Disclaimer: all characters belong to J K Rowling and Warner brothers.
a/n I'm rewriting everything yet again. After the nine month break, I think my style changed somewhat. Rereading these chapters was quite torturous. Everything seemed overdone and just blah. Ack. I'm sorry about this rewrite though, and hopefully, it won't turn out the way it did for PoM (months and months of disappearances). I'll be working on the rewrite to WS along with the rewrite of this, but WS will not be posted until it is entirely complete.
This is the sequel to Of Western Stars, and I strongly recommend that you read that story before you read this one. Character relationships and character developments play a huge role, and without WS' background, this story will be a little hard to understand (though WS is being rewritten too. Arug. I really need to focus on one task at a time).
How the swan blanched forever
How the wolf threw away its telltale heart
And the stars dropped their pretense…
How everything had nothing more to lose
Then sat still with fear
Seeing the clawtrack of star
Hearing the wingbeat of rock
And his own singing"
- Owl's Song by Ted Hughes
Clawtracks of a Star
Chapter one - of dreaming
For the first time in many, many years, Harry could not recall a dream. He sat still, his hands clutching at the blankets of his four-poster and his knees tucked under his chin, and tried hard not to blink. Concentrate, he told himself. Harry tilted his head back, letting his eyes slide out of focus and tried to imagine reaching out with his hands through thick fogs of magic. He felt himself slowly slipping away and Harry searched through the blurred shapes that were stray dreams, searching for something familiar…
It wasn't working. The dream wasn't returning.
Harry let his head drop again, worrying his lip in thought. The dream felt so strange and so wrong; it sent shivers along his spine just trying to remember it. Harry wasn't even sure if he wanted to but it felt important, and he had always trusted his instinct.
Dreams of the past or future were natural to people who are sensitive to magic, he remembered Dumbledore telling him once, but dreams are like words that are spoken to select people. Sometimes they are visions shown to people who are not meant to see them. If you see such a vision, you can only contend with a feeling of unease and snatches of familiar reminders from the world around you, but the vision itself you will never remember again.
Perhaps he had such a vision this time…
If he did, it was hopeless then. No amount of thinking could ever get it back. Harry worried his lip again. The feeling of dread just wouldn't go away.
Harry had stopped dreaming when he moved into Moor House. Or at least, he stopped seeing premonitory dreams. He still had nightmares once a while, a lasting scar the years of abuse that refused to heal. But his ability of foresight vanished as he began his training in magic. Having it return was unsettling, and Harry didn't know what to make of it.
With an inward sigh, Harry pushed back the covers and sat up. Sleep wouldn't come again that night and it'll be at least three hours before either of his two guardians would wake. He could at least be useful, Harry decided. He could fly a little and reinforce the wards a bit, then cook breakfast, and maybe cast a heating charm in the cellar as it was the full moon tonight and it looked like it was going to be very cold…
Harry slipped out of bed and smoothened out the covers on instinct. He pulled out a warm set of clothes from the dresser that Sirius had left behind from his childhood. Almost everything in Harry's bedroom, besides his clothes belonged to Sirius once. Harry never wanted to change anything, and the new bookshelf at the far corner was a birthday present that Sirius had insisted couldn't be placed anywhere else.
Folding his worn pajamas away, Harry pulled on a thin coat and examined his room again. His bedroom… Sometimes, it still shocked him that Sirius had taken him away, saved him, had taken care of him, and then had turned around to give him more even when he didn't have to and Harry had given him so much trouble… Sirius had given him a home, a family… everything…
Harry desperately hoped that nothing would come from that dream—he didn't want any part of his life to change.
Harry sneaked into the hall on tiptoe, buttoning a few buttons of his coat to keep off the early winter chill. He didn't want to wake anyone up, especially not Remus who was such a light sleeper when it was a full moon that night. But when he reached the banister, a familiar warmth washed over him—the blood oath; Harry could always sense it when Remus or Sirius were near—and he peeked between the rails to see his godfather sluggishly flipping through the morning post. It seemed to be one of the few days that Sirius had awoken early but wasn't quite awake enough to do anything more than lounge on a couch.
