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Riptide -- Team Epilogue

Title: Riptide
Team: Epilogue
Author: annafugazzi
Prompt: The Fool
Wordcount: 19,244
Rating: PG13-ish
Warnings: Infidelity, but hey, it's Team Epilogue, what do you expect?
Summary: (With apologies to George Lucas) "Who's the more foolish: the fool, or the fool who follows him?"
Author's Note Thanks so much to J, L, S, and V for extensive beta and Britpick and encouragement and sometimes, entire passages ;)



Riptide


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Comments

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Warnings: Infidelity, but hey, it's Team Epilogue, what do you expect?

Killing off Ginny?
Nyahaha (okies, goes off to read now)
Oh, this was all kinds of lovely. Humorous and angsty and sexy and sweet. I absolutely loved it!
Wow! You know that I wasn't expecting that ending. I think it really speaks to his character though. That tension between his selfishness and his breeding proved enormously interesting to read. Very, very well done!

Thanks
Bubba
Absolutely loved this.

I should probably sleep on this story to make up my mind, but I'll take the risk and spill my jumbled thoughts now and hope there will be a flurry of better comments to distract you from it. I did read it twice, which didn't help as much as I'd hoped.

So, this was some good writing. I thought Harry and Draco's characterisations were solid, well-developed and consistent. There was wit and lovely, warm, dark-ish humour. There's a lot of background and detail. There were beautiful expressions, like "Draco felt like an insect caught in amber" (oh, my). The flow is very good, conversation natural and the plot either well-constructed or insanely genious, but I'm not sure which. My interpretation is all over the place; it's very, very disconcerting.

Having said that, I didn't really feel that this was a Harry/Draco story. It was mostly like a Draco-centric gen fic with a sideorder of a couple of ships. The ending was ambiguous - I first thought that Draco chose Asteria over Harry, but now I'm thinking he really chose himself over either of them.

As for Harry, I kept waiting for him to fall apart and blub about his life being a big mess and how he doesn't know who he is anymore. When I say his characterisation is solid, I mean ... he's solidly insane. He's unpredictable, irresponsible, a thrill seeker - all the things Draco said. Also, after his trip around the world and his new look, I got a very unwelcome image of Buck Angel and wasn't entirely able to shake it. But my brain is to blame for that.

Harry was certainly engaging, but then most lunatics are. All in all, he came across as very unbalanced. I completely disagree with many of his "ideals" (basically, the whole "you've gotta live your life" thing ... I was wit Draco on things like duty and unpleasant realities) and rather thought that he was being a prick to both his children and Draco. Kids that young aren't all right with mummy and daddy sending them messages that mixed, no matter how satisfied with their adventurous lives said parents might be. Also, tempting Draco was like kicking someone already on the ground - he knew what his life was like, knew he wasn't exactly happy. Why rub it in his face if you're not even definitely interested in offering him a new life?

Draco, obviously, was wonderfully sympathetic. Mature, witty and observant, except around Harry, when he becomes flustery and un-self-possessed. He's so out of his depth with him and it's endearing as hell.

I've bitterly resented JKR for pairing Draco off to a (very) minor character's little sister, because it's so beneath him. He is a Great Character and deserves a significant spouse. You're along those lines here - he is leading a very insignificant life, which I'm sure not many would have envisioned for him. He doesn't really know his son and doesn't have sex with his wife. He seems generally very lost and somehow dismissed from the world, and everything about him is just touching.

(This is stretching on to unneeded lengths, but please, let me think aloud for a little longer or I'll burst.)

Now, having said all that, I have a sneaking suspicion I'm preaching to the choir. Considering the title and the summary and the fact that every time I frowned at something in the story, it was immediately "confirmed" ('yes, Draco thinks so too', 'yes, it's a cliché' etc) ... I think there's some definite mindfuck potential in this story. For the reader. Like, what were the Polyjuice references about? Who's the fool? Who's the follower?

I say Harry was intentionally presented as the fool and Draco as the other fool who almost followed him. Am I completely off the mark? Either way, this was a very thought-provoking and unsettling piece. I gave you full marks for use of prompt. Well done!

Yours,
the Mistress of Confusion and Self-contradiction

P.S. Just to clarify: this was positive feedback. Anything that makes my head steam this effectively is good.

Justified?

I love it when stories leave you with so much to say and much to think about. I agree with some of your points on Harry's characterization when you said Harry was certainly engaging, but then most lunatics are. All in all, he came across as very unbalanced. I completely disagree with many of his "ideals" (basically, the whole "you've gotta live your life" thing

I got the sense in a way that it was justified because he essentially had to live and if need be die for everybody else and that he really never had that from the moment he lost his parents. I think he snapped and stopped doing what was expected and be selfish.

On the other hand Draco also had expectations put on him from his family but maybe he wasn't as affected because it was on the scale Harry had to live up to people's expectations
I was liking this very much until the last 20% or so... the ambiguous ending tanked it for me.
Really? The ambiguous ending was what made it for me. Different tastes, I guess, but I thought it really spoke true to Draco's character and his penchant for not 'going along' with what Harry Potter wants. Sort of like a glimpse of the Draco from Hogwarts, even after all these years.
a well-written fic, and a good use of the prompt, but i've got to say that i didn't like harry at all. i don't think we were supposed to, but man was he a jerk at times. i was curious about why he seemed to be telling draco so much about his life (the first couple times they bumped into each other), and it turns out that he wanted to seduce Draco and get him to cheat on his wife! jerk :/

but yeah, a very well-written and interesting fic.
I loved this story. I even liked the ending.

