Hi there! I’m Soraya. I’m seventeen years old and am a proud Muslim British Bangladeshi. I live in East London and have loved reading and writing from a young age. I’m rather obsessed with Harry Potter (aren’t we all?), tea (not a surprise considering I’m a Brit) and good grammar. Recently, I've also got into the Supernatural fandom. After watching the first episode, I had already fallen head over heels in love with Sam Winchester, so it's no surprise that I am now a huge SPN fangirl as well as a Potterhead.
My writing has changed quite a bit over the years, and I think you'll probably notice that, the further down my author page you go, the more the quality seems to drop :P I started posting stories on here at the age of fourteen, and at nearly eighteen, I can see how much my writing has improved since those Dark Ages. So, for that reason, I would advise you stick to the more recent stuff, if you choose to read anything of mine.
Just so you know, these are posted firstly according to what kind of pairing, if any, is in the story, and then in chronological order in accordance to my own canon, not necessarily the order in which they were posted.
My first chaptered fic. It’s terribly written, but I still have a place in my heart for it because of how much fun it was to write. This story has now been deleted on MNFF, but if you really, really want to read it, you can still find it on FF.net and HPFF. (I advise you don't, though :P)
Second Childishness and Mere Oblivion (James/Lily)
Written for Round One (Major Characters) of Madam Pomfrey’s Character Clinic Triathlon, this one-shot is about James and Lily’s relationship getting rockier and rockier after they left Hogwarts, especially when Lily is faced with the trials of being a wife and motherhood. A little smutty.
My Love is Always Here (James/Lily)
This was a belated birthday present for the wonderful Gina/Gmariam, aka the queen of James/Lily. This is mostly about Lily dealing with becoming a mother for the first time and the problems (as well as the joys) that come with that.
There's an Answer (Remus/Tonks)
Written for Sophie/The owl for SPEW Summer Swap IV. Tonks is sent on an interesting baby Auror assignment to do with werewolves. Remus and a dangerous Muggle are thrown into the mix, with interesting results.
Left Behind (Remus/Tonks)
An expanded version of one of my LoveNotes, written for SPEW. It's a missing moment set between OOTP and HBP, where in my head canon Remus and Tonks have been together, in secret, for a few weeks already and Remus is then told to go on his werewolf mission. Slightly smutty.
One and Only (Remus/Tonks)
Written for the lovely Alex/Ithinkrabis2people in the Ravenclaw Christmas Drabble Exchange. This is a missing moment set just after Tonks’s outburst to Remus in the hospital wing at the end of HBP.
Out of My Life (Harry/Ginny)
My only AU (kind of). I tweaked a small part of canon in this -- basically, Harry actually said goodbye to Ginny properly when he broke up with her. Very angsty, and this is only up for sentimental reasons, as I wrote it during The Dark Ages (aka when I was fourteen).
A Different Kind of Magic (Harry/Ginny)
Written for the You’re Having My Baby challenge at SIYE. Ginny finds out she’s pregnant, but Harry receives the news before her and therefore has to tell his wife. This was my first ever story at MNFF. It was written when I was thirteen, and it definitely shows.
A Different Kind of Magic 2: Parenthood (Harry/Ginny)
A sequel, obviously, to A Different Kind of Magic. Ginny goes into labour, and both Harry and Ginny realise what it means to be parents. Again, this was written from Back in the Days.
The Caustic Ticking of the Clock (Rowena/Helga)
Written for the Great Hall Cotillion, this story is my only Founders story so far, and it’s about Rowena and Helga’s secret relationship. I am proud of this one, which doesn’t usually happen :)
Catching Fire (James/Sirius)
This was written for SPEW 007. My prompt was “Embers”, and it’s set just after Remus’s second transformation with the Marauders. James is badly injured, and he and Sirius realise, inadvertently, that they might just have feelings for each other. I like the pairing but still think the story needs work. One day I will go back and edit.
Flicker and Fail (Katie/Leanne)
This was written forSecret SPEW, and my recipient was the absolutely fabulous Alex/welshdevondragon. It’s my take on Leanne and Katie’s relationship from way before they were even at Hogwarts as well as what eventually happens to Katie in HBP, when she was cursed.
Skinny Love (Louis/Lily)
Written for the 2013 Great Hall Cotillion. Set during Teddy and Victoire's wedding, Louis helps Lily come to terms with her bulimia. This one was pretty difficult to write.
Blood and Roses (Scorpius/Rose, Scorpius/Dominique, Dominique/OC)
Written for the Great Hall Mysterious Maychallenge, this was my first Next Generation fic about Scorpius, mostly, and the trials he faces after his daughter is murdered.
Broken Glass (Louis/Lily)
This is the story of when Loulily really began. After the deaths of his immediate family, Louis is finding it hard to cope, even six months later. Lily somehow helps. It’s a little smutty. I’m proud of this one, too :)
The Highway of Regret (Scorpius/Lily, Scorpius/Rose, Louis/Lily)
Also written for the Great Hall Cotillion. It’s my one and only Scily. This is all about secret relationships and mistakes people make. Lily’s angry at Louis, and Scorpius has just broken up with Rose; when Lily gets drunk in the pub, things... happen. :P
I Will Lay Down My Heart (Albus/Rose, Scorpius/Rose)
Written for Round Two (Minor Characters) of Madam Pomfrey’s Character Clinic Triathlon. Albus has been in love with Rose for years, but what happened with them when they were younger has put a dent in their relationship. It doesn’t help that Rose is actually in love with Scorpius, either. This is smutty too.
One More Night (Albus/Rose, Rose/Scorpius)
Companion piece to I Will Lay Down My Heart. This goes into more detail about Rose and Albus's changing relationship as well as the aftermath of the events in said companion story. Probably the smuttiest thing on my page. :D Written for the Great Hall Cotillion 2013.
This was written for the Great Hall-iday challenge for the Operation: Mistletoe prompt, and this was where my love for Loulily began.
This is about how five men in Potterverse dealt with remorse in different ways.
This poem is about how Remus feels about Sirius (not slashy, btw).
Written for the Magic in Music challenge over inPoetry, Anyone? This was set to the track “Obliviate” in DH1 and is about Hermione modifying her parents’ memories.
Written for the Goodbyechallenge in Poetry, Anyone? This was about saying goodbye, and how difficult it could be.
After All This Time
Written for the Deathly Hallows challenge inPoetry, Anyone?. I ship unrequited Snape/Lily, and this is probably the only time Snape will be on my author page, lol.
Written for the MC Kreacher challenge inPoetry, Anyone? This was written from the POV of Bill Weasley after his wife’s death.
Written for the Great Bannermakers’ Hallchallenge. The banner I picked had Merope Gaunt on it, and it’s probably my darkest story; it’s definitely the only one to have a dubious consent warning. It’s about, as you might guess, the abuse Merope suffered from her father and brother.
In Care (Marlene/OC)
Marlene McKinnon, as a care kid, eventually falls in love with another care kid, Jamal Olawumi. But he's a Muggle, and keeping her world secret proves difficult. This is definitely a story I would like to revisit and tidy up.
Just Across the Bar (Sirius/Rosmerta)
Sirius is just about of age, but obviously Rosmerta has misgivings about having feelings for Sirius, who is still a student. Written for the 2013 Great Hall Cotillion and also smutty.
Written for SPEW 007. My prompt was “Juggling”, and it’s just a silly piece of dialogue-only banter between Remus and Sirius. Sirius realises Remus likes Tonks, and he tries to persuade Remus to act on his feelings.
Hanging by a Thread (Katie/Oliver)
Written for the lovely Jess/ToBeOrNotToBeAGryffindor for Secret SPEW VII. Katie is grieving and drowning her sorrows in alcohol and Oliver is trying his best to save Muggles, while trying also to bury feelings for Katie that he thought he had long since forgotten about. There is also, surprise surprise, some smut in this.
And that’s it! Along with being a moderator, I’m also a member of SPEWand SBBC. I hope to see you around on the forums; feel free to contact me via PM or review if you have any questions or comments about my stories!
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.
Congratulations on the QSQ win! I remember reading this story for judging, and as usual, your signature exquisite style completely took my breath away and even more so when Carole read it for Audiofics. I thought the sensuality this fic exudes is amazing, especially given the diversity of the four pairings -- even though each pairing was so different, I could see what tied all the vignettes together. And for what is quite a short one-shot, every character is incredibly well-defined and beautifully characterised.
