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A New Start

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Hermione Granger sighed as she checked her todo list for the fifth time. It wouldn't do to leave something undone and have her entire plan fall apart. She hadn’t really planned to leave her old life in Britain behind, but after she had caught her husband of not even a year, Ron Weasley, cheating on her in her very own home, in the very bed she had payed for. Hermione would never touch that thing again. She couldn’t bear to stay in the place, even if it was technically hers. Hermione had left the house immediately—with all of her belongings, of course. She would not pay for him.

At first she had stayed with Harry, but she couldn’t stand to watch his happy romance with Daphne Greengrass. Additionally, everything around Daphne reminded her of Ron.

She needed a new start. She needed to get away.

It couldn’t be a country where English was not commonly spoken, as she wasn’t fluent in any other language. Sure, she knew some French and Latin, but she didn't know enough of the former to actually live there and the latter would only be useful inside the Vatican. And that was not particularly her dream country. Of course English was a universal language and understood in most places, but using English all the time would make her stick out as a tourist and she wanted to find a new home, to blend in as if she had been there her whole life.

But that still left the issue where to go. She didn’t want to go to Australia — the place where her parents had died — and New Zealand was too close to that, just anything in the United Kingdom still felt too close to Ron.

India was so drastically different in culture that she didn’t feel comfortable going there without any preparation. Canada was too cold. Not only would that bring back memories of the winters in Hogwarts, but after the year or so she had spent camping, Hermione didn’t particularly fancy the cold. That left South Africa and the States, apart from some other small islands or so. There were most likely more places than that, and maybe she would do that if she decided that she didn’t like the US, but she wanted to leave as quickly as possible and taking the time to research properly would only delay that. And she wouldn’t do just half of the work and hope for the best, that just wasn’t her.

She could always move on if she didn’t end up liking it there.

Hermione wasn’t really sure why she decided to go to the United States — more specifically, Florida — in the end, but she trusted her instincts. As long as her instincts didn’t concern her lovelife, at least, as they had proven themselves to be unreliable in that area.

Barely a week later, she had already rented an apartment, gotten all the necessary paperwork done, and even acquired a portkey to legally transport her over the Atlantic.

She was ready to leave.

There was a hunt in Looking Glass Key, Florida. Apparently, weird town names didn’t mean that you were spared from the supernatural. In this case, it was a werewolf, as evidenced by the missing heart of the victims. In other words, this was something Sam could easily take care of alone, since the next full moon was three whole weeks away.

It took him less than three days to find and get rid of the monster. As the man wasn’t currently transformed, Sam had simply invited him to a cold beer. There had been about half a bottle of sleeping pills diluted in it and it had been stirred with a silver spoon.

The Hunter had his sources.

Once the body was taken care of, Sam decided to go somewhere and get himself a drink. Maybe he wanted to congratulate himself for a job well done, maybe he wanted to drown his sorrows in alcohol, maybe he just wanted to enjoy one as he couldn’t do that earlier. Sam wasn’t sure himself. The only one he found was a bar that could pass for a restaurant as well, given the warm and open atmosphere. It was called The Ends Of The Earth . It was largely empty, so Sam was able to choose his seat. He picked a table in the corner, as far away from the entrance and any occupied seats as possible. It had a nice view, so it was not like he didn’t have an excuse.

Sam looked at his watch and sighed. It wasn’t quite five pm. Given the layout — there were several kids running around — he wasn’t sure if alcohol would be served already. He supposed that it wouldn’t hurt to ask. To his relief, they did, so Sam ordered a beer. If not he’d have gone with a coffee, but he felt like he needed a drink right now.

He was halfway through his first bottle, when someone sat down on the seat opposite of him.

“Hello. I’m sorry if I'm intruding, but you don’t seem like you should be alone right now.”

Sam looked up. The person who had spoken was a woman around his age — perhaps a tad bit older.

“I can leave if you want me to,” she offered.

Sam noted that she had an accent that he had never personally heard spoken before, and considering the fact that he had been just about everywhere on US mainland at one point, that made it likely that she was not American.

“I won’t be insulted or anything. I did come to your table uninvited, especially considering we don’t know each other,” she said.