Sirius seemed close to nodding off in his seat. Harry suddenly had the perfect idea.
Using the banister as leverage, Harry propped himself up on an elbow and swung his legs over the top. He closed his eyes, imagining the fog again and reaching out to it, willing it into his arms, his legs, his face, his skin. Distantly, he could feel his hands twist and snap, the thin bones clicking into place. His head narrowed and his vision blurred as his glasses fused into his face. The wave of vertigo washed over him and Harry was again at the banister in a brighter, more colorful room.
Stretching out his arms, Harry leaped from the second story. The air caught his wings as he fell and, guiding his body carefully, he settled neatly on a mop of hair.
The reaction was instantaneous.
"Eh …!" Sirius spluttered on his drink, jumping up in surprise. He tripped over the edge of his chair in his haste, and, as he attempted to catch his balance, dumped the rest of his coffee over the couch.
Harry took the opportunity to fly out of the way, making a graceful arc just below the high ceiling of the living room. It was a lot harder flying up than falling down and with no indoor breeze to carry him, Harry had to madly flap his arms.
A year ago, Sirius had finally decided to teach him the animagus transfiguration, after his numerous accidents of stumbling into a cellar on the full moon. The wolf never attacked him—the blood oath had bound them too tightly and the wolf could not hurt his own—but that had not prevented Sirius from suffering panic attacks watching over him on full moon nights and Remus from nearly having heart failures the mornings after.
Neither of them was surprised at how quickly he mastered the complex spell. Harry's magic always molded in unpredictable and often uncontrollable ways. But when the slow shifting of bones passed and Harry found himself shrunken to the size of a cushion, Sirius and Remus had been speechless for a full minute.
It felt so strange… as if a portkey had pulled his insides out, minus the pain, and reshuffled them like a mismatched puzzle. Harry craned his neck up at a strange and unnatural angles—he could see in panoramic!—trying to find his two guardians again. Remus and Sirius had fallen eerily silent.
They were so tall! Sirius was bending over to look at him. Oh no, was he a worm??
Panicking slightly, Harry leaned forward to try to look for his possibly absent feet, but his shoulders were too heavy and his center of balance was hopelessly skewed. Instinctively, he tried to brace himself with his hands, but his arms refused to bend that way, and with a strange squeak, Harry tipped and landed in a lump.
"Oh…" Sirius finally whispered, breathless.
Harry twisted his head around, trying to find his godfather, but he kept pressing his head in some white fluff that somehow popped up all around him. His throat kept making soft squeaking noises and Harry was completely bewildered.
Abruptly, a large, warm thing brushed past his belly and scooped him up. Harry eeped in shock again when a pair of eyes—his godfather's eyes, but they were so big—peered down at him with a mixture of amusement and surprise. He was small enough to fit on Sirius' hands…
"Remus, look…" Sirius lifted Harry's arm as though it was made of glass. "Feathers. Harry's a little bird!"
And he burst into a contagious smile and attempted to ruffle Harry's head with one finger.
Harry had been so disappointed that he wasn't a dog or a wolf…
Though, Harry reflected, it really didn't turn out as innocently as Sirius had initially speculated. His godfather had been convinced he was a pigeon, and since his age transferred directly to the animagus form, he had a soft fluff all over his back and looked like any other young bird. Remus took one glance at his talons and proclaimed him a bird of prey, before scurrying off to the library.
He was a falcon ('Or rather, Gyrfalcon,' Remus had proclaimed with his nose buried in a bird watching field guide. 'Also known as Falco rusticolus, the largest and most formidable of the Falco genus with wingspans up to 160 centimeters… oh! Harry, apparently, you mostly feed on other birds. Somewhat of a cannibalistic practice…'). And like the rest of that species, Harry had the terrible misfortune of being nightblind. He could never stay with Remus on full moons. Harry had been depressed for days because of it, but the freedom to fly made up for that a little…
Harry transformed back in midair—he had not yet mastered the technique of landing on his feet—and ducked behind a divan.
