First, I’ll start this off by commending you on your writing style. I’ve haven’t come across a style quite like this yet, and I really value unique writing very highly. It’s quite amazing, because you are able to take a very choppy style and make it flow very nicely. It is really almost poetic. Even in the opening paragraph, I’m reminded of poetry:
Smooth locks of auburn hair pulled away from her face, braided loosely down the centre of her back. Emeralds shine. Rubies pout. Elegant neck stretches, head tossed back in laughter. Friends surround her, watching her in pleasure, envy, love.
If you altered the format of this, it could very easily have been a poem rather than prose. I also enjoy the imagery here, it really pulls you into the story. It also establishes the rest of the work, and lets the readers know that this is about Lily. However, this fic is also very ambiguous, so you really have to search for what exactly is happening. For example:
This is my tree. No unwanted, unneeded boy in my tree. A hero lives here. He is braver than all the rest. He is strong and needs nobody else. They envy him.
I’m not sure who exactly you are talking about here. James? Sirius? I’m assuming it’s James, because obviously the speaker would be jealous of the one who Lily is dating.
Another example of ambiguity occurs here:
I look down. Grass, green shards stretch, each reaching high, trying to grow, outshine the others. No chance to shine; sun hidden behind long limbs that touch cloudless blue. My small, curved hand reaches out, touches green fringe like feathers, that whispers like silk, rustles like the wind. Curled fingernails grasp, tug. My hand retreats, uncurls. My line-marked palm, lines inked in with dirt, holds it close. In it I can see veins, lines, connections. Which one to take? The oldest? The fragile? The strongest?
I think you’re attempting to make a metaphor comparing a plant that receives no sunshine to the lack of attention that the reader receives. He never really “shines”. I think that this is a really beautiful and well-suited metaphor, but the ambiguity doesn’t let it reach the heights that it could.
There are a few moments where it is clearer who the speaker is, such as this: I don’t fit there; never have. Never as talented, quick, witty. Slightly different from the others, apart. Disposable.
This sentence is a clearer indicator that it’s Peter, as he mentions not being known for his talent or wit, and the fact that is he replaceable within the Marauders. This does help differentiate it from Snape, because Snape would not think of himself as lacking talent or brains, and he doesn’t seem to care for friendship as much as Peter.
I also enjoyed your frequent comparisons of Peter to a tree. It’s a comparison that I wouldn’t have thought of immediately, and it the way you describe it really does fit Peter.
And finally with this phrase it becomes clearer that Peter has been referencing James all along:
How can I measure up to him? He is perfect, no flaws. I am the hanger-on in our group, the one who doesn’t quite fit, like a puzzle piece placed into the wrong spot. He fell for her, I fell for her, but she didn’t fall for him. Certainly not me.
I’m glad that you don’t use clichéd details to describe him, such as noting his glasses or dark messy hair, but I think more clarification is necessary.
I also like your characterization of Peter as very simple and animal-like. I know that some think that Peter shouldn’t be trod on as much as he is in fanfiction, but I personally don’t see any redeeming qualities in him. I also like when you describe Peter in his rat-form. This part helped me realized that the speaker was an animagus, but then this bit confused me again:
Escape - soon. Howling, sounds of pain. They cannot find me, not here. They never did, never shall.
Worth it? He is gone, but she is too.
The boy, only the boy was supposed to die, not her. She would have been spared, treasured by our Lord.
She has been gone years. Only thing left is what should have been destroyed.
This part made me think of Snape again, because he was the one who bargained for Lily’s life. I don’t think it says anywhere in canon that any other Death Eaters knew that Snape was trying to save her life.
Also, towards the end I really love this paragraph:
He was no longer what he used to be. Change had followed his path, made him diver from what he had always imagined. Now he was the autumn leaf, frail, brittle, weak to the touch, breaking under slight pressure. The leaves would always change, season after season, year after year. But would he?
Beautiful imager, beautiful metaphor, beautiful characterization…everything. Again, I really like the nature metaphors/motifs in this fic. Combined with Peter’s animalistic/naturalistic characterization it all works really well together.
I really enjoyed this fic for its beautiful imagery. However, I do think this fic might have actually worked better as a long poem. The imagery and fragmented sentences would work better in poetry format. Also, I think the ambiguity hurt this fic more than helped it. I had to read your author’s note to know whose point of view this was from, and while I was reading it I thought that it was Snape. Maybe I’m just a little dense, but f you had added a couple more hints it could have helped a lot. That being said, I think that your writing style is gorgeous. Keep writing, Selina :)
I am struggling to understand why this fic has so few reviews because it really is wonderful. Your use of language here is masterly. You write very poetically, Selina, and I read this almost holding my breath. I didn think at first that this was about Snape, but quickly realised this was Peter. You've captured him just as he was turning, when his feelings of inadequacy were starting to surface and you've caught that brilliantly.
As someone who has always thought that Lily was the one that changed the dynamic of the Marauders, I am really interested on your take. That Peter was in love with her (and a bit jealous) isn't often seen in fanfiction, but you've turned it into a very plausible explanation for his later betrayal.
I loved the end where he almost became the tree - the autumn leaf, brittle and weak. You really have written a wonderful character study of Peter here.
Well done ~Carole~
PS - Happy Birthday and you should write more - seriously.
Author's Response: Thank you so much, Carole! I believe I'd started the fic looking for a different angle on Peter. Quite honestly, I don't usually care for him much. The idea of him being in love with Lily made him more relatable and understandable to me. I thought it worked well as a lense to magnify all the inadequacy that you mentioned. I was hoping for a unique spin on Peter that isn't seen too often. Thank you so much for reviewing, really. Though as usual I'm a bit late to respond . . . >.> ~Selina
It does sound quite like Peter!!
Author's Response: Thank you! I'm glad you think my writing is in character. Thank you for taking the time to review!
This was so sad but so beautiful! At first I thought it was about Peter for some reason, though I have no idea why. It's about Severus, yes?
Author's Response: Thank you, dearie! Actually, I wrote this as Peter, so that might be why you thought that. ;) I've had lots of theories over the years, and the idea of Peter/Lily (though the love, or whatever you'd prefer to call it) just jumped at me a little while ago, and I had to write it. Thank you for reviewing!