Wow! I am speechless! I sunk into your words as how you described Lily from James point of view. The visuality is astounding!
You know how to put a reader into a characters shoes. I felt and seen everything you made James see. His admiration and love for Lily is clearly shown here. I also love how you've mentioned Severus - even if brief. They both see Lily as a light. She attracts them, but in different ways. Such a great contrast between the three.
It's refreshing to read in terms of romance because you don't fall in the typical writing of how sexy the person looks. You use imagery - scenery to help readers absorb the characters feelings.
Amazing as always!
So about half a year ago you requested a review from me in my thread. o.O And I'm trying to get back into reviewing properly, so here I am at last. I'm so sorry for how long this has taken!
But I'm so so glad I had the opportunity to read this. It's been some time since I read anything of yours, and I've missed your gorgeous writing. This fic is no exception from your usual (and very high) standard. It's a beautifully vivid and descriptive piece, the narrative is very detailed and meticulous, and the characters ring true to canon.
I thought this was a very refreshing take on a popular ship; taking both Lily and James out of the usual Hogwarts setting and placing them in somewhere completely unexpected, such as a snowy mountain peak, was a brilliant decision. I love your contrasts here: how small Lily and James are, surrounded by towering mountains and a breathlessly vast sky, but instead of them both being reduced to insignificance, they're magnified by the aurora borealis phenomenon, and by their own sense of wonder. This is quite possibly one of my favourite things about this story: the imagery and the lovely colours aren't just flat dead scenery; they're meaningful to the characters; the imagery is worked into the characterisation, and James sees Lily reflected into all that cosmic grandeur, or perhaps it's the other way round.
In your request you mentioned that you'd never before written a happier-type story from a male POV. Well, I don't think you have anything to worry about. You write fluff pretty well, and in a very sensible and convincing manner, too. Setting James in an environment where he isn't initially at ease with was a great choice because it sort of opened him up, and his sense of awe of both the aurora borealis and of Lily showed a childlike side to his characterisation, an innocence which I think most people overlook in their haste to portray James as the loud conceited hero type. And I love the references to both Remus and Sirius here; of course they would follow him wherever he went - at least in his thoughts. The way he thinks about them (especially Remus) suggests a kindness and a very wholesome goodness in his character, and I'm so glad you've explored this angle of his character.
I also love how you've portrayed Lily, though we see her only through James's eyes of course. She transforms from this girl with carroty braids to something that's almost mythical in James's eyes, and I like to think that it's because she's so in tune with her environment; there's a sense of fearlessness about her, something which James admires very much, and of course with all the greatness and the external beauty of the skies somehow mirrors Lily's own inner light.
I think I'm beginning to repeat myself :P So I'm just going to finish this and say that this is an absolutely fabulous story, Susan! Again, I'm sorry I took so long to get round to reading this, but I'm ever so glad I did. Thank you for requesting! ♥
I haven't been here in ages, let alone read anything. But whenever I do come by, I always check out your page, looking to see if you have any new one-shots up, as those are the only one's I seem to have the time to read. You can imagine my excitement when I find a James/Lily one!
I've missed your writing. That's the first thing you should know. It's just incredibly fluid, moving, the imagery breath-taking. The way you describe the light and colours James sees in Lily's eyes, it's a beautifully descriptive passage and I was completely taken away into his wonder of her.
You might remember that I am quite the J/L fan, but it's been so long since I've read something that rekindled my love for these characters; I love how this moment was so natural in its description, believable - it's very them. It seems like something Lily would do for James, and I don't know, imagining them having a moment like this knowing their story, is just quite beautiful and powerful to me.
As always, your writing is exceptional. This sentence: "Her laughter echoed against the rocks, against the mountains, bursting into the sky. She looked up in wonder as though she could see the sound waves weaving ice-touched knots around them" sincerely blew me away, the proportions of this one instant impressive. Maybe I've been away too long, or maybe it's your talent. I know for a fact that it's the latter :)
I'm sorry for not being constructive, I just... I can't. I love your writing too much to ever see fault in it, and this is no exception. Beautiful one-shot, and thanks for writing this.
