Hello! Here from the forums for your requested review. (I read as I review)
I haven't read a great deal of Marauders era so I'm really glad you requested!
I love that James doesn't immediately realise he his dead. The inner monologue was brilliant, it really tugged at my heart strings but also made me laugh a little too, it was as if he was arguing with himself.
I adore the paragraph about the pranks between James and Sirius, perfect characterisation and exactly how I'd imagine their friendship was.
"My feet stop their futile attempt at progress and my blood runs cold." -I love this line. It's so effective, I can really picture the moment when James stops his pacing and realisation hits him.
The counting to 10 worked really well too, the fact that he's more focussed on Lily not being dead really shows the love James has for Lily, it's beautiful.
"A small part of my mind manages to separate itself from the grief and horror tearing my soul apart and take it all in, as if from a distance." -another brilliant part, it made me think of the horcruxes, very clever!
The part with James talking about Harry was so beautiful. I've read a little of Lily's POV talking about Harry and a mother's love but none about James. I think people forget that he lost a son too, you described his feelings perfectly!
You've also done a great job with Lily and James' relationship, his feelings towards her are so clear in this, it's obvious he absolutely adores her. When they were talking about Harry and that they thought he'd go to live with Frank and Alice, I actually teared up. How wrong they were!
One thing I love is that throughout you keep James so true to his character. He was only in his early twenties when he died and this story shows that. He's ever so slightly naive, when it comes to his death and the thought of his friends betraying him, he's in denial initially. Even when Lily spells it out for him that it was Peter he still tries to argue with himself rather than accept. It really shows his age. I would have liked to have seen him call his friends by their nicknames a couple more times, he refers to Remus as Moody but calls the other two Peter and Sirius. I always thought that the Marauders wouldn't grow out of that.
As for your areas of concern, yes James is flip and upset but never too much so, his behaviour is absolutely as expected.
Lily's character is perfect, she's logical, calm and perfectly understands her husband; knowing exactly what to say and how to say it.
Overall this is an amazing story, it's poignant yet funny at the same time and flows beautifully. Thank you for the request!Author's Response: Hey, Mrs. Potter! Sorry, that was awful, but I couldn't resist. ;)
This is the first and only Marauders story I've written, which is part of why I'm interested in gathering more opinions. It's also written in first person narrative, which isn't something I do often.
I was trying hard to ease James into things at the start of the story. I wanted to give the reader a chance to recognize him and connect with the character a little before I threw him into the depths of despair. The paragraph about the pranks was the spot where I was worried that the story was too lighthearted, so I'm glad that worked alright for you.
I'm glad you liked all of James's various stages of grief and his bargaining behavior. I won't claim that any of that was fun to write, but it was pretty rewarding when it all came together.
Out of everything in the story, I thought the idea that Harry should have gone to live with Frank, Alice and Neville was the saddest part. Imagine how differently his life might have turned out. It's tragic, really.
A lot of Marauders fics, I think, are guilty of aging the characters prematurely. A part of that might be understandable since they grew up in the middle of Voldemort's first rise to power. But there's no way they could act like 30-year-olds all the time. I imagine that James had a huge blind spot for his friends. Especially Peter, who he probably never imagined being capable of betraying him in a thousand years. That's an interesting thought about mixing up the nicknames a little more. I'll re-read it and think it over.
I'm really glad that you enjoyed the story. Thanks so much for the lovely review! Report Review
Hi! I'm here for the review tag from the forums :)
I've actually been meaning to come and read some of what you've written for a while, and when I saw that this was James and Lily I couldn't resist it. It was really beautiful, and yet at the same time it was kind of difficult to read, because you made the characters seem so real that I didn't want to have to see them suffering from that sort of pain.
Your description of being surrounded by white and not knowing where you are or even if you're moving is quite sinister, and I think it would terrify me if I was there. It really contrasts with everything that white normally represents, and it portrays how suffocated James feels.
I really liked the confusion that James begins in. The way that he goes through all sorts of ideas to try and figure out what has happened to him is very believable but also quite heart-breaking, because we know that he's suffered a huge loss. I loved the inclusion of the prank wars with Sirius, as I thought that little detail sets him up as the character that we see in OotP, and I think it's quite unrealistic that he would have completely changed from then.
The realisation of what has happened is painful (in the best way!) to read. You write it so well, especially the way that he's trying to convince himself that it isn't real, and he's going to wake up from a bad dream at any moment.
I had tears in my eyes when I read about the bargaining process of grief. It is so true of the emotions that you go through, and I can't imagine it being more true than when a parent has lost a child. James' sheer desperation to see his son and hold his son once more is so moving and utterly tragic.
One of the things I love about this story is your characterisation of James. A lot of stories present him as a joker in school, who then grows up to be completely noble and almost flawless. Reading this, it's clear that he is still a young man, and with that come all the flaws and the personality of someone so young. I think that makes it even more upsetting, because both he and Lily were cut off before they reached their prime, with their whole lives ahead of them.
I love Lily's character here. She contrasts really well with James because she appears much calmer and more accepting than him. Her maternal instincts have obviously helped to reassure her that Harry is still alive and isn't suffering, but she also seems much more logical than James; for example, when she has already worked out that Peter was the traitor. I completely believe James' reaction to this knowledge and then, even when he has accepted it, his inability to understand why it happened.
I really enjoy that James and Lily's relationship here is realistic, too, mainly because it's not perfect, which I think so many people have a tendency to make it.
