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Reading Reviews for Detox, Chapter 7: Old Habits
  
18 Reviews Found

Review #1, by dirtydeedsdonedirtcheap 

1st April 2015:
Dan! I'm back. It'll probably be awhile until I finish this story because I work two jobs and I'm also trying to attempt NaNo even though it started today and I have three hundred words but no actual plot. No matter!

The muscles in her face were starting to hurt from the effort of maintaining her fake cheer. Astoria was certain that she looked like a hippogriff wrapped in a peach chiffon tent.

This is why after the second time I will never be a bridesmaid again and have rejected countless of people. Itís like the bride gets a great amount of satisfaction out of making us look ugly. And peach chiffon?

Chiffon in general is a deal breaker.

Darling, youíre sixteen years old. You need to begin seriously thinking about finding a husband.

I know it goes with the times and their society but can you imagine getting married at sixteen? Thatís insane. When I was sixteen I had just started dating. I wasnít thinking I need to find my husband. I need to get married. Then again one of my friends has been for the longest time and her mother is demanding she get married ASAP because she says she is Ďtoo old.í Weíre in our early 20ís. No way, no how.

Astoria, have some sense.

Then again Draco wants to marry her too. Even though the two arenít actually together.

He gets terrible marks at school, his brows are far too thick and quite frankly he smells.Ē

Sounds like my ex-boyfriend.

He doesnít bathe regularly!Ē

Neither did he.

Her parents would certainly disown her, and sheíd be shunned by ďpoliteĒ pure blood society.

Uh. WOMEN! Why so many of us believe we should throw our lives away over a man is beyond me. Granted Draco isnít a horrible guy but sheís willing to throwing everything away to be with him. Allegedly anyway because sheís childish and I donít think she could actually go through with it. Thereís going to be a turning point but man it just annoys me. Itís like every Disney movie out there. Let me give up my voice because of this man or my tribe or my freedom. Come on ladies!

Author's Response: Deeds, I'm getting the sense that you wouldn't have been a happy camper if you'd been born into an aristocratic pureblood magical family. Except, you know, for the money and the ability to do magic and stuff. ;)

One thing I enjoyed doing in this story was trying to come up with some scenes that anyone could relate to. Being a bridesmaid is one of those funny things; most people are honored to be asked to do it but every minute of the process seems like torture.

I felt as though the social norms of the old money purebloods would be sort of Victorian, since it seems like most of their other customs -- and their mode of dress -- fit with that era. I would definitely encourage you to wait until you're good and ready. I've seen way too many people make **that** mistake.

Hah! I think you're going to love Emery Montague. You'll meet him a little later on.

I'll quibble with you a tiny bit here. I think Astoria is willing to throw away her comfortable life with her family over the need for self-determination. At this point, Draco is the symptom, not the underlying cause. Eh, I'll admit that parts of this story are a bit Disney-esque. Hopefully you won't feel that way by the end.

Thanks so much!


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Review #2, by Roisin 

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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Review #3, by Veritaserum27 

28th May 2014:
Hello!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

~Beth

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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Review #4, by TheHeirOfSlytherin 

11th March 2014:
So I've not read it all, that last review should say. Also, Astoria's thoughts on eloping reminded me of what Draco said in the last chapter, which made me smile, then wonder if they were thinking too far ahead, then laugh for wondering. :P

Anyway, dress fittings. I've suffered through a few, I feel her pain. I didn't get champagne, though. Sucks to be me. :P

The conversation between Astoria and her mother escalated badly, didn't it? I didn't assume anything when her mother came in, but when she mentioned Emery I wasn't surprised. I was surprised by what came out of the conversation - after her father's words of giving Astoria freedom and choice, I thought that she could choose who she dated. That approval was what she would find important, not that they'd pick someone.

I'm not surprised by the idea of marriage prospects being chosen and arranged marriages, as they are Pureblood and I figured it would come up, just the idea of them going through with it. Poor Astoria.

I'm starting to hope she runs away with Draco when she's seventeen, unless she can get her parents to change her mind.

He better not still be drinking...

...The first paragraph! God, Draco. Although, I like the moderation bit.. I don't want him to be like before.

Did you just hint at slash...?

so, I take it that Draco wants to... impersonate Emery to be Astoria's date? Yes? Well, it would explain how he could get to the wedding, since Astoria and Daphne's parents hate him (I read the chapter summaries). Interesting.

Draco treading on dangerous ground, I think. Agreeing to listening, I know he doesn't want any part in it, but I hope he manages to get out before he's caught.

And Jeremy Gamp is part of it? Would Astoria's father like that?

Next chapter!

Sam.

Author's Response: Hi, again!

I think it's safe to say that both of them are thinking too far ahead at this point in the story. Not for bad reasons, mind you, but too far ahead nonetheless. Bad, old Dan still has lots of nasty curveballs to throw at them before we can hear wedding bells. ;)

I couldn't imagine anyone making it through Daphne's dress fitting without help, not even Daphne. Daphne goes a bit too far with the help, though.

Astoria lets her frustration get the best of her while talking to her mother. Just one more instance where I'm hoping that her true age shows through a little. I've always felt like she seems too mature at the start of the story. Here, you see her reacting to a temporary setback more like you'd expect a teenage girl to react. "My life is over..."

