Penname: jenny b [Contact]
Real name: Jennifer
Member Since: 01/18/07
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Beta-reader: No
Status: Member
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I'm Jennifer. I write fics for your enjoyment (well, mostly my own, but I hope you enjoy it too).
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Reviews by jenny b
 

The Affectionate Bet by mutualunderstanding
Rated: 3rd-5th Years [Reviews - 21]

Summary: Harry and Ginny had a good reason for not showing any sign of their love when they dropped off their boys at the Hogwarts Express. They had just wanted to win their daughter a little money. After all, she was the only one who believed that they'd be able to keep their hands off of each other for two days. And what a fiasco that was.

Categories: Harry/Ginny Genre: Warnings: None

Word count: 4626 Chapters: 1 Completed: Yes
Published:
05/02/09 Updated: 05/18/09


Reviewer: jenny b Signed
Date: 07/14/09 Title: Chapter 1: Chapter 1

That was really lovely. I don’t really read many fics with James, Albus and Lily as kids, but this was very sweet. I think you’ve portrayed Harry and Ginny’s relationship very well – I can imagine them being the affectionate couple, always hugging and sneaking kisses around their children. The bet was such a cute and clever idea – it’s so typical of children to be disgusted by their parents being all lovey-dovey around each other. ;)

I thought James was characterised especially well – he had that kind of Fred and George attitude that so many next-gen writers seem to attribute him with, but in this case, it wasn’t overdone. I love the sly little comments he makes, trying to make them be affectionate without prevail. Albus and Lily, too, were very well done – they were just adorable little kids, really. It’s obvious that Lily has inherited a lot of her mother’s traits. ;) She’s so determined and prepared to beat her brothers.

With Harry and Ginny, though, I don’t think you’ve captured their characters quite as well. I can’t see Harry as the type of person to get so frustrated so quickly with something as trivial as this – he’s not really an impatient person and I think he could quite easily last out the few days just to prove a point to his kids. He wouldn’t like it, but if Ginny wanted him to he could do it. As for her, I think she is much more likely to be the one getting annoyed and impatient and wanting the few days to be up. Although I imagine Harry to be the more affectionate one, I think Ginny would get fed up with it a lot easier.

I absolutely loved the ending – I can just imagine after all that pent-up frustration of the last few days … ;) You very cleverly got Lily out of the way, too, without making it look too obvious. I like how you’ve worded the last few lines, because it keeps it appropriate for the type of fic you’ve written – it’s just a light-hearted bit of fun, and going into anything too heavy would have ruined it, in my opinion. You’ve written the whole thing very well and it put a huge grin on my face. Well done! :)

--Jen

 

A Truth Universally Acknowledged by luinrina
Rated: 3rd-5th Years [Reviews - 8]

Summary:

It is a truth universally acknowledged that a single man in possession of a good fortune must be in want of a wife.
~ Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen

Narcissa Malfoy wishes for her son to marry, but Draco is not content with her decision. Though, when a young woman enters his life in an unusual way, he finds himself wondering if he feels more than just the need to possess her.



This stories is the prequel to A Christmas to Remember, but can be read alone.



Categories: Draco/Other Character Genre: Warnings: Sexual Situations

Word count: 6123 Chapters: 1 Completed: Yes
Published:
05/30/09 Updated: 05/30/09


Reviewer: jenny b Signed
Date: 07/13/09 Title: Chapter 1: It couldn’t be any more beautiful…

This was such a lovely, romantic fic, Bine. You’ve incorporated the prompt really well, but I like how you’ve gone beyond that as well and made it into a quite brilliant love story between Draco and Astoria. You don’t see enough of that pairing, in my opinion. But you’ve written them very well – Astoria’s sweet, charming innocence fits really well with how gentlemanly and old-fashioned Draco is. There’s almost an air of protectiveness around him when they’re together, and it’s really sweet.

I’ll admit the beginning of the fic threw me a bit. You go from Narcissa’s first line to a rather long-winded description of the sunlight, which just doesn’t seem to flow very well. Don’t get me wrong, I think it’s a beautiful piece of description, but it seems out of place where it is. It doesn’t really work with what’s before it or after it, and it affects the readability of the story. Personally, I think the whole first few paragraphs would work much better if you’d have the paragraph of description at the very beginning, and then have Narcissa’s line after that, so she is interrupting Draco’s train of thought about the sunlight. I know you might have wanted to start the fic off with that line to capture the reader’s attention – which it does – but then to follow it with so much description that isn’t necessary to the storyline contradicts that, if you know what I mean.

I loved the whole first section, though. It was just so Malfoy of all three of them. I love fics that highlight the old-fashioned ways and cold-hearted approach to marriage that the Purebloods all have, and you’ve done it brilliantly here. My favourite line in the whole fic was: “A Malfoy never ran away. We rescheduled, but we never ran.” Seriously. You captured the Malfoys perfectly with that one line. They worm their way out of things all the time, but they’re far too proud to admit that they’re avoiding it.

Draco’s characterisation in this fic is very well done. He’s still Draco as we know him from the books – scorning the girls (especially Pansy) when they get dressed up, etc – but it’s obvious how much he’s grown up. The war has matured him, and he’s no longer so naïve and insecure about his place in the world. How he stands up to his parents in the first section really cements his character, and shows that he’s no longer going to meekly obey other people’s orders.

Astoria, too, is a brilliant character. You’ve more or less created her from scratch, but she fits extremely well into the Potterverse and this fic. Her simple elegance works wonderfully, because it’s clear that’s what initially attracts Draco – and that fits him to a tee. Also, I love how adorably innocent Astoria is, especially in the scene of their first kiss. I haven’t heard anyone call it a French kiss in ages. ;) Her character could very well step into a Jane Austen novel and not be out of place, which of course relates brilliantly to the prompt. I don’t know if you intended that or not, but it works really well.

One slight problem I have with the fic are the lyrics you’ve incorporated. Using lyrics is tricky, and I’m of the opinion that when using them you should either go all the way and make it a songfic (which you weren’t doing, obviously) or just put them in there subtly, at the beginning or the end of major sections. With your first set of lyrics, they just seem out of place. It interrupts the flow of the story, and whilst the lyrics kind of relate to it, they’re a little bit generic for your plot. I didn’t see them as anything particularly awe-inspiring (in relation to your fic, that is, it’s a great song otherwise). The second placement of your lyrics works a little better, but again, it seems as if you’ve just put them in there for the sake of it, and they don’t relate terribly well to your plot.

Aside from that, I can’t find many things to critique with this fic. It has such a sweet, innocent feel to it, and it’s just one of those fluffy pieces that aren’t too fluffy but fluffy enough to put a smile on your face afterwards. Well done, dear. :)

--Jen

Author's Response: Thanks for such a wonderful review, Jen. It made me smile. :) I changed the first two paragraphs; your reasoning makes sense. However, I won't change the placing of the song lyrics. In my opinion, they fit well where they are, but I appreciate your comments and can understand your point and reasonings. And yet, I put the lyrics there because they express what Draco and then Astoria are thinking in those situations. Also, the song inspired that particular scene, the star gazing.

You're also not the first to state that this particular line is your favourite and describes the Malfoys so well. I have to say though, that I got it from someone else and fiddled a bit with it until it suited my story. Can't remember anymore who the other author was, unfortunately. I also think that this line doesn't only fit the Malfoys but every pure-blood family that shares the same beliefs.

Anyway, thank you again for the great review. :) ~Bine

 

Summary:

Their friendship is almost a predestined thing: not the kind that is written in the patterns of stars, but the simpler kind of destiny that brings together people of like mind the same way gravity pulls leaves from the trees or magnets draw iron filings to attention. Never do either of them give much thought to the infinite momentous hammer of time and all things past that draws them together. And why should they? Rose and Callum are, after all, just products of their parents and the parents before them, like the rest of us, and to be otherwise is tantamount to impossibility.



Categories: Post-Hogwarts Genre: Warnings: Strong Profanity

Word count: 4210 Chapters: 1 Completed: Yes
Published:
07/02/09 Updated: 07/07/09


Reviewer: jenny b Signed
Date: 07/13/09 Title: Chapter 1: Sometimes It Skips A Generation

Um, wow. That was amazing.

I don’t think I’ve read anything so refreshingly original in fanfiction ever. It’s a huge change from what you usually see – you’ve combined the Muggle world and the Wizarding world to make a fic that is interesting and educational and full of connections that your readers will understand and love. (Crocodile Rock, anyone? ^_^) It’s so well-written, and has some great underlying messages and just … wow. Words fail to express how great this was. The summary for this caught my eye as I was scrolling through the most recent fics – partly because of how intriguing it was, and partly because I’m a huge Rose Weasley fan.

I got so involved in this that I forgot to make any notes, so I’ll just try to remember what I wanted to say. ;)

I loved the first half of this fic probably more than the second half, where the actual plot and main characters move into the spotlight. The whole timelessness of the first half, and how it shows the slow merging of the Wizarding and Muggle worlds (for the Granger family, anyway) was just written perfectly. You very rarely see fanfiction that focuses so explicitly on the Muggle world – usually the Wizarding world is its own entity, and nothing that happens outside is of any importance. But you’ve brought them together in a way that stays true to the secluded nature of wizards yet still opens up a whole new world to them.

