45 Reviews Found

Review #1, by Pixileanin Fury

29th August 2015:
"So she was very surprised to find herself settling back into her chair. “Tell me, do you live alone?” "

No!!! Alright now. What season of Criminal Minds were you binging on when you wrote this thing?? I mean, yeah, we're all a bit morbidly curious, but that was almost not worth revisiting. Ah, I'm starting to understand the glued eyes thing. Masterful. And beyond creepy. I remember this scene with the flashbacks. Really well-done with Harry trying not to put himself in that little boy's shoes.

And he's at it again. Already? Harry was right. Jugson moves fast.

“Potter,” Jugson snarled through clenched teeth as he turned aside a jet of red light that tore a hole in the wall behind him. “What does it take to kill you?”

Really? Does Jugson not keep up with recent history? I love how you used that line. It's so... so.. I don't think ironic is the word I'm looking for, but I'll use it anyway.

“Bloke chops the head off a great, bleeding snake and now he thinks he’s Godric bloody Gryffindor,”

Awesome line, Ron. But I completely agree with your sentiment. Neville saw red and acted rashly. Good thing that Justin is there to talk Harry out of a similarly bad decision. They're right. There is no "I" in "team". The whole enchanted house with the doors that lead in circles is fantastic. Like a spooky, messed up carnival fun house. Except without the fun part.

Using Neville's history against him, making Harry as guilty as super-humanly possible about it and then giving him more flashbacks. Nope. No fun here. If Susan wasn't there talking sense into him... you've gotta love those sensible characters, right?

The trouble with awesome cursed houses set up to hold people inside of them using ancient pureblood Dark Magic is that somehow after the author puts all of that together, he has to find a way for his character heroes to fight their way out of the complex trappings so they can fulfill their role and let the story come to a thrilling conclusion. Preferably without anyone feeling cheated.

I so feel you on this. And of course, because you're Dan, you succeed.

You push Harry to the breaking point, but then you give him people to pull him back from the line that he's put his toe over. He wouldn't be Harry without the overwhelming guilt afterwards, so I'm glad that Ginny was there at the end to emotionally debrief him. The dividing line that you draw between Harry's actions and the evil men that he's after is clear and deep. He does what he has to, not what he wants to. He uses his rage to push through and become stronger, and he has a network of people around him to temper that.


Author's Response: Hi, Pix! Today, I will get clean. At least as far as your reviews go.

When I look back at them, the flashback scenes with Jugson and Teresa turned out even creepier than I'd planned. Not that I didn't want them to be creepy, but wow. Makes me wonder about myself.

I wanted to get some emotionally charged banter going back and forth between Harry and Jugson. Between that and the flashbacks, I wanted this to become as personal for Harry as possible.

Neville loses his head in the worst possible way here. It very nearly ends up being disastrous for him and the rest of the team. You're right, it's as far from a fun house as it can possibly be.

I admit, I went through a few different iterations of how Harry beat Jugson before I settled on the sphere of boiling water. It was mostly in homage to Dumbledore trying to drown Voldemort in the Ministry Atrium. At some level, I'm sure that's where Harry got the idea. Dumbledore wasn't able to take it all the way through to the gory conclusion, however.

I think that, at least in his own mind, Harry broke a lot more than you realize. He knows that if Terry hadn't stopped him, he would have killed Jugson. And he wouldn't have killed him in self-defense, although I'm sure that's how the Ministry would have interpreted things before marking the case "closed". He would have killed Jugson because he wanted to see Jugson pay for his crimes. That's something that Harry will have to live with and for Harry, it won't be easy.

And that's the end of the story. Thanks, Pix, for all of the support and feedback!

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Review #2, by Pixileanin Outrage

29th August 2015:
Whew, big story here. Lots of weight in it, but you still manage to add some levity without breaking the scene.

"Susan had a concussion, second degree burns, lots of cuts from the flying glass and a broken collarbone from the Hogwarts Express over here landing on top of her.”

Ron's always got someone giving him what for. It's okay. I think on some level, he knows he deserves it. :)

Oh for goodness sake, Harry! Stay in bed, would you? Always the bleeding hero, literally sometimes. I think you've given him a worthy adversary. Healers can be very intolerant when they think their patients are out of their minds. Actually, Harry isn't in any shape to be wandering around anywhere. I love the little things, like how his vision blurs and he leans on Ron through his determination.

Justin's speech makes the Healer see his case though. It won't be fun or pretty for any of them, but sometimes hard things need doing in order to prevent worse things from happening. But really, someone should get Harry a wheelchair by this point. He really looks awful. Clothes and determination might not be all he needs at this point.

I really like the way you dressed up the room like a muggle hospital, with the linoleum and the lights. But nothing they can do for her is going to erase the week of utter horror she's been through. Poor woman. First, you hit us with the evil, and then you show us its victims. Ouch. Her mental state is in shreds.

I think "a bit on the sad side" is a gross understatement. You weren't kidding when you picked up the whole "anger" theme. Ugh. I don't even know where to begin with this.

You could have used Harry as the narrator for this chapter, since most of the action fell on him, but instead you chose Justin. That was a great way to show not only Harry's side of things, but also add more depth to the entire situation. This isn't Harry's fight alone. As Justin explains to the Healer, it's about protecting everyone they can by putting as many of these madmen away. We're mostly familiar with the way that Harry sees things as well, so to show it from someone else's point of view and give them a background where everything matters to them as well just broadens the scene that much more. Must remember that technique. You used it expertly.

I do have to respect the Healer's point though. Often, Aurors are seen as unsympathetic, almost to the point of cruelty, who concentrate more on the crime than the people who were affected by it, particularly with muggles, who they often dismiss, sadly not as extremely as Jugson does, but still in the same manner, that they don't matter. I'm glad you made the point, and the way the Healer's attitude changes during the questioning, from disapproving to reluctantly helpful shows that she gets this. She finally understands how important it is for them to get this monster. So well done!

The whole morality issue that Justin brings up is unsettling. It would be so easy to take away Teresa's memories, but she'd always have that underlying grief inside. With her memories gone, she won't know where it's coming from and it could quite possibly destabilize her for life. Magic can't cure everything, especially a broken heart. I'm surprised but content to see that the Healer understands this. Teresa does need to grieve in some way. I'm glad that Justin is outraged for her, and equally glad that Harry wants to carry her anger for her.

Another chapter where I couldn't tear my eyes away. You must teach me how you do that. You know, that thing. With the glue that you affix to your readers' eyes...


Author's Response: Hi, Pix! I have to stop procrastinating so much on reviews.

Ron is always great for comic relief, even when the scene is otherwise very serious. *Especially* when the scene is otherwise very serious.

Harry should definitely be in bed, but he wouldn't be Harry if that stopped him. He's been driving healers crazy since Pomfrey.

I really liked being able to use Justin for the narrative point of view in this chapter. I thought he brought something unique to the story, a perspective that's totally different from Ron's or Harry's.

I thought a fair bit about how St. Mungo's would accommodate muggles. The magical world is all about deception and hiding in plain sight, so it made sense that they would start the process of "un-remembering" by not giving the poor muggle anything new to un-remember.

People don't often accuse me of being an expert. Thank you for that! :) In the books, we never get to see Harry's actions from anyone else's point of view. I thought it would be great for Justin to give us some insight into how Harry Potter plays on "Main Street".

The old nurse has a very good point. The Auror profession attracts very smart, very driven people who probably don't relate well to others. If the nurse had been attending to injured muggles all throughout the war, she probably had a lot of first-hand experience with the cruelty of wizards toward muggles and the blase attitude of Aurors toward the victims. Justin shows her a different sort of passion, though. In the end, the Aurors win her over.

Teresa's situation is a huge moral quandary. There really is no resolution that isn't cruel in some way because she's already been through so much trauma. I agree that taking all of her memories away would actually be the most cruel, because you'd be taking something very important and precious away from her.

So Harry carrying that anger... hang onto that thought. It's pretty much the crux of the final chapter.

Glad you enjoyed it! Thanks for reading and reviewing!

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Review #3, by Pixileanin Wrath

26th August 2015:
Woot! I loved Susan Bones from CoB, and here she is again, having to 'splain things to Ron that he should have already grasped by now. But no, they're boys. Actually, I appreciate you starting off this chapter with a great amount of levity. That balance thing that I mentioned before. Still, shame on you Ron!

I agree with Ron though, that is a rather poncey name, but the nickname makes it almost worth it. :P Harry's been forced into a reluctant leadership role again, and now he's keeping secrets. I understand everyone's reluctance, but I think they're all close enough to also understand that they're getting so much done because of that secret. Again with the balance thing. I wonder how much conflict that's going to cause the team in the future.

Uh oh. Conflict already between the up-and-comings and the status quo. Never bodes well, it does. Ah, but I love Dawlish's reaction to the mention of Augusta! That was priceless. Now I'm wondering what Susan's aunt really had to say about Dawlish behind his back. Goodness, how much of an idiot was he, exactly?

