Confession time. Two of them, actually. First confession - Somehow I missed your status or chapter updates post when you posted this chapter. So imagine my surprise when I realized that I had two chapters to read! Second confession, which relates to the first - I read both chapters and now I'm coming back to review. I couldn't help myself. How could anybody stop themselves after a cliffhanger like that??
You did a really good job with Draco. I loved the way that he's matured and assumed the mantle of leadership in the Malfoy family. His demeanor was aristocratic and courtly, but there were some little things that made the change even more apparent. The fact that he shakes hands with both Ron and Harry, for instance. Something he never would have done in his younger days. And I absolutely adored the fact that Narcissa put her foot down about Lucius joining any more "secret societies". She turned into such a hardcore mom!
With the benefit of having read the next one, I thought it was clever the way that you had Derek be a little bit insubordinate toward Harry in the meeting. It was a nice, subtle little thing. And Scorpius is being so protective toward Rose now. Awesome! You've really brought him along well in this story.
I was kind of surprised that Rose listened to Scorpius so readily, but I guess all of the death and suffering must have made an impression even on her. She was definitely asking the right questions. Very perceptive, that one! If she and Scorpius stay together -- please let them stay together, K? -- there should definitely be some sort of job for her doing investigative research for her uncle!
The scene at the Burrow was absolutely heart-warming. I loved seeing Hermione and Ginny in roles that felt a lot more familiar. And the way that Ginny's words inspired Rose to make her feelings for Scorpius clear was really inspired. I thought you did a good job with her thought process.
Ah, poor Ron. You didn't make him quite as happy as you were leading me to believe that you would. ;) As always, poor Harry is caught in the middle. I felt almost as bad for him as I did for Scorpius. Nobody needed the extra stress right at that moment. Harry's recollections about his first kiss with Ginny were a nice addition to the scene.
And then the cliffhanger... Very well executed. I expected they would find something or somebody in the house, and you led me right into the next chapter.
OK, so one silly little typo and then one concern that's a little more substantive:
"Fine, go get her, move her to the Borrow. - Burrow
The more substantive concern is that I thought the pacing of this chapter was a little too fast. There was so much suspense and tension building up, and for my tastes you could have drawn it out a bit more. In the Auror meeting, for instance, I thought it would have been nice to do that scene from Scorpius's point of view and let him reflect a bit on his family's role in all of this while the other Aurors pepper Harry and Ron with questions. Then gradually transition into his feelings for Rose and why he feels so strongly about protecting her. The same holds true for Grimmauld Place. That one might have been more interesting from Rose's point of view. Let her make the transition from happy to see him to very concerned about his safety. It would have helped to set up what happens when she kisses him outside of the Burrow. Also, giving each of them a chance in this chapter to reflect on how they feel about the other would have been nicely complimentary.
Overall, your writing had a really nice flow to it. The chapter hummed right along. Aside from that one typo, I didn't see a thing.
I can't believe we're so close to the end! This has been such a fun journey. OK, one more to write... Report Review
Jami, you and I need to have a little talk about this Violet girl. Remember how I've been lobbying for a very untidy demise for Mr. Rukin? Now I think I'd prefer to see Violet suffer a collision with the goalpost seconds after she catches the Snitch and mouths "I love you" to James. A fitting end, no? Everybody's happy. Well, except for Violet...
First, however, we need to talk about dear Bella. Her insanity is exquisite, as always! The mania with which she worships her Lord, and her burning need for even the tiniest measures of approval from him were perfect. She seems to be making her way back into his good graces, and the physical sort of affect that it has on her was well-written.
I like the way that you rounded out the Death Eaters by mentioning their attempt to recruit the giants. I think it's important not to lose sight of the fact that Voldemort is trying to take over the world. Wow, as I re-read that sentence, it sounds really dumb. But you get what I mean, right? There are lots of matters that need to be attended to, and you do a good job of weaving that into your story. Being the Dark Lord is about more than just saying evil things and going on the occasional murderous rampage.
Now what's this about Bellatrix taking revenge on a certain female who helped to prevent her from capturing James and Lily? I don't like the sound of that, not one bit. Yes, she thought as her lips curved into a very infrequent smile, she would get justice. She would stand and watch as the light fled from her prey's eyes. Watch as the heart slowed, then stopped. -- Gah, she's so awful! But I can't look away.
Before I get into Alice's section, let me just say that this non-verbal, wandless shield charm sounds like it could really come in handy. Nice idea!
I really liked the struggle that Alice goes through. She's trying so hard to deal with the argument she's having with Frank the same way that she'd tell any of her friends to deal with it: sit down and talk it out. She such a practical, level-headed person and she's a communicator.
Poor Frank, for his part, is such a mama's boy at heart! I'd probably be the same way if I grew up peeking out from behind the skirts of a woman as formidable as Augusta Longbottom. To wit: "But I need security, Alice. You know I've always been that way." -- That was a whole lot of honesty, probably not at all easy for him to admit. It's neat to watch the process of Frank transitioning his emotional attachments (dependencies?) from one strong, independent-minded witch to another. It actually makes him seem like a bit of a man-child.
Summoning all of those memories, both before and after Frank's arrival, was a nice was to ease the two of them back together. It also gave us some more great insight into Frank's character. Alice really does seem to mean almost everything to him. It isn't at all surprising that he's terrified of losing her. Makes me kind of glad that Neville never found a girlfriend while he was at Hogwarts. He might have been too busy sheltering her in a corner to cut the head off of Nagini. ;)
Aww, so it was actually Augusta who slapped some sense into Frank. Well done, Mrs. Longbottom! It's really awesome to see her realize what Alice is all about, even if she is a bit obnoxious about Alice's weight and going on about Frank and Alice's love life.
Lastly, there was Moody. I really love what you do with him, you know. You don't go over the top in either direction, making him a big teddy bear or a completely unapproachable lunatic. But you keep him gruff and grumpy and all-around menacing in an oddly loveable way. With that, he rubbed his hands together and told them to take out their wands and prepare to leave the room with at least one less finger. -- Yep, that's Mad-Eye!
You start off the last scene by weaving another little thread of connection into Lily and James's world. So Margaret's older sister is engaged to Gideon Prewett. I wonder how this will come to impact future events. I have the very sad feeling that aside from Peter, Sirius and Remus, none of James and Lily's friends have especially long life expectancies. :( It also gives Lily a bit of an opportunity to ponder what sort of living arrangements she and James will have after school. I feel like you're setting up a Big Decision, which is odd, because it's such a small mention. Wonder whether Lily and James will live together before they're married?
And then Violet arrives. Seriously, Jami, can we just kill her now? Belle seemed ready if Lily hadn't stopped her. In fact, I feel like there could be a violent confrontation in Belle and Violet's future. Or maybe that's just what I'm hoping for. Either way, I think I'm just going to start calling her Vile for short. As you know, that's a lot less nasty than what I want to call her.
I absolutely loved what you did with Lily. She's trying so hard to be the bigger adult here. Her logical mind knows that James isn't that sort of guy, and that he isn't going to throw away their relationship over any sort of quick fling with Vile. But her heart isn't going to let her head win the fight that easily. You captured something sort of primal in her character here. A part of her that looks at Vile fawning over James and snarls, "MINE! Get away, you trampy, amoral little hoe-bag!" Gah, I so want her to just hex the daylights out of that girl and leave her vomiting slugs and oozing unidentified green substances from every pore. But Lily's the Head Girl. She's a bigger adult. And the fact that you can't eat in the Library actually comes in handy.
Vile isn't going to give up easily, is she? Where's Alice when you need her? My money says that Alice would have confronted the girl right then and there. Because Alice isn't one to let a situation linger. Unlike Lily. Sigh. :(
Wonderful chapter, and I'm also a little sad to see things counting down to the end. Good thing there's another coming! Report Review
Hi, there! This is the first of probably several Gryffindor May Exchange reviews, if you'd like to make this more than a one-chapter event.
I was both excited and kind of sad to find out that Jennifer was James's cousin. Excited because I think it broadens James's back story in a really interesting way. In the books, he's only ever portrayed as a spoiled, somewhat arrogant only child who suddenly transforms into this wonderful, upstanding guy late in his Hogwarts years and sweeps the saintly Lily Evans off of her feet. I feel like his quasi-brother-sister-relationship with Jennifer will really add some depth and complexity to that picture and I'm looking forward to it. I'm kind of sad because we know that Harry has no family left by the time he's left with the Dursleys. That doesn't bode well for Jennifer's future. :(
You did a nice job with Sirius, too. You made him refined and aristocratic in a way, which felt more natural to me than the stories I've read where he's in full anti-pureblood rebellion mode before he even sets foot on the train. I can see the beginnings of who he'll become, but also the roots that he comes from. Overall, it was very well-balanced. It feels, at least at this early juncture, like you're setting Sirius and Jennifer up as a potential romantic pair. That should also add some interesting depth to Sirius's character, as well as some curious dynamics between Sirius and James. No way to know how James will cotton to the idea of Sirius snogging his almost-sister.
I really like the start you're off to with Jennifer. You managed to define a lot of things about her without doing that horrible thing a lot of authors do where they roll out the proverbial Back Story Dump Truck and proceed to unload every conceivable bit of information about their OC in a long, pointless internal monologue that fills half of the first chapter. Instead you worked some important bits of information into the natural flow of events and left us some things to wonder about. I see similarities between her and James and also some important differences. I did really like the way she feels protective toward James and, by extension, Sirius. I assume she's destined to reconcile with Lily and that should be interesting when it plays out.
Lastly, there's Lily. You did a fantastic job of making her sound like what she actually is: a precocious and temperamental eleven-year-old girl who's also probably pretty frightened, seeing as how she's venturing into completely uncharted waters. The way that she didn't answer Jennifer in the dormitory seemed about right to me, although I'm pretty sure that her reason wasn't the one that Jennifer was thinking of. I'm guessing that she just didn't know what to say.
Let's see, what else? There were two passages that I liked so much I highlighted them as I was reading:
He had striking grey eyes that seemed to look like they pierced into your soul, along with the nicest head of hair I've ever seen on a boy.
It looked silky, lustrous, and well taken care of, though significantly longer than James's hair. -- I chuckled to myself when I first read it, thinking of how mortified Sirius probably would have been if she'd said this out loud. But the more I thought about it, this is the sort of thing that eleven-year-old girls notice.
In all honesty, it wasn’t an ugly name; if I had to grudgingly admit so, it was a nice sounding name, even if it was a name that should have stayed in the 15th century. -- All I could imagine when I read this was Sirius making a crack like, "The 15th century called and they want their name back." Great stuff!
Then there was one passage that felt a little, I don't know, forced to me:
Honestly, the way that James was going on and on, a nearby passer would have thought Salazar Slytherin himself arose from the dead and told everyone that he was setting a basilisk loose in the castle. -- I know what you're trying to do here, but I was kind of struggling with the idea that an eleven-year-old girl would know what a Basilisk was. Recall that even Hermione had to go look it up and Ron, who came from a pureblood family, had never heard of it.
Lastly, I saw two typos that I wanted to point out:
I hadn’t meant to be eavesdropping but it was impossible to live under the same roof as James Potter for the majority of your like without picking up some troublemaking skills. - majority of your life
"Yes, she was but distantly related..." I murmured, not knowing why I wanted to tact that last bit on in the end and certainly not knowing why I didn't like the idea of being related to Sirius Black. -- tack that last bit
Otherwise, I thought you writing was really good. It all flowed very nicely and I liked your word choice. You had a good mix of narrative and dialog and nothing sounded awkward or singsongy. Great start! Report Review
Yay! I ask you for an Alice chapter and now we have an Alice chapter. Sort of, anyway. I foresee more Frank and Alice time in the future.
But before we get to that, I loved all the "guy chat" at the start of the chapter. What a perfectly natural-sounding conversation among a mixed (single vs. dating) group of teenage boys! I'm going to assume that you've never been a teenage boy before, so that makes it even more impressive. So many little dominance games playing out, with each boy trying to assert his own "territory". You have Frank pushing back against everyone else's attempts to try to fix his relationship, James trying to be a father figure, Sirius the "team player", Remus and Peter teasing back and forth about why neither one of them has a girlfriend, James getting thoroughly emasculated by his choice in reading material... it goes on and on. You have such a great command of these characters, even the minor ones and even when they're not in the embroiled in the main conflicts that define the story. Very nicely done!
In the middle of it all was a line that cracked me up more than I can readily explain: "It's Tuesday," Peter reasoned. "Everyone acts funny on Tuesdays." I think what killed me about that line was the word "reasoned", because there's no reasonable reason for anyone to think that, but it just rolls off of Peter's tongue like the most natural observation in the world. That boy ain't right...
Also, this: Then they'd be able to make fun of Remus for being the world's most whipped werewolf. - It's funny until you stop and realize that none of them ever had the chance to make fun of Remus once he became a whipped werewolf. And now I'm sad. But you don't leave it at that, you just keep piling it on, talking about what kind of girls Remus and Peter are going to marry and what James and Lily will do with their lives. Sometimes loving this story is torture...
Another thing that struck me is the way you really brought Peter out of the woodwork in this chapter and gave him a little spark that we haven't seen much of so far. Seeing him suddenly going insult-for-insult with Sirius is an interesting change for him. Naturally, it makes me suspicious whether there's a reason...
Ah, the Slytherins have arrived! Strange that Moody would tolerate such a thing. Unless he's sizing up the opposition. Or maybe he really was planning to let James and Sirius curse the pants off of them. I loved all of Moody's teaching methods. He sounded perfectly in character and the Prophet article drives home the reality of just how pervasive the Death Eathers' brand of thinking had become by this point in the war.
You just enjoy tormenting me, don't you? This: "It's scary, isn't it?" Peter whispered to the group. "That just because you don't do what they want, they'll probably kill you."
"That's why you never even give them the chance to talk to you," Sirius answered in a gravelly tone. "And you sure as hell don’t let them blackmail you into doing something." -- GAH!!! Kill him now, Sirius! Kill the filthy, back-stabbing rodent NOW!
