Reading Reviews for Detox, Chapter 6: Relapse
19 Reviews Found

Review #1, by dirtydeedsdonedirtcheap 

21st March 2015:
He needed to convince them that he had been an unwilling participant. That he had been acting under the threat of death for both himself and his family. And he couldnít do that unless he was willing to talk about it.

See, this is where I think she is naÔve. He canít do that. Too many people know his story. Plus, he said himself at one point in his childhood he wanted to be a Death Eater. He was adamant and vocal about following the Dark Lord. He also had the very important task of murdering Albus Dumbledore. Even though he didnít do it thatís still an important part to his story. The entire thing is and he canít go back on that. It wasnít until he was given the task that his Ďworldí started to crumble. His disposition. When he failed thatís when he really started to fear for his life.

Sometimes we tell lies when we donít even need to, just to keep people guessing.Ē

Isnít that the truth.

This new philosophy of governance thatís become fashionable at the Ministry is a mixed bag if you ask me. I donít see a need to go changing the law every time a muggle-born or a house elf feels put out about something.

Good heavens. He honestly reminds me of so many people I have met in my life that love to debate politics but have no clue what theyíre talking about. They just like to hear themselves speak.

You stated that Draco is not evil and you are absolutely correct

Go Severus. Not being able to talk is clearly going to backfire on Astoria and Draco. I think if Draco can change her fatherís mind or at least give him some peace of mind theyíre doomed.

ďDraco, did you understand what I said? No longer will we be be forced to endure the petty torments of blood traitors and mudbloods. Our family will be powerful and respected once again.Ē

Ay caramba. And the delusional award goes to Lucius Malfoy.

He uncorked the bottle and stared at it for a long moment, trying to find the strength to say no.

Hm. It was bound to happen I just didnít think it would so quickly. Then again realistically he is an addict and hasnít truly made enough progess that he wouldnít fall back into drinking. I just hope it doesnít hurt the little progess he has made. Itís hard because I want to root for Draco but I know realistically he has to tear himself a part and make mistakes along the way and I want to see those mistakes.

At first I found it hard to believe Lucius was still going after this grand scheme I will call it but then I thought about it and it makes sense. I mean just because the war ended the way it did and the Malfoy's sort of cut ties with their side doesn't mean Lucius wouldn't still believe in blood purity and all those other things. Especially because it is still in the air and the defeat was recent. I could logically see him wanting to try and make a name for himself and fight for something. He's slightly mad. But then I see him older as things change and Draco changes him changing too. At least that's what I wish for. What can I say, I always hope for the best in some of the worse characters.

Three chapters in one day! Woo-hoo!

Author's Response: Hello, again! All of these great reviews! This made my weekend.

Astoria is definitely struggling with an overly romanticized view of Draco. It isn't that he couldn't become the person she wants to believe he is, it's just that he still has a pretty long way to go.

Ah, teenage girls and their careful management of the truth. It's a wonder that any of us survive to adulthood.

I tried hard to craft Mr. Greengrass's dialogue in this chapter so that it didn't say too much or too little. What I hoped that readers would see is a sort of selfish pragmatism. He doesn't hate muggle-borns like the Blacks or see them as a lower life form the way that the Malfoys might. He just doesn't understand why they need to be so disruptive in their quest for equal rights. It's all very inconvenient to him.

When I first drafted this, I had Dumbledore's portrait do the talking. It never sounded quite right. Then I thought of Snape and it fell into place. Draco is trying hard to change Astoria's father's mind, but it's a long and arduous process.

Lucius seems to return to form in this chapter, but things aren't always what they seem. Keep an eye on him. He does still believe in things like blood purity and "the old way".

As far as Draco goes, what happened at the end of this chapter wasn't completely unexpected. Most addicts have setbacks along the way. The question is what he makes of it going forward.

Thank you, thank you, THANK YOU! All of the love you show my stories is appreciated so much!

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Review #2, by Roisin 

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

Weird sentence, that ^^^.

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

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

This is a really creative plot!

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

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

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

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

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Review #3, by Veritaserum27 

22nd May 2014:
Hi Dan,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Author's Response: Hi, Beth!

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thanks so much for reading and reviewing!

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Review #4, by TheHeirOfSlytherin 

11th March 2014:
I'm back!

Astoria is in quite the pickle (did I really just say that?). I admire her for wanting her father's opinion, and though I kind of doubt his opinion will be swayed so easily (though what do I know, I'm reviewing this after every line break so I've read it all yet), and therefore I think the confrontation between father and daughter will be interesting to say the least, I hope it at least doesn't go really badly.

Isadore is a good friend, I think (and I hope it continues), and I totally get her reaction. What happened with Draco and Astoria is not something many would go through and it's not a surprise that Isadore would think it was out of character and therefore a lie.

You can't? Astoria, we're Slytherins and we're girls. Sometimes we tell lies when we don't even need to, just to keep people guessing. - I love this line, especially the end.

The conversation between Astoria and her father went better than I thought it would, not that I think it went well. She can still send him Owls... ;)

Mr. Malfoy is not, as you have correctly surmised, evil. To truly be evil requires a courage in one's convictions that neither Draco nor his father will ever possess. - I love listening to Snape talk. There's sometimes a compliment in there somewhere. :P

I especially love the end, about if other people's opinions truly matter when you follow what you believe? I wonder what Astoria will do with that bit of advice...

I feel like I'm intruding on a private, albeit slightly weird, moment of Draco's. Sniffing paper... there was a giggle, I won't lie.

Whoa! Draco's conversation with his father was VASTLY different. It's like one step forward, to steps back with this family. Is Lucius sick or has the war just severely messed with his head? Because he is clearly delusional. I wonder what Narcissa would think and what Draco will do.

I knew the title of this chapter was a bad sign. To go back to alcohol. Oh, Draco. I hope Astoria doesn't find out, or can show him that he's worth more than what he thinks of himself if she does. I don't want this relapse to ruin everything that would be so sad. ;(

See you at the next chapter!


Author's Response: Hi, Sam! The chapter title was indeed a sign of things to come. The path back from depression and addiction is never short or easy and I felt like I would have been doing the character a disservice to have it be any other way.

