Tell me, is the rose naked
Or is that her only dress?
Four vignettes exploring what it means to fight, to survive, to make love, and everything that comes after.
Ted/Andromeda, Neville/Hannah, Parvati/Daphne, and Scorpius/Hugo.
Joint winner of the 2012 Quicksilver Quill Award for Best General Fic.
Julia, this story was beautiful, showing four very different pairings, and exploring their relationship in so few, but such evocative telling words, so briefly. It felt almost like a tableau, with you explaining the detail of these brief moments, while also managing to imply their past feelings towards each other.
The structure is beautiful. I love how each section is so distinctive in its own right, and the use of the present tense makes all the relationships incredibly immediate and independent of the time and place they exist. Also I think the use of short paragraphs is really powerful here, making the whole piece lack in actual detail, but heavy in emotion. I think it’s interesting, however, that amongst these deeply romantic couples, you have Daphne and Parvati, which is incredibly, heart-breakingly sad. However it adds a lot of depth in what could have seemed too positive a take on romantic relationships, which works really well.
These vignettes could so easily have made one-shots in their own right, but they work together here so beautifully, and this is mainly through your language. I love how you describe Ted as slightly heavy and wanting her so much, and the way in his love and lust, her problems cease to matter, even though they have existed throughout their relationship. Referring to her family as ghosts is such a powerful way of showing this.
And I think in this single paragraph you got Neville so perfectly, and also show the way he sees Harry. He associates Harry with heroism and doing the right thing, even though he showed himself capable of it when he was eleven as well. Neville does what he does because he has to, and while being an incredibly brave person, I think characterising him with the subtitle “blush” is an excellent way of showing how young and naive in some ways, he really is. With Daphne--oh, it’s so sad. I love how you describe them as marked by the war, and how Daphne lives through the hurt by just touching her, and the last line of that section feels incredibly sad. I love the idea of this relationship, about physical intimacy, is characterised not by that, but by the vast psychological distance between them. In the final section, I love the description of the map of the body, tying into the title, but also applicable to the previous vignettes, and so succinctly and beautifully phrased. Also your language is so sensual, that you cannot help but feel the intimacy between the couples. The final line is beautiful, again, applicable mainly to Hugo and Scorpius, but also to all the other couples you’ve mentioned, summarising relationships such as these incredibly well.
This story is beautiful, Julia, and I feel this review is inadequate, but it’s an amazing story, and once I’ve worked out where to put it, will nominate it for a QSQ (unless someone’s beaten me to it...) because it deserves recognition.
Author's Response: Alex, thank you for such a wonderful review. I know you thought it was an inadequate review but, for me, it was perfection :) I'm glad you thought the structure worked and that they all linked in together despite being relatively separate in terms of narrative. I just felt like they were linked too much to separate them which is why I published it as a one-shot. It's great that you liked the dynamic between the couples, as well. Most of the characters, apart from Neville, are quite minor in canon so it was interesting building them up to make them as powerful as possible in few words. Again, thank you so much for this review. It made me squee and I'm sorry for taking a while in responding. It's always so difficult knowing how to respond to something which makes me feel all warm and fuzzy inside!
Six months after the deaths of Louis Weasley’s immediate family, he is only just holding himself together, and it is with much reluctance that he attends the New Year’s Eve party at the Burrow. But an unexpected drunken kiss leads to things taking a turn for the worst, and Louis has to deal with the consequences.
Thank you to Jamie, Carole, Natalie and Jess for helping me figure out what name I should give to Lily’s owl, and especially Carole for telling me to go for a goddess’s name :) Oh, and thank you to Kara for helping me with the summary!
Hello Soraya. Here is the long delayed review for Broken Glass (sorry about that). I really enjoyed this story, and you developed the characters of Lily and Louis absolutely beautifully. This is going to be a horribly rushed/ broadly chronological review, for which I apologise.
The beginning was interesting in that you managed a nice balance between those who will know why the Weasley and Potter families have had a difficult time, and those who haven’t, letting the former see the fall out and the latter wonder why they are in this state. It was very cleverly done.
