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2014-02-03 4:56pm
This is a most interesting journey. A very good treatment of what could happen if it were possible to travel through time. We all do travel through time but it is in one direction and second by second. Very well written, plotted and imagined. Truly excellent.

Author's Response: Yes! you've picked out that important contrast between the "normal" travelling through time - the constant movement forward of linear time - and the time travel that Lily experiences: moving backwards in time, fragmented time, and cyclical time. She achieves self-actualization by living, not linearly, but cyclically, and she sacrifices herself to achieve it.

I'm very pleased to hear that you thought this a good treatment of time travel, and that you liked the story as a whole. Thank you for taking the time to read and review! :D
2014-01-22 6:04am
Just wanted to let you know that I thoroughly enjoyed reading this story.
Your characters are very original. You breathed new life into the characters of Alastor Moody and Lily Potter for me.
Lovely plot, you kept me guessing till the end :)

Author's Response: Thank you! I'm very pleased to hear that you enjoyed this story, and that you liked how the characters were portrayed. They are different from any way I've written them before, as well as from what I've read in other stories, which is always a risk in fanfiction.

It's also excellent that the plot kept you guessing. When writing it, I worried that it would be too obvious, but that's the trouble of being the one to create the twists - you never know whether they'll work.

Thank you very much for taking the time to read and review this story! I really appreciate hearing from you!
2013-11-08 6:30am
Great story!! I love reading stories with unexpected pairings and evolving plot lines. Throw in time travel and well I'm hooked. Keep up the good work :)

Author's Response: Thank you! I'm really pleased to hear that you enjoyed this story and it's fantastic that you liked it for those reasons. Those elements helped make this story a great experience to write - there's just something about time travel, complex plots, and unexpected pairings. :D
2013-07-29 1:53am
Good lord. No joke, this is the first time I have read a fan fic in several years. YEARS--this place used to be my LIFE. And today, I visited on a whim and chose at random from the Dobby Awards winners list, and got blown away. Thanks a million for this. Beautiful descriptions, out-there plot (in the best ways), great I tip my hat to you :). Keep at it, please! I'm definitely a fan.

Author's Response: Wow! Thank you very much for these compliments! It's fantastic that you picked out this story and that it had such an effect on you. It means a lot to hear how much you enjoyed reading this. :D
2013-07-10 5:41pm
This story was amazing - I truly don't think I will ever be able to think of Mad-Eye again without thinking that his madness resulted from the loss of his one true love too soon and believing that he died protecting the life of her father and therefore her life and their love and life together. I was so happy that he didn't have a bitter shrew of a wife as Lily originally thought and that Lily did not have to feel the fears and worries that she had imagined Moody's wife, as the wife of an auror, must have suffered, since she knew that he would outlive her. To be honest, I didn't like Lily very much during any of the parts during her own time, but came around to her during the bits with Moody - guess that's really where she was meant to be and where she was her best self. Mad-Eye throughout was fascinating and spot on as far as being true to the original character. A truly addictive and fascinating story - bravo!

Author's Response: Thank you so much! It's fantastic that people are still stopping by to read this story, and I'm particularly pleased to hear that your vision of Moody has been changed by this story. An important aspect of this story turned out to be giving him this history, which is far more complex and traumatic than I expected it would be. But it's also a very romantic history, like you've mentioned, and that's something people don't associate with Moody.

Your point about Lily is very accurate - she's not meant to be particularly likeable when she's in her original time. To a large degree, it's because she doesn't belong there, and something inside of her acknowledges this even before she comes to the cottage. So much of the story is founded on her psychological state and the transformation she undergoes as she's first guided through time, then takes it into her own hands, at last deciding her own fate.

Thank you again for reading and reviewing! It was wonderful to hear from you! :D
It was one of the best stories I have ever read. Thank you so much for sharing it with us.
At first I thought it was a bit mindboggling, to even imagine such a pairing. But it all falls into place, and makes so much sense. I loved the twist at the end, which wasn't that obvious from the beginning. Hell, the best part of this story was that it was so unexpected, we could only suspect some developments, but it was rather by the end of the story when everything was illuminated.
It was such a great read, and I'm definitely eager to read more of your stories soon! Again, thanks!

Author's Response: Wow! Thank you, it's wonderful to hear you say these things about this story!

The pairing does throw people off, though to me, the pairing was never the point of the story. It could have been any two characters divided by time, yet connected in some, I'll call it spiritual, way. The two of them just fit together in the end, and it was great to watch this happen as I was writing. :D

I'm really glad that the twists and unexpected nature of the story caught your interest - it's just what I was hoping for, to find a different way of writing a time travel romance.

Thank you again for reading and reviewing! It means a lot to hear that you enjoyed the story!
2013-04-02 10:21pm
I have to confess, I'm still a little confused about what exactly happened, mostly the ending... I probably can't see it exactly the way you did/do, but it was really beautiful nonetheless. Lily growing younger as Moody grew older and vice versa was tragic and brilliant at the same time. The story ended peacefully, which was lovely, and I loved the ending (confusing though it was) - I don't like many story endings, but I thought this one was really flawless. Awesome story!

Author's Response: Ah, the ending. I think you're right that it makes more sense in my head than it does on paper, but the idea is that time works in a loop - Lily creates her own future, using the cabinet, but abusing time travel eventually kills her. Time travel always makes timelines more complicated - one day I'll figure out how to make it work in a way that's easy to understand.

It's a wonderful compliment that you still enjoyed the story, even more incredible to hear that you've found the ending beautiful. I often don't write happy endings, but this one, I couldn't help but make it something special. That's why it means a lot that you liked it.

Thank you very much for taking the time to read and review!
2013-03-31 7:38am
I think I've started for an entire 5 minutes at the screen, thinking how to start my last review for this story. It's done> This is the end and I feel like crying. This is the first story that I've ever truly finished on the Archives. I have a habit of starting long stories, but never finish them. I feel happy that this was not the case. I don't think it could have been either because it was too much of an interesting story to NOT reach it's end.

I am both confused and thrilled with the ending. Confused because you divided the chapter in two different times and I don't know which shows the true ending. Although, considering this is a time travel story, I don't think there is any TRUE ending. Maybe they are just different dimensions? In any case, I'm going to go with the last one where Lily and Alastor are finally together. It gives the entire story a sense of a completed cycle that makes me all fuzzy inside.

