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
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.
Ooooh, very intrigued about the Marlene thing and what the Marauders want Chloe's help for!
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!
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.
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!
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!
Aww I love how you write both Marlene and Chloe and Chloe's interactions with Sirius. Very intrigued to see where this story goes!
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!
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!
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.
** 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!
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!
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.
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...
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?
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!
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! :)
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!
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!
*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)
** Transferred over from HPFF, minus the bit about my suggestions/CC because you've already fixed that :P **
Hi Sarah, I'm finally here with your requested review from HPFT!
After reading this chapter, the primary thing that sticks with me is how marvelously you've set the tone. It's very dark and bleak, even from the very beginning, with the cold and the stone all around her and the way everything outside looks so far away. The suggestion of Chloe's loneliness is there without you having to say anything - and in fact this entire chapter, there's a lot said without you directly saying the words. Showing, not telling: one of the most effective techniques in writing, and you're definitely succeeding.
So, for your areas of concern: The introduction does effectively raise questions- especially the author's note! Normally I do love things that stick to canon, but your very same reason for writing this - exploring cause and effect - is a huge part of my own AU story as well, so I really relate to that, and I'm so curious to see how you'll explore cause and effect in the Marauders era, and how one little difference could change the fate of so many. And here, something is different - Marlene died after Lily and James, and is that due to an insignificant change you made - and what else is changed by the delay in Marlene's death?
The mother's condition is vague, but I think that's good. You don't want to give everything away in the first chapter, so this raises enough questions to get a reader interested in continuing to further chapters to find out some answers.
As for Chloe's relationship with Sirius - certainly very mysterious, because he's only mentioned twice here. Chloe obviously has some history with him, based on how she feels about seeing his handwriting, but the last line - that was unexpected. I'm not quite sure what to make of it. I don't know whether the past relationship Chloe had with Sirius was a bad thing or a good thing. So... it is vague, but I prefer that rather than an infodump of her whole past. :P
Anyway, I really enjoyed what you have of this so far. It's much different from the other writing I've read by you, but the switch to a totally different genre seems to come naturally to you. Great work on this! And please feel free to re-request when you've got more chapters up :)
Wow! I'll start with that. Wow. Let's elaborate, shall we?
That was some really good writing. The chapter started off a little slow, with Chloe doing her little dance of teenage insecurity with Emily, but I almost feel like you were lulling me into a false sense of security. Once things started to roll downhill... Wow.
You added depth and subtlety to Chloe's character in this chapter. She's insecure and a bit of a loner, but she also seems to have that strength that goes along with many loners.
Emily seems like an emotional basket case. She's both victim and perpetrator, wounded by her mother's emotional manipulativeness and using the same techniques on others without much remorse.
If you made me take a guess, it would be that the Black Adder Society is mostly composed of Slytherins who aspire to join the Death Eaters. Perhaps it's simply a code name for that. And I guessed that before the scene shifted out of the Great Hall.
Once the scene moves to the Hufflepuff Common Room, you really turned up the dial on the atmospheric details. From the shadowy hallways to the dark steaming baths, everything was defined by dim, flickering light and concealed details. Beautifully done.
The scene inside the baths was incredibly tense. I was sitting here, feeling my stomach twist. It was pretty apparent that nothing good was going to happen, but I still didn't expect things to turn out this badly. It was kind of like sexual assault, but in that sense where rape is always more about power than sex. All that mixed with a huge dollop of bigotry. Horrifying stuff.
I'm not sure what Sirius and Marlene were doing in the halls at night, but it's a good thing they were there.
I saw a couple of things as I was reading that struck me as worth pointing out:
Gingerly extracting the note from a pool of gravy, she held it up to the light as if it were a relic form Tutankhamen’s tomb. -- from, not form
At times Hogwarts felt as much a comforting home as it did unsettlingly creepy. -- I would consider reversing the order here, since in the immediate situation it's unsettlingly creepy.
Otherwise, excellent writing. Good job!
OK, so that ending line was way, way unexpected. I am really curious to find out what **that's** all about. But I'm getting ahead of myself.
I really love the way you started this chapter. You set the scene really well without an overload of information. Chloe is a witch. She (sometimes) shares a small home with her (muggle, I think?) parents in a place that's pretty far removed from the war. It feels like a rural area, judging by the presence of a sheep fence. Aside from the useful information, your description and detail was lovely. It painted a gorgeous picture.
You did a really good job adding imagery that gave life to her grief and sadness. The images of Lily and James after the murder, and poor baby Harry. She was obviously close to all of them.
The enumeration of the lies she tells her mother was also a very effective bit of writing. It highlighted the tension between her life in the muggle world and the magical. The guilt that she feels for continuing to risk her life instead of abandoning the magical world to help with her sick mother. But also the guilt she feels for hiding in the muggle world when James and Lily are already dead and now Marlene has apparently joined them.
Very nice job with this. It was a nice, easy read and everything flowed beautifully.
***Transferred from HPFF***
Here for our swap!
Okay, so... I must confess that I was a tiny bit confused by the AU aspects of this first chapter... and now I'm very intrigued about the relationship between Chloe, Sirius and Marlene and what happened among them... but let's go with order...
Your description... your description was just breathtaking through the whole chapter! You had me hooked since the very first sentence. Such atmosphere, with the winter cold and the eerie quietness of the village. Beautiful.
I found really interesting the relationship between Chloe and her parents, her mother in particular. I loved how you wrote the fragility of it, the unsaid things, everything. I mean, it's sad... especially thinking that Chloe's mother can't really understand her and that Chloe feels like she can't be herself with her... but you wrote it beautifully.
I also loved how you wrote her reaction at Marlene's death and the comparison to James and Lily's deaths. You manage to write every single emotion so powerfully and I could actually feel her grief and her shock.
I'm sorry, I have to go now... but I hope the message passed that I loved every bit of this! I'll hopefully be back soon for more!
Thank you for swapping and much love!