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A Choice of Roads by Imhilien [Reviews - 79]

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Part 23

A/N: Well, I must sincerely apologise for the lateness of this chapter, but my cast-iron excuse is that last month my computer crashed, taking my latest, just-about-finished chapter with it. So, I had to rewrite the chapter and of course my muse decided to change a few things along the way so it turned out to be a completely different chapter. I hope that those who are still following my story enjoy this latest part and that there aren’t too many things to nitpick about (grin). Needless to say since the publication of HBP this story is now an Alternate Universe one…

Anortai – Thanks – yes, the garden setting is a bit fairy-tale like at times but I thought it would be a good place for our war-weary couple. The term ‘lemons’ for (cough) intimate scenes has an Asian origin, I believe.

ancientgirl, Angel2525, Armor, azura14, Black Aliss, dana, droxy, Dryad, ghzowy, JTBJAB, Killer Angel, June W, LakeChamplain, leonie, Lydia, Miari, MlleGigi, miz, moruelenath, mugglemomof3, Neqs, Obsidian_Hair, PhoneixTears, Rubyfey, Sassara, snapesoulmate, thesculptress, The Grim, WickedlyWanton - Thanks, and thanks for your patience – I hope you like this chapter!

AngelQueen, Betz, Fictionlover_32, queenp – Many thanks – you’ll see!

Avanell, AvidReader, Azulkan2, Barbara, Becky, Bouncing_Ferret, cheese, Ezmerelda. gsdmommy, heartnut, hermyrocks, illuminata, Keladry Lupin, Krystal925, LariLee, le rouret, lovethelab, Maela, Maggie, Mary_22, MoonlightRhapsody, Mother of Tears, mugglegirl0908, Otherside, ReeMaria, selened, Shiro Ryu, slytherinGirl, Sniv, SNycoleCalvert, Sonni, southern_witch_69, spitfirecrackre, TEC, Titania, Verbatim, Winna - Thanks!

Cherdy the Molologist – Thanks – I still post at ff.net but it’s an easier process for me to update at Ashwinder first.

Midnight_stars – Thanks – yes, Snape is starting to really realise that being in love isn’t a personal failing…

Moonlit River – I’m sorry I wasn’t able to reply to your earlier request – things got crazy in my life for a while at the time! I hope you enjoyed the party…

SeveressaSnape – Thanks – I wouldn’t say I had that much talent though (grin).

Shaneseyt – I’m glad you now see Snape as someone who has sex appeal – you will find a lot of Snape fans out there agreeing with you (grin).

After a while though the urge to close his eyes became quite strong, but Severus initially fought it. It was one thing to feel tired, but another to actually give in to the impulse, he grumbled to himself. Sometimes it was all too easy to use up a lot of energy while being in an Animagus form, which meant that you could be quite weary when you were in your human form again.

Hermione saw how his eyelids would droop and then angrily open again a second later.

“I am not that tired,” he growled when he saw that Hermione was peering up at him with a faint smile on her face.

“That’s what happens when you chase me around the garden,” she pointed out logically.

“You were asking for it,” he grumbled, eyeing Hermione suspiciously when she moved an arm to gently stroke his back…he was not a child, to have his back stroked so…

Severus felt Hermione wiggle and briskly adjust her body in a distracting way as well so instead of her head with its bushy hair being tucked underneath his chin, he now had his face resting against her neck with its inviting skin for him to kiss. After much consideration he did so softly upon the warm skin. One day he would kiss every inch of Hermione’s skin, he then thought sleepily. Then she really would be his. Yes. With every gentle stroke of her hand up and down his back he could feel residual tension flow out of his body. It was surely very un-Slytherin like surely to start feeling boneless and content this way in the arms of a loved one but he didn’t care. She had her uses, he told himself firmly. She was his to keep.

He placed another kiss upon her neck and then his eyes closed, the battle against sleep having been lost.

Hermione ceased her stroking of his back after a few moments, her arm then moving around his shoulder so as to gently hold him. Her gaze was soft as she looked down at his dark head, hearing how the sound of his breathing changed as he settled into a light doze. Drawing her head back slightly after a little while she saw with gentleness how his features had become more relaxed in sleep, giving him an almost younger look.