You picked an interesting way for Terry to ask about the informant by bringing up a collective sore spot with the team. Naturally they'd be questioning this sort of thing, but it only makes Harry have to explain himself more carefully each time.

So now I'm pretty sure that the house elf has something to do with the informant by the way that Harry just barges out of the room and tells everyone they've got a new mission. By the way that they'd done the debriefing, I'd have thought they'd have some kind of discussion about things before they just hop on over, but apparently that's what training is for. They know what they're doing. I should just trust the professionals.

You know, I read a lot of descriptions for Apparition, but you still do it right every single time. I also love seeing the whole team in action. We missed that from the last chapter, since it was from the creep's point of view, but it made me WANT to see it, and you deliver here. The scene is chilling, from the dog to the bear, and in a child's room, which I'm sure has some weighted significance that you're dangling in front of us.

Oh, and Jugson. Evil, self-assured people hiding in the bathroom with a devilish escape plan creep me out. The trap, the explosion, the way that Harry has to lose in order to save the woman, everything came together in one tragic package. Everyone's bleeding and there's probably no rest in sight, now that they've started the ball rolling. I want to know all about Jugson and become an Auror, just so I can track him down and turn him in myself.

As you know, I'm a big fan of thinking outside the box, and I love it when people are able to, you know, turn the box upside down and kick it into next week. So yeah. Great stuff here. Tragic and sad, and not without casualties (that poor elf found her freedom in the saddest way possible!) but vivid and in-your-face, and fantastic.


Author's Response: Helllooo, Pix! Not a lot of people read this story, so I'm really enjoying your reactions!

I didn't want Ron -- of any of Harry's team -- to seem *too* mature in this. They're all barely out of their teens. Although the war forced them to grow up quickly, I still wanted to preserve select bits of immaturity when nobody's life was on the line. Ergo Ron and Terry can't help but find a bit of juvenile humor at Susan's expense.

Honestly, I think I'd be more worried for Harry's team if they got along *well* with someone like Dawlish. He's slavishly obsessed with rules and protocol and that's the sort of thing that greased the skids for Voldemort to subvert the entire Ministry. Harry's team is much more focused on apprehending war criminals, whether or not they precisely follow procedure.

Yes, the house elf has something to do with the informant. Or everything to do with the informant. ;) They do their debriefings after each operation. They don't usually have time beforehand, since the people they're trying to arrest don't generally stay in one place for very long.

The child's room has a great deal of significance, especially to Harry. It instantly reminded him of a ruined nursery in a broken house in Godric's Hollow.

Judson is quite a piece of work. He makes Kaspar seem positively redeemable. He set a nasty trap for the Aurors and only Harry's willingness to... um, *improvise* kept there from being a lot more death. Don't send off your application to the Auror Department just yet, however. Wait for the end of the story. ;)

Wow. I'm really kind of stunned silent with a dopey smile from all of your kind words. Thank you so much!

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Review #4, by Pixileanin Malice

26th August 2015:
Hi Dan! Another day, another story. Man, it's been too long. Again. I'm having trouble juggling my writing and reading time. I'm sure you can sympathize with the sentiment. That said, I do my best when challenged by my peers.

You do like pushing boundaries in your writing. I respect that. Here, you did it again, and just when I thought you'd crossed the line... BAM! Twist. Bravo!

This monster, what's his name? Kaspar? The counting down to his so-called freedom is quite apt. He thinks he's going to get away with everything, or at least he's betting everything he has on it. Desperate moves for desperate times, I can feel him seething through the screen, and at one point I was almost grimacing at your talent for portraying convincing characters. Anger is a great driving force, but often, like here, it drives us to do things we rather shouldn't do. Think things we rather shouldn't think. Make us crazy with entitlement until we decide that the horrible things we think and do are fair and reasonable, in the name of some invisible sense of balance. You wrote Kaspar as the embodiment of that. People like this, who want others to suffer... make me shudder. The thoughts that ran through that man's head... ergh!

Ahh, Mary Goldsmith puts up a convincing front. You really had me there, right up until the reveal. As much as I was cringing in my seat, I have to congratulate you for that. I'm not easily taken by surprise, but you succeeded in doing so. I absolutely loved how you turned it around, especially using the symbol of his freedom to take him down. Awesome! I'm so glad you gave her a chance to give him what he had coming.

There had to be a great amount of disgruntlement and hard feelings on both sides after the war. I can think of many, many things that would be second-guessed about, a ton of "if onlys" and "I should haves" and "why didn't theys". It will be interesting to see your take on all of this and how you pull all of these things together in the future installments.


Author's Response: Hi, Pix!

I did feel a certain amount of "Validation Heebee-Jeebees" when I posted this, but I think it's hard to write a story about fugitive Death Eaters (or wannabe Death Eaters) without exploring what makes them such horrible people. They seem really cartoonish if all they do is ponce around saying vaguely threatening things and gesturing menacingly with their wands. You have to roll up your sleeves and let awful characters be awful.

And Kaspar is a genuinely awful human being. He's bigoted, misogynistic, violent, sadistic and devoid of empathy. Exactly the sort of person who finds his purpose in life following the lead of a homicidal megalomaniac.

I surprised Pix??? #fist pump# Yeah! #more fist pump# You know, I never even thought about the symbolism of having her crack him over the head with the vessel of his salvation. It's better to be lucky than good, I always say.

I have another installment of Death Hunters that's roughly 60% done. It doesn't deal so much with aftermath of the war, but that is definitely a theme I'd like to explore. I feel a little badly that I won't get another chance to explore Kaspar, since his story ends with this chapter. At least for now. You never know.

I'm glad you liked it and I'm still all giddy that I managed to surprise you with Mary Goldsmith. Thanks for reading and reviewing!

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Review #5, by StarFeather Outrage

18th April 2015:
First of all, please let me say thank you. I could finally find a real Auror story. I've read randomly fanfictions before, yours is the best.
Reckless, demanding and angry Harry is real Harry. Long time no see him till I read this story.

I really love the long explanation about their injury after the case , every emotional movement of them.

From now on only one chapter to read next, so please continue this series.

Author's Response: Hi, there!

I'm glad you enjoyed the story. I'm hoping to turn Tales of the Death Hunters into a series of sorts, time permitting. Unfortunately, time has not been permitting lately. ;)

Thanks for reading and reviewing!

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Review #6, by UnluckyStar57 Wrath

31st January 2015:
Once again, an indecently late review from me! :D

Alright. First things first: My favorite character so far. SUSAN BONES, of course!! Because I really had no idea that she was Polyjuiced to look like Mary Goldsmith, and I had no idea that she was so amazing. It makes sense, of course--her family had a long history of being really cool and fighting wizarding crime--but she was such a minor character in the books that she didn't get the face time that she might've had if the series were about her. But THIS Susan, post-war Susan, is amazing! I love how she's so skilled at tricking the bad guys and using her femininity in a subversive way to cut them down. It isn't fair that she always has to be the bait, though, but I think that any of the guys in the team with her will always think twice before being sexist toward her. And that's what I like to see! :D

Wow, Harry has so much presence and authority in this chapter, and I can really see how boy-Harry transitioned to this new Harry. He's hardened by war, but he still wants to do the right thing, even if it means that he might die. I love that you can get his characterization so perfectly--your version of Harry is my favorite of all the ones reincarnated in fanfic. :)

And Ron! You haven't sacrificed his desire for comfort and food and Hermione, but you've given him a really nice edge that fits with the entire vibe of the group. He's Harry's right-hand man, and even if he's unsure about the safety of a plan (or if there are spiders!), he's going to follow Harry and help him out however he can. Still, it's also brilliant that Ron isn't just a throwaway character--I think he would have just as much relevance and personality if Harry weren't there--and that's another thing that makes me very happy.

Wo! Terry Boot's shade-throwing moment with Dawlish was probably my favorite part. Haha, Ravenclaws know where it's AT! In that scene, I could tell that the conflict between young!Aurors and old!Aurors is going to be an ongoing theme/challenge for the "Death Hunters," and that's a really cool thing to explore.

You're just really great at characterization and themes and stuff, kay? :D

Ugh, and the bloody stuff too. Wow, there were so many gruesome images that I hardly know where to begin... Maybe with the DOG. OMG, Dan, you can't just... But you DID... Don't you know that when you start attacking the puppies, things get real?! I guess that's what you were going for, but now I'm sad. :(

The thing about the dog and the teddy bear was a little confusing to me because I wasn't sure which one had "DANNY" stitched on its belly. That was the only confusing sentence in the thing, though. And maybe I'm just unnecessarily confused, idk.

