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Reading Reviews for Illuminations
11 Reviews Found

Review #1, by merlins beard Alfajores

19th January 2016:
Hey Laura,
I'm here for our swap (which we did in november - I am SO SORRY!)
It took me a while to get here, but I never forgot. I wish life had slowed down a bit and I could have gotten around to doing this a while ago, but at least I'm here now.

I really enjoyed reading this. As always, your flawless descriptions leave me in awe and barely able to form sentences here. everything I write sounds boring compared to the wonderful images you paint.
Are you also writing Original Fiction? Because I'd buy any book you wrote.

This is usually really not my Era (I noticed that you write a lot of it), but you make your characters come to life and you give them a background story they did not have before. Some of it I recognize from Pottermore, but you embellished and enhanced their stories and made them seem believeable and real. I am really impressed - I didn't think I'd like a story from this era quite that much...
Pomona walks us through this story as the main character, (something I have not seen before), and shows us different sides of characters we know so well in later years.
Professor Slughorn and his womanizing days are not something I ever expected, but I suppose it suits his high self-esteem and quite cocky nature very well. I think it only logical that Minerva might start fancying the only man she really can’t have after what happened to her with her husband.
The one thing that really, truly made me laugh out loud was only mentioned in a side note. Professor Kettleburn liked to smuggle Manticores onto the school grounds and got suspended for that. So he does have a lot in common with our dear Hagrid. I wonder why Hagrid never got suspended for bringing creatures to the school… or are Acromantulas, Dragons, Three-headed Dogs, Blast ended skrewts and all the other fun creatures not as bad as Manticores?

I saw that this is marked as a short story. I hope you’ll continue it, I’ll definitely add it to my Currently Reading list, I’d like to see where this goes. You really captivated me with your attention to the tiniest details and beautiful description. I’ll be back

Thank you so much for the swap, I know my review is SOOO long overdue. I’m really, really sorry about that.
♥ Anja

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Review #2, by Tonks1247 Alfajores

29th June 2015:

So, I’m just hanging out, on vacation with a bit of spare time to read, so I figured why not get some reading and reviewing done? (Although, I’m pretty sure I won’t have the WiFi to post this review until I’m home…which is entirely besides the point) I only have a massive list of things on my to-read list, things that I just haven’t gotten around to…

So. Here we go. This was quite an interesting read. I have honestly not read anything relating to any of the professors at Hogwarts, or anything about other wars, or about Pomona or anything. Therefore, having an open opportunity to read about these characters and how they interact and get along and gossip, just like anyone else, was really entertaining. It really made the characters seem human, and just as prominent and important as the characters we hear a lot about.

Pomona’s character was fascinating. Her feelings, of not being old enough or in the same professional position as Dumbledore were well played. I could see, at moments, exactly how she felt as if he was her professor again, feeling as if she did something wrong. It was so fitting and so well played.

The other character I absolutely adored was Dumbledore. His characterization was so spot on and I could definitely feel how canon he felt in your writing. He was so distinct and so Dumbledore-like. It was fantastic. I especially like his reaction, and even the interaction, between Pomona and Dumbledore. I’m assuming this is right after Dumbledore defeated Grindlewald and just…Dumbledore’s emotion and lack of an ability to put words to what he had to do and Pomona understanding that there was a line and something she didn’t know…it was well illustrated.

Also, the end of that conversation? Dumbledore was much too entertaining, with his commentary about messing about in other people’s private lives with his: “I must admit, I think it is high time someone did, otherwise certain of them would never get anywhere.” Made me giggle a bit!

Also have two other lines that I absolutely adored and had to share:

“Her mother would have been scandalised, Pomona knew, though there were a lot of things Pomona had done in her life which would scandalise her mother if she found out about them. This could just join the list.”

“Dwelling on past possibilities will only make the pain of them linger.”

This was quite the entertaining read and I’m glad I got time to swing by. Great job!


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Review #3, by Good Godric the Great Alfajores

25th May 2015:
Godric the Great back again for another review on an intriguing story of yours! So, hello!

THIS is wonderful. Simply amazing. When I clicked on I expected some kind of crack!fic because Pomona and Albus bonding over tea and biscuits isn't something I thought I'd ever read--EVER--but here I am and I am LOVING it.

