Reading Reviews From Member: CambAngst
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Review #26, by CambAngstYear Five: After

29th August 2015:
Hi, Roisin! I don't think I'm going to make it to 100. But 50 would be nice...

GryCReMo (Review #41)

Tristan hadn’t planned on there being an after. It was humiliating, and terrifying, and he felt like a stranger. -- Unfortunately, I know two people who've attempted suicide. Both of them grappled with this exact thing. Nobody thinks about the possibility that they might survive and have to deal with the aftermath.

I love Eddie's story. It will probably take Tristan a little while to process what it means, but I really hope it helps.

“Machiavellian,” McGonagall shot back. “That’s what you are. I hope you realize that.” -- I'm glad that somebody is saying that to his face. Because it's true, and would only become more true as the years passed.

“Yeah I bet if young Potter got a headache the school would assume it was the Dark Lord behind it,” Laurel scoffed. -- Slow clap. Brilliant.

I loved the scene in Cadogan's Corridor. It was familiar and comfortable, but not. For a brief moment, everything felt the same, but everything was different. And lots of walls finally fell, especially for Tristan. Poor Isobel, as though the whole thing with Quirrell needed to be any worse. At least Tristan's friends -- his support -- finally know the truth. As Aunt Esther used to say, "And the truth will set you free!" Wow. That show probably went off the air fifteen years before you were born. I have to stop dating myself like that...

Wow. Tristan got a birthday present from the Dark Lord. That really puts the awkward hover-hands hug that Draco Malfoy received in perspective, doesn't it?

There were many ways a fragile body might break, and each of them were playing out in Isobel's mind. -- It's a really insidious variation on survivor's guilt that you've hit upon there. If a friend succeeds in killing themselves, you ask yourself what you should have done differently, but the scope is contained. All of the opportunities have already come and gone. If they try to kill themselves and fail, the cycle of second-guessing repeats itself every time you let them out of your sight.

Ah, it seems that Isobel is having an awakening of sorts. All it took was Emily stepping up to shatter these walls of envy and self-doubt that she'd built around her self-image. Now she's questioning more things. Good on you, Isobel!

I'm glad that Tristan is feeling... something along with the memories of his birth parents. He's the sort of person who could easily construct emotional walls around all of it and feel nothing. It seems to me that he needs to feel more if he's ever going to survive his teenage years. It's also good to see Snape continuing to try to look after him. If there's anyone who understands how a person can be victimized by falling under the Dark Lord's influence, it's Snape.

"Believing that child-rearing was the sole dominion of women, after your mother's death, your primary care fell to your aunt," Snape added tensely. "A most unfortunate turn of events." -- Snape has quite the gift for understatement. Bellatrix would have resented every moment of being forced to look after a child instead of carrying out the Dark Lord's will.

Wow. Tristan has memories of the Longbottoms being tortured. Which the Dementors obviously bring right to the surface. You've brought so many amazing things to light in this chapter that clarify and reinforce this enigmatic character. Bravo!

Your physical descriptions of what it's like to be inside Azkaban are brilliant. The place is chilling, dead and terrible in every respect.

“That man isn’t my father,” Tristan answered the decade old question that had lurked silently, never being asked. Mr. Shacklebolt looked for a moment like he might say something, but didn’t. -- I'm so glad that's clear to him now. There's a good chance he'll be able to move forward. Better chance, anyway.

I really, really love this story. I never have to read for very long before I remember all of the reasons why. You do such an amazing job with these characters and their world!

Author's Response: DAN! Sorry for taking SUH LONG to respond to your AMAZING ZOMG reviews!

Oof, yes, the equal parts of "heartbreaking" and "awkward" there were super difficult to write. Especially because I had no desire to write about this topic in the FIRST place, and then just sorta HAD to, and UGH.

Eddie is such a two-dimensional non-character for so much of the story (which I think has a lot to do with Tristan sort of distancing himself/walling himself off), and so I was glad for this opportunity to really SHOW this guy. And I think it fits with some of the kind of Breakthroughs Tristan has here--like, this is the first time we see Eddie really being a DAD, because it's the first time Tristan's seeing him that way.

SO. LIKE. A lot of people pointed out that the Stone woulda been fine if Harry had just left the whole thing alone, or that those protections were a bit jank if 3 11-12 year olds could get passed them. But knowing everything we know now, I think that's a bit reductive. Obv Dumbledore engineered that exact thing that exact way in order to kinda train Harry, and since it all DID work out eventually, I can't fault him that. But McGonagall definitely can!

HEEHEE, glad you liked my mEtA jOkE :D

I LOVE what you said about things being the same yet different. I think the corridor kind of acts as a 'control test' throughout the story. By having those variables the same, you can see how things have changed.

Yeah, I definitely agree that self-blame is like, THE response to tragedy. Even if someone passes suddenly and from natural causes, everyone who loves them will find SOMETHING to regret. And with self-harm, I think it can very easily become an eggshell-paranoia situation.

It's funny because I hadn't planned for Isobel to be gay, but just as soon as I started writing her, I knew. Things like that happened a lot with these characters--like how I hadn't planned for Tristan to be clinically depressed. OR the thing with Emilt's past, that was just something I realized was there whether or not I wanted it to be. THESE CHARACTERS. THEY DO WHATEVER THE HELL THEY WANT. And honestly, it's a far stronger story for it.

I'm not sure if this came across, but I wanted to imply that Tristan blames himself for the Longbottoms (again with the untrue self-blame). Like, if he hadn't cried then Bellatrix wouldn't have gotten upset, and it was because she was so angry that she just sort of destroyed them out of fury. And then I think he experienced a lot of guilt for just BEING there around all those people, even though that obviously wasn't his fault or his choice. But you know, people be blaming themselves.

It was weird because I wasn't sure how the meeting with Rabastan Sr would go. Like, I felt like it should be a big deal, and then it was... Nothing. Like, it just felt so irrelevant almost. And then I realized that was a GOOD thing--Tristan also realized how irrelevant her was. Faced the thing he was so afraid of and had made such a big deal about in his mind, and... Nothing. Just "that guy sucks, bye." I think he'd spent a really long time thinking there was something there, or worrying that it spoke to something inside of himself. And then it didn't.

Oh man, you always leave such interesting and thoughtful reviews! I'll need to write some brand new thing if only to keep it going!


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Review #27, by CambAngstRabbit Heart: 30. Into the Heart

29th August 2015:
Good morning, Pix! We've come to the second-to-last chapter. I'm really going to miss Wren and Albus when this is over. Just sayin' Ŏ‿Ŏ

GryCReMo (Review #40) {{-- Yay! 40!}}

Anyway, good to see that poor Minnie is still alive and kicking. She's obvious not lost much of her mind, because her first concern is still for the students. She even manages to spare a thought or two for poor, lost Dillon. Overall, you did a good job keeping her character consistent.

Stuffing their coats full of weapons. A couple of thoughts popped into my head. The first was Neo opening his coat after stepping through the metal detector in The Matrix. Something about that scene is way too polished and modern, however. Black leather and machine pistols just don't fit with Smeed and Burns filling their pockets with daggers, short swords and machetes. This is going to be a throw-down, 1700's-style. Well, except for the flame thrower...

Uncle Toby is such a calming influence on the process. Good guy to have around when tensions are running high.

Dillon has crossed the line into full-on "get me the heck away from this kid" megalomaniacal creepiness. His version of "friendship" and "sharing" have evolved into being exactly the way Wren described him: endlessly needy. I can only imagine why he needs the mingled blood of so many witches and wizards, and what I'm imagining isn't good. On the plus side, it seems like Madam Pince is on her last legs...

Burns fixed the group with a cold stare, holding the limp creature up for all to see. "That’s how it’s done. Any questions?" -- This line capped of a great scene. Scorpius thought that he was bad for having kicked one in the head. Burns showed him up with a quickness.

Dillon looked like a little prince of the library overseeing his kingdom. He was perched on a chair set on top of Pince’s circulation desk with a mob of restless thralls around him. -- Any chance you were thinking of the ill-fated King Joffrey here? That's how I see Dillon at the moment. He doesn't know enough to know what's in store.

Scorpius threw up his wand and hurled a red flash at the thralls. Ian caught his stunner square on the forehead and went down hard. -- I approve. Heartily. That said, it doesn't seem like Dillon and his thrawls have much of a plan here. They're sort of randomly throwing spells around, not accomplishing much other than trashing the room. I guess that makes sense for a blood-drunk little boy who only understands magic as a sort of abstract ideal rather than a practical tool.

Wow. The monster mutant rabbit emerging from the Restricted Section was a bigger deal than I expected, and I expected a pretty big deal. In my mind, the scene reminds me a little of the Stay-Puft Marshmallow Man attacking New York. If it's impervious to curses, James has the right idea, I think.

“Suffer, maybe die. You get in my way again and your fate will be more certain,” Smeed threatened before jumping from the column, another weapon in his hand. -- OK, it just got real.

I think you need to do a little work on the confrontation between Wren and Dillon. The part that wasn't completely clear to me was when he forced her to come to him. I think you need to make it more clear that she moves from wherever she was standing to be within arm's length of Dillon, because it took me a few passes to realize what had happened there. Other than that, I loved it! Wren has spent nearly all of the story doubting herself. Was she weak for letting her Gran's illness affect her. Was she losing her mind? Was she becoming a squib? In this one scene, she casts aside all of the fear and doubt and strikes a critical blow against Dillon. Bravo, Wren! Bravo!

