Lovely absolutely lovely, i
What I love about this story is the your thoroughly effective and striking use of the second person narrative. This often difficult point of view is used expertly; it is woven intricately amongst the vivid, exquisite descriptions and realistic, poignant dialogue. The narrative adds an air of mystery and intrigue to the story - from the very first sentence, the reader is curious as to who has "scurried away from the glaring windows of the castle." As the story develops, it serves to further fuel the overall secrecy and uncertainty of the plot: the delicate and unstable relationship between Remus and Sirius is explored through a more in-depth and personal use of narrative: more distinctive than third person, yet more consuming than first person. The only fault I could find with the use of POV - and it is a minor one at that - is the use of past tense. I find it jarring to the intense prose and wonderful, descriptive imagery; I think it would have been more effective to use present tense, to really encompass the reader into the immediacy and almost impulsiveness of the relationship.
I also adore your use of repetition, particularly in relation to the tree: "…your tree. His tree. The tree." This image is so superbly poignant and touching, and the repetition especially reinforces that concept. The tree is something shared between them: it is theirs, and theirs alone. It is almost like a haven for them; a peaceful place belonging to them amongst the general chaos of Hogwarts, adolescence and socially accepted norms. Perhaps it is even like an escape, and may symbolise what their relationship means to them: something withstanding, strong, everlasting and enduring - it reminds me of a quote from Adrienne Rich's poem 'Power': " a cure… for living on this earth in the winters of this climate."
I love your use of prose; it is soft, yet strong, poetic, yet realistic, subtle, yet powerful, simplistic yet gloriously intricate. The story is short at 1104 words - just a beautiful snippet, really - and yet, it reads like a vivid poem, a romantic scene from a classic, old film, or a black and white, vintage photograph. When I read the story, I realise that the scene in my head is playing in black and white or sepia; never full-block colour. It is such a simple scene, yet it is wonderfully romanticised. I particularly love the line: "Your eyes were zoned on the initials; you studied the angle of his carvings, imprinting them in your mind, and you wondered if those initials would be forever together as they were on the tree, or if they would be divided and separated."
I really do enjoy slash relationships - it can be said that I am a slash fanatic, even - but I think that this particular pair - Remus/Sirius - is exceptionally lovely. I love the idea of a Marauder romance, regardless, and it is interesting to see one besides the regular James/Other Marauder. I feel the contrast of Remus/Sirius is sensational; they are, in fact, both terribly dangerous, but in entirely different ways. Sirius is the 'rebel' of the piece; reckless, impulsive and a tad audacious. Remus is wary, supposedly sensible, apparently precocious and utterly over-whelmed by the sheer magnitude between them. They are startlingly different, but surprisingly similar. They mesh. It is simple, really. They just work. It's natural. It's unforced. It's… real.
The element of 'addiction' is one that, in my opinion, is impressive. It's not too exaggerated, or excessive, but just enough to really amplify the feelings of Remus. The theme of addiction is one that is present throughout the story - and is repeated at various places - but for the most part, even when it is not stated, it is still felt. I, too, almost felt addicted; I wanted Sirius for Remus, Remus for Sirius, for them to be together, truly forever. It was perplexing; my chest felt tight for the entire reading of the piece, and when it was over, I was left wanting more.
Your portrayal of the characters was absolutely breath-taking. It was so true, so real, so secure, so comfortable, so… natural. The interaction between Remus and Sirius was fantastic. It merges friendship with romance, safety and security with something dangerous, new and exciting. I loved Sirius' characterisation in particular. There are so many cliches and stereotypes regarding Sirius in fan-fiction; he's an arrogant, womanising, confident, swaggering, witty, handsome adolescent boy. All of these qualities are perfectly acceptable - in small doses. These characteristics could very well describe Sirius - they're not exactly abstract and unfounded - but they're over done. Whereas the Sirius in this story is totally different, but still Sirius. He's vulnerable, raw, insecure, real and yet, still the reckless, almost careless character from the series: "you looked back to him, trying to read his emotions on his bare face, and saw only insecurity—his eyebrows were furrowed with hope and his eyes begged you for approval."
