Hi there! :) Dropping by for our review swap! :D You know, I haven't read that many Marauders novels - so this is a lovely, different kind of thing for me to read :)
I love how you opened this: with Chloe on her own, in her parents' Muggle house, cold and tired, scared and hoping that she blends in enough to not stand out, so that there won't be any repercutions. It really brought to life - in my mind - what Sirius talked about when in the books he says how everyone was so afraid, so nervous of other people, not knowing who was on which side, who to trust or believe or tell even simple things - where you bought bread and fruit. Even though at this point (at least, it is in canon - I don't know what you're going to do with this in your AU, but I'm assuming so until you say otherwise :P) Voldemort's dead and the war's winding down, it's hard to move past behaviours you've learned in such stressful, terrifying situations.
I loved how in that conversation with Chloe and her mum, you really delved into the difficulty of living with one foot in each world: Muggle and magical. She hasn't told her parents anything about the truth of what's been going on - the war, the threat that that brings to her and to them; how Marlene's dead - or anything else: what her job actually is, who her friends are, what her relationship with Sirius is (though that's not specific to any magical/Muggle divide). It's so hard and it's difficult and I love that you portray her mum as being slightly unsure about using magic, even for simple things like fixing the fence. It's not a big thing, like hatred or anything, it's just a discomfort with magic, a reluctance to use it - and I love that. It's so interesting to see in a fic, because I haven't really seen someone use it before.
You drop so. many. hints. about things that have happened and what Chloe, Marlene and Sirius are like, and I'm so so curious - I have so many questions! What happened between Chloe and Marlene? Why weren't they speaking? What was Sirius' relationship with Marlene? Why did he use the Cruciatus Curse on her (or try to)? Has Chloe always lied to her parents about the magical world, or is it something which developed gradually as she got older?
This is such a good, fascinating start - your writing is so gorgeous and so tense and I love it - and I'm definitely going to have to come back at some point to read the rest of it :P
Transferred from the old hpff,
28th December 2016:
Hi! I came back. (As I sent a message, sorry again for the typo at chapter 2. I meant 'mark' not 'work' at the end of my review.)
I notice the process how Chloe had to face the dark time has been well planned from the beginning. I just remembered "Outlander" TV drama when I read the spot where Chloe was forced to repeat the bullying scene. Each description is so visually well written. I felt various emotions: her anger, disgrace and fear.
We can understand the both sides, Chloe and Emily.
Chloe's harsh words to Emily, we think she deserves to be hated, and at the same time, I think the weak attacks the weak, not the strong. I guess it will be a big turn when or how Chloe confess the incident to McKinnon and Sirius. You faced her PTSD bravely and wrote that very carefully. Awesome!
The Black Adder Society steals up behind her. The last message, "I'm watching" is very threatening.
I'm eager to read next.
Transferred from the old hpff,
I'm sorry I did typos in the previous review. I meant 'Chloe, who was a Muggle-born' not 'Chloe's daughter.
I remembered Cho and Marietta when I read the relationship between Chloe and Emily. From Chloe's POV, Emily's betrayal can't be forgiven like the way how Harry and Hermione felt when they found Marietta's betrayal. The dark time sometimes drives people mad (including me ). Emily's act also reminded me of Peter Pettigrew. The bullying scenes, generally speaking, one of the things we want to turn our eyes from. But I couldn't stop reading yours. I wanted to know what would happen next, wishing someone could rescue Chloe and Emily sooner.
Describing some characters' accent added a kind of glow to your story. I like it.
It's a good idea to set McKinnon and Sirius in the latter half. (Just my small question pops up, "Mc" sounds rather Scottish than Irish, I like that you set her as Irish, though.)
The last description about her work is so unforgettable. I'll be back. :)
Transferred from the old hpff,
26th December 2016:
Hi! Thank you for offering the review swap!
Honestly, I really enjoyed this. All the descriptions about the surrounding of the main character are perfect. I could feel the coldness of the winter air and the uneasiness of the main character from your rich words. Top of that, I can't forget the vision how her mother worried about her daughter and cared if she was alright. I've read the other stories about Marauders written from the first POV before. Yours is the one of the best.
You expressed each character’s emotions very well, including Chloe's daughter who was a Muggle-born. And more than that, the last part, "Sirius's Cruciatus Curse" is very intriguing and mysterious. Did he use the Unforgivable Curse against Marlene? It gave me some imaginations. I wondered if he was forced to do the curse against her in front of the Death Eaters. Or did Sirius just quarrel with Marlene over the serious matter? A very promising start.
Okay first of all, you have managed to obtain such a beautiful banner (and chapter image!) for this story. You’re so lucky! The fact that the graphic seemed to suit the title and summary of the story so well really made me want to read this more; I love how the text in the banner is placed at the very edge, like?? That’s so creative??? Anyway, sorry for blathering on too much about the graphics by a.leksy, you already know how pretty they are haha.
This first chapter was so intriguing. It was hard to stop after this first chapter to leave you a review, only because that last sentence was so alarming on many levels (back to that later), but I love the voice you have here with Chloe. I love that here’s this OC that we know nothing about, and then by the end of the chapter we know a great deal about her. We know what she’s like personality-wise, we know that she lies to her mum about what she’s constantly doing, we know that despite all that she tries to be a good daughter…
All the descriptions in the beginning of the chapter were really well-written, in my opinion, of when she’s making breakfast. It’s stark and cold, and is quite against the usual warmth that the thought of breakfast brings people (at least, I feel happy when I think of breakfast haha), and so it had me hooked from the very beginning.
The fact that Chloe was somehow connected to Lily and James (and mourned their deaths) made me even more interested in her as a character. Because, who is this girl, exactly? Who is she to have been best friends with Marlene, despite having not spoken to her in a while, and to have been familiar enough with the Potters to grieve them?
Not to mention, what in the world happened between her and Marlene? And why was Sirius casting a Cruciatus Curse at her?? I HAVE SO MANY QUESTIONS. (Which I’m sure will be answered in the following chapters hehe. Which I’ll try to get to reviewing later!)
This was such a good opening chapter! Well done! <3
I'm glad you like the banner. a.leksy is so talented, and I honestly cannot believe that there is an entire website where people offer up their creative services FOR FREE, for our writing. So yes, show them love! You are not at all blathering because these artists deserve to be recognized!
