Every time I try to write a review for this story, I end up with unintelligible squees and ughs because the story has left me with lots of feelings. In short, this story is beautiful and original, taking an entirely different perspective on the Black brothers and their relationship, all filtered through Molly's point of view.
Using Molly in a story like this is something I don't recall seeing before, yet when looking closely at OotP, there are so many ways that she and Sirius interact, sharing the same house - one as owner and the other as housewife (for lack of a better term) - perhaps the only two characters who are always in the house. She would have seen parts of Grimmauld Place only known to Sirius, like Regulus's room, or places that Sirius has forgotten, like that cupboard behind the tapestry. On a side note, it was fantastic that you also included that scene with Kreacher - he's such an integral part of Grimmauld Place that story about it wouldn't be the same without him, but at the same time, there's that implied connection between Kreacher and Regulus that one can't escape.
And then the letters and the scene with Sirius. *sobbing* It's better that you don't explain Sirius's side of things, but instead maintain a distance from Sirius. He's almost menacing in this story, a looming shadow - and it suits his post-Azkaban characterization in a way that I think many authors neglect to mention. In the books there's this tension between Sirius-the-adult who has experienced pain and betrayal, and the Sirius-who-never-grew-up, and its this latter Sirius who comes through in the letters. He still sounds like a teenager in that letter, especially with that last line, where he visualizes his childhood with painful clarity - it's not a memory, but something that will happen if Regulus reads the letters. No wonder Molly is overcome with feeling. It's a simple letter, but so loaded with years of everything that imagining a pile of such letters is overwhelming.
The letters raise an interesting point that I have also not seen in fanfiction. I'm sure you've seen how many Regulus-centric stories include references to his perceptions of Sirius, usually how devoted he is to his brother's memory, wanting that connection between the brothers to be resorted. Here, though, you've shown how Sirius may not have been so dismissive of his brother after all. He needs to connect, and being in Grimmauld Place again constantly reminds him of Regulus, so he reaches out to that untapped potential, that brotherhood of blood. At school, he had the Marauders to fill that gap in his life, but now, with the Marauders broken and James dead, that's gone too. His letter reveals the old jealousy, but he needs to "talk to" someone who understands Grimmauld Place and being a Black.
You show how privately Sirius suffers, how he really is a Black, wearing a mask for the world, but no one can know what's going on beneath it. He can't even get angry with Molly - I think, from her side of things, it would have been easier to deal with the situation if he had yelled or lashed out - but instead, he's perfectly silent, and that's more terrifying. It's a fantastic portrayal of Sirius.
There's more I could say about this story, especially your perfect characterization of Molly and all the little details about the house and her family. The references to Ginny's dungbomb and the twins' antics cemented this story's relationship to canon, making this a perfect "lost moment" from OotP. It's an amazing one-shot and I'm very glad that I was finally able to read it. :DAuthor's Response: Funny -- the exact same things are happening to me now in trying to respond to this review! I'll start out by saying just how glad I am that you enjoyed this story. :) Your opinion on my writing really does mean a lot to me!
I've necessarily had to write a lot of Sirius in my Marauder stories, and it was kind of neat to examine him from Molly's perspective in this -- and that's one of my favorite things about writing fan fiction in general, the fact that all these characters are so complex that they can be examined differently through the eyes of other characters. The song "20 Years" by the Civil Wars addresses the listener, and because that's the song that sparked inspiration for this story, it made sense to me to tell it from the point of view of someone other than Sirius.
And Sirius IS more complex than a lot of people realize, too. He's got a lot of dark sides that he purposefully masks under pranks and jokes and there is so much sadness in him that I think he couldn't help but let it out when he thought no one was looking. No matter how much he professed to hate his brother, they were brothers nonetheless, and that sort of blood bond can't be broken just because you don't agree with your brother's choices. He's always been one of the darker, brooding figures in my mind, though admittedly not on a level with Snape, and I'm really pleased you thought I did him justice in that respect!
I love writing last moments. ♥ They are arguably my favorite sort of one-shot, and I need to re-read the books here soon so I can add more to my stockpile of things I'd like to eventually write about.
I'm so happy that you took the time to read this for me! And I apologize that it took a bit longer than necessary to respond to your review properly. Honestly, Susan, thank you so much. :D Report Review
I've actually been meaning to come back and read something else you've written since I read Imperfect for the review tag, and now that I've got a bit of time, I wanted to leave a review to let you know how lovely this story is!