The slash element of the story was exceptionally well handled. It was subtle, it was there, it blended into the overall plot and it wasn't awkward or indeed, made a big deal. It was a love story. There was the secrecy, the insecurity, the uncertainty and the sense of it being 'forbidden', but the concept of slash wasn't constantly re-iterated or repeatedly over-emphasised. It was, to say it simply, perfect. Well done!
brilliant. Just brilliant. Congrats on the QSQ award AND the "Special Services to the Site" award from me! (Thats better than an O on the OWL grading scale)!
The most striking thing about this story is your use of description and imagery. It is absolutely tangible, and thus breathtaking. I can actually feel knots of anxiety and anticipation in my chest. And, it really does wonders for the end of the story, where there is actually very little physical detail, yet the effect is so much more profound than stories which strive to do the same with so many more adjectives, nouns and copious amounts of heavy breathing.
Not once had you not gone to the tree one hundred paces from Hagrid’s hut into the forest.
I love this line! There are several things about it, none of which I can decide how to put into words. First, it's the "Not once had you not gone..." which is just feels perfectly worded. And the "tree one hundred paces...", which has a sense of both mischievousness and ritual to it, along with being just a wonderful detail.
As the dry autumn grass crunched under your trainers, you made your way to your tree. His tree. The tree. An example of what is a definite tangible imagery in your writing, also, the use of tree and the repetition is very poetic. I like the changing possessive pronoun/definite article attached to it.
I will say very quickly that I think the point of view might have worked better in present tense, There's generally a sense of "here and now" in second-person stories, and while I've seen them done in past tense very well, there seems to be kind of a "sense" of when they should be present and when they should be past, and for me, if I sort of mentally read this in present tense and the flow felt more natural. I also think present tense be more suited to the urgency and potency of the emotions.
Moving on, something about the tone of the writing just said Remus to me; in fact, I had gotten a few paragraphs in before I realised that you hadn't actually stated whose PoV it was, and that I had just made the assumption based on connotations. I think it was the sincerity of the compulsion and intensity. This line in particular: It was almost as if the danger pushed you forward, feeding your hunger and satiating your thirst. It puts me in mind how, behind the calm, patient, quiet version of Remus we see, there is an underlying animal instinct that comes to the surface even outside of the full moon.
He always found his constellation before he could concentrate on anything more than the endless black sky. This stopped me for a moment; first because, I've sort of drawn the natural conclusion that you mean Sirius, which is actually a single star, not a constellation. I also then wondered if this was a "Sirius" thing to do. One one hand, Sirius can be a little ego-centric, and from that perspective I can imagine him having this habit. On the other hand, the naming after celestial bodies is a Black family tradition, and it occurs to me that Sirius would rebel against this idea rather than embrace it by actually searching the sky for his namesake. So, I don't know; just something to consider, there.
I liked the theme of the "addiction", though I'm not as certain about the repeated use of the word. Repetition can either come across as rhythmic, reinforcement of an idea or theme, or it can come across as redundant. The best way to make sure your use of repetition is effective in the former, is to use parallelism, which is to repeat not merely the word or idea, but the structure. Example:
The first use: It was undeniable, you could not stay away even if you needed to. This was an addiction. Followed by: But it was your addiction; it was the only source of the true happiness you felt day to day, so you could not give it up.
To make this a parallel to the first use, these lines could be changed to something such as this: But it was the only sourceof the true happiness you felt day to day, so you could not give it up; this was your addiction.
If you carry this structure through each use of the word, by always placing "addiction" at the end of the paragraph, it puts a lot more emphasis onto the word, and gives it a clear sense of purpose. Another example, the final lines: He was your addiction, your only safe haven that pushed you so far over the edge that you knew you could never live without it." could be rearranged along the lines of "He was your only safe haven that pushed you so far over the edge that you knew you could never live without it. He was your addiction."
