Hermione Granger and the Half-Blood Prince

Chapter 1

Disclaimer: I obviously don't own any rights to the Harry Potter series or characters. All rights and earnings belong to J.K. Rowling and respective owners.

Author's Note: This story will be following Hermione through her sixth year at Hogwarts and will stick closely to canon (the sixth book more than the movie) but will have an original character and a story line that goes along with that.
Just as a heads up, if you're a Ron/Hermione shipper, this is probably not the story for you. I love Ron, and he's one of my favorite characters (though he often makes me mad), but I don't ship him with Hermione one bit. I hope to shed some light on some of the times he's mistreated her, but keep in mind that I DO like Ron. I don't hate Ron or think he's "the useless friend—" (he's quite the opposite!), but I do think he mistreats Hermione and gets away with it. So with that in mind, please enjoy chapter one...

Chapter One: Advanced Potion Making

It was a singularly agitated Hermione Jean Granger that hurried along the dark, cold corridor of the dungeons. She could hear students shuffling out of potions class behind her and wondered whether Harry and Ron were among them, but she didn't bother looking back to see.

I can't believe Harry actually used the directions in that old potion book. Who knows who it belonged to?

Hermione thought back to their second year at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. A diary, belonging to Tom Riddle, had possessed poor Ginny Weasley, and the memory living inside of it had nearly killed Harry, herself, and several of the other students. Perhaps this potion book was just as dangerous?

I'll need to cast a revealing charm on that potions book, she thought, Specialis Revelio should do the trick.

"Besides," she said aloud, thoroughly offended by the thought, "Using the directions in that book is just like cheating."

Hermione suddenly collided head on with a tall figure in dark clothing. Several of her books she hadn't bothered to put back into her bag after rushing out of potions class tumbled to the floor.

"I'm terribly sorry," the man said cheerfully. "I' didn't see you coming."

"It's perfectly alright," Hermione sighed looking down at her books. I hope I'm not late for Arithmancy, she thought to herself, annoyed.

They both crouched down and started to pick her books up.

"I'm sorry too," Hermine stated absentmindedly, still not looking at the man. "I'm afraid I was preoccupied and wasn't paying attention to where I was going."

They stood up. "What's this about cheating?"

Hermione finally looked at him. He was smiling playfully at her, and she felt a twinge of annoyance. "Nothing."

He extended his free hand to her, his other still holding several of her books. "I'm Callum Rafferty."

"Hermione Granger," she curtly replied, shaking his hand.

He was younger, probably in his early twenties, with brown hair. He was good looking she noticed, which caused yet another annoyance she could not explain. Her thought process instantly arrived at her hair. It was even more bushy and frizzy—a result of the fumes from her failed Draught of Living Death—than usual. She was sure she looked ridiculous. Why should I care though? she thought.

"May I have my books please?"

"Yes, of course." He handed them to her.

"If you'll excuse me, I have to get to my Arithmancy class now."

"Of course. It was a pleasure meeting you, Miss Granger," he smiled.

She couldn't help but let a small smile escape her lips as she passed him.

Later that evening, as Hermione sat in the Gryffindor Common Room watching Crookshanks comfortably dozing on a rug in front of the fire, her thoughts drifted back to that morning.
I wonder why he's here? He's too old to be a student, but I'm positive he's not part of the staff. Her thoughts were interrupted as two teenage boys sat down on the sofa on either side of her.

"What're you doing?" Ron asked.

"Just some Transfiguration homework," she replied turning back to the Transfiguration book she had previously been ignoring.

"Transfiguration?" Ron echoed, a horrified expression on his face. "I thought you said that wasn't due until next week?"

"Yes, I'm rather surprised you actually listened, Ronald," Hermione snapped, regretting her tone a moment later.

"What's wrong with you?"

"Nothing. I'm just trying to concentrate."

Ron chuckled. "Still upset 'bout that book, aren't you?"

Hermione didn't answer.

Harry, finally speaking up, said, "Come on, Hermione. You performed that revealing spell on it at dinner, and nothing happened."

"There's several other spells I should test it with," Hermione insisted, turning to Harry. "Besides, it's not you doing the work. You're just copying from that book!"

Harry felt a twinge of guilt at her words. He had felt bad beating Hermione that day, but he liked the idea of finally not being dead awful at potions.

Ron laughed. "Now we know the real reason you don't like that book. You're just upset that Harry did better than you!"

"That isn't it, Ron-"

"Come off it, 'Mione. You're just-"

Hermione slammed her Transfiguration book shut, rising from the couch and ascending the stairs to the girl's dormitory without another word to either of them.

Well, that was chapter one (short as it was). I hope you enjoyed reading it. Input, suggestions, and constructive criticisms are always welcomed. The next chapter should be longer, and hopefully I'll be able to upload it soon. Thank you so much for reading!