Reading Reviews for Detox
292 Reviews Found

Review #26, by Roisin Making Choices

28th July 2014:
It could have really easily been to dramatic that Draco and Astoria were attacked with a killing curse, but I totally believed the situation.

I love how I want to side with Draco, main character of this as he is, yet you pit him against the trio. It's kind of poignant, really. They were all just kids, turned into warriors. I really like how the post-war means all sorts of psychological and physical chaos. I can hardly blame Ron or Hermione, but I feel inclined to sympathize with Draco as well. You write the distance between what happens in his head and what comes out of his slap-able face really well. His shaky moral foundation is tremendous, and his constant fear of attack is pitiful.

Also, the Harry/Ginny vignette was a really nice touch. Really believable and just the right amount of information.

And, another general comment: I really like the transitions between Draco's world-weary, alcohol dependent, shell shocked POV, and Astoria's naive, school-girl one.

Author's Response: Hello, again!

Draco will be plagued by some of the situations he dealt with during the war and the trio who attacked him are the result of one of those situations. More on that in the next chapter.

I struggled a lot with the tone of Draco's confrontation with Ron. It's hard for Ron not to seem like a jerk because we're seeing the whole scene play out through Draco's eyes. Also, Ron is being kind of a jerk. But you're right, it's hard to blame him or Hermione considering their past with Draco.

I loved being able to include Harry and Ginny for just a moment. Someday I'll write my post-war novel focusing on the two of them, but it's way too big of a project to take on right now. So I satisfy myself with little moments like this and with one-shots.

Aside from the first chapter, I *think* I managed to include both a Draco PoV scene and an Astoria PoV scene in every chapter. Glad you like the transitions!

Thanks so much for all of your awesome reviews!

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Review #27, by Roisin Regrets

28th July 2014:
I really really liked your description of post-war Hogwarts. I've said it before, but your prose is excellent. The lighter colour of the newer stone; all of those little details were great. I'd always been curious about students returning to school after the war, and you do a really nice job of imagining that situation.

Also, McGonnagall! She would absolutely be frosty and severe with Draco, and I absolutely wouldn't blame her. Yet, I feel sympathy for him anyway. Nicely played!

Also, great that Draco thinks about how he could hold his own in Defense, rather than thinking they might be protecting the other students from *him*. I love how he's both traumatized and seen too much, but also kind of innocent at the same time. And you write his trauma and anxiety really effectively.

Luna was perfect! And heartbreaking! And there's something needlessly satisfying about their conversation. Her reasoning, that the school had seen enough fighting, was precisely Luna-wisdom. And I said before about interpretations on Hermione (which I think are too often influenced by the movies)--yours is really well aligned with the books.

Another overall statement on the story (and I regret that these reviews are so stale--I inhaled the first ten chapters): the way you show Draco growing up and maturing--how he is no longer preoccupied with showing off in front of students or messing with other people. It's interesting that, in order to grow up well, he almost has to become more innocent. His experiences with adult situations being, as they were, so twisted and damaging :(

Author's Response: Hi!

Similar to how I don't think most of the characters survived the war without scars, I'm sure that Hogwarts got the crap beaten out of it during the battle. I am reasonably sure that there were people who felt very strongly that Hogwarts shouldn't be reopened after the war. Too many people lost their lives there. So even though the school did reopen, I'm sure the mood was somber and cautious. To me, the way McGonagall treats Draco is a function of that atmosphere. She's presiding over a very fragile and tenuous recovery at the school. With the exception of the First Year (and Second Year, since they weren't allowed to attend school under Voldemort) muggle-born kids, it's safe to assume that every student at Hogwarts knew at least one person who was hurt or killed in the war. The last thing McGonagall wants is somebody who fought on the other side walking around the castle, reminding everyone of what happened.

Draco is still a bit chippy on the topic of Defense. He definitely has a different sort of "misunderstanding" in mind from what Slughorn is describing.

Whew! Luna is right up there with Dumbledore and Voldemort in terms of the most difficult characters to write. When you read a story with Luna, it's like being in love: you can't explain in words what makes Luna sound like Luna, you just know it when you see it.

Trauma will definitely age a person, no doubt about it. I'm not sure I think of Draco as being more innocent, I think he just had the conceit knocked out of him.

All I can say at this point is that you haven't seen twisted and damaging yet. Of course, if you've read ahead, you know that already. ;) Thanks for reading and reviewing!

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Review #28, by Roisin Getting Clean

28th July 2014:
I really like how gently you introduce Astoria's privilege. Since her sections are ostensibly her POV, it makes sense that she takes expensive jumpers and private chambers as average. Also, she isn't portrayed as totally spoiled or anything. As with a lot of aspects of this story, you let the characters have certain elements that isolate readers, while still endearing us to Draco and Astoria anyway.