I just love how you portrayed the house in the last part. At the beginning of the story, the house is introduced to us as a boring place, a space where Lily doesn't seem to fit in because she feels she has lost so much because of her foot injury. But it's not the house that's at fault I believe. It's the person living inside it. I think the phrase "beauty is in the eyes of the beholder" accurately explain what I'm trying to put through here. Having experienced so much since the start of her journey, meeting love and finally having the chance to be with him in the end, give the whole place a completely different atmosphere. Beautiful ending! LOVED IT!!!

Thank you Susan. Thanks for writing such a gripping story, with so many to learn from it and so many to take home with you. It was truly a pleasure reading this story

Author's Response: Wow, your first story! It means a lot that this story was able to keep you going right till the end - it's a problem that I have too with reading on the archives, so I understand. Thank you for coming back to read and review each chapter! :D

Is there ever a true ending? :P They are the end of the same story - the first is the literal end of Lily's life while the second is the end of the time travel narrative. The previous chapter introduced the adult Lily - who is the Lily from the portrait - and including her "ending" here brings the story full circle, reflecting how Lily's timeline goes in a circle (there's also the ring, another circle). I used to have a third ending, which shows Neville discovering the portrait, but it didn't fit as well as I would have liked.

Oh, I'm so glad that you liked the portrayal of the cottage in this chapter! It's so central to the story that it might as well be a character - it's always at once her home and her prison. She has that vision at some point about being trapped in the house, waiting for Moody's return - and even when she tries to escape from Moody, the house seems to prevent her. Yet at the end here it is the only place she truly belongs - at both death and rebirth, the cottage is beautiful, filled with light and love, and it gives her that happiness she sought for.

I can't express how happy your compliments have made me! :D It's fantastic to hear that you enjoyed this story so much! Thank you!
Ohai Susan! I felt inspired by your review responses today to come back and finish this story. Turn the last two pages of this intense adventure :)

Being so focused on Lily and Moody, I have never taken the time to REALLY look at the other characters from the story and understand what they must have been going through with Lily's condition. In a way Ginny, Harry and Neville are as much a part of this story as the two main characters. They are the characters that have taken the back seat but are as alive as Lily and Moody. It's actually really hard to be able to put yourself in their shoes and truly feel what they feel. I mean, you can empathize but it's not the same as living what they live. Ginny's constant worry for Lily. Harry's defeated self. Neville's own scars. It must be really hard for them to watch helplessly as their loved one struggles with ghosts of the past and shadows of the present and know that thee is not much they can do to help her. Change is in her own hands. It's her decision that determines how she will live her future, which brings me the last part of the chapter...

Is it okai if I say that I am utterly confused? Time travel really boggles my mind and I can't wrap my rational thoughts around it to be able to make sense of it. HOW was it possible for Lily to create this time cycle and meet her (past? future?) self? How is time altered in that way? But what I have realized this chapter is that one doesn't need to understand something to feel something. And if it's one thing this this chapter (and story by extension) doesn't lack is feels!

When you have the time, go back to the part in the story where you're talking about Lily finding the ring and putting it on. There's a tiny mistake there that by no means alters the story, but I noticed it while reading: "I wait, twisting the finger round and round my finger until, my eyes widening" - it's a minor mistake, but this was the only CC I could possibly offer you haha

I said I wanted to start giving more CC but I end up writing gushing novel length reviews again! But I seriously can't find anything to suggest to improve the story. The characters are as human as you could possibly make them (Lily so much that she just makes me want to slap her and shake her, maybe that way she will react haha...I want her to be happy!! I don't want her to mop after Moody for forever), the plot is mind blowing in it's complexion (the tip of my hat to you for making a time travel story work!) and the style flows perfectly. It almost feels like a poem written with a lot more words than a standard poem.

My burning question now is: what was her decision? What did she decide to do??? Ahh the cliffhangers! You like cliffhangers, don't you?

Author's Response: I'm finally catching up with your reviews! My apologies for taking so long. It's been a great experience to watch your progress through this story, and even better to see how much you've enjoyed it. ^_^

What you've said about the three adults is very important - I've wanted to highlight the way that they show their worry, but it never quite registers for Lily. If anything, she's annoyed by it and that's a problem - it's one of the ways of showing how disconnected she is from her world. These people have always been there for her and take extra time to help her, yet they can't make an impact, which demonstrates just how far gone she is, especially by this point in the story. One could compare her conversation with Ginny in the first chapter with her conversations here, none of which are ever completed. We never see what happens with Healer Patil or what Harry discovers at the Ministry - none of that matters to Lily. It was strange to write from the perspective of a character who is so out of place and alienated from the people who love her. It's painful to watch her because, by this point, there isn't any going back - there's no way to help her.

I hadn't quite thought of the story in this way, though. I wrote these chapters when watching two of my friends struggle with their own problems, and it was hard to be in that position of powerlessness. The adults in Ginny's life are divided between belief and uncertainty, and it reflects in their actions toward her - the support that Parvati, Harry, and Neville offer is in contrast with Ginny's more aggressive desire to pull Lily from this depression. I wish I could have written more about Ginny in this story - I still have an unfinished scene from the end of this chapter where Ginny confronts Lily, eventually letting her go. But it doesn't fit as well with the ambiguity that I want for the conclusion.

Okay, about the time travel... I find it just as confusing. It means that no matter what, Lily /has/ to go back in time - it's what Doctor Who (and probably also Doc Brown) would call a "fixed point". Once she enters the attic and discovers the trunks, she's already connecting herself with her future, especially when she examines the wedding ring. I've relied a lot on fate here, where she's driven to the cottage and then up into the attic. She was always meant to do those things because her history with Moody has already occurred. It's the mind-bending paradox of travelling into the past, the exact same problem that happens with Harry and Hermione in PoA - did Sirius actually die, or was he always saved? The movie does this really well by showing how Buckbeak's death never happened - the executioner's axe hit a pumpkin instead. Writing time travel to the past can easily drive someone crazy because it means having to rethink how one understands time - I've read Yeats's "Second Coming" enough to see time as a gyre, looping on its course. Coming at a time travel story with the belief that time is linear just would not work.

