As usual, I get myself all comfy when reading one of your stories and sit tight for the ride! This was so different than anything else I've read from you.
I have read first person POV from you and stories about families and love and loss. But this was... something else.
The only word I can find to describe it is "raw". There was so much raw emotion in the first part, when James was going through the motions of figuring out what happened and why he was there. I loved the bits and pieces of humor you sneaked in there, like the prank war and how they must've been hiding from the children in costumes.
What I liked best about this James, your James, is something that most people overlook when writing fanfiction. When James Potter died he was a kid in his twenties. He was much younger than you and me right now, that's a fact, but here, in this story, it shows in a way that is both refreshing and heartbreaking.
Refreshing because like any young adult his mind is all over the place and he doesn't know what to think of first and how to do manage the situation properly and heartbreaking because this guy really thinks that he is doomed to spend eternity alone for failing his family and friends. And he is just a kid at the start of what would've been a long and happy life. Like he says "This sucks.". There is no better way to sum up the tragedy of this situation.
Lily isn't in a better shape. She has her motherly instincts going for her and she knows in her heart of hearts that her son is okay and will be okay. Their reunion was so heartwarming! It put a big smile on my face.
There was one part that really got to me and it made me tear up. When he was in the bargaining process, he described how Harry was always so warm when he held him and he would move around a little to get comfortable. That was such a sweet image and what's so sad is that Harry will never have that memory. But these people, his parents, who we know in fanfiction but not so much in canon, were real and they held him and died for him.
I think I might've mentioned once or twice that your stories make me think! A lot!
What can I say, Dan? Brilliant job, as always! This was so sweet and sad at the same time, only you could pull off such a bittersweet entrance into the afterlife!
Author's Response: Hi, Ral! First off, I have to apologize. I've been horribly slow about responding to this and about reviewing your new chapter of Twin Wands. Which I've read, by the way, which makes it even less excusable. My kids' birthday party is finally out of the way, so hopefully I'll have more time this week.
"Raw" was pretty much what I was going for in this story, so I'm glad it came across that way. I wanted this all to read like James's very unedited stream of consciousness. He has no idea what's happened, he's trying to put the pieces together, and suddenly it all hits him in a devastating way. And you're absolutely right, he is very young, relatively speaking. Probably the saddest thing about James and Lily is that they were cut down before they even reached the prime of their lives.
Lily is a little bit better off than James just because I imagine her as having a more rational mind. One thing that I had in my mind when I wrote this was that both James and Lily go through their period of overwhelming grief before they find one another. The idea is that in this purgatory they're inhabiting, they don't encounter each other until they're "ready". Unfortunately, I didn't think there was any way to actually put that in the story, because neither James nor Lily could have known about it.
The bargaining process was really sad. Sorry to make you teary-eyed, but I'm pleased that it came across that strongly.
I'm really glad that you enjoyed the story. It was sad to write, but fulfilling in a way. Thanks for reading and reviewing!