Author's Response: Steph! *glomps* It's great to see you back again - and to see you making graphics too because I love your work. It means a lot to hear from you, and I'm really glad that you enjoyed this story. It was a lot of fun to write Lily/James again, especially when they're in this in-between phase of their relationship, a simple, natural little moment between them. It's even better to hear that this story rekindled your love for the ship. That's the greatest compliment of all for a story like this, where it's not so much about the romance as it is the relationship - how they interact and, more importantly, how together, they become better, growing from each other's influence.
Thank you so much for the compliments! I really appreciate hearing that you like the style - your own stories are beautiful to read, so to hear the same compliment from you... *squees*. It's a more relaxed and natural style than my other stories lately, almost therapeutic to write because it flowed so easily - hopefully I'll be able to pick up this style again soon. :D
Thank you for reading and reviewing, Steph! ^_^
Your writing is always beautiful and wonderfully executed, but this completely and utterly blew me away. As someone who ships both James/Lily and Severus/Lily, I really loved the subtle comparisions that you've made between James and Severus. While you've shown accurately that Severus was interested in using Lily for his own salvation, it's refreshing to see someone write James as wanting to simply appreciate Lily, instead of 'winning' her.
Your description was mind-blowing. I could imagine Lily and James climbing up that mountain, and I truly adored all of the little things you included that truly cemented their characterization: Lily ensuring they had the professor's permission, James being unused to running on uneven territory. Most James/Lily one-shots I've read depict them as a couple, or occasionally as friends, but you've chosen a particularly rare point in their timeline to set this one-shot in, when they're more than friends but not a couple and you convey their feelings about each other perfectly. The way you contrast them, from adventurous Lily dragging James along and James being overly cautious (once again, a really lovely break from the norm of James/Lily fanfiction) to the little things like her mittens and his gloves. I'm probably over-analyzing, here, but the beginning of the story shows Lily as quite resilient and confident in what she feels, but the mittens that she wears - which were more popular among young children decades ago - adds a touch of innocence to her, and it really makes me believe that this Lily in your one-shot is the same Lily that goes out fighting for the Order, but comes home to be a wife and mother. This one-shot may actually contain one of my favourite portrayals of Lily, and it's a testament to your skill as an author.
I'm going to confess that it never occurred to me before how a pure-blood might find a Muggle-born's discovery of magic, but you've added it into this story with such ease that I can't imagine not considering it. The way you have James using wizarding references - saying "Merlin's beard" and comparing Lily to a hinkypunk seems so natural. Although it's entirely possible that Astronomy is one of James' weaker subjects, I'd like to think that the aurora borealis is an integral part of Muggle Astronomy and not as well-known in the wizarding world, simply because it demonstrates how a Muggle-born's perspective can expand those of a pure-blood's, like we see here when Lily shows James the lights. Then again, that just may be wishful thinking ^.^
Your comparisions of the green and blue aurora borealis to the Killing Curse was so beautiful and yet so tragic, because of all the foreshadowing that it contained. I've never seen the lights, being too far south, but your writing really allowed me to see James and Lily standing on that mountainside, seeing flashes of green and blue and being completely breathtaken with each other.
As for that almost-kiss, the fangirl in me is a touch disappointed but I do think you made the right choice not having them kiss, because that made the one-shot more about their feelings for each other and the intimate connection they share than about simple romance. Although that last line was particularly heartbreaking, because they don't have very long left to live and they have no idea and it's just so bittersweet.
I'd like to apologize for the horrendous length of time that it's taken me to leave this review - real life's been quite busy recently and I wanted to leave a review that was worthy of this impeccable story instead of a typo-written, decaffeinated jumble of thoughts. :P
Once again, this is honestly fabulous writing. You've taken a common pairing and given it an uncommon twist, and your characters truly come across as human instead of fictional people. If you aren't already a published author, you should definitely become one!
