Reading Reviews for Detox
  
299 Reviews Found

Review #26, by Roisin Climbing Back

28th July 2014:
Such a twisty story!

It's really interesting that Draco just kind of assumes he has loyalties, because he's so used to having them. In reality, outside of Astoria, they shift and turn. The Malfoys have always been primarily after their own interests. In that light, Draco's path to goodness is simple: all he needs is purity of intention.

I'm really glad for something you did here, namely, it isn't just a big JUST TALK ABOUT IT AND TELL THE OTHER HOW YOU FEEL--PROBLEM SOLVED thing. Both characters decided to do right by the other, but then some plot outside of their control stumbles into Draco's foyer. It let the conflict simmer for just long enough, but ultimately took the issue out of "easily remedied" waters.

Also, I hate Madame Blishwick. So. SO much. I am know officially theorizing that she's the big bad, hurrumph.

It's realistic, too, even if she doesn't turn out to be evil. I studied the science in college, and Academia can seem very cruel (I was genuinely bummed to not get an unpaid lab job "fixing" mice--aka, dosing them with ketamine then replacing their blood with plastic--because the research was so interesting. Then I remembered that my immortal soul was at stake, and was glad not to be hired). You gotta compartmentalize, or nothing can ever get done. That said, I still suspect that all surgeons are sadists.

MORE TO THE POINT: I'm really relieved that Lucius isn't the unnamed Death Eater, and man, you wrote his magical-dementia really well. Again, a really unique take on Lucius, and a great way to reel Draco back into family loyalty.

I can't believe I'm almost done with this story!

Author's Response: Correct, you don't need to think badly of poor, old Lucius. At least no more than you already thought badly of him.

Draco does have a few absolute loyalties, his mother for one. He's absolutely loyal to the *ideal* of the Malfoy name if not necessarily to the current leader of the family. And now he's absolutely loyal to Astoria.

Come now, you know me better than that! There was no way I would settle for a boring "talk it out and share your true feelings" ending when I had the chance to have curses and fire and explosions. There are no easy remedies in the magical world.

Your read on Madam Blishwick is spot on. She's a tone-deaf academic who lacks any appreciation of the social context of her work. She truly believes that there's redeeming social value in understanding the precise bio-magical (is that even a term?) mechanisms through while Unforgivable Curses harm people.

You're so close to the end! But this is where the roller coaster truly begins. Thanks for all of the awesome reviews!


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Review #27, by Roisin Errors in Judgment

28th July 2014:
Ah, such a comedy of manners! Ah, the conservativism! I want to slap them both!

They really are SO star crossed. Never would have imagined that for this pairing!

It's pretty impressive how the unfolding of the romance is so not to my taste--the whole WE MUST MARRY thing--yet I'm really rooting for them anyway (and I've read the epilogue, so my worry is rather silly). You did a really good job weaving gushy romance together with intimate awkwardness and absurd polite-society elements. Each bit tempered the other, and the result was a really unique scene.

"I have to hurt her to save her" and "things wouldn't suck so much if he could tell the truth" are very familiar ideas, but the context and specificity of the dialogue here means I never rolled my eyes. Draco explained himself as well as anyone could have hoped, and the rapid POV shifts did a lot to justify the events.

Astoria storming in her room, and severing her dress, was especially well done. Really captured the teenage girl "the sky is falling because a boy!" thing without satirizing it.

And the little bit about Draco still holding on to the idea of Lucius rescinding invitations to Malfoy manor, before rejecting it, was a super nice touch. I like how the perspective he's had all his life isn't so easily shrugged off.

I want to say more, but I also want to get to the next chapter!

Author's Response: I wanted to slap them both on many occasional while writing this. They're cute, but they can be horribly frustrating at times.

They're star-crossed, but like most star-crossed couples, there's a big element of self-inflicted misery involved. If Astoria and Draco could simply be honest with one another about their deepest anxieties, a lot of their problems go away. It doesn't happen because he's too busy trying to keep her pure and untouched by the horrors of war while she's too busy trying to be the older, more experienced lover that she thinks Draco wants. It would be comical if you didn't like them.

"Rooting for them in spite of who they are" kind of defines the experience of writing this story, so it's good to see that it comes across to a reader, as well. Draco and Astoria are the embodiment of everything that JKR taught us to dislike or at least mistrust for the first six books: privilege, wealth, old blood lines and conceit. To me, gushy romance, intimate awkwardness and absurd polite-society elements were a big part of the key to selling this chapter. It had to be very nitty-gritty and in the reader's face, otherwise it all starts to sound rather absurd.

I'm glad you liked the rapid PoV shifts. A couple of readers found them confusing or disorienting. This was the one chapter where I really wanted the reader to know, in quasi-real time, what each character was thinking as their evening swirled down the proverbial toilet.

I think "the sky is falling because a boy!" thing satirizes itself. It doesn't really need my help. In this case, I just wanted to show Astoria at her lowest point so that we can commence rebuilding a stronger, smarter version of her in the next chapter.

Very well, on to the next review, then. Thanks for reading and reviewing!


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Review #28, by Roisin Future Imperfect

28th July 2014:
I have to admit, I feel like the girl talk went on for a bit longer than necessary. But I might feel that way just because it was so euphemistic. In my experience, girl-talk rivals or exceeds locker-room boy talk in terms of vulgarity. But, I'm also of a very different social strata than these girls, and from a considerably more progressive and liberal community. Also, I doubt it would be appropriate to go full vulgar anyway for the story, and would hardly recommend changing it.

Draco and Madame Blishwick was brilliant, and painful, and wonderful. There was something really cinematic about his running to puke. I almost couldn't stand how amoral she was--how lightly she took his experiences and actions, how brazenly she spoke about his value. And his reaction was so on point. You truly have portrayed the boy who cried to moaning Myrtle about his feelings while plotting to assassinate Dumbledore.

Too often, writers around here want to make Draco this really alluring badboy, which reduces the harm he caused, underplays his nastier flaws, and incorrectly characterizes his fragility.

What I'm trying to say, is I know what story I'm gonna be nominating for some Dobby's.

Author's Response: Yeah, I'm a little too fond of my Archives account to go full-on vulgar. And I don't imagine Astoria and Isadore would behave that way, either. Isadore might if she was in different company, but Astoria is too "high society". Also more than a little sheltered and naive.

It didn't take long for Draco's career to take a dramatic turn for the worse, did it? Madam Blishwick isn't evil at all, she's just too much of a pure academic to be able to comprehend the discomfort her research causes people who've lived the nightmare that Draco's been through. I'm glad you liked his reaction.

Wow. I'm not quite sure what to say to that, other than thanks! I appreciate all the kind words.


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Review #29, by Roisin Turning the Corner

28th July 2014:
"His work would directly benefit victims of the war. Shacklebolt, himself, was apparently championing this project. He didnít know the witch heading it up, but he recognized the name. The Blishwicks were an old, pure blood family."

Such a good example of the things I've so far praised about your characterization of Draco. He'd be helping victims, he'd also be maneuvering socially and rebuilding his name. His desires here are Slytherin, but they aren't evil. His goals are redemptive, but also self serving. Great!

And I like that you already mentioned the Blishwick party. This might be because that comes back later (so aha to me for noticing), but either way, I think it's prudent to keep named characters to a minimum, or pull last names from canon (as you know I'm wont to do). I mean, with about 30 Hogwarts grads per year, even if there are dozens of families that homeschool--magical Britain must be a tiny population.

VERY disappointed Draco doesn't have to continue with Muggle Studies, though. That seemed like a very fair and wise condition for his return to Hogwarts.

And yay, it's nice that Draco is using all the magic he probably learned during the war (disillusionment) to sneak around and snog girls rather than commit genocide.

And the bit with Horatio and Astoria was truly devastating. She's also now starting to see the faults in her father. It's grow up time!

Author's Response: Draco seems to have found the literal "win-win" here. As I'm sure you've already realized, however, life isn't that kind to Draco Malfoy. I agree, though, there's no rule in life that says that a goal can't be both noble and self-serving at the same time.

You're right, there are so few pureblood families in the HP world. Pottermore had a mention of something called "The Sacred Twenty-Eight", of which Blishwick sadly was not one. Greengrass and Malfoy certainly were, however. I suppose Scorpius did in both of those lines. Good on you, Scorpius!

