Powerful story, carefully plotted and well written. I will look for more stories by you.
This is reall well-written, Jess. You handle some pretty intense and difficult topcis really well; you're respectful while at the same time drawing attention to a very real problem that a lot of people have to deal with, and the awful consequences it can have.
I loved your characterisation of Adrian and he came across really well. He seems very... human, he has his faults but ultimately he wants to do what's right. I also liked that while he might be small and the poorest and lack social status, he still has his own strength (eg saying no to the Knights).
One of the moments that had a real impact on me was when Miles said Adrian was lucky to have his Dad; it feels pretty confronting to consider the abuse that Adrian suffered as a good thing, but in comparison to what Miles suffered it was.
I also thought Miles was a really well-drawn character. It's interesting reading him from other character's points of view (eg Michael - I've read this whole series), because he really does seem like a pretty violent bully, but when you put it into context it is understandable. You've made him very human too.
I loved the way you wrote this, in jumping back and forth from the funeral. It's effective to see the impact the funeral has on Adrian and then go back through time to find out why exactly. I also thought you did a good job on the relationship between them; it is clear that Adrian doesn't exactly like Miles, but there is still a connection.
I thought the ending was interesting, with Adrian and his father sort of reconciling. I thought you did that in a very real way, because it woud be easy (in terms of hte story I mean) for Adrian to just hate his father forever, but he is still his father. I think it shows how Adrian has grown over the story, and really shows that things aren't simple and black and white.
I probably haven't picked up on everything that's good about this story, but I think it is fantastic. I love the whole series, you do a great job of showing both sides of the war and showing again that things are not black and white. So I should get to reviewing the other stories soon.
I will admit, while the subject matter is grim, dense, and taxing to the emotions, this is one of my favourite stories I've written and in the top three in terms of quality. There is something about writing contrasting characters that turn out to not be so different at all that captivates me as a writer, such as how Michael and Miles both had an innate violent tendency that the correct circumstances could bring forth, and also their respective social differences determined how they dealt with those things.
Adrian is probably my favourite minor character who didn't have much besides a name in the series. That meant I could shape his life any way I wanted or needed, but his entire existence was just...there, in my head, from the moment I started writing Hollow Soldiers. I just had to get around to writing it.
The part with Adrian's father in the end actually sparked some controversy for some readers, but to me it was the only conclusion. Hating everything and wanting to exert power over it was what had got Miles killed, and it was what had spurred Adrian's dad to be the way he was. But once Adrian's dad lost the power he had over his wife and child, he finally appeared to Adrian as what he truly was: a tortured man who knew awful things he couldn't live with. Adrian knew a little bit about not being able to live with a secret and, while he didn't invite his father to Sunday dinner after hugging it out, gave the man a chance to rectify his mistakes and pay penance for them. Punishment is a prevailing theme in the Hollow Soldiers series, and this element was an extension of that.
The timeline was basically made to converge. The past continued until it turned into the beginning!present (I literally do not know how else to put that), and the beginning!present evolved to shape the future of the series. Seen through the light of this fic, I think it makes the rest of the series more difficult to read and identify who is really a villain or who has made poor choices. Except Samuel. He's definitely a villain. Jerk.
Thank you for reading this story and reviewing. It means a lot to me, especially from one of MNFF's most accomplished reader/reviewers. This is a special story to me, and I'm glad people are still reading it and taking away important things from it.
Jess, this is so good. I loved your characterization of both Adrian and Miles, and the complexity of their friendship (which became that much more complex as the story moved on). You did such a good job with Adrian--he wasn't perfect, but he was a hero of sorts, certainly. I'm glad Samuel was punished. Miles's story was such a tragic one, and I loved that Adrian insisted on justice. Nice twist at the end, with them being brothers. I paused a bit that Adrian seemed so merciful to his own father at the end, but I see it as Adrian maybe seeing his father as a human finally. Though his actions toward his son were certainly inexcusable. This kind of subject matter is not easy to write with sensitivity and realism, but you managed it well. With you, I would expect nothing less. Well done, and congratulations on the nomination! ~ Lori
I've known this story since I wrote Hollow Soldiers, but it took a lot to actually write it. I wanted to give it my best (which is why I actually went through five drafts of this story before even considering publishing it), but also make sure that I got the *feel* of it right. I do believe I did that, and if asked by anyone which story of mine is the best, this would be it. I tried the hardest, it meant the most, and while I'm saddened that it wasn't up to par enough to do better in D/A, it is nice that the sequel to it won a QSQ.
