Reading Reviews for Detox
  
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Review #26, by UnluckyStar57 A Break with the Past

7th June 2014:
Hello! I thought that summer would be less busy, but I guess I was wrong! :)

Wow, so I'm nearing the end of this story and things are still heating up (literally!!). I have a feeling that while this is the most direct confrontation that Draco has had with his old schoolmates (up to this point), the worst is yet to come!

I thought it was awesome how the Malfoys presented a united front against Gamp and his toadies. Of course, Lucius thought he was somewhere else, but he fought ridiculously well. After all, nobody messes with ickle Draco and lives to tell the tale! :D

I love how Goyle retains his utter stupidity throughout the years. He's obviously a few players short of a Quidditch team, and his confusion about Draco's sarcasm is quite amusing. :)

The battle scene... I think you played it out as descriptively as is possible to write something like that. After all, this scene was probably happening in your head as you wrote it, and it is so, so difficult to convey what you're seeing to other people. However, as the Malfoys exchanged hexes with the bad guys, I definitely saw it all! You did a brilliant job of making sure that everything you saw in your head was shown in the narrative. :)

Narcissa, to me, is almost equal parts heroic and stoic. She's so icy and aristocratic that it's easy to imagine her casting spells in a very upright and proper manner--except, of course, that her spells are anything but upright and proper. She is a character who manages to keep up her aristo facade while in times of crisis, as evidenced by the releasing of the Fiendfyre. She controlling the raging beast as if it were a reluctantly trained kitten. Go Narcissa! The joke about Bellatrix and burning down the island was too funny, because it's true! It makes sense that the icy Black sister should be the one to control the fire. ^_^

Lol, Daphne. I almost feel sorry for her for believing that she even HAD a good marriage to begin with. Jeremy Gamp is a sleazeball, and if it takes him refilling his bourbon in the midst of private moments for her to realize it, then so be it. Maybe she'll see sense later on...

Uh oh, now the fight will be transferred over to Astoria's house... Dun, dun, duuun.

~UnluckyStar57

Author's Response: Hello, again! Nice to see you back! I always imagine that summers are going to be less hectic than the winter, but it never seems to work out for me, either.

You definitely don't have far to go now. There are definitely more bad things to come. Save half a thought for the "new friend" Gamp keeps talking about, now that you know it's not Lucius.

I thoroughly enjoyed writing Lucius as this befuddled yet powerful wizard who can still hold his own even if he's not sure who he's fighting against. A bit of comic relief always spices up a good battle.

I had a pretty good idea in my head of how the fight was playing out. I didn't draw a map for this one like I did for the big battle in the Great Hall in Conspiracy of Blood, but I definitely had a mental image of the great room of Malfoy Manor and where each combatant was positioned. Seems like you were able to follow along, which is awesome to hear.

Isn't Narcissa awesome? She has a terrible habit of stealing scenes in my story and I think this chapter was no exception. She is cold as ice to anyone who isn't part of her family, and her demeanor alone was enough to keep Flint at bay until Gamp showed up. I fell in love with the idea of the "Black Family Heirloom" that she unleashes, even though it is a bit deus ex machina. I imagine one of her powerful ancestors like Phineas Nigellus enchanting the thing and figuring out spells to make the Fiendfyre behave for whoever inherits it.

Yeah, Daphne isn't having a very good start to her happily ever after. I felt a little bad about using the idea of Gamp pausing to refill his drink. It's kind of cheesy and pretty cliche, but it really amused me. Believe me, she'll see sense *very* soon.

Bad things are coming to the Greengrass Estate. Stay tuned.

Thanks so much for reading and reviewing!


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Review #27, by Veritaserum27 Old Habits

28th May 2014:
Hello!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

~Beth

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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Review #28, by mischiefalwaysmanaged Epilogue

27th May 2014:
I recntly read two novel fanfictions on this sight by a user with the penname "Padfoot4ever" called "Delicate" and "Still delicate". Was there perhaps a wee little reference to that in this last chapter? :}
Anyways, I really enjoyed reading "Detox"! I'll be checking you out in a minute to read anything else you might have written.

Author's Response: Hi, there!

There was definitely a wee, little tip of the hat to Delicate there. It's one of my favorite stories on this site.

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


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Review #29, by Veritaserum27 Relapse

22nd May 2014:
Hi Dan,

Well, this was a gut-wrencher - right up to the very end. I suspected from the title of the chapter that Draco would, at some point, succumb to the pressures and take a drink, but I actually thought that we would make it through without that happening.

So Isadore is getting on my nerves a little bit. She doesn't hide the fact that she isn't a Draco fan, but I didn't like that she immediately assumed that Astoria was acting improper with Draco. Perhaps she feels like she is losing her best friend a little or she is still harboring ill-will toward the Malofoys because of their involvement with the war.

I loved the scene in McGonagall's office. Astoria, while managing to be truthful with her father, still acted the Slytherin and twisted the situation around to try to convince him that her actions were similar to his during the war. That was great! The voice you gave McGonagall was spot-on! I could see her standing before them with the overly tight hair bun and stern look on her face. The only part of the whole chapter that seemed a tiny bit off was Snape. I can't quite put my finger on it, but he seemed a bit too philosophical from what I remember his character to be. Telling Astoria that other people's opinions don't matter if she believes Draco isn't evil seemed a little bit off from his character. But, maybe he doesn't have too much else to worry about now that he is dead...

Draco's emotions were so real and permeating in this chapter. They flowed through every paragraph. You could feel the hope within him as he cherishes Astoria's letter and dares to make plans for their future. It is short lived by the news his father gives him and Draco's mood turns to self-loathing and hopelessness consumes him.

I also really liked how Draco is angry at his father for being weak and ill. This is a common emotion, but it is often skirted or poorly constructed in fictional stories and I think you did a great job by describing Draco's reactions. When we first realize that our parents are indeed mortal, it is a tough pill to swallow. Even parents like Lucius, who was never a positive role model for Draco. Lucius, at minimum always acted confident, and the obvious physical degradation, combined with his mental demise is just too much for Draco. Instead of dealing with the issue, he chooses to be angry at Lucius.

I'm going to make a guess that Lucius is mad - like legitimately insane. The weight loss, the rhythmic movements and the delusions of meetings with people who aren't around point to a man on the brink. This makes him doubly dangerous.

So, Dan. Now that you've got me invested in this story, I'm a little upset at this chapter. Draco needs Astoria. They must find a way to see each other. She was right about one thing. If no one believes in him, then he most certainly will fail.

Thanks for making this story so much fun to read and review!

~Beth

Author's Response: Hi, Beth!

Like most recovering addicts -- and most people struggling with the aftermath of a traumatic experience -- I don't think the story would have been realistic without Draco having a few setbacks. There will be a fair bit of "three steps forward and two steps back" in this story.

If Isadore is only getting on your nerves a little bit, you're probably on the upper end of the bell curve for finding her likeable. Likeable isn't necessarily what I've been going for. I think of her as a good friend to Astoria in that they're different enough for Astoria to see how different ideas sound when they're coming from somebody with questionable judgment. ;)

Astoria is every bit the Slytherin. The story would be far too AU for my tastes if she wasn't. She has spent her life watching her mother carefully "manage" her father, so she has a pretty good idea how it works. That said, she came incredibly close to being sent off to Beauxbatons in this case, so she knows she has to tread very lightly. I'm really glad you liked McGonagall's voice. I had this mental image of her reactions and I think it came through pretty well. That's an interesting observation on Snape. You're definitely right that he was never the philosophical type while alive. I just needed somebody to offer Astoria somebody she would respect with an alternative point of view. Something to contrast with the idea that "proper pureblood daughters" always accept their fathers' opinions at face value. Hmmnnn...

I really enjoyed the chapters where the story ventures deep inside Draco's poor, twisted head. He has a lot of issues and at times he's really struggling to hold it all together. Sometimes he doesn't succeed.

Without giving too much away, I can't really comment on Lucius's condition. Azkaban and the war obviously took a major physical toll on the man. As to how much it affected him mentally... well, you'll just have to read on. ;)

You're absolutely correct that Draco needs Astoria in his life. She might actually need him a little more than you realize. This is a canon story, so it will all turn out alright in the end. The question is how difficult will things be between here and there?

Thanks so much for reading and reviewing!


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Review #30, by Veritaserum27 Confessions

16th May 2014:
Hi Dan,

Review Tag!

Yay! We finally get a first date! Not exactly the way either of them would have planned it, but it was sweet nonetheless. I actually enjoyed this version much better. Because they weren't in Hogsmeade with other students and potential Malfoy-haters around, they had the time and space to be themselves and learn a little about each other.

I think the best part of this chapter is how you managed to sneak in little moments of Astoria and Draco learning how to navigate each other. This seems to be really difficult for most authors. The tendency is to either be blatant about the awkwardness of the first few meetings or to ignore it all together. You've managed to find the balance and it adds a realistic touch to the story. Great job!

Astoria's Slytherin qualities come shining through in this chapter more than they had in any of the previous ones. She is cunning and always aware of how her actions will be perceived by others.

Draco, on the other hand, seems to be acting the opposite of a Slytherin. He bares his soul to Astoria and reveals some of his darkest moments. The retelling of that horrible night even squeezed my heart. And I thought Draco's description of the meaning of his dark mark was exactly the way I always imagined he felt about it. To him, it was a duty he had to perform to keep his family safe.

Hermione's actions didn't surprise me in the least. She is more about being accurate and right in all situations. While she is loyal to Ron, she is not jaded and I think she may be the one person from the other side that sees the complications of the war and how it is not just black and white.

Through the entire chapter, there is this underlying connection between Draco and Astoria. It isn't out in the open, but they both seem to be willing to put themselves in harms way for each other. It is not openly mentioned, but they both act selflessly to protect the other. I love it! This is such a great story and I can't wait to read more!

Thanks so much. I was dying to review this chapter and so excited that no one else had jumped in before me.

~Beth

Author's Response: Hi, Beth!

Yes, their unconventional first date continues on its unconventional path. I liked the idea of getting them out of the all-wizarding village not only for the reason you pointed out, but also because it allowed Astoria to see a little flexibility in Draco's normally stiff mindset. He isn't above spending a little time among the muggles when it suits him.