And just to twist the knife a little more: James glanced at Peter and gave him a solid pat on the back. "Don't worry, Wormtail. That's why we’re here. To make sure no more of those bloody Death Eaters ever get the chance to talk to us." Peter nodded, offering James a small smile. -- I'm not certain what you're playing at with this. Again, it makes me wonder whether events have already been set in motion where Peter is concerned. Either way, the friendly comfort that James offers him is horribly sad to see, knowing what's to come. :(
Poor James! At every turn, it seems like Moody's finding a way to unintentionally torment him. Whether it's picking on Margaret to answer questions or bringing Lily and Alexander up to be the first dueling pair. I love the protectiveness he feels towards all of them, whatever his reason to feel responsible for them.
So the only thing I wish you'd done differently is devote more time to the dueling pairs other than James and Sirius. Snape and his opponent would have been particularly interesting, but also Remus and Avery. I know this was a long chapter already, but I would have loved to see what sort of devilish pleasure Snape would have taken in showing off his martial abilities. And Remus beating up on Avery? That's just icing on the cake. Maybe a little taunting from the Slytherins about how things would have turned out differently if they hadn't been limited to simple spells.
The sad little look on McGonagall's face at the end of the first section was a nice reminder of what's happening. Our little witches and wizards are growing up. And there's nothing Minerva can do to stop it.
Poor Alice and Frank! I don't think I'm going to be able to comment as much on the second section. For one thing, I'm running out of characters. For another, there isn't much I can do aside from gush. You are the master of "girl talk" between these three. From the moment that Lily -- Lily Evans! -- decides that they should skip class right through to Lily's, um, romantic anxieties, it was beautifully done. I have only a couple of comments.
First, the way that Alice and Belle pull Lily's leg about s-e-x was priceless! Poor, sheltered Lily! She's so often the one that other people are going to for advice, I guess it's only natural that they have a little fun with her.
The second thing, and we've talked about this already: "And Alice and I will both be 'ere to talk about it with you after it 'appens," Belle said and Alice nodded in agreement. -- This is obviously a girl thing. Guys do not do this. No guy ever says to another guy, "If you want to talk about your feelings after you do the nasty with that blonde chick from school, I'm here for you, bro!" Does. Not. Happen. ;)
Ah, Jami, it's always such a pleasure. Great job, and I look forward to next time!Author's Response: Daniel! HELLO!
You're Alice/Frank request is not over at this chapter, good sir. They might have a bit more coming up...
Well, I suppose you can assume I was never a teenage boy. I wasn't even a tom boy. I do worry about how I do with slipping into the boy's, but half the time they feel more comfortable to write than the girls. No wonder JKR used Harry for HP instead of Henriette. Simpler creatures, you boys are.
Poor James really shouldn't have opened his mouth about the magazine. But what teenage boy hasn't flipped through his mom's Victoria's Secret magazine? You better have Martie hide hers when the boys start getting older... :P
Hahaha I don't even know where that line came form, but it seemed to fit Peter, didn't it?
I hate that none of them got to see the end of the war, even more that none of them were able to see Remus happy for that short while. I know what you mean about this story being torture. I have to constantly remind myself why on earth I'm putting so much effort into these characters who are all going to be dead in a few years times. Then I think about how much they deserve an actual life before death... and bah. Now I have sads :(.
Haha Daniel Smith, you know Peter is good for now. You'll know the second things start to change with him, pinky promise. Can't even utter wise crack without you wanting to pin the poor guys as turning over to the dark side ;).
I definitely think he was curious to size up the Slytherins. And probably to see if they had the... umm... you know whats to actually show.
Hahahh no no no! No killing Peter now! He just needs a cookie, is all :P
I knowww I wish I'd have been able to do a bit more with the duels. But with this already being 8,000 words it just had to take a back seat :(. And there's going to be so much more of that next book, that I figured it was okay to sort of skim past it in this one. Duels aren't easy for me to write. I can't believe how you were able to come up with the ones you have in CoB.
Yep, McGonagall just saw everything she didn't want to see and did at the same time with those two dueling. They know what an amazing asset to the order they'd be simply for their intelligence and bravery, but actually seeing their capable skills just reminded her that she can't protect them forever, and they'll end up where part of her really doesn't want them :(. Poor Minnie. See, you have me using that ridiculous nickname now :P.
It was a lot of fun to have Lily being the clueless one in this situation. Although it did make me sort of sad, because this is the kind of talk most girls have with their moms. And Lily not getting to do that tugged on my heart strings a bit :(.
Hahahahha Dan, you guys are missing you. Feelings talks are the best. You should really try and implement something similar next time you're with the guys. They'll thank you for it, I'm sure ;)
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Ah, a story set in my absolute favorite era to read! Stories that start right after the Battle of Hogwarts are what got me into reading HPFF in the first place, and I always love reading authors' impressions of what happened in those first days after Tom Riddle died.
I love the solemn start that you got off to. The scene at Hogwarts Castle and all of the characters seemed appropriately subdued and sad for events set so soon after so many good people lost their lives. Some of the characters that you inserted and their behavior really helped to round out the scene. Every story set in this moment has Molly Weasley weeping over Fred, but this is the first time I've seen Xeno Lovegood running through the castle in search of Luna and I thought it was a nice touch. The mention of the poor girl whose face had been cursed off brought real gravity to your descriptions of the human cost of the battle. Andromeda showing up with little Teddy to learn the awful truth about Remus and Tonks was heart-breaking.
I'm not sure where you're heading with Harry in the long run, but there were things I liked and things I wasn't so wild about in this chapter. I really liked his inner thoughts: the guilt and sadness and the way that he kept second-guessing himself: "If only I'd been able to end this sooner..." That was Harry Potter to a T. I thought it a bit odd that Kingsley and McGonagall would have put him on the spot like that so soon after the end of the battle. The poor guy was totally wrecked at that point and I have a hard time imagining anyone asking him to give a speech. It isn't a huge thing, but it jumped out at me.
But then you brought Ginny and Harry together, and I was instantly filled with warm, fuzzy, happy feelings. Oh, how I love the two of them together. You cast aside the usual moment where she gets angry at him for leaving her behind when he ran off with Ron and Hermione to hunt horcruxes, but maybe you're just saving that for later.
Poor Hermione sort of got left on the outside looking in. It's kind of understandable, but I still felt badly for her. I hope Ron is able to come around and pick up the romance again soon. Neville's revelations about the way Augusta's attitude toward him changed was a nice touch. Poor guy went through a lot growing up. It's nice to see that she can appreciate him for it.
You're definitely bringing Percy into the fold at an early stage of the game, and I applaud you for that. All too often, Perce gets left out of these stories or glossed over at best. And the idea of Audrey fighting in the battle to the point where she's injured is a very different take on her character. I'm curious to see where you're taking her.
I loved the idea of Ginny being so close with the twins. It really gave George somebody to open up to, which doesn't always happen so early. She was very wise in her counsel to him.
I felt like your writing got off to a bit of a rough start and then you really hit your stride about a third of the way through the chapter. Sometimes it felt a little forced near the beginning, like you were trying to make things more metaphorical and flowery than you were really comfortable with. Then you relaxed and it all flowed a lot better for me. The only other thing I'd point out is that Hagrid's hut was destroyed during the battle, as far as I know.
You're off to a very interesting start here! Keep up the good work!Author's Response: Well, first off, thank you for taking the time to leave such a long and detailed review! I really appreciate it :)
It's nice to hear that you liked this, and that the mood was fitting. Well, I can't imagine Mrs Weasley having any other reaction, so I guess that's why it's in every story. I'm glad you liked the part about Luna's father - I think his love for his daughter was evident in the Deathly Hallows, and I just wanted to show a snippet of that.
Yes, I definitely think that Harry is the kind of person who, even after all he's done, would feel guilty about not having been able to do it better. In my mind, he actually wanted to say something to everyone in there, but I do understand your point!
Actually, I don't think Ginny would be mad at him. She knew that he had to do it and why he didn't take her with him. Sure, it must have been hard for her, but I think she understands it.
Yeah, I felt bad for Hermione when I wrote this! But Ron has other things than romance on his mind right now. I'm glad that you're happy for Neville! So am I!
Percy is such an important character to me! I'm so happy to hear that you liked that :) I think that Fred's death will have a huge impact on him, and that it, combined with Audrey (who's actually quite likable in my story), helps him change to the better.
I'll try to read through the chapter again and see if I can make any changes to make the first part better. I was trying to paint a picture of the first hours after the battle, but I'll definitely take what you said into account and try to improve it.
Thank you so much for this wonderful and helpful review! I can't even tell you how much I appreciate it!! You are just awesome! :) Report Review
Hi, there! Tagging you from Review Tag!
I thought you had a really clever idea here. Thinking it through for a moment, it seems pretty obvious that actual witches and wizards wouldn't have celebrated Halloween anything like the muggles. In the books, it was more of a group celebration sort of holiday.
I adored your characterization of Lily. She's the classic youngest child, a completely unencumbered free spirit who follows her crazy ideas through to their illogical conclusion. The way that she inadvertently insulted every person they came across was cute, although I definitely felt badly for Rose. You did a nice job with Rose, as well. I could see a lot of Hermione in her, with just a touch of Ron's more adventurous spirit.
The supporting characters also seemed about right. McGonagall, the stern disciplinarian and grumpy old Madam Pince.
I guess my biggest substantive suggestion would be to slow the frenetic pace of the narrative a little and give the reader a little more time to adsorb the events, especially the part told from Rose's perspective. Lily's interactions with the various muggles they encounter could have been even funnier if you'd lengthened them a bit and allowed the body language and facial expressions to interplay with the dialog. Overall, the story felt a bit rushed.
I noticed a few things as I was reading that you might want to take another look at:
As the two cousins made their way out of the library, Madam Pince gave them a dirty look and watched them like a hawk until they'd left the library. -- You say "library" twice in this sentence, and the second one isn't really necessary. It reads a bit awkward.
They argued over whether the costume was a good idea or not of whether the costume was too small and showed off too much. -- Did you mean to say, "... and whether the costume..." instead of "of"?
Today was Halloween, today was the day that she went trick-or-treating just like all the other muggles. -- This is nit-picky, but Lily isn't a muggle.
Rose followed the sounds of her cousins excited chatter and found her talking to the headmistress about how excited she was for the experience. -- cousin's
"I'll get to straight to the point, you and Ms Potter will be Flooing to her house where you proceed to do . . . whatever it is that muggles do during this time. -- "I'll get straight to the point..."
Overall, your writing was good, however. The story flowed nicely and it was a quick, easy read. You have a knack for making Lily and Rose come to life, and I mainly wished that you had given me more of it. Nicely done!Author's Response: Halloween was always celebrated as a group thing so I just assumed that witches and wizards celebrated the holiday differently. Plus, it be almost like an insult (at least how I see it) to dress up as real live creatures and beings just for fun and go hunting for candy.
I've never seen hyper Lily before (it's my title for her) and someone had to take after Arthur!
I do agree with you though that pace was in general very fast. For some reason I felt like I was on a deadline when I was writing so I was kind of going at a fast pace. Turns it out it transferred into my writing without me knowing it.
I'll definitely take a look at everything that you pointed out and fix them as soon as I can! Thanks so much for reviewing! Report Review
Hi, Rosie! It has taken me ages to sit down and make the time to write this review. I really hate real life sometimes.
The strangers that Remus interacts with in the cafe were a clever way to introduce all sorts of situations and ideas for this chapter. It didn't take any time at all to place the events on the timeline of the book and to get an idea of how poor Remus is faring at this stage of his life. It made me sad to see him hungry and impoverished, but I guess that was how things were after he lost his job at Hogwarts. Stupid Snape! It's too bad that he's such a proud man, because I'm sure that Harry would have happily shared all he had if Remus could have shared more stories about James and Lily. Lots of lost opportunities in the books. :(
What is this about Sirius sneaking up on him? Is Wolf slipping in his old age? At least Remus has fun with it. Sirius seems to have a bit of fun as well.
I thought you did a great job with the conversation between Sirius and Remus. I could feel the frustration and bitter anger simmering beneath Sirius's barely-civil exterior. The idea that Wolf wouldn't tolerate being stared down was really clever and a good reminder that Wolf is still there, even in this chapter where he doesn't make an appearance. Sirius really steals the show, though. You ran him through a gauntlet of very appropriate and realistic emotions, from anger at Dumbledore and the others who allowed Harry into harm's way to fear and sadness at the idea that he might not live up to the trust that Lily and James placed in him. All-around great stuff.
An unspoken understanding hung in the air. If we needed to put down our lives for him, then so be it. He was our family, our brother’s son. A member of our pack. No matter what, nothing was going to happen to him. -- Hear, hear! About time somebody was stepping up to the plate for Harry!
Your descriptions of the Noble and Most Ancient House of Black were deliciously awful. I could almost smell the must, mold and decay as I read about the entrance hallway. Good old Walburga is there to greet them, too! I don't blame Wolf, she would freak me out, too. Again, I thought you nailed Sirius in this section. It's just like him to argue with a portrait as though he's going to convince her of anything. And the way he abuses and berates Kreacher... one of the most difficult things to like about the guy is he's the quintessential "do as I say do not as I do" mentor to Harry. He advises Harry to be kind to his "inferiors", then makes a costly mistake in his treatment of Kreacher. He begs Harry to be careful, then rushes into a situation that gets him killed. Such a tragic character...
“Master has brought a werewolf,” Kreacher said as he sniffed the air, his tiny eyes fixated on me. “Mistress will be angry with Master for bringing filthy animals to her Noble house.” -- I do love the dry humor you brought to Kreacher, though. That was a nice touch!
Once again, sorry to taking so long to get to this! It's great setup material for the sad events that we all know are coming soon. I'm really looking forward to seeing your version of what was going on at Grimmauld Place while Umbridge was tormenting Harry and his friends at Hogwarts. Until next time!Author's Response: Dan!
I think you and I need to form a club titled "Real life bites" or something along those lines. Sorry I took forever to leave you a response but right now is literally the only free time I've gotten all week. And it's Wednesday! Well...officially speaking its Thursday but same thing.