Anyway, DADGUMMIT HARRY! He's such a hero, and there Jugson was, thinking that Harry had no choice but to die! He's quite an awful villain, by the way, and I mean "awful" in the sense of "totally gross and terrible, but amazingly written." BUT THE HAND AND THE HOUSE-ELF!! No, I thought house-elf deaths were over when Dobby died. Wake up call for me! House-elves are probably still oppressed, and they probably die a lot because of abuse and sacrificing their well-being for their masters' plots. Ugh, that's gross. But yeah, this chapter ended on a REALLY low note, and that informant had better give the team some information that will help them capture Jugson and all the baddies once and for all!

Another brilliant chapter, and maybe next time I won't be so tardy with the review! :O


Author's Response: Hi, there! Please don't apologize about the timing of your wonderful reviews. As you can see, it takes me ages to respond as well.

Ha! I love Susan, too. She's become such a fixture in my writing. I love imagining her as this very smart, very tough young woman who's doing all she can to uphold her family legacy. And no, none of the guys would dare to be sexist toward her.

I tried to give Harry a lot of personal gravity in this chapter because I needed to get his character in the right place for what's coming. That's an incredibly kind thing for you to say about Harry. You put a big smile on my face right there!

I could never make Ron a throwaway character. I like the guy too much. Specifically, I love giving him moments where he can step out of the combined shadow of Harry and Hermione and shine. He deserves no less.

I loved giving Harry's team their moment to get the best of Dawlish. Because he's a Ravenclaw, Terry was the perfect straight man to throw the feint about Neville's gram.

:-/ Yeah, as it turns out it's hard to write realistic stories about violent, sociopathic Death Eaters without having a good measure of violence and bloodshed. Sorry for the confusion, it was the stuffed animal with the stitching in its belly. I'll reread that and see whether I can make it more clear.

Sorry, at least one more house elf death. I wouldn't say it was fun to write, but I liked the idea that Bizzy's life would have been so miserable with Jugson that she thanked Harry for her "freedom".

Unfortunately, I can't promise that the heavy stuff is over. Because it isn't. Not by a long shot. Death Eaters, you know? Never a happy moment.

Thanks so much for all of your amazing reviews!

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Review #7, by The Basilisk Wrath

10th January 2015:
As promised, I'm here for more of this good stuff :D and I sure was in for a treat. I highly enjoyed this chapter!

It was a nice surprise discovering all these characters from the books in a new light. They were all mature now, all responsible, all ruling their own lives and still they felt like the characters we fell in love with in the books. You were very successful in balancing out their new-found maturity with the feeling that at the same time, they were still the kids we remember from the HP books.

That doesn't mean to say I wasn't surprised on a few occasions. I was especially shocked about the way Harry handled the bomb situation in the house they raided looking for Jugson. I think that scene had the most powerful impact on me from all the scenes I've read in this chapter and the previous one. Of course, true to Harry's character, he wasn't about to save himself and abandon a person in mortal peril. But the idea he came up with to save her blew my mind away. In a shocking way that is. Yes, of course I will give him credit that it saved her life, but at the same time it was such a drastic measure I couldn't help but stare at the screen for a few seconds before realizing what he'd done.

Actually, writing this review now, a feeling started nagging me. What he did was radical, drastic, desperate even. It saved her life but it was a far cry from the way I remembered Harry. And it's not just that he's grown up now but I associate his decision to sever her hand to the effect war has had upon him. This decision stands testimony that there are sometimes some situations where you have to act in a very radical manner to save a life, or complete a mission. It actually reminded me of Snape and how he must have faced these kinds of decisions several times along his double-agent leading life. And my assumption is that Harry learned that lesson the hard way, both during the war years and the years he's been an Auror, rounding up DE's.

I hope we will get to read a chapter from Harry's POV> I am curious what are his thoughts now. Ohhh, this story is exciting!! I want mooore haha

Author's Response: My favorite magical reptile has returned!

Interesting perspective you have. They're definitely all *more* mature now, although the boob humor suggests that Ron, Justin and Terry still have a ways to go. I'm glad they still felt like the characters you know and love, however. They're still close enough in age that I didn't want them to seem too old.

The way that Harry handled the cursed bomb was a complete brain hiccup. I was writing and it came to me out of nowhere. I knew that Harry would never abandon the woman, but I had to have some way for all of the Aurors to survive, albeit badly injured. It was a desperate situation that required desperate measures.

I think there's a lot of merit to your observation. Harry has seen people suffer terribly and even die in order to win the war. Somebody losing a hand, while regrettable, is still preferable to seeing them die.

Chapter 4, the final one, is written from Harry's PoV. I hope you enjoy it, as well as the next one. Thanks so much and keep on slithering!

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Review #8, by The Basilisk Malice

9th January 2015:
Hai there mighty lion! I am here with some reviews for a story that seemed too good to pass up. I mean...how DO you write such cool stories, with these gripping summaries? Every time I click on your profile, I feel the tug to read something of yours. Your stories sure are addicting! And I can feel the pulls of a new addiction seducing me...

First of all, let me say that the concept of this story sounds amazing. I think I'll never be tired of reading stories with characters after the war, or from the first war, or minor characters, DE's and the like. I always seem to gravitate more towards these type of stories, rather than romances, humor, or in general stories with lighter subjects. I wander what that says about me haha

Another thing I know pull me back to your stories is your ability to portray characters. I think of all the aspects I love about your writing style, character portrayal must be my favorite. The way your characters feel when reading about them makes me believe that you have a natural talent to get into people's minds and then share their thoughts, emotions, ruminations with us. Otherwise, I can't explain how you can not only re-create the voice of the canon characters almost to perfection AND create OC's with a distinct voice than the ones we know. As much as you deny it, I really think you're a born story-teller. Even if it doesn't happen like this in real life, judging from what I read, writing seems to come easy for you.

Now Kaspar. I was totally appalled by this guy. You certainly succeeded in making him despicable because every time he would do something outrageous (like touching Mary as she was Imperiused, or when he was debating how he would kill her and leave her for the Aurors to find) I could only gasp and point at the screen. You managed to transpire the urgency of the situation very well, because every time the time counter would go down I'd bite my nails waiting for something to happen to save Mary. I'm really intrigued about what will happen next! Can't wait :D

Author's Response: Hello, mighty Basilisk! And thank you for averting your deadly gaze.

How do I write? Um... I don't know, I just sort of do it. Sorry, I don't have a better explanation than that. I write something and then I come back and read it and often say to myself, "wow, that sounds awful!" So then I edit and rewrite. Launder, rinse, repeat.

I've been in love with the idea for this story for a long time. I waited until I was done with Detox to start because I wanted to be able to focus on it. I also collected a lot of little plot ideas that made it into the final version. I don't mind romance stories, but I do prefer action/adventure plots.

I really appreciate the compliments on characters. I try really hard to think them through before I start and make sure that they stay consistent. As far as the canon characters go, I just do my best to stay true to how I remember them from the books. Unless they weren't really featured in the books, in which case I make the most of my own head canon. It would be a pretty big overstatement to say that writing comes easy. It's a challenge, but a challenge that I really enjoy.

Kaspar is indeed appalling. I'm glad that came through, but I wasn't very worried that it wouldn't. There's really not a redeeming thing about the guy. The countdown was one of my favorite ideas for this chapter. Sadly -- or perhaps not -- Kaspar is a one-chapter character. He spends the rest of the story in a holding cell in the bowels of the Ministry of Magic.

The story changes pretty dramatically in the next chapter. I hope you enjoy it. Thanks for reading and reviewing, oh servant of Salazaar!

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Review #9, by UnluckyStar57 Malice

12th October 2014:
Hey! I'm here with your requested review, and it only took me a few days this time. :)

The concept for this story is super interesting to me. I tend to shy away from stories about Harry/Ron/the others just after the war because I don't want the canon magic to be disturbed in my mind. But I certainly remember what you did with Draco's story, so I expected this to be just as intriguing and totally awesome as that was. :)

As for the beginning, it makes for an interesting prologue-esque chapter to Harry and Ron's story. I can tell that Kaspar is not going to be the main character, but his thoughts/actions/situation sets up the backdrop for the real story very nicely. It is obvious that there is a Death Eater problem after the war, and someone has to round them all up. Enter the Aurors, then, and I expect that Harry and Ron won't be Departmental Heads (because teenagers totally know how to run an entire department, right?). You did a fabulous job of setting up Kaspar's character and motivations, and I feel like I know him pretty well, despite the limited knowledge I actually have of him.

Ugh, and he's so awful!! It always shocks and delights me how people can write such dastardly characters without actually being dastardly people in real life. Kaspar's attitude toward Mary Goldsmith is absolutely WRONG and it goes against everything that I believe in, but I see your point--he's a blood purist, he's a scoundrel, he's a misogynist. Maybe Mary's attack on him will make him rethink that a little bit...

