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The town was all in monochrome. Slate-grey houses sloped down to a slate-grey sea. And, even where patches of colour could be seen – dying petunias in window-boxes, or tufts of grass peeking out from between the paving slabs – their shades looked faded and anaemic, as if they'd been bleached by the sun. Although how that could have happened in this cloud-bound corner of the north of England, Morry couldn't imagine.

The horizon seemed solid as concrete. He was surprised the sea-gulls didn't smash into it. But he'd been expecting that. This was a dream, after all, and dreams had boundaries. You probably could touch the horizon if you sailed out far enough - or maybe even scale it like a dry stone wall.

Morry's only job in this town was to search for the dreamer, but that – he could see – was going to keep him busy enough. This dream was immensely complicated.

In fact, he had never seen a dream like it before. Like so many others, it was made up of jumbled fragments of memories, glued together with guesswork. Clearly, the dreamer had spent all of his – or her – life observing things. There was an obsessive level of detail everywhere you looked – particularly when you turned your eyes towards the people.

They were dressed in drab overcoats and severely plain dresses. The ones who couldn't afford nylons had drawn a seam up the back of their legs to make it look as though they could afford nylons. Poverty was proud in the north of England, and distinctly spiky. These starving creatures would hoard their misfortunes greedily. With any luck, nobody would know they were suffering until they were dead.

Their hair was short, kinked and motionless. Severe hairstyles enforced with plenty of hairspray. A lot of them were wearing black, and nine out of ten of them were women, so this was a community that had lost a lot of men to the war. They had the hollow eyes and slumped shoulders of those whom grief has eaten from the inside out.

They glanced at him as he walked past, of course – because strangers rarely go unnoticed in these small communities – but there was less curiosity than anger. How did he dare wander into their town and disturb their grief?

Also, he was a man old enough to go into the service, and he wasn't dead. Every man aged between fifteen and fifty who was still walking around must have been a slap in the face to them.

He looked the part, at least. His black hair was slicked back with pomade, and his moustache was tidy. He looked like a retired colonel – one of the ones which were discreetly let go after a traumatic experience, because their habit of crying out in their sleep was spreading alarm and despondency amongst the men. Several of the younger girls – who had probably only lost fiancés rather than husbands – were beginning to smile at him. But their smiles were as hollow as their eyes.

None of them could be the dreamer. The dreamer would look real. The dreamer's eyes would be the opposite of the horizon: they would convey depth rather than solidity. Morry was used to finding the dreamers. Usually, they tried to kill him. Sometimes, they pretended he wasn't there, and got on with living out their nightmares. Sometimes, they couldn't hear him above the screams. But he had a good feeling about this one.   

The pub on the seafront was called The Shipwreck, and the interior lived up to the name. It was dark and dilapidated, with red-patterned wallpaper, mahogany tables and brass light-fittings – as though it was trying to imitate some Victorian music-hall. He half expected the barmaid to be wearing feathers and a tight-laced bodice, but she was just the same as the women outside: rigid hair-style, plain dress, and just a hint of boredom in the grief-hollowed eyes. Clearly widowed, but not that sorry about it.

Morry smiled his disarming smile. Oh, she wasn't the dreamer, either, but she looked like fun.

He ordered a pint of bitter and sat down at the bar. Pretty soon, the question of whether or not he'd served in the war would come up, and he didn't know enough about regiments or tactics to bluff his way through it. He was pretty sure a man who hadn't fought in the war would be even more outrageous to these women than a man who had the audacity to be alive when their husbands and sons weren't. But, for now, he could drink in peace.

The bar-maid was giving him an appraising look. "You're not from Mapledurham, sir?" she said at last.

Morry raised his eyebrows. So that was what this place was called. All the street signs on his way in had been painted out, presumably to confuse any invading Germans.

"No," he said. "London." He thought of the nearest muggle district to Diagon Alley, and added: "Covent Garden. Ever been there?"

The barmaid – Morry decided to think of her as 'dead-eyed Sally' – giggled, as though he'd just given her a saucy compliment. "Bless you, no," she protested. "It's miles away!"

Morry supposed he couldn't argue with that.

"It sounds wonderful, though. All them theatres!"

