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22 December 2012 @ 10:16 am
Author: faire_weather
Recipient: ashiiblack
Title: Manticoria
Pairing(s): Harry/Draco, Hermione/Morag/Pansy, Zacharias/Smugness
Summary: In the dangerous days after Voldemort’s fall, Harry struggles to find a way to be with Draco—again. As the magical world threatens to die all around him, it might be more unreachable than even he believes. Includes dying wards, dying beasts, and love struggling to live; sentient magic, wandlore, Founder lore, potion lore, and ward lore; and of course there is Zacharias Smith to ruin everything, as usual.
Rating: NC 17
Disclaimer: All Harry Potter characters herein are the property of J.K. Rowling and Bloomsbury/Scholastic. No copyright infringement is intended.
Warning(s): rimming, light orgasm denial, implied femmeslash, some gore and generally off-putting scenes, people dying, people not dying, some mention of religion and politics, frightening things, depressing things, and prolonged misery
Epilogue compliant? Not even a little.
Word Count: 70,880
Author's Notes: I have so many people to thank for this monster actually getting finished. My friends list put up with me complaining about never being done, and icicle33 humoured my sometimes desperate questions about whether ashiiblack would like this plot. Thank you to taradiane for the extensions while I was trying to finish this and grad school finals. Thank you to my long-suffering boyfriend, who read the gay sex scenes without complaint, to my long-time friend L who must be anonymous for now, and to celestlyn, who took on a project 50,000 words longer than she said she would, then proceeded to be the most amazing cheerleader in the history of the world. I really hope you like this, ashiiblack. I think I got all your kinks, your humour and angst, your unusual plot and that one other thing you requested. I did deviate from your prompt, but I think I’ve got the spirit of the thing. Any remaining errors are my own mistake.

( Manticoria )
Ashiiashiiblack on December 22nd, 2012 04:31 pm (UTC)
Holy god almighty. Icicle hinted to me that it was long...I know "40k" was thrown around quite a bit. I am just getting ready to head out for a bike ride and last minute gift shopping but I just wanted to say oh my god I cannot wait to read this today! The warnings and pairings and everything is greatly intriguing - and right up my alley. Eeeee!!!!!
sisi_rambles: pic#115243331sisi_rambles on December 22nd, 2012 06:47 pm (UTC)
Ok this was just riveting. I love the whole complicated fabulous plot. It was very well done. And lol at Zach/Smugness!
shameful_desire: pic#117039058shameful_desire on December 22nd, 2012 09:19 pm (UTC)
Very interesting, hun. I do love a long fic to read, makes me all warm and fuzzy inside.
isinuyasha: love youisinuyasha on December 23rd, 2012 12:37 am (UTC)
I don't even have words for this...this...fantastic piece of writing!
Merlin, I'm speechless. The angst in here nearly killed me but it killed me good. And the plot, oh my god, how could someone think of such an intricate plot! Amazing...
I really love it mystery author and what a ride it was, I devoured it and I already feel as if I miss this universe :) I applaud you :D
germankittygermankitty on December 23rd, 2012 02:49 am (UTC)
I ... I have no words. This is PERFECT.
celestlyn: DeerLitescelestlyn on December 23rd, 2012 03:37 am (UTC)
I adored this long, plotty fic! I'm a sucker for the longer fics that really spend time weaving a complicated plot with all sorts of twists and turns. This was a pleasure to beta and to read. I must confess, as I beta'd it I kept forgetting and got all caught up in the story. It was just a wonderful fic.
laissez les bon temp roulez!;: enid coleslawthusspakekate on December 23rd, 2012 05:05 am (UTC)
That was wonderful. Compelling, original, and so well-crafted. It took me all day to read and it was a day well spent! I am in awe of your skills.
omi_ohmy: Winter branchesomi_ohmy on December 23rd, 2012 09:07 am (UTC)
It's rare that I'm grateful for waking up too early, but today I have read this in one, greedy, session, and it was fabulous. What a ride! The plot was fantastic, all the magic and history combined: wards and wands, druids and Merlin. And I absolutely loved the dream element, and the way you revealed it. Somehow this managed to be wistful and brimful of emotion, and also a really gripping adventure and mystery too. Also, and I think this is important too, the pacing was excellent - at no point did it drag or go too fast, and it ended at just the right place. A huge bravo from me.
Ashiiashiiblack on December 23rd, 2012 04:15 pm (UTC)
(major spoilers ahead)

Honestly, that is the most fitting way to explain how I'm feeling right now. I read this fic in two short sessions yesterday and a nearly two hour endeavor this morning. This is my attempt to find words to explain how much I liked this fic.

