This is one of my favorite chapters you've written. You really play with your talent in creating seamless transitions. Harry's confusion, the argument, the anger and fear, all the emotions of two people who are so absolutely terrified of each other and being hurt. Your considerable talent just shines so well in this.
The contest about who had it worse was one of my favorite parts. They're angry, hurt, neither taking enough time to see what the other endured, but still childish enough to fight about it. I actually see a lot of Ginny's side to this. I know Harry had a very difficult destiny thrown at him, but he was also on an adventure. Okay, was it ideal? Of course not. Terrifying, deadly, a constant game of survival. But, they were still out *doing* and for someone with Ginny's personality, being left behind to simply wait and endure what happens to her, it had to be torturous.
Something I didn't pick up on when I first read this chapter was Ginny's own emotional state. Or at least it didn't come to me as strongly as it did now. She's really desperate to make something <I>okay</I>. She's heart broken, confused, and still so in love with Harry but unable to trust either of them. And she throws those feelings into sleeping with Harry, compensating for the fact that she's inexperienced and scared with her over confidence. It almost feels like a different take on the 'girl sleeps with guy because she wants him to love her' but more layered here. It actually seems more like, girl sleeps with guy because she can't handle her own emotions and wants to feel something else. Anyway, girl has some serious stuff to work through.
And poor Harry. This was pretty much the sum up of his life: goes along with what he's told and somehow muddles through. Lol! Please, God, give me a scene where Ginny confronts Hermione about not being sure about it all and everything not being exactly like she expected, and PLEASE let Hermione have a book to lend her. I'll line you forever! But in all seriousness, I love that they're going to figure out each other together. I think what they've been through, what they're feeling, and how they really don't know where to go from here was the perfect scene to have them making a relatively rash decision based off those emotions. Did they get it all right? No, but they'll get there :P!
I love even more that you show this wasn't Ginny's plan to get them back together. She's still so uncertain if where they stand, and she deserves her own time to wade through what she's feeling.
Amazing and powerful writing. Love this chapter <3.
I'm a little speechless because i didn't expect a scene like this and certainly not in that much detail... I'm amazed at your skill. You wrote this so well..
I can picture this exactly this way. It makes me sad how this chapter ends but i can understand Ginny so well. It's really hard to trust someone who has already hurt you once, even if you lover03; them.
You make this moment seem really right for them, despite all the chaos and everything surrounding them. It's relief, love, passion, a distraction... It makes sense. I always thought harry would be a lot more awkward about intimate things but i like the way you wrote it because it makes him seem more mature.
Can't wait to read the next chapter
I debated a lot whether I wanted things between Harry and Ginny to play out this way. You could certainly make the case that it happened far too quickly. What I wanted to try to convey is that they are normal teenagers who have been through hell and back and therefore were in a very emotionally vulnerable state. People in that situation tends to make rash decisions that don't always makes sense the morning after.
I tried to hit a balance where Harry didn't seem too mature relative to his age and (lack of) experience. Maybe I didn't quite get there... :-/
Thanks so much! Hope to see you soon.
You linked me to this story a few days ago when i asked for some recomendations & i only now got around to reading it.
I'll keep this review short because i'm on my way somewhere right now, but i didn't want to skip it completely and then forget...
I really really like where you started and how much detail you added to a scene that all of us have probably pictured many times before. I feel like this works really well and I absolutely love how ypu included kreacher and how harry treats him with respect and gratitude. That was so sweet, it almost made me cry.
Harry blaming himself is such a typical response to his trauma, and it hits kind of close to home - i always have to work hard to not let scenes like this trigger me...
That being said, I love it anyway, because it feels so true and so right. I'm sure there's more to come and I really want to stick with this and see what happens next.
Hi, Anja! Thank you for the reminder to respond to reviews. It's very important, I think, to let people know how much they're appreciated.
I've always felt like Kreacher was one of those interesting loose ends from the books. There's really no closure to his story, per se, which makes it fun to write about. I'm glad you like what's happened with him so far. You will see him again...
Harry is in a pretty bad place at the start of the story. He will get better, as will all of our heroes, but it's going to be a tricky, touchy journey.
