Ohai Susan! I felt inspired by your review responses today to come back and finish this story. Turn the last two pages of this intense adventure :)
Being so focused on Lily and Moody, I have never taken the time to REALLY look at the other characters from the story and understand what they must have been going through with Lily's condition. In a way Ginny, Harry and Neville are as much a part of this story as the two main characters. They are the characters that have taken the back seat but are as alive as Lily and Moody. It's actually really hard to be able to put yourself in their shoes and truly feel what they feel. I mean, you can empathize but it's not the same as living what they live. Ginny's constant worry for Lily. Harry's defeated self. Neville's own scars. It must be really hard for them to watch helplessly as their loved one struggles with ghosts of the past and shadows of the present and know that thee is not much they can do to help her. Change is in her own hands. It's her decision that determines how she will live her future, which brings me the last part of the chapter...
Is it okai if I say that I am utterly confused? Time travel really boggles my mind and I can't wrap my rational thoughts around it to be able to make sense of it. HOW was it possible for Lily to create this time cycle and meet her (past? future?) self? How is time altered in that way? But what I have realized this chapter is that one doesn't need to understand something to feel something. And if it's one thing this this chapter (and story by extension) doesn't lack is feels!
When you have the time, go back to the part in the story where you're talking about Lily finding the ring and putting it on. There's a tiny mistake there that by no means alters the story, but I noticed it while reading: "I wait, twisting the finger round and round my finger until, my eyes widening" - it's a minor mistake, but this was the only CC I could possibly offer you haha
I said I wanted to start giving more CC but I end up writing gushing novel length reviews again! But I seriously can't find anything to suggest to improve the story. The characters are as human as you could possibly make them (Lily so much that she just makes me want to slap her and shake her, maybe that way she will react haha...I want her to be happy!! I don't want her to mop after Moody for forever), the plot is mind blowing in it's complexion (the tip of my hat to you for making a time travel story work!) and the style flows perfectly. It almost feels like a poem written with a lot more words than a standard poem.
My burning question now is: what was her decision? What did she decide to do??? Ahh the cliffhangers! You like cliffhangers, don't you?
Author's Response: I'm finally catching up with your reviews! My apologies for taking so long. It's been a great experience to watch your progress through this story, and even better to see how much you've enjoyed it. ^_^
What you've said about the three adults is very important - I've wanted to highlight the way that they show their worry, but it never quite registers for Lily. If anything, she's annoyed by it and that's a problem - it's one of the ways of showing how disconnected she is from her world. These people have always been there for her and take extra time to help her, yet they can't make an impact, which demonstrates just how far gone she is, especially by this point in the story. One could compare her conversation with Ginny in the first chapter with her conversations here, none of which are ever completed. We never see what happens with Healer Patil or what Harry discovers at the Ministry - none of that matters to Lily. It was strange to write from the perspective of a character who is so out of place and alienated from the people who love her. It's painful to watch her because, by this point, there isn't any going back - there's no way to help her.
I hadn't quite thought of the story in this way, though. I wrote these chapters when watching two of my friends struggle with their own problems, and it was hard to be in that position of powerlessness. The adults in Ginny's life are divided between belief and uncertainty, and it reflects in their actions toward her - the support that Parvati, Harry, and Neville offer is in contrast with Ginny's more aggressive desire to pull Lily from this depression. I wish I could have written more about Ginny in this story - I still have an unfinished scene from the end of this chapter where Ginny confronts Lily, eventually letting her go. But it doesn't fit as well with the ambiguity that I want for the conclusion.
Okay, about the time travel... I find it just as confusing. It means that no matter what, Lily /has/ to go back in time - it's what Doctor Who (and probably also Doc Brown) would call a "fixed point". Once she enters the attic and discovers the trunks, she's already connecting herself with her future, especially when she examines the wedding ring. I've relied a lot on fate here, where she's driven to the cottage and then up into the attic. She was always meant to do those things because her history with Moody has already occurred. It's the mind-bending paradox of travelling into the past, the exact same problem that happens with Harry and Hermione in PoA - did Sirius actually die, or was he always saved? The movie does this really well by showing how Buckbeak's death never happened - the executioner's axe hit a pumpkin instead. Writing time travel to the past can easily drive someone crazy because it means having to rethink how one understands time - I've read Yeats's "Second Coming" enough to see time as a gyre, looping on its course. Coming at a time travel story with the belief that time is linear just would not work.
I've fixed up that mistake with the ring, thank you. :)
I do love cliffhangers - they're so useful in hooking readers along and also in giving me time to think about how to best deliver a conclusion that best satisfies the reader. :D I hope that the ending I chose works for you... *crosses fingers*
Thank you so much for reading and reviewing this story! Your novel-length reviews are lots of fun to read and respond to. ^_^