"Morning, Padfoot," he greeted, smiling widely over the top of the couch.
Sirius glared at his godson, seemingly at a loss for words. Flicking his wand carelessly at the mess, Sirius folded away his newspaper and took several intimidating steps forward.
"Harry, that is not a very nice thing to do to your godfather at five in the morning," Sirius chided, still sounding half asleep though he did not look it.
"But you needed to be woken up, right?" Harry said with the most innocent look he could muster. "You won't need any coffee now."
"I was already awake, and need I remind you that the reason I don't have coffee is because you made me spill it?" Sirius accented his words with a sharp glare. He took another step forward, tucking his wand behind an ear like some sort of muggle pen. "Now, that not very nice thing deserves a not very nice punishment, let's say…"
Harry made a soft eep that sounded suspiciously like muffled laughter and made a mad dash to the staircase. He barely scrambled up halfway before Sirius caught the nine year old by the waist, swinging him off his feet. He dumped the boy unceremoniously on the divan, careful to aim for a pile of blankets to cushion the fall, mercilessly tickling him. Harry squirmed and nearly choked in his fit of laughter. He flailed his arms to fend off more tickle attacks, then as that failed to work, tried to crawl discreetly away. As if finally deciding that his godson was punished, Sirius set him back on his feet. Harry fell right back on the carpeted floor, laughing between gasps of air.
"Aren't I too old for this?" Harry's smile was impossible to wipe off, even as he struggled to catch his breath.
That seemed to dim some of Sirius' good-humor. His smile faltered for a moment, before he sat down beside his godson on the floor and messily ruffled Harry's hair.
"You'll never be too old for anything," Sirius said firmly. "You'll always be a little six year old boy to me."
Harry's smile became wistful, and Sirius knew he was remembering the events three years ago that felt like both just days and a lifetime past.
"And look at you," Sirius added softly, drawing the boy into a one-armed hug. "You're still a little runt. You're not going to be old for a long, long time, Harry."
Or he hoped Harry wouldn't… Sirius was inwardly nostalgic.
The past years rushed by too quickly for Sirius' comfort. He only had Harry for three years. All those years that Sirius and Remus would have given up anything to have him, the Dursleys stole and corrupted it. Sometimes Sirius wished he could have a time turner and relive Harry's childhood again and again and again…
But Harry was growing up too fast for Sirius to keep up.
Sirius tried to ignore it, hoping sometimes that the truth would go away and hide if he didn't pay attention. But in less than two years, Harry would be leaving for Hogwarts. That was one of the final keystones to Harry's fragmented childhood. He would leave the Moor House and return to the world his two guardians had hidden him from. But Sirius wasn't ready to let his godson go.
Sirius mentally flinched; he was beginning to sound worse than some grandparents and he could just imagine James smirking at him. It was rather horrifying how parenthood had made him so obsessive. Perhaps Remus was right. He did have some compulsive parent syndrome, or whatever Remus had called it…
Sirius snapped back into attention when Harry ruffled his hair in retaliation, an action reminiscent of the little six year old boy who had patted a stray dog's head.
"What are you thinking about?" Harry asked, tilting his head curiously. "You seem distracted."
"Wondering why you're up at five in the morning," Sirius replied with a pointed glare. That wasn't exactly true, but he couldn't quite tell Harry that he didn't want him to grow up. That would be awkward.
But the expression on Harry's face told him he already knew. He was too intuitive for his own good.
Harry smiled—a small knowing smile that made Sirius wonder exactly how much he understood. He dropped his head on his godfather's shoulder as if trying to reassure him, but the previous tickling war left him slightly disoriented. He swayed to one side and smacked his forehead against Sirius' chin.