Author's Response: Wow! Thank you very much for this incredible review, Isobel! I apologize for taking so long to respond to it, but know that I've loved reading and rereading it as I've tried to come up with a suitable response. It means a lot that you enjoyed this story and were able to take so much from it - I've worried about this story because it didn't do as well as I'd hoped, and I don't know why. But you liked it, and you're a fantastic writer, so... yes. ^_^
For some reason I love finding the ghostly similarities between James, Sirius, and Severus - I'm sure that JKR made them appear so similar for a reason, especially because all three have a connection with Lily and influence Harry in their own way. But what is the purpose of these similarities? It's still something I'm trying to figure out, which is why it keeps entering into my stories. It's great that you liked the comparison between James and Severus here - it's brief, yet powerful, especially because it's James who recognizes it and is able to see how he can adapt his behaviour and find the acceptance he desires.
Thank you for the compliments about the descriptions! I'm really pleased to hear that you liked them - they were my favourite part about writing this story, all of those wonderful little details that say so much about the characters and their budding relationship set against a sublime landscape. I love exploring this in-between stage of their relationship because it's when both characters are undergoing a great deal of development, learning about themselves as much as about one another. There's so much potential for good stories and I do love a slow-burning romance, the kind that sneaks up on characters when they're too busy with other things.
Lily has become a very interesting character to write, very down-to-earth yet still unearthly - like you said, she's mature, yet with touches of innocence or childishness that make her difficult to pin down. But now that I'm finally getting the hang of writing her, she's utterly charming, a character with a lot to offer because she gives herself completely to what she believes in. Thank you again for the compliments. *blushes*
Haha, I think it's more than James doesn't pay enough attention in Astronomy class - too busy making jokes to Moony and secretly creating the Marauders Map under the cover of darkness in the back of the class. Or perhaps it's a class that he never took seriously, preferring those more concrete courses that let him actually do magic, much in the same way that Harry is skeptical about Divination. From what I've seen of Astronomy in the Potterverse, I don't know whether it would look at the Aurora Borealis or not - Hogwarts has the benefit of being fairly far north, so it would be visible from the Astronomy tower, but wizards seem to study the stars for fortune-telling purposes rather than to actually explore space. So it would then make more sense for Lily to know more about it than James because - and this is pure speculation - she would be the curious sort, reading quite a bit in order to escape her sister during the summer holidays.
Thank you again for this review! Ugh, I can't thank you enough for all of your kind words. *hugs*
Susan! I owe you a ton of reviews, I know, and one day I will catch up - but for now I decided to check out this very pretty-looking one-shot. By the way, Review Tag brought me here :)
I love James's comment about Lily having "discovered" magic. It's interesting to think that she has an experience he can never fully relate to - in fact, most of the people close to her can't relate to it, not really. Everyone can trade stories about their first bursts of accidental magic, but I'm sure nothing quite compares to Lily's sense of amazement when she finally found out what she had experienced. I can only imagine how that sense of wonder fed into his perception of her and his affection for her.
I also really loved how careful he was with her. We don't get the perception that James is overly cautious as a boy, except when people he cares about could truly be in danger. But this boy will quite obviously become the man who throws himself in front of Voldemort to save Lily - he cares about her that much. Naturally, she won't have it, sprinting along as quickly as she likes :)
Okay, recognize this as a big comment coming from me - I love the James/Severus comparison. You've managed to perfectly contrast them in an accurate light without offending me, which... well, to be honest, that sort of skill is not something that surprises me, particularly, coming from you. What a beautiful image - Severus drinks her in, wanting to soak up every part of her so he never has to share again, relying on her to wipe all the black spots off his heart, but James just wants to be near her. If I look at the situation in this way, I can see why she chose James. I can see how his love had a different quality for her. Really magnificently done there.
I adored the ending, with the two of them just appreciating each other in the beauty of the aurora borealis. It's sad to think that James didn't reach out and steal that kiss, that he figured he'd have ages to get to know every part of her and learn to appreciate her inside and out. But then again, it wouldn't be your marvelous James if he just drank her up, would it?
Really excellent, of course. I absolutely loved it!