I wanted to show that there are people out there who have never been convinced about Dumbledore's sanity. Even before the Prophet starts to slander both Harry and Dumbledore, there are those that never really liked/trusted Dumbledore. Let alone a boy who vanquished the darkest of wizards at a young age. I can sort of understand their point of view considering Harry and their wariness towards him but nonetheless it still ticks Remus off. This is Harry. He knows that he's a normal boy with a tragic past and not the future dark lord as people like Eustace and Martin like to think. Anyway, poor Remus indeed but it's all Umbridge's fault! She's the one that started the anti-werewolf laws so it's her fault that he can't find a job. You know, she's the only character that really, REALLY angers me. Voldemort...Bellatrix, Lucius, Draco...absolutely nothing but Umbridge. I just want to punch that woman!
Alright rant over!
Wolf IS slipping into old age! Hahaha! I mean around this time Remus is 35 so if you were to do it in dog years (since he's a canine) Wolf would be 245 years old. Man, he's ancient! But still has the heart and energy of a young pup, hahaha!
I really owe you for Sirius's anger here. You were the one that pushed it for more, to be more believable and more Sirius-esque. I definitely plan on having more of that anger in the next chapter but this time it'll be up against Dumbledore AND Remus. Wolf doesn't doesn't like being stared down nor being told what to do. He's like a Sgt. Major at the Marines; don't cross him or you'll be sorry.
I had to add Walburga here. And of course I wanted to Sirius to go over the edge! After the rough night he's had and the lack of sleep after Dumbledore's errand, he's bound to just explode emotionally speaking. Even if it meant him arguing against the portrait of his dead mother. I honestly think that he went to jail with a lot of unresolved feelings towards his family, especially Regulus. He always struck me as this man who shrugged his shoulders and had this 'meh, whatever' attitude towards all of them but they were his family nonetheless. Regulus was his baby brother and his death HAD to hurt despite the fact that he made the wrong choice. I'm almost sure that Sirius tried to make Reggie see some sense but failed. Perhaps he even feels guilty after all these years, like an older sibling would, so that's why he just unloads on Walburga. I have to agree with you, Sirius is such a tragic and his death had to be tragic as well.
Kreacher is such a fun character to write, so I'm excited to bring more Kreacher in the next chapter.
Don't worry about taking forever to review it! You're my Beta so you have like this 'review late' pass. XD
Thanks for everything!
Until next time
Hi, Ral! And Happy Birthday! Here is your Gryffindor Birthday Review...
This was one of the best Snape stories that I've come across, no doubt about it. I liked it for what you did do and I liked it for what you didn't do.
What you did do was keep him true to his character. The bitter fatalism with which he accepts his fate sounds like Snape. The condescension and frustration he feels toward Harry felt like Snape, even though the fact that Harry was hiding "under the Dark Lord's nose" made it possible for Snape to complete his mission. The weary nihilism that he feels in his final moments of life definitely felt like Snape. Life was cruel to him in many ways, although some of those he undeniably brought upon himself. But whatever the relative weight of his bad circumstances and bad choices, he was ready to die.
What you didn't do was succumb to that ever-present temptation to have Severus -- you'll notice that I have a tendency to call him Severus when I'm pleased with him ;) -- and Lily declare their unrequited love for one another when they find one another in the afterlife. For me, that's huge. Lily loved James. They were married. They had a child together. He died trying to protect her and she died trying to protect Harry. To me, that doesn't leave much room for a sudden, post-mortem realization that she loved another man all along.
In fact, I loved basically everything you did with the afterlife scene. Lily reacted exactly the way I would have expected. She was grateful to Severus for protecting her son. She forgave him for all of the terrible things he did when he was young and foolish and trying to win the Dark Lord's favor. She genuinely appreciated the enormous sacrifices he made during his difficult life.
Your concept of returning to the place where it all started was brilliant and really heart-warming. After I read her explanation, I spent a good few minutes just sitting here, trying to think of where "it all started" for me. I'm gonna say that it was when I arrived and college and for the first time in my life, I made friends who really understood me and where I was coming from. :)
Ah, Lily! Even in the afterlife, she's still mothering those around her. Tonks is one that I've always felt really badly for. She had so little time to be happy with Remus and their newborn son. It seems just like Lily to feel the need to comfort Tonks and help her come to terms with her loss. It was humanizing, in a way, to see Severus react to the news of Fred Weasley's death. I doubt that he's high on the list of people that Fred wants to see, but the fact that he actually cared enough to ask who had died showed a change on his part.
This was really beautiful, Ral. You had several really great ideas and you wove them together into a great story that took one of my less favorite characters and portrayed him in a positive way without white-washing his whole story. You can't do much better than that! Report Review
It seems like Emily bounced back fairly well from her breakdown. Perhaps a little too well. I felt a worried for her inasmuch as she seemed to put the whole episode behind her fairly quickly without dealing with any of the underlying issues. It's a fairly typical pattern for people suffering from long-term depression and PTSD, I believe, and in that regard you wrote her reaction well.
Between McGonagall, Heather and Madam Pomfrey, I doubt she'll be able to go on pretending that nothing is wrong for very long. That's a good thing, obviously, although Emily might not see it as such right away. I still really love the way that you write McGonagall. She's stern, but very motherly in her own way. If you were thinking in terms of Molly Weasley mothering, you might not even recognize it, but McGonagall is no less concerned and she gets results.
I'm glad that it was apparent even to Emily that she wasn't fooling Heather. I'm sure they're have a lot to talk about at their next session, assuming that Emily is willing to open up and stop pretending that everything is "fine".
Naturally, I felt happy for Emily as she has her romantic breakthrough with Timothy. (Can we also call him Tim now? ;) But I couldn't help feeling a bit sad, as well. At the moment, her "school life" filled with depression and unhappiness seems to be very effectively walled off from her "Hogsmeade life" where she's feeling more and more like her old self again. At some point, I have to imagine that the two are going to start to seep into one another and that's going to be very difficult for Emily to manage if she hasn't started to confront her demons. I think I'll just enjoy things until we get to that point.
Flawless writing in this one! Seriously, there wasn't I think I could think to comment on. Nicely done! Report Review
Such a tense (intense?) chapter! The existential angst was just dripping from every pore on Astoria's body in this one. She seemed to wander back and forth between angry and horrified, with a lot of misery thrown in for good measure. The physical description of her fainting was really well done, I thought, and it went a long way toward showing just how disgusted she feels at Draco and all of his pureblood friends.
Kudos for keeping all of your point of view changes correct. I doubt it was the easiest thing to do with so many substantial characters all vying for attention in this one.
The dynamic between Draco and Blaise was fascinating. Zabini comes off as quite the gentleman in this chapter, but Draco seems to fear him a bit. All of the others do, actually. I'm curious to find out why that is, since he's rarely portrayed as being powerful or menacing.
Astoria's brother seems solidly on her side, but it's a little harder to figure out her sister. Maybe it's just that her sister is older, or the fact that her sister's social aims are rather different from Scorpius and Astoria. Emily obviously adores Astoria and is very protective of her, but the things she wants for Astoria don't seem to be the same things that Astoria wants for herself.
You've really got me going now, trying to figure out what this Greengrass family business is all about. If her father is soliciting business from Lucius Malfoy during the Dark Lord's second rise to power, that suggests that it's not entirely wholesome. This private dormitory of Astoria's also suggests that her family either has some lingering influence at Hogwarts or holds some dark secrets, one or the other.
The final encounter between Draco and Astoria capped off a very tense chapter with some real intensity. The contrast between the disdain Astoria feels for Draco and her physical reactions to his advances couldn't be much stronger. Her body is betraying her in a thousand little ways. Draco comes off like a **massive** creeper in this, but he's also clearly so fascinated with Astoria that he's willing to associate with a girl that his parents would see as completely beneath him. That makes it pretty obvious that his interest in her is more than just physical. He can't comprehend the fact that she rejects his advances, and it makes him want her that much more. I have to imagine that fireworks are going to ensue once they return to Hogwarts...
I only had one substantial critique of your writing, and it's the fact that sometimes it was a little challenging to keep track of who was doing of saying what because of all the "he's" and "she's" involved. The scene in Draco's salon was a good example. At one point you have three distinct "he's" -- Draco, Zabini and Scorpius -- and two distinct "she's" -- Astoria and Emily -- and you're occasionally mixing and matching which person the pronouns are referring to in the same sentence. It's something you'll want to watch closely with that many characters in the room at the same time.
Aside from that, your writing was lovely. Once I got into the final section with Draco and Astoria, the story was barreling downhill to the end. Nicely done!Author's Response: Hello!
Hey there, I'm sorry that its taken so long for me to get back to you. I've been really busy with boring real life issues and well, that sucks but now I have enough time. So, this of course is a monster of a review and its going to take me a minute to answer! I'm going to apologize beforehand if I can't respond back to everything that you've said. D':
I think with Astoria fainting I had hinted at it in the previous chapter with her corset being too tight and the effects of all that. It wasn't just her nerves getting to her after a while but it was a scene that I liked doing!
But I think anyone would have been disgusted to be around Draco and his friends after a while.
When it came to the different and various POVs and characters, I sort of died a little, it was really difficult to get that part right. I rewrote it quite a bit! :D
It was horrible! :D
The dynamics between Draco and Blaise was really something I wanted to show. There's alot of mystery around Blaise himself and perhaps some actual fear from Draco and the others too.
He's not quite "normal" by their standards, but you'd have to keep reading to find out all about that.
Anyway, when it comes to the siblings and Astoria, you are correct when it comes to Emily and her reactions to what's going on. Her desires are very different so she can't quite understand her sister or brother very well but she'd never turn her back on them precisely.
Bwhaha, the Greengrass Family Secret will come into play later on, I promise. Actually, by chapter five or six you should pretty much have a guess of what it is.
Its not anything pretty either and of course, her father trying to go into business with Lucius Malfoy is a huge tip off. But things don't exactly go as planned at this dinner party, hehehehe. Also, with Astoria having her own dorm, there are daker reasons behind it and I hope you have fun guessing what they are. :D
Ah, the final encounter between lovely Draco adn my hissing Astoria! That's one of my favorite scenes in this story actually, just because it really plays on what you can't control and what society expects.
Astoria may hate Draco but her body doesn't exactly know what to do and of course, he's pretty skilled at what he does. ;)
Bwhaha, you think Draco is a creeper now? Just wait until later on! It gets worse and I think his desire for Astoria causes him to make risks that he would have never considered before. It makes him very dangerous.
And he's an arrogant bloke, I think. A girl beneath him telling him no? How can he stay away? Its like the ultimate test!
But if I were a guy, I'd leave Astoria alone, she's kind of scary. :D
Argh! I know just what you mean by all the mistakes you mentioned towards the end of this. I'd been meaning to clean this story up alot but haven't gotten around to it, but thanks for pointing it out! You've saved me a ton of trouble. D':
Anyhoo, thanks for coming back to this! I really can't wait to get back into Detox and oh, there's another Draco Malfoy one-shot on my page that you might or might not want to read. You've been warned. Hahahaha.
You're a dear and I'll hopefully be stalking your work pretty soon!
Gabbie Report Review
Tagging you from Review Tag!
You probably thought you were rid of me, didn't you? Never! I've just been waiting for the correct moment to strike.
A whole chapter about sixteenth birthdays. It was an interesting theme to overlay on the events that take place here. It was clever to interject a little bit of muggle-born culture into the mix with Paisley's reaction to turning sixteen. Her reaction is much more in line with what we're used to seeing in real life, right down to the way that her younger sibling seems a bit jealous. And it set up one of the funniest dry one-liners of the entire story:
“You!” Trelawney swept over to their desk, her taloned finger pointed dramatically at Paisley. “My girl, today you celebrate! My Inner Eye tells me you, why, today you become a year older!”
Both girls stared at her blankly. Paisley’s luminous birthday balloons bumped against the desk. -- That was awesome! Brilliantly understated.
You kept the events surrounding O.W.L. and N.E.W.T. exams very true to the books, which I liked. The poor Fifth Years seem to be constantly walking that fine line bordering on either a physical collapse or snapping mentally. Fred and George are a useful pair to have around at a time like that. From the moment they descend from the dormitory on their birthday, they're sucking away the tension and replacing it with delicious silliness. Even the teachers seem to get caught up in the dissipation of stress.
Poor George. He's just all kinds of awkward in this chapter. As frustrating as it is to watch him flounder and flop in every romantic situation -- and believe me, it's **very** frustrating! -- I think you're doing a really good job of capturing the way that a very non-romantic teenage boy struggles with trying to act on his feelings. Especially one like George who has the additional handicap of being a twin and not dealing especially well with difficult things that he must do on his own.
The "almost kiss" was one of the most painful things I've read in a while. Not painful because it isn't written well, mind you. Quite the opposite. It's painful because you've gotten me so invested in these characters and it's hard to watch the two of them struggle like this. George had the perfect line and everything: "Not freak out." I mean, it's not Shakespeare or anything, but I thought it was perfect for him. And he blew it. Lost his nerve at the last minute and pulled up when he should have closed the deal. Come on, Georgie, get it together!!!
It seems like the two of them took a big step back in their relationship, which is completely understandable. Apparently that's the pattern with these two. Every time they get close to a breakthrough, something pulls them back.
The letter from Stanley Meadowes continued to build the tension around the death of Brienne's mother. It opened up a new avenue of intrigue and a new level of tension. I had assumed all along that Dark Wizards and possibly Death Eaters were involved, but now we know that they're on the loose. This bodes poorly for Brienne.
It was very sweet of all of her friends to take a break from their exams and celebrate the birthday that she seems to have more or less forgotten. George is still being so hopeless. If you like a girl, you don't go in on a gift with your brother! You get her one yourself, you big dope!
And you leave us with a cliffhanger! Missives from beyond the grave...
I saw one itsy-bitsy typo, which is pretty darn good for a chapter this long:
It wasn’t as euphoric as the parties usually thrown after Quidditch games, but it was excited all the same. -- exciting?
