Hey there! I'm back again for the BVB, and I'm glad I am.
This really is such an interesting premise, and I like that you've lunged straight into the thick of it. This was such a good chapter because it helped me get to know the characters --their personalities and what sort of issues they're up against-- on such a profound level. And it's only chapter two, so that's impressive! While such an agreement between Draco and anyone may sound a little unbelievable, I think that you've given both of them ample motivation to actually make this work. And after all, you have the fact that Slytherins are opportunistic going for you.
While I'm eager to see what you'll do with the traditional 'fake dating' element in this story, I'm even more eager to see where you'll take this story because I think that it's such an original idea. I don't think I've read any story like it before. And I find myself wondering how canon-compliant this will be/how you'll incorporate parts of the story that we know with your plot.
Looking forward to reading the next chapter!
Hey there! I'm here for the BVB!
So I've been hearing amazing things about this story, so I've had my eyes on it for a while. Therefore, I'm thankful for the opportunity that finally brought me here. I have the softest of spots for Draco Malfoy, and yet, I don't think I've ever read a story with such a premise. I really do love stories that portray him in a good light. And while I don't think you're going to make an angel out of him, at least with how close Emmaleigh is going to have to be to him, you'll get to explore a lot more of his struggle during that year.
I really enjoyed how you've introduced Emmaleigh to us in this chapter. I like her already. A Muggleborn who's scheming practically everyone for a good purpose? At that age? And not completely freaking out and crumbling under the weight of it all (yet?)? I have a feeling I'm going to love her. And I do agree that it was rather cruel of the hat to sort her into Slytherin under such conditions. But the hat does seem rather diabolical most of the time, so it's not unbelievable. And finally, I admire that she at least had friends from other houses. And more importantly, that they were able to put their prejudices aside and trust/befriend a Slytherin.
Honestly, I'm so intrigued by this and I can't wait to read more of it.
Oooh, I really, really liked this.
You capture a lot of the subtleties in Lucius's character - he's clearly still got a lot of his prejudices, but ultimately, what matters most to him is his family. He knows Draco well enough to know that Draco can't cast an Unforgivable and doesn't like being a part of this, and there's no judgment about it - just cold pragmatism about how best to keep his family safe.
I also loved Draco's conversation with Emmaleigh after the fact - you navigated it so, so well. I loved Emmaleigh's reaction to Draco mentioning the "prized possession" - and I loved Draco's confusion, because on the face of it, "Harry destroyed that years ago" is an absolutely insane thing to say, especially since "years ago" = second/third year.
Yeah, Draco, Harry was off being pretty damn productive when you were whining about being mauled by a hippogriff. Not the rub it in, but dude, you've got some shit to make up for! (And he is, in this! Which I love, because reformed!Draco!because!war! is my favorite Draco.)
I love the way you're building their friendship/relationship, too. This is so good!
Also, side note: There are a lot of things you're doing in this story that I usually don't like - I'm generally not a fan of present tense or of OCs who are super close to the trio - but when you do it here, I'm so, so on board with it. IMO, that's a mark of just how strong you are as a writer - is there anything you can't do? <3
I was wondering how you'd reconcile a fair number of people seeming to know her blood status with her not being ratted out, but this makes sense, particularly with Draco in the mix - in an environment like the one that's described as being the case during the SWW, I can definitely see people keeping their mouths shut because they're afraid of seeming like they're not in the know.
I love the dynamic between Draco and Emmaleigh toward the beginning - he's on edge and clearly traumatized, but there are things that he still takes for granted, whereas Emmaleigh is trying to be five steps ahead and overprepared for everything because being underprepared could get her sexually assaulted and murdered in the Malfoys' basement. "Maybe not, but I'm not taking any chances" encapsulates that distinction so perfectly, and it's just another nice touch that makes the world your fic is set in seem so, so real.
I also really, really enjoyed the way you depicted their trip to the Malfoy Manor. Seeing Draco lapse into his old mannerisms made sense to me, and I thought that Lucius and Narcissa's reactions to Emmaleigh were both totally believable. I'm so, so curious to see why Narcissa Malfoy thinks she knows Emmaleigh, because there has to be more to that story.
One tiny note - the formatting seems to have gotten mixed up, because you've got some errant symbols throughout the chapter. It's minor, but I wanted to mention it.
The only bad thing about this story is that there are only three chapters up. You're doing an amazing job. <3
Omggg I did not realize that this would be a duel-pov story! Now I'm even more psyched.
Draco can be so, so hard to handle. He's not a particularly sympathetic character early on in the series, and he's clearly got a lot of prejudice. ("Proud to be a pureblood?" DRACO I AM ROLLING MY EYES AT YOU RIGHT NOW.) The way you walk that line though is, again, really strong - I'm rolling my eyes at Draco, but I love that you included that, because it shows exactly who Draco is in HBP and DH: a prejudiced person who doesn't have the stomach to follow his beliefs to their logical conclusion. "Blatant realization" is a really, really nice way to put it.
He's also grappling with this awful mix of wanting to protect his family and wanting to protect himself, and those two things aren't really compatible. He's a Slytherin, so I'm not shocked that he's come down on the side of protecting his family - and while I sympathize with the struggle, I think that it'll be good for him to have to face his fears rather than hide in a bubble and try to protect himself for what's going on around him. (And not just because I've read a bit out of order. :P)
A+ characterization there, seriously!
I also really like the juxtaposition between his internal thoughts about her and her internal thoughts about him. In the first chapter, I got the sense that there was real and very significant hostility between them, but Draco's thoughts give me a different impression - and between that and the fact that she was literally just thinking about needing to be careful and then jumping in to suggest that a Death Eater seek out the Order for help... and then tell him about the Horcrux...
Objectively, it's not great judgment - but we're not objective, rational people, and I love it, because it fits into the character you've created and makes me really, really like her. It also emphasizes the Gryffindor tendencies she has in particular, and I really like that.
And it really captures how people who are lonely and desperate - like Draco and like Emmaleigh - can really clutch at straws and take risks if it means not being alone anymore - and, for Draco, if it means not being expected to sexually assault Muggleborns/Muggles. (Which - there's such a layer of slime on my soul right now, from your description, largely because it's so horribly and despicably believable.)
Your world-building is excellent, and I'm continuing to really enjoy your writing. Amazing job!
Hey! I came across a chapter of this story in the queue recently, and I found it really intriguing! I made a note of it so I could come back for the snowball fight, and here I am! :P
So there's so, so much that you do so, so well here. The chapter has an amazing flow from the very start. I felt like I was in the compartment with Emmaleigh when she wakes up, and in just a few paragraphs, I know so much about her - including that she's a Muggleborn in Slytherin. Knowing who else is in her year, I'd be hooked on that alone.
I also absolutely adore the way you set the scene. The papers moment on the platform made my blood run cold, and I can totally see that happening - and I think that she's right about her house protecting her there. I can also totally understand her anxiety when it comes to Snape, too, and as soon as I saw that reaction, I knew that there had to be a compelling reason for her to come back to Hogwarts.
Having an OC who's very close to major canon characters can be tough to navigate, but thus far, I think that you're doing a really solid job.
I'm a Gryffinclaw, but I'm a sucker for both a redemptive arc and the idea that "Slytherin" is not synonymous with evil, and in light of that, I love what you're doing here - both with Emmaleigh and with Draco. I love the way you handled the reveal as far as he was considered; her coming across him <i>praying</i> was just such a nice touch, and given what we see in HBP and DH, I don't have a hard time believing that that's how Draco's feeling.
You're an amazing writer, and I loved this chapter. I can't wait to read and review the rest.