Being close to him this way while he slept made her remember of when she had had her first vision of Future-Severus, of how shocked and horrified she had felt to find herself in a bed with the sleeping Potions Master. She had been so certain then that if he awoke he would immediately turn his venom on her…or worse. But she had found herself comforting the acid-tongued Slytherin when he had had a nightmare, her heart unexpectedly responding to him and his kisses when he awoke to find her there. It had felt peculiarly gratifying to be appreciated like that and by such a person, for to be honest few female students had sighed over the Potions Master the way they did toward other male professors who had their own charms as well as their magical ones. But to suddenly feel that she had the heart of the cold, bitter professor within her keeping had been like stumbling upon a treasure that no one had known about, or if they had known, had given up the search for it as a hopeless quest long ago.

So it was a feeling of warmth was inside Hermione as she felt content to be doing nothing but hold Severus. Her mind with its thoughts drifted pleasantly…but after a while she then felt Severus tense and shift slightly against her in his sleep, a hand of his that had slipped down to her waist suddenly grip her robes as if his sleeping yet paranoid mind was now seeking to ascertain whom she was. It occurred to her that he was more accustomed to sleeping alone…

Then she heard him mumble to himself in satisfaction against her neck and she felt him calm down as well. A smile tugged at the corner of her mouth as she snuggled against his warm body again. She found her eyes closing and blinked them open – she didn’t have to succumb to sleep as well! But the more she tried to keep her eyes open, the sleepier she found herself becoming. I can stay awake, she told herself firmly. She could…

Her eyes closed and Hermione joined Severus in sleep.

It was some time later when Severus awoke feeling momentarily startled at finding himself lying beside Hermione. You actually fell asleep, he sneered at himself. He also felt rumpled and a bit worse for wear for having slept upon the ground even though he had been on a blanket. He couldn’t recall though the last time he had actually woken up in the presence of a woman and he felt…he couldn’t explain how it felt to wake up by Hermione, a scenario he had thought of far too often lately. Comforting? It seemed too soft a word. Pleasurable was a better word, said part of his mind slyly. There were other agreeable words as well…

He found he wasn’t really in a position to move freely, for one of her arms was wrapped firmly around him. He was about to open his mouth to grumble at her but when he managed to shift himself slightly to look at Hermione’s face he paused when he saw that she had succumbed to sleep in the end as well. She looked so young and innocent in sleep, but he was suddenly all too aware that a curious knee of hers had pushed slightly between his legs. Severus stifled a groan at that particular realisation - he had dreamed of having a sweetly sleeping Hermione in his arms, but all he could think of at the moment was how easy it would be for him to press further against her softness…to awaken her with urgent kisses. A hand of his that was at her waist trembled for a moment.

However, Severus’ thoughts were literally doused with cold water when he became aware that drops of rain had been falling on them both for a while – lightly at present but rapidly intensifying in force (as rain had an annoying habit of doing). He blinked increasingly stinging raindrops out of his eyes and glowered at the sight of dark clouds that were massing in the sky. Then he went to give Hermione’s arm a quick shake.

“Hermione, wake up!” Severus hissed in her ear.

Hermione came awake with a start. “Professor Snape, I’m sorry I fell…oh, Severus…rats, it’s raining!” she sputtered in various stages of wakefulness as she became aware that her face was becoming rapidly wet.

“Obviously!” Severus said tartly as he endeavoured now to disentangle himself from her so he could sit up, his black robes tangling around him in the process. Part of him was amused though by the fact that she had initially believed herself to be a student again that was about to get a detention from him. “Come, we have to go inside,” he ordered, ignoring the protests from a joint or two as he reached out a hand to haul Hermione to her feet so he could Apparate them both away.

Hermione’s body was protesting at the indignity of this abrupt awakening, of having slept on the ground - even if it was on a blanket with her Potions Master – and then protested again as said Potions Master swiftly took her hand and pulled her up to her feet. She was conscious that a few hours had passed – it seemed that more energy had been expended than she realised in her Animagus form. She was also conscious that both she and Severus were in danger of becoming wet quite quickly…

She and Severus both stepped off the blanket and then with a barked word from him the blanket returned to its original state as a twig.

“Hold on,” Severus said gruffly and then after drawing her close to him they both Apparated away to the library. The room was cool and after having regained some of her composure Hermione moved away from Severus and approached the fireplace, pointing her wand at the unlit grate to bring a fire forth into life. Glancing out of a window she saw the rain becoming heavier.

“We probably attracted the attention of the weather gods by being out there as we were,” she said ruefully to Severus as he approached the fireplace in turn. Resisting the urge to sit down in a chair she held out her hands to the fireplace to warm them– she wasn’t completely drenched but it had been a near thing.

