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The_Real_Hermione [Contact]

Hi! I'm Katrina and I am not J.K. Rowling (just to avoid any confusion there).

I've been writing on MNFF since about 2010, but up until a few months ago had not written anything for quite some time. So I am trying to get back into writing, and have quite a few stories percolating in my head, but I just need to find the time to write them.

I basically only write one-shots (I have one three chaptered story), and they're usually character explorations and snapshots rather than long plots, but I've written about a variety of characters, so hopefully there's something you'll enjoy. I like experimenting a bit with form too.

Anyway if you have stumbled here by accident, I do hope you enjoy something.

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Stories by The_Real_Hermione [16]
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Reviews by The_Real_Hermione

What You Wanted by Padfoot11333

Rated: 3rd-5th Years •
Summary: In Tom Riddle's first Christmas vacation at Hogwarts, he is lonely.
Reviewer: The_Real_Hermione Signed
Date: 11/19/11 Title: Chapter 1: What You Wanted

I love the premise of this story - I agree that it's most likely that Tom would stumble across the Room by accident. I also liked how he immediately concluded that only he could see the room - it just fits his character perfectly.

The idea that he was bullied because he didn't know his parentage is also very interesting becuase it makes you think more about why he became such a 'bully' (for want of a better word) later.

I loved the ending, with him meeting Avery and then you leading up to what he became - it wasn't overstated or melodramatic, but it just highlighted the importance of this moment.

I also think it's interesting that Tom thinks of Dumbledore a few times in this - even though Dumbledore is neither headmaster nor his head of house. But I think even at a young age, Tom would have been aware that Dumbledore watched him, and that Dumbledore was a man with more than normal power.

I only have one little comment - I felt like the part when Tom is thinking in the room could have been a little more concise - I think it's the climax of the story and just found it a little slow. But it's really only a small thing.

Otherwise it was a great read, and definitely in character.


Author's Response: Katrina, thank you so much for taking the time to read and review this. I'm glad you liked it, and really glad that you found it in character since I struggled over that. ~Lily~

Safe House by ToBeOrNotToBeAGryffindor

Rated: 6th-7th Years •
Summary: Pansy Parkinson’s carefree world was toppled when she overheard her father’s murder and caught a glimpse of the killer. Forced into hiding by the Ministry, she is compelled to co-habitate with, of all the bloody people on the planet, Harry Potter. Can these two live together in cramped quarters without there being another murder, or can they find common ground that had eluded them since they last encountered one another?
Reviewer: The_Real_Hermione Signed
Date: 12/12/11 Title: Chapter 4: Chapter 4

I actually finished this story a few days ago and didn't get to review... but here I go. As you can probably tell by my previous reviews, I love this story. It has a great mix of romance, humour and mystery. Also I loved teh solution to the story - I hadn't guessed Runcorn, but he really does fit the role and make sense, particularly considering how much fear he obviously inspires in people.

I think your characterisation of Harry is interesting in this story - I like how he's almost retreated into the Muggle world to hide, after obviously a very difficult break-up. I think that suits his character very much, after having coped in the spotlight for so long it's natural he'd want to retreat. I also liked how doggedly he watched Pansy, and how he genuinely cared for her.

As I said in a previous review, Pansy is a well-fleshed out character in this. I enjoyed her quips, but also how she coped in a difficult situation - in this chapter, she did have to be saved by Harry, but she wasn't completely helpless, which I really liked. And somehow you really made me believe this pairing. And that's coming from someone who doesn't usually read non-canon pairings...

I think you wrote the dialogue for all the characters really well and it really moved the plot along. I also liked how it was Pansy's perspective throughout the story... it really worked for this.

So great story in general!


Author's Response:

Yay! Well, I'm glad you liked the story, despite it not being something you would normally read. This was my first ever attempt to even mentally make Harry and Pansy work, let alone put it on a page. That it wasn't a disaster was nice. :)

One thing that has always bugged me about the typical stylings of the Post-Hogwarts universe is how Harry is portrayed. Sure, when he heads up the tower and dreams of a sandwich, he's on a bit of a surreal high, but what are the chances of him waking up and not realising that dozens of people are dead, many of whom he knows, and having the knowledge that he could've turned himself over before the battle and many of them might not have died at all? That sort of knowledge could destroy a lesser man and grind his soul into dust. Well, Harry's stronger than that, but he's still a human being. Every 'thank you' he received for his part in the war must have sounded so hollow and horrid in his ears, which I think would escalate to the point where he would want to live in around people who didn't know or care about his dubious celebrity.

This thought colours much of my work when I write Harry. I think he is capable of living a semi-normal life, but I also think it would be a long journey to get there. There's nothing to say that he didn't screw things up with Ginny for a while and end up in an inadvisable relationship. You notice that I didn't use an Epilogue Disregarded tag; it's because I don't think this ship could ever last, and this wounded Harry was always going to go back to Ginny. Pansy just needed to reintroduce him to the world of the living before that could happen.

Pansy is a fun character, and I should write her more. In a way, she's a lot like me personally, so it's easy to let a bit of me bleed onto the page and give her that extra bit of life.

I'll shut up now. As always, it is a pleasure discussing characters with you. Thank you for the read and review, and I hope to see you again soon!


Reviewer: The_Real_Hermione Signed
Date: 12/08/11 Title: Chapter 1: Chapter 1

I love this start to your story, Jess! The beginning seems so much like the Pansy we see in canon, in which her looks and looking better than others are all that matter. I think you did a great job at quickly shifting from the superficial to her actually being in danger.

I think this really allowed you to show a range of emotions from Pansy - she is clearly really concerned about her mother and sad about her father. So you've really made her into a three-dimensional character.

I love the element of mystery in this - I wanted to keep reading so much that I nearly forgot to review...

I liked your characterisation of Proudfoot - his way of talking and no-nonsense manner really fitted the position of Head of the Auror Department.

Anyway, I'll get on and read more now. It's a great start and I can't wait to read more :).


Author's Response:

Yay, you're back and even reading one of my weird non-canon pairing fics. Squeeee!

As we both probably know all too well, reality finds the sneakiest ways of knocking us down a peg. Poor Pansy's reality check was brutal :/ However, I think the kid's gonna be all right, lol.

Proudfoot is my go-to Head Auror until Harry takes over the position. He's appeared in a half dozen of my stories, usually pretty much the same as he is here. He's knowledgable, no-nonsense, tough, but in possession of an understanding of what makes people tick. Not only does it make him a good administrator, it made him one hell of an Auror. Moody could've learnt a few lessons from him.


Reviewer: The_Real_Hermione Signed
Date: 12/08/11 Title: Chapter 2: Chapter 2

I liked this chapter a lot - you really blended humour really well with danger. There were moments when I almost laughed, and you very clearly showed the sexual tension between Pansy and Harry, but the story is also ominous. I particularly loved the end of the chapter for this reason - “Don’t know,” he said. “At least as long as it takes to take down your father’s killer.”

