Here it is. The Marriage Decree. For those of you who don't know, I have taken my old fanfiction, FORCED TOGETHER, and rewritten. It had been so long since I'd even looked at it that I've forgotten what I had been planning so I decided to just start again following along the same plot lines. Hopefully, you'll all love it.
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I dedicate this fanfiction to anyone who ever read Forced Together and to everyone who reads The Marriage Decree.
Love, Dumbledore's Wisdom.
P.S. Enjoy Xx
The Marriage Decree
During her first few months of Hogwarts, Hermione would constantly dream of home. Taking long Sunday walks around the park with her parents and Bobby, their next door neighbour's dog. Or lounging in the armchair watching Disney films on VHS. Or being at one of their family's barbeques playing with her cousins. It helped her get through the loneliness that encapsulated her at school before she became friend with Harry and Ron. Although even then she would find herself dreaming about what her life would have been like had she not been a witch. If she had attended the local secondary school with her best friend, Derek, from primary school. It wasn't until her third year when she finally began to feel as though she was fitting in with the wizarding world that the dreams stopped.
Instead, whenever she was home for the holidays, her dreams would take her back to Hogwarts. Sitting in Hagrid's shack with Harry and Ron. Or reading books upon books in the library, eagerly trying to expand her knowledge of the wizarding world. Or eating dinner in the Great Hall with all her friends. It helped her through the blandness of being home in the muggle world.
There are only a few days left before the Hogwarts Express is due to transport everyone back home and as per usual, the Gryffindor common room is an absolute mess with people throwing things around trying to find lost socks or school books so they can finish packing their trunks. Hermione's thankful that she is a tidy, organised person and finished packing days ago.
She decides to take this opportunity to get some quiet reading done outside under an old oak tree. The skies are a clear blue, the grass are a luscious green and the sun is beating down strongly. Hermione finds her favourite spot overlooking the Great Lake, sits herself down and begins to read feeling content in herself.
She is so engrossed in her book that she doesn't hear it at first. But then something in her subconscious tells her that there's a noise that doesn't belong nearby. She pauses in her reading, listening out for whatever it is when it happens again.
The sound of tapping. Of course being outside, sat under a tree, you might expect to hear some tapping from maybe a bird, high in the branches of said tree. But this tapping is different. It's as if the bird is tapping on a glass surface. Confused, Hermione stands up, glancing around her surroundings, not exactly sure what she's expecting to find. There's no evidence to suggest that there's a pane of glass being tapped on nearby. Especially since she's sitting too far away from the school building to hear anything.
Then the tapping noise happens again. This time, it comes from behind her, followed by a hoot. 'An owl.' Hermione thinks, rolling over in her bed. 'I should probably get that.' She adds in her head but shuffles further under her quilt.
She decides to head back up to her common room to see if the boys are any closer finished to being packed when she hears a new sound.
The sound of knocking that one would expect to hear on a door. It's at that moment that Hermione blinks sending herself into darkness. At first, she thinks she hasn't reopened her eyes from the blink so she blinks again and realises that the darkness is surrounding her.
"Hermione?" Her Dad's voice questions from somewhere near.
"Umm." She hums realising she's in bed, at home. Her dreams have always been very convincing.
"Hermione?" Her Dad repeats louder.
"Yeah, Dad," She said dryly with a cough to clear her throat. She needs a drink of water.
"Will you open the window for that bloody bird?" He calls back slightly annoyed. "Your mum and I are trying to have a lie in," He adds as an explanation.
As if on cue the tapping noise from her dream comes from her window. Hermione jumps, or rather crawls, out of bed then shuffles her way over to her window. Opening it let not only the owl in but also a large gust of icy, winter wind sending a shiver down her spine.
The barn own flies gracefully around her room before swooping down and landing on her lamp. The owl lifts its left leg for Hermione to unclip her letter, which she does, before flying straight back out her window. She can't help thinking that it hadn't been a very friendly owl. She shuts her window before actually jumping back into her warm, cosy bed to read her letter.