To me, each vignette was a thoughtful character study. I found the first one explored Andromeda’s character so thoroughly; it’s interesting that you’ve never written her or Ted before, because I actually think this section was the strongest one out of the four. I think you really put across how much of an outsider Andromeda was, and I completely agree that her being with Ted is probably the first time she has ever felt truly loved. I really connected with Andromeda on a personal level here, because having family issues is never easy, and I can see how Ted would have helped her get through that and forget about the prejudices the Blacks held.
I also thought their physical relationship was brought out here really well -- the way you wrote it was sexy but never over the top or explicit.
She smiles as that word slips from his mouth, teeth pressed into his bottom lip, the assonant hiss of an ‘f’. It’s a glorious sound, a luxurious sound that in the day seems cold and hard and unfeeling but now, in the dead of night, it’s beautiful because she has done this to him.
I thought that was far more effective than writing the moment out in dialogue; there was something really heady and raw about the phrase, “the assonant hiss of an ‘f’”, and I think you described their sexual experiences beautifully without it seeming crass at any point. Throughout the story, I thought it was as ever really poetic and, at times, quite conversational, but never losing its lyricism.
Subtlety is definitely one of your major talents in writing, Julia, and in the Neville/Hannah vignette, Neville’s development in character was excellently done. After the battle, I think there’s always been a bit of a preconception that, just because Neville chopped off Nagini’s head, he’s suddenly brimful of confidence, so it was great to see his characterisation remain intact, in that Neville does not consider himself to be as impressive as everyone thinks he is. And that makes him even more endearing to read, for me. Also, I could see the similarity between how Neville is with Hannah -- unsure, quite insecure -- and how Andromeda is with Ted, because I felt Hannah understood Neville and saw through what everyone else thought of him, just like Ted understood Andromeda. So even though the two pairings are from different eras, I loved how there was such a clear link between the two of them.
The other two pairings intrigued me the most, I have to admit. I can remember reading a Parvati/Daphne drabble by you once, so I knew a bit of the backstory (assuming it’s the same?) from before. And even though I knew it didn't end well in the drabble, I was nevertheless saddened to read that section, because I really felt for Daphne there, with her unrequited love for Parvati. And the inclusion of Lavender/Parvati was interesting, too, because I have always thought that pairing was likely considering how close Lavender and Parvati were in canon. But what I think made that vignette all the more poignant was how accepting Daphne was of Parvati not loving her back; i can see why Parvati would use Daphne like that, and the bitterness from both of them was evident, especially as Daphne actually watched Parvati say Lavender’s name instead of Daphne’s.
The Scorpius/Hugo section at the end, meanwhile, was lovely in its optimism, which was definitely welcome after the saddest vignette of the four. Hugo was delightfully quirky, and you conveyed his slightly different mindset really well -- in that his perspective of a body as a map meant the title was incorporated without making it seem shoehorned in. The last line about how unimportant straight answers are is brilliant, because it really sums up the rich essence of the whole story: that love is not easy or straightforward, and I could see that so clearly in every single vignette.
Even though each vignette was short, I still got a really clear idea about the backstories of all the characters. A few reviewers said it would have been better with more, but I disagree, because each section works beautifully on its own, and I think each vignette had such a natural beginning and ending that I didn't need more backstory. In fact, they could have easily been four drabbles, but they also work together really well.
What I liked the most about this story, though, was just the sheer realness of it. There was something so raw and rudimentary about each section, and I think that was because of the imperfections in every relationship presented. This was a stunning story, Julia, all in all; you never fail to astound me with your flawless way with words, and it’s definitely my favourite story of yours (along with The Colour of Distance). Well done, and a belated happy birthday!
Author's Response: OH I completely missed this review, Soraya! I'm so sorry! I don't seem to get notifications anymore :(
Anyway. THANK YOU. What an amazing review :D Ted and Andromeda are one of those pairings that I don't write or read often but really should because I really, really, really like them. I enjoyed writing them a lot so maybe I will try and expand this headcanon I have for them :) Neville is always such a joy to write and I have written a few drabbles with him and Hannah so I'm glad you thought he was in character. And I did put that drabble after Ted and Andromeda because I thought the parallels between them complimented each other well so it's cool you picked that up, too. I have written a Parvati/Daphne drabble before but I never really intended this vignette to fit in with that. I started writing an expansion for that earlier drabble for the mystery challenge and never finished it. However, now that you mention it, I think the drabbles could fit together, especially since I didn't really take the aftermath of the battle into account when I wrote the original one... hmmm you have given me ideas! Hugo and Scorpius were A LOT of fun to write and I am actually expanding their story right now :D Thank you so much, Soraya. This was such a gem of a review to discover and I am sorry for not responding sooner!
This is lucca4 of Gryffindor submitting my entry for Rosmerta's Mini-Gauntlet being held in The Three Broomsticks over at the MNFF beta boards.
Thank you and hugs to the lovely Jess for reading this over, and to Alex, for everything ♥.
Winner of the 2012 Quicksilver Quill Award - Best Marauder-era Story.
THAT WAS FAB and beautifully messed up and fantabulous. I mean, haha, I read it already, a while before, but I didn't have enough time to leave a review. Silly me. Anyway, did you know that you're amazing? Because you aaaaaare! Your imagery is so fabulous and vivid and pretty scary and disturbing at times, and that all fits brilliantly with Bella's character. Your writing style is so gorgeous, and I think you did such a fantastic job characterising Bellatrix in this. I remember reading your initial drabbles for the gauntlet, and I wasn't sure how you would connect them together, but you managed to seamlessly. I shall attempt to write something vaguely coherent in SBBC, but know, my dear, that you are ah-mazing. :D
Author's Response: Soraya! I heart you so much for leaving a review - thank you thank you thank you :)! I am so glad that you thought the imagery and the characterization was okay. I had so much trouble with the drabbles that I almost didn't post a one-shot, and even writing it out I was worried it would be clunky, so it really makes me so happy to hear that they worked well together. You are the best :). xx Ariana
Oh hahahahahaaaaaa. For some reason, I actually thought you were going to ship them lolol.
THIS WAS FAB. I don't usually like AU, as I'm sure you know, but I did think it would be interesting if Arthur died. You did a great job showing how Molly would've reacted if he had died, and I LOVE YOUR NEVILLE. He's adorable :)
I would've left a longer review, but I have to get back to biology/statistics/maths. D: Heart youuuuu for writing it, though! I love it when I can infect people's minds with my weird ideas *giggles madly*
Otherwise known as All Soraya's Fault.
Important note: I used the Student/Teacher warning as a precaution; the relationship in this story is between a teacher and his former student, for whom he had no feelings while she was under his tutelage. Just to be clear.
Another important note: I'm not JKR. She has a much nicer house.
OH EM SQUEEE I LOVE THIS. Jamieeeeeeeee, this is so wonderful, every bit as wonderful as I thought it would be. Nevlly ftw, man!
Anyway, this will be a very short and useless review, but I just wanted to say how much I loved dark!Neville here. And Molly is lovely -- slightly forward, but still quite shy, and I like how she still thought of him as Professor Longbottom :D
I might leave you a proper review after my exams are over... until then, I can't wait for the next chapter! (Oh, and I am honoured to be in your summary, lolol.)
Well, I thought I’d leave you a (rather belated) birthday review for your Nevlly, given I planted the idea in your head in the first place :)
I think you’ve done an excellent job giving Neville a backstory in this story. It’s easy to make it an infodump, but here, I loved how you presented Neville as such a broken and hollow man. We could see how formulaic and lonely his life was, with him going to the same pub every Friday, and it’s even sadder seeing it through Molly’s eyes, especially as Neville was Molly’s teacher. But also, the fact that this is a few years on from when Hannah and her baby died makes me feel even more sympathetic towards Neville, even when it’s from Molly’s POV. Her seeing him suffer and drown his sorrows in whisky made me feel so sorry for him, so well done there. And I loved how, in the next chapter, we got to see Neville’s side to things too -- the monotonousness of his drinking, especially He sat. Just sat. Neville is often your best-written character (given that he’s your favourite character, that’s not a surprise), and what I liked the most was that he wasn’t filled with angst or anything. He had a tragic story, yes, but I liked that you didn’t over-dramatise it.