There is much more to come. After i finished Conspiracy of Blood, I was pretty sure I'd never write anything that long ever again. I have a feeling that this story might end up surpassing that one. We shall see...
Thanks so much for the review!
For some reason I never thought a lot about the worries and stress Hermione would feel when it came time to find her parents and bring them back into the people they used to be. Nor did I think about the feelings Ginny would deal with learning she'd been possessed by a portion of Voldemort's soul.
This was an amazing follow up to the last few chapters. It sort of feels like everyone got to a point where they had to stop running from the more terrifying aspects of 'what's next' and start facing it. And I love Ron. Ginny has her tempers and her passion, Hermione a solid strength in her beliefs and levelheaded nature that helps her to see all sides of things, Harry and his general mess of feeling either not worthy, regretful, angry, or all three... Then Ron. He's had his moments, but in the whole of things he's so good at simply accepting something and taking the next step. I love it. It makes my heart happy.
I'm so proud of the part of Hermione that's letting herself take what she wants even if it's not entirely appropriate. At leash little by little. Until portraits get in the way.
I love Ginny's contrast to Harry in this chapter. She's so strong, and it makes my heart hurt to think about how someone that age shouldn't be that strong. She's lost so much but is still able to give Harry what he needs, lets him unburden himself to her, though I'm sure she has many breaking points in the future, the stench she finds for Harry is beautiful.
I'm so excited to find out what happens next!!
Hi, Jami! It's review-answering day!
There are a thousand little aspects to the end of the war. I'd be lucky if I could address even 1% of them. I just try to hit the ones I think make a good story. Hermione's parents seems like a fairly important one to me. She sent them away because she didn't want them to be hurt or killed and she wasn't certain she'd survive the war. Now that it's resolved, bringing them back would feel like the right thing to do to her.
I hope you keep liking Ron. I loathe the way that most authors write him. They either dumb him down or turn him into a jerk. He does not deserve this.
Hermione is going to do a lot of that sort of "three steps forward and two steps back" when it comes to her relationship with Ron. She's not the type to just let go.
To me, that's the single biggest theme of this story. A group of young people who've had to endure far more than they should and the only way they make it through is by supporting one another. I'm really pleased you like it.
Thank you for all the help and support and the awesome review!
Is it bad that I wanted Ron to find them? Eh, I know you're not as dramatic as I am. And that's pretty cliche but still. Make me giggle.
"And you got lost along the way because the moving stairs aren't like you remember them," Ginny supplied helpfully.
I love how quick on their feet they are. Hermione is ready to lie for him while Ginny is ready to add more flavor to the story. There Harry sits, dumbfounded. Ha-ha. Classic Harry.
Hermione was sure that she was never going to feel whole again. Too much had been taken from her. Giant chunks of her life torn away, leaving nothing but raw, open wounds.
Oh Hermione. I understand her disapproval. If anything it was completely shocking to walk in on them. I doubt she thought that's how she was going to find Harry or Ginny. I mean they just fought a war. They haven't been able to sleep. They haven't been able to eat. They haven't even had time to think. And here are her friends jumping into bed together. I get it. I also get that she was trying to keep herself together (like always). Hermione is the rock. She's the sensible one which is why she's always the one to run off searching for Harry. She's the one that can turn her nose up at this very moment because she's right. Sex wasn't the best coping mechanism. I think her disapproval has more to do with the fact that she needs to have her breakdown now. She needs someone to comfort her and care for her needs.
"Missing," Ginny replied breathlessly, pressing her palms against her cheeks. "Oh, my." She was playing up the act to an absurd extent.
Ginny Weasley, you're a bad girl.
Ron lightly slapped his own forehead. "Wizard, right."
I LOVE THE SEXUAL TENSION.
I NEED MORE.
"I've heard the rumors, Harry. That you willingly answered his call and went into the Forbidden Forest to face him. I don't know why you did it or what happened, but I want you to know that you will always have my gratitude for stopping that monster."
I don't know why but I started crying at this. It's just you could have picked any person out there for them to show their gratitude towards him. I'm thinking Molly Weasley, any of the Weasley's actually, several students, McGonagall but you chose a person I wouldn't have thought twice about and who in return is helping him. I don't think she's making it awkward. I don't think it's outlandish to hear her say these words and I appreciate the fact that it's not this big drawn out thing. It happens so quickly because she's focused on what she's supposed to be doing--helping Harry.
