a / n; written for xakemii over on the HPFC forum. I can't say I've written either of these characters before, and this took a different direction than I planned, but I'm pleased enough with it. Also, kudos to anyone who knows the meaning behind the asphodels.

She could never justify the loneliness -- she's not his motherbrothersisterfathergirlfriend -- she's well aware; hyperaware, even. There's no justification for the puffy eyes or the tea tasting of saline. They were nothing (and now he's less than nothing).

She tries not to think about that.

She tries to move on because she's always been something of a pragmatic -- she takes her job at the ministry, she starches her robes, she scowls at the boys when it's appropriate, she kisses Ron when it's expected of her; it's all very routine, and there's something in the order of it that keeps him almost at bay --

but not quite, because sometimes she still finds herself wilting, still finds herself thinking 'what if' and 'if only', still sees him peeking out from behind her husband's grin or her son's shoulders. There are times when she still finds herself trekking down to the village cemetery, settling asphodels against the stark granite, whispering --

("I didn't think you would mind.")

-- and not just meaning the flowers.