Hahaa! Yes. That last sentence seems to have gotten a lot of people's attention. I wanted to really push the fact that this story is an AU, and things are going to be different than they were in the books, so hopefully that last sentence helped to drive it home! And it is such a compliment to be told that you have a good impression of Chloe in the first chapter. I have the habit of doing an information-dump in the first chapter, and to prevent that, I used this method for the very first time (an introductory paragraph that takes place years in the future.) So glad to hear that it was well-received!
Thank you very much for the review! I hope you liked it enough to check out the later chapters. <3
Love the last line! I really like how you highlighted the beginning of the terror of the First War in a very real way. Teenagers sneaking out and getting caught up in the attack and how the Gryffindors' reactions are different to the reactions of other people. Showing why they joined The Order at such a frightening time.
Thank you!! This is where we really start to get in to Chloe's hesitation to join in the fight. She was there for the attack, just like the others, and had the same experience--but she doesn't want to put herself in that position ever again. I think that the Marauders (Sirius, James and Marlene especially) are impulsive enough to not fully understand the danger they're putting themselves in. They're kids. But Chloe is, again, on the outside and doesn't feel the same compulsion that they do.
Ooooh, very intrigued about the Marlene thing and what the Marauders want Chloe's help for!
Yes! Here is the first incident of Sirius using Chloe. He really is such a jerk when he's a teenager, haha. This chapter was fun to write of course--smoldering darkness and Sirius and sneaking out and him tugging on the end of her hair, come on. Who do I think I am.
Thanks for the review!
I have to admit to laughing out loud when you referenced Newark-On-Trent and Laxton though, I used to live near there! It's very weird to read the names of lesser known towns that you know when immersed in the Harry Potter world!
The anticipation of Sirius-Chloe-Marlene is building and I'm loving it!
I totally meant to mention this in my last response--but for the library chapter, if you're interested, I wrote it while listening to the Moonlight soundtrack, especially "The Middle of the World." So eerie and haunting and beautiful (and a really good movie)!
That's so funny about Laxton, I was literally just Googling small farming towns near where the Goblin attacks happened in canon. Small world! :D
Oh gosh, just buckle in, because this Sirius-Chloe-Marlene anticipation is the longest slow burn in the history of slow burns. I would get comfortable.
Thank you for another lovely review!
Ooooh loved the library scene, I was on tenterhooks. Sexual tension indeed. Sirius is far too sexy for his own good!
I did giggle at Phoenix Scouts, I thought that was clever.
Chloe's such a great character and it's really interesting seeing the Marauders from an outsiders point of view.
The library scene came to me randomly on a long flight, and I'm SOOOOOO glad it did, becuase let me tell you it was just fun to write. It also is the first introduction to the complicated relationship that Chloe and Sirius will have for years. We've established that he's attracted to her physically, but it was so much more for her. And while she spends the rest of the school year remembering and fantasizing, he brushes it off with ease, because he's really chasing after Marlene. But it does lay the groundwork for the fact that Sirius is attracted to her, in some small way.
Ooooh, nice twist with Sirius there. He's definitely fallen from my good graces a bit! I really like how you write Chloe's home life! And how there are actually some parallels between her home life and Hogwarts life (letter writing, no tv, lack of technology) and how she tends plants at home and at Hogwarts!
Yes! I feel like Sirius was just a bit of a jerk in his Hogwarts years, and something that people don't pay attention to. Yes, he was loyal to a fault to his friends, but for those outside his immediate circle, I would think he'd act a bit thoughtless towards them. He didn't intentionally embarras Chloe, but he didn't give it a second thought to how it might make her feel. Outing someone for their blood status, especially during those times, is absolutely not something he is entitled to. But he was completely oblivious, and had no idea how much he hurt Chloe. He probably never gave it a second thought, and she spent her whole summer dwelling on it.
Chloe's home life is so important to show where she comes from, and why she's afraid of the war, and doesn't want to be in the fight. I can only hope they're interesting to read because they're so integral to her story--so I'm glad that you liked this chapter!
Thanks again :D
I really like how you write Sirius and how subtlely you portray the interactions between them. On the surface they can seem like the most briefest and simplest of interactions but you write them with such feeling and it really comes across how big the moments actually are for Chloe.
Great chapter again! I am on a bit of a reading binge, can you tell? Hehe!
I love that you're on a binge! Thank you, it makes me feel great!
Yes, Chloe is definitely the type to replay one tiny interaction in her head, over and over, romanticizing and second-guessing and fretting and obsessing. (I wonder where she gets that from. Me? Noooo, certainly not.) Plus it's just fun to write her and Sirius together, tbh :D
Aww I love how you write both Marlene and Chloe and Chloe's interactions with Sirius. Very intrigued to see where this story goes!
Thank you! Marlene is so fun to write, she's just the best.
I'm really enjoying this story so far! I'm liking the different take on the Marauder Era and the darker feel to it. I think you're doing a great job with it and I look forward to reading more! Ooh the floriography thing is interesting, I've never heard of that before, I will have to have a read about it. Also, just to make you aware, the chapter images aren't showing for me so far, which is a shame as I'd love to see what they are! Onto the next chapter!
Yes, yes, yes, Floriography is really cool! I read a headcanon somewhere (and this is unfortunately going to be completely uncredited, because I have no idea where it was, but it was not mine) that Neville Longbottom got really into floriography as a Herbologist, and that he used it to communicate secret messages during the second war. I love that idea! Maybe it will come to play in this story, but I really can't remember where I saw it, and would want to credit the right person. Either way, floriography is a real thing, and it's very interesting. I do indeed recommend reading up on it!
Thank you for reminding me about the chapter images. They are the victims of the Photobucket debacle and I haven't moved them all over to new hosting sites yet. Another thing on my ever-growing to do list.
Thanks for the review!
Here to bring you some love during Valentine month!
What a chapter! So much is going on and you can really feel how dark the world is getting, with Muggle rights activists being attacked and Sirius being disowned and everything...
