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06/22/09

soraya786.livejournal.com


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.

My Stories

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.

Canon Pairings

Checkmate (James/Lily)

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.

Same-Sex Pairings

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.

Next Generation

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.

Glass (Louis/Lily)

This was written for the Great Hall-iday challenge for the Operation: Mistletoe prompt, and this was where my love for Loulily began.

Poetry

Excruciatingly Painful

This is about how five men in Potterverse dealt with remorse in different ways.

Always

This poem is about how Remus feels about Sirius (not slashy, btw).

Regret

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.

Farewell

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.

Hush, Dominique

Written for the MC Kreacher challenge inPoetry, Anyone? This was written from the POV of Bill Weasley after his wife’s death.

Miscellaneous

Bruises

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.

Butterbeer Bottles

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!


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Stories by xxbabewithbrainsxx [29]
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Reviews by xxbabewithbrainsxx


Hungry Shadows by Padfoot11333

Rated: Professors • 8 Reviews Past Featured Story
Summary: Lucy Weasley is so damn tired of being normal. She wants to stand out. She wants to be full. More than anything, she wants to lose weight. And she does. She gets so thin that she begins to disintegrate.

Scorpius Malfoy has watched Lucy fall apart for the past year. He wants, more than anything, to help her get well. Much like Lucy, he feels like he hasn't done anything worth remembering. This, he thinks, could be his chance.

I am Padfoot11333 of Hufflepuff writing for the 2013 Great Hall Cotillion.

Three times nominated for a 2013 Quicksilver Quill - Best Non-Canon Romance, Best Dark/Angst, and Best Next-Gen. Thank you everyone!
Reviewer: xxbabewithbrainsxx Signed
Date: 03/13/13 Title: Chapter 1: How I Forgot to Breathe

Hi Lily,

When I first validated this, I was completely blown away, and upon rereading, I was blown away again because of how well-written your story is. Your take on Lucy Weasley is one I've never come across before, and yet the voice you established here for her was so fully fleshed out and convincing that I can’t imagine another canon for her right now.

First and foremost, your handling of eating disorders was perfect. Speaking personally, I think it’s really difficult to find that line between using sensitive issues as plot devices and actually having that sensitive issue being an integral part of the plot. Here, I definitely thought your story fell into the latter category, and I think the reason for that is because of how you confronted the problem and explained why Lucy was bulimic and anorexic. I know you said that writing it was hard, but I could see the extent of research you carried out here because of how accurate her experiences were, right down to her eating habits to begin with to what Lucy ate first and why. I applaud you for choosing to tackle this subject and for doing it so well.

In terms of style, I immediately noticed and appreciated the use of first person. I'm not always the biggest fan of it, to be honest, but it worked so well here. Your story was intensely personal, and I don’t think it would have come across quite so strongly in any other point of view. I felt you established Lucy’s voice right from the outset, and that made her emotions -- of self-hatred, of her desire to change and to get attention -- so much stronger and more vivid. Also, as a reader, I felt closer to Lucy as a result, and considering what she goes through in this story, I think that’s even more important. And I think you succeeded, too, because I really understood Lucy as a character and sympathised greatly with her. The blunt way in which you wrote her, with the contrasting short and long sentences, emphasised her changes in mood and, perhaps, her uncertainty when looking back on the effects of her bulimia and anorexia.

The way the plot unfolded in your story was really natural and not at all confusing, which I know can happen with non-linear stories. I thought it was interesting that Lucy was narrating the events in hindsight, after her treatment, and that made her regret resonate even more strongly with me. But what was more shocking to read was the way in which Lucy’s eating disorder escalated -- her progression from binge-eating to bulimia to treatment and then anorexia was what pushed the story forward. I think the reason this was so compelling to read was that I really wanted to know if she got better, eventually, and I was so relieved to see Scorpius was able to change things for her.

Speaking of which, Scorpius’s characterisation was intriguing. I liked his patient approach to Lucy, but also, I thought his attitude towards his parents was a great inclusion to have. The way in which Scorpius referred to his father as having helped neither side gave me the impression that Scorpius had his own issues, too, and that made him so much more relatable as a character. I do think, at times, that you were telling quite a bit of the backstory behind Scorpius and Lucy’s friendship rather than showing it, and at times, it did feel not quite as convincing as other aspects of the story. For example, the part about Scorpius being Lucy’s friend for “as long as (she) could remember” could have been expanded a bit more, because I would have liked to know more about how they became friends, how their parents reacted to it, as well as Lucy’s cousins. But overall, that was quite minor, and I did like what I did see of their friendship here as well as the progression of their relationship into something more.

This story was intense, emotional and realistic, Lily, and I applaud you for dealing with such difficult topics with the sensitivity it needs. I certainly think it’s up there with your best work, and if it’s been tough writing it, know that that effort has most definitely paid off. :) Your story touched me deeply and stayed with me long after I validated it, and it was definitely the highlight of modding last month. Well done, and good luck with the Cotillion!

Soraya xxx

Author's Response:

Soraya - wow. I am so blown away by this review! I have no idea what to tell you, aside from many, many thanks. This review has completely made my kind of sucky week, lol.

This story is easily the toughest thing I've written, not only because of the subject matter but also because I wanted the reader to really connect with not only Lucy but also Scorpius, and I'm extremely glad you did. Scorpius was definitely the most intriguing character in the story for me to write, and at some point I'm looking to write something that gives more information on his back story - it's something that I really wanted to include in the story but couldn't fit in quite correctly. Scorpius and Lucy, in my opinion, are two characters that here contrast very, very much - not just in nature but also because they have problems that are very similar, yet they choose to handle them very differently.

I was nervous about the subject matter, to be honest. I did lots of research - beyond the random facts that you can find online with the list of symptoms and causes. That wasn't good enough for me - I was looking for a lot more. I spent a lot of time in the Tumblr tag of "ana" and "mia", in addition to looking at some "pro-ana" websites. I wanted to be able to connect with Lucy's feelings instead of just what was happening to her physically. That's part of why I used first person. I didn't feel like a less personal description would be enough. Yet using first-person accounts of eating disorders was incredibly emotionally draining. It still makes me really sad to see people going through this.

I'm extremely glad you liked the story. I was really nervous about it, and having people say that this is my best work (you're not the first!) really makes me proud. Thank you, and good luck to you as well in the Cotillion!

Lily



Baby Boy by ToBeOrNotToBeAGryffindor

Rated: 1st-2nd Years • 9 Reviews
Summary:

Andromeda Tonks lost everything after the war except her infant grandson, but when he approaches adulthood, is she afraid of letting him go, of being alone, or that she didn't do enough to steer him in the right direction?

Of course, children are always full of surprises.

This is a (slightly late) present of birthday-ness for the wonderful Sophie/the owl. She's a great writer, supreme beta, fabulous reviewer, and wonderful friend. I'm so glad we bonded over fic, because it would just be wrong to never get to know you. ♥


Reviewer: xxbabewithbrainsxx Signed
Date: 02/16/13 Title: Chapter 1: Chapter 1

Teddyyyyyyyyyy!

OMG. He is the most adorable character EVER! I love him here. There's an amazing humility to him that just adds so much depth to his character, and his vulnerability just makes me want to hug him. I also love Andromeda and how she eventually did allow Teddy to become an Auror in spite of her worries -- and I get why she would be worried. After all, Tonks might still have been alive had she not been an Auror, or at least, that's what I think Andromeda would have liked to think.

I generally am not a fan of gen fic, truth be told, Jess, so I was wondering what kind of story this would be given I think you mentioned on the LS that this wasn't really featuring a pairing. Buuuut then I realised I was reading about Teddy, and after the hell you put him through (lol), I loved this story in spite of knowing what will eventually happen to him. Ah well. I guess I can try and pretend that the other thing doesn't happen, haha -- nah, seriiously, even without the knowledge of your other story, I still adored reading this one. It was a nice family-friendly thing by you, which was a surprise, hehe. Happy birthdayyyyyy to Sophie once again, and nice job, Jess :)

Author's Response:

Yay, reviewssssssss!