I think McGonagall was trying to be realistic *and* to throw Draco a bone if he was willing to refocus his efforts on Herbology. He's made it completely obvious that he refuses to learn anything in Muggle Studies. Why belabor the obvious?

I find that fan fic authors tend to either grossly minimize the magic Draco would have needed to learn to survive the war or they turn him into some sort of super-dark wizard. Again, I go for balance. And he is undeniably using his powers for "good", at least as he and Astoria would define it. ;)

It's reached the point in the story where I really needed to draw Astoria away from her family in earnest and unfortunately for Horatio, he gets to wear the jerk hat. In his own very traditional way, he wants what he thinks is best for her, but his ideas are behind the times and his approach is very tone-deaf. He's a product of his upbringing.

Both of my little pureblood snowflakes are growing up in a hurry. Much more turbulence to come. Thanks for reading and reviewing!


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Review #30, by Roisin Old Habits

28th July 2014:
The regency style, aristocratic, society world continues--and I'm super into it. Post-war reformed Nazi-esque character meets Jane Austen style plot: definitely unlikely bedfellows. Yes, a very unique story you have here.

I really like the introduction of pure-blood conservativism that isn't just racism. Set against, well, *racism.* I was definitely not expecting the plot to play out like this from the sparse story description. I'm really enjoying watching this innocent, juvenile love story progress alongside the rumblings of genocidal rebellion.

And the way Draco calls upon his personal experience is great. How disillusioned he is by Dark Wizardry and ministry takeovers after what he saw. He's seen how these things play out, and they've lost all appeal for him.

Usually, I reject romances that involve someone SAVING someone else with LOVE--but here, it works. Draco definitely needs saving, and the books insisted that he's not beyond it time and again. And 'redemption' is a common theme everywhere, but it feels really fresh in this story, partially because you allow the characters to be imperfect.

Author's Response: I'm overwhelmed and more than a bit humbled by the literary comparisons you're making here. Big smiles all around!

I liked adding more dimensions to the ideas of pureblood supremacy aside from just "everyone who isn't a pureblood sucks". There are centuries of custom and family connections that really bind these people together and give them their (mostly unjustified) sense of superiority. Maybe I do need to go back and work on that story description...

Draco has been down this path once before and he has zero interest in going back. The problem is that this world of pureblood ideologues is the only one he knows. He's not quite brave enough to completely start over, so he's trying to pick and choose the elements he can deal with and avoid the rest. It's definitely not easy.

Draco is not beyond saving although at the moment his mother and Astoria are really the only ones who see it. The rest of the world needs some convincing. If the characters weren't imperfect, I don't think this story works at all. I'm glad we agree on that. Thanks for reading and reviewing!


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Review #31, by Roisin Relapse

28th July 2014:
Ah! I was so very, very pleased with Snape's portrait! It was out-of-character for a headmaster's portrait to pipe up like that, going on the Potter books, and that was what was kind of brilliant about it. Snape's portrait probably wouldn't conform to the social traditions of paintings anyway.

Weird sentence, that ^^^.

It was really shocking to see Lucius so broken, and really heartbreaking in a way, knowing how Draco's always hero-worshiped his father. But ultimately, a good thing, to help Draco begin to define himself. Seeing the faults of one's parents is an important part of growing up, and Lucius has only ever been so smooth. Anyway, definitely a fresh idea I'd never imagined, and absolutely reasonable. I'm really enjoying reading once-so-spoiled Draco starting to extricate himself from his toxic upbringing.

In the epilogue, one could get the sense that Draco married a pure-blood Slytherin, and that that isn't surprising at all. I like how, while staying true to canon, you created a situation that actually requires them both to be subversive in their ways. I would never have imagined such a pairing as an illicit love affair, so good on you. (Just from reading story descriptions, I feel like a lot of stories out there attempt similar ends using more trite and easy means.)

This is a really creative plot!

Author's Response: When I was plotting out this chapter, I actually had Dumbledore's portrait addressing Astoria. The more I thought about it, though, that just didn't make any sense. Dumbledore really would have had little insight into Draco and Astoria's situation. Snape, on the other hand, had both insight and interest. And no, Snape wouldn't be likely to conform to any traditions that prevented him from insulting someone when he felt like it.

Lucius isn't well at all by this point. Azkaban and the war nearly broke him, and his condition is forcing Draco to continue growing up quickly. It's funny that you say you'd never imagined Lucius being this way. After Jason Isaacs's masterful portrayal of him in DH I and II, I never really thought of him any other way. I think that from the moment of Voldemort's return, Lucius was far out of his depth. He's too gentile and accustomed to the privileges of his wealth to fare well among a group of sociopathic killers like the Lestranges, Dolohov, Rookwood, Crouch, Jr., etc.

The farther along I got in writing this, the more I liked this idea of them cultivating this very clandestine romance. On Astoria's side, only Isadore knows about it, while Draco only confides in his mother. Mr. Greengrass is definitely opposed to it, and I think Lucius would have taken that opposition as an insult if he'd been aware that any of this was going on. The best thing about it is that it forces them to make the most of every moment they're able to be together. There are no "meaningless" encounters between the two of them.

I'm pleased as can be that you feel that way! Thanks so much!


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Review #32, by Roisin Confessions

28th July 2014:
Your characterization of Draco is really so rich. He exists in such a complicated moral and emotional space. The story about the house being burned down in Hogsmeade--the way he felt about it, feels about it, talks about it, is so different from how I would imagine most people would. But exactly on point for someone who did the things he's done--both good and bad. You've created a tricky character, and found a unique slice of humanity, and examined it in a really compelling way.

I also really like your interpretation of the Slytherin. I think it's too easily reduced. Astoria is, in every way, a 'nice girl.' Which isn't to say she is a stranger to manipulation--but not in a malicious way. Throughout, you show how these characters maneuver in their interactions with others. They measure their words, gauge people's reactions, and so on. It's really masterfully done.

Also, for whatever reason "the shadows cast by Hogwarts castle were starting to stretch long over the Scottish countryside" really stood out to me. There's a lot of language throughout I super like, but this was one of many descriptions I really appreciated.

Author's Response: A tricky character? I definitely take that as a compliment. I wanted to add as much depth and complexity to Draco in this story as I could. He isn't simple or one-dimensional and his story doesn't fit in a neat little box.

Slytherin House also deserved a major re-think, I felt. The way it's presented in most fan fiction is absurd. The traits that Slytherin is known for are not inherently evil, and while Harry and the other Gryffindors might have come away from their encounters with Draco, Crabbe and Goyle with a distinct distaste, I can't imagine the entire house was like that. I wanted Astoria to really show more of the positive aspects of Slytherin while not completely glossing over the negative ones.

I liked that line, myself. Rather proud of it. :)

Thanks so much for reading and reviewing!


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Review #33, by Roisin Making Choices

28th July 2014:
It could have really easily been to dramatic that Draco and Astoria were attacked with a killing curse, but I totally believed the situation.

I love how I want to side with Draco, main character of this as he is, yet you pit him against the trio. It's kind of poignant, really. They were all just kids, turned into warriors. I really like how the post-war means all sorts of psychological and physical chaos. I can hardly blame Ron or Hermione, but I feel inclined to sympathize with Draco as well. You write the distance between what happens in his head and what comes out of his slap-able face really well. His shaky moral foundation is tremendous, and his constant fear of attack is pitiful.

Also, the Harry/Ginny vignette was a really nice touch. Really believable and just the right amount of information.

And, another general comment: I really like the transitions between Draco's world-weary, alcohol dependent, shell shocked POV, and Astoria's naive, school-girl one.

Author's Response: Hello, again!

Draco will be plagued by some of the situations he dealt with during the war and the trio who attacked him are the result of one of those situations. More on that in the next chapter.

I struggled a lot with the tone of Draco's confrontation with Ron. It's hard for Ron not to seem like a jerk because we're seeing the whole scene play out through Draco's eyes. Also, Ron is being kind of a jerk. But you're right, it's hard to blame him or Hermione considering their past with Draco.

I loved being able to include Harry and Ginny for just a moment. Someday I'll write my post-war novel focusing on the two of them, but it's way too big of a project to take on right now. So I satisfy myself with little moments like this and with one-shots.

Aside from the first chapter, I *think* I managed to include both a Draco PoV scene and an Astoria PoV scene in every chapter. Glad you like the transitions!

Thanks so much for all of your awesome reviews!