His words hung in the air, and Pansy had the dreadful feeling that it could take a long time before she saw the light of day again.
By this point I really started to empathise with Pansy, and yet at the beginning of the first chapter I didn't like her much and you've very quickly changed that. (I think I've stopped making sense here... the point is, Pansy is really well-characterised.)

I loved the scene when they arrived at Harry's house and Pansy broke down and Harry hugged her - I think it was beautifully written and worked really well within the plot, and it also showed another side of both of them.

I can't wait to keep reading... I'm loving it sofar.


Author's Response:

I've never believed that people are the sum of their parts. Pansy is still that scared girl who was willing to hand over a classmate like a pig for slaughter; still the girl who picked on Hermione and her teeth; she's still the girl who sycophantically followed Draco because he was the best catch in their year. But no one is that empty and shallow. At first, it was hard to crawl around in her head and find things that could *possibly* make her attractive to Harry. But sometimes, being nothing one expects makes them a prime candidate to be everything one needs. Harry may not have fancied much of anything about Pansy, but he needed her to kick him in the arse and realise how pathetic he really was in his little hidey hole far away from everything.

Anyway, enjoy the rest of the story. :)


Droobles Blowing Gum by Padfoot11333

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

Alice Longbottom has lost so much, but a Christmas day that she strives to remember may be the worst.

All that Alice can remember is that it was her son’s first Christmas.

Nominated for a 2012 Quicksilver Quill.

This is Padfoot11333 of Hufflepuff writing for the Great Hall-iday Challenge-Prompt 1: A Christmas to Forget.

Since it was the only story in its category, it couldn't win first place, but it did win 5 bonus points for excellence, which I am very proud of =)

Reviewer: The_Real_Hermione Signed
Date: 12/12/11 Title: Chapter 1: Droobles Blowing Gum

I love the premise of this story - I hadn't really thought much about whether the Longbottoms might have planned another child or even been pregnant, and I think you work this idea really effectively.

Also I think you pulled Alice off really well - it's always quite a challenge to write from such a character's perspective, but it really worked. I liked your explanation for the gum wrappers - that she's trying to trig Neville or Augusta's memory. - So in the hope that it will spark something in Neville, she gives him the bubble gum every time. But all it seems to do for Augusta is spark pain. I thought that was just put very well.

I loved the fragmented style at the end - particularly the part about Frnk and Alice wanting to name their next child after Lily and James, and then forgetting. That bit is just heartbreaking. I often think Neville is worse off than Harry when it comes to his parents, because to have parents who don't seem to recognise you would be awful. And by adding an unborn daughter you've just made the Longbottoms story so much sadder.

I loved the contrast of these two lines - When Frank nods, it’s like they’re sealing a promise. That they won’t ever forget James and Lily. and She’ll forget that she ever “promised” to remember James and Lily. .

I think you really nailed Augusta and Neville in their short appearances too, although I wasn't sure that Augusta would ever say anything about Neville's sister, because she wouldn't think it would affect his life. But other than that she was great.

Anyway, not sure why this story hasn't got any reviews yet, I thought it was great.


Author's Response: Katrina, I love getting one of your reviews :) Thanks so much for being the first! People always say that I can totally pull off characters like Alice (I've written a Pius Thicknesse one shot, which was...interesting). This wasn't exactly the type of holiday story I think the barmaids were expecting, but I'm really glad you liked it. xx Lily

The Fold by welshdevondragon

Rated: 3rd-5th Years •
Summary: Before Sirius, there was another Black sheep. Who would have thought she’d bring him back into the fold?

A Christmas Day Story.
Reviewer: The_Real_Hermione Signed
Date: 12/20/11 Title: Chapter 1: One-shot

This is really fantastic, Alex - your characterisation of Sirius and Bella is really quite wonderful. Bella is such a manipulator - I loved the line Bella looks at him, and Sirius suddenly feels like he’s often imagined his chess pieces must feel, being appraised for its strategic use and pushed in directions against its will. But then this feeling goes as she bends down so their faces are level and speaks to him kindly. I think this really shows Bella - for a moment, Sirius sees that she's just manipulating and controlling him, but most of the time she is a great actress and, perhaps because of her own experience, knows to treat him more like an adult because she knows that will get a response from him.

I also loved the idea that the hat considered Gryffindor for her - or at least that she says it did. There is something very brave about Bella - I think all 3 Black sisters are quite different, because whilst Bella and Narcissa both remained "acceptable" and Andromeda didn't, they are vastly different. Narcissa never (well until DH when she saves Harry) seems to take matters into her own hands - she never becomes a Death Eater - and I always think of her as ordered, whereas there is something wild and chaotic about Bella - especially post-Azkaban, but it has to have come from somewhere. (Sorry, that was a long sentence.)

I also loved this paragraph - e’s always known his cousin was considered insolent and disliked but also respected by most of the family. Yet he can’t think where he’s got this idea from, other than a general impression of the way people behave around her. Thinking about it, most of the time, at family gatherings, he’s quite liked her, liked the way she sits and talks with him and Regulus, treating them as adults, likes the way she pokes fun at their older relatives. I think your explanation of how Bella's family would treat her is very realistic, and I also love the idea that Sirius looks up to her and likes her. As I've said before, she's a great manipulator and actress, and I think it would take Sirius a few more years to see through a little bit of it.

I think it's very in character that Sirius decided to leave on a whim and just runs out into the snow at age 12 - we all know he ran away at 16, but I think it's fascinating that he may have made an earlier attempt. I think Bella is especially able to manipulate him because at this moment he feels alienated and lonely. I also loved how you used the snow and the coldness to show this.

Present tense worked perfectly for this - it really put me in the moment with these two characters and it always flowed naturally.

When you do--” her voice begins to shake with excitement, something he has never heard before “--we will be great. Not our family. I love our name, and I wish to honour it, but we have become so pathetic. And we will be great, you and I. We will show them that we are greater than they ever expected us to be, and in ways they never thought people could be. Understand, Sirius?” - That line of Bella's reminded me a bit of Voldemort to Harry, which I think is an interesting connection, because even at this age Harry refused him. Although Harry had had far more guidance as to right and wrong by that point.

Anyway, in general I just loved all the characterisation and the way the story panned out - fantastic as usual!! (And I promise I will get around to finishing LAOS).


Author's Response: Sorry it's taken me so long to reply to this. This story was written very quickly--I was, ha, trying to be more mainstream :) I really enjoy writing Bella, as you know, and it was interesting having her act with Sirius. I was rather pleased with myself for that line-I'm sure it's from someone else, but I've always imagined Bella as a great manipulator, as you said, who is very controlled most of the time, but Azkaban unhinged her somewhat from this.

I think Bella is definitely potential Gryff material-she wasn't lying. Ha, I don't mind long sentences- I'm guilty of them myself. The three Black sisters are very interesting--I miss writing Andromeda and Narcissa.

