Welcome back everyone. What a strange week it has been. My 17th birthday was last Friday (the 28th), and to be quite honest, while I was sleeping at my friend's house that night (party), I came up with some ideas which I thought were rather ingenious ::strokes goatee::, one of which, causes an effect which makes it impossible to finish the storyline I started in The Times are Changing in this story.

THEREFORE, I have decided, instead of making this the sequel/conclusion to The Times are Changing, to make this Part II in the Second War trilogy.

No, you are not privy to the cause of that decision, in case you were wondering. :)

Again, if you have not read The Times are Changing, which is Part I of the trilogy, I advise that you read it, as the information is quite necessary (ID is 1859613). And for those of you who are H/Hr diehards, there will be some FNS (Fluff n' Stuff) scattered throughout the chapters (or most of them, who knows) ::wink::

And now, if you have managed to read through all of my ramblings without crying out of boredom, welcome to Part II of the Second War trilogy, The Path Ahead.

Chapter 1: A Reunion

Hermione was sitting in her room reading a book. It had been three days since she had owled Professor Dumbledore asking whether or not she could go over the Dursely's to spend the summer with Harry, and she hadn't gotten a response yet. Just as she finished the chapter she was reading, Hermione heard her mother's voice from the bottom of the stairs.

"Hermione, your headmaster is here to see you," she shouted up the stairs. Hermione jerked her head upwards. Quickly she closed her book and bolted out of her room, down the stairs, and into the living room, where sure enough, Professor Dumbledore was sitting conversing with Hermione's father.

"Listen, I'm just not sure whether or not it's a good idea," her father said. "I mean they're kids. For all we know Hermione could – oh, hello dear." Hermione had entered the room and sat down next to her father.

"Professor how come you're here?" she asked.

"Simply because you inquired about staying with Harry this summer. I think it is a reasonable request, but your parents obviously have the ultimate say in this matter. I thought it would be best to consult with them in person," said the headmaster smiling.

"It's like your father said," began Hermione's mother, walking into the room. "I understand that Harry's summers are usually not very pleasant, but you two are dating. I don't really feel comfortable leaving the two of you alone all summer like that."

"The Dursleys will be there," Hermione suggested.

"And from what I hear, they would be the reason that you would have to sneak into Harry's room covertly," her father commented.

"I do not deny the fact that the Dursleys would have to be kept in the dark about Hermione's stay, even though it is their house. However, given the fact that Harry has had to spend the past 16 years of his life living there while he is not at Hogwarts, I think that Hermione staying with him might increase his spirits a little," Dumbledore said.

"Not to mention his blood pressure," Hermione's father muttered.


"Sorry," he said grinning sheepishly.

"While they are teenagers, I do not believe that your daughter or Harry would engage in any activities which you yourselves did not do at this age," said Dumbledore, his eyes twinkling. At this Hermione's parents blushed a little. Hermione's eyes widened at seeing this.

"Mum? Dad? You guys-" her mother cut her off.

"Maybe we could talk about that a little later dear."

"I think," began Dumbledore again. "That some time alone for Harry and Hermione outside the constrains of school would be good for them. From what I have seen, it is apparent that Harry will not be able to purge this world of Voldemort without the help of your daughter. Obviously, as I said earlier, you two have the final say in this. However I urge you to consider that this would be beneficial to both Harry and your daughter, not mention it would please them both immensely." Hermione's father sighed.

"Hermione, if your mother and I agree to this, will you swear to us that you will not get yourself pregnant?"

"Dad!" Hermione said with her eyes wide.

"I'm not joking around Hermione. I don't doubt that if we leave you and Harry alone together for almost two months that certain 'things' will happen. To be quite honest, even if we did prohibit you from going, I believe that those 'things' would happen in time. That is a choice of yours that your mother and I have no power over. Since it seems inevitable though, I think it is reasonable to let you go to Harry's for the summer, ON THE CONDITION that you promise to not get yourself pregnant," finished her father. Hermione looked at her mother.

"I agree with him dear," her mother said. Hermione blushed madly.

"I promise," she said in an almost inaudible whisper.

"Good!" said Dumbledore getting to his feet. "I think then I should go and help your daughter pack then, since she cannot yet use magic outside of school."

"She's leaving now?" asked Hermione's mother and father in unison.

"I'm leaving now?" asked Hermione echoing her mother and father.

"Yes, unless any of you have any objections to it," said Dumbledore. Hermione's mother opened her mouth, but no words came out. She shrugged and shook her head along with her father. "Then I shall go help your daughter pack. Would you be so kind as to show me to your room, Hermione?"