Poor Chloe, the tension when she confronted Emily... that was such a tough scene! I'm really loving her growing friendship with Marlene, though. Seeing them being normal teenagers dealing with schoolwork and exams together was so nice. :)
And the tension, even if of an entirely different kind, between Chloe and Sirius... wow! It must be so hard for Chloe, knowing that Marlene and Sirius have a relationship of some sort and feeling for him the way she does...
Poor Sirius, too. He is so heartbroken right now. I mean, who wouldn't be, if you are being completely rejected by your family? Still, it's something you don't really think about when you think about Sirius being disowned, because we are so used to see him so distant from his family... but of course it would be so hard and I love how he's never really touched by anything but how broken he is now.
And Chloe's reaction at the article, and her thoughts at Marlene's words, how she has already been a victim of the Pureblood fanatics... it's so sad and so scary at the same time!
Great work, my dear! And happy month of love!
Hi, hi, hi! Thank you for the Valentine's love :D
Yes, Chloe is completely racked with guilt for her confusing feelings about Sirius--even though it's all of her own making. Marlene clearly displays a lack of interest in him, though his feelings for Marlene are not subtle. It's a tricky situation to be in, but not one that Chloe needs to feel guilty about. Still, she does. And will continue to for far too long.
Sirius's relationship with his mother is so interesting to me. I can't decide if I want to come out and say it directly in the story, but there are some weird Oedipal Complex issues happening with why he's chasing after Marlene. His relationship with his mother has always been constant rejection, and he's still chasing after Marlene, even though she clearly sees him as just a friend. It's something that I think about a lot when writing, but am not sure if it needs to be blatantly said in the story, or if it's something that belongs here in the reveiws section... ;)
Thank you very much for the review!
Transferred from HPFF
24th January 2017:
I remembered you told me that you would update this chapter, so I stopped by. I'm convincing that I was right that I nominated this story for Dobbys.
The first start began with Chloe's scarf. Her itchy scarf around her neck was her only comfort to survive PTSD. We can't stop wishing that she would not be targeted by the evil Slytherins again and I hope their bullying her will be founded soon. And at the same time I know the things would not go that easy.
Your introduction of Peter Pettigrew was so natural that I could imagine how young Peter was like, his ability to "make any person feel outgoing and charismatic" must have made him such a role after he became an adult, even he could make Voldemort feel like that. Not only Peter, you did create the other characters vividly. Walden Macnair might have had such a skeletal frame and onion-white hands, so scary to imagine those hands tortured Chloe. Your descriptions of Coraline and Artemisia are super, too. Some of the Slytherin girls must be like them, their robes were finer than the ones of Muggle- borns and they could afford those expensive earrings and heirloom lapel pins.
Chloe had a chance to confess everything to Professor Sprout. But she couldn't. They must be watching her, the threatening letter let her tell a lie.
The situation how to find her partner at Slughorn's class was so complicated for her. She needed to avoid Emily who betrayed, and she felt uneasy around Sirius written as a cool guy. Most of the girls are attracted to the guy who is notorious, would have been lighting a cigarette.
I like the way how you portrayed Marlene, her piercing blue-gray stare and her mischievous smile, moreover she offered to be Chloe's friend shyly after she handed a tied-up napkin full of food. She's a good observer of Chloe.
I can't wait how they will be best friends and how they and the other Marauders plus Lily Evans will become a good team to face the bad Slytherins.
Hi Kenny! I can't thank you enough for nominating this story for a Dobby. What an honor! :D And thank you for checking back for updates, even though I am trash at responding to reviews! Hope you've been well.
Haha, you are right, things are never going to go as easily as you want them to! This story is a cesspool of disparaging and angst. But the passage about Chloe's scarf was fun to write and helped portray some of her innocence and naivety that she's still clinging to, in this part of the story.
Yes, Peter! He wasn't always awful, was he? Sometimes I think people forget that. And I would imagine that, during lessons when they're paired together, Chloe would be the one initiating conversation, while he fretted about looking stupid or being bad at potions. I'm so glad you liked all the descriptions of the Black Adders, too. They really don't have much of a role in this story (other than Michael Flint) but I could see them so clearly in my mind, especially the onion-white hands.
Oh man, I'm glad the scene where she doesn't know where to sit in Potions didn't come across as shallow. It was so much more than being an awkward teenager and not knowing who to sit next to in class, which is why I hope it was interesting to read: anyone on the outside would have thought she was just being socially awkward, but she was between sitting beside her traitor of a cousin, who caused her PTSD, or betraying Marlene in her mind by sitting next to Sirius, when she was unsure of how she felt about him. I don't think she knows what to think about her feelings for him. Truly, he hasn't done anything of note to make her feel this way, other than the brief display of kindess outside the Hospital Wing, when she was injured. So she can't account for why she feels the way she does about him. She just feels guilty, like she's in Marlene's way or stepping on her toes, just by having feelings.
Thank you so much for the review!! I'm so sorry it took this long to respond.
** transferred from HPFF**
That was really interesting!
First of all I want to talk about characterisation. I thought you did a really good job of showing people's personalities with only minimal description. For example, we don't see much of Emily, but I have a solid idea of what she's like. Equally Marlene - and can I say I loved the description of her being pretty in a cunning sort of way. I've never heard that before but it makes a lot of sense. I liked too the comparison of her teeth to Emily's. It's small, but it felt significant.
Also, the Marauders. This was clearly set just after a full moon. I liked how you said Remus had always been sickly - something that would make sense to a person in that year group as he was always in and out of the hospital wing. Peter's notes always having crumbs on them was another nice touch. I'm curious about the relationship - or lack thereof- between Sirius and Marlene too. Clearly he wants to take it further. I wonder, with all her capabilities, if she will let him.
I'm also very intrigued by the Black Adder Society. I've not read many Marauder fics that have any sort of organisation other than Death Eaters and the Order of the Phoenix. This, though, coupled with Michael Flint having the run of the school, is pretty thought-provoking. And the black dahlia warning too ... without any knowledge of floriogaphy it made me think of a spy novel I read yonks ago that talked about a person called the Black Dahlia. If it means a warning, that makes perfect sense. So thanks for htat!
All in all a most interesting chapter. Well done!
Thanks very much for the kind words. Characterization is the most important thing when writing to me, so I'm glad to hear that it was successful. I really like when authors give little nods to things that readers know--because we've read and reread all the books--but that their narrator might not know. For example, Remus always appearing sickly. Spoiler? Chloe will never find out that Remus is a werewolf (as far as my plotting goes thus far), and so things like this are what informs her opinion of him as being ill in some way.