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Review #34, by Roisin Regrets

28th July 2014:
I really really liked your description of post-war Hogwarts. I've said it before, but your prose is excellent. The lighter colour of the newer stone; all of those little details were great. I'd always been curious about students returning to school after the war, and you do a really nice job of imagining that situation.

Also, McGonnagall! She would absolutely be frosty and severe with Draco, and I absolutely wouldn't blame her. Yet, I feel sympathy for him anyway. Nicely played!

Also, great that Draco thinks about how he could hold his own in Defense, rather than thinking they might be protecting the other students from *him*. I love how he's both traumatized and seen too much, but also kind of innocent at the same time. And you write his trauma and anxiety really effectively.

Luna was perfect! And heartbreaking! And there's something needlessly satisfying about their conversation. Her reasoning, that the school had seen enough fighting, was precisely Luna-wisdom. And I said before about interpretations on Hermione (which I think are too often influenced by the movies)--yours is really well aligned with the books.

Another overall statement on the story (and I regret that these reviews are so stale--I inhaled the first ten chapters): the way you show Draco growing up and maturing--how he is no longer preoccupied with showing off in front of students or messing with other people. It's interesting that, in order to grow up well, he almost has to become more innocent. His experiences with adult situations being, as they were, so twisted and damaging :(

Author's Response: Hi!

Similar to how I don't think most of the characters survived the war without scars, I'm sure that Hogwarts got the crap beaten out of it during the battle. I am reasonably sure that there were people who felt very strongly that Hogwarts shouldn't be reopened after the war. Too many people lost their lives there. So even though the school did reopen, I'm sure the mood was somber and cautious. To me, the way McGonagall treats Draco is a function of that atmosphere. She's presiding over a very fragile and tenuous recovery at the school. With the exception of the First Year (and Second Year, since they weren't allowed to attend school under Voldemort) muggle-born kids, it's safe to assume that every student at Hogwarts knew at least one person who was hurt or killed in the war. The last thing McGonagall wants is somebody who fought on the other side walking around the castle, reminding everyone of what happened.

Draco is still a bit chippy on the topic of Defense. He definitely has a different sort of "misunderstanding" in mind from what Slughorn is describing.

Whew! Luna is right up there with Dumbledore and Voldemort in terms of the most difficult characters to write. When you read a story with Luna, it's like being in love: you can't explain in words what makes Luna sound like Luna, you just know it when you see it.

Trauma will definitely age a person, no doubt about it. I'm not sure I think of Draco as being more innocent, I think he just had the conceit knocked out of him.

All I can say at this point is that you haven't seen twisted and damaging yet. Of course, if you've read ahead, you know that already. ;) Thanks for reading and reviewing!


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Review #35, by Roisin Getting Clean

28th July 2014:
I really like how gently you introduce Astoria's privilege. Since her sections are ostensibly her POV, it makes sense that she takes expensive jumpers and private chambers as average. Also, she isn't portrayed as totally spoiled or anything. As with a lot of aspects of this story, you let the characters have certain elements that isolate readers, while still endearing us to Draco and Astoria anyway.

Also, Horatio's prejudice--I'm really enjoying all these little complications to a story that could have been a straight-forward romance. It's very easy to tokenize prejudiced people, or divide supporting characters neatly between good and bad. You do a great job of setting a story in the ambiguities. Obviously, I'm wont to dislike Horatio, but it makes sense that Astoria loves her father.

Overall, I really enjoy the intricacies of the aristocracy you examine here. It's almost like two stories. Draco's is a darker, war survivor, plots be brewing situation, while Astoria's is almost a comedy of manners.

Getting super off-track because I read ahead, so sorry! But also: I tend to avoid Draco ships, or Draco as a main character, but you do it really well. I really believe his prat moments, and his occasional sweetness breaking through the surface (running away to muggle cafes). You've done a stand-out job of analyzing the interiority of the wannabe Death Eater who didn't rat on Harry to Bellatrix. Generally, I think Draco and Hermione are of the most misrepresented characters in fanfiction (hence my categorical distaste for their pairing). So yeah, ramble ramble ramble, you've done a real good Draco.

On to the next disorganized review!

Author's Response: Moving right along...

I didn't want to overplay the life of privilege that Astoria comes from. It's part of who she is, but unlike Draco it doesn't completely define her. I think of her family as being "the working rich". Her father runs his family's companies and manages their investments.

I'm not sure that Horatio is prejudiced against Draco so much as he just doesn't understand the truth about Voldemort. Horatio wasn't a Death Eater and he stayed out of the conflict completely. He doesn't understand how dangerous and powerful Voldemort truly was. In his mind, Voldemort was a creation of power-hungry families like the Blacks and Malfoys. He thinks that they used their money and influence to create a political movement around a madman.

I hadn't thought of this as being two stories in that sense, but I can definitely see it now that you mention it.

I absolutely agree with you about Draco and Hermione being frequently misrepresented. In fact, it very often happens to both characters in the same story. *cringe* People try to write Draco in a way that's black and white. They write him as either an arch-villain who never gave up his family's ways or as a completely reformed and enlightened survivor of his family's terrible brainwashing. I don't think he's either of those things. There are elements of those characters in him, but he's far more complex.

I don't find your reviews disorganized at all. You're reacting to the things in the story that caught your attention or imagination and really those are my favorite kind of reviews! Thanks!


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Review #36, by Roisin Sobering Up

28th July 2014:
Tag!

I've been wanting to read one of your novels for a while, and I chose this one for being the most recent. I'm actually several chapters in now, so this review isn't crazy fresh.

Moving on: I really really really like this story. The opening was especially compelling, as it felt properly *adult* in a way a lot of other stories don't. Having lived through the war, I like that Draco shows signs of this kind of adulthood, tempered with inevitable immaturity. And opening a story with Draco stumbling blind drunk out of a pub in the afternoon is perfect--that's exactly where I would reasonably expect him to be after everything.

I felt real sympathy for Draco throughout, but it was really nicely set against his more unlikable/Malfoyish qualities. Since I've read ahead, I'll just say you did a great job so far keeping Malfoy and Astoria flawed/dimensional.

Also, there's some stunning moments of prose here. The language in the descriptions is rather a joy to read.

All in all--you kick butt at post-war stories. Draco's PTSD is really great, and neither under nor overplayed. Also, you capture the tension and mild chaos of society in really realistic and subtle ways.

Bravo!

Author's Response: Before I start to respond to all of your reviews, I feel like I should put on Lakeside's "Fantastic Voyage". Or maybe the Coolio version. No matter the musical accompaniment, it's going to be fantastic.

I really can't abide post-war stories that make the world seem like everything turned to rainbows and kittens the minute Voldemort hit the flagstones of the Great Hall. It was a war. People were tortured, maimed and killed. The damage inflicted on the magical world was nearly catastrophic. It's silly to imagine that someone who survived the things that Draco lived through wouldn't have been emotionally and physically scarred. So he tries to bury all of those awful memories the way that most adults who can't find the strength to face their demons do: he gets drunk.

I remember feeling pretty agnostic about whether I wanted people to feel sorry for Draco or not while reading this. My goal was to paint the most realistic picture of him that I could and then let the reader decide how to feel. Sounds like I did an alright job.

Thanks for all of your kind words. It means quite a bit more to get that praise from a talented author like yourself. Thanks for reading and reviewing!


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Review #37, by Veritaserum27 Climbing Back

18th July 2014:
Helo Dan!

Yikes - this chapter was a doozie! I can't even get over all of the events that occurred in such a short span of time. I'm dizzy from all of this action - but it seems to be just the beginning.

What a fabulous portrayal of a broken heart. Poor, poor Astoria, reduced to physical pain and basically a sickened stupor. She really feels that she has lost it all. There is hope, however. Her mother may be an ally in all of this - she seems to be able to manipulate Horatio when the need dictates. It reminds me of a line from My Big Fat Greek Wedding "The man is the head of the household, but the woman is the neck. And she can turn the head any way she wants to." We also see a little bit of this playing out between Narcissa and Lucius - but I'll get to them later.

The little comment about Emery Montague and his - er... situation made me laugh out loud. I love the way you slip in little bits of humor for the reader - even in a dramatic chapter like this one.

Draco's emotions during the scene at the Ministry were also beautifully described. He abhors dark curses after living through their effects. I also think Draco abhors part of himself because he once was seduced by the power that accompanied following dark wizards. Standing from the other side, it physically and emotionally sickens him. He might think of this as weakness, but I feel this will become one of his greatest strengths. I don't know if you did this intentionally, but Madame Blishwick reminds me a LOT of Delores Umbridge. Both were fools to think that the ends justify the means and both were blinded by their desire to achieve power and fame. In both women, nothing else mattered but success in their set goals.