"Yes sir," she said leading him out of the living room where her parents were still standing scratching their heads. They walked up to Hermione's room in silence and when they got there, Dumbledore pulled out his wand.

"Now what would you liked packed, Ms. Granger?" he asked.

"All of my school stuff, my books, my clothes, oh and let my get my morning things out of the bathroom," she said.

"No need," said Dumbledore opening Hermione's trunk. "Minimus," he said pointing at her books. They instantly all shrunk to the size of matchboxes. "Pack!" Immediately all the now tiny books on Hermione's shelves marched into the open trunk. The clothes came from her dresser and also packed themselves neatly, along with her school stuff and her vitals from the bathroom.

"I really need to learn how to do that one," she commented. Dumbledore smiled.

"I daresay you will in time. Now before we go I think I should let you know a couple things," Dumbledore said. "Naturally, the Dursleys cannot know that you are staying with them, or I have no doubt they will throw both you and Harry out of their house." Hermione nodded. "Therefore, I will cast silencing charms on the walls, floor, and ceiling, and a locking charm on the door before I leave. I will also set up a shield charm so you two can do magic inside the house. Transfigure the room so that it is big enough for you two to live in. Conjure food if you can, if not, I'm sure Harry's owl can deliver for you – oh and speak of the devil," Dumbledore stated as Hedwig flew into Hermione's room.

"Hello Hedwig, we're about to leave to go to Harry's. Can you fly back?" Hermione asked. Hedwig hooted her displeasure, but took off back to Harry's leaving his letter on Hermione's desk. Hermione quickly opened and read the letter; it was nothing unusual, just Harry stating how much he missed her. "He is going to be so surprised when we get there," Hermione said. Then a thought crossed her mind. "How exactly are we getting there?" she asked. Dumbledore smiled.

"A portkey," said Dumbledore. A wave of relief crossed Hermione's face. She HATED flying.

"I'm going to go say bye to my parents," Hermione said. She walked out of her room and down the stairs into the kitchen where her parents were having a cup of tea.

"Leaving?" asked her mother. Hermione nodded. "Well have fun, and please don't do anything stupid."

"I won't," she said. "I promise I'll write every week." Her father stood up to hug her, and Hermione's mother followed suit.

"Be careful," her father said.

"I will. I should get going now, I don't want to keep Professor Dumbledore waiting." Her parents nodded and she rushed back upstairs into her room.

"Well now, are you all set Hermione?" he asked. Hermione nodded. Dumbledore took an old piece of parchment out of his robes and tapped it with his wand. It glowed blue and then returned to its original color. "Whenever you're ready." Hermione reached out to touch the sheet of parchment that Dumbledore was holding with her left hand, her right firmly clamped onto the handle of her trunk. She touched it and they were gone.


Harry glanced at his bedside clock. It was five in the afternoon. He groaned and buried his head into his pillow. He had not slept a wink since he had gotten home. The moment he had entered his all too-familiar room at the Dursley's, thoughts had begun teeming through his mind. Because he was the boy-who-lived, during his summers at Number Four, Privet Drive, Harry had often thought about events that were related to Voldemort.

Not this summer. For the five days that Harry had been home since he got off the Hogwarts Express, he had thought mostly of Hermione. Naturally he couldn't helping thinking about Ron, or Luna, for that matter. You don't lose your best friend and that friend's girlfriend in a battle against Voldemort and not think about them. At least Ron had come back as a ghost.

Currently, Harry's thoughts were centered around Hermione's smile as he waved goodbye to her on Platform 9 (not 9 and 3/4, they had already passed through the archway into the muggle world), and he sighed to himself.

"There is no way I'm going to make it through this summer," he muttered. "I haven't slept in five days and I can't even fall asleep now. I must be going crazy." Normally he would talk to Hedwig for comfort, but since he had gotten home, she had been relaying letters between himself and Hermione every day. She even made the trip twice on the second day that he was home. Harry turned onto his back and lay looking at the ceiling, wondering when his owl would come back with a letter.

Hermione had been already written to Dumbledore for permission to see Harry over the summer, but according to her, the headmaster had not written back yet. Harry lay there replaying the events that had taken place after the Easter break, about how he had almost lost the one girl he truly loved. He lay there thinking how alone and empty he would be without her, until a sharp crack brought him back to his senses. He looked up and saw Hermione and Professor Dumbledore standing next to him in his room.

"I – wha – what are you guys doing here?!" he asked hardly able to contain himself. Dumbledore smiled and pointed his wand at the door.

"Silencio," he muttered. He then did the same for the walls, floor, and ceiling. Hermione just stood there smiling. "We are here Harry, because I felt, along with Hermione here, that you could use some company. Colloportus," Dumbledore finished as the door sealed itself shut.

