Reading Reviews From Member: CambAngst
1,208 Reviews Found

Review #26, by CambAngstActions Speak Louder than Words: Beating Heart: Scorpius POV

12th May 2015:
Beth, you sly, sly devil, you! It was probably too much to expect you to give up your secrets so soon. I have a lot of idea about why Rose fell, but you're not going to tell me. Not yet, anyway. The blond haired mystery attacker, the elevated heart rate... I have a strong feeling that this attack wasn't simply a matter of falling down the stairs. There's some dark magic involved here, I'm sure of it!

Wow. Sounds like James was a complete mess. He's become one of the more oddly sympathetic characters in this story. At times he acts like a big lunk, but other times I get the sense that he's more tuned in than he lets on.

"I didn't even hear her fall. She had all these photos and documents around her. I figured she'd tripped, but I swear – I didn't hear her. Sh - shouldn't I have heard it?" -- Maybe, maybe not. I'm suspicious that some of those photos and documents will be missing when Rose wakes up.

"I could've deflected it just into the wall next to her, but instead, I made sure it hit her square in the chest. Perhaps she shouldn't be so rude to upset fiancés." -- Or Auror trainees. Definitely not so rude to upset fiancés who are training to become Aurors.

I loved the family moment with Hermione and Ron and Scorpius. I wasn't sure where you were going to go with that one, and it was nice to see Hermione pull her family together.

"The heart rate didn't increase until after she'd been here for a bit." -- Peculiar, indeed. Cursed? Poisoned? Maybe those pictures had some sort of spell on them.

Again, it was heart-warming to see the extended Weasley clan supporting Scorpius. I'm sure that took him completely by surprise. He's been so disconnected from Rose since the party.

He steeled a look at us for a moment until his eyes met with Harry. -- Yeah, best not to go picking fights with the Head Auror.

You did a good job with the conversation between Ron and Scorpius. It didn't feel like it was easy for either one of them, which was certainly the right tone. Maybe I would have kept Ron's sentences shorter and a little less formal. It's hard to say how the characters age and everyone sees it a little differently. The subject matter was perfect, though. I feel like Scorpius needed to hear all of that and he needed to hear it from somebody who -- as he correctly surmised -- wasn't Harry.

Overall, an awesome chapter! I can't wait to see what happens when Rose wakes up!

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Review #27, by CambAngstActions Speak Louder than Words: Blackout: Rose and Scorpius POV

8th May 2015:
Beth! You left me hanging by a thread at the end of the last chapter. And then it was a total head fake and Scorpius was fine at the start of this chapter. Well, not fine fine, but at least not dead or injured or taken prisoner by Stannous. Whew, what a relief. And then you leave me hanging by a thread again!!! Are you trying to shorten my lifespan here? :p

When I finally crawled up to our room in Number Twelve, Scorpius wasn't there. Al and Selenia, who'd escorted me home, found him sleeping in his original room on the top floor of Number Twelve - Regulus’s room. In fact, over the days following the engagement party, he basically moved himself up there. -- I guess I'll start by stating the obvious: This isn't how most expectant fathers deal with a problem they're having with their fiancee. Of course, I think we're well beyond the point of trying to understand anything Scorpius does in relation to how "normal" guys act. He's pretty far from normal.

It's still a little strange to me that Rose gives Scorpius so much time and space before she takes a small step toward forcing the issue. Whether or not he's admitting it, he is obviously in desperate need of her help. He needs her to tell him over and over again that his family's past doesn't matter to her, until he finally gets it through that 6-inches of depleted uranium armor he calls a skull.

Ah, I figured that you would have to bring Selenia into the fold at some point. It seems like Scorpius's problems are putting nearly as much strain on Al and Selenia's relationship as his own. Although this could also be drawing Al and Selenia together in a way. Common purpose and all that. At any rate, it's certainly cutting into their together time.

Then there's the unsolved case that's handed to Rose. I have a creepy, creepy feeling that the victims could be Draco and Astoria. That wouldn't be consistent with Scorpius's earlier recollections, but stranger things have already happened in this story.

Ooh! I have another theory that I've come up with. One that would explain a number of things. I'm almost afraid to go there, because the implications are all kinds of bad, but here goes. Is Scorpius actually Stannous? It doesn't seem likely, since Stannous was teaching when Scorpius and Rose were both in school. If there's some connection between Scorpius and Stannous, it would explain a lot of things, though. Like how Stannous managed to get through the wards surrounding the apartment. Your story gives me a bad case of Crazy Plot Theories.

At any rate, I loved the way you wrote the clues in the pictures. The way you described the spell damage and how Rose and Selenia were able to theorize based on it was great.

As I was desperately flailing my arms to grab on to something, I caught a glimpse of a fuzzy figure in a dark robes with light hair stood on the top step. Then everything went black. -- Again, you're feeding my Scorpius-is-Stannous theory. Or maybe it's my Stannous-is-controlling-Scorpius theory. Augh, too many theories!

Fly and forget became my mantra. -- For the record, I think this is a bad mantra. Very bad.

Scorpius is having a huge Remus Lupin moment in this chapter. Where is Harry -- or perhaps Al as his stand-in -- to knock some sense into the guy?

Not my whole world. -- Wow, is he confused. One minute he's making plans to skeedaddle, the next minute Rose and the baby are his whole world. Make up your mind, boy!

I'm really curious to see what sort of surprises you spring on us in the next chapter. I'm sure it will spawn even more theories inside my poor, overloaded brain. Til next time!

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Review #28, by CambAngstBlackwater Side: Blackwater Side

18th April 2015:
Hi! I appreciate the review you left on Tales of the Death Hunters and I didn't want to see you get shorted due to the mix-up, so I wanted to read and review something of yours. This one really jumped off of your author's page at me.

Given that this story was really about Harry reliving a special moment between himself and Ginny, I like that you kept it short and focused. You set it up well, so it didn't seem like something totally out of left field when they encounter the muggle playing the guitar. But you stuck to the minimum necessary narration in the present time.

Your description of the moment that Ginny and Harry share at the Burrow before the start of the horcrux hunt... whew! Steamy! You really have a talent for capturing the heat and passion of the moment. It exploded off of the page and burned itself into my mind.

I think I saw one small typo:

The song took him back in time to when she kissed him in her room of Burrow two years ago. -- her room of the Burrow?

Otherwise, your writing was terrific. Very vivid and detailed and everything flowed beautifully.

Great job!

Author's Response: Hi, thank you for stopping by.

I'm very glad you left review. Your story was just awesome! I'll read your other works little by litte. I really respect you.

Honestly my past draft was needed to be fixed, so Kayla and Emily did a great job here.

The process of inserting the lyrics was fun for me 'cause I do music with my friends. And Sandy Denny's song gave me inspiration of this story.

I've avoided writing the mature stories for I had no confidence but with your encouragement and chinaglaze's encouraging comment, it may be not a bad idea to try some more...

Thank you, anyway!

:) Kenny

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Review #29, by CambAngstAtonement Is Coming: A Shadowy Threat

17th April 2015:
Tagging you from the Review the Person Above You thread in the common room!

Ooh, a mystery! And it involves the canon characters, post-war. Two of my favorite things!

I think you did a good job of capturing the concern McGonagall would have felt in this situation. She's just spent the past five years putting the Hogwarts "family" back together after a horrific and deeply divisive war. If someone is actually planning revenge attacks against pureblood families, it could destroy the peace and stability that everyone fought the war to achieve in the first place. I thought Minerva's dialog was pretty good, although it could have been a little stiffer in a few places.

I found Kingsley's reactions a little harder to get my head around. If he's just finished presiding over a series of trials filled with nightmarish stories of atrocities committed by the Death Eaters, I would have thought that he'd be a lot less dismissive of the possibility that someone was trying to rekindle hostilities. Especially if it involved revenge attacks, because I think that would have been a foreseeable outcome.

You wrote the action in Kingsley's office pretty well. It was easy to visualize everything that was going on in spite of the fact that it all happened quickly.

The only concrete suggestion I could offer is that I would have preferred that you created at least one or two original characters for your conspirators. There's nothing wrong with using canon names of relatively unknown characters, but when you use them exclusively then what little we know of their back stories can paint you into a corner sometimes. Original characters give you lots of freedom to develop a back story and grow and evolve the characters' personalities.

All that said, you did a good job with this and I'm curious to see what happens next. Good job!

Author's Response: Hi there!

Thank you for the review!

I'm glad that you liked my characterization of Minerva for the most part. I get what you mean about the stiffness, but I kind of wanted this to show her with her hair down just a tad. Kingsley is her equivalent and I feel like she might be able to be a bit more relaxed with him.

I agree that revenge attacks area definitely a somewhat predictable thing after what the Death Eaters did. I chalk Kingsley's attitude up to sheer exhaustion. I imagine him being a bit ground down after everything he's witnessed and presided over.

The action did happen quickly, but I usually find that that's how it goes in real life too, at least for me.

I do actually have plans to add a few OC's down the line, but for this first chapter I do have a specific reason for why each of the people that I picked for the Avengers has gone bad. It's something that I hope to unwind bit by bit as the story plays out. This story really will involve a massive cast, so each chapter will start bringing in different people.

Thank you for such good advice and thoughtful critiques. I will definitely keep this in mind as the story progresses!


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Review #30, by CambAngstDevlin Potter: Convergence Riddles: Secret Similarities

14th April 2015:
Hi! I am very hopeful that work will allow me the time to get this written up and posted. It's been quite a day.

You did a great job of writing Devlin's seizure. For a boy who normally exerts so much control over every aspect of his behavior and appearance, the sense of losing control was almost as painful as the cruciatus symptoms. Almost. Those were really horrible, as well. I also liked the way that you wove small details of what was happening in the real world -- Devlin falling onto the floor, having a potion forced down his throat, being carried -- into his seizure experience.

Reality and dream and memory consumed each other, whirling viciously and living vicariously through each other, inside of him. In moments such as this one, Devlin could never be absolutely sure wether it was a seizure or the true curse. -- That sounds like the worst kind of nightmare imaginable. Also, should be "whether".

Bit by bit -- and definitely not because Devlin wants him to -- Snape is starting to unravel some of Devlin's secrets. Or maybe Devlin does want him to, in an odd way. More on this later. I am also curious what magic Devlin felt like he was able to do that his wolf was not.

Your Dumbledore was spot on, as always. Serene, imperturbable, and seemingly a step ahead in the game that Devlin is playing. I still don't really want Devlin to completely trust him, but there are times where I find myself wishing that Devlin was a little more forthcoming. Dumbledore could certainly help, but trusting the old man can be a slippery slope.

"Did you often get obsessed over muggleborns, Severus?" -- Ooh! That was hitting below the belt. He's pushing so many of Snape's buttons on so many different levels. Just as Snape is starting to figure out Devlin, it seems that Devlin is also discovering things about Snape. It's worrying, in a way. Who's going to get who killed first?

So it seems that Devlin and Scorpius might have something more in common than their house and their near proximity to the Dark Lord. I suspected from the beginning that there might ultimately be an alliance of sorts forged here. It will be interesting to see that play out.

I really like the way that Devlin's dream about Voldemort ended. If I think about it, the Dark Lord does have certain things to fear from Devlin. Devlin has figured out more of Voldemort's secrets than Voldemort has probably given him credit for. Moreover, Devlin is like Voldemort but not like him. And that combination of similarities and differences could prove to be very unpredictable and dangerous.

The scene with Maria was really sweet. I love the way that she brings out the little boy in him, makes him feel loved and valued.

He did not want her to see him weak.

And yet, it felt so good when she did.
-- This! Also:

He wondered if she understood how preciously he protected her image of him as a normal boy. -- She and Emma give Devlin a reason to want to be Devlin instead of Dubhán.

