Reading Reviews for Detox, Chapter 8: Reconnecting
17 Reviews Found

Review #1, by dirtydeedsdonedirtcheap 

2nd April 2015:
Hello! Iím back. Probably with a short review because I have to squeeze stories in here and there when I can.

Gamp slapped his knee and laughed out loud to himself before downing the rest of his drink.

He completely freaks me out. I have goosebumps.

In an instant, Dracoís thoughts snapped back to the angry confrontation with his father. Surely you remember my old friends Goyle and Nott? The Gamps! Yes, the Gamp family is involved as well.

Lucius, forever ruining his life and he isnít even fully present. For the love ofÖin all honesty I could see this little meet up and group happening. Especially because the war just ended and tensions are still high but they are delusional if they think theyíre actually going to get somewhere with their ideas. They really just donít get it and I suppose because they didnít fight they probably think they are smarter and stronger and more innovative that they would succeed. But really theyíre a group of pathetic cronies that will most likely end up thrown in jail if they start talking any louder about this.

ďJust make sure you donít forget where your loyalties lie this time, Malfoy. If I see you trying to play both sides, Iíll count your family among the blood traitors and let the sickles fall where they will. Understand?Ē

Thatís exactly what heís doing! FOOLS! The whole lot of them. You have to give it up to Draco though. If thereís one thing he learned is how to lie and to save himself from potential harmful situations. They are that desperate they believe him.

Ah! The first conversation between Astoria and Narcissa. I wasnít surprised to see her there. I know you wouldnít add Draco into the mix. I think that would have been too obvious but Narcissa is a different story. I liked that she approached her first and tried to keep the conversation going. I think she probably sees Astoria as the woman that has/will help her son through his recovery and towards a better life since she knows about her and Dracoís changes started with his initial meeting with Astoria. I think the only thing that gave me whiplash was when she said the part about her sister and not being able to speak to her again. To me it seemed a little out of her character. I know she has grown and changed but to give all of that information up to someone who is still a stranger seems a little risky to me. Then again she might not have anyone to talk to and if Draco can trust Astoria she probably thinks she can too.

Author's Response: Hi! This review didn't end up being very short. Just sayin' ;)

Ah, Gamp. Do you remember him from Conspiracy of Blood? This is him before he went to prison, when he was a smidge less crazy. He actually cleans up pretty well in this story, at least well enough to win dear Daphne's hand in marriage.

Lucius can't seem to stop living in the past, even though he escaped life in Azkaban by the skin of his teeth. I actually think that Draco inherited his addictive personality from Lucius. Draco's addiction is alcohol, Lucius's addiction is power and prestige.

Draco is playing a very dangerous game where Gamp is concerned. I wouldn't necessarily say that Gamp believes him, only that Gamp doesn't see an immediate downside to letting Draco continue to live this particular lie.

I really enjoyed writing the conversation between Astoria and Narcissa. Narcissa has a tendency to steal scenes in my stories and here it happened again. She does want Draco to find happiness and at the moment his vision of happiness involves Astoria so Narcissa tries to help things along. I think the only point she was trying to make by bringing up Andromeda was that she's come to value family differently than she did before the war.

Thanks so much for all the awesome reviews!

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Review #2, by Veritaserum27 

9th June 2014:
Hi Dan,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Until next time!


Author's Response: Hello, again!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Review #3, by TheHeirOfSlytherin 

11th March 2014:
He still needed Zabini's help to persuade Emery Montague that he should attend in Montague's place - Not impersonating? Now I'm seriously wonder how he's going to get to a party where the bride's family don't like him...

Ah, Gamp. I remember him and his deranged mind from Conspiracy of Blood. Is it weird that I've missed it? I can't help it, my love dark and twisted characters/stories is pushing through. It's awesome. You write it brilliantly.

Well done, Draco, for his ability to lie on the spot and not flinch. War taught him valuable things.

Can I still hope that Lucius has nothing to do with it. The evidence is kind of overwhelming right now, but after everything Draco is trying to do, it would suck for Draco and Narcissa. And he's clearly not in his right mind. So, I shall still hope. Or hope Draco can get him out of it.

I also hope that Theo has nothing to do with it, but that's just my personal love for him coming through. You can ignore that.

I love the conversation between Astoria and Narcissa. Honest moments and it was kind of sweet, but still felt like she was talking to Narcissa Malfoy not someone else. Which was cool.

Appreciate his courage, Astoria. No one else is...

Ha! Your A/N - there should be a Jeremy Gamp warning. :P

Next chapter!


Author's Response: Hi, Sam! I am determined to get all of these reviews responded to. So determined that I'm even making time during a work trip after having several IPA's with dinner. Forgive me if this response wanders a bit...

You had it right in the last review. Draco is planning to impersonate Emery Montague in order to infiltrate the wedding. That's how he'll get past Astoria's family. Astoria's parents really need to lighten up, if you ask me. They should probably have an IPA and relax.

Yes, it's the same Gamp, only in his formative years. He's perhaps a bit less crazy because he hasn't been to prison yet. But he's still sociopathic and deranged and prone to drinking too much. He'd probably bypass the IPA and move straight to the strong stuff.

Draco has a strong game when it comes to lying. It's a skill that he honed during the war. You can definitely hope that Lucius is not involved. You might even be right. The old man is not in a good way, as you can probably tell.

I loved every bit of writing Astoria and Narcissa. Narcissa has a tendency to be a scene-stealer in my stories. There's something about her, the way she presents this very different ideal of motherhood compared to Molly or Lily Potter. She has totally different values, but in the end she doesn't love her family any less.

Astoria is starting to realize just how strong and brave Draco really is. But there's still more to learn.

Thanks so much for all of the awesome reviews. If we ever meet, I'll buy you an IPA. ;)

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Review #4, by Pixileanin 

3rd March 2014:
"We didn't just meet some bloke in a bar, get three sheets to the wind and decide to overthrow the Ministry."

Are you certain, Mr. Gamp? Because I see a lot of drink and a lot of talk, and someone's about to get three sheets and more than a little windy. Pretty sure it's gonna be Flint, but I won't bet money on it just yet.