Author's Response: Amanda! Please don't worry about owing reviews - I know how busy you are (and it's not like I'm doing any better with our review exchange. It means a lot that you've stopped by to check out this new one-shot, and I'm very glad to hear that you loved it! :D
It's great that you liked that bit about James trying to understand things from Lily's perspective. It's a significant moment for him because it demonstrates how he's finally looking beyond himself and looking at the world through other people's eyes. But I hadn't thought of it as you did - I think I like your interpretation better, that he finds in her an experience he can never have. He can never un-know magic. It's just the kind of thing that would fascinate him because he's the type who always needs to know and wants to experience everything. And here is Lily who has this extraordinary experience, and he treasures it in her.
Oooh, that's a perfect way of describing James! He does love deeply and would die for those he loved, Lily first among them. Sirius would too, but he loves fiercely and recklessly whereas James does have a sweeter aspect to his affections, a certain delicacy that you wouldn't expect. It was fun to write a story where Lily was more clearly in command of the situation, dragging him along with one of her schemes. :D
*huggles* It's fantastic that the reference worked! It's something James couldn't avoid thinking about, particularly at this point in their relationship, before it even is a relationship. It means so much that the comparison was successful - it's hard to find the right balance, the right words to describe what Snape feels about Lily without making him a villain or purely selfish. I don't think he ever realizes how he sounds when he talks about Lily - he does love her, but he doesn't reflect on how he characterizes that love. He thinks that she can save him, that she's the light to his dark, but doesn't contemplate her side of their relationship, and that's his fatal mistake. He worships her and forgets that she's human too, that in a relationship, he needs to give as much as he takes. In this story, James demonstrates that he can give, that he sees her as she is and loves her for it.
That one reference turned out to be far more complex than I realized while writing. Thank you for your compliments and for your comments on it! It means a great deal to receive feedback from you, and I'm really pleased that this story hit the right buttons with you. ^_^
Hello! :) It seemed right that since you left me a beautiful review on my Plath inspired story, I should review yours as well. I'm really glad I read this, as I absolutely love how you characterized James and Lily, and the language and imagery here was amazing.
Lily is really lovely here. I always imagined her as being the type to follow the rules, and how she would have made sure it was alright with the professors for them to go out and observe the lights. Then there was the contrast with James, and how he assesses things in how far he can bend the rules until they snap. There was a lovely degree of symmetry in the story between Lily and James and how they are different, and this was represented really beautifully in the way they both seem to see the other in the northern lights, and slowly become aware of how the other must see them as well.
I really enjoyed the references to other characters and their lives at Hogwarts, and how although the story focuses on a brief scene there are hints and details which give a rich picture of what Hogwarts would be like for them. For example, the mentions of the map, and of James seeing Remus' face light up were great details, as was the idea of James changing himself, and Lily not wanting it to be for her sake. That little bit told so much about their past and how their relationship dynamic has developed to get to this point.
An amazing image in the story was how precious Lily and James are to each other, how James sees Lily as a sort of guiding light, not something to be possessed or won. I thought that was a really unique distinction and made me really appreciate your version of James for how dearly and purely he values Lily. When he has the moment of realization that Lily sees him in the sky, and how this gives him the sense of value and being loved i return, I thought it was not only a beautiful, romantic moment, but a move towards maturity.
You had some really powerful lines here, and I just wanted to point out a few (really I should be pasting most of the text here!):
It was impossible that she should be a full two-and-a-half inches shorter than him yet be capable of sprinting along mountain paths as nimble as a hinkypunk. I loved this line and how it showed that James thinks of things in magical terms, like comparing Lily to a hinkypunk. I loved how he compares and thinks of his body in terms of how it fits with Lily's as well, it shows how aware he is of her.
But they were worlds without her. Worlds with no Lily. This was a fantastic way of having James think about the sky and other worlds. I really loved the idea that for him, even a difficult and dangerous life is worth it if Lily is there with him. It reminded me of their deaths, and how they died protecting their family, and how despite this tragic end this phrase made me think ahead to their deaths and think that they wouldn't change a thing.
Until there was nothing, the only green a death's curse streaking through the night. Eerie foreshadowing which broke my heart a little. Another line which did this was the last one, and it made me have a bit of a lump in my throat thinking how they won't have enough time together, not even close. Stories like this, which paint their relationship as this romantic yet intrinsically real thing, make my heart hurt for them and for Harry who would never remember his parents and their love for him and each other.
