Reading Reviews for Detox
  
316 Reviews Found

Review #1, by Gabriella Hunter Turning the Corner

17th June 2015:
HELLO!

This is Gabbie from the forums dropping by with this super late review for our swap. I feel like I owe you the biggest apology for not getting to this more quickly and I shall repay you with kittens and glitter. Honestly, though, I'll probably just read more of this story and review to make up for this, I hate not giving you guys reviews the same day we swap. ;__;

I am going to be honest though and say that I have been checking up on this story for quite a while. I had a brief hiatus and wasn't able to read or review for a long time but now that I'm able to again I can review the stories that I started reading ages ago. This being an adult thing is not fun...

So, Draco! I remember that I read half of this chapter before but I re-read everything to get back into the swing of things. I am really invested in his character and I love all of the different angles that you've given him. He seems the same on one hand but on the other you can tell that he's become a tad jaded but much more mature. I liked that you still had him holding onto some of his prejudices about Muggles too, I feel like some authors make him out to be this tragic, romantic sex-god and that always felt waaay out of left field. I'm sure that that's a great fantasy but your version of him is more realistic. I'm sure that people who are bigots for most of their lives aren't just going to flip a switch in a day.

What surprised me here though was the offer McGonagall gave him. I liked that they managed to have a talk though and while it was more like a cowboy facing off with a hardened fighter, I really enjoyed that Draco held his own. McGonagall is an intimidating woman but I really enjoyed seeing her softened up just a little in this section. She's also putting a lot of her career on the line by trusting Draco and I think that offering him this job is a test of how much they can trust and rely on one another.

I know that Draco was feeling very defensive about the whole thing but I honestly believe that he would be better suited there. Potions seems to be his strong suit and I winced a little at how he carelessly tossed Muggle Studies behind him. I would have liked to see him trying to make more of an effort to learn but it was clear that it wasn't going to happen. I hope he'll be able to scrape through Herbology though, Neville Longbottom is silently laughing in a corner over this, I'm sure.

When we shift back to Astoria, I can't help but giggle with girlish happiness. I LOVE the way that she's written, she seems like a very real girl and I enjoyed how her thoughts of Draco slipped from worry to moonbeams. It's clear that her feelings for him are developing into something more serious here and their entire section together was all sorts of yum. As a professed perv of the highest order, I declared that you wrote that scene very well. There was just enough connection and physical intimacy to bring them closer together without it being written crudely or rushed.

"Little wizard" is still making me laugh, btw.

Anyway, this ending! Astoria's father is wanting more from her life than she's willing to let go of and I'm worried. I don't want her to look at Montague as some sort of example because Merlin have mercy on my soul...just...no. So much nope is coursing through me.

So much nope.

I hope that she'll be able to convince her father of what SHE wants. Also, I do hope that she won't end up being like MY Astoria either. The Astoria in A Force of Wills would be dead by now if her father learned of some illicit relationship with a boy that he disapproved of.

Anyway, great chapter and I'll be back!

Much love,

Gabbie

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Review #2, by dirtydeedsdonedirtcheap Epilogue

11th June 2015:
“Grandfather says that there are hardly any girls left who are suitable for me to marry.”

How is grandfather even alive at this point. Fine, wizards tend to live a longer life span but I thought old Lucius would kick the bucket by now.

There was no way he would make a spectacle of himself in front of their sort.

Uh. Bile in my throat. You know I really thought Draco would change. That he would be accepting, partially anyway. He sounds like a mini-me of Lucius and stuck in old ways, which I find very surprising. You can see very clearly the difference between Draco and Astoria but then at the same time they’re one in the same.

in spite of your wishes and in spite of plain common sense, your mother and I won’t feel any differently about you.

Oh Draco, definitely wouldn’t be voted father of the year. His interaction with Scorpius just seemed…awkward. I don’t know if he was trying to restrain him self that badly or if that’s how their relationship is. I wonder if they have a good relationship. I mean, you could sense how close Scorpius is with his grandparents and his mother. He seemed to be afraid of Draco more than anything. Worried to let him down but he was more worried about everyone else.

Draco just isn’t a comforting character, odd since he can make fancy declarations to Astoria. Maybe it’s just a male to male thing.

You have to laugh at him calling Rose cute. Like that doesn’t foreshadow something (possibly).

I wonder, here’s my question for you, would you ever write a next generation story? I know you’ve written most of the characters in Conspiracy and the kids show up in some one-shots, but a story where the main focus isn’t the trio or Draco, does that cross your mind?

Author's Response: Oh, Deeds! I've come to the last review, which is sweet sorrow. I've enjoyed this all so much!

Lucius was still alive, but as you see a bit later, his health was in decline. In my mind, I imagined him gradually transitioning from having periods of confusion to having periods of lucidity. At this point in Scorpius's life, he was probably 50/50.

There are some things about Draco that I didn't want to change as I wrote this. Essential things that I think are engrained in his character and make him who he is. He will never stop being prejudiced against people who aren't like him, he simply doesn't believe that all witches and wizards are created equal. It's not a positive quality, but it's part of him and I think it would be disingenuous to change it.

No, Draco won't be Father of the Year. That said, I think he's come a pretty long way to be any sort of father at all. And he does think about what's best for Scorpius, although he thinks about it in different terms. As far as his relationship with Scorpius, I think he probably allowed his own relationship with Lucius to set expectations a little too much. Men have a hard time with such things. Trust me. ;)

Ha! Indeed it does foreshadow certain things. This story is set in the same timeline as Conspiracy of Blood, after all.

I don't know that I'd write a *purely* Next Generation story. Part of what I loved about CoB was that I could include the Next Gen characters -- even focus on them at times -- but not have them be the central focus of the story. If I was going to write a Next Gen story, the cast would have to be broad.

Deeds, thank you so much for sticking with this story and all of the love and feedback you've given me on it. It's always a pleasure and a privilege!


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Review #3, by dirtydeedsdonedirtcheap Yes

10th June 2015:
I’m not convinced it’s Mulciber. Why would he go to such great lengths to hide himself? Yeah, he could be smarter or he could be an Auror in disguise because who tipped them off before? We still haven’t figured that out.

That was when Mulciber suddenly whipped his wand down and fired a powerful stunning spell into the middle of Avery’s back.

I knew it! It’s not him! Who is it? It can’t be Harry. Too early in his career to be Harry and that would hurt Draco’s ego too much. But he was being watched all this time, Draco, right? So, it has to be someone prominent but I’m drawing a blank. Ah! So exciting.

Astoria noticed Blaise Zabini standing near the wall, looking overwhelmed by the fighting going on around him.

Because Blaise has never been a fighter. He’s just not! He’s all talk but essentially he is the ‘traitor’ if you will. He was never on the Dark Lord’s side and he was never on the other either. He is a coward.

Now get up before I put you in a full bodybind and levitate you!”

I’ve never disliked Ron in a story so much. He’s just so…annoying and catty. He needs sugar and to get over himself.

Astoria was sure that her mouth was hanging open in a most undignified way. “Zabini” was actually Potter.

NO WAY.

WHAT!

Mind blown, again.

She’s obviously not saying and, well, she’s gotten pretty good at this over the years. Otherwise, she’d have ended up in Azkaban four or five husbands ago.”

YES! See, I told you he wasn’t a fighter. I mean granted his mother tipped them off but Blaise was never going to be there in the first place. All talk. Too much drunken talk. Ah!

The ending left me feeling very giddy. Though I’m not in a romantic mood so his declaration of love and wanting to marry her made me wrinkle my nose.

What a turn of events though. I honestly saw none of the major parts coming. The marriage, obviously, the fact that he wouldn’t go to prison and the Aurors would find out, yeah and Horatio sort of accepting him (and then finally accepting him), yes, yes and yes. But everything else. The surprise guests, the fits with Lucius and all the fight scenes. I don’t know how you do it Dan but you know the perfect way to bring Harry Potter back to life and close to my heart time and time again.

Author's Response: Hi, Deeds! I am going to try to finish responding to these today!

Not Mulciber? Why, who else would it be? What kind of sneaky author do you take me for?

Oh, alright, you caught me! Mulciber was actually an Auror, but you can totally trust me on all the other characters. ;)

Umm, yeah. Zabini. Totally a lover, not a fighter. Remember how I said you could trust me...

This is definitely the most unlikable I've ever made Ron. Sometimes I feel like I should write something really Ron-positive to make up for it. Or at least some good, goofy Ron like you write.

OK, I'll level with you. You pretty much can't trust me. Harry was disguised as Zabini.

You are right, however. As Draco observed somewhere near the middle of the story, Zabini was way out of his league. He's not cut from the same cloth as Flint, Gamp and the others. Once mummy realized what was happening, she spirited him out of the country. The Aurors could have seen this as a loss. Instead, they turned it into an opportunity.