In this story, I must confess that Adrian is a bit of a self-insertion in terms of how he deals with things that suck. Basically, he ignored the problems Miles had until they were so much in his face that he no longer could, but it niggled him that he was ignoring it. Inwardly, I believe that Adrian wanted his own problems to be the focus of his life (aren't all teenagers selfish in that regard, at least to a point?), but Adrian just isn't built to be that selfish and his apathy does eat at him. And he does end up doing the right thing because he liberated himself from his own personal hell (his father's abuse) and understood the power of doing so. Even posthumously, he fought for Miles because no one else ever did - both because he needed to for himself and because he lost his brother almost before he ever knew he had one.
In terms of Adrian's dad, it does seem odd that he would want to start fresh, but as I mentioned before, Adrian removed any power his dad had over him or his mother. The man lays one hand on either him or his mum and Adrian will turn his nose from an outtie to an innie. And I think Adrian finally understands that it was never his fault or his mother's fault that they were abused, but while he lay blame where it was due, he saw fit to help his father be a better man than just pretend he doesn't exist. Pretending Miles's problems didn't exist ended up with his brother being a Death Eater and, in the end, dead. He wanted to do better this time. It wasn't his responsibility, but at this point, he just didn't want to lose anyone else. Plus, despite his numerous and inexcusable sins, Adrian's father was not nearly the monster Samuel was, and forgiveness didn't seem like such a far-off thing when the two things were put side-by-side.
Anyway, thanks for reading, and if you ever want to know more about the characters, let me know. I have so much headcanon for all of them that it's ridiculous.
it is sad the damage done to ones very soul by the act of the kind of abuse you never say but we know you mean. too many have gotten away with it by the silence. Hope this inspires people to stand up.
This was a tough subject to write about, I won't lie. Though things like this have thankfully never happened to me, I know people who have suffered such things. They deserve to be heard, even if we have to use fiction to do it.
I think Adrian's role in this story is important, because he represented what happens when someone (Miles) reaches out but no one does anything. You cant particularly blame him for it, because he seemed to be the only one who even thought to try helping him. He was just a kid, but had he spoken out or done something, chances are that Miles might have lived. In the end, Adrian did the right thing, though, when everyone else looked the other way.
Thanks for reviewing and for reading a difficult story. ~Jess
Good story. You handled some difficult subject matter with sensitivity and compassion. I could sympathize with Adrian and even with Miles. Well done.
Thanks for the review. This was a tough nut to crack, and I put a lot of time into making it sincere without demeaning the fact that this is a story that is played by fictional characters but is likely all too true for someone.
All of the characters, in the end, had a certain shade of villainy to them: Adrian for pretending like the conversation he had with Miles in fifth year never happened, Miles for allowing his circumstances to define him, Adrian's dad for being weak and taking it out on his family, everyone who knew or suspected of Miles's abuse looking the other way, and most of all Samuel for doing what he did so shamelessly. Yet we are still able to discern right from wrong and lay the blame at the correct owner's feet. I remember, when the prequel to this story came out, how much everyone hated Miles and that they were glad he died, but it made me sad because there were victims on both sides of the war.
Anyway, I'll shut up now. Thank you for braving a story with a lot of warnings and for leaving your thoughts. :)
Jess, as you know, I've left SPEW, and while I should probably maintain SPEW-standards my current inability to write anything other than a shopping list, as well as how overwhelmed and impressed I was by this story, prevent me from doing so. So this will be a ramble. Sorry.
I love the way you structured this. The two timelines, being at the funeral and then Adrian's memories, worked really well, and the jumps between them felt natural. And as I think I said last time, I love your characterisation of Adrian. He's just so decent. That's the main word I'd use to describe him. I mean, he helps Miles, even though he's sure that (if Miles remembers) he'll get punished for it. However, then he wishes he'd never asked, which is such a -- this sounds odd, but such a human thing to say, even though someone else in the world knowing must have been some, meagre relief for Miles. I love how--unhyperbolic (is that a word?) Adrian is. You trust him as a narrator, completely, and symapthise with him so much. I love the line: "I don't know if I ever did let him go." The uncertainty in that is so heartbreaking, and also the idea of them having this relationship almost by chance. I also loved the "I like it when you say my name." (apart from the Doctor/Master thing I mentioned to you). There's this bond between them, which you show so well, and never seems forced.