Anyway, back to business. Yes, this is completely not my thing, and the lack of shipping (outside of latent Ted/Andromeda), this is more a story about familial relationships and what they mean to different characters. To Andromeda, it means keeping her loved ones safe from harm, but for Teddy, it means honouring his parents' sacrifice by not letting the state of the world dictate how he lives his life. In a way, Teddy channels a bit of James/Lily in that respect.

It's completely understandable that Andromeda wants to hold Teddy close, but it's also a beautiful thing that Teddy grew up in a world devoid of violence and still chose a career of protecting the innocent. I think it speaks well of the sort of man he is and the sort of person Andromeda raised. Also, it's indicative of the impact Ted had on Andromeda's life and how he pulled her out of the Black family lifestyle. And maybe -- just maybe -- Andromeda was a bit stunned by how much like Ted her grandson really was.

Anyway, thanks for dropping in, despite it not being your thing. This was quite difficult to write, since I am used to shippy fic rather than genfic, so I'm glad it was worth the effort. :)

~Jess



Growth by teh tarik

Rated: 6th-7th Years • 6 Reviews Past Featured Story
Summary:

Something has changed in Merope Gaunt, a thrumming of insect wings, a pulse kickstarting to life.

Merope is alone. Penniless, undernourished and pregnant - these are the last three trimesters of her life.
Reviewer: xxbabewithbrainsxx Signed
Date: 03/12/13 Title: Chapter 1: dull as dirt

Hello :)

This was a phenomenal story. When the Quicksilver Quill Awards come around this year, I will certainly be nominating it, because I really enjoyed reading. Minor characters are right up my street, particularly Merope, who is one of the most interesting characters in the series despite her rather minor role in the novels. Also, I'm a huge fan of character studies, and I think you explored her character so well here, with your lyrical style throughout really enhancing the emotions felt and making every scene beautifully colourful and vivid.

I thought the metaphor of the seed and growth was really effective, with the description of the seed to begin with, because the simplicity of the concept makes the premise of the story so fresh and unique and a joy to read. Furthermore, I felt this metaphor lent itself beautifully with the title as well as the structure of the story. I loved the way in which you ordered the scenes, because I thought it made the story distinctive in that the story is centred around the pregnancy and Merope’s life, rather than her and Tom’s relationship, which I think is the common trope in fanfiction when it comes to Merope. It was an interesting perspective of Merope considering the focus and end product of such growth was Tom Riddle. Also, within that, I could see that Merope, too, was growing, but in a different way. By being with Tom, she betrayed her father and brother, and I think the way you chose to illustrate the plot was so well done that I think it could have very easily have been weaved into canon.

Although the focus was more on Merope’s pregnancy, I liked how you portrayed Tom and Merope’s relationship in this, too. There is something really disconcerting about the nature of their marriage because of Merope giving Tom the love potion, something which I think was only touched upon in canon. You expanded on that well, especially the description of Merope feeding Tom the potion. For example, the image of her kissing the “purple stains off the sides of his mouth” and even “licking the back of the spoon” are so disturbing to read. And going upon both your story and what we know in canon, I have to say, Merope’s lack of morals is so shocking to read and yet it fits in with her characterisation perfectly, especially in light of her upbringing. Also, the phrase “Tom and Merope and Merope’s special brew” makes it seem like there are three people in their relationship, not two, and that made Merope an incredibly pathetic character to me, even more so than in canon. Furthermore, the manipulation on Merope’s part just makes the ending of this story sadder, even if it is an inevitable ending.

What was really heartbreaking to read, as I said above, was Merope’s complete lack of understanding of right and wrong in this and everything she sacrificed for this dubious relationship with Tom. I was astonished at the lengths to which Merope would go in order to make the potion every day. The fact that she went so far as to tear her hair out for Tom again made me feel so sorry for Merope, but even more so were the mentions of Marvolo’s and Morfin’s treatment of Merope -- the way Merope’s “flesh crawls” at the mere thought of her father emphasised, to me, how abusive he was towards her. The way in which you addressed that issue was sensitive, and I think the fact that Marvolo’s abusiveness had a basis in canon meant you didn’t have to confront it head on. Instead, the references to the abuse, like “her jaw buckling beneath the sudden weight of his clout”, make the dubiousness of Merope’s relationship seem almost inevitable because of the way Merope was brought up, where she never had the same distinction between right and wrong.

Another scene which I think could have been carved from canon is when Merope croons to Tom in Parseltongue. That was so sinister, but it fitted with both the disturbing nature of the story and who Tom ends up being, and it’s interesting therefore that she intended to raise Tom as a Muggle. I felt this was another sign of what her upbringing did to her, because from this story, I think Merope wanted to punish herself for Tom leaving her, which I think she would have considered to be her fault, especially since her father blamed her for everything.

Merope’s memory of her eating dirt made me feel so sorry for her, and the fact that she then does the same thing during her pregnancy was even more uncomfortable to read. But that discomfort was one I think was necessary as a reader, because the emphasis on the harshness of her household when she was younger is really important in establishing Merope’s character. I also liked how you explored pica (which is something I’ve never heard of, so I’ve learnt something new today :) ), so her actions make sense, both in light of what she had done before, but also what her condition is now.

Most of all, though, what made your story so bold and intriguing to read was the lyricism in the narrative. With a character study, I think there are two things that can push a story forward -- the style and the characterisation itself. Here, you succeeded on both counts, particularly in your description of Tom and the “scarlet glimmer in his pupils”, which was excellent foreshadowing of Voldemort later. Also, I think that showed that maybe Voldemort being evil came from both his parents, in spite of his father being a Muggle, and that kind of irony is what makes the story such an interesting read.

Finally, I think the poetic style of your story extended beyond simple description of what things look like; I liked the focus on smell, too, since this was how Merope first came to the realisation that she was pregnant. The way Merope’s body was out of proportion because of her pregnancy fit well with the motif of growth, but it was also clear even before her pregnancy that that growth was stunted, right from the beginning with her hair falling out. I thought the growth of Tom inside her really emphasised how Merope slowly deteriorated as a result.

Overall, I was so very impressed after reading this story. It’s one of the best I've read in a while, and I can’t wait to read more of your work. Keep it up!

Soraya x

Author's Response: Hello Soraya :D

HEARTSHEARTSHEARTSHEARTSHEARTSHEARTSHEARTSHEARTSHEARTS

First of all, forgive me if the html tags are showing. I'm sick of having chunky monoparagraph author responses! Second, forgive me again for taking a phenomenally long time to respond to such a phenomenal review. I saw this last week and I've tried to respond several times but each time I try to say something my brain just turns to mush and I find I'm doing nothing but keyboard smashing and gushing and ajkflkashvkjdsnargaoluffas jfio;ji Yeah sort of like that. Wow. Just. Even now as I reread your review I'm still overwhelmed and I'm not sure I can respond adequately to such a cartload of compliments :D

I am so utterly happy that you liked this story. Really, it means everything to me. I wasn't too happy with this story but all the amazing feedback I've received from you and the other reviewers has been so encouraging and it's given my confidence a much needed boost.

I chose to focus on Merope's pregnancy because I'm absolutely rubbish at writing romance :P Also, I don't know how I could ever portray the terrible relationship between her and Tom Snr. in detail. Merope is certainly a character from canon who doesn't get much sympathy despite her ordeal, and I get the feeling that it's all because of her 'weakness of spirit' or something like that. Can't believe that Dumbledore even compared her to Lily Evans!! Merope is a product of her loveless environment, and I was trying to capture that in the story. I have this feeling that I didn't write her with much compassion; I was actually doing this for a challenge in another fanfic site, and the challenge was dark/horror. So I do feel that sometimes I compromised characterisation a little just to evoke an atmosphere. But I'm glad that you thought this character study of her actually succeeded!

Also, it's wonderful to hear that you found the narrative lyrical and intriguing! I can imagine it must be hard to read, what with the level of descriptive detail (I have this bad habit of layering in the description when I don't know what to say :P ) and the lack of dialogue throughout most of the narrative. Ah, and yes! SO HAPPY THAT YOU PICKED UP ON THE DETAIL ABOUT TOM'S RED EYES EVILEVILEVILLLLLL. I definitely think Voldy got some of his worst traits from his dad :D And I just had to make Tom Sr. have red eyes because EVIL. Blalsdkjhljsaf not making sense. THAT'S WHAT YOUR REVIEW DOES TO ME. IT SUBTRACTS ALL COHERENCE FROM ME.

