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5/30/2020 c1 eleutheriia
this is the very first Remus/Sirius I've ever read, being that I am a Remus/Ninfadora fan (I came here after re-reading the whole Pluto story). however, I really enjoyed it and I think I'm going to include it in my headcanon. Even though maybe their acceptance of their sexual identity is a bit too easy and maybe it's not totally canon that they came out publicly, I liked their characterization: they're not feminine, they have a very masculine relationship (for example not speaking to one another about their feelings, etc.). It was cool, thank you for writng!
1/23/2020 c1 FriendlyNeighborhoodHPFan
My short review is: I'm pleasantly surprised by how much I liked this story. Very well done!

Longer review: I am not a fan of Remus/Sirius. I am generally a stickler for canon and I don't see the relationship between those two men as anything more than platonic (albeit rather strong due to shared tragedy). I think I primarily have trouble accepting Remus/Sirius as canon because the wizarding world seems, if anything, more traditionalist than its muggle counterpart when it comes to sexual mores; wizards seem to get married super young, even compared to Britons of the same eras and especially when considering that a wizard's natural life is significantly longer than that of a muggle, and I have to assume that a large reason for this is that premarital sex has remained taboo in their culture in a way that it hasn't in muggle culture. (Further, in my opinion, in a society that was more accepting of cohabitation, Lupin would never have married Tonks because announcing their union to the world was surely going to put a target on her back. It only makes sense for Lupin to have married Tonks if he believes Tonks is going to be less ostracized for marrying a werewolf than for engaging in premarital sex.) If premarital sex is taboo, it would logically follow that any other deviations from married, heterosexual, "normal" sex would also be taboo. While this has certainly been true in the muggle world, it seems to me that we have moved faster towards acceptance of other lifestyles than the wizarding world, where, for 7 years during the 1990s, Harry did not appear to have even been exposed to divorce as an acceptable idea, let alone homosexuality.

This is all to say that I think Lupin and Sirius would have been different characters from the canon had they been in a gay relationship in the 1970s (which may have been more like the 1940s in muggle Britain from a sexual liberation standpoint). I imagine Lupin, for one, would have lacked any modicum of self-esteem. We already see Lupin as a self-deprecating character who is ashamed of what he is, but part of the reason we find him so endearing is because he also presents himself with dignity and even shares his frustration at other members of society for not accepting him even as he has difficulty accepting himself. Though this description is the exact reason many queer people find him relatable and thus write him as queer, I think if Lupin was queer in an unforgiving society on top of being a werewolf in an unforgiving society, it would be too much prejudice to overcome. Lupin's self-hatred permeates his even facade when he is confronted with his position in one marginalized community; if he was doubly marginalized, I think he would have reached his breaking point much sooner and generally would not have been able to keep up the facade. Similarly, Sirius, is depicted as rebellious in a cool way (e.g., breaking rules laid down for his safety) rather than rebellious in a completely-drop-out-of-society way. For example, he decorated his childhood bedroom with Gryffindor paraphernalia and pictures of bikini-clad women rather than, say, muggle drug- or weapon-related pictures and equipment and naked men. While Sirius could certainly be bisexual, I don't think he would be confidently so-it's too far outside the bounds of society. Because we only see him as confident, it's difficult to also picture him as someone who would act on homosexual urges.

This all brings me to Remus/Sirius fan fiction stories. With needle-in-the-haystack exceptions, fan fiction authors either need to change the canonical characterizations or the canonical world in order for the gay romance to make sense. Most fan fiction authors seem to change both, for example by writing a story in which being openly gay is totally accepted in a 1970s British boarding school without question and yet Lupin and Sirius are both overly feminized as though fulfilling some sort of gay stereotype. However, because I so enjoy well-done stories about Lupin and Sirius' platonic relationship, I usually have to accept at least an allusion to Remus/Sirius if I want to read any good fan fiction about both of those characters. Therefore, I have begrudgingly loosened my canon compliance standards and have begun reading stories that include Remus/Sirius in my efforts to find good fan fiction.

This, and the fact that I enjoy your WIP, Pluto, led me to give Sparkling a try. Compared to my understanding of the wizarding world as a more sexually repressed society, you write about a world that seems to have fully accepted the sexual liberation movement of the 1970s. However, I was delighted that you chose to fix this story in the 20th century rather than making me read this as an AU set in the current era. At the very least, you aren't ignoring canon; you're just reading it a different way than I do. As such, I was hopeful that you would be true to the characterizations of Lupin and Sirius (which are, overall, more important than being true to the world-building). You did not disappoint. In fact, this rendition of Remus/Sirius is so true to the characters of both of the men involved that it helps me understand why many people view this relationship as canonical.

You write teenage Lupin as shy, ashamed, and insecure, but not submissive. He doesn't blindly accept the rules, but nor does he try particularly hard to rebel against them. His desire to be normal and fit in to society competes with his desire to be loved. This is a perfect characterization, and I also think it's fantastic how we see Lupin mature throughout this story and come into his own. One of the parts that rang remarkably true to me is Lupin's refusal to be on the receiving end of anal sex. As in, Lupin is willing to take part in this frowned upon relationship, but he draws the line at playing the "feminine" role-he still wants to participate in society, but he will bend some mores if it means getting to feel something like love or appreciation. Similarly, in your characterization of Sirius, you capture the exact sort of insecurity I would expect from a normally arrogant, popular and cool teen forced to deal with impermissible urges. He puts on a face for everyone else, and even to a large extent for his lover, but doesn't necessarily feel totally confident about his homosexual tendencies, which Remus sees in intimate moments and everyone else must infer from Sirius' overcompensation with women. I like the way we also see Sirius grow and mature and become more rebellious. At first he rebels by openly fingering female conquests in the Common Room, but as he ages he rebels by refusing women altogether. These are two different types of rebellion, but both make sense for Sirius as a younger teen and then an older one.

In addition to their separate characterizations, this might be one of my favorite one-shot, non-canon romances I've read in my (too many) years of reading fan fiction. The Harry Potter books themselves suffer from the teenage-sweethearts-last-forever delusion, so it's predictable that most fan fiction also follows this trend. I adore the way you write Remus/Sirius as a teenage relationship. Teen boys in our society (especially teen boys from the 1970s) are not allowed to express intimacy towards one another, though most of them crave that intimacy. You are spot on when you write two boys who are far more accepting of their physiological desires towards one another than their emotional desires. In some ways, it seems that the relationship began because both boys needed that emotional intimacy and having a shared secret gave them a way and a reason to pursue an emotional relationship. Though it may have made sense that they were infatuated with one another as teenagers, it also makes sense that they would have grown out of that infatuation. You capture so well in this story the process of maturing, the realization that Lupin and Sirius didn't necessarily fit together as a romantic couple, but they could continue to be emotionally intimate as close platonic friends. As I mentioned earlier in my review, this piece, rarely among Remus/Sirius fan fiction, fits the personas of the canonical thirty-something men we read about in the original books. It seems completely realistic and, as is even more rarely the case among any fan fiction, truly deepens the original story and builds greatly upon both the world and its characters.
1/18/2020 c1 22YellowWomanontheBrink
excellent story. theres something down to earth and very realistic about this story. the flow, the language, the characterization. how through all of this, their friendship stays true. both sirius and remus flaws and strengths are so perfectly in character and on display in this story. this is wonderfully written and a true hidden gem. love it!

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