Draco's really playing a dangerous game here. If it weren't for that wedding, he wouldn't be here at all. He'd be composing beautiful sonnets and sending them off to Astoria. Actually, Draco doesn't seem the sonnet type. He strikes me more of the straight up couplet type, or some sort of anagram, where he says something virtuous with each letter of her name.

I did find it humorous that Draco spent considerable brain power on what sort of firewhisky Zabini had. It shows his snobbery, as well as Zambini's poor taste in drink. I'm with Draco on this. Why would he buy the obvious cheap stuff? Why would his mother even allow it in the house? It's so wrong. The whole atmosphere of this encounter gives me the creeps.

"First of all, we're not being recruited by anyone, Malfoy. We're in charge here."

I'm getting flashbacks. Flashbacks to another character I remember who was completely insane and thought he had the upper hand. These people don't learn. They just keep barreling head first into badness. Why is it that these characters are also the most fun to write?

And all the posturing! You write these guys really well. Everyone trying to stuffy-chest over each other. I really feel for Draco when he hears what he believes is the proof he needs to implicate his father is involved. If all he's doing is trying to get out of this mess, and all his father is doing is dragging the family back into it, what chance does Draco have of succeeding? A real pit of snakes he's been thrown into.

Or should I say spiders? Draco's tale keeps weaving him tighter and tighter into a corner. Granted, it was his only choice at the time, but what is all of this going to mean later? This has got to backfire in a very big way in the long run. I am suddenly nervous for him.

Astoria sounds like she's not going to be the first in line for the new Gringotts ride at Universal. Oh, but she is maneuvering for the tiara! I am glad you're showing us this side of her. She can't entirely escape her Slytherin training, and I love the way she rationalizes that the sneaky sibling posturing is okay because it's a skill. Haha!

I love, LOVE the way you show Astoria's conversation with Mrs. Malfoy in the bank lobby. The way that these two are "talking" without looking like they're even acknowledging each other is fantastic characterization. Astoria does indeed admire this woman from the things that Draco has told her, and it seems that Narcissa has also heard some things about Astoria from her son. Just knowing that Draco has shared his sentiments with his mother must give that girl a tremendous boost of confidence in their semi-relationship status. You really couldn't have done anything better for her than this.

Oh, I don't know about the Jeremy Gamp warning, Dan. I kind of like to be surprised by unconventionally insane, evil characters every once in a while. As long as they're safely trapped inside a story, and not ringing the doorbell or anything terrifying like that. :P

I'm definitely feeling Draco's unwavering determination, and Astoria's growing confidence. Another lovely chapter!

Author's Response: Hi, pix!

Draco is playing a very dangerous game, but the calibration of his Danger Meter has been off since the end of the war. As scary and Gamp might be, he's still nothing compared to Voldemort. That comparison will lead Draco to underestimate a lot of dangers before this story is through.

I was struggling for a good entree to this chapter when the idea of him critiquing the Zabinis' taste in beverages popped into my head. For some reason, it just fit for me, with both characters, actually. Zabini's mother always seemed like the type who accumulated wealth ravenously yet spent it reluctantly.

It's always fun to write pompous, arrogant characters who get in over their heads because you enjoy seeing them get their comeuppance at the end. Generally speaking, the more of a jerk you can make them, the more satisfying it is when they fall.

I'm glad you like all the bluster and bravado. That was mostly what I was going for, except for Gamp. With him, it's not just an act. He really believes every word of it and he'd have zero hesitation about acting on it.

Poor Astoria! With so many stomach-churning experiences in the magical world -- apparition, portkeys, goblin-piloted death coasters -- being a witch must have been hard on her. Again, I was trying to show a contrast between her more mature side and her less mature side. The sibling rivalry over the tiara compared to what Narcissa tells her about what it meant to lose her sisters seemed like a helpful way to draw that out.

In my personal world, Narcissa is an incredibly perceptive and adept woman. She grew up having "properness" pounded into her head every waking minute of every day, so navigating complicated social situations is nearly effortless for her. Astoria learns a few things from her in this chapter, both in terms of how she conducts herself and some new information she reveals about Draco. You're right, Astoria is also pleased to the point of bursting that Draco has told his mother good things about her.

Fortunately for us all, Jeremy has no means of escaping from the black depths of my sadistic writer's heart. There he dwells, waiting for a chance to emerge onto the written page and inflict misery on all the other characters.

I'm really pleased that you enjoyed it! They're growing ever closer together, but the story is far from over. Thanks for reading and reviewing!

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Review #5, by UnluckyStar57 

21st February 2014:
Hi! Things have been hectic in real life for... oh, about a month, but I'm BACK to review you once again! :)

Okay, so I'm glad that you asked me to pay close attention to Jeremy Gamp, because I've got a lot to say. First of all, I think that I'll have to read Conspiracy of Blood sometime so that I can see all of his other villainous escapades. This guy seems dangerous!! His maniacal laughter was really creepy and it reminded me a lot of Bellatrix. It didn't help that his glittering, manic eyes were compared to hers. They're the type of people who have a wild look in their eyes, and in both of their cases, it's a reflection of their characters. The fact that Draco was worried when he accidentally turned his back on Gamp is really terrifying. He's obviously not someone you want to mess with.

In seven chapters, I haven't found a single mistake in your writing, which is totally awesome. :) However, there's a first time for everything, and I'm not even sure if it actually IS a mistake. When you're talking about Flint's physical features, you wrote:

"The dark-haired wizard had added a few pound since his Hogwarts days..."

Is "pound" supposed to be "pounds" in that sentence? My mind wants it to be "pounds," but I'm unsure if it's some sort of Britishism to say "pound" instead of "pounds." It's such a minor thing, but I had to mention it, just for the sake of thoroughness. :)

Also, Flint! Hah! He's the typical college frat boy. Maybe in high school (aka Hogwarts) he played sports (Quidditch), but then he got to college (the resurrection of the Death Eater movement, in his case) and gained some weight. Lolzz! That being said, it's good to see that he's still the same brute-force-using Marcus Flint that was in the HP books. This just gave a close-up of his brutishness.

