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Reading Reviews for Detox, Chapter 1: Sobering Up
  
48 Reviews Found

Review #1, by Marshal 

8th April 2017:
So I think I have a growing love infatuation with Draco, particularly when it comes to his life after the war. There is so much that he had to go through and I love seeing the different takes of what happens to Draco after the war. Your take is interesting and very believable. Alcoholism as a for of escapism makes whole lot of sense and you depicted how horrible his life is at this point and how he is probably not doing well.

The imagery you have in this chapter is very vivid and I could see the images very clearly in my head, you did a very nice job painting the picture. I also like how you introduced the turning point for Draco and I like how he asks for the help he needs.

I think that this is a very interesting and good start to the story and I think it is a little sweet that he is wanting the change for Astoria. That is't the most common thing I think when it comes to people writing the story of Draco and Astoria. I think a lot of people imagine them together ad they are both of the same blood and while there may be love that there was a marriage of blood at the same time but you are putting some added levels to the relationship and I really like it. Great start. I may have to come back when my life calms down.

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Review #2, by adluvshp 

8th April 2017:
Wow, this was lovely. I am so so excited to read the rest of the story already because I love Draco and I love a remorseful Draco even more, and post-war stories give me all the feels. I think you have written him very well here, in-character but at the same time he is a changed man. I love the impact that the brief meeting with Astoria had on his life and how he is ready to change his ways and I'm excited to see which course he sets upon now. Astoria also seems very sweet and kind and at the same time has her tinge of Slytherin - love the little details like her devilish smiles or "finders keep". Her care and friendship is exactly what Draco needs. I wonder if both of them will return to hogwarts. I also felt that the beginning section of the story was brilliantly written, you used amazing imagery and the way you describe his state of drunkenness is spot on. It made me feel a little dazed myself hehe. The snippets of backstory we got here were also very good, like the sad morning routine he has had since the war, and how he knows his parents' as well. And the dirty looks he gets from people around and how he is a reminder of the war makes sense too. I feel bad for him already and I hope things get better. All in all, brilliant chapter to get things started and set your plot moving and keep me connected with the characters! I already ship Draco/Astoria now xD

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Review #3, by dirtydeedsdonedirtcheap 

21st February 2015:
The colors blended together into a drab kaleidoscope of confusion and nausea. He felt himself slide off of his stool and he struggled to locate a door. The door to the toilets would be ideal.

What are you doing to me? Barely a paragraph in and I can tell you I shamefully know this feeling. A door. More like the corner of the dance floor club or the hallway leading to the door of a bathroom.

Draco marveled at the proprietor’s cleverness as the first spray of vomit erupted from his mouth and splattered all over the bare, uneven wooden floor.

Uh. Why Dan, why. I’m glad I ate before reading this.

Listen to both of his parents drone on about doing something with his life while he choked down a cold, tasteless breakfast. Have a shouting match with his father on the way to the door about who was the bigger embarrassment to the family.

Wow, we’re going in that direction, eh? Interesting. Very interesting. We do know Draco struggled with the change in the Wizarding World after the war. Everything he knew was…well, wrong. I want to say a lie but that doesn’t sit right with me. I am convinced his relationship with his parents would have been strained once the war was over. He was pushed to do become an adult and join the Dark Lord and yes, that’s what he thought was right, but come on he had guidance from Lucius and Narcissa. Though they love him they’re not going to sit by and watch their son be a useless heap.

But he needs time.

He could feel the soft warmth of her skin, and found that he missed it as soon as she let go. She summoned his wand from the gutter and handed it back to him.

I love the interaction and the initial meeting. I don’t know I feel like the moment he feels that warmth it gives him hope and me as well. As if he can move on. Be someone. Do something. Be a productive member to society.

And I’m also jealous of your writing. I wish I could write so smoothly and man your descriptions are just always on point. You write a drunk really well, tell me, from personal experience or…I’m just messing with you. We’ve all had those nights.

That's why I have to change. I can't go through life alone or surrounded by people who tolerate me in spite of who I am. I don't want to live that way.

That letter was marvelous. Really, see I knew Astoria would bring him hope before he even thought it. Ah, Dan I may or may not be in your head. Maybe we’re on the same wavelength. Who knows.

I never considered the prejudice he would experience after the war. I guess I always jump to the positive. He and Astoria together, Scorpius on the way. Some struggles because life isn’t easy but I don’t consider right after the war. The broken man he would be. Yes, I considered it in Painful Bliss but I jumped right to the marriage part after the prologue.

Astoria is wonderful. I think she’s cheeky, smart, funny and someone I need to know more about. She’s also very blunt asking Draco what happened to him as if that’s okay in an everyday conversation.

Author's Response: Hi, Deeds!

In broad terms, reviewers have fallen into one of two groups so far:

Group 1 - Gee, whiz, sounds like Draco had a little too much to drink there.

Group 2 - I read that paragraph and I nearly hurled. Why did you have to take me back to rock bottom? You inhuman monster! Why???

Yes, we're going in that direction. :D After the war, I imagine Draco had to come to terms with a lot of things. An awful lot of what his parents taught him to value and believe in turned out to be wrong. Their money and their family name and their blood purity didn't matter to Voldemort at all when push came to shove. They were just three more expendable servants. At the end of the day, they owed their lives to people that Draco had been taught to completely devalue. I'm definitely not saying that changed everything about him. One thing I tried hard to do was to preserve a lot of Draco's flaws in this story. He's still prejudiced and arrogant and snotty and materialistic. I think he was just less of those things after the war as well as being very disenchanted (no pun intended) with his father's bluster and nonsense.