The scene with Lucius and Narcissa was powerful, revealing and all around awesome. So the truth comes out that Lucius is not well, mentally. This horrid fact forces Draco to grow up in a matter of minutes. He goes from being (somewhat of a) petulant child (more like a brooding young adult) to the realization that your parents are mortal. Right in the middle of his tirade about how Lucius put the Malfoy family in a tricky spot in terms of moving on in society, Draco is suddenly faced with the fact that his father may not be around for much longer. Lucius suddenly appears very weak. It is a difficult thing to accept that our parents are mortal - because it forces us to face our own mortality. Great job with the emotions playing out here.

But I've saved my favorite part for the last. Narcissa is brilliant. She is clever, ambitious, self-preserving, dutiful, proper, proud, loving, cautious and clear minded. And Awesome. Let's not forget awesome. I've never been a fan of hers, mostly because she found herself on the wrong side of the war, but you've really brought her to light in this scene and she was a joy to read. She was able to assess the situation quickly and cleverly come up with a plan that would keep her family safe and help he son to get what he wants. I also really loved her interaction with Lucius. She never made her husband feel like he was deranged or weak, but she was able to talk to him in a kind manner and still help Draco at the same time. I LOVE the plan that they came up with - it is perfect. However, I feel like you aren't exactly going to let us see that one through, are you Dan?

And - of course you dropped a bomb on us at the end. How is Draco going to get out of this mess now? Ugh! I think it is safe to say to expect some more reviews fairly quickly - I don't know if I'll be able to wait to read the last few chapters!

Author's Response: Hi, Beth!

All of the chapters from here to the end are pretty busy. The ball is rolling downhill, top speed, toward the end of the story. This is what I've been building up to, so I hope you enjoy it!

I hope the scene with Astoria wallowing in her misery in her bedroom is, in some ways, similar to the way we see Draco at the start of the story. She's hit rock bottom on this unrealistic fantasy she's been living for the past few months. Now it's time for her to decide whether to throw in the towel or pick up the pieces and rebuild around more realistic goals and desires. I think you nailed it on the relationship between Astoria's parents. Priscilla Greengrass manages her husband artfully. He mostly doesn't even realize he's being managed, which is really the gold standard for effective management.

Ah, Emery. Sometimes I think it's good to create a character who really serves no purpose other than to be the butt of jokes.

Draco finally snaps under the pressure when Madam Blishwick really pushes him. It's been building for a long time. I never thought of her as being similar to dear old Dolores, but I guess I can see some similarities. The big difference, though, is that while Umbridge is all about appearances and fake courtesies, Madam Blishwick is 100% sincere in every respect. She sees no issues with the ends or the means, because she intends to meticulously study both.

I'm glad you liked the "big reveal" on Lucius's condition. Lots of small things in this story tie into Conspiracy of Blood, and Lucius's declining health is one of those threads. (He passed away well before the start of that story, leaving Draco with some unresolved baggage.) It is a major moment in the maturity process when you finally accept that your parents aren't going to live forever. It changes Draco's outlook on a lot of things and forces him to take another look at the future that he'd imagined with Astoria. It also added more urgency to his desire to reconcile with her. Lastly, if Lucius isn't the Death Eater Gamp's been conspiring with, who is it?

I think I mentioned this in my response to an earlier review: Narcissa has a tendency to steal scenes in my stories. She is pretty awesome to me. In the books, I thought there were very interesting parallels between her and Molly Weasley. Both were managers of their respective families, in a sense. Both of them were willing to do anything necessary to protect their children. Two oddly similar visions of how a mother is supposed to behave, given the vastly different worlds they come from.

Nope, the end of this story won't be anywhere near that simple. There's a lot of drama and action left. I hope you enjoy it and I'm really looking forward to seeing your reactions! Thanks for reading and reviewing!


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Review #38, by nott theodore Regrets

12th July 2014:
Hi again, Dan!

This was another great chapter here! I don't think it's really slow at all - at least, I didn't find it slow as I read it. Draco's return to Hogwarts is a pretty important event in this story and it was really interesting to read about it.

I think your characterisation of Draco is really brilliant. Obviously you've spent a lot of time on him with writing this story but I think that he's a very believable character from the one that we've seen in the books.

I really liked the way that here, Draco had to confront people face on - when he was in Diagon Alley he knew that people around him were looking at him and blaming him but he didn't know who they were, and didn't have to deal with them directly; that's what makes it much harder here for him to deal with. I liked the way that you wrote their reactions to Draco, though!

I am glad that there was some hope for Draco and Astoria at the end of this chapter, though - I really like the two of them as a pairing so that was great to see!

Sian :)
Gryffindor House Cup 2014 Review

Author's Response: Hi, there!

This one was a bit slow in the sense that it was heavy on narrative and light on action, at least until the end. Still, I'm glad you didn't think that it dragged.

Whew! I always wonder how people are going to see Draco's character. Glad you thought it was believable.

Now that Draco is trying to reengage, the world is suddenly very much up in his face. It isn't pleasant for him, but I think it's necessary if he's going to find the motivation to continue down this path.

If you like the two of them as a pairing, I think you'll enjoy the rest of the story. They certainly have ups and downs along the way, but it's a canon story so you know they get there in the end.

Thanks so much for reading and reviewing!


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Review #39, by nott theodore Getting Clean

12th July 2014:
Hi Dan! I figured that since I'm reviewing anyway it was about time for me to come back to this story and leave a few more reviews!

This was another great chapter! I really liked the way that you progressed from the first chapter to this one and showed that things are starting to change a little bit for Draco. The description at the beginning was fantastic and it helped me picture things really vividly, but I think that my favourite part of the chapter was the dream that Draco has which is a flashback to the war. It's really important to show that it's not only the winners who suffered like that from the war.

I liked the fact we saw parts of both Astoria and Draco at this point as well. It's nice to see both perspectives and I liked the fact that Draco's really starting to make an effort here to change his lifestyle and control his anger. I think it's a very important beginning, especially if he's going to end up with Astoria!

Sian :)
Gryffindor House Cup 2014 Review

Author's Response: Hi, Sian!

Draco has taken the most important step, but there's obviously still a long way to go. Otherwise, this wouldn't be a very long story. ;) I'm glad you liked the nightmare. It was tricky to write because I wanted a very spartan feel to things but I also needed enough detail to make it easy to visualize. And you're right about the war, many of the Dark Lord's followers suffered just as much as the victors.

In general, you'll see things from both Draco's and Astoria's perspective in each chapter from now on. I like alternating the narrative point of view, just to give the reader a more rounded impression.

Glad you liked it. Thanks for reading and reviewing!


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Review #40, by Veritaserum27 Errors in Judgment

30th June 2014:
Hi Dan!

Wow. There was a lot to this one. I think it may take me while to get through it all and do it justice.

Before I continue - I must say "bravo." I mean, really, really excellent writing. This was fantastic with the way you capture both Draco and Astoria's current states. For the past several chapters, you've been building to this - and it paid off in spades. They both have been falling for each other throughout the entire story, but they haven't been on the same page. Draco saw Astoria almost as an unreachable ideal. She was perfection and everything that he could never have. He dared to dream that she could possibly be attainable and he might just be happy again if he has her.

On the flip side, Astoria views Draco as her "way out" of being under the rule of her parents. She doesn't want the same life her parents were destined for - or her sister for that matter. As a side note, I actually feel sorry for Daphne. Although she is a bridezilla and completely inconsiderate of others, I don't know if her transgressions are severe enough to warrant a lifetime of Jeremy Gamp. (You know I haven't read "Harry Potter and the Conspiracy of Blood" yet, so I don't know if she actually ends up with Gamp as a life-partner, OR if she becomes a character worthy of that sentence.)

Both of them need a bit of adjustment to their current view of each other - and their relationship. I really like how you've portrayed Astoria as a typical teenager in the past few chapters. She is threatened by Pansy - someone who is insignificant in Draco's eyes, but you've beautifully captured the true angst of a teenage girl. It is much more realistic and it brings another layer to the story.

