Oh my God! I think this time you've really rendered me speechless. I've read this story many hours ago and I'm still not sure how to review it. But I'll go ahead and do it and see how that goes, okay?
First of all, NEXT GEN! Is there an era you don't write well? The best thing about this story though is how it was different from all the Next Gen stories out there! You've taken the characters we see often around the archives, a plot that's a bit common too, and then you've concocted something wonderful and mind-blowing out of it all! The way you wrote everything made me want to reach into the screen and tell Rose that she'll be okay and that she'll get past it someday. It felt THAT real to me! Honestly, you have no idea how you've made me feel with this amazing one-shot!
Here's what I think you've done here because I like to speculate about things! You've taken something like jealousy and upon that simple yet broad concept, you've built a dark and twisted story, one in which jealousy can truly take over a person, and delivered so much emotion and made the situation more than understandable in such a few words. Yet, I felt that Rose was better than letting her jealousy over Scorpius get the best of her. For the sake of family and all of that, she supported Lily, she didn't make her feel bad when Scorpius called her a mudblood, she didn't taunt her about being 'here first', even though she wanted to. Internally, yes, she hated Lily; she felt scorned and angry, and I don't think she was happy about it either, which is why she never confronted Lily or tried to sabotage her relationship with Scorpius. Or that's what I got anyway.
I absolutely love what you've done with imagery here! You've made Rose see things in a very, very artistic way and accordingly made us see them that way too! The way how innocent and pure Lily seemed made Rose be nicer to her, how she thought Lily was prettier, how she imagined what Rita Skeeter was to write about Lily and Scorpius, and all the comparisons to flowers...
Although all of this is written in first person and in present tense, it certainly didn't feel like it. I usually feel that present tense can deprive a story of its depth and that first person POV makes it less possible for a story to be artistic without seeming unrealistic, but somehow, you've done it and I enjoyed it so much!
I don't think there's a way I can let you know how I really love this story, okay? I can quote all the lines I like, but then I'd quote the whole piece! I just loved how dark this all was and how thought-through every sentence seemed to be! It just really got to me like no other Next-Gen story has! And it's officially my favourite story!
-Manno (your biggest fan)
Author's Response: You are so kind, as always. Thanks so much for stopping by to check out this one-shot of mine!
Next Gen makes me so nervous, because I know it has been written a lot and I'm so much less familiar with the characters than I am with those from earlier eras. It almost feels like I'm writing with OCs, just grasping at the couple of thin strings I got from canon and pulling at them, and that makes me uncomfortable. I much prefer using canon. Anyway, it's such a relief to hear that you felt like I did okay even alongside those feelings :)
You're not far off with the central theme, to be honest. I was working off of the offhand comment Ron made to his daughter at King's Cross about not letting Scorpius overtake her academically, and just putting a much darker spin on it. I thought of Rose like an obsessive Hermione, prone to feeling totally out of her element in any situation where she can't just study her way out of it. This whole idea of romantic attraction is somewhat foreign to her, and yet she knows the social script well enough to play along with Lily. In a way, though, when her script fails, she knows to support Lily because of their blood relation and old friendship. Maybe it's weird, but I think of that as salvaging her character here. I think you're right that a lot of her frustration came from hating Lily and yet being unwilling to hurt her, because of falling under her spell.
I'm glad you liked the delicate imagery and the way Lily sort of mesmerized all the others. Rose is delicate in her own way, I think, though she's clearly got tougher skin than Lily. It's great that the tense and point of view seem to work okay for you as well. I really wanted the reader to see things with Rose's eyes.
I'm so happy that you enjoyed this so much, and again, I'm honored and humbled by your thoughtful comments. Thanks again! :)