Hi Gina! I've come to holiday swap with you :)
So I favorited this as soon as I saw it because, gah, looks so good, and I have this secret love for Drastorias that I never have time to read. /sigh
Ahh, Astoria is a psychologist?! I'm a psychologist (in training), so that idea instantly hooks me in. Ugh, I love her. She clearly doesn't know what to do with him but is pretending that she does, which is painfully familiar to me, and I love how she keeps her cool no matter what he throws at her. I feel like she wants to help him, poor girl. I love how it already seems, at least to me, like she's trying to sort out her professional desire to help him and her personal desire to figure him out. Can I already see hints of affection in her gentle touch, greeting him as he wakes from nightmares? She reminded me so much of a wife just then.
Your imagery is so beautiful. I can't find the words to describe it, except to say that you've captured the uncomfortable atmosphere of a therapy session so accurately. The section where you described Draco's memories of the Battle of Hogwarts was particularly poignant in its grotesque depiction.
And Draco -- I don't even know what to say about Draco, less than I don't even know what to say about the rest of this. I have read a fair amount of post-war Dracos, because post-war Draco is my favorite Draco, and I've seen so many characterizations that I don't like because I feel like they don't get at the subtleness that you do here. He's in pain and yet still so guarded, his conditioning reverberating through the years. He's perfect, and I'm so jealous. I'm intrigued by him.
Yeah, I'm gonna make an effort to come back. I'm really glad I chose this for the swap. I love it! :)
Author's Response: Spread the Drastoria Love! :D
Oh no, I have two psychology-trained readers now. I had this utter fear that I'd get things wrong because I know absolutely nothing about the field (I only discovered TODAY that there is a difference between a psychiatrist and a psychologist). Eek, I'm so glad that Astoria's inexperience is relatable (well, not that it's good to feel inexperienced but, well, I HOPE YOU UNDERSTAND WHAT I MEAN xD). I imagine her as someone who believes a little too much in her own abilities (as she has her ace in the hole of legilimency), so when she struggles, she tries very hard not to let it show. And I think there's a conflict between her personal optimism and the cynicism that she has picked up going into adulthood and through the war. Not necessarily affectionate, but quite personal nonetheless.
All the love for Post-War Dracos as well! :D Waah, I'm so glad you like mine, because I struggle with it, with him having gone through such a hard life that I can't begin to fathom, but my head-canon characterization of Draco is so much like what you describe, and it's what I strive for.
♥ thank you so much Amanda!