I have to comment on the last scene. She was still playing the petulant child - angry with her parents for not breaking down the door to comfort her during her sister's wedding - of all things. But in the end, Astoria finally decided to grow up a little bit. Realizing that incinerating all of Draco's letters would mean that she was giving up on the one thing that she truly holds dear is a big step for her.

"Slothenly." I love it. That is a great word!

I cannot go any further without expressing the heebie jeebies that I felt during the entire scene with Astoria and Draco/Emery. I know that she was able to overcome the fact that he didn't look like her true love, but I couldn't. I don't know if that was your intent, but... Ewww.

Again, this was a wonderfully crafted, fantastic chapter. You left the reader in suspense and I even teared up a few times along the way.

I'm sorry this sound so formal, but I wanted to get everything down and I didn't want it to be a rambling review. I hope you realize how much I really liked this!

~Beth

Author's Response: Hi, Beth! Huge apologies are in order. The House Cup reviewing event has left me looking extremely unappreciative for reviews on my own stories, which I certainly am not!

This was definitely one of the "busiest" chapters in the entire story. I did give some thought to splitting it -- you can probably figure out where -- but that would have left me with two chapters that were substantially shorter than their neighbors. Also, it sort of reeked of "cliffhanger for cliffhanger's sake". All in all, I figured it was better to just keep the beast together.

I'm thrilled that you liked the buildup/payoff involved in this chapter. Draco has been keeping Astoria on a pedestal and Astoria has been hinging far too much of her perceived future happiness on a fairytale ending with Draco. Both of them pay a high price for their childish oversimplifications in this chapter.

I don't think **anyone** deserves a lifetime of Jeremy Gamp except perhaps Jeremy Gamp. That said, Daphne was only too happy to ignore the warning signs as long as her relationship with Jeremy advanced her own life goals. Jeremy also cleans up fairly well. He's an old-money pureblood, after all. As to what their future holds... well, you'll see pretty soon.

Draco and Astoria are also suffering from a problem that plagues most couples their age. They've gotten good at communicating their hopes and dreams and happiness to one another, but they have no idea how to share their anxieties and fears and dislikes. Actually, I guess Astoria isn't **so** bad at sharing her dislikes, but only the mundane ones. If she'd broached the topic of Pansy with Draco -- and if she'd believed his denial, which I guess would also be an issue -- she would have known where he stood on that topic.

Astoria does grow up a bit at the end of this chapter, doesn't she? You'll be pleased, then, to discover that she keeps growing into the next chapter.

I agree on the point of Astoria trying to be physical with Draco/Emery. I'm sure it was beyond weird. Part of what I was trying to convey was Astoria's desperation. She's willing to shove her discomfort aside because she wants this to work so badly.

Aww, don't worry about the way you wrote this. I loved it! Thanks so much for all of your kind words!


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Review #41, by UnluckyStar57 Clarity

27th June 2014:
Hi! The House Cup is in full swing, but I'm sneaking away for a moment to review Chapter 14!

To start off, I like that Draco's main thought when he blasts open the gates is that he must keep Astoria safe. Back in the days of his neophyte Death Eater-dom, he would've only wanted to save himself, giving no thought to his friends or loved ones. Now his only concern is for her safety, and it's easy to see that he has definitely changed for the better.

Whoa, and he's mad, too! Flint is in his way and he isn't going to put up with it. Sectumsempra seems really harsh, but it was absolutely necessary. Hopefully Flint won't die, though... I think that all of these men don't need to die because there has already been enough of that. The security in Azkaban needs to be heightened and they all need to be tried for crimes against humanity, but if they all die now, they won't live with the remorse of their actions (if they do, indeed, feel remorse).

Gamp... Gamp is just a terrible person. Daphne is sorely misguided in her trust of him, but that doesn't mean that he can throw her around! And her father is a stubborn old coot, but he shouldn't be attacked for choosing not to fight on either side. That's the difficulty of war--if you don't pick a side, one (or both) will come after you.

Avery is horrible. Horrible!! And no, I didn't expect it to be him, but gosh, he sounds like his years with Voldemort have sufficiently brainwashed him. Can't these people realize that the war is over?! No, I guess not. It makes me mad that Avery would try to organize a new group of Death Eaters to serve Voldemort when he doesn't even exist anymore... But his mind must be severely twisted and messed up, so it does make sense. Draco's bit of distraction with the "object" was a good thing, but Avery won't let it rest there.

Poor Astoria. She can't even fend for herself because she doesn't have a wand. It's good that Draco is looking out for her, but it's just awful that he has to use spells on her against his will. Did he fight the Imperius off in the end? It seems to be so. Good for him! Maybe now Astoria can recover her wand and look out for Draco just as much as he's looking out for her.

Oh, great. Another creepy Death Eater!! Who will it be this time? Gamp was scary, Avery was scarier... Will this new character be the scariest of them all? I don't know. But it's definitely just like a Death Eater to show up when they aren't wanted. Hopefully Draco can stop him.

The battle played out quite intensely! These last few chapters seem to be pretty battle-heavy, but it's all really vivid and easy to follow, so it never gets boring. I like how you manage to describe the chaos that's going on while also keeping track of Draco's thoughts and actions. It's quite a lot to balance!

Oh wow, two more chapters! Things are definitely reaching the boiling point now!

~UnluckyStar57

Author's Response: Ah, the House Cup. No wonder the forums are so busy. I confess I've barely had time to pay attention this year. Best of luck to all involved!

Draco is fairly single-minded in this chapter, now that you mention it. He's come a long, long way from being that arrogant, cowardly boy in the first five books of the series.

Draco was too intent on what he was doing to spare much of a thought for Flint. You'll be pleased to know that Flint does survive to enjoy a long, refreshing stay in Azkaban.

Would it bother you if I told you that you haven't even seen the worst of Jeremy Gamp yet? You'd have to read Conspiracy of Blood for that. There's an old saying that nobody comes out of prison better than they went in, and Gamp turns out to be living proof of it.

Avery is really a mess of a human being by this point. His mind is completely bent, having served Voldemort in two wars and then spending nearly a year on the run from the Ministry. But he's still very dangerous, as Draco discovers.

Astoria is very much out of her depth around violent lunatics like Gamp and Avery. You'll find out very soon how the whole mess turns out. I promise it's not too bad.

Who is the new arrival? At the risk of sounding like a broken record, you'll find out in the next chapter. Right away, actually.

I really enjoy writing fight scenes, and I got to do quite a lot of them in this story. The funny thing is that I didn't really mean for it to be that way. This was supposed to be a love story. Guess I can't help myself. ;)

Two more to go! I'm really excited to see what you think of the next one. Thanks for reading and reviewing!


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Review #42, by Veritaserum27 Future Imperfect

17th June 2014:
Hello again!

Ah, the trials of a teenager in love. You've done a fabulous job describing all of Astoria's insecurities. They are very realistic and gut-wrenching. Compounded by the fact that their romance is forbidden, now she has to figure out what he wants! It seems that Isadore doesn't quite have as much experience as she purports.

Poor Astoria, she is so confused, she is even worrying about Pansy now! It is so clear to everyone else that Draco absolutely worships Astoria. Why is it that she can't see it?

All in all, I'm actually enjoying seeing Astoria act like a regular teenager. Up to this point, she and Draco have had an atypical adolescent relationship. They've been attacked by dark wizards, waylaid by prejudiced parents and sidetracked by Draco trying to put his life in order. This chapter is a nice break from all of that.

I'm actually surprised that Draco didn't realize the plant was part of the test. He has spent so much time in the presence of wizards where everyone had an ulterior motive and every small maneuver had other implications.

I love the descriptions of Draco brewing the potion. I felt like I was really there with him! He is a very talented potioneer. I like that Madam Blishwick can get the best of Draco. He doesn't know what to make of her.

I also really like that Draco's work will eventually be helping those who were affected by dark curses. It almost brings him around full circle. He can help people that were once on the Death Eater's torture list. However, her reason for choosing him is very awkward for him, indeed. Part of his job will be to recall the absolute worst moments of his life.

Okay, so I just had a thought. Let's say that a certain Mr. (more evil than anyone alive) Gamp finds out that Draco has "limited authorization to use Unforgivable Curses..." He may have much darker intentions for Draco's role in their plot.

Uh-oh. This just went form silly teenager to way, way darker. As always, you've taken the reader on a crazy ride.

Thanks again!

Author's Response: Hi!

Again, I have to give a lot of credit to Jami and sophie for helping me craft Astoria's teenage love life struggles. I'm glad it all played well and you're right, Isadore doesn't know nearly as much as she'd have Astoria believe.