Yes, yes, yes! I loved the fight--it was very, very awesome of Mary to turn the tables on Kaspar and make him eat his words. I hope he feels that pain for a long, long time. As for Mary, I think that she's awesome. However, I hate that she has to use her "feminine wiles" to take down the bad guy. If she were a man, Kaspar probably would have suspected more quickly that something was wrong, and he certainly wouldn't have even thought of taking advantage (unless he just likes to rape people, in which case, he's worse than I thought he was). So the gender politics of the Auror department after the war, though tacit, are intriguing. Will there be more situations like this?

Also, I hope that Mary appears again. I want to know her story, and how she chose to be in the Auror department. And how she feels about having to wear a tight mini skirt while Harry and Ron are probably in magic-proof vests and pants. :/

But anyways, brilliant chapter, and as usual, I cannot find anything to offer constructive criticism on. :)

'Til next time!


Author's Response: Hi, there! Thanks for taking my request!

I thought that the early part of their Auror career was a part of Ron and Harry's post-war story that hasn't been explored as thoroughly as the rest. Plus, it allows me to rope in some of my other favorite characters like Neville and especially Susan.

In a weird sort of way, I guess this chapter could be viewed as prologue to the rest. Kaspar's story only relates indirectly to what happens later, but it sets the stage for the sort of person that the Aurors are trying to track down. He's cruel, bloodthirsty, prejudiced and completely devoid of empathy. Oh, and he's also a depraved, sexist pig. I see you've picked up on all of these things. I'm not sure if anything could make Kaspar completely rethink his life, but I felt like his encounter with Mary was a step in the right direction.

I'm glad you liked the fight scene. After writing this awful character for so long, it was a lot of fun to turn Mary loose on him. I agree that using her "feminine wiles" to get to Kaspar might not be sending the best message to little girls everywhere, but the Aurors had to make use of what they had available. They knew that Kaspar had a weakness and they exploited it. Oddly enough, you will see a brief exploration of the gender politics of the Auror Department in the next chapter. It's far from conclusive, but it does come up.

Mary will appear again, but it might take you a second to recognize her. ;)

I'm really pleased that you enjoyed it! Thanks for reading and reviewing!

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Review #10, by lindslo2012 Outrage

9th October 2014:
Hi there!
I am also not sure what happened to your request, though I don't remember seeing it. And so here I am! :)
You have once again conducted an amazing chapter, from the very beginning of it my eyes were glued, wondering what was going to happen. Obviously something really bad is taking place, someone who thinks he is probably the next Voldemort. I hate that this is happening, because of course no one ever wanted any more evil after Voldemort had died.
As always, your description is amazing, I fell as though I am in the scene with them and that I am standing in the room. I really feel bad for the muggle woman, and it looks as though this man used her to basically be a house-elf. It was interesting how the Healer insulted the Aurors, I thought everyone loved Aurors but now I can understand why some would not. Maybe Aurors think they are the most important in the Ministry and maybe even the wizarding world.
I thought using Justin as the narrator was a very good choice, I enjoyed seeing inside his head and feeling what he felt. I can see why he is angry, but of course Harry always means well.

Thanks for letting me read another great chapter! I admire your great writing :) Please come back and re-request!


Author's Response: Hi, Lindsey! No big deal on the other request. Things get lost in the shuffle sometimes.

I don't think Jugson plans on being the next Voldemort, he just hasn't accepted that the Dark Lord is truly gone. He certainly hasn't given up his old ways.

I'm glad the descriptions worked well for you. Jugson abused Teresa just as he mistreated his house elf. The old nurse has encountered too many Aurors cut out of the mold of Dawlish and Cornfoot. Self-important wizards who put their careers above the good of the people they're supposed to protect.

Ron was originally penciled in as the narrative voice of this chapter, but then I used him for chapter 2. I ended up really liking Justin, so I'm glad you agreed.

I'm really pleased that you liked it. I will definitely be back! Thanks!

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Review #11, by GingeredTea Fury

7th October 2014:
Eeep, sorry I'm so late, Dan. I'm hoping to throw this cold/flu/whatever off my back, but it's lingering. Onto the review!

It doesn't really need saying, but I will say it anyway: you have an potent ability to write an entrance sentence!

You manage to not only introduce who I am assuming to be Jugson, but on top of that to illustrate Imperius without once saying the word! The way you described him, worth actually describing his person, made my skin crawl. Bravo.

The break from the memory (I'm assuming Harry looked into her head), was also managed well.

It was like walking through a spider’s web that clung to his magic momentarily before allowing him to pass.. Oooh, I loved this. I have always imagined wards like spider webs in my stories, too. :)

I do admit I got a bit lost between the actual memory (I'm assuming) with Donny and the personal one with Harry and Voldemort. But then I understood that he was doing what Harry does best - making everything personal.

Your action scene is impeccable - I am really impressed. I struggle to write action scenes and yours always *seem* to come so easily. The flow was exceptional.

“Bloke chops the head off a great, bleeding snake and now he thinks he’s Godric bloody Gryffindor,”. LOL oh my this had me laughing! It is SO Ron!

Harry’s wand flew into his hand, summoned by his magic and propelled by his rage.. This was a really powerful sentence. It is sort of a caption of what defines Harry Potter to us all. :)

I think this is possibly the best thing I have ever read from you! :D

Thanks for the swap and I'm sorry I was so late!

Author's Response: Hi! It's official "catch up on my unanswered reviews" day. I have been sadly remiss.

I agonized a bit over the start of this chapter. Whether dropping the reader right into one of Harry's visions/recollections was the best way to go. I'm still not completely sure about it, so I'm glad you liked it.

Harry actually didn't look into Teresa's memories. He didn't want to inflict any more suffering on her. The visions are a combination of how Harry imagines Teresa and Donny's encounters with Jugson mixed in with some of his own worst memories.

You and I definitely have a lot in common with how we imagine wards and other magical protections. I've always felt like a sufficiently talented and attentive witch or wizard would perceive such things.

The visions/memories made things very personal for Harry, not that he wasn't already taking things personally anyway. There are a lot of commonalities he finds between Donny and Teresa's waking nightmare and his own experiences.

I'm glad those scenes **seem** to come easily. The truth is more complicated, of course. ;)

Of all the characters we write, I think Ron is one of the easier voices to capture. At least for me. That's the main reason I can never get my head around most Dramione or H/Hr stories. They invariably turn Ron into such a jerk and they get that voice all wrong.

Harry utilizes his anger really well up to a point. Then it gets the better of him. There are fine lines everywhere in this story.

Thanks so much for all of the kind words. I really appreciate it!

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Review #12, by Jchrissy Malice

6th October 2014:
You know what one of the best parts about reading your writing is? You don't leave out things that are vital to creating a full world, ever. Whatever the situation calls for, you let it unfold just how it should for the characters your giving us. Remember the way Esme was first introduced into Harry's life back in CoB? Well, obviously, you created it. I'm sure you realized there might be some people opposed to you giving Harry a female pre/during Ginny that caught his eye, but not only did you make it a realistic situation in which Harry and Esme bonded, but you did something that made him really human. In this story, Kaspar isn't being made more human by his actions with Mary, but instead of glossing over what he would be trying to do to her, feeling, wanting, you make it clear the kind of person he is my putting emphasis on it. Or I suppose, you made it clear the kind of monster it is.

Hi, by the way ;). I hope you knew you'd see me back in this little review box eventually!

I can't say this was the best thing to read in the middle of the night, but I can't even be sorry for that because it was such an incredible start. Knowing we're starting a new journey with these three, and knowing the insane amount of talent you have at portraying our group, is such an awesome feeling. No one does the trio better than you, m'dear.

You made Kaspar feel like like one of many during the war, one of the people who weren't quite part of Voldemort's circle, but who genuinely enjoys inflicting pain, destroying lives, and doesn't think twice about killing. I am one of those people who HATES when things are skipped to the 'happily ever after' without REALLY getting to see how we get there, so seeing you start a new story on the clean up of the war aftermath is so exciting!!!

Author's Response: Jami! I was worried I might never hear from you again, my dear. What a wonderful surprise.

Gritty, detailed reality is my middle name. Not really. That would be a ridiculous middle name. But I appreciate your compliment. You can't be afraid to include the bad parts of a story with the good. Life can be harsh and ugly, especially when the stakes are high and the "bad guys" are devoid of empathy and morals. Kaspar is an awful, awful human being. The sort who would have traveled from Germany to the UK to join the Death Eaters because Voldemort's ideals appealed to his ego and his belief in magical supremacy. He might seem like a monster, but you haven't truly seen a monster yet. Wait til the next chapter...

Yeah, I could see how this would not be great late-night reading material. But fear not, Ron and Harry will be there to save the day! Thank you for that compliment on the trio. It means a great deal. :)

I'm like you, I don't think there was an instant "happily ever after" once Voldemort's lifeless body hit the flagstones on the Great Hall. I imagine that the fight to purge Britain of his followers and their ideals went on for some time. I'm going to try my hardest to capture some of those moments in this series.

It's really, really awesome to see you back again! Thanks so much for reading and reviewing!

