THIS IS A REPOST. I originally posted this fic a while back, pulled it because all my Dramione-inclusive plunnies died on me. But now they've been stirring back to life, so I decided to give them second chance.
Those who read these works before my mass Dramione Deletion (or who read these works in my Unfinished Dramione PDF), please note that aside from minor changes and editing fixes, the content of the previously posted chapters has not changed. All returning Dramiones will be updated weekly until all previously-available chapters are posted. At that point, the fics will continue until completion, but will fall under my 'sporadic updates' label. Feel free to reference my profile, PM me, or ask in your review and I'll get back to you ASAP, if you'd like a list of which other titles are (or may be) returning.
IMPORTANT Author's Note:
As per this fic, certain changes in classification of blood statuses to reflect standards governed by Magic, rather standards governed by clearly flawed views of Wizarding society, were part of Post-War Reformations. As such, Harry is considered a pure-blood, because his mother was a witch.
DISCLAIMER: I do not own Harry Potter, or any affiliated characters, and make no profit, in any form, from this story.
I Never Did Like Divination
"I can't believe this!" Hermione all but growled, crumpling the official Ministry of Magic document in her hands.
She'd thought for certain they'd come to their senses and reverse the ruling before they got to her. But then, there it was . . . her invitation to meet with the Ministry-sanctioned Matchmaker, clutched in the talons of the owl that waited ever-so-patiently at her window this morning.
Shaking his head, Harry sighed as he watched her storm though the foyer of 12 Grimmauld Place. "Hermione—"
"Just ridiculous! I usually have no trouble not bringing my modern, Muggle world understanding into Wizarding things, which you well know." She spun on her heel, shaking an angry finger in his face. "But honestly! How can they do this in this day and age?"
His brow furrowed as he stared at the dainty, balled hand, shaking in fury before his eyes. She was just as terrifying in her wrath now as she'd been when she was twelve. One would think a decade of friendship would have been more than enough time for him to realize he was one of the only people who could diffuse her.
Certainly the Law was a recent development, but he thought she'd have been better prepared when they finally called on her. "Hermione—"
"This is backward. And . . . totally barbaric!"
"Barbaric?" He grabbed her by her shoulders and gave her a gentle shake. "Hermione!"
Frowning, she met his gaze.
"We're talking arranged marriages, not trussing up the centaurs like carriage horses. And you're not alone, okay?" He pursed his lips as he shook his head at her. "We're all being put through this."
Her body drooped a bit in his hold and she dropped her head down against his shoulder. She didn't want to not be angry about this. She didn't want to calm down. If anything, she was positive this was exactly the sort of situation over which she had every right to feel upset.
"I'm not wrong," she said, the words spilling out in a whisper. "That all our friends are being forced through the same thing doesn't make it any better."
Smiling, he pushed her back a little, catching her gaze. "I never said you were wrong. Just . . . lashing out a bit, maybe. At me." He gave a half-shrug as she bit her lip to hold in a laugh. "Like I have any control over this mess."
"All right, okay." She wiped her hands over her face in a calming gesture as she let out a rattling breath. "Everyone has to do this, and no one else is making a fuss. It's . . . ." Hermione let her voice trail off as she nodded. "It's for the good of the Wizarding community."
His bottom lip stuck out in a thoughtful pout. Well, she'd managed to talk herself down from that one faster than he'd expected.
"Harry?" she asked, making her chestnut eyes wide and pleading.
Sighing, he let his head fall back. With that look she didn't need to speak the question. "Yes, I'll go with you."
"Thank you," she said, her abrupt shout in his ear making him laugh as she threw her arms around his neck and hugged him tight.
"You know," he muttered with a grin as he hugged her back, "whoever your future husband turns out to be, he's probably not going to like this part of our friendship."
She pulled back enough to scowl at him. "Then my future husband will just learn to deal with it."
Harry relinquished his hold on her and followed her back through the foyer.
He didn't know if her future husband was lucky, or doomed.
"Your hand, please," Drusilla, the Matchmaker, said again, her tone short. Her thin lips pursed, she waited, still, for Hermione to do as instructed.
"Miss Granger, you must," the Ministry official standing over Drusilla's shoulder—Hermione hadn't bothered to recall his name—prompted gently.
Holding in a sigh, and showing the good grace not to roll her eyes, Hermione at last extended her arm, holding her hand over the pile of opalescent, crystalline dust on Drusilla's desk.
She bit into her lip, bracