that was so good!
I was even crushed when Sirius said James' name instead of Remus'
Author's Response: Ah, yes, that bit almost broke my heart when I wrote it. :( Thanks very much for the review. ~Carole~
I don't think I have it in me to write Spew quality reviews anymore, it's been such a long time! But I'm going to try anyway. I LOVED this story. See, I started fangirling, not a good sign. I don't remember the last time I read fan fiction. It's been years, literally, and I am so glad I made my comeback with this story. It's not only provocative, but it's also has a heart and it can be heart wrenching at times. Your characterizations are spot on, you reminded me of why Remus/Sirius was my OTP. Also the rest of the Marauders, Lily, and Tonks at the end were beautifully written. I really can't think of anything I didn't like (bad fangirl syndrome, I guess, even though I'm a boy) The twist at the end was particularly brilliant. I didn't see that one coming, at all. But it makes total sense. I reread "Order of the Phoenix" not to long ago and it was the first time I noticed how smitten was Sirius with James. He could've been in love with him, it fits with the canon. Thank you for writing such a beautiful story and for reminding me why I loved fanfiction so much.
Author's Response: Thank you so much for the lovely review. I have to say I don't usually ship Sirius/Remus - being a strong Remus/Tonks fan, but there's something about the bonds between the Marauders that draws me to explore their friendship and the great love they had for each other. I do, though, love writing the Marauders and this story seemed to grab at me one night when I was despairing over a particularly poor AU (which I have subsequently deleted). Thanks again, Harald, for the review - it is much appreciated. ~Carole~
Hello, Carole :)
First of all, I’d like to congratulate you on winning that QSQ. This story was an amazing one and it thoroughly deserved that award.
I thought the poetic style of this piece was very unlike your other stories, and the descriptions really were beautifully written. While I have always enjoyed your stories, Carole, it’s nice to read something in a different style, because you pulled it off so well. The lyricism in it was so honest and real, and I think the same could be said about the entire story. The style also worked because the poetic-ness made it such an intense read, and it emphasised the emotions too.
I must say, though, that I was surprised when I saw what category this was in. I know you’re a Remus/Tonks shipper, and I think it’s a real achievement, being able to write a ship you don't even ship so well and making a pairing that has become clichéd original and wholly believable. And with your signature Marauder Era banter which meant tangible chemistry between the four boys — not just Sirius and Remus — you made the situations presented plausible in canon. I could really feel the Marauders’ friendship throughout the story, even though the main focus was Remus and Sirius. What was even better, though, was that at the end, you tied it back to canon. Remus ended up with Tonks, and this connection to a canon event made me realise how realistic the story was.
The premise of the story is an interesting one, one of dreams, and I think the concept of dreaming in monochrome and in colour is an unusual observation. I also thought that it linked in with how Remus might have had dreams to go a lot further in life, but due to his lycanthropy, he couldn’t, and then he settled for less. It was a really touching thing to mention, and I think the entire concept of Remus’s life being black and white and then in colour with Tonks, was just brilliant.
Can I just say, Carole, kudos to you for kicking the chocolate!Remus out of the window? Seriously, I’m so impressed with how you made this pairing and the clichés that come with it your own, in a sense. You did this in several ways — firstly, Remus’s characterisation was spot-on. He wasn’t exactly like he was in PoA; you had him act like a teenager, and a troubled one at that. Yet you didn't make it overly angsty — Remus’s problems were internal and he tried coping with them himself, by “settling” as Sirius pointed out. The only part that I paused at, however, was when Remus labels himself, and effectively, Sirius, as poofs. I just don't know if Remus would refer to himself in such a derogatory term, and while I understand where he’s coming from, I’m not entirely sure he would say that.
And speaking of Sirius... well, he is often your best written character. I definitely thought this was the case here. He had the right combination of bitterness and snark and humour. The section in the Shrieking Shack emphasised his cockiness, especially how Sirius led him on in such a way, and I think Sirius displayed his ruthlessness, or perhaps something else, by pushing Remus admit his feelings for him. That showed a different side to Sirius, and it brought out Remus’s feelings when he was at his most vulnerable. I also thought the irony of it all was just heartbreaking — Sirius kept telling Remus not to settle, and yet at the end of it, Sirius was settling for less by being with Remus instead of James.
