|Review:||Toujours Padfoot says:|
Sorry for taking so long! Had to go make supper before I got around to reading. What a lovely one-shot. The ending left me feeling so sad and a little bit lonely, with Lily finding that little bit of vulnerability she had always wanted to find in him, and in doing so breaking his heart yet again. Everyone always moans about how she broke Severus's heart, but it's hard to put yourself out there repeatedly when the girl repeatedly rejects you. No matter how much you laugh it off, that's got to sting. To have the ultimate girl of his dreams think he's ridiculous, and tell him so all the time...it's so sad. And Lily's passed him off as so uncaring and unthinking about everything that she won't allow herself to think about how awful she must make him feel sometimes.
I loved the different tones in this. Sometimes it was funny, watching Lily try not to explode while James absentmindedly succeeded at everything while she killed herself trying to succeed at the same things, and then it gradually got more sobering, and by the time the tables have turned and Lily's standing there, triumphant in pulling something serious out of James, she can't glory in it because she's seeing at long last how her actions have affected him on a deeper level than she imagined.
A few parts I especially liked:
It was what she despised most: that he should love her without knowing her.
- There is so much truth in that statement. Finally accepting someone who's put you up on a pedestal is dangerous. It exposes you to their disappointment when they discover that the fantasy does not live up to the reality. Even if Lily liked James sooner, the second she started rejecting him and let him build her up inside his head in whichever way he liked, the worse everything would be later when/if he saw her for what she truly was and decided he didn't like it. Of course this must not have been the case, since they went on to get married, but it does spell a little something about Lily's avoidance of Snape. If anyone put that girl on a pedestal, it was him.
Potter did not think of those things. He simply did not think.
- Agh, people like this are so frustrating. There was a girl I knew in high school who was good at everything without really trying. Singing, art, math, writing, sports, you name it. People who worked solely in one of the academic fields she pursued weren't as good as her when she had no particular fondness for it. She simply did not have to try, so she couldn't possibly appreciate her success.
Lily threw her head back to look at the ceiling, the barrel arches leaping back and forth from column to column like dolphins alongside a sailing ship.
- loved this description!
"Will she be there?"
In your dreams, boy.
So there I was, feeling all warm and fluffy because of the snow and Lily dragging a drunken James back to Hogwarts, anticipating a kiss or something, and then suddenly he's gone and it's just his footprints left, melting away. And Lily is the one who's all alone. She kept searching for a weakness, digging and digging to find one, when all along, she is his weakness.
I'm finding myself genuinely wishing this continued, and in the next chapter we'd see another snapshot of their relationship, and in the chapter after that we'd see another one. So no pressure or anything, but YOU SHOULD TOTALLY MAKE THIS LONGER THAN A ONE-SHOT.
Author's Response: Okay, so I've left responding to this review for much too long, but I've enjoyed having it sit here because I get to read it again and again whenever I remind myself that I really should get to responding. Thank you very much for reading and reviewing this story - it was a fantastic treat to see your name on such a long and perfect review. ^_^
I'm actually glad that you wanted this one-shot to become a novel. There was a point as I neared the end that I also wanted that - it wouldn't have been difficult to expand this into their seventh year. The important thing about such a story is that it would have to show that both Lily and James changed. Lily just didn't fall for him suddenly, and I don't think that James would have simply pretended to change. They would have gradually changed one another before becoming the ultimate power couple of the Potterverse. They have to convince one another and, more importantly, themselves, that any relationship between them could work. In this one-shot, they're only approaching that stage - they're still trying to figure each other out.
What you've said about James's point of view is fantastic, and I wish more authors would try to show things from his perspective with a tinge of bitterness. Even if he is upper-class and self-assured, Lily's constant rejections would (eventually) wound him, and her insults would do more than damage his ego. That's one reason why I'd argue that James matured - he had to learn that he just couldn't have something because he wanted it, that sometimes (if not often) one has to suffer along the way.
In regard to the ending, you had it nailed earlier in your review when you traced Lily's course through the story - how the tables slowly turned in her favour. At the end, she finds herself as the one who has been rejected, she is the one left without the answer. She has an idea that James had done this for her, but is that the case? And she never finds it out (within this story at least). It's left hanging. She is left dissatisfied and so is the reader.
I take too much enjoyment from defying readers' expectations. :P A kiss at the end or some other kind of romantic closure would have made this too easily forgettable - just another Lily/James that shows them getting together. Instead, there's a twist, an emptiness. I actually love that you want to hear more about these characters and how their story continues - it means I've done things right. :D
Thank you so much for this review! It means a lot to hear your compliments and feedback. ^_^