Astoria does care what her father thinks, and her parents do love her dearly. That said, her parents grew up in a different time and the social norms have changed somewhat even in the very slow-moving culture of pureblood witches and wizards. He won't be swayed easily and there are more confrontations yet to come, but she's a strong young woman. She probably doesn't even realize how strong she is yet.

Ha! I think you're the first reviewer so far who actually likes Isadore. She really tries to be a good friend to Astoria, but sometimes her idea of the right thing can be pretty far off base. In a way, that helps Astoria. It was a lot easier for Astoria to realize that telling the truth was the right choice when she hears Isadore's rationalization for lying. And I loved that line, myself. I was thinking of the Cardassians from Deep Space Nine at the time I was writing it, especially Garak who once advised, "Lying is a skill like any other, and if you want to maintain a level of excellence you have to practice constantly."

I really, really enjoyed writing Snape in this chapter. Originally, my draft called for Dumbledore to be the one to advise Astoria. The more I thought about it, though, the two of them really don't have that much in common. Snape was always somewhat protective of Draco. In that way, he and Astoria could relate.

Lucius is not in a good way, in case that didn't come through clearly. The war took a much bigger toll on him than he'd ever be willing to admit. The question is how much of a toll. Is he really delusional enough to get involved in another attempt to overthrow the Ministry? Stay tuned...

I don't know how much it really matters whether Astoria finds out at this point. Draco is thoroughly disgusted with himself, but he can't see any other way to deal with his anger short of wrecking the house. And a Malfoy **does not** wreck the family home. His father would hear of that! :p

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

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Review #5, by Pixileanin 

9th February 2014:
"That's how it happened, except for a few details that would bore you anyway."

I can hear Isadore in my head, "You mean the kissing?? You aren't going to tell me about the kissing?? Kissing's not boring. Come on Astoria, you can do better than that!"


You were waiting for the produce to start flying, weren't you? As much as I would love to commence with the staining of the Slytherin uniform, Isadore is useful here. She's giving Astoria the advice she needs to get through this next confrontation with her dignity and reputation intact. Because that's Isadore's specialty.

"Astoria, we're Slytherins and we're girls. Sometimes we tell lies when we don't even need to, just to keep people guessing."

And stay in practice. *nods*

Astoria's ability to rise above her little friend is great to see. It's good to show that at least some people can stand their ground about what's right and wrong, and make intelligent decisions, even when they're faced with perfectly reasonable, outrageously wrong decisions offered to them by their well-meaning friends. I think that Astoria has enough backbone in her background to resist the temptation (if she ever had any) of following her friend's advice. I didn't find her reactions too mature for her age. Especially when Isadore is describing the events that took place, and all Astoria is concerned about is whether or not anyone heard Isadore use the word "boyfriend". Never mind that there were stunning spells and illegal Apparation, and their lives were threatened.

It's interesting that Snape chooses to stand up for his former student here. If this was the perspective that her father had in mind... oh, I don't think it was, was it? I find it ironic that Astoria gets to ask Snape the one question that he's been probably asking himself for many years. I think his answer speaks volumes about his own life, as well as the impossible task that Astoria wants to take on.

I really love the image of Draco literally inhaling Astoria's letter when no one is looking. Not sure why this pleases me so much.

Lucius, on the other hand, does not please me at all. He's spouting nonsensical conspiracy, err... nonsense, and Draco's just started putting his life back together. How could he?? *shakes fist* And of course, Draco takes this badly. He needs an outlet, something that will take his mind off his problems... something that he can burn some excess frustration on. Maybe a jog around that big mansion of his, or a ride on his broom, or that illegal boxing competition every Saturday night down at Bob's... no, Draco! Not the bottle!!!

Sigh. So close.

There's definitely enough drama here for an event-filled chapter. You're heaping bad onto these poor characters left and right. It's so impossible now for them to ever get through this story, Dan. Why do you keep tearing them apart? Why??


But really, if anything can drive a person to drink, it would be their crazed, delusional father pulling them back into a life they were desperately trying to claw out of.

Author's Response: Hi, pix!

So the actual details that Astoria is withholding are the ones about Draco's experience during the war, but you're pretty much spot-on about what Isadore thinks is being withheld. Most of Isadore's reality is defined by women's magazines and trashy romance novels. //shudder

Ha! Isadore is actually useful, inasmuch as it's easier for Astoria to realize that lying to her father is a bad idea when she hears it coming from her flighty friend. It's a pretty simple decision tree, actually. "Is this a complicated social situation? --> Yes --> Is this Isadore's preferred solution? --> Yes --> Do something else." I'm glad that her thought process didn't seem too mature, though. And you're right, Astoria still doesn't realize how much danger she was really in.

When I was roughing out this chapter, I actually had Dumbledore's portrait dispensing advice to Astoria, but then I realized that there was probably never much of a relationship between the two of them. Snape, on the other hand, was Astoria's Head of House for four years and he was Draco's patron, after a fashion. Plus, he can say cool, condescending Snape-y things to her and give all the Snily fangirls a moment to swoon. I see this as a win-win.

That image of Draco sniffing her letter amused me, too. It's exactly the sort of thing I'd imagine him doing if he knew that he wasn't going to be caught at it.

Lucius is in a pretty bad way, if you couldn't tell from the physical descriptions. His health is in serious decline and he's trying to recapture some of the "glory days" when he was a player. If he was a muggle, he'd be shopping for a Corvette or possibly a Ferrari at this point.

Yep, Draco takes it really badly. I thought it was important, though, to show him going through the same sorts of trials that most recovering addicts suffer through. Otherwise, the story wouldn't be very realistic and honestly it would probably be kind of boring.

Why do I keep tearing them apart? Because they're put together wrong at the start of the story, especially Draco. So we need to tear them apart and put them back together properly. That's what good authors do, I think. Expect for the Game of Thrones guy. He just kills everyone.

I'm really pleased that you're enjoying the story. Thanks for reading!

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Review #6, by LilyEPotter 

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

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

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Review #7, by UnluckyStar57 

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

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

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

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

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

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

Another great chapter! See you in the next one!


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

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

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

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

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

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

Thanks so much for reading and reviewing!

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Review #8, by MissesWeasley123 

11th October 2013:

Whoa. Snape, Astoria, Horatio, McGonagall, Draco, and Lucius all in one chapter?