I think that learning how to navigate around somebody as emotional and anger-prone as Draco would have been an important task for Astoria. And I think she's up to it. She comes from a background where custom and protocol and knowing how to read the small reactions of very stoic people were very important. For Draco's part, he wants so much to make her comfortable around him. He wants to open up to her, but he doesn't want to frighten her. It's a fine line he feels like he's walking.

No matter what, I didn't want these two dyed-in-the-wool Slytherins to stop being Slytherins. I felt like if I allowed that to happen, I'd lost a very important part of their characters. In this chapter, I didn't think of Draco's soul-baring as being a non-Slytherin trait. He's doing it under very controlled circumstances and he's doing it for a very specific reason. He wants -- needs -- her to understand him. To understand why he did the things that he did during the war. I'm glad you liked his treatise on the real meaning of the Dark Mark. That was an idea that I started to develop when I wrote Marked and then brought it full circle here.

Astoria did understand Hermione better than Draco in the end. Draco has become very trapped in this mindset of anger and retribution and feeling like everyone in the world wants to see him fall (further). After the amount of pain and suffering Hermione witnesses during the war, I doubt that she wanted to see anyone suffer just to settle a score.

Draco and Astoria are both willing to take chances and sacrifice for one another. Draco does it because he wants to be with her, Astoria does it because she wants to know if what she's feeling toward Draco is real. They can be a little selfless at times. Not very Slytherin. ;)

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


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Review #31, by Veritaserum27 Making Choices

14th May 2014:
Hi Dan!

Tagging you from review tag!

Ok, so you win the gold star for the most exciting visit to Hogsmeade. Ever. You kept me on the edge of my seat for the whole chapter. I was completely expecting a nice little day where they had a butterbeer at The Three Broomsticks and then walked by the Shrieking Shack and nervously held hands, unsure of exactly what to say to each other but learning a little about how much they really had in common, blah, blah, blah. You totally turned it around on me and blew me away (literally blew away Draco a few times and I think Astoria once at the end too - haha). So kudos on the story development - the plot thickens. Who are these strange wizards and witch? I thought they might be the Carrows and another bloke, but I am not quite sure if they are canon. Either way, this JUST GOT INTERESTING!

So, a bit more is revealed about Astoria's character in the first part of this chapter. I really like how you have portrayed her as a young woman who has grown up in a house of purebloods. There were expectations for behavior and preserving the family honor is a high priority. I like this depictions because I feel like most authors tend to depict purebloods as evil, when it really is much more complicated than that.

And I have to say a great big AWW at the cute little Harry and Ginny scene. I know it was done to reveal a little about Astoria, but I loved that little moment.

Now on to Draco's anger. This was also nicely done. He has a temper and, although he is trying to work on it - he was definitely pushed to his breaking point. I even was feeling the tension. I just knew that he wouldn't take well to being "rescued" by Hermione - no matter the circumstances. A little more of his bravery was showing through as well, in his protection of Astoria.

I am going to make a guess that Draco apparated the two of them somewhere else, to avoid getting killed. (I hope you don't mind guesses.)

As far as their choices go, I think Astoria might feel like she is a bit in over her head here. She was a little unsure of Draco from the get-go and now his associations have put her in mortal peril. She might feel the need to back off for a bit.

Thanks again for this great chapter - nice writing!

Beth

Author's Response: Hi, Beth!

Yes, Draco and Astoria's visit to Hogsmeade didn't really follow the cliche of starting out at Madam Pudifoot's and ending up at the Three Broomsticks. What possible fun would that be? This is Draco and Astoria we're talking about. They deserve something more exciting and unconventional!

The two wizards and the witch who try to kill Draco aren't the Carrows, but they're just as nasty in their own way. You'll find out all about them in the next chapter.

Astoria is pureblood through and through, but her family isn't as extreme about it as the Blacks and Malfoys. They might believe some of the same things, but you'd never see the Greengrasses trying to start a war over blood purity. War is dangerous and bad for business. The Greengrasses are wealthy, but not in the sense of having more money than they'll ever know what to do with. And while Astoria's parents certainly expect her to marry a proper pureblood wizard, they wouldn't disown her if she wound up being friends with a half-blood or (gasp!) even a muggle-born. More than anything, they're practical people.

I was really pleased that I was able to shoe-horn Ginny and Harry into this, and do it in a way that helped to draw out a bit of characterization for Astoria. I love the two of them together!

Draco's temper is probably the worst symptom of the post-war trauma that he's dealing with in this story. The drinking is bad, too, obviously, but a lot of that is in response to the simmering anger that's always just below the surface, waiting to boil over.

That's... not a bad guess. You'll find out for sure in the next chapter. ;)

One thing you'll find out about Astoria is that she's an "in for a knut, in for a galleon" kind of girl. She doesn't frighten easily once she's set her mind to something.

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


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Review #32, by Veritaserum27 Regrets

8th May 2014:
Hi Dan,

Review Tag!

You've been leaving me such wonderful reviews, I thought it was high time I left one for you!

First off, I have to discuss your descriptions. They are absolutely beautiful and amazing. I especially love they way you described Hogwarts with the parts that have been rebuilt and the parts that were still being worked on. I felt like I was there, seeing it right in front of me. You do a fantastic job of *showing* the story instead of simply telling it.

You mentioned that it was a slow chapter, but I don't exactly agree. Quite a lot happened. First off, we have Draco's return to Hogwarts. I particularly liked the part where he collapses in the snow. Perhaps, I'm over thinking it, but I felt like this was another step in his "Detox" process. Almost like he needs to have these breakdowns along the way to his recovery - be it from the physical addiction of the alcohol or, in this case, "detoxing" himself from his dirty past.

Also, we meet Isodore (love the name!) and can see that her friendship with Astoria is so important to both girls, but they are also both dealing with the fallout from the war. That is a lovely touch, how you manage to portray that there were truly victims from both sides and that war is never a simple as good versus bad.

Also in this chapter, we see that reality smacks Draco hard in the face. McGonagall's reaction was harsh - it even caught me by surprise. I think Dumbledore would have been a bit more forgiving, but he was the true, kind educator to the very end, wasn't he?

I really enjoyed the appearance of Ginny, Hermione and Luna. You stayed true to each of their characters. It is so like Luna to consider unwanted beef stew as a gift and a favor that needed to be returned! Oh, and we get to learn a little about Narcissa - I gasped at the realization that she was sending food to the prisoners. I had pictured her as a person who focused solely on her son and husband, to the exclusion of all else. I am intrigued (almost as much as Draco was) to learn more about her.

Through the entire chapter, you have also been true to Draco's character. Through all the humiliation and discomfort, he still remains arrogant and a little hot-tempered. Although, I do see a bit of courage poking through every now and again. I suppose he will need some of that in the future.

Of course, I couldn't help but let out a little squee when I saw that you left us with a tiny bit of hope. I can't wait for the Hogsmeade trip!

Thanks for the great read!

Beth

Author's Response: Hi, Beth!

I experimented a lot with Detox. One of the bigger items I tried was the style of keeping dialog completely separated from the surrounding text and not using any tag verbs. Because of that, I felt like I had to work harder on the descriptions and visual imagery to make sure that the reader didn't lose track of what was going on.

Draco does a lot of "three steps forward, two steps back" in this story. I agree with you that his first visit back to Hogwarts was ultimately a step forward, but it was a difficult one.

I'm glad you liked Isadore in this chapter because I'm not sure you'll like her as much by the time it's all over. She does fill a pretty important niche for Astoria. She's "that friend" who challenges Astoria's preconceived notions about things, sometimes in a good way and sometimes in a bad way.

Reality hits Draco really hard in this chapter. When he was walking around Diagon Alley, getting dirty looks, at least those people were far away in a relative sense. In this chapter, the people who loathe him are in his face. I spent a fair bit of time trying to decide how to write McGonagall's reaction. She is an immensely fair-minded person and above all else, she's an educator. Two things swayed me to write her as harshly as I did. First, I'm sure she hasn't forgotten that it was Draco who let the other Death Eaters into Hogwarts on the night Dumbledore died. Even though his death was planned, the physical and mental damage to the other students and teachers was immense. Second, McGonagall is nurturing a very gradual, very fragile recovery at Hogwarts. I'm sure a lot of parents struggled long and hard with the decision of whether to send their children back to school after the war. And nearly everyone in the castle -- even the Slytherins -- probably lost a friend or loved one during the war. As a marked Death Eater from a family of Death Eaters, Draco would have been a walking, talking reminder of the horrors of the war. I'm sure McGonagall didn't want him disrupting the normality that she was trying to restore to life at Hogwarts.

I'm glad you feel like I've stayed true to Draco's character. That was really, really important to me. I don't like stories that white-wash his character or portray him as some sort of arch-villain. Draco was neither of these things. He's a very complicated character, and the prejudices that make him complicated aren't likely to ever go away.

Yes, there is hope for Draco and Astoria. You'll find out more over the next few chapters.

Thanks so much for reading and reviewing!


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Review #33, by UnluckyStar57 Climbing Back

8th May 2014:
Hi! School has finally adjourned and now I'm (relatively) not busy, so here's your review for Chapter 12! :)

Astoria kind of reminds me of the Lady of Shallot in this chapter, not gonna lie. She pines away in her room, watching shadows pass by in her mirror. Unlike Tennyson's Lady, though, she's actually going to end up okay (hopefully!). It does help that she's got her mother on her side now. I feel as though her mother might have known what it felt like to be in her situation--though she was content with marrying Mr. Greengrass, perhaps she had more academic aspirations in her youth? Regardless of whether she did or not, I'm glad that she's finally cottoning on to the fact that Astoria has a suitor all lined up--as long as she can finish her schooling first. I admire Mrs. Greengrass for standing up to her husband in such a calm, regal manner! It takes a lot of practice to do that, especially since she's dealing with a really stubborn, rather prejudiced man. She handled him expertly, I think!

Ooooh, Madam Blishwick really made me angry in this chapter. If her Hogwarts House hasn't been mentioned yet, I believe that it was Ravenclaw. She seems like a complete academic, but one that is so far immersed into the world of experiments and tests that she can't even remember what it feels like to be human anymore. She's obviously insensitive and unaware of Draco's anguish. In my opinion, she embodies some of the worst traits of the Ravenclaw House (and this is coming from a proud 'Claw!!).