The scene in Transfiguration class was more revealing for what Devlin was thinking than what he shared with McGonagall. I think this is the first time you've clearly spelled out how what the relationship between Devlin, Dubhán and the Sharpness really is and how it came to be. Then there was the other werewolf boy. I'm wondering if he's the same boy that Devlin bit while he was being held captive.

The last scene with Snape was brilliantly done. I love watching these two spar. But this conversation actually went beyond sparring! Was that a hint of vulnerability on Snape's part? A willingness to reveal just a bit of himself to bargain for more insight into Devlin? On one level, it's very un-Snape-like. On another, perhaps he's realized some of the mistakes he made with Harry? Knowing and understanding Devlin could be critical to Snape's end-game with Voldemort. If he discovers what it is about Devlin that kept him alive, it could be key to his revenge.

"Yes," Snape said, the word quiet but somehow rebellious. "Yes, that is correct." He had rearranged his face so that it did not betray him and now he leaned forward too. His hooked nose was less than an inch from Devlin's face. "I am exceedingly good at torturing myself, Devlin. It is an art I know better than potion-making." -- It's tempting to believe that Snape could be a little facetious here, but I'm sure he's not. Every time he looked at Harry, he was torturing himself, living his penance for what his desire for power cost him. Devlin wouldn't be that much different, I suppose.

I'm pretty sure I've figured out the part of Devlin that's missing. It's the part of him that's a normal boy. But we shall see how that plays out. In the meantime, it looks like we'll be treated to a lot more conversations between Devlin and Snape! I'm gleeful!

I saw a few typos while I was reading:

sensation that would spread out from the where the original curse had hit him -- from where the

so different from his father that Devlin feels almost-alright until he turned to look at him -- Devlin felt

It retracted from his perfect resemblance just enough -- detracted

"Tell me more about this missing part of you," Snape said, eying his critically, his dark eyes an endless tunnel -- eyeing him critically

Snape looked at Devlin alternatively as if he were a germ-riddle tissue -- germ-riddled

Snape’s palms came to rest on his desk and he lifted his hight onto them -- his height

This was a great, great chapter! So many things happened and so many neat interactions and thoughts and revelations. I loved it!

Author's Response: Oooh, you're early!

I'm not sure why I enjoy writing Devlin's seizures so much, but I do. I suppose it is something about a lack of landscape and supplying all the information through sensation, which I love.

Clearly Devlin knows a great deal about Snape. You can imagine what Voldemort might have said on the topic of him (and left out). But Devlin has been hinting at it for awhile, with his "you have the power to make Harry hate you" comment when he returned, to his jabs at Snape liking muggleborns. Every time Snape steps closer, Devlin brings it out like a knife.

Hmm - I thought it would be clear why his wolf couldn't help since we ended with the Killing Curse dream last chapter and that's what caused this seizure. When he killed the Auror the sharpness wanted to be there - to push forward and take the experience away from him - but Devlin knew he couldn't, because the wolf couldn't do the magic.

Scorpius will be interesting...

We already know that Voldemort sees only what he can comprehend. Right now he sees Devlin as himself and therefore that they share the same (nonexistent in his mind), weaknesses. But instead Devlin has known several times in his life how just being near Voldemort has made him unlike him. When you see what terror over death does, and you have been close to it so many times, the fear begins to see less valuable. Perhaps being the one to kill someone even took some of the fear away.

I wish Devlin would stop being so sure Dumbledore assumes he is like Tom and begin to see how Voldemort had corrupted his perception of other people. But that is sort of typical of abusers, right? The whole "they wouldn't understand. You're not like them. We're like each other. I understand you. They would just hate you." etc. etc.

It was SO MUCH FUN to write Tom Riddle in his dream. Glad to see I did it well. :)

Maria was a nice change in the tension of this chapter, although I think Devlin took this sudden illness a little too lightly.

The boy who Voldemort framed as Devlin was delivered dead at the Ministry shortly after Devlin's kidnapping. While Devlin didn't kill him, he did bite him (without a choice). So no, that boy is dead. But there is war, and I figure there must be more than one child bitten in a time of war when a Dark Lord is purposefully using werewolves as soldiers.

We are still missing some information about Snape and Devlin. I think Snape is strongly suspecting Voldemort has told Devlin that Snape is responsible, in a sense, for the Potter's death. And that he begged for Lily's life. Knowing that the boy knows but still desiring to keep him alive (probably for some variation of the same reason he did with Harry), he has to decide to dismiss Devlin or confront him. Because Devlin is going to use this against him. With that in mind, I think he thought that small reveal of vulnerability was an advantage in the situation.

No, I do not think Snape is being facetious at all.

:D Glad you liked it!

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Review #31, by CambAngstRemarkable : Remarkable

10th April 2015:
Hi, Deeds!

Ooh, I was excited to get a little more insight into the story behind Painful Bliss. It's really interesting to see Blaise's relationship from his own point of view. It's so different from how Draco and Astoria perceive them. To Draco, the two of them are symbolic of what he believes he wants with Astoria. But obviously there are many more struggles between Blaise and Isabella than anyone else realizes.

I think your vision of Blaise's childhood and his struggles with relationships fit with the details of his life and the portrayal of his character in the books really well. His mother is such a fiendish character. It's easy to imagine her giving this "advice" to her son.

I was curious whether you'd develop anything more between Blaise and Pansy. I wasn't really expecting anything, but it's interesting to see the contribution she makes to Blaise's gradual awakening. It's not really a good one, in my opinion.

And... then he discovers girls. Not in a good way. But he also grows close to Draco. Again, I felt like maybe you were going to go down a romantic path there. What's really interesting to me is the way that he and Draco become kindred spirits. They're both searching for something that appears unattainable during their school years and even after. They're prisoners of their own sense of self-worth. The standards they've set limit their choices to the point where they have essentially no options.

And... Blaise goes from being an amoral womanizer to being a globe-trotting amoral womanizer. This section is where you and I really imagine him in a similar way. Your version is a little more stuffy than mine, but the total lack of respect for the basic human dignity of the women he sleeps with is spot on.

The last section is really well done. You manage to convey so much about Blaise and Isabella's relationship in a relatively short piece of writing. I still don't think he's sure that he loves her, or even understands what love is. But he believes that she can make up the difference. I'm not sure I agree, but it's a place to start, I suppose. The final straw seems to be Draco's letter. Is it possible that this has become a competitive thing for Blaise? That he's unwilling to be "left behind" while his friend discovers something new in life? It's a really interesting way for someone who doesn't really understand love to make a step forward.

I know you were worried about tense, but I only noticed a couple of small typos as I was reading:

Some good its done them. What about your mother? -- it's done them

"I'm Isabella and your Blaise Zabini." -- you're

Nice job. I really enjoyed this!

Author's Response: First, I'm so sorry I haven't responded to this. Real life has kept me busy! Dan, you always surprise me with your reviews. I always feel bad I haven't gotten to finish Detox yet and move on to your other stories. Real life, you know, it's busy.

Anyway, thanks so much for the review and pointing out my mistakes. Between you and another reviewer I don't have to get a beta. Awesome!

Now let's get to the actual review.

I don't know where this idea came from. If I had written this story when I was writing Painful Bliss I can assure you it would have been entirely different. I see Blaise and Isabella having their own struggles without a doubt. Just because they seem on the surface to have a great marriage and relationship getting there was a process and staying there is a process.

I think Blaise would have wondered about love, you know? I think because he finally learned what love is he would have thought he could give Draco advice on his love life. However, I think it is a little haughty of him to do and he is still ingrained with certain characteristics from his mother. With that said Blaise is clearly a complex character.

HA! Pansy. No way. I don't think anything would have happened between them anymore. I don't see her talking to him after the war because he's kind of a neutral bystander. He believes in blood purity but he's not necessary going to pull out his wand and kill everyone around him.

I wanted you to believe Draco/Blaise were going to have a romantic relationship. For a moment that's where I was going. Learn about love from your best friend but then I said yes, he would learn about love from Draco but he would also learn about heartache. Haven't you ever loved a friend so dearly when something happens to them or they move away or something it just hurts? It's a loss. And Draco leaving is a loss to Blaise like he has never felt before. Yes, he loves him but he's not in love with him. There's a difference. I think if he was in love with him Blaise would forever be looking to understand real love because the feelings would not be reciprocated.

Hey, I had to add Isabella in there somehow. I figured traveling would do him some good and women are easy to find when you're rich, young and have gossip following you.

I'm not convinced he loves her either entirely. Not here anyway. I think the Blaise we see in Painful Bliss is entirely different. He's found...well, his bliss. Like Draco he undergoes a transformation. He finds Isabella and he finds love but I think at this point of the story it isn't real love, you know? It's on the surface. Very basic because he doesn't entirely know what it is. It's there he just hasn't figured it out yet. Love, Dan, can be very confusing.

Thanks for the awesome review!

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Review #32, by CambAngstBetween the Lines: Any-way-what-how

7th April 2015:
Hi, Beth! I hope you're having an awesome time in London!

I'm going to try something that's completely new for me. I read this story yesterday, and I'm actually going to try to write as much of this review as possible without having the story open in front of me. It's partly to test my own recollection, but hopefully you'll also get an idea of what parts of the story made the biggest impression.

One really interesting thing about reading LBGTQ stories is that I'm never sure going in how much the story is going to focus on romance as opposed to other aspects of a relationship. Or, for that matter, whether a relationship is going to be the focus of the story at all. What you've written is perfectly age-appropriate for these two young women. They don't feel fireworks at the touch of the other's skin, they don't get lost in each other's eyes. That would be a bit silly for girls this age. Instead, they relate to one another on the level that girls this age actually engage. They sneak about, they hold hands, they gossip and they make up nicknames for each other.

I really like the way you set up McGonagall's character. She's obviously very advanced academically, but perhaps a bit behind socially. Either behind, or way too far ahead, I suppose. Either way, she isn't going to be able to relate to kids like Bilius Weasley. She relates to the world and to other people like a small adult, albeit one who's a little on the emotionally fragile side.

Amelia is a great compliment to Minerva in many regards. She's also very studious, but she's probably also a little more balanced socially. She understands where Bilius and his friends are coming from enough to be able to put them in the proper context. At the same time, she can easily relate to Minerva. She seems to be able to bridge those two worlds fairly effortlessly.

The nicknames were clever, I thought, in that both "Minified" and "Ameliaorate" had a bit of ambiguity to them. Either one could easily be interpreted as a put-down. At the same time, they have a deeper meaning to the two girls who made them up. It's a small thing, but it felt like the start of something that could be shared between the two of them.

OK, I've gone about as far as I can go without looking back at the story. Bringing it up...

First off, it's actually LGBTQA. It's funny sometimes, how many labels we need in order to be inclusive.

It struck me as I was reading this how much young Minerva reminded me of a young Hermione. Kind of makes you wonder how things would have been different for Hermione without Harry and Ron around to corrupt her.

I loved your descriptions of the way using magic felt to young Minerva. It's no wonder that she and Dumbledore gravitated toward one another.

I'd highlighted my favorite passage: It was true, in fact, that she was indeed rarely nervous. This particular moment excepting, of course.

I like the way you focused on Amelia's eyes. It really helped to put the story in Minerva's perspective.

A few small things I noticed:

It was her great Scottish pride that she called upon in time like these. -- times like these

It was decidedly quieter in the small space. The heavy cloth of the tapestry muffled the sounds within the small space and made the voice seem as if it were speaking directly into her head. -- You use "small space" in two consecutive sentences. It's not a huge thing, but it reads a little awkwardly.

"Yup. 'Minifed' is much, much better. It's a cross between 'Minerva' and 'dignified.' - Minified

This was a really neat story! Would you possibly give any thought to making it longer? Perhaps a sequel? I think I would enjoy reading more.

