Satsuma... if my memory of the historical trivia is right, mikan has been called "satsuma" since there was a battle between English army and Satsuma-han and there was an agreement England had to import lots of mikans (satsumas).
This is a poetry which comprises six pieces of mikan (satsuma). You thought of an unique story. Even Malfoy's dark memory including Voldemort sounds beautiful wrapped up with your barrage of exquisite words. Life has the both sides just like satsuma tastes, sweetness and sourness. You concluded the destination of the poem as hope waiting for Scorp, his future will be brighter after darkness.
Since I read the first half last night and still remember this morning, the most impressive spot is the conversation and interaction between Draco and Scorp, which is more unforgettable than the existence of Astoria. Maybe, sometimes a parent and a child could be friends who try to understand each other and accept everything just the way they are. For Scop and Draco, Astoria is like a goddess who lightens their darkness, even after they come to lose her later.
About the end, drizzle and others describing water or rain is very effective while Scorp tries to face himself. Like a small river on his back! I recognize you are a talented author, again.
@ B&B review battle, January 2019
I have arrived after a century and a half to review your entry for my challenge since I have some free time so I figured why not?
(Heads up: this might be a bit incoherent because I'm v tired even though it's not even 7pm. I know this because I've already gotten my words mixed up at least twice so far and I haven't written many words to begin with.)
First things first: your title. I love it. It intrigues me. Just thought you should know that.
Okay I was planning on commenting as I was reading, but I got really swept up in segment one and I'm just... going through it right now? This is so melancholic and poignant and beautifully written? At first, I was smiling because of how the one shot opened up, Scorpius' childhood innocence so amusing and light-hearted, and then I shifted into understanding as he talks about the stagnancy of Wales since I can kind of relate with the town I grew up. And just reading about his mum is making me a little sad.
The things you focus on really elevate the storytelling to another level. The lines about how 'dormant' suddenly changes its meaning are really something else.
I like how Scorpius says he doesn't know much about poetry and poetics in such a beautiful, poetic way.
I also love this line: "It's just that some things when they're new are sweetest when they're private; some people, when they're new, are bravest when it's private." In fact, I love all the lines here because none of them feel unnecessary or indulgent, but this line in particular was just such a beautiful way to introduce the budding relationship between Scorpius and Louis and really quite sweet actually.
I also really like the friendship between Al and Scorpius. I mean, I'm always a sucker for friendship or romance between the two, but I just love how Al just plopped himself down next to him all shy and then years later, he's teasing him and they're joking around. I love friendship. My heart is warm.
I just... I have a lot of feelings about this. I meant it when I said I'm going through it after reading this because it's just so... Beautiful? I've used that word half a hundred times so far, but it's true. I just love how everything's phrased, how these snapshots have been collected to tell this story, how relatable Scorpius feels even through all these pretty words. The feeling of simply not knowing anything for certain, the way love doesn't feel like what everyone tells you it will. The things he lingers on.
I think what I love best about this (and all your fics tbh) is your use of imagery. Here, small ones like Scorpius racing butterflies in his garden or the art on the ceiling really evoke something in the reader.
The way your assigned lyric was weaved in was done really well too. I love how there's no conclusion on what the power of youth is. I think it's a culmination of all of them. Being better than your parents, bringing about change for the better, looking closer to the horizon. All of them wrapped up together.
Anyways, I'm a bit frustrated with myself for not reading this sooner!
Hi Laura! Here for the review you requested in the Staff Review thread. I'm really sorry it took me a while to get to this - I can only hope that my review makes up for it. <3 Since there are six segments to your fic, I'm breaking down my review into six as well so here goes!
I love how this begins with a snapshot into his childhood and that it’s written in first person – from the very beginning, I was pulled into the story because of the style in which it’s written. The long, descriptive lines and the spelled out words were characteristic of his inner thoughts and personality, and just this small glimpse into his life got me so intrigued to know more. The bit where it says “if I couldn’t see them, they must all be dead” was such an amazing touch - I immediately got invested in Scorpius’s character and wanted to know more about his life and why he thinks in such a way. Off the bat, he doesn’t seem like a neurotypical – he views life in such a rich, poetic manner and I love that it’s all from his perspective, that we’re seeing reality through his eyes, in the way he views everything. It’s gorgeous.