He shrugged. "Well, there aren't so many anymore. A lot of them were bombed."

The bar-maid's flirtatious smile faded. Clearly, any mention of the war was a passion-killer. Perhaps it reminded her of the dead husband, and the fact that she ought to be missing him more than she was. "I expect they were, at that," she mumbled.   

"Not too badly," he added, missing the smile.

But it didn't reappear. She picked up a cloth and began absent-mindedly wiping the bar. "I'm glad to hear that, sir. Are you visiting relatives here?"  

Morry cast his eye around the bar. No men under fifty, and only two women: a tired-looking girl slumped over an open book, and a suspiciously-plump mother who was knocking back a pint whilst absent-mindedly breast-feeding her baby. Not much chance he could successfully guess the name of someone living in the town without having that person immediately sent for.

"No," he said. "Just passing through."

"And what do you do?"

Morry gave her a cheerful smile. "I'm a wizard," he replied.

There was a shifting in the corner of his vision. The other woman – the one who'd been slumped wearily over her book – was starting to fidget.

Morry kept his eyes on dead-eyed Sally, while she recovered from another fit of flirtatious giggles. "What, like on the stage?"

"Sometimes."

"Go on then – show us a trick."

Another movement in the corner of his eye.  Morry didn't turn his head, but he knew the mysterious woman was now looking up at him. He tried to remember what she'd looked like. There had been a grey cardigan, and a suggestion of being too tired to keep her head upright. No other details presented themselves, and Morry was not going to look around.

Well, at least he had the dreamer's attention.

"Very well," he said to the barmaid. "Pick a card."

"But… you haven't got any cards."

Morry gave her a patient smile. "Pick a card in your head," he instructed.

"What?"

"The five of diamonds," he replied promptly.

The bar-maid blinked. The dreamer shuffled. Morry had to fight very hard to suppress a smile.

"How did you – ?"

"Would you like to pick another one?" he asked innocently.

Dead-eyed Sally gaped at him. He could practically see her thinking. Bored as she was, this stranger might present her with too much entertainment. She patted her motionless hair, as though there was the remotest possibility that it could have been out of place, and muttered. "Would you excuse me a moment?"

While she dashed into the back room – probably to call the police – Morry risked a glance at the woman who'd been fidgeting so anxiously in his peripheral vision. She had gone back to slumping listlessly over her book – clearly, she thought the danger had passed. A big mistake, in Morry's opinion.

Her age was difficult to decide on. She was dressed like a child – with red shoes and a polka-dot dress under her cardigan – but the eyes had crow's feet around them. And they were half-closed, in a permanent wince, as though the world was too bright for her.

In this dank pub on the sea-front, the world was most emphatically not too bright for her.

He had found the dreamer. But she looked curiously untroubled, when you considered that this grey, grieving Northern town had been generated by her subconscious.

It must have been an interesting subconscious. Morry threw her a smile when she looked up, but it was not returned. She just looked back at him, with mild-mannered curiosity.

And that was mistake number two. Morry watched with delight as her eyes took him in, and completely failed to judge him. She just gazed calmly back, as though he was entitled to watch her, but she was going to take the same liberties with him.   

The suspicion that he might find her pretty had never entered her head. She didn't even seem to know that it was rude to stare – or, if the idea had been mentioned to her, she obviously hadn't seen the sense in it. How could it be rude to stare? Nobody was getting hurt by being looked at.  

Morry was, at heart, an explorer. Admittedly, his heart was jaded, exhausted, and desperate by this time, but it hadn't lost its adventurous spirit. He was pulled towards difference of any kind. Different scenery, different rituals, different opinions. He had waded through the Nile and burned leeches off his ankles. He had watched cannibalism and ritual sacrifice, with the same boyish, twinkly-eyed smile he was turning on the dreamer right now.   

But her blank gaze was the most alien thing he'd ever seen. It was the kind of look you wouldn't get from the world at all. Obviously, the world hadn't got its claws into her yet. Either that, or the world's claws were scrabbling at her smooth, glassy exterior without making a dent.

