Awww...this story is realllllyyy cute! Blaise isn't really a main character, but this time he got the chance to lead
Author's Response: Thanks! It was really interesting to work with someone like that. I'm glad you enjoyed the result!
Wow, wow, and wow. I love Blaise stories in general, but having him as a werewolf was a distinct touch, and also the parallels to him and Lupin were cool. Very absorbing and well-written- I'm going to read some more of your stories now.
Author's Response: Oh, yay! I actually used Blaise because I need a peripheral character...and then it appeared that he would have to be a werewolf, and so on and so forth. Thank you very much--I think the biggest compliment is that you're going to look at my other works :D
I am a horrible, horrible person. I am so sorry to be so late with your reviews, especially as I have come to really look forward to the ones I receive from you ;-) But I come bearing extra gummy worms, and chocolate chip cookies, and begging forgiveness.
Remus is one of my favorite characters, but I have to admit, I don’t normally read anything that has him with Tonks, me being the cannon-phobic nut that I am. *grins*
The way you concealed the speaker’s identity at first was quite effective – it came as a complete surprise to find that Blaise Zabini was ordering the werewolf pack, giving rise immediately to all sorts of speculations by your readers.
The concept of using the Fidelus Charm to hide a pregnancy is an interesting interpretation of the charm’s capabilities. While I’m not sure it would work quite that way, it’s a neat spin on the usual ideas, and I enjoyed it. I would like to know how the pack managed to find out which women it was who was pregnant, if, as Blaise states, they only know it is a member of the Order. I mean, they obviously must have some idea as to who it is, if they’ve sent Remus almost directly to the house? Just curious as to how they were able to get any information at all. You’ve created an intriguing mystery here, and I have the feeling it was lucky for Greyback that he was taken down by Aurors, instead of Voldemort, after he had the audacity to attack a pureblooded family, who was, one might presume, at least nominally affiliated with Voldemort’s cause.
You’ve really done a good job capturing Remus – his can be a very difficult voice to capture, but I really enjoy reading your Remus very much. Blaise also has a very distinctive personality here that I find appealing. He’s cool and efficient, but not a monster, despite his condition; yet still thoroughly evil - in an obsessed sort of way.
Remus’s thoughts on his friendship with Sirius, James and Peter and how they protected him from becoming someone like Blaise, or even Greyback, are telling and perfectly timed within the narrative. This really gives us a glimpse into a battered, and uncertain soul just struggling to do things right, in the face of so much moral ambiguity. The ending only served to reinforce this, and was a very satisfying way to end.
I really enjoyed this piece :-)
Author's Response: Squeee! Gummy worms and cookies AND a review! :-) It's okay that it's late -- RL is like that. I had to hide Tonks, but not too well, so I poked a nice hole in the Fidelus Charm and I will leave the rest up to the readers :) Aw, you hit on the all the parts I'm most proud of! I love hearing that I've done well. Ennalee asked for real characters, so I dug around until I found some good motivation for Blaise, but still managed to make him properly bad. As for Greyback, he has always been unstable, so it was pretty easy to shove him over the edge to make room for Blaise. And Remus -- no werewolf wants to be one, originally. The Marauders were what kept Remus from total despair, back in his school days; Blaise doesn't have that kind of support. I'm so glad you thought my Remus was well-done; characterisation isn't my strong point. Thank you so very much for your well-thought out review! It means a lot coming from someone whose writing I very much enjoy :D
Great story! I really liked Blaise's characterization. It was -- for lack of a better word, I'm sorry and I'm kicking myself for using it -- interesting to have him so driven by ambition. Also, nice use of the Fidelius charm there.
Maybe it's just me, but I had no idea what was coming. Pretty much the only thought that was in my head when Blaise said that there was an Order member in their midst was: "Uh-oh."
So, job well done! Keep it up!
Author's Response: Ha ha! Thank you! "Interesting" is fine. I was challenged to write a morally grey story featuring a...I've forgotten the word...a peripheral character. Hence Blaise!
You weren't supposed to know what was coming, hee hee! But I'm glad I was able to surprise you.
