Wow, this was an really amazing story, Julia! It was a shock when I found out that it was Thicknesse - No one could have guessed. It was captivating and enthralling the whole time. The chapter in which we found out Thicknesse's identity was so full of suspense that I was literally leaning into the screen, eager to reach the line where he was revealed.
It was really sad about how Kate had that scar on her face - but then again, it wouldn't have been realistic if nothing had happened at all. It just makes the story more believable. I also absolutely loved their characterisations. I liked how Draco and Harry were willing to keep aside their differences and finally work together - though I did enjoy Draco's sarcasm and jibes! Katie was such a believable character and she behaved exactly how any other wife would in such a situation. I'm really happy that he kept her faith in Draco at the end, though. And it shows how much she loved her husband that she went off to Malfoy Manor by herself to help him.
Overall, great job on this fic! I hope to see more awesome stuff from you.
Author's Response: Oh what a lovely review, Nadia! Thank you so much. And thank you for the wonderful banner which I just saw in the BA challenge thread. I can't wait to put it in my sig when I get home from work :) It's a nice surprise to see people still reading this fic. It feels like so long ago but it still has a special place in my heart. I remember enjoying writing this so much, especially the banter and snark between Harry and Draco. Again, thanks so much for the lovely review. It was a lovely surprise to see it waiting for me morning. Julia x
Brilliant suspense in the story, and very interesting pairings! I would never have thought to put Malfoy and Katie together, but I think it worked, especially with your characterisation of Malfoy. Obviously he changed after the final battle, but my one small problem was that Malfoy was a bit too different from anything we have ever known him as. I loved how you made us guess who it was though; I was trying to work out whether Snape hadn't actually died, or Dolohov had somehow come into it... I think I worked it out when you mentioned Percy though, it was a nice little hint.
Author's Response: Thanks! This was a very early fic of mine and I agree that my characterisation of Draco could have been much better hehe.
The only thing that I might have changed was Katies scar, but then again, being scared, and Draco loving her anyway is more dramatic.
Author's Response: Oh wow, I didn't notice these new reviews! For some reason I don't receive review alerts anymore... but anyway. Thanks for all the reviews! I'm glad you took the time after reading to leave me some notes. I guess I included Katie's scar as a reference to the earlier scene in which Harry and Draco discuss their own scars. It's sort of symbolic of Katie and Draco being on more common ground and more understanding of each others' situations. Cheesy lol. But again, thanks for reading and reviewing :)
Author's Response: Thanks!
I'm glad that you finally put Katie in the story. Though I have never liked Draco, it's nice to see some one give him a chance at love. I could see towards the end of deathly hallows that he was not what he appeared.
Author's Response: Thanks! Draco is an interesting character in that for most of the books he's very one dimensional and then suddenly in HBP his character opens up to become much more complex.
It's interesting to see someone look at Draco this way. I wish your chapters were longerf.
Author's Response: Thanks. It was interesting writing about him. Also, I wish I had written the chapters longer as well. :) I am determined to revise this fic one day and hopefully expand it so it doesn't feel so rushed.
You're finally done with this fic! Yay! It was an absolute pleasure to beta all the chapters, and I totally blushed reading your effusive praise at the beginning of each chapter, so I thought I'd let you know in a review that I think you're an awesome, wonderful, generally spectacular author too :) The things you make Draco do and think are always perfectly in character - and you make my job so easy all the time. Thanks for being an awesome beta-ee, and I can't wait to see some of your other stories, too!
Author's Response: Apurva! Thank you so much! It feels so strange to have finally finished this off but very satisfying. You have been such an amazing beta and my praise of you is completely necessary after all you have helped me with! Thank you again and thank you also for leaving me a review. I love getting those :) And thank you (wow, I'm using that phrase a lot) for the lovely stocking you and the other Gryffs left for me in the Slyth common room! I hope you had a great time over the holiday season. Julia XD
I've already reviewed but wanted to say again now that this is complete how much I enjoyed it. You really did have liking Draco, even cheering for him... and that is saying quite a lot in my case. Haha. When I finished the last chapter, I didn't realize it was the end, so it seemed a bit abrupt for a moment... but now I think it was just because I assumed it would be going on for a while. You certainly wrapped everything up nicely and resolved all the issues. This is one of the stories I've been checking regularly for updates... you are a good writer. Thanks for the good ride.