I've fixed up that mistake with the ring, thank you. :)

I do love cliffhangers - they're so useful in hooking readers along and also in giving me time to think about how to best deliver a conclusion that best satisfies the reader. :D I hope that the ending I chose works for you... *crosses fingers*

Thank you so much for reading and reviewing this story! Your novel-length reviews are lots of fun to read and respond to. ^_^
2013-03-19 3:17am
Before I make any sense of this review, allow me to gloat a bit. YES YES YES! It was Lily. It was LILY! I suspected it all along. You my lovely Susan, are a master of leaving enough hints to keep your theory going but not enough to be certain of it at any point. I haven't been this confused about something I thought I knew/felt in a long time. I guess your preference for mystery stories has paid off :D I am SO happy that I got it right...right? Because this is what I understood at the end of the chapter. That the woman in the mirror was indeed Lily from some other past, other dimension tainted with her decision to stay by Moody's side. You know what? No, I'm not going back to being confused again haha Lily is the woman in the miror! She's got to be her...

Okai so hopefully now I'll make more sense lol. I'm sorry it took me so long to come back and finish the story, but I promise now I won't leave before it's done. Reading this chapter reminded me why I loved it so much. I never realized I missed reading it, missed the puzzle I needed to complete. I loved the story so much that I guess deep down in my unconscious I didn't want it to end. So I took longer than allowed to finish it. But it's that moment, so here I am!

This chapter made me think so much about my own profession as a psychologist. Even if in the end I decided to work with adolescents on more palpable and provable problems, I have considered going the therapy road for a very long time. This chapter, or rather, the theme of the chapter (believability...what's the limit between fantasy and reality) brought back so many memories of my own questions, doubts that I felt like I was a younger version of myself for 10 minutes (I read a chapter this long in about 10 minutes; yes, I am a slow reader!). As a potential therapist, I have always wondered what my reaction would be if a client came to me with a story like Lily's, something so out there and improbable that you could hardly believe it to be true. Would believe the client or cling to what my training drilled in my brain since the beginning, that only what's proven stands as true? This is one of those questions that a straight answer couldn't possibly cover all the implications, intricacies of the answer. I think that I'd believe the client, which could prove detrimental for the treatment, but I couldn't see any other way. I have been brought up to second guess what reality really means (because in the end, what IS reality? isn't it subjective to everyone's own interpretation of the world?) and I was also always surrounded by religious members of my family. Needless to say that I am a religious person as well and that means believing in something that can't objectively be proven either. In light of that, how could I possibly have the audacity to doubt what someone else tells me?

Ok - enough philosophies. I get so carried away with these kind of subjects, it's not even funny haha. With all of that said, I felt a lot for both Lily and Harry this chapter. Especially Harry. We've been present at Lily's sufferings throughout the whole story, but this is the first real glimpse we have on how the family deals with her situation. It pained me to see that he hadn't recovered from the war. Not truly at least. In some way I imagine that's understandable and pretty probable. To live what Harry lived and still keep your sanity, well...I'd call that an accomplishment in itself.

OH, I am so eager to see what comes next. I need to know what will Lily do now! So I'm going to end this monstrously long review and get on with the next chapter lol

Author's Response: It may be ridiculously long, but it's the kind of reaction I was hoping this chapter would garner. I hadn't planned for the story to make this sudden turn, but after the previous chapter, I felt that it was necessary to explore the effect of the journey on Lily's mind. She was already weakened by depression, then to suffer that trauma at Moody's death... it proves too much. This is reflected in the narrative, which is why it's somewhat confused - Lily is not only uncertain, but doing her best to conceal things from her audience. She saw the portrait's face in the previous chapter, but she doesn't actually tell us (or rather Healer Patil) what it looks like. Then there is the more significant gap in Lily's story - what happens after the fire. It was very interesting to write a character who had forgotten part of her own story, and she never gets it back, but rather pieces it together based on the evidence. It's fascinating to do this with fiction and navigate the boundaries of storytelling. :D

The thing to do is not overthink things. :P The difference between the portrait and Lily is slight, primarily based on their age difference - the portrait has seen what happens after the story ends, and has no ideals or illusions left. The mirror was actually supposed to act as a replacement for the portrait - if Lily had seen the portrait, it would have been like looking into a mirror in the future (have you tried those aging programs? If so, it's rather like that).

I really like what you've said about looking at the story from the perspective of a therapist. There's nothing to disprove Lily's story - in fact, there's evidence to support it - yet it's also impossible. To Lily it's more real than the world she's returned to. There's that annoying saying about "losing one's grip on reality", but you've nailed it in asking what actually is reality? Everything depends on the individual and their interpretation of the world. To force Lily to believe that it was all a dream would be more detrimental than allowing her to continue with her "delusions".

Since you've already finished reading, I can mention here that the story can be interpreted in two ways: either the time travel was real or it was not. Because it's told entirely from Lily's point of view, it always appears as though it's real, but there are clues that point to the other interpretation, which inevitably leads to Lily's death by drowning. It depends on how the reader wants the story to end - happily with Lily reuniting with Alastor, or tragically with her madness, followed by suicide (where the final scene of the conclusion, filled with water imagery, is the vision she has as she dies).

It really is a crazy story. I was hardly able to keep myself sane while writing it! It's fantastic that you've enjoyed how this chapter turned out because it was one that particularly worried me - I wasn't sure how readers would respond to the change in tense and its effect on Lily's frame of mind. Thank you so much for reading and reviewing this story! I'm proud of it, and hearing any compliments make my ears pink. ^_^
2013-02-07 7:03am
Susan, what have you done with my heart? After this chapter it's shattered in thousands of different pieces never to be whole again. You can't imagine how I cried during this chapter. What I said may not be the most original line, but I did cry until my vision was so blurred that I couldn't see the letters any more! I can't imagine what's to happen next after this heart wrenching chapter.

Seriously, I think I only cried like this when Snape and Dumbledore died in HP and when characters from Game of Thrones die. Your Moody is up there with the best characters from my favourite two book series ever. It's fascinating how even though I KNEW he dies, and have read in Deathly Hallows that he dies, a scene like this can bring forth such emotion.