The way it transitions into the darker side of his family life with his mother having cancer and the way Scorpius is sort of disconnected from life, going through the motions but feeling trapped or confined by a cycle of forced normality, unable to release the tension that’s bubbling in him was so artistically done. His depressive thoughts and feelings are woven into the story so well and the part about him wanting to leave and wanting to find an escape in the open air of the garden but not really being able to escape reality was so relatable and it took me ages to collect myself to type out words that aren’t just “omg laura your writing omg omg I’m dead.” Like, seriously, it’s just the beginning of your fic and the emotions are overwhelming, how do you even do it.
I love how the satsumas are introduced in this section as well, and how it’s tied into who Scorpius is as a person – there’s already SO much depth to his character, and the way you’ve built up the setting and his favourite spots around the house by bringing in his parents and their experiences as well was just…. WOW. Honestly, I don’t even know what to say. Everything just flows so seamlessly and I’m in awe. (And I’m not even through half the story yet!!)
The way you’ve ended the first part is perfect as well – I was immediately curious to know more about his job and what he currently does in life, how old he is, what makes him keep going on, how he deals with the pressures of life, and why his mother felt it was necessary for him to know he doesn’t need to agree to the interview if he doesn’t want to. The final line “Wordlessly, I nodded and picked at a thin, vein-like string digging into the satsuma” was just gorgeous, your writing is so, SO amazing.
If I have to be nitpicky, there was just one line that was a little awkward in this section. “Dad had laughed later, he admitted when I was old enough I had stopped scowling about it and blushing about it, mortified and furious with my younger, simpler self.” Compared to the rest, this didn’t flow too well, especially the “he admitted when I was old enough I had stopped scowling about it…..” part. Maybe restructure the sentence a bit? Up to you, of course, this was just something that struck me while reading but it’s not too big a deal so if it’s a stylistic choice and you don’t want to change it then don’t worry about it. :)
I love how you skipped the interview itself and moved on to Scorpius’ thoughts and reactions to it. The inner monologue about how he truly feels about Louis and the interview was just… gah, I had tears, and the way it tapers down into “it was fine.” Just. GORGEOUS. I love the sense of rhythm that rises and falls, expressing a distinct divide between what he thinks and the way he communicates his thoughts with other people. The way you’ve described his thoughts on poetry and how it’s a form of magic was just so amazing, a brilliant choice of words and I love how his thoughts on poetry and poetic themselves. Ok now I’m rambling and I really need to look up other words to describe your writing other than beautiful and gorgeous, haha. EXQUISITE. Yes, that’s what your writing is. Unbelievably, outstandingly exquisite.
I also love how you’ve built up this scene between him and Padma – there’s a sort of comfort or familiarity there because he obviously knows her pretty well and she seems like an understanding person who doesn’t pressure him to talk when he doesn’t want to, but at the same time, there’s an undercurrent of tension present, which gets heavier towards the end of this section. I also like how it’s clear that she’s his counsellor without outright stating that she is, or that Scorpius is in a session. Allowing readers to form their own connections, while building it up to direct us towards the right conclusion about what the setting is, is a true skill. You should be proud. :’)
I do wish that Scorpius’ name was revealed somewhere in the second part though – we now have Padma, Louis, and Susan as known characters in the fic, while there’s no mention of Scorpius’ name. Feel free to disagree of course, but I just feel like if his name was revealed somewhere here, sort of eased into the conversation or something, it would help readers build an even better connection with his character. Right now, we know it’s him because of the little hints about his family (and because of the story summary & pairing) but bringing in a mention of his name somewhere would tie it together perfectly.
I love love LOVE how Louis is described in this though. “There had been an eyelash on his cheek in a fine, dark sweep, and a dusting of camel-coloured freckles up his arms, already starting to fade after summer.” SWOON.
The way you’ve described the Malfoys’ home – or rather, house – is spectacular. I love how it’s filled with opulence and has people in it, a family in it, and it should seem like any other warm family home but it’s not. Even with everything it contains and all its splendour, it comes across as cold and empty (even before Scorpius says it’s “cold and big and gloomy”), quite pretentious, and that there’s a greater void between Scorpius and his parents than it seems from the outside. But at the same time, it’s not so black and white – by divulging his past and telling the truth to Scorpius, Draco seems to be have accepted a new reality, and seems to at least be trying with his son. The way Scorpius ends up saying nothing, just spells out Voldemort in his mind, is indicative of his inner conflict, an uneasy mixture of feelings, taking in the signs of a dark history but not knowing how to really process his dad’s involvement. I love how all of this comes across without any direct indication of inner turmoil, and the way Scorpius’ silence said a lot more than words could.
