Written for the Crazy and Random challenge.
Prompt: Write about a wedding
Once Dumbledore defeats Voldemort and binds him for transfer to Azkaban, the Ministry decides that is not enough. The Minister of Magic, Pius Thicknesse, performs an archaic marriage ritual that binds the husband as much as the wife. The only candidates are woman who are powerful and virginal. Unfortunately, Hermione draws the short straw.
Au where Dumbledore lives and the Trio still go Horcrux hunting year seven. Dark!Hermione
Chapter One: Corruption
It was the moment that they were all waiting for, the final battle. Harry, Hermione, and Ron destroyed almost all of the Horcruxes only to find the last was right under their noses this whole time, which made the great wizard Albus Dumbledore slightly embarrassed. After everything he told Harry and his brilliance at locating the others, it never occurred to him to look around the school. Rookie mistake.
In the end it was a matter of two powerful wizards and the chess pieces they called soldiers. Dumbledore and Voldemort were locked in a severe duel in a perimeter that none, no matter how accomplished could breech.
Their wands were blurred as the two weaved in a complicated dance with death. One casting to kill and the other to subdue. It was obvious that the two wizards were evenly matched in power and imagination. Individual battles over the grounds of Hogwarts came to a halt as the soldiers, light and dark, waited on the victor.
It was a shocked yell that alerted the Death Eaters of their master's fall. Some stayed and fought until they either died or were captured but the majority left, running to the hills as fast as wizardly possible.
Dumbledore stood weary over the disarmed and bound form of Lord Voldemort. Hundreds of panicked cracks of apparition filling the air as the dead were left to be dealt with by the victors.
Hermione Granger stood to the left of Harry, dirty and bleeding. She smiled for the first time in months as relief washed over her. Voldemort was finally caught. She knew it sounded terrible but she wished Dumbledore had killed him. That would ensure he wouldn't be coming back. After all, they did destroy all of his Horcruxes.
The Aurors began surrounding him and made sure he was ready for transport. It made Hermione uneasy when Pius Thicknesse walked onto the battle field.
"Well done! Well done." He said clapping slowly.
"Minister." Dumbledore frowned. "A little late aren't you? How can I help you?"
"We are putting him in Azkaban. Give him a little taste of what that's like, being surrounded by Dementor's all the time."
"Minister, I strongly suggest you think of something else. It is no secret that the Dementor's were on his side for this war. Also, I find it highly unlikely that incarceration alone will hold him."
"I agree headmaster. Which is why the Ministry has come up with a solution. We have settled on the debitum ligare." *Marital binding -English to Latin -Google translate*
"Oh really? And who are you going to sacrifice for that to work?"
"We must choose from the women currently here. We must have him bound before we send him to Azkaban."
"I am strenuously opposed to this." Dumbledore raged.
"Everyone will have some say in the proceedings."
"I somehow doubt that."
"Dawlish, round up all the women on our side present." The minister of magic was smiling a slimy foul smile. One that made everyone shudder in revulsion. The Aurors were jostling all the women into a line. Even Professor McGonagall was forced to stand with the women, sputtering and furious as she was.
The Minister walked along the line of women until he stood before the very first one. Lavender Brown.
"Virginitas revelare." He held his wand in front of each woman's torso, the tip glowing blue.
As he walked down the line of women, the tip of his wand only turned red for Hannah Abbott, Pomona Sprout, and her; Hermione Granger.
"You three stay, everyone else can go." The Minister waved his hand in dismissal.
Perhaps the outraged victors would have fought back then against the Ministry if they weren't dead tired and confused. The Ministry was supposed to be on their side. Weren't they?
Hermione and Hannah stood shoulder to shoulder hands entwined unsure of what exactly was going on. Hermione's eyes were narrowed however. She had an inkling that she was not going to like what was to happen. She didn't trust the wide happy smile of the Minister. He was after all controlled by Voldemort's regime or he wouldn't be the current Minister.
"We need someone young. Who knows for how long he will live? Professor, you may step out of line." Leaving the two teenagers alone. "Wouldn't it just be the kick in the stomach to be bound to what he so valiantly fought against?" The minister said with a sneer.
"Minister, I implore you to stop this madness. There has to be another way!" Dumbledore said.
"The great Lord Voldemort married to a Muggleborn? I like it! Hermione Granger, step forward." The Minister completely ignored Dumbledore, motioning to the confused Aurors to surround the powerful wizard and bind him as well.
"Marriage?! No! Absolutely not!" Hermione shouted. She was not the only one to lose it. Harry and Ron were now being held back by Aurors, yelling like madmen.
There was a surge of Order members who tried to get to Hermione. She was being forcefully led to where Voldemort was being held prisoner. Dumbledore was laying waste to the Aurors in an attempt to stop the obviously deranged Minister. The battle resumed, but this time it was the Order against the Ministry.
