The whole world has gone crazy, tipped on its side, changes happening so quickly that Harry can’t keep track of them all. He isn’t at the centre of it anymore – he’s drifting peacefully somewhere on the very outer rim, and he likes it this way, and he never wants to go back.
He has a dream one night. Soft hands lift him out of his bed. He opens his eyes and their faces are like maps of a country he’s never been to but has always wanted to go. They say they’ll take him to a place where all he has to is breathe.
He says okay.
After Voldemort's defeat, Harry struggles to come to terms with love, death, and the end of innocence. One-shot. Rated for very, very mild sexual implications.
Oh, that was a beautiful fic. I’ve been meaning to read it for a while now, and I’ve only just remembered to finally do so.
The first months of peace explode in Harry’s face with the ferocity, the devastation, of a long dormant bomb. What a fantastic start to a fic. I knew immediately that this was going to be something really special, and I was right. The imagery you create here (and everywhere, really, but I’ll get to that later) is startling, but it’s perfect. I mean, it just brings us, the reader, right into the fic, right into Harry’s life after Voldemort. And of course, the idea of peace exploding is a lovely use of words and juxtaposing ideas.
Superimposed over the bright, restored version of the castle is another image, an image of a broken, hollowed building, bent pitifully to the will of those who once invaded it. More of that amazing imagery. I love ‘bent pitifully to the will.’ It’s rather chilling, actually. And just the fact that there’s Hogwarts and there’s Harry’s Hogwarts. And then you bring in the solution; someone’s fixed what was broken. Guh. The language in this fic is beyond awesome.
From day one he’s been living off of somebody else’s time, snatching a little here, stealing a little there, desperate to stay alive for another hour, minute, second. Now he has more time than he knows what to do with. I love the idea here; it’s exactly right for Harry. You do such a good job of showing us what Harry’s life is like now. Of course it’s completely different, and it makes sense that it was hard at first for him to adjust to a ‘normal’ life. Suddenly he doesn’t have to save everybody, and he doesn’t really know what to do with that. It’s sad to think of Harry so unsure about everything, but it’s written so beautifully here that I suppose it’s okay. -wink-
And he can remember. Yes, he can remember. But eventually that’s all he can do. This fic is breaking my heart, you know that? The mention of Remus and Tonks dying, and how people die like that all the time…it’s just chilling.
I think the decision to use spring as the last season for this fic is a really interesting one, especially the way that you use it. Normally people associate happiness and all that with spring, but you begin the spring section with ‘washed out.’ It just creates a whole different feeling, and it’s great. But then you move through the season, and things become brighter for Harry, and you manage to end on somewhat of a happy note. There are still some clouds there, but there’s hope. Ginny sees it, and Harry wants it, and they know that they’ll be okay.
So in case you couldn’t tell, I love this fic. It’s written so beautifully and just…great, great job. I can’t wait to see more fics from you in the future.
I must insist, Rachel, that you write more Ron/Hermione. You pwn at this pairing.
Under any other circumstances, it would have been a beautiful day. This is a great opening line. Immediately we know that something is wrong, that something terrible has come in and made a beautiful day suddenly not beautiful. I love the image of Ron sitting by the lake and plucking fistfuls of grass. First off, ‘pluck’ and ‘fistful’ are just two words that don’t really go together, but here they work really, really well. I just love the juxtaposition of those two words. (Shut up, yes, I’m praising two words. -shifty-)
Okay, I’m about to say something that will sound ridiculous coming from me, but I think you’ve gone a bit semicolon and dash happy in this fic. There just seem to be a lot of semicolons and dashes, and as much as I adore both those pieces of punctuation, I think they get a tad overused here. Basically I think you could have toned them down just a little without losing anything from the piece overall. Sometimes a period or a set of commas would have worked just as well, delivered the same effect.
So, as I said before, you are awesome at writing Ron/Hermione. And you’re awesome at writing Ron and Hermione, separately, as characters, so when you bring those two characters together, it works wonderfully well. I think it’s very telling of Ron’s character that he’s sitting, thinking about Fred. It shows his love for his family and how much he truly misses his brother, and also the toll that the war has taken on everyone. Of course, I got sad all over again about Fred’s death, but I suppose that’s the point.
I adore that Ron entwines his fingers with Hermione’s. Adorable, and perfect. Ron and Hermione are just heart. It’s so clear how right they are for each other in this fic. You write them so well and just really show that yes, Ron and Hermione are meant to be together. They belong together. Ron can confide in Hermione, like I don’t think he could in Harry. He’s able to tell her how he feels, and she’s able to comfort him, and it’s just…I love Ron/Hermione!
It’s always been you that I’ve admired. So much heart. I love that line, I love this fic. And I love this: And without thinking twice, Ron smiled, realising how easy it was for him to believe her. Just…love. I love this entire thing. Heart.
So, yes, I will stop before I become completely incoherent. I insist you write more Ron/Hermione, because you write it so well and the world deserves more Rachel!Ron/Hermione. The end.
Author's Response: Gah, Leanne, I can\'t tell you how much it makes my day to sign onto MNFF and find one of your reviews waiting for me. Yay! Well, first, hee, it\'s interesting that you think I\'m good at this pairing, because it\'s not particularly my favourite. However, it is one of the more fun ones to write, I must say. And LOL, I think I\'m just dash and semicolon happy in general. Believe it or not, this isn\'t actually my worst fic in regards to that. >.> But I\'m glad you pointed it out, because it\'s something that I always want to work on... but sort of never remember to when I\'m writing. So, yes. Basically, thank you for the most wonderful review! Your feedback is appreciated as always. *squishes*
Mar, you pretty much win at writing pairings like this. You know, the ones that not many people write, the ones with minor, little-known characters, the ones that are fabulous when written wonderfully, like yours. I’m not the biggest Percy fan, but I love this fic.
I had to go back to the LoveNotes thread to remind myself who Audrey is, but once I’d done that, I loved this even more. I mean, you took a character whom we really know nothing about except that she eventually married Percy and had two kids with him, and you made her completely real. Plus, you also win at making non-annoying and non-clichéd American characters. I think you’re good at it because you make them believable. You give them stories, plausible reasons. And in this case, Audrey’s reason for being on the other side of the pond is a great part of her character. I’m officially an Audrey fan.