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Review #13, by GingeredTea Outrage

3rd October 2014:
I always appreciate how you introduce a chapter - I must say that every time, but I really do.

I loved all your descriptions at the beginning of the story and the joke about Ron's snoring. :)

This just seemed so HARRYish: Harry ignored him and, finding his clothes in a dirty, bloody pile at the foot of his bed, he shed the thin hospital gown and started to put them back on. [...] Harry was forcing his way past a middle-aged wizard in Healer’s robes who seemed to be operating under the flawed assumption that mere words were going to change his mind.

I have no trouble picturing Harry being undisturbed by bloody clothes and certainly no trouble picturing him not listening to an authority figure!

And then Justin as he ponders that with Harry the "best thing" is sometimes so ironic. Yeah Justin, like almost-dying!

“Always the way with your sort.” Okay, there goes my guess that she was Poppy...

It sounds like, while Harry has the whole "it's not your fault" speech memorized, he's learned something from it that he just hadn't had before. Whose fault it is isn't important - who does something about it is.

The whole interview was exquisitely written. I felt like crying as I read it all! Ugh, the boy Donny - that's so sad! How did it happen? When? You leave a lot left unsaid that is eating me alive to know.

The way you choose to end this, with Harry and his team taking on her anger for her, was just so perfectly Harry yet again!

Thanks for the wonderful read, as always, Dan! I can't wait to read the next one!

Author's Response: Hi!

I felt like the introduction to this chapter would have been pretty dull without some sort of twist. "Justin looked at Harry laying unconscious in his hospital bed..." Boring! Why not take the opportunity to poke a little fun at wizarding high society?

Harry isn't one to be confined to a hospital bed. I think Madam Pomfrey probably had more success with that than anyone else who tried, but Harry was much younger then.

I thought it was amusing to realize that your best bet when you work with Harry might not seem like such a good thing in a relative sense.

The nurse is not Madam Pomfrey. Part of my thinking with her is that her identity is a lot less important than the message she delivers.

By this point in his life, Harry has started to buy into the concept of not everything being his fault. Which is not to say that he handles the situation in a completely healthy fashion now, but it's still a lot better than brooding and beating himself up.

The interview with Teresa was hard for me to write. I wanted her to seem very traumatized and terrified, which is where the whole "house elf" act came from. But I didn't want her to seem silly or caricatured. We never find out exactly what happened to Donny because Teresa, herself, doesn't know and Jugson isn't likely to tell. But you'll see a version of events in the next chapter that makes it all very personal for Harry.

Harry and his team will carry Teresa's anger for her, which is going to be very touchy because we know how Harry struggles to deal with anger. Much more on this in the next chapter.

Thanks so much for reading and reviewing!

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Review #14, by GingeredTea Wrath

22nd September 2014:
Your opening scene with Susan Bones made me laugh.

The whole thing came together in a matter of minutes. You got used to working that way when you worked for Harry Potter. Planning was a luxury they were rarely able to enjoy. This just summed what I feel working with Harry would be like so well. (PS, see what I did there? I used HTML - thanks a bunch!)

"If I'd had my wand, they would've needed a needle and thread to fix him," Oooh, your Susan is a dangerous girl. :)

Kingsley had only agreed to override their objections if Harry became the public face of the team. Yeah, I can see where Harry would feel the way. Where is he now, anyways?

I always enjoy the genuinely realistic flow of your characters dialogue and movements - and the details you slip in to make it all flow together so brilliantly.

Can't wait to read more! :D

Author's Response: HTML! Yay!

Working for Harry is not a low-stress occupation. He's always been the type to dive in headfirst.

Susan is only dangerous if you're a Death Eater or some other sort of violent, pureblood fanatic. Otherwise, she's a real sweetheart.

Harry wasn't excited about being the "leader" of the team, but he saw the necessity. Truthfully, there would be nobody better suited to the job. Where is who now?

Thanks for the compliment. I spend a lot of time -- too much, probably -- sweating the little details.

I'm glad you enjoyed it. Thanks for reading and reviewing!

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Review #15, by GingeredTea Malice

21st September 2014:
So I know I'm skipping out on The Conspiracy of Blood, but I have kinda been dying to read this. I've been known to be able to read a few things at a time, so poor broken Harry in your other story shouldn't need to worry - I'll be over to visit really soon! :)

Let me say again how dearly I always love your beginnings. "Twenty-one minutes" It is brilliant in such a simple way. I was intrigued before I even knew what it was about!

I donno what it is about character names I can't pronounce, but they always make me laugh and I always love them. "Teufelshunde" I have now made a secret nickname for him, because my Dyslexia is sure to ruin any attempt I make to pronounce that correctly!

I am definitely enjoying your usage of numbers "After eight hundred and sixty-two days of hiding among the muggles"

Okay, this confused me a bit (I'm sure a bit more reading would clear it up, but I'll ask anyways): "It was the fool’s own fault that he was now rotting an Azkaban." My question is whether you are using Azkaban as a metaphor (rotting now in a place like Azkaban" or if AN is really supposed to be 'IN' as though he is literally a prisoner in Azkaban.

You really don't spare the reader as to the filth of his character, but coming from me, I hope you understand that's a compliment. You write him realistically, with just enough so we know what's going on his head, but not so much that it turns into something I'd have put down.

" Images of her naked, flayed body were the last thing on Kaspar’s mind before the heavy wine bottle made contact with the back of his skull." - This made me laugh! I kinda suspected she wasn't muggle and wasn't really under his spell entirely.

Oh how I loved this story! Gah! I will be doing both my reviews from this swap on this story! :D I know that sorta ruins the 'surprise' review aspect, but oh well. This was really great Dan!

Author's Response: Hi!

First off, the easy thing: "rotting an Azkaban" was a typo. Should have been "in Azkaban". Thanks for pointing that out. All better now. ;)

I'm renowned -- at least with my beta reader -- for coming up with awful character names on my first attempt. Kaspar turned out considerably better than most.

The numbers were my attempt at tying together a chapter where the main characters spends a fair bit of time lost in thought. I'm glad they worked for you.

I didn't see any point in candy-coating Kaspar or sparing any of the gruesome details. He's a horrible human being, arrogant, bigoted, violent and devoid of empathy.

You're right, Mary Goldsmith was not what she appeared to be. You'll find out exactly who she is in the next chapter. I'm glad you liked that line. It was fun to write.

I'm very pleased that you liked it. I wasn't sure how a first chapter from the point of view of a villain was going to play out. Thanks for reading and reviewing!

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Review #16, by mymischiefmanaged Fury

15th September 2014:
Final chapter. I feel pretty similarly about this one to the way I felt about chapter three. It's brilliant writing, and so worth reading, but at the same time it can't exactly be described as 'enjoyable'. I'm hugely impressed that you've tackled such a difficult subject and have pulled it off so well.

Okay, first of all, I really liked your ideas about the wards of the house. The idea that a house with such old magic embedded in it could manipulate the wards as people attempt to take them down is extremely original as well as being very believable. It's exactly the kind of thing you'd imagine Lucius Malfoy taking for granted. And then the realisation that the way to get through the wards is to take them down from the inside is a fantastic one. It's very reminiscent of Voldemort's weaknesses in underestimating people unlike him (house elves, children's stories, muggles etc). The ancient pure bloods had enough arrogance to think nobody would get through their boundaries, and that arrogance weakens their defences.

Again, I think the most impressive thing about this chapter is how impressively in character with canon your characters are. Neville being a bit rash in his rush to prove himself, and Harry refusing to recognise he's too weak for the job really stood out as being very in line with canon, as did Ron's fantastic line 'Bloke chops the head of a great, bleeding snake and now he thinks he's Godric b* Gryffindor'. It's just such impressive characterisation.

I loved that Harry recognised when Ron was actually Jugson in disguise. It says something great about how strong his friendship with Ron is, and ties in nicely with their being able to duel together.

And then Harry's fury at the end followed by his extreme guilt. I can't even find the words to explain how powerful that whole section is. You handle Ginny's character perfectly as well. You make their relationship very real, and keep Ginny as her own person rather than making her suddenly only exist for Harry. It's lovely that Harry can admit that he's scared himself to Ginny.

Wow. This whole story. Just wow. I'm so glad to have had the chance to read it. I'm feeling very lucky to have been paired with you for the September swap :)

Let me know if you'd ever like to swap for any of your other stories. I'd love to if you're interested.

Brilliant writing!

Emma x

Author's Response: Hi, Emma!

I'm glad you thought that the story was worth reading, given the difficult subject matter. This is how I felt like the war should have been written, except that JKR was still writing for a young adult audience. War is ugly and cruel and people get hurt. That realism helps to tell the story.

