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239 Reviews Found

Review #26, by LilyEPotter Old Habits

5th February 2014:
Poor Astoria, first having to deal with her sister's wedding preparations then finding out just who was going to escort her at the wedding.

Draco still just isn't getting a break. As much as he's wanting to leave his past behind, the same people want to keep pulling him back in.

Author's Response: Nobody has an easy time breaking with their past in this story, which hopefully is what makes it interesting.

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Review #27, by LilyEPotter Relapse

5th February 2014:
How sad that Draco had to spiral downwards to where he was before trying to change. I would have though that Lucius would have learned after being in Azkaban and then hosting Voldemort that family was more important than power.

Author's Response: Lucius has some issues still, just as Draco does. More to come...

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Review #28, by LilyEPotter Confessions

5th February 2014:
It sounds like Draco ended up telling Astoria more than she was expecting and maybe more than he was intending to say.

Professor McGonagall certainly does have a lot to consider from what Astoria did and did not say. Though I'm glad that Astoria didn't get in trouble for circumstances beyond her control.

Author's Response: Draco probably would have liked to say more, but he's worried about telling her too much, too fast. Her approval means a great deal to him.

Astoria's not in trouble... yet.

Thanks for reading and reviewing.


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Review #29, by Pixileanin Confessions

4th February 2014:
"Getting them there in one piece - keeping her safe - was the only thing that mattered."

Seems like this is his battle cry, of sorts.

"It's a girl thing, Draco. Subconsciously, she needs to fix you."

And I bet that Astoria isn't projecting just a little bit here. Actually in this chapter, she's not trying to fix him. She's trying to understand him, which is a big difference.

It's nice that they had a moment to diffuse the tension, and catch their breath after being chased by people who wanted to kill him. That's a big plus. Draco's so single-minded, so serious here. And Astoria gives him a reason to smile.

The thing that works here is that Astoria is so open to believe that Draco is the person she hopes he is, that she'll set aside all prejudices to give him that chance. She's not holding anything against him, yet she demands his honesty because she cares about who he really is. I think that's what Draco needs the most at this moment. He needs someone who is rooting for him. And don't we all want that, to some extent?

Draco's story has given Astoria some very real context about his life among the Death Eaters. I'm sure she'll have a lot to think about, along with the lure of his grey eyes, in the coming days. I was a little surprised at how quickly he was able to open up to her at first, but then it dawned on me that he's probably desperate for someone to be on his side. And he knows he can't have someone on his side completely, if they can't face who he used to be.

Astoria very carefully plans for her meeting with McGonagall, and I'd say she did a fantastic job, especially when faced with all the distractions on her insides, because that can be very difficult to ignore, you know. It was a nice touch to have Astoria reaffirm her opinion of Hermione. After what Draco told her, I imagine she couldn't be too sure, but what Hermione told the Headmistress made an impression on her.

I like how you're setting up Astoria to be Draco's champion in this story. Just because she's young and inexperienced, doesn't mean that she can't enact change. She's probably learned along the way that strong convictions mean something in her world, and she's demonstrating that in a very real way.

I'm sure there are consequences coming, though. Her father is going to get that owl, and I can't imagine that he's going to let that go without comment.

I also think that you portrayed McGonagall very well here. She didn't go all soft just because some young thing came and pled her case, but she didn't throw the rule book at them either. You walked that fine balance between upholding the order of things and the compassion we've seen from her character before. I liked it alot!

Author's Response: Hi, again! Let's do this!

Draco and Astoria both have their own little mottos in this story. Astoria is projecting a bit, although I think that she and Hermione have more similarities than either one would be eager to admit to.

One of the things that will always draw Draco to Astoria -- at least in my world -- is that she can make him smile. No matter how grave the situation, she finds little ways to make him happy. It happened in Diagon Alley and it's happening again in this chapter.

Astoria wants very badly to believe that Draco is good. That's partly because she likes to believe that about people in general, partly because she's crushing on him, partly because she wants to prove her father wrong, partly because she wants a relationship where she just spontaneously falls head-over-heels in love... as the kids say on FB, it's complicated. And you're right, she's mostly just asking that he tell her the truth. Which he does... gradually. For his part, Draco desperately wants someone to confide in, someone who'll understand what he's been through without judging him. That's some pretty powerful common ground.

I really enjoyed writing Astoria's thought process as she prepares to talk to McGonagall. She plans out every detail of the conversation, then Hermione's appearance throws a huge monkey wrench into her plans so she sort of plays it by ear, but in the end she's able to use a lot of the speech she crafted in her head. Life is like that a lot, I think. You plan and prepare, circumstances change, you adapt and move on.

Astoria does become Draco's champion in many ways, which makes it hurt that much more when they have their inevitable setbacks as a couple. It won't be fun...

You'll see the confrontation with her father in the next chapter. You're absolutely right, he will comment extensively.

McGonagall is all about the tough love. And I believe she respects people who are willing to take responsibility for their own actions and stand up for what they believe is right. In this situation, that's Astoria to a T.

I'm really glad you're enjoying this! Thanks so much for reading and reviewing!


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Review #30, by Pixileanin Making Choices

3rd February 2014:
Hi there. I'm back. Slowest reviewer, ever. But I'm here now, crawling out of my rabbit hole to continue on with this fantastically action-packed story of yours.

Lots of writers completely disregard the whole "can't do magic outside of school" thing. I am so glad you are not one of those writers. :)

The thing with Ginny and Harry from Astoria's perspective is so funny. She's obviously drawn to the display like a moth to the flame, but the proper upbringing in her, the way she sees it through judgmental eyes makes it so ridiculous sounding. I love the line where she feels a bit jealous. The little things she feels and her wonderment at what it would be like to lose herself like that was indicative of her genuine thoughts on the matter. She's so carefully weighing out the options in her head of how to act and what to do, the poor thing.

The way Ron goes at Draco and the large amount of restraint that Draco manages is truly amazing. Ron's got all this pent up frustration coming out, and he's finally in a position to do something about it (he thinks). I really like how you take the time to walk us through Draco's thought process as he figures out how to react. He has a lot to lose if he chooses the wrong move. But he's clearly no pushover. Even with his new, altruistic goals of putting his life back together, you've kept Draco true to his original character. He's a survivor, and that will always be his first priority.

I love how Hermione comes to the rescue and reins Ron in a bit. I also love how you let Hermione blow off some steam, even if it was at Draco's expense. He does seem to take the whole thing in stride, which is commendable under the circumstances.

As far as calculating, careful characters go, that seems to be the one major thing that I see Astoria and Draco having in common. It's bred into them. It's drilled into them. Think. Weigh. Act. She's already taking his dignity (or rather loss of it) into account, by giving him a moment or five to collect himself before she makes her appearance known.

This really needs to go in the books as one of the worst first date scenarios, ever. Draco's beaten down by practically everyone who sees him, his would-be date is stalking him through the village, and then, instead of running away from the danger, she runs directly into it.

And then they disappear.

I don't see any flowers or chocolate in their future. Astoria seems so devoted to the 'idea' of Draco Malfoy, and he definitely showed a furiously protective side of himself in the confrontation. I just hope that she gets something more out of this than a serious concussion.

Isadore, or whatever her name was, didn't appear, so I have no strange desire to throw staining fruit. Great action. Great tension. Great chapter!

Author's Response: Hi, there! What a nice surprise!

"Can't do magic outside of school" was such a big deal in the books. I'm surprised that anyone would ever ignore it entirely. I do kind of suspect that the old pureblood families had ways around it so that they could give their children a leg up on the rest of the Hogwarts population, but that's a topic to explore in a different story.

Astoria is simultaneously intrigued and disgusted by Harry and Ginny's public display. It goes against everything she's ever been taught about how to behave, but at the same time she's fascinated by the idea of two people being so head-over-heels smitten with one another that they are able to throw decorum to the wind. In other words, she's a typical teenage girl whose hormones are waging a war against her upbringing. It remains to be seen which side will be victorious.

Ah, Ron. I really hated turning him into such a jerk in this chapter, but it was necessary to put Draco in the position I needed him to be in. All I can say in Ron's defense is that you're seeing all of this through Draco's eyes, which puts a certain slant on things that would differ greatly from Ron's version of events. The truth lies somewhere in between.

Hermione is doing her best to be the responsible Head Girl and restore order. But there's only so much she's willing to put up with where Draco's concerned. I don't know that he so much takes it in stride as he's unwilling to risk another beating from her.

Draco and Astoria are both like that. It's a very Slytherin trait and one thing I was sort of hoping to show in this is that it isn't just brave Gryffindors who are drawn to one another because of their similarities.

Oh, I don't know, if they set up a first date like this on The Bachelor or The Bachelorette, that's probably one of the few things they could do that might get me to watch. ;)

Flowers and chocolate will factor into their relationship eventually, but that day will be a while coming. Right now, as you've so astutely surmised, Astoria is still trying to figure out who Draco really is and Draco is still more in love with the idea of Astoria than the actual person. They have a lot to learn about one another. Rough seas ahead...

Isadore will return, and you'll probably want to pelt her with rotten tomatoes again, but that's part of her charm. :p

Thanks so much for reading and reviewing!


