I don't even know what to say that would begin to express how much I loved this. I'm going to try to organise my incoherent jumble of thoughts into a good review!
The choice to have this narrated by those who have passed was original and incredibly powerful. You mixed just the right amount of detachment and feeling to make them feel like real people, and yet keep them behind the barrier, or veil, of death. For example, Ariana's peaceful observations of her brothers seemed to have accepted that she could do nothing for them except wait for them to join her, and welcome them when they did. It makes you feel better about Dumbledore's death, knowing that he has forgiveness and peace ahead of him.
Speaking of Dumbledore, I thought you wrote his part particularly well. He had the same caring, fatherly view of Harry as he seemed to in the books, and the last few lines especially could have been written by JK Rowling herself, I thought they were that accurately written.
Another testament to your writing was the ease with which we were able to tell who was watching who. I could tell it was Sirius and Lily from their first lines, and I think the only one it took a little longer with was James - although as that was the very first one it's likely just because I hadn't got into the rhythm.
I found this to be an incredibly poignant, and at the same time uplifting fic: although we saw characters suffering from the separation from their loved ones, we knew that sooner or later they would all be reunited once more. That was a very powerful piece, and I'm so glad I read it.
What a delightful little fic you have here. It might be morbid of me, but I find myself drawn to stories that deal with grief, and this is a unique one in that genre, in that we view the grief from the POV of the one who has died. I've read stories like this before, but they always deal with just one scenario, usually James and/or Lily watching Harry from beyond the grave. I loved that you chose to use varied characters and scenes instead. It gives your story a nice originality. I am tempted to list things out as Katrina did, but I'm not sure I have comments for every section. I do want to say how impressed I am with your Dumbledore section. I think he is a bear to write, personally, and you've done a good job maintaining his voice... there is a formality and a lyrical quality to it that can be hard to capture. I love that he seemed pained by Harry's reaction to his own secrecy. I found this so hard to bear in the books, that Harry's trust in Dumbledore was wavering (understandably so, but still), and it's nice to see Dumbledore dealing with that and explaining himself here. I like your Fred section very much; it's possibly my favorite. You capture his voice wonderfully, especially when he mentioned that he was always better with the ladies. I like, too, that George is moving on and is happy here, and that he has maintained his humor in the way he is proposing. I saw your response to Katrina regarding the fact that Angelina is the canon wife of George, and I see your point. That said, I have to admit this was disappointing to me, if only because the rest of your story wove so beautifully into existing canon. I suppose it stood out as a bit of an error (though I realize it is not technically so), considering the date of when you this. But that could also just be the die-hard George/Ange shipper coming out in me--haha!
I love Sirius. I cried my eyes out when he died and did not recover for a long time. I actually found this section where he is watching Remus incredibly moving. It's so like Sirius to comment on the house he despises and the fact that now it was all on Remus to protect Harry... that all felt very real to me. And though nearly all fanfic writers have written Remus-Anguish at some point or another, I found this particularly powerful. Maybe it was because we aren't in his head, but instead see it through Sirius' eyes... I don't know. I loved this section.
In general, the only thing I might suggest is a bit of a break between the sections. The poetic lines you employed worked very well at communicating the tone of the upcoming section, but I still found it a bit jarring as I tried to figure out who this one was going to be about, and so on. And then, once I did know who it was, I found myself going back to the beginning of that section so I could read it again knowing the character. Does that make sense? If you are not particularly attached to the surpise element you are using here, you might even consider something I've seen another author do recently, which is to identify the character at the beginning of each section... for example... i. Fred Reflection, not light
Echo, not sound I found him sitting by the river where we used to play... That's only a suggestion though. I might be the only one who had any trouble there. Again, I think you have a lovely story here that I found both powerful and moving. I will have to check out your author page so I can enjoy more of your work sometime soon. Take care, and keep writing! ~ Lori
This was a beautiful set of fragments, and I loved how you used that line "We Never Left". It's a theme throughout the HP books - that the loved ones who die live on inside us, and you really extended that well in this story.
The lines in italics were beautiful and really summed up each part. I read them all through together and it almost sounded like a poem.