I also love seeing this part of Percy’s story. Because, yeah, we get to see him come back in DH (which made me literally throw my hand up with joy when I read it, by the way), but here we see a bit of background on how he came back. And when Audrey mentions that Percy left his family, and Percy is stung – well, it made me like Percy. And I like that Percy and Audrey can talk like that. Maybe they’re not perfectly in sync yet, but it’s so clear that they’re getting there, that they’ve got this connection, that they have a significant relationship. It’s fabulous.
“Always?” Always and forever! Bwahaha. But, no, that was sweet. I loved the ‘this might be love, this was probably love.’ I love your writing, really. And I also have to say that I love the title. It’s simple, but not in a boring, couldn’t-you-have-given-it-more-thought sort of way. It’s perfect for the story.
So in case I’ve not made it clear, I really liked this story. Loved it, even. I would so be excited to read more Percy/Audrey from you. -hint- Excellent work, as always, dear twin.
Well, I don’t know if this fic frightened my pants off, but it was still a good read.
I thought you did a good job of introducing the ‘scary’ factors. The cracks, the street lamps going out, the Dementors, etc. You gave the reader time to process each thing as it happened, rather than just throwing a bunch of potentially scary things at us at one time. You let the suspense build, which is important. I liked the line, “It was the flickering of the first street lamp that started it.” However, I did feel that you could have let the suspense build even more. Maybe Hermione could have reached her doorstep later, maybe she could have been left in silence longer to really let the disruptions, well, disrupt. I hope that makes sense. Basically I felt that I could have been in more suspense as I was reading; it seemed like I was finding out what was happening too quickly.
I think it mostly has to do with the length of this. Normally I don’t fuss over length, because sometimes a fic is just done, you know? And I read your note about you adding to this before you posted it, but I still think perhaps there could be more here. A flashback of Hermione as a child being scared, maybe, to go with her as an adult now? Just something. That’s just a suggestion, obviously.
If she hurried, if she was quick enough, she could make it to her door … Right? This was a sentence I wasn’t too fond of. I think you could have achieved the same effect without the rhetorical question at the end. It’s pretty clear what your intention with this sentence is, and the question at the end just seems to…I don’t know, underestimate the reader. If you leave it with the ellipse, then the question still hangs, but it’s simply understood rather than directly stated.
I really liked Hermione’s visions of the last battle. They were very chilling and fit into the piece really well. I actually think the flashbacks were more frightening than the Dementors and the Death Eaters. And finally, I liked the ending. Of course cliffhangers are annoying because of course I want to know what happens, but I think it was a good way to end this piece.
So, overall, a good piece. Your writing is wonderfully clean grammar-wise, and also very clear and neat to read. Nice job!
Originally created for the SPEW Lovenotes~
Hello, dear Joanna! I was glad to see you as our SPEW Author for the month, because I’ve read some of your fics and was interested to read more. I’ve not read a lot of Andromeda/Ted, as I tend to stick with the Sirius side of the Blacks, so I was eager to see your interpretations of their characters.
I like how you start this, with just a simple classroom scene; it’s a nice way to bring us into the story and introduce us to the characters. It also gives the fic that feeling that we’re coming into something already in progress, a relationship that’s already started to develop. We get that with the next little scene as well, in Potions. I like that you have Andromeda bring up the Hufflepuff thing, and I like that Ted expresses concern about her family. It shows that both of them are aware of the other, of the circumstances surrounding each of them.
Once we get into the deal with Lucius, though, I felt like things got a bit confusing. It might’ve helped if you had actually written the conversation with Lucius into the fic so that we could read it and really understand Andromeda’s indignation. As it is, you only mention this big problem in passing, and I don’t think that helps in conveying the importance of it. Andromeda’s outburst caught me off guard as well. Would she really have yelled at Ted like that? Even in her anger, I just don’t see it. This could be because I just don’t have the same Andromeda in my head that you have here, but I think the outburst is really just out of place. If you really wanted the outburst to happen, some more build up would have been nice.
That sort of brings me to another point I wanted to make. I feel like everything in this fic happens rather quickly. Maybe it’s just to do with your style, but sometimes I find it hard to follow. I’m not even sure how to make a suggestion, because I obviously don’t want to tell you to add in lots of unnecessary narration, but…I don’t know. When I read this, I felt like I was missing something. Sort of like everything was in your head and it just didn’t all manage to get on the page.
For example, the scene in the Great Hall. I had to go back to see where Sirius had come from, and then I realized that he quite literally had just appeared with a line of dialogue. This isn’t a bad technique or anything, to introduce a character into a scene with their speaking, but at times it can be confusing, especially when you tend not to attribute your dialogue.
Overall, I thought this was a nice idea, but not executed as well as it could have been. I noticed you didn’t mention a beta, so I assume you didn’t have one, and I think that really would have helped.
Author's Response: Dear, dear Leanne, thank you so much! This review helped me a lot. Now that you mention it, TOO, I really should take a look and revise the way I write. I seem to condense too much, no? You're right, I don't like narration, but I have to remember the reader is outside my mind and can't interpret everything, phew. That part about Lucius, I wrote about it in the August Drabble Challenge. It's in Lucius's POV though. The confrontation between them was more on his interest than on hers. I thought Andromeda's indignation didn't need justification, and I didn't want to shift the focus away from her and Ted's blossoming dilemmas, so I didn't include the Lucius-scene. Her yell later... it is more like a yelp of fear than fury. The defensive snarl of a startled great cat. She was overwhelmed by the intensity she felt from that simple fleeting touch between her and Ted. Yep, since the Sx6, I think I'll always have one of you SPEW ladies looking over my fics from now on. Your opinions are invaluable. Thanks so much, Leanne. ^_^
I’ve always sort of wanted to read a Sirius/Hermione fic, but I never did get around to finding one that interested me enough to click. Then I saw this fic on your author’s page, and I thought it was a pretty safe bet that it would be good, and I was right.