“Weather gods?” Severus questioned, his eyes narrowed as he stared down at her. His black robes had a slightly bedraggled appearance and a few hanks of his black hair clung damply to his head as well. Hermione knew that she probably didn’t look any better and there was a look of humour in her brown eyes as she looked up at Severus.

“Yes, you know, the ones who always make it rain when you step outside for a break or when you hang washing outside – that really attracts their attention within minutes,” she explained.

Severus’ mouth twitched and then his black eyes glinted down at her as he decreased the distance between them.

“So you are saying,” he said silkily, “that by letting me fall asleep and falling asleep yourself it was your fault that it started raining upon us?”

“No!” Hermione protested immediately. “I mean…I was just joking,” she huffed in exasperation. Then she peered up at him.

“Besides, you looked like you needed a nap after all that running around we did, so I thought I should let you have one,” she said in what she hoped was a reasonable tone.

However, Severus was relentless. “Then you fell asleep…after promising to watch over me in the instance that I did fall asleep,” he said meaningfully.

“I had watched over you – I didn’t actually mean to fall asleep as well!” she pointed out quickly with her cheeks pink, slightly alarmed by the continued glint in his black eyes.

“Nevertheless you did, and so for that you shall make amends,” Severus said silkily and then as Hermione looked on he drew a clean green handkerchief from a pocket in his voluminous robes. He tapped the handkerchief with his wand and then it became a medium sized green towel that was warm to the touch when she had it promptly put in her hands.

“Since you were indirectly responsible for getting myself and my clothes wet in places, you shall remedy the situation immediately with this – it has been charmed to remove all traces of water from whatever it touches,” Severus said. He had such a smug expression on his face that Hermione was tempted to swat him.

“Oh, all right,” she grumbled and reaching up with the towel she experimentally patted a damp hank of his black hair with a corner of the towel. When she drew the towel away a moment later she saw that the hair she had patted was now clean and dry as if it had never been wet.

“That’s actually a good idea to charm towels like that,” Hermione said, intrigued despite herself as she looked at the towel.

“Of course it is a good idea – that is why I thought of it,” Severus said mockingly but when he eyed her covertly for a moment it made Hermione realise that he was hopeful she would continue to attend to him in this way. She smiled to herself and turned her attention back to his hair and then his shoulders and arms, gently rubbing and stroking first one arm and then the other with the towel (it was easy to forget that her body wanted to sit down in a chair sometime soon after having practically slept on the ground before). In the process Hermione was aware of Severus’ gaze fixed upon her face as if he was privately grading her, his eyes an unblinking, intense black. However, she then heard his breath catch for a moment as she gently and thoroughly patted the towel over his black-buttoned chest.

“Do you realise that some of your hair is wet?” Severus found himself murmuring down to Hermione, a hand of his moving of its own volition to wind some of the damp strands around his fingers. He had only meant it as a bit of amusement to have Hermione dry his clothes with a towel, but he was quickly realising that he had fallen into a trap of his own making as his insides were becoming warm and jelly-like from her attentions (his body having decided to partially forgive him for having slept with only a blanket between him and the ground earlier).

“Really?” Hermione tried to say in an off-hand voice, aware that she was failing miserably. It didn’t help that she could feel his warm breath on her skin, her ears hearing how every so often his breathing itself would hitch when she touched what seemed to be a sensitive spot. However, when she got down towards his stomach Severus said tartly (and far too quickly to her ears) “I believe my back is wet.”

“Yes, I think you’re right,” Hermione was quick to agree. Well, it wasn’t as if she had planned to go down…well, go down any further she told herself hastily.

Severus had enough self-composure to raise an eyebrow at her, and then ruined the effect when he couldn’t resist bending his head and seeking her mouth, his nose bumping with hers for a hasty moment on his part. She kissed him sweetly back, with what sounded to his alarmed ears as a whimper escaping him when her curious tongue darted out to gently touch the seam of his mouth. He drew back and glowered down at her.

“I think,” he growled in an effort to regain some composure, “that I may have to dry you quite thoroughly.”

“Is that so,” Hermione managed to reply.

“Oh, yes,” Severus breathed. “But first my back.”

“Say ‘please’,” Hermione promptly reminded him.

Severus grumbled and then gave her mouth another kiss.

“That’s not ‘please’, that’s a kiss!” Hermione said scoldingly, trying not to laugh.