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Review #31, by UnluckyStar57 Old Habits

25th January 2014:
Hola!!

So, I'm almost to the halfway point of the story now, and it just keeps getting more interesting. Blaise is still devoted to that Lost Cause that is pureblood supremacy, and Astoria is having the wedding blues--about her sister's wedding, no less!

Okay, so this story just continues to be a testament to the fact that change is SO DIFFICULT. No matter what happens in the world to tilt everything on its axis, there will always be those stubborn people who cling to the old ways and glorify the things that they were fighting for.

Example A: Daphne's wedding dress bliss. She's SO into 19th century fashion, and while I don't blame her for being a fan of it--people knew how to dress back then!!--it's quite obvious that her love of the fashion places her at odds with Astoria. While Daphne squeals and gets drunk, visions of peach bustles dancing in her head, Astoria feels uncomfortable and compressed in the dress. Daphne's still in that cage--she's still okay with the idea of settling down with someone to be his "happy little wife." Astoria is being forced into the cage and she doesn't like it--she doesn't want to be told who she can and can't love, and she doesn't want an arranged marriage OR an arranged date to the wedding(that's so last century). I think that her reaction was perfectly rational. Astoria loves someone, too, but she doesn't want to marry him at this point in time. She sees that he has problems and she wants to help him fix them, but she wants to be his equal, not his subordinate (sorry, I just read Abigail Adams' letters to John for a class. I'm sort of in that mindset right now...).

But anyways. Astoria's mother... She didn't exactly seem like a caricature, but she did seem contrived--I think that's because she's lived her life in a contrived, fake sort of way, and so it's just the way she is. It was rather nice to know that she and Mr. Greengrass found love in each other, despite having an arranged marriage, but it is extremely backwards of her to believe that the same thing could happen for Astoria. Even to "put on a happy face and make the best of the situation" is not enough--this is life-long commitment we're talking about here! There will be conflicts and clashing of wills, but Astoria should at least be allowed to pick the man that she wants to spend the rest of her life looking at over the breakfast table, darn it!! So I don't really enjoy Astoria's mother for being that way, but I understand why. :P

It was really interesting to see Draco in a rational state of mind after the cataclysmic end of the last chapter. I thought that he was going to backslide completely and go back to being a drunken sot, but this chapter surprised me. He IS drinking alcohol and he IS hanging around with Blaise again, but he's being cautious. He's determined to play his cards right this time, and he refuses to be swept back up into the whirlwind of the Lost Cause again. He's even being careful with the alcohol! What caused him to get out of that funk from chapter 6, I wonder?

His plan to attend the wedding is... A bit misty to me. Is he going to get Blaise to dissuade Montague from attending so that he (Draco, I mean) can go instead? Is he going to take Polyjuice Potion and BECOME Montague for a little while? I'm not sure what's going to happen, but that's okay. It's good to have mysteriousness sometimes. Or perhaps I'm just silly and I missed something? If so, I'm sorry for my oversight! :)

My favorite line was definitely "Come off it, Zabini, we both know that Emery Montague is playing Chaser for the other squad." Hahahaha, that would present MORE than a problem if Astoria's parents ending up setting her up with him in an arranged marriage. Perhaps that's why he never showers, so that the ladies will stay away? Who knows? Will we get to meet Montague? He sounds like quite a character!!

Great chapter! :D

~UnluckyStar57

Author's Response: Hello, again!

I decided to call this one "Old Habits" for a reason. It's littered with instances of people clinging to ideas that are simply past their time. Whether it's Daphne's taste in bridesmaids dresses or Mrs. Greengrass's ideas about love and romance or Zabini's political ideas, these people need to get a grip and join everyone else in the present. But if they did, this story wouldn't be nearly as interesting. ;)

I admit that I had a blast writing the dress fitting. There's something really satisfying about watching these Slytherin snobs be completely miserable while Daphne acts like a drunken lunatic. Astoria's chat with her mother wasn't as much fun, but it's important to the plot. What I hope you saw was that Astoria's mother, while she still clings to the values she was brought up to believe in, also has a romantic streak. That will be important later on.

I wouldn't overestimate Draco's state of mind at this point. He's once again found something to focus on to help hold himself together, but that grip is tenuous at best. What helped him to get out of his funk is the fact that he's mostly been avoiding his father.

You've got the right idea regarding his plan to attend the wedding. He's planning to use polyjuice to take Montague's place. You'll get to meet young Emery in chapter 11. He's quite a piece of work, as you'll see.

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


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Review #32, by UnluckyStar57 Relapse

18th January 2014:
Uh oh... Draco's had a relapse... But I'll talk about that a little later. I'm sorry that it took so long to review! It always amazes me how busy I get during the week. :P

As far as Astoria seeming too mature... No, I really don't think that she was TOO mature for her age. After all, she's shown a pretty high level of maturity in the past chapters, so when she talks to her father, her maturity is reasonable. Even if she weren't normally so sensible, she would have tried her best when arguing with him, anyways. She wants to stay at Hogwarts and she likes Draco, and so she has to be very persuasive and very truthful, laying out her arguments in a logical fashion that her father can appreciate. I thought it was great that she didn't lie, because that would have been completely out of character.

Also, the question of maturity is interesting because right before she saw her father, she was being teased by Isadore. Talk about juxtaposition!! Isadore is REALLY fond of gossip, isn't she? I mean, it's definitely a teenage girl thing, but Astoria exhibited remarkable self-control when she resisted the urge to tell Isadore off for being stupid. Astoria is a teenage girl, so she likely appreciates gossip and things like that, but DEFINITELY to a much smaller degree than Isadore does. Astoria is mature enough to realize that she should try to stop rumors that would sully Draco's already-bad reputation, and she's mature enough to deal with Isadore in a suitable way. I know that I couldn't do it--I'd probably scream at Isadore for being annoying. So props to Astoria! :)

Lucius isn't so luscious anymore, I guess. He went through all of the post-war trial stuff, and yet he STILL thinks that it would be a good idea to uphold pureblood traditions!! Ugh, he needs a wake up call. Obviously he hasn't been out much--maybe he hasn't experienced the abuse that Draco has because he remained cooped up in Malfoy Manor. I don't know. But it definitely makes sense that he would want Draco to join with the Death Eater uprising--after all, when you win at life as much as Lucius did before the war (when he could pay any amount of money to get what he wanted), you aren't used to losing. It's really, really sick that he's trying to pawn off the task of "setting the Wizarding World to rights" to Draco. Why can't he just let go?! But yes, I thought that he was perfect--however perfect you consider gaunt, gruesome, and grisly, anyways.

Oh, Lucius made me even more angry at the end of the chapter! I mean, he didn't TELL Draco to have a relapse, but the things he said caused the relapse. He's a terrible father. I hate him. And I mean, relapses were bound to happen--they always do, somehow, whether it be trying to stay away from alcohol or dieting or whatever--but the fact that the trigger was his stupid father is just awful. I loved the description of the last paragraph with the smashing of the mirror--it absolutely proves that Draco still has such a long, long way to go. I really hope that this was an isolated incident of relapse, but honestly, I doubt that it will be the only one. Hopefully he'll figure out that Astoria is his best source of support and friendship at this point, and he won't shut her out. But somehow, I doubt that, too.

Ah well. It'll all be okay in the end... Right? :)

Another great chapter! See you in the next one!

~UnluckyStar57

Author's Response: Yep, you were right. Like most recovering addicts, Draco was due for a setback.

I'm glad that Astoria wasn't Capital T-O-O mature, although I'm still worried that she handles things a little too well here. Over the next few chapters, her true age and maturity starts to come through a little more. I hope it's not jarring. She didn't lie to her father, although she does take advantage of his small oversight.

Isadore is much more typical for her age, I think. Maybe even on the immature side. I like to think of the character as a mirror that Astoria can look into and see her less mature personality traits amplified and reflected back at her. To paraphrase something Astoria thinks, it's usually easier to spot a bad idea when it's coming from somebody else.

Lucius is struggling. I don't necessary want readers to feel sorry for him, although I'd understand if they did. More than just about anyone else, Lucius earned the bad things that happened to him during the war. He chose to align himself with a cruel madman and his gang of homicidal thugs because it made him feel powerful and important. Unfortunately, it seems that he's on the cusp of doing the same thing again.

Lucius does more or less push Draco over the edge into a relapse. But it isn't quite as simple as that, either. Draco has some very bad anger management problems and other issues that he still hasn't dealt with. He's only just started to be honest with somebody -- Astoria -- about his life during the war. I liked the image of him smashing the mirror as well. I'm glad it worked for you.

Well, we know that everything turns out alright, or at least alright enough that Draco and Astoria are putting little Scorpius on the train seventeen and a half years later. But the road will be rocky...

Thanks so much for reading and reviewing!


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Review #33, by Remus Clarity

16th January 2014:
I've finally made it back!!

What immediately caught my eye here was how serene things are on the outside when there's a storm brewing inside the Greengrass manor.

Have I told you that I love Gamp? No, seriously. You have taken a character who was just sort of mentioned in the Black Family tree and created this evil person from scratch. Gamp is your character. Your creation. He just happens to have a name that JKR gave his family. You seriously have outdone yourself with Gamp. So I request a fic about him! Just go get inside his head once would be wonderful!