One thing I'll caution you about is that the version of Astoria you see in this chapter is completely from Draco's point of view. He's drunk and miserable and depressed and in that moment she becomes sort of a vision of perfection to him, a symbol of this happy life that he wants but he doesn't know how to get there. He sees her with a very soft focus. You'll have to take my word for it at this point, but she is a real character with flaws and weaknesses. You'll see them later on.

I was pretty pleased with how the letter turned out. He knows that he has a long way to go, but he's taken an important first step.

By the end of the story, Draco and Astoria will be within spitting distance of where they are in your prologue, albeit a little the worse for wear. I'm not really all that nice to them in this story. They have some moments, but overall it's a rough ride.

Thank you for all of the compliments and thank you for stopping by! I look forward to seeing what you think of the rest!


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Review #4, by Crumple-Horned Snorkack 

10th January 2015:
The Crumple-Horned Snorkack, mythical creature, does exist, but only when no one is looking. And so I have crept from my elusive hideout to review this story.

Poor Draco. That sounds like the worst day ever - what a dreadful situation he's in. I know it's only three months after the war and all these terrible things happening, but I felt badly for him being kicked out and having glass thrown at him. If it would help, I would recommend all my favourite kinds of mythical trees to eat in order to make him feel better, or my best suggestion: go into hiding in a thick forest. That's what I do.

The exchange with the money makes me wonder if Astoria is kind of poor but good at hiding it. I also liked the line when Draco asks about his change but it's more out of habit than anything, it's something Lucius does that Draco doesn't particularly like. That alone says a lot about him. Habits are hard to break. I know this because it's a habit of mine to let the Lovegoods glimpse me when they go searching for Snorkacks, but then I never stick around for them to be able to prove it.

The last section of this was just wonderful, how Draco really wants to change, not just because he met a girl but because he wants to be a better person whom people can respect. I love that he goes to Narcissa for help. (And I was a little amused that he wrote it out in a letter, but it did seem in character for him. Only Malfoy...)

This was truly a wonderful start to your story and I love it. And now I must return to my hidden habitat of mysticism, for I am late for tea with Bigfoot.

Author's Response: I don't know, seems like you exist to me. How else are you operating the keyboard?

In this chapter, we see Draco fairly near rock-bottom. He's depressed and miserable. He doesn't have friends any more, only drinking buddies. Society spits in his general direction and he only stayed out of prison by virtue of his mother's bravery and his father's gold. That said, every story has to start somewhere and this seemed like a good way to set the stage for what's coming.

I never thought of it that way, but Astoria is not poor. She's shrewd. Her father has taught her the value of a Galleon.

Draco is very disillusioned with everything he learned from his father at this point in his life. So much of it turned out to be either overdone or outright baloney. You'll see some very tense reactions between the two of them as the story goes on. Habits are hard to break. I'm not sure whether you're being kind or cruel to the Lovegoods. Maybe both...

There's nobody else in the world he would go to for help aside from his mother. There's nobody else who would probably even try to help him. As far as writing the letter, I think that made things more concrete for Draco. It's easier to change your mind while speaking to somebody who's skeptical of your commitment.

I'm really pleased you enjoyed it! Say hi to Nessie for me.


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Review #5, by mymischiefmanaged 

16th September 2014:
I love this. I loved Tales of the Death Eaters but I think I might have loved this one even more.

This line - 'In his present condition, he had no business operating something as complicated and decollate as his own body' - was just incredible.

I'm really impressed by how you write Draco's drunkenness. Being drunk is usually used either as a comedy tool, or in association with violence. What you've done with it feels original but is still very true to real life. It's kind of pathetic seeing Draco this way, but I think that was your intention.

I really liked the discussion of time. When Draco thought about the clock, and how the last time he looked at it it said 1.30, I assumed he meant 1.30 in the morning. And then he comes outside and it's the middle of the afternoon. It's a wonderful detail that really contributes to the overall image of him being totally lost to alcohol.

This idea of prejudice against death eaters is an interesting one, with the barman telling Draco they don't serve his kind. It's distressingly believable, and it's easy to see why lots of people would support it, but prejudice of any kind isn't a good thing, and seeing it through Draco's eyes creates a haunting image (especially because we know it's still daytime).

I'm glad you introduced Astoria in chapter one. I wasn't sure you would, but it's nice to see the beginnings of change in Draco's life rather than purely seeing him at his worst. I really like Astoria. She's kind but in a refreshingly straightforward and honest way, and it's easy to see how she'd be good for Draco.

The letter to Narcissa was beautifully written. You fit a lot of emotion into it while still keeping Draco's voice in line with canon, and I really like how it's Astoria that inspired him to write it.

Overall, this is a really brilliant first chapter, although I'm intrigued by how Lucius avoided going to prison. I would have thought he should have been arrested for his crimes, especially because he didn't do anything to redeem himself like Draco and Narcissa did. Maybe you explain this later on.

I loved reading this and am looking forward to seeing where you take it. It's really great to see an interesting exploration of Draco that's still in line with canon, and I've not come across one in this time period before.

Looking forward to chapter two!

Emma xx

Author's Response: Hi, Emma!

I remember spending a fair bit of time tweaking that first section to try to get the tone right. I didn't want Draco's drunkenness to seem like slapstick comedy, but at the same time there were parts of it that couldn't help being amusing because it's so pathetic. The mighty have fallen quite far, and I think he would have found 1:30 AM less surprising than 1:30 PM.

A strong backlash against anyone associated with the Death Eaters would have been completely understandable. They terrorized the magical world with impunity for over a year. I'm sure most people wouldn't have bothered to split hairs between the Dark Lord's more genteel followers like the Malfoys and the raving, homicidal lunatics like Greyback and the Lestranges.

The way Astoria is portrayed in this chapter has always seemed like one of the weaker aspects of the story to me, so I'm glad you like her. She is straightforward and honest, but sometimes I feel like she's too perfect. You'll see more of her flaws later on.

