Reading Reviews for Waiting Room
  
25 Reviews Found

Review #1, by lovethepotters Green Eyes Against Blinding White

17th April 2014:
Hi! I'm reviewing from the review thread in the Gryffindor CR :)
I hope you don't mind my rambling review but WOW, this is such an amazing e one-shot!

I think you've got James' character spot on, so kudos to you! I couldn't help but laugh when he initially thinks he's in hiding because of a prank - seems like a very Marauder-ish thing to do :)

However, I couldn't help but feel sorry for James when he realises the inevitable - that he's dead and there's nothing he can do to protect Lily or Harry anymore. It was even more moving when he came to realisation gradually, instead of all in one go. I think you wrote that part of the story really well!

The addition of Lily was a lovely touch too! It was nice, yet sadly poignant, to see both of them discuss Harry's future, knowing they won't get to see him grown up. I love how you also had Lily slowly explaining to James what must have happened to the both of them. She obviously connected the dots more quickly than James did, which I think was nice for highlighting their differences!

I'm guessing Lily's quote "part of me feels like thereís something... left. Something that I still need to do" is to do with the Resurrection stone (and if so), I think that it's a clever link to HP7 :)

A little bit of CC: You switched between first and second person in the first paragraph (I know, I'm really nit-picking here sorry), I think it would flow better if you changed it :)

Otherwise this was such a good read, I thoroughly enjoyed myself! Thanks for sharing :D

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Review #2, by TheHeirOfSlytherin Green Eyes Against Blinding White

24th March 2014:
The loss of memory just makes the fact so much worse somehow, because we know and we're just waiting for the character to catch up. And we let them try to figure it out and then they panic, but we still wish it was a horrible dream and we're waiting, begging for them to wake up. Only they're not. And then BAM, it hits them like cold water and we're crying all over again.

Poor James, he's bringing out all the facts but not putting it all together, just that he's dead and he doesn't know about his wife and baby yet and, gah, it's so sad. I don't want him to be a shell of who he was, stuck in this white place alone, I want him alive and happy and with his family. ;(

It's not his fault. Can I hug him? I'm gonna hug him.

Lily! I was so scared he was gonna be alone for a minute. But she's here and they know Harry's alive. It makes me feel just a little better.

And they know about Peter. I know there's nothing they can do about, being dead, but I wondered if James was going to yell or try to do something, and then he just surrendered to it, asked Lily why, and that just felt way worse than anything because there's nothing he can do and can only wonder why. It felt like a very big impact on this story. At least, to me.

I kind of hope they never find out Sirius goes to Azkaban. And I wish Harry had been able to go to Frank and Alice's.

And now they wait. :(

I loved this so much!

Sam.

Author's Response: Gah! I feel horrible, taking so long to get to all of these reviews. At least the unanswered reviews page of the Archives isn't giving me a headache with its color scheme, unlike the rest of the site.

Some psychologists believe that the brain uses forms of amnesia to protect a person from memories that are too terrible to deal with. I won't say for sure whether that's what's happening with James at the start of this, but it's certainly a possibility. I never like to make a reader cry, but I'm glad that you could feel James's pain when he figures out what's happened.

Feel free to hug him as much as you want. :)

It's funny how long it took me to write the section of this where James is alone compared to how long it took to write the rest of it. Once Lily arrives, I felt more relaxed and things just sort of flowed better. I think perhaps I empathize with James a lot more than I realize.

It didn't take Lily too long to work things out regarding Peter. Which is good, because I don't think James could have gotten there on his own. He's just too used to thinking of Peter in such a way that he could never imagine the backstabbing little rat betraying anyone.

My first draft of this story was actually longer. After some amount of time -- I don't think the passage of time is very linear in this place -- Sirius joins them and then Remus. And I had it in my head that at the moment Harry uses the Resurrection Stone, he would sort of "appear" in their world just as they appeared in his. I just couldn't get it to work out right. I'm pretty happy with where I ended it.