Your greatest strength, however, is your dialogue. I love how natural it sounds, and you get a good sense of the strength of their friendship, and that they don’t have to explain stuff to each other but are supportive. I loved Louis in this. Really, he was lovely. I liked him saying that Alice wasn’t the prettiest girl in the year (before Lily knew he meant her) and that he accepted that it was fair enough on her part to say she couldn’t deal with it. I found it a bit unbelievable that Louis’ potential girlfriend’s would not know about the hardships of his family beforehand. It was pretty public, and therefore I think they’d know, but maybe underestimate the effect that it had on him. And the joke about him being maybe gay was nicely done :)
However, it’s obvious that he isn’t and I loved that holding her hand was just something that happened, and which didn’t really mean anything except friendship until he became aware of her next to him. The kiss was beautifully written, and I think it’s very realistic that in that moment the passion of it would overtake him, and he’d not register it. I loved the line: Well, no, he amended. “Like” wasn’t exactly the right word to describe the sensations coursing through him at her touch. because it feels so realistic, and says a lot about Louis character that he’s not one to be hyperbolic.
br>I don’t see Molly as being a grammar nazi. It’s a minor point, but since she only appears for a second, it didn’t seem that realistic to me. Percy, on the other hand, seems much more the type. But I liked a normal family gathering being disrupted by the labour, it was a twist, and injected some action into what had previously been a very good, but character rather than action driven story.
A structural thing--I don’t think you need to repeat New Year’s Eve. I knew that it was from earlier, and for some reason thought you might have changed the year so had to flick back. Once you’ve established that, I think you can just go by the time. And then when you cross over into morning, it will just be 1:05 am or something.
I can remember the day my youngest sister was born, and I just think you wrote this scene really well. I loved the strength of the friendship between Victoire and Louis, and that she wanted to see him first, the last two Weasley-Delacour children (sniff). However three pounds is---incredibly small. You might want to check with Carole or an actual mum, but that’s very, very unusual. I think five pounds would be a more reasonable small weight for a newborn (particularly as you then say ‘normal birth’ -- if the child’s that small, then obviously they weren’t getting the nutrients they needed in the womb, and therefore something’s gone wrong).
While in the first half of this story, Louis stood out to me, in the second half, it was Lily. She took the control by going to see him, wanting to discuss it, and recognising that something had happened between them which they couldn’t ignore since it was still happening (as Louis “sure he wanted to do more than just talking” comment showed). I love how assertive but also how gentle she is, and how Louis accepts this. Through their conversation--just so beautifully written and romantic. Even to me and my instinctive reaction to kick something every time someone says something stupid like “I promise I won’t leave you” -- here though I could understand why Lily, in that moment, felt able to say it. I liked the build up to the sex--it was quick, but romantic, and realistic.
I really enjoyed this story. I think the writing flows smoothly, and the characterisation was great, and my minor nitpicks aside, it was romantic and realistic. Well done--and I hope your exam went well! Alex
Author's Response: Alexxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx! Thank you for such a wonderful and beautiful and thorough and not rushed review. You don't know how happy it made me after that exam (which perhaps didn't go as badly as I originally thought...).
Yayayyyyyyyy, you liked the dialogue and the beginning bit! I was really worried that the beginning would seem a bit boring, and in the version I sent to Carole and Maple, it didn't have that bit in it -- I had deleted it, but at Carole's suggestion, I added it again. And yes. They have always been good friends, from way back, as they were the same age and everything. Hmmm, I see what you mean about Alice not knowing about Louis's family, but I think it's less about the fact that they were all dead and more about how they were, well, murdered. You know? So that's kind of my excuse, lolol.
Oh, ha, the joke about him maybe being gay was rather funny for me to write, yeah, especially because my Louis could NEVER be gay (he's my husband, after all...). It's nice to know you think that too, lol. And yeah, Louis is not someone to be hyperbolic or OTT in any way.
I agree that Molly wouldn't be a grammar Nazi, but she is old-fashioned in that sense, and old-fashioned people -- at least in my experience -- often correct young people's grammar. Maybe it's just me :) And yeah. Remember when you said, ages and ages ago, that I have a tendency to violently interrupt seemingly normal situations with unexpected twists? Yep, this is one of them, hehehehehe. I see what you mean about the story being character driven up until that point -- and it’s good to know you liked the action :)
You have a point about the structure. I will definitely edit that when I have a mo. Btw, a lot of the hospital/baby stuff was inspired by my aunty and baby cousin (predictably, lol). And I did sniff a little at the thought of only two Weasley-Delacours left :( Tis sad. But ah well. I did kind of kill them off, after all...
