Reviewer: The_Real_Hermione
Date: 04/29/13 3:57
Chapter: I Will Lay Down My Heart

I liked this story, and I feel so bad for Albus! You've written him as such a sweet character, and all his emotions seem so natural. I especially liked the part on the Quidditch pitch when he realised he was falling for her, and how he thought about her being his cousin, about how she would never like him anyway - it just felt perfectly drawn. When they were older at Rose's appartment, I really wanted Albus to say no to her, but understood as well why he didn't, and I think you showed his emotions there perfectly as well.

As for Rose, she's not that nice in this, and yet she's also very hurt and upset, so it does make sense in terms of her character. She is manipulative of Albus, because she knows what she wants and how to get it, but at the same time I had the sense that she doesn't realise how much he actually cares for her.

I liked their relationship, even just as friends. Rose seems quite vulnerable with Albus - as in when she told Scorpius she loved her job more than him, but tells Albus that that's not true, and it feels like Albus knew her so well that he could anticipate her responses.

The writing was beautiful, eg He had laid down his heart, and she could do with it as she pleased: treasure it, push it away, or, more likely, crush it to pieces. Yet it belonged to her now, and he was helpless to think otherwise. That was written so vividly I felt Albus' heartbreak so much. Personally I prefer less detail in the sex scenes, but I guess that's just a personal preference. And there's just a tiny grammar mistake - you can’t be in a relationship with people into your office.” - The "into" should be "in".

Anyway, overall I thought this was a really well-written, though rather sad (but that's kind of the point I guess) story.

~Katrina

Author's Response: Thank you so much for the fabulous review, Katrina :) I think this is one of the few, if not the only, story I actually like, to be honest, and it means a lot to me that you enjoyed reading. Although I do think I gave Albus a pretty hard time, eep.

And I'm so glad you liked the scene on the Quidditch pitch! That was haaaaard to write. In fact, most of the story was hard to write, I'll admit; there were points when I was pretty close to throwing in the towel, actually, and it was only thanks to my lovely flist that I didn't, really. I'm really flattered you understood Albus's character in the way I wanted him to be conveyed. Basically, yeah, he should have said no to her, really, but he was unable to because at the end of the day, he still wanted her.

I loved writing Rose here, although she was definitely a byotch in this. At the same time, I'm glad you took into account the fact that she must have been pretty upset too because that is definitely a key part of the story, too. I think she does care for Albus, but she just doesn't love him the way he loves her? I don't fully understand her tbh, haha.

What I wanted to put across -- and to understand myself, actually -- is basically how it would be possible for two people who slept together at fifteen would still be friends. For a while, I guess I found it hard to reconcile the idea of both of them being so young and vulnerable at the time with them eventually managing to put that behind them and become friends. I cover this more in the companion piece (One More Night) but it is smutty, ha, so I don't think you'd want to read :P But the first (non-smutty) chapter at least does kind of address how they eventually decide to become friends again after months of not talking to each other. Sorry, rambling response is rambly D: The long and short of that is that I'm glad you liked their relationship even as friends. :)

And yayyy, I'm so glad you liked the actual writing! Style isn't always my strongest point, and certainly in this story I did have trouble with maintaining a certain style. Like I said, I kind of tore my hair out writing this, lol, so it means a lot that you thought it was written well.

Hmm, I did kind of stretch the 6th-7th rating here, but I hope the smut didn't put you off! It is about personal preference, I agree, and I think my personal preferences have changed quite a bit in the last couple of years. Also, thanks for pointing out the typo -- when I've got a moment, I will edit :)

Your review was lovely, Katrina, so thank you lots. Yeah, it was sad, and I did shed a tear or two writing, but hey, that is kind of the point, as you said. Thanks again and have a fabulous day/night/whatever time it is in your timezone, whichever that is :D

Soraya xxx

Reviewer: lucca4
Date: 02/11/13 14:27
Chapter: I Will Lay Down My Heart

This is one of my favorite cousin!fics ever. I think it really comes down to the way you write Albus and Rose - their relationship as cousins is so perfect, they understand each other so well it's almost like they're best friends. Albus's hopelessness over Rose and his living with the knowledge that she will always love Scorpius more than she loves him is heartbreaking, and it makes his night with her at the end all the more bittersweet.