How much more is Lily going to go through? In only a day she lived more than some people live throughout their whole life. It's almost a cruel joke that this was what got her out of her boredom. I commend you for being able to transmit the feeling that between the moment we were first introduced to Lily, the crippled, bored girl and this moment, almost thirty years passed. It's not easy to convey that but you pulled it off so well!

Also, WHO IS THAT WOMAN IN THE PORTRAIT? It's driving me crazy haha. But more than ever I suspect it's her. I may be awfully wrong but I can't help but think that it's Lily. A Lily from the past that would have chosen to stay with him, surrender sense to feeling and forsake the perils of time. Another hint to her being Lily is that half of the woman's face is burnt. And I have a terrible feeling that the flame spell Lily cast bounded on her. That the winds were so powerful that they turned her flame towards her direction. I'm already dreading the next chapter if my hunches are right...

Author's Response: Ah, this chapter. Of a story of sad chapters, this is the most sad. First of all for the obvious reason, but also for its effect on Lily - she survives and goes on, but it can never be the same for her after this point, no matter what happens. I'm so sorry that this chapter made you cry, though! Yet it's also wonderful that the chapter was successful, that it did what I hoped it would.

What I liked about including this chapter is that, while it occurs only hours after chapter 2, it feels like so much more time has passed - thirty years, like you've said. And Lily has lived those years in fragments, transforming from that bored girl who had given up on her life into a hero. I don't want to say that she's grown up, but she has developed in other ways, and by having her return to 1997 - the first time she travelled to - we can see that development and its effect upon her decisions. By this point, she has found the answers to nearly all of her questions, even if she doesn't always tell her audience what those answers are.

The foremost of these omissions is the identity of the portrait. She has seen its face, but it's not clear whether she's repressed the knowledge out of fear, or whether she just doesn't want to tell anyone, even her audience.

Thank you again for reading and reviewing! I really look forward to seeing what you think of the next chapter. :D
2013-02-07 5:18am
Hullo! I'm back for more of this wonderful, wonderful story. I believe that this chapter marked the middle of the tale and from now on, we'll go back in time, to Lily's own time.

Moody was SO sweet this chapter. When he rand and brought Lily a lily I positively "aw-ed". He is adorable! I really enjoyed reading him through all of his ages and this one, oddly enough, is my favourite. At this age he is still pure, still a child with all the innocence and easiness of spirit that childhood brings. He's still hopeful, he's still happy, he's still optimistic and curious. He doesn't know the atrocities of war yet, he doesn't know betrayal, he isn't hurt, damaged yet. It really makes me feel like crying imagining that this happens to real children in real life. When you bring them into the world, watch their serene faces and watch them grow, how can one imagine what they will become? The course they will take in life? Will they invent something grand? Will they make a breaking discovery? Or will they die prematurely or follow a self-destructing path?

Author's Response: Hello again! :D It's great to see you back for more!

Yes, Lily will head back toward her own time, though things get more complicated from this point, as you'll see.

Oh, I'm so glad that you liked the young Moody. He was a joy to write at this age, before any of the bad things happened - before he had to grow up in the midst of a world war. It's interesting that his youth here made the chapter more sad because we've already seen how he'll be at the end. It's not something everyone gets to see with a single person - it's rare to know a person from birth and live beyond their death, and even harder for a wizard, since they live longer. Like with Dumbledore, for instance, it's much harder to imagine his youth because it exists in a more distant past. And you can never be sure if the sparks of the future are there from the beginning, either. With Moody, there's little relation between the boy and the old man, and I can see how that's painful, for both you and Lily.

Wow. Thank you again for reading and reviewing! You've given me a lot to think about with this story, things that never occurred to me when writing. I love it when that happens!
2013-02-07 4:24am
This chapter was too sad for it's own sake. The whole story is too sad for it's own sake. Seriously, how do you do it? How can you write different genres so well? Your stories pertaining to different genres are always a wonder to read because you handle each with such care, suck skill that one can't help but feel a bit envious (of the good kind!).

Lily and Moody. This is all I have stuck n my head right now. And the aching feeling that comes with this pairing somewhere in my chest, near where my heart is. I'm much in danger of falling more in love with Moody as Lily is. He's just so perfect! Well, that's delusional of me! No one is perfect of course, but there is something in Moody, so fascinating, that you can't resist his charms. I've always admired men with a strong character and a stronger mind and Moody has both, in equal parts. He has qualities I am unconsciously but actively seeking in a partner, qualities that I couldn't do without so excuse me if sounds ridiculous that I feel such a connection to a fictional character but it's true. Of course, he has faults as well and I'm not denying that, but his qualities are like a magnet...HE in his entirety is a walking magnet!

And Lily! Who would have thought she had such a strong, unbending will? She's such a multi layered character! Every chapter you see different facets of her personality, with each thought she puts forth. I'm glad that she didn't give in to her desire, although that doesn't make me happy. You know those real life moments when you are relieved that someone has done the right thing even if breaks them? When YOU feel miserable for being happy they chose the right path? What is the right path anyway?

Author's Response: I like writing sad stories. :( Even worse, I like reading/watching them. If it doesn't hurt, then it can't be good, right? (Not that I actually believe that last bit, but that's what it feels like sometimes - I just have a stronger emotional connection with characters dealing with things, perhaps because my own life is boringly untroubled). Thank you for the wonderful compliment about my writing! :D I like to think that I can write different genres because I read a lot and watch lots of movies/TV. Humour is still hard to do, though - writing something like this story comes more naturally.

Moody is particularly smoulder-worthy in this chapter, where the intensity of the 1971 scenes is already in place, but he's psychologically stable at this earlier point in time. He's at a peak because he's just finished his training and is ready to put it into practice, and as a bonus, he's already in love with Lily - he's has the last ten years to foster that feeling. It's an ideal moment for them to be together... but it's just a moment. There are no forevers in this story because, no matter what, something always has to end - time always puts an end to it.