Author's Response: Thanks so much for the review. Reading through it I realise that the ending seems quite abrupt. I just think I felt like I had given to the characters as much as I could. Perhaps one day I will lengthen the ending to make it feel more wrapped up, even adding an epilogue... But thank you for sticking with me til the end! I'm glad you had a good ride :)
Yay for Jules!
I've followed this story from Chapter 1, so I'm happy to see you finish it. A lot of mysterious bits were cleared up in this chapter, and I don't find myself wanting for information, which is a valuable trait of chaptered fics (I've read so many, and lack of proper information is extremely common).
It's neat how Harry understood the Death Eaters so well that he knew exactly how to get Thicknesse to sing like a bird during the interrogation, but I also have an appreciation of how old Pius left a seed of doubt within Harry about himself, which lends itself well to D/A.
Hurray for a good story, I shall miss it. Take care and happy writing!
Note: Just remembered...in this sentence:He did not remember apparating to St Mungo’s.
'Apparating' should be capitalized. Other than that, this story is magnificent.
Author's Response: Thank you, Jess! I'm so happy to have finished this. It's been a bit of a mission at times but it feels worth it. I'm glad you liked how Harry could understand Thicknesse. I think he is, after the hunt for Horcruxes, quite a perceptive person, especially when it comes to the Dark Arts and allure it has. Thank you for sticking with me! And thank you for pointing out that mistake. I will go fix it up right away! Julia XD
Julia, this is a wonderful story. How did you get me cheering for Draco's redemption? His characterization is so believable, and very complicated, which I think it would have to be... the way he was with the house elves, disgusted by his father's inhumane behavior and yet struggling himself to touch the elf. This is very good writing, and I can't wait for the next chapter... c'mon Harry!
Author's Response: Thank you! I'm so happy you thought Draco's characterisation is done well. I think it's easy to get into the whole dark!Draco who has no remorse at all or the redeemed!Draco who is perfect and gentlemanly in all respects of life. It was hard to find balance. Can't wait to hear your thoughts on the rest of the fic. Julia XD
The first chapter was a great follow on from you prologue and I feel that you really settled in to the flow of the writing in this chapter. The timing and transitions were written much more smoothly and it was a lot easier to follow the action. I always felt I knew where I was in the story and how it fitted in to the overall picture
I continued to enjoy your characterisation of Draco. He is different to his time at Hogwarts and this is shown most effectively through his relationship with Katie. When he is with her, he becomes funny, kind and loving, and is able to reveal quite how much he has changed as a result of having her. Underneath, however, there is still so much of the old Draco left in him. My heart sank at this moment: “Nothing,” he lied seamlessly because I so desperately wanted him to tell her and share his problems, but of course the old Draco within him still has the natural instinct to lie, and you wrote that element of his character very well. It came through in several moments throughout the chapter. When he goes to visit Harry for example he still is unable to stop himself sneering involuntarily and the use of that particular word showed quite how deeply Draco’s actions and reactions to Harry are imbedded in his character.
The plot in this chapter is progressing at a good pace – you are feeding us some hints about the mystery but without giving too much away. The suspense is building up slowly and I am definitely curious to find out more of the story. The actions of all the characters are believable and fit well into your overall story.
