Disclaimer: Belongs to JK Rowling

A Different Path

1/1

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"Damn it!" He cursed, kicking the wall one more time, "Oh shit," he said hopping around on one foot. "Bloody stone."

He halted in his movements as he heard approaching footsteps, wiping the grimace off his face, he prepared to face whoever was coming. "Hey Harry," it was Hermione. Harry leant against a wall, taking the weight of his foot, who knew stonewalls were that hard? "Did you hear something? Sounding like a squeal or something."

"Uh...no? A squeal you say?" He asked, sinking down to sit against the wall, "Sure it wasn't a manly cry or grunt? I imagine it was a grunt, a manly one."

"Ok Harry," she laughed, "What are you doing down here anyway?" She asked sitting down next to him.

"Just doing some thinking," he sighed, "I can't believe I have to come up with a blasted date for this party of Slughorn's."

"It's not that bad," she smiled, "I'm sure there are loads of girls that would love to go with you, isn't there someone you want to take?"

He thought of someone instantly, but that wasn't possible. "No," he lied, "There's no one. What about you?"

"Uh...I was going to ask...but you know. I'm not sure anymore."

He could feel them settling into an uncomfortable silence, the Ron and Lavender thing wasn't something they talked a whole lot about, he realised that it hurt her a great deal, so he thought it best to let it be. She had some girl friends to talk to about that, a few, but they were there.

"What I need..." she started, startling him out of his thoughts. "Is someone who won't see anything romantic in accompanying me to this party. A purely platonic friend."

"That would be wonderful," Harry sighed, "I don't want to take some girl who is just going to be 'Harry Potters' date', I would at least like to have some fun at this blasted party."

They sat in silence for a moment, till Hermione started to giggle. "We are so stupid!"

"What do you mean?" He asked puzzled.

"Okay," she said half turning to face him, "You need a girl to take to this party who isn't going to see more in it than there is, and I need a friend, just a friend to go with. See something in common here?"

He let out a laugh, "Of course, it's so bloody obvious I don't know how I didn't see it," turning to face her properly, "Well Hermione, would you like to come to the party with me?"

"Why I'd be delighted to accompany you Harry," she smiled back at him.

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As it was expected the news that Harry was taking Hermione to the party was not received well. Ron was surprisingly quiet about it. Harry liked to think that Ron was growing up, but he didn't think that was the case. Either way he was glad for the peace. And of course the gossip hounds had a field day, apparently he and Hermione had been conducting an illicit affair behind Ron's back, and that was the real reason why Ron was now with Lavender.

And the girls that followed him everywhere prior to the announcement, well they were now glaring at him whenever their paths crossed. Of course his knowledge of Defence spells meant he wasn't cursed too badly, and luckily they left Hermione alone, not that she wouldn't be able to hold her own. She probably could more so than him.

It was actually a relief this time around. There was none of the stress that he had encountered for the Yule Ball in his fourth year. Maybe it was because of Hermione. There was no pressure to be a good 'date', mainly because it wasn't a date, just two friends going to a party together. It would be fun.

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How wrong he was. This party was not fun. It was akin to hell on earth. Everywhere he turned, Slughorn was there. Trying to introduce him to some old friend, who was some kind of celebrity in his or her field. He was just busting to introduce them to his 'master potions pupil', he could feel Hermione grit her teeth, and tensing up each and every time it happened. He would feel guilty about it later, right now he just wanted to find Hermione so they could get out of this horrible party. Maybe Hermione could come down with some illness? A wee bit queasy, she couldn't possibly stay any longer.

Well that was the plan, till he saw him. Malfoy. Trust the sneaky little rat to try and sneak into the party. And there's Snape. Trying to sneak him out, maybe keep him out of trouble. Looking around he couldn't see Hermione nearby. He knew she would be all right for a little while, so he decided to follow them. Managing to sneak out unseen, he quickly looked for them, spotting the swish of their cloaks as they rounded a corner he dashed quietly after them.

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"I don't know Harry..."

"I tell you Hermione," he said urgently. "He is up to something, and Snape knows exactly what it is, I just wish I knew what it was..."

"I'm sure if Professor Snape knew anything about what he was doing, if he is doing something really bad he would tell Professor Dumbledore. We have to trust Professor Snape Harry," she said as they walked back to the Tower, "he's on our side."

"I don't know about that," Harry murmured, "I don't think I'll ever be able to trust the slimy bast..."

"Harry! He is a Professor, and you can't talk about him like that, no matter what you're personal feelings."

"Whatever..."

"Hi Harry," they stopped in their tracks as the singsong voice reached their ears.

"Hi Myrtle," he said politely turning around. "How are you doing?"

"I'm wonderful Harry, going back to your dormitory are you?"

"Yes, why?"

"Oh it's nothing really," she said, "You may want to get rid of that first."

They both looked up simultaneously, and saw exactly what Myrtle was referring to. Mistletoe.

"Uh...thanks for that Myrtle, we'll just leave it here, and head back..."

"Oh no Harry," she giggled, "It wont go away, it will follow you everywhere till you two kiss," and with that she left, laughing her head off.

"You'd think she'd stay for the show," Hermione said.

"We don't have to do this Hermione," Harry said, "I'm sure she was only joking."

"She wasn't really," she whispered, "It will go away eventually, but we need to do the traditional method if we actually want to sleep in our separate beds tonight. It's bewitched, and they don't tell students the counter spell, personally I think the professors enjoy the situations it brews."

"So...I have to kiss you?"

"Just a quick little kiss, that's all."

"Alright," he said quickly. He moved closer to her, hoping to god he didn't screw this up. His entire kissing history was wrapped up in one complete failure with Cho last year. And it wasn't like he and Hermione could avoid each other if things got awkward.

Stepping forward he saw her eyes widen, but she managed to keep her spot, and didn't run away like he wanted to do. Leaning down he gently pressed his lips to hers. He really didn't no what he was doing, but Hermione seemed to. Turning her face slightly, she angled their head the right way, and stepped closer, and then her body was flush against his. Her very feminine body against his.

Harry jumped back very quickly, looking up, it was gone. "Oh...it worked," he stammered out, "Shall we head back?"

"Okay..."

"Great."

And with that he walked very quickly, the sooner he made it to the dorms the better. Then he could go to bed, and go to sleep. And then when he woke up it would be the holidays, and he wouldn't see her till after break. Perfect.

Because he was an idiot. A great big idiot. Of course it would make things awkward. In fact the awkward feeling was getting worse, bathroom.

"You'll be right to make it the rest of the way? I have to go to the bathroom real quick."

"No that's fine Harry," Hermione smiled, "I'll see you tomorrow," and then she shocked him, she leant up and gave him a quick kiss on the cheek. "Goodnight Harry."

"Night," he said quietly watching her walk away. Before dashing off to the bathroom, to get rid of the awkwardness.

Blasted girl bits.

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Complete...