Author's Response: Hi there Dan,

So sorry to take such a long time to reply to this review, I was blown away by it and I wanted to do it justice. Actually, your comment about *how* you review by having the story open at the same time has prompted me to consider posting a thread in the "Much Ado About Reviews" subforum :)

I do intend to finish this story, and focus on their romance as well. However, I'm going to try to keep it Pottermore compliant as well... yeah... we'll see how that goes.

I did a bit of research about McGonagall and she was indeed an impressively talented witch from the get-go. I think she was even more gifted than Hermione - at least that is how I'm characterizing her. Since she was raised as a muggle, I wanted to explore how out of place she would feel at Hogwarts, at least initially. I also wanted her to find balance in Amelia. She was a blast to write and Minerva is somewhat confused and simultaneously in awe of someone who can be *both* gifted magically and have such a shining personality.

I think I fixed all the typos - thanks!

I'm not sure if I explained this adequately, but I wrote this (in part) for the logphile's challenge and the word I was given was ameliorate. I'd been toying with an Amelia/Minerva story for a while (even had some notes on the computer) and it just seemed to flow! I did have to search for *quite* a while to find a word for Minerva that sounded more positive. I settled on Minified - and I'm still not entirely happy with it, but I really liked the idea...

I do have several chapters laid out for this one - but they definitely get more dramatic and dark from here on out, and I'm struggling a bit to form them the way I want :(

Thanks so much!

♥ Beth

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Review #33, by CambAngstGrowing Up Pureblood: Growing Up Pureblood

30th March 2015:
Hi, Deeds!

Wow. Harsh. If I had to sum this up in one word, that's definitely the one. Harsh. Six years old is a tender age to be confronting bigotry, torture and murder. Even worse, it seems like little Lucius takes the worst possible lesson away from the experience. Harsh.

I have to say, you made six-year-old Lucius pretty adorable. He obviously has a long way to go before he becomes the hardened, arrogant man we see in later life. The image of him scurrying through the corridors of the manor, fighting dragons and waving his toy wand is cute. He's obviously spoiled to a fault by his mother.

In one swift movement he pulled out a plastic brown colored toy wand, whipped it in the air and muttered random words to himself, making up spell after spell behind his back, trying to deflect the ‘dragon.’ -- The only thing I can quibble over -- pretty much in the whole story -- is that the toy wand is plastic. Doesn't seem very "old money pure blood aristocratic". Also, if Lucius is six this would have been happening in 1960. Plastic toys were still a rarity in the muggle world at this point.

I liked the way you wrote the scene in Abraxas's office. First off, Lucius's rationale for bursting in worked for me. As the parent of a pair of six-year-olds, I can attest firsthand that their impulse control is not good. I feel like you must have been tempted to go overboard with the creepy imagery surrounding the company in the room. Dark wizards are fun to describe. But you kept it very appropriate to the point of view of a small child, which added a lot to the realism.

I hadn't given a whole lot of thought to the playmates available to Lucius growing up, but you're probably right. The number of magical children in the world is small enough. Then when you limit your social circle the way that the Malfoys do, there wouldn't be much opportunity to play with other kids his own age. Poor guy. No wonder he doesn't play well with others.

Finally, there's the scene with the muggle woman that Abraxas attacks. Again, you kept all the details within the realm of Lucius's point of view. He doesn't read too many things into what's happening because he isn't able to understand it all. What he does see is that his father is strong, at least by the way he's been taught to measure strength.

He wasn't scared anymore as he clutched his wand in his hand because he realized with it, no one could ever hurt him. -- Ha. He'll be disabused of that idea before it's all said and done.

You made Lucius seem sympathetic in this, but only to a certain extent. I'm curious how far you were hoping to take that sympathy, and how you would imagine it evolving if this was a longer story. As it is, this is a neat piece that casts one of the story's minor villains in a very different light. Good job!

Author's Response: Hey there Danny-o!

Indeed. I wanted to show a reason why Lucius is the way he is when we meet him. What he learned he learned from his parents. To be honest I don't think it's too young because if we look at the real world, children are taught, from their elders, to be prejudiced. They aren't born that way, you know? So, from an early age so and so is taught we don't like these people or these people are bad. Essentially that's what happens here. He learns that Muggles are bad. Wizards are good. well, that's bringing it to the very basics but you get what I'm saying I hope.

Eh, I didn't think about the time frame. I wanted it to be plastic because he obviously couldn't have a real wand but I suppose a toy wood wand would have been better. You know what, you're right. I might go back in and change that. It does sound better as well. Geez, you are very convincing. Thanks for the suggestion.

I tried very hard to think like a child. My niece is two now but I think she was one when I wrote this. I tried to think about her impulse and actions. I also researched online the way a child would act. Yeah, Deeds on pregnancy and mommy boards. You've got to learn somehow, right?

I don't think there would have been too many. Granted, he would have had friends at Hogwarts but at that young age I think his parents would have wanted to mold him a certain way. So, not all children would have been acceptable. Especially since they would have thought many of the blood lines are tainted.

I didn't want to expand too much or go overboard. I wanted one scene, one glimpse into his life. If I would have continued he probably would have been playing with his fake wand but to his father's amusement instead of going after dragons he would be pretending he was going after Muggles. It would be his own little game of Wizards vs. Muggles, you know how growing up as a kid you would play Cowboys vs. Indians or Cops vs. Robbers. I don't think you would have felt too sympathetic then.

Thanks for the review!

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Review #34, by CambAngstActions Speak Louder than Words: Betrothed: Rose POV

24th March 2015:
Beth! What are you doing, leaving unresolved relationship drama dangling at the end of a chapter? And it isn't even a cliff hanger.

Actually, I have to say, bravo! I think -- maybe I'm just not remembering something -- that this is the first time you've let problems between Rose and Scorpius spill over from one chapter to the next. In a story that you're telling serially, that adds some depth and a more realistic feel to things. Problems don't wrap up neatly in 5,000 words in life.

It took me a long time to get my head around why Scorpius was acting the way he was in this chapter. Longer than normal, I'd say. Al didn't just have to spell it out for Rose's benefit. ;) Once it was laid out, though, it clicked with me. Maybe it's just because it's been a while since I read the actual prophecy. Maybe it's also partly because I read Emma's new chapter of Complicated right before I read this and I'm getting two different versions of "moody Scorpius" a little mixed up in my head. Either way, I spent a lot of the chapter in the same mental place as Rose. "What is this guy's problem???"

Scorpius cleared his throat, but still sounded a little hoarse when he spoke. It brought tears to my eyes and I was glad he couldn’t see my face. "A-and what about the 'lost soul?'" -- You know, with the benefit of hindsight and knowing the answer, this one passage actually says a lot of about what's going on with both of them. Scorpius has a somewhat different read on the prophecy and he's very worried about it. Rose is also hiding her feelings from him a bit. As I think back over this chapter, there were several places where Rose sort of avoids dealing with Scorpius's feelings. She seems to feel like she's giving him room, which isn't bad in and of itself, but I wonder whether she let it go on a little too long.

Nobody throws a party like the Weasleys. If your plan was to have the party introduce a lot of extra time for Rose and Scorpius to put off their moment of reckoning, it worked well.

I'm curious as to why Harry wanted to issue a press release about the prophecy. In the books, prophecies were always made to seem like closely guarded secrets. I assumed that's why the prophecies in the Ministry were protected so that only the people mentioned could obtain them. Was there a risk of the prophecy getting out somehow? Maybe Stannous?

Then there's Stannous. I have a weird feeling he's going to surface at some point during this party. Or perhaps when Rose leaves the party to find out where Scorpius went. Or maybe he actually kidnapped Scorpius from the party! As you can see, my imagination is running away with me. It happens. ;)

Wow. Al just doesn't handle change well. Or surprises. Or just about anything out of the ordinary. I was pleased that Dom was there to apply percussive negative reinforcement to the back of his head.

Going flying with James was about the lamest cop-out I've ever seen. Trust me, I've seen some lame ones. I was very annoyed with Scorpius after reading that. Strongly disapproved.

"I can't tell you how much stress this takes off of me – and Dad – and your Mum and Dad – you get the picture." His voice was kinder now. Was he close to tears?

"But," he began, steadier, "Scorpius is a different story. He didn't see this coming and he's devastated."

Just like that, you slip a "redeeming Al moment" in on us. He's such an emotional guy. And sensitive. If being an Auror doesn't work out, he'd make a great soul singer.

I have a weird feeling that something big is coming up in the next chapter. I hope it's something big. I'm eager.

Great job!

Author's Response: Hi Dan!

So sorry I've taken so long to respond to this awesome review!

Haha - I think you're right. I did make a conscious decision NOT to do the "on again/off again" thing with my Rose/Scorpius. While those stories are exciting, they can also be frustrating to read. BUT, I sort of feel like I fell into that trap a little bit by default. I couldn't help it, sometimes the characters just do it to themselves.

I'm actually relieved to hear you say that you didn't quite get Scorpius's perspective at first, because I really thought I was being overly obvious about it. I'm still not confident that my mystery/drama will play out to everyone's expectations, but know that I'm doing my very best! :)

Yet again, you've touched on a key point - and I've updated to reflect that Harry decides NOT to publicize the prophecy. Ironically, that part was added in at the very last minute before I posted the chapter. The original story line did NOT have the prophecy being made public. My reason for adding that part in was because of the back story with Harry/Hermione/Ron from the days following the war. If you recall, I'd given Hermione her own bout of PTSD (possible, nay probable - accompanying short story coming VERY soon). That story has every would-be seer making prophecies all over the place about the Trio and Hermione finds it all too much. And I've just rambled a bit to make the point that I briefly thought Harry would try to circumvent the press by releasing the prophecy himself. However - I'm back to my original thoughts where it's kept under wraps.

Al can be a bit fiery at times. He must get it from his mother. Or father. Haha - and I LOVE writing Dom :)

A weird feeling something big is coming up? Why ever would you say that, Dan? Hmm...

Well, I guess you'll just have to see! Chapter is with the beta right now...

Thanks again - SO MUCH!

♥ Beth

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Review #35, by CambAngstComplicated: In Which The Moron Has A Heart

24th March 2015:
Hi, Emma! To my horror, I discovered that gmail had been putting my HPFF updates in the junk folder for the past few days, so I only just learned that you'd updated. Bad gmail! Bad!

Anyway, this chapter was a marvelous mixed bag of Olivia's "new" life and "old" life pulling her emotions in opposite directions. Actually, I guess you could count Joe and Oz as positive elements of her "old" life, but even with them there's the tension revolving around Scorpius.

I sat at the Gryffindor table during mealtimes, clutching Al’s hand under the table when Scor walked past -- So these two haven't admitted that something's going on between them yet, right? Because something is definitely going on between them. Silly teenagers in confusion/denial about their relationships. Gotta love them.

Speculation Time! I still think that you're setting us up for some major drama if Cassie makes her grand return to the story. I foresee Scorpius and Ollie reconciling to some extent and Al and Ollie getting right to the brink of a relationship and then Cassie reappears and demands that things go back to the way they were between her, Ollie and Scorpius. Oh, the tension! Am I right? Am I wrong? I guess we'll find out...

The scene with her cousin Jason was that brilliant mix of endearing and awkward that I've come to relish in this story. Nothing is ever simple with Ollie's relationships because she's not a simple person with a simple life. Did I ever tell you what a great job you did with your story title?

The Quidditch practice was sort of painful. It's always bad when characters you like are in a spat. And the longer it drags on, the harder it becomes to stay sympathetic to Scorpius. Is he going through a tough time, yes. But Joe's absolutely right, he's being a total jerk about it.

I really liked seeing the rest of the team stand up for Ollie. Especially when she wouldn't stand up for herself. The way Scorpius was behaving was ridiculous. I feel terrible for Ollie because she's caught in the middle of something she never asked for and she's trying to deal with her own problems and he's making it even worse. It was sad that she didn't even feel like trying to defend herself, but great to see her friends step up around her.

