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25 Reviews Found

Review #1, by dirtydeedsdonedirtcheap 

21st March 2015:
Dan! Hello there good sir, Iím finally back. Man with the review competition and the quick validation time it has taken me a century (yeah, Iím exaggerating) to come back to Detox. Where did I leave off? Hm, oh right! Here it is.

Instead of rushing to recover from their humiliating position, they simply laid there, snogging as though nobody could see them. Even though her motherís cries of mortification echoed through her mind, Astoria had to admit that she was a tiny bit jealous.

I knew right away why Ginny was rushing and there was a part of me that figured Astoria would be jealous. It would never be appropriate for her to act like that, you know, care free, at least in a public setting. Thatís kind of sad but I canít imagine Molly scolding Ginny for public displays of affection. Then again the Weasleyís are a warm loving family that goes against the status quo.

At the same time, she wasnít sure where this relationship was heading -- or whether they even had a relationship, for that matter -- so she didnít want to greet him too eagerly.

As a female I can relate to this immensely. The not knowing kills us. Is it or is it not a relationship? Is it or is it not a date? What makes it a date? If he looks at me a certain way, is it a date? Holy, Iím glad Iím not single but then again being in an actual relationship is just as hard.

The furious anger that had burned inside of him was extinguished in an instant, replaced by a hollow feeling somewhere between shock and horror. It dawned on him that he had probably just thrown it all away -- everything he had done to try to reclaim his life destroyed in a single burst of rage.

Iím already past this point in the story but everything has escalated so quickly. What drama. I disliked Ron so much in this chapter but I think thatís more because Iím rooting for Draco to change and make his life better.

When he called Hermione a Mudblood my heart dropped. It was just painful to see him revert back to an old insult, one that he didnít want to throw out but I think itísÖfamiliar to him. Especially considering Ron was attacking him for past things as well.

Kill Ďem both!Ē

Good heavens. This is what I mean by it escalated quickly. He turns a corner and bam, another fight. Others trying to hurt him. I mean you canít really blame them but Draco has just no luck. Or friends and Astoria is right he does need friends.

Bless her for trying to stick up for him and fight. I think she was smart enough to stay back to give him some space but then her reflexes kicked in and she wanted toÖI want to say save him but that mind sound a little extreme. I think sheís a little naÔve. Getting involved with Draco Malfoy, even if itís not romantically, is going to be a constant battle. She has to protect herself now too because of his past if she wants to be part of his present. It didnít surprise me that Draco said he didnít know her and was trying to protect her. Draco is many things and has many problems but he would never let it go if she got hurt because of him.

Author's Response: Hi, Deeds! I'm glad to see you back!

Seeing Ginny and Harry snogging with reckless abandon puts Astoria in an uncomfortable place mentally. She's caught between the propriety of her upbringing and the desire I think most young ladies feel at that age to be hopelessly swept away by true love's calling.

I spent a fair bit of time consulting with my Two X Chromosome Posse on a lot of the little aspects of Astoria's thought processes in this story. I'm glad to see it comes through here and there. As much as anything, this is a coming of age story for both Astoria and Draco. It isn't going to be an easy process for either of them and they're both struggling through that age where it starts to dawn on young people that maybe -- just maybe -- they don't have it all figured out.

Draco does a lot of "three steps forward and two steps back" in this story. He does change, but I didn't want him to change too quickly or too drastically. He is the end product of a lifetime of social and emotional conditioning that ran headfirst into a harsh dose of reality called Voldemort. That's gonna leave a lad a bit messed up in the head.

There's actually a reason why the old witch and the two wizards wanted to kill Draco. You'll find out in the next chapter, but suffice it to say that nobody was completely free of guilt in that confrontation. As far as jumping headlong into the fight, Astoria is more than just a little naive. She's led such a sheltered life that she can't even get her head around the idea of being in mortal danger... yet.

I'm glad you're enjoying the show. Til next time!


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Review #2, by mymischiefmanaged 

2nd January 2015:
Hi Dan! Here for our swap. I know this story has a lot of reviews already so I hope it's okay I chose to review this one, I'm just enjoying it so much I was hesitant to go for something else instead.

The glimpse of Harry and Ginny at the beginning was lovely, and I like how you used it to highlight the differences between their upbringing and Astoria's. Her jealousy and recognition that it would seem improper for her to behave in that way gives an interesting contrast to what we usually see of wizarding society through Harry's eyes, and it was a clever way to show a bit of Harry's life without detracting from Draco and Astoria's story.

Ron comes across very badly. I was going to review saying that it almost seems out of character, but then I thought back to some of the things Malfoy's said about Ron in the past and it makes sense that he'd respond in this way. I'm glad Hermione came to his defence, though. It fits in with her general character, trying to look at things pragmatically rather than letting her emotions make her act rashly. It's very good canon writing of your characters. I'm impressed.

And then Malfoy blows it by calling her a mudblood. Aghh I was so disappointed in him but I'm glad you did it. It keeps him in character, and I think even the war wouldn't change a person that quickly. He has a lifetime of ingrained prejudice to overcome.

I like Astoria coming to Malfoy's defence even though she doesn't have the magical ability to really help. We're seeing her coming to terms with what's going on, and making her own decisions about who to trust, and I think this scene demonstrates that brilliantly. She's got a strong sense of right and wrong. And you keep them realistic. When it comes to it, neither of them are powerful enough to fight back properly, which makes sense because they are still just teenagers, but Malfoy's apparating Astoria away shows that he's starting to care which is sweet.

Lovely lovely chapter, Dan. Thanks for the swap!

Emma xx

Author's Response: Hi, Emma! I kind of enjoy watching a reader make their way through a longer story, so please feel free to keep going with this one if we're able to swap again.

I loved being able to work that small Harry/Ginny moment into the story. It does give Astoria something to think about. Just because the proper purebloods don't publicly show passion doesn't mean that they don't want to feel it privately.

Ron does come off like a jerk in this chapter. I don't think it was really avoidable because we're seeing him through Draco's eyes. There's so much history between those two that any confrontation is bound to end badly, especially now that Ron is full of newfound confidence. Hermione tries her best to deescalate the situation, but Draco's emotions are too far gone by that point. He makes a poor choice, immediately regrets it, then regrets it a whole lot more when Hermione blasts him off of his feet. I'm glad you felt like that was consistent with his character.

Astoria comes to Draco's defense with all the best of intentions, but she quickly finds herself in over her head. They work very well together, though. And you're right, neither of them was powerful enough to win a duel with the threesome that attacked Draco.

I'm really glad you enjoyed it! Until next time...


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Review #3, by nott theodore 

22nd November 2014:
Hi, Dan!

It's been so long since I read any of this story but I hope you don't mind me choosing the next chapter of this for our swap, because I've been wanting to find out what happened next to Draco and Astoria!

This was a really great chapter! I liked the way that you opened it, almost abstractly, as Astoria watched a scene that she wasn't a part of, and wasn't anywhere near being a part of something like that. It was really interesting to see Harry and Ginny behaving like that, just so happy to be together - I suspect that a lot of that is because of the fact that they were under so much stress the first time, now they feel like they can just be free. I liked the way that Astoria felt a little jealous when she watched the scene, too, as if that was something that she was hoping to have some day. It was a big contrast to see Harry and Ginny and then Astoria, going to meet Draco, not really knowing what the two of them were to each other, or if there even was anything between them. I thought that was really effective.

The descriptions, again, were really lovely in this chapter. I could see such clear images of the different characters in my mind, and in that opening scene the snow covering Hogsmeade just felt so like a scene that I imagine from the books, or could see in the films, and that was lovely.

Of course, things had to go wrong. Nothing could just be as simple as the two of them meeting in a public place on a day when everyone else is doing the same.

Ron was such an idiot here, I wanted to shout at him. It's definitely not out of character for him to decide to make trouble for Malfoy, just because he can - I get the feeling that at this point, Ron would probably feel quite indestructible, and the temptation of going after Draco and getting one up on the boy that had bullied him and his friends throughout school was too much for him. Not that that makes it right or acceptable, of course. But it's in character that Ron would try and pick a fight and use his status to get away with it.