Giddy. I think Draco and Astoria both felt that way.

One of the things I tried hardest to do with this story was to make it interesting and keep readers guessing **in spite** of the fact that we all know how it's going to end. Sounds like I did alright.

One more review to answer. Thanks so much!


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Review #4, by dirtydeedsdonedirtcheap Clarity

10th June 2015:
He was going to find Astoria and keep her safe. Safe from Flint and Gamp, safe from the foolish conceits of her parents...

I think after the conversation Horatio and his wife had they’re going to accept Draco. Especially because he’s about to save daughter’s from some sadistic fools.

Kind of have to feel for Daphne even though she’s so annoying. She loses her dunderhead of a husband right after their short honeymoon. Who is going to want to marry her then?

Turning to the wall beside the gate, he pointed his wand. Reducto. The old stonework exploded inward, opening a hole that he quickly stepped through.

For some reason I just envisioned Draco as Tom Cruise and the Mission Impossible song is now in my head. Come on Draco, it’s not impossible!

With a disinterested flick of his wand, Gamp sent Daphne flying across the room into the wall.

What a pig! I hope he’s killed by the end of the chapter or thrown in Azkaban and just shown no mercy.

When he comes back, I’ll even tell him how you kept it safe til you could get it to me. We’ll be rewarded beyond all his other servants.”

Man, how screwed up do you have to be? To want to bring him back. To want the glory. Then again I suppose it makes sense. I mean, what else does he have to live for, right? He can’t exactly be a functional member of society.

he noted with grim satisfaction that Gamp and the others were merely watching.

Of course because they’re not in charge. Gamp is NO ONE. So are the others. They’re just a bunch of fools who clearly don’t get that they will lose their lives. They don’t have the power or the sheer intelligence to start something like Voldemort had. They also aren’t complete madmen. Bellatrix was insane. So were his other followers that stood by him to the very end. These are just foolish children that are looking for glory and aren’t ready to be actual adults. Draco never got to be a child after 12/13. He is in a different league.

Dan!

Dan, Dan, Dan!

What are you doing to me? Throwing all these curveballs and secret people my way. I can’t even guess who it is because old Lucius isn’t all there. It’s not going to be that saves the day.

Where are you pulling all these Death Eaters from? They should be rotting or something. The anticipation is killing me. I need to know, now!

Author's Response: Muahahahahaaa! You didn't think I'd let you finish this story without one more big cliffhanger, did you?

Yep, Draco's on the right path here. It will be hard for Astoria's parents not to accept him if he pulls this off. If...

I love that you feel twinges of sympathy for my minor characters. Poor Daphne tends to be a star-crossed ninny when I write her. I will never understand people who pair her with Harry...

Gamp will get his just desserts, although I don't kill him until CoB. ;)

You're right about Avery. Without the Dark Lord, he has nothing. Plus, he understands the Dark Lord's wrath better than most. Remember that Avery's the one Voldemort tortures in the graveyard because he didn't search for Voldemort after the end of the first war. Even if he doesn't know for sure that Voldemort will return, he's unwilling to risk falling out of favor.

Who is the mysterious new arrival? Tune in to our next chapter to find out... :p

Thanks so much for all of the awesome reviews!


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Review #5, by dirtydeedsdonedirtcheap A Break with the Past

10th June 2015:
Chop, chop!”

One of my biggest pet peeves is when people say this. Chop, chop! What do I look like, a chef?

Eventually it seemed to dawn on Flint that he was being talked down to, and the angry scowl returned to his face.

Geez, Narcissa Malfoy has quickly become my new favorite character with these last two chapters. Way to go mother lion. She has such strength and power.

She completely…dare I say it, schooled Nott.

Goyle followed a moment later and a happy grin settled onto his fat face when he saw Draco and Narcissa.

Haha. I’m sorry this made me laugh. They’re honestly all clueless but Goyle takes the cake. He probably thinks he’s doing nothing wrong. Things could go either way for him.

“Uh, glad to hear it. I’m chuffed to see you, too.”

Oh Dan, I appreciate this line more than you know.

I like how Blaise is trying to be the voice of reason at this point I’m up too. We’re all on the same side, nothing is wrong. Really I’m surprised Blaise hasn’t completely run off too. He just doesn’t seem as strong as the others or idiotic. I mean come on; he has a brain it’s just clouded by misjudgments and too much alcohol. Of all the people in this story he disappoints me the most.

“He couldn’t very well leave it to your Aunt Bellatrix. She would have burned down the entire island.”

THAT WAS AMAZING.

I NOMINATE YOU FOR BEST FIGHT SCENES, EVER.

Not that there’s a contest going on or anything but still.

My mind is reeling I can’t wrap my head around all of this. We have Narcissa who is the baddest witch of all time. I mean, Bellatrix doesn’t even hold a candle to her. At all.

Poor Lucius though. You know how I feel about him. It was upsetting and sad to see him fighting along side his family thinking he was in another time. A time where he failed and he failed again in his own manor. He couldn’t protect his family. Not that I think he realized once he started fighting that they were beside him. At least he tried. That has to count for something, right?

And then Draco willing himself to fight them off and protect his mother. Not wanting his father to die. Trying to protect Blaise and the dunderhead next to him who still refused. Draco has heart. I think that’s what I learned from this chapter.

So excited to find out what happens next!

Author's Response: Hi, Deeds!

I think my personal fun writing this story peaked with this chapter. Not that the others weren't fun, but it didn't get any better than this for me.

Isn't Narcissa awesome? She puts Flint in this place, she keeps Nott from dying and then she pretty much saves the rest of the family's bacon with that locket. But we'll come back to the locket in a moment.

Goyle turned out to be such awesome comic relief in this story. I almost feel a little bad about killing him in CoB. Not bad enough to change it, mind you, but bad nevertheless. He's such a bumbling moron, it's hard not to like him on some level.

So Zabini... keep an eye on him. That's all I'll say for now. You're right, he is trying to deescalate the situation, but the reason why is slightly more complicated.

I'm so glad you liked Narcissa's locket. The idea popped into my head early in the process of writing this and I spend a lot of chapters making myself wait to roll it out. I like the idea that at least one or two of the Black family's dark artifacts could be useful. And that line about Bellatrix was one of my favorites in the entire story.

Poor old Lucius gave it his best. He's obviously in a bad way, but he managed to hang in there when it mattered most. At least until his wife could unleash the family fire demon on their attackers.

I agree with you. Draco has heart when it comes to people and things that he values. He also values Astoria, so now we get to see how that works out.

Thanks for reading and reviewing!


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Review #6, by dirtydeedsdonedirtcheap Climbing Back

10th June 2015:
Then Jasper and Sophia found him in his bed at home, naked and... defiling himself.

Oh Dan, really? Uh. It was enough to assume in the last chapter but to hear her mother…ack. Wrong on so many levels.

Interesting. I just finished the conversation between her parents. I have to say I understand Horatio’s side of the story. I have to keep putting myself in his time and then Astoria’s actual time period. I think for one it’s hard (clearly) for him to change his viewpoints. He brought up a certain way but from the way his wife spoke to him I think he changed. He could have just pushed any guy towards Astoria, made her never want to focus on school or learning. Obviously in his time it would have been more important for the man to have an education, not the woman but he has to value her education somewhat if he’s allowed her go to Hogwarts this long.

He’s worried that she’s going to end up alone. Understandable but I think he underestimates his daughter. Having his wife stand up to him and fight for her side was great. We didn’t hear too much about her mother in the story. I think my main focus has been Horatio because it seems like he’s the more important figure in Astoria’s life. His words and his thoughts impacted her more.

Madam Blishwich and shared a quick glance with Penhallow and then her voice took on a coddling, almost patronizing tone

You’re missing a word here.

He was furious, but the anger was blunted by a horrible sense of disappointment and regret.

Wow. I saw it coming as their conversation progessed but it felt like an explosion in my head. I could hear him yell the curse. It’s unsettling. He can relapse at any moment especially given the state he is in.

I know that things haven’t been exactly cordial between the two of us recently and I know that.

How much of that was rehearsed? I mean COME ON! You know Narcissa had to drill some of that into her husband.

the possibility that old Lucius might actually die had never really crossed his mind. Now it filled him with a cold sense of dread unlike anything he’d ever felt.

I cried a little when Draco and Lucius were finally speaking candidly. The old man is just gone. It’s unfortunate because I think he could have changed. It would have been uncomfortable and hard for him but I think he would have at least mended his relationship with Draco and I don’t think he would have backed any idea of another war. Come on, the Malfoy family backed out of two essentially. He pretended he was under a curse after Voldemort was first defeated and then supported Narcissa who said Harry was dead.

