I read this fic when you first posted it, I think, and I definitely remember enjoying it, but thanks to exams, all of the details have left me since then. Coming back to read it a second time had been a real treat, because it feels almost new to me, so I've felt the full impact of Daphne and Theo's actions towards Susan, and of Susan's pain. I'm just going to review chapter one for now, so I can go into more detail.
The first thing I'd like to say is that I really appreciate how you handled the exposition of this. There's an awful lot of back story that you needed to detail - necessary, interesting back story - but you integrated it all very smoothly. The opening line for example, “It was funny, really, how quickly and easily two people could grow apart”, was clearly in the present time of the story but had me immediately wondering what their relationship had been like prior to the story. The whole first scene had me curious about both past and present, and made me really eager to keep reading to understand the whole situation better.
Then there was the way you set up the sexual tension between the three characters. Of course Susan's attraction to Theo was one-sided, but I still felt its leftover potency in her shiver. Between Daphne and Susan, however, the attraction was palpable, deeply convincing, even when Susan seemed to want to ignore it. That Susan notices all of those details about Daphne - the “faint red print” of her lipstick, her “sharp eyes” - when she enters the room seemed very significant to me, and set up the following scene very effectively, I thought. The touching hands thing, too, and the use of the olive worked very well as build up. I even found myself kind of attracted to the idea of Daphne.
That brings me nicely onto Daphne. She seems quite the enigma. First I would have assumed that she was very much in love with Theo, simply because she goes from not having seen him since Hogwarts to being his fiancee in about a year. Her eagerness to meet Susan is also something I would have attributed to loving him. But of course then she shows up and is so much more complex than that, seeming to betray him in her manipulation and seduction of Susan. She has me absolutely intrigued and very keen to read on. I don't know if I would like her as a person, but as a character, I think she's incredibly strong.
Susan is very different, but I thought she worked equally well, and I found myself caring about her very quickly and easily. This was partially because of how she was suffering, but also because of how she dealt with it. She didn't seem to wallow in self-pity or lash out at people; she didn't burden anyone, and that kind of made me want to help her, to rescue her even. After seeing how awfully Theo treated her, how inconsiderate he was, I was kind of pleased for her when she slept with Daphne. She wasn't entirely in control, but she was doing something selfish, rather than putting him first and being trampled on. I mean, the way Daphne manipulated her does kind of worry me, so I'm interested to see where that will go. That I care for her so much just shows how strong your characterisation is.
The thing that really brought this chapter together for me was your style of writing. One thing I particularly loved was your dialogue. Each character had a voice, one that I could hear quite clearly as I read, and their emotions came through very naturally in their voices. Susan seems to talk less than the other characters, apart from when Daphne is manipulating her to talk about Theo. Daphne pretends to be a lot less perceptive than she is and so speaks bluntly. These things not only contributed to the characterisation, but also helped to bring the story alive.
All in all, I feel like I've been absolutely drawn into your world. I've very quickly grown attached to Susan, so I hope she doesn't get mistreated too much more in the coming chapters. Sadly, my vague memories of reading this before make me think that's not the case.
Author's Response: Thank you so much for this review, Sophie. I have been meaning to write the entirety of the story I have in my head concerning Susan and Theo and Daphne for some time now. But sometimes I've realized that when I have such a complicated head canon for stories they don't translate too well to actual fiction. I am so, so happy the story worked for you though. I'm glad you commented on Daphne - she is probably my favorite character in the world to write, period (though, as you said, I'm not sure I would ever want to be her friend). I'm also happy you liked the dialogue, I find my stories usually have a higher description to dialogue ratio, so I thought I'd try something more compelling :) . Again, thank you so much for your review! It positively made my day. xx Ariana
Ahhh, they both had dark pasts and secrets though. Very intriguing!
Sorry, this is going to be a really crappy review, but this has been an interesting read. Your smut was rather beautiful and edgy. Theo was lovely in the end. Hmm, did she tell him about the abortion, I wonder?
One crit. Hannah's mum died in HBP, so she can;t be at the wedding. Perhaps you could make it Augusta or an aunt.
Well done for completing on time. ~Carole~
Author's Response: Ooh, thanks for catching that - I kind of wrote this last minute in between swim practices. Theo did learn about the abortion (the story is compliant with Picking Up the Pieces, which I wrote for Jess 193842390 years ago) but he wasn't part of the decision, which was what really drove a wedge between him and Susan. Thank you so, so much - it really means a lot that you read and reviewed this fic to the end (and were the only one to do so :) ). xx Ariana
Then I shall leave you one and decry the fact that this has no more. WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU PEOPLE? REVIEW REVIEW REVIEW.
Really getting into this, Ariana. I was wondering where this was going because Daphne seemed a bit to archetypal b1tch at first, but she has hints of depth and a backstory that I'm really intrigued by.
I don;t know what I want to happen, now.Theo seems decent, but I still think he was an idiot to want Susan to be Daphne's friend. I kind of half want Susan to hook up with Hannah - ha ha ha.
Well done. There's some beautiful writing here. ~Carole~
Author's Response: Thank you so much for the review, Carole - it was a lovely way to start my day :). Daphne should reveal herself (in more than one way, of course ;) ) in the next chapter, which is set to be the last one but I'm not sure yet. Hmm, Susan/Hannah would be interesting…Thank you, again! xx Ariana
WHOOAAAAAA! Okay, why does this have no reviews. I'm shocked! This is fabulous, Arianna. Ughh, I'm sickenly jealous as you've just raised the bar - yet again!!! .
Your smut scenes are brilliant, do you know that. They sound so delicious and poetic and yet so very real, and I was reading it and gasping.
I liked the set up here and actually had sympathy with both Theo and Susan, but not Daphne who was really not that good a person (but very sexy! HOTDAMN!). Daphne I found interesting because it seemed that she'd been interested in Susan for quite some time as she'd pestered Theo to meet her. She was so very manipulative - mwahahahahah.
Great story, and good luck in the challenge! ~Carole~
Author's Response: Yay! I am so thrilled that you liked it. I think the reason it's taken me so insanely long to finally write this is because whenever I try to write sequels they usually fall flat, so I was worried with this one. Daphne is my favorite character to write ever, probably because it's so hard to feel sympathetic towards her (maybe later on that will change…hmmm ;) ) if that makes sense. Thank you so much for reviewing, Carole, I love that you read this. xx Ariana