I was proud of Draco though, for trying to turn away and avoid the fight and the confrontation. That shows a lot more maturity than he started this story with, and there's already been character development here, which is great, only four chapters in. I do feel like he tried his best to avoid the confrontation though, and didn't want to make a scene. But I can't exactly blame him for having retaliated when Ron started beating him up, because nobody would just take that if they had another option.

The descriptions of the crowd gathered around Draco and Ron, just watching and not doing anything except trying to help Ron along, were really horrible. (The fact that it was happening, not the descriptions themselves!) I can imagine that after the war there'd still be a lot of tension, a lot of people at Hogwarts who resented the fact that former Death Eaters had been let back into school with them and people who'd lost loved ones in the war. I think you capture the sort of tension there very well.

The scene when Hermione came to Draco's rescue reminded me a little of the James/Snape/Lily scene that happened in their fifth year, which we see in the books. I'm not sure if that was your way of ending any hope people might have for a Dramione from this story, but I appreciated it :P I can imagine Hermione trying to help when she sees that Ron's being an idiot - and that she'd make sure Ron knew about it too - but after all she went through in the war, I doubt she's likely to take kindly to Draco calling her a Mudblood.

Astoria was right - he did deserve what he got from Hermione, although he hadn't provoked the initial fight with Ron, and I can understand why his wounded pride would prompt him into doing something like that. But I also really liked the fact that Astoria was watching from afar, not wanting to get involved and let Draco know that she'd seen everything that was going on. She's really sensitive to his moods and very perceptive - plus I can't imagine many people siding against the 'Golden Trio' after the war is over, to help a former Death Eater.

I am glad that she did step in afterwards, though. Draco was very brave to try and defend himself and fight, but it was hardly fair that three of them came after him when he'd already been through a fight with somebody else. I can imagine this happening though - people seeing the opportunity to take revenge and using it. There would still be so much bitterness, and even though official policy was to reconcile, I can imagine that wouldn't sit very well with a lot of people.

I'm really intrigued about who those people were, trying to kill Draco - why? What did he do to them? And to be honest, they're just as bad as Death Eaters themselves if they're willing to kill someone in the middle of a street, and then kill a girl they don't even know as well, just because she's there and trying to help defend Draco in an unfair fight.

The action towards the end was really well written, too, and very tense! I could hardly believe it when those words escaped from their lips, and I'm pretty sure that Draco managed to get the two of them away and neither were killed (since we're going with canon here), but it was very dramatic and an intriguing ending to the chapter!

Sian :)

Author's Response: Hi, Sian!

No problem at all. I can never really remember who's at what point in my longer stories. I'm always just happy to be reminded.

For the opening of the chapter, I wanted something that would plant seeds of internal conflict with Astoria. Her upbringing is so proper that she can't possibly approve of what Ginny and Harry are doing, but she can't deny that she'd like to feel the same passion that the two of them feel. I think it puts her in the right mindset for what happens next.

I'm really glad you liked the descriptions. I try very hard to set a scene in my chapters that the reader can sink into and hopefully lose themselves for a bit.

Yep, things go very wrong for Draco and Astoria. I think it would be a pretty boring story if they didn't. It starts with Ron and escalates from there. Ron is, as you've surmised, mostly just being a jerk because he can. It isn't that he doesn't suspect Draco of wrongdoing -- he does -- it's just that those suspicions come down to nothing more than, "it's Malfoy, he must be up to something." For his part, Draco actually does his best to avoid the conflict. Some days, you just can't win for losing.

I hadn't really thought of Hermione/Ron/Draco in terms of Lily/James/Snape, but I can definitely see what you're getting at. Hermione tries to do the right thing, and Draco takes it the wrong way entirely. He pays the price for his lack of thoughtfulness. Astoria's right, he definitely had that one coming. I'm glad you picked up on the way that she tries to allow him to collect himself and regain a measure of dignity before she approaches him. She and Draco are from the same world. She understands how important dignity is to a pureblood scion like Draco. In some ways, even at this early juncture of the story, she understands him better than he understands himself.

You'll find out in the next chapter why those people were trying to kill Draco. It's actually a pivotal part of the first "breakthrough" that Draco makes in opening up to Astoria and trusting her. I really hope you enjoy it!

Thanks so much for the swap! I really enjoyed reading your work and also your review!


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Review #4, by Roisin 

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 #5, by Veritaserum27 

14th May 2014:
Hi Dan!

Tagging you from review tag!

Ok, so you win the gold star for the most exciting visit to Hogsmeade. Ever. You kept me on the edge of my seat for the whole chapter. I was completely expecting a nice little day where they had a butterbeer at The Three Broomsticks and then walked by the Shrieking Shack and nervously held hands, unsure of exactly what to say to each other but learning a little about how much they really had in common, blah, blah, blah. You totally turned it around on me and blew me away (literally blew away Draco a few times and I think Astoria once at the end too - haha). So kudos on the story development - the plot thickens. Who are these strange wizards and witch? I thought they might be the Carrows and another bloke, but I am not quite sure if they are canon. Either way, this JUST GOT INTERESTING!

So, a bit more is revealed about Astoria's character in the first part of this chapter. I really like how you have portrayed her as a young woman who has grown up in a house of purebloods. There were expectations for behavior and preserving the family honor is a high priority. I like this depictions because I feel like most authors tend to depict purebloods as evil, when it really is much more complicated than that.

And I have to say a great big AWW at the cute little Harry and Ginny scene. I know it was done to reveal a little about Astoria, but I loved that little moment.

Now on to Draco's anger. This was also nicely done. He has a temper and, although he is trying to work on it - he was definitely pushed to his breaking point. I even was feeling the tension. I just knew that he wouldn't take well to being "rescued" by Hermione - no matter the circumstances. A little more of his bravery was showing through as well, in his protection of Astoria.

I am going to make a guess that Draco apparated the two of them somewhere else, to avoid getting killed. (I hope you don't mind guesses.)

As far as their choices go, I think Astoria might feel like she is a bit in over her head here. She was a little unsure of Draco from the get-go and now his associations have put her in mortal peril. She might feel the need to back off for a bit.

Thanks again for this great chapter - nice writing!

Beth

Author's Response: Hi, Beth!

Yes, Draco and Astoria's visit to Hogsmeade didn't really follow the cliche of starting out at Madam Pudifoot's and ending up at the Three Broomsticks. What possible fun would that be? This is Draco and Astoria we're talking about. They deserve something more exciting and unconventional!

The two wizards and the witch who try to kill Draco aren't the Carrows, but they're just as nasty in their own way. You'll find out all about them in the next chapter.

Astoria is pureblood through and through, but her family isn't as extreme about it as the Blacks and Malfoys. They might believe some of the same things, but you'd never see the Greengrasses trying to start a war over blood purity. War is dangerous and bad for business. The Greengrasses are wealthy, but not in the sense of having more money than they'll ever know what to do with. And while Astoria's parents certainly expect her to marry a proper pureblood wizard, they wouldn't disown her if she wound up being friends with a half-blood or (gasp!) even a muggle-born. More than anything, they're practical people.

I was really pleased that I was able to shoe-horn Ginny and Harry into this, and do it in a way that helped to draw out a bit of characterization for Astoria. I love the two of them together!

Draco's temper is probably the worst symptom of the post-war trauma that he's dealing with in this story. The drinking is bad, too, obviously, but a lot of that is in response to the simmering anger that's always just below the surface, waiting to boil over.

That's... not a bad guess. You'll find out for sure in the next chapter. ;)

One thing you'll find out about Astoria is that she's an "in for a knut, in for a galleon" kind of girl. She doesn't frighten easily once she's set her mind to something.

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


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Review #6, by TheHeirOfSlytherin 

11th March 2014:
So, Astoria's birthday is the day after Draco's? It's like fate. They should totally be together. :P I forget sometimes that they can only do magic in school until they're seventeen, that it wouldn't be allowed in Hogsmeade either. Sucks to be them sometimes.

PDA, man. Seeing Harry Potter happy and normal and in love was a strange and... slightly scary sight to see (or paragraph to read). And I find PDA in general weird, so forgive my need to run away and cast that image from my mind. :P

But aww for Astoria feeling jealousy stir. She definitely wants Draco. I like that. :D

No. No! You - I will ask to be polite, he is your character in this after all, but know that in my head I am making Ronald Weasley's life a living hell. We Slytherins are fun like that... so, can I hurt Ron? Yes? Thank you. :D

I may love my house and certain Slytherin characters, but I accept that Draco is kind of bad and I also accept that they don't understand what he went through... and it sucks. Everyone sucks.