Goodness goodness. "One of the best you've read in a while"?!?!?!? This is really high praise you're heaping on me and I. Can't. Thank. You. Enough. THANK YOU SO MUCH. SO MUCH SOOSOSO MUCH. For this absolutely wonderful review. For taking the time to read and review in such detail. I know you're a SPEW-er and all but STILL. This is just...gah. *hugs*

teh



I Know Why You Smile by Ginny Weasley Potter

Rated: 6th-7th Years • 5 Reviews
Summary: Scorpius and Victoire, who have nothing in common but failed marriages, come to realise that sometimes, shared emotions can be the sole reason behind bringing two people together.

This is Ginny Weasley Potter of Hufflepuff house, writing for the 2013 Great Hall Cotillion.

This story is a sequel to my one-shot ScoRose fic, 'His Hero', and if anybody plans to read that one, they should now, before it's spoiled in the first chapter.

Also, this fic contains both Scorpius/Rose and Scorpius/Victoire. Thank you!
(Edit: The new substance abuse warning refers to alcohol abuse, something I didn't expect to write until it just sprung out of me).
Reviewer: xxbabewithbrainsxx Signed
Date: 02/24/13 Title: Chapter 1: Falling Apart

OOOOOOOOOOOH!

Pooja, I am so sorry for taking a while to review this D: I mean, I had read it before, so really, I should have reviewed as soon as you posted, but I have been rather preoccupied with my own fic and RL crap, so... sorry. Forgive me? *flutters eyelashes*

Anyway, omg, I just realised how similar our head canons are of Scorpius! O.o I mean, I killed off Scorpius's kid, too, though that was a result of the one-night stand he had with Dominique, haha. So of course not exactly the same, but still, it's interesting that they're similar in the sense that we've both been mean to poor Scorpy, lol. But I am sad for him :( That isn't easy, and I'm intrigued to see how Scorpius nearly killed a patient and got away with it... I may just have to read the scorose. :D

What I like about this the most is that you make sure to portray their relationship in such a way that we can see the attraction between them, but other things kind of get in their way, like both of them being workaholics and their sex life suffering as a result.

I think Scorpius was going a bit far with accusing Rose of cheating, though. Hmm. I'm in two minds about this -- on the one hand, it does show just how broken Scorpius is, to the extent that he starts becoming that paranoid, but on the other, I do think that it's a bit much considering he never actually sees her with said patient, and it therefore seems like his accusations are unfounded? Oh, I'm not sure. I think things might be clearer if I read the next chapter, haha. At any rate, you've laid down strong foundations for Scorose but have also succeeded in destructing their relationship, lol, so I shall go on and read the next chapter :D See you there!

Author's Response: Gahhh, I typed out a long response, then inadvertently shut the window. *headdesk* But please don't apolofise, Soraya, it's really awesome that you took out the time to review, whether now, or later, and that's so lovely of you. Thank youuu <3333 I know you've been busy too, and so have I, and there's so much of yours that I need to review. :)

So I just found out from Alex that the fic you're talking about here is Blood and Roses. Gotta read that! It's uncanny that we have similar headcanons of Scorpius -- well, this is one of my Scorpiuses. I have at least five different versions of him, lol. And I'm always mean to him lol. And I'm almost always sad for him too (except once. He needed to lose that person, because they'd suit each other). And, ha, he was just preoccupied, the poor chap, he didn't mean any harm to the patient (he didn't get away with it, lol).

I am so, so happy that you liked the portrayal of the relationship. I needed to keep the attraction apparent, but also the frustration, and am glad you liked it this way. :D

Scorpius is actually overreating, but this Scorpy of mine is a wee bit touchy. Plus, Rose did leave to 'see' her patient one day and she returns late from work or anything, so he's being an idiot and assuming the worst. :/ The accusations are unfounded, I assure you, Scorpy is a plain old idiot.

Thank you for the lovely review! Love youuu! <33333333



Reviewer: xxbabewithbrainsxx Signed
Date: 02/24/13 Title: Chapter 2: The Last Straw

OMG!

So much happened! O.o You've just killed two of my OTPs, Pooja, and I'm still standing... well, sitting, hehe. But wow, I think you dealt with that really well. I think it's interesting to see the couples kind of intersect in the way they did, if that makes sense -- like Victoire being paranoid about Teddy talking to Rose, and of Victoire talking to Scorpius -- I can see why the two couples, both having problems, would turn to the other, and I think that's teh perfect setup for attraction to form. I especially liked the line about Scorpius being attracted to women as a result of them seeing his vulnerable side -- I think that was a great line and really said a lot about Scorpius's character, so well done. :)

And the cheating thing makes a lot more sense here. That is true about doctor/patient confidentiality, so it's good you brought that up. I can imagine why that would make people suspect things. Anyway, Pooja, this is really a great story and I've enjoyed reading it! I'm sorry for not reviewing earlier but hopefully you can forgive me :3 Please don't take it down just because of lack of reviews, though -- if not only because I want to read the rest of it! :) Besides, you can't leave me hanging. VICTOIRE JUST SNOGGED SCORPIUS. :D I neeeed to know what happens next, so update soon!

Soraya xxx

Author's Response: Soraya, I killed off my own OTPs, haha. It was so hard to write this, but I wanted to grit my teeth and get Scorpius and Victoire together, ha. The plot I initially had was a one-shot. Then it became a two-shot, and now, suddenly, there are four chapters. O.o

Oh, I had to scour for reasons for both these couples to separate, tbh. So I'm glad that it seems likely to happen in this way, ha! And yay! You liked Scorpius's character. :D Can't tell you how happy I am! :DDDDD

Haha, Scorpius and Victoire are being paranoid here. It's really messing them up, isn't it? But I'm glad it's all making sense. And also that you like the story. :) Thank you so much, Soraya, and please don't apologise :* . I was just worried that maybe ripping two OTPs was a bad idea, which is why I wanted to take this off. But I'll leave it up now. :) Thank you! :)



Humbling Prejudice by iLuna17

Rated: 6th-7th Years • 6 Reviews
Summary: There were a few short moments that taught Cormac to love, truly. And it was all Eloise's fault.

This was written for the 2013 Great Hall Cotillion. It is also for Jess, or ToBeOrNotToBeAGryffindor. Not only did she dare me to write this, the lovely SPEW monarch deserves a present after all of the LoveNotes she's been writing.
Reviewer: xxbabewithbrainsxx Signed
Date: 03/02/13 Title: Chapter 1: The girl at the back of the library.

OMG, Ellie, how could I not have reviewed this? D: Jess was squeeing about this a few days ago to me, actually, so I am very sorry for not having reviewed till now. I won’t lie; when I first saw you were writing Cormac/Eloise, I did kind of think you were joking, lol. And yet you made it work -- so well, too. I love the use of first person here. Cormac is hands down one of the most difficult characters I’ve ever come across in the fandom, so much so that I don’t always like reading about him because he’s often abused in fanfic (and, you could argue, rightly so considering what an arse he was in the books). But here, you’ve redeemed him, and I like that. :) It makes me even happier that his road to redemption is paved by books, because, as a Claw, I can’t think of a better way for Cormac to become a better person than by reading.

And Eloise! Again, another character who I find gets a bad rep both in the books and yet who you made so likeable -- well done. I love her love for literature and think you dealt with *that* really well -- I mean I know we talk about this a lot in SBBC but it was integral to the plot here and yet wasn’t used as a plot device. Also, I was so sad at how Cormac bullied her, but at the same time, I was glad she fought back. Considering she doesn’t have any lines in the books, it was good that she had a voice here.

I was so glad Cormac failed his NEWTs and had to return, lol, because it meant he was part of the DA! :D No, really, I think that was a great way of making Cormac a better person, just like the books, but this went deeper than that. What made me squee more still, though, was the fact that Eloise was so concerned for him and that this led to their eventual friendship and then relationship.

