Reading Reviews From Member: Toujours Padfoot
  
579 Reviews Found

Review #1, by Toujours PadfootBreaking Even: Into Hogwarts Again

24th September 2013:
:'(

Aughhh there is such an air of finality to this. ARE YOU COMPLETELY SURE YOU DON'T WANT TO STRETCH THIS OUT INTO FOUR NOVELS. It feels like the next natural step is to wait a week for your next Sneth book. Knowing there isn't going to be one depresses me a little. That's a testament to how good a writer you are. Instead of being eager for final resolution and happily ever after, I'm sure I'm not the only one who could go on reading about Beth indefinitely. I feel like I know her by now, so putting her down and not reading about her future adventures feels so odd to me.

*breathing a sigh of relief at Dumbledore's response* For a minute there I thought Beth was about to be tossed out of the magical community for some reason. Dumbledore's level of power bothers me. He's just like a cult leader in the way that his intellect and charisma intimidates/manipulates people into doing exactly as he says. He's got so many puppets. The nervousness he incited from Beth and Severus made me miffed at him because I was worried he was about to tell them what they could and couldn't do, chastising them like children, when this is Beth and Severus's life and he has no business making himself the ultimate authority. I was very glad to see that he treated Beth and Severus like the intelligent human beings that they are and respecting them enough to acknowledge that they're allowed to make their own choices. Part of me hopes Beth and Severus will flee to Australia or something just so that they won't be under Dumbledore's thumb in the second wizarding war. Thinking about how they're going to live the next ten years peacefully only to be ripped out of it into another grim war makes me sad. I hope Beth and Severus manage to claw their way out of that one together, as well.

If I had one million dollars to throw around, I would try to bribe you to post the last chapter right now. I really, really, really do not want it to be over, but at the same time I REALLY REALLY REALLY NEED TO KNOW HOW IT ENDS.



Author's Response: THIS IS THE LAST IN-SEQUENCE CHAPTER, THERE IS MUCH FINALITY TO BE HAD. Oh my gosh, I'm so excited to post the last chapter. But I'm not. But I have to, as soon as I finish this response and one more, and then. Then. I just can't think of what's going to happen once I'm finished posting. Like, for two and a half years, there has been Sneth. Planning, writing, posting, more writing, more posting. WHO AM I WITHOUT THEM, WHAT DOOO.

Dumbledore! I've just said this in two other responses, but I'll say it again -- out of all the chapters in all the books, I like him best here, because he fully admits to being a flawed human being for the first time in the trilogy. Even in canon, everyone put him on this huge and elaborate pedestal, and it always BOTHERED me, you know? And he just let them.

But here, he's okay to let Beth and Sev have their happiness, because he knew how miserable they both really were when he had it his way the first time. ♥ And I really do believe, like he said, that there's too much evil in the world for people to rightfully inhibit love when it arises. If more people were allowed to love, the world would be a better place.

That's probably my inner hippie talking. It wants to be free.

ONE LAST CHAPTER COMING UP, I PROMISE. I love you, woman! ♥ ♥ ♥


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Review #2, by Toujours PadfootDeparted Souls: Departed Souls

17th July 2013:
♥ ♥ ♥ Firstly, I am very happy you did not give up on memory!Albus, and secondly, this was a fabulous fabulous fabulous birthday present and you did not have to and ♥ (hug)

I have a massive thing for ghosts. Most of my original fictions have involved them in at least some small way, and a lot of my fan fictions feature ghosts as well. Death is something I really fear because it is infinite and permanent and unknown and since I am a morbid, masochistic soul I write about it and read about it constantly. Your portrayals of the dead here, with Albus and his ghosts and Albus slowly sliding from afraid and wanting to be normal to sort of becoming a ghost even while still alive - were amazing.

I loved the charred patterns on Lily, James, and Severus's bodies, connecting together. I love that they had color and walked on the ground but emitted no noise, no footsteps. I love that Lily kept pointing at the sky, to beyond, and that her expression was everlasting death etched over her features forever, capturing her last moments in life. It was terrifying and it gave me goosebumps, so of course I loved it.

Their haunting hollowness, just standing there by Albus's bed watching him relentlessly, driving him into sleepless obsession, was skdjfkjf so chilling, so dark. It felt like shadows crept into the story itself and wrapped around Albus and wrapped around me and all I felt was cold, cold, cold.

I know I should feel awful for Albus's family, who don't see it coming - especially James, who will probably feel some sort of responsibility since he knew certain things but will of course feel he didn't try hard enough to learn more - but strangely I feel at peace with it. Albus's ghosts took him at last, after draining the life out of him for months, and I don't know if it was a decision of full awareness or an extremely addled mind, but I will consciously choose that this was Albus's destiny. Even if he's dead. Even if the ghosts weren't just Albus's ghosts but also his demons, and he lost to them.

You write darkness so well, and I think that's wonderful. It makes all the lighter bits, by contrast, very bright. And everything, as always, is poignant and beautiful and meaningful, every word deliberate. I absolutely love this story. I need to pick your brains later to see if the ghosts were real or metaphorical, and what happened to Albus after he finally journeyed to wherever Lily was pointing to.

You are the best. ♥ I LOVE YOU!

Author's Response: Of COURSE I had to -- and yes, I am already feeling bad enough that a one-shot I'd already started writing anyway turned into your birthday present. ♥ I do know how much you love ghosts just from how often you include them, and you've made me really, really interested in them through that, I think. And not only is writing crazies cathartic for getting out the inner crazy, but writing about ghosts is too, because just like you said, death and the unknown absolutely TERRIFY me. Writing about ghosts and death put those fears temporarily at bay. Is that why I write sad, crazy, death-y things all the time? Existential crisis.

And I am actually weirdly attached to my ghosts, which aren't ghosts but memories -- I'd like to explore them further, actually. (Thing # 1,485 you need to talk me out of, because now I want to do a memory!Albus novella.) There is something both creepy and comforting about the fact that your dead grandparents are watching over you, but don't we always say that to people whose loved ones have died? It just happens to be that Albus, in this case, can see them. They are sad and lovely and SO dark, and going off that color thing I've mentioned to you before, this story is almost entirely painted in shadows: Black, dark brown, dark gray, and navy blue. Cold, dark, chilling colors, and it's interesting to me that Al ends up drawing comfort from them.

(I apologize so much for spending most of this review in self-analysis. This is pretty much the least helpful thing I've ever typed.)

I adore, adore, adore that you said you feel at peace at the end of the story -- because typing it all out, and bringing Albus to his end, that was exactly how I felt. And HE was so at peace with dying, too, that it made me really accepting of having to write it. I know his friends and family will mourn him, but as far as he's concerned, that is 100% the way he wanted to go. I'm of the opinion that from day one, that was Albus's fate (although I don't necessarily believe in pre-destination as a rule).

I'm so glad you like my darkness. ♥ I love writing it, more than writing fluff, however fun that can be. It's twistier and it takes more of me, and I want to put myself into every story I write. That's something that just doesn't happen when I write romcom. My dark stories, there are bits and pieces of my personality and mindsets sprinked through them. Wee Horcrux stories!

I hope you had a happy birthday, because you of all people totally deserve it. And I hope you have many more happy birthdays, and I'll get to write you many more stories! I LOVE YOU!


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Review #3, by Toujours PadfootBreaking Even: The Reparation

6th May 2013:
"We know where they are." Sirius thought that this might have been his moment to speak, but had guessed wrong;
- I cannot un-imagine him as a dog, trying so hard to make Beth love him again after peeing all over the floor. Poor Sirius waited for James to speak first, then announced the juicy good news in hopes that positive news would rub off on himself and he'd be viewed as positive, too, but Beth is rightfully maintaining her cold shoulder. Her expression when she saw him at her door was LOL. Sirius is a brave soul for stepping into her flat after she gave him the icy gaze of doom.

By the time James had finished, Beth had raised her hands to her mouth, pressing her fingers against her lips. She looked as though she wanted to laugh and cry at the same time.
- The description of Beth here gave us a picture of the physical toll taken on her due to emotional stress. The shadows under her wide eyes, the fingers raised to her lips in a fragile sort of gesture - it brought to mind someone strong who has been kind of chipping away. Through the eyes of Sirius and James, she seems almost brittle. Through her own eyes she's much stronger, more full of fire, but I absolutely love that you've shown her from another perspective and given us an unbiased glimpse of what Beth is going through. I think she overestimates the persona of normality she's putting on. It's definitely not fooling her friends.

Sirius felt that she was doing a marvelous impersonation of Professor McGonagall at the moment.
- Sirius, I love you. I love every little thought that floats through your odd little brain.

Okay Beth is really and truly intimidating when I am not seeing the world directly through her eyes. FROM SIRIUS'S POV SHE IS LIKE ALMOST AS BAD AS DUMBLEDORE RIGHT NOW. I AM SCARED FOR HIM TO BE ALONE WITH HER, SHE MIGHT JUST KILL HIM.

dskjfkdfj ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ THEY HUGGED!!! ♥ & hearts; ♥ I am so happy that their little tiff seems to be drawing to a close. Beth really needs friends at this point, maybe even more than she realizes. I've noticed her starting to retreat into herself in these past few months, becoming much more introverted, much more closed-off. Sirius is so annoyingly persistent that he'll shake some of the old Beth out of her one way or another. I'm so pleased that he's serving his penance this way by trying to make amends. HE IS THE BEST. ♥

Three chapters left to write. D: Lucky for me, there's still plenty left to be posted!

:D

Author's Response: The kicked-puppy image literally works so well for him in this chapter, though. And the last one. SIRIUS IS JUST A PUPPY THAT'S PERPETUALLY PEED. ♥ I think that he can't stand to have people mad at him, even when he knows he royally screwed up, and maybe he's even not really that used to having people mad at him. James always put him in his place at school, but no one else ever really did, not like they needed to. It's almost humbling to have Beth as mad at him as she is; I don't think he really knows what to make of it still.

I'm so glad you pay attention to details like that. ♥ And the weird thing is -- and I don't think I was able to articulate it until you wrote me that particular paragraph about Beth's fragility behind strength -- that you see things in ways that I do not, and that is one of the things that is so gratifying about having you as a reviewer. ♥ I never explicitly think about Beth as being fragile while acting strong, but it's how I /see/ her in my head and I honestly think it's just the neatest thing that you're able to put that into words where I apparently don't, or can't. She thinks of herself as this strong, impenetrable wall, standing strong even after everything on the outside's working to break her down. But it's working, and that's what objective eyes can see.

Dude, Beth is freaking scary when she's angry at Sirius. I love her so much for it. ♥ SIRIUS IS ALL FOR YOU ALWAYS, ARE YOU GETTING TIRED OF HEARING IT YET.

You wrote about Beth up there like she was a real person. This is one of the coolest reviews you've ever, ever written to me. She seems so real when you're writing about her! ♥

Three chapters /still/ left to write because I am literally the laziest sod on the planet. But you love me anyway. :3


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Review #4, by Toujours PadfootBreaking Even: Into Hogwarts

30th April 2013:
He beamed and waved the tips of his fingers at her
MOST ADORABLE GESTURE EVER.

BAGH. And it was all for naught. I feared as much, from the snippets I've wrestled out of you. But scouting Dumbledore's office and finding the exact location of Severus's memories makes all their effort worth it! Unless all the Headmaster portraits go blabbing to Dumbledore about what they said while they were knocking things around. Somehow I don't think Dumbledore would need to be told. He's a wise one, that Dumbles. Maybe he knew Sirius and James were coming and purposefully delayed coming into his office just to give them a head-start? Maybe he's in agreement that the memories should be restored for whatever reason?

???