Okay, I'm done with my rant. I'm gonna stick with my two wrongs don't make a right statement. It rings true, don't you think?

(Ron's state is... so-so, in case you were wondering... I haven't decided what to do with him yet. He should be better than Draco, not stoop to his level by using his position to act superior.)

Bad Draco! All his hard work - if he's screwed it up, I will be so disappointed in him. Hermione, I get. She was insulted after all.

You've captured the reason I love Draco/Astoria perfectly in just those few paragraphs - she seems to have this understanding of him. She knows what to do, like giving him the time to regain his dignity. You've done it, it's official. I love her.

Oh, Draco is having a really bad day.

I very much agree that people would be out for blood, wanting revenge for the war, but this seems like too much for poor Draco to handle.

And then Astoria steps in and he tries to keep her out of it to protect her, I assume, and it's so sweet of him, and that's weird to say when you're talking about Draco Malfoy, but I don't care because it was.

I'm quite nervous about the next chapter...

Sam.

P.S. I'm playing a game, trying to see if I can read a chapter and leave a review before an episode of The Vampire Diaries finishes (forty minutes); so far, it's not working. It takes longer than an entire episode to properly gush over your awesome chapters. :D

Author's Response: Hi, Sam!

You know, I never even thought about how Astoria's birthday related to Draco's. I just needed a date that fell shortly after the end of school. Better to be lucky than good, I suppose. I agree, it annoys me when underage witches and wizards in fan fic stories start randomly casting spells outside of school. The Ministry would be all over that!

I enjoyed throwing in a happy little moment for Harry and Ginny here. And it does make an impression on Astoria, in several different ways. She's a bit repulsed and a bit jealous. It's complicated...

I felt kind of bad about making Ron such a jerk in this chapter, but I needed an antagonist who would push Draco into a really angry, irrational place. Ron is always a good man for the job. One thing to keep in mind is that you're seeing the confrontation only through Draco's eyes. That's not to say that Ron is blameless -- or that the majority of the blame doesn't belong with him, really -- just that you have to consider your source. Draco might think that he wasn't doing anything to antagonize Ron, but it's probably not completely true. At any rate, you won't see Ron again for quite a while.

Astoria and Draco come from the same world, so yes, she really does "get" him. She knows how to handle a man whose pride is very important to him because she grew up in pureblood social circles as well as watching her mother manage her father.

Draco is having the worst day he could have imagined and he goes from the frying pan right into the proverbial fire. I'm sure it seems like too much, but as you'll find out in the next chapter, there's a reason these people are out for blood. I'm glad that you found his attempts to protect her endearing. It won't be the last time...

You're doing a great job! Thanks for reading and reviewing!


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Review #7, by Pixileanin 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

And then they disappear.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thanks so much for reading and reviewing!


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Review #8, by SilentConfession 

15th January 2014:
Hey CambAngst

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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Review #9, by UnluckyStar57 

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

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

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

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

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

Merry (late) Christmas!

~UnluckyStar57

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

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

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

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

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

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


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Review #10, by Rumpelstiltskin 

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

Holy freaking whoa.

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

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

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

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

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

-Rumpel

Author's Response: Hello, again!

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

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

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

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

Thanks for reading and reviewing!


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Review #11, by MissesWeasley123 

3rd October 2013:
Wait.

What?! She can't.. she can't die? This chapter was so thrilling and just all around amazing.

God, you're killing me. Astoria... she reminds me way too much of myself and it's very relatable. I love the way you give her this amazing personality. She's still a girl and has those super girly feelings and stuff, but she's also very Gryffindor like in her stubbornness.

I think the "Mudblood" part was very cold. I'm just so disappointed in Draco for saying that.. It reminded me a lot of Snape's outburst at Lily that resulted in their friendship being over - and it killed my heart because I know Draco's just like Snape - he doesn't mean it.

Hermione was done so well, along with Ron also. Hermione was kind but with her usual flair and wittiness while Ron was just being a tad bit insufferable, but in this scenario it worked.

This "date" was definitely not like how I had pictured it LOL. It's definitely going to be tough for them.

I found Draco's jeers and taunts to Ron so funny, and Ron's responses even funnier. Then it got real and all serious and I was like, "Whoa." You did a great job with things escalating like that. Your descriptions were flawless as always.

Draco standing up for Astoria was just so.. Adorable and gah. So cute. I was torn between that whole scene - am I supposed to be fangirling at the cuteness or scared witless because OMG AVADA KEDAVRA.

Ah :') Anyway, I'll be back tomorrow hopefully (if I'm not like drowning in homework, y'know) and great work as always :)

Nadia

Author's Response: Hi, Nadia!

Take a deep breath. Nobody's dead, at least not yet.

I'm really pleased that you like Astoria and find her easy to relate to. I feel like I walk a fine line with her sometimes because I don't want to lose sight of the fact that she is only 16, but she's definitely a very mature 16. She might hex you for calling her "Gryffindor like". ;)

Draco was disappointed in himself for uttering that word. Of all the emotions that Draco still struggles with after the war, anger is the one that's going to get him into trouble again and again in this story. Much more to come...

I'm glad you liked Hermione. I was also a little worried about her, especially how quickly she makes the leap from being the peacemaker to being the aggressor. But she does have a temper, so I reckoned it would work.

This was definitely not what either Draco or Astoria had in mind for their first date. You'll find out a lot more about the people who were attacking Draco in the next chapter. There was fault to go around in that situation. But he was more than willing to put his life on the line to keep her safe.

I hope you get a chance to come back soon. If you like cute Draco-Astoria moments, I think you'll enjoy the next chapter.

Thanks!
-Dan


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Review #12, by Debra20 

12th August 2013:
Omg, Omg, Omg, an action packed chapter!!! I was beyond myself with excitement while reading this chapter :D I literally had my eyes glued to the screen and couldn't tear them away because I wanted to know what happened next and was afraid not to miss anything haha. Talk about gripping my usually divided attention :D

As I read more and more chapters of this delightful story, I find myself deepening into a frightening position: falling in love with Draco. I can't stress enough how much depth you're giving him. I LOVE, with all my heart deeply flawed characters (no wonder Snape is my favourite character eh?) and Draco is no exception. Only, throughout the HP books we never got the chance to explore his character outside of Harry's perspective and a psychologist, I should know that what reality is for someone, can be completely different for another person. No two stories about the same event are ever the same. The weight of this realisation really hit me this chapter when Draco called Hermione a Mudblood after she'd helped him. His reaction after the words escaped his mouth made me wonder whether in the past, he ever felt sorry for what he'd done (not before HBP however, because it's obvious he needed to go through the ordeal of everything that happened at Malfoy Manor to be able to start his change process).

I'm really savouring this story because it finally gives Draco the depth and layers he's always deserved (again, after the HBP because before that he was just a spoiled kid :P). I find myself picking apart his behaviour and lingering on certain paragraphs that to me show a lot of his inner essence (for example, how he instantly changes when realises that Astoria is in danger). You are making a remarkable job with Draco! Truly, truly impressed!

Also, Astoria is catching my attention more and more. I found another reason for loving her this chapter: the way she holds back judgement. I think this is one of the greatest qualities a human being could have because thanks to it you are not clouded by what others tell you, or sometimes even what you see. You prefer to wait and find out by yourself. Being non-judgemental goes a LONG way in avoiding conflicts. So yes, if you were wondering, my affections for Astoria are growing rapidly :D

I think this is one of those chapters I will have to come back to in terms of learning how to write action scenes, because it was amazing! The pace, the descriptions were really gripping. I completely lost track of everything that was going on around me and was staring avidly at the screen, drinking the words. Draco's confrontation with Ron was especially well handled. I could totally understand Ron for being so jumpy when Draco mentioned something that could have meant a jape towards his family, but at the same time I felt like slapping him because he didn't mean that!

Seriously Dan! I can never find any CC to give you. My reviews are pure gush haha

Author's Response: I guess I have to respond to this beautiful review and see it disappear from my unanswered reviews page, don't I? Such sweet sorrow.