I thought your characterisation was really fantastic here, especially considering the fact that these characters are well known in the books. I loved the way you wrote Kreacher's speech; it was exactly in-keeping with the character we see in the books. You also got Molly's maternal instincts across really well - not only in the way she wants to look after Sirius when she sees him suffering, but also in the little details you included about the Weasley children.
I thought that the story flowed really well, too. I liked the way that Molly climbed the stairs with the progression of the story, and finishing back downstairs made me feel like we returned to where we began.
The idea of Sirius writing letters to Regulus is actually heart-breaking. Somehow with one simple letter you managed to get across the frustration and the loneliness that Sirius felt, as well as the bitterness that he is stuck back in Grimmauld Place. Even though he doesn't say anything, his voice comes through really well. I love the idea that he felt some sort of softening towards Regulus, although he died believing that he was a coward and a Death Eater.
I really love your writing style and I thought this story was brilliant. I'll definitely be back to read some more of what you've written!
nott theodore :)Author's Response: I'm sorry it's taken me so long to respond to this! There's really no excuse for it apart from my ever-present laziness, but it has no reflection on how much this meant to me, trust me. :) I'm so glad you wanted to return and read more from me!
Writing canon characters as closely as possible to their canon representations is something that's very important to me, and I'm glad you saw that here. Kreacher's a lot of fun to write, surprisingly! And I do love Molly, though I've had a few opportunities to write him before; the Weasleys are my favorite fictional family ever. ♥ There's a lot of warmth and compassion there.
I didn't have the up-the-staircase, down-the-staircase pattern intentionally, but now you've pointed it out -- well, that's kind of neat! It breaks my heart that Sirius may have written Regulus letters, too. He was such a lonely man, and I like to think he may have done it, though he was also loyal to a fault and had no sense of loyalty towards Regulus. He hated what he chose and what he did, like you said, but what is true is this: It doesn't make them any less brothers.
Thank you so much for leaving such a nice review. ♥ I hope to see you back soon! Report Review
Congrats on your Dobby. This story is super emotional and you did an awesome job on capturing the characters personality. - KattyAuthor's Response: Thank you so much -- what a lovely and unexpected surprise! :3 And thank you for the congratulations on the Dobby as well. It seems a bit silly, but every time I look at my page and see that little notice, I get very excited. I'm honored to have won one! I'm glad you liked this story, too. It's one of my favorite of my recent one-shots.
And you've just left me my 2,700th review! You have no idea what that means to me. Thank you again for reviewing! And I hope to see you around again before long! Report Review
Hey there! Grabbed a chance to get to this since I've found myself with a spot of free time ;) You know, it's kinda odd that we've been paired up, both with fairly angst-heavy one-shots, revolving around the Blacks, lol. Coincidence... but a fun one.
I love how you wrote Sirius. I've always thought of him being very disturbed, particularly after Azkaban, and I just love the idea that he still missed Regulus, in a way, when he was an adult and out of Azkaban and looking after Harry - they were brothers, after all, so that would mean something. You really delved into their relationship - at least on Sirius' side - in this without doing much at all. The letter was almost heart-breaking in the fact that Sirius himself knows it's stupid to writing to his dead baby brother but he can't stop, for whatever reason. He just keeps writing. It's really bittersweet gesture, because Regulus is never going to know about it, but Sirius is still doing it - maybe, in a way, part of the reason he's doing it is because Regulus will never know and never reply? But, that's just a thought...
I really get Molly's confusion, as well, and all her emotions running throughout this: the tiredness from working so hard to upkeep the house, the annoyance with Kreacher, the curiosity about the noise, the belief that it's Fred and George, the guilty want to find out what Sirius is doing, the guilt when he finds out, and then the grief at the end when she thinks back on the letters and Sirius and Regulus. You portray them so well... I honestly have no idea how you do it, but it's lovely.
I loved the ending, as well. Maybe you could have ended it before, but I think it sort of rounded it off. In a way, it was the saddest bit, because there's this kind of sense that everything just carries on, you know? Molly carries on working, saying nothing, and Sirius carries on writing and life... life just goes on.
Gah, this was lovely - I totally understand why you were pleased with the result, and you really, really should be! It's completely bittersweet, and manages to be touching and sad at the same time without either one of them being overdone, you know.
Plus, the banner is gorgeous :) Why this doesn't have more reviews, I do not know.
Aph xxAuthor's Response: Hi, Laura! ♥ I'm sorry that it's taken me a little while to respond to this -- it's a combination of real-life stresses and my unavoidably large lazy streak. :D But thank you for reviewing this for me!