When Wren realized that Bunny was truly lost, she gave Albus the means to kill him. I really liked the symbolism in that moment.

Dillon's final tantrum was pretty much perfect. In the final analysis, he's just a little boy, lost and alone and sad. Also angry. So very angry. And it was his undoing. His own minions turned on him. The line about tiny teeth scraping on bone was a fitting end.

Oh, no! What's happening to Wren now? I have to imagine that Smeed can help her, but no matter what, I loved her final line of the chapter. Beautifully done!

So now I wait. Eagerly, I wait. Wonderful job!

Author's Response:

Good morning!

Aww, I already miss Wren and Albus. There's this hole in my brain where they used to be... and I'd be a lot more worried about that if this story wasn't fiction...

I love the idea of trenchcoats filled with weapons. Maybe I got that from The Matrix, or maybe it's just a trope, but it was so much fun to write. I couldn't help myself. Especially the flame-thrower. Let's just say there's a reason his name is Burns and leave it at that. He's also rather good at rabbit hunting. Scorpius could learn from this.

You're right. Dillon's army is only as effective as he is leading them. Fortunately for the unenthralled wizards, he's not very good. But I'm sure you can understand how someone more competent in his position would be a complete nightmare.

Hee hee! I love your reaction to the monster mutant rabbit making its appearance. Rawr! It did have that Godzilla-feel to it, right?

Smeed's not playing around here. He doesn't want to make the same mistake twice.

Thanks for the heads up. It's hard writing action inside someone's head. That bit should be clearer now.

It was finally Wren's time. She's been so overwhelmed by everything, but once she got a grip on what was in front of her, she did pretty well. :)

Sorry for the wait on that last chapter. I was just doing a bit of clean-up on the story as a whole while I got everything together.

So much fun!


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Review #28, by CambAngstRabbit Heart: 29. Secrets of the Heart

28th August 2015:
More, more, more!

GryCReMo (Review #39)

It's kind of miraculous that Wren managed to keep her thing for Albus away from Rose for this long. Maybe it's because she couldn't admit it even to herself. Maybe Rose isn't all that tuned in to matters of romance. Callie obviously is. All that said, I liked the way that Rose reacted. There was a release of tension there. She wasn't making light of Wren's feelings, only of the fact that it took them all so long to come to an understanding.

More… he’d probably have to get his pants adjusted again before Winter Break, maybe even before Halloween, which was only a week away. -- So impractical! That would obviously offend Wren's sensibilities. ;)

So while Rose and Callie are laughing some sense into Wren, James smacks some sense into Albus. Figuratively, of course, but in a typical brotherly fashion. Good on you, James.

Aww, he doesn't think she's crazy and she gives him some credit for being able to help. It's a start.

Sharing a rabbit. It's sort of like when couples decide it's serious enough to get a dog together, except for teenagers in a vampire-enthralled castle.

One thing confused me a little. Albus seems to just know how "personal" the thrall bond is and I'm not sure how. Observing Wren and McGonagall was really no different from observing the Prefects. I wasn't completely sure why it was suddenly such an epiphany.

Ah, so the full-blooded vampires don't appear on the Marauder's Map. Interesting. I wonder what that makes Dillon? Some sort of hybrid with an unfocused soul?

Oh, wow. There's a cliffhanger for you. It doesn't seem like Smeed killed McGonagall, but he wasn't very kind to her, either. What on earth will happen next? Tune in next time...

So close to the end! I'm excited, but also exhausted. I think I'll do the last one in the morning!

Author's Response:

More!! I feel so spoiled right now. This is amazing.

If it were up to Callie, Wren would have come clean in chapter -1, and this whole Albus thing would have been a non-issue. Being that there are no negative chapters in this story, and that the main conflict would have had to be rewritten, Callie's idea of perpetual bliss had to be shot down. She also wanted this to turn into one of those "let's pair everyone off" romance fantasy things. Boy was she disappointed when I sent her to re-read her contract. Apparently now she's auditioning for the remake of "Friends". I wish her the best.

I always had this type of a scene in mind for Rose and Wren to come to terms with things. Rose has not been the most understanding of friends, so I had to show that in the end, she does care about Wren's feelings and she is ultimately supportive of her when it comes to touchy things. Also, Rose has a high opinion of Wren, or otherwise they wouldn't be so close. You know how Rose is...

Yes. Wren and her sensibilities. I'm glad that came through loud and clear. ;)

"... serious enough to get a dog together..."

Um. Yeah, actually. Just like that. :P I really looked hard at this section, and I couldn't figure out what to add to this without breaking up the flow. Sometimes I just have to let things go... without breaking into song, thank you.

Thank you SO MUCH for sticking with this story. Your reviews are gold!


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Review #29, by CambAngstRabbit Heart: 28. Reflections of the Heart

28th August 2015:
Moving along, moving along...

GryCReMo (Review #38)

Whew! At least Neville still has his wits about him. As long as Wren and Albus have Neville on their side, I think there's a good chance that things will work out alright.

Leaning back in his chair, he noted that Pince still had that wild glint in her eye, staring greedily at the mass of children like they were a tasty meal. -- Would it be entirely too much trouble for you to kill her off at the end of the story? Never liked that one. Pretty please?

Funny that the Ravenclaws are the ones who are cheering for Dillon loudest. Perhaps they're a bit too brainy for their own good.

Neville mentally kicked himself for not doing more than just passing along the information to the headmistress. -- I'm also mentally kicking him. Sheesh!

Even the Sorting Hat doesn't want anything to do with Dillon. The hat knows what time it is.

Scorpius squeezed himself in front of her. "What?" he snapped, affronted at their tight lipped faces. "She's clean. I checked."

"I bet you did," muttered Rose.
-- Brilliant! No scene is ever too tense for a little smutty humor.

Ha! Did you empty all of your unused (and gently used) British slang into a single passage of Scorpius's dialog?

So one thing is bugging me about this chapter. I think Neville seems far too OK with the idea of Wren continuing to be in harm's way. I know he's probably not as over-protective a parent as Molly Weasley -- who is, really? -- but still the idea of sending her off to the enthralled Headmistress's office seemed like a bit much. I'm still sort of surprised that nobody is trying to contact the Ministry or the Aurors. Granted, I know that would never work with the plot, but it seems like somebody should at least think about the possibility of contacting Harry.

Aww.. Rose and Scorpius are having a moment. Now's certainly not a bad time, since they could both be captured and enthralled before they get another chance. And it all started with talking about Wren and Albus's non-relationship. Now that Rose is clued in, I'd say it's only a matter of time. Neither Albus nor Wren is going to have any peace from her until they stop being so stubborn.

“A polarity-charmed banana,” she said softly, and the door slid open. -- Sometimes the simplest answer is also the correct one. ;)

Oh, boy. You are going to kill of Sloan, right? Seriously, this guy is nothing but bad news whenever he pops up. Now he's telling Dillon everything he needs to know to turn into some sort of over-powered psycho vampire. Maybe the giant, freaking rabbit from the Library could step on him or something? Please?

You're doing an awesome job driving your plot toward the big finale! At least I assume that's what's coming. I have to go find out...

Author's Response:

I see Neville as a pretty responsible adult. And with his own child on the line, he's not likely to abandon them when they need him the most.

Okay, so I want you to remember what you just said here about Pince for later.

So as you can see, this is the part where things go from bad to worse, and I had to figure out how to do that without making my characters look completely stupid. That was hard, I tell you. Fortunately, it wasn't too difficult to spread the second-guessing around.

Glad you appreciate the bit with the Sorting Hat. It's only supposed to work with wizards. That should be a big clue right there to anyone in the room who thinks Dillon is still a cute little kid, but alas. He's got most of them brainwashed already.

Scorpius and Rose... things are never easy with them. I couldn't let this story be any different. But I do have to admit, that line was so much fun.

Yeah, it bugged me too. Small revision to make him look more responsible. I think it put a bump in the prose, but at this point, I was just looking for places to keep the character consistency going.

You're reading Rose like a book, Dan. Actually, she's not that hard for everyone else to figure out. Too bad she couldn't just look at herself in the mirror a few chapters back and say, "Oh, THAT's what I'm supposed to do." But she's getting there. Slowly.

So, um... is it bad of me to actively look for a place to insert the word "banana" in my story as hard as I did?

I'm not sorry you feel so strongly about Sloan. At this point, I just hope you think his story arc came to a satisfactory end. I thought it was fitting.

Yes yes. Please find out what happens. Read like the wind!!

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Review #30, by CambAngstRabbit Heart: 27. Racing Hearts

28th August 2015:
Hello, again, Pix. Not wanting to give you wrinkles, but alas I do need to maintain some sort of pace here.

GryCReMo (Review #37)

So Albus in the Prefect's meeting... um, remind me why he thought this was a good idea again? He's nearly as crazy as his father, always needing to run right into the middle of dangerous situations just so he knows what's going on. I'll tell you what's going on, Albus: people are getting sucked dry and enthralled. Wouldn't you be better off finding Wren and a nice, quiet, safe place to talk instead?

Oh, man! The shoe phone scene was a riot to imagine. Here he is, surrounded by vampire thrawls, talking to Scorpius on his shoe. I'm adding Maxwell Smart to that list with Elmer Fudd and Vito Corleone on it. I can picture poor Albus, trying to play it cool.

Now he felt incredibly stupid. Yeah, of course he’d thought he was going to get away with walking into a room full of people who could read each other’s minds. -- Well, when you put it like that...