And there was something clean about it. You couldn't tell what she was thinking – whether she was laughing at you or manipulating you. She was neat and tidy, with pulled-up socks and a long fringe – so long it was tangled up in her eyelashes. And she wasn't interested in flirting or judging or condemning. He almost didn't want her to speak. It would have ruined all that mystery.

There was something so innocent about her. She hadn't formed an opinion yet. She hadn't decided whether you were a friend or a foe but, unlike the majority of innocent people, she was willing to give you the benefit of the doubt.

And that was her third mistake. Three strikes, and Morry was in. The dreamers usually dismissed him at first sight – that is, if they saw him at all, through all the panic and blood and claws. But this one would listen. This one was his ticket out of here.

He didn't find out until much later that what she had was the ghost of innocence. The remnants of it were still blooming in her cheeks, and winding her hair into plump curls – like a corpse whose fingernails and hair grow for days after death – whose coagulating blood makes her cheeks look temporarily rosy. But it was all poised to decay.

What seemed like doe-eyed trust was actually haunted shock. It was the first flush of bitterness, that looked for all the world like hope.

But he didn't find that out till later. Right then, he only wanted to know what book she was reading. He would have killed to know what book she was reading.

But dead-eyed Sally chose that moment to come back, wiping her hands on her apron, and looking embarrassed at her moment of panic. Morry wondered whether she really had called the police. At that moment, he could only think of it as an advantage, because an arrest was bound to make the dreamer look up from her book again.

"Can I get you another drink, sir?" she asked breathlessly.

Morry weighed up his options. "No, thank you. I was wondering if you could tell me where I might stay? Is there a hotel?

She giggled at this outlandish word, and said: "Lovely guest-house on the sea-front. Mrs. Walker's place. She'd be glad of the company."

I bet she would, thought Morry.

"You'll find it next to The Anchor pub."

"My word, this place has a lot of pubs."

"Heart and soul of village life, sir."

"Which is the heart and which is the soul?"

The bar-maid giggled again. It was obviously a multi-purpose response for peculiar customers. Morry decided not to confuse her any further.  "Thank you," he said, dropping a shilling onto the bar.

He had got as far as the door, when dead-eyed Sally called. "What regiment were you in, sir?"

There was a fleeting wince, before Morry could push the twinkly-eyed smile back in place. "The Tenth Dragoons," he invented wildly. It sounded like something he'd heard on his way here.

It seemed to satisfy dead-eyed Sally. Perhaps she regretted bringing it up, because she had picked up her cloth again, and was aimlessly pushing it over the bar, watching her muddied reflection in the varnish. Morry decided that signaled the end of the conversation, and pushed open the door.

When he had gained the air outside – just as stifling, but more salty – he lit a cigarette and waited, hoping the dreamer would be curious enough to follow. Sea-spray sizzled on the cigarette-end. Gulls wheeled overhead and completely failed to smash into the concrete-coloured horizon. A woman in a house on the sea-front peered at him from behind her net-curtains, with tear-reddened eyes. Morry was starting to enjoy the attention. Even outraged, horrified attention was something.

After two leisurely puffs, the door to the pub opened, and the dreamer toppled out into the wind, folding her arms over her chest, and glaring at him.

Morry smiled disarmingly. There was no signal for wizards and witches to recognize each other in the muggle world. There was no secret hand-shake. They had to dance around the subject with cautious questions, asking things like: "Have you ever been to Flourish and Blotts?" or "How many platforms are there at King's Cross Station?" These questions still aroused the muggles' suspicions, but in a fairly harmless way. They just thought you were crazy - eccentric, if you were really lucky - as opposed to a potential threat.   

The dreamer didn't opt for either of these questions. She just pushed her hair – which was streaming in the wind – off her forehead and stammered: "What you said in there – about being a wizard - ,"

"Yes?"

"Why did you say that?"

"Because it's true," he replied mildly. "I take it you're not stupid enough to think I meant a conjuror?"

She was silent, and Morry judged that it would be safe to turn away. He started walking along the sea-front towards the Anchor pub, and she fell into step beside him, matching his strides perfectly, as though she was trying to mimic him.  

"Where did you go to school?" she asked, after a while. "Durmstrang? Beauxbatons?"

He shook his head. "Hogwarts."

"But you can't have. I would have met you."