One of the other things I love is the fact that both sides of James' personality come through in this story. As well as the more light-hearted side, we see his caring nature in the way he doesn't want to be joined by his friends for a very long time, and the fact that he's willing to wait for them. Something else that struck me was the way that he worried for the people he'd left behind, especially Harry, Sirius, and Remus. I thought the pride that he felt at knowing his son had defeated Voldemort was a really nice touch, and lightened the tone for a moment.
The thing that really touched me was Lily and James' optimism for Harry's future. Their belief that Harry will grow up like a twin with Neville is so sweet but our knowledge of what happened to Frank and Alice, and that Harry had to grow up with the Dursleys makes me really hope that they can't see what their son has to endure in the next seventeen years of his life.
I loved the connection with the Resurrection Stone at the end, and the acceptance that they're waiting there for their friends and will remain there until they can help Harry when he needs them most.
Actually, I can't praise this story enough. If you couldn't already tell from the rest of this review, it's incredibly moving and I absolutely love it!
nott theodore :)Author's Response: Hi, there! Such a long, detailed, amazing review, I love it! Somewhat intimidating to respond to, however. ;)
More than anything, I'm glad that you were able to connect with James and feel a lot of the things that I wanted him to feel during this story. It was pretty horrible to imagine the sort of things that would go through his mind once the realization hit him. Because that was going to be so horrible, I wanted to ease him into it. That's why I take him through the process of figuring out what's happened. I wanted to build up the character a bit before I have to tear him down. :(
I really hate to make anyone cry, but I'm glad that the bargaining James goes through seemed realistic and made an impact. I can't even imagine the thought of never being able to hold one of my kids again, even though they're 5. It's so sad, it's horrible.
I don't think there's anything flawless about either Lily or James, although she probably comes off that way because we're seeing her through James's eyes. They were 21 years old when they died. Everyone I know has flaws at that age, and being young parents could tax the patience of even a saint.
While I was figuring out what I wanted to write about Harry's future, it dawned on me that there was no way on earth that James and Lily ever would have assumed that Harry would be sent to live with Petunia and Vernon. Frank and Alice seemed like an obvious choice because I really like the idea of all of them being part of the same circle of friends. It is horribly sad to think of how differently Harry's life turned out compared to what James and Lily would have wanted for him.
When I was first writing this, I was actually picturing them being in an ethereal version of the Forbidden Forest instead of the waiting room. Eventually, Sirius would arrive there and then Remus, as well. When Harry used the Resurrection Stone, he would have "appeared" in James and Lily's world just as they appear in his. But I got really uncomfortable with trying to manage the passage of time, so I went in a different direction.
I'm really, really glad that you enjoyed this. Thanks so much for such an awesome review! Report Review
Hello. *waves* Tagged you in the Gryffindor common room.
I like your James, but then I'm sure you knew I would; first person and BTF!James are two things which I like and as such it was pretty much inevitable, really. Even despite that, though, you've done very well with James' voice - he's likeably immature as well as being self-aware and reflective. And also fairly well-adjusted, despite having just been betrayed and murdered and faced with having to wait God knows how long in a room where there is literally nothing except his wife. (Me being picky, I'm not entirely sold on that last bit, by the way, but I'll get to that later.)
Having James suffer from temporary amnesia was a very good narrative choice, meaning you didn't have to write a super-emotionally-charged adrenaline-overdosed traumatised character right away because that'd be way difficult, both for you and for your readers. You've also used it to establish James' character - very clever. You're really good at this whole structure thing, is what I'm trying to say.
Lily's character is one I'm not too sure about in this fic, actually - I get that she's a bit preoccupied, but emotional!preoccupied!Lily seems much more the kind of person who is going to have some sort of ALL CAPS angry/dramatic moment than be all calm and spaced out and stuff. I don't know. I think it's just a matter of taste, really, because your Lily serves as a counterpart to your James fairly well. And also because it's been ages since I read a L/J fic.
So, anyway, apart from that - which you can disregard because I'm really sleepy - and an odd instance I saw near the beginning of the word 'blasted' as an adjective, which is a bit anachronistic, despite how posh James probably is, I loved this. Of course I did. I'm predictable like that.Author's Response: Hello, mon ami!
I'm really glad that you like James's voice. I really tried hard to balance him out and not veer too far in either direction -- "mature James" or "childish prankster James" -- when I was writing it. You know me, I loathe one-dimensional characters.
I was having a similar thought when I started this. The mind deals with traumatic events in pretty amazing ways, and "easing" James into the realization of what had happened seemed like the kindest way for his mind to treat him. I also wanted the story to build for the reader, in a "is he or isn't he?" sort of way.
I didn't think of Lily as being preoccupied so much as she's worn down by the time that she encounters James. James's death, while violent and needless, was fairly quick. Voldemort simply disposed of him and moved on. Lily's death was longer in coming. She had to listen to James die from the top of the stairs, then Voldemort offered her the chance to live. The way I'd imagined things, she also goes through her own process of figuring out what's happened and suffering through the realization before she and James "find" one another in the waiting room. So by the time she and James are talking, the poor dear has already shed most of the tears she's able to shed and she's running on fumes emotionally.
I'm really glad that you liked it. You tend to pick up on things that not a lot of other readers notice or comment on. I like that. Keeps me on my toes. Thanks for reading and reviewing! Report Review
As usual, I get myself all comfy when reading one of your stories and sit tight for the ride! This was so different than anything else I've read from you.
I have read first person POV from you and stories about families and love and loss. But this was... something else.