Very few reviewers have commented on the letter to Narcissa, so I'm glad it stood out for you. It's the culmination of a major turning point for Draco.

In my mind, Lucius managed to escape prison because of the things Narcissa and Draco did to help Harry defeat Voldemort. Plus he'd already done time in Azkaban and he didn't really fight in the final battle. Between that and his money, he managed to wriggle out of another stint in prison.

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


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Review #6, by wenlock 

22nd August 2014:
This is very interesting. So many people brush over Draco's recovery/change. I like the angle you're taking with this story.

Author's Response: Hi! I've read a few of those stories and I thought that they were missing a really important part of what I assumed happened with the character after the war. I wanted to try to show him in a more balanced and realistic way. Thanks for reading and reviewing!

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Review #7, by Roisin 

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 #8, by Veritaserum27 

22nd April 2014:
Hi Dan,

Review Tag!

Well I finally drummed up the courage to read and review one of your stories. I'm a relatively new member and I felt a little intimidated.

This was absolutely fantastic. Writing the dark characters is usually done in two versions - completely going against their canon qualities or amplifying them to the extreme. You've created a superb balance of making Draco both believable and sympathetic. At the same time, you've weaved elements of a possible love interest. I've always wanted to know how Draco and Astoria got together!

As far as Astoria goes, we don't know much about her personality from the books, but I love that you've made her down to earth and unflappable. (Possibly just what Draco needs right now?) I also love the little touches - like where it seemed she was reading his mind about the three D's of apparation and added the fourth D.

I only have one (very small) suggestion. The following line:

"For reasons that Draco couldn't begin to comprehend, he needed her to understand. Because maybe if she can understand then so can I."

The rest of the story is written in the third person and if Draco is speaking to himself, it might read easier if that last part were either in italics or single 'quotes.' Totally not a big deal, but it caught my attention - probably because the rest of the piece is so flawless.

Thanks for sharing your gift with the rest of the world. You really have a great talent!

Beth (Veritaserum27)

Author's Response: Hi, there!

Apologies, it has taken an embarrassingly long time to respond to this.

Aww, you shouldn't feel intimidated. I would say that you're actually quite good at this.

I'm really glad you thought Draco was balanced, because that was the big thing that I was going for all throughout this story. I agree with you: most stories either white-wash Draco into this misunderstood guy who never had a chance because of his father or they try to turn him into some sort of arch villain. The Draco I remember from the books was neither. He was an arrogant, mean, spoiled rich kid who suddenly found himself thrust into a world that was much more "real" than he was ready for. I think he had to grow up almost overnight after his father was sent to Azkaban. But I wanted to be sure to preserve some of that arrogance and prejudice because I can't imagine that they ever completely went away.

I always worry that Astoria comes off as too perfect in this chapter. You'll see some of her flaws later on, but here we're seeing her through Draco's inebriated eyes, so it's all in sort of a soft focus.

A lot of people have commented on that line. I think I should at least italicize the last sentence so it's clear that you're "hearing" Draco's inner thoughts.

Thank you so much for all of the kind words, and thanks for reading and reviewing!


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Review #9, by shez 

17th February 2014:
THIS CHAPTER. OH MY.

First, I'd like to commend you for writing such nitty-gritty narrative. Too often I read overtly flowery fanfic that romanticizes Draco or the dark post-war occurrings but THIS--wow. I read this twice and both stunned by and envious of your talent for such vivid visceral description. This isn't fanfic--this could be a novel, and in fact, is already better than most.

Now clearly you're doing a how Draco-met-Astoria story, but I've seen it done like this. I've never seen Draco quite like this either, how you've managed to incorporate all the facets of him into one drunken encounter. He's angsty and tormented and has a relative case of PTSD, but he's still the same Draco we from the books. The instance when the bartender kicks him out saying 'we don't serve your kind here' really demonstrates how the Wizarding world has evolved since the war, where prior, it was discrimination against mudbloods. Tides have shifted and Draco now stands on the losing end. And it sucks big time.

This line--They were a bunch of bloody fools, but still the closest thing to friends he had left in the world.-- Personally I've always seen Draco as a wary perpetrator, a coward, not quite having the guts to exercise his own resolve. Whereas his so-called-friends are still disillusioned , he atleast is able to acknowledge he was in the wrong. He's still arrogant, characteristically so, and parrots his father (I loved that line by the way).

I'm not entirely sure how I feel about Astoria yet--the fact she shows up out of nowhere is a bit deux-ex-machima. I'm not entirely sure why she wants to help him either (aside from, I guess, just being a good person). We don't know much about her, but I can understand Draco's initial fascination with her. I would think he'd feel the same for anyone that stepped up and helped him out, The tidbits of her personality--definitely pureblood ('finders fee' haha).

This is probably the best post-war Draco fic I've ever read. No. This IS the best.

*furtively slips into favorites*

Author's Response: Hi, there!

Nitty-gritty is a specialty of mine, or so I'm told. I just tried hard to think about which details Draco would be most likely to pick up on at the various levels of sobriety that we see him at in this chapter. I'm really glad that it was vivid for you.

I tried to put Draco in the frame of mind that I thought he would have been in following the end of the war. "His side" lost the war. His family is disgraced and I'd assume that they barely avoided Azkaban. An awful lot of what he was taught to believe about blood purity and the justness of the Death Eaters' cause turned out to be total garbage. Voldemort only cared about his own power and immortality; the Malfoys were nothing but an expendable tool. So I think it makes total sense that he would have been depressed and very disillusioned. The PTSD also seems like a perfectly natural outcome of having witnesses such horrors.

I think Draco did a lot of growing up between the end of OotP and the end of the war. He learned that there are some things you can't buy with money and that his father was far out of his depth in the company of true killers like his aunt. His friends didn't see the things that Draco saw, at least not firsthand.

