Reading Reviews From Member: CambAngst
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Review #51, by CambAngstDevlin Potter: Convergence Riddles: That Boy

19th October 2014:
Hi! Here for our swap!

Yes, That Boy. That boy who will have me feeling a certain level of anxiety every time I think of him until we find out what happens. That boy who's once again faced with a situation where every word, every reaction, indeed every thought could be a matter of life and death. Life is unfair.

First off, whew. I was glad to be correct about who Voldemort decided to kill. I guess it makes perfect sense, all things considered. Felix would be a loose end if he was allowed to live. Also, he was annoying.

"You should have let me do that," he said, knowing and not knowing, all at once, why he had. -- Perfect response. Devlin -- or I suppose I could say Dubhn -- manages to say something that helps to keep himself tangled up in Voldemort's head.

"I have always been convinced you were just like me," Voldemort said. "They try to change us - to ruin us, but we are superior to them." -- Breathing a big sigh of relief here. It worked! They are still tangled up. I loved the interplay between Devlin, Dubhn and the sharpness here. We hadn't seen that for a while.

Wow, I did not see Scorpius stepping up like this. I guess he's realized that he has no more value among the Death Eaters. His only hope at survival is to find value somewhere else. It was interesting to see how he and Maria manage to finally work together. Each of them brings certain pieces of knowledge to the conversation, and each of them has strengths and weaknesses.

"Do you honestly think Felix was the only one behind this? And don't you think they knew where you would go? To the nice kindly Dumbledore. That's a horrific idea. That is, unless you want to go back too, Ms. Watson?" -- Scorpius knows an awful lot. Not only about what's happened to Devlin, but also the things that happened to Maria. I'm pondering the possibility that he's also a plant. That the Dark Lord means for Devlin to be "rescued" and Scorpius is part of that plot, wittingly or unwittingly. For now, color me suspicious.

I love the way you set up the scene in Little Hangleton. It all fell into place as soon as I started to read.

Devlin wondered if this was how his own expressions appeared when he did not feel them genuinely. He looked side-long at Voldemort and he suddenly chuckled. "Our similarity is uncanny." -- Remember that line from the last chapter where Devlin is talking to McGonagall and he thinks that Voldemort has made him even better than Voldemort. This instantly made me think of that.

The conversation between Devlin and Voldemort as they approach the Riddle home was beautifully done. I could feel the tension in Devlin as he works to observe and memorize the reactions of the new, non-snake-looking Voldemort while doing and saying all the right things. And that last line about the Chamber of Secrets alluded to so much more to come.

I'm curious whether Voldemort realizes what it means to have Geoffrey being in the hands of his enemies. Actually, I'm guessing he does. One more thing that makes be believe there's a larger plan at work here.

I like the little bit of overlap you've been writing into each scene with Maria, Andrew and Scorpius. It's a neat narrative technique and it grounds each scene in time.

"He is an arrogant Auror with a brain the size of a pea. By whatever misfortunate miracle, he is also Head of his department and one of the most powerful Wizards of our time." -- That was handily my favorite line of the story so far.

I really like the way you wrote Scorpius in this scene, although it doesn't make me any less suspicious of him. It's certainly possible that he's unaware of his role in the Dark Lord's plan. See, now I'm completely convinced that this plan is a real thing.

Love the way that Devlin uses images of Emma to strengthen his resolve. It makes Devlin even more special in a way.

So Devlin has only six days worth of his cruciatus potion left. Somehow, I have the feeling that he's not meant to be with Voldemort for that long. I could be wrong, I suppose.

I could only find one typo while I was reading:

Instead, a look or anticipated terror had closed off his face. -- look of anticipated terror

Awesome job! I can't wait to see how this all plays out!

Author's Response: Did you think he'd ever be that boy again? It was such a struggle getting into that boys head again. A while back in the first book I really had to tell myself to forget I knew he'd eventually return to Voldemort, because I found it hard to get into the mindset of Devlin. Just when I truly had stopped struggling to write Devlin, he's returned to Voldemort, and here I was/am, struggling to get back into "that boy's" head. :)

Felix had to die. Left alive, I just didn't feel the shift as much. Voldemort doesn't keep people alive. Felix was just a means to an end. And yeah, he was also annoying. Voldemort and I sorta semi-agreed on the decision.

I can't tell you much about Scorpius, but there are equal reasons for him to try and impress Voldemort as there are for him to decide to seize the opportunity to become valuable to Harry Potter. Right now, he's pretty worthless to both parties, which isn't a good place to be for a pureblood boy.

For fairness, Maria's kidnapping was widely publicized, as well as her return. I imagine an Auror's daughter managing to escape and then be rescued by the Aurors (which some creative tracking methods if you recall) would have made headlines. It's just the sort of story people cling to in times of war.

"that last line about the Chamber of Secrets alluded to so much more to come." - actually, I wonder if you remember the little tidbit in the Ministry in the final chapter of Riddle and Rescue. Of the SOMETHING in Harry that Devlin recognized. If Devlin could just have some time to think, he might actually be able to put something together, here. ;-)

If Voldemort even knows he is still alive. What worth does Geoffrey have to Potter that Voldemort would understand? He has absolutely no worth to Harry, and frankly, without his tie to Devlin, Harry may have simply thrown him into the hands of the Ministry to be imprisoned or executed.

Scorpius' future is on a need-to-know basis, right now. ;-)

You underestimate my meanness. I decided if I had to reshape my plot to avoid physical violence to Devlin, then I would have to turn it all into something more psychological. Six days is his countdown. Don't mistake it for your own. :D

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Review #52, by CambAngstDevlin Potter: Convergence Riddles: Kidnapping Convergence

18th October 2014:
Hi! I'm here for our swap.

I really love the fact that Devlin's taking the bull by the horns when it comes to his lycanthropy. Granted, it's a different day and age from when the marauders started school, but part of me thinks about how differently things could have turned our for Remus if he'd chosen this approach. The way that Devlin reveals himself to his fellow was pretty awesome.

Three weeks into school, on the cusp of a new month, he started to finally wonder if perhaps Grandfather had lost interest in him beyond what information he must receive from Green and the older Slytherins. -- Sigh. That would be nice, but I can't really see fortune smiling on Devlin like that.

Wow, speaking of Remus, he sort of puts Devlin on display here. Seems like Devlin is up to the task, as well. I was a little surprised how Devlin allowed himself to excel, given how he's tried to conceal his skills from McGonagall and the rest of the school. Then again, McGonagall wasn't asking him to attack or defend himself. I imagine there's also a bit of werewolf interplay going on between Devlin and Remus. Dominance displays and such. I loved the feelings it inspires in Devlin when he realizes that Harry never betrayed his deepest secrets, not even to Remus.

One thing I wanted to mention about the first scene with Will is that it took me a couple of readings to figure out who was who. It wasn't clear at first that the Slytherin boy Will is pinning to the wall was different from the first-year that the Slytherin boy had been bullying. Maybe a bit of clarification up front would make it easier to follow.

That said, I loved the idea behind the scene. Will and Devlin reach something of an understanding in their mutual defense of the poor boy that Voldemort nearly killed to make a point. Then Devlin extends the ultimate olive branch, a chance for Will to learn how his father truly died. As Snape said: Devlin was playing a dangerous game. -- Incredibly dangerous, but Devlin seems to understand the idea of nothing ventured, nothing gained.

"There are lots of things in life that no one asks your permission for," Devlin said. The boy shivered next to him. Will looked at them both. -- Amen to that.

It seems like Devlin has grown tired of playing dumb for McGonagall's benefit. Not that it benefited him all that much in the first place, apparently. I love the way you chose to write McGonagall here. She isn't at all surprised that Devlin's been sandbagging his attempts at Transfiguration; it doesn't even come up. She can see all of the telltale signs of a Potter boy planning something, as well as the ghost of a young Tom Riddle. While reading this, I had never quite put it together in my head that she would be very likely to see things in Devlin that remind her of her former schoolmate. The whole conversation between the two of them is awesome, especially Devlin's explanation.

Sometimes, without even knowing it, he had made Devlin better than himself. -- Every so often, you write a chapter that's filled with deep, philosophical truths. This is definitely one of those.

Wow! I forgot that another of Voldemort's contemporaries continues to live inside Hogwarts Castle. That was an awesome catch with Myrtle's reaction to Devlin.

Even when he's about to be taken back to Voldemort, Devlin's first thought is of Maria's safety. "Shhh," he said, shaking his head. "Don't scream, Maria. Don't scream." I don't think I can mention this often enough: I love the two of them together. I really hope that she goes to someone for help.

The scene after Felix delivers Devlin to Voldemort was intense. I love the way you wove so much psychology into it. Devlin is completely tuned in to what Voldemort expects him to be, what Voldemort wants him to be, what Voldemort values. Devlin puts Felix immediately in his place, asserting his own worth and power. For that reason, I'm pretty sure that the Killing Curse at the end of the chapter is directed toward Felix. I guess I'll find out soon. All of the little mind games with Voldemort, like calling Devlin by his birth name, ratcheted up the tension. I am so excited to see what comes next. Fortunately, your new chapter just validated, so I don't have to wait. :)

One typo I noticed:

Just as she was a woman who knew mistakes could not be undone but only acknowledge, he was a boy who knew righteous anger was not the answer and that conflict did not usually achieve what one wanted. -- acknowledged

Awesome job!

Author's Response: With Devlin, I think it ends up being clear to him that it is the ONLY way to deal with it. As he says, everyone else saw the bite and really - I bet a bunch of those boys already knew anyways. Devlin did not want it used against him.

Working backwards in my reviews is always a bit strange, but also fun. Obviously, you knew better than Devlin - Voldemort is still interested.

I don't think Remus was really thinking in that moment. Devlin clearly wasn't 'listening' and he did his typical teacher move -make the distracted kid prove he was listening by preforming the task-. I think Remus had a moment of dawning realization and afterwards probably didn't see how he could have made the mistake.

--One thing I wanted to mention about the first scene with Will is that it took me a couple of readings to figure out who was who.-- I re-read the scene and can see what you mean. I'll make an effort to fix that!

I'm glad you liked the conversation between McGonagall and Devlin and that it read realistically.

The ending scene was tense to write, as well, so I am glad it all read well.

Thanks for the review, Dan!

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Review #53, by CambAngstWe Lived: We Lived

16th October 2014:

Slash isn't always my cup of tea, but I really like the concept of Albus and Elphias being lovers. It helps to tie together a number of small things that JKR wrote into Deathly Hallows. Even though she's human as the rest of us and probably frequently adds certain things to her writing "just because it sounded good", I like to convince myself that every little detail and nuance has a purpose. It's a fun bit of self-deception, one that makes for the most interesting discussions.

Albus was carefree in those days. Sixteen years old... -- Isn't it fun to imagine Dumbledore like this? I love the image of him as a brilliant, cocky young man who has yet to be worn down by the demons that follow him through his later years. He's such a tragic character in the books. It's so easy to forget that he was young and ambitious once.