Daphne here feels different than your Daphne from CoB. I know that these are two different stories but you've kept everyone the same except Daphne. I mean, she does sound a bit conceded and arrogant but in this chapter we see a different woman.

I LOVE the plot twist. I really did think that Malfoy had been the one that got together with the young generation and was plotting. But no! It was Avery! Tricky, tricky of you! I loved it! Gah!

Big question! Is this "artifact" that Malfoy supposed to have the same "artifact" he was supposed to have during CoB? Cus I remember the vaguely that Draco was supposed to have and Malfoy Manor got broken into.

Gamp and Avery just really don't get along. And Gamp is too thick to see that he's just being used as a pawn. Avery is too smart and I honestly think he doesn't need Gamp and his friends. I mean, who really wants to deal with a a bunch of teens and twenty-somethings after dealing with the Dark Lord?

Who is this person that has arrived? Part of me wants to say that it's Lucius in his still "crazed" state but at the same time I want to say that its another evil Death Eater. I guess I need to read the next chapter to find out!!!

Anyway, this was another fantastic chapter, Dan! I've come close to the end real quick! Just 2 more chapters to go and I'll be done!

Until next time!!

--Rosie

Author's Response: Hi, Rosie!

There was a bit of a contrast between the outside of the manor versus the inside, at least until Flint comes out and spoils the serene setting.

Loving Gamp isn't a commonly held opinion, but I'm glad that the character works so well for you. As a villain, he's been a lot of fun to work with. I sort of doubt I'll ever have a story dedicated just to him, but it's an interesting idea.

I think Daphne is younger and more heart-broken here than when you see her in CoB. By the time she and Astoria are in their 60's, she's pretty resigned to living her entire life vicariously through her sister.

I'm been trying to gradually lead the reader toward the idea that Lucius might not be behind Gamp's conspiracy since somewhere back around chapter 5, but it's finally a sure thing. I liked the idea of throwing Avery into the mix because I came to think of him as such a demented guy while reading pix's Until We Close Our Eyes for Good.

The "artifact" is something that Draco made up when he was trying to explain to Zabini why he needed to go to Daphne's wedding. Unfortunately, that lie came full circle in this chapter. Avery doesn't understand horcruxes, but he does know that Voldemort had "experiments" that allowed him to survive his first defeat in Godric's Hollow. He isn't willing to chance Voldemort's anger a second time by not doing whatever he can to possibly assist his dead master.

Gamp and Avery can't agree on who's top dog in this situation. They're both alphas by nature, and neither respects the other. This *might* just work in Draco's favor...

The person who arrived at the end of the chapter is... a surprise. :p You'll know very soon.

I'm so pleased that you're enjoying it! Thanks so much for reading and reviewing!


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Review #34, by SilentConfession Making Choices

15th January 2014:
Hey CambAngst

I'm so sorry for how long this review has taken. I read the chapter quite a while ago, but didn't have time to review and i've been working ever since. Anyway, ever so sorry for the long wait.

I like the fullness of this chapter. There is so much happening in it, but it really adds to the atmosphere you have here. You not only go into what is happening to your characters, but there is also this other stuff that's going on that gives a really rich look into the trip of Hogwarts. This other stuff has less to do with your main plot, but it just seems to add to the story and give a wider view of the world you're writing in. I hope that makes sense! (Harry and Ginny for instance, or just the mention of what else is going on and what it look alike).

I think right now I have less of a feel on Astoria. You write her as if you want her motivation to be simply figuring him out? You've got that in there a bit, but I feel like there is other things sneaking up with her that seems to make that less believable. She has the naive youngness to her that makes this seem more like a school girl crush (which isn't necessarily bad, she is young and has a naive feel about her. It just doesn't help the motivation of her there to figure him out). She seems to ignore, at the moment at least, most of the rubbish about Draco as being rumour (she was at school with him before, it's not like she wouldn't have seen him being cruel). There is also in her character an almost saintlike feel to her which makes her less believable because she seems perfect. I mean, she's able to look passed someone's faults and actually believe in them. She doesn't let other people's opinions sway her, she's non judgemental, she looks for the best in everyone. She seems angelic. It's great to have a lot of different characteristics in a character, obviously, but I think that she falls flatter for me. I'd have to see more of her to really believe she is all of that. I don't see a lot of weakness or faults unless you count naivety as a fault. I suppose she's clouded by her own optimism which could account for her actions. I feel this way too because every other character i've read so far seems so full and round. Then there is Astoria and I feel like, although, she isn't a bad character, she just isn't great like the others. She seems bit too mary sue or too something and I don't believe her motivations of just wanting to figure him out. It seems more like an excuse than anything. I hope that doesn't seem mean or anything because i don't think you've done badly, she's just not as well done in my eyes as your other characters.

Ron seems very Ron. He has absolutely no professionalism and lets his prejudice and preconceived ideas take him to challenging Draco. I don't think that bit is overboard at all as we see Ron acting on impulse all the time in the books and only later regretted his decisions. So you did fabulous with him and made me just roll my eyes at Ron for being so stupid and not being able to hold it together, especially for being an Auror. Though, i suppose you can't get too angry considering everything that he's experienced Draco to be. He just needs more time to see that Draco is attempting to get a hold of his ego.

I also have to comment on Hermione and Draco. That bit was perfect. I had chills run up my spine the moment he called her a mudblood. It was too perfectly Draco to let his temper take over and be blinded by rage. It also just portrayed where he is in his growth and how hard it is to truly change. He's done himself no favours in the eyes of others by screaming that in the streets of Hogsmeade. It'll just reinforce everyone's ideas of him. Really great job.

The moment between Draco and Astoria... hmmm i'm a little undecided about it. I think it's fine by all accounts, but then I think it may be a bit too soon if it was meant to be utterly romantic that he'd try and save her, but then I don't see him not trying to protect her at all if their wands were trained on her. Especially since she's the only one giving him a chance. We don't know what his intentions are with her really (which I like). So... I don't feel like i can be much help with that. I'm sorry!

The end bit though... what? I'm trying to figure out who those people were and why on earth they'd ever try and kill someone in the middle of a street with lots of witnesses. How stupid could someone be? I could understand Draco, but to take it out on Astoria as well? Very curious. I suppose this really just shows that whole idea you have here about the fine line between good and bad.

I'm just going to reiterate that I do love this story. You've done such a good job at creating this atmosphere and really keeping it consistent. I love all the topics and themes that are coming into this and it's simply beautiful. Really great job! Thanks so much for requesting and feel free to continue to do so.

Author's Response: Wow. Let me start by saying that this is one of the longest, most involved and thoughtful reviews I've ever gotten. I apologize for taking a while to respond, but there was a lot to think about here. Thank you so much for putting so much time and thought into this.

I'm not a big fan of stories that focus too narrowly on their own plot and fail to work in the context of the surrounding world, so I'm really pleased that you felt like I was able to show a broader picture here. Just because a character has a romantic interest doesn't mean that's the only thing that character thinks about.

What you've written about Astoria really lends credence to a lot of the concerns I've had about her character in the early chapters of this story. Once I got into the later chapters where more of her faults and less mature traits start to play more of a central role, it dawned on me that she wasn't well balanced at all in the beginning. What she's meant to be feeling toward Draco -- at least what I had in mind -- was partly a desire to figure him out but with a sizable schoolgirl crush lurking just beneath the surface. So it sounds like that didn't work all that well. I can also see where her reactions and thoughts about Draco make her pretty one-dimensional. He and Ron are both behaving like jerks in some parts of this chapter, and she lets Draco off very easy for that behavior. It's a lot to think about, and I really appreciate your honesty and the effort you've put into detailing her good and bad points. I don't get that from most reviewers.

It pained me a bit to write Ron as such a jerk. I really don't like stories where he's written like this. That's mostly because while he's kind of immature and a bit obnoxious by nature, I don't think he's a bad guy. Also, most of the stories that portray him like this are Dramiones. Enough said. But I felt like it was necessary to set the scene for what happens later on in this chapter. I've tried very hard throughout this story not to portray Draco in an overly sympathetic light. He's done some terrible things and he's not a character that deserves unconditional sympathy. At the same time, though, the world is definitely not giving him a fair shake. Se la vi.

I really liked how both Draco and Hermione ended up in their exchange. She's trying to be helpful to him and he's too blinded by anger and pride to have any of it. He crosses a line. She reacts in much the same way that she responded in Prisoner of Azkaban. It was immensely rewarding to write.

Again, you may be right. Astoria does rise to his defense in a way that's not quite set up by anything that's happened between the two of them so far. Needs work...

There is a valid explanation for why the old witch and the two wizards attack Draco. You'll find out in the next chapter. It goes back to his actions during the war.

I'm pleased that you still love the story in spite of its flaws. Again, thank you for being so honest about them. Unfortunately, I don't hear people's negative reactions as often as I'd like. They're as important to improving as the positive ones. Thanks so much for such a great review!


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Review #35, by Remus A Break with the Past

11th January 2014:
I had to come read this!

My initial thought to Flint was "How dare he order Draco around in his own home?"

I want to make Narcissa my spirit animal. Haha!