I'm glad that you liked it! Sorry for taking so long to respond. Thanks for reading and reviewing!


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Review #3, by blackballet Green Eyes Against Blinding White

14th February 2014:
ugh this is so amazing! I can't believe how long this was because I felt like it went by in a flash. I love James' characterization in the beginning and the fact that he still couldn't believe that Peter would do such a thing.

I also loved how Lily was portrayed as the one who would have it all figured out, because I sometimes forget how smart she is supposed to be.

I really love this and all your details are extremely well developed and well placed.

Can't wait to see more from you!

Author's Response: Hi, there!

The length of this one really got away from me as I was writing, so I'm glad that it didn't drag. I just enjoyed all of the little thoughts and details so much, I couldn't stop myself.

The sort of complimentary personalities you see here are how I've always imagined James and Lily. The brash, impulsive, somewhat irresponsible pureblood rich kid and the cautious, thoughtful, pragmatic muggle-born. The go so well together!

I'm really glad you enjoyed it! Thanks for reading and reviewing!


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Review #4, by FredWeasleyIsMyKing Green Eyes Against Blinding White

12th February 2014:
Hey Dan

Tagging you in the review thread in the CR!!

So... Lily and James... How have I not read this? All I can do is apologise and dive into this review.

So, your start. Immediately it invokes a sadness in me as I can pinpoint where your starting this but I can't help but marvel at your descriptions.. Beautifully written Dan!!

When James is alone I really love how you let him work through all the possibilities that might have happened, particularly as he slowly pieces it together. The part with the pranks him and Sirius did to each other did make me smile though, I could imagine them both doing those things to each other!

As the truth finally hits him, I think his reaction is perfect. I actually wanted to cry for him because that realisation must be so hard for him. The way he breaks though, accepting he died but not being able to accept his wife and sons death is just so gutting. The way he thinks about them, it shows how selfless he really is and how much he loves them. It was so sad but so well written Dan.

He allows the grief to pull him under understandably but when he comes back to himself I like how you take him through the stages of grief, the bargaining in particular. He isn't satisfied though and constantly tried to piece together what happened, from what I have in my head for James, that's perfectly in character. I also love the whole paragraph about him being James Potter and not losing, again very in character.

Again his thoughts are with others as he realises that Sirius is going to take the fall for the betrayal which is of course what happens. Eugh, I can't bare it. Stupid Peter.

I was so happy when Lily appeared! Well happy and sad because obviously she's died too now but at least they have each other. She seems a lot calmer than James and like she's thought things through more, but I'm guessing by her red eyes she pretty much cried herself out.

Lily's very logical as she puzzles out what has/will happen. Cue more heartbreak as she guesses Harry will live with Frank and Alice (if only). It takes James a lot longer to come to terms with Peters betrayal but I like that you gave us some reasoning behind it. You showed us he was part if the marauders which of course he was. Too many people shy away from that fact and I'm glad you aren't one of them.

So I get the feeling that, even though they don't know it, they're actually waiting to appear to Harry in the forest when he calls them using the resurrection stone? Does that mean Sirius and Remus will join afterwards? I'd be fascinated with the possibility of reading more about that!

So once again you've written a beautiful piece Dan. Your characterisation is really strong in this, I loved James. Just yeah, a fantastic piece of writing.

" it's funny how she managed add just a touch of heaven to this insufferable hell. that line is perfect.

Also the whole section where James loves the fact his 1 year old son beat Voldemort was perfect - it did make me giggle!!

Lauren :)

Author's Response: Hi, Lauren!

I tried to be a little mysterious about the starting point of the story, but I guess the flash of green light sort of gives it away. That's alright, I guess. I'm not overly put out by people figuring it out early. Everyone will sooner or later.

I can't imagine that "waking up" in the afterlife wouldn't be a confusing experience, especially after such a sudden and unexpected end to one's life. So I wanted to capture a lot of that confusion and let him try to work his way through all of the unresolved questions.

