Hello! I'm here to review your next entry!
Your Drastoria is always amazing, so I was extremely excited to read this. I adore how even this early in the relationship, Draco is exceptionally respectful of her boundaries (ex. not pressing the issue of why Astoria wears long sleeves as to not upset her). I absolutely have to start reading this series chronologically at some point because I would absolutely love to see the progression of their relationship over time (though you do an absolutely fantastic job of making these one-shots work as stand-alone pieces).
Of course, given Draco's past, it makes sense that he's always so guarded, but I do love that the mere idea of Astoria inviting him in to her place made him temporarily forget all precautions (though I do feel bad that they were caught kissing by her brother--that must've been embarrassing).
The conversation surrounding Astoria's scars (not only the old ones inflicted by the Carrow's torture but the newer ones as well), was extremely heavy, as it should have been. Understandable, Astoria still harbors resentment towards the people who were on that side during the war and it makes sense that she lashes out a little at Draco because of his alignment at the time. The Carrow's were truly awful people and you painted that quite clearly in this, even with the brief depiction of one of the things they did.
I also love Draco's self-analysis and criticism in this. He's extremely reflective of everything he'd done wrong, calling himself a coward (still) and being admittingly open about how much he'd done wrong and how much he, even indirectly, harmed people--even Astoria. I know he thinks it doesn't equate to respect and maturity but it's some significant (and reasonable, thank you) character growth from what we've seen in canon.
I think one of my favorite aspects of Draco and Astoria's relationship is the fact that they're both a little (and very reasonably) unstable mentally--the effects of the war must have been downright traumatizing to many people, so I really respect the way you've weaved it into who these characters are: broken, untrusting, healing, learning. When I read them together the way you write them, they feel effortless together while interacting (even when one of them is snapping at the other or trying to run away). There's something so simply natural about the way you write the two together and it makes it extremely believable that they can help fix each other.
Hmm... This is very interested. I'm so used to reading from women's point of view from you, and more so from Astoria's that I felt like a fish out of water reading from Scorpius's. While I do believe that it was really interesting to read things from Draco's point of view for once, to see how he percieved Astoria's harsh comments on his past --apparently with regret and understanding of her motives which makes my heart flutter a litte... I do have to honestly say that I enjoy reading it from Astoria's POV more. Maybe and biased and maybe I was just missing the sass. But that's just a personal little thing that doesn't detract from how interesting this story is.
It was nice to be in Draco's head though, to see the extent of his regret and how much he cared for Astoria. It's also a nice contrast here to see how he you used to ignore/turn a blind eye to what his side was doing during the war, but now he noticed every little thing and he felt responsible for damage that he may have not been directly involved in. It shows how much he has grown and changed since the war. And it confirms that he is worthy of our girl Astoria. (Did you see how I said 'our' like I had some claim over her? God, I love her so much!)
Kudos to you on pushing yourself with this and experimenting with different POVs for the same scenes. I can't begin to imagine how you managed to come with new things to write about the scene. It takes real talent, and I'm not surprised you were up to the challenge.
Oooh, one from Draco's point of view! I know I technically read the one with the elder Malfoys first, but I'm going to pretend I didn't and reread it in order to reorient myself.
So, this was interesting since it was so much shorter than "The Way You Say My Name." I don't know if that was a good thing, since I really would have liked the chance to get into Draco's voice more before it was over, but since this was written during NaNo, I understand.
As for Draco's voice, it wasn't quite as stronga as Astoria's, but I still liked it! The one thing I wasn't as sure about was Draco referring to Voldemort as You-Know-Who. I feel like he would call him the Dark Lord out of habit, despite not having loyalties to him for a long time. He was never really raised to think of him in the fearful terms the rest of the world was. Other than that, I felt like you embodied Draco well. I would have liked a bit more about his thoughts on Astoria and their relationship though!
It was really interesting to see this scene through Draco's eyes. I really feel like he's falling in love with Astoria, despite the struggles they have as a couple and the struggles she's having personally. I love that he's willing to stick with her anyway.
I noticed a few typos/errors that I'll point out for you! 1) "It’s not like I wouldn’t gone and kissed her anyway" is missing have in there after "wouldn't." 2) "It was jarring to see how many and how many there were" reads oddly. Should "how many" be repeated like that? 3) "There were dozens of reasons not to the stretched across both of her arms." is, I think, missing that were after "not to" (and losing "the").
I really loved the third to last line (which you used in the summary) and wonder if the story could even be ended there instead of with the current "Apparently, my traumatized and somewhat combative girlfriend who had very nearly been a Gryffindor had moved to the very top of that list. Objectively, there was definitely irony in that, but just now, I couldn’t see the humor." It was really powerful with the note of "what I'm afraid to lose." We know it's Astoria, so I don't know if that needed to be explained more.
All-in-all, this was a good foray into Draco's mind! I really adored the scene this was taken from, so it was good to see his point of view.
On I go to more stories!
Hi Branwen! I'm so glad I get a chance to read some of your lovely writing again!
I think I've seen some tweets form you that you've been writing about Draco and Astoria recently, and I found this story about them so intriguing. You know I'm always so fascinated by the way that you build up your world and your distinct version of the Harry Potter unvierse, and I've read a couple of your Astoria stories before, and I love your characterisation of her.
I think what really struck me about this story was how different your portrayal of the relationship between Draco and Astoria is to most of the stories that I've read about the two of them. Astoria is usually cast as the woman who saves Draco from the self-destructive behaviours that he falls into after the war, so I'm really fascinated by this depiction. Your Astoria is such a complex character and I loved the way that you managed to touch on some of the scars (both physical and mental) that she bears, and Draco's realisation of those - the fact that he's not the only one who has suffered, or is still suffering, and the way that he's been kind of oblivious to that side of her for a while.
The description of the start of their relationship - from friends to a pair who "start kissing" and then it grows from there - was interesting. It's really believable with the way that you've portrayed them, and I'm curious about the idea of Draco being an enabler for Astoria - it doesn't seem to hint at the healthiest relationship, and I'm so intrigued to know whether you see that behaviour and dynamic continuing, or whether they work to help pull each other out of it.
Astoria's reactions and defensiveness when Draco asks her about her scars was brilliant - very authentic, and it also shows something of the relationship and trust between them at this point. She trusts him in some measure, but not enough to open up yet. I really enjoyed reading this story and I'm hoping to get to read some more of your Draco/Astoria stories over this month!