I think the overall idea of this, that Hermione has somehow gone back in time and formed a romantic relationship with Sirius, is quite intriguing. Obviously we don’t have all the details here, but we don’t really need them. It’s enough to know that this isn’t an older Sirius with a school-age Hermione, that they’re around the same age, that there’s some messing with time thing going on. You give us enough information to be able to understand the relationship, or at least to understand this part of it. In fact, I have to commend you on doing such a good job getting the idea across, because it could have so easily been terribly confusing. It wasn’t, though, and that’s an achievement in itself.
I’m going to make a suggestion here that you can completely ignore, because it might completely screw up what you were going for in this fic. And also because this fic is finished, so I have no expectations of you going back and changing it now just because I mention something. But, I’ll say it anyway, just as something for you to perhaps think about later. I think the flashback in this piece might actually work better as not a flashback, but simply a part of the narration, placed in the beginning. It’s tough to comment on the way this fic is put together, because it does work, but I felt like, when I read the flashback, I was reading something from years ago, rather than from days. It left me thinking something huge had happened, and Sirius was coming back after a long time instead of (comparatively) any time at all. It wouldn’t be enough to simply un-italicize the flashback and move it up, obviously; it would take some re-working altogether, to see how the pieces would fit well and all of that, but…um, yes. That’s all. It’s just an idea I had while reading, and like I said, it’s just something to think about and not really something I think you should go back and change.
Hermione as a character I think you’ve captured very well here. She can be so tricky, in my opinion, but I liked her in this fic. It felt like Hermione. Of course, the dynamic of a Hermione from the future and Sirius from the past offers a lot of interesting ways to go with each of their characters, but I think you found a balance. It works.
All of that said, I’m now off to read the companion to this fic. Thanks for writing such a lovely Sirius/Hermione fic; you did a really nice job.
I think this a very cute idea for a fic, but unfortunately I was left a little disappointed when I finished reading.
It was a beautiful day. The sun was shining and though it was hot, there was a breeze. See, I found this opening pretty uninteresting. There’s so much potential here for some lovely description. The first sentence could maybe be all right; it isn’t totally engrossing, but there’s opportunity to expand in the next few sentences. The second sentence, though, could be improved, I think. Rather than simply saying that ‘there was a breeze,’ you could describe how the breeze is flowing over the bright summer day or something like that.
I thought it was slightly odd that Sirius addressed Lily as ‘my dearest Lily.’ I can’t really see him calling her that; it seems like something he would call her if they were together (and as fond as I am of Sirius/Lily, obviously this isn’t a fic for that -wink-). I can see ‘dearest Lily,’ without the ‘my.’ But I probably would have gone with a simple ‘Dear Lily.’
The sight that greeted her brought tears of pure happiness to her eyes. I appreciate some fluff as much as the next person, but I found this line a bit overdone. I think part of it is just in the wording, though. ‘Tears of pure happiness’ sounds a little overly sentimental. I think it’s totally plausible that Lily could have teared up at seeing James with Harry, but I don’t know about ‘tears of pure happiness.’ It’s all in how you say it.
I can’t help but notice some small technical errors in this fic. I won’t point them all out, since that’s a beta’s job, but I would just say to make sure to give your fics a thorough final look before posting them. Also, thoughts don’t need to be in quotation marks; italics suffice.
The image of Harry riding around on his toy broom is adorable. I like that Bathilda comes over for his birthday and is the one to snap the picture. That’s very cute. I also love that James goes to find his old Snitch – a nice little look to Harry’s future. I have to say I was a little confused about what time of day this is set during. Lily’s preparing a birthday tea, but then she says Harry needs a breakfast. I would have thought tea would be in the afternoon/evening, if it was a separate deal rather than just part of breakfast. And then at the end there’s mention of a birthday cake, which I would expect to be eaten later and not with breakfast.
Overall I found this to be a sweet fic. Very nice idea that could have been maybe a bit better executed, but in general, good job!
Sirius/Lily has quickly become one of my favorite pairings to read, because it just offers a really interesting ‘what if?’ and I love seeing how authors explore that. I think you do a really wonderful job of delving into what a romantic relationship between Sirius and Lily could have been like.
They change from her eyes, her beautiful, caring, captivating eyes, to those of someone hard and unfeeling. They don’t suit her. I love this line, and I love when it reappears later. It’s a really nice thought from Sirius; it’s so clear that he loves Lily and that he doesn’t want to make her unhappy. And then there’s the fact that it’s because of him that her eyes have changed into something that doesn’t suit her. And that just offers a whole other thing to think about – does Sirius not suit Lily? That’s sort of how it turns out, at least to me. It just doesn’t work for them, and it’s sad, but it’s the way that things are. Just, great job.
I have to comment on the use of first person here. Normally I’m just really not a fan of first person; I tend to believe that first person should only be used if it’s just becoming impossible to convey the feelings you want through third person (and even then I personally opt for second person before I opt for first person). I think first person is a good choice here, because you want to switch between two characters and obviously it needs to be clear who’s speaking. I felt at times that the narration was a little choppy, though. But…I don’t really know if there’s a way to fix it, and it isn’t really that noticeable. The reason I say I don’t know if there’s a way to fix it is because you don’t really want this to turn into long bits of internal monologue because you have a specific pace in mind that you need to keep. So…yeah. Basically I’m rambling, so I’ll move on now…
I think the contrast between how James and Sirius express their love for Lily is interesting. I don’t know if I believe that Sirius would have loved Lily at first sight. I feel like maybe he would have slowly began to realize that he loved her after admiring her from afar, rather than knowing ‘ever since I laid eyes on her.’ I think when writing Sirius/Lily, it’s extremely important to figure in James. Clearly you’ve done that here, but I think it’s even important to factor him in as to why Sirius loves Lily. Perhaps he only started to pay more attention to her because James kept going on about her. Not that he didn’t notice her on his own, just…the fact that James very outwardly liked her caused Sirius to more and more inwardly love her. Does that even make sense? It might not even be what you were going for with your idea of a Sirius/Lily relationship, which is fine. I’m just thinking all over your review page.
I really, really like the ending of this. It works really well for me for the Sirius/Lily relationship. I can’t have you, Lily. I love you, but I can’t have you. That’s not who I am. It breaks my heart, but it’s also perfect for this pairing. I think it’s how Sirius would feel; he can’t lose James, he can’t betray James, but he loves Lily. It just…it doesn’t work. Sigh. I’m all sad, but that just means you did a great job.