Astoria is definitely "too good to be true" in this chapter. I'd only ask you to remember that you're seeing her through Draco's hazy eyes. Her flaws will emerge later on...

Those are very kind things to say and I really appreciate them. Thanks for reading and reviewing!


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Review #10, by Infinityx 

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 #11, by marinahill 

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 #12, by nott theodore 

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 #13, by Rumpelstiltskin 

13th December 2013:
I'm here from review tag.

I've recently been reading post-war (second war) stories and I have found that I quite enjoy them. This is the first post-war story that I have read that focuses on Draco Malfoy.

What a horrible (and extremely interesting to read) path Draco has taken. It's intriguing to see him in this light, drunk and pathetic. I think that's what is making this so appealing to me.

Ah, this is also the story of Draco and Astoria...another first of mine. I've been straying away from them because I couldn't figure out who the hey Astoria was. I know who she is now, but I realize that I could have just read the first chapter of this and figured it out much sooner.

This sounds like it is the beginning of something wonderful. This was extremely enjoyable and a terrific hook. I'm left wondering what direction you are going to take this.

That being said, I'll be back soon to read the next chapter!

-Rumpel

Author's Response: Hi, there. Thanks for stopping by!

I really love post-war stories. They're my favorite to read and write. I had the inspiration to focus on Draco after having a much older version of him as a supporting character in Conspiracy of Blood.

Draco isn't doing well at all at this point in the story. He has a raging substance abuse problem and he's suffering from depression and PTSD.

Astoria sort of comes along out of nowhere and helps him pick himself up out of the gutter. He's in such a bad way that she seems sort of like an angel to him, which sort of adds to his infatuation. It isn't exactly "deep" at this point in the story, but it does motivate him to want to change.

I really hope you're able to read more. The first chapter is mostly just a hook to set up the story, and I think -- hope, anyway -- that it all gets a lot better fleshed out in later chapters.

Thanks for reading and reviewing!


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Review #14, by SilentConfession 

11th December 2013:
Hey from the review tag :)

This is really interesting. I've been meaning to read this story for a while now and I thought this was the perfect opportunity to just start it. I'm really glad I did. You write Draco really well and I love how you've portrayed his anger and bitterness. I have always felt very little towards Draco other than annoyance. I felt a twinge of sympathy here. I've always thought his position was a bit precarious in the war, but his cruelty didn't make me feel much when we found out more about how he and his family were in just as much danger on that side as they would have been on the other side. It didn't make me feel too sorry for him in the books though because there was a subtle feeling of you sort of deserve it dude for getting mixed into that. I suppose i did feel bad for him not being stronger. Anyway, I felt like you've made me feel a little more sympathy for the bloke and yet were still able to get Draco's anger across in the chapter. I felt bad because even though he deserves to an extent, he doesn't deserve the prejudice or being humiliated and it made me feel sad that the 'good' side was doing the same thing that they were fighting for.

I love post Hogwarts stories as well and the feeling of having to rebuild life. I like how Draco has made that choice and that we were shown how far he'd fallen and only in the midst of hitting rock bottom he was able to see that he needed a way (with the help, obviously of Astoria). I also like that you're showing the trickiness of life after war. How there was so much to deal with and there were still remnants of the war thick on people's minds (or even the boarded up shop). It just shows that things weren't perfect and lovely once Voldemort was gone.

Again, your portrayal of Draco is great. He's not someone I've ever dared ventured into because he's tricky, but I thought you've done a good job so far. I liked how you showed that even in his intoxicated state he was thinking of how to be a 'proper pureblood' with exchanging pleasantries or how he was defouling his family name. It really helped make him seem like his canon character. I also like the conflict within him and the toil he will have to go through after this.

Overall, this is a great start, really glad i was able to read it!

Author's Response: Hi, there!

Wow. I didn't realize Detox had a reputation. I'm glad that the first chapter lived up to it. I felt like Draco would have been very angry and bitter after the war. It seemed like he pretty much became Voldemort's whipping boy after Lucius failed to get the prophecy. He was given an impossible and deadly task as a punishment and it was only the fact that Snape was a turncoat that kept him alive. Then he spends a year just doing what he has to in order to stay alive, but he ends up on the losing side of the war. I think I'd be bitter, too. I'm definitely not saying that he didn't deserve a lot of what happened to him, but probably not all of it, either. One thing I've tried very hard to do is to preserve some of the nasty, prejudiced, arrogant parts of his personality. I can't imagine that those ever went away entirely.

If there's one thing that puts me off of a post-Hogwarts story right away, it's the idea that the sun came out the minute Voldemort died and everything was suddenly flowers and puppy dogs and happy group hugs. Too many people died and too much was destroyed for that to have been possible. Draco hits rock bottom at the same time that the magical world is struggling to repair the damage and move on from the events of the war.

I'm really pleased that you like the way I write Draco. He is a very tricky character to get right. One of the things I loved most about Half Blood Prince was the way that JKR took Draco and Narcissa -- two essentially disposable characters in the first 5 books -- and turned them into very complex, interesting characters with a lot of contrasts and conflicts. You'll definitely see some of her in this story, too.

I'm really glad that you were able to read it. I hope you find the chance to read more. Thanks for the awesome review!


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Review #15, by TheHeirOfSlytherin 

4th December 2013:
Dan, Dan, Dan!

That seemed like a good idea at the time.