I'm glad that the chapter captured your imagination. This was definitely one of the most fun chapters of Detox to write because of all the action. Even more than that, though, I am pleased as can be that you feel like I'm capturing Draco with his flaws intact. Because he isn't perfect. He isn't even trying to be. He still holds a lot of the same prejudices that he did before the war, he's just learned that they're not worth fighting and dying over. I'm not sure whether or not I think he was ever sorry for the way that he treated Hermione in the past, but he's definitely sorry for it here, even before she curses him. I've tried to give him as much depth and complexity as he deserves, because he is a very interesting character. Much more on this topic to come...

Astoria has so many things in common with Draco as far as their upbringing, yet they're very different people. Astoria is quiet, reserved and very patient in forming her opinions of people and situations. Draco is loud, opinionated and very quick to judge based on first impressions. It will make for some very interesting interactions later on.

Wow. I don't think I've had higher praise than that recently. I like writing fight scenes, but I'm not sure that I'm ready for the idea that someone thinks of them as something to study. :)

Thanks so much for all of the kind words and thoughts. Reviews like this really help me keep going when the writing gets tough!


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Review #13, by Sharvi 

11th August 2013:
Hey! I think I'm going to finish reading this tonight =) Anyway, I really liked the choices they made. All too often we see Draco changing completely, but humans don't change their ways so easily and old phrases come up even if we don't mean them anymore. I think you're totally justified in letting Draco call Hermione a mudblood and then make him feel guilty about it. Also, we saw that Astoria is great at understanding him when she doesn't come out and let's him get up by himself. Again, a wonderful chapter! I'm assuming they apparated at the end, so I can't wait to find out where they ended up!

Author's Response: Wow! I'm really glad that you're enjoying it so much!

I don't think it's possible for Draco to change completely. He spent the first 16 years of his life immersed in his parents' beliefs and prejudices. It's woven into the fabric of who he is. That said, the fact that he regrets what he said shows that he learned a thing or two during the war. He's a complex guy, and I tried very hard to portray that complexity.

Astoria is a pretty sharp cookie. She's doing her best to understand Draco, and sometimes interfering does more harm than good in that regard.

You'll see very soon where they end up. I hope you'll like it.

Thanks so much for sharing your thoughts and reactions!


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Review #14, by Courtney Dark 

4th July 2013:
I am definitely liking Astoria more and more. She definitely seems the sort of person who keeps her emotions to herself and tries to behave in what she believes is an 'appropriate' way. I think she is going to become a very interesting character - we got to see some of her inner fire in this chapter in that last scene with her nice little spell with that troll. And that witch and the two wizards were creepy! Will we be seeing any more of them, I wonder?

Awww, Ginny and Harry! That's really all I have to say about their nice little snogging session in the snow! And Astoria's reaction was perfect - I loved how she couldn't work out whether she thought their behavior was completely inappropriate or whether she was jealous of what they had and she didn't.

Ron! Yay! I was hoping he would show up soon! Despite behaving like a little bit of a word that I'm not supposed to write in a review, he was definitely Ron and, to be honest, I don't blame him for wanting to have a go at Draco. After all, they had all those years at school of hating each other and of Draco mocking Ron form having no money, it makes sense that he'd want to get a little piece of revenge. And I have to admit, I loved how Draco called Ron Weaselbee;)

Luckily Hermione had impeccable timing - I thought the fact that she referred to the two of them as behaving like children was very appropriate, and took away a little of the swarming tension and I loved her comment: ďRonald Weasley! Youíre a Ministry official now! You canít go around brawling in the streets like some bloody yob at a football match.Ē I was very disappointed in Draco, calling her a mudblood, but it definitely made sense. After all, he can't have completely changed since the end of the war - I'm sure he still has some of those arrogant tendencies of his. It was nice to see that he regretted the words as soon as they were out of his mouth, however.

Oh, Draco. He really is not having an easy time, is he? As soon as he gets out of one fight, he's thrust straight into another. I'm looking forward to seeing what's going to happen next!

Awesome chapter!

Courtney:)

Author's Response: Hi!

Astoria was raised in a proper, pureblood family, so she has those mannerisms. But she isn't 100% bought in to the traditional values pureblood values, especially those concerning courtship and marriage. More on this later. And she definitely has a lot of spunk.

I just couldn't write this without slipping in a bit of Ginny and Harry. I love the two of them together, and I thought it was a great thing to put in front of Astoria for exactly the reasons you describe. Astoria is a young woman who's growing up fast and trying to figure out who she wants to be.

Ron... so I'm still not sure I'm 100% happy with how he ended up. I really didn't mean for him to come off as such a bully. At the same time, we see the scene through Draco's eyes, so that definitely colors the events. I'm sure that Ron still harbors a lot of ill will for the way Draco mistreated him while they were in school, but I wanted it to seem a little less like an unprovoked attack. At any rate, I'm glad that you liked the way it turned out.

I had so much fun writing Hermione in this chapter. To me, it felt like she really brought the scene to life. I got to play with both extremes of her personality: the perfect student who's meticulous about following the rules to the letter and the fiery girl who bloodied Draco's nose in PofA. Truly a joy!

Poor Draco really does have a rough go of it in this chapter. I promise things will get at least a little better for him soon. But it won't last. ;)

Thanks for all of your awesome reviews!


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Review #15, by LilyEPotter 

2nd July 2013:
Hi! Here for the Review Tag!

Draco certainly wasn't having a very good day. First dueling with Ron and then his encounter with Hermione before those people intent on killing him... And how those around the last group doing nothing but watching in amusement...

I did like how Astoria stood up for Draco and managed to catch those in the last group off-guard with her quick thinking.

Great chapter!

Author's Response: Poor Draco. Even when he's trying to mind his own business and stay out of trouble, trouble seems to find him. The world definitely isn't feeling too much sympathy for him, either.

Astoria came through for him, although she's put herself in a pretty bad spot.

Thanks for reading and reviewing!


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Review #16, by pastenchantments 

15th June 2013:
Ahh! Whew, that was intense. I'll say, it was a good call with Draco's mudblood name-calling moment. It doesn't make sense for him to completely change just like that. It was realistic :)

Author's Response: I agree completely. Some things about Draco changed during the war, some didn't. The worst thing is that he really did regret it as soon as the word left his mouth. Too late then, though.

Thanks for taking a moment to share your thoughts!


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Review #17, by Dark Whisper 

19th April 2013:
CambAngst,

Oh, I do love it when Ron and Draco fight. Fight! Fight! Fight! LOL! Your descriptions of it were excellent and so vivid.

I enjoyed reading of Ginny's one track mind having the world melt away in the snow. :)

And as far as your words... can I say that I loved how you gave hatred a color... as in "black hatred." I loved that and can understand how much he hated Ron at that moment because of your description of it.

"You'll beg me to end your life. I swear it." Oh, my how I love Draco and his threats.

You've left quite the cliff hanger for your readers. Excellent pull to the next chapter and I'm so glad that it is already written so that I don't have to wait. :D

Great job,
Dark Whisper

Author's Response: Ugh! I have fallen so far behind on responding to your reviews. It's shameful. Sorry about that.

I'm glad you liked the little sparring match between Ron and Draco. I felt like there would be lots of lingering animosity between the two of them left over from the war and all the years that led up to it. Now the tables have been turned and Ron doesn't hesitate to take advantage. I didn't feel *good* necessarily about writing Ron in this way, but it's sort of important to the things that follow.

I like to think that once the war was over and they got over all of the lingering hurt and mistrust from Harry's decision to break up with her that Ginny and Harry fell deeply in love. And she's not one to hold back very much. ;)

Hatred always feels black to me for some reason. If you let it fester and grow, it eats away at you from the inside, like decay.

Draco still has a flair for the dramatic, doesn't he? He's quite serious in this case, though.

I'm so pleased that you enjoyed the chapter. The next one is slower-paced, but much deeper emotionally. Can't wait to see what you think. Thanks for reading and reviewing!


