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243 Reviews Found

Review #1, 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...

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Review #2, by Veritaserum27 Sobering Up

22nd April 2014:
Hi Dan,

Review Tag!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Beth (Veritaserum27)

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Review #3, by Pixileanin Turning the Corner

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Author's Response: Hi, pix!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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Review #4, by UnluckyStar57 Errors in Judgment

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

~UnluckyStar57

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

Yikes, that was awful. Forgive me...

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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Review #5, by UnluckyStar57 Future Imperfect

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

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

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

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

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

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

~UnluckyStar57

Author's Response: Hello, again!

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

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

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

Thanks for reading and reviewing!


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Review #6, by Remus Yes

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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


I cannot tell you how much I loved that exchange!

AAH *flails*

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

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

Anyway! Miss ya and until next time!

--Rosie

Author's Response: Hi, Rosie!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thanks for reading and reviewing!


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Review #7, by TheHeirOfSlytherin Epilogue

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sam.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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Review #8, by TheHeirOfSlytherin Yes

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

:O Is he lying? Is it not him?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Best lines ever. :D

Oh, I like this job a lot more.

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

HE ASKED HER TO MARRY HIM! SAY WHAT?

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

Always be a step ahead of the guy.

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

She said yes. ;)

Next chapter...

Sam.

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

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

Ha! You guessed just in the nick of time!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

One more to go! Thanks for reading and reviewing!


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Review #9, by TheHeirOfSlytherin Clarity

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

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

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

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

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

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

Definitely going to the next chapter!

Sam.

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

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

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

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

Thanks for all the love!


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Review #10, by TheHeirOfSlytherin A Break with the Past

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

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

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

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

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

:O No, not Astoria's house!

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

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

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

Next chapter!

Sam.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thanks so much for reading and reviewing!


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Review #11, by TheHeirOfSlytherin Climbing Back

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

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

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

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

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

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

He fell off his wagon. ;(

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

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

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

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

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

...What did you do to Theo?

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

See you soon!

Sam.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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Review #12, by TheHeirOfSlytherin Errors in Judgment

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

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

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

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

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

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

He just outed Emery!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I really hope they can fix it!

Onwards!

Sam.

Author's Response: Hello, again!

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

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

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

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

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

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


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Review #13, by TheHeirOfSlytherin Future Imperfect

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Onwards!

Sam.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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Review #14, by UnluckyStar57 Turning the Corner

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

And now the review.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

~UnluckyStar57

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thank you so much for all of your awesome reviews!


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Review #15, by TheHeirOfSlytherin Regrets

13th March 2014:
Hello!

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Sam.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thanks for reading and reviewing!


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Review #16, by TheHeirOfSlytherin Turning the Corner

11th March 2014:
I love his reasoning for which classes he's going to focus on and which he doesn't care about. It's just a very... Draco thing to think. Except for the whole blood status thing, it's a very Sam thing to thing. Priorities and stuff, if it's not worth it I won't do it. I liked seeing it in here. :)

Go McGonagall! There's the stern yet fair woman you shouldn't cross that I know. The trust she's put in Draco is a very big step that could lead to a small amount of progress. I hope Draco can keep his word and not ruin it.

:O The good girl caught in a forbidden romance with the bad boy, their love hidden from her disapproving father. The scandal! :P

If I made that sound like a cliche RomCom/drama, I give you my sincerest apologies because it is so not. You don't write it like a cliche, it's not what I think when I read it. Mostly, I think 'Go Astoria!' and grin while reading, but also that I love them and they deserve this and you write the progression of their romance so well and it's nice to see and I love them. I know I said that twice, but I don't care because that's how much I love them. And this story.

Aww, practically glowing. It was so sweet.

I CAN'T HANDLE THE INNUENDOS!!!

Okay, I had to pause for a little bit and laugh, but I'm back now... no, I'm not... yes, I am.

I freaking love Isadore!

It was so adorable how clueless Astoria was. Her parents are all for the sheltered life, aren't they?

And BOOM, bombshell. They're planning her life while Astoria is at school. I hope they realize she isn't going to take it before it's too late and she leaves them to be with Draco.

Next chapter!

Sam.

Author's Response: Hi!

So I knew that I needed the scene with McGonagall, but I think it would have felt horribly awkward to just launch right into that conversation with no setup. So I thought about what classes he was taking and how he would approach his exams. The rest just fell right onto the page. I'm glad you concur!

I'm also really pleased that you like McGonagall. I think of her as being too much of a educator at heart to continue to hold Draco back if he made it obvious that he was really, sincerely trying. She will never agree with most of the choices he made in the past, but in the present he is her student and on that basis alone, she wants him to succeed.