The flying scene is also beautifully written. It's so absolutely sweet of Albus to try to help Rose get over her fear of flying, especially when it's something he loves and is good at. The comfort Rose began to feel with him was also extremely well-written, I love the idea that the only one who can make her feel better is Albus, because that idea is also paralleled in the ending scene. The friendship between them is so real, and i can see why Albus would be the one Rose wanted to turn to when things got 'complicated' (to use Albus's word :D) with Scorpius -- I don't think she fully realizes just how deeply Albus cares for her, and just how much she is going to hurt him when the morning comes.

This is an absolutely fantastic story, Soraya, and I'm kicking myself for not reviewing it when I first read it. However much angst went into this, the end product was mind-glowingly gorgeous, and I hope you know that :).

xx Ariana

Author's Response: Thank youuuuuuu, Ariana! :D :D :D

It means so much to me that you enjoyed this story and left such a fantabulous review for it (you really didn't have to, but I am so glad you did :) ). I think the dynamics of Albus and Rose have always fascinated me because they are, arguably, closer than say Louis and Lily due to their parents being close. So I think the whole forbiddenness is a lot more prominent in this than in my Loulily stories. But anyway, I am so glad you liked how I wrote Albus and Rose -- I will say that writing parts of this was like laying eggs, so it means a lot that you liked how I wrote them as both cousins and lovers.

I have no idea why I decided to make Albus a Quidditch nut! But hehe, I did, and I'm glad you enjoyed that scene because it was one I could envision quite clearly, while others were more difficult/vague. And yeah, ultimately, Rose does depend on Albus -- a lot.

The friendship between them is so real, and i can see why Albus would be the one Rose wanted to turn to when things got 'complicated' (to use Albus's word :D) with Scorpius -- I don't think she fully realizes just how deeply Albus cares for her, and just how much she is going to hurt him when the morning comes. Not that I'm self-pimping in the slightest, but my Cotillion fic (one of them, anyway XD) is a companion piece to this and does actually include a scene (coughshowerscenecough) in the morning, if you're interested ;) I mean, that particular part isn't up yet, but it will be soon, fingers crossed.

I honestly think you are far too kind, Ariana, and it really isn't thaaaat good, but it means SO much to me -- coming from such an amazing writer yourself -- that you enjoyed this story. Thank you again for the loveliness! *heart*

Soraya xxx

Reviewer: HumanHorcrux
Date: 09/10/12 23:43
Chapter: I Will Lay Down My Heart

I couldn't tell that this was difficult for you. Very well written, but I have one suggestion. When Albus goes into his memories, it might be useful to have some kind of indication, like a line or something, 'cause that was sorta confusing.

The whole cousin relationship thing still kinda weirds me out, but this was so easy to believe. I love the Scorpious reference. :P I think I'll go and check out some of your other stuff now. :D :D :D

Author's Response: Hello! Thank you so much for the review. I'm really glad you liked it, and usually, the stories I find most difficult are the ones that are well-received, so it's wonderful to know that this is the case here :) Okay, I know what you mean about the memories, but I did try to use the pluperfect tense ("had had") to indicate it. I didn't think italics were right here, especially as the two flashbacks are probably too long for the eyes, if you know what I mean. And a line would probably disrupt things more :-/ I will work on that, though, so ta.

I know it's a bit weird, thinking of Albus and Rose like that, but I personally am slightly obsessed with cousin pairings. My OTP, for example, is Louis/Lily. I do hope you check out my author page, as I've written quite a variety of stories lately, so I would love to know what you think -- if you do pay me a visit, I would be so grateful for a review. But anyway, thank you for this review, and I hope you don't mind my rambling response too much. :P

Reviewer: Crazy about Draco Malfoy
Date: 09/09/12 13:39
Chapter: I Will Lay Down My Heart

great more desciption of the sex scene and longer story

Author's Response: LOLOL. Ummmm, I'm not quite sure what to say to this, except that your review has made me pretty much die laughing :D This is probably the smuttiest thing I will ever write, so don't get your hopes up, lol. Anyway, er, I think (hope) you enjoyed the story, sex scene notwithstanding. I'm interested to know whether you meant the awkward one when they were fifteen or the one at the end when they are twenty-two. Either way, thank you for the review, and know that you have kind of made me day by making me laugh so hard.

