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The Half-Blood Princess by LivingOutLoud
Chapter 1 : The Man
 
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Hermione Granger woke up late as it was July and she had nothing in particular to do that day. She walked to the kitchen where both of her parents were already sitting at the round table, drinking their coffee and reading the newspaper.
 

“Morning, Hermione.” They said together.
 

“Good morning mom, good morning dad.”
 

The middle aged man beamed as Hermione buttered her toast. He had been his mother’s husband since she was two months old, but he still smiled each time she called him Dad. She never knew her real father and she had lived her whole life with this one, so it only seemed fitting, but he always treated that little word like it was a miracle.
Hermione walked to the front door chewing her toast. She leaned down to pick up the mail lying on the welcome mat. She was waiting for an especially interesting issue of a science magazine she subscribed to.
 

She picked up the mail and looked for her magazine, but it was not there. Instead, there was a letter addressed to her on the very top.
 

*The envelope was thick and heavy, made of yellowish parchment, and the address was written in emerald-green ink. There was no stamp.
 

Turning the envelope over, Hermione saw a purple wax seal bearing a coat of arms; a lion, an eagle, a badger, and a snake surrounding a large letter H.*
 

Hermione walked back to the kitchen holding the strange letter in her hand.
 

“What’s that you’ve got there?” Hermione’s mother asked.
 

“I’m not sure. There’s no return address.” Hermione sat at the table and handed the rest of the mail to her step-father. She slid her finger under the flap of the envelope and tore it open.
 

*“Dear Mrs. Granger,” She read aloud, “We are pleased to inform you that you have been accepted at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.” Her eyebrows shot up, but her parents stayed silent. She continued. “Please find enclosed a list of all necessary books and equipment. Term begins on September first. We await your owl by no later than July 31. Yours sincerely, Minerva McGonagall, Deputy Headmistress.”*
 

Hermione looked up with shock in her eyes, as both of her parents looked at each other with knowing faces.
 

“What’s going on? Is this some sort of a joke?”
 

“No, Hermione, dear.” Her step-father said.
 

“We always knew there was a possibility you were a witch.”
 

Hermione stared at her mother with her jaw open. She looked to her step-father for answers.
 

“You were a very odd child, Hermione. Things were always happening to you. We always thought you could be a witch.”
 

“After all, honey.” Her mother said. “He was a wizard.”
 

“But, but why didn’t you two tell me this earlier?” Hermione gripped the letter in her hand.
 

“There was no need to worry or confuse you if nothing came of it.” They both said in unison.
 

“Well, something did come of it.”

 

Hermione was up in her room, rereading her letter and smiling. It wasn’t about childish fantasies about magic, or of a secret world full of different people. No, she was smiling over the newness of it all: a new school, new challenges, new discoveries, and most of all, new friends. Hermione had never fit in with the other children. She was too shy, too brainy, too much of a know-it-all, and too weird. Things would be different now. She would go to Hogwarts in September and she would finally be accepted.
 

The door bell rang, pulling Hermione from her recent fantasies. She pokes her head out of her door and catches a glimpse of a tall, dark and greasy man. Her father tells him to go, then closes the door.
 

“Who was it?” Her mother asks from the living room.
 

“Someone just looking for directions, nothing to worry about.”
 

Hermione moves to her window in her room. She opens it and leans out, searching. The man is still on the street, with his hands in a cloak. Hermione watches him for a moment. He’s waiting for something.
 

Suddenly, like a bat out of hell, a purple bus whizzes around the corner and stops directly in front of the man. Hermione lets out a gasp, then quickly covers her mouth, but it’s too late. The dark, cloaked man turns around and looks at her window. They stare at each other. Hermione’s eyes are wide, full of curiosity and fear. The man’s eyes are wide, full of shock, but there is a smile growing on his lips. Then, the driver of the bus shouts something, breaking their eye contact, and with only a backward glance, the strange man gets on the bus.

 

The next time Hermione sees this man is in passing in a dingy, questionable pub called the Leaky Cauldron. Her parents and her followed the instructions given to the back of the pub where a secret entrance into the wizarding world awaited. The dark, greasy man was sitting at the bar when they entered the pub. Hermione’s eyes flew to her mother, who had noticed him too, but he took no heed, his eyes were piercing into the back of Hermione’s head.
 

The meeting comes to a head when Hermione and her father are searching through the book store, both soaking in everything they see, hardly focussing on the assigned books they already held in their arms. They were jolted from their intellects by a commotion from outside and the raised voice of her mother. They both rushed outside to find the woman shouting at the mysterious man.
 

“I’ve told you a thousand times, you will not be coming near her.” She shouted up, towards the taller man.
 

“Everything has changed now, she’s a witch.” He pleaded.
 

“She is still my daughter and I will not have her associating with the likes of you.”
 

“You can’t control her at Hogwarts. Not while I’m there with her.” The man spat.
 

“She’s smart enough to stay away.” Her mother shouted, then turned on her heel. “We’regoing home.” She ordered.
 

It was then, when her parents were dragging her down the cobblestone road, one on each elbow, that the dark man noticed Hermione had come out. His eyes were wide with amazement as he watched her leave. Hermione stared at him over her shoulder until her parents pulled her over the thresh hold of the Leaky Cauldron.
 

Her mother was nearly at the car when words surfaced from Hermione’s throat.
 

“Was-was that my father?”
 

“A disgusting low life,” Her mother muttered.
 

“Yes,” Her step-father said, kissing her forehead, “pay no mind to him, he can’t botheryou.”
 

 

A/N and piece of writing marked with an * on either side has been quoted directly from JK Rowling's works, although the world and characters are hers as well.
 


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