Hey, this is Beeezie, here with your review! :)
Okay. I have some conflicted feelings about this - some things I thought you did really well, and others I think could use some work.
The premise is really interesting, and I think that you executed the basic structure well. It's a different look at how James and Lily got together, and I think that it's a compelling one.
However, there were points that I found confusing. Why were they off in that situation in the first place if they were seventh-years? And, if it was after Hogwarts, why weren't they going out? That part confused me. I also wasn't always sure how big the leaps of time were, and would have liked something to ground that, you know?
The use of unforgivable curses also bothered me a little. There are other ways to kill a person, and Avada Kedavra was illegal. That either James or Lily would stoop to use it and even be able to use it struck me as a bit off. Harry couldn't use the Imperius curse very well because he didn't really mean it. I think that James or Lily meaning it enough to be successful was a bit off, and also struck me as letting an opportunity slip by - in some ways, knowing that they could kill without meaning to might be harder to accept, if that makes sense.
I also would have liked to see a little more romantic interaction between Lily and James. While this is in a war, it's not like they decided to get together as some defensive strategy - they did love each other, and I'd have liked to see more of that.
On the whole, though, I did like this. I found the idea compelling, and I think that showing them at their darkest hour gave their relationship a great spin. I just wish that at points, you'd gone a bit deeper. :)
Author's Response: You brought up some really great points and I'm sorry that it's taken so long to get to your review - I've been through the story a couple of times now, adding a few things here and there to add clarity. It seemed that with a few points you made, the issue was that the image I had in my mind didn't quite make it to the page. It happens a lot with me, so it was great to find someone to point these things out - give me a good crack over the head to knock some sense into me, so to speak (Lion King references are always relevant, I find). Thanks very much for your honesty - I appreciate it!
One of the things that didn't get fleshed out enough, as you said, was the idea that Lily had indeed dated James in seventh year, but their relationship wasn't yet full-blown - it was almost so, but she was still often annoyed with his behaviour. He couldn't change his behaviour entirely - as the books even said, he still bullied Snape and others, but tried to hide it from Lily - so while I don't mention the exact incident that has bothered her at the beginning of this story, it is something serious enough for her to publicly deride him, even while, inside, she does work hard to repress her (rather unwilling) love for him.
I agree that there should probably have been more romance. I wanted there to be, but for some reason, it never fit into the story. There are many subtle moments of it throughout, but it's never full-blown. At the end, they do kiss (the shadows merging together symbolizes this), but it didn't feel right to me to make it an explicit, sweeping scene because James had just killed a Death Eater - it made me uncomfortable to do that, so I focussed on the abstract instead (which I do a lot of in my stories, as much as it bothers readers who prefer a more straight-forward approach).
As for the use of the killing curse, I hadn't thought of what you said before, and it took me a while to figure out an explanation. Yes, both of them are "good", but when it comes to a moment of great need, even of desperation, wouldn't the right feeling be there? Can't all people, no matter how good, feel that amount of hate for a thing, an idea (as the Death Eaters represent, which Lily states at one point when she discusses how she only sees the mask, not the person beneath - that's an important part of it), that they can kill? Harry isn't a great example of a normal person in this instance because, while he may be fallible, he's got too much goodness in him - so much that he could never kill, never harm unnecessarily. Dumbledore can kill; Sirius can kill; even Snape can kill. Even though I often see Lily as, like Harry, a super-human figure of goodness, in this story, I was looking at her darker side. At one point in the writing process, I even considered making her enjoy the killing, but there I balked - a little too far, that would go.
I don't really know how else to add depth to this story. It seems all depth at times, perhaps lacking surface (which may be the problem, actually - too much poetry, not enough... realness). This story may have been better off as a two-shot or something longer, so that I could fully flesh-out the canon issues. I've always had trouble with one-shots in this regard, trying to put too much into a single story, and that may be the problem here.
Anyway, thanks again for reading and reviewing this! I appreciate it! :D