There were many reasons why Hermione Jean Granger decided to abandon the wizard world after the war. Many good reasons, and a few cowardly ones. But they were reasons, nonetheless. Hermione found herself, at a mere twenty one years old, to be exhausted. She was absolutely bone weary. That kind of exhaustion that sat deep within her bones, the kind that no amount of sleep or rest could relieve.

Hermione had spent her childhood and youth fighting a war. She had given the war everything she had- some might argue to say that she gave the best years of her life to the war. And while it was a cause worth fighting, and she would never regret fighting it- she felt like she had given all she could. She had nothing left.

Everyone lost something in the war. Family, friends, homes, innocence- and Hermione had lost it all. The war had not ended with the Battle of Hogwarts. There was much work to still be done. There was rebuilding, there was rounding up war criminals and death eaters, there were trials, the Ministry's reconstruction, locating lost loved ones, hundreds of funerals... And while life would never go back to normal, any semblance of normalcy didn't arrive for another two and a half years. It wasn't for two and a half years that the ministry declared the war finally over, and the wizarding world was finally able to release a collective breath of relief. Most, if not all, death eaters had been rounded up, tried, convicted, and sentenced. The dead were buried. Hogwarts was reconstructed, and school reconvened. The ministry had been depleted of most-definitely not all- corruption, and life began again.

Hermione did not return to Hogwarts school of Witchcraft and Wizardry. She took her remaining tests and passed with flying colors, and opted out for finishing her schooling. Although the decision to forego returning and finishing her education officially pained her, she could not bring herself to return to the place where so many loved ones had suffered, fought, bled, and died. Harry and Ron never even finished their NEWT testing. Instead, they were sworn in to the Auror program immediately, and helped round up the remaining Death Eaters. Hermione was also offered a position as an Auror, but politely declined. She had seen enough war to last her a lifetime. She pursued potions, and was training to be a healer at St. Mungo's. She had just finished training when she decided to disappear from the wizarding world. She had thrown herself into her training, retreating farther and farther from her friends, trying to distract herself from her parent's recent death. Despite her efforts to hide and protect them, rogue death eaters had found them the very week she had planned on retrieving them from Australia. She hadn't even restored their memories. They had no idea why a madman had stormed in and murdered them in cold blood.

Ron and Hermione had started dating and eventually moved in together after the Battle of Hogwarts, but once the excitement and struggle of surviving and being on the run wore off, they began to return to their usual bickering and fighting, and their relationship had ended. They tried for a year- a year they mostly spent fighting. After a particularly nasty row, Hermione had shouted that she didn't even want to do this anymore.

She would never forget how Ron's already pale face had paled even further. "What?" he spluttered. "Mione, what do you...what do you mean?" he'd asked, his voice hushed and threatening to break.

Tears ran down her cheeks. "This was a bad idea. We never should've gotten together in the first place!" she'd cried. "We can't even stand one another! All we do is fight!"

"That's not... That's not all we do," Ron argued, quickly sobering. "We're happy...sometimes." He suddenly looked unsure of himself. "Aren't we?"

He reached out for her, and she pulled away the minute his hand touched her. "No, Ron. I...this isn't working."

"What are you saying?" Ron asked softly.

"You know what I'm saying," she'd whispered. "I'm moving out," she decided, choking on her words. "I'll be gone in the morning. You should go stay at your mother's tonight."

Ron opened and closed his mouth several times, no doubt trying to find the words to say that would fix this. "Mione, please. We can fix this. We have to. Please. I love you."

Hermione took a shuddering breath. Did she love Ron back? Most times she felt like she was only with him because it was safe. Because he was familiar, and they could seek comfort in each other. But as time went on, it had become less comforting and more contentious. He was her best friend. She had definitely fancied him at Hogwarts, but things had changed once they reached adulthood. She didn't even have anything in common with him. He ridiculed her for her bookish habits. He only wanted to talk about his Auror duties. He bragged incessantly about the criminals they captured, he reveled in the violence and excitement. He never wanted to listen to her about anything. He never asked for her input. He never asked about her day. He was in the spotlight of the media, and he ate it up. He loved the attention from the reporters of the Daily Prophet. He was constantly giving out statements and interviews, disclosing information about Hermione as well, despite her request for privacy. Her relationship with Ron was a one man show, it seemed, and the train was coming to a halt.

"But don't you love me?" he asked.

"I'll always love you, Ron. We've been best friends since first year."

He blinked. "That's not what I mean, and you know it. Are you in love with me anymore?"

Her eyes dropped to the floor as she shook her head.

He took a staggering step backwards. "Fine," he said stiffly. "I forgot that your books and your potions have always been enough for you, haven't they? What do you need me for? You always-"

"Ron," she interrupted. "Stop. Please. Don't say anything out of anger you'll regret later. Just...just go."

He sighed, running a hand through his hair. "I'll just...fine. I'll be at my mother's." And with that, he stepped into the fireplace and flooed away. That had been a year and three months ago, and their friendship had not recovered thus far. Their break up had been the highlight of the Daily Prophet- anything that happened to the Golden Trio was always big news, and Hermione was sick of it.

She woke up on her 21st birthday, feeling that familiar exhaustion resettle deep within her, and she made a decision.

"Enough," she whispered to herself. Enough.

She got up out of bed and started throwing her clothes into the suitcase she'd pulled from under her bed. Shrinking her few belongings and tossing them in the suitcase as well, she felt the first bit of peace she'd experienced since the war had even started. She penned a quick letter to Harry.

I have to get out of here. I'm going to take a holiday. I don't know how long I'll be. Please don't try and find me. I want to be alone. I'll write you once I'm feeling better. I love you, Harry. Give Ginny my love. I'll talk to you...

And with that, she was out the door. She had no idea where she was going, or when she'd be back. All she knew was that she needed to leave- leave everything. Especially the wizarding world.

As she closed her door behind her, she took a deep breath, feeling relief and maybe a little bit of fear. She didn't know where she would go, how long she'd stay there, how long she'd live in isolation from Harry and the Weasleys, or what she would do when she arrived at her location. One thing she did know, though. This was the first decision she'd made for herself since she accepted her place at Hogwarts.

It was a selfish decision, but it felt right.

She cast a notice-me-not charm as she stepped into the street, and disaparated.