You also don’t ever realize how important a character Narcissa is. In reality she is the head of the family. She is the one that has the most to lose because even though I’m sure her husband loves her and needs her and he loves his son, she is the one that would do anything for the both of them.

Draco finally opening up to her seemed completely realistic. He did open up to her once before in the beginning of the story but to see him completely just let loose and tell her everything. That really shows the bond they share and the respect he has for her.

I have an eerie feeling about what’s going to happen next. I know Draco will be okay, but there could be some casualties.

Author's Response: Hi, Deeds!

Ha! Well, all if can say for myself is that I felt like I needed a little something light-hearted to break up the heavy ending of the last chapter and the heavy start to this one. And Emery is such a fun punching bag. It's hard to resist.

Astoria's father comes from a certain upbringing that's shaped his thoughts on proper behavior and relationships. I do think he wanted Astoria (and Daphne, for that matter) to do well in school and think for themselves. He just believes that there's a "right" way for young ladies to do things and he's struggling to see things from Astoria's point of view. You're right, he underestimates Astoria a great deal. To him, she's still his little girl. He can't quite see the capable -- if somewhat immature -- young woman she's grown into. His wife does help out somewhat. I think of her as one of these aristocratic ladies who's a good deal better at "managing" her husband than he realizes.

It never fails to amaze me how many times people (myself included) can read the same chapter and there are still typos to find. Thanks!

An addict never stops being an addict, whether you're talking about alcohol or uncontrolled anger. Draco will struggle with these things for the rest of his life.

I think that *most* of what Lucius says was rehearsed, even if he only rehearsed it in his own mind.

I think you're right. I think Lucius had changed -- or at least developed a new sense of what was most important in life -- by the end of the war. His mental problems are interfering with that change, but the sane part of Lucius still wants to have a relationship with his son. Family is everything to him, even if he has an odd way of "looking out" for the family.

Narcissa is a pivotal character in the last two books. Think of everything she did, either on purpose or by accident. She came to Snape seeking his help, which helped Snape in his mission to obtain the Dark Lord's confidence. She supported Draco, even when he lied to Bellatrix about recognizing Harry at Malfoy Manor. She lied to Voldemort's face about Harry being dead. Her character is one of my favorite things JKR did in the series. She took this disposable, absurd pureblood trophy wife and crafted her into an alternate vision of a strong female character who embodies the ideal of maternal love. You'll never mistake her for Lily Potter or Molly Weasley, but the principle is the same.

Well, let's move along and see whether your eerie feeling is right. Thanks for reading and reviewing!


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Review #7, by dirtydeedsdonedirtcheap Errors in Judgment

10th June 2015:
Dan! It has been way too long. Real life has been crazy though. I haven’t even written anything in ages. No matter, I’m here now and ready to read about Draco and Astoria.

Several gut-wrenching moments later, two identical copies of Emery Montague studied one another from opposite sides of the room.

Uh. I could barely stand listening to Montague for the short period of time. Imagine too? He sounds rather filthy. It could be his age and he sounds like he hasn’t exactly grown up yet or it could just be that he’s a slob. He makes me shudder though. In that way you do when you don’t want to breathe near someone because they don’t have anything to cover their body odor on a hot summer day or when their breath smells really bad after eating tuna fish or something.

Ugh. Grotesque.

Draco wondered for the tenth time in the past hour whether he’d made a terrible mistake by not telling Astoria about his plan.

Head meet desk.

Oy vey. Draco, what is wrong with you? I think telling Astoria would be vital to the plan. I mean, she could believe it’s him but then what does that look like infront of Horatio and Montague’s parents that they’re getting along? The two families will want them together and then there goes Draco and Astoria even though at this point she’s on the brink of being alright with leaving her family to be with him.

Plus, if he came as himself—not that he would have been welcomed—he could have shown Horatio and everyone else how much he has changed and then maybe they would accept him. Not fully but partially.

This entire plan is a train wreck.

“He isn’t planning to tell her until after they get to Switzerland and they’ve had a few rolls in the hay, but that’s beside the point.

Ugh.

Slytherins.

Ugh.

Men.

Ugh, disgusting men.

UGH.

“That’s really too bad, Draco. Because I know a girl who fancies you a great deal.”

Ha. She’s smarter than I thought. Maybe I just like to create a bigger scene in my head. Drama, what can I say, I’m a lady. I’m all about the flair.

Draco though trying to be Emery but failing miserably, now that was hilarious. I don’t fancy girls. I use that line when I go to clubs, “I don’t like men.”

The men say that’s okay because they’re married.

Ugh. Disgusting men.

Astoria tried to imagine what Pansy Parkinson would do in this situation.

Hm. They’re so young. Really, she’s incredibly young and naïve. She has to ask herself what Pansy would do, come on Astoria. Do what you want, be yourself. The two of them are incredibly young. I almost feel like I’m reading Romeo and Juliet with this chapter. Romeo and Juliet were ridiculous, he couldn’t have the first girl and basically his eyes fall on Juliet and then he decides, hey I’m in love with her. I need her.

Draco and Astoria need each other and want each other. She’s willing to change herself, go against her morals, her family, etc just to be with one person. I get that people do that. I do. And sometimes it works out for them but Draco isn’t emotionally ready. He has too much baggage he still needs to work through and Astoria is acting childish begging him to be with her. You shouldn’t have to beg someone to be with you. I did that before when I was a little older than her. I was disgusted with myself the moment it happened and the words left my lips.

“So the time we spent together in the hidden room didn’t mean anything?”

Females are really great at bringing up past events and things that bother us at times to really screw with a guy’s mind.

I like how you brought up Pansy, first in her thoughts and then she says the name out loud to him because obviously it bothers her just that much. The mere thought of Pansy or really Draco with anyone because she’s clearly inexperienced and upset she’s going to throw irrational things at his face.

The only person responsible for her misery was Astoria, herself.

She should blame herself but Draco needs and should to take part of the blame as well.

Wow. What a doozy of a chapter. I think my question to you is, do you think they would have a happy marriage? I think with all the trials and what’s line up against them, once they do end up together, even though they are (or will really fall in love) their marriage will have many hardships. That’s what I’m getting from their on-off relationship.

Author's Response: Deeds! Congratulations again on your recent graduation!

You seem to have grasped everything I was trying to get across with young Mr. Montague. He's a lazy slob who can't be bothered with things like decorum and personal hygiene. Definitely **not** somebody you'd want to stand next to on a crowded train.

So Draco's plan. Have you ever had one of those ideas that sounded **really awesome** inside your head? You had it all planned out and it was going to culminate in this sublime moment of joy. Have you ever had one of those, Deeds? Well, that's what Draco had going on in his head. And he's 18. And rather sheltered. And he has PTSD. And a raging substance abuse problem. So, yeah, things didn't work out like he'd imagined them. Or anywhere close, for that matter.

See how quickly you get right back into the swing of things with Jeremy Gamp? You put the story down for a while and then you pick it back up and read a few lines and it's like you never stopped being creeped out by him. He's special like that.

Astoria had Draco figured out, but mostly because Jeremy and his friends are loud-mouthed alcoholics. With that information in hand, however, I'm sure the signs weren't that hard to spot.

Astoria still has her inferiority complex about Pansy. Or maybe it's not exactly inferiority, she's just frightened that somehow she won't measure up. I believe that she sees Pansy as "the easy fallback" for Draco, so she feels like she needs to be *better* than Pansy to justify the effort. Or something like that. I'm not claiming to really understand how a 16-year-old girl's mind works. It seems that you can recognize the situation from some moment in your own past that you don't recall fondly, so I guess I wasn't too far off.

Ha! Yes, your gender does excel at cataloging past transgressions -- real or imagined -- and reintroducing them into later arguments.

Draco did spend a lot of time blaming himself for the disaster that played out at Daphne's wedding. You just don't see it here because I thought Astoria's reflections were better for the story. She does a lot of growing up in a short amount of time between this chapter and the next.

Thank you, as always, for sharing your thoughts and reactions. It always means a lot to me!


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Review #8, by Pixileanin Yes

27th May 2015:
Hi there! As you can surmise, my New Year's Resolution to finish reviewing this story is going just as swimmingly as my resolution to quit drinking soda... very, very slowly, and with many setbacks. But hey, it's still 2015. Why waste the moment?

“... not that being smarter than Avery was anything to boast about…”

Hehehehe… I love Avery for all the wrongness that he is. Aww, how he just goes about and ignores Gamp, the guy who thought he was the most dangerous person in the room. I know I’m supposed to be quivering right about now, but Avery, oh my god, I just can’t.

And woot! Surprise twist! Mulciber’s a traitor!

