Wednesday, February 1, 2012

Fandom Hopping - Harry Potter - You Align My Stars


Some may say we’re easily distracted.

Some may accuse us of giving up on Twilight (NEVER).

We say, “Why limit ourselves to just one fandom full of smut when there are soooo many other possibilities out there?!?!” And so we give you Fandom Hopping, a place to poke your nose into another universe, meet some new characters, and enjoy all the pervy possibilities when a writer fucks with the universe someone else created. Don’t worry, friends, Edward & Co. will all be there waiting for you when you get back, but for now, take a walk with us down a different path.

Fic: You Align My Stars
Author: Bsmog
Summary: Harry Potter has been hiding since the end of the war. A request from an unlikely source to return to Hogwarts could teach him a lesson or two about life and how to live it. Post-war, EWE.

What is left for Harry Potter after he’s completed his life’s task of saving the entire wizarding world by the ripe old age of 17? Apparently nothing, if you ask Harry, who’s spent the intervening years dodging groupies and developing a very near case of agoraphobia. That is, until a letter from Draco Malfoy arrives that threatens to turn his carefully insulated world upside down.

This fic has defined Post-War Harry and Draco for me and surgically replaced the canon epilogue with the skill of a scalpel’s blade. They are grown-up, sexy, and a bit raw. Such an honest portrayal of possibility-Harry left directionless with a bit of PTSD, and Draco, beautiful, and brimming with a second chance at a life that is now his to choose.

I can think of no one more talented than Bsmog to have taken this on. It requires a delicate hand to bring love and healing for two that have been so affected by battle and tragedy, and she is amazingly talented in this regard. I feel the ache that permeates the history of these characters, but instead of being angsty, it only serves to underscore the hope and possibility of the present.

Draco is brilliantly written. His personality is mature and tempered with age and experience, but his wit is still razor sharp. I love his sarcasm. It’s presence is completely reassuring, both to the reader, and to Harry. He warms my heart and makes me cackle.

"Harry, much as it pains me to tell you this, the rest of us do occasionally venture out. Hermione's work in cursebreaking does sort of influence what I teach here. We often find ourselves in the same circles. Clever woman, even if she did marry a ginger."

The unexpected solace that Harry and Draco find in each other is bright and beautiful. While Harry’s needs are blatant, Draco’s are just as fierce, swimming below his calm surface. Their shared history makes them exactly right for each other, and probably completely wrong for anyone else, and Bsmog reveals this inch by glorious inch by showing us their emotions, showing us their stories, showing us their souls. The writing is so tight that it was like watching a movie in my head of these two slightly broken, but wholly wonderful men.

Because these two characters are so in character, even the most simple gestures of intimacy, the sharing of a sweater, felt pornographic to me. By the time there’s anything intentionally erotic, I’ve long ago been burnt to ashes by the heat of their intensity.

You Align My Stars is a truly amazing story of love and healing. It is a quick read, only 8 chapters/ 25k words, and every one of them is loaded with emotion. If you do not read this, you are denying yourself something wonderful.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. This is, hands down, my all time favorite Harry/Draco fic EVER! It captures a truth about these two men that I think a lot of other stories glaze over, and that even canon never fully explored. That truth is how could these two young men truly mature when neither one of them truly had a childhood?

Harry and Draco suffered under similar pressures through most of the saga, each carried the weight a family legacy and outward expectations of who they should be. Neither is given much of a chance (in canon) to progress too far beyond these standard roles of hero and foe. True, in the end the true villain of the series if vanquished, and the world is saved, but what is left for these two young men who were instrumental in that victory?

In You Align My Stars, Bsmog explores that question in a way that JK Rowling didn’t. Here you will not find tidy endings with children, wives and promising futures. No. Here you will find the reality of a post-war world, where nothing is easy or simple. Where the romances kindled in strife flack-apart and fly away on the wind. Where friendships that were once unshakable through adversity become intangible in the aftermath and apathy of post traumatic stress. Where your life is nothing like you thought it would be, and everyone who was once close to you feels like a stranger.

In this alternate reality Harry is a shut-in struggling with the guilt of being the boy who lived, when so many other’s did not. While, Draco struggles with the redemption of himself and his family name. He does the slow, tedious work of rebuilding his reputation, while taking over the duties of being the new Defense Against the Dark Arts teacher. This Draco is far from the petulant child of the series. He is a grown man, who has come to terms with his mistakes and carries on with his life (like any self-respecting Brit would).

It is this Draco that makes all the difference for me and this fic. He isn’t a two dimensional, snarky bitch boy that we so often see in fic. This is a mature man who is comfortable with himself, and who brings a palpable calm to Harry, even when they fall into their familiar adversarial roles.

