Fine, I guess I'll just have to settle for being review 499. So close!
Awww, what a cute chapter. It's full of so much warm, fluffy goodness. Sure, it's a bit "slower" in the action/plot department but you really tapped into the relationship side of things. James and Lily's romantic relationship got some attention, of course. We can really see them growing more and more comfortable with each other with every chapter. But also Lily and her girlfriends at the start, making breakfast together. And the adults and their relationships to each other and to the kids. Even that little hint of Lily having a serious moment with Remus "off camera" -- confiding in him about her concern for James. Very well done all around :)
I thought the Christmas presents were adorable. The blanket was so creative (both for you and for James). It's been clear throughout the story and directly in this chapter that James wants to protect Lily. He can't really protect her from her nightmares, but he's created something that can. And Lily's gifts were just as sweet. I don't remember if you mentioned her being a painter in previous chapters so the picture was definitely a surprise. But the snitch felt very natural -- Lily would be just the kind of person to take something a person likes and somehow make it very personal.
But seriously... "We all put loads of our happy memories in the blanket, so you should have enough to last a lifetime." Saying a "lifetime" when we know how this ends? Are you trying to make us all cry?
I think my favorite part of the chapter had to be Mrs. Longbottom trying to fatten up Alice. I never really put it together with her being Alice's mother-in-law before this moment. That can NOT have been fun for Alice, no matter how sweet a person she is. The way she idolizes and compares Neville to his father, you just KNOW no woman was good enough for her Frank.
You mentioned Lily's fear -- or lack there of -- in your AoC, so I'll hit on that. Personally, I didn't have a problem with the way you had her handling it. She's already been through one major trauma, and this time everyone survived, so she does have some level of perspective here. Sure, not everyone might deal with it all so well, but she does have a point about at least it all being out in the open now. Wasn't there a scene a few chapters ago where her and James sort of talk about waiting for something to break (or am I totally making that up?!). This is sort of a natural extension of that. Plus you offset it nicely by having James struggling with it a little more. Having them both bounce back relatively quickly might have felt a bit off because people process things at different speeds. So in a way, knowing he's having a bit more trouble letting go makes Lily's reaction seem more natural.
Okay, the lack of length in this review is making me feel like I must have missed something. Oh well, I'm sure I'll be back to hitting the character limit soon enough. It must be April Fool's Day hangover :P
One typo: It was a fact that could still break her if she let it, but she learned to allow the agony sweep through her then shooed it away.
The there is a missing "to" between agony and sweep, but the tense also feels a bit off here. Maybe... but she'd learned to allow the agony to sweep through her before shooing it away.
And this isn't really a typo, but at one point during dinner, Lily things, "Maybe she'd ask him what had been wrong tomorrow or something." But doesn't Lily already know what's going on? Remus just told her he blames himself when bad things happen. She does it again towards the end of the chapter: "There's been something wrong with you today. I know that what happened to us was... well, I can't even describe it. But James, if you keep blaming yourself, I'm going to start getting angry." She says there's been "something wrong," like she doesn't know what it is, but then the next sentence she says exactly what's wrong: that he's blaming himself for what happened. Anyway, you might want to take a second look and perhaps clarify that Lily either knows James' mood is a reflection of his guilt/internal blame, or she doesn't know and he has to explain that here at the end.
Gah! I'm caught up!!! I get to start reviewing "live." I'm so excited!
Wonderful chapter, as always. Guess I'll be waiting for next Saturday just like everyone else to find out what happens next.
Author's Response: Okay let's try this again with the response that was actually meant for you :P
I'm such a sucker for writing these slower more character development moments. I love writing the big ones, but then these little ones make me feel so fuzzy. And I've really been missing time with just the girls together. My sister just got engaged, but I'm all the way over here on this side of the country, so if more girl time feels come in you'll know why :P
I was so lucky that Christmas present idea come to me. To be honest, up until I actually got here, I had no idea what James was going to get Lily. And I'm usually such a huge planner! I don't even know where the blanket came from now, but I'm incredibly glad that it came from somewhere haha. I love what you said about him finding a way to make sure she's protect in nightmares! Can I hug you?! I'm hugging you.
The only time Lily's painting has been mentioned before was back during a flashback. She was painting a picture of Ireland after her and Petunia got into a fight before she left for Hogwarts. I always meant to bring it back up, but I just kept forgetting. Haha.
BECKY. THAT LINE ABOUT THE LIFE TIME. No joke, I almost lost it. I swear so many instances in this story I just want to throw a toddler fit kicking and screaming and tell the universe that THEY CAN'T HAVE LILY AND JAMES. I'm happy that line made you sad, too. Look, I'm turning us both into big babies.
You don't think Augusta would have been a fun mother in law?! Wait... I'm confused. Aren't ALL mother-in-laws the BEST THINGS EVER? Sorry. As you can tell, I'm not quite over the visit yet. hahahha. But I love what you said about no matter how sweet Alice is, and no matter how much Augusta loves Alice, she'll never let Alice feel completely perfect for her wittle baby boy.
Hahah no you aren't totally making that up!! There was a scene a few chapter back, The Order where they were talking about just that. About wanting something to happen so it could all be over with.
One typo?! I'm giving myself and Dan an award for that. Hahah
I can't believe I didn't stop what you just pointed out in your last paragraph. Thank you so much for pointing that out. I'm going to edit that up to make it seem more like Lily does know but just really wants to hear what's bothering James from him.
And you're on Live review time!! I can't believe how much of this story you've reviewed. Can I come to your lovely state and just squish you??? A lot??
I'm headed over to TGS to drop my AoC off! Yay!