AND OMG THE BATTLE SCENE. Talk about intense! It was written really well, Ellie, and I loved the way they tried to protect each other. Oh and I loved the quotation :D And then they kissed, yayayayayay. I love their snark and just how natural their pairing is. It’s all done so well, and THAT ENDING. Being married under an arch of books is just fabulous and so fitting. :D :D :D

Overall, Ellie, this is one of my favourite stories by you! I think your writing has matured a lot recently, and I love again how pared down your style is now. Well done!

Author's Response: Wow. I'm sorry if this sounds really incoherent, Soraya, but I'm not sure I can form the right words. I'm blushing so much right now. :)

I can't tell you how glad I am that you like it. Originally, it was a joke, but then the idea just kind of took hold, and then that turned into a a full-fledged plot. :/ Cormac is extremely hard to write, I learned, because he is an arse. And for him to end up with someone like Eloise he can't be an arse, so that's where I hit my first problem. I'm glad I redeemed him, though, especially through books.

Eloise is one of my favorite characters. I feel so bad for her in the books, simply because she's always mentioned as a passing joke, so I tried to make her more than that. I know from experience when people can be like that you turn to books, and I'm so glad that I didn't completely murder the literary references. And Eloise didn't strike me as the type to not fight back, and it was something Cormac needed, anyway.

I think joining the DA was Cormac's turning point. He realized that he had been, for lack of a better word, an idiot, and with the war he had to mature and choose a side. I think the war would have forced a lot of people to grow up quickly, and the ideas that the books gave him suddenly made sense, and he had to apply them to real life. I also think that seeing Cormac that year was Eloise's turning point, especially when she watched his progression. Eloise just isn't the type of person to hold a grudge for so long she wouldn't be concerned, and that scene was one of my favorites.

I really wasn't sure about the battle scene, to be honest. I thought it was going to be borderline cliche, and I almost took it out. I'm so glad I didn't, and my only regret is that Cormac wasn't really conscious when they kissed. :p (and I'm ngl, I got the idea for an arch of books from tumblr. It just seemed to fit.)

Thank you so much for taking the time to read this, and write such a lovely review. I'm grinning from ear to ear, and I can't thank you enough. I know I still have a long way to go, but I'm glad I'm starting to get there. <3 you, Soraya,

Ellie



Set Your Spirit Free by hestiajones

Rated: 1st-2nd Years • 3 Reviews
Summary: A desperate housewife. A forward female knight. Spice Girls. Petunia Dursley's thirty-eighth birthday is about to get interesting.

This is hestiajones of Hufflepuff writing for the 2013 Great Hall Cotillion. My chosen pairing is Petunia Dursley/Hestia Jones. Yes. Tuney and Me.
Reviewer: xxbabewithbrainsxx Signed
Date: 02/23/13 Title: Chapter 1: Chapter 1

WTF whyyyyyyy has no one reviewed this? D: because I thought this story was fab -- you have a what with the humour category that I envy, because you manage to make your writing simultaneously funny and sad. In this case, I thought the contrast of the war and the way in which the spice girls were referenced was great -- yes, the situation they were in is serious, but hestia's presence lightened things considerably (in exactly the same way the REAL Hestia Jones always brightens everyone's day :D) and I loved how carefree she was here.

Sorry this isn't a great review and if there are any typos. But I really enjoyed the story and am glad you caught the cotillion fever, even if it is rather belated hahaha. You really redeemed petunia for me, so well done! Soraya xxx

Author's Response: THANK YOUUU! I was despairing :D I thought no one liked it :x Eep! I knew there must be typos. When I woke up this morning and reread it, I caught a few. Will reread it again and see. Thanks again for the review! It's making me grin from ear to ear! ~ Natalie



Finally by Gmariam

Rated: 3rd-5th Years • 8 Reviews
Summary: Frank Longbottom is trying to propose to his partner and girlfriend, Alice Hamilton, but his attempts at romance are constantly being interrupted. If he ever manages to give her the ring, will she say yes?
This is Gmariam of Ravenclaw writing for the Great Hall Cotillion 2013.
Reviewer: xxbabewithbrainsxx Signed
Date: 08/19/13 Title: Chapter 1: Part One - Will He?

Hi Gina,

What a lovely story! I’ve been craving some Frank/Alice for a while now, and this was such a fabulous example of a fun, action-packed tale that made me laugh a lot. Your characterisation of Frank and Alice was really well thought out. I also thought the background characters, like the Marauders and the other Order members, were portrayed accurately in regards to canon, and I loved how the minor characters all had a part to play in Frank’s proposal to Alice, whether by interruption in the first chapter, or encouragement in the second.

The first thing I really appreciated in this story was the dialogue-heavy style of it, especially at the beginning. The banter between Frank and Alice was something I found delightfully playful, and I also thought you managed to tell a lot of their backstory through dialogue, as opposed to reams of narrative that could get overwhelming. What’s more, I think your story stands alone perfectly without having any prior knowledge of Love and Order, and I think that’s really important for stories like these that are short sequels to longer works. I loved how the characterisation was shown so much through the often witty dialogue on Frank’s and Alice’s parts, because I think their conversations above all drove forward the story and ensured their characterisations were sustained throughout.

The character that stood out the most, by far, to me was Frank. I thought the character traits you portrayed in him were so well-chosen. The way Frank was so organised, for example, and wasn’t impulsive (having booked dinner at Orsino’s a week in advance) is something I was really interested to see, given I think Neville would have shown those characteristics during Deathly Hallows when he was organising the DA. It was very subtly done, and I was glad to see you picked up on that more favourable Longbottom trait rather than the more typical portrayal of Frank, which in my experience has been of him being a klutz, more than anything. In a similar way, I loved Frank’s display of courage when he stood up to Moody in the middle of the Order meeting, and so unapologetically, as well. I thought that was such an excellent character moment for Frank there, but also, I felt there was a lovely feeling of community from the whole Order in how they were watching his proposal and cheering him on -- even Moody, in his own way.

Of course, I also enjoyed reading from Alice’s point of view. She was such a strong, vivacious character in this, reminding me a lot of how she was in Love and Order. Her sarcasm and snark towards Frank made her such an endearing and likeable character, to me, and I could really relate to her when she was so worried over Frank just leaving the ring on her desk, with no explanation or note to explain where he was. As well as that, I loved how you wrote Alice as an Auror and an Order member, too, as I thought that added a lot of vibrancy and intelligence to her character. I know a lot of stories focus on the sadness of Frank/Alice as a pairing, but I liked the way this story was more lighthearted, showing both Frank and Alice were talented and brave people, even against the darker backdrop of the war.

Another aspect of this story I thought was really well done was the appearance of the more minor characters. Fabian, for example, making Dungbombs was a lovely homage to Fred and George, and it was something that definitely made me smile. Moody’s insistence to continue the meeting after Frank’s proposal was something that, for me, came straight out of canon. I also enjoyed reading the dialogue between James, Sirius, Frank and Alice. I found it especially interesting to see James being more tactful and apologising to Frank for interrupting them in The Three Broomsticks, compared to Sirius, whose tactless interruption was definitely really amusing to me. I’m guessing it was probably because James was in a similar boat with Lily, so it was lovely seeing James and Lily as foils for Frank and Alice. But also, I appreciated seeing how James had matured over time, even in his rather minor role in this story.

Lastly, I thought this was plotted so very well. The trio of interruptions, first with Fabian, then Sirius, then Moody was amusing to read about, but I could also feel Frank’s frustration that he couldn’t do it in an unromantic setting, and I could understand why he couldn’t simply propose on an impulse. Also, Dumbledore using Travers as a spy for the Order was something I found really interesting, considering Travers was on Voldemort’s side during the books… unless this was his brother, by any chance, or his son? I really hope you touch on that in Love and Order, because I would love to know more.

All in all, this was a fabulous story, Gina. I truly enjoyed reading, because there really isn’t enough of this pairing on MNFF. I hope I can read another chapter of Love and Order sometime soon! :)

Soraya xxx



Laid to Rest by ToBeOrNotToBeAGryffindor

Rated: 6th-7th Years • 9 Reviews
Summary:

Michael Corner thought that, after ten years, he was finally free of the Battle of Hogwarts and the emotional toll the events of that day had taken. But when he was summoned to the will reading of a late family member, all of Michael's carefully built composure started to crumble, and nothing could prepare him for the intrigues of dangerous family politics.