He was about to tell her to leave, but then he realised that he hadn’t spoken in a while, unless you counted the interviews he had done for the case. A real conversation, however, he hadn’t had since he and Dean had split up.

Sam shook his head. “You can stay. You aren’t from around here, are you?”

The woman laughed and shook her head. “I’m from Britain.”

“Britain?” the Hunter frowned. “Where exactly? I mean Wales, Scotland, England, or Ireland, not any specific town or something. Your accent doesn’t sound like any I’ve heard on the TV.”

“Well, I was born and raised in England, but I went to a boarding school in Scotland. It’s like my second home, so I usually just say I’m British. I’m Herm-”

“Sorry to interrupt, but do you want to order something?” The waitress had seemingly appeared out of nowhere, or at the very least Sam hadn’t noticed her approaching.

The woman opposite him briefly scanned the card. “I’ll take a coffee, thank you.”

“Not tea?” he pointed out once the waitress had left their table.

“Not in the mood. Anyway, I was about to introduce myself. Hermione Granger.” Then, she sighed, “technically Weasley, but I’m not acknowledging that anymore.”

Just for a second Sam debated asking more about it, before he remembered that it really wasn’t his business. “My name’s Sam. Sam Winchester.”

Hermione gave him a pleasant smile. “Nice to meet you, Sam.”

“The same is true for you,” Sam returned her smile “So what are you doing in the US?”

She grimaced. “My soon-to-be-ex-husband cheated on me and I needed to get away.”

Sam winched. “Sorry for bringing it up.”

“It’s okay,” Hermione replied. “It’s not like you knew. I could’ve been here for sightseeing just as well.”

“Sightseeing? Here?” Sam smiled as he shook his head. “Unlikely.”

“I was actually on my way to Miami, but I must’ve taken a wrong turn somewhere or something, because suddenly I’m here.” Hermione looked Sam into the eyes. “Can’t say that I particularly mind it, though.”

“I would give you directions, but I have to confess that I have no idea. I’m not from around here either.”

She angled her head slightly. “And where are you from?”

“I’m from all over the place. Born in Kansas, but my father travelled around with my brother and me for pretty much all of my life. I went to Stanford for a few years but, well,” he took another sip from his beer. “I don’t really like to talk about it.”

“I’ve heard a lot about Stanford. When I was a kid I was actually planning to apply there. And Oxford, Cambridge, Yale, pretty much everywhere, actually.”

“Sounds like you were an ambitious child,” Sam pointed out. “Why didn’t you do it?”

“I got accepted into a very exclusive school in Scotland and my goals changed. Thank you.” Hermione nodded to the waitress that had just returned with her coffee.

“What did you decide to do then?”

“I became an activist for all kind of things. The school was an entry to a sort of secret society and it was too… Victorian for my tastes. I wanted to change that,” she answered, absently stirring her coffee.

“An admirable goal,” Sam commented as he took another sip of his beer.

“Too bad they wouldn’t listen to me."

Sam chuckled. “I know that well. Thought maybe not in that sense. My father was not the type to allow any criticism and my brother always defends him.”

Hermione gave him a dry laugh. “My best friend’s guardians could be described like that if you were really trying to be polite and positive. Not that they deserve that.”

“If you ask me, neither does my father, but he’s still my Dad, you know?”

Their conversation continued for a while and in the end, when Hermione noted that she really had to go back to her hotel, Sam gave her his number.

“I’ll get a phone immediately,” she promised, as she put the paper in the back pocket of her jeans.

Sam immediately shook his head. “You don’t need to pa-”

“Sam,” she said, shushing him. “I’m not just buying it for you. I’m buying it because I also need it to stay in touch with my friends in England as well as several other reasons. I’m buying it for myself.”

Sam shrugged. “Alright then. If you are sure about that.”

“I am.” Hermione smiled at him. “Of course that doesn’t mean that I won’t use it to call you, too. I look forward to meeting you again.”

“I can’t wait,” Sam replied, blushing.

Hermione leaned forward and stood on her toes to give him a short kiss on his cheek. “Until the next time, Sam.”