My favourite part of this entire fic would have to be the WWPs. Although most of the time Wizarding technology is nowhere near the same standard as Muggles, it was inevitable that someone like Lee Jordan and George Weasley were going to run into things like iPods and want to make their own. I’ve always wondered how much the Wizarding World would take notice of technology developments in the future, and you’ve done it really well – they’ve taken something Muggles have and made an imitation of it that isn’t quite perfect but everyone loves all the same. Although I do wonder why the first thing they bring over to the Wizarding World is iPods – what about mobile phones? Or computers?

You’ve made Rose into a very interesting character. She’s not the usual generic Rose Weasley you get in fanfiction – good at Quidditch, extremely popular, a quick temper, etc – you’ve made her into someone completely different. I get the feeling she’s kind of an outcast, which is odd considering who her parents are. But you can’t help but love her despite her social ineptness. And the same with Callum – he’s the total adorable geeky character, and together they make for two absolutely perfect main characters. Seeing such original personalities is so refreshing.

I love the themes you’ve woven into this fic, like when Callum is explaining nuclear weapons to Rose, and how they despair over how “f***ed up” the world is. Which may be true – at least they believe it to be – but then they go and forget about it all with the music. Like you said earlier in the fic, “it’s the magic of the music”. It brings them all together in a world that’s been torn apart by evil things. It’s so rare to see a fic that has such an important message behind it – one that relates to us – and you’ve done a wonderful job. Well done. :)

--Jen

Author's Response: Thanks for taking the time to review - the long ones are the best (and obviously they're even better if they're positive).

When I write, I try my best to come up with original ways of showing things - often because I've tried to find ideas I thought were cool already written down but never actually turned up anything. Linking together the Wizard and Muggle worlds isn't really new, but it's not something that I see a lot of, and especially not from a very Muggle perspective - why is that, I wonder? Maybe it's just not as interesting.

Within the series I always wanted more stuff showing places where Wizards and Muggles overlap. Of course, due to the nature of the series being about a secret magical world that exists alongside our own, it's sort of inevitable that it would either end with the secret world either completely exposed or with business as usual, but I guess that's where fanfiction comes in, right? I like the Muggle world - I live in it, after all - and I like writing reminders that it's still the majority of the population, despite how insular Wizard society seems sometimes.

There was another story I read a long time ago, where Ron and the twins were marketing a new piece of technology - a Wizard equivalent of a cellphone that was built into a cigarette lighter. Brilliant concept, right? That was my inspiriation for an analogue of the iPod. There are some places where wizards have appropriated Muggle technology in the series - I don't think the radio or the pocketwatch is a wizard invention, for example - and the WWP is my impression of the next bit of Muggle technology to be absorbed into wizard culture. As to why it wasn't mobile phones or computers, I don't think there's much need - wizards already have plenty of long-distance communication methods, and what's a computer really but a long-distance communicator with a bunch of ways built in to distract yourself? Although, maybe there's something in the Ministry somewhere that's a big magical database of knowledge. Big rooms like the Hall of Prophecy, that have lists of spells, potions, and so on.

I haven't actually read a lot of Next-Gen stories, mainly because I don't like a lot of the ideas that come kind of pre-built in with them - that there are character traits and 'ships for characters we literally know almost nothing about. It seems to me that a lot of Next-Gen characters are kind of built from the stock traits of their parents, and don't really consider things like how they grew up or how those traits in their parents might have affected them growing up, but instead they come out as mixes of whatever parts of their parents' personality the author wanted to focus on. When designing Rose, I wanted to try and turn that about a little - she's intelligent, yes, but does that mean she's automatically intelligent in the same way Hermione is? It all feeds into the big message of this story, I think - the past is what moves us forward, makes us change. Nothing gets to be the same for long, but sometimes you can see patterns of where things are similar.

(As an aside, Callum I designed specifically to be something that was oddly lacking from the series - a child of divorced parents. Wizards, it seems, mate for life.)

Many parts of this story were an excuse to make use of music - Harold's love of music is my love of music, but it's obviously very difficult to find ways to include contemporary music in a setting that's detacted from the real world and have it still make sense. Similarly, it's also very difficult in any fiction to bring up real-world issues and not have it seem heavy-handed and cumbersome. My point is, with this story - yes, there are terrible things in the world. I don't know what will solve them. I don't know if it's possible to solve them. But we don't have to burden ourselves with every problem of the world - time the hammer will fix all these problems of the world and then go on to create some new ones. Just find what makes you happy, and do that, and don't worry.

 

Strawberries by Gemma Hawk
Rated: 3rd-5th Years [Reviews - 5]

Summary: "Oh, Astoria, Astoria, Astoria. When will you realize that I Love You, and that I Actually Do Find You Tolerable and that I’m Sorry For Annoying You So Much, But You’re Really Funny When You’re Angry." The story of Draco and Astoria.

Categories: Draco/Other Character Genre: Warnings: Strong Profanity

Word count: 2283 Chapters: 1 Completed: Yes
Published:
07/10/09 Updated: 07/13/09


Reviewer: jenny b Signed
Date: 07/13/09 Title: Chapter 1: Strawberries

That was so heart-wrenchingly beautiful. I’ve never seen Astoria and Draco characterised quite like that, as two people alone and cut off from the world rather than the usual almost-arranged-marriage thing. I can see Draco doing something like that – retreating to a cottage in the middle of nowhere so he doesn’t have to care.

The summary confused me a little, and then I thought it was funny, and then I clicked it out of curiosity. It wasn’t what I was expecting – this is so full of emotion and love that it’s almost overpowering, and I didn’t really get that from the summary. I’m not saying that the summary wasn’t good - I still liked it enough to read the fic – but it was just different, tis all. It doesn’t really capture the essence of your fic.

The random capitalisation threw me a bit in the beginning. At first I thought it was an error, but then I realised it was supposed to be like that. After I got used to it, I quite liked it – it puts an interesting twist on your writing and makes the whole thing seem a bit dreamlike, if you know what I mean. In fact, this whole fic is a bit like a fairytale, with the cottage where Draco lives alone and the strawberry incident and everything. It just has this beautiful far-away quality to it which I love.

The style you’ve written this in is really lovely. The sentences are extremely long-winded and you often repeat things, but that just makes it even better to read. It’s like a long train of thoughts from your characters, and that makes much more impact than dialogue or any action does in this fic. It really adds to the whole romantic, wistful tone of the fic.

A little problem I have is Astoria’s idea of going to university. I can’t recall one ever being mentioned in canon, and although you could add it in, it just seems a little pointless. I mean, most of the high-standing jobs that would need training in the Wizarding World would be at the Ministry, or St Mungos, both of which I’ve always assumed do their training themselves. I know Auror training is mentioned as being with the Ministry. So even though having Astoria go to university works well with your fic, I don’t think it fits. Also, it seems too real and plain for your dreamy, wistful fic. Perhaps she could be having a year off because she doesn’t know what she wants to do? Just my suggestion. ;)

I love the dynamics between Draco and Astoria. It’s so typical of Draco to just go and hide away from the world so he won’t have to care about anything. And then this girl comes along who is so full of life and cares so much that she draws him out of his hiding place. Astoria is an intriguing character, because she seems so shy, yet at the same time she has this big personality that can’t wait to get out. You’ve written her wonderfully, and it’s so easy to see Draco falling for her.

The ending was my favourite part. Astoria’s breakdown is something I’m sure most of your readers can relate to - being upset because everything finally seems to get on top of you and you don’t know if you can do it anymore. The tissue thing made me laugh, because it was just such a Draco thing to do to see finding the tissues as the best way to comfort her. Then the final section was just so beautiful. The things that go unsaid just make this. Astoria knows he loves her. That’s underlined throughout the whole fic – Draco doesn’t always say things, but they both know it’s there and that makes it even more special.

This was a really lovely read, so thank you for that. :)

--Jen

Author's Response: Thank you SO much for taking the time to write such a wonderful, long review! I'm super grateful : ) I think you're right about the university thing, though - I suppose it is a bit too "muggle". Thank you thank you thank you! : )

 

Meet the Weasleys by dominiqueweasley
Rated: 3rd-5th Years [Reviews - 9]

Summary: There are a lot of people we don't know on the Weasley family tree, and we're about to meet a few of them... in some rather interesting situations.

This is a collection of one-shots I've been writing ever since Deathly Hallows was released about the next-generation Weasley/Potter family.

Categories: General Fics Genre: Warnings: None

Word count: 5499 Chapters: 3 Completed: No
Published:
07/20/09 Updated: 08/16/09


Reviewer: jenny b Signed
Date: 07/31/09 Title: Chapter 1: Audrey

I love how you’ve taken a completely unknown character to us and given her such an elaborate background – Percy/Audrey is an oft overlooked pairing, and it was great to find such a well-written piece on them. I’d like to see more, even though this fic is just a oneshot. You made their relationship seem very believable. You’ve made Audrey into the perfect wife for Percy, in my opinion. You’ve portrayed her as so down-to-earth and intelligent, but still with a spark about her that would make her fit into the Weasley family just wonderfully. I do kind of wish you had written her with Percy at least a little, but this is great as is and I just think you should write another one. ;)

You’ve developed Audrey’s character very well. It’s the little touches that make a character believable, and you’ve put plenty of them in to make Audrey into someone that your reader can relate to and sympathise with. Things like her getting mad about the weather just because she’s already in a bad mood, and how she wears Muggle clothes against her better wishes just to please her mother. I get the feeling that Percy’s girlfriend would be very much submerged in the ways of the Wizarding World, Muggle-born or not, and you brought that across very well with that statement.