A heavy sigh escapes her lips when her eyes catch sight of the Ministry of Magic seal on the back. Hermione's been receiving letters from them, at least once a week, since the end of the war asking her to give a speech about her bravery in the war. As far as she's concerned, she wasn't brave. She'd been terrified the entire time, she just knew how to hide her fear better than others. The brave ones were the ones who gave up their lives for the war.
Before she thinks too far into it and upsets herself, she rips open the envelope to get it over and done with.
Ministry of Magic
Saturday 2nd January 1999
As you may well know, it has been eight months since the end of the war where we lost so many loved ones at the hand of Lord Voldemort and his Death Eaters. We are saddened to inform you that we have a total body count. 231.
Unfortunately, this number of deaths in such a small period of time has drastically decreased our population and therefore, the Ministry of Magic has created a new decree in the hope that it will help boost not only our population but also our morale.
The Marriage Decree
1. All those who graduate from Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry in May 1999 to those aged 23 on 1st June 1999 will be required to marry in The Partner Ceremony.
2. In order to effectively match you with somebody compatible, the attached questionnaire must be honestly filled in and returned to the Ministry of Magic by 1st March 1999.
3. Once married, you and your partner will be given access to your new home in our Ministry Starter House Estate where you will reside for two years or until the conception of your first child.
a. If at two years you have not conceived a child, both you and your partner will be tested for fertility. If one is found to be infertile, you may divorce and the fertile partner must remarry within one year.
b. With proof of conception from St Mungo's Hospital for Magical Maldives and Injuries, you may move into your own residence if you wish.
4. The Law
a. All marriages within this age range will be made illegal up until The Partner Ceremony on 1st June 1999
b. Any person who does not return their questionnaire will be sentenced to a minimum of two months imprisonment in Azkaban.
c. Any person who refuses to marry their chosen partner will be sentenced to a minimum of four months imprisonment in Azkaban.
d. Any person found guilty of using an infertility potion or charm will be sentenced to a minimum of six months imprisonment in Azkaban.
Thank you for your time.
Approved and Signed by
Minister of Magic.
Hermione has to re-read the letter multiple times before it even begins to sink in and even then she isn't one hundred percent sure she has read it correctly. Kingsley wants to force us to marry someone we probably won't know and then force us to have children with these people within two years.
'What about those of us already in a relationship?' She thinks, her mind flashing to images of Ron.
They'd kind of been an item since the end of the war when, in the heat of the moment, they had kissed in the Chamber of Secrets. Hermione was in a constant argument with herself as to whether they were together or not. Since that one time, they hadn't kissed again or been out on a date together. The closest they had come to being romantic in any way was Christmas Eve when he had pecked her cheek under some mistletoe.
It was mistletoe. So he had the option to kiss her passionately on the lips but he hadn't. That's when she started doubting their relationship. She saw how Harry and Ginny were together and she was envious. Not of them but of what they have and the love they share.
'Hopefully, the ministry will take current relationships into consideration.' Hermione thinks climbing out of bed.
She quickly gets changed into a pair of jeans, a shirt and a cardigan before quietly making her way downstairs. Her aim is to sneak out of her house and disapparate to The Burrow to get their opinion on the matter. Maybe Arthur will have some insider information. She manages to pull on one boot before she hears footsteps upstairs. With no time to spare, she grabs her coat, bag and other boot then makes a run for it out of the front door, down their path, away from the protection spell, and onto the street where she concentrates on the burrow, turns around and disapparates away.
The skies are grey and gloomy over The Burrow today, forecasting the emotions that are to come once they read their letters. Hermione doesn't expect any of the Weasley children to be up this early but through the kitchen window, she sees Percy looking down at their kitchen worktop.
She glances down at her hands wondering whether or not to put her other boot on seeing as she'd just have to take it off again once she enters the burrow. She decides against it, deeming it a waste of time, before hobbling down The Burrow's garden path to their kitchen door. She doesn't bother knocking and just walks straight in causing Percy to glance up from a letter he's reading but upon seeing it's just Hermione he goes back to it.