Her insensitivity, combined with her curiosity about Bellatrix's "invaluable lessons," is enough to push Draco over the edge--big time. I'm glad that he didn't end up Crucio-ing Blishwick, otherwise there would be a steep price to pay! Still, the pain and fury that went into the torturing of the doxy were conveyed realistically and EXTREMELY obviously. If it were anyone else, they would know that they REALLY messed up, but Blishwick just gets excited about the revelation that "you have to MEAN it." Ugh. I hope that Draco finds a new job after things settle down, because I know that Madam Supreme Potioneer-ess is never going to be able to understand or empathize with him.

While I'm rambling on about this section, I must point out a teensy little typo.

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

"Blishwick," of course, requires a "k" instead of an "h." And the "and" is out of place. But that's all! :D

*sigh* Draco is really being super sensitive about his life right now, which is completely understandable considering that his boss is a robot and he broke up with his girlfriend, but the return of the alcoholism is extreme. He had been doing so well! Ah, well, there are still four more chapters left for him to reform his ways!

Oh wow, Lucius. I never even dreamed that memory loss could be the case!! So he's not going back to help out the new generation of Death Eaters, after all! This bodes well for the future, except for the fact that he can't seem to get his mind out of the past. Poor Narcissa, having to deal with all of that nonsense. They probably should have told Draco so that he would've known not to get entangled into the traps and tricks of Gamp&co., but then where would the plot be? :)

So of course, the troublemakers themselves have to turn up, just when things might've worked out for the best! What is Flint doing with a bloody Nott? When will he realize that Draco isn't actually on his side? Dun dun duh. This can only end in a mess!

'Til next time!

~UnluckyStar57

Author's Response: Hello, again!

I haven't read much Tennyson, but I have learned a little along the way about upset, overly dramatic teenage girls. She will end up alright, but every story needs a low point and this is it for Astoria. Her mother has sort of put the pieces together, even if she doesn't specifically know that Astoria is pining away for Draco. Mrs. Greengrass is a proper, pureblood lady. There is no other way that she would stand up to her husband, but she's extremely skillful at managing him. I'm glad that came through!

Her Hogwarts house is never mentioned, but I'd say Ravenclaw is far and away the most likely choice. She lacks any sort of ability to understand the way her research affects other people. To her, it's an academic problem devoid of social context. Unfortunately for Draco, the context is all too real. He came very, very close to using an Unforgivable Curse on his boss, but managed to redirect his anger slightly at the last second. In a perverse sort of way, it's progress for him. Not that he he really feels all that accomplished.

Thank you so much for catching that typo! I'll tidy that up.

Draco is also being a bit melodramatic in places. I can remember times when I thought this thing or that thing about my first job out of school was **the end of the world**. It never really is, of course, but it seems that way at the time.

Now you know the truth about Lucius. There happened to be an unfortunate overlap between his paranoid delusions and Gamp's co-conspirators. In spite of the difficulties caused by his condition, I'm sure that Lucius was far too proud to want anyone -- even Draco -- to know about it. And Narcissa is definitely the sort to try to be strong for her husband and respect his wishes. So we come to the point where we are.

Knock, knock.

Who's there?

Theo.

Theo, who?

Theo Nott, bleeding all over your floor!

You'll find out very soon why Flint and Nott have shown up and why Nott is injured. All in our next, action-packed chapter!

Thanks so much for reading and reviewing!


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Review #34, by 800 words of heaven Regrets

5th May 2014:
REVIEW TAG!

It’s been a really long time since I read this story, and I’ve missed it :( I really need to get better at regularly reviewing stories, because I know how much I love feedback and it sort of makes me a horrible author for not doing the same. But, anyway! I am here!

Draco’s worry about being recognised and his struggle to get readmitted to Hogwarts made me think of something. It must be so difficult for people who were on the “losing” side of a war. A lot of the time, these people were not directly involved in the conflict, but are still negatively associated with it. I love this aspect of the story, how it makes me think about the repercussions and aftermath of big calamities. The struggles and bigger themes are very applicable to daily life, and that’s a real pleasure to read.

I remember you mentioning in my last review that this wasn’t going to be a “Draco getting better” story, and with Draco’s symptoms of PTSD, I think I have a better understanding of where you might be taking this character. I love how you’re portraying him as more complex, blurring the lines between “good” and “evil” as they are, making him far more human. It’s obvious that he hasn’t given up in all his beliefs from before the war, be they good or bad, and I’m really looking forward to his ensuing struggle with those beliefs being challenged by others and himself. I think the biggest drawcard for me about this story is that I really want to know where he ends up at the end. What is he going to be like?

The extreme reaction of Minerva McGonagall really has me as surprised as Draco. They really don’t like him, do they? I can understand limiting his interaction with the student body in order to facilitate the recovery of the students, for which he is partially responsible, but McGonagall’s reaction… threw me. At first, I was like, “what? No! This isn’t the McGonagall I know and love” but then I was thought that she’d also lost people for which she cared, and after all, she is human. She’s allowed to grieve and be angry.

For some reason, I had an insane fit of giggling at the mental image of Isadore’s crazy cat lady aunt.

Oh, my goodness! I love the way you write Slughorn! He’s a little self-absorbed and very materialistic, and I’m just fangirling over the way you show these characteristics in his speech and mannerisms. So awesome!

Ooh! Clandestine meetings between Astoria and Draco! I’m sort of excited and anticipating awkward teenage communication, but also at the same time dreading the possible second-hand embarrassment. Especially now that we know that Astoria fancies Draco… And Draco is also quite the awkward turtle. Lots of chances for second-hand embarrassment to look forward to!

Author's Response: Hi, there!

I'm glad the story made enough of an impression that you remembered it. I'll take that as a compliment. :)

I tried really hard to paint a realistic picture of what life was like for the losing side of the war. Far too many post-war stories have Draco continuing to behave exactly the way he did before the war with no consequences whatsoever. (Or worse still, becoming a completely different person.) I'm sure that even the old, pureblood families who didn't support Voldemort experienced a certain amount of backlash. Too many people suffered too much for that not to have happened.

It isn't going to be *solely* a Draco getting better story, although I hope you'll see his character make some progress by the end. He is definitely suffering from PTSD after his own fashion. I believe that it affects everyone differently, and one of the biggest symptoms in Draco's case is uncontrollable bursts of anger. I'm really glad that you don't find him to be purely "good" or "evil", but rather a mix. That's exactly what I was going for. By the end of Deathly Hallows, I did think of him as a very complex character. He was mostly able to differentiate between right and wrong but he'd been conditioned his entire life to believe that his father's beliefs were right, no matter who got hurt.

At this early point in the story, I imagined McGonagall being in a position where she was nurturing a very fragile recovery at Hogwarts. So many people lost their lives before and during the final battle and the school, itself, suffered so much damage. If JKR had written in the epilogue that Hogwarts was converted into a memorial to those killed in the war and a new school was opened, I think most readers would have accepted it. Emotions must have been very raw during that first year back. I bet nearly every corridor in the school held an awful memory for at least one or two students. Into this touchy, emotionally charged situation, the school's Governors have just decided to inject a young man who personally fought for Lord Voldemort along with his entire family. If I was McGonagall, I would have been beyond furious.

Lots of witches and wizards keep cats as familiars. I just decided to throw in a touch of crazy, old muggle lady in Isadore's aunt's case.

I think you're the first reader to comment on Slughorn, and I'm glad you liked him.

Yes, there is a clandestine meeting coming up very soon. I hope you enjoy it!

Thanks for reading and reviewing!


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Review #35, by Veritaserum27 Getting Clean

2nd May 2014:
Hello Dan - here for review tag.

Another excellent chapter! We get to see a little bit of where both Draco and Astoria are coming from, and that sets the story up nicely for a rocky road ahead. Astoria seems she will be conflicted between loyalty to her family (her father, specifically) and wanting to be her own person. She is growing up and seems to feel the conflict between fulfilling her family's expectations and making her own way in the world.

Draco, on the other hand, just wants to break free. Free from his past, free from his associations and free from his family's reputation (his father at least). It is a little unsure where Lucius will stand in this whole situation, as he hasn't made an appearance yet. Will he view Draco's new path in life as a slight to their family or a reinvention.

I liked that Draco is making a true effort to control his anger and actions. It shows that he has real intentions to proceed with his plan - despite the conversation with his mother at the beginning of the chapter.

Your description is so effortless, it makes the story easy to read and isn't overdone, yet enhances the reader's experience. Thanks for writing this fabulous story!

Beth

Author's Response: Hi, there! Welcome back.

This chapter was meant to give an idea of the challenges that both of them are facing on the family front, as well as Draco's challenges in dealing with his former housemates. Astoria is very conflicted because she loves her parents deeply. At the same time, she can't quite square what her father thinks about Draco with her own experience, and she's the sort of over-thinker who finds that deeply bothersome.

Draco is trying as hard as he can to put the past behind him. At this point, he's spent a couple of months trying to drink his demons away and that obviously didn't work. Now he's ready to try something different. Lucius will make several appearances, both direct and by reference, throughout the story. His personal difficulties will definitely play into Draco's challenges.

Anger will be Draco's constant enemy throughout the story. He has so much resentment and bitterness left over from the war, when he discovered that most of what he was brought up to believe was false and Voldemort used him as a pawn. Learning to control his temper is one of the keys to him getting better.

Wow, I'm glad that it seems effortless. Believe me, it took a lot of effort.

Thank you for reading this story! I'm really pleased that you've enjoyed it so far.


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Review #36, by Pixileanin Future Imperfect

22nd April 2014:
"Astoria felt cold fingers of panic creeping up her spine. Maybe coming to Isadore for advice wasn't such a good idea after all."

Ahem. That's what instincts are for, Astoria. Use them. Use them wisely.

"...and I think the boy has some sort of phobia about teeth..."

You know, I put all the staining fruit in the freezer before I sat down to this chapter. I really WANTED to give Isadore a fighting chance here, but argh!!! I can't decide whether she's really been there or she's still blowing hot air. Or a little of both. Who's to say? Although, that line about the Sorting Hat was awesome.