Yes, Astoria, the cliche good girl who fell for the bad boy. Except there's a lot more to the two of them. At least I hope there is. The longer they're together, the more good Draco is becoming and, I guess, the more Astoria is dabbling on the "bad girl" side. It's healthy for her, I think.

Ha! I've grown to love the innuendos because face it: I can't write what actually happened without getting banned! Honestly, though, what happened wasn't all that bad. Nothing that curious teenagers haven't been doing since time immemorial. But you're right, Astoria is **very** clueless when it comes to boys and girls and the things they get on about when nobody else is around. And she's not quite brave enough to just follow her instincts. Astoria is a studier and a planner. She doesn't like leaving important things to chance. And in her mind, she's built up Draco's happiness -- mental and physical -- to be a very important thing. I imagine that's what you get conditioned to think in such a patriarchal society. She needs some quality Hermione Time to set her head straight. ;)

Yes, her father and mother have been busy in her absence, and not in a good way. The confrontation is coming, and I hope when it comes that you'll like how it plays out. In the end, at least. I'm pretty sure that you won't like parts of it.

Thanks for reading and reviewing!


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Review #17, by TheHeirOfSlytherin Reconnecting

11th March 2014:
He still needed Zabini's help to persuade Emery Montague that he should attend in Montague's place - Not impersonating? Now I'm seriously wonder how he's going to get to a party where the bride's family don't like him...

Ah, Gamp. I remember him and his deranged mind from Conspiracy of Blood. Is it weird that I've missed it? I can't help it, my love dark and twisted characters/stories is pushing through. It's awesome. You write it brilliantly.

Well done, Draco, for his ability to lie on the spot and not flinch. War taught him valuable things.

Can I still hope that Lucius has nothing to do with it. The evidence is kind of overwhelming right now, but after everything Draco is trying to do, it would suck for Draco and Narcissa. And he's clearly not in his right mind. So, I shall still hope. Or hope Draco can get him out of it.

I also hope that Theo has nothing to do with it, but that's just my personal love for him coming through. You can ignore that.

I love the conversation between Astoria and Narcissa. Honest moments and it was kind of sweet, but still felt like she was talking to Narcissa Malfoy not someone else. Which was cool.

Appreciate his courage, Astoria. No one else is...

Ha! Your A/N - there should be a Jeremy Gamp warning. :P

Next chapter!

Sam.

Author's Response: Hi, Sam! I am determined to get all of these reviews responded to. So determined that I'm even making time during a work trip after having several IPA's with dinner. Forgive me if this response wanders a bit...

You had it right in the last review. Draco is planning to impersonate Emery Montague in order to infiltrate the wedding. That's how he'll get past Astoria's family. Astoria's parents really need to lighten up, if you ask me. They should probably have an IPA and relax.

Yes, it's the same Gamp, only in his formative years. He's perhaps a bit less crazy because he hasn't been to prison yet. But he's still sociopathic and deranged and prone to drinking too much. He'd probably bypass the IPA and move straight to the strong stuff.

Draco has a strong game when it comes to lying. It's a skill that he honed during the war. You can definitely hope that Lucius is not involved. You might even be right. The old man is not in a good way, as you can probably tell.

I loved every bit of writing Astoria and Narcissa. Narcissa has a tendency to be a scene-stealer in my stories. There's something about her, the way she presents this very different ideal of motherhood compared to Molly or Lily Potter. She has totally different values, but in the end she doesn't love her family any less.

Astoria is starting to realize just how strong and brave Draco really is. But there's still more to learn.

Thanks so much for all of the awesome reviews. If we ever meet, I'll buy you an IPA. ;)


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Review #18, by TheHeirOfSlytherin Old Habits

11th March 2014:
So I've not read it all, that last review should say. Also, Astoria's thoughts on eloping reminded me of what Draco said in the last chapter, which made me smile, then wonder if they were thinking too far ahead, then laugh for wondering. :P

Anyway, dress fittings. I've suffered through a few, I feel her pain. I didn't get champagne, though. Sucks to be me. :P

The conversation between Astoria and her mother escalated badly, didn't it? I didn't assume anything when her mother came in, but when she mentioned Emery I wasn't surprised. I was surprised by what came out of the conversation - after her father's words of giving Astoria freedom and choice, I thought that she could choose who she dated. That approval was what she would find important, not that they'd pick someone.

I'm not surprised by the idea of marriage prospects being chosen and arranged marriages, as they are Pureblood and I figured it would come up, just the idea of them going through with it. Poor Astoria.

I'm starting to hope she runs away with Draco when she's seventeen, unless she can get her parents to change her mind.

He better not still be drinking...

...The first paragraph! God, Draco. Although, I like the moderation bit.. I don't want him to be like before.