I was quite surprised to see that Zabini was described as "a lover, not a fighter." It is very true that he is more mannered than the other two, but I never pictured him as someone who loves other people, per se. If we're talking casanova, though, oh yeah, I can TOTALLY see that! He's probably the type who has a girlfriend and a back-up girlfriend and a weekend girlfriend and... Well, you know what I mean, haha. :) But yeah, the mysterious new Death Eaters would chew him up and spit him out. He should be careful!

Draco continues to stand up for himself, which is great. He's no longer the ferrety little ferret that he once was--he actually grew a spine! I hope that he can continue his lie until the delinquents can be caught and thrown in Azkaban for trying to start up another fear campaign!

Another side note about Jeremy Gamp: I can't believe that Daphne is in raptures over her marriage to HIM!! Of course, she's probably mostly excited to wear a pretty dress and a tiara and have everyone watching her at the wedding (center stage, yo!), but STILL. Jeremy Gamp is a creeper and a madman, and probably a wifebeater to boot!

Astoria and Narcissa's conversation was illuminating, to say the least! I'm glad that they actually like each other--no hatred is always better! It was also cool that Astoria acknowledged Narcissa's part in saving the Wizarding World, because it shows that she isn't like every other person who wants to bash the Malfoys for picking the wrong side. And awww, Narcissa's revelation to Astoria that Draco stood up to Bellatrix just makes her admire him even more. :) :) :) They're definitely going to be a good couple when they're finally together. If only they can get through some obstacles, like Daphne's wedding, Lucius Malfoy's Lost Cause fixation, and the neo-Death Eaters! The course of true love never did run smooth, says everyone's favorite Bard. :)

Wow, I'm halfway through this story! I look forward to seeing what happens next! :D


Author's Response: Hi, there! No worries on timing. I'm always happy just to see you back for another go-round.

Jeremy Gamp is one of a handful of characters that tie Detox and CoB together. He's a nasty piece of work, cruel, violent and not all there mentally. Here we see him in his formative years, before he goes to Azkaban and pretty much loses the few marbles he has left. That's why he's able to woo Daphne and convince her father that he's a worthy suitor. He comes from an old, pureblood wizarding family and he's able to hold it together well enough in polite company. That, and Daphne is desperate to be married by a "proper" age.

Thanks for pointing out that typo. It's amazing how they can sometimes survive countless readings and reviews before somebody finally makes note of them.

I like your thinking about Flint. He's definitely still living in the "good old days" before the war, when his family name made him quasi-nobility. You can practically hear "Glory Days" playing in the background. He's another character that appears in CoB, having escaped from prison with Gamp.

We're definitely talking "casanova" where Zabini is concerned. He's far out of his depth in this revived Death Eater movement and at some level he knows it. That's why he's so keen to have Draco involved. Draco comes from the same sort of very refined upbringing as Zabini, but he's already shown that he can hold his own in a fight. What he doesn't realize is that, as you say, Draco is in this fame for himself now. Draco has no intentions of ending up in Azkaban for Zabini's sake or anyone else's.

The conversation between Astoria and Narcissa was my favorite part of this chapter. I think a lot of trust and mutual admiration was built up during those few stolen moments in the bank lobby. You're right, true love never does run smooth. And there will be a lot more bumps in the road before the story is over...

Indeed, you're halfway through! Thanks so much for all of the awesome reviews!

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Review #6, by LilyEPotter 

13th February 2014:
The meeting with Draco's old friends didn't go well at all, especially with them pressing him to make a rash commitment. I can't believe that Astoria's father doesn't see this side of Gamp. I'm glad Draco was able to think of a plausible reason as to why he couldn't commit at this time.

Poor Astoria. Apparently she doesn't get to study because of the wedding. *shakes head* That was an interesting conversation that she had with Narcissa who seems to be regretting that she no longer speaks with Andromeda.

Author's Response: Astoria's father isn't scrutinizing Jeremy Gamp as closely as he probably should be because Gamp comes from a wealthy, old family that didn't side with Voldemort during the war. Also -- and I hope this comes through reasonably well -- Gamp's mother and Mrs. Greengrass are friends. Draco is able to put Gamp off, but I'd suggest keeping the lie he told in the back of your mind for later...

Narcissa does regret the falling out she had with Andromeda. Lucius and Draco are the only family she has left now. I doubt that mattered to her before the war, but she's learned to look at things differently.

Thanks for reading and reviewing!

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Review #7, by MissesWeasley123 

21st October 2013:
You sir, are a genius. Let me tell you why:

Um. Gamp. Gamp is the answer. I never knew there could be someone as twisted as Bellatrix, but like, alive and male. He's so creepy it's kind of disgusting, especially since his humour is not very funny at all. The thing is, he's your own character too, not J.K.R's but see, I'm still debating whether or not he is hers... I'm sure he wasn't mentioned in the books, so he must be yours. And the fact that you've written him so well that I'm finding it hard to differentiate between you and Jo Rowling, says a lot, I hope.

I really liked reading Draco in this. We got a lot of him to read, instead of Astoria. Your descriptions were so vivid as always and plain brilliant.

Narcissa. Whew. That part I could just not help but get sucked into. Her speech with Astoria was so sweet, and I could really sense her pain, and desperation - she really misses her sisters. It was clever how you took something both women shared - sisters - and used that to bond them together. Very intelligent.

Draco, just stop. STAHP. He really shouldn't be messing with these former DEs and Slytherins. He should know better, and I'm sure he could find a way to crash the wedding without their help.

Anyways, a wonderful chapter and thanks again for those wonderful reviews on WTDB!

:) Until next time!

Author's Response: Hello, again!

Ah, Gamp. He's one who actually creeps me out a bit when I write him. He has a thing or two in common with Bellatrix -- the insanity, the cruelty, the blood purity superiority complex -- but he's much less refined and deliberate. He reacts more than he plans and thinks. He is not a canon character although the Gamp family ties into the Black family tree and there's a law of elemental transfiguration named after one of his ancestors. Should you ever decide to read Conspiracy of Blood, you'll see more of him.

