I'm not even sure I know where to begin. This was gorgeous and heartbreaking, Susan! It's definitely a departure from canon in that Lily and James don't get together during their seventh year, but I like the idea of them (well, mostly Lily) growing to love each other in the midst of a war and not hidden behind the walls of a school.
I'm going to try and go in some sort of logical order in terms of things I wanted to point out.
"One knife had been thrust into her heart before – the power of a single, impetuous word – and she would not let her guard down again, even if it meant sacrificing her last chance at happiness." I liked how you showed how much Snape's dismissal of her, calling her a Mudblood, really affected her and her idea of love and that she could never have it.
Lily is so different in this story than what I've usually seen. I've seen conflict between her and James, but nothing of this intensity. It's interesting that she says there is no hatred behind them but the venom behind her words towards James speaks otherwise. It kind of irks me how stubborn she is, how she doesn't want to listen to James just because he's James, you know?
I had a bit of an issue with this sentence: And yet she had no choice but to fight alongside of this belligerent, arrogant, selfish prat who had worshipped her from the first. Or so he said. - I think you should take out the 'of' after alongside and I'm not sure what you mean by "from the first." First what?
Also: "It was not quite door, but they used it as such," - there should be an 'a' after quite.
At first, I had trouble coming to grips with Lily being capable of killing someone. She's still so young and it was disconcerting that someone her age could have enough anger to use an Unforgivable Curse, because you really have to mean it for it to work. But I think the subsequent descriptions of the rage and the desperate need for survival made it a bit more believable. It made me sad, thinking of James looking at her with disappointment, with disbelief that she was capable of using such a curse on someone. I like the line about "those spots that did not come off", it's like when you kill someone and even though you've washed your hands, you feel like you can't wipe the blood clean from them (not that I know this personally, ha!). In that little bit of the story, you also used 'knife-edge' twice so that repetition threw me off a bit. I don't think normally it would bother me but because 'knife-edge' is something you don't necessarily use very often, having it used twice in such a short span is definitely noticeable.
Then later, I really loved this description of how the death affected her: "A dusting of freckles across the backs. The lines tracing her fate across the palms. But all stained with blood. All. Forever. The mark of Cain was upon her." You have such a way with words. :)
I like how James is so determined to figure out what happened to Dearborn - something to focus on in the midst of a war. And Lily thinking that he was the best of them all because he was still innocent, still hadn't killed anyone. I'm pretty sure I'm going out of order here, but since I mentioned James's innocence... gah, the idea of Lily wishing to go back in time and wishing she could forgive Snape, to still feel innocence. It just breaks my heart that she would join Voldemort just for that once chance.
I also loved this sentence, I think it was beautifully written and a great way to encompass their relationship: "They were on the margins of her memory in comparison to this wizard, this man, with whom she spent her time, her life, with whom she would spend the rest of her days, given the choice." But I am kind of confused - I feel like I'm not sure how much time has passed, like Lily's had a change of heart and there has been no reason for it. Like she's gone from being angry at him all the time, to wanting to be with him forever, you know? Maybe it's just me.
Oh, and then when James killed his first person and he talks to Lily about how he feels inside, and Lily tells him that they need to feel guilty because then they're not like them. I love that she throws his own words back in his face to remind him what side they're on.
I'm not sure where exactly it was either, but I love the idea of describing them as "patchwork". I think it's an interesting term but it reminds me that they're not all whole - that they've had pieces of their soul taken away with each person they've killed.
Then the end, finally bringing them together. It was perfect. Finally. A little bit of light in the darkness. They're raging against the dying of the light.
I really did adore this story, Susan. I think you've taken such an interesting period in time to bring them together. I've forgotten how beautiful and fluidly your writing flows. I'm glad this didn't make me sob like Amaranthine did, but I can definitely see a bit of the influence in your story. I love that you used Dylan Thomas, sort of, for your title and Hamlet reference! You should write more Lily/James, by the way. :)
Author's Response: Oh gosh, Missy, this review! You're killing me, though I guess I deserve it after giving you so many long essays. But really, how do I respond to this? For one, you deserve a huge thank you for this. It means a lot to hear from you, and it has meant a lot since the beginning 7 years ago. That we're both still here says a lot, right? ;)
I've fixed the things you mentioned - it's a story that's needed far more work than I expected, probably because it was rather outside my comfort zone. Usually, I would have written this from James's perspective, but I keep wanting to challenge myself and write Lily. You see the results of that here. :P She's so hard to write! I can't believe it! But I'm glad that things such as her ability to use the killing curse were properly explained within the story. At one point in the planning process, I even had her pegged a Death Eater vigilante, enjoying the kill. That really wouldn't have worked, would it? Some ideas should just never get out of bed. :P
It's wonderful that you liked so much of this story. It's far from perfect, but a few bits of good stuff found its way in. I couldn't resist the Dylan Thomas allusion, not only because you'd come back and I always think of Yeats and Thomas when you're around (I wonder why? :P), but also because that image of Lily and James fighting against that dying light was an amazing opportunity to explore their characters ad their relationship in a new way, in a darker way, to be exact.
Thank you again for reading and reviewing this! It's made many of my days to read and re-read this review. ^_^