"It would have been before your time. I'm a lot older than I look."

Another pause. Morry wielded silences like an offensive weapon. He used them to suck confessions out of people. He delighted in those resentful pauses, knowing, in his merry, self-confident way, that he wouldn't be the one to break them.

"My name's Poppy," she murmured.

"Morry," he said, inclining his head.

"Is it short for Maurice?"

"It was short for Maurice. Now it's short for something else."

They walked along the sea-front in silence for a while, Morry marveling at everything about her, even the way she was staring fixedly at her shoes.

"You know, we're supposed to be under-cover," she muttered reproachfully. "I could report you for performing magic in front of a muggle like that."

"Did you see me perform magic in front of a muggle?" he asked patiently.

Poppy frowned. "But you must have done. How could you have known what card she was thinking of? You must have been using Legilimency."

Morry shrugged. "Maybe I just thought she was a five-of-diamonds kind of girl."  

She ignored him. "It's rude to go leafing through other people's minds," she said reproachfully.

"I think 'leafing' is the wrong word. Her mind's too simple to be compared to a book – not even one with large print and lurid pictures. It's more like a sign. It was screaming at me. A half-decent Legilimens couldn't have ignored it."

He risked a glance at her, and was surprised again. She was genuinely shocked. Not angry; just shocked, as though she couldn't understand why anyone would say something like that. Morry couldn't decide if she was a naïve child or an evil genius.

"Why can't you respect people?" she demanded.

He smiled mischievously. "Shall I tell you why? It's because all of this is a dream – or a nightmare, depending on how things pan out. You and I are the only real people here."

If he'd made this extraordinary claim to anyone else, they would have walked away – perhaps treating him to a derisive laugh or a thorough taunting first. But he didn't. He said it to Poppy Pomfrey – one of the least judgemental creatures on earth. Poppy Pomfrey, who listened quietly to everyone else's problems, made sympathetic noises, brewed them a cup of tea, steadied their nerves, and then went home with their pain discreetly bundled up in her apron. She hadn't even learned to be frustrated by their stupidity, the way most Healers were.

Her mind was the perfect environment for fostering doubts about this place. It was fertile soil for the growth of understanding.

Morry hadn't known how lucky he was going to get, but he sensed her hesitation, and capitalized on it like a born salesman.

"You live in that big house on the sea-front, don't you?"

She frowned at him. "If you've been leafing through my mind, - "

"Wouldn't dream of it," he assured her. "But I've been flying over the village on a broomstick. You keep a candle burning under your attic skylight all night. You're either building a runway or trying to signal to other witches and wizards."

"Oh."

They kept on walking – Morry growing more and more delighted with every step.

"That's a Healer's thing, right?" he persisted. "Healers always keep a light burning in their highest window, to guide down witches or wizards who might be fleeing persecution on broomsticks?"

"Yes, it's a Healer's thing."

"Do you get to help many fleeing witches or wizards?"

"Almost none."

"Why not?"

"The Ministry snapped my wand in half during the war, for using healing magic on muggles."

"Ah."

"Yes, ah," she replied testily. "Are you going to stop following me now?"

Morry considered pointing out that she was technically following him, but thought better of it.

"Well, a lot of that kind of thing happened – during the war, I mean," he said awkwardly. "It was tricky for the Ministry, deciding whether to punish people for trying to help the muggles with magic."

She didn't reply.

"You must have had a lot of supporters," he prompted.

"Not enough."

There was a silence. Poppy unfolded her arms, swung them aimlessly, like a bored school-girl, and then folded them back in again, over her chest. Morry thought he had never seen anything so beautiful in his life.  

"Do you practice muggle medicine now?" he asked.

"I don't practice anything. I'm retired."

"So what do you do with your time?"

She shrugged. That was it. She just shrugged. Morry had to fight very hard to keep back a grin. She was perfect.

When Severus and Lily had fallen in love, they had both been innocents longing for experience. But when Poppy and Morry fell in love, they were tarnished, traumatized, old beyond their years and longing, above all, for peace. It was all very well to declare it. It was all very well to ratify treaties and celebrate the Armistice. The fighting still went on in your head.  