I really enjoyed this chapter! It had been a while and I missed the story. Great job!

Author's Response: Hi Dan! Haha I think you only missed it by like a day or two so you very much don't need to apologise. Your reviews are always so thoughtful and kind - thank you so much.

The new/old life distinction is a very good description of what's going on at the moment. Olivia's really moved on into something new and I suppose now the question is whether aspects of her old life can be reconciled with her new one (and that's what Scorpius is struggling with).

Yayy thank you for describing Jason's scene as endearing and awkward, that's exactly what I was going for. Jason confuses her because he IS her family and she DOES care, but then they've always had all this conflict - it's definitely a complicated relationship.

And Joe and Oz standing up for Ollie felt natural. I couldn't really imagine them doing anything else. Scorpius's behaviour is getting out of hand at this point and it'll all blow up soon.

Thanks for such a lovely review!

Emma x

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Review #36, by CambAngstPainful Bliss: Guidance

20th March 2015:
Hi, Deeds!

I think I gave you my theory on Astoria in my last review, but I'll reiterate: I think she lost a pregnancy somewhere along the way. I'm starting to thing that she never told Draco, or if she did, he missed it or blocked it out somehow. If I'm right, she's still failing to come to terms with what happened. There are things you've hinted at that make me curious. Is the hatred she feels toward Draco misdirected self-hatred? She's plainly suffering from severe mental problems that have become physical problems in a dire sort of way. I'd be shocked if she doesn't end up hospitalized (institutionalized?) very soon.

Lucius was recognizable in this chapter, yet he also came across as a caring and sympathetic figure. That isn't easy to do, so my hat is off to you. He seems like he's always cared about Draco and expressed those feelings the only way that he was able to with his limited emotional vocabulary. Growing up in a stiff pureblood family seems to stunt people's development in that regard.

Interesting that Narcissa focused mostly on his wedding vows. If you read them carefully -- which Draco obviously had not -- all of the risks and rewards are in there. But in the end, he plows forward with blind faith that everything is going to be wonderful because he loves Astoria and she loves him. If he only knew...

Back to reality. Sigh. If there's a genuine "innocent bystander" in this story, it has to be Isabella. She isn't even from England. She just stumbled into this bunch of crazy people because she fell in love with Blaise. By all accounts, it's an easy enough thing to do. And now she has Crazy Astoria threatening her because... OK, that's the second big hint you've dropped. Talk of pregnancy and babies definitely brings out the scary crazy in Astoria. She's absolutely horrible toward Isabella, vile and angry and downright threatening.

She shrugged and placed her glass back down, sighing. "Just don't get your hopes up," she said quietly. -- There! That was the moment where my last doubts really slipped away.

I've come full circle on Lucien. The way that he makes Draco horribly uncomfortable -- I assume he's doing the same to Astoria, to the extent she can still feel anything -- needs to happen. Draco has too many ways to avoid the problem, too many outs. Lucien asks simply questions that cause Draco to think. In this chapter, he realizes that Draco is lacking any sort of real support in his life to help deal with the problem. I'd assume that he comes to the same conclusion about Astoria.

Ah, Daphne. I've had so much fun with the character, it's always interesting for me to see what other authors make of her. She seems like a fun-loving free spirit. The type of person that Draco never was and never will be. The type of person that Astoria used to be. The same general type of person that Draco fell in love with and feels that he's lost. No wonder she makes him so uncomfortable.

I absolutely loved the way that you set up the "old" dynamic between Draco and Lucius and the reasons you gave for the way that it changed. It suits my Lucius head canon to a T. He was never the same man after he went to Azkaban, the experience gave him a whole new outlook on what was important in life.

Lastly there's the scene with Daphne and Astoria. I really hope that Astoria isn't too far gone for someone to help her. Daphne would probably be a better choice at this early stage of the game than Draco. Maybe she could at least help to stabilize her sister at this very low point. Astoria's behavior at the end of the chapter was chilling. She comes across as completely lost, unable to fathom the person she's become.

I can see why this wasn't your favorite chapter to write, but it was powerful. The imagery of two people crumbling was beautifully done. Hopefully they'll both realize soon how much they need one another. Otherwise, there doesn't seem to be much hope of fixing this.

Great job!

Author's Response: Sorry it has taken me a lifetime to respond to this review (and your others). Real life is kicking me in the boo-tay.

I'm not telling you anything because that would ruin it and what fun would that be? Plus, I like how you pick out the clues here and there. On another website someone asked me if she was cursed and Draco cursed her. Draco, curse Astoria, that would be crazy!

Or would it?

I wanted Lucius to be different. You see, I think after the war once the Malfoy's fled there would have been a lot of internal changes between the three of them. Draco would have been lost. Narcissa is probably the most adaptable of the three so she would be okay in a sense but angry with her husband over his stint in Azkaban and the family in partial ruin. Though she would have been happy they were all back together. Lucius would have struggled. There would have been fights with him and Draco and between him and Narcissa but he would have eventually worked through it. See, I do think he would have held onto his prejudices but I also think he would have tried to be better. At least to Draco because his son got screwed up because of him. So here he is, kind of quiet, alone. He keeps to himself but he can be there for his son. He knows a woman is what is necessary, at least for him and Draco, to survive.

Isabella is great. Isn't she? She's the complete opposite of Astoria and a vital character to this story. She's kind of what pushes Astoria over the edge because of her pregnancy and happiness in marriage. Astoria sees Isabella in herself, or at least what she would like to see.

Ah! Lucien! I don't want to say too much but you'll see an interaction with him and Astoria soon enough. I mean this story is almost over!

I'm glad you're enjoying the story. Can't wait to see what you think of the next part. My favorite chapters are coming up because everything sort of wraps up and we come to understand what the title means to the story.

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Review #37, by CambAngstLike Father, Like Son: Like Father, Like Son

19th March 2015:
Hi, Deeds!

I could see this happening. Pretty easily, to be honest. I could see Draco putting on his stoic, imperturbable facade for the world and then crumbling in the privacy of his own thoughts. I could see him both loving and being disgusted with his mother as she pleaded with him not to make the mistakes his father had made. I could definitely see him filled with loathing as he looked into the mirror and saw a younger version of his father staring back. The whole picture holds together and makes perfect sense to me.

I loved the rapid-fire, frenetic pace and feel that this had. You kept the imagery tight and the narrative relevant. It added to the tension, feeling like Draco had only this brief moment to stop and crumble before he had to put the facade back up and face Voldemort and his minions once again.

Lastly there's the idea that Draco never questioned the fact that he would fail. I can't find a bit of fault with it. How on earth could Draco ever have believed that he was going to succeed? One of the most interesting thoughts to ponder -- at least for me -- is what would have happened to Draco if Dumbledore hadn't cursed his hand with Marvolo Gaunt's ring. With no particular reason to die, would Dumbledore have taken a more proactive stance on trying to turn Draco away from the dark path? Would he have taken Draco and Narcissa into hiding? Or would he have left them to their fate? I leave you with these thoughts to occupy the fringes of your mind. :p

Great job! Very enjoyable and bite-sized story!

Author's Response: Hey there Danny-o! Yeah, I said it.

I wanted to show Draco at a vulnerable time. He's breaking down but he still has to keep this facade going because it is a matter of life and death. I think he doesn't actually believe he's going to succeed but he doesn't want to be like his father, a failure. And if you were given this great task even if you didn't want to do it but had to, wouldn't you try to push yourself instead of psyching yourself out? I think you also have to remember that Draco is still a rather cocky character and he is a boy. He probably believes he CAN do anything and will get through it because so far he has been untouchable. But that's mainly because of his father who paid his way on the Quidditch team and who got Hagrid removed, etc. Draco doesn't really know how to operate on his own. And he's not.

I think Dumbledore would have tried harder to get Draco on his side and it did almost work. If the Death Eaters hadn't come I think Draco would have went with him and then he and Narcissa would have went into hiding.

Thanks for the review!

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Review #38, by CambAngstWooded: Wooded

16th March 2015:
Hi, Deeds! Tagging you from Review Tag! This is my first review tag in ages!

Susan Bones is a creature of the night.

The main character is what immediately attracted me to this story. Susan is one of my absolute favorite minor characters. I can go on and on and on about her. This vision of her is... hmmnn... how to describe it. It's different, yet the same. Different because she's mostly withdrawn from the world that destroyed her family, but the same because she has the strength to make that decision and live by her convictions. It's an odd sort of strength you've given her, but undeniable at the same time.

Susan wasn’t a coward. She wasn’t entirely alone. -- Yeah, that pretty well sums it up.

A lot of your themes really resonated with me. Susan lost more than nearly any other canon character. Unlike Harry, she didn't end up being the hero or being taken in by another large family. If I recall correctly, her best friend, Hannah, also lost her family in the war. It made sense that she wouldn't care all that much for the fairytale endings that her fellow Hogwarts grads and D.A. members were living.

Justin was a great foil for Susan's solitary, brooding lead. Cheerful, outgoing, persistent, more than a little bit goofy... he's the perfect type to draw her occasionally out of her shell. I loved his collection of novelty neckties.

She tried to put in the effort but he wanted to celebrate every little thing in life. A promotion, a new relationship, buying sheets for his bed. -- OK, look, Susie. We get that you're going through a rough spot in life, but do not dismiss the sublime pleasure of buying new bed sheets. If you spring for the high thread count sets made from cotton cultivated in exotic foreign lands... Ah! Sheer ecstasy! Or better still, flannel! No wonder she sleeps on a couch in her office. She probably still has the same crappy twin-size percale sheets on her bed at home that she slept on before Hogwarts.

I like the spark of emotion and anger in the middle of the story. It added some nice contrast to an otherwise very subdued affair.

So this moon flower. Great idea! When you're a powerful, talented, influential person like Amelia Bones, it makes sense that you would have some things in life specifically to keep you grounded. Some things that didn't involve doing or creating or leading but rather just observing and appreciating. No need to converse or persuade or really even think. I could get into something like that.

Susan Bones is a creature of the night but Justin Finch-Fletchley is her light. -- Great closing line!

I can totally sympathize with the pain of having more ideas that you're able to pursue. Nevertheless, I hope you get around to this one someday. Great job!

Author's Response: Dan! You leave me so many reviews I feel like I've been neglecting your story. Real life man, it's hard! I have an hour or two now so hopefully I can read some more Detox.

Really surprised to see you reading this story but I know how much you appreciate Susan just as much as I do. I wanted to originally write a novel about Susan and Justin. This would have been one of the later moments in the story but it was going to be a sort of fantasy world because she somehow gets lost in a book. Sounds weird but it would have been great imagery and reflection as she tries to come to terms with the death of her family and Justin searches for her with help from other friends. There was going to be a lot more to the story but alas, no time!

Anyway, Hannah did lose her family but she also gained a Neville and an Augusta who I imagine would have given her a lot of trouble but she would have been welcomed to the Longbottom family. And though they wouldn't recognize her Alice and Frank would have been a welcome addition as well.

Susan doesn't have a family and that's essentially what Hannah gets in return. All Susan has are friends and that at the moment isn't enough for her. She wants a mother, a father, aunts, etc. Sure Justin offers her to spend time with his family but it isn't the same.

New bed sheets are awesome. I have to agree. Especially when you buy those flannel guys in the winter or the thermal ones. NICE.

The moon flower is real. I researched it because I wanted something soft to add to the story. Their little argument in the middle was probably the spark in the story because I think Susan and Justin are otherwise plain people. They don't argue too much. I don't see them as hot headed. So the flower was simple enough but different to add a little oomph to the story.

Thank you for a great review!

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Review #39, by CambAngstPainful Bliss: Hope

4th March 2015:
Hi, Deeds!

