So I had a look at your QSQ nominations so far this year, just like you suggested, and I have to say, this story is up there with your best work. I thought the lyrical style of this really brought out Lily as a character, and the whole premise of unrequited love was so beautifully presented here. I’m sure the experience of childhood crushes is something most people have gone through, but it was the simplicity of your setup that I liked most. I’ve read quite a few Teddy/Lily stories lately, and this one is definitely my favourite because of your somewhat different slant on the pairing. The dynamic between Lily and Teddy was such a joy to read. I could really feel Lily’s sadness that Teddy didn’t love her the way she loved him. Equally, though, I could see how Teddy loved Victoire, too, and seeing both points of view in your story was really intriguing.
What made this story stand out amongst your other works, to me, was your style, your attention to detail and how vivid every scene was. Your emphasis on Lily’s physical discomfort, with her too-tight robes and her overdone hair and even Harry’s somewhat dubious reaction to how neat Lily looked, was what made the opening of your story come to life. I especially liked the line about how “her hair comb feels like it is stabbing her scalp”; the bluntness of your description was really powerful and harsh there. As a reader, I could feel Lily’s discomfort and I understood how that mirrored her emotional discomfort of being there when Teddy was getting married.
Also on the subject of style, your description of Teddy really brought out his character and, quite literally, how colourful his personality is. The way Teddy’s hair changed to electric pink when he was with Victoire reminded me of Tonks and how she, too, seemed to wear her heart on her sleeve through her Metamorphmagus abilities. On another note, I loved your use of present tense. It gave your story an immediacy and an urgency, of sorts, and that was fitting considering how uneasy Lily felt at Teddy marrying Victoire. Your choice of tense made me feel closer to Lily as a character, and I think that was what made your story read and flow so well.
I thought you characterised Lily beautifully. I liked the way her mindset was conveyed through the style, but also, it was heartbreaking to read how much of a front she was putting on to everyone, even Teddy. The fact that everyone, barring maybe Ginny, was oblivious to how Lily felt, made her situation even more relatable, to me. When reading the other reviews for your story, I noticed someone objected to Teddy kissing Lily, but really, I think that was a focal moment in which both of them realised that they didn’t work together romantically, particularly because Lily was the one to move away.
As for Teddy, his characterisation was great. There was something really quirky and likeable about him in this that reminded me again of Tonks and her sense of humour. When he asks Lily to dance, for instance, I could clearly see his ease with Lily, but I could also sense his hesitance, as if he knew something was wrong. And I think, more often than not, unrequited love stories tend to have the person not reciprocating the love as being the villain or in some way the bad guy. So I liked that you stepped away from that, because Teddy’s portrayal as an ultimately sympathetic character truly made me understand the other side of this story: it wasn’t that Teddy didn’t love Lily, but he just didn’t love her in the way she did. I really appreciated Teddy himself pointing out that he obviously wasn’t that sensitive or observant, because that kind of humility made it impossible to dislike him as a character for not reciprocating Lily’s feelings.
Overall, Jess, this is the best story I've read by you since Dust to Dust (and I know for a fact that you raised a pretty high bar with that story, so that’s saying a lot). I loved the wedding setting, the gorgeous style and how you presented unrequited love here. It certainly deserved its win for the Milestone challenge, and I really hope it wins a QSQ in something, because I think this was a fabulous read. :)
Somehow, I managed to miss this when you put it up, and now I really wish I'd found it sooner! Like a lot of people, I suspect, I can really relate to Lily in this situation, and I found the way you handled her feelings very effective. Teddy, too, was so lovely - everything I'd want him to be except in love with Lily.
First of all, I thought the way you built up their back story, right from the opening of the fic, was very important to how believable I found Lily's feelings for him. Fifteen years of history between them is summarised in that favourite god-daughter joke. Having that as a foundation made the subsequent revelations about her feelings more convincing for me, helped me to understand exactly why he was so hugely important to her. The pet name “Ladybug”, too, played a part in that, and little details like how she understood the significance of his hair colour meant that I could never forget the strength of their relationship. It was a great base for the plot, and really made Lily feel more convincing.
Secondly, I liked how you handled Victoire's role in this. She could easily have become a simple plot device, present only to show definitively that Teddy could never love Lily in the right way, but she felt more than that. Her stressiness, the near meltdown when Lily was late, her understanding of Teddy's disappearance - she was more than just a perfect bride in the background to make Teddy more sympathetic. This was a story of unrequited love, but I felt like there was a true love story playing out in the background, and it sweetened my sadness for Lily, to a degree.
Then onto Lily herself, the main feature. I don't read an awful lot of Next-Gen, and neither do I write it, so I don't have a very set idea of Lily in my head, but your take on her felt very much like Harry and Ginny's daughter to me. The passion of her love for Teddy was part of that, but more so, I think it was her self-sacrifice, her determination not to tell him and to keep the pain to herself, rather than making it hard for him too. That seems very Harry-like, to me, and I like seeing that sort of connection. But of course idiot Teddy insisted she tell.