The only word I can find to describe it is "raw". There was so much raw emotion in the first part, when James was going through the motions of figuring out what happened and why he was there. I loved the bits and pieces of humor you sneaked in there, like the prank war and how they must've been hiding from the children in costumes.
What I liked best about this James, your James, is something that most people overlook when writing fanfiction. When James Potter died he was a kid in his twenties. He was much younger than you and me right now, that's a fact, but here, in this story, it shows in a way that is both refreshing and heartbreaking.
Refreshing because like any young adult his mind is all over the place and he doesn't know what to think of first and how to do manage the situation properly and heartbreaking because this guy really thinks that he is doomed to spend eternity alone for failing his family and friends. And he is just a kid at the start of what would've been a long and happy life. Like he says "This sucks.". There is no better way to sum up the tragedy of this situation.
Lily isn't in a better shape. She has her motherly instincts going for her and she knows in her heart of hearts that her son is okay and will be okay. Their reunion was so heartwarming! It put a big smile on my face.
There was one part that really got to me and it made me tear up. When he was in the bargaining process, he described how Harry was always so warm when he held him and he would move around a little to get comfortable. That was such a sweet image and what's so sad is that Harry will never have that memory. But these people, his parents, who we know in fanfiction but not so much in canon, were real and they held him and died for him.
I think I might've mentioned once or twice that your stories make me think! A lot!
What can I say, Dan? Brilliant job, as always! This was so sweet and sad at the same time, only you could pull off such a bittersweet entrance into the afterlife!
RalAuthor's Response: Hi, Ral! First off, I have to apologize. I've been horribly slow about responding to this and about reviewing your new chapter of Twin Wands. Which I've read, by the way, which makes it even less excusable. My kids' birthday party is finally out of the way, so hopefully I'll have more time this week.
"Raw" was pretty much what I was going for in this story, so I'm glad it came across that way. I wanted this all to read like James's very unedited stream of consciousness. He has no idea what's happened, he's trying to put the pieces together, and suddenly it all hits him in a devastating way. And you're absolutely right, he is very young, relatively speaking. Probably the saddest thing about James and Lily is that they were cut down before they even reached the prime of their lives.
Lily is a little bit better off than James just because I imagine her as having a more rational mind. One thing that I had in my mind when I wrote this was that both James and Lily go through their period of overwhelming grief before they find one another. The idea is that in this purgatory they're inhabiting, they don't encounter each other until they're "ready". Unfortunately, I didn't think there was any way to actually put that in the story, because neither James nor Lily could have known about it.
The bargaining process was really sad. Sorry to make you teary-eyed, but I'm pleased that it came across that strongly.
I'm really glad that you enjoyed the story. It was sad to write, but fulfilling in a way. Thanks for reading and reviewing! Report Review
It's only when I'm reading stories from the perspective of the dead that I'm thankful when couples die together. Thinking about it now, if Lily had somehow survived, it would have changed absolutely everything. Harry would have had one of his parents. She might've eventually remarried. She might've had more kids. And it's the same if James had survived and Lily had died - the dynamic is so different, it would almost be more different than if both James and Lily both had lived.
The most heartbreaking part of this one-shot was when James initially assumed that both Lily and Harry were dead:
The sound that escapes from my throat is like nothing I've ever heard. The piteous wail of a man who's already died on the inside as he begs the outside to catch up. There are no words for how much I hurt.
I like how James's memory came back to him in staggered increments. First all he knows is the never-ending white fog and that flash of green, and then slowly things seep back into his memory - the fact that there were children dressed in costumes, that it was Halloween, that they were hiding from something. It was a very realistic touch that James wouldn't automatically remember it all. It makes sense that his brain would suffer from an amnesia of sorts because the events of his death were so traumatic and happened so incredibly fast. Literally, one second Voldemort was at the door and James was telling Lily to take Harry and run, and the next second James was dead. So reacquainting himself with these events gradually was so, so heartbreaking as a reader because I could feel his increasing awareness of where he must be now.
I felt so terrible for both of them as they pieced together what had happened. Lily was much quicker on the uptake, her mother's intuition just inherently knowing that Harry was alive - which must mean that something had happened to Voldemort. And that feeling of detachment, of being so far from their son, was evident in the way they could view Harry's future. Being somewhere so physically different from home lent them a perspective where they could determine how it all came about. James's thoughts flitting between Peter and Sirius, feeling like a traitor for doubting either of them and his subsequent denial when Lily gently told him that Peter must have betrayed them - it was so sad and so real and I just want to hug James.
You are very talented at getting inside the head of someone who has just experienced something the living can barely conceive - all of James's confusion, his anguish, his reaction to Lily being there that was relief and horror mixed together. For a few seconds, James was utterly alone. For a few seconds, James was dead and Lily was still alive. And when he stood there, his brain trying to wrap itself around it all and his memory abstractly delving back to Lily talking about the stages of grief, it made it very real and vivid. I felt like I was James.
And this bit:
I remember exactly how he feels when I hold him.
:'( Oh my goodness, that is a hard hell to digest, the thought of never being able to hold your helpless little baby ever again. All of the things a parent would miss out on...
I'm quite curious about what they're waiting for. Are they waiting there until Harry dies? Until Harry recalls them with the Resurrection Stone? Oh my goodness, to think that they might be trapped in that wide white fog for seventeen years at least; I have no idea how they wouldn't lose their minds. I desperately want to know when they'll get to go 'on' and what 'on' will be like, and if Sirius will eventually join them in this place.
This was a fantastic read! Very moving and realistic.Author's Response: Hi, Sarah!