“It meant the same thing,” Severus said severely, but after catching her eye he backed down.

“Very well. Please,” he said tartly.

“That’s better,” Hermione said approvingly. “Now turn around.”

Severus’ eyes flashed at her and then with a haughty tilt to his head he obeyed.

“Thank you,” he heard her reply, and heard the smile in her voice too, the impudent girl.

But his thoughts threatened to melt away as he felt her start to gently pat his back with the towel, some of the pats almost seeming like caresses. He eyes were fixed upon nothing as he felt her pat the towel down the line of his back…and then she paused.

He froze in both wariness and anticipation – what was she going to do? Then his breath exhaled in an attempt at outrage that he knew he didn’t really feel when she used the towel to lightly pat his bottom for a moment…he could almost see the impish smile he knew to be upon her face.

Hermione instinctively drew back a step as Severus whirled to face her after that, looming over her.

“You just couldn’t resist, could you?” he growled as he then seized her wrists and pulled her against him, a glint in his black eyes.

“Well…” Hermione began then stopped. How could she explain without going red that she thought Severus had well, a nice bottom. “No, I couldn’t,” she said in the end in what she hoped was a meek tone.

Severus looked down at her and then raised his eyebrows to indicate that he hadn’t been fooled by her tone of voice.

“Since you were clearly enjoying yourself too much I will have this,” he said meaningfully as he then seized the towel from her.

Severus pursed his mouth as slowly yet thoroughly – and even a touch sensually - he began drying her hair (even though it really didn’t need that much drying). It felt oddly soothing as well as pleasurable to be doing such a thing to her and then he saw after a while that she had closed her eyes in pleasure. Once he had finished with her hair, and with his unblinking gaze upon her face, he moved the towel slowly to her neck. There were some stray droplets of water there and he rubbed at them gently. Her eyes were still closed and there was now an expectant, yet slightly wondering expression on her face.

In that case…

Hermione’s eyes flew open when he breathed beside her ear, “I am certain my attention is needed here…”

With that he went with the towel to gently stroke and pat first one of her breasts, then the other, making sure that each one received equal attention. He drew the line at drying further down the front of her body – it was bad enough that the very thought made his mouth feel dry! With an effort he drew his attention elsewhere…oh yes. There was a glint in his eyes when he moved the towel around to her back, his deft, downward strokes finally culminating in him stroking and rubbing her bottom with the towel.

“Yes…” Severus said with a satisfied hiss when a moan escaped her, enjoying the feel of her underneath his hands. If she could alter the definition of ‘appropriate places to touch’ then by Merlin he was entitled to do the same! A feeling of excitement coursed through him when Hermione hungrily sought his mouth and he was swift to crush her to him and return her kisses.

“It appears,” he said in a meaningful tone once their kissing had ceased, his black gaze unblinkingly upon her eyes, “you have a lovely bottom, Hermione.”

Despite her knees quivering after having had her bottom seen to by Severus and that towel of his, Hermione couldn’t resist seeing the funny side and laughed, kissing him soundly on his mouth.

“Thank you,” she smiled, finding herself relaxing. “It seems that’s where most of my weight goes anyway,” she added ruefully, the mood between them having lightened.

Severus then lightly smacked her bottom with his hand. “Why yes, you are correct,” he purred.

Hermione swatted his arm and then took the towel (that he still had in one hand) away from him.

“No more fun for you,” she said scoldingly.

Severus promptly took the towel back. “That belongs to me, thank you,” he said severely. He then drew his wand from a pocket in his robes and returned the towel to its original form as a handkerchief, putting both the handkerchief and then the wand away. He was taken back yet again at how Hermione could make him feel amused as well as excited…

But she wouldn’t be here forever, a dark voice whispered in his mind. Hermione would only be staying at the retreat for the fixed term of her employment contract, and then he would be returning to Hogwarts…for he knew that the retreat would be nothing more than an empty place afterwards without her presence. He realised that there was nothing more he wanted to do but bring her back to Hogwarts with him, to have her with him in his chambers, for wasn’t she his? Hadn’t she also claimed him too in her way?

But Hermione would be going on to the small but prestigious Silverlake University near London, for Minerva had certainly gloated about it enough times in the Hogwarts staffroom. He had no right to cage Hermione, to stop her from experiencing some of the wider world before she eventually came back to him. She would. That is, if she truly wanted to…

“I will miss you when you leave,” Severus then found himself saying grimly.

