Wow, this was one of the first fanfiction stories I ever read, and when I saw your name in the most recent box, I was like, "I remember you!" So I came here and found this, and I have to say that it is still awesome. It really is plausible, and the characterization is amazing. I always knew which one was Neville and which one was Harry, and even though it was a non-canon pair, I could still feel that it was them, not some fanfiction rip off. Thanks.
Hello! I really enjoyed your story, and how you took two canon characters and portrayed them and their non-canon relationship very well, so thought I'd leave a review :)
I found the first line slightly strange, however, because I think hospitals are glum places but I found Neville's reasoning very interesting, as well as revealing about him. "He couldn’t think of anything more depressing than faking being happy" shows that he finds fakery rather depressing, more so than death or the illness of his parents. The phrase "more to keep an uneasy silence from forming than from a need to know the private details of his friend’s life" also shows Neville's dislike of awkwardness, and not wishing to pry. However its nice that Harry, from the first moment he appears, very obviously needs to be with someone, or even talk with someone, and that Neville recognises this, when it says “The pain and bitterness in those words lanced straight through Neville’s chest”.
You write dialogue very well, and Neville and Harry’s awkwardness but also sympathy with each other, comes across, particularly with the hesitancy of this line: “There’s not much I can say, except that the last two years...well, I have some small idea of what it must feel like.” as well as the kindness of the sentiment expressed. I found the shift between this awkwardness to “the sudden intense desire to not be left alone with one’s thoughts” rather sudden, though I realise that’s how Neville and Harry both feel.
However, your description is also good. I liked the phrase “the clouds bleached with sunlight but hoarding it for themselves, the leftover light providing poor contrast among the grays and browns that made up the stones and buildings of the city” is such a beautiful description of the city. However I thought the phrase “They weren’t clouds that threatened rain; Neville thought he might have died of melodrama if they had been.” was somewhat over the top, as the phrase “might have died” is in itself melodramatic, whereas Neville doesn’t come across as melodramatic. You also use the word “sidewalk” which is rather American, and also occasionally you use too many saids in a row, although admittedly not very often.
The detail about Neville’s accommodation, was good, particularly in contrast to Grimmauld Place, however Harry’s line “It’s yours,” Harry responded, pulling off his jacket. “And it wasn’t just handed to you. You...earn it. I wish I could have that…satisfaction.” He bit his lip and flushed slightly. “I sound like a poor little rich boy, don’t I?” This did not strike me as very Harry-ish, as you’ve never felt he’s had a chip on his shoulder about his wealth. He’s felt awkward about his wealth in comparison to Ron, but given that he hadn’t had any parents, I think he’d feel comfortable in his wealth. However on the whole, I think, for a story which is essentially rather domestic, in terms of just two lost people finding each other, your dialogue is very IC. I liked the ‘banter’ between them and the way that Neville is “relieved Harry had picked up the banter to get them past that bit of awkwardness”.
I also like the way you don’t reveal too much about what happened to Ginny. The focus on your story is Harry and Neville, and since presumably both characters know about Ginny it would be awkward and slow down the narrative to explain further. By having them meet in the ward and exchange horror stories about what’s happening, and subtly having a sort of top trumps over whose hardest done by, was a very clever way of putting these very different, but both heroic, characters on the same level. I think Harry, as Harry sometimes does being not as sensitive as many characters, takes this slightly too far, and Neville realises it, hence his outburst, which seemed very realistic.
However I think one of my favourite things about this story was the way you had Neville think “They were both of them wounded, both of them desperate for something to hold onto to keep them from drowning. They were both vulnerable and very much alone in a world that was too busy celebrating their accomplishments to realize what they’d had to sacrifice.” and then say, after the kiss, “But I’m damned willing to pretend that I am if doing that again helps half as much as it just did.” ...“We’re two…very lost and lonely friends who are in a very exclusive position to understand one another almost perfectly. And we’ve got a rare opportunity to offer comfort and let out tension that doesn’t hinge on breaking down into tears and hating the world.”
Sorry to throw your own writing at you but I think the change and the clarification in his ideas between thinking and then vocalising them is very well done, as it moves from being about the individual to being about how they can help it. I don’t mind smut/ more explicit sexual situations but I actually thought your ending of “The stove beneath the tea kettle went out again, as though fully aware that its services would no longer be required this afternoon.” was incredibly witty, and ending a story with a melancholy tone on a very light note. Overall I thought this was a very good story, and I enjoyed reading it very much. I’d love to read more of your work- Alex
Author's Response: I don't know what I've done to deserve such a fantastic, thoughtful, critical, and illuminating review, but I thank you for it from the very bottom of my heart. I am truly flattered that you spent the time not only to read my work, but also compose a review that not only praises me, but also contains advice to help me improve as a writer. Thank you so much!
