Hello! Here from the forums for your requested review. (I read as I review)
I haven't read a great deal of Marauders era so I'm really glad you requested!
I love that James doesn't immediately realise he his dead. The inner monologue was brilliant, it really tugged at my heart strings but also made me laugh a little too, it was as if he was arguing with himself.
I adore the paragraph about the pranks between James and Sirius, perfect characterisation and exactly how I'd imagine their friendship was.
"My feet stop their futile attempt at progress and my blood runs cold." -I love this line. It's so effective, I can really picture the moment when James stops his pacing and realisation hits him.
The counting to 10 worked really well too, the fact that he's more focussed on Lily not being dead really shows the love James has for Lily, it's beautiful.
"A small part of my mind manages to separate itself from the grief and horror tearing my soul apart and take it all in, as if from a distance." -another brilliant part, it made me think of the horcruxes, very clever!
The part with James talking about Harry was so beautiful. I've read a little of Lily's POV talking about Harry and a mother's love but none about James. I think people forget that he lost a son too, you described his feelings perfectly!
You've also done a great job with Lily and James' relationship, his feelings towards her are so clear in this, it's obvious he absolutely adores her. When they were talking about Harry and that they thought he'd go to live with Frank and Alice, I actually teared up. How wrong they were!
One thing I love is that throughout you keep James so true to his character. He was only in his early twenties when he died and this story shows that. He's ever so slightly naive, when it comes to his death and the thought of his friends betraying him, he's in denial initially. Even when Lily spells it out for him that it was Peter he still tries to argue with himself rather than accept. It really shows his age. I would have liked to have seen him call his friends by their nicknames a couple more times, he refers to Remus as Moody but calls the other two Peter and Sirius. I always thought that the Marauders wouldn't grow out of that.
As for your areas of concern, yes James is flip and upset but never too much so, his behaviour is absolutely as expected.
Lily's character is perfect, she's logical, calm and perfectly understands her husband; knowing exactly what to say and how to say it.
Overall this is an amazing story, it's poignant yet funny at the same time and flows beautifully. Thank you for the request!
Author's Response: Hey, Mrs. Potter! Sorry, that was awful, but I couldn't resist. ;)
This is the first and only Marauders story I've written, which is part of why I'm interested in gathering more opinions. It's also written in first person narrative, which isn't something I do often.
I was trying hard to ease James into things at the start of the story. I wanted to give the reader a chance to recognize him and connect with the character a little before I threw him into the depths of despair. The paragraph about the pranks was the spot where I was worried that the story was too lighthearted, so I'm glad that worked alright for you.
I'm glad you liked all of James's various stages of grief and his bargaining behavior. I won't claim that any of that was fun to write, but it was pretty rewarding when it all came together.
Out of everything in the story, I thought the idea that Harry should have gone to live with Frank, Alice and Neville was the saddest part. Imagine how differently his life might have turned out. It's tragic, really.
A lot of Marauders fics, I think, are guilty of aging the characters prematurely. A part of that might be understandable since they grew up in the middle of Voldemort's first rise to power. But there's no way they could act like 30-year-olds all the time. I imagine that James had a huge blind spot for his friends. Especially Peter, who he probably never imagined being capable of betraying him in a thousand years. That's an interesting thought about mixing up the nicknames a little more. I'll re-read it and think it over.
I'm really glad that you enjoyed the story. Thanks so much for the lovely review!