There were so many other beautiful images, this piece itself was incredibly visual and vivid. As you may be able to tell, I really enjoyed reading this. Thank you for writing it! :)
Author's Response: First of all, I do apologize for taking so long to respond to this review. It's an amazing review, and I've put off responding as I've tried to figure out what to say. It means a lot to receive such feedback from you - your own story for this challenge was phenomenal, and it was a wonderful surprise to see that you had reviewed back!
It's especially lovely to hear that you liked my characterization of both James and Lily. They're among the most difficult characters to write about because there are so many expectations heaped upon any author who attempts it. They have to fit one another, equals yet also opposites, and I'm glad that you caught that thing about how each deals with rules - Lily uses the space within them to her advantage while James constantly looks outside of them, forcing them to his will while Lily manipulates them more subtly. It's a very interesting play between their characters - your use of the word symmetry describes it perfectly.
You've picked up on another of my favourite elements of this story! Although this is only a snapshot, I still wanted to give a sense of the larger story, not only of their relationship, but of the Marauders, the war, and life at Hogwarts in general.
Wow, what you've said about the moment when James realizes that Lily sees him in the sky is fantastic. I hadn't thought about it in that way, but it perfectly fits that it also demonstrates his move toward maturity. He finally sees the world through someone else's eyes, but like you said, he realizes that Lily genuinely cares about him and wants him to be satisfied with himself.
It's wonderful that you enjoyed those lines and details about the story. There is a lot of eerie foreshadowing here - it just kept coming through as I wrote it, originating in the comparison between the colour of the northern lights and the killing curse. That colour is everywhere around them, even within Lily herself, a haunting reminder for readers of these characters' fates. It was supposed to be a fluffy story, yet that imagery wouldn't let it go. But it gives the story more meaning, showing how fleeting these moments are and how much both characters appreciate the moment. James may not kiss her, but that's not important - what is important is the connection they gain from it, and how it changes them both forever. From this moment, their fates are linked and there is no way for them to escape it.
Thank you so much for reading and reviewing this story! I really appreciate it!
Hey! Sorry about the wait for this! It's been a busy couple of days, you know.
Anyway, this was interesting. I've never really read anything quite like it before. There wasn't as much humor as there usually is in a Hogwarts-Marauders Era fic, but I think that the seriousness kind of fit the story a little bit better. I think humor would have been lost a little bit.
There were a few parts that were kind of difficult for me to understand. Were they on a mountain? They weren't dating yet, were they? If they were on a mountain... what mountain and how did they manage to leave Hogwarts grounds? There were just a couple of random things that I think you could have described a little better to help the reader understand what was going on.
That being said, I really liked James in this fic. He was cute, and honest and I thought he was kind of precious.
I liked what Lily said about not wanting him to change for her, but for himself. I can relate quite well to that quote. I have a friend who has some personal problems, and I thought I was crazy for not wanting him to change for me, so I'm glad at least a fictional character agrees with me. :P
Anyway, I really liked this! Thanks for requesting. Hope you see you around the forums sometime. :)
Author's Response: Thank you very much for taking the time to offer reviews! It's great to receive multiple perspectives on a story, and yours were quite helpful. :D
Haha, I think you need to read more Marauders stories! My favourites have long been the darker, more interesting ones that emphasize the characters' struggles in a period of war. There was a time when I thought of making this story lighter and more humourous, but every time I try to do that, it never works, and I'm glad to hear that the serious nature of this story suited it best.
I have added a line regarding the setting so that it's clearer that they are in the mountains/hills surrounding Hogwarts. In the story already was a line about Lily receiving permission from the professors to go stargazing, and they technically are still on the Hogwarts grounds, just in a different place from where Harry tended to go. From the fact that they call each other by their last names, I intended to imply that they weren't yet dating - it is only after this moment that they begin doing so. I don't like making those kind of things too obvious, rather letting the reader do some work and piece it together from the clues left in the story. But I do agree that the setting needed to be made clearer, and I've changed that. :)
Aw, you know, it's excellent to hear that this story has a personal connection for you, that this kind of situation James is in can actually happen. Lily may like the change that James undergoes, but she wants it to be for the right reasons - she does care about him, in her own way, and that's how she shows it at this stage in their relationship.
