Oh goodness. This story was heart-achingly awesome. I love so much about this story I'm not sure where to start. I don't really review, like ever, so I guess I'll just list stuff off - forgive me if it all sounds disjointed!
Lee and George should get medals for best wingmen ever. So many of the twin-centric stories I've read sort of shove Lee to the side or ignore him altogether, so I really appreciate that you've acknowledged his friendship with the twins and given him plenty of time to shine. The detention with Umbridge scene had me cramping with laughter.
I love how you sort of flit about the canon, taking bits and pieces of the books and sticking them in different lights to make up a story. George stealing Angelina at the Yule Ball, Harry's arrival on the Hogwarts Express, Fred and Hollis' brief goodbye before the twins' departure from the school... you've scouted out a bunch of tiny blanks and filled them in with a beautiful, and very convincing, love story.
You are damn funny. Your humor feels effortless. My absolute favorite part: "Fred Fred Fred Fred Fred Fred…" Oh, I can just picture his reaction. But if I tried to list out *all* the bits of this story that made me laugh I would use a lot more than 6000 words so I'll just leave it at that and hope it covers it.
I also love that you haven't neatly wrapped up every loose end. You could have had the pair troll through their history, detailing each of their encounters and explaining their motivations to the other - "Remember that one time in chapter X where I Y? That was because I liked you and was trying to get your attention!" - but you didn't, and I'm grateful. Their relationship is strong enough without a hundred different little confirmations of their feelings.
And the funeral scene. Oh dear. There have only been a handful of stories that have made me blubber like that, or that have taken the pain I felt at a character death and made me relive that pain anywhere near as strongly as I did while reading the books. "The coffin shook once when it sank to the very bottom, and this was when George began to cry, shoulders shaking like a broken person." That's where I broke, too. Before that I was crying, but that one line just made me curl up in a quivering ball and sob. I'm tearing up right now just thinking about it. Oh George. Oh Fred. That was powerful.
I must admit I was hesitant to read this story. I am extremely partial to the twins and pairing either of them with an OC makes me wary... but I've been reading all of your stories and they are all so fantastic that I figured this one had to be, too. And oh boy, was it. Hollis is an enjoyable narrator, Delphine is entertaining and believable, the twins are completely in character, and you've incorporated the plots of the books into the story wonderfully.
What else can I say? You are an extremely versatile and gifted writer and I look forward to making my way through the rest of your stories. I don't feel that a simple "thank you" is enough for all the amazing work you've shared with us, but I can't think how else to put it. So, thanks.
Author's Response: Oh, wow, this review. Thank you so much. :)
I loved writing about wingmen Lee and George. I feel like Fred would have involved them in any relationship he would have had - especially George. They do everything together, and I don't think Fred would have just gone off by himself, isolated with some girl all the time. I'm very glad that you agree with that vision.
I'm also pleased that you liked George stealing Angelina at the ball. Some of my reasoning behind wanting to write this story was my irritation that in fan fiction, Angelina and George is like this angst fest, and Angelina basically only gets with George because he reminds her of Fred. I was like...no, she likes George based on his own merits. George is awesome, she didn't pick him because he looked like Fred. Angelina and Fred went to a dance together in school, that's it. They never even dated. I mean, Harry went to the ball with one of the Patil twins and you don't see them falling over each other in love. It got on my nerves, so I wanted to show that the relationship between Fred and Angelina has always been - since we have no evidence to the contrary - platonic. Sorry for that little rant there. :P
I've always been curious about what Harry would seem like from an outsider's perspective. The scene on the train was very fun to write.
I don't generally tear up much when reading or writing fic, either, and I admittedly teared up at the part where George started crying. It was such a miserable image, George crying, and writing that scene left me in a bad mood for the rest of the day.
I'm so, so flattered that you took a chance on my Fred/OC, and I definitely understand your hesitance. Another reason why I wrote this is because I'd been prowling the archive for a Fred/OC and didn't really care for any of them, so I decided to try my hand at it.
Oh my goodness, you are so kind. You seriously have no idea how much I appreciate this review - it's so encouraging and it makes me feel like I've achieved something. So thank you so, so, so much. :)