I want to preface this review by saying that I have been extremely anxious, as every once and a while, icicle33 would send me a text or email saying, "What do you think about _____?" and I'd be like O_o. She wouldn't go much further than asking about bonding through dreams and that there was a big cast and that there may or may not be smut. Oh, and she dropped a hint that the length was around 40k (apparently it got bigger). I shouldn't have been anxious or nervous about this gift, as I was clearly in your incredibly capable and talented hands.

First off, I am flabbergasted at how many of my requests you managed to fit in here. You even managed to fit in some drunken UST, which I have a strange kink for.

Okay, I'm going to take just a second to COMPELTELY SQUEE that you brought Snape back! In my requests, I know I said that I wanted him in the fic, but I CAN'T BELIEVE HOW LITERALLY THIS WAS TAKEN. YOU (meaning Harry and Co) ACTUALLY BROUGHT HIM BACK WITH A POTION. I was quite literally hopping up and down on my couch when this happened. UNBELIEVABLE. I loved it! He was just...Snape. His character added so much to the plot line. I love how he and Harry were able to make some sort of amends, with him eventually sacrificing himself for real this time. I won't lie, I cried.

Zacharias Smith is LOVE. He's one of those characters that you hate to love, but you do anyways. You captured his character from the books so well here, especially near the end when he didn't see fit to let anyone know he was safe! How does someone like that even get Sorted into Hufflepuff? I just loved the inclusion of his character in this fic! It was so fantastic! Harry's initial jealousy of him and Draco also made for some awesome plotty goodness.

Hell, I loved ALL of the secondary characters! They added SO MUCH to this fic! As readers, we saw more of their personalities and family history. I eat that shit up. Even though this fic is already nearly 71k words, part of me wanted even more! The implied budding relationship between Hermione/Pansy/Morag was FASCINATING. Might I add that Morag may be my new favorite Ravenclaw, even though I've never written her ever before? Her story was incredibly interesting. She added so much to the Potter/Malfoy/Smith dynamic, especially in those first few chapters.

Okay, onto the H/D stuff. Everything about the relationship was perfect. I loved what a complete dick Draco was to Harry, that he couldn't bring himself to admit what he had been longing for so long. Harry was perfect. The relationship blossomed so beautifully, how they finally came together seemingly out of nowhere; yet, it felt just right. Also, even though I don't really have a huge preference for who tops or bottoms, I have a subconscious pattern for picking/writing top!Draco, so that was an added bonus. AND THE RIMMING. <3 The entire H/D was pure satisfaction.

Ashiiashiiblack on December 23rd, 2012 04:15 pm (UTC)
Re: (major spoilers ahead)
Finally, I come to the part of the fic that I am stunned into silence. I can't believe how much research you must have had to do (or how knowledgeable you must be) to write this. It's so intricate, more so than JKR's Horcruxes. I am unbelievably impressed with how you connected the runes and Arithmancy (which, as a total math nerd, ATE THIS STUFF UP), founders, wandlore, ghosts, portraits, and so much more into this. Reading through this, everything JUST MADE SENSE. A lot of the time when I read fics like this, particularly involving wards, I find myself rolling my eyes. This was written so well, I was sitting on the edge of my couch, my eyes wide, scrolling down the page like a wildwoman. How the Founders/Hogwarts reach out to Harry, Draco, and Zacharias is so fantastically done. The big scene at Azkaban and where Harry nearly dies is so exciting! I re-read that section three or four times; it was just SO GOOD. The only part of this that made me semi-sad is that after reading this, I know I will never be as good a writer as you, so I will never be able to return the favor for writing me such an amazing piece!

I know I said finally, but apparently, I'm not done. The overall angst and humor and drama and romance was just perfect. I loved it. Every word.

I don't typically pull out quotes and talk about them, but I had several favorite quotes/scenes. One of them is the one where Severus gives Draco the potion to give to Lucius, and Draco reflects on being a Slytherin. That may be my favorite scene in the entire fic, even though it's an H/D and the Lucius plot was very minor.

Okay, favorite quote. I know it's my favorite quote, because the moment I read this, I copied and pasted it into my search bar so I could use it in my review.

He could not give that up again, not even to die.

I don't know if this line was particularly chosen or if you feel the same way about this fic, but this may be one of the most romantic lines I've ever read. Harry FINALLY has Draco, and there is a chance that Hogwarts could take them. I was completely thrown off-guard by this. I got choked up, and had to stop reading for a bit. Honestly, I've tried writing something here to try and explain why I love this line so much, but I can't.

