Sian, my love, I really really REALLY need you to stop being so self-deprecating about this story, because it is SO good. Like I am absolutely blown away right now. I had SO much fun reading this and I found it genuinely very touching.
It was actually bananas how fast I got sucked into this story. You manage to make Sanguini (who's kind of a one-off joke in the books) a very compelling character and paint quite a clear picture of who he is. I particularly loved the details about his middle-class background because I feel like a lot of people write vampires as very rich and ostentatious, and I felt like it went against that.
The use of the ticking of the clock was also very effective, and just the fact that he's concentrating so much on time (which is generally meaningless to him) just waiting for Eldred to show up really gave me the feeling, even before he realized himself, that there was something more between them.
I loved the details about Sanguini's past love life and the romances that he's had with both men and women. You painted really beautiful pictures of each experience and used such beautiful language. I was particularly moved by Sanguini's remenisces about George.
The way you did the letters was SOOO effective, it tugged on my heartstrings so much! Without using much narrative you showed the passage of time so effectively and really demonstrated that Sanguini's worries were misplaced and that Eldred truly cares for him. Omg my heart was hurting imagining Eldred writing and writing to him and never hearing back. Like I was so genuinely invested and moved, I was sitting here imagining him waiting and waiting to hear from Sanguini, all lonely on the other side of the world, and just not hearing from him... like I thought I was going to cry. And I loved how you showed Sanguini starting and stopping all these letters at the end, I thought that was a really good touch.
This literally had the best ending possible, I was assuming that Eldred had kind of run off like that out of... thoughtlessness, I guess? Like he was just so caught up in the excitement of his book tour that he wasn't thinking? But him running because he was in love with Sanguini and assumed he'd been found out and his feelings weren't reciprocated is SO much better.
I wish you could've seen the smile on my face when they kissed, maybe that would've convinced you that this is a legitimately great story? :P This is genuinely so beautifully written (just like everything you write) and so lovely and romantic. I'm so happy that you're writing again. I loved this <3
Kayla! <3 So we've already spoken about this story a lot, but I'm so, so happy that you enjoyed it - honestly, given that I have no idea where it came from, this review and your response in general has bowled me over and actually made me excited about writing again, so I can't thank you enough for that.
I love taking (super) minor characters that we only get glimpses of in canon and fleshing out their background - and of course, it kind of had to be Sanguini here because we didn't actually see any other vampires in the books. But I have somehow developed a lot of head canon for him here, not all of which fit into 2500 words, but I'm so glad that you liked his characterisation and the background that I gave him. The past loves and romances were really fun to write about and imagine (yes, I'm horrible, I like being mean to my characters - I think we both knew that already).
The letters were not at all planned, but I enjoyed writing them, and I'm so pleased that people have responded to them and thought they were an effective way to tell the story. I really wanted to try and build up a picture of their relationship and how they feel about each other with those letters, and I'm really glad it worked.
The ending was SO SCARY. You know I don't normally write fluff so it was hard to try and write an ending that tied up this story within the word limit, but I'm really happy that you enjoyed it and liked the two of them as a couple!
Thank you so much for writing this wonderful review, I can't tell you how much it made me smile <3
Sian!!! So after seeing all of your comments about this story during our Gryffie writing party, I obviously had to come read it for myself. (And full disclosure, my original plan was to review this from the POV of Edward Cullen for the hell of it, but halfway through reading the story I realised I wanted to actually comment on the thing and I couldn’t really do that properly if I was playing the part of a broody, sparkly vampire.)
I love how you’ve thrown in these little news clippings to set the scene - in a piece where you’re only allowed 2.5k words, they’re really effective at giving background information about Eldred and how he knows Sanguini. And the first part is a bit sad, because Eldred is just completely missing and it’s already evident that Sanguini has some sort of feelings for him.
“It's a strange thing, experiencing heartbreak when you no longer have a functioning heart.” I just loved this line so much, as well as all the moments where Sanguini reckons with his more human emotions or his sense of time.
And you’ve given him such an incredibly rich history in this as well, with all of his past romances and how those tied into what he’s done with his life and how he ended up becoming a vampire in the first place. And it’s so tragic as well, the way he’s come to view himself, and the way that Eldred had helped turn that around a little bit.