So I seem to recall you saying that this is the penultimate chapter. It seems like a lot of exciting things are on tap for the next one, then. Can't wait!Author's Response: Hi! Ha! What a great thing to find when you've had a long day! A review from you!
I thought the birthdays was a good way to give a little attention to Paisley and the Twins, and I didn't want to ignore the main character's friend's birthdays like J.K.R seemed to do most of the time.
Something I also didn't want to ignore= their exams. Exam season is currently going on and while I don't have to do them anymore (thank the heavens) my brother and friends are, so I can pick up on their horror and use it to my advantage xD
Brienne and George just can't catch a break xD They are both so awkward and shy in this aspect of things, and their feelings for each other just make it harder for them! Hopefully one of them will get over it soon and become close again xD
While the romance is pretty big story-wise, her mother's murder is most important, and is most on the forefront of Brienne's mind. Maybe that's part of why they haven't got it together yet xD
Thanks for spotting the typo! My beta already let me know about it, and the correction is in the queue xD But thank you for letting me know anyway :)
This is indeed the penultimate chapter. But there is a lot more to come, so no worries. It will be me that you can't get away from before long xD
Thank you for the lovely, long, stupendous review! Report Review
You know, I don't really hate Tasha at all. People find themselves in bad situations. It happens. When it does, they do the best they can under the circumstances. The story holds together just fine when you tell it from her point of view. She was young and embarrassed and probably terrified of being rejected. From her standpoint, it made more sense to try to go it alone. For me, how I feel about her will depend on what she does from here on out, not what she did before.
Xavier's reaction to things seemed about right for a guy who, because of his profession, doesn't really need other people's support. At least not in the way of needing a place to sleep or something to eat. He took his time and worked through things in his own way. Not the world's most constructive way, mind you, but I guess it works for him.
The meet-up in the park was really cute and well-executed on your part. I loved the way that Ethan just buried his face in Stewart's shirt to begin with. That's the perfect reaction of a 2-year-old who senses that something big is going on, even though the adults are trying to play it down. As Ethan starts to open up, I liked the little similarities you drew out between him and Xavier. It really helped to tie the situation together.
It was nice to take a little break from Al and Lexi's story for a chapter and focus on your other characters. Even better, I think, because Xavier's situation has an obvious bearing on Al's own. It's one of those "there but for the grace of god" kind of moments for Al where he sees how differently things could have gone for him if he and Lexi hadn't chosen to stick together.
I noticed two small typos that you might want to take another look at:
"I have son," Xavier replies quietly. -- a son
It's a completely open question, anyone listening would never know what he means, but we know and we impatiently for Xavier to answer. -- we wait impatiently
Otherwise, it was very well written. Everything flowed nicely and it was a smooth, easy read.
Well done!Author's Response: Hey!!!
I'm glad you don't hate Tasha. She didn't know Xavier that well and made a choice she thought was the best at the time. She's a good person, I will say, so I hope you'll like her when she comes back. :)
He's stubborn. He needs to do things himself, no matter what. Including sorting through his own head. If that meant being alone (well, hiding at his sister's - but she would have left him alone) then he isn't going to apologize. It's just who he is. Much to Al's dismay. :P
I'm glad you liked the park scene. As I've never been in this situation before, I had a bit of a worry over whether people would like it or not or if any of it was right.
It was odd, but nice, writing about another character, even if it was still in Al's PoV. To see wants happening in the lives of others. I'm glad you liked the little break. And yes, it definitely give Al some I sight into how things could have gone. He would have hated the idea of not seeing his kid every day.
I'll go fix the typos. :)
Thank you for leaving such an amazing review!
Sam. Report Review
Hi, Jami! Hope you make it through this without falling asleep. ;)
I loved the first section with Sirius. He isn't adjusting well to this whole "boyfriend" thing. You do such a great job of capturing the flip side of his intense, obsessive personality. Sometimes it's humorous, like this chapter. Sometimes it isn't pretty, like when he tries to attack Regulus. Sometimes it's painful to watch, like when he confesses his role in the Evans's death. Throughout it all, you've been consistent in showing the ups and the downs of being Sirius Black, without glossing over the bad parts.
Good food, a beautiful girl, and some snogging. It all sounded brilliant, so why was he stomping about acting like he couldn't stand the thought of it? -- Poor Sirius. He's so unaccustomed to good things happening that they make him feel uneasy. You did a good job of capturing all of his jitters, and the way he reacts to those feelings of unease is classic Sirius. Pretending that he doesn't care or need anyone else ia a perfectly natural reaction for a guy who spent most of his life putting up walls to protect himself from the people who were supposed to care about him.
He'd never tried to impress anyone, not willing to cover up the rougher edges of himself. But still, the idea of Belle being unhappy with their plans for the day had caused a sort of cold dread in the pit of his stomach, even if he didn't want to admit it. It wasn't fair that the girl could get under his skin the way she did. -- That's how love works, my friend. It's hard to pretend that you don't care when you actually do. :)
Belle really is perfect for him, isn't she? In short order, she puts a goofy smile on his face, sets his mind at ease and decides on a way to spend their day that's much more in line with what he wanted to do in the first place.
Then things get tense... Among the many things that Sirius Black doesn't deal well with, the possibility of losing anyone that he genuinely cares about is pretty high up on the list. It sends him into a very irrational mode. Fortunately, he has Belle there to watch over him and keep him more on the level than he might otherwise be. I am so impressed, by the way, that Belle is able to run like that in heels! Especially across an old castle floor that's probably made of slightly uneven flagstones. I think it's fair to say that a lot of people would have been on their way to the hospital wing with some combination of a broken wrist, ankle or face before they got anywhere near the one-eyed witch.
He took a breath, trying to think. "We should be hidden enough with the Disillusionment charm. If we get up there and something is wrong, if they - the Death Eaters - have taken over, just get back into the tunnel and run."
"Not until we find ze group." -- Silly Sirius, when are you going to learn? I loved every moment of Belle throughout their entire adventure. She's bold, brave and motherly. Also very clever when it comes to planning ahead, which obviously isn't his strong suit. They compliment one another so well.
Dumbledore... wow! I love it when he delivers one of his grand displays of magic on an unimaginable scale. If I was following the events correctly, he shielded himself and possibly the village, then unleashed a barrage of offensive magic against the Death Eaters? Awesome stuff. Marauders stories need more of that.
Sirius's parting thoughts continued to build on the running theme of the chapter. He has a problem treating Belle as an equal, but I don't think it's because he doesn't think of her that way. He's over-protective and scared to lose her. The funny thing is that I'm sure James feels exactly the same about Lily. He just conceals it better in the heat of the moment.
I felt terrible for Lily and the others as they waited things out at breakfast. The tight relationship you've created between McGonagall and her students isn't something I see very often in Marauders fics, and I really like it. Her strong personality adds to the story in so many ways. She helps to balance out Dumbledore and his rather laissez faire approach to the health and safety of his students.
It's sad to see the Ministry turning a mostly blind eye to the reality of Voldemort's rise, but it fits well with what we know of the historical details and the way that the Ministry has always been portrayed to work. I liked the various theories about why the Ministry wasn't doing anything, especially Frank's.
"But then I think about Bellatrix. The way she looked at me, at both of us, and I realize people like her don't do both. They don't just work by day and go murder people by night. It's everything to them." -- Lily hit on a really good point there. Dumbledore's Order will always be at a disadvantage in that way, because their goal is to be able to live normal lives. So when they're not fighting Death Eaters, that's what they do. They go to work or to school and lead normal lives. Sigh. That was depressing to realize.
Durmstrang. Grrr... I want to throttle him, but since I can't, it's nice to see that his carefully manicured facade is starting to unravel. He doesn't seem to be able to pay attention to people very well. I though it was grimly amusing that he actually checked to see that her bloodline was pure, even though he's just dating her to maintain appearances. If you're gonna be a lunatic, I guess you might as well be thorough. Ooh, and the Dark Lord is still making him pay for the fiasco in Swansea. Unlike Bellatrix, he doesn't seem to welcome the pain.
He's scary, though. He's been subjected to enough brutality at this point that I imagine he's capable of doing some pretty awful things and feeling no remorse. Good thing that Lily and the others are onto him.
So many neat things happened in this chapter! Sirius and Lily are both feeling so well-rounded after the past few. I can't wait to see who you focus on next!Author's Response: Dan! Midnight reviewing answering.
Sirius has so many sides, and I feel like including those is such a fun part about writing him. Especially in this situation where it's not angry Sirius but bratty Sirius. Although Angry is still really fun to write..
He really isn't adjusting well to the bf thing, but at the same time I don't think anyone expected him too. He has his friends and his basically adopted parents, but to step out past that and really get close to someone like Belle, and understand that he can get close to her while still being himself, is so much harder. Poor guy just needs a cuddle.
Belle is a woman of many talents. And I think we're both aware that I've translated that talent of mind directly too Belle, so I'm going to take your comment about being impressed as a personal one ;).
Yes, you followed Dumbledore's actions perfectly! It's fun to think about the ways he may have been different fifteen years prior to meeting the HP group.
I think you're exactly write about James and Sirius's actions. James knows Lily can protect herself, but he also knows he couldn't handle losing her. He's realized though he has a better chance of getting them out safely if he just goes along with what she wants and he can still keep an eye out for her. Sirius doesn't think about that. Instead he would spend ten minutes arguing with Belle about it if the group wasn't there, and by that time they could have both been finished.
I don't think I meant to give then such a close relationship when starting out, but it's really evolved that way and I do like it. I think maybe because she realizes they'll be working together soon, it's easier for her to sort of want to keep a closer eye on them. And she's McGonagall *wub face.*
I was thinking about the Order and how/why James Sirius and Lily would not work and devote all their time to it, and I think that really ended up being the most logical explanation. Because most people can't. And they need more people that can, because for every step forward they take the DE are setting them two back.
Dan, I already let you punch Christophe through Sirius, now you want to throttle Alrek?! :P
And as we've already been over this -- yes Dan, I've picked up your subtle hint on who you would like me to focus on next ;).
Thank you so much for another absolutely amazing review and all your awesome support ♥ Report Review
Wow. Emily goes through some pretty intense highs and lows in this chapter. It seems like she and Heather will have a lot to talk about at their next session. :-/
First off, however, congratulations on creating the most cringe-inducing vision of Madam Puddifoot that I've ever read. No wonder the boys of Hogwarts take their dates there as an absolute last resort. You deserve some sort of literary award for coming up with "permanent-wave-quaffed-within-an-inch-of-its-life". :p Also, what is it about witches and wizards and their ability to eat enormous quantities of food without ever gaining any weight? Now that's magic! Apparently it takes an entire lifetime of gluttony to end up fat, ala Slughorn.
Our little round table is crowded with so many pieces of china crockery that I can barely see the cream coloured lacy tablecloth beneath. A delicate sugar bowl with a rosebud pattern painted on it sits next to a small crystal vase of real roses, which seem to be softly humming. I pour some milk into my coffee from a delicate milk jug and stir it with an antique teaspoon, enjoying the soft tinkling sound it makes as the spoon hits the side of my cup. - That paragraph really stuck out in my mind. You did a fantastic job of building the atmosphere in the tea shop with little details like this.
The anecdote about the box of quills was a nice lead-in to the first in a series of difficult moments that seem to have led Emily to her ultimate breakdown. It started off so innocuous, a really funny mistake of the type that seem to happen with great regularity in the magical world. And then there's the cold splash of reality. George Weasley. Which unavoidably turns her mind to how "Fred and George" has become just "George". Again, I really loved the way that you paced things. You moved gradually from Emily's recollection of the twins to her memories of working with Arthur.
I remember the way Arthur’s eyes would glaze over with sadness when he thought nobody was looking, but I often noticed it because I’d always thought his eyes looked like my own when they did that. - That was a really lovely line, and it said something pretty profound about both of them.
The story about the Hogsmeade visit gave us another really good look at the person Emily used to be. She was so full of life and she was obviously fascinated by everything about the magical world. Then she shares a seat with Cedric -- a bold move for a girl that age, really -- and the feelings kick into overdrive. I really, really hope she gets that back before the story is over. At least some of it, anyway. You definitely have me rooting for her!
The clothes shopping expedition seemed like a brief high on the roller coaster ride of this chapter. Emily actually did something for herself. Something that apparently she hadn't done in a long time. She seemed to feel good about herself for a little while. Maybe she even gave a moment's thought to having her scars -- the physical ones -- looked at. And then there was this line, which I couldn't stop thinking about later: I wrap my arms around her, allowing myself to enjoy for a brief second the comfort of the embrace. I don’t get a lot of hugs these days and the physical contact is like a drug. I don't know what you had in mind with that, but to me it said a lot. She's craving these things. Part of her desperately misses her old life full of hugs and laughs and small indulgences. But something is holding her back.
Nice little detail with the winged boars. It did a good job of segueing into what was coming.
Emily's descent into her breakdown was tough to read. Not that it wasn't written beautifully, because it was. It's just that I could feel the crash coming. A few words here and there made it apparent that things were heading in a bad direction. I could feel things continuing to build until we got to this point: My heart feels like it’s beating too fast and my hands are tingling, though they’re not really shaking, more like vibrating; I just don’t know what’s wrong with me but I try not to think about it, because I’m getting a little bit scared. I think she should have been more scared at this point, but I get where she's coming from. This certainly isn't the first time she's dealt with feeling anxious. I love the physical symptoms you added to this. They did a lot to make it gripping and real.
From there until the end is just heart-breaking. The nightmare about running from snatchers -- I assumed they were snatchers -- was short, but very vivid and tense. Again, the small physical details added so much to it.
Emily's physical state when she wakes up was horrible to imagine. She seems to be in a sort of psychological paralysis. I sort of wonder how McGonagall knew she was in trouble -- elves? -- but no matter how she knows, it's quite fortunate that she does.
So Emily is still blaming herself for everything at the end, it seems. That's even more sad. She and Heather have a lot to talk about...