Moody is a walking magnet. Yes. I'll go for that. :P

One thing I wanted for Lily from the beginning (but particularly during the second 1971 scene) was that she be a strong character. The only way a person could survive this story is if they are strong - they need that iron will because it's both a story about resistance and acceptance. She has to constantly resist attractions and temptations while she must accept the demands of time and history. That kind of push and pull takes a heavy toll, even on the strong.

Unlike the previous time, though, this 1940s scene allows Lily to leave with less guilt. Even if she stayed with him, it could only be for one night. She's not resisting as much here, so I don't know if there even is a right or wrong path in this instance. It becomes murkier and murkier as the story continues.

Bah, my responses are no longer making sense. Anyway, thank you very much for reading and reviewing this story! I look forwarding to seeing what you think of the coming chapters! ^_^
2013-02-06 8:38am
Great chapter, as always! I'm starting to not know that more to say to assure you of my great love for this story. It feels like I've given all the possible praise in my previous reviews, and now I'm left with empty words. However, I do want you to know that my enjoyment of this story is much the same as it was in the beginning. Only it's growing with every chapter, with every new puzzle piece reveal.

Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban is a very confusing book to me in terms of the time travel business. I know Jo explained it the best she could but I never really understood how it worked. Every time I read about Hermione and Harry going back in time to save Sirius my head is filled with fog lol. I can't get it! I did however understand (and that was pretty logical) that you do not meddle with time. You don't mess with it, you don't change events or else your history and that of other people will be altered forever, triggering a frightening chain of reaction. Since this is not canon, and it's Next Gen, I fear for what Lily might do, knowingly or not. We have seen enough of her in the past chapters to know that she won't give in to her feelings for Alastor, that she is conscious of the dangers of playing with time and space, but she is also still a human being. How MUCH can someone handle before losing their mind, before throwing themselves in the abyss thinking it's the most beautiful thing in the world? My heart is crying for her and reaches out to her each time she is put to a cruel test, but she's mustn't give in to her feelings! Even a tiny little change in the past could rewrite history...and not always for the better. Things happen for a reason and Moody must become what we knew him to be: a brave, fierce, damaged war hero. That sounds so sad more so if it's the truth :(

Author's Response: No worries - I've had the same thing happen to me when reading longer stories because you get to the point where you just want to keep reading. Your words are certainly not empty, no matter what they feel like! I'm very glad to hear that you're enjoying the story!

Time travel in the Potterverse is a strange thing. What happens in PoA would, in science fiction, be a paradox. If Harry and Hermione successfully changed the past, then how do they remember it? How does anyone? Did Buckbeak ever die, or was it only that they thought he did? The movie version represents it in a better way than the book - at least, it made more sense to watch than to read the time travel scenes.

Lily knows about her father's time travel adventure, and she's close enough to her Aunt Hermione to know about the rules of time travel (and the rules of everything, I expect :P). Once she realizes that she's back in time, she can't forget that, by being in the past, she is posing a threat to the outcome of the war and thus to her own existence. The great paradox of time travel is much too clear for her - if she accidentally prevents her own birth, what will happen? She understands that she is the cause of Moody's madness, but she doesn't know enough of the rest yet - there's still so much of his history that eludes her. Not necessarily because she hasn't gone far enough back, but because she has missed too much in between. And her consciousness of time leads her to sacrifice, once and again, the connection she has with him. I wouldn't call it selfless, but it demonstrates a strength of character that she can let him go. More strength of character than I think she ever admits to having.

But as you've said, it's taking its toll, and that will only become more obvious as the story continues.

Thank you again for reading and reviewing this story! ^_^
2013-02-06 1:42am
I'm just going to sound like a broken record and mirror my previous feelings: I love this story! See, now tell me honestly, how original was that? :))

This chapter we didn't see much of Moody, but the little we did see was enough to send my stomach in a fluttering uproar. I've always found it amazing how well written characters can make you experience the same feelings you'd have for real, flesh and bones people. The conscious and unconscious mind makes no difference in terms of who's real and who isn't, it just sends the same pleasurable impulse.

Now I'm really curious to see what will happen next. Until now Lily has always landed in the worst possible times and this was the first chapter when she is in the right time and space dimension. I can't wait to see how their bond forms, how he ends up falling so deeply in love with her and one of my biggest curiosities, WHO is that woman in the portrait???

I think the saddest and bitterest line is definitely "It would not last - how could it? - but for this time, however short, I would be that one thing he could never forget". How heartbreaking must it be to be forced to live in a reality that is not yours, that you know you don't belong to and be in the presence of the man that has made you more alive than anything ever did, knowing that at some point you will have to leave? To abandon him to his mortifying thoughts and flaring feelings. She is more a Potter and Weasley for doing this than she could possibly imagine. I would have broken by now :(

Author's Response: Thank you! I love that you love this story! It means so much to hear it. ^_^

I don't know what to say about this review! It makes me glad that I had Moody take a short break from the story because it makes his reappearance more meaningful. Wow, it's incredible that you like this characterization of Moody as much as you do. It makes me very happy to read your response to this story.

What you've mentioned in the final paragraph is the tragedy at the core of this story, and of course the story behind the title. Even when she finds the "right" time, she recognizes that she won't have enough time there. She's constantly out of time, in both meanings of the phrase. By this point in the story, she's already traumatized by what she's experienced, and it's only going to get more difficult as she continues.

I'll leave it there for now because otherwise I might say too much. ;) Thank you again for reading and reviewing this story!
2013-02-05 9:45am
I really reached the point where I can't read a chapter of this story without a box of tissues by my side. It's too heart-breaking to bear!

Here is me trying to make some sense, once again, of a review. Hope I won't forget anything this time. First off, I wanted to take a moment and express my mixed feelings about the woman in the portrait. In my review from last chapter I said that she reminded me of Bertha from Jane Eyre, loved by all but hated by him. And yet, thinking about it a little longer and reading some small snippets from this chapter I have the impression that the woman in the portrait is herself. Lily. There are of course some hard objections against this idea. For example, when Lily stumbles in the same house last chapter she notices the rotting flowers, the intoxicating smell in the air and the prickling sensation of death surrounding the room. But all of this could also mean a symbolical death, not an actual flesh-dies death. At the moment I'm groping in the dark since I haven't yet read the rest of the story but maybe Moody felt like she died in his past, and thus decorated the room as a funeral space. One can only guess for now :)

There are also moments when this story resembles a stream of consciousness piece. How Lily is lost in her ghostly images of what might have happened in the past between her and Moody, of what might happen in the future if she dared stay. A found it a very suitable technique to use for the story, especially since it's first person.

