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30 October 2004 @ 09:37 pm
FIC: "Through the Gates" (HP; Lily/Narcissa, PG-13)  
Oh my god, she wrote something. X_x Aren't you all just terribly stunned? I actually started this piece back in March, during a long spell of writing for Harry Potter. Lily/Narcissa has no canon backing as far as I know but, for some odd reason, I absolutely can't resist the idea of those two. I got stuck for a while when the storyline got tangled (I eventually had to separate it out into a drabble-- which I will probably post soon-- and another fic altogether) and it languished on my hard drive until... tonight. I just suddenly had the energy to finish it; I knew what I wanted to do. *looks bewildered* Hopefully, the break in writing is not obvious. I'm still not sure if this is of any actual quality, so... yeah. ^^; Thank you so much for taking the time to read this. If you could spare a few more moments to comment, I would be deeply in your debt. ^_^
-Meredith

Without further ado...


DATE BEGUN: March 4, 2004
DATE FINISHED: October 30th, 2004


"Every young woman must pass through this gate. Was it possible that it was now my turn?"
- from "Yige Dongtiande Tonghua" (A Winter's Fairytale) by Yu Luojin


=======================
Through the Gates 1/1
by Meredith Bronwen Mallory
mallorys-girl@cinci.rr.com
http://www.demando.net/
=======================




She only stops plotting to kill him long enough to say her wedding vows.

Or, at least, this is what she tells herself, years later, pressing her lips delicately to a glass of amberberry wine. She'll laugh a little, telling herself this constructed, anti-fairy tale of her life, wiping her hands fretfully on the fine satin of her robes. But that night is a long way off, out of her sight and no comfort to her now, as she kneels to be bonded.

Lucius Malfoy begins to bind her hands with the red cord, and she watches from behind the battlements of the bride's traditional, velveteen mask. Her hands are small and white, and his are large and white; they are a concert in ivory, pale cream and platinum gold, heads bent to ease the task. He drops the cord now, two tails hanging from an intricate knot, settling back onto his stool. Her part is harder-- she must tie the cord to his one of hands with both of hers bound. She swallows her laughter like the most bitter of apples, because of course this act of hers is flawless and filled with grace. Hours of practice in front of the bedpost and her mother's watchful eye, saw to that. And who did Lucius practice on? A sister, a servant, or some inanimate object?
(He probably can't tell the difference, now!)


It's still hard to make the knot with one hand-- two, three, four wraps, just as she was taught-- but it will always be harder for her, than it is for him. 'It's easy,' the willowy, cold-stone whispers of the family matrons advised, 'just lie back, and wait for it to be over.'
("Lie back and think of England!" Lily says with righteous, sorrowful anger. Something from Muggle history. And later, still; "There's an old joke-- 'what's wrong, dear?' asks the husband."
Narcissa inclines her head only fractionally, fingers curled daintily around a tea cup, the line of her lips saying that she regally accepts her friend's attempt to amuse. Tonelessly, because otherwise she might scream, "And?"
"'Nothing,' says the wife," Lily leans in, commiserating, but also because this is the last time they will ever see each other. Or rather, the last time that Narcissa will see Lily, because Lily won't be able to see her-- the real her-- under Mother Black's watchful eye. A whisper, " "I was just worried,' says the husband, 'You moved'.")

Ha ha! Narcissa thinks, but it's not at all funny, and Lily knew that. The punch line was not a giggle or a snort, but a sort of shaken understanding, a mirror of sorrow in those gem green eyes.


( 'Ain't that the truth,' Bellatrix said, last night as she helped Narcissa pack her trousseau. Eyes dark, already married and more than a little crazy, Narcissa's sister lit a cigarette made of crystalline weed and offered the lighter girl a drag. 'Lying there isn't going to do you any good, let me tell you,' she waved one ring-encrusted hand. 'It's like when the first year boys poked us at school. The less you react, the more they poke.' She made a crude gesture, 'Poke, poke, poke!' Her laughter was rakish, and very ugly on the ears. )


Narcissa holds herself very still, because the hall of the Wizard's Court is hushed and silent all the way to it's high-walled ceilings-- she must be still, or all these things inside of her will just out, and everyone knows that good pureblood girls don't make a lot of noise.

"Is there anyone," Narcissa's father drolly intones, "that might object to this great union?" It's something of a joke-- because, who would dare?-- and the wives all twitter helpfully, having been where Narcissa is now. Kneeling, masked, cleaned and washed and ready for the slaughter.
("Run away," Lily suggested, more than once, "Run away, now!")
You stupid girl, Narcissa thinks, ears roaring with silence, you just shut up. There is silence, of course; this day has existed, lain in wait, since she was two years old, but she can't help but look up-- not with her face, but with her eyes-- despite herself. Way down the aisle, miles and miles, Narcissa can see the threshold leading out into the rest of the world. Why isn't Lily there, blazing in Gryffindor reds and golds, a beautiful female warrior with her sword raised high? She should be there, green eyes as hard as the emeralds they mimic, shouting, "Enough with this, free her, or I shall run you all through!"