When the truth does finally dawn on him, that part was hard to write. It's not very difficult to put myself in his position and ponder all of the moments in Harry's life that he's going to miss out on. It's heartbreaking stuff. Then to realize how his death is going to impact others, like Sirius, makes it even tougher. It's a pretty good thing that Lily arrives when she does.

I really enjoy making Lily the voice of reason in their relationship. It's just how I think of her. She's the one who's more likely to be able to think through a situation logically and come up with very plausible ideas of what's happened to them and what's going to happen to Harry. Plausible, but sadly not correct, I'm afraid. Another aspect of the tragedy of Harry's childhood is that fact that I'm pretty sure James and Lily would have been horrified by how things ended up. To see their son raised in an environment devoid of love and support... just awful.

You're absolutely correct about what they're waiting for and it's funny that you mention Sirius and Remus. My original idea was for this story to be longer. To have Sirius and then Remus arrive in the Waiting Room and then have Harry sort of "appear" in their world at the same time that they "appear" in his. But I decided that I like this ending better. It leaves things a bit open-ended for the reader to ponder.

I loved every bit of making James cocky and snarky in this. Even after he's dead, I don't think that part of his personality goes away. Heck, I enjoyed writing it all! I'm really glad that you enjoyed it. Thanks for reading and reviewing!


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Review #5, by Akussa Green Eyes Against Blinding White

4th February 2014:
Hello!

This was such a moving piece, I have tears rolling down my cheeks right now so, not cool Dan, not cool!

I really like the idea of this story, it's always nice to imagine that there is something after death, a moment where you can make piece with whatever just happenend to you and the ones you left behind.

I quite liked James fragility in this. He isn't coping well with his death and leaving his son and friend behind and I think that is very in-character for him. He always was one that wore his heart on his sleeve and would give everything to ensure his friends and family were happy so to imagine him leaving them behind and in such a mess would be very unsettling for him.

I like how Lily was the pragmatic one, calming him and bringing him to reason in this. There relationship was vibrant and very well presented.

I loved the pranks that James and Sirius did to each other, it's so fitting to imagine that they messed with each other for fun as well as pranking the rest of the world.

Just a great, great piece that got me emotional but I enjoyed immensely,

Author's Response: Hi, Akussa!

You know I hate to make anyone cry, but I'm always glad to know that a story had an emotional impact.

I wrote this after reading a few different afterlife stories that involved other characters, and it seemed to me like James and Lily left this plane of existence with a lot of unanswered questions and unfinished business. I was strongly considering making this longer, having Sirius and Remus both arrive in the waiting room and then taking them up to the moment where Harry summons them with the Resurrection Stone. But somehow it just felt better to end it here.

I'm pretty sure that opening up and showing his vulnerability was a necessary step for James to finally win Lily's heart. More than just wearing his heart on his sleeve, he had to really take down his walls of bravado and let her know what he was really feeling. By the time Voldemort killed them, he had probably gotten pretty good at it.

I've always thought of Lily as being the pragmatic voice in their relationship. It just seems like the way she would be.

The pranks were a trip to write. Most fun part of this not very fun story, hands down.

I'm really glad that you enjoyed it and sorry for any tears I inflicted upon you. Thanks for reading and reviewing!


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Review #6, by AnnabellSkyLee Green Eyes Against Blinding White

26th December 2013:
This is so beautiful. And heartbreaking. I guess bittersweet would be a good adjective. Thank you for the feels.

Author's Response: Hi, there! I'm really glad that you enjoyed it. Thanks so much for reading and reviewing!

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Review #7, by HollyStone73 Green Eyes Against Blinding White

7th November 2013:
Ok...I am REALLY going to try to get through this review without gushing like a silly schoolgirl...No promises though...

I absolutely LOVE what you have done here. While the whole concept of making James & Lily wait in a scary white waiting room for so long is really sad, I long the concept of it. The fact that Lily know that she has "unfinished business" to help Harry is just perfect.

