I'm here for some festive giving and what a perfect story to read this time of year!
I love the idea that hufflepuff have christmas traditions, that's so cute. I feel for Jules here, it must be so hard at christmas not be with family or have her mum around. I really like your characterisation of Jules in this first section, there is something very likeable about her. I think the friendship you've created between Jules and Isbelle in the first section was so good. I love the dialogue and at little hint of her crush on Molly, they bounce off each other nicely so I found it very believable.
The next section seriously tugging at my heart strings. I feel so sad that they haven't really grieved properly over the lose of her mum/his wife. He isn't ready to let go of the type of christmases that they use to have. You played those emotions really well like under surface. I felt a lot of subtext they're not quite there with opening up full to each other. I feel for both of them because Jules isn't getting what she needs from her dad. He is trying to shut out those emotions but he seems to be shutting out Jules too which is really sad.
The interaction between Molly and Julia are so lovely. They seem really natural together. I think you've done a really good job with the dialogue in this section. I think it's cute and the playful light banter between the two of them is really great. I'm sensing chemistry between the two. I really like the idea of 'the lounge' too. I think something like that would make sense for older students to kinda make bits of the castle 'their own'.
THEY'RE SO ADORABLE, JILL. DAMN TOO CUTE. I love how you build up Julia's feeling towards Molly. I think it's so sweet that Julia is just seeing all of Molly's little quirks because she knows her so well. I think that stage of the relationship when you're just over analysing everything like Molly's touches 'do they mean anything?' and Molly wondering about Isabelle and Julia was beautifully played. They're so into each other. I just can't cope! another thing, I love the description around the kiss.
I'm so glad that she put the star on the tree. It was such a sweet poignant moment for her. I love the idea about honouring the christmas memories. The backstory of the star too. I loved the bit about Molly lifting her up just like Neville had done in a physical way when she was younger. I totally wish that we got to see an exchange between Neville and Julia. I need to know that peace was made between Neville and his daughter so they could move on if even Julia is happy with Molly. I would like to see this from another angle like Neville coping with his loss.
This was the most wonderful thing to read right now though. It gave me lots of festive feels! thank you so much for sharing this! Happy holidays, jill!
This was sooooo cute!! It’s a shame I slept on this story when it first went up, but I’m glad to see it got the recognition it deserved in the Chalices.
Molly and Julia’s relationship was so sweet, both platonically and romantically. They were so comfortable and in tune with each other, and I kinda wanted to yell at them both a little bit for assuming the other didn’t have feelings for them.
The Neville stuff was really sad. It sucks to see him undergo such a change of leaning into workaholism. It is markedly different from what we saw of him in the books, but it makes sense that he would lean into what’s comfortable for him. I hate to admit it, but I also headcanon Hannah dying fairly young as well and leaving Neville to grieve at Hogwarts, but I could never bring myself to write something that painful. Plus your version includes a child which is big oof so much more painful. It was so sad to see Julia trying to reach out to Neville and him shutting her out. I really hope they get through this stage soon.
I am glad that Julia’s friends were there for her, and took special care to support her during the holidays, but it makes sense they wouldn’t always be able to. Julia caring so much about them being able to have their own holidays stood out as a core aspect of her character. I like to think that Molly maybe lied a bit more than we knew about Julia being her excuse, like maybe there was no big Weasley celebration that year for her to get out of, but she really wanted a reason to justify spending the time with Julia.
The fact that that week that they spent together, even as just friends, was the best week that either of them had had was just sooo touching beyond words.
I’d love to see Julia spending the holidays with the Weasleys, or at least Molly’s immediate family.
I NEED to see the scene where Izzy finds out about Molly and Julia getting together
I really loved this! Great work.
Many many months ago I asked on Twitter for any cute stories (self-written or not) and you recommended this to me! And then I fell into a hole of schoolwork and general college busy-ness, and I never got around to this, I’m so sorry. But I’m here now! And I was so so happy to see that this was a story about gay girls. Fluff and romance?? Always my thing. So before I even opened the story, I was already excited haha.
From the beginning, I felt for Julia. It must really be difficult having a father that threw himself into work after grieving, though I’m glad that she had a good friend support system to help her through the holidays. I initially wondered who her father was—clearly he was a professor at Hogwarts, but at first I thought he was an OC. AND THEN I DISCOVERED HE WAS NEVILLE? NEVILLE LONGBOTTOM?? This poor man, first he lives a difficult childhood, and then his wife dies? That’s so tragic.