This is the final instalment of the Hollow Soldiers series.


This story has been nominated for a 2013 Quicksilver Quill Award: Best Post-Hogwarts Story. I am extraordinarily pleased to say that it won.

Reviewer: xxbabewithbrainsxx Signed
Date: 11/06/13 Title: Chapter 5: Chapter 5

OMGNOOOOOOOOMICHAELLLLLLLLLL!

Wow, this was a great chapter, Jess :) I've been a crappity reviewer and have just been reading as you've posted, but I have to say well done for the QSQ win and an even bigger well done with this chapter. It was tensely written and teh action was executed beautifully too. The twist about Travers...I don't think you mentioned it to me, because I was so shocked D: That ending (even if I knew it was coming) seriously broke my heart. I won't say much more, though, in case anyone checks teh reviews before reading or anything.

I think you did a great job of giving Michael the closure he needed as a character, and after everything you put him through, he got a great (if not very sad) ending. :D

Lovely job! I can't wait for the epilogue.

Author's Response:

I knowwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwww! D:

I took a lot of time working through the action, both to make it realistic and to make it both fluid and relevant at the same time. As for the Travers twist, I had that in mind the entire time, but I thought there should be at least one or two surprises in store for your enjoyment, so I let you find that one as a reader.

In the end, I needed Michael to say it with his own mouth that he'd killed Miles, and not just to someone who wanted him to keep it a secret. He said it because he'd finally accepted that it was a part of who he was and moved on at that very moment from it. In that, also, he understood more about family and responsibility than he had in years and knew that Adrian was worthy of his sacrifice.

Looking forward to your thoughts on the next chapter!

~Jess



Girl Beneath the Stars by ToBeOrNotToBeAGryffindor

Rated: 3rd-5th Years • 10 Reviews Past Featured Story
Summary:

On the day that Teddy Lupin begins his new life with Victoire Weasley, his bride, Lily Potter's heart breaks.


This story was submitted for the Milestone Celebrations competition and was voted into 1st Place. Thank you so much for your support!

This story has also been nominated for a 2013 Quicksilver Quill Award: Best Next Generation Story.


Reviewer: xxbabewithbrainsxx Signed
Date: 07/06/13 Title: Chapter 1: Chapter 1

Hey Jess,

So I had a look at your QSQ nominations so far this year, just like you suggested, and I have to say, this story is up there with your best work. I thought the lyrical style of this really brought out Lily as a character, and the whole premise of unrequited love was so beautifully presented here. I’m sure the experience of childhood crushes is something most people have gone through, but it was the simplicity of your setup that I liked most. I’ve read quite a few Teddy/Lily stories lately, and this one is definitely my favourite because of your somewhat different slant on the pairing. The dynamic between Lily and Teddy was such a joy to read. I could really feel Lily’s sadness that Teddy didn’t love her the way she loved him. Equally, though, I could see how Teddy loved Victoire, too, and seeing both points of view in your story was really intriguing.

What made this story stand out amongst your other works, to me, was your style, your attention to detail and how vivid every scene was. Your emphasis on Lily’s physical discomfort, with her too-tight robes and her overdone hair and even Harry’s somewhat dubious reaction to how neat Lily looked, was what made the opening of your story come to life. I especially liked the line about how “her hair comb feels like it is stabbing her scalp”; the bluntness of your description was really powerful and harsh there. As a reader, I could feel Lily’s discomfort and I understood how that mirrored her emotional discomfort of being there when Teddy was getting married.

Also on the subject of style, your description of Teddy really brought out his character and, quite literally, how colourful his personality is. The way Teddy’s hair changed to electric pink when he was with Victoire reminded me of Tonks and how she, too, seemed to wear her heart on her sleeve through her Metamorphmagus abilities. On another note, I loved your use of present tense. It gave your story an immediacy and an urgency, of sorts, and that was fitting considering how uneasy Lily felt at Teddy marrying Victoire. Your choice of tense made me feel closer to Lily as a character, and I think that was what made your story read and flow so well.

I thought you characterised Lily beautifully. I liked the way her mindset was conveyed through the style, but also, it was heartbreaking to read how much of a front she was putting on to everyone, even Teddy. The fact that everyone, barring maybe Ginny, was oblivious to how Lily felt, made her situation even more relatable, to me. When reading the other reviews for your story, I noticed someone objected to Teddy kissing Lily, but really, I think that was a focal moment in which both of them realised that they didn’t work together romantically, particularly because Lily was the one to move away.

As for Teddy, his characterisation was great. There was something really quirky and likeable about him in this that reminded me again of Tonks and her sense of humour. When he asks Lily to dance, for instance, I could clearly see his ease with Lily, but I could also sense his hesitance, as if he knew something was wrong. And I think, more often than not, unrequited love stories tend to have the person not reciprocating the love as being the villain or in some way the bad guy. So I liked that you stepped away from that, because Teddy’s portrayal as an ultimately sympathetic character truly made me understand the other side of this story: it wasn’t that Teddy didn’t love Lily, but he just didn’t love her in the way she did. I really appreciated Teddy himself pointing out that he obviously wasn’t that sensitive or observant, because that kind of humility made it impossible to dislike him as a character for not reciprocating Lily’s feelings.

Overall, Jess, this is the best story I've read by you since Dust to Dust (and I know for a fact that you raised a pretty high bar with that story, so that’s saying a lot). I loved the wedding setting, the gorgeous style and how you presented unrequited love here. It certainly deserved its win for the Milestone challenge, and I really hope it wins a QSQ in something, because I think this was a fabulous read. :)

Soraya xxx



Renewal by Oregonian

Rated: 1st-2nd Years • 10 Reviews
Summary: The Hogwarts teachers are facing the first school year after the Battle of Hogwarts. How can they help the students, and the whole community, heal? What will it take to feel as if the world is back to normal?
Reviewer: xxbabewithbrainsxx Signed
Date: 06/15/13 Title: Chapter 1: Renewal

Hi Vicki,

I’ve been meaning to read the stories for the Milestone challenge, and I must say, I really enjoyed your entry. I liked what you did with the prompt, as I think there were lots of angles that could have been taken with it and the milestone you chose, of Hogwarts’ thousandth anniversary, was a really original one that gave your fic a fresh feel to it. I also loved how optimistic and hopeful your story was, while still acknowledging the problems post-Battle.

One of your biggest strengths as a writer, I noticed, is your use of description. It really carried your story forward as a reflective piece, and I think that is doubly important when the fic isn’t very plotty. I could clearly see the damage done to Hogwarts in the aftermath of the Battle, even months later, and the description of the wreckage really carried a lot of emotion. Mentioning the giants and how they had destroyed so much of Hogwarts gave the beginning of the story a rather bleak atmosphere, but I liked how you lightened that somewhat with the equally powerful description of Hogwarts’ reconstruction.

What struck me the most about this fic was that metaphor of renewal and regrowth throughout, especially at the beginning with the description of the plants in the greenhouses. That is by far the most fitting motif to use, given the story is in Pomona’s point of view, and this, for me, was what made your tale so creative. I could see Pomona’s consideration for her greenhouse and the seedlings in it extended further, to the students at Hogwarts. The imagery you used was so vivid, too, and one of my favourite lines was “every dead plant was like a child lost, every broken branch like a leg amputated”. The simplicity of the simile is what made it so powerful, because I think the aftermath of the Battle was primarily a matter of loss, and you certainly expressed that in an original way.

I also liked Pomona’s characterisation in this. I’ll admit I haven’t read many stories with Pomona as the main character, but from canon and your fic, I can really see how caring she is, even if she is conflicted. It makes sense that she felt “joyful and sad at the same time”, and the line about how she felt she’d given birth to twins, and only one lived, was another great way to get to the heart of Pomona’s character. What I liked about that line also was the fact that you addressed one of the main problems after the Battle -- if people should be grieving or celebrating, because I think the common fanfic trope would lean towards the latter. I’m glad you stepped away from that; seeing the Battle from a teacher’s perspective, too, definitely made your story a distinctive one.

