|Review:||Violet Gryfindor says:|
Ahhh, how can you do this? The first half of the chapter ends on the creepiest note ever and then the second half ends with extraordinary cuteness. They contrast each other in just the right way though because they demonstrate just how Snape and Lily's paths are diverging. There was a moment when I thought she would just walk away from James, when he says that he wants something more from her - it was interesting how that put into words what Snape has been trying to express. There are, however, two differences - James works at making himself more acceptable for Lily and, in the end, Lily makes the decision to kiss him. Meanwhile, Snape sees his only way to success is by removing James - his idea of "active vs. passive" has been twisted by his experience, by the constant struggle of his existence. That's always going to be divisive point between Snape/Lily and James/Lily isn't it? It's a fantastic example of doubling - Snape and James are mirror images of one another in so many ways, with Snape as the negative to James's positive. It's rare to see this doubling played out so carefully in a story. Even if you didn't do it intentionally, thank you for bringing it to light with this chapter!
It was also very good to see the aftermath of the scene with Voldemort and gauge Regulus's reactions. It was a relief that he was incredibly bothered by what he had done - so he was playing a role after all, but it's one that he can't step out of, even though he seriously regrets how he treated Wilkes. The prestige that he now possesses is frightening, but he needs it to survive - it's his ticket to safety, at least among the Slytherins. I like how Regulus is caught in this strange in-between space where he feels a great affinity with the Slytherins at the same time that he's almost disgusted by them - he is, and isn't, a Slytherin, just as he is/isn't a Death Eater later on in his life. It's what sets him apart from Snape - prior to this, there were still many similarities between them, but Snape has made his choice - the only reason he later backs out is when Lily's life is at stake. But Regulus was never "in" enough to back out. He's playing a dangerous game, and it's brilliant how you've taken the bits and pieces of his story in canon and expanded it into this - he's so multi-faceted and his story is incredibly complex. I keep shaking my head in wonder at how well you've developed him.
To be honest, I wanted to cry when Snape made his decision. This is what comes of being a Snape fan for too long, I guess, because your characterization of him is spot on. He isn't afraid of killing to get what he wants, nor is he ever afraid of the cost - his life, other lives, they don't matter to him. All the same, to hear him say that he wanted to kill James gave me the chills - it was the way he said it, so matter-of-factly. The fact that it also shocks Regulus to such an extent - and this is someone who had just met Voldemort - increases the impact of Snape's statement. You wrote it incredibly well - it becomes a heart-stopping moment that dramatically changes how one reads the second half of the chapter. Brilliant writing here!
The only issue I've noticed is that, in the previous chapter, Mundungus Fletcher had stolen a mannequin for Moody's use in the Order training, and here you've made him a first year Slytherin. Other than that, you've once again nailed it with this chapter. I love how much suspense and drama you work into the story, focusing more on these elements, but neatly breaking them up with romantic scenes - it's a difficult balance, but you achieve it effortlessly. ^_^
Author's Response: I think this is really where the story starts to come apart and you see that Lily's path leads to happiness (well, to a point) and righteousness and Regulus's path leads to his demise and the demise of others. The contrast you picked up on was definitely deliberate, because I also wanted to show that this deal is just really unrealistic. The wool is coming off both of their eyes now.
Thinking about it now, I suppose what I wanted to get at with James here is that he and Severus aren't inherently different in terms of how they feel for Lily. I think that was illustrated most deliberately in the scene where James watched her on the Map, and I had the thought that people would freak out if it had been Severus following her around the castle with his eyes. The difference, though, is that James was able to control his affection and bide his time, and ultimately his patience showed Lily that he was worth giving a shot. Severus wanted it all right then and refused to give Lily any time to come around to him. It's a stroke of maturity in James that even I have to respect, though I still don't ship them :p
Regulus is just so scared to commit to... well, anything. He's just such a baby and I kept coming back to that realization that these characters are so young and so not ready for what they've gotten into, be it of their own accord or because they were forced into it. I think that comes up fairly frequently now in good Order-based Marauder stories, but maybe it doesn't occur as often if you think about the Death Eaters, especially people like Regulus and Draco who don't even know what they're really doing until it's too late. I also agree that there is definitely a quality to his personality that makes him different from Snape, and for me that comes in the form of his privileged upbringing and not having to face the ways of the world up until this point. Sadly, the loss of his best friend will be the least of his concerns before too long.
Leading my Severus down this horrid path has been quite an emotional journey for me, too, but I just wouldn't be doing him justice if I tried to sugarcoat him. It's sad, but the best parts of him, the most interesting ones--they're the messiest by far. I think part of why I like him is that he feels so real compared to a lot of other characters. He's full of flaws and he doesn't always respond to them in the right way, not even often. I think that's something we all could really relate to, though hopefully most of us have retained a fuller arsenal of morals than Snape has here.
Ugh, I cannot believe I did that! I will definitely go back and make some corrections as soon as I get a chance -- thanks so much for pointing it out. Sometimes I get a bit carried away with trying to bring in familiar names and faces :) Anyway, I'm so pleased you're enjoying and continuing to follow the story, and I can't wait to relive the experience of finishing it along with you! Thanks so much!