I was thinking about which fics I should review this month for SPEW, and I thought, “Oh, what about Sarah?” So, I scurried on over here, and I’m so glad I did. I adored this fic very much, dear.
It is here that two men meet – walking casually towards each other to converge in a firm handshake before sinking simultaneously onto the bench, one allowing himself a small sigh as he leans back and closes his eyes. Already I love the fic. All of the imagery in this line is just wonderful – converging in a firm handshake, sinking onto the bench, sighing, leaning, guh. It’s fabulous, it really is. This description offers an early insight into the relationship Sirius and Remus have. To me, the firm handshake suggests a sense of formality that always seems to exist between them, like one of them is maybe always just a little bit guarded. But then they sit on the bench simultaneously, together, and we know that these two are more than merely friends; we know that they’re brothers.
I love the mention of Harry. You give us some reference of time, here; we know that this is taking place sometime after Harry’s birth, and probably sometime close to James and Lily’s deaths. It adds a heavier tone to everything. You allow that dramatic irony to be present. And then the shift from Remus’s humor to Remus’s distance is great. It demonstrates the ease, almost, of their friendship. They can make that shift from something happy to something more grim, and it’s okay, acceptable.
They can talk about anything, and it is not uncomfortable; they can talk about nothing, and it is not useless. This pretty much sums up their friendship, and it’s perfect. It’s exactly how I picture Sirius and Remus in my mind.
I find the way you approached this fic particularly interesting. You write it as though we have no knowledge of the characters, even though of course we do. You give us backstory that we already know (like Sirius’s problems with his family), but you add to it so that it isn’t boring and repetitive. Not only does Sirius have problems with his family, but he has Remus to talk to, and he has Remus to teach him how to trust again. You tell us how Remus fits into Sirius’s backstory, which isn’t something we necessarily know (though I’m sure we all have our own personal canons about it).
This line struck me as interesting as well: They fought, too, as they were both too stubborn to bend to the will of the other, and refused to believe in anything but what they thought themselves. See, I almost disagree with this characterization. I think it’s spot-on for Sirius, but I’m not so sure about Remus. I see Remus, for the most part, as not quite as stubborn as Sirius; I can see Remus bending a little to Sirius. Not changing completely, and not going along with whatever Sirius thinks, but just allowing some things to be, you know? Stepping back and evaluating whether it’s worth the fight. While Sirius refuses to let things go, Remus, I think, was always just that tiny bit more mature. I don’t think Remus would hide or suppress his opinions, but I think he also wouldn’t like to push Sirius if it meant a fight.
Yet through it all, they had held on to each other, keeping themselves alive with the knowledge that they were not alone, and somehow, they would close the distance between themselves sooner or later. My favorite part of that sentence is the end, that they would always reunite themselves. It makes me so sad, on the one hand – soon after this, Sirius goes to Azkaban, and they’re separated; but then, of course, they find each other again. Yet, then Sirius dies, and again they are separated. And of course Remus dies and we know they found each other again. I love that. I just love that everything you include in characterizing their friendship is so true, and so right.
They close the space between them with shared memories, and the knowledge of where they have been. I’m totally tempted to just copy and paste the entire rest of the fic, because it’s so beautiful and touching. I did especially like this part, though, because of the reference to where Sirius and Remus have been. So much of their relationship is, to me, their past, and what they have been. By the time they reach adulthood, they really do see so little of each other, and their shared past is what they cling to.
Except, I love the references to the future, too. It makes my heart ache, knowing that Sirius and Remus didn’t get to grow old together, but just looking at this one scene in their lives reminds me of how special their friendship was. Ah, Sarah, I love this fic. It’s gorgeous. And this review, I believe, is quite long enough. -shifty-
Author's Response: Hee, I'm so glad you did come to review this! I love getting your reviews, my dear. :D Those first few lines took me a while to cultivate in my mind, because I knew they were going to be important to get right. You're completely right in the impressions you get of this - I was trying to communicate that although they're so very close, they always begin in a semi-distant way, and only drop their guards after a while. Ah, yes, I had to get the timing just right! I needed it to be after school but before the war, which gave me only a ashort time to work with! I thought Harry would be a good indicator of that, and also allow for some light-hearted conversation to begin with. I decided to write in the backstory again because I needed to highlight the role Remus played in it - as you pointed out. Also, I'd established a setting right from the beginning in which they were both just two men, and so to follow that, I thought an explanation of their friendship sounded most fitting. It also made the subject matter more definite - I mean, we all know that Sirius' life was hardly an easy one, but I wanted to use more than just a vague reference when talking of how Remus had helped him. As for the characterisation - I do agree with what you're saying, in actual fact. But I think the kind of dynamic you've described there may only have developed later on, when they knew each other better. Arguements due to stubbornly held opinions tend to crop up most in the early stages of friendship, in my experience, particularly if two people have grown close over a short amount of time. That's what I was wanting to show most with that sentence: that although they were vitally important to each other, the friendship still had a long way to go yet. And oh, of course! I think the most heartbreaking part of their friendship is the constant separation they face, which is obviously brought by the times they grew up in. I think possibly the worst thing is imagining how it could have been for them. Like, can't you just see them as the type of friends who could be with each other anywhere, in any situation, and it would work? Platonic soulmates, if you like. ;) The ending is maybe one of my favourite parts too. Again, I planned this one over in my head a lot, just to get the wording exactly how I wanted it. You're right that their friendship is based on the past by the time we see them in the books, buit of course, at this stage, they don't know thet yet. And well, I really wanted to highlight the kind of commitment they had to each other which meant that all those years on, Remus could comfortably believe Sirius when he returned, and 'embrace him like a brother'. *grin* Thank you ever so much for this! I can't describe how happy it makes me that you liked it. *squish*
Very well written. Lovely stuff. Slashy undertones detectable but only if you read it that way. Which I do. Hehe. Write more soon.
Author's Response: Thank you! And LOL, not quite what I intended, but i can see why you might say that. ;) Glad you enjoyed it.
Haunting and beautiful. Well written.
Author's Response: Thank you very much!
Very nice. I love how you portrayed their friendship, and its profundity. Did you mean for it to have slashy undertones? I thought how you described their affection for each other seemed to hint that their relationship was a bit more than simple friendship. Well, either way, it was very well-written. I think you should write a follow-up to this, about how Remus felt when he first thought Sirius had betrayed Lily and James. Or, perhaps, about Sirius when he thought Remus was the traitor.
Author's Response: Thank you! And *chuckles* I wasn't intending the slashy undertones, but I can see that their type of friendship may indicate that! I'm glad you liked it, anyway. And oh, I am actually intending to wrote one from Sirius' POV after the murders - whether I get round to finishing/posting it up is another matter entirely!