The conversation between Albus and James felt like it was missing something. For me, at least, I expected it to be harder for Albus to convince James of what was happening. I think the scene would have played better if the Prefects on the map were doing something more sinister. Either that, or play up what was going on in the Hospital Wing more. Just something other than Albus's word to make James realize that something very bad was happening in the castle.

Wren and Callie are certainly brave. They march right into the belly of the beast to retrieve Rose. Your descriptions of the Hospital Wing were pretty gruesome and creepy. Not a place I'd want to be.

I really liked the scene where they had to fight their way out of the Hospital Wing. Maybe "fight" isn't quite the right word, but it was no mean feat getting out of there, either. Poor Wren couldn't save everyone, but she has a pretty good group to work with now.

Oh, my. Dillon's coming in, isn't he? That can't be good.

Need to keep going. Story is so good now...

Author's Response:

You managed quite a few more reviews than I did, but that's okay. I maintained my facial cream regimen. I should be alright. See? The things we learn from our characters. Serena would be so proud.

Ah, let's think that through. What would have happened if Wren and Albus just took off to "talk" right now? *shudders* On second thought, I'd rather not contemplate that. Bad timing. That's what it would be.

I loved the shoe phone back in chapter *early on* and I really wanted it not to be a one-off in this story. Hence the return. And it added an element of "meanwhile on the other side of the castle" without actually saying, "meanwhile on the other side of the castle". If you know what I mean. Which I'm sure you do.

James sees more on the map now. I think that fixed the issue you felt about it. You deserve cookies for your good eyes and excellent suggestions. This is why I love reviews. :)

No, I don't think "fight" is the right word, but Wren and Callie did have to use their brains to get out of there in one piece. Obviously, I couldn't have Wren save everyone or there'd not be much reason for more chapters after this. I agree. She's got a really tight bunch of people that will stand by her now. It's what she needs.


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Review #31, by CambAngstFull of Grace: It's Better This Way.

27th August 2015:
Hi, Beth! I know I can't fix your unfulfilled review swap, but maybe I can make your evening a little brighter. :) Or your morning, if you've already turned in for the night.

GryCReMo (Review #36)

You can summon some very powerful feelings of sorrow when you put your mind to it! I really, truly hope that there isn't much personal experience shining through in this story, because it's hauntingly, heart-wrenchingly beautiful. The type of beautiful that you feel very deeply in a way that hurts enough to remind you how good life really is.

I think you touched on all the right things to show how miserable Molly's life has become. The simple, little things that she always drew such satisfaction from have become burdens. Awful reminders of how life once felt. The food has no appeal and the table is forever imperfect because it will always be missing one place setting. Everything reminds her of what she's lost.

Children are meant to bury their parents, not the other way around. -- Ain't that the truth. This saying always seemed so cliche until I had children of my own. Now it's an invitation to ponder things that I can't bear to think about.

Arthur tries to help, but you make it clear why Molly is reluctant to want to let him.

Feeling better is dangerous, because it makes the next wave of emotion so much more intense. -- Again, perfectly explained. A severely depressed person feeling a bit of relief can be like a sip of water for someone who's dying of thirst. It only serves as contrast to make the lows feel worse.

Talking always seems to help a burdened soul, and I'm happy that Molly discovered her own form of therapy. It was a brilliant way to wrap the story up, along with all of her children discovering her standing in the snow, talking to a gravestone and perhaps wondering if she'd gone a little ways around the bend. But if they can all find a small smirk in it, so much the better. It's obvious that the whole family has a lot of healing to do, and sometimes that starts with a laugh.

Your writing was absolutely beautiful in this. You paced it very well and the words you picked were a perfect match to the mood and tone of the story. Keeping the dialog mostly out of it was a good choice, as well. I only saw one small thing that might be a typo:

The wind would rustle the leaves to deafening levels and the garden gnomes scampered through the crisp brush would buzz through her head. -- scampering through the crisp brush?

Awesome job! I hope this helped to brighten your evening just a bit.

P.S. - Not joking. D-E-A-D!


Author's Response: Dan,

You picked this one.

This was tough for me to write and (I've found) even tougher for me to reply to reviews.

I did draw on some personal experience for this one - but I can say thankfully that I've never had to bury a child. My experience might be considered a little 'lighter' than Molly's, but it was difficult for me all the same.

I wrote it for a bunch of reasons. It was cathartic and I'd read a few 'Molly grieving for Fred' stories and I didn't feel like they hit the mark. The song was also significant to me and when this challenge appeared, I signed up for it sort of as the push to get me to write it.

"...hauntingly, heart-wrenchingly beautiful. The type of beautiful that you feel very deeply in a way that hurts enough to remind you how good life really is."

Gah! This is probably one of the best things anyone has ever said about my writing. Your reviews are themselves little masterpieces of your amazing talents. I don't know how you do it.

Admittedly, when I wrote this, I didn't know where I was going with it or how I was going to end it. There isn't a turning point with grief - as in you can never go back to the way things were before, but hopefully Molly finds a new place to be that isn't so painful.

And haha! I didn't even think that the kids watching Molly would be amusing to them, but I really, REALLY like that the story can lead to different interpretations of how they reacted to her at that moment.

Oh! And I fixed my error and edited 'scampering' to the proper tense. Thanks for finding that!

And thanks again - you DEFINITELY brightened my day with this. It was so kind of you - and totally unexpected - and just awesome.

♥ Beth

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Review #32, by CambAngstRabbit Heart: 26. Straight Through the Heart

27th August 2015:
Hey, Pix! You definitely picked a good chapter title for this one. Blows to the feels happening all over the place.

GryCReMo (Review #35)

Oh, Wren. I'm not sure this is going to turn out to be a good choice she's made in the long run. I'm really curious, however, as to what happened to Bunny that came so close to killing him. Did he have a bad encounter with some of the other demon rabbits? Was it the separation from Wren? It didn't seem like that had bothered him so much up to this point. Was he simply starving to death from lack of blood? Inquiring minds want to know.

Ah, the Smeed and Burns story comes complete. And also neatly ties into Dillon's story. Wow, so Smeed and Augusta were a thing at some point? Crazy! I hope we hear more about that one later on. There are a lot of things happening here that I wouldn't have guessed, but that's the point of a Big Reveal. Dillon was a victim of a magic-drunk vampire, from the sound of things. His mother must have realized this, so if I'm reading between the lines correctly, she allowed Dillon to feed in order to save him from death. A very motherly thing to do, if not exactly a smart one. And perhaps she had no idea what Dillon could become. Ah, Uncle Toby has joined the party! One small observation: one of his names changed from "Travers" to "Trevor" between the last chapter and this one.

As I recall, you fell for the proper burial line from the grieving mother. -- Yeah, we've all fallen for that one at some point in our youth. ;)

He moved aside a chair full of rubble and swept half a century of dust off of the writing desk. -- Here's one more small thing I love about your writing style. Letting us know that Dillon has been a vampire for fifty years without somebody coming out and saying that he's been a vampire for fifty years. Bravo!

It's a good thing the vampire thrawls are sort of slow and clumsy, otherwise Albus and Scorpius would have been in even bigger trouble.

I've read through the last scene with Albus and Wren twice now. Something is still bugging me about it. I think it's that I'm having a hard time following the progression of Albus's feelings to the angry, disappointed place where he ends up. There's something -- ugh, is "disjointed" the word I'm looking for? -- about it. It just seemed to me that he was too quick to jump to the conclusion that there was something nefarious going on with Wren, or that her appearance was a sign of some personal failing on her part. My suggestion would be to mix up his feelings more. Let him be confused by the fact that he feels this repulsion toward her and let that confusion be a big part of his reaction.

Otherwise, another awesome chapter! I feel us barreling toward the conclusion!

Author's Response:

Hey again! I'm getting, I'm getting, but all these shiny reviews just look so beautiful in my "unanswered reviews" section. Oh well. Time to make that number go down. *sad sigh*

I revised a few things in this chapter after your review. Not sure if I answered your burning questions or not, but I definitely tried to brush up the clarity. You know me and clarity. Always an uphill battle.

There is something about the secret life of a vampire that intrigues me. I admit that there were many threads of backstory that kept popping out when Smeed decided to make a larger presence in this story, but I didn't have time for all of them, and besides, it's not HIS story. I kept having to explain that to him.

And now Smeed has the "Don't take my kindness for weakness" line to add to his repertoire, thanks to Burns' observations. #vampireproblems. This was the turning point for him, where he realizes that he really is a cold-blooded hunter and should start acting like it. That's why he gets a bit touchy with Albus later.

That scene with Albus and Wren, that RIGHT THERE received several lengthy discussions with my betas and everyone was coming at it from different angles. Needless to say, adjustments have been made. As I said above, I don't know if I managed to fully address everything, but it should be at least a more logical progression. Albus' feelings were very difficult for me to wrangle in this story. Such confliction.

That should be a word, by the way. "Confliction".

All the flattering things. I thank you again.


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Review #33, by CambAngstRabbit Heart: 25. Beating Hearts

26th August 2015:
Hi, Pix! It's me again, your suddenly motivated former beta reader turned serial reviewer.

GryCReMo (Review #34)

I really like how casual Nate and his uncle are about the whole vampire thing. I suppose it's no more casual than wizards are about the wizard thing or goblins are about the goblin thing, but the point is that the just take it all in stride. Apart from a few misunderstandings, there's nothing overly mysterious or menacing about Uncle Toby. And I love the name, for reasons we've already discussed elsewhere.