I have a vague idea of a follow up to this about Sirius and Bella's relationship, when he sees through her, so I may write that one day.

I liked writing about the cold. I was very cold at the time, and I had a very clear idea that it should seep through the story, so it's great that you picked up on that :) And I'm glad the present tense worked for this.

I think Bella, like Voldemort, wants to escape her family, and sees Voldemort as the way to do this. I hadn't thought of that connection, but that is interesting.

Anyway thanks so much for reviewing! And I was very glad you finished LAOS and really appreciated all the lovely reviews you left for me. Thank you. Alex

For Better or Worse by ToBeOrNotToBeAGryffindor

Rated: 3rd-5th Years •
Summary: Sometimes, the past reminds you of how beautiful the future really is.

*Winner of the Fall 2013 HP Fanfic Fan Poll Award for Best Ron x Hermione Drama/Angst. Thank you!
Reviewer: The_Real_Hermione Signed
Date: 12/21/11 Title: Chapter 1: We'll manage

When I saw your name and the Ron/Hermione category, I thought I must have misread it, because I really wouldn't expect anything like this from you. But exactly as Lori said (and nothing I can say will be higher praise than that, as she is the queen of this category), considering what you think of Ron, you absolutely nailed his character and I think really showed the better side of Ron.

I loved the way you interspersed two completely different time periods in this - both moments are important in their relationship, but I liked how you didn't go for something cliched like their wedding, and rather just showed how they interact.

Also I loved the second person, and you really pulled it off - you really got inside Ron's head and allowed us to get in there as well, without it feeling at all awkward.

It is so simple to you, how to proceed. Make love, sleep in, possibly make love again, and remember why you got married in the first place while your children start their own lives. However, you know what response you will get to a statement like that, which would likely be a punch in the shoulder, so you settle on something that meets you both halfway.

“We’ll manage, love. We’ll manage.”
- Sorry to quote so much back at you, but really, does it get any better than that? I was going ot pick just a little bit to say it was my favourite, but I loved all of that. It had so much Ron and Hermione in it.


Author's Response:

I have always thought a ship's defining moments are not the major ones, but strings of more mundane events. As everyone knows, life doesn't consist of pivotal moments; it consists of long strings of things we take for granted and rarely ever think about. Those are what make a relationship to me. So I picked important events in their relationship, but not the typical ones, like their wedding or their first night together. I suppose this is my way of showing that, if two people fundamentally fit together and can work, they're there for one another during the little times and let the bigger ones take care of themselves.

Anyway, thanks for the review. And I totally told Lori that you called her the Romione queen. :D


A Christmas To Remember by Gmariam

Rated: 3rd-5th Years •
Summary: Scorpius Malfoy and Roxanne Weasley share gumdrops over three Christmas encounters. Eight years later, Roxanne does not remember anything except the gumdrops.
Reviewer: The_Real_Hermione Signed
Date: 12/21/11 Title: Chapter 1: Christmas One-Shot

For a minute I thought you were going to leave it with her not remembering... but it is a Christmas story after all, and I'm glad it had this ending.

I loved the way you traced their relationship through gumdrops - it just added something beautiful to the segments and really connected them... and then how you tied that in with their daughter was lovely.

I liked how you slowly brought in details in the second half, so as a reader we were almost in Roxy's position - as in, you didn't say outright that they were married with a daughter - but of course we did have the advantage of knowing how they got together. But given the subject matter of the story, that worked really well.

I liked how you characterised Scorpius as a bookish 5th year prefect in Ravenclaw in the beginning - he didn't fit into a lot of the stereotypes people often write. Also I loved how his best friend was Fred - not Albus or Rose - and that Fred was actually also fairly bookish, not an exact replica of his namesake.

Also, great touches of detail that really added to the story - like George and Draco having a fight the day their granddaughter was born. I also liked how you included prejudice between the Weasleys and Malfoys, but didn't major on it - clearly between Scorpius and Roxanne it wasn't an issue, but it still caused problems between their families, which actually seemed very natural.

Anyway, loved the story and the characterisations of the main characters and I thought it was really well-written.


Author's Response: Thank you so much, Katrina! I really appreciate the lovely review! I'm glad you thought some of the things here worked - I know we tend to write what we know, and we all know Draco so Scorpius tends to pop out quite similar to him. But he must have had a bit of his mum in him too, so maybe she was a bit more bookish, after all. And I see Fred's studiousness as just a different focus of his dad's obvious talent and strength with pranks and the shop. Couldn't you just picture George and Draco going at it after what happened in OotP? I'm sure it didn't make things easy for Scorpius and Roxanne, but like you said, it wasn't the focus of the story, just something to make it more real given what we know of their parents. Haha, I'm glad you liked the gumdrops because I've eaten so many of them lately, that's really how this all materialized! Thanks again for the review, I really appreciate it, esp. since I felt like this next generation was a bit tough to tackle! ~Gina :)

Just a Boy by ToBeOrNotToBeAGryffindor

Rated: 3rd-5th Years •

Who we are is seldom who we were or who we will be, sometimes for the better and sometimes for the worse. Sometimes, in special circumstances, we choose one and hold onto it because the alternative simply is not an option.

And so it was for Adam Mulciber and Mary MacDonald.

Reviewer: The_Real_Hermione Signed
Date: 04/10/12 Title: Chapter 1: Just a Girl

This is another lovely story, Jess - I love your characterisation and even the idea for this story, I don't think I've read anything much about these characters and the incident which Lily refers to, and this was an interesting take on it.

I think what really comes through in this is that no-one is 'good' or 'bad'. but that we all have different priorities and different things we'd give up for something else (sorry that is worded terribly). I guess the thing I'm trying to say is that you can't really categorise people - which is why I love your ending - And this is how Mary Macdonald chooses to remember Adam Mulciber ” not as that Slytherin boy who broke her heart, nor as the Death Eater who had divested himself of his innocence so completely. He was just a boy, just Adam, and she was just a girl, just Mary. - Adam is not just a Death Eater or a Slytherin, he's a complex person with feelings and motivations.

I loved how you interspersed their past with the present and gradually showed their whole relationship and led up to that last moment.

This is unusual in your writing, but I found a few of the lines of dialogue a little clunky - for example “I can forgive you for what you did to me, but I don’t think I can get over why you did it. It’s good that you don’t hate me, I suppose, but I don’t know you anymore.” - The last bit seems a little tagged on and just didn't feel quite right, sorry I'm being so vague.

The rest of the writing was really great though - the feeling of cold and tension and less was really palpable throughout the story which worked really well.


Author's Response:

And here you are again. My prodigal reviewer! The f-list has marked your return with elation and praise, and I have been visited. I don't check my review page often anymore, since there's usually nothing on it. Meh, well...