Finally, in regards to the challenge, I found it intriguing that you incorporated a moral question within the actual celebration itself. I thought it was entirely plausible for the teachers to question whether the dinner was even appropriate after the Battle, but McGonagall’s response, of how “happiness is longer-lasting than grief”, really heightened the feeling of optimism by the end of the story.

Overall, this was a lovely read. I don’t read nearly as much fic featuring Hogwarts teachers, but after reading your story, I’ve resolved to do just that. I really enjoyed the dynamics between teachers here, as well as the imagery you used throughout and your exploration of Pomona’s character. Well done, and keep it up! :)

Soraya x

Author's Response: Thank you so much for this wonderful and detailed review, Soraya. You are right that the story is not very plotty, and it makes me happy to know that you believe that an un-plotty story can nevertheless be successful. Perhaps the Hogwarts teachers are a fairly un-mined source of good story ideas. I don't recall seeing much about them, other than Snape, and Professor-student romances (which I avoid reading). But being older characters, having lived longer and experienced more, they must have more complex and well-developed personalities. A few of them we know only by name and a scanty paragraph in the Harry Potter wiki, but several of them appear often enough in the books for us to begin to get a feel for them and what they might think and do.



Empty Chairs at Empty Tables by The_Real_Hermione

Rated: 3rd-5th Years • 6 Reviews Past Featured Story
Summary: In November 1981, Remus Lupin returns to the headquarters of the Order of the Phoenix.
Reviewer: xxbabewithbrainsxx Signed
Date: 07/14/13 Title: Chapter 1: Chapter 1

Oooh, Katrina, I liked this story :) I watched Les Mis a few months back, being totally unfamiliar with the musical or the book, but I recognised the song immediately, and I thought it was very fitting given the circumstances of everyone in this story. I could see the parallels with Remus as Marius, as being a survivor when his friends died, or, in Sirius's case, went to prison.

I think you used first person really effectively here too. I'm not always a fan of first person just because I think getting into a character's voice is often not the easiest thing, but you did it very well in this story and I could hear Remus's voice in the narrative. And I think, given the emotional nature of the story, it was definitely the best choice, because I could really feel his pain at his friends' death and his anger at Sirius for betraying them -- and it makes me even sadder because Sirius wasn't really guilty.

The only thing I will say (and I noticed this in another songfic of yours) is perhaps to use song lyrics more sparingly. I get that you were influenced by the song and no doubt I appreciated them being there, but I do think they were a bit extraneous at times, especially as your one-shot was quite short and you had entire verses quoted. I find it's often better either to have verses at the beginning and end of your story, or to use maybe one or two lines per section, if that makes sense.

But that's quite minor, as overall I really enjoyed this story, Katrina, and I miss your work. I'm only just catching up now, ha, but I will try to read and review the other stuff you've posted recently over the next few weeks. :)

Soraya xxx

Author's Response: Soraya!! Thanks for reviewing this, good to see you back. I'm glad you liked the connection between Marius and Remus, I've always thought their situations were very similar and this is possibly my favourite song from Les Mis (although that's a tough call for me) because of the emotion it evokes. I used the first person following the song, so it's good that worked. I did it because like you said, this is about his emotions in this particular situation, rather than a plot-driven story. I totally get what you mean about the song lines, I found it hard choosing lines so ended up putting the whole verse in, I might have a look at that again. But glad it didn't interfere too much with the story and you still enjoyed it. I think I first wrote the story a couple of years ago but never finished it, so it was good to finally get it up on here. ~Katrina P.S. I hope your exams went well



Home by The_Real_Hermione

Rated: 3rd-5th Years • 6 Reviews
Summary: She sticks her tongue out and catches a snowflake on it. She feels like a child again. Then she remembers that she is only seventeen, barely out of childhood. When was she last a child? Before she had to grow up and fight and suffer and worry and grieve and feel so old, so tired, as though there is nothing left that this world can offer her.

Ginny tries to face her first Christmas since the war, without Fred, without the usual joy, having lost many of her friends, but most importantly without Harry.
Reviewer: xxbabewithbrainsxx Signed
Date: 07/16/13 Title: Chapter 1: Chapter 1

Another great story, Katrina :) I've not read a Harry/Ginny in quite a while, and this was a lovely surprise, because your story was well written and well characterised.

I always did think Harry and Ginny had a bit of a "cooling off" period, so to speak, post-battle, just because I agree Harry would have pushed everyone away. Yeah, he did that in OOTP and saw it didn't work, but I really liked what you said about Harry having a saving people thing and that continuing after the battle, because I think that really rings true for Harry as a character. I agree that he would have felt personally responsible for the destruction of Hogwarts, as well as all the deaths as a result of the battle.

I was also glad to see Ginny pursue Harry in the end and be able to persuade him to come home. Oh, and the bit where she blurted out that she loved him was great -- really understated and yet you said a lot about her character in that moment. I liked that it wasn't supposed to be the way she said "I love you" to him for the first time, and it sounded so much more natural by Ginny blurting it out by accident. :)

Anyway, this was an enjoyable read and definitely a refreshing change from the H/G fanfics I used to read back in the days. The dialogue was well-written and the story well thought out. Keep it up! :)

Soraya xxx

Author's Response: Thanks again for such a lovely review, and for saying you enjoyed this story and thought it well-characterised! That means a lot. I never expected to write a Harry/Ginny, I've always found them both tricky to write, but I came up with this idea and just wrote it. I think Harry is a pretty messed-up person by the end of DH after everything that he's been through, and the way he's characteristically dealt with things is to try and fix them, so I think that's what he would do. And he would also have been pushing down his emotions a lot and I don't think he would have wanted to talk with anyone about how he actually felt, it would be easier just to try and make it all better. Ginny is a feisty girl so I think it fit within her character and their relationship for her to make a move, I think that was really what Harry needed. I also think they both know that they love each other, but want to say it in a special way. Ginny blurting it out for me just shows their relationship - nothing really goes quite as planned but it sort of works out better that way. I think I also wanted to write this because I see a lot of stories where Ron and Hermione have a difficult relationship but Harry and Ginny just slot back in together, and I always thought it would be the other way round - Ron and Hermione have had 7 years in pretty close proximity so by the time they get around to it, they've already sorted through a lot, whereas Harry and Ginny haven't actually spent that much time together, plus they both had awful but very different experiences during DH which they would have to sort through. So I wanted to put out my take on their story. Anyway thanks again for such a complimentary review! ~Katrina



Another Anniversary by Equinox Chick

Rated: 3rd-5th Years • 11 Reviews
Summary: Fifteen years after the Battle, Ron and Hermione reminisce.

Disclaimer: I am not JK Rowling, but I hope she'd like this.

This story was inspired by a reminder from halfaslug on tumblr - thank you. I dedicate this to her, and Lori (Weasley Mom) because they love Romione so much. (Well, what's not to love?)


Reviewer: xxbabewithbrainsxx Signed
Date: 07/16/14 Title: Chapter 1: Oneshot

Ooh, Carole, this is such a lovely fic! I’ve been seeing a lot of Romione graphics on tumblr lately, and reading this story reminded me of how much I liked the pairing. And, after reading Crocus, it was again nice to see romance from the perspective of older people rather than just teenagers. :D

I love how you portray the imperfections of Ron and Hermione’s relationship. I could see at first that Ron didn’t really open up to Hermione, but also that Hermione didn’t push him. Of course, given how much they bickered in canon, I'm not surprised, and it’s so nice to see a portrayal of the Romione relationship as something other than perfect. Even Ron’s joke about Hermione not leaving her office on time is something you wrote to have “an undercurrent of tension”, and again, I feel you did such a good job in relatively few words portraying them so realistically as a couple.

I’ve always enjoyed reading your Ron. It’s loyal to canon, right down to how he feels about Scorpius and his (mild) prejudice with Hufflepuff, but what I liked the most was how he was written as a father. I love how proud he is of Hugo for showing Gryffindor colours, and his protectiveness over his Rosie. More than that, though, seeing a moment of vulnerability in Ron when talking about his brother, was so lovely to read.