Reviewer: Gmariam
Date: 08/16/12 1:00
Chapter: I Will Lay Down My Heart

I was trolling through MCC entries and remembered this bit of loveliness so thought I would leave you a note. I said loads in the beta job so I'm not sure what to say, other than things that have already been said. As one reviewer said, I think you did a fantastic job in a short story giving life to *this* Albus. I loved him. And the pairing was not that squicky, it was simply someone who loved someone else who likely didn't love them in that way, which really made it more sad than anything. And I think you are a wonderfully strong writer, not to mention a very brave writer for tackling pairings like this that could (and have, I know) go over the wrong way with readers. So Kudos. It was great working with you, both as a beta and beta-ee!
~Gina :)

Author's Response: GINA! I heart you, you know that, right? Seriously, thank you so much :D

I really don't deserve such loveliness from you. I still am not completely satisfied with this story, so it means a lot that you liked it :) And having never written Albus before, I'm glad you liked the story I gave him and that you didn't think the pairing squicky, lol. I do love me some unrequited love, so, ha, it was fun torturing Albus a bit in that respect :P

And it means so much to me, coming from such an amazing fantabulous writer, that you liked it and that you thought me a strong writer :)

And I love difficult pairings and cousin pairings -- I think I have an obsession with them, lol. (And what was ironic about the reader who maligned my story is that he said it was really well-written apart from that. Hahaha. That reviewer also said I must be in love with/dating my cousin. Lol. Not that I have any cousins that age anyway, lolol.)

THANK YOU for the lovely review! I heart you lots and lots. x

Reviewer: iLuna17
Date: 08/09/12 16:32
Chapter: I Will Lay Down My Heart

Hi, Soraya. :)

This was certainly an interesting piece. I had never really thought of Albus/Rose, even if it was one-sided, but you definitely pulled it off, and handled it believably and sensitively.

Cousin pairings are sensitive topics that can be hard to write believably, but here I found it more plausible than I sometimes have with your Loulily. When Albus keeps telling himself that it is wrong, that he shouldn’t feel this way, it really made it seem real to me. There would be confusion along with the love, and I really liked how Albus kept questioning himself. But there were places in the piece where the descriptions of their physicality seemed a little intense to me, especially at the end. You went into so much detail, from where their hands were to what exactly they’re doing. I was torn; it was written so beautifully, but reading it felt awkward. It was almost like I was intruding on a private moment, that I shouldn’t have been there. However, it could just be me; you know I’m bad at writing this kind of thing. Overall, though, you handled the pairing gracefully and delicately.

Another thing that was interesting about this piece was the characterization. Even though it was told through Albus’s eyes, you managed to make the person he loves hateable. That in and of itself was quite a feat; generally loves tend to be put on a pedestal in the eyes of the lover. With Rose, however, we, and Albus, were aware of all of her faults. She was using Albus because she was lonely, and you made it clear that there was no love for him in Rose, yet she still, for lack of a better phrase, leads him on. Great job on Rose; she was very different from any other Rose I have seen.

Albus was intriguing as well. His monologues made me want to hug him, to be honest. He knew exactly how Rose felt, but he was still drawn to her. And Albus hated himself for it. You captured his pain and feelings so accurately, it was almost real. However, I didn’t really know who Albus was apart from the fact that he liked flying and loved Rose. There wasn’t much to him outside of their relationship. I didn’t really get a sense of his personality, apart from the fact that he tends to beat himself up. Even if you add in a few words, showing how he reacts to something Rose says, could say a lot. I’d like to see more of Albus, though. This version was very interesting. :)

One thing I thought was beautiful about this piece was how descriptive you were. Everything from flying to the more intimate bits were extremely vivid and in depth; you didn’t skate over anything. I could tell you put a lot of time into the descriptions, and it definitely paid off. The word choices were just so perfect in places. It made the entire piece seem real. Though sometimes, as I said before, I wasn’t sure if you should have been so in depth, the writing itself was beautiful.