Overall I thought this was a unique look at Sirius/Lily. Lovely job!
Author's Response: Leanne! Oh my, you, too, have left me an absolutely heart warming review. Thank you so very much. I quite liked your explanation (or thoughts, rather) as to why Sirius would have fallen in love with Lily. It would have been difficult not to take notice of her if James never really did shut up (:D). You know, I think that this is my only (or one of the very few *checks*) story that is written in the first person, simply because it is a clumsy tense. And, should I ever write a follow-up (Jenna hinted she wants one), it probably won\'t be in the first person. However, I can\'t make promises! Again, Leanne, thank you for the lovely review!
I was excited to read this, because I’ve never read a fic of yours before, and you linked to this on LJ, and also I decided to start my SPEW reviews early this month. -wink-
First I have to mention The Beatles because I mean. The Beatles. I love that you give us the snippet of song at the beginning, just to start us off, and I love the tiny mention of them later. I’ve always sort of associated The Beatles with our beloved Marauders, so I was excited to see the connection here as well.
Take me, he murmurs to no one. I won’t be missed. That’s a fantastic line, even if it does make my heart break. But it is so very Remus, and it’s exactly, I think, how he would be feeling at this point. Also, I love the idea of Remus picking up a smoking habit. The references to Sirius and having to finish the cigarettes that Sirius couldn’t and all of that were again heartbreaking, but perfect.
I really like the way you set this fic up, with the nows and thens. It’s just a great way to put everything together without having a fic composed of random scenes all thrown together. You connected everything really well. Also, I liked the choice to use present tense for the now parts and past for the then bits. In the hands of a less-capable author that could have seriously backfired, but you handled it effortlessly and it contributes to the overall effectiveness of the fic.
I absolutely love Remus’s birthday. You write the Marauders just wonderfully, with sufficient cursing and love and awesomeness. I particularly loved how into it Sirius got with the chess, and how he was cursing all the time (reminded me of myself, I’m not gonna lie). That you have Sirius losing terribly to Peter is poignant as well. I’m glad, of course, that your Peter is actually a person and not a horribly written character that people include just because they have to.
Sirius had to remain there, locked from the world, the world locked from him. Another great line. I think that one is one of my favorites from this fic. I loved this as well: “Because you’re always the one who worries.” Oh, Remus. That’s perfect, once more. You rock.
The letters were another wonderful touch to this. I love them. James being allowed to call Remus an old chap because he has tea. Gold. (And incidentally, I happen to be drinking tea right now.) And Peter saying he’ll be up for Halloween, oh man. That’s…yes. More heartbreaking for me.
And finally: “You prick,” he mutters, glancing one last time at the star before turning towards the window through which he climbed earlier. I love that so much. The last line of this, too. A wonderful, sad, perfect way to end this. I’m so glad I decided to click this and read it, because it’s a lovely, lovely fic. You did an exceptional job. Write more Marauders, please?
Author's Response: Dude, thank you. Loads and loads. Thanks for all your lovely comments, and especially for taking the time out to review, too. I\'ll definitely have more Marauders up as the summer progresses. Maybe a Black fic? ;) *hugs*
Hm, I can’t really decide if I like this one better or Come Back To Me. I think there are parts of each that I really like.
I have to start this review out with some constructive criticism; I’ve noticed that you tend to start your fics out in the same way, with a description of the setting. While this isn’t necessarily a bad thing, it does start to get a bit redundant after a while, and I haven’t even read all of your fics (but it does happen that all the ones I have read have started like this). Description can work really well as a beginning in some cases, but here I just don’t think it’s really necessary. You could have worked in a description of the setting throughout the piece rather than just sticking it in a couple paragraphs in the beginning.
Also, and I hope this doesn’t sound rude because I don’t mean it to be, this fic sort of feels like it’s basically Come Back To Me, just with some other stuff added. I know that Come Back To Me was more from Hermione’s point of view, and this one focuses more on Sirius, but the use of so many flashbacks becomes a tad tedious. I can see the purpose of the flashbacks, but I wish you might’ve found a more original and interesting way to use them and refer back to them, instead of just constantly switching back and forth. Additionally, it felt at times like you were saying the same thing over and over again, like some paragraphs were only there to serve as buffers between flashbacks rather than as important pieces of the fic as a whole.
On a more positive note, though, I do really like the end of this, with Sirius realizing who Hermione is, but Hermione not knowing who he is. It’s a really interesting dynamic between them, which is great. The whole storyline, the timeline being messed with a bit, works wonderfully for a Sirius/Hermione relationship, as I mentioned in my review for Come Back To Me. I look forward to reading your chaptered fic about these two and learning more about the background of everything.
So, overall, I did like this, but I thought it could have been executed a bit better. Oh, and congratulations on forty fics! That’s quite the accomplishment.
I don’t generally read slash, but I figured if I’m going to read slash, Lei’s fic is probably a good choice. Of course, I was right. I knew you could write Remus and Sirius well, and I was not let down.
I love the switching between Remus and Sirius. You’ve captured both of their characters perfectly. Remus is reluctant and Sirius is just a little bit selfish, and that’s how they were. It’s not only who their characters are; it also works for this pairing. One of them has to be reluctant and one of them has to be too selfish to bother with reluctance. That’s how the pairing ends up working (or not working). It’s great.
The ‘how it started’ thing is lovely. Sirius’s voice is so perfect, I can’t get over it; it’s clear even in a third person narration. Remus looking like shit is just priceless. You manage to include humor without straying from the slightly depressing nature of the story (not complaining about the depressing thing, by the way).
Ah, poor Remus. And poor Sirius. It’s so sad, the way you’ve written this, but it’s so good, too. Perhaps that’s why Sirius suddenly feels like the biggest fuck-up in history: because he has put them in a highly awkward situation and Remus will never forgive him for it. Yeah, I have no reason for putting that there except that I loved it.
He knew when Remus was fast asleep; the air shifted, and his quiet snores often tempered the cacophony of James’s. That’s lovely. It’s shows how connected Sirius and Remus are. Even though James and Sirius are supposed to be the ‘best’ friends, I feel like the relationship between Sirius and Remus is really quite special all on its own.
