Wow I liked this one a lot. I could FEEL Draco's pain, and it was like his thoughts were mine. Nice job, maybe you should try writing a love story between Draco and Astoria because you've really got the characters down. Great story!
Hi there Mere!
What a lovely story. I always enjoy reading birth and wedding scenes – they’re full of emotion and tension, whether good or bad. Draco is one of my favourite characters to write, and getting him right in fanfiction is really had to do. I think you did a fantastic job with his character, as well as just cooking up a really engaging scenario.
A great deal of the mood of the narrative came from your focus on descriptions, especially physical ones like describing body language. The focus on the senses, both visual and auditory really created a great deal of atmosphere and really pulled the reader into the scene. You chose to start off without a general background introduction, and let the scene speak for itself. Apart from instantly creating a bit of mystery (why exactly was Draco sitting on a chair when his wife was inside?), it created that anticipation that Draco himself was feeling, waiting and waiting. I think the emotions he was feeling came across very well through the reader seeing his fingers winding together etc. I loved the onomatopoeia of the clock ticking; I was almost holding my breath with each beat.
I just wanted to pick out this line: “Another infinite timeless, soundless space.” I was a little confused reading this. Did you mean, “Another infinite, timeless, soundless space”? I think it would sound better if you cut “infinite” out from there, because the phrasing is just a bit awkward, and infinite and timeless seem synonymous really.
The repetition of this in the “slaps” late on when Draco is pacing the waiting room was a very nice touch, and this time the pacing was much quicker, with his thoughts in turmoil. There’s a definite quickening in pace and increase in action through to the end of the piece, which kept it from becoming monotonous or dragging.
I also love the language and the description you used throughout. The “bold, merciless black numbers” stood out for me especially, since I know that feeling of being in a tense situation where even ordinary things around you tend to take on a bit of your mood. In this case the black numbers took on a threatening character. I also love the way Draco is focusing on all these minor details, you usually wouldn’t think about. This just really shows that you don’t need to describe every though running through a character’s mind for the reader to understand them. Draco is distracted and agitated and confused, and this really came across.
I loved the term “IRMW” too; was very creative and I really enjoyed reading the whole scene of the arrival with all the Healers scuttling around. The birthing scene was also very well written. From the descriptions of Astoria’s appearance, Draco’s escalating emotions, and then to cool and collected Healers, you portrayed it all very well.
I also loved that bit where you described all the lists – of names, and colours and shops. That’s probably how I would respond to something like that, and I can imagine any guy, not just Draco, feeling very far out of their comfort zone.
Looking at the characters themselves:
I have to admit that I was a little taken aback by Draco’s first thoughts. After following him through several tense moments, the words “stupid baby” didn’t quite fit right to me personally. I thought that he was in the waiting room as a nervous father, worried about his wife and how the delivery was going. Hearing suck bland negativity was a bit shocking. However, later on when he went on to explain that he “wasn’t ready for that kind of permanence. That kind of dedication,” I understood it much better. I think that you painted a very good picture of Draco caught in a characteristic display of cowardice. He had been spoiled all his life, and then hopefully had some sense knocked into him after everything they went through in the battle, but the moment that things seem to be going well in his life he goes back to that self-centred attitude. Things were good as they were, they were safe and comfortable the way they were. A baby was going to ruin it all for him. I felt like slapping him at that point and telling him to just grow up and face life head-on. (Do you ever feel that way, like you want to smack a fictional character?)
Another thing which must have been going round and round his head was of course the fact that “A child could grow up and become a copy of himself.” This was a great point, and part of me wishes that this line of thought was explored a bit more in the story. He then goes back into the pit of self pity (so life isn’t fair, get a grip...) which was again very in character. I do feel that Astoria was responsible for the majority of the change we see at the end though. The Healer’s line of “his son” might have made him realise that he was missing a piece of himself coming into the world, but I wish somehow that there was a bit more reason behind the change. It would have been nice to see Draco take that thought of being scared of his son turning into a copy of himself and turn it around, think that he had the chance to be to his child what his own father wasn’t to him. To think about the opportunity, the “miracle” as Astoria said, that has happened to him. That being said, maybe that’s the real tragedy in this story. The fact that at the end of the day, the last thought which drives Draco to say “Yes” was that it was “for her”.
His love for Astoria came through very clearly, and it broke my heart in the end when he thought that she should have been drawing his blood and not her own. Even though we didn’t see too much of her, I really enjoyed the way you characterized Astoria. I couldn’t help but think that she was much too good for Draco.