The Black Adders were created as a juxtaposition to the Marauders. I love the idea of wealthy, elitist students hiding in the shadows, disparaging others for their family status, race or bloodline, unaware that many of them will grow up to become Death Eaters. Also I am really harping on the idea of the Marauders being a clique in this story, and wanted to draw parallels between them and the Black Adders. They bully Snape and, I would imagine, others. They are exclusive and keep secrets (granted some of them are huge and not theirs to tell, like Remus being a werewolf.) As for the Black Dahlia, do you mean Elizabeth Short? I wasn't alluding to her here (yikes, what a horror-show that was) but it does symbolize a warning in the language of floriography! Very interesting stuff.
I really liked the opening of this chapter - it felt so natural and a bit lighter than the other chapters I've read so far, which is nice because it's a bit of a reprieve for us and Chloe from all the tension and the awful things that have been happening to her. It was really nice to see that, even if she's still struggling with the aftermath of the attack (and I don't think for a minute that she will be over something like that), there are some moments of peace and calm for her.
I knew that she and Marlene would be good friends! It was lovely to see how naturally they interacted with each other, and it helped to make it clearer that some time had passed. They're both comfortable with each other now, and they know details about each other's lives, like their parents' names.
And it's Chloe's birthday! The letter from her parents was really interesting - it seems like she's been ignoring their letters because she doesn't want them to know what happened to her at Hogwarts? And I liked reading about her parents since it gave me a better understanding of why they don't like magic. It makes a lot of sense that they'd want her to stay in a world that they can reach and be a part of, too, so that fits in really nicely. Them seeing the articles in the Daily Prophet with the attack on the Muggle rights activist isn't going to help change their opinions of the wizarding world, though.
Ugh, Emily. I feel like she's going to annoy me every time I see her from now on - she just seems so oblivious. I know that she's trying, and she probably does feel very guilty and wants to be friends again, but she doesn't have any idea of the trauma that Chloe suffered and seems to think it can all be brushed under the carpet.
I think the only CC I really have for this chapter is that I wasn't entirely sure about Chloe's relationship with Sirius at this point. We knew at the end of the last chapter that Marlene wanted to be friends, but because we've skipped forward to the end of term and haven't had as much background on what's happened in between (is Chloe spending more time with the Marauders because of being friends with Marlene? Would she call them her friends now?), I wasn't entirely sure how to guage the interaction between Chloe and Sirius, if that makes sense?
(It is entirely possible that I've just missed something obvious reading this chapter, though, and if that's the case, then I'm sorry!)
Sirius was clearly more upset and annoyed than he was trying to let on about having been disinherited and banished from his parents' house. I'm glad that he has James there to help him let off steam, and to stay with now that he doesn't have a home, though. His outburst when Chloe was surprised that he stood up to his parents was very believable, though, and seemed in character for him - it makes me think that they maybe don't know each other very well at all yet, even if Chloe has got a bit of a crush on him.
I'm looking forward to the next chapter so I get to read more about these characters!
It seemed about time to have a little light-heartedness in this story, hehe. Yes, Chloe and Marlene are much more comfortable around each other now, and they're both bringing something to the table. Marlene is making Chloe feel welcome, and valued--she even remembered her parents' first names--and Chloe is helping Marlene stay on track with her schooling. Aside from that, they genuinely like each other's company. Marlene is grateful to have someone other than the Marauders (I imagine in this story that she and Lily aren't joined at the hip) and Chloe is grateful to have anyone, after her friends graduated the year before and left her with just Emily.
Thank you for the CC! I did indeed jump a bit in time--again, this story is going to span so many years and their final year in Hogwarts alone is comprising more than a third of it--so maybe I could go back and flesh out the relationship with Chloe and the Marauders. You're right in your guess; she hangs out with Marlene quite often, and occasionally with the Marauders, but never without Marlene. The scene in the courtyard is her first interaction with Sirius where they are alone (though, technically, James is just around the corner.) I believe that I had written specifically "we had never been alone before" but removed it because I wanted to use it for a later, saucier chapter ;D But thank you for pointing that out! I'll try to think of a succinct way of showing what I just told you here. But no, you didn't miss anything obvious at all! Don't apologize :D
Haha, yes, Sirius's outburst was pretty iconic, eh? He jumped to a conclusion and ran with it. And you're right, they don't know each other very well at this point! I'm glad that helped illustrate this, but I will definitely work in another way of saying that, earlier in the chapter.
Thank you again!
Well guess who's back? Are you bored of me yet? Unfortunately there's still another chapter to go (mwahahaha).
(Also, I realised that I forgot to comment on the flowers that Chloe received at the end of the last chapter, but I really loved that touch, even though they bore such a sinister message.)
It was so thought-provoking to see Chloe back out of the hospital wing and trying to live her life like normal again after being attacked and scarred by fellow students. I thought you wrote that opening scene so well; the fear that Chloe is feeling on a permanent basis comes across with every line, and it's so tense as she's trying to do something as simple as make it to class. I'm kind of angry at the school for the fact that the perpetrators are still there, but since Chloe hasn't been able to admit what happened or who did it to her yet, I guess it's not entirely their fault. I just felt so sorry for her as she tried desperately hard to keep away from the members of the Black Adder Society because they'd terrified her so much.
I loved the little detail about the scarf that Chloe's grandma had knitted her, too, and the way she was trying to use that as a talisman against the people who hated Muggles - there's something really sweet about that. And it's lovely to know how much effort her grandma put in to learning how to send post via owl so that she could still send her granddaughter post and keep in touch with her!
Sirius's introduction (at least, in his first interaction with Chloe) was really interesting. I'm still not entirely sure what to make of him, to be honest - and Chloe is clearly starting to fall for him a little bit, even though she's convinced that him and Marlene are together (and I'm intrigued about what's really happening, if anything, between those two as well, because Marlene can't be oblivious to how Sirius looks at her, can she?). It was also great to see that Chloe knows Peter from working with him in class and quite likes him - he seems to be ignored so often in Marauders stories and it's nice to see that some people must have liked him at this point.