This chapter was more about Draco and his struggles to keep himself from being sucked back into the self-destructive behavior of his former friends. When I was writing it, I remember thinking a bit about Michael Corleone in the third Godfather film. Not that I encourage anyone to think about it too much because that movie was a disgrace to the franchise, but the principle is the same.

I freely admit that I have a problem with Narcissa. Whenever I write her, she has a tendency to steal scenes -- like this chapter -- if not entire stories -- like Marked. I still maintain that she became one of the most interesting characters in the HP universe by the end of the books. She's a different sort of mother figure, standing in contrast to Lily Potter and Molly Weasley. No matter the differences, we find out that she doesn't love her family any less.

Draco does know better. He just believes that he can handle whatever the situation throws at him. It remains to be seen whether or not he's correct.

It was a pleasure to read your Neville story. I'm looking forward to when you update! Thanks so much for reading and reviewing!

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Review #8, by Sharvi 

11th August 2013:
Ahh! This is turning out to be quite suspenseful. I can't even write enough because I want to move on to the next chapter!! =)

Author's Response: No worries, I understand. It's awesome to know that you're that excited for the next one.

Thanks for reading and reviewing!

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Review #9, by Courtney Dark 

20th July 2013:
If there's one thing this chapter did, it made me want to continue reading Conspiracy of Blood which I really, really enjoyed, although I don't think I even got up to chapter ten! I'll definitely have to go back and finish it. And obviously this chapter also made me want to keep reading Detox, which means that there were technically two things this chapter made me want to do. And I'm pretty sure that whole paragraph made absolutely no sense and was a load of waffle but that's okay. What I'm trying to say is that I really enjoyed this chapter!

I just have a bad, bad feeling about Draco messing with these other Slytherins - and of course, it makes sense that there would still be Death Eaters who hadn't been captured yet by the Ministry of Magic. I am very curious to find out who this one specific Death Eater Gamp and the others were talking about is.

Now that I've mentioned him, Gamp is creepy! Like Bellatrix level creepy, and I like it!

As usual, I really enjoyed Astoria's point of view - it also reinforced my feeling of 'I have to go back and read Conspiracy of Blood', partly because of how she mentioned shopping with her sister, as I vividly remember a shopping scene in CoB and I had a bit of a deja vu moment. I also loved Astoria's conversation with Narcissa. In a strange sort of way, I see the two of them as being quite similar, in many ways, and I can definitely see the two of them connecting in the future.

Nice chapter, I think I'll go on and read the next!


Author's Response: Courtney! Long time, no see! Hope everything is going well. :)

Wow! You really know how to make somebody smile, you know that? The two stories do mesh in the sense that some of the events Draco recalls during CoB occur during this story and some of the characters (Gamp, Flint, Nott) appear in both. So, yes, that paragraph made perfect sense. As perfect as it needs to, anyway.

If he didn't need to deal with them, trust me, Draco would steer as far clear of his former housemates as possible. But now he's rather stuck. Zabini isn't going to let him go easily because Zabini is starting to realize that he's also out of his depth. It's not a good situation.

That's a really nice thing to say about Gamp. It isn't easy to be "Bellatrix level creepy". ;)

I was a little worried about including Narcissa in this story. I have a problem, you see. She tends to steal scenes when I write her, and this is a story about Draco and Astoria. But I'm actually happy with how she turned out. I think she gave Astoria some perspective on what it mean to survive the war that Astoria wasn't going to get from just talking to Draco. I do think they have a very warm relationship in the future because you're right, the two of them are a lot alike.

Whee! This is fun. Thanks so much for reading and all of your lovely reviews!

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Review #10, by Remus 

17th July 2013:
Hey Dan! *tackles*

So it has been forever since I've left you a review. With RL being constantly hectic, the free time I have is spent either at the gym, cleaning, or just catching up with my sleep. I'm here now! :D

You know, between the Gamp here and CoB, I've come to realize that I like him. In a creepy way that I like Bellatrix. You created this man from an unknown family in the books and made him your own. He's twisted, evil and just plain crazy. He's unique and well rounded that if I were to ever be in his presence I would immediately run away.

I really like how they're not even considering Harry as a threat here. I get the feeling that they think that Harry got lucky and that Voldemort was just easy in the end (which he was) but they're really underestimating our young auror-in-training. They also don't stop to think that people in the Wizarding world are tired of people like them. After being terrorized for a year with Voldemort, I'm sure that they'll be willing to fight some school boys. This is almost like Les Mis but in an evil, twisted way. Haha.

And and Lucius! He makes me so angry here! The man managed to escape life in Azkaban twice! He knows what its like to be in there, why tempt the system? It might just get him landed there AND possibly bring with him his wife and son. He doesn't think! I just want to use a heavy book and hit him in the head a few times.

Anyway, moving on! Haha!

Astoria's part was great! I laughed at the fact that she's willing to fight her sister for that tiara even though she doesn't care for it.

Her conversation with Narcissa was handled fantastically though. I'm with Astoria, I feel bad about her life right now (and Lucius is not helping right now). Society is judging her very harshly just for being related to two death eaters. They don't know that thanks to her, they get to have a peaceful life. That her lie to Voldemort was a brave one. Even though it was selfish but what mother wouldn't have done that? Lily would've.

Anyway, this is like the 3rd time I attempt to write this review! First time my laptop died, second time I hit the wrong button in my new tablet and it refreshed the whole page, erasing the review. Haha but I got it done!

Anyway, this was a great chapter. As always. You have yet to disappoint me. :D


Author's Response: *picks self up, dusts self off* Rosie!

Gamp is back! And now we get to see him in his formative years and get at least an idea of how he wound up in Azkaban. I'm glad he still has the power to creep people out even at the tender age of 19. ;)

From the point of view of somebody who wasn't really in the middle of the war and just supported the idea of Voldemort, I think it would have seemed pretty *weak* that history's greatest dark wizard was beaten by a boy. When I tried to think of what Gamp and the others would have made of the war, that thought kept coming back to me.