The end is heartbreaking but poignant and lovely and wonderful. You did a brilliant job here, Lei.
You know, I admittedly have not read Remus/Lily very often; I think this is because I’m generally not impressed with the way it’s written, but I was interested to see how you approached this pairing. So here I clicked. :)
The first person point of view is an interesting choice. I personally avoid using first person whenever I can because I just have trouble getting a feel for it. Normally, I find first person just rather annoying to read, but I do like it here. You really get into Lily’s head, and here, it actually helps the reader identify with her. Here, the first person seems natural, whereas oftentimes when I read it, it just seems pointless.
As a quick aside, I of course heart the karaoke. I pretty much love any Marauders/Beatles references, and I can just picture Sirius pulling off that stuff.
I’ve always been careful. I think this is a nice parallel to make with Remus. Both of them can be described as careful people; Lily’s the good girl, Remus is a werewolf afraid of hurting other people (and himself, I think). On the one hand, it does make sense that Lily and Remus would have gotten on quite well, and a romantic relationship isn’t impossible to consider. On the other hand, though, it’s even more interesting knowing that Lily ended up with James, somebody who was almost anything but careful. You’ve got two people who are alike and two people who are opposites. It’s so interesting (blah, I keep using that same word) to compare the relationships, or the potential relationships.
But though his feelings have always been nothing short of obvious to me, he never acted on them. And yet, here’s a huge part of the reason Remus and Lily never were more than just friends. Remus never acted on his feelings, but then, neither did Lily. It makes me think – maybe Lily needed someone like James to pursue her, to act on his feelings. Maybe Lily and Remus were too careful with themselves. As I am still waiting now, incomprehensibly, even though I have already made the decision to spend the rest of my life with him. It seems all they did was wait, and now they’re here, in this moment, and they’ve already started down other paths, not together. Ah, I do love this.
Sigh, the rest of this fic is just so heartbreaking and yet so wonderful. Remus is so Remus – saying he’s the best for her, all of that, it’s exactly right. Not that I need to tell you, but you’ve got him spot on. And even though it makes my heart hurt that Lily feels so conflicted in her love for both Remus and James, I do love her here. She’s so human, real. It’s great to see, even if it’s a little sad. But there is that resolution at the end, almost. She does get some of her Remus. Overall, I liked this fic very much. I thought you did an excellent job with the characterization (one of my biggest concerns when reading a story), and you actually made me feel for a pairing I’m not overly fond of. Very nice indeed, dearest Lei. -wink-
But it was very close.And who could blame her?
In marrying Ted, Andromeda had already defied her life's dragons. Afterward, she wanted to live without even the thought of them, thank you.~ originally written for Teresa in the Second SPEW Summer Secret Story Swap
~ can be read as companion to Hints
I liked this Ted/Andromeda better than Hints, I have to say. I thought overall it was better executed.
The scene between Molly and Andromeda was really adorable, especially with little Bill there. I love the parallel between them – the pureblood thing, their not-so-ideal marriages, their children (Andromeda’s to come, of course). It’s really nice. I particularly liked this bit: Rings on their left hands were on each of their peripheral visions. Inescapable recognition passed from one face to the other. A sense of kinship beyond being witches in that park full of Muggles. It emphasizes that parallel, and it’s great.
This is going to sound completely trivial and probably annoying, but the fact that you used ‘Margeaux’ and ‘William’ instead of ‘Molly’ and ‘Bill’ sort of threw me. I mean, Molly probably always went by ‘Molly,’ and even if she and Andromeda weren’t close at school, Andromeda would still know her as ‘Molly’ if that’s how everyone else knew her. ‘William’ I can perhaps see, if Molly is introducing him for the first time. I probably would have simply gone with ‘Bill,’ but that’s just preference I suppose.
Ted is really quite adorable, isn’t he? I love him, and how you’ve written him. It’s easy to see how he and Andromeda fit together, how they’re in love. The comment about their child marrying a werewolf was sweet, and actually had me wondering how Ted and Andromeda reacted when they found out their daughter wanted to marry a werewolf…
Anyway. I enjoyed this. I think you’ve done a good job with two characters we don’t know very well; you’ve written them believably.
Author's Response: Thank you again, Leanne. For that passage you quoted, we have Teresa's prompt to thank. That's my interpretation of William Golding's Lord of the Flies 'inescapable recognition'. Hee. Yeah, trivial and annoying, let me name the characters as I please, you. LOL. I have an explanation for thatm actually, in case Jenna also finds it weird. I found it weird, too, at first. But then, I thought, this is Andromeda Tonks nee Black, and as I've already mentioned in the story, she has a different manner of archiving acquaintances. Influenced by her family. Unshakeable even by Hogwarts influence. I think the circle of purebloods know each other by their proper names, and then call each other by 'other' names behind each others' backs-- this last by the judgmental families, at least, like the Blacks and Malfoys. Little Bill being William, it is mother's pride shining through there. I know I will always introduce my kids not by their nicknames, hee. Glad you enjoyed this one, Leanne. Thanks again.
You already know that I heart this fic quite a lot, but I’m going to detail all the reasons why in some reviews. –grin-
The opening few paragraphs of this are great. They set everything up perfectly and engage the reader immediately. You introduce all the major players, plus you give us this awesome setting with the tower. Love it.
Just briefly touching on the title of this chapter, I love that Regulus wants to be a completely prejudiced git. This is where, I think, we start to see a different side of Regulus that a lot of writers never effectively convey. You know, Regulus was a Slytherin, and he wasn’t a carbon copy of Sirius, but other writers…yeah, I don’t think they always think Regulus all the way through. You have, though. Um, basically, you rock at writing Regulus.
The background on Sirius and Regulus is lovely. Sometimes I forget that not everybody comes into these stories knowing everything about these two characters that we want them to know, and you do a great job of explaining things and providing a past without bogging the story down. (The side note about the Gryffindor v. Slytherin rivalry is nice and really helps to characterize Regulus more; it flips our sort of default ideas about the two houses and tells us that Regulus isn’t ashamed to be in Slytherin – he’s just not our ‘Slytherin equals evil’ type guy.)
