Ohh I love watching Astoria putting Draco in his place. Even if itís in her relatively subtle (not to subtle) way. She wasnít too harsh, but she made it clear that (even though she understands heís hurt) he has no right to snap at her. Silly Draco, youíll learn.
See, heís already learning when he adds that he appreciates what she did. Maybe there can be hope for him, after all ;)
You show so well that Astoria is a lot different from Draco. She went through the war (though not in the same way), she was raised a pureblood, but she understands a different sort of respect than Draco was taught. Her referring to Hermione as Miss Granger made me so happy. Because itís clear that, no matter what blood Hermione is, her position in the school and sheer intelligence isnít overlooked by all purebloods.
Your mention of Belllatrix and that she gave Draco the book and told him it was his own fault if he was hurt, is so so perfect. I can just hear her in my head.
ďIf you canít figure out how to manage a simple thing like Apparation, how on earth do you believe yourself worthy of serving the Dark Lord, Draco?Ē cue scary look.
The section about why those people wanted to hurt Draco was just as intense as the first time. Imagining Draco going through all that, having to watch it, be part of it. Itís so terrible.
And Astoriaís question! That one took my breath away, as well.
The fact that he wants her to understand that he didnít want the Mark.. that speaks so much about him. He needs her to realize that by the time he understood what he was doing, he didnít want to be doing it. Heís not a cruel person, he just didnít understand what he thought was right or wrong until it played out in front of him.
God sheís so cute. She doesnít stand a chance against McGonagall. But at the same time she does. Because she sees things without the prejudice that, though Iím sure McGonagall wishes she could forget, she never can. Sheís naive in such a perfect way.
And here! By McGonagallís small question of believing if Dracoís changed. Thatís more than her questioning Astoriaís judgement, itís her honestly wanting to know. Something our wonderful Astoria said went into McGonagallís head. And what a McGonagall! She was so, so perfect.
I wondered a few times how you would end this and what part McGonagall would play. Punishment wise. If Dracoís life would get even worse...
But it seems that things may actually look up from here. And Hermione going to talk to McGonagall and stand up for Draco is so exactly her.
Itís not hard to imagine how this young girl becomes Mrs. Malfoy one day. You managed to keep something incredible similar -- sheís a kind girl (woman, eventually) until she has a reason to be tough. Then she comes up with this strength that you wouldnít have thought she had, but it fits her.
I am in love with this chapter. Itís the best portrayal Iíve ever read of these two in the Ďstarting out phase.í And I have to admit, I probably wonít be able to be as patient for the next ;). Now that things are speeding up, I just want MORE.
Author's Response: Hello, darling! And once again, congratulations on your big promotion!
Thus begins a lifetime of Astoria being there to take Draco down a couple of pegs when he's being a jerk. She is the air valve in the back of his head for those moments when he gets too full of himself. As you mention, they do have certain things in common, but her upbringing was very different from his.
Ha! I cheerfully admit that when I was writing that section, the Bellatrix in my head bore a striking resemblance to the Bellatrix in BTF. She's such a nasty piece of work and you write her so very well!
Astoria looks at Draco very differently from other people. She was never tormented by him in school, and her family is secure enough in their station that they never needed to subjugate themselves in front of Lucius and kiss the ring. So she doesn't have any particular bias toward him, good or bad. It allows her to see certain things, like the fact that he never wanted to be what his father was.
While Astoria came into the conversation with McGonagall intending to sell her something, things didn't really turn out that way. It's a good thing because, like you said, Astoria isn't going to get anything past the Headmistress. But her simple honesty makes an impression. And I think Minerva is just beginning to rethink her opinion of Draco.
I'm really glad you liked this chapter. It's turned out to be one of my favorites in this story because so many important things are revealed. As always, thank you for your kind words, friendship and support. Until next time!