When I wrote/posted this story, I admit to feeling sad it was seldom read and only had one review. But then I went back and read it and thought, "Well, hell. I wouldn't review this either." Sigh. I think I broke something I can't get back, and this story was part of that. There are few things I've written since we last met that I would deem fit for the praise you've mustered for this. I do love you for that. Just so you know. :D

This all sprung from a drabble and a story exchange. I just had this idea that there was something more to Mulciber/Mary that made his attack on her both more meaningful and more terrible. While it didn't really play out in the story, I felt like I needed to see what happened afterward played out in front of me before I could consider the plot bunny to be satisfied. This is what came out. It is, as you said, clunky. Truthfully, I don't think I even read over it before posting it because I was pretty sure it wouldn't improve no matter what I did to it. :/ I should really stop doing that.

Anyway, thank you for the review and the return visits. You are such as stellar reviewer and one of discerning tastes. A recent Great Hall challenge has produced a lot of great reading material, certainly better than this, but I will just say welcome back. You have been missed.


D by ToBeOrNotToBeAGryffindor

Rated: 6th-7th Years •


Over fifty brave souls perished during the fight that took down You-Know-Who’s regime. However, not all of the victims of the clash that ended just this morning set foot on the grounds of Hogwarts last night. Numerous family members and friends will be spending these next weeks not celebrating, but planning funerals while raking up the pieces of their lives and wondering where they are supposed to go from here.

One boy was lost and alone -- looking for a lifeline, crying for help. But is anyone listening?

This story was nominated for two 2012 Quicksilver Quill Awards: Best Dark/Angst Story and Best General Story.

Reviewer: The_Real_Hermione Signed
Date: 04/10/12 Title: Chapter 1: Dear Harry

Wow. I read this before knowing the song, and then listened to the song, and you've got me thinking so much that I can't really concentrate on what I should be doing...

So little is written about Dennis in fanfiction, and I'm so glad you brought his story out... even if it has a horrible end in this version. There is just so much sheer desperation in his letters - I loved this part How do you do it? Sometimes, it feels like someone ripped something out of me and it hurts to just breathe. I’ll go to sleep and have normal dreams, but then I’ll wake up and want to tell him about them. And then I remember that I can’t. I don’t know how much longer I can live like this. Somehow I think it's a lot more effective that he doesn't have nightmares... just that he wants to share his dreams with Colin.

There's a lovely juxtaposition between Dennis' letters, where he feels like no-one cares, and the Daily Prophet articles, which first tell everyone to care for each other and later to help find Dennis. I think it's interesting that you mention survivor's guilt in one of the articles, because Dennis doesn't quite seem to be feeling that - as in that it's his fault Colin died, or that he could have prevented it in any way - but he still seems to feel his life isn't worth living anymore.

There is a strange (in a good way) amount of optimism in the letters, especially the first two, when Dennis really seems to engage with Harry's life and hope that Harry can help him and even believe that he will someday make it out of this mess, and I think that really shows Dennis - after all, few people are as optimistic and enthusiastic as Dennis and Colin (although I always thought Dennis may have been like this because of Colin and could easily swing the other way... anyway).

I loved this bit too - And Muggles truly do notice nothing. Every day, I’ve applied to jobs in various places and passed the same homeless bloke in the same alley several times per day, and no one has ever stopped to give him food or ask him if he was warm enough. I have done a couple times, and he looked at me like I was a nutter. I suppose I am at this point. - I think, as well as really showing us something about Dennis, it's a simple yet poignant comment on our society. I loved the way you used the line "muggles don't see anything" to refer to what we don't want to know about, rather than magic which we actually don't know about (if that makes sense?)

Could Harry have saved Dennis? I suppose so, and yet I find it hard to blame Harry entirely for it. He would have had so many letters from fans and probably would have seen his work as an Auror as far more important than reading and responding to all that... and at the same time, he would have hated even getting fan letters. I think that's the interesting thing in the song and this about celebrity - the fan letters aren't really for the sake of the celebrity, but for the fan. And as much as celebrities want to just be normal people (well at least Harry would), they aren't, and that is not what they represent to society. In Harry, Dennis sees someone almost superhuman, and yet someone he can also relate to, and also someone who connects him to Colin.

I loved the format - it's so much more effective than a straight narrative. The news articles really felt authentic - especially the Muggle one was very impersonal, while the Daily Prophet showed a society trying to recuperate.

The "Oh." at the end is just beautiful, even though as readers we already know what's going to happen, in that one word (well I guess it's not a word... sound then?) there's Harry's realisation and guilt and it works well. I liked the way you spaced it out as well.

There is so much I could say about this story, in my opinion it's one of your best (which is really saying something considering the qualibre of all your work).


Author's Response:

Wow, I’m really not good at responding to wonderful reviews. This one kind of asplodes my brain, I won’t lie. I am simply not equipped to handle your loveliness right now.

If I were to pick a fic to put amongst my best, I don’t think this one would’ve made the list or even the honourable mentions. But then, just about everything I write that I truly love ends up not on that list. I think why I put a lot into this story is because of the song. I remembered this song from when I was younger and remembered the haunting, obsessive quality of it. While I in no way thing Dennis is creepy, I think he needed something to obsess over in the state he was in, something all-consuming as he tried to deal with the loss of his brother, his own trauma, and essentially losing his father, as well. He was asked to be an adult before he was an adult, and it broke him. I wanted to mother him so badly. :/

The thing you mentioned about the dreams comes from personal experience. Nightmares are terrifying; waking up from one and not being able to put it out of your mind or, worse, distinguish it from reality is doubly so. I think Dennis found that being awake was worse than being asleep because he was smart enough to know that dreams ended and were not what one should be afraid of. What waited for him in real life was worse.

I do think that both Colin and Dennis were optimistic and exuberant. Just look at when Dennis ended up in the lake on his first day. He just stuck his arms up in the air like he’d just done something badass, rather than feel embarrassed. His actions in canon just suggest someone who is positive. And he was for a while. Then reality came and swatted it right out of him, and no one was there to brush him off and put him back in the right direction. I don’t know if Harry could’ve done that with a miracle, let alone a letter, but no one did anything at all. And that is just sad.

I did go a bit activist in this with both the gun and the mention of the homeless man and even Dennis himself. It just shows that we are all so wrapped up in our own problems that we unconsciously (or even consciously) write off others’ problems as not as important. Sure, we could go to a restaurant, eat too much, and take home the leftovers for breakfast. We could pass someone sleeping in a cardboard box and not once thing to offer them that extra food that we probably don’t need or could easily replace. It just doesn’t click in our heads. But Dennis, as someone who is suffering, albeit in a different way than that homeless man (or maybe not so different), sees it and all the hypocrisy surrounding it. It squelches his hopes and his general opinion on humanity more effectively than losing his brother, perhaps. And the most dangerous thing that we as a society can do is stop caring. It’s already happening in the world today, and in truly revolting ways. It might have even given Dennis the urge to take what he needed to survive rather than hope that human decency would afford it to him, because he didn’t see any of that decency.