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Review #18, by Flavia 

17th April 2013:
Another brilliantly written chapter. *sigh* you spoil me, you know that? Although it does make writing a review that's not just line after line of "brilliant, brilliant, brilliant!" a bit more of a challenge, but I'll do my best :)

I really love the way you focus on what your character's thought processes. I always feel like I'm right inside their brain and understand the motivation behind all their actions. I mean this is only chapter 4 and I already feel like I know Draco and Astoria better than I've known some characters at the end of a 20 chapter novel! Your attention to the detail on your characterisation of your main characters is incredible. I'm imagining you sitting in some study somewhere with page upon page stuck to walls with details about them :P

The thing about not being able to do magic in Hogsmeade surprised me because I'd always thought students could do magic in Hogsmeade. So at first I was a bit like "Uh...is this right?" But by the end of the chapter, I understood why this detail was so important and it didn't matter anymore if it was canon or not, because in the context of this story and especially this chapter, it fits in brilliantly.

Astoria's ruminations on Harry and Ginny were perfect, the way she longed to not always be 'proper' and just be this free, impulsive teenager was not only a great spot of character development, but added some foreshadowing for her future actions (in both this chapter and the next). I did feel (and this is totally a personal interpretation of canon thing) that Ginny and Harry's display felt a little bit too much for them. I don't know, I just couldn't see them acting that way, at least not this soon after the end of the war. But as I said, that is completely based on my interpretations of the characters so there's not really wrong or right about it and it certainly didn't detract from the story. PLUS, as I already mentioned, it was a great catalyst for Astoria to think about her own feelings and secret desires.

Oh Draco...poor old Draco, I did feel for him in this chapter. Just can't catch a break, eh? Once again, you've captured that balance between Draco being someone you feel sorry for and someone who's getting what he deserved. I adored that way it just seemed to be never ending, like it wasn't this one little fight that he walked away from, but first it was Ron, and then Hermione and then the three that attack him at the end. By the end of the chapter I was practically screaming at the computer "Oh for the love of Merlin, just get out of there!!!"

I just want to stop and say how much I loved Ron in this chapter. I love how there was this bully-esque feel to his character, not in an unrealistic way, but in a "I have the power and you're not going to push me around anymore Malfoy" way. I could see years of pent up frustration at being picked on by Malfoy and his cronies, as well as everything that happened during the war (and I'm sure he's directing some blame from others like Bellatrix at Draco too). And the fact that Ron punches him? Heh...that was such a Ronald Weasley move :)

And Hermione's little cameo was great too, the 'mudblood' moment seemed to echo back and reflect both their interactions as younger students but it also made me think of Snape's worst memory (not that there's really an comparison between the characters and their relationships, but it just made me think of it). I especially loved her parting shot ďI should have had you expelled for that, Draco. Professor McGonagall probably would have just handed Gryffindor the House Cup for getting rid of you. But you do need to learn a lesson. And I have to admit, that was fun.Ē Hehehe :)

I'm loving Astoria so much, although I would err on the side of caution just because sometimes I feel like she's a little too perfect. I mean I love the contrast between her being so beautiful and almost angelic as opposed to Draco who is just so tortured and trying with all his might to change but struggling with it. But I could see myself getting irritated by Astoria if she doesn't develop a more pronounced flaw. Just a thought.

I loved the reality of the effects of fighting, and how by the end Draco was just this puddle who could barely move. There's nothing worse than a battle sequence where the character casts perfect shield charms and executes perfectly aimed curses while their opponent seems to miss every time. I mean unless you're Voldemort duelling Dennis Creevey, that just ain't gonna happen! You write in such a realistic manner, to the point where it sometimes makes the reader uncomfortable - not in a bad way, but in a 'empathise with the character' way. It's not something you see a lot, and the fact that you're willing to push that boundary is impressive, you certainly don't see a lot of that in fan fiction.

Your technique is incredible - as always. It just flows so beautifully and is so effortless to read. The only error I picked up on was this sentence: ďWell? Donít you and the Weasel King need to run off and find Potter so you celebrate?Ē I'm thinking it should be 'so you CAN celebrate?' but otherwise, it was just about perfect.

I'm sorry if my thoughts are all over the place in this review, it's late and I'm tired, but I feel like I've been a bit slow with these reviews so I was determined to write this before going to bed tonight!

Great chapter, great story. I'll be back soon to review the next chapter :)

Author's Response: Hello, again! This review sort of set me on my heels. It was so long and detailed. I read it through a few times and I was thinking to myself, "where do I even begin to respond?" It's a good problem to have. I guess I'll just start at the beginning!

I'm obsessive about following characters' thoughts and feelings. You should see the notes I make for myself in comments when I'm working on a chapter. It's like I write a parallel narrative just for me so I can keep track of what's going through each character's head, even if it doesn't end up in the final version. At any rate, I'm glad that it shows. Really, what's the point of writing from a certain character's point of view if you're not going to really get inside their head and explore?

I admit, I sort of guessed about not being able to do magic in Hogsmeade. In the books, it always seems as though there are only two places where underage sorcery is allowed: Hogwarts and the Hogwarts Express. In the movies, there's no rhyme or reason to it. Like you said, it worked well with the plot in this situation.

With Harry and Ginny, I wanted to put an alternative version of romance in front of Astoria, one that flies in the face of her upbringing. So admittedly I was thinking more about her than about Harry and Ginny when I did it. That said, since Ginny doesn't get to see Harry when she's at school and he's off doing his Auror training, I could imagine her being very excited to see him. ;)

Draco has a really rough go of things in this chapter, doesn't he? Again, I'm not sure that the objective was to make anyone feel badly for him, but to show that he's going to be living the consequences of his role in the war for the foreseeable future. In retrospect, I feel a bit bad about how I wrote Ron in this. Part of me feels like he comes off as too much of a bully, but then I remind myself that we see the events through Draco's eyes. I guess it serves its purpose.

Hermione, on the other hand, was a joy to write. Her sense of right and wrong is so strong, and for Draco it cuts both ways in this chapter. He completely loses his composure after Ron humiliates him, and he snaps at the one person who was trying to help him. I liked making Hermione very human in terms of how she reacts.

I agree with you about Astoria, actually. In future chapters, I've tried to show more of her flaws and portray her age a bit more realistically. In this chapter, I think she's a bit torn between crushing on Draco and feeling the need to mother him. I guess the two aren't completely mutually exclusive.

Draco is a mess by the end of this chapter. Whether or not he wants to admit it, he really needed Astoria's help. He also has a very strong survival instinct, though. He wouldn't have survived the war otherwise. At any rate, I'm glad you liked the fight scene. I really enjoy writing them.

Thanks for spotting that typo. I'll go in and patch that up!

I thought the review was actually pretty easy to follow. And I really enjoyed reading it! Thanks so much!


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Review #19, by Arithmancy_Wiz 

25th March 2013:
Ooops, accidently posted this under my staff account. Let's try this again...

Astoria is really starting to grow on me. She's a bit of a cool cucumber, reserved and proper and a bit hard to warm up to, but I'm liking more and more with each passing chapter. She's got a bit of a Jane from Pride and Prejudice feel about her -- that sort of conducting herself properly air, keeping too much emotion from showing on the surface. She's got these sort of throw-back to a bygone era ideas about how to conduct herself that really speak to the way she was raised.

Awww, I loved this little nod to Harry and Ginny. Even in this brief glimpse, we can how much more of a free spirit Ginny is than Astoria and how free she is in expressing her affection. It makes for such a lovely contrast to how I'm guessing Draco and Astoria might be as their relationship progresses.

Draco's initial reaction to Ron's aggression was perfect. Very "here we go again..." This boy can't go anywhere without getting his butt kicked. Of course, Ron's behavior was atrocious here, and I don't like seeing him act this way, but we're seeing this all through Draco's eyes, so it's understandable that Ron comes off as nothing more than a bully.

The actual confrontation was really great. I've seen you write a few "combat scenes" now and you've got a real knack for them. I am very happy that Ron came out on top though. I think there is a tendency for people to write him as an oaf, but he is an Auror, or maybe an Auror-in-training at this point in his life. Either way, he should be good at defensive (and offensive :P) spells.

Hermione's line about the pair acting like children was great. It really dispelled the tension. In the moment, Draco is focused on the fight, but when it's all over, they both walk away looking a bit like idiots.

Oh boy. Another butt kicking! Draco seriously needs to think about investing in an invisibility cloak. But mostly I'm just annoyed this gang showed up and ruined their date. I was looking forward to some more Draco/Astoria interactions. Oh well, I guess that just means I'll have to come back for another chapter really soon!

I spotted a few typos. Other than that, another great chapter.