Also, Horatio's prejudice--I'm really enjoying all these little complications to a story that could have been a straight-forward romance. It's very easy to tokenize prejudiced people, or divide supporting characters neatly between good and bad. You do a great job of setting a story in the ambiguities. Obviously, I'm wont to dislike Horatio, but it makes sense that Astoria loves her father.

Overall, I really enjoy the intricacies of the aristocracy you examine here. It's almost like two stories. Draco's is a darker, war survivor, plots be brewing situation, while Astoria's is almost a comedy of manners.

Getting super off-track because I read ahead, so sorry! But also: I tend to avoid Draco ships, or Draco as a main character, but you do it really well. I really believe his prat moments, and his occasional sweetness breaking through the surface (running away to muggle cafes). You've done a stand-out job of analyzing the interiority of the wannabe Death Eater who didn't rat on Harry to Bellatrix. Generally, I think Draco and Hermione are of the most misrepresented characters in fanfiction (hence my categorical distaste for their pairing). So yeah, ramble ramble ramble, you've done a real good Draco.

On to the next disorganized review!

Author's Response: Moving right along...

I didn't want to overplay the life of privilege that Astoria comes from. It's part of who she is, but unlike Draco it doesn't completely define her. I think of her family as being "the working rich". Her father runs his family's companies and manages their investments.

I'm not sure that Horatio is prejudiced against Draco so much as he just doesn't understand the truth about Voldemort. Horatio wasn't a Death Eater and he stayed out of the conflict completely. He doesn't understand how dangerous and powerful Voldemort truly was. In his mind, Voldemort was a creation of power-hungry families like the Blacks and Malfoys. He thinks that they used their money and influence to create a political movement around a madman.

I hadn't thought of this as being two stories in that sense, but I can definitely see it now that you mention it.

I absolutely agree with you about Draco and Hermione being frequently misrepresented. In fact, it very often happens to both characters in the same story. *cringe* People try to write Draco in a way that's black and white. They write him as either an arch-villain who never gave up his family's ways or as a completely reformed and enlightened survivor of his family's terrible brainwashing. I don't think he's either of those things. There are elements of those characters in him, but he's far more complex.

I don't find your reviews disorganized at all. You're reacting to the things in the story that caught your attention or imagination and really those are my favorite kind of reviews! Thanks!

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Review #29, by Roisin Sobering Up

28th July 2014:

I've been wanting to read one of your novels for a while, and I chose this one for being the most recent. I'm actually several chapters in now, so this review isn't crazy fresh.

Moving on: I really really really like this story. The opening was especially compelling, as it felt properly *adult* in a way a lot of other stories don't. Having lived through the war, I like that Draco shows signs of this kind of adulthood, tempered with inevitable immaturity. And opening a story with Draco stumbling blind drunk out of a pub in the afternoon is perfect--that's exactly where I would reasonably expect him to be after everything.

I felt real sympathy for Draco throughout, but it was really nicely set against his more unlikable/Malfoyish qualities. Since I've read ahead, I'll just say you did a great job so far keeping Malfoy and Astoria flawed/dimensional.

Also, there's some stunning moments of prose here. The language in the descriptions is rather a joy to read.

All in all--you kick butt at post-war stories. Draco's PTSD is really great, and neither under nor overplayed. Also, you capture the tension and mild chaos of society in really realistic and subtle ways.


Author's Response: Before I start to respond to all of your reviews, I feel like I should put on Lakeside's "Fantastic Voyage". Or maybe the Coolio version. No matter the musical accompaniment, it's going to be fantastic.

I really can't abide post-war stories that make the world seem like everything turned to rainbows and kittens the minute Voldemort hit the flagstones of the Great Hall. It was a war. People were tortured, maimed and killed. The damage inflicted on the magical world was nearly catastrophic. It's silly to imagine that someone who survived the things that Draco lived through wouldn't have been emotionally and physically scarred. So he tries to bury all of those awful memories the way that most adults who can't find the strength to face their demons do: he gets drunk.

I remember feeling pretty agnostic about whether I wanted people to feel sorry for Draco or not while reading this. My goal was to paint the most realistic picture of him that I could and then let the reader decide how to feel. Sounds like I did an alright job.

Thanks for all of your kind words. It means quite a bit more to get that praise from a talented author like yourself. Thanks for reading and reviewing!

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Review #30, by Veritaserum27 Climbing Back

18th July 2014:
Helo Dan!