Sometimes it's hardest to see the things that are closest to us, which is definitely where Astoria sits at the moment. Her anxieties about Pansy stem from two things. First, Pansy is older and more, erm, experienced. If the battle for Draco's heart was purely a matter of who was most entertaining in the sack -- and obviously it's anything but -- then Pansy would be the hands-down winner. Second, Pansy has already been with Draco in the way that Astoria feels she needs to be. In her own mind, Astoria feels like she's fighting an uphill battle on two fronts.

I actually really enjoyed having Astoria's character backtrack a bit on the maturity scale. I felt like it was needed because she was simply too mature in the early chapters.

I think that a big part of why Draco wanted a job in the first place is that he craves normality. He wants to have at least a part of his life that's free of the drama created by his past and his family. For that reason, he was really hoping to have a nice, normal job interview and he was behaving accordingly. I really, really enjoyed writing the scene where he brews the potions. I love the nitty-gritty aspects of writing it, plus it's natural "introspection time" for Draco.

Hmmnnn... Honestly, that aspect of Draco's new career never occurred to me in the context of his struggles with Mr. Gamp. It's a very interesting thought, now that you mention it. Madam Blishwick has a fairly unhealthy fascination with the worst moments of Draco's life, as you'll soon see...

This story can't go very long without some darkness. It's the nature of the characters involved. But there's light at the end of the tunnel!

Thanks for reading and reviewing!


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Review #43, by Veritaserum27 Turning the Corner

17th June 2014:
Hi Dan!

I'm sorry it's been so long since I've reviewed a chapter for you. I started reading this one about a week ago and I got so caught up in it that I just kept on reading! - So to make up for my lateness, you will get at least two reviews tonight! (I KNOW! - Aren't you just thrilled?!)

To start off, we have studious and reflective Draco. This is a whole new side to him. I think he may be finally growing up a bit. He always knew that he liked Astoria and took actions to protect her and write to her, but now he is finally acknowledging to himself that she is the main reason for this turnaround. It's about time, Draco! The rest of us saw this in Chapter 1! He not only reflects on the events that led him to this place, but he also is thinking about the future and building up the Malfoy name. I don't think he will go so far as to acknowledge that McGonagall gave him the opportunity as well, but we can't hope for everything now, can we? He still has a bit of stubbornness when it comes to Muggle Studies, eh?

I really like the way you've characterized Lucius here. Even though he has been a fairly minor character, who is suffering from some sort of mental illness, he plays out really well. Lucius was almost the top dawg during Voldemort's reign. He has fallen far and the only place he can hold on to any sort of power is within his own family. He will hold on to that with a vice grip.

I really like the exchange with McGonagall and Draco. They are both so perfectly characterized. She is actually enjoying watching his reaction to her and he is just along for the ride - although he likes to think that he has the upper hand.

A side note - I'm not a grammarian, but I think you might mean "bevy" (a large group of things) instead of bevvy (which is slang for beverage). It might just be an alternate spelling that I don't know about.

This job sounds very promising. I'm excited for Draco!

On to the good stuff! Wow! I am impressed. What I really, really liked is the way that you led up to the meeting by setting the scene with Astoria. She is nervous, anxious and really, really excited.

I love the scene in the Room of Requirement. Although I am surprised that Draco would want to return there after his friend had been killed in that room about a year before. You paced the scene very nicely. They are a couple getting to know each other better. I can feel that they relish the time they can spend together because they know it is precious. At the end of it, they are a pair of teenagers with hormones and that comes out a bit as well. Draco is chivalrous. You are actually making me feel some respect for him. How could you do this to me, Dan??

Woah. Then Astoria takes it deep and heavy with the talk of the war. However, I think it was important for them to understand each other on a deeper level. Astoria isn't prying - she wants to know everything about him and understand him better.

And just when it is starting to get good... we have to deal with Isadore. She seems suspiciously more accepting of Draco. I remember her repugnance of him in earlier chapters. What is a best friend for, if not really bad advice.

Oh. My. Merlin. "Little Wizard." I laughed out loud. Poor Astoria is so desperate to do the right thing for Draco that she is even willing to listen to Isadore's advice!

Oh, dear. Her parents really are pushing this marriage thing, aren't they? Maybe it's me, but it seems like they are pushing a little too hard. Why are they so hard-set on their sixteen (almost seventeen) year old daughter to find a match? Do they know that she has been seeing Draco? Or is it something more?

Much to consider. Thanks for the great chapter!

Author's Response: Hi, there! No worries on timing. It's always good to see you back!

I like the place that Draco has reached by this point. He's being mostly honest with himself, which is a huge step for any Malfoy male, I'd say. He's become very dedicated and also sort of introspective. And he wants to be with Astoria very much.

Poor old Lucius is holding on by a thread at this point. He still has his pride and he still clings to his position as head of the Malfoy family, not that either one is worth very much in the post-war era. As far as his mental illness, well, that plot thread is coming to a head fairly soon... ;)

McGonagall has accepted -- reluctantly -- that Draco has changed. He got a second chance and he made the most of it. So she does what she'd feel duty-bound to do for any student who was trying hard: she tries to help him. You're right: Draco would like to think that he has the upper hand, but he's plainly just rolling with decisions she's already made.

I think you're right about "bevy". I'll go in and patch that up.

Whew! I'm relieved that you liked the build-up to Astoria's encounter with Draco in the Trophy Room. Having never been a love-struck teenage girl, I was sort of winging it on that one.

Draco spent so much time in the Room of Requirement during his sixth year that I imagined he would understand its malleability. Since he made it into something completely different -- and since Astoria was there -- I don't think it would have necessarily reminded him of poor Crabbe. When the scene becomes more passionate, there were definitely hormones at play, but also the fact that Draco didn't feel like talking about the war. And he is quite chivalrous in the end, although that's partly because he's still putting her on something of a pedestal. In addition to being his girlfriend, she's also this symbol of the "perfect" life that he always wanted and never thought he could have after the war.

I don't think Isadore was ever repulsed by Draco. In fact, you might recall that she seemed to fancy him a bit as well and it bothered Astoria. But now she's 100% in favor of Draco and Astoria's relationship. To the point where she wants Astoria to throw caution to the wind and bed him as soon as possible. So you're right, Isadore is always handy with some bad advice. ;)

Her parents grew up in a different time. Well, actually they grew up in the 1960's, but that was a very different time in pureblood wizarding circles. They're trying to lead Astoria down the path that they were raised to believe is right, which I think is what a lot of parents fall back on when confronted with very difficult topics like their children's love lives. At this point, they do not know that she's still secretly seeing Draco. Her father would be furious since he specifically forbid her from doing that.

You're on the downhill side of the story now. Coming soon: Daphne's wedding in all its glory! Thanks for reading and reviewing!


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Review #44, by jazzercise Epilogue

10th June 2014:
This story was so amazing. You captured the broken Draco character and the struggling new Wizarding society perfectly! I LOVE how you have both Astoria and Draco having issues with Ron...that sets up a very nice Romeo/Juliet thing for their children, haha! But I also really enjoy how Ron, true to JKs version of him, remained stubborn and prejudice, with Draco being the one to change his ways, at least somewhat. I wouldn't want my child ending up like Lucius either!

Hands down this is one of my favorite stories that I've read on this site, and it's been...8 years since I found HPFF? Fantastic job!

Author's Response: Hello, again!

I really appreciate all of the kind words. This was the second novel that I wrote on HPFF and it was really challenging at times. It's nice to hear that you enjoyed it!

Shameless plug: If you like Draco and Astoria as they're portrayed here, you might also enjoy my other novel, Conspiracy of Blood. It's set many years after Detox, but I think Astoria and Draco are portrayed very similarly. You won't see them until chapter 6, though.

Thanks so much for reading and reviewing!


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Review #45, by Veritaserum27 Reconnecting

9th June 2014:
Hi Dan,

I thought I had already read and reviewed this chapter, but, upon reading it again, I realized that I never finished reading it - I never got to the second half!

But, let's get to that in a minute.

As usual, the small details that you choose to add to a scene help to define what the character is feeling. Starting this chapter off with Draco's internal diatribe about the firewhiskey sets the tone for how unhappy he is to actually be in this situation. And it obviously lets us know that he is drinking - again. Although, it would seem that he is exhibiting some control.