Did you just hint at slash...?

so, I take it that Draco wants to... impersonate Emery to be Astoria's date? Yes? Well, it would explain how he could get to the wedding, since Astoria and Daphne's parents hate him (I read the chapter summaries). Interesting.

Draco treading on dangerous ground, I think. Agreeing to listening, I know he doesn't want any part in it, but I hope he manages to get out before he's caught.

And Jeremy Gamp is part of it? Would Astoria's father like that?

Next chapter!

Sam.

Author's Response: Hi, again!

I think it's safe to say that both of them are thinking too far ahead at this point in the story. Not for bad reasons, mind you, but too far ahead nonetheless. Bad, old Dan still has lots of nasty curveballs to throw at them before we can hear wedding bells. ;)

I couldn't imagine anyone making it through Daphne's dress fitting without help, not even Daphne. Daphne goes a bit too far with the help, though.

Astoria lets her frustration get the best of her while talking to her mother. Just one more instance where I'm hoping that her true age shows through a little. I've always felt like she seems too mature at the start of the story. Here, you see her reacting to a temporary setback more like you'd expect a teenage girl to react. "My life is over..."

Her parents' approval *is* important to Astoria, but not so important that she's going to even consider marrying Emery Montague. Let's just say that she's keeping all of her options open at this point.

I think I more than just hinted at slash. :p

You've got it spot on. Draco plans to use polyjuice to take Emery's place and spend the evening with Astoria. It's not the world's best thought out plan, as you'll see, but after surviving the war Draco has some difficulty assessing danger. Everything seems like a piece of cake compared to serving Voldemort.

Astoria's father would not be pleased at all if he know that Daphne's fiancee was dabbling in revolution. Unfortunately, he doesn't find out for quite a while.

Onwards! Thanks so much for reading and reviewing!


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Review #19, by TheHeirOfSlytherin Relapse

11th March 2014:
I'm back!

Astoria is in quite the pickle (did I really just say that?). I admire her for wanting her father's opinion, and though I kind of doubt his opinion will be swayed so easily (though what do I know, I'm reviewing this after every line break so I've read it all yet), and therefore I think the confrontation between father and daughter will be interesting to say the least, I hope it at least doesn't go really badly.

Isadore is a good friend, I think (and I hope it continues), and I totally get her reaction. What happened with Draco and Astoria is not something many would go through and it's not a surprise that Isadore would think it was out of character and therefore a lie.

You can't? Astoria, we're Slytherins and we're girls. Sometimes we tell lies when we don't even need to, just to keep people guessing. - I love this line, especially the end.

The conversation between Astoria and her father went better than I thought it would, not that I think it went well. She can still send him Owls... ;)

Mr. Malfoy is not, as you have correctly surmised, evil. To truly be evil requires a courage in one's convictions that neither Draco nor his father will ever possess. - I love listening to Snape talk. There's sometimes a compliment in there somewhere. :P

I especially love the end, about if other people's opinions truly matter when you follow what you believe? I wonder what Astoria will do with that bit of advice...

I feel like I'm intruding on a private, albeit slightly weird, moment of Draco's. Sniffing paper... there was a giggle, I won't lie.

Whoa! Draco's conversation with his father was VASTLY different. It's like one step forward, to steps back with this family. Is Lucius sick or has the war just severely messed with his head? Because he is clearly delusional. I wonder what Narcissa would think and what Draco will do.

I knew the title of this chapter was a bad sign. To go back to alcohol. Oh, Draco. I hope Astoria doesn't find out, or can show him that he's worth more than what he thinks of himself if she does. I don't want this relapse to ruin everything that would be so sad. ;(

See you at the next chapter!

Sam.

Author's Response: Hi, Sam! The chapter title was indeed a sign of things to come. The path back from depression and addiction is never short or easy and I felt like I would have been doing the character a disservice to have it be any other way.

Astoria does care what her father thinks, and her parents do love her dearly. That said, her parents grew up in a different time and the social norms have changed somewhat even in the very slow-moving culture of pureblood witches and wizards. He won't be swayed easily and there are more confrontations yet to come, but she's a strong young woman. She probably doesn't even realize how strong she is yet.

Ha! I think you're the first reviewer so far who actually likes Isadore. She really tries to be a good friend to Astoria, but sometimes her idea of the right thing can be pretty far off base. In a way, that helps Astoria. It was a lot easier for Astoria to realize that telling the truth was the right choice when she hears Isadore's rationalization for lying. And I loved that line, myself. I was thinking of the Cardassians from Deep Space Nine at the time I was writing it, especially Garak who once advised, "Lying is a skill like any other, and if you want to maintain a level of excellence you have to practice constantly."

I really, really enjoyed writing Snape in this chapter. Originally, my draft called for Dumbledore to be the one to advise Astoria. The more I thought about it, though, the two of them really don't have that much in common. Snape was always somewhat protective of Draco. In that way, he and Astoria could relate.

