I have always had an undeniable fascination with Percy’s character because he’s rather different than his siblings, but yet still utterly Weasley, you know? And with this one-shot, Mar, I think you have shown both those differences and similarities brilliantly. It’s short and sweet, but that allows for its purpose to come across in a lovely simple way.
What I find to be the most intriguing part of this story is Percy’s characterization, and the subtle changes he experiences within this conversation with Audrey. He is very much the ambitious Percy we see in the books because he appears, at first, to merely be following along with his ‘job’, but as the story goes on this view changes and the readers are given a glimpse into the person Percy truly is, lost though he may be at the time.
Her words were firm and full of optimism. Still, Percy didn't have the hope she did. He didn't have the faith in people that he once had.
I like these sentences because they show the insecurity that Percy has in his life, the mistrust and lack of true guidance he has without his family. I think it is truly believable for him to have little hope – first because he is without the reassurance of his parents and siblings; second, because he is working in a ill-founded position under the indirect power of Lord Voldemort, and both are reason enough to give any person a lack of hope.
He'd really had a hand in the corruption himself, if he were honest. But he didn't want to see the role he'd played. There was hardly a choice.
First, I love the wording of the first two lines; it’s very powerful and strong. Second, I adored this paragraph because it showed so very, very clearly who Percy is. You show the insecurity he has about not being perfect or good enough. That the “role he’d played” was far from perfection or decency, but of convenience, a thirst for achievement, and acceptance – and I got the impression that he was ashamed of it, though that’s purely my own speculation.
"I might let you down," he said. He couldn't help the uncertainty that crept into his voice.
This was perhaps my favorite bit of the story because you, again, the characterization was spot on. But it was mostly because you allowed Percy to let his uncertainty, his insecurity really come out into the forefront for Audrey to see. It’s something that Percy can’t help but believe, but also something that shows that he doesn’t want to let her down (again, his thirst for perfection). It’s honest, and very real; the first time that Percy and Audrey really open themselves up to each other, more than just their everyday pretenses.
I also loved the ending. It was sweet, but totally real. I could really picture this happening between two people. Also, that Percy didn’t directly promise to be there – instead saying he ‘thought so’ – it made me smile because, again, there was that uncertainty and insecurity in himself showing through. This story really served as an insight into Percy’s mind during the war, for me.
And Audrey! I rather liked her. I thought it was an interesting twist to have her being American, but it also fit nicely. She’s really what Percy needs during this time, when he’s going through such personal battles. She provides his hope, and the more I read this, the more I believe that she is the reason he ultimately would have been able to return to his family and fight in the Battle of Hogwarts.
The characterization is really what stands out in this piece, and this just affirmed the reasons I had for giving you Zach in class. You are so good with characterization of minor or smaller characters. You’re able to shape them into believable characters with so few words, just through their dialogue and expressions, and that caused me to really fall into this story. It was a very sweet little read, dear. I’m super glad I finally got around to checking it out.
What lovely use of dialog! You told this story so well and the dialog sounded just right! Usually I add some constructive criticism, but I am kind of struggling to come up with improvement areas here. Audrey strikes me as just the right kind of starry-eyed idealist and Percy seems... well, maybe not as pompous as unusual, but very in character.
Hullo, Mar! –squishes SPEW buddy-
This is very short, but very sweet. =) I like how there’s a darker side to it, with them waiting for someone connected to the war, but that darker side is just that—a side of the story. It’s a shade, a layer, a small part that makes it wonderful, but it’s not the focus of the story. We really don’t know who Audrey is waiting for or why she’s waiting for them, but we don’t need to know that. All we need to know is that she is waiting for someone who could kill her and Percy is with her. There are so many layers to this story—it’s brilliant.
I don’t know anything about Audrey, other than that I can never remember if her name is Audrey or Aubrey, and that she marries Percy. I like the character you’ve made her out to be though. She seems to be exactly what Percy needs, someone strong and real, someone who will set him straight. Her speech was actually very moving—I had chills running up and down my arms. I like what she was saying, about how it was everyone’s war and anyone could fight it, because everyone deserved the peaceful world. It’s more than just the way she said, but the idea that she was conveying—it’s very powerful.
I don’t like Percy. (Who does?) But, I sort of like your Percy. Your characterization of him is pretty good; I expected him to be a little more pompous and full of himself. Although, you could argue that the war has taken a toll on him, and that’s the affect that Audrey has had on him. In that case, my admiration of Audrey just went up like a hundred percent. She made Percy, Percy—proud, ambitious, git—act like a human, nervous and uncertain.