“She tried to curl up into a ball, not that it was going to do any good. He’d already proven that he was able to make Draco do things and Draco had far more experience fighting off dark curses than she did. “

Amazing pov switch here. While Avery’s being a … you know, that… Astoria still lives and breathes and is scared and yet, she has this whole resolve thing going on.

“You’re safe now, Astoria. Everything is going to be alright.”

Umm, yeah, I’d be trying to set him straight too. Nothing right now is “alright”, and it’s going to take a bit more than being her personal shield to get her to something that resembles “safety”. But what a Draco thing to say! He’s probably doing it just so he can believe it himself in a way. Being the stupid hero in the only way he can, the only option he has left.

Ahh, romance. So skewed.

I loved the fight through Astoria’s eyes, how all the action is focused around how it affects her. such a great pov telling, keeping it like that. I love how she has her epiphany in the middle of all the chaos, loses it, regains herself, and still has a spark in her at the end. Very nice, Dan!

Ahh, yes. The spell has to be broken by somebody. Crazy Ron! Good thing Harry was there to… wait, that was Harry! You sneaky writer, you! I loved that you threw in this bit about his explanation for being Zabini, because it made me chuckle too:

“She’s obviously not saying and, well, she’s gotten pretty good at this over the years. Otherwise, she’d have ended up in Azkaban four or five husbands ago.”

I don’t know how you sustained Astoria’s mindset all the way through that scene. There was so much going on, you must have a pair of rose-colored glasses around or something.

“As the warm, tingling darkness claimed Astoria, her last thoughts were of Draco’s beautiful grey eyes.”

Yes, she’s definitely age-appropriate.

Ahh, and Narcissa is still ordering Draco around, for his own good I see. Good on her! I think she’s the only thing that kept him in that bed. The poor Healer was doing his best, but no one argues with Narcissa.

I think one of my favorite parts of this chapter has to be the conversation that horatio has with Draco in the hospital room. It was uncomfortable and necessary, and they both got something out of it that they wanted. I think this goes a long way in paving the road for Draco’s goal in getting his reputation cleaned up.

“I wouldn’t go so far as to say there’s anything obvious here, Draco. It’s not obvious that I’ll be marrying my daughter off to you and it’s certainly not obvious that you’re worth thirty Galleons a week. Twenty-five, and not a knut more.”

Brilliant line here.

And this one too:

“Why was it so much easier to express your feelings when people were trying to kill you?”

I guess it’s easier to blurt out what’s on your mind when you don’t have time to think about it. but they get around to it anyway. I agree that Draco’s show of emotion helped to balance the pair out. I liked that he was able to show himself like that to her, that she was able to accept him in his weakness and make him stronger for it. That shows they will make a good pair.

You really do write beautiful moments. I think the story had the perfect ending. Draco was able to keep his euphoria in check until the end, when he’s alone and has the chance to process it. Who wouldn’t be ecstatic about a future with so much promise?

Lovely, lovely work, as always!

Author's Response: Hi, pix!

You have no idea how many times I've started to respond to this view, only to get interrupted. It's getting to be frustrating. I'm going to try to power through it!

Most of my Avery head canon arises from the way you portrayed him in Until We Close Our Eyes, so I'm sure he seems at least a little familiar. He's a fun villain to play with, not least of all because of his inbred craziness.

Mulciber... so he's not a traitor. He's just not who he seems to be.

I thought the PoV switch was helpful. We've already seen the fight with Avery through Draco's eyes, now we get to see the battle through Astoria's. I liked the contrast. He's so analytical and tactical about the fight while she's more emotional about things.

You're correct, nobody is "safe" at that point in the chapter. It's always fun to let Astoria cut through Draco's small conceits.

I probably owe it to Ron to write a story where he isn't a complete jerk. I guess Tales of the Death Hunters **sort of** did that, but maybe something that's purely Ron. Because he is a jerk in this story. A huge one.

Do you remember, way back in Conspiracy of Blood, how Ron pretends to be Zabini to sneak into the Ministry? Almost fifty years later and the Aurors were *still* getting mileage out of the guy!

Oh, yes. It's important to have Astoria fade back into teenage girlhood from time to time.

"Uncomfortable and necessary" I'm very pleased to see that the conversation between Draco and Horatio worked the way I intended. :D It was fun to take these two pureblood gentlemen from different generations and let them hash things out. I enjoyed trying to figure out all the little power games and subtle positioning that was going on.

It was definitely harder for Draco and Astoria to get their feelings out in the open without the imminent risk of painful, violent death. The moment loses its immediacy. One tends to over-think things. There's also greater than a 50% chance that the other person will still be alive when you realize how corny your words sounded. ;)

Wow. I'm really, really glad you liked the ending. I've never felt perfectly sure about it, so it's great to see that it worked well for you.

Thanks so much for all the love and encouragement you've shown this story! It really means a lot.

-Dan


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Review #9, by dirtydeedsdonedirtcheap Future Imperfect

3rd April 2015:
Number three, Isadore? Seriously? Where am I going to get Dizziness Draught and an ostrich feather?

An ostrich feather.

AN OSTRICH FEATHER.

WHY?

I think the boy has some sort of phobia about teeth. With Bertrand, I was just getting started and he got a little too excited and, well... Oh, don’t make such a face, Astoria! It happens to thirty-four percent of wizards according to an article I saw in Witch’s Wiles.

You should have won a Dobby for Best Supporting Character here with Isadore. With her statistic she reminds me of me unfortunately. Ha-ha. Bertrand, oh, the poor bloke. And Richard with the teeth phobia. Maybe Isadore, if you wouldn’t use your teeth…

I’m just going to move on.

Once you’re settled, I’d like you to begin reviewing the case files of the curse victims we’ve selected for our initial trial of an experimental memory-reinforcing potion we’ve been working on.

Draco really can’t catch a break but come on there had to be a catch. In all honesty you can’t escape your past. He has to accept it and move on from it. Taking the job will allow him to work through everything he had to deal with. It will be hard but then if that moment ever comes where they can help one of the cursed it will be rewarding for Draco. Then again maybe this isn't the job for him because it will be a constant reminder of who he was but who knows maybe that's the medicine he needs. You know what I mean? So he never turns back into who he was or get caught up into something bigger than he is.

Author's Response: Isadore is a wellspring of dubiously beneficial advice. If you gave me 10 seconds to decide how she spent the rest of her life, I would definitely say that she ended up writing a column for a less-than-totally-reputable periodical sold in grocery store checkout aisles.

Readers were actually pretty evenly split on Isadore. And it was completely bimodal. They either thought she was great or they hated her. No in-between. Obviously you would have been able to give Astoria much better advice than Isadore.

It seems that even when "good" things happen to Draco, the silver lining has a pretty dark and ominous cloud. What's interesting in this case is that his past is both the reason that he got the job as well as the reason that the job is likely to make him miserable. Madam Blishwick doesn't even realize she's making him uncomfortable. She's so immersed in her own work that minor details like that go right over her head.

Yay, I'm all caught up! Good luck with your NaNo project! See you soon!


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Review #10, by dirtydeedsdonedirtcheap Turning the Corner

3rd April 2015:
Dan! Now I’m thick into the story. Reading your story keeps me from writing. Not a bad trade off.

The simmering resentment in the man’s dark eyes had driven home the truth in a way that no lecture from his parents ever could. Nobody who mattered cared about Draco’s money or the Malfoy name any longer. He had no choice but to build a new family legacy out of the ashes of the Second Wizarding War.

Yes! I’m glad he has finally realized this. In the beginning I remember he contemplated who he could reach out or pay when he first got to Hogwarts and McGonagall had so many things to say to him. I like that contrast from the second chapter (I think it was the second or third) to here. Draco has grown but not entirely. He’s still letting his father get to him. He’s still drinking and letting it go further then he should. I hope when he does attend the wedding that he doesn’t get into an argument or down about something and get drunk and embarrass himself and Astoria.

his mental health and the poorly-cast charm that the old man tried to use to conceal his receding hairline.

How dare you play with Lucius and his luscious locks.

“Mind the little wizard? Isadore, what on earth are you talking about? Just tell me what I need to do!”

You’re horrible. Dan, I can’t…I’m blushing. That’s just…Isadore is a handful. I think something could potentially go horribly wrong because she knows about Draco and Astoria. This girl has a mouth on her.

Anyway, the conversation with McGonagall was my favorite part in this chapter. I found it completely in her character to apologize to Draco but still have some misgivings. She’s an educator and she has to believe in her students. She might not care for Draco 100% but he showed her he could work hard and follow her direction. He could change and I think that’s what any academic hopes for with their students. I’m sure she knows the others that were ‘lost’ during the war and never returned, well I guess they are hopeless, and she figured Draco was probably hopeless. I think what surprises me is that she didn’t have more faith in him like Dumbledore did in Draco and Snape.