That was the most unexpected, shocking plot twist, Carole. Of all things that could happen in the story, I didn't expect that to happen. But when I thought about it more and more, it made sense. And once again, you made a ship I wasn’t sure about believable, but in a much more subtle way. I thought the plot twist was really clever and gut-wrenching, and I felt so sorry for Remus as a result. Still, at least Tonks brought a bit of colour in his life, and I like that this ends on a canony note, if you know what I mean.
Carole, as you know, I read a lot of your work. I was stupefied by this, honestly, and I think this is one of your best pieces (tied with The Dance We Do and The Golden Boy). Well done :)
Author's Response: Wowzers! thank you, Soraya. Um, how do I respond to that?
Uhmmmm, okay, I'll deal with the minor crit first. Whilst I would agree that Remus is a non-judgemental man and wouldn't call someone a poof in this day and age, I deliberately used that word because it was common parlance in the 70's and would have been the sort of word Remus' dad would have used. So, yes, it was derogatory, but Remus is still vaguely ashamed of what he is/was.
Thank you for the compliments on the lyrical quality of this. I was sort of aware that this was different from much of my other stuff, being a lot less dialogue based and think it has a similar feel to Golden Boy and also Stars or Carousels (in parts). I wrote this story for Gina because she once asked me why I didn't think Sirius and Remus were a couple (it's in my duelling thread somewhere). I'd also just deleted about 1k of a dreadful AU I was planning to give her, and was in despair. Then I went to bed. I woke in the night with the line 'At night Remus dreams in monochrome' and that was the basis of the story.
I've always been fascinated by dreams. I dream very vivid dreams where I'm aware I'm dreaming and can alter events (I dreamt up Rich Soule, btw prob not a good thing - ha ha) but I do know that some people dream in black and white and others say they don't dream. Ascribing these traits to the Marauders made the story flow. I was also rather pleased that I gave Peter another way to bed -wet - ha ha ha - I am meaaaaan.
Ah, the chocolate cliche. I've used this a little bit in some other stories. Chocolate is good for pain, apparently, so I thought it likely that Remus od'd on it during his time with Madam Pomfrey.
Ah, the shock twist. Well, they needed a reason to break up. There had to be a reason for the mistrust between them. And the canon note, I don't think I've ever written anything that can't be twisted back into canon shape. Perhaps I should ...
Thank you so much for the review, Soraya. It's much appreciated. ~Carole~
Aww, this story ist perfect!! I must've read it four times by now and I love it more and more!!
This is just how I've always pictured the James-Sirius-Remus dynamic in my head: it may not be so canon-compliant but the bond between James and Sirius always sounded too strong to me not to rise certain thoughts... and poor Remus being James' "substitute" for Sirius. I know it sounds cruel but that's what I've always imagined as well.
I love it when Remus says that he was "Little Miss Acceptable", but James was "the one" for Sirius, like the pair of them were something too unique for him to compete with.
The dialogues are so well played, they sound so natural, and I especially like the way you portray Sirius, so sexily distant in some way, aching and enticing. Him calling James' name was moving...
The ending is particularly sweet, with Moony finally getting his happy ending and dreaming in colour. :3
Your writing is amazing as usual, can't wait to read more from you!! :)) Compliments and thank you for this wonderful story.
Author's Response: Thank you very much. I agree about the bond between James and Sirius, but I do think (well, in this story at any rate) that James is very definitely straight and so it's rather one-sided on Sirius' part. The bond is there and it's strong, but James doesn't feel 'sexual' about Sirius - it's Lily that floats his boat.
Thanks again ~Carole~
I should really be working on my SPEW Swap story, but I couldn't resist anymore. Riding along while you plotted and shaped this story, not to mention a rather colourful chat about the logistics of aquatic activities, there was no way I could miss this.
Honestly, this is pretty much the way I'd always pictured the Remus/Sirius dynamic. There was always a sort of tension between them, even after Remus knew that Sirius hadn't caused James and Lily's deaths, which was likely just hard-to-displace seeds of mistrust and that one of them had grown up a bit more than the other. But a girl can dream, eh?
Honestly, I was expecting a nice round of hearty smut, but again, you managed to far exceed expectations (pun not intended but giggly nonetheless). The story fits into canon well and still manages to keep the characters so wonderfully them. Even when they're younger, they're distinct. And the way you used their already-present fears and desires to fuel their trysts was well done, as well.