Now that you mention it, everything would have been incredibly different if either Lily or James had survived Voldemort's attempt to murder Harry. Either case would definitely make for an interesting AU fic, although the number of things you'd have to sort out seems really daunting.
I wrote James's gradual realization for pretty much exactly the reasons you described. I was imagining it as being like that sense of disorientation you get when you wake up in a strange place... erm, not that I'd know anything about that. ;) Anyway, rumor has it that you go through this process of backtracking to the last thing you remember for sure, then trying to work your way up to how you got where you are.
Lily is certainly putting the pieces together faster than James, and she does have mother's intuition on her side. The two of them have lost so much. All they have left is one another, which is still an enormous improvement over where poor James was at the start of this. I'm glad you felt like hugging James. I tried to humanize him every way possible in this.
That's nice of you to say about James. I think that in this strange purgatory they find themselves in, the passage of time doesn't really correspond to how it passes in the world of the living. So the short amount of time between James's death and Lily's drags on a lot longer for him. Another way to look at it, I guess, is that Lily and James were reunited when they were both ready to see one another again.
As a parent, I know that line definitely hit me hard when I read it again after writing it. I can't fathom the loss and emptiness of knowing that your child is going to grow up without you and you're going to miss everything.
What are they waiting for? Well, I think the best way to answer that is to tell you what my original plan for this story was. James and Lily were going to be in this ethereal recreation of the Forbidden Forest instead of the waiting room. After some significant amount of time passed, Sirius would have arrived there, as well, and finally Remus. Then, when Harry used the Resurrection Stone, he would have "appeared" in their world just as they appeared in his. The stone would essentially bring the two worlds together. But when I tried to write it, I wasn't happy with the way the passage of time was working out, so I changed the plan.
I'm really glad you enjoyed it! Thanks so much for offering this chance to enjoy one another's writing! Report Review
Hey Dan! Here from the review tag :D
I am an absolute complete sucker for Jily. Like, they are my favourite ship, EVER- capitals equals serious :P So, when I saw this, I just clicked the link ;) This is so beautifully written, I loved the description of the white, endless white waiting room, it just rung in my head, and I also loved the use of profanities, you didn't go overboard but you used enough to make the reader certain as to how James is deteriorating inside.
James and Lily's story is a tragedy, and this one shot just epitomises that tragedy. I have to admit, I was crying a heck of a lot reading this, even now thinking about this just makes me want to cry myself to sleep :P The most evocative parts of this has to be when James denies Peter's treachery, James' realisation that Sirius is going to be blames and the part where James counts to ten. Just absolutely beautiful.
I don't know what else to say, except great job! Yeah, well done for making a girl cry, how could you? Sorry if this is incoherent, I was just blubbering a few minutes ago :P Adding this to the favs ;)
~AishaAuthor's Response: Hi, there!
I'm really glad that you liked the way I wrote this. I had the idea in my head for a while, and it made for a good break in between chapters of Detox.
As much as I hate making anybody cry, I'm really glad that you felt such a strong connection with James and Lily. I thought a lot about what they two of them would talk about immediately after their deaths, what their big anxieties would be and what they might think would happen to Harry after they were gone. I found a lot of sad stuff there, but with a few uplifting things.
I'm so glad you enjoyed it. Thanks for reading and reviewing! Report Review
This was so sad I cried a little bit...but amazingly written and such a good idea for a story. Really enjoyed it. xAuthor's Response: Awww... I hate to make anyone cry, but I'm glad you enjoyed it! Report Review
It's Roots in Water here with your (very much delayed) review!
I think that this is the first piece of yours that I've read that's written in first person... And though it's different from your other works, it's just as good. Moreover, I think that the first person style really helped with the portrayal of James' character in this piece. It allowed you to explore and expand upon his thoughts in a manner impossible in third person, and this exploration was crucial in the first part of the story. James' confusion, his attempt to figure out what he was missing, why he was in the white blankness... it worked beautifully with the first person style.
James himself was really well characterized. I really liked the lightness of the beginning section, before he remembered why he was there. Not only did it do a great job of lightening the tone of the story but it also really allowed the more famous side of James' character to shine through. The path of the pranking war was great!
And then when James realized what had happened to him... His denial and path towards acceptance of what had happened, mixed in with thoughts about Lily and Harry, was heart-wrenching. The depth of his love for his family was painfully obvious and when he thought about bargains for being able to hold Harry again.
Furthermore, I really liked how he didn't immediately accept that Peter had betrayed them, for obviously the possibility of betrayal from him wouldn't have surfaced at all in his mind if he had decided to trust him with their secret. As well, his thoughts about Sirius were also really well done. His immediate realization of the repercussions of their deception on Sirius, as well as the accounting of why Dumbledore wouldn't have known that Sirius was not the Secret Keeper, were great additions to the story.
I think that one of the things I most enjoyed about this story was how you included small pieces of their ordinary day-to-day life in it. They grounded the piece but, more than that, they added life to James' relationships. His life, though dramatic, was also composed of the ordinary and that was the part that would have gotten him through the war. I loved how you showed this .
I noticed one thing as I was reading through. With these sentences "You know they're dead, though. They're dead because you couldn't keep them safe" you shifted to second person. I didn't know if you'd done this on purpose, to show James' mental distress at this point, but I thought I'd point it out just in case.
Finally, I'm really curious to know what Lily believes that they're waiting for. I can't think of an instance in the books that would have required them to be in an area separate from the main realm of Death... Not the Mirror of Erised, nor the moment with the connection between the phoenix wands... Nor with the Resurection stone (unless I'm going about this totally wrong).