I only saw two little things in this chapter that might be typos, but I read a lot of it on my phone, so my nit-picking skills weren't as strong as usual:
“It’s a bit kitschy and tacky, but the coffee’s really good.” She adds, stirring in a lump of sugar before taking a sip. -- I think you need a comma after "really good" and the next word should be lower case if it's meant to be a dialog tag.
“Shhh, it ok,” McGonagall’s voice is so soft that it doesn’t even sound like her. -- it's ok. Also, "ok" sounds a bit informal for McGonagall. Maybe "alright" instead?
Overall, this was a brilliant chapter. It was one of those where it doesn't seem like too much is happening at first blush. But the more you stop and think about it, the more you actually see. I love that sort of writing, where the story gets deeper and deeper. Well done!Author's Response: This review made me blush...literally blush! Readers quoting my own story back to me? Oh that makes me all tingly inside :) And wow...such a long review too! Whoah!
I'm glad you like my take on Puddifoots. I always feel like it gets a raw deal in FanFic because Harry didn't like it so most of the authors present it as this really awful place. But the thing is, I reckon it's probably this nice (albeit oddly decorated) little teahouse with great cakes. I've always believe there would be great cakes. And describing that woman's hair was far too much fun. I could see it in my head and described exactly what I saw!
I'm glad the little Fred/George/Arthur cameo worked alright, I want to slip in little moments with these characters we know because even though the story isn't about them, they are still there in Emily's world and her life. After all, she would have had classes with Fred and George and on some level they could have even been friends.
I like the memory in this story, it's such a carefree, happy one and I got to resurrect the next-gen fluff writer in me to compose it :) I also wanted to show how strong Emily is. In her adolescence it came across as a leader among friends who was brave enough to share her seat with a boy in the pub when she was only in third year, and now that she's older it's evident in the way she's holding her life together, trying to get help and dealing with her grief from the war.
The end of this chapter was tricky to write. I wanted it to go from this gradual, odd feelings of sadness at the start to this rapid descent that picked up incredible speed until she crash-lands at the bottom. The reason she comments that she only a 'little bit scared' is because she doesn't really know what's going on and she's still trying to justify it in her mind. For all she knows, she's just a bit tired or had too much coffee or got food poisoning or something. Deep down she knows something is off, but it's almost like she doesn't want to acknowledge it because that will make it real.
With the whole nightmare/breakdown incident, I wanted the reader to feel a little uncomfortable to get into the reality of what's happening. The anxiety and fear is so overwhelming that Emily has no control over its influence on her for a while. It's frightening and maybe a little disturbing, but it's real, and as difficult as it can be to read and write, I wanted to give it a shot.
Thanks for pointing out the errors, I think you're right about McGonagall saying 'alright' instead of 'ok'. Ok doesn't really sound like her, does it?
Once again, this review was just amazing, it made me smile and blush and just feel all round fuzzy inside :) Thank you so much! Report Review
Here I am, Bec. I'm reviewing the last chapter. The last chapter, I say! I believe it's obvious what needs to be done here. :)
Poor Emily! I really felt her pain when she was trying to get over her nerves and face her first class after returning from her extended holiday break. You didn't rush your way through the narrative, which I thought was nice. It really allowed the tension to build and let the reader feel some of the crushing anxiety. Anticipation of a difficult thing is almost always worse than the thing, itself.
Aww! Newitt seems like exactly the thing that she needed at that moment. Seeing him happy and healthy and glad that she was back must have done wonders for Emily's state of mind. He seems like a really good kid, you know, for a Slythern. ;)
McGonagall is still coming across really well in your story. She's doing exactly what I'd expect her to do under the circumstances: she's keeping a close eye on Emily, but she's not being pushy or demanding anything. She's just asking the right questions and letting Emily work through her own problems. I'm looking forward to the Animagi lecture. I'm not sure exactly what you're playing at with McGonagall's question to Emily, but somehow I think the ability to change into an animal might relieve some of her anxiety issues. Maybe I'm just over-thinking that.
The session with Heather was really well done, the best part of the chapter, I thought. As Emily's facade crumbles in response to Heather's question about whether she enjoys her work, I thought your pacing was fantastic. You just let it happen very gradually and very naturally. And once Emily really starts to be honest, Heather just stays out of her way and lets her own thoughts drive the direction of the conversation. But at exactly the right moment, she jumps back in to help direct Emily toward one of the real sources of her depression and anxiety.
You mentioned that you left teaching to pursue a different dream, and I wonder whether you ever struggled with internalizing the successes and failures of your students the way that Emily does. Or perhaps knew somebody who did. It's only natural to take pride in your work, but when your "product" is the education of a human mind, I guess you have to be very careful about how you define success and failure. Heather made some good steps toward helping Emily to understand that, but I suppose it's going to be a much longer process before she fully accepts it.
A pet? Hmmnn... interesting idea! Not at all sure where you're going with that, but I'm wondering whether it will tie in with the Animagus idea.
Yay, Timothy's back! And he seems to be as witty and charming as we remember him from the party where Emily was smashed. He really brings out the social side of her, which seems like a very good thing. And I love the name of his new pub. I would definitely frequent a place like that.
I can't think of a thing to recommend with this chapter. It was a solid step forward in developing your plot and your lead character and it seems as though you spun a few small plot threads that could have legs. I'm looking forward to seeing where you go with them!Author's Response: There's a new chapter up :)
I was really happy with the opening of this chapter, I wanted to show that anticipation and also have thins not turn out as bad as Emily thought they would. Anxiety has a way of making things seem so much worse than they really are.
I'm glad you're still liking McGonagall. I hadn't thought about the whole being an animal equals less anxiety thing, it's not really the direction I was heading, but it's an interesting thought! I think McGonagall just sees it as something for Emily to focus on and something she believe the younger woman is capable of. I suppose it's also a vote of confidence in Emily that McGonagall thinks she has the ability to become an animagus.
lol...I read back through that last chapter and I think you're interpreting things differently to me because Emily was definitely not 'smashed' at that party! :P I love the name of the pub too, I thought it sounded like something a wizard or witch would name their pub :)
Thanks for another great review, I'm looking forward to your thoughts on the next chapter :) Report Review
After so many chapters focused on Lily, James and their friends, I liked taking a step outside of that circle and seeing what's going on in the wider wizarding world. OK, maybe "like" is too strong of a word, because it seems like an awful lot of what's going on is bad, but it definitely helped to broaden the story and keep the students' seventh year in context.
Between classes, Head Boy duties, revising, keeping their eye on the Slytherins, and trying to snog Lily every chance he got, Quidditch had been one of the last things on his mind. - Ah, James! I love the competing priorities. He's not letting anything slide, though. When does the man sleep?
Lily told him she didn’t want a gift /.../ but he didn’t know if he was supposed to believe that or not. - I feel his pain. You women, always telling us not to do anything special for Valentine's Day / anniversaries / your birthday / Mother's Day... and then never letting us live it down if we actually listen! I bet Frank and Sirius want to hex James for dragging them into the middle of this. But I do love the workmanlike approach he's taking to being a boyfriend and the joy that he seems to take in the positive outcomes.
Quidditch is an incredibly complicated sport, even when nobody's actually flying! I always thought it was weird that a team could conceivably lose every match and still win the cup if they put up huge scores in all their losses. I wonder if there's a rule against replacing your Keeper with a fourth Chaser and maybe having your Seeker join the offense until somebody spots the Snitch? Sort of like pulling your goalie in hockey, but doing it as a strategy for the whole game. OK, I'm really over-thinking this...
Poor James. I know his brain is probably full to capacity between school, Quidditch, Lily and spying on the sneaky snakes, but it was really funny how he couldn't remember the name of the girl Rukin brought to the game. I see Durmstrang is still hanging around like some sort of rash. Whatever he's going to do, I just wish that he would go ahead and do it. I don't like him hanging around, being creepy. Get away from Lily, Durmstrang! RAWRRR!
"... He could have invited us straight into Voldemort’s... house? People like him don’t really live in houses, do they? Lair? Lair sounds better." - Bwaaahahaha! That was brilliant! Followed almost immediately by: Ethan looked at James like he’d inhaled a bit too much broom cleaner, then just shrugged. Funny as those lines were, I loved the fact that James was getting extra-protective of Lily. Like I said, priorities!
You gave us just enough of the substance of the Quidditch match to set the atmosphere, although that scene was obviously more about what was going on in the stands. Recently I've been thinking a lot about what James and Lily might have done for careers if the war hadn't driven them into hiding and tragically shortened their lives, and playing professionally seems like it would have been a good fit for James. Aside from the attention James is drawing, I thought the star-struck younger girl with the Omnioculars was a clever touch. Never bad to take a second and remind us that the Marauders were royalty of a sort within Hogwarts.
Ooh! Looks like Durmstrang's facade is starting to slip just a bit. I suppose the fat helping of Crucio he was served for Christmas must have left him feeling a lot less friendly. But even with Lily feeling so creeped out, she's determined not to spoil James's "moment". Gah, they're both so selfless sometimes! It's a beautiful thing unless and until it gets them killed.
Does this Violet girl want to get hurt? Because she's doing all the right things if she does. Lily had a very good sense of restraint in this, but Belle doesn't seem to suffer from one of those.
I love your Moody. The fact that JKR was writing a children's book really limited what she was able to do with him, I though. Aside from transfiguring Draco into a ferret, she really kept a tight leash on him while he (or the fake Moody) was at Hogwarts. You're able to turn him loose and allow him to be his crude, cantankerous, profane self. Well, at least until McGonagall cuts him off at all the key moments. ;) All of the back-and-forth between the two of them cracked me up, actually. They're already sparring over Frank and Alice, and it's probably only going to get worse once Moody discovers that James and Sirius are talented duelists.
And your Gideon and Fabian are like a reflection of Fred and George from a different age and era. They don't quite finish one another's sentences the way that the Weasley twins do, but you can tell that they're basically inseparable. They also have the razor-sharp wit and the mischevious streak that even forces McGonagall to suppress a grin every so often. It struck me as I was reading this that there was probably even another layer to Molly's pain after the Battle of Hogwarts. Losing Fred must have brought back horrible recollections of losing Gideon and Fabian. :(
“It seems as if there’s always something worthy of worrying over, doesn’t it?” - Well put, Dumbledore, well put.
Another brilliant chapter! It seems like things are really accelerating downhill toward graduation now. So many sad things coming. I'm determined to enjoy the fun moments when they happen!Author's Response: Dan!
So, when I go through my unanswered reviews and scroll from the bottom to stop, I always know if it's about to be a Dan review by the fact that I keep scrolling and scrolling and scrolling.. ;).
Nope, James can't let any of those priorities take a back seat. Though he may be giving himself too much credit when he thinks that he's been revising...
You MEN need to get it through your poor little heads that we don't want something if we have to ask! We want you all to pay attention and know what we want, and then get it all by your selves and be big boys and not have to be told. Are you writing this down?? :P
I think that the most annoying canon fact is the one that James won the cup as captain. Without that, I am positive I'd have had an attack during a match by now so I'd never have to write about it again. Now I know why JKR made so many excuses during the books not to have it. I thought of something so similar! I was wondering if Violet could act as a second Keeper to stop them from getting any points, and then when they up enough she could start actively looking for the Snitch. Of course if Hufflepuff's seeker saw it, she'd have to go after it. But come on, they're the Puffs. :P
James's perspective always puts me in a more humorous mood. He's not someone who can remain serious for too long, so getting to jump into his little messy haired head is always fun.
I'm happy I gave enough of the Quidditch match sort of feeling without having to go on and on about it. I think James probably would have been a big interest for the scouts, but I think he'd have ended up teaching actually. Haha. I can see him playing for a year or two then realizing he just loved it too much to make a career out of it. He wanted it as a hobby, and he wanted to spend more time with his family and friends. Then he'd have taken over the DADA teaching position, and he and Lily would have lived in a sweet little Cottage in Hogsmeade. She'd come by the school occasionally if she got off work at St. Mungos early and meet James there, and all the students would talk about Mr. Potter's hot wife.
Ohhh Dan why did they die :(. Now I'm all pouty.
Your review made me want to write the next chapter so badly. You always get me so excited about what happens next in this, haha. But I need to work on Bella--- you're a bad influence Daniel. Bad bad.
I'm so happy you liked Gideon and Fabian. It was hard for me to figure out how to write them without making them too much Fred and George. But the fact that they were in a more serious situation helped.
I'm so happy you liked this chapter ♥ it was a million times easier than the newest. Haha. Maybe this story should be strictly told from James's perspective :P
Hi, there! Tagging you from Review Tag.
Bad may be a strange word, but its reality is undeniable. It can mean many things and, throughout Pansy’s life, it switched meanings frequently. -- I think you had me with that statement. It's very accurate for the first 18 or so years of a person's life. Everyone has a desire to dance on the edge, one that they manage with varying degrees of success. And that edge moves quite a bit as we grow up.
I loved the contrast between Pansy and her uptight, proper mother. All rebellion requires something to rebel against, and you gave her the perfect foil for her younger years. The idea that Pansy views herself as something almost elemental, above the petty concerns of mortals like her mother, was a brilliant way to set her up for her future badness.
The sneaking off, the pranks, the exhilarating freedom from all civilizational constraints became more difficult to hold on to. But she gave herself to the role completely, making sure to laugh the loudest, punish the hardest and then to hide behind the sweetest, most privileged smile of all. - Sigh. Our little girl is growing up, isn't she? Acting like a pre-teen hooligan isn't enough for her any more. That would make her silly, not bad.
I really liked the idea of Pansy's theme song, and how it seems to adjust itself to help her feel in control of whatever situation she finds herself facing.
The imagery of the mansion that she never wants to be a captive in was a good reinforcement of what you set up from the outset. I really like this version of Pansy, to be honest, in spite of her prejudices and flaws. She can't bear the notion of becoming yet another whinging, fretting pure blood wife, trapped by the social niceties that they're forced to endure. She needs to be bad.