--So why don't you take your your shiny little Ministry badge and go bother somebody else? (take your shiny)

-- He struggled to reign in his temper, recalling McGonagall's warnings about the consequences of any sort in incident (sort of incident)

-- The time it took to shrug off the confusion was rarely worth it you were in danger (it if you were)

-- Granger stood in front of him,offering the handle of his wand. (him, offering)

-- He was vaguely aware of the pain in his chest as his arms and legs flailed about and then the hard cobblestones of the street knocked the air our of his lungs. (air out of his)

Author's Response: I don't really care who reviews from what account, but I could see how the implied endorsement might be an issue. Anyway, I'm thrilled to see you back again so soon!

Astoria and Draco are both at a phase in their lives where they seem to spend a lot of time trying to work out the conflicts between what they were raised to believe and the new reality that's staring them in the face. In Astoria's case, she's been raised to be a proper, respectful, somewhat deferential girl who maintains a lot of facades. Coming from that background, I thought she would have very mixed feelings about seeing Harry and Ginny engage in such an open display of affection. Disapproving, but also more curious than she'd ever admit.

I wasn't especially nice to Ron, the way I wrote him in this chapter. He definitely comes off like a bully although, as you say, the story is told through Draco's eyes. But I don't think that Draco's perception is all that far off from what a dispassionate observer would have seen, assuming you could find such an observer in the emotionally charged, post-war world.

I love writing dueling scenes. Why have all these amazing abilities if you're not going to use them? And I don't think there was any risk of Ron losing to Draco. Ron was too angry and too determined to win, while Draco just wanted to get away from the whole situation. Throw in Ron's nascent Auror training and it wasn't even close to fair.

Ah, Hermione! I really loved the opportunity to bring out a little flash of that bossy eleven-year-old, at least for a few moments. But then Draco messes up. Badly. And she lets him have it. Truthfully, even he would admit that he deserved no less.

You'll find out some more about the Ratcliffe family (the old witch and her two sons who were attacking Draco) in the next chapter. Suffice it to say, they have a grievance with him and neither side is completely in the right.

Thanks so much for pointing out the typos! Not many reviewers do, and now I can edit and see my chapter-read count update with a clean conscience.

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


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Review #20, by patronus_charm 

25th February 2013:
Hello again! Iíve almost caught up with this story, so I hope more appears soon, as I really love it!

Even though it was only a brief comment, I really love how youíve shown the differences between purebloods like Astoria, and purebloods like the Weasleys. It reminds of class divisions, and how the Weasleys are considered inferior, yet they always appear to be having so much more fun, as they donít have to care as much about how they appear to everyone else.

Aw even though I hate Harry and Ginny as the main pairing, I love them being the other pairing, so the mention of them was really sweet and heart-warming, and you could tell how close they are. Just a little clarification here, am I right in assuming that you stuck to canon and Harryís not at Hogwarts for his 7th year? I was just a little unsure about that.

I really liked Ronís characterisation, even if he did seem a little mean! Iím glad that you didnít decide for them to kiss and makeup straight away, as that would just be unrealistic, and this is the much better way, even if Ron does look evil. But hey heís doing his job, so I canít complain!

Their fight scene was excellent, as it seemed just like something the pair of them would end up doing. I was proud of Draco for sticking up for himself, even though he was attacking an auror which was pretty serious, it was in self-defence. With Ron being so stubborn and all though he couldnít exactly reason with him to stop!

Woo go Hermione! I always knew she was awesome, but her scene here was excellent. I really love that you made her head girl as she would make a great one. Haha the way she talked to Ron, like he was a little kid, it was nice to see that somethingís havenít changed. I was surprised that she did use levicorpus on him, as she seemed more forgiving, but then I remembered what Bellatrix did to her, so it was no surprise really!

Then when Draco called her a mudblood, it reminded me so much of Snapeís worst memory, and I loved that nod towards it, as that is one of the most poignant moments of the book series. It was nice to see that Hermione was giving him a second chance, as he does deserve one.

Poor Draco though, I know what he and his family did was wrong, but I still canít help but feel some sympathy for him, as he canít go anywhere without being attacked! Then the last part, what have you done to Astoria? Sheís so adorable, and innocent, itís horrible to think thatís she been attacked!

An excellent chapter, and I canít wait to read on!

-Kiana :D

Author's Response: Hi, there! Apologies for taking so long to respond. I got so tied up in finishing Waiting Room that I've fallen a little behind.

Anyway, I'm glad you liked the way I've tried to portray the various part of "pure blood society", if there even is such a thing. In my own mind, I don't really even see the Weasleys living in the same world with the Greengrasses, but I suppose that the do show up on the pretentious family trees that adorn the walls of the manor houses of the old pure blood families. They are definitely having more fun!

You are correct. Harry has chosen to forgo his seventh year and enter Auror training, along with Ron. That's the biggest reason why Ginny is so eager to see him. Like Ginny, Hermione chose to return to school. I'm glad you liked the brief glimpse of Ginny and Harry in this. Since it isn't their story, I didn't want to dwell on them, just give Astoria an opportunity to ponder what it means to lose one's self in love.

In my mind, Ron still has a lot of unresolved anger and grief left over from losing Fred, and Draco becomes an easy target. I didn't want Ron to seem likeable -- especially since this all happens from Draco's point of view -- but I didn't want him to seem evil, either. Hopefully I got close.

So just to clarify, it was Ron who hung Draco upside down. Hermione releases him from the curse and tries to help him out, but Draco is too far gone to think rationally by that point. His pride is wounded and he lashes out at her. So he makes a terrible mistake and she makes him pay for it.

I'm not sure how much sympathy I want readers to feel for Draco. In every case so far, he's been the creator of his own difficulties. He still has a lot to learn, but he's trying.

I'm really glad you're enjoying the story. Thanks for reading and reviewing!


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Review #21, by Jchrissy 

2nd February 2013:
Hey look what I found in my Ďhpffí folder! How about if I ever go more than two days without reviewing a new chapter of yours, you throw something of me. I donít even know how I didnít realize that I *didnít* review it when I looked at my reviews to see responses. Maybe we should revisit the conversation of me dying my hair blonde. ANYWAY -- Sorry, mídear ♥

Hi darling! Iím excited to see how the final product of chapter 4 in this (soon to be) novel -- because we both know itís headed there ;).

Not only do I love getting to see the interaction between Harry and Ginny, but I love getting to see it through Astoriaís eyes. You made it clear how happy those two still are while still holding Astoriaís pureblood social trainings (I can not think of a better way to phrase that. Forgive me. Itís late and I listened to people whine all day) in the front of her mind. I really love that sheí a tiny bit jealous, as well. Because sheís still a teenage girl.

And sheís already of course wondering what can happen with her and Draco. Not quite in doodling Mrs. Astoria Malfoy on her parchments, but I can tell she wants too ;).

Oh and here is Ron making a bit of an idiot out of himself, with the best intensions behind the idiotness, Iím sure. I LOVE the changes you made to this section. Draco has the certain amount of self control that we can tell he had to have gained through the war. I think your choices with Voldemort are shut up or get tortured, so I like that the newly acquired ability to bite his tongue is being shown here. Until, of course, heís pushed just a bit too far.

Oh Iím really not thrilled with Ron right now. Heís being a jerk. Yes, he probably has every right to be. Well, at least in his head, but again.. this is Ron. Oh god, now see what youíre doing, Ron? Youíre acting worse than Draco Malfoy. I really do want to shake him. Itís just like when he got angry at Ron and Hermione, even if some of it was the Horcrux, it was also still the fact that Ron has never book good at thinking things through when his emotions get involved. I donít remember exactly how much you changed in this section, but itís absolutely perfect now. Theyíre both so themselves, Draco with a new sort of understanding of what is worth fighting over and what isnít, that Iíll admit... is a bit hot. Oops. Sorry. Fangirl moment

ĎWas that some sort of crack about my family being poor?í youíre doing it again, Dan. Youíre being JK Rowling. Now, Iím going to ask you again for the hundredth time, are you *sure* you arenít her? Really, really sure?

I canít even blame Draco for his mistake, right here. Itís so much like the Severus scene, except for Draco was never Hermioneís best friend so itís much less hurtful. If he had said that to Astoria or something (obviously he wouldnít because he wouldnít be going on a date with her if she was that) Iíd be angry with him, but in this instance, I can see exactly why he snapped.