The Healer to me was interesting... I’m not sure she was needed really – she was a very rude and forward, I don’t think someone who’s in a professional career would go off on someone like that. After all, they must be used to extreme emotions when people are giving birth. I’m just assuming she was quite young and had a bit of a temper. I can’t help but feel like she was a bit of a “deux ex machina” character though – suddenly there just when Draco needed someone to tell him exactly what she told him. Would she even have time to stand there and lecture Draco when she’s supposed to be assisting the woman actually giving birth? What might have been a good idea is to have used Astoria’s mother, or even Narcissa. Have one of them rush in and find Draco just hanging around outside and give him a talking to. That would seem much more believable, and might also have a bigger impact than some random woman saying the same words. Speaking of - is there a reason none of the Malfoy or Greengrass family showed up for the baby’s birth? They could just Floo over instantly, couldn’t they?
Just a little thing I picked up one: watch your tenses. When Draco thought back to the earlier scene with Astoria in the back for the emergency vehicle, sometimes you left off a “had”, jumping a little from past to the past perfect tense.
Anyway, Thanks for a lovely story! You did a fab job with the characters and the whole concept, and the critique is just me being picky. The best thing about this story was that I felt really sucked into the scene, and I connected to Draco and could empathise with what he was feeling. Really well done on this!
Author's Response: Wow, what an incredible review! Thanks Elene! To be honest, the Healer was a bit of "deux es machina" character. But I actually do have this pretty vivid picture of her in my mind--someone young, maybe just out of school or Healer training with all these romantic ideals about life, who now that she's actually seeing a bit of life has had them all crashing down. She's tired and frustrated and Draco--a physical embodiment of some of her crushed ideals--just happened to be there. Hmm. I may have just formed a plot bunny . . . As for a reason why their parents weren't there, well, um, I forgot about them? Gah, thank you again for this lovely review! (and, yes, I feel like slapping fictional characters a lot) <3Mere
AWSOME!WILL YOU RIGHT ORE???
I have a confession to make. I wasn't sure if I was going to like your characterization of Draco. The first two paragraphs didn't predispose me to empathize with him. He's mentally dithering about uncomfortable plastic chairs and has rounded shoulders?
And then I read the third paragraph.
The clock on the wall across from him ticked agonizingly slow. Tick. A gap in time that seemed to last hours. Tock. Another infinite timeless, soundless space. Tick. Draco stared at it, something at long last capturing his attention. He was pulled in, mesmerised by the sluggish tick-tocking and the bold, merciless black numbers.
I read it and immediately thought, "THIS is the beginning. This is in medias res, unexpected and gripping in a way the set up of the prior paragraphs failed to accomplish.
A lot of writers end up cutting off "warm up" sentences or paragraphs to find the true beginning of a story. I hope you'll consider doing the same. It would make such a difference!
You did a brilliant job showing Draco's insecurities. He doesn't want the baby to come between him and his wife, doesn't want the responsibility or the anxiety of worrying he won't be a good father. He's used to being the one comforted and petted, and now his wife needs his strength and support.
He definitely had issues to work though in record time. :)
While your portrayal of Draco was real and compelling, the character that didn't ring true to me was the Assistant Healer. Health professionals are just that--professional--and for her to go off on Draco, culminating with "what kind of husband would abandon their wife" left me shaking my head. If you'd had Astoria's mum say those accusing lines, one of her friends, the emotional outburst would be believable. From an Assistant Healer it came across as author-needs-Draco-to-hear-tough-talk-and-get-his-head-on-straight contrivance. If the lambasting was cut out, and the "she's been calling and calling" was kept, it would be effective without offending on multiple levels.
Although I wanted to use a Silencio on the Assistant Healer giving all medical professionals a bad name, :D, I soon forgot her while reading the ending.
Stories like yours, like Draco, are wanted and needed.
Smiles all round. :)
Mere, my dear, this was an enjoyable little read. Right off, I could really tell that you understand Draco on many levels. I could feel the insecurity, even anger, he felt through the words you used to describe his emotions, and also the way that you presented them. I thought this was particularly accurate characterization here:
It wasn’t that he didn’t love Astoria – he did. He just wasn’t sure he could love a child.It shows the immaturity that Draco has as well as his insecurity. You recognized many of the things that Draco would likely worry about when becoming a father – particularly his child repeating his steps or himself repeating the actions his father took with him. We know that the Malfoy’s loved each other, but somehow, I can’t see Lucius expressing that love in an open or affectionate way. You showed Draco’s worry about being a father well by saying that he wasn’t sure he could love a child, which I think would stem from his father being unable to express his love for Draco. I thought it was perfectly in his character to think that way.