It's so funny to think of the teachers being so young here. You perfectly captured Pomona's feelings about being a fairly new teacher, such as when she expresses slight shock at the fact she can call Dumbledore Albus now and not Professor. And the constant references back to her own school days were priceless!

You really stick so well with characterisation, too. Obviously Pomona isn't described much in the books but Dumbledore her encapsulates the intimidating but humorous character that Rowling wrote, with his little meddling ways he is renown for (in both humour and darker ways...)

Great chapter! I thoroughly enjoyed the way you worked this and the originality of the piece!

Author's Response: Hey there again, Godric! :) Thank you so much for the wonderful reviews you've left me over the past while - they were so great to get! :)

Haha, I know, right? It is a pretty strange situation - and a lot more humorous than I usually write, for definite! But it was one of those ideas which just grabbed me and didn't let go, so here it is :P

Thank you! :) I loved writing them younger, haha - especially Pomona and Minerva! I think it's one of those things, you know, when you see teachers and so on once you've left school and you panic like 'what do I call them now?' and you revert back, which happens in rl, so I liked using it here :)

Thanks! :D Dumbledore is one of those characters I've actually written about a lot, so it wasn't too strange writing about him - though he's a lot lighter in this than in others I've written with him in. The humour was hard to get, though - it's so difficult to do so I'm so glad you liked it! :)

Thank you so much for the wonderful bunch of reviews! :)

Aph xx

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Review #4, by Veritaserum27 Alfajores

11th April 2015:
Hi there Laura!

I'm here for the BvB!

Whenever I read one of your stories, I know I'm going to be transported to another place. And this one was no different. Your unparalleled talent for description and simply drawing the reader in is indicative of published authors. The way you wove the theme of Fawkes the Phoenix throughout the story is also very clever and really on another level than most of the stories on this site.

I LOVE your characterization of Pomona in this. It's simply perfect.

*runs off to nominate for SOTM*

It's clear she had all the markings of a young teacher, trying to establish her place within her new role as professor, and find where she fits in the world. The way she unconsciously falls back on her upbringing and the rules of polite society that her mother has set contrasts with Pomona's natural curiosity and desire to meddle is artfully done in this piece. And the fact that Dumbledore is a willing participant is just icing on the cake. I wholeheartedly agree that while most students and faculty respected him to the point of being a bit guarded in his presence, Albus liked to have his fun.

The time period that you chose for the setting is also perfect. This line:

“It was difficult,” he said at last, the words themselves heavy, impregnated with a meaning she didn’t understand.

was so powerful and you broke my heart with it. Although Pomona didn't understand, the rest of us realize how incredibly painful it must've been for Dumbledore to have to decide and then act to duel the man he loved and the friend he'd lost. Just with that one line, you've told us an entire other story! Gah! I'm still aching from it!

And the unspoken understanding between Pomona and Dumbledore, both gay in a world where that is most likely not understood or acceptable at the time this story is set, was so beautifully outlined without being overt. These two share more than just hiding their love of meddling with the staff members.

As usual, you've written a story that is both light and dark, a bit silly and serious, and brought the reader along for the ride. Awesome job!

♥ Beth

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Review #5, by crestwood Alfajores

15th March 2015:
I've wanted to read this story for a while because I love Professor Sprout a weird amount for a character that barely actually does much of anything in canon.

I can't believe you've gone and made me so hungry :P The way you talk about the biscuits really makes me crave something sweet. I love the little things you add in like this that just make everything that much more vibrant and real.

I love the sticking charm on the plate to make sure she doesn't knock it over and embarrass herself. I imagine that Dumbledore is intimidating in his brilliance, although he's an inviting person otherwise. I know that I'd be fuming about the fact that he exists and is so much better than me.

I'm interested in why Sprout would have been rude to Albus. I've never seen her as a particularly hot tempered persona and I imagine she had a good reason.

Oooh, Minerva is involved in this story as well?! This is a good story. Any story with young Hogwarts era teachers is a good story in my book. (not to mention written by you)

I remember reading about Dougal McGregor, but I don't believe I finished it because I can't quite remember who he is or what happened to him. I do remember that he was with Minerva at some point and I assume that he's become involved with another woman here. I can't yet be sure though.