Hermione was also fighting. She managed to stun four Aurors before being disarmed and bound, forced to her knees next to Voldemort who was watching the scene with dark contemplative eyes.
One of the Aurors bared her forearm and drew his wand in a slicing motion. Hermione watched as dark crimson blood beaded on the wound before trailing down her porcelain skin in rivulets. She stopped struggling and tearfully looked into Ron's furious, terrified eyes.
She mouthed 'I love you' to him before one of the Aurors forced her bleeding arm to meet Voldemort's. Ron was shaking his head in denial as he renewed the fight to break through the heavy lines of Aurors. Dumbledore was nearly through and that gave Ron hope.
The Minister had started the ceremony, an ancient bonding ritual that was used by families who wanted to control their offspring. It did not need to be consensual by either party. As it was little more than an exchange of hostages to ensure a tentative peace. Where the hell did they find this nonsense? Hermione wondered.
A bright white light surrounded the newly bound couple, blinding everyone. Once the light receded, no one moved or spoke. It was done. Another travesty committed by the Ministry.
"The only thing left is the consummation." The Minister said rubbing his hands together in a creepy fashion.
Hermione was numb. She was married to Tom Riddle, Dark Lord extraordinaire. How dare they?! She who had fought for so long and so hard. She who starved for months in the hunt for Horcruxes. Hermione Granger, the war heroine. Rage filled her small body as the injustice welled up within her.
Dumbledore who was nearly through the thick lines of Aurors had his eyes focused. He would prevent consummation at all costs. But she couldn't wait for them to save her. It was already too late.
Hermione let out an agonized scream. It wasn't just a scream. It was her soul begging for justice, for retribution, for vengeance. It was the exchange of unequal souls. Her magic blasted out of her in a circle that knocked everyone but her new husband unconscious.
She stood, feeling detached at the scene of allies and enemies scattered on the ground around her. She wasn't like them anymore. She was soul bound to a man who had less than a seventh of his soul left. Without looking at Voldemort, Hermione grabbed her wand from the nearest Auror and apparated away. It would be a cold day in Hell when she would allow the Ministry to control her life.
In the months following the final battle, Hermione jumped from place to place, carefully avoiding anywhere that Harry and Ron might find her. She even left the country for a while in search of information about the ritual forced upon her. It was in the Alexandria library, books scattered around her when she found it. The debitum ligare was a marriage bond between two powerful magical people whose families have forged a tentative cease fire. It was referred to as the 'Romeo and Juliet' binding. It was meant to forge families on opposite sides of a war for their children who found themselves deep in love. It was a security measure so that the families couldn't kill the off spring of their enemies.
It was an incredible piece of magic. In the hands of the Ministry it turned from something pure and beautiful into something necrotic and festering. She was the tool in which even a freed Voldemort wouldn't be able to fight against. It was binding for the whole of both of their lives. She had been the only one to bring an untarnished soul into the union, therefore she was the one with more power. He needed her. Hence the reason the ministry chose this binding. He could never become the Dark Lord if she didn't wish it. And why would Hermione Granger, War Heroine, and Muggleborn allow Voldemort to gain that power?
They really should have picked Hannah Abbott. By forcing her into this union, against her wishes, against her heart, they had ensured her enmity. They created their newest enemy. Hermione Riddle, wife of Lord Voldemort. Had Hermione not been sharing one soul and a little more with Voldemort, perhaps she wouldn't have become a caricature of her former self. One soul was not enough for two people. She was no longer the girl she used to be. She was a powerful, warped version. Bellatrix Lestrange had more soul than she did.
What made her fury bubble just beneath the surface was the final paragraph in the book about the 'Romeo and Juliet' bond.
What pleased the lords at the time of popularity was the fact that the marriage didn't have to be consummated right away. They were able to marry young offspring to their enemy's young children to forge peace despite the intention of love being the catalyst. Mother's on both sides had forbidden its use after the peace treaty of 412 citing the fact that a unified government would prevent the torture and murder of their children through marriages. The binding fell out of use and was relegated to the archives of barbaric marriage ceremonies. The last bond was formed in 432 by Baron De Luc to force the recipient of his unrequited love, Marie Shipley, into marriage. He was found guilty of a forced soul bond which was categorized as murder. He was executed three days after his guilty verdict.
The French Magical government at the time had decided that using this bond in force was tantamount to murder. Hermione laughed a cold horrible laugh that held very little humor. The Ministry cared little for her or anyone else, they proved it time and again with Harry. It was time to go home and show the Ministry how very wrong they were in forcing Hermione Granger.
Hermione walked the halls of Azkaban, the Dementor's hugging the walls in an effort to clear her way. She was their Lord's wife and they would obey. They bowed as she passed, giving her all the due that she was afforded.