The hints about the "new partner" being Lucius are pretty clear - I am wondering if it is too obviously Lucius and is, in fact, someone far worse. Hmmm. You're keeping me guessing on this one.

I am also curious about the "man who is carrying messages" between Gamp and the new partner. I don't know why that stuck out at me in the story, but it did.

Draco's anger resurfaces here, but he seems to regain control rather quickly - far better than he did in Hogsmeade. I think you've done a fabulous job with slowly changing Draco's anger. He still maintains his same basic personality traits, but he is growing and wants to become a better person. Astoria has a lot to do with that. I also felt a little bit like Draco was trying to convince himself that he had to be a part of this group, for Zambini's sake if nothing else.

Admittedly, I haven't yet read "Harry Potter and the Conspiracy of Blood," but I wanted to finish Detox first. I haven't felt that I have missed anything regarding any of the characters, but you hinted that Gamp might be a tad more threatening than he appears in this story. Just a drop. However, I was already freaked out by the crazy laughing and the way he seems just a bit off. People, even the sons of death eaters, don't know how to react to straight up crazy. Perhaps Draco feels a bit like he needs to there to protect his friends from Gamp.

Yet again, you've successfully accomplished a dichotomy between the two scenes with opposing sentiments. The image of Astoria getting sick in the Gringotts cart is comical (I giggled - although I'm sure it wasn't funny to her). And this entire scene had a much lighter, slightly humorous feel to it. Of course, I loved it.

So... a little heart-to-heart with the future mother-in-law, eh? It was really great to see these two women interact. I think it was really important, as well. Astoria, while willing to go against her own family, might be a little intimidated to pursue Draco if his mother also didn't want the match, being that they are so close. As for Narcissa, she probably views Astoria as the woman that brought Draco back to the land of the living. Before he met her, he was drunk, wallowing in self-pity, and on a track of imminent destruction.

I also liked the little parts where you let us know that Astoria's feelings for Draco go beyond the emotional attachment. Since they can't actually be together physically, these moments are important.

Until next time!

Beth

Author's Response: Hello, again!

You're right: Draco's gripe with the quality of the Zabinis' firewhiskey isn't really about the firewhiskey. Not completely, anyway. He is exercising a measure of control, although the battle is far from over.

Could be Lucius. Could be somebody far worse. You'll just have to wait and see. ;)

Draco's ability to manage his anger will come and go, depending on just how bad the circumstances are. Flint pushes him a little too far and Draco snaps, but basic self-preservation reels him back in fairly quickly. You don't turn your back on Gamp, period. I'm kind of curious what you'll think of Gamp if you get around to reading Conspiracy of Blood because I don't know of anyone who's read the two stories in that order. He's a real piece of work.

I always find a little humor can add something to an otherwise "heavy" dramatic scene. It breaks up the mood a bit and highlights the serious parts. Besides, not everyone in the magical world can have the kind of cast-iron stomach that's immune to the Gringott's cart ride.

I really, really enjoyed writing the interaction between Astoria and Narcissa. Narcissa has a habit of stealing scenes in my stories, and I'm afraid she did it again here. There's something really tragic about her character, yet very strong at the same time. She's fascinating.

Hang onto that thought about Astoria's non-emotional feelings for Draco. Soon...

Your reviews are always lots of fun to read and respond to! Thanks!


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Review #46, by jazzercise Confessions

9th June 2014:
Hi! Wow, ummm I am pretty much in love with this story. I never, and I do mean never, read stories that take place after the war. I also hate stories about Draco in the war, because I love his character so much, but I decided to take a chance on this and I'm so glad I did.

Your portrayal of him, and all characters honestly, is very realistic. I'm also grateful this isn't a Dramione fic too, I'm sorry but I loathe that ship! I'm also very intrigued by your version of Astoria Greengrass; I never thought of her as this sweet, naive young girl who really just wants to believe the best of people, but it really suits her, now that I think of it. She's exactly the kind of person Draco needs in his life.

Okay, I'm going to continue reading your lovely story now!

Author's Response: Hi, there!

Thanks so much for all of the kind words. I tried really, really hard to stick to Draco's characterization from the books throughout this story. I'm sure I strayed here and there, but it's nice to hear that the portrayal worked well for you.

I don't think I could ever write a Dramione story. I have yet to find an underlying rationale for that pairing that doesn't sound absurd to me. As far as Astoria, I think of her as being the sort of person that Draco desperately needed to untangle his head after everything he survived during the war. None of the Slytherin girls in his own year were ever portrayed as the sort of person who could fill that role in his life.

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


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Review #47, by UnluckyStar57 A Break with the Past

7th June 2014:
Hello! I thought that summer would be less busy, but I guess I was wrong! :)

Wow, so I'm nearing the end of this story and things are still heating up (literally!!). I have a feeling that while this is the most direct confrontation that Draco has had with his old schoolmates (up to this point), the worst is yet to come!

I thought it was awesome how the Malfoys presented a united front against Gamp and his toadies. Of course, Lucius thought he was somewhere else, but he fought ridiculously well. After all, nobody messes with ickle Draco and lives to tell the tale! :D

I love how Goyle retains his utter stupidity throughout the years. He's obviously a few players short of a Quidditch team, and his confusion about Draco's sarcasm is quite amusing. :)

The battle scene... I think you played it out as descriptively as is possible to write something like that. After all, this scene was probably happening in your head as you wrote it, and it is so, so difficult to convey what you're seeing to other people. However, as the Malfoys exchanged hexes with the bad guys, I definitely saw it all! You did a brilliant job of making sure that everything you saw in your head was shown in the narrative. :)

Narcissa, to me, is almost equal parts heroic and stoic. She's so icy and aristocratic that it's easy to imagine her casting spells in a very upright and proper manner--except, of course, that her spells are anything but upright and proper. She is a character who manages to keep up her aristo facade while in times of crisis, as evidenced by the releasing of the Fiendfyre. She controlling the raging beast as if it were a reluctantly trained kitten. Go Narcissa! The joke about Bellatrix and burning down the island was too funny, because it's true! It makes sense that the icy Black sister should be the one to control the fire. ^_^

Lol, Daphne. I almost feel sorry for her for believing that she even HAD a good marriage to begin with. Jeremy Gamp is a sleazeball, and if it takes him refilling his bourbon in the midst of private moments for her to realize it, then so be it. Maybe she'll see sense later on...

Uh oh, now the fight will be transferred over to Astoria's house... Dun, dun, duuun.

~UnluckyStar57

Author's Response: Hello, again! Nice to see you back! I always imagine that summers are going to be less hectic than the winter, but it never seems to work out for me, either.

You definitely don't have far to go now. There are definitely more bad things to come. Save half a thought for the "new friend" Gamp keeps talking about, now that you know it's not Lucius.

I thoroughly enjoyed writing Lucius as this befuddled yet powerful wizard who can still hold his own even if he's not sure who he's fighting against. A bit of comic relief always spices up a good battle.

I had a pretty good idea in my head of how the fight was playing out. I didn't draw a map for this one like I did for the big battle in the Great Hall in Conspiracy of Blood, but I definitely had a mental image of the great room of Malfoy Manor and where each combatant was positioned. Seems like you were able to follow along, which is awesome to hear.

Isn't Narcissa awesome? She has a terrible habit of stealing scenes in my story and I think this chapter was no exception. She is cold as ice to anyone who isn't part of her family, and her demeanor alone was enough to keep Flint at bay until Gamp showed up. I fell in love with the idea of the "Black Family Heirloom" that she unleashes, even though it is a bit deus ex machina. I imagine one of her powerful ancestors like Phineas Nigellus enchanting the thing and figuring out spells to make the Fiendfyre behave for whoever inherits it.

Yeah, Daphne isn't having a very good start to her happily ever after. I felt a little bad about using the idea of Gamp pausing to refill his drink. It's kind of cheesy and pretty cliche, but it really amused me. Believe me, she'll see sense *very* soon.

Bad things are coming to the Greengrass Estate. Stay tuned.

Thanks so much for reading and reviewing!


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Review #48, by Veritaserum27 Old Habits

28th May 2014:
Hello!

Sorry - this has taken me longer than I expected to review the next chapter. However, I really like to take my time with your story and read through slowly. You're writing is so detailed, I don't one to miss one pained expression or flick of the eyes.

Back to the chapter at hand: props to you for an accurate depiction of an over-indulged bride and a disgruntled bridal party. My favorite line: Astoria was certain that she looked like a hippogriff wrapped in a peach chiffon tent.