A child that could grow up and become a copy of himself.
He wasn’t ready to watch it. He didn’t want it. He was scared of it.
Draco blinked in surprised. “No,” he said. “I think I know where my wife is.”This sentence was perhaps my favorite of Draco’s dialogue because it showed his arrogance and superiority perfectly. He is not one to be questioned or told he is wrong, and I liked that you showed that side of him here. In fact, you showed many sides of his personality throughout the story – from the insecurity, to the regret at not being there for Astoria, to his love for her – it was all varied and yet still in character for the most part.
Personally, I thought that some parts of the story could have used a little more detail or description. The story’s pace moved in a hurry that didn’t quite fit Draco’s unease and his worry about becoming a father and how it would affect his relationship with Astoria. Had you allowed for more of his thoughts or feelings to be explained, I think the impact would have been much more powerful, and the story’s pace would have felt more natural. And although I found your paragraphs with description somewhat lacking, what really detracted from the story being great for me was the use of one or two line paragraphs. It became repetitive and dull after so many times. Where as others it fit, like here:
He felt weak. He felt powerless.This is great for the emphasis on how badly Draco hates feeling weak and powerless, but with the next few lines, that emphasis is taken away by the repetition of the short paragraphs.
And he hated it.
And he hated it.If you were to put at least the second and third sentences together into one paragraph, it would help to remove some of the repetition and give more power to the ‘It wasn’t fair.’ line as well.
Draco fell into his chair, putting his head in his hands.
The baby he didn’t want, causing the one thing in the world he did love pain.
It wasn’t fair.
That being said, I loved the repetition of ‘Your son. My son.’ as I could really picture that going through Draco’s head many a time in that moment. It’s the moment that he’s brought back down to Earth and realizes that he is going to be a father regardless of whether he is ready or wants the baby, and you showed that through the repetition.
Slap! She’s in pain. She needs me. I want to go to her. Slap! It’s that – that thing! Do you really want to see it? Slap! I love Astoria. Slap! Do you want to watch her go through all that pain and then look at it like it’s the only thing that matters in the world? Slap! Astoria – she’s screaming again. Slap! Because of that awful, wretched, life-destroying – Slap! Astoria!The interruption of the ‘slaps’ in this paragraph threw off the flow of the story, and detracted from my understanding of Draco’s thoughts here so that I had to reread the paragraph to fully grasp it. I think you could fix this, though, by removing a couple of the slaps so that they don’t break up his thoughts so much, if that makes sense. I think it would improve the flow and allow the reader to remain inside Draco’s head and captured in the story.
The last thing I want touch on is the hospital. This sentence brought me out of the story and reads awkwardly to me. “in the back of the emergency vehicle they used to transport people who were unfit to Apparate to St. Mungo’s.” The last bit of the sentence explaining what the vehicle is used for really doesn’t need to be there, and it detracts from the sentence because it drags the flow down while leaving the reader feeling slightly underestimated, as thought they wouldn’t have been able to figure out why the person couldn’t have Apparated. It’s not wrong, but it breaks up the flow so much that it really isn’t needed.
Also, having the Healer scolding Draco was just a lovely touch that really allowed for the story to feel as though they were in a hospital setting. I could just picture her in my mind because I’ve seen nurses do just that.
All in all, this was a good little read that I enjoyed very much because of the characterization of Draco. He was just represented very well in this, and being a Draco fanatic, I can’t help but love a good Draco story.
The baby he didn’t want, causing the one thing in the world he did love pain.
-I'm fairly sure there should be a comma after 'love'.
Slap! She’s in pain. She needs me. I want to go to her. Slap! It’s that – that thing! Do you really want to see it? Slap! I love Astoria. Slap! Do you want to watch her go through all that pain and then look at it like it’s the only thing that matters in the world? Slap! Astoria – she’s screaming again. Slap! Because of that awful, wretched, life-destroying – Slap! Astoria!
-I think what wasn't in parentheses should've been, and vice versa. I think it makes it flow better.
Draco didn’t hear anything she said, except for the last two words. Your son. Your son. Your son. My son. Before, the baby had always been just that – “the baby”. No gender, no one that it belonged to. Just “the baby” or “it”. And now, this woman, with her burning eyes and harsh tone, had gendered it and given it a family.
-I LOVE this line! It's my favorite!
This was a wonderful story, one of the VERY few I've seen that characterizes Draco well.
Good job, Mere! I miss all ya'll on the Forums.