I love the fact that this story is mostly already written. I never have to wait very long for the next chapter to come along. The only problem is that it's hard to keep up sometimes.

You did a really good job capturing Draco's nervousness and indecision just before he asks Astoria to marry him. It's hard to find out what sort of jewelry a woman likes without tipping your hand. Especially if she's not given to wearing jewelry, as Astoria apparently wasn't. I remember this distinctly. ;)

The plain, depressing dreariness of the therapist's office was a nice touch. I took it as indicative that magical society doesn't value the services of professionals who help people overcome their problems much more than muggle society. Which is kind of sad. Anyway, it's interesting that Blaise and his wife are taking such a proactive approach to keeping their marriage strong and healthy. It does leave me wondering whether things between Blaise and his wife aren't quite as wonderful as they appear from inside Draco's world of marital misery.

Gr... Draco and Astoria are such unbelievably frustrating people. He has all of these things flying around inside his head -- desires and fears and feelings and dreams -- but he's too proud and mistrustful to let them out. Instead he sticks to simple facts and recriminations. Which is light years ahead of what Astoria is willing to reveal. There's a noticeable imbalance here between the amount of time we're seeing what goes on inside Draco's head and the amount of time we hear Astoria's thoughts. I'm taking that to mean that her secrets are deeper and more integral to the conflict driving your plot.

I really like the big hat and bug-eye glasses you dolled Astoria up with. She's giving off sort of a "spoiled Hollywood starlet" vibe at the moment.

Lucien probably has a method to his madness and I'm curious to see what it is. He doesn't seem to do much to foster the conversation, at least for the first session. Maybe he's willing to sit back and see whether they'll eventually get worn down by the pointlessness of it all. Maybe they'll start to talk out of sheer boredom. I guess he might also have it reasoned that being stuck in an uncomfortable place with only your much-loathed spouse for company can lead to some soul-searching about why you're there. No matter what, I didn't take his silence as a bad thing.

Plus, she looked adorable when she was threatening harm to others. -- Easily my favorite line of the chapter.

Ooh! I loved his recollections of the things that happened in the cellar of Malfoy Manor during the war. Little canon details like that really help to ground a story.

Are you ready for me to start speculating about what's really going on with Astoria? Oh, come on! You know you are! My guess is that Astoria lost a pregnancy early in their marriage. It was a horrible, traumatic event for her and somehow she blames Draco for that happening. That would help to explain her almost violent reaction to Blaise's news. It could explain why she hates to be touched by Draco. It could explain a lot of things. That's my guess. We'll see if I'm right...

The actual marriage proposal was perfect for the two of them. It was so incredibly awkward, but in a good, fitting way. He messes up nearly every aspect of the moment and she says yes anyway. That's love!

Great job with this chapter. I'm really looking forward to seeing the rest unfold!

Author's Response: I don't even know how to respond to this monster of a review. Well, now that you've said that I won't update for awhile. Haha. But seriously, I'm working on a Next-Gen story that's strictly romance and ridiculous. I'm planning a Harry/Ginny story for Camp NaNo since I REALLY want to write another novel but I might switch from Harry and Ginny to something about the Malfoy family that's dark and murdery. Yes, murdery is now a word. And I have some new one-shots and old one-shots to put up so I might wait another week or two before updating Painful Bliss. Mwaha, I'm evil! :D

I wanted the proposal to be funny and sweet but still hold true to the characters. I think Draco would have been nervous because by the time he's proposing to her he has almost come full circle. That emptiness has been filled and if she were to reject him, well he'd probably be the Draco in your story but forever stuck in the first part of the first chapter.

I wanted the therapy scene to really pack a punch. So many people still think therapy is where you go because you're crazy or you've failed or you're a complainer. Not because you might actually need help. There's this stereotype that it's bad so a lot of people go in during their first sessions and they don't want to open up to this strange new person that's proking and prodding into their life. That's how I wanted Draco to feel. He wants change and he wants to fix his marriage. The first step was getting into the office. The next step is actually doing the work. I think you can tell he's willing but he needs Astoria to meet him half way.

She doesn't want to. Your guess is interesting but I won't spoil anything for you. You'll just have to wait and see!

Your reviews make me so excited! I kind of want to upload the next chapter because I want to reach the halfway mark because I think when Astoria's story is finally out you'll appreciate the symbolism and the attention to detail and research I did for certain aspects. Plus, I really like the flashback. There's just so many exciting parts I can't wait to hear your take on.

Thanks so much for the wonderful review!

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Review #40, by CambAngstDevlin Potter: Convergence Riddles: Of Snow and Stillness

27th February 2015:
Hello, hello! You were definitely back on your game with this chapter. You flexed that amazing ability you have to add texture and mood to the story by using Devlin's pondering of related topics, the mental excursions he takes beyond the immediate line of narrative. It's a fantastic technique.

I love seeing Devlin and Snape spar. Snape understands but he doesn't quite understand. He knows Voldemort as well as anyone, but he's never been in Devlin's situation. He's never been mixed up in Voldemort's head, so he doesn't fully understand the thin line that Devlin walks. I daresay Snape also has too much faith in Dumbledore, considering how easy it was for Voldemort to snatch Devlin out from underneath Dumbledore's nose. From Devlin's standpoint, there's really no more reason to fully trust Dumbledore than there is to fully trust Voldemort.

Quite a contrast then to Harry, who I think Devlin has come to trust completely in most regards. It feels to me like Devlin doesn't trust himself around Harry. He doesn't know what to make of unconditional love. He feels like he can't risk the chance that fully embracing what Harry's offering will turn him into that "foolish boy" that Voldemort admonishes him not to be. Devlin can't risk becoming normal. It's really sad, because he was making such good progress in the last story. Everything since he's arrived at Hogwarts feels line one, long setback with the exception of his friendship with Maria.

There was a bit of Devlin that wanted terribly to crumble before Harry; to let Harry decipher the riddles that trapped him, confining him to a cage he feared to escape. That part wanted Harry to find the convergence at which the real Devlin was - to set him free. -- I feel kind of cheesy quoting that passage because it's the one you used in your chapter summary, but it is the most powerful thing in the first half of the chapter. It seems to perfectly capture Devlin's mixed motivations.

In front of Harry they had lost all taste; a means to an end that was only necessary because of someone that was not there. -- This was a really awesome sensory metaphor. I'm in awe.

Harry hasn't figured Devlin completely out, but he's gotten a few things right. The basic respect that he shows Devlin and Devlin's ability to deal with Voldemort obviously went a long way. The fact that he didn't press Devlin about things that Devlin was obviously evading was another good move on his part. Somehow I don't think Alexandra will be quite so understanding. Then there's the matter of Emma...

I love the way Devlin handled himself when he got back to the Slytherin table. Maybe this is the beginning of new alliances for him. At a minimum, he's found himself a new adversary.

I find it kind of strange that Dumbledore wouldn't have ordered a thorough search of Devlin's dorm room. You know, the sort of thing that would have turned up a trunk with an illicit portkey in it, keyed to the incantation for casting the dark mark. Then again, I can't even count this as Dumbledore's worst failure as the headmaster of Hogwarts. Maybe not even in the top 5. ;)

Everything is safe beneath the snow -- Another really neat metaphor. The real Devlin -- if Devlin even knows who that is -- feels safer beneath Devlin's icy, emotionless facade.

The narrative that you mixed in with Devlin's reunion with Maria was awesome. Perfect mood compliment to their conversation. The conversation itself was beautifully written. I feel like I should write a lot about it in this review, but I'm at a loss. It was perfect. She comes so close to melting that exterior of his. Only his strategic retreat prevents it. I hope for his sake that he doesn't ignore her.

Lastly, there's the dream about killing Damian. I'll reiterate that I mostly believe that Devlin killed him, although you've left the details just blurry enough that I wouldn't be completely surprised if he didn't do it. I love the way you write the sensations of magic. You make it such a physical, visceral thing.

Awesome chapter! I enjoyed it thoroughly!

Author's Response: I'll be reviewing yours today, but I have about ten minutes and thought I would reply to your review since I noted a few things I wanted to clarify.

I'm glad to hear I was on my game. I had this whole chapter written out for awhile now, but it was purely the narrative and present situations and lacked the exact thing you say is one of my signatures. I fixed most of it on Saturday. :)

I love writing Snape and Devlin. Somedays, with the other version of this story still in my head I get caught between the fact that I've made it farther in this story but not quite far enough in certain parts. In the original version Snape already had a lot more play time. So I have to remind myself of what you know and don't know.

No, there really isn't any reason to trust Dumbledore, although I don't think trusting him even occurred to Devlin, nor really his neglect of security. Right now, Devlin still sees Voldemort has too powerful to think someone, except maybe Harry, could protect him. Devlin's life hasn't been filled with Dumbledore-inspiring stories, after all.

I think Harry played this really well, but Devlin also played him a bit, too.

I think you're just trying to make yourself feel better, if you think Devlin didn't kill the Auror. Sorry. He did it. This will not be a plot twist of mine. Devlin is capable of all the dark magic his Grandfather is. And his father, if we are honest.

Don't feel cheesy - I was so proud of fitting in the title of the story into that quote! :D :D :D

I had not even though of the word/taste quote being a sensory metaphor. You always make me feel ten times better about my skill than I ever think of my own writing.

Burning the bread seemed like a sort of childish move, although Devlin's strategy is more mature. He is a conglomeration of childishness, brilliancy, and forced maturity.

I think Devlin has the inkling that he has to choose soon - that changing gets harder as one gets older. That parts of you have to cast aside and frozen instead of just sidestepped. We are less fluid in our personalities as we grow.

Ah, I'm relieved to hear I did well with Maria's scene. I was terrified - there is really no way to make something like that perfect, because so much counts on it. I hope I made it clear he was using mind magic almost subconsciously.

On somewhat of a related side note: I never understood how someone like Voldemort could ever be charming if he did not understand peoples motives (the little boy at the orphanage didn't seem very charming, for instance), which would be difficult being so emotionally detached. Then I wondered if maybe he had discovered a way to understand, without empathy. Empathy allows us to put ourselves in someone else's shoes - with empathy comes the ability for remorse. But Voldemort did have not have remorse and so did not have empathy. I'm not saying Devlin is the same, but there are components of Devlin that are like his Grandfather.

I loved the last scene. I wrote it in under an hour right before I uploaded. :)

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Review #41, by CambAngstPainful Bliss: Love? (Part Two)

24th February 2015:
Hi, Deeds! Wow, the more I read of this story, the more familiar it feels. Here's the good news/bad news, though: I only recognize things after I read them. I have no idea what's coming next or where the story is heading. So that's good, right? It's like a deja vu surprise.

Your Draco and my Draco have at least one thing in common: they both believe that the solutions to life's problems start with a bottle of booze. Going to Blaise for relationship advice... well, I guess this is a very different Blaise from the one I've written. Your Blaise doesn't come across like a stone cold player. Going to my Blaise for relationship advice would be sort of like going to Lady Gaga for fashion advice. Are you going to get advice? Yes. Has that advice worked under a certain set of circumstances? Sure. Should you actually give it a try? Questionable...

"Whoever said marriage is easy lied," he muttered bitterly, taking another swig from his bottle. -- There's such a thing as coming to the right conclusion the wrong way. ;)

It's something of a struggle to comprehend the sheer depths of what Astoria feels toward her husband. Revulsion and anger and just plain hatred. Very strong feelings. I'm sure you're getting to this soon, but for the moment it's hard to imagine what he could have done to make her feel this way. He seems like an insensitive jerk at times, but not in a threatening or spiteful sort of way. In spite of everything, he still seems pretty smitten with Astoria. There's definitely more going on here than meets the eye.

He could have married Pansy Parkinson, Millicent Bulstrode or even a muggle he had to fall in love with Astoria Greengrass. -- This line read a little odd. Did you mean to say something like "but he had to fall..."

