[It had really just been coincidental that she'd taken on this mission a few days before Ron was to return from his. She'd thought about waiting, maybe passing it off to one of her siblings or someone from Hermes cabin, but she wasn't going to have that. She needed to take this on to prove she knew what she was doing and to really experience time in the field. It wasn't that she'd hadn't gone out before, but this was her first solo quest. Collecting Persephone's pearls sounded easy, yes, but considering there were a few scattered around the country that she needed to locate? It was going to take some time.
She only needed to bring back three. Her goal was five. Ever the overachiever, she found herself just by the border of North Carolina. She'd been traveling by foot, bus, and cab when she could to get to her destination, but she was still a few miles out. She'd decided to settle in for a quick bite to eat and to revisit her strategies to make sure she was on track.
She found herself at a diner in a hidden back corner alone. As soon as she had her food, it was like the waitress forgot she was there entirely. It was a good place for a demigod to hide for a few hours to regroup. Certainly nobody would be able to get in touch with her there, right?]
[To say that Hermione was anxious to go home for Christmas break would have been an understatement. She was more than ready days ago, but at least she had her schoolwork to keep her preoccupied on the days leading up to the trip back home. She was excited to see her parents, of course, but her main focus was seeing a certain redheaded boyfriend. She wasn't entirely sure how she was going to work it into her schedule, but she was more than determined to spend a few days with Ron while she could. While it was nice to be able to see him for a few hours during Hogsmeade weekends, it was never enough.
On the one hand, at least it was easier to cope now than it had been in September when she first went back to school without him and Harry. Their relationship was still new-ish to her despite the fact they had really been together for over six months. Really, it just meant a lot of homesickness that she wasn't used to feeling and it was only after a lengthy letter to Ron and a floo conversation that she remembered it was only for a year and that she had been the one to decide it. It was just a comfort to know he missed her as much as she missed him.
However, her plans with Ron would have to wait until after she saw her family. She stepped off of the Hogwarts Express, immediately leaving the station to catch a taxi to take to her home. She had spoken with her parents and they had agreed she was all right handling things on her own.
What she wasn't expecting, however, was her parents being surprised she was home the moment she walked through the door. They weren't expecting her, they said. They had assumed she'd be spending Christmas with the Weasleys, they said.
While it was nice, it was also a bit perturbing. She wasted no time in sending a message to Ron though. "Parents are leaving the country for Christmas tomorrow morning and assumed I'd be with you. Come get me?"
Ron, of course, had responded immediately and arrangements had been made. All she had to do now was wait.]