"I hope you don't mind us dropping in on you like this Harry," said Hermione smiling.

"Not at all, but Professor what about Hermione's parents? And the Dursleys?"

"Hermione's parents consented to her stay here after some convincing, and I daresay the Dursleys won't notice if you stay in your room the entire summer," replied Dumbledore.

"Well how are we supposed to stay in this room the entire summer without the use of magic?" asked Harry.

"Ah I'm glad you reminded me," said Dumbledore. "Maxus Protegus," he said twirling his wand. Harry saw outside his window a slight blue light, then it faded away. "That should let you do all the magic you want to inside this house." Harry's jaw dropped.

"Seriously?" he asked in awe.

"Yes, Harry, seriously. Now I must be going. I have work to do, and you two more than likely have to catch up on things," Dumbledore said smiling, and with that he disappeared.

"Well uh, I would've cleaned if I had known you were coming," started Harry picking up stuff on the floor. "There's really no room. How exactly are we going to live like this?" he asked. Hermione looked at him and frowned.

"You say that like I have no idea how to do magic." Hermione raised her wand. "Meta deus expendum," she said, and the room swelled to the size of the Dursley's living room. "Don't worry, they won't know a thing," Hermione said referring to Harry's aunt and uncle.

"Oh yeah, we can do magic-" Harry started to say, but Hermione had run over to him and pulled him into an emotional kiss.

"I've missed you so much," she said, her forehead on his.

"It's only been five days," chuckled Harry, knowing full well that he had missed her just as much. She smirked at him.

"Shut it you," she said grinning.

"Or what?"

"I'll hex you."

"You say that as if there's nothing I could do to defend myself. I believe it was you who stated that it was safe to do magic in here?" Harry replied. Hermione chuckled.

"Oh you have no idea what we can do now," she whispered. Harry looked down at her in surprise. She slapped his arm playfully. "Not that, you pervert." Harry laughed.

"What would I do without you?" Harry asked smiling.

"You'd be hopeless," smiled Hermione. Harry picked up his wand from his night stand.

"Wingardium Leviosa," he said. Hermione rose about 3 feet into the air, absolutely terrified.

"Put me down!" she shrieked.

"Not so hopeless now, am I?" taunted Harry.

"Oooooh I swear I'll get you for this," she said as Harry floated her over to his bed and dropped her on it. She raised her own wand. "Transmatus ferenal," she said pointing at the wall behind Harry. He turned and saw it had turned into a big cushion. He didn't have time to turn back at Hermione when he heard her say "everte statum," and he went flying into the newly transformed cushion. He fell to the floor in shock laughing, and turned back at Hermione (who was laughing hysterically) with his wand raised.

"Accio!" he shouted, and she flew at him, hitting the cushion and also falling to the floor laughing. The two of them wrestled around on the floor for several minutes until Hermione ended up on top of Harry in a very provocative position.

"Maybe we should stop trying to beat each other senseless," she joked. "I'm hungry." After transfiguring the wall-sized cushion back into a wall, Hermione stood up and walked over to the middle of the room, which was now quite large and empty.

"So what'd you bring?" asked Harry.

"Don't be daft, I didn't bring anything," she responded. "I'm a witch you know." Hermione transfigured a table and two chairs out of some of Harry's old clothes, and then began conjuring up silverware and food out of nowhere. After about five minutes, a sizeable meal was on the table in front of them, and Hermione sat down preparing to eat.

"Well are you going to join me or just stand there staring at me?" she asked smiling. Harry walked over to the table and sat down across from her.

"How did you do this?" he asked in amazement. "Conjuring is supposed to be almost impossible to master like this." Hermione blushed.

"It did take me a little while to learn," she admitted. "But it's really quite simple once you get the hang of it."

The two of them enjoyed the filet mignon dinner that Hermione had conjured and afterwards Hermione transfigured three books of Harry's into a television, a couch and a VCR. Harry sat down on the couch as Hermione put in a movie.

"What are we watching?" Harry asked. Hermione looked at him quizzically.

"Technically we're watching the Mummy, but I hardly think we're going to watch it," she said smiling mischievously. Harry returned the smile as Hermione jumped onto his lap and the two of them wasted little time, their lips flying onto each other in a very passionate kiss. Hermione gave a soft moan as Harry's tongue playfully explored her mouth. They stayed like that until someone in the movie screamed about a half hour later.

"Maybe we could turn this off?' asked Hermione. "I don't think we really need it on anyways." Harry nodded and turned off the T.V. with a flick of his wand. Five minutes later they were interrupted again by the sound of wings and an indignant "hoot".

