Oh...my...dear...Merlin. Words fail me miserably at this point, or rather, the appropriate words that could hold testimony to how this chapter made me feel haven't been invented yet. And never will! I will try and explain my feelings but I think the words I WILL choose will not come even close to how I really felt.
I made some mental notes of how to structure, at least a bit, my review so I will follow these while I'll squeal between the lines. First off, did Lily say she wasn't brave enough in the last chapter? I think she was VERY brave considering she had the courage to go to the attic door, ask who was making thumping noises and descend the steps. Knowing myself, I would have been in fits of panic by the time I heard someone going up the stairs when I knew for a fact that moments ago my house had been empty! So yes Lily, you are a Potter and a Weasley!
Next off Moody. Oh my GOD MOODY! Seriously Susan, did you write this story to make me fall in love with him? Because you are very close, an inch close, to making that happen. If the story had stopped here, with only two chapters it would have been more than enough to flesh out a Moody that not even the books could. You gave him more depth in almost 3000 words than all the moments we have seen him during Goblet of Fire (although his presence in this book is questionable since it was actually Barty Crouch Jr but still) and Order of the Phoenix or Deathly Hallows.
My heart is aching for him. Like, literally HURT for him. I positively burst out crying when I read this "He reached for one of my hands. His was warm, roughened by the elements, as scarred as his face." and I couldn't stop until I had finished the chapter. Even I don't know the magical effect this sentence had on me but I couldn't resist the urge to cry out and send my heart to Moody. I have a soft spot for tragic characters and Mad-Eye always seemed like one to me. He was like an unwritten canvas in Harry Potter and you helped me shape more of his story, beyond his battle or detective prowess, beyond his immensely courageous guts. You gave light to those hardened eyes. You gave softness to his rigid countenance. You gave warmth to his toughened heart. I was startled by the fact that I remembered Fairfax Rochester from Jane Eyre when I read his physical description (and yes, I LOVED Mr Rochester as well!).
Oh man I'm not making sense any more. I always know that I'll find quality stories when I access your profile but this is beyond what I had expected. And don't say I'm exaggerating! Because I'm not. To me this chapter is downright ripped from some classic, yet undiscovered novel that is just waiting, somewhere on some dusted shelf to be picked up and loved to bits. I will make the "sacrifice" of loving it!
I haven't done the maths but how old is Lily here? Because she is coming off like one of the most mature characters I ever read on HPFF. How she handles the notion that she went back through time and found a War hero, as she herself says, waiting for her, almost breaking for her is a pleasure to read. A sad, sorrowful pleasure but a pleasure all the same.
I could gush about this story on and on and on but no amount of words will ever sum up the same amount of feelings that passed through me when I read it :)
Author's Response: Whoa, a long review! This chapter has certainly elicited an exciting response from you, and it's still early days for the story! *evil grin*
Lily is a great example of an unreliable narrator. :P Her injury had a detrimental effect on her confidence, and I also think that she constantly compares herself to her parents, only to see herself as coming up short. I'd be cowering in that chair all night if I heard any strange thumping noises! Now the question is whether Lily goes upstairs because she's genuinely curious, very bored, or somehow wants to prove herself. It could be either, or even better, a combination of the three.
It's only chapter two! How can you already be in love with him?! I didn't think my descriptions were that powerful, though I remember that, while writing, it was difficult to not feel something for him. There's so much emotion tied up in his character - every little action has multitudes of meaning, things that Lily can't even begin to understand until she experiences the past for herself. I'm squeeing over your compliments, though! It's wonderful to hear that just in this chapter, I fleshed out Moody's characters with such success. He's a strange cross between a Heathcliff and a Rochester, and while he has a clearer sense of morality, he still possesses that wildness and tragedy that defines the romantic hero.
You're making perfect sense! I can't get over how much you like his characterization. There's always a danger when one expands upon a canon character in this way of veering into OOCness, so it's actually a huge relief that you've had this kind emotional response to him in this story. That generation of Potterverse characters - the older Order members, that is - have their own tragic stories, but they're too often lost in the popularity of the Marauder-era and Hogwarts-era characters. What surprised me in the creation of this story was how much I went back to the books to pick up on as many details as I could. Some didn't make it into this story - for instance, the scene in OotP when Moody sees Harry (for the actual first time), his eye malfunctions. And I say that it's because he recognizes Harry and Lily's father, but he has to hide his knowledge of this, so he makes an excuse about Barty Crouch's contamination of the magical eye.
Lily's age is about 20-21. Later in the story she makes this clearer, but my guess is that she spent at least 2-3 years after Hogwarts as a Quidditch player. When the story begins, it's been less than a year since her accident. Part of the reason why she sounds so mature is that, when she narrates the story, she is older... and that's all I say about that. :P
Thank you again for your phenomenal review! It's so much fun to return to this story and discuss it with someone. ^_^