He should be helping his daughter more, though. Wow, I totally did not expect to see Neville’s name, though I guess it makes sense now. He spoke of Percy Weasley so familiarly, like he knew him, and we all know Neville teaches Herbology at Hogwarts, so. Wow. Good mini-plot twist (is that the word for it idk that’s what I’m calling it haha).
They are soo cute. I am so so delighted to read a story with unfamiliar characters. I love your characterization of Julia, of her backstory, and the emotions keeping her from having a truly happy Christmas. I also love your descriptions of Neville’s way of fending off the grief (as sad as it is that he’s neglecting his daughter). I wonder what Hannah Abbott was like. She must’ve been amazing. And Molly!! She sounds like such a beautiful person, I would totally fall in love with her too.
The confession scene?? “You’re not just my excuse, you know” AHHHH IT’S SO CUTE. All the kisses were so so sweet. I also love how spending a lot of alone time with Molly allowed Julia to overcome her unwillingness to put the star on the tree. I love the ending message that Christmas is about making new traditions with new loved ones.
HOW ARE YOU SO GOOD. <3
Can we ignore how long it's been since you left me this amazing review, and I'm only just responding to it now? Okay, cool. Because this was the best review! I've been truly enjoying writing more fluff and gay girls lately, and I'm glad you were excited before you even read it :P
Even though I wrote it, it was hard to imagine how hard it was for Julia. I really wanted her to have a good support network of friends, because I figured that was important for her to not totally teeter off the edge. And I know, I just had to drag poor Neville down a little more even though he didn't deserve it. The poor man. ♥
Yes, I was hoping it would be an unexpected little twist there, just to throw something concrete into the story :P
TBH, I would probably fall for Molly too. Her and Julia are both so sweet; I usually write headstrong girls so I wanted to do something a little different in this story. I'm so glad you enjoyed everything about Julia and Neville; in my mind, Hannah was truly an amazing woman and mum and they're both suffering hard from their loss. Hopefully they'll be able to grieve together later on.
Ahh, thank you! I'm so glad you enjoyed it so much, your reviews are always such a delight to receive ♥ ♥
Hi Jill! Here for our swap. :)
I love how the opening scene is a warm one, building an image of a tradition being followed by the students who had to stay behind for Christmas, but tinged with a deep sadness as we move on to Julia’s thoughts about her mum. There’s a feeling of melancholy that hangs above every word, right from the very beginning, and it contrasts so beautifully with the holiday feeling that’s built up in the background, complete with snow and a fireplace.
The conversation between Isabelle and Julia is so well-written. It’s clear that they have a deep friendship between them, with Isabelle understanding the extent of Julia’s grief, trying to draw Julia out of it while being supportive and kind at the same time. The way Julia can’t help smiling when Isabelle talks about meeting Greg’s family is so beautiful as well, and that she looks past her grief to be genuinely supportive and happy for Isabelle. I love how much they care about each other, and the depth you’ve built up in each of their characters. The way they leave to go get hot chocolate is a wonderful feel-good moment.
I also love the way you’ve ended this section with a mention of the silver star. It’s like a reminder that there’s a lot of grief and sadness that still remains to be dealt with, but also symbolic of hope, with Julia being able to look forward to things like hot chocolate with her best friend.
The scene with Neville is so, so powerful and sad. The description of him letting himself go, now that it was the holidays, goes to show just how obsessed he is with his work, not even sparing the time to spruce himself up anymore. He’s clearly so consumed by his grief and pain, especially so close to the holidays, my heart goes out to him. It also goes to show how each person goes through grief in different ways and at different paces. I hope Neville begins to let his daughter in, share this time with her in remembrance of his wife, although he seems to be far from that stage at this point. :(
Yay, alone time with Molly! I hope Julia reveals her feelings and they can have a wonderful Christmas together. It’s so cute that her stomach does flips when Molly smiles. Also I’m with Julia here, two cups of coffee is not much at all. And I tend to have very large cups. :P Aw, look at her leaning in a little closer. She can’t help herself, can she, this is so cute.
The way you’ve described the Weasley family gives me all the fuzzies. It’s such a warm and love-filled atmosphere. Definitely beautiful chaos. :’)
It’s so great that Julia and her group of friends are all from different houses and have made a place for themselves to meet up. I love that.
Their conversation about the Hogsmeade trip was so fun and heartwarming to read. They have a lovely, easy dynamic and it’s clear from this conversation. You’re so good at writing dialogue – I love how naturally this flows and I could visualise the whole scene taking place.
“It was probably for the best.” No Julia, don’t say that. â˜¹ This is so sad – it seems like she thinks Molly could never return those feelings for her, almost like she doesn’t deserve Molly’s feelings?