Seriously. I'm mad with this chapter, but I'm also happy. I think I've gone mental. Let me explain:

Isadore. Don't like her at all. I don't know why.. I just don't find her very trustful, and I think she's going to be one of those super jealous friends that ruin everything for you. The way she was talking to Astoria.. Something was giving me warning signs. Maybe she was pushing it a bit more than just "teasing". Grr - she better stay away from them!

I was crying, "No, no, no!" when her father was forbidding her to talk to Draco. I understand but stupid parents - always ruining everything. :(

Snape as portrait was genius. Thank you for having that in there. You actually wrote his dialogue so well, really. It was perfect. It was very "Snape like" and the last bit he said to Astoria was so shaking and deep. Brilliantly done. It really made you think about the idea of "evil". It reminded me a lot about The Lion King... because certain characters in that weren't necessarily evil, but more like their actions were evil. You weren't really saying the exact same thing, but it really got me thinking. Your chapters always do, and that's what the best pieces make you do. They make you think.

Lucius is very aggravating. I hate him. Hate him so so much. He should just get sent back to Azkaban. The whole "Death Eater's trying to resurface" idea is very concerning. I really hope it doesn't happen, because that'll shatter everything for Draco. I'm so proud of him for standing up to him though.

Correction: Lucius should not be sent to Azkaban, but locked up in a mental ward in St. Mungos and put in a straight-jacket.

I'm really enjoying this story so far, I love what you have to tell about them. It's really amazing.

Author's Response: Must stop being a slug and answer reviews. Must stop being a slug and answer reviews.

I really liked this chapter for exactly that reason. There's a little bit of everything in this one. And it has quite a lot of strong emotions, so I can definitely see how you'd feel happy and mad. I'm just pleased that it made an impact.

I find that there isn't much "in between" when it comes to readers and Isadore. They either adore her or hate her. I think of her as "that friend" that most of us have when we're Astoria's age. "That friend" who's always enthusiastic and supportive but also has a lot of bad ideas and dubiously reliable information. In this chapter she's helpful to Astoria because she becomes sort of a mirror in which Astoria can see some of her own bad tendencies.

Astoria's father really does want what's best for her, it's just that his ideas of "what's best" are not very similar to what Astoria wants for herself. He's not a bad guy, he's just a product of his upbringing, which occurred in a very different time and place.

In my original outline, Dumbledore's portrait was supposed to talk to Astoria, but I realized that the two of them didn't have much in common. Then I thought of Snape. He was sort of a natural for the part. And he has a good point. I'm really glad you liked him, because he was a lot of fun to write.

There's no doubt that Lucius was acting like a complete idiot in this chapter. I'd only ask that you withhold judgment on him until his entire story comes out. There's a little more going on with him than Draco realizes. All in good time...

I'm incredibly pleased that you like the story. Thanks so much for all of your feedback and support!

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Review #9, by Sharvi 

11th August 2013:
I think that Draco should turn his father in, but that's just my wishful thinking. Cannot wait to see how Draco and Astoria communicate when they can't meet each other. Also, Snape's bit was wonderful I knew that he would have something to say because he probably did know Draco better than most. After all Draco was his favourite student, and I think he actually cared for him a bit more than was required of him from the Vow.

Author's Response: I imagine that Lucius would have to do something pretty awful for Draco to turn him in to the Ministry. No matter how much they argue, his father is still family and that will always be paramount to Draco. It's just the way he thinks.

The conversation Astoria has with Snape's portrait was originally going to be with Dumbledore's portrait. Then it dawned on me that Snape probably knew Draco far better. Since he didn't have anything else to do at that moment, I wrote him in. ;)

Thanks for all of the lovely reviews!

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Review #10, by Wasim 

24th July 2013:
I'm honestly loving this story. I will definitely read
till the end . I was just hoping to see a little bit of
Harry Potter in the next chapters. Even though this
is not about him,I just wish he has little part in

Author's Response: I'm afraid that Astoria's quick sighting of Harry and Ginny in Hogsmeade is his only scheduled appearance. Sorry about that.

Thanks for reading and reviewing!

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Review #11, by Courtney Dark 

8th July 2013:

I really enjoyed this chapter, too! As you said, there were certainly a lot of ups and downs but I am just growing to love Astoria and Draco even more! You really are a fantabulous writer! (I really just wanted to use that perhaps non-word.)

Ahem. Anyway, I've decided I really like Isadore. It's hard to describe why, because she's such a minor character and seems like she could become a little, erm, irksome at times, for lack of a better word, but I think she has a good hard and seems like an excellent sidekick! And it's a little embarrassing that you can write a better conversation between two teenage girls that I can.

Oooh, loved the intensity between McGonagall and Astoria's dad - go Minerva! I love how firm and strong-minded she is! And although I'm tempted to say that I really, really dislike Horatio Greengrass, I actually don't. I think although he seems to be a very stern parent he's just trying to do what he thinks is best for his daughter - maybe he could find a better way of doing that, and listen to what she has to say a little bit more but he, nobody is perfect!

I liked the section from Draco's point of view, too. Was that the first time we've properly seen Lucius! He has definitely, ah, gone down hill a little bit, hasn't he? I really enjoyed your descriptions of his appearance, actually. I'm not sure why they stuck out for me so strongly, but I could just so clearly see them there, father and son, and I could see Draco looking at his father in a disappointed, slightly horrified sort of way as he listened to him talking about the 'new movement'. And then no! He went and drank again! He was doing so well:(

Oh, and I forgot to mention that I loved how you incorporated Snape's portrait. That was probably my favourite part of the whole chapter, actually.

Awesome-foursome chapters! (And yes, I did just say awesome-foursome. Sorry about that.)


Author's Response: Hi! I don't mind a non-word or two when they're so complimentary!

Isadore is a minor character, but to me she fills an important role for Astoria. She's "that friend" who has your best interests in mind but has some pretty bad ideas when it come to how to deliver on those interests. She can get a bit annoying, but that's part of her charm, I think. And I definitely had some help in fine-tuning the girl-talk. ;)

Horatio Greengrass is another character who's just too complicated to unconditionally like or dislike him. He is trying to do what's best for Astoria but just like Isadore, his ideas about what's best don't necessarily make sense to us... or to Astoria. It will definitely be a source of friction in future chapters.

