Impressions of Dragomir:

Being a teenager was hard enough without being a wizard. Being a wizard was hard enough without being Harry Potter. And being Harry Potter was hard enough without having to watch his classmate die in front of him.

It was the summer holidays now, finally, but that was as bad as it was good. On one hand he could get away from all the apologies and the looks, the ones that said things like 'you must have been in on it somehow' or even 'poor baby'. On the other, he had to deal with the Dursleys, who were neither kind nor sympathetic. Thankfully both parties were equally appeased by the idea of Harry spending copious amounts of time away from the house – the Dursleys could then pretend, for a time, that Harry wasn't back at all.

There wasn't anything to actually do in Little Whinging, and he didn't have any muggle money, so Harry spent the majority of his time aimlessly wandering the streets, trying his best not to think about Cedric, and ultimately failing every single time.

By the time Harry'd been back for two weeks he was almost convinced he knew the layout of the streets in the area better than most of the permanent residents.

And then he got lost.

It was nothing major; he'd been particularly lost in thought, taken a few wrong turns, and actually left the area of Little Whinging. There were plenty of signs about, so he wasn't worried in the least about finding his way back to Privet Drive before he was locked out – it wouldn't stop him anyway, Fred and George had taught him a few tricks. So no, he wasn't all that put out by the experience.

But he was intrigued.

At the end of the road there sat a most oddly named shop. Muggle odd, not wizard odd, he quickly corrected himself.

Broken Pieces Secondhand Bookstore.

It was a mystery, and better yet, the shop was open.

Throwing caution to the wind, as he was known to do in both worlds, Harry picked his way through the daytime traffic and peered in the front window. The place was bigger than it appeared from across the street. There were four double-sided bookcases in the central area of the store, and the walls were lined with shelves. Everything was an eclectic mix of ancient and modern, and it simply fascinated Harry – he couldn't explain why.

It was enough to make him actually head inside, though it was more Hermione's domain than his. Perhaps he'd tell her about it, and she could come and check it out for herself.

The smell inside the store reminded him of the Hogwarts Library, and while that was a horrible thought – that library was an awful place and he swore Madam Pince held a personal vendetta against him for no reason – it was still Hogwarts. Just another thing he couldn't quite explain.

Harry was so lost in thought that he didn't even register the approach of the store's owner – an impressive feat, as he had been on edge all holidays, jumping at shadows.

"Are you alright over here? I don't mean to pry, and I normally wouldn't, but you've been staring at the same spot this whole time. Something on your mind, kid?"

Normally Harry might have taken offence to being called a kid, because what did they know? But just then he couldn't muster up enough irritation to bother, and the man he turned to face didn't appear to have meant it as an insult.

"Sorry. I just... it reminded me a bit of my school, that's all."

Harry was well aware of how odd that must sound; didn't most kids hate their schools, relish the break?

The owner grinned wryly, gesturing towards the back of the shop and a small, comfy sitting area. It was by far the strangest book shop – magical or muggle – that he had ever been in; not that he could claim to have been to all that many of them. Following his direction rather absently, Harry soon found himself seated in a comfy armchair with a cup of tea, telling the man – in an abstract manner of course, no need to go getting himself in trouble – all about Hogwarts. Somehow it was sort of relieving, just talking about it all with someone who had made no prior judgements about him. He even told the man about Cedric's murder, and wasn't offered sympathy or condolences. It was like a weight off his shoulders – not a large one, but a weight nonetheless.

When he was finished Harry got to his feet, somewhat embarrassed, and tried to apologise for wasting the owner's time. The man just waved it off.

"Don't worry about it kid, I don't get much business anyway. I'm Dragomir, by the way, and maybe next time you stop by you'll consider actually looking at the books?" Dragomir's sparkling blue eyes told Harry that he was joking, but it was also an offer; 'Come back whenever you fell like it, I'll still be here'.

It was only then that Harry noticed something very important. Dragomir had a magical core. Immediately Harry flinched back, automatically flattening his unruly fringe over his trade-mark scar, and Dragomir sighed.

"Why didn't you say anything?!" Harry demanded, wondering why he hadn't noticed sooner. His senses were always on high-alert during the summer, warning him away from wizards, witches and magical creatures alike.

Dragomir looked him straight in the eyes so Harry could tell he was serious – belatedly he realised that his eyes hadn't once drifted to his scar during their entire talk.

"Because sometimes you just need someone to listen."

Admittedly Harry left in rather a hurry after that, but it was far from the last time he visited the shop.

Because Dragomir was right, and Harry did need someone to talk to.

If it wasn't for him, that summer might have gone very differently...