Her parents' approval *is* important to Astoria, but not so important that she's going to even consider marrying Emery Montague. Let's just say that she's keeping all of her options open at this point.

I think I more than just hinted at slash. :p

You've got it spot on. Draco plans to use polyjuice to take Emery's place and spend the evening with Astoria. It's not the world's best thought out plan, as you'll see, but after surviving the war Draco has some difficulty assessing danger. Everything seems like a piece of cake compared to serving Voldemort.

Astoria's father would not be pleased at all if he know that Daphne's fiancee was dabbling in revolution. Unfortunately, he doesn't find out for quite a while.

Onwards! Thanks so much for reading and reviewing!


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Review #5, by Pixileanin 

25th February 2014:
Oh, poor Astoria! Daphne's dress fitting sounds like a dreadful time! Someone should have taken away her champagne a little earlier. I am so grateful that bustles are far from the fashion rage of today. What a horrid contraption!

Astoria does go out of her way to make her sister's day all about the bride-to-be, and that is commendable. Her thoughts pull us into her upbringing, the right and proper way that things are done, instead of what she wants. It's a testament to her character that she's able to separate her longing from her reality. But I can tell that she still has hope for her own dreams coming true, and in almost a childish way, she's planning for herself. I like the budding strength that she has, and the way that she's going through all of her options in her head. It feels here that she's simply biding her time until the moment is more suited to her favor, which is smart. At the same time, I can sense her unease. She's still thinking "what about me?", and I feel her young age throughout this section. Well done!

I love how throughout this section, you keep the action rolling. The characters are doing and moving, all the while thinking and scheming. It definitely keeps the life in the scene, and the forward momentum of the story. No one is standing still, percolating.

Well, except for Emery. Hehe. "It isn't an insult, mother. Ask anyone who knows him. He doesn't bathe regularly!"

Astoria's plan for her independence is quite rebellious for her character, but I can tell it's what she believes in strongly, and with that will of hers, it will be hard for anyone to tell her that it's a bad idea. Not that I'm wanting to do that. Emery sounds practically repulsive!

I loved how you cut straight through to after Draco has read Astoria's letter and has had time to dwell on what she's written. Apparently, he read into it what Astoria wanted him to, and he's eager to make headway with whatever she has in mind. Very forward, very daring plans, too. I wouldn't expect anything less from him, seeing as his life so far has been so life-or-death that this probably seems like a walk in the park. How hard can crashing a wedding be?

Draco's dig at Emery was very funny! Sometimes I wonder how long we writers actually sit around and think up ways to Potterize ingenious sayings. I bet there's a list out there.

Draco's plan sounds a hundred times riskier than Astoria's, but I find it fun and intriguing that they are both willing to put themselves at risk to be with each other. Draco's "cover" as he explains it to Zabini sounds plausible, but I wonder if his friend will be sneaky enough to figure things out and give Draco trouble for it.

I'm betting that Draco hopes the men on the "forefront" of this revolution bite it fast enough that he won't get the chance to be dragged into anything nefarious. His determination is commendable here. I'm guessing that his "friends" aren't going away anytime soon, since they have to stick around long enough to cause trouble in CoB. But I can dream, right?

Author's Response: OK, so I've obviously never been to a fitting for bridesmaids dresses, but I really can't imagine anything less fun than being stuck in a room full of people trying on uncomfortable clothes in an attempt to placate a woman who's in the process of going insane. That's pretty much the mindset from which I wrote this, and it snowballed from there.

Astoria does her best to help support her sister, but it's tough sledding. I'm glad she seemed more age-appropriate in this chapter. It's been a while coming. I tried to show some of that simmering, over-emotional teenage anger.

Whether it's Astoria or Draco taking a swipe at him, I really started to enjoy using our lad Emery as a punching bag in this story. All the poor guy really wants is to be left alone with his Quidditch magazines. Sadly, real life keeps interrupting. I hope you'll enjoy a couple more good chuckles at his expense before the story is over.

I didn't think there was too much to be gained by showing Draco's immediate reaction to reading Astoria's letter. It was pretty much what you'd expect: anger and disbelief following quickly by a determination to take matters into his own hands and "fix" the situation for her. You're right, after surviving the war, Draco doesn't think much of the challenge of infiltrating a simple wedding.

Draco is definitely playing with fire when he seeks help from Zabini and agrees to meet with Gamp and Flint. He's so confident in his ability to keep the upper hand over his former housemates that he doesn't worry too much about abusing their very limited trust. It's a bold move and without giving away too much I can tell you that it will have repercussions.

It wouldn't hurt Draco's feelings one bit to see Zabini and the other "revolutionaries" end up dead or in Azkaban. He's quite determined to keep out of it, but like Michael Corleone, he'll find that there are plenty of people who'll keep trying to pull him back in. It's an occupational hazard of being everyone's favorite reformed Death Eater. You're free to dream of Gamp, Flint and the others meeting their end, but as you know that doesn't happen for another forty years.

Thanks for reading and reviewing!


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Review #6, by LilyEPotter 

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

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

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

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Review #7, by UnluckyStar57 

25th January 2014:
Hola!!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Great chapter! :D

~UnluckyStar57

Author's Response: Hello, again!

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

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

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

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

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


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Review #8, by MissesWeasley123 

15th October 2013:
No. This is like Romeo and Juliet. It better not end that way!