Another way to optimise the use of your repetition is to try and pace it at intervals through the story. For instance, you use "addiction" in both your first and second paragraphs, then not again for five-six paragraphs, and then only once more at the very end, about a dozen paragraphs after. When you're intentionally repeating a word, it's good to try and space it out so as to create a sense of rhythm and purpose. Not that you should actually count out paragraphs, but it did stand out to me when you used addiction twice in consecutive paragraphs.
your total loss of every intelligible thought that made you yourself. I think this is an incredible line, and very descriptive of lust and physical desire in general. It also struck me as comparable to Remus shifting to wolf-form, which I found made the statement even more powerful. Back to your use of "addiction" though, I think this is an excellent reinforcement of that concept. Because, when it comes down to it, this is very much the essence of what addiction is, and what it does. It's a well-delivered, well-worded and exceptionally astute line.
Overall, the characterisation is subtle, but spot-on. I like Sirius' nonchalant, easy-going attitude, with sudden insights to sincerity and insecurity; contrasted with how Remus is inwardly consumed, and outwardly anxious, and in general, worried and conflicted. I'm not typically a fan of the Remus/Sirius pairing, but I don't doubt their connection for one moment in this story. It's absolutely a story of two people utterly teeming with desire and intimacy, and to be perfectly honest, I can physically feel the overwhelming power of those emotions in your words. Very well done.
Author's Response: AHG A JENNA REVIEW. Everything about this is win and I am now actually considering switching it to first person, a year and a half after writing it. And the whole addiction bit, maybe it was overdone? Just poorly placed? Yeah? I dunno, I could give it another read through. But seriously ILU for ready and reviewing this story =]. It's one of my favorites, so I'm glad you enjoyed it!
The thing which immediately stands out in this fic is the use of the second person and I think you handled it incredibly well. It was an appropriate choice for this story. The only thing I felt about the style as I was reading is that it could have worked better in the present tense. It’s not something I would usually say but there were parts of this story which in my opinion, just screamed out to be written in the present tense and to have combined the second person and the present tense would have been really effective. I did notice that in this sentence: “Sirius,” you whisper once again, your voice heavy. you did slip into the present tense, making it inconsistent with the rest of the story.
The tone you established in this story is also very good. You portray the secret relationship between the two in a believable manner without being melodramatic. I loved the effect of this line: you made your way to your tree. His tree. The tree. You used the ‘rule of three’ really well here to show something so simple but so important to their relationship. I also liked Remus’ view of the relationship as an addiction. Addictions are something generally considered to be negative and I think this suggests he finds it easier to explain his love for Sirius as an addiction that he can’t control and that he needs, rather than the traditional view of love as something which is good and beautiful to have.
The characterisation is strong and I really felt I understood Remus’ fear about what he was doing, particularly in this sentence: “What are you doing, Sirius?” you asked, frightened that someone would see you in the open, almost touching and so vulnerable. It is so heartbreaking that he is scared to even be seen ‘almost’ touching and shows the constant fear that someone will discover them and their secret. I always find it easier to imagine Remus rather than Sirius as being involved in a slash relationship but you handled Sirius well here. You showed a more sensitive side to him than in most things I read but it was believable and appropriate in this story. This line: He always found his constellation before he could concentrate on anything more than the endless black sky. was a particularly good representation of his character, showing his restlessness. I felt from the way you portrayed it that Sirius was the character more in control of the relationship and this was good as with Remus’ uncertainty and doubt, he would have been more likely to follow Sirius than lead him.
The story itself was captivating and I found myself feeling truly involved with what was happening and experiencing all of Remus’ fears as well as the small moments of joy and painful longing and the thrill of sneaking out of the castle to be together.
Author's Response: your reviews rock, love. thank you so much :D i'm really happy that you enjoyed it!
That. Was brilliant. You're use of 2nd person wasn't really noticable or distracting from the plot - I stopped a sentence or so in when I realised something was off, and I was surprised to realise the POV. Well done with that. It's not often that I see something written so that I actually feel like I'm in the character's shoes.
This is such a moment stolen from time, and so realistic. I could see Remus and Sirius in that situation and behaving exactly like they did. Basically, I loved it.