It's really interesting to imagine what might have happened if Elphias had decided to abandon the Great Tour and remain behind with Albus. Granted, he was not an intellectual "equal" to Albus, but he seems to have held more sway over his friend than anyone else. Would he have been able to help Albus see Grindelwald for what he was before it was too late? Could he have saved a love-struck young Albus from giving in to his less noble ideals? In many ways, it seems like Elphias made things worse instead of better. Tormenting his friend with tales of the lavish, glamorous travels that Albus was unable to take part in. I missed Albus. With every fibre of my being, I missed Albus. -- Elphias seems almost passive-aggressive in a way, bragging to his home-bound friend while missing him dearly.

The details of Elphias's later life were sad. As sad, in their own way, as the particulars of Dumbledore's younger years. You've built a lot of kinship between these two. It's no wonder that they remained close. But my own anxiety, my fear of inadequacy, my broken heart, prevented me from thinking it could ever develop into something more. -- This was probably the saddest part of all. Elphias allowing his own self-doubt to close a door that he had never even properly tried to open.

I knew to let him keep his secrets. -- This one line was so powerful and deep. It shows an understanding of Dumbledore beyond nearly anything else in the story.

This was a lovely piece, my friend. The best kind of slash, in one person's humble opinion, is the sort that tells a story so compelling and relatable that the genders of the characters are almost an after-thought. This story is the epitome of that. Great job!

Author's Response: Hello!

So I'm pretty sure that *something* between Elphias and Dumbledore is just unspoken canon! My mom read Doge's eulogy as having been written by a woman, and almost wouldn't believe me that it was a male character. Then I explained that Dumbledore was gay, and she was like "AHA." Plus, that whole scene with Harry and Doge at the wedding almost explicitly references it!

As for Rowling's intentions, I actually think you're pretty safe assuming things are there on purpose. She cut thousands of words from every draft, and hacked out whole sections, so anything that remains is likely important :)

Yeah, it was super interesting for me to reverse engineer them into young men. And yeah, to have Doge really kind of behave in an immature way. He admitted in his obituary that his letters were probably careless or cruel, in retrospect, so I was super interested in fleshing out what that meant. I figured "jealousy" was the most likely motivator, given the events.

Yeah, I went SUPER sad with the Omar Shafiq thing. We got told, in canon, how everyone's greatest fear was coming home to find the Mark - so I really wanted to use that in this story. And then, for Elphias/Dumbledore, I was kind of inspired by "My Antonia" (which is as close to a perfect book as anything that exists), and how that bittersweet love ultimately transcends the physical. It was hard, for me, not to give Elphias and Dumbledore a "happily ever after," but canon wouldn't allow it. The whole point of Dumbledore is that he still believes in love, in spite of everything.

The keeping secrets thing was also kind of a handy way to avoid opening that can of worms - but yeah, that's an element of Dumbledore that Harry only understood later, so I liked the idea that someone else might already know it.

I'm so glad you liked it! This was my first foray into slash, and if I had a OTP, it would be this one :)

Thank you so much for the swap!

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Review #54, by CambAngstGravel on the Ground: As the Days Go By: Old MacDonald Had a Farm

16th October 2014:
Hi, farmgirl!

I love the air of mystery these chapters have. Or maybe "mystery" isn't the right word. More like "unfamiliarity", perhaps. It's not that I don't recognize the characters, but the situations are completely unfamiliar and I find my brain spinning to try to figure out where they fit into the broader narrative of Gravel on the Ground.

The first section is pretty obvious, I guess. It's well established in GotG that Sadie's father was a good friend of Arthur Weasley. It was neat to see how it happened, though.

The second section was much more interesting. It immediately had me wondering how much Charlie's sister and mother might have had to do with the terrible fate that befell his family. What was it that drove such a divide between mother and daughter? It could have been something completely pedestrian, or it could have been something more.

I really enjoy reading these little asides and I'm looking forward to seeing how they all tie into the whole!

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Review #55, by CambAngstGravel on the Ground: From the Ashes: Chapter 9

16th October 2014:
Hi, farmgirl! I meant to review this yesterday, but better late than never, I suppose. Also, you get to wake up to my reviews two days in a row. :)

There was something about seeing Mrs. Weasley doing a simple task like laundry that I really liked. Ugh, what's the word I'm looking for? Maybe "settling". I think small, mundane details like laundry and cooking and cleaning take a story with some very big mysteries and characters who've suffered some awful tragedies and make it all feel grounded in reality. I know it's kind of a big leap. "Yes! She's doing laundry! This story could have happened in real life..." But I hope you know what I mean. It's not all devious plots and powerful spells and good vs. evil, sometimes people have to stop and wash their clothes.

I really like the way you wrote Harry in this chapter. He isn't stealing the spotlight from Sadie at all, but his presence has an effect on everyone involved. She finds him comforting, in a way. A reminder that she still has some roots in the life that was torn away from her. Harry seems to remind Mrs. Weasley that places like Diagon Alley are special, and it helps her to see the trip as more than just an opportunity for Fred and George to get into trouble. As someone who has twin boys, I can emphatically state that it's very easy to obsess over the possibilities of your kids causing mayhem to the point that you forget about how neat something might be.

Ha! I love the show that Fred puts on for the room. One of my favorite things about how you write Fred and George is that while their methods may be devious, their intentions always seem pure. Mostly, anyway. They love to make people laugh. Even Mrs. Weasley can't completely keep herself from enjoying the spectacle. Then there was this line: Laughing silently, Sadie found the whole thing very amusing and, strangely enough, a bit comforting to be surrounded by a real family once more a completely normal (if not slightly insane) family. She's come a long way from the feral girl living on the streets of New York.

What was wrong with a truck or a nice, stable subway train? -- Wow. The floo must be really horrible if it makes a subway train seem stable.

"You know, when you put it like that, I guess we do have a pet." Fred straightened up and grinned. "We have Ron." -- Awesome!

I loved the scene inside Flourish and Blotts. Sadie has found her element, it seems. And Fred and George are obviously starting to collect the tools needed to craft their pranking empire. The little knocks on Hermione and Percy cracked me up.

Gamble and Japes proved to be a huge success. The guarded, ever-wary look that had haunted Sadie since the moment she arrived at his house finally slid completely away, replaced as they wandered the well-stocked shelves with a wonderful yet totally silent laugh. -- Heart-warming. She fits in so well with the two of them.

One of the formative moments of Weasley's Wizarding Wheezes. Excuse me while I brush away a sentimental tear. I love that you included this scene.

I noticed a couple of small typos as I was reading:

Clutching her glasses tightly with one hand and clinging to Freds arm with the other, Sadie gritted her teeth as she was jostled and bumped like a lose marble in a shaken can. -- "loose marble"

They immerged fifteen minutes later with bulging pockets, Sadie's faltering smile firmly back in place, and Fred silently praising Bill and his timely loan of cash that morning. -- "They emerged" I think is what you meant to say. I looked up "immerge" and it's a real word, but it means the same thing as "submerge".

I enjoyed this so much! I suppose the next thing would be for Arthur to take Sadie wand shopping. I'm really interested to see how that goes. I also hope we get to see Sadie interacting more with Harry soon. I'm dying to find out how these two orphaned cousins relate to one another. Great job!

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Review #56, by CambAngstActions Speak Louder than Words: Bedlam: Scorpius and Rose POV

15th October 2014:
Hi, Beth! I'm afraid I couldn't be the first reviewer this time, but top 3 isn't so bad. ;)

First off, I'm going to allow myself a small pat on the back for guessing right about Rose's destination. **pat, pat** I'm also going to breathe a small sigh of relief that it wasn't someplace like Stannous's oceanside condo. I don't think I could have handled that revelation.

I see it didn't take Hermione long at all to piece things together from Scorpius's question. Interesting that Ron was the one to make the connection and figure out where Rose went. It makes an odd kind of sense. Ron obviously has a lot of experience dealing with the women in his family.

"I really need to see if she's all right," I didn't even try to hide the tears brewing in my eyes. "If she wants me to leave, I will, but I... have to see for myself." -- The boy is head over heels, isn't he? At the moment it's debatable whether he's deeper in love or in trouble, but I'm guessing that love will soon win out.

If you have to flee your own personal Azkaban, wouldn't it be best to go to the Head Auror's house? -- Well, best and also safest. Even when she's being irrational to a fault, Rose seems to make good choices. She's solid like that.

I know I've given you a spot of grief about Harry in some of your earlier chapters, but in this one I thought he was pitch perfect. He's fatherly, but not to the extent where it feels smothering. I'm confident Ron would have smothered Rose. Harry seems no less caring, but he's also understanding. He's ready to be forthcoming with her, even though he knows that what he's going to reveal will be difficult for Rose. It's plain that he doesn't love her any less, but he's treating her like an adult. Honestly, the Weasley family could use more of that.

Looks of relief poured over my friends and family, but I was still too angry to even acknowledge them. -- Yep, she's a Weasley.

From there on out, the conversation degrades into a melee. I loved the way you wrote the different sides of the argument. I do sort of wish that you hadn't written it as such a clean-cut male-female disagreement (Dominique aside), but I could see how the points of view were lining up. Ginny seemed ready to take on everyone (Ron, Albus and to a lesser extent Harry) on Rose's behalf.

Mum was yelling at Dad, Dad was yelling at Aunt Ginny, who was yelling at Al. Selenia was trying to catch her breath. Dom was arguing with Fred and James, who were getting more demanding by the second. Jax was trying to calm down his girlfriend. -- Marvelous. It's a full-blown Weasley family throwdown. The hexes were definitely about to fly before Harry intervened.

Ooh, another cliff-hanger. Something is definitely up. So, if I'm right about Stannous being tied into the Lestranges somehow, I'm bubbling over with speculation about what this prophecy is going to say. I'm guessing there will be some parallel drawn between the mother and the daughter. Perhaps Rose is the one destined to rid the world of the scourge of the Lestranges? My mind is spinning at an alarming rate here.

No typos in this chapter! Excellent job. Can't wait for the next one!

Author's Response: Hey Dan!

Yes. You get a pat on the back for that. Nice job (totally not patronizing you or anything - haha). I seriously can NOT read your reviews while at work, because outbursts of laughter are too hard to explain, especially when I'm blurting out words like "oceanside condo..."

Yeah, Hermione is a quick one - and Ron. Well, I'm not exactly one of those writers who has an entire vault dedicated to each character's motivation and back story - unless you count all of the thoughts that bounce around in my head.. BUT in my version of events, Ron is well, not very good with fully understanding his daughter, or effectively portraying his emotions to her. I think it's because he just wants to protect her so much, his first inclination is to conjure a giant bubble around her and follow behind it forever. That being said, he KNOWS that Harry will always have Rose's best interest and so understands that she feels less oppressed by him. However, that doesn't mean he's not going to stand up to Harry, should the occasion arise...

As for Scorpius, he's just a lost soul at this point. He *can't* have anything happen to Rose. It puts a bit of a blinder on him.

Rose's reason for going to Harry's house was more to plead her case, than a carefully thought out plan. She's just justifying it to herself.

*Exhales giant sigh of relief* You approve of Harry! It's easy for him to be a bit more understanding, as Rose isn't his daughter and he *does* love her so much, but is at least willing to see the big picture. I think Harry knows that Rose could, being of legal age, choose to say - "Forget all of this" (trying to keep this 12+) "I'm gonna take off on my own - see-ya!"