"Ow…" Sirius sat back, gingerly fingered his bruised bone. "Was that my punishment for tickling you?"
"I was going to give you a hug but I missed," Harry muttered sheepishly. He scrubbed at his forehead with a sleeve, looking apologetic.
Sirius couldn't hide the laughter at that. He grinned widely at the little boy (not really that little any longer, but he couldn't bring himself to think otherwise), rubbing Harry's forehead where it collided with his chin and suffocating him in a tight hug.
Harry was so innocent, so naïve, so completely wonderful and adorable and just the most perfect godson he could ask for… though, Sirius reflected, Remus would probably tell him it was that parenting syndrome speaking and Sirius was being terribly biased.
"Padfoot, there's a muggle ailment called Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. Have you heard about it?" Remus said rather unexpectedly.
Sirius barely moved from his position beside the fire. It was one of those rare days the three members of the small household decided to withdraw into the study. It was a stormy night and time flew past them unchecked; it had grown late without either them noticing. Harry had fallen asleep over his Defense Against the Dark Arts book and Sirius let him sleep, tucked into the couch beside him.
"Isn't that a psychological disorder?" Sirius asked sleepily.
"Yeah. They applied it to some interesting cases." Remus looked at him rather pointedly. "Have you heard of the sister complex?"
Sirius lifted an eyebrow. "Yeah. All of my ex-girlfriends' older brothers had it."
Sirius' thoughts rapidly backpedaled after that confession and he glanced at his godson nervously. Harry was still blissfully out of it. Sirius inwardly sighed in relief.
"Really?" Remus looked thoughtful. "The study shows that only about 35% of brothers with younger sisters have it."
"No, trust me, all of them have it with varying degrees of severity," Sirius grimaced. "It was damn painful sometimes too. Remus, if you ever decide to date…"
"…pick a girl who has sisters, preferably two," Sirius continued with much seriousness. "Those girls usually know how to cook and you have choices to fall back on if the first doesn't work out."
Sirius could feel Remus staring at him in shocked silence for some time. Of course, he noted with some amusement, no one was really that clear on all his ventures after Hogwarts. He ought to tell Remus sometime… preferably when Harry was not nearby…
With some amount of paranoia, Sirius looked at his godson again. If Harry heard that, Sirius' image of being the perfect godfather would go up in smoke…
"Have you heard of…" Remus hesitated, and Sirius could feel the back of his skull practically get drilled in, "the godfather complex?"
Sirius blinked. "The… what…?"
"The parenting syndrome related to obsessive compulsiveness," Remus had turned on his innocent, scholarly expression full blast. "It makes godfathers overly protective of their godsons and gives them an irrational urge to wrap their godsons in a cocoon and hide them in a jar and makes them believe their godsons are the most adorable little boys in…"
Sirius flung a pillow at his head.
Well, Sirius huffed inwardly, it can't be helped that Harry is just an amazing little boy…
Sirius could barely remember how he had lived those years past without Remus and Harry filling up his mismatched family. Azkaban felt like some distant dream now, and the nine year old boy was the brick wall that kept those demons at bay. He had built his entire life around his godson, and though Remus kept reminding him that he needed to find his own anchor, Sirius never did. Harry needed him. He needed his guidance, his protection, his reminders that there were people who loved him in this world. Sometimes, Sirius wanted nothing more than to hide Harry far away, away from the clutches of reality, society, and anything that would ever hurt him. But Sirius and Remus had kept themselves recluses for years already, and it was impossible to keep The Boy Who Lived hidden forever.
"What am I going to do without you?" Sirius murmured with a soft sigh.
Harry stiffened against his shirt, and Sirius suddenly wished he could take those words back. They were burdensome, placing the responsibility of his happiness on a nine year old boy.