Sophia, too, is a brilliant character. She’s so charming and motherly, yet not in a way that makes her cliché. It’s quite obvious that she loves her daughter and behind everything she says and does, it’s just breaking her heart that she won’t act like a Muggle. At first I was a bit wary of her Dursley-like hate for all things magical, but you’ve given it a good backstory. That definitely seems like the kind of thing that would influence a person like Sophia’s opinion – the only small problem I have with Robert Leventhall’s story is that in canon, divorce is not a common thing. Maybe it’s just JKR playing perfect happy families, but having him run off to marry a “young blonde witch” and start a new family – not to mention never speaking to his first daughter again – just seems a bit too like RL and less like the HPverse, if you know what I mean.

I thought this was a truly wonderful little oneshot. Characterisation is clearly your strong point, and I like the idea of exploring the next-gen characters – especially the lesser-known ones such as Audrey and Dominique. You have the ability to develop beautiful characters that fit well into Jo’s world just from their name and a few details. :) Thank you for the absolutely lovely read, and keep it up!

--Jen

Author's Response: Wow thank you so much for the wonderful long review! It totally made my day. Charcters are definetely my thing... I have problems when it comes to actual plot. I did wonder about the divorce thing... I much prefer JKR's happy families of course, and I dislike the whole abandoned family soap opera thing, but the way I see it, there can be major jerks in wizards and muggles alike and Robert Leventhall is one of them. (Poor Sophia). Anyway thank you again for your careful reading and wonderful review!! CJ

 

Escape by inspirations
Rated: 1st-2nd Years [Reviews - 6]

Summary:

‘What do you want, Sev?’

‘I want you to walk with me.’



Categories: Severus/Lily Genre: Warnings: Abuse, Mild Profanity, Violence

Word count: 2218 Chapters: 1 Completed: Yes
Published:
07/26/09 Updated: 08/03/09


Reviewer: jenny b Signed
Date: 03/30/10 Title: Chapter 1: Escape

This was a lovely fic, dear. It’s one of the better Severus/Lily fics I’ve read. I liked how it was set after their fight and not at Hogwarts – it was a bit more original, and your characterisation was just perfect. That, I think, is what really makes this fic work – you’ve written Severus and Lily so well, and you can see how they’ve matured since the argument we see in OotP, especially with Severus. This fic really brought across how that was such a pivotal moment for them, and how Sev had regretted it ever since.

I really enjoyed the first person POV, as Severus is such a fascinating character yet so difficult to get right. I’m no expert on his characterisation, but there was one line that jumped out at me as not very IC – “Hm. The sun will never shine when my dad’s around. He’s a raincloud.” His inner monologue about his father was great up until that point, and then that line sort of made me stop and read it twice there. It’s partly because of the use of ‘hm’, which doesn’t flow well with the great imagery you had before it. Also, I think that the whole line just seems a little bit too childish for Severus to say – by this age he’s grown up quite a bit and it seems like something a child would say, or Sev would have before he went to Hogwarts and before he understood the full impact of what his father was doing.

You are absolutely fantastic with imagery, though. I could praise you all day about this. From the very first lines, you had me hooked – you have a way with your writing that makes it seem so very alive, and it was almost like I could feel the biting wind and smell the fish and chips – thanks for making me hungry, by the way. ;) But you put so much detail into your writing that most people don’t even consider, and I think that is what really makes it so intriguing. The little details really make the characters, like Severus’ mother having ‘a tea towel balled in her fist’ and his father ‘grunting in tune to a bad song’.

Lily, too, was characterised brilliantly – I liked her hostility. Too many authors seem to make her so soft and worrying and forgiving, which is just not her at all, if you go by the books. But in your fic she’s harsh and a bit bitchy, which I thought was really IC for her, as was the annoyance at Severus almost swearing. Lily is so proud, and it seems like she would tolerate people swearing about as much as she tolerates them calling her a Mudblood.

You’ve made me feel kind of sorry for Severus, which is a hard thing to do because I usually despise him, in canon and in fanfic. You started off with him on a very sympathetic note, when he’s walking with the fish and chips in the freezing cold thinking about his father beating him. His home life is really heartbreaking, and then when he’s thinking about his dreams and how he’ll never achieve them you realise that he’s just a sad and lonely teenager who has just ruined what was perhaps his only shot at happiness. In the second half of the story, though, my sympathies kind of lean towards Lily as Severus becomes his snivelling self again. You’ve characterised him so well in the way that his thoughts just kind of fall apart when he starts talking to her, and he makes things worse instead of fixing them. Also, I like the slightly obsessive attention he pays to her. It’s another great little detail.

This fic was a really nice read, Spire. You have a great writing style, and you’ve done a great job with Severus and Lily. Thank you!

--Jen

Author's Response: Jen! Aw, that review made me smile so much because this was such a challenging fic for me to write, and as a result a favourite :) Thank you so much! xx

 

Twilit Confessions by ahattab33
Rated: 3rd-5th Years [Reviews - 25]

Summary:

After returning from Australia with the Grangers, Ron realises the moment to make some important confessions to Hermione has come.

Inspired by the Ludo song, "Streetlights." A part of the "Moments" series.

Categories: Ron/Hermione Genre: Warnings: Sexual Situations

Word count: 2696 Chapters: 1 Completed: Yes
Published:
08/14/09 Updated: 08/25/09


Reviewer: jenny b Signed
Date: 02/11/10 Title: Chapter 1: Streetlights

This was a great fic. I loved the setting and how you’ve put this perfect, peaceful moment in between the craziness of their lives after the final battle. I thought Hermione was especially well-characterised in the beginning; she worries far too much about everything but at the same time seems so in control of her life and what’s happening. Ron, too, was very IC – I loved how he was still Ron, but you developed him past what we see in the books. In your fic he seems much more mature and has that kind of heavy weight on him that is inevitable after Fred’s death and everything else he would have had to deal with in the aftermath of the final battle.

I didn’t know the song you used, but I looked it up on Youtube so I could get the full effect of it in the fic. It’s quite a pretty song, and I thought the mood of it fit the fic extremely well – so peaceful and gentle. However, the lyrics didn’t really jump out at me at where you’d placed them in the fic. Songfics are a tricky thing to get right sometimes, and the quotes you used and where you placed them just seemed to jut out and didn’t help with the flow of an otherwise gorgeous fic. Whilst it fit with your setting, it seemed rather like you tried to make the fic fit with the lyrics instead of the song just fitting with your story. I think that with songfics, the lyrics need to add extra meaning to the situation rather than just describing it. The lyrics at the end, though, I thought worked really well, especially the last line.

It was a nice touch to bring up Krum and Lavender, because I can imagine Ron still having all that pent-up jealousy about Hermione kissing Krum. ;) But Hermione being so aghast at the fact that Ron knew they had kissed seem a bit odd, especially when she gets angry at him about Lavender not moments later. I can’t see Hermione being upset about kissing Viktor – I would think she would have been more annoyed at Ron for thinking it was still important. But the paragraph following where she tells him off for using Lavender was very IC. Trust Ron to think of it like a competition, bahaha.

"You don't have to tell me," she said. "Not now, not ever, if you don't want to."

This line was just so perfect. It even made me go all mushy inside, like the romantic I am. ;) In so few words, it just shows the amount of trust and love Hermione has for him, and that she can understand there are things that she doesn’t need to know, and she won’t make Ron tell her. In fact, the whole sequence following that line was just so heartbreakingly beautiful. They’ve always loved each other, and they both knew it, and it just all came together perfectly in that part there. Especially the line about Hermione crying every night.

Before I forget, the little thing about Ron counting their kisses is just so cute. It’s such a Ron thing to do, and besides it being totally IC for him, it really helps to bring out just how much he cares for Hermione. We never really saw that in the books because it wasn’t from Ron’s POV, but I can just see him having taken notice of little things like that for the entire time he’d liked Hermione. The way you kept repeating it in this fic just made his love for her seem so more real.

Near the end, where their kisses started being a bit more … sexier? ;) It kind of broke the lovely spell you had woven over the story. I think it would have been nice if you had just left it as it was, with beautiful and tender kisses rather than the ones pressed up against the door. You wrote it really well, it’s just that it seemed to go from sweet to sexy too abruptly for my liking, and perhaps if you did the transition more gradually or left it how it was it wouldn’t have interrupted the flow of the fic as much.

One other thing that seriously bugged me was Ron asking Hermione to be his “girl”. The use of that word just made me cringe. I’m not British, so perhaps it’s a Briticism that I’ve never come across, but it just seemed so out of place for the setting and for Ron to say. Where I come from, calling someone your “girl” just seems to be a bit disrespectful, and I can’t see Hermione standing for that, let alone being overjoyed at it. Perhaps it’s just my personal aversion to the word, but seeing it there really made me stop and cringe and ruined the moment slightly. In my opinion, it would have kept its sweet and romantic appeal if Ron had said “girlfriend”, or “go out with me”, or whatever it is Brits say when asking someone to date them. Also, I don’t really understand why Hermione apologises after he asks that. Is it because she didn’t answer straight away? It seemed a bit odd to me, is all.

All in all, I thought this fic was absolutely lovely, though. You really captured a beautiful moment between Ron and Hermione, and it fits in really well with what I’d imagine would happen after the final battle and everything that came with it. Thank you for the gorgeous read, dear!