I really enjoyed writing the scene with Astoria and Narcissa. You've read enough of my stories to know that Narcissa has a way of stealing scenes when I write her, so I was a little anxious about including her. This is Draco and Astoria's story, after all. But I was really happy with the way she turned out. I think she shows Astoria a side of what it means to have survived the war that she might not have figured out from talking to Draco.

I appreciate your persistence! I always love finding out what you think of things. Thanks for another awesome review!

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Review #11, by Arithmancy_Wiz 

5th July 2013:
I'll apologize upfront that this review will probably be rather short and not very eloquent. I usually make notes while I read but since I read this while standing in line at the cable office... I'll make up for it on the next one, I promise!

Minister of the Mudbloods Great line, and I really think it sums up just how much these guys don't get it. Anyone who doesn't value the same thing we do is a threat to us. Sadly, it reminds me just a bit too much of real-life political arguments.

I know the time frame of the story, obviously, but I didn't really put it together how soon after book seven all this really is until the boys start talking about Death Eaters still being out there and unaccounted for. It seems anytime you study real life wars in school or whatnot, we are taught to memorize set dates, as if wars always have clear beginnings and ends. Of course the mess Voldemort and his Death Eaters made isn't going to be cleaned up in a matter of months, maybe not even years. Even in the news today, you read about some former warlord being captured after thirty years on the run. Anyway, the point of the ramble is that I really like that element of the story and thought it came through really well in this first scene.

And I'm wondering who this old DE might be...

It was as much a sign of spring as the bloody robins and crocuses. Priceless!

I really wasn't expecting an Astoria/Narcissa moment, but this was great. There are some wonderful parallels between the two characters -- at least the potential for parallel. If Astoria runs off with Draco, she may be facing a hard road ahead and will have to make tough decisions regarding her family, something Narcissa has faced as well. Narcissa is a great character in that she believes in the superiority of pureblood families, and I have no doubt she enjoys being wealthy (and once respected), but she doesn't value these things above all else. She puts her family ahead of both of these things, as well as her own life. Astoria has that same strength of character, putting love about doing what is proper or desired of her by her family.

Another great chapter. Sorry my review isn't of equal caliber this time around, and it's way too hard to do typos on an iphone. Can't wait to read more soon.

Good luck finishing up chapter 11!

Author's Response: Aww, no apologies necessary! The mere fact that you would be standing in line at the cable company and think, "hey, I could be reading Detox right now" makes me all kinds of happy.

Draco's former housemates don't get it at all. They were never anywhere near Voldemort during the war, nor did they ever have to risk their lives. It's all just a game to them, and they have no idea that they're playing with fire. They will find out, though...

I'm glad that it isn't just me who thinks of the "end" of the war that way. I really have a hard time getting into post-war stories were the sun came up on the morning Voldemort died and everything was kittens and rainbows from that moment on. I'm certain that lots of Death Eaters escaped after the battle, and even the ones that were captured right away had to be tried. The magical world was in shambles, untold numbers of people -- muggle and magical -- had been injured and killed, lots of muggle-borns were still in hiding... I'm sure it took months if not years to restore some semblance of normality to life.

It's a tricky thing, and not altogether pleasant, to be writing and have to decide, "what would Jeremy Gamp think about this?" He's not all there, but like a lot of crazy people, he has these rare moments of clarity. The truth of the matter, I think, is that Voldemort *wasn't* a particularly good dark lord. He underestimated his enemies again and again. He never attempted to account for variables that he didn't understand. If a task couldn't be accomplished through brute force savagery or the manipulation of fools -- I think Harry counts as a fool on more than one occasion -- he really struggled with it. On top of it all, he had the worst luck imaginable. I mean, come on, Severus Snape is your most trusted servant. Why not have him brew a pint of Felix Felicis every day and eat it with your corn flakes?

I really enjoyed writing the scene with Astoria and Narcissa. When I was working out the chapter outline, I wasn't sure about it. It felt pretty fluffy to me. Plus, Narcissa has this bad tendency to be a scene stealer in my stories. I agree 100% that Narcissa is a fascinating character. I think of her as this alternative mother figure in the books. She's not a self-sacrificing mother like Lily Potter or Molly Weasley, but in the end she doesn't love her family any less.

I enjoyed your review thoroughly, no matter the length. Thanks for stopping by and sharing your thoughts!

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Review #12, by Gabriella Hunter 

9th June 2013:

Back for more just like I promised because its midnight, I'm listening to George Michael for some reason and well, I love this story.
So, Draco has gotten himself into a little pickle and I'm very worried for him. It seems as if his thoughts on the entire thing were proven wrong by just how serious the group was about overthrowing the Ministry. Gamp doesn't seem like the type of fellow who gives up easily once his mind is wrapped around something and think he might be on to Draco more than he realizes. I hope he's going to be careful but I hope he ventures out for help when necessary because I know he's going to need it.
Although, from the way things are going, he may not have as much time as I'D personally like. I'm not sure who I'm angry at the most, the boys for being so stupid or his own father for allowing himself to be fooled once again. I really loved the play of emotion in this too, I think Draco showed so much depth and strength and I just think you write him so wonderfully.
If only I didn't go into a chocolate-induced coma whenever I think of writing mine...T-T
Anyhoo, on to this last portion! This review is short compared to my others, sadly and this George Michael song is depressing. Astoria showed alot more courage towards the end of this and I really do enjoy her thoughts on her sister's wedding. The added bit you wrote about being in competition with her sister really showed how much society matters to her, even in her own home. I think she's going to be a pretty strong woman in her own way once she grows up a bit more, her thought processes are lovely. She seems to venture from innocence to startling maturity and I can't wait to see where you go with that!
My favorite thing of course was the added bonus of seeing Narcissa Malfoy. I think that scene was just wonderfully simple and clean, with no added weight or drama and it was just what the chapter needed to close up after a heavy beginning.
The conversation between them was bitter sweet and I honestly felt some sympathy for Narcissa, you made her seem very relatable. I don't read too many stories with her that way and the added strength you gave her was a vey nice way of showing how she had grown during the War.
I think that was a good thing for Astoria and hopefully in the next few chapters, we see more and more of her growth. And more sparkly things as well...
Excellent as usual!
Much love,

Author's Response: That is strange. I rarely listen to George Michael at midnight. ;)

Gamp is a nasty piece of work. If you read CoB, you'll see exactly how far the nastiness goes, but suffice it to say that he isn't playing with a full deck. Zabini really wants Malfoy to join their conspiracy, although some of the others aren't completely sold, as you can see.