Anyway, I'm finally here to read and review this, because everything is a good idea at 2 in the morning. As seen above. :P

I have many Post-Hogwarts ideas going on in my head, just wanting to be written, and in a lot of them I have felt some sympathy for Draco and his situation (while also believing he deserves to lie in the mess of a bed he's made). And I still believe that, but this is probably the first time I have felt more sympathetic than anything. I can see his life going like this and it makes me sad and it makes me want to shake him and tell him to fix things because he has a second chance by not going to jail. He shouldn't be getting drunk. Or humiliated, like crawling out of a pub with his legs locked. That's just mean. You've made me sympathetic toward him, Dan, and I like it. It sheds light on his situation in a realistic way; disgraced but with the ability to change.

And then Astoria comes! I can definitely see her as the quiet sister, or at least shadowed by Daphne. But I love her and I love that she's given Draco the want to change, even if it was unknowingly. I see good things happening, at least between Draco and Astoria... eventually... once her father's stopped interfering. (Also, Horatio is such a cool name!) As for the rest of the world, I imagine good things won't be happening for a while. That's okay, I can wait.

I'm glad he came to the realization and began his path to change straight away, rather than waiting - we can't have Draco chicken in out now, can we? We'd have to shake him. *nods*

I can't wait to read more! Also, Annie's Song came on while I was reading and I'm starting to think it's a Draco/Astoria type of song. Do you agree? Feel free to not. I bet you've missed my rambley, awesome reviews. It's alright, you can tell me. :P

I'll be back!

Sam.

Author's Response: Hello, Sam! I'm responding to all of my unanswered reviews tonight and yours is the last one. Yay, me!

I agree: everything is a good idea at 2:00 AM. Even the bad ideas.

I love, love, LOVE post-Hogwarts stories. There's nothing I enjoy more than finding out what an author thinks about the things that happened between the last chapter proper of Deathly Hallows and the epilogue. I would take great joy in finding out what sort of unfortunate events befall poor Draco in **your mind**. In **my mind**, Draco is pretty much a wreck after the war ends. He's suffering from PTSD and depression after two years of essentially being the Dark Lord's personal whipping boy. The Malfoys always seemed to be out of their depth compared to bloodthirsty killers like the Lestranges. I believe that Draco paid a huge price to survive in that sort of environment.

I agree that Astoria was probably the quiet one, overshadowed by her more outgoing older sister. I think of her as being rather bookish, but not exactly mousy. She has a strong sense of right and wrong and she's not afraid to stand up for it. But, she's also been raised to be a pureblood princess, and she still harbors some of those ideals and prejudices. She's not perfect. Much more on her in later chapters.

He has taken the first, tentative step toward changing his ways, but the road ahead will not be easy. He won't exactly chicken out, but expect some setbacks. Be ready to administer that shaking. ;)

Interesting song choice. I definitely don't think of Draco as a John Denver kind of guy, but I have such a hard time getting past Rocky Mountain High and Country Roads. And Thank God I'm a Country Boy??? That song is about as anti-Draco as you can get. :p I think my "out there" choice for a musical pairing for Draco and Astoria would be Closer by Nine Inch Nails. I think Astoria can be a *very* bad girl when she wants to be. But that obviously doesn't come up in this story.

I'm really glad you found this one. Hope you enjoy it! Thanks for reading and reviewing!


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Review #16, by UnluckyStar57 

4th December 2013:
Hello! It's nice to review one of your novel-length stories! :)

There really isn't enough post-war fanfiction, I think. At least, I haven't seen very much, and when I find it, it's usually about life being pretty grand (except that maybe the OC doesn't have a boyfriend, and she wants to fall in love with one of the war heroes). You know how it is.

So I am REALLY glad that this story shows a whole different perspective: the perspective of the loser. Draco Malfoy, I would like to believe, did NOT go back to Hogwarts in order to become Head Boy and fall in love with Hermione Granger. He was under a lot of pressure during the war, and war is a tricky thing--the side that falls is the side that civilians are prejudiced against. No one likes a loser.

When the scene opened, I thought that it had been a few years, that Draco was older and had been a drunken sot for a very long time. But that does not seem to be the case. It seems as though it's been half a year, maybe a little bit more, but still, the war is a rather recent thing. No wonder Draco feels that he has to bury himself in a bottle. You write drunk people quite wonderfully (not that I've ever been drunk--I'm kind of not old enough/I don't want to experience it). Your descriptions are MUCH different from the drunken scenes that I usually see (of course, in those scenes, it's usually some party in the Room of Requirement; festive bacchanalia rather than the miserable after-effects of war). I really appreciated all of the description that you put into it; I felt as though I could see Draco vomiting in the street! (Ugh...)

The Leaky Cauldron scene was really shocking. Again, I don't have much experience with post-war fics of this sort, and so when the bartender was especially cruel, I was slightly appalled. But it makes total sense. Everyone was afraid of the Malfoys before the war, and now that they've been defeated, the people feel that it's okay to kick a dog while it's down. You did a marvelous job of showing that shift in attitude during this scene.

Astoria... She doesn't seem TOO perfect, but some of the things that she does are a little out of place. For instance, why does she giggle and grin at Draco? I know that we're not really seeing her perspective, but it seems a bit strange. Draco probably stinks--he's just emptied the contents of his stomach out onto the street! The whole matter of Astoria seeming "too perfect" will just have to be resolved later, when we find out more about her personality. There isn't enough of that to tell what she's like in this chapter--after all, maybe she's just a person who is easily tickled by crazy drunk ex-Death Eaters? Whatever the case may be, she seems fine to me. She's very well-written,indeed!

The only thing that I really found out of place was this line: "Because maybe if she can understand then so can I." This seems like a PoV switch, which I'm not quite okay with. Perhaps it was meant to be in italics, as one of Draco's thoughts? Or maybe it was just an accident (happens to the best of us!) and you meant to say "Because maybe if she could understand, then so could he." Whatever the case may be, it's not a major deal. After all, one mistake in 4500+ words is hardly noticeable!

