I just read your lovely response to my review... and want to apologise, as I didn't read the warnings before I started reading. So that invalidates about half my review!!! So I just thought I'd leave you another review to say I realised this, and that I think considering this, you've actually done a goob job with the characters - you're right, Draco is just a teenager and if you disregard books 6 and 7, this fic actually makes a lot of sense.
Author's Response: Aw, you don't need to apologise! I freely admit I skip warnings... life is much more fun if you just run into danger! Thank you for the review, again, and I'm really glad you liked this!
I came across this because I've very much enjoyed your Epitaph series. I have to admit, I'm not quite sure what to think about this story. As much as I believe that Draco redeems himself post-war and that obviously he seems more of a bully in Harry's (and particularly Ron's) eyes, but somehow I felt this story pushed it a little too far.
I loved the idea that Draco held the Slytherins together, and that he was the go-to person, however there are times in canon when he seems only to care for himself. But I think you're right in showing that things are very different from his perspective, and we certainly see that more in HBP. So sorry, I'm sitting on the fence a bit here. I suppose what I'm saying is that whilst reading the story I absolutely believed the character and I thought you created him well, but having thought a bit more about it I wonder if you've just pushed his character a bit far.
Also, I can't remember if you put an AU warning on this (sorry), but following canon and since you've said that Pansy is in seventh year, Hermione couldn't be there. I thought her comforting Draco was a nice scene, but again I wondered if she would... I certainly think she is less judgemental of him than Ron and Harry. But anyway, in terms of the story and Pansy's perspective, using Hermione in that situation worked really well. And also since the story is called "If" I think you can get away with less believable situations, because there is a doubt (for me at least) of whether this actually happened.
Also the lyrics of the song were beautiful and really added to the story.
His mother had loved his father wholly, but Lucius had never loved anyone as much as he loved himself. - I think that is very likely what the Malfoy household was like - we see in canon that Narcissa obviously understands love, at least for her son, but Lucius does seem to care only for himself.
I liked how Pansy narrated the story, but it was really about Draco and the complexities of his character. That was very effective.
So I think it was a wonderfully written story, I'm just not sure if you pushed the characters too far.
Author's Response: To address the first few concerns you raised - this story is a kind of alternative seventh year. There is a note on the fic which does mention that the events of sixth year didn't really happen either - so Draco didn't try to kill Dumbledore, etc. This isn't Draco redeeming himself post war, it's Draco mid-war, totally confused as to what to do in his life. I made Draco the go-to-guy for Slytherin because I couldn't imagine that all of the overly ambitious Slytherins would just accept his leadership, unless he had something to give them back. There are times in canon where he is very selfish, but here I've sort of chalked it up to being a teenager - he can't be expected to care about the world before his time, in my mind. There is an AU warning on this. Hermione here is basically a Gryffindor Draco, in relation to comforting people. I think that Hermione would seriously struggle to walk by someone upset, as she's always seemed to me to be particularly caring. The song inspired this fic, it's been one of my favourites for many years (in a non-sequitor, I go to see the band live tomorrow!). There are two other fics in this series, So and Then, which have been posted here already, which take this on a little further. I'm personally at odds with how things might have gone with the Malfoy household. In this fic, Lucius is a cold hearted narcissist, but in others I've written he's a particular family man - I can't quite make up my mind, so I usually mix and match from both. If I did push the characters too far, I can only say that I enjoyed pushing them. Some of my favourite fan fiction pushes characters particulary far past their boundaries, and at the very least, they always make me think about motivations. Hopefully I may have done a little of the same for you. Thanks again, for the review, I'm glad you enjoyed it.
Awww:( you just made me love Draco even more. I feel so bad for him. You make him seem like such a sweetie, very innocent, and just misunderstood. It seems like most stories I've read here have portrayed Draco in this light. The books never really said how he turned out. Did he stay on the "dark" side, or change his ways? I personally like to think the latter.:) This is a really nice one-shot. Good job!
Author's Response: I'm so glad you enjoyed reading this! I have to admit that I adore a bit of a soppy Draco, it just seems more likely that the other other Slytherins would like him if he were nice, and his bite only being for those who hurt him. Look out, I'm in the process of writing a sort-of sequel to this, as soon as as it's finished I'll submit it, I hope you'll enjoy that one too! Much thanks for the review :)