Great Story. Great writing, great plot, amazing characterization. But one question: is this supposed to be canon? Because if it is there better be a sequel!
Wow, Alison. This is incredible. :)
Gah, I love Sirius/Lily. They’re one of my OTPs (ironically, my other is James/Lily >.>). It’s such a powerful ship, though. I see both Lily and Sirius as incredibly passionate people, full of energy and craziness, and ultimately, that’s what how I see any relationship that they shared—wild, crazy, passionate, and with a bad ending. Really, that’s my biggest “problem” with this story. I don’t see their relationship as one that could last at all. I see it more as a mess, a temporary fling, or a shared desire that sits just out of reach. BUT, I still love this. The way you presented it was wonderful.
I love the premise of your fic, and the way you explain their attraction for each other, through their imperfections. I really like how Lily didn’t want James because he was perfect. In society, a huge emphasis is placed on finding the “perfect” man or woman. And of course, there’s a huge list of expectations that sums up to be the beacon of perfection. But it’s all a lie. No one is perfect—one simply cannot expect another human to have no flaws. That’s what I love about other people—their flaws (unless their flaws land them in jail or something). And that’s what I love about your story. The emphasis is more on finding someone who is right for you, who knows and wants you for who you are, not finding that perfect someone. THANK YOU!
I really like how believable this whole thing is—with James telling Sirius he’s giving up on Lily and only then does Sirius go after her. The loyalty towards James really fits his character and the brotherly way he felt towards him [James]. Actually, I was reading the Sirius/Lily pairing thread in the Character Clinic the other day . . . that is where you got the basic plot for this, no? Well, if it is, you’ve done a brilliant job with it, and if it isn’t, you’ve still done a brilliant job on this story. ;)
I do feel really bad for James, though. He seems so broken and empty, especially in the beginning. As much as it makes me ache for him, I love what he says. Particularly this:
“Maybe I did, but I can’t do this. If she doesn’t want to be with me, then there’s nothing I can do anymore. I don’t want to be pining for her, Sirius. I just want to be normal. Maybe I was in love with her, but I can’t handle this anymore. She obviously doesn’t care about me, and maybe I’ll find someone who does.”
It’s so sad. :( I can feel something die inside him as he says this. Like a piece of his heart has broken off and fallen away, never to be seen again. The words are just so natural and so simple and so to-the-point that I really can’t help but let my heart break at them. He’s so blunt about it; you have to take him seriously. And as horrible and sad as it is, you can’t help but be leaping for joy a little because he is so sincere and that means the door has opened up for Sirius.
Speaking of, the way you introduced Sirius’s attraction to her was fabulous. It’s so casual, so cool, so off-hand that it’s just like “Of course! Duh, Sirius likes Lily.” And I like that. :) It’s normal and easy and you didn’t make a big deal of it, which is why I think I like it so much. You really just had one sentence in there that really defined how he felt:
It would force me to remember that I did love Lily, as much as I tried to hide it.
And that’s it. You didn’t stress it. It wasn’t a big deal for him. I could tell that this was not new news. He’d already freaked out and learned how to deal and control his feelings. I really like that you didn’t dwell on that so much, and more just got to the actual Sirius/Lily part.
Hmm . . . I like that paragraph about James laughing more and being more carefree. For one, it shows how much he did care for Lily, how much effort he put into trying to change and “win her heart.” But, I can’t help but wonder if he has actual started acting different or if Sirius is just seeing what he wants to see. It’s plausible both ways . . . Regardless, the last sentence is . . . is, I don’t even know. Well, it’s not so much the sentence itself, but that last phrase:
when he had once been so desperate.
It does a couple of things for me. First, it shows how James had really put everything he had into pursuing Lily, and how, after six or so years, he had reached his limit. Also, it shows how close Sirius and James are. I think that it would take someone who really knows James and really cares about him to be able to see the difference in his expressions, and the fact that Sirius noticed just makes me all happy knowing how close they are.
So, going back to the idea that they were both searching for that “imperfect” other, I like the way you presented that idea in Sirius’s attraction of Lily. For Lily to Sirius, you very straightforward about how she was searching for someone with flaws, but I guess you had to be, this being from Sirius point of view and all. Also, it adds to Lily’s characterization, having her know exactly what she wants and why and being able to put it into words. But, anyway, back to Sirius. You really capture how it’s an unconscious thing for Sirius. He doesn’t realize that it was flaws he was looking for, until Lily says something and the reader doesn’t either, then it’s like “oh, yeah!” and my eyes light up with the excitement of the realization . . .
Also, on Sirius’s finding her faults, I like the foreshadowing you put in this part:
The one flaw I could never be entirely sure of was whether or not she was arrogant. Sometimes I wondered if that was the reason she kept up the too-perfect facade, but for some reason I couldn’t think that; there had to be another reason.
I love that it alludes to what Sirius and Lily eventually discover together, later. That, in fact, there is something beyond that “too-perfect facade.” She’s just waiting for someone to realize she’s human. In addition, it shows how much you care about this story and writing it and how much you thought about it and put into finding some sort of order in it, and it makes me giddy with delight to find things that prove an author isn’t just out for reviews or attention or a high number of reads.
The symbolism of the snow is well-done. I like Lily’s reaction to Sirius’s comment about it being perfect. You’d expect a girl to like the idea of a “perfect” setting for possibly romantic advancement, but Lily’s just like “ugh, perfect. Let me go destroy that now.” ;D I guess I’m still stuck on the wonderfulness of the theme of imperfection. Also, about Lily’s reaction, it’s very natural, exactly as one you’d expect. It’s obvious that you really understand people and you’re able to transfer that understanding to paper. Which is good.
