Oh my, oh my. Slytherin love, what on earth? Hahaha! This was delightfully treacherous, as are both Marcus and Millicent. Julia got it right, what a vile pair! And yet you made them... well, not likable, exactly, but engaging and certainly well-suited enough for one another that I wanted it to work out for them. Millicent, though, is freaking scary! If only Pansy could see her now! Love all the characterization, the small sections in the first chapter did so much to show who they were, and really, how alike they are at the core. You wrote their parents well, and I think they were the real tragedy of their children. It's hard to imagine either of them being better people with these wretches for parents. (I feel like a parenting hero, next to them. Hehe.) LOVED the falling out of the window bit. Perfect place to break the chapters, and even though I suspected it might be a low window, I was still wholly entertained by your telling of that discovery at the beginning of chapter two. Poor Marcus... Millicent held all the cards, didn't she? Though I would like to see that reunion scene between the two of them after he went to Azkaban, I agree with you that it didn't really suit the flow of the story. It's really something that they both sank into such violence at the same time without having ever discussed such a thing with the other, and then still got together. Really, really clever plotting, Natalie. I enjoyed this. In a sick, twisted, squicky kind of way. I wanted to read it ever since you asked me to, but got sidetracked... so since its your birthday, I thought a review might be (extra) suitable. Happy, happy birthday to my first MNFF friend. Without you, I wouldn't have an flist. *hugs* ~Lori
Author's Response: THANK YOU! :D I'd completely forgotten I asked you to read it! Hahaha! I was really curious to know what you'd say, because you don't read pairings as ghastly as this :D Thanks for the wishes and for this review. I'm grinning from ear to ear :)
I really enjoyed this fic! It’s always interesting when an author looks closer at characters that aren’t super witty and friendly (and are actually just supposed to be ugly and stupid in the books). You didn’t romanticize them at all, which was good. I liked how they still both felt really slow, like here: “But, with no one else to encourage her or show her where to sign up, she didn’t know what to do.” However, it’s good to see that just because characters are thick doesn’t mean they don’t have emotions.
I liked the parallel in the beginning (and throughout) of how they are both insecure about their bodies. It was also funny and appropriate that the first thing she thinks when he approaches her at the window is how he’s like a troll: “He had the gait of a blundering beast, like a troll, and he flapped his arms as he tried to convince her not to jump.”
I was a bit confused by this sentence, though:
“But she supposed he also felt trapped because of their parents’ command to bring her back.”
Millicent had run out, so I didn’t think she heard Mrs. Flint tell Marcus to go find her. I suppose Millicent just assumed that Marcus was there at his parent’s request, but it wasn’t super clear.
Overall, this was a really clever and well-characterized fic! All of the parents (even late Mr. Bulstrode) were really strongly characterized in a very short time. I also really loved the passage about the Inquisitorial Squad and Amycus. It was awful and sad but really poignantly written. Nice work!
Author's Response: Hey! Thank you so much for reviewing. I always squee when I get a review for this because I was so sure that very few people would give this story a chance. Thank you, also, for pointing that out. I will look into it. (I'd written this story in such a hurry for 2011's Cotillion that I didn't give the writing a lot of attention :X) I'm glad you liked the characterisation, for that is something I planned carefully. It was one of my goals to make this pairing possible, even likeable in a semi-horrifying way. -Natalie
Hmm... I'm not sure I followed this one as well as your other stories, but perhaps it's because I think the characters needed some more explanation. Not a whole lot more, but I don't know why Millicent killed her mother. Perhaps this would be a good story to reread and add things here and there.
Other than that, I'll agree it was a strange pairing. But it works.
Author's Response: First of all, thank you for the crit! Why did Millicent kill her mother? I think that there is a need in her to exorcise her personal demons - the abusive mother, hateful Pansy - and because she is deeply in touch with her physical strength, that exorcism had to come through using that strength. I've tried not to elaborate too much on the characters, because I wanted to use snippets from their life to hint at how they were developing/had developed as the people they were at the point they met. I'll definitely reread this and see what else I could have added to make it more apparent. Thanks! <333
What the bloody hell? OMG! You have toyed with me one way and the other! This was SO SO SO not what I expected after the first chapter! And I say that with a stunned shake of my head and a big smile, because that is what is so amazing about your stuff: you go places I'd never dream, twist things like no one else.