"The Marriage Decree." She wonders aloud.
"Mmhmm." He hums not looking up from his letter.
"What do you think about it?" She asks.
Percy stays quiet for a few seconds as he finishes the letter for what she's sure is not the first time. He shakes his head angrily before looking up at her.
"This is just another way for the Ministry to force us to do what they want. Is nothing sacred anymore? I want to fall in love, Hermione. I don't want to be given a wife at some fucking Partner Ceremony then expected to make a future with them. It's disgusting." Percy shouts waving his letter around. This is the new Percy we had come to know since he quit his job at the Ministry at the end of the war. Full of hatred towards the government that did nothing to protect his family thereby causing one of his brothers to die. "They shall expect a strongly worded howler from me," He adds throwing his letter onto the kitchen table and taking a seat on one of the seats. And there's the old Percy still shining through.
"What's all this shouting about?" George yawns grumpily as he descends the stairs wearing a multi-coloured dressing gown.
Everything that George does, he goes grumpily now. Or angrily, depressingly, glumly and every other negative adverb. Ever since he lost not only his twin brother but also the other half of himself.
Percy, with a flick of his wand, send Georges letter flying over towards him. With a glare towards his older brother, with whom Hermione was sure he blamed for Fred's death, he opens his letter. Hermione watches him as he reads The Marriage Decree. As if instinctively, George's hand reaches within his dressing gown where it seems to hold on to something, Hermione not sure what it is but she's seen him do that many times before. Once he's finished reading, he places his letter back in the envelope and heads over to the fridge to grab the milk glass.
"So?" Hermione voices.
"So what?" George asks, drinking the milk straight from the bottle.
"What do you think about it?" She repeats the questions she had previously asked Percy.
"I think we haven't really got much of a choice so what's the point of having any thought or opinions on it. It's going to happen whether we like it or not." He says to his milk bottle before heading back up to his bedroom with it.
Percy releases a long sigh letting his head fall into his hands. Hermione, unsure with how to comfort him, takes a seat next to him and slowly rubs small circles onto his back. His long hair has fallen in front of his face so she tucks it behind his ear letting hear hand linger on the side of his cheek. Without really thinking she brings his head down to her shoulder, hugging him tightly. Maybe he just needs some comfort from someone who isn't his mother. It must have been the correct thing to do because he embraces her back just as tightly.
"I wish it had been me, Hermione," He whispers. At first, she isn't sure if he had even said anything but she had felt his breath on her neck.
"Don't say things like that?" She tells him instinctively holding him tighter.
"It's true. Everyone would be happier if it had been me. They all hated me before he died and now they all despise me." His voice breaks slightly as if he's holding back his tears.
"They don't despise you." She tells him but even she know that's a lie. Percy does too from the dry laughter he replies with. "Okay. Maybe George does but that's to be expected. Ron has always disliked you so that hasn't changed. Ginny's opinions on you have changed back and forth over the years but at the moment, she's proud of how far you've come since the end of the war. You've really changed your life around for the better."
"What about you?" He mutters.
"What about me?" She questions confused.
"Do you despise me?" He asks and she can feel the nerves coursing through his body. Hermione and Percy are similar in so many ways that she knows her opinion of him is one that actually matters to him.
She pauses to think for a moment. She doesn't despise him but what does she think of him. Of course, she admires his intellect but his common sense is a bit off and his loyalty could always be improved upon. Although that was the old Percy. She doesn't really know the new Percy.
"I don't despise you, Percy. I never have. In fact in my first year especially, I really looked up to you. You were so intellectual and the responsible. To be honest, I think I had a little crush on you. Although I will deny it if you ever mention that to anyone. Ever." Percy chuckles. "You need to remember that it's only been eight months. You just need to give everyone a bit more time to heal." She finishes.
Suddenly from upstairs, something resembling a herd of elephants comes charging down the stairs causing Percy to jerk away from Hermione's embrace blushing slightly. Ron pauses to frown in confusion at Hermione.
"What are you doing here, Hermione?" He asks heading over to the fridge.