I really liked the pure frustration Astoria is having with the entire concept of imagining something that no one is willing to come out and describe to her. Bless her, but she's trying to understand and get what she can out of the conversation, anything helpful at all, and all it's doing is putting more worries in her head. I can only hope that she's not taking her best friend too seriously. Oh, who am I kidding? You're doing this to her on purpose, aren't you?

I knew girls like Isadore. From a distance. My best friends and I always believed that Sorciere Magazines were full of tripe anyway. Except the brownie recipes. Those were awesome! Okay, okay, occasionally I would fall for the latest trend in lip gloss, but only when I was feeling particularly weak.

Madam Blishwick's laboratory scene just makes me want to get my hands dirty. All the cool stuff is in there, I just know it! It was fun, seeing Draco all serious-minded with his work, trying so diligently to do the job right, to get some recognition that didn't involve any condescending attitudes or whatnot.

And then the plant interferes in the worst possible way. I love how Blishwick calls him "Edgar" as if he has a personality of his own... which he probably does. I want an Edgar. Hahah! Oh, but then she pulls out the real reason she's interested in him, and that doesn't sound very pleasant. Draco's verge-of-panic reaction was very well-done. I was right there with him, envisioning the horrors of what may be expected of him. Why indeed, are they torturing doxies? The whole thing tastes bad. He wants so badly to put all of that horribleness behind him, but it's coming back around again. To see the academic side of the Unforgivable Curses, to know that these people in the lab really have no idea what it's like to actually do that to another human being, to have it reduced to some curiosity, must be absolutely horrific.

At least he's able to see the morbid humor in his situation at the end. It's not funny, but since he's already given up his lunch, he's either going to laugh or cry about it.

Does this mean I have to defrost my blueberries for the next time I see Isadore? I hope she's wearing white...

Author's Response: Hi, pix! Sorry for the embarrassingly long time it's taken me to respond to this.

Sure, Astoria could stop paying attention to Isadore's awful advice, but what fun would that be? It's gotten her this far.

Isadore has *sort of* been there, in the same way that a lot of teenagers *sort of* experience these things. Has she been there often enough to really understand everything that happened? Of course not. So she fills in the gaps with things she reads in magazines and her own over-romanticized imagination. I was particularly fond of the Sorting Hat line, myself. You can leave your staining fruit in the freezer because this chapter will be Isadore's last appearance in the story.

Of course I'm doing it to her on purpose! Astoria is a planner and a compulsive over-thinker, so situations like this are torture for her. More to the point, however, I'm setting the stage for things that will happen in upcoming chapters. Astoria's anxiety about the things she doesn't know and whether she compares favorably to Draco's past girlfriends will play a major role very soon.

I, um, don't think there are brownie recipes in Sorciere. Unless the brownies are laced with some sort of love potion.

I really, really enjoyed writing the scene where Draco is brewing potions. I love that sort of nitty-gritty, technical magic, even if I do have to make up all of the details. It was also nice to have a scene where Draco is squarely in his element, even if it doesn't last for very long.

And it doesn't. You would shake your head in disbelief if you knew how many names I went through before I decided on Edgar. I doubt you actually want an Edgar. He's a pain, especially when you're baking brownies. Always messing with your ingredients.

Yep, the real reason Madam Blishwick wants Draco to work for her has a lot less to do with his potioneering skills than his wartime experiences. I think your read on her is just about right. She's a very pure academic who doesn't fret much about the social context of her work. The fact that other people might find it horrifying -- even traumatizing -- to experiment on doxies with the Cruciatus Curse doesn't really occur to her. It's going to lead to some very difficult moments for Draco.

Like I said, you've seen the last of Isadore for this story. Although I'm really tempted to write a one-shot or maybe a short story about her, just to see whether I can get you to throw fruit at your computer. :p

Thanks for reading and reviewing!


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Review #37, by Veritaserum27 Sobering Up

22nd April 2014:
Hi Dan,

Review Tag!

Well I finally drummed up the courage to read and review one of your stories. I'm a relatively new member and I felt a little intimidated.

This was absolutely fantastic. Writing the dark characters is usually done in two versions - completely going against their canon qualities or amplifying them to the extreme. You've created a superb balance of making Draco both believable and sympathetic. At the same time, you've weaved elements of a possible love interest. I've always wanted to know how Draco and Astoria got together!

As far as Astoria goes, we don't know much about her personality from the books, but I love that you've made her down to earth and unflappable. (Possibly just what Draco needs right now?) I also love the little touches - like where it seemed she was reading his mind about the three D's of apparation and added the fourth D.

I only have one (very small) suggestion. The following line:

"For reasons that Draco couldn't begin to comprehend, he needed her to understand. Because maybe if she can understand then so can I."

The rest of the story is written in the third person and if Draco is speaking to himself, it might read easier if that last part were either in italics or single 'quotes.' Totally not a big deal, but it caught my attention - probably because the rest of the piece is so flawless.

Thanks for sharing your gift with the rest of the world. You really have a great talent!

Beth (Veritaserum27)

Author's Response: Hi, there!

Apologies, it has taken an embarrassingly long time to respond to this.

Aww, you shouldn't feel intimidated. I would say that you're actually quite good at this.

I'm really glad you thought Draco was balanced, because that was the big thing that I was going for all throughout this story. I agree with you: most stories either white-wash Draco into this misunderstood guy who never had a chance because of his father or they try to turn him into some sort of arch villain. The Draco I remember from the books was neither. He was an arrogant, mean, spoiled rich kid who suddenly found himself thrust into a world that was much more "real" than he was ready for. I think he had to grow up almost overnight after his father was sent to Azkaban. But I wanted to be sure to preserve some of that arrogance and prejudice because I can't imagine that they ever completely went away.

I always worry that Astoria comes off as too perfect in this chapter. You'll see some of her flaws later on, but here we're seeing her through Draco's inebriated eyes, so it's all in sort of a soft focus.

A lot of people have commented on that line. I think I should at least italicize the last sentence so it's clear that you're "hearing" Draco's inner thoughts.

Thank you so much for all of the kind words, and thanks for reading and reviewing!


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Review #38, by Pixileanin Turning the Corner

21st April 2014:
Hi! I am finally here. Whew! Do not look at how long it took me. It's just plain embarrassing.

I guess the first time I read this, I didn't realize that the school year had come to an end already. I just figured that out from the chapter summary. I am a dummy. *smacks self*

I don't mind the single-mindedness about studies. It's practically the only thing he's living for at the moment. Alright, alright, I know there's this girl, but hey. He's doing the right thing. It's good to see that he's happy about it too. It might not change Mr. Greengrass's mind, but at least it's several steps in the right direction. Head down, stiff upper lip, Draco.

It's also good to see Draco standing up to his father after years of believing that his father's way was the right way. He's coming into his own, which is my favorite part of this story. Aww, but did he have to pick on the hair? That was a low blow. And the drinking. *sigh* It's a long road to recovery. I can't really blame the guy. I think Draco made a wise decision to just avoid the man entirely. Seeing that he was spending time in a Muggle establishment shows even deeper how Draco has changed, and actually making conversation with the waitress too. And pie. We can't discount the power of pie.

I like how you consistently show Draco's calculating mind, weighing in on the impulses of the past and self correcting before he acts rashly. He still reacts with an edge, but that is completely understandable. Remember, Draco. There's pie if you can get out of this without an incident.

McGonagall's confession that she had made things difficult for him and expected him to fail, and then admitting that she was surprised that he succeeded was a great way for Draco to realize that people were still watching him, and that his actions were, at least in a small part, moving him forward towards changing the attitudes of the people around him. McGonagall's apology was a great touch too, because even I did not expect that.

McGonagall's offer seems very generous, though if Draco is doing as well in Potions as she says he is, he deserves the position. The fact that he's willing to take it, and that his mind is filling with the possibilities, shows that he's really considering the big picture here. I am so glad that Draco is acting rationally here. He's certainly learned a lot about self-control.

You've kept McGonagall perfectly in character. You've given her the sternness that she's known for, and the compassion for which she's well-loved. I bet Draco's appreciating her very much right about now. And aww, he has to wait for his pie. It's usually best the next day anyway.

And how does Draco use his newfound freedom??? By corrupting an innocent young girl in the corridors way too close to curfew! The shame!! *shakes matronly finger*

Astoria is so... it's like she's playing a dangerous game of hide-and-seek and I don't want her to find whatever she's looking for because she wants it too much. I must say that was an excellent use of the Disillusionment Charm. Okay, okay, it all turned out great in the end, and it was all cute and touching and wonderful (especially the talking part, because talking is very important...), but I was seriously worried there for a moment.

Isadore makes me want to dig out the staining fruit again. Seriously, girls like that should have a warning tattooed onto their foreheads. Why do I get the impression that Isadore knows just as little about "it" as Astoria? And why am I suddenly concerned about Isadore's source of information? Your phrasing is priceless, by the way. Please tell me that's a Dan original.

And sigh. Astoria's father has to be difficult. It's only going to turn her against him later... oh, you've got that covered. Right. Mr. Montague sounds absolutely dreadful, even if it is only for one evening.

I do like how Astoria has made up her mind that she's not going to just go along with her parents' plans for her to marry well and not take her studies seriously. It's good that she is following her convictions, or that she even has convictions to follow (*cough* ignore your friend, Isadore *cough*). I'm sure that's part of what Draco is attracted to.

Another lovely chapter filled with romance and several tension-filled steps in the right direction!

Author's Response: Hi, pix!

School's out... for summer! School's out... for-ever! Draco is almost all done with school and he's behaving a little like Hermione in the home stretch. Granted, Hermione would never write off any of her subjects, but at least he's being logical about things.

Draco and Lucius are getting on very poorly by this point, and way Draco is handling matters is obviously a mixed bag. He tries to avoid the old man, but sometimes he succumbs to his demons and gets drunk. He has warmed up to the muggle world in one or two very limited ways, but I wouldn't make **too** much of it. Because you're right, the power of pie has a lot to do with it.

There's a good reason the Sorting Hat put Draco into Slytherin without a moment's hesitation. He plots, he calculates and he assessed the impacts of his actions. Cunning, always.