--Jennifer

Author's Response:

I got this review very late one night as I was sitting up working, and it totally energized me, make me squee, and just was the most amazing thing ever. I posted a special LJ post to tell everyone how happy you made me. I’m so glad you brought up some of the things you brought up! I will warn you, the phrase “if that makes sense” comes up a lot…having a distinct image of characters and situations in your head is one thing, and explaining why you did or didn’t do something is another. I’m not so good at the explaining part, but I have to admit, I am super excited to try, because I love talking about this fic, and R/Hr:

I have such vivid characterizations about Ron and Hermione – more so Ron, especially during and after DH. I’m very pleased everyone seems to think he’s IC in this story, as that was a big reason I wanted to write it. I’ve read too many stories where he’s Ron from PoA.

This story is built so much around that song, and it pleased me to no end you said you looked it up. I heard it over a year and a half ago, and was virtually assaulted with that image of Ron, sitting on the curb, turning to see Hermione watching him from the window, she comes down, and they talk about everything, ending in a kiss… Curbside confessions, no longer afraid of what you’ll say… Every time I heard that song, the desire to actually write this little story just grew and grew, and then I joined the boards, and got the courage to do it, and get their conversation out. I feel like that song was meant for Ron, and about this moment in his life for Hermione. That being said…I struggled so much with fitting the song lyrics in. I think there are obvious points where places in the story fit with the song (or, obvious to me, as I’m very familiar with the song), but it kind of jumps around a bit in the song… a line here, a line there…and I’m still not entirely happy with any of the placings of the lyrics, except for the part right before Ron tells her about the Horcrux. Overall, this story means so much to me personally with the song that the two will forever be associated – I can’t read/hear one with thinking about the other - but maybe sometime in the future, I’ll edit the lyrics out, and have a note about it being inspired by it. Because it was a huge huge huge inspiration for so much of it, and I feel like listening to the song adds a great deal to it.

The Viktor/Lavender thing (for these two are related). The flow of the conversation was to be this: Ron brings up Hermione kissing Viktor, and she jumps to the conclusion that that is why he’s been so uptight all this time about exchanging letters. Thus, the shock. I don’t think she ever expected him to find out, and the way he says it, after he says he’s been so afraid “for so long” – I think she would have jumped to the conclusion that he’s known for much longer than halfway through their sixth year. I don’t know of a way to make that clearer, because I honestly believe that’s the way she would have reacted, if she thought that, which I do think she would have thought…and now I’m started to get convoluted. >.< And, even now thinking about it, maybe her gasping may have been a bit too much, but some sort of realization of all those years of jealousy and the fact that she thought he had kept it secret for so long…But that was the thought process behind her reaction, if that makes sense. So…if it does…I wanted Ron to be honest in spelling out what happened with Lavender, and he needed to tell her about knowing she kissed Viktor. I think if he ever said to her “I believe you aren’t interested in Viktor. I’m okay with it.” She would have a moment of speechlessness for a minute, especially after finding out he knew about their kiss, no matter how small, so she is a bit stunned and Ron jumps in to continue. Ron has a bit of a streak of jealousy throughout the books, even towards Harry throughout some of DH. And as much as I think Ron has matured, I think he was very relieved not to have to spell out too much about Lavender. Just leading Hermione there was enough, lol. And I like that he trusted her to figure out what he was talking about. I really don’t think that Hermione would hate Lavender at all, especially if she found out what happened. She was just a girl, who had a crush on a boy, who seemed quite enthusiastic about her in return. And I’m going to stop talking about all of this now, because I wasn’t kidding when I said I could talk about it for ages….

I have no idea where the counting kisses thing came from, but everyone seems to really like it, lol. I know I do. Ron’s too cute. I really think he’s been fairly sweet, no matter how he treated Lavender.

About the kiss at the end…the sexier part, lol: I personally thought it would go either two ways, realistically, stepping back from a story/writing angle: it would be a bit awkward for a while still, or it would end the way I have it. They have liked each other for Merlin knows how long, and been in love for quite some time, and they are eighteen years old, been on the run alone for a long time. I honestly think there’s quite a bit of pent up tension going on, though I don’t think they’ll be shagging each other silly anytime soon either. I just think that once they get comfortable, they’ll…catch up a bit, lol. And while I really love romance fics, I don’t really love pure fluff, and I try to keep things as realistic as possible. I see a scene play out in my head, and I write it. I saw this scene playing out…Ron wanting to simultaneously tell her things he’d been too afraid to but kiss her silly at the same time. And I have this vision of Hermione that I could write pages of…a little bit of that showed through at the end. I think there are aspects to Hermione’s personality that only Ron will get to see, and I’m basing that partly on how passionate she gets about the things she cares about, and partly on myself, as I can relate to Hermione and being somewhat of a reserved individual in public when it comes to maintaining your image…if that makes sense.

At the same time…stylistically…I can see your point, if it was jarring to read and go…”Hmm, things just shifted here, and it doesn’t fit.” Because no matter how I might “see things going” for these fictional characters, I’m still writing a story and I want to keep a certain mood, etc. I think my main point was that I wanted to show a shift in their relationship…I do believe that they were either always moving moving moving…or things were awkward, as Ron references. After this talk they finally have, and their kiss at the curb, things shift, and they are starting to relax around one another, and banter like they used to, only it has a different flavor to it because they aren’t hiding anymore. But…perhaps that could be for another fic. I still like that part, but I understand what you mean about the mood shift of the story.

About the “be my girl”: For me, the term isn’t disrespectful and isn’t meant to be, it’s just old-fashioned. For some reason, I’ve always felt Ron to be old-fashioned about some things, such as calling Hermione a “scarlet woman” in GOF, and I think some aspects of the wizarding world are a bit out of date. It truly just came out that way when I was writing. I honestly think Hermione would have been giggling insider her head (just as she did at the “scarlet woman” comment), and maybe going “oh, please”, but recognizing the sincerity of it all the same. Actually, I think if I were to rewrite this, I would have her giggling out loud and making fun of him a bit for it, but for some reason, I really think that’s the phrase he would use, and I have no real reason for thinking that, lol. I don’t think many other characters would use it, though, and I do agree. As for the apology: after she doesn’t answer him – and re-reading it, I didn’t describe what I was picturing accurately at all – he is sort of stiff in place, staring at her intently, expectantly, and she realizes that he is waiting on an answer. It’s sort of important to him – he’s built up the courage for quite some time, even though he knows her answer, silly boy – and she doesn’t want to make him nervous. Even though, again, she’s probably giggling at him.

I hope my answers helped a bit…Your review was wonderful and lovely and you sincerely and utterly and truly made my day. I know that the SPEW is working on recruiting, and I’ve debated several times about joining because of THIS FEELING right here. The purpose of SPEW is fantastic, and it really and truly does bring joy, feedback, encouragement, help, squeeing, and improvement to writers. And reviewing those out of SPEW like myself is only making me bite my nails more and continue to waiver on the fence, because I know there are others like me out there who enjoy bestowing joy on others. I'm very glad you enjoyed the story. Thank you thank you thank you!

~Amanda

 

To Tell The Truth. by Russia Snow
Rated: 3rd-5th Years [Reviews - 4]

Summary: One mistake, one wrong number, can lead to lives torn apart. Secrets never solve anything, they only make things worse.Self harm warning for eating disorders.

This is Russia Snow of Gryffindor submitting for “One Flew Over the Fwooper's Nest” Bookbasilisk Summer challenge.


Categories: One Flew Over the Fwooper's Nest Genre: Warnings: Character Death, Self Injury, Violence

Word count: 3236 Chapters: 1 Completed: Yes
Published:
08/24/09 Updated: 08/26/09


Reviewer: jenny b Signed
Date: 06/28/10 Title: Chapter 1: To Tell The Truth

First of all, I really liked the title and summary combination on this story; it’s the one that stood out to me on your author’s page and made me want to read it. The full-stop in the title bugs me slightly, but I’m horribly pedantic like that. But the summary is perfect – just two lines, and immediately I want to know what the fic is about.

I also really liked the first paragraph. It’s entirely a coincidence that just before I read this fic I was attempting to write a drabble where someone is dying, and my character’s descent into darkness was uncannily similar. I like how you start it off with what feels like an ending: Gwen slowly drifting away, unable to hold on. It really captures the reader right from the beginning. You immediately want to know who she is and what is wrong with her.

Your description of St Mungo’s was also really well-written, as Gwen wakes up with a fuzzy head and tries to make sense of what has happened. The image of her mother is one of my favourite lines in the whole fic – I can just imagine a distraught, tired woman who is terrified of what is happening to her daughter. It’s really touching. However, when put next to your detailed description of the hospital, the next scene with Nick seems entirely too rushed. As their break-up is one of the major points of the fic, I think you need to go one way or the other with it. Either dispose of it entirely (as Paige suggested) or elaborate on it enough so that it means something to the reader. Right now, it’s just an ordinary break-up, and Nick seems two-dimensional and callous. I feel like he has so much untapped potential as a character, and if you worked on that scene it could improve the whole story.

The end of the first section was another of my favourite parts of the fic. Starting from, ‘She didn’t understand …’ to ‘It hadn’t been a dream.’ This is the section where I think you get the real heart of Gwen’s character. She’s a broken, frightened girl, and her whole life depended on her boyfriend. It doesn’t make her a particularly clever character, but it makes her a real character. Not everyone is like Ginny and can survive fine on their own – some people depend on others to survive. Some people, like Gwen, have faults. Gwen is so young and naïve, and she is instrumental in the message behind this story – people make mistakes. I don’t know if that’s the message you intended, but that’s what I got out of it.