I've been there and I can feel her pain. Ugh, peach chiffon. Nice touch with the absolute worst color and worst fabric choices.

The internal tug-of-war playing inside of Astoria weaves through the entire chapter. She is falling in love with Draco and yet, still feels an obligation to her family. She can't fathom the idea of an arranged marriage, but sees how it worked for her parents, whom she still respects.

Astoria is constantly keeping her seventeenth birthday in the forefront of her thoughts. It seems so close, but I have this eerie feeling that much will happen before she reaches it. You seem determined to put this couple through the wringer, and I just know it won't be so easy to bide their time.

Then we have a typical mother daughter interaction. Do I sense that there is something else bothering Mrs. Greengrass? She seems very determined to get Astoria married off fairly quickly.

The scene wraps up with Astoria acting the typical sixteen year old girl. A small temper tantrum and a bit of self-pity at the unfairness of the world thrust upon her. This little bit splashes a dose of reality to the story because, underneath the dramatic love story, they are two teenagers who just want to spend time together.

The chapter changes to a much darker tone when Draco is with Blaise. Inside I am screaming! No Draco, don't have a drink, you've worked so hard to get where you are! I must admit I am a bit worried that he is making excuses to have a few.

The change in Draco is evident here. He feels empowered since he stood up to Lucius. Perhaps this was needed in his journey. He must detox from his poisonous family.

Ooo. He must walk a dangerous line on this one. In order to save Astoria from Mr. Smelly Troll, he must pay a very high price - a trade that could end up costing him everything. If Astoria (or her family) catch wind of his new associations, it could mean the end of them. Love the drama and intrigue!

I can't leave without mentioning this wonderful, romantic quality that has grown steadily for the last few chapters. This story could have taken place a few hundred years earlier. Forbidden love. "Two households, both alike in dignity..." This air of their ever increasing affections for each other and love from afar is pulling me further into their story. They are risking everything they have been taught, and their family and friends - and they haven't even had a proper kiss yet!

This entire chapter carried the essence of a romantic novel from the 1800s. From the first scene with the baroque style bridesmaids dress to the letter written in secret and ending with the men plotting to take over the world, without getting their hands dirty, of course.

I thoroughly enjoyed this chapter and I can't wait to read on!

~Beth

Author's Response: Ugh. Talk about things taking longer than expected. Anyway...

I'm glad I connected well with the experience of a group of poor, put-upon bridesmaids. I've never been there myself, obviously. I have heard terrible things about peach chiffon, though. ;)

This was the first chapter in the story where I started to feel like I was finally capturing more of the teenager in Astoria and less of the precocious young adult. I think I'd be the first to admit that she was too grown up in the early chapters. In this one, I hope she seems more age appropriate. She is very focused on her upcoming birthday because it gives her a feeling of empowerment. What she'll make of it, well, you'll have to wait until she comes out the other side of the wringer to find out.

Learning to put his relationship with his father in the proper frame of reference is an important step for Draco, but he's struggling with it just like so many other things. For most of his life, his father was the only male role model in his world. That's been taken away from him, and though he's starting to come to terms with losing it, it's still hard for him.

Draco's "master plan" for escorting Astoria to Daphne's wedding has been set in motion. Like most things in this story, it isn't going to turn out exactly the way he's planning, however. Enough said about that. ;)

I suppose there is an element of Capulets and Montagues going on here, which is kind of ironic because the only Montagues in this story are Emery and his annoying family. I hadn't thought of the story that way, but I can definitely see it. Sometimes it's better to be lucky than good.

Purebloods do tend to live in the past to a certain extent, especially where their courtships are concerned. So I'm kind of pleased to hear you say that. :)

I'm really enjoying your thought and reactions as you move through the story! Thanks for reading and reviewing!


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Review #49, by mischiefalwaysmanaged Epilogue

27th May 2014:
I recntly read two novel fanfictions on this sight by a user with the penname "Padfoot4ever" called "Delicate" and "Still delicate". Was there perhaps a wee little reference to that in this last chapter? :}
Anyways, I really enjoyed reading "Detox"! I'll be checking you out in a minute to read anything else you might have written.

Author's Response: Hi, there!

There was definitely a wee, little tip of the hat to Delicate there. It's one of my favorite stories on this site.

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


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Review #50, by Veritaserum27 Relapse

22nd May 2014:
Hi Dan,

Well, this was a gut-wrencher - right up to the very end. I suspected from the title of the chapter that Draco would, at some point, succumb to the pressures and take a drink, but I actually thought that we would make it through without that happening.

So Isadore is getting on my nerves a little bit. She doesn't hide the fact that she isn't a Draco fan, but I didn't like that she immediately assumed that Astoria was acting improper with Draco. Perhaps she feels like she is losing her best friend a little or she is still harboring ill-will toward the Malofoys because of their involvement with the war.

I loved the scene in McGonagall's office. Astoria, while managing to be truthful with her father, still acted the Slytherin and twisted the situation around to try to convince him that her actions were similar to his during the war. That was great! The voice you gave McGonagall was spot-on! I could see her standing before them with the overly tight hair bun and stern look on her face. The only part of the whole chapter that seemed a tiny bit off was Snape. I can't quite put my finger on it, but he seemed a bit too philosophical from what I remember his character to be. Telling Astoria that other people's opinions don't matter if she believes Draco isn't evil seemed a little bit off from his character. But, maybe he doesn't have too much else to worry about now that he is dead...

Draco's emotions were so real and permeating in this chapter. They flowed through every paragraph. You could feel the hope within him as he cherishes Astoria's letter and dares to make plans for their future. It is short lived by the news his father gives him and Draco's mood turns to self-loathing and hopelessness consumes him.

I also really liked how Draco is angry at his father for being weak and ill. This is a common emotion, but it is often skirted or poorly constructed in fictional stories and I think you did a great job by describing Draco's reactions. When we first realize that our parents are indeed mortal, it is a tough pill to swallow. Even parents like Lucius, who was never a positive role model for Draco. Lucius, at minimum always acted confident, and the obvious physical degradation, combined with his mental demise is just too much for Draco. Instead of dealing with the issue, he chooses to be angry at Lucius.

I'm going to make a guess that Lucius is mad - like legitimately insane. The weight loss, the rhythmic movements and the delusions of meetings with people who aren't around point to a man on the brink. This makes him doubly dangerous.

So, Dan. Now that you've got me invested in this story, I'm a little upset at this chapter. Draco needs Astoria. They must find a way to see each other. She was right about one thing. If no one believes in him, then he most certainly will fail.

Thanks for making this story so much fun to read and review!

~Beth

Author's Response: Hi, Beth!

Like most recovering addicts -- and most people struggling with the aftermath of a traumatic experience -- I don't think the story would have been realistic without Draco having a few setbacks. There will be a fair bit of "three steps forward and two steps back" in this story.

If Isadore is only getting on your nerves a little bit, you're probably on the upper end of the bell curve for finding her likeable. Likeable isn't necessarily what I've been going for. I think of her as a good friend to Astoria in that they're different enough for Astoria to see how different ideas sound when they're coming from somebody with questionable judgment. ;)

Astoria is every bit the Slytherin. The story would be far too AU for my tastes if she wasn't. She has spent her life watching her mother carefully "manage" her father, so she has a pretty good idea how it works. That said, she came incredibly close to being sent off to Beauxbatons in this case, so she knows she has to tread very lightly. I'm really glad you liked McGonagall's voice. I had this mental image of her reactions and I think it came through pretty well. That's an interesting observation on Snape. You're definitely right that he was never the philosophical type while alive. I just needed somebody to offer Astoria somebody she would respect with an alternative point of view. Something to contrast with the idea that "proper pureblood daughters" always accept their fathers' opinions at face value. Hmmnnn...

I really enjoyed the chapters where the story ventures deep inside Draco's poor, twisted head. He has a lot of issues and at times he's really struggling to hold it all together. Sometimes he doesn't succeed.

Without giving too much away, I can't really comment on Lucius's condition. Azkaban and the war obviously took a major physical toll on the man. As to how much it affected him mentally... well, you'll just have to read on. ;)

You're absolutely correct that Draco needs Astoria in his life. She might actually need him a little more than you realize. This is a canon story, so it will all turn out alright in the end. The question is how difficult will things be between here and there?

Thanks so much for reading and reviewing!


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