Harry in this is deceptively complicated. I agree that he can’t be blamed for Dennis’s death. It is unreasonable to ask more of Harry than he has already given. He did die, after all, even if he did come back. But whose fault is it? The shop owner for owning a gun to protect his livelihood? The people who didn’t give Dennis the job he needed to make it? The people who were meant to look after him, only for him to appear fine outwardly? His teachers for not noticing he was hurting? His father for not being stronger after losing Colin? These are hard to affix with blame, because while none of them were singularly responsible, all of them were partially responsible. It’s undeniable that Colin died because of Voldemort, but who killed Dennis Creevey? Everyone, and no one. Could Harry have ‘saved’ Dennis? Perhaps, but if wishes were Horcruxes, then no one would ever die. :/

I don’t feel remorse for making Harry feel guilty in this. I think someone should feel guilty over what happened to Dennis, and as the one person Dennis had reached out to, the one who didn’t answer, Harry was as logical a choice as any. But it was important for people to know how Dennis died and why he died, even if ‘people’ is just Harry. Maybe a few people could put two and two together and work it out, but it would be my hope that Harry would let others know just how badly everyone had let down a boy who just needed a bit of guidance and someone to just be there for him.

Well, I’ve soap boxed for long enough. I’m so glad you picked up on some of the themes I sneakily planted in this. While I’m not sure this is one of my best, I think this is one of the more important things I’ve written in terms of social conscience. It’s not perfect, but I’m happy that you appreciated it. Thank you so much for your thoughtful review. ♥


Glass by xxbabewithbrainsxx

Rated: 1st-2nd Years • Past Featured Story

It’s New Year’s Eve, and it’s the Potters’ turn to host this year’s party. Lily Luna Potter, however, has no idea that they are trying to set her up with a certain someone, despite the fact that Lily already has that certain someone, though her family doesn't know that...

This is babewithbrains of Ravenclaw, writing for the Great Hall-iday Challenge 2011, Prompt Three -- Operation: Mistletoe.

Reviewer: The_Real_Hermione Signed
Date: 04/26/12 Title: Chapter 1: New Year's Eve, 2029

It's quite interesting that you wrote these 3 stories (this, Broken Glass and Highway to Regret) in reverse order... and I've read them in their chronological order. It kind of works both ways... I think the way I read it, I was never sure until the end of this that they really would stay together. Anyway.

I looooove the ending of this. I love that Louis is finally brave enough to 'come out' to the family, and to be honest, I think the family might have less issues with this relationship than Scorose haha. But I think it shows a great development in his character from the beginning.

Also the scene at the beginning between the two of them was so cute - haha you're really making me start to believe in this pairing. I also liked the development in Lily's character in terms of starting to believe she's beautiful, at least for Louis, because I think a body image issue can cause problems in a relationship - it's nice that at the end they both believe in each other and themselves.

I loved the idea that Lily told Victoire first - you've shown that Louis and Victoire are fairly close, so it adds something to have Lily and Victoire having that kind of relationship.

Also, thanks for welcoming me back - hopefully I'll actually have some new stories up soon too.


Author's Response: I'm at school at the moment, and I'm having to stop myself from squeeing out loud :D I'm so glad you liked this. At the time, I was going through a real slump in my writing, having just written Flicker and Fail in a complete rush and beating myself up about how crap it is, and then the Great Hall-iday Challenge cropped up. Although at the time, I didn't think I would enter, inspiration struck as I was looking at some of my 100-word drabbles I wrote for this pairing. (Basically, this pairing stemmed from a, erm, discussion we had over on the boards about cousin pairings. Someone expressed their distaste for stories where Weasley cousins were shipped together, and, well, I feel quite strongly about it, being someone with several close relatives who have married their first cousins -- in fact, I know a couple very, very well who have been married for the last twenty years. So the pairing began as a sort of rebuttal to that, as well as the fact that the dynamics of that kind of relationship really fascinate me, especially having read Carole's James/Dominique (Stars or Carousels) and Jess's Louis/Lucy (Never Let Me Go).)

That was a rather long explanation, lol. Oops. Anyway, I seem to always work better backwards -- I usually write the endings of stories first. My mind works in weird ways, hehehe. I'm glad I had that element of surprise, though :) Yay to you liking the ending. I think it was a bit too -- open, but I do hope to maybe write a follow-up (right now, I'm more concerned about converting this to OF and revising for my GCSEs -- eeeep). Rest assured, their coming out will not, um, be pretty :P

Yayyyyyyy, I think I've become slightly obsessed with this pairing, putting it lightly, so it's good to know you're convinced of the pairing, even with your qualms to begin with. I think it's easy to have this sort of pairing if you don't think of them as cousins in a relationship, but, rather, two people in love who just happen to be related. And yeah, as someone with body image issues, it was nice writing that bit, even if I am totally channelling Lily in the process, lol.

And I think Victoire is very astute, and she probably guessed at it anyway. Louis and Victoire are very close, so it made sense that Lily would be able to confide in her too.

Once again, I'm so glad you're back. I don't know what I've done to receive such loveliness :D


The Highway of Regret by xxbabewithbrainsxx

Rated: 3rd-5th Years •
The storms are raging

on the rolling sea

And on the highway of regret

Lily Luna Potter is tired of sneaking around with her lover, but when she asks him if they can live together, she is unexpectedly rebuked.

Meanwhile, Scorpius Malfoy is forced to choose between his girlfriend and his job, and things take a turn for the worst when she tells him of her decision.

What will happen when the two, by chance, meet under the influence of both liquor and rejection?

*Taken from Make You Feel My Love, written by Bob Dylan (but I prefer the Adele version :D)

This is babewithbrains of Ravenclaw writing for the Great Hall Cotillion Challenge 2012.

:O This story has been nominated for a 2012 Quicksilver Quill Award: Best Next Generation. Thank you!
Reviewer: The_Real_Hermione Signed
Date: 04/25/12 Title: Chapter 1: The Rolling Sea

Well I'm reading this right after reading "Broken Glass" (what made me come and read this actually), and it's really fantastic. I hadn't even realised Lily was overweight in that... it adds a really different dynamic to this relationship, because in "Broken Glass" it's all about Louis being damaged and Lily helping him heal, and this shows another side. I loved the lines “Hey, we haven’t exactly found it a walk in the park either, you know,” Lily reminded him. “Your family was my family too.”

“You don't have to tell me that,” Louis said quietly. “I get told often enough. Now go on.”
- It just flowed really naturally and showed the problem in their relationship.

I liked how you put both these pairings in one story (okay, I know from your end notes that we're leading up to Scily), because you paralleled them really well.

I think Rose is interesting in this - at first I thought it was terribly selfish that she said she loved her job more than Scorpius, but in a way there's a brave honesty about that - I think we all like to think that love is the most important thing, but it can often play out differently in a practical sense.

Hmm anyway I'm going to stop here because this chapter was pretty short and I want to keep reading!!