I love how perceptive youíve made Astoria. She really watches things and uses what she sees to make her decisions. Not what others tell her. I seriously just want to hug this girl.

Ahhh. Cliff hanger?! What?

That last scene was actually harder to read this time than when you sent me the first chapter. Harder to read in the emotional sense of the word. It just isnít fair for Draco to have to deal with this kind of thing after surviving what most people wouldnít have. No, Draco isnít going to get an award for worldís best person. But he isnít a bed person, either. Heís a product of how he was raised, and heís trying to hard to at least change what he was doing to himself. Heíll never be as accepting as most others of different blood lines, but he isnít cruel, either.

Gah. Daniel. Why do you do this to me.

Also, youíre confused. My threats are NOT thinly veiled! They are big, scary, serious ones! :P

This chapter was so awesome and too both Astoria and Draco into a much more serious place than either of them thought this little afternoon tea would bring.

Now to see how the rest of the date, goes...

Author's Response: Ah, darling, so nice to see you! Not that it's a rare occurrence, but always a pleasure. Please don't apologize for a thing!

I guess I am trending in the direction of a novel, aren't I? There are just so many interesting things to write about when you imagine these two courting one another! It's a tricky dance, with lots of bumps in the road. But we know it works out in the end.

I'm pleased to see that you interpreted Astoria's reaction to seeing Harry and Ginny exactly the way I meant it. It definitely nudges her in a certain direction as she prepares to meet Draco.

I don't know that Ron's intentions were necessarily all that good. There's no point in sugar-coating it. He's power-tripping, exacting a bit of revenge on his old nemesis from school. Draco does keep his cool much better than he would have before the war, but Ron keeps pushing his buttons. The outcome was pretty much inevitable.

I wasn't really thinking of any parallel between the moment where Draco snaps at Hermione and the moment where Snape ruins his entire life, but I can see it now that you mention it. And like Snape, Draco regrets his mistake immediately. Unlike Lily, however, Hermione makes him pay for it immediately instead of dragging his punishment out over the rest of his life.

Astoria is a very clever, thoughtful girl. She came to Hogsmeade in order to figure out what Draco was all about, and she is certainly getting an education in this chapter.

In the next chapter, you'll learn why the two wizards and the old witch from the village were attacking Draco. As with most things in his life, it's complicated. I give you cliff-hangers because without them you wouldn't sound nearly as credible when you say, "Daaannn! Tell me what happens in the next chapter!" :p

Perhaps your threats aren't veiled, but you do dress them up nicely.

So, yes, both Draco and Astoria have gotten more out of their little date than they bargained for. How much more, we will soon see...

Thank you, as always, for your friendship and support! Until next time...


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Review #22, by Gabriella Hunter 

27th January 2013:
Hello!

I'm sorry that I didn't immediately come back and attack this after you updated. For some reason, my review thread has been a little heavy and then, there were pesky real life issues. That sucked of course but here I am, all for you and such. :)
So, we're back with Astoria and Draco. From the last chapter, I was thinking that things might be a little tense but I didn't expect anything in this! I thought it was very realistic of Astoria to question her feelings for Draco instead of being head over heels in love with him for no reason. The sight of Ginny and Harry snogging all over the place sort of gave her a bit of envy that I liked, its a girlish dream to just leap and snog a guy, right? I guess. I've never done it. Hahaha. But she's sort of prudish I think as Ginny and Harry were snogging all over the place but I think that's just how she was raised. Which I also liked, her reaction showed her upbringing well. :)
Sadly, though, her meeting with Draco didn't go as planned! On his end, I have to commend him for not hexing Ron as soon as he started getting bullied and I thought your characterisation of him was very spot on. It felt like Ron, I think, and the fact that he was so intent on getting a rise out of Draco sort of disappointed me though. I could understand how he was feeling but he sort of turned into the bully instead of being the better man. I think? Anyway, Draco got a taste of what its like, didn't he? It might not have been a good thing for him at the time though and the onlookers only made it worse. Shame on them. Shame on them. Hermione was a big relief and I'm glad that she gave Ron a telling-off for what he was doing but Draco was sort of beyond wanting help.
That was lovely writing by the way, his emotions churning out of control. I knew that as soon as he said "mudblood" that he regretted it more than he ever had before and Hermione's reaction was justified. Actually, that entire scene reminded me of when Snape was being bullied by James and lost Lily. I loved what you did there and Astoria chased after him, wanting to offer some support but wound up in a mess. -_-
Who were those people that attacked them I wonder? I hope you go into more detail about that but I absolutely loved what you did with the fight, Draco being protective and Astoria fighting for him.
Great writing.
No CC's either! :)
Thanks for the read! You didn't even have to request! :D
Much love,
Gabbie

Author's Response: Hi, there! No problem at all. I know you're busy with your review thread and your own writing. I really love the fact that you seem to enjoy my story!

Astoria is deep in the process of trying to sort things out in her head at the start of this chapter. She knows that she doesn't have enough information to really make a decision, which is why she decides to meet him in Hogsmeade in the first place. Seeing Ginny and Harry definitely gives her a little nudge in the direction of wanting to get to know Draco better, even though she clearly doesn't approve of such public behavior.

For better or for worse, she gets to see Draco in a number of different lights in this chapter. He really is trying his hardest not to let the confrontation with Ron escalate, but Ron simply keeps pushing until Draco reacts. I didn't want to make Ron seem **too** terrible in this -- and remember that this is all from Draco's point of view -- but he's definitely not passing up on an opportunity to exact a little revenge on the guy who used to make his life miserable in school and also stood helplessly by while Bellatrix nearly tortured his girlfriend to death. Yeah, there's that...

He did regret what he said to Hermione quite sincerely. In a funny way, he would have regretted it more if she hadn't blasted him. More on this later...

The people who attacked him will be explained in the next chapter. They sort of had a good reason to be angry with him and they sort of didn't. It's complicated. You'll see soon. ;)

I'm really glad that you enjoyed it and I feel very accomplished that I didn't mess up anything that you needed to point out! Thanks so much for reading and reviewing!


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Review #23, by Roots in Water 

25th January 2013:
It's Roots in Water here with your review!

Such an amazing chapter! I really loved the direction that you took with Draco and Astoria in this chapter, although it's one that I never would have guessed at.

As we've both mentioned before, it would be impossible for there to be no hatred/bad reactions to Draco's presence and this same idea played into this scene. Though I was disappointed in Ron's actions, they did make perfect sense, considering that Ron was still burning from the same intense feelings of the war as everyone else and he also had a personal dislike of Draco. Furthermore, he hadn't yet matured past immediately acting upon his feelings.

Draco handled himself very well at first (I was impressed by how he managed to keep himself under control). His reactions once his safety was threatened were brilliantly done. Of course he would have learned to react and keep himself safe. Of course he would be unable to stop himself from reacting when there was the possibility of being humiliated.

Though Hermione wasn't the saviour I was expecting (I thought that Astoria would be the one to step in during that fight), I think that she acted perfectly in character (as you always manage to write your characters). I was not at all surprised when she reacted violently to Draco's words- some prejudices in some situations she just cannot stand.

Draco's reaction to her help was perfectly understandable, though- he'd just been humiliated and, like Snape, his pride reacted before his mouth could process that he didn't actually want to injure the person who had helped him.

On a side note, I really liked the mention of Harry and Ginny. From the short glimpse we saw of them, it seemed as though their relationship was still very passionate and making them both very happy. That small segment where they met definitely made me smile. As well, I kept expecting Harry to show up to save the day; but that, of course, wouldn't help to move Draco and Astoria's relationship along, just Harry and Draco's.

I liked your wording when Astoria differentiates between the two perceptions of Draco. For her father, he is a man, completely capable of making decisions and thus completely responsible for his actions. However, Astoria sees him as a young man, one who regrets his actions, one who realizes that he was wrong. One who didn't become a Death Eater out of true desire to belong to 'the cause".

The scene at the end was rather frightening as you had several witches and wizards who were more than willing to severely damage Draco (and then Astoria for standing by him) and a Draco who wasn't in top form. I was so happy when Draco apparated them away and I'm really intrigued to see the conversation that happens once they have a moment to themselves.