And then all the letters! I love epistolary writing, and it’s so perfect here. Sanguini’s self-deprecating nature is so easy to read in his letter, and then the fact that highly suggestive that he’s doing his best to step away from Eldred and not get too attached (although tbh, it’s way too late for that buddy, you’re already in deep). But then when he does write a letter, it’s SO worth it because he struggles with getting the wording right so many times and then throws the “love” in at the end!! Which like, drunk letter writing isn’t ideal but it all worked out in the end.
The ending!! It’s just!! Fluff!! Happy vampire fluffy cuteness!! Sanguini’s hesitancy is oddly endearing because it shows he cares about Eldred so much, as is Eldred’s insistence that it doesn’t matter anyways. “Time has meaning again, and Sanguini doesn't want to waste another minute.” asdfhakj; CUTENESS.
(Moral of this review: your writing is absolutely brilliant, even when it’s an entirely unplanned gay vampire love story.)
Written for the Magical Menagerie event and January RvG
Hey Taylor! I'm kind of amazed that any of you Lions wanted to actually read this crazy story after my comments about it, but thank you for stopping by! (Also, if you ever decide to actually leave a review as Edward Cullen at some point, let me know - I want to read that xD does it involve him reading the fic from the corner of Bella's room while she's sleeping?)
2.5k word limits are SO HARD. I had to cut down so much from this story just to get it under the word limit, so I'm really glad that the articles that I included worked to help set the scene and build a bigger picture of the immediate background to this story. (Full disclosure: I wrote the first section not knowing that this was going to become a love story, rather than a friend abandoning another, so it's kind of funny that the feelings are already obvious here xD)
Creating Sanguini's history was so much fun, even though it took me (and him) to random places and involved some interesting research. I'm really pleased that you liked the way that helped to define his character more and give more insight into his background. The letters were really fun to write, and I'm happy the characterisation came through in them and that they helped to build up an idea of the relationship like I intended. He's definitely too attached already, but you know, denial :P (You've just made me want to write another fic centred mostly around drunk letter writing now, oh dear.)
Fluff is TERRIFYING. I was so nervous about writing the final scene because I just... don't write fluff. But I'm glad that you liked it and thought it was a cute ending!
Thank you so much for this lovely review!
Hey Sian! Here for the Magical Menagerie and RvG - team Red - and also because I've been dying to see what this has been about from all the hints!
I know you said you had no clue how this story actually happened, but I really loved it! I thought you crafted a really sweet relationship that I rooted for from the beginning. I never thought I'd be cheering for a gay vampire and human love story, but I was so happy for them to get together in the end. And them getting together seemed totally organic and not forced at all. Slow burns CAN be done in a one shot!
I loved the use of the letters to craft the love story and basing them around Eldred's book tour was a great way of doing it. It's like you've taken what we know about the two characters from HP canon and expanded it, and it really worked. I liked reading about Eldred's tales from around the world and also, the way the letters showed the growing affection between the two of them was brilliant too. Them realising their feelings as they're on other sides of the world to each other was so sweet, but that three week wait...must have been rough. I liked the whole "I don't bite" moment too, it was interesting to see that it is one of Sanguini's fears, bless him.
I really don't have any idea how this story came into being, but I'm really pleased that you enjoyed it nevertheless. I never thought I'd be WRITING a gay vampire/human love story, but hey, my brain does weird things :P So I am happy that you liked the two of them as a couple and the way that I developed their story - the fact that it seemed natural and not forced is really great!
I'm a massive fan of epistolary fiction (I surprisingly haven't written that many epistolary stories, but I love including letters and articles where I can) so it was fun to write the letters as a way to build up the love story, and give us an insight into Eldred's book tour and his feelings for Sanguini, too. I wanted to have a way for them to realise those feelings that had been building between them without them actually being together, so it's great that you enjoyed the letters and thought they worked for that! The ending was a bit difficult to write because I... don't write fluff and romance... but I'm so happy you liked it, and the story!
Thank you for stopping by and reading and reviewing this piece!
Hey Sian! Here for the Magical Menagerie and RvG!