I will admit I am at a severe disadvantage, both my beta and myself having been raised on American English. I try to catch my missteps but some things are just so mundanely colloquial that there's no mention of them in the typical Britpick guides. Thank you for pointing out the use of "sidewalk;" you'll notice that it's been corrected to "pavement" in the story.
I am always so glad to hear that readers think I keep Harry and Neville (Neville in particular) in character. There is always the risk in same-sex pairings, since canon must be twisted just so, that one character or the other becomes something alien to the reader. It delights me to hear that readers think I keep everything believable, while still managing to tell a story so very far outside of canon.
Once again, thank you so much for this lovely review. If you do find time to peruse my other work, I hope you'll find it equally as enjoyable.
Oh good. I'm so relieved. Any plans to post more of your stories? You mentioned that you would need to 'fix them up'. Is it possible? Or too much work? cj
Author's Response: I will definitely be posting more of my works here. I have them posted elsewhere under this same pen name, if you are so inclined to go find them, but they all need serious overhauls before they are ready for the likes of MuggleNet. I'm sure I'll find the time somewhere to work on them once I'm done applying for new jobs and planning a wedding. :)
In the future, if you have any questions, you can feel free to contact me through my profile rather than leaving a review.
I've been looking for another review to which Gina may have been referring in her comment, and wonder if she was referring to mine. If so, I think she mis-read my review. When did I say that Harry kissing another guy would not happen? If I was the 'first reviewer' that remark was in reference to, I actually said it was believable! Sorry for the mini rant, but I just had to get that out. I don't like being misunderstood. Anyway, still a good writer! Keep writing. cj
Author's Response: Haha, no, worry not - it was an immature flame that has since been removed by a moderator. Your review was quite awesome.
Hi there again. I saw you had another Neville story up and thought I'd give it a go. I also saw your other first review and thought your response was perfect. Really, who's to say Harry might not kiss another guy? Sometimes readers need to be a bit more open-minded, not to mention respectful. Sorry about that one.
Anyway, I still think you write well, particularly Neville. I really liked his maturity here. It seemed totally spot-on that he could offer advice to someone based on his own experiences with his parents. You definitely brought out how difficult it must be for both him and Harry to have loved ones in St. Mungo's. I'm curious - is there more backstory for Ginny?
In terms of the physical moment between Harry and Neville, I think I like how it was built up in your other story a bit more. You had made it clear from the scene in the Pensieve that there were feelings on one side; that isn't exactly clear here. It seemed rather out of the blue, even if Neville had been Luna or some other female character.
That said, you do seem to like to throw people together in times of trauma :) and certainly that does happen and I still enjoyed reading your characterization and dialogue. And I was just amazed at how well Neville handled it, that was really lovely!
So I'm curious: are all your Neville ideas AU, or might we see some Neville/Luna (a movie ship, I know, but so cute!) or Neville/Hannah sometime? I'd like to read something that actually worked out for him. ;)
Author's Response: Thanks for giving me another go. :) Most of my shorts tend to involve some sort of trauma, as it's something that's can be quickly established with few words - love and happiness tend to take me longer to establish with any realism.
That said, I do have several other Neville works that are complete, but nowhere near good enough for the likes of MuggleNet, whose readers have a much more discerning taste than other places I've posted! It will take many, many hours of editing and then finding a very good beta before any of them are ready for submission here. Most are Neville/Harry, but the one I'm currently working on is Neville/Luna (and the first non-slash romance piece I've written in, literally, ten years).
Thanks so much for your reviews. You've made the move to MuggleNet much less intimidating. :)
First comment! I've never read a Harry/Neville fic, and it's certainly not my one-true-pairing, but this is well-written. How tragic that Ginny ended up in a ward at St. Mungo's. If Harry and Neville were ever to get together, shared pain over something like this would be believable. One thing bothered me - the use of 'you know?' I counted three times - Harry once, and Neville twice. It just didn't seem to sound right for them. I loved the visual of the cookie crumbling in Harry's hand. Good idea to show his agony at those moments. cj
Author's Response: What a compliment! Thanks for spending your comment cherry on me. :P I always thought that Neville and Harry had a lot more shared pain than they had the chance to contemplate in the books, and it's usually what brings them together to begin with in my fics.
I hadn't noticed my overuse of that phrase; thanks for pointing it out. I might have to go back and fix that at some point.
Thank you for your review, and I'm glad you enjoyed it, even if it wasn't your OTP. :)