But I think your other victory here is Molly. The thing that makes this cross-generational pairing convincing is the characterisation of both characters, but especially Molly -- her attention to detail, the fact that she knew exactly how Neville liked his drink, and even the way in which she read too much into Neville offering her a drink, all these aspects of her character were excellently chosen and really made me understand, as a reader, why Molly was attracted to Neville -- possibly before Molly understood that herself, come to think of it. Also, I'm glad the whole issue of student/teacher was addressed, because even though Molly had left school, I think it still is something which could potentially affect their relationship. I’d definitely like to see Percy’s reaction to it :)
I also thought you did a great job with the two settings -- in the first chapter, the Leaky Cauldron, and in the second, Harry and Ginny’s party. I liked the contrast between them, with the pub being quiet and the party being a lot louder. The humour in Harry and Ginny’s note to Neville was welcomed as a moment of light relief compared to the far darker parts of the story, and even though it wasn’t a major part of the story, I loved the mentions of Teddy/Victoire in there too. Teddy in particular was adorable, the way he was drunk and how he forgot his speech while proposing to Victoire -- it was a very sweet scene, and I felt even sadder for Neville because I knew that it would bring back memories of Hannah and his proposal to her.
Oh, and Hermione’s perceptiveness with Neville was really well done too. I think it’s more realistic that someone, at least, would pick up on Neville’s and Molly’s changing relationship, so it was fitting as well as quite amusing that Hermione was aware of it. So far, though, this story’s been quite character-driven, so it will be interesting to see where things go from here. I’ve thoroughly enjoyed this so far, Jamie; you’ve really brought this cross-gen rarepair to life (even if I had meant the idea to be a joke). Dark!Neville is so intriguing, and you’ve explored his character excellently. I look forward to the next chapter!
Myles is one b@stard. UGHHHHHH. How horrible for Dominique :( Especially considering how they work together -- Daphne's right in that it makes things difficult for people. And I hate that Myles tries to justify himself by saying that Dominique likes it rough, because it's just... UGH.
And I do feel sorry for Mags -- she didn't know Dominique was attached, after all, though I do think Mags overreacted a bit. It'll be interesting seeing what happens next :) You've created some great dynamics between Mags and Dominique so far, Croll, and I just love Mags as a character -- and Dominique (I so get what they're saying about editing, since it's virtually the same as betaing and everything).
It's a shame this doesn't have more reviews, because I think it's fab. In fact, I'm off to do some QSQ nomming before prom :)
Author's Response: EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEP! thank youuuuuu. I do like Mags as well because I think she's a sort of hybrid version of what I am and what i'd like to be. OOOPs, self insertion in a fic - hahahahahah. Nah, she's much more glamorous and has better clothes and make-up - sadly. Myles is a git, but you knew that from Stars or Carousels - sigh. Hmm, she did overreact a little, but the reason for that is explained in the last chapter.
Thank you very much and I hope you have a great time at your Prom!!!! ~Carole~
Eeeep sorry I took a while getting to this! I kind of decided to have an early night when my sister stole the laptop from me... anyway, YAY to Dominique dumping Myles. He had it coming to him. Though I'm wondering how awkward things would have been at Dominique's work (unless she quit?), but with the constraints of the word limit, you probably didn't have room for that, lol.
And poor Dominique! I can imagine how strange it must have been for her to be told that Mags was leaving and then find out that she's not. By the way, I so loled when Mags said "gotten". Seriously, I had to actually scroll to the top of the page to check the author, lol! But she *is* American, so she would say that.
This is honestly a terrible review, but your story is excellent. I think things were a little rushed at the end (Dominique breaking up with Myles, and then her finding Mags and everything), but like I said, I'm guessing it's more because of word count restraints than anything.
Well done, though! This story deserves far more reviews, imo.
Author's Response: Yes, twas the word constraint that stopped me. I was about 8 words short of 10k in the end *sigh*. Okay, if you read Stars of Carousels (which I know you have ;) ) you might remember Dominiques profession from there. She's working as a chef. I make an oblique reference to her liking cooking in all this, and also references throughout that she could be on the verge of quitting the job, so I sort of thought that was enough, although I did have to cut an entire section in the coffee shop where she explains to Mags about cooking and spending time with both grandmothers in their kitchens :( . Sigh* word counts get me every time. I might re write some bits when the challenge is over ... if I have the energy.
Thank you very much for the review and all your others. It's very much appreciated. ~Carole~
Why this has no reviews is a mystery and a half *sigh* This was fab, Croll. I was hoping for a prequel (that is what this is, right?) of Stars or Carousels, and I think you've given Dominique a really interesting backstory here. I knew about Myles being rough and everything with Dominique, but it was still shocking and horrible to see how he treated her :( Particularly this bit:
But as she peered closer, she could see a faint pattern of blue on her arms and the red marks on her breast. A love bite, he’d said last night, but it was one that broke the skin.
Such a powerful and harsh image.
I also LOVE Mags. Yay to her being a writer :D I liked that Dominique didn't let herself be intimidated by her or anything, and Mags, also, ended up warming to Dominique,
Anyway, this is a rather useless review, but I blame the lack of fanfic during my exam period for that. D: Wonderful start, Carole, and I look forward to the rest :)
Author's Response: May I worship you, O Bebe avec la tete de grand (um, I know that says you have a big head, but I don;t know what brains is en francais). Thank you so much for reviewing and getting this off the zero *sigh*. Yes, it is the prequel to Stars or Carousels (I should probably mention that somewhere) and Swans and whichever one i write post Stars and pre-Swans -( hahahah - ideas whirring now. )
*sigh* originally Mags was going to write poetry as well, but I had to cut them from the story as the word count was excessive, but versions of the poems are on tumblr somewhere :)
Thank you again. ~Carole~xxxxx
I must say, this really deserves more reviews :( Anyway, I thought I'd review you since you left all those lovely reviews for my stories a month or so ago. Plus, I know that when I read a Katrina story, chances are you'll do something really interesting with the style and also have some great characterisation (and I definitely was right). It’s great to read more of your work after so long.
The premise of this story is unique, I think: a monologue by Eileen Prince about her relationship with her husband after she has died and become a ghost is really original. I know that the whole issue of life after death in Potterverse is pretty complicated, so kudos to you for carrying it out so well. It would be easy to go over the top with such an issue, but you addressed it thoroughly (such as Eileen’s regrets about not going on and how she was so tied down to life that she didn’t want to go on), which I thought was great, because, like I said, it’s a bit of a murky topic. And yet the clarity of Eileen’s voice helped in making it far less confusing than it could have been.
Eileen and Tobias's story is something that I've always wondered about, ever since Snape said that her parents argued a lot, but also in the whole of HBP, when it became evident that Snape really hated his father for being a Muggle and that he preferred to go by his mother’s name because she was a witch. I liked that you built on that piece of canon information a lot and made the characters three-dimensional while also sticking to the characterisation (or what little there is, anyway) in the books. What was great was that both Eileen and Tobias had their flaws, flaws which were really important in making both their characters unique -- for example, the fact that Severus’s conception was an accident, and that Tobias became abusive. Tobias’s backstory, about his troubled childhood, gave a perfect explanation as to why he did the things he did.
The way you began the story, with the description of how their relationship began, and the details of the brownies and the roses, made the chemistry between them evident. I especially liked how things were once romantic for them as a couple -- it makes their relationship so much more valid and realistic, because I think that spark of attraction would obviously be necessary for them to eventually marry. Also, the idea that Eileen had to cling to those memories is so very sad, and it made me sympathise immensely with her, particularly because Tobias didn’t love her back, and Eileen loved him far too much for there to be any balance in their relationship. And it was even more horrible for Severus, who neither of his parents really cared about, although Eileen referred to him as a “good person”, so perhaps she did love her son to some extent. Despite Severus never appearing directly in the story, I felt so sorry for him for having to live in such a household, where his parents were constantly arguing and everything. The fact that I felt anything for Severus at all is an achievement, Katrina, so well done there!