So I left a review for the first part in which I felt bad for Millicent and not for Marcus. Because that's sort of what you set up, I think. At least, that's how I felt. And then oh too quickly you totally turned that around. Now I feel bad for Marcus. His parents! UGH! And I don't feel quite as bad for Millicent, starting with her seduction - for all her mopey whinging about her mum in the first part, she is also coldly calculating, my goodness. And then what she did to her mum! ZOMG! I cheered when Marcus stood up to his parents, but Millicent took it a bit far. Wow.
One thing that really stood out was how well each scene from each character paralleled each other, especially in the first part. They were going through such similar things, and then it all came crashing together when they plunged through the window - which was a very clever bit, by the way.
But then things diverged. Poor Marcus. Really, I think they both had it in them to be decent people, but they just couldn't because of their overbearing parents. That's a strong statement. So you think it has to do with them being purebloods, or Slytherin, both, or neither? Just curious.
That all said, I'm a bit confused by the end. Marcus went to prison, but when he came out he got engaged? Why? Were his parents just finally happy he grew a spine and let him? Or is there another story there? I'm glad they ended up together, because I do think it will be good for them. Although, now I wonder if Millicent won't turn into her mum a bit and if Marcus is just trading his parents domination for his wife's. Hm. Anyway, I am curious about the end.
Dark and twisty but great fun to read because it did indeed surprise the hell out of me. Great job!
Author's Response: First of all, thank you for this padfootically beautiful review. In spite of the fact that the two have suffered some terrible cases of extreme parenting (or lack thereof in Millicent's case), I do think there is an innate Slytheriness in them, which goads them to "survive". For this "survival", they would go to certain lengths. I don't think they are evil/indecent because of this, merely manipulative and dangerous when needed. The murder was necessary, both in terms of writing and characterisation. Millicus needed to escape the clutches of her mother. You see, the difference between her and Marcus is that, while Marcus prefers to stand up to them (in his own way), Millicent would rather finish the conflict entirely. But then, Millicent has been physically and mentally abused by her mother, while Marcus' parents do seem to love him, for what it's worth. She can't see any other way out, and by now, she's had enough. A wiser, more thoughtful and conscientious person might think of other ways, but Millicent is pretty impulsive and heavy-handed. Also, a murder has been pending since Pansy! The thing about the ending is that, I decided not to write their reunion as a scene. That wouldn't have suited the characters or the tone of the fic. Though I fancy them as having some amount of affection and genuine attraction for each other, it's not love per se. At the end of it, both of them want to have somebody in their life - it's as basic as that. So, Marcus, with his parents' blessings, would have been able to easily fulfill his dreams of marrying someone, and Millicent, who's determined to have a man, and a man whom she knows is in her power no less, would have been waiting eagerly. Marcus' parents were fun to write, but I'd rather leave their actions open for interpretation. My interpretation is that they are both insane and clever. While they smother their son with needless mollycoddling, they are also a little disappointed with his oafishness. He has a tendency to be led away: Draco, joining the Death Eaters, and now, Millicent, whom he has just met the night before. In the first two cases, he doesn't really rebel against them (not openly), so I think they are interested to see how far he will go for Millicent. He does go as far as to attack them, and it impresses them. After all, they aren't going to be around forever. Their son needs to grow a backbone, and have some other figure who will be there to look out for him. And Millicent seems to fit the bill somewhat. They don't know she committed homicide, but they are aware that she didn't let the death of her mother ruin her future. Instead, she jumps right back and opens a business. So, is Marcus trading his parents's domination for his wife's? I think yes. A little. Well, more than a little, even though I'm pretty sure Millicent will never go to the lengths of her mother's cruelty. Marcus' character development stretches so far as to start speaking up for his own wants, but he certainly doesn't appear to me the type of person who would carry that new sense of independence forward. The one time he does, he goes to Azkaban. This is rambly and prolly longer than your review. D: Once again, massive thanks for reading! <33
Here is my promised review, NatNat! I like it! Great, great cliffhanger. How many stories do you read where someone jumps out a window at the end? I was going to read the second chapter tonight but I'm going ahead right now and then will leave you a bit more of a proper review. Right now I'll just say that you've done a great job - AS ALWAYS - making me care about these minor characters. Well, Millicent way more than Marcus, but still. ;) I hope things work out. Onward!