(Well of course, you silly, pale little thing-- Lily won't come, she won't come at all! How could she, when you never told her what date, what time or where-- when you never even permitted yourself the chance of rescue? Now your neck is really on the line.)

She wants to imagine Lily, stealth and light, quicksilver as the hope she bares, creeping behind Lucius on hunter's feet. Lily would be quiet, and all the congregation, all the prime and pompous liars here to witness this union, well— they would all be so shocked, so unsettled by the presence of a Muggle-born Gryffindor that they would be beyond saying anything at all. Beneath her mask, Narcissa would smile, and Lucius wouldn't know, he'd never even guess, until the blade of Lily's dagger was piercing from behind, through the hollow cavern of his heart, and all his blood was staining his bride's gown like the finest, most expensive dye.
Except that's not the sort of thing Lily would do— loyal, do-gooding lion-heart that she is. She'd lay down her own life and never take anyone else's; but, really, she was raised by Muggles, who bother themselves with religion and complex ethics and don't know anything at all.
"Wizards," said Bellatrix once, real wizards don't have time for right or wrong. "They only have time to ask the question— do I want to live? Well, then; you'll do what you have to do."


Now Lord Black and Lord Malfoy lift the hands of their children, so that all can see the red cord that binds. A cheer goes up, "Keep the blood pure, keep the blood pure!", loud as a thousand people screaming in Narcissa's ear. The binding is cut, falls away like all symbolism in the end, but she knows she's still stuck, irrevocably visible, as Lucius peels away the velvet mask. And though she has seen her intended before, all through schooling, he's never looked like this. From a distance, from the safe segregation of 'boys dorm' and 'girls dorm', he seemed offhandedly dashing, an entirely proper suitor. She could be proud of him, distantly, as if he was a race horse— she could smile and nod at the other girls' envy, she could lift up his memory when Lily's sweet kisses made her shatter and she could say to her, to the one she really cared about, 'See, I don't need you.'
And at night, when the engagement ring that encircled her finger since infanthood, that had grown with her all of her years, got so heavy she thought she might drown— she could always imagine Lucius Malfoy peacefully, deliciously dead.


Except that she does need Lily, now that Lucius' pale, apathetic gaze is really trained on her, and she knows that she's a brood mare to his prize stallion. Should that make her feel sympathy?-- really, it only makes her want to kill him all the more. He has all the power and she has none. She'd be blind if she didn't know about his tumbles with pretty, younger Slytherins, so many of them boys. As long as she brings her virginity to the altar, then no one really cares; they don't suspect that she has loved, or they don't concern themselves with it. He's the heir, he can have whatever he wants; he's the boy, and marriage to her will not change much for him. Not much at all.


"You may kiss the bride," says Lord Malfoy, a command wrapped in steel. They must have been staring at each other a little too long— Lucius leans in dutifully, across the gap between the stools, and tilts his head since Narcissa isn't moving at all. His lips are hard, and his breath smells like dark things, like things underwater. She ought to bite him, really she should— wouldn't Bellatrix laugh then, with the Malfoy heir howling and bleeding, and crimson red dripping from Narcissa's coral lips like the cat who got the cream?




"I don't want you to do this," whispered Lily, once upon a time. "You don't have to."
"I don't have a choice," said Narcissa, who was fourteen then and knew very well the fear of her father's lash. "I have to, for my family. What else am I going to do?" She paused, before sneering, "Marry _you_? You're a Muggle! You're a girl! Lucius is rich— all I have do is provide a hostess and an heir. It's not like it's that hard a job."
"'Lie back and think of England'," Lily said then, in one of her few, truly angry moments. "I'll never know."
"Know what?"
"Know why you're doing this. Why you're going to marry Lucius, why you bother with me, if I'm so dirty, so beneath you. Do you scrub yourself hard in the showers afterwards, Narcissa? Are you afraid I won't wash off of you?" Red with anger, blue with hurt— black like the bruises that would linger; that was Lily's voice. Narcissa raised her hand, Lily turned her cheek, calming accepting the blow, the slap of flesh against flesh and even the little cut, engraved by the blond girl's ring.


"Say it's over," Lily pleaded, "say it! Say you'll never speak to me again."
"_You_ say it!" the Slytherin shot back, already trembling, already blinking away tears as she brushed a gentle thumb over Lily's new wound.
"I can't," Lily was sobbing, in that strange way she did, without turning away. She kept her eyes, precious underwater jade, level with those of her lover and the tears just poured down anyway. "You have to do it. You have all the power— you're not in love."
The words were out, they pried her clenched teeth open and jumped into the air, "Who said that!?"
"I know it." Lily breathed out, like the stir of air in a coffin, "We have little choice in who we love. We have no control. That's why it's so dangerous, that's why they say _fall_. "
Narcissa drew Lily in, close— too close. Cradled the redhead with terrible, cruel tenderness, licking away tears and kissing at that cut on the otherwise peach-pink, unmarred cheek. "I'll never say it."
"So I'll never really be free." Lily nodded into the kiss that was born between their parted lips, as if this is what she had expected all along.
"You and me both, baby," Narcissa's nails cut into flesh. "You and me both."