The style in this was intriguing -- the use of first and second person for the majority of the story and then second person for the section in the middle was, I’ll admit, a little confusing at first, but it didn’t take me long to work out who was speaking when. And the style was certainly effective. There was some really raw emotion in this story, Katrina, and I think this was achieved at least in part by the choice of POV -- the first person made me empathise with Eileen but also understand why she fell for Tobias, and the second person made the tone of the story incredibly regretful and gloomy, because Eileen was addressing the person who she was so in love with despite him not loving her back. The section in the middle which is entirely second person worked well, too, because I think it made the narrative seem more detached, and I got a pretty cold impression of what Tobias was like. Also, in terms of style, the sparse dialogue and short, sharp sentences was really effective here, because I think this is a mostly character-driven story, and it was dependent more on Eileen’s narrative of the story rather than dialogue moving it along.
As you can tell, Katrina, I enjoyed this story a lot. I don’t often read about Eileen and Tobias, so this was a great insight into Eileen’s mind. It’s nice to see you back, and I hope to read more from you soon!
Author's Response: Hi Soraya, Thankyou so so much for this lovely review, and I'm sorry I'm a bit slow in replying, I'vej ust been away, and it was great to come back to this. I'm glad you thought the story was a unique idea... I can't really remember how I came up with it, it was about a year and a half ago, and I started the story and got stuck, so it had been sitting on my computer, half-finished, for a long time. Ghosts in the Potterverse half always interested me, and (as you know), I've addressed this topic in other stories as well. I think a person has to have a really big reason to stay on - at first, perhaps, it sounds good, but like the Resurrection Stone, it's just an imitation of life and ghosts can never fit in. Anyway, I'm glad you thought I handled the topic well. I've also been interested in Snape's parents and upbringing since HBP - while I don't really sympathise with Snape often, it's interesting to know why he's like that - if his parents had loved him and each other, would he have hated Muggles etc. - I think him hating his father is very tied into him hating Muggles. But I also like the idea that his mother didn't love him enough, because I think the reason he fell so hard for Lily was that she was the first person who cared. I think Eileen did love her son deep down, but she pushed it down because she was so desperate for Tobias' approval, and she regrets that later. I thought they must have had a romantic beginning, because a Muggle and a witch would hardly have married for convenience, or because their parents/societies told them to etc... although for Tobias it wasn't really love, just being loved. Which ties in with his childhood, and why he became abusive, but also why he married her (am I making sense? I hope so). I'm glad you didn't find the style too confusing, I know it can be a bit like that, but I liked the combination of first and second, because you sympathise with Eileen and the second person because she's addressing him and it's almost accusatory (not sure that's the right word). I'm glad you also liked the short sentences and little dialogue, I do like writing like that, and I think it works for short character pieces. Anyway, I'm not sure I deserve such praise from you, thanks for this lovely review :). Yep hopefully you'll see more of me soon. ~Katrina
Awwwww, Maple, this was so sweet! It was lovely of you to write my OTP to begin with, and I think you did a fabulous job of it :D
Louis as a fittieeeeee. YAY. I love the idea that he would basically become a man over the summer, not to mention the whole Unspeakable thing. I mean, his dad is a cursebreaker and his mum is really intelligent too, so it makes sense, imo.
And I loved how they had that intimacy between them (disappearing together, going to the beach, etc) even before they got together. It made Louis's reciprocation believable :)
Lovely story, Mapleeeee! Thank you for writing it for me -- I feel honoured :D
Author's Response: Eep! I'm glad you like you like it! :) Maple
Wow. I can remember reading this last year when you first posted it for the Character Clinic Triathlon, and upon rereading, your story still made me cry. What a sad and beautiful rendition of Ted and Andromeda’s romance. I love how you portrayed the imperfections of their relationship and also explored Andromeda’s character, giving a much fresher outlook on her than the typical fandom portrayal of Andromeda as a rebel. And out of all the songfics I’ve ever read, this is definitely up there with the best, because the way you weaved the lyrics in to the body of the story was flawless.
The setting of the park was so well-chosen, with that opening image of the nameless couple Andromeda is watching. I liked how this couple acted as a foil of what Andromeda and Ted could have been -- as a couple content to be out in the open, without secrets and the fear of disownment. I could sense Andromeda’s jealousy of them, despite her scorn of how “ugly” they looked. And this constant reminder of a normal and open relationship, the complete opposite to what Andromeda had to Ted, was a really powerful yet subtle background image throughout the story.
When first reading this, I was really interested also to see how you had integrated the song into the story, as per the challenge’s parameters (which, from what I remember, were that the song had to be playing throughout the story). I can remember you saying on a few occasions that you generally weren’t a fan of Muggle songs and literature being constantly referenced in fanfiction, and I have to say I agree with you. But that’s why the way you weaved the song into your story was so good. The way you set up the Muggle couple playing the song while in the park and, later, Andromeda playing it and remembering Ted and his proposal, was really well thought out and a believable way for Andromeda to be familiar with Muggle music. It made perfect sense in the Muggle framework of Potterverse during the seventies.
In terms of structure, I really appreciated the arrangement of scenes in this story and was never once confused, even if it was non-chronological. I liked how the song lyrics separated each scene and signified a change in time. The ending especially, with the flash-forward to Ted going on the run, was really fitting, as I felt the story ended on a sad note, made even sadder by Tonks’s optimism that her dad return. Moreover, Tonks’s line, “This time, next year, we’ll all be spending Christmas together. You, me, Remus, Dad and Baby Lupin”, was even more heartbreaking because only Andromeda and Teddy survived the war.
On that note, I found Andromeda’s characterisation refreshingly different from the few times I’ve read about her before. I think the fandom perception generally is that she is very similar to Sirius in her rebelliousness, so it was interesting to see you step away from that and not have her as a full-on rebel. As you said in a review response to someone else, the fact that Andromeda was Sorted into Slytherin suggested maybe she did feel some sense of belonging to her household, even if she disagreed with their views, and it was only with Ted that she first really rebelled. Her denial of Ted’s suggestion that they would disown her for carrying the child of a Muggleborn showed that she was somewhat different to Sirius, to me, as did her insistence that her family loved her.
I also loved the way you moved away from the clichés about first times and highlighted the imperfections of Ted and Andromeda’s relationship through the fact that their first time felt “horrible” for both of them. I thought that was far more realistic, and I could feel Andromeda’s disappointment at the lack of crashing waves and “songs” and “tender poetic sighs”. But at the same time, the way Ted sought to rectify that made him so likeable as a character, as did his second proposal to Andromeda after finding out she had lost her baby. The fact that Ted only asked her before when she was pregnant, because he didn’t think she would accept otherwise, made me really see the insecurities he had, even if the focus of the story was on Andromeda.
Finally, I thought you handled the topic of miscarriage excellently, with due sensitivity and without it seeming in any way like a plot device. I could see how much pain it had caused Andromeda and how it had upset Ted. This line in particular summed it up perfectly: “I made him cry. He cried for a baby he never knew, and I still can’t”, as I think I could really feel how important that baby was to Ted, and also the effect of suppressing her own emotions had on Andromeda, to the point that she couldn’t even cry. Still, I was so glad to see Ted propose to her in spite of her losing the baby, as he proved to her that he wasn’t just doing his “duty”, for the baby, but was actually in love with her. I think that spontaneity is a trait we see much later in Tonks; I don’t know if that was intentional, but it was a nice touch nonetheless. :)
Congratulations on winning in the Character Clinic Triathlon! You really deserved it, and I intend on nominating this for a QSQ after posting this review. Well done :D
Author's Response: I have taken my time responding to this because I was so blown away with the gorgeousness of your review that I closed the tab and ran off to wibble and squee in a corner.
Soraya, thank you so much for this amazing review and I'm glad you appreciated the story. I do have a hard time reading song-fics because so often the action is shoehorned in to fit the lyrics and this characterisation or plot are forfeited.
I'm also not convinced Andromeda was exactly the same as Sirius. She rebelled later, and maybe she was Sorted 'too soon', however not all Slytherins are evil, so why could she not have been Sorted because she shared some traits, but was open-minded enough to realise that they were wrong. Regulus, I think, is far more like her than Sirius in that respect.
Anyway, i'm going now. I'm still in post-review glow. Thank you, my lovely. ~Carole~
Falling in love teaches Dennis Creevey that sometimes, needing someone isn't a bad thing, especially as it helps him forget all that he's lost.
It fails, however, to show him that forgetting can only go on for so long.
Thank you to Ari for her loveliness in betaing this story.
