Just when I think I'm getting close to caught up on this story, you post another chapter. Not that I'm complaining, mind you. Just means more loveliness for me to review.
I'll get a few technical things out of the way before I jump into all the wonderful goodness of the chapter itself.
A couple of typos I spotted:
-- She'd was glad to offer her small London home... (She was or She'd been)
-- "Amelia is, of course, in the safety of Hogwarts." Albus added as he glanced down at Minerva's list. (needs a comma after Hogwarts, not a period)
-- Mr. Potter's decision on what to peruse after Hogwarts will influence... (pursue not peruse)
-- "Thanks Sirius," James said, coming up with an idea... (needs a comma after thanks)
I also noticed that there are several places where you use two periods in a row, marking a pause or break in a train of through. The third one seems to get left off a lot, which is needed to complete the ellipsis properly. And don't forget to be on guard for those darn comma splices :P
Now on to the meat of it!
I love that you chose to have Minerva as the narrator for the Order meeting. She's such a great character, and I think she tends to be underutilized in a lot of fics. I don't think she has as "strong" of a voice as Moody, like in the last chapter (or in this chapter, actually, where he totally stole the show again -- you write him beautifully), but I thought you handled her character really well. I was particularly enamored by the way she tried to convince the rest of the group to let James and Lily and the rest enjoy their final year at school. As strict as she is, sort of no-nonsense, I truly believe she both (a) cares for her students, and (b) understands that a little fun and mischief is part of the Hogwarts experience. Following on your Moody of the last chapter, I can see him being very cavalier about it all -- like who has time for a childhood when war is looming. Also, at that age, he'd probably have preferred to be hunting Death Eaters than going to Hogsmeade, anyway. But Minerva... well, she just gets it, and that makes me like her even more.
I know you said you were nervous about this scene, but really, I thought it was very well done. If you REALLY want a nitpick, I'd say the only "awkward" moment was that Fabian had no real introduction at all (unless I totally missed it). He has one line, but there is no other reference to him ever being in the room. Even something like a "said Fabian, who had been the first to arrive for the meeting/from his usual seat in the corner/who'd been quiet up until then, and Minerva had almost forgotten he was even in attendance. Whatever, you get it. Just a little something to better "fit" him into the scene.
Moving on, I loved, loved, loved this glimpse at brooding James. I think there is a tendency to write him as always upbeat or else poised for action; either pulling pranks or else fawning over Lily. It was nice to see him reflect on the world, but in a way that still felt appropriate to his age and his relatively positive outlook. And I loved the touches you added here about the odd happenings/news infiltrating Hogwarts -- the references to students whispering about "so and so's parents" and the missing witch who wrote about muggles.
And I think this was without a doubt my favorite bit of James/Lily you've written to date. For me, it wasn't about the romance but the very real moment they shared together, admitting their desire for something to just break and release the tension. Of course, his dad's advice about it being "all about the girl" was totally adorable too. But I just loved the small gestures here -- the hug, the holding hands -- and the fact that they could share a moment together this way.
I know I've got to be running out of space so I'll wrap this up by saying: Gah! I'd almost forgotten all about Alrek. I know you must have something up your sleeve with him. I can't wait to find out what it is!!
Another lovely chapter. Can't wait to read more very, very soon!
Author's Response: You're spoiling me, you know that right? Not only do I have this amazing review, but I also have a new chapter of Over The Edge to go indulge in *insert wub face*
Thank you for pointing out the technical errors, I'm going to fix those right now ♥ Also... I may just crown myself comma splice queen. I might as well get a good title out of it, right?! ;)
That's the exact way I feel about Minerva, as well. Right now Albus hasn't learned as much as he does by Harry's time. He's seeing it all through those half moon glasses and he sees an end. He doesn't know what Voldemort has done at this point, or not all of it, and he's a bit less gentle now than with Harry. This is an opinion that I know not everyone will share... but in my head canon he puts off telling Harry a lot of the more terrible things, he tries to protect him for so long because he didn't do that with James, Lily, the rest of the Marauders. They're such incredibly talented wizard and witches, that his thoughts focused a lot on how they'd be able to help. They were killed in the prime of their life, and he'll always wonder if he'd been a bit slower.. if he wouldn't have wanted them to join so badly maybe they wouldn't have, maybe they would have later, maybe they would have lived to see their 22nd birthday... and yeah. So when Harry comes around, he's a bit of the opposite.
ANYWAY. Sorry about the ramble :P But Minerva sees more right now than Albus. She sees these students that she's raised, and as much as she wants all the support the order can get, she doesn't want to watch her 'children' suffer.
I kind of thought the same way about Fabian as well.. I'll go back and tweak him a bit to give him a proper introduction :)
Brooding James was actually fun to write, haha. He's different than Sirius in the way he broods... he doesn't make a big show out of it, but sort of isolates himself. Sirius needs his people to cheer him up. He needs to be brought from whatever low he's at to the high that only his best friends can give him..but James is different. He sort of has to work his own way out of it. And then he comes upon Lily *insert Jami's wub feelings flying all around here*.
I'm so happy you liked the moment between Lily and James. One of my least favorite things is when their relationship is made to be one out of convenience (the war is coming, they just rushed and got married because they thought they'd die soon.. and on and on) so I really want to show throughout this that they didn't get married, they didn't end up together for any other reason than them belonging together.
Sorry about the rambly response ♥ your reviews always just get me thinking about these characters and what I'm trying to do with them so much. I swear, every time I finish responding to one all I want to do is go write the next chapter. You just make me think about everything I'm doing, and that's so awesome for me because it gets me excited to get back into these guys's heads and yeah. I'm stopping now and sending you a mental hug.