And yet, Regulus is still bothered by the fact that he has non-pureblood friends; it shows that he does care about the opinions of his family, that he isn’t interested in completely severing his ties with them, at least not at this point in his life. Even though he regards his situation with mild sarcasm, I think it’s clear he does feel conflicted, and that’s basically the point, isn’t it?
Ah, I totally heart the conversation about Quidditch. This is something you do so well – writing normal, regular, every day dialogue. And I mean that in like…the best of ways. Because it makes the fic feel real, like we really are reading a scene out of Regulus’s life, and it’s easy to picture other days, other conversations about Quidditch. And, Matt and Rachel may or may not remind me of some certain other people. >.>
Of course I adore Sirius’s entrance into the fic. It’s perfect, exactly what I would imagine Sirius doing. The exchange between Sirius and Regulus is so sad, but so great. This is why I love our Black brothers. They are still brothers, and they do care about each other, but their lives went in different directions, and their relationship could never remain the way it was when they were younger. Ah, love. Obviously you know this, but you just write them both so wonderfully. I love when Sirius says, “You are my brother,” after Regulus says that Sirius is supposed to be on James’s side. Usually we think if James as more a brother to Sirius than Regulus, but again, you show how the Black brothers are, still, brothers.
Oh, that’s the end of the chapter. I sort of momentarily forgot you split this into chapters. But anyway, excellent of course, and I’m off to the next chapter.
So, I love the insights we get into Regulus’s life at Grimmauld Place. He has totally different relationships with his parents, and with the pureblood society he’s a part of. It’s nice to see that.
Yay for chance encounters! Serendipity for the win. As much as I want Regulus to, you know, only be with you, I do like Rachel. Her comment about the war is a nice touch; it reminds us of the setting for this fic, and where all the characters are coming from. The reference to the house elves is interesting as well. It isn’t anything obvious or pointed, but it adds another detail to the characters’ family lives and backgrounds.
Ah, how much do I wish Regulus could blow off the Black family party? I hate when characters can’t be together. And yet I love it. So excellent job. And lol, I love the connection between the Regulus and Sirius sections. Stupid bloody party and stupid bloody school indeed. (Except, hmph. A blonde? You and I both know Sirius prefers brunettes.)
The interaction between Sirius and Reeve is nice, though. She does seem like a Sirius type of girl, just as Rachel seems like a Regulus type of girl. Sirius asking to borrow a quill is just adorable. Heart. Moving on to Regulus again, I really like the bit about his thoughts on Muggleborns. Again, you remind us that Regulus does still subscribe to some of what he’s been taught, enough that he finds it foolish to associate with Muggleborns. It’s sad, but he sees it as a practical thing, which is a different spin on things. I like it.
Oh man, the chapter’s over. The little Sirius and Reeve exchange is sweet. I almost like them as a couple, which is saying something. I’m not sure if that was the best place to end this chapter, though. But I also can’t remember exactly what comes next, so maybe that was the better breaking point. -shrug-
Right, next chapter here I come.
Well, I am glad you ended the last chapter where you did, because I like the beginning of this one. It’s a lovely little bookend to match the beginning of the first chapter. I particularly loved this line to describe the relationship between Sirius and Regulus: It was like an enchantment that only held when they’re on top of the tower, cut off from the rest of the world, looking out into the dark oblivion dotted with stars. Lovely.
The bits about each of the Marauders is really quite nice. Your characterizations of everybody are perfect, even though it always makes me sad when Sirius thinks about the future. The letter is of course intriguing, and the fact that Sirius only wants to share it with Regulus says a lot.
Hee, Regulus and Rachel are so cute (as cute as they can be since they’re not Regulus/Marie). I love how you describe their date, that it feels like a first visit it Hogsmeade; that’s just adorable. And the Madam Puddifoot’s thing was funny; needless to say I’m super glad they didn’t go there.
I have to admit I’m secretly glad Sirius chose to cool things off with Reeve. >.> But aside from my own personal interest in the matter (-cough-), it is a great foil to Regulus. Here Sirius is, not wanting to grow any closer to his family and doing whatever he can to distance himself, and here Regulus is, worried about making his family angry. Even though the two of them get along and are still brothers, they have these major differences. It’s sad, but it’s true.
Bwahaha, take that, Narcissa. I like that the letter is from Narcissa, though, because Regulus was relieved before that his older cousins weren’t at Hogwarts anymore. Stupid gossip. But anyway, it makes me happy that Regulus is going to try and ignore her ‘warning.’ He deserves to be happy with Rachel.
So, overall, a very lovely fic. You write Sirius and Regulus as they should be written, and the girls were great, too (even though they’re not us). Wonderful job, my dearest twin.
Hello, dearest Rachel! It’s SPEW time, so here I am, reviewing one of your lovely fics. I have to admit I’d forgotten how talented you are, and how much I enjoy reading your writing. This fic was nothing short of fabulous.
The opening to this is great. Immediately I’m wondering who the girl is, but I love the characterization you start with, how she has that eye for detail. And that first paragraph – guh. The imagery is gorgeous. It leaves me wanting more, and as soon as possible.
And actually, I realized that I’ve never really read a fic that had a self-injury warning attached to it. Not on purpose, I just never came across one that I ended up reading. So I just wanted to take a moment and say that I think you handled a sensitive subject very well; it goes with the story and is obviously not there just because someone felt like putting it there. (Let’s not even think about all the terrible fics we’ve seen.) What happens when you love a person so much that they turn into the reason you’re alive? What happens when they leave? Do you keep living? Here, we know why our character feels she has to turn to self-injury. You make it a part of the pain, and of course it’s painful to see, but it makes the story real, too.
I just love your description. She nods, focused intently on the wall behind the counter – a mural of brown, a tribute to monotony. It is nothing to look at, but she begins to think that if she stares long enough, no one will notice if she decides to fade away. That’s a fantastic bit. It really helps us identify with and understand the character. She feels alone and desperate and hopeless, and it all comes across perfectly in your writing.
As we move further into the fic, you give us clues as to who these people are. You describe snatches of their appearances, and you provide small bits of backstory through their conversation. As we learn about them, they learn about each other. I really like that; I like the…unfamiliarity of the story. It reinforces the distance of the characters, of how alone they feel. And I love trying to figure it out for myself, of course.