As well, I liked the intuition and understanding of Draco that Astoria showed in this chapter. She understands (at least partly) why he reacted the way he did to Hermione and she also saw the regret in his eyes. This understanding, coupled with her perception of his regret, will certainly help them in the course of their relationship.

All in all, I think that you did a fabulous job with this chapter- I really enjoyed it. I'm sorry for the unorganized sequence of my comments- hopefully you can still follow my train of thought. Thanks for requesting a review!

Author's Response: It's "Clean Out the Unanswered Reviews Day"! Starting with another amazing review from my pal Roots.

Draco spends an awful lot of this story being hated by various people who fought on the other side during the war. Not to mention some time being hated by people who fought on the **same side** during the war. It just isn't fun to be him. In my mind, Ron is still hurting from Fred's death, as are the other members of his family. Combined with his new found self-confidence and his legendary inability to deal with his emotions, it's a recipe for confrontation. I'm disappointed in him, as well, and I wrote this. ;)

Draco really tries. That's probably the worst thing about the situation. If Draco was being an unrepentant jerk about the whole thing, we could just look at him and say, "Good on Ron, he gave Malfoy what he deserved." But it isn't like that at all. So by the time Hermione steps in to restore order, Draco's mood is simply too far gone. He's angry and his pride has been hurt. He reacts instinctively and once again he pays a price for it.

Harry and Ginny are truly happy at the start of this chapter. Personally, I have a hard time writing the two of them any other way.

Astoria is trying very hard to decide who the "real Draco Malfoy" is in this chapter. She's a clever, perceptive girl, and very practical. She observes, she collects evidence and she weighs the alternatives.

The fight scene wasn't something I'd originally planned on, but I decided that I wanted the two of them to have a more private conversation. So I needed a way to get them out of the village.

I'm really glad that you enjoyed this. Expect some major soul-baring confessions in the next. Thank you for the long, detailed and enjoyable review!


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Review #24, by Remus 

23rd January 2013:
Last review! So many reviews you'll have to answer! *evil laugh*

By the second paragraph I was squeeling like a little girl. Not because of Astoria but Ginny meeting up with Harry. I think...after I'm done reviewing here I'm going to find myself a sappy Ginny/Harry fic. Hahaha.

And Ron made an appearance; this chapter is already awesome! Haha! Again, Draco is definitely not catching a break from absolutely no one. Ron is making his day miserable by taunting him; he sure loves to play with fire. Isn't Hermione going to appear so he can be distracted? XD I couldn't help but laugh at Draco's smart comment...perhaps I shouldn't have laughed but again, I couldn't help it.

I shouted at my laptop's screen when the fighting began. I blame Ron! I've never done that but I really do blame him, I mean, he literally started it by landing the first punch. Ugh! And then the fight gets worse. Seriously! Why do you do this to me, Dan? I just had to cheer for Draco but I hope he won't get into any trouble with McGonagall. Again, where is Hermione in all this to distract Ron? Because he seems to be in a definite power trip but I guess that's expected from him when it comes to Draco, his constant tormentor and old enemy. But honestly, he felt far too hateful than I'm used to Ron being. Then again, he just lost a brother not long ago so the desire for some revenge might still be lingering.

Aww, you used my favorite Weasley insult: "Weaslebee"

Finally! Hermione comes!

And now I'm not happy with her after she hit him with a spell. Part of me wants to say he deserves it but then again, Hermione should've known better when it comes to Malfoy's pride ways...don't kick a dog when he's down, you know.

You're making me feel rather contradicted when it comes to my feelings regarding the Golden Trio and Malfoy. This shouldn't be happening but at the same time we're living Draco's journey at trying to become a better man through his eyes and not someone else s. We know better, because we started the journey with him, but its difficult to see him as a victim against Ron and Hermione.

The whole bit with Astoria was great! She's a shadow of the Astoria we got to see at Cob and it seems she knows how to be a proper lady and knows very well when to approach a man whose pride is in shambles. Something I'm sure she might've learned from her mother.

Are you serious? What kind of cliffhanger is that?! You're lucky I'm tired and that it's 12:50a and that I need to go to bed other wise I would be sending you an angry PM. :P

This chapter was great! The pace feels right, nothing too rushed or boring. Just wondering, how long are you going to make this story?

Anyway, once again I enjoyed reading this and I can't wait to see what happens next!

Until next time, Dan!

--Rosie

Author's Response: Doggone it! I will respond to this today!

Did you find a good sappy Ginny/Harry to read? If so, PM me the link. I'm always up for a good, sappy Ginny/Harry. :)

Yes, Ron definitely shoulders most of the blame for what happened, a fact that won't be lost on certain important people in the future. Since this scene is playing out a scant 8 months or so after the end of the war, I was thinking two things: 1) Fred's death is still something that haunts Ron a lot, and 2) this is probably the first time Ron and Draco have seen each other since the morning after Voldemort died. So their meeting was not going to be pleasant, no matter what. That said, Ron was pretty much a bully and a jerk. Also, recall that this is told from Draco's PoV, so it probably seems even worse than it was.

Hermione isn't quite the savior you were expecting, is she? Draco remember quite well how to push her buttons, and that knowledge resurfaces at the worst possible moment. Again, you may be surprised to see the consequences of what happens...

You'll see more and more shades of the Astoria you remember from CoB, although she's much younger in this and still a lot more naive. But overall I'm trying to write her as though she's on that trajectory. It's tricky at times.

It's the best kind of cliffhanger, my dear, the one that makes you want more. :p

I'm really glad that you enjoyed it. Thank you so much for your review blitzkrieg on my story! I loved getting all of your thoughts and reactions!


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Review #25, by MissMdsty 

22nd January 2013:
Oh my God how could you end it like that? I was on the edge of my seat the whole time. I do hope you'll update soon, I don't think I can stand the suspense. Now on to the proper review.

First, I found the reunion between Harry and Ginny really sweet. It's good to see that they're getting a start on their life together, even if it's seeing it through another's eyes.

When Ron came into the picture he seemed much too cruel than we normally see him. I kept having to remind myself that we were seeing him through Draco's eyes. And his comment on common sense and galleons! Brilliant! Kind of reminded me of the time Aberforth told Ron that with brains like his he could be a Death Eater. We got to see a little of the Malfoy pride seeping into his new found life path when Hermione stepped in for him, but I guess that this is just the beginning of his journey and he's far from reaching his destination.

I love Astoria. Seriously, I think she's an amazing character. It would be so easy to write her like a spoiled princess that just gets whatever she wants and for some reason she wants Draco. But instead she's kind, smart and her heart is in the right place. I especially enjoyed the part about her wanting to see what Draco was about for herself instead of taking her father's word for it. That's the kind of backbone a woman should have if I do say so myself!

Oh, the last fight scene. It was so intense and my heart almost ached for Draco and how nobody wanted to let him be in peace. But when he said and I quote ďLeave her out of this. If you hurt her, youíll beg me to end your life. I swear it.Ē I could just feel the anger and his protective instincts of her. This was a very action-filled chapter and you had many powerful moments in it, but this I think is the most powerful out of them.

Great chapter! I know you told me you had trouble with it but it turned out beautifully! Good job!

Ral

Author's Response: Muahahaha! I will grab your attention and leave you dangling in the breeze!

Kidding, but I'm glad you liked it enough to want to know what happens next.

I just absolutely loved being able to shoe-horn Harry and Ginny into the story somewhere. That's my one, true pairing. Original? Not really. But originally can be over-rated.

I think Ron, like a lot of other people, is still struggling with the emotional baggage left over from the war. He's still mourning Fred and he'll never forgive Draco and the rest of his family for standing by while Bellatrix tortured Hermione. And we are seeing him through Draco's eyes, which would tend to color things in a less flattering way. The sad thing is that Draco tries really, really hard to defuse the situation and in the end he just can't catch a break. That's a recurring theme of the story if you haven't noticed already.

A love Astoria, too. You can probably tell. ;) She became one of my favorite minor characters while writing Conspiracy of Blood. She is a bit of a spoiled princess in some ways, but her heart is definitely in the right place and she's very independent-minded.

I'm glad the fight scene played out intensely for you. I wasn't quite sure how it was going to read. The trio that attacks Draco did have their motivations, however. More on that in the next chapter.

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


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