I’m glad that they discussed James. It would have been weird and awkward if they hadn’t, like there would be the distance that couldn’t be breached in their relationship if they hadn’t gotten him out of the way first, but they did, so no worries there! :) It answers my questions as a reader, too (well, some of them anyway). You subtly have told us if Lily knows why James has stopped asking her out and why she refused him.
She walked forward into the snow, around and around, as though she wanted to walk through the most she possibly could. It was annoying to not be able to figure out what was going on; I usually knew everything.
She continued walking, and I stared at the snow. Where it had once been a beautiful white covering, it was destroyed by her footprints.
This is my favourite part of the entire story, I think. It’s just so brilliant. I love the imagery in it: I can see the snow as a smooth white blanket and then destroyed by Lily. This carries the related idea that “Nothing gold can stay” (Robert Frost), that nothing can be perfect forever. It’s such a true statement and, to me, goes hand-in-hand with the idea of embracing flaws.
Also, I like how Lily’s actions made Sirius realize what he’d unconsciously known all along. I can’t tell if she was intentionally giving him a hint or not. It seems like she could just be focused on trampling the obvious perfection of the snow, but it would fit Lily’s character more to have the idea that it would also *hopefully* make Sirius realize what she wanted him to. Yet, the way you’ve written it is so casual and natural that I can’t really tell if there’s any other motivation other than destruction.
Hm. I have to say that something feels off with Sirius’s character to me. It starts after his epiphany about Lily, when she’s being cryptic. I feel like Sirius’s wouldn’t be so impatient here. Don’t get me wrong, I like the line “Do you know how to carry on a conversation, Evans?” but, it’s too soon, I think. She really hasn’t been that ambiguous yet and not for very long, either. Sirius is not the most patient character by any means, but he’s a little more patient than that. Especially, with Lily, the love of his life.
Maybe with that line about carrying on a conversation, you could change the description after the dialogue tag into something more like “annoyed” or “irritated” or another more mild way of expressing impatience. And in the paragraph after the one after that line (I tilted my head, tired of all the cryptic hints. As much as I loved her, this was getting to be a bit much. Apparently answering was far too difficult.), the second and third sentences seem a little too harsh to me. Like I said before, she really hasn’t been that cryptic—the second part of the second sentence implies that he’s about to explode. Like, if she says one more thing that isn’t straightforward he’s going to burst into a thousand pieces, which isn’t what I imagine you had in mind. Again, I’d try something milder like, “As much as I loved her, she was really starting to bug/annoy/irritate me” or “As much as I loved her, I wish she was a little more blunt/straightforward/understandable/clear/etc.”
I do like the last sentence; it makes me smirk a little every time I read it—who hasn’t felt that way, from both Sirius’s and Lily’s position? But again, I read it with a little more venom than appropriate for the situation, in my opinion. Also, she is answering him, just not as clearly as he’d like. So, maybe “Apparently making sense was too difficult.”
I’ve read these lines a few times, each one different, and I’ve found that even just changing the middle sentence lessens the sting of the last one and the paragraph as a whole. Just something to ponder over.
BUT, I do like the fact that there is a little bit of impatience, of venom, of sting, of annoyance in his words. It works well with the theme: if their relationship isn’t perfect, than how can anything else in the world be? The message it sends out to the rest of us is nice, too. We shouldn’t be expecting the other person to suddenly become a god and think that they could never do anything wrong or anything that would bug us. And I like that you’re sending real messages that may actually ingrain themselves somewhere in someone’s mind and make a difference in their lives.
The way you transition from each “problem” in the story is so flawless I’d be jealous if I didn’t love your writing so much. ~_^ First, there’s taking James seriously, and once Sirius realizes that James is serious (too many homophones!), there’s the challenge of actually talking to Lily, and then figuring out what they are to each other. Now, I’m at the Challenge IV: James. Perhaps the biggest and most important hurdle of all—after all, how do you tell your best friend that you and the girl he’s not-quite-over-yet are in love?
But this is another part where I have a slight issue with Sirius’s characterization. While I can’t see Sirius’s being thrilled about telling James, I can’t really see him hiding it, like he did, either. I more easily a see a scene where James and Sirius take a walk or Sirius meets James on the Quidditch Pitch or Sirius is able to get James alone in the common room and then they sit and have a serious talk. I like to think that Sirius is man enough to be able to tell James to his face. Also, I like to think that Sirius is man enough to want to tell James to his face. I think that he respects and cares about James so much that he’d want him [James] to hear it from him and no one else and that he wouldn’t want to be keeping secrets from him.
I suppose, though, that that is effectively what Sirius said to James after he found them kissing. Still, I would have rather seen that scene played out, instead of just a wish.
Aw, his proposal was really sweet. The whole ending is really sweet. It makes me feel all warm and gushy and light in side. It’s the type of ending where your dreams suddenly seem in reach and everything looks brighter and happier and you wish you had someone to hold you and share the feeling with you. I like it. :) I like the whole story (if you didn’t know that by now).
Oh, wow, this is long. Lovely story, Alison.
It's a really good story done perfactly in my opinion. :p
i loved this, realaly well centred around perfection/imperfection etc.
so in this story is sirius switched with James, I'm just curus, is Harry Sirius's son do you think?
Because this is the first Lily Sirius fiction I've read where they get married, so what happens next?
A different idea that was well developed, I usually do not enjoy reading anything other than Lily/James fics but I really liked this one!
I'm afraid to say that this story makes Lily sound really arrogant. Believing that everyone sees her as perfect seems really conceited. Other then that, it is well written.