So, um, hi. Remember me?
I just... I don't understand anything and it's glorious but also really, really weird and brilliant and ugh. Susan, you are a genius, and I say this all the time, but you really are. I mean, okay, my head is spinning and my brain is broken and my heart is racing and this... what even. I wish I could be more articulate or at least use more actual words, but I swear, my heart is breaking and there are so many implications to everything Lily does and now will ever do, and the weight of that is making me shudder, so what Lily is going through I can't even begin to begin to imagine. I remember feeling like this at the end of chapter 10 (which I reread in preparation and died upon said reread), but this is just so, so much worse, because Lily is alive and dead and not-dead (I think there's a difference, but I'm probably wrong so ahem)? I... is this the real life/is this just fantasy, I don't know what to say. Time travel has never really been my cup of tea because I simply don't have the mental capacity to plot it out or comprehend it, and this cements all my intense, intense fears of it/admiration for it and I don't even know what I'm saying right now but holy crap Susan you are a genius and we all bow down to you.
-possibly redundant but extremely necessary/deserved bow down-
Author's Response: Gubby! *glomps* I didn't think you had time to read, but you've read mine all the same and that's fantastic! (Well, not for your studying. :P) But really, thank you so much for taking the time to read this story - I can't express how much it means that you like it. ^_^
Heart breaking and head spinning was just what I was going for when writing this story, a drive that's only increased as the story has come along. It's been an incredible experience writing a story like this where plot and character are well-balanced, not to mention a story as intense as this one. Traumatic comes to mind to describe this story, and having the first person narration makes Lily's trauma the reader's - I didn't think about that when starting out, but it makes the story so much more than a regular time travel romance. I dreamed of it working out this way, but never thought it would actually /happen/.
You're the only one so far who has still asked whether this is real or fantasy - I wrote the story with both as strong possibilities. Lily could have dreamed the whole time travel experience (getting the details from books and things she's heard, I suppose), and continues dreaming, coming back into reality before dipping back into the dream again. She questions it, too, but overall, it's easier for her to see the "dream" as real. It's less open-ended in the epilogue, but in the final scene of the ending, I purposely exaggerated the descriptions and colours so that it felt dream-like, as though she'd just lost herself to the dream (another possibility I played with had her dying, hence all of the water imagery, while another has Lily and Moody as Alice's parents). Lily definitely is existing in a liminal space between life and death - whether it be that half-life in which the Longbottom's life (particularly Alice) or the place where Dumbledore and Voldemort exist after death. At the same time, it all may have actually happened.
It's much easier to take credit for the complexities of this story now that I've finished writing, but at the time, I didn't think through the whole thing - some arose to fill plot holes, others to develop character, and still others because they sounded cool. But together, they made something insane, didn't they? It was interesting to explore time travel in this way, and while it's scary that it only intensified your fear of it, it's fantastic that it was also able to increase your admiration of it. Time travel deserves more serious attention - it shouldn't just be used for convenience, but as something highly problematic.
*bows down to Gubby* Thank you so much for your support while I wrote this story. You may not think it much, but it really did help me get through this... mess. I've finally written something that I'm proud of, and I couldn't have done it alone. ^_^