Overall, this was a very intriguing piece. Albus/Rose is an interesting ship idea, and I would love to read more of it from you. Great job, Soraya! :)

Ellie

Author's Response: Ellieeeeee!

Eeeep, sorry I didn’t get a chance to respond to this sooner. This was a fantabulous review, so thank you very much. I’m really glad you thought the cousin pairing, even if it was one-sided, believable and sensitively handled. I think it’s important to address certain issues as issues and not just ignore it, so I hope I was able to do so.

Hmm, I think the whole cousin thing is a bit taboo, but the reason Albus kept telling himself it wasn’t right was because he didn’t know if Rose returned his feelings. And, ha, I’ve giggled with you already about the whole smut thing, but I know it’s partly because you’re not into that kind of thing, lol. I do like writing smut, lolol, but I very much doubt I will ever cross the 6th-7th/Professors line, tbh. That said, this is definitely my smuttiest, and probably the smuttiest I will ever write, so I get why you were squeamish. I’m glad, though, that you thought I handled gracefully and delicately -- that means a lot. :)

I’m glad you liked Rose’s characterisation -- haha, Rose is a bit of a byotch, yes. I see what you mean about Albus. He wasn’t as developed, I agree, but that was mostly because the whole story was about his relationship with Rose and less about him, if that makes sense. I do think I could’ve developed him more, but this story did kind of drive me insane, lol, so I just wanted to submit it. O.o Anyway, I might add some more details later on, so ta for that tip.

I usually suck at description, so it means a lot to me that you liked it :) I think one of the reasons this was more visual was because I live in East London and spend quite a bit of time in Whitechapel, which is where, in my head canon, Rose lives. And hehehehehehe, I know, it did get a bit much at times. I hope I didn’t make you uncomfortable, eep.

It means so much to me, Ellie, that you enjoyed reading this. I apologise for taking an age to reply to this, though it was because of your review’s general fabulousness as well as the fact that it’s only been in the last couple of days that I’ve been online for longer than half an hour at most without getting interrupted or having to do other things. /excuses

Thank youuuuuu for the wonderful, amazingtastic review, Ellie. :)

~Soraya~

Reviewer: Ginny Weasley Potter
Date: 07/20/12 9:50
Chapter: I Will Lay Down My Heart

Ha, we've both written the same character for the same prompt, I guess, though you haven't hacked Albus to as many pieces as I have. :p But you did make me feel terrible for him. I was mentally apologising to him as such, while I was writing my own fic and now I read this...

This was so well-written, Soraya! This is the first fic of yours that I'm reading (whilst wondering why I didn't come up to your author page earlier) but I was waiting for this one to get validated because the pairing really, really interested me. How Albus, in the beginning, struggles over the fact that he is attracted to a cousin is so... well written. I know a lot of people who are marrying their cousins and all, but the thing there is-- they're already told in their childhood that they have to marry each other. They never look at each other like, "OMG, he'she is my cousin!" so there is no such struggle. So Albus's feelings here were very well done. And the topic was very well handled.

Albus's character. Oh my God, you've written him in such detail-- every little snippet of him is so clear! You developed him very, very nicely! He was such a clear-cut picture in the end. As for Rose, I liked the mystery surrounding her, as much as I loved the little bits of information about Al.

Yes, Rose. God, I hated her. I don't generally hate her, but I did this time. How can she be so mean? :'( I felt terrible about the way she used Al just for sex. That really wasn't fair because Al is so sweet and loving in this story. And she was also mean when he asked her why she hadn't been present for Harry's birthday. You did make me really dislike her in this fic. I'm not sure I can handle her in my own fic for a while now. :p Though, she's very different there. :D Ha! Well done on writing her, though. It takes a lot more than making a character murder people about and be evil to get your readers to hate him/her.

The smut was good. You handled the awkward sex well and I remember you were having trouble with that. :) But yes, you wrote it well and I particularly loved this:

Though Rose had changed substantially, he could still see the suppressed tears in her eyes and smell their mingled sweat and feel the indentations her fingernails had left when they had dug into his back.