I'm glad you liked McGonagall. Part of me always feels like she never would have been able to forgive him for the role he played in Dumbledore's death, even after she knew the complete truth. But she is, above all else, an educator and a fair woman. Draco has made the most of his second chance and I don't see how she wouldn't have respected that, albeit begrudgingly. Her offer is very fair, and it doesn't take Draco long at all to deduce that he isn't going to do any better, so he accepts. He has become very rational.

You're right, he doesn't use his new powers exclusively for good. That said, I felt like the two of them deserved at least a few moments of unspoiled happiness together. **This** is what I always assumed that Disillusionment Charms would be used most for at Hogwarts. Small wonder that they aren't taught until much later in a student's years at school.

What can I do to get you to like Isadore more? :p OK, there's probably nothing I can do because she's just being herself. She knows **a little more** about "it" than Astoria, but not a whole lot. She reads more magazines, gossips more and she's spent more time sneaking around empty classrooms and hidden passageways with boys, but by no means does that make her an expert. The phrasing is an original. Glad you like it. :)

Mr. Greengrass is a stubborn, traditionalist pureblood. I'd argue that it's turned her against him already, although the damage isn't irreparable yet. But Astoria is just a strong-willed as he is, and she'll find a way to subvert his plans. Her conviction and intelligence is definitely a part of what Draco finds attractive.

Tension-filled is a good way to put it. Draco and Astoria are playing a dangerous game, flying in the face of generations of pureblood tradition and patriarchy. It's going to be a crazy ride through to the end. I'm glad you're enjoying it. Thanks for reading and reviewing!


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Review #39, by UnluckyStar57 Errors in Judgment

21st April 2014:
Hello again! I hope that your Easter weekend was eggcellent. :)

So the wedding is finally here and Draco has to deal with the Montagues... That's obviously not a fun job! My goodness, but Emery Montague is thick--mentally and physically. I have this hilarious image of him in my mind--stupid expression and all. It really says a lot that his primary concern about Draco's switcheroo is that his parents might ground him. He's what, nineteen or older?! Why can't he move out and stop acting like a child?! And then the Quidditch magazines and Draco's instruction for him to finish up his... whatever he was doing... Hahahaha. That was funny. :)

Uh oh... The new Death Eaters know about Draco's deception, which means that Zabini is a traitor and a blabbermouth. Nott was especially menacing, and his interception definitely threw a wrench in Draco's carefully laid out plan. The problem is, will Draco end up joining them? I hope not--he's come much too far for that! But he's afraid to say no to them and that could lead to dangerous dealings later on.

HAH!! That was REALLY clever--of COURSE Astoria knows that Emery is actually Draco, but Draco doesn't know that she knows! So his comment about "not liking girls" pretty much backfired, but in a good way. Astoria's line, "That's really too bad, Draco. Because I know a girl who fancies you a great deal." made me laugh a lot. :)

But of course, jealousy gets in the way, and when someone is not telling the whole truth, problems tend to arise. Draco's plan, while having to take a bit of a detour, still worked out in the sense that he got some alone time with Astoria and he got a few smootches. But since he doesn't want to tell her about the second (or is this the third?) uprising of the Death Eaters, he can't tell her exactly why he doesn't want to run away with her. I think it's really awful that Astoria feels like she has to not finish her N.E.W.T.s and find a husband because her parents tell her to. That just goes against everything that I think/feel about the subject of marriage, but I understand that the Greengrasses are purebloods in the midst of a very anti-pureblood society right now and so they'll cling fast to the old traditions. (It's still disgusting.)

And then Astoria just has to bring up Pansy Parkinson, that old cow. People are so frustrating to me sometimes, because no matter how much you reiterate a particular point, some people are going to persist in not believing you. That's what Astoria is doing to Draco right now, and then the stuff that it led to only resulted in more fighting and problems, problems, problems. I think that her reaction to it all was very realistic. In the moment of jealousy and possessiveness, she's not going to be thinking rationally; she's going to be thinking about how she can win Draco over! However, she's already won him over and he doesn't want to ruin her honor or anything like that. So in a way, it was her fault (it was his fault, too, for being secretive and such). I am glad that she realized that at the end of the chapter.

Awww, now there are going to be more sad times because Draco's "master plan" didn't work out in his favor at all! He's going to be on the lam for a bit, I'm guessing, just because he doesn't want to run into the Montagues (I have no doubt that Emery will blab). And Astoria can't burn the letters--good. She loves him. He loves her. Why can't they be happy? Because stories don't work like that. :D

Very eventful/rather humorous/quite dramatic chapter! I've only got five more to go until I get to find out Draco's perspective of the DH Epilogue! :)

~UnluckyStar57

Author's Response: Hi, there! My Easter weekend was eggciting and eggceeded eggspectations.

Yikes, that was awful. Forgive me...

Anyway, I think your imagine of Emery Montague is pretty much spot on. Spoiled, slothenly, rich brat who really has no intention of growing up until he's forced to. He is a year younger than Draco, in between Draco and Astoria, so he's either 16 or 17. Young enough to be grounded, but old enough that it shouldn't really be his primary concern.

Zabini is a blabbermouth. I don't think the guy is really capable of treason, in the classic sense. I'm glad you found Nott menacing, even though he's not all that much of a bad guy compared to Gamp. Draco has no intention of joining them, but he is in a sticky spot now.

Yep, Astoria figured it out. She's pretty sharp and Gamp has a big mouth.

This was one of those chapters where I think (hope) that Astoria seemed more age-appropriate. She doesn't have any real experience with being in love and she's still very insecure when it comes to Draco loving her. She's so frightened of messing it all up somehow, and that fear drives her to some very bad decisions. Even as she's rebelling against her parents' "old" values, they still shape her thinking in certain ways. It's a little ironic and a little sad.

If Astoria stopped and really thought it over for a while, I think she'd realize that Draco has been over Pansy for a long time. But since when do love-addled teenage girls stop and think? Pansy becomes the personification of all of Astoria's anxieties, mostly because she's Draco's ex. No other reason. I'm glad that their reactions seemed realistic to you. That was what I was most worried about.

Draco's "master plan" failed, but the story's not over yet. He doesn't so much go on the lam -- after all, Mr. Montague didn't see him before getting blasted off his feet -- as he mopes and thinks that he's lost Astoria forever. She's in a similar state of mind, although she does have the good sense to not give up completely. Every relationship has its low points and this is definitely one for Draco and Astoria.

Not much longer now and you'll get to see the epilogue from Draco's point of view. Before then, of course, they have to get back together and fix this mess.

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


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Review #40, by UnluckyStar57 Future Imperfect

6th April 2014:
Um... Hi. :)

I'll start off by saying that the realm of "girl-talk" that Astoria and Isadore were in is a realm that I have never yet entered. I know that there are scores of teenage girls who talk about this sort of thing, but despite being older than Astoria and Isadore, I've never felt the need to *ahem* contemplate those sorts of things with boys.

So sorry for being all awkward about it and such. I'm just not sure if that's the way teenage girls talk about things like that, because I don't have any knowledge of that sort of talk. However, I cracked up at all of the innuendos and various metaphors. That was pretty clever and hilarious. Even a prude like me can understand them, hahaha! I especially liked the one about Pansy... :D

Ah, more things that I don't have experience with: Job interviews! :D Draco definitely had a scary job interview, but I think he pulled through just fine. The potions thing was extremely taxing, but it makes sense that Madame Blishwick would want to see his potions work in action. After all, she can't get a true sense of his skills just from his resume (a fact that is applicable to Muggle jobs, too, I think). Hahaha, Edgar the plant? I loved it when Draco lost his temper and Incendio-ed the darn thing. It was about time!! Also, I figured that old Edgar was there for a reason, and Madame Blishwick proved my suspicions right, the sly thing! I think that it was cool of her to put the plant there as a distraction.

However, her mannerisms bugged me a little bit. I have a feeling that she's SO academic and intellectual that she doesn't understand Draco's point of view. His experiences from the war weren't just incidents that could be compartmentalized and analyzed thoroughly. His mind is still a mess, and it's going to take him even longer to recover if he has to keep identifying people and studying the effects of the curses that he once used on other people. Perhaps Madame Blishwick will never understand, but hopefully he can strengthen his resolve enough to succeed at his new job.

See you next time! Sorry I wasn't much help with the girl-talk stuff... :P

~UnluckyStar57

Author's Response: Hello, again!

No biggie on the girl talk. It's definitely not for everyone. I had a fair bit of help to coach me through it, but I'm always curious how it plays with others.

I really enjoyed writing all of the little innuendos and especially the dig at Pansy. She's a really fun character to beat on.

I wanted to make Draco's job interview as uncomfortable as I could make it without the poor guy running out of the Ministry, screaming. You read Madam Blishwick exactly right. She's too absorbed in her own work to have a clue how uncomfortable it makes other people. Especially somebody like Draco, who survived the horrors that she finds so fascinating. Edgar was the very least of Draco's troubles.

Thanks for reading and reviewing!


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Review #41, by Remus Yes

4th April 2014:
Long time, eh? :D

I had forgotten my love/hate relationship with Gamp. But the line If you'll excuse us, we're gonna go overthrow the Ministry. When you're done wasting time on these blood traitors, you can go crawl back into your cave." reminded me of my dislike of him because he's brutal and my love for him thanks to your fantastic work in characterization.

Draco refused to give the former Death Eater the satisfaction--Alright so this line kinda made me think a little bit. Why would they be 'Former' Death Eaters? Even with Voldemort gone, they're still Death Eaters. I guess 'former' would apply to those that left Voldemort voluntarily. Which we know that never happened.

Gah so much action!! I can't believe that it was an Auror in disguise!! Once again you managed to fool us. Haha.

I can't believe I'm saying this but I'm annoyed with Ron for interrupting Astoria and Draco! And he wants to arrest him? What?! I want to strangle him right now.

And now he wants to arrest Astoria too? It makes me wonder if he's a bit prejudiced himself towards some purebloods. I don't know if its because of the war (its been a year after) or because he just hates Draco personally and everything related to him.

HOLD UP! What?! Zabini was Harry?! WHAT?!

"You'd haggle with your possible future father-in-law over ten Galleons a week?"


"You'd marry your daughter off to a man who settled for a twenty Galleon salary when he's obviously worth thirty?"


