"Judgement Upright: Changes and improvements. Satisfactory outcome to a specific matter or period of life. Joy in accomplishment. Awakening. Rebirth. A good time for career moves. renewed, health, vitality and mental clarity. Sometimes indicates important pending decisions that will change the pattern of life for the better.
Judgement Reversed: Stagnation. Delay in concluding a series of actions. Fear of change and sometimes fear of death. Lack of progress due to lack of important decision making. Loss and separation, not necessarily permanent. Guilt." - paranormality.com
Okay, I don't think I have ever been as satisfied with the fics of a fest as much as with the hd_worldcup. I wanted to try and read each and every fic so that I could vote fairly and so far, that hasn't been difficult at all.
In fact, today I think we got one of the super hits. I'm hoping and wondering now if the fics to come later can top it. Moving on...
The One With Draco's Smile
What Could Have Been (And What Was) -- Team Fanon
This felt fresh and new - something I don't always associate with fanon!fics. I really liked it. If people ever wonder how H/D can exist after book 7, I'd just point them to this fic. It makes it all so clear - heck, it's practically a guide.
It starts out with complete canon (epilogue included) but keep in mind that this was written for Team Fanon - so with each different take on H/D, the story diverges from canon at an earlier point in the time line...and Harry thinks of Draco's smile earlier in his life. This keeps happening till the end where it almost makes a full circle back to another point in canon. Superbly done.
The potential and the possibilities for H/D shined through and so many lines were just excellent - it would be difficult to quote them all. There's something for everyone and because of that, the whole fic is that much better. The quote bellow is just one of the bits I loved. However, take note that each H/D snapshot has its own humor and its own angst and this is from just one of the awesome takes:
Don't think I didn't see the announcement. "The Potter family is pleased to announce the arrival of Albus SEVERUS." You utter git, Potter. Astoria is six days from her due date and what name had we settled on? Now we'll just be idiots who couldn't think of anything original. I hate your guts more than I hate your stupid family. And how dare you put "Albus" first, anyway. Go to hell.
The One With The Hexed Hand
After Eden - Team EWE
A very smooth and polished H/D romance. Sure there is a bite to the dialogue between Harry and Draco, but just enough to make it feel in character. It kinda felt like on of those dream!romances: the two characters are put together, they work out their differences, become dependent on each other and their relationship just seems inevitable. I can't call it fluff because it just feels like the epitome of romance.
The one thing that was lacking was the extremes in both passion and antagonism that we normally see with the ship. I'm used to H/D fics feeling more raw and this was very smooth. That might be why I found myself skimming a bit through the sex because I wasn't as invested emotionally.
Towards the end I began wondering how the fic would be as a dialogue only fic - because quite a number of the lines tossed back and forth were lovely, and the descriptions around it did seem to be a bit of a filler. I could see this as a favorite if it were a dialogue!fic. This is the exact opposite of a majority of fics, where dialogue tends to be off and everything else is okay. Here? I wanted to just listen to these two talk:
"How about dinner? At the snootiest, stuck up place that won't let you in anymore? No limit. Champagne? Caviar?"
"I don't like caviar."
"Really?" Somehow that struck Harry as impossible.
"Foie gras and oysters."
"That's the spirit." Harry smiled.
The One With the Anonymous Confession Board
Brother, Confessor; Lover, Redeemer -- Team Canon
Canon can hurt. This fic is one that takes place between the final chapter of book 7 and the epilogue. It's a fic where H/D happens and it's beautiful and it helps both characters grow as people and then move on in life. I admit, when I think of post series!fic, this is the version that hurts the most - that Harry and Draco hook up and then break up and marry other people. But the relationship is not to be regretted - it's something to be cherished since it helped them become the people they are in the epilogue. Damn, I'm not really doing it justice.
It also had a bit of epistolary writing, where Harry and Draco bond through anonymous notes at a Cafe bulletin board of sorts. Douglas as an original character was a charm, as were his interactions with his vegan wife. And while we normally see fics that focus primarily on Draco's growth as an individual, it was nice to see a change of pace with Harry having difficulty getting on with life. This fic had evidence of both the upright and reversed judgement card come to think of it. Harry's stagnation and recovery - both made their presence felt. I did find myself skimming through the nightmare scenes more often than not - they didn't grip me as much as the other parts of the fic.
I wasn't sure how this fic represented Canon until the end - because I still had an undying shipper!hope that ther H/D would last. But that wouldn't be fitting for the team, would it? Yeah, canon can definitely be a punch to the gut.
The One With The Custody Case & The Bombed Apartment ♥ ♥ ♥
Take A Sad Song (And Make It Better) -- Team Epilogue
YAY! People, the bar just got higher. This fic is the one to beat IMO. It's epic and real and pure gold.
All the epilogue fics so far have been realistic and have connected with me on a different level. This one especially. Reading it, my mind went yes, that's Harry, that's Draco and damn it, they are getting together.
The characterization in this fic is second to none - and I'm not just referring to Harry and Draco. Everyone from the kids to a quick scene with Snape - good grief, Severus steals the scene with one fucking line. And here's the kicker: I really liked Ron and normally I don't give a toss about him. The fic is that well written - attention is given to the plot, to the interaction and to the character development.
Moving on to spoilery stuff - I loved that Draco gave up the case because he could no longer think objectively. We again have the influence of the Daily Prophet and Draco's late wife being named Asteria instead of Astoria - what's the correct spelling I wonder? And it takes guts to not only have Harry with a dog named Godric, but then to have the dog die. I had tears in my eyes and my head was going all "oh no, no, no." Scorpius as a mute - I don't know how the author was able to juggle so many different lives and events and put them together so well. It just felt like Harry's life, as chaotic as it might be.
Harry's gradual recovery and development really did justice to the judgement prompt - it really felt like a show-not-tell!fic. You can feel the fic embrace the ideas of the prompt in its entirety. Just brilliant.
My Top Teams for Judgement: Team Epilogue followed by Team Fanon
All Tarot Prompts can be found via the fests tag.
My masterlist of recs for hd_worldcup can be found here