"I say we hex him the lot of them,then leave them at Azkaban for the Ministry to find after we're gone.--maybe take out the 'him'?

Aww, Lucius comes to help! I couldn't help but laugh at the fact that he thinks he's in the Dept of Mysteries but still. He has come to help his wife and Draco. He means well...in a way.

Narcissa, kicking some behind and taking names! Yeah!!

Sorry for the short review but I got sucked into the story! That and I'm beginning to feel a bit under the weather again and all I can think of right now is taking a nap on the couch. Haha. I shall be coming back to this soon!

Until next time, sir!! :D

--Rosie

Author's Response: Day 2 of getting back on top of my unanswered reviews! The big push day!

Flint is the same sort of cocky jerk in this story that you might remember from CoB. You know, before Lady T gets tired of his act and wastes him.

Narcissa would make a good spirit guide, wouldn't she? She's pretty wise and well-measured and she presents well. Also, she'd unleash the family Fiendfyre on anyone who caused you grief.

Thanks for that typo! Amazing how these things can slip past so many people for so long...

Poor Lucius doesn't know where or when he is, but he's still pretty good in a fight. At least he didn't start hurling curses at the wrong side.

No worries on the short review. Man, I love knowing that somebody's enjoying the story! Thanks so much!


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Review #36, by Remus Climbing Back

11th January 2014:
Hola! It has been a while! I read that you have a new story being Beta read so I figured I need to finish Detox before the new one comes along! Don't want to be too far behind! :D

This line right here:

She should be attending dinner parties and balls, not studying for exams that will never matter again once she's married."

Kinda made me feel bad for Astoria. I mean, here she is, trying to excel herself in her studies, to become someone and her father is like "meh," about it. I mean, he's right in a way. Once Astoria marries there's no need for education. Even with Malfoy she doesn't need it even though I'm sure that Draco would like an intelligent woman by his side. But her "end" will be getting married and raising children, not join the workforce.

I love Priscilla! I mean, she somewhat wipes the floor with Horatio with her argument.

Madam Blishwick is certainly...unique. Haha. She doesn't see the war or Bellatrix as something horrible but as an advancement of magic/science. I like her because she takes the analytic side to things and has zero regard to Draco's feelings or the horrors he saw during the war.

I love Lucius in the books but your Lucius just irritates me! He makes me want to jump into this story and give him a couple of slaps. I mean this line just...argh!!

After a week of relaxation, you'll be back to your old self again and your ancestors can stop spinning in their graves.

I mean...really Lucius?!

Wait...he has redeemed himself a bit. A bit!

Lucius seemed to shrink before Draco's eyes as he stared blankly at his shoes. He sunk back into his chair and rested his walking stick across his lap. Finally he shook his head and lowered his forehead into his palm before speaking softly, more to himself than to anybody else.

What's ironic about this line is that Lucius here is acting like a child who has been caught.

Wait...this has taken a turn that I was not expecting!

What sort of ending was that?! What evil cliffhanger is this?! Gah! I'm so glad that I don't have to wait for the next chapter!!!

--Rosie

Author's Response: Hi, Rosie!

So I have been genuinely awful about responding to reviews this past week. Time to work on that...

I felt very bad for Astoria while writing this. I know that nearly every teenage girl in the history of our species has thought this, but in Astoria's case it's the truth: her father just doesn't understand her. His background and upbringing are such that he simply can't understand why his daughter would be so intent on finding her own way in the world. Her mother, on the other hand, at least has a sense of where Astoria is coming from, even if it's only from reading her trashy romance novels. And she does pretty much run over her husband in this chapter. ;)

I think I've said this in past review responses, but it bares repeating: Madam Blishwick is a very pure, single-minded academic who is completely oblivious to the deeper philosophical implications of her work. In her mind, if it can be analyzed and understood then it should be analyzed and understood in the name of science. Well, in the name of magic, I guess. You get my point, I hope.

The enigma of Lucius finally starts to unravel a bit in this chapter. He's not well, mentally. And it just so happened that his paranoid delusions lined up with the particulars of Gamp's conspiracy. Unfortunate for him and for Draco.

What sort of cliffhanger? Why the best kind, of course! The kind that makes Rosie want to read the next chapter! Muahahahahaaa...

So glad you're enjoying this! Then end is near. Thanks for reading and reviewing!


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Review #37, by UnluckyStar57 Confessions

9th January 2014:
Hello! I haven't reviewed this story since last year! (Hahaha...) Anyways, sorry about the wait. School started back, and you know how that goes...

This story keeps getting better and better! After reading this chapter, I finally realized exactly what I like about the Draco that you've created:

1) He isn't a ladies' man.
2) He isn't Head Boy.
3) His love interest is NOT Hermione Granger.
4) He actually feels remorse for his actions.
5) He is actually held accountable for his actions.

I'm sure that there are other things, but those are the big things that come to mind. Maybe you dislike Dramione as much as I do (or maybe not). I personally think that it's unrealistic and it usually comes across as really smutty. THIS story, though it involves Draco going back to Hogwarts to continue his education, actually has a plot that doesn't involve a shared common room for the Heads and a whole bunch of nasty goings-on.

Okay, that was just my personal rant for the day. Sorry about that! I think that the point I was trying to make is that I can see this story fitting in with canon. It involves a girl, but she's a strong character who has the gumption to rescue her "handsome prince" and also stand up to him when he's out of line. It takes place after the Battle, but the scars that were carved into the buildings (and everyone's hearts and bodies) are not so easily erased. That's what this story is about after all--healing--and so it would make no sense for everything to be "all magically better." So why did I point out the obvious?

...I don't know. Just because I really appreciate it, I guess. Thanks, thanks, thanks again for making this story mean something. :)

Okay, now I'll get on to reviewing the actual chapter.

I think that Draco's revelations sound completely genuine. We really don't see a lot of the Death Eaters' misdeeds in person in the books, so hearing about one from Draco's perspective was very enlightening. It makes sense that he idolized his father--it's a little boy thing, I think--therefore, because he grew up watching his father wear a Dark Mark with pride, he would relate service to Voldemort with pride when he was branded with his own mark. But as time wore on and he kept trying and failing to kill Dumbledore, he would become disillusioned and finally realize that he was only meant to be a sacrifice to Voldemort--and that would've hurt. As you put it so eloquently in the chapter, the mark was "nothing more than an elaborate chain."

(Now I'm going to get to the point.) When he told Astoria about the Ratcliffe incident, I felt that he was genuine in his disgust for Fenrir Greyback and the atrocities that the Death Eaters inflicted upon the family. It was just more proof that his father's allegiance to the Dark Lord was a big mistake, and that's why he ran from it. His departure from the crime scene does not surprise me--perhaps it could be viewed as an act of cowardice (since he didn't try to stop the fire or help the family), but he didn't join in the Death Eaters' "fun." He was different from the other guys, and that's why he can recover from the wounds of the past.

McGonagall might be a tough cookie, but she's fair. You have to give her that. Of course, she's not immune to prejudice--the harsh restrictions that she imposed upon Draco were more than proof of that--but when she is shown both sides of an argument, she will weigh both sides very carefully. Her reaction to Astoria's story shows that she has been presented with concrete evidence of the beginning of Draco's reform, and so her previous judgment of him has altered slightly. I hope that he will continue to improve so that she will change her mind about him!

As always, this was a great chapter! So sorry for the weird, rambling review! :)

~UnluckyStar57

Author's Response: Hi, there!

So if you add "Hermione is not wearing leather pants" and "Ron doesn't suddenly go running back to Lavender" then I think we pretty much have the same list of dislikes in post-war fics involving Draco. ;) I probably dislike Dramione at least as much as anyone else.

It's been one of my big objectives from the very beginning of this story -- heck, with all of my stories -- to make sure that it fits within canon. That's just my thing, I guess. I'm really glad that you find the world I've created to be realistic and meaningful. That means a lot, no pun intended. :)

I'm really glad that Draco's confessions seem realistic. One thing I've tried to do with this story and with Marked is fill in those gaps that the books simply couldn't address without each of them being 5,000 pages long. Even that might not be long enough, actually. Draco did so much growing up over the course of the 6th and 7th books, and I think of this story as being sort of a natural extension of the process, combined with a love story. He was different from the other Death Eaters. So was his father, in the final analysis. Draco, I think, was just a far better man than his father when it came right down to it. Lucius never had the courage.

Whew! It was tough to balance McGonagall's reactions to what Astoria had to say. I wanted to keep her skeptical, but also inquisitive. By this point in the story, I imagine that Draco has already lasted longer at Hogwarts than McGonagall ever expected. She has to be wondering why he's willing to suffer all of the conditions she's imposed upon him. "Old Draco" was far too arrogant and impatient to tolerate them. You'll see a bit more of McGonagall before the story's over. I hope you continue to like her.

No worries on the review! I'm known to sprinkle a bit of my own prejudices into my own reviews sometimes. It keeps things interesting.

Thanks so much!


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Review #38, by DraculoraMalfoy11 Epilogue

7th January 2014:
Words cannot describe how much I love this. This is officially my head canon on how Astoria and Draco got together. 10 million/10.