I tend to believe that Lucius was a complete mess by this point in his life and he probably didn't start to improve until after Scorpius was born. I always got the sense that Azkaban broke him. And if that wasn't bad enough, he returns home to find that Voldemort has moved in. After the war, I think he struggled a lot with feelings of inadequacy because it was Narcissa who saved the family, not him. So at this point, he's trying really hard to regain a sense of purpose. To be relevant again. And he picks a horrible way to go about it.

Poor Draco has a bad tendency to let his anger get the best of him. He's come a long way since he met Astoria, but he still has a long way to go.

In my chapter outline, it was actually Dumbledore's portrait that talks to Astoria, but as I was writing the chapter, I realized that Snape works better. For one thing, using Dumbledore's portrait is pretty overdone and cliche. For another, Snape was Astoria's Head of House and probably knew Draco better than any of the other teachers. So I thought it made a lot of sense for him to be the one to talk to her. Dumbledore's portrait probably said something very complimentary to Snape's portrait after Astoria left. ;)

Feel free to make up as many words and phrases as you like! I really enjoy your reviews!

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Review #12, by Gabriella Hunter 

29th May 2013:

Hey there, I thought that I would do like I said and stop by but it was naughty of me to read this entire chapter without leaving a review last night but here I am. :D
The things you do to me! I wasn't certain whether to scream along with Draco or not because, honestly, it seems as if everyone is against him at some point.
What I really liked was the beginning with Isadore and Astoria, it really showed the contrast between the two girls and I really do think that's a good thing. For a while we're so caught up in the angst and attraction that its sort of hard to see the rational side of things. Isadore pointed out a very good dose of reality for Astoria, who is still bouncing from thinking she's in love to wondering if he's a passing fancy. Somehow, I think she might have to discover that for herself but I did admire her courage to stand up to her father. It took some steel and it was obviously hard for her but it was more than obvious that her parents find her interest in Draco to be a losing situation. From her father's POV I can understand how he feels but Astoria has so much hope that its hard to really care. I'm not sure if her hope in Draco, by this last bit of the chapter will bite her later or if you're hinting on that but I'm eager for their relationship to grow or crumble. Hopefully, it doesn't! D':
Nice little addition of Snape in this too, I was a tad surprised that he would have anything to say at all but it was great hearing his opinion. Though I'm sure what he said sort of praised and dissed Draco all at once, it was an honest truth that Astoria may have needed to hear.
I thought your Snape was pretty spot on too, just as another thing, I still remember your one-shot about career day. Hahaha.
On to Draco then! I find the way you write him to be simply fantastic and I have no idea how you do it, he feels so real and so tormented that I can't help but feel sorry for him. And at the same time, I'm rooting for him to get better but the confrontation with his father had me worried.
It was wonderfully written and the failing health of his father must have been hard to see after years of admiring him. I think playing on that was really well-done but I'm so thankful that Draco stood up to him as well, which shows a major growth of character.
But I'm worried for what Lucius has planned and what he's been up to. I know that it won't be good of course but its going to be an amazing read and this ending! NOOO!! Draco drink apple juice instead! ARGH! >_<
The poor thing! I have to keep on reading now!
Thanks for the awesome read!
Much love,

Author's Response: Hi, Gabbie! I'm so happy you're back!

I can see why it seems that everyone is against Draco at some point. In fairness, I suppose, he's tormented nearly all of them at some point in his life, holding his family's wealth and influence over their heads. Payback isn't fun, but he's definitely growing up.

Isadore is good for Astoria. She genuinely cares about Astoria and she's more worldly, especially when it comes to the opposite sex. That's going to be a fairly big deal in chapter 10. ;) But, she's a little shallow and self-absorbed, as well. That's actually helpful to Astoria because she can see some of her own bad traits reflected in Isadore.

Astoria's father has been really difficult for me to write, finding that balance between being too normal and too caricatured, a la Lucius Malfoy. Astoria's parents love her dearly and they want what's best for her, it's just that their definition of "what's best" is rapidly diverging from what Astoria wants for herself.

I'm really pleased that you liked Snape. That was originally going to be Dumbledore's portrait, but I realized that Astoria and Snape probably had a lot more in common.

Aww, that's so nice of you to say about Draco. I get in a certain groove with him sometimes where his character just makes sense. When that happens, I should seriously lock myself in a room and just write until it runs out. Lucius's decline is much harder on him than he's willing to admit.

Draco had a pretty serious relapse. It was bound to happen eventually, I think. The poor guy's putting a ton of pressure on himself. Hopefully he bounces back. ;)

Thanks so much for reading and reviewing! I've missed you!

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Review #13, by Arithmancy_Wiz 

27th May 2013:
Has it really been more than month since I reviewed? That's shameful. Thumbs down for me. Oh, and congratulations on finishing your 5K! Running is one of my least and most favorite things to do... depending on the day :P

I really like Isadore. If Astoria is the heroine from a Jane Austen novel, Isadore is the slightly less insightful but always up for a bit of good gossip best friend. She offers a nice balance for Astoria, and a good character for her to play off of. She's a bit more shallow than Astoria, but in her own way, far less naÔve. She's interested in the drama of it all -- the sneaking around, the scandal, the snogging. It's all very teenage-girl of her. Astoria, on the other hand, is wondering if Draco is her "one true love," and seemingly blind to the fact that while he did what he did under threat of death, there were a lot of people on the side of good who did what they did in SPITE of the fact that they might be killed at any moment. It's very enjoyable to watch as Astoria tries to figure it all out.

Oh, and the line: Bad ideas were so much easier to spot when they came from somebody else's lips. Brilliant... and so incredible true!

Hooray for Snape! I love when he pops up in a story. I can't help myself. He'll always be my favorite. Aside from that, in the context of the story though, he makes a great addition. He really does have good perspective on the issue. He knew what Draco did and why he did it. But he also isn't one to give credit where credit isn't due. I loved his line: To truly be evil requires a courage in one's convictions that neither Draco nor his father will ever possess. A compliment and an insult all tied up in one pretty package. In other words, Draco isn't malicious, just spineless. So Snape!!

Well, I can't say I'm surprised at Lucius, though he's an idiot if he hasn't learned his lesson by now. And poor Draco. All that hard work down the drain. The fall is so much harder the second time around.

And can I just say how much I loved the line: Dark curses had a way of consuming strong emotions, leaving him feeling pleasantly numb. What a cool concept. It's almost as if dark curses take something from the caster without them really realizing it. It's almost like a drug that leaves a high, which is really only the byproduct of it killing off brain cells. There has to be a story in there somewhere!