This fic! I had so much fun cheering you on while you wrote this story yesterday. Everytime you gave an update, my curiousity peaked. A gay vampire? Quagga? Singapore? Wow!!! I knew that once you had finished writing it, I would have to check it out on the archives!
And this story effectively weaves all of those things into one, cohesive tale. Yes, it involves seemingly random things and that it goes to unexpected territories. But isn't that what love is all about? People fall in love over some of the strangest, most mundane things. I think this story is a testament to that. Sanguini has met many lovers in his past, and he connects them to different times and places and things. Even though he is no longer human, I am able to emphasize with him and cheer him on in his revelation that he is now in love with Eldred.
I like the way you have Sanguini realize it. Your use of epistolary aspects really drive this fic (Gee, I wonder why you've included this element into your fic, lol). You let the readers see how influencial Eldred's book is and how busy he is traveling the world... this shows us his absence and the heavy toll it takes on our forlorn vampire.
Those letters between them though are amazing. I could feel the building affection and tension between them. As soon as Sanguini signs his letter with "love," I held my breath. That was daring and bold--and did Eldred return his feelings? Yes, I know that they spent a year together, but I didn't get to see them interact with each other at all, due to the fact that the human in this partnership is off on tour. But as soon as Eldred comes to the door, I know he reciprocates Sanguini's feelings.
Sian, this is a very unusual fic, but I think it leads us in different directions than originally expected, which makes this such an enjoyable read! I do hope quaddas make another appearance in another of your fics. Keep writing!
Hi Abby! I had so much fun (bizarrely) writing this insane story and I don't think I could have done it without you and the other Lions cheering me on!
I have no idea how I managed to make this come across as a cohesive story, but I'm glad that you thought it was! The different areas that I researched and included were definitely random and unexpected, but I did have quite a lot of fun using them to chart Sanguini's past and the way that he came to his present situation. The fact that you were able to sympathise with him is great!
(What could you possibly be referring to, with my reasons for including epistolary aspects here? I deny everything.) The letters were really fun to write, and I wanted to try and build up a bigger picture of the situation as a whole and still try and give some idea of the feelings and affection building between the two of them, despite the fact that they were apart.
I'm so pleased that you (somehow) enjoyed this, and thank you so much for this lovely review!
So I know you said that this was crazy and it was but it worked so well? I thought this piece was so inventive and it was interesting. a gay vampire story? amazing.
I love how you've fitted this from canon like we see the vampire at Slughorn's party very briefly so I like that you've used that little thing as a link. I thought this was such an interesting relationship between the two men (I guess he's not a man though?). I love how he is missing his friend. I thought the backstory that you came up for him was very interesting, all the details you use were just wonderful.
I'm such a big fan of narration in this story, I love how you've build up the picture using letters and articles. It makes it so much more interesting. I feel for him that he was trying so hard to find the right words when he was worried that he had made a mistake. I love it so much, their relationship is adorable
another thing that I always have to talk about is your imagery even it was the normal scenes, you make something so beautiful and wonderful out of this. The two examples which really stood out to me were 'cheetah's coat racing in front of his eyes.' and 'crimson seeping into the navy coat he wore so proudly' It makes your writing so rich and vivid.
The end is so sweet!
- Abbi xo
Eep, I'm really glad that you think this story actually worked. I wrote it and posted it before I could think too much about it, and all you Lions have been so lovely about it but I honestly have no idea how it came into being. I guess I can probably claim some measure of originality, at least in HP fic?
I always try and pick out (super) minor characters if I'm going to write a story like this, and since I was working on the vampire prompt and there's only one vampire we actually see in the books, Sanguini had to be the protagonist. I had a LOT of fun coming up with a backstory for him, though, so I'm really pleased that you found it interesting - I ended up researching all sorts of random things as I charted his path across the globe, so I'm pleased you liked the details in this. The letters were really fun to write! I only decided to write them halfway through (come on, you know already that I had no idea what I was actually doing with this story at any point) but I'm really pleased that you thought they helped to build up the picture of their feelings and their relationship more clearly.
The ending was a bit scary to write (fluff + Sian = alertalertalert) but I'm pleased that you liked it, and the imagery I included here. Thank you for stopping by to leave me such a sweet review!