Thank you again for reading and reviewing this story! I'm very glad for your feedback!
Tagging you from Review Tag!
So for as long as I've been part of HPFF I've seen you around. Which should come as no surprise to anyone, looking at your Archives birthday date, I suppose. But what's surprising is that I've never found a chance to read anything you've written before. It's a shame. You're plainly a brilliant writer.
This story was completely breathtaking. The way that you use color and sensation and sound, seamlessly blending the fine details of the senses together to paint a picture, is simply amazing. There are very few stories I've read on HPFF -- a handful, at best -- where an author has the kind of command over the English language that you're showing here. The way you set the scene for this story is just fantastic. I can't say enough about it.
The other thing I really loved about this was the pacing. At the start, we really only knew that James and Lily were hurrying to be somewhere. From there, you ever so gradually revealed everything we need to know about this scene without ever once resorting to having James overtly think about any of the particulars. Through descriptions and emotions and incidental bits of dialog, you made it plainly clear when and where the story was set and what sort of special moment we were privileged to witness. You did it all without breaking stride, keeping the story moving at a very deliberate and natural-feeling pace.
Your portrayal of James is great. You caught him right at that time in his life where he's finally realized that in order to have what he really wants -- Lily -- he's going to have to change certain things about the way he acts and treats other people. But underneath it all, he's still the same goal-oriented individual. Again, you don't even tell us these things with James's internal monologue. You let Lily deliver the message in such a way that she's obviously talking to James and nobody else.
James's perception of Lily -- the desire and the awe that he feels for her -- was complimented beautifully by all of your descriptions of her through his eyes. He seems to see her like a thing of nature. An extension of its beauty rather than something that stands alone. And the moment where he realizes that she sees him in a similar way... ah! Amazing stuff.
There isn't much more I can add. This was a beautifully written story about a pairing that I adore. Bravo!
Author's Response: Wow, thank you for that fantastic compliment! It means a lot to hear it from you, as you have quite a reputation of your own for quality writing (and I also had a similar experience with your stories, having seen you around, but never having read anything until recently).
It's hard to figure out how to respond to this review because it's so complimentary. It's exciting to hear that you enjoyed the imagery and the language, and that you also found the story breathtaking. I can't thank you enough!
It's excellent that you picked up on that aspect of the pacing - I wanted to avoid an information dump or clunky dialogue. Although it frustrates some readers, I prefer to reveal things gradually, which ideally allows the reader to come to the conclusions on their own, reducing the need for telling. In this story, it gives the setting the spotlight. The moment is of greater importance than what has led up to it and what comes after.
The challenge of writing James is that change he undergoes so that his motives don't seem petty. He wants to change to impress Lily, but at the same time, it has to be a change that he wants too for himself - he has to understand that some of his past behaviour has been inexcusable, and he makes it his new goal to improve his treatment of others. One of the lines in canon that always bothered me was one of Sirius's when he explained that James still treated Snape (in particular) poorly when Lily wasn't looking - that line made me worry that James had only changed superficially, and I wanted to take the opportunity to explore James's transformation in detail, delving into his mind to pick through his motives and thoughts on the subject. At the same time, it's important not to make James fully aware of this - he's not /that/ introspective a person. The amount of dramatic irony that ended up coming into this story was surprising.
Thank you again for your fabulous review!
I was just browsing through TGS and then I saw you had a new story up and practically skipped over here. Gah, it’s so exciting because I haven’t read any of your fluffier pieces in ages!
It was really nice to get back into James and Lily because even though I raided your page for them during the House Cup, I’ve sort of turned to the more bitter side of them now so having a fluffier and happier piece like this reminded me of why I originally loved them so much. Even though it was a fluffier piece it still managed to capture of their few imperfections such as James stumbling on the ground, and Lily not allowing herself to get close enough to him to call him by his first name. All of those things revealed so much about the pair of them and it was really great how you just slipped them in.
One thing I really loved was how James just seemed so interested in Lily. You really showed how he fell in love with her because she just seemed to be such a fascinating person to him, rather than him almost wanting to do it because he pursued her for so long now he may as well give in. One line which really struck out to me was him wondering what it would have been like to discover magic. It was just such a fresh interpretation of him being inquisitive that I really loved the way you changed it up.
