Yay! I ask you for an Alice chapter and now we have an Alice chapter. Sort of, anyway. I foresee more Frank and Alice time in the future.
But before we get to that, I loved all the "guy chat" at the start of the chapter. What a perfectly natural-sounding conversation among a mixed (single vs. dating) group of teenage boys! I'm going to assume that you've never been a teenage boy before, so that makes it even more impressive. So many little dominance games playing out, with each boy trying to assert his own "territory". You have Frank pushing back against everyone else's attempts to try to fix his relationship, James trying to be a father figure, Sirius the "team player", Remus and Peter teasing back and forth about why neither one of them has a girlfriend, James getting thoroughly emasculated by his choice in reading material... it goes on and on. You have such a great command of these characters, even the minor ones and even when they're not in the embroiled in the main conflicts that define the story. Very nicely done!
In the middle of it all was a line that cracked me up more than I can readily explain: "It's Tuesday," Peter reasoned. "Everyone acts funny on Tuesdays." I think what killed me about that line was the word "reasoned", because there's no reasonable reason for anyone to think that, but it just rolls off of Peter's tongue like the most natural observation in the world. That boy ain't right...
Also, this: Then they'd be able to make fun of Remus for being the world's most whipped werewolf. - It's funny until you stop and realize that none of them ever had the chance to make fun of Remus once he became a whipped werewolf. And now I'm sad. But you don't leave it at that, you just keep piling it on, talking about what kind of girls Remus and Peter are going to marry and what James and Lily will do with their lives. Sometimes loving this story is torture...
Another thing that struck me is the way you really brought Peter out of the woodwork in this chapter and gave him a little spark that we haven't seen much of so far. Seeing him suddenly going insult-for-insult with Sirius is an interesting change for him. Naturally, it makes me suspicious whether there's a reason...
Ah, the Slytherins have arrived! Strange that Moody would tolerate such a thing. Unless he's sizing up the opposition. Or maybe he really was planning to let James and Sirius curse the pants off of them. I loved all of Moody's teaching methods. He sounded perfectly in character and the Prophet article drives home the reality of just how pervasive the Death Eathers' brand of thinking had become by this point in the war.
You just enjoy tormenting me, don't you? This: "It's scary, isn't it?" Peter whispered to the group. "That just because you don't do what they want, they'll probably kill you."
"That's why you never even give them the chance to talk to you," Sirius answered in a gravelly tone. "And you sure as hell donít let them blackmail you into doing something." -- GAH!!! Kill him now, Sirius! Kill the filthy, back-stabbing rodent NOW!
And just to twist the knife a little more: James glanced at Peter and gave him a solid pat on the back. "Don't worry, Wormtail. That's why weíre here. To make sure no more of those bloody Death Eaters ever get the chance to talk to us." Peter nodded, offering James a small smile. -- I'm not certain what you're playing at with this. Again, it makes me wonder whether events have already been set in motion where Peter is concerned. Either way, the friendly comfort that James offers him is horribly sad to see, knowing what's to come. :(
Poor James! At every turn, it seems like Moody's finding a way to unintentionally torment him. Whether it's picking on Margaret to answer questions or bringing Lily and Alexander up to be the first dueling pair. I love the protectiveness he feels towards all of them, whatever his reason to feel responsible for them.
So the only thing I wish you'd done differently is devote more time to the dueling pairs other than James and Sirius. Snape and his opponent would have been particularly interesting, but also Remus and Avery. I know this was a long chapter already, but I would have loved to see what sort of devilish pleasure Snape would have taken in showing off his martial abilities. And Remus beating up on Avery? That's just icing on the cake. Maybe a little taunting from the Slytherins about how things would have turned out differently if they hadn't been limited to simple spells.
The sad little look on McGonagall's face at the end of the first section was a nice reminder of what's happening. Our little witches and wizards are growing up. And there's nothing Minerva can do to stop it.
Poor Alice and Frank! I don't think I'm going to be able to comment as much on the second section. For one thing, I'm running out of characters. For another, there isn't much I can do aside from gush. You are the master of "girl talk" between these three. From the moment that Lily -- Lily Evans! -- decides that they should skip class right through to Lily's, um, romantic anxieties, it was beautifully done. I have only a couple of comments.
First, the way that Alice and Belle pull Lily's leg about s-e-x was priceless! Poor, sheltered Lily! She's so often the one that other people are going to for advice, I guess it's only natural that they have a little fun with her.
The second thing, and we've talked about this already: "And Alice and I will both be 'ere to talk about it with you after it 'appens," Belle said and Alice nodded in agreement. -- This is obviously a girl thing. Guys do not do this. No guy ever says to another guy, "If you want to talk about your feelings after you do the nasty with that blonde chick from school, I'm here for you, bro!" Does. Not. Happen. ;)
Ah, Jami, it's always such a pleasure. Great job, and I look forward to next time!
Author's Response: Daniel! HELLO!
You're Alice/Frank request is not over at this chapter, good sir. They might have a bit more coming up...
Well, I suppose you can assume I was never a teenage boy. I wasn't even a tom boy. I do worry about how I do with slipping into the boy's, but half the time they feel more comfortable to write than the girls. No wonder JKR used Harry for HP instead of Henriette. Simpler creatures, you boys are.
Poor James really shouldn't have opened his mouth about the magazine. But what teenage boy hasn't flipped through his mom's Victoria's Secret magazine? You better have Martie hide hers when the boys start getting older... :P
Hahaha I don't even know where that line came form, but it seemed to fit Peter, didn't it?
I hate that none of them got to see the end of the war, even more that none of them were able to see Remus happy for that short while. I know what you mean about this story being torture. I have to constantly remind myself why on earth I'm putting so much effort into these characters who are all going to be dead in a few years times. Then I think about how much they deserve an actual life before death... and bah. Now I have sads :(.
Haha Daniel Smith, you know Peter is good for now. You'll know the second things start to change with him, pinky promise. Can't even utter wise crack without you wanting to pin the poor guys as turning over to the dark side ;).
I definitely think he was curious to size up the Slytherins. And probably to see if they had the... umm... you know whats to actually show.
Hahahh no no no! No killing Peter now! He just needs a cookie, is all :P
I knowww I wish I'd have been able to do a bit more with the duels. But with this already being 8,000 words it just had to take a back seat :(. And there's going to be so much more of that next book, that I figured it was okay to sort of skim past it in this one. Duels aren't easy for me to write. I can't believe how you were able to come up with the ones you have in CoB.
Yep, McGonagall just saw everything she didn't want to see and did at the same time with those two dueling. They know what an amazing asset to the order they'd be simply for their intelligence and bravery, but actually seeing their capable skills just reminded her that she can't protect them forever, and they'll end up where part of her really doesn't want them :(. Poor Minnie. See, you have me using that ridiculous nickname now :P.
It was a lot of fun to have Lily being the clueless one in this situation. Although it did make me sort of sad, because this is the kind of talk most girls have with their moms. And Lily not getting to do that tugged on my heart strings a bit :(.
Hahahahha Dan, you guys are missing you. Feelings talks are the best. You should really try and implement something similar next time you're with the guys. They'll thank you for it, I'm sure ;)