I loved the reoccuring theme of an addiction. It didn't seem like a bad one, like the ones that are usually classified as such, but something that he couldn't live without. You wove that into the story well.
The one thing that's bothering me right now, and it's really the only nitpick I can find -- excellent job with the editing -- is the second-to-last sentence in your second-to-last paragraph. Is Remus pushing himself back, or is Sirius, or am I just reading it wrong?
Overall, a lovely piece of writing that I really enjoyed.
I love the second person viewpoint and that really helped register how much the speaker was really feeling.
I noted a few things while reading this.
The door clicked shut behind you as you scurried away from the glaring windows of the castle.
As the dry autumn grass crunched under your trainers, you made your way to your tree.
I'm sure this is the style you like, actaully I love the POV, but the tense bothered me a little. For instance, I hoped it was present tense. That really gives the power factor to the narration. I become Remus. And I feel his feelings that way.
For example: As the dry autumn grass cruches under your trainers, you make your way to the tree.
So the grass is cruching under my trainers too, and I am making my way to the tree.
But thats just my view.
I'm unsure of your use of the wood worn with touch.
This description does not evoke anything in me, sorry. It actually doesn't seem plausible.
I must say you have handled Remus's erratic feelings very well. and convincingly too.
I liked this line:
That was the scary part of this addiction—your total loss of every intelligible thought that made you yourself
Because I think thats true for many addictions. Also it summarises Remus's fear of his vulnerability very nicely.
Ooh. Its up! I read it over just because I love it so much. I picked up on some nitpicks, although I remember betaing them so you must have just forgot to change them.
“Are you alright, Moony?” This should be 'all right' as 'alright' is not a word :)
the wicked smile overtakes your lips and concerns you have for your future. Both 'overtakes' and 'have' are in present tense, whereas the rest of your story is in past.
I love your writing in this, Kat. So I just had to review :)
Author's Response: Thanks, Cassie! I must have missed those when going back through the story >.> Weird. I'm glad you really do enjoy it--I had a lot of fun writing it.
Oh Kat, this was wonderful! This has to be one of the best R/S's I've ever read. Your language is so beautiful, it touches me somewhere deep inside. There's something quite heartbreaking about this, even though it has a somewhat happy ending. And you pulled off the second-person perfectly, and I loved that you decided to use it because it just adds so much charm and interest. Such a beautiful little piece. My only question: Why did you decide to rate this 6th-7th years? Anyway, great job, I loved every second of it!
Author's Response: Aw, thanks, Rhi! I'm glad you liked it :) It's the only second person I have published. As for the rating, it could have been 3rd-5th, but I felt the ending was a bit heavier than what I usually rate 3rd-5th years, so I was just cautious. I've never been able to choose my ratings well >.<
Before I visited your drabble thread I’d never read slash. But this is so beautifully written, so I’m pleased I delved in. What attracted me was the way Remus is scared of anyone finding out his secret, but at the same time, it makes him deliriously happy - the secretiveness serving only to make the relationship even better. Or that’s how I see it, at least. xD
The idea of ‘addiction’ that you carried from the beginning to end was nice. Holding onto this concept was effective.
Your use of second person was… *melts* A lot of authors, including myself, find this difficult to stop getting repetitive, and I hate repetition where there’s no reason, so you handled the point of view well, because I had no reason to get annoyed at ‘you’ for every other word. If that made sense. Because it wasn’t like that.
His tree. The tree. - I like the emphasis on ‘tree’ there. That’s the sort of repetition I love :D
Also, the second person didn’t give too much away. At the end, you know what they’re doing, but because Remus doesn’t outright tell us anything, it leaves more for the imagination.
The characterisation is handled well. Sirius was the outgoing, more carefree person, while Remus was more contained. Or from third person he would’ve been, I should think. I especially got this sense at the beginning when Sirius knocked Remus over.
“Wha—Oh, right,” - you need a question mark after the hyphen, because he was going to ask something.
Good work. I loved the way you handled this. xx
Author's Response: *huggles* Thanks! I love Remus and Sirius both as characters, so I'm glad you liked them as I wrote them! I'll make that nitpick xD Thanks!