And then, when he’s asked about the letters, I love how Scorpius doesn’t want to share but doesn’t want to lie either, that despite everything that’s happened in the past and despite him being depressed, there are layers of love?? or rather, acceptance, I’d say? of his family and who they all are, and while it’s unbelievably sad that they don’t communicate openly, they’re also not holding things back and lying to each other. There’s a dynamic present that they understand and are used to, and it works for them. Draco definitely seems to be making an effort to at least not push his son away or deny him happiness – the way he accepts Scorpius’ answer about the letters, doesn’t pry for any personal details, but understands what it’s implying says a lot about his character and how much he’s grown. Draco seems to be holding a lot of guilt about his past and seems to still be struggling to come to terms with it, but he’s also trying to be better – the way you’ve written him is so true to canon and indicative of change that’s possible but only with a lot of effort and time. It’s amazing how much depth there is to his character in single scene.
I also love how you’ve added another element to build up Scorpius’ character and backstory even further through the introduction of Albus and how they became friends. The loneliness he felt in his school days just goes to show how different experiences have built up to make him the way he is as well and I love how each segment of this story uncovers more and more of his childhood and teenage years.
I love how you start this segment off with the satsumas and clementines – not only is it a very artistic touch, it’s also a wonderful way of tying it together with the previous segments to read as a beautifully poetic one-shot. I’ve found that longer one-shots and hard to write – they sometimes tend to drag or lose cohesiveness midway through the story since there’s a LOT packed into one piece, in my opinion. I’ve had trouble writing longer one-shots and just end up cutting them down and sticking to something concise, without a lot of elements. But you don’t have that problem here, at all, and that first line stood out to me because it’s placed at the perfect point in the fic. The story has moved on to a different scene with different characters and a sort of lighter topic of discussion, but it flows so wonderfully because of how well you’ve tied everything together with this line and that’s truly brilliant. (I really hope this makes sense haha)
“everything I tried to write sounded wrong” --> I love EVERYTHING about this paragraph. The sort of befuddled state of being attracted to someone, not knowing how to show it, double guessing everything and not knowing if anything he’s written is good enough – it’s adorable and sad at the same time. On one hand, it’s the state of confusion that anyone who’s in a budding romance would go through, but since it’s Scorpius, it also holds a lot more meaning to it since we know that his frustration with not knowing how to pen it all down comes from at least a bit of self doubt and his childhood loneliness.
The reference to Muggle books, plays, and films is amazing, not just because of your beautiful writing and the way you’ve described romance, but also because it adds one more level to Scorpius’ character and life – that he’s not completely disconnected from all things Muggle. And that says a lot about how much Draco has changed as well.
“Beige thoughts, like tepid milky tea” – BEST METAPHOR EVER, OH MY GOD. <3
“I hadn’t noticed” – Oh don’t even try to deny it, Scorpius. :’)
“I'm not used to this, this kind of wool-stuffed feeling, scattered and messy, always jumping back to something else - someone else.” Gosh, I can’t tell you how much I love this line. The inner rush of feelings, the not being able to make sense of the mess of feelings, and how he feels like a completely different person – I’m amazed by how you’ve brought out his lovestruckness along with his unique, beautiful way of thinking about it. It’s hard to tell that you’ve experimented a lot with this piece because everything is so artistically woven together while staying true to your characterisation of him and just. WOW.
Yay they’ve been having coffee together! I never really thought of Scorpius and Louis together before this fic and now I ship them so hard!!
I love everything about this, the way Scorpius pays attention to all the little details – “The sweep of the ‘s', the looped hood of the ‘a' and the flicked dot above the ‘i'.” – the way he (you) describes poetry, and the way such a light situation transitions into more about his difficult childhood and how his dad’s past has affected his life so much. It all comes together so seamlessly, it’s wonderful.
It’s great that you bring his job back into the picture as well and it’s not just let go of after the initial mentions of it. I love how it helps tie it back in with the initial segments and the interview that started it all. It seems like he’s a part of law enforcement – that makes the most sense since people are so firmly against it and think that he shouldn’t do his job – but I guess it could also be some other ministry department with sensitive information? A part of me wants to know what the job is, for it to be a bit clearer, but the other side of me really likes that it’s vague and not directly stated because it also makes it seem like the job itself isn’t important, it doesn’t matter what Scorpius is doing, he’ll be treated the same way irrespective since people have already made up their minds about him. If that’s what you were going for then it’s definitely come across. (I’m not saying you have to change anything; just sharing the thoughts I had while reading it)
I love the way you’ve brought in “the power of youth.” I saw that it’s part of the lyric you were given – it’s been incorporated SO WELL. The ending is so great – it was nice to see something more positive, a small bit of hope peeking through after the heavy emotions associated with his past.