The ending was sweet too. It was good to see Ron associated that time with something other than death, even if he felt guilty about it. And regardless of what JKR has said in hindsight, the bit in DH when Hermione kissed Ron remains one of my favourite moments in the book. It was heartwarming too to see how Ron was still, adorably, a little nervous telling Hermione about what he was really thinking. :)

I really enjoyed this story. I’ve had such a crazy year that I haven’t had enough time for fanfic, but getting back into it, especially reading your fab work, has reminded me how much I love it.

Author's Response: Ah, Soraya, thank you so much for the review. I should have replied agaes ago, but I was in awe of the lovliness. I enjoyed writing this one. It was written in a rush, but of the moment, so I'm fond of it. Thanks again.



Ice Cream Man by HalfASlug

Rated: 3rd-5th Years • 3 Reviews
Summary: Draco Malfoy, still desperately trying to find a way to carry out the Dark Lord’s wishes, discovers his family’s involvement in the recent disappearances from up and down the country.
Reviewer: xxbabewithbrainsxx Signed
Date: 06/07/13 Title: Chapter 1: One-shot

Hi there!

What a great setup you have here. I've been out of the HP loop lately, and this was a fabulous way back in. I loved your characterisation of Draco and the moment you chose to illustrate in this story. I could really feel the pressure Draco was under to kill Dumbledore, and I was really glad to see Draco having clear conscientious objections to what was going on in his own household.

I wasn't sure how the title fit in, at first but I really liked how your title tied in with the whole story, as I think you expanded on the whole Fortescue storyline really well.

Anyway, this is my first review in a loooong time, so apologies if it's not particularly in-depth D: I'm slowly getting back into the HP fandom after what felt like a long hiatus (really just a few months, but it felt like forever!), so like I said, this was a great start at getting back into it :)

Soraya x

Author's Response: Hello! Your review is fine and very much appreciated! Any kind of feedback is nice in fanfic so thank you very much. For all their faults the Malfoys always looked after their own so I figured Draco wouldn't really want those kind of things affecting his family. It's too soon for him to he having any kind of doubts over his plans with Dumbledore but he was never a terrible person deep, deep down. Anyway thank you again for the review and welcome back to the fandom!



Glass over the Flame by the opaleye

Rated: 3rd-5th Years • 6 Reviews Past Featured Story
Summary: Harry, Hermione, and the moments in between.

He doesn’t say that this is his last winter. He doesn’t say that this could be her last winter. Instead he feels his heart swell with the bruising grip of her hand and the sound of Ron’s snoring in the tent.

Reviewer: xxbabewithbrainsxx Signed
Date: 07/14/13 Title: Chapter 1: I will call you by name, I will share your road.

Gaaaaaaaaaaaah. Julia, I really don't understand why this story doesn't have more reviews, because it is gorgeous! I remember reading the drabble about the broken glasses and loving it to bits, and reading more of that really understated Harmony vibe was just so lovely. I loved those moments in the tent, and my heart totally went out for Hermione when she saw Harry struggle with her wand because she clearly felt guilty for breaking Harry's. And that bit when Hermione asked Harry what had happened when Ron came back -- argh, the way Harry just changed the subject and that moment of understanding between them... it was so tangible and real to me.

But I was also glad to see Harry tell Hermione the truth about the Horcrux, and I loved how Hermione kept going back to that moment in the tent. And the ending line was perfect.

Sorry, incoherent review here, but fabulous, fabulous story, Julia! Honestly, you deserve far more reviews than this. Definitely one of my favourite stories by you. :)

Soraya xxx

Author's Response: Soraya! I'm so sorry it's taken me this long to reply. I absolutely squeed when I read this review so thank you, thank you, thank you! Even though this doesn't have many reviews on MNFF, I have received some amazing comments from the Harmony community on LJ, so I don't despair too much. What's lovely, though, is the feedback from you and Carole because you aren't Harmony shippers, and yet you enjoyed this fic. I love writing about them, even in a more subtle, almost-platonic way like in this fic, and it's so great to hear when the feelings I experienced while writing something came across to the readers, too. While your review was NOT incoherent, this reply definitely is, so I apologise for my rambling! Thank you so much for this review, Soraya. It's made me grin like an idiot! -Julia xxx



A Light in the Gap by WeasleyMom

Rated: 3rd-5th Years • 9 Reviews Past Featured Story
Summary: When Harry woke that first morning in Grimmauld Place, he wondered if Ron and Hermione had fallen asleep holding hands. This fic provides a possible answer to that question. A missing moment from Deathly Hallows.

This story received a QSQ in 2014 for Best Canon Romance ~ Thank you!
Reviewer: xxbabewithbrainsxx Signed
Date: 07/16/14 Title: Chapter 1: A Light in the Gap

Hi Lori :)

So as I was trawling through the QSQ nominations, I found this beautiful story was nominated by Jess, and I have to say, I was blown away when I read it. When I first started out in fanfiction, I read heaps of missing moments, and I distinctly remember reading several versions of why Ron and Hermione had fallen asleep that night holding hands. Your version, though, blew all those stories out of the water, honestly. I loved Ron’s characterisation and also how poignant his conversation with Hermione was, especially the promise he made at the end.

One of the best things about this story is its subtlety. So much of Ron’s character is conveyed just through the description of Grimmauld Place, of his unease at how “creepy” it was. I loved the atmosphere of intimacy, created by the fact that they were sleeping in the same room, combined Ron’s unfamiliarity with Hermione’s sleeping patterns and her being so close to him. It added to tension of the scene, especially when Hermione didn’t immediately respond to him. As you are the queen of all things Romione, I was not surprised at all by how effortlessly you conveyed the imperfections and rough edges of their relationship, especially at this point in DH. I think that is so much more realistic and close to canon that way.

Hermione was portrayed so well, too. Her dialogue was spot on, and despite the tension in the fic at the beginning, I laughed too when Ron made that crack about Kreacher. And, of course, typical of Hermione, the way she jumped to defend Kreacher in spite of everything he said to her was so in-character. It was nice to see Ron’s appreciation of that. :) On another note, Hermione’s vulnerability and moment of emotion about her parents was so heartbreaking to read. One thing I wished I saw in the books was the moment when Hermione Obliviated her parents (although I was kind of compensated by the fact that the scene was in the movie), and seeing how much it upset her was definitely the most touching part in the fic.

Ron’s promise was so sweet, as was the line when he thinks, “Let Harry pry their hands apart in the morning”. It made me smile to see that side of Ron that was lost a bit later on in DH when they were in the tent. It also made for a wonderful ending to your story, which for me slotted perfectly into canon in a way none of the other twenty-odd versions of this story did, because of how in-character they both were, and of the conversation they had which just made so much sense for later events.

That’s it from me. I really enjoyed this and I hope it wins the QSQ, because you certainly deserve it. ♥

Soraya xxx

Author's Response: I never know how to thank someone for taking the time to leave such a thoughtful, incredible review. I've been stewing on it for a while now. I don't know why I wait to respond; I'm sure my reply is no more insightful for the time I've let slip by. But please know how much I really do appreciate it, Soraya, despite my tardiness in responding.

I know this moment has been written a lot, which is something different for me. I write a lot of missing moments, and some of them have been done before, certainly. But I was distinctly aware when writing A Light in the Gap that this particular moment has been... well, done to death. The world doesn't really need another version of it, and yet, it's something I've imagined so much that I knew I wanted to write it down, even if I never submitted it.

I think there is mention in canon of those curtains not quite coming together at the top, and I have always seen that light filtering in as they talked in the quiet. There's something so intimate about talking to someone late at night, in the dark, when you are trying to sleep. I'm so glad you thought it worked here, especially the characterization, and that you found the fic worthy of the nomination. Most of all, I'm relieved that at least one reader doesn't think it will blend too much into the crowd. Hehe. :) Thanks, as always, Soraya. ~ Lori



Crocus by Equinox Chick

Rated: 3rd-5th Years • 21 Reviews
Summary: Four years after the Battle of Hogwarts, Andromeda Tonks exists only for her grandson. Like an unearthed bulb, through an ever-long winter she waits not to bloom, but to decompose to mulch.

But when Kingsley Shacklebolt approaches her with a proposition, she realises that perhaps there is more to life than the necessity of living only for another.

This is Equinox Chick and this is my second entry in the Third Great Hall Cotillion.