The scene progression in this story is amazing. I love how you didn’t use Hannah’s name until now, focusing more on the feelings of grief, and then giving us the details about Hannah’s death when the overall tone of the story is lighter. The way it moves onto Julia saying her mother’s death was the furthest thing from her mind made it even more powerful, with the emphasis on looking forward and finding happiness. The way she’s processed her grief, taking two years to get to this point where she’s able to focus on something other than her sadness, and her clear adoration of Molly builds up so many layers to her character, but all with such simple moments and I love that.
Omg. I'm screaming internally with so much excitement and happiness that Molly came right out and told Julia that she has feelings for her. That’s such a wonderful way of building up Molly’s character as well – it must have been scary for her to do so, but she took the chance and that is so great. They seem perfect for each other and they deserve that kind of happiness. Reading about their kiss and them snuggling up on the couch was so heartwarming, I have such a huge, goofy smile on my face right now.
It’s so symbolic, and a wonderful way of rounding-off this story, that the final scene revolves around the silver star again. It just goes to show how far Julia has come as a character and the way she’s giving herself a shot at happiness again, through a new ritual, and honouring the love she shared with her mother as well. This is such a beautiful way of ending this piece.
Jill, I love this and your writing so much. You have this way of building up complex emotions through such real, relatable moments, and it has such an effortless flow to it. There was this sort of dreamy air to the whole piece with this subtle layer of heaviness to it, and it was truly a delight to read.
Thank you so much for the swap. <3
Nim! Oh my god, this review. <33
Izzy and Julia's friendship was really sweet. They've known each other for almost the entire time they've been at Hogwarts, so Izzy knows when she can push Julia, and Julia knows when she needs to push Izzy -- to go meet Greg, to let her be alone for the holidays. I'm glad you picked up on the symbolism of the star; it's sort of why I left the end of the section like that, but Julia is definitely trying to move on, even when it's hard.
Ugh, Neville. It really was painful to write him this way. I'd like to say he gets better over time, but he is hit a bit harder than Julia was. I just want to give him all the hugs (and truthfully, so does Julia).
It really isn't that much coffee! Especially depending on how big the cups are. They are pretty cute together, aren't they?
Yeah, I can imagine the Weasley family being a bit, er... overwhelming for some of the introverted ones. Poor Molly.
Ah, thank you! Dialogue is something I pride myself in so it's always nice when things flow and you can visualize everything. Definitely the goal!
I love how people have gotten so excited during the confession! Yeah, it was really fun to write -- and I figured Molly would be the one to say something first. I definitely had the warm fuzzies while I was writing this piece, especially during this scene.
Thank you so much for this gorgeous review, Nim! And for the swap. I'm so glad you enjoyed this story, it's probably one of my favorites on my AP ♥
Ooooh Jill! My heart! This was so sad and sweet and ahhhh my heart!
I can’t imagine the pain of losing one of your parents before the holidays. Forever after that, the holidays would be bittersweet, I’m sure. My heart broke for Julia in the beginning, and how she just sat there, not wanting to take part in decorating the tree. And I’m just so sad that Hannah was dead! *wails* I’m the same way as Julia, though. I would never tell someone I needed them to stay, when they were so excited to leave and meet their significant other’s family. Yeah, I’d be happy for them, and put on a bracve face, but I’d still be sad and wish they stayed.
Okay, I literally cannot handle seeing Neville in this state. After everything that poor boy has been through, and with his parents the way they are, you took his wife?! *ugly snotty sobbing* Him letting his beard grow out, and his hair grow out, and suffocating himself with his work, and basically avoiding his daughter... uuuugh! My heart! Can I just hug Neville until he’s better?
The relationship between Julia and Molly was adorable. I loved their little banter back and forth with each other. Like you can see they were both crushing on each other. But it’s harder to admit those feelings when you have them for someone of the same sex. It’s not just a fear of rejection, you also don’t know how they’ll react to it at all. But I’m glad that Julia had her, and took her mind off of everything.
And then gah! That scene in the common room, when Molly admitted it first! Even though she’s a Claw, she must have inherited just a bit of that Weasley Gryffindor courage. I’m so glad that she said something, because Julia seems like the type who never would have. And they kissed and fell asleep together! Just, awwww!
I loved the end of this. And that she almost seemed to be at peace with her mother’s death. It had to have taken a lot of strength to let go of the star, and top the tree with it. I’m glad she had Molly there holding her hand, and giving her that strength.