Okay, I checked, and if a baby is a couple of weeks early, it can still be a normal birth with no complications. I know someone who was born two weeks early and weight I think two pounds, so while it's rare, it can definitely happen :) I think. But thank you for all that scientificcy stuff. Will need that for my bio exam in June, hehehehehe.
There's a lot of me in Lily, not gonna lie. So this feels like a big compliment to me :P On a more serious note, I'm glad you thought Lily was taking control. She *is* the more decisive one of the two of them, even in OF, so it's nice to know you thought so too. And Louis couldn't deny that he loved her, because it was just kind of obvious from everything that there was more to their relationship than just friendship or cousinship. And yeah, also, Lily's not meant to be forceful, just a bit fiery, so I'm glad it came across that way.
I'm very much a romantic, and as I'm sure you can tell from all my statuses on the LS and the fact that I'm OFing this, I'm in love with this pairing. It's just so versatile and lovely for me, so I had to write one of my soppy romantic conversations, because I am, like Lily, a hopeless romantic :) And I know Lily's promise not to leave him sounded silly (I would wnat to kick something too), but she was getting desperate. And she was wondering if, maybe, he didn't like her enough, and she had to be sure, and she would have been happy enough even if he didn't like her as much as she liked/loved him. (That's so bloody complicated. If that made any sense, you deserve the SPreviEW award like ten times over.)
Anyway, I am so glad you liked this, and that it now has the Alex seal of approval that I neeeeed for me to be satisfied with something (or close to that, anyway). Your review is lovely and amazing (and you are, too <3) and just thank you so much. Heart you lotssssss!
Draco Malfoy didn't know what he was looking for with Michael Corner, but he found a lot of something in the dark.
But things look different in the light.
This story has been nominated for a 2012 Quicksilver Quill Award: Best Same-Sex Pairing.
Jess--I think (and hope) I told you how good I thought this was when you posted it and am finally here to review (sorry, not for SPEW). What I love about this is how much you show and imply, rather than have to tell . Everything about Draco's characterisation is there, but you just extrapolate from it, showing him dealing with his sexuality and desires in a way that does not damage the world's already damaged perceptions of him.
I love the contrast between the strangers meeting and sleeping together in the first scene, and the different sort of intimacy in the daylight of the second one. I love the way the line:Perhaps that was the hated thing about clean windows; they were forced to remember who they were. applies to them both. I also think it’s interesting that Draco’s initiated this change in their relationship, and an unusually brave act for him to say to Michael outright, which implies that he cares for him more than just fancying him. And Draco saying “the Dark Lord ruined everything” -- oh that line says so much, about how he denies his lack of agency and is so selfish in his approach to what happened. And I love Michael’s confession of love--which isn’t quite outright, and which he isn’t able to say to Draco’s face, but he does anyway, and is rejected by it.
I also love the light in this story. THat might sound odd, but the way it starts with intimacy in the dark, and ends in the darkness as well, whereas actually in the middle, where they are in cold daylight, they are in some ways at their most empty, at the point where what they had is broken by Draco. And the contrast between their conversations, in the first there’s the assumption of mutual attraction, the second likewise and the fear that this is something more, and in the last taut, formal, almost amusing how formal, given how intimate they’ve been. And then there’s Michael’s acceptance of Draco’s selfishness, at the moment when Draco is, suddenly, being selfless, and Draco’s declaration of love by Michael’s definition of it--And I loved the last line. That something can be changed by a place like that, that things which are repressed and put in a place out of the way, can get into you and change who you are--it’s so good.
I really love this story, and have missed reading your writing. It’s excellent though--Alex
Yay, another review for this neglected little story!
I am perpetually surprised that anyone likes this story. Maybe it's because I still think of the drabble form of this rather than the one-shot form, so I sort of forget what I added/didn't add, hehe.
It makes me happy that I was able to tell more of a story than what is on the page. I was actually worried that I had skimmed over a bit too much, but you picked up on the things I wanted to show about both of them, but mostly Draco and his ambivalence about having what felt right rather than what was supposed to happen for him.