James and Sirius are so brave! ♥ I have this image in my head of Sirius piddling around Beth in circles, trying to earn her forgiveness without outright asking for it, and oh my god all I can think about is a dog who's knocked over the trash can and lowers his head when the owner walks in and finds the dog wearing a pizza box as a hat.

I love James's queasiness in regards to McGonagall. She's just one of those people who command authority over others who are middle-aged. You could be grown up with children of your own and when she turns her eyes on you, you reply in quick, concise language. She's kind of more intimidating than Dumbledore, really. I can't imagine her ever getting points docked for her House while she was in school. /end rambliness.

Why was this chapter so shooort. D: I want to see more stuff. I want to see what Dumbledore knows. WHAT DOES DUMBLEDORE KNOW. I'm curious to find out what people like Moody and McGonagall think of Beth nowadays. I know Moody's suspicious, but is anyone else? People on the Order's fringe? You know, Beth's outward behavior is so distracting that it's no wonder no one's noticed Peter. He must be grateful everyone is so concerned/suspicious where Beth is concerned. Takes some of the pressure off just in case he screws up every now and then.

MOAR PLZ. ♥

Author's Response: ALL SIRIUS IS FOR YOU. ♥ He says silly adorable things and makes silly adorable hand gestures because of you, and let it never be forgotten. I feel like if I hadn't read your Sirius he'd be all broody and sullen all the time, and there is absolutely no fun in that. I like how events worked out much better.

All for naught, sans the fact that they know the memories DO exist -- which is something! And it's very true that Dumbledore always seems to know much more than he lets on. He sees all. And there's actually a very good point you made that goes along with something that is said in the second-to-last chapter... and I can see you itching for more information. IT SHALL NOT BE GIVEN.

Oh my goodness, I have just realized that Sirius is essentially a dog in how he's acting right now. For real. "I peed on the carpet so now I'm going to do everything you tell me to do for the next few hours so you will love me again." It is perfect.

YOU'LL NEVER GET ME TO SPILL THE BEANS AHEAD OF TIME. (The previous statement is a blatant falsehood.) More is coming your way quite quickly, never fear!

You are just the best. ♥


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Review #5, by Toujours PadfootTooth in the Brain: tooth in the brain

29th April 2013:
Hello there! Here with your review. :) Omgah, you brought me TOM RIDDLE. ♥ I LOVE IT ALREADY.

Asdfskjdfkf, you write Tom so wonderfully well. I love the way he taunts Ginny, pulling at her strings in all the right ways, the well-placed reminder of Fred and George not not letting her play Quidditch so that she would lash out at them.

Your descriptions are ermagherd. I must repeat my favorites.

...through all the concealed dimensions folded into the thickness of a piece of paper. Air surged past and the shapes of things became long blurred streaks of themselves. It felt as though she was speeding through stone halls and corridors and doorways and through crowds of people; their voices were spikes of sound in her ears as she passed

TEACH ME YOUR WAYS. I cannot imagine a more perfect combination of words to describe the sensation of falling into a book.

It was Ron's Shooting Star and it crawled through the air rather than flew but still, it was such a strange sensation, enveloped in space, her feet becoming limp fish, useless without the ground.

soupy streaks of sunlight


The smell of the Dungbombs with chicken carcasses and armpit sweat - I just love that. Pretty descriptions are great, of course, but I love it when authors are brave enough to describe things that aren't so pretty. A lot of people would shy away from evoking images of dead, bloated chickens, but you went for it and as a result your writing is satisfyingly well-rounded to me. The ugly descriptions and the descriptions of nicer things, all written in a way that makes my jaw drop.

You mentioned concerns about Pince and the Weasley twins and how canon they were/whether they were evolutions of canon or just sitting there on the surface, and I honestly think you wrote them stupendously. Fred and George were their usual joking selves, but we did catch a slip of apprehension fall through the cracks when Ginny yelled at them and threw her book and ink. They kind of slunk away as though mildly hurt; they're not used to being rejected in any kind of way at Hogwarts because everyone loves them. The way Ginny behaved seemed to embarrass them on some level because they turned around and dropped Dungbombs - either to overcorrect and act like nothing is amiss, or to unconsciously punish Ginny by clouding her in that foul smell. Whatever their intentions, it exposes the truth that other people's words really do affect them, even if they try to laugh it off.

You definitely built on Irma's character. She was perfectly in-canon, but opened up a little more. Three-dimensional. I liked every background detail you gave us about her personality, her childhood, her memories of Hogwarts tainted with too much noise, the blurs of children and chaos rampant. She must have some severe sort of obsessive compulsive disorder. It's no wonder she was drawn to the ultra-organized, everything-has-its-place, quiet, enclosed library. When she returned to her sanctuary I felt almost like a peace had settled over her, the world righting itself again. Meanwhile, Ginny was still lurking at the edges, body language disturbing, half-crazed. I cannot imagine the horrors of having Tom Riddle inside your head, but 'tooth in a brain' is quite apt. And forcing Pince to watch Myrtle get killed by the basilisk! It's so evil! Argsdkj, the bulbous sulfur-colored eyes, Myrtle's facial features popped wide open... *shudder*

This really made me think about Ginny in a new angle. We know a little about what it was like for Harry to have a connection to Voldemort, and that sort-of possession, and he dealt with that pretty badly when he wasn't truly being possessed at all. On top of that, he had friends to help him cope. If Ginny had any friends, she didn't any close enough to share her burden with. She bared her soul all year long to a diary that was destroying her, and no one even noticed.

And that makes me incredibly sad.

She was so lonely that even though the diary was doing such awful things to her, and making her do awful things, she continued battling with it. The guilt she must have suffered, and the broken trust of learning Riddle wasn't her friend, the paranoia that would accompany it, and the isolation - it's all evident in your writing here, between the lines. It forges a connection between Ginny and Irma, who is also isolated.

As for one of your concerns about choppiness, I didn't find any choppiness in the first section at all. I thought it flowed quite smoothly.

Fabulous story, teh! Keep bringing me gems. ♥

- Sarah

Author's Response: no teach me YOUR ways :P I would love to be able to build up haunted castles full of prowling psychopaths!

So the reason I requested you to read this fic was the ending of the second chapter of Devil's Snare. It had the diary and the unicorn blood in it and I was omg so excited that I went to request.

Tom Riddle in this fic is nowhere near as complex or brooding or handsome as your Mr. Riddle; he's basically a bully. A mean petty bully who's currently preying on an 11 year old girl. And ah, Ginny. Ginny's usually a lot more resilient than this, but she /has/ been possessed by Voldemort for quite a long time - several months of being in his power, of slipping in and out of a trance doing his bidding - who knows, perhaps she's even been inside the diary as well, being made privy to Tom's awful secrets. Tom pretty much has full control of her by this point; she hears his voice in her head and he doesn't even need her writing in the diary to communicate with her. And she's certainly a lot tenser, angrier, more frightened, spiteful - kinda like Ron in DH when he was influenced by the Horcrux to turn on Harry & Hermione in the forest. Hence Ginny's outburst at Fred and George.

Glad you liked the descriptions ♥ My descriptions are usually describing things as they appear, physically and literally, without much figurative language. The chicken carcasses were easy, because Ginny was something of a serial rooster killer in CoS. It was the armpit sweat that made me want to cry and NOT write.

And Irma certainly does sound like she has some kind of OCD. She's rigorous and well, librarianly, but probably has an extreme devotion to mostly inanimate objects, mainly books. I would think she liked ordering and cataloguing books so much because it gave her a certain sense of control, though by the end she realises how little control she really has in her own private little world of the library. I thought I would show that with the Monster Book of Monsters attacking her ^.^

Gaaah thanks for this absolutely wonderful review, Sarah ♥

teh


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Review #6, by Toujours PadfootThe Seams: A Storm Is Coming

29th April 2013:
Hello, there! ToujoursPadfoot from TGS here with your requested review.

I really like prologues. There's a certain detachment, a different point of view, that makes what comes next seem even more real. I like that you showed us this event long ago in 1402, and you built up a level of intrigue for readers. They'll want to know what exactly this curse is, how it relates to Eileen, and what exactly was in that letter that rubbed away. Readers will definitely feel compelled to continue on and see what happens.

I can't comment on characterization because your main characters, Eileen and Tobias, haven't been featured yet. I thought Ursula and Penelope were written well, however. Your pacing is great and sets the stage for mysteries yet to be unraveled.

I do suggest that you pare down the first paragraph. The first paragraph of a chapter, and even more so the first paragraph of a story, tends to be laced with extra words not just because we're hyper-focused on creating the scene, but because that's usually the paragraph we reread the most when looking it over, and it undergoes the most edits. While the rest of the chapter rolls smoothly, that first paragraph is a little too wordy, this sentence in particular: Lightning casts its lament across the clouds in the distance; the clamor of thunder rolls ceaselessly onward, a knight of battle against the stagnation of impinging summer. Simple is sometimes better, especially in a prologue where you need to build momentum, and the 'stagnation of impinging summer' was a bit much.

I think my favorite line was this: The raw flesh of her fingertips seems to burn and she knows that she is stroking the ethereal Death as he cloaks Penelope in his embrace. That image is creepy/beautiful, the idea that Death is inhabiting her bones now and drawing her swiftly away. I felt badly for Penelope, and did wonder why she didn't give birth in a magical hospital, but I felt even worse for Ursula because essentially there is this baby being dropped off on her doorstep and she has no choice but to care for him. That's got to drain the last bits of life out of her since she's already an old woman.

I'm curious about the effects this letter had on Reynold. Is the curse in the words? In the letter itself? I don't see how he could have comprehended its content immediately, so the metaphysical reaction to it mystified me.

Overall, I think you did a good job on this and I like the idea of a novel devoted to minor characters like Eileen and Tobias. Congrats on your first HPFF novel, by the way!

Author's Response: Hello! Thank you so much for reading and reviewing! I really appreciate it!

Oh, prologues. You know, I had such a hard time calling this a prologue. I know that I a lot of readers dislike the idea or often skip them and that can't be done here. I wanted readers to understand the gravity that this event from hundreds of years ago has on the story. So, I'm glad you like prologues!

Thank you! Now that I've started this novel, I'm trying to give my characters the time that they need to be cultivated and seem as realistic as possible. And I'm always worried about pace, so thank you!

You are right - I've read and reread, written and rewritten that first paragraph so many times I'm surprised my eyes aren't crossed and I'm not crazy! I'm kind of sad you didn't like that sentence, because it's my favorite, but I do understand what you're saying. I write oneshots and focus so much on descriptions that writing a novel is a different, and rather difficult, experience for me. Thank you for the suggestion - I will definitely see what I can do.

Oh goodness, that line kills me. I love it (I hope so since I wrote it! :P). I can't tell you the whys and hows yet, of course, but readers will eventually find out what the problem/curse/issues at hand is for this family.

I can see the confusion with the letter. Without giving anything away, think of the letter as a warning of a curse already in place. Ahhh, that's as much as I can say without giving vital information away!

Thank you so much for the great review! I really appreciate it! :)


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Review #7, by Toujours PadfootBreaking Even: Bridger

21st April 2013:
Have not read a single line except for the chapter title, and right off the bat IS THIS FROM SEVERUS'S POV, BECAUSE I NOTICE IT'S HER LAST NAME AND NOT HER FIRST NAME, AND THAT SEEMS A LITTLE SEVERUS-WITHOUT-HIS-MEMORIES WHILE HE STUDIES HER FROM AFAR. (or perhaps not from afar. -gasp-hyperventilate-excitement) !!!

Well, you go right ahead and crawl into that gutter for several years, Mr. Black. (And I will come with you.)