There was a brief shadow upon Hermione’s face. This was a subject that she didn’t like thinking about too much, the fact that her stay here would be over in a matter of weeks. After all, she couldn’t stay here forever…and neither could Severus. She realised that she hadn’t even asked him how long he was staying here anyway – had it been because she didn’t want to face the reality that he would eventually have to return to Hogwarts?

“I’ll miss you too,” she admitted in a sober voice, drawing back from him slightly. “When you do have to leave?” she added quietly, the words falling between them like stones.

“Why, when do you have to leave?” Severus echoed mockingly in return. But she saw in his suddenly shuttered face that he hadn’t wanted to have this particular conversation either. But a week had now passed since both of them, well, since she had dared to kiss him in the garden, not entirely knowing whether he would respond as he had…

Hermione took a deep breath. “Three more weeks,” she said soberly.

Severus stared at her.

“How very peculiar,” he said evenly after a pause. “I will be returning to Hogwarts after three weeks as well.”

An expression on his face dared her to contradict him.

“When the holidays are over I will be going to Silverlake University to study transfiguration,” Hermione said softly.

“I already know that,” Severus said pointedly. When she gave him a surprised look – she was surprised that he knew the name, not that she was going to university – a corner of his mouth twitched in an almost-smile.

“Minerva certainly bragged about it often enough in my hearing – how her prize pupil was eventually going to a very select university indeed. Silverlake only accepts the best know-it-alls it seems,” he said dryly, though his hand lightly brushed her cheek to remove the sting.

Hermione flushed at that. “It seemed the best one to go to,” she said steadily. “It’s close to London…but I can get some Portkeys made that we can both use to visit each other.”

“Oh?” Severus said as he removed his hand, a caustic note in his voice now even though he was angry with himself for taking out his frustration and yes, his bitterness at the thought of being separated from Hermione out on her. “You would be happy for me to visit you at university, and not be ashamed when your new friends wonder at a wizard such as I in your company?”

Hermione stared at him. “That was uncalled for,” she said tightly, brown sparks in her eyes. “You know that I would want you to visit me as often as I would come to see you. Besides, I’m thinking of making plans to rent a flat near the university…”

“So you are ashamed…” Severus hissed, a feeling of hurt flaring inside his heart.

“Because I want to!” Hermione replied angrily. “Because I want some space. Because I don’t want to live in a dormitory situation again like I was in Hogwarts! And because…” she broke off for a moment to blink back an angry tear, “because I’m in love with this infuriating, exasperating wizard…and I want to be able to have him around for dinner sometimes without any nosy people around and…”

Her next words were cut off when with a look of remorse on his face Severus drew her tightly against him.

“I did not mean…I fear that you will find someone easier to love than myself at university,” he said in a low, rough tone.

“I won’t be forgetting you, and I don’t want to love anyone else,” Hermione said in a muffled yet vehement tone against his shoulder, finding herself hugging his thin body back as if for dear life. Did he still believe deep inside that she would easily cast him aside when a younger wizard came along? “You are impossible at times, but you’re not impossible to love…I might be living a long way from Hogwarts, but don’t think that will stop me from turning up at your doorstep all the time.”

“I see. You will be wanting what help I can give you with your coursework,” Severus grumbled, though he still held her tightly as if he never wanted to let her go, inhaling her familiar Hermione-smell. She was dear to him. He was not impossible to love, he also thought, tucking her words away in a corner of his mind.

“Don’t be silly,” Hermione told him.

“Would you really want me around for dinner?” he said gruffly after a moment. That was all she meant in saying such a thing, he told himself severely. It didn’t mean she wanted…not yet, anyway. After all, hadn’t he implied that he would be making that certain move when he invited her to his home for a visit? Severus also thought that although he wasn’t entirely happy with Hermione going away to university, it wasn’t the end of the world, after all. Besides, it just meant that they would have to make the most of the weeks they had left at the retreat.

Hermione nodded. “Yes,” she said a trifle awkwardly, hoping that he wouldn't think she was implying anything else…for now…in her words. She also found herself wondering if he would like seeing her video collection eventually. Not the ones that came under the category of ‘chick flick’ – Severus would probably sneer and then run a mile if he had to watch something with (heaven forbid!) actual romance in it.

“Very well,” Severus said softly. Then he bumped his forehead gently against hers. “I would be sure to bring along fruit for desert,” he murmured, hoping to coax a smile from her. Hermione looked up and eyed him for a moment before the corners of her mouth turned up in a reluctant smile.