The scene in the bedroom is pretty creepy. Can't deny that at all. Draco comes across sort of like that weird ex who likes to call you late at night when they've been drinking and tell you how the two of you need to give things another try. Except he and Astoria are still married. And he's sitting on the bed next to her. Touching her. Creepy. That said, it's hard not to feel at least a tiny bit sorry for him. He's just so pathetic.

You did a really good job of writing a drunken, depressed, emotionally vulnerable Draco. He careens back and forth between sarcastic and sad, demanding and begging, forceful and pitiful.

And then he plays the trump card. It's a little strange at first because I'm so used to reading stories about strong, empowered female characters. Characters who would have told Draco in no uncertain terms where he could stuff his money. That's not to say that Astoria isn't strong in her own way. She certainly holds a lot of power in their harsh, twisted relationship. But it defies the norm of Harry Potter fan fic stories, and to me that makes it all the more interesting. I think it adds a dose of reality, to be honest. It's easy to have your characters be cavalier about money when you know how the story is going to play out. Real people don't feel that sort of absolute moral certainty in the face of living in a cardboard box.

One more possible typo: He wanted the woman who would be waiting for him when he flooed him, hair askew from gardening and nose sprinkled with dirt, smiling at him happily as she stood on the tips of her toes to kiss him. -- when he flooed home

The completion of the flashback was an interesting look into Astoria's mind. It makes me wonder whether one or both of them lost interest after they were married and the thrill of the chase was gone. Astoria seemed much more taken with the Draco she was still trying to figure out than the one that she seems to understand too well for her own liking.

Therapy should be an interesting leap for the two of them. I can't imagine Astoria will have much use for it, at least at first. I'm expecting a lot of avoidance and bitter recrimination. Who knows where that might lead. I'm looking forward to finding out!

Author's Response: Sorry for the late reply I've been sick and unable to wrap my head around this monster of a review!

Yes! That is good. You won't know where the story is heading after the next chapter because I never posted the rest of the chapters after that. It's sort of depressing actually. I was reading it because even I forgot what happened at the end and I felt teary and wanted to cry. I mean this story was very emotional to write. I remember sitting in the dark around midnight typing around during NaNo and feeling absolutely drain and at one point just crying because I was overwhelmed by their emotions.

Astoria and Draco were draining for me since all I had delved in at that point was humor.

Again, thank you for pointing out the typos. You are the extra pair of eyes I need.

I don't see Blaise as a player. I think we have different interpretations. We know his mother was with many different men so I think he would have wanted that one person to keep him grounded. I think that's Isabella. We learn a little bit more of his advice from Draco and why he suggests therapy. I pretty much just spoiled that for you though. Oops.

Yes! There's more that meets the eye. You see that in the next chapter but the big reveal is a little later on. This story is only 10 chapters. Now it's eleven since I split the chapters in two but it's not too long. It's not meant to be long. It's meant to look at this one portion of their marriage. The beginning, the middle and then the end.

Astoria has problems. That's all I'm going to say. She has to reach rock bottom first before she can heal. That's what she needs but she doesn't accept that and she doesn't want to heal. She wants to be in pain and she wants Draco, who does love her, to just leave her alone.

I think Astoria is strong but it's different times for one and the magical community is also behind the times. Everything is very 'old school' and they come from pure blood lines where I think arranged marriages happened (before their time) but the woman would never be in charge of anything. She would be in charge of the house but not the money and she would have no ownership. Malfoy Manor is essentially Draco's but I touch upon that in another chapter. She has SOME ownership and obviously her own money but they come from ancient lines I would see:

a - she would be embarrassed to leave her husband and her family wouldn't back her
b - there's really no talk of divorce in the wizard community; Blaise's mother was with seven different husbands I believe but she was thought of as a joke--Astoria wouldn't want to be viewed that way

...Hm...your thoughts are pretty much on point but I have a few surprises rolled up my sleeves! Thanks for the excellent review. It's great to discuss the story with you. It gives me ideas when I'm editing the chapters and sometimes I add in a little bit here and there based on your discussions.

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Review #42, by CambAngstPainful Bliss: Love

14th February 2015:
Hi, Deeds!

So help me out here. I feel like I've read parts of this before, but I can't put it in context. Was this a part of your couples retreat story from before, or was it something different? The only thing I'm sure of is that it's very familiar.

The dream you start off with sets an interesting tone for the chapter. It starts off like such a happy moment, then takes a very sudden turn for something different. Just like this story, I suppose. As it is, I think the idea goes nicely with the rest of the chapter. In his dream, Astoria is testing him, just as she does in his waking life.

So much harshness from both sides of this painful relationship. At some level, I want to feel bad for Draco but I just can't.

Will you please make yourself presentable? -- Lines like that cut the knees right out from under any genuine sympathy I might be feeling for him.

Astoria wasn’t smacking him. She was stomping all over him. -- It's an interesting question of perspective, I think. Relative to the sort of interactions he's used to seeing between his mother and father, I'm sure it seems that way. But to any person whose sense of proper gender roles hasn't been shaped by a stuffy, patriarchal society, it looks very different.

He did not see the tears that fell from her eyes as she walked up to their bedroom and sat emotionless brushing her hair at her vanity. -- Powerful imagery right there. It's so sad, what he has to resort to in order to control her. Sad that he feels the need to control her at all, really. Sadness abounds.

Hmmnnn... It seems that Zabini's wife has experienced a name change mid-chapter. She went from being Isabella to Mia and back. ;)

Didn’t he understand? Being next to him made her feel sick. -- Wow. That's a pretty powerful condemnation.

The confrontation after the Zabini's ask Draco and Astoria to be godparents was one of the most uncomfortable things I've read in a long time. You... you don't. Gah! You don't ever, EVER use the word "it" when you're describing an unborn child to expecting parents. A good measure of the sympathy I was feeling for Astoria earlier in the chapter went poof in those few sentences. To me, her character put one foot across the thin line between resistance and sociopathy.

One suggestion as far as the last scene goes. It wasn't clear to me who was responding to Astoria in either the "what's that supposed to mean?" or the "IT!" dialog. Could be Draco, could be Zabini. I think it's actually kind of an important point because it shows whether Draco is continuing to act as an antagonist or whether he's become more of a victim in this scene.

Awkwardness abounds! You've definitely launched the reader into the meat of this story. I remember where things sort of ended up in the couples retreat story, so I'm really curious to see whether this is heading to the same place. Good job!

Author's Response: UH! DAN, THANK GOODNESS FOR YOU. Seriously I didn't even catch that. I changed the name if you couldn't tell (well you could) and this will most likely again happen in the next chapters if I'm not careful. I refuse to get a beta though because I feel like I've been out of the writing game for so long I need to learn how to fix my own mistakes.

Even though some mistakes are on purpose. I like short and choppy sentences, sue me.

Anyway, thanks for coming by again! This story has some similarities to couples retreat but it's not that at all. You read the first two chapters of this though because that's all I posted before I deleted the story all together.

Yes! The dream sequences are my favorite. I think they get a little repetitive though. I'm rewriting the entire story. Most of the parts are staying but I'm glad the little sentences you pulled out are entirely new ones that I thought up. This chapter was in pieces before I rewrote it. I'm not ashamed to admit that.

Astoria and Draco are...really, you don't feel bad for Draco? I do. Then again I know what happens so I will always feel for Draco a little more than I feel for Astoria. She's just kind of awful though, isn't she? I mean he still has this hold on her and you're going to see cracks within the coming chapters. He's trying to hold it together and right now he's just using his power, what little he has of it left, because he knows his marriage is crumbling but he needs to save face. It took a lot for him to trust her and to marry her. He was broken still in the prologue and she helped piece him back together again but once he was 'whole' she became broken.

Huh. I didn't even realize that. Discussions with you, always useful. Tells me more about my story and what I'm trying to do than I realize.

I know. The ending is awful and I'm trying to figure out a better way but I think if I hadn't split the chapter up and instead left it to 6,000 words it would have read better. I think you need the conversation that happens next between Draco/Astoria and Blaise/Draco and then the ending sequence to get a better understanding. By 'it' she means the child. It's a little premature to be declaring godparents and to be giving gifts when she's only a few weeks along. It's pure jealousy but I don't think I got that across well so she's being nasty by calling their baby 'it.' She's insulting Zabini. Ah! I'll have to rewrite that part soon then. I need to check the second part and see how.

Thanks so much for the helpful review! You always get the wheels in my head turning!

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Review #43, by CambAngstPainful Bliss: Prologue: Beginnings

9th February 2015:
Hi, Deeds!

I love a good Draco/Astoria story. Very excited to see what you're going to do with this. Based on the summary, it seems like maybe things are going in a rather angsty, difficult direction. Nevertheless, I want to find out more.

I'm completely sold on the idea of Draco being lost for a period of time after the war. Always have been. Basically he had to come to terms with the fact that most of what his father taught him to believe was wrong. That his name didn't make him royalty, that his so-called friends from school didn't really care much about him, that Voldemort was not the savior of the magical world and that he ultimately had Harry Potter to thank for saving him from a lifetime of servitude to the Dark Lord's whims. That must have been hard to come to terms with. I'm sure it took time.

Ah, he's become a potioneer. Also an idea that works for me.

I loved the simplicity of Draco and Astoria's date. It was a completely natural, common experience without any of the pureblood magical pomp and circumstance that might have otherwise tainted the event. All of the emotions were right at the surface, with Draco struggling at times to contain them.

Blaise, the love advisor! ;) Somehow I can't help but imagine Zabini doesn't understand much about genuine love. I hope that doesn't come back to haunt Draco.

I saw one small typo:

"You sound surprise. I should probably be offended but I’ll let it go for just this once." -- surprised

I also noticed that Astoria's hair and eye color seems to change here and there. At one point she's a brunette, later on she's a platinum blonde. At one point her eyes are blue, but when you're comparing to her hair they're brown.

Neat start to your story! I'm looking forward to reading more!

Author's Response: Dan! Hello!

I swear I'm not crazy HPFF is playing games with me because in my word document for this chapter these issues do not exist! Her eyes are blue but that second 'eyes' was supposed to read as 'eyebrows.' Her eyebrows are brown but her hair is blonde hinting that she is not actually a natural blonde but dyes her hair.

You know, girl talk.

Anyway! So glad to see you reading my little story. This definitely is one of my darker pieces and I want to say I'm proud of it but I haven't edited the entire thing yet. I'm going chapter by chapter so I don't make any silly mistakes (like the above) and I'm adding more.

Their relationship is definitely different from the prologue to the first chapter. I wanted to look at a marriage that started out nearly perfect, no issues, and then sort of hits a bump in the road and then another and another until finally they have to ask themselves, "Was this a mistake? Should we have gotten married?"

I think Draco was lost too. He had to come to terms with the fact that everything he believed in or was taught to believe in was wrong. His entire earth was shattered and I think it would be harder for him because his family was the right hand of Voldemort for quite some time. His father was a prominent Death Eater and so was his crazy Aunt. He himself was a Death Eater and I think he was convinced they would have won and Harry would have gotten his. That didn't happen so he had to deal with a new reality and that's scary for anyone. So he's broken and it's taking him awhile to piece himself back together. You know I never mention his job again after this which now I'm thinking is a mistake but I don't know how to sprinkle it in in anyway. I kind of put his outside life on the back burner because he's so focused and committed to making this marriage work. Draco cannot be a failure again at his life and this is something he can control himself. I'm interested to see what you think when Narcissa and Lucius come into the picture. Things start to get really dark then and I LOVE Lucius and Draco's interaction and Narcissa and Astoria's. Sorry, I'm fangirling over my own story.