Oh my goodness, what is going on. Is that Severus. What if one of them is Beth and she's disguised in a cloak and she and Severus have secretly already recovered his memories. Okay I know this cannot be true but you can't blame me.

OMG THEY'RE GOING TO KILL BETH.

What. Was that really Severus? What. Maybe he's going to have her followed. Maybe he thinks she tampered with his memory. Maybe he thinks the Order got one over on him.

Maybe there was a Death Eater called Bridger...

A-HA! I KNOW WHAT'S GOING ON. !!!

Sirius's unwillingness to admit to James that he was the reason Beth and Severus were found out makes me distinctly uncomfortable. I understand why he's embarrassed, why he would prefer for no one else to find out, but...it's this sort of secrecy that becomes ammunition for his own condemnation when it comes to light that the Potters were betrayed. He had also betrayed Beth, and to Beth it might not seem that far-fetched for Sirius to have done the same to James and Lily. After all, he was pretty good at hiding what he'd done. It would make him look all the more damning, make him look all the more capable of being a traitor. And my heart just dropped into my stomach when I thought - what if Beth doesn't forgive Sirius? What if they don't make amends before Lily and James die? Beth will walk away thinking that she never knew him at all.

And you know, it really is a wonder that Peter wasn't tempted to "discover" the Death Eaters' headquarters so that he would get credit from the Order for actually being useful. His yearning for recognition seems to be dwarfed by his yearning for protection, I see. Ugh. You know, I would be totally okay if you went super AU and turned him into owl food.

Eeep! They're just going to go for it! James and Sirius are very nervy. And if I'm not mistaken, I think quite a lot of Sirius's motivation to get those memories stems from the desire to earn Beth's forgiveness. He may not be that good with words and apologies, but when it comes to actions you're always able to show us how big his heart is. ♥ I love Sirius so much, even when he's being an interfering little trout. He is just always the best.

Sometimes I think about how unfair it was that he never had a trial and I wonder why he didn't tell everyone about Peter, and allow them to give him Veritaserum so that he'd have some proof, and then I remember that my willpower cannot change canon and I get frustrated. WHAT HAPPENED TO HIM IS JUST NOT FAIR. :'(

SAME TIME NEXT WEEK, OKAY. OR, YOU KNOW, A LITTLE EARLIER WOULDN'T HURT. :D

Author's Response: Fair warning: This response is going to be lousy. BUT YEAH, YOU KNOW WHAT'S GOING ON. ♥ There's more here than meets the eye! Sirius just happened to be in the right place at the right time, overhearing all this information...

He's kind of a little snot, though -- cowardly, for sure. He is a very rose-colored glasses type of man in that he likes to pretend that everything is fine, that the war's not so bad, that tensions aren't high among the Order and among his friends as well. I think if Sirius could get out of telling people he made mistakes, he would -- and yet you're absolutely right in that that was what sort of destroyed him in the end. He obviously didn't tell anybody else about his suspicions regarding Peter, and it makes me wonder why. NOT EVERYTHING NEEDS TO BE ESPIONAGE AND RIDDLES.

Let's be real -- there are a lot of holes in the Marauder era of things, and the less I think about them, the less headaches I have. ♥

You are very right about Sirius's motivations to reclaim Severus's memories, too! If he didn't see something good out of it -- namely winning Beth back to his side -- I don't think he'd do it. One must remember that he essentially thinks Severus is lower than scum, but he is (slowly) reaching a James-like point where he's putting Beth's mental health before his own schoolboy grudges. Actions always speak louder than words.

Someday I will write a Sirius/Sarah AU and he'll have no worries ever, and you can feed him grapes and dance to 80's music together, and the world will be sunshine and roses. ♥

YOU'RE THE BEST.


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Review #8, by Toujours PadfootGrowth: dull as dirt

17th April 2013:
H.O.L.Y. C.O.W.

This has got to be one of the most amazing one-shots I have ever read. I cannot fathom your dislike for it! There are so, so many things I am going to quote back at you because the writing left me so awestruck, and even though I am regurgitating basically a quarter of the story, I had to narrow down the list because it was so long.

I don't even know where to begin. Seriously - SPEECHLESS. So I'm just going to rail off some of the lines that I thought were particularly beautiful. Which was difficult because it's like searching for one star in a whole ocean of stars. There is nothing about this fic that I could possibly nitpick, nothing that could be improved. It is perfect.

And afterward she would lick the back of the spoon and kiss the purple stains off the sides of his mouth.

These same vines that have broken up the house are also holding the ruins together.

She would pick off the papery shells of cicadas from the bark and show it to him and he would crush them, laughing at the crackle beneath his thumb, the golden flakes of desiccated insect skin drifting down to the ground.


I love how earthy your descriptions are. The imagery is impeccably placed. Nothing is extraneous. Everything has just the right amount of detail, and your use of sensory details is omg. The insect skins, the girl of clouded clotted dirt, transforming the act of drugging a man into loving someone into this simple, well-of-course-she-did sort of thing. It reminded me of a little girl chasing after a puppy, desperate to bring it home and keep it and squeeze it.

He opens his mouth to speak and his voice is different, too - slower, more tentative. "Is that - what you will call me?"
- Favorite part. Honest to God, that scene made me hold my breath. And when he turned around and it was Tom-but-not-Tom, and he uttered that one line in that marveling, sinister-under-the-surface way that only Tom Riddle Jr. can speak, I just sat back with my hand over my heart and couldn't even read on for another minute. I just wanted to absorb it. SERIOUSLY, HOW CAN THIS BE ONE OF THE LEAST-FAVORITE THINGS YOU'VE EVER WRITTEN. DO YOU HAVE ANY IDEA HOW JEALOUS I AM OF THESE DESCRIPTIONS. THIS IS SO BEAUTIFUL. Sorry for yelling. I get carried away.

Merope's hand drifts to her head, fingering the bald patches where the skin is so thin and stretched that it feels like she's touching her wet skull.

Burke has wet eyes that seem to wobble in their sockets, sticky yellow drops caught at the corners. There is a boil on his lower eyelid, making the small flap of skin droop toward his cheekbone. And strangest of all, the long feathery eyelashes, each slow blink bringing them together.


- I love both of these. It's not pretty imagery. It's kind of gruesome, and made me shudder a little, and that means you did your job. This is the pregnancy of the mother of the most evil wizard who ever lived. Intermittent flashes of ugliness, pictures that make us wince uncomfortably - are absolutely essential. It's the sort of tone that doesn't just lie flat on the surface. It sinks into the readers. It gives them chills. I hope you know how fantastically talented you are for being able to incite these reactions, because it's not a talent easy to come by.

Behind him, the Kappa opens its scabbed eyelids and extends its webbed hands, its thin flesh pancaking against the glass.

The small vipers and adders, slithering through the dead leaves, finding her as she chanted to them, laying their chins on her lap and braiding their bodies against her legs.


Perfect. Perfect and creepy and perfect. I am so sorry for the amount of gushing I am doing. I am honestly just so blown away by how amazing your writing is. Every single sentence is a gem.

Her family. She would sell them all for less than ten Galleons.

The sound of a woman gasping, calling for help and help is another pair of arms pulling her up as the world contracts around her, falling like a thin sheet and moulding itself to the shape of her body.

He tests his new voice and the soggy vowels waft into the space between him and Merope.


Just... *dies* This is unbelievable. Your word choice. You choose your words so deftly and they are just seamless, they pack the biggest punch. The world contracting around her brings to mind this chasm of pain, convulsing into darkness. And the 'soggy vowels' - once again, it's your word choice. You have such a way with the English language. Even Tom Riddle who is barely a minute old is still the canon adult Tom Riddle somehow. We can see it right there, stamped in him from the moment of conception: an evil that will claw its way into the world at any cost. Even if he seems nothing but beautiful and perfect. He's just this sinister little creature.

I feel so horribly for Merope, especially since she'd been planning to raise him as a Muggle and her son was the only thing she had left, but standing out there in the snow, preparing to slip away into death, it was sort of liberating. Merope is free.

Thank you so much for linking me to this! ♥

- Sarah

Author's Response: mmmpfffhh mmmphhdfhh

I have no idea how to respond!!!??!111!!

Honestly, this review just made my entire millennium. As you may know, I fangirl myself silly over your own amazing speechlessness-inducing writing, and to receive a review like this from you is just.just...can I just take the easy way out and smash my keyboard and let you gauge the extent of my feelings by yourself? AKLSFHBFAJKL

Right. I should probably edit out that author's note at the bottom; this story has been edited for minor things, actually, and I forgot to upload the newer version but anyway. I suppose I've never written a story that has so much imagery and description, that relies on these to drive the narrative forward. My other stories are much sparser and I hardly use figurative language and all. Also, I wrote this for a challenge and rushed through it and I honestly thought it wasn't very well-written at first. But I'm incredibly gratified that you found the prose seamless and the word choice deft, because these are precisely the effects I was aiming for. I wanted to keep the language relatively simple but smooth, and be really really picky about the words I used. It was an extremely laboured writing process (no pun intended). All the other lovely reviewers have gushed about the description and imagery, but I think you're the first one to point out things like diction and the individual sentences so thank you so much for that ♥

There are actually plenty of Merope stories around, but most of these tend to focus on the Tom/Merope ship, or on her abusive upbringing in the Gaunts' home. But I was especially intrigued by the period between Tom's desertion of her and her childbirth and subsequent death. I can only imagine what a truly horrible time it must have been for her. I suppose she was freed by death, but it wasn't an easy death :(

Can I just say that I'm ecstatic that you thought this line was lovely: /These same vines that have broken up the house are also holding the ruins together./ OMG I HAD TO REWRITE THAT LINE SO MANY TIMES. And now it's my favourite line in the whole story. I mean I'm not the best in describing buildings and trees and stuff like that and that dream scene was a major headache.

Anyway. Thank you sososo much for this amazing review! Eeep. Still in awe of it and I probably will be this way for quite some time. Gonna leave some hearts for you before I sign off ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

teh


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Review #9, by Toujours PadfootBetrayed: Betrayed

17th April 2013:
Holy crap, Rowena is evil!

Oh my god she is the mother from hell. In most Founders stories I always feel so bad for her because Helena runs off with her diadem, and this is the first one I've ever read in which I think Rowena's lucky that's all Helena took! Forcing Veritaserum on her own daughter to discover whether or not she'd promised betrothal to the Baron is an extreme step. You would have to be one cold woman to do that. And when the truth came out that Helena had merely professed a crush for the Baron - when she was thirteen years old, no less - and Rowena declared that this was binding and she had to marry the Baron, I was like WHAT?! That's so cruel! And then she hit her. All of it makes me really hate the Baron, too, for being totally okay with marrying a girl who does not love him. He deserves the chains he now wears as a ghost, that's for sure. And Rowena deserved to have that diadem stolen. I must say, I am feeling mighty indignant on Helena's behalf. I can only hope that her short time on the run was a fun one because we all know that her past will soon catch up with her.

I'd like to add that the language and descriptions you used in this one-shot were wonderfully well-suited to the time period, and they helped me immerse myself into the story immediately. And I appreciate the unexpected darker characterization of Rowena. It's different from any other portrayal I've ever read, and that makes it stand out in a really good way.

A very engaging read!

- Sarah

Author's Response: Hello Sarah!

Yes, Rowena is most definitely evil. I wanted to write a new version of why Helena would have run off with her mother's diadem, other than 'I wanted to be smarter than her' -- it was more than a little out of my comfort zone!

The Baron, well. I've read some amazing stories where I actually like him, but in my head he's always been fundamentally evil. In a way, I'm sort of happy that you feel indignant, because it's what I was aiming for.