Okay, I'm going to offer a bit of CC, which you can take or leave as you see fit. I noticed something in this chapter -- a tendency to "announce" the impending dialogue instead of just jumping right in. A few examples:

-- Isadore interrupted her silent contemplation, lowering the tone of her voice and sounding very serious.

-- A tense moment passed before McGonagall's clipped Scottish brogue filled the silence.

-- She heard him snort in response before continuing.

-- As soon as the door closed behind the Headmistress, her father fixed her with a glare and spoke in a low, angry voice.

-- Lucius laced his fingers together and forced a smile onto his face before speaking.

Variety is the spice of life, and of course, a long conversation with no narration is also a problem, but personally, I think it might punch up the scenes of bit to allow a bit more uninterrupted back and forth in the dialogue. I think the breaks are mostly unnecessary, and I'm not sure if you do it intentionally, but you almost never string together more than two pieces of dialogue without a narrative break. Anyway, just some food for thought to do with as you wish. It was just something I noticed and thought I'd pass along.

Just a couple of typos. Otherwise another lovely chapter. I can't wait to see the repercussions of Draco's fall off the wagon.

-- They stone gargoyle regarded her with a disinterested expression and spoke before moving aside (The stone)

-- If it is your wish that she no longer participate our visits to Hogsmeade, that is your prerogative (participate in our)

-- This was one of those times where it was essential to be a a good pure blood daughter (double a)

-- Yes, I want you to make well reasoned decisions (well-reasoned)

-- No longer will be be forced to endure the petty torments of blood traitors and mudbloods (will we be)

Author's Response: Hi, there!

First off, thanks for the typos! I went through and corrected them all. And I completely understand what you mean about "announcing" dialog. Writing in this style of separating the dialog is driving me insane. Once I finish this story... never again! Well, unless I feel like it. ;) But even then, I will be careful not to "lead in" to the dialog.

Isadore winds up being a sort of mirror that Astoria can stare into and see some of her own less desirable traits. It helps that Astoria has a friend like Isadore who's a little shallow and self-absorbed and dramatic. Astoria can see those bad traits more easily in somebody else. And you're right, Isadore is more worldly than Astoria, particularly when it comes to the opposite sex. That's about to become a pretty big deal in chapter 10...

Originally, I had Dumbledore offering a bit of advice to Astoria. But it dawned on me that he really had no significance in her life, while Snape was both her Head of House and Draco's "protector". So it made more sense to use him. I thought that line sounded so much like Snape, I fell in love with it right away.

Yes, Lucius is a total idiot. And the problem is that the entire family is already skating on such thin ice that even Lucius's pathetic attempt to regain his "relevance" as a force of evil could land them in big trouble. So Draco is understandably furious.

The bit about dark curses draining away unpleasant emotions was an idea I came up with while I was writing CoB. It clicked really well for me, because it cast characters like Voldemort in an interesting light, I thought. Maybe the reason he had to keep using the Killing Curse again and again was to temporarily ease the pain of his shattered soul? Whether or not it makes total sense, it became my theory and I'm sticking to it!

Thank you for such a thoughtful, thorough review! I love readers who can see the forest and the trees, so to speak.

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Review #14, by Remus 

30th April 2013:
Hey Dan!

I really wish I had a time turner because I seriously don't have the time to read and review as often as I did. But considering that I'm already three chapters behind I figured I should narrow the gap by coming to review this chapter. I was guilty of reading and never coming to review until now...oops. :S

One of the things that stuck out to me the most and definitely one of my favorite details is how Astoria behaves. One moment she's a normal teen talking to her friend and the next an obedient daughter who only speaks when she's allowed. You definitely have kept in mind that most of the Slytherins come from a somewhat 'posh' upbringing. Proper behavior from a lady is expected from these girls. Perhaps that's why I always seem to picture Astoria in a large Victorian era gown instead of her uniform. The part where her friend tells her that she's a Slytherin and therefore she has to lie made me giggle; mostly because it's true.

The line:

"Not being a parent, perhaps you can't understand how upsetting that is to her mother and me."

That line by her father just annoyed me. I thought, "How dare this man talk to Minerva that way!" And then I felt a little sad because McGonagall has a very tragic past. How rude of a man! Again though! Kudos to you for bringing yourself into a mindset of a Slytherin father. He's concern about his daughter's wellbeing but at the same time, he doesn't think that school is dignified enough for his child and feels the need to let the Headmistress know that. I have to ask, how do you do it? You're able to write bad guys so well but clearly you're a Gryffindor. Hahaha! Astoria's dad is not a bad guy per say but he has a bit of that pure-blood tendencies and that his family is better than everyone else's. And yet...he's a loving father who is concern about her wellbeing and her future. He's a very stubborn man...ugh, I don't know how I feel about the guy yet...

Just so you know I wanted to applaud just like Astoria after Minerva's speech. But I was at work...and that would've looked weird.

I absolutely loved Snape's speech.

Lucius is going absolutely mad!

I can just picture Jason Isaacs rocking back and forth in his chair looking wasted away and disheveled. For a while you had me there, that there were some Death Eaters trying to rise once again and finish what Voldemort had started. But then I felt bad for him...a little bit.

But Draco in the end just made me very upset! He was doing so well with his drinking and now Lucius had to ruin everything. So much angst for Draco! I know that Astoria and Draco get together so I know that there will be a happy ending to this story. Unless you go through the alternate universe route...then I won't be happy! Haha!

Well, I hope to not take forever to read and review the next chapter! But I'll be back nonetheless!

Until next time, sir!


Author's Response: Hi, Rosie! I caught up with my review responses this morning and now I'm endeavoring to keep up a little better. Time will tell whether I succeed.

Astoria's upbringing definitely affects how she behaves, and it's different around adults than people her own age. She is expected to be a proper young lady when her father is addressing her in public, or when he's angry in general I imagine. But she's also a teenage girl and the behavior of her less proper schoolmates has rubbed off on her. And Isadore doesn't just think she should lie because she's a Slytherin, it's also because she's a girl. :p

Mr. Greengrass has been one of those characters that I'm sort of figuring out as I go along. I don't know whether that shows, but I always sort of plunk him into a situation and think, "OK, how is he going to act?" In this case, he is very concerned about Astoria's well-being. And he still has enough misconceptions about the war to make ignorant statements like the one he makes about Dumbledore. In his mind, Dumbledore over-reacted to Voldemort and because of that, he allowed Hogwarts to be dragged into something that a school never should have been part of. He's wrong, of course, but he doesn't know that and McGonagall probably doesn't see any point in trying to set him straight at this particular moment. It isn't as though she would have changed his mind.