Later, Narcissa remembers the terrible, angry look turned on her by one Severus Snape. Those eyes were so black, holes into the underworld, and she knew he'd seen the evidence, etched like damning words on Lily's cheek. Oh, Potter would be angry, too— but his anger would have no target, no direction or force. His claim on Lily was tenuous and hopeful— little gifts and self-assured glances he gave her. More often than not, she turned them away, made uncomfortable by such blatantly carnivorous, if kind, attention. It was Snape whom Lily trusted, Snape who's height sheltered her, like a brother boldly demanding a declaration of intention— it was Snape who knew. If he was capable, anywhere in that potions-rotted heart of his, of loving anybody, then love Lily he did.
"Why," he remarked acidly, hovering over Narcissa like some hopelessly off-kilter knight, sure his Lady had been wronged. It wasn't like that— not really— Snape wasn't that noble. Lily didn't have the blood to be a Lady. "Why she puts up with you, I'll never know."
And that, thinks Narcissa, makes two of us.



The moment passes-- unseized, slipping through Narcissa's fingers-- and it is only now that she realizes just how much she lacks. There's a profound hatred inside her as Lord Malfoy cuts the red ribbon binding her to Lucius. It swells, poisons, overwhelms until she feels that she will ever be rotted inside because of it. She rises at her husband's side; they bow amidst cheers, amidst a snow of sliver flowers and green ivy, house colors. Don't the Muggles have a saying about snakes, and grass? Or maybe it's garden, or an apple-- heaven knows she never really paid attention when Lily babbled on.
('Snake in the grass'-- she remembers perfectly, really she does, because Lily's cheek was pillowed on Narcissa's own breast, and each word was born in the flesh of breath across her cooling skin. Lily always talked, hushed; in her sleep, while she labored over homework, as she moved against Narcissa, punctuating with kisses.
'It means,' Lily had explained in response to her drowsy questioning, 'a strike, an attack from the direction you least expect'.)


It seems t0 Narcissa now, that she has just this one last chance-- she could kill them all, now, in an endless flash of Lily-eyed 'Avada Kedavra'. But where would she go, and what would she do, when all her life she had been reared for this? To be a gracious hostess, a dutiful daughter, an obedient wife? There is no hope for her-- the aisle leading down to the threshold, to the gates of the Wizard's Court, and the carriage beyond is an empty wasteland, timeless, linear.
(She can see herself, now-- that young bride, so jaded and still so unaware of all the pain to come. Of all the myriad ways the heart could rend and tear and heal only to be torn again. And she can see, too, the older woman in blood stained robes, drinking amberberry wine. This woman, this snake in the grass who has at last had her time to strike, and now awaits those who will make her pay for using the most unutterable of curses. Bride and Widow; eyes meet. )

Bellatrix steps towards her, offering the one ritual common between Wizards and Muggles. Utterly without feeling, Narcissa grips the bouquet, looking without compassion upon the faces of unmarried pureblood girls who will soon come to know her fate. The flowers are white; babies' breath, carnations, roses and...
Lily, she thinks with one last twist of despair.
Her throw is anything but ladylike.

(She can wait, over twenty years. Years that harden, clotting like blood in her throat. Lily's obituary in the Prophet; a brief glance of the Potter child and his ghostly eyes; her own son, dying in a rictus of pain in the name of a monster.
She will be patient, and lie low.

Through the gates, in the grass.)



========================




*just raises her eyebrow at Leigh* You were saying, darling...? ^_~
 
 
Emotional Temperature: shockedshocked
The Band Plays:: "Woke From Dreaming"-- by Gunslinger Girl
 
 
 
Debby: Joshua Treeenogitna on October 31st, 2004 02:12 am (UTC)
I haven't had time to read this yet (although I'm looking forward to it) I just had to share something funny with you.

As soon as I read this, I was like, "Hey, she likes Lily/Narcissa and I just read a *wonderful* L/N fic recently! I should tell her about it!"

Then, five seconds went by and I'm like, "Oh yeah. *She* was the one that wrote that fic. Never mind."

--;;

I can't wait to read this but must dash just now. ;)
Meredith Bronwen Mallory: lily2garnettrees on October 31st, 2004 02:29 am (UTC)
As soon as I read this, I was like, "Hey, she likes Lily/Narcissa and I just read a *wonderful* L/N fic recently! I should tell her about it!"
Then, five seconds went by and I'm like, "Oh yeah. *She* was the one that wrote that fic. Never mind."

*blushes profusely* Oh, wow... ^^; That's actually very flattering as well as funny-- the other day, I started looking for this episode of Stargate I really wanted to watch, and then... I realized it was a fic. ^^;

I can't believe you read my fic! *is embarrassed*

-Meredith
Ficklefickle_goddess on October 31st, 2004 02:28 am (UTC)
That was utterly amazing. I love the way that you interposed different parts of Narcissa's life and how skillfully you wove them together. Your depiction of Bellatrix was excellent as well, crudely beautiful and the diction was stunning. *applauds* This is definitely going to be filed under my memories.
Meredith Bronwen Mallory: lovesecretgarnettrees on October 31st, 2004 02:32 am (UTC)
*blushes* Thank you so much for the kind feedback. I'm so glad you thought it flowed-- due to the length of time it took me to write, that was one of the things I was worried about.