I love Marlene! She's so sweet to have tried to keep an eye on Chloe since they found her, and to have noticed that she's not actually eating properly because she's avoiding the Great Hall, and bring her the food. And now they're going to be friends! Marlene seems like someone who would make a great friend, and I'm looking forward to seeing them spend more time together and get to know each other better, too.
Bored??? Of these thought-provoking and lovely reviews?? Never, Sian, NEVER. I truly cannot thank you enough for taking the time to write them!!
Honestly it was difficult for me to write Chloe's PTSD, because it is so pervasive, and a part of her every day. But at the same time I feared that, like most things, if I wrote about these emotions too frequently it would start to lose its impact. (Looking at you, Twilight.) Oh! And you've mentioned another thing about HP that always bugged me. Dumbledore sent Sirius to Azkaban WITHOUT A TRIAL. Amongst the other awful things that he did to Harry, this speaks so much to his character--at least one side of it--and I strongly believe that, since it wasn't directly in Dumbledore's interest to protect Chloe or get to the bottom of this attack, he wouldn't be involved. His absence is a big theme of this story, because he is so present in Harry's life--because he's grooming a weapon, tbh--and I really wanted to bring that to the forefront. Again, just my opinion of a character, but I would think that if Chloe were the Chosen One, Dumbledore would be handling things much differently.
I love that you're not sure what to make of Sirius! He was a bully in Hogwarts and I would imagine not exactly the kindest of people. Granted, his home life was awful, plus the general awfulness of being a teenager and all that, but I still think we tend to romanticize the Marauders, particularly he and James. They weren't nice to everyone. I would think Sirius is pretty self-absorbed in a lot of ways, and this will become more apparent as he uses Chloe more than once. But, again, I'm excited to write his development as a character, as he won't always be like this.
Peter! Yes. It's hard to balance him in scenes, because he is one of the more quiet characters in my mind, but also he was around, which people tend to ignore. He and Chloe are both outsiders to the group, Chloe more so, but he isn't fully ingrained in James, Sirius and Remus's friendship, which spawns his jealousy. But he and Chloe have that in common, which will come to play a larger role.
Marlene for President, honestly, I love her too. She's just lovely. And she's perfect for Chloe because she's more assertive, and social, and brings her out of her shell a bit while still nurturing her. I love them too <3
THANK YOU, again, Sian!!!
Again, I have finished this chapter just wanting to give Chloe the biggest hug possible, because nobody deserves something like this to happen to them, and to be made to feel this way - branded like cattle with your blood status. But bad things happen to good people, and this is a classic example. Anyway, you've already got me 100% rooting for the protagonist here, so I think that's an achievement in itself.
I really wish that there was a definite way that they could reduce the scarring on her stomach, but it's not just the physical reminder of what's happened that's going to be difficult for Chloe to deal with - it's the mental scars that she's going to carry with her. I think I only tend to see PTSD explored in the context of someone who has fought in wars/battles, but of course it can stem from so many events and it's so intriguing to see you writing about it here.
Honestly, I want to throw something at that girl right now. Was that your intention? Because if so, it's really working. I get that she probably doesn't know the full extent of what has happened to Chloe in the bathrooms, but at the same time, why on earth does she think that she can bring in some flowers and say sorry and that Chloe should just accept that and it will make everything okay between them again? It's so ridiculous that she doesn't even realise the extent of what she's done and the impact that it's had, and I'm glad that Chloe didn't just roll over and accept the "apology". Still, I hope that she does become better friends with people like Marlene, because she's going to need people to get through this.
Marlene seems lovely! It was really nice of her to bring over the notes and check on Chloe in a way that is actually more normal - like she's concerned, but not making Chloe feel like an invalid. I'm really excited to see these two becoming best friends (although knowing that they weren't talking before Marlene's death makes me sad).
I love your characterisation of the Marauders here, and the way that you slip them into the scene so naturally, so we get to see them interacting with each other in a natural context, but Chloe also gets some exposure to them. James made me laugh a lot :P And Sirius seems to be completely in love with Marlene, which is an interesting start to the dynamic between the three, because I get the impression that Chloe's about to get a little crush...
"Branded like cattle with your blood status." DAMN GIRL. Yes, that is it, exactly. I'm glad that you're rooting for Chloe here, because she definitely begins this story as the damsel in distress. I was nervous to use this as a means for her to meet Marlene and Sirius, because it can be a cliche, but I would argue that it's usually not described from the main character's POV, if that makes sense. In my experience, it would be Sirius's POV finding the woman, injured and alone, tiny fragile baby bird, so helpless let me help you with my man-hands. Hopefully this turns the cliche on its head a bit, to have the "damsel" in control of this narrative, articulating her own suffering.
And then she finds herself in the position of being unable to identify her attackers. tbh this attack is an allusion to sexual assault, and the suffering of victims, and in many cases the inability to come forward. But I didn't want to give sexual assault the power of being written in a story, hence the attack wasn't actually sexual in nature. But yes, you're totally hitting the nail on the head with PTSD manifesting in many different forms, and not entirely relating to war/battles, like we see with Harry after book five.
Yes, Emily is awful, and genuinely doesn't understand why Chloe isn't accepting her apology. Like you said, I don't think she can imagine the extent of what happened in the baths, because it's so terrible, and things like that just don't happen at Hogwarts 8D I'd say it's one third obliviousness and two thirds choosing not to acknowledge it.
Marlene is the perfect person to befriend Chloe in this situation, because she's "hands-off" just enough to give her space, but determined enough to let Chloe know that she's valued and welcomed. Again, I don't think that Chloe would have ever been invited into the tight-knit clique of the Marauders (because that's what they are, IMO) without Marelene.
What, Chloe? With a crush? That lasts for 20+ years? You're crazy!
Thank you, again, as always!
I'm honestly not sure how to react after reading this chapter because it's mostly just noises that aren't actually words coming to my mind. I will, however, endeavour to write something vaguely coherent.
You've taken us back in time to a really interesting point - Chloe is so obviously a very different person to the one that we see in the prologue to this story, even though we don't know her very well yet, and I'm so intrigued that we now get to follow the course that turns her into the person who fights with the Order of the Phoenix and is best friends with Marlene McKinnon, because there's a long way to go to get there.