She flashed him a quick but warm smile and then resumed her task of watching and waiting. There should be a pair of commas around ‘but warm’.
The dialouge at the end was dynamic. I think that it was made so much more deep and moving because they weren’t actually saying it. They were talking about how they felt about each other, but neither of them came out and said it. They used lighter words, but, in my opinion, that had the opposite effect. It made the conversation much heavier. To a less perceptible person, it might appear that they were just talking about their friendship, or just that night, but if look into it, there’s so much more. Again, all the different layers of this story are amazing.
So, I’m curious—what was your prompt? Hope? Trust?
I like the recurring themes of both throughout the story, and the way it ties into Percy and Audrey’s relationship. It makes me think that a significant other—or at least the one you fall in love with should inspire both. You should trust them just because you do. They shouldn’t have to prove themselves; all you know is that you trust them, and maybe a little bit more. As for hope—well, they should encourage it, almost be your source of it. They way Percy feels more optimistic about the war, about his life, because of Audrey. I find it really inspiring the way you’ve portrayed both of them (hope, trust) in a relationship.
Mar, this story was sweet and lovely and contains so much depth at second glance. It’s a beautiful LoveNote. :)
Mar, you pretty much win at writing pairings like this. You know, the ones that not many people write, the ones with minor, little-known characters, the ones that are fabulous when written wonderfully, like yours. I’m not the biggest Percy fan, but I love this fic.
I had to go back to the LoveNotes thread to remind myself who Audrey is, but once I’d done that, I loved this even more. I mean, you took a character whom we really know nothing about except that she eventually married Percy and had two kids with him, and you made her completely real. Plus, you also win at making non-annoying and non-clichéd American characters. I think you’re good at it because you make them believable. You give them stories, plausible reasons. And in this case, Audrey’s reason for being on the other side of the pond is a great part of her character. I’m officially an Audrey fan.
I also love seeing this part of Percy’s story. Because, yeah, we get to see him come back in DH (which made me literally throw my hand up with joy when I read it, by the way), but here we see a bit of background on how he came back. And when Audrey mentions that Percy left his family, and Percy is stung – well, it made me like Percy. And I like that Percy and Audrey can talk like that. Maybe they’re not perfectly in sync yet, but it’s so clear that they’re getting there, that they’ve got this connection, that they have a significant relationship. It’s fabulous.
“Always?” Always and forever! Bwahaha. But, no, that was sweet. I loved the ‘this might be love, this was probably love.’ I love your writing, really. And I also have to say that I love the title. It’s simple, but not in a boring, couldn’t-you-have-given-it-more-thought sort of way. It’s perfect for the story.
So in case I’ve not made it clear, I really liked this story. Loved it, even. I would so be excited to read more Percy/Audrey from you. -hint- Excellent work, as always, dear twin.
The opening dialogue throws me off a bit. Because, I’m wondering ‘Why is Percy asking all these questions now? Surely he knew what was happening before he tagged along?’ And when Audrey says ‘I told you,’ I’m even more doubtful. Is Percy Weasley the sort of person to forget instructions? Yes, dialogue is great for exposition, but sometimes it can come off as very stunted. Here you have a character that is likely to already know the plan, and who is unlikely to forget it, and he’s asking questions so that the reader can see Audrey’s answers. If you want to do something like that, you have to take account for the believability factor. Lose the ‘I told you’ and sneak something in that implies that Percy had to rush along with her without knowing totally what she was up to, and this is the first chance he’s gotten to ask her.
Then you have your first narrative paragraphs (‘Her words were firm and full of optimism... – … but he also wanted to make sure she didn't end up at the mercy of any Death Eaters .) In this segment, the thoughts didn’t make sense to me. The sentences felt disconnected and I didn’t really see how you were going from one thing to another. It felt more like you had a list of ideas that framed Percy’s mindset, and then you just sort of stuck them into a couple of paragraphs without seeing how they flowed from one to the next. I’ve gone through the paragraphs a couple sentences of a time; all ordered consecutively, so I can show you how my thoughts followed it:
‘Her words were firm and full of optimism. Still, Percy didn’t have the hope she did.’