Author's Response: Thank you so much for the kind words! I really appreciate the review!

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Review #39, by Infinityx Sobering Up

2nd January 2014:
Hi there! I'm here for the sixth day of the 12 days of reviewing challenge.

I think this chapter was absolutely brilliant. I love your writing style and your descriptions were so vivid. I'm impressed by the way you pulled of drunk Draco without any of it being overdone. His characterization is brilliant and I'm so interested to know what happens to him later.

Astoria is very different here compared to other stories I've read. She was always characterized as a beautiful, vain and a typical pureblood person. I love the way she is in this story, as well as the impact she has on Draco.

I also think the way you've written the reaction of other people towards Draco, and the way he comes to terms with it, makes this chapter very well rounded. There weren't any mistakes as far as I could see and I loved this chapter. I'm so intrigued to keep reading and find out what happens and that's exactly what I'm going to do. :)

Cheers,
Erin.

Author's Response: Hello, hello!

I'm really glad you enjoyed it. I spent quite a bit of time tweaking and fine-tuning the descriptions from the Ragged Fang and elsewhere, trying to figure out which details would have stuck out to somebody who was helplessly intoxicated.

I tried to make Astoria fairly well grounded in this story, but still with some of that pureblood, aristocratic arrogance to her. I tend to think of vain as being her sister's department. There's no way the family could survive with two of them. ;)

I imagine that the Malfoys were loathed by nearly everyone who suffered under the Death Eaters. It would have seemed like they bought their way out of a prison sentence to anyone who didn't realize how Narcissa's defiance of Voldemort made it possible for Harry to win.

Thank you for the lovely review and good luck in the 12 days challenge! I hope you get a chance to read more!


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Review #40, by Rumpelstiltskin Confessions

1st January 2014:
I am here from Review Tag!

Aha! They apparated; that explains everything. In his condition, I'm surprised that someone didn't get splinched, for goodness sake! I suppose that getting splinched would have been better than the alternative, if he had not apparated.

When Draco offers to take the blame for leaving the village and doing magic outside of school in order to save Astoria from getting in trouble, I think that really revealed some of his best qualities in his characterization. I find it extremely endearing that Draco is willing to take the fall for her. Furthermore, when Astoria outright refused to do so, I believe some of her best qualities were revealed as well. She couldn't possibly mar another person's name for her own benefit. It really shows how good-natured she is.

I love Astoria's analysis of Hermione's statement. "It's a girl thing" that was perfect! In a way, it is a subconscious element of being female, to want to change males. It's only because we see the potential in them, and want to push them to do their best, of course ;).

*Cough* Yes, that sounds like Bellatrix.

The first thing that I adored about their interactions in this was the chemistry the two seem to have. The mild teasing and the general way in which they speak to one another really gives leeway for an eventually love interest. I also really loved that Draco opened up to Astoria so much. The story about the Death Eaters burning the house down, leaving the son inside to die, and the continuation about the Ratciffes... it was all very chilling. I think I especially loved how he made it known that the dark mark did not bring him power, but made him a slave, instead.

Astoria is really just a fantastic and kind person. She tuned herself in for breaking the rules, stood up for Draco, and truly believes that he can change. She's right, however, it will be extremely difficult to better himself if everybody stands against him.

Fantastic chapter!

-Rumpel

Author's Response: Hello, again!

The fact that Draco was able to get them there in one piece was a testament to the survival skills that he developed during the war. Learning how to run away was, I'm sure, key to staying alive in some situations.

One thing I started to like about them as I wrote this is that they do have a lot of complimentary qualities. Draco is pretty selfless where she's concerned, but she has a good enough head on her shoulders to know when she should accept his offers and when she shouldn't. She also knows Hermione better than Draco does, fortunately for the both of them.

Ah, Bellatrix! She's far and away my favorite lunatic in the HP books, which is pretty high praise with Voldemort running around.

I'm really glad that you're enjoying the story! I hope you have more opportunities to keep going. Thanks for the review!


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Review #41, by marinahill Sobering Up

31st December 2013:
Wow, poor Draco. It's definitely realistic to depict him as this fallen and broken man after the war. You portray his inner conflict perfectly - on the one hand, he knows he can't stay this way forever, but what's the alternative - shame and judgement from his peers? He can't change what he did, but just as he concludes at the end there, he can change what he will do.

I want to just mention your description. It was so superb! It was very careful and deliberate in delivery and it felt like you had control of the perfect balance between Draco's thoughts and the setting.

"His voice sounded thick and wet, like he was shouting the words through a mouthful of cooked spinach."

^ That just seems to sum up that feeling so perfectly! I loved that line for being so accurate and (sorry to say) familiar. I definitely felt that sluggish feeling that Draco was in and I was overall very impressed.

This is a really interesting concept for a story. I doubt that Draco's road to recovery will be smooth but who doesn't like a bit of conflict? And the addition of Astoria will be interesting to say the least.

Great job :)

Marina

Author's Response: Hi, Marina!

I didn't necessarily want readers to feel sorry for Draco when I wrote this, I was just trying to write him the way that I perceived him after his appearances in HBP and DH. He's not a nice guy and I don't think that even the horrors of the war changed the way that he thought about a lot of things. He's probably still believes that his family name and the blood in his veins makes him better than other people. But I also think he came to realize that ideals like those aren't worth fighting over. He mostly just wishes that things could go back to the way they were before he had any idea who Voldemort was, but that's obviously never going to happen.

I'm glad you liked all of the descriptions. I put a lot of time into tweaking them and trying to grab the small details that I thought would have stuck out to a helplessly drunk person. And the spinach thing... yeah. I'm also sorry to say that I've been in a similar situation.

Draco's path back is going to be anything but smooth. Now he was a reason to try, however. In the end, that will make all the difference. ;)

Thanks so much for reading and reviewing!


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Review #42, by UnluckyStar57 Making Choices

27th December 2013:
...Wow. This story gets more intense with every chapter. Draco just can't catch a break, can he?!

Going back to the beginning, though... The Harry/Ginny cuteness was absolutely perfect! In recent years, I've lost my appetite for reading about Hinny, but this little scene made me like them again. The fact that their joyous meeting is juxtaposed with Draco and Astoria's catastrophic escape at the end makes quite a striking comparison. War heroes can fall in love and show their faces in public, but ex-Death Eaters should never show their faces out of doors.

In my opinion, Ron has always been a bit over-the-top. He gets mad at Hermione for going to the Yule Ball with Viktor Krum, for goodness' sake! With Draco, I think he acted in a very Ron-like manner. He perceived Draco's words about gold as a "jab" about him being poor, which makes sense. That's something that happens A LOT in the books, and a Ron newly trained to be an Auror is not likely to forget that.

Draco doesn't seem overly noble at the end, at least, not so much that he acts out of character. I have a feeling that if Astoria were any other person, he might've tried to avert his enemies' eyes to them so that he could escape. However, it ISN'T any other person--it's Astoria, and he likes her and wants to get to know her better. Trying to protect her from the vindictive wizards is a sign of how much he wants to change.

I think that I'm starting to hate all of the people who want Draco dead. Those wizards were being entirely unreasonable--killing BOTH Draco and Astoria?! That makes them just as bad as the Death Eaters. I think that's something that I really love about this story--it shows that there is no fine line between the good guys and the bad guys.

Merry (late) Christmas!

~UnluckyStar57

Author's Response: Hello, again! I'm always excited to see what you have to say!

Ginny and Harry aren't a focus of the story, but I wanted some way to start to get Astoria thinking outside of the limits of her stuffy, proper little pureblood life. Of course she stares down her nose at their public display of affection, but there's a tiny bit of her that's jealous and wants that kind of unbridled passion for herself. Certainly nobody is going to call The Chosen One and his girlfriend out on a little public snogging. ;)

I don't mind Ron seeming a little over-the-top, I just didn't want him to seem ridiculous. He's absorbed so much abuse from Draco over the years that I couldn't imagine him not taking advantage of a situation where the tables were turned. The snide comment about not being able to pay a compliment was just the last straw. That punch had been coming for years.

I'm not sure how he would have reacted if someone other than Astoria had tried to intervene. At that point, it would have been his self-preservation instincts competing with his pride and I'm not sure which would have come out on top. But, like you said, it was Astoria, the girl to whom he's attached his hopes for a better life.

In the next chapter, you'll find out that the old witch and the two wizards have a pretty good reason for wanting Draco dead. I wouldn't go so far as to call it justified, but there's more to the story than what you've seen in this chapter. You're definitely right about the line between good and bad. It's very fluid, to say the least.

Happy Holidays to you, as well! Thanks so much for the awesome review!


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Review #43, by Rumpelstiltskin Making Choices

22nd December 2013:
I am here from Review Tag!

Holy freaking whoa.

Actually, before we get to that, I'll start at the beginning to prevent a sloppy review. I'm awestruck (and slightly jealous) of how captivating your writing is! The descriptors are lovely as well as the flow. I mean, I didn't expect a scene revolving around Ginny running into Harry's arms to be so positively interesting but it was. Between Astoria's thoughts and the way you wrote the character actions, I found myself reading through the entire section without taking a single note for a review. Of course, then I had to go back and try to deduce exactly why that was :D.