I think you show a great skill for balancing different emotions in a fic. Within this chapter alone, you were able to carefully mix the more angsty moments of Draco reflecting on his relationship with Katie and its ability to last under the threat of a dark power, with the sweet moments of romance between the couple, and also the subtle injections of humour. There are, both in this and the previous chapter, some lines that are written in a dry, very humorous style and made me chuckle. In this chapter, the line, .This was embarrassing, this sharing stuck out to me as a rather funny one. Draco is involved in a serious situation and clearly very worried but is still able to somewhat sarcastically reflect on the sharing of emotion between the two and how strange and unusual it was. But even within the humour, there were touching moments of emotion, particularly when Harry and Draco realise they share a common bond. However, none of this emotion is created through sacrifice of characterisation and their dialogue shows them to still not feel any particular affection for the other and to be naturally inclined to argue than to chat with one another.
Keep up the great writing, and I hope that in the next few chapters we get to learn more of the mystery behind the mark.
Author's Response: Thanks, Bob!
Ooh, Julia, this was such an interesting opening, and you’ve really set up the story effectively – I can’t wait to read on further, but first I thought I’d stop by and leave you a review for your prologue. And also to wish you a belated Happy Halloween ;)
The first thing that I immediately liked about this story was the fact that you allowed five years to pass between the Battle and the Draco’s wedding. I think this was an important thing to do as while a transformation in Draco’s character is believable after the events of DH, I do think it would take a certain amount of time for him to truly become the better person he is presented as in this prologue.
The second paragraph immediately made me smile; it was just so completely Draco. I thought this line in particular, Draco’s lip curled up into a sneer as he thought of the man who had, unfortunately, saved his life was an excellent moment of characterisation. Draco may have changed, as we see later in the chapter, but I don’t think there is anything that could stop him feeling a certain amount of bitterness towards Harry. The ‘unfortunately’ added a brief moment of humour because of course Draco would still rather be alive but doesn’t exactly like that it’s as a result of Harry’s actions.
I think you presented the transformed Draco effectively. There are still aspects of the old Draco in there but you can also see his true desire to change, and show himself to be a better person. He is no longer so reliant on his father’s opinion as he once was though perhaps he has transferred this need for acceptance away from his father and on to the wizarding world in general, as he longs for their approval. I also thought it was particularly good that Draco’s transformation has come about as a result of his love for Katie – it provided a nice reference to the importance of love in the series itself.
Katie Bell was an interesting choice of partner for Draco, particularly because she was one the victims of his plans in HBP, but as we know very little about her, it was a pairing that could be believed. I did think that perhaps her reaction to his dark mark was a little understated. I can see how she would be prepared to accept it as part of his past, but may not go as far as to smile ‘warmly’ upon touching the mark. I think she would possibly be a bit more reluctant to embrace the darkest aspect of his past than shown here. But hopefully we’ll get to see more of her in later chapters and experience some more of their relationship.
The time jumps in this chapter were a little bit confusing, mainly down to the use of tense. You used the word ‘now’ several times, as if to suggest that was the time in which the prologue was set and I initially thought, as a result of this sentence: Now, as Draco stepped into his morning suit and checked (again) that Blaise had the wedding bands safely in his pocket, he would have to face Potter once more - on the day of his marriage, for heaven’s sake. that the prologue was set on the day of the wedding. The transitions to the honeymoon, then back to the home and the dark mark scene, were rather disjointed and could have done with being smoothed out a bit – there was a sense that you were trying to fit quite a bit into the prologue but that it didn’t all quite join together. The time changed quite frequently jumping forward and backwards and leaving me a little bit confused. You did show one clear transition in the time at the beginning but the others would have benefitted from being more clearly marked. When you then used now again here: But now Draco lay writhing beneath an ancient tapestry in the front parlour, clawing at his wrist. I wasn’t completely sure how it fit in to the rest of the chronology, except for the brief reference to it at the beginning.
Having said that, however, the ending was very good, and it fulfilled one of the most important roles of an prologue in making me want to read more. You have shown earlier in the chapter that Draco is still not exactly best friends with Harry and so I am looking forward to seeing some interaction between them when Draco shares his experience with him, as well as finding out exactly what is behind Draco’s mark burning once again.
