Scene One: England, June 1998
It was a Tuesday morning at half past noon when it happened. When Neville Longbottom realized that he could not handle this anymore. Moreover, he didn't want to handle this anymore. It was all right for Harry, Ron, and Hermione. They were used to this fame and publicity. He wasn't. He didn't know which was worse, the constant barrage of owls from people wanting interviews or him to come and speak or the fact that everyone seemed to believe that now that Voldemort was dead, it was business as normal. Everything could return to the way it had been before. As if people hadn't suffered and died. As if they weren't rebuilding practically the entire infrastructure of the Ministry and the Auror Corps, not to mention everything else. No, the threat was gone, and they were determined to set things back in the same way they had been before the threat and that was...not good enough.
Not nearly good enough. He'd had it. He really had. He didn't want to pretend to be normal anymore, to have completely moved past the events of May 2'nd. He was tired of it all.
He needed a vacation.
Somewhere that wasn't here, somewhere that he could just go and be part of the crowd. Somewhere that no one could follow him. Which likely meant venturing into the Muggle world for a while. He smiled at the thought of it. It'd be an adventure. Though granted he'd have to tell a few people, including his Gran, what he was doing, so no one came after him, demanding to know why he disappeared.
He pulled out a piece of paper and started to scribble out a list of everything that he might need on such a trip.
-Muggle Maps (Ask Seamus.)
-A magical backpack with camping supplies (possibly Diagon alley or Whistle alley)
-Visit Gringotts for funds and settling accounts
He left the list on his desk for the moment. It was almost one and Seamus' break from his summer job was coming up soon. He could take care of his first item on the list rightaway. He grabbed his wand and Apparated to the alleyway behind Jimmie's Pub and Grill. Seamus was one of the bartenders pulling the day shift. It was good money, stable job, and it got him moving in the morning, which was a good thing. His face was still in the stages of healing, but no one at Jimmie's cared about that. It was also close to the Finnigan house, which made things all the better. Neville had been there a few times since having a bed in the infirmary right beside his mate. That was one of the fair few things that was good from their seventh year at Hogwarts - he and Seamus had bonded closer than they'd been beforehand. It was nowhere near the level of Dean and Seamus, but still they were close. Close enough that he was willing to trust Seamus with this information, he didn't intend to send out a mass Owl mailing, he wanted to keep it as quiet as possible. Make it as hard as possible for the publicity vultures and the like to follow him. He walked over to the back door of the pub and sat down on one of the empty wooden crates there. He checked the pocket watch Gran had given him. Five past one, Seamus should be popping out any second now. The sound of the door opening had Neville looking up with a smile as he snapped the watch shut and slipped it back into his pocket. Seamus' sandy hair was what he saw first and then he grinned at the look on his mate's face when he realized that someone was sitting in his spot.
"Hullo Nev. Give me a heart attack, why don't ya?" Neville's grin widened, "Hullo Seamus. How's work?" Seamus eyed him suspiciously for a moment, before leaning against the wall next to the door and taking the pipe out of his pocket, packing it deftly, and then lighting it. "Work is work, Nev, but if you'd wanted to ask that, you'd have come into the pub."
Neville waited for two beats as Seamus took a few puffs on the pipe before replying. "I wanted to ask you something, a favor of sorts." The sandy haired Irishman's eyebrows arched questioningly as he puffed at his pipe. Neville continued on, "I need some maps. Muggle ones."
Now Seamus' eyebrows were somewhere near his hairline, "Why Muggle ones, Nev?" Neville shrugged, "Call it a personal interest, can you get some for me?" Seamus nodded, "Just garden variety maps, mate? Or did you have a specific location in mind?"
Now that was a good question, he hadn't thought much past the idea of maps and that they be Muggle ones to provide one less avenue someone could trace him by. Neville thought for a moment, "Just the garden variety ones, mate, though one of muggle London could be useful."
Seamus nodded, "Come by the house on Sunday and I'll have them for you. Bring some of those fantastic tomatoes of yours and we'll have beer and crisps as we watch the game on telly."
Neville grinned at his friend, "It's a deal. See you Sunday then, mate." He Apparated back to his house, leaving behind an Irishman puffing thoughtfully away at his pipe. That was one thing down, the next would be getting his supplies and talking to the goblins over at Gringotts. Which, he reflected, could be consolidated into one trip. Whistle Alley was right off of Diagon and the shop that Neville was thinking of wasn't too far away from Gringotts. He could easily walk it. Though Seamus had raised an interesting point, before he could go shopping for the supplies he was planning on taking with him, he needed to sit and think about where he wanted to go and how long he wanted to stay in each place. Time for another list then, he mused as he went to go retrieve one of the magical atlases from the library down the hall from his gran's room.
-Prague (for the magical history)
-Peru (for the herbology)
-Boston/Arkham (to see Cousin David)
-Barcelona (magical history & herbology)
-Lisbon (magical history & herbology)
-Greek Islands (herbology)
He set the quill down and let his mind wander a bit. Professor Sprout had told him about some of her travels before she'd settled down and become a Professor. He'd been spellbound by the descriptions of some of the plants she'd seen and the places she'd travelled to get them. The way she'd told them of some of the cultures and the various rituals and potions that could be made with some of the ingredients found out in the wild. He remembered sitting there during free hours listening to the Professor with...her. Millicent. Neville shook his head once, he had better things to occupy his time with than daydreaming of times past and things that could never really be. He closed the atlas and set the list to one side of his desk with all of his other important papers. He'd take a copy of it with him to Diagon Alley so that he could better explain to the shopkeepers what he was after. However, that was a task for tomorrow, it was now time to go weed the gardens for a bit before washing up for dinner time. Gran had given him free reign of the gardens to do with them what he would, so he had some vegetables, some herbs, and a goodly mix of magical and nonmagical plants. He'd have to ask someone to look after them for him while he was away...Gran might hire someone if he asked. He grabbed his wand and after changing into proper gardening clothes, he ventured down to the gardens.