…that she isn’t sure if she would be able to recognise him, even if he were sitting beside her. I love the unfamiliarity, again, the distance. We’ve got these strangers here, and then we’ve got our couple, who are themselves strangers now. And while part of that is sad, another part of it is almost hopeful; she wouldn’t even recognize him, so maybe that means she can give him a new start. Maybe that means they can move past what’s happened to them. I love the glimmer of hope in this story.
And yay, we finally learn exactly who it is we’ve been reading about. I had an inkling it was Penelope, as I suspect you were hoping readers to pick up on, but I love knowing for sure who it was. I love reading stories about minor characters because I love seeing how authors flesh them out, and you of course have done an excellent job here. I feel for Penelope; even though Percy was never a favorite of mine, I still want so badly for Penelope to go to him and for them to mend their relationship. Because you wrote this so beautifully.
On a final note, I have to mention the use of the lyrics. As you and I both know, songfics can be totally lame and annoying, and oftentimes the inserted lyrics detract more than they add to a story. But here, I love the lyrics. They fit in so wonderfully, and I think part of that is because of your love for music. I think you understand music so fully that you can work lyrics into your writing and they seem like they really belong there. Awesome, awesome, awesome.
Now I think this review has finally reached its end. I thought this was excellent, dearest Rachel.
Author's Response: Oh, yay! I always love getting SPEW reviews, and Leanne reviews, obviously. I really did have fun writing this story. At first... I didn't mean to conceal Penelope's identity until the end of the story - it was just one of those things that happened, you know? It felt sort of out of place to name her in the beginning, and then I just... didn't really get around to it for a while. >.> And about the self-harm warning; it's such a subtle part of the story that I'm pretty sure I could have rewritten like two lines and taken the warning out. But you're right... I really wanted to make the point of just how far gone Penelope was into her desperation. And like, including the vague mentions of self-harm felt right in the story. I'm quite glad you enjoyed it, though, despite a dislike of Percy. That was actually my biggest fear while writing this story; about half way through I thought 'wait a second... is Suya one of those people who loathes Percy?' *facepalm* Thanks for the fantastic review, though! *hugs*
I was thinking about which fics I should review this month for SPEW, and I thought, “Oh, what about Sarah?” So, I scurried on over here, and I’m so glad I did. I adored this fic very much, dear.
It is here that two men meet – walking casually towards each other to converge in a firm handshake before sinking simultaneously onto the bench, one allowing himself a small sigh as he leans back and closes his eyes. Already I love the fic. All of the imagery in this line is just wonderful – converging in a firm handshake, sinking onto the bench, sighing, leaning, guh. It’s fabulous, it really is. This description offers an early insight into the relationship Sirius and Remus have. To me, the firm handshake suggests a sense of formality that always seems to exist between them, like one of them is maybe always just a little bit guarded. But then they sit on the bench simultaneously, together, and we know that these two are more than merely friends; we know that they’re brothers.
I love the mention of Harry. You give us some reference of time, here; we know that this is taking place sometime after Harry’s birth, and probably sometime close to James and Lily’s deaths. It adds a heavier tone to everything. You allow that dramatic irony to be present. And then the shift from Remus’s humor to Remus’s distance is great. It demonstrates the ease, almost, of their friendship. They can make that shift from something happy to something more grim, and it’s okay, acceptable.
They can talk about anything, and it is not uncomfortable; they can talk about nothing, and it is not useless. This pretty much sums up their friendship, and it’s perfect. It’s exactly how I picture Sirius and Remus in my mind.
I find the way you approached this fic particularly interesting. You write it as though we have no knowledge of the characters, even though of course we do. You give us backstory that we already know (like Sirius’s problems with his family), but you add to it so that it isn’t boring and repetitive. Not only does Sirius have problems with his family, but he has Remus to talk to, and he has Remus to teach him how to trust again. You tell us how Remus fits into Sirius’s backstory, which isn’t something we necessarily know (though I’m sure we all have our own personal canons about it).
This line struck me as interesting as well: They fought, too, as they were both too stubborn to bend to the will of the other, and refused to believe in anything but what they thought themselves. See, I almost disagree with this characterization. I think it’s spot-on for Sirius, but I’m not so sure about Remus. I see Remus, for the most part, as not quite as stubborn as Sirius; I can see Remus bending a little to Sirius. Not changing completely, and not going along with whatever Sirius thinks, but just allowing some things to be, you know? Stepping back and evaluating whether it’s worth the fight. While Sirius refuses to let things go, Remus, I think, was always just that tiny bit more mature. I don’t think Remus would hide or suppress his opinions, but I think he also wouldn’t like to push Sirius if it meant a fight.
Yet through it all, they had held on to each other, keeping themselves alive with the knowledge that they were not alone, and somehow, they would close the distance between themselves sooner or later. My favorite part of that sentence is the end, that they would always reunite themselves. It makes me so sad, on the one hand – soon after this, Sirius goes to Azkaban, and they’re separated; but then, of course, they find each other again. Yet, then Sirius dies, and again they are separated. And of course Remus dies and we know they found each other again. I love that. I just love that everything you include in characterizing their friendship is so true, and so right.
They close the space between them with shared memories, and the knowledge of where they have been. I’m totally tempted to just copy and paste the entire rest of the fic, because it’s so beautiful and touching. I did especially like this part, though, because of the reference to where Sirius and Remus have been. So much of their relationship is, to me, their past, and what they have been. By the time they reach adulthood, they really do see so little of each other, and their shared past is what they cling to.