For his part, Nate kept really true to form. He feels badly for exposing his uncle to someone who might be prejudiced against vampires. Again, it's mostly a misunderstanding but it shows where all of the philosophical talk about vampire rights was coming from.

She took one of the sealed bottles of water and clutched it in her lap. There was no need to die dehydrated... -- That's my girl! Practical, to the last.

“I fell in love. Like you, Wren. And at about your age too. I was lucky enough to land a dream job at The Times, taking photographs of famous people, and we were never apart. Oh, she was a big, bony thing, all smoke and leggy tripods everywhere, not like the compact contraptions you use today.” -- Slow clap. This was completely brilliant. It took me two or three reads to figure out what he was talking about, and then it was brilliant.

Uncle Toby is pretty awesome. That line about looking forward to the children's birthdays brought it home beautifully.

“Smeed? Good man, he is.” Nate’s uncle looked her up and down. “I’d thought he had outgrown his tastes for a young thing such as yourself by now.” -- Ha! Yeah, that one made me laugh out loud. I guess it's a small world when you're undead.

Hmmnn... The line about what might happen to Dillon started me thinking. It seems fairly clear that the Vampire Council isn't simply going to leave him be. I know it's not the best analogy, but I'm thinking of how bears who've learned to attack humans have to be "dealt with". Not a pretty picture. Especially since we know that Dillon's motivations are basically innocent, if misguided.

Oh, boy. Nate is a thrill-seeker. If only he knew the kinds of "thrills" that Hogwarts students have stumbled upon in the past without even needing to seek them out. Perhaps he'd be less enthusiastic.

Albus is frustratingly thick. Or perhaps it's just that he can't focus on more than one thing at a time. Dealing with James or dealing with Wren. At the moment, he needs to be doing less of the former and more of the latter.

“You’re going to talk to her? As in, have a conversation, with words? What was in your juice this morning?” -- It's the new thing, Albus. Even Scorpius is doing it. You might want to give it a try, you ignoramus.

Well, there goes McGonagall's plan for dealing with Demon Bunny Zero. And it went so badly that Ackerly has gone from being the solution to being part of the problem. When will people at Hogwarts learn to stop trusting the creepy librarian?

Interesting. So it seems like Albus's rabbit got drunk on wizard blood and went rogue. Maybe Dillon will yet be part of the solution here and not just the problem. I have the strangest feeling as though Dillon's role in this story will evolve some more before it's over.

Great job! I shall return!

Author's Response:

What is this, Chapter 25?? How words fly by.

Good morning! If this is how you serialize yourself, I don't mind at all. Go right ahead. I'm enjoying all of it.

Haha, Toby's name was fun to come up with. I didn't know how to top the other vampire names in this story, already having 'Smeed' and 'Burns', but he got a good one, I think. He's also the only vampire with nomenclature options. I like that too about him.

Yes, Wren's practical. That was very important to me. It's a big part of her story.

Ah, I'm glad you liked that line about the camera. Still, if you had to read it more than once to get it, there's something wrong. I rearranged the sentences to lead-in with the camera. I think it clears it up a bit better.

I made you laugh I made you laugh! *bounces up and down* Do I get points for that? :P

It's sad about the bears. Now I feel sad. *mourns bears* And erm, yeah, Nate's enthusiasm gets tempered eventually. He doesn't know what he's in for until he gets thrown to the wovles... rabbits...? I just don't know anymore. My poor brain.

Naw, that line was totally supposed to be throwing it back in Scorpius' face. Albus is not anti-talk, he's just distracted by things, like James, and flesh-eating monsters. You know, the important things.

Don't you trust librarians? They are so knowledgeable and helpful, and full of information and... okay, maybe not so much here.

You hope for fantastic things, Dan. Thanks for another wonderful review!


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Review #34, by CambAngstLet Perpetual Light: A Communion of Saints

25th August 2015:
Hi, teh! You're right, this chapter has been a long time coming. But it was totally worth the wait! We're in the middle of a common room review event, so please indulge me for a bit of scorekeeping:

GryCReMo (Review #33)

I love the way you book-ended the chapter with the story of Marvolo Gaunt. I didn't expect to encounter him in this story and it was a really nice surprise. The physical attributes you gave him -- which could be taken as signs of inbreeding -- fit perfectly with his surly, entitled, arrogant demeanor. On the one hand I don't want Gellert getting his hands on the Resurrection Stone, but on the other hand I wouldn't mind seeing any number of bad things happen to Marvolo. What a dilemma!

You're doing a good job of working all of the angles to show how Albus is bored, unhappy and feeling very put-upon to have to stay at home and look after Ariana. Sitting around, writing tedious journal articles for money... it's obviously beneath him.

I love the way you write Ariana. It's hard to even come up with the right words to explain what I like so much about her. She's a little creepy, but also lovable. It's not at all hard to see why Aberforth is so devoted to her and why even Albus can't be cross with her when she's right in front of him. Nice allusion to the three women, by the way, even if Albus can't see or hear them.

Hmmnn... I wonder whether there's a bit of magic in that pine cone doll. Perhaps something that will come in handy when the final showdown between Albus, Aberforth and Gellert happens.

Another wonderful bit of color added to Gellert's back story. His mother's fascination with saints and martyrdom has definitely reinforced his feelings of being unfairly limited and restrained by a world that doesn't embrace his morally flexible views on the use of magic. The letter he sends to Albus makes his feelings abundantly clear. Why should he be the one relegated to the shadows of the world when he wields the power to change it?

The duel... I have to admit that I wish it had been longer. Two masters of the form could have made for such an incredible, mind-blowing, edge-of-your-seat experience. At a minimum, it would have been neat to see Albus use Transfiguration as a weapon, the way he does against Voldemort. Regardless, I loved the outcome. Gellert loses control and it ignites a fury within Albus.

Ah, the kiss! Very nicely done. I think you hit the perfect notes with that moment. And you even gave Gellert an odd sort of quasi-sincerity about the whole thing. Whether he's driven by his physical attraction to Albus or his desire for the unlimited power that Albus could help him achieve -- possibly both -- his infatuation felt completely genuine.

Great job! I'm really looking forward to more!

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Review #35, by CambAngstGoodbye: Charlie

25th August 2015:
Hi, Sara! One more...

GryCReMo (Review #32)

I thought the quotation went along really well with this chapter. And Charlie has a good point: you can read loss when it's felt by people you care about.

It was easy to get inside his head and live the surreal nightmare that he must have been feeling in the Great Hall. The scene itself was so chaotic and charged with adrenaline and emotion, and then to find his family mourning his list brother... it just felt like sensory overload.

I thought it was interesting that Ron was the one who found the momentary strength to answer Charlie's question. Ron has seen a fair bit of death by this point, however. He's probably better conditioned than the rest to be able to keep going.

The guilt that you wrote into Charlie's thoughts after the battle hit home just right. He couldn't have helped but to second-guess his life choices after losing a member of the family.

Fred's reaction was just about perfect.

There was only one little thing I could suggest. Instead of having Ron say "an AK", I think "killing curse" would have been a better choice. In the books, I don't remember the characters ever using the incantations of spells (or an abbreviation) to name or describe the spell.

Good job!

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Review #36, by CambAngstRabbit Heart: 24. Guilty Hearts

25th August 2015:
Hi, Pix! Poor Wren! Every time she turns around, something in this story is leaving her head spinning. Although I suppose the vampire rabbit apocalypse is worthy of a little head-spinning.

GryCReMo (Review #31)

Hannah hadn’t batted an eye when she replied, “I trust Gran, and so does your father. Do as the man says.” -- This line instantly made me think of Harry explaining himself to Aberforth just before the Battle of Hogwarts.

”I’m hunting a rabbit,” he said with a completely straight face. “I swear on my grandfather’s balding hairline, Wren. You better get that blinkin’ thing locked up in the Gryffindor Tower. Because if I find it first, it’s dead.” -- Love this! It’s a little bit Elmer Fudd and a little bit Vito Corleone and a lot of Pix. Try to find that in any other novel on the site!

I’m sort of hoping that Wren’s mindset was coloring her perception of McGonagall’s reaction. Otherwise, Minnie is displaying a Dumbledore-esqe level of, “Eh. I’m things will work out alright.”

OK, I realize there are Very Important Plot Reasons why you needed Wren to go to Hogsmeade, but honestly Scorpius and Callie’s reasoning makes a lot of sense. It’s not like Wren can sneak up on Bunny. Granted, it probably isn’t possible for anyone to sneak up on any of the vampire rabbits. I mean, no matter what else they are, they’re rabbits. Small, herbivorous prey animals whose only chance for survival is to never be caught unaware. But Scorpius and Callie obviously aren’t thinking so clearly.

“second-degree thralls” I love Scorpius in this story.

God, James is such a jerk. Remember how his namesake was a total jerk for five years and then changed? James Sirius is like a mirror image.

“If he’s such a good friend, then treat him like one. He deserves your honesty, right?” -- Nate, the Voice of Reason.

Ooh! So there are other vampires around. And Nate is related to one. No wonder he had such well-formed opinions for their history essays.

I’m gonna get there. Probably not tonight, but soon! I saw your status about the penultimate chapter and I was very excited. Til next review!

