I've been eyeing this story for ages and ages, probably ever since you first posted it. :) I actually remember seeing your announcement at the top of your page about an upcoming James/Lily, and reminding myself to check back and read it... and somehow I have managed to forget, and remind myself again, only to forget again. (My brain sometimes leaves something to be desired.) So now I am finally here to leave you a very long overdue review for this story for the review tag, and it feels like many planets have aligned perfectly!
As with everything you write, this had an incredibly beautiful tone and quality to it. Your style of writing is... I feel that with each review I leave for you, I try and fail to describe it, but maybe it's just beyond words. There is a sort of warmth that I feel in the pit of my stomach when I read really mellifluous words, and that is the kind of warmth that I get when reading your stories, and especially your one-shots. I aspire to have the command of language that you do! Several times in the course of this story I stopped just to read a sentence over again, because there is a precision of English here. I am mixing and muddling up my words, but I hope you know what I'm getting at. :) You know what you want to say, and even better, you know unconventional ways of saying it, and that's what makes your readers listen. It's an incredibly good thing to be able to do.
And then, of course, there is your portrayal of Lily and James beyond how your words flow -- but it is your words that convey them so accurately, actually. I can't remember the last time I read something centered around this pairing that got them so right, without a wall of flat characteristics that are stale and overused and dry. It's like you know them personally, and write about them from experience. This line, especially, was one of my favorites:
James Potter wasnít the sort to have nightmares, and Lily doubted that he ever would. -- That's just so James! And probably the best thing you did with him is make him simple on the surface, which I would have bought anyway, but you (pleasantly) surprised me, alongside Lily, by making me remember that no one is as simple as they seem on the surface. And it's that sort of character arc that is so, so hard to achieve in novels, let alone one-shots, and it's another reason I love reading your work so much. You get me thinking, and I think maybe three or four other fic authors have accomplished that. I love that.
I can't imagine why I've left this story so long, but I'm so, so thoroughly glad that I've finally found the time and excuse to sit down, and read and review it properly. Every character you write, you do them such poetic justice. :) I'm going to have to go now and recommend this on the forums. I adored this! ♥
Author's Response: How do I even begin to respond to this review! I will offer my apologies for putting off a response - there's no excuse except procrastination. Thank you so much for stopping by to read and review this story! It means a lot to hear your feedback, and I'm very glad that you also enjoyed this story. ^_^
*blushes* Your compliments! Wow! Most of my one-shots are like showpieces to me, where I can experiment with different styles and forms. Unlike the longer stories, which allow for more exploration of character and plot, these short pieces give me the opportunity to play with words. It's why they take me months to write - I keep going back over each part to rework sentences and smooth out the language - it's fantastic that it shows. It's important to me that each sentence not only convey the right meaning, but that it sounds right - the syllables have to be arranged in a way that pleases the ear. Sentences literally have to end on the right note - a flat note takes away from its power. I also love being able to twist meanings and find new metaphors for things. My professors always find it annoying, but I'm glad that you like it. ^_^
Now to respond the next part without just going asdfghjklsquee because that's what came out first. I can't put into words how much it means that you've said these things about my story. Writing Lily and James correctly is what I've striven for for a very long time, and it's never felt as satisfying as did when I wrote this story. They're probably the most difficult Potterverse characters to write because every fan of the series has their own idea of these characters and their (admittedly strange) relationship. They mean so much to the series... and I'll stop now before I ramble on. :P Needless to say, it's the awesomest, bestest thing that you like how both characters turned out in this story.
What you've said here - "no one is as simple as they seem on the surface" - is so important. It's often the lesson that Harry has to learn in the series, and I liked the idea of Lily needing to learn the same thing. Instead of making her hate James, which just leads one into cliche, why not simply make her prejudiced against him? There he is, the pureblooded wizard of comfortable means, while she is at the opposite end of the social spectrum as a Muggleborn from Cokeworth. It made understanding the two characters and how they act toward one another much easier, and I'm kicking myself why I hadn't thought of it sooner - it would have been quite an experience to write it as a novel. :D
Thank you, thank you, thank you! *huggles* No response can be enough for this review.