I'm never quite sure how far to push the envelope with "fanon" concepts like wards. I actually went back and checked and JKR never uses the term "ward" in the books to describe magical protections around a place. But she does talk about magical protections quite a lot, e.g. the Burrow, Grimmauld Place and the Trio's camp sites. At any rate, I'm glad you liked how it turned out. And I do think that with purebloods in general, there's an exploitable tendency to think of threats as things that only come from the outside.

Thanks for the compliment on the characters. I spend a lot of time re-reading dialogue and thinking through their reactions. I was worried that Neville was maybe a touch too bold in this, but he does have something to prove.

Jugson knew that Ron was hurt, but as between Ron and Justin, he didn't know which one was Ron. He had a 50/50 chance and he guessed wrong. Good thing for Harry, bad thing for him.

I'm kind of relieved you liked the scene with Ginny. I wasn't expecting that to be universally popular, because it shows a weakness and vulnerability in Harry that not all readers like. Ginny is very much her own person, but she's always there for Harry. I like thinking of the two of them that way.

I have really, really enjoyed our review swap, as well, and I look forward to continuing to read Complicated as you post new chapters! Not all review swaps turn out well. This one has been fantastic! :) Thanks for reading and reviewing!

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Review #17, by mymischiefmanaged Outrage

15th September 2014:
Ahhh.what to say about this chapter. I want to say I enjoyed reading it but that's (obviously) not really the right word. It's really, truly horrible. But for the purposes of this story, it's absolutely wonderful.

Starting with Justin's POV was an interesting choice, and definitely a decision that worked well for the chapter. I really like the way you've written him. It's nice that he can keep up with Ron and Harry and banters with them. The fact that they're such good friends with each other doesn't mean that Justin's left out, and that says something good about all three of them.

And then your exploration of what it's like for Justin to be muggle born is brilliantly handled. It's interesting and very believable that people like the Healer would be more willing to help Justin out because he's a muggle born. After all the suffering everybody had to go through during the war it must be easy to blame other people to some extent, or at least have a 'well you don't understand what other people have gone through' attitude. Justin's being muggle born makes it hard for the Healer to treat him like this. He's a great auror and a great character, and you've developed him very well from what we see of him in the books (as you did with Susan last chapter).

Harry is beautifully in character in this chapter. I just seconded your Dobby nomination for best canon character, and this chapter has totally confirmed that I made the right choice. Of course Harry wouldn't accept that he was too injured to continue with the case. Of course he'd priorities saving more people over getting better himself. You write him wonderfully, and it's even more effective for the reactions of his friends. The fact Ron and Justin know they won't really be able to persuade Harry to go back to bed shows how fundamental this aspect of his character is.

The Healer's argument that auror investigations conflict with the wellbeing of individuals is unsettling because it's true. Harry's taking a very utilitarian stance to his investigation, and is definitely not really thinking about Teresa's well being when he makes his decisions. It's awful but maybe it's a necessary evil in war time (and the time after war). Either way, it's a fascinating observation.

You've dealt with some really difficult topics through Teresa, and it's upsetting to read but I think important as a demonstration of the evil that people inflict. That image of the dog in the children's room is suddenly so much more horrifying. I can't quite get it out of my head. And Teresa's devastation and fear is very real.

Finally, Justin's sudden breakdown of control is moving. In a lot of ways he's been the strongest of the aurors in this chapter, so seeing him lose control and properly get angry and emotional is a very meaningful development in his character. It shows that even for death eaters, there are lines, and Jugson here has crossed one.

This is a brilliant but horribly unnerving chapter, and I'm a little scared to read your next one but also can't wait. I'm so impressed by this story.

Emma x

Author's Response: Hi, Emma!

This was one of those chapters that was hard to feel good about enjoying. So many terrible things are either revealed or confirmed in this one. Death Eaters were, for the most part, terrible people.

Originally, I had Ron penciled in as the PoV for this chapter, but then he worked so well for chapter 2. Looking at who was left, I thought using Justin gave the best perspective because he's muggle-born. Even though he''ll never be as close to Ron or Harry as they are to each other, he's an important part of the team. He has important roles to play, whether it's balancing out Ron's cluelessness toward the non-magical world or helping the nurse to understand what they're really trying to accomplish.

I'm really glad that you found Harry seeming natural and in character. He's never been one to quit when there's a job to be done and he has no problems putting himself at risk. Ron and Justin do what they can to reason with Harry, but there's only so much they can do.

The old nurse comes by her distaste for Aurors honestly. She's seen too many of her patients suffer needlessly because of ambitious Aurors trying to pursue their cases at all costs. Harry is partly guilty of this, but he really doesn't care at all about his own career or reputation. He wants Jugson in prison, no matter what it takes.

I didn't think I'd be doing the reader any favors to sugar-coat things when Donny's fate is revealed. What happened to Donny and Teresa was horrible. The best way to deal with it, in my opinion, was the show the horror that Justin feels when he realizes what's happened, and the coping mechanisms his mind uses to avoid dealing with it for as long as possible. Justin asks the nurse to take away Teresa's memories because he can't imagine living with that grief. But to take away Teresa's grief would be to take Donny away from her completely, and that's something the nurse isn't willing to do. You're right that Jugson crossed a line, and now everyone is determined to see him pay.

One more chapter to go! I'm so excited to see what you think of the last one. Thanks for reading and reviewing!

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Review #18, by mymischiefmanaged Wrath

14th September 2014:
Hello! Back again for the next chapter.

This chapter has a very different tone to the first, and I think the change is welcome. You make good use of canon characters, keeping everyone completely in character, and it's nice to have a bit of sanity after Chapter One.

I absolutely loved your characterisation of Susan Bones. She's somebody we get very little characterisation of in canon so it's always interesting to see how people portray her. I really enjoyed Ron being scared of her, and her down to earth attitude. Also I'm glad you had her drawing attention to the fact that she was assaulted, and that's not funny at all. The idea of an auror taking polyjuice potion to face a death eater, and then to be treated the way Susan was is horrible, but a very good insight into how desperate the situation was. Overall, fantastic job with Susan.

Dawlish being scared of Neville's gran is a wonderful touch, and adds just the right amount of humour.

Harry and Ron's working together is extremely well written and very convincing. It makes sense that they'd have established a rhythm when fighting together, and it shows how much they've matured in the time since Voldemort's defeat. (They didn't have this level of coherence with each other in Deathly Hallows).

That whole image of the child's room is haunting. It's another example of just how devastating the death eaters can be, which you're very good at showing.

The whole use of the house elf was brilliantly thought through. It's good to see the other side recognising the magic house elves possess (well, not exactly good, but very believable). Was Bizzy the informant? If so, that's very clever. It shows the ingrained prejudice in society. She literally came into the Ministry to speak to Harry and it still didn't occur to anyone that it could be her.

This is another fantastic chapter, and is so well written. Well done for writing something so moving!

Emma x

Author's Response: Hello, again!

I was kind of worried whether chapter 2 was too much of a change of pace after the first one, but people seem to like it. It would have been hard to keep up the intensity of chapter 1 throughout the entire story.

Susan has become one of my favorite minor canon characters to write. To me, she's taken on so much of her aunt's characterization. She's tough and fair-minded, with a sharp sense of humor and a big heart. She's not afraid to put herself in harm's way to apprehend a Death Eater, but she's also not afraid to call Ron out on being insensitive.

I came up with the idea of scaring Dawlish off with a mention of Neville's gran while I was editing. Gotta say, I'm really proud of that one. :)

I think of Ron and Harry as being in the prime of life and the prime of their friendship at this point. They work together in a dangerous, high-stress job and they aren't married with children yet. Over time, other things will pull at their time and attention, but right now they depend on one another to stay alive.

The child's room was part of how I tried to make this case very personal for Harry. It obviously reminds him of the destroyed nursery in Godric's Hollow.

Poor Bizzy. Everyone underestimates her until the end. Bizzy was the informant and you're right about how people look at her. Even Harry's own team couldn't see it until it was too late.

I'm really pleased that you're enjoying it! Thanks for reading and reviewing!

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Review #19, by mymischiefmanaged Malice

12th September 2014:
Hello! I'm here for the first part of our September swap :)

This story's been on my reading list for absolutely ages but I've somehow not read it until now, so I'm really happy to be swapping with you.

Wow. This chapter was intense and incredibly well written. Kaspar's a real piece of work, but I like how you've shown him no mercy in your portrayal of him. He's very believable as a death eater, and you've clearly put a lot of thought into your development of his character.

There's so much to this chapter, and all of it works so well. You add these chilling details, like the muggles dead in the cellar, that show just how evil Kaspar is. And then his treatment of Mary! It's repulsive but I'm glad you made him so awful. It's really important to show how evil these people are.

I really thought he was going to manage to hold off the aurors and make his portkey. That twist with Mary attacking him was a brilliant one. I wondered when she first came in whether she might end up fighting him, but then accepted Kaspar's conviction that she was just a muggle and his curse was fully successful. Her turn on him was a brilliant moment, especially after what he tried to do to her.