The motif of dark vs light was integral, I think, to what I wanted to portray. It's easier to be what you want to be when you can convince yourself that no one can see you. That was why their meeting in the light was so harsh: nowhere to hide, nowhere to convince them that the world wasn't looking.
Anyway, crap response to a great review, but suffice it to say that there was a lot of affirming nodding going on because you saw what I wanted to be seen in this, so yay for both of us, hehe. ♥
My mother always called me the good daughter (and I was good, perhaps too much so).
I was perfect (except I wasn’t, really).
I was flawless in every way but one.
Based off of the drabble I wrote for the SBBC Battle of the Genres challenge (it won first place). Thank you to the elves for such a lovely challenge!
Nominated for a 2012 Quicksilver Quill Award - Best Same Sex Pairing.
Ariana--I should be used to using the adjectives heart-breaking, beautiful, sad, stunning, and just so full of heart for you to then go and break it, about your stories, but I'm not. This was beautiful. How two characters leap into life so quickly, with the repetitiveness, and the soft thoughts of Ella, and Isabel and their conversation and meetings--and the way there's so many contradictions, what she's perceived to be doing, and what she's actually doing. And then the contrast between Isabel and Darius (the detail about how he could have had her on the bed, but somehow it was less dignified to have her against the wall and that's why he did it) and then her trying to make that space good by being with Isabel there...just gah
So good. And when Isabel died....this was fantastic. I am not at all surprised it won the SBBC Genre Challenge--it was such a good drabble andis now an excellent story and so painfully sad. This review is about the definition of incoherent, for which I apologise. This was beautiful--Alex
Author's Response: This review makes me so happy on so many different levels. Thank you - and thank you for reccing this on LS, that was incredibly sweet of you. It was strange writing this story, actually, because when it came to finishing it I realized I didn't want to give it an unhappy ending (strange, I know :D). I liked writing Isabel/Ella too much. And I'm glad you liked the little details about Darius…it was hard to characterize him in so few words (for the drabble, at least) so it's good to know that you thought it worked.
Your review made my day. Thank you. xx Ariana
All that matters is the face you show to the world.
Hard-faced, but in love.
What’s a girl to do?
This is LollyLovesick of Hufflepuff submitting my entry for Rosmerta's Mini-Gauntlet being held in The Three Broomsticks over at the MNFF beta boards.Nominated for Best General Story in the 2012 Quicksilver Quills. Thank you!
Lovisa--when I validated this, I thought it was excellent. Pansy is such a hard character to get right, but I think you manage it so well, without whitewashing the --to put it frankly--b**** she is the books, but making the reasons behind that understandable.
I think this story is excellent in being characterisation focussed but also having a clear narrative. The moments you choose to show us, highlight exactly how Pansy feels about the situation, and why her world view is the depressing one it is. I also love the way that each section has it’s own distinctive character, without the transitions between those sections feeling awkward. I think the main way you’ve managed this is through the present tense, which you control brilliantly. It never feels forced, and gives us simultaneously Pansy’s thoughts, and her assessing her life at that stage. I think this works particularly well in that the first section provides the ground rules as to why she, at the age of eleven, had a rather Machiavellian mind-set in her approach to school society and Draco.
The dynamics between Daphne and Pansy are so well presented. That’s such a childish, school girl assertion of power--choosing the bed, and such a perfect way of encapsulating how Pansy got her position as the Slytherin queen. However the main relationship is the one with Draco, however you don’t make it about Draco. You manage to make it about Pansy and her relationship with him, without him dominating the narrative. That doesn’t really make sense, but with romantic narratives it’s so easy to make the focus on the man the main factor, whereas here it’s about Pansy dealing with her emotions. THe way she manages herself according to what he believes is so sad, when she says, “But she keeps her distance, because she believes that’s how he wants her - on his arm, not in his heart.” and then later finds him in her heart, but not her in his.
The way she’s been haunted by the life she might have had, and what her mother’s taught her about how to use men to manage a life, rather than be someone in her own right is so painfully sad. And that Pansy acknowledges that life at Hogwarts is not the same as life outside, and her domination over people will end.