I had a lot of mixed feelings about the ending. And it has nothing to do with the morality of what happened between her and Draco; that just seemed like one of those things that happens all the time between boys and girls of a certain age. The conflict that I felt was more between the image of Pansy as "one of the boys" -- what she wants to be with all her heart -- and the way that the boys look at her. The way that Draco more or less uses her. And it isn't, I don't think, that Pansy isn't a willing participant. After all, she's too bad to allow another person to use her without her consent. The little detail of the spider web on the chandelier brought it all together, oddly enough. The fact that she focused on it tells you a lot about where her mind is at what should have been a very special moment in her life. It's a little hard to explain, but I think this was one of those sad little moments that come with growing up, where the girl who's always "one of the boys" comes to terms with the fact that no matter what, the boys will always have designs on her in a different way. I don't know whether that made much sense, bit that's what I was feeling as I read it.
I thought you did an awesome job of getting me bought into Pansy as a character and really connected to her feelings, even if I couldn't explain them very well at all. She's not an easy character to feel sympathetic toward, but you really accomplished that.
I saw one small typo as I was reading:
Pansy never gave it much thought, but she knew that there was no privilege in upholding rules when it were others that made them. -- I think it should read, "... when it was others that made them."
I really, really liked this. Well done!Author's Response: hey there!
Thank you so much for such a thoughtful review!
I charged this one-shot with quite a few possibly conflicting themes and emotions. Althought I did feel that, together, they created a picture of the trouble of growing up, I wasn't sure others could tune in...I'm so glad to see that you picked up on what I was trying to say :D
I think my main motivation was to explore what bad really means for a teenager, and it isn't easy to put into words...I don't think i came even close. Bad means to be different and strong, but it also means to be vulnerable, lonely and at times utterly reprehensible and lost. I always felt that Pansy, especially the one in the movies, positively radiated this tragic cocktail of teenage desperation.
The scene with Draco wasn't inteded as a purely negative event, and I am glad you saw it that way too. Scenes like that happen in real life only too often. It's one of those things that either makes or breaks you on your way to becoming an adult. As a teenager you believe you can be whatever you want, the world revolves around you. But, gradually, the illusion has to die somehow...A different character might have emerged in better shape from this than Pansy, but in my interpretation she remains innocent and childish for a bit too long due to the contrast between her inner world and the outside reality. The scene with Draco was intended to be the first step towards her becoming one more of thsoe sad disappointed adults...
XD very sad stuff haha. But, well, Rowling admitted she hated Pansy and so we know the character was never designed to win.
When I was writing the Draco scene especially, I had to think about women in politics. You are completely right to point out that a girl can be "one of the boys" for a while, but ultimately she will be the Other, first a foremost a girl and then a human being. Sadly, that's just how our society is built.
Sorry for the rambing, haha, but your review did get me thinking and I was so happy to see that the one-shot made sense to somebody :P
thanks for the review and see you around on the forums! Report Review
I loved the family Christmas. The whole thing was so warm and wonderful and just all-around recognizable and normal. You did a great job of making the whole series of events feel familiar and easy to relate to. I remember visiting my family during the holidays after college, when I had a "real" life far away from where I grew up. A few of my cousins were starting to have kids and it always felt a bit strange being the unmarried uncle from far away. Emily's experience really resonated with me.
You named the dog Astro! I had to do a double-take on that one. I ruv roo, Reorge!
Claire was a nice addition to the story. When a character decides to embark on the path to recovery, I think two things always make the decision seem more realistic. First is a catalyzing event. We saw that in the last chapter. Second is a mostly impartial third party to give the character a shove in the right direction. It's just one of those things that seem to happen in life. It was nice to see Emily opening up and being honest with Claire -- and honest with herself, possibly for the first time -- about what she's been going through. Honesty is always the first step.
I thought you did a brilliant job with Heather, from beginning to end. I have read one or two other fics where characters see a Healer who specializes in mental health. More often than not, the Healer is portrayed as being sort of an eccentric or even a mystic in some cases. There's always this new age, other-worldly quality to them. Sort of like a mix between Dumbledore and Trelawney. I much prefer what you've done with Heather. Her approach was so much more measured and realistic. She didn't diagnose Emily on the spot based on first impressions. She didn't have any clever tricks to get Emily to instantly divulge some huge, traumatic event from her past. She just asked basic questions and listened closely. For some reason, I really liked the fact that she took a lot of notes. It was a very down-to-earth, reassuring detail. Aside from that, she's sympathetic, but not doting, and she's straightforward without being harsh. She's a very well-rounded, realistic character.
Emily's reactions were also really good. She was somewhat guarded at first, not wanting to seem like too much of a mess in front of the Healer. But at the same time, there's a reason that she's there. She wants to get better, so she doesn't allow pride or fear to get in the way of answering the Healer's questions. And she doesn't have some off-the-deep-end reaction to Heather's conclusion that she's suffering from depression. It seemed like a relief to find out that her suffering is real, that she isn't just over-reacting to the same sort of problems that everybody has.
Poor Emily, holding up the wall at the party. I've definitely been in that position a few times, myself, but it seems like it's a lot harder on her. She really used to be a social person, so it's saddening to see her reduced to such a wallflower. Not many people would have had the social confidence to look back on a past relationship with an older, very desirable boy like Cedric Diggory and sort of brush it off as no big deal. I thought that said a lot about the person Emily once was.
Ooh! Is that a romantic interest I see developing? I'm not really the world's best when it comes to critiquing romance plots. I know what I like and what I don't, and at this very early stage of the game I like the dynamic between Emily and Timothy. He has a quiet sort of confidence about him, and he brought out a flash of something similar in her. For just a moment, she felt like her old self, and that was really nice to see.
The only thing I saw in this chapter that struck me as a little strange was the situation with the alcohol. Alcohol and depression are a volatile mix, so I was sort of surprised to see her down what sounded like really strong drinks and then be in a better mindset. Every person handles alcohol differently, so it's probably not a big deal, but I do remember thinking it was sort of risky.
I saw one measly little typo, as well:
“It’s alright Emily, we don’t need to go in to it now,” She says and automatically let out a breath I didn’t realise I was holding. -- "She" shouldn't be capitalized, since it's a dialog tag.
Just when I was feeling bummed about being out of chapter to read, you posted another! Be back soon!Author's Response: Wow! What a review! :) Where do I start to respond?
I could have spent so much more time on the family Christmas but I knew it wasn't really necessary so I reigned myself in. But it was hard because it was so nice writing the family scenes. I love the idea that with everything else going on, Emily has this normal, loving, unaffected by war, muggle family. Just adds to the theme of duality she's developed in her life.
Astro! Oh my goodness, I had this entire back story about Astro, that involved anecdotes about how Emily and Owen loved watching the Jetsons when they were kids and when Astro was a puppy they would pretend that they were in the future. And there was something in there about Emily making comparisons between the futuristic technology of the Jetsons and magic when she first went to Hogwarts. But I ended up leaving most of that out of the story because it wasn't really relevant to the rest of the plot.
Claire was also going to be a bigger part of the story, but her being a muggle and not knowing about Emily's magical abilities just made it too complicated. So she is just a person to push Emily in the right direction, but I think it still works. I think it also worked to have her confide in someone completely removed from all of her problems because she knows she will get an objective view.
McGonagall is probably the only character who gives me more grief than Heather. I really wanted Heather to be real and genuine and someone you could believe that Emily would trust. I felt that it was best to base her on a muggle psychologist because I developed my own headcanon about healing being quite far behind medicine in terms of mental illness and the magical healing therapy practises being influenced by muggle psychology (feel free to ask if you want the detailed idea I came up with). So to me it made sense that Heather would be modelling her techniques on a muggle psychologist, which is where the whole talking/listening/note-taking concept comes in. I, too, have read some 'interesting' interpretations of therapists or counsellors in fanfic and they always seem to come across as negative or slightly crazy characters who don't understand the poor, complex main characters. I didn't want that, I wanted Emily to benefit from the help of her healer, because in reality, psychologists/therapists/psychiatrists/counsellors actually do help a lot of people with rather serious problems.
Emily really was a different person, and it's funny, because in my head I see her as two complete people: who she was and who she is now (actually 3, now that I've planned out the ending I see her as who she will be too!), but because I'm trying to reveal her old self slowly, I forget that you guys are only catching snippets of her old life. She really was a different person. Although Cedric wasn't really an 'older' boy because they were in the same year at Hogwarts. Timothy was a year older though.
Speaking of Timothy, this isn't really a romance story, but I am planning to include a little romance because I think that's just a natural part of life, plus it always adds a nice dimension to the story and gives Emily something else to try and deal with :P
The alcohol issue is an interesting one, and whilst it can have a seriously adverse effect on people suffering from mental illness, it does vary from person to person. There are also a lot of other factors that impact on mood and temperament even within people suffering from mental illness. There are plenty of people suffering from anxiety and depression disorders who are able to tolerate alcohol just fine. That being said, I wouldn't say the alcohol is what put Emily in a better frame of mind, her interaction with Timothy is what affected her mood.
Thanks for pointing out the typo...I seem to have made that mistake a lot lately, not sure where I've picked that habit up from :(
Thanks again for the amazing review, I love hearing your thoughts! :) Report Review
Hi, Elenia! I'm so happy to be back for another chapter of Gwen and James. A quick read over the 9 reviews that beat me to being first indicates that I'm not the only one. I've missed you so!
Ah, the eternal search that one special article of clothing that makes the outfit. I like it when you let Gwen be a little girly sometimes. Not too much; nothing out of character. But every so often it's neat to see her have a girly sort of moment where she wants to go shopping with Victoire.
Besides, it was Joshua’s fault that I was this late – sort of. He kept me from getting enough sleep last night, which resulted in me falling asleep on my couch and waking up only fifteen minutes ago.
Yes, definitely his fault. -- Ha! Good to see that she can rationalize the problem away.
And then James is back. Ugh, I don't know quite how to explain my feelings here. The part of me that wants to see her stand up for herself and move on with Joshua feels like she took a whole bunch of steps backward in this section. The part of me that wants to see her and James live happily every after and raise a clutch of little broom-jockeys -- and thinks that Joshua is part of a conspiracy of some sort >:( -- was cheering for the two of them as they talked and hugged and did lots of adorable James and Gwen things. Let's slow down and take it a bit at a time.
Both parts of me were glad to see her give him less than a warm reception. After all, he ditched her for a week without so much as a word of communication. It's just not a cool thing to do to a friend, let alone somebody you have any sort of feelings for. It was good to see her stay strong for at least a little while and not just launch herself into his embrace.
Seriously Gwen, do you have any self-control when it comes to him? -- Apparently not. And then he tells her at once the best and worst thing he could have said about his whereabouts. He was seriously bumming around Freddy's place, drinking himself into a stupor? I could feel the ambivalence steaming off of Gwen's head and shoulders as she tried to process that one. On the one hand, at least he wasn't slumming his way though the muggle clubs of Britain, picking up a different girl or girls every night. On the other hand, this makes it pretty clear that he did not want to talk to Gwen during that week, seeing as how he could have done so at any time. And he pretty much removes all doubt as it becomes apparent that he still isn't ready to talk about Kat on any level above anger.
No, not a prude. Just not comfortable talking about your sex life – because it doesn’t involve me.
Argh, go away, stupid thought! -- Hi, my name is Dan. And I have a problem with quoting too many of my favorite lines when I review a chapter. ;)
And then... and then... and then he nearly tells her! And don't even bother trying to deny that he was about to tell her that he has feelings for her. I wouldn't believe you, even if it was true. Which it isn't!
Stupid Joshua! As you can see, the "Gwen and James happily ever after" part of me is solidly in control at this moment. You did it to us again! You brought the two of them right to the bleeding edge of a capital B Big capital M Moment and then you completely denied us! You horrible, awful tease! Why, oh why, do I willingly do this to myself???
Alright, calm down. Because there's more. Seriously, what is up with Joshua? I get that he works a lot and I get that he's fully aware that James is a pre-existing condition where Gwen is concerned and his relationship with her is never going anywhere if he doesn't accept Gwen's friendship with James. I get all that. But the reality is that she is being kind of a lousy girlfriend here. One thing that I wish we could see is more of what the dynamic between Gwen and Joshua is like when she's not in the midst of one of these James-driven crises. If they have an awesome relationship and spend lots of time together otherwise, then I guess I can understand Joshua being casual about the occasional issue popping up with James. Otherwise, I feel that much more suspicious of him...
But I wasn’t going to let him do it this time, so I changed the subject. “What were you going to say before Joshua interrupted?”
“Oh, nothing important,” he responded. - :( That is all I have to say about that.
Well, well, well... Interesting to see James hitting it off rather well with Joshua's sister. That introduces a new and interesting wrinkle into this love... um, triangle? Square? Pentagon? How many sides does this thing have nowadays, anyway? I love that James dumped a girl in the middle of the Great Hall, on Valentine's Day, just because she couldn't deal with Gwen. That's what I call inseparable! Gwen's reaction to the apparent chemistry between Melissa and James was so telling. What will she do if the two of them get together? Melissa isn't another one of James's dime-a-dozen bar tramps.
The whole blushing conversation was an interesting little power play between James and Joshua, I thought. I liked that it was so low-key. But it was also very apparent that James was trying to assert a form of dominance. Once again, Joshua doesn't really take the bait. Hmmnnn...
And once again, James wusses out on his chance to be honest with Gwen about his feelings. What a baby! I have no idea how long he can keep doing this, but the longer he waits and the more Gwen falls for Joshua, the harder it's going to be when he finally comes clean. This idea of him being a better person is obviously long overdue, though. So it wasn't all bad.
Oh, it is so nice to have you back! We've all waited and waited for this, and it was a fantastic chapter to get back into the swing. I can't wait to see what you have in store next! Report Review
HI, Ral! I'm back again for more!
You're doing a really good job of balancing the mystery aspect of your plot with the love story that's developing between Rose and Scorpius. We've now had a couple of chapter to see the two of them interacting off on their own. They're definitely kindred spirits. Both of them seem like deep thinkers, and they're both strongly motivated although they seem to lack direction. They're excelling for the sake of excelling, if that makes any sense. Not necessarily because they love what they do. They also have some distinct differences. Rose is very analytical while Scorpius seems more instinctive. Rose's emotions tend to flow freely while Scorpius bottles things up until he bursts. Compliments and contrasts... I see the two of them having a passionate if tumultuous romance.