And then there’s Astoria’s transformation. She’s growing up. She’s willing to give up a lot for Draco and defy her family. A part of me thinks once he gets his job at the Ministry her father will be more accepting of him. I don’t see her losing her family. But you can still see she still has a lot of growing up to do because this is all very thrilling and exciting for her. She’s meeting him in dark corners and seeing him at all hours of the night. It’s her little secret but sometimes when secrets come out and become reality it’s not that great.

Author's Response: You know, I actually had to go back and look and see how far through the story this chapter falls. Isn't that sad? How quickly we forget.

Draco is coming around, at least where his life and reputation are concerned. He's still not completely there, but he's figured out some of the more important parts, I think.

Ha! I know you have a huge soft spot for Lucius and his long, flowing, beautiful hair. Age and Azkaban have not been particularly kind to him, however. Also his diet isn't helping things. He needs more vitamins.

Welcome to the select group of people who will never be able to hear the phrase "little wizard" again without thinking about Isadore and her advice. You're welcome. :p

Draco has earned a second chance with McGonagall. She's still not 100% sold on him, but she's willing to at least meet him halfway by letting him out of Muggle Studies and putting in a good word with a potential employer. She's touch, but she's fair. As far as why she didn't have Dumbledore's level of faith in Draco, I'm sure that she hasn't completely gotten over the idea that Dumbledore's faith in Draco and Snape was a big part of what got him killed.

Astoria does still have a lot of growing up to do. All throughout the process of writing this, I had to keep reminding myself that she's only 16. She's lovestruck and more than a little bit confused. You'll see more of her immaturity pretty soon. She'll do a lot of growing up before the end of the story.

Thank you, Deeds!


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Review #11, by dirtydeedsdonedirtcheap Reconnecting

2nd April 2015:
Hello! I’m 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, Draco’s 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 isn’t even fully present. For the love of…in 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 they’re actually going to get somewhere with their ideas. They really just don’t get it and I suppose because they didn’t fight they probably think they are smarter and stronger and more innovative that they would succeed. But really they’re a group of pathetic cronies that will most likely end up thrown in jail if they start talking any louder about this.

“Just make sure you don’t forget where your loyalties lie this time, Malfoy. If I see you trying to play both sides, I’ll count your family among the blood traitors and let the sickles fall where they will. Understand?”

That’s exactly what he’s doing! FOOLS! The whole lot of them. You have to give it up to Draco though. If there’s 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 wasn’t surprised to see her there. I know you wouldn’t 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 Draco’s 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 #12, by dirtydeedsdonedirtcheap Old Habits

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. It’s 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, you’re 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? That’s insane. When I was sixteen I had just started dating. I wasn’t 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 ‘too old.’ We’re in our early 20’s. No way, no how.

Astoria, have some sense.

Then again Draco wants to marry her too. Even though the two aren’t actually together.

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

Sounds like my ex-boyfriend.

He doesn’t bathe regularly!”

Neither did he.

Her parents would certainly disown her, and she’d be shunned by “polite” 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 isn’t a horrible guy but she’s willing to throwing everything away to be with him. Allegedly anyway because she’s childish and I don’t think she could actually go through with it. There’s going to be a turning point but man it just annoys me. It’s 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 #13, by dirtydeedsdonedirtcheap Relapse

21st March 2015:
He needed to convince them that he had been an unwilling participant. That he had been acting under the threat of death for both himself and his family. And he couldn’t do that unless he was willing to talk about it.

See, this is where I think she is naïve. He can’t do that. Too many people know his story. Plus, he said himself at one point in his childhood he wanted to be a Death Eater. He was adamant and vocal about following the Dark Lord. He also had the very important task of murdering Albus Dumbledore. Even though he didn’t do it that’s still an important part to his story. The entire thing is and he can’t go back on that. It wasn’t until he was given the task that his ‘world’ started to crumble. His disposition. When he failed that’s when he really started to fear for his life.

Sometimes we tell lies when we don’t even need to, just to keep people guessing.”

Isn’t that the truth.

This new philosophy of governance that’s become fashionable at the Ministry is a mixed bag if you ask me. I don’t see a need to go changing the law every time a muggle-born or a house elf feels put out about something.

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

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

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

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

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

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

Hm. It was bound to happen I just didn’t think it would so quickly. Then again realistically he is an addict and hasn’t truly made enough progess that he wouldn’t fall back into drinking. I just hope it doesn’t hurt the little progess he has made. It’s hard because I want to root for Draco but I know realistically he has to tear himself a part and make mistakes along the way and I want to see those mistakes.

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

Three chapters in one day! Woo-hoo!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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Review #14, by dirtydeedsdonedirtcheap Confessions

21st March 2015:
Subconsciously, she needs to fix you. Just trust me, alright?

And subconsciously, Astoria needs to fix him. It really is a girl thing because for some reason it is in our DNA and we are convinced that we can change and fix men. In reality we cannot (even though we still try to believe it). They can only change if they want to change. You can tell that’s how she feels when you read their conversations, the back and forth, the sort of mothering she does and scolding. But then she perks up when he apologizes as if maybe just maybe he isn’t entirely all that bad and he knows he’s wrong and it’ll be okay because she’s there.

No. My aunt gave me a book to read and told me that if I splinched myself it was my own fault for not trying hard enough.

Sounds like Bellatrix. That’s actually really funny.

I came here to think about leaving. The war, Britain, my family... I was thinking of leaving it all behind. I couldn’t stand it any longer. Every day, I woke up wondering whether it would finally happen.

I believe this immensely. For one, his father pretended he was under the Crucio spell during the first war. I’m sure he thought about leaving and fleeing once Voldemort fell, which is why he lied. Then the second war they jetted off in the end. So, Draco wanting to leave and thinking about it sounds perfectly reasonable. Of course he wouldn’t have left. Too much shame. He would have been called a coward or followed and killed. Probably by Bellatrix. Most likely by Bellatrix.

A Malfoy doesn’t run from danger.

HA! And again, yet he lied about following Voldemort the first time around. Hello, that’s running from danger.

That’s running-- from Azkaban.

The conversation between Draco and Astoria proved interesting. You can really see he’s starting to change, slowly of course, by opening up to her. He’s worried about what she might think but a part of him needs to talk to someone and relive these moments in order to find clarity. Another part needs her to know what happened because if she were to be afraid or reject him it would have to happen now. Later on would crush him. They need to build an understanding, a foundation at the beginning.

McGonagall was magnificently written in this chapter. I have to say I disliked her in the beginning of the story because she was so harsh. I understand why. We spoke about this but still. So seeing her accept Astoria and Hermione’s stories and to acknowledge that maybe Draco has changed or can change and he needs to be given a chance that says something about her character. She’s hard but she’s not unrealistic.

Woo-hoo! How exciting. I got to read two chapters today. One before work and one right after work. Hopefully it won’t be long before I read the next. Excellent work my friend!

Author's Response: Hi, Deeds!

If I live to be Dumbledore's age, I might have a chance of understanding this *thing* that girls have with "bad boys" and trying to fix them. And you're right, there's no such thing as fixing another person unless they're determined to fix themselves. Fortunately for Astoria, that's the decision that Draco has made. And he will definitely need her help.

I have a fair bit of fun at Bella's expense in this story. Since she's dead, it's a low-risk endeavor.

I'm sure he spent a lot of time thinking about leaving. But he wouldn't have done that to Narcissa and Narcissa wouldn't have left Lucius. It's all a big mess. I agree that Bellatrix would have been sent to hunt him down. Actually, I'm sure she would have volunteered.

Lucius is one of those "do as I say, not as I do" kind of people.

I'm glad you got the point of Draco and Astoria's first "big" conversation. She needs to understand him so she knows what she's getting herself into. He needs someone that he can talk to. All in all, it worked out alright.

Whew! I always worry when I write McGonagall. It's tough to get her right.

You're doing awesome! Thanks so much!


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Review #15, by dirtydeedsdonedirtcheap Making Choices

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

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

I knew right away why Ginny was rushing and there was a part of me that figured Astoria would be jealous. It would never be appropriate for her to act like that, you know, care free, at least in a public setting. That’s kind of sad but I can’t imagine Molly scolding Ginny for public displays of affection. Then again the Weasley’s are a warm loving family that goes against the status quo.

At the same time, she wasn’t sure where this relationship was heading -- or whether they even had a relationship, for that matter -- so she didn’t want to greet him too eagerly.

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

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

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

When he called Hermione a Mudblood my heart dropped. It was just painful to see him revert back to an old insult, one that he didn’t want to throw out but I think it’s…familiar to him. Especially considering Ron was attacking him for past things as well.