She wants to ask him what’s wrong, but she can’t, because then, he’ll know that she still cares about him, and then she has lost. If only, if only he’d come to her… this line is so sad. I love how you don’t say she’s in love with him, but it’s obvious that she is at this point. I find it interesting the distinction between love and need, and when you take us into her thoughts about how obvious it is, and how he’s too self-obsessed at that moment to see it, and so they have sex and then that’s it. Your tone shows that she knows it’s ending--there’s a sombreness about it which is so sad. This line She’s the size of his feet on the floor. is so absolutely perfect.
I like her presentation of Astoria as being everything Pansy is not, and that in some ways she can see why he and Astoria fit more together than she and him can. I think it’s interesting that she can see that, but her love is selfish and she can’t let him be happy. I think these lines To be able to move on from the hurt, she has to convince herself that the day will come when he will be begging for anything that resembles the perfect life he has now. So that’s what she does. She can’t seem to find the energy to scheme, but she tells herself that, whenever an opportunity presents itself, she will be ready. exemplify her Slytherin-ness, even more so than before. She’s willing to wait, and take comfort in the knowledge that she WILL get revenge one day. And because you’ve made the reader (or at least, me) sympathise with Pansy so much, that I almost want her to have revenge, even though it’s wrong. In a way, she’s gone beyond help now, and the last, somewhat flawed, attempt to get Draco back, is doomed to fall on his feet, with such irony that in her attempt to break their relationship, she strengthens it.
The ending, I think, was interesting. I found it slightly rushed however. Pansy and Draco have been the focus, rather than Pansy and her mother, though you make it clear that it’s important that her relationship with her mother made her what she is. There’s no sense of where her mother is in relation to her throughout the story, and maybe mentioning that the knowledge that her mother isn’t there to help her, or what she was doing, would make this surprisingly, but realistic attempt at maturity, more supported by the rest of the story. I hope that makes sense. It just felt like it needed more detail and explanation.
But overall this is far too squeey. I loved this story, and am adding it to favourites immediately.
Wow, my first SPEW-review. I'm honoured. This is definitely the most in-depth review I've ever received and, of course, you know as well as I how happy it makes us to know that someone's not only read but actually understood what we were trying to say. Thank you.
We know almost all of the teenage couples in HP ended up starting families, Pansy and Draco being one of very few exceptions. I think, many times people assume that it was Pansy who left Draco when the extent of his involvement with the DEs became known, because Pansy only wanted him to share his glory but I don't think that's the only possibility. I've always liked exploring the aspect of class in HP, because usually it seems like people assume that all Pureblood families are filthy rich- apart from the Weasleys, of course. The idea for this came from that. And I do think it's believable that a girl who has lost everything early in life and then been taught by her mother to never let her true feelings show, might develop a cruel side in order to stay in control.
I'm glad you like the present tense. I've always thought it often comes off sounding awkward and I don't think I've used it before, but it came naturally to me when writing the drabbles, so I stuck with it even though I considered changing it.
I've always found it very weird that not more people comment on the fact that the sister of Draco's future wife was in his (and therefore Pansy's) class. I think that if Pansy was in love with Draco, that must have been hard for her. It is stated in the books that Pansy is the ringleader of the girls, so I wanted to make it clear that all of them respect her even though people like Daphne gain more and more power when they get older. I do think Daphne and Pansy were good friends, but that Pansy was perhaps too self-conscious for the relationship to develop properly.
It's funny that you mention how the story is about Pansy's feelings rather than the Pansy/Draco relationship, because I thought about submitting this in the Romance category (possibly Draco/OC) and then I realized that this is not a romance. It's about dealing with emotions, like you said."
I must admit that I stole the line "She's the size of his feet on the floor." It's from a song by Laakso, a Swedish band. The song's called Once Again Late At Night and the line goes; "I'll leave you the size of my feet in the snow when I go." It was one of my favourite bands when I was 17. But thanks, anyway :).
I think that in many ways, Draco is the product of a over-protective mother and a father who doesn't give him enough attention. It sounds corny, but I think he needs *love*, simple, happy love and I think he gets that with Astoria. Sadly, I think Pansy is a bit too much like him to give him that. I'm glad you commented on the Slytherin-ness, because that was something I was very conscious about.