Very pedantic, but just quickly, in the line, "up and picked him up" the repetition of up is a bit jarring, and you can easily delete the first one.
I'm glad you feel trust in Adrian, as in my head, he's really just a decent kid who grows up with a bad lot. Had he been born into a wealthier (or maybe just less poor) family, he could've had a lot more advantages. But yeah, he is decent, and Miles hated him for it a little. In Miles's twisted world, the idea of someone being that good despite what cards he's dealt is unfathomable, which resulted in Miles trying to cut Adrian down to his level and make him just as miserable. It was just unfair that the poor brother was the one that was happiest.
The timelines were something I started about halfway through writing the story. I had originally started at the funeral and had done a few flashbacks, but the flashback segments just pissed me off, so I did it this way instead. I did my best to make sure that the segments were relevant to the ones around them, and I think I did okay. The present gave a sense of foreboding to the past, and the past gave a sense of foreboding to the present, etc. There were scenes were I wasn't entirely happy with the shift, but all in all, with Soraya's beta whip, they work okay. One thing I knew I had to do from the beginning was have the two timelines merge, where the past ends up where the present starts. This story almost needed to be told non-linearly, sort of like if it had been made into a film.
The dynamics between Adrian and Miles are...complicated, and they were a bear to get right. It's a fine line to walk for Miles to kiss someone that turns out to be his brother and it still fall within the rules, but it was important to show how Miles's abuse affected his sense of boundaries. And I don't know if it came across, but I had meant Miles to be bipolar, as well, which added to his violently shifting moods. Gina hadn't seen this, but when I told her, she was like...well, that makes sense, so hopefully it works toward the story. But when they were in third year, and Miles knew about Adrian being his brother, he was, in his odd way, trying to bond with Adrian, but he almost didn't know how without being suspicious. That's where the changing room scene came in, but since Miles is almost pathologically unable to form healthy relationships by this point, he pushes things too far and just makes things weird. And in later years, he is even more twisted and just wants to possess Adrian like his father had possessed him, because that's what the world is to him. And why he becomes a Death Eater: he is in control (in his mind, anyway).
I totally hadn't meant to have a Doctor/Master relationship vibe, but now that I think on it, I love it! The Master can hardly be blamed for his madness, as Miles can't truly be blamed for his own, and Adrian feels, as the Doctor does, a pathological need to help him. And big brother is the only one Miles thinks can help him, poor love. Adrian almost wishing he didn't know, I agree, is basic humanity kicking in. No one wants to know this sort of thing about the people around you, especially if you don't think there's anything you can do. Of course, Adrian *wants* to help Miles, but even he in his youthful naivete knows that there is probably nothing he can do at this point but be there for Miles when he's able to escape his father.
Will look at odd wording, as well. There are bound to be weird bits in it, but I have some other editing to do, and I'll add it to the list. Thank you for taking the time to review. This is an intense story and probably scares a lot of people away, but if anyone can step up to the challenge, it would be you. <3
,br> I want Adrian to find happiness, whether with a man, woman, Pansy (oh no, not her) or a Kneazle. He's so lovely. Well, okay, not lovely exactly, but he's so honest and true and yet, very Slytherin. This story surprised me in so many ways. First the style as you flitted back and forth because we knew Miles was dead, but you made the journey to his death very interesting and so very sad. Second ... BROTHERS!! Oh, wow. You see, I thought they were going to be lovers (which I kind of said in my first review), so then I was reading that and thinking Noooooooooo, don;t make them lovers ... although, I think you could have made it work because Adrian didn;t know. Gahhhhd, it makes the two kisses even more poignant. Glad old Bletchley got waht he deserved. I hope he's getting beaten up by the inmates. Oh, and I loved the scene at the end with Pucey snr. He's a horrible, horrible man, and yet you gave him a glimmer of redemption at the end. It must have been so very very hard for him knowing he had another son.
Great story, and I refer you back to my first word ....
Now you can see why I angsted over this story so much. It was uncomfortable to write, as I imagine it is so to read. There is a very fine line between Miles kissing Adrian (knowing full well they are brothers) being a depraved young man with a mental illness that destroyed his sense of boundaries and it treading into incest territory and not being admissible to MNFF. However, I think I struck a balance in this matter without taking away the impact of what happened.
