Susan! I owe you a ton of reviews, I know, and one day I will catch up - but for now I decided to check out this very pretty-looking one-shot. By the way, Review Tag brought me here :)
I love James's comment about Lily having "discovered" magic. It's interesting to think that she has an experience he can never fully relate to - in fact, most of the people close to her can't relate to it, not really. Everyone can trade stories about their first bursts of accidental magic, but I'm sure nothing quite compares to Lily's sense of amazement when she finally found out what she had experienced. I can only imagine how that sense of wonder fed into his perception of her and his affection for her.
I also really loved how careful he was with her. We don't get the perception that James is overly cautious as a boy, except when people he cares about could truly be in danger. But this boy will quite obviously become the man who throws himself in front of Voldemort to save Lily - he cares about her that much. Naturally, she won't have it, sprinting along as quickly as she likes :)
Okay, recognize this as a big comment coming from me - I love the James/Severus comparison. You've managed to perfectly contrast them in an accurate light without offending me, which... well, to be honest, that sort of skill is not something that surprises me, particularly, coming from you. What a beautiful image - Severus drinks her in, wanting to soak up every part of her so he never has to share again, relying on her to wipe all the black spots off his heart, but James just wants to be near her. If I look at the situation in this way, I can see why she chose James. I can see how his love had a different quality for her. Really magnificently done there.
I adored the ending, with the two of them just appreciating each other in the beauty of the aurora borealis. It's sad to think that James didn't reach out and steal that kiss, that he figured he'd have ages to get to know every part of her and learn to appreciate her inside and out. But then again, it wouldn't be your marvelous James if he just drank her up, would it?
Really excellent, of course. I absolutely loved it!
Author's Response: Amanda! Please don't worry about owing reviews - I know how busy you are (and it's not like I'm doing any better with our review exchange. It means a lot that you've stopped by to check out this new one-shot, and I'm very glad to hear that you loved it! :D
It's great that you liked that bit about James trying to understand things from Lily's perspective. It's a significant moment for him because it demonstrates how he's finally looking beyond himself and looking at the world through other people's eyes. But I hadn't thought of it as you did - I think I like your interpretation better, that he finds in her an experience he can never have. He can never un-know magic. It's just the kind of thing that would fascinate him because he's the type who always needs to know and wants to experience everything. And here is Lily who has this extraordinary experience, and he treasures it in her.
Oooh, that's a perfect way of describing James! He does love deeply and would die for those he loved, Lily first among them. Sirius would too, but he loves fiercely and recklessly whereas James does have a sweeter aspect to his affections, a certain delicacy that you wouldn't expect. It was fun to write a story where Lily was more clearly in command of the situation, dragging him along with one of her schemes. :D
*huggles* It's fantastic that the reference worked! It's something James couldn't avoid thinking about, particularly at this point in their relationship, before it even is a relationship. It means so much that the comparison was successful - it's hard to find the right balance, the right words to describe what Snape feels about Lily without making him a villain or purely selfish. I don't think he ever realizes how he sounds when he talks about Lily - he does love her, but he doesn't reflect on how he characterizes that love. He thinks that she can save him, that she's the light to his dark, but doesn't contemplate her side of their relationship, and that's his fatal mistake. He worships her and forgets that she's human too, that in a relationship, he needs to give as much as he takes. In this story, James demonstrates that he can give, that he sees her as she is and loves her for it.
That one reference turned out to be far more complex than I realized while writing. Thank you for your compliments and for your comments on it! It means a great deal to receive feedback from you, and I'm really pleased that this story hit the right buttons with you. ^_^