Yikes - this chapter was a doozie! I can't even get over all of the events that occurred in such a short span of time. I'm dizzy from all of this action - but it seems to be just the beginning.

What a fabulous portrayal of a broken heart. Poor, poor Astoria, reduced to physical pain and basically a sickened stupor. She really feels that she has lost it all. There is hope, however. Her mother may be an ally in all of this - she seems to be able to manipulate Horatio when the need dictates. It reminds me of a line from My Big Fat Greek Wedding "The man is the head of the household, but the woman is the neck. And she can turn the head any way she wants to." We also see a little bit of this playing out between Narcissa and Lucius - but I'll get to them later.

The little comment about Emery Montague and his - er... situation made me laugh out loud. I love the way you slip in little bits of humor for the reader - even in a dramatic chapter like this one.

Draco's emotions during the scene at the Ministry were also beautifully described. He abhors dark curses after living through their effects. I also think Draco abhors part of himself because he once was seduced by the power that accompanied following dark wizards. Standing from the other side, it physically and emotionally sickens him. He might think of this as weakness, but I feel this will become one of his greatest strengths. I don't know if you did this intentionally, but Madame Blishwick reminds me a LOT of Delores Umbridge. Both were fools to think that the ends justify the means and both were blinded by their desire to achieve power and fame. In both women, nothing else mattered but success in their set goals.

The scene with Lucius and Narcissa was powerful, revealing and all around awesome. So the truth comes out that Lucius is not well, mentally. This horrid fact forces Draco to grow up in a matter of minutes. He goes from being (somewhat of a) petulant child (more like a brooding young adult) to the realization that your parents are mortal. Right in the middle of his tirade about how Lucius put the Malfoy family in a tricky spot in terms of moving on in society, Draco is suddenly faced with the fact that his father may not be around for much longer. Lucius suddenly appears very weak. It is a difficult thing to accept that our parents are mortal - because it forces us to face our own mortality. Great job with the emotions playing out here.

But I've saved my favorite part for the last. Narcissa is brilliant. She is clever, ambitious, self-preserving, dutiful, proper, proud, loving, cautious and clear minded. And Awesome. Let's not forget awesome. I've never been a fan of hers, mostly because she found herself on the wrong side of the war, but you've really brought her to light in this scene and she was a joy to read. She was able to assess the situation quickly and cleverly come up with a plan that would keep her family safe and help he son to get what he wants. I also really loved her interaction with Lucius. She never made her husband feel like he was deranged or weak, but she was able to talk to him in a kind manner and still help Draco at the same time. I LOVE the plan that they came up with - it is perfect. However, I feel like you aren't exactly going to let us see that one through, are you Dan?

And - of course you dropped a bomb on us at the end. How is Draco going to get out of this mess now? Ugh! I think it is safe to say to expect some more reviews fairly quickly - I don't know if I'll be able to wait to read the last few chapters!

Author's Response: Hi, Beth!

All of the chapters from here to the end are pretty busy. The ball is rolling downhill, top speed, toward the end of the story. This is what I've been building up to, so I hope you enjoy it!

I hope the scene with Astoria wallowing in her misery in her bedroom is, in some ways, similar to the way we see Draco at the start of the story. She's hit rock bottom on this unrealistic fantasy she's been living for the past few months. Now it's time for her to decide whether to throw in the towel or pick up the pieces and rebuild around more realistic goals and desires. I think you nailed it on the relationship between Astoria's parents. Priscilla Greengrass manages her husband artfully. He mostly doesn't even realize he's being managed, which is really the gold standard for effective management.

Ah, Emery. Sometimes I think it's good to create a character who really serves no purpose other than to be the butt of jokes.

Draco finally snaps under the pressure when Madam Blishwick really pushes him. It's been building for a long time. I never thought of her as being similar to dear old Dolores, but I guess I can see some similarities. The big difference, though, is that while Umbridge is all about appearances and fake courtesies, Madam Blishwick is 100% sincere in every respect. She sees no issues with the ends or the means, because she intends to meticulously study both.

I'm glad you liked the "big reveal" on Lucius's condition. Lots of small things in this story tie into Conspiracy of Blood, and Lucius's declining health is one of those threads. (He passed away well before the start of that story, leaving Draco with some unresolved baggage.) It is a major moment in the maturity process when you finally accept that your parents aren't going to live forever. It changes Draco's outlook on a lot of things and forces him to take another look at the future that he'd imagined with Astoria. It also added more urgency to his desire to reconcile with her. Lastly, if Lucius isn't the Death Eater Gamp's been conspiring with, who is it?