Lucius is not in a good way, in case that didn't come through clearly. The war took a much bigger toll on him than he'd ever be willing to admit. The question is how much of a toll. Is he really delusional enough to get involved in another attempt to overthrow the Ministry? Stay tuned...

I don't know how much it really matters whether Astoria finds out at this point. Draco is thoroughly disgusted with himself, but he can't see any other way to deal with his anger short of wrecking the house. And a Malfoy **does not** wreck the family home. His father would hear of that! :p

I'm glad that you're enjoying the story. Thanks for reading and reviewing!


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Review #20, by TheHeirOfSlytherin Confessions

11th March 2014:
I'm so glad they managed to salvage their day - date, whatever they want to call it. Even when Draco was telling his story, it felt like a very good thing for him, like it was the start of something. You know? And they even got to laugh at some things, especially the bit about Bellatrix. I found that strangely amusing, too.

Sharing was also good, it felt normal. Finally, Draco can be normal, at least for a little while.

I hope he can go back to school. And that Astoria can change her father's mind. I'm worried about Aurors and, of course, more people in general wanting Draco dead.

I'm glad she listened to his story about the Dark Mark. I was also worried about that. Can't have her running away now.

I'm crossing my fingers that Astoria's reevaluation of Hermione Granger will gear towards something positive. I'm not expecting them to be friends or anything (though the imagined look on Draco's face is quite hilarious), but it might help to make Draco's time at Hogwarts more tolerable, his life too if Hermione can get to Ron.

The conversation with McGonagall was very interesting. Going and telling her the truth is probably the best thing you can do when you're looking to help a man already in trouble.

All I know for certain is that if nobody is willing to give him a chance, he will fail. - This line. This is the line I've been waiting for, now I await the change that might come with it.

I know this is story is more about redemption after war, at least I assume so, but you make it such an exciting and interesting journey even without all the action-type stuff. I love it.

I have to go out and get dinner now, but I'll be back.

Sam.

P.S. Fair warning, I've moved onto red glimmer sugar (the decorations you put on cakes), so reviews might get a little... jumpier. :P

Author's Response: Hello, again! I am enjoying your thoughts and reactions so much. I don't get nearly as many Slytherin points of view as I do Gryffindor points of view. Sometimes I worry there's a bias there.

This chapter was the first in a series of "big moments" between Draco and Astoria, the one where he's completely honest with her about something bad that he was involved with during the war. It actually helps both of them a great deal. Astoria starts to understand why Draco can be so withdrawn and haunted and Draco starts to open up and trust her. Both of them realize that it feels rather good, I think.

I really enjoyed all the little quips about Bellatrix. She's almost as much fun to make fun of as she is to write.

The story about the Dark Mark is an extension of his thought process all the way back to the period of time I covered in Marked. To Draco, it isn't some badge of honor. It's an indelible symbol of his servitude to Voldemort and the fact that he was meant to die as a punishment for his father's failure in the Department of Mysteries. I thought it was really important that Astoria understood that from an early point in their relationship. It paves the way for so many other things...

... like what she says to McGonagall. After the rough start that Draco has with the Headmistress, I had to find a way to start smoothing the transition toward her not being completely hostile toward him. As much as she might loathe his family and his actions before and during the war, McGonagall is just too fair-minded not to start to have doubts once Astoria AND Hermione come to her pleading Draco's case.

I hope it stays interesting for you. There will be plenty more action, but hopefully also a lot of intrigue that's worthy of a story about two Slytherins. You snakes! Nothing is ever simple with you! :p

Go easy on the decorating sugar and thanks for reading and reviewing!


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Review #21, by TheHeirOfSlytherin Making Choices

11th March 2014:
So, Astoria's birthday is the day after Draco's? It's like fate. They should totally be together. :P I forget sometimes that they can only do magic in school until they're seventeen, that it wouldn't be allowed in Hogsmeade either. Sucks to be them sometimes.

PDA, man. Seeing Harry Potter happy and normal and in love was a strange and... slightly scary sight to see (or paragraph to read). And I find PDA in general weird, so forgive my need to run away and cast that image from my mind. :P

But aww for Astoria feeling jealousy stir. She definitely wants Draco. I like that. :D

No. No! You - I will ask to be polite, he is your character in this after all, but know that in my head I am making Ronald Weasley's life a living hell. We Slytherins are fun like that... so, can I hurt Ron? Yes? Thank you. :D

I may love my house and certain Slytherin characters, but I accept that Draco is kind of bad and I also accept that they don't understand what he went through... and it sucks. Everyone sucks.