When I was first mapping out this chapter, I had Astoria talking to Dumbledore instead of Snape. But then it occurred to me that Snape knows Draco much better and Astoria would be more likely to take his advice to heart. It just sort of rolled from there.

Old Lucius isn't well. His time in Azkaban and the war both took a toll on him, and losing all of his friends and influence inside the Ministry was a pretty cruel blow, as well. I'm glad you can see Jason Isaacs behaving like that, because it was pretty much exactly what I had in mind.

In my mind, I always expected Draco to have some missteps during his recovery. Most addicts do. I wasn't planning on going to AU route, but now that you mention it, I could turn this into a really awesome Dramione! :p

I always love it when you stop by. Thanks so much for reading and reviewing!

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Review #15, by Flavia 

27th April 2013:
Ok, I'm way behind in my reviewing, but I'm trying to catch up. So here's my next review :)

The conversation with Isadore made me laugh, I loved how she was so determined that Astoria wasn't telling her the whole story. I think it showed a lot about her character too, the fact that she refused to lie to her father and yet she was determined to do whatever she could to defend Draco and stay at Hogwarts where she still had access to him.

Astoria's father is amazing...I just want to reach through my computer screen and throttle him! The conversation between Astoria and her father showed an interesting duality in Astoria I thought. She's this good daughter who wants the approval of her father but at the same time there is this quiet strength in her that gives her the motivation to stand up to her father when she thinks it's necessary. That demonstrates how important her relationship with Draco already is to her.

I thought the conversation between Astoria and Snape was really clever too, that's one thing that's so brilliant about the HP universe, you can bring in conversations with dead people with a little bit of creative thinking :) It was good for Astoria to get a different perspective too.

I really like your characterisation of Lucius Malfoy. He's just sort of wasting away, living in this delusion that everything can carry on the way it did before the war, that they can still overtake the ministry etc. His father's desire to get involved with this movement or revolution or whatever you want to call it is a real complication for Draco and adds a nice challenge to the plot, I'm looking forward to seeing where it goes.

I really liked the contrast between the two scenes with the fathers, it was a really clever device and I thought it worked well.

Overall, another brilliantly written chapter that I cannot fault even the slightest bit. Well done, and I'll try to finish off the next two reviews as soon as I can :)

Author's Response: Hi, there! Hasn't it been a fun month of April? I'm not sure how next month can possibly top this.

Isadore is another foil that I'm trying -- successfully, I hope -- to draw out some of the things that make Astoria stand out. She's on the mature side for her age, but she is still a teenage girl and therefore prone to a bit of drama, indecision and silliness. Regardless, Astoria is smart enough not to tell Isadore too much at once, lest it be all over the school in a matter of days. Isadore isn't malicious, she's just a hopeless romantic who wants to see Astoria in a relationship so they can gossip about it.

Astoria's father is a little too sure of what he thinks that he knows about a lot of things, including Draco and the war. That said, he is still very concerned for Astoria's well-being, and I hope that came through well enough in this. She will stand up to him to a certain extent, but she knows where to stop pushing her luck.

My first thought was to use Dumbledore's portrait for the conversation Astoria has at the end, but Snape just felt more natural. He's so much more blunt, and I think blunt was what Astoria needed at that moment.

By the time he appears in Deathly Hallows, I already had the impression that old Lucius was a shell of his former self. Azkaban was not kind to him. He isn't a fanatic like Crouch, Jr. or Bellatrix who came out of Azkaban even more hardened than they went in. I always had the impression that Azkaban broke him. By the end of the war, I don't think his mental health is good at all. Now he's sort of trying to recapture the "glory days" when he was a big, important, powerful man and not just a sorry, humbled shell.

I'm glad you liked the two different fathers. One very strong, one on the verge of collapse, both having a lot of difficulty dealing with post-war reality.

I'm so pleased that you're enjoying the story! Thanks for all of your awesome reviews!

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Review #16, by Dark Whisper 

19th April 2013:
I forgot to say something about that last chapter... I liked how they were able to laugh a bit and I loved how he contemplated leaving everything, but didn't for the lives of his parents. Very good. Sorry that I left that out.

Anyway... For this chapter, I love Snape and his words to her. He is so right about the nearly impossible, but it is what she believes is the most important. Your insight is very wise and your Snape was perfect. :)

Draco is right to be so upset. His emotions are really up and down and I feel so sorry for him right now. His father is really 'losing it' and could really hurt his future. It's so sad to read of a relapse, but is realistic and rings true. Poor Draco.

Great chapter. I love how deep you go. And Astoria is doing so well with her father... still his good little pureblood daughter, but still finding a way to bend the rules in still communicating with him.

And Draco already thinking of marriage? Awe... But then wondering why she would want a mess like him? Awe...

Great job,
Dark Whisper

Author's Response: Hi!

I'm glad you liked the levity between Astoria and Draco. Obviously, there will be points in the story where things aren't quite so rosy and light-hearted.

I debated long and hard about whether to include Snape's moment. To me, it felt a little cliched. But I also wanted Astoria to get that little bit of clarity from somewhere, and he seemed like the best choice at the time. He's also blunt to a fault, as opposed to Dumbledore, who probably would have had something flowery and metaphorical to say.

Draco's father is being an idiot. No doubt about that. Part of what I wanted to show is that Draco does still have serious issues controlling his temper. It's something you see fairly often in PTSD victims. In the end, it drags him back a couple of steps.

One thing I love about Astoria is that she *is* a Slytherin. So I can blend a measure of equivocation and deviousness into her character and it doesn't feel out of place at all. Above all else, she's very practical.

Thanks so much for all of your awesome reviews!

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Review #17, by patronus_charm 

10th March 2013:
Yay a new chapter :D

I guess I can see Astoriaís reluctance to tell other people about her escapades! She was a rather a demure, and proper girl before meeting Draco, and since meeting him, sheís battled evil wizards, broken school rules, and hung out with a death eater. You can see how thatís benefitted both of them, as Astoria seems more free now, and more willing to go against the norm, and I guess any friendly company for Draco would do him good, considering how estranged from society he was getting.