I loved Harry being fun, lost, exploring, etc... It was all of those things that he should have done in his youth and didn't. Kudos for Ginny for recognising it. Their marriage would never have lasted if they didn't take the break. Now, after the years of playing it would be a real decision to be together. Draco saw the writing on the wall.

Draco's attraction was like a moth to a flame and while he had the choice to be carefree, he knew in the end he would get burned. Did he settle? I don't think so, I think he grew a new appreciation for his wife and his life.

I loved the stories in the papers and Harry's relationship with the kids that came through.

Edited at 2008-04-01 09:06 pm (UTC)
wow, the ending was a complete and utter disappointment. it almost makes me regret having spent 2+hours reading this. i'm not even sure anything happened in this story...i mean, draco realizes his life isn't all that great? he alredy knew that. and harry has a few ups and downs but seems inclined to stay with ginny. yeah, disappointment pretty much sums up my feelings about this fic.
I'm very impressed with the conversation Draco and Harry had about the possibilities of a relationship between them. I was much more sympathetic to Draco than to Harry - I do think Harry & Ginny are incredibly lucky that their family & children & friends were so understanding about their choices and the ambiguity of their lifestyle, despite the expectations that the public has of them. Draco's resentment of this, his envy and his derision of what he deems Harry's selfishness was very real. I really liked the struggle, and the portrayal of Draco's life as something he just had to perpetuate rather than effect. It's true to life; hedonism is all very well in the abstract but it doesn't work out a lot of the time, and I like how this was handled in this fic.
I kinda understand why people would find this story unusual - but for those very same reasons - the non-ending, Harry's mid life crisis et all - I really loved it. How what started out as a bit of an experience for Harry become more. And the way they are constantly drawn together no matter what they end up doing - it was lovely. The future possible possibilites, they make me wonder - but I was so happy with the ambiguous ending because I did *not* want to see Draco just break up his marriage without really knowing for certain. And he wasn't. For Draco, family is the biggest part of his life and seeing him walk away from his marriage in this fic does not make sense. At least not yet. If he'd chosen Harry or Asteria for certain, it wouldn't have felt right at the time.

The Draco in this fic reminded me of The Years That Walk Between by femmequixotic - it developed his character just as much as the romance between him and Draco.

Harry and Draco had two wholly separate schools of thought and I couldn't help thinking, yes. My sister is going through something similar with her boyfriend where they've kinda got two completely different approaches to life and relationships. I can see Harry throwing off the shackles of regular life and making the impossible happen - even when everyone else, especially Draco, can't.

I liked that Harry was The Fool which set this fic apart from the others. Also your summary is love, looking back at it :)

My favorite fic for the prompt and I talked about it here:
http://gossymer.livejournal.com/153492.html

Thankyou for an excellent read ♥
This was beautifully provocative. Your characters are believable. It was as if I was watching someone's life unfolding before my eyes. I mean, they are so realistic, their emotions, their logics (Harry's slightly twisted, Draco's strangely sensible, which just shows how much he's grown after the war), their talks. Wow, I LOVE their conversations, so subdued, but there's this underlying current of something, and I can see that they are both trying to figure that something out, Harry especially, as the story progresses.

The summary ties it all up very well, both of them fools in their own way, like the blind leading the blind, Harry trying to make Draco do something when he's not even sure he could do it.

The irony, the ambiguity of the ending, the indecision, are all so incredibly real and sad, in a way. Even though Harry and Draco didn't get together in the end, I still feel like there might be hope, that there's a relationship for them both after two years.

big ♥
I think the first time I stopped breathing was when Harry sang and it was breathtaking. I was very worried how it'd turn out. But all was explained right then. The story had an amazing structure about it: statement - explanation, with the witty newspapercuttings inserted. You created a pirate!Harry image in my head - tattoos included -(which I thought impossible), and amazingly I accepted him as he was, with all his bizarreries. We rarely get to see Harry this alive, not his usual brooding self. He is the debaucher, he tempts Draco and he is the real Fool who seeks new experience but at the end making Draco a fool, too. Loved how the children were also included, being their own person and Harry being fond of them.

I honestly couldn't imagine a more perfect example for a DH compliant fic.
Very nice, fiction and very realistic. I could honestly see your Draco coinsiding with the Draco from the books. The loyalty to his family, his appearance above all--and I love the fact that he chose his life. I agree with biffes as well, we don't get to see Harry like this very often. He was very loose (around my area we say 'chillay'), very cool. He seemed very carefree though, possibly too care free.

I like the ambiguity too. Who really is the fool here? Draco--or Harry? Honestly, I have to side with Draco. He may not be "living" up to Harry's standards, but you can't miss what you never had... I empathize with him. Honestly I do, and that has to be chalked up to good writing.
interesting. I think I liked the crazy articles the best, which is saying a lot since I generally find those boring and tldr; in fic. I liked the idea of Harry and Ginny mutually deciding to go find themselves though. If only, right?
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