All in all, I think that you did a great job with your portrayal of their moments immediately after death. I'm really glad that Lily realized that Harry was still alive- at least that took some of their worry from their shoulders. Thanks for requesting a review and I'm sorry that it was so late!Author's Response: Hi, Roots!
This is the second story I've written in first person, the other being Surrender to the Night. It's an interesting thing to do. When it works well, it's really rewarding. When it doesn't... ick! Also, you wind up having to backtrack and rewrite passages pretty often because you forget and fade into a different voice. I'm glad you thought it worked well for this story, because I felt the same way. It was really important to get inside James's head and really let the reader roll with the punches, so to speak.
I'm really happy that you thought I wrote James well. After beta reading quite a few chapters for Jami as she writes Before They Fall, I like to think I have some idea of what makes the guy tick, but it's good to hear it from somebody else. It wasn't really fun to write the immediate aftermath of his realization, but necessary.
I'm with you on this one: I thing that being betrayed by Peter would have been the furthest thing from James's mind. Peter is such a follower and James and Sirius did so much for him over the years that I highly doubt James even considered the possibility before Lily whipped out Occam's Razor on him.
I think that one of the most important things to keep sight of in any good James/Lily story is that they weren't the saintly, almost super-human people that they're often made out to be. They were a pair of 21-year-olds with a one-year-old son living under incredibly trying circumstances. They were human, with all the flaws and shortcomings that go along with that condition. Grounding their lives in simple, sometimes mundane details helps to reinforce that.
In that line you pointed out, I had it in my head that James was addressing himself inside his own head. I can see how it sounds out of place, though. I'll take another look at it in context.
I don't know that Lily has any idea what they're waiting for, only that it involves Harry and he's going to need them. Call it mother's intuition. Anyway, I think this sort of purgatory they've existing in is symbolic of the fact that they have unfinished business in the world of the living before they can truly let go.
I'm really, really happy that you liked it and thought it was good. And please don't ever worry about the timing of your reviews! You do so much for the other authors on HPFF, we're all thankful for whatever time you're able to make. Thanks so much for all of your awesome reviews! Report Review
Hey there, its Gabbie here with your requested review and all that jazz. I would have reviewed this yesterday but I was busy doing stuff and walking around my house like a zombie.
Anyhoo, on to this! I really, really love this idea, I haven't read too many stories centered on the 'beyond' as I would like to call it. Then again, Teh Tarik's lovely, "Other side of Glass" is a good one too but anyway, I really enjoyed this. Opening of course with James instead of Lily was a great change too, usually people tend to go from her POV.
With James I always figured he would be a harder character to write because even with what I knew from the books he was still sort of a mystery. I think you capture so much of his character in this though that its so believable and I loved the first reactions that he had of being gone.
The confusion that was there and his brief moments of not recalling what had happened before the green light was really powerful. To me at least it just added all the right tension, so by the time he's freaking out and realizing what's happening, I was pretty much hanging on every word.
To have him weakening up and crying was really wonderful too. It made him seem all the more real to me and I'm glad that you allowed him that moment with himself too. If he'd been so calm and controlled i don't think it would have flowed well and plus, being surrounded by nothing but white fog would drive anyone mad!
I liked the description of the 'beyond' too, it was simple but it was enough to picture in my mind and I thought it was really unique. :D
So, anyway, the rest of this with Lily just about broke me into pieces. I'm a wuss and so I had to pause for a little while as the two of them talked and pieced together what had happened.
Actually, I think I pretty much cried with James was talking about holding Harry again. Yeah, that turned me into a puddle of tears. T-T
But anyway, Lily was sort of a calming thing for James, even though they were both upset and I got a sense of how their relationship was.
What made me really sad though, aside from all of that was what they said about Neville. We all know that Harry won't be with the Longbottoms but their hope that he would grow up with their friends and have a normal life was just so painful.
And poor Frank and Alice! D':
Phew! But anyway, I loved that ending and James's thoughts as he and Lily settled down in the 'waiting room' until they were needed again. Lovely writing you know! :D
I know you said that you were concerned if this was able to be followed all right and I think it is. It didn't stray at all from what you were trying to say and your writing is as amazing and gripping as always. :D
So...no CC's! :D
Thanks for the amazing read!
GabbieAuthor's Response: Hi, Gabbie! So you might be in the army by now, and I'm *so* sorry that I took so long to reply to this.
Ive had a couple of people compare this to teh tarik's story, and I really loved the other thing I've read by him/her, so I should check it out. I don't think I could have done nearly as much justice to Lily's PoV. She's a bit enigmatic to me. James, on the other hand, I felt really comfortable with where I thought he was coming from in this. The confusion followed by the overwhelming sense of grief and failure he must have felt. I didn't see any chance that he was going to be able to take this all in stride. That wouldn't have made any sense.
Everything that happened after Lily's arrival was pretty hard to write. There were so many strong emotions that came out when I tried to think through what they could have known at this point and how they would have expected Harry's life to play out. Lily is James's rock, I think, much more than his friends ever realize. He's willing to drop the "James Potter Manly Facade" and open up to her unconditionally.
The idea that they would have expected Frank and Alice to raise Harry came to me rather late in the process of writing this, but it made all the sense in the world. After Lily's disastrous attempt to introduce James to Petunia and Vernon, I expect that those two would have been very low on her list of preferred adoptive parents for Harry.