I think I mentioned this in my response to an earlier review: Narcissa has a tendency to steal scenes in my stories. She is pretty awesome to me. In the books, I thought there were very interesting parallels between her and Molly Weasley. Both were managers of their respective families, in a sense. Both of them were willing to do anything necessary to protect their children. Two oddly similar visions of how a mother is supposed to behave, given the vastly different worlds they come from.

Nope, the end of this story won't be anywhere near that simple. There's a lot of drama and action left. I hope you enjoy it and I'm really looking forward to seeing your reactions! Thanks for reading and reviewing!

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Review #31, by nott theodore Regrets

12th July 2014:
Hi again, Dan!

This was another great chapter here! I don't think it's really slow at all - at least, I didn't find it slow as I read it. Draco's return to Hogwarts is a pretty important event in this story and it was really interesting to read about it.

I think your characterisation of Draco is really brilliant. Obviously you've spent a lot of time on him with writing this story but I think that he's a very believable character from the one that we've seen in the books.

I really liked the way that here, Draco had to confront people face on - when he was in Diagon Alley he knew that people around him were looking at him and blaming him but he didn't know who they were, and didn't have to deal with them directly; that's what makes it much harder here for him to deal with. I liked the way that you wrote their reactions to Draco, though!

I am glad that there was some hope for Draco and Astoria at the end of this chapter, though - I really like the two of them as a pairing so that was great to see!

Sian :)
Gryffindor House Cup 2014 Review

Author's Response: Hi, there!

This one was a bit slow in the sense that it was heavy on narrative and light on action, at least until the end. Still, I'm glad you didn't think that it dragged.

Whew! I always wonder how people are going to see Draco's character. Glad you thought it was believable.

Now that Draco is trying to reengage, the world is suddenly very much up in his face. It isn't pleasant for him, but I think it's necessary if he's going to find the motivation to continue down this path.

If you like the two of them as a pairing, I think you'll enjoy the rest of the story. They certainly have ups and downs along the way, but it's a canon story so you know they get there in the end.

Thanks so much for reading and reviewing!

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Review #32, by nott theodore Getting Clean

12th July 2014:
Hi Dan! I figured that since I'm reviewing anyway it was about time for me to come back to this story and leave a few more reviews!

This was another great chapter! I really liked the way that you progressed from the first chapter to this one and showed that things are starting to change a little bit for Draco. The description at the beginning was fantastic and it helped me picture things really vividly, but I think that my favourite part of the chapter was the dream that Draco has which is a flashback to the war. It's really important to show that it's not only the winners who suffered like that from the war.

I liked the fact we saw parts of both Astoria and Draco at this point as well. It's nice to see both perspectives and I liked the fact that Draco's really starting to make an effort here to change his lifestyle and control his anger. I think it's a very important beginning, especially if he's going to end up with Astoria!

Sian :)
Gryffindor House Cup 2014 Review

Author's Response: Hi, Sian!

Draco has taken the most important step, but there's obviously still a long way to go. Otherwise, this wouldn't be a very long story. ;) I'm glad you liked the nightmare. It was tricky to write because I wanted a very spartan feel to things but I also needed enough detail to make it easy to visualize. And you're right about the war, many of the Dark Lord's followers suffered just as much as the victors.

In general, you'll see things from both Draco's and Astoria's perspective in each chapter from now on. I like alternating the narrative point of view, just to give the reader a more rounded impression.

Glad you liked it. Thanks for reading and reviewing!

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Review #33, by Veritaserum27 Errors in Judgment

30th June 2014:
Hi Dan!

Wow. There was a lot to this one. I think it may take me while to get through it all and do it justice.

Before I continue - I must say "bravo." I mean, really, really excellent writing. This was fantastic with the way you capture both Draco and Astoria's current states. For the past several chapters, you've been building to this - and it paid off in spades. They both have been falling for each other throughout the entire story, but they haven't been on the same page. Draco saw Astoria almost as an unreachable ideal. She was perfection and everything that he could never have. He dared to dream that she could possibly be attainable and he might just be happy again if he has her.

On the flip side, Astoria views Draco as her "way out" of being under the rule of her parents. She doesn't want the same life her parents were destined for - or her sister for that matter. As a side note, I actually feel sorry for Daphne. Although she is a bridezilla and completely inconsiderate of others, I don't know if her transgressions are severe enough to warrant a lifetime of Jeremy Gamp. (You know I haven't read "Harry Potter and the Conspiracy of Blood" yet, so I don't know if she actually ends up with Gamp as a life-partner, OR if she becomes a character worthy of that sentence.)

Both of them need a bit of adjustment to their current view of each other - and their relationship. I really like how you've portrayed Astoria as a typical teenager in the past few chapters. She is threatened by Pansy - someone who is insignificant in Draco's eyes, but you've beautifully captured the true angst of a teenage girl. It is much more realistic and it brings another layer to the story.