That said, with the beginning of the second section I think you could have done so much more elaboration, especially with Gwen’s character. You mention in passing how she has no friends, but I want to know why she doesn’t have friends. In that whole paragraph, that was the one thing that stuck out to me. Everyone (well, most people) have friends. Why doesn’t Gwen? Those four little words just stick out as odd without an explanation behind it. Does she have no friends because she’s a horrible person? Did her relationship with Nick estrange her from all her friends? Gwen is so … flighty in this fic. Good characterisation is the basis of a good story, especially when it’s so character-driven like this piece.

The eating disorder is a really interesting touch, I think. I never enjoy reading fics where canon characters like Hermione get eating disorders – it never seems very in character to me, and even if it’s written well I don’t really see it happening. Gwen, though, is the perfect candidate for an eating disorder (that sounds awful, but hopefully you understand what I mean). Like I mentioned earlier, she’s young, naïve and fragile. The section about Gwen’s deterioration made me think of her mother again, it would have been good if you had mentioned her there. I can just imagine this ghost of a girl wondering aimlessly about the house and her mother watching and unable to help. It’s chilling. I don’t know if you didn’t mention a father figure on purpose, but I think it fits really well with Gwen’s character if she’s never really known her father. It might help explain why she was so dependent on Nick.

Another part that felt extremely rushed was the ending. You go from Gwen walking down the hall to Nick explaining his story to him being dead so quickly that I had to stop and think for a moment about what had just happened. I think the downfall of this fic is the lack of explanation and elaboration with the key scenes. It sort of feels like you were just in a rush to get them out and skipped all the little details. At the moment, it reads sort of like a short, rushed cliché. If you expanded on the break-up scene, the last scene and on the characters of Nick and Gwen, then I think the whole thing would read better and it would go a lot more smoothly. It’s not really enough to just have characters – especially original characters – just do actions, you need to make sure that the reader realises why they’re doing them.

I think this story has huge potential, Russia, and if you ever rewrite it like you mentioned in your reply to Paige’s review then I’ll definitely be reading it again. Don’t think I’m being too harsh on you, I know this was written nearly a year ago – it’s wonderful to see how much your writing has improved. Thanks for the lovely read!

--Jen

 

On Parents by Phoenix13
Rated: 1st-2nd Years [Reviews - 7]

Summary: Victoire and Teddy are at that awkward stage. They're not adults yet, but they'll jinx you if you refer to them as "one of the kids." Victoire, especially, is sick of all her little cousins at the Annual Weasley Family reunion, so when Teddy finally shows up, the two of them escape out into the garden as fast as possible.

Categories: Next Generation Genre: Warnings: None

Word count: 2021 Chapters: 1 Completed: Yes
Published:
03/01/10 Updated: 03/09/10


Reviewer: jenny b Signed
Date: 03/09/10 Title: Chapter 1: Chapter 1

It’s just like Molly to organise a huge family reunion. I can see all the Weasley children growing up and having their own families, and then Molly would be upset when they don’t come and see her all the time. However, I thought was a bit odd was that the children seemed to be confined to the basement – I would have thought Molly (and Arthur) would want to be surrounded by their grandchildren, especially if they don’t see them as often as they would like. The children all running around causing trouble for Victoire was certainly amusing, but it would have been nice to perhaps see some of the parents in there as well, to get the full effect of an “Annual Weasley Family Reunion Extravaganza”.

Like I said, all the next-gen kids running amok was hilarious, and I thought it was good how Victoire was detached from all the fun. It gave me the impression of this young, awkward girl who thinks she’s too grown-up to play with all the children. But one thing that continued to bug me was that I couldn’t figure out how old they were. Your summary made me assume they were 13 or 14 (which was the “awkward” stage for me, haha), but then when I saw Dom and Lily were 13 I was a bit lost. About 15, then? It would be helpful to your reader if you actually specified the age, especially since you’ve put the emphasis on it in the summary.

You’ve characterised Teddy just wonderfully, I think. He’s got his mother’s spunk, but then in the garden he reminded me of Remus in a way that wasn’t overwhelming, but in my opinion was just perfect. You’ve made him such a kind, bubbly kid, and I can’t help but smile as I write this, thinking about how seriously great you’ve made him. He’s the kind of character that I just want to be my best friend. There was only one slight mistake I picked up with him, and that was the tips of his hair turning pink when he was embarrassed. It was nice to have a little reference to his metamorphic abilities in there, but as far as I know it isn’t something that just happens over a little embarrassment – with Tonks it always seemed that she needed to concentrate on changing something. I might be wrong, but it was just one of those things that made me stop and double check, interrupting the flow of the story.

The end scene was just adorable – I love how they’re in that awkward stage of kind-of-liking-each-other but it’s so new and confusing to them. Teddy’s little outburst seemed to come out of nowhere, but it was well-characterised how he thought his mum may have left him instead of dying in battle like everyone told him. The insecurity just seemed to fit his character perfectly. And Victoire, who is so sweet but yet so practical and down-to-earth. You can see these subtle characteristics of their parents in them, and it just rounds off their characters perfectly. I don’t know whether you did that on purpose or not, but it really works for the fic.

Overall I really liked it; there’s just the couple of things I mentioned above that threw me off. Your writing is quite wonderful, and I really enjoyed reading a Teddy/Victoire fic that wasn’t them as a couple or ending up as a couple. It’s just a sweet little beginning that hints at a beautiful relationship in the future. Thanks for the great read, dear! :)

--Jennifer

Author's Response: Oh my goodness, THANK YOU for the long review. You have no idea how ridiculously happy that made me. :D It was just the perfect thing to cheer me up during a break in my long study session for a History test. I'm glad you thought Victoire and Teddy were kind of like their parents; I didn't necessarily try to make them that way (I was just trying to make them sound real) but now you mention it, I can see it too. I have this whole timeline worked out for the Next Gen....I made up all their birthdays and everything, based on the years the known characters were at Hogwarts and such. I set this story in the summer when Victoire is just barely 15 and Teddy is 16, but they do seem a little young. That's easy to fix, though. Thanks for pointing that out. About the Teddy's hair thing--I was reluctant to put that in; I know it's a very fanon thing. I was kind of basing it off the movies, where Tonks's hair turns red when she's annoyed. I was going to change it anyway; it must have slipped my noticed. I'm glad to find another person who's as obsessed with minor canon details as I am. :) Thanks again for reviewing! You made my day!

 

Summary: Past Featured Story"Pettigrew... that fat little boy who was always tagging around after them at Hogwarts?"*

Did Peter Pettigrew constantly tag after his superior friends? Or was he in fact equal to the reckless, confident Sirius Black? Perhaps they were more alike than anyone could have guessed...

* indicates line taken from Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban

Categories: Same-Sex Pairings Genre: Warnings: Sexual Situations, Slash

Word count: 4380 Chapters: 1 Completed: Yes
Published:
03/12/10 Updated: 03/24/10


Reviewer: jenny b Signed
Date: 09/12/10 Title: Chapter 1: Chapter 1

I should probably start off by saying that I didn’t really notice what I was going to be reading when I chose this fic. It’s getting late and I’m a bit tired/distracted, so I skipped the summary and only clicked on this story because I recognised the title from the QSQ nominations. And being the clever person I am, I barely even paid attention to the title so once I realised it was Sirius/Peter I was quite surprised. I can’t recall ever reading a Sirius/Peter fic before – or any Marauder/Peter, really. The others are always paired off, but I think people forget about Peter because in the books you don’t really see much of his character before he turned his friends away and became a Death Eater. But I think in this you’ve really developed him well – you can see why the Marauders were his friend, but at the same time you can see why he pushed them away in the end.

I absolutely adore fics that are written in the second person. I don’t have much experience with writing it, but they always make for great reads, especially when it’s so well done that you can get caught up in the story without stopping to read every single ‘you’. It always puts the reader in an interesting position, and makes the story so much more intimate, which really works in this fic. You really get to know Peter’s thoughts and feelings, which I love.

You’ve done so well at capturing the innocence of the boys as young teenagers. I remember being fifteen and hormonal (heck, I’m still seventeen and hormonal) and I absolutely love all the subtle details you put in to show just how much Peter likes Sirius without saying it outright, because of course Peter doesn’t want to admit it. The recurring thought of how Sirius prefers James to Peter (and I think he’s spot on, there) is perfect, and so are the couple of instances where you show just how easily it is for Sirius to persuade Peter to do things – like who will get off the chair first, and whether or not Peter should go to Herbology.

Their confessions when out on the grass were very well-written. It was so very realistic, with how embarrassed they were to admit that – shock horror – they might have feelings for someone of the same sex. It’s the questioning that I think every teenager on the planet goes through, and you conveyed it so well with how hesitant they were to talk to each other about it, and how nervous Peter is when he lies so close to Sirius. That part stuck out to me a little, though, when Peter says how he has never been so close to anyone in his life. The Marauders seem quite close, and I would have thought they would hug occasionally or lean against each other or whatever. It just seems a little odd that Peter would have never been so close to anyone before.

Remus’ small part in this was great. I like how Peter’s first thought isn’t about himself, but about how pale Remus is and why he isn’t in the Hospital Wing. It very subtly shows the Gryffindor tendencies he has. And Remus is so very accepting of what Peter says, which I really liked. It was so different to Sirius’ reaction – it would have been nice to see James’ as well, but it wouldn’t have really fit into this fic. I do like how you believably left James out of the picture, by the way. Him and Sirius being so close tends to complicate things sometimes, but you left the focus on Peter and Sirius in such a way that I didn’t even take notice of James not being there until I began to write this. But where was I? Remus. You characterised him really well: thoughtful and accepting but still with that small quirkiness that makes him one of my favourite characters.

