"Temperance may be, at first glance, a warning to the Querent to "temper" their behavior, to cut their wine with water. But it may also be a reminder to the Querent that seemingly irreconcilable opposites may not be irreconcilable at all. Belief that fiery red and watery blue cannot be merged may be the only thing standing in the way of blending the two. Change the belief, measure out each with care, and you can create otherworldly violet." - aeclectic.net
Okay, this round includes my favorite fic of the entire fest ♥
The One where Harry Uses A Time Turner
Second Hands of Time -- Team Canon
Harry gives into the temptation to use a time turner to prevent the deaths that occurred during the war. Draco ends up hitching a ride with him and convinces him not to do anything stupid. They get into a relationship after they return but ultimately they move on and marry other people. The story is told in a cyclical manner going back and forth in time (flashbacks and the time turner itself), so the thing that stands out is the writing style.
I didn't really connect with the fic because I couldn't see the reasoning behind Harry's actions. In canon we see that Harry doesn't do things on his own really. He actions are basically reactions to the situation around him. He tries to save people from death but ultimately he does accept death itself- Sirius being the obvious example and even Dumbledore. Harry is very aware of that line IMO. So I couldn't see him going back in time. And Draco being the voice of reason was even odder. I would have preferred it if we had just a few flashbacks from the present day scenes to the period between the last chapter and the epilogue.. The time travel threw me for a loop. That's the main reason the characterization didn't feel very canon to me, even though the present day scenes did fit the team.
The ending was ultimately bittersweet 'cause even though we can see Harry needs Draco in a way, we know they don't last into the future. They move on and that's one of the scenarios I just don't agree with in the H/D fics.
The One with the Quidditch and BDSM (Guardian!Harry)
Caught Between the Windows and the World -- Team Fanon
Ok, we've got another BDSM fic for the fest, this story working far better than the previous one. We have Draco get into the BDSM scene, with the man named only the Guardian. At the same time he also ends up coaching Quidditch with one Harry Potter. There are several scenes I enjoyed in both scenarios - the quidditch itself was enjoyable and the Draco's moment of grief regarding his father's death really touched me.
So the scenes with the Guardian...on their own, they worked. The scenes at work with Harry also worked. I would have enjoyed them if they had been separate stories. Yet, when you put both together and we have Harry pretty much hiding his true identity from Draco - I couldn't deal. In my mind, Draco would have punched Harry in the face and walked out on him. There are some things you just don't do to people, especially Malfoys. So Draco accepting that Harry and the Guardian were the same people so easily? It just felt wrong.
The One Where Harry Clears the Life Debt with Narcissa
A Very Cunning Plan -- Team EWE
While I love the Malfoy family, super!Narcissa isn't really to my taste. While Draco's mother was being the master manipulator, I kept thinking back to Spinner's End in the HBP and how desperate she was. Narcissa in my mind, has a certain fragility/vulnerability that was missing in the story. Her characterization kinda overshadows everyone else in the first half of the fic.
As the fic progresses though, I was able to focus on the H/D - especially with the quidditch match. The H/D interaction in the fic does work well, so if you can get past the initial bits that don't focus on it, it's an enjoyable read. Oh and this fic also features a pretty long smut scene too :)
With Harry's kidnapping, I liked the way our boy wonder wasn't able to figure out whether Draco had a plan or not - relief (Draco came for Harry!), outrage (Draco doesn't care!), hope (Draco has a plan!), betrayl (Draco was the villain!) and shock (Draco *was* saving him). When Harry finally punches him and Draco has no idea why, I had to laugh. I adored that even at the end, they were still swearing at each other ♥ And for some reason I could imagine red_rahl's art with the fic
I was happy that Narcissa wasn't to blame for the kidnapping fiasco and the ending left me much happier with the fic than I was during the first half of it I guess my only major issue was that Cissy's characterization came off as too strong initially.
Homecoming -- Team Epilogue ♥ ♥ ♥
With four fics left, this might be a bit premature but I think I've found THE Harry/Draco fic of the whole darn fest. At 27,000 words this story takes its time and so should you - settle back and just enjoy. One thing to note is that there's no big idea in the fic - no hugely innovative concept. We have Auror!Harry temporarily teaching at Hogwarts and Professor!Draco - beyond that it's truly a slice of life fic with Harry and a whole lot of H/D. It just works. The focus really isn't on the professions - its on the people. Even if you've not been able to stand epilogue fics in the past, try this out.
From the get go I was drawn into the story. Not only is Harry's characterization spot on but the reason for the Potter divorce is just so real. I loved the concept of the media destroying Harry's marriage - we see it in everyday with celebrity couples and I couldn't blame or hate Ginny for what she did. Rather, I completely understood where she was coming from - which is a rarity.
Draco's potion work is used not only to explain the tarot prompt but also to relate the prompt to the H/D relationship. The author also pays attention to details such as the Malfoys' situation after the war, the kids and much more - I got to read what I wanted without any glossing over. Though there are perhaps a few points where the author's perceptiveness bleeds into Harry and he seems smarter than he should be. But then there are other moments when Harry puts his foot in his mouth and has to explain himself rather fast to prevent Draco from killing him XD So it does work overall ^_^
Oh and this story is the one with my favorite first-kiss!scene. And the smut that is sprinkled ever so generously through the fic was hot and wonderful. I am back to reading the pr0n in H/D fic! Harry and Draco sneaking around in unused classrooms was just awesome. It was like we were taken back to Hogwarts!fics except with a wholly different spin since they're *adults* It also leads to a particular moment in the fic where I started laughing and could not stop for over a minute. You'll know it when you read it >_>
I don't think I've ever read a fic where I liked *everybody*. It's kinda odd - Ron made me laugh, Neville starts out just fascinating and becomes hilariously awesome through later scenes in the story. There were one liner references to people - like Teddy - which just *clicked* in my mind. I even sent waves of love over to Snape ♥ And Albus and Scorpius has their own moments of brilliance.
The ending is simple and yet at the same time, perfect. I wouldn't have it any other way. Oh my OTP, how much I adore you!
On the whole, the story is a fantastic meld of canon and epilogue. The author is very perceptive, pointing out details we might have glossed over or forgotten from the books but definitely help make the story than much better. And nothing is written for the sake of being written. In other fics there were things that screamed *plot device* but that just doesn't happen here. Everything seems to have a quiet purpose that adds to the whole fic. And while the story doesn't try to be romantic really, it *was*. That's the brilliance of it. It was so effortlessly fabulous. I couldn't help but think, this is H/D.
My Top Team for Temperance : Team Epilogue
All Tarot Prompts can be found via the fests tag.
My masterlist of recs for hd_worldcup can be found here