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Review:Pixileanin says:
Hello there! I've finally gotten out of my head for a little while, so I decided to come play in your world for a bit.

My favorite part about this nightmare is how it completely matches in tone and intensity to the bar scene where Draco is getting sick. Everything is grossly tangible, horrifically vibrant. I'm afraid to ask what kind of movies you've been watching lately.

The way that his mother whispers his name was truly creepy. I wish I could bottle up that kind of creep. It would sell. And then she's right. There. The creep factor just got more intense. A really well-done nightmare.

I liked the relationship you have set up between Astoria and her father. It was fun to read about the little digs about her sister that they shared. And when she brings up Draco, the overprotective parent definitely appears.

"If he seems like he's changed, it just means that you haven't figured out what he wants from you."

Yes. Just like that. But I also think that his attitude towards the war is justified - from his slightly warped point of view, it completely makes sense. I bet there were a lot of pureblood families that got tarnished because of the war, whether they were involved or not. Attitudes and prejudices. They are so difficult to overcome.

Oh boy. I can already tell that a cup of tea will not mix well with Draco's old buddies from school. When Blaise showed up, I cringed in anticipation of badness. And of course you delivered. There was a lot of tension in that place, so much that I'm surprised Zambini didn't pick up on any of it... but wait, he was already drinking so I guess that a room full of people about to hex him to neverland wouldn't register. I loved the contrast that the scene provided between Draco, who desperately wanted to get out of there unscathed and without a scene, and the completely oblivious Blaise. I was half expecting Draco to punch the fool when they apparated away. It's a wonder that Draco managed to keep his cool at all. That must have been some strong tea.

I had horrible visions of Gamp and Zambini and the rest of them sitting around and thinking about all the "good things" that Draco Malfoy could teach them about being tough-as-nails bad guys so they could prove to the world that they deserved... I don't know... something. Deserved to take over the world, maybe? Ugh! They make me sick. At least Draco is making a very serious effort to stay out of trouble. You have just demonstrated how very difficult that is going to be for him. I don't see Draco thinking that he's going to be on the same side of anything with anyone for a long time coming.

And now I'm starting to feel just a wee bit sorry for the guy.

Author's Response: Hey, Pix! Thanks for stopping by!

I don't think there's ever a harder sentence to write in a story than the first sentence of chapter 2. Chapter 1 always seems easy because you're excited to get started and you're on fire and you pour everything into it and then... ugh. The nightmare was my answer to getting chapter 2 rolling, so I'm glad you liked it. I'm also glad you found it easy to visualize. I was torn between trying to make it vivid and trying to keep it spartan and dark.

Astoria's father is an interesting character. He doesn't understand all that much about what *really* happened during the war. When you hear about the complacent populace that allowed Voldemort and his followers to seize power, that's basically Horatio Greengrass. He wasn't especially threatened by Voldemort's rise, being the head of a wealthy, old pureblood family, but he didn't really see the necessity of it, either. In his mind, Voldemort was some crazy cult leader that the Blacks and Malfoys decided to turn into a puppet king. And while the Greengrasses weren't ruined by the war like many of the old families who openly supported Voldemort, they were certainly harmed by the aftermath, both financially and in terms of the loss of prestige that all purebloods suffered. Net-net, it was a bad deal for him.

Zabini is sort of living in his own little world, as are all of Draco's other former housemates. The combination of his mother's money and his substance abuse problem make him more or less oblivious to the fundamental ways that the world has changed since the war. Draco probably should have punched him, but one of the things Draco was trying to prove to himself was that he could control his temper.

Draco's former "friends" are definitely plotting something. How serious that something is will become more clear as the story progresses. Suffice it to say that it will cause Draco a lot of problems before the story is over.

I'm never quite sure how to react when people feel sorry for Draco. This mess is mostly of his own making, after all. But he is putting in an effort to change, so I suppose that's worth something.

Thanks for reading and reviewing!

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