She passed the cells of Antonin Dolohov and Lucius Malfoy. They stared in shock and awe as their former enemy walked the fearsome prison as if she owned it. She stopped in front of the most heavily fortified cell on the whole island. The cell where Voldemort was being held.
The door had gone transparent as she stepped closer, he stood up slowly as if he had been waiting for her and looked her over speculatively. Taking his time approaching the door.
"Tom." Hermione said in lieu of a greeting.
"Hermione. Why are you here? You of all people couldn't hurt me. So why did they send you?"
"Send me? Whatever gave you that idea?" She raised her right eyebrow in question.
Voldemort's eyes took on an interested gleam.
"How else could you enter the prison?"
"They really couldn't stop me from doing whatever pleases me." Her cold and haughty manner made him smile.
"Then why are you, the best friend of my greatest enemy, here?"
"That is where you are wrong, Tom. Harry was never your greatest enemy. It was and always will be the Ministry. If you agreed to leave my loved ones alive and safe, I dare say we could make incredible allies."
"You want to be my ally?"
"The Ministry gave us both the weapon that would bring them down. It was their stupidity and corruption that made them choose this path. They should have just killed you Tom."
"Yes, they should have."
"Make an unbreakable vow with me. Your vow that my loved ones will be safe, protected, and alive and we will burn the Ministry to the ground."
"They really did me a great service by choosing you as my wife. I couldn't have chosen better if I had tried."
"Also, no more Horcruxes. If you insist on being immortal, find another way that will not touch my soul. You are after all brilliant."
"And a compliment. I'm in ecstasy."
"Is that an agreement?"
"Yes, to both. Anything else?
"We will need to live together. Our power will strengthen with physical touch."
"As you wish, my Queen." He hissed as she rolled her eyes.
Hermione entered the cell with very little effort and clasped her soft young hand in his scaly one. His grip was firmer than she expected as she lifted her wand between them, choosing to be their own binder.
"Tom Marvolo Riddle do you promise to actively protect my loved ones as much as possible?"
"I will." The first golden ribbon surrounded their joined hands.
"To forego making another Horcrux for as long as our souls are bound?"
"I will." A second ribbon joined the first.
"To live with me until the Ministry has been destroyed?"
"And so it shall be." Hermione said as the final golden ribbon wrapped their hands in glowing light.
Voldemort pulled his hand back looking at the woman he once loathed nearly as much as Harry Potter. She was a beautiful woman. Thick curly hair fell to her slim waist, her form had filled out in the months since the final battle and her shape became beguiling. His eyes traveled down her body. He clearly liked what he saw.
Hermione on the other hand was mildly revolted. He still looked like a snake with a human problem. Or was he a human with a snake problem? She shrugged her shoulders.
Voldemort moved in to kiss her and she put her hand on his chest. Effectively stopping his advancement.
"You will have to look better than this for me to ever be tempted."
"So you are the vain sort?"
"No, I just refuse to have anything romantic with something non-human. Call it vanity if that makes you feel better."
"Something else to work on then. Immortality and my old form."
Even though she refused the kiss, Hermione felt like she could breathe for the first time since the final battle. Touching him felt so right. Complete. She knew he felt the same because he unconsciously leaned closer to her.
"Now that we got that taken care of, let's get out of here." Hermione said as she tore down the wards on the cell. He watched in hungry admiration as his wife wielded her wand flawlessly. After all, there were those with power and those too weak to seek it. He felt closer to her than anyone else in his whole entire life. Both ostracized for what they were. Both powerful. Both trapped and forced. She was his as much as he was hers. They were the same. And one day she would truly be his in more than just name. One day, she would ask for it.
As the two walked past the cells, Dementor's swarming behind them, Voldemort paused in front of one of his most loyal followers.
"We should bring them with us. We will need an army."
"Unless they swear fealty to me and you release them, I am not helping you. If you want to break them out, do it on your own time." Hermione said dismissively.
He shrugged his shoulders. There would be enough time for that when he got his wand back.
Hermione left Voldemort in the warded tent that the trio had used for months they sent on the run. It was ironic that she was once again on the run but this time with the very man she had tried to destroy.
Hermione had apparated just outside the boundary of the Burrow, sorrow and regret swirling in her stomach. She had been dreading this since she had run from the battle field. How could Harry and the Weasley's bare to look at the woman who was married to the man who killed their family members.
She was no longer in love with Ron. That had gone away the moment her soul was torn and gifted to Lord Voldemort. That is what she told herself anyway. It wasn't that she couldn't love, she reasoned. It was the fact that she couldn't do that to anyone. She was not free to love. It would be the unearned penance that she set for herself.
She took a deep breath and then stepped over the boundary walking slowly to the door. It didn't take long until said door was flung open by her best friends, Harry and Ron. They were sprinting to where she was. Hermione smiled in relief. She laughed as Harry caught her and swung her around, Ron happily yelling 'Hermione is home'.