Your depiction of Bellatrix was excellent as well, crudely beautiful
I'm glad to hear you say this, as well. I'm a little fascinated with Bellatrix.

Thanks again,
Meredith
gamesiplay: BoB -- Buck (by garnettrees)gamesiplay on October 31st, 2004 03:24 am (UTC)
EEE fic! Admittedly, fic for a fandom I know almost exclusively through fic by you and other people on my friends' list, but fic nonetheless.

I got stuck for a while when the storyline got tangled (I eventually had to separate it out into a drabble-- which I will probably post soon-- and another fic altogether)

I have to say that this fascinated me, this way of sorting out the plotline. I wish my fics had enough plot to present this problem. :)

She only stops plotting to kill him long enough to say her wedding vows.

Agh, what a fantastic opening line. You know, I haven't read anything by you in a while, and it always stuns me anew, somehow, how well you write. Just... how much talent you have. It's as though I carry around this abstract idea of your talent, but when I get it in concrete form, I just reel.

She'll laugh a little, telling herself this constructed, anti-fairy tale of her life, wiping her hands fretfully on the fine satin of her robes.

I liked this bit, and how it blossoms into the fairy-tale motif further down. "Anti-fairy tale" is a nice turn of phrase; not only the diametic opposite of a fairy tale, but... the absence of a fairy tale. Like matter and antimatter, if that makes sense.

Lucius Malfoy begins to bind her hands with the red cord, and she watches from behind the battlements of the bride's traditional, velveteen mask. Her hands are small and white, and his are large and white; they are a concert in ivory, pale cream and platinum gold, heads bent to ease the task. He drops the cord now, two tails hanging from an intricate knot, settling back onto his stool. Her part is harder-- she must tie the cord to his one of hands with both of hers bound.

Just out of curiosity, are wizard marriage rituals elaborated in canon, or did you come up with this by yourself? Even if you didn't, it's impressive that I can't tell. You have a skill for believably integrating your fic with canon that is really, really rare.

She swallows her laughter like the most bitter of apples,

Mmm, fairy-tale allusion again. I remember we had an exchange of emails a while back where we explained some of the themes that we like exploring, and so it's fascinating now to read your work with that in mind. It opens it up even more for me.

And who did Lucius practice on? A sister, a servant, or some inanimate object?
(He probably can't tell the difference, now!)


Nice.

("Lie back and think of England!" Lily says with righteous, sorrowful anger. Something from Muggle history.

I am always HORRIBLY jealous, too, of how you can work in these interesting references so organically. I want to do that in my writing a lot, too, but it never seems to flow, so I either abandon the idea or -- if I'm writing BoB -- burden Webster with the role of being my literary-pedant mouthpiece. *grins*

Continued....
gamesiplay: BoB -- Buck (by garnettrees)gamesiplay on October 31st, 2004 03:26 am (UTC)
" "I was just worried,' says the husband, 'You moved'.")

I will KILL you if you made that one up. Why are you so good at this?

( 'Ain't that the truth,' Bellatrix said, last night as she helped Narcissa pack her trousseau. Eyes dark, already married and more than a little crazy, Narcissa's sister lit a cigarette made of crystalline weed and offered the lighter girl a drag. 'Lying there isn't going to do you any good, let me tell you,' she waved one ring-encrusted hand. 'It's like when the first year boys poked us at school. The less you react, the more they poke.' She made a crude gesture, 'Poke, poke, poke!' Her laughter was rakish, and very ugly on the ears. )

You do a great job with Bellatrix's voice. I mean, I don't know what her voice is supposed to sound like, but just from a purely technical point of view, you pin down a voice precisely and economically.

Why isn't Lily there, blazing in Gryffindor reds and golds, a beautiful female warrior with her sword raised high? She should be there, green eyes as hard as the emeralds they mimic, shouting, "Enough with this, free her, or I shall run you all through!"

Again, I'm just really fond of how you work in all the fairy-tale references.

(Well of course, you silly, pale little thing-- Lily won't come, she won't come at all! How could she, when you never told her what date, what time or where-- when you never even permitted yourself the chance of rescue? Now your neck is really on the line.)

Self-sabotage-- we're all far too good at it.

Beneath her mask, Narcissa would smile, and Lucius wouldn't know, he'd never even guess, until the blade of Lily's dagger was piercing from behind, through the hollow cavern of his heart, and all his blood was staining his bride's gown like the finest, most expensive dye.
Except that's not the sort of thing Lily would do— loyal, do-gooding lion-heart that she is. She'd lay down her own life and never take anyone else's; but, really, she was raised by Muggles, who bother themselves with religion and complex ethics and don't know anything at all.
"Wizards," said Bellatrix once, real wizards don't have time for right or wrong. "They only have time to ask the question— do I want to live? Well, then; you'll do what you have to do."