I'm glad you liked Astoria in this. It was part of my ongoing effort to make her a little more balanced in terms of maturity and her attitudes about various things. She is still a little snotty when it comes to the way she interacts with others, especially Daphne. There's definitely some growing up to do. But she does have an ability to rise above it, like when she talks to Narcissa, for instance. There I go, letting Narcissa steal a scene again. I have a bad tendency to allow her to do that, but she's such an interesting character. I really should write something with her and Andromeda someday.

Ooh, so glad to see you're still enjoying it! Take care and thanks for the awesome reviews!

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Review #13, by Dark Whisper 

10th May 2013:

Oh, I do love it when Draco goes to the edge of fury. The entire wand at Flint's throat thing had me squealing with delight. Loved it.

I had to laugh with Gamp about Voldemort though... Draco's "sign of spring" comment and Gamp saying he was wondering if a Death Eater would finally admit that. Hahaha! Somehow it reminds of the "reasons why Voldemort is like a teen-age girl." (You can look that up if you don't know and need a good laugh). xD But I'm glad that you remind us through Draco that Gamp truly has nothing on Voldemort. And all kidding aside, that is what really rings true.

It is apparent that Draco thinks his father is involved, but you have not convinced me that this is the benefactor that the group is speaking of. Hmm. A bit of mystery remains to me.

I do love your details, as usual... the glass on the floor, the backstory of the tiara, her getting ill on her first and last rollercoaster ride at the bank. Very nice.

And finally, in this little exchange with Astoria and Narcissa... I LOVE that she mentions that the little bit of doubt Draco instilled in Bellatrix played a major role as well. Draco never gets enough credit for this, so I do thank you for pointing it out. You do justice to him and true fans of Draco's thank you for it.

Great job,
Dark Whisper

Author's Response: Hi, there!

Draco has quite a temper still, and the more stress he's under, the worse it seems to get.

Gamp is one of those completely crazy people who sometimes sees the world in unique ways. Unique for a pure blood sociopath, anyway. I can't remember where I first saw the joke abut Harry beating Voldemort every spring, but it's definitely true.

Draco is pretty convinced by this point that old Lucius is behind this all somehow. It is a mystery, because it's far from certain...

I don't see how *anyone* doesn't get sick on their first trip into the depths of Gringotts. That's a pretty insane ride.

There I go again, letting Narcissa steal a scene. I did it a few times in Marked. It's hard not to, because her story and Draco's are so tightly connected. Draco did play a role in helping defeat Voldemort, whether he wanted to of not.

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

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Review #14, by ValWitch21 

28th April 2013:
Hi Dan!

Ugh, here I am moping about how good your stories are in comparison to mine again. I wish I'd left a review on every chapter, but I really wanted to get to the end to see what happened, and, well, here I am.

I also wish I could be coherent with this, but I'm tired, so I will just say that Jami is a very lucky person, that this is one of the best takes on post-war Draco that I have ever read, and that I absolutely love your Astoria.

Please update this soon if you can, you've just found yourself a new fangirl!

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

I like all reviews, whether they're coherent or not. ;) It's very nice to know that you're enjoying the story and you like the way I've written Draco and Astoria. They're quickly becoming one of my favorite pairs to write.

Thanks for reading and reviewing!

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Review #15, by patronus_charm 

27th April 2013:
I feel left out having not read the Conspiracy of Blood Jeremy Gamp means nothing to me. Well, I suppose once all of my exams are over it will give me an excuse to read it ;) This probably sounds really minor but I liked the addition about wizarding whiskeys, itís so nice to see the author go to the extra effort to include that and it gives you a better sense of the magical society.

I really loved this line Ė ĎIn truth, he wanted nothing more than to stand up and leave.í It just showed how much Draco had changed by no longer wanting to be with them. I think youíve shown his transition from a Death Eater to someone who no longer fully agrees with their views perfectly, and all of his actions throughout the story perfectly correlate with this moment. It kind of makes you wonder what he would have been like without Astoria as she was a big help in him reaching this point.

This may sound weird but Iím really liked this Gamp person. Obviously I donít like his personality, but he seems to be the perfect villain, one that you hate so much you end up loving him for that reason. Iím guessing that heís the main antagonist in CoB? If so these is an even bigger motivating factor to get round to reading it, because what theyíre discussing now is probably foreshadowing for the book.

It was strange to see Draco stick up for his family, yet it seemed sense that he would do so. Even though he probably doesnít agree with what they did then, he isnít the type to sit there and just let Flint offend his family however he wants. I liked this spark in Draco as it was reminiscent of his often quick temper we see in the books.

I found another line I loved Ė ĎZabini was a lover, not a fighter.í I donít what it was about this line but it fitted perfectly with my mental image of Zabini as I always imagined him as a lover. I really liked how you didnít make Zabini perfect and best friends with Draco as Iíve seen that done a lot, so what you did was a refreshing change. I never imagined him to be so revolutionary, but then again, we know so little about Zabini you can really manipulate him to be whatever you want him to be.

After what you said about Zabini being of a higher class to Gamp and Flint I really began to pick that up in every aspect of them. It was subtle enough for it not to be in your face, but it was done subconsciously so you still picked up on it. I think it was their mannerisms and speech which pulled it off and it was most obvious when Gamp called Draco a ponce.

I liked learning about the legend of the tiara, like the whiskey, it was a really nice touch and made a simple object a lot more interesting. I really like the clear difference youíre showing between Daphne and Astoria, as I always wondered why Draco didnít end up with Daphne considering they were in the same year, and we have an explanation here.

I really enjoyed that scene between Narcissa and Astoria, it was perfectly done. Narcissaís understanding of the situation was great, and she just seem to instinctively know how to handle Astoria and how to say the right thing. I liked how she recognised how much Astoria had done for Draco, and it seems as if she was giving her blessing for their relationship.