It was really interesting to see Rose through Scorpius's eyes. At times, she seems sort of like a refuge to him, a person he can turn to with all the thoughts and feelings that he's unwilling to share with the rest of the world. There's a maternal quality to the way he sees her, but he also sees the frightened, uncertain little girl that she can be, as well. Your Rose is a marvelously subtle and complex character!
The fact that they didn't wake up and have an immediate "Oh, CRAP!" reaction really helped to separate your story from a lot of the Next Gen romance stories I've read. Rose and Scorpius are a lot more mature and comfortable with themselves than usually I see them.
“I wish your father could see you now!” he said through peels of laughter, his eyes shinning.
“Be careful what you wish for, Malfoy. I don’t think it’s good for your health, my father seeing me climb out of your bed. - Yikes! That is going to be a touchy moment, isn't it? Poor Ron. He always winds up being a goat of sorts in Scorpius/Rose stories. I'm really holding out hope that you can do something more interesting and nuanced with his reaction.
The rest of their conversation is also revealing and adds to the characters you've been gradually building. Rose worries about whether there's a future for this relationship and Scorpius spends a fair bit of time just trying to get her to accept him for what he is, without analyzing him down to the cellular level.
I'd be remiss if I didn't mention Sirius's brief appearance. It's wonderful and kind of sad, the way that you've given him a bit of new life.
I noticed a few typos as I was reading, probably a little more than I'm used to in this story:
The sight of her, peaceful and relaxed made him smile. -- I think you need a comma after "relaxed".
How am I to know you won’t walk out that door today and asked to be reassigned? -- ask
I already let you in, you’re just to busy staring between the lines to see it. -- too busy
He needed to have his wits about him, especially since they were no where closer to solving the case. -- nowhere
When the emerged from his room and went downstairs, he saw Rose in the kitchen door, leaning against the frame. - When he emerged
“Love, if I make it out alive today, we’ll talk until you use up all your words!” he said and opened the door, Disapparating on the front step. -- "Disapparating" shouldn't be capitalized.
Overall, a very enjoyable chapter to read! I'm looking forward to seeing some more progress on your mystery in the next one!
P.S. - I'm betting on Draco for the mystery man. :)Author's Response: Dan! So sorry for taking ages to reply to this! Once again I am so happy you liked this!
I wanted to slow it down a bit, call it a calm before the storm if you will. I've had some very helpful hints regarding that from a reader ;)
One of the reasons I wanted them both to be adults in this story is the fact that as an adult you have a better understanding of who you are and the choices you make. If this had been set during their Hogwarts years, their reaction would probably be different, but they are both adults and they own up to their choices.
Oh Ron! I know he is the sore spot in so many Rose/Scorpius relationships and I think his reaction will surprise you. At this point, it's more about the fact that Ron is his boss than it is about the whole Weasley-Malfoy grudge.
Ouch! Oh the typos! I guess I'm making up for all those other chapters! In my defense I changed laptops and this new one is still a little strange for me! I'll do better next time! Promise!
P.S. - IF you are right, I'll be sure to bake you some cookies! :)
Thank you so much for the review and all your feedback in general! It really means a lot to me! Report Review
So here I am, finally at the end. I have a lot of general things to say, but I'll save them for the end. To start, I'll just say that you really had me going with the entire first section of the chapter. I was completely convinced that Viktor was a dead man.
But that's getting a bit ahead of myself. Your Hermione was beautifully done. At the outset, you described her so well:
Those large brown eyes, always wide and alert. That look of practiced control, which never seemed to fully mask the current of emotion that lay just below the surface. For Krum, the resemblance between mother and daughter was haunting in its exactness.
And what I found impressive about it wasn't just the the descriptiveness and how true this statement was to Hermione's character. What I found most impressive is that fact that you really delivered on your premise with the way that you wrote her. Her words and her mannerisms all fit perfectly with that description. Even her actions at the end of the day, although we don't find out how much so until after the jump.
As for Viktor, Rose was his life, and without her there was no future for him. - I thought this was a really powerful statement. Taken out of context, it probably would have sounded kind of cheesy. But in Viktor's case it's profound. In a world full of people who either hate him for what they perceive him to be or are only interested in him for the things that he's done, Rose was a person who understood him and all of his shortcomings and loved him anyway. She was something that was actually worth living for.
I really liked Albus in his brief appearance. You can feel the doubt and apprehension radiating off of him, even though he's determined to carry out the task that's been handed to him.
And then they're both still alive! Actually, I wasn't sure about that at first. I've read more than enough afterlife scenes in HP fics, so I had that thought in my head for a while.
It took me a little while to fully figure out what Viktor tried to do for Rose, but once I did, I was in awe. I think we've known for a few chapters now exactly how important she is to him, but what really blew me away was the thought that went into what he tried to do. His analysis of her circumstances and the reality that would have faced her -- under incredible duress, I might add -- was amazingly prescient and accurate. If people learned that she killed Regina, even in self-defense, she never would have known peace again. The act of killing changes the world's perception of a person, no matter the particulars. I am so impressed by the way that you tied it all together, because I'm 99% sure that if it was me, I would have simply accepted the self-defense angle as an easy way out.
You did an amazing job of writing poor Rose's fractured, partially obliviated recollections of what happened in her flat. I thought it had the perfect feel to it. This paragraph was brilliant:
The memories were nothing more than fractured pieces of light and sound. It was like trying to view the world through a broken mirror, smashed into a million tiny pieces until the images were no longer recognizable. Only there was one thing Viktor hadn't been able to completely obliterate from her mind: the feeling of warm blood dripping through her fingers.
One more amazing excerpt and then I promise I'm through:
"I von't let you go to prison, Rose. Not even for a single day. It would crush you. Kill you."
"And it won't do the same to you?"
"There's a lot less of me left to kill."
How do you even do that? Those three lines are incredible. I'm so jealous it's sick!
I loved the fact that it was a team effort to spring Viktor from prison. Hermione, Albus and likely other unnamed parties took a huge risk to make sure that Rose didn't have to watch Viktor waste away in Azkaban. For quite a few chapters now, it's been really heartwarming to watch the way that certain members of her family, the ones who really know her and care about her the most, figured out just how much she cared for Viktor.
I honestly don't know how I feel about Viktor's final revelation about Regina's pregnancy. I understand that it gave Rose a certain form of closure and it ascribed a more human motivation to Regina's hatred of Viktor. Maybe it's me, but I liked her a little more when she was just around-the-bend-and-off-the-deep-end crazy. It's a matter of personal preference, I suppose.
OK, I lied. One final excerpt:
Maybe time just finds new ways to make you bleed. - That was poetic!
And then they ride off into the sunset together. Or take a portkey or fly on a broom. Whatever. The End. Absolutely beautiful.
Let me get the couple of typos I saw out of the way really quick:
... when he’d arrived with a message for Hemsely... - Hemsley
If I want to use it while away the hours on a beach somewhere... - ... use it to wile away...
I really had no idea what I was getting into when Jami talked me into reading your story, but I'm going to have to send her an extra-large bundle of cookies or cupcakes or chocolate. Maybe all three. This was one of the most amazing, unique, well-written and all-around inspired stories I've ever seen in the HP fandom. I can't say enough about your creativity and sophistication as an author. Thank you so much for this brilliant story.
And now, I can go read the sequel!Author's Response: I'm a little sad to respond to this. I've so enjoyed reading all your reviews.
I'm so happy you liked Hermione here. She was a total last minute add to the chapter. I was just planning on having Albus come in, picking up right where the prologue left off, but I felt it needed something. And since I only skirted around the whole Krum/Hermione thing, it seemed a good way of giving that mini-storyline some closure. Hopefully it serves a couple of purposes: to let the reader know Rose is running off with some measure of support/permission from her family, and to sort of set up the idea that we are all capable of sacrifice for the people we love.
I tried REALLY hard to stay away from cheesy and over-sentimentality throughout the story. I don't know how well I managed, but hopefully, like you said, this line works in the context of the chapter. Krum is done with the bravado and games. Rose was his last shot at happiness, and he really doesn't see a future for himself without her.
I'll admit, I had to play around a lot with how to make what Krum did for Rose work... at least, I HOPE it all works. I struggled with how to make it believable that Krum felt compelled to take the fall for Rose and not just support her through whatever police inquest she'd have to face. In the end, I hope that the fact that Krum has been through a trial, been the subject of speculation, has some measure of blood on his hands, etc., makes him credible on the topic. He thinks by doing this, he's allowing Rose to put it all behind her and be free of Regina.
In my head, I see everyone but Ron sort of playing some hand in the escape... though most without admitting it to anyone else. In addition to Hermione and Albus, Heart gives them the money in a form the Aurors can't easily trace. Peter makes sure Rose has the bracelet so she knows how much she means to Krum, etc. I thought that way, the reader wouldn't feel so much like Rose was trading her friends and family's happiness for her own.
I'm not sure how I feel about Regina's pregnancy either. It was always "head canon" for me, but I went back and forth on actually including it in the story. I'm of two minds on it really. I think a villain that's just totally nuts can be a cop-out. But I also don't like overlooking the innate evil of some people and thinking every character that "goes bad" has some tragic past.
Yikes! Misspelling your own characters' names is a big no-no. Thanks for pointing that out.
Thank you so, so much for all the lovely reviews. I really am beyond thrilled that you enjoyed the story. It was a lot of fun to write, and I feel like I learned a lot through the process. There are still a lot of things I don't like about my writing, but I do feel like I'm heading more in the right direction than when I started the story. Thank you again for taking the time to leave so many wonderful and thoughtful reviews! Report Review
I learnt pretty quickly that unless you want to be summoning the Bloody Baron every five seconds, it’s best to humour Peeves as much as you can.
One of the things I love most about this story is how you manage to capture that "Hogwarts feel" from the first three books, before the plot turned darker and became less focused on the trio's school experience. You are awesome at pulling in fun little canon details and creating very natural feeling classroom moments. I especially liked your Peeves and the way that Emily deals with him. No matter how insecure she feels about her teaching skills, it seems pretty obvious to me that she knows the ins and outs of being a Hogwarts teacher pretty well.
Once again, you did a really clever job of showing how the magical elements of Emily's life are balanced against her muggle heritage and family. Her parents seem about as normal as the parents of a young woman can be. They worry about the same sorts of things, make the same sort of "eye roll" comments and generally dote over her the way that any empty-nesters would over their youngest child. Her father reminded me of the way that Hermione's dad is usually written where Ron is concerned, doubting her ability to use simple muggle gadgets. Although it seems that unlike Ron, Emily is actually capable. Lastly, the fact that her brother was once jealous of her was another little detail that helped to make the picture feel complete and realistic.
The Slytherin boy in her class, Newitt, really helped to show how some things have changed and others have not in the years since the war. I can't imagine any of Harry's Slytherin contemporaries being so friendly with a mudb... err, muggle-born, even if she was a teacher. Their little running joke about the silly examples he slips into his essays was a really nice detail. There's a genuine sort of connection there. Again, I don't think Emily is nearly so bad of a teacher as she thinks she is. However, Newitt is also headstrong and too confident in his abilities. So there are definitely still Slytherin traits in Slytherin House.
Emily's flashback to Cedric Diggory's death was chilling. You wrote it really well, and the fact that you gave me so much time to get immersed in Emily's character before it happens made the impact that much stronger. I don't know whether you've ever been around someone suffering from post traumatic stress, but the physical and psychological symptoms you described -- the way she loses herself in her memories, the devastation, the way her body just sort of collapses -- all sounded very realistic.
When you brought her around in the Hospital Wing, I thought you did a good job of easing us into the scene. Putting Emily in a confused state and letting her work things out for herself was a great way to emphasize the way her episode left her feeling.
You wrote another great McGonagall scene in the Hospital Wing. She wasn't gushy or mothering or overly upset, but she makes her concern apparent in other ways. She's also very patient, letting Emily explain things at her own pace.
“Well it’s been a few years, but I have been known to teach the odd Transfiguration class myself, you know.” McGonagall raises an eyebrow and I can’t help but smile. -- I loved that line. You write her dry sense of humor so well!
As silly as it might sound, this passage stuck out in my head: She pushes the table closer to the bed so that I can reach it. I lay my legs flat again and pull the table so that the top of it stretches across my lap. To me, the fact that you remembered that her knees were pulled up to her chest and you took the minimal time needed to point out the needed change shows just how good your attention to detail is.
In the last section, I liked the way that you used a lot of small facets of Emily's journey home to keep filling in the picture of her emotional state. The way she avoids everyone on her way out of the castle suggested to me that she's having a hard time dealing with her problems.
I'll keep heaping on the praise about small details, because I love them! You took the fairly mundane act of apparating to her parents' home and turned it into something I really enjoyed reading. Her thoughts on the distance balancing out against the familiarity of her destination shows how much thought you put into things. And I liked the way that she picks a safe place like the tool shed instead of just popping out of nowhere into the middle of the street or scaring her parents half to death by popping into the living room. You think these things through so well!
The banter with her parents felt so warm and loving and natural. All the small things, like her father's hug and the smells of her mother's cooking, really added to that sense of welcoming and familiarity. Her mother found a new facet of her appearance to comment on, which was amusing. But in the end, she's home, and that's all that matters.
Just so this review gives you a little more value than shameless gushing, I'll point out a couple of things I saw:
“It was like I was there again, at the triwizard tournament.” - I think Triwizard Tournament should be capitalized.
“Thankyou Minerva,” is all I can say. - Thank you.
One other thing I noticed near the beginning of the chapter is that you have several really long sentences. This one stuck out in my mind because the whole paragraph was one long one: They take a little longer than usual to stop talking and turn their focus to me, but since they were just out in the corridor being serenaded by our resident delinquent poltergeist, and it’s only a few days until holidays, I can understand their restlessness.
