Hey, hi, hello!!! I'm here with the review you requested a few days ago. I hope you don't mind a bit of gushing...
Well, first of all, I don't normally read James/Lily stories, because I don't like the way they seem to change in fanfiction. I can handle things that are not canon--in fact, I like things that are not canon, but Jily is just not one of those things. And, I'll be honest, when I saw that your story was called "Waiting Room," I was like, "Oh no, pregnancy!" because I'm not too fond of that, either.
BUT... I've read your work and I know that you're totally awesome and stuff like that, so I knew that whatever it was that you chose to write about James and Lily, it would kick butt with its amazingness. And I was right, and I'm glad that I was wrong about it being a pregnancy story, because I liked this story a whole lot better. (If that makes any sense.) :)
So... On to the story...
One of the things I really liked about it right away was that James described the whiteness as "bloody." I know he probably meant it in that British-y sort of terminological way, but still, it resonated. Because, whatever we may think, white is more representative of death than red is. Red is blood, red is life, red is vitality. White is... Corpses and purgatory and surrender. And death, of course. So juxtaposing the "bloody white" like that made me think of how James is still so alive in this story, even though he isn't alive. Even if that's not what you meant by it, I like to think of it that way. Thanks for doing that! :)
James' musings, how he can't quite remember what happened, are really realistic and true-to-form. Suddenly, it doesn't matter to me that we don't really know exactly what happened before Voldy came in or after James and Lily died--that's why we have imagination! And the tiny details: the Indian food, the Haggis of the Month Club, et cetera, just add so much more color to the story of the Potter family of Godric's Hollow. And you write it in a way that's SO James... Are you sure you're not a wizard or something? Magical. That's what you are!
You know, I feel like I should be feeling sad right now. Sad that they're dead, that they don't know what's going to happen to Harry (though they think they do), that they're stuck in some sort of purgatory... But I don't feel sad. Sure, James has a moment of defeat when he realizes that he's dead, and maybe Lily doesn't look so great, but they still survive, even in death. They're still hoping, they're still searching for the reason why they haven't been sent to heaven or hell yet. When Harry died at the hand of Voldemort, he was sent to a sort of purgatory, too, but he chose to call it King's Cross Station. James and Lily call it a waiting room, and that's hardly different--both the parents and the son had higher purposes, but James and Lily couldn't get on any trains. Of course, I don't know if it was your intention to juxtapose that, but (like the "bloody white" thing) it really adds something special to the story.
My favorite part is when Lily tells James that Harry defeated Voldemort, and he's all like "Oh yeah!!" (More explicitly, of course!) It was a bit of the living James coming out in the dead James, and it further cemented the idea that James is James, no matter what state of being he's in. Thank you for that!!!
All in all, 10/10, like everything you've ever written. You're brilliant, and if people don't tell you that at least once or twice a week, then they're just being stupid. :)
Author's Response: Hi, there! It's taken me a shamefully long time to respond to this. So without further ado...
I'm not a big fan of James/Lily stories that deviate from canon, either. OK, you caught me, I'm not a big fan of *any* story that's non-canon. But you're right, it's especially hard to stomach when it's James and Lily. And pregnancy stories with these two are definitely overrated.
I never thought about the color mismatch inherent in that description, but now that you mention it, I like it. Sometimes it's better to be lucky than good. ;)
I'm glad you liked all of James's stray thoughts. I think little things like that are really important when you're writing something in first person narrative, because that's how people really think. Your brain is constantly buzzing with stray thoughts and ideas. Well, mine is, anyway. I solemnly swear that I'm not a wizard. And, realistically, I couldn't tell you if I was. ;)
I went through a similar array of emotions when I was writing this, I think. I knew that I should feel really sad for James and Lily, but because they still had one another and the sense of purpose that came from knowing Harry was going to need them again, I couldn't really feel all that bad about it. I did think about the initial whiteness Harry sees before King's Cross sort of comes into focus, and perhaps it will just take longer for James and Lily. I had a draft of the story where they were in an ethereal version of the Forbidden Forest. In good time, Sirius would have arrived and then Remus. Then, when Harry used the stone, he would have appeared in their world just as they appeared in his. I liked the idea, but it was too complicated when I tried to pull it off, so I scaled it back and came up with the waiting room.
I absolutely loved the idea of James getting all excited about the fact that his son beat Voldemort. He's insanely competitive.
I'm really glad that you enjoyed the story. Thanks so much for the lovely review!