Also, one thing I picked up: Peter calls Sirius Padfoot, but I don’t think Sirius once calls him Wormtail. Was this intentional, or did you just forget?

It was a great read, Emma. I’m so glad I assigned myself as your SPEW Buddy! ;)

--Jennifer

 

Leaving Yesterday by coolh5000
Rated: 3rd-5th Years [Reviews - 7]

Summary: To Dean Thomas, it seems like the rest of the wizarding world is moving on with their post-war lives while he remains stuck in the past. But a near-terrible action shows Dean than perhaps he is not as alone as he thinks, and that with the help of the people close to him, he may eventually be able to move on.

Categories: Post-Hogwarts Genre: Warnings: Abuse

Word count: 2707 Chapters: 1 Completed: Yes
Published:
03/30/10 Updated: 03/30/10


Reviewer: jenny b Signed
Date: 03/30/10 Title: Chapter 1: One-Shot

So I read this just before you went offline and I was about to suggest some titles. Yours is very fitting, although I was thinking more along the lines of ‘Hope’ or something like that. Possibly something a bit better, but what I took from this fic was not so much that Dean was still hurting after the war (despite that being the major part) but the fact that there is always that hope there, no matter what.

If I saw this when it was on LJ I must have forgotten about it, since reading this was an entirely new experience for me. I definitely wasn’t expecting the story to go in the direction it did, but I did guess at the Dean/Luna, since the intimacy between them at the end of DH was something that I think every HP fan noticed. To have her end up with Neville in this was a huge surprise. I know there are a few Neville/Luna shippers out there, but I’ve never really cared much for the pairing. If this fic follows canon, then Neville and Luna’s relationship doesn’t work out, but with how you’ve written it I can see them having a relationship for a short while after the war – Neville’s newfound strength would make him chase Luna a bit, but I think ultimately he would get annoyed with her airy-fairy ways.

Dean has always fascinated me as a character, as he has that back story that no one really knows about. I like how you’ve touched on this in your fic, as you mention his father being a bastard and his stepdad taking care of him and his mother. I’ve always imagined Dean to be fiercely protective of his mother, and so the approval of his stepdad says an enormous amount about his character (the stepdad’s) in my mind. I really enjoyed the first part of the fic with Dean wandering about his house – I can imagine him feeling so alone simply because he was running the entire year, and didn’t really fight the same war that all his friends did. He reminds me of Harry a bit in that way, how he has to be at the centre of the action before he feels like he’s made a difference.

My heart broke a little bit for Dean when he overheard that conversation, but I can’t really see Dean/Luna working out, much like Neville/Luna. She’s such an enigma, and I think it would take a very interesting personality to finally marry her. I don’t think I’ve ever read a Rolf/Luna fic, but I’d like to see one. I thought you characterised Luna really well, considering you didn’t have anything to go by in regards to Luna in a romantic relationship. The sentence, “So much has happened that it is easy to confuse feelings of friendship with those of love,” was just so very IC. It’s got that vague Luna touch to it, but it still brings across her point very clearly.

Dean nearly hitting her came as a huge surprise to me. It wasn’t something I would have expected of his character, but I think in context you’ve written it very well. With all his anger about the war, and then wanting to talk to the very person he thought he could count on … I can see why Neville being with her would come as a blow to Dean. Also, the fact that he turns to abuse opens up such fascinating aspects of his character. I don’t know if you did this specifically, but his father immediately came to my mind. By calling him a ‘bastard’ you insinuated that he didn’t treat Dean or his mother well, and abuse could certainly have been a part of that. I’m not an expert on the topic by any means, but it follows on that Dean might have inherited the quick temper and violent tendencies from his father, or even subconsciously picked up on it when he was a child, and looking up to his father as children often do.

I thought I should also mention how I liked the detail of them drawing their wands when they head a gate slam – the war will probably stay with them for a long time. Also, I loved Neville in this situation. The short paragraph after Dean nearly hit her just summed up his character perfectly.

Like I mentioned in the beginning, even though this fic mostly centres on Dean hurting, the part that stuck with me was the ending. The whole fic is leading up to that moment of finally belonging again, and I personally would have made the title reflect that theme rather than the one of hurt and despair. Ginny and Harry’s appearance, however small, made for the perfect ending. I think out of everyone, those two would be the ones who would never give up on anyone, and it was nice that Dean realised this.

So yeah, I absolutely loved it. Thanks for a lovely bedtime read, dearest.

--Jen

Author's Response: Thank you for the most wonderful first review for this fic :D I don't like my title, and I think you're right. The message that comes out of it is one of hope rather that depression and that's the main reason I didn't put it in D/A - it starts off quite angsty but the end is definitely the bit that's supposed to be left with the reader at the end. I was originally going to call it something like Looking Forward or Moving on or something equally lame, but I like Hope. I'm going to change it as soon as I finish this response and then only you and the nine other readers will no what it was originally called.

I'm not sure I see Luna working out with Neville either. I agree that it's going to take someoen very special to be able to stick with her. And of course we don't know that she's going to return his feelings. She tells Dean after all that she doesn't know - I wonder if they might try and just find that while they care a great deal for each other, there's nothing romantic really there.

I'm sure there are other parts of the review I should respond to but I don't want my response to turn out as long as your review! So I will simply say thank you so much and it's all wonderful, and really made me feel rather more postitive about this story than I did when I wrote it!

*hugs* Hannah.

p.s - I hope you've got to bed now!

 

Red Wine by OkiBlossom
Rated: 6th-7th Years [Reviews - 1]

Summary: In the midst of the Second War, Remus Lupin returns to Firenze to care for his grandfather. He escapes marriages problems, but his other family always holds onto something promising. He expects a farewell. What he receives he'll never forget.

Disclaimer: I'm simply playing with JKR's characters in her world.

Categories: General Fics Genre: Warnings: Book 7 Disregarded, Character Death, Strong Profanity

Word count: 3991 Chapters: 1 Completed: No
Published:
04/13/10 Updated: 04/16/10


Reviewer: jenny b Signed
Date: 09/12/10 Title: Chapter 1: Chapter 1: Rosary Beads

Hello, Jen!

I don’t believe I have ever read anything of yours before, and since you’re SPEW’s Featured Author for the month I thought it was about time I started. I really like the concept of this story – giving Remus a mysterious past isn’t really an original plot device, but you’ve managed to spin it to make it new again, and I’m really interested to see where it goes.

I loved how you started the fic in the middle of the action. I read so many stories where the author would have been better off cutting the first few paragraphs or more of the story, because they start off with a lot of rather dull exposition. But you’ve jumped right into it with Remus leaving – I’ve never read A Blank Canvas so I might be missing something in the beginning, but even so it still works without the prior knowledge.

In the beginning, your sentence structure stood out to me a lot. The sentences are all quite short and choppy. I’m not sure if you’re doing it purposefully to show the tension between Remus and Tonks in this scene, but I don’t think it really works. The harsh structure really doesn’t help the story to flow well, and you need this – especially when the reader has just begun. It does improve once you delve further into the story, but you might want to work on the beginning.

I did like the detail you put in, though. Tonks is very in character, and from her behaviour and attitude I got the impression that she and Remus aren’t entirely happy, which is really well done since you never actually specify this through the exposition or dialogue. I loved the short part about how things never had a place and Tonks’ crocheted blanket – those few sentences really spoke volumes about the situation and what Remus and Tonks live like.

Occasionally you seem to jump around with your writing, and it doesn’t really make much sense. I have to stop and think about what’s happening and reread to see if I’ve missed anything. For example, a few paragraphs into the story you write: A rusted iron lid landed on top of an article about the new Minister. This doesn’t really relate to the paragraph before, and the appearance of the box seemed totally random to me. It happens again in a major way once Remus gets to Italy. The character of Natalia is not very well explained, and neither is Remus’ trip from the train to the shop to his grandmother’s house. I’m not sure if you’re aiming for the vague, fill-in-the-blanks style of writing, but it just left me slightly confused. You shouldn’t be afraid to explain things, because you need to remember that the reader doesn’t have the same background information on the characters as you do. Because you rely so heavily on dialogue in this section, the reader misses out on a lot of key information that is simply glazed over by Remus and the other characters.

On that note, this sentence really confused me: He put his hands on his wife’s shoulders. It came completely out of nowhere, and I didn’t understand it at all. At first I thought you were implying that Natalia was his wife, but if that’s the case then it really wasn’t explained well at all before that. So maybe it’s just an error or sentence that should have been removed?

You’ve put a lot of thought into Remus’ character. He’s such a quiet and thoughtful, and I loved how his memories started to flood back once he got to Italy. The small lines about how he couldn’t remember which festival was occurring and how he had forgotten the beauty of the city were really great details to put in – those are the kinds of things that really make characters and stories.

As a whole, I really enjoyed it. Thanks for the lovely read!

--Jennifer

 

Summary:

Growing up as Albus Potter was not an easy task, and being the son of the Chosen One wasn't a piece of cake, either. Expectations of greatness have the startling ability to crush someone, especially an eleven-year-old boy.

Join Albus Potter in his rocky journey to adulthood and what it's like to live, to learn, to love, to lose, and to be the middle child.

