I literally just read Seasons, and thought, "Wonderful as usual. But... essay due tomorrow... so review later." Resolved, I went to close all my Safari windows. One was the forums. And right there, seven minutes ago, was a post from Violet Gryffindor announcing a new story.
Squee squee squee squee squee.
I think the reason I'm reviewing this instead of Seasons is because I honestly like Sirily much more than Sevlily. As sweet and innocent and pure as the latter is, I just like the former more. I also remember years and years ago, the first thing I read of yours was a short story collection or something about all of Lily's loves. Or maybe it was a series of one-shots? I don't remember exactly, and it's deleted now (I've looked), and I think one of those stories was the first Sirily I ever read. So. Emotional connections galore.
Anyway -- the fic itself. That's important, right? But honestly, I love these characterizations of Sirius, where he isn't monstrous and where he isn't a saint either. He acknowledges that he loves her, he wants her, and indeed he has her for a time, but eventually he gives up for the sake of his friendship. Maybe for Lily, maybe even for himself. Who knows? And no matter how much he talks about it, I don't think he knows. And you know that this is an archetypal Sirius, but he's exclusively yours, too. I think it's the direct addressing of the "you," to Lily, that changes the dynamic. It's so intimate this way, and we see his heart breaking and I wonder how anyone else can do that.
Assertive Lily is also a delight. That scene in the field, where she talks about people putting her on a pedestal, loving her from afar -- gosh, that's so true and such a common motif in these fics and I like that she knows that. I like that she appreciates something else in Sirius that he doesn't do that. He interacts with her on a human level, not necessarily a love interest level, and that she recognizes that and encourages it is so great to see in her. I just think... I don't know, there's always an element of idealization (of Lily, mostly, and sort of an idealization of that destined love, to an extent), I think, in these types of fics. And this doesn't exactly escape that, but it uses it. It's the twisting of what one can reasonably expect from a Sirius/Lily/James and how it still manages to touch the reader that I can't shake.
Also, James. I don't know the movie this is inspired by, but... Sirius knowingly portrays him as grating. He says in an earlier section that James was an idiot when it comes to you, Lily, and -- ugh. I am a sucker for James/Lily and for Sirius/Lily at the same time and I never know what I want from these fics; should I be happy that she invariably goes with James? Should I feel bad for (usually oblivious) James or for (usually saintly/guilty) Sirius? Destined love or fleeting, temporal, invariably stunning love? Usually I resign myself to the former because it's canon and I cling to canon like a safety blanket. But this... I actually disliked James. So much. I couldn't even reconcile him (completely) with how I imagine canon James to excuse him for how grating he was.
Just... eek, how do you always reduce me to single-syllable words and ellipses? Not sure what else to say. Very glad I have all day tomorrow to write this essay, that's for sure. And even happier that I ignored it (I've been ignoring it a lot this week) to read this. ♥
Author's Response: Goodness, Gubby, how am I supposed to respond to such a review? :O It's not only really, really big in terms of length, but it's also big in terms of content, and no matter how often I re-read it, I still don't know what to say! Thank you so much for reading both stories and finding so much to say about this one. They were both crazy ideas, very random, and they ended up turning into sizable one-shots, far longer than I expected they'd be. I should have been writing essays, but instead wrote these, so you're not alone in your procrastination. :P
This one is a revision of "Seasons". That one turned out to be too long, deep, and angsty for my taste - a very weighty thing that didn't quite capture Lily in the way I'd wanted. This one, while keeping Lily more at a distance, perhaps because it does so, was a very different story to write - it flowed out instead of having to be yanked like bad teeth out of my head. It's a more natural story, certainly a prettier one, which is funny because Sirily is usually the passionate, forbidden love affair while Snivily is usually the pure, natural love. Yet these two one-shots totally flip those conventions on their head, making Snivily into something terrible and destructive, while Sirily becomes this sad, beautiful thing. WEIRD. I'd never thought of it that way before. What on earth was I thinking while writing these?! I'll blame the fact that the essays in question were for Canadian Literature, and if there's any truly weird literature out there, the chance is that it's Canadian. :P
That short story collection only exists in its first chapter now - it's "Something Lost". The idea behind it was a good one, and I think it's stuck with me every since, because I keep returning to explore Lily and her various potential romances. Poor girl, I do ship her every which way. ;)
And that does make it hard when it comes to James. I like him and yet don't like him because of his treatment of Snape, so most of the time, I find him really hard to write without making him either a lovable idiot or a selfish bully - and here, of course, he ended up being the latter. It works in this case, mostly because of the movie reference, but also because it gives Sirius someone to blame. He doesn't understand why Lily had to be James's, what sort of predestination was working against him. Even I couldn't find a reason why Lily would choose James in the end, especially over this version of Sirius (who I'd totally go for :P), so I just left it hanging, something for the reader to fill in. Maybe James was really a different person than Sirius paints him here from the bitter hole of his jail cell. I don't know why I wrote James this way, especially since in "Seasons" he was so much the opposite. ARG! These stories will never cease to confuse me.
Thank you again for your wonderful review, Gubby. Your reviews are spectacular and I love reading every word over and over again. ^_^