I cannot tell you how much I loved that exchange!

AAH *flails*

She said yes!!! Gah! That was the perfect ending to this chapter!! And I needed this happiness today after a very 'ugh' day at work and watching a very sad episode of Once Upon a Time; I cannot handle character's death very well, specially when they developed them really well. Hahaha, sorry I'm still angry from "The Big Moment".

Dan!! I've missed your story telling and I'm glad to be back to read more! Hope to hear from you soon! And hope to see a new, epic story as well! Do you have other stories planned or is work keeping you too busy from brewing new stuff?

Anyway! Miss ya and until next time!

--Rosie

Author's Response: Hi, Rosie!

It has taken an embarrassingly long time to respond to this; I apologize. I was so excited when I saw it!

If I've accomplished nothing else, it seems I've allowed a few readers to rekindle that love/loathe magic with our old pal Jeremy. He's truly one of a kind.

Hmmnn... Interesting point you have there. In some ways, they ceased to be Death Eaters when Voldemort died. But Avery doesn't seem to have accepted that his master is truly dead, so perhaps not. Something to think on.

If you recall from CoB, Draco says something disparaging about Daphne's ex-husband. I believe it went something like, "Gamp is a donkey who to break into Azkaban with two undercover Aurors and the village twit at his back." Well, you've met the first Auror already, and the second is...

Harry! So you see, the Aurors have a long and fruitful history of polyjuicing themselves to be Blaise Zabini and/or his mother.

Poor Ron. I made him sort of a jerk in this story. I didn't mean to, but sometimes when you're writing a "Slytherin story", you need some Gryffindors to be the villains.

The negotiations over salary between Draco and Mr. Greengrass were some of my favorite dialog in the entire story. You can take the boy out of Malfoy Manor, but you can't take Malfoy Manor out of the boy.

And she says yes. It's kind of a soft yes. She still has to finish school, he still needs to impress her father, but she does say yes. Think of it more as a betrothal.

The sun is starting to break through the clouds a bit at my new job, so I do hope to be around more often. And I have a few ideas for a new story to start. It's all a matter of time.

Thanks for reading and reviewing!


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Review #42, by TheHeirOfSlytherin Epilogue

21st March 2014:
Scorpius, joining the ranks of Malfoy... Hopefully doing a better job even with the facade. I don't like it when he sad. ;( *hugs him* I don't care if he doesn't like it, I'm hugging him.

He sounds like such a lonely boy. He sounds like me, except he may not like it as much as I do (but I had good reason). I want to see Scorpius Malfoy smile. I hope he makes good friends (and if it follows the same world as Conspiracy of Blood, I think he'll be okay eventually, with Rose and Octavia... Does it?)

Sometimes, I think Lucius Malfoy should not talk to people.

Astoria seems like such an awesome mum. It would be cool to see them together as a family. That would be interesting.

Ha! Go Astoria, I wouldn't forgive Ron if I were her either. I'll kick him for her. ;)

Draco's answer to Scorpius about the Houses was... perfect. And with enough of the old Draco to know what they all wanted, even if he didn't ultimately care because he loved his family more. I loved that.

Playing dirty. I love that, too. Now watch as Draco's words come back to bite him. :P

I loved this story so much, Dan! And I'm so glad I finished it, but I'm so sad it's over and I need more! So, I think I'll go stalk your Author Page again... I mean, now... No, I mean again. :D

Sam.

Author's Response: Ah, Sam! The end is such sweet sorrow. I want you to know how much I've enjoyed reading all of your thoughts and reactions as you made your way through this story. It's been a treat and I am grateful.

Poor little Scorpius, off into the big, uncaring world. Don't worry, he'll do alright in the end. This story is part of the same timeline as Conspiracy of Blood, so you know how it all turns out. It won't always be fun for him, but fortunately he meets another awkward boy from a famous family...

Lucius is Lucius. His healthy is declining, his influence is gone and he's not always able to differentiate past from present. But Scorpius still admires him and loves him in that weird, stiff, standoffish Malfoy way.

I think Astoria would have been a tremendous mother. She's dedicated, loving, smart and funny. What's not to like?

I thought long and hard to fine-tune Draco's response, so I'm really, really pleased that you liked it. Believe me, it went through a lot of iterations. He's such a complicated character. But he does love his family, more than anything.

Yes, he still plays dirty, especially where Ron is concerned. But like you said, his master plan backfires in the end.

I couldn't be happier! Thank you so much for all of the thoughtful, funny and encouraging reviews!


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Review #43, by TheHeirOfSlytherin Yes

21st March 2014:
Mulciber! Okay, now he sounds creepy evil. Master of the Imperius curse; I wouldn't want to be near him. There's something odd about the way he's concealing himself. Is that just me? Because he knows Avery and the others are leaving and...

:O Is he lying? Is it not him?

BOOM, cursing Avery! Are you just proving me theory? :D

Ha! I was right! I love being right, it's a rare thing. And the Aurors are here! Finally, good guys. I feel like I will miss the action when it's finally over. It was so good. But i love the rest of the story, too, so it'll be worth it.

Ugh, Ronald. Obviously, my dealing with him last time didn't knock any sense into him. We've gotten to the point where I'm just going to kick him. Okay? :) (I do get why he'd be the way he is, I agree with what you put in your response last time, and I do love Ron (usually), I just need to kick him... maybe it's a Slytherin thing...)

HARRY! Harry as Blaise, but I don't care because Harry is here! My favorite good guys of all my good guys! :D

Wasn't Blaise out of the country in Conspiracy of Blood? Sneaky snake. :D

Aww, he's helping her. Stubborn idiot that he is. :)

Draco would want to leave the hospital, it's definitely something I can imagine him saying. That was perhaps the most professional sounding, while still being completely obvious, insult I've ever read; healers and their bedside manner. :P

Horatio! He's making the right choices in life. And yes, I love Draco and his ability to go against the man even when wanting to be with said man's daughter.

"You'd haggle with your possible future father-in-law over ten Galleons a week?"

"You'd marry your daughter off to a man who settled for a twenty Galleon salary when he's obviously worth thirty?"

Best lines ever. :D

Oh, I like this job a lot more.

Awww, such happy moments. Finally. They deserve it. And they laughed and then he cried and he talked and, gah, they're so lovely. Haha, proper lady. That was, like, the least of their worries. :P

HE ASKED HER TO MARRY HIM! SAY WHAT?

Okay, so I had a hunch, about the question and the answer, thanks to your chapter title, but one can never be certain. :P

Always be a step ahead of the guy.

I agree, I like this new Draco Malfoy, too. He is definitely a vast improvement. There will be setbacks, of that I have no doubt since Horatio is not entirely on board, but I have faith because...

She said yes. ;)

Next chapter...

Sam.

Author's Response: Hi, Sam! Sorry it's taken me ages to work through all of these. You bring up so many good points and observations that I really want to take my time with them and time hasn't been on my side for the past few weeks.

I really like putting Avery and Mulciber together as a team in stories. Avery is brutal, nasty, uncultured evil while Mulciber is refined, insidious and scary evil. But you're right, there is something odd about the way he's behaving...

Ha! You guessed just in the nick of time!

Yes, the Aurors have (finally) arrived. And the world collapses into chaos once again. I like chaos, to be honest. It's fun to write.

Ron is unfortunately still being a jerk. He really can't let go of the hate. Fortunately, Harry spares you from needing to intervene on Draco's behalf. And then Robards closes the matter with finality.

Blaise did leave the country about three days before the battle in Astoria's house. His mother got wind of the investigation of Gamp's conspiracy and spirited him away. The Aurors were somewhat disappointed, but they also saw the opportunity to make use of his disappearance.

Draco is such a lousy patient. I would never want to be his Healer unless I could just sedate him.

I thoroughly enjoyed writing the entire conversation between Draco and Horatio. It was fun to play around with all of the subtle little dynamics of respect and power and authority. And Draco beating him up over ten Galleons a week was just way too funny to pass on.

I really debated with myself over whether a marriage proposal was premature in the context of this chapter, but in the end I felt like the spirit would have carried them there. Think of it more as "engaged to be engaged" if that makes it easier to get your head around. He's still going to do the big, formal engagement in front of their families. There will be dinner parties and balls and such.

The new Draco is an enormous improvement. It was fun to bring him up the steep and slippery slope.

One more to go! Thanks for reading and reviewing!


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Review #44, by TheHeirOfSlytherin Clarity

21st March 2014:
Here comes Draco! Ahh! And the 'good guys' called him a coward. *shakes head at them* Silly good guys. Where are they, eh? :P

More dueling! I love all the action, you write it so awesomely. I wish I was half as good, until then I'll stick to horror/dark and mystery. I loved this scene so much, I really thought Draco might kill them when he saw Astoria there, or really hurt them to get to her.

Avery! Wow. I made a small list of Death Eaters and he was on it, but I didn't really know if it would be him. But it is and, whoa, he's creepy evil. I don't like him because he's the bad guy and he's got Draco and Astoria, but I do like him because he's a good bad guy. You know what I mean? :D

:O Imperius curse! Didn't see that coming! Resist, Draco, resist!

He's resisting! And Astoria knows he's good and he said I love you and, gah, it's a bad situation but I have happy-ish moments in it.

Wait, who's the new guy? There's a new guy! So, it isn't Avery? Or is New Guy gate crashing?

Definitely going to the next chapter!

Sam.

Author's Response: Draco is no coward. I like to think he's proven that by this point in the story. When he believes something needs to be done, he does it. Where are the good guys? Well... they might be closer than you think. ;)

All of the fighting in this chapter was really rewarding to write because it gave me a chance to really take the gloves off of Draco and be creative with his fighting style. Mixing it up with a hardened killer like Avery takes away all of the limits. He's doing whatever he must to survive.

I take most of my Avery head canon from pixileanin's brilliant Until We Close Our Eyes for Good. He's deranged and more than a little dangerous. Like an older version of Gamp, only less brooding. It's no wonder the two of them don't get along.

Draco resists as much as he's able. He's no Harry when it comes to being able to cast off the curse, but he still puts up a good fight. At least until the new guy shows up. Who is the new guy? Tune in to the next chapter and find out!

Thanks for all the love!