I want to know more of this Bessie. I hardly ever read of Sprout in a romantic context, but I would like to.

Are they..gossiping?? I LOVE THIS STORY. Also, I love Slughorn being in love with Professor Vector and Albus' lines about how he views himself.

I love the idea of Minerva flirting with a barman. I love to picture her younger than she was in canon. It's so funny to think that all of the teachers were so young once.

Albus, of course, would not look upon his duel with Gellert as a joyous occasion. I do imagine if this is the same Albus from L'optimisme or another version of him, slightly different. In any case, he almost certainly was in love with Gellert--at least, if you ask me.

I love the friendship between these two. Albus is really just the best and perfectly characterized. I felt like I wanted to hang out with the characters in this story honestly. There's something so awesome about this. I wonder what inspired you to write this. The time period itself is definitely not one typically written in. It's really awesome though. I would not mind seeing more of this era here. Amazing work, of course. Four down, one to go!

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Review #6, by 800 words of heaven Alfajores

14th February 2015:

THOSE ALFAJORES MADE ME SO HUNGRY. I have a huge sweet tooth, so the biscuits are the only thing I can think of right now. I just need a moment to process how delicious they must be before I can move on with my review.

There. That's better.

This is such a cool idea for a story! Hogwarts staff shenanigans! I love it already. I hope this fic of yours starts off its own little subgenre. I particularly like that you've chosen to pair Dumbledore and Sprout as partners in crime. The usual choice would've been Dumbledore and McGonagall, althoug I can't even begin to imagine Professor McGonagall doing something like this. But I think Pomona has that certain spark of mischief about her that would make this work.

I'm really excited to get to know the staff throughout the course of this story. I don't know how many of them you plan to include, or how far each of them will be developed, but anything you have to say about them would add to their characters from canon, I think. And they're all young! That makes it so much more fun. They're in their prime, still in the process of achieving the great things we know them for in the books. I am SOOO excited (have I mentioned this already? I think I have, but it bears mentioning again).

I also just wanted to say one final thing about your description. I'm rubbish at it myself, and so I'm always on the lookout for it. This is just great. There's little dialogue here, so I could really focus on the descriptions and savour them for their beauty. They created the scene in my head quite vividly, especially all the times you spoke of Pomona's breath - it felt as if I was breathing along with her.

This is such a great start, and I'm super excited for the next chapter :)

Author's Response: Hi there! Thank you so much for stopping by! :)

Haha, they made me so hungry too while I was writing it. I had to look them up, look at pictures and ingredients and things to get the description and it was so bad... had to buy biscuits the next day to make up for them :P

I'm so glad you like the idea! It's something which had been buzzing around my head for a little while now, and when I mentioned the idea on the forums, people seemed to think it was interesting, so I had to write it them! Yeah, I did consider McGonagall, but as you say her personality doesn't quite fit it, but I also wanted it to be Pomona for plot reasons :P And mostly because McGonagall works much better as a character being meddled with than meddling herself, haha.

I'm so excited about including the staff! I think there'll be quite a lot who are familiar from canon - maybe a couple of OCs, or named teachers who don't appear in the books - but I'm hoping to include a lot of the people we know from canon, even if only as background characters. They're all young, yeah - apart from Albus, lol, he's heading out of young, I think :P But yeah, they've all got time and they're all still learning and growing and so on... It's going to be so much fun, and I'm so glad to see you're as excited about it as I am! :D

Thank you so much! This, um, actually has a comparatively large amount of dialogue for me :P I remember finishing it and thinking 'so much dialogue' haha, but then I don't usually write much at all... a few lines at most :P I'm so glad you liked the description, though - I'm used to writing scenery, but food and things are pretty new for me, so some bits of it were more difficult to write than I expected.