I have to comment on the last scene. She was still playing the petulant child - angry with her parents for not breaking down the door to comfort her during her sister's wedding - of all things. But in the end, Astoria finally decided to grow up a little bit. Realizing that incinerating all of Draco's letters would mean that she was giving up on the one thing that she truly holds dear is a big step for her.

"Slothenly." I love it. That is a great word!

I cannot go any further without expressing the heebie jeebies that I felt during the entire scene with Astoria and Draco/Emery. I know that she was able to overcome the fact that he didn't look like her true love, but I couldn't. I don't know if that was your intent, but... Ewww.

Again, this was a wonderfully crafted, fantastic chapter. You left the reader in suspense and I even teared up a few times along the way.

I'm sorry this sound so formal, but I wanted to get everything down and I didn't want it to be a rambling review. I hope you realize how much I really liked this!


Author's Response: Hi, Beth! Huge apologies are in order. The House Cup reviewing event has left me looking extremely unappreciative for reviews on my own stories, which I certainly am not!

This was definitely one of the "busiest" chapters in the entire story. I did give some thought to splitting it -- you can probably figure out where -- but that would have left me with two chapters that were substantially shorter than their neighbors. Also, it sort of reeked of "cliffhanger for cliffhanger's sake". All in all, I figured it was better to just keep the beast together.

I'm thrilled that you liked the buildup/payoff involved in this chapter. Draco has been keeping Astoria on a pedestal and Astoria has been hinging far too much of her perceived future happiness on a fairytale ending with Draco. Both of them pay a high price for their childish oversimplifications in this chapter.

I don't think **anyone** deserves a lifetime of Jeremy Gamp except perhaps Jeremy Gamp. That said, Daphne was only too happy to ignore the warning signs as long as her relationship with Jeremy advanced her own life goals. Jeremy also cleans up fairly well. He's an old-money pureblood, after all. As to what their future holds... well, you'll see pretty soon.

Draco and Astoria are also suffering from a problem that plagues most couples their age. They've gotten good at communicating their hopes and dreams and happiness to one another, but they have no idea how to share their anxieties and fears and dislikes. Actually, I guess Astoria isn't **so** bad at sharing her dislikes, but only the mundane ones. If she'd broached the topic of Pansy with Draco -- and if she'd believed his denial, which I guess would also be an issue -- she would have known where he stood on that topic.

Astoria does grow up a bit at the end of this chapter, doesn't she? You'll be pleased, then, to discover that she keeps growing into the next chapter.

I agree on the point of Astoria trying to be physical with Draco/Emery. I'm sure it was beyond weird. Part of what I was trying to convey was Astoria's desperation. She's willing to shove her discomfort aside because she wants this to work so badly.

Aww, don't worry about the way you wrote this. I loved it! Thanks so much for all of your kind words!

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Review #34, by UnluckyStar57 Clarity

27th June 2014:
Hi! The House Cup is in full swing, but I'm sneaking away for a moment to review Chapter 14!

To start off, I like that Draco's main thought when he blasts open the gates is that he must keep Astoria safe. Back in the days of his neophyte Death Eater-dom, he would've only wanted to save himself, giving no thought to his friends or loved ones. Now his only concern is for her safety, and it's easy to see that he has definitely changed for the better.

Whoa, and he's mad, too! Flint is in his way and he isn't going to put up with it. Sectumsempra seems really harsh, but it was absolutely necessary. Hopefully Flint won't die, though... I think that all of these men don't need to die because there has already been enough of that. The security in Azkaban needs to be heightened and they all need to be tried for crimes against humanity, but if they all die now, they won't live with the remorse of their actions (if they do, indeed, feel remorse).

Gamp... Gamp is just a terrible person. Daphne is sorely misguided in her trust of him, but that doesn't mean that he can throw her around! And her father is a stubborn old coot, but he shouldn't be attacked for choosing not to fight on either side. That's the difficulty of war--if you don't pick a side, one (or both) will come after you.

Avery is horrible. Horrible!! And no, I didn't expect it to be him, but gosh, he sounds like his years with Voldemort have sufficiently brainwashed him. Can't these people realize that the war is over?! No, I guess not. It makes me mad that Avery would try to organize a new group of Death Eaters to serve Voldemort when he doesn't even exist anymore... But his mind must be severely twisted and messed up, so it does make sense. Draco's bit of distraction with the "object" was a good thing, but Avery won't let it rest there.