Kill ‘em both!”

Good heavens. This is what I mean by it escalated quickly. He turns a corner and bam, another fight. Others trying to hurt him. I mean you can’t really blame them but Draco has just no luck. Or friends and Astoria is right he does need friends.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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Review #16, by dirtydeedsdonedirtcheap Regrets

4th March 2015:
Large holes in the North Tower and the Astronomy Tower were still being repaired, leaving the insides exposed to the elements. It was all too real, too fresh, too familiar.

Reading this part made it feel like someone took a knife to my chest. I never thought of the rebuilding period and what the castle would look like afterwards. Sure it would be remodeled to the same degree but there are always little cracks and differences that would be noticed by those who experienced the great battle. I don’t know why this is bothering me just now or came into my head but I wonder how Neville felt the first time he stepped back into the school and started to teach. I know this story has nothing to do with him but it just popped in my head. I think I would feel uneasy. Hogwarts is a safe place and the biggest threat is gone but there are so many memories.

The battle was raging all around. His mad aunt cackled somewhere nearby while she hurled curses at an unseen opponent. The din of the fighting was deafening.

See I think the former students and those who were in the battle would have similar experiences going back the first time, during say the anniversary or just visiting the school. That sudden rush of fear and then the weight of this is what happened here, this person I knew died right here or I used this horrible spell on another to save my life and those around me.

I believe that when I read Draco relieving the moments as he walks to the school. I would believe it for the trio and all the other important characters in Harry Potter.

“That will be acceptable. See that I’m not kept waiting. The forecast is for snow on Monday morning!”

Wow. I didn’t think McGonagall would react that way. I kind of think it’s rather harsh but I’m not sure if it’s entirely out of her character. I think she has always been rather forgiving but McGonagall does have an edge to her. I figured she would accept him not with open arms and yes with some regulations but to treat him like he’s not a student entirely is…different.

The very notion of spending two hours each week listening to some self-important half-wit drone on about the filthy muggles and their rubbish made him itch. And he had no concerns about his ability to hold his own in Defense lessons. Even without the dark spells he learned during the war, he felt sure that he was more than a match for the other students.

And that’s essentially the problem, isn’t it? He can hold his own. He still has too much pride and cockiness inside of him. He wants to change but he hasn’t. Draco is still Draco and that’s what they’re worried about.

He hasn’t grown. He’s a boy who’s going back to school because he saw a cute girl that suddenly made the sun shine a little brighter and he wants to change himself to be better for her. So when he said he was living for himself it wasn’t entirely true. Once he does reach that point and the sentence becomes true is when we know Draco has grown up and changed and has become a better person.

Draco pondered what sort of donation could be made to put things right.

And he still wants to use his money (power) to get his way.

What a surprise interaction between Draco and Luna and a twist. Wow. I didn’t expect that at all.

Author's Response: Hi, Deeds! Sorry to be pokey about responding. I've been trying to do some writing again -- yay, me! -- and HPFF time has been in short supply.

I doubt that anyone who survived the battle ever felt exactly the same about Hogwarts again. Time would have healed wounds and softened the memories, but that sense of complete safety that they enjoyed under Dumbledore's tenure was gone forever.

Part of the reason that I think McGonagall is so harsh with Draco here is exactly what you're pointing out. She would have been overseeing a very slow and fragile recovery at Hogwarts. All of the students who fought in the battle would have had terrible memories. Even the ones who didn't fight in the battle would remember being terrorized by the Carrows. Into this difficult and tenuous situation, we introduce Draco: a living, breathing reminder of everything that the students -- and faculty -- are struggling to move past.

You're right, Draco is still Draco. He might have changed his opinions about some things, like whether it's worth fighting a war over blood supremacy, but he does still believe in magical superiority. And he believes very strongly in himself because he clearly remembers the trials and horrors he survived. So I have to disagree with you a bit. He has grown, but it's definitely a work in progress. He has a long way to go.

I enjoyed getting to slip a bit of Luna into this very Slytherin-focused story. It's a fun challenge to figure out her perspective because you know it's going to be very different from everyone else's. In this case, she wrong-foots Draco almost as badly as she does you. ;)

Thanks so much for reading and reviewing!


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Review #17, by dirtydeedsdonedirtcheap Getting Clean

4th March 2015:
Hello Dan! I’m back again. I’ve been sick or else I would have flown through this story already.

The young woman was clothed in bloody rags that hung in shreds, interwoven with the streaks of red that ran through her long, flaxen hair. The horror of her death was frozen on her face.

That was creepy. It really creeped me out I shuddered and had to stop momentarily because I wasn’t sure if I could continue. Naturally I had to read it over again because I wanted to face my fear over the sentence. Who know one sentence could shake you to your core?

Every glassy eye a reminder of his final solution to every problem.

I feel like Draco would have never felt truly comfortable in Malfoy Manor again. Too many bad memories and nightmares. I imagine he would no longer visit certain parts of his home for this reason. It’s big enough where Voldemort’s presence wouldn’t haunt him in every room but there must have been some cleansing or decorative changes done to try and forget about him. It would have been futile though. The Manor is kind of like his own prison.

His mother pulled her hand away, looking deeply worried as Draco gasped for air.

See I didn’t get that he was dreaming. I thought he was hallucinating from undergoing detox but it works either way.

‘Look at me, the Great Lucius Malfoy! My power knows no limits! I can pluck a raving madman off of his street corner and make him ruler of the magical world!’

Wow. I don’t know what to say. I believe Draco and his family would be hated after the war. Heck, they were hated during the war but it’s an interesting take. I like that he’s not just angry at just the Malfoy’s. I also like that he’s not just angry about the second war but the first one as well. Heck, his daughters are in Slytherin. I’m sure he has some darkness in him as well and has money but maybe power isn’t as important to the Greengrass’s.

The only person I’m living for now is myself.

In the first chapter he was in a hazy fog of denial but then he found this ‘light’ if you will and decided to change. Now he appears stronger and his mind is clear but is he really strong? No. I don’t buy it. He wants to change but wanting to do something and actually doing it are two different things. I can’t exactly decide if Draco is an addict or not. I don’t mean just alcohol either but is he addicted to pain? I don’t know how to explain that question but it keeps popping up in my head.

Blaise was an interesting character. He’s essentially in the same boat as Draco except now that Draco realizes this he wants nothing to do with it, with whatever Blaise and he had planned and the rest of their motley crew. I believe Draco is lost and the only person that can find him is himself. Only then can he start to live a life he truly wants and deserves.

Author's Response: Hi, Deeds! Hope you're feeling better!

Draco's nightmare was an important part of the stage I was trying to set. He's haunted by the things he witnesses and took part in, even if he doesn't feel like they were ultimately his fault. He didn't believe in the Dark Lord the way that his father once believed and his aunt believed until her death. He was terrified of Voldemort, terrified that his mother or father or he would be the next to die. At the end of the day, he's relieved that Harry Potter killed his so-called master.

Parts of the manor definitely still haunt Draco. It's like your scene where he hated going into the cellar. I can't imagine he willingly went down there for a long time after the war was over.

Dreaming and detoxing aren't mutually exclusive, I guess. A lot of alcoholics go through periods of depression and mental instability when they're getting clean.

One of the things I liked about Astoria's father -- and it drove some readers up the wall -- was the fact that he had a different perspective on Voldemort's rise and fall. Being a wealthy, successful pureblood who wasn't caught up in the Death Eaters, he never felt *directly* threatened by Voldemort and the movement he represented. Based on his limited knowledge of Voldemort, he looked at the Dark Lord as a sort of crazy demagogue advocating an extreme solution to a problem that didn't really need to be solved. Purebloods already controlled a disproportionate share of the wealth and power in the wizarding world. From his point of view, the *best case* outcome of Voldemort's wars would be causing a lot of chaos en route to an end state not all that different from what he already enjoyed. And chaos is bad for business.

He isn't nearly as strong as he's leading Zabini to believe. Not yet, anyway. There are still a lot of hurdles he needs to overcome. If that wasn't the case, this would be a pretty short story. ;) Blaise serves to illustrate a different path from what Draco's choosing, a continuation of the status quo. You'll definitely see him again.

So glad you're making your way through! Thanks for reading and reviewing!


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Review #18, by dirtydeedsdonedirtcheap Sobering Up

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

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

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

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

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

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

But he needs time.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Author's Response: Hi, Deeds!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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Review #19, by Crumple-Horned Snorkack Sobering Up

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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Review #20, by mymischiefmanaged Confessions

5th January 2015:
Hi Dan, back again :)

I really loved this chapter. I think it might have been my favourite so far. Although there's not a lot of action, you've given some really fascinating character development and a wonderful (and horrifying) insight into Draco's life.