Author's Response: You know, this is one story that I wasn't happy with at the time, but looking back on it, there are certain moments that make me smile. Perhaps it's not as bad as I thought :)

I think I wanted to have a different slant on Lily -- some stories have Lily as practically a clone of Ginny, which I don't think is right, but I think it's entirely plausible for Lily to have issues with her weight/size. I haven't come across many fanfics which really deal with the issue of body image, and I realised recently that I write about a lot of beautiful people (I know you haven't read it, but in Flicker and Fail, my Katie/Leanne story, both Katie and Leanne are just really pretty, and Scorpius and Rose in Blood and Roses are also gorgeous in my head), so this was my attempt to try and understand why I do that. And that's not to say Lily isn't beautiful -- to Louis, she is, and to a lesser extent, to Scorpius. It's more about perceptions, really.

I'm so glad you thought this flowed naturally! I love this pairing so much, to the point where I'm actually in the process of converting it to OF, so it's so nice to hear that you liked it :) Yes, Lily helped him heal, but Louis's insecurities and fears always seem to show, sadly.

I am anything but a Scily shipper, so naturally I would have a different slant to the pairing from others, lol. This is for the GH Cotillion, and while I don't think it could win anything, if there were an Anti-OTP award, I could get maybe third place if I'm lucky, hehehehe.

The idea of Rose loving her job more than Scorpius comes from the Mentalist, where a similar relationship takes place -- they're not allowed to be together, and when faced with the choice of whether or not they were going to stay together, the woman decides that she'd rather not be responsible for her boyfriend losing her job. I seem to be inspired by the Mentalist a lot, as well as Adele, lol. I wonder why...

I'm so glad you didn't hate this. I certainly did :P Seriously, thank you so much for the review.


Reviewer: The_Real_Hermione Signed
Date: 04/25/12 Title: Chapter 2: The Evening Shadows

This is a great second half to the story! This is actually a lot less Scily than I expected after your end notes on chapter 1... I mean, they were both drunk (especially her) and regretted it afterwards. Anyway, I liked that Lily and Louis made up, but I wonder how Lily is going to cope with the guilt she feels now and the problems that might cause between her and Louis.

It's a small thing, but I liked how protective Harry was of Lily - certainly annoying for her, but very much in character for him.

I think Scorpius gets the worst deal in all this... and he's such a decent guy too. The small fragment when Scorpius gets to work late is really well-done, and I felt so bad for him. Obviously Rose still has feelings for him, and he can see that, which makes it harder for him to try and move on.

Also, from some of your notes and responses to reviews, you seem to think that this isn't very good... I think you underestimate your writing. The characters, writing, dialogue... it's all really good.


Author's Response: Yeah, it wasn't really very Scily, lol. But I was bound by my OTP card, and I knew I couldn't split Louis and Lily up. Besides which, yes, they were both drunk, and they were both dealing with rejection in a way. And, of course, they didn't actually have sex. :P

I actually had Harry as more protective of Lily, but Alex and Carole suggested I tone it down a little, as Lily is nineteen in this, and therefore old enough to make decisions/go out/etc on her own without her parents' permission. So I'm glad you liked it -- I do think he would allow his kids some freedom, but not as much as Lily would want, lol.

Scorpius *is* a decent guy, and he will always have feelings for Rose. Whether or not they'll get back together remains unknown for the time being :) I'm glad you liked that section -- one of my betas said I should include some kind of follow-up with Scorpius, as Lily's story is kind of given closure, but not Scorpius's. Hence this scene.

I thank you for the wonderful compliment, Katrina, but I honestly don't think my writing is all that. I occasionally have a burst of inspiration that results in a story I like, but apart from that, I think my writing is kind of average. It means so much to me that you said that, though, so thank you :)

These reviews have really, really brightened up my day. I'm so honoured to have been reviewed by you thrice (I seriously do not deserve such loveliness), and like I said before, welcome back. :D


Picture of You by ToBeOrNotToBeAGryffindor

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

A photograph and a slew of memories were all that remained of Remus Lupin's schoolboy romance with Marlene McKinnon. But she was gone, and he gagged on all the things he never said.

This story is dedicated to the gorgeous and always-inspiring Equinox Chick/Carole/Croll of the Dungeon. May your minions never stray in their worship of you. It was inspired by a rather gorgeous song by The Cure, called Pictures of You.

This story has been nominated for a 2012 Quicksilver Quill Award: Best Marauder Era.

Reviewer: The_Real_Hermione Signed
Date: 04/10/12 Title: Chapter 1: Hold for the last time, then slip away quietly

So you're probably feeling now like I'm spamming you with all these reviews... basically I haven't read any fanfic for a while, so I'm reading most of what you've written in the last few months...

I loved this. I loved the present tense and past tense - you used them so well that I hardly noticed the shift for the memories, and while present tense can often sound clunky/unnatural, it flowed perfectly here.

I loved the bit when Remus tried to obliterate the dark mark - for some reason it made me think of that scene in the fifth movie when Sirius dies and Remus holds Harry back from going through the veil - although possibly this was more poignant, because Harry can be quite hot-headed, whereas Remus practically never loses it.

I love the background this gives for Remus/Tonks too - it seems very likely that Remus would have loved someone before her, and that adds to his hesitancy - after all, he may have more obvious reasons than most, but I think he's just afraid of being hurt - and if he's been hurt in that way before, it makes more sense.

The scene when Marlene essentially proposed was so well-written - I could really feel the whole mood slip from happy to broken just in that short scene.

Even though this is short and as much about Remus as Marlene, you really developed her character well, considering the books don't give us much. I also liked how, because this is told in Remus' eyes, she seems perfect, when presumably there would be more to her.

Anyway, I really loved this story.


Author's Response:

Spam away, dearie. I will ogle every word hungrily, like a starving vegetarian at a salad bar. And, as it's nearly 7am and I should really sleep, I will apologise for the crappiness of that simile.

This is one thing I was really happy with after I finished and am still happy with now. I don't get that sensation often, so I was glad that I could write this as a pick-me-up for Carole.

When starting this, I had a vivid image of Remus tearing a photograph but immediately realising his mistake as soon as it's done. He needed that connection to Marlene to cope with her death, but his inability to cope had destroyed it. And yes, it does indeed explore Remus's irrational reluctance to pursue any relationships. While his lycanthropy never actually killed Marlene, or his not telling her, he would look and look for a reason to blame himself for it to the point where he might as well have done. That's all it takes.

I think one of the reasons why Remus is so measured in his grief later on is because of this (in my head canon). He's seen that ranting and carrying on does nothing but make one do things one regrets. Like mauling the one last piece left of someone beloved.

Anyway, me = rambling; you = superior to none other for visiting my page. I actually had a thought while writing this that it would be right up your alley. I can't say it for certainty, but I'm glad you liked it. Thank you again for your support. :D


Nostalgia by welshdevondragon

Rated: 1st-2nd Years •
Only the sunset knows
My blind desire for the fleeting
Only the moon understands
The beauty of love when held by hand
Like the aura of nostalgia

Nostalgia: From the Greek, meaning, ‘the pain from an old wound.’ Stephen and Beatrice Granger are many thousand miles away from home, and have the vague sense that they’ve left something, or someone, behind.