Poor Astoria. She can't even fend for herself because she doesn't have a wand. It's good that Draco is looking out for her, but it's just awful that he has to use spells on her against his will. Did he fight the Imperius off in the end? It seems to be so. Good for him! Maybe now Astoria can recover her wand and look out for Draco just as much as he's looking out for her.

Oh, great. Another creepy Death Eater!! Who will it be this time? Gamp was scary, Avery was scarier... Will this new character be the scariest of them all? I don't know. But it's definitely just like a Death Eater to show up when they aren't wanted. Hopefully Draco can stop him.

The battle played out quite intensely! These last few chapters seem to be pretty battle-heavy, but it's all really vivid and easy to follow, so it never gets boring. I like how you manage to describe the chaos that's going on while also keeping track of Draco's thoughts and actions. It's quite a lot to balance!

Oh wow, two more chapters! Things are definitely reaching the boiling point now!


Author's Response: Ah, the House Cup. No wonder the forums are so busy. I confess I've barely had time to pay attention this year. Best of luck to all involved!

Draco is fairly single-minded in this chapter, now that you mention it. He's come a long, long way from being that arrogant, cowardly boy in the first five books of the series.

Draco was too intent on what he was doing to spare much of a thought for Flint. You'll be pleased to know that Flint does survive to enjoy a long, refreshing stay in Azkaban.

Would it bother you if I told you that you haven't even seen the worst of Jeremy Gamp yet? You'd have to read Conspiracy of Blood for that. There's an old saying that nobody comes out of prison better than they went in, and Gamp turns out to be living proof of it.

Avery is really a mess of a human being by this point. His mind is completely bent, having served Voldemort in two wars and then spending nearly a year on the run from the Ministry. But he's still very dangerous, as Draco discovers.

Astoria is very much out of her depth around violent lunatics like Gamp and Avery. You'll find out very soon how the whole mess turns out. I promise it's not too bad.

Who is the new arrival? At the risk of sounding like a broken record, you'll find out in the next chapter. Right away, actually.

I really enjoy writing fight scenes, and I got to do quite a lot of them in this story. The funny thing is that I didn't really mean for it to be that way. This was supposed to be a love story. Guess I can't help myself. ;)

Two more to go! I'm really excited to see what you think of the next one. Thanks for reading and reviewing!

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Review #35, by Veritaserum27 Future Imperfect

17th June 2014:
Hello again!

Ah, the trials of a teenager in love. You've done a fabulous job describing all of Astoria's insecurities. They are very realistic and gut-wrenching. Compounded by the fact that their romance is forbidden, now she has to figure out what he wants! It seems that Isadore doesn't quite have as much experience as she purports.

Poor Astoria, she is so confused, she is even worrying about Pansy now! It is so clear to everyone else that Draco absolutely worships Astoria. Why is it that she can't see it?

All in all, I'm actually enjoying seeing Astoria act like a regular teenager. Up to this point, she and Draco have had an atypical adolescent relationship. They've been attacked by dark wizards, waylaid by prejudiced parents and sidetracked by Draco trying to put his life in order. This chapter is a nice break from all of that.

I'm actually surprised that Draco didn't realize the plant was part of the test. He has spent so much time in the presence of wizards where everyone had an ulterior motive and every small maneuver had other implications.

I love the descriptions of Draco brewing the potion. I felt like I was really there with him! He is a very talented potioneer. I like that Madam Blishwick can get the best of Draco. He doesn't know what to make of her.

I also really like that Draco's work will eventually be helping those who were affected by dark curses. It almost brings him around full circle. He can help people that were once on the Death Eater's torture list. However, her reason for choosing him is very awkward for him, indeed. Part of his job will be to recall the absolute worst moments of his life.

Okay, so I just had a thought. Let's say that a certain Mr. (more evil than anyone alive) Gamp finds out that Draco has "limited authorization to use Unforgivable Curses..." He may have much darker intentions for Draco's role in their plot.

Uh-oh. This just went form silly teenager to way, way darker. As always, you've taken the reader on a crazy ride.

Thanks again!

Author's Response: Hi!

Again, I have to give a lot of credit to Jami and sophie for helping me craft Astoria's teenage love life struggles. I'm glad it all played well and you're right, Isadore doesn't know nearly as much as she'd have Astoria believe.

Sometimes it's hardest to see the things that are closest to us, which is definitely where Astoria sits at the moment. Her anxieties about Pansy stem from two things. First, Pansy is older and more, erm, experienced. If the battle for Draco's heart was purely a matter of who was most entertaining in the sack -- and obviously it's anything but -- then Pansy would be the hands-down winner. Second, Pansy has already been with Draco in the way that Astoria feels she needs to be. In her own mind, Astoria feels like she's fighting an uphill battle on two fronts.