I know that I just said this in a review response to Sarah, but I feel in some way that the letters Sirius is writing to Regulus are not only a result of some grief he holds for his brother's death, but a diary-like way to understand it. It's a compulsion for him because I think he wants so much to hate his brother, and yet... he can't. I do agree that he continues to write in part because he knows he's never going to get an answer. He never intends for anyone else to ever read those letters, and so he feels he can say what he wants in them.
Canon voice just sticks in my head... if that makes any sense. :P I think a lot of it is because my entire family loved Harry Potter, and we grew up listening to the audiobooks in the car on long trips (along with reading them and getting every Potter-related thing for Christmases and birthdays!). I have a pretty good memory and can recite whole passages from the books because I've heard them spoken aloud so often. Which makes it easier for me to call up the canon voices when I need to use them in writing!
I could have ended it before that small bit at the dinner table, and I nearly did, but I wanted people to see that Molly did feel bad for snooping at Sirius's letters -- and that he meant for her to feel bad. Sirius is such a tormented man, poor thing.
hedwidgeon makes the BEST banners! I can't stop requesting from her. I'm glad you liked it too! ♥ Thank you so much for reading this, and again, I'm glad we got to exchange this month. Hope to see you around quite soon! Report Review
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
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. ♥ Report Review
I saw the words Sirius, OoP and angst and came running!
Iíve never really read many stories, where Molly being a mother is discussed, so it was nice to see an insight into it here. Even though it must be the same old thing every day, you still managed to make it humorous, especially the bit about how they distributed everything all over the house.
I really liked the thoughts about her children, as you could tell how much she loved them. Her thoughts about Fred and George made me laugh, as itís exactly what my Mum says to my brother, and no matter how much you say it, they still listen. The little about her knowing it wasnít a Weasley step made me laugh, as I could imagine her sitting in bed at night, and knowing who was creeping around.
Kreacherís characterisation, was great, and it just seemed so much like him. The way he was muttering away to himself, and even though Molly tried to engage him in conversation, he still ignored her, and carried on shuffling around the house.
The letter! I think my reaction was the same as Mollyís! Iíve always loved Sirius and Regulus, as their relationship was so complex; as you knew that they always loved each other, but there was so much hurt, and betrayal between the two, they didnít really know what to think about each other. And then for Regulus to go and die, and for Sirius to never know the real reason why! Itís so tragic, and angst filled.
I think the letter was really fitting, and it just seemed like something he would write. They ended on such bad terms, I would have liked to think that Sirius did always miss him, and grieve for him, so this letter just made so much to sense to me. Then the way he took it away from Molly when he saw she read it, shows how this was private to him, and how he almost didnít want anyone else to know that he wanted to reconcile with him.
Then the song at the end! It perfectly fitted in, and the song always makes me sad, so I think I may even re-read this, while listening to the song, as it seems to describe their relationship perfectly!
This was a great one-shot Rachel, and Iím so glad that I read it, even if it did leave me a bit teary eyed!
-Kiana :DAuthor's Response: I have to agree with you! Most of the Molly I've read is younger Molly, mostly in momotwins's Unsinkable series, but I really love writing her as the mother we see in canon. I included a lot more of her in GUW than I might have otherwise, just because I think it's important and nice to see her that way. And even though I'm not a mother myself, I liked getting into that "mothering" sort of mode -- doing the laundry, feeling exasperated at what her children get up to. My own mother's probably in a lot of the way I write Molly. :D
Kreacher! Oh, I LOVE writing house elves. I need more excuses to do it. :D I'm glad you thought I wrote him well, too!
The idea for this story, as you obviously know, came from the Civil Wars's song "20 Years" and it popped into my head almost instantly while walking to class and listening to it, even though I'd heard it probably a hundred times before that. Sirius and Regulus have such a complex relationship, and it's one I've explored before in a one-shot called Mother and Son. I think Sirius desperately wanted to hate his brother, but I'm not sure if you can grow up with a brother and sister and not love them somehow, you know?
Oh, Kiana. I feel so bad at leaving your reviews so long, but I just hope you seriously do know how much it means to me to have them, that I'm not just saying so for the sake of appeasing you. ♥ Your words of encouragement have actually MADE me write some nights, and that's no lie. Knowing a friend of mine's out there rooting for me is greater than anything!
Thank you so much, dear, for everything! ♥ Report Review
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