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!
Awwww, Carole, this was so sweet. I read your Thrustin (lmaoooo) a while ago but I don't know if I got round to leaving a review D: Will do if I remember -- just let me get through all the GH stories first :D
I liked this. I think it showed an interesting look into Justin's life both before and after he found out he was a wizard and how things didn't really change for him. Also -- I find it fascinating that you made Justin a lord. But then I remember that he was going to go to Eton, so I suppose his family must have been rich. Figures. :)
Theo is adorable in this too. I especially liked how it was Justin holding back and being the one who didn't want to make their relationship public, not Theo. Normally, it would be the other way round because Theo's a Slyth and all, so I liked that you flipped things a bit there.
Lovely, sweet story, Croll :D
Author's Response: Thank you. Mmm, I always have Justin as a lord. The back story being that he's not the heir until his brother's killed - although I killed him off differently in Fracture, I've just remembered. If he is aristocracy then he faces a lot more pressure to a) not be gay and b) not be a wizard. I might rewrite this and add a lot more backstory, but my list is huuuuuge at the moment. I hope you liked the Royal Wedding references. Thanks again. ~Carole~
Ooooooh, I really liked this, Alex! I think you mentioned this in another story, Persuasion, if I remember correctly, so it was interesting to see George's perspective. And you definitely captured a feeling of sadness and regret in this, really well done.
I think the most intriguing thing is George's characterisation. Okay, I know George turning to alcohol after his twin died is definitely something I've seen before, but I like what you've done with it. But most of all, I liked how you gave a really good insight into George and Angelina's relationship right up until their marriage broke apart. You covered a large period of time in only a few thousand words, and not once did it seem rushed or anyhthing. Which is nice :)
Anyway, I really enjoyed this. And, lol, it's weird that I'm IMing you while I'm reviewing you :P
Author's Response: I'm glad you liked this :) Yes, in Persuasion George and Angelina's divorce is mentioned, and this is the build up to it. You know me and word limits don't get on, so I'm so glad you think I gave a good idea of their relationship and how it ended within such a short (for me) number of words, and that this didn't seem rushed. Thanks a lot for reviewing--and yes, that is a bit weird :) Alex
Hehehehe, Jamie, this was rather funny. I think you captured the Fat Lady's voice so well, and even though it was set in relatively modern times, you retained the oldness of it, if you know what I mean ;)
Ngl, I totally rate you for picking such a cool pairing -- this is one that I would never have thought of, and even better is the fact that you actually made it really believable.
So, Jamie, you're one brave Puff. Well done on a good, solid story which was well-written and which made me laugh :)
Hi there :)
Oh wow, this was an excellent story. It's such an injustice that it has no reviews, though I suppose it's also nice that it's been featured :)
Anyway, I was completely blown away by this story. Colin Creevey's not one of the most popular characters in the fandom, but you gave him a wonderful character here. I think there's just enough of the indecisiveness and eagerness to please in there from canon to make it believable, but you've also added your own dimension to his character in this. I think you really brought out the Gryffindor in Colin, which is a real achievement in my opinion.
A couple of things -- Mathilda couldn't have been in the DA, at least not during Harry's fifth year. That's because we were told in OOTP exactly who was in the DA, and there were only twenty-five people there. Unless you meant Mathilda was in the DA during DH -- but I'm wondering how Colin would have known that given he didn't attend Hogwarts in that year.
Also -- and this is purely an aesthetic thing, and definitely not your fault -- occasionally, you have boxes with question marks instead of dashes. It's because of a glitch in the coding, I know, but it did distract me a little from the story seeing them, so maybe you could go through and remove them manually.
With all of that said, I think this story was a wonderful picture of what happened to Colin before he died (*sobs*). I liked that there were moments of humour and even romance as well as the angstiness and the deaths of the war. The conflicting emotions felt by Colin were brought out beautifully here.
So yeah. Well done!