"Do you want me to stay?" Harry asked softly. "Do you want me to stay here in two years? I'm already trained in fifth year material. Going to Hogwarts is just for appearances anyway. I don't have to…"
"No," Sirius cut in quickly, but saying 'yes' was so tempting. He knew if he just asked, Harry would agree. But that would be condemning him. He would be tying down a boy with a bright, hopeful future with two solitary recluses for the rest of his life. "You should still go to school, Harry. There are a lot of things we can't teach you here, and you need to make friends."
"I want to stay here," Harry whispered.
Sirius smiled, running his fingers lazily through Harry's unruly hair. "You're still young. In a couple of years, Remus and I are going to be like boring old men to you."
"No!" Harry pulled away sharply. "I won't ever think that. Remus is practically my second godfather. And you're my godfather. You both did so much for me, and I… you've given me so much and I never gave you anything…"
Sirius shook his head with a soft sigh, brushing back a lock of hair that had made its way into Harry's eyes. It had to be wrong for a nine year-old boy to have such a strong sense of misplaced duty.
"No, that's not the point of parenting, Harry," Sirius said lightly. "We're supposed to raise you, and then you're supposed to run off and splurge all our money."
Harry looked horrified. "I won't do that, I promise!"
Well, perhaps that wasn't the best thing to say… Sirius reflected on an afterthought. Harry's view of the world had been horribly skewed after his experience with the Dursleys—damn them!—and his reclusive life in the Moor House. He never did learn what it was like to be normal.
"I know you won't," said Sirius finally. "But Harry, you have to leave one day."
Harry fell silent, his eyes searching his godfather's face intently. He was hesitant, Sirius realized. In a way, Harry did want to stay with them for the rest of his life. For three years, the nine year old had known only a handful of people, none of which are friends his age. His trips to the public were sparse and scattered. Harry was so acquainted with the life of peaceful, cageless confinement that he was beginning to forget what it was like to live any other way. His past experiences had instilled in him a thick shell of shyness, and Sirius never doubted that, if he could, Harry would remain solitary for the rest of his life.
Sirius inwardly sighed; Harry couldn't go on like this forever, but he couldn't bring himself to let go.
"So why are you up at five in the morning?" Sirius asked, trying to brighten the mood as he pushed those thoughts away.
"I had a dream," Harry said simply.
He tried to keep his tone light, but Sirius noticed the darkening of his eyes instantly. After raising the child for three years, he could read Harry's face like a book.
"A premonition?" Sirius asked sharply. He searched Harry's face with concern, "I thought these dreams stopped."
"They did!" Harry insisted; for a brief moment, a flicker of a confusion that Sirius had not expected to see replaced the unease in his eyes. "This dream wasn't… it was strange. I couldn't remember it."
"What?" Sirius sat back, surprised. Harry never had a dream he couldn't remember, not even a nightmare. "Are you sure?"
Harry nodded, biting his lip nervously. "I can't even remember what it was about. I don't think it was a dream I'm supposed to see."
The importance of that blew over Sirius—it must have been something Harry learned while being privately tutored by Dumbledore.
"Is there any part of it that you can remember? Just a little?" Sirius asked anxiously.
Harry shook his head.
Sirius bit his lip—a nervous habit that he had contracted from his godson—and felt his stomach tie itself into tiny knots. It had been three years since Harry had any premonitory dreams. Dumbledore had assured him that Harry did not have the Sight; he lacked the abilities of true seers to see the futures of others. Any dream that Harry had would affect him directly…
Sirius desperately hoped it wouldn't.
A soft creak from the top of the stairs abruptly scattered those thoughts. Harry jumped to his feet, his dream completely forgotten, and scrambled up the stairs.
"Moony!" Harry said brightly. Even after the years, he had never relinquished his habit of greeting his guardians with one word names.
Remus smiled at the little boy who was currently dashing up the stairs to meet him. He looked weary, Sirius noted, but the full moons during winter months were especially straining and left him perpetually tired. Sirius checked his watch and winced. It was much too early for Remus to be awake.