Wow. I was completely blown away by this story -- it was beautiful and yet melancholy at the same time; the characters were extremely well-portrayed, and the writing style (as per usual for you) was gorgeous.
I think your biggest strength in the story was the plot. The concept of a potion giving the drinker who they desire, even if they are dead, is genius -- it’s like the Mirror of Erised, only better, and I think it’s entirely plausible especially given the Muggle elements of it. Even though I’ve never come across such a thing in fanfic before, I think it could slide into canon easily, and seeing Dennis’s descent into near madness as a result of it made me truly understand why Dumbledore said the Mirror of Erised could drive people insane. It was also very scary watching Dennis quickly becoming addicted to the potion and for his neighbour to have heard him torturing himself when he thought he was having sex with Gabrielle.
The story on the whole was mainly character-driven, and I think it worked very well like that, because your exploration of Dennis was spot on. He was beautifully portrayed, his reaction to Colin’s death and the way he clung on to Gabrielle because of that completely understandable given he had lost his brother. I liked that Dennis became tongue-tied around Gabrielle and then said something that was actually rather witty and that that was the basis of their relationship. There was some really strong chemistry between them, which I know can be difficult since they’re both minor characters, but you pulled it off easily. His denial of Gabrielle’s death therefore was entirely plausible and just so heart-wrenching to read, especially the fact that he was willing to take a horrible potion in order to see her again, even if it was temporary.
Gabrielle, though, was a bit of a mystery -- she seemed to have quite a few sides to her personality, so I wasn’t entirely sure I knew much about her until he started hallucinating, by which time she became a completely different person anyway. Besides her beauty, I wasn’t certain of her characterisation, but perhaps that’s because I see two versions of her here. That’s not criticism, as such, just that I definitely don’t think I’ve ever come across a character like your Gabrielle, so I would love to read more of her -- I want to know what makes her tick. :)
However, I think there was one character who wasn’t as fully-realised as the main cast -- Mark. I think he could have been more fleshed out. I understand that he was a very minor character in the story, but I would have liked to see more of him, as he didn’t seem defined enough as a character to me; he just seemed like Dennis’s gay friend, if that makes sense. However, the other OCs were excellent: Betty was really well-done, and it was nice to see that she was concerned for Dennis, and Nicolas’s characterisation as the dealer was great, because even though he was making money out of the potion, I could tell he might have felt guilty for the consequences of it, and that really humanised him for me.
I did find the timeline jump -- between their first time together and when he was about to propose for the third time -- threw me off somewhat, and I’ll admit I had to reread to work out the order in which the story was being told, as when you went back in time, it wasn’t always italicised. And it wasn’t that it was always confusing, more the fact that the flashbacks were sometimes abrupt. But on the second reading, I understood things better. On a different note, I did pause at Dennis having such a large amount of money in his Gringotts account. After all, at one point, the Weasleys only had one Galleon and a pile of Sickles in their account (if I remember correctly, in CoS). Yes, the Weasleys were poor, but my point is, I’m wondering if Dennis -- who doesn’t seem to be that well off in canon as far as we can tell from Colin -- would really have five hundred Galleons in savings when the Weasleys had one, especially given how I’m not sure if he had a job in the story or not.
Finally, your style was absolutely beautiful, as always. I find that there’s always something lyrical about your descriptions, and they really made the story come alive without it ever sounding hyperbolic; instead, they always added to the characterisation, making the characters jump off the page as fully-realised characters, regardless of how minor they may have been in canon. I also thought the smut was great; it was sensual but never crass. You definitely have the gift of making a story sexy while retaining tastefulness and without it ever becoming explicit or gratuitous. Having said that, it was horrible to see that the ghost of Gabrielle eventually became rough with him, but even then, the issue of that was handled so, so well.
I thought this was a brilliant story, Ariana, and I loved the optimistic ending, too. It gave Dennis hope after what had obviously been a very traumatic time for him, and I’m glad you gave him the closure he needed to face up to Gabrielle’s death. Great job!
Author's Response: First of all, I heart you so much for leaving me this absolutely gorgeous review. I wasn't expecting any more for this story so I was incredibly surprised and happy to get one, and then when I saw it was from you I absolutely squeed :).
I'm glad you commented on the plot, because I think that's one of the things I am weakest at in writing since most of my stories seem to revolve around the romance between two characters and not really anything else - so it made me happy to see that you thought it was well done. I wasn't entirely sure if the premise was a little too unbelievable, with the drug-like potion, so I'm relieved that you think it was one of the strengths of this story :).
I do agree with you about Mark…originally, he was going to be Dennis's neighbor instead of Betty and then when I dropped that he just became a name with no substance. If I ever get around to writing a follow up, I'll include him (I'm ashamed to admit that I almost forgot about him…). And I also had never considered Dennis's money situation, hm. I read somewhere that at Gringotts you can exchange Muggle money for Galleons/etc, so the best answer I can come up with is that Dennis's parents wanted to make sure he was taken care of when he moved out and distanced himself from them, so they gave him some money to help him get on his feet.
Thank you so, so much for reading this and leaving a review! It has left me smiling :). xx Ariana
Gina, I planned on leaving you a SPEW review for this, but I'm so gobsmacked that it would get a terrible score, lolol.
This was fabbbbbbb! And totally unexpected, most definitely.
Okay, I shall start from the beginning. I liked how you introduced Graham, and how he seemed to have had quite a few problems and then rectified them. I definitely think he was given a fitting job, considering what happened to him in the Vanishing Cabinet, and his fear of Apparition made sense.
I loled at Adrian and Gemma, but I did think that when Megan came into the scene, I kind of skimmed over things a bit. If their conversation was written out as dialogue, I think it might have been better, as we were told a lot of things but not really shown them properly. I still think they had good chemistry, but it would've been even better if you had more of their conversation.
*spoiler alert -- DO NOT READ IF YOU HAVEN'T READ THE STORY*
And then they went into the back room. I do think that was written well, and ngl, I didn't understand why Megan was so cold, either. But I'm wondering how it's possible to have sex with a ghost, lolol, considering what they're like in canon. I certainly can buy that Graham wouldn't have noticed that she was a ghost if he was drunk/it was dark/etc. That isn't a nitpick, btw -- I just want to know, as much as Graham does, about how that was even physically possible, lol.
Anyway, picks aside, I thought this was wonderful and ingenious, Gina. (You are a true Claw, hehehe) I expected it just to be a funny parody of Fifty Shades of Suck with a bit of good smut in it, but you made it so much more than that. You added some wonderful depth to Graham's character and Megan's, for that matter, even though she remains a somewhat mystery, lol. This deserves wayyyyyy more than one review, though, so *hugs*
Author's Response: Another review! Squee!! Thank you so much for daring to look at this strange little piece. Gobsmacked, eh? I figure it's not what people might expect, esp. from me. It certainly started out as quite a different idea in my mind. Poke me if you want to know my original plan for parodying 50 Shades, lol. But then it morphed into something more serious, something real. I'm glad you enjoyed it. So two things: first of all, I totally see your point about more dialogue between Graham and Megan. That probably would have built up their connection more, but you know what? I just didn't want to. LOL! I simply felt like glossing over it and getting to the important stuff, so to speak. I just wasn't interested in writing out so much talking over the course of the evening. Ah well, I think it works without it, just maybe not as much. As for the sex/ghost bit - yeah, who knows. I just wanted to leave ghostly clues - cold skin, strange glow, the haunting reference. I didn't stop to think of the mechanics of it. That's for Graham to discover in the DoM, because in my mind, Megan has not only sort of revived him a bit, but also sparked an interest in the subject. He really does try to solve the mystery. Does he? I don't know. Maybe I can write a sequel for another challenge, lol. But it was fun--hard work, but fun in the end--finding all sorts of chantreuse references and working out Graham in my mind. I'm still a bit surprised at ending up with such a decent guy, lol. I'm glad you enjoyed him, and the story, and just THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR ACTUALLY REVIEWING THIS!! *hugs* ~Gina :)
Hi Pooja :)
Well, I’ve been meaning to read something by you for a while now, so when this story was featured, I thought it was about time I read and reviewed it. And I was so glad I did, because I was very moved by this story for so many reasons, particularly your excellent handling of what are some very, very sensitive issues, as well as great characterisation throughout.