I'm glad the giant all-around argument came off alright. That was not easy to write. I actually completely forgot a character and had to go back and put in some more actions/dialogue to compensate. I wasn't really intending to make it sound like it was men vs. women, it just seemed that way to Rose. I should look at that part again.

So... about Stannous. You're right, but not right. I know that makes no sense. BUT much will be revealed in the next chapter and I hope, hope, *hope* that you will be less disappointed and more surprised and shouting at the computer screen, or whatever. ♥

Thanks again Dan, for everything!


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Review #57, by CambAngstHealing: Bless the Children

15th October 2014:
farmgirl! I have rarely been so happy to see an update to a story. Seriously, I have missed your version of post-war life so much!

The moment between Arthur and Harry was perfect. It wasn't overdone or overly dramatic. Arthur was soft-spoken and insistent, but he also led with his heart. Harry, for his part, was emotional, but also deferential to someone he considers a father figure. The whole exchange played out perfectly in my mind, and I can't think of any other way it would have happened. Then you wrap it up perfectly with Arthur parenting Harry, making him stop and take some time to see to his own physical recovery.

The entire scene with Fred and George was amazing. It started out on a low note, with George trying to figure out how he would tell Fred about the damage to their shop. George's solution was perfect. I enjoyed the quiet bickering between the two of them as they made their way to the children's ward. Excellent dialog. The scene in the children's ward was inspired. Of course Fred would rediscover his sense of purpose by making people laugh. It's what the twins are best at. It was warm and kind and felt so natural for the two of them. Fred's epiphany was heart-warming.

"Erm...about that," said George hesitantly. "We might have to do of rebuilding first. Went by there today and I think the Death Eaters took exception to our decorating style..."

"So, we rebuild," he answered firmly. "Bigger and better than ever."

That's the spirit, boys!

Good to see that somebody's finally talking sense to Harry. Not that other people haven't talked sense to him so far, but now somebody's talking sense about his health. Harry being Harry, of course he's not ready to hear it yet. I assume that will take a while and probably a dressing down from either Ginny or Mrs. Weasley. But the ball is rolling.

I saw one lonely little typo as I was reading:

Strangely enough, the little fox Luna had given his twin seemed to be providing more help than anything, giving the comfort no one else could break through his protective shell to doll out. -- dole out?

Gah, I enjoyed coming back to this story so much. Awesome job with this!

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Review #58, by CambAngstComplicated: In Which Slytherins Speculate

15th October 2014:
Hi, Emma! I was really excited to see a new chapter posted!

Wow. I thought the last chapter was going to be hard to top for shocking revelations, but you definitely did it here. If Cassie is doing this all for a laugh, I have to say that she's going to impressive lengths. Then again, I'm not so sure that's what's going on any more. I'm assembling clues in my head and the puzzle still doesn't have many pieces. The latest hint is that it seems like Cassie disappeared from King's Cross. So she nearly made it to the train. Hmmnn...

It's interesting to get a read on Scorpius's likely guilt or innocence from people who aren't as close to him as Olivia. His fellow Slytherins seem to find it at least plausible that he could have done something to Cassie. Perhaps not likely, but not outside the realm of possibility, either. I feel like their doubts had a lot to do with Olivia's reaction to Scorpius later on.

I really liked the way that you paced the conversation between Olivia and Scorpius. As he reveals each new piece of information, I could feel her reaction changing. She went from being unconditionally supportive to... I guess "confused" would be a safe way to say it without overstating anything. I didn't get the impression that she thinks Scorpius did it, but I think the lingering doubts combined with evidence that could be interpreted to mean that something bad happened to Cassie was too much for her. So she runs...

... into Albus's arms. I've been wondering how you were going to pull this off and you did it with a lot of finesse. It didn't feel too easy. There was a good measure of trauma involved. You played into Olivia's vulnerable state and Albus's hero complex. Bravo! I think all the hard word you've been doing to build up these two characters really paid off in this moment.

I didn't see a single typo in this chapter, so kudos for good editing. It all flowed nicely, a smooth, enjoyable read. Great job! I can't wait to see what's coming next.

Author's Response: Hi Dan :)

This has been one of my favourite chapters to write so far. It's a scene I've had in mind from the beginning so it was really satisfying to finally get it down on paper.

Scorpius doesn't seem suspicious to Olivia, but I hope it's clear that he could seem guilty to other people. It's confusing for Ollie because obviously he's still her best friend but then she's seen how other people aren't convinced by him. So yes, she doubts him.

And Albus...I really don't want to slip into the trap of having some guy who comes and fixes all the problems and sorts something out. Ollie's strong and she doesn't need somebody, but then it's good for her to have someone in her life who's actually kind and supportive. This chapter was definitely a bit of a vulnerable girl/hero complex guy moment though.

I'm so glad you enjoyed reading! Thanks so much for such a wonderfully kind review :)

Emma xx

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Review #59, by CambAngstnotes on freefalling.: sunbeams

13th October 2014:

I loved the slow, easy way you paced this chapter. Stories like this usually have a lot of plot tension accompanying the romantic tension. Instead, you left all that aside and focused on the important things. Astoria and Parvati gradually found their way to one another without rushing or seeming silly in the process. The whole thing had a realistic, organic feel to it. To me, it didn't feel like you were leading the characters together, rather you set a series of events in motion and let them play out.

Your writing was magnificent. I loved the descriptions and the little details that made everything vivid and real. I especially liked the fact that you didn't shy away from Scorpius and the nitty-gritty details of taking care of a baby.

Excellent job.

Author's Response: Hiya! Aww I'm glad you liked it!

I'm kinda terrible at plot and I like to write character-focused pieces so I'm really glad you think it worked here :D I was trying to create a very soft and dreamy atmosphere inside Astoria's mind and therefore in the story, so I tried to leave out as much detail as possible, and to let it all develop naturally and slowly and organically. i'm so glad you picked up on that! i try to never tell my characters what to do - i let them tell me, haha.

thanks so much for reviewing! :D


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Review #60, by CambAngstDevlin Potter: Convergence Riddles: Lumos

5th October 2014:
Hi, there! I'm here for our swap. :)

Before I get into the substance of this chapter, I have one over-arching observation. The editing on this chapter was pretty rough. I think I found it more jarring than I normally would because your chapters are usually impeccable where typos are concerned. I'll try to point out some of what I noticed, but I don't want this review to read like a mark-up.

Potters seem incapable of having an uneventful first flying lesson. I thought it was interesting that Kendall already knows that Maria's father is an Auror. I guess that sort of thing isn't exactly a secret, but it still caught my attention that he pointed it out. Gah, now even I'm seeing Junior Death Eaters everywhere I look.

I liked the way you wrote Ginny. She's a little like Madam Hooch, except with a lot more fire to her. The character really reminded me of the girl who helped Harry keep order when he was Quidditch captain.

I'm curious, were you intentionally experimenting with verb tenses in this chapter? A lot of what you wrote was in various forms of present tense, which clashed with other parts that were in your normal past tense. If there was a greater plan going on, I'm afraid I wasn't able to figure it out.

I liked the way that Devlin's focus sort of drifts in and out. To me, it was an effective narrative technique. It highlighted Devlin's state of mind, which seems to be a little confused.

Devlin quickly learns that following the letter but not the spirit of the rules isn't going to get you very far with Ginny. Your whole premise -- that Devlin's can't understand why Ginny's upset because he lacks any experience with a teacher who actually cares about the students' safety rather than just the end result of the lesson -- was really clever and you executed it well. Ginny sort-of punishment was also genius. There's obviously a price to being a little too big for your own britches, as my grandparents would have said.

Aww! Maria is a little star-struck and Devlin really needed the comfort right at that moment. The two of them are adorable together!

I love your story for a lot of reasons. Sometimes, I love it just because I love good writing about Potions.

Oh, wow. I really didn't see that coming with Devlin's first wand. That really brings the whole thing home in a deeply personal way, doesn't it? And the truth is now staring Devlin right in the face. The man saved Devlin's life and Voldemort killed the man for his trouble. I'm not completely sure how, but I get the feeling that's going to be important somewhere along the way.

I have to say, the accommodations Hogwarts is making for Devlin are a lot better than having him crawl down a filthy tunnel to a crumbling old shack. Interesting that Harry would be the one to challenge Devlin's valuation of Scorpius Malfoy. On one level, I can't imagine that Harry would want Devlin getting chummy with a boy who's plainly very close to Voldemort's inner circle. But on the other, he doesn't want Devlin to devalue anyone the way that Voldemort does. Definitely some conflicting emotions going on there.

"No - I think Ginny and I are good," he said, but there was something there that let Devlin blame him, at least a little. -- Aha! I wondered whether there had ever been anything there...

Wow. You got that word out of me twice in one chapter with the same subplot. No wonder that wand has such an affinity for Devlin.

Again, some real feelings there with Devlin and Emma. I think he's slowly getting back what he lost.

So, the things that I noticed aside from the tense thing:

Devlin never remembered uttered the word to a broom before, -- uttering

Even now he can remember the feel of Harry behind him, clutching him as he gives him a ride on his room. -- broom

She had to know he could already fly; she had seen him play against Freddie at the Borrow. -- Burrow

Her's was warm and steady and he curled his fingers around her fingers, trying to anchor himself in reality. -- Hers

He'd been to young for his letter, then. -- too young

The next time he saw him, they were in Potion's class. -- Potions class

One of the reasons he had always loved Potions was because of it's predictability. -- its

Devlin scratched at a sticker Emma must have put on the edge of the table while he was gone. -- You have basically the exact same phrase earlier in the scene.

Harry was going to tell him some rubbish about how some man he hadn't know couldn't have been trying to protect him and he was putting responsibility onto himself that did not belong there. -- he hadn't known

Very interesting developments! I'm really looking forward to this next chapter, with all of your hints about Voldemort!

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Review #61, by CambAngstDevlin Potter: Convergence Riddles: Memory and Reality

3rd October 2014:
Hi! Back again for another thrilling chapter!

I loved the scene where Devlin analyzes the meaning of his encounter with Scorpius on the train. He frames it all up according to that demented way that Voldemort has taught him to assess value. Devlin is a possession of the Dark Lord's, so he has value. Scorpius is the son of a man killed because he impinged, in some small way, on Voldemort's sense of ownership over Devlin. He has no value.

Wow, Voldemort has any number of operatives at Hogwarts, it seems. I wonder whether Harry understands the true extent to which Voldemort is able to make his presence felt to Devlin. Or whether Dumbledore understands it, either, for that matter. It might very much change their approach.

I'm impressed by the way that Devlin defuses the situation brewing between his muggle-born housemate and the other Slytherin First Years. It was suitably skillful for a child as mature as Devlin, although I'm not altogether sure what Devlin's angle is here. He wouldn't normally intervene like that without a reason.

Of all the boys in Devlin's dorm, Demetrius is the one who intrigues me the most. All of them are interesting, as seen through Devlin's highly detail-oriented eyes, but there's something about the quiet boy with the indistinct features who isn't going out of his way to create a stir. Not entirely Slytherin-like.