I’m totally rooting for them as a couple. They just seem so cute and pure and I love them. This was so adorable, and so sad, and I just absolutely loved it! Such a great piece, my love! Thank you for doing the swap with me and giving me a chance to read it! <33
Meg! Hi :D
Yeah, I've been pretty fortunate in life, so I can't really relate to the grief that Julia is feeling. The holidays would definitely be bittersweet, especially with all of the marketing that goes towards those perfect and happy families, y'know? And yeah, Julia would never ask someone to stay for her, no matter how badly she would want to.
Ugh, yes, you absolutely can hug Neville, because that's all I wanted to do while I was writing this. And I made him that way. Ugh, sorry, my boy. Please forgive me.
I'm so glad you loved Molly and Julia and their relationship! And you're right, it's so much more complicated than just knowing if they like you back or not.
Yeah, Molly is definitely got some of that Weasley blood in her :P And she had to say something because if it were up to Julia, they probably would never actually progress. And Molly certainly gave Julia the strength to let go of the star, in turn letting go part of her grief. <3
Thank you so much for this lovely review! I'm so glad you enjoyed reading it, it was a lot of fun for me to write, too :)
Hey Jill! :) It's been so long since I've read anything of yours so I thought I'd stop by! :)
I know you've had a bit of a break from fic, focusing on OF, but your writing is as good as it ever was - if not better, imo. You've always had such a gift for telling beautifully honest, real stories with such lovely, true characters - they always feel like real people, like they're telling me their stories or I'm reading their diaries. It makes it such a pleasure to read your stories, almost whatever it's about.
And I love this: how there's all these different layers to this story - the grief and the sadness about her mum dying, even if it's been two years since, Neville struggling to deal with her mum dying and celebrating Christmas given when she died, and the romance and friendship blossoming between her and Molly. Despite the grief and that whole layer, this is a lovely, light-hearted story - but it's not quite fluff, which I love about it.
Julia's character is so so sweet. There's something so kind and hesitant about her - in the way that she seems to hold back so much, from almost everyone: from her dad, from her friends (even Isabelle), from Molly. It makes it so great at the end for her to finally actually admit her feelings to Molly - even if Molly sort of gets there before her, haha! :P If only so that she admits something and it feels like the beginning of her moving on - or, because I don't think losing a parent you loved is something you ever really move on from, begins to come to terms with.
Her and Molly are so so sweet together. I'd honestly love to see you write more of them, tbh - because they fit together so well and I'd love to see how they develop: with their very different families and their very similar personalities.
Honestly, for all you said that this is inspired by Christmas Hallmark movies, it is just so so so much better than pretty much any Christmas movie. They're all cheesy and flimsy, with cookie-cutter characters and plots, and this - this is a great, great feel-good story and I just love it.
LAURA THIS REVIEW ♥♥
I really don't know how to respond to this without saying thank you a thousand times and sounding like a blubbering mess?? But THANK YOU. This review meant so much to me, especially coming from you, I mea, jeez. Your writing is goals if anything.
I always strive to make my characters seem real, so this is huge for me. Whenever I write them it's always just like they're talking inside my head, so that probably helps with trying to make it more authentic.
Ah yes, thank you! I literally cannot write straight fluff, I think it's impossible for me :P So there's always gonna be a bit of angst sprinkled in somewhere.
That's really what I was trying to get at in this piece, to be honest. She's not really getting over it, but she's taking small baby steps in the healing process, like you say. I didn't really intend to write Julia so hesitant, but it just sort of came out that way as I was writing her. I'm glad the characterization worked for you; and you're right, it does make it more satisfying in the end when she sort of goes after what she wants, in a very Julia way. :P
To be honest, I had so much fun writing them together that I might write more of them in the future. No promises because I don't have a plot or anything, but I've thought about it!
Ahh thank you! That was definitely the vibe I was going for, and I'm so glad you loved it!
Thank you again for this review! I loved it so much ♥♥♥
Howdy Jill! I have come to deliver a gift from your gift-thread!
I'll start by saying this story was just exactly the sort of thing you'd want for a holiday romantic reveal. Unlike TV it had some REAL depth to it by addressing Hannah's death and the very deep impact it had on Neville as well as Julia of course. Though they were tough, Julia trying to interact with Neville and her description of him deteriorating were sad, but they were also one of my favorite components of the story.
As for the main thrust, Julia/Molly, I enjoyed the way you developed that because it wasn't relentless one-on-one fluff from the word go, wrapping the complexity of Hannah's death and its around that as a sort of facade. Learning about the secret through her opening interaction with Izzy was a nice way to introduce the point, later included in addressing so much uncertainty in the middle of the fic. I thought you also did a great job of using that (and other instances) to tie together the end of the story.
And as for the end...HUZZAH JULIA AND MOLLY!
Thanks for sharing, Jill! Happy New Year!