First off, your title is a fabulous one. There’s something lovely and simple about the wording of it, but at the same time, it speaks volumes of what the story is about. I thought you made brilliant use of the way Albus resembled Harry in such a way and yet felt so different from him; I can really see why Albus would view himself like that, and of course he would feel maimed after being raped. And I have to say, you treated the topic of rape very delicately, and I really appreciate how well you handled it. It’s far from easy to write what would be a very upsetting thing to read, so well done there. While I can’t say I enjoyed reading that section in particular, I thought it was great that you didn't have to make it explicit and yet it was clear exactly what was happening. I think what is important with difficult issues is that you have to address it properly, and I certainly thought that was the case here. Similarly, the issues of bulimia and self-injury were painful for me to read, but that was because of how real and raw the emotion was. The actual writing was heartrending to read, especially the way in which Albus would undergo the daily ritual of making himself vomit as well as the three times he had cut himself.
I think the style of the writing was what made it so very powerful. I liked, for example, the way the flashbacks were in third person and the main body of the narrative was in first. I felt an intimacy with Albus’s character and thought you really got to the heart of the story, and his emotions, with first person, because I could feel his self-loathing and his pain. Third person was certainly the right choice for the flashbacks, especially when Albus was raped, because that showed rather than told the story, which I think can sometimes be an issue for that choice of PoV. Here, I think it worked perfectly, because I got to see for myself how horrific Albus’s experiences were, and the immediacy of present tense added to the tension, too. One thing I did notice, though, was that there were quite a few paragraphs beginning with “I”. Perhaps this is something to bear in mind in the future -- even though it definitely didn’t significantly detract from the story, I did find that certain parts didn't flow quite so well at times.
Ultimately, I think this story is a character study and an intense one at that. I loved the characterisation of Albus; his self-hate is so understandable, and I think the details you added emphasised that so much -- not just his bulimia and self-harm, but also him not eating, not sleeping, not even going to the toilet properly. It’s an understatement to say my heart went out for him, and what I liked best was that not once was Albus melodramatic about what had happened to him, but at the same time, I could see just how badly affected Albus was by being raped. I felt such a numbness in his narration, and there was something incredibly systematic about his voice. And though I wasn’t sure if this was done on purpose, I did smile when I saw what could be an allusion to AlRose. Even if it wasn’t, just the fact that Albus had lost his closest cousin and could not talk to anyone about being raped makes the story all the more poignant.
I must say, at one point, I thought Albus would be saved. Perhaps it was when I read the heading of “Meanwhile”, with the far more optimistic side to the story, or maybe just the fact that I had this expectation of Harry to save Albus somehow. And again, I think the fact that Albus’s voice is so resonant for me is what makes the events in the story so much more touching, because perhaps even Albus expected that of his father. I think that’s why seeing Harry attempt to revive his son was so difficult to read -- not, of course, because it was written badly, but because I could really see the disastrous consequences of Albus being raped on his whole family. On that note, however, I think the ending was perhaps a little too easily resolved. While I understood the significance of the 31st July and know that that was part of the challenge, I wasn’t sure that only a year later, Harry would have captured his son’s rapists and simply locked them away. I can’t help but think that it would take longer than a year, and Harry doing so on his birthday exactly a year later seems too neat to me. If you expanded it a bit, in a sequel maybe, it might be explained more, because I think that was what was missing for me, so perhaps consider writing a follow-up one-shot? I would definitely read it if you wrote it, anyway. :)
This was a great story, Pooja. I thought it was an excellent read, and I can definitely see what you mean by you hacking Albus to this many pieces! At any rate, the issues were addressed with due respect and the writing really touched my heart. I will have to read more of your stories someday :)
Author's Response: Hey Soraya!
Sorry, it took long for me to respond, but you do know my exam situation. :) Anyway, I'm so glad that you took time to read this, and that you liked it because this was very difficult for me to write-- it was stressful and emotionally draining and there were times that I'd want to give up, or put it away, but then I'm glad I stuck to it. :)
The title actually was a spur-of-the-moment thing. I was filling out a Beta form and instead of writing 'untitles right now', I just wrote this down. I feel Albus and Harry are similar, and different. Albus would have a lot of insecurities, and a lot of issues, I guess, I don't know-- but I've always felt this way about him. And I'm tired of how sometimes Albus is entirely like Harry, so I turned this around and made him different from Harry on a very important point. As for the rape and self-injury, these emotions were what I derived from reading a few psychological papers and articles that spoke about male rape. It seems to have such a different effect on men-- but I think the emotions here are easier to capture than female rape. The bulimia wasn't bulimia-- it was something even more crude, which I really couldn't mention here. You can poke me sometime, if you want to know what it really was. :)
I agree with you on the first-person imagery problem. It is very difficult to 'show' the entire... the events, when it's in first-person format and the 'I' just keeps repeating. I'm also not very used to this format, as most of my stories are in third person, which I'm most comfortable with. That way, the emotions and the gestures are easier to show and the bond between the reader and the character are easier to create. But I will remember your wonderful suggestions and keep this in mind the next time I write from such a PoV (in fact, I'm writing it just now) and it is very wonderful on your part to share this honest opinion with me! :)
Yes, this was a character study-- because I'd written it for the Triathlon, I guess. I wanted to explore a darker side in a person's mind and I chose Albus for my sacrificial lamb. Like I said, all his actions were based on a psychological study of male rape-- it's sad to know that these things happen out there and people go through these very emotions. No one would want to live in hell like this, it's distressing. And sometimes in life, the grief and the distress is so much-- the agony is so intense that a person becomes numb. This is a stage beyond pain and agony-- it's pure torture and suffering that a person goes through when the pain is so bad, they can't bear it anymore. And hah, the AlRose! I didn't write this keeping that in mind, but it's open for interpretation. Maybe they were in love and just didn't know it yet. You never know. ;)
At the point where you thought Albus might be saved, I was honestly about to save him. I was ready to rebel against my original plan to off him and I thought that maybe he could live and talk to someone about it-- and maybe they'd find the rapists like that. I felt bad for Harry too-- he's lost so many people in his life, this would have been horrible. And about the ending-- I must admit, at the time that I wrote this, I didn't think it would matter how they found the rapists, really. But I guess it does, and I promise I'll try and write a sequel to this, once I can plot it well enough. Ha, I've closed my own doors here by making Harry solve it in just a year... but well, I'll try to write a sequel, and am flattered that you'll be around to read it! :)
I see why you won the best reviewer QSQ, Soraya, because you really deserved it! This review made my month, and I was so sad that I couldn't reply right away! Anyway, thank you very much and I'm really glad you liked this story! *huggles*
Awwww baby Harry ;) And Remus! GIna, this was lovely. I think you're one of the very few people who can pull off first person Marauder, and I think you did a great job here.
I never really thought about how Remus must've been feeling during that train journey. You really captured that feeling of nostalgia and the sadness Remus must have felt while his friend's son was in the same compartment as him. And I love the banteryness of the Marauders even before they become Marauders, lol.
The ending was fab, especially the line "I have not come to Hogwarts for a job, nor have I really come to teach. I have come for Harry, so that Sirius cannot." I just feel like yelling at Remus that he's wrong, hahahahaha. Oh, but I did think it was a little rushed towards the end, when Harry collapsed, as I would have liked to see more of teh dialogue before Harry had woken up, etc, but I do understand that there was a word limit, so I suppose that's why.
All in all, Gina, this was a nice story that I enjoyed :) I will defnitely be back, if not on Eid, then the day after XD
Author's Response: Thank youuuuu, Soraya! I really appreciate the review and all your lovely comments. Yes, if I could have included a bit more when it came time for the Dementors to show up, I probably would have, but there was that word limit. Jess mentioned expanding it for the archives but I never really considered it. If I had, that's probably something I would have added, plus a bit more at the end. Ah well. I'm still happy with the way the memories turned out. Thanks for the compliment on the Marauders. I do love them, you know! Thanks againnnnnn! ~Gina :)
Hello, Gina :)
What a wonderful story! I must say, after reading Raindrops, I’ve been curious about Arlienne and Sirius’s relationship, so I'm really glad you wrote this. Even though it was a minor subplot in Raindrops, it was always something I wanted to see more of. You showed a really different side to Sirius here, and I think you explored his character even more thoroughly here than you did in Raindrops. It’s a real shame this doesn’t have more reviews, because it certainly deserves far more.