I agree with you on that the ending is rushed. I was thinking of ending with Pansy walking away from the café, but then I thought it needed a coda. I thought showing a more caring side to Pansy (cooking for the old mum) might show the reader how she is different when she doesn't need to play a role and mask herself, but you're right that it isn't very clear. I also wanted to make the parallel between Pansy and her mother who both fell in love men that they originally wanted for their status, then ended up falling for them, realizing that they were much harder to be with than they thought. The difference between them is that Pansy's mother still won't acknowledge that she actually loved a very flawed man (which would be a "double" weakness, to her.) It certainly wasn't as clear as I intended, but at the same time I wanted to leave things open for interpretation.
I hope what I've written makes any sense. I have no idea how long this response became, I lost myself to typing. Sorry :P But thank you, a million times, again for this review. I can't stress enough how happy it made me.
Summary: She was a girl with dreams in her head. Dreams that people said would come to nothing.
He was a boy with brains to spare. But quiet so no one knew.
Orla Quirke and Stewart Ackerley. Two Ravenclaws with nothing in common except their house.
In their fourth year, everything changed.
This is a birthday present for the wonderful, lovely, amazing Alex (welshdevondragon) who has been a superb friend over the past year (and I hope for many more).
Disclaimer: I am not JK Rowling, but my Spag Bol is sublime.
(Note about the warnings. They are a precaution only.)
CAROLE. This is impossibly overdue. Horrendously so, but here, at last, is an inadequate and squeeful review of a story which I forgot to nominate for a QSQ. I apologise, for that, and the delayed review, but you probably know why. Anyway this took my breath away when I read it. Particularly when Orla notices his black eyes--which was just cruel of you, ha. I loved the conversational style of the narration--it just felt so smooth and natural and intimate. And their relationship--with so much pain in tehir lives, but the way that they find each other and it's so romantic and sad AND THEN YOU KILL HIM. I was close to tears the first, second and third times I read it. It's just so beautiful, and how they both leap off the page when they are effectively OCs--you just invest them with so much personality so quickly--it's amazing. Thank you, thank you, thank you. It's a great story and I love it. Alex
Author's Response: Thank you so much for the lovely review. I am sorry about killing him. This started off as a very different type of story and I wasn't going to kill anyone because that always makes me sad, but then some spirit of DeathLexity overtook me and it went all angsty - eeeep. I cried writing it, btw, because I never kill people (okay, I killed Lucius but he's a meanie pants). So glad you enjoyed it ~Carole~
Summary: They are adrift in a warm sea, a seething ocean of sensation. Fleur/Hermione.
Nominated for Best Poem in the 2012 and 2013 Quicksilver Quill Awards
Minna, this poem took my breath away. I’d missed it when you posted it in Who Arted? and so when it appeared in the queue I was amazed. What I love about it is how sensual and romantic it is, and while it is Fleur and Hermione, the emotions felt could be applicable to any couple who feel thrown into a relationship they do not understand and were not prepared for.
Also you have the prose poem form written beautifully. This is particularly impressive since I know how you usually have a set structure for your poetry, and your prose (at least the ones I’ve read, but may be wrong) tends to be quite elegantly, rather than poetically, written, and so the fact you’ve pulled that off in prose, is incredibly impressive.
The central metaphor of love or lust being in the ocean is such a powerful one, and I’ve never seen it developed the way you have here. I love that they go from being in the sea, and you describe the breakers “splintering the last remnant of sense they’d been floating on”, after you’ve described them as adrift, because they are already falling in the reader’s mind’s eye, but here you describe the act of that falling apart.
What I love most is the tone. The sensations you describe are so passionate, and so exciting, and yet it’s always with love and attention to detail and such a positive attitude, even when they have no control as “they’re pulled into its uncharted waters.” I also love the fact that they are in this together, and neither is leading the other on, but they are both a victim of their own emotions and lusts. I also love the way you conflate the imagery of sexual passion and the sea in the last paragraph, with the phrase “as the sun rises over the storm-tossed sheets” which is such a succinct and beautiful image.