That opening. So gorgeous. Spectacular. Amazing. I can’t even describe it. There’s a rhythm to it, a beautiful rhythm that starts off mellow and then picks up and picks up with the same excitement that Scorpius is feeling and peaks at the point where he says “I want to leave, I want to stay, I want I want I want.” And then it comes down to a sort of steadiness, suddenly a little faster, back to steadiness – a rhythm woven through the whole segment and it’s perfectly in tune to the way you’ve described Scorpius’ inner state. I love it so much.
Everything about this segment is so beautiful – the vividness of the beach, the romance that oozes out of every word, the bits of doubt and anxiety laced into the overpowering emotions of love and want that Scorpius is feeling – it’s so poetic and so real and your writing is just stunning. It seems like this is the first time Scorpius has ever initiated contact, the first time that he’s reaching out to show Louis how he feels, and the way you’ve built it all up is so amazing.
That description of love is just. everything. Your writing is everything.
“He's smiling, that glitter-eyed, blue hydrangea smile, blossoming slow and soft, with his bubbled gilet unzipped, his yellow-checked shirt clinging to his skin, dyed halfway translucent.” MY HEART. I LOVE THIS SO MUCH.
I love how this is the start of something more than a beautiful romance, that it’s also indicative of how much Scorpius has grown as a person, and is consciously trying to hold on to something he wants, not letting his fears get the better of him, that he’s letting himself look forward to things instead of running away.
Gosh, I just realised what a monster of a review this is. But such gorgeous writing deserves several thousand words in a review. I love this fic so much, I love your writing so much, I love how there’s so much packed into this without it ever being too much, and I’m so you wrote this. You’ve done such an amazing job. <3 (and I’ve used “gorgeous” way too many times in this review lol, I really need to expand my vocabulary :P)
I’ll stop rambling and repeating myself now. I just love everything about this, kay? xD
Thank you for such a lovely read and again, sorry for the wait!
Sorry for the delay! you probalby don't need my excuses, but you gotta admit this one is pretty good: first, my browser crashed mid-review. Then, while I was waiting for my signal to come back, I dropped my earring down the sink drain and had to take apart my sink to get it out. Believe it or not, this is the truth, I cant make this stuff up :p SO ANYWAY, both of the stories you mentioned looked interesting, but I chose this one because it hasn't been reviewed yet, and also because I just ate a satsuma. Anyway, I'm finally here for our swap!
As attached as I am to Scorbus, I'm intrigued by Scorpius/Louis... Mostly because I know how wonderfully you write, and if anyone can convince me of this ship, you can! Here we go then!
The atmosphere in this story is like another character, especially in the beginning. You set this story up wonderfully, with a powerful feeling of emptiness and apathy, indecision, staleness. I realize the irony in describing it as powerful, because that's the opposite of how Scorpius feels, but the way you get the mood across, the writing itself, is powerful. Things aren't good for Scorpius at home, but theyre no worse than usual, and you never specifically say it's depression -maybe Scorpius doesnt even realize it himself - but it's all there. The bit about Astoria having cancer was heartbreaking, though. :( I hope it doesn't come back.
Describing the blankness of thoughts as 'beige, like tepid, milky tea' is the best metaphor I've ever heard. Also THE most British metaphor I've ever heard. ;)
I also like the way you worked with the theme of the power of youth. By the end of this story, that power seems to be the power of adapting and to accept change. Scorpius is able to change, to eventually begin to let go of things he had no control over (such as his family's past), whereas Draco still seems to be depressed and unable to let go of his role in the war and his regrets about it. Similarly, you left it open with Astoria as well, with the cancer still there in the background and it won't let go of her. But from the beginning of the story where Scorpius feels so trapped, things change a little in each of these segments, a little more in each one, and by the end that oppressive mood of being stuck is gone and it feels a lot more free. the ending of the story for Scorpius is very hopeful, and the scene of him and Louis at the seaside was adorable.
I really loved this! You are such a talented writer and I'm always glad to have an opportunity to read one of your stories. Thanks so much for the swap!