"You've got a letter from the Ministry," She answers getting straight to the point.
Ron groans which Hermione thinks she understands. Both Ron and Harry had been receiving the same letters as her at least once a week about giving a speech. However, Ron slams the fridge door.
"We're out of milk again, Mum," He shouts up the stairs.
"George has it," Percy explains.
"Again!" He groans, filling a glass with water.
"Would you rather it be milk or firewhisky?" Percy raises a questioning eyebrow.
Hermione thinks he has a point but Ron just rolls his eyes as he opens his letter. She watches as his eyes slowly take in everything written on the piece of parchment. To her surprise, though, he simply shrugs placing it on the counter and starts making some toast.
"Is that it? You shrug then move on." Hermione raises her voice. "That's your future there Ronald and all you can do is shrug at it," She says ignoring Percy's snigger when she'd called him Ronald.
"Well, it takes a lot of stress off my plate wondering whether or not I'll get married and give Mum all those grandkids she wants," He explains.
"Do you not want something of your own for your life besides what your Mum wants or what the Ministry is making you have?" She argues.
"All I want is to become an Auror, anything else life gives me I'll take and just make the most of it." Ron shrugs again infuriating Hermione but she knows she'll never win this argument.
Unlike Ron, she has hopes and dreams for her future. She wants to travel and visit wizarding communities in other countries. Then research further into her favourite topics to deepen her knowledge and understanding of it until she knew as much as she can find out about it. Once she has done all that she wants to become a professor at Hogwarts, hopefully in Transfiguration.
In the short time, she has paused to think, Ron has gone back to making his breakfast. Hermione turns around to talk to Percy but he gives her a quickly forced smile before leaving out the kitchen door. She doesn't know where he's off to, but she gets the feeling that he wants to be alone. She takes a seat at the kitchen table again and starts to re-read her letter, trying to find some sort of loophole that will get her out of this decree but as far as she can see, there are none.
At that moment, she hears giggling coming down the stairs from further up the house, then a few seconds later, Ginny and Harry are emerging from the stairs, laughing together with their hands entwined.
"Hermione!" Ginny excitedly runs over to give her a hug. "I didn't think we'll see you again until tomorrow on the train back," She mentions.
"Neither did I but then we all got this letter from the Ministry and I just needed to speak to someone about it who would understand," She explains vaguely. "And who doesn't have a strong hatred for them," She adds because even though Percy understood her feelings on the matter, she couldn't help but feel like his anger for the decree came more from his anger of the Ministry itself.
Ginny and Harry's exchange confused glances before picking up their own letters. Hermione watches them carefully. She knows it's going to be hard for them. Halfway through, Ginny starts tearing up. When she finishes she looks at Harry terrified.
"What's going to happen to us?" She asks him, her voice breaking with emotion.
"It's fine. We'll be fine. I'll send Kingsley an owl straight away. He owes me a favour. He owes us all a favour. We can get out of this." Harry tries to calm her down but Hermione's not entirely convinced that Kingsley will let them out of the Marriage Decree.
"What in Godric's name is happening down here?" Mrs Weasley complains as she comes down the stairs fastening her dressing gown. "All this shouting and balling at eight o'clock in the morning."
Harry hands over his letter to Mrs Weasley who frowns as she reads it. To everyone's surprise, she relaxes as she reads further on.
"My babies are getting married!" She exclaims far too excitedly for someone who just read that their children are going to be forced into this marriage.
"Not by choice." Ginny huffs running back upstairs with Harry following not far behind her.
"I don't know why they're so upset. They're obviously going to be matched together." Mrs Weasley points out.
"There's no guarantee that they will. Harry said he's going to send an owl to Kingsley to try and get them out of it but I don't think he's going to show favouritism." Hermione explains.
"They'll find a way. They could get married before the Partner Ceremony. Have a lovely muggle ceremony maybe. Have you ever been to a muggle ceremony dear?" Mrs Weasley asks her.