Thanks so much for taking the time to review!
Sorry I’m so late to give a proper review for this. [Insert bad excuses here.] What a lovely Halloween present this was – so dark and fuzzy and grey, all at the same time. *hugs* So, one squeeful review, coming up! (I’m afraid I’m going to be unspewish, because this story makes me so warm and happy – in a chilling, Halloween-y sort of way, of course.)
I love that the beginning is so ambiguous. Being unable to tell who is speaking leaves the reader in a delightful grey place – we’re not sure if we’re supposed to be sympathizing or worrying or actively disliking. I fell into your trap – I was absolutely convinced that the speaker was Harry, and that the departed leader was Dumbledore. He spoke of freedom from persecution, and I sympathized completely, in a way I probably wouldn’t have, if I had known it was Blaise. You trick the reader into placing their Harry-sympathies onto Blaise – the perfect beginning for a story full of grey characters.
This a side point, but I was fascinated by the way the knowledge of the speaker changes our view of Remus. “For him, young, newly chosen in as a trusted leader, it was easy to picture an ideal world. For Remus, who had watched too many friends die searching for that dream, it was not so easy to believe in.” It reads so differently the first and the second time. When you think Harry is the speaker, Remus is talking about the dream of a Voldemort-free world, and the friends who died are James and Lily and Sirius and even Dumbledore. However, the second time through, when you know it’s Blaise who is speaking, the ideal world must be something quite different, something he can’t believe in – though it’s interesting to speculate about whether he ever could have. And the friends he watched die searching for that dream – I wonder who they were? Is he still referring to James and Lily and the others? Or did he have friends who “went to the dark side?” Other werewolves, who chose to seek a life free of persecution? Friends who chose to follow Voldemort? Peter? Interesting train of thought here…
I love the premise that Blaise and Remus have a mentor-student relationship, even though they both (we learn) are secretly working against the other. Remus gives advice, and Blaise learns from it, even when both know that they can’t trust the other. “Everyone has ambitions — you made the mistake of thinking that mine blinded me to yours,” Blaise finally says at the end, and it’s so indicative of the relationship they’ve had all through the story. What a wonderful ground for character interaction you’ve set up; I’m fascinated by the concept of the relative importance of trust in relationships, and while this story is about other things, I love that you hint at it.
“This will cut right into the heart of the Order. A child always does.” I love, love, love this line. “A child always does.” So clear and concise and remote on Blaise’s part. He can see it objectively, he knows the power that children have over the hearts of the people around them, and he is not above using that. I just love how detached his statement is; it drives home the comparison between Remus and Blaise, because to Remus the child is a real being, the beginning of a human life, surrounded by love, while to Blaise it’s nothing more than a nameless child who will give him direct access to the heart of the Order.
I know I’ve mentioned this before, but I love wifelyanddomestic!Tonks, spilling flour all over the place in her attempt to bake. So Tonks! And you include it so subtly, not drawing attention to the bit of characterization. “Tonks seized her wand, leaving a clean spot in exactly its shape on the otherwise floury countertop.” Just a throwaway clause at the end of an action sentence, and it hints at so much!
What you’ve done with Blaise is wonderful. “I’m not here to be noble.” Talk about lines that send shivers up your neck. He’s pure Slytherin, and yet also human – we can relate to him, and his quest for freedom and leadership. Also, I love the exchange between him and Remus about the importance helping versus the importance of leading, and Blaise’s reply that it doesn’t matter if they’re going the same way. Perfect! Also, Blaise is so sure that he can stay in control, make sure that they keep on going in the same direction – you’ve really done great things with his characterization, making him into a wonderfully plausible, sympathetic Slytherin.
I know I’ve said this many times over, but I really love what you’ve done here, and the character interaction between Remus and Blaise. It’s all I could have asked for in my Halloween gift, so thank you for the wonderful, spine-tingling read.