“That does sound like you,” she agreed.

Then there was a slightly wary look upon his face. “Would you find it acceptable to spend at least one weeknight as well as part of the weekend in my company,” he asked stiffly. He liked the thought of showing her his book collection back at Hogwarts, perhaps sharing some experiments with her. When he wouldn’t be kissing her senseless, of course. He found he liked imagining the various expressions of surprise and shock when the other staff members found out he was seeing Hermione. Although, Severus thought meditatively, it seemed quite likely that Albus - the old meddler - wouldn’t be surprised at all.

“Of course!” Hermione said in some surprise. Even if her studies took up much of her time she knew that she would be irritable and cross if she had to go more than a week without seeing Severus.

“Good,” he said, the wary expression on his face easing before he continued. “I assume you would be happy to occasionally go out to dinner as well…see the occasional lecture?”

“Yes,” Hermione said promptly.

“In fact,” Severus said as his black eyes gave her a covert glance, “I believe that there is a lecture on tomorrow morning on Ancient Egyptian Magic in London. Would you be willing to come along with me?”

There was a spark of interest in Hermione’s eyes, despite her previous resolution to avoid anything academic-related before she went to university. In recent years a couple of ex-students from Hogwarts had opened a lecture hall near The Leaky Cauldron, and like other certain magical establishments the gazes of Muggles would slide right by it and the odd-looking people going in…

“Yes, I would,” she replied. “How much would it cost?”

“I will be paying for us both,” Severus said repressively.

“You don’t have to do that,” Hermione pointed out. “In fact, I should be paying for you since I feel I still owe you for making the hand cream you gave me. Besides,” she added ruefully, “I remember back at Hogwarts not that long ago you said I owed you after that mishap I had with the pensieve.”

Severus had the grace to look discomforted.

“I will not hold you to that,” he said stiffly. “You do not owe me anything and I will still be paying for us both. No arguments.” After his earlier venom towards her Severus felt honour-bound to make amends to Hermione in his way.

However, Hermione would not back down. “Well, only if you let me pay for oh, coffee and cake somewhere afterwards,” she said persuasively.

Severus looked down his nose at her. “If you think I can be moved by the mention of cake then you are sadly mistaken,” he said sardonically…but altogether too hastily, Hermione thought.

“Not even cupcakes with chocolate icing on the top?” Hermione said innocently.

Severus automatically opened his mouth to say no and then stopped and glowered down at her.

“Is there an actual shop that sells these things?” he growled.

Hermione’s smile back at him was his only answer.

“I would actually have to see it first,” he warned in a repressive tone.

“All right,” Hermione agreed, and then to her discomfort her stomach grumbled hopefully at the thought of food, reminding her in the process that she hadn’t had eaten for a while.

Severus gave her a smug smile in revenge. “Dear me, we are hungry after all,” he said sleekly.

They then both went to get some food to bring back to the library, with Hermione going to her room for a moment to freshen herself up. She paused when she saw that she had some mail from both her parents and Lavender. She hurriedly opened the letters – the one from her parents was a friendly, news-filled one that Hermione decided to reply to later, but the one from Lavender was a short request to meet Hermione at the Three Broomsticks sometime this weekend. Hermione bit her lip for a moment, wondering how her friend had felt when she had received Hermione’s recent letter about her and Severus. Certainly Hermione hoped that Lavender’s reaction would not be as extreme when she met her as that of Harry & Ron. She would pen a reply later to Lavender to say that she would meet her on Sunday, Hermione decided.

Feelings of vexation had risen up within her again though at the thought of Harry and Ron, and it occurred to Hermione that it would not be that long until Harry’s birthday. She found herself wondering if he would be holding a party…and whether she would actually get an invitation. After all, she and her friends had parted in anger…what would happen if she actually did receive an invitation? What would happen if she went along…


A/N: I don’t see why the wizard world wouldn’t have its own lecture hall for magic-related talks and seminars – education doesn’t have to end when you leave school (the interesting kind of education of course!).

If I haven’t got the dates completely wrong then this story is set in July - I believe that Harry’s birthday is at the end of July, and if I’ve got matters right Hermione will be employed as a gardener until at least early August (I think!). I won’t though be detailing every single day that our couple spend at the retreat – that would take me quite a while since I’m looking to speed up things slightly in future chapters…

A Choice of Roads by Imhilien [Reviews - 79]

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