This chapter deepened the semblance to Jane Eyre. While reading the scene where he is almost a living flame that tries to stop her from leaving him and she, Lily, pondering for just a second what would happen if she gave in, if she dared remain and be the healing balm of his inner scars, forever forsaking her true self, I was vividly reminded of the most powerful scene in Jane Eyre. The chapter when she spends a few hours with him after she finds out about Bertha and decides that she will not, she cannot, be the other, be his wife while his real bride was alive. That she could not forsake everything she was despite loving him more deeply than her own life. But also knowing that she couldn't bare staying by his side any longer and flees. I shuddered while reading your scene as I shudder every time I read the scene from the novel. They're perfect! The love between them is so profound and painful that you find your breath caught and your stomach a tight knot at every sentence when they share a moment. Albeit being a tormenting love, few are privileged to knowing this kind of deepness of feeling in real life. It's a shame that love as powerful as this is so hardly seen these days :(

Author's Response: There is this fascinating article (or more than one, I can't remember) about "Jane Eyre" which argued that Jane and Bertha are mirror images of each other. For instance, Jane hears Bertha's laughter only when or after she has particularly rebellious thoughts. They are very similar in their depth of emotion, but Bronte idealizes her Englishwoman at the cost of demonizing the Creole woman. Yet, there's still that question of whether Bertha was mad before she was confined in Thornfield, or whether it happened as a result of that confinement - Rochester's word can't be taken as fact by any means. And this is where I built the strange relationship between Lily and the portrait-wife. The portrait's mocking tone, though, comes more out of "Rebecca" with Mrs. Danvers's treatment of the narrator.

I like the idea of the symbolic death, that he mourns her loss in the distant rather than immediate past. The answer is yes and no. :P The whole story is about mourning the past, a lost past that, even with time travel technology, can't be regained because, no matter what, the memory of it still remains. Even if one goes back in time to change something, one will always remember the change, and the reason why it needed to be made. And so one is trapped in perpetual mourning and loss.

Ahh, even better that you see the stream of consciousness style coming through! This story and Lily's voice flowed naturally. I don't quite know why, but as I wrote, I tried to maintain a rhythm of iambic pentameter. It gives the narrative an interesting quality, and I'm glad that you picked up on that.

What's interesting about this revision of that scene in "Jane Eyre" is that there's more at stake for Lily. Her choice could change history, and she doesn't forget that, no matter how much she yearns to be with him. The loss for her is minimal... mostly (there is the worry that the intensity of his passion would overwhelm and consume her). Rather her thoughts are for the people she loves - she sacrifices her newly discovered love so that history will run its course. It reveals an important similarity to Harry and also to the first Lily.

It's wonderful to hear how much you're enjoying this story and the effect that it's having on you. I'm glad that it's not only me who was overpowered by the emotion in this chapter. It was extraordinarily painful to write because I too wanted to stay with this Moody, even though I know that it's wrong, that he's "wrong". Writing hasn't been the same since this story, either. *sigh* But thank you again for reading and reviewing! It means a lot to hear such compliments from you! ^_^
2013-02-05 8:32am
SUSAN, OH MY GOD!! I never intended to start my review like this, so random, but I have to tell you...I have to! I was right!!! Moody feels like Mr Rochester. Oh my dear Susan you can't even imagine how I felt when I realised this. It made me love your story ten times better. Jane Eyre is one of my favourite love stories ever and to see Charlotte Bronte's style so flawlessly reproduced AND adapted to your Harry Potter novella (which is far far away from the time Charlotte Bronte lived :P) is just amazing.

My heart is still racing from the surge of emotion that hit me when I read your author's note. It's final...I am in love with Moody. With YOUR Moody! And I will never ever be able to imagine him other than how you wrote him. His passion, his fierce yet collected love (barely collected), his whole appearance, his movements, how he leans on door frames, mantle pieces with such an elegance and composure, these images of Moody will live in my memory forever. It's like I'm seeing Mr Rochester only better, because you've added your touch of originality to his character. And of boy does his wife remind me of Bertha Mason, the woman loved by all but despised by him. Please allow me a very big and silly fan girlish scream because this is too much!

I am absolutely mesmerised by your description. It's simple enough but with just the right touch of visual images to recreate what must have been your image of the house, the rooms, the smells and the sensations. It blends perfectly with the characters bringing them further to life.

Wow! I never imagined I'd stumble upon this kind of story when I first clicked it this morning. I'm not out of my trance yet...please slap me because now I want to BE Lily, to LIVE what she is living. Is that bad? :(

Author's Response: Moody became most like Rochester in these two chapters - this and the one that follows - because by that point, the similarities between this and Jane Eyre were too difficult to deny. The story drifts away from Bronte's novel later on, but here, the Gothic atmosphere of the cottage and its crazed owner at their peak. These chapters were amazing to write at the same time that they were utterly painful. The amount of emotion in them made it hard to breathe.

The corresponding scenes in Jane Eyre are strangely less popular in adaptations and discussion about the book than I'd expect. When Rochester begs Jane to stay with him is perhaps one of the most passionate and extraordinary scenes in literature - it is Jane's strongest moment, yet it's also her weakest because she feels so much for him, and is utterly powerless to help him.

What's funny is that I originally had "Rebecca" in mind when writing this chapter. The whole scene with the closet and Lily's interaction with the malevolent spirit of the wife more closely align with Du Maurier than Bronte. Whether Moody is like Maxim de Winter is less certain, though - like you, I see Moody as being more comparable to Rochester. There's too much of him, and it bursts out like a flame to consume everything in his path.