Evidently Ron still carries some feelings of contempt for Draco from his Hogwarts years. This I understand, but as an Auror he needs to acquire some sense of maturity. I mean, honestly, attack Draco Malfoy for (really) no reason, probably wasn't a fantastic decision on his end. Just because he assisted Harry in defeating Voldemort does not give him the right to abuse his Auror-obtained authority. Right, I'll stop lecturing your character now.

The resulting duel was extremely fun to read. I adore action, and this is where things begin to speed up! I think it was the word choice that really made the pace seem ultra-action-y to me (it was fabulous)! Draco's unintentional outburst (I would call it a slip-of-the-tongue but it seemed a bit more intense than that) probably did nothing to assist how people view him.

At least Astoria is attempting to place Draco in a positive light, despite what he said. Technically, Ron DID start it and agitated Draco to the point of saying it...but he shouldn't have said it. Obviously, I have no idea who I'm trying to defend here.

Okay, now back to Holy freaking whoa! What happened to Astoria! This is where I freaked out for a good sixty seconds or so until I realized that there are many more chapters and she probably isn't dead. Still! This chapter was extremely intense and action-y! Loved it!

-Rumpel

Author's Response: Hello, again!

Thank you so much for the compliments. It feels really good to know that they story was able to capture your attention and imagination. I hope I'm able to keep it up!

Yeah, Ron's still pretty angry about the six years worth of mockery and abuse he suffered from Draco, plus the whole "your mad aunt tried to kill my girlfriend and sister" thing. He does need to grow up, which is where Hermione's lecture was heading before Draco messed up **really** bad. I'm glad you enjoyed the duel. I enjoy writing them a great deal, and I was hoping that Draco didn't seem overly powerful and talented. He learned a few things during the war, but he's no match for even an Auror trainee.

I don't know that Astoria is trying to put Draco in any sort of light as much as she's just trying to figure him out. Remember that she saw nearly the entire altercation. She saw Draco bite his tongue for a very long time before he finally found back, yet he loses his cool when Hermione tries to help him. His behavior is very confusing to her, so much so that she simply can't stop observing him. Then, when he confronts the angry wizards on High Street, she's simply trying to keep him from getting killed.

Nope, Draco and Astoria aren't dead, but they have left Hogsmeade. Where have they gone? Find out in the next chapter! ;)

Thanks for reading and reviewing!


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Review #44, by 800 words of heaven Getting Clean

22nd December 2013:
REVIEW TAG!

I read the first chapter of this story quite a while ago, so my review is a little late because I went back to reacquaint myself with Draco.

I actually like Draco a lot more in this chapter than I did in the first. I don't know if that's because more of his personality is revealed, but it feels as if there's been a lot of character growth between chapters one and two. It was as if Astoria really kick-started his life, and it feels like he's become a lot more aware of what he is in a very short amount of time. He's not exactly "getting better" and the scene in the restaurant really illustrated that he has a long road ahead of him to get what he wants.

It's quite interesting that Draco still wants a standing in society and respect from his peers. I would think that considering his current headspace, society and what others think of him would be the last thing on his mind, but in a sense, it makes sense. It's the way he's been brought up, and he feels if he achieves those things again, his life may begin to take on some semblance of normality. It does feel as if the kind of respect that he wants is different to the one his family had previously. Even this early in the story, it feels as if he wants his family name to be remembered for its own merit rather than its blood purity. I'm not sure if I'm reading too much into this, but I think it shows that Draco is quite mature in those terms already.

What I find so intriguing about this story so far is the turmoil Wizarding society is in. Right now it feels as if it's beginning to lean towards a very extreme hatred for purebloods, rather than acceptance of people regardless of their blood status. I think that's quite realistic portrayal of the situation. The society as a whole suffered a great trauma, and like the individuals that make it up, it's going to take some time to heal.

Your portrayal of the Greengrasses is also so fascinating. They are blood purists, but their views are more restrained and mainstream, I think. They actually make me think that if the Weasleys weren't poor, and Arthur wasn't obsessed with Muggle technology, their views on blood status could be very similar to those of the Greengrasses. I just love how they hate the pureblood families that supported Voldemort, not because of the idealisms that they advocated through him, but because it besmirches the good name of old pureblood families as a whole. I always forget that the Wizarding society of Britain is just so small. They function more like a small town, where everyone knows everyone else, and families that have been around for generations actually means something. I just love how the Greengrasses are a window into life on the other side of the glass, so to speak. I don't really know how Astoria is going to be as a character as yet, but I definitely hope to see some more of that tension in the old families.

I just really adored this chapter for the world building that you did, as well as further character development of Draco. It has me very interested to see where Draco, as well as the people that surround him in general will all go over the course of this story.

Author's Response: Hi, there!

Draco has made the most important decision when we see him at the start of this chapter, but he still has a long way to go. I'm glad you see a little growth in him, but hopefully you'll see a lot more before it's all said and done. Meeting Astoria was the impetus for him to change, but certainly not the endpoint.

Draco is concerned with social standing, but more from the standpoint that he doesn't want to become a complete outcast. By this point, he's pretty much made his peace with the fact that things are never going to go back to the way that they were before the war. Pureblood society in general is in shambles. But Draco has realized that earning the respect of at least some of his peers does actually matter to him. That was a big change all by itself.

I think you figured out exactly where I was trying to go with Astoria's family. They do embrace a lot of the same pureblood values as the Malfoys and Blacks, but they're much more pragmatic about things. And they realize that purebloods all by themselves do not constitute the whole of magical society and that they can't afford to ignore the rest of it. Her father is angry about the war because of the impact it's had on what he considers "respectable" purebloods like his own family.

I'm really pleased that you enjoyed it. Thanks for reading and reviewing!


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Review #45, by SilentConfession Regrets

21st December 2013:
Hi! Sorry for the wait with this review, I was trying to write for the Winter Duel and finish off another chapter for one of my own stories. Many apologies.

So this chapter was another really well thought out one. I thought you brought up so many issues Draco would have had to deal with post war so brilliantly and flawlessly. Which makes me love this story even more as i've always imagined his life after to to quite difficult. I remember in the books how there was quite a bit of derision for individuals who were thought to have got off scott free from the first war and that same derision I believe would have intensified after the second war. Draco was caught in the midst of it. His very presence at the school seems to spit into the faces of the families that were torn apart. Especially so soon after. It's like tearing into their very fragile wounds and ripping them open again. I think you handled all of this so very well. It wouldn't be easy to see a suspected Death Eater roam Hogwarts just as it's being rebuilt because it's this constant reminder of what happened and who got away.

Saying that, it is really believable that people would react the way they did. Part of me feels bad that the Gryffindor's reacted that way, but it is so in character for a Gryffindor to get into other's faces. Also, completely understandable, given the fact that his very presence served as such a reminder. No one would be happy to see someone who was a bully, follower of Voldemort, and pureblood supremacist still around and unpunished. I think it goes against most people's sensibilities. (Even though we'd all like to believe we'd give people mercy and second chances, if it came down to it, i think many would react the same in that situation.) You handled that like a boss. I also like how Draco doesn't seem all that reformed yet. He can tell that something has got to give, but it doesn't mean he's left behind his old thinking. He also briefly thinks about relying on his old habits after McGonagall tells him off (thinking of going to tell his father!)

I think you handled McGonagall fairly well. She's such a difficult character to get properly. I think her anger is justified and her stance is a stance she would have taken post war. I like how this is hard for him and that people aren't ready to believe in him and his want for change. It's so much more interesting to see this struggle where he's still very clearly arrogant and rude to muggle borns (loved that line about the filthy muggle borns etc, it was striking to see exactly where he stands on the issue now, also, it is so Draco and it's nice to see that he isn't any sort of saint even after the war!). I think, however, that there were parts in McGonagall's speech that didn't have enough professional detachment. It could be explained away quite easily, however, i've always seen McGonagall as quite classy when it comes to this sort of thing. Those few sentences where she's calling him a DE and a coward. Although she would have thought that, it was there I felt she lost some of her professional detachment and attitude. The rest of it though was spot on.

I liked the moments with Astoria. I thought it was interesting to see more of her childish side. I thought you captured typical teen girls fairly well as well. More to the point, Isobel made a very valid point. I think that it was really striking to hear her say it. It brings a lot of light to what individuals who supported Voldemort must have been experiencing post war. This includes Draco obviously. They are all scarred in their own way, had their own demons to fight after their horrible decisions.

Very quickly I wanted to mention Luna. Such a lovely job you've done with her. I could literally 'hear' her accent with her dialogue. It all seemed very her and only she'd put a stop to that display. Very well done.

Really great chapter here. You've really dove into some really great topics and explored them with expertise. You've made this a very complex story with complex and interesting characters. I like how you're making it so clear how many families were hurt and how that hurt doesn't quite go away . You can really feel this story if you know what I mean. Thank you so much for re-requesting!!

Author's Response: Hi! So glad that you're enjoying the story! And please, don't ever apologize. The fact that you offer your time to help authors grow and improve is awesome!