Author's Response: I am so glad you liked it! It took me a long time, but it pushed me as a writer, so I'm very glad it came along. I came up with Remus/Tonks as probably the first thing, with the idea of her pregnancy adding urgency to the Person To Be Found. Heh heh. Yes. I love the beginning. You asked for grey, and I randomly chose a peripheral character -- thank you for that, by the way; it meant I could do whatever I liked and it wouldn't ever really be out of character! -- and I was having a lot of trouble making myself feel sympathetic towards him, until I decided that he did this partially out of ideology. Hence the speech that kicks this off -- I was pretty pleased with how much I was able to manipulate him to match what Harry might say. Remus is definitely thinking of Lily, James, Sirius, etc, but also the Order members who died (there were a lot of them), and really, of the hurt that the First War inflicted on the whole Wizarding world. He fought for a long, hard time, and it turns out that it never really went away -- and we all tend to get a little cynical as we age, even Remus. The bit about Tonks cooking was one that I actually invented quite early (I had to maneuver a bit to keep it, but I really wanted it!) I see her as zealous to be "wifely", but she's not really cut out for it. In happier times, she would have removed a sagging, burned cake from the oven, looked sadly at it, and Remus would laugh and kiss her. If she ever does learn to cook, she'll still leave flour all over the kitchen! I have to give all the credit for Blaise to you. I would never have been able to make him so grey -- so human -- if I hadn't had to. Remus speaks my own thoughts at the end, about liking Blaise but not being able to, because in the end, Blaise believes that the end justifies the means, and Remus cannot. Again, I'm so glad you liked it! Thank you for a prompt that made me work. Oh -- and thank you very, very, veryverymuch for the one you wrote for me XD It was fantastic. Oh, and I have to give HUGE props to Amanda-Panda, not only for beta-ing at the very last second, but for making suggestions that cleared up a couple of plot holes and saggy dialogues. Her comments really made this what it is.
This is a creative idea for a story, and it relates nicely to the prompt you were working from. The insight you give into the thoughts of your "bad" character even makes him a bit sympathetic.
The deliberately ambiguous beginning is effective -- I could tell you were making us guess who the speaker was, but it still came as a surprise when you revealed his identity.
They stood there, memory between them, until the door creaked open...
One thing that occurred to me as I read this story is that it might be even better as a longer piece. There are a number of passages that are written as a sort of retrospective summary, like this one:
...Remus had gone immediately back to the werewolves after a three-day absence. He was shocked to find that in his short absence, Voldemort had paid a very rare surprise visit and appointed Blaise the new leader.
Former teacher and student had had an awkward first meeting, but they had slid quickly into a mentor-pupil relationship. Remus found that the Slytherin had changed a great deal since Hogwarts.
I think there is a lot of potential here for some really interesting storytelling -- What were the werewolves doing when Remus went back, and how did his shock manifest itself? What did Blaise and Remus say at that awkward first meeting? What did Blaise do that showed Remus how he had changed?
Your ending made me think hard about the characters and their motivations. I wonder if canon Remus really has the same kind of driving ambition to lead that you give to Blaise here (although he certainly does have a driving ambition to fight against those who threaten the world he cares about).
You show very effectively how Remus and Blaise have each made a decision about what they believe must be done, and have worked toward those ends, although those ends are so very different. (And it's sweet to think about Tonks and Remus expecting...)
Author's Response: Thank you so much! Long reviews make my day. The prompt that Nan gave me -- about someone looking for someone else -- is what gave me the idea to have Tonks pregnant, doubling her danger and the emotional impact. I do like the way that turned out. I'll think about the longer story. When I was writing this, I did try to put more background in, but I found that it distracted from the pursuit, and I couldn't keep it short and focused. But I'll definitely consider filling in those gaps. Again, thank you so much!
Wonder of wonders, it's a Remus/Tonks fic where we DON'T ACTUALLY KNOW WHAT'S GOING TO HAPPEN! there are far too few. But of course, it's always good to see a new R/T of any sort. Can't say I'm into action (more of a mushy romantic person) but still, brilliant idea,.
Author's Response: Lol! Actually, most of the credit must go to Nan, who asked for a hide-and-seek with a human villain. I was dubious about it, but I do like the way it turned out.
this is so good!!!!!
Author's Response: Thank you!