Hello, again, darling! It seems like I was just reading this yesterday. Probably because I was. ;)
You find the best opportunities to get Lily off by herself and give us more and deeper insight into her character. She really has found something she enjoys here, hasn't she? It's so incredibly sad to think what a great healer Lily could have been if not for that thrice-damned prophecy. Or most any other career she chose to pursue, for that matter. Yet she's humble about the whole thing. Even in her own thoughts, she keeps some perspective and a level head about things. I see so much of her in Harry.
And she is completely, 100% correct. Even if McGonagall had stuck her cleaning trophies with Filch, it was worth it to curse Rosier. So very, very worth it.
Ooh, things just got juicy! So Remus has come in needing treatment after one of his transformations, or so it seems. And Lily is in the perfect position to learn a little more about everybody's favorite furry Marauder. The poor guy sounds really banged up. I guess James, Sirius and Peter weren't able to control him especially well the night before.
You did a fantastic job writing Remus in this. He came across so warm and self-deprecating, but with the strength of character that I always love seeing in him. He's trying to protect everyone from the horrible burden that he carries, not least of all Lily. The lie he tells her was pretty transparent, but I suppose it was the best he could do under the circumstances. I liked the way you paced yourself during their discussion, using the sting of the salve to introduce pauses where Lily could reflect on some of what she was hearing. His story is already sort of tenuous at that point. Then Pomfrey tries her best to cover for him, but it was definitely too late.
I loved the conversation that Lily and Remus had after Madam Pomfrey leaves. She's firm with him, but sensitive and caring. Those are fantastic traits for any Healer -- or any mother. She lets him know that she's not buying his story, but she does it in a way that's not threatening at all. If and when he does finally tell her, I think you've set the moment up beautifully. For Remus's part, he doesn't jump too quickly to embrace her offer, either. As much as she tries to reassure him that nothing is going to change their friendship, Remus has lived far too difficult of a life to accept a statement like that at face value. You are absolutely right: Remus Lupin is old and wise beyond his years.
Ah, so she does have a good idea about the truth. It's funny how she manages to take Snape's vengeful, bitter revelations -- he's 'Snape' when he's being bitter and vengeful, not 'Severus' -- and actually make something positive out of them. The metaphor she uses about the little boy who's been attacked by the monster... GAH! Does she even know how apropos that is? I mean, I guess she can sort of figure it out, since he's been a werewolf for as long as she's known him. But that was unintentionally brilliant on her part!
Aww.. she actually cries for him after she leaves the Hospital Wing. That's so sad, but it's so Lily. She feels for everyone.
Belle is another one who has a strong tendency to subjugate her own needs and feelings for the good of others, which is an interesting contrast to making her a very outspoken, girly-girl character in other respects. You continued to do a fantastic job of building that inner conflict she's burdened with and layering on more of the experiences that define her. No matter how horrible her family has been to her, she struggles not to slip back into the mindset where it was all her own fault. All kidding aside, Sirius and I need to hop on the flying motorbike, blast across the English Channel and lay a powerful hexing on these people!
Oh, my. It seems that there's a very real possibility that I may be able to live this desire vicariously through Sirius. I mean, sans the motorbike, but he's actually convinced her to let him escort her to France! This is a very exciting development, but I'm getting a bit ahead of myself.
I think the 'takes one to know one' dynamic you've created between Belle and Sirius is a great, great thing. They're such kindred spirits, which always makes a budding romance easier to buy into. He does such a good job of dissecting her inner conflicts and figuring out what she needs to do about them. Drawing on his own, tormented life experiences, he's able to help her see the wounds that remain to be healed. And to top it all off, he knows just the right buttons to push to get her excited about the project. Sirius Black, you sly dog, you! OK, that was a bad pun...
You keep setting up these amazing moments that I expect to enjoy in future chapters, which really keeps my excitement and anticipation level high! That's the mark of a great story-teller. It's always a pleasure to work with you on this story, even when I am running on fumes. Hope I didn't miss too many typos. ;) Until next time, dear!
Author's Response: Hahaha I think you should get award for being the only beta reader out there that could deal with me... :P. I'm going to have to mail you a massive, car sized cake or something.
I think Lily really would have made a great Healer. She's logical but still emotional, and she's smart. But like you said, she really could have done anything. I will bring her love of healing into the next book quite a bit. Of course she won't go to the training, but she'll spend a solid amount of time volunteering at St. Mungo's. Her and James had to have done something other than Order work. So I though volunteer care would have been right of her alley.
I'm so happy you picked up on Pomfrey trying to cover for him. I think if she'd have realized/remember how close Lily and him were she wouldn't have told Lily to help, but then after she did it was too late. Lily's little mind can't be turned off :P
I think that's what Lily doesn't understand in this. She is such an accepting person, and again logical. So understands that Remus's condition has nothing to do with him, and that it's, somehow, being managed. It breaks her heart to face the fact that Severus was right, but not because she hates him for it, just because it's truly tragic. And I totally agree about him being Snape when he's like that. Haha. He was Severus for me during Pixi's novel, but that's because she took away the part of him I hate the most -- his obsession with Lily. Remember in chapter four when he told her the story she was crying about her parents? That's where she's turning that around from. Although now that I think about it, I think I should go back in this chapter and edit a 'clicking' moment to remind us that she'd already heard that story...
Hahahahah I think Sirius may have gotten a chuckle out of your sly dog pun ;). I'm so happy you liked the kindred spirits connection though. From the point that I decided I want a 'Belle' and for the certain purpose that you know she'll eventually serve, I wanted to go the opposite route from what I see Sirius with a lot. A kind, sweet girl who wants to save and heal him. I wanted belle to be beautiful, because Sirius is shallow. Yes, he has a great heart and would do anything for his friends, but he would still be more attracted to beauty first than personality. But I wanted there to be something real between them that only they could understand. Poor Belle. She has to take quite a bit from me into this story, doesn't she? Naughty author.
Hahaha I still can't believe you were even able to beta read this in time. You're awesome, and I'm terrible for putting that kind of pressure on you.
I wish I could say I was sorry... but... we both know it would be a lie ;)
Thank you so much Dan for all the amazing help you. I wouldn't be half a motivated to work on this without you, you know.