Montague. *pouts* The first reference to R&J and I'm not liking it, not one bit. I swear... this better have a happy ending Dan!

I loved the whole bridesmaid thing, it was really fun to read. Astoria was like *eyeroll* the whole time and it was quite funny and interesting. I liked it a lot. Daphne was a different character to read, and it was quite strange that she was tipsy (according to Astoria at least) while shopping for dresses.

Ugh, maybe Astoria can give Montague a sleeping draught and take Draco instead? :) I think I'd like that. Astoria's mum. I would hope this whole arranged marriage concept didn't work but again, it's reminding me so much of Romeo and Juliet that aghhh. I really, really hope they don't take the places of Romeo and Juliet. Draco and Astoria deserve to be with each other.

Zabini is making me very nervous. I wish Draco would just get away. Not getting good vibes from Zabini or his friends.

A really interesting chapter, and a fun read. I quite liked this one :)

Author's Response: Hello, again!

I never really thought about parallels to Romeo and Juliet while writing this, but now that you mention it, I can sort of see it. Trust me, it won't end that way. That wouldn't be a nice thing to do to poor Scorpius. ;)

There are some experiences that I think are pretty universal, whether you're American or British, muggle or magical. Getting fitted for wedding apparel is a trial for everyone except the bride and possibly the bride's mother if she's one of those who gets **wayyy** too into the whole process. In this scene, the dresses are already picked out, so Astoria and the other bridesmaids are just getting fitted. Daphne is already an emotional basket case by this point, and her wedding is still a couple of months away. Fun times...

Interesting that you would think of Draco taking Montague's place. Seems that Draco has the same idea.

Like her father, Astoria's mother is a product of her upbringing. She comes from a background where pureblood families select marriages for their children based on a lot of different factors, and the child's preference isn't always number 1 on the list. It's not that she wants Astoria to be unhappy, she just wants the best possible marriage for her daughter based on a list of criteria that doesn't exactly line up with Astoria's own list.

Zabini probably should make you nervous at this point, but he's far from the worst of the lot. Wait until you meet Gamp...

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


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Review #9, by Sharvi 

11th August 2013:
Cannot wait to see how this wedding is going to go down!

Author's Response: It's gonna be a doozy. Hold onto your seat!

Thanks for reading and reviewing!


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Review #10, by Courtney Dark 

11th July 2013:
Hey!

First of all, I just want to say that I completely know what you mean about putting the chapter into words, because I have the same trouble with practically every chapter I write! And then I'm always a little disappointed when it doesn't turn out quite right:(

Anyway, great chapter! The dress fitting was fun to read - Daphne and Astoria are definitely two very different people, it's not hard to see why they might crash a bit. Daphne definitely seemed a little shallow, a little selfish and a lot more fiery than Astoria, although that could just be the stress of the wedding getting to her - she also seems like the type of person that doesn't cope well under pressure, another difference between Daphne and Astoria.

And I just have to say, that dress sounded awful! Poor Astoria. I'd hate to be in her shoes in this chapter - I don't like wearing normal dresses, let alone ones that look as though they were worn a hundred or so years ago.

I loved the letter, too. For me it really seemed to solidify Astoria's relationship with Draco - like she was properly committing herself, or something. And Emery Montague does not seem a very, erm, pleasing choice for an escort to a wedding. I liked both Astoria and Zabini's descriptions of him.

I got this very foreboding sort of feeling when Draco was talking to Zabini about this revolution. I'm so worried that he's going to pretend to be part of it and then caught and everything will go wrong! Or something along those lines.

Great chapter!

Courtney:)

Author's Response: Isn't that the most difficult thing? My brain knows exactly what's supposed to happen, it just can't make it all like up correctly and come out on the page (screen). Frustrating...

Daphne is more than a little shallow and selfish and excitable. At least that's how I imagine her. She doesn't cope well with pressure at all, so the wedding is really getting to her. Combined with too much champagne, she definitely goes a bit Bridezilla in this chapter. Her bridesmaid's dresses are pretty much a nightmare. Astoria is being patient with her sister on an almost saintly level in this chapter.

The letter was a huge step for Astoria. She is committing herself in a way, which she hadn't done up to this point.

You'll find out a lot more about Zabini's "revolution" in the next few chapters. It's a pretty bad scene, and Draco will do his best to steer clear. But life isn't always kind to Draco, unfortunately, and his options may end up being rather limited.

Yay, I'm staying somewhere close to caught up on responding to your reviews. I feel so bad when I fall behind. The House Cup isn't good for my manners. Thanks so much!


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Review #11, by Gabriella Hunter 

9th June 2013:
Hello!