Author's Response: YAYAY! I am so very pleased you chose this to read. :D I feel like this is one my best work, and it doesn't get enough reads. I squeed for real when I saw the reviews.
Oh hahahaha! What a vile pair! And yet you made me like them in a weird, twisted way... your influence knows no bounds. I loved your Millicent, with her insecurities and yet a quiet confidence in her strength. What happened to her hag of a mother did shock me but the way you had already mentioned her thinking about snapping Pansy's neck was a great allusion to what was to come. And your Marcus is such a helpless little lamb. I couldn't help but giggling at him being overwhelmed during the sex scene :P I can't help but think they deserve each other. Anyway, this is a fabulously entertaining read, Lafonna. I'm not sure if I should really be smiling at this but I guess that's the Slytherin in me coming through.
Author's Response: Heh. I appealed to your Snakiness to come and enjoy this. I'm glad it worked! :D Thanks for reading and reviewing.
How have you done this, evil evil SW. I was rooting for the pair of them - hahahahhaha. They're both vile but have ghastly parents, so what can I expect. I was giggling a lot as I read this, then felt guilty because they are both horrible but I wanted them to be happy - sort of. Meh, incoherence. Okay, here's what I loved. he’s going to push me because he doesn’t want to marry! The fact that they clearly misunderstood each others intentions. Marcu being terrified of her - hahahaha - I like a man being brought to his knees. Marcus having no sexual experience whatsoever. Millicent having more experience but not at the actual act. Pansy not having an orgasm. YES YES YES! And I use those three words in the way they're intended - hahahahahha. I wasn't expecting the Flints to block the wedding. I loved that touch and adored Marcus' struggle with himself.Should he give up on Millicent and his life, or give up on the money? Or Quaffle them into submission. hahahahahahahhahahahah Millicent being far better at this murder thing than him. I don't want to meet her, but by Merlin I admire her gumption! All in all, this has been one of the highlights of the last seven weeks. You amd ethis horribly ugly pairing believable - still ugly - HUGELY UGLY - but plausible. ♥ to you.
I will end on that note (except to add that I found the smut shamefully good. I think it's because he was so overawed by it all - poor lamb) BRILLINAT, SW ~Croll~
PS- what was Terry Boot doing in this review?
Author's Response: I died when I read the part about "Quaffling them into submission". I must use it more :D Thanks for the energetic review! I love that you enjoyed this fic. I care about it a lot, and I care about your opinion a lot. YAYAYAY! <3
I LOVE this story! It’s going to my favourites right away-how could I not like it? It’s beautifully written, two Slytherins exceptionally well developed, without being romanticised, and an awkward sex scene, which ends up being quite romantic! It’s about two fairly normal people, who have always been caricatured by those around them, and you make them real. And then it all got dark, and murderous and brilliant!
Okay. Try and be coherent. Firstly I’m glad this went back a bit, and covered Millicent’s exact reasons for getting to a suicidal point, even if she later denied that. I also like the Potterisng of the phrase “straw that broke the camel's back”--nicely done :) A couple of minor nit-picks: “gust of breeze” seems a bit repetitive, one or the other would do. And I think “in somebody else’s engagement party” should be “at somebody else’s..” Right, that done, onto the rest. I think what I loved about this was how similar Marcus and Millicent were, and yet they don’t seem to have realised it within the time frame of the story--though obviously do between the last part with Marcus and his parents, and the newspaper article, they’ve got it.
I love the comparison between them both deciding they want the other, but Marcus being completely clueless, and Millicent being the one who leads him on, who flirts with him. I laughed when Marcus thought he was being so smooth groping her, and yet in the bedroom was deeply clueless, until instinct or something, much to Millicent’s surprise/joy kicked in. That sex scene was brilliant. Just--the perfect balance between awkwardness and lust and it seemed so real. Both of them did, and everything contributed to this characterisation of them. They were so normal, but had been talked down to and controlled by their parents, and peers (including Millicent by Marcus--I loved her talking down to him after the jump and his shock at her brashness) that eventually, something had to break. Millicent killing her mother was a massive twist though. I did not expect that, and yet looking back everything built up towards it--her physical strength, which has always been something her mother criticises, and then Millicent, the Slytherin, lying and acting it up for Harry Potter. That made me smile. Also the line: “Pansy who often moaned about Draco’s lack of libido and who left school without coming even once,” LOL. Massive, lol.