I like how youíve tied in the social expectations of a pureblood into their lives. Iíve often read stories focused on purebloods, who arenít aware of any of the social decorum expected of them, so it was a delight to see it here. I always find it fascinating to see how in many respects the magical world are much further behind in the muggle world, I mean this is then 90s, a woman could pretty much do whatever she wanted then!

I liked the confrontation between Astoriaís father and McGonagall, as they were both so in character, you can just imagine it happening. It was interesting to his views on Dumbledore, muggleborns and house elves. You can see that he is more liberal than quite a few purebloods, but I guess some ideas will always stick with him. I liked the little thing about the portraits, it was nice to see that they were still being remembered.

I feel for Astoria, just as things were finally beginning to develop between her and Draco, and she admitted her feelings about him to Isadore, her father forces her to not to talk to him. Iíll just have to wait in hope that her rebellious streak will continue, and that sheíll disobey her father, and still talk to Draco.

I liked the cameo from Snape. He was always one of my favourite characters, and I liked that he seemed to have become rather wise since dying, and he did seem to provide an excellent point, and it did make you think about the concept of evil.

It was nice to see how much Astoria meant to Draco, the fact that he could pick out the smell of her lotion, was enough to show that he cared about her, as only someone in love would bother to do that. He seemed to cherish her letters a lot too, and that again shows how much he cares about her.

I never thought that Lucius would ever redeem himself, so that fact that he wanted to take part in these plans didnít surprise me at all. I really liked Dracoís reaction to it all. I liked to think that he would redeem himself, and I guess that he did, due to him not wanting to partake in this regrouping of death eaters.

I thought this was an excellent chapter, and it had so much drama in it, Iím already eagerly anticipating the next one!


Author's Response: Hello, again!

Astoria has a lot of reasons for not wanting people to find out about her and Draco. His reputation aside, she's pretty sure that word will get back to Daphne, which in turn means that it will get back to her father. But she is very excited about the romantic possibilities.

I highly doubt that proper, pure blood young ladies are easy to confuse with liberated, progressive 90's women. These people's entire sense of self-worth is build around old money, old blood lines and old customs. So you're not likely to find many pure blood girls asking a guy out on a date. Of course, they have no problem having their best friend tell his best friend that she would be pleased to be asked out. ;)

Horatio is understandably upset, I think. If he'd left it at that, Minerva would have totally understood. But the way he expresses his displeasure was almost guaranteed to set her off. The two of them just don't see eye to eye on very much.

If you pay close attention, her father only forbade her to spend time with him. Owl post is, of course, a sizable loophole that she was not about to point out to him.

I thought a lot about letting Dumbledore be the voice of encouragement, but being a Slytherin, I felt like she was more likely to take Snape's advice seriously. I'm glad you liked the way he turned out.

At this point, Astoria means nearly everything to Draco. That's not to say he'd go all Romeo and kill himself if she wasn't around, but she has become this very idealized goal in his mind. She represents his dreams of having a family and living a "normal" pure blood life of the sort that he remembers from his youth, before he ever heard the name Voldemort.

Sadly, certain parts of Lucius will never change. He's still, at some level, a very small man who's trying to live a life that's too big for him. In spite of all his money and the power and respect he held before the war, it was never enough for him. He wanted to be more than just what he inherited. But the way he chose to go about that was a disaster.

I'm starting to work on the next one after taking a fairly long hiatus to focus on the Gryffindor-Slythern reviewing battle. Maybe by next weekend. Thanks so much for reading and reviewing!

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Review #18, by Jchrissy 

9th March 2013:

Hi ♥ I just finished assigning Gryffie Bday Reviews for this month and this is my reward :wub face:

Iím a bit unsure about you right now, Dan. You have a brother, no sisters. You didnít marry a high school sweet heart/ wouldnít have had any reason to hear about all the inner workings of teenagers. and yet you write this conversation between Astoria and Isadore perfectly. Donít get me wrong, Iíve always realized what an amazing author you are, but getting inside a teenage girlís mind is something thatís dang near impossible. I donít even think I knew what as going on in my mind when I was a teenager!

I loved that you still stayed true to Astoria. Sheís telling her friend about it, and enjoying telling her about it, but not wanting it to go past that and end up in a gossipy sort of rumor. I think Iíve said this before, but Isadore is the perfect best teenage friend here. She pushes at Astoria to tell her more, she gets carried away, she doesnít control her words... really, sheís absolutely perfect. And a nice contrast to our more mature Astoria.

And now! When Astoria already has much bigger fish to fry (like her father) Isadore finally decides thatís enough proof for her to believe Astoria. Ha! I loved that! Youíre making me really miss being a teenager, by the way.

I think the conversation between Minerva and Mr. Greengrass was perfect. He isnít cruel, but heís pompous. Heís worried about his daughter and he has no reason to not take his worry out on the woman who is charged with her care. Youíve made him a good man in some ways without taking away the fact that he is part of the exclusive pureblood society. And heís raised a daughter who thinks for herself and takes charge of her own life.

Her argument is a very impressive one! Again, with the insanely perfect details you have. Astoria doesnít interrupt her father because she knows it isnít right, but she also isnít afraid to try and state her point of view. I feel like they share a real mutual respect for one another, but that she still realizes that he *is* her father. God, Iím just so in love with all these people. Youíre really creating not only an incredible Astoria, but giving her the roots that we need to see *how* she became this way. Iím hugging you mentally right now.

And theyíre still talking! I wondered if sheíd let her good girl side or her teenage girl side win out. But, at the same time, Astoria promised not to *see* Draco. She even restated her promise to her father. And she isnít seeing him. Sheís writing him. Those are two very different things. She found her loophole and sheís going for it! Yay Astoria!

I really, really love that Draco is angry about the man his fatherís become. Itís a really powerful statement and emotion, and gah I just am in awe of how incredibly perfectly you write these characters. Oh god. Lucius really is going off the deep end, isnít he? This conversation is almost painful. You make all the emotions so powerful and swimming at the surface. Have I ever told you that I love, love what you do with Draco?