Okay, I'm done with my rant. I'm gonna stick with my two wrongs don't make a right statement. It rings true, don't you think?

(Ron's state is... so-so, in case you were wondering... I haven't decided what to do with him yet. He should be better than Draco, not stoop to his level by using his position to act superior.)

Bad Draco! All his hard work - if he's screwed it up, I will be so disappointed in him. Hermione, I get. She was insulted after all.

You've captured the reason I love Draco/Astoria perfectly in just those few paragraphs - she seems to have this understanding of him. She knows what to do, like giving him the time to regain his dignity. You've done it, it's official. I love her.

Oh, Draco is having a really bad day.

I very much agree that people would be out for blood, wanting revenge for the war, but this seems like too much for poor Draco to handle.

And then Astoria steps in and he tries to keep her out of it to protect her, I assume, and it's so sweet of him, and that's weird to say when you're talking about Draco Malfoy, but I don't care because it was.

I'm quite nervous about the next chapter...

Sam.

P.S. I'm playing a game, trying to see if I can read a chapter and leave a review before an episode of The Vampire Diaries finishes (forty minutes); so far, it's not working. It takes longer than an entire episode to properly gush over your awesome chapters. :D

Author's Response: Hi, Sam!

You know, I never even thought about how Astoria's birthday related to Draco's. I just needed a date that fell shortly after the end of school. Better to be lucky than good, I suppose. I agree, it annoys me when underage witches and wizards in fan fic stories start randomly casting spells outside of school. The Ministry would be all over that!

I enjoyed throwing in a happy little moment for Harry and Ginny here. And it does make an impression on Astoria, in several different ways. She's a bit repulsed and a bit jealous. It's complicated...

I felt kind of bad about making Ron such a jerk in this chapter, but I needed an antagonist who would push Draco into a really angry, irrational place. Ron is always a good man for the job. One thing to keep in mind is that you're seeing the confrontation only through Draco's eyes. That's not to say that Ron is blameless -- or that the majority of the blame doesn't belong with him, really -- just that you have to consider your source. Draco might think that he wasn't doing anything to antagonize Ron, but it's probably not completely true. At any rate, you won't see Ron again for quite a while.

Astoria and Draco come from the same world, so yes, she really does "get" him. She knows how to handle a man whose pride is very important to him because she grew up in pureblood social circles as well as watching her mother manage her father.

Draco is having the worst day he could have imagined and he goes from the frying pan right into the proverbial fire. I'm sure it seems like too much, but as you'll find out in the next chapter, there's a reason these people are out for blood. I'm glad that you found his attempts to protect her endearing. It won't be the last time...

You're doing a great job! Thanks for reading and reviewing!


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Review #22, by Pixileanin Reconnecting

3rd March 2014:
"We didn't just meet some bloke in a bar, get three sheets to the wind and decide to overthrow the Ministry."

Are you certain, Mr. Gamp? Because I see a lot of drink and a lot of talk, and someone's about to get three sheets and more than a little windy. Pretty sure it's gonna be Flint, but I won't bet money on it just yet.

Draco's really playing a dangerous game here. If it weren't for that wedding, he wouldn't be here at all. He'd be composing beautiful sonnets and sending them off to Astoria. Actually, Draco doesn't seem the sonnet type. He strikes me more of the straight up couplet type, or some sort of anagram, where he says something virtuous with each letter of her name.

I did find it humorous that Draco spent considerable brain power on what sort of firewhisky Zabini had. It shows his snobbery, as well as Zambini's poor taste in drink. I'm with Draco on this. Why would he buy the obvious cheap stuff? Why would his mother even allow it in the house? It's so wrong. The whole atmosphere of this encounter gives me the creeps.

"First of all, we're not being recruited by anyone, Malfoy. We're in charge here."

I'm getting flashbacks. Flashbacks to another character I remember who was completely insane and thought he had the upper hand. These people don't learn. They just keep barreling head first into badness. Why is it that these characters are also the most fun to write?

And all the posturing! You write these guys really well. Everyone trying to stuffy-chest over each other. I really feel for Draco when he hears what he believes is the proof he needs to implicate his father is involved. If all he's doing is trying to get out of this mess, and all his father is doing is dragging the family back into it, what chance does Draco have of succeeding? A real pit of snakes he's been thrown into.

Or should I say spiders? Draco's tale keeps weaving him tighter and tighter into a corner. Granted, it was his only choice at the time, but what is all of this going to mean later? This has got to backfire in a very big way in the long run. I am suddenly nervous for him.

Astoria sounds like she's not going to be the first in line for the new Gringotts ride at Universal. Oh, but she is maneuvering for the tiara! I am glad you're showing us this side of her. She can't entirely escape her Slytherin training, and I love the way she rationalizes that the sneaky sibling posturing is okay because it's a skill. Haha!