What you like about Adrian is the reason why I chose to write this in first person. I understand his mental process so very well, and if anything, I poured a lot of my own personality into his characterisation. He does have an innate sense of justice, but he is willing to set aside what he wants to do to carry on what *needs* to be done. He could've killed Samuel, and nobody would've thought lesser of him once what happened to Miles was made public, but he wasn't willing to drag his brother's last shred of dignity through the mud for his own sake. But making sure Samuel went to prison the right way would be the right thing to do.
I am cooking a sequel as we speak, and I hope you can enjoy it. This was a heavy story, but it's given me a spark to write more once I got past the 'words won't happen' phase. <3 teh Croll
Plot thickening .... This review will be incomprehensible because I want to read the next chapter .,.. but DUN DUN DUUUUN, they're BROTHERS!!!!!!!!!!!
At first, I was worried that it would be too squicky for the site because Miles had made passes at Adrian, but I left it there because it felt important to show how Samuel's abuse had destroyed Miles's sense of those sorts of boundaries. That and Adrian didn't reciprocate.
Anyway, no mas ramble. Good luck with the next chapter.
Not a pleasant story, but having started to read it, I had to stay to the end. Powefull writing.
No, this isn't a pleasant story, but it's am important one. I don't profess to be an authority on much of anything or the best writer to take up the task of raising awareness of this sort of abuse, but it occurred to me that there are dozens of stories on this site about infidelity, violence, murder, rape, drug abuse, alcoholism, and all that, but I've never encountered anything like this. It's something I suppose I felt shouldn't be swept under a carpet.
All in all, it was a rocky road while writing this, but the end product, to me, was worth it. Not a lot of people are reading it, which I sort of expected, but if it reaches someone, then it's all worth it.
Thank you for your readership!
I am so very glad Samuel was caught and sentenced. Well done, Adrian! I suppose I am glad Adrian didn't compromise himself and attack the man, but I do hope he suffers for what he did to Miles. It's really unbelievable that there are people like that in the world. They are truly sub-human.
I halfway thought Adrian was going to go crazy with guilt or just off himself, so I'm also glad you didn't take that route. The scene with his father was very surprising and unexpected, but it was good. It was hopeful and after so much sadness that was a good way to end.
I still really loved Adrian in this story. You brought him to life so, so well that even though it was so dark and tragic for him, I still really enjoyed reading his POV. It was really well written. I'm glad you finished and posted and hope you get some more brave folks to look past the warnings and read this because it's well done and worth the read. *hugs*
The thing that bothered me about this story that almost made me chuck it (before Soraya graciously took it under her wing) was that it was missing something I wanted from it, and that was closure. There needed to be something full circle about this story that tied up loose ends. Adrian's dad was mentioned in the beginning as a principle jackass, and this wasn't just to show that Miles had it so very bad, but Adrian had a journey to take in this story, too, that needed to happen before he even met his brother.
I'm really happy with Adrian here. He came so very naturally to me, and I knew right away what I wanted him to be like. I can see his Slytherin qualities, yet they don't make him a lesser person as many do (even JKR) to them. He simply is born and raised with the tools to survive. I don't consider his desire for justice to be particularly Gryffindor, but the way he approached it was so it would be done right, even if it burned in his gut not to murder Samuel like a lot of people (including me) probably think he deserved. He's just a legitimately moral person who sticks to his guns and makes sure that things get done right and the vilest human being he's ever encountered doesn't set foot amongst decent people again.
After all of this, there was just no way that Adrian was going to leave things as they were with his dad. We know how Adrian feels about losing a brother he barely knew, but imagine how said brother's father felt without a say in any of it. There is no excuse for Adrian's dad to be so cruel to his wife and son, but his behaviour isn't just a plot device; it was born OF the plot. I thought it important to put that out there, because I kind of understand, if not condone, being driven to drink and violence at the thought of one's child being abused by a bastard like Samuel and being powerless to do anything about it. I guess smacking around Miranda and Adrian gave him some sort of control, but I don't think, after this, that he'll raise a hand to either of them again, regardless of Adrian's threat to knock his teeth out if he does.