Overall, your writing was great! I had no problems getting immersed in the flow of the chapter and it was all really vivid in my mind. I really love this story!Author's Response: Wow, this review gave me such a boost! Thank you so much for everything you said :)
That "Hogwarts Feel" is one of my favourite things about the whole Harry Potter series. I really think it's a huge part of what makes the books so successful, that fantasy world that Hogwarts is. I am crazy about Peeves and I'm pretty sure he's made an appearance somewhere in every single FanFic I've written. He's just incredibly fun to write and adds a real element of whimsy to Hogwarts. I think that being so young, Emily still finds Peeves to be amusing as well as annoying which is part of the reason that she takes such a clever approach towards him.
I thought a lot about Emily's parents, because I wanted them to be as real and as normal as possible. Her relationship with them is a loving yet has that regular level of dysfunction. Her parents don't mean to be overbearing but, well, they're parents :) I think they also feel the gap that magic put between them and their daughter more than Emily realises, but they want to support her because they know deep down that she could never give up magic. I also wanted her to have a good relationship with her brother, but I think it's pretty likely that when one child in a multi-child family has magical powers, there are going to be envy issues.
Andrew Newitt was this gift from the muses. In my plan I'd originally just written that there was an accident in the classroom and a student got hurt but then when I started writing, Andrew just came out of nowhere and I'm thinking he might play a bit of a bigger role in Emily's story.
I'm glad you thought the whole cedric-memory-breakdown thing worked well, I was so worried that it would come across as over the top or unrealistic. One of my good friends actually suffered from PTSD so I'm using some of the things she's told me about her experience but I'm also taking ideas from research I've done and my own assumptions so I'm hoping it all comes together.
*Phew* McGonagall is still working. Good. I'm a bit worried with some future chapters that are coming up with her in them but we'll see how that goes.
Ok, the detail thing. I'm actually really touched that you complimented me on it because I'd always thought of it as me being super neurotic. Even when I'm a reading a book, my imagination sucks up every single detail, like I'll be reading a book and someone will sit down, and then later they'll be standing and I'll freak out and think "When did they stand up!?!?" And I'll have to go back and find where it's written that they stood up. Yeah...just a tad neurotic. So I tend to be pretty picky about details, I think they're important because they're what make a story seem effortless. The apparating thing bothered me so much I posted a topic about it in the help wanted section on the forums! I was checking out maps and everything to see how far Hogwarts would be from Swansea!
Thanks for pointing out those mistakes, I must have been a lazy editor the day I posted this because they're such silly mistakes too. I'll go in and fix them. I'll also keep an eye on sentence structure, I know I can get a bit carried away sometimes when I'm writing. I also have a semi-colon obsession :P
Thanks again for the awesome review, I'm glad you're enjoying the story!
Yay, a big Sirius/Belle chapter! I hesitate to say "The" big Sirius/Belle chapter, because I think they have a couple more big milestones to go. But they made it through the fight, and I bet that's a huge thing, especially for Sirius. He seems like the sort who isn't in the habit of sticking it out through the tough parts of a relationship.
By the way, I've been keeping score. So far, we've had two big James/Lily chapters -- maybe 3, depending on how you score the Christmas one -- and two big Sirius/Belle chapters. How about a big Frank/Alice chapter? Granted, their relationship is farther down the proverbial road than the other two, but I don't think that makes them any less deserving of tingly, heart-warming feels. Am I alone on this? :p
Back to the chapter. I loved the progression you take Belle on over the course of this chapter. She's so grumpy, and withdrawn at the start. It was a cute but poignant touch, the way that she's going to take all morning in the bathroom just because she can. I have half a feeling that her desire not to be pestered about her relationship with Sirius plays a role in that. Even while she's being kind of immature, she's still motherly, though. It seems like a big part of the reason she's so upset with Sirius is the fact that he nearly threw his whole future away on a single moment of rage and vengeance. She's such a complex character. I love her!
While I'm at it, by the way, I loved her thoughts about James and Lily and how the two of them reacted to their brush with death. It was heart-warming. And the quick little aside about Lily's memory blanket protecting her from the nightmares was a fantastic reminder of just how fragile their happiness can be.
Alice halted in place, positioning her hands on her hips. “Sorry, Isabelle. You might be able to lie to yourself, but lying to us isn’t nearly as easy.” - The relationship doctor is IN. Have I mentioned lately how much I love Alice? Her anecdote about Frank struggling to get his head back together after the attack on the Bones family was a great counterpoint to Belle's situation.
I was glad to see Sirius make the first move to try and put things right between himself and Belle. I doubt that was easy for him. Coming from a nest of angry pure blood nutters, I'm thinking that life hasn't conditioned him to seek out conflict with people who are angry at him.
“Let’s walk,” she heard herself suggest before turning her body away from him. Her feet moved on their own accord, her mind too focused on trying to keep her blue eyes free of the emotions swelling up inside her. She didn’t want this − any of it. -- Aww, poor thing! She's so torn up inside.
The funny thing about Belle's character is that I've never really thought of her as being weak. Since her first appearance in the story, she's had that fiery temper and no-nonsense attitude that make her seem like a very formidable person. Nobody that you want to trifle with. Then we got to know her story and find out who she used to be and where she comes from. And I still didn't think of her as being weak, but it introduced this enormous vulnerability that we didn't know about before. We saw the person that she once was and is determined to never be again.
I think that she just took another big step away from ever relapsing back into that frightened, easily manipulated girl who was easy prey for her parents and Christophe. The determination and conviction and fire in the belly that she shows while arguing with Sirius was an awesome demonstration of just how far she's come. What was it that Dumbledore said about it being harder to stand up to your friends than your enemies? In this chapter, Belle stood up to the man that probably means more to her than anyone else in the world. And she did it without letting her temper really get the best of her. This was a huge chapter for her.
Sirius finally let some of his own walls down for her. I really liked the way that he shared one of his biggest anxieties with her. It seemed like a very personal thing. He's definitely the sort who likes to pretend that he doesn't care what other people think of him, and he's probably tell you that you could think whatever the hell you wanted if you told him that he was just like his family. But in reality, that's the part of himself that he fears most.
The way you ended their section was brilliant! That Hufflepuff girl had better watch out!
It was really neat to see the whole group sitting down to try to piece together who passed word to Voldemort about James and Lily's trip to Wales. Everyone seemed to contribute in their own way, and I really liked how you managed to give so many different characters a bit of the spotlight in this one. It's too bad that Lily was so preoccupied with her feelings for James during the Quidditch match! Otherwise, it would probably dawn on her who it was that knew about the wedding. :(
Frank's rationale -- well, Moody's rationale as told by Frank, I guess -- was really clever and totally true. Voldemort demands just as much from his Propsects as his marked followers. Nobody gets in for free, and once you've expressed an interest there's no way out.
Lily has such a huge blind spot for Snape. In this case, she's actually correct, but she really can't be as sure of that as she feels.
I am really excited to see where the story goes next. As I look back, it's really hard to believe that 26 not-at-all-short chapters have come and gone. It just doesn't seem like the story has been that long! Great job!Author's Response: I'm here I'm here! And I should absolutely be ashamed of myself :(! Sorry I'm being a slow poke this week and taking a week to respond.
Hahahah well with that sort of convincing argument, how could I deny you the tingly heart warming Alice and Frank moments :P. Really though, I will try and get their chapter in soon. Scouts honor. Although I was never a girl scout so I'm not sure if me saying that actually means anything.
I love what you said about Belle taking so long in the bathroom just because she can. That's exactly what I wanted to get across. She knows she needs to shake a leg and get to it, but she refuses to even let that rush her. She's going to stand in front of that damn mirror until her heart is content, haha.
I really hadn't planned on turning to Alice to help Belle get her head out of you know where and think things through, but it just felt like a tradition that I couldn't break, haha.
Your 'awww poor thing' made my heart all happy, haha. She sort of feels like a little kitten who keeps hissing and hissing but you know all the kitten needs is a few cuddles to feel all better.
I love that you pick up on all the tiny things going on around/through Belle. She isn't weak, we all see that, but she's convinced herself she is and that's why all those bad things happened. The fact that you realize she's reclaiming such an important part of herself with standing up to Sirius and making sure she's heard, makes me so happy I just want to hop up and down. I'm at the book store though right now, and I think that may be frowned upon.
I'm really happy Frank's regurgitation of Moody's information made sense. I wanted them to sort of lay off the idea of it having to be a Death Eater but wanted them to have a convincing reason. We know they aren't going to stop speculation everyone, but at least I've managed to make it clear through Frank that the Prospects might have more of a connection with Voldemort than the group things.
26 no-at-all-short hahahahah. Ain't that the truth, Dan. And I couldn't have anyone better to share these last nearly 200,000 words with!! ♥ Report Review
Hi, Ashley! Thanks for pointing this story out.
More than anything, reading this really took me back to what things were like before Deathly Hallows came out. All of the guessing and uncertainty, the things that we all thought about certain characters... it was neat to suddenly jump back into that mindset. I didn't become a denizen of HPFF until after it was all over, so it was neat to get this glimpse into the past.
You did an awesome job of blending Harry's bitter sorrow and anger into the theme of the song. Especially at the beginning, when he's racked with grief and trapped in the place he hates more than any other in the world. As the song and story moved along, I thought it was interesting the way you twisted the lyrics a bit to make the hurting less of a byproduct of self-destructive behavior and more of a deliberate act directed at Voldemort, Snape and all the others who helped to bring about Dumbledore's death.
Going back to the things that we all -- mostly, anyway -- used to think before reading Deathly Hallows, I loved the comparison between Dumbledore and Snape in this. Dumbledore was written as the kind, loving, inspirational would-be savior of the world and Snape as the evil, deceitful, manipulative villain. Funny how much greyer things turned out in the end, isn't it?
OK, because it's me and you know that I nit-pick like there's no tomorrow, I did see one typo, I think...
All had ever done was inject a certain sanity and grace into horrendous situations where nothing but treachery could be found. - All he had ever done...
This was such an awesome stroll down memory lane, not to mention very true to the song. Thanks for sharing!Author's Response: Dan, I honestly can't believe you came over here and left the first review on this story in 2 years. hahaha :)
I long for that time, back when we didn't know what was going to happen in the 7th book and everything was kind of a blank canvas as far as the future was concerned. I have such fond memories of that time and it was really fun to be in fanfiction back then. Although now we have next gen and all that fun stuff.
I have a hard time reading this story :) I wrote it and it was the only rejection that I ever got- because I wrote the s word and labeled it 15+. :P I should have known better! I chose to use NIN lyrics, but I think that I would have preferred now to use Johnny Cash's because I think his song is much more haunting. That being said I think when you look in my reviews a lot of the debate in it is whether or not it is Johnny Cash's song or NIN, I think because this was only a few years after his version came out.
Ahhh you found a typo! I need to edit that. I will do that some day :P I will I swear. I don't think I've edited this one since '07 haha.
I really thank you for your words on my sticking to the theme of the song. I feel like a lot of song fics do that, and it's nice to have kind words on a story that was written so long ago :)
I don't know if I could write Snape OR Dumbledore like that any more to be honest with you. I feel it's best to just leave it alone at this point :P
thank you so so so much again, I really appreciate your thoughts on this!! Report Review
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Wow! This was an absolutely chilling piece. I'm not in the habit of feeling badly for old Lucius. Everything that ever happened to him, be brought upon himself. But it's hard not to get pulled into the despair and terror that you infused this story with. I wouldn't trade places with him for anything.
I thought it was a little amusing, in a twisted sort of way, that he dreads the visit of a Dementor. It seems pretty obvious that their proximity is already affecting him. The depression, the lethargy, the nightmares... all of them sound like effects of having lots of Dementors close by.
His refusal to cry as a symbolic act of defiance, the thing that he chooses to focus on so as to show that he has not been broken, was a good choice. He seems to be fairly broken in most other respects, but until the Dementor approaches him at the end, he refuses to cross that one, final line. I thought this line was an especially clever emphasis on the point:
Wiping an unshed tear from his eye with the back of his dirty hand... - Denial. It isn't just a river in Egypt.
The happy memories that he tries to cling to as a defense mechanism made perfect sense. But the nightmares quickly punish him for his small conceit. The dream sequence was pure horror. You did an awesome job with that. I loved how the nightmare mixed elements of the memory with his current reality. It was all so twisted and surreal!
And then the Dementor comes to visit him for real, and he finally breaks. I felt sad without necessarily feeling sad for Lucius in particular. Maybe just a little. ;)
I saw a couple of typos that you might want to take a second look at:
He didn’t think he could take more of those terrible dreams he dreamed, but he could not lay wake forever either. - lay awake?
Lucius’s eyes open wide as he struggled for air, a burning sensation searing his lungs. - opened wide
A massive figure, cloaked and dark dark was standing in the frame of the entrance, silhouetted ominously against the bars. - you doubled the word "dark"
Otherwise, I thought your writing was lovely. The words you chose and the flow of the story complimented the dark imagery beautifully. Very nice job!Author's Response: You can't imagine the puddle I melted when I saw your review! Thanks so much for it! I'm only sorry it took me so long to respond to this :(
I wouldn't trade places with him either! For a long time I haven't been his fan either, but I have this memory from the movie Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1 when he's sitting at the table and Voldemort asks for his wand. He gives it to him and Voldemorts snaps it in two. The way he jumped there, at just that sound, made me wonder what could have possibly happened to the once proud man we've seen in the earlier books/films. Basically this was the premise for my one shot :)
When I was thinking about his characterization, crying was the first thought I had to portray that exact same of defiance you talked about. Crying would have been the maximum proof that he was indeed broken and he could not allow that. To maintain his sanity he HAD to believe that he was still in power somehow, that he still held control over something. Glad you caught that up ;)
I'm SO happy you liked the dream sequence. I was unsure if I made the transition from dream to reality believable enough or in a flowing, natural way. I really was nervous about that part!
Thank you for pointing out the typos. Be sure that I will re-read the story once again and correct them! And thanks a million for the review. I loved it! Report Review
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