I really enjoyed that chapter and I canít wait for the next!


Author's Response: Hi, there!

I don't normally respond to reviews out of order, but one thing you said made me do enough of a double-take that I felt like I needed to answer you right away. I really, really doubt that you'll like Jeremy Gamp after reading CoB. I won't spoil anything for you, but suffice it to say that he does some genuinely horrible things. Obviously, there's no way you could know this, but when I read it in your review it leapt off the page at me because I don't think *anyone* who read CoB liked Gamp by the end of the story.

Anyway, you're right about Draco. The war changed him drastically, and his relationship with Astoria has helped him continue to change in a positive way. He no longer has any desire to associate with the likes of Gamp, Flint and Zabini. And it isn't because he doesn't agree with them about muggles and muggle-borns, he's just seen enough war and death to last a lifetime and he doesn't want any part of any new conflict. Moreover, he knows that they are doomed to fail.

Draco is the sort, I think, that will always stick up for his family if he perceives that an "outsider" is insulting them. That's just the way he was raised, and nothing is ever going to change it. He may think that Lucius is the biggest fool in the world at this point, but he'll still defend his father against someone who isn't part of the family.

I don't think that Zabini is as much a revolutionary as he is disenchanted and impressionable. He no longer sees the "golden future" that he was expecting when pure bloods were the "royalty" of the wizarding world and held enormous influence over the Ministry. Combine that with all of the big talk that Gamp, Flint and the others are filling his head with, and he's really started to believe that they are destined to "retake" their world. He is much too naive to realize just what a dumb thing they're doing.

The tiara filled a need I had to draw out the differences between Daphne and Astoria, but also to show that Astoria is still a teenage girl who's still prone to moments of juvenile behavior and silly rivalries. After the first few chapters, I really started to worry that she seemed too old for her years, so I wanted to show some different sides of her.

Ugh. So I'm feeling shades of deja vu as I reread the conversation between Astoria and Narcissa. When I started writing Marked, it was meant to be a "Draco story", but Narcissa stole the show in a few places. It's a hard temptation to resist. For one thing, her story is so tightly intertwined with Draco's. Also, I find her to be one of the most interesting characters JKR created: this very different version of what a mother is supposed to be compared to Lily Potter or Molly Weasley, yet her love for Draco is obviously no less and in the end she plays a very important part in making Voldemort's defeat possible.

I'm really glad that you enjoyed this. I don't think I've ever had quite this much difficulty writing a chapter where I went in knowing exactly what I wanted to do. Hopefully the next one will be a bit easier. Thanks for sharing your thoughts and reactions!

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Review #16, by Jchrissy 

27th April 2013:
You know, I wish for about the millionth time that I could leave running reviews. There are so many things I thought about wanting to comment on during this chapter and I have no idea how I'm going to remember those. Maybe if someone wouldn't have kept me up until midnight distracting me while I edited, my brain would be working better. Oh... wait. I was the one keeping you up, huh?

Anyway, I think the additions to Gamps scene are awesome. Draco still managed to keep a cool head when the man countered his excuse about the weapon, and I have to say I was really impressed with the turn he chose to take.

Can any of us disagree that Voldemort's biggest downfall was being so obsessed with Harry? I loved Gamps comments, and it's hard to think that people involved in the war wouldn't think something similar. Of course the DE like Bellatrix and the first few who new Voldemort from Hogwarts days wouldn't think twice about their master, but I love that the supporters who'd never seen his cruelty would think something along those lines. Gamp actually said something I sort of agree with. Creepy.

Although he best watch the way he talks about Lily. That's one group he doesn't want going after him ;)

I'm getting pretty nervous about Draco and the way he seems to be letting all of this get to him. He's getting too involved with the trickery and the sneaking, and much too involved with that alcohol he's drinking. I wish he'd just go over to the Greengrass's and talk to her dad, man to man, instead of ever having gotten involved in all this.

Then the scene at Gringotts was really lovely. I adore watching Astoria learn so much more about what's outside of her sheltered world. She sees these things people went through, things she never could imagine with her parents firm stance of not getting involved and the money they had to keep them in them that way. The war was real for her I'm sure. She knew it was happening, but in the way that people across the world know there was a terrorist attack. It's sad and terrible, but she wasn't involved the way that Draco was, or Narcissa. She's learning so much more than I'm sure she bargained for, and I'm so impressed with how understanding she's being. I think the serious conversation that took place between those two was the perfect balance to the spoiled daughter vibe from the first part of that section. Not that there's anything wrong with being a spoiled daughter. I've managed to do it well all my life ;).

I had to remind myself this story was about Draco and Astoria, because I was half tempted to ask you to make the next chapter about Narcissa and Andromeda, haha! Well, maybe that's something Astoria can bear witness to in the future? ;)

I really liked that you added Astoria enjoying shopping for Daphne. Astoria is a girl, enjoys being a girl, enjoys looking pretty... and the fact that Daphne has good taste couldn't hurt. It's funny how different the two of those are. My sisters and I are so much alike, but neither of them are similar to Daphne so that's probably why ;).

This was an awesome chapter, m'dear! I can't wait to see these two lovers reunited!

Author's Response: Jami, Jami, Jami. I love how much thought and effort I have to put into responding to your reviews. It's like a really pleasant homework assignment.

One odd thing about Gamp is that he's actually pretty insightful for a lunatic. Voldemort was completely obsessed with Harry because Harry's very survival made his power look less than absolute. As long as Harry lived, there would be proof that there were things beyond Voldemort's control, and I think that thought ate away at him night and day. Gamp saw things about him that all of his most ardent supporters missed. So, yes, great minds like you and Gamp think alike. :p

Draco is putting an awful lot of eggs into one basket with this plan he has to attend Gamp's wedding. It's obviously taking a mental toll on him. You can see it in his drinking and in his reduced ability to control his temper. I can't see him doing that with Mr. Greengrass, however. He's already had his pride injured once by Astoria's father. Being a Malfoy, he will definitely go the route of trying to prove that he's worthy rather than trying to talk his way in.

