Jill! It's been way too long since I read something of yours properly and I have so many stories to catch up on, but this one really caught my eye. Normally I love AU stories which you've written because I know it means the wonderful Fred will still be alive, but in this one you've killed off Hermione instead and now I'm sad.
(I can't really complain. I might have done it too at one point.).
Your characterisations always come through so strongly in your writing - it's one of my favourite things about reading your stories. Even though there are often original characters taking the main role, I feel like I know them so well by the end of the story and this was no different.
I thought the way you opened this, with Hermione's death and the way that the family can't ever truly get over it, was really effective. It felt so sudden and really drew me into the story, wanting to know who had died and what happened after that
(I read it as being Hermione but of course I could be wrong).
I loved the way you described Tony at the funeral, at an age where it's possible to put on a show and pretend that you're dealing with things, and yet so young that everything is so fragile and you're shattered underneath that exterior. The description worked really well there and really conveyed the pain of the loss.
It was so sad for Tony to watch Ron through the years, and see the way that he tried so hard to deal with Hermione's death and be there for the children as they were growing up, doing the things their mum would ordinarily have done with them happily, and yet he can't forget Hermione. It feels so true to character to me that he'd hold onto her memory and wouldn't be able to move on truly and find someone else the way his sister and sisters-in-law suggest.
You conveyed the emotion and raw sense of grief in this piece really well, and it was refreshing to read a story which follows more than just the immediate aftermath of loss, but looks at the everyday life afterwards too. Opening with the funeral shows how that is really only the start of trying to live without someone. This was really touching - no more breaking my heart though, please?
SIAN!!! Wow, what an awesome and unexpected surprise! Thank you so much for coming by and reading this old thing! It made my day!
Also, do NOT worry about catching up. How behind am I on YOUR stuff? Like years and years. Life's busy and we do what we can.
Hehehe. I remember when you first started reading my stuff and you were all like "I don't know, I'm not an AU person..." Now look at you, saying you love AUs. I feel my work here is done.
And yes, you know me so well and my "Fred must live" crusade. Sorry about the shocking twist on this one.
Aw, now you have me blushing. How come you are so nice to me! Say such nice things and give me a big head! And such love for my OCs! GAH! Can I hug you?
This story was one of those that I had in my head for a very, very long time before it found its way to paper. And I had to wait until that opening paragraph came to me before the words would just start to flow. Glad it paid off.
(Yes, it is Hermione - sadly.)
Poor Tony. So young and growing old so fast because of this.
I have this utterly romantic spot in my heart for Ron and Hermione. In my head, they end up with the strongest relationship simply because it took so much eye-opening and hard work to get there in the first place. I feel like once they realized they were in love, it would be there forever. So, for me, Ron losing Hermione would not be something he could get over. She was his soul-mate.
Thank you, so much! And...erm...about that heart-breaking. You know I can't promise that, right?
Oh god, that got me right in the gut. It took a lot of effort for me to not start crying right in the middle of it. My father died when I was thirteen, and this is just such an accurate portrayal of what happens when a parent dies while the children are young. I remember my mom having similar reactions, but just like Ron, she picked up and kept going. She learned to fill the roles of both parents. That's what happens when one partner leave, the other picks up the slack.
I really liked that you told this story from the point of view of their oldest child, rather than Ron himself. I think the narration coming from the future was a smart narrative choice as well. It gave enough distance from the pain and tragedy of Hermione's death to tell the story objectively. Though Tony may not have seen what Ron was doing at the time, especially with the distance between Tony and Ron. I loved getting to see Tony reflect on the past and realize how much work his father did to take care of them. Such a sweet reflection on a father by his son.
And the ending here is absolutely perfect. It was absolutely touching to see Tony finally able to say "thank you" and "I love you" to his father. Really, that's the part that got me the most! Such a good ending.
And random, but I loved the shoutout to Crookshanks in there. When you referred to him as Ron's "Oldest enemy" I definitely thought it was Draco and I was SO CONFUSED. It took me a minute to figure out it was the cat instead. And that whole section was just so sweet. I love the idea that Ron and Crookshanks finally bonded because they both missed Hermione so much.
Hufflepuff CtF- transferred for final exams
Thank you so much for this beautiful review, and for sharing something so personal with me. It is so comforting to know that I managed to get the right emotions to be true to what this situation might feel like for the people living through it.