"Weren't you sleeping?" Harry asked worriedly, taking Remus' arm as if fearing he would fall.
"I was until I heard the two of you overturning the living room," Remus said, smiling. "What are you doing up at this hour?"
"Bothering Padfoot," Harry answered automatically.
"Hey!" Sirius made an indignant face at them from below the stairs.
Remus shook his head with a rather exasperated sigh. He let Harry lead him downstairs to the divan beside the fireplace, mostly to humor him as the little boy always seemed more comforted when he aided others. Remus didn't think it was a normal, nine year-old boy's behavior, but Harry would never change.
"You should have slept more," Harry said to him with much concern, and Remus couldn't help but feel embarrassed. It just wasn't right, to have a nine year-old boy fussing over him. "Tonight's full moon will be longer by an hour. You'll be tired tomorrow."
"I was worried that Padfoot was going to attempt breakfast," Remus teased lightly. "I'll be fine."
He smoothed out Harry's unruly hair out of habit, and straightened his rumpled coat. It was unusually disheveled for an early morning, and Remus narrowed his eyes suspiciously.
"Was Sirius picking on you again?"
Harry nodded, grinning widely.
"Hey, which little Harry Hawk was the one who spilled my coffee?" Sirius snapped good-naturedly. He mussed up the boy's hair until it stood on end, and figuring that wasn't a cruel enough punishment, ruffled Remus' hair as well. "You're always siding with him!"
Remus was sorely tempted to do the same to Sirius' hair, but it looked tangled enough. "Of course I am. You, Sirius, are a big boy who should be quite capable of taking care of yourself."
"Well, Professor McGonagall did say…" Harry abruptly swallowed the rest of his words and gave Sirius a bright, innocent smile.
Remus' cheeks were beginning to hurt just trying to keep that smile off his face. Of course, Professor McGonagall… It had been during one of Sirius' escapades—
More specifically, an incident in which he charmed all the pots and pans in the house to dance a never ending Scottish jig for anyone who couldn't run fast enough…
Harry had fallen victim to it for the past three days.
"Moony…" the boy's shout of alarm came out more like a moan of distress.
Remus hurriedly closed the notebook he had been making notes in and rushed downstairs. Bursting into the kitchen, he couldn't decide whether to laugh or groan at the sight. The pan—whatever spell Sirius had placed over them, it made them nearly impermeable—that Harry was attempting to make pancakes with somehow recovered from the freezing charm it had been struck down with last night and was currently stuck to Harry's wrist.
Remus inwardly cringed in sympathy when the pan attempted to lead Harry tap dancing across the kitchen. Harry's glasses were lying on the ground, and Remus knew if he could actually see, his attacker would have been frozen in a block of solid ice.
"Harry, you better stay still, let me see if… oh bugger…" the pan was repelling his charms. What the hell had Sirius done to it? "Sirius, get down here! Harry's…"
Remus' shout dissolved into a gasp of alarm when a pot suddenly leaped for his foot. He dodged it but others were popping up from all the cupboards. And then, before he knew it, about four pots were jumping in dizzying circles around him and—dear gods, no—singing…
—when the transfiguration professor had abruptly dropped in, dragged Sirius downstairs, and scolded him as if he were a young child. She had been adamant on her belief that Harry was the most mature one in their misfit household, which hopelessly embarrassed Harry, amused Remus to no end, and blew Sirius' lid.
Judging by Sirius' expression, he definitely remembered too. Remus was sure he was sulking slightly.
"That's it," he grumbled. "I'm keeping that squawking cow away from you."
"Squawking… cow…?" Harry repeated in confusion.
"You didn't hear that," Sirius said quickly.
More like 'don't tell her I said that,' Remus amended silently.
"Wipe that smile off your face!" Sirius pointed an accusing finger in Remus' direction with much indignance. "Whenever you're wearing that half smirk, I know you're mentally laughing at something at my expense."