Except, I love the references to the future, too. It makes my heart ache, knowing that Sirius and Remus didn’t get to grow old together, but just looking at this one scene in their lives reminds me of how special their friendship was. Ah, Sarah, I love this fic. It’s gorgeous. And this review, I believe, is quite long enough. -shifty-
Author's Response: Hee, I'm so glad you did come to review this! I love getting your reviews, my dear. :D Those first few lines took me a while to cultivate in my mind, because I knew they were going to be important to get right. You're completely right in the impressions you get of this - I was trying to communicate that although they're so very close, they always begin in a semi-distant way, and only drop their guards after a while. Ah, yes, I had to get the timing just right! I needed it to be after school but before the war, which gave me only a ashort time to work with! I thought Harry would be a good indicator of that, and also allow for some light-hearted conversation to begin with. I decided to write in the backstory again because I needed to highlight the role Remus played in it - as you pointed out. Also, I'd established a setting right from the beginning in which they were both just two men, and so to follow that, I thought an explanation of their friendship sounded most fitting. It also made the subject matter more definite - I mean, we all know that Sirius' life was hardly an easy one, but I wanted to use more than just a vague reference when talking of how Remus had helped him. As for the characterisation - I do agree with what you're saying, in actual fact. But I think the kind of dynamic you've described there may only have developed later on, when they knew each other better. Arguements due to stubbornly held opinions tend to crop up most in the early stages of friendship, in my experience, particularly if two people have grown close over a short amount of time. That's what I was wanting to show most with that sentence: that although they were vitally important to each other, the friendship still had a long way to go yet. And oh, of course! I think the most heartbreaking part of their friendship is the constant separation they face, which is obviously brought by the times they grew up in. I think possibly the worst thing is imagining how it could have been for them. Like, can't you just see them as the type of friends who could be with each other anywhere, in any situation, and it would work? Platonic soulmates, if you like. ;) The ending is maybe one of my favourite parts too. Again, I planned this one over in my head a lot, just to get the wording exactly how I wanted it. You're right that their friendship is based on the past by the time we see them in the books, buit of course, at this stage, they don't know thet yet. And well, I really wanted to highlight the kind of commitment they had to each other which meant that all those years on, Remus could comfortably believe Sirius when he returned, and 'embrace him like a brother'. *grin* Thank you ever so much for this! I can't describe how happy it makes me that you liked it. *squish*
You know, I don’t read very much poetry, simply because in general I’m not a huge fan of the genre, but I do occasionally like to pick a poem and review it. So here I am!
I don’t claim to be any sort of expert on meter or rhyme or what have you, but I will say that I’m impressed with the iambic pentameter here. It isn’t perfect, but poetry rules tend to be rather loose, I think, in some cases. At any rate, I know that I struggle writing poetry with any meter to it at all, so great job here. The meter really does make the poem sound that much more lovely.
And, you even rhymed! That’s something I usually find basically impossible. Also, here, the rhymes don’t sound…I want to say ‘rhyme-y.’ What I mean is that even though there is rhyme, it’s not like, “Oh, hi, I’m a rhyme!” Rather, it’s something that simply adds to the rhythm of the poem. It enhances the words rather than detracts from their meaning.
The ‘I was born to die’ is quite chilling, but I like it. That’s exactly Harry, isn’t it? I think you’ve really captured him. And the idea of the world’s fate resting solely on him – I love that. It’s sad, but so poignant and just a fabulous thing to include. When we found out in DH that Dumbledore knew all along that Harry was probably going to have to die – well, that was big. And you bring that into this poem, and it coincides perfectly with Harry’s decision in canon to meet what he thought was going to be his death.
That Harry is ‘faced with the courage is die’ is also a wonderful line. It is almost like his courage has simply taken hold of him, rather than that he consciously thought he had to die. It’s like fate, really. In itself, the imagery of the sun is a nice addition to the poem, but I particularly liked that bit because, not only does it juxtapose death, but it symbolizes a rebirth of sorts for Harry.
My only real criticism is more like an opinion. I would’ve liked to see some punctuation in the last few lines; to me, they just like empty without a comma or period or something. The rest of the poem is quite structured, with punctuation all intact, and that last part feels just a little out of place. But, perhaps there was some hidden meaning there that I simply missed because, like I said, poetry is definitely not my thing. I did enjoy this poem, though, so good job!
Hello there, oh author of the month! I have to say I had a tough time choosing which of your fics to read and review, because there was such a variety. But then I saw this one, and the summary intrigued me. I’m glad I chose this one, too, because I really did like it and thought you did a nice job with it.
I was curious to see which characters you would have engaging in the student/teacher relationship. As soon as we found out it was Charity Burbage I was trying to think of who the teacher could be, and I thought for a bit that you might not tell us at all and leave it a mystery. This whole fic carries that sort of mysterious feeling, and I really enjoyed that. I was curious about the characters, the creature, the setting, all of it. You did a good job keeping my interest in what was going on. I think part of that has to do with balance. This fic didn’t focus too heavily on any one aspect, though that isn’t to say it lacked focus, either. We got a good sense of the relationship between Charity and Professor Clandestine, enough that we could feel her pain when he died, but we also weren’t too distracted by their relationship to not appreciate the slightly scary part of this fic, too. And I was rather frightened, because I really had no idea what the creature was. I have to say I’m still not entirely sure what it was, but I think that’s part of the point.
I’m afraid I can’t write this review without commenting on the teacher’s name. Clandestine – well, it just seems a bit obvious, you know? It sort of shouts at the reader that this fic is about a secret relationship, and I don’t think that’s something that needed to be so obviously said. It’s pretty clear anyway, and I just felt like the name ‘Clandestine’ could easily have been something else.
Just a quick moment to say that I loved Dumbledore in this. His role was small, but the way he spoke to Charity, almost certainly knowing of her relationship with Clandestine – it was just so him. Of course he would know, and I just thought that was a good bit of characterization.
I think one of your strengths is definitely description. There’s such a vivid picture in my mind of what was going on here. I do think, though, that the description got a tad overdone in places. This sentence, for example: The light, summery breeze stirred my short, blonde curls, tickling my cheeks. ‘Light’ and ‘summery’ are a little redundant together, and sound almost clunky when in the same sentence as another pair of adjectives (‘short, blonde’). It’s just important to remember that sometimes less is more. You don’t want to be bombarding your reader with description; you just want enough to set the scene well.
Overall, I thought this fic was very interesting. I love the fact that it isn’t about just one thing. We get the relationship aspect as well as the mysterious, frightening aspect (how fitting that I’m reading this on Halloween!). Keep it up!
Author's Response: Yes, I've had several comments on Clandestine's name, and am kinda regretting the choice, LOL. Something to keep in mind when naming characters in future... Thank you for the review :) x