So I read this on a whim, not really knowing what to expect as this pairing has never particularly excited me, but I was really pleasantly surprised!
I think my favourite thing about this was how you characterised Hannah (and Neville, to a slightly lesser extent). It sounds silly, but I liked that Hannah clearly had the traits of a Hufflepuff, without you explicitly referencing her House; it’s a bit of a pet peeve of mine! On that note, it was also great to see a balanced Hufflepuff, showing both the benefits and drawbacks of being so hard-working and determined. I don’t think that the “House traits” are shown in the negative often enough, so seeing Hannah suffer for it was quite refreshing, and really fleshed her character out. I also loved how you portrayed Neville in this fic: I think he can be tricky (especially in post-Hogwarts fics), because you need to balance his growth in confidence throughout the series without over-doing it, but you’ve pulled it off beautifully.
In terms of the actual pairing, I thought you did a good job of creating tension between them, but with a gentle touch: it didn’t feel forced at any point. Neville is clearly attracted to her, but is a complete gentleman about it, and I think that was the correct approach. Still, those little moments between them (Neville touching her hair, for example) were great; they were never flirtatious, and yet they were “loaded”, which was very effective.
The other thing I really liked about this fic (characterisation aside) was the development of Hannah’s life more generally, and how that became the set-up for the romance. I liked how the renovation of the Leaky Cauldron and the blossoming of Hannah and Neville’s relationship complemented each other. Actually, I think it was quite a novel way of drawing the characters together, using their financial ties rather than the physical setting. I guess my only problem with that was that I got a little distracted by trying to figure out the finances (“a galleon is about fiver, so a how long would it take to make that much from a Muggle pub?”), but I think that’s more a testament to my terrible attention span than anything to do with you!
I’m really pleased I read this; it was a sweet fic, I found Hannah extremely likeable and the development of her relationship with Neville felt honest and believable. Really nice work! :)
This is one of my favorite couples outside Harry/Ginny and James/Lily (something about those redheaded girls and their messy-haired fools of partners), and this was a great take on their start. I can honestly say I'd never given much thought to how Hannah came to own the Cauldron, but I thought this was a perfectly plausible and quite reasonable way for it to have happened. Well done!
I suppose there is something in me that empathises with Hannah. I used to manage a restaurant, and let me tell you, I have definitely sat on the floor and cried a couple of times, wondering what the hell I'd got myself into. I wanted to channel some of that into Hannah and give her a reason to need a hero. And we all know Neville is a BAMF hero. :)
At any rate, thank you again for the reads and reviews today. I really appreciate that you've taken so much time to lurk my author page. It's truly an honour.
Aw, Jess, my birthday just keeps on giving! :D I adored this, and I think it is so cool that you chose Neville/Hannah. Honestly, they have become my second OTP over the last year or so, and I love thinking about how they might have got together. What a clever idea to have him help save her business--its exactly the kind of thing he would do for someone, especially a friend. I like your characterization of them both: Hannah is so hard working and has sort of lost herself in her exhaustion. ;( And Neville... dear heavens, girl, he is swoon-worthy!! Loved the elf gazing up into his eyes and all the things he said. And the best bit of that first scene was when the knight in shining armor walked out and stumbled over the furniture. How delightfully Neville! "The sheer amount of worry in his voice as he said her name was her undoing." ... and mine as well, I assure you. :) Thanks so much for this, Jess. I knew it already, but you've reinforced the fact that you write canon very well.
I've actually been sitting on this fic for a while. I had the first 800 or so words done but no chance to finish it. But then in lurking every introduction thread known to man that you've ever posted and some stalkery assistance from our f-list, I found that you liked Neville/Hannah. It made me overjoyed, I will admit. I really wanted to finish this story, and gifting it to you was the perfect push I needed.
I will admit it freely -- I have been where Hannah was in the beginning of the story. I remember a number of nights of sitting on the floor in my restaurant and wishing the place would burn down so I could go home. I wanted someone to rescue me. Had BAMF Neville been my saviour, I would've died in ecstasy, lol.
Anywho, happy *very* belated birthday, and I'm glad I could extend the fun for you. :)
Happy Birthday, WeasleyMom! Loved the story, by the way.
I'm glad you liked it, and I shall pass on the message. :D
I really can't believe how quickly you write new stories... I just checked, this is your fourth story on the most recent page... 4 stories in 7 days... you're insane lol.
This was a lovely story. I loved Hannah, particularly the way you wrote her exhaustion at the beginning and compared her to how she used to be (as in with her nails and that sort of thing). I had a really clear picture of her.
Neville was great, too. I liked how their relationship was lovely and innocent for most of the fic - Hannah's excitement to show Neville what she'd done around the place and Neville's excitement to see her, and the way he absent-mindedly touched her cheek or her hair... it just had this lovely youthful innocence to it, which just really suited these characters. Plus it was juxtaposed nicely with Hannah looking at her reflection and seeing an old woman.
I loved the idea that Hannah would set up business in Hogsmeade, and that's how she would get around the problem of Neville being in Scotland for most of the year, and her in London.
Lovely story, once again, Jess.
P.S. Happy Birthday Lori!
Hehe, I think I had five on the Most Recent last week. :D
I like me a bit of awkward advances. I think Neville was subconsciously doing that when he was unintentionally feeling her up -- thinking about doing it and not realising that his hands sort of went there on their own, lol.
And in my brain universe, since Hannah left before the end of her sixth-year, she doesn't know how to Apparate properly yet. She will learn later, but at this point, she hadn't had the time yet. It would've required that she Floo to Hogsmeade to see Neville, but if she was there all the time, he could sneak out at the weekend and see her.
Glad you liked it, and I shall make sure Lori gets your message. :)
First of all, happy birthday, Lori!
I'm always in the mood for some Neville/Hannah, and I was squeeeing when I read this, Jess :) I just loved how touchy-feely Neville was, and the best thing was, he wasn't even aware of it, so I couldn't even blame the poor boy. This obviously isn't a SPEW review, more a squee one, but I hope you don't mind. I just woke up to this, so I just had to let you know how great it was. But that's no surprise, since you wrote it ;)
I hope you write another Neville/Hannah soon!!
Actually, I've been sitting on this plot bunny for a while, and Lori's birthday gave me a good reason to dust it off. As my first job was in the restaurant business, I felt a commiseration with Hannah's borderline slavery to her business. Neville did only start out as wanting to help her out as a friend, but in the end started looking forward to his visits as she did.
Thanks for the review. I would ramble some more, but I still haven't written my Brawl drabble yet. o.O