Mystery author, thank you so much for writing this for me. I hope that my words help to make your exhaustion and ranting worth it. This is a fic that I will go back to over and over again on rainy days. It makes it even better that this was written for me.
luna_plath: Bonnie flowersluna_plath on December 24th, 2012 01:13 am (UTC)
Wow. *takes deep breath*

I loved this! This is exactly the kind of Harry/Draco story I look for. I loved the complexity of the magic, especially all the legends about the founders, wandlore, and English history. The plot was excellent. My selfish wish is wanting to know more about the dreams that Harry and Draco shared, but in some ways it was better to leave it open and let the reader discover what happened as the story progressed.

As I was reading this I was wondering what Snape's ultimate fate would be, and it felt right that he would sacrifice his magic for Harry when Harry was the one to save him. The development with the New Ministry was interesting, but at the same time, I did wonder why the government would trust such a delicate task to a bunch of 18 year olds. That was the one element that I felt was left hanging. Don't get me wrong though, I enjoyed this story immensely, I was just curious about the shift in the Ministry and their reaction to Harry and Draco fixing the wards.

I liked how fluid your writing was. Especially the scenes between Harry, Zach, Draco and Morag. The beginning of the story was powerful in that I really felt what Harry was going through, and his ambivalence toward Draco made total sense for what his character was experiencing. There were so many things I liked in this story, but the characterizations were probably what stood out the most.

I have a feeling I know who wrote this, can't wait for reveals!
ICMezzo: pic#114764502icmezzo on December 24th, 2012 05:51 am (UTC)
What a ride! I love plotty magic, and this has it in spades. I adored the wandlore, founderlore, and Arthurian and Grail legends you've woven in. This was clearly a massive undertaking to write, and you've handled it brilliantly. Fast paced, yet intricate; I really enjoyed this story. Well done! :)
lorena_98: braidlorena_98 on December 25th, 2012 11:52 am (UTC)
Wow! I can't imagine all the time and effort you must have up into this story. What a completely magical journey that I am so happy I could be a part of. Thanks so much for writing this!
Truthful Plum Logical Horsemegyal on December 26th, 2012 01:56 am (UTC)
I like ward-lore, and this fic was so complex and detailed. So many ideas and characters and emotions to absorb. I like your Harry. At this part: [spoileryish]“It’s trying to eat me,” Harry insisted., I thought that there was something endearingly childish about that. The description of his sacrifice was terrible and beautiful, and for a moment I felt a little tired for Harry, because it's like he's always a sacrifice somehow...at least magic and the people who mean so much to him are is there to help him home. I like the part about Snape's magic helping to support Harry's vital functions; I was very sorry to read about Snape's sacrifice. Sorry, but not surprised and very sad.
gentleroughness: pic#77697893gentleroughness on December 26th, 2012 09:12 am (UTC)
From the dynamics between Harry and Draco (intriguing: your concept of wandlore and H/D sharing those dreams) to the intricate and well-developed plot about the falling of the wards, this is perfect. Love, how each character gets its own personality. And you brought Snape back!
Can't wait to read more from you.
blamebrampton: pic#63955131blamebrampton on December 26th, 2012 01:03 pm (UTC)
I love the complexity of the story you've created here. It's such a strongly imaginative piece, with a wonderful blend of canon knowledge and original storytelling. A real achievement!
Shivshiv5468 on December 26th, 2012 08:58 pm (UTC)
i did enjoy this monster of a fic enormously
Marianne: defaulteidheann_writes on December 27th, 2012 01:06 am (UTC)
Oh goodness. This was VERY well done. The worldbuilding, the wandlore, the history, all of it.
thisisnotme83: profilethisisnotme83 on December 27th, 2012 02:08 am (UTC)
This was fabulously intricate, I love the element of detail and thought that went into creating it. Hanging out to find out who you are so I can read more of your work!
daemonic: yunjaedoubledaemoncas5 on December 27th, 2012 08:37 am (UTC)
d(*.*)b READING THIS IS LIKE READING DAN BROWN’S WORK and many other authors that is awesome, the pace is so fluid and the reveal of the plot layers is perfectly executed. The warning made me wary in the beginning [you know, im rather squeamish so the ‘some gore and generally off-putting scenes’ bit is rather frightening], but after I read the story I don’t think it’s that severe (and how glad am I to brave this? Not that I can resist 70k fic xp).