The way that you personified James throughout all of this was simply perfect! While we never saw much of him in the novels, from what little we did see or hear of him, you have matched him as close to cannon as anyone could hope for. Him brooding over the fact the he is James Potter and he never loses, comparing Harry's weight to the quaffles & even him reflecting on the pranks that him & Sirius used to play on each other all add amazingly personal

I absolutely love the interactions between James & Lily and how willing he is to allow he to see the more fragile and broken hearted side of himself that we know he would never allow anyone else to see. The fact that he is more than willing to endure the waiting room now that he is with Lily is just priceless.

All-in-all an amazingly well-written & emotional piece. I throughly enjoyed reading it as I have other pieces you have written! You most definitely have a gift with words and I am glad that you choose to share those words with the rest of us!! Great job!

Author's Response: Hi!

I wrote this after reading a few "afterlife" stories on various sites. I thought it was a really interesting concept to explore -- what James and Lily might have made of their situation and Harry's -- if they'd had a chance to talk it over.

I'm really glad you like my take on James. Most of my head canon on the guy comes from Jami's story Before They Fall, but I did try to make him a bit more grown up and perhaps a little more emotional here. After all, he's experienced fatherhood **and** he just died. I think that would tend to make a person a bit emotional.

He is absolutely willing to show his fragile side to her, just as she's willing to share her insecurities and the part of her that's less put together with him. For the two of them, as long as they're together in the same place, well, things could be a lot worse. ;)

Thank you so much for all of the compliments. This was pretty rewarding to write, and I'm glad you enjoyed reading it. Thanks for the lovely review!


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Review #8, by toomanycurls Green Eyes Against Blinding White

14th October 2013:
Wow - this is a rather beautiful piece about death and a potential afterlife for James and Lily.

The confusion he starts with is quite well done. I got a good laugh as he replayed pranks he and Sirius had played on each other as adults. ^_^ It made me feel a bit of light-hearted happiness. Aww, I'm sure Moony could get up to some good pranking (but I am glad that he overall did not see Remus as a threat).

His reaction when he starts to figure out that they died. The 'no, no, no' really fits James for some reason I can't quite identify. Maybe it's his personaility, maybe it's his age. I thought his steps to make himself wake up were tragically sad. I love that you manage to weave in humor to a scene. I mean, the part about Lily possibly snoring and the Indian take out got me laughing while the overall story is sad.

You managed his grief at the realization that he's dead quite well. His panic for his family was really well done. It might be good to add a bit of what he'd specifically miss about them. Would he miss seeing his son grow up or growing old with Lily?

This is quite an existential bit of writing. I really like how he starts to go into his holding out to see who will take care of Harry game. My husband and I do that when the cats meow at the door. Ah, the sad realization he has that Sirius will take the blame is horrendously sad. :( His thoughts through that seem quite in line with that I'd expect.

I really like that Lily knows they're dead and that Harry is okay. It's another heartwarming and breaking moment you've captured between them. I like that you've managed to show their love for one another despite them being in a weird dead state.

I'm not sure anyone besides Dumbledore knew who made the prophecy.

Is it because he's in the dead ether that he forgets he realized Peter betrayed him a bit earlier? I'm guessing that's it. His mind seems awfully foggy. I really like that Lily is rather on top of her game and James is kind of stuck in a fog.

Their talk about what would happen to Harry and how he'd grow up is beautiful. I think you've managed to capture what two parents would think through once they realize they're dead. The only thing I'd expect to see more of is grief that they're going to miss out on their son's life and talk through some key events they won't see.

Author's Response: Hi, there!

Aww, that's so nice of you to say! I was rather proud of this one. It was my first foray into Marauders-era.

I wanted to try to build up to the heavy stuff instead of battering the reader with it right away. Taking James through the thought process of trying to decide whether he'd been pranked seemed like a good way to easy into thing. And I'm sure Moony did have his moments.

For me, most of James's reaction boiled down to the fact that he would have had a hard time accepting it was possible. Like he says, he's James Potter. Throughout his life, he's always come out on top in the end. And now he's lost everything. Coming to grips with that would have been a big step for him.