You pretty much hit all of my thoughts exactly. I expect that there were some pretty big social shifts after the war. Anyone from the "old families" who didn't end up in Azkaban would have been viewed with a lot of suspicion and possibly even overt anger by the survivors who were terrorized by the Death Eaters. On the flip side, Draco's presence at Hogwarts would have seemed like a slap in the face to everyone who fought in the battle or lost a loved one. It's a very emotionally charged situation.

The two Gryffindors responded harshly, but I think that's the life that everyone at the school became used to under Snape and the Carrows. I'm guessing that the Slytherins faced little to no consequences for attacking their fellow students, so it was probably "curse or be cursed" a lot of the time for the Gryffindors. That would have to be hard to move past, even after four months of Hogwarts being back to "normal", whatever that is for Hogwarts.

I argued with myself quite a bit on how to handle McGonagall. In the end, I think my biggest deciding factor was how much she personally lost that she would have blamed on Draco and his family. Draco let the Death Eaters into the castle at the end of HPB, after all. From her point of view, since she presumably didn't know about Dumbledore's master plan, Draco was directly responsible for the death of her beloved mentor and friend. Combine that with all of the other deaths and injuries and I can imagine her professional detachment slipping more than a bit. But you're right, that last bit might have been a little over the top.

I really feel like I put Astoria on too much of a pedestal in the first chapter, so I spend a lot of the next few trying to bring her back to a realistic age and level of maturity. I'm glad you thought they seemed like realistic teen girls, since I've obviously never been one myself. ;)

Whew! Writing Luna is sort of like being in love. You can't explain in words what makes Luna sound like Luna, you just know it when you read it. Again, whew!

Thank you so much for the lovely review! I really appreciate all of the thoughts and feedback!


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Review #46, by nott theodore Sobering Up

21st December 2013:
Hi Dan! I have to tell you that I was really happy when you requested the first chapter of this story, because I've been wanting to read it for months now without managing to get round to it. Once again, I'm sorry that this review has taken me so long to write - apparently my life is destined to be hectic even in the holidays!

I've heard so much about this story and I definitely wasn't disappointed after reading this chapter! This is the first post-war story that I've read that's actually focused on the 'other' side, the one that didn't win the war, and I'm so excited about it. This chapter felt extremely real and it's so refreshing to read a story like this focusing on Draco and Astoria (I'm sure I don't need to expand on my opinions on Draco/Hermione :P). At the end of the series I'm always left unsure about Draco, and I can never decide how I really feel about him and what he did. Here he seemed really depressed (and possibly suffering PTSD as well?) and I actually felt more sympathy than anything else when I read this. Seeing someone so young in a state where they're drinking away their troubles is really sad, actually.

As a side note, you write drunken people really well. I've read a few of your stories now featuring drunk people, and I love the fact you're not glamourising it here as so many of the Hogwarts party scenes tend to do. It really helps to get across the state that Draco's in, and the fact that alcohol has become a crutch for him and as a result he's being sick in the streets. It's understandable that he's turned to alcohol to drink away his troubles, especially with the war so fresh in everybody's memories, but it's really horrible to see him in that state and it makes me feel really sorry for him.

I think my favourite thing about this chapter was the way that it was really clear the tables have now completely turned - Draco is now suffering persecution from the general population in the same way that he and other Death Eaters persecuted Mudbloods and Muggles. It's so different for him and I think that realising everyone in society - especially a society you've previously been well known and popular in - now hates you would be enough to make someone so depressed. It's a harsh reality, and not one that I think many stories focus on. But I know that after wars, the losing side often suffers even more because the winners are the ones writing history - even though in this case the winning side were right, it doesn't mean that the prejudice which follows is. I think it's great that you really made us face up to the realities surrounding war and the aftermath of it, because too few stories (especially in fanfiction) which don't do that.

The scene in the Leaky Cauldron was actually the one that stood out to me most as representative of what Draco's going through. It really seemed to be his lowest point here, being publicly exposed and humiliated in front of so many people. Especially considering his constant thoughts of his family's reputation and keeping up appearances, it's something awful to happen to him. I liked the fact that his pureblood breeding also showed through, that even though he's suffering from depression and is very drunk, he knows that his behaviour is important because it reflects on his family. It's like it's been drilled into him so much that it's impossible to forget.

I know that you said you were worried that Astoria seemed 'too good to be true' in this chapter, and while I can understand that I don't think it's a real problem. In Draco's state, I genuinely think that anyone who is prepared to stop and talk to him, and even help him, will seem pretty amazing. Considering we're seeing Astoria from Draco's perspective, I don't think that she does seem too good to be true at all. I feel like she's the sort of person who's lived in her sister's shadow a bit, and is quiet but strong, and the fact that she decided to help Draco is proof of that. But I think we have a lot more to discover about her character, and her family and their attitudes in particular are intriguing me.

Draco didn't seem overly dramatic, either. He's drunk, and I think that sometimes certain things seem more important, or more 'dramatic' when you're drunk. So his epiphany of sorts isn't at all surprising (I might have witnessed it a few times with friends).

This really is a brilliant first chapter, Dan, and thank you so much for requesting! I'm really intrigued about what Draco will do next to start detoxing and sorting his life out. I have a feeling that he could end up back at Hogwarts, and I'm really intrigued to find out. Feel free to re-request!

Sian :)

Author's Response: Hi, Sian!

I'm glad you were happy about it, because I'll be coming back to re-request 15 more times. ;)

JKR does sort of leave Draco undefined after the end of the war. She dribbled a few details in interviews, but it's mostly wide open. You're correct in your guesses, at least as far as this story goes. He is suffering from depression and PTSD. Layering anger management issues and a substance abuse problem on top of those, you have something of a basket case. It's really sad, but my goal was to show him at rock bottom before he starts to rebuild himself.

I think the trick to writing drunk people is to keep in mind that there's nothing inherently awesome or terrible about drinking. It's just one activity out of many that a person is probably engaged in at the time and context is what's important. Draco isn't drinking to have fun, he's drinking to escape. That's never a good thing.

That was pretty eye-opening for Draco, huh? There was a time in his life where he probably would have written off the ill treatment he received as mere jealousy, but that was before the war. In his own mind, Draco sees himself as being as much a victim of Voldemort as the ones who fought on the winning side. So when they don't see it that way, I think it makes the experience even more jarring for him. The winners do indeed write the history, and the Malfoys are perhaps the worst kind of villain in that narrative because the price that they paid was never publicly known.

I'm glad you didn't think Astoria was too angelic in this chapter. Readers have been rather mixed in their reception of her. She is kind to him, because in my mind that's just the sort of person she is. She sees a schoolmate in trouble and she tries to help. Draco's alcohol-sodden brain does the rest.

I'm really pleased that you enjoyed it! In a lot of ways, this story felt much harder to write than CoB, which makes me pretty proud of how it ended up. Thanks for reading and reviewing!


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Review #47, by Rumpelstiltskin Regrets

20th December 2013:
I'm selfishly snagging your Review Tag post.

Draco's evidently having a rough start at turning his life around; nobody said it would be easy, however. I feel for him, despite that most of his troubles were a fault of his own. His inability to abandon his family (or perhaps mostly his mother) during the war seemed to label him as a coward. Of course, his actions were perceived as those of a coward, not to mention becoming a Death Eater. I suppose I'm just having torn feelings for Draco right now. I don't know whether to support McGonagall, despite her acerbity, or to support Draco for attempting to better himself.

Given that the store centers around Draco and Astoria, I suppose the latter would be the best choice.

I believe that Astoria's supportive personality will assist Draco greatly. How could it not? At this point in the story, it's almost as if nearly everybody is against Draco, and he desperately needs someone (with positive influence) by his side. Of course, its perfectly understandable why most people would be skeptical of him; he was a Death Eater.

I really enjoy Astoria and Isadore's interactions. They form a decent friendship, with enough opposing personalities to keep their conversations humorous and interesting, and enough likenesses to make their relationship believable. Not only that, but Isadore makes a very valid point at the end of that segment.

Poor Draco. He's being targeted even when he was minding his own business. Of course, I almost want to say that it echos his own bullying before the war (*cough* and that he deserves it *cough*) but it seems so much more threatening that Draco ever was.

I'm pleasantly surprised to see that Luna came to Draco's defense. She is exceedingly kind-she's even grateful that he threw stew at her.

This was definitely a great chapter!

-Rumpel

Author's Response: Hello, again!

I doubt even Draco assumed that turning his life around would be easy, although he probably didn't think it would be quite this hard, either. Life gave him a huge reality check in this one. It is ironic that his loyalty to his family was one of the things that people condemn him for. More on that point in a couple of chapters, actually.

Astoria will be a huge help to Draco, both directly and indirectly. Although the direct part doesn't come for a while.

Isadore does make a good point every now and again. Mostly, however, she's that friend who helps you spot the bad ideas because they sound so unbelievably bad when they're coming from her.

Draco probably does deserve a lot of the ill treatment that's being heaped upon him in this chapter, but not all of it. He was legitimately trying to mind his own business when the two Gryffindor boys were about to attack him. Thank goodness for Luna. If not for her... unique perspective, something bad would have happened.

