forty-one

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THE STARS WINKED AT HER, a dull reminder that time was passing by.

Even with the occasional cloud floating overhead, she could see the stars better than she ever had before. Including the Astronomy Tower back at Hogwarts, which was meant to be the best.

There was hardly a difference between the location they now resided compared to the one they had been in a couple days ago when they first started the hunt for Harry Potter. It was a small conclave made by trees, an opening above them to the sky above.

Astronomy had always been one of her favourite classes at Hogwarts. Not only was it the only class that occurred at night, she found stars fascinating.

The very stars she looked upon tonight would still be here in thousands of years, even when she was not; they had always been here, and they always will be. It was surreal to think, a concept she doubted she would ever be able to fully grasp.

Footsteps sounded in the deep of the night, crunching softly against the grass. Her sword and wand lay discarded within reach, but she made no attempt to arm herself. She knew those footsteps better than she knew the sound of her own heartbeat.

"What are you doing?" he hissed. "It's the middle of the night!"

Theo came to a stop, standing by her head and obstructing her view of the sky. A slash of moonlight illuminated the top half of his face in a pale white glow. She knew his lips would be twisted into a frown just by the way his eyes were crinkled.

"Thinking," she said blandly.

He opened his mouth, most likely intending to argue but decided against it. He seemed to contemplate something as she stared up at him from her position on the floor.

A sigh of resignation left him. Before she could ask why he was silently complaining, he was moving and folding himself down to lay down as well.

She stared at him for a moment, taking in the rise of his nose and the curve of his lips before turning her head back to its previous position. There was a comfortable silence as they both gazed skyward.

She knew what was going to come out of his mouth before he said it. "That's Sirius, isn't it?"

Celestia nodded before realising he wasn't looking at her. "Yeah, it is," she replied quietly.

Above them amongst the cluster of stars was eight specific stars that made up Canis Major, the constellation also known as Sirius. The group of stars that her father had been named after, all that was left of him now.

When she had stepped out to stargaze earlier that night, she hadn't expected to be greeted by her father; the constellation was not meant to be seen so soon in the year.

Ever since she had seen the Sirius constellation for the first time, in her first year at Hogwarts, she had thought that even though she may not have her father, at least the stars would always be watching over her. That never changed, despite the fact that it was evident her father didn't care.

"I miss him," she blurted out.

In her peripheral, she saw his head turn to look at her. Instead of turning towards him, she kept her eyes trained on the dog-looking star. He didn't respond and she gulped, feeling the intensity in which he was staring at her with.

"I hate him, I know that, but there's a part of me that keeps remembering this time he smiled at me—" she laughed bitterly, "—how pathetic is that? He smiled at me, and it felt like my life hadn't truly started until I saw it. I'd told him about the time we'd snuck into the Gryffindor common room and turned everything red and gold to green and silver and they hadn't been able to fix it for a month, you remember that? Then he talked about him and his friends and their time at Hogwarts, and the pranks they'd done themselves..." Her eyes darkened and her expression turned stony. "He began talking about Potter again after that."

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