I've played that "holding out" game quite a few times with my wife when our boys were small. And I think the realization about Sirius was one of the sadder aspects of the story.

Since this is all told from James's perspective, I think Lily probably comes off as a little more put together and sure of herself than she was actually feeling, but I don't mind that. She does have better insight into these emotional moments than he does. It's just in her nature.

The conversation about who would raise Harry was the saddest part of all for me. What they're thinking about Harry's future would have made a lot of sense to them because they don't really understand what's happened. If Voldemort was truly gone, there would have been no reason to send Harry to the Dursleys.

I'm really glad you enjoyed the story. Thanks for reading and reviewing!


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Review #9, by Izzy Green Eyes Against Blinding White

29th September 2013:
Hey, I don't know if you still remember me but if the name 'Izzy' rings any sort of bell to you...it's me! :)

I haven't reviewed any sort of fanfiction for months now and I thought it'd be a good idea to do one today. So, naturally, the first author name that pops in my head is yours and when I saw that this was a James/Lily fic I was so in. This review is going to be a bit lame because I don't know what to say anymore but I promise I'll try my best.

My favourite part of the whole thing was when James started counting to ten. He had such soul-crushing hope there (that's how I saw it anyway) that he was just in a dream because he couldn't be without his Lily and Harry. I almost teared up as he finally began to process everything; that he was dead and he could do nothing but sit there and hope for the very best that his family weren't dead.

And he was so so worried about Lily. He wanted Lily to live so much, to be there with Harry because he couldn't be. But then bam, Lily's there too, right next to him and my heart just broke. (Just take all my feels, please. I do not need nor want them anymore.) You would think that I'd be used to this by now since we all knew their fates before reading this story but still...I can't help it but be sad every time I read about their deaths, especially when their stories as well written as this.

Hmm...despite the seriousness and gravity of the situation though I really love the fact that James's humour was still there, and I found some sort of comfort in that. His little 'competition' with Lily, waiting for the other person to break and run to the crying Harry in other room. That made me smile but then the bit after that, how he'd give up a lifetime of sleep and everything else to hold Harry in his arms just killed me.

James's characterisation here was just perfect. (I'm sure that statement is debatable but meh.) I thought he wasn't too mature about his responsibilities and everything else because that would've just made the story a tad too somber, but he wasn't completely childlike either to the point that it would've taken the seriousness off the story. In short, he was completely well-balanced character. And I love how you gave light to his fatherly instincts as I read a lot of James/Lily stories where Lily often seems to be the only one that cared for baby Harry, but we all know that's not the case.

Speaking of Lily, she was the opposite of James. Calm. More rationalised. And she seemed to accept their passing faster than James did. I want to see so badly what went through her head during this time. She figured out everything pretty quickly about Peter being the traitor and reasoned herself out with James. One thing that bothered me though was when she said that Dumbledore will most likely bring Harry to Alice and Frank where he would be loved just as much as Neville was. I pretty much wanted to go into a foetal position upon reading that line. Ugh.

And the ending is just wow. I really can't express myself enough without overusing the words 'amazing', 'love' and 'wow' about just how fantastic this story is. Just ugh, can I borrow your talent next time we have a story to write?

So that's that. My lame review. Sorry if it was too...uhm...messy? I just really typed in the things that came to mind so apologies if they were a bit confusing. And if you do happen to remember me; I'm still around and I'll be back sooner than later to review some more of you goodies (I hope anyway!).

