Wow. Wow. Mere, this was so hauntingly beautiful in terms of its style. Never before have I read something that took my breath away so much simply by you wrote it. Your words were so carefully selected and in general, this piece was just gorgeous.
You wrote in third person present tense -- which I always thought was a rather difficult style, and yet you pulled it off and made it look effortless, so well done on that. The use of present tense made me feel more in the moment, and even though it was written in third person, I still felt a personal connection to Percy, especially as the story progressed. I really felt in touch with his emotions throughout, and the way you portrayed Percy's guilt, his self-hate, his regret -- you just nailed it, Mere. And I congratulate you on that.
Before I continue dishing out the praise, I'll get the nitpicks out of the way. You had a few typos, such as:
It if wasn’t for the look Mum had given him
I'm assuming you meant to write:
If it wasn't for the look Mum had given him
He sits there are stares at George.
I think you meant:
He sits there and stares at George.
The nineteen-year-old witch fixed her blue eyes on him piercingly.
You used the past tense here, and I think you were meant to use the present, as in:
The nineteen-year-old witch fixes her blue eyes on him piercingly.
"Firewhiskey" should always be capitalised, as far as I know.
Finally (as far as nitpicks are concerned) the use of "Mum" instead of "Molly" or "Mrs Weasley", given that this is written in third person, seemed a little odd, to me. But maybe you were trying to add to the personal feel of the story? I don't know.
Percy's characterisation, I think, was spot on. The fact that he couldn't bear to look at George because he looked exactly like Fred...oh, that was just awful. But you nailed it. (And of course, I meant awful in a good way, if that's possible.) What I really liked was that you didn't get all the Weasleys to just forgive him like that. They were all still uncomfortable with him. No surprises there. And then George's reaction to Percy was just so terrible. So terribly accurate. And he was portrayed brilliantly -- as a grieving twin, one who had lost his other half, in a way. I think you really hit the mark with George. His demeanour was so flat and grief-stricken, which is just so realistic, even if it is more than a little depressing.
Percy trying to drown his sorrows in drink is not unexpected. I'm really glad you confronted the not-so-nice aspects of life in this fic, because it held true to both canon and RL. I know you were saying in the controversial topics discussion in SPEW that if they have a place in RL, they should have a place in fanfiction too, and you displayed this brilliantly and sensitively here.
By the way, I don't normally comment on summaries, but yours was an amazing one. I find it so difficult to write summaries, and I have to say that your ones are so very intriguing -- and they most definitely live up to the actual story! One thing that I do have to mention is that you didn't have a strong profanity warning. Now, I have no problems with strong language, since I use it quite regularly in my fics (but not that much in RL) but still, I think it would've been good to have a warning.
I really liked Harry's comment about the gnomes, and the whole meeting in the Hog's Head about remembering the fallen was very well done. What I like the most about this fic, Mere, is that you've not made it cliched or anything. More often than not, I read Post-Hogwarts stories when straight after the battle, everyone acts like they're on happy pills or something. It's ridiculous and certainly not realistic, given how many casualties there were in the battle. So I really loved how you portrayed the grief of the survivors in this fic, because it was a far truer portrayal than a lot of Post-battle fics. You've managed to interweave your stunning prose with your great characterisation and your incredibly moving plot, making me sympathise with a character that I never liked very much until the end of DH when he appeared. And for that, I commend you highly and thank you for writing such a wonderful story.