Oh no :(! I donít like this part! Oh Draco!!! Donít do it. Your worthless dad has brought back all that anger, and youíre going to make such a big mistake :(. I feel so sad for him right now. Iím happy that I didnít know the ending to this chapter, because this was just such a surprising and emotional ending. I canít decide how I feel. I like seeing Draco regress in an odd way, because it really does feel so realistic. It makes his current position and what heís going through in life as intense as it deserves to be, and you remind us that even if Draco is trying, he isnít perfect. But at the same time it breaks my heart so, so much because he was doing SO WELL. He has Astoria, he has his education, but Lucius just forced all those feelings back. I hate the man. I hope he gets sickly and dies soon. :[

This chapter was my very favorite so far. I loved seeing each of our characters deal with their own difficult things, and I really hope they can get through their separate struggles together. Iím so excited for the next!

Author's Response: Sigh. You've gone and shamed me by responding to a review that I left *after* this one, so it's high time I got off my butt and gave you a proper response.

I put some real thought into the conversation between Astoria and Isadore, so I'm glad it played well. I feel like Astoria is surrounded by people she can't really trust with the truth about her relationship with Draco -- she's a Slytherin, after all -- but she's also a teenage girl and if she couldn't talk to someone about it, she'd explode or something. So Isadore is there for her, much the same way that she was there after Isadore and Theo's father got thrown into Azkaban. At any rate, Astoria is very aware of how quickly things could get out of control if rumors start flying, so she's being very judicious about what she tells anybody, including Isadore.

I imagined the conversation between Horatio Greengrass and Professor McGonagall being very tense. From his point of view, his daughter could have been badly hurt or killed, so it's understandable that he's angry. The way he chooses to express that anger, however, infuriates the Headmistress. Probably a good thing that Astoria came into the room when she did.

Astoria does put her father back on his heels just a bit, at least enough so that he abandons his plan to pull her out of school. Her argument is pretty well reasoned. So he takes what I'd consider the more "adult" way out. He makes his expectations totally unambiguous and offers her a second chance. Unfortunately for him, he didn't think through all the loopholes. Not a good plan when you're dealing with a very bright Slytherin girl...

One thing I hope came across clearly in this chapter is that Draco is angry *about* the man his father has become and he's angry *at* the man his father has become, and they're not exactly the same thing. Being angry *at* his father is pretty obvious in this case, because his father is acting like an idiot. But being angry *about* the way his father has changed also has undertones of denial and self-loathing. Lucius isn't the only one who was changed for the worse by the war, and when Draco sees the old man in a physical and mental decline, part of what makes him so uneasy is the realization that Lucius's problems are a more extreme version of his own.

To me, it was beyond question that Draco would backslide on his recovery at some point. Nothing in life is that easy. All things considered, he could have done a lot worse, I think. The uncontrollable anger he feels is a symptom of some larger problems that he simply hasn't been able to deal with yet.

I'm glad that I'm able to keep raising the bar. The next chapter might be a bit slower, but I promise I have some big things in mind. If I could just keep all these plot bunnies at bay...

Thank you, as always, for all your support!

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Review #19, by MissMdsty 

8th March 2013:
Oh my God! Lucius has gone mad! I'll get back to you on that!

I was so excited to see you updated and more so when I saw that Astoria's father would be in this one! But one thing at a time!

First, Astoria. I love this battle she has going on inside of her, between her proper upbringing and the things she just knows are true. The rebellious teen years of a princess. That's going to be fun!

I really love those moments when we can explain to our parents why they are contradicting themselves, when what they do doesn't match up to what they've taught us! And Astoria has a way of twisting around her father's words to get him to agree that makes me so proud of her!

One thing I've always loved about your writting is how in character you keep the canon people. It's so flawless, the way in which McGonagall speaks and in this chapter, Snape. I can hear them in my head as I read and I haven't seen many stories where the author manages to do that, so good job!

And now back to Lucius! He's lost his narrow mind! How on Earth does he think the Ministry won't move against the old families the minute they step a toe out of line? If it weren't for Narcissa, they'd all be locked away! Can you imagine that? All the Malfoys in Azkaban? No Scorpius! That's a scary thought for me! Anyway, enough rambling, more reviewing.

I was really upset to see Draco's relapse in this chapter, though I was expecting it. I do believe it's common in recovering addicts, especially if they've gone cold turkey, like Draco. At least, from what I've gathered, he didn't actually finish the bottle.

I noticed another thing. In the first chapters, his drinking was all about forgetting what he had done during the war and the horrors he had to face. Now, he's drinking because he can't be the man Astoria deserves. I would say it's an improvement, except it isn't. He needs to get his stuff together and actually become that man! Eh, baby steps.

Another amazing chapter! I enjoyed every moment of it! Good job!


Author's Response: Hi, there!

When I was writing this, I had this image of Lucius in my mind and he was maybe 2 notches above hiding in a dark corner of the room, whispering, "My preciousss..." I always felt like the war took a huge toll on him. It's definitely the way he was portrayed in Deathly Hallows, both the book and the movies.

Different aspects of Astoria's upbringing really come into conflict in this chapter, and I hope that made it clear what a complex and thoughtful young woman she is. She does turn her father's words against him, but I don't really think of her as twisting them. Rather, she's trying to show him just how inconsistent he's being. Most parents are guilty of this to some greater or lesser extent. We want our children to grow and learn from their experiences, but we're loathe to see them get hurt in any way if we think we can prevent it. Perhaps Horatio will come around before the story is done.

I'm really pleased you like McGonagall and Snape. It isn't easy to get them to sound just right.

Back to Lucius. Lucius's story, I think, is the story of a man who always wanted to be something more than what he was. He had mountains of gold, obviously, but you can't buy respect. He chose to become a Death Eater because he thought that people would fear and respect him if he was part of the Dark Lord's inner circle. Even after the disastrous outcome of that decision, that desire to be *somebody* is still present. Perhaps it's even stronger, now that life has humbled him so. Consequently, he continues to take foolish risks with his own safety and that of his family.

It's probably a testament to Draco's resolve that it took this long for him to relapse. Think about all the awful things he's been through. His drinking has a slightly different motivation in this chapter, but the underlying theme is the same: he drinks to get away from emotions that he doesn't know how to handle. It's absolutely a form of PTSD.

Thanks so much for being such a fan of the story! I always enjoy seeing what you thing about it.

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