Author's Response: Hey Soraya :) Thank you so much for being the first reviewer - you're right, it was nice - and completely unexpected - that it was featured! I know Colin's not a particularly popular character in fandom and that's partly why I wanted to write about him. When I read that he died in DH I did get a bit teary. Although slightly annoying to Harry in CoS, I always found him a rather endearing and innocent character and I wanted to expand on his story a bit. All we hear in DH is that he is 'tiny in death' (or words to that effect) and, though that made me sad when I read it in DH, I kind of found myself wanting to know how he snuck back in and what happened to him. I'm glad you thought the characterisation was good! Since CoS we haven't seen as much of him and I thought that, given a few years, Colin at 16 might be slightly more grown up than the over-eager Colin who plagued Harry with his camera! Thanks for saying I brought out the Gryffindor in him - I thought that was going to be quite difficult, because I don't think we saw much evidence of his Gryffindor qualities in the books. Ah, yes, it was only after I wrote about Matilda being in the DA that I realised it couldn't have been possible, but by that time I had become quite attached to her, so I didn't really want to write her out or change her - I hope you can forgive me that canon error? I've changed the dashes thing - my computer does the long ones automatically so I always try and go through my fics and change them all manually but I do end up missing some! Thank you so much again for your kind words - I'm glad you enjoyed it and could find the lighter bits amongst the sad parts. - Alice
Hi Fenella :)
You've reviewed so much of my work that I thought it was about time I returned the favour! :) I think this is a great first fic, definitely better than my first one (please don't read it, lol). I've always wondered how Ginny would have coped during DH without Harry, and I think you showed how crippled she was emotionally because of his absence, and because she had no idea where he was or if he was even alive. It's a horrible situation to be in, and her feelings just sing through this piece.
I also thought it was interesting that Neville was narrating this -- at first, it was a little difficult getting into it because of the first person and everything, but I soon was sucked in. And I loved the title :)
Finally, I felt so sorry for poor Neville when it was revealed at the end that he fancied Ginny :( I mean, I kind of guessed it, because of how he described Ginny's body and her curves and whatever, but still, it was sad.
Anyway, this was a great first fic! I enjoyed it, and it deserves more than just one review (or two, once I've reviewed it). But reviews are becoming harder to receive nowadays because the fandom's dwindling >.< I'll be keeping my eye out for any new stories by you, though, Fenella! Well done. :)
Author's Response: Hi Soraya, Thank you so much! It's lovely to here some feedback on this as the more I look back on it the more faults I find with it! I played around with the first person a lot, originally it was third person but I didn't think it quite captured the importance of Neville's role in this, especially not his feelings towards her. I've always suspected Neville had a bit of a crush on Ginny, he did ask her to the Yule ball after all, however I don't think it's something he'd have ever acted on, and I really wanted to portray the fact he was putting her first, that he would rather she was happy than him, which I think is a big part of his personality. They must have all suffered so much whilst the trio were on the run, I think this is often forgotten. Thank you so much for your lovely review :) Fenella x
This was so fab! I'm sorry I didn't review every chapter, but I was far too intrigued to pause in between. Firstly, yay to Founders slash :D I don't think I've ever come across Godric/Salazar, but I can definitely see it happening, especially after reading this fic.
And I love Aodhan. I think his name is wonderful, but more than that, his character is so very interesting and well-done. I can see how Salazar is attracted to him (he's rather sexy :P) and I think the ending was so sad for him, and it really highlighted how cruel Salazar was.
I'm probably missing things, but a couple of other aspects of the story that I loved were the creation of the Sorting Hat -- genius :D -- and the whole thing with the Basilisk. They were just excellently plotted, so well done there.
I never would have thought this was your first Founders fic, Carole, because you made it look effortless. Seriously, great story. I really enjoyed it. :)
Author's Response: Thank youuuuuuuu! I was rather pleased with the end result and may try other Founders fics in the future because although they're scary, I liked the challenge.
I did research the Sorting hat and the Basilisk as much as I could and then filled in some bits of my own. The hat, for instance, had to be able to use Legilimancy, and I figured that was quite a Slytherin type of skill (although I know Dumbles mastered it as well). The Basilisk is odd, though. It seems kind of arbitary how it's created *sigh*, but never mind. I suppose a lot of them die when they hear the cockeral's crowing.
Thank you, again. ~Carole~
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*