I think Arlienne is a great character -- she’s sharp and really quite witty, which makes her a match for Sirius, unlike the usual American exchange student OC that Sirius is often paired with in fanfic. She was really well-fleshed out; I like that she wasn’t willing to let Sirius’s rather crude comment just slide like that, as it was a great way to bring them together. I also think your backstory for her is really interesting; the fact that she is a Lestrange and therefore has protective brothers kind of made the ending of the story inevitable :( And yet I can see her flaws, too -- like the fact that she suggested to Sirius to go back to his family and renounce Gryffindor, the way she thought Sirius’s family might take him back if he was with her... it’s all really sad.
On a brighter note, I liked Sirius’s sense of humour, and it was great to see he still had that same fighting spirit within him that really shows his true Gryffindor colours. He is obviously very brave and self-righteous, and I saw this when he tells Arlienne that he wants to fight as well as when she asks him why he didn’t just go back to his family. I also thought, even though he isn’t the major character in this, that Regulus was really well done, too. It was a refreshing change to see Regulus actually friends with someone Sirius is going out with, and it was nice that Regulus at least warned Arlienne about Mulciber and Avery finding out.
The story flowed excellently from beginning to end. The setup of it -- the way the story began and then went backwards in time to tell the story of how Arlienne and Sirius eventually got together -- was all very well done. It was never confusing, which I know can often be a problem for flashbacks without italics, but you pulled it off without any problems. On a more stylistic note, though, I noticed that you used the words “murmur”, “whisper” and “softly” quite a bit, and sometimes, I think perhaps simpler words would suffice. It’s something that caught my attention in some of your other stories, too, so I thought I’d point it out. :)
I particularly loved the line Charms kept them warm, though she much preferred his arms -- it added some wonderful chemistry between them, and it was also rather endearing to read because I could feel their closeness, which was lovely. I do, however, think that it would have been more effective to actually write out some of Sirius and Arlienne’s “verbal sparring”, because I think there was something missing in the library scene. It wasn’t quite a scene, as such; I mean, I was told how they got together, how their relationship progressed to the stage it was at at the beginning, but I didn’t see it, and I would have liked to see it.
The ending was so bittersweet and beautiful -- you created a really strong image of them meeting up for the last time before they would go their separate ways, and I think you summed it up perfectly in this line: "But I'll always be fighting my feelings." It just made me sad to know that they broke up and didn’t get back together in the end, all because of Arlienne’s brothers and the prejudices they had against Sirius and Gryffindors generally. What I liked the best, though, was that the war was at the forefront of everything, which makes the most sense given it was set in Marauder Era, and that that was partly why they had to split up in the end.
Overall, I think you did a fabulous job on the story; it was very well-written, as per usual, and on a deeper level, it spoke volumes of the injustices in the wizarding world.
Hello, Carole :)
Wow, what a fabulous story! I really have not been reading much outside of QSQs, and I am so glad I chose to read this one of yours, because I very much enjoyed reading it. All the characters, both original and canon, were fully-realised, which I think is important for what is quite a character-driven piece. I thought it was exceptionally well-written, too, with quite a different feel compared to most of your other stories -- as Natalie said, it could convert into OF quite easily since it’s a mostly OC cast, so maybe that’s something to think about.
I’ve found that one of the biggest challenges in writing OCs is making them normal. So often, OCs have tragic backstories or amazing superpowers, and it was lovely to see such ordinary characters in this story and yet with each of them having such distinctive characteristics. Danny was so likeable and confident, and I found his nonchalance and detachment when it came to the people he had flings with on the beach fascinating. Details like that really made him stand out, and I felt so sad for him when he seemed to dismiss commitment so quickly with Oliver. And it was great how you slowly unpeeled layers of Danny’s character: though, to begin with, he was confident, by the end, it was clear Danny was actually really insecure, and even though he was comfortable with his own sexuality, obviously certain other people weren’t, like Mike. The complexity of the characterisation really was what made the story enjoyable for me.
I also found it interesting that Danny was the one who made a move on Oliver, as I’m so used to seeing Oliver being quite domineering and a lot stronger in the books, whereas here, Oliver seemed a lot more vulnerable. I think you explored that rather different side to Oliver wonderfully, particularly at the beginning with the cricket match when Oliver seemed quite shy at first, but then his competitive streak got the better of him. I really liked how you showed so much of Oliver’s character -- through Danny’s eyes -- with the cricket match, the way Oliver was obviously very skilled at the game despite never having played it before. And you did a great job with the awkwardness of the sex; Oliver’s inexperience was so endearing to read about, and given he was just coming to terms with his sexuality, it makes perfect sense that that was something he wouldn’t know much about. However, I did think that, at times, the sexual situations were a bit much for the 6th-7th rating (especially with the use of “cock”), so perhaps consider pushing the rating up to Professors?
The other more minor characters, like Kay and Mike, were really well fleshed out. I particularly liked Kay, and I found it amusing that she and her brother were chasing after the same guy. Kay provided some welcome comic relief to the story, I think, and though I found Mike annoying, again, he was characterised excellently. So were Oliver’s parents -- having known Oliver’s father’s abusive backstory, I still found the scene when he found Oliver and Danny shocking and heartrending to read, but at the same time, I think you dealt with the subject sensitively. I was so glad to see Oliver’s mother come to the rescue, although I wasn’t entirely sure of her character. At first, she seemed really likeable, especially when she was helping Danny get to the hospital, but when she was with Danny and she told him Oliver wouldn’t be seeing him again, I thought there was something dubious about her. Why was she so mean to Danny? I have a feeling she might have been homophobic, but I'm not really sure. Hmm. That isn’t criticism, as such -- I would just like to read more of her, because she is certainly a fascinating character. :)
Your use of first person was expertly done -- I loved how well you captured Danny’s voice, because it really established the foundations of his character, which is so important for an OC-centric story. I know it’s not always your favourite POV to write, but I definitely think it was the right decision here. It made the story so much more personal, and never was it stilted or did it break the flow. Instead, I felt I really got to know Danny throughout the story and was a lot closer to his emotions, and I think that’s what made the romance and Danny’s attraction to Oliver so convincing. And after reading Drowning, Not Waving, I feel that events are put into perspective so much more, seeing Danny’s side to things. I especially liked the use of words like “grockle”; using local dialect always helps add that extra bit of authenticity to the narrative, and it added to the realism of the story.
Even though this story was mostly driven on by characterisation, I thought the little details were excellent, particularly the Muggles’ suspicions about what went on in Tinworth. I liked how this fits into canon perfectly, with the mentions of the war later on and the fact that Penelope Clearwater went to the same school as Danny. I really liked how you could make those connections with canon and yet not make it seem shoehorned in. The fact that the story was written from the point of view of a Muggle just makes that even more impressive :)
On another note, I thought the ending was a little rushed. The story seemed to wrap up too quickly for my liking, and I would have liked to know how things went with Oliver and Danny and why Oliver decided to return when he did, but I appreciate that you had a word count restriction because of the challenge. Nevertheless, I did like the fact that Danny became a writer, since, as a writer myself, I really do understand why Danny essentially self-inserted in his novel. And Danny wrote supernatural novels! That made me smile, because I can see that happening for sure, given Oliver’s mother did magic in front of him and everything -- it makes sense that Danny would be intrigued by magic and would want to write about it. That was yet another wonderful touch to the story, and it said so much about Danny as a Muggle: the fact that he didn’t seem scared by it but was fascinated by it was such a refreshing change from what I normally read about Muggles discovering magic.
Carole, I have to say, this is one of my favourite stories by you. I enjoyed it greatly. Good luck in the challenge, and I will try to remember to nominate it for the QSQs next year!
Author's Response: Flailing at the SPEW review. Thank you so much, Soraya, this means such a great deal to me because I did work at this story. It's been in the process of being written for well over a year, so when I finally set down to write it, it was with some trepidation.
I'm pleased you picked up on Danny's insecurity, largely covered by his dismissive attitude. I do think, that in spite of our much more liberal times, that some people are always going to be very uncomfortable around homosexuality, or they just take the pee the whole time. Mike, whilst I'm sure he'd say he's fine, is so unrelaxed by it, and although I don't think he'd ever be overtly prejudiced, he's never going to condone Danny's lifestyle.