I love, LOVE the way you show Astoria's conversation with Mrs. Malfoy in the bank lobby. The way that these two are "talking" without looking like they're even acknowledging each other is fantastic characterization. Astoria does indeed admire this woman from the things that Draco has told her, and it seems that Narcissa has also heard some things about Astoria from her son. Just knowing that Draco has shared his sentiments with his mother must give that girl a tremendous boost of confidence in their semi-relationship status. You really couldn't have done anything better for her than this.

Oh, I don't know about the Jeremy Gamp warning, Dan. I kind of like to be surprised by unconventionally insane, evil characters every once in a while. As long as they're safely trapped inside a story, and not ringing the doorbell or anything terrifying like that. :P

I'm definitely feeling Draco's unwavering determination, and Astoria's growing confidence. Another lovely chapter!

Author's Response: Hi, pix!

Draco is playing a very dangerous game, but the calibration of his Danger Meter has been off since the end of the war. As scary and Gamp might be, he's still nothing compared to Voldemort. That comparison will lead Draco to underestimate a lot of dangers before this story is through.

I was struggling for a good entree to this chapter when the idea of him critiquing the Zabinis' taste in beverages popped into my head. For some reason, it just fit for me, with both characters, actually. Zabini's mother always seemed like the type who accumulated wealth ravenously yet spent it reluctantly.

It's always fun to write pompous, arrogant characters who get in over their heads because you enjoy seeing them get their comeuppance at the end. Generally speaking, the more of a jerk you can make them, the more satisfying it is when they fall.

I'm glad you like all the bluster and bravado. That was mostly what I was going for, except for Gamp. With him, it's not just an act. He really believes every word of it and he'd have zero hesitation about acting on it.

Poor Astoria! With so many stomach-churning experiences in the magical world -- apparition, portkeys, goblin-piloted death coasters -- being a witch must have been hard on her. Again, I was trying to show a contrast between her more mature side and her less mature side. The sibling rivalry over the tiara compared to what Narcissa tells her about what it meant to lose her sisters seemed like a helpful way to draw that out.

In my personal world, Narcissa is an incredibly perceptive and adept woman. She grew up having "properness" pounded into her head every waking minute of every day, so navigating complicated social situations is nearly effortless for her. Astoria learns a few things from her in this chapter, both in terms of how she conducts herself and some new information she reveals about Draco. You're right, Astoria is also pleased to the point of bursting that Draco has told his mother good things about her.

Fortunately for us all, Jeremy has no means of escaping from the black depths of my sadistic writer's heart. There he dwells, waiting for a chance to emerge onto the written page and inflict misery on all the other characters.

I'm really pleased that you enjoyed it! They're growing ever closer together, but the story is far from over. Thanks for reading and reviewing!


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Review #23, by TheHeirOfSlytherin Getting Clean

1st March 2014:
For Blackout Bingo, the G v S competition.

Hey, Dan!

Whoa, gosh, that nightmare. It was so... chilling, just totally devoid of hope. Poor Draco, I'd probably wake up screaming, too. You wrote it so well, I could picture it in my head, and as a lover and writer of all things dark, I loved this. It was very well done.

I like Astoria. Mostly because of my headcanon, but the way you write her makes me sure I will soon love her in general. I can't wait to see how her relationship with Draco will progress, especially with her father and his views. I understand his views, given everything that happened, and Astoria seems like she does what she things is best but would rather have the support of her father than not. I could be wrong, this is only the second chapter and I only have my version to go on, but since they get married in canon, I'm making a guess. I look forward to finding out.

Draco's trying to clean up, he must really like Astoria, or at least like the potential she saw in him when they met. I hope he manages to do it, keep from drinking, go back to school and do something good for his reputation. I assume he will eventually, even if it's only enough to have Astoria, but it's a long road between now and the epilogue. I can't wait to see your take on it.

I'll be back soon!

Sam.

Author's Response: Sam! I love reading your reviews. They never get old!

Whew! I've been really worried about how the nightmare reads. I wanted to keep it visually very dark and spartan, but I also needed enough detail to help the readers immerse themselves in the scene. So if it worked, whew!

I became a big fan of Astoria while writing CoB and my goal was to show a younger, less worldly version of her in this story. Her father's approval is important to her, but as you'll see later, it isn't the only thing that matters. He has some fairly naive ideas about what caused the war and how it all played out. He wasn't a Death Eater or a sympathizer, so he wasn't part of the inner circle and he has no idea how powerful and dangerous Voldemort really was. Since he doesn't know, he assumes that the Blacks, Malfoys and other Death Eater families used their money and influence to make Voldemort powerful.

Draco is trying very hard to clean up his act and make something out of his second chance. Naturally, he won't have an easy time of it. That wouldn't be a very fun story. ;)

Thanks so much for stopping by!