I also love the structure. The poem has rhythm, and flows so elegantly, and I think as two single sentences works absolutely perfectly. The first sentence carrying over to the second paragraph means that there’s a sensation of it building up towards something, paralleling Fleur and Hermione having sex, and when it’s over, I love how although bewildered, there is no doubt that they cannot go back, and yet there are no regrets.
I love that this is optimistic at the end. The idea of falling in love being as going through the ocean, and then finding itself in a place it never expected to be, but loved, is such a beautiful one, and the perfect ending to a beautiful poem.
Author's Response: I'm glad you liked it. :D Honestly prose poems = basically the sort of really flowery prose I have indulged in on occasion but never been able to carry into full fic form, plus a little extra imagery through in cos why not. It's hard to sustain for more than a few paragraphs, I think. Also, I cannot respond coherently to all the praise in this. Suffice to say this is a lovely review and made me melt into a puddle of squee. <33
The end of the world comes not from the hand of Lord Voldemort, but an incurable disease. When Britain falls, those that are left must keep on running.
And never stop.
Winner of the 2012 Quicksilver Quill Award for Best Alternate Universe!
This was fantastic Julia. Just--so beautifully written, and heart breaking, and so sad when you don't know why Ron doesn't like shooting, and then find out. And then at the end when you bring it back to how the infection started in the first place--I love that you explained that rather then just had it as there being zombies and making the reader accept that. It was just amazing.
However I am with the other reviewer in that, in a really nerdy way, I really want to know how they protect Malfoy Manor/ how they live there/ do they keep animals/ do they run a kibbutz type set up or what. Although I understand for normal people that detracts from a story's quality....But yes. This was beautiful. Alex
Author's Response: Thank you so much, Alex! I know it would have been nice to explain about the Manor but I really just wanted Rose as a brief introduction from the future, just a glimpse of what happens. And yes, in my mind they live there as a sort of commune-like set up, with a large vegetable garden and farm with animals etc. Again, thanks so much for this review :) I'm so glad you liked it.
Summary: Adrian Pucey has always had a tumultuous relationship with Miles Bletchley, but as the years tread on, 'tumultuous' is just the beginning. And when Miles is found dead at the Battle of Hogwarts -- and as a Death Eater -- Adrian's sense of loss pales in comparison to what he finds at the funeral.
This story has been nominated for a 2013 Quicksilver Quill Award: Best Dark/Angst.
Yes, I said I was going to stop reading fanfic. But I was craving some impeccably written D/A and this fulfilled that need perfectly. I love how Adrian is characterised--his intelligence, the way he manages being a Slytherin, his humanity and perception in knowing something is wrong with Miles, but Miles not wanting, and possibly it wouldn't have done any good, to get help except for that one heart-breaking moment with the 'Oh', the full reason for which Adrian felt so bad is only revealed in that last line. How you make them all come to life, and make me sympathise with htem, so quickly, I do not know. One tiny nitpick-I think the tense is wrong in this sentence: 'People I love wouldn’t get hurt anymore' and it should be 'loved.'
For some reason, I thought this was a one-shot. I was so, so delighted to rush back to the summary and see the 'No' next to the Complete box. I await the rest, and the answers to all my questions, eagerly. Alex
Yayyyyyy, you came!
Let's preface this with some explanations and apologies. This was started as a birthday present for you, but as I was in the midst of moving and the plotline rapidly spun out of control, I had to give that up for a bit. Then I was like *flail* when parents were a topic for the CCT minor character section, but by then, I realised that this wouldn't make the maximum word count limit. Well, bugger. Then I stuffed it away for a month, not happy with where it was going, until I mentioned I had some bastard child fic stagnating in my folders, and Soraya offered to take a look. She is the reason this story is here right now. :P
Now, onto the story. Adrian is the embodiment of what most writers steal from Slytherins: a strong moral compass, a sense of fair play (note that Adrian is the only canon Slytherin Quidditch player not shown playing dirty or cheating at any point), and someone with a heavy sense of responsibility.
As for Miles, I think he does want help. It's why he reached out to Adrian in the changing room, because Adrian is, recognisably, the only one of his peers who won't mock him for his weakness or spread salacious rumours about him. But that little 'oh' was more when it dawned on Miles that Adrian didn't understand where this was going. You'll see where this was going in the next chapter.