Thanks for asking me to review your story!! I really enjoyed this first chapter! :)

~UnluckyStar57

Author's Response: Hi, there! I'm so pleased that you enjoyed this.

I couldn't agree with you more, I'm a huge fan of post-war fics. I love discovering different perspectives on what happened between the ending proper of DH and the epilogue. I found it really interesting to try to imagine what would have befallen the "losing side" in the aftermath of Voldemort's death. I think some things are obvious, like most of the Death Eaters who managed to escape being hunted down, but there had to be a lot of consequences for the purebloods who were seen as sympathizers or outright collaborators. In spite of Harry taking up their cause, the Malfoys definitely would have been tried and convicted in the court of public opinion, I think.

This story begins in the fall of 1998, nearly 4 months after Voldemort's final defeat. Draco has been mired in depression since the battle and Astoria is visiting Diagon Alley with her father to shop for her school things. I tried hard not to glamorize my descriptions of drunk Draco in any way. He's not some James Dean rebel sipping whiskey from the bottle, he's suffering from PTSD and massive depression. Real alcoholics aren't charming Dudley Moore types. I thought it was really important to convey that.

The Leaky Cauldron scene was meant to essentially be "rock bottom" for Draco. He can't go any lower. He's drunk, depressed and he's been humiliated by a bar full of people he's considered unworthy of his scorn for nearly his entire life.

Yep, I do feel like Astoria is a little too perfect in this. Someday I'll go back and work on that. The only thing I can say in my defense is that you're seeing her from Draco's point of view, which definitely put a very soft focus on things. Blurry, even. I promise that she will be a lot less perfect in later chapters.

That line has given me fits! I love the idea so much, but I haven't ever been able to get the phrasing quite right. Maybe some italics...

Thank you so much for the lovely review! I will be back soon to re-request!

-Dan


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Review #17, by APerkins 

20th October 2013:
Hey, so I feel bad cause Im about to go start reviewing the conspiracy of blood when its something you probably never look at any more, and I dont know how useful it is to get reviews on something you've stopped working on. Dont worry, judging from the first two chapters they are mostly going to be fluffy squee reviews. Anyway, onto detox, which is (frankly) depressing and awful and makes me wanna go back and read about Old Harry being lonely and missing his wife.

And take that as a very big compliment! :)
Yet again you have managed to write realism into your novels. Experienced the drunken stupor you can exist in for days on end yourself have you?

If you haven't you have imagined it really really well!

You have the angsty depressiony awfulness of Dracos' situation down perfectly. And retained some of his Malfoy pride. In one of my other reviews for you I was impressed at the way you had conveyed deep emotion by using dialogue/action/plot. In this story you have more of the description in there, and you have wielded it well! It is perfect for this type of dark scene setting, introspective and hopeless.
I really like the way you have conveyed Draco.

I'm not 100% sold on Astoria at this point in time though. It is too trite, or perhaps to convenient to have her helping out, holding hands with and then giggling at Drunk Draco, unless you make very generous allowances for them knowing each other previously at school. Allowances having been made, she is actually a great "nice" character. I'd love to see a little more spice for someone with Draco than just a nice person, but this is chapter one, and I am looking forward to watching the way she develops.

I think using her has a springboard for bouncing Draco onto wanting to change is a really great idea. I am a sucker for conflict in a story, so setting the scene for issues with Astoria's family, issues with Lucius and the whole Romeo/Juliet star-crossed lovers theme just makes me happy.
Kriffin is a cute name. I like it.

Also, I haven't got me head around why, but Draco telling Kriffin to put the note on his mothers dresser, under the hair brush? I really really like the fact that you included those extra details.
It wasn't "give this to my mother". It wasnt "leave this in my mothers room".

I haven't read any further, so I don't know if there is any significance to the hairbrush, but for now I am going to assume there isn't. Because it is such a normal thing to do. If I were to get someone to leave something for my mother, I would specify exactly where to put it.
Your writing and your characters are so real.

Love it, and will continue (slowly). Im gunna head back to conspiracy though and you may just have to deal with a few reviews from the past!

Author's Response: Everywhere I turn in my Unanswered Reviews, 'APerkins', 'APerkins', 'APerkins'... This is a really awesome problem to have! I wouldn't trade it for anything.

First off, please, don't feel badly about anything you might or might not choose to review. I love them all. It is such a treat to get such awesome, thoughtful feedback. It's all too rare these days.

I have... a fair bit of experience that's relevant to various facets of this story. I'll leave it at that. ;)

I'm really happy that Draco's stark post-war reality seemed right to you. You figure that his family has lost nearly everything except for their money and each other. The light side -- with the possible exception of Harry -- views them as Death Eaters who got away with a litany of crimes. Their former peers view them as turncoats. I'm sure that Draco's old Slytherin buddies hang out with him because he has money and because they're so drunk and disaffected that they don't really care. It isn't because they like him.

Give Astoria a little time. One thing to keep in mind about her in this chapter is that you're seeing her only through Draco's hazy point of view. She appears to him in a very soft focus, almost like a vision of salvation. Don't worry, you'll see her flaws much more clearly as the story progresses.

Draco tells Kriffin to put the note on his mother's dressing table because he wants to be sure she'll see it but he isn't ready to deal with his father just yet. Draco doesn't trust the elf enough to think that he can slip the note to Narcissa without Lucius noticing. He really has no respect for elves at all, which is just part of me trying to preserve some of his bad traits to balance him out. The hairbrush itself isn't significant. This is one of those cases where Freud would say that sometimes a cigar is just a cigar.

Wow. I feel like I'm walking on air today. Thanks so much for sharing all of your thoughts and reactions and thanks for reading!


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Review #18, by 800 words of heaven 

11th October 2013:
REVIEW TAG!

