This was great. I absolutely enjoyed the plot, the angst, and the romance.
I wish it could have had a final romantic scene though, haha.
But still, amazing! Loooooved it!
This is the best fanfiction first chapter I have ever read. So different and exactly what I needed. I just want to give this chapter it's own award before I move onto the rest of the story! Ugh, so good.
This story was a great read. It had far more action and character-building than one might expect in a fic of its size, yet it wasn't so dense that it was difficult to get through.
I liked the anthropromorphization of Hermione's scars as a manifestation of Bellatrix when she was in a triggering place, because it contains that dark, aching realism for Hermione that she is someone who condemns part of herself for a pain she cannot bear to face, let alone conquer. And also how she associated Draco with that crippling fear, as well.
I think the real victory in the story, however, was the characterization of Draco. There are many, many reasons why Draco being someone's trauma counselor should fail dramatically, but you made it work by association with recovery rather than the actual trauma itself. I started reading the story with the expectation that this premise would fail, so imagine my surprise when you not only gave Hermione and Draco common ground, you gave them the time and space they needed to stand on that ground at the same time long enough to find one another.
One thing that did crop up for me as a bit of a stumbling block was the appearance of the Mudblood scar and the fact that it isn't how it happened in book canon, but rather in the films. One reason I could think of to validate the deviation is that we never directly saw Hermione's torture, rather than heard it, and that Harry often lacks empathetic perception of others and could have missed the scars while they were fleeing the Manor, but I digress. Most of the stories I read are ones I moderate, so I'm constantly on the prowl for things like this.
Moving on, the mental health aspect of this story was stunning. Anyone who has had PTSD, I think, could point out things that they understand and identify with. That pressing feeling of being broken and pathetic, and it was not the fault of the person/places/things that broke them but their own weakness. It also tickles depression in that way, as well, which makes both Hermione's illness and her recovery feel real to me.
Overall, this is a story I probably never would've read, as most of the stories I read are from the queue or of a pairing I ship and enjoy, but this has been a welcome aberration. Your writing is rich yet clear in its intent, and despite the pairing being one of the most abused in fanfic, your characterization lends credibility and believability to both the plot and the premise.
Well done, and thank you for sharing!
Author's Response: Hello Jess!
I appreciate you giving this story a chance. I agree that the Dramione pairing can be "abused", though I try not to be a perpetrator of too many fanfic felonies, hehe. I completely understand the stumbling block you found, which I should probably clarify. I wrote this fic for a fest I participated in on a Dramione-centric website called Hawthorn and Vine. The prompt was a gorgeous piece of fanart ("Branded" by Glutton - please do look it up!) that prominently featured Hermione's "Mudblood" scar. I couldn't very well leave that detail out! And actually, I think the inclusion of Hermione's scar in the movie was genius. It provides a beautiful parallel between Draco and Hermione and is a physical manifestation of the trauma Hermione must've suffered after her torture. I'm flattered that the mental health issues I dealt with felt real to you. I agree that Draco acting as a counselor is very likely to fail, but I never really considered taking the story in that direction. I think there is enough between them that they can support and heal each other. And I'm always pleased to hear that my character-building is on point. That can make or break a story.
Thanks again for taking the time to read this story and leave such a wonderful, detailed review! I'm glad I could show you that there is some merit to the good ship Dramione, and hope that perhaps you'll check out some more of it! ;D
I love this story. It's short but just long enough to capture someone's heart. I ship Dramione completely and am writing a few of my own fics- I just hope they turn out as good as this! I must say that I just wanted them to kiss! Ah! But, oh well, I can leave that part to my imagination. =) Great job and I hope to see more of your talent elsewhere.
Author's Response: This piece was written for a fest on Hawthorn and Vine, a Dramione-only archive that you should definitely check out (and join!) if you're looking for a place with serious writers, fic, and support. Anyway, the artwork that inspired this piece is archived on that site: it's called "Branded", and the artist is Glutton. Check it out, and you'll get your wish. ;) I hope your fics turn out well, too. Again, check out Hawthorn and Vine as a resource for meta, betas, general cheerleading, etc. I'm archived over there under the same username. Thanks so much for reading!! I'm glad you enjoyed it. :D
You said a lot in very few words in the Epilogue and I got the romance I wanted:D I really liked this story and I'll be back to read more in the near future.
Author's Response: Hehe, yes! I can't resist the romance. I'm glad I was able to convey the emotion correctly, even though this chapter was shorter. I do hope you read more of my work! I look forward to hearing your thoughts. :) Thank you so much for reading and reviewing!
Thankfully Hermione had the courage to tell Bellatrix she was dead. I probably would've fainted. It's strange what fear and your own mind can do to you.
Author's Response: Strange indeed. I probably would've fainted right along with you, but who knows? Maybe we're both much braver than we think we are. ;) Thank you so much for reading!
Great story! The action in chapter three moved very quickly. There were a couple of sections I did have to read twice just to make sure I was following it correctly, but the underlying emotion was fantastic! You are a vivid storyteller! Nice job.
Author's Response: Thank you! I'm glad you enjoyed it! (And btw - I'm uploading the new "Orchids" chapter today! :D Just thought I'd let you know.)
I am not a great fan of Draco/Hermione pairing, but I enjoyed this story.
Author's Response: Thank you! I'm glad you gave my story a chance. :)
I loved the chapter ending-the rest was very good also--when Narcissa told Hermione that she was good for Draco also. Maybe I will get my romance out of this story:D
Author's Response: Thank you! Even though Narcissa doesn't have a huge role in this fic, she does have an important one: she gives Hermione confidence, and confirms the suspicions that had been starting to sprout. ;)
I think Hermione needs more psychological help--more intense therapy. I don't think Draco's motives are bad and I don't think he had any idea of the effect he has on her--until the elevator incident. I hope this ends up as a romance:D
Author's Response: I rarely stray far from romance, so you might get your wish. ;) However, I did want this to be an exploration of PTSD and reactions to trauma, as well. Hopefully I've merged them successfully. Thank you for reading!!
Better and better... This story has so much depth and emotion. I enjoy how you build the connections between your characters. Good work!
Author's Response: Thank you! :D
Author's Response: Thank you!!
I agree with Chelle - I could feel Hermione's pain. The way you wrote about her looking into Draco's eyes and seeing Bellatrix's made me wonder if there was more to how Hermione felt when impersonating her. I can't wait to read more!
Author's Response: Oooh, that's a route I didn't explore, but an interesting connection! Thank you so much for giving the fic a try and leaving a review!
Wow! Powerful writing. I could feel her agony in every episode you described. I had wondered where you had been... Missing updates on "Trouble With Orchids"... Now I'll be watching for BOTH stories!
Author's Response: Thank you! Yes, real life has pulled me away for a bit, but I'm still around! I'm submitting a new chapter of "Trouble" today, and the next chapter of this will probably come along sometime next week. Thank you so much for taking the time to look for me! I wish this site were better at e-mail updates.
Well written. I know boys (Ron, Harry and me) are stupid, but you would have thought they might have noticed something was upsetting Hermione.
Author's Response: Aw, you gotta give the boys and yourself some credit! Hermione's not exactly forthcoming with her problems, and it's been my experience that the people closest to you are often the last to notice things. Thank you for reading! I'm glad you're enjoying it so far!