Beautiful writing, this whole paragraph. "The hollow cavern of his heart," "the finest, most expensive dye," and that explication of Muggle vs. wizard ethics. Just lovely.

The binding is cut, falls away like all symbolism in the end,

I don't know exactly why, but this resonated with me.

From a distance, from the safe segregation of 'boys dorm' and 'girls dorm', he seemed offhandedly dashing, an entirely proper suitor. She could be proud of him, distantly, as if he was a race horse— she could smile and nod at the other girls' envy, she could lift up his memory when Lily's sweet kisses made her shatter and she could say to her, to the one she really cared about, 'See, I don't need you.'

Love, love, love the psychological insight in this, especially the bit about his being a racehorse. It's got a very historical feel to it, somehow; it's the way I imagine, say, the royal women of Europe felt during the age of monarchs when they were married off to forge alliances. Sort of an impersonal pride in their matches that fades away when the marriage becomes reality. It feels authentic.

She'd be blind if she didn't know about his tumbles with pretty, younger Slytherins, so many of them boys.

Once more, continued below.
gamesiplaygamesiplay on October 31st, 2004 03:28 am (UTC)
Blah, blah, blah.
Yay, more slash. I mean, slash with the Bad Guy, but still. ;)

"You may kiss the bride," says Lord Malfoy, a command wrapped in steel.

I love this, the seeming contradiction of it-- "You may" as a command.

His lips are hard, and his breath smells like dark things, like things underwater. She ought to bite him, really she should— wouldn't Bellatrix laugh then, with the Malfoy heir howling and bleeding, and crimson red dripping from Narcissa's coral lips like the cat who got the cream?

Mmm, more horribly beautiful imagery.

Do you scrub yourself hard in the showers afterwards, Narcissa? Are you afraid I won't wash off of you?" Red with anger, blue with hurt— black like the bruises that would linger; that was Lily's voice. Narcissa raised her hand, Lily turned her cheek, calming accepting the blow, the slap of flesh against flesh and even the little cut, engraved by the blond girl's ring.

This is perfectly written, so visual and passionate.

"I can't," Lily was sobbing, in that strange way she did, without turning away.

Ahh. Don't know why, but this detail worked SO well for me, Lily's openness about crying.

Lily breathed out, like the stir of air in a coffin,

This, too. Your similes feel so right, without fail.

"So I'll never really be free." Lily nodded into the kiss that was born between their parted lips, as if this is what she had expected all along.
"You and me both, baby," Narcissa's nails cut into flesh. "You and me both."


*shivers* The darkness of this is so, so good. Like all fairy tales (and even anti-fairy tales, I guess), there are a lot of ugly, twisted, visceral things beneath the surface.

Later, Narcissa remembers the terrible, angry look turned on her by one Severus Snape. Those eyes were so black, holes into the underworld, and she knew he'd seen the evidence, etched like damning words on Lily's cheek. Oh, Potter would be angry, too— but his anger would have no target, no direction or force. His claim on Lily was tenuous and hopeful— little gifts and self-assured glances he gave her. More often than not, she turned them away, made uncomfortable by such blatantly carnivorous, if kind, attention. It was Snape whom Lily trusted, Snape who's height sheltered her, like a brother boldly demanding a declaration of intention— it was Snape who knew. If he was capable, anywhere in that potions-rotted heart of his, of loving anybody, then love Lily he did.

Great characterizations of both Potter (Harry's father, yeah? I'm so ignorant) and Snape here. I don't know them very well, not independently, but I know them here.

There is no hope for her-- the aisle leading down to the threshold, to the gates of the Wizard's Court, and the carriage beyond is an empty wasteland, timeless, linear.

MMF. I want to have written that, all of it, but especially "an empty wasteland, timeless, linear."

Oh, man, Meredith, you know what I really want? To rig the BoB Secret Santa so you write my request. ;) Just because you hit all of my buttons as a writer.

You've got to be kidding me. Over the comment limit once again.
gamesiplay: BoB -- WTF? (by yorda_)gamesiplay on October 31st, 2004 03:30 am (UTC)
Re: Blah, blah, blah.
Bride and Widow; eyes meet.

This is great on multiple levels, I think-- at least for me, "widow" has that undertone here of "black widow," which fits in perfectly with the "snake in the grass" idea.

(She can wait, over twenty years. Years that harden, clotting like blood in her throat. Lily's obituary in the Prophet; a brief glance of the Potter child and his ghostly eyes; her own son, dying in a rictus of pain in the name of a monster.

I've just finished reading a couple of Alice McDermott novels here -- good writer, I think, but not quite my type -- and she uses this device a lot, flashforward, or "prolepsis" in the jargon (and you know which term I'll be using in my paper on her next weekend!) Anyway, reading this, I couldn't help but think, "Gee, Meredith uses this to much greater effect." And McDermott, as I said, is good.

Also, I love you for "Years that harden, clotting like blood in her throat," and just for using the word "rictus." What a fantastic word.