Shame on Sirius for taking advantage of Remus! But I can see that happening. :/ He was just that needy boy who took more than he gave, and Remus was just so willing to give and give, just for a taste of what Sirius had to offer.
I do wonder if their final sexual encounter would've happened if they hadn't stumbled upon Lily and James getting it on. My theory is that Sirius was a bit jealous but also turned on by the sight of James getting off. Poor Remus. But you managed to fix that by having the true Miss Outstanding give him what he'd truly needed: someone who gave more than they took.
I really enjoyed the understated presence of the grading scale. It seems more youthful and child-like than the X-out-of-10 that tends to be the norm. It adds a bit of magical interest into otherwise typical thoughts of teenage boys. Plus, the let-down about Grace's jugs was quite symbolic of Sirius's newfound lack of interest/attraction to them.
I had a feeling when Sirius mentioned that he and James had went off in fourth-year and messed about with Grace that the ending was going to be what it was. But it was no less heartbreaking when it happened, though. I wanted to hug Remus and punch Sirius, though it wasn't his fault. Gah, I love how screwed up people are, hehe.
Lovely story, Carole, and I'm happy that, if I am to shirk my duties, that it was with you. :)
Author's Response: I do wonder if their final sexual encounter would've happened if they hadn't stumbled upon Lily and James getting it on. My theory is that Sirius was a bit jealous but also turned on by the sight of James getting off. That's exactly right. Whilst I think Sirius would have wanted to take things further anyway, there was a kind of desperation in him that wanted to feel what James had with Lily. If it had happened later, when he'd considered it more, rather than leaping on Remus to assuage his own needs, then perhaps he could have stopped desiring James so much and been happy with Remus. And he was happy, I think, until he saw the real evidence that James was wholly hetrosexual.
Thank you, by the way, for such a lovely and well thought out review. It warms the cockles of me 'eart, luv! (Nice cockney expression for you, although I'm not a cockney - ha ha)
I <3 you. ~Carole~
Very interesting. I pulled this up, having not been on the site in forever and a day. The dream thing drew me in, and then the sleepless notion because I, too, am that person who can't sleep ... ever and finally has to call on a friend to do something, or, you know, read the same book for the fiftieth time or go walking. So, apart from my 'I am just like that' and can never remember dreams, this drew me in at three this morning. Loved the introduction, oh, and that switch in the Forest of the names; that's a clever move. So, anyway, well done and I shall once again disappear ... off to regular life. Good job.
Author's Response: Thnak you very much. The fic started from the first line about his dreams being monochrome. As someone who has gloriously vivid dreams that stay with me, I think it's quite sad that Remus' dreams were dark like his life, which was why I wrote the story. His friends and especially Sirius, in this fic, were his colour. Thanks again ~Carole~
I don't like most slash, but this was very cute and somehow still not anti-canon. Nice work :)
Author's Response: Thank you. Sirius/Remus aren't my OTP, by any means, but I liked the challenge and it seemed to work. ~Carole~
GAHHHHH. A multitude of emotions, Croll. :( :) :( :) :'( :')
You see what this did to me?
First thing I noticed is that your writing here is so different from your usual style! It's so much more poetic, and the opening paragraphs were an absolute delight to read. I particularly loved the comparison of their dreams using colours. I am afraid it has become canon for me, like most things that are caron.
Plot-wise, what can I say? It carried me through good times and bad times and fun times and sexy times and heartbreaking times. One minute, I was snorting with laughter, and another, yelling with rage. It definitely was a beautiful experience.
Even in such a compact story, you managed to portray their dynamics so well. Though "slash-ed" up, they don't lose their identities, and I marvel at how suavely you brought the story back to canon events. I squee-ed when Tonks came.
And the ending was perfect! Gina is a lucky, lucky girl to get this. One of the most intense fics I've ever read.
Author's Response: Thank you very much for a lovely review. I admit I did know this was 'different' from so much of my other stuff and I'm beyone pleased that you think it's poetic. Would it surprise you to learn that the whole inspiration for this fic was the first line. I was lying in bed trying to sleep and the words 'Remus dreams in monochrome' just appeared, which was why I was so reluctant to give up on the title - despite it being used by a 'Snily' writer - ha ha.