Morry longed for death. All he wanted was something permanent. He had believed, when he was young, that this desire for permanence was really a desire for immortality, but now he knew the truth. He wanted to live in a world where nothing was ever snatched away from you – where beauty never faded and where you knew, with each new day, exactly how you were going to feel about everyone. You wouldn't fall in and out of love. You wouldn't find yourself breaking your own promises. Everything would be orderly and consistent. And he knew now that there was only one world in which things were orderly and consistent – the undiscovered country, from which no traveler returned.

But he couldn't die. He was remarkably resistant to it. Oh, he hadn't been trying very hard, it was true. What would be the point? His death wouldn't help anyone here. It wouldn't mean anything here. Nothing meant anything here.

He had spent decades – centuries, for all he knew – wandering around other people's dreams – picking up what little information about the outside world their experience could give him, and, although everything was charged with an air of menace, nothing was ever fatal. At least, not to him.

There had been a time to die and, somehow, Morry had missed it. It had been his moment, and he'd been looking the other way. Now death was sulking with him. He supposed that must be how the returning soldiers felt: when you'd survived the war, how ignominious, how embarrassing, it would be to have a heart-attack at the shops, or suffer a stroke in your back garden. There had been a time to die – a time when your life could have been part of a story, instead of a random series of events – and you'd missed it.

He wondered now why he had travelled so compulsively, when all he'd wanted was stability. But that was easy enough to answer. He had been looking for it. Paradoxical as it sounded, that was the answer, and it made perfect sense to Morry. Why shouldn't you find home at the end of a long journey? It made sense. Somewhere – probably just beyond that farthest hill – was contentment. A land where everyone kept their promises.

For years, the promise of kept promises had drawn him on, and now the promise of death drew him on, in exactly the same way.

The trick to getting out of this place had to lie with the dreamers. They didn't usually last very long, and that was because they wouldn't listen to him, but this creature was a born listener. Morry tossed the cigarette away and filled his lungs with sea air. He fancied he could already see the solid, grey horizon being pushed backwards. Soon it would topple over and, whatever rushed in to fill its place, it would be real.  


Poppy Pomfrey was named for the remembrance of dead men, and, as a result, she had trouble forgetting. Both her parents had lost fathers in the Great War, so she was called 'Poppy', after the blood-red flowers that bloomed in Flanders fields.
     
She felt other people's pain. At the Front, this had been excruciating. Here, it was just a kind of toothache. She would sometimes turn up at people's doors in the middle of the night with a bottle of codeine, or penicillin, and say: "Take this every four-to-six hours please. I'm trying to sleep'.

She was useful enough to be tolerated. She wasn't one of them, but she had been born in the village, even if her parents had been odd sorts. And, anyway, she knew how to set a bone and bring down a fever.

Besides, everyone who came back from the war had gone a bit peculiar. Some of them jumped at small noises; some of them screamed in their sleep; some of them told the same stories over endless pints of bitter – presumably because, if you told the same story enough times, you would eventually find a point to it – a meaning, a moral, or a message – maybe even a happy ending. After all, happy endings were entirely a matter of perspective, weren't they? Cinderella didn't end happily for the ugly sisters. You could never have a happy ending that suited everyone.

Poppy Pomfrey, who had always been peculiar, suddenly didn't seem so odd now that the boys had come back – or failed to come back – from the Front.

Since coming back from France, she'd been staying with her parents in their house on the sea-front. A place of wafer-thin pillows, paper-thin walls and inexplicable wet patches on the carpet. You had to take your shoes off as soon as you entered the house, so you frequently discovered these wet patches in your socks, and you shivered beneath your skin – beneath your muscles, even – as though your soul was trying to squirm out of its compromised physical vessel.

Was that an overreaction? Probably. The house had acquired connotations of soul-squirming disgust in other ways but, for the sake of self-preservation, it was only the wet carpets that stuck in her memory now.

Poppy's bedroom was the place where every sound in that house collected and decayed. Every twanging bed-spring, every creaking stair – every sneeze, cough or whispered conversation – poured into the bedroom, and fluttered around the walls like startled bats. Added to this, the sounds of the house; the gurgling pipes, shifting floorboards, and rattling window-panes, chased sleep away.