 

This story is going to be epically long, and yes, I will update. It may not come as fast as the updates to The Vindication of James Potter did, as I'm posting this as I write it, but I do promise that this story will not fall victim to apathy. Hopefully, you enjoy this story if you decide to read it. :)



Categories: Next Generation Genre: Warnings: Mild Profanity

Word count: 18937 Chapters: 4 Completed: No
Published:
05/21/10 Updated: 07/31/10


Reviewer: jenny b Signed
Date: 05/22/10 Title: Chapter 1: Chapter 1

Yay! I'm really looking forward to this fic. :D I think it's an excellent premise, and you've characterised the three kids just wonderfully. Especially Lily - I've always pictured her as the most spoiled of the three, and it would definitely make her a bit bratty. And being a middle child myself, I can definitely identify with Albus. I like how you've made them just like typical children who are horrible to each other - it bothers me when authors make the Potter kids all kind and sweet and best friends to each other.

This is going to be VoJP compliant, isn't it? I'm already excited to see the R/S, even though I know it's going to be mostly Albus/unrequited love. >.>

I love the title, as well - it's one of those ones that I wish I had thought of first. XD

This is a bit of a hopeless review, but I couldn't not give you one after such a promising first chapter. I can't wait to read the rest!

Author's Response:

I have preconceived notions about each of the Potter children, and I won't delude myself into thinking that most children (especially other people's children) are heathenistic lil bastards. These three are no different. James is an absolute terror until he's in his early 20s (aka - when he grows up and has someone to set him straight), and Lily is a bit of a princess. I guess that Harry probably spoils the children because he had nothing as a child, and Ginny does as well because she grew up so poor. That makes for an entitled ass of an eldest son and for a 'me me me' baby girl. Albus, though, is the one in the middle that just lets the sibs have what they want. This predisposes him to bad influences and introverted behaviour.

And yes, it will be VoJP compliant, so there will be some heavy drama before the ships in that story surface here. I had about a half-dozen plot bunnies about this particular period of time, so instead of writing a few short fics, I'm just going to do one ginormous epic one. It'll take a couple years to finish this story, but I think I will just because I feel like it's a story that must be told.

The title...lol. I just scrolled through the prompts to see if I got any inspiration. That popped into my head, and the alternatives were worse. Hence the birth of a (hopefully so) legend. 

Thanks for reading, and I hope it can exceed your expectations.

Jess

 

Summary: At age eleven, Dudley's daughter receives a letter he recognizes very well. As Sinead Dursley embarks on her journey of magical education at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, she strikes up a strange friendship with Lorcan Scamandar. Soon, Lorcan and Sinead rule over a reign of terror at Hogwarts as they subject their fellow students to cruel and dangerous pranks.

The title of this story comes from the poem "Child" by Sylvia Plath. Also, I would like to thank Royari for being an amazing beta.



Categories: Next Generation Genre: Warnings: Mental Disorders, Sexual Situations, Violence

Word count: 20199 Chapters: 9 Completed: No
Published:
06/26/10 Updated: 08/13/12


Reviewer: jenny b Signed
Date: 06/28/10 Title: Chapter 1: In Which an Owl Flies

Hi, Addie!

First of all, I am so excited for this fic. It's such a great concept, and I can't wait to see where you go with it and with the character of Sinead. So far she doesn't seem very Dursley-ish, and I'll be interested to see if you bring out that side of her character. She's very interesting so far, though. Is she going to be in the same year as any of the Potter children, I wonder?

On the topic of Dursley-ness, their house really fits them. I can imagine it now; a country house in the suburbs, the housewife up and cooking bacon for them every morning ... it's so picture-perfect.

Just as an aside, why the Irish names? They're gorgeous, don't get me wrong (and Cillian just makes me think of the drool-worthy Cillian Murphy) but Elaine isn't a very Irish name and, as far as I know, the Dursleys weren't Irish. Just a random quirk, then?

I love how you've written Dudley. I find it incredibly hard to make him in character, especially once he's older and has a relationship with Harry that isn't based on hate. I think people can forget that Vernon and Dudley aren't necessarily bad people, they just hated Harry. Dudley would always be kind to his family, and you've got that down well. And his reaction to the letter was just priceless. I like how Elaine seems to be a second Petunia, too. ;)

The title is absolutely gorgeous, by the way - I love that poem. And I'm insanely curious to see what this 'one absolutely beautiful thing' is, or if it's just one of those vague, metaphorical titles.

I don't have much to say about this chapter, but I'm eagerly awaiting the next one. I loved it!

--Jen

Author's Response: Hey, Jen! Thanks so much for the wonderful review, dear! -The Potter kids will indeed be featured. I'll have to brush up on my Epilogue, though, I think I've forgotten a bunch of them and their ages. >.> -Ah, I figured Elaine was Irish. It's not a common Irish name, but I've seen some genuinely Irish folk named Elaine (the actress Elaine Cassidy, for one), so I thought I'd go with it. So Sinead and Cillian are supposed to be half-Irish, and their mother had more authority when naming them. -I was actually really worried about writing Dudley, just as I am apprehensive about writing Harry. I very rarely feature canon characters, so this is certainly a challenge for me. I'm glad you like his characterization, though! -I had so much trouble with this title, haha. Finally I decided to get some help from one of my favorite poets. The title relates in my head, although I'm not yet sure how it will translate to everyone else. Hopefully it'll be clear in the later chapters...if all goes as planned. Once more, thank you so much for the fantastic review!

 

Summary: It is September 1, 1993. Astoria Greengrass is entering her first year at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. Thirteen-year-old Draco Malfoy is heading into his third year. Neither one knows what meeting the other will do to them. As the years span out Draco feels a strange connection to Astoria that he can't identify. Astoria has convinced herself that she hates him, but her feelings slowly become more and more confused. With Pansy fighting to keep them apart, Draco's isolation in becoming a Death Eater, Astoria's constant rivalry with her sister, and pride dictating their heads all adding to the mix one question lingers: Will the two realize that the thing they've needed all along is each other? It all begins on the Hogwarts Express.

Categories: Draco/Other Character Genre: Warnings: Mild Profanity, Sexual Situations

Word count: 6975 Chapters: 4 Completed: No
Published:
07/10/10 Updated: 04/25/11


Reviewer: jenny b Signed
Date: 09/12/10 Title: Chapter 2: Chapter 1: A Sister's Revenge

As I’ve already told you, I really enjoy this fic. It’s one of the more original Draco/Astoria stories I’ve read – the beginning is, anyway. Your characters are very unique, and I like how you haven’t made Astoria the quiet, placid girl that everyone expects Draco to end up with. I absolutely adore her character, especially in this chapter. She’s so fiery, yet she manages to keep her cool so well around Blaise and Draco. It makes her very Slytherin, which I quite like – so often you get writers putting characters in houses just as a plot device, and then they don’t justify why the character is there.

This is looking like it’ll be a very character-driven story, and I’m very pleased at how well you’ve developed your characters so far. Even with her small appearance in this chapter and the fact that she’s a relatively minor character in the books, I thought Pansy was spot on – her condescension was just so typical, and it just reminds me of so many teenage girls I know. The only character who seems a little flaky so far is Daphne. Perhaps she just fades into the background a little because she has such a well-characterised sister, but I’m hoping that her character develops a bit more in the next few chapters, especially if she’s going to continue to be such a large part of the story.

That said, I really like the relationship between Astoria and Daphne. It’s so rare to see such a strong family relationship in fanfiction (that doesn’t involve the Weasleys), and you’ve conveyed those feelings really well. I think that especially in pureblood families, the ties would be quite close – they would stick up for each other, much like Astoria does for Daphne. It’s interesting though how I can’t see Daphne doing the same thing for Astoria, which I think is very realistic.

As for the plot, I’m still sort of waiting for it to get started. You’ve done a great job of introducing the characters and developing Astoria’s personality, but I’m hoping that something of consequence happens soon. Ideally, you should jump straight into the plot and let the characters develop along the way, because otherwise it can be slightly tedious when the story takes so long to get started.

Your style of writing is quite good, and I like how you delve into Astoria’s thoughts occasionally. Although I’ve noticed that you tend to overuse adjectives a little: phrases such as ‘her face looking bizarrely canine’ and ‘… drawled Draco Malfoy snidely’ aren’t necessarily bad things, but when you use them in every second sentence it becomes redundant and really disrupts the flow of the story. Sometimes less is more.

I can’t wait for the next chapter!

--Jennifer

Author's Response: Thank you very much for your review! It was very in-depth, which I both like and need at this point. Thanks for the tips. I intended Daphne to be a bit flaky because she and Astoria are meant to be opposites, bringing out the character of the other (I hope). I'm sorry if the exposition started out slow, but I needed to get Blaise's treatment of Daphne in there from the beginning because it will come into use later in the story. I intend Daphne to end up with Zabini, and it was important for me to show this incident early on because it gives you a sense of how Daphne's mind works. But yes, she will develop. She may be vapid but she is not as one-dimensional as she appears to be.

 

Summary:

All Teddy Lupin had ever wanted was to be the kind of man his godfather was. He even followed in Harry's footsteps and became an Auror.

Harry wanted nothing more than to be the father that Teddy would never have, but work and obligations always seemed to get in the way. Before he knew it, Teddy was all grown up. How had he missed all those precious moments? He knew he had to make up for it somehow.

After all, they had all the time in the world, right?

 

This fic WON a 2011 Quicksilver Quill Award: Best Post-Hogwarts Story



Categories: Post-Hogwarts Genre: Warnings: Character Death, Mild Profanity, Violence

Word count: 6160 Chapters: 1 Completed: Yes
Published:
09/15/10 Updated: 09/19/10


Reviewer: jenny b Signed
Date: 12/02/10 Title: Chapter 1: Chapter 1

It’s slightly overdue, but I didn’t forget, so here is your SPEW buddy review! I remember you mentioning to me that in your next-gen verse, Teddy has a back story, so when I saw this I thought it would be quite interesting to see what it was. The warnings kind of gave away the ending, but it was a heart-wrenching fic all the same. The way you wrote the beginning was really sad as you watch Teddy grow and at the same time grow apart from Harry.