~Izzy x

Author's Response: Izzy! Like I'm ever going to forget you. No way! I always love seeing one of my all-time favorite reviewers pop in. Honestly, after the way I stomped all over your feels in CoB, I'm kind of surprised you keep coming back. I must be doing something right. :)

The scene where James is counting to ten was tough to write. The thing is, I could see myself doing the same thing in an unimaginably horrible scenario. A lot of the things James does before Lily appears are like that, but the part where he's still in denial was probably the worst. It would have to be nearly impossible at first to accept something so awful. :(

In my mind, I felt like James was horribly torn when Lily appears. In one way, his worst fears have been realized. Voldemort not only managed to kill him, but Lily and presumably Harry as well. In another way, he has to take a measure of comfort in the fact that he and Lily are once again together. And for somebody like James, that pleasure he finds in her company would have to come with a huge measure of guilt. He's a complicated guy.

To me, humor was the only thing keeping James sane. If he couldn't have his moments of dry humor, there really wasn't much of James Potter left. I know my wife and I have had that competition on more than one occasion, but the thought of not even being able to give one of my boys a hug again absolutely kills me.

Well, I guess nobody ever knows whether they've got James's character "perfect", since we don't have a whole lot to go on. I just let my head canon from Jami's story flow and that's always how I get to my James. When I write him, I always make an effort to keep in mind how young he and Lily were when they died. So many people write them as though they were already in their thirties when Harry was born, at least in terms of their thoughts and mannerisms. I do feel like parenthood and the war aged them a bit beyond their years, but you need to keep a good dose of immaturity in there, especially for James.

In my mind, Lily was emotionally exhausted by the time she and James find one another. She'd already cried all the tears she had to cry and she'd reached that shell-shocked stage of a traumatic experience that's easy to mistake for calm. Her mind was simply falling back on default behaviors at that point: being the steady, rational one. She just didn't have any emotions left in the tank, so to speak.

The bit about James and Lily believing that Harry would to go live with the Longbottoms killed me, as well. It's such a rational thing to believe, though, with Neville and Harry being exactly the same age and Alice and Frank being in the Order with James and Lily. Breaks my heart to think of the hellish years Harry spent with the Dursleys when he could have grown up loved and happy.

OK, so for the record, your review was not lame or short or messy. I enjoyed it thoroughly, as I always do when you're able to make the time. I cherish all of them! It is absolutely wonderful to know that you're still around, and I hope school and life are going really well for you! Thanks so much for the wonderful review.

Hugs,
- Dan


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Review #10, by soufflegirl99 Green Eyes Against Blinding White

19th June 2013:
This one shot is absolutely brilliant - the whole afterlife idea is really original, your characterisation is spot on and I think it was altogether a fantastic and incredibly touching one shot.

It's very effective the way you make it so that they don't remember much after dying - I love the steps in James' head as he mentally goes through the past days events and tries to recall how he died. That was very insightful, and introduced us to James in a very inventive way. I love the way you prtrayed the relief when they find each other, and how beautiful he sees her as. This really added to how realistic they were as a couple (amazingly so - you write Jily so well!) and also made it even more moving and sad with the fact that they died.

The whole title, and the way Lily's still waiting to give Harry advice, is extremely unique and clever. I love how it connects with a memory, that it refers to when Lily was pregnant, and you tied in brilliantly with the end; managing to also hint at what they'd be doing in the future, which is very hard in the afterlife!

The characterisation of James and Lily is perfect; I adore how you've written them as these caring, relaxed parents - and the quirky bits of humour you add in make this even more enthralling and engaging. Hilarious lines such as: "flailing my arms like a pissed off adolescent," really make it a less tense story and lets the reader kind of settle in to it more. I love how this funny side of him is, in contrast to how distraught he is when he realizes Peter betrayed them. Oh! That's another thing, I thought you made Lily and James discover the truth really well, not to mention showed a Ravenclaw side to Lily. It broke my heart as I read when James discovers Peter betrayed them, and I thought it was tragic when they thought Frank and Alice would bring Harry up.

The plot is flawless; engaging, riveting and extremely moving. I think it's definitely the sort of one shot that's memorable and stays with you long after you've read it. The characters are so relatable, and you can really empathise with them. Also, it's an awesome take on death and the afterlife, and has connotations of purgatory too. This has been a compelling and altogether heart warming/breaking at the same time one shot, that was an absolute pleasure to read.