I enjoyed the opening. Draco's thanking Astoria is sweet and shows that he's already started to change from the person he used to be. And the fact that Astoria doesn't expect it shows that this development has happened to some extent during the short time they've known each other. I read this as evidence of the fact that he's not had many other people show him genuine care. The fact that Astoria wants to help him and genuinely cares about him has made a big impact, even if his feelings towards her aren't romantic yet. It's a lovely bit of dialogue between the two.

And then the comment about Bellatrix is horrible but I'm so glad you included it. The idea of her behaving so atrociously about something as minor as an apparition license reflects her insanity and also says something about the pointlessness of the whole war. So much of it was just about individuals with power complexes, not about any kind of ideology. It was a good thing to include, and I especially liked Astoria's response to it. It's just the right balance of recognising the severity of the situation and remaining lighthearted.

The whole tearoom conversation is, I think, a bit of a turning point for Draco and Astoria. He's really opening up to her without her needing to put pressure on him to do so, which shows the respect he holds for her. It seems like that conversation was necessary for both of them, for different reasons. Draco obviously needed to find somebody to talk to about this stuff. He's traumatised but has nobody to turn to because of the way his name is viewed by the rest of society. It's good that Astoria's there to listen. And then Astoria is trying to make sense of her feelings towards Draco, and I think needed to see that side of him to make their relationship more honest. She's able to care for all of him, even the bits he's not proud of. This was a really mature, emotionally driven discussion, and you've written it brilliantly.

Finally, I adored McGonagall in this chapter. You've shown the side of her that makes her a fantastic teacher. She's willing to listen and reevaluate her choices based on other people's opinions. I think the McGonagall we've seen before in this novel wouldn't have wanted to offer Draco even this small acknowledgement (of recognising that he may not be terrible), and it's lovely that she lets a teenager's comments affect her. I love McGonagall in JK's books and you've done a really great job keeping her in character.

Brilliant chapter! I'm constantly in awe of your writing.

Emma x

Author's Response: Hi, Emma!

This was one of my favorite chapters to write. There was something immensely satisfying about having the cocky, arrogant Draco Malfoy let his walls down for someone.

I think you hit on a key point about Draco's gratitude and Astoria's reaction. Aside from his mother, I don't think Draco has felt that very many people genuinely care for him. It's not that I don't think Lucius cares, but Lucius is all about appearances and propriety and I'm not sure whether Draco would have been able to separate any genuine concern from Lucius's ever-present need to maintain the Malfoy Facade.

An awful lot of the horrible things Draco experienced during the war come back to Auntie Bella. Even though she's dead, her name pops up quite frequently in this story. Draco was supposed to respect her and follow her lead. She was family to him, as well as being his superior in Voldemort's hierarchy. In spite of that, I'm fairly sure he hated her. She's a very touchy subject for him, one that will haunt him from time to time in this story.

The conversation over tea is a big turning point for the two of them. Astoria has been trying to put a puzzle together in her mind, to reconcile her perception of Draco with the horrible things that he took part in during the war. Quite a few pieces fell into place for her during this conversation. It's still a work in progress, but she does learn that she wants to continue learning more about him.

McGonagall was a character that I tried to balance out over the course of the story. Early on, she's very hostile toward Draco. Here, she's become more agnostic. You'll see her point of view continue to evolve later in the story. First and foremost, she's an educator. So I think she realizes that young people change over time and if Draco is willing to work hard and prove himself, she's willing to give him a chance.

I'm really glad that you enjoyed this. Thanks for the swap!


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Review #21, by Pixileanin Clarity

3rd January 2015:
Happy New Year, Dan! Resolution #1: continue reviewing this story. Onwards!

Just because all is quiet on the outside, doesn’t mean it’s the same on the inside. Good observation skills, Draco. And it’s a good way to build Draco’s tension. He’s not about to let his guard down now.

“She might have been mad, but she was seldom wrong when it came to hurting people.”

Argh. So cold and calculated, but I can’t fault Draco for his actions here. He’s lived around dangerous people for a long time, and I think that finally, his experiences are going to be what keeps him alive in this situation. Although, if you’ve been climbing into Bellatrix’s head and having tea, you might require a little detox session of your own one day… worried, Dan. As a concerned friend...

Remembering your comments, I think you made the right decision to keep Draco focused on Astoria in chapter 13, because it flows on to here, where he has made her his single-minded goal. If you had showed him any other way before, his purpose-driven actions may have seemed a bit out of place. After the setup from the previous section, his thoughts and actions here are more than justified. It’s the whole reason why he’s driven, so it works really well.

Ahh, Avery is a surprise! I love the descriptions, “dangerously unstable” and “volatile brutish nature”. I almost cheered when he blasted Gamp across the room, except that with this kind of guy, you can’t take anything he says or does for kindness.

“He’d be expecting Draco to deny that the object existed and, since it actually did not exist, Draco couldn’t see a better alternative.”

I think this best describes exactly how dangerous this game is. Telling more lies isn’t going to help, and will probably hurt much worse if he’s found out.

You’ve made Avery out to truly be insane. I can only imagine what everyone else is thinking while he goes about making things personal with Draco. And the way you portray him, I don’t even think that dueling to the death is personal, it’s just something that he does, maybe even something that he enjoys doing. I almost thought he was being a little too perceptive when he caught Draco and Astoria exchanging glances, but then again, if he’s made a life out of hurting people, he’d be looking for an advantage like that to use against his opponent. And he’s been smart enough to stay alive all this time too, so bad on me for underestimating his comprehension.

One of the things that I have a difficult time with in fight scenes is all the names of all those spells? In the heat of battle, I can’t imagine having to double-think through my next move, AND remember what everything is called. It all seems so complicated in my head. I would be a very bad Auror indeed. I love how you described the furniture volleys across the room, and the actions, and resulting reactions, and the blasting. Blasting. I’d think of that. Beyond the explosions, I’d have been completely lost.

Oh no! Not Imperio! That man is insane! How long are the rest of them going to stand around and…

Okay. Never mind. And who is this new person who’s just arrived??

I would be remiss if I didn't comment on how brilliantly you were able to include Draco's emotions into the action. His anger management has been a constant theme throughout this story. You've shown how he draws strength from his fury when it gets out of control. Here, and in a few scenes preceding this, you've given him that strength, coupled with a focus, which brings him that much closer to control. He's fighting with a singular focus, and all is not lost as long as he has a hope of defending Astoria.

And poor Astoria, waking out of her daze to see her love standing over her with a kni... wand. I really like how you show Draco breaking through the Imperio curse as Avery becomes more and more distracted, and that we get to see it through Astoria's perception. She doesn't understand everything that's happening around her, but the imminent danger that she's in is not lost on her. And she's very aware of Draco's struggle to break free. It seems that they're both of the same mind here. If they could just sneak out the back when no one is looking and run like the wind...

Author's Response: Hi, pix! Happy New Year! I'm flattered that I figured into your resolutions.

Draco is pretty world-weary by this point in his life. One could argue he's also wiser than he used to be, although the wisest course of action probably wasn't charging into the Greengrass home by himself. Is it a good thing or a bad thing that he learned from his Aunt Bellatrix? I guess if it keeps him alive, it can't be all bad. Is it a good thing or a bad thing that I enjoy getting inside Bella's twisted head? This is left as an exercise for the reader. ;)

I'm glad you felt the continuity between Draco's thoughts and actions in the last chapter and this chapter. I really needed him to be believable here or the scenes just don't work.

As I'm sure you realize, an awful lot of how I envision Avery is based off of the way he appears in Until We Close Our Eyes. He's beyond just being fanatical. He's genuinely mentally ill. In some ways, he's higher-functioning than Bellatrix, in other ways he's even more dangerous. Dueling to the death isn't just something he does, he genuinely enjoys it. He enjoys all of the power games that come with life-or-death struggles and he's good at them.

Who is the new arrival? You will soon find out. ;)

There's nothing inherently wrong with being angry, it's all in how you manage it. I'm glad that you could see that progress in Draco. The way he marshals his temper here is a big difference compared to chapter 4, when he loses it and gets cursed by Hermione for his trouble.

Part of me does wish that I could just let them sneak out somehow and let Mr. Greengrass and Daphne deal with Gamp and Avery. They all deserve one another. But that wouldn't make a very good story. I hope you like the big finale in the next chapter.

Thanks so much!


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Review #22, by mymischiefmanaged Making Choices

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

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

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

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

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

Lovely lovely chapter, Dan. Thanks for the swap!

