Hi! I am finally here. Whew! Do not look at how long it took me. It's just plain embarrassing.
I guess the first time I read this, I didn't realize that the school year had come to an end already. I just figured that out from the chapter summary. I am a dummy. *smacks self*
I don't mind the single-mindedness about studies. It's practically the only thing he's living for at the moment. Alright, alright, I know there's this girl, but hey. He's doing the right thing. It's good to see that he's happy about it too. It might not change Mr. Greengrass's mind, but at least it's several steps in the right direction. Head down, stiff upper lip, Draco.
It's also good to see Draco standing up to his father after years of believing that his father's way was the right way. He's coming into his own, which is my favorite part of this story. Aww, but did he have to pick on the hair? That was a low blow. And the drinking. *sigh* It's a long road to recovery. I can't really blame the guy. I think Draco made a wise decision to just avoid the man entirely. Seeing that he was spending time in a Muggle establishment shows even deeper how Draco has changed, and actually making conversation with the waitress too. And pie. We can't discount the power of pie.
I like how you consistently show Draco's calculating mind, weighing in on the impulses of the past and self correcting before he acts rashly. He still reacts with an edge, but that is completely understandable. Remember, Draco. There's pie if you can get out of this without an incident.
McGonagall's confession that she had made things difficult for him and expected him to fail, and then admitting that she was surprised that he succeeded was a great way for Draco to realize that people were still watching him, and that his actions were, at least in a small part, moving him forward towards changing the attitudes of the people around him. McGonagall's apology was a great touch too, because even I did not expect that.
McGonagall's offer seems very generous, though if Draco is doing as well in Potions as she says he is, he deserves the position. The fact that he's willing to take it, and that his mind is filling with the possibilities, shows that he's really considering the big picture here. I am so glad that Draco is acting rationally here. He's certainly learned a lot about self-control.
You've kept McGonagall perfectly in character. You've given her the sternness that she's known for, and the compassion for which she's well-loved. I bet Draco's appreciating her very much right about now. And aww, he has to wait for his pie. It's usually best the next day anyway.
And how does Draco use his newfound freedom??? By corrupting an innocent young girl in the corridors way too close to curfew! The shame!! *shakes matronly finger*
Astoria is so... it's like she's playing a dangerous game of hide-and-seek and I don't want her to find whatever she's looking for because she wants it too much. I must say that was an excellent use of the Disillusionment Charm. Okay, okay, it all turned out great in the end, and it was all cute and touching and wonderful (especially the talking part, because talking is very important...), but I was seriously worried there for a moment.
Isadore makes me want to dig out the staining fruit again. Seriously, girls like that should have a warning tattooed onto their foreheads. Why do I get the impression that Isadore knows just as little about "it" as Astoria? And why am I suddenly concerned about Isadore's source of information? Your phrasing is priceless, by the way. Please tell me that's a Dan original.
And sigh. Astoria's father has to be difficult. It's only going to turn her against him later... oh, you've got that covered. Right. Mr. Montague sounds absolutely dreadful, even if it is only for one evening.
I do like how Astoria has made up her mind that she's not going to just go along with her parents' plans for her to marry well and not take her studies seriously. It's good that she is following her convictions, or that she even has convictions to follow (*cough* ignore your friend, Isadore *cough*). I'm sure that's part of what Draco is attracted to.
Another lovely chapter filled with romance and several tension-filled steps in the right direction!
Author's Response: Hi, pix!
School's out... for summer! School's out... for-ever! Draco is almost all done with school and he's behaving a little like Hermione in the home stretch. Granted, Hermione would never write off any of her subjects, but at least he's being logical about things.
Draco and Lucius are getting on very poorly by this point, and way Draco is handling matters is obviously a mixed bag. He tries to avoid the old man, but sometimes he succumbs to his demons and gets drunk. He has warmed up to the muggle world in one or two very limited ways, but I wouldn't make **too** much of it. Because you're right, the power of pie has a lot to do with it.
There's a good reason the Sorting Hat put Draco into Slytherin without a moment's hesitation. He plots, he calculates and he assessed the impacts of his actions. Cunning, always.
I'm glad you liked McGonagall. Part of me always feels like she never would have been able to forgive him for the role he played in Dumbledore's death, even after she knew the complete truth. But she is, above all else, an educator and a fair woman. Draco has made the most of his second chance and I don't see how she wouldn't have respected that, albeit begrudgingly. Her offer is very fair, and it doesn't take Draco long at all to deduce that he isn't going to do any better, so he accepts. He has become very rational.
You're right, he doesn't use his new powers exclusively for good. That said, I felt like the two of them deserved at least a few moments of unspoiled happiness together. **This** is what I always assumed that Disillusionment Charms would be used most for at Hogwarts. Small wonder that they aren't taught until much later in a student's years at school.
What can I do to get you to like Isadore more? :p OK, there's probably nothing I can do because she's just being herself. She knows **a little more** about "it" than Astoria, but not a whole lot. She reads more magazines, gossips more and she's spent more time sneaking around empty classrooms and hidden passageways with boys, but by no means does that make her an expert. The phrasing is an original. Glad you like it. :)
Mr. Greengrass is a stubborn, traditionalist pureblood. I'd argue that it's turned her against him already, although the damage isn't irreparable yet. But Astoria is just a strong-willed as he is, and she'll find a way to subvert his plans. Her conviction and intelligence is definitely a part of what Draco finds attractive.
Tension-filled is a good way to put it. Draco and Astoria are playing a dangerous game, flying in the face of generations of pureblood tradition and patriarchy. It's going to be a crazy ride through to the end. I'm glad you're enjoying it. Thanks for reading and reviewing!