Sorry my review is relatively short but I'm off to the gym! I don't have much to say about the ending except I just want the next chapter to be posted soon!
Hi Dan! As I transfer my reviews from HPFF to here I realized there are some stories of yours that I haven't read. Shame on me!
"You didn't think I'd let you win, did you, Harry?"
Do you enjoy breaking my heart? Was it seriously necessary to go through each death like that? Uh, poor Harry. Voldemort is finally dead and he can't catch a break. Every single person he lost...will just follow him forever. He might be able to have a normal life but there's going to be that hole in his chest forever. That darkness because of all the pain he went through.
"Are you going to stand there shuffling your feet all night or are you going to say something?"
Why are guys like this! Just suck it up and comfort the girl. For the love of...this has happened to me so many times before. It's like just do the right thing. If she responds negatively at least you tried to do the right thing. Don't ignore her because that's just the worse. Harry doesn't know how to talk to girls in general though so I shouldn't be surprised. If Hermione cried I don't know how he would deal with it. He would probably ignore her too.
She drew her arm back and lashed out. Her palm connected with the side of his face and the noise echoed around the empty room. Her pale, tear-stained face twisted into a mask of fury.
I am not a big fan of violence. No one deserves to be hit but I mean...Harry does deserve a stern talking to. He is rather self centered. I mean okay so he does consider everyones feelings but he's obviously more intune with Hermione and Ron. Everyone else...eh...he's concerned for their safety and would do anything to protect them but he has his moments.
"You left me," she said simply.
OH BOO-HOO GINNY, BOO-HOO. You'd think she'd be a bit more understanding. Yeah, yeah I get it her brother died, her friends are dead and she's not in a good place right now but he left her? There's a bigger argument to be had. Plus, she's one person. Sorry not sorry but he had to leave in order to save the world. No big deal though Gin, cause he left you. *rolls eyes*
Instead, he wondered how they would feel against his palms-
I know it's not supposed to be funny but I had a crap day and this just really made me laugh out loud.
"That it didn't last longer and it wasn't, you know, better. That you didn't... you know..." Harry fumbled for something to say that didn't sound completely stupid. Nothing came to him. "I'm just... sorry."
Damnit, I wish half the guys I've slept with apologized to me like this.
Man I don't know I'm conflicted. Obviously they're going to end up together in the end but why does he have to be so dense? He kind of doesn't deserve someone so understanding but then after everything he's been through does he get a pass? i don't know. I just wish he had more of an emotional capacity for this type of relationship. But Ginny is right after all. His entire life is going to change. He might not think so but he's going to need plenty of time to readjust. He might want to be with her but he can't be with her, at least not right now, even though he wants to be. But he can't be on the fence about it. That's what pisses me off. You can have sex with a girl but you're not entirely sure you can put in 100% of the effort. Uh, that's my life. Harry is every person I've ever dated except at least he follows through in the end.
Dan, I cried, I laughed and now I'm frustrated! I kind of wish she would have smacked him again. Ha-ha-ha.
Hi, Deeds! It's taken me shamefully long to respond. Please forgive me.
I don't enjoy breaking hearts, but I seem to do it kind of often. Which makes me think that maybe I do subconsciously enjoy it. I guess I'm subconsciously a bad person?
I think many guys are feeling the exact same thing Harry is feeling here: terror. They don't want to mess up. If Hermione was crying? I think Harry might still panic, but err on the side of doing too much. Hermione crying would freak him out. You might get a chance to find out...
I agree that Harry didn't deserve to get slapped, but he does need someone to start to knock some sense into him. I foresee Ginny taking on this role with gusto.
I actually meant for most of that scene to be kind of funny. Poor Harry is so awkward and Ginny is overdoing things heavily. It can't help but be humorous in places.
Harry quickly goes back to being overcome with guilt when he's done being overcome with lust. That's just the state of mind he's in at this point.
Harry is dense because nobody has ever shown him how to be any other way. Sorry, ladies, but that's pretty much how the male brain works. We have to learn to be empathetic. It's not built in. And to be fair to Harry, you have to admit that Ginny sort of jumped him. She has a lot of her own issues she's going to need to work through in the story.