Thank you so so much for the wonderful review - it was so lovely to get - and I'll try to get the next chapter up soon! ;)

Aph xx

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Review #7, by UnluckyStar57 Alfajores

11th February 2015:
Hey Laura! Here for our swap from earlier--thanks ever so much for the lovely review! :)

This is such a cute concept for a story! I love the idea of Pomona and Albus being bros and trying to play cupid for people. And you've got so many different storylines weaving themselves into the thing. It's beautiful. :D

First of all, the food! The setting! You are always so, so wonderful at describing places and rooms, and now I know that you're amazing at describing food, too! Have you ever had an alfajor? The way you described it as Pomona was eating it... Oh man. Now I want one. (Or more than one.) Seriously, is there going to be another food next time? I can't wait to find out! By the way, I love how Albus pronounced it with a Spanish accent. That's definitely something he would do. :)

The storylines! It's only the first chapter and you've already set up all these love stories: Minerva/Dougal, which is over and that's super sad; Minerva/Albus, which will never happen and this sort of makes me wonder when and how she got over it; Pomona/Bessie--what happened to Bessie? Will Pomona find someone else?; Albus/Gellert (one of those pairings that you love and you're good at writing them); Horace/Septima (was he good-looking at that time? Additionally, was he someone that Septima Vector would be interested in?); and Minerva/barkeep (where will that one go?). It's pretty cool how you can manage to juggle all of these crazy things, balancing out the awkwardness of Minerva's crush with her eventual acceptance of the barkeep's affections. I have a feeling that Pomona and Albus are going to be playing cupid for a whole bunch of people, until maybe Albus finds someone for her...?

The way you write relationships between people is just insanely good, and I don't even mean the romantic kind here. Albus and Pomona are two people that I never would've thought about having a friendship, and yet, here we are. It works so well, considering that they seem to understand each other. They seem to have very similar woes in the love department, what with his boyfriend turning out to be an awful Dark wizard, and her girlfriend...dying? leaving her for another man or woman? turning into a tea kettle? I don't know, but I hope to find out!

When Albus said that he doubted there would be a Darker wizard in the century... UGH! This proves it! He CAN be wrong sometimes, and HOW WRONG HE IS!! Hopefully he and Pomona don't try to make Tom Riddle a match with some student. That would be cruel irony. (I could see them making bets with Minerva over James and Lily, though.)

Incredible chapter! I hope the next one is not too long from being posted? :)


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Review #8, by oldershouldknowbetter Alfajores

11th February 2015:
Hello there, here for the requested review swap.

I don't believe I have ever reviewed one of your stories, so let's start with your latest (which I've seen you happy about starting on your profile messages).

So Dumbledore and Professor Sprout - an interesting combo to have as the main protagonists of a story and not one I've really seen before (not that I stray terribly far from my own little faves).

Very rich in description of the atmosphere of the world you are writing about. It really draws one into the setting and the story.

We never got to know much about Professor Sprout in the books. We know she was a bit brash and no nonsense, though that last could be said of most of the professors, but beyond that we don't know that much about her. I dare say we know more about her plants that she cares for than we do her. I like how she couldn't resist just one more of the seemingly irresistible biscuits. I assume they are a real confection?

Why would her mother be scandalised, she is only having an innocent cup of tea after all? Is this something I should know about from her history? (Goes off to check her Potter wiki entry quickly) No, am I making too much of this or will it be explained later her relationship with her mother?

One little CC if I may - I would change that the biscuit slid down her throat not her chest as it makes it sound like she missed her mouth and the biscuit fell down her front. :)

I love the way you are weaving in all the 'cannon' things we know about Minerva. By bringing in things we know with what you are creating it enhances the whole.

I like your take on Pomona, I hadn't considered her orientation before, but it gels with what we know of her character and makes a lot of sense. I get the feeling you are going to treat Pomona and Bessie like JKR treated Dumbledore and Grindelwald - it was intense, it was love, but it is in the past.

There are bits about Slughorn and Vector - the gangs all here and it adds to the richness of what you are conveying. But one thing - 'without accidentally altering parts of her body in class.' - what is this? I am so intrigued to find out what this imports - is it that she's a metamorphmagus or does it have a more prosaic answer, that she's simply just clumsy?

