I'm back for another dose of Draco!
Wow, what an opening. I really like that you didn't hold back on the gorier details. I'm not one for a lot of blood just for shock value, but it's appropriate here, in proportion to the horror the Death Eaters and Voldemort inflicted. It also makes for some great insight into Draco's current state of mind. He's being tortured himself, only obviously in a somewhat less literal way. I couldn't help but wonder if the vivid nightmares aren't also a symptom of withdrawal, both physically from not ingesting the alcohol and mentally, his sobriety clearing his mind enough to dredge up the things he'd been repressing.
I can't really quote most of my favorite lines from this section for obvious reasons, but I will say I loved the line, "Somebody had finished the work his mad aunt had begun." I actually found this one even more disturbing than the descriptive phrases. I don't know why, but it just lept of the page.
The only part I was a little unsure on was what the mood was supposed to be here. It's a dream, so realism isn't exactly a concern, but sometimes it felt like the wording and the intensity of Draco's feelings didn't totally match up. Like his "overwhelming dread" addressed in the same sentence as the "plush carpet." Or a sudden "dampness" on his check causing him to pause (as opposed to stopping short or halting or even jumping or recoiling). The writing was lovely but, at times, I thought it undercut the wonderful tension a bit.
I loved the contrast you created by putting the two parent/child scenes back to back. Draco and Astoria are still young enough to be reliant on their parents, even as they are working to come into their own as adults. And in their own way, each parent is just trying to do what is best for their child. It was just a nice literary touch having them one after the other with the gender rolls reversed.
Your Zabini is fantastic! Well, no, he's kind of terrible, but your writing of him is wonderful. His voice when he speaks is very distinct from the other characters, and IMHO, reads the most naturally. You're really hitting a perfect note with him.
I spotted a couple of small typos:
--Whether it was in real or in a nightmare, he could not recall, but something terrible waited in the distance. (was in real life...or maybe just...was real...?)
--He turned his back on Draco and took a could of steps, but then stopped. (couple)
--The tattered remains of a hand-knitted jumper clung loosely to his body... (This isn't really a typo but "clung loosely" is a bit of an oxymoron :D)
Well, I'm definitely getting hooked. I'm excited to see where this story is headed next...
Author's Response: Hi, there!
I'm glad you like my second little Draco project. I don't know when I started to enjoy writing him so much. The funny thing is that I don't usually enjoy reading Draco stories at all, even when they're done well.
In my mind, his nightmares are driven by all of the terrible things he witnesses during the war that he hasn't even begun to come to terms with. During the months after the war, alcohol helped to keep them at bay, so I suppose that one effect of withdrawal could be that they're getting worse. At any rate, I had this very stark vision in my mind of a sort of "chandelier" of victims in a long, dark hallway. The carpet was meant, I think, to be a sort of contrast to the horrors he sees hanging above. I remember thinking at some point during Deathly Hallows what cold comfort the Malfoys' luxurious home must have been when they had to share it with Voldemort and the rest of his insane followers. And the fact that he never stops walking down the hall is just one of those things that seems to happen in nightmares, kind of like how you never think to just turn around, go home and put on pants. ;)
Horatio and Narcissa do contrast pretty nicely, don't they. He's more openly affectionate toward Astoria than Narcissa ever was with Draco, but I don't think that's any reason to assume that she loves her son any less. They're also both very concerned with family and with their children's place in society, although Narcissa was probably far more concerned before the war and far less concerned after.
I think of Zabini as a bored, somewhat disenchanted rich kid for whom the early stages of alcoholism are beginning to take their toll. Unlike Draco, the war was never a matter of survival for him. Being something of an outsider looking in, I'd say he viewed it as a missed opportunity for social advancement. And he certainly still wears the arrogance and prejudices of a pureblood scion.
Thanks for the typos and the other suggestion. I will see to them straight away!
I'm so happy that you're enjoying this! It's been a struggle, to be honest, because I'm having a hard time deciding how long I really want it to be, which in turn gives me fits with plot outlines. But that's my row to hoe. Thanks for reading and reviewing!