I'm really glad that it all flowed well for you. I was really concerned about that.
Thanks so much for taking the time to read and review! Take care and I hope to see you back again really soon! Report Review
Hey Dan! :) So its the whole Slytherins v Gryffindor review contest so I took this an an opportunity to come review your new story.
I honestly feel like this is taking off from my own Lily/James fic, just pointing it out. XD
I really liked James's confusion about what happened. Its almost like he's in shock and his brain refuses to accept or even remember what happened. It seriously felt like he sort of went through a quick spell of the seven stages of grief. He doesn't dwell much in them either so it all blends in together seamlessly.
There were bits that made me laugh but for the most part I just felt sad for James! Specially the line:
This isn't me, watching James Potter crumble into a sobbing heap, surrounded by the hideous whiteness that threatens to drive him into madness.
What I imagined in my head was so depressing and sad I got teary eyed. I guess because I've never imagined James being so distraught about something that he ends up curling in a ball to cry. He's always been this happy-go-lucky guy who loves a good laugh. Not this shell of a man who feels like he's a huge failure for being killed by the most dangerous wizard.
I remember Lily once talking about the various stages a person goes through while grieving.
XD Yay, I wasn't imagining things. I was wondering if you had written James's emotions and reactions as the 7 stages on purpose or just by coincidence.
OMG the tears!! You seriously made me more than teary eyed when he remembers Harry's weight, wishing he could carry him once more. Ugh, Dan! Dagger to my feelings! I find it cute that he compares Harry's weight with something that's related to Quidditch.
Sirius and I were the ones who sneaked into the girlsí bathroom to turn the toilet seats into portkeys
Really?! Haha, I can't imagine...I mean. Poor girls! They there are...fixing to do their business and then BAM, they're somewhere else. Horrible. Hahahaha!
This also gave me the feeling that you poured some of your father instincts/thoughts into this. That you put yourself in James's position and wondered what you would do/say if you were in that situation.
Overall this was a fantastic fic, Dan. As always...! I'll be surprised if once day you don't write good quality stories. If that were to happen, I'll start to think that someone broke into your home and stole your computer or something along the lines.
Anyway, I suppose that's it! :D
Thanks for the lovely read! XD
See ya in Detox newest chapter!
--RosieAuthor's Response: Hi, there! Thanks for taking a moment to read and review my angsty little brain hiccup.
This one definitely bore a resemblance to yours. Between you and Jami, I've read a fair bit of Lily/James lately. It starts to get wheels spinning in your head.
James made it through a few of the stages. In the beginning, he's totally disoriented, which seems like a perfectly natural response to being killed.
I tried as best I could to mix a bit of levity into this without detracting from the overall tone. I didn't think this should be a funny story. They're dead, after all. But I couldn't stand the idea of dragging people's emotions over the coals for the entire piece, so I picked my spots.
So I didn't actually sit down and list out the 7 stages and try to construct the story around them, but they were definitely in the back of my mind as I wrote this.
Physical details, I think, are huge in a sad story. Something about juxtaposing strong emotions with pithy descriptions of little sounds and smells and sensations just does it for me. I'm glad you liked it.
Yeah, James and Sirius weren't the kindest or most mature when it came to devising their pranks. And Peter was the consummate follower. In a way, I guess his betrayal makes a little more sense if you think of it that way. James found Lily and his life was heading in a different direction. I could see how Peter felt sort of abandoned.
I'm really glad that you enjoyed it! Thanks so much for stopping by! Report Review
Iím FINALLY here. Yay!
First of all, I have to say that I love your decision to write this in first person. I think that third would have felt way too detached, and you were really able to get across Jamesís confusion with this style.
The idea of being so submerged in the white, that you canít even tell if youíre moving or anything, is so creepy. Itís not like a calm, peaceful sort of white where you kind of just walk along. Itís like a terrifying sort of white that just wants to suffocate you. God, Iím getting claustrophobic just thinking about it!
It makes me so sad how James is thinking about something as innocent as their pranks on each other, trying to narrow down what could have happened. We all know, but we donít know when heíll figure it out. It leaves that clenching sort of feeling in your stomach. And then when he gets to Peter, heís getting so much closer but part of me still wants someone to jump out and be like, Gottchya! Itís the white out charm!
But it isnít ;(
The kind of hysteria that James goes into is so well done. He knows. He knows itís true. He knows whatís happening, but heís trying to so hard not to know, and gah. Itís just so painful :(
I think the one of the most painful parts about this one shot is Lilyís idea of where theyíll send Harry to live. Itís so sad thinking of how these two lives parallel each other, and that Harry never got to grow up with Neville like twins and be loved like someone elseís own son :(. See, now Iím going to get all teary. Lily talking about Harryís future was just such heart wrenching reminder of how many lives are destroyed.
I love Jamesís little moment of pride about his son defeating the Dark Lord! Haha! Take that, Quidditch dads. My kid just defeated the most powerful wizard!
I hate that they have to come to terms with their friend betrayed them :(. Theyíve already lost so much, and now youíre making me so angry at Peter. Dan! You canít do that! I need to keep getting along with Peter!