I don't usually read stories like this, but I was in an adventurous mood, and your writing is always so excellent, that I thought I might give this a go. I love me a good Draco-gets-better story, so I couldn't resist!

I must say that I'm not even a little bit disappointed that I read this. I will forever be envious of your mad descriptive skillz. You manage to paint the scene and the characters without using unnecessary words, which is totally awesome. There seems to be some direction to this as well, and it's great that it's so evident in the first chapter.

I really enjoy your characterisation of Draco. Whilst it's not how I imagined him after the War, it's still very believable and rings true of what we know about him. It's going to be a long and painful journey for him, and I'm glad that I can tag along for the ride!

Obviously, you don't need to be told how good a chapter this was. First chapters always give me grief, so I stand in awe of your superior first chapter skills. Looking forward to seeing what happens next!

Author's Response: Hi, there!

If you're after a "Draco gets better" story... well, this one gets there eventually. It takes a pretty long and winding path, though.

Aww, that's such a nice thing to say! One of the goals I had for myself with this story was to try to do more with descriptions and less with narrative and dialog. The first chapter pretty much sets the course for the rest of the story. This is about Draco and Astoria falling in love, and all of the things they deal with along the way.

I'm really pleased that you liked the way I wrote Draco. He seemed very sullen and withdrawn during Half-Blood Price and Deathly Hallows, so I tried to extend that into the very early part of his adulthood while preserving a bit of that snark and arrogance that define him throughout the first five books.

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


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Review #19, by MissesWeasley123 

28th September 2013:
Hi! I'm here from the RtPAY in the Common Room :D I couldn't resist snagging you, I've been looking for a reason to read more of your work!

Usually I'm not one for Draco/Astoria, but I've been venturing into their relationship lately so this one really did catch my eye.

Right of the bat, I loved the atmosphere you painted. Your descriptions are brilliant. I loved it.

Though Draco was drunk, I loved how you managed to keep his cheekyness and really made his character come out. This line of dialogue was brilliant:

"Drunks? This is a bar, right?"

That for me was just so Draco. It was literally perfect. I knew at that moment this chapter was going to be great!

Now, moving along to Astoria. You made her - likable! I really like her character! She seems strong but sweet also - I think she's everything Draco needs.

*is losing love for Dramione by the second*

But seriously, it's quite late over here and I should be going to bed.. but oh well, next chapter I think :D

I think, the best part was the "third D". That is so clever my mind was blown. *bows down repeatedly*
So, summing things up actually, this chapter is brilliant and magnificently written. Great job! I loved it and will definitely keep on reading!

-Nadia

Author's Response: Hi, there!

I never really thought much about Draco until he and Astoria sort of made their way into my heart when I was writing Conspiracy of Blood. I've really come to like the two of them together. They compliment one another nicely in my mind: Astoria's calm, deliberative and practical nature helping to temper Draco's proud, headstrong tendencies.

I'm glad you like Draco's snippy little remarks. I've always thought those were a major part of his character, as well. No matter what he took away from the war, I can't ever see him being a nice guy. It's just not in his nature. Keeping him true to character was really important to me.

I'm really pleased that you're losing the love for Dramione. There are some things that just shouldn't be loved. ;)

I'm really, really pleased that you enjoyed it! Thanks for the lovely review!


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Review #20, by bri_5_stars 

8th September 2013:
Wow,this is a brilliant start to a story. I'm always one for a good Draco story, and I've heard a lot of good stuff about this story. But I've got to say its about a trillion times better than expected, and I expected good. Siriusly, the writing is amazingly detailed like you expect in published books. You paint a great picture. I feel like this would be a very good interpretation of what life could be like for Draco after the war.

Author's Response: Glad you liked it. Thanks for the review.

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Review #21, by WeasleyTwins 

30th August 2013:
Hello Dan! I'm finally here! Yay for three-day weekends and no lesson preparation! Have I ever read anything of yours? I feel like I haven't and we somehow keep missing each other on the read/review spectrum!

You know, I'm very picky about my Draco stories. Very picky just because I feel like he's one of those characters that JKR does so well - she has this particular characterization in place and he is just so completely complex. I say this because I am in awe of your talent when it comes to Draco (among other things, but I'll get to those later). I believe you've hit him spot on and yet, extended his characterization. We would never see an intoxicated Draco in the series, but it is so canon. It seems exactly like something the post-Hogwarts Draco would do. He is much more than insulting, intolerant foil for Harry: he is conflicted individual much like Severus Snape. If you can understand all of that nonsense, I'm basically trying to say that I love your Draco. I will try not to fangirl over him, but you write him so well, I might turn into a ball of mush!

I admire your descriptions and dialogue as well. The chapter is description heavy, but not in the least dull. You are setting up the scene and novel(novel, right?) nicely. And you know, the length of the description here reflects Draco's characterization - he's from a pureblooded, formal family with certain traditions. The decision/writing style to create such wonderful description adds another layer to the character you've created. It gives us insight without steering into purple prose.

The encounter with Astoria is so perfect: it's officially my headcanon. I can't wait to find out more about her and how you characterize her. I'm so fascinated by her already. Now, I might be totally off the mark, but this is how I view her now: She's sympathetic not just because she's a pureblood, but because she sees that Draco needs sympathy and even pity during this time. Astoria seems like my idea of a twenty-first century pureblood - she sticks with the traditions simply because they're traditions, but not necessarily agree. I'm probably way off your characterization and this will sound stupid, but that's what vibes I'm getting! Furthermore, the way Astoria seems to somewhat sober Draco up is wonderful. You'd think he would be cold and unyielding, yet I believe he would gravitate to a woman akin to his mother - loving to him and sympathetic to his needs. I hope there are parallels between the two (so maybe I'm not completely off!).

