Back again for another review. Let's see if I can keep within the word limit this time. I'm going to guess probably not :P
Starting right from the top. I really enjoyed this dreamy flashback. I've mentioned before my mixed feelings on time-line distortions but this scene works great. Not only is it at the start of the chapter (so there is less flow to 'disrupt'), it also has real payoff by the end of the chapter. You mentioned the transition between the opening and the scene in the shack. Personally, I thought it was great. The flashback becomes a dream, which leads directly into the next scene. Overall, I found it very cleanly executed. If you want some super nit-picky feedback, I'd consider putting a blank line between 'help' and 'Sirius' in the opening line of the shack scene. It might help further emphasize the shift in consciousness, like there is a disembodied voice calling out to him from somewhere. Otherwise, I thought this and the transition into the girls' dormitory scene was just fine.
Moving right along. You mentioned next the Lily/Severus scene. I might be biased since I actually like the ship, but I was really partial to this part of the chapter. Even for those who hate the ship, you have to admit the two had a complex relationship, and I really enjoyed the way you portrayed that here. The photo felt like a very realistic reason for bringing them together, even just for an instant. I can't imagine Snape just walking up to her and saying sorry for her loss. But I can totally buy him saying that if they were brought together for another reason. My favorite bit of the whole scene was the line about Lily not being strong enough to continue trying to force him away from the Death Eaters. It really says just as much about her as it does about him. An absolutely brilliant line!
I didn't find the tryout scene to be boring at all. In fact, you really didn't describe much of them at all. You did describe what happened right as they were starting, and what happened right after, but you skipped over the bulk of it in the middle. I was expecting from your request for there to be a lot more of the actual flying bits. Either way, I didn't find what you included to be 'blagh' at all. You write action very well (see the rest of the review for more gushing on that). IMHO, you could have easily beefed this scene up more and cut out some of the scene in the dormitory, which, while well-written, I didn't think added that much to the chapter overall.
And now we get to it. THE SCENE! Before this chapter, it wasn't at all what I expected Sirius and Lily's secret to be. I thought it was going to be more of a romantic interlude type secret, like perhaps they'd been together the night her parents died. It wasn't until the opening scene that I realized what we might be in for. From a technical standpoint, I thought this was by far one of the best-written scenes of the story. The shorter, choppy sentences were perfect for cranking up the intensity. The whole time you could sense what was coming but it didn't lessen the impact of what happened. Overall, it was just solid writing and a great insight into Sirius' character.
On the emotional side of things, I'm a little torn. I understand what you said in your request about 'fix now, break later.' That's not at all an uncommon response to grief. Some people will obsess about getting the flower arrangements for a funeral right instead of facing the reality that a loved one is gone. Just keep going through the motions and keep the feelings at bay. And I can also understand her need for Sirius NOT to be responsible for this. True or not, I can see her just not wanting to deal with that on top of losing her parents. It's overload on her part; easier for her if there is no blame to lay at his feet. And, of course, I can see Sirius simply not being able to accept this. We all blame ourselves for things that are out of our control. It's human nature.
All that said, something still felt a little off for me. You asked if Lily seemed 'too okay,' and I think for me she did. She is the one who brings up that he isn't to blame, as if it's her main concern at the moment, and I'm not sure that feels totally true to life. She's actually already gone out and talked to the other girl in the accident. Why is she so intent right away on not blaming anyone, even this total stranger? Again, it's human nature to assign blame, yet she seems to be trying to convince Sirius that, in essence, her parents did this to themselves. The part where she slaps him and yells at him felt very realistic. That, I thought, hit the note you were going for -- as if telling Sirius to shut up and not make this harder on her or she might really, truly fall apart. On a similar theme, I found James' response a little over the top as well. No, that's too harsh. I really like the fact that he blames Sirius. That feels very real (like I said before, I think assigning blame is a very realistic response to tragedy). And Sirius taking the abuse feels right too. He's finally being punished for what he feels is his crime, and maybe it will assuage the guilt. I think him doing it all in front of Lily was...odd. If his motivation in being so angry is that he loves Lily and wants to blame someone for the hurt she had to go through, why would he bring this all up in front of her? Why would he, in essence, force her to accept the fact that her friend killed her parents? It might 'fit' better for me if he'd slugged Sirius out in the hallway or whispered in his ear that Lily may forgive him, but James knows he's to blame for this. I'm rambling a bit, I know. I'm sorry. I've said before (I think) that commenting on the emotions of a scene/story is really NOT by strongest asset as a review. So on to something that I'm better suited for...
Well, not here, it seems. I've hit my limit again. I'll PM you the rest of the review. I'll get under the character limit one of these days!
Author's Response: Hii!
I thought this flashback might be more your taste for those reason. We never really have to get into the story and back out. I'm so happy it felt clean though, I do have another coming up with Lily that starts as a dream, so I'm excited to see if I handled that okay, as well.
Ahh! You liked the Lily Severus?? That makes me so happy! I actually can't even read that ship, so I was extremely nervous about writing them. That line was actually one that I was really pleased with. There are so many things that make it seem like Snape called lily a you know what in 5th year, then it was done and he just spent the rest of his life miserable and she carried on. They had two more years together. That's two years for Severus to stop associating with the Death Eaters to try and show Lily he is truly sorry, two years for Lily to let her anger go and keep trying to show Severus that hate and prejudice aren't the way. Neither of them did either of that. I don't even really think it was Severus calling Lily a mudblood that destroyed everything, but they were both just sick of trying to make the other understand. And I'm sure they assumed they'd have years to try and make up, until... well.. you know ;(.
Oh good I'm happy the Quidditch scene didn't feel monotonous. I really despise writing Quidditch, hate it, so I'm going to do one really good game, then kind of try and gloss things over afterward. Haha.
Romantic interlude!!! I would claw my own eyes out. Sirius would claw his own heart out! I'm so happy I surprised you with what really happened, though. Better than a shared kiss under moonlight, right? ;). I actually wondered how many people did think it would be something along those lines.
After reading back over that and reading your review I think agree. I wanted her to seem for vacant, but her being the one to bring it up does seem like she's too okay. I think maybe Sirius trying to apologize right away saying it's his fault, then going to the slap, then leading to her vacant 'you didn't cause it' sort of attitude would work better. Hmm. You have my wheels turning, m'dear..
I think you do an awesome job commenting on emotions! You're careful to look at them in the context of the story, not just what you liked or didn't like. Honestly, I think at this point James just doesn't care. He isn't even thinking about how bad it would hurt Lily to blame Sirius, he's only thinking about how much it hurt him to watch Lily those first three weeks. Maybe just asking to talk to Sirius, but having Lily try and intervien saying that he doesn't need to talk to Sirius about anything because he didn't do anything, and them just kind of pushing each other until James just turns on Sirius and finally snaps would feel more realistic? I don't think there's anyway of getting them out of this room and making it feel smooth, everyone's too invested to see what happens at this point (the other friends, I mean). But maybe James can be trying to hold back his anger a bit more...
You're review has given me some things to think about! And I am so happy you enjoyed this chapter though, and I'll absolutely go through those words you pointed out in the message and pick ones a bit better suited.
Your reviews always are really helpful, you know. You do something 99% of people can't and comment on the actual story, on what something seems like in context with what's already happened, without any, 'well, I don't think Sirius would race his motorcycle like that so I don't like this section,' kind of trying to rewrite-ness. That made no sense. It makes sense in my head!!! Thank you ♥