For a woman of Poppy's exquisite sensitivity, it was overwhelming. And that was just the way she wanted it to be. In that echo chamber of a bedroom, she could forget about the war. She could forget about Mr. Marshall's toothache, or Mrs. Eliot's depression. The little sufferings of her neighbours couldn't intrude on her here. She could forget she had a gift at all.

If you couldn't have peace, you could at least have repetitive arguments, familiar put-downs, predictable chaos. The little miseries distracted her from the big ones. She had chosen the devils she knew: the devils she was related to, and she had been staying with them for two years when Morry turned up.  

She would know the cadence of their voices anywhere. Even when they were saying good morning, it sounded as though they were arguing; they griped and grumbled even in their peaceful moments. Everything was pitched and phrased like an argument, even on the rare occasions when their hearts weren't in it.

She felt as though she was in Hell's waiting room – held up by some administrative error – listening to the sound of eternal damnation in the rooms beyond. And she would sit there in a cold sweat, shivering with dread, for the rest of her life, unable to understand that she was already in hell.

It was immeasurably worse to sit there huddled up in fear, thinking your punishment hadn't even begun – thinking you were stuck in the introduction.  

Poppy glanced side-long at Morry as they walked down the sea-front, hoping to be distracted by his problems, but he seemed so cheerful and self-contained. She hadn't warmed to him very much, but they both knew that she didn't have to. They were the only two magical people in the village. They didn't have to like each other. They would tolerate each other, if only to stave off madness. Because, if you stayed in it for more than a day, the sheer muggle-ness of this village started to beat you over the head.

"How old are you?" Morry asked suddenly. "It's been bothering me for ages. You could honestly be anywhere between fourteen and forty."

"Forty?" Poppy echoed, outraged.

Morry produced another of his disarming smiles. "Eighteen, then?"

"I'm nineteen," she said primly. "And I'll thank you not to ask me any more personal questions."

Morry lapsed into grinning silence again. That perpetual good-humour was starting to get on her nerves.

And, also, there was the question of the little girl. Poppy had thought she knew everyone in this village, but the girl who kept popping up on the sea-front, with her tight, baby-blonde curls, and rather pointed teeth, was completely new to her. She didn't like not knowing what was going on in her village.

At first, she had thought the girl was simply an evacuee, with no home to go back to, but somebody would have talked about her, surely? There was precious little to talk about in Mapledurham. And no new children were getting born, that was for certain.

Poppy gave the girl an irritable look. She was sitting on a bench, eating an ice-cream, and looking sad but vaguely bored. When she met Poppy's eyes, she had the decency to look embarrassed about being there. But perhaps all children, when discovered with ice-creams, looked embarrassed.    

On impulse, Poppy turned to Morry, and said: "You see that girl on the bench over there?"  

Morry looked. For the briefest of seconds, Poppy thought he recognized her. Certainly, his gaze went from lazy to intense. But then he turned back, smiling his disarming smile, and said: "What about her? Is she one of us too?"

"I don't know," said Poppy. "Nobody seems to know who she is."

"Do you have to know everyone in this town?" he teased.

"I don't have to, but I do," Poppy replied irritably.

They continued to walk down the sea-front. It was lost on Poppy, whose eyes were always fixed on the human element, but Morry had noticed, with barely-concealed glee, that cracks were starting to appear amongst the clouds on the horizon.
Continuing from Danae [link]

It's very different, so I've been a bit nervous about posting it, but bear with me, we'll be back at Hogwarts next week! Also, apologies in advance if my historical knowledge isn't up to scratch!

And thank you for reading (now more than ever, because I'm not 100% sure that this isn't boring!)
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:icon28dragons:
28dragons Featured By Owner Oct 28, 2013
Moribund Prince - the way he teases Poppy reminds me of how Severus teases Lily. Is this on purpose? ;) they're so cute, I like them as a couple already. 
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:iconls269:
ls269 Featured By Owner Oct 29, 2013
Wow, you're tearing through this story! Don't think I've ever had such a fast reader! :) Oh yes, Morry is very much like Severus (a bit gentler, maybe! ;)) and Poppy is very much like Lily - there are lots of parallels between the two couples. I love Poppy & Morry because their relationship is so gentle (and kind of sex-less!), I guess because they're older and more disillusioned than Sev/Lily. I'm really glad you like them too - when I first posted this chapter, I was worried that people would get annoyed by the lack of Hogwarts settings and characters. This was the closest thing to original fiction I'd ever posted at the time! 
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:iconluxmindero831:
LuxminderO831 Featured By Owner Aug 11, 2012
SPOILER ALERT!!!!