I liked the way you paralleled the narratives, with both arguing with their parents at the same time, but Millicent being more careful and getting away with it. Although I preferred Millicent, I did really sympathise with Marcus when he has his epiphany concerning the way his parents have treated him and his general oafishness, and really seemed genuinely upset that Millicent wouldn’t want him penniless, but also being quite selfish and self-pitying. And the moment his parents said they were proud of him was a lovely touch--they were much better parents than Millicent’s mother, even if also flawed.
And I liked that you did Millicent and Marcus’ reconciliation via the newspaper reports. It would have seemed--I don’t know, wrong somehow, if you’d actually described it--unrealistic and overly sugary. But the distance made it sweet and romantic, and full of potential for their relationship, which is a lovely way to end a story. I loved it :) Alex
Author's Response: This review is made of spectacular-ness. It covers many things I want to bring the reader's focus to about the fic. "I think what I loved about this was how similar Marcus and Millicent were, and yet they don’t seem to have realised it within the time frame of the story--though obviously do between the last part with Marcus and his parents, and the newspaper article, they’ve got it." They are similar creatures: deeply insecure and unhappy but can be nasty too. There's that part in the sex scene where Marcus comments aloud on his memory; I wanted that to be an example of that sameness. And yet, no two persons can be exactly the same, and thus, the differences in their temperament. Marcus is way more timid than Millicent when it comes to romance and sex because he's been so bluntly rejected by Blishwick a million times over. Millicent is cunning enough to take good advantage of that. Millicent is also more coldly methodical than him. Actually, he lacks method in general. While I hadn't thought of murdering anyone at first, Mrs Bulstrode's death became a necessity for several reasons. Some are obvious ones already covered within the story itself, like how cruel and manipulative she is to her daughter, and how she intends to be a parasite. However, I needed it to happen for Millicent's character development, as well as bring the story to a full circle as far as Millicent's bodily strength is concerned. She does use it for positive purposes in the end, but ever since Pansy, there has been a deep-rooted need in her to actually kill a hateful figure with her own hands that called for a release. As for Marcus' parents, they are vicious crackpots, and I had a lot of fun writing them. If there was one thing I was sure about, it was that this story wouldn't end with a scene in which Marcus and Millicent confessed their undying love for each other. That really seems wrong, doesn't it? Even if they have decided they like each other enough to marry. It's an attachment growing out of a newfound thrill of being with somebody, so a strangely romantic sentiment as well as an arrangement of convenience. The newspaper articles were the best way to tie up everything. Thanks for reading and reviewing, Alex!
Hey yo, here I go!
I figured I might as well leave you a review if I'm reading this anyway!
Your Millicent is very... real. I always wonder what kind of power Pansy has over everyone. Millicent COULD easily break her thin neck, and yet Pansy manages to make her shake when she speaks to her.
And still there's that incredibly power hungry Slyth inside of her as well...
Hahah oh dear, on to Marcus' teeth... I like the detail you put in here, with magic not being able to fix everything.
OMP who is Bilistiche Blishwick??
The way Marcus' world seems to work is... so easy. There are rules, like in a game, and these rules obviously must apply to everyone. He's a pureblood and popular, so of course Bilistiche must like him.
You write the Weasley twins well here, but man, they can be cruel.
Power is... a very very strange and terrible thing, and what it does to people is just... I don't know. Millicent's issues just take her to that other level at which she compensates her body image by instilling fear in others. The fact that Amycus plays on that body image, complementing her when he must know she doesn't get compliments elsewhere, makes it just more horrible still.
" You need to show us all you can do it, by hook or by crook" --- that doesn't sound sinister at all...
Oh Millicent... I know that it's good that she didn't stay, but... I wish she was strong enough to make her own decisions.
Hahaha spa in Diagon Alley?
That Blishwick girl, always that Blishwick girl!
Yikes. What Millicent's mother is doing must be bordering on illegality and physical abuse...
Ah, Truman the perfect Puff, I see...
EEK SHUDDERS the foreshadowing! The crashing glass in slo mo!
" the powerful arms and the mind-boggling breasts" -- hahahah oh dear. poor Marcus...
