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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.
(Deleted comment)
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!