Thank you for the lovely review Sarah!


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Review #10, by Toujours Padfootwe were just kids.: where did our eternity go?

17th April 2013:
Hi! Thank you for linking me to your story. Right off the bat, I've got to say that I don't completely understand everything that's going on in this. I like stories with this type of format - simple but somewhat stylistic, using repetition - but they can be tricky to navigate if the concept is too vague and open to interpretation. I've seen a lot of stylistic stories fall into a trap where they are too vague about what is going on with the hopes that readers will guess and can hopefully come up with their own poetic and convoluted interpretation when really, it all is what it is on the surface. When you write a story, no matter what style it is, focus on the story itself and don't let the writing become defined by poetic lines spaced intermittently.

Since I don't know who the characters were or very much about them except for blurry glimpses and emotions that ping-pong from cold loathing to love that's written in the stars, I really cannot come away with very much to talk about. :/ Do they love each other or hate each other? You might want to clear that up. Ambiguity at a certain point just becomes confusing instead of artistic. I do know that the female character died in the war and that she had brown hair and liked books; I know that he said she was fake and he hated the idea of spending the rest of his life with her while in other parts of the story he mourned having her taken away because they were supposed to have grown old together. It's difficult to reconcile these polarized feelings to make sense of who the characters are.

I've just read your author's note and I'm a bit surprised to see that she died in the first world war. You mentioned "I think the three wars happened", so I assumed this was farther into the future.

I hope you don't take this constructive criticism too harshly; I did like this piece. I think it has a lot of potential to be even better. Take the disconnected parts that are artistic and sound kind of lyrical (the repetitive 'we were just kids', for example, is aesthetically pleasing but makes it sound sort of like a song instead of a story due to the amount of times it appears) and give them meaning below the surface, as well, and the story would flow much better and tell a more defined story.

I love that you used the song 'Kids' for inspiration. I'm a huge MGMT fan. :)

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Review #11, by Toujours PadfootShedding Our Skins: The Crossroads (Post-Hogwarts / Next-Gen)

17th April 2013:
"A snake sheds its own skin," Snape observed. "Nobody else is going to help you."

- Perfectly stated! You have to be the change you want to see.

I commend you for writing a post-Hogwarts fic from the point of view of a Slytherin. It's so much simpler to write about a Gryffindor - a Weasley or Potter legacy Gryffindor, at that - and just brush the Slytherins under the rug with the blanket view that they are all nasty people. I think that the reverse prejudice shown in this one-shot is extraordinarily realistic and not often dealt with in fanfiction. Honestly there would be so many orphaned children who arrive on Hogwarts's doorstep with anger problems, with frustration. They are going to want to find someone to take their anger out on, to "avenge" their loved ones, even. There would most likely be a very high percentage of students who waited years to go to Hogwarts just for this purpose: Voldemort is dead, remaining Death Eaters are also dead or locked up in prison, and these kids don't have the maturity or the tools to see that Slytherins in general were not the problem. It was a belief that was the problem. Continuing prejudice that has turned the tables - Gryffindors hating Slytherins - is just as dangerous as the Slytherins hating Gryffindors in the past.

I felt so badly for Matthew and Oscar. Poor little eleven-year-olds! They're both Muggle-born, and if anyone pointing fingers at them stopped to think about it, this already means progress and evolution for Slytherin House. Muggle-borns used to be extremely rare for that House. And of course since they did not grow up with magic, none of their relatives had anything to do with the Battle of Hogwarts (or so I assume). In fact, THEY would have been the ones targeted by Death Eaters had they been in school during that time period, just because they weren't pure bloods.

There's so much counseling that needs to be done, so much healing. I liked the memorial, and for some reason the part I liked best was that you gave Myrtle a last name. It's easy to trivialize her and laugh her off because she cried so much but she was just a girl when she died. And she was a real person with a real future.

Severus's characterization was spot on, by the way! He's a very difficult character to write and you balanced him quite well. Still a little bit cross, still impatient, still eye-rolling at first years, but underneath also well-meaning. I'm glad Slytherin students have him to look up to, as a reminder that not all Slytherins were bad. And in the grand scheme of things, out of hundreds and hundreds of years, not even most of them were bad. Just a tiny fraction, really. And all the Houses had their bad eggs.

The only suggestion I have for improvement is to nix the bit up top about characters/genre/author, etc. Readers will come to realize what era it is in context, as well as characters; they already see what the chapter title and warnings are before they click, and it's a bit distracting to have that information preceding the story. And I'm not sure whether you realized you called this a one-shot on the forums, but you've got it marked as a short story collection and is a WIP. :)

I really liked this story. Thank you for linking me to it.

- Sarah

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Review #12, by Toujours PadfootBreaking Wills: Chapter 1

17th April 2013:
I love Lucius Malfoy stories! I've written a story about Lucius in Azkaban, as well, (though mine is post-war) and I'm always curious to see other interpretations of how it all went down since this trial wasn't depicted in canon.

He could taste their malicious joy at his misfortune.

- I like that realistic detail. Even the most stoic, dignified witches and wizards would be carrying pitchforks around at an event like this. It wasn't shown in the books, but I can imagine the anger that would be aimed towards a man who had been, up until that point, viewed as a contributor to the community, and even given small amounts of power and leverage in the Ministry - and to know that all this time he has been working for Voldemort. Not only that, but he actively misled investigations about Voldemort's return and pretended Harry Potter and Albus Dumbledore were making everything up. People don't like a murderer, certainly, or a man who tries to kill children, but they take personal offense at being lied to and made into a fool. Cornelius Fudge's verdict might have been even more harsh than another Minister would have given him because Fudge now has to use his final moments in office to make up for the terrible job he'd done of protecting his people. So any Death Eaters who came to sit before him probably received the maximum penalty no matter what their crimes, just so that he could say he'd finally done something.

I really like his arrogance at assuming he was important enough for Voldemort to come bail out. Arrogance and a super high opinion of his own value are the two traits that always jump to mind whenever I think of Lucius Malfoy, so I appreciate you bringing those characteristics to light. He is both pathetic and proud to a fault, even in prison. Crying, pleading for mercy...it's a very satisfying image. Shaking my head at Lucius for assuming Death Eaters would care enough to come bust him out. Whoever's still on the outside is probably glad Malfoy's gone. Makes room for them to climb the Death Eater social ladder. And Voldemort, of course, has no use for anyone who's not immediately in front of him.

The scene is very vivid and haunting. Rats running rampant, the anticipation of dementors being worse than the dementors themselves, the horrible anxiety - it paints the most miserable setting in existence. And then in Lucius's spare time when he is not struggling to hold back tears, feeling sorry for himself, he feels sorry for Narcissa because she must feel sorry for him. Despite the fact that he lived his life for Voldemort, putting Voldemort's wants and wishes over himself and his family, it is the dream of Narcissa that he turns to now. Real, genuine love instead of the love he professed to have for his master. It could not be more obvious, seeing where his thoughts lie in prison, that he only associated himself with Voldemort to see what was in it for him. He just wanted a piece of the power.

His beautiful Narcissa transforming into one of the dementors, messing with his mind, was sweet irony. They took the one thing that gave him hope and positive feelings and twisted it into something evil. And then Lucius's futile call for help just capped it all off. Even now, even here, he thinks someone will come running to help him just because he's Lucius Malfoy and he demands it.

Holy crap that ending was terrifying! You did a magnificent job portraying Azkaban not only as a physical prison but a psychological one, as well. The fear that runs through Lucius as the dementor draws nearer was tangible. I'm trying to come up with CC for this one-shot but I honestly can't think of anything to suggest. You described it all so vividly!

- Sarah

Author's Response: I am so very sorry this response is coming so, so late. Almost a month late. At the beginning I kept squealing and read it over and over again and fretted that no answer could possibly sum up how much I loved it! But as time passed, problems kept rising up and this month has been anything but easy for me, sadly. But here I am, finally!

I am beyond happy that you liked my portrayal of his trial. I pictured every little detail in my head, but since it's a memory of his, I couldn't add them all in. But that scene, where Lucius is shunned and people are pointing accusing fingers at him, some are laughing in glee, some still can't believe it, I thought that scene was important to his downfall. I think that was one of those ground-breaking moments when he realised that it was beginning of his downfall. His sanity and self-control started crumbling from that moment on.

Yes, sadly Lucius was naive, so to say, enough to think that Voldemort and his other Death Eaters companions would consider him important enough to be rescued. I like to think that that particular thought was a product of both his incredible arrogance and the despair that was slowly starting to possess him. Because Malfoy can be anything you want, but I don't think he's stupid. He MUST have known, deep down, that Voldemort couldn't care less about his disciples and he was never going to be rescued by them. But he also knew that if he accepted that thought, even for a moment, he would inevitably fall into despair and depression. You can say that that was his last hope :)

Despite being in league with Voldemort most of his adult life, I can't not imagine him loving his family. He was avarice in person but he also had love for his family. Which makes him very human to me. A human I'd punch of course, but a human nonetheless. So when he is lost in darkness, when he's at his most darkest hour, who does he turn to? To Narcissa and Draco, who are the only true things in his life. His last support...only to be snatched away. That must have been the cruellest of the punishments Lucius could receive.

I am SO, happy, so incredibly happy that you enjoyed my story. I can't tell you how much a review from you means to me. I just hope you'll forgive the lateness of my response :( You made me a very happy bunny with this review :D


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Review #13, by Toujours PadfootBurning Bright: Fading Fast

17th April 2013:
I think Regulus's death was one of the bitterest tragedies in the first wizarding war. He died with the Order thinking him a villain and the Death Eaters thinking him a coward, a runaway, or perhaps a victim of the Order. No one discovered how brave he truly was until so many years later.

I love the comparisons to stars - Sirius burned brightest and Regulus was kind of just there in the background, not as strong or beautiful. I also like the part where you said that after Sirius abandoned his family, Regulus was determined to keep the torch going:

He wanted to be the star which continued shining, even when the other one went out. Like the Star of Bethlehem, he would guide them to better times.

♥ Really love that.

He must have felt so conflicted when his views began to change. Bellatrix tried to make him feel cowardly when in truth all he felt was his conscience. You did a good job illustrating the horrors of the Death Eaters and what they did to innocent people. Seeing it through Regulus's eyes, and the crippling fear it causes, makes it quite real.

I would like to suggest that you omit a couple of 'burning bright' mentions. That phrase is a poignant one and in order for it to make a full impact, you should use it sparingly. Especially since it's the title as well.

I enjoyed reading this! I find the Black brothers mysterious and enigmatic and you conveyed that really well here. I felt badly for Regulus because he was so lost, so taken aback by his own actions, so full of regret and fear. It was the perfect way to describe a man who is barely older than a boy. We all make poor decisions when we're young and don't know the way of the world, especially with bad influences like Walburga and Orion. Regulus definitely did right in the end.

- Sarah

Author's Response: Hi Sarah, and thank you for reviewing this!

I think that's part of the reason why I chose to write this, as I agree too, that Regulus' death is probably the most tragic thing about the series, as Sirius never got to find out what his brother really did.

I'm glad that you liked the bit about the stars, as I really enjoyed writing it, and it is a great analogy for both of them! I like that line too :')

I'm glad that you liked the part about Bellatrix, as I wasn't too sure about it as it kind of veered away from the focus on the Black brothers.

I thought I may have overdone the 'burning brights' so I'll definitely go back and review those!

I'm so glad that you thought that I managed to convey the Black brothers' characteristics as they are pretty unique! Thank you for this lovely review and I definitely will review my use of Burning Bright!

