Aurora hadn’t accounted for goodbyes being as important as packing. But somehow the gift Betty had given her made it more final. It wouldn’t be too much trouble to apparate home if necessary, but she didn’t want it to be necessary. She wanted to start her new life in her new place. Having Everleigh along would be comforting enough, but otherwise, she wanted to cut what ties that she could. She wanted to live as a Muggle as much as possible, be like her new coworkers as much as she could, and that meant acting as if it wouldn’t take more than destination, determination, and deliberation to see herself home.
But all of that meant saying the goodbyes that she needed to say.
Boxing Day had always been her day with her brother. For as long as Aurora could remember, it was the day that the two of them spent together, regardless of other plans and people. Some years they braved Quidditch matches or tea shops, and other years they spent at home, playing card games until they were laughing so hard they cried. No matter what they did, they did it together. So it didn’t come as a surprise when Adam showed up at her door at ten o’clock that morning.
He was clearly much more startled by her anger.
That lack of response was disappointing, although not surprising. She typically arrived home first, after all. But the idea of the flat being empty and quiet suddenly seemed uncomfortable, despite the amount of time that Aurora had spent in it alone the past few months. She spent a few moments standing the doorway, her keys in her hand as she pondered where she could turn in search for company.
Aurora’s eyes drifted between the screen in front of her and the paper on her desk, trying to work out where her calculations were slipping. Although the math was adding up in a way that mostly made sense, as far as things went, she was missing something. She couldn’t be sure what it was, but she could feel it. The issue had been bothering her for a couple of days, and while she enjoyed a puzzle as much as the next one, this particular one was beginning to drive her a bit mad, the beginning of a headache forming behind her eyes.
"Ms. Sinistra?" a voice said behind her, making Aurora jump. She turned to see her boss standing behind her with a mildly amused look on his face. "If you have the time, of course."
A loud burst of laughter a couple of desks over had Aurora turning as she tucked her pencil behind her ear. The habit was a new one, one of many that she had found herself picking up since her new job. There had even been days the past couple of months where she had gone a full day without touching her wand at all, without any contact with the magical world beyond a roommate who flitted in and out of the flat at top speed.
It should have been harder, she supposed, to give up a world without magic, but there were so many things that filled in the holes magic left so easily that she didn’t find herself missing it all that frequently. There was new technology, new ways of viewing the world, and new people to provide her with that new perspective. It had been handed to her so easily.
"What do you think it was, Aurora?"
She looked up from the papers in front of her — papers, not parchment, and pencils and pens instead of quills, and a million other little daily adjustments — to look at her coworkers in confusion. “Sorry?”
Dinner was an uncharacteristically last minute affair. Aurora hadn’t had the heart to send Dirk an owl to try and talk him into coming along, not after his reaction the last time. Although if she needed him, she had no doubt he would be there for her. But that was almost all the more reason to let him skip this one. Add to it that she had plans to see him the next day anyway, and she saw no reason to bother him.
“Professor Flitwick, may I speak with you?”
“Ah, Miss Sinistra! Of course, come in, come in!”
Aurora smiled, relieved by the enthusiastic greeting of her Head of House. Aside from interactions in the corridors or necessary timetable issues that could be solved within moments, she hadn’t had any real reason to speak with him since informing him that she would be dropping his class. Although she had feared that his reaction to her presence would be less than friendly, it seemed those fears were unfounded as she moved further into the room to take a seat at the desk he directed her towards. She should have known better; she had never heard of Flitwick turning away a Ravenclaw who wanted to talk.
It had started innocently enough. Her brother had told her all about how, without any decently sized department to deal with them, a lot of Muggle things just ended up in a catch all area of the Department of Magical Accidents and Catastrophes. This particular item had been charmed by a well-meaning Muggleborn to help out his younger sibling on tests. Once the spell was removed, it was just an ordinary Muggle textbook on natural sciences. Adam had given it to her while she was home for Christmas, claiming that it would have just been thrown in the rubbish pile after they did their quarterly cleaning. If she didn’t get any use out of it, it didn’t really matter. He’d just seen an entire chapter devoted to Astronomy when he flipped through and thought she might enjoy it.
Something felt different when Aurora woke up that morning. Not good or bad necessarily, just… different. She took a moment to listen to the quiet snuffling coming from Dirk. The peaceful silence and half glaring light peeking in the windows hinted at new snow, something she was well attuned to recognizing, even if it was kind of late in the year for snow. But there was something else.