So is Mary an undercover auror? or is she actually just a muggle who fights back when the curse lifts? I'm guessing she's with the aurors but suddenly wasn't sure when she only used muggle methods of fighting. Either way, she's a brilliant character.

I'll definitely be coming back to continue the swap for the next three chapters if you're keen to. This was a great read.

Emma xx

Author's Response: Hi, Emma! Sorry for taking so long to respond. My HPFF time has been short lately.

Kaspar doesn't deserve any mercy in his portrayal. The guy is a violent, bigoted sociopath with no redeeming qualities that I can think of. Part of the point of the story is that even though Voldemort is dead, there are still witches and wizards like Kaspar on the loose.

I felt like I had to go heavy on the details for this chapter because the action is bunched up at the very end. I didn't think it was enough to *say* how awful Kaspar is, I wanted to *show* it through his actions and thoughts.

Kaspar was pretty sure he was going to be able to hold them off, too. He only made one mistake, the one you pointed out. Because he considers muggles to be little more than animals, it never crosses his mind that Mary might be able to break free of his control. You'll find out who Mary is in the next chapter. I promise you won't be disappointed.

I'm really pleased that you enjoyed this! Thanks for reading and reviewing!

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Review #20, by Roisin Fury

7th September 2014:

So I read this roughly forever ago, but didn't have a chance to leave a proper review (HOSTING CHALLENGEZ)

Oh man oh man oh man, this was such an intense chapter! You have a really great knack for action scenes, I have to say! It's really enriched by all of the creative details, too! The cloak becoming stronger for Harry, that Pureblood mansions would be warded against the outside, but vulnerable from within, JUGSON TAKING BATHS.

You also do a great job with PTSD. It was handled differently here than it was in Detox, and both methods were really effective. I love that the sequences of Jugson being brutal so seamlessly transitioned into Harry's own memories. It was a smooth and surprising transition every time, so I didn't know where I was when it happened, but then the scenes you chose were so memorable that I always found my bearings. It was a great idea for a device, and you carried it off perfectly.

And haha, I was totally screaming "JUST USE EXPELLIARMUS! YOU'RE HARRY FRIKKEN POTTER!" during the showdown with Jugson, and I'm SO glad you mentioned that in the hospital scene. The way Harry reacted to his own behavior was really in character, and totally justified how you wrote him before. Definitely a surprising way for Harry to act, but I think you gave enough information about what got him into that mindset, and then gave him appropriate remorse.

I often find Harry OOC in fics, because he's probably the trickiest of all to get right, but you do just a stellar job with him (very excited to get started on CoB soon!) Throughout this story I thought you had him really on point, and so even when his actions are different from canon, his thought processes were recognizable ("Neville followed me into this! Must. Sacrifice. Self.") And hey, he is the kid who terrorized Dudley with threats of magic out of vengeance, and attacked Draco with Sectumsempra (and then felt super bad about it). Plus didn't he punch some dudes out after a Quidditch match in OotP? Anyway, latent aggression/the possibility of taking things too far is *there.* You managed to grow that up really well here!

Okay, so hurry up with the next installment!

Author's Response: Roisin! Nice to see you again!

Ha! Yes, Jugson takes baths. I bet he had a rubber duckie, back before the first war and his stint in Azkaban. If only the Ministry could have found his rubber duckie and returned it to him, he might not have turned back to evil. OK, that was silly, but I enjoyed it.

Harry carries around a lot of emotional baggage from all of the things he had to survive during his childhood. I saw a lot of parallels to the horrific mistreatment suffered by Teresa and Donny, and I wanted to use that to make things that much more personal for Harry. I'm really glad that you liked the way those transitions played. I was really worried about that.

For the record, I don't think Harry would have had much luck disarming Jugson, but it's definitely a big part of his arsenal. Harry lets his temper get the best of him. Jugson presses all of his buttons, trying to find a weakness, and instead he unleashes Harry's pent-up fury on himself. But Harry is Harry, so he couldn't help but feel terrible about what he did. As Dumbledore knew all along, that's one of the big things that separates Harry from Voldemort.

Harry is incredibly tricky to get right. He's very selfless, but also snippy and petulant in a way. He doesn't like authority, yet he constantly sacrifices himself for the common good. He's a very odd duck. I'm thrilled that you felt like his character was on point. That's always my paramount concern when I write him. I agree, the possibility of Harry losing his temper is always there, simmering just below the surface. That tension between the two sides of his personality is what makes him such an interesting character to me.

I'm not sure what I'll do for the next installment. Fair warning: this "series" was never meant to be sequential. I might hop around all over the timeline. I have some interesting ideas that go back to their Auror training. We shall see...

Thanks so much for the awesome review!

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Review #21, by teh tarik Fury

6th September 2014:
Hey Dan!!

I've seized the moment to catch up with the last part of your fantastic fic. First, I must say that Jugson is officially my most hated character in the entirety of HPFF, possibly in all the fanfic that I've ever read. What an absolute monster. It's bad enough that we found out what he did to poor Teresa and Donny in the last chapter, but now, seeing Teresa's memories of her whole traumatic ordeal was just horrifying. I don't think I ever flinched this much reading fic. I thought you did a brilliant job interspersing those recollections with the main narrative, by the way. Especially with how Teresa's memories suddenly transition into Harry's own memories, or his own imaginings of his past and Hermione being tortured by Bellatrix etc. It's easy to see how full of rage and determination Harry is; the whole thing really is personal for him. I really like how you've shown that Harry's awful past is inextricable from the work he's doing now, to the point of incapacitating his rational thinking. It's a good job he's got the others backing him up and being so absolutely loyal to him.

The way you evoked the pureblood mansion was fantastic. The whole house seemed alive and malevolent, with the attacking furniture and the false doors and stairs, and how the house actively fights against the Aurors' magic. The house itself is like a second, lesser enemy, which Harry and co. must fight in order to get to Jugson. And another thing that I really loved was your idea about the Cloak's abilities becoming even greater for Harry, providing him with a greater degree of protection, ever since he became the master of the Deathly Hallows. I wonder what the Wand and the Stone would be like now...but of course Harry will hardly care to find out.

Anyway, the final scene between Harry and Jugson was so exciting and goodness, everything was so fast-paced and breathless. Jugson disguising himself with an illusion of Ron caught me by surprise, but Harry dealt with that in a brilliant way. And, I guess Jugson got his comeuppance, sort of, getting boiled in a sphere of bathwater. You're incredibly creative coming up with all these diverse hexes and spells and jinxes; it's great seeing what you do with Rowling's canon magic, and how much you add to this.

I just loved Harry in this. And the last scene with Ginny was a fitting conclusion for the whole fic. HArry probably needs some time off. But I'm guessing not for very long, because this is just the first instalment of your series?

This is an absolutely brilliant fic, Dan! And this chapter was wonderfully tense with a firecracker of an ending. I've enjoyed following this fic, and if you're planning on writing more of this series, well I'll be waiting! Amazing work. ♥


Author's Response: Hi, teh!

Sometimes I'm worried that I've gotten myself into a pickle when it comes to villains. Lady Tenabra was a cold, calculating, ruthless sort of villain and Jeremy Gamp was a homicidal lunatic. Now we have Jugson, who's pretty much a monster. Where do I go from here? Maybe my next villain will develop a Cruciatus Death Ray that's powered by baby kittens...

I thought it was really interesting that you interpreted portions of Harry's "visions" as Teresa's memories. Honestly, I didn't think too much about how they should be interpreted. I just thought they made a good backdrop for the rest of the story. You could also consider them Harry's thoughts on how Jugson found Teresa and how the horrors of her captivity played out. The essential part is what you touched on: each of them ties neatly into a situation from Harry's own past.

The descriptions of the pureblood mansion weren't actually planned. That sort of happened as I was writing, but I felt really pleased with it when I was done. I hope that it created a scene of a very old, creepy haunted house, where everything you touch is potentially dangerous.

I also fell in love with the idea that the cloak would have changed after Harry became -- however briefly -- Master of Death. I never really liked the idea that you had this incredibly powerful magical object, yet something as mundane as Moody's magical eye could see through it. Or detect it somehow. Whatever the mechanism, that struck me as being rather weak compared to the amazing legacy of the cloak. So whether you want to interpret it as the cloak performing better for its true master or the cloak performing better because Harry himself was more powerful, I just thought it was fitting to eliminate those weaknesses.

I'm glad the pacing of the final confrontation worked for you. I was worried it was a little too fast. Jugson maybe could have gotten away with his ruse if he knew the difference between Ron and Justin, but he didn't. He chose incorrectly and Harry realized it was him. The sphere of bathwater was inspired by the spells Dumbledore tries to use against Voldemort in the movie version of Order of the Phoenix. I also liked the way that Harry uses water after Jugson uses fire against Susan.

Harry definitely needed some time for introspection after this story. I'm not sure where this particular plot arc will go. I wasn't planning Tales of the Death Hunters as a sequential series. I might hop around in the timeline. We'll see...

