So I totally plan to keep reading CoB, but I really wanted to hop over and take a look at something you're still currently working on. Is this part of the same universe? I'm not sure I'm far along enough in CoB to know, but already this feels like a glimpse into the pre-CoB Draco.
I really liked how gritty this chapter started off -- that you didn't gloss over the unpleasant details of him getting sick. If this is going to be about redemption for Draco, it's obviously important to make the lows pretty low, and I'd say throwing up in an alleyway, abandoned by his friends, definitely qualifies. There were a few moments where Draco's self-awareness/ability to have deep thoughts seemed a bit at odds with how drunk he's supposed to be, but other than that, it really hits a strong note right out of the gate.
I love how the tables have been turned on Draco -- becoming the other, the one no one wants to have in their establishment. Payback is cruel, isn't it? But it sets a good precedent. If Draco is going to have any sort of change of heart, being forced to suffer (even in a small way) what he inflicted on others may be the only way to show him how wrong he was in the past.
But then the Aurors came. What a great line. So ominous. I don't know if you plan to elaborate on that, but it says a lot, and none of it good for the Malfoys. And the line about the coins being his "father's words." Brilliant. These little asides say more than ten paragraphs of narration. And wow, was Astoria reading his mind? Or did she just sense he'd been thinking about fleeing when she mentioned the fourth D?
I think you hit on an interesting point when Draco realizes that he's a living reminder of what they all just suffered through. The war is over but clearly these sorts of things don't just tie up in neat little bows at the end. I can't help but wonder, though, if he's latching on to the idea of Astoria here as a bit of a motivation for a change he knows is long in coming. He seems to have been taken with her incredibly quickly, especially for a girl he says he hardly remembers from school, so I wonder if there is more going on there.
I'll definitely be back soon to check out some more. The post-war Malfoys are such an interesting topic. It's so fun to read how different people imagine there place in the world after Voldemort's defeat.
Author's Response: Hi! I definitely understand the desire to diversify, although I don't think I'll be moving on from Over the Edge until I've finished it.
So I haven't conducted rigorous studies to verify that this story and Marked are perfectly consistent with CoB, but yes, in my mind the three stories show Draco at three distinct phases of his life. Marked takes place after the Battle of the Department of Mysteries, when Draco is made a Death Eater in order to punish Lucius for his failure.
I try really hard not to gloss over anything in this story unless I absolutely have to for ToS reasons. It's a story about a guy who goes from extreme unhappiness to a much happier life, but with a lot of bumps in the road. The start of the story finds him at a very low point in his life. He basically has one foot in the gutter, and only his family's money and a strand of loyalty to his mother are keeping him from tumbling the rest of the way in. While he's at this point, he has what alcoholics refer to as a Moment of Clarity.
Payback is very cruel, indeed. And it isn't over yet...
I probably won't spend too much time going into what happened when the Aurors were questioning the Malfoys after the Battle of Hogwarts, since it's in the past, but you might see a memory or two.
Astoria doesn't read his mind so much as she just realizes that he's going to have to get home somehow. She's very practical that way, with a good head on her shoulders.
Draco is a living reminder of the war to everyone who sees him. It's a curse he will bear throughout this story. I tend to think that there were no "neat bows" for anyone who actually survived the war. Do not pity the dead; pity the living. ;) I think Draco initially sees Astoria as more of an ideal than a person. To him, it seems sort of like providence that she enters his life just as he's having this epiphany. Don't worry, they'll both have some time to explore whether he fancies her or just the idea that she represents.
I'm glad you liked it. It's been very challenging to write, mostly from the standpoint of trying to imagine all the various hurdles that the two of them would encounter along the way. The 2-year age difference is a particularly annoying detail to work around.
Thanks for reading and reviewing!