Hi there! cypress here with your requested review.
First of all, I love, love, love, love, love your story. The plot is so simple but poignant. It's really the little moments like this that matter in life, and this is one that's sure to have mattered to James and Lily. Remus and Sirius made me laugh, especially where Remus glared at Sirius, and where Sirius pouted over his lost toy.
I think you did a very good job with your characters. Your supporting characters were well-portrayed. I like the glimpses you gave us of Lily and James and how they act around one another and how tender they become when no one is around. It was just simple and beautiful and very realistic. I loved the way Lily rambled on nervously until James kissed her. I loved your ending.
That said, I think that you could do even a bit more with James and Lily as characters. I would have liked to be introduced to them as if I didn't know them. Maybe tell me about the redhead poking her head over the couch. I'd have liked to get some more insight into how hey felt as well, but I'd like to be shown rather than told. Where James looks nervous in his dorm, I'd like to know why? What's his face doing? Is he hesitating? Biting his lip? Rubbing his arm? What does James look like when he's nervous? Where his demeanor changes rapidly - how does his demeanor change? Do his eyes widen? Does his jaw drop open slightly? What does he do when Lily reveals she has something for him? When James kisses her to shut her up, how does Lily react? I would have liked to see that, too.
For the record, I think you show your characters really well throughout the story. How Lily bites her lip, how James asks in awe. I could go on. All I'm saying is, keep that up! Show me more. :) Your descriptions are great, so in the few areas where you don't give as clear of an image, just do what you already do really well!
The only other thing I think you can improve is you setting, I'd have liked to get a sense that it's Christmas time at the beginning of your story. I was wondering all the way until Lily mentioned Christmas why exactly they were exchanging gifts in the first place. :P And then when I knew it was Christmas I realized my whole concept of what the common room looked like was wrong. There would have been decorations. There wouldn't have been students around everywhere. It would have been peaceful because students were home for the holidays. Stuff like that would have helped set a warm, cozy feeling from the beginning.
As far as technical changes, there are just two things I noticed that I figured I'd point out in case you want to change them. (Bear in mind these are all just suggestions!) That part about Remus lowering his book and narrowing his eyes at Sirius, I think you could tighten that sentence up. I don't know how necessary it is to describe him realizing he was being used, but maybe that's because I almost see him glaring because Sirius isn't doing the research, -too-. It almost seems like that's what you were trying to get at, but at the same time it sounds almost like Remus was tricked? Anyway, tightening up and clarifying that sentence would be good. :) And in the beginning, where you write, "'Do I have to?' James pretended to pout from his place on the couch, looking up at the redhead that was hanging over the back of the chair." I'd split that up so that the sentences are chronological and to get rid of the passive verb in the final clause. "James looked up at the redhead hanging over the back of the chair. 'Do I have to?' he pretended to pout from his place on the couch."
Anyway, overall, lovely story. I love the fluff and it really made me "Aww!" at the end. A great feel-good piece. Well done!
Author's Response: Ah, thank you! This is really really helpful. I went back and had a look at those two areas you pointed out, and while I ultimately left the part about Remus as is (I couldn't get the words right. I'll try fiddling again later) I did change that part about James and am much happier with it now, so thank you again for pointing those bits out. :)
It was written in a rush, but I see what you mean about the characters and all that as well. Evidently, I'll need to spend some time going over this and tightening it up, both in setting, description and characterisation, but that's all good.
Thank you for taking the time to read and review, and I'm glad you liked it over all. I'll definitely go back over the story with your comments in mind. The feedback you've given me has been wonderful.
Thank you again. It's greatly appreciated.
- Adele. :)