Thanks for a great read and hopefully I’ll be back to let you know what I think of the rest soon!
Author's Response: Ah, Hannah! This is such a great Halloween gift. Thank you very much for the review. I really appreciate it, especially for this fic as it takes quite a bit of work! I'm glad you thought Draco's transition was believable. Katie and Draco's relationship is explained (to a certain degree) later on in the fic. I really wanted Draco to be redeemed by love so it's good to know that came through. The time jumps. Yes, they are really confusing. This is one of the first FFs I wrote and it makes me cringe when I read the earlier parts. Sometime in the future I am going to have to go back and rewrite those bits! The Draco and Harry relationship is very interesting to write. That has been the most fun for me in this fic. Angsty!Draco can be a little tiring at times and I feel I can explore his surly, sarcastic side through his interactions with Harry. Katie and Draco is a strange pairing but I thought it would be interesting since she was a victim of his cursed necklace. As I said before, it is explained later on. I'm also working on a sort of prequel to this fic to show how Katie and Draco's relationship developed. It's going to be one of my summer projects (along with a Flich/Pince lol). I hope you enjoy the rest of the fic! Thanks for the lovely review. -Julia XD
Holy crap, I didn't see that coming with Thicknesse! Wowsers, Julia, you know how to make my brain go fuzzy with glee. I love this story, and I eagerly await Harry's arrival on the scene.
I heart the voices in his head, telling him to kill. It's like having an anti-conscience. Just another reason that I adore D/A.
Author's Response: Thank you so much for the review, Jess! I'm glad I'm still keeping your interest! The voice in Draco's head is why I put this fic in D/A. I feel like the story is as much about Draco's state of mind as it is about who is trying to kill him. Thanks again!
Grrrrr WHO IS IT!?!?!?!? Good story btw ^.^
Author's Response: Ah, you'll just have to wait and see *laughs evilly* But thanks for reading! I'm glad you're enjoying it.
Author's Response: Haha great response! Well, I have written the next chapter but I usually don't update until I've written the chapter after that...But perhaps I'll break my rules a little. Stay tuned :)
Awesomeness!!! I love this story, and I was quite elated to find another chapter. The plot development is excellent, and the little hamster wheel of angst in the characters is delicious. Can't wait for the next installment!
PS-I sooo feel like I should know who "he" is. It may possibly drive me mad...I love it.
Author's Response: Thanks for the lovely review! I like how you describe the angst in the characters a 'little hamster wheel'. That is the perfect description! As for the mystery man, well you'll have to wait and see... Glad you love it and thanks for the review. It's good to know that I haven't lost everyone!
WOW what a cliffy i need the next chapter now!!!!!
Author's Response: Haha I know. I love leaving things on a cliff hanger. Thanks for the review.
Very intriguing turns and twists here. I hope the fellow in the cloak is Snape, but he is the obvious suspect...
But what is with this Paul Trent?
Author's Response: Thanks! Stay tuned to find out ;)
Holy critters, this story is a nail-bite! Absolutely fabulous plot. I can't wait for more. :-D
Author's Response: Awesome! Thanks for your review :)
I'm truly intrigued here, perishing to know who the Death Eater is. Obviously, he was never known, or else, he was presumed dead. Is it the usual suspect?
And Malfoy - the fellow is cracking up. We can all understand why Draco is behaving so idiotically about Katie - he hasn't a clue how to behave any other way. Will he ever realize that Harry is not trying to torture him? Will he let down his guard enough, ever, to have any real friends???
Author's Response: Thanks for the review! I love reading about people who are actually interested in my fics hehe and yes, I do feel like I'm torturing Draco (I feel really bad for him) but it's not Dark/Angsty for nothing! It's good to see that my reasoning behind Draco acting the way he does is coming through to readers and your last question is one I have been asking myself all through the writing of this fic. So, thanks for taking the time to review!