Ah, the awkwardness of life in a common bathing/sleeping area. It passes quickly, but for Devlin it has to be even worse than your average eleven-year-old. There goes Demetrius again, setting off the creepy-meter. Something about that boy isn't right. He sees too much, understands too much.

It would be this moment that forever defined Andrew to Devlin. Years later, men together, Devlin would still think of this moment. -- I really like the sentiment here. Devlin obviously hasn't spent any time around muggle-born children in his life. I was worried he'd miss that in Slytherin.

It's interesting that Devlin would allow himself to be roped into sitting with Maria in front of his fellow Slytherins. It felt to me like Devlin would see that as placing her at a certain amount of risk. Then again, maybe it's his was of showing them that she's his. That she has value the same way that Voldemort has shown that Devlin has value. He's a complicated lad sometimes.

I liked your rendition of Snape's famous "welcoming speech". Very true to the character and the books. Potioneers are all about repeatable, exact processes. They're probably not the type to change it up a lot from one year to the next.

Frankly, he thought that would be a rather profitable potion; even if it was a hoax. -- Now that's an enterprising lad! I do love authors who aren't afraid to delve into the technical and subtle aspects of potion brewing. Bravo!

Wow. Seems like McGonagall's a bit afraid of Devlin. Worried, at least. I suppose the tinge of Voldemort will do that to a person.

The last scene, or pair of scenes I guess, were my favorite part of the chapter. Devlin has the oddest combination of being coldly rational and vulnerable at the same time. He assesses the position he's in with the older boys very well for a terrified eleven-year-old. There was nothing to gain by putting his magical skills on display to fight them off and much to lose. Yet he instinctively runs to Snape for comfort. Because Devlin's definition of comfort is rather twisted, obviously. Snape's cold reproach, so similar to how Voldemort would have belittled Devlin, seems to do the trick.

I skipped ahead a bit there. I would be remiss if I didn't mention Devlin's flashback to the camp. Another small detail showing how Devlin came to be who he is, the events that shaped the boy. Geoffrey's intervention was written incredibly well.

Awesome chapter! I enjoyed it a lot!

Author's Response: I've been neglecting review responses, but I figured I'd do some until someone else asks for a swap tonight. :)

I enjoyed writing that analytical process. I think the sadder thing was that Malfoy knew exactly what Devlin was doing.

You have to anticipate that Devlin may see spies where they don't exist, although the older boy definitely seems obvious at this point. I think Harry probably does know and you'll just have to wait to see what he does. :)

I think Devlin isn't really interested in watching someone being bullied and the benefit is rather selfish at this point.

Yeah, it was a bit awkward, writing that scene. LOL

Devlin has a talent for recognizing the strength is small acts, I think.

As to Maria, I think you may be onto something. I'm not sure he would have sat next to her, either - if there hadn't been another boy. Not that he might fully grasp that.

McGonagall did go to school with Devlin's look-alike...

Fear of being hurt has always pushed Devlin to be less rash. As Geoffrey has said, he is just a boy, who has the talent to do whatever it takes not to die.

Although Devlin does not consciously realize it, Snape and he are much alike. I think that may be part of what draws him toward Snape.

Thanks for the comment about the flashback - I was hoping it all seemed in keeping with Devlin's nightmares/memories. :)

Thanks for another awesome review, Dan!

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Review #62, by CambAngstComplicated: In Which Quidditch Is Played

1st October 2014:
Hi, Emma!

Quidditch! Yay! I always love a good Quidditch match in a story. Nothing grounds a story in Hogwarts quite like Quidditch.

Poor Scorpius is such a nervous, twitchy team captain. He doesn't exactly have the most pliant team behind him, either. I can imagine Oliver Wood snapping and killing them all if this was his team. But it's not, it's the Slytherin team. I really loved the way the personalities interacted here. You did homogenize them a bit by position -- the goofy, irreverent Chasers; the angry, uptight Beaters; the calm, sage-like Keeper -- but their personalities were still distinct and very believable. I loved the way that the Chasers dispersed any of the build-up of intensity that Scorpius was trying to create.

I especially loved this line: Theres no point trying to stop Joe being affectionate. It just confuses him. You don't typically think of Quidditch teams having big, cuddly hug-fests. It's a fun mental image.

One small choice of words that I thought was a bit awkward: I was still feeling like a terrible friend so it was easy for him to pressurise me into going with him. -- I would have said "pressure" instead of "pressurise".

I like Scorpius's unshakeable confidence that he was going to catch the Snitch. That's how a good captain leads.

I have nothing but good things to say about how you wrote the match, itself. I love it when a good author isn't afraid to dive into the action and capture some of the crazy, fast-paced activity. Also, you weren't shy about touching on the very real physical danger of the sport. I wasn't completely sure about the part where everyone stops to watch the Seekers dive after the Snitch. I would imagine that anyone who'd been playing the sport for a while would know better than that, but it worked alright in context.

You've brought up several times how uncomfortable Scorpius is around Aurors and others from the Department of Magical Law Enforcement, but it really came through clearly here. I had to twist my point of view around and remember that Teddy Lupin is not necessarily a "good guy" from Olivia and Scorpius's point of view. The Auror who was playing "bad cop" created plenty of menace to bump up the tension of the scene. Overall, I loved the effect.

I'm more curious than ever what has really happened to Cassie. If she hasn't really been abducted and she just decided to disappear -- say, maybe with Flint -- then I think you've done a perfect job of setting up the reasons why things will fall apart between her, Scorpius and Olivia. If she really has been abducted, I think Olivia will have a lot of guilt to deal with for not trying harder to mend things with Cassie before school started. Either way, I foresee a lot of drama. And I'm looking forward to it!

Nice job!

Author's Response: Hello!

Thanks so much for coming back! I definitely owe you more than a few reviews for 'Detox' by now - I'll be there soon I promise.

Scorpius is a very interesting captain to write. He's a totally different character to Oliver but has some of that intensity, and I think leadership doesn't come completely naturally to him. But I'm really growing to love him as a character and it's fascinating to write him in these different situations.

I hadn't really realised I'd homogenised by position, but now you've mentioned it it's obvious - totally didn't mean to do that haha. But I'm glad you thought it worked.

Thanks for pointing out the strange wording. I'll fix that when I edit.

I'm so relieved you liked the Quidditch! I was very unsure about my writing of the match but it was good fun. I agree that people probably wouldn't usually stop to watch the snitch. I might work on that and find a more convincing way to finish the match. It was good fun to write though :)

Teddy Lupin is one of my all time favourites, despite how little we know about him. It's strange looking at him from the point of view of a Slytherin who doesn't really know him. But I'm happy to hear you thought it was effective.

And there will most definitely be lots of drama :)

Thanks for the lovely review!

Emma xx

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Review #63, by CambAngstActions Speak Louder than Words: Boredom: Rose and Scorpius POV

1st October 2014:
Hi, Beth!

Ooh, a cliffhanger! Who is the mysterious person in the house where Rose arrived? Obviously it's somebody who's familiar with her problems. Very curious.

I was wondering whether something like this might happen, although I was thinking Scorpius was more likely to go stir-crazy than Rose. I guess it's actually an expected part of her recovery. Now that she's had a little taste of what life could be like, it must be hard to be smothered in the darkness of Grimmauld Place because of Stannous. I know I'd find that horrible. He's torturing her in a completely different way, not even needing to be present.

Honestly, I was a fan of Rose's central idea. She really could use to brush up on her defensive magic in a practical setting. Granted, she's probably rushing into things, but progress has to start somewhere. Trying to parlay that idea into a way to be outside, however, was a bit childish on her part. She should understand as well as anyone that Stannous has some way to get to her that the Aurors don't know how to counteract, short of placing her under unbreakable magical protection. All in all, it seems like both sides were being kind of ridiculous. Given the strain she's under, I can see how Rose would have reacted poorly to what she would see as further coddling/imprisoning.

The group lost valuable time while trying to overcome their shock and figure out what to do. I hope that doesn't come back to haunt them. I really liked Scorpius's idea of going directly to Ron and Hermione. Aside from their house being as likely as anywhere for Rose to be, he's building some additional trust with Ron. Rose probably won't like it, but she's not really thinking straight at this point. I just hope Scorpius doesn't talk himself out of being honest with them before he can tell them what's happened.

So where has Rose actually gone? My random guess is Harry's house, and the person behind her is Ginny. But hey, I'm probably way far off. We shall see.

I noticed one thing of consequence while I was reading: "Don't say anything to alarm Nana Molly or Grandad, just act like you came for a quick visit and send me a patronus." -- This line comes from Scorpius, if I'm reading it right, so it doesn't sound right for him to refer to Molly and Arthur that way.

Otherwise, brilliant chapter! I enjoyed it thoroughly and I can't wait for you to spring your surprise on us!

Author's Response: Hi Dan!

So sorry for the cliffhanger - uh... actually I'm not, but since we are getting to the more action-packed part of the story, there *might* be one or two more - fair warning - haha!

I'm so excited that you noticed how this is a completely different kind of torture - that really comes out in the next couple of chapters. Rose just has to make her family/Auror department (really they are one in the same...) see this.

I think Rose's idea is a good one too! The Auror trainees are just privy to some *other* information that is scaring the pants off of them right now, so they are coming from a different point of view.

Yeah, the lot of them were completely taken aback by her sudden exit. It was so unlike mild, meek little Rose to just run off - another sign that she is on her way toward recovery.

As for your guess at Rose's location, you won't have to wait too long...

I never thought about Scorpius's names for Molly and Arthur - I think in my head, she (Molly) insisted that he refer to them in that way after spending so much time with the Potters. Arthur might not like it, but I think after Scorpius's parents passed away, she would have taken him in like one of her grandchildren.

Thanks again, Dan!

♥ Beth

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Review #64, by CambAngstDevlin Potter: Convergence Riddles: Something New

22nd September 2014:
Here for our review swap!

Yay, your new story is off and running! Already we have some interesting new subplots and a couple of new characters. This is going to be fun!

Devlin gets his letter personally delivered by Dumbldore. I'm sure the intent is vastly different, but I can't help but think about the last young wizard who we know for certain had his letter delivered by Albus Dumbledore. I see what you did there...

It's interesting to see the amount of thought that Devlin had put into the exact circumstances under which he'd receive his Hogwarts letter and I confess to being very curious whether it would have arrived if he'd still been by Voldemort's side. As possessive as Voldemort is of Devlin, it really does seem to me that it would have been important to Voldemort that Devlin attend Hogwarts. For Voldemort to see his grand experiment play out to its natural conclusion, Devlin would have needed to walk that path. I'd be really curious to know how that scenario would have played out in your mind.

Are you planning to share, at some point, how Devlin ended up with the middle name Augustus? Caesar was Augustus's great-uncle on his mother's side, and he adopted Augustus and named him his heir. If you're somehow setting Devlin up to be the next dark lord, that was really, really clever.

"In fact, it has been proven to me over the years that students actually spend the majority of their time on other things while at school - as a whole, they seem to flourish despite their distractions." -- cheeky Dumbledore! Also, I think you meant to say "... students who actually spend..."