I loved writing the scene at Gringotts. Here I am letting Narcissa steal a scene again, just like she did several times in Marked. I think the conversation did a lot of good for Astoria. Perhaps a bit too much. You'll see... ;)

I think I'd like to write about Narcissa and Andromeda someday, but I'm not quite sure what I could bring to the story that I haven't read already. It's a surprisingly well-covered topic.

Astoria loves her sister, even though Daphne acts like a shallow idiot sometimes. They have a pretty strong bond in my mind, and Astoria definitely enjoys letting her sister spend their father's money on her. ;)

So glad that you enjoyed it! Thanks for the awesome review!

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Review #17, by MissMdsty 

27th April 2013:
Hello Dan!

This was such a great chapter I don't really know where to start! I once read a book by an author named Cecelia Ahern that told a love story which stretched over several decades just through the letters the main characters exchanged. They met once at the beginning and once at the end. I'd tell you the title but my bookcase is too far away to check. I'll get back to you on that. My point is, you are building this amazing love story between these two people (if I didn't know the outcome I'd have fainted by now) and they haven't actually seen each other in two chapters. I think that is incredible. It's easy to build romance when your characters go for picnics and shop for rings together but here, it's this struggle of theirs to get together that is so emotional. It gives me that old romance vibe, when the two just saw each other and fell in love and after that point nothing else mattered.

Draco is really playing a dangerous game and the fact that he is willing to do something so stupid as to get in touch with the old crowd just to get Zabini to do him a favor makes me think that either he's really that determined to get Astoria (and the romantic in me clings to that) or the Firewhiskey's fried his brains for good.

I'm currently reviewing all the usual suspects in my head in search of this inner circle member that's planning the revolution but so far I'm coming up with nothing. That's number two on my list of things I should get back to you on. The weapon story is indeed a very good cover up and he was very good at coming up with a lie so quickly. It'll be interesting to see how he's getting out of it, though. This whole dynamic with Draco and Gamp is amazing, because they are two strong male characters that clash on the most fundamental things, like principles and chosen paths in life. Draco is used to being the alpha in his little pack at Hogwarts and Gamp ... well, he's just evil and a wee bit delusional. It's clear none of them want to give in to the other and it's going to be interesting to see how that plays out. From my experience, in a group when two alphas collide, it's not pretty (lucky for me I'm a short girl with a big mouth and I can stand my ground just fine).

And I guess that maybe, somewhere deep down in the black pit where a heart should've been (not that he wouldn't have turned that into a Horcrux, given the chance), Voldemort did care for Harry. Or just his education seeing as he always waited until the end of the year to try and kill him.

The sad thing is, these people don't learn from their mistakes, which is lucky for us since the last thing we need are humble villains who learn from their mistakes. Calling Lily Potter a housewife. Ignorant little punks.

I loved this line " barristers, fines, charitable contributions and outright bribes". It's what all the good families spend money on. There is hope for them still!

As for Astoria, there is that little princess thing still there, with the tiara (which she wants just because her sister wants it) and the shopping for undergarments. I loved that your brought her face to face with Narcissa. In my mind they are so similar and Narcissa's actions in the forest at the final battle are so overlooked in my opinion. Draco lied to Bellatrix, which is an accomplishment on its own, but Narcissa looked the most powerful Occlumence in the eye and told him his arch enemy was dead and nobody bothered to check twice? She was that good. Can you imagine a duel between her and Molly Weasley? I'd be torn!

I liked how her arrogance was toned down. It's clear that having a raging lunatic for a husband and a former Death Eater for a son took its toll on her and she might have realized that not all that glitters is gold. She lost family and friends and all she has left is her dignity and you present that beautifully. I'm looking forward to seeing more of Narcissa in future chapters.

I think I've used up all my words but I will say once again that I loved this chapter and as always, you make me think about so many things regarding Harry Potter and Draco Malfoy in particular (and you make me rant in case you haven't noticed). Brilliant job!


Author's Response: Hi, Ral!

You know, it's bothered me a little from time to time, this idea of the two of them essentially falling in love by mail. I hadn't really thought of it the way that you do, but I do think that it's going to work well in the end. The fact that the two of them actually don't know one another as well as they like to think that they do will present some difficulties before the story is over.

Draco has become very focused on having his opportunity to be Astoria's date for the wedding. It's partly defensive -- he doesn't *really* think that she might fall for Emery Montague, but he doesn't want her to fall for anyone else -- and partly because this is one of the very few chances he'll get to see her. Pure blood daughters, after all, don't get to just go wandering around the world unescorted, especially those who have already been caught once associating with an "undesirable" young man.

By the end of his section, Draco is convinced that old Lucius is the one that Gamp has been communicating with. The details fit, obviously. There is a lot of friction between Draco and Gamp, but Draco manages it fairly well. During his year as Voldemort's whipping boy, he definitely learned that there are times when it's not worth it to try to be the top dog. That said, he's not going to let Gamp push him around when it matters. You already know how their "relationship" ends. ;)

The bit about barristers and fines is something that I've always suspected about the Malfoys' life immediately after the war. Just because they didn't wind up in Azkaban doesn't mean that it was easy -- or cheap -- to avoid.

There's a *lot* of "daddy's little princess" in Astoria. One thing that I've tried hard to do over the last few chapters is remind everyone that she's still a teenage girl. I was worried after the first few chapters that she came off way too mature. The tiara seemed like a really good device to show that she remains immature in a lot of ways, but it also gives her something to think about once Narcissa reveals just how much she misses her own sisters.

Ah, Narcissa... I'm having a bit of deja vu right now, because something similar happened when I was writing Marked. That was meant to be a "Draco story", but I felt like Narcissa stole the show in some places. It's hard, because her story is so tightly intertwined with Draco's. I also thought she turned out to be one of the more interesting characters by the end of DH. She became this very different version of what a mother is supposed to be: nothing like Lily Potter or Molly Weasley, but her love for Draco was no less important to the final outcome. At any rate, I'm glad that you find her interesting.

I'm really glad that you enjoyed it! For a chapter where I knew going in how I wanted it to turn out, this one ended up being really hard to write. Thanks for all of your awesome reviews!

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