Through the gates, in the grass.

Agh. Someday, I want to crawl inside your head, so I can understand how you contain a story like this in there, all of the different threads so delicately held together so that they come out knotted in the end. It's lovely. It's always lovely.

*just raises her eyebrow at Leigh* You were saying, darling...? ^_~

Oh, be quiet! :D Actually, I did pump out two hundred words today, unexpectedly, while I was lying around too drugged to get out of bed. I hope to write some more (maybe all of it) once I get off the computer. Failing that, I hope that those two hundred words made some sense.
Meredith Bronwen Mallory: jadegarnettrees on October 31st, 2004 04:09 am (UTC)
Re: Blah, blah, blah.
I love it when you give me feedback. Really, I do-- because you so often throw light on things I was working on subconciously. It's really amazing. Actually, I just love you. *glomps* ^_~

I have to say that this fascinated me, this way of sorting out the plotline. I wish my fics had enough plot to present this problem. :)
I swear to god this has never happened to be before-- but it was the worst tangle I'd ever seen. I think the other full fic is going to turn out to have Draco/Harry undertones, aside from the main pairing of Narcissa/Lily. Which is blasphemous, as Snape/Harry is my totally warped, perverted (male) OTP for this fandom.

I haven't read anything by you in a while, and it always stuns me anew, somehow, how well you write.
I feel the same way about your work, my dear. When I read "'Til Human Voice Wake Us", it literally knocked the breath out of me. First, you beautiful prose, and then the way you gave so much more life and vitality to the characters.

I liked this bit, and how it blossoms into the fairy-tale motif further down. "Anti-fairy tale" is a nice turn of phrase;
One of the great disservices of Disney is the fact they cleaned up the fairy-tales. So many people see them as all sweetness and light, where the originals had so much more depth, a beauty and a horror... so much like human nature.
... ^^; Yeah, so you can see where I'm obsessed with this.

Just out of curiosity, are wizard marriage rituals elaborated in canon, or did you come up with this by yourself?
I made it all up. ^^; There's no such place as the Wizard's Court, no mask, no bindings... sometimes I worry that I elaborate too much, but I'm glad it worked for you, and didn't seem out of place. ^_^

burden Webster with the role of being my literary-pedant mouthpiece. *grins*
Really? But you have him pull it off so well-- it's really part of his character. I don't see it has him being your mouthpiece as, even in the series, he's in many ways removed from the company, observing, writing his way through the war.

I will KILL you if you made that one up.
I didn't make that one up. So YAY, I get to live. ^____^

Self-sabotage-- we're all far too good at it.
Oh yes.

Sort of an impersonal pride in their matches that fades away when the marriage becomes reality. It feels authentic.
Really? I'm glad you think so. I started this before I started taking Women in European History, but that class was one of the things that inspired me towards taking another look at this piece. ^_^

Like all fairy tales (and even anti-fairy tales, I guess), there are a lot of ugly, twisted, visceral things beneath the surface.
Yes, that's it, exactly! And you say it so much more eloquently than I. The ugly parts of human nature help us to further appreciate the good.

(Harry's father, yeah? I'm so ignorant)
Yeah. Snape and Lily's friendship is an invention of mine that will probably be prooven wrong when/if Rowling ever publishes the rest of the series but, for now, I enjoy my dellusions.

Wow.... *I* went over the reply limit. *sheepish*
-Meredith
Meredith Bronwen Mallory: jadegarnettrees on October 31st, 2004 04:09 am (UTC)
Re: Blah, blah, blah.
MMF. I want to have written that, all of it, but especially "an empty wasteland, timeless, linear."
*blush* You're so sweet.

To rig the BoB Secret Santa so you write my request. ;) Just because you hit all of my buttons as a writer.
That's funny-- the other day, I was thinking, 'wouldn't it be weird if I got Leigh's request, just by chance'? I'm so nervous about this whole thing, but very excited at the same time.

Alice McDermott novels here -- good writer, I think, but not quite my type
I've never heard of her... should I give it a try?

"prolepsis" in the jargon (and you know which term I'll be using in my paper on her next weekend!) Anyway, reading this, I couldn't help but think, "Gee, Meredith uses this to much greater effect."
Really, I think you do an even more skillful rendering of prolepsis in "What Happens". The sense of time in that sort is so wonderfully suspended and warped. Not to mention it made me really love Muck/Malarkey. ^_^
(But yes, thank you for the sweet comment.)

Someday, I want to crawl inside your head
Oh, but it's dark in here. ^_~

I did pump out two hundred words today, unexpectedly, while I was lying around too drugged to get out of bed. I hope to write some more (maybe all of it) once I get off the computer. Failing that, I hope that those two hundred words made some sense.
Oh, now you have me all curious and excited. I'll be keeping my fingers crossed.*hopes*

-Meredith
gamesiplaygamesiplay on October 31st, 2004 08:53 am (UTC)
Re: Blah, blah, blah.
I love it when you give me feedback. Really, I do-- because you so often throw light on things I was working on subconciously. It's really amazing. Actually, I just love you. *glomps* ^_~

I love you back. And I'm glad to hear that, because you do the same thing for me with feedback. It's very fulfilling.