Thank you for reading this dark and rather messed-up story, and I'm glad it felt genuine. They're tough subjects to tackle and even harder to get right, and you know how much I struggled to make it work. *hugs*
Very interesting! I like seeing other perspectives other than the gryffindor house!
I tend to stray toward the Ravenclaws and Slytherins, myself. They have stories to tell, too. I'm glad you appreciated this one. :)
Also - fifty shades of wrong! AWESOME LINE!!
/that's it. write more
Author's Response: Haha, I thought you would appreciate that. <3
I wish I could give you that OMG review but I sort of knew what was coming, didn't I? So I'm not in total shock since you had told me a bit of it, lol. BUT at this point I have no idea what is going to happen next so I suspect you'll get the OMG in the next part. Because I cannot wait to see what Adrian does to Samuel. He has to do something to the monster! Right?
I think you've done a really good job with a sensitive topic in that you haven't graphically described it, but we still know: we know what happened, we know the repercussions. It's tragic. So you have pulled some sympathy for Miles, good job. And kudos for even going there with it all. Can't wait to see how you wrap it up, twisted or not. ;)
Well, you did know this was coming, and I'm glad it, while not being a shock, still managed to build a sense of suspense. The Miles in Hollow Soldiers was always a wounded little boy to me, and I felt sad that so many people felt glee at his death. Ultimately, though, he was probably happier dead than alive.
Adrian has to do something here; he can't *not* do something. When Miles told him what was going on at home, Adrian could've said something to someone and got him help, even if, as Adrian's mother said, it wouldn't have done any good. Samuel could buy his way out of trouble because all they have is the word of a boy who isn't really even his son, and the 'he just wants to get to my money' angle and it very well could have come to nothing. Subliminally, I think, even as a 15-year-old, Adrian understood that, though he didn't blame himself any less for Miles's continued suffering and his own inaction. I guess you'll have to wait until tomorrow to find out what goes down.
As the plethora of warnings shows, this is a story that 'goes there' in many ways, but for as (sadly) often as such things occur, they are grossly underinterpreted in the fanfic world. Just because someone is a wizard, it doesn't mean they are any less depraved than a Muggle counterpart. And, as you might have guessed, Miles is also bipolar, so that only exacerbates the situation. Poor kid. :/
Thank you for reading. <3 youuuuu!
This is well written. I can't wait to see what what happens.
I'm happy that you feel this is well-written. With tricky subjects like this, it's hard to be sure that they are paid due deference to their sensitive nature. I worked hard to make sure this was treated with proper care, because it's an ugly subject to think about but one that is all too real.
Thank you for reading and leaving your thoughts. :)
It was very tricky to write and to get just right, so I'm glad you found it interesting. It's a horrible thing to think about, but some stories are uglier than others.
Thanks for reading!
I love your first person writing! I love Adrian! Miles, not so much, but I suspect you'll make me feel some sympathy for him as it continues. But just like all your other minor characters, Adrian jumps to life as a really decent Slytherin. And that's in spite of a bad childhood. Good for him. And good for you for tackling the tough issues. I know there is more to come so sorry about the short, bunk review. Strangely looking forward to how you torture them next!
Hopefully Adrian comes across on the page as he does in my head: above-average intelligence and resilient. One would have to be to survive being that low in the Slytherin pecking order.
Miles's story is coming next chapter, and I think you know what that means. Poor boys. I wish I was nicer to people in fic, but this head canon oddly enough existed before I killed Miles in Hollow Soldiers.
Thanks for checking out this odd little story, and I hope you enjoy the rest of it! *squishes Twin*
Yes, I said I was going to stop reading fanfic. But I was craving some impeccably written D/A and this fulfilled that need perfectly. I love how Adrian is characterised--his intelligence, the way he manages being a Slytherin, his humanity and perception in knowing something is wrong with Miles, but Miles not wanting, and possibly it wouldn't have done any good, to get help except for that one heart-breaking moment with the 'Oh', the full reason for which Adrian felt so bad is only revealed in that last line. How you make them all come to life, and make me sympathise with htem, so quickly, I do not know. One tiny nitpick-I think the tense is wrong in this sentence: 'People I love wouldn’t get hurt anymore' and it should be 'loved.'
For some reason, I thought this was a one-shot. I was so, so delighted to rush back to the summary and see the 'No' next to the Complete box. I await the rest, and the answers to all my questions, eagerly. Alex
Yayyyyyy, you came!