Thank you for the awesome, long, though-provoking review!
Finally I could be back again after CTF forums review battles.
I’m wondering if you have changed your writing style, Dan. As I read some chapters of CPB, I felt that you spared more space to write the surroundings, nature around the main character compared with the previous works. Or you’ve not changed, or may be just my thought now. What I wanted to say, the first paragraphs are well written, showing Harry’s mind.
Since I’ve read some about the angst that Harry regretted his late for finishing Voldemort, grieved the death of his dearest people written by not a few authors, I could easily enter your world. Yours is also excellent, nobody thought of writing the nightmare, in so visual way. Especially nobody tried to kill his best friends in his nightmare.
“Aching”, “frantically”, “ clenched”, “gasping” these words suit Harry so well. From there, I could visualize him like seeing him in the theater. I expected that Ginny would soon enter. You didn’t betray my guess, he heard her cry. Many authors wrote about her after the war. I held my breath and waited wondering if you would write strong Ginny or weak Ginny. Then I was very impressed. You wrote both sides of her. And you didn’t forget describing Harry’s inner struggle, his mental part. How brave he had fought, but he got coward in front of Ginny. You captured his characteristics very well. I like that. I spotted this.: “"Are you going to stand there shuffling your feet all night or are you going to say something?"
I’ve read a few "fragile and angry Ginny" like you did before, but yours gave me fresh, new impression. The words, her “voice was quiet. Dangerous” might be ones of the reasons I felt yours are new. Men are afraid of quiet and dangerous women.
Lots of Hinny shippers wrote the dialogue, "I thought you were dead!" including me like a non-native speaker. :D But the difference between yours and the others, is what Ginny threw attacking spells to him with all her might, though I’ve read the story where Ginny blamed him using her magic one or two, yours is the best. You let her speak "Did you enjoy watching all of us cry for you?", "Did that make you feel like a hero?" We think she is so stupid after Harry had endured so much and his own words showed her stupidity in the following sentences, but we understand or guess what she had endured at Hogwarts might be huge like Harry’s, which your description of her later let us notice.
The intense battle between Ginny and Harry, we can’t judge which won, but the question is still unanswered, what happened to Ginny while Harry had gone hunting Horcruxes in spite of their hot intimacy scene. And her suggestive comments, the relationship would be changed against their will let the readers uneasy in spite of the fact they got together finally.
Though I’ve read the story after Harry is awarded the Order of Merlin written by the other authors, I’m very eager to read yours.
Here for our review swap!
How is it that you aren't a published author? Seriously. Your writing is top notch. No matter what character you've focused on our your plot, you always do such a convincing job. I'd love to see what you could do with an OF piece.
This chapter was brilliant. I thought you captured the immediate affects of war perfectly. Everything from the violent flashbacks to the bone deep fatigue to the water stinging against all of the war wounds. I think this is possibly the best day after portrayal of the trio that I've ever seen.
I also want to say thank you for writing Ron right. All too often, people make him a buffoon or super selfish, but I think you've nailed his character. The line that really stood out to me is when Harry goes to apologize about Fred and Ron says he can't talk about it because Harry and Hermione need his strength. That's Ron. The quiet, sometimes humorous strength giving support to those he loves. It was beautiful testament to their friendship.
The scene at the bottom of the stairs was another lovely moment. The way that Harry just collapses and they all have that tender moment together. Then Hermione realizes they stink and they all fall over laughing. It's great because you show that even in life's hardest moments there has to be some sense of humor. I remember when I lived on a military base, most of my friends were combat soldiers....and even when they were dealing with some truly difficult things there was still humor....sometimes incredibly warped humor...but it still existed.
The scene with Hermione seeing Harry naked was amusing. It's a funny thing to think she'd be so squeamish about considering that they've just seen people get mauled, but I think it also hints at a sense of normalacy returning to the world.
I've been keeping a list of stories to recommend for the sitewide awards that'll be coming up in a few months. This is definitely going on that list. I'll certainly be back to read the next chapters soon!
Oh, you hush! ;) You're going to give me a big head.
I want realism to be the name of the game in this story, so I'm glad you felt like I captured all of that. Too many post-war stories that I've read ignore the immediate after-effects of the war.