Lily’s characterisation here was really interesting. James comments about him no longer wanting to possess her, almost as if the closer he drew to her the more he saw her as an independent person and one which is not to be put on a pedestal. Then there was the brief comment about Snape only briefly being touched by the light suggesting that perhaps if Lily had tried to stay and help him he may have been saved. Even though I usually hate the idea of Lily being the saviour of all portrayal, I liked it here because it sort of recognised her as an independent person, one which had complexities and that was a great twist to it.
You had some really beautiful description so I’ll just pick out a few favourites!
‘A streak of green and blue and all the shades between burst through the night, a paintbrush slicing across a dark canvas once and again, guided by a furious hand.’ & ‘A green ribbon spread across the sky above them, a curling, glittering light reaching for the stars.’
^All of those varied things really made up the madness of the sky and a way never really described before. Your description always does make me look at things in a new way. Though right now it’s making me wish I lived further north so I could see all of this at night!
The dialogue in here was really wonderful! It was so simplistic with the language and the lack of dialogue tags and qualifiers enforced this idea even more. It sort of showed how they were now so comfortable with one another they no longer needed a mask to hide behind, and it was really lovely to see their relationship had grown that much.
Then one final thing! James’s love for Lily just seemed so pure, so happy to, it was really shown in a way I’ve never seen before and a way I saw more often. It had none of the dramatics or elaborations which I tend to see. Then the fact it was shown at time when they were more than friends but not a couple and it was such a tentative and gentle love it made me aw so much.
An amazing one-shot!
Author's Response: Thank you for stopping by to read and review this story! :D Haha, it's not as though I actually write many fluffy stories. I don't even know if this story could be called fluffy, but at least it's not as painful or dramatic as many of my other stories.
I'm glad to hear that you liked those details in their behaviour. For James, I wanted to emphasize the way that he's usually up in the air playing Quidditch - when he does run on land, it's on four legs as a stag. So running on two legs catches him off guard. Meanwhile Lily has trust issues, as I assume she'd have after what happened with Snape - she's been slowly coming to acknowledge James's goodness, but she wants to make sure that it's real before she allows their relationship to move forward. So it's easier for her to call him Potter, letting him know where the line is drawn, putting him in his place. I love being able to include those little things because they reveal far more about a character than simple telling ever would.
Actually, when it came to that line about Snape, it wasn't that Lily could have saved Snape, but that Snape could have saved himself using Lily's example. Snape had the opportunity to stand up for himself and be his own person, rather than being so easily drawn into the Death Eaters, but he didn't fight against their influence - he chose to turn against Lily instead. It's not Lily herself that could save Snape - it's her influence, the very influence that Harry follows, which enables him to defeat Voldemort.
It's great that you noticed how the dialogue was simplistic - their speech is in direct contrast with the descriptions and the sublime nature around them. The world is so much bigger and more brilliant than they are, and they never try to change that - they simply accept it, and that's what makes them different from characters like Snape, Voldemort, and Dumbledore.
Thank you again for your review! It's fantastic to hear from you! :D
Hiya! Wow, I'm so sad you didn't get this up on time, because this story was BEAUTIFUL!
I used to be really into reading James/Lily but these days I've kind of drifted away from it for some reason, and the only time I really read it is when it pops up in things like review tag. It's always lovely to see it pop up on my screen for something, though. And here you've managed to capture a real and true beauty in their relationship that is often missed out on.
You've really shown here that for James, this isn't about the 'chase'. He is truly captivated by Lily, feels like he doesn't measure up to her light. But what says the most is the way that doesn't seem to bother him - he's content to watch the lights in Lily's eyes, rather than searching out his own. That gives his love a beautiful kind of quietness to it, that he seems to be putting himself in the background, just a little, so he can watch her shine.
I also happen to be a little obsessed with 'Aurora Borealis' - I've never personally seen it but I've read about it a lot and my dream is to go on holiday somewhere north and see it. My grandad lives at the top of Scotland and claims he has seen the northern lights from his house! So adding in this incredibly famed sight also gave a kind of majesty to this story, a uniqueness.