The transition into them starting to talk about things like where they at, and even Jamesís comment about the waiting room and getting to make Lily smile, even if itís a small one, was really perfect. And then the reality sort of comes crashing back when Lily asks what theyíre waiting for. I love that they try and talk that through, because we know they wouldnít be able to do anything but. And Jamesís little comment about hoping he waits a long time was very sweet. Heís got such a heart of gold ♥
This was such a touching one-shot, Dan. I love seeing James and Lily continue to work together and lean on each other even in death. I just hope this is the sort of waiting room where they canít see what Harry deals with for the next nearly two decades, because that would be so painful for them. And I love this sort of tie in to DE when he uses the resurrection stone. It feels like they were waiting for that. For Harry to need to need their strength. And it almost is a bit of a relief knowing that they wonít be waiting by themselves forever. As sad as it is, Sirius will eventually join them. And honestly, heíll probably be happier dead with them than Alice without.
Now Iím thinking about all my perfect beautiful Marauders and all the terrible things they have to face. Youíre trying to break my heart, arenít you Dan? ;(
Thank you so much for writing such an emotional piece about these two. And for the sweet mention of Before They Fall ♥ Iím very happy to take part in creating your head canon. Mwahaha ♥Author's Response: Come, now, you know I would never break your heart! At least not on purpose. ;)
First person is a lot of fun with the right character. Tonks, for instance, was a blast. James was fun, too, because I think of him as somebody who always has a lot of funny things going on inside his head that never get verbalized because he doesn't want to get smacked.
So I had one version of their surroundings in my head where they were in some ethereal version of the Forbidden Forest. That way, when Harry used the Stone to summon them, it would have looked as though Harry "appeared" in their world the same as they "appeared" in his. But then I decided I didn't want to take this story all the way to that point, so I just decided on emptiness, instead. I think it works well with James's initial feelings of isolation and his profound relief when Lily arrives.
Honestly, I went back and forth on including the pranks. It seemed too light-hearted for something like this. But I did want to show a contrast between various parts of James's personality.
The part where Lily is thinking through what's going to happen to Harry was tough to write. The saddest thing, I think, is that knowing only what James and Lily know at this point in their (after)lives, it makes perfect sense that Harry would have gone to live with the Longbottoms and spent his life surrounded by their old friends. Sadly, it was not to be.
I hadn't really thought it all the way through, but I imagine that James and Lily stay in the waiting room until Harry summons them. At some point -- and I think time is a highly variable concept in this place -- Sirius joins them and updates them on Harry's life through age 15. Shortly before Harry summons them, Remus would have appeared, as well. After Harry drops the Stone... well, I don't know what would have happened then. Remus probably would have been looking forward to joining his wife. Sirius and James would be at least somewhat happy to be freed from the waiting room. Lily, I think, would have been sad. Even though she didn't belong in the world of the living, she would have made that sacrifice for Harry.
How could I not mention BTF here? Like I said, that's where all of my James/Lily head canon comes from nowadays.
Thank you so much for all of your lovely reviews! Report Review
Hellooo :D Saw the link to this on the forums and decided to swing by. Also, it's high time I start reading some of your works, starting with the one-shots.
Goodness, what a one-shot. James is perfect in this. His voice, his narration, his recklessness and anger and sense of panic and initial inability to accept the reality of the situation. And there's so many aspects of his life that you've covered in this fic - from his incredibly loyalty to Dumbledore and the Order and to his mates, the Marauders, his pranking nature (toilet seats as Portkeys...he's so annoying, him and Sirius :P ), that sense of boyishness and boyish humour about him, and of course, his incredible love for Lily and Harry.
I think you portrayed the Jily relationship extremely well; there are just so many of these stories, and some are great but others have me convinced that if Jily had not been killed they'd have divorced within a few years...eheh. But you wrote an incredibly moving and utterly realistic relationship between the both of them, interlaced with moments of humour. Gosh, couldn't stop grinning at this bit:
Lils and I used to play this game when Harry would wake up crying in the middle of the night. Weíd both pretend we were still asleep, even though each of us knew bloody well that the other was awake. It was just a contest of wills.
Wonderful. THIS. This is the sort of writing I want to see when I'm reading Jily, and most fics seem to be missing this level of realistic detail. I loved all of James' little anecdotes of his life, his little memories - they were funny, heartwarming, poignant and ultimately tragic because of the abrupt end to his life. Sigh.
And through James' narration, you've characterised the other Marauders really well. You can tell that he really loves his mates, so much so that he cannot initially believe that Peter betrayed them, and even after Lily convinces him, he still can't comprehend why. He's reckless and brave and bloke-y and all, but there's also that sense of naivete to his character which I really like. It's a nice subtle characterisation detail. And Remus and Sirius were done excellently, too, at least through James' eyes. Was that Occam's razor you were referring to...? That sounds incredibly like Remus, so sensible and logical.
And Lily. Love Lily here as well. She's much more level-headed and less impetuous, even if she is a sobbing mess.
OK, I got pretty excited at seeing how you portrayed the afterlife as white foggy purgatory because I'm doing something similar (swear I didn't copy you :P ) for Other Side of Glass, of which you reviewed the first chapter. It's a pretty depressing sort of place, your afterlife, and I love the idea of it being a waiting room. It depresses me that other people are going to pop into their waiting room - Sirius, Remus etc. And of course, THE IRONY that James and Lily think Harry is going to be cared for by Frank and Alice. If only Lily knew what will happen to them. And I'm sure she will know soon. And she'll probably be not too happy that Petunia and Vernon are Harry's guardians...
Ultimately, though, you end your story on a lovely moment of hope. It's a bittersweet ending, and it's done perfectly. Poignant and heartbreaking but without being overly sentimental or too syrupy. Ahh...those two are going to be OK :D
Well, I've really enjoyed your story! I think this is a lovely and extremely well-written piece, which gives us so much insight into James and Lily's relationship, and their lives in general. Great work :)
-tehAuthor's Response: Hi, there! I'm pleased as can be that you found this, my little experiment with James/Lily afterlife angst.