Sophie :D

Author's Response: Hi, sophie!

Wow, you sure know how to make somebody feel good about themselves. :) This story started out as a combination of a sudden obsession with afterlife fics and a need to take a break from Detox for a while. An awful lot is written about James and Lily before their deaths, so I'm really glad you liked my little glimpse into what might have happened just after Voldemort killed them.

The human mind is adaptable in a lot of pretty amazing ways, and I thought that James's mind would probably want to shield him from the horrible realization about how he died for as long as possible. So he has to muddle his way through until the terrible moment when it all comes back to him.

I liked the idea that James and Lily would exist in a sort of purgatory for a time, waiting to be there for Harry when he needed them the most. They both sacrificed so much to give him a chance to live, it just seemed appropriate to me.

I'm really pleased that you liked my James and Lily. I definitely owe a lot of credit to Jami's Before They Fall for all of my head canon on the two of them. And I don't like fics that portray either one of them as *too* mature, since they were both 21 when they died. Of everything that happens in the story, I agree that their thoughts about how Harry's life would turn out was the saddest. There really was no way they could have known how awful parts of Harry's life would be. :(

Thanks for all of your kind words! I'm really happy that you thought it was good. Thanks for the lovely review!


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Review #11, by UnluckyStar57 Green Eyes Against Blinding White

8th June 2013:
Hey, hi, hello!!! I'm here with the review you requested a few days ago. I hope you don't mind a bit of gushing...

Well, first of all, I don't normally read James/Lily stories, because I don't like the way they seem to change in fanfiction. I can handle things that are not canon--in fact, I like things that are not canon, but Jily is just not one of those things. And, I'll be honest, when I saw that your story was called "Waiting Room," I was like, "Oh no, pregnancy!" because I'm not too fond of that, either.

BUT... I've read your work and I know that you're totally awesome and stuff like that, so I knew that whatever it was that you chose to write about James and Lily, it would kick butt with its amazingness. And I was right, and I'm glad that I was wrong about it being a pregnancy story, because I liked this story a whole lot better. (If that makes any sense.) :)

So... On to the story...

One of the things I really liked about it right away was that James described the whiteness as "bloody." I know he probably meant it in that British-y sort of terminological way, but still, it resonated. Because, whatever we may think, white is more representative of death than red is. Red is blood, red is life, red is vitality. White is... Corpses and purgatory and surrender. And death, of course. So juxtaposing the "bloody white" like that made me think of how James is still so alive in this story, even though he isn't alive. Even if that's not what you meant by it, I like to think of it that way. Thanks for doing that! :)

James' musings, how he can't quite remember what happened, are really realistic and true-to-form. Suddenly, it doesn't matter to me that we don't really know exactly what happened before Voldy came in or after James and Lily died--that's why we have imagination! And the tiny details: the Indian food, the Haggis of the Month Club, et cetera, just add so much more color to the story of the Potter family of Godric's Hollow. And you write it in a way that's SO James... Are you sure you're not a wizard or something? Magical. That's what you are!

You know, I feel like I should be feeling sad right now. Sad that they're dead, that they don't know what's going to happen to Harry (though they think they do), that they're stuck in some sort of purgatory... But I don't feel sad. Sure, James has a moment of defeat when he realizes that he's dead, and maybe Lily doesn't look so great, but they still survive, even in death. They're still hoping, they're still searching for the reason why they haven't been sent to heaven or hell yet. When Harry died at the hand of Voldemort, he was sent to a sort of purgatory, too, but he chose to call it King's Cross Station. James and Lily call it a waiting room, and that's hardly different--both the parents and the son had higher purposes, but James and Lily couldn't get on any trains. Of course, I don't know if it was your intention to juxtapose that, but (like the "bloody white" thing) it really adds something special to the story.

My favorite part is when Lily tells James that Harry defeated Voldemort, and he's all like "Oh yeah!!" (More explicitly, of course!) It was a bit of the living James coming out in the dead James, and it further cemented the idea that James is James, no matter what state of being he's in. Thank you for that!!!