Sorry you were yelling with rage. I was very sad at one point in the story because I'd half convinced myself that they needed a happy ending - which they sort of had- but not the one they perhaps deserved.
I squeed when Tonks appeared as well, but if anyone could make his life colourful, it would be her. I'm not burning with rage because JKT killed them all. That bloody rat!
Thanks again ~ Carole~
Carole. Carole. Carole. Carole.
Thank you so much!! It's gorgeous and I love it and I'm stunned and honored that you've written such a piece for my birthday. Let me try to form some more cohesive thoughts…
First of all, I have to admit, when I saw this was about Remus and Sirius, and Professors no less, I thought. "Hmmm. Me, shipping Remus/Sirius? Carole, writing Remus/Sirius?" For some reason I seem to recall that you're not a fan? Well, I hope your own story changed your mind, lol!
I was captivated from the beginning thanks to the beautiful prose. The whole introduction about dreams was just amazing. Poor, poor Remus! I love your battered, bruised take on his psyche, even as a youngster. Even more, I loved your Sirius. Dark, brooding, slightly bitter and snarky. Perfect. The scene by the fire illustrated his impatience so well.
Each scene was perfectly chosen, perfectly paced. The bit with Peter forgetting how to transform was very scary! At first, I wondered if you were hinting at something from LoG, but I don’t think that was Peter, and I don't think that was seventh year, was it? The idea that Peter would still struggle with that and that it could have lead to something so terrifying is brilliant. Wow.
And then the scene where Sirius is tending to Remus and goads him into admitting his feelings! So good, so charged. Great buildup, wonderful tension. Ahhhh, loved it.
Throughout you have Sirius talking to Remus about settling, which is so interesting because then we come to the prefects' bath and it all comes crashing down. I think I actually went "Oh no," when I got to that final word. It was heartbreaking, it really was. And yet, it fits: Sirius's bitter attitude, his constant talk about settling. So sad to think he felt like he was settling for Remus, when Remus is such a good person-just not the one Sirius loved.
James. Hee hee. Loved his brief mentions, his shag with Lily, but I really liked that it was James, because (and this sounds really selfish of me, lol) it sort of fits with that story I wrote for Natalie about James and Sirius. In my warped mind Sirius has turned to Remus now that James is with Lily—and really, that is very sad for all of them.
The scene at Grimmauld Place just did so much for the story, wrapping it up perfectly. First, to mention that it broke the trust between them was brilliant. Such a subtle reminder of all that went wrong. To see them friends again in spite of what happened between them was beautiful. And then Tonks. Ah Tonks! What a great introduction, what great foreshadowing. I love that you ended this on a happy note for Remus. Having his dreams change back to colour really brought it back to the sad beginning, but with that hopeful feel.
There were so many layers to this, it's amazing. I envy your easy way with their banter and the slang and colloquialisms I so love to mangle. The dream references were fantastic. And that Ravenclaw? That was me, right? RIGHT??
Well, that should do it – thank you so much, Carole! What a perfect way to start my day! I look forward to reading this again and hope you get many, many fantastic reviews for it!
Author's Response: Which Ravenclaw? The mystery one who didn' really exist, or Grace Allerby and her big tits who shagged both Sirius and James - ha ha I know which one I'd rather be. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you, for such a lovely review that I shall read again and again. It made me feel all warm and fuzzy. I know you don't particularly ship Sirius/Remus, but I remember you asking me why I didn't (it was a long long time ago in my duelling thread) and I know you're interested in that ship. I found when I wrote it that it flowed quite easily, but then I also knew the way it would end. I had the first line in my head before I started writing it, and I had the killer word there as well, and then the end just seemed to fit.
I don't think Sirius turned to Remus because of Lily and James, exactly, but I think he turned to him because he knew James wasn't gay because he was very interested in girls. He does love Remus, but it's James who is the 'one' as I said, the person he really wants to be with but can't have in that way. I'm glad you picked up on the settling bits because I was going to have a scene where they rowed about Sirius settling for Remus, but then that detracted from the whole bathroom scene. I left it at GP in the end and Tonks arriving to bring him some colour.
Thank you again for reviewing. I haven't felt this good about a story in some time, despite it being so far from my OTP, so I am incredibly pleased with your response. ~Carole~