Oh I like the way you've made Minerva human. We get a very good sense of her character from the books, but by the time we meet her she is a stern sensible woman who is not given over to much in the way of frivolous fun. It is refreshing to see that she was not always so. Also there are some parts to her past that might have left huge emotional scars in anyone. She is a strong woman and the ill-fated affection for Dumbledore was obviously just a step in the process of recovery and moving on.

Pomona has to leave Minerva (plants don't you know) and runs into Dumbledore once again. I thought it a bit strange about the pub staying open till morning and wondered what could have occasioned it and here we have the answer - the anniversary of the end of the war and hence the defeat of Grindelwald. Pomona asks him what it was like and the reader knows the hidden deeper meaning behind Dumbledore's deliberately imprecise answer.

Despite touching upon a sensitive subject, the conversation moves on between them and turns to more pleasant and interesting things (well, interesting in terms of potential for where this story is to go). I like the easy camaraderie you have them falling into, it is understandable and a welcome interpretation of both their characters.

Oh, I should have read on apparently alfajores are real and sound somewhat like a Wagon Wheel, a snack food commonly available here in Australia (I cannot speak as to their presence in the wider world, maybe they are prevalent everywhere).

All in all this is a good start to a story and one which I will have to check out again as it adds a wonderful level of detail to a period of Hogwarts history that I had not otherwise thought much about.


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Review #9, by tangledconstellations Alfajores

10th February 2015:
Hey there!

Eek, I absolutely loved reading this! You had me grinning at so many points during this chapter! I love that you've decided to write about Pomona - she's quite an underloved character I think. I don't think I've ever really read anything about her before! The dynamic between her and Dumbledore was so interesting and I think you've captured it pretty spot on. I mean after all he is her superior but then he does have that friendly, approachable way of talking that sort of makes characters both comfortable and uncomfortable until they've properly worked out what he's truly like. With Dumbledore it's always the little things he does that captures his character - like appropriately looking away to give someone privacy from an awkward situation, that kind of thing. I really felt like this was Dumbledore - you write him so convincingly!

The structure of this chapter was really great too. You set up just the right amount of intrigue at the beginning to keep me reading more, with Minerva's situation, and then the outcome of that was interesting enough to amuse me and want to know what else you have in store! Kind of a digression, but at the moment I'm studying for a writing degree and in one of my workshops our tutor is making us rewrite and rewrite and rewrite the first 1500 words of our project, which is a novel, so that we have the optimum amount of intrigue, setting, idea of characters, blah all of it, his argument being that the beginning of a story is where you lose readers and how to like, counter that! Despite it being absolute HELL looking at the same opening I've written again and again for weeks and it still not being just quite right haha he does definitely have a point because it's made me really in-tune to it when I'm reading other stories. Anyway my point is this opening really DID grab me and you've paced it out in such a way that it's carried me through this chapter and kept me so interested. Maybe you've just naturally done it but it's really nicely done and a real mark of a good writer. Kind of a long winded way of saying this chapter was so interesting, haha! Sorry about that...

Your descriptions are really great too - especially with regards to their movements. I can visualise the characters really well and I like that it's canon characters we know and love but YOUNGER and more scandalous! :D I think this is going to be such an interesting read - you've got a really unique tone and I love the idea of the two of them working together to get their colleagues dating! That kind of thing is exactly what Dumbledore is thinking about when he's staring off into space looking wise and noble, hehe.

I really, really enjoyed this! :D

Laura xxx

Author's Response: Hey there, Laura (name twin! :P)! Thank you so much for stopping by!

Thank you so much! I'm so happy you liked it - it's a little story I've had the idea for for a while, and I wrote on a whim, so it means a lot to me that people like it! I considering writing Minerva originally, but Pomona just seemed like so much of a better fit for it - it meant I could create a different dynamic between her and Dumbledore. I actually really like writing Dumbledore - there's something fun about it. It was interesting too - the only other time I've written him was from his own pov, so looking at him from outside was a strangely cool experience. I'm so glad you liked him, though - I was nervous I was going to get him wrong! :)