This is another more universal truth that Bsmog touches on, that there is a kind of freedom of expression you can experience with an enemy that you cannot always achieve with a friend. You can tell them anything, because you don’t care what they think. Harry discovers this freedom with Draco, and through this candid dialog and dealings they find a strange kind of kinship.

There rest of their journey is best experienced first hand through Bsmog’s beautiful words. She paints a vibrant world with fantastically flawed people that you can’t help but fall in love with, sometimes more than you loved them in canon. Her mesmerizing prose at times feels like poetry, and is guaranteed to captivate you, even as your heart breaks for these two men.

This was a lovely gem to read, as I would’ve expected after falling love with bsmog’s Not All Those Who Wander Are Lost. I love the way that Bsmog writes Draco. So I apologize if most of what I say is swooning over Draco.

Harry Potter has practically been written off by his friends, is never seen, and he’s okay with that. He thinks he is, at least. He honestly just didn’t know how to move on after he saved the world ten years ago, so he alienates people, avoids leaving his house, and so Number 12 Grimmauld Place becomes his self imposed prison. It’s when Harry receives an owl from Draco asking for help at Hogwarts that things begin to change. Harry has no clue why Draco would possibly need his help. Nevertheless, he goes.

Draco is now the Defense Against The Dark Arts professor. O.o Yes, you read that correctly. He’s also no longer an insufferable prat, even when Harry baits him. Draco is, in fact, mature, forgiving, and above all sexy as hell. Even the tone of his voice lacks the mocking quality it used to always hold. In fact, Draco actually sounds pleasant, and he’s asking for Harry’s assistance in teaching his class how to conjure a patronus.

The tentative steps these two take around each other—or should I say Harry takes around Draco, because Draco exudes confidence in all that he does—ramps up the tension as a reader of this gently unfolding tale. Draco wants to mend their past relationship and he takes steps to do so, trying to help Harry heal the wounds of the war at the same time. These are two characters who have both hurt each other immensely in the past, but because they’ve both been at fault, and both are willing to admit their parts, it is easier to get past that. They’ve also saved each other in the past, and that’s not forgotten.

As they get to know each other as the new men that they are, Draco takes Harry to the Astronomy where very bad things happened 11 years earlier.

"You brought me up here to show me it's not then anymore, didn't you?" he asks, slowly approaching the rail again.

Draco looks at him, and Harry has to suppress the sharp intake of breath that almost comes with the moonlight shining on blond hair and reflecting into bottomless grey eyes. His skin glows in the blue-white light, and he looks almost ethereal. Soothing. Beautiful.

"I brought you up here because now, today, to you and me, this is just the Astronomy Tower," Draco says. "Bad things happened all over this school. But they happened everywhere. The Manor, the Burrow, London, the Ministry, every place has scars, just like you do, and I do. But they're just places now, and new things have to happen in them so that the old ones don't hurt so much."

Harry closes his eyes, letting Draco's words wash over him, wondering if he can take that step.

"I brought you up here, Harry, because it's a beautiful night. Just...try to enjoy it."

I get all happy inside just reading that tender moment between former enemies. Do you see how amazing Draco is?

Their passion for one another has been evident from their first meeting at Madam Malkin’s Robes for All Occasions when they were eleven, and as this beautiful story gently unfolds, you see their passion can now be used for good rather than evil. Hehe. Yes, I went there. But seriously, what they have is palpable, so much so that the mere press of shoulders whilst standing on the Astronomy tower is enough to start waking things up in Harry that he thought were long dead. Now, just imagine what will transpire as you keep reading. Imagine the skin to skin contact.

What are you still doing here?!? Go read this. Never read Harry/Draco before? This is an amazing way to start.


Elora MacCoinnich said...

I just started reading HP fic when the final movie was released. So thanks for these recs - I rely on your blog for lots of my fic reading. For HP I mostly read HG/SS - but I also have an intense fascination with Draco and Lucius Malfoy so thanks for this rec - your reviews have me anxious to start "You Align My Stars".

Anonymous said...

I've only read a HG/SS HP fic once, the one you rec'd before... But you've made this one sound very interesting...

*takes hesitant steps into what may very well destroy her childhood*

Emmy said...

Dear Anon,

We hope you enjoyed your foray into DM/HP - it is a pairing that some of our pervs really enjoy. Do let us know which fics you enjoy, and if you find any new or hidden smutty gems!

Much love
Your pervy girls at the PPSS
[ps did it ruin your childhood? ;) ]