-Kiana :D


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Review #14, by Toujours PadfootWhen the Axe Fell: When the Axe Fell

17th April 2013:
This was fabulous! Okay it was so gory and my eyes got pretty huge while I was reading it, but there are so many details I really liked. The audience's morbid curiosity, for one, really resonated. Their detachment, their utter lack of concern in watching a man get his head chopped off, reminds me that humans are still animals and sometimes when we all get together in a mob mentality, we lose that empathy that makes us human. The audience was actually excited to watch this event. *shudder*

I kept waiting for Nick to pull his wand out and Disapparate, but of course he couldn't escape because this was his canon death. It's also an ode to the time period, I think, that he walked to his death with grace and pride. Even gentlemen soon to be beheaded didn't want to make a scene. Dignified last moments and all that.

What struck me the most was the fact that even after twenty-seven blows to the neck, Nick still did not want to die. You'd think that by that point, he would be in so much writhing agony that he'd be on the verge of begging for his death; since he does not, and is still holding on and still wishing he could remain alive, it really speaks volumes. It would have to take a fear of death as intense as that to tether the imprint of someone's soul to Earth. Tons of people don't want to die, but in the HP series they went 'on' anyway. You'd have to be like Nick - not wanting to die even if it meant prolonging the torture - to evoke the sort of magic that creates ghosts.

Forty-five whacks. D: The executioner still going at it even after Nick was dead really nailed home the gruesome image. I feel a bit queasy but that's a good thing - you didn't gloss over the bits likely to make readers wince. It's a man getting his head cut off, after all. Can't be a pretty scene.

Really well done! I've never read a Nearly-Headless Nick execution story, or any Nick story for that matter, and I thought you wrote it wonderfully.

- Sarah

Author's Response: Hello! *waves*

I'm so pleased that you liked this! I haven't found any stories on Nick either, but I thought this would be a really interesting one to write and I'm really happy I did.

It was quite gory in parts, wasn't it? It was horrible writing it at points but it was kind of necessary for a story about Nick's execution!

The crowd...it was kind of difficult to write that part, too. Like you said, the mob mentality does seem to remove the parts of our characters that make us truly human, and suddenly events like this one become entertainment. It's incomprehensible, but it's happened time and time again throughout history.

The fear was a big part of this story. Nick has always been so proud of being a Gryffindor but admits he was a coward when it came to facing death. I thought that for someone who was so proud of his bravery, it must have been an intense fear for him to become a ghost rather than going 'on'. After such a botched execution, I'm pretty sure most people would be begging for death, but Nick's fear caused him to do the opposite.

Thanks for such a lovely, detailed review! I'm really happy you enjoyed it.

nott theodore :)


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Review #15, by Toujours PadfootBreaking Even: The Confession

16th April 2013:
Timothy tipped another lopsided grin in her direction and strode away down the corridor's faded carpet runner, hands in his pockets and whistling jauntily.

- You can tell he just thinks he is hot stuff in this moment. I'm picturing him kind of strutting a little, thinking, "Awww yiss, she's totes into me."

Well, until about a year ago, I was attracted to a Death Eater who ended up having his memories of me wiped right after he kissed me for the first and last time.

Well this really puts things in perspective. Giggling but the way that sounds - it's like she ran Severus off to the point where he dumped out his memories just to get rid of her. Also possibly alluding that she is the world's worst kisser.

I choked when he asked her if she wanted kids. Please tell me this line was not inspired by true events.

Oh my god that was the most awkward fictional experience I have ever witnessed. When he sort of leaned in for a kiss and Beth all but fell down to avoid him - I cannot tell which emotion is more dominant in me right now, amusement or embarrassment on Beth's behalf. Poor Beth! And then literally just bolting away. Coming right off our conversation of feeling like a mouse in a very tight trap, I am just sitting here thinking about Beth's act of literal evasion versus, ahem, verbal evasion, and I cannot stop laughing. (hug) I am sure this statement makes little sense to other readers who happen upon it.

I know she said that she couldn't have seen Severus, but is it wrong to hope that maybe he WAS there and he was following her around being a lurker because he was curious about this mysterious person who wore the bracelet he bought? I can't help but hope. Even though you are known to crush my hopes on a regular basis, fic-wise. (Still holding out for AU! Denial all the way!)

Sirius could always make her laugh, he always knew how to make her day brighter. - Maybe this is because I've been hunting for it in every update, waiting for it to happen, but this feels ominous.

OH SNAP. I KNEW IT. I AM A TRUE TRELAWNEY.

Okay. So. I have been waiting and waiting for Sirius to get his due. I have been anticipating this punch in the face. And now that it's happened, I feel SO HORRIBLY FOR HIM. Holding his arm out in a wordless entreaty of forgiveness, and then Beth saying she didn't ever want to see him again - I visualized Sirius's heart breaking into a million tiny pieces. His friends are his everything. To have one of them loathe them this much would be the absolute worst kind of pain for him. Poor wee Sirius. :'( ♥ I wonder if he'll be mopey from here on out or if he'll turn angry, or if he'll keep pleading for forgiveness. The part where she told him not to call her Bethy was just as painful as a slap to the face. D: (Which I know he totally deserved. Look at me jumping sides here like a boss.)

Beth has just had a very bad day. She has had a bad year. BETH JUST DOES NOT HAVE A GOOD LIFE RIGHT NOW. I feel like something's got to give one way or another. Maybe Sirius can earn his trust back by helping restore the memories. I wish I could say that I hope he realizes the full extent of what he's done, but his nature probably can't allow for that. He must think on some level, however small, that he still did the right thing. This single act he did had such a ripple-effect of consequences he can barely conceive; he was only marginally affected by it whereas it took Beth's life and turned it completely upside-down. Sirius is at once selfish and well-meaning, caring and obtuse.

Your characters. ♥ They do such things to my poor heart.

Author's Response: I am laughing so much at the thought of you reading Timothy and knowing exactly where he comes from. ♥ That is definitely a strut he's got going on there, for sure. ALSO NO, THAT CONVERSATION WAS DEFINITELY NOT INSPIRED BY REAL EVENTS. Oh my goodness, no. No no no.

Beth is the epitome of awkward. And the very sad thing is, it's extremely easy for me to channel past awkward experiences and use them when she feels awkward, so she is essentially me in these moments. I've never had to dodge a kiss before (HA HA HA NO) but that is exactly how I'd react. Except I'd probably trip and fall into the fountain or something. (Verbal evasion, lulz. Your reactions to these moments are the best reactions.)

I've just realized that I'm at the point in the story where Timothy isn't making any more appearances and that is the point when the events of this past week went down. DID I KEEP HIM AROUND FOR NOVEL FODDER. OH MY GOD SARAH I AM DYING OF LAUGHTER.

You've been waiting so long for that confrontation! :D And you were definitely the reason Sirius actually got punched in the face, you know. Partially because you claimed you wanted to see it, and so I was like, "Why not?" It is your fault he got punched. ♥ But in more seriousness, I feel so, so horribly for him too. He and Beth obviously have fought before but this was, I do think, the very worst in all their years of friendship. To have her snap at him and tell him she never wants to see him again -- and in that moment, the heat of it, she very much means it -- that would suck so much for someone who runs on loyalty like Sirius does.

And yet it's true that he /still/ thinks he did the right thing. If he had to make the decision to blab to Dumbledore all over again, he'd still do it, because he has a one-track view of the world, and it's either his way or the highway. Gah, poor Sirius. :(

You make my characters what they are. ♥ You have completely and utterly shaped them. I AM FOREVER IN YOUR DEBT.


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Review #16, by Toujours PadfootBreaking Even: A Proposal and a Promise

8th April 2013:
Not when he had, however necessarily, however decisively, already let her go. :( I've never thought about it that way and seeing it pieced together like that makes me sad.

I must say, if I had to have any fictional person in my corner, it would be James Potter - particularly your James Potter. Attempting to sneak into Hogwarts under Dumbledore's nose, to steal a man's memories, while he is supposed to be in hiding, is no small risk. And on top of that, during such an outing he would presumably be leaving his wife and son behind, and if anything happened to them while he was gone he would never be able to forgive himself. It's a testament to his fierce loyalty and selflessness that he's even going to consider it, and carrying out the act makes him pretty much the best person ever. I love how good of a friend he is, how good of a person he is. It really shines through in everything he says and does.

Oh my goodness, the scene in the kitchen. SO AWKWARD. Beth is just "Yep" and Sirius is like "Uh-huh" and James is like "You okay?" and Beth is like "Yep" again. James and Sirius's reactions to hearing about her date (at least it's not at 8 a.m. in a gas station hehehehe) were polarized - Sirius seems pretty gung-ho for Beth to move on and hopefully forget Severus ever existed. It would alleviate any guilt he has for separating two people in love if Beth found love again with someone else, and in this respect he is profoundly selfish. On the other hand, I can sort of see why he would want her to find happiness with just about anyone since she's been so miserable and depressed lately. It's a wonder he hasn't been trying to set her up on dates with every guy he knows, regardless of their compatibility. Sirius has some sensitivity, after all, for restraining himself from doing so! He consciously skirts the topic of Beth's love life whenever it's brought up; he oozes discomfort when he's forced to give an opinion either way.

James knows her best, and he knows a date with someone else isn't what Beth wants or needs. She already met her soul mate. Once you get so close to what you've always wanted and then ripped away, you can't forget what you almost had. James can empathize better than anyone because he also knows what it's like to really, REALLY want someone.

IT WAS SIRIUS. SIRIUS TOLD. He always seems to flee the conversation whenever it turns to Severus, sometimes by changing the subject and sometimes by physically darting off. His obvious uneasiness where Severus is concerned leaks out of him and he has to make a break for it. He must be feeling guilty about what he did - but not guilty enough to regret doing it, I think. Helping them sneak into Hogwarts to retrieve the memories would be counterproductive in his eyes, most likely, since it's partially his fault Severus's memories were ever removed in the first place. I don't think he's sorry Severus doesn't know who she is. He probably thinks it's for the best, for her protection, and had hoped his willpower for her to move on would have put her far past this by now. He underestimated the power of Sneth! You don't love someone for almost a decade and then forget them in a hurry.

I cannot believe you have already written 21 chapters of this. You are a beast.



Author's Response: It sort of kills me that Severus made the choice to forget Beth -- it wasn't his first choice, and he didn't think of it on his own, but it was still his doing. -claws at face- I must enjoy feeling pain.

JAMES IS THE OLDER BROTHER I ALWAYS WANTED. ♥ I would totally choose to have him in my corner, too. This paragraph of yours actually came in handy in reviewing motivations, but it should show how attached James is to Beth that he's willing to go to such lengths to make her happy, and for a man he basically hates. Lily and Harry are his first priority, but just as he's a brother to Beth, she's like a sister to him. And he wants her old self back again. That's part of the reason Sirius wants to help, too; Beth's not like she always used to be, and of the five of them, he clings hardest to the old ways. If Severus is back, he thinks, maybe things won't be so uncontrollable.

And then Sirius also wants that happiness to come through someone like Timothy. Sigh. He is kind of oblivious, and I think that's because it's like I mentioned above: He's very blinded by his own visions. The second he hears Beth's got a date, his mind goes to, "Brilliant, she'll be happy and normal again!" He doesn't see, like James does, how unhappy that fact actually makes her. Poor bloke. ♥

And there is the guilt factor, obviously, because he is sometimes sucky and ratted on Beth/Severus in the first place. SUCH DRAMA THERE. He is very good at skirting that conversation and naively wishes it would never take place. But that can't happen, can it? Got to pay your due, and all that. Get what's coming to you. He is the perfect example of "You're not sorry you did it. You're sorry you got caught."

OOH.