Remus couldn't stop his lips from twitching more. He had to look away from Sirius face to get that bubbling feeling under control.
Another side affect from living under one roof with Sirius and Harry, Remus reflected belatedly. He was growing terribly out of practice with maintaining any sense of emotional control. Those years after Voldemort's fall and even in Hogwarts, he had kept himself so carefully hidden fearing the slightest slip that would most definitely have hurt. But in the Moor House, where there were just Harry and Sirius who cared about him despite everything, things changed…
"I'll go make breakfast," Harry said suddenly. Apparently, he'd decided to come to Remus' rescue, or at least interrupt before the two of them went off on another of their hour long bantering.
"Something simple will be fine, Harry," Remus said quickly. "Some toast, or maybe eggs. Be careful with the oil."
Harry nodded patiently, but Remus had the vague idea he sounded like a worrisome parent to the boy at that moment. Remus shot a pointed look in Sirius' direction with a silent message to help, but something heavy came over Sirius' face when the boy's back was turned. Remus stilled at the sight. He knew that expression…
When the door to the kitchen slipped shut and Harry fell out of earshot, Sirius turned to Remus urgently and Remus' stomach clenched before he even spoke. Something was wrong…
"He's dreaming again, Moony," Sirius whispered. "He can't remember it, but I think something's going to happen. Those dreams are coming back."
 160 centimeters, roughly about 5.25 feet.
Ok. In Hunting for Marbles, I said I had no internet. But surprise surprise! Our dorm had it up and running last Wednesday. Well… I thought, you know, this is nice. Since no one expects me to be back, I could stay hiding and write in relative peace and no one will blame me. But then, I read Black Jade's review, and I felt… well… really bad. So here is CoS, but I'm still working on PoM and WS rewrites. Those won't be updated for another month or so, mostly because I'm not comfortable with updating PoM unless I have at least 3 chapters written ahead, and WS because its rewrite is still up and it will be awful if I removed it.
A shout out to Black Jade, who reviewed CoS continuously and kept kicking my muse until I was seriously worrying about… well, not so much getting lynched, but well… I donnuo. But you guilted me into posting. I turned on the computer today, checked my email like any other day, then lo and behold… a 4k review (most reviews don't exceed 2). Clicked it, read it, fretted for your sanity, then... well… here it is. Is your head ok?
Not much changed for the first chapter, I'm sorry. But the ones following will start having some serious tweaking.
I'm working on about three stories at once: WS, CoS, and PoM (which is by far the most hectic and is really giving me nightmares). Then, there are the various shorts: Of Snow, Hunting for Marbles, and Half of Dueling Range part 2. I guess I can resign myself to not writing anything new for a long time. But the good news is that they're going a lot faster than they used to… so I guess there should be at least one post every month from now on. Not as good as the days way back when WS got updated twice a week, but I can't even remember how I managed that. Ack.
I have a mailing list! The link to it is on my profile, so join that if you'd like reminders. It won't have any junk. Only moderators can post, so if you join, you don't have to worry about getting emails for random messages that come up.
You should all feel terribly sorry for my beta readers. I go whining to them about everything. They're the reason why the bashing reduced considerably. Many, many thank yous to DC (who had to listen to me whine for about an hour on msn and I think, about to recommend me to a psychiatrist), Claudia (who I tortured with my terrible grammar skills and I'm sure was nearly driven insane by how many times I mixed up past and past perfect tenses), and BellaMonte (who had to deal, and is still dealing, with me tearing out my hair through the planning of PoM and even wrote be about 12 pages worth of analysis though various emails). I'm sure if they had the opportunity, they'd all be bailing out of their jobs because of all my terrible habits. I should have added a footnote to my plea for a beta on blogger about my quirks, but too late! *evil cackle* Just kidding. But really, I'm truly sorry for pestering you all so much and thank you so much for voluntarily helping me. It's an awful job I'm sure. Everyone should all burn incense to honor them.