The opening of this chapter felt so innocent and natural for two girls of this age. Chloe's clearly the one who's quieter and less confident - or at least, less confident around the Slytherins in question - than her cousin, but the dynamic between them is so interesting to see. It seems so normal to see them arguing about something so simple as a party invitation, and I honestly didn't expect that it would end up so sinister and horrible later on at this point.
I liked getting some more background on the family, as well, since we've met Chloe's mum but she's obviously not very comfortable with the magical world. It's interesting to know that the two sisters are so different, and that Chloe's aunt was already drawn into the magical world before the children came along. I wonder if Chloe's mum knew about her brother-in-law being a wizard when they got married?
As Chloe and Emily got closer to the "party", I felt increasingly uncomfortable, just as Chloe did - it was mirroring her emotions and you've shown those so well. I had a really bad feeling about this secret society that was supposedly asking two quiet Hufflepuffs to join, and by the time they walked into the bathroom, with all the creepy suggestions that they were making, I just wanted to shout at the two girls to get out of there. Chloe was feeling the same and is it bad that I hate Emily a little bit for being so stupid as to not get them out of the situation before it got worse?
WHAT ON EARTH DO YOU THINK YOU'RE DOING YOU AWFUL GIRL???
I know that Emily was terrified, and that she's young, and that she didn't know what else to do to get out of there, but screaming out that your cousin - who you've dragged along to this party for you in the first place - is the one that they should really be targeting is absolutely disgusting and not okay in any way. I can't believe that she did that and just ran away, not even trying to get help or anything, since she didn't come back!
I'm so, so sad for Chloe. If it were possible to reach through the screen right now and give her the biggest hug ever, I would do. They are awful people and I'm so sad that she became their victim, and that they branded her (it is really difficult not to swear right now haha).
Thank goodness that Marlene and Sirius were there and found her in time, though I'm afraid there's not going to be anything that can be done to remove the M from her stomach. At least someone found her and they know what's happened. Maybe this is how Chloe starts to become closer to the people mentioned in the prologue?
lol the phrase "WHAT DO YOU THINK YOU'RE DOING YOU AWFUL GIRL" just jumped out and I thought it was directed at me, and wondered what I had done in this chapter. tbh I wouldn't blame you in a lot of cases?? :D
Thank you so much for your first comment, about Chloe being so obviously different. One thing I really look forward to in this story is writing everyone's development. The fic will take place over the expanse of 20+ years, and while I aim to keep it relatively brief, everyone is going to change so much. Namely, I really dislike Hogwarts-age Sirius but am excited for 30 year-old Sirius, haha. Chloe is another person who has changed drastically. I was also worried about the slow start to this chapter, compared to the introduction that drops several huge plot devices. Glad to hear that it was interesting enough to read!
That's a good question about Chloe's mother and her brother-in-law, I've honestly not even considered it, haha! I would think that yes, she did know, and then when she found out that Chloe was a witch, it was even harder to take. She was probably already suspicious of the magical world and of her brother-in-law, but felt safely removed from it, until Chloe's eleventh birthday. (Wow, thanks for these questions, I seriously hadn't even given thought to that one!)
Now we get to that AWFUL GIRL comment! I love your sentiments; that you can see why Emily did what she did, but that it was unexcusable. This is a recurring theme throughout this story, from Emily to Peter to Chloe. If you were being threatened, would you really be able to keep quiet? Or will it be a 1984 situation where you'll say anything to keep yourself alive, when it comes down to it? Sirius told Peter that he should have died for his friends, which is romantic heroism, but when it really, truly came down to it, could we confidently say that we would do the same? More things in HP that I've always taken issue with--and that play a big role in this story! But yes, in Emily's case, the fact that she didn't get help, or didn't even come back to check on Chloe, is what really drives the knife in.
hahaha I love that you're struggling with not swearing! It happens, for sure, with reviews. Caps lock on, bad words out ;D
Your last paragraph is spot-on, which you will know by now if you decided to read on. Thank you so much! Your reviews are always so insightful and inspire some great discussion. Yay!
So I feel like I should probably apologise, because I've read all of this story and not actually reviewed any of it (I know I left a review for CTF, but that doesn't really count). Anyway, now that we've played Hufflepuff and I don't have to worry about not being able to help my house, I'm here with a (hopefully) more coherent review.
I don't read a lot of AU stories, but I'm really excited about this one (having said that, I'm glad that I know it's AU because otherwise my anti-canon alarms would have been going off. Yes, they're a real thing). I'm really looking forward to the way that you're going to explore events happening out of sequence and the spiral of effects that that's going to have on other things.
Chloe is such an intriguing protagonist. I feel like we've already got so much to learn about her, and I want to find out more about her life, but everything that we've got here is really interesting and is definitely pulling me into the story and ensuring that I want to read on. Obviously there's the whole side of her being in the Order, and everything that brings with it to interest me, but what really struck me about Chloe here is her background and upbringing. I've read quite a few stories which have Muggle-born protagonists - and obviously there are some major canon characters who fall into the same category - but I don't think I can remember reading any in which the witch or wizard's family is quite like this one.
I have so many questions! Why do Chloe's parents (or her mum, at least) dislike magic so much? How much do they actually know about her world, and how much is Chloe keeping from them to try and protect them? It really seems like Chloe's mum has something against magic, and in a way that they don't discuss that part of her life (which is obviously a pretty big part of her life to not be discussing), kind of pretending like it isn't there. I'm not sure how much of that is also down to Chloe, though, trying to protect her parents - I got the sense that she feels a lot of responsibility for them from this chapter. Maybe there's a lot that she pretends doesn't happen because she doesn't want her parents to worry about the world that she lives in?
It's going to be really interesting to see how you decide to reorder events - I'm very intrigued about the fact that James and Lily are already dead here and yet the war still seems to be going on (does that mean that Harry wasn't the Chosen One in this case?). And then Chloe's relationship to the canon characters we know - it's Sirius who's written, but it isn't obvious what their relationship is (boyfriend and girlfriend? Just friends?) at this point. And then the news that Marlene is dead! I know that she kind of has to die but I'm so intrigued about how everything is going to fit into this story, and why Chloe and Marlene haven't been speaking for a month despite being best friends.
