This is very late. I am so, so sorry. I read this when you first published it, and think it’s very good, so it’s sad it has no reviews. This is me trying to rectify that :)
Viktor is quite a rare character to read about in fanfic, and we always see him through Harry’s eyes, so he is a difficult character to get right. I think your strength here is that you stick to and yet expand upon the knowledge of him in canon, and make him very real. I love the detail about Romania, and the food--it really grounds you in his environment.
I knew this was George/Viktor and so the appearance of George in the pub did not surprise me. It is one of the easiest ways to get two unlikely people together--get them drunk, but I think you write their initial interaction well. It’s very interesting seeing George through someone else’s eyes, and also rather sad. I think the way Viktor so powerfully remembers how damaged the Weasleys were, and also later that he’s found them vaguely attractive because of their confidence, and George’s comment: “But we’re not a whole family anymore,” all emphasise the damage that the Weasleys have suffered in this war, and you show that damage through George. Although alcohol is an excellent ice breaker, I do think it would have been interesting to see the dialogue between them in the interval between that first drink, and the last orders--whether it was awkward, what Viktor could possibly say, given he’s broadly fine, and George is most certainly not. When they’re both drunk, I think your dialogue, however, is excellent. I don’t know whether this was intentional, but the line about the pub being nearly empty at closing time, and those that were there not taking last orders, made me laugh and become very, very aware that they were not in Britain. However given the lengths you go to to emphasise this, I also think it would be interesting to find out what Viktor thought of the war generally, and Europe’s lack of involvement in a British domestic crisis, perhaps while he is sober and George is not.
Like I said earlier, the main strength of this story, is your characterisation. I thought Viktor dealing with a drunk George showed his kindness and nobility very well, even if sleeping with George was very much a mistake. I do think his attraction to George could have been emphasised slightly more, though--I realise George makes the first move, but there’s no hint of Viktor feeling anything for him until that moment, and if someone you’d been platonic towards suddenly kisses you, I think it’s more realistic to back away, rather than return the kiss. And although the kiss was written well, I think there was little sense of sexual attraction, and though they slept together, they, from the next morning onwards, seemed rather platonic for each other. I realise this was written for a swap, but I think in a way, it would have been more powerful had they not slept together, as you don’t get much of a sense of attraction from Viktor to George.
I also think that this could have worked as two chapters. There’s a very clear divide between Viktor and George sleeping together, and the morning after, and I think emphasising that divide, whether with a line break or a new chapter, would make the structure of your story clearer, but it’s up to you. Also, I think this story would be more attention grabbing in a way, if it was written in a non-linear manner. This may be personal preference, but I think there are several points in this story where you could have started it, then explained how Viktor and George reached that point, before continuing on with the story, but if you prefer linear stories that makes sense :)
Viktor’s confusion was very well written, and also his dialogue. I think it would have been wrong to shy away from his accent, when he speaks English to George, so well done on writing that, and it not being cliche. I did find the conversation where Viktor convinces him to go home to his family a little--forced. I think it would have been interesting to spend a bit more time in Viktor’s head so we know why he feels so strongly about this. You mention him going to have Christmas with his family earlier, but it’s phrased more like a chore, rather than something he feels very strongly about, and it would be interesting to see why he takes it upon himself to convince a stranger to do the right thing.
I love Molly :) ““But you’re home, and that’s what matters. “ is such a lovely line, which confirms what Viktor has been telling him and what George, in his heart of hearts, knows. And the comparison between that and Viktor’s reception at home, was very beautifully done, and even to someone as cynical as me, had a lovely Christmas spirit. I love the sense of their families which you create in so few words--the mention of Ron spending the morning with the Grangers, and Charlie’s girlfriend, both really fleshed out your post-Hogwarts world.
This was an excellently written and very well-characterised story for Viktor and George, even though I think the sexual attraction was rather brief and the dynamic between them more interesting as a platonic one, rather than a sexual one, I really enjoyed reading it. I hope my comments/ suggestions make sense. I hope it gets more reviews, because it deserves them. Alex