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Review #45, by TheHeirOfSlytherin A Break with the Past

21st March 2014:
So, I was scamming through HPFF, trying to decide on a film to watch, when I caught sight of my reviews and thought, screw movies, I have an awesome story to finish. And here I am, instead of watching Bad Boys... again. :P

Damn, guys. Terrorizing Muggles for uniforms, I hope everything they did, including Theo getting hurt, and everything they do next just isn't worth it in the end. That'll show 'em.

I knew it only being the two of them and them leaving just wouldn't happen; that would have been too simple, too easy for Draco. Who wants that? :P I wonder who tipped off the Aurors... And I need to know who this mystery friend is! It's driving me crazy (though not Gamp crazy, so all is well).

Duel! Ah, I loved the fighting scene, it was fast and dangerous and exciting (for the reader). It was awesome to read. Even if Lucius was mad and delusional.

The fire thing (yes, I did just say that) was brilliant and a little scary and definitely not something they should have given to Bellatrix. Narcissa was the best choice, I think. She's cool and calculating and would have known exactly when and how to use it (like now).

:O No, not Astoria's house!

Daphne must have noticed that Jeremy wasn't good, at least a little... Maybe something she'd pushed to the back of her mind and wanted to ignore? Or does she genuinely think it's because she's boring? Poor Daphne, I do feel a little sorry for her - she seems like the type who just wants the big wedding end the perfect, happy marriage and everything that goes with it. Instead she got an evil husband who is only his way to crazy town.

Little wizard - I swear, those two words will forever remind me of this story and I will giggle uncontrollably, no matter what situation they're written in.

Uh oh... someone's here... *hides*

Next chapter!

Sam.

Author's Response: Aww, that's really nice of you to say! I hope I don't keep you from your movies for too long.

Nope, it won't be worth it in the end at all. It's what happens between here and there that's the interesting part, though. ;)

Your guess was correct, Draco's situation gets a lot worse before it gets better. Draco and Narcissa could have easily handled Flint and a badly wounded Theo, but Gamp adds a whole new layer of difficulty. Who tipped off the Aurors? Good question. You'll find out pretty soon and the answer may surprise you. ;)

I'm really glad you liked the dueling scene. Those are my favorites to write. I didn't want to take **everything** away from poor old Lucius, so he did turn out the be a formidable duelist even if he isn't sure who he's dueling.

I think Narcissa was the only choice for that particular Black family heirloom once Andy made her great escape. Bellatrix was way too unstable to handle such a dangerous magical object. I really enjoyed giving her command of it.

They're on their way to the Greengrass manor and Draco is on his way to stop them. Can't you just feel the final confrontation brewing? It's all about to come down to this.

Daphne isn't sure what to make of her new husband. He's definitely not the man she'd convinced herself she married. And "convinced herself" are the key words. The signs were there all along. Astoria picked up on them. Daphne was a little too wrapped up in her own fairytale story to see them.

I promise that will be the last mention of the little wizard. At least in this story. :p

Ding, dong. Who's at the door? Find out soon...

Thanks so much for reading and reviewing!


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Review #46, by TheHeirOfSlytherin Climbing Back

19th March 2014:
I'm really glad she didn't burn the letters; she probably would have regretted it if she had burned them before coming to the conclusion that she might just be able to fix things with Draco. Which is what I, I mean she wants really. :D

That she thinks the world is ending because of a boy is such a teenage thing to think. And I know she loves him and the epilogue will come and they'll be together eventually, but it just lets me pause and remember that though they're going through all these things and some of it's bad and she's got all these expectations, they're still teenagers. I like that.

It's so hard for me to dislike her parents when they act all worried and then her mother stands up for what she wants. Okay, I don't dislike them, just some of their actions, and I really wanted at least one of them to stand up for her; I'm glad it's the mum and I'm hoping for the dad next... or one day. First studies, then relationships. Baby steps and all. :)

Ha! He got caught! I find this hilarious, too.

Sneaky Astoria! I like it. I hope her luck isn't so bad that she ends up in a bed next to Emery... :P

I stand by my opinion that Draco's boss is creepy. With a lack of empathy. Or her work completely clouds it. I hope Draco will get how he feels through to her without losing control or doing something he'd regret. That would be sad.

He fell off his wagon. ;(

Will he quit? That was the question I asked myself just before Lucius said he should. Now Draco is not allowed to quit. He can fight this and win... maybe.

Ah! Lucius is not part of it! Oh, that makes me so happy! Kinda. Since his mind has gone because of his time near Dementors, I'm obviously not completely happy. But the Malfoys are playing no part in the war. Good, very good.

But if it's not Lucius... Plot twist: Horatio Greengrass! Dun, dun, dun... :P Okay, so I have no idea, but if I am right I will be so proud of myself. :D

Go to the Aurors. Now why didn't I think of that? :P

AHHH! Yes! Go get Astoria back! Great minds think alike, she's planning to get you back, too! :D

...What did you do to Theo?

Okay, so I know I left a comment on your profile saying I'll finish Detox tonight, but it's twenty past one in the morning now and I have a lecture tomorrow. But after it, I'm free till Monday. So, I'll finish this by Sunday. Which makes me both happy and sad. :)

See you soon!

Sam.

Author's Response: She definitely would have regretted it if she'd burned his letters. Fortunately, she realized the mistake she was about to make. Now as to why her parents didn't find the pile of letters when they forced their way into her room... well, there's a small continuity error that I'm surprised nobody has picked up on. ;)

This is pretty much the low point for Astoria, but you're right, she is being a fairly typical teenager here. I imagine most readers know that her life is not, in fact, coming to an end, but it feels that way to her. I'm not sure what it says about the way that I think of Astoria that I had to go out of my way to make her act her age.

Astoria's parents really do love her and they want what's best for her. It's just that their version of "what's best" is not at all like what Astoria wants for herself. They're very worried about her here, and her mother is starting to put the pieces of the puzzle together. Astoria's mother also realizes that she needs to manage her father very carefully, lest the situation get even more out of hand. The scene was tricky to write, but ultimately I was pretty happy with how it turned out.

I couldn't pass on the opportunity to have one last cheap laugh at Emery's expense. Have you ever created a character that you completely loathe? That's Emery Montague for me.

Madam Blishwick doesn't really get the concept of her work being outside of other people's comfort zone. She loves what she does so much and she feels that it's so important that she can't understand why other people would object to it. So she pushes Draco. Too far. And then bad things happen.

You're correct, Lucius has nothing to do with Gamp's conspiracy. It just so happened that the participants in the old man's delusions were the fathers of some of the conspirators. I hope it's been apparent for a while now that Lucius is not in a good way. Between Azkaban and the war, he suffered mental damage that can never truly be repaired. Only the symptoms can be managed. In a way, it's sad, but in another way, he got what was coming to him after a lifetime of aligning himself with the wrong side.

What did I do to Theo? It's more like what did Theo do to himself. You'll find out shortly... :p

I am having a blast responding to all of your reviews! Thank you so much!


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Review #47, by TheHeirOfSlytherin Errors in Judgment

19th March 2014:
Ahh, switching places. Polyjuice potion is very convenient for sneaky meetings with girlfriends. I bet that's what the creator had in mind, too. :P

I don't know how I feel about this Emery person, he sounds like a brat. But he's helping Draco, so I don't hate him... unless there's an ulterior motive, which I only suspect because Blaise talked to him and Blaise is working with Jeremy and Jeremy is a psycho whose wedding Draco is sneaking into. So if there is, I'll hate him later. ;)

Emery is no doubt going to be in so much trouble when his parents see the real him and he's not going to be able to get out of it. I find this hilarious.

THEODORE! I'm pretty sure I love him no matter how 'evil' he is. :P

See, this is why I don't trust Blaise.

Uh oh. Now how is Draco going to get out of this now that he's stuck in the middle of it all? I worry; I don't want him to get hurt or caught or accused of anything. And I especially don't want them to use Astoria to get to him.

He just outed Emery!

I won't lie; at first, I wanted her to know so they could enjoy the party together, but after Draco realised that they might use her to get to him, I agreed with his plan to keep quiet so wholeheartedly that when she found out my go-to response was just, "Damn it, Greengrass." I haven't gotten past it yet.

Jeremy and his big mouth. He's going to get people into trouble... That line seems obvious given what he plans to do, but I felt like it needed to be said anyway.

Aww, he said he loved her. I'm pretty sure that's my favorite scene in this chapter (so far). :D

:O I so hope he says yes to her question.

I know change my statement to "Damn it, Draco." But he gets Draco not Malfoy because, with everything else he wants to do to protect her, I kind of expected it.

I wish he could tell her so she'd understand, but I imagine she'd still fight for him. And try to help.

The innuendo messed with a very serious moment. I don't know what's wrong with me today.

I've decided I don't like it when they fight. I didn't expect it to escalate so much; I don't understand girls. *shakes head*

How much trouble did he get Emery in? Did they notice it was Draco, since the potion wore off?

I also don't like it when she cries, but at least she knows she's partly to blame. The first step is admitting you have a problem, then you fix it - I know she's not an alcoholic, but the theory is the same.

(I haven't had any sugar... in a few hours, at least. I swear. :P)

I really hope they can fix it!

Onwards!

Sam.

Author's Response: Hello, again!

That's been Draco's plan all along. He works as a portioneer now, so he has access to whatever he needs to brew polyjuice. Emery is a very spoiled, unpleasant boy. Whatever happens to him, I guarantee there's no need to feel badly about it.

Yes, Theo makes his grand entrance. Not exactly the positive guy that you mostly portray, but he is at least smart enough to never trust Zabini. Would that Draco were that smart. He's now caught in the middle of the very thing that he's been trying so hard to avoid. And he knows that he's put Astoria in danger, which makes it even worse for him.

Draco's master plan gradually crumbles around him, and unfortunately it pulls Astoria down with him. Not that she's blameless, mind you. Her "solution" to the situation just makes things even worse. I don't like it when they fight, either, but I didn't see any other realistic way for this situation to play out. All couples have bumps in the road and they've just had a pretty extreme one.

You'll find out in the next chapter how much trouble Emery is in. Suffice it to say, he's not a happy camper.

Astoria actually does a lot of growing up at the end of this chapter. Growing up is painful, unfortunately. But we all have to go through it.