I absolutely loved this! You wrote Draco's character very well and I thought it was great how you made him pacing around the room, back and forth, adding to the anxiety of not only him, but also the reader. I loved how Draco was unsure about having a baby, while Astoria was very happy about it, even Draco's parents were. My favorite parts were when he repeated the Healer's words in his head, going from Your son. My son. Her son. Our son. It created a very nice feeling of Draco being in a daze and only catching bits of what the Healer was actually saying. The ending was great, where Draco finally comes to terms with himself and accepts the idea of a child, just as the child was coming out.
In addition to the wonderful story, you wrote this increadibly well. The arguements Draco had with himself were very well done and it made the reader feel exactly as he did. Overall, I really loved this story and I'm glad I read it.
Here's your Easter Egg. I really liked your story. It had great discription and the way you portrayed Draco was amazing and new. I liked his thoughts on the baby and seeing his wife in pain. I also liked him getting yelled at for abandoning his wife.
Mere! Fellow MNFF-er, writer, reader, SPEW-er, LJ-er, 'Puff, aaannddd SPEW Buddy! :D Don't kill me for such a bad starting, I'm just your drunk, slightly sane Buddy. :$ And forgive the wrong spelling, I'm just trying to have a dramatic affect though I think it isn't working much. Oh, well. I'll go on with the review, 'kay? Yes. Great! :D
Well, so I've been reading lots of Hermione/Draco since the last couple of weeks, and I do mean lots. So reading Astoria/Draco was a bit of a strange yet vastly pleasant experience. This is basically the first fic I've come across which shows the pairing in a optimistic light, that it just wasn't an arranged pure-blooded marriage despite the outcome of the war. That Draco is capable of loving and being loved by a normal girl, and they got married and now are having a baby. A typical love marriage. Excellent job in having it all positive. :)
Anyway, that aside, let's carry on with the story. :) In the starting you mention the 'hard plastic chairs' in passing. It's just a random observation made by Draco whilst his mind is busy with more important things like a pregnant wife and babies. But this little thought shows us that Draco's been living a life of luxury, that he's probably never sat on a plastic chair before, more like a proper, regal looking cushioned chairs. A tiny thing but it gives us an insight about his general lifestyle.
Draco loves Astoria. We know that. You've shown that. But you've also slipped in several of Draco's obvious traits we see in the books, which makes him seem so real and completely in character and you've also shown the 'reformations'. Fine, so his heart never was into the Death Eater stuff, but he wasn't a saint either. He's selfish. You tell us that that he still kind of is that by his thought about the 'stupid' baby coming on Christmas Eve so he can't celebrate with his wife. But, Astoria thinks this as a miracle. Draco does not like the idea of a baby, whilst Astoria is delighted. This shows that even though Draco adores Astoria, they clearly have different opinions about some things, that Astoria would like to see a... result about their relationship to prove how real and strong it is but not Draco. Though when we look from his point of view, it makes sense. He didn't like his teenage life. And he doesn't want his son to have a bad life either. Further ahead, you show that he's kind of a coward, which is true. He stays away from the room where his wife's taken to, choosing to stay outside, even though she wants him to be with her. But he's changed, you show that by him being truthful to himself. He's acknowledged it to himself that he might not be able to have fatherly feelings for the unborn child. He's afraid he won't act like a proper father, and that would be unfair with the kid. So basically, he's worried about the child too, in a roundabout manner. He's also being protective about Astoria. He dislikes the kid who's hurting his love, and also the fact that he can't do anything to prevent it. He loves her so, that he's unwilling to share her with anyone, not even a baby. Their baby. Damn, how sweet is that? But again, in the end, he isn't with her when she needs him most. He needs to be prompted on by a Healer. Typical Draco. But he does realise that Astoria needs him, and goes to her. He accepts the wonder that is to be their baby. Their son.
Mere, hon, I loved this one shot. It's very sweet, and very real. I also really like how the baby is yet to be born. That you haven't mentioned his name yet. That in the fic, Scorpius Malfoy is not alive [like, well, not a whole human being... I'm sure you get what I mean]. It's more of Draco getting all prepared. Over all, great job, SPEW Buddy! :D *hugs*
For the most part, I really like this story when I first read it during the SPEW swap. It’s still a delightful story, but, of course, since I’m examining it more closely for review purposes I’m seeing more of the good and bad. Bear with me as I try to phrase my thoughts as I read this a second time.
The opening sentence is written as if they are Draco’s direct thoughts, and so that thought before the comma should be set off with italics, not just the comma.