I don't think I've ever written a story where the setting was so integral to the plot as the cottage (and wardrobe) are important to this story. It had a significant influence on the atmosphere - the OF version of this story, which I came up with first, takes place in a theatre, so that story is filled with colour, light, and chaos, but in this isolated cottage, there's only darkness and dissatisfaction. Not always and not for everyone, since Neville seems happy enough living there, and once you get to the last chapter, you'll see how different the cottage can be when viewed in the right light. But here, it might as well be a Gothic castle, it's so gloomy. I loved writing the descriptions for this story... as you can tell from my excitement to discuss it... *hides*

Thank you again for reading and reviewing this story! It means a lot to hear from you! ^_^
2013-02-05 12:25am Words fail me miserably at this point, or rather, the appropriate words that could hold testimony to how this chapter made me feel haven't been invented yet. And never will! I will try and explain my feelings but I think the words I WILL choose will not come even close to how I really felt.

I made some mental notes of how to structure, at least a bit, my review so I will follow these while I'll squeal between the lines. First off, did Lily say she wasn't brave enough in the last chapter? I think she was VERY brave considering she had the courage to go to the attic door, ask who was making thumping noises and descend the steps. Knowing myself, I would have been in fits of panic by the time I heard someone going up the stairs when I knew for a fact that moments ago my house had been empty! So yes Lily, you are a Potter and a Weasley!

Next off Moody. Oh my GOD MOODY! Seriously Susan, did you write this story to make me fall in love with him? Because you are very close, an inch close, to making that happen. If the story had stopped here, with only two chapters it would have been more than enough to flesh out a Moody that not even the books could. You gave him more depth in almost 3000 words than all the moments we have seen him during Goblet of Fire (although his presence in this book is questionable since it was actually Barty Crouch Jr but still) and Order of the Phoenix or Deathly Hallows.

My heart is aching for him. Like, literally HURT for him. I positively burst out crying when I read this "He reached for one of my hands. His was warm, roughened by the elements, as scarred as his face." and I couldn't stop until I had finished the chapter. Even I don't know the magical effect this sentence had on me but I couldn't resist the urge to cry out and send my heart to Moody. I have a soft spot for tragic characters and Mad-Eye always seemed like one to me. He was like an unwritten canvas in Harry Potter and you helped me shape more of his story, beyond his battle or detective prowess, beyond his immensely courageous guts. You gave light to those hardened eyes. You gave softness to his rigid countenance. You gave warmth to his toughened heart. I was startled by the fact that I remembered Fairfax Rochester from Jane Eyre when I read his physical description (and yes, I LOVED Mr Rochester as well!).

Oh man I'm not making sense any more. I always know that I'll find quality stories when I access your profile but this is beyond what I had expected. And don't say I'm exaggerating! Because I'm not. To me this chapter is downright ripped from some classic, yet undiscovered novel that is just waiting, somewhere on some dusted shelf to be picked up and loved to bits. I will make the "sacrifice" of loving it!

I haven't done the maths but how old is Lily here? Because she is coming off like one of the most mature characters I ever read on HPFF. How she handles the notion that she went back through time and found a War hero, as she herself says, waiting for her, almost breaking for her is a pleasure to read. A sad, sorrowful pleasure but a pleasure all the same.

I could gush about this story on and on and on but no amount of words will ever sum up the same amount of feelings that passed through me when I read it :)

Author's Response: Whoa, a long review! This chapter has certainly elicited an exciting response from you, and it's still early days for the story! *evil grin*

Lily is a great example of an unreliable narrator. :P Her injury had a detrimental effect on her confidence, and I also think that she constantly compares herself to her parents, only to see herself as coming up short. I'd be cowering in that chair all night if I heard any strange thumping noises! Now the question is whether Lily goes upstairs because she's genuinely curious, very bored, or somehow wants to prove herself. It could be either, or even better, a combination of the three.

It's only chapter two! How can you already be in love with him?! I didn't think my descriptions were that powerful, though I remember that, while writing, it was difficult to not feel something for him. There's so much emotion tied up in his character - every little action has multitudes of meaning, things that Lily can't even begin to understand until she experiences the past for herself. I'm squeeing over your compliments, though! It's wonderful to hear that just in this chapter, I fleshed out Moody's characters with such success. He's a strange cross between a Heathcliff and a Rochester, and while he has a clearer sense of morality, he still possesses that wildness and tragedy that defines the romantic hero.

You're making perfect sense! I can't get over how much you like his characterization. There's always a danger when one expands upon a canon character in this way of veering into OOCness, so it's actually a huge relief that you've had this kind emotional response to him in this story. That generation of Potterverse characters - the older Order members, that is - have their own tragic stories, but they're too often lost in the popularity of the Marauder-era and Hogwarts-era characters. What surprised me in the creation of this story was how much I went back to the books to pick up on as many details as I could. Some didn't make it into this story - for instance, the scene in OotP when Moody sees Harry (for the actual first time), his eye malfunctions. And I say that it's because he recognizes Harry and Lily's father, but he has to hide his knowledge of this, so he makes an excuse about Barty Crouch's contamination of the magical eye.

Lily's age is about 20-21. Later in the story she makes this clearer, but my guess is that she spent at least 2-3 years after Hogwarts as a Quidditch player. When the story begins, it's been less than a year since her accident. Part of the reason why she sounds so mature is that, when she narrates the story, she is older... and that's all I say about that. :P

Thank you again for your phenomenal review! It's so much fun to return to this story and discuss it with someone. ^_^
2013-02-04 11:03pm
Hey Susan! I'm here from the Review Tag :)

This is a very intriguing start of a story I must admit to that. Not only intriguing but also enthralling. There is something about the simplicity of the prose and the way you portrayed Lily that is simply captivating.

I must confess that I am not the most avid reader of Next Generation. I don't know why but it hasn't been the Era of my choice when reading stories. However, your curiosity peeking summary and the characters listed (points at Moody excitedly!) have made me click your story. And I'm so glad I did. It was an amazing start to a time travel story. Vanishing cabinets are not often the preferred method when trying to write a story of this kind and I don't know why. Without enough imagination and a touch of fantasy-like twist it can go many ways, as shown above :D

I appreciated your characterization of Lily (II) very much. In most stories I looked over, authors tend to add her to the Squib category and while that is a great spin, it gets tiresome after a while. I love the natural feeling I got from her. The little we know about Next gen characters doesn't always provide authors with enough material to base their characterization off and the attempt sometime ends with overly-exaggerating some traits or flaws or they just don't seem human enough.