Let's preface this with some explanations and apologies. This was started as a birthday present for you, but as I was in the midst of moving and the plotline rapidly spun out of control, I had to give that up for a bit. Then I was like *flail* when parents were a topic for the CCT minor character section, but by then, I realised that this wouldn't make the maximum word count limit. Well, bugger. Then I stuffed it away for a month, not happy with where it was going, until I mentioned I had some bastard child fic stagnating in my folders, and Soraya offered to take a look. She is the reason this story is here right now. :P
Now, onto the story. Adrian is the embodiment of what most writers steal from Slytherins: a strong moral compass, a sense of fair play (note that Adrian is the only canon Slytherin Quidditch player not shown playing dirty or cheating at any point), and someone with a heavy sense of responsibility.
As for Miles, I think he does want help. It's why he reached out to Adrian in the changing room, because Adrian is, recognisably, the only one of his peers who won't mock him for his weakness or spread salacious rumours about him. But that little 'oh' was more when it dawned on Miles that Adrian didn't understand where this was going. You'll see where this was going in the next chapter.
I will check up on the little tense thingy. Overall, though, I'm glad you appreciate this story, and I hope you continue to do so in further instalments should you choose to continue. <3
Not a very cheerful subject, but emotionally well written.
I took a lot of time and care to treat this story and its themes with the respect they require, so I'm glad you appreciate the effort. It is, by nature, a sad story, but one that unfortunately exists too often in the world. :/
Thank you for reading/reviewing!
WHOAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAA!!!!!! - and WOWWWWWWWWWWWWWWW and much, much flailing.
Sorry for the crappityness of the review, but this is majorly intense, Jess. I love it all so far. Initially when I started reading, I was wondering where you were going to take us and what the story is because you've already given away the fact that Miles is dead (unless this is a time-turner fic and he comes back to have Snape's love-child ;p), but as I was reading, I because very interested in this journey you were taking us on. I LOVE Adrian, and I love the fact that he really doesn't like Miles, sees all his flaws and yet ... that's his lover he's burying. I already want Samuel and ... uh ... Mr Pucey to die very painful deaths. Samuel, I hope, at the end of a red hot poker, Pucey can be beaten up by Grawp or some ninja house elves - something horrible and painful.
Great story, and I look forward to part twp. ~Carole~
It's so weird, seeing your reactions as the story is only 1/3 the way through, because there is so much more to the characters that you won't know until the next chapter. I guess this story doesn't feel like it has that violent a turn in direction to because I always knew how it would end.
I won't lie, Adrian has a bit more of me in him than I had intended, but mostly that he brushes off the bad things that happen to him with a 'sh!t happens' attitude and carries on. He is, however, a much kinder soul than me, so even though Miles was a complete twat to him, Adrian went to the other boy's funeral regardless. I have a soft spot for Slytherins with good moral fibre.
Thank youuuuuu for visiting, Croll. I won't say you'll enjoy the next chapter, but it will be enlightening. *hugs*
Er ... Why does this not have any other reviews? I am perplexed. People, come out of the damn closet!
Anyway, Miles and Adrian. How many times were they even mentioned in the books? :D But that's what's great about these characters, isn't it? You have a canon network that you can play with whichever way you want, but one who is deemed a good fanfic author is one who does that well. And you have so far!
This story is not pretty. Neither are the characters. It's not one designed to make the readers fall in love or make them think that - hey, life is beautiful. Because it often isn't. You haven't wasted any time establishing a dark, uncomfortable and unpleasant mood.
The characterisation shows promise as of now; the plot is still very raw. I am trying to figure out how the rest of the story is going to pan out. But what you have given us so far has me caught, and I eagerly await the update.
Welcome back to writing!
I feel like I've lived with these two for so long, because I've always had head canon for them both. Adrian's is less unpleasant than Miles's, but both of these boys have a story to tell.
It's almost surreal for me to see someone read this, not knowing what I know about how it ends. It feels like it's cast in a different light than it is in my head, and I do wonder what sort of epiphany will happen once the fic progresses to the next stage.
In a couple ways, Adrian isn't that much different than Harry. Both of them had s*** childhoods, but they take these things in stride and look for better things. Miles...is a different story, one you will see in full force next chapter.
Thanks for reading and reviewing, and it feels good to be back!