In the second paragraph, I know exactly how Draco looks, but it’s worded in such an awkward way. I’ve totally been in that situation in my own writing, where you know exactly how it looks in your head, and you can write that exactly for your readers, and they see it, but it’s just worded in such an awkward, almost gangly way. First, it’s just a short little two-sentence paragraph that could perhaps be combined with something else. It’s just that when you have such a short paragraph set off and it’s just narration, it’s usually some significant kind of thing that is supposed to stand out from other things. But I don’t know really what else you could add to it, or what you would add it to, because it doesn’t really belong in the paragraph that precedes or follows it. So I guess I’m saying that it feels weird, but I have no solid suggestion as to how to fix that. Maybe add something about how it’s a very stark contrast for him to be looking so worried and haggard and to be hunched over when he’s usually such a cool, calm, and collected person, as is fitting for any Malfoy. You know? Okay, second, that second sentence’s wording is what brings so much of my attention to this paragraph in the first place. Maybe something like, “He leaned forward with his elbows on his knees, shoulders hunched over, his hair falling messily into his eyes.” That’s the image I got in my head, anyway.
Bah, I really didn’t mean to spend so long going over those couple of things in the beginning because, overall, I think this opening section is brilliantly done. The first six paragraphs set up such an anxious atmosphere, and it has that constant undercurrent of Draco’s annoyance, which culminates in his thinking, “Happy Christmas to me. Stupid baby,” etc. The first time I read this, I was very in the zone with Draco, but the second time, I’m much more amused by his thoughts than empathetic to them. Which isn’t bad at all. I just am telling you about it.
Okay, I know this could sound lame, but I just want to say that I love that you have the IRMW thing. As a writer myself, I know that these kinds of details sometimes go overlooked, but I know that I like to hear that people appreciated them. And I did here. Because when an author has thought of these kind of things and covered all the ground with background and setting, it makes the story so much richer. Of course there would be medical people, and you have given them a very logical name, and after you introduce it to your readers, you revert very naturally and practically to the abbreviation that the witches and wizards certainly use themselves. Very nice, Mere.
A child that could grow up and become a copy of himself.
He wasn’t ready to watch it. He didn’t want it. He was scared of it.
Again, two more brilliant insights into Draco’s head, and they’re powerful and very legitimate. I think these two lines in particular show greater insight into why Draco is not anticipating this whole fatherhood thing. It’s not just some random aversion, he has some valid reasons. It shows such a human side of Draco.
I love that you move from Draco’s discomfort into Astoria’s excitement, and the excitement that spreads to his parents as well. I love the list of lists. More of those small details that give the story such a realistic feeling.
And then we move into this section where we see the other reason Draco is not happy about this baby. His extreme love for Astoria makes him resent the hardship of the pregnancy and what that baby is putting his wife through with this whole birth thing, like, how selfish of the kid, right? And I’m very glad that the assistant healer gives Draco a talking-to for his behavior. I had initially expected her to kind of be sympathetic and then usher him in, because that’s more typical for any stories or television or movies, and so I liked this refreshing turn of events. Someone needed to talk some sense into Draco, after all.
I also appreciate that you don’t end this in typical fashion, with Draco seeing his son and instantly falling in love and getting over all of his apprehension and resentment. That’s something that is very expected, and I think that the absence of it makes the theme you’re conveying more powerful. This story isn’t about Scorpius at all, it’s only about Draco and his love for Astoria. I like that you kept that central at all times. You did a very good job with this story.
Author's Response: akljteiom2ntklkhalkjgrllk alkjhg lkqagj; aihj l l l; Reviewer of the Month, indeed! -dies- Thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you, thank you! for such an amazing review. I know what you mean about that line in the opening section . . . I'll have to see what I can do with it. Ahh! I love you for pointing out the IRMW thing. I didn't spend a lot of time thinking about it, but I did spend enough to do a little dance after reading that you appericated those details. ;-) Thank you, again - I really can't say it enough - for your wonderful, thoughtout, helpful comments. =D xox Mere
hey, this was a really good fic! I usually don't go around reading Draco fics but i think you've changed my mind. =) Your Draco was very well-written, me thinks...
ps : spelling error in your chapter end notes. :) accept, not except?
Author's Response: Yay! A convert! -beams- Thank you so much! Arg. -facepalm- Thanks for pointing that out. -rolls eyes at self- Maybe I should get my beta to look over my notes too . . . >.> xox Mere
I still have a hard time picturing Draco as a father! Nice to see a one shot depicting his internal struggle about becoming a father. Great job
Author's Response: I know, right? I can't really see it either.... Thanks so much for reading and reviewing! xox Mere