"Hi Hedwig, sorry to make you fly so much in one day," said Harry apologetically. She flew over to the couch and landed on the arm rest, where she began to playfully nip at his ear.

"Hey come on," said Hermione. "He's mine." Hedwig gave another hoot and flew back to her perch.

"I don't really feel comfortable kissing you in front of her like this," whispered Hermione.

"Write Ron and let him know that you're here," Harry whispered back. Hermione looked at him stunned.

"That's actually a good idea." Hermione pulled out a piece of parchment from her trunk and scribbled a quick letter to Ron letting him know that she was at Harry's for the summer. "Can you deliver this for me Hedwig?" Hedwig looked at Hermione almost with loathing, but stuck her leg out nonetheless. Hermione tied the letter to her leg, and Hedwig nipped at Hermione's hair with a little more force than usual, but took off with her letter anyway.

"Now, where were we," said Harry as Hermione flopped back down on top of him on the couch.

"Something along these lines," said Hermione as they resumed their little snogging session. The two of them kept this up until Harry yawned about twenty minutes later.

"Do I bore you that much?" asked Hermione smiling.

"Not at all," said Harry. "I'm just really exhausted. I haven't slept at all since we left Hogwarts."

"Well let's go to bed then," Hermione said standing up. Harry looked at her expectantly.

"Aren't you going to transfigure a bed?" he asked. Hermione put her hands on her hips.

"Now why would I do that?" she asked. Harry felt a lump in his throat appear.

"We're going to sleep together?"

"Why not? We've done it loads of times in the common room."

"Yeah but we were clothed then," said Harry. Hermione frowned.

"Harry if you're worried about doing something to me in your sleep, then say so."

"I'm not, I just didn't know that we had progressed so much," he said. Hermione sighed.

"You said the same thing at Ron and Luna's funeral when you were in the shower. I can't wait to hear you stutter when it's time for us to finally have sex," she said smiling. Harry blushed and tried to suppress an embarrassed grin but failed. "Come on," she said. "Let's just get some sleep."

Harry got up and found his pajamas in his dresser. He took his shirt off and was about to remove his pants and boxers, when he stopped and turned to face Hermione.

"Well go on," she said. Harry blushed slightly but since she had seen him naked before, it really didn't matter if she saw him again. Quickly he stripped down to nothing and put on his pajama bottoms. Hermione walked over to him as he put the t-shirt he was going to sleep in on. "Honestly Harry, I don't know why you're so embarrassed," she said. "You have a really cute butt." Harry felt the blood rush to his cheeks when a thought crossed his mind.

"So you're going to sleep in your clothes then?" he asked. This time it was Hermione's turn to blush.

"No," she said in a very matter-of-fact tone. Hermione raised her wand and pointed at one of the walls. "Appartus." A door appeared in the wall, which Hermione walked over to and opened. It was a bathroom with a shower.

"You know that's not very nice," said Harry. "You could've let me change in there."

"Yes," she said. "But unlike you, I can restrain myself from jumping on you when I see you naked."

"And how do you know that I would not be able to restrain myself if I saw you naked?" Harry asked.

"You're a boy."

"True...." Harry responded. Hermione laughed and walked into the new bathroom with a t-shirt. Harry got into his bed and put his glasses on the night stand. He lay there until he heard the bathroom door open and he looked over at Hermione. She was standing there wearing nothing but a t-shirt and cotton underwear. Harry gaped at her. She looked so beautiful in the falling sun.

"See what I mean?" asked Hermione. "I'm not even topless and you're staring at me as if I were one of those girls in the dirty magazines," she laughed climbing into bed with Harry.

"You look better than any of those women," he whispered. Hermione blushed and Harry pulled her into a kiss. They lay in bed like that for a while until Hermione felt something pressing against her leg.

"Harry," she said warningly raising her eyebrows. Harry quickly figured out what she was talking about and pulled away blushing. "Don't worry," she said. "It will happen soon enough. Just not tonight."

"I wasn't expecting it to happen at all in the near future," he said. Hermione turned away from him so he could pull her closer to him.

"It will, I just want it to be perfect," she said.

"I know," Harry said with his arms wrapped around her. And with that, the two of them drifted off to sleep.

A/N: The portion of this chapter in which Hermione enlarges Harry's room and conjures dinner is Golsagil Sindar's idea, NOT MINE. He wrote it first in his story and I take no credit for that part. The rest is mine.

Hope you liked this chapter. I know it was short (and fairly boring), but the beginning of a new story always is. Read and Review, next chapter up sometime next week!

...The road goes ever on and on, down from the door where it began, now far ahead the road has gone, and I must follow if I can.......– LotR