I think Blaise would understand love because he had to deal with his mother's many men. Remember, that's what she's really only known for. So I see him going in the opposite direction. Man! I wish I would have added that into the story too. Dan, talking to you makes me want to rewrite and add many many things. You are a bad influence! :D Haha!

Thanks so much for the review and letting me know about those pesky mistakes. It seriously helps so much!

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Review #44, by CambAngstActions Speak Louder than Words: Bound by Fate: Scorpius POV

1st February 2015:
Hi, Beth! I confess I read this the day that you posted it, but time has slipped away. It's Super Bowl Sunday Review Morning!

I convinced Rose to stop for a bite before we met with Harry. I knew she had not kept her breakfast down due to nerves and I wanted to make sure that she got some food into her. -- That's a good lad. Sometimes you have to make sure the pregnant lady takes care of herself.

I loved the way that he couldn't stop fiddling with the ultrasound picture. Little tokens of what's to come mean a lot in the early stages of pregnancy when there aren't a lot of visible signs.

And then things get a bit grim. Hmnn... maybe "grim" isn't quite the right word, but there's definitely a sort of tension when they arrive at the meeting that's already going on in Harry's office. Hermione's reaction seemed about right, considering the circumstances. She's that rare sort of person whose emotions sometimes take some time to catch up to her rational mind. Ron's reaction was exactly what I would have expected. "How dare somebody do that to my little girl! Especially Malfoy!" Good thing Harry was there to step in between them.

I struggled a bit with Ron doing the sudden about-face and calling Scorpius "mate". It's not that I didn't think he'd ever get there, it just seemed to happen really abruptly. Especially while Ron was still struggling to come to terms with Rose being pregnant, engaged, and with Hermione's realization about the prophecy. I get that he's impressed by Scorpius standing up to him and demanding that everyone do what's best for Rose, but to me Ron is too stubborn to give in that quickly, even when he agrees.

"Hermione," Harry began, "Why don't you start?" -- Words that Harry would soon come to regret. ;)

I loved the way that Hermione couldn't just come out and say what she's concluded without taking everyone through the full process that led to the conclusion. She tried to do a regression on the wording of past prophecies versus the outcome. She tried to triangulate with the contents of other prophecies. When all else failed, she consulted the Department of Mysteries, the Aurors and the Centaurs. She is meticulous to a fault. Perfect!

And I was right! Yes! You're happy you didn't see that. I'm an awful dancer.

Anyway, I've felt pretty sure since you revealed the content of the prophecy that it could just as easily refer to Scorpius as to Stannous. In fact, it probably fits Scorpius better. That was my only other struggle with this chapter. I didn't quite feel the same powerful epiphany as Scorpius. Maybe that's just me.

Your biggest reveal (so far) is out there now! It's going to be really interesting to see how everyone comes to terms with this. I'm also really curious as to whether Rose's pregnancy will make her more cautious about leaving the protection of Grimmauld Place or more determined to take back her own life. I know how everyone else -- except possibly Harry -- will vote. Interesting times ahead. Great job!

Author's Response: Yay!

Superbowl Sunday Review Morning!

Haha - Scorpius is still in the mode of "not exactly sure of the best way to support his pregnant fiance" here. He is fixating on the fact that she needs to gain weight - because that is a focus he can act on, unlike the prophecy.

Yeah, I struggled with the Ron thing as well. I've got some more Ron/Scorpius interaction coming up in future chapters and I think if I re-structure this one to be a little less "mate-y", it will strengthen that story moment a bit. Thanks for the cc :)

Haha - I'm channeling a bit of myself here with Hermione. It is one of my hang-ups that I over explain things - although I don't think I would have the patience to do the amount of research that she did.

Hehe - no one wants to see me dance either.

So when I wrote this - I think I wrote the part from the actual words of the prophecy to the "big reveal" in about two days - yeah I was just flying through this. At the time, it didn't seem like a long arc for a reader to suspect Scorpius and then find out they were right. But I also think that he has a clueless factor, here. Even the Aurors thought the default was Stannous and it took Hermione to bring a new idea to light.

Yeah, this will change a bit for everyone. Thanks again for this review (and ALL your reviews :) ).

♥ Beth

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Review #45, by CambAngstDevlin Potter: Convergence Riddles: Convergence Riddle: Dangerous Games

27th January 2015:
Hi! I'm here for our swap. I just wanted to start by saying that you really made my day today. Ear to ear smiles all around!

Wow, this chapter had amazing intensity. I wasn't sure that you'd be able to keep the level up after Voldemort and Devlin return from the attack on Hogsmeade. In the first part of the chapter Devlin stuns an Auror, is attacked by Greyback, sets Greyback's clothes on fire, transforms to escape, sees his father and smoke-travels away with Voldemort. Most people could not find another gear after a series of events like that. But you? You turned it up to 11, so to speak. That's what I love about your stories, you always have something in reserve to finish a chapter strong!

The attach scene was amazingly vivid. I could feel the heart-pounding adrenaline that Devlin was running on. You did an awesome job with all of the physical details that showed how hard he was pushing himself, how afraid he was of failing in his mission or getting caught.

Greyback was a terrifying piece of work. I liked the way that you didn't have him instantly recognize Devlin as a member of his "family". It made things much more gripping to wonder for a moment whether Greyback would just try to kill him. Probably the only thing in the entire chapter I would offer a suggestion on was the choice of the word "creator" that Greyback uses to describe Remus. It felt too clinical, too civilized. Greyback is a wild creature, for the most part. I was thinking something like "your alpha" or even "your father" would be more apropos.

I adored the image of Devlin igniting Greyback's clothes. I really can't see enough bad things happen to Greyback. Speaking of which, I noticed Voldemort asking Devlin to explain to him who the "crazy man" was. Could be bad tidings for Greyback.

"You must teach me that," he said, his breath a whisper. His heart was still in his chest, his throat dry, his skin tingling. -- I don't know that there's ever a perfect thing to say when you're dealing with Voldemort. He can turn pretty much anything against you if he wants to. But that line was pretty close to perfect. ;)

Yes! I knew it! I knew that Voldemort would send him back. This is just one more way that Voldemort puts his "ownership" of Devlin on display, one more way to shove it in Harry's face. He's so unconcerned about Devlin's true loyalties that he intentionally sends Devlin right back into the stronghold of his greatest enemy.

Snape was beautifully in character, as always. He's doing what he can to help Devlin, but he can't come close to hiding his frustration with how dangerously Devlin is living. If there's one point Snape is making that I really wish Devlin would figure out, it's that even by following "the path of least resistance", Devlin is still making a choice.

Lastly, I absolutely loved the comparisons you drew out between Voldemort and Dumbledore in this chapter.

Dumbledore was imposing, in a soft way; like a velvet covered knife, hidden between layers of robes and coalescing magic. -- I've had that feeling many times, myself. To someone in Devlin's position -- or the position Harry was in as a teenager -- the only difference between Voldemort and Dumbledore is that Dumbledore has better window dressing for his uncompromising agenda. The verbal sparring between the two of them was beautifully written. It's amusing how a character as formidable as Snape is reduced to a third wheel to their conversation.

I noticed a few small typos as I was reading:

He swerved into another alley. In his mind he pictured were he had entered and ever turn he had taken. -- where he had entered and every turn

He was must be running parallel to the town. -- He must be

Devlin could here Snape shift behind him, his breathing, which had been even, stalling for the barest second. -- could hear Snape

Awesome chapter! I enjoyed it thoroughly. Thank you for the swap and for all of the love you lavished on my story today!

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Review #46, by CambAngstYou Should Marry Me: You Should Marry Me

26th January 2015:
Hi, Deeds! I am reveling in your return.

I have the strangest feeling that I've read this before. I could be completely wrong about that, but I have the feeling. Was this, perhaps, something that you had on the archives before?

Anyhoo, I really love the writing style and the voices you gave the characters. They were emotional and irreverent and more than a little bit silly, but they retained the essential warmth and passion that makes them all feel real.

You have an incredible talent for writing Ron. Somehow you manage to play up all of his worst traits but keep him loveable at the same time. I confess that I've been reading far too many Ron-bashing Harmony fics lately, so it was awesome to be able to reconnect with your version of the guy. He's so child-like here. I just want to ruffle his hair and give him a cookie.

Your take on Ginny is always unique. She still seems feisty and emotional and a little scary, but she's also vulnerable. I liked the gradual progression from angry to whiny to kind of lovably desperate at the end. The fact that Harry was toying with her all along was really sweet.

Awesome job!

Author's Response: Hello Dan! What a nice surprise. You have read this before actually. I will tell you I'm having a hard time writing new content. I have ideas but I can't find my voice which is funny to me because according to my diploma I am a journalist. Even though I consider myself a pseudo journalist because what I write at the moment isn't too life changing. It's not for lack of writing it's just lack of creativity. I have a certain formula when writing certain content and I have seem to forgotten my formula for HPFF.

Or maybe I'm just a bad writer. Or maybe I need to go back to my roots and try to be funny.

Anyway, so I'm reposting all of my old stories. Going through them with edits and I'm posting some things that I never posted before either. I think the next 'newest' story will be WWVD and The Many Jobs of Remus Lupin.

I posted this and A Recipe for Babies right away because I feel like YSMM and ARFB were two of my best stories. I'm going to toot my own horn and agree here that I kept to the warmth of the characters. I wanted them to be slightly ridiculous but show they're still who they are. Just behind closed doors together they can let loose. I think we're all light that in some ways. Especially around our significant others. I do and say things that are silly and weird around my boyfriend that I would never in public.

I think Ginny is like that. She has class, that girl. I too do not liking waiting and am very impatient. I would probably propose to my boyfriend in a few years if he doesn't get the hint (and really let me tell you he never gets any hints).

NO! What's with you reading Ron bashing fics. We do not bash Ronald unless it's a crack!fic and he dies a mysterious death so Draco and Hermione can be together. Dan, are we going to have a serious discussion here?

Thank you very much! It's nice to talk to you again in a review format. I see you were the first one to figure out who I was on the forum. Mwaha. I wanted to see how long I could keep it a secret before everyone figured out who I am.

I'm evil like that.

I've been meaning to hop back in and read your stories but I'm not entirely back in the sense I will be as active as before. I've got two jobs man so I figure I'll read and I'll write when I can. Ta-ta for now!

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Review #47, by CambAngstThe Marriage Contract: The Marriage Contract

26th January 2015:
Deeds! It's been ages! I was really excited to see you writing again. I do hope this becomes a thing. :)

Lucius had always been weak. -- That one line makes this a very unique Lucius story right off the bat. I don't think I can even recall a story where Lucius is so frank with himself. You stripped away off of the carefully layered self-delusion from his character and cut to the essence of what lay beneath. What I've always through lay beneath, at any rate.

Your overarching thoughts on the nature of marriages among old pureblood families fit really well with my own head canon. I've always seen these people as cold and calculating. They see relationships as transactions of power and influence. From there, having Lucius and Narcissa's relationship be so different was really endearing. And believe me, it's not easy to endear me to Lucius Malfoy.

I need to marry Narcissa. -- Yep, his mind is well and thoroughly messed with. ;)

Narcissa was spectacular in this story. She is the steel behind Lucius's facade. She makes him strong in spite of the fact that he's weak. She was the one demanding that he return to his post, not because she wants him to but because she knows that it's necessary. Underneath that stony countenance is a genuine, powerful warmth and softness. I loved the glimpses of affection you showed.

You didn't think that I would pass on mentioning Cecil, did you? Because there was no way in the world I was going to. Cecil Lucius Malfoy. Can you imagine? "'My father will hear of this!' cried Cecil before stomping off toward the dungeons." Thankfully the Black family naming convention won out in the end.

I could tell your writing was a bit rusty. It wasn't anything big, just a choice of word here or an odd turn of phrase there. No matter. I enjoyed reading this thoroughly. It's wonderful to see you back!