Author's Response:

Okay, so I tried really hard to let the adults in this story actually act responsible and not look like idiots, but here's the thing. If the adults fix all the problems in the story, then what exactly am I writing about??? Big quandry. I tried. I really really didn't want to have Neville look like a buffoon. I respect him too much.

I just HAD to put the "hunting rabbits" line in this story somewhere. It was on my mental list (didn't make the written list because it was just so off the wall) and I'm so pleased that Scorpius was the one to pull it off. I mean, come on, when ever do we get the chance to say something like that in context and have it mean exactly what we're saying? Unless we're writing actual hunting stories or something, which I'm not. That reminds me. What exactly was Seamus hunting in that lost draft of ours?

Again with the not-trying-to-make-adults-look-like-idiots, and flailing. This is hard.

I am so relieved to hear you say that you thought there were reasonable reasons for Wren to go to Hogsmeade. Yes, plot. But it can't be "because the author says so". Good point about the rabbits. Also good thing that Callie and Scorpius don't realize that.

I love Scorpius too, but only behind his back. I don't want his ego to get any bigger. I love Nate and his 'well-formed opinions' as well. I am so glad he worked out in this story. I had high hopes for him.

Oh, look at the chapter numbers. Where has the time gone?


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Review #37, by CambAngstGoodbye: Percy

23rd August 2015:
Hi, Sara! Let's do one more before bed.

GryCReMo (Review #30)

I really liked the reflections that Percy shared with George. He has a lot of reasons to doubt himself, after his actions leading up to the war. But his family never completely gave up on him, and that probably helped him find the strength to come back. The way you wrote his dialog was really good. It sounded like Percy, only an older, very contrite version of Percy.

The scene in the delivery room was just lovely. Such a precious moment for a new family, and you captured it beautifully. Percy doesn't quite want to let go of the baby, which is the way it should be.

Nice chapter! You're doing a good job with this story.

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Review #38, by CambAngstGoodbye: Ron

23rd August 2015:
Hi, Sara! I'm back for another chapter.

GryCReMo (Review #29)

Fred seems like a really good spirit for his brothers and sister to evoke when they're facing one of life's challenging moments. None of them seem to have any problems imagining what Fred would say if he were there. He'd make fun of them for taking things too seriously and then he'd crack rude jokes until they were laughing too much to be nervous.

It doesn't quite work with Ron in this case, but I do think it helped him to talk to Fred. It must have been cathartic, in a way, to share this moment with Fred would never get to experience first-hand.

"When she comes down the aisle, you'll completely forget you were even nervous," he says, before leading me to my place in the front of the alter. -- Very true. It's an experience no groom ever forgets.

Fred's confidence in Ron is inspiring, even if Ron can't perfectly feel it, himself.

Good job!

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Review #39, by CambAngstRabbit Heart: 23. Hearts in the Flesh

23rd August 2015:
Hi, pix! One more before I call it a night!

GryCReMo (Review #28)

Not many people can keep two star-crossed love stories going inside the same novel, but you're not just any author. After the last chapter being heavy on what's happening (more what's not happening) between Albus and Wren, you gave Rose and Scorpius a chapter where they both spend some quality time pondering their feelings toward one another. You seem to bring them both to the same epiphany -- that they care -- but you wouldn't be Pix if both epiphanies happened at the same moment. Oh, no. Nothing that simple for you. Instead, they both reach this higher level of understanding in life-threatening situations.

Oh, Rose. You may be a genius, but thinking that understanding your little brother is a good proxy for understanding men in general will never be a conclusion that you look back proudly upon.

Good grief! Can't someone just drive a wooden stake through Sloan's heart and be done with him? Maybe give him a Holy Water facial or stuff garlic bread down his throat? Dude needs to meet a satisfyingly unhappy end, that's all I'm saying.

Gran continues to be completely hardcore in this chapter, and I heartily approve. Wren has been in need of some tough love for... how many chapters does this story have? Pretty much since the beginning, she's needed Gran's no-nonsense guidance to get past all of her doubts and troubles and deal with reality.

And it now seems that everyone is on the same page where reality is concerned. Smeed knows more or less who the rogue vampire is. Wren is over all the denial and has finally admitted that, no, Bunny is not a completely innocent little animal who needs her love and support to survive. Somehow I can't imagine her turning and running the other way when things get really hairy, especially if Rose, Scorpius, Albus or anyone else is in danger. But at least she's going into the conflict with her eyes wide open now.

I didn't feel completely satisfied with the idea of Gran packing up and moving away to someplace in Leeds. This is the woman who rushed to Hogwarts to fight alongside the defenders against the Dark Lord's army. With all of Hogwarts, including her grandson, in danger, it seemed odd to me that she wouldn't be headed there to make sure that things were alright. Maybe we'll see her again before the story is over.

Finally, there's Scorpius. I can't recall whether this is the first scene we've read in his PoV, but it was brilliant. He has an amazing combination of vanity and manliness, captured perfectly in this one line:

Why, he put the man in manicure, if he did say so himself. -- Slow clap.

He really is quiet infatuated with Rose. A guy like that is always going to be smitten with the girl who stands up to him and isn't swept off of her feet by him charm and good looks. He's drawn to the challenge, to a person who makes him work for it. When he rushed to her side, you could feel it all coming to the surface.

I'm not sure whether I'll be back again tomorrow. Work will be busy and I have a meeting after work. But rest assured, I'll be back soon!

Author's Response:

Aww, Dan. You are too kind. No of course I can't let TWO character arcs reach their peak at the same time in a multi-arc story, and I'm pretty sure you aren't suggesting that, right? Because that would be insane. Just as long as you don't throw anything at me when they resolve, I think we'll be fine. Or... or do they have to resolve at all... just kidding. Just kidding. I kid. Really.

This is what happens when I'm stuck in an endless cycle of revising. ONE revision per story. That should be a rule. Err... I think it is somewhere. Maybe I should start following it, or something.

LOL! Rose. She thinks she's smart. And I'll personally hand you the stake for Ian, but only after I'm done with him.

I bet this story would be so different if Gran were in her right mind from the beginning. Probably why I decided against that. Plot. Don't mess with it.

I've had a few comments on the way that Gran left. The only thing I can tell you is that in Wren's eyes, Gran was larger than life, and now Gran isn't so cool anymore. Also, Wren wouldn't be privy to any adult conversations that happened between Gran and Hannah and Neville. Realistically, Gran hasn't included Wren in any of her major decision-making, so it's sort of perpetuating that sad fact.

This is Scorpius' second scene. He wanted more, but I pointed out that we were only going to fulfill the minimum from our contractual agreement that I made all my characters sign after that near-fiasco with Smeed and hs "big ideas".

I would love to say that I came up with that line first about the manicure, and in fact, I did independently think of it, far from the maddening influence of multimedia. HOWEVER, I recently did a Google search on it, and I am sad to say that back in 2011, Forbes Magazine published that very phrase, and now it's all over the place, encouraging men to buff up. Their nails. Because it's a thing. I can't tell you how disappointed I was about that. Anyway, it's probably been used before that because it's a GREAT LINE and I'm not the most brilliant person in the world to have ever thought of it.

Thanks so much for your reviews! And suddenly, I feel like running off and polishing my nails...


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Review #40, by CambAngstRabbit Heart: 22. Charmed Hearts

23rd August 2015:
Pix, you may be the best there is when it comes to building up a perfectly romantic moment and then dashing it on the rocks. Mist painting on the covered bridge in the early morning before the castle wakes up. Swirling patterns of blue and green dancing together. Wren trying to decide whether to slip under Albus's outstretched arm. And then a crowd of dopey Hufflepuffs featuring Nate, the Destroyer of Moments. Gah!!!

GryCReMo (Review #27)

Albus was right. She could do it without him, but she didn't want to. -- Well, that's progress of a sort. Now she just needs to let him know that.

Just when I thought that maybe, just maybe Albus was exaggerating James's persecution a bit in his head, this happens. I'll qualify the sentiment only to this extent: It's possible, I suppose, that James was somehow trying to hit Albus with a spell that would make him turn around and declare his undying love for Wren. I think that's unlikely, but it would be consistent with James's bizarre sort of logic. Mostly, though, I just think he was trying to make Albus feel like an even bigger fool. And the way he runs off after the duel? Just cowardly and weak.

Sigh. And I suppose now Wren is going to encounter this Lori girl all over Albus in a corridor somewhere? I actually don't remember whether that happens, I'm just guessing. Brilliant. :(

Serena is sort of... creepy, but in a sophisticated way? Is that a thing? Anyway, I don't think Wren needs to worry about her becoming a legitimate competitor for any boy's affection. Unless maybe he has really, really nice skin.

Ah, so Wren has learned something new about Bunny. Not sure what, obviously, but apparently it was enough to shake her badly.

Go, Gran! I love that crazy, old vulture hat-wearing lady! Not that I think Smeed was about to cause Wren any harm. Rather, I think that he simply wants to know what Wren knows. He's one piece away from solving the puzzle and Wren has that piece. I hope they're able to assemble the whole thing in the next chapter.

This story is getting so good now! I'm barreling ahead with reckless abandon!

Author's Response:

Romantic moment? Where?? Just kidding. I completely did that on purpose. We'll just give Nate his own black cape and some kind of freaky mask and call it a day, shall we?

You might be asking a bit much of Wren right now. That move would require independent thoughts, which is difficult when there's someone else inside her head trying to influence her every move.

I love how you're seemingly trying to justify James' actions by giving reasonable and logical explanations for his deplorable behavior.