I really like what's starting to develop between Devlin and Maria in this story. They're obviously both young, so it's more of a protective brother-sister thing at this point, but I see huge potential there.

I really, really loved the scene in Olivander's shop. One of my favorite things throughout the first story was the little ways that life chips away at the things that Devlin thinks he's certain of just because Voldemort said so. The physical sensations that you wrote for Devlin combined with the mental awakening was awesome. "That, child," he said, "is how your magic is meant to feel through a wand." -- Great line! Your Olivander reminded me so much of the quirky, spiritual, enigmatic wizard from Sorceror's Stone.

I guess it doesn't really matter how Voldemort managed to get that note inside Devlin's book. The point is, he did.

I enjoyed the entire scene with Devlin getting up early and preparing for his trip to Hogwarts. Even though he's more playing at normality than actually feeling it, it was neat to see him experimenting with being able to joke and smirk with his family. The small details, like Emma's hilariously mismatched outfit, really helped to sell the whole scene.

A convertible? Nice touch! Again, it seems like Harry is going out of his way to show Devlin how confident he is that Voldemort won't be able to take him. "I'm so unconcerned, I'm going to drive a car that doesn't even have a roof!"

Ooh! A testy first meeting with Scorpius Malfoy. I think Scorpius was genuinely trying to extend an olive branch, but Devlin was far from ready to accept it. Given where Devlin ended up being sorted and given that both boys have been victimized by the Dark Lord in their own way, I wonder whether the two of them might find a fair bit of common ground in this story. Once they get past the mistrust, that is.

The conversation between Devlin and the Sorting Hat was interesting. I like that the hat was completely undeterred by Devlin's mental shielding. I could imagine it having a similar conversation with a young Tom Riddle, except for the brave and selfless part.

Ah, so Kendall Green is Voldemort's spy. I wonder whether he's an ordinary child who's been trained to do the Dark Lord's bidding, or something else? I guess we'll find out in good time.

A couple of things I noticed while reading:

-- Was there a reason that the Quinn boy was sorted before Devlin? P comes before Q.

-- He thought charms would be his favorite class, and he settled this book off the pile of the others, cracking the spin open. -- spine

-- This was all getting too far afield for Devlin, and he shook his head as he experienced that sense of not quiet being able to fully grasp his own train of thought. -- not quite

-- Maria Watson made it into Gryffendor. He wasn't terribly surprised. -- Gryffindor

Awesome start! I'm really excited to see how Devlin's story progresses!

Author's Response: Dan,

Thanks for the review! This chapter was actually relatively laid-back - or maybe that’s just in comparison to the chapters going forward. It IS going to be fun!

Yes, I had Dumbledore deliver it for a couple reasons. I thought Dumbledore would want to, not just because he is close to Harry, but because Devlin IS this not-Tom boy in his mind, but still somewhat Tom. I hope that makes sense, in a sort of Dumbledore way.

You always seem to pick up on my equal curiosity and when you’re interested in a What-if, I have usually started one already on that topic! I really do need to publish all these what-ifs... (I actually have a document titled just that, with about three hundred pages...) But yes, I think he would have gotten his letter even with Voldemort. I just think I’d be writing about a whole different year if that had been the case. I love playing with the idea of Harry finding Devlin far later than sooner.

Are you planning to share, at some point, how Devlin ended up with the middle name Augustus? Caesar was Augustus's great-uncle on his mother's side, and he adopted Augustus and named him his heir. If you're somehow setting Devlin up to be the next dark lord, that was really, really clever.
Hmm, that’s pretty cool. I’ll take credit for that. In all actuality, it means something slightly different that will be revealed soon. Things like this are how I know you’ve never found my other accounts and read the originals of these stories (this is a rewrite of a partially finished sequel). LOL

I think Dumbledore said what I meant him to say... *examines the possible typo* I meant the comment to apply to all students (not that it does, but we aren’t always precise in our language), and if I said “students who actually” I would implicating a portion rather than the whole...was that the issue or have I missed it entirely? Maybe I should have said “that THE students actually...”.

I make no comments towards the Maria thing

Writing the scene in the wand shop was painstaking (I haven’t written Freddie, Thomas, or August nearly enough to make it easy), but so worth it. There is actually more to that, which will come up soon.

Yes, the note. :)

I really, really, really enjoy putting Devlin in muggle contraptions - like elevators and cars. :D

"I'm so unconcerned, I'm going to drive a car that doesn't even have a roof!" YUP and Alexandra’s “Really, Harry” is basically in response to that message right there! ;-)

Once they get past the mistrust, that is. You do realize you’re expecting a Malfoy and Devlin to get ‘past’ mistrusting each other? I think you might be asking a little much. ;-) Or maybe not.

I went through about three different fully written Sorting Hat scenes before I was satisfied enough with this one.

Ah, so Kendall Green is Voldemort's spy. I wonder whether he's an ordinary child who's been trained to do the Dark Lord's bidding, or something else? I guess we'll find out in good time. In general, you might be onto something here. ;-)

I’ll look into the typos. Re-reading the chapter right now, I found like ten additional ones. It’s always this way with first chapters! :)

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Review #65, by CambAngstComplicated: In Which Scorpius Is A Moody Cow

19th September 2014:
Hi, Emma! I was excited to see your post from the Chapter Updates thread. I've been looking forward to this!

Before I hit on the major events of this chapter, I wanted to say that I really enjoyed the tone. The last few haven't featured as much of Olivia's snarky, irreverent inner monologue and as I was reading this chapter I realized how much I'd missed it. She really is a joy to read when she's in her element, people watching and commentating on them.

Rose seems to be doing as much to draw Olivia into the Weasley fold as Albus. She has that kind of personality in this story. She's forceful without being overbearing. She's hard to resist. And it definitely helps that Rose and Olivia are bonding over their mutual dislike of Laura Brogan. Seems like the basis of a beautiful friendship. ;)

Before I forget it, I think Scorpius is trying to cover something up with this oh-so-strong dislike of Rose Weasley that he's been vocalizing. A bit of attraction battling with guilt over his missing girlfriend, perhaps?

Louis amuses me. You write him in a way that's similar to how a lot of authors write James: flighty, self-absorbed and mostly coasting through life on the strength of his good looks. He's charming, but also pathetic in a way.

She has a strange quality of feeling guilty whenever somebody else is upset, despite it having nothing to do with her. It's like she's the polar opposite of Cassie. -- Well at least the contrast isn't lost on Olivia.

It was the dancing to prove that youre sorry that was confusing me. -- I have to say, I'm in Olivia's camp on this one. That confuses me, too.

Laura Brogan seems to exude waves of non-likeability that sort of roll off of my computer screen as I read this. There's an intense and purposeful type of fakeness there. A complete disdain for the intelligence of others. I've known people like her. Now, more than ever, I think I'd like to see someone hit her with one of those hexes that leaves boils all over her face.

I looked straight into Lauras huge blue eyes. Maybe her and Louis bonded over eye size. -- Favorite line of the entire chapter right there! Gold!

OK, I have to admit that what Olivia does to Laura might be even better than covering her face with boils. Olivia hits her right in the self esteem.

Part of me feels badly for Scorpius and part of me wants to tell him to buck up and stop being so whiny. I get that he probably spent a lot of his childhood suffering in isolation because of his family and I get that he's generally upset about Cassie, but still. He's taking it out on the wrong person and it's ultimately going to drive Olivia farther from him, not bring her closer. There, I'm done lecturing your fictional character now.

Awesome chapter. Like I said, this one felt really fresh and fun and very enjoyable to read. Til next time!

Author's Response: Hi Dan! Wow, thank you SO MUCH for this review! And thanks for being so quick to get to this chapter!!

Olivia's people watching's really fun to write. I've been really enjoying using her voice, especially in this chapter, and I'm glad you still like her :) I think this chapter's got a little bit less drama than the last one so there's more opportunity for her thoughts to come through.

Rose is great. I'd like Rose as a friend, but she's not the type of person Olivia would usually see as a friend. I'm not sure what Scorpius's thoughts on Rose are right now, but it's always interesting to hear what you're thinking :)

Yes! I hadn't noticed how similiar Louis is to how lots of people write James. I guess I figured his veela genes combined with being the only boy and the youngest in his family would have this effect on him. James is a bit more toned down because he had Harry as an influence and has a brother who's close in age. But that's such a good observation! Maybe I've picked up some influences I hadn't noticed.

Olivia definitely understands Cassie's nature, she just doesn't recognise what's wrong with it. But she can see her friend accurately enough to recognise how Rose differs to Cass.

Laura's difficult and definitely not likeable, but I hope she's not coming across as too much of a cliche because (like everyone) she does have her own story that might go some way towards explaining (but not justifying) her actions. There'll be more of her later anyway.

And Olivia doesn't hold much respect for other people's self esteem, especially not somebody like Laura who seems to have too much confidence to start with.

Scorpius is difficult to figure out. I totally agree with you. I can't decide whether he's justified in being upset or not, and he definitely shouldn't be taking it out on Ollie. But it's important not to forget that his girlfriend's currently MIA so that's going to be weighing down on him.

THANK YOU! I really really appreciate all your wonderful reviews. I'll be back to 'Detox' really really soon (I may have read a few chapters without reviewing because I didn't want to stop reading, but I'll be reviewing those too...promise).

Emma xxx

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Review #66, by CambAngstYear Five: The Question

19th September 2014:
Hello, again!

There's one question that I'm dying to know the answer to after reading this chapter. I was also dying to know after the first time I read it, and foreknowledge has given me no closure. The question is, who decided to kiss Isobel, Voldemort or Quirrell? Or was Quirrell's self-control weakened by the presence of Voldemort? Or was Voldemort's disdain for most aspects of the physical realm weakened by the presence of Quirrell? I'm dying to know your take on this.

Oh, the poor elves! You manage to incorporate so many neat little touches like that into this story. They're all small things, but they add so much depth and texture.

I like Professor Sprout. She's kind, but also professional. She has expectations for the students and she's not afraid to show disappointment when they aren't met. I'm curious what she took away from her conversation with Isobel.

For once, we have a conversation (argument) between Isobel and Emily where I didn't see anyone clearly emerge as the better person. Emily seems to feel pretty ashamed -- and she should -- that she didn't even realize Tristan had been suspended. Isobel, for her part, first tries to mother Emily like always and then when she's rebuffed she hits on one of Emily's biggest insecurities. Don't be so dim! Before moving on, I'd be remiss if I didn't point out this: "I swear," she said, sparing a backwards glance. "It's like you're in love with me." -- I see what you did there.

Ah, so like a couple of Ravenclaws to feel the need to deconstruct every aspect of the situation and analyze it in detail. But in the midst of it, Laurel drops this bit of insight: "I'd actually be glad of it if they got together. I suppose it's just that I'd like to be a person who could be loved like that." -- Sorry to keep parroting your words back at you, but this chapter is full of characters letting out their deepest fears and anxieties.

Snogged by a lisping man twice your age who has Voldemort embedded in the back of his head. I don't have words for how creepy that is. Again, you drip a tiny bit of "canon to come" into this chapter and I loved it!

I really thing you did a good job of capturing Isobel's shock and horror and sense of having been violated. She has so many emotions running through her at once, she more or less shuts down for a while until she can get past it. Very realistic. Good on Fred and George to be in the right place at the right time.