The rest of the occupants joined them outside in a more reasonable manner, clearly just as happy as the boys that she was there.
After Harry let her go and Ron had his hug, Molly bustled through. She pulled Hermione into a great hug murmuring her relief in her ear. Hermione felt their love surround her and broke down for the first time since the battle. She was sobbing on shoulder after shoulder as everyone hugged her and welcomed her back.
Molly motioned for Fleur to usher Hermione inside and pushed the distraught girl into a chair at the kitchen table.
"Tell us Hermione dear, where you have hidden yourself for all this time? We have been worried sick about you! We thought that you might have been captured by one of the Death Eaters that got away."
"I was researching. I wanted to know about the bond that I was forced into. It took me a while but I finally found it in the Alexandria library."
"The Alexandria library in Egypt? No way! The Egyptian magical government never lets outsiders in their library." Bill was shocked. He had worked in Egypt for years and he still never got to go in.
"I didn't exactly ask permission Bill." Hermione said coldly.
The table went silent. Some of them were looking at her with new fearful eyes. It wasn't what she said, it was how she said it. Miss rule abiding Granger had broken at least thirty laws in the last few months. Harry and Ron just smiled. Just because everyone assumed Hermione was a habitual rule follower doesn't mean she actually was. They had rubbed off on her over the years.
Arthur hurried in the house, back from the Ministry in a panic.
"You-know-who has escaped and we aren't sure how. All of the Dementor's are gone but the prisoners remain. We have no idea what to make of that."
"I have Voldemort. Don't worry. I have him tightly leashed. The Dementor's were going to flee soon anyway. Not a lot of sustenance from feeding off of those inmates." Hermione said lifting the cup of tea Molly just pushed in front of her.
"You broke Voldemort out of prison?" Harry asked confused.
"If you call walking in, securing an unbreakable vow and walking back out with him in tow, breaking him out then sure." She said matter-of-factly, still nonchalantly sipping her tea.
The room went silent as they stared incredulously at her.
"Why?" Ron choked out.
"Because no matter what I do, no matter where I go, he is a part of me now. I refuse to let the Ministry get off of punishment. They are stagnant and corrupted and if I don't do something they will never change. They can use him against me as surely as I could be used against him. I am stronger with him, as improbable as that sounds. Don't worry, he won't become the Dark Lord we fought against. Our vow prevents that."
"I am starting to worry that you will take his place." Ginny said. "I know what it is like to be taken by Tom Riddle, to be possessed by him."
"Oddly enough Ginny, he is the one technically possessed by me. This bond is an exchange of souls. Half of his soul is supposed to reside in me and half of mine in him. The problem with this is that Voldemort only had a seventh of his soul in his body. So he gets half of my soul and I get a half of his seventh. My soul is technically still mine to control, which does not make us equals. He is mine."
Ron's eyes went large as what Hermione was saying sank in. There was no chance for them. Not now. Hermione watched as all of the hope died in Ron's eyes.
"So he is your Horcrux?" Harry said horrified.
"No, we both can die but the bond will make us fight for each other. The Ministry really should have thought it through more carefully." Hermione said.
"You want to bring the Ministry down? I am in." Ron said. He had lost his brother and Hermione that day on the battlefield. Today he thought he had gotten her back just to have the rug pulled from beneath his feet. He was furious all over again.
Harry nodded. The Ministry caused him so many problems over the years. He couldn't ignore that the Ministry was just one of the heads on the hydra called enemy.
It wasn't long before she had secured the alliance of her loved ones. Harry would floo to Hogwarts to discuss the coup with Dumbledore, hopefully bringing in the entire Order.
Hermione left the Burrow with left overs and an open invitation to come alone, anytime. She rolled her eyes. She had no doubt that Voldemort wouldn't be welcome anywhere but among his own followers. If there.
With a quiet pop she apparated back to the tent. She pushed the tent flap aside and stepped into a silent and empty room.
"You didn't think I would sit at home and wait while my wife took care of business, did you? He asked from behind her. She spun, hitting his chest, he was so close. She took a quick breath in. He had showered and changed his clothes. He had to have left to get clean clothes.
"Where did you go?" She asked clearly displeased.
"Malfoy Manor. Don't worry Lovely, I disillusioned myself so as not to get caught. It was an amusing game watching the Aurors trying to breach the wards around the estate. I don't believe they will ever break through at the rate they are going. They don't have you Darling." He whispered as he pulled her further into his body.
"Don't." she said coldly.
"Don't what? Hold my wife?"
"I may be your wife but make no mistake, you can only touch me when I allow it."
"So you say." He murmured running his fingers along her jaw. She leaned into his touch like a cat. He surmised that she would purr for him if she could.