Basically, I have a lot of questions so far :P But I really enjoyed this chapter and I'm looking forward to the rest of the story to get more answers!
Sian! I am notorious for not reviewing stories I read--and apparently never responding to reviews. I am trash. It's been over a year. You have always been so lovely with reviewing my stories and I cannot thank you enough, and I should be the one apologizing! So thank you very very much :)
Haha! I don't know how this story will be received for the die hard canon followers. Hopefully you can get through it? I am definitely of the view that sticking to canon, in fic, can be a great challenge as a writer--but I am more interested in story telling, crafting well-developed characters, and introducing new ideas. The HP-verse has been so thoroughly explored (especially retelling the rise and fall of the Marauders, with the inclusion of an OC) that I like the thought of what changes can be made. So yes, this story will not follow canon. You have been warned :D
Oh gosh, Chloe's family. tbh they are very, very, VERY inspired by my own parents (yikes, I hope they never somehow find a way to read this.) They are very closed off in their own little corner of the world, and are afraid of many things, and suspicious of almost everyone. I moved across the country a few years ago and it's really put a strain on our relationship. It's been tough, and was what largely inspired this story. What about a character who feels torn between her familial loyalty and that of her friends? Even more, a character who doesn't agree with her parents' worldview, but who also doesn't want to fight a war? She's stuck on the outskirts. In the... PERIPHERY (ayyoooo)
That being said, you completely nailed it in regards to Chloe's relationship with her parents. She is secretive because she knows that the danger she has put herself in--against her own wishes, really--would devastate her family. She lies to protect them, certainly. Their health is deteriorating--especially her mother's--and so she feels very torn. Your statement is really what it comes down to: Maybe there's a lot that she pretends doesn't happen because she doesn't want her parents to worry about the world that she lives in?
As for Lily and James's death but the war still going on, it always bugged me in canon that everything just ~stopped~ To make a tired comparison, Hitler is long gone, but there are still Neo-Nazis everywhere; there is still hatred; there is still violence incited against ethnic or religious groups simply because of who they are. I didn't like the idea that just because Voldemort was gone, everything went back to "normal." So that will be a big topic of exploration in this story as well!
Again, thank you so much! And sincere apologies for being trash who took over a year to respond.
Chalices Review Spree again!!! :D
Honestly, I didn't finding the chapter slow at all, I loved it! I loved to see Chloe's interactions with both Sirius and Marlene and I actually enjoyed a lot seeing her relaxing a bit. Marlene is definitely a good influence and I'm glad she accepted her friendship!
I honestly don't know what to say except great job! I really loved your writing, your descriptions and story-telling are awesome and your characters are so well drawn and relatable, you really have a great talent!
Wonderful job so far, hopefully I'll be back soon! :)
You are on FIRE! Or were. This review is still from over a year ago, and I am trash, but even now appreciate your voracious review spree!
Marlene is just the sweetest. I'm actually really excited to write the changes in her character, and to show how radical and disconnected she becomes. (Why do I keep putting spoilers in my responses to your reviews?)
Back again for the Chalices Review Spree!
Poor Chloe... I really wish she told what happened, but I can see why she wouldn't... still, she can't keep everything inside, she needs to open up with someone. I'm glad Marlene is trying to get through her barriers, I really hope they'll be come friends and that this will help Chloe overcome the trauma.
Ah, I so love the Marauders (I guess that's no secret). I loved the little glimpse you gave us of them, all four were just perfect! :D Can't wait to see more of them and how they will impact Chloe's life. And I'm quite curious to see where the Sirius/Marlene/Chloe relationship is going, I guess I'll movente to the next chapter soon.
The ending was so scary... I fear what they might still do to her... And of course I feel so bad for her because she must feel so alone and defenceless and terrified...
This was another great chapter, I'll see you soon again on the next one!
Oh, ho ho ho, you will be surprised how deeply Chloe can bury things inside and never tell anyone or communicate and bottle it aaaaaaall up. She has really healthy habits, this one. Marlene is definitely trying to get through, and will be *SPOILER?* literally the only person that Chloe willingly tells.
Honestly, thank you so much for your feedback about the Marauders. I'm so nervous writing them. James comes easily because he's the comic relief, but I still can't help but feel I'm missing the mark with him. I rarely read Marauders fic but I do know that I've done things a little differently from other OC fics, particularly with Sirius's character, and so I've been nervous about how their characterization would be received. Thank you so much for the reassurance! Haha I could definitely use it.
Thank you again for another lovely review!
Here for the Chalices Review Spree (yes, I needed that to come back here... I'm so bad... but I'm happy to have this excuse ;) )
Oh, Merlin! This was so terrifying! I didn't expect such a turn of events (or maybe I did... still...) Poor Chloe, it's so horrible that she went through all this... I'm glad at least Marlene and Sirius could help her. (I'm wondering what will happen now, especially considering the prologue, but I guess I'll just need to read on.)
Sorry if I cut the review a bit short. But know that I'm very impressed by your style and descriptions and the story line and theme so far.
I will be back soon!
And here I am, over a YEAR LATER, with your response. I am not worthy!!
Don't apologize for a short review! I appreciate you taking the time to write one. Now that I'm further into the story, I keep going back and forth on these conditions and how Chloe met Marlene and Sirius. But it makes sense for why Marlene would feel so protective and so compelled to invite her into their, otherwise, rather closed-off friend group. And that's the whole point--that if it weren't for Marlene, Chloe would never have gotten to know Sirius and the rest of their clique. But something about it doesn't sit entirely right with me...
Anyway, thank you very much! And I'm so happy--even now, a year later--that this story won a Chalice award. Thank you!!!
*Transferred from HPFF*
WOW this was a fantastic chapter! Very intense but I thought it was really well written.
The tone in the previous chapter was somber, mostly due to its stillness - and I don't necessarily think that you could use the same tone when telling this part of the story. This part is much earlier in time, and there's a lot more action. But starting at the point where Chloe first gets suspicious about the party invitation, the chapter still has a strong sense of unease and anxiety which, although different from the feeling in the first chapter, ties in really well with it. It's kind of like you've carried a similar tone to a very different setting. So yeah, I really like how you did the voice in this chapter.