I really wanted this story to be about Ron, but I also wanted it to be told from the POV of someone watching him, rather than from his own POV. And that's how Tony was born. And once he was in my head, I found I really liked him as a character.
Awww, thank you. I am quite fond of the ending myself, because I wanted to show that even though this was something that was so hard, they will be okay.
You know, a lot of people have been confused about that. I probably should have worded it better. I just kinda thought the word "fur" was a give-away that it wasn't Draco. Oops.
Thanks again for reading and for leaving me this heart-felt review!
Transferred from HPFF
Hufflepuff CtF review
Omg I love that quote you start with. It’s so true that you see the differences between relationships as time and space pass, and it sure beats “absence makes the heart grown fonder.”
I love this line: “Fourteen was old enough to be strong and silent on the outside – stoic. Fourteen was young enough to be shattered and dying on the inside – broken.” It is incredibly poignant and touching, and the rhythm works really well.
It took me a bit to get my grounding about what part of this was AU. I thought for a moment that because Hermione was hit by a car, perhaps this was a muggle AU or one where Hermione didn’t have magic. But no, that was just a heart wrenchingly simple death for an extraordinary woman. The fact that you changed the number of Ron’s kids also confused me for a minute, so I wasn’t totally certain who the characters were. I think it would help to clarify these things with an early Author’s Note or in the story description. The story is really good, but trying to figure out those details took me out of being able to fully enjoy it.
I really like the detail about the main character not having magic. It adds some interesting complexity.
Ron spending an hour in the bathroom and then coming out haunted and determined really gets to me. Right down to the apron! Very nice. I am really into this version of Ron. I am not typically a huge fan of him, but I think you’ve done a very good job of combining his faults with his determination to do the best he can.
I really like how this story is told from the perspective of Ron’s son observing him. There is a really great sense of distance between them, but also a kind of curious admiration. It kind of reads like Ron is putting most of his attention towards his daughters (which makes sense, since they would be the greatest reminders of Hermione, plus they had magic), but he nevertheless has a very deep impact on his son.
People always say that Hermione balances out Ron, making him more mature than he would otherwise be. What a tragedy that it’s her death that really has this effect.
Yay Fred’s not dead in this universe - there is some light!
It took me like three reads to figure out what you meant by Ron’s “oldest enemy” but omg, crookshanks? That’s excellent.
Omg I want to see Ron learning about Rugby and cheering on his squib son ♥
You are so right about what you say near the end - that Ron could have never emerged from a dark pit of despair. Based on your first line, that’s what I expected to find here. But I really love how you showed that you can be destroyed by something and still be strong ♥
I thought this was a very excellent story. Everything that you described Ron going through was simultaneously heart wrenching and heart warming, and the way that you showed it through his son’ perspective made it much more interesting and complex. I’m a big fan - well done!
Hi there! Thanks so much for the amazing review! This was wonderful to receive!
And I'm glad you liked the quote. I'm a quote person - I tend to start a lot of my stories and chapters with quotes, it's a hold over from my Andromeda days. I love it when people feel like it adds to the story.
That's one of my favorite lines from the story that you just pointed out, so again, I'm so happy it hit you the way I was hoping.
I know I have the beginning of this rather confusing. I don't spell anything out, and that can leave readers floundering a bit, but I tried it with a more definitive explanation and it just didn't work. Perhaps I should add an author's note...I'll have to consider it.
I'm not sure where these different kids for Ron and Hermione came from. I know I've never really liked the canon Next Gen kids, and always tend to make my own families for them in my head. Tony and these little girls just kinda showed up and said they were supposed to be in this story. And Tony being a squib, that just kinda happened, too. It's it funny how sometimes our stories write themselves without us planning anything?
I do love Ron, but I love it when he is allowed to be more than just confused or a goof-ball. I was trying to tap into his mature side here - the side that adores Hermione and his kids.
I think it wasn't that Ron was putting all his attention to his daughters but more that he and Tony were at a place where they didn't know what to do with each other. At first, during the initial heartache and sorrow, the best they could do was just kind of give each other space.
I'm a sucker for AU, and I figured if I'm gonna go AU, I might as well go all in and let Fred be alive. That was a guilty pleasure of mine.
And of course I had to have Crookshanks here. :)
You know, you've give me plot bunnies now. Like I might have to do some more stories set in this universe, just for the rugby thing.
Thank you so much! This was such a fun review to get! You really made my day!