Firstly I have to commend your characterisation of Lily - the idea that she's the 'go-to' girl for comfort really fits her character, and that she would bottle up her emotions and only let them out in private worked really well. I thought your take on Regulus was interesting, and although I'm an avid Lily/James shipper, you really made this relationship work somehow. The last line is perfect, and really shows Regulus' true colours and the decision he makes in the end.
I also loved the idea that Lily was crying for the Muggles from her area - the most innocent because they didn't even know what was happening. Fascinating.
Great story, all in all!!
Author's Response: Thank you! I'm a pretty avid Lily/James shipper as well, but this plot bunny just attacked me and I couldn't let it go. >.> <3Mere
I really enjoyed this story, but my very first impression is that it doesn't feel finished for some reason. Certainly the last line is good: it focuses on the conflict, particularly within Regulus, that you've been building, and it has good punch to it. It feels like a last line. And yet, somehow, the story doesn't feel quite complete. Maybe it is that the point of view shifts between Lily and Regulus, and we see how Regulus' conflict is resolved, but not Lily's. The other thing that really hit me right away was the emotion. The emotional depth that you pour into this story is so poignant and powerful that I could really see myself there. Regulus is one of my favorite characters, but I often have troubles with Lily.
Anyway, I absolutely loved the emotional impact of this story, and I also really loved the internal conflict you portray within both Lily and Regulus. I almost always prefer stories with internal conflict than those that only have external conflict, and I don't mind stories that are entirely about the internal conflict. To me, trying to make sense of your life, the way Lily does between her external facade of togetherness and the way Regulus tries to find the sense of the Death Eaters compared to the dying Muggles -- you portray these conflicts so vividly and interestingly. Lily also seemed very much in character. We don't know much about Regulus, but within the story, he's also very consistent. I didn't notice any character problems, and the internal conflict brought out their personalities very well.
As for problems, I didn't notice too many problems. I thought the setting was well developed, and I could see the surroundings the characters were in. I also thought your voice was consistent and fit well with the tone of the piece. Really, the only bad thing I can say is that I wish it had continued. Besides what I said earlier about the feeling of incompletion, I really liked the tone you built and wanted to linger there. It felt secret and magical.
Overall, this is one of the best oneshots I've read in a long time, and I'll be adding it to my favorites. Keep writing!
Author's Response: I see what you mean about not really getting a wrap up of Lily's feelings, but that's kind of what I was getting at, that she's confused by what she feels for Regulus and in the end the war drowns everything else out. Ahh, how can you have problems with Lily? She's my favourite character. I like Regulus, but I love Lily. :) Thank you for such a fabulous review, Dinny! It had me grinning like mad the whole time I was reading it. I still am grinning like mad, tbh. <3Mere
I think it's a shame that this story doesn't have more reviews, Mere, because it deserves them.
I'm always surprised that this pairing doesn't get explored more often because it makes a lot of sense to me for there to have been some interaction between them. They presumably would have come in to contact with each other, because there's a connection through both Sirius and Severus. I also tend to imagine that it would be easy for something to come of that connection because I've always assumed that Harry gets his 'saving people thing' from his mother (it makes a lot of sense to me given her friendship with Severus), and Regulus would have been a prime target for that.
I really liked though how you didn't fall into the cliché of having a 'love of good girl turns bad boy around' motif and instead just used Lily as a catalyst for Regulus' growing dissatisfaction with the brutality practiced in the name of his cause. I like how you used Lily to show him the reality of his actions and the way that they hurt people, and the acknowledgement at the end that perhaps his views on blood purity and pride in his heritage hadn't changed but he was simply human enough to be shocked at the needless deaths of children was much more powerful for its subtlety than any grand romantic turnaround.
I also appreciated the spin that you put on Lily's characterisation and the added depth it gave her. Lily is so often portrayed as almost saintly, and I liked the way you played with the reader's expectation of that in having that be a mask that the outside world sees whilst inside she is angry and bitter at the way everyone relies on her and expects her to take on their burdens with no concern for if she has her own. It makes her much more human and relatable.
I thought as well that the way you utilised the slap was really effective. It's a device that could just be a weak show of temper and add very little, but the way that you had her apologise first made it a much more deliberate and pointed act that added to Lily's complexity as a character and really showed the conflict between her anger and her compassion in her realisation of the genuine nature of Regulus' guilt.
I know that the initial scene with Lily crying alone was necessary as set up, but inevitably the pace of that scene is slower than the latter scenes, where there is interaction between her and Regulus. That slower pace did, for me at least, make it a little difficult to get into the story at first, and whilst perhaps that dip in pace could be carried better in the middle of a story, with this being the opening, I find myself wondering if all of that scene is strictly necessary, or whether perhaps it could be tightened up just a little to give it a little more impact. There is a certain amount of repetition that could perhaps be cut without losing any of the significant exposition, for example, you have the line It was the people who had no idea why they were dying, which you then move on from, only to return to the same concept a couple of paragraphs later.
I do wonder if perhaps compressing some parts of that scene just a little (or maybe even just moving some of it to the second scene where Lily is crying at the end) might just draw the reader in a little more, and balance out the pace overall (because it may just simply be that it feels slower to me in comparison to the snappier pace later on whereas the pace would feel fine if that first scene stood alone, if I'm making any sense?).
That's just a suggestion though, and it's really not something that did anything to detract from my enjoyment of the story.
One last thing that I want to comment on is the point of view, because I thought you handled it really well. I'm often not a fan of switching point of view between characters, because it's so often not thought through and becomes dizzying head-hopping that serves no purpose other than to bulk the story out by telling the same thing from different angles. That really wasn't the case here though. The switches of viewpoint felt very deliberate and considered; they were very well timed in they way that they were between scenes, so that they weren't disorientating and so they didn't end up rehashing the same events from a different angle; and they served a very marked purpose in giving the reader greater insight into both characters motivations (I don't think the alteration in Regulus' views would have felt anywhere near as natural as it did had we only seen Lily's perspective not would Lily's characterisation have had such depth if we'd have only seen things through Regulus' eyes).
I really enjoyed this, Mere, and I think I may have to settle down and find a moment to work my way through your other stories, because I think I'll really rather enjoy them if the quality of this story is anything to go by!
Author's Response: This is possibly my favourite review ever. Thank you sooo much. I really don't have much else to say. I understand what you mean about the slowness and repetitiveness of the beginning, but at the same time I like kind of like it. Actually, the first part was a stand alone. I wrote it with every intention of it just being that but then when I was looking over it again I decided I could dig a little deeper with this. Maybe that's why the pacing is different . . . Thanks again! <3Mere
I really, really loved this. Many times when I read Lily/Regulus they find each other when searching for solace, and then the relationship is purely physical. So, when I saw this I was wary to read it, but I did because you're a good writer. This was so much more; it seemed real. I can so easily imagine this as the defining moment that Regulus would always think back on as when everything changed. This was going to be what changed him, Julie who was six and Mary who was three.
Author's Response: Aww, wow, you're so sweet. This review just made my day. Thank you so much! <3Mere
I have to say, your characterization of both Lily and Regulus was amazing. I enjoyed reading this fic and hope to read more by you soon!
Oh wow, that was really good. It was very sad, and thought-provoking, too. Not some crazy romantic-fling-style fic, but much deeper.
I've never even considered the idea of Lily and Regulus, but this was very well done. (I probably won't go buy a t-shirt emblazoned with R&L, but still....) Spectacular writing! :)
Author's Response: Thank you so much for reviewing! This review made my day. :] --Mere