I'm really, really pleased that you liked it! Thanks so much for reading and reviewing!

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Review #22, by Gabriella Hunter Fury

5th September 2014:

This is Gabbie from the forums with your review! I'm sorry that its taken me so long to get back to you but I was really sick these past two days with some awful virus type Resident Evil thing but here I am! :D

Okay, I absolutely adored this chapter. I think that everything about this is just perfect, I'm pretty sure that you weren't expecting a gushy review but that is what you're going to get my friend.

I wasn't sure where this chapter would take us but I was hooked from the very first sentence. I really love the alternating POVs you did here with Harry and Jugson, I think that it was a good parallel that you showed two men who were angry for completely different reasons. Jugson was sadistic and cunning while Harry was experiencing the pain of the victims and a sense of helplessness that I found very touching, I know that its one of the things that you were worried about. I don't think Harry came off as a too much of the "hero" in this because his actions were justified to some extent--I think that Harry has anger issues that go far beyond what we see here and I remember in the HP books that his temper was always something that he never really got control over. I did like that Ron and Justin tried to talk some sense into him but Harry was too far gone and for a moment I was really worried about what he was going to do.

The final confrontation with Jugson just had me at the edge of my seat! I wasn't sure if it was just because of the flashbacks and the alternating POVs but I was so anxious for this battle to come to an end--I felt everything that Harry did and you wrote those scenes with your usual excellence. There's just something about an action scene that gets me hyped and I was terrified for all of the characters, especially when poor Neville was being tortured. I was certain that you were going to kill someone off! That didn't happen, however but Harry nearly let his rage get the best of him and I'm SO glad that you weren't afraid to write that, I've seen a lot of stories that portray Harry as some sort of god and its good to see him dealing with his flaws and actually falling into temptation. I know that he didn't kill Jugson and was close to it so I'm wondering how he'll deal with that trauma in your next story. I am curious about the references to Voldemort however and I know that you're leading up to something there that will blow my mind. I can hardly wait!

So, all in all this was pretty fantastic. Thanks so much for the requests and if you ever need to stop by again, I am more than happy to gush over your writing!

Much love,


Author's Response: Hi, Gabbie! Please don't apologize for taking whatever time you need to get around to reviewing stories. You and others with review threads do an amazing service for this community. I don't think you should ever have to feel sorry, especially if you're not feeling well.

Anyway, on to the meat of the review. I tried to show a lot of different ways that anger manifests itself in this story, both the causes and the outcomes. It's a tricky emotion, one that can take very heroic characters like Harry and cast them in a completely different light. I'm glad you saw the parallels to the struggles Harry had with controlling his temper throughout the books.

I'm pleased as can be that the final confrontation had that kind of tension for you. I was a little worried that the outcome was too obvious. Granted, there was no way Harry was going to end up dead, but I did want to make it seem that there was a chance of Jugson escaping until the very end. I wanted to show Harry in a situation where his anger makes him powerful -- to paraphrase the Emperor -- and force him to try to contain that anger. In this situation, I think you'd have to give him low marks on that account. He would have killed Jugson if Terry hadn't stopped him. That is something that Harry will have to come to terms with, although I'm not sure when that will happen.

I'm really, really happy that you liked it so much. I've enjoyed reading all of your reviews as I made my way through this story and I appreciate them all so much! Thank you!

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Review #23, by MissMdsty Malice

1st September 2014:

I haven't been online in forever but seeing as tonight sleep wouldn't come without fanfiction I had to check out your AP as well.

And I was so excited to see you had a new (chaptered!) story, so of course I dove right in!

This was intense and really dark. I loved it!

One of the things I was most excited about was how it was written from an OC's POV (great job on the German inspired names, that was a nice touch). This character made no apologies and as always, you did a wonderful job of taking us for a stroll in the mind of the bad guys.

I think this really captured an aspect of the war that wasn't really developed in the books, the fact that while the trio searched for Horcruxes, a real, honest to God war was happening in Europe and that people in conflict are very ruthless and very cruel.

When he started interacting with Mary I got a huge shiver up my spine. The whole setting, the man who was getting ready to flee the scene, the woman walking inside the house where two bodies were already stashed in the basement, it felt like the start of a horror movie.

The fact that this character was given a canon background, as a Durmstrang alumni, makes it all round up very nice. I remember how Krum was saying at the wedding that some pupils of Durmstrang favored the Dark Arts.

And the Auror scene! That made my little "law" alter ego warm and fuzzy. I love a good hostage negotiation. And lastly, I just loved how Mary stood up for herself in the end and made sure he wouldn't get away with it. Lovely twist!

I haven't done this in forever and I'm probably rambling like a lunatic right now, so I'll just go read the next chapter now!


Author's Response: Ral! What a pleasure!

I felt like I was taking a gamble by writing the first chapter from the PoV of a completely unknown original character, but I'm pretty pleased with how it turned out. Kaspar is a nasty piece of work, a mean-spirited pureblood fanatic and a completely remorseless killer. You're absolutely right, there was a war going on around Harry during the horcrux hunt and it was touched on only in the barest sense in Deathly Hallows. Although I suppose DH would have had to be 3,000 pages long to give it even a halfway decent treatment. At any rate, that loss is the fan fiction writer's gain. We get to have fun exploring all of those unwritten events.

That's pretty much the reaction I was going for with the interaction between Kaspar and Mary. Just one more way to emphasize what a terrible human being Kaspar was. Of course, Mary had a few tricks of her own.

Wow, I didn't think very much about the hostage negotiation, honestly. I'm glad it was good. ;) The whole point, obviously, was to give Mary time to shake off the Imperius Curse. More on this topic in the next chapter.

Aww, you're not rambling! I really enjoyed this review. I love finding out which parts of a chapter make an impression on people.

Thanks for reading and reviewing!

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Review #24, by Luke1813 Fury

1st September 2014:
I really enjoyed these four chapters. They are full of wonderfully suspenseful writing. As I read this story, I thought of two quotes: (1) "He who fights with monsters should look to it that he himself does not become a monster. And when you gaze long into an abyss the abyss also gazes into you." by Nietzsche. (2) "Wisdom and maturity: basing your decisions on rational, logical thought and not on whatever emotions you're feeling at the time." It was satisfying to see that Harry gained this insight at the end. I hope you continue to write "Death Hunter" tales. I look forward to reading how Harry and his team continue to learn and mature both as Aurors and as people.
Well done.

Author's Response: Hi, Luke!

I think both of those quotes are pretty appropriate to this story. Harry spent some serious time gazing into the abyss in this chapter and he wasn't so keen on what he found there. Thanks so much for taking the time to leave a review. I really appreciate it!


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Review #25, by TheHeirOfSlytherin Fury

31st August 2014:
Dan! I am pushing through a migraine to read this, that's how nervously excited I am. I mean it, I'm so very nervous for the team going against Jugson. *hates him so much* But I have faith! :D

(And the knowledge that you won't let Harry die... then again, that could also be faith. ;))

Harry is so stubborn it's a little scary. I don't want him to get hurt and he's making it really hard to not want to swipe the back of his head when he's so determine to go against the bad guy. But it's also one of the reasons I love him, mostly when he does it so others don't have to. When vengeance is on his mind, I revert to swiping the back of his head.

The cloak! It got better! I never wondered about that, but it's a cool idea. And very useful for an Auror.

Duels and the house changing and the poor team injured and Neville being tortured and Harry's visions and memories and Jugson and... wow. That was seriously intense and awesome and... and... I just have a lot of feelings. I won't bore you with the long list, but rest assured there are a lot that all add up to me thinking this story was just fantastic to read and I loved it so much and I'm so excited for the next thing you write because everything just gets better and better and I CANT BELIEVE THIS IS OVER, WHAT WILL I DO WITH LIFE???

The end - Oh, Harry. But go Ginny for being so understanding and caring and listening to him talk.

Seriously! loved this!


Author's Response: Sam! Always a pleasure! Sorry about your headache. I hope you felt better really soon!

I could never let Harry die. Well, not until the end of the epilogue of CoB, that is. And only then for a good reason.

You're not the only one who wants to slap Harry and tell him to stop being so obstinate. Ron definitely wouldn't mind a go at it, along with Justin and Susan. It's just the way he is. I tried hard to work in the theme of vengeance throughout the chapter, since it comes back to haunt him at the end.

I had this weird flash of head canon when I was writing chapter 2 that maybe the cloak would be even better now that Harry had mastered all three Hallows. Don't know where it came from, but I like it.

An awful lot happens after they enter the house, to the point where I worried that it was too busy. But I did like the intensity. I don't know quite how to respond to that synopsis of your feelings, so I'll just say thank you! It's awesome to have someone as talented and enthusiastic as yourself in my corner. I always appreciate all of your thoughts and feedback. Again, thanks! :)

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