Hmm, interesting what you said about Oliver's mum. In DNW, she is far more sympathetic, but Oliver is eighteen in that story, and here he's sixteen and this is the first time she's realised that her son might be gay. I don't think she's prejudiced, but she is very protective and knows what her husband could do to Oliver. Yes, she's not at all nice to Danny, (although she gives him Skele-Gro) but there's a part of her that is also protecting him. If there's any prejudice in her, it's a slight prejudice against Muggles because she's seen their reactions towards witches and wizards. Danny is one of those Muggles who is always going to be aware of magic, bit like a Squib (although he's not) and I think Selena is wary of that. When I eventually finish Riptide (the DNW sequel) you will see a little more of Selene and Robert Wood which I hope will hel;p slot this and her actions into place.
Gah, so much else I really should say after such a wonderful review, but I can't put it into words. Thank you, Thank you, Thank you. ~Carole~
It figures that he ignores the other side of roses. Thorns fit to draw blood are what remain after the flowers die off, far overshadowing the few months when they splay their gaudy plumage to the summer sun. They’re nice sometimes; for the most part, though, they are sharp and vindictive and unworthy of the attention they receive.
No, Rose thinks. Roses are ugly.
This story has been nominated for a 2013 Quicksilver Quill Award: Best Next Generation Story.
OH EM SQUEEEEEEE I LOVED THIS JESS YOU ARE AMAZING :D
Hehehehehehe. Okay, proper review time now, since you are rather scary when you want to be, Jess, and I don't want to incur the wrath of the SPEW Queen with a spammy review.
I loved this. Albus is adorable in his characterisation, and I like how all the AlbusRose stories I've read so far have the whole unrequited love thing going. It makes it beautifully angsty, but not wangsty, thankfully. I just wanted to hug poor Albus, especially because it was clear that Rose didn't love him back :(
And I loved how you used what is actually an overused motif for stories featuring Rose and made it your own. They always think it’s clever because of her name, but she is a person, not a plant. That is so true. And I really like how you also commented on Albus's namesake, because ngl I did kind of groan when I saw what Harry had named his kids.
This pairing is just so beautiful, at least to me, and you have made it even more so, so well done :) I kind of doubt that Albus and Rose would actually be okay with each other ever again, though :(
Fab fic, Jessssssss!
I think the thing about angsty AlRose is that, just like any other crush from the teenage years, it has just as much potential to be one-sided as any other. The only difference here is that they had a great relationship before this and, as you said, might not do so after this. It's almost sadder to me than them not getting together.
The rose motif was carefully chosen. Rose's dislike of her namesake is one of the reasons I'm glad I wasn't named after a flower, because themed gifts would piss me off, too. But Albus didn't do it because he couldn't think outside the box; he merely liked the flowers because they made him think of her and because they are beautiful. As Rose points out, they are sharp and vindictive out of season, but they are still the most popular and sought-out flowers for all occasions. Maybe no one likes a perfect, docile bloom that doesn't have anything to say for itself. Or, maybe that's what Albus loves about her.
Will they be 'all right' after this? Oh, I think they will be eventually. One cannot count the number of friendships that get scuttled when one party falls for the other and the feeling is not mutual. Some recover; some don't. I personally think they will, because in the end, Rose loves Al, albeit in a different way than Al would like, and I think she would do whatever it took not to lose her friend and cousin to this. And maybe she did feel something for him and wasn't prepared to admit it, but I don't know if it's enough to work with for them. Here's hoping. :)
Thanks for the review and listening to me ramble in return. <3
Wow. This story truly took my breath away, to the point that I have reread it several times, and each time, I notice something I didn’t see before and appreciate the story even more. Your exploration of Sirius’s psyche during such a dark time in his life was so expertly done here. I could really feel Sirius’s claustrophobia and his loneliness in this story. What’s more, you pulled off Sirius’s voice so well that I was pretty sure I could hear his voice in my head, and that made this tale so much more vivid and realistic, for me.
One of my favourite aspects of this story was the use of first person, which I thought was the perfect choice for this style, and you got into Sirius’s head so incredibly well throughout, especially by Sirius seemingly talking to himself at the beginning of the story. I really understood, as a reader, the way Sirius was driven so close to insanity as a result of being in Azkaban. The fact that Sirius called himself a “mangy dog” was heartrending to read, not just because he was clearly going crazy, but also because Sirius’s own self-loathing was evident. Most importantly, though, I thought Sirius’s internal monologue sounded completely natural, exactly how I would have imagined his voice, which in turn made his mindset easy to empathise with.
Another stylistic strength of yours was rather unconventional storytelling. The use of long sentences, for instance, was something I found really built up the tension felt during the scene when Sirius asks Fudge for the newspaper. I felt there was so much pent-up emotion in that one sentence, especially because of the lack of commas, and that really reflected the endlessness of time that Sirius was feeling while in Azkaban. Similarly, I liked your use of other technical details that truly reflected the turbulence of Sirius’s emotions while in his cell — the use of capital letters, for example, as well as question and exclamation marks, were all used so effectively. I also appreciated the fact that these techniques were used sparingly, as I think this kind of experimentation is easy to overuse.
There is so much to love about this story in terms of characterisation, as well, because I could see so many sides of Sirius’s character in what is quite a short one-shot. Most noticeably, I could see Sirius’s loneliness as a result of being surrounded by the Dementors through your description of Azkaban and Sirius’s description of himself. I could really feel how oppressive the atmosphere was in prison, especially by how Sirius was bombarded with the sounds of the inmates, the Dementors and even nature. In the same way, I liked how you used smell to paint such a vivid picture of how overwhelming Azkaban was for Sirius as a character.
I thought you showed Sirius’s intelligence, despite his incarceration, really well through his eloquence in the narrative. There were so many beautifully written lines in this (my favourite being “I don’t have a lot of words to spare, when thought itself comes in brief spurts”) that juxtaposed perfectly with profanity, and I felt that Sirius, however angry, would remain well-spoken, something I really appreciated. On that note, upon first reading, I will admit that I found the part when Sirius asks Fudge for the newspaper a little too polite, considering his mindset throughout. But then I thought about it, and it actually makes sense, bearing in mind his upbringing, because I have a feeling Sirius probably had manners forced upon him by his parents.
Though this was clearly character-driven, I loved that this had a plot to it, too. The flashbacks with James were so touching and well-chosen. I particularly liked the one in which James asks Sirius to stay with him over the summer, because I can imagine Sirius would cling so much to his memories of James to keep away the Dementors. I did find the non-linearity confusing, at times, but in a good way, because I could also see how it was a good reflection of Sirius’s mind, which would have felt that confusion keenly all the time.
Finally, I thought you handled the issue of self-injury with its due sensitivity. It made sense, considering how badly he was affected by Dementors, that feeling pain was the only way for him to have more clarity. Those moments stayed with me long after I had finished the story, and I applaud you for exploring the topic so well, without it ever becoming gratuitous.
As I'm sure you can tell, Natalie, this was such a beautiful read and definitely one of my favourites by you. Your story touched me and made me even more attached to Sirius than I already was. Keep up the fabulous work!
Author's Response: SORAYA!
GINA! Omg I love this! I've read so many of your marauder stories, and yet you still manage to get all of them spot on in terms of characterisation, and your j/l plots are always so beautifully original. I... can't remember reading another chance, but I followed this just fine. Poor James! I wanted to hug him. But I get why Lily might have said no to him -- I did always think they rushed into things too quickly, tbh.
I LOVED the little tribute to James/sirius too! :D even if it amounted to nothing, lol. But I think one of the biggest strengths of the story was how realistic the Order's business seemed. I know you had some issues with it, but I seriously didn't notice at all because of the ease of your writing :)
Apologies for capitalisation errors/typos. I'm in form class (that's homeroom for you I think) so I haven't had time to look over it or anything. Anyway, this was a fabulous start. I look forward to reading more, and this story deserves wayyyyyyyy more reviews.
Author's Response: Thank you, Soraya!!! Is it really original? Because sometimes I think - hm, not really. But then I don't necessarily let myself be too bothered because I do love this couple SO FREAKING MUCH. Haha, James/Sirius FTW! Can't you just picture them waking up drunk though? That was such fun. So glad the Order came off well, I felt like I was writing around it a lot, lol. And I'm glad you like it, hope you enjoy the rest!! Thanks again! ~Gina :)