I actually really enjoyed having Astoria's character backtrack a bit on the maturity scale. I felt like it was needed because she was simply too mature in the early chapters.

I think that a big part of why Draco wanted a job in the first place is that he craves normality. He wants to have at least a part of his life that's free of the drama created by his past and his family. For that reason, he was really hoping to have a nice, normal job interview and he was behaving accordingly. I really, really enjoyed writing the scene where he brews the potions. I love the nitty-gritty aspects of writing it, plus it's natural "introspection time" for Draco.

Hmmnnn... Honestly, that aspect of Draco's new career never occurred to me in the context of his struggles with Mr. Gamp. It's a very interesting thought, now that you mention it. Madam Blishwick has a fairly unhealthy fascination with the worst moments of Draco's life, as you'll soon see...

This story can't go very long without some darkness. It's the nature of the characters involved. But there's light at the end of the tunnel!

Thanks for reading and reviewing!

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Review #36, by Veritaserum27 Turning the Corner

17th June 2014:
Hi Dan!

I'm sorry it's been so long since I've reviewed a chapter for you. I started reading this one about a week ago and I got so caught up in it that I just kept on reading! - So to make up for my lateness, you will get at least two reviews tonight! (I KNOW! - Aren't you just thrilled?!)

To start off, we have studious and reflective Draco. This is a whole new side to him. I think he may be finally growing up a bit. He always knew that he liked Astoria and took actions to protect her and write to her, but now he is finally acknowledging to himself that she is the main reason for this turnaround. It's about time, Draco! The rest of us saw this in Chapter 1! He not only reflects on the events that led him to this place, but he also is thinking about the future and building up the Malfoy name. I don't think he will go so far as to acknowledge that McGonagall gave him the opportunity as well, but we can't hope for everything now, can we? He still has a bit of stubbornness when it comes to Muggle Studies, eh?

I really like the way you've characterized Lucius here. Even though he has been a fairly minor character, who is suffering from some sort of mental illness, he plays out really well. Lucius was almost the top dawg during Voldemort's reign. He has fallen far and the only place he can hold on to any sort of power is within his own family. He will hold on to that with a vice grip.

I really like the exchange with McGonagall and Draco. They are both so perfectly characterized. She is actually enjoying watching his reaction to her and he is just along for the ride - although he likes to think that he has the upper hand.

A side note - I'm not a grammarian, but I think you might mean "bevy" (a large group of things) instead of bevvy (which is slang for beverage). It might just be an alternate spelling that I don't know about.

This job sounds very promising. I'm excited for Draco!

On to the good stuff! Wow! I am impressed. What I really, really liked is the way that you led up to the meeting by setting the scene with Astoria. She is nervous, anxious and really, really excited.

I love the scene in the Room of Requirement. Although I am surprised that Draco would want to return there after his friend had been killed in that room about a year before. You paced the scene very nicely. They are a couple getting to know each other better. I can feel that they relish the time they can spend together because they know it is precious. At the end of it, they are a pair of teenagers with hormones and that comes out a bit as well. Draco is chivalrous. You are actually making me feel some respect for him. How could you do this to me, Dan??

Woah. Then Astoria takes it deep and heavy with the talk of the war. However, I think it was important for them to understand each other on a deeper level. Astoria isn't prying - she wants to know everything about him and understand him better.

And just when it is starting to get good... we have to deal with Isadore. She seems suspiciously more accepting of Draco. I remember her repugnance of him in earlier chapters. What is a best friend for, if not really bad advice.

Oh. My. Merlin. "Little Wizard." I laughed out loud. Poor Astoria is so desperate to do the right thing for Draco that she is even willing to listen to Isadore's advice!

Oh, dear. Her parents really are pushing this marriage thing, aren't they? Maybe it's me, but it seems like they are pushing a little too hard. Why are they so hard-set on their sixteen (almost seventeen) year old daughter to find a match? Do they know that she has been seeing Draco? Or is it something more?

Much to consider. Thanks for the great chapter!

Author's Response: Hi, there! No worries on timing. It's always good to see you back!

I like the place that Draco has reached by this point. He's being mostly honest with himself, which is a huge step for any Malfoy male, I'd say. He's become very dedicated and also sort of introspective. And he wants to be with Astoria very much.

Poor old Lucius is holding on by a thread at this point. He still has his pride and he still clings to his position as head of the Malfoy family, not that either one is worth very much in the post-war era. As far as his mental illness, well, that plot thread is coming to a head fairly soon... ;)

McGonagall has accepted -- reluctantly -- that Draco has changed. He got a second chance and he made the most of it. So she does what she'd feel duty-bound to do for any student who was trying hard: she tries to help him. You're right: Draco would like to think that he has the upper hand, but he's plainly just rolling with decisions she's already made.