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Review #24, by Pixileanin Old Habits

25th February 2014:
Oh, poor Astoria! Daphne's dress fitting sounds like a dreadful time! Someone should have taken away her champagne a little earlier. I am so grateful that bustles are far from the fashion rage of today. What a horrid contraption!

Astoria does go out of her way to make her sister's day all about the bride-to-be, and that is commendable. Her thoughts pull us into her upbringing, the right and proper way that things are done, instead of what she wants. It's a testament to her character that she's able to separate her longing from her reality. But I can tell that she still has hope for her own dreams coming true, and in almost a childish way, she's planning for herself. I like the budding strength that she has, and the way that she's going through all of her options in her head. It feels here that she's simply biding her time until the moment is more suited to her favor, which is smart. At the same time, I can sense her unease. She's still thinking "what about me?", and I feel her young age throughout this section. Well done!

I love how throughout this section, you keep the action rolling. The characters are doing and moving, all the while thinking and scheming. It definitely keeps the life in the scene, and the forward momentum of the story. No one is standing still, percolating.

Well, except for Emery. Hehe. "It isn't an insult, mother. Ask anyone who knows him. He doesn't bathe regularly!"

Astoria's plan for her independence is quite rebellious for her character, but I can tell it's what she believes in strongly, and with that will of hers, it will be hard for anyone to tell her that it's a bad idea. Not that I'm wanting to do that. Emery sounds practically repulsive!

I loved how you cut straight through to after Draco has read Astoria's letter and has had time to dwell on what she's written. Apparently, he read into it what Astoria wanted him to, and he's eager to make headway with whatever she has in mind. Very forward, very daring plans, too. I wouldn't expect anything less from him, seeing as his life so far has been so life-or-death that this probably seems like a walk in the park. How hard can crashing a wedding be?

Draco's dig at Emery was very funny! Sometimes I wonder how long we writers actually sit around and think up ways to Potterize ingenious sayings. I bet there's a list out there.

Draco's plan sounds a hundred times riskier than Astoria's, but I find it fun and intriguing that they are both willing to put themselves at risk to be with each other. Draco's "cover" as he explains it to Zabini sounds plausible, but I wonder if his friend will be sneaky enough to figure things out and give Draco trouble for it.

I'm betting that Draco hopes the men on the "forefront" of this revolution bite it fast enough that he won't get the chance to be dragged into anything nefarious. His determination is commendable here. I'm guessing that his "friends" aren't going away anytime soon, since they have to stick around long enough to cause trouble in CoB. But I can dream, right?

Author's Response: OK, so I've obviously never been to a fitting for bridesmaids dresses, but I really can't imagine anything less fun than being stuck in a room full of people trying on uncomfortable clothes in an attempt to placate a woman who's in the process of going insane. That's pretty much the mindset from which I wrote this, and it snowballed from there.

Astoria does her best to help support her sister, but it's tough sledding. I'm glad she seemed more age-appropriate in this chapter. It's been a while coming. I tried to show some of that simmering, over-emotional teenage anger.

Whether it's Astoria or Draco taking a swipe at him, I really started to enjoy using our lad Emery as a punching bag in this story. All the poor guy really wants is to be left alone with his Quidditch magazines. Sadly, real life keeps interrupting. I hope you'll enjoy a couple more good chuckles at his expense before the story is over.

I didn't think there was too much to be gained by showing Draco's immediate reaction to reading Astoria's letter. It was pretty much what you'd expect: anger and disbelief following quickly by a determination to take matters into his own hands and "fix" the situation for her. You're right, after surviving the war, Draco doesn't think much of the challenge of infiltrating a simple wedding.

Draco is definitely playing with fire when he seeks help from Zabini and agrees to meet with Gamp and Flint. He's so confident in his ability to keep the upper hand over his former housemates that he doesn't worry too much about abusing their very limited trust. It's a bold move and without giving away too much I can tell you that it will have repercussions.

It wouldn't hurt Draco's feelings one bit to see Zabini and the other "revolutionaries" end up dead or in Azkaban. He's quite determined to keep out of it, but like Michael Corleone, he'll find that there are plenty of people who'll keep trying to pull him back in. It's an occupational hazard of being everyone's favorite reformed Death Eater. You're free to dream of Gamp, Flint and the others meeting their end, but as you know that doesn't happen for another forty years.

Thanks for reading and reviewing!