Especially when they first walked into the baths. My first thought was "SLOW DOWN WASN'T THERE A ROMAN EMPEROR WHO WAS MURDERED IN THE BATHS?!?!" (and in fact I don't think there was, but I still got all kinds of nervous feelings about how that night would end the minute Emily and Chloe found the party.
the Fat Friar, on his way to the kitchens, where I’d heard he liked to look at the food he could no longer eat. -- haha, for some reason I just love that you chose to include this detail. It's not important for scene setting, but somehow it adds a lot of richness to the story - character background is so important, even if it is in little side anecdotes like this. Characters are never just there for that one moment, they have back stories and secrets and stuff like this contributes to a more comprehensive character next time they show up. (I don't know if that makes sense. but I love the details you choose to include and how that shapes characterization)
The way you show Chloe's personality in this, in regards to what she prioritizes in situations where she feels unsafe, is so effective at indicating what kind of a person she is. She didn't want to go to the party in the first place, and then her thoughts are occupied by how she can get Emily out of there, and her last resort is to escape alone and then tell a Prefect so she can get Emily out safely. Whereas Emily... Emily is the worst Hufflepuff. I really hope that when she left she was going to tell someone to help Chloe, much like Chloe was thinking when Chloe tried to escape, but... I don't know. I mean I get that she was scared and ran, but COME ON, THAT'S YOUR OWN COUSIN WHO WOULD NOT EVEN BE THERE IF NOT FOR YOU AND YOU LEAVE HER TO BE BURNED AND HALF DROWNED. UGhhh I have no respect for her right now. I'm interested to see what the fallout of this is going to be though.
The moment when she's shrieking that Chloe is a Mudblood kind of reminded me of that scene in the novel 1984 when Winston is being tortured. like, I don't think Emily hates Chloe, but betrays her because she's scared and in pain. That said, I'm still furious with her for leaving Chloe to endure that all alone.
I think your portrayal of Sirius was right on. Kind of joking and clueless at first, but once he catches on he's kind and helps take care of her.
And the Slytherins in the baths were terrifying, which means you did a really good job writing them, particularly the way they have such control over the situation and the way they hold that power over the two Hufflepuffs to make them feel vulnerable. It's sick. But effectively written.
I couldn’t remember how the way to the Hufflepuff basement. -- how to get to? or maybe just take out the word 'how'
I dully registered him kneel beside me -- kneeling?
One thing I did find myself wondering about - in the previous chapter, which takes place in 1981, Chloe states that she and Marlene have been best friends for 12 years. But in this chapter, which is 7 years prior to the first chapter, Chloe didn't seem to recognize Marlene and only referred to her by her last name. I mean, this could be because of the mental state she's in at the moment, dizzy, in pain, and half-drowned, but it seemed odd that she doesn't recognize Marlene at all. (Or is it a different McKinnon mentioned here?)
Well. I think that's everything I wanted to cover. Sorry I deteriorated into shouty CAPSLOCK for some of that haha I just have a lot of feelings. Anyway, I think this was a great chapter and even though it's different from the setting of the previous one, they complement each other nicely. Great work.
(eep I'm about to run out of characters)
Hello again! Thank you so so so much for offering to read this chapter! I appreciate it so much ♥
I'm glad the voice seems to have carried over well enough. You're right; this is really the moment when Chloe's life begins to turn, so the tone wouldn't be the same as it was in the introduction when she's already lost so much. I thought about starting the first chapter a little further away from the action of this chapter; maybe instead of the night of the party, a week before, or even a year before, just to establish Chloe's character as a timid, school-minded thing. But I decided against it since this fic is already going to span from 1975 to possibly 1995 (I haven't quite decided, whoops), I'd better make it as trim as possible ;)
Now you have me really interested in the Roman emperor bath murder! Fausta (daughter to Emperor Maximianus) was suffocated to death in an overheated bath. And thank you for mentioning this because I'm trying to stuff this fic with metaphor, and that's all I'll say about Fausta for now.
This scene took place in the baths because Chloe's induction into this world that she comes to loathe--of Death Eaters, the Order, heroes and villains--is a rebirth. She has gone from the aforementioned girl just concerned with getting her Herbology fellowship and becoming a top Herbologist, to having everything ruined and changed because she happened to be in the wrong place at the wrong time. Water is a symbol of rebirth in religion and literature, but if she was reborn then it also means that a part of her has died--which it has. Starting with this chapter, she is no longer the person she once was. PTSD, anxiety and a change in her personality will be a large part of this story as well.
I love that you said "Emily is the worst Hufflepuff." You're right; she isn't being very loyal here to her cousin. Then I started thinking about loyalty and maybe her loyalty is to her own self-preservation? I love all of the discussion that has come out post-books, and especially with Pottermore, about how not all Slytherins are evil, not all Gryffindors are brave, etc. But you're right! Emily is pretty terrible. She is another character who was completely changed by one moment. Fear overtook her and unlike Chloe, who like you said was concerned with how to help Emily, she was more concerned with escaping herself. Like the house discussions, I like the discourse that's been circulating about character redemption (the best example I can think of in this case is Malfoy) and whether a moment such as this, when you turn into a horrible monster out of fear, is your Defining Moment.
Yes! "Do it to Julia!" You're totally right, this scene is reminiscent of 1984.
Ugh Sirius was so scary to write. Tbh I've never read any Marauders fic in great length. All I know is that I want to tone down the swaggering, womanizing character that tends to be his portrayal and flesh him out. I'm 100% sure any of his womanizing tendencies that do remain are the result of never feeling adequate to his mother (hey thanks Freud) and I'm really excited to explore that, and his constant need for affirmation. The male protagonist is always the most difficult for me to write in fic, and their true personality usually shows itself a few chapters in, so be prepared for some inconsistencies until I can go back and edit ;)
And also, I am cracking up because I really have no idea where that "twelve years of friendship" thing came from. I noticed it a few weeks ago and never fixed it until you reminded me, so thank you. I don't know if I had originally intended for them to meet much earlier, or if my math was just terrible (that is the far more likely option) but yes, sorry for the confusion! The McKinnon in this chapter is actually Marlene. Thank you for pointing that out, as well as your other grammar edits!
I'm also running out of characters, so I will just say THANK YOU once more. Your reviews are so helpful, really!