How to love you? Let me count the ways I love this story right now. After devoting some quality time to Sirius and Belle, Alice and Frank, we've come back around to some major James and Lily relationship development. All kinds of stuff happening in this chapter, some of it awesome and some of it making me want to reach in with the Beta Reader's Hand of God and smite some of the antagonists. What's that you say? Beta Readers don't control the Hand of God? Well they should! What good am I if I can't smite the characters who are threatening James and Lily? Anyhow, on with the review.
Again, you managed to come through with some really engrossing "nuts and bolts" situations in the midst of all the high-stress romantic drama created by Vile and her little plan. It really helps to ground all of the higher-level plot in the reality that we're still dealing with school-age kids trying to live their lives as normally as possible.
Before I got to the second scene of the chapter, Abigail would have been my first smiting victim, but by the time this chapter was over, her nonsense barely registers as smite-worthy. She's an arrogant, bigoted, pureblood supremacist who obviously hates James and Lily intensely now. But she's not very threatening in the great scheme of things. I liked the way that Lily and James handle her, though, and the way that her riot act serves to turn up the pressure another notch at a time when Lily already has too much on her mind.
The conversation between Lily and Mary continued to build toward the "moment" between James and Lily in the Heads' Quarters. Throughout the chapter, you did a really good job of selling the pressure that Lily feels to "cement" her relationship with James by taking the intimacy to the next level. Well, taking it up several levels, actually. She's trying to get ahead of the game.
I don't like Vile. This obviously isn't news to you, but it bears repeating. I want to smite her so badly! I'm talking old school, Greek gods chucking thunderbolts from the top of Mt. Olympus type smiting. Either that or turn Belle loose on her. Somebody, be they mortal or divine, needs to have a go at this girl and knock some sense into her. I loved how delusional you made her. The conviction with which she believes that James is simply going to dump Lily and fall for her, her misplaced hatred of Lily and this bizarre idea that she's somehow going to "run" Hogwarts after the current group of Seventh Years depart gave her something approaching a "Single White Female" level of creepiness.
Her situation plays right into Alrek's hands. Now we come to the recipient of smiting #2 that I wanted to hand out in this chapter. Durmstrang is still at it and now he's found a willing accomplice. There's not too much I can say about his conversation with Vile except that I thought it was brilliant the way that he's so creepy that even Vile, as messed up in the head as she is, notices that there's something seriously off about him. Of course, she's much to wrapped up in her own desires to seriously question it. Yep, she's still standing at the head of the Smiting Line, with Alrek on deck.
And that brings us to the most awesome part of the chapter. I ran the gamut of emotions in this section. At times I wanted to cheer for Lily and at times I wanted to give her a big sympathy hug. Her inner thoughts were beautifully done, the way that she keeps trying to convince herself that something that means so much to her and James is such an inconsequential thing. The planning that she had put into the evening also really helped to sell it. By the time she sat down on that couch with James, she had obviously convinced herself of what was going to happen, although I admit that I had my doubts. After what almost happened and didn't at the hotel, I just had a feeling that James wasn't going to let things happen like this, with Lily being an emotional nervous wreck. That said, I don't know how much longer the poor guy's control is gonna hold out.
I loved the way that Lily almost pulls it off before her nerves betray her. That was what really sold me on her intent.
James was brilliantly sensitive in this chapter. I mean way, way above and beyond the call of duty. You do realize, I assume, that most guys would not be able to see things for what they are the way that he does. Once Lily Evans was lip-locking them and crawling on top of them, most guys would lose the blood flow to their brains required to detect such nuanced indicators of her emotional state. ;)
The part where he gets a little mad at her -- maybe more than a little -- for doubting him was what kept James from turning into a complete... um, what's the male version of a Mary Sue? Well, whatever that word is, I felt like he was getting dangerously close to it until he got mad at her for doubting him. That's what really sold me on James Potter here. It's a perfectly natural reaction, especially when you consider that he's probably feeling very aroused and frustrated at that moment. Nice touch!
James exhaled, letting his head fall back against the cushion. "You're going to kill me one of these days. I don't know how someone can make a bloke feel so many things in less than an hour. We're not supposed to be able to feel this much, us guys. Not made for it." -- Amen, James. Amen.
"But you still love me anyway," James said, a cocky grin on his face. -- Genius! He manages to drop in the "L word" AND do it in such a way that he puts it in her mouth instead of his own.
... they never noticed a pair of green eyes watching them. -- Bad Jami! Bad!
I'm almost out of characters so I can't gush much. Suffice it to say that people -- me included -- love this story and really feel the emotional investment you've made in these characters. Anyone who acts as though you're being self-absorbed or snotty for loving the story as much as you do just doesn't get it. Until next time!
Author's Response: Hahah I'm not really sure where that title came from, but it felt right :P! Hahhhahaha NO Dan no smiting! As you know, they are all very important and play important roles and if you smite them that WON'T HAPPEN and things won't be pretty! Or they'll be prettier I suppose... but not realistic :P. Keep your pretend Hand of God put away, please!
Abigail, as you know, is still up in the air. I think I've finally come up with my solid plans for her, though those could change. I need her around for a bit longer before you smite her. :P. But you're right, in this chapter she's the least of what Lily has to deal with.
I'm trying to think which would be worse... sending a Greek god to chuck a thunderbolt at Vile or letting Belle loose on her. I have to say, I think she'd get a much more painless death if it was the thunderbolt option. Good thing Miss Isabelle is kept on a rather tight leash by the group :P
I really wanted to make it clear that Violet ... sorry, Vile.. did realize that Alrek didn't really feel right. But like you said, she's so wrapped up in her world and the fact that he's giving her a chance to get closer to what she wants, that she ignores that. She'll wish she hadn't very soon.
I think that James was definitely even more angry than he led on when he realized what was really going on. Nerves, he would be able to handle. He understands how new to this Lily is, and doesn't want to mess up what they've worked so long to build, but if he thought it was *just* nerves I'm pretty sure he'd have soothed those and carried on, but when he gets to the bottom it.. oh boy. Not a happy camper, our James.
Hhaahah I figured you'd like that line of James's. I do think he's a bit more emotionally in tune with other people. He's dealt with Sirius and his fits for years, and had the advantage of Olivia and William talking through things that most parents don't. But of course, he's still a guy and your species can only get so far :P
Hahhahah THANKS DAN for the last paragraph of this ♥ I definitely got over the level of upset I was at before, but I do hope that person realizes how ridiculous they sounded.
FLY SAFE, PLEASE!