Author's Response: AHHHHH thank you SO much for this wonderful review, Soraya! I think I'm still blushing from all your praise. I'm so glad that the present tense comes off as effortless because it really wasn't! The opening line came to me in present tense, but the through out the rest of it I had to constantly remind myself I was writing in present, not past. >.> Thank you for those nitpicks. I'm *facepalm*ing repeatedly for missing some of those. I'm glad you like my summary! I pride myself a little bit on my summaries, so it's always good to hear that someone likes them. :D As for the warning, though, this story is rated 6th-7th years and I think there's only one particularly strong word... Or maybe I just swear too much, haha. I'm glad that you pointed out the gnome part because it's one of my favourites, but it's also one of the parts that I was a little unsure of how it would be received. :D Thank you so much again for this fantastic review. It makes me so happy to know that this story came across as a realistic portrayal of the aftermath of the Battle. :) <3Mere
This is very good. I like your Percy and I love the scene at the end with him and George. Very well-written :)
Author's Response: Thank you! It's my first time writing Percy so I was a bit worried about how it turned out. I'm so glad you liked it. <3Mere
Very very good! *sniffles*
Author's Response: Thank you! <3Mere
Firstly - you write such brilliant summaries. I've thought that about your stories before, but this one was just exceptional. Even from a visual perspective, the first thing I saw was "Death" at the top and "Life" at the bottom, so perfectly juxtaposed.
Anyway, I loved the story, too. Percy's characterisation was just amazing.
He is good at this, he’s been doing it all his life. This time, though, it’s different. This time, he’s not thinking about how these projects will affect his career, if he’s associating with the right people, if he’s on the fastest track for a promotion, how much recognition he’ll get from them. This time, he’s hiding from the ghouls in his attic. That just says so much about Percy and how he's changed, it's a wonderful paragraph.
I like the idea that you picked Ernie to come up to him, because Ernie really is a little like Percy - pompous, a bit self-important etc. So I loved that connection.
The scars on his face seem to fade—they don’t disappear completely and probably never will, but they tell of old stories instead of fresh wounds. That's such a lovely distinction, and even though at this stage Percy's not in the frame of mind to move on, it does show hope for the future.
The interaction between George and Percy was perfectly timed and I could just feel the tension in that room.
A few little nitpicks - The first thing Percy sees when he opens his eyes in a broomstick. Odd, thinks Percy, but he doesn’t really care. He’s only ever first once and has no desire to do so again. Yet another reminder he doesn’t fit in with his family. I didn't understand this - are you missing something in the middle sentence? Or am I just not seeing the obvious...?
"Drink this,” orders a horse voice it should be "hoarse".
(who were practically Weasleys anyway) - I think it would flow better if this was in present tense, too.
Percy starts at him, - Should this be stares? It's not grammatically incorrect as you've written it, but stares would make more sense to me.
Anyway, you really are a fantastic writer and you've captured Percy so well here. Very impressive.
Author's Response: Ahh, thank you! I agonize a lot over my summaries and I know they're a bit different from the status quo, so it's good to know that someone likes them! :) Thank you for those nitpicks. While I was correcting them, I actually caught a few more. >.> Just shows that there's no such thing as too much editing I guess. haha. Thank you for your comments. That line about the scars that you picked out is one of my favourites. :D This is my first time writing Percy, so I was a bit unsure of how it would work out. I can't tell you how happy I am that you thought it was good. Thank you so much for this wonderful review! <3Mere
The setting overall was very brilliant. The tension in this story and the grief had an almost solid presence. There are many parts I liked, Harry's beginning of the speech, Percy's conversation with Ernie, Percy's uneasiness and guilt throughout.
One thing which stood out to me was your handling of the affairs at the Ministry, the way Percy just asks a newbie to take notes at a hearing. I'm surprised but I liked that bit the most. It has such a depth to it, the idea that it doesn't matter whether the one taking notes is on the payroll or not. Everybody participates in that rebuilding and there are few to question. I have never read a story that focuses on how the magical world was sort of reconstructed, so to say. I think that story would be heavy for me. But that idea cropping up here unexpectedly was amazing. A simple line helped to give so much background to the time frame of Percy's story.
Author's Response: Thank you for such a lovely review! I'm really glad that you liked the part where Percy hands over the note-taking job to Ernie. I wasn't sure how that would go overall, to be honest, so it's such a relief to know that you liked it and thought it worked and that it had the intended effect. :D Thank you so much! <3Mere