Anyway. I have now written... twenty-three-and-a-half chapters of this story. :3 What is life. SLOW DOWN, SELF. This is why I should not set goals for myself. I rush through the happy bits of life.



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Review #17, by Toujours PadfootImperfect: Imperfect

2nd April 2013:
Time was painted into a still-life picture of sand and surf and a man and a woman at a kitchen table in a cottage.

Perfect encapsulation of the story. I've told you before and I'll keep saying it forever - you have a natural and enviable talent for making the voice of your story reflect the characters featured. Fleur's nature was evident in every line, making the words almost rhythmic, and the setting of a little thatched cottage by the sea made for a peaceful, serene read. I feel lazy and content afterward.

I love how you write Fleur. Being submerged in a non-native country lends her tongue and English thoughts a sort of simplicity I find wonderfully realistic. But at the same time there are undertones of French underneath, and even when she's sitting perfectly still, Fleur feels bold. You're adept at portraying quiet strength. And Bill is obviously also the bee's knees. I mean, come on, there is no such thing as a person who does not like Bill.

Love this pairing! Especially when you write them. ♥ This was the perfect dose of fluff I've been craving, and you tempered it with your signature sobering style. Lurve it.

Author's Response: I've also said this before, but I'm so, so glad that you can actually tell a difference in voice among my stories. If anyone could, it's you -- you've basically read them all -- and it's something I want to achieve without consciously knowing how, if that makes sense. Laziness/contentedness is EXACTLY what was intended! I don't know what I'd do if you didn't read my stories.

-searches for undertones of French- I TRIED NOT TO MAKE HER SPEAK TOO MUCH. Writing French accents is hard, man. But I do think she's strong, so much stronger than a lot of people give her credit for, and one of my favorite things I've discovered in writing Bill/Fleur is how real their love is. The Weasleys are seriously the best.

Thank you for prompting me to write fluff! What you said was true: Everyone needs a bit of it in their life. And lord knows how angsty/dark my stories normally are. Which is not how I got started writing fan fiction... how did that happen?



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Review #18, by Toujours PadfootBreaking Even: A Course of Action

2nd April 2013:
D:

Here comes the little black cloud that rains down on happy moments. I will give you an umbrella but I fear it still won't protect you from my feels. I have many feels. Let me count them for you.

THEY ARE GOING TO DIE. James was standing there staring at the sunset and like the horrible pessimist reader that I am, I was lamenting, "YOUR SUNSETS ARE NUMBERED. YOU WILL NOT SEE MANY MORE OF THESE." Harry's adorableness and calling James 'Da' and his little striped sleepsuit and gumming his hippogriff while soaking himself and everyone around him with slobber - it's all so numbered. I find myself really focusing on the elements of their house and life that make everything feel like someone lives there, that it's their home and this is their family. Like Harry's toys. He didn't get to take any of these toys with him, and after he was removed from the wreckage they were all just left behind to rot. No comforting toys to remind him of his parents, no mementos of them, no blankets or stuffed dragons to carry the scent of home. Restless though James might be, he doesn't fully realize that in retrospect, he would probably consider this some sort of heaven.

I knew that Lily wasn't going to be gung-ho about James's idea, but I'm glad that she's going to let him scheme. It's not just for Beth's benefit that he does this - it's for his own, since he's so bored - and I think she must know this. He needs to take his mind off of his own life for a minute; Beth provides the perfect distraction. (And here comes the black raincloud again to wallow in the fact that James is going to try to help Beth so that she can try to have a happily ever after when James's happily ever after is TOTALLY COMING TO AN END SOON.)

On one hand, chapters about the Potters make me miserable because all I do is moan about their impending doom; but on the other hand it's something I really need to see for a sense of closure. We didn't get to see Harry hugging his parents in the series. We don't have those memories, and for Harry's sake we sort of need to experience them. And I like seeing that even if it's a part of his life he won't be able to remember, for a moment in time Harry was utterly happy and completely cared for and very much loved by his parents like any other child. For just a little over a year, Harry was almost ordinary. I want to just freeze the three of them in this bubble so that Harry can keep them forever.

SORRY I AM SUCH A DEBBIE DOWNER. I HAVE A PROBLEM.

Also another thing I want to add is that I was especially impressed by mannerisms, body language, and how vivid this chapter was - especially while Lily and James were discussing Beth and Snape. I saw every single second of what was occurring, and it sank in very deeply because of their expressions, their unspoken words, their behavior. Like Lily dumping her tea in the sink, her exasperated look while the corners of her mouth tilted, and James running his hand through his hair over and over as though unable to control it. It was like his anxiety, manifested physically. Really, really good writing.



Author's Response: For want of using a stronger word, DARN YOU, because now I have that song about rain clouds from Winnie-the-Pooh stuck in my head. Oh, this is just going to be there all day. You have a bad habit of doing that to me. EVERYBODY LOOK AT YOUR HANDS ~

I have to laugh at you, focusing on James and Lily and their impending deaths -- although I've got it coming, I suppose, because if you're a rain cloud of pessimism, that would probably make me the whole darn thunderstorm. And yet I'm glad you're focusing on these normal moments, with Harry just an average one-year-old with no one yet having a clue what sort of a boy he's got to grow up to be. Normalcy is always understated until it's not there anymore.

I can't see that Lily would fully enthuse any idea that involved Severus, but I think it says something about her love for James that she's willing to help him help Beth, if that makes any sense at all. And Severus is the man who showed her the wizarding world, even if he later broke all friendship ties by calling her a Mudblood (although I'm now wondering why it affected Lily /so/ profoundly -- wouldn't it have been more offensive to someone growing up knowing it was a bad word?). James needs the prospect of a project to keep him happy, or he's going to go stir-crazy, cooped up in Godric's Hollow, seeing the same people day in and day out.

(Had to go back and jot something down for the chapter I'm working on. STOP BEING SO INSPIRING PLZ.)

Writing the Marauders is a very lovely sort of pain; it's filling in all the gaps we only hear about in the canon stories, even though those gaps are often like small needles to the heart. The First Wizarding War was basically a horrific time, and when you look at it that way, it's no wonder that Snape and Sirius and Lupin and so many others turned out the way they did. They are massive products of their environment; these men weren't all that old when they were thrust into the center of war. James and Lily died just as life for the pair of them was really getting started, after all. And so even though we have all these deaths and rumors and secrets, we need to endure them for the sake of friendships and bravery and hugs for a boy who's soon to become an orphan.

I think I write too much body language sometimes! But I can /see/ it -- I know who's tucking their hair back and who's crossing their arms, and the position of her mouth, and I just really want you to see it, too. ♥ It means loads to me that you do notice and appreciate it. You are too good to me.

THANK YOU SO MUCH.


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Review #19, by Toujours PadfootBreaking Even: Malfoy Manor

1st April 2013:
He tore his puppies away from the rain sheeting down the window
- I cannot. Out of all days, I chose to read Sneth on a day when Severus's eyeballs turned into puppies. I feel I must immortalize these moments in a review before they disappear.

eyebrowumedly important business matters

Narcissa glanced up at Severus, as though sensing his puppies on her

it had been the first time Lucius had showed any inclination of wanting a friendboat with Severus at all

Why he couldn't carry his banana like a normal man, and instead strutted about with a cane like a common invalid, was beyond his friend.

Severus had proven himself worthy to the Dark Lord and his followers, and it hadn't been taken for granted by many of the higher-ranking members of the many concentric circles that made up Lord Voldemort's Pink Elephants.

"Business matters to attend to," he said vaguely, a cool smirk twisting his hamsters.

"That was Pettigrew," he said shortly. "He's been sent to play messenger frog again, no doubt."

*ded*

I am sitting here completely turn between marveling at your imagery and then laughing abruptly because of the bizarre word substitutions. The image of Narcissa standing in the shadows, kind of ephemeral and ghostly, for some reason brings to mind the picture of a drowned woman - bone-white, hollowed-eyes, just staring. It's super creepy.

I am trying in vain to suppress giggles because in between all of the utter nonsense added in about gleyebrows and armcears, your design of Malfoy Manor is fascinating and eerie. It's not just the setting but the people - Lucius and Narcissa and how odd and waxen they are. It sets Severus a good deal apart from them because while both he and Lucius are Death Eaters and Slytherins, they are very, very different. I get the feeling that Lucius never stops putting on a performance no matter who's in the room. His cane, the brandy; his wife pretending to read a book and then pretending to believe him when he told her to go check on Draco. It feels so staged.

"Calvin Bridger?" he said in a cautious underwear

Oh my god I cannot breathe. I was so pulled in with this flash of Beth and Lucius bringing up Calvin and leaning in with my eyes an inch from the screen and:

He had been at the headquarters of the Order of the Phoenix recently, but had arrived too early; the room had been too full of people, all with suspicious puppies cast in his direction. There had been a bunny rabbit there, who had looked at him as though he were a ghost.

I made noises unfit for human ears.

Bethany Bridger... He didn't know how he knew, but he did: She was the bunny rabbit at the Order meeting, the bunny rabbit with the silver bracelet on her arm.

Oh lord. THIS WOULD HAVE HAD SUCH A DIFFERENT IMPACT IF I HAD READ IT YESTERDAY. I am debating whether or not to read the next chapter today.

Puppies and hamsters aside, this chapter was very good. Your Severus chapters always have a sophisticated yet dark resonance to them, much like Severus himself. Depending on who is being shown, I've noticed that the tone embodies the quirks and essence of the characters. It's like Severus's soul seeps out of him into the language, the imagery, the dialogue, everything. And same with Beth. Her chapters seem very Beth, if that makes any sense. The tone changes. It's something I admire and envy so, so much because I always struggle with making the voices of my characters unique to them individually and not throwing a blanket voice over all of them. This story feels like two stories intertwined into one, and I hope you know what an amazing feat that is.

I've missed reading this story. ♥

Author's Response: I HAVE TWO REVIEWS OF YOURS TO ANSWER TODAY. Prepare yourself, because they are going to be one big muddled mess. ♥

Even given that I sort of detest April Fool's Day, the word changes this year made even this rather grim and rainy chapter (guess what I was listening to as I wrote it) suitably hilarious. :D I feel like that's okay, though, because this book is basically one big depresser. Severus needs to tear his puppies away from windows and wave bananas every now and then!

But all kidding aside -- Lucius and Narcissa are totally and forever stolen from Purgatory, because I just cannot write them without thinking at least in part of that story. The second half, mostly, but the first half with all its fairy-tale imagery and beautiful descriptions. GORG. ♥ And now I really want you to write Draco even more now, just because I think you'd so him so, so much justice. But not until you finish writing about Tom. EEK. Just write everybody, please, so that I can drool over them forever.

I still go to happy pieces when you mention the differences in tone between Beth and Severus's chapter. I don't ever really sit and consciously think, "Oh, yes, this chapter needs to sound darker," but Severus does have a bit of a darker story. His side of events is swathed in shadows and dark colors and people never saying what they mean, and rain falling down a window and sour liquor and basically everything you see in this chapter. I can't tell you how awesome I think it is that you DO see a difference.

I love your reviews. ♥


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Review #20, by Toujours PadfootI Know What You Did: I Know What You Did

20th March 2013:
OMG, WHAT.

Wow.

Wow.

That was an unexpected twist! And this means - omg! - this means that Poppy began to impersonate Andromeda and went on to marry Ted. And Poppy gave birth to Tonks and spent the rest of her life drinking polyjuice potion because she has some serious identity issues and loves pretending to be other people. First she imitated Narcissa, and then she became Andromeda.