"Oh, we're not students," George calmly replied, their uniforms ever conspicuous.

"Yeah, we've just come from a fancy-dress party," Fred invented wildly.
-- My takeaway here is that Aberforth needed the money. ;)

Ooh, so I'm not the only one who was wildly speculating about Tristan's true heritage. Good observation by Fred and George on his appearance.

Hagrid was so kind to Isobel and the twins. Perfectly in character, I'd say. Now that I think about it, Quirrell probably really had to hustle to get from the castle to the Hog's Head in time to ply Hagrid with the dragon's egg.

Wrapping the chapter with another highly relevant question from the Ravenclaw common room door was clever, and I liked the parallels to last chapter.

Not much farther to go, but I know you're working on big things. Looking forward to them, as always!

P.S. - "ear off", never too soon!

Author's Response: Hello!

Ah! Ok, so as for whose decision it was. I did want to leave it a little open, but I imagined it as being pretty much Quirrel's decision. I mean, this guy is in a really crazy place at this point in the story (drinking unicorn blood and all that). Plus, he's sort of experiencing both EXTREME hubris, as well as massive anxiety, stress, and pressure from Voldemort (as well as some "punishment" that he tells Harry about, but never offers details). This confluence of factors is what leads him to throw himself at the pretty-if-too-thin girl who seems to admire him so much. (Because SCREW TEACHER/STUDENT. An AWFUL trope that should NEVER be romanticized!)

As for Voldemort: it all sort of depends on personal Head Canon as to how much mind-and-body sharing is involved. So, that's up for people to make their own decisions on based on individual head canon. I myself am not sure there's a telepathic link there (since they communicate vocally in canon), but Quirrel wouldn't have done it if it would make Voldemort angry. So, at the very least, we're left to assume that Voldemort approved of the decision for at least *pragmatic* reasons (keep his servant happy). That, alone, is pretty darn terrible and awful.

I'm so glad you felt for the elves! I have SO MANY FEELINGS about their exploitation! I mean, Isobel's reasoning was pretty solid, but that's the whole issue Emily had originally mentioned about "not taking advantage." There's a reason Hufflepuffs never told the likes of Ravenclaws about the kitchens before.

I'm SO GLAD you thought that neither Emily nor Isobel seemed like the better person! That's ALWAYS how fights go, but it's hard to recognize that when you're in one.

And it's been super interesting to see how many people pick up on my Isobel clues, and when! Some people expressed suspicion as early as Chapter 2, other people got through this without saying anything!

Quirrel may have been my revenge against a certain High School English Teacher >:( (seriously, that trope needs to die a HORRIBLE AND PAINFUL DEATH! I can't even BELIEVE the audacity of ABC family--a little bit of normal substance experimentation or casual swearing or consensual teenage intimacy is Verboten, yet they CONSISTENTLY romanticize wildly inappropriate and creepy relationships--so long as it's "just kissing").

Ugh, yes, it is a pretty tight timeline. I sort of justified it to myself my thinking he left RIGHT AFTER Isobel ran off, while she wasted a lot of time stopping and crying with the twins in the secret passage. But I'm really glad you liked Hagrid! I SUPER wanted him to be in character, and SO glad you liked him!


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Review #67, by CambAngstMeeting Norberta: Reunion

19th September 2014:
Hi, Lauren! Post-Hogwarts Hagrid stories are such a rare and wonderful thing. You hardly ever find them. I was really excited to see this.

You did an awesome job capturing Hagrid's childlike eagerness upon arriving at the reserve. Guys that size don't bounce -- at least without seismic implications -- nevertheless I could almost feel him bouncing on the balls of his feet with enthusiasm.

I think someone -- probably Charlie -- had definitely given Douglas a heads-up on what to expect from Hagrid. The big guy must have felt so conflicted sitting through that two hour safety lesson, enjoying what he was learning but dying to see Norberta.

And then you brought us to the big reunion. I loved the way that Hagrid knew his baby better than the whole crew of seasoned dragon handlers. That was a really nice touch.

Your writing was beautiful in this. You did a great job of capturing Hagrid's accent and his unique point of view. My favorite passage, I think, was: "Wha'? She jus' wan'ed a bit o' love," he tells them with a laugh, wrapping his arms around Norberta's neck.

Great job!

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Review #68, by CambAngstYear Five: The Disappearing Room

18th September 2014:
Hi! It has been far too long since I've reviewed one of your chapters. I need to get back into the groove.

Poor Tristan. For somebody like him, isolation is a very bad thing. His self-esteem is precarious to begin with, and the way that his friends are avoiding him is definitely not helping. It's kind of endearing, actually, that he feels jealous of Cedric Diggory. And it was really sad that Isobel and Laurel simply ignored him. Especially Laurel, when you consider that so much of what's happened is because of the lie she told to keep Isobel from knowing about the pictures she found in Snape's office.

Wow. Just when I thought Tristan's exile from the group couldn't get any sadder, we see that he's buying drugs he doesn't even need just to have an excuse to talk to Fred and George. That's... wow. Things are really going poorly for him. While it's interesting to see Fred, George and Emily being so "enterprising", I also feel scared for all of them. I have a bad feeling (had it the first time I read this, even without foreknowledge) that this party is going to end very badly. I loved the mention of Sir Cadogan's war in the Internet, by the way.

Tristan and Laurel's mad rush through the castle had the feel of those movies made to scare teenagers away from drugs, one of those scenes with weird, jerky camera work where the protagonists are reeling about, getting freaked out by everything they see and heading for some sort of catastrophe in the end. Except we know what's waiting at the end and it isn't premature death or injury. It's another type of personal destruction, but one that's also purely self-inflicted.

Tristan closed his eyes, feeling the sting of that sentiment. This was what he appreciated about Laurel: their friendship was destructive, and messed up in a thousand different ways, but it was always honest. Nothing was left to implication, nothing was concealed, and they never said anything except what they really meant. -- Can't argue with one word of that.

I thought the way you wrote Dumbledore was spectacular. He behaved exactly the opposite of what Laurel was expecting, which was perfect characterization for him. Spot on. You just nailed it! Dumbledore is strangely intimate with Laurel -- NOT IN THAT WAY!!! He shares some thoughts and observations with her that he didn't share with Harry until much, much later. "Now while that may seem a simple thing, the great flaw of this mirror is that it provides no instruction," Dumbledore stopped. -- Gah! How do you do it??? That line was perfectly, flawlessly Dumbledore!

One more, and I promise I'll stop repeating your own words back to you: Without stopping to think, Laurel turned around and hugged the headmaster around the waist. He did not appear upset or surprised when she did, and gave her a warm pat on the back. -- That was, perchance, the sweetest moment in the story so far.

Excellent job with what Tristan sees in the Mirror of Erised. I wouldn't have expected anything else, unless perhaps he'd seen himself as a muggle.

Tristan's life had become such an unbelievable mess by this point that it was hardly even surprising when he agreed to take the fall for everything his former friends had been doing. I'm still struggling to completely wrap my head around the way that Snape coddles Tristan and looks out for him. The reaction upon discovering all of the contraband... anger mixed with disappointment. I hope, at some point, you have a chance to explain the connection between these two, if there's more to it than meets the eye.

Ah, finally we have the secret of Tristan's birth and adoption! What a lucky kid! I can't imagine how awful it would have been growing up with the Malfoys. Lucius would have had zero sympathy for Tristan's disabilities. If he hadn't managed to catch up on his own, I think there's a fair chance he would have found himself abandoned in an orphanage somewhere.

I think I'm running out of characters here, so let me just say that you did a good job water-dropping a few more tantalizing details into Tristan's panic attack, and I think it's perfectly obvious that he would have considered disappearing into the muggle world for good. But even that is denied to him.

For a long chapter, this one flowed beautifully and didn't feel drawn out at all. It was definitely the best chapter yet. Great job!

Author's Response: Hello! Thank you SO MUCH for these back reviews! I'm really impressed with your ability to offer feedback to the chapter as-it-stands in the story even with foreknowledge!

Isolation is definitely a really big theme in this story when it comes to Tristan--isolation and confinement. It was one of those things that I hadn't totally planned out when I started to write, and I kind of can't believe how naturally it all developed.

I'm so glad the mad dash through the castle worked! I worried over writing that sequence a lot, because I really wanted a specific tone, but I also wanted them to be so out of it that I couldn't offer a huge amount of information Laurel wasn't in the position to notice. I'm so relieved to hear you found it cinematic!

I'm really glad you pointed out the lines that you did! For the first one, I was particularly proud of "the sting of that sentiment. This was what he appreciated..." I tried there to add another, more unconscious, layer to their relationship: one of a kind of emotional masochism.

DUMBLEDORE! I'm sososososo glad you liked him! He's probably the most ambitious character of all to try and write, and I had to think REALLY hard about Wise Stuff for him to say. This whole sequence with Laurel also wouldn't really have been possible if he weren't gay :) THANK HEAVENS FOR THAT! Since we all know he is, there is no question as to the propriety of the proceedings, and it let me do a lot in terms of gentle intimacy. (And teeheehee--Dumbledore gets the idea for the mirror to TELL Harry how to get the stone! I thought a lot about the powers of the mirror, and decided that must have been some clever enchantment that Dumbledore added later. Plus, you know, it's cool to sort of suggest that these kids were *just* off-screen during PhilStone, or running around in the background).

Snape's relationship with Tristan was definitely, in part, inspired by Snape's relationship with Draco. I wouldn't say it's the *same,* but that he has such a complex and hard-to-wrap-your-head-around relationship with Draco let me do something similar with Tristan.

Gosh, with all of Tristan's latent anger, childhood trauma, and predisposition to snobbery, he would have been THE WORST Malfoy!

Thank you sososososososo much for this review!!!

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Review #69, by CambAngstComplicated: In Which Questions Are Asked

18th September 2014:
Hi, Emma!

I like the change in tone in Olivia's letter to Cassie. She's still a little "too cool for school" and she's trying hard not to sound too worried, but she's obviously worried.

"I, well, I can't think that she's not able to reply, so lets say she's capable. If she hasn't done it already it's because she's bored of us or whatever. She'll be enjoying the idea of us worrying and thinking about her, and she'll think it's mildly entertaining that she's caused a fuss, but she won't care enough to contact us." -- Wow. Coming from Scorpius, that's a pretty strongly worded condemnation. I'm sure part of it is because he feels hurt. His girlfriend has gone completely incommunicado on him. He's probably also a lot more worried than he's willing to let on. But there's also an edge of bitterness to the statement that I assume goes back to the night at the club when he tried to tell her that he loved her. Poor boy is all twisted in knots.

Interesting that her dad needs to speak with her about something. Apparently something he wasn't comfortable putting in a letter. He doesn't seem like the type to do things face-to-face when he could just send an owl.

Venemous Tentacula. Another facet of that grand Hogwarts tradition of surrounding young witches and wizards with things that could seriously injure or kill them. I understand Neville's affinity for them, though, considering how much they helped out during the battle against the Death Eaters. I really like the way you've written Neville, by the way. He wants to help Al, but he makes the situation more awkward, in a way, calling even more attention to Al.