There is so much Ron-hate in the world. I don't get it. You almost have to wonder whether some of these people have ever had a real friendship. They're complicated and messy and you go through periods of time where you don't get along. But real friends always come back in the end. Like Ron.
I hope you'll find a lot of humor in this story, because I think it's the only way a group of people so young could have survived the difficult times and the outirght horrors they lived through.
Exactly! All of the characters in this story are deperate to get back to something that the consider "normal". Normal teenagers with normal teenage activities and normal teenage problems. Unfortunately for them, it's not going to be easy, considering the massively abnormal series of events they've just survived.
Aww... you are way too kind! Thank you for the swap!
In a quiet moment of aching, numbing exhaustion, Harry Potter realized that the struggle which had defined his entire life was over.
Whenever I read your stories I get so lost in the descriptions and everything that’s going on I forget that I’m supposed to be reviewing the story. I’ve never really sat back to think about how Harry, Ron and Hermione would have felt once everything was over. They can’t even be excited over something so monumental because half of the people they know are dead and I’ve never considered that. One minute Voldemort was there and the next he’s gone. After all this time, after all these years. This person or this ‘thing’ because he really wasn’t a person anymore, that had taken over their lives, that took their freedom and their innocence is gone. They had the weight of the world on their shoulders and now they’re free. Crazy, when I read the above part I got really emotional for Harry and co.
“We smell so bad!” Hermione finally blurted out before crumbling into a fit of laughter.
This would be my reaction after everything too. They’re still processing everything. It’s heavy but you can’t even take anything seriously right now because you can breathe again. Imagining all of them falling and Hermione’s face in Ron’s armpit = priceless.
Really gave me a good chuckle.
“I never knew how brave she really was.” Padma replied, gripping her sister’s hand tightly. “Not until it was too late.”
One minute I’m sad, the next minute I’m laughing, and now you have me with tears in my eyes. I can’t handle this emotional roller coaster. Uh, this part. I don’t even want to read it. Do I have to?
Harry stepped into the common room and let his eyes sweep over the first place he’d ever truly felt at home.
My heart is so heavy in my chest.
He looked frantically around the room, anchoring himself in the here and now.
Oh god, I feel for him. I really do. He just came back from war. Harry has gone through so much in his life but this…I feel like this really destroys him. No matter how old he is he’s still going to carry with him this huge weight of everything that happened. He could go to therapy. He could take potions. He could let things go but it’s still going to be there, no matter how far in his brain, forever. The images will haunt him forever.
Harry naked. Hermione on all fours. I go from laughing to crying back to laughing again. You’re really working my emotions here.
Uh! I got lost again. I loved this. I have to read on but I feel emotionally drained. The moment with Kreacher when he finally gave in and said what he wanted. The pure respect he has for Regulus and Harry, rang true to my heart. Seeing Hermione and Ron comfort each other and then Ron just trying to be there for the two of them and pushing his own pain aside. My heart. It breaks. Dan, I can’t even begin to understand the process and the energy that goes into writing chapters like this. I would be drained.
Hi, deeds! Thank you for stopping by!
It's kind of a huge deal if you think about it. Just not anything that any normal person (or even most abnormal people) can relate to. To have this massive, singular focus in your life and suddenly it's over. I guess maybe the closest thing even remotely relatable would be retiring from a very selective, life-consuming profession?
I think I'm going to need a lot of small moments of humor to make this story work. Otherwise, it will be a complete mope-fest. So much grief and loss and sadness...
I was really pleased with the Common Room scene. I don't think it would have felt the same to them after the war, even if it was exactly the same. It wasn't home anymore.
Unfortunately for Harry, his struggles with PTSD are going to be a frequent topic in this story. Therapy? Well, of a sort. But I can't give too much away this early. ;)
I hate when people leave Kreacher out of post-war stories, or just marginalize him after a quick mention. His own story is wrapped up so tightly in all of this.
Very pleased that you enjoyed it! Thank you for reading and reviewing!
J.K.Rowling's original quotes, "I've had enough trouble for a lifetime." reminded the readers of her cheerful mood after the serious battle scene. Then your story began.