Hermione shakes her head sympathetically at her. "Mrs Weasley-"
"I've told you to call me Molly. You're part of our family, Hermione." Molly tells her again for what must have been the hundredth time. It just feels strange to call her Molly after calling her Mrs Weasley for so long. It feels like what she'd expect it to feel like if she called Professor McGonagall, Minerva.
"Okay. Molly, the Ministry obviously don't want us getting married, that's why they've made it illegal. And after reading the punishments they have set up, I don't think Harry and Ginny want to risk upsetting them." She points out.
Molly sighs deeply, her shoulders slumping forward. "Let's hope Harry can convince Kingsley to let them out of it or at the least match them together at this Partner Ceremony."
Molly busies herself in the kitchen making breakfast for her entire family which she knows she's more than welcome to join in with but she has an overwhelming need to be alone with her thoughts. She gives a quick goodbye hug to Mrs Weasley, says "bye" to Ron, getting a grunt in reply, then leaves out the kitchen door. She is walking down The Burrows garden when she feels eyes on her. Turning back around, she finds Percy sitting on a tree stump underneath the kitchen window with his legs stretched out in front of him. He gives her a small, sad smile which she returns with a wave before carrying on down the garden path. Once out of The Burrow's protection spell, she disapparates to Diagon Alley.
When she arrives in Diagon Alley, she doesn't actually know where to go. She looks around her surroundings for a moment before deciding that she's going to need some money in case she decides to buy something, so she set off in the direction of Gringotts where she took five galleons out of her account. Then she was back to her earlier predicament. Where does she actually want to be? Flourish and Blotts. She needs a new quill ready for the school on Monday. She also wants to buy a book Professor McGonagall suggested before Christmas called 'Lost Spells from the Tenth Century'.
She has spent many hours in Flourish and Blotts so she knows she'll find the book upstairs which is where she heads upon entering. She finds the book in no time so she has a browse at the other book. She finds about ten others she wants to buy but she limits herself to the one for now and heads back down to pay for it. She starts reading her new book as she leaves the shop when suddenly she crashed into something hard or rather someone. After regaining her balance, she looks up to find Draco Malfoy straightening his cloak.
"Granger!" He says with surprise raised eyebrows which quickly turns into a sneer.
"Malfoy." She smiles politely before stepping around him and walking off.
She places her new book into her bag with the undetectable extension charm when Florean Fortescue's Ice Cream Parlour catches her eye. It is the middle of winter, far too cold for ice cream, but after The Marriage Decree news, she needs something to take her mind off it. It's either an ice cream or firewhisky and she'd rather take George's approach of drowning her sorrows in dairy than alcohol.
She buys herself a simple vanilla cone with a chocolate spoon that no matter how many times you lick it, it never gets any smaller until you actually bite it. She stays standing near the counter talking to Hannah Abbott about The Marriage Decree until the bell above the door signalling a new customer rings so she bids her goodbye and heads out the door. That is until she crashes into someone spilling her ice cream all over them. Instinctively she apologises and starts rubbing their shirt with her napkin.
The person coughs loudly to interrupt her so she looks up to find none other than Draco Malfoy stood staring shockingly down at her. "Malfoy, are you following me?" She questions with a head quirk.
"Of course not. I simply wanted a delicious ice cream." Malfoy glares down his nose at her. "And you can take your hand off me now."
Hermione glances down at her hand to find it still resting on his chest where she had been rubbing her ice cream off his shirt. She pulls her hand away as if it were burnt off his chest.
"Don't be so dramatic, Malfoy." She rolls her eyes sidestepping around him to leave but he grabs hold of her arm.
Hermione freezes in intimidation. "Try not to make this a habit," He says sharply before stepping past her and disapparating away leaving a slightly shocked Hermione behind.
Thank you so much for reading.
This is basically three different chapters from Forced Together in one to make it a bit longer. All the chapter will be around this length or longer.
Please don't expect a quick upload after this one. I plan on uploading at least twice a month so I can write ahead of my upload schedule. When I've finished writing the fanfiction, I'll start posting once a week.
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Thank you! Xx