About Lori, I had something like that in mind, but then squashed it in first revision when I felt like it was too predictable. Good thing. You'd have seen it coming from a mile away.

I don't know if creepy sophistication is a "thing" or not. But I will say that my endgame for Serena surprised my other beta reader. I can't wait to see if you are pleased or you end up throwing things at me... figuratively, of course, because of the computer screen.

Gran is indeed back within her right mind. She's one tough lady.

We're so close. I can feel it.


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Review #41, by CambAngstRabbit Heart: 21. Somewhere in the Heart

23rd August 2015:
Hi, Pix! I am going to try to get completely caught up before this month is over. The reading isn't the hard part, it's getting it all down in a review. I will persevere, however.

GryCReMo (Review #26)

It’s only veins. -- Oh, Wren. Remember that talk we had about rivers in Egypt?

Momentary issues aside, I feel like Wren made some major progress with figuring out what's actually going on in this chapter. With the help of her friend Nate, she finally put two and two together and made the connection between vampires, thrawls and rabbits. She seems pretty close to working Dillon into the equation, as well.

OK, so compared to Rose and Scorpius, maybe Wren and Albus's relationship isn't progressing quite so badly. At least Wren and Albus aren't making plans to actively avoid one another. For the entire story so far, it's felt like Albus's courage to approach Wren and Wren's desire to approach Albus have been 180 degrees out of phase with one another. Apologies for the geeky physics analogy, but that's the best way I can come up with to describe it. In this chapter, it feels like they're starting to get in sync with one another. But... Albus's courage cycle doesn't peak quite soon enough. And he ends up asking for a study buddy instead of a girlfriend. Come on, boy, get it together!

Ha! Seems like McGonagall lit a fire underneath Summers's rear end. At least he's making an effort to look like he's teaching.

Ooh! The Book Club boys are creepy. Dillon has some muscle inside the castle. Can it be long before he starts saying things like, "My father will hear of this!"

And... Nate scoops Albus. Not for a date, per se, but I think I read that this is how John and Yoko started out. And the next thing you know, they were making horrible albums with two naked people on the cover. Let's hope that Wren comes to her senses well before that point.

Ha! The Burns and Smeed iPad scene! I remember this from beta reading. It was one of my favorite scenes in the entire story. Looks like Wren isn't the only one who's starting to make some connections. Smeed now knows that he's looking for a vampire with magic or perhaps a wizard who's been turned. Either way, I think the only missing piece for him is that he'd be hard-pressed to imagine that a little boy was causing all of this. I love the idea of grabbing a random bat, enthralling it and then using it for post. Genius!

Creepy little Dillon. At long last, he's arrived at Hogwarts. It's a good thing that the magical protections are keeping him out, at least for now. But it appears that James will cause worse problems than stolen maps and changed Hogsmeade schedules in this story.

Great chapter! Back soon.

Author's Response:

Chapter 21.

Yep. Here we are. Wren's not skinny dipping in exotic waters, she's just... umm... well. Okay. There might be a slight problem here.

"OK, so compared to Rose and Scorpius, maybe Wren and Albus's relationship isn't progressing quite so badly."

Snerk. Way to look on the bright side of things, Dan. Have you been peeking at my story arc charts again? Aparently not. Stop rushing Albus. There are Thiry-One chapters for him to get it together. He's taking his own sweet time.

Yes, yes, it's all about appearances for Summers. Raise your eyebrows, scribble a little with the chalk, give menacing looks to the back of the room when you hear a suspicious noise, and for goodness sake keep your eyes open until the bell rings! No award-winning lesson plans or anything, but at least he's going through the motions.

ROFL! More like, "Do you wanna build a snowman?" and then fifty creepy rabbit-mind-meld kids rush out to the forest and roll up a white-washed army. Ooohhh, creepy one-shot just jumped into my head.

Wait. WHAT?? Wren is NOT going to... you know what? Just, never mind. I'm leaving that alone. That made me laugh for well over an hour. I still laugh about it and get funny looks from strangers. Be very proud of yourself. Actually, after a Google search, it was something about an invisible hammer... which could also be an interesting one-shot... without the naked people.

Random bat thralls. It seemed like the thing to do at the time. I had several incarnations of that over these last two years. They all seemed to disappear with each revision until this one stuck. Sometimes, you've just got to make room in a story for stuff like that.

Thanks for another very entertaining review!


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Review #42, by CambAngstThe Walk To Your Beloved: The Walk To Your Beloved

22nd August 2015:
Hi, Lauren! I saw your status update and I was excited to come check out what you'd posted. If I may, let me quickly keep count of where I am with the August review NaNo.

GryCReMo (Review #25)

The moment that Lily and her father share was melt-worthy. His reaction is short and says everything that needs to be said. It's perfect. It's such a shame that Lily's mother wasn't able to share this day with them, but they have one another.

I think everyone deserves to have that moment that Lily and James share when he sees her at the other end of the aisle. A moment where the rest of the world ceases to exist and there's a time where it feels like you're the only two people that exist. It's magical.

I love the scene that you created for the Potters' wedding and I love the fact that they simply couldn't resist kissing one another before the ceremony even gets started. Some people put far too much stock in rules and traditions. For two people who were destined to die far too young, it's nice to see that they didn't waste a moment.

Your writing was fantastic. My compliments to you and your beta reader on a beautiful, smooth, error-free read. Great job!

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Review #43, by CambAngstHarry Potter and the First Mission: Reconstruction and Funeral

22nd August 2015:
Hi, Kenny! Moving along with my quest.

GryCReMo (Review #24)

You're doing a good job with picking up the stories of some characters that others rarely think about when they set a story in this period of time. I had to check and remind myself that Buckbeak was explicitly written into the Battle of Hogwarts. He seems none the worse for wear here and I love the image of Harry flying over the castle grounds on his back the way that they flew during PoA.

The funeral scene was very moving. All of the individual tributes to Fred and the sadness and tears of the mourners came through strongly in your writing.

Harry's laments for Tonks and Lupin and the obvious gratitude he feels were touching. I hope we get to see him spending a lot of time with little Teddy as the story progresses.

So many funerals, so much sadness! You handled it all with a quiet sort of dignity and resolve that I think was appropriate for people who've suffered so much loss but understand the greater purpose in the sacrifices made.

I like the idea of Harry, Ron, Ginny and the others helping to repair the castle. And I'm glad that Hermione found her parents right away. All in all, a very satisfying resolution to the various plot threads.

It seems like the plot should really kick into gear once Harry and Ron start their training. I'm looking forward to it.

Good job!


Author's Response: Hi, Dan. Thank you for choosing this for GRYReMo.

I'm glad you noticed Buckbeak, not many people realise Buckbeak fought together at the Battle of Hogwarts. My favorite HP movie scene was flying Buckbeak and Harry so I'd like to write about them again.

About the funeral scene, the episode was based on my experience in RL, so yeah, many reviewers said so.

Talking of the latter scene, I wanted make it brighter, for the first half is so heavy. So I added their conversation around Reconstruction and Harmione's trip to Australia to retrieve her parents back.

The reason why I started writing here was just because I wanted to tell Auror's story to my son. So if you keep reading, I really appreciate it.


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Review #44, by CambAngstDevlin Potter: Convergence Riddles: Exceptions

21st August 2015:
Hi, Tori! The timing of your swap was so fortunate. I was having a hard time finding motivation to bang out some reviews tonight for the Gryffindor Review NaNo and you gave me a reason to get in gear. Please pardon me for a moment while I keep score:

GryCReMo (Review #23)

I think Devlin on Calming Draught is my favorite thing you've come up with in a long time. It's a little like he's drunk, only more age-appropriate. So many things that he would never normally divulge are making their way into Snape's waiting ears. Also into the minds of your eager readers.

"I torture myself a lot, too," he said and he could feel Snape's narrowed eyes on the back of his head. -- OK, this wasn't really new information, per se, but I think it's good that Devlin actually acknowledges it at some level.

Such unnecessary knowledge you have placed in a man you mean to dominate,his wolf growled. He felt a thrill up his spine that he always got when their minds worked together; the wolf pulling from his vocabulary, his brain pulling from the wolf's perspective to understand what he meant. He always felt most alive when he was that boyish wolf. -- I love this passage! I love Devlin in general in this chapter, but I really love the psychology of this line and the joy that Devlin sometimes finds in his duality. Such a different take on lycanthropy compared to Remus. Then again, Remus never saw his wolf as anything other than a dangerous, savage parasite.

"I like you. Just shut up and think before you get yourself hurt, Andrew." -- It's always interesting to see the things that count as acts of kindness in Slytherin House. I think Devlin does genuinely like Andrew.

"Let us just consider it a curiosity of mine, and a payment of yours." -- I'm fascinated to see what Snape discovers about this new potion. If someone is trying to poison Devlin, then they're playing a dangerous game on a level that not even Devlin has contemplated. Killing the Dark Lord's favorite toy would have to lead to a most horrific death.

It's always fascinating to see Devlin's interpretations of other people, what he makes of them. Since Voldemort is the yardstick that he uses to measure people in most instances, it's kind of ironic that this half-blood prefect is someone who seems to fair pretty well by that standard.

