Hello, and good afternoon, Madam Carole! I’m glad I got first dibs on reviewing and reading. It makes me feel exclusive and all.
All of that aside, I really love character driven pieces, and this one is a gem. Everyone usually turns to poor, single Charlie for the angsty post-battle characterisations, but I love that, even though Bill is happy, he has very real and very legitimate concerns about both himself and fatherhood.
Fleur, as you have characterised her, is just about perfect. Even the way you wrote her accent, I could just…hear it, and that’s fantastic. You could just tell that she was the same woman who loved Bill because of his scars from Greyback, not in spite of them. She cares about Bill so much. For example:
“I am seven months pregnant. Ze risk from ze Floo is minimal. And I do not intend staying ‘ere, when zere is a party at ze Burrow. Besides, ‘Arry is bringing leetle Teddy, and I know you want to see ‘im again.”
Her main reason for wanting to go to The Burrow is because she knows that Bill wants to see Teddy. As you mentioned in the piece, she is not as selfish as she sometimes sounds in both canon and fanon. I really like that you made us all see the Fleur that Bill fell in love with, not the one that made Molly and Ginny call her Phlegm.
When Teddy was scared by Bill, it was definitely a lip wobble moment. His favourite nephew (well, at that point, his only nephew) was afraid of him, and I don’t think there are many feelings in the world worse than that one. I can sooooo see him grumbling under his breath for a beer. I would probably have done the same thing. It was such a small detail, but it was so humanising. It adds to the overwhelmingly believable nature of this piece.
Your Molly was a complete win. She was being so very Mum the whole time, from worrying about Teddy wanting a fang earring to just knowing that her son was troubled. It seems like she was perfect to me, the way you built her character. In particular, this was excellent:
Molly snorted. “All children are scared of their parents.” She smirked at him. “Especially their mothers. How do you think I kept you lot in line? Although, it didn’t quite work with the twins ... or that sister of yours. And I never did get you to cut your-”
It’s just so seamless and perfect, the way she slips into mother mode (I believe you know what I mean by that). One thought about the kids brings a veritable avalanche of thoughts and observations about all the rest of them. I can just tell that she was doing this, in part, to put him at ease a bit. I also think that she knew what was wrong the whole time, and that she brought Teddy for the specific purpose of alleviating that ill feeling of Bill’s.
And then there’s Bill. He’s just so very real and three dimensional, from the very beginning and his desire to have a big family, up until the end, when he’s worried about scaring his own child with his scars. Now, we didn’t get to meet Bill very much in the books, but your portrayal feels so very right, especially with the concept of this story and the events that take place in it.
The part where I felt that you captured Bill the best was when he was drinking the Firewhiskey before bed.
“Merlin, Charlie, where the hell are you when I need to talk?” He rubbed at his eyes and drained the glass. His hand reached across to the bottle, but something stopped him. He couldn’t get drunk in case Fleur went into labour. Whatever his fears, he had to be there for her. Taking a deep breath, Bill walked out of the room to join his wife.
I’ve always pictured him as responsible and wanting to be there for everyone, especially for Fleur. When he really would rather drown his concerns with proverbial beer goggles, he does not, because he realises that it is his duty to be ready for Fleur when she really needs him. That reminds me so much of Bill, who transferred from his ultra-cool dream job of a curse breaker in Egypt to do a desk job, just so he could fight for the Order and protect his family. It’s very Bill, and sometimes details like these are what separate a good fic from a great one.
This story read, top to bottom, so very well. I could read it aloud, and it just rolls off the tongue. Your overall style, as always is superb in this aspect. You capture conversation and narrative so well and so realistically. I could search all day to find something odd or not good about the way you’ve written this, and I wouldn’t find anything. I know you consider this much too fluffy, but to be honest, it’s not half as fluffy as you think it is. It’s very real and poignant, and it’s a complete success of characterisation. I’m not even going to say that it’s ‘in my opinion’, because it just IS that good, whether you think so or not.
Your canon facts are, of course, impeccable. I know we chatted on AIM about the timeline of Victoire’s birth in relation to Teddy’s age, and as usual, you were right on the money. I guess I don’t really think of those two very often, as I tend to go for the younger Next-Gen characters, but you’ve made me think of Bill and Fleur in a way that I had not. Is that not the point of character pieces, to make the reader think of the protagonist in a new light?
There is one thing about which I am curious. If Fleur is seven and a half months pregnant and there is a party at the Burrow, then what was the party for? If Victoire was born on 2 May, was three days late, and the timeline was a month and a half before that, it would put the date as about March 14, give or take a few days. Are there any British only holidays in that area, or was it someone’s birthday. It’s too early for Easter (which is the Sunday after the first full moon following the Spring Equinox), too early for Teddy’s birthday, and I doubt St. Patrick’s day is on the list of celebrated holidays for the wizarding community. Perhaps you could enlighten me. My curiosity won’t shut up until I either know or just make up an answer.
Anyway, in closing, I really admire how much care you took with this piece and making it believable and powerful in that real life, this could happen type way. It’s got that quality to it that just makes me believe that it really did happen this way, and you used your normal Jedi mind trick insight into the Potterverse and made it work so wonderfully.
Adieu for now, and this was a great read. I hope you’re proud of it, because it’s really quite nice.
Author's Response: Reason for party is because the Weasleys like having parties - ha ha. No, the reason was that it was a get together to celebrate Teddy coming back from his trip with Andromeda. Well, that's what I had in mind. I should clarify that, perhaps. Thank you so much for the review. I'm particularly pleased that you picked up on Bill being responsible and not getting blind drunk when he wanted to. He has fears, but he's ultimately a responsible guy and he loves his wife so would not have got steaming. OH, and how I dithered over who he was going to talk to. It was nearly Ron ... I mean RON! What the Montezuma was I on when I thought that? Molly should have been obvious ... and I do like the old battleaxe. Thanks again ~Carole~