This story definitely won best overall (for both our house and from the staff) for good reason. It was fun, imaginative, and it works perfectly with canon. I can see this being part of their Auror training so easily, and the way you portrayed the Gryffindor boys in particular was absolutely perfect. Harry acting as though dragons are no big deal, Ron putting his foot in his mouth, Neville falling into a moment of self doubt but digging his way out of it. There was a lot of subtle, complex, and thought out characterisation, and it really pulled me into the story.
Initially, I wasn't sure what I thought about the choice to have them face a dragon as part of their training - I mean, obviously that was needed for the prompt, but I wasn't convinced that it actually made sense. Isn't that what dragon people like Charlie are for? Once I thought about it for a bit, though, I could see the logic behind it - sure, Aurors probably won't really be facing dragons all that much, but at the same time, being resourceful, quick-thinking, and brave are obviously vital parts of being an Auror, and those are all qualities that Neville certainly displayed in the fight itself - which was beautifully, beautifully done.
I have to admit that I wasn't sure how you were going to have Neville defeat a dragon all on his own and keep it plausible, but I was pleasantly surprised. Okay, maybe it was a little unrealistic, but I was pretty much sold; you were imaginative and showed him using the sorts of spells that it makes sense for an Auror trainee to know and use. It would have been out of place for him to use a stunner or something and have it work, and it also would have defeated what seems to me to be the purpose of the exercise, but you didn't fall into that trap. I especially liked the use of the Imperius Curse - that's certainly not a spell I think has been used on dragons all that frequently, and when I think about it, I doubt that most Death Eaters would even think to try it.
And along the lines of the Imperius Curse - I thought that you worked the prompts into the story really well. Using this many prompts can definitely make a story come off as awkward, but the only place I think of that I didn't feel like the prompt really fit was actually the only point where I think you didn't actually need it - the Avada Kedavra reference at the end just felt a little forced to me. Aside from that, though, everything worked really well, and this definitely felt like a story, not an entry to the challenge. If that makes any sense at all.
Now I think I'm rambling and I'm going to stop. Suffice to say, excellent story, and it has been added to my favourites. :)
Author's Response: Hey, Beeezie! Thank you for reviewing! I heard that the review-a-thon was really fun and I'm disappointed I wasn't home long enough to join in. Today was my birthday. :P
Going to be totally honest here - I agree about dragons not being a super realistic thing to accompany Auror training, and I also don't think Neville would have used an Imperius Curse on a dragon if he could help it. However, keeping in mind that this is fiction based on fiction, I just wanted to have fun with this and not take it too seriously. Everyone seemed to be taking themselves so seriously in this Task, but for me to enjoy what I'm doing I need to use the prompts but not try to kill myself trying to make everything tie together in a neat little bow. So I just let the story in my head flow out naturally and didn't worry much about it, in the end. My main thing was to have fun, because regardless of points, there's no reason to write something if I'm not actively enjoying every word I write.
It's very interesting what you said about the Avada Kedavra feeling forced because that's the one thing I didn't use to fulfill a prompt! lol. I already had 'Imperio', but just wanted to use it because of the color green, to bring to mind that bolt light emanating. Excellent feedback, though! I can definitely see how that would seem like overkill.
Thanks you for reading and reviewing! Thank you for favoriting this as well, and for your kind words and thought-provoking feedback. I appreciate it greatly. :)