You did right, Dan. To describe how Harry felt physically after the battle is a nice start. Especially for laborers like us, your descriptions arouse sympathy for his exhaustion which we feel daily after job.
Then you focused how seriously he had injured. The readers remember amount of physical pains he had suffered. Not only that, you didn't forget adding the description how his best mates supported him, which attracts our attention to your story more.
Not a few authors had tried writing the scene after the battle and I've read them. The difference between them and yours, is that you put together his feeling at the moment to "It's over." I remembered one scene on the TV drama about the end of the World War II.
As the one of the people of the nation that was defeated in war, (partially, I believe my country was sacrifice of the imperialism era), I could feel Harry's true impressions with a sense of reality. "He pictured himself shouting them to everyone within earshot, pumping his fists in the air. Now, there was no rush, no celebration, no shouts of joy."
Then again, you let the readers notice that J.K.Rowling's world was written about friendships, not only about the war or the death or absurdity, but also about love. That gives us courage to keep on living and your story is like that as well.
Your story is continued to go back to Harry's inner deep darkness. The moment came to show off your talent. You portrayed how the burden Harry Potter had carried through seventeen years was heavy and hard to climb over. On the contrary, Hermione's words,
"We made it." and Ron's "Never doubted it." make us relieved.
One of the impressive descriptions there is,
"The quiet sighs of Hermione's breath by his ear, the soft scuffing of Ron's trainers against the stone steps and the slow beating of his own heart were the only sounds he was aware of. It was so peaceful compared to the deafening chaos of the battle and the roar of accolades that had followed." This is one of my favorites. Then you prepared the next, a humorous episode, Hermione's giggles and Ron's chuckle let us relax after tensed mood.
And the story hasn't ended yet, as I know, the severe fact is thrusted to the trio. The death of their friend from the conversation of Patils.
One more favorite episode you made is the Fat Lady's scene. I smiled at her obligation that she tried to let them say the right password and her struggle and the trio's gestures.
Reading the common room scene, one Irish tune played with a harp and a whistle or pipes came up in my mind. It is well written. I like it.
The spot where their eyes shifted the outside of Hogwarts, beautifully written. I could picturesque each description about Scottish highlands after the battle. Oh, I could tell you how the tune was like in my mind at the scene you wrote. I'll give you one Chinese line instead,
After the war (one country was defeated), there're still mountains and rivers
Spring has come to the castle, and the leaves are sweetly blooming
After Hermione came back from her shower, each movement of Ron let us hook at your story, expecting what will happen next. I sensed at last the story came to the main point.
Sadly, all scars and bruises including his mental agony so suited him well. We got used to reading vulnerable and tormented Harry, but for me, each description written in your sentences reminded me of the feeling, deserted burned field Hiroshima and lost lives there after the atomic bomb when I visited The Atomic Bomb Museum. I mean your words have the strong power to touch the broken heart of one Japanese.
I expect and wait for your next chapter. Thank you for keeping to post stories at hpft between your busy RL.
This was beautiful and poignant. Extremely well-written. After validating it in the queue, I had to come and leave a review for it. The characters were all perfectly in character and the explorations of each of their personalities were terrific.
The PTSD scene with Harry in the shower hit me hard, as most of the characters of who had battled would be suffering to some extent, but with the way Harry feels everyone's death is his fault, he would be hit hard.
I really also like the scene with Kreacher wanting to go home. I can see him wanting to return to Grimmauld Place and just get on with his life. Kreacher's redemption from simple kindness gets so often overlooked and it's good to see Harry still wanting to do right by him.
Hi! It's always an honor to get a review from the person who just validated your chapter. I know how much work it is to stay on top of the queue, so it means a lot that you would stop and take time to do this.
I read a lot of post-war stories. They're my favorite genre of HP fan fiction. The thing that bothers me most is a story where the characters seem to jump right back into normal life after the battle. I believe that the physical, psychological and emotional scars sustained by all of the characters during the war would have taken a long time to overcome. Or even just learn to deal with, for that matter. I don't want there to be anything quick or easy about this story.
I love Kreacher as a character, both his acidic personality and what he represents. I definitely wanted him to have a meaningful role in this story.
Again, thank you so much for taking the time to stop and review. I really appreciate it!