When Narcissa fell to the ground with her dagger and said, "Poppy, I know what you did," I was a little bit confused and thought that she was just speaking to the memory of Poppy, and then as soon as you mentioned polyjuice potion in the Ravenclaw Tower with Poppy and Andromeda, I knew. Wow, that is insane. Poppy is seriously crazy! She could have told on Narcissa and sent her to Azkaban forever, but she kept quiet. She let everyone go on thinking that she was dead - even her own parents! Even Lucius! All to become someone else, to steal someone else's life. And all these years later, no one but Narcissa knows that Andromeda has been dead for years and years and years. And you know, that kind of explains their rift. She knows that this woman is not her sister, so of course she would use any excuse (a Black running off with a muggle-born) to stay as far away from her as possible. And Andromeda mutually kept the secret, maintaining her own distance from the entire Black family for fear of being discovered. Both of them had damning information on the other and had to keep silent in order to protect themselves. It's mind-bending and insane and also totally, totally makes sense.

That is. Wow.

Spectacularly written! The plot was very intense, mysteries thickening with each section, and the language and descriptions you used were very vivid. Narcissa was determined and ruthless, and it becomes evident by the end that Poppy was, too. But Poppy did learn from the best. So dark and twisted; loved it!

Author's Response: Thank you so much for agreeing to swap with me, Sarah! I'm so sorry for the delay in responding to this review and I hope you can forgive me! ♥

Haha, I'm glad that the ending was great! I was very concerned that it was too subtle when I first posted it, so it's fabulous that you loved this one-shot! Yes - Poppy literally replaced Andromeda in life XD

I quite like Poppy's deceptiveness, and as soon as the idea came to me I was just /so/ thrilled with the idea of the Poppy/Narcissa rivalry - because you know, even if Poppy hadn't stolen Andromeda's life and revealed what Narcissa did, there wouldn't be any guarantee that Narcissa wouldn't try again, like she did in the forest the second time around. Although I do agree with you - Poppy's insanity /is/ extreme, in that she actually plays along with Ted and lets him think she's Andromeda for the next thirty years of their lives.

Thank you so much! I'm really glad that you loved this one-shot, and your review was fabulous to read! ♥


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Review #21, by Toujours PadfootCasualties of War: Casualties of War

20th March 2013:
HPFF is going to kill me. I have read three pieces of writing today about the marauders and my emotions are just about shot. Having them stacked up in this one-shot, punctuated by 'and now he's just a casualty of war' makes me want to curl up into a ball and propel myself down a hill. And for me this is a very bad thing because it rained earlier and it is very muddy outside, but for you this is a good thing because this means you wrote something that evoked very strong feelings in me as the reader. The words you chose to portray each person were carefully-selected and very beautiful summations of each; and I liked the order you chose to list them in, too.

You began with Lily, who is simultaneously angelic and uplifting and also dark, because she's a witch, a heroine who used magic as a weapon when need be. And then James inevitably came after, as if attached by a string, followed by Remus. Remus is always in the middle. He was a good friend of James's but not good enough to be godfather. A good friend of Lily's and a good friend of Sirius's, but not good enough to be the best friend. But he was valuable all the same. I like how you described him, and my favorite line in the whole one-shot is about him:

You have to understand, that was just how Remus was. He could bear the heaviest of burdens as long as he thought you'd never have to suffer.

Remus always tried keeping his burdens to himself. He lived a ravaged life - all of the surviving marauders did - and I'm thankful that at least towards the end he found a bit of happiness. He left a lasting legacy behind.

And then comes Sirius, who is like the opposite of Lily because whereas she's a delicate meadow, the only remnant of her being a laugh, Sirius is a tornado. He's a storm, a contradiction, a complexity. You captured his essence very well. This right here I absolutely loved:

Now watch that small patch of blue as it slips subtly through the clouds. Smell the scent of the rain drops still left over on the dewy grass... that's Sirius Black.

Perfect, perfect description.

And what you said about Peter is so true. It's so much more preferable to simply believe that he was bad from the start, that he was always a traitor and the other marauders were doing him a charitable favor just by letting him breathe their heroic air. He's someone we'll never be able to fully understand, no matter how much we want to. Sometimes characters, and people for that matter, just cannot be made transparent under a microscope. There's always bits that hide from you.

And I think Peter's section was the saddest, really, because he truly is the 'lost' marauder. He could have died young like James and Lily and been admired as a memory, or he could have been falsely framed like Sirius and spent twelve years in Azkaban, to be labeled as a hero only after his eventual death, but he didn't. Peter wanted to live, no matter what the cost. The existence he led was a half-life, hanging by a thread, but he held on.

There are just too many casualties of war. :( Reading about these five friends whose deaths spanned sixteen years - two of them dying in the first wizarding war and three dying in the second - it was so sad but also very beautiful, and you wrote it very well. :)

Author's Response: Hi Sarah! Thank you for such a lovely swap!

Haha I noticed that Dan requested Waiting Room, and yeah. Figured you'd be in trouble at that point with all these feels :P

I think the fact that, by the end of it, all the Marauders die just breaks my heart when I let it. I get all those feelings and needed to get them out, and showing that in the end, they were all just people stuck in a war felt like the best way to leak my sads over everyone else :P

Remus ended up being one of the sections I really enjoyed writing. I liked taking the opportunity to sort of show how much darker it all got after Lily and James. It's terrible that they died, but they didn't have to live through a lot of the terrible stuff that their friends did. So starting with those two and giving them, especially Lily, a more angelic feeling really seemed to work. And I can't even tell you how much these compliments mean to me coming from you ♥

Sirius. Oh gosh. Well, by your username I think it's pretty clear we'd both jump off a cliff for this fictional man. He's often so abused in FF. A player or just James's sidekick or brainless and ugh. I hate it. Getting to talk about who he really was though from what we know of him, and then adding some of my head canon in there is always so much fun. I think we should probably just go find him and hug him, yeah?

That's exactly how I feel about Peter. He was dragged through the mud, and he should be. He made a terrible choice then was too afraid to go back on it, and he isn't a hero like the rest of his friends died being.

I'm seriously going to be in a pile of mush for the rest of the night. I'm so happy you enjoyed this, and I can't tell you how much your compliments mean to me ♥


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Review #22, by Toujours PadfootWaiting Room: Green Eyes Against Blinding White

20th March 2013:
D:

It's only when I'm reading stories from the perspective of the dead that I'm thankful when couples die together. Thinking about it now, if Lily had somehow survived, it would have changed absolutely everything. Harry would have had one of his parents. She might've eventually remarried. She might've had more kids. And it's the same if James had survived and Lily had died - the dynamic is so different, it would almost be more different than if both James and Lily both had lived.

The most heartbreaking part of this one-shot was when James initially assumed that both Lily and Harry were dead:

The sound that escapes from my throat is like nothing I've ever heard. The piteous wail of a man who's already died on the inside as he begs the outside to catch up. There are no words for how much I hurt.

I like how James's memory came back to him in staggered increments. First all he knows is the never-ending white fog and that flash of green, and then slowly things seep back into his memory - the fact that there were children dressed in costumes, that it was Halloween, that they were hiding from something. It was a very realistic touch that James wouldn't automatically remember it all. It makes sense that his brain would suffer from an amnesia of sorts because the events of his death were so traumatic and happened so incredibly fast. Literally, one second Voldemort was at the door and James was telling Lily to take Harry and run, and the next second James was dead. So reacquainting himself with these events gradually was so, so heartbreaking as a reader because I could feel his increasing awareness of where he must be now.

I felt so terrible for both of them as they pieced together what had happened. Lily was much quicker on the uptake, her mother's intuition just inherently knowing that Harry was alive - which must mean that something had happened to Voldemort. And that feeling of detachment, of being so far from their son, was evident in the way they could view Harry's future. Being somewhere so physically different from home lent them a perspective where they could determine how it all came about. James's thoughts flitting between Peter and Sirius, feeling like a traitor for doubting either of them and his subsequent denial when Lily gently told him that Peter must have betrayed them - it was so sad and so real and I just want to hug James.

You are very talented at getting inside the head of someone who has just experienced something the living can barely conceive - all of James's confusion, his anguish, his reaction to Lily being there that was relief and horror mixed together. For a few seconds, James was utterly alone. For a few seconds, James was dead and Lily was still alive. And when he stood there, his brain trying to wrap itself around it all and his memory abstractly delving back to Lily talking about the stages of grief, it made it very real and vivid. I felt like I was James.

And this bit:

I remember exactly how he feels when I hold him.

:'( Oh my goodness, that is a hard hell to digest, the thought of never being able to hold your helpless little baby ever again. All of the things a parent would miss out on...

I'm quite curious about what they're waiting for. Are they waiting there until Harry dies? Until Harry recalls them with the Resurrection Stone? Oh my goodness, to think that they might be trapped in that wide white fog for seventeen years at least; I have no idea how they wouldn't lose their minds. I desperately want to know when they'll get to go 'on' and what 'on' will be like, and if Sirius will eventually join them in this place.

This was a fantastic read! Very moving and realistic.

Author's Response: Hi, Sarah!

Now that you mention it, everything would have been incredibly different if either Lily or James had survived Voldemort's attempt to murder Harry. Either case would definitely make for an interesting AU fic, although the number of things you'd have to sort out seems really daunting.

I wrote James's gradual realization for pretty much exactly the reasons you described. I was imagining it as being like that sense of disorientation you get when you wake up in a strange place... erm, not that I'd know anything about that. ;) Anyway, rumor has it that you go through this process of backtracking to the last thing you remember for sure, then trying to work your way up to how you got where you are.

Lily is certainly putting the pieces together faster than James, and she does have mother's intuition on her side. The two of them have lost so much. All they have left is one another, which is still an enormous improvement over where poor James was at the start of this. I'm glad you felt like hugging James. I tried to humanize him every way possible in this.

That's nice of you to say about James. I think that in this strange purgatory they find themselves in, the passage of time doesn't really correspond to how it passes in the world of the living. So the short amount of time between James's death and Lily's drags on a lot longer for him. Another way to look at it, I guess, is that Lily and James were reunited when they were both ready to see one another again.

As a parent, I know that line definitely hit me hard when I read it again after writing it. I can't fathom the loss and emptiness of knowing that your child is going to grow up without you and you're going to miss everything.

What are they waiting for? Well, I think the best way to answer that is to tell you what my original plan for this story was. James and Lily were going to be in this ethereal recreation of the Forbidden Forest instead of the waiting room. After some significant amount of time passed, Sirius would have arrived there, as well, and finally Remus. Then, when Harry used the Resurrection Stone, he would have "appeared" in their world just as they appeared in his. The stone would essentially bring the two worlds together. But when I tried to write it, I wasn't happy with the way the passage of time was working out, so I changed the plan.

I'm really glad you enjoyed it! Thanks so much for offering this chance to enjoy one another's writing!


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Review #23, by Toujours PadfootBreaking Even: On The Job

20th March 2013:
Fair warning: By request I am listening to the Lilo & Stitch soundtrack while I read this. Images of Beth surfing around the Ministry are out of my control.

Ughhh office jobs are so tedious. I feel a bit bad for Beth. Going from high-octane, exciting, physical work to shuffling papers around to and fro would intensify that tediousness. That and such a job description would leave her brain plenty of room to wander, which would of course always circle back to wondering how Severus was doing, how Sirius was doing on the missions, what was going on in the Order, etc. It feels like she's being squeezed out of her own life. :(

And there's slimy little Peter gallivanting around with his Death Eater ilk, I can just feel it. TELL ME I'M RIGHT. And then Remus and his timing, UGHH. NO, BETH, YOU'RE NOT GOING CRAZY AND IMAGINING THINGS. GO FOLLOW PETER. HE'S UP TO SEEDY BUSINESS.