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Review #25, by UnluckyStar57 Reconnecting

21st February 2014:
Hi! Things have been hectic in real life for... oh, about a month, but I'm BACK to review you once again! :)

Okay, so I'm glad that you asked me to pay close attention to Jeremy Gamp, because I've got a lot to say. First of all, I think that I'll have to read Conspiracy of Blood sometime so that I can see all of his other villainous escapades. This guy seems dangerous!! His maniacal laughter was really creepy and it reminded me a lot of Bellatrix. It didn't help that his glittering, manic eyes were compared to hers. They're the type of people who have a wild look in their eyes, and in both of their cases, it's a reflection of their characters. The fact that Draco was worried when he accidentally turned his back on Gamp is really terrifying. He's obviously not someone you want to mess with.

In seven chapters, I haven't found a single mistake in your writing, which is totally awesome. :) However, there's a first time for everything, and I'm not even sure if it actually IS a mistake. When you're talking about Flint's physical features, you wrote:

"The dark-haired wizard had added a few pound since his Hogwarts days..."

Is "pound" supposed to be "pounds" in that sentence? My mind wants it to be "pounds," but I'm unsure if it's some sort of Britishism to say "pound" instead of "pounds." It's such a minor thing, but I had to mention it, just for the sake of thoroughness. :)

Also, Flint! Hah! He's the typical college frat boy. Maybe in high school (aka Hogwarts) he played sports (Quidditch), but then he got to college (the resurrection of the Death Eater movement, in his case) and gained some weight. Lolzz! That being said, it's good to see that he's still the same brute-force-using Marcus Flint that was in the HP books. This just gave a close-up of his brutishness.

I was quite surprised to see that Zabini was described as "a lover, not a fighter." It is very true that he is more mannered than the other two, but I never pictured him as someone who loves other people, per se. If we're talking casanova, though, oh yeah, I can TOTALLY see that! He's probably the type who has a girlfriend and a back-up girlfriend and a weekend girlfriend and... Well, you know what I mean, haha. :) But yeah, the mysterious new Death Eaters would chew him up and spit him out. He should be careful!

Draco continues to stand up for himself, which is great. He's no longer the ferrety little ferret that he once was--he actually grew a spine! I hope that he can continue his lie until the delinquents can be caught and thrown in Azkaban for trying to start up another fear campaign!

Another side note about Jeremy Gamp: I can't believe that Daphne is in raptures over her marriage to HIM!! Of course, she's probably mostly excited to wear a pretty dress and a tiara and have everyone watching her at the wedding (center stage, yo!), but STILL. Jeremy Gamp is a creeper and a madman, and probably a wifebeater to boot!

Astoria and Narcissa's conversation was illuminating, to say the least! I'm glad that they actually like each other--no hatred is always better! It was also cool that Astoria acknowledged Narcissa's part in saving the Wizarding World, because it shows that she isn't like every other person who wants to bash the Malfoys for picking the wrong side. And awww, Narcissa's revelation to Astoria that Draco stood up to Bellatrix just makes her admire him even more. :) :) :) They're definitely going to be a good couple when they're finally together. If only they can get through some obstacles, like Daphne's wedding, Lucius Malfoy's Lost Cause fixation, and the neo-Death Eaters! The course of true love never did run smooth, says everyone's favorite Bard. :)

Wow, I'm halfway through this story! I look forward to seeing what happens next! :D

~UnluckyStar57

Author's Response: Hi, there! No worries on timing. I'm always happy just to see you back for another go-round.

Jeremy Gamp is one of a handful of characters that tie Detox and CoB together. He's a nasty piece of work, cruel, violent and not all there mentally. Here we see him in his formative years, before he goes to Azkaban and pretty much loses the few marbles he has left. That's why he's able to woo Daphne and convince her father that he's a worthy suitor. He comes from an old, pureblood wizarding family and he's able to hold it together well enough in polite company. That, and Daphne is desperate to be married by a "proper" age.

Thanks for pointing out that typo. It's amazing how they can sometimes survive countless readings and reviews before somebody finally makes note of them.

I like your thinking about Flint. He's definitely still living in the "good old days" before the war, when his family name made him quasi-nobility. You can practically hear "Glory Days" playing in the background. He's another character that appears in CoB, having escaped from prison with Gamp.

We're definitely talking "casanova" where Zabini is concerned. He's far out of his depth in this revived Death Eater movement and at some level he knows it. That's why he's so keen to have Draco involved. Draco comes from the same sort of very refined upbringing as Zabini, but he's already shown that he can hold his own in a fight. What he doesn't realize is that, as you say, Draco is in this fame for himself now. Draco has no intentions of ending up in Azkaban for Zabini's sake or anyone else's.

The conversation between Astoria and Narcissa was my favorite part of this chapter. I think a lot of trust and mutual admiration was built up during those few stolen moments in the bank lobby. You're right, true love never does run smooth. And there will be a lot more bumps in the road before the story is over...

Indeed, you're halfway through! Thanks so much for all of the awesome reviews!


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