Rose is trying to mend fences within the family. She's got a good heart. I assume Al will forgive Louis eventually, but it's nice to see Rose trying to help the process along.

The two Ministry witches had a vague Dolores Umbridge feel about them. Not that they were evil, but they were cloyingly friendly with an obvious underlying agenda. Some of that, I'm sure, is just Olivia's perception. Nevertheless, I'm sure she was thrilled to get out of McGonagall's office. When Joe asks her about Cassie, I was struck by how dismissing Olivia is. Kids this age struggle so much to deal with conflicting emotions. It's pretty obvious that Olivia is worried sick about Cassie, but she also feels as though she has to defend Cassie, in a way, by acting as though this is all some grand joke Cassie is playing on the world.

Ha! I'm not sure how I feel about Millicent Bulstrode agreeing with me on the topic of dangerous plants. I have conflicting emotions of my own. ;)

Wow, I love the way you set up and delivered this moment for Olivia and Al. Walls are tumbling down, yes they are...

Ooh, looks like Scorpius is the jealous type. Which is a little weird, considering, but I guess he's also under a lot of strain and feeling kind of put out at the moment. At least he comes back to his senses quickly. Olivia might have hurt him.

Wow, Olivia really is rethinking a lot of things. Slytherins aren't known for feeling guilty, and I think the fact that she walked away from Al combined with Scorpius's little dig about the Ministry witch looking like a Weasley is leaving her more than a little conflicted.

I agree with you, this was one of my favorite chapters so far. It's kind of bittersweet, coming to the end of what you have posted. So I'll join the chorus: Please update soon!

Author's Response: Thank you SO MUCH for all your reviews. They're just wonderful.

Olivia's control is definitely starting to slip, hence the slight change of tone in her letter. I'm enjoying writing her letters. It's a slightly more objective way to show her character than I can get through first person.

And Scor's definitely suffering a bit. I think worry changes people.

THANK YOU FOR LIKING NEVILLE! He's one of the characters I was most worried about because I love him and didn't want to get him wrong, but wanted to show that he's grown up a lot.

The dynamic between Olivia and Al is definitely changing, and so is Olivia. She's definitely conflicted at the moment.

This review made me so happy. Thank you thank you thank you. The next chapter's in the queue :)

Emma xx

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Review #70, by CambAngstComplicated: In Which There Are Prefect Patrols

17th September 2014:
Hi, Emma! I'm ready for another chapter!

Ah, the simple pleasures of exploding snap. It must me amazing to have magic at your beck and call, allowing you to risk second degree burns over a simple game of cards.

One of the things I love about your writing is the way you make use of small touches to give the story that "Hogwarts feel". Wendolyn the Weird was one of those small things that really sets a mood.

Interesting. Now James is missing, too? And he was the one who was searching for Cassie on the train. As I recall, he didn't seem too pleased that Cassie was blowing off the prefect meeting. Perhaps a bit out of character that he would be blowing off this one? I like all of the tangled little threads of mystery running through this story. I feel like there are a lot of hints, possibly more than I'm catching onto.

Molly runs a tight ship. She seems like she'd be a good Head Girl to work for as a prefect. No nonsense, but also fair and organized.

I liked the way that Rose warmed right up to Olivia. All of the prefects seem to be able to put House loyalties aside in order to work together. The school has obviously come a long way since Harry's day. In spite of that, Olivia tries hard not to be friendly to Albus. Denial, not just a river in Egypt. But hot chocolate can fix anything. ;)



Well, I have to say, I didn't see that coming. Louis? I was half-expecting Al to point at him and scream, "JUDAS!" At the same time Louis is blowing my mind by doing... THAT, Olivia really surprised me by stepping into the breach and keeping things from spiraling into a bad place. That girl has some qualities that don't immediately shine through, especially when she's being overshadowed by stronger personalities like Cassie. In spite of her, um, estrangement from Cassie, Olivia is still really quick to defend her. So far in this chapter, we've seen the courage of a Gryffindor and the loyalty of a Hufflepuff. She's just full of surprises.

You're making Olivia such a deep and likeable character. And my hat is off to you on all the possibilities you've woven into your mystery. This is a really, really good story and I'm excited to see where you take it next!

Author's Response: Hi Dan! Great to hear from you :)

I'm so glad you enjoyed Wendolyn! I always really liked the portraits when reading the books and couldn't resist adding my own.

James definitely should have showed up for the meeting, but I don't think his absence worried anybody too much. And he'll have to answer to Molly now that he's not done his duties.

I think Molly's definitely a good Head Girl. She's a bit more relaxed than her father, and sees it more as a chance to work with the prefects than to simply lead them.

Haha, Al definitely should have called Louis Judas. It would be very appropriate. Louis's got his own problems but has unfortunately reacted to them in a way that hurts somebody he cares about. I think Olivia's taking control would surprise her as well as everyone else, but it's definitely an aspect of her character.

Thanks so much for saying she's likeable! It always makes me so happy when people say they like her.

Always appreciate your feedback :)

Emma xx

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Review #71, by CambAngstComplicated: In Which Slughorn Makes A Choice

16th September 2014:
I'm back! You could not get rid of me at this point if you tried.

I've never felt closer to Olivia than I did at the start of this chapter. In addition to any other similarities, I also hate running. Passionately. I would not take well to Scorpius's health kick. I did, however, enjoy the mental image of him carrying her around on his shoulder. And stealing his food was pretty good revenge. Just annoying enough to matter.

Anyway, the story goes that the other potential Common Rooms they considered put up a protest and disappeared as soon as they were suggested. The Castle doesnt like change, so were stuck shivering together with the damp and the dark. Cassie says its a bonding experience. -- I loved this. Start to finish!

It eventually turned up underneath Cassies bed, beside a pair of discarded silver stilettos shed borrowed from me several months ago and a crumpled packet of fake cigarettes from Weasleys Wizarding Wheezes. -- Hang on a sec. Am I reading too much into that cigarette pack? Because I could have sworn we didn't see those for the first time until Scorpius and Olivia were hiding inside WWW over the holiday break...

I thought Slughorn was very Slug-like, with his blatant favoritism and glad-handedness toward Albus. Anything to ingratiate himself to the son of the Chosen One. It seemed like things were going swimmingly between Albus and Olivia until Scorpius decided to be, well, Scorpius. That boy needs to let go of the hate. The whole fiasco did give Albus another chance to show Olivia his noble side.

Ooh! So Cassie is completely MIA? That's intriguing. The obvious possibility that pops into my mind is the creepy Flint guy they went to the dance club with. Although he's a friend of Cassie's brother, so I'd think Andreas would figure it out somehow if Creepy Flint was involved. Or maybe I'm being way too quick to jump to nefarious conclusions. Time will tell, I suppose.

Again, you did a good job with the letter. It felt so personal and familiar, especially the way that she expects Cassie to laugh at her for being tapped to take over Cassie's prefect duties.

I'm really enjoying your story! Can't wait to find out what's happened to Cassie!

Author's Response: Hello again! I always get really excited when I see reviews from you :)

I absolutely sympathise with Olivia's hatred of running. I've been trying to work towards a 10k and EVERY SINGLE TIME I feel like I'm going to collapse and maybe die. I just don't know if it's worth it. But yes, Scor carrying Ollie is sweet and food stealing is definitely good enough revenge.

I don't know where the Common Room idea came from but I really enjoyed it so I'm glad you mentioned it :)

As for the's good to see that you're thinking about everything, but no spoilers. But yes, we saw them for the first time in the break.

I struggled a bit writing Slughorn, because he was the first character I had to work with that we see quite a bit of in canon. I'm glad you found him convincing.

Scorpius should definitely go a bit easier on Al, but Al deals with it well (ish) considering everything.

Thank you so much for another amazing review! I feel like maybe you got a bad deal swapping with me because your reviews are much higher quality than mine, but thank you thank you thank you for all your feedback. I really appreciate it.

Emma x

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Review #72, by CambAngstComplicated: In Which Cassie Misses The Train

15th September 2014:
Hi, Emma! I've been itching to get back to your story, and I finally have a bit of free time.

Once again, we see poor Olivia slogging her way through a sloppy pit of sticky, squishy awkward with her mother. At least her dad isn't there to make it worse. Her mother's vanity hasn't been a huge theme so far, but it came across strongly in this chapter. No wonder Olivia struggles with relating to others.

So Cassie's not on the train. Interesting development. I'm wondering whether she's just decided to be fashionably late (absent?) or whether there's something more going on. If I'm gauging the passage of time correctly, it's been around a week that she hasn't been on speaking terms with Olivia? Seems like a long time, even for her.

I love the one-sided conversation where Scorpius isn't really paying attention to Olivia. And I really loved what it took to get him to pay attention. Seems like Albus is a bit of a sore spot for him. Is there perhaps more to the animosity than just the obvious reason? But just a bit later, Scorpius actually expressed a bit of sympathy for Albus. He's a complicated character. I have to say that I felt really bad for him when the Zabini girl was mashing all over him. He was trying so hard to make a point and she was completely impervious to it.

I think maybe you should emphasize the fact that Olivia plays Quidditch a bit more. Honestly, sometimes I forget. I did like the conversation, though.

Aww, two out of three of the pictures from Christmas were actually rather sweet. And then there's the third. Probably best not to speak of that one. It's too bad that Olivia doesn't get on better with her cousin. It seems like the two of them could find a small oasis of sanity in their otherwise insane family.

Ha! Scorpius knows just which buttons to push to guilt trip Olivia into running with him. He really does have some insecurities, or at least he plays at it well. All in all, I think you've made him into a very likable, sympathetic character.

The letter to Cassie was really well done. Part snarky, part sweet and kind of vulnerable.

I can understand why you wouldn't have felt completely happy with this chapter. It's one of those chapters that you need in order to move the plot along, even though not a lot actually happens. I did think that you made some really good character development headway with Scorpius. Unfortunately, they can't all be crazy barn-burners. Looking forward to the next one!

Author's Response: Hiya! Thanks so much for the review. I just finished reading and reviewing your wonderful story so any positive feedback from you really means a lot :)

Pansy's vanity will definitely continue to be a theme so I'm glad you mentioned it. You're right, it does help to explain Olivia's difficulty relating to other people. Especially combined with her father's unfaithfulness.

Cassie's disappearance is definitely supposed to stand out as strange. Given that she's such good friends with Scor and Ollie it's out of character to be out of touch with them both for so long.

And Scorpius has a lot of animosity towards the Potters, regardless of whether or not it's justified. Ollie knows this, obviously, and so knows exactly how to use it against him. I'm glad you said he was a complicated character. He's one of the characters I feel I understand best, and he means a lot to me. Thank you thank you for saying he's likeable and sympathetic.

I'll bear that in mind about the Quidditch. I think it generally gets mentioned a bit most chapters but I could definitely add in a bit more (love writing Quidditch...).

Thanks so much for this review. Since writing this chapter I think I've started to feel a bit better about it, but it definitely feels more fillery than most of the others. All your comments have been really helpful and reassuring.