It would have been very easy for Teddy to become some sort of villain, hurting the sweet little eighteen-year-old girl, his god-daughter, but he was so lovely I can't quite imagine it now. Right from the start, his determination to make her smile, to cheer her up, was adorable. I can see why Harry and Ginny would have wanted him to be godfather. That light-hearted, silly touch while they were dancing seems like something any child would love to have directed at them, and clearly Lily did. The only thing he did wrong, really, was to kiss her, but even that was well intentioned. As he made clear himself, he isn't perfect, but by Godric he seems to come close. You've created an incredibly loveable character in him, Jess.
I've told you before how much I adore your style of writing, and that applies no less to this story. The balance of your phrasing, the mix of fantastical vocabulary and simply conveyed feelings - there are so many nuances that seem, to me, just right. That final description of Lily, as “the girl beneath the stars who won’t think he hung them in the sky anymore”, was so gorgeously sad. The one thing I would say is that perhaps the star motif could have been put to more use. I noticed a few references to the night sky in Teddy's portion of the narrative, and I liked that it recurred within the second half, but I felt like something could have been added by using that in the first half too, to unite things somehow. When you have such a lovely line to end on, you might as well make the most of it!
However, apart from that one minor suggestion, I adored the story exactly as it is. I felt very much connected to Lily, but you managed to make Teddy incredibly sympathetic too. I'd love to see more of Teddy and Vic's relationship, and who manages to win Lily's heart, for I don't doubt that someone will eventually. I'll have to have a wonder through your author page, to see what else I can find :)
I did like the story, a lot. I've always thought that Teddy and Lily would have a close relationship, and I think it's quite natural that Lily would fall in love with him - or at least think she had fallen in love with him. The way you've written this, I feel like she will be able to get over it and fall in love again, because it is a bit like a childhood crush. But nonetheless very painful, I felt so bad for her.
And yet I couldn't hate Teddy, because you made him so adorable and I think he handled the situation, which was awkward for both of them, in the best way possible. It would be so much easier to tell someone you didn't care about at all that you didn't love them, rather than having to tell Lily, who he seems to love like a sister, and he knows how heartbroken she will feel.
I liked the relationship you showed between Lily and Ginny as well - it seemed natural that Ginny would be able to read her daughter - or at least tell that she wasn't happy, even if she didn't know the reason - and knew how to be there for her.
I loved the last paragraph, I think it finished the story off really nicely, and I liked how you put in the title - it fit really well, and I also think the idea that "he girl beneath the stars who won’t think he hung them in the sky anymore" works well, because it shows some of the childishness of the relationship - as in Teddy was like an older brother who knew everything sort of thing. Sorry I'm really not explaining that well...
Anyway, I loved the story, I thought the characterisations were perfect and so was the writing - I really felt for both the characters.
I think you managed the love not "LOVE" speach from Teddy very well. ;) An awkward topic, but a wonderful story.
Most of us have been there with our embarrassing, unrequited crushes, and I think most people would be lucky to have an object-of-affection like Teddy, who cares about Lily a lot, to do what he can to soften the blow.
The topic is awkward, yes, but so is liking someone in that way who likes you in a totally different way. Kind of like being friend-zoned. Thanks for reading!
It is rather sad, isn't it? When she says she waited for him, but he never saw her. Oh sigh - you're so cruel. And yet at the same time, how could one not be happy for Teddy? You wrote him so genuinely happy to be with Victoire that it was lovely to read, even while you ripped out our hearts with Lily's heartbreak. I didn't read the original Lovenote, but it expanded into a great story. Good luck! ~Gina :)
*sigh* I do seem to spend an inordinate amount of time torturing characters for others' entertainment, don't I? Anyway, when you think about their age difference, it is highly unlikely that anything between them would work, especially because they are basically related. It just makes it awkward and unlikely.
Of course, Teddy is still happily married...just unhappily administering a measure of truth to someone he cares about. Sure, it probably puts a bit of a damper on his night, but at the end of it, he's still married to Victoire and would've done the same a thousand times over. Just...crappy situation, I guess. It's my thing. >.<
Oh I think you captured the tragedy of unrequited love so well, Jess. My heart went out to both Lily and Teddy. I'm curious if this fits into the canon of any of your other fics.
I really loved this, Jess :3
I think we've all been there, and we've all known how much it sucks to love someone who is in like with you. :/ It was an impossible situation for both of them. As for other canon, no this doesn't particularly fit with any other story canon of mine, as Teddy is 28 in this and not dead. (yay) Thanks for stopping in. :DDDD
EEP, my review got deleted by mistake. It's a good thing I always copy the text once before submitting, heh.
Anyway, Jess, I was determined to make this one SPEW-ly. However, I find that I'm flailing again, and possibly crying a little bit this time, because this is so beautiful, I hardly have words, which is why this is going to be a very haphazard review.