I'm going to write about each section... because there's so much to say about this fic!
James/Harry: In those two short paragraphs you capture so much emotion - the thrill of the Quidditch match and yet the sadness that James can't experience it properly with Harry.
But the noise doesn’t reach me, not really. This sentence is short, but it really summed it up for me.
I want to be here with him forever, waving and smiling, all three of us together. But his eyes look sad now. Once again, in a few simple words you've really captured so much emotion.
Oh, and James was only a Seeker in the movies - JK Rowling has said on her website that he was actually a Chaser.
Fred/George: What really struck me about this section was just how well Fred knows George and how he can still read all his little habits. This fragment really just showed the love the two of them shared.
It’s nice to see him smile. That was a great line, because Fred would know how hard it would be for George to be happy without him.
By the way, George actually marries Angelina Johnson. But that's just a little thing and it doesn't detract from the story.
Ariana/Albus: What stood out for me in this section was the way you captured the childish voice of Ariana. There are a lot of things she doesn't understand, and she sounds childish (eg "the angry man"), and yet she manages to describe both her brothers' emotions and the way they've dealt with her death so well. I thought it was interesting that you picked a point in time when Albus nearly died, because in the other fragmanets you'd written about times when the characters were really living. (In the case of George, perhaps learning to live again.) I loved the simple line I wanted my big brother with me.
Sirius/Remus: I have to be honest, I didn't like this fragment as much as the others. I did like the image of Remus in a corner of Grimmauld Place, crying shamelessly with a bottle of alcohol. (It reminded me a little of another fic I read just recently and I know you reviewed - "Funeral" by Ascendio - in which Remus has also lost everyone.) You certainly captured his desperation. I think somehow the voice of Sirius just didn't feel quite right or something... I'm sorry, I can't really pinpoint it. But it was still an excellent section.
Remus/Teddy: I think this might just be my favourite... or perhaps along with Lily's part at the end. It could be because I adore both of these characters... Remus is so tender towards his son, and yet it's so heart-breaking as all he longs to do is reach out and touch his son.
Albus/Harry: This was beautifully written, and I loved that you set it at the time that Harry and Hermione visit Godric's Hollow. As with his parents, Harry idolised Dumbledore and it is sometimes hard to hear the truth... that no-one is perfect. You nailed Albus' voice.
The words I once chose for the headstone are empty to him by now, too used, as he is, to the finality of death. I quite understand.
But where your treasure is, there will your heart be also. This was a lovely set of lines, and I really liked how you developed the connection between Albus and Harry.
Lily/Harry: I think there is something special about the bond between a mother and child, and I liked that you kept this one til the end. I have just watched DH part 2 and I thought the saddest moment was when Harry reached his hand out to his mother and went straight through her. Those last two paragraphs are just so beautiful, I would quote them all back at you lol. It's a great ending for this story and really sums up everything you've written sofar.
Another great thing about this story is how you included a lot of small, seemingly insignificant memories (eg Ab and the baubles, Remus and Tonks waiting for Teddy to change his hair). Those small moments really show the love that existed between each of these pairs.
This is wonderfully written, particularly considering it's your first story on MNFF! Well done!
Author's Response: Dear Katrina, I can't believe I'm only noticing your response now! Sorry, I am new to this website and completely overlooked your review. I hope you see this response. I can't put into words how happy your review made me. It is so rare to get a detailed response, and yours was so long and rich, so systematic and thorough, I can tell you put a lot of effort into it. I don't think I have ever received as detailed a review as that and it means a lot. I'm glad you enjoyed the story and I appreciate the constructive criticism. The fragment with Sirius was not my favourite, either, and I somehow find him hard to grasp. It could have been done better. Regarding James not being a Seeker and Angeline marrying George - thank you for telling me that JKR has stated this. It is certainly interesting to know that this is how she imagines it, but as it isn't part of the books, to me it isn't part of the fictitious universe in my head. :) I had, however, forgotten that the whole Seeker thing comes from the films rather than the books. It's interesting how the two can merge in your head. Anyway, thank you for your review!
wow, amazing! great job!