[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?]
[Three things happened the day after his family's trial for their part in the second wizarding war. First of all, Lucius Malfoy decided to donate a lot of galleons to various charities to try and put the family name back in good graces. Secondly, Narcissa Malfoy decided to spend a lot of galleons to gut and redecorate the Manor after Voldemort's reign. And thirdly, Draco Malfoy decided to take a lot of galleons, pack a small knapsack and run like hell.
If anyone were to ask what caused Draco to run away from the Manor, the short answer would be that he needed a change. He couldn't stand the fact that his every move was now under the microscope, couldn't stand the articles in the Prophet, couldn't stand how he and his family now had to act like trained circus dogs. It was disgusting, and it hurt. The best solution he could think of was disappear…maybe make it so that Draco Malfoy never existed at all.
He'd made a lot of mistakes in his life, but probably one of the biggest was venturing out into the Muggle world not having a single clue what he was doing. It was stupid. So, so stupid. He'd have enough sense to convert some of the galleons to pounds, but beyond that he was so incredibly lost for the first couple of weeks. As he got used to it, he found that backpacking was actually sort of interesting, living off the land, seeing the sights. He'd gotten good at navigating Muggle London when he decided it was time to try and navigate Muggle France in early July.
It was late afternoon when he Apparated into a back alley, shifting his backpack and adjusting the sleeves of his shirt.
Coffee, Draco decided, was probably a good idea.
Walking down the sidewalk, not paying attention, and holding coffee that is inevitably going to be spilled on someone? Not so much of a good idea. He was so busy looking around that he wasn't paying attention to where he was going at all.]
[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.]
[The war had been over for four years. He had just celebrated his twenty-first birthday two months prior, but he still felt like that scared, confused seventeen-year-old boy. He spent a lot of time out of the wizarding world now, running to muggle parts of the world to hide from the judgement, the stares. He'd spent the last three years after his trial traveling around the world and getting a wider view of the world.
However, it was his second night back in England after an impromptu trip to Brazil and he decided to go out to Diagon Alley and explore the area. He was being careful though, slinking through shadows and keeping his jacket sleeves pulled down over his wrists. He was in the mood for some new reading material though and he knew Flourish and Blotts would be closing soon. Which was helpful, considering. He didn't want to run into any classmates, and he most certainly didn't want to deal with the stares he knew he'd get.
The bell to the shop rang out announcing his arrival and he stepped in. He was doing his best not to make eye contact with anyone including the person working in the shop.]
If I were looking for books on advanced charms, where would I find those?
[If someone were to tell them that they'd return to Hogwarts for a seventh year after the downfall of Voldemort, Harry wouldn't have believed them. Then again, only four months ago he had believed he was going to die and never see another day at Hogwarts ever again.
The castle was still in a state of restoration. A lot of work had been done over the summer, but a majority of the teachers were taking spare time between classes to rebuild parts of the castle per Professor McGonagall's orders. The seventh years who had returned to the school were doing their part as well.
However, Harry was skimping on his duties today. Though no one really paid attention to him directly after the battle, the attention had come back around after the commotion of May 2nd died down. He was mostly looking for somewhere to hide during the period between his classes. Thus he headed toward the library. He knew it would be nearly empty seeing how everyone else in the school were in classes or in their dormitories. He quietly made his way to a back corner, propping up a copy of Hogwarts, a History to hide his face behind.
He knew that nobody would bother him except for the people he wouldn't mind seeing. That was enough.]