I am not JK Rowling. Sorry.
Reviewer: xxbabewithbrainsxx Signed
Date: 07/13/14 Title: Chapter 5: Chapter 5

Eeeep! What a great story, Croll. I really enjoyed reading this, despite some hesitation at the pairing, mostly because I ship Ted/Andromeda so much and maybe also because I don’t think I've ever read a story with Kingsley in the main pairing. But I needn’t have worried, because this little fic was so enjoyable, so refreshing to read. It’s lovely to see romance between people who aren’t teenagers, for once, because that definitely makes up the bulk of the romance fics that I've read on MNFF.

The way you wrote Teddy was so adorable, and I have to say, the whole idea of Andromeda kind of living only for me resonated pretty strongly with me. I think you really captured Andromeda’s emotions and how torn she was between wanting to stay with the voices of Ted and Dora in her head, and wanting to move on and be happy. I also loved how Ted’s voice came across so characteristically despite not actually being there “ that was one reason my hesitation at the pairing kind of went away, because it was nice to see that Andromeda wasn’t disregarding Ted in any way. Same with Dora. I love how distinct her voice is, the few times she pops up in the fic.

It was good to see how Andromeda felt remorse for treating Remus more coldly than she had wanted. But at the same time, I get why she did “ he did leave her, after all, so I can understand why she wasn’t always too friendly towards him. Still, the cause she decides to donate to is a great one, and it was nice to see that put in. On that note, I really liked how this story is plotty as well as a romance. I've always thought that was a strength of yours in writing and reading a fic of yours after a while made me remember that. :)

This was a wonderful story for me to read after being out of the fanfic loop for so long. Well done!

~Soraya xxx

Author's Response: Oh Soraya, my lovely Babe with the BEST Brains, I'm so sorry I haven't replied to this sooner. This is such a great review and I won;t be able to do it justice with this response. I remember very clearly the impetus for writing this story which happened just after I moved house and I was walking around the local park admiring the crocuses, so it means a lot to me that the story was appreciated. I think Andromeda probably always felt guilty about how she treated Remes - not necessarily when he left Tonks, but before because I doubt she approved (she was worried, I guess) But they'd have come to an agreement and rubbed along nicely had he lived - sob sob. I am pleased you liked the fact it was a story not about teenagers. Andromeda is ... um ... 45/46 I think in the last book, so she's not exactly old - especially in magical terms. Far too young to closet herself away - sigh. Thanks again ~Croll



Catch Me If You Can by ToBeOrNotToBeAGryffindor

Rated: 3rd-5th Years • 5 Reviews
Summary: They were friends, then teammates, then . . . well, she honestly couldn't tell you.

After a Quidditch accident landed Lily Potter in the hospital wing, she came to rely on the steady company of her friend, cousin, and team Captain, Louis Weasley. But just when she thought something more might be brewing between them, he shut her out.

Can Lily figure out this enigmatic, frustrating boy, or will she always wonder what could've been?

This story has been nominated for a 2014 Quicksilver Quill Award: Best Next Generation Story.
Reviewer: xxbabewithbrainsxx Signed
Date: 07/11/14 Title: Chapter 1: Chapter 1

Hey Jess,

So I finally got a chance to sit down and review this :) It is such an injustice that a Loulily story on MNFF doesn't have any reviews, because I loved reading this when you first posted, and upon rereading, I noticed things I previously hadn't seen and appreciated.

There's so much of this story that I love. The fact that the stigma usually associated with cousin relationships is basically dismissed by Louis early on was interesting, something I'm glad you did because I've seen it come up so often in cousin pairing stories. I had to smile when you also threw in Fred/Dominique, haha. The fact that Ginny and Harry were betting on when Loulily was going to happen made me laugh too. It explained Harry's frosty attitude towards Louis in the tent earlier on.

On that note, I also thought the Harry/Ginny going on in the background was so funny. I know you're not a big fan of the pairing, and seeing them be so vanilla next to Louis and Lily kind of brought out how dynamic and well-suited they are as a pair. The way Louis sometimes lapsed into French and Lily then followed suit and also spoke French was a really nice touch. I feel like that's something I do in Bengali sometimes when I go off on a tirade about something, hehe, so I can totally relate.

And there were other things that really defined Lily's character too that I loved reading about. Her love for pranks and anything joke-related was something she shared with Louis, which I again thought was really well done. The prank Louis played on Harper sounded great too, definitely very Weasley-esque.

I do wish there could have been more, though. I would really like to know what happened after this and if, indeed, grandbabies happen :P Know that I would totally read it if you wrote it.

I've kind of become a rookie!reviewer by being out of the MNFF loop for so long, so please forgive the rambly disjointed review. Plus, I'm still on a tea high, hence the emoticons. :D This was a fab fic, Jess, and it's a shame you haven't had any reviews for it on here because Loulily should always always always receive love.

~Soraya xxx

Author's Response:

Hellooooo!

I think what I really wanted out of this fic, I did it. Sometimes, it's just nice to read a story with some tension, but nothing OTT or heavy-handed. Here and there, a couple doesn't happen because one or more parties involved are just being dumb about it. Like here. Louis is having all of these mental crises about Lily and how he feels about her and why he shouldn't, but when he tells her these things, she makes sure he knows that none of it matters more than that they want to be together.

I don't think I've ever been this nice to Ginny, but I do think she has the make-up to be Teh Cool Mum. You know, the ones who other kids like but isn't nearly as embarrassing as most parents who try to be involved in their kids' lives. But really, I used Harry and Ginny (as well as FreDom) as a foil to show that the Weasley clan is an accepting bunch, and to let the reader know that, in the event these two stop being idiots, their family will love and support them.

The inclusion of French was my way of showing that the cousins are a tight-knit group. Imagine all the shenanigans they can get up to when only like...four of the adults at the most can understand what they're plotting. It's Bill's kids' greatest contribution to their little clique. I head-canon it as Vic taught Teddy, who taught James, who taught Al, who begrudgingly taught Lily, and they plot, only to find that a spur of Weasleys, led by Dominique and Fred, have already been hatching dastardly pranks in the same manner for years.

Anyway, thanks for reviewing. It's barely recognisable from the drabble from which it sprang, but it's the easiest time of writing I've had in a while, so it gave me something, too. *hugs*

~Jess



The Deathly Children by teh tarik

Rated: 6th-7th Years • 9 Reviews
Summary:
Summer, 1899. In the village of Godric's Hollow, the Dumbledore family is falling apart. With both their parents dead, Albus finds himself trapped in his role as the reluctant guardian to his younger siblings: Aberforth, the wayward brother, and Ariana, the mad girl in the attic. But everything changes with the arrival of their new neighbour, the charming but enigmatic Gellert Grindelwald, whose obsession with the myth of the fabled Deathly Hallows may just about shatter the fragile balance of the Dumbledore family.

Reviewer: xxbabewithbrainsxx Signed
Date: 07/23/14 Title: Chapter 1: A Funeral

Hi Nicole,

Good lord. I’ve forgotten how beautiful your writing is. I’m only just getting back into fanfic and I have to say, the first chapter of this alone is enough for me to nominate it for at least one QSQ. I'm sure I've said this before, but your style is so stunning. You have this amazing way with words that make me cling on to every sentence, and at the end of the paragraph, I often go back and reread so I can take in that gorgeous phrasing again.

There is so much to love about the characters here. The opening letter from Grindlewald encapsulated his voice - so lyrical and yet arrogant at the same time, with an undercurrent of bitterness and resentment that made me shiver. I generally find time jumps confusing, but because of how grounded these events are in canon (Kendra and Ariana’s deaths), it was very easy to follow.

You’ve got Albus down to a tee, too. It is definitely not an easy thing trying to portray him at such a young age, because you have to have the right combo of how we see him in the books and also the younger, more naïve and dark version of him that we only really got a peek at in canon. But you struck that balance so well. I found it so interesting how Ariana viewed him, as the person who is “unimpressed, bored” and even blind, because it’s so refreshing to see Albus portrayed as something other than perfect, or always kind. That colder side to him is so fascinating, and I am going to enjoy seeing what dark turns his character takes from here.

Anyway, I’m off to the next chapter. This is such a lovely and gorgeous fic, Nicole, and I can’t wait to read more! :)

Soraya xxx