Status: Complete, Word Count: 5,800, Pairing: Lucius Malfoy/Narcissa Malfoy
Read the Fic Here: https://archiveofourown.org/works/24209323
Summary: “The Malfoys love each other dearly. There is nothing to fear. (1980)”
My Thoughts: What a Very Nice Fire is a damn good oneshot in the There Is Nothing to Fear AU. Easily a step up from According to His Own Nature, at any rate. While definitely not perfect, it paints an engaging and complex portrait of what the internal politics of Riddle’s opposition look like, giving us both insight into what would lead to his eventual victory, and an emotional anchor to experience the war through. And I think that leads us into one of this oneshot’s strongest elements.
Lucius, Narcissa, and Dumbledore are all characters that we’re familiar with in canon, and even though the first two are not especially fleshed out, there’s still enough there for us to have a reasonable idea in our minds of what their politics and worldview ought to be. Salticidae plays on those expectations here, by contrasting our expectations with the reality of this AU, and letting the differences give us information on the trajectory of the conflict with Riddle. This is especially the case with Dumbledore, because him being allied with the Malfoy family is a stark and obvious contrast to how he is in canon, and that tells us a lot about just how powerful Riddle’s movement is.
These characters also allow us, the audience, to connect to this story on a more emotional level, in part because Salicidae uses them to get us attached to Abraxas. As a result, when the story reaches its finale, and everything falls apart, it packs more of a substantial punch than it otherwise would.
In terms of plot, there really isn’t much to speak of. It’s just five thousand words of characters talking to one another, and giving us a few more insights into the overall trajectory of the war effort.
On the technical writing front, this one very much falls into the standard fanfiction style that permeates so much of the fandom, but it’s that style executed fairly well, so it all pretty much averages out to a neutral.
What a Very Nice Fire is an unashamed character story, that in no way bothers with plot beyond a few carefully placed references to the larger war, and I think it executes on that premise very well. With that being said, it’s nothing particularly mind-blowing, and it’s still overshadowed by the frankly excellent opening oneshot. Still, definitely easier to read than According To His Own Nature, despite that fic having a couple higher highs in the latter half.
Tier: Good Tier
Written on 02/02/2022