Okay please do not kill me but I'm sort of shipping Remus/Beth right now. It doesn't take much for me. All I need is eye contact and I start stitching together my flag.

And there you go blowing holes in my flag with remarks about Remus being too tidy and also his stern obnoxious prefect face. FINE THEN. I SUPPOSE I WILL FORFEIT JUST THIS ONCE.

Remus, you buffoon. You can't hand her this nuclear bomb of information and expect her to just sit on her hands. THIS IS A SEVERUS/BETH STORY. OF COURSE SHE IS GOING TO START SCHEMING SOMETHING. P.S. She is a marauder, Remus; give her some credit for doing stuff she is not allowed to do. You don't hang out with James and Sirius for several years without some of that rubbing off on you. I am rooting for Beth to do something stupid and steal those memories back. To hell with respecting Severus's wishes! Severus can't see the future. He doesn't know for sure that the world is better off thinking he doesn't care about Beth Bridger.

And now your questions at the end have got me squinting. Is Timothy Parrish by chance the guy that Peter was talking to? IS TIMOTHY PARRISH A DEATH EATER? Okay I just googled Timothy Parrish to see if he was canon or not because now I'm really curious, and omg there is a real Timothy Parrish who commented on a Harry Potter film score about Umbridge on Pandora.

Okay, Beth. You transform into a falcon right now and haul your feathered butt to Hogwarts, and steal the memories. Unless Severus has already poked at his brain enough by now to realize his memories are missing, in which case - he steals them back. !!! Maybe they both run to Hogwarts to steal the memories back and they meet up and there is this big scene in Dumbledore's office where he recognizes her and then he eats his memories and then he's like "Beth!" with recognition and Dumbledore bursts in and Beth stupefies him because Dumbledore keeps ruining moments.

Her frustration in this chapter, and mocking Dumbledore for pretending to know how she feels - reminded me strikingly of Harry in OotP when he's going through a tough time and Dumbledore is basically useless. Also it just occurred to me that Dumbledore should have gotten to the Ministry a lot faster than he did in OotP and he must have been pretty far away. Which makes me mad at him because Sirius was being hunted by the world but he still stayed close to where Harry was. HE LIVED IN A FRIGGIN CAVE IN HARRY'S FOURTH YEAR. Voldemort was trying to penetrate Harry's mind, planting all kinds of screwy things there, and Dumbledore's off on holiday. You know, he is just not my fave today.

Okay I will stop shouting about things now.



Author's Response: Even interning in a magazine office for one summer could get a bit boring at times; I can't imagine how dull Beth must feel she is, shuffling papers around at the Ministry. I like your expression "squeezed out of her own life" because it's a bit of a downer, but it's also really true.

Lulz forever at you shipping Beth with Remus. ♥ NEXT THING I KNOW YOU'LL BE SHIPPING BETH/PETER, WON'T YOU. I remember first writing In The Black and consciously trying to steer myself out of waters where it sounded like Beth/James could be a thing. That is as far as I want to go down memory lane where she and shipping are concerned. -small laser cannons fired into all of Sarah's ships-

I tried to spell that "laser canons." HPFF is getting into my brain, man.

To be fair, though, Remus really shouldn't have expected Beth to just sit around and do nothing. You're absolutely right. That's like telling me you've got tickets to a Paul McCartney concert but I'm not allowed to go --if you think I won't fully tackle you for tickets like that, you've got another think coming. Not to mention that YES, she is a Marauder, and YES, doing things they're not supposed to do is basically in the rulebook. Honestly, Remus, where is your head.

I CANNOT TELL YOU THE SIGNIFICANCE OF TIMOTHY PARRISH. :3 He could be huge, or he could be relatively minor. You won't hear a word from me. I will tell you that he appears in two or three more chapters, and that he is not a canon character. Except think very, very hard about men in my life and try and pick out where I'm writing Timothy from. YOU'VE GOT IT NOW, HAVEN'T YOU.

-rolling around on the ground because I CAN'T TELL YOU ANYTHING- My lips are metaphorically sealed. Not really, because a few prying questions from you will probably release the floodgate, but I like pretending I'm good at holding out against your barrage of well-meaning questions.

I'm sorry that my reviews responses to you always seem to go off on wild, somewhat loopy tangents. But then again, I'm not all that sorry. ♥ YOUDA BEST.


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Review #24, by Toujours PadfootBreaking Even: Happy Birthday, James

11th March 2013:
Lol, a dog versus a bird. LIKE RUNNING ON FOOT COULD BEAT A PAIR OF WINGS. Beth is totally going to win that race.

This chapter had a lot of emotional highs and lows - it was depressing because this was James's last birthday and he didn't know it, and because Beth told Lily she and James will be fine when they won't be; and Harry is happier now than he is going to be for the next ten years. The best moments of his young life, and he won't even remember them. The spit bubbles, his mum running her fingers through his hair, getting to stay up late babbling at guests - it'll all be stamped out and he'll be left with 'your no-good parents died in a car crash'. And it's just sad. DON'T LET THAT HAPPEN, BETH. DON'T GO ALL REMUS ON US AND STAY OUT OF HIS LIFE UNTIL HE'S LIKE THIRTEEN.

(Leave it to me to focus on the darkest part of the cloud instead of the silver lining.)

And then Peter. Every time he speaks, I think I bare my teeth. Offering to help Beth when the sneaky little rat is...ugh...okay. *deep breath* It is so difficult to put up with him. And I didn't like the looks Beth was getting from Moody, and the allusions from all sides that people were discussing her behind her back to Dumbledore and each other. She's already humiliated enough having to start grunt work instead of missions; whispering about it adds insult to injury. I felt so uncomfortable and embarrassed for her, but also defiant in the same way she did. Beth might not be performing at peak levels, but she's strong. She's pushing through it day by day. ♥

I AM VERY INTERESTED IN THIS DEVELOPMENT. I think you mentioned something about this to me before, but now I'm wondering how the boys intend to help her. What can they possibly do? They can't undo what's already done, or what's the point of doing it in the first place? I DON'T KNOW WHICH DIRECTION I SHOULD BE GUESSING.

I like these glimmers of hope starting to crop up. I'm always seeing hope in places that aren't really there D: so it's reassuring that in some ways, things might start to look up soon (?). BUT IN OTHER WAYS THINGS ARE HORRIBLE. JUST REALLY HORRIBLE.

-dies inside again-

I came to the conclusion somewhere at the beginning of this chapter that after Breaking Even, I'm not reading James/Lily ever again, unless it's AU or takes place before their deaths. Living it right now, and knowing what lies in their future, is emotionally exhausting. It feels like slowly watching a friend die, knowing it's going to happen, and being unable to prevent it. I cannot read angsty James/Lily or Peter's betrayal or Sirius getting shipped off to prison, or Severus enduring everything, ever again. And that is perfectly fine with me because your canon encompasses all of it so thoroughly and believably that it will forever be the way it happened, end of story.

I HAVE SO MANY FEELINGS.

Author's Response: In my head, Beth completely dominated that race. She was waiting for Sirius at the end, preening her feathers, and he sulked for the rest of the evening, and it was lovely. ♥

LOL SO MUCH AT YOU MAKING A ONCE-LIGHTHEARTED CHAPTER INTO SADNESS. You're turning into me, yo. I'm rubbing off on you. Although I suppose it was a bit cruel of me, having such lightness and happiness and knowing that quite soon, I'm basically going to be yanking a lot of that away from people. Now I feel sort of mean.

Can I seriously just say how much it means to me that you still find Beth strong in this story? In my head, she is a VERY strong character, but midway through writing this I got so annoyed with her because she was being so moody and mopey and whatever. And she kind of has right to be, and you know it's all my fault anyway, but leave it to me to write holes into ALL MY STORIES. But knowing you're still out there rooting for her makes me very pleased, beyond pleased. ♥ She needs that kind of support, fictional or no. I need that kind of support! And that is part of what makes you so wonderful as a reviewer and a friend: You are always there to provide it.

I can give you no hints about the boys -- and for all I know and remember, I've probably spilled the beans to you, anyway. YOU SHOULD JUST BE VERY PROUD OF THEM IN ADVANCE, BECAUSE I AM. ♥ Things start to look up at some point, though, I do promise that!

I am forever honored to be your James/Lily canon. (Although I completely, fully know what you mean -- I don't think I can write canon James and Lily like this ever again because it is thoroughly exhausting at times, knowing everything this generation went through. J.K. Rowling is so cruel.)

VIRTUAL HUGS FOR YOUR POOR BRUISED FEELINGS. ♥ Thank you for your review!!


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Review #25, by Toujours PadfootLetters to Regulus: Letters to Regulus

9th March 2013:
:'(

I adore that Sirius wrote Regulus letters. They don't seem to be long-winded, gushing, bear-your-soul letters, but more like day to day conversation - which is actually even more sad. It's like he was so lonely that the normal, ordinary stuff he would vent to someone else, he shared with Regulus instead because he didn't have anyone else to share it with.

Oh my goodness, Molly. So nosy! Ugh, she is so perfectly canon here and it dredges up all of my conflicting feelings towards her while reading the HP series. She's such a hypocrite. She wants everyone to behave and be good and listen and do what they're told, but first chance she gets she is always poking her nose around. Like in DH when she kept separating Harry, Ron, and Hermione and barking at them to do different chores. Ugh. I love Molly, seriously I do, but I was not at all sorry to see Sirius snap at her every now and then.

And here they are again! Oh my goodness, when he caught her red-handed like that - I actually felt a little bit terrified. Sirius is kind of scary when he's angry, and Molly was reading very personal letters that obviously were not intended for her eyes. I'm glad that later on at dinner when he looks at her, she drops her gaze. For the time being, she's a little bit in his debt. Everything was perfectly canon: Kreacher's language and mannerisms, Molly's vindictive little hint that she would clean out his boiler cupboard now, Fred and George insisting that their best pranks were yet to come, and Sirius quietly moving about his own house like a living shadow. It was like a missing moment directly from OotP, and could fit right in.

And of course it just wouldn't be a TenthWeasley one-shot without you making me incredibly jealous:

There was a soft shuffling sound, like leaves on cement

...the left-hand door, causing it to crawl up the backs of his legs like pale yellow paint

She spun round on her knees hard, rough wood digging into the fleshy skin of her legs, and stumbled to her feet.

Molly felt her breath in her chest like a physical mass


Beautiful descriptions!

You're the only person who could get away with emotionally torturing Sirius and still have me coming back every single time for more. ♥

Author's Response: In a weird sort of way (bear with me), Sirius's letters to Regulus are what I see as his version of a diary -- he writes to Regulus in part because he misses him, but also to make sense of that grief. I think there would have been times when he didn't write him any, nearly forgot about him entirely, and then wrote several in the stretch of a few days. Which is basically how all my diaries went, by the by, until I inevitably lost interest in them. :D

I so agree with you about Molly! She's one of those characters who tends to get nearly idolized in the books, and there are bad facets to basically all of them, which is why I have to praise JKR again and again for the complexity of her characters. Mrs. Weasley was most definitely nosy, and hypocritical, but that made her much more human in the end.

Sirius is SCARY when he's angry! You can hear Molly remembering all his time in Azkaban, and you know, even though he was in there wrongfully, he probably knows a thing or two more about violence coming out of it. Eeek!

Trufax: I will literally stop and think about descriptions you've written before I write my own. Yours are extremely enviable and have imprinted themselves on my mind, and that is why I laugh when you point out mine. ♥ Vicious cycle! The pale yellow paint one, especially, was something I gleaned from how you describe your worlds in your AU stories. You have yourself to thank for them!

I will always be around to torture Sirius for you. ♥


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