I felt it was very realistic how it’s because of his own children that Harry doesn’t have as much time to see Teddy. Even though in the beginning Harry is utterly determined to be like a father to Teddy, it’s only natural that when he really became a father it would be a much more monumental event. Plus it’s very in character for Harry to be so forgetful of other’s feelings, as well-meaning as he is. The guiltiness he shows towards Andromeda and when Teddy becomes and Auror is also just so Harry—I think you’ve done really well in characterising him just like he is written in the books, but at the same time he has a certain wise air about him that would have developed as he aged.

Teddy’s character is fantastic as well. The faith he has in his godfather even when Harry isn’t living up to his role as godfather is very sweet and childlike—I am slightly surprised he didn’t grow up and get angry at Harry for not being around very much like his grandmother does, but like Harry said, Teddy is very much like his father. I do wish he had a little more of Tonks’ spark, but he’s a great character all the same. He even seems to have a few Harry-ish qualities, like when he just leaves a note and runs off to be the brave one, although I do wonder if that was more just a plot device than purposeful character trait. ;) I think you’ve done a brilliant job of shaping Teddy’s character so that he’s well-rounded and original.

Also, I really liked the one line about Andromeda and how she had nothing good to say about Harry anymore. Even though she’s only a minor character in the books, she’s tough and fierce and you can see how she is Bella and Narcissa’s sister. You really captured just how much she loves her family in that line—she would be extremely angry at Harry for not visiting his godson.

The death threat for Harry really threw me off, since I had been so sure that it would be Teddy who would die. And even though I was still sure that I knew what would happen, you got me worried all the same. Harry’s carefree attitude towards the threat frustrated me to no end, even though it’s just so very typical of Harry to brush it off like it’s nothing. If it had been a death threat for anyone else (like you briefly touched upon with Kingsley) he would have immediately panicked.

I know it’s a very common plot device to use in next-gen fics, but I’m wondering if the return of Death Eaters to kill Harry/his family when he’s older is starting to become slightly cliché. I think you used this idea really well in VoJP, but in this fic it feels kind of overused, especially since I assume this is supposed to be along the same storyline as most of your other next-gen fics. I feel like after the war, the Death Eaters would try and blend in quietly rather than secretly plot to finish Voldemort’s work, especially since I had always thought most of the Death Eaters were motivated by fear rather than a longing to rid the world of Harry Potter and Muggle-borns. Just something to think about.

Draco’s appearance towards the end was rather bittersweet, especially since the spell that killed Teddy was the same one Harry nearly killed Draco with. On that note, props to you for not using Avada Kedavra—like what I was saying before, I don’t believe Yaxley and Rowle would have nearly that much hatred for Harry anymore. But I like how you didn’t make Draco all friendly towards Harry—it felt much more realistic this way. Also, his line made me laugh. ;)

I feel like this fic ended a little too suddenly. You jumped so quickly from Teddy’s drawn-out (in a good way) death to the rest of the night being a ‘whirlwind of activity’, and it doesn’t end with the closure I think you need in a fic like this, especially since the last few paragraphs are about Ginny. This isn’t a very helpful point to make since I don’t have any ideas on how you could have ended it better, but I thought I would mention it.

This was a really touching fic. It’s not very often you read fics that are so centric on familial relationships, and this was a really great one because it makes sense for Harry and Teddy to drift apart as they both grow older. I’m pleased it ended with them close again and not some angst-ridden Harry who never made it up to Teddy, too. Thanks for the fantastic read!

--Jen

Author's Response: Next-Gen cliches are what they are, I suppose. In a way, this fic was my answer to the one that annoys me the greatest, and that's the idea that Harry was some sort of superdad. Yes, he will fight and die for those he loves, but he isn't one to consider ramifications. He'd always had Hermione for that. In retrospect, I probably could have and should have invented a new character to try and kill Harry, such as someone whose life he had turned upside down, sort of like what happened to Nick Barnaby in VoJP. I could probably do that right now, and it would have little or no effect on the story at all. Actually, now, I really want to, hehe. What I meant in terms of the bonds formed in this fic between Harry and Teddy is that Harry really did love Teddy, and he never forgot him. He just procrastinated his way through Teddy's childhood, which he really did try to make up for by opening his door to Teddy once Auror training started (which also sews up the supposed plothole pointed out by a few readers of him coming over all the time during the Epilogue). He's not a bad bloke, and growing up in a household that held a permanent air of despair, Teddy knew that, and he could never have held it against Harry for being too busy. He turned out to be a good person because he wanted to be like Harry, but in the end, he was like his godfather too much. He fell in love with a redhead. He chose a dangerous profession. He tried to be a hero and it got him killed. Lovely review, my dear. I'm glad you enjoyed the story, even though I used Death Eaters as a plot device. :D ~Jess

 

Hold Out Your Hand by MerrryD
Rated: Professors [Reviews - 3]

Summary:

He’s James.
He’s your best friend.
And you have nowhere else to go.


Categories: Dark/Angsty Fics Genre: Warnings: Sexual Situations, Slash

Word count: 1832 Chapters: 1 Completed: Yes
Published:
02/08/11 Updated: 02/12/11


Reviewer: jenny b Signed
Date: 02/13/11 Title: Chapter 1: Hold Out Your Hand

Mere! I am the worst SPEW buddy in the world, I know. So even though this is ridiculously late, I hope you can forgive me!

It’s been a while since I’ve read some of you work, but I’m pretty certain that if someone gave me a fic you’d written and didn’t tell me it was yours I would be able to tell anyway. You have a very distinctive style that runs through all your fics—I get this familiar feeling when I read something of yours, like it’s a book written by an author I know really well. And you write so naturally in second person, too—I had thought you had written a lot of fics in 2P, but looking through your author’s page it doesn’t seem like that, unless I am just remembering from SPEW drabbles and the like. But it flows so well, and I think this is the perfect fic to be written in second person. It’s so intense and wrapped around Sirius’ emotions that I just don’t think it would have worked as well from another POV.

The beginning of this is so powerful. Sometimes I am just in awe of your writing, seriously. The imagery is amazing—I know you’re a runner, so you’ve captured the feelings really well at the beginning. The slamming feet, the hum in his legs … it’s just a really great scene to open with, because you draw the reader in straightaway. I love how you’ve left out the actual fight with his parents. I feel like it would have overshadowed the rest of the fic, and this is much more about Sirius’ emotions than the reasons behind them.

It’s interesting how you’ve written it so that his friends are still angry at him. I’ve read plenty of fics that feature this moment in Sirius’ life, but never with the added worry that James might not take him in—it adds another element to their relationship, showing just how strong their bond is, and that really sets up their relationship for the rest of the fic.

That said, I do feel as if you rushed into the climax too quickly. Considering there is no backstory to their potential romantic relationship, it seems quite out-of-nowhere and I feel like it might have flowed better if you integrated it more slowly, and set it up over at least another couple of paragraphs. I know it’s much easier said than done, though, and for a short fic you’ve done really well. I just feel like it could have been developed a little more.

But, the kissing scene? Totally hot. ;)

The ending is also really well-written, which I am really pleased about—it really bothers me when fics start off strongly and then just wither at the end, but you’ve kept up the same strong imagery and emotion throughout the whole piece. I love the dark feel to it—I almost feel like I’m intruding on Sirius’ emotions, you’ve made it so intense and personal. And the last lines, I think, capture the whole fic perfectly.

You’re brilliant. That’s all.

Author's Response: I love you. I actually considered leaving the response at that. ;) But seriously. I don't think anyone has ever told me they're in awe of my writing or that it's powerful. And when you said that you'd instinctively know if something is mine? I don't know if I can tell you how awesome that is to hear. I think I know what you mean about the climax. It kind of felt rushed, but I couldn't really figure out how to slow it down, you know? Gah. Thank you so much for making my day every time I read this. :) <3Mere

 

Summary: On her first night of patrol, Molly Weasley was armed with the basic rules of how to be a prefect, but one guideline had been woefully omitted from the list: what to do when a handsome delinquent robbed her of her ability to think.

Categories: Next Generation Genre: Warnings: None

Word count: 1173 Chapters: 1 Completed: Yes
Published:
02/08/11 Updated: 02/08/11


Reviewer: jenny b Signed
Date: 02/10/11 Title: Chapter 1: Chapter 1

Eeeeeeee!

Thank you for this brilliant piece of brilliantness, Jess! It's such an adorable little tidbit of a fic - and you know I could never pass up a cocky yet charming Scorpius, hmm? ;)

Molly's character was fantastic! She's such a little-written-about character in next-gen fics, so it was rather refreshing to read this rather than another old Scorpius/Rose or whatever. She's got the perfect touch of Percy, but then she's got that little bit of wanting Scorpius to sweep her off her feet.

I loved this so so much. You're an amazing author and a great friend. Thank you again! *hugs*

Author's Response:

I knew Scorpius was a passion of yours, and I rather like the idea of an unredeemed Malfoy. Though I prefer to think Draco raises a decent boy, there's nothing wrong with a bit of indecency here and there. Poor, scared, afraid of he dark Molly, though... lol.

I'm glad you liked it, and I hope your birthday was fabulous. 

 
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