Lyrics above quoted from the beautiful song Nostalgia by Emily Barker and the Red Clay Halo.

This is welshdevondragon writing for the Inaugural Great Hall Cotillion.
Reviewer: The_Real_Hermione Signed
Date: 04/09/12 Title: Chapter 1: One-shot

Yet another lovely story, Alex. Firstly I really liked how you did your research and brought Melbourne to life, especially including the trams (although to suggest that a Melbourne winter is as warm as a British summer is a little exaggerated) - bringing the setting in like that really enhances the story, especially in one like this where place is really important to the characters.

I love this concept - after all, as powerful as Hermione may be, completely erasing herself from her parents' life would have taken an awful lot of power and perhaps she didn't quite pull it off. The whole idea of feeling loss for something you can't remember is really interesting, and you show it really well here. There's an unresolved and unsettled feeling throughout the story - starting with the first line Beatrice was walking down the street, clinging her shawl tightly around her arms as protection against the evening breeze., which suggests subtly that something isn't quite right.

I also love the subtlety of this story - you don't always make the tension really obvious, and it is balanced by the enduring relationship between Beatrice and Stephen.

Just one thing - I thought Beatrice's memory of Stephen saying 'don't swear in front of the baby' was a bit obvious, and she didn't really seem to follow up on it - she acted to me like someone with memory loss, not someone who can't remember a specific thing... if that makes any sense? Anyway, it's just a small thing.

Otherwise I really loved this :).


Frank by welshdevondragon

Rated: 1st-2nd Years •
Summary: In the closed ward of St Mungo's, Frank sees:

This is based on a 2012 SPEW Lovenotes I wrote for Lily/Padfoot1333, but the lovenote aspect has been somewhat removed.
Reviewer: The_Real_Hermione Signed
Date: 04/09/12 Title: Chapter 1: One-shot

This fic almost had me in tears... especially that last line He has nothing to do with us. I think as well as getting inside Frank's head in this, you show really well how awful it is for Neville to see them and them not to recognise him - probably more poignantly than had you written it from Neville's perspective.

I like what Frank can actually recognise about Neville - that he's only recently a man and that he's seen far too much - and yet he has no idea who this is. I also liked his memory of Alice and the connection you gave the two of them.

Also the detail about the food and how he can't eat it was really thoughtful and adds to the characterisation.

The way he can't remember specific words is really well done - it interrupts the story in a good way and really shows what it's like for him - it reminds me of someone with Alzheimer's, which I think is interesting, because Frank and Alice's illness often reminds me of that - there's something really terrible about losing your mind, as opposed to a more physical illness.

Anyway sorry this was a bit rushed, but I loved the story, and you really pulled this off.


Flicker and Fail by xxbabewithbrainsxx

Rated: 6th-7th Years •

I know I have a fickle heart,

And a bitterness

And a wandering eye

And a heaviness

In my head...

But don’t you remember?

Don’t you remember?

The reason you loved me before

Baby, please remember me once more...

Leanne Starr watches Katie Bell anxiously as she awakens at last, six months after she was cursed in Hogsmeade. She is waiting for that spark of recognition to flicker in Katie’s eyes. But that spark never appears, and Katie just doesn’t remember her.

This story was written for the wonderful and fabulous Alex/welshdevondragon, my alpha-beta, who also happens to be a wicked writer, super mod and also my first ever friend on MNFF :D

:D :D :D This story has been nominated for a 2012 Quicksilver Quill Award: Best Same-Sex Pairing. Thank you!

Reviewer: The_Real_Hermione Signed
Date: 04/28/12 Title: Chapter 1: When Will I See You Again?

It took me a bit of time to get into this story... but by the end of the chapter, I've fallen in love with it.

I think at the beginning, I found you over-wrote it a bit, for example the line but instead, they are dull and blank and confused - I think that would be more effective with just one adjective. Anyway, that's just a really small thing.

At the same time, though, I was intrigued from the beginning - as to how much Katie would remember, and exactly what their relationship had been like in the past.

You flowed really naturally from the present tense at the beginning to the past for all the flashbacks.

I think the chapter got really interesting from their kiss onwards - that introduced a really interesting element of tension and drama between them. I thought it was interesting that you mentioned Cedric right at the beginning, especially because he turns out to be so important to the story.

I think the very last section was the best - you really managed to show both girls' emotion and it almost made me want to cry... and that last line was just absolutely beautiful.

One other small thing - I found that the scene when they get on the train through to their Sorting was a little long - obviously it's important, especially the Sorting, but it dragged a little for me.

The dynamics between their parents were also really interesting and I think they add something really different to the story... I'm hoping you explore that a bit more in the next two chapters... although I'm also very interested to see how their relationship moves from here and what impact Katie's memory loss will have on all of it.

I like the way you've contrasted the two of them - Katie is extroverted, and in that final scene it is her expressing all her emotion, while Leanne is more quite and studious and always holding her feelings inside... and the one time (the kiss) when she ran with her emotions, it had horrible implications.

So basically I can't wait to keep reading, which is why this isn't really a very good review, sorry.


Author's Response: Yayyyyyy, I did a happy dance when I saw four more reviews from you, Katrina! Thank you so much for all of them.

This is, I admit, not one of my stronger stories, but it's also one that's rather dear to my heart because of just how much I angsted over it. I swear I must have shed a few tears over how crap certain parts were, and then I rewrote those parts. I agree that it was overwritten to begin with, and I totally get why you couldn't get into it at the start.

I'm glad you thought the transition between present and past was done well -- that was something I was quite concerned about. And yeah, the kiss was kind of like *the* moment between them. Cedric does play a fairly large part in the story, yes. He is a good guy; it's just that Leanne was jealous of him, lol.

I always feel bad when I make people cry, not gonna lie, but I'm hoping it was a good thing that you *nearly* cried :P It was meant to be emotional, so I'm glad you thought it was too.

I do see what you mean about the Sorting scene, but it was something my first beta (Sarah/Sapphire at Dawn) asked about, so I kind of expanded on the idea after the original was posted on LJ for Alex. And yeah, the dynamics between the parents are something I was interested in.

Katie and Leanne are intentionally very different, though I find that opposites attract a lot, so I hope it's believable.

Anyway, thank you for the lovely review!


Reviewer: The_Real_Hermione Signed
Date: 04/28/12 Title: Chapter 2: A Fickle Heart

Well I said in my last review I was interested in their parents... I wasn't quite expecting this though. I loved the bit when Katie was saying to Leanne that basically their lives were reversed - as in, Leanne should be the one with the addicted mother etc - that drew a really interesting connection between the two of them.