When Devlin talks with Dumbledore it's a close second to his conversations with Snape in terms of how interesting it can be. Both of them are masters of the art of keeping their own secrets and the art of teasing out the secrets of others. I liked the extra effort that Devlin puts into trying to appear and act "normal" in front of Dumbledore. Even with Devlin's considerable skills, it seems that Dumbledore is able to wrest the upper hand away from him. The dueling club is certainly an interested idea. I sort of agree with Devlin on this one. Seems like there's an above-average chance that someone who isn't Devlin might get hurt. Although it's also possible that Devlin will choose not to put the full array of his skills on display. That would be giving away a lot.

The scene with Harry watching Devlin on the Marauder's Map was warm and touching. Since the horcrux hunt in the tent presumably never happened in your world, this is a pretty close substitute.

You did a great job with the dueling club scene. You paced it really well so that everything built up to the grand finale. And I'm obviously not talking about the duel, although that was nicely done, as well. Devlin was holding back, which I would have expected from him. But when it came to the moment where he had to make the most important choice, he makes the choice that he knows Voldemort will approve of. Even though that choice will only serve to make his life harder, he believes it will keep him alive. So there's really no choice for him.

I saw a couple of things that I think were typos:

Half the time, when people called him Mr. Potter, his reflex turn was simply because he associated it with Harry. -- "his reflex was to turn"?

Last night he had slept, dreamlessly, in what must have been months. -- "for the first time in what must have been"?

Great job! Thanks for the swap.

Author's Response: Hello! I am TRYING to respond to all my reviews. O.o

I enjoy writing him on calming draughts. If you recall he had one during his initial stay with Harry - it tasted like cherries. I also really enjoyed his wolf here, and thought it showcased well how his wolf might have helped him with Voldemort as a child - no matter what they had him drugged on, or spelled, obligated or confounded (all things I can realistically see Voldemort using), his wolf would have remained impervious to such things and therefore been the most logical and informed part of Devlin's brain.

It is definitely odd writing Slytherin's. They have to remain true to age/experience, but also have this underlying personality that makes them see the world as something to manipulate and be manipulated by. Niceness is therefore almost an awkward affair in which someone is always sticking their neck out and acknowledging that they're risking themselves, because that is how they see the world.

I imagine Snape is fascinated too - a form of potion making he's never seen before. I was just watching a marathon of House M.D. and thinking that Snape is probably a lot like House in terms of potions and puzzles. I'm sure he's wondering equally about the potions brewing process as he is wondering who is behind the potion itself.

Devlin has said before that sometimes Voldemort made him better without even knowing it. I think Voldemort (and his environment) probably taught Devlin that blood means very little when one is worried about how much someone can hurt you physically or socially. Someone who can take it all, is probably someone who can dish it out as well, and I think Devlin probably knows that better than most.

"I sort of agree with Devlin on this one. Seems like there's an above-average chance that someone who isn't Devlin might get hurt." I like how you put that. LOL. I think Dumbledore is doing two things: to Devlin he is extending a level of trust, and also illustrating that he doesn't always need to consult Harry (and therefore, couldn't Devlin tell him things that he wouldn't NEED to pass along to Harry?). But also, I see this as a jab at Voldemort himself.

I'm glad I did well with the dueling scene. I really struggled with it!

Thanks for the awesome review, Dan!

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Review #45, by CambAngstRabbit Heart: 20. Tenderized Hearts

19th August 2015:
Hi, Pix! Onward for another chapter!

GryCReMo (Review #22)

Yes, Wren, yes! For once, Bunny's fright should be bothering you. Talk about not being in touch with your instincts. If she tripped over a black cat and fell into a mirror, she'd probably run right out and buy some lottery tickets.

I really liked her creepy journey through the castle. Great mood material.

I am officially creeped out that Summers has a magazine article about Albus and his family. Probably not as creeped out as Albus, but creeped out nevertheless.

The confrontation in the kitchen is still really driving a wedge between the two of them, isn't it? Good thing they're teenagers. Shouldn't take very long to forget it ever happened.

Good job keeping the demon bunnies creepy. Beady eyes, fangs... they're the real deal.

Finally! Wren's being honest with somebody about what's been happening. And quite fortunate that Albus happened to be the one. There is hope for these two yet.

So, um... I couldn't help but notice that Summers is messing with the castle doors. A bit of foreshadowing, if I'm guessing correctly? Dillon is on his way.

And just as they're about to have A Moment, Albus faints. I have a bunch of different conflicting thoughts about the rabbit bite and his anti-hex arm bands. Even though they're preventing the healing spells from working properly, it's also possible that the arm bands are preventing the rabbit bite from causing greater harm. Or preventing the harm from spreading. Maybe if Dumbledore had been wearing anti-hex arm bands when he tried to use the ring horcrux, his hand would have fallen off and that would have been the end of it. Maybe I'm just rambling.

As the nurse rolled the gurney into position, Wren called out, "Take his pants off! Check all over!" -- Nice try, Wren. But Pomfrey was on to you. ;)

The old librarian’s eyes reminded her of the baby rabbit monsters, dark and empty. -- So why, oh why, did you just leave Albus alone with the two of them??? Think, girl, THINK!

I don't know whether you'd call this a typo, but it read strangely:

Summers led them down an unfamiliar staircase that veered off to the right of the Potions Wing. It veered off to the right. -- That's a lot of veering.

I'm enjoying catching up on all of these chapter that I haven't seen since I beta read them. Back again soon!

Author's Response:

Hi Dan!

Onward it is! Poor Wren doesn't know which way is up anymore. She's just trying to keep one foot in front of the other at times.

Yeah, Summers might have too much time on his hands if he's reading those kinds of magazines.

LOL! Hopefully, they'll forget this whole story ever happened one day. It'd be like mass amnesia. "Tell us about your sixth year." "Erm... did we even have a sixth year? I think it started after Christmas."

Yep. Real. And Creepy. Just the way I like them.

Very fortunate that Albus was there at the right time finally. Small, minuscule steps. And ahh, the castle doors. You weren't supposed to see that bit... shhh!

It could have been a life saver, those arm bands, but they weren't invented yet, so alas, we lost Dumbledore. But really, I'm not too up on my hex band theory so I'm not sure if they actually work that way against ring horcruxes or not. Better take it up with McGonagall if you want a definitive answer on that one.

Yesh. Pomfrey has been hearing those lines for YEARS, I'm sure.

Hey, stop yelling at Wren. She's already having a hard enough time of it. It's not entirely her fault that she's hooked up on Bunny's mind meld and can't think straight.

Took care of that veering thing. Thanks. Didn't want any future readers to get vertigo when they go down those stairs.

Ah, it has been a little while, hasn't it? But then you do catch all the important stuff.

I'm enjoying these reviews! Thanks so much!


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Review #46, by CambAngstRabbit Heart: 19. Hearty Heart Heart

18th August 2015:
Hi, Pix! Another evening, another review. Slowly counting up...

GryCReMo (Review #21)

Nothing can ever happen easily for Albus and Wren, can it. They have a nice little double-lunch-date planned, and, WHAM! Scorpius goads Rose into going upside his head. I like the approach you've taken to Scorpius trying to worm his way into Rose's heart. Brainy girl, goofy guy... the combination definitely works. Neither one of them know quite how to dial it back, however.

OK, the whole conversation about vampire right was like adding insult to injury. How can these kids be so oblivious? It's like the year when Snape dedicated every DADA class that he substituted for to teaching the kids about werewolves. Sorry, forgot to put "teaching" in finger quotes. But my point stands.

I do hope that McGonagall gives Summers a good once-over. Perhaps a magical decontamination of some sort. At the very least some sort of admonishment for sleeping during class. This chapter did leave me very curious as to what she and Neville might be up to in parallel to the main plot arc.

So McGonagall finally got rid of the old fruit bowl painting at the door to the kitchens. About time. It seemed like everyone knew about that pear.

The world is moving way too fast for poor Albus. Consequently, he throws yet another monkey wrench into the works between himself and Wren. I get where he's coming from, but dude, you gotta be a little more sensitive. Or sensitive at all, for that matter.

Rose finally came clean about being smitten with Scorpius. And all it took was assaulting him in a fit of frustration. It would have been nice to see Wren take some ideas away from that confession, but unfortunately she's too busy receiving telepathic warnings from her demon bunny. Man, that rabbit has lousy timing!

This chapter was a nice, bite-sized break to the pace you've been on for the past few. I liked that. It gave me a chance to mentally relax for a bit before what I'm sure will be an action-packed next few chapters. Until next time!

Author's Response:

Hey Dan! You're doing great with that count. Probably better than me.

You're right. Scorpius and Rose are both intensely... intense about things. One or both of them are going to have to calm down or nothing's going to get done. It was fun to play with, even though it's frustrating for everyone involved.

JUST like the werewolf thing. Just like it. Let's wave everything in front of everyone's noses until someone wakes up. Ahh, it seemed like a good idea at the time...

LOL! I loved the fruit bowl, but it seemed so outdated. There's got to be some kind of portrait rotation or those portrait people are going to go crazy from boredom. That, and the house elves would never get a moment's rest.

Summers needs a good reprimand, I agree. Not sure how much of one he's going to get, or if his incident would make it into his file or not. Hmm...

Let's just say that Albus is about as frustrated as you are at this point, but he has no idea how to channel that frustration into anything more constructive than digestion.

I'm kind of proud of how that whole Rose admission thing came out. She might hate me for it, but I can live with that. As for Wren... well... umm...

Thanks for coming back again! Sometimes we all need to step back and breathe. I'm glad it was well-placed for you.


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Review #47, by CambAngstLying Josephine: Eye of the Storm

17th August 2015:
Hello, again, Tanya! Guess what? I found some extra time! So congratulations, you're now at 200 reviews! Whee!