All that runes and Arithmancy theory, and the wands lore, wards lore, potion lore, ancient lore, all the myth, etc you must be researching quite a lot it must hurt your head. It’s rather extensive study I think. The wards and potions and the metaphorical way it was sustained [Make the Manticore make the ward, brilliant wordplay that]. Very well thought reason for why the wards are failing, it all so believable. The bit about the founders and Salazar Slytherin sacrificing himself setting up the ward is very moving for me, for all this time he was believed to stray away from all the other founders[*sigh* pity Slytherin always being misunderstood]. *shiver*

I have this goosebumps and shiver along my spine when the ward of Hogwarts fail [holy shit this is Hogwarts we’re talking about!], I gripped the table so hard my knuckles went white. -.-“

You raise Severus Snape from the dead(Er, is snape dead in the end? Or he lost his magic?). I’m so happy for it! And he didn’t really dead. I adore that Harry, Draco and Snape working together, and Harry is adorable isn’t he. Quite underestimated, but he is the one who found where King Arthur was buried. Xp

Ernie is very sweet! And Morag is awesomeful, And Pansy pining over Hermione [even not my usual pairing] is awesome too, and all those secondary characters are win! And you made me like Zacharias!!! How did you do that??
In the beginning he was right annoying, but as the the story goes the gittiness level is decreasing and I’m happy that there aren’t any love triangle between h/d/z. He’s still sly and being a smug bastard [Zach/Smugness is made me LOL so had by the way *snickers*] but I didn’t fuming that much with his presence in this story =).

And the sexy, don’t forget the sexy. The pining and longing is quite heart-wrenching (mostly for Harry, poor boy :’) ). But when Draco finally come to his sense I’m cheered for him 

In conclusion, this is a very brilliant read, very gripping and moving and made sense. Im still rather overwhelmed now, tough I finished this last night. ;D
(Deleted comment)
(no subject) - daemoncas5 on January 25th, 2013 04:59 am (UTC) (Expand)
keleosnoonna: harry potter || HD lovekeleosnoonna on December 27th, 2012 06:26 pm (UTC)
/flails forever

Appleling: Appleling icon2appleling on December 27th, 2012 06:36 pm (UTC)
Holy @#$$%!!! Wow. *blinks* Just. Yes. Wow. This is... this... omg I am speechless. In a good way. So, so, sooo good! I'm sorry, I'm trying to organise my thoughts to make this sound more coherent instead of just weird babbling but I can't. My brain is still fully immersed in this beautiful, original and so incredibly well-crafted universe of this fic! Wow! Compelling and creative and... and... beyond brilliant doesn't even begin to cover just how awesome this story is. I am beyond impressed, mystery author! I just... god, I'm gonna read this again and again in the future and I just know I'd be just as impressed as I was the first time I read this. I need to take a breather now. My head is full of.... thoughts and scenes from this story and... and... yeah, I need to take a breather now... *glazed eyes*
Feline: >_<pierian on December 27th, 2012 07:26 pm (UTC)
I've been tugging on everyone's sleeves to read this monumental fic. The lore, legends, back stories, and many other things were so intricate and detailed that it blew my mind to pieces just thinking about the research you had to put into this to make the foundation of the story. The love, that yearning that Harry felt, I was right there with him experiencing all the turmoil and despair. Fantastic job. Thank you!
emrys_mk: baby harry - destinyemrys_mk on December 28th, 2012 02:20 am (UTC)
I finally finished (after six days of reading whenever I had the chance to do so) and I really don't know where to begin with what I want to say. You packed an extraordinary amount of information into this story and it goes without saying that you must have done more than a bit of research for this. I loved the UST in the first part of the fic, when Draco denied Harry, as well as himself. When he finally gave in, everything felt right, as if Draco had worked through all of his personal demons that had kept him from giving in to his wants. That scene was beautifully written.

I admit to being a bit overwhelmed by the wealth of information within, so there were parts when I just read and didn't even try to understand those things which you surely did mountains of research to get just right.

I loved what you did with Snape. That he ended up helping Harry as he did was gratifying.

fullmoonsfall on December 29th, 2012 04:51 pm (UTC)
This story was gorgeous! I loved all the beautifully described magic, and the prose was jst lovely! This is truely a gem of storytelling!! Thank you so much for sharing it with us!

The math geek part of me also loved your use of the fibonnaci spiral! So fun to see that in a fic! Your explanation and beautiful maps made magic seem even more real than your gorgeous prose already had! Congrats on producing this fantastic work of fiction!
Bubba: Amnestyabsynthedrinker on December 30th, 2012 04:45 am (UTC)
Magical, imaginative and wonderfully told. Well done!