you've grown to like him! Poor Lily, yes; she does try to keep a brave face on things but this has worn her down a lot. She copes remarkably well with being a Squib ... but it's never going to be easy for her, not while the Statute of Secrecy exists. Glad you like, thanks for reviewing!


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Review #49, by SlideFrozen: Toy Soldiers

2nd October 2012:
Oh yeah, we were somewhere GOOD, weren't we? *settles down with popcorn* Oh, hey, it's time for another totally adorable James Potter and TWO YEARS?? No wonder they've got a kid. You need something to DO in that time.

The plan is risky, but hey, what's a war without a little risk? I suppose strategically it does make sense - even if it backfires and they lose Gideon, Araminta's safer than ever. Playing the cold strategist game, a spy like Araminta's more valuable than even an excellent fighter like Gideon - and playing it less cold, you know, the plan might even WORK! Crazy.

But at the same time Araminta's fear is normal - and even so's the guilt. This isn't quite as martyrish; if he dies now, he does die for her. By choice or whatever, he'd still be dying for her and that'd be a LOT to take in. Of course, him coming back alive is considerably better!! Heh. Only normal to take some satisfaction from Bellatrix taking the brunt of Voldemort's anger. Nothing wrong with that!

...

...I am going to throw things at you. BIG SPIKY THINGS. I should have seen this coming, really. Anyone that supportive and emotionally integral wasn't going to have a great survival rating. BUT STILL. NINJAS.

Author's Response: This is one of my favourite chapters. It DOES end sadly, but I liked the bit with the Potters, just because I love writing them in general. And I do seem to have an obsession with James Potters, don't I! Haha. The timescale as to when the Potters went into hiding is sketchy, but I went for a couple of months after Lily fell pregnant, given that her child was one of the potentials in terms of the prophecy, and apparently they went into hiding not long after their safety became compromised. But it is indeed a long, long time!

Strategically, this plan makes sense. Not that it was based on strategy at all, more Gideon's rashness and over-protectiveness towards his Minty. There is a huge risk that they might lose Gideon; he's one of the Order's best fighters, and it would be a huge boost to the Death Eaters. But it does enforce the thought in Voldemort's mind that Araminta is still his woman, which is of course its aim, and so in that sense it becomes a success the minute the Death Eaters prove that her information was right.

Araminta does have HUGE problems with guilt. It's possibly for the best that Gideon survived - except, she now has another death to blame on herself. I put her through A Lot.

Please don't throw things! It had to happen, at the end of the day Arieda was a muggleborn with a sister who was prominent in the Order, and so she had the potential to become just as prominent. And Bellatrix was angry and wanted her revenge. Arieda would certainly have had a role to play during the fight at Gideon's flat, so she was, sadly, the obvious target for the Death Eaters. And so she dies. :( Thanks for reviewing, and keep those ninjas well away!


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Review #50, by SlideOff the Rails: twenty-three

2nd October 2012:
Ah-ha! I briefly forgot who Demelza Robins is, but context is everything. I'm with you now. Thought some hitherto unheard-of ex-girlfriend or something but nope, Quidditch. Serious business! Aw, that's cool/sweet that James WANTS hard games to showcase himself. You go, James, you're awesome.

I want a t-shirt with that 'Keep calm' variation. Or a mug. I'm not picky! Hee! Cordelia's always cute. I never know whether to judge it animal cruelty or if she's just a particularly cogent tribble. I'll stick with tribble. Oh, wait, less on cute fluffy things, more on James' success! Good for him. Ha! Of course Carla, being NORMAL, would be wowed by Hogwarts. MAGIC CASTLE. 'Playing keepie-uppie with my pygmy puff' sounds like an euphemism, which I suppose would make James' point better. And BLESS James for his loyalty. I seem to be in a mood to gush over James today.

Whee! McGonagall the Awesome! I see she's still headmistress, that's cool. McGonagall is Eternal. Or should be. I like the idea she still had a good innings post-Dumbledore as she did so much for the school even when technically just Deputy. Though I think Maggie Smith ages McGonagall in our heads; isn't she described as dark haired in PS? I mean, I know wizarding ageing is weird but I think the movies make us imagine her as a bit more wizened than she is. But I digress.

Hee, setting a Weasley kid on Trelawney. Sounds about right for McG. I was going to say this chapter is full of grinnings but there's trouble afoot. James might be being fatalistic in terms of the WHYs, but something's up. Something wicked this way comes. Good stuff!

Author's Response: Yes, Demelza Robins is a JK character from HBP who played Quidditch and is now Head Honcho in the England camp. So definitely one to impress. And James is sensible enough to realise that landslide victories against walkover teams are not going to advance his England prospects as much as tight games against tougher sides.

Go for a mug, everyone needs mugs! I do like throwing (figuratively AND literally) Cordelia into things at certain moments; her existence isn't JUST for pure amusement, though obviously that's a good side-effect. I wouldn't think of it as animal cruelty, especially if she likes it! Which I'm sure she does. Definitely a tribble though.

That Hogwarts mention went in when Carlotta was meant to be visiting Hogwarts. That was the initial draft for the next chapter, and was where James was going to bump into McG. But it was going hidiously, and I decided that it wouldn't add to the story, and might possibly seem TOO unrealistic, so I dropped it and shoehorned the McG conversation in here. But the bit with Carlotta looking through the photographs didn't need to come out, so I left it in to serve as a reminder that this entire world is bewildering to her.

I had that EXACT same thought about the euphemism! Good to know I'm not the only one who's easily amused.

McG is still Headmistress because I just ASSUMED that she would be, and didn't really think to myself "might she be getting on a bit now?" until a few weeks ago. But I don't think she's that old; if she was in her seventies in the books, she must be in her early hundreds now, which isn't necessarily over the hill in wizarding terms. So she is still there for now. And subtly encouraging mischief when the target is a worthy one!

Something Wicked may well be coming! Enjoy the calm while it lasts ;) Thanks for reviewing!


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