GryCReMo (Review #20)

Wow, what a kick in the feels! You managed to pack a massive amount of emotion into one chapter, and you did it without sacrificing anything about the way you write your main character. You never give in and have her scream and yell and spill out all of her roiling emotions. Yet she manages to express so much without saying anything at all. It takes a crazy amount of talent to do what you're doing here.

I absolutely love the way you wrote Fred's "confession" to Josephine. The two of them balance each other out so brilliantly. She speaks a word or two at a time and he's infected with permanent verbal diarrhea. I should state for the record that he's extremely lucky that Angelina didn't fling him off of a tall building for that little stunt with the teddy bear. But it's such a Fred thing to do. The twins are pretty tone deaf when it comes to the possibility -- nee likelihood -- that other people won't find their pranks all that amusing. I love the fact that Angelina is able to frustrate Fred so. For starters, I think he needs some of that in his life. Someone he finds as infuriating as other people might find him. It's very humanizing.

Before I get into the heavy material in the second scene, I have to say how much I LOVED the mis-transcriptions you created for the Quick Quotes Quill. Those were hilarious! Especially the long array of poo-related ones.

Both George and Josephine go through a lot of stages of grief in this. Starting from George's accidental near-mention of Fred's role as Chief Supply Orderer, the conversation spirals into a lot of dark, difficult territory. I love the fact that you weren't afraid to explore some of George's less logical reactions. The fact that he's still angry at anything and anyone that might have done something different to prevent Fred's death. And Josephine's reactions to his emotions are spot on, even if she can't find the words for them. To wit:

It's okay to miss him. You're allowed to miss him. You're allowed to be sad, to be angry, to break snow globes; to be anything you need to be because you miss him. I miss him, too. You are not alone. I love you.

No, not that one.

Oh, you know I wasn't leaving out those last four words. ;)

George's thoughts on his mother rang perfectly true to me. She's hurting every bit as much as he is. So much so that she can't see how her grief is spilling over onto him. It isn't anyone's fault, per se, but it's clear why George would want some space.

The moment the door clicks shut behind him my head falls heavy into my hands, and I, as quietly as can be managed, fall apart. -- A perfect ending line to this heavy, emotional chapter.

Beautiful job and congratulations on reaching the 200 review mark. It's very well deserved for this amazing story!

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Review #48, by CambAngstLying Josephine: Breakable Girls and Boys

17th August 2015:
Taaahhhnnn---yyyaaa! I heard you were close to 200 reviews on this story AND I'm makig my way through GryCReMo. Such fortuitous timing! Please allow me to take a moment for my own scorekeeping:

GryCReMo (Review #18)

Fred is a special kind of annoying. And Josephine is a special kind of stubborn. I don't want either one of those statements to come off as cheap and flip. Fred is literally impossible to ignore if he's decided that he wants your attention. And Josephine has that special type of stubbornness born out of a paralyzing fear of doing or saying something if it might be the wrong thing. We're in "irresistible force vs. immovable object" territory here. It's nice to see that irresistible force won.

The snow globe was such a cool idea! Honestly, it was cool enough for me before it started talking. That was like extra decoration on a cake that was already iced.

Utter, utter git. -- But it works, because the git gets the girl. Ha! I slay me.

And then we move on to the sad half of the chapter. :-|

You did a really great job of writing it with an awkward, claustrophobic feel, like the world was collapsing around Josephine and George and -- at least from her point of view -- everyone else in the shop. It seemed painful for both of them. When George throws in the towel at closing time, it's pretty obvious that he's done enough "recovering" for one day.

Fred's voice in her mind, urging her on to try to help George recover, was a good plot device. It really doesn't matter whether it's real or just in her head. (Obligatory: why should that make it any less real?) The imperative is there to try to ease George's pain.

I really love the way you paced the scene in the back room of the store. I have to imagine that you're always tempted to have Josephine move a little faster, to have her step a bit out of character and rush to George's side. But you resist the urge and keep her true to form and I really appreciate that.

Your writing was beautiful in this. I couldn't see a thing wrong with it. In fact, from now on, if I don't say otherwise, just assume your writing was brilliant. ;)

Great job! I shall return soon, but probably not soon enough to keep someone else from scooping review #200. :-/

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Review #49, by CambAngstSweet Sorrow: Only A Memory

16th August 2015:
Hi, Alishya! I am deep in the throes of progress (or something like it) on my attempt at GryCReMo. I wanted to start by reviewing stories from all of the authors who sighed up for the challenge. Pardon me for a moment so I can keep track of where I am...

GryCReMo (Review #17)

I think I worked out the piece of James that Lily is missing at the start of the story. We'll have to see whether I'm right or not.

I loved all of the imagery and childhood memories you evoked in this. Their relationship was such a long time coming, and such an improbable thing by most accounts. It started off on the wrong foot and proceeded to get much worse before it got any better.

Like the first day of school, your certainty radiates. You're certain I'll be a part of your life after Hogwarts. I didn't believe you, but your assurance created doubts. -- I really like what this says about James Potter's story. If someone believes something strongly enough, it can come true no matter how much others may doubt it.

Our journey ends when the eyes I'm staring into are only my own. -- I'm not sure whether you meant staring into Harry's eyes generally or staring into them in her final moments, but either way it's a poignant image.

I think I noticed one small typo as I was reading:

The smile you wear that day melts the hearts of girls for the next six years to come, but you've only harden mines. -- only hardened mine?

Nice job! This was really enjoyable.

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Review #50, by CambAngstDouble Trouble: All's Fair in Love and War

16th August 2015:
Farmgirl! I am so going to do this GryCReMo thing. Really, I am going to succeed. I will keep telling myself this, emphatically, until I either succeed or, you know, I don't. Regardless, I can hear the dulcet tones of Journey's Don't Stop Believin' in my head. Before we get on with the review, allow me a moment for my scorekeeping:

GryCReMo (Review #16)

OK, now to this story. And I will confess right from the get go that I have not read the first half. I suppose I should. That would be one more review down. But I decided that I was going to start with stories from the other GryCReMo participants.

You know I love your world in which Fred and George continued to be Fred and George after the Battle of Hogwarts. It seems that your world only gets more glorious as they age.

Muriel is still threatening people with her will? She's one hundred and twelve! How much money can she possibly have left at this point? And she's so grumpy. Is there anyone she hasn't written out of her will?

albeit a bear dressed in frumpy robes and a hat covered in molting canaries -- slow clap. Brilliant.

And then Hurricane Molly makes landfall. Oh my goodness. It would appear that Fred and George have stolen something from her that's more precious than all the gold in the Malfoys' vault if she was able to carry it out an armload at a time while the Malfoys were forced to stand and watch. They've taken away her chance to plan and cook and fret and obsess over tiny details and make everyone thoroughly miserable with all of the preparations required for not one but two weddings at the Burrow. Oh, the humanity!

Belly-dancing house elves. Why was I not offered the option to have belly-dancing house elves perform at my wedding? I hereby refuse to even consider a ceremony to renew my vows unless somebody brings me belly-dancing house elves.

They’d watched Bill get married, and Ron, and Harry. The moment their mum heard the word “wedding” she turned into a giddy, crying, planning monster. -- This. This is really all the back story you'll ever need.

So Aziza and Akila. Is there another story I should be reading to become acquainted with this devious pair? Two ladies who wanted to eschew a traditional ceremony in order to pull a fast one over on all the families and friends involved definitely sound like marrying material for Fred and George. I would like to know more.

“Looks like Muriel found the cake!” he said between chortles. -- Cheers, Fred and George. Cheers to you two magnificent gentlemen.

You did a great job with this. I can't find a thing wrong with it. Looking forward to reading whatever it is that you write next!

Author's Response: Hey Dan,

I'm so so so very sorry to keep you waiting for review responses. I've kinda given up on having free time lately, which stinks, but it is what it is. Still, I wanted you to know that I always love your reviews! They are the best!

I'm so honored that you stopped by my way on your review journey.

You know me, I do love keeping Fred and George alive. I have to admit that this doesn't quite exist in the standard universe for this sort of thing that I have created. It's more of a one-shot stand alone, what-if kind of thing written just for this paired writing event. But, it was still loads of fun. And who DOESN'T love Fred staying alive?

I believe the Muriel is operating on the assumption that as she IS 112 she can do whatever she likes. LOL. And maybe she has hoards of gold stashed away? hehehe

Erm...the molting canaries. Did I mention this was written in a very short time, very late at night? Yeah...

I think I'd like to read that scene you mention about Molly carrying out the Malfoys' gold while they watched. I think you should write it.

But yes, the twins took the thunder right out of her perfect party planning sails. Sneaky boys.

Belly-dancing House elves - see said comment about time and writing. hehehe But, I'll see what I can do about getting them on your ceremony to renew those vows. I'm sure they would be honored.

As for Aziza and Akila, I have to admit they were one time creations for the boys in this one story. So sorry! I have no more backstory for you. Maybe, someday, you can find out about other OCs and the stories I have in mind for them with our boys, which DO have back stories. If I can ever find my muse again.

The cake was fun. I should say poor Muriel, but you know what, I'm convinced she secretly likes it. It keeps her young. Heck, maybe she's even an on the sly benefactor of the joke shop. LOL.

Thanks so much! You are always the best reviewer a girl could have.

And again, a million apologies about the tardiness of the response.

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