Thanks so much for all of the reviews! Looking forward to seeing what you think of the big ending.


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Review #48, by TheHeirOfSlytherin Future Imperfect

19th March 2014:
I rule the land of immaturity; people are free to join. :P I can't help it, just reading it is fine, but then I imagine the look on poor Astoria's confused face and... I giggle. As in present tense, I'm still giggling. Thankfully, my iPad has predictive text. :D

How can she be jealous of Pansy? Ugh. Don't bring Pansy into this, Astoria, Draco knows I'd kick him if he thought about it. I have faith in them; if he's willing to impersonate someone to be with her around people who hate him, he must think she's something special.

Isadore probably shouldn't give advice, she's bad for the most part, but is still an awesome friend and I still love her. :D

Yay for fighting for what she wants; she's right, it's their problem. *crosses fingers things go... well, though... in the end*

I'd have burnt the plant in the beginning; you can tell how much patience I have. But Draco was doing so well, even with the setbacks in the beginning with the guard and the assistant.

He got the job! And it's bringing his past right back to him, but I believe in Draco and his new start - he may never fully get over what he saw and did, but if his job helps others than it might help to end the nightmares one day, to see that he's doing good.

His boss seems a little creepy. Not bad guy creepy, just 'whoa, don't get too close, we shouldn't talk much' creepy. The kind of creepy my Al finds... everyone. :P

Onwards!

Sam.

P.S. I've read your responses. How can people not love Isadore? She's awesome! And I've never had an IPA, so I'll hold you to that. Jack and coke, that's my drink... or lager. :P

Author's Response: Poor, poor Astoria. All she wants is a set of directions. A book or a diagram or an instructional pamphlet from the Ministry. Alas -- and it's for the best, really -- no such thing exists. She's going to have to figure this out on her own and it terrifies her.

I think her anxiety about Pansy is pretty natural for a girl her age. Pansy is older and **far** more experienced. I think she realizes that Draco is willing to go to great lengths for her, but she's also worried that Draco might decide that it's not worth it to have to go to such great lengths when there's low-hanging fruit like Pansy available. I hope that didn't objectify Pansy too much. Actually, I don't really care if it did. ;)

Isadore is not a great source of relationship advice, that's for sure. She's extrapolating based on a small amount of personal experience -- and things didn't actually go all that well for her -- and a lot of stuff she's read in magazines.

Astoria is willing to fight for her relationship with Draco. That's part of why I love her.

Draco's interview was one of the most enjoyable parts of the story for me to write. I got to delve a bit into the technical aspects of potioneering, which was fun, as well as explore Draco's anger-management issues. He did get the job. In fact, he probably had it before he even interviewed. Madam Blishwick just wanted to see what he'd do under pressure. She is sort of creepy. She's a very pure academic who is so hopelessly caught up in her research that she's lost the ability to see how it might affect other people or the world at large.

I enjoy responding to your reviews. Your take on things is always unique and it's fun to see different facets of the story through fresh eyes. Thanks for reading and reviewing!


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Review #49, by UnluckyStar57 Turning the Corner

19th March 2014:
An unreasonable amount of time later. I have returned to your story once more!! Here is the part where I make the usual excuses about time, schoolwork, and laziness.

And now the review.

WHAT. I'm just so mad about the last part of the chapter that I CAN'T EVEN. Astoria's father has already shown himself to be a bit of a jerk and a hypocrite--upholding pureblood ideals, but looking at Draco like he's the scum of the earth just because the Malfoys got way too into the pureblood thing--but now he's even worse. Astoria had better find a way out of this, and quick!! Arranged marriages are STUPID. Moving on from that... I admire her for wanting to spend upwards of twenty-five hours on her studies every week during the summer. That's definitely something that I DON'T do (but I totally should).

McGonagall's conversation seemed very realistic to me. After all, she might be a tough old bird, but she's fair. I think that if she noticed that Draco was being a better student, she would truly want to give him a little more freedom. However, it's a bit of a bummer that he dropped Muggle Studies. Sure, he hasn't learned to fully appreciate nonmagical folk, but if he would pay attention, it would do him some good. Oh well. I guess it wasn't meant to be. He might never learn to accept the Muggles, but if he keeps going to the cafe, he'll appreciate their pie!

D'awww, Draco and Astoria being all covert and adorable! It's really awesome that they found ways to be with each other, even though her father is being a jerk. I like that Astoria remained true to herself and that Draco restrained himself before they took the relationship to "the next level." It definitely fits in with their characters, rather than the alternative, which would be OOC for the Draco and Astoria that you've created!

Oh no!! What's this?! The elusive mistake?!?! Hahaha, but seriously, your writing is impeccable, but I think I found a typo:

"He'd given up on Herbology weeks ago and he planned fail the Muggle Studies exam spectacularly as a matter of general principle."

Is there supposed to be a "to" in between "planned" and "fail?" If not, I'm sorry for pointing it out! If so, it was one typo out of 7,000-some-odd words. Go you! :D

Isadore's jokes about the "little wizard" were incredibly crass and inane. Props to the innocent Astoria for not having a mind in the gutter all the time!!

Also, this line made me chuckle: "He made it clear exactly what he thought of his father's intelligence and authority, as well as his decision-making abilities, his mental health and the poorly-cast charm that the old man tried to use to conceal his receding hairline." MAJOR BURN ON LUCIUS'S HEAD!! HAHA! I love it!!

Yay, career opportunities for Draco! It would seem that he passed his NEWTs, so he's going to be well-established in the Ministry. Despite his deplorable past, how could Mr. Greengrass say no to him? If he still says no, I propose that Draco and Astoria elope. (Just kidding.)

Great chapter! Sorry for the not-so-prompt review!

~UnluckyStar57

Author's Response: You know my rule on requested reviews: You are not allowed to apologize for timing, no matter what! I am always grateful, no matter how much real life gets in your way.

Now, on to the substance. Astoria's father is trying to raise her the best way that he knows how, but his ideals and social norms are dated. He comes from a very structured, patriarchal pureblood society where marriages serve a very important role in maintaining and strengthening the ties between the old families. To him, the idea of two young people falling in love and getting married with no consideration of the ramifications for their families and bloodlines is foreign.

I think of McGonagall, in her heart of hearts, as an educator. No matter how much she might disapprove of Draco's past, he has turned into a very dedicated student and she's going to do what she feels she can to encourage that. Draco will never embrace muggle culture, but he does like pie. ;)

Yes, Draco is the one to ultimately call a halt to their amorous activities. It's a bit of a giveaway as to how he still thinks of her, actually. Even though he's passionately attracted to her, he still places her on a pedestal in many ways. One some level, he's afraid of sullying her with his influence. This will be a problem for the two of them later on.

Ha! Yes, there are still some typos scattered about. Thanks for pointing them out so I can fix those.

Isadore can be a little on the crass side, that's for sure. But Astoria is taking her very seriously at this point. Just as Draco has some insecurities about whether he's too much of a bad boy for Astoria, she has insecurities about whether she seems like too much of a "good girl" to keep him. Being a teenager in love is difficult!

I have a lot of fun with Lucius in this story because... well, because he's Lucius. He's fun to mock. But before it's all said and done, we'll see that there are some mitigating factors here.

Draco will have his interview with the Ministry fairly soon. I'm really curious to know what you think about it. It won't be at all what he's expecting...

Thank you so much for all of your awesome reviews!


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Review #50, by TheHeirOfSlytherin Regrets

13th March 2014:
Hello!

Draco's commitment to try is commendable, at least enough for me to be glad that he's doing so. I'd be freaked if my head had become filled with horrible memories of war, and yet he still got up. The Malfoy way is a powerful thing, don't you think? :P

McGonagall can be very scary when she's strict and angry, and I know she has pretty much every reason to be, but I felt this really strong need to defend Draco somehow. You made me care for him and his road to redemption - can I blame you for it? :P

(I don't blame you and your awesome abilities as a writer to make me care, but shhh, no one else needs to know that. ;))

See, people can be good to their house elves. I like that our versions of Astoria have things in common. (One day, I'll tell you a bit of headcanon about what my Astoria does to Draco.)

I never thought of Theo having a sister, or any sibling, before, mine is far too selfish to put up with one. He'd never share. But I'm glad, I like that there is more than one in the family and I hope their relationship can get better one day.

Oh, Astoria! I just know that you two are going to be perfect together. He's so handsome and mysterious and he has those beautiful grey eyes...- Girls... :P

Was it possible for someone to spend so much time surrounded by darkness and death and still turn out alright - That is a very good question. I hope the answer will be yes. (I'm pretending I don't know the epilogue and can't make a guess at the answer.)

Two wrongs do not make a right. Silly Gryffindors. Go Luna for being there and being able to stop it. I love Luna and your version of her after the war is already an intriguing one. I hope there'll be more of her (from you, one day, maybe). :D

Ooooh, Astoria and Hogsmeade. I look forward to reading that!

I'm so excited for more. I'll be back!

...But don't tell anyone I'm here, alright? I should be edited Silver Linings, not reading Detox with a jar of Nutella. Everything's better with Nutella. :D

Sam.

Author's Response: I won't tell a soul, OK? ;) Our little secret...

The Malfoy Way is sort of a powerful thing, if you think about it. It's an iron-willed insistence on never admitting defeat, even if you're pretty well defeated already. Draco is far from defeat, however, as we'll see.

You know, I never wrote this story to make people feel sorry for Draco, per se. He still has plenty of bad traits, some very prejudiced viewpoints and enough arrogance to suffocate a horse. But even at that, life was pretty awful to him at times. I just wanted to try to keep him balanced.

Astoria doesn't seem like the type to be mean to her house elves, at least not to me. I'm sure it was a point of contention between her and Draco from time to time.

Theo does indeed have a sister here, although anyone who's immersed in your Theo probably wouldn't recognize mine. Mine's not a very nice guy. Isadore is very much a "Girls..." girl.

I always enjoy writing Luna in cameo appearances, although I think writing something long about her would be incredibly hard. Getting Luna to sound like Luna for more than a few sentences would be next to impossible.

I'm excited to see what you think of the Hogsmeade visit. It doesn't go as planned...

Thanks for reading and reviewing!


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