I feel the same way about your work, my dear. When I read "'Til Human Voice Wake Us", it literally knocked the breath out of me. First, you beautiful prose, and then the way you gave so much more life and vitality to the characters.

*blushes* Thank you. I still can't get over writing that. So wrong... and yet so right. *grins*

... ^^; Yeah, so you can see where I'm obsessed with this.

Oh, no, not at all. But I think obsessions are good in writing-- they give you something to work with.

I made it all up. ^^; There's no such place as the Wizard's Court, no mask, no bindings... sometimes I worry that I elaborate too much, but I'm glad it worked for you, and didn't seem out of place. ^_^

It worked so, so well. Oh, ugh, I'm jealous.

Really? But you have him pull it off so well-- it's really part of his character. I don't see it has him being your mouthpiece as, even in the series, he's in many ways removed from the company, observing, writing his way through the war.

I'm glad you think so. I guess I just worry that giving him that role is a cop-out way of writing him; I'm never forced to delve much deeper.

Really? I'm glad you think so. I started this before I started taking Women in European History, but that class was one of the things that inspired me towards taking another look at this piece. ^_^

Heh, that's funny. I definitely saw echoes of that in there.

That's funny-- the other day, I was thinking, 'wouldn't it be weird if I got Leigh's request, just by chance'? I'm so nervous about this whole thing, but very excited at the same time.

Eee, me too. Especially considering all of the good fic that came out of it last year, and all of the good writers. I'm intimidated. I feel as though I need to start coming up with ideas for various pairings now, or I'll never make it.

I've never heard of her... should I give it a try?

I wouldn't put her at the top of a reading list, but she's interesting. I've only read two of her novels-- That Night, her first, and Charming Billy, her third. What's odd is that I preferred the style of the former and the characters of the latter. Usually I find that I'm more impressed with a writer's style as he/she matures, while the characters can be strong from the very beginning, but I thought her style became too intricate and convoluted for me in the later novel. But the two main characters were fascinating. (I was, um, sort of mentally slashing them at times. And they were cousins.)

Really, I think you do an even more skillful rendering of prolepsis in "What Happens". The sense of time in that sort is so wonderfully suspended and warped. Not to mention it made me really love Muck/Malarkey. ^_^

*blushes again* Thanks.

Oh, but it's dark in here. ^_~

That's not a bad thing!

Oh, now you have me all curious and excited. I'll be keeping my fingers crossed.*hopes*

Done, done, done.
Meredith Bronwen Mallory: ayufuturegarnettrees on October 31st, 2004 02:00 pm (UTC)
Re: Blah, blah, blah.
*blushes* Thank you. I still can't get over writing that. So wrong... and yet so right. *grins*
It was brilliant. I loved Jonesy more, and you actually endeared me to Henry.

Eee, me too. Especially considering all of the good fic that came out of it last year, and all of the good writers. I'm intimidated. I feel as though I need to start coming up with ideas for various pairings now, or I'll never make it.
They were awesome last year, weren't they? Particularly the WinNix and Muck/Malarkey pieces. In a way, it's a present for all of us-- fic gluttony! ^_~

But the two main characters were fascinating. (I was, um, sort of mentally slashing them at times. And they were cousins.)
Hey, it's legal in some states. ^_~ If I see one of her books, I'll check her out-- I have an endless reading list, it seems. But I'm sure you know all about that. ^__^

Done, done, done.
*dies of sheer joy*

-Meredith
(Deleted comment)
Meredith Bronwen Mallory: ayumigarnettrees on October 31st, 2004 02:04 pm (UTC)
Ah, you have no idea how long it took me to find the way to the leave-a-comment screen. But that's OK, I found it (eventually).
*colors* Sorry about that. I'm very grateful that you persevered. ^_^

The interactions between Narcissa and Lily are surprisingly IC (though with how little the canon provides us, IC can be interpretted...)
I know-- I hope to see more of them in the upcoming books. But I'm glad you think they seemed to fit with the HP universe. ^_^

What I mean is, when two people who come from different situations sit down and talk, it always seems like each one is only talking about themselves, and THEIR life, THEIR customs, etc.
I see exactly what you're saying-- there's little headway made. And it's hard when class divisions like that have been upheld for so long. They seem natural, even if they're anything but.

Back to the fic. I loved the first line, adored it. I am a firm believer that a fanfic is made or ruined by the first and last lines. You nailed both, stupendously.
*blush* I'm so glad. The last line was a little harder than the first. I'm also glad you think it flowed-- that was my main concern.