Hey there, its been a short spell (See what I did there?) since my last review but I attacked this as soon as my blasted internet connection came back to life. And here is my review! :D Whoo~
So, we're back with Astoria and I was really amused reading how she felt about her sister's very elaborate wedding. I have my slight worries about it though, considering how much champagne Daphne had been drinking, is she not as happy as she's pretending I wonder? Perhaps I'm just looking too into it myself but I did love all the detail you put into Astoria's feelings about the event.
Thoughts of her own wedding and the slight problems she's having with her feelings regarding Draco were a nice touch to me. It made me realize still that she's still got some growing up to do and some of her thought processes showed that just a little. I was really proud of her for trying to stand up for her mother but I think she loves her family so much that she's both afraid and excited to do as SHE wants. My Astoria would be put into a box and buried in the back garden for such a thought but I'm hoping yours isn't going to have such a nasty end. Hehehe. Why do I joke about this?
Anyway, I'm so worried about the wedding, I have this horrible feeling in the pit of my forever hungry stomach. I'm not quite sure what's going to happen but I know that its not going to be what I expect and I hope that things go in a happier direction.
My mind is conjuring rather different things rightnow but please, dear God don't have her snogging that disgusting Montaque! That just...that's just not right.
At all. o_O
Anyhoo, on to Draco! My darling! I'm so happy that he isn't lying in some alley knocked out but this business with Zabini is dangerous. Zabini himself seems very sly so he may want to watch his step, but I do admire his skill at deception.
This plot of Zabini's and his friends has me really curious and a little worried. I can't wait to see what it might turn out to be but hopefully Draco will liberate Astoria (Not in a pervy way of course but who am I kidding?) without getting either of them hurt.
Ah, the questions! >_<
Once again this was really fantastic, I'm completely absorbed in your style and your characters are just amazing. They're so real that I feel like I know them and that's a very good thing, even if they aren't interested romantically in me. D':
So anyway, I'll be back to read the next chapter!
No worries from me!
Much love,
Gabbie

Author's Response: Hi, Gabbie!

I don't think that Daphne is unhappy, per se, she just doesn't process stress very well. Being a bride is stressful, after all, especially when you're demanding nothing less than THE Perfect Wedding Day. So she drinks to cope.

Astoria still has quite a lot of growing up to do. One thing I started to get worried about after the first few chapters was that she seemed too mature for her age. She is, after all, 16. So I've tried to balance her out a bit with a few unrealistic ideas and the occasional temper tantrum. She does love her parents and she isn't eager to make them upset. At the moment, however, they aren't leaving her with much choice.

I don't think there's any risk of her snogging Emery Montague. At least not in the way that you're thinking...

Zabini and his friends have a few irons in the fire. You'll find out more about them over the next few chapters. They're not the most savory bunch and they're going to do their darnedest to drag Draco into the middle of it all. Hopefully he can keep himself in the clear.

I'm really glad that you're enjoying the story and that the characters speak to you. I haven't quite figured out how to have any of them develop a believable romantic interest in the reader. I'm just not that talented. :p

Thanks so much for reading and reviewing!


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Review #12, by Arithmancy_Wiz 

2nd June 2013:
I told myself I wasn't going to do anything aside from write today, but I read this chapter last night and wanted to post a review while it was still fresh in my head. At least that's the excuse I'm going with...

What is it with bridesmaid dresses? The whole process is torturous for everyone but the bride. Though I suppose that could be said for most wedding preparations. It's nice, though, to see you turn Daphne and Astoria's relationship on its head a bit. I don't read a LOT of stories focused on these two, but when I do, they seem to more often than not portray Daphne as the demure one, with Astoria being the one with a touch more fire and passion. I like the idea of switching that up. Astoria does show some good gusto later on in the chapter, but in his current state, Draco needs someone with a cool head more than anything. Of course, I'm not sure it's totally fair to judge the true character of a woman in the middle of planning her wedding, so I won't be too hard on Daphne here.

Hmmm... I'm disappointed in Astoria's mother. Not it the way you've written her... I was just hoping for more from her for Astoria's sake. I get the sense that she might, in another time and place, be more inclined to encourage her daughter to seek out true love, but perhaps she's just not quite ready to let go of the "old ways," particularly in world that seems to be moving on without them. But I'm not ready to give up on her yet. I'm holding out hope she'll see the light.

Oh, and...As far as his hygiene... well, I'm certain his mother will see to that. My favorite line of the chapter!

I was surprised to see Astoria lay her cards so fully on the table. Up until the letter, it felt a bit more like she and Draco were dancing around the idea of being a couple, but she pretty much comes out and tells him here that if he wants her, he better be prepared to move and move fast. Good for her!

I'll admit, I'm a little disappointed to see Draco as put together as he is. After the end of the last chapter, I was expecting to see him slip back into a much darker place. Clearly he's no longer abstaining, and that alone is a slippery slope. I just thought we'd get to see you kick him around a bit more. But perhaps that says more about me than your story, so I won't press the issue :P

I did like the way you've brought us back to the scheming of Draco's former friends. Obviously, I'm not sure how it will all play out, but I can see how both this element and his relationship with Astoria are heading for a nasty collision... perhaps at the wedding itself? And I loved Draco's line: I wouldn't know. My family tree has fewer grafts. Zing!

Just a couple of typos below. Otherwise another great read. Oh, and what you said in your author's note about knowing what you want to happen but not being able to come up with the words... I feel like that with EVERY chapter, so you're not alone!

-- Once they reached the safety of Astoria's bedroom, the Madame Pinking started the laborious process of extracting her from the cumbersome dress. (no the before Madame...?)

-- Her mother swept back across the room and gently cradled Astora's face between her hands. (Astoria's)

-- I wanted make sure that you found out directly from me, and that you know that none of this was my idea. (wanted to make sure)

-- He admired the deep, amber color and complex aroma before downing the drink in a single gulp. (possible POV change? I suppose admired could be a substitute for looked at/studied, but it reads here a bit like we jumped into Blaise's head for a moment)

Author's Response: Hello, again!