It's sad... and sexy and awkward. LOL. That was very nice.

The theme of the story was rather soft and... I don't know how to put this-- silent. Um... meaning, it was not noisy... er... I don't know how to describe that, it was just a feeling I got in my head. :D The rain in the beginning made it gloomy and I somehow know that this wasn't possible going to end well.

So, Soraya, you entertained me entirely with this fic. It was a wonderful, wonderful read! Have a pleasant Ramzan! See you around!

Pooja

Author's Response: Really? I thought I would have hacked Albus to quite a few pieces in this, considering how pathetic he appears and everything. I hope it's a good thing that I made you feel terrible for him, lol. And I know what you mean -- a lot of cousins in Asian culture are betrothed from a really early age, so I do see what you mean. That's why the dynamics of British cousin pairings fascinate me so. I'm glad you thought I handled the pairing well :)

I'm really flattered with how much you liked Albus! Ultimately, it's more focused on him than Rose, hence why Rose remained a mystery, and you knew far more about Albus. And, ha, you're the second reviewer to say you hated Rose. Ngl, she annoyed me too, even in Blood and Roses (my chaptered Scorose mystery), but like I said, she was in a bad place, and Albus just happened to be there, lol. And Rose is generally rather snarky -- understandably so, though. She did just dump Scorpius, after all.

Awkward smut is SO HARD to write. I'll be avoiding that one again in the future, haha. And I'm very flattered to hear that it was, um, sexy, lol.

Oh, no, I do see what you mean about the story being kind of silent/soft. Because the thing is, the story is almost entirely character-driven (even their banter/interactions generally) rather than plot, which is probably what would make the story noisy. I so get that -- great way to put it, actually :)

I'm really flattered that you liked it this much! I wasn't entirely happy with it, and I still am not, so it means a great deal to me that you liked it. Thank youuuuu for the review and for the banner which I shall now wear in my siggy <3

~Soraya~

Reviewer: PeppermintToads
Date: 07/20/12 4:21
Chapter: I Will Lay Down My Heart

Okay. Loved Albus, hated Rose. She was so mean to use him like that! Twice! And poor Albus is just trying to tell her that he loves her...anyways, great story!

Author's Response: Haha, Rose was rather mean, yes. Buuuut she had a reason for that. Kind of. She didn't love Albus, not like that, and she needed someone. Albus just happened to be there, lol. I'm glad you loved Albus -- he is rather huggable to me right now, and it's lovely to know that you enjoyed the story, so thank you lots for the review :)

~Soraya~

Reviewer: Redwing
Date: 07/20/12 3:59
Chapter: I Will Lay Down My Heart

I had to keep telling myself not to be grossed out, but this was actually really good. I'm glad that you persevered with it! I kind of want a sequel where Rose comes to her senses and gets with Albus (I love Albus's character, by the way - so fully developed in such a short time, and so sympathetic), but I wouldn't want to read it unless they got together at the end. I would feel too bad for Albus! I guess that goes to show that you really made me care about your characters. I am also curious about Rose. I feel like we are able to understand Albus fairly well, thanks to the narration following him, but Rose is still largely a mystery. I'd love to see what makes her tick. Cheers!

Author's Response: Hello :) Thank you for the review, and for being honest about things. It is a potentially squicky pairing, but I've always had this idea in my head, especially with the song, so I had to give it a go. I was contemplating throwing in the towel at one point (Albus wasn't cooperating with me), so it's nice to know that you enjoyed it and that my persevation paid off :)

Haha, I doubt Rose would get with Albus. She would probably sleep with him again, but she's not in love with him -- she loves Scorpius too much, sadly, lol. And YAY to developing Albus's character -- I did have some issues with him, like I said.

Rose is more of a central character (as is Scorpius) in my chaptered story, Blood and Roses, though that's a prequel to this story, and it's much more about Scorpius than it is about Rose, so you might like it. Depends. At any rate, I'm glad you enjoyed this story -- like I said, it gave me a lot of grief, so it's lovely to know you liked it. Thank you very much!

~Soraya~

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