I noticed this when we did the LoveNotes, and well, I won’t lie, all your drabbles there deserve to be fics, because they’re all incredibly amazing. This was very sad as a drabble, and though this isn’t sad as a fic, it is very touching.
The first thing that struck me here is how you've taken up a scenario that almost everyone on this planet is bound to experience. First crushes can be awful. Well, there are always the lucky people, but I certainly wasn't one of them, and this got those terrible, but sweet memories back. I do, however, feel worse for Lily Luna here because it must have been terrible watching her first *love* get married, much less fall for someone else. It is such a hopeless situation, and I think her emotions are so well written, starting from the beginning, where you’ve compared the discomfort she experienced at the tightening of her dress to the pain that she’s experiencing because Teddy is getting married. The thoughts were also fantastically drawn out -- especially in that part where Victoire is hugging Lily, and she in turn is struggling with the single thought that she doesn’t want Teddy and Victoire to get married.
Teddy and Lily’s relationship is so sweet. His nickname for her, ‘Ladybug’, is adorable, and I also loved the fact that he can make her smile with such ease. The part of the story that takes place at the swing was my favourite. I loved that Teddy knew where Lily had gone, and that he followed her there. The whole conversation after that was lovely -- with Teddy explaining to Lily how he felt about her, and how he loved her very much, but in a different way. And then, at first, I didn’t understand why Teddy would kiss Lily, because it didn’t make sense to me that he would tell her that she was his goddaughter, and then kiss her, but then I realised what you were getting at when Lily pulled away. I guess the kiss explained more to Lily than any talk would have. She realised that this wasn’t meant to be, and that Teddy was right about her being able to find someone else.
I loved the characterisation too -- Teddy was sweet and understanding, and I loved that he didn’t kick up a fuss, or freak out much when he found out what Lily felt. Also, I think in the part with his point of view, you’ve actually shown the difference between his love for Lily, and his love for Victoire. I loved that. I could actually clearly make out how he felt woman. The moods during his time alone with Lily, and then Victoire are similar, and yet drastically different. And Teddy mentions to Lily that she will meet a man who will see her as the only woman in the world, and then, we actually see that in the end, Teddy has eyes only for Victoire -- he’s regarding her as the only woman in the world. That shows how much he loves Victoire too. Lily is determined and sensitive, and very loving, and I’m sure, after this, that she’ll find someone else. Maybe a sequel? :D
My beta had once explained to me the importance of actions in a story. She told me that it helps the reader build a rapport with the characters, and I see good use of these actions here -- especially when Teddy was pushing Lily while she was on the swing, Your writing style is awesome, and the words you’ve used are perfect for an emotional bonding with the characters.
This was lovely, Jess! The 3000-word piece of pizza cheese I wrote just an hour ago now looks useless in comparison. Hehe. ♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥ you! :)
Sentimentally sweet. Observant. Complete. I would have changed one thing: the final kiss between Teddy and Lily. He should have kissed her cheek, maintaining his position as godfather and new husband to Victoire. The kiss on the lips was inappropriate.
I think we've all had that crush that would never happen, and sometimes we're the last ones to know that they'll never happen. It's not difficult to draw inspiration for this kind of scenario. And I think Lily deserved closure in this, but so did Teddy.
As for the kiss, I had it as a cheek kiss in the first draft, but I changed it for a specific reason. Teddy knows what it's like to be in love with someone who loves you back, and he knows the difference between 'just a kiss' and a 'real' kiss. The former is what it is, and the latter is something special; he needed to show her that no matter how much she loved him romantically, he just didn't and never would. I tried to convey that in the narrative, but maybe I should go back and poke it a bit and clarify that. Maybe it was inappropriate, but in the end, it was effective. Lily was the one who broke it off because she understood that. Teddy will probably tell Victoire about this one day, but only when he is sure that Lily has healed and moved on. At that moment, it wasn't his secret to tell.
Anyway, thanks as usual for the visit and the review. :D
Ugh - reliving the pain of my first unrequited love right now. Very well done. I love the relationship you've given Teddy and Lily, and the way you show how much love he has for her, even if it isn't the kind she is hoping for. I really enjoyed reading this.
I think we've all been there, although it makes it more awkward when it's someone who not only feels the same way, but is in a place in life where they never will (happily married to someone else, for instance). I wanted things to still be good between them, but I think both of them know that something's been lost that they won't get back because of this. Lily was perfectly willing to never tell him, but he had to go and insist. :(
Anyway, thanks for reading. :)
Very well written, though not exactly fun. I feel so sorry for Lily.
Well, it's not fun at all when your first love doesn't love you back in that way, and considering how uncomfortable it was for him, I think Teddy wouldn't have forgiven himself if he didn't put an end to it right then.
Anyway, thanks for reading and for the follow. :)