First off, thanks so much for the edits. Much appreciated. Amazing the things that you miss even when you stare at a chapter for days before actually posting it.

I've never had the pleasure of being fitted for a bridesmaid dress -- I wore a prom dress to a party once; that's a whole different story -- but I get the impression that around 90% of all bridesmaids secretly loathe the whole process. Daphne, in particular, has chosen some true horrors of late 19th century women's fashion to inflict upon her bridesmaids. I'm not sure I think of Daphne as fiery. More just excitable, moody and pretty self-absorbed. Astoria is definitely the more reserved of the sisters, but she has her own excitable streak as you see later in the chapter.

Astoria's mother is a product of her upbringing. At some level, she wants to break free and allow Astoria the freedom to follow her heart, but she's just not there yet. It's a big leap for her, seeing as how everything she's ever valued in her life is a function of her family and her social status. That doesn't make it right, but at least I hope you can see where she's coming from.

Poor Emery gets picked on a lot in this chapter. He more or less deserves it, though.

I think Astoria is so upset and her mind is being pulled in so many directions by the time she writes to Draco that her emotions are pretty much laid bare. Madame Pinking does have a point. Even if the experience is boring and uncomfortable, being part of a wedding does tend to make a young, single person think. Astoria wants to find for herself what her parents stumbled into through dumb luck. She wants to love and be loved, and she thinks that Draco is The One to make that happen for her.

I don't think of Draco as being "put together" so much as he's holding it together at this point. Rather tenuously, at that. You'll see more of it in the next chapter when he has his chat with Gamp, Flint and Zabini. Aside from his drinking, he's having a lot of problems controlling his anger at this point. Draco's problems, Lucius's scheming and the insidious plans of his old friends are all starting to converge, but I can't exactly tell you where it all ends. That would spoil the surprise.

Thanks so much for the review! You're always so thoughtful and detailed. It really makes my day!


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Review #13, by Remus 

10th May 2013:
Hey! So I have a bit of time to spare before my life gets too complicated once again so I figured I should drop by!

As I read this I realized that Daphne is only 18-19 and is already getting ready for marriage. It just goes to show that even though the pure bloods always regard themselves to be better than the other 'lowly' witches and wizards, they still live in what I would see as a backwards way of living. Hermione, same age as Daphne, wants to finish her education and go work for the Ministry. Daphne on the other hand is getting married, be part of the inner circles of society to excel in gossip and be a dutiful wive. Oh and let's not forget about having and raising the pure blooded children she's suppose to have. You just really made me think of how the 'noble' pure bloods are raising their daughters compared to someone like Mrs. Weasley or the Grangers who have strong and independent girls.

Anyway! The scene with the dresses reminded me of those reality shows on TV. Made me giggle and made me feel bad for Astoria. However when her mom told her that she was to be escorted to the wedding by Emery I felt so bad for her and anger towards the mom. One minute she's this person Astoria can open up to, the next she's a demanding mother who forces Astoria to do something she doesn't wish to do. She's quite a character! I'm wondering of how she'll react when Astoria tells her that she wishes to be with Draco. Will she be mad or try to be happy for Astoria?

I absolutely LOVED the conversation between Zabini and Draco. Its like Draco wants to appear like a BAMF in front of Zabini about the wedding but in reality he's doing it for a girl. That, overall, is just funny.

The line:

we both know that Emery Montague is playing Chaser for the other squad.

That was brilliant. It had me laughing! Ah, wizarding humor. Zabini, though, he's playing with fire and will always play with fire. He's not evil or anything...just very stupid. The wizarding world just went through a horrible war and thinks that he can rally the losing side and overthrow the current government. Doesn't he stop to think that Harry went face to face with Voldemort and that facing Zabini would be nothing compared to him? Even if they're targeting Shacklebolt it's not like he'll be alone. Ugh, Zabini frustrates me!

Anyway! Now I'm one chapter behind and I already read half of it at work. Just so you know, Gamp is just scary! Haha! Sorry the review is a bit short but today is becoming hectic once more. Real life bites some times.

Until next time, sir! :D

--Rosie

Author's Response: Hi, Rosie!

Daphne is so vested in the old pure blood way of doing things that none of this seems at all strange to her. Her sense of right and wrong is hard-wired at this point and she really isn't the type to spend a lot of time second-guessing things. That's the difference between her and Astoria. Or her and Hermione, for that matter. So yay for strong, independent-minded girls!

I was definitely thinking along the lines of some of those awful reality shows when I wrote that whole section. It's definitely not Astoria's "scene", if you will. I'd say not to pass judgment on Astoria's parents *too soon*. They're products of their upbringing and they really do love both of their daughters and try to do what they think is best. They just have some weird ideas about it, that's all.

Draco does prefer to look hardcore when he can, but he has other reasons not to want Zabini to know why he's so intent on attending Gamp and Daphne's wedding. If word gets back to Mr. Greengrass that Draco and Astoria are still romantically involved, he'll probably send her away to Beauxbatons or something.

I'm glad you liked Draco's little one-liner about Emery Montague. I enjoyed writing that.

