Hi, there, Kaitlin and Isobel! Sorry I couldn't get started on this earlier. I thought the kids were never going to go to sleep tonight!
This is a pairing that I never considered, even though it works perfectly age-wise. There's a bold stroke to the idea: the concept of Snakes and Lions putting aside the animosity and finding love. I've always imagined both of them as the quiet sort, so I think they'd be compatible on the face of it.
Poor Astoria. Valentine's day would have been especially hard for her after losing Colin. So many people around her, all enjoying what she has lost.
Her family know now, after the Battle exposed their relationship -- This is something I found myself wondering about after I finished reading this. What was Astoria's role in the battle? Most of the Slytherins were evacuated prior the the Dark Lord's assault on the castle. Did she sneak away from the others and try to go to Colin's side? Actually, now that I think of it, being muggle-born, Colin wasn't in the castle until immediately before the battle. I wonder whether Astoria knew that he had returned? If so, how did they keep in touch? Such a star-crossed love affair!
Random-not-random thought: whoever put those roses down in the snow must have felt like kind of a jerk after Astoria saw them and freaked out. I mean, I get the idea of rose petals, but who puts entire roses -- stem and all -- down in the snow? At any rate, it's good that Zabini was there to help her.
I like the italicized asides that you've included, even though I had to guess a bit at some of the context. Slughorn's was especially striking. I'm guessing it was a picture of Lily that he was mourning over, but there's no way to be sure. Similarly, I'm wondering how Blaise and Daphne's relationship came to be and whether there was real love there of it if was all for show. It's kind of nice, the way you left some things open to interpretation.
The camera worked well as a plot device to tie the story together. It offers a way to transform Astoria's grief and build on it. It started off as a painful reminder, but in the end it seemed to help Astoria find a sort of peace.
Yet he's sitting at the rickety old table that Theo used to study at, his assortment of friends conspicuously absent. -- Again, this is open to interpretation, but I came away feeling that it probably was Theo sitting at the table, only so changed from his past self that Astoria couldn't recognize him.
As much as I liked the italicized sections, one thing bothered me about them. There was a lack of theme and consistency that, at least for me, crossed the fine line that separates "open to interpretation" from "confusing". Some of them were descriptions of the moments in the story that came just before or just after: the picture of Parvati for instance. Others were moments taken out of time, like Dennis's sorting. I think I would have liked it more if all of the italicized moments were asides related to Astoria's photographs.
Hagrid stands in front of his hut, his eyes distant and stormy as he stares at the place where Dumbledore's body has been laid to rest. Suddenly, he turns, realizing that someone is taking a picture. He waves enthusiastically, grinning at the person behind the lense, but the warmth of his smile never quite reaches his eyes. -- This. Holy crap. This.
I like how you showed some foreshadowing of Astoria's relationship with Draco at the end. For me, that was a very good note to end on. It completes the arc of Astoria's nascent emotional recovery. The bit with Crabbe I thought was a little out of left field. Draco never treated Crabbe and Goyle like anything more than flunkies in the books. And it was obvious in the Room of Requirement that the dynamic between the three of them had become very strained due to Draco's family falling out of favor with the Dark Lord. If he had been mourning Snape, the man who literally saved him from certain death, that would have worked better for me.
Overall, I really enjoyed this! The writing was lovely. It flowed really well and you did a great job editing the story to keep it tight and on-theme. Good job!
Wow. I... wow.
(Hello, I'm here for our review swap, Kaitlin, and hello, Isobel!)
So this is amazing. What's amazing how cohesive it is and I have no idea who wrote what parts because everything just flowed together so nicely. Astoria's character, in particular, stays consistent except for the change that we see throughout the course of the story.
I loved the descripstions. They were so powerful, and I can only imagine going back to Hogwarts after the battle, and it seems perfectly plausible that rose petals could trigger painful memories. I just wanted to snuggle Astoria the entire time; her grief and heartache was so real and raw. You're both fantastic writers, so it's really no surprise that this was amazing, but yeah. The last section with Draco was the most powerful; the last line actually sent shivers up my spine.
I love the idea of a memorial wall, that Draco would carve Crabbe's name into it at the bottom. As we don't know anything about how their relationship started, it's entirely possible that they could have mourned together after the battle. And since we know that Astoria helped change Draco's perspective, I can see her falling for someone as sweet and innocent as Colin.
AND DENNIS GIVING HER HIS CAMERA, THAT BROKE MY HEART OKAY?! GEEZ. JUST TAKE IT.
I am curious about how their relationship got started, but it honestly doesn't matter because I could feel how much Astoria loved him just from this one-shot.
I also really, really enjoyed the little snapshots in between, breaking everything up. Although this piece was definitely an fast read regardless; even without much dialogue, which was hard to do. You really kept my attention the whole time. (I'm also a sucker for Astoria stories and angst, but you know, that's completely beside the point.)
I love what you guys did with the two prompts and that you were able to weave it into such a powerful one-shot.
Amazing job, and good luck in the challenge!