DUDE cliffhanger, what! I'm glad I can read on rn :3
I like Marcus' sudden leap (in every sense of the word). Maybe it's just the disappointment speaking, thinking that settling is better than nothing at all, but still, it's a great moment.
Author's Response: I quite like Bilistiche Blishwick :D The thing about Pansy is, she's got that horrible popular bitch syndrome. From what I read about her in the books, she seemed to be a typical popular girl, and no matter how much I loathe writing stereotypes, there wasn't a space for much character development as far as she was concerned. However, I did try to show that not everyone was impressed. Millicent, a loner, might not have much of a choice. Thanks for the review, Kararara!
Ooh I am intrigued. I love how quickly Marcus and Millicent spring to life, and you write non-linearly with such clarity (why can't I do that?) it's obvious what's happening in relation to when.
I loved the detail with the teeth, and how Fred and George's bullying had such an effect on him. That boy cares far too much about what other people think--I Loved how un-smooth he was, about getting onto the Quidditch team--if they're okay with that level of brutality, then he should be happy there. And I liked his interaction with Draco--that small detail about Draco rubbing his Mark dry more than any other part of his body is a very powerful one.
And Millicent! I love the way she's an outdoorsy type who doesn't really fit anywhere- hence clinging first to Umbridge, and then to the Carrows, as some sort of 'gang' to belong to. And even given that, I was shocked when she doesn't understand that fighting for the Death Eaters is a bad thing. She and Marcus both are quite naive in their own way--like at the end, him deciding to save her and thinking that it will just happen. But back to Millicent--her mother is a nasty piece of work, isn't she? I did think--it didn't seem suicidely bad yet, but there is something impulsive, about both of them really, and so it does fit. Anyway, I am very glad this is for the challenge, so you'll HAVE to submit the next chapter in the next few days--I'm looking forward to it :) Alex
Author's Response: YAY! In spite of my whining about getting few reviews, I must say that the feedback I got from you (and Croll and Kara) is fantastic! This story was written in a fit of whimsy at first, but the more I typed, my attachment grew. I wanted people to enjoy it, to stop and consider these characters, to make them feel about them. It's nice to know it succeeded to an extent. :D
Wowzers. Rollercoaster. Uh ... yes, this is one or rather two crazy mixed up Slyths.
You know, I was reading this and thinking ti would be a gentle (ish) redeeming fic about them, and although I do have a little sympathy for Millicent and a tad more for Marcus, they're still bloody horrible. I was truly chilled at these lines
“Do it, lovely,” goaded Amycus. Lovely, he said. “Crucio!”
And could see the abuse here and how she's influenced because her home life and then sharing with Pansy is so crap, taht anyone chucking her a bone is going to be adored. UGHH, so I'm sympathising, but then you go and have her say she wants to fight for Voldy. I was shocked, but this is totally in character and bloody brilliant.
Okay, Flint now. hahahahah - to the teeth. I do like him (ish) and LOVED the details about his hygiene and the twins teasing him. (BTW, does he play Quidditch with Zach? heh heh). His fury at Blishwick is fantastic - hahahahah - and his supreme arrogance that Millicent needs him, when we know she stands on ledges as if daring herself to jump. I don;t think she was going to. The yell of surprise seems to imply that it was just a test, see how far she could go. So, although I dislike them both, I don;t want them dead.
I love the writing here. The two VPs play well together and you've established two very distinct voices.
can we have some more Draco-in-the-sauna scenes please STEAMYYYYY!
Oh, and Millicent's mother is a horror! I am looking forward to Marcus discovering that the tits are fake - heh heh heh.
Um, well I wanted this to be intelligent and comprehensible. But it's not going to be - sorrryyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy. I do, however, really like the story and am so intrigued at the slant you have on this. How did you come up with the fascination about the lake - fabulous - although ... they are under it so they'd see it - ha!
UGHH, incomprehensible again. I am such a trolly reviewer. You deserve better. ~CON~
Author's Response: While writing this, I kept one rule in mind: I am NOT going to make them goody-goody. While I don't think all horrible people stay horrible forever, claiming all horrible people turn into good Samaritans is a gross generalisation. However, no reason why I shouldn't humanise them, right? Great to hear it's kicking off well :D And don't be a bint - this is a wonderful review!