Astoria died on a Tuesday morning.

She had gone to St Mungo's to have a routine procedure done. That was what they called such things. A procedure, because surgery was such an ugly word.

She would only be in the hospital overnight, the healers said. She would be sore for a few days, and could gradually resume her normal activities, but no lifting anything for at least a month.

She never made it off the table.

She had an allergic reaction to the anesthesia. The healers had done everything they could, but in the end, it wasn't enough.

She was only sixty one, young for a witch to die.

Her husband of thirty seven years stood dry eyed by her grave. Everyone said he was being strong for Scorpius.

Draco hoped that wherever she was now, she was with Theo, and she was happy.

He knew at some point he would grieve alone. He would miss her presence. She had been Draco's friend and helpmate for all these years. They had more good times than bad. They had presented a united front to the world, and then come home and fallen apart together because neither could have the one they wanted. They had bonded over shared misery rather than love or affection.

Draco didn't regret the years he had spent with Astoria.

He only regretted that neither of them had been truly happy.

The day after the funeral, an owl came. It was short and to the point.

Dear Draco,

I am so very sorry to hear about your wife.


His first thought was shame that he had not sent a similar message when Rolf Scamander had been killed by a manticore twelve years ago.

His second was that he could see Luna now.

He sent a note back, inviting her to meet him for tea at Madame Puddifoot's the next day. He didn't receive a response, but he went anyway.

He waited for nearly twenty minutes. He was just standing to leave when she walked in the door.

Her hair was more grey than blonde now. Draco couldn't say much, as his was mostly gone. Then she smiled at him, and he was eighteen again.

They talked of all the things that had happened over the years that they had missed in one another's lives. They thought they had talked an hour, maybe two.

They were shocked when the manager told them that the shop had been closed for over an hour, the staff was finished cleaning up, and everyone would really like to go home now.

Draco walked Luna outside, and they both looked up at the stars.

"Where do we go from here?" he asked.

"Forward." she smiled.