I already know who Morry is. Moribund Prince, of course. This is cool. Will he finally be set free from his coma? Will it be death or life for him? Will he and Severus figure out that they're related when they meet? I can't wait to find out!! The plot thickens.
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:iconls269:
ls269 Featured By Owner Aug 12, 2012
:w00t: I love it when readers pay as much attention as you do! :hug: (Can't answer any of your questions, though, but I hope the story will!)
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:iconwearesevenstudios:
WeAreSevenStudios Featured By Owner Jun 1, 2010  Professional Artisan Crafter
Hmm, this is certainly an interesting chapter. I think I'm a real sucker for dreamscapes.
I don't know if I entirely like Morry. By the way, is it currently short for Morpheus?
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:iconls269:
ls269 Featured By Owner Jun 2, 2010
Not short for Morpheus, (although that would have been good - I'm going to start employing you as a story-consultant on this fanfic! You have great ideas - you know how I love a good classical mythology reference! :heart: Unfortunately, I can't afford to pay you anything except more chapters! ;) And even those seem to be in short supply at the moment...)

I think you may find out what Morry is short for in the very next chapter!
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:iconwearesevenstudios:
WeAreSevenStudios Featured By Owner Jun 2, 2010  Professional Artisan Crafter
Ah, of course. Reading these chronologically, I should have seen that sooner than I did. Why did he say his name was short for Maurice at one time?

I'm desperately trying to get a hold of a few volumes of The Sandman series by Neil Gaiman, so "Morpheus" wasn't too far at the back of my mind. Otherwise, my brain would probably never have recalled the classical Morpheus.

If you ever do want someone to beta or anything, let me know. I'd love to be of use, especially if I'd get paid in chapters. :love:
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:iconls269:
ls269 Featured By Owner Jun 2, 2010
Yay! :dance: When we get nearer the end of the story, I might send you some chapters, or run some ending-ideas by you, because it's nice to have someone to talk to about the direction the story could take.

We've got some of the Sandman graphic novels here! I've only read the first one (as you know, I'm a lazy reader), but that one was great - he's got a spell-binding love of mythology and folklore! :heart: He's such an inventive writer - I really need to read more of him!
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:iconwearesevenstudios:
WeAreSevenStudios Featured By Owner Jun 2, 2010  Professional Artisan Crafter
I know, I'm so surprised to learn how much he's written. I only really looked into Gaiman's body of work after my brother lent me Coraline (around the time the movie came out). Now I'm wondering how I've been ignorant for so long, when his work seems to be everywhere.

:D:love: Cool beans. I'd feel like I was being admitted to a cinematic preview.
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:iconthesonge:
thesonge Featured By Owner Mar 4, 2010
Very cool! Love the descriptions of the people :w00t: Can't wait to see what happens!
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:iconls269:
ls269 Featured By Owner Mar 4, 2010
Yay! Thank you! :w00t: :hug: I'm so glad you liked it. Next chapter is coming soon, and will be filled with romantic fluff!
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:iconmelorik:
Melorik Featured By Owner Mar 2, 2010
I rather liked the imagery here. I can see why such a place would be a nightmare for her... it's perpetually hopeless and gloomy.

What I especially appreciate is the fact that you made her so human here... more so than Rowling herself does. In this one chapter Poppey went from being some old mean crone (which is how Sev see's her), to a caring but rather scarred individual.

It's understandable why she would be so harsh with Sev if she's been around this long, and saw first hand the effects of war. Considering that WWII showed exactly what happens when Death Eater beliefs are implemented on a mass scale, I can see why she'd be so hard on Snape. It'd be interesting if Snape gets to see such horrors (or the effects of them) when he finally goes into her nightmares.