All in all, 10/10, like everything you've ever written. You're brilliant, and if people don't tell you that at least once or twice a week, then they're just being stupid. :)

~UnluckyStar57

Author's Response: Hi, there! It's taken me a shamefully long time to respond to this. So without further ado...

I'm not a big fan of James/Lily stories that deviate from canon, either. OK, you caught me, I'm not a big fan of *any* story that's non-canon. But you're right, it's especially hard to stomach when it's James and Lily. And pregnancy stories with these two are definitely overrated.

I never thought about the color mismatch inherent in that description, but now that you mention it, I like it. Sometimes it's better to be lucky than good. ;)

I'm glad you liked all of James's stray thoughts. I think little things like that are really important when you're writing something in first person narrative, because that's how people really think. Your brain is constantly buzzing with stray thoughts and ideas. Well, mine is, anyway. I solemnly swear that I'm not a wizard. And, realistically, I couldn't tell you if I was. ;)

I went through a similar array of emotions when I was writing this, I think. I knew that I should feel really sad for James and Lily, but because they still had one another and the sense of purpose that came from knowing Harry was going to need them again, I couldn't really feel all that bad about it. I did think about the initial whiteness Harry sees before King's Cross sort of comes into focus, and perhaps it will just take longer for James and Lily. I had a draft of the story where they were in an ethereal version of the Forbidden Forest. In good time, Sirius would have arrived and then Remus. Then, when Harry used the stone, he would have appeared in their world just as they appeared in his. I liked the idea, but it was too complicated when I tried to pull it off, so I scaled it back and came up with the waiting room.

I absolutely loved the idea of James getting all excited about the fact that his son beat Voldemort. He's insanely competitive.

I'm really glad that you enjoyed the story. Thanks so much for the lovely review!


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Review #12, by LilyEPotter Green Eyes Against Blinding White

28th May 2013:
Hi!

This is a wonderfully sad story that had me crying within the first few sentences.

And how they are waiting at the end... brings to mind when Harry uses the Resurrection Stone.

Great story!

Author's Response: Hi!

Aww, I never like to hear that I made somebody cry. I am really glad that you found the story moving, though.

They are indeed waiting for Harry to use the stone, although they don't know that yet.

Thanks for reading and reviewing!


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Review #13, by HeyMrsPotter Green Eyes Against Blinding White

8th May 2013:
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!


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Review #14, by nott theodore Green Eyes Against Blinding White

14th April 2013:
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!


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Review #15, by caoty Green Eyes Against Blinding White

13th April 2013:
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!


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Review #16, by MissMdsty Green Eyes Against Blinding White

28th March 2013:
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!

Ral

Author'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!


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Review #17, by Toujours Padfoot Green Eyes Against Blinding White

20th March 2013:
D:

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!


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Review #18, by TheHouseElf Green Eyes Against Blinding White

17th March 2013:
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 ;)

~Aisha

Author'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!


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Review #19, by evans_4eva Green Eyes Against Blinding White

13th March 2013:
This was so sad I cried a little bit...but amazingly written and such a good idea for a story. Really enjoyed it. x

Author's Response: Awww... I hate to make anyone cry, but I'm glad you enjoyed it!

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Review #20, by Roots in Water Green Eyes Against Blinding White

13th March 2013:
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!


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Review #21, by Gabriella Hunter Green Eyes Against Blinding White

6th March 2013:
Hello!

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!
Much love,
Gabbie

Author'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!


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Review #22, by Remus Green Eyes Against Blinding White

1st March 2013:
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!

--Rosie

Author'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!


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Review #23, by Jchrissy Green Eyes Against Blinding White

28th February 2013:
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!


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Review #24, by teh tarik Green Eyes Against Blinding White

27th February 2013:
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 :)

-teh

Author'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!


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Review #25, by patronus_charm Green Eyes Against Blinding White

26th February 2013:
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!


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