Hey, Kevin! Thanks for stopping by :D
Oh man, this first part of your review made my entire day when I read it, and it just kept getting better? Thank you so much! I think you know enough about my writing that I always try to add a little depth and some angst -- mostly because I'm convinced I can't write straight-up fluff, tbh, so I'm glad that worked here. I wanted to give Julia something to struggle with this holiday season, even if it's from an event in the past. I'm so glad you enjoyed the descriptions of Neville, even though they were difficult to write.
Ah yes, Julia/Molly. I figured it'd make sense to introduce the crush by having Izzy tease her about it, as friends typically do. I sort of wanted it to be a bit of a drawn out/slow burn feel but get there quicker -- if that even makes sense :P I'm glad you enjoyed it, though!
Thanks so much for the review! Happy new... month? to you too! ♥
I'm here for your wishlist! Happy holidays, dear! <3
Ah, this was so sweet! Such a lovely story! I'm feeling all warm and happy now, thank you! :)
I mean, poor Julia... it's very true that you feel family losses harder in this time of the year... especially if they happened in this time of the year... I feel for her so much... and for poor Neville, too... I hope he'll manage to find new reasons to smile again, too... I wish he would be more present for Julia, as well... I understand that he's suffering a lot, but it's so sad the way he's isolating himself from her... :(
Julia and her group of friends sound lovely! I always love some inter-house friendship and it looks like they are all very close! Also I love to read about Hufflepuffs (as I'm sure you can guess... :P) I really liked Izzy, she seems like such a great friend for her! :)
And then, of course, there is Molly. I just loved the progression here, the time they spent together and how it made Julia feel... and then, Molly revealing her feelings... aww, it was just the sweetest thing ever!
The last scene, when Julia finally finds the strenght to hang the star up the tree... it just made me so happy and proud! It might not seem like it, but it is a big step, and the fact that it was Molly who gave her that strenght makes it all the more sweet!
This was just so lovely, dear! Happy holidays and a big snowball hug again!
CHIARA! Hello my love, I hope you had a great holiday! <3
I'm so glad I could make you feel warm and fuzzy for once! :P
Yeah, it's really heartbreaking the way that Neville's isolating himself from Julia. Sort of in his defense, though, he doesn't really know how to function too well after losing Hannah. He thinks the best thing to do is to keep himself away, not realizing that Julia needs him more.
Yes, they're all very close! I love inter-house friendships too; I feel like they're not explored enough in fic as they should be. Izzy's pretty great; I really had fun writing her.
Aw, yeah, it was a tiny big step in the right direction, and she owes it all to Molly. Well, Julia had the strength all along -- Molly just kinda nudged her.
Thank you! I'm glad you enjoyed it, and a big snowball hug right back at ya! ♥
I'm here to drop off a review for our review swap! It's been way too long since we've done one of these. I've got a lot of reading to catch up on on your AP.
Aww. It's always tough when people dislike the holidays. I don't quite know what's going on yet, but I think you did a good job of conveying just how disinterested Julia is in the holidays. I'm glad that she at least has supportive friends around her to not make it so bad.
Looks like I spoke too soon. All of her friends are actually heading home for the holidays which means she'll now be at home on her own. The conversation she has about it with her dad is really sad. It's like Neville doesn't quite understand why she wants to go home. He seems to be avoiding bad memories attached with it. I wonder what happened to his wife. Did she die or did they get divorced?
I like that Molly at least is sticking around. She seems like a really good friend and I could totally understand why she wouldn't want to go home to all the chaos at the Burrow. I imagine Weasley Christmases would be massive and quite the scene.
Aww. Julia is in love with her. I think Molly feels the same way.
I knew it! I knew it! I knew it! Yes. I am so happy that they are spilling feelings and kissing and it's all warm and fuzzy.
I loved the ending with them finally hanging Hannah's decoration on the tree. It's such a sweet moment. I'm glad that Molly is helping Julia to move on.
This was a lovely, warm fuzzy piece. I mean I know it was sad that Hannah died and that Neville is so deep in mourning three years later, but I loved the budding relationship between Julia and Molly. Well done.
I know, it feels like forever since we've done a review swap. I should probably pay a visit to your AP as well!
Yeah, Julia's friends are mostly pretty great. I think Neville's thing is he sort of understands why she wants to go, but he's not quite ready to go himself, and he somehow thinks she'll have a better Christmas at Hogwarts with festitives and things like that.
Molly is super great. I really loved writing her.
Haha, yes, you were right! It was such a warm and fuzzy feeling and I'm glad that was captured well in the story, too.
Thank you so much for the review! ♥