Emma xx

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Review #73, by CambAngstActions Speak Louder than Words: Bombs and Bonds: Scorpius and Rose POV

14th September 2014:
Hi Beth! So exciting to be back for your new chapter!

I think it was brilliant to continue the mother-daughter conversation between Hermione and Rose. There's so much common ground between their experiences and it's definitely helping both of them.

Before we get to that, though, there's the scene with the Aurors. You did a great job of creating powerful tension and making it all very gripping and personal from Scorpius's point of view. If I was him, I'd have to wonder at some level whether I'm getting too close to this case to really be completely effective. His struggles and lapses of concentration weren't a good sign. Then again, Harry's demeanor tells me that Scorpius isn't the only one who's struggling. Ditto for Ron. The whole department is under tremendous strain here and I have a feeling as though something has to give.

Small thing, but I liked the fact that they're bringing in the Department of Mysteries to try to determine how Stannous is doing what he's doing. I almost never see the DoM used in this way in stories and I think it's brilliant. The DoM is such an underutilized resource. Most writers act as though the entire department does nothing but research secret things and make discoveries that never see the light of day.

Albus's observation on Stannous was as unsettling as it is spot on. Whatever Stannous is playing at, it's obviously personal for him, too. He's possessive of Rose, in a way. I don't think he'd take a chance of anyone hurting Rose except him.

I thought your ideas on what post-war life was like for Hermione, Ron and Harry were amazing. I especially liked the reasoning behind them. Harry suffered from so much misinformation being used against him during his school years. I do think it would have been important to him to see the real truth take the place of all the made-up stories that the Prophet used to sell copy. But that clearly came at a cost. The parallels between Hermione's story and Rose's were subtle and brilliant.

Way to go, Scorpius! The way to Ron's heart is through his stomach. Unless you're Hermione, I guess. She doesn't seem to cook much. That's how you know it was meant to be. ;)

So back to my pet theory about who Stannous really is. So much of this story has been about parallels between Hermione's life and Rose's, and I'm getting more and more suspicious that the theme extends into the nature of Stannous's obsession. If the elder Lestranges failed to destroy Hermione, maybe the next generation is going after the next best thing? Trying to destroy the daughter as a way of extracting vengeance on the mother? Or maybe I'm still just reading too much in. Who knows? Beth does, that's who!

One typo I saw while reading:

We also know that hes got several accomplices working with him, so he may choose to lay low and let his lackeys do the dirty work. -- lackeys

Great chapter! Props to Kenpo for the suggestion, because I think it added a great deal. Til next time!

Author's Response: Hiya Dan!

I feel like I'm always apologizing to you for being so late with my responses. Eeep. Sorry - again...

I'm so, so happy with this chapter. It really did glue Part 1 and 2 of the story together.

I wanted the scene with the Aurors to give enough information to the reader without being explicit - *that* will come very soon, but not just yet. So, part of my reasoning for having Scorpius losing focus is so that the reader doesn't get too much info just yet. Also, I don't think Scorpius would ever admit that he is too close to the situation to back off from protecting Rose. She is his everything, and he is well... a bit stubborn. So glad you picked up on the Department of Mysteries, because it will be obvious later on why they were involved (insert evil laugh).

I really tried to think through about how the after effects of the war would weigh on the trio. We don't get to see any of that, but I did watch an interview with J.K. where she said that she wrote the epilogue for a few reasons (one was to have her version be out there). The other reason was to show that perhaps Harry's greatest triumph is that he came through it all and was living a normal life. She thought that someone who had been through all the trials he had done would find his greatest achievement in being a normal, everyday guy (I'm *totally* paraphrasing here, and misquotes are completely unintentional). Anyway, I felt like that path would never be paved smooth.

I don't know if you've found this with your writing, but I feel like I learn about the characters *as* I write them. Especially with this chapter, I felt like I got to know the trio and some of their post-war struggles. I even wrote some stuff about Ron and Hermione and the year after the war. Maybe I'll post that at some point, too.

Haha - I just can't get past the Ron and eating thing. It comes up a few more times, too. You're so right about Hermione! There is *no* way she's cooking for him anywhere close to the way his mum does - haha!

I like where you're going with the parallels. Maybe it's vengeance... maybe not...

Thanks for finding that! I'll fix it. Although I'm not allowed to fix anything right now... because I was nominated for a DOBBY (thank you so much - again ♥)


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Review #74, by CambAngstComplicated: In Which There Is An Attempted Kidnapping

12th September 2014:
Hi, Emma! I wanted to read one more chapter before time to get the kids settled in.

I'll start with the big picture observation this time: This chapter had some really good writing in it. I could feel the momentum building as you moved through it. By the end, I was really hanging on each sentence. I didn't know whether Albus would see Scorpius and Olivia hiding or whether this Clara girl was going to wander in and muck up everything. I definitely didn't expect Rose to come to Al's rescue, so to speak. And I really like the way that Olivia is gradually building this connection with Albus, sometimes without Albus even realizing it. I like what happened in this chapter as a complimentary plot development to Albus's "rescue" of Olivia in the last chapter.

I dont know how either one of them ended up in Slytherin. Theyre much too cuddly. -- A brilliant synopsis of Olivia's entire encounter with Joe and Oscar. I like the depth and diversity you're giving to your Slytherin characters in this story. Some of them -- Scorpius and Cassie and definitely Creepo Flint -- are very traditional Slytherin archetypes. Others, like our two goofball Chasers here, would go just fine in Hufflepuff. Cheers for not making the House of Snakes one-dimensional!

Ah, the Unbreakable Vow. I suppose that's a foolproof way to quit. If you relapse, it's curtains!

Scor looked at me, and then we both started laughing. Nobody says no to Cassie. She is masterful at getting what she wants. -- I don't know whether this was meant to be a really meaningful passage, but after the last chapter it really jumped out at me. There are a few one-word equivalents to "masterful at getting what she wants". Persuasive would be on the kind end of the spectrum, manipulative on the other. Where, exactly, is Cassie going to fall on the spectrum and how will that affect her relationship with Scorpius? That's what inquiring minds want to know. ;)

And then Albus comes along with his decidedly ex girlfriend. I really liked the way that you wrote their conversation from start to finish. An interesting contrast I noticed was how Laura attempts to manipulate Albus -- lying, equivocating, making excuses -- and he's having none of it. Compare that to how easily Olivia tends to be manipulated by Cassie. If any romantic spark develops between Albus and Olivia, I can see a lot of conflict brewing between Albus and Cassie. I'm not trying to guess the entire plot of your story after chapter 4... oh, heck, who am I kidding? Of course I'm trying to guess the whole plot of your story! My guess is that a spark of romance does develop between Olivia and Albus and Cassie doesn't like it at all, because she can't control Albus and she sees herself losing Olivia as a friend. My "dark horse" prediction is that Cassie leaks things about Albus and Olivia's relationship to the press, things that Olivia has told her in confidence, to try to break them up. You probably won't tell me whether I'm close or not, will you? :p

Let's see, what else? It was nice to see Al's family quickly rally around him. I'm not a fan of the version of Al that's very disconnected from his siblings and cousins.

Once again, superb writing! Great chapter!

Author's Response: I didn't expect you to be back so soon but this review definitely made me smile, so thank you thank you thank you.

I'm glad you saw this chapter as building on Olivia and Albus's relationship. That's what I wanted from it, but I'm not sure it's necessarily obvious given that they don't interact.

And I'm enjoying writing Slytherins so much! I figured there are lots of ways to have the characteristics Slytherin House values and still be friendly and loveable, and I hope my characters show the range of figures present in the House (although I'm not convinced that Joe Montague wouldn't have done a little better in Hufflepuff...).

Your observation about 'masterful at getting what she wants' placing Cassie ambiguously on the spectrum from 'persuasive' to 'manipulative' is an interesting one. I get the impression you might already have a pretty good idea where Cassie lies on that spectrum...

Albus is definitely one for straight talking. I thought Harry and Ginny would probably encourage honesty and straightforwardness in their children, especially Ginny. Plus you probably have to have that attitude when you're so in the spotlight.

Thank you so much for the wonderful review! You're also number 100 on this story so that means a lot :)

Emma xx

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Review #75, by CambAngstComplicated: In Which Albus Potter Has A Hero Complex

12th September 2014:
Hi, Emma! I'm here for the first installment of our September Review Exchange!

I've missed this story. One drawback to doing a lot of Review Tag and swaps and such is that you find stories you like and you say to yourself, "I want to come back and read more of that", and then for some reason it doesn't quite happen. Anyway, I was pleased to have been paired with you.

Olivia's parents are interesting pieces of work. They're so uncomfortable in their own skin. Even reading a scene with the two of them in it makes me feel uncomfortable, like I should leave the room or something. I can definitely see why Olivia has no desire to be around them, especially on New Years Eve.

Martin is officially very creepy. It started very near his first appearance in the chapter and only got worse as things went on. I imagine that he spends quite a lot of time in that nightclub, and a good chunk of that time doing to other girls exactly what he was trying to do to Olivia.

Which brings us to Albus. My goodness, he created a moment. Gryffindors are, of course, too heroic for their own good sometimes. They try too hard to fix the whole world, even when it doesn't want to be fixed, but I daresay Olivia will be very happy that he came along once she wakes up on New Years Day.

Cassie honestly annoyed the crap out of me in this chapter. I believe I remember you saying in a previous review response that she's difficult to get to know and not an especially likeable character at times. That came out in spades in this chapter. It was a bit shocking to see just how little she seemed to care for Olivia's safety and well-being. Maybe that's a theme you plan to build on some more as the story develops. Or maybe this was a one-time thing brought on by her being annoyed with...

Scorpius. I really liked Scorpius in this chapter. It's always hard to get a feel for characters in the first one or two chapters of a story, but here you started to round him out really well. From all appearances, he's a decent human being. He cares about his friends. And he wants to have what most would call a real relationship with Cassie, one where they openly and mutually love one another. I'm feeling like that's going to be a challenge to get to, owing to Cassie's aloofness and trouble dealing with her feelings.

Your writing was terrific in this! I didn't see any typos or grammatical errors and I thought it felt more polished than the first two. All in all, the story is progressing really well and it's starting to feel like you're more comfortable writing it. You seem to be in your element. Good job!

Author's Response: Hi! I just left you your review on your wonderful story too, so was happy to come back to see this :)

Thanks so much for all your feedback! That's such a good observation about Olivia's parents being uncomfortable in their own skin. I hadn't really thought about it like that but it's very accurate. Everything about them is supposed to be a little bit unsettling.

Your comments about Martin are spot on. He's pretty awful, but then sadly a lot of people in the real world are very similar to him. I think you're probably right that this is common behaviour for him.

Albus is so much fun to write, especially from a Slytherin's perspective because I can really criticise the Gryffindor traits, but yes, it's good he stepped in when he did.

I'm really interested by your thoughts on Cassie. I definitely agree that her behaviour's actually quite unacceptable, and I'l be interested to hear your thoughts on her in later chapters if you come back.

Scorpius is my absolute favourite to write at the moment, so I'm so happy that you're enjoying him. Of all my characters I feel like he's the one that comes most naturally.

Thank you for such a kind review! I'm really glad you enjoyed the chapter.

Emma xx

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