I LOVED Lily's state of mind. I didn't expect to see a first story person written story, but now I don't think it could have been any other way. Her boredom towards her current living conditions were a very clever foreshadowing for the events she was about to live. Can't wait to see what they are (I must once again take this opportunity and swoon over Moody...*swoon*...there, now that that's out of the way...).

Thanks for providing a better morning than I had until now Susan. It's almost 5 AM here and I've been awake since 4:30 AM reading your story and leaving this review which has made my insomnia a lot more pleasurable than it would have been otherwise :)

Author's Response: Wow! It means a lot to hear how much you like the style of this story. I've edited it a bit, but there's something in Lily's voice that is unlike what I've written before - there is this ethereal, even spectral quality about her narration. Much of it at the time had to do with all of the Victorian literature I was reading, but quite a bit has to do with her personality, and the way that she recalls the details of her story.

What's strange about this story in comparison to most others, both on the archive and my author page, is that it resists the traditional classifications. It's about a next-generation character, but it's also distanced from that era. A romance plays a central role in the plot, but I have trouble seeing Lily and Alastor as a "ship" - it could have just as easily been Roxanne and Sirius, Rose and Elphias Doge, Victoire and Caradoc Dearborn. But I am really glad to hear that you were excited to see Moody in the cast list - he's a fantastic character to write, and I enjoy adding depth to Rowling's sketch. :D

One of the reasons that I chose Lily for this was to escape the negative characterization I'd given her in "Winner Takes All". But she became much more in this story than I ever anticipated. There's not much more I want to say about her here, due to spoilers, of course. There's a lot of potential for each of the next-gen characters, and I love being able to interpret them in various ways. The Lily here feels like a big disappointment - I can only imagine that the world had high expectations for each of the Potter children - and it increases her frustration and bitterness. At the same time, she's always been the odd one - slightly distant, not dreamy, but quiet. She's a lot like her father when he's in his pensive moods.

Thank you so much for taking the time to read and reviewing this story! I look forward to following your reactions to each chapter! ^_^
2012-12-24 3:08am
I've got to say, I adored this first chapter! Your use of imagery was so perfect and gave this chapter an almost eerie sort of feel. I could almost picture the cottage in my mind.

I love that this first chapter has me asking questions already. The whole vibe of it is so mysterious, which is awesome! I'm already wondering what's going to happen to Lily and where she is going to end up.

Your portrayal of Lily is really good. Though we don't know much about her yet, I can see that she is going to be a very interesting and unusual character-different from the other portayals of Lily that I have read. I already feel bad for what happened to her with the whole Quidditch accident!

The whole idea of this story intriguing and I can't wait to read more!

Author's Response: Wow, thank you very much! It's fantastic to hear that you've enjoyed the first chapter (I've always worried that it was the weakest), especially that it was so vivid and effectively set the scene for the story. :D

Lily is definitely different from other portrayals, at least those that I've seen. In one of my other stories, I made her the villain (of a sort), so I challenged myself to instead show her in the opposite way - it's one of the great things that we can do with the next-gen characters. :)
2012-10-22 10:28am
Hi :)
So I've just spent the entire day reading your story from start to finish, all in one sitting. I have to say, I think this is the best story I've ever read - and I'm not just talking fan fiction, I mean everything. Lily's emotions just drew me in, I felt what she felt, I cried when she cried. You are an amazing writer, your descriptions and writing style are just beautiful. And that plot line! Oh my... you just had me guessing until the end, surprised at every twist and turn.
Anyway I'll stop gushing now, but my main point was that I really loved your story and can't wait to read more of your writing! Best of luck, and I hope you keep writing for a long time to come :)

Author's Response: This review is phenomenal! Thank you very much for taking the time to read this story and let me know what effect it had upon you. I've read your review many times and it still leaves me speechless. Your response to the story was what I hoped for - I wanted to write something emotionally moving and turbulent - but I wasn't sure when I finished if I'd quite succeeded. It means a lot to hear that you enjoyed reading this, and that you think so highly of it. ^_^
This was brilliant. You are a very talented writer

Author's Response: Thank you! It's fantastic that you enjoyed the story so much! ^_^
2012-09-01 11:25am
Hi! Tag!

I feel a little ashamed that I've never read any of your fics before -- you're kind of famous on HPFF xD Most of your fics have won some awards. And rightly so!

This is a hugely effective opening chapter. Through the style of your prose you effortlessly illustrate Lily's character, and the setting is a great extension of that.

I've always been intrigued by time travel stories, though I've never read one that seemed to really pull it off. I wonder what will happen next! Will Lily's foot be healed? Where/when will she go? Who will she meet, and what will she effect? It's all very interesting!

Great job! :D

Author's Response: Thank you very much for reading and reviewing this story! Usually people only do shorter stories for the tag, so it was a great surprise to see you'd reviewed this one - it's my favourite story of the ones I've written, which makes any feedback more worthwhile. ^_^

Don't be ashamed! There are too many authors to keep up with - I just have the benefit of having been here longer than most. "Famous" is quite a word to hear, though - definitely an ego boost. :D

I'm glad that you've liked the first chapter! Time travel is tricky to make work, but I can assure you that it plays a rather different role in this story. ;) Enjoy the rest!
Ah, wow! This is an amazing story, perhaps some of the best I've ever read. It all comes together so well in the end and it all makes sense and it's all so fitting. Beautifully written.

Author's Response: *jaw drops* Thank you! Wow, this is fantastic to hear. One of the best... I don't know what else to say other than "thank you." It's wonderful to have written something where all the pieces fit together, though it's better to have written something you enjoyed so much. ^_^
This is an amazing story. I never thought that it was Lily. And to be honest, I never quite understood the woman in the portrait bit. I love that it's Lily's future self. It just makes so much sense to me. It's so fitting. But now I get it and it fits perfectly and it's just... perfect.

Author's Response: I'm actually glad that it wasn't obvious who the woman in the portrait was - I wanted to make her ambiguous and horrifying throughout, a clue that just doesn't make sense until you know the truth.

Thank you again for reading and reviewing! It means a lot to hear that you've enjoying this story this much! :D


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