The use of the word ‘still’ at the beginning of the second sentence is actually what caught my eye first, because it seems so casual compared to the tone the rest of the story aims for, which is more formal because it must support the dramatic weight of the ideas presented, particularly in the dialogue. But, looking more closely at what comes after the ‘still’ I realise it doesn’t make sense to me that we would expect Percy to ‘have the same hope she did’, yet the ‘still’ implies that is what should have followed were it not for his personal reservations. I could understand if her words were described as the kind that ‘inspired optimism’, or if her conviction was so ‘firm’ that Percy felt it was difficult to doubt her; but as it is, it would make more sense without that distracting ‘still’ (or a ‘yet’ or a ‘however’) and was simply ‘Percy did not have the same hope…’
‘He didn't have the faith in people that he once had. He'd seen too much corruption.’
The next two sentences are good. The first correlates directly to the sentence before it, and the sentence that follows does the same. It’s the sentences that follow that really throw off the segment for me:
‘He'd really had a hand in the corruption himself, if he were honest. But he didn't want to see the role he'd played.
The first sentence flows fairly well with the sentence that preceded it. Though, the last bit is a bit unclear: if he were honest. I see that only working well when used in three ways – the first two both being first person; either a first person dialogue with another person (in which the ‘to be honest’/‘if I’m honest’ implies with you), or a first person internal monologue (in which, because of the use of the pronouns I and me and the active train of thought, the ‘with myself’ is implied). The third instance would be if you were saying something such as ‘He would have returned the money, if he were honest.’ Because, without saying who it is he would be ‘being honest’ with, it sounds to me as if you’re saying the character is generally dishonest. Of course, any reader with their wits about them will know what you mean. But the problem, for me, is that the meaning isn’t actually made clear by the words, so much as by the fact the phrase is well-known and widely used. It would have flowed better if you’d just said ‘admittedly’, or at least made it ‘if he were to be honest with himself’.
The next sentence bothers me because I don’t think it flows well from the preceding sentence. It also confuses me as to where this PoV is coming from exactly. Is this what Percy feels or is this what a narrator is observing about Percy? Is Percy in denial or is he not? Does he see the role he played, or does he not want to see it? And if he just doesn’t ‘want’ to see it, does that mean he does and it’s difficult for him, or he purposely avoids seeing it? I think that this sentence could have flowed better and made more sense if you’d addressed directly the issue that he was not being honest with himself. Something along the lines of ‘But it was difficult to admit to himself the role that he had played. He didn’t want to see that part of himself.’
‘There was hardly a choice. It was better to just keep your nose down and go with the flow these days. If you didn't, you ended up dead. Or worse.’
Here is where I think the paragraph loses it’s train of thought completely. He jumps from ‘not wanting to see the role he’d played’ to demanding that there was ‘hardly a choice’. I could see if it was a first person perspective, him getting scattered and jumping back and forth between denial to acceptance to a defensive. But there’s no tone of confusion or urgency in the paragraph. Basically, we just see the narrator first saying that Percy didn’t want to admit his role, and then going to a completely different area of the subject and getting into Percy’s defense of his actions. He had a hand in the corruption, those he didn’t want to see it. But, ignore all that, because there wasn’t even a choice in the matter? Now, before I go on, here’s how I see Percy’s perspective – instead of fighting against injustice, he took the burden on himself not to anger the wrong people. The same way victims of abuse sometimes blame themselves for incurring their abusers’ wrath. In doing so, he inadvertently justified their actions; they hold the power, and if I do anything to get in their way, they will hurt me and that will be my fault. I think this makes a lot of sense, and I think it would be fabulous to expand upon. However, it causes what comes up next to confuse me further:
‘And honestly, that is why he had come with Audrey here tonight. He wanted to start putting things right in some way, but he also wanted to make sure she didn't end up at the mercy of any Death Eaters.’
‘That’ must refer to the previous thoughts, and the sentences directly before this one are the ones about Percy’s defence; no choice in the matter, keep your nose down, etc. I don’t see how that is why he went with Audrey. The first motivation, ‘he wanted to…[put] things right’ correlates to the earlier thoughts in the preceding paragraph, but the ‘that’ at the beginning of this paragraph isn’t going to reliably connect the reader to that. (Perhaps if it had been ‘It was all part of why he had come…’)
The latter motivation, wanting to protect Audrey from ending up ‘at the mercy of… Death Eaters’ almost makes sense (in relation to ‘that’), because of the danger of standing up to these people is implied quite clearly. But the fact that his philosophy has been to keep his nose down so as not to upset them contradicts with going somewhere to protect someone who’s standing up to them. If ‘that’ was his reason for making choices, I would think that he would have tried to convince Audrey not to go, and only accompanied her grudgingly because she refused. (Which I can definitely see happening, and which seems to be implied later; But the issue here is you say ‘that’ is ‘why he had come’, which doesn’t seem to be the case.)