I will check up on the little tense thingy. Overall, though, I'm glad you appreciate this story, and I hope you continue to do so in further instalments should you choose to continue. <3
Jess, as you know, I've left SPEW, and while I should probably maintain SPEW-standards my current inability to write anything other than a shopping list, as well as how overwhelmed and impressed I was by this story, prevent me from doing so. So this will be a ramble. Sorry.
I love the way you structured this. The two timelines, being at the funeral and then Adrian's memories, worked really well, and the jumps between them felt natural. And as I think I said last time, I love your characterisation of Adrian. He's just so decent. That's the main word I'd use to describe him. I mean, he helps Miles, even though he's sure that (if Miles remembers) he'll get punished for it. However, then he wishes he'd never asked, which is such a -- this sounds odd, but such a human thing to say, even though someone else in the world knowing must have been some, meagre relief for Miles. I love how--unhyperbolic (is that a word?) Adrian is. You trust him as a narrator, completely, and symapthise with him so much. I love the line: "I don't know if I ever did let him go." The uncertainty in that is so heartbreaking, and also the idea of them having this relationship almost by chance. I also loved the "I like it when you say my name." (apart from the Doctor/Master thing I mentioned to you). There's this bond between them, which you show so well, and never seems forced.
Very pedantic, but just quickly, in the line, "up and picked him up" the repetition of up is a bit jarring, and you can easily delete the first one.
I'm glad you feel trust in Adrian, as in my head, he's really just a decent kid who grows up with a bad lot. Had he been born into a wealthier (or maybe just less poor) family, he could've had a lot more advantages. But yeah, he is decent, and Miles hated him for it a little. In Miles's twisted world, the idea of someone being that good despite what cards he's dealt is unfathomable, which resulted in Miles trying to cut Adrian down to his level and make him just as miserable. It was just unfair that the poor brother was the one that was happiest.
The timelines were something I started about halfway through writing the story. I had originally started at the funeral and had done a few flashbacks, but the flashback segments just pissed me off, so I did it this way instead. I did my best to make sure that the segments were relevant to the ones around them, and I think I did okay. The present gave a sense of foreboding to the past, and the past gave a sense of foreboding to the present, etc. There were scenes were I wasn't entirely happy with the shift, but all in all, with Soraya's beta whip, they work okay. One thing I knew I had to do from the beginning was have the two timelines merge, where the past ends up where the present starts. This story almost needed to be told non-linearly, sort of like if it had been made into a film.
The dynamics between Adrian and Miles are...complicated, and they were a bear to get right. It's a fine line to walk for Miles to kiss someone that turns out to be his brother and it still fall within the rules, but it was important to show how Miles's abuse affected his sense of boundaries. And I don't know if it came across, but I had meant Miles to be bipolar, as well, which added to his violently shifting moods. Gina hadn't seen this, but when I told her, she was like...well, that makes sense, so hopefully it works toward the story. But when they were in third year, and Miles knew about Adrian being his brother, he was, in his odd way, trying to bond with Adrian, but he almost didn't know how without being suspicious. That's where the changing room scene came in, but since Miles is almost pathologically unable to form healthy relationships by this point, he pushes things too far and just makes things weird. And in later years, he is even more twisted and just wants to possess Adrian like his father had possessed him, because that's what the world is to him. And why he becomes a Death Eater: he is in control (in his mind, anyway).
I totally hadn't meant to have a Doctor/Master relationship vibe, but now that I think on it, I love it! The Master can hardly be blamed for his madness, as Miles can't truly be blamed for his own, and Adrian feels, as the Doctor does, a pathological need to help him. And big brother is the only one Miles thinks can help him, poor love. Adrian almost wishing he didn't know, I agree, is basic humanity kicking in. No one wants to know this sort of thing about the people around you, especially if you don't think there's anything you can do. Of course, Adrian *wants* to help Miles, but even he in his youthful naivete knows that there is probably nothing he can do at this point but be there for Miles when he's able to escape his father.
Will look at odd wording, as well. There are bound to be weird bits in it, but I have some other editing to do, and I'll add it to the list. Thank you for taking the time to review. This is an intense story and probably scares a lot of people away, but if anyone can step up to the challenge, it would be you. <3