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Review:Violet Gryfindor says:
Oh no, not that ending! I've got a bad sense of foreboding about what's going to happen next, though I love how you're making use of canon to further the plot. I'd never thought about the Whomping Willow incident in this way, as a reflection of Snape's care for Lily - he wants to know the reason for Remus's absences, not for his own idle curiosity, nor for getting the Marauders in trouble, but only to protect her. It's an interesting re-interpretation of that event, and I look forward to seeing how it will play out in future chapters.

My favourite part, however, was when Regulus first entered the potions classroom, ascribing its nighttime creepiness to Slughorn's absence. That was a fantastic detail. It's sometimes easy to put Slughorn down as a poor teacher and a weak wizard who was unable to prevent the Slytherins from joining Voldemort. But here, you demonstrate how his personality and enthusiasm, however misguided in some regards (as Snape explains, Slughorn admires only the beautiful and well-born), lends a positive, optimistic force. It's just a small detail in your story, but it's one I really liked to see.

The rest of the chapter was excellent. It was great to see Regulus and Sirius finally speak, even if it was only for a brief moment. There was a connection there, a something that gives hope for their relationship. Seeing it from Regulus's perspective was a novelty for me, and you made it an emotional moment for both brothers. The saddest part is that they still fail to understand one another. You know, I'm actually more interested in seeing Sirius and Regulus as friends than I am in seeing Snape and Lily together. Maybe that's the canon-lover in me. :P But there's a wonderful depth to your portrayal of both brothers in this chapter. Sirius's earlier behaviour almost makes sense after seeing how his family has bullied and pushed him aside for being different - they're the ones who alienated him, not the other way around. He becomes a rebel as a defence mechanism, though it's sad that he treats Snape the same way that his family have treated him, but sadly that happens too often.

The one part that I felt needed work was the transition between Sirius's packing and the two brothers' return to Hogwarts. It happened too suddenly and broke up the flow of the chapter. There needs to be more something there, but I unhelpfully can't think of what. Does Sirius immediately run up the stairs to Gryffindor tower, leaving Regulus alone? It could have been an opportunity for them to speak again, yet Regulus just wanders into the Great Hall. That's the only critique I can muster for this chapter.

I'm rambling, aren't I? My brain is still somewhat made of mush, but I really wanted to get this chapter done while I had the chance. It's a fantastic addition to this story. Once again, you develop your characters with great care, making them seem as real as possible - multifaceted is the word I'm looking for. You also capture the atmosphere of Hogwarts in the growing shadow the first war - there's still plenty of youthful optimism, such as in the Quidditch match (oh Lily, we all know you're falling for Potter, and I suppose that the Whomping Willow incident will only help in that regard), but it's set against the strange gloom of the dungeons and the castle's shadowy corridors. The descriptions help make this story so interesting to read, a very visual experience.

You've done amazing work here, and I'm eager to see what will happen next. There's so much that could happen - I'm curious to see how far you'll take this story, whether it will go to graduation, or halt somewhere before, when Snape and Regulus's situations become hopeless. Either way, I'll be on the lookout for updates. This is one of my favourite WIPs to read. ^_^

Author's Response: *sigh* This response is so abysmally late. I swear I tried to type it up about a month ago and it refused to post, so I got frustrated and let it languish. You deserve a proper response, though, so here I am again. I'm so sorry!

I really wanted to figure out this whole thing with Snape and the Whomping Willow. I racked my brain trying to figure out why he would ever give Sirius the time of day, let alone take his advice about finding out Remus's secret. He had to know that there were some heavy ulterior motives there, right? Anyway, as with most times in which I am trying to figure out Severus's next move, I returned to Lily. I thought she might be a strong enough motivator for him to throw caution to the wind momentarily. I'm glad you felt like my reasoning worked well with canon.

You know, I really like Slughorn. I don't think he gets showcased enough, despite the fact that he was probably the closest thing to a redeeming force coming out of Slytherin in the final battle (that wasn't directly involved with Voldemort, anyhow). I also think that in a small way, he's helping to hold Regulus back from just jumping in with the Death Eaters right away. I imagine he was sadder than most to watch Sirius's brother end up dead.

Wouldn't it be lovely if Sirius and Regulus could just make up and leave the whole Black family travesty behind them? I'm happy that you liked my portrayal of them; I try to give them fairly equal screen time, at least most of the time, and I'm having fun exploring their contrasts and imagining them both as friends and brothers and as mortal enemies. I hope that Sirius's behavior humanizes Regulus a bit.

You're right about the transition. I felt that it was a bit weak, but I too couldn't figure out what to put there. Ah, well, another edit for another day, I suppose--thank you!

Yes, and I will only say this very quietly so as not to perturb my muse, but I am really enjoying letting Lily and James fall for each other. I think that James with a dose of redemption is a James who I can agree with :) Keep reading, for more Jily fluff is to come!

You'll just have to wait until the end, I suppose. Until then, I'm pleased that you're enjoying this, and thank you for yet another undeservedly wonderful review, Susan!

Amanda


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