Iím FINALLY here. Yay!
First of all, I have to say that I love your decision to write this in first person. I think that third would have felt way too detached, and you were really able to get across Jamesís confusion with this style.
The idea of being so submerged in the white, that you canít even tell if youíre moving or anything, is so creepy. Itís not like a calm, peaceful sort of white where you kind of just walk along. Itís like a terrifying sort of white that just wants to suffocate you. God, Iím getting claustrophobic just thinking about it!
It makes me so sad how James is thinking about something as innocent as their pranks on each other, trying to narrow down what could have happened. We all know, but we donít know when heíll figure it out. It leaves that clenching sort of feeling in your stomach. And then when he gets to Peter, heís getting so much closer but part of me still wants someone to jump out and be like, Gottchya! Itís the white out charm!
But it isnít ;(
The kind of hysteria that James goes into is so well done. He knows. He knows itís true. He knows whatís happening, but heís trying to so hard not to know, and gah. Itís just so painful :(
I think the one of the most painful parts about this one shot is Lilyís idea of where theyíll send Harry to live. Itís so sad thinking of how these two lives parallel each other, and that Harry never got to grow up with Neville like twins and be loved like someone elseís own son :(. See, now Iím going to get all teary. Lily talking about Harryís future was just such heart wrenching reminder of how many lives are destroyed.
I love Jamesís little moment of pride about his son defeating the Dark Lord! Haha! Take that, Quidditch dads. My kid just defeated the most powerful wizard!
I hate that they have to come to terms with their friend betrayed them :(. Theyíve already lost so much, and now youíre making me so angry at Peter. Dan! You canít do that! I need to keep getting along with Peter!
The transition into them starting to talk about things like where they at, and even Jamesís comment about the waiting room and getting to make Lily smile, even if itís a small one, was really perfect. And then the reality sort of comes crashing back when Lily asks what theyíre waiting for. I love that they try and talk that through, because we know they wouldnít be able to do anything but. And Jamesís little comment about hoping he waits a long time was very sweet. Heís got such a heart of gold ♥
This was such a touching one-shot, Dan. I love seeing James and Lily continue to work together and lean on each other even in death. I just hope this is the sort of waiting room where they canít see what Harry deals with for the next nearly two decades, because that would be so painful for them. And I love this sort of tie in to DE when he uses the resurrection stone. It feels like they were waiting for that. For Harry to need to need their strength. And it almost is a bit of a relief knowing that they wonít be waiting by themselves forever. As sad as it is, Sirius will eventually join them. And honestly, heíll probably be happier dead with them than Alice without.
Now Iím thinking about all my perfect beautiful Marauders and all the terrible things they have to face. Youíre trying to break my heart, arenít you Dan? ;(
Thank you so much for writing such an emotional piece about these two. And for the sweet mention of Before They Fall ♥ Iím very happy to take part in creating your head canon. Mwahaha ♥
Author's Response: Come, now, you know I would never break your heart! At least not on purpose. ;)
First person is a lot of fun with the right character. Tonks, for instance, was a blast. James was fun, too, because I think of him as somebody who always has a lot of funny things going on inside his head that never get verbalized because he doesn't want to get smacked.
So I had one version of their surroundings in my head where they were in some ethereal version of the Forbidden Forest. That way, when Harry used the Stone to summon them, it would have looked as though Harry "appeared" in their world the same as they "appeared" in his. But then I decided I didn't want to take this story all the way to that point, so I just decided on emptiness, instead. I think it works well with James's initial feelings of isolation and his profound relief when Lily arrives.
Honestly, I went back and forth on including the pranks. It seemed too light-hearted for something like this. But I did want to show a contrast between various parts of James's personality.
The part where Lily is thinking through what's going to happen to Harry was tough to write. The saddest thing, I think, is that knowing only what James and Lily know at this point in their (after)lives, it makes perfect sense that Harry would have gone to live with the Longbottoms and spent his life surrounded by their old friends. Sadly, it was not to be.
I hadn't really thought it all the way through, but I imagine that James and Lily stay in the waiting room until Harry summons them. At some point -- and I think time is a highly variable concept in this place -- Sirius joins them and updates them on Harry's life through age 15. Shortly before Harry summons them, Remus would have appeared, as well. After Harry drops the Stone... well, I don't know what would have happened then. Remus probably would have been looking forward to joining his wife. Sirius and James would be at least somewhat happy to be freed from the waiting room. Lily, I think, would have been sad. Even though she didn't belong in the world of the living, she would have made that sacrifice for Harry.
How could I not mention BTF here? Like I said, that's where all of my James/Lily head canon comes from nowadays.
Thank you so much for all of your lovely reviews!