Author's Response: Dan! You again? Haha! You're spoiling me! As I said in my other response I'll be here and there but not as active as I used to be. I have two jobs and one of them requires a lot of my time because it takes two hours to get there and two hours to get back.

Traveling. Oy.

I'm reading this review and jumping around so sorry if it's all over the place but yes I am rusty! I didn't think this came out terrible as my first piece of writing so I decided to post it anyway. We all have to start somewhere, don't we? I couldn't get it perfect. I wanted it to flow a certain way but I kept getting stuck because it was supposed to be an entirely different story of when they were younger--hence the mention of the owlery and dating.

Then I wanted them to be older. I was going to write this once the war was over for them as Narcissa being very angry with Lucius over everything that went down (mainly Azkaban) and Lucius would have been lost since everything he believed in shattered but that didn't pan out like I planned either.

Cecil Malfoy would have been a great name. I think with a name like Cecil your middle name would have to be something really groovy like Peace, Flower or Hope.

^ No. I would not be able to take Cecil seriously either.

I actually love Narcissa and Lucius's love. I do think he was weak! At the time of the story Lucius has been stripped of his 'power.' What I mean is as a Death Eater he is no longer of any importance. Remember Voldemort took his wand and it was Narcissa that had to give him the slight nudge to let him let go of it (obviously for safety reasons). He needed her in that moment. He has always needed her in those moments and she has never given up on him even when he went to Azkaban she was very upset about it but defended her husband if she had too.

So here he is patrolling in a house that has been overrun by his master who has thrown him aside. His son didn't complete his mission either (since Snape killed Dumbledore) and he has never gotten along with Bellatrix so it's not like he's going to go to Voldemort's number one supporter and mirror her or get in her good graces to get into his again.

He's lost. He can admit that to himself just for a moment. He wants a glimpse of his old life back and that's what Narcissa can do for him. Though she is angry and scared, because she cared about her son/husbands safety, she will be his rock.

Because Dan, behind every good man is a good woman.

And Lucius has many faults but he isn't the worse man in the wizarding world.

Whew! Great conversation. I didn't realize I thought so much about Lucius or Narcissa. Thanks for the stellar review. When I have the time I'll pop on over and get lost in some of your stories!

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Review #48, by CambAngstkisses-blood-valentine: Ballad of Evvie and Bernie

22nd January 2015:
Hi, Rose! I decided that I couldn't wait to read this, so I did. Now I've decided to gut it out and try to get your review done tonight. If I'm maybe a bit less coherent than normal, that would be why.

I love what you've done with this story. The style is so unique and so edgy. It's challenging reading, which is the type I've come to like best. It both required me to stay engaged with its subtlety and complexity and made me want to stay engaged with the mystery that surrounds poor Bernie. This isn't some spoon-fed young adult fiction for short attention spans.

I could definitely see a lot of the Pulp Fiction storytelling style here. The contrast of vivid details standing out against matte backdrops, the non-linear sequence of events and the gory subject matter all added to the effect. At times, I could imagine seeing the story through a very tight camera shot, narrowly focused on some part of a character's face. I also liked the way you wrote Bernie's dialog. I'm struggling for the right word -- beatnik? -- but it fit perfectly.

From the first scene, it's apparent that Bernie has a very tenuous grip on reality. She sort of fades back and forth between things that feel real and things that seem like delusions. Horrible delusions at that.

The character of Evvie sounds like a very interesting woman. It's obvious why Bernie would be attracted to her. I had to chuckle a bit at the fault she finds with Valentine's Day, as well. We certainly agree on that point.

It seems that both Bernie and Benjy have secrets. It's horribly sad that Benjy's secrets are the ones that ultimately destroy Bernie's life.

Ah, so the Death Eaters captured Bernie and tortured her for information about her brother. If I'm following correctly, the torture culminated in using the imperius curse to make her murder her muggle girlfriend and then framing her for the murder. In the midst of this horrible scene, I loved the small details, like the items she'd purchased for their date peeking out of the toppled grocery bag. It added a jarring touch of realism to an otherwise hazy scene.

The ending was bitterly chilling. I don't thing you could have finished a story like this on a better note.

I saw one typo (I think) as I was reading:

Evvie watches Bernie take each step towards the street backwards so they can gaze at each longer for a few moments longer. -- gaze at each other?

Your writing was beautiful. This was a really ambitious story and I thought you did an amazing job with it! Looking forward to reading more of what's on your 2015 plan!

Author's Response: Dan!!

Oh my this review just blew me away. I've read your review at least a dozen times and every time I grin like a dope.

This was quite a change for me, which I've said before but I feel as if it paid off with the feedback I've gotten on it. I imagine it takes quite a bit for a story to be a challenging read so I'm definitely flattered to make it to that point. :)

I really like the way you've imagined this visusally. If I were to film this story, you'd be my top pick for director. Writing Bernie's dialogue was something I focused on as she's my first black MC and I wanted to get her right.

When I was writing this, I really worked hard to get the slipping from thought to thought on the page in a way that made sense (in some way at least) while not being a classic, spelled out turns of event. I won't specificy which of her thoughts were memory versus delusion but it was a mix of the two.

Evvy was my fun character in this - she didn't get a lot of time on the page but I liked what I did include about her. The Valentine's Day rant is one I've heard many times and summarized here. :D

It's a sad irony that their secrets were so costly in the end. I could see Order members not telling their family about the Order for their safety though (and Bernie is just waiting until the right time to be open about her relationship with a muggle).

I like your rehash of what happened. I've decided against telling people in responses if they're right (or which parts they're right about) because I don't want to spoil this for people who read it down the road. I did throw in those descriptions to give a sense of linear thinking in a very nonlinear story.

The ending came to me before I started writing (I suppose that's fitting for a story like this) and I'm glad I was able to use it with the impact I wanted it to have.

Oh, yes. I've fixed that.

Thank you so much for this incredible review!!


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Review #49, by CambAngstFalling Out: Not About Love

22nd January 2015:
Hi! Song fics are tough to do justice to. I was excited to see what you would do with this.

I'll start by admitting that I don't know the song. I listened to the 90 second preview to get a feel for the mood. I thought it had an intimate sort of feel to it, light on the production with vocals that are conversational in a way. I imagined the singer on the stage of a small club or lounge.

Taking all that into account painted an interesting picture of the rocky sort of relationship that we see coming to an end in your story. The imagery fit well: Draco slouched in a chair, dragging on a butt, trying to somehow convince Rose to be the lover that he wants by talking down to her like a child. She's plainly not a child, and it seems that it's more Draco than her who's living in a fantasy. At least in the long term. In the short term, she's the one living a fantasy, but she tacitly acknowledges that their affair is a fantasy. A life lived in the moment in the darkness of night. Draco has convinced himself that he can change that relationship into a proper thing, suitable for the light of day.

The length of the piece was good for the subject matter. You provided everything we really need to know about how things got to this point, and you didn't belabor the moment.

I really love the contrast between Rose, who lives for the thrill of an illicit affair, and Draco, who wants to turn it into something more. It's an obvious role reversal relative to conventional gender roles in this type of relationship, but it fits the two characters to a T.

Your writing was lovely. Congrats on your editing; I didn't see a single typo or grammatical problem.

Great job!

Author's Response: !Ah! Thank you!

I really recommend checking out the music video--it's like, amazingly perfect, and surprisingly funny (Zach Galifinakis lip-synching Fiona Apple).

I really love what you said about the gender reversal. I hadn't even thought of that! We do tend to see "younger woman thinks he'll stick with her / older guy is just messing her around" in the media. In RL, though, I feel like I've generally seen it as the guy who thinks he can make it real, and the younger girl just playing around. INTERESTING.

And really, I think some relationships can seem really thrilling as a secret affair, but are quite ugly if you try to pass them off as a Real Thing (like, well, THIS ONE. There is something inherently unsettling about the concept of Draco/Rose. Like if someone tried to legit ship it without flaws).

I first read this pairing in the RarePair challenge, and thought the author did really interesting things with it. Then Rowling said the whole "uh, yeah, it's creepy to love Draco" thing, so then I kind of HAD to write it!

Thank you so much for reviewing this! I'll admit I was pretty nervous about it!

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Review #50, by CambAngstComplicated: In Which Things Get A Little Bit More Complicated

19th January 2015:
Hi, Emma!

I really liked your new chapter, even though parts of it weren't a lot of fun to read. You did a really good job with some difficult subject matter, letting Olivia feel and react as she made her way through a gauntlet of traumatic situations. I thought she ended up being very appropriate for her age and for the odd sort of transitional situation she finds herself in. At this point, it seems like she's straddling worlds between her old friends (Scorpius and Cassie) and her new friends (Albus, et. al.).

The walk from Hogwarts to Hogsmeade was definitely the fun part of this chapter. Al and Olivia felt like very normal teenagers feeling their way through an awkward but pleasant period of growing closer to one another. They fit quite well in spite of their differences. Maybe partly because of their differences. I was kind of disappointed that Al didn't get to answer Olivia's question about whether Laura Brogan had a "deep, dark back story". Somehow, I'm guessing she does.

Wow. Scorpius is going above and beyond at this point. I can understand being hurt and upset, but he's taking things obnoxiously far.

I'm glad to see I'm not the only one who imagines Daphne as being hopelessly vain and empty-headed. I confess that I had a lot of fun with her character in Conspiracy of Blood and Detox. She made for good comic relief. I also like her in the role of Pansy's enabler.

I had some mixed feelings about Pansy, which is a good thing. She seems a little more complex than Olivia's angry reaction would suggest, but not much more. She's definitely wallowing in self-pity, but I'm not sure that she realized how hard Olivia would take the news of her parents' separation. I don't think Olivia realized how hard Olivia would take the news of her parents' separation. Hmmnn... now I'm struggling to recall whether you named the mistress by name earlier in the story. If not, it's an interesting bit of mystery you've created.

Ah, the magic of Honeydukes' cellar. I love it as a setting for this moment between Al and Olivia. It was everything they needed in that moment, private and accommodating and away from the prying eyes of the crowds. You also did a great job with Ambrosius.

After several hours and more chocolate consumed than I wanted to think about, Al swished his wand to wash up our plates and left some gold coins on the crate he’d been sitting on. I didn’t ask why he was leaving the money. -- This is really the only thing I can nit-pick you on in this chapter. If Al used magic, I think it would have set off the Trace.

I felt sad for Olivia that she went back to her own common room, but I can see why. She probably didn't feel like being surrounded by the Potter/Weasley traveling circus at that moment. Scorpius turned the jerk factor up to 11 in the common room. It was clear earlier in the story how much he relied on Olivia, but I think everyone -- myself included -- underestimated how much she relied on him. The ending of the chapter was a perfect metaphor for just how disconnected Olivia's become from everything she used to take comfort from.

I couldn't see a single typo in this. You did a great job with it, writing some very tough subject matter with a lot of finesse. Until next time...

Author's Response: Hi Dan!

Thanks for another really lovely review. Olivia's definitely straddling two different lives at the moment - that's a lovely way of putting it. She's very in between different things.

And Laura Brogan will feature more later...

I hadn't really intended to be so cruel to Daphne but she was a lot of fun to write, and I think anybody who's going to be good friends with my Pansy has to be quite vacuous. I'm glad you found Pansy convincing. She's struggling but is definitely not really acceptable int he way she treats her daughter. The mistress is still a secret for now :)

Hmm, I hadn't thought about the trace like that. I kind of thought they were probably okay in Hogsmeade - didn't Hermione levitate a christmas tree in the Three Broomsticks once? Maybe I'll have to do some investigating, or make Al already of age. Thanks for pointing it out anyway!

And yes, Olivia definitely needed Scorpius more than she thought. I wanted this to be a transition moment.

Thank you so so much for the review! You always leave such thoughtful comments and it really means a lot.

Emma x

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