To sum it all up, I just think that you had a lot there that looks good laid out point-by-point, and it fits Percy’s character, but you tried to get it all together in a short span of words, and you didn’t really develop the ideas together as well as you could have. I would like to see how it could be written differently, basically, so that the sentences made more sense together.
Moving on, you introduce Audrey’s character very quickly and remarkably. As well as Percy’s feelings about her. I also marvel at how logical Percy’s question is, why she would leave her own home to fight ‘a losing battle’. Because it is a sensible thing to ask, because how often do you see people singularly volunteering to fight in ‘someone else’s’ war. And, while his question is sensible, her answer is perfect.
‘Her point was proven, and as much as he hated to admit it, the accusation stung him a little. It stung because of what she said next.’
It stung him, but because of what she said next? How did it sting him, then, if she hadn’t said it yet? Here we have another instance of something sounding good, but not developing enough to actually make sense. If I were to try and make sense of it, I’d guess that the accusation stung him because of what it really meant, what it all boiled down to, and ‘what she said next’ was a statement that embodied that. But the words don’t imply that, so we’re just sort of left with an odd set of phrases that don’t make chronological sense.
After this, we actually move into Audrey’s monologue, which is what makes the story, for me. No part of this story is worded better than Audrey’s dialogue. It all makes so much sense, idealistic as it may be. The part about their being what it means if there is no hope is particularly well developed, especially when she says ‘if there’s no point in fighting’ because it seems to directly address Percy’s ‘keep your nose down’ policy. And it’s fabulous that he didn’t actually say that, but here is this woman basically telling him exactly what he needs to hear to be a better person. And that’s a huge aspect of love, the part that people tend to overlook in couples. You could have be attracted to or have things in common with a number of people, but it’s hard to find a person who’s personality compliments yours in a way that makes you the best you can be. And here, not only do we get to see a wonderfully worded perspective from Audrey, that is fabulous on it’s own, we also see why she is perfect for Percy.
I also think this line is wonderful: “You've asked questions, but you've never questioned me.” I like it when people make these sort of distinctions. It reminds me of Mal in Firefly – ‘I might not respect your job, but he doesn’t respect you.’ Word choice is so important, and a subtle distinction can mean so much. I also like that we see that Percy brings something to the table, more than him just trying to make up for his mistakes, or wanting her to be safe, but because he also does something for her that sets him apart from others.
The aspect about trust is also very moving. You can’t just refuse to trust people because they ‘might let you down’; Audrey’s sense of courage clearly applies not only to her dealings with war, but with personal relationships. I like that both things are very distinct from each other and make their own statements, but come together as a single, thorough for her character.
And when she said she trusted him, it felt like something else as well, but he didn't ask her about it.
This line kills me. It’s just fabulous. I can’t even say anything more about it. It’s utterly perfect.
I think what I love about this story is made up of several overlapping factors: Audrey’s monologue, Audrey’s characterisation, Percy’s characterisation and the Audrey/Percy dynamic. While I did have disagreements with how you organised that first bit of character exposition for Percy, I still like what it said as a whole. I think you pretty much nailed Percy spot-on (much more Percyish than I found him in Dinner With A Demon), and you didn’t try to make too many excuses for his choices, but you did present them that made sense for his character. Audrey. Well, I see Audrey’s character here better than I do canon characters in many other fics. You both established her and endeared her to the audience in so few words, and that’s marvellous. The Audrey/Percy dynamic is very subtle in it’s brilliance, but also very vivid to the reader’s senses, I think, and it’s so realistic. That’s what I love most about it, it’s not just romance or physical attraction, there’s a real foundation for marriage there. And, of course, Audrey’s monologue, because it makes this story more than a romance, it makes it about bravery not living in fear and hope and doing what’s right. And, I love how that can all be applied to relationships as well.
Oh goodness. I just checked my word count. *shuts up now*
It's beautiful... n that's all i can say!
Awwww so cute!! Percy is a really interesting character. You should write more about him!
Yay! I'm a hopeless romantic who believes every single person on earth should get hooked up (okay, exaggerating a little), and a grin started spreading across my face when I felt the burgeoning love. Nice!