Emma xx

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

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

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

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

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


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Review #23, by Alex Epilogue

23rd December 2014:
Wow that was really really really good!! The best compliment I can give you is that Draco felt just right. Most fics about Draco after the war either on this site or others are far far away from the original character that J.K Rowling developed. You made it feel right. Normally I don't read Draco Malfoy stories, because the character is mostly just wrong and that unnerves me. Thank you for a realistic Draco story and thank you that you're other stories gave me the trust in you as an author to read this great story.

Author's Response: Hi, there!

That's high praise, and I appreciate it. I tried really hard to keep Draco true to his book characterization in this. He was such a disposable character in the first five books, basically just a punching bag for the Trio who occasionally punched back. Then he started to become interesting in HBP. And the character really rounded out in DH when he wouldn't identify Harry for Bellatrix. As much as I could, I wanted to capture that very conflicted young man who was playing host to a constant battle between what he was raised to believe and what he wanted to become.

Thanks so much for reading and reviewing!


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Review #24, by mymischiefmanaged Regrets

20th December 2014:
Hi Dan!

So, I completely forgot that I promised to review your chapters age and ages ago, and got caught up and read the whole thing at once and didn't stop to review. So anyway, I remembered, and here I am. I'll try to slowly catch up :)

This is actually one of my favourite chapters of the whole novel. I love McGonagall's interaction with Malfoy. It's extremely cold, almost so much as to be out of character (but not quite), and shows a side to McGonagall that we don't ever see through Harry's eyes but which is completely believable and compelling. She's efficient and has no patience for people that have hurt others, and her treatment of Malfoy fits in with this. Although reading 'Detox' we can see that Malfoy actually deserves better treatment, I do think the McGonagall we know from canon might behave like this given the circumstances.

And then I just love Isadore. She's a reminder that despite the suffering they've all endured they are still just teenagers, and her friendly chattiness is a real breath of fresh air in the middle of all the angst. I can see how she's the kind of friend Astoria needs, and I like her a lot. She lightens the tone without being silly, and is a wonderful addition to the story.

The behaviour of the other students is sad but also expected, and I loved Luna's defence of Malfoy. It's very in character with what we see of Luna in JK's writing, and shows the sheer love she's able to feel even after all she's been through. Of all of them there, Luna has the most reason to be antagonistic towards Draco specifically, but I love that you kept her calm and moral. Likewise, I'm glad Hermione and Ginny didn't let Malfoy get to them. They're all growing up, and you develop their characters wonderfully.

Finally, Astoria's message gives us a little more insight into who she is. It's a flash of rebellion, I think stoked more than a little by Isadore, and it's just what Malfoy needs after that class. You add in these details and they make it so much clearer how the two of them end up together.

Really fantastic chapter, Dan. And a really fantastic novel. Sorry for not reviewing for so long!

Lots of love,

Emma x

Author's Response: Hi, Emma! And happy holidays!

No worries. I'm really looking forward to your next chapter!

McGonagall's reaction seemed like the only logical one to me. She's less than 1 year removed from a devastating war and less than 2 years removed from the death of her friend and mentor. I'm sure she hasn't forgotten the fact that Draco allowed the Death Eaters into the castle through the Vanishing Cabinet. Beyond all of that, she's overseeing a very fragile recovery at Hogwarts. Having Draco back inside the castle would be an unwelcome reminder for a lot of the other students. Lastly, I'm sure she feels like the Malfoys are trying to use their money to slither back into society just like they did after the first war. The fact that Draco might want something different in life isn't really at the forefront of her mind at this point.

I would have to go back and check, but I think you're the first reviewer who actually likes Isadore. Most people seem to find her rather annoying. She does help to remind us of just how young Astoria is, but you'll see some other sides of her later in the story. In my mind, Isadore is "that friend" that we all have or had who means well but is also chock full of questionable ideas.

You won't see me try to write Luna very often. I find her really intimidating because she's hard to figure out. Even here, I won't claim to fully understand everything that's going on inside her head. I'm really pleased that she sounded right to you, though.

Astoria's message is partly an act of rebellion and partly her way of trying to figure out the puzzle that Draco presents to her. Is he really the awful person her father describes or is he the lost soul she found in Diagon Alley?

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


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Review #25, by Pixileanin A Break with the Past

16th December 2014:
"What are you doing here, Flint?"

Bleeding all over the panelling and messing up Narcissa's perfectly logical plan to put Draco back on steady feet. That's what he's doing! Nasty, nasty of you. Just when things were going to be so easy... Oh. Never mind. It can't be easy, or it'd be over already.

I love the word you pulled out for the Muggle weapon, "flintlock". It fits so well, and rolls off the tongue so nicely.

Draco's trying to draw information out of the crazy people while Nott's bleeding out, and it could have been funny, except there's a lot at stake here. I can feel Draco's anger simmering in the background. He's got a *plan*, and these people are going to muck it up for him. Again. Grumble grumble. But here, he seems to have a better handle on his anger. Good on you, Draco!

Narcissa is great here. I love the strength and the sheer intimidation factor you give her. She's obviously allowing Draco to make his own way. How she steps in and assists, it's like she's using everything she has to support Draco's decision without wrapping up her ego in the situation. Draco has a lot to learn from her. It's an impressive maneuver.

Oh, man. Goyle is thick. Which makes him hilarious. And dangerous, if he's with Gamp. All the posturing must be exhausting, on both ends. Gamp might be insane, but he's got brains too. what a terrible combination! And oooh! Lucius wakes up from his nap just in time to instill terror on the guests. Perfect!

"There was no way to be sure that the old man even knew what year it was. But Gamp and the others didn't know that."

And well they shouldn't. Your fight scenes always come alive and whirl around the page like a cyclone. All the details get messed around. Even the poor house elf had to run for cover, a tiny detail that I just love! I don't think anyone was paying attention to Lucius' words, there were so many blasts of light flying around the room. And finally, Draco's anger works for him in this instance, when Gamp is stupid enough to threaten his mother.

Uh oh. Lucius just couldn't stop talking, and then someone *heard* him. I guess it was just as well. He was quickly losing steam and wasn't going to be useful in the fight for much longer. From the last chapter, I figured that Lucius wouldn't be around much for the rest of the story, but I'm so glad you allowed him to have a last hurrah of sorts. He used to be so formidable in Draco's eyes, so powerful and uncrossable, and now, being just a shadow of himself, it must be hard. Fighters like to go down fighting. And poor Draco, doing the "my life is flashing before my eyes, but at least Astoria will have a better future"... I know that this story comes before your other story, so I doubt that will happen, but still. You gave him a very, very close call, and if he pulls out of this, he will have much to reflect on.

Okay, so I'm no longer worried about the floor. Narcissa unleashed some powerful stuff from that locket, and just in time. I loved the little aside about how things might have gone wrong if Bellatrix had gotten a hold of that locket. Wise man, this relative of theirs. Whew. If that wasn't edge-of-your-seat writing, I don't know what it was. You did a superb job with the fight scene. I have no idea what you were worried about. :)

Ugh, and Daphne! I am SO glad that Astoria has more than a thimble full of sense and is so much more aware of the world than her older sister. That door chime might have saved her from an uncomfortable moment with her sister, but I'm sure it's no one good.

Another fantastic chapter, Dan!

Author's Response: Nott and his bleeding. So inconsiderate! You're correct, if I wanted this story to be easy, it would have been a one-shot.

I struggled a lot to figure out what an aristocratic pureblood wizard from an old, muggle-hating family would call a gun. I wasn't perfectly happy with it because flintlock and Flint are too much alike, but it's the best I could do.

Draco can't ever stop being himself. He's a Slytherin, he always has a plan (scheme) and he's always tweaking and refining it in real time.

I really loved Narcissa in this chapter. I thought it was her shining moment in the story, except maybe for the conversation she has with Astoria at Gringotts. Draco could always learn more from her.

Goyle was my one small bit of comic relief in a chapter that was stiflingly tense.

I actually had a lot of fun writing Lucius. He's sort of the epitome of the stopped clock that's right twice a day in this chapter. Without really knowing what he's doing, he manages to play a pivotal role in keeping his family alive.

I nearly made some major changes to this chapter because I felt like Draco was getting too noble with his thoughts about Astoria being safe. I think I'm happy with how it ultimately turned out, but I'm also a relentless tinkerer. That means I'm never completely happy no matter what, I guess.

Narcissa's locket was a small thing that actually survived from my very first plot sketch of this story all the way through to the finished product. There aren't many things after chapter 5 that you can say that about. I was completely in love with the idea.

I think Astoria would agree with you that it was *almost* better to confront a group of murderous dark wizards than to listen to Daphne go on about the details of her love life. Not quite, but almost.

Whee, this is fun! Thank you so much for all the wonderful reviews!


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