Some of my favourite lines were:
She looked up in wonder as though she could see the sound waves weaving ice-touched knots around them. He followed her gaze, seeing nothing. Only the air, the night sky littered with stars, flakes of snow floating down from mountain peaks, craggy rocks on which the snow collected, all things, but not the magic of the place.
^such beautiful imagery, and I love how James realises he doesn't see magic in the same way Lily does, because he's had it all his life so it doesn't really seem so 'magic' to him.
She was the dawn to which he opened his eyes and the star of his dreams each night. To see her pass by, to find her eyes upon him, to listen to her speak and smile and be was a balm, a sweetness that sent the shadows away.
^You really show just how truly James loves her with this beautiful imagery.
James had no interest in consuming, in possessing. He wanted only to bask for a while and, if he was fortunate, make her brighter still.
^This really stands out to me, because the issue I can take with some James/Lily fics is that they focus on the fact that James has chased Lily for so long and when they get together it's like he's 'won' her. Here you totally remove her from her status as a possession, inasmuch as rather than chasing her, James is kind of following her, just happy to be taken along on the ride that is Lily.
But there would be years and years for that and more. For living and being and laughing. And for all the colours of life to reflect in her eyes
^This last line was heartbreaking to me because James might have thought that, but truly, they would only get about four more years of life after this. At least they got to spend it together.
Overall I really did love this, and I think it fit perfectly with the quote. That's one of my favourite Sylvia Plath quotes, and you really did it justice! I may have to go and stare at some pics of the northern lights now...
Author's Response: I started to respond to this, then hit the backspace at the wrong time, and lost it all! So I'll try again, but it won't be as long as it should be. This review is fantastic, and I thank you very much for taking the time to read and review this story even though it didn't make the challenge deadline. It was almost done on time, but the ending didn't fit - it took a few extra days to flesh out the present version of the conclusion, and I'm glad that I waited. It's happy, yet bittersweet. The sadness of it comes only from the reader's knowledge, not from the story itself. That kind of dramatic irony is one reason why I love writing fanfiction, especially Potterverse fanfiction because one can assume so much about what readers know about these characters and this world. To anyone who didn't know about Lily and James, this would be a happy ending, but to anyone reading it as fanfiction, it will always contain that tragic note, that painful twist.
It was the style of the story that was challenging in the end - much of it had to do with the influence of Plath. That second quote you provided hit the right spot of my muse - Plath's words are beautiful images presented in minimalist phrases, and I wanted to include a semblance of that rhythm in this story. The poem from which the quote came didn't fit my idea, but I still enjoyed reading it. I keep meaning to read more of Plath's poetry, and I was glad for the opportunity. :D Thank you for posting the challenge - the results from all the entries were fantastic!
The James/Lily ship is one that I've been strange about, somewhat here and there over the years. A lot of the fanfics sounded the same - they featured what you mentioned regarding James first chasing, then "winning" Lily, and that wasn't satisfying. The aspect of their relationship that always stood out most to me was that they fought Voldemort together, defying him three times even before he came after them in the end. Voldemort wanted to recruit both of them as Death Eaters, which only further demonstrates that they were special, that they had a lot more between them than a relationship based on an adolescent love-hate romance. They were partners; they shared some sort of deep-rooted connection, and I wish the books had shown more of it so one wouldn't have to guess so much!
It's more interesting to write about James and Lily being fascinated by each other. In this story, James is closer to the narration, so we don't see Lily's perspective except by what she says. While he sees the light coming from her, she sees him in the light - both are complementary, and I'd argue that they're equally so. They both see each other as light, as something to bask in and admire/love/worship (all three apply in their own way). But I liked being able to explore James's side in greater detail because he is the more problematic character, not particularly well-depicted in the books and part of one of the most cliched types of stories in fanfiction. So I tried to address some of those issues here, particularly the idea that he pursues Lily and wins her so that she becomes "his" Lily. They end this story as equals, as ready to face the world together.
Thank you again for reading and reviewing this story! It means a lot that you enjoyed it so much!