In the first chapter, I felt more sorry for Leanne, although bad for Katie too, and I don't think Katie could be blamed for not realising Leanne loved her... anyway, in this chapter, it sort of went the other way - because at least Leanne has a family and a job and a life.

The dialogue between them is very well-written and at times tense, at others like old friends, which really fits this relationship.

I can't wait for the last chapter, so I'm going to leave this just as a short review and keep reading.


Author's Response: Yeah, it was a bit unexpected, lol. Buuuut I hope you thought it was believable/accurate, because that was a big concern of mine also. And yep, that was what I was going for about Leanne and Katie's positions reversing.

Yay to you liking the dialogue! I do think that's one of my strengths, one of my few strengths, hehehehe. Thank you for the reviewwwwwwww!


Reviewer: The_Real_Hermione Signed
Date: 04/28/12 Title: Chapter 3: The Reason You Loved Me Before

Firstly, I have had no desire whatsoever to cleach my eyeballs while reading this. Secondly, I did enjoy this very much.

I was quite surprised by the ending - with all the angst of the first two chapters, I hadn't expected such a happy ending. But it did actually follow on quite naturally.

I really liked how you did their day in Hogsmeade, leading up to when she gets the necklace - it blended really well with what was already set out in canon.

I liked the tension between them at the start of the chapter - I thought you did a good job with Leanne, who is obviously conflicted between wanting to talk to Katie and wanting to be angry with her for just walking out like that.

I loved how you wrote the scene when Katie wouldn't let Leanne say she loved her and Katie was dressing her... somehow by writing that, it was a lot more powerful than if they'd talked - there was such great tension between the two of them.

If I have one criticism for this story, it's that everything seems to happen very quickly, and the whole story doesn't seem to have the same tone - especially the end of this chapter is fairly light and focussed only on their relationship, whereas the previous chapter had a lot more darker themes in it. It just seems to move between the two very quickly. But it's really only a small thing, I actually liked the story very much.


Author's Response: Hahahahaha, I'm glad of that :) I really am very happy you enjoyed this, despite your occasional criticisms.

I wanted to give them a happy ending. They deserved it, after all the crap I put them through, lol. It's good to know it was a natural ending, though.

And I'm glad you liked the tension between them. Also, the scene where Leanne wanted to tell Katie she loved her was another addition -- it wasn't in the original version. It was meant to be completely packed with tension, lolol. And yeah, it wouldn't quite work as well if they just had that conversation.

Yeah, everything happens too quickly for my liking too, but I couldn't make it too long, because it was originally for a swap. (Also, exams and so on get in the way >.<) However, I am planning on converting parts of this into an OF, where I'm basically combining with Flicker and Fail -- the aspects of amnesia and so on -- with my Loulily stories.

I'm really glad you enjoyed it, though! Thanks for the lovely review. :)


The Caustic Ticking of the Clock by xxbabewithbrainsxx

Rated: 3rd-5th Years •

Until near twelve the strange girl all at once

Guilt-stricken halts, pales, clings to the prince

As amid the hectic music and cocktail talk

She hears the caustic ticking of the clock.*

The students at Hogwarts have left for their Christmas holidays, but in the castle, a celebration of a betrothal is taking place. However, one woman watches the couple, waiting for midnight.

*Taken from the poem Cinderella by Sylvia Plath.

This is babewithbrains of Ravenclaw writing for the Great Hall Cotillion challenge.

ZOMG. This story has been nominated for a 2012 Quicksilver Quill Award: Best Same-Sex Pairing. Thank you!
Reviewer: The_Real_Hermione Signed
Date: 04/28/12 Title: Chapter 1: The Caustic Ticking of the Clock

I love this, Soraya. You know already that I love second person stories when they're well-written, and you really pulled this one off. It's the perfect length, too, because second person can become waring on the reader, but this is just beautiful. I also love how the characters are nameless until the end (although I figured out who they were) - it really makes the story more about the characters and what they're feeling in these moments, rather than who they've become in a historical sense (I hope that makes sense to you).

The second person also really helps the reader get inside Helga's head, and empathise with her.

I think the dynamic of a secret relationship is really interesting, and that's something that SSP really explores. The reasons why the characters are in this relationship is also interesting (sorry I'm really overusing that word) - because from Helga's perspective, clearly she loves Rowena, but I think Rowena's feelings are more complicated - does she love Helga, but marry a man because of the constraints of society? Is she only with Helga for a physical reason, or to try something new? I'm not sure which it is, you leave it a bit open (in a good way), but I don't think she loves Helga more than anything, because if she did, I think she would be willing to keep up the relationship and not marry someone else, even if it had to be secret forever.

Also I think it's great that you haven't tried to "anitiquitise" this in any way - I've read Founders era before where the author has tried to do that in the dialogue, and it feels very unnatural and isn't usually that accurate - I mean if you look at Chaucer (which is a good 200-300 years later than this), the language is very different to what it is now. Anyway, sorry about that tangent - what I'm trying to say is I'm glad you wrote this as you would write anything else, even though it's set 1000 years ago.

I loved how Helga and Rowena sort of showed the qualities they value in their Houses - Helga is loyal, and she is the one betrayed, Rowena is clever and aware of it, like in another great mind -- though, as you were quick to note, not as great as hers, of course. In my opinion, Helga was probably just as great a witch as Rowena (this could be because I was sorted into Hufflepuff on Pottermore though haha... although I am a Ravenclaw on the forums), but it makes sense that neither Helga nor Rowena would see it that way.

I'm not a huge Plath fan, but you used the lines from the poem beautifully and they really added to the story.

Your writing is stunning in this too - especially the times you use repetition (eg She’s marrying a good man, and in time, they will have children together. A good man.) - that really shows how Helga is struggling to come to terms with Rowena's engagement and what it will mean for her.

Well I think I've rambled enough about how amazing this story is now haha.


Author's Response: This is one of my better stories, lolol. I'm glad you liked it. I love second person when it's written well and not cloying, so it's nice to know what you think too. And I know what you mean about the length, too. Originally it was only 700 words, so I just wanted to get it up to the minimum word count for the challenge (1500 words).

And I like being in Helga's head :) Second person was the best choice, only because of the namelessness and the fact that writing third person SSP is a b!tch >.<

I'm not quite sure of Rowena's feelings either, hahahaha. I tried answering Abi's (the review below) questions as best as I could, but I'm kind of confused myself, lol.

I'm rubbish with historical details and so on, hence why I didn't try to make it seem like too historical :) It was me being lazy, really. Also, there isn't any real dialogue for that very reason.

I'm a Slytherin on Pottermore :) I'm glad you liked the qualities of Rowena and Helga -- it was very much meant to be a character study, exploring their personalities.

I love Sylvia Plath, and I'm glad you liked how I used the lines from the poem. And yay to you liking my writing style -- it's different from how I usually write.

You did NOT ramble. Thank you, so, so much, for all the lovely reviews, which I appreciate and have made my day so much.