I think you're right about "bevy". I'll go in and patch that up.

Whew! I'm relieved that you liked the build-up to Astoria's encounter with Draco in the Trophy Room. Having never been a love-struck teenage girl, I was sort of winging it on that one.

Draco spent so much time in the Room of Requirement during his sixth year that I imagined he would understand its malleability. Since he made it into something completely different -- and since Astoria was there -- I don't think it would have necessarily reminded him of poor Crabbe. When the scene becomes more passionate, there were definitely hormones at play, but also the fact that Draco didn't feel like talking about the war. And he is quite chivalrous in the end, although that's partly because he's still putting her on something of a pedestal. In addition to being his girlfriend, she's also this symbol of the "perfect" life that he always wanted and never thought he could have after the war.

I don't think Isadore was ever repulsed by Draco. In fact, you might recall that she seemed to fancy him a bit as well and it bothered Astoria. But now she's 100% in favor of Draco and Astoria's relationship. To the point where she wants Astoria to throw caution to the wind and bed him as soon as possible. So you're right, Isadore is always handy with some bad advice. ;)

Her parents grew up in a different time. Well, actually they grew up in the 1960's, but that was a very different time in pureblood wizarding circles. They're trying to lead Astoria down the path that they were raised to believe is right, which I think is what a lot of parents fall back on when confronted with very difficult topics like their children's love lives. At this point, they do not know that she's still secretly seeing Draco. Her father would be furious since he specifically forbid her from doing that.

You're on the downhill side of the story now. Coming soon: Daphne's wedding in all its glory! Thanks for reading and reviewing!

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Review #37, by jazzercise Epilogue

10th June 2014:
This story was so amazing. You captured the broken Draco character and the struggling new Wizarding society perfectly! I LOVE how you have both Astoria and Draco having issues with Ron...that sets up a very nice Romeo/Juliet thing for their children, haha! But I also really enjoy how Ron, true to JKs version of him, remained stubborn and prejudice, with Draco being the one to change his ways, at least somewhat. I wouldn't want my child ending up like Lucius either!

Hands down this is one of my favorite stories that I've read on this site, and it's been...8 years since I found HPFF? Fantastic job!

Author's Response: Hello, again!

I really appreciate all of the kind words. This was the second novel that I wrote on HPFF and it was really challenging at times. It's nice to hear that you enjoyed it!

Shameless plug: If you like Draco and Astoria as they're portrayed here, you might also enjoy my other novel, Conspiracy of Blood. It's set many years after Detox, but I think Astoria and Draco are portrayed very similarly. You won't see them until chapter 6, though.

Thanks so much for reading and reviewing!

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Review #38, by Veritaserum27 Reconnecting

9th June 2014:
Hi Dan,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Until next time!


Author's Response: Hello, again!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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Review #39, by jazzercise Confessions

9th June 2014:
Hi! Wow, ummm I am pretty much in love with this story. I never, and I do mean never, read stories that take place after the war. I also hate stories about Draco in the war, because I love his character so much, but I decided to take a chance on this and I'm so glad I did.

Your portrayal of him, and all characters honestly, is very realistic. I'm also grateful this isn't a Dramione fic too, I'm sorry but I loathe that ship! I'm also very intrigued by your version of Astoria Greengrass; I never thought of her as this sweet, naive young girl who really just wants to believe the best of people, but it really suits her, now that I think of it. She's exactly the kind of person Draco needs in his life.

Okay, I'm going to continue reading your lovely story now!

Author's Response: Hi, there!

Thanks so much for all of the kind words. I tried really, really hard to stick to Draco's characterization from the books throughout this story. I'm sure I strayed here and there, but it's nice to hear that the portrayal worked well for you.

I don't think I could ever write a Dramione story. I have yet to find an underlying rationale for that pairing that doesn't sound absurd to me. As far as Astoria, I think of her as being the sort of person that Draco desperately needed to untangle his head after everything he survived during the war. None of the Slytherin girls in his own year were ever portrayed as the sort of person who could fill that role in his life.

I'm really pleased that you're enjoying it! Thanks for reading and reviewing!

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Review #40, 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.


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 #41, by Veritaserum27 Old Habits

28th May 2014:

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!


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 #42, 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 #43, 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!


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 #44, 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.


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 #45, 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!


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 #46, 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!


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 #47, 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!


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, 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 #48, by 800 words of heaven Regrets

5th May 2014:

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 #49, 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!


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 #50, 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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