Gah, thank you so much! It's so great to hear you say that! Plotting is one of those things I really struggle with, so set up and things in fics is not really my strength, so I'm so glad you think it's working okay! I really wanted to introduce Minerva's subplot early on, because it's sort of supposed to be the catalyst for the friendship and the idea to meddle in their colleagues' love lives in the first place, so it was sort of necessary. Plus, it's a long subplot :P No worries - I ramble all the time, so I really can't complain about other people doing it ;) And thank you so much! :) (looking over 1500 words, the same 1500 words, for weeks would drive me mad. I'm amazed you're still able to think about it! :P)

Gah, thank you! I do love writing description, I have to be honest - and movement is something I've been trying to work on, because I'm terrible at action and one seems to me to lead into the other... haha, definitely more scandalous - the younger part is not really by much :P Well, it's true for some of the cast, for some of the others, you could consider it almost negligible :P Hehe, plotting!Dumbledore, ah so fun to write! ;)

Thank you so so much for the wonderful review - it was so amazing to get! :)

Aph xx

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Review #10, by Ravenclaw333 Alfajores

7th February 2015:
Hey Laura! Back again for the BvB!

I'm so happy you ended up writing this - I've been a real sucker for pure, lovely fluff recently and this ticks all the boxes. I love the premise so much, Albus and Pomona gossiping over biscuits and scheming ways for their colleagues to find love - and you've done this so perfectly. The characterisations of both of them are spot on and I love how you've shown them slowly progressing towards being friends and equals after he was her professor - the formality and the awkwardness in the beginning and her worries that she's crossing a line, and his cheerful responses. I'm sure you gathered from my last review that I'm absolutely in love with your writing style, and the same goes with this story - the imagery you use is so clear and you have an ability to convey atmosphere unlike anything else I've read. And I'm fascinated by the story of Bessie as well - I hope that's explored in later chapters.

Eagerly awaiting the next instalment!

Author's Response: Hey there, Lisa! :) Thank you so much for stopping by!

Thank you so much - it was one of those things I got the idea for and just really, really wanted to write, you know? It's not quite pure fluff, but it's a strangely light story - especially for me :P It feels a little weird, haha. I'm so so glad you liked the premise and the characterisations of both of them - I have to admit, Pomona's voice was difficult to get, but I recently watched interviews with the actress who portrays Pomona and took a lot of inspiration from there, so that explains a lot of it :P I loved writing the slightly awkward conversation between them, so I'm so happy you liked it (I hate dialogue with a passion so I have no idea why I decided to write this the way I did :P)! Bessie... there will be more mention of Bessie in future chapters, I promise you that! I really wanted to draw a kind of unknown connection between them, though whether or not the truth of certain things comes out is debatable ;)

I'm so so glad you're enjoying this story - it's only going to be little, but it's one I really loved the idea of so it means so much to me that you like it! :)

Thank you so much for the lovely review! :)

Aph xx

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Review #11, by wolfgirl17 Alfajores

6th February 2015:
Hey Amanda!

Great story. I really liked the concept and it's a really intriguing first chapter. I'm not one hundred percent on the ages of the teachers cannonially speaking, but they might be a little off here. Not that it really matters. It's still a fun concept and I like the idea of the teachers, especially Dumbledore, meddling in the affairs of others when it's for their own good. It just makes sense. =)

I think maybe the flow of the story cold be improved if you were to edit a little bit. There were a couple of sentences that ramble somewhat and so the point your making in them gets a little lost...

Other than that, keep up the good work and I'd really like to see some more from you with this =)


Author's Response: Hey there, Ellie! :) I should say that technically I'm Laura, not Amanda, but I'm okay with Amanda if you want ;)

I'm so glad you liked it - thank you so much! It was one of those things I wrote on a whim sort of thing - I loved the plunny, so I just had to write it, you know? Yeah, the ages are a bit difficult to pin down - mostly because Pomona's isn't really known, only that she overlaps Minerva's school years by five years. So yeah, it's a little bit vague, though I tried to get it as close as possible. And hehe, Dumbledore is exactly the type, right? :P

Yeah, probably - this didn't actually go under any editing at all before posting, and there's usually a few things which need tightening up (and I do have a tendency to ramble :P). Thanks for pointing it out - when I edit this in a week, I'll look out for that! :)

Thank you so so much - I'm so glad you liked this little story, and thank you for the lovely review, too! :)

Aph xx

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