Keep it up,

Cheers,

Sam
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:iconls269:
ls269 Featured By Owner Mar 3, 2010
Thank you! :hug: I'm so glad you liked the development of Madam Pomfrey's character here. I agree, I bet if Sev could see the forces that have shaped her personality, he wouldn't think she was such a bitch anymore! ;) I don't know if they would exactly become friends... well, maybe they would, because she's very like Lily, and Sev & Lily get on well enough most of the time!

Anyway, this is an environment that I'm very much looking forward to introducing Sev to! He can be sarcastic in a whole new period of history! :)
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:icondronarron:
dronarron Featured By Owner Mar 2, 2010
Ahh, a medical student. I thought she was talking about being a student at Hogwarts.
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:icondronarron:
dronarron Featured By Owner Mar 1, 2010
I'm kind of confused about the timing here, because last chapter Pomfrey was talking about being a student in the 1960s.
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:iconls269:
ls269 Featured By Owner Mar 2, 2010
This chapter takes place in 1948. She doesn't go back to the wizard world for a while, so I guess she's in her thirties when she studies to be a Healer at St. Mungo's. But, if you keep reaing, all of that will be explained.
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:iconancatdubh:
AnCatDubh Featured By Owner Mar 1, 2010
I agree with ~FlameoftheWest7, the description you did of the place really brought up vivid images to mind - and something quite unique. I enjoyed it as I enjoy a non-fanfic piece of writing, you know, and I think it could have been a great start for an original story. The pub scene was pretty neat. I must say I found the descriptions of the characters in the second part a tad long at times, but then you probably need to get that across to people for the rest of the story, and you probably can't afford to make it more gradual, if you want to focus on the Sev/Lily story (until they join). It's also probably because I enjoyed the dialogues and the eery place a lot and wanted some more of that :giggle:

funny you wrote about poppy fields, my dad who was born in Flanders (not during the great war, that would make him a bit old :D, but he was born during WWII) used to tell me about how they were everywhere even when he was a kid (not anymore though). I didn't know about the WWI poem though, or the symbolism of the flower. I like it...
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:iconls269:
ls269 Featured By Owner Mar 1, 2010
:dance: :heart: I'm so glad you enjoyed it! It's the closest I've come to writing original fiction in a long time (I felt as though I didn't have the safety-net of familiar characters that everyone is interested in, so I didn't know how it would be received).

And I totally agree with you, my descriptions of characters can sometimes run to pages! I definitely need to cut them down. I think it's because this story started as little character sketches of the Harry Potter characters, so I sometimes still get carried away with that aspect of the story (plus, I'm not very confident with writing action!)

It's a shame there aren't so many poppies in Flanders now. Where my aunt lives, in Boulogne-sur-mer, there are a lot, so I have very fond memories of seeing them on my summer holidays! :)
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:iconflameofthewest7:
FlameoftheWest7 Featured By Owner Feb 28, 2010
AAAAHH I just attempted to post a very complimentary (if somewhat long-winded) review and my stupid computer just freaked out and gobbled it up! But to briefly restate, I liked it so much that I was thinking you might want to consider creating your own historical fiction series one day (but with some fantasy characters!) You did an excellent job creating an authentic environment. I thought the symbolism between a lonely, impoverished, war-ravaged community and a cold northern beach--worn down, bleached and scourged by the stormy waves--was just effortless and very effective. And yes, they did remind me very much of Severus and Lily! ;)
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:iconls269:
ls269 Featured By Owner Mar 1, 2010
:dance: :heart: Thank you so much! You've really put my mind at rest, because I honestly did not know what kind of response to expect. I suspected a grey muggle town + none of the J.K. Rowling characters we know and love might spell disaster (or boring chapter, at the very least!) But I wanted to make Madam Pomfrey's nightmare claustrophobic and soul-strangling, because she seems like the kind of character who would be frightened of grief and boredom rather than big monsters!

(I'm mourning the loss of your long-winded comment, too - curse that greedy computer! Although that has happened to me so many times. Once, my computer swallowed a whole journal entry when I tried to post it! I now copy any message that's over two lines long before I post it, just in case!)

Thanks again for your kind comments; you're an angel! :hug:
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