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Review:Veritaserum27 says:
Hi Dan,

Review Tag!

Yay! We finally get a first date! Not exactly the way either of them would have planned it, but it was sweet nonetheless. I actually enjoyed this version much better. Because they weren't in Hogsmeade with other students and potential Malfoy-haters around, they had the time and space to be themselves and learn a little about each other.

I think the best part of this chapter is how you managed to sneak in little moments of Astoria and Draco learning how to navigate each other. This seems to be really difficult for most authors. The tendency is to either be blatant about the awkwardness of the first few meetings or to ignore it all together. You've managed to find the balance and it adds a realistic touch to the story. Great job!

Astoria's Slytherin qualities come shining through in this chapter more than they had in any of the previous ones. She is cunning and always aware of how her actions will be perceived by others.

Draco, on the other hand, seems to be acting the opposite of a Slytherin. He bares his soul to Astoria and reveals some of his darkest moments. The retelling of that horrible night even squeezed my heart. And I thought Draco's description of the meaning of his dark mark was exactly the way I always imagined he felt about it. To him, it was a duty he had to perform to keep his family safe.

Hermione's actions didn't surprise me in the least. She is more about being accurate and right in all situations. While she is loyal to Ron, she is not jaded and I think she may be the one person from the other side that sees the complications of the war and how it is not just black and white.

Through the entire chapter, there is this underlying connection between Draco and Astoria. It isn't out in the open, but they both seem to be willing to put themselves in harms way for each other. It is not openly mentioned, but they both act selflessly to protect the other. I love it! This is such a great story and I can't wait to read more!

Thanks so much. I was dying to review this chapter and so excited that no one else had jumped in before me.

~Beth

Author's Response: Hi, Beth!

Yes, their unconventional first date continues on its unconventional path. I liked the idea of getting them out of the all-wizarding village not only for the reason you pointed out, but also because it allowed Astoria to see a little flexibility in Draco's normally stiff mindset. He isn't above spending a little time among the muggles when it suits him.

I think that learning how to navigate around somebody as emotional and anger-prone as Draco would have been an important task for Astoria. And I think she's up to it. She comes from a background where custom and protocol and knowing how to read the small reactions of very stoic people were very important. For Draco's part, he wants so much to make her comfortable around him. He wants to open up to her, but he doesn't want to frighten her. It's a fine line he feels like he's walking.

No matter what, I didn't want these two dyed-in-the-wool Slytherins to stop being Slytherins. I felt like if I allowed that to happen, I'd lost a very important part of their characters. In this chapter, I didn't think of Draco's soul-baring as being a non-Slytherin trait. He's doing it under very controlled circumstances and he's doing it for a very specific reason. He wants -- needs -- her to understand him. To understand why he did the things that he did during the war. I'm glad you liked his treatise on the real meaning of the Dark Mark. That was an idea that I started to develop when I wrote Marked and then brought it full circle here.

Astoria did understand Hermione better than Draco in the end. Draco has become very trapped in this mindset of anger and retribution and feeling like everyone in the world wants to see him fall (further). After the amount of pain and suffering Hermione witnesses during the war, I doubt that she wanted to see anyone suffer just to settle a score.

Draco and Astoria are both willing to take chances and sacrifice for one another. Draco does it because he wants to be with her, Astoria does it because she wants to know if what she's feeling toward Draco is real. They can be a little selfless at times. Not very Slytherin. ;)

I'm really glad you enjoyed it! Thanks for reading and reviewing!


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