I also enjoyed the reverse-racism we see here. I hope this theme continues to come up now and again. The wizards and witches almost don't realize that what the Death Eaters and Voldemort sympathizers did to them that they, in turn, are doing. It's so literary and intense - not something you see every day in fanfiction.

Well, anyway, after that ramble...I loved every aspect of this first chapter. No constructive criticisms from me in this chapter! It's impeccable. Okay, so every week I try to make my rounds and review at least one chapter in all of the stories I love (Jami's, Amanda's, Becky's, etc.) and I'm DEFINITELY adding you to my list of fanfictions to keep track of. You have great style and a great command of the English language! I will be back for more!

Shelby

Author's Response: Hi, there!

I agree that Draco ended up being a very complicated character in the books. He definitely didn't start out that way. For the first 5 books, he was more or less a punching bag for the Trio who occasionally punched back. But starting with the sixth book, JKR introduced a lot of subtlety to him. In very limited appearances, his character gave us a window into what it was like to be a very conflicted participant on the other side of the war. So like you, it frustrates me when people write him as either a one-dimensional villain or as a white-washed redemption story. I don't think of him as either.

I'm glad that all of the descriptions didn't make the chapter drag. There honestly wasn't much for him to say until he encounters Astoria, so it was the only way to go. This story has become a novel, somewhat to my surprise. I was thinking short story or novella when I started out. Funny how these things can get away from you.

I actually think you have a pretty good handle on where I'm heading with Astoria. She does tend to honor tradition, but it's more out of a sense of duty to her family than because she agrees with the letter of the rules. At times, she doesn't see the point. But she does obey her father because that's what proper pureblood young ladies do.

I tend to think that once the initial shock and grief from the war passed, there was a lot of anger directed at those who were identified with the Death Eater cause. In Draco's case, the anger isn't completely unjustified. There was definitely a time in his life where he idolized his father and wanted to be just like him. I'm sure there were also moments during the war -- whether out of immaturity or just plain fear -- where he flaunted the mark on his arm. The fact that his family changed sides at the end almost makes it worse in a way, because they're mistrusted and hated by both sides.

I'm really glad that you enjoyed it. I hope you get a chance to read more. Thanks for the review.


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Review #22, by Sharvi 

11th August 2013:
That was the most beautiful chapter I've read in a long time. Is it just me or do Draco and Astoria make for good writing? great work =)

Author's Response: Hi, there! I'm really glad that you enjoyed the opening chapter. I do think that Draco and Astoria are good subject matter. I like him a lot better with her than with Pansy or (ugh!) Hermione.

Thanks for reading and reviewing!


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Review #23, by Mary-Lee 

2nd August 2013:
This is awesome!!!
I always liked Draco/Hermione, but this might be good too!!

Author's Response: I'm glad you feel like giving it a chance.

Thanks for reading and reviewing!


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Review #24, by Debra20 

28th July 2013:
Hey Dan! First of all, I know I haven't yet finished COB, but answering the questions asked by someone of the forums about Draco and how his life after the war was, really got me in the mood to read something about him. And then Detox came to mind. Again, I have heard a lot of positive feedback about this story, especially since it features a character that can be easily mishandled these days.

I'd like to start by saying that even if the first chapters of COB are amazing, there is a definite improvement in your prose. I'm not exactly a literary critic, so I don't know if I'll be able to express what I felt and thought while reading this chapter properly, but this first chapter was a great kick off for Draco's redemption process.

The whole scene with him drinking his life away was very poignant. I think description is definitely the aspect you've grown most at. His struggle to exit the bar, the state of low existence he has reached was greatly enhanced by your mind blowing descriptive skills! It really made me pity him, because I never thought as ill of him as of his father. I mean, during school Draco was still a teen. That's not an excuse for his behaviour, of course, but in a way this happens in real life as well. Kids don't really measure the consequences of their acts, and if a life filled of bigotry is all he's known, you can't blame him for acting on the basis of the education he's received. Lucius on the other hand, was an adult, fully capable of measuring the consequences of what he did and he consciously chose to be what he was.

Astoria has already made me root for her. I can imagine there will be a lot of struggle before they will be able to be happy together, because Draco has a lot to atone for and changing people's views on you isn't always an easy thing to achieve. But if she stands by his side, I am sure it's possible. Can't wait to see how Draco's new-found determination will influence his further decisions!

Author's Response: Hi! Don't sweat the order or timing of reviews. I'm always just happy to hear from you! :hugs:

You have no idea how happy your first critique made me. I mean, **I** like to think that I'm improving, but to hear it from another person... Gah! Thank you! It's been ages since the start of CoB, and I've definitely learned some things since then.

Maybe part of the difference in descriptiveness with the first chapter of this story is that I've had a lot more experience stumbling out of bars than having out-of-body experiences in King's Cross Station. ;) He's definitely at or near rock bottom at the start of this. I'm glad that I'm not the only one who sees a big difference between Draco and Lucius. Lucius should have known better, especially after the first war. Moreover, he should have taught his son better. I don't see Draco as completely innocent, but he's undeniably a product of his environment.

Astoria is a bit white-washed in this first chapter because you're seeing her through Draco's eyes. To him, she's sort of an angel of mercy who's descended into his gutter of misery to show him the way out. One thing that I try to do later in the story is balance her character out, considering that whatever else she might be, she's also a 16-year-old girl who has a lot of growing up to do still.

I'm really glad that you enjoyed the first chapter! The story has been a lot more challenging to write than CoB. Thanks for reading and reviewing!


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Review #25, by Wasim 

22nd July 2013:
Oh my God. I'm so glad I found this story, absolutely brilliant ! I love your style of describing stuff .. I can already tell that this will be terrific

Author's Response: I'm really glad that you enjoyed it. Thanks for reading and reviewing!

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