Zabini is not being smart at all, but you'll soon see that he's probably the least dangerous of Draco's old friends. He's disenchanted and he has a bad substance abuse problem and he's too dumb to realize what he's getting himself into.

You're going to be all caught up and I still don't have the next chapter done! I'll have to work on that. Thanks for reading and reviewing!


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Review #14, by Flavia 

28th April 2013:
Ok, I need to start by including something I forgot in the last chapter review because I was in a bit of a rush: I absolutely loved the ending of the last chapter! The fact that he slipped backwards, that he thought she could never love him, that he went back to the alcohol! Oh brilliant, brilliant, brilliant! That simple decision made your character so much more real and I think it was just perfect. Draco wants to change, for himself and Astoria, but change is HARD. So often in fanfic people forget that. So well done you.

Ok, on to this chapter. Hahaha, the scenes with Daphne were great, I loved all the squealing and consumption of way too much champagne and the uncomfortable dresses...it was almost like a caricature, but it really worked well. And the conversation with her mother was fascinating. The whole arranged marriage concept is an interesting one, but I think it works incredibly well with the whole 'pure blood' system. What's amusing is that in another time and place, her parents would be falling over themselves to marry her off to Draco.

I really like the choice to have their relationship develop through letters, it adds to the anticipation and drama of the whole piece. Nothing brings two lovers closer together like being forced apart (Romeo meet Juliet :P). I like the way that Astoria's feelings for Draco seem to give her this added strength too, the fact that she's now almost planning the 'run off and get married' plan B is a big step from where she was at the start. I like that growth in her.

The Draco/Zabini interaction was really good, such a contrast to Astoria's difficult situation and yet so similar at the same time. Rather than making Draco into someone he's not (my main gripe with draco-centric fics), you bring out the qualities that are apparent in canon and build on them, resulting in the character maintaining integrity and being entirely believable as the same person. His shrewdness, sarcasm and intelligence are all things that we saw in Malfoy from the very first book, and you've brought them all out really well. It's really impressive and you should be proud because it's very difficult to do that with someone else's character.

The final paragraph was perfection. It sums up this motivation for Draco to stay out of the firing line and bring about change in his life. Of course there's not just one reason, but here you've touched on a very real issue that Draco would have faced, a very real emotion and anxiety to stay out of the fight. I just thought it was very clever.

As always, your writing is brilliant and beautiful and I loved reading this chapter. Only one left and I've caught up :( Hopefully there will be more up soon :)

Author's Response: Hello, again!

Draco had quite a setback at the end of the last chapter. He was having a rough go of it anyway, and his father's antics pushed him over the edge. In my mind, it was bound to happen at some point. He's dealing with a lot of stress in his life, between preparing for his N.E.W.T.s, trying to keep his relationship with Astoria a secret, worrying about what's going on with his father and trying to walk the straight and narrow path. So he slipped a bit. Let's hope it's not the start of something. ;)

In my mind, Daphne is a pretty horrible bride. She's vain, flighty, spoiled and very high-maintenance. Plus, there were aspects of that scene that were just too much fun not to write. Pansy getting physically abused by the dress fitter? Come on, that's gold!

Astoria's mother is one to keep an eye on. Like a lot of characters in the post-war world, you're going to see her struggle a bit to find a balance between the things she was raised to believe and the new realities of life. And you're right: in the absence of the war, Draco would have been one of the most eligible bachelors in the entire wizarding world.

I see the way that their relationship is mostly developing through letters as being somewhat double-edged. By the nature of the letter-writing process, they do get to learn about each other's thoughts, dreams and ambitions. But they're missing out on the chance to get to know the real human being that goes along with all that deep stuff. I'm pretty sure that will become an issue at some point.

I'm really starting to enjoy putting Draco and Blaise together in a room and letting things develop. They're both Slytherin through and through. They're shrewd, cunning, motivated, high-bred and pretty ruthless when it comes to pursuing what they want, but in a refined sort of way. *Big* contrast to that coming up soon...

Draco has a distinct advantage over Zabini, though. He's been through a lot more. He knows what happens to idealistic idiots like Zabini when real conflict breaks out. And he wants no part of it.

I'm starting to work on the next chapter. I have a pretty good outline through to the end of the story at this point, so hopefully the writing will go a bit faster. Thanks for the awesome review!


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Review #15, by Dark Whisper 

19th April 2013:
There's just something about the thrill of getting a letter. I miss them, actually, as they become more rare these modern days.

So... I had to think about this one... Emery would be Blaise's step-nephew. LOL! Loved Zabini's description of him... haha... little more harsh than Astoria's. And I loved Draco's take on Zabini's mother as well. Wow!

And oh, Draco... don't do it! Don't let your friends drag you down and become cell-mates in Azkaban! Oh, my stars, you've set up this story very well.

And Astoria... I loved her question to her mother. It was very, very good and insightful. And you are right about it being about control. But choosing to go against her parents can be heartbreaking and have life-long consequences. Trust me, I know.

You have a bit of 'forbidden love' going on with these two and I love it.

Excellent storyline,
Dark Whisper

Author's Response: Hi!

I think you have your relationship correct on Blaise and Emery. Suffice it to say that the two of them are not especially close. But Draco seems to believe that Zabini wields just enough influence with the younger Slytherin for him to get what he needs.