I have to give all credit for Jami for my head canon where James and Lily are concerned. That said, I'm pleased that you liked the way I wrote James. I tried really hard to find a balance between the cheeky, mischievous teenager that he once was and the loving, devoted father that he became.
I don't think any portrayal of a marriage -- especially two very strong personalities like James and Lily -- is being realistic without a good mix of highs and lows. There was bound to be some conflict between these two, but there was also a very strong interdependence that helped to bind them together. Detail, at least for me, is what sells good stories to the reader. Those little things that people can connect with on a nuts-and-bolts level.
I debated with myself a lot over how to write James's reaction to Peter's betrayal. Nothing sounded right, until it dawned on me that James wouldn't even think of the possibility until somebody else pointed it out to him. Nothing in his ten years of friendship with Peter ever suggested that something like this might happen or, if it did, I'm confident that James completely overlooked it. He just doesn't think of friends that way.
I went through a couple of iterations of what to do with the depiction of their afterlife. One idea I had was to put them in an ethereal version of the Forbidden Forest. Then, when Harry summons them with the Stone, he just sort of "appears" in their world the same as they appear in his. That didn't work, though, from the point of view of the Stone making the dead unhappy because it took them away from where they belonged. So this is what I settled on in the end. As far as your story, well, great minds think alike! ;)
It was heart-breaking to me to realize that, at this particular moment in their (after)lives, James and Lily probably were convinced that Harry would grow up among their best friends, loved and cared for.
I'm really glad that you enjoyed the story. Writing it also gave me an idea for a different one-shot, set in the corporeal world. Maybe I can cobble that one together soon. Thanks for reading and reviewing! Report Review
I saw the words James and Lily and came running!
This was such a cool idea, I am currently sitting here, feeling very jealous that I didnít think of it beforehand! It was a really great idea to write about what happened to James after he died, as I always get so sad when we reach their death scene, as their life was just so short, and then it just ended, and it seems like it was such a waste, yet here you carried it on!
I really liked the whole dream like state James was in when he got there. The setting with all the white cloud and fog, perfectly fitted in with his confusion. I loved his thoughts of him trying to figure out where he was, you caught him so well, the way he showed his love for Harry and Lily, his pranking with Sirius (haggis of the month! Thatís so cool, and this is coming from a vegetarian!), and him just trying to figure out why heís there.
It was horrible when he realised that he had died, it just made me want to join him in curling up in a ball and crying! He seemed to be going through so much pain and anxiety wondering whether Lily and Harry were alive or not, and what was going on. It was horrible to see him in that state, but it was done really well, and if he was acting any other way, I would be concerned.
Then you could see him coming to terms with it but it was still horrible. The way he had come out top, and for him to come crashing down, reminds me of Pistorious (to quote recent news, and show HP is relatable to everything!). He really is passionate for all the people heís close to, I loved his comparison to Harry being like two quaffles, and him worrying over Sirius and what would happen to him, was very well done.
Then when Lily came it just got even more sad. I would have loved it if Harry grew up with Neville it would have been awesome. How wrong Lily was about that though, considering what happened to Frank and Alice, and where Harry ended up. She seemed so sure he would be alright, and I guess a motherís intuition was right, as he was ok in the end.
Lily seemed so rational when talking about how they ended up here, and James of course just couldnít deal with it. It must have been a horrible thing for him to go through though, thinking that someone was your friend for so long, and then to find out they caused you to die.
I felt for James and Lily, thinking they would have to wait ages for their friends, when in fact it was a much shorter time than they had expected it to be. I really want to know what happened to Frank and Alice know, and when they died.
This was an excellent one-shot, and Iím glad that I clicked on the link, as it allowed me to see James and Lily in a new perspective!
-Kiana!Author's Response: All caught up! Yay!
For some reason, I've had kind of a morbid fascination with afterlife scenes lately. Especially the variety where it takes the recently deceased a while to put the pieces together regarding the circumstances of their demise. James and Lily seemed like prime candidates for this treatment, since they left a lot of loose ends in the mortal world.
OK, so you're saying I shouldn't ever sign you up for Haggis of the Month? Just kidding, mostly. But I wanted to mix in a lot of things that helped James to take the edge off of his anxiety and grief because in my mind that's how he copes.
James was always portrayed as a spoiled, somewhat bratty and intensely competitive child. So even after he grew up a bit to court Lily, I still feel like some of those traits are lingering alongside his more noble characteristics. "Losing" at the moment that it mattered most in his life must have been very hard for him to accept.
Painful as it was to write, I honestly think that Lily and James would have expected Harry to be raised by the Longbottoms and surrounded by their old friends. They had no way of knowing why Harry survived and how that required, at least in Dumbledore's mind, that Harry live with his only remaining blood relatives. They also had no way of knowing the awful fates that awaited Sirius, Frank and Alice. It's all immensely sad.
I think it would have been incredibly difficult for James to accept the truth about Peter's betrayal. Peter had essentially been following James and Sirius around like a puppy for ten years by this point.
There is no canon information on how long Frank and Alice lived, at least as far as I know. Since they lived a very quiet life under constant medical care, it could have been a really long time.
I'm really glad that you enjoyed the story and the perspective I told it from. Like I said in the author's note, it was heavily influenced by Jami's story Before They Fall, so you might like that, too. Thanks for reading and reviewing! Report Review
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