...OK, so I've never read a NM/LE before. So what? I still loved it like you would not believe.
Thank you so, so much. *bows back* You're very kind. ^_^
-Meredith
(Deleted comment)
NovaChilddgriswold on October 31st, 2004 07:39 am (UTC)
I'm not a very good analyzer, but let me just say that I loved this fic. Loved it a lot. It even made me almost-cry at places, just from the beauty and the way your portrayed the raw emotions.
Meredith Bronwen Mallory: togethergarnettrees on October 31st, 2004 02:05 pm (UTC)
Thank you so much for the feedback! I'm glad the emotions came through. ^_^
-Meredith
Amber: sirius/remus (raelala).minttown1 on November 1st, 2004 12:15 am (UTC)
Meredith, this really is very good. It all flowed so well. It's beautiful. (You have me adoring this pairing, by the way, strange though it is. When you write it, it just works.)
Meredith Bronwen Mallory: ayufuturegarnettrees on November 1st, 2004 12:34 am (UTC)
(You have me adoring this pairing, by the way, strange though it is. When you write it, it just works.)
I'm glad you like it-- it's certainly an obscure pairing. (But then, so is Mad-Eye/Tonks! ^_~) Thank you so much for the feedback-- I always value your opinion. ^_^

-Meredith
squeeing at the adolescent werewolf slash of Amber's icon
Amber: sirius/remus (raelala).minttown1 on November 2nd, 2004 10:00 pm (UTC)
Some of the obscure pairings are the most fun, though. :D

raelala made the pretty icon. Squee.
Debby: i don't know it makes no sense.enogitna on November 2nd, 2004 08:49 pm (UTC)
Yey I finally read it!

I never thought of L/N as a pair before, and I love your fics about it because of the universal you create: it's lush, dark, sensual and, somehow, not at all OOC. (well, we know so little about the characters, but what we do know, you use to expound on- you don't ignore it.)

I also dislike most male slash (not dislike, but more like am uninterested in. I need a girl to identify with in romance), but I like fem-slash, because I can identify with one or both girls in the story (double hot). (Except Usagi/Rei slash. *stabstabstab* Usagi/Rei slash. That was *ruined* for me by horny 13 year olds back in the 90s).

Mostly this is me rambling about stuff not specific to this story, but the universe you created. I'm *discussing* ;) (avoiding work).

The Snape/Lily relationship (friendship, closeness OR romance, which ever) I always liked. Especially the idea that Snape was secretly in love (or just really admired with a passion) with Lily (actually this works even if they weren't close at all at Hogwarts and he admired her from afar).

One of the most delicious things is because it makes the hatred between Snape and James so much more palpable. Imagine the one who you hate with a passion, ends up with the one woman you worshiped, tainting her and coveting her while you began your spiral to the dark side? Awesome. It also adds a great dimension to Snape's attitude toward Harry (he reminds Snape of James [his hate] mostly, due to his looks, but sometimes, especially in his eyes, he sees Lily the unrequited love of his life. paradox! I love it!).


I was disappointed that Book 5 shot that all to hell with the scene between Lily and Snape (he calls her a mudblood! and there seems to be real disgust from him toward her), but I like to think her standing up for him that way *sparked* the *beginning* of something between them, either one-sided and secret, or an actual friendship thing. Then, it was all better.

This is a long comment and it makes no sense. :-P Sorries.

ps. I like your new layout.
Debbyenogitna on November 2nd, 2004 09:00 pm (UTC)
omg disclaimer!
oh yeah! I wanted to say, I'm aware that you write male slash as well as fem slash (at least, I think you do) and I wanted to say my above comments are nothing against male slash!

It's just that *personally* I have trouble getting into it b/c I like a grrl involved somehow. So I was saying I'm glad that you also write femslash cuz I love your writing and I can get into femslash.

Okay. /disclaimer
Meredith Bronwen Mallory: frozengarnettrees on November 2nd, 2004 09:20 pm (UTC)
I never thought of L/N as a pair before
*grins* I know it's totally bizarre and has no pairing but, like your admiration of Lily/Snape, I think it adds a nice dimension to Harry's interaction with Draco, not to mention I just adore Lily and kind of think James is an ass.

it's lush, dark, sensual and, somehow, not at all OOC.
*blush* Thank you so much!

I need a girl to identify with in romance), but I like fem-slash, because I can identify with one or both girls in the story (double hot).
I completely understand-- I appreciated your disclaimer bellow, too. ^_^;; I do write m/m slash, but most for the emotional angst and whatnot. If there were more femmeslash pairings I could sink my teeth into, they would definitely have most my attention. (Double hot is right, too. ^_^)

Imagine the one who you hate with a passion, ends up with the one woman you worshiped, tainting her and coveting her while you began your spiral to the dark side? Awesome.
Oh, that's it exactly! *glompage* I'm so glad someone understands. I'm a strong believer in Snape and Lilly friendship (probably on the sly...)

Harry is always so readily compared to James that I always want to put emphasis on how he might resemble his mother. ^_^

This is a long comment and it makes no sense. :-P Sorries.
No worries, doll.

Thanks for the comments on the layout, too. Pretty stars...
-Meredith
carawj on November 16th, 2004 09:20 pm (UTC)
This is absolutely gorgeous! I love the way it flows, and how each sentence is perfect and almost poetic. Your characterisation of Lily and Narcissa are just incredible. Bitter and beautiful.