Draco is once again walking a very fine line. Unfortunately for him, he winds up doing that quite often in this story.

Astoria knows her mother pretty well, enough to realize that there are aspects of pushing Astoria into an arranged marriage that aren't going to sit especially well with her, either. Let's hope it's enough for her mother to change her mind. I'm sorry if you've had a similar experience. I hope things ended up alright for you.

There's quite a bit of forbidden love here. Much more to come.

Thanks for all the awesome reviews!


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Review #16, by patronus_charm 

11th April 2013:
I saw that this story has passed a thousand reads so congrats for that :D

I was really excited to get to learn more about Daphne and Astoriaís relationship, as theyíre not really explored by JK and I was intrigued to see how you were going to go about it. I really loved how you had a bit of comedy into Astoriaís thoughts during the dress finding as it added another layer to her, and it was nice to see her in a more of a relaxed setting.

It was nice to see her refer to her and Dracoís relationship as Ďclandestineí, and for her to break out from the proper girl she was before. Youíve done a great way of showing how Dracoís changed her, and how sheís changed Draco, and itís nice to see that theyíve been such a positive addition to both of their lives.

I liked seeing more of Astoriaís mother too. It was funny to see how she viewed her daughter as the good one, because if she found about her and Draco Iím sure her thoughts about her wonít be as nice. It is interesting to wonder what their reaction might be, as they seem to be nice people, so perhaps they will be supportive of it?

Another note on her parents though. I really like how youíve not made them traditional by actually being nice to their children, yet they do still believe in the importance of marriage, and finding the right match. Astoria really is an independent person though, and she really didnít seem to be enjoying being stifled by them.

The letter! I was cheering for Astoria and her new adventurous streak by suggesting that they have a different type of relationship. They seem to be a more moderate version of Romeo and Juliet, as that letter seemed to show how passionate they are for one another.

I was glad to see an appearance from Draco, as you write him so well. I love his and Blaiseís friendship, they have such easy banter between one another, and itís funny to read. I found it interesting that they were the oneís now being repressed by reforms, but it does make sense for the reverse to happen. I canít help but feel sympathy towards them because of it.

Anyhow, this was an excellent chapter and well worth the wait!

-Kiana :D

Author's Response: Hi, there! And thanks for the congratulations.

l've always thought of Daphne as being self-absorbed, flighty and more than a bit shallow. And I'm actually kind to her in this story compared to the treatment she gets in Conspiracy of Blood. Being much more practical, Astoria finds her older sister kind of amusing and a bit pathetic, but in an affectionate way. They really do care for one another, but like most sisters, there's quite a lot of friction that goes along with it.

Astoria and Draco are in full stealth mode at this point. They know that if rumors of their relationship get back to Mr. Greengrass, things will be very bad for Astoria.

Astoria's mother is another character that I think is caught between her upbringing and the realities of her current life. She does really want what's best for Astoria and she is a romantic at heart, but she comes from that aristocratic pure blood background where matters as important as the joining of two old and noble families through marriage are never left to something as fickle and unpredictable as young love.

I'm really glad that you liked the letter. I tried really hard to keep it short, but expressive. She needed to say a lot in a short amount of time.

Draco and Blaise are still friendly with one another, but don't read too much into their banter. Each has his own agenda and they are both Slytherins, after all. They do share the common bond of being "disenfranchised" relative to the privilege that their families enjoyed before the war.

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


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Review #17, by Jchrissy 

8th April 2013:
Good gracious, finally! Hi ♥ Have I told you recently that Astoria and Draco are hands down the best characters I think you portray? Thatís a huge deal, because I thought you wrote the trio like JKR herself. But Draco is so difficult, then we have no idea what Astoria is. But youíve created a person that fits Draco without being a ton like Draco. You just blow my mind with this story. And now Iím going to attempt the actual review.

I donít even want to think about wedding planning. Not even a tiny bit. Feeling Astoriaís pain here, and you havenít made me excited for when I finally decide to pick a date and get to work, haha. Umm. her dress sounds. lovely. Just lovely. Iím going to say this was all created from Danís brain and not something your wife actually put her brideís maids/maid of honor in? Haha!

I love that you have the fitting going on in the Greengrassís home. It makes perfect sense. With that kind of money, youíd hope you could get the dresses and the fitting brought to your mansion, but I feel like this is something that not everyone, or hardly anyone, would keep in mind when writing the scene. It just served as an excellent reminder to Astoriaís class, and kept everything realistic considering that class.

Ohh Astoria is such a sweet mixture of personalities. I love that you donít forget sheís a teenager, but you still hold her in the place of good daughter that does what mommy and daddy say. Then, when she finds herself not wanting to do what they say, you can feel her mixture of shame and excitement. You know what they say, girls go kind of crazy when they hit seventeen. I just hope that sheís able to go about convincing her family that Draco isnít like they think instead of doing something rash. But I would like to see her act on these more... free spirited thoughts, so I think Iíll be more than thrilled with whatever happens.

Again, you show what a sweet daughter she is when her and her mother first started speaking. You know, I really canít blame her for her reaction. I think I would have reacted the same way, and I wanted to throw a fit right along with her. Itís bad enough being told who she canít date, but now to be told who she has to let attend the wedding with her?? Being a teenage girl really is hard :(

The letter! Itís just so perfect. It holds enough back that she isnít acting too serious too fast, but also gives enough to sort of... place a few of her cards on the table. I really love these two, you know.

