Percy sat back in his chair, pleased with himself and rightly so. A year ago, almost to the day, the headline had been Granger Sacked! or something like that. Today, Hermione was the headline again, though this time it said Minister to Address Population Crisis at Int'l Confederation Conference.

He couldn't take full credit for her rapid rise, of course. He'd given her the tools he'd had to hand, and she'd put them to better use than he'd ever been able.

First, there had been the well-publicized embarrassment within the Guild of Potioneers. The Guild had first dismissed the charges of misconduct, etc., from Snape from some technicality or other (which had Hermione written all over it). Then, they'd very publicly had to award her back-pay for getting her sacked per Ministry policy and then leaving her in limbo awaiting their ruling on her qualifications. (The Quibbler had written a hilarious piece about Nargle infestation of the Guild's premises that his mum had clipped and hung below the family clock.) She'd kept herself in the public eye when she went in to retake her exams, too, and the results had been published the way the N.E.W.T. scores had been back when it was just the four returning seventh years at Hogwarts.

She might've fallen out of notice again if it hadn't been for the complaints that had begun piling up at the Aurory at that point. Snape's shop, the Cauldron and Kettle, had always had more wards than necessary on it, but nobody had questioned it, first and foremost because there was a ward preventing them from paying the wards any mind. But the public announcement of their marriage had tripped something up within the magic, and the obscuring enchantments and the fuzzy after-effects had been noticed. And people were upset. If Harry hadn't been Head Auror, she might've lost her chance. But, again, she was lucky.

(Percy, himself, noted he'd been affected by those wards, but only in retrospect. Who wouldn't have put it all together, after all, if left to their own devices? It wasn't so difficult to deduce, what with the children so obviously taking after the both of them. He was only glad that he'd been among the select few to be let in on the secret over the years—otherwise they would've had Words, and he certainly wouldn't have given her the leverage she needed.)

Hermione had used the public notice as a platform to denounce the Marriage Law. Released from her Ministerial contracts, she'd been able to point people in direction of the solid facts (if not able to spell them out directly, due to the lingering nondisclosure clauses). There was a petition to repeal the Marriage Law, citing alternative means in place in other countries operating under the same mandate from the International Confederation of Wizards.

Percy had been more than happy to give interview after interview explaining, at length, the many and varied options he'd presented to the Minister and Wizengamot. (The Minister and most members of the Wizengamot had either not been available for comment, or had outright declined.) He'd presented half a dozen methods of compliance in the beginning, but had even more to talk on since the mandates had been in effect and he now had real-world examples of what other countries were trying.

Between Percy, his connections (not the least of which being a brother-in-law as the Head Auror and a pair of brothers more than happy to chat within easy hearing of the impressionable youth swarming all over their shops), and Hermione's own influence, it had been surprisingly easy to unseat the Minister for having taken things to such extremes. Lives had been complicated, ruined even. Policies had been enacted that did not, in fact, increase the birthrate but had shown a marked rise in suicides among those caught in the new law.

Hermione had personally written an incentives-based plan of action, and the Wizengamot had adopted it almost as quickly as it had elected her Minister of Magic.

Percy had always thought she'd be rather good for the position.

"You are a crafty devil, Ambassador Weasley," Hermione said, shaking her head at him from his doorway. "You planned this from the beginning, didn't you?"

"From the beginning, no," he said, standing and smoothing his robes into place. She was due to address the Confederation in an hour, and he, as the Senior Ambassador, would be on stage with her. "You'll remember I was in Gryffindor. We can hardly plan anything out that far."

"Everybody always says they Sort too soon," she said.

She held out a battered old watering can, and he grabbed the nearest bit of it. The Portkey activated, and in a moment they were in the antechamber with the rumble of the assembled Confederation on the other side of the door. Her squad of Hit Wizards moved in for their usual check, making sure that the Minister was alright and hadn't been hexed, replaced by a Polyjuiced lookalike, or otherwise tampered with in transit. Hermione bore the security sweep with her customary annoyed patience.

"I'm sure you'd know better about that sort of thing than I would," Percy said, watching as the Hit Wizards retook their security positions around the room as she prepared to go out onto the main floor to give her speech. "You married a former headmaster, after all."

"Quite so," she said, smirking at him.

"After you, Minister Granger-Snape."

A/N: And that's it. If you want to read it all in order, it should be something along the lines of: 1, 56, 5, 12, 32, 16, 25, 28, 4, 9, 50, 19, 30, 54, 26, 31, 39, 13, 49, 27, 43, 10, 20, 6, 29, 14, 7, 45, 36, 33, 21, 23, 41, 52, 34, 38, 17, 3, 15, 47, 2, 8, 18, 22, 24, 53, 42, 40, 37, 48, 46, 51, 11, 35, 44, 55, 57. I think it's much more fun all jumbled up, though :)