*waves* Hi Cal! :-D
So I'm trying to both compete in the 12 Days of Reviewing challenge as well as review all of the Writer's Duel entries, and your story fits both categories today, so here I am! Yay! ^.^
After reading this story for the second time now, I just have to say this: Aww, Cal! You're such a romantic little sweety-pie fluffy bunny teddy bear softy at heart, aren't you? hehehe How many times did I just make you cringe? ;)
Really, though, this was adorable.
First off, I think you did a great job balancing all four Marauder's. They played off of each other really well, in the opening scene especially, and were all not only in character, but distinctive from one another. The only moment I wasn't completely sold on was during the second half of the first section; I thought perhaps Remus was just a bit too temperamental in it. I definitely think he would be as against the catch-Lily-under-the-mistletoe plan as you made him, but he doesn't strike me as the guy who 'storms off' over something relatively minor, like James planning out a new prank involving Lily - something that's probably pretty routine to him at this point. But really, every other moment I was completely sold on! And your Lily was very fitting as well, I thought! :)
Peter's role in this story is something I greatly appreciated. I love that you not only involved him in the story (something that a lot of people don't bother doing), but that you also made him an asset to the Marauders! He's not simply a bumbling buffoon who doesn't seem to fit in at all with the other three, but instead he contributes to James' plan in a pretty major way right at the top! He's also the person who suggests the Marauder's Map as a tool to find Lily, even if it doesn't pan out. It's really good to see him being used in a way that actually highlights the good side of him. It's so easy to forget that Peter was not always the man he turns out to be in the canon books. Kudos to you!
James is pretty darn great in this too, I have to say. He's funny and charming and arrogant and scheming, but we also get to see how good of a heart he truly does have beneath all of that other stuff! The moment when he realizes he would never forgive himself for stealing a kiss from Lily that she clearly doesn't want to happen and he walks away from the golden opportunity is just lovely. That was probably my favorite moment in the entire story, to be honest. Just very bittersweet in a very accurate and believable way. :)
One of my other favorite bits was at the end of the library scene when James says "It's like magic!" LOL Too funny (as is the entire scene leading up to it). I really do adore the balance of humor and sentiment you created throughout. It's a really enjoyable story, Cal!
There were a decent amount of little typo's and grammatical slips, however. I know you wrote this in a hurry and quite last-minute, so overlooked grammatical errors are only natural, but I thought I'd point a few out to you while I'm here!:
""Give it a rest(,) Mooney (Moony, not Mooney)," one of them was saying with a dramatic roll of the eyes."
"You'd do well to study a bit more yourself(,) Sirius."
"It's more of an obsession really(,) James,"
"Hey Evans," Sirius drawled. "How you going (doing, not going)?"" - This line cracked me up. Sirius reminds me of Joey from the tv series 'Friends' so much here. hahaha *has no idea if you'll understand the reference*
"A hint of tears was forming and helpless fury." - This whole sentence is a bit wonky, to be honest. Not really sure what you meant to say.
Anyway, I pointed out just a few of the missing comma moments above, but there were a good amount more of them in the story, so should you ever decide to edit, I would pay close attention to the comma's over anything else, cause the rest of the story was really great! The characters, the plot, the humor, the sentiment: it all worked wonderfully! I really love that this entire story has this great, light humor to it that leads to this really sweet and touching finale. The entire story was enjoyable from start to finish and, even though you're my direct competition, I wish you the best of luck with the Writer's Duel! ^.^
Author's Response: Tanya! You are marvellous! Such a detailed, lovely review! Thank you!
Yeah... Looks like a beta is compulsory for me in future. They will definitely be fixed soon. As for the "How you going?" I think that might be more of an Aussie phrase but essentially is the same as doing. I'll have to fix that up as well. And yes, I definitely understand your Friends reference. It was undeniably part of the inspiration but I imagined it not quite as flirty as Joey, bit more amused haha :D
I really appreciate all your praise, though I'm not sure how to respond to it all as mostly it's just a massive grin when reading it and no words come to mind. Even if you are making me a bit paranoid with my myriad mistakes ;). Haha, don't worry, it makes me feel very warm inside. Thank you again! *squish*
P.S. A lot of cringing took place ;)