Oh I donít even know what to think, Daniel. Iím almost angry at Draco for playing into them , because Iím afraid things will get back to everyone. We know how it works in these small circles. But like he said, did he really have that much of a choice?

On the other hand, I LOVE the irony of this all. Dracoís tactic to let Blaise think what he wanted, and word things in a way that didnít make them untrue but didnít make them seem like they were were. it was all just the perfect game to play. Iím worried about what the old cronies will say though. And really, how are they stupid enough to think that they could do something the Dark Lord failed? I almost with Bellatrix was still alive to curse them just for thinking things like that.

You put me in quite a tense mood during this last section. Usually Iím excited about the wait for the next chapter, and when I finally talk you into emailing me a bit over, but all I wanted to do was click up and over to the next chapter. I could go refill my coffee... sit back and read hours of Draco and Astoria right now. You know, the more I talk about this, the more I want to email you and tell you itís time to pick up the pace. Wife? Work? Twin boys? PFF. Itís all about Draco and Astoria and Jamiís need to read their full story, right now!

Hehe. ♥

Author's Response: Hellooo, Jami!

I, um... I don't know quite what to think about the idea that Draco and Astoria are my best work. I guess I have probably written more about them than any other couple. Hmmnn... something to think about.

Anyway, I'm glad that the dress fitting sounded like the right sort of setting for a wealthy, somewhat stuff, traditional old family. I wanted to make Daphne's bridesmaid dresses the stuff of nightmares, because that's just how I think of her. She isn't going to spare her bridesmaids one bit of discomfort in her pursuit of the "perfect" wedding. And you're right about the fitting being in the Greengrass home. Part of the point was to emphasize that Astoria comes from a great deal of money.

When I read back over the first six chapters of the story, I realized that Astoria had been coming off as pretty mature for her age, not that there's anything wrong with that, per se. In this chapter, I did want to remind everyone that she is sixteen years old. There's still a lot going on inside her head and the way she reacts to situations in the sanctity of her own home can be different from how she reacts to them in public. She loves her parents, but she's very upset with them right now. She's caught between the values that she was raised to believe in -- respect for her elders and her family traditions -- and the reality that she's falling in love with a man who her parents do not approve of. I'm glad that somebody can confirm that being a teenage girl isn't easy, because it looks really difficult to me.

Whew. I'm glad you liked the balance I struck with the letter. I wanted it to be brief but expressive, with just a bit of a leading statement at the end.

Draco is walking a very tricky line in this chapter, and I'm sorry to say that it will get worse before it gets better. He needs certain things from his former friends, and since we're talking about Slytherins, nothing comes for free. He's definitely running the risk of something bad getting back to Astoria's parents, but he doesn't really have much choice. You've only seen the tip of the iceberg when it comes to just how deluded Zabini and the others are. More to come...

All I can say is that I'm working on it. Life is always busy, but hopefully I can find more time to write over the next few days. Thanks so much for all of your support and awesome reviews!


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Review #18, by MissMdsty 

5th April 2013:
Oh my another chapter! A brilliant chapter as usual.

I know you said you struggled with this, but it is amazing.

I loved how you gave us a glimpse into Astoria's world via the wedding dress fitting and everything that makes her stand out (like the image of Pansy. Ugh!). We saw a trigger in her in this chapter, a need to rebel, which I liked a lot, because to me it means that she is starting to realize that sometimes the parents are wrong and you just have to go with your instinct. And the letter. I liked that it was signed with love!

Now, last time we saw Draco he had just crashed and burned. But he seems to have gathered himself up and make a change. The plan he has for the wedding makes me anxiously await that chapter. I can just picture this confrontation between Astoria, her parents and Draco and them running off into the sunset, leaving Zabini to clean out the bar!

I like that even though they didn't actually meet in this chapter, the plot has advanced so much, from a subtle courtship, to "war" against the parents!

Draco giving in Zabini's demands reminded me of a saying we have in my country, which is "befriend the devil until you cross the bridge". In other words, do what you must until you reach your goal. I just hope nothing bad happens in the meantime. And the ending phrase was perfect! It shows just how much Draco's grown since his "Marked" days and how determined he is to continue on the path he set for himself.

Again, this was an amazing chapter! Good job!

Ral

Author's Response: Hey, Ral!

I knew how I wanted this chapter to work. The struggle was finding the right words to bring it together. Sort of like writer's block, I guess.

Astoria is coming around to the reality that she's going to have to play a more active role in her own life and take some chances to get what she really wants. Her parents do love her dearly and they are trying to do what's best for her, but they are products of the same type of upbringing. What they're doing makes sense to them, just not to Astoria.

Draco is still having his struggles with alcohol and social situations. The ending won't be *quite* as clean as you're imagining it, although that would be very satisfying to write.

I wanted to keep them apart in this chapter. They are in sort of a long-distance relationship at this point, and I thought it was good to show how hard they're both working to try to make things work out.

Draco is going to play both sides for a while. He doesn't really have any choice. I expect his conversation with Gamp, Flint and the others will be... interesting. Soon, you're going to learn why they all dislike Draco so much in Conspiracy of Blood. ;)

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


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