Re: Apologies and Feedback Part 2
And Julian; I adore fleshing out name-only characters and giving them personality, and you made him as three-dimensional as all the other players. When an author can evoke strong emotions about an oc/name-only character, as you've done here, it shows a real talent for characterization; I was left desperately hoping Tonks slapped him hard, at least once, before she ended things.
One other element at which you especially excelled was showing and not telling, or in my favorite example from the piece, backing someone's conclusions with evidence. Alastor's assessment of Julian's skills could have so easily come off as a jealous/besotted man sniping about his rival for a lady's affection. But then, with Williamsons’ abysmal performance in that duel, you showed just how intact Alastor's judgment really was, even if he was on unfamiliar territory with Tonks.
How Alastor never entirely lost his head or his paranoia, even as he grew more interested by Tonks is the thing I admire most about your characterization of him. Keeping him so firmly grounded made all his new reactions and feelings plausible.
And you included song lyrics; I didn't mention this in my signup, but I love when an author uses song lyrics or other quotes as a sort of epigraph to a fic. It provides such a lovely window on what we're in store for, and deepens the fic so much on rereading, as the quote/lyrics come to have more and more resonance.
There were so many lines I enjoyed, but I have to single out a few for particular attention:
“Right, wands down. That's enough for today," Alastor said gruffly, banging his walking stick on the ground as a signal for his trainees to stop their dueling. What an absolutely magnificent opening hook. I immediately wanted to know what would happen next and knew I was in for a treat, because that bit of dialogue was just so IC moody.
He had never been able to stomach Julian Williamson, and supposed he never would. Smug little bastard had scraped by through Auror's training by the skin of his perfect, pearly white teeth, and his thoroughly put-on charm. Alastor had never reckoned a clever girl like Tonks would fall for an utter prat like that. To make matters worse, Williamson sported that ridiculous ponytail same as Arthur Weasley's eldest boy did. He'd never understood the appeal of such long hair, even on brilliant wizards like Albus Dumbledore. Long hair was a safety risk, too easily set on fire or used to as a weapon against its wearer. He still remembered how old Harrington had died, strangled by his own arse-length plaited hair. No doubt Williamson thought himself as invincible as the young almost always did. Forgive me for not being able to resist the urge to quote an entire paragraph at you; but it just perfectly encapsulates Moody's character and was probably my favorite moment of his inner monologue.
Tonks wasn't even certain why she was going out with him. She didn't like Julian particularly, although he was very good looking. But he fancied her something awful, and he was a convenient shag buddy, even if he was as thick as a brick. She reckoned it wasn't too difficult being around him as long as he kept his mouth shut, and his hands busy. Just the way he was right now. And this, right here, is perfect Tonks, and very much my favorite bit of her inner monologue. The way you write her just sparkles, mystery author, which was such a thrill as she's one of my favorites. Speaking of Tonks, I also loved how she kept her wand raised in Moody's little "practical lesson" against she and Julian; her skill as an Auror is also very much the way I perceive her.
And last but not least, because it nearly made me snort liquid all over my computer: "Williamson?" She gave a diffident shrug. "He's a berk. Haven't spoken to him in ages. He's got his head lodged so far up Fudge's backside that he's not worth talking to any longer." I snorted at Tonks frankness and then smiled as much as Alastor wanted too.
I can't wait for reveals so I can stalk everything else you've done, because this was amazing, mystery author!