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


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Review #48, by UnluckyStar57 Regrets

19th December 2013:
Chapter Three certainly holds lots of interesting new things! :D

The opening, in which Draco returned mentally to the night of the battle, was really powerful. He's still so messed up, and he's got a lot of work to do on himself! I loved how you described the outside of the castle, with the new structures sharply contrasting with the old. It definitely gave Draco a good shock, which is probably exactly what he needed. He's like a cowardly criminal who hasn't been punished by law, returning to the scene of the crime--where he gets the REAL punishment: knowing that he is guilty of being on the wrong side in the war.

This fact is only continued by Minerva McGonagall's harsh treatment of him. I, for one, was a bit shocked at her biting orders and almost-cruel way of laying down the law, but I totally understand. Even the tight-lipped Head of Gryffindor House can be known to play favorites, and Draco was not one of them even before he became a Death Eater. I think that her words showed some of that favoritism--a lack thereof towards Draco--and it makes sense. She watched some of her babies die, and when she was offered a chance to go face-to-face with one of the students who did things that were the exact opposite of brave and just, she made the most of it. Draco needed that--actually, I think that all the abuse he's getting is good for him, to a degree (but hopefully it'll lighten up as the story progresses--nobody likes abuse!).

About Astoria and Isadore: I have observed my peers, and though I don't really participate (maybe I do a little bit...), I can tell that there's nothing that entertains and enlightens so much as gossip. Isadore is that friend (everybody has one!) who just HAS to know all about Astoria's feelings/love life, simply because she cares (AND because she likes knowing things). I'm really glad that Astoria was a bit unwilling to answer all of her friend's questions--as much fun as it is to talk about oneself, it is also fun (and sometimes necessary) to keep your own secrets. Just going on a hunch here--I presume that you are NOT a teenage girl, however, you wrote the conversation very accurately!

Oooh, those Gryffindor boys made me mad! I mean, they have a right to be angry about the war and sad for all of the destruction it caused, but they didn't need to direct all of their anger at Draco. In many ways, they echo the barman and the customers at the Leaky Cauldron back in the first chapter--they are citizens who stood for the winning side, and whenever they see a member of the losing side, they want to crush the losers again. They acted in a terrible manner, but I understand WHY they did. Thank Merlin for Luna Lovegood!

Speaking of Luna, she was absolutely great! In her Luna fashion, she put a stop to the trouble that was brewing. Shoutout to the Gryffindor guy who took it upon himself to tell Slughorn that the disagreement wasn't her fault! She is a peacekeeper, the voice of reason in post-war Hogwarts. It seems funny that reason should come from Luna Lovegood, but after all, reason speaks as it pleases. Luna seems to have lost some of her airiness since the war--but hey! She spent months in a basement, and that's enough to kill even the bravest of people. I know that you wouldn't be so stereotypical, but THANK YOU SO MUCH for not even mentioning Nargles. Post-war Luna has bigger fish to fry now. :)

Well, that's all for now! See you next chapter!

~UnluckyStar57

Author's Response: Hello, again!

It's still really messy inside Draco's head. I'm glad that came through clearly. His first sight of the castle since the end of the war triggers a flashback of sorts. Dealing with that was definitely a sort of punishment.

McGonagall is beyond angry at the fact that Draco is being allowed to return to school. In my mind, she was presiding over a very young and fragile recovery at Hogwarts. All of the returning students had to deal with so much trauma and death during the prior school year. The wizarding world is not very large, population-wise. I imagine that every one of them knows at least one person who was tortured, injured or killed by the Death Eaters. Draco is a living, breathing reminder of that suffering, and he's walking around the castle, taking classes. She doesn't want her students to have to deal with that. And she knows full well that Draco is only being allowed back because of his parents' money. All in all, not a recipe for a happy Minnie. ;)

I'm glad that the conversation between Astoria and Isadore sounded right to you. I had quite a bit of help fine-tuning the teenage girl-talk from Jami and sophie, so a lot of credit goes to them. You are correct that I am not a teenage girl, nor have I ever been one. So it tickles me pink that it all worked.

Luna is definitely in the right place at the right time, and that's a good thing for Draco. Gah, I can't tell you how relieved I am that she sounded right. There's no way to put into words what it means for something to sound like Luna. It either sounds like her or it doesn't. Dumbledore is the same way. Scary stuff. I think she is a bit more grounded after surviving the war, but part of that is also just from growing up. She's pretty hard to shake.

Thank you so very much for the lovely review! Until next time...


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Review #49, by Rumpelstiltskin Getting Clean

18th December 2013:
I've returned (and am here under the guise of Review Tag)!

First of all, I found the imagery very captivating. The sense of dread that Draco felt during his dream came across astoundingly realistic. The dark and damp setting and Draco's terrified emotions only added to the horror.

I'm very happy to see some Astoria's characterization is beginning to be revealed. It is not entirely fair for her father to be judging Draco based on Lucius' actions, but is understandable given Lucious' position during the two Wizarding Wars. The conversation also unveiled Astoria's kindness and ability to see the potential in others.

Draco is also given more depth in this chapter. His drive to change himself is an endearing characteristic. I'm anticipating how Draco and Astoria will cross paths again, and how their relationship with eventually develop.

This was fantastic!

-Rumpel

Author's Response: Hi there! Please feel free to return under any pretense that suits you! :)

I'm really glad that you liked the dream scene. I was struggling to hit a balance between keeping the descriptions very dark and spartan and trying to convey the horrors that Draco sees.

Astoria starts to even out a bit in this chapter. She's not quite so perfect and you get a sense of where she comes from. Her father doesn't understand how dangerous and powerful Voldemort was because he wasn't a Death Eater and he didn't really take sides during the war. Horatio Greengrass really does believe that the war was started by the Blacks, Malfoys and other Death Eater families as a way to seize power by installing a puppet ruler.

Draco really does want to change, but he is still learning just how hard it's going to be. He will definitely cross paths with Astoria again, and soon.

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


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Review #50, by UnluckyStar57 Getting Clean

17th December 2013:
Hello again!

So, Draco's getting sober now, and if the dream was any indication, it's going to be a LONG road for him. I loved all of the creepy imagery that you put into the dream sequence, showing Draco all of the death and destruction that Voldemort caused. As a fledgling Death Eater, he must've witnessed some of the cruelty and bloodshed, but seeing the bodies of his enemies and his friends lined up like that (even in his subconscious) should definitely spark a change. In fact, he should want to start running as far away from all of that as possible.

Draco's conversation with Narcissa was incredibly vital to his start on the road to recovery. She loves him, that much is plain, and her words of encouragement were very good for him to hear. I think that it was wise of her to state that Draco needed to work on his own mind before worrying about Lucius' misconduct--after all, Lucius is older and more set in pureblood and Death Eater customs. His mind will be much harder to change.

Astoria's father is not very likable, in my opinion. I can tell that he, like most purebloods, is quite entrenched in the customs of pureblood supremacy. The only difference between him and Lucius Malfoy is that Mr. Greengrass reviles the Death Eaters for wanting to overturn the Ministry. He does not seem to agree with Voldemort's ideas, and he hates that the war has sullied the reputation of being a pureblood. He's a very interesting character, and I'm sure that he'll show up in later chapters!

As for Zabini, he doesn't seem too dense, but in contrast to Draco, he is a drunkard fighting for a lost cause. All his talk of rising against the Ministry and taking what is rightfully theirs is a bunch of nonsense, and on some level, he knows it. He is crafty and cunning, but alcohol has addled his brains. Draco is disgusted with him, and rightfully so.

The way Draco handled the two wizards was impressive. He is still a fighter, but he will only make trouble if others provoke him. My impression of him was that he acted out of necessity and played it off with an air of suavity that seems to be his birthright. Before the fight, I saw a marked change in him when he cursed the fact that the restaurant served alcohol. It is apparent that he truly wants to change his ways, and good for him! :)

'Til next time!

~UnluckyStar57

Author's Response: Hi, there!

Yes, Draco has begun the long journey back to sobriety and better mental health. And you're absolutely correct, it won't be easy. I'm really glad you liked all of the imagery. I wanted to keep it really stark, but also dark and creepy, so I was worried about whether I had too much or too little description.

You're spot on with Draco talking to his mother. She is a key figure in his life. She was the only one who was there for him at all times during the war. She risked everything to try to keep him safe. Lucius... well, Lucius will be a project.

I didn't really want readers to like Horatio Greengrass too much at this stage of the game. He is very naive about Voldemort and what actually happened during the war. That's good in one way, because he wasn't a Death Eater and he never associated with them. But it's bad in another way, because he has no idea how powerful and dangerous Voldemort really was. He just assumes that the Blacks, Malfoys and other Death Eater families were propping up a madman because that's the only thing that makes sense to him. You will see other sides of him in later chapters, so I'm interested to see whether your opinion changes at all.

Zabini is still living the dream, so to speak. Like Mr. Greengrass, he was too far removed from Voldemort's inner circle to really understand much about what happened. Unlike Mr. Greengrass, he bought completely into Voldemort's "vision" of a perfect world. Draco is very disgusted with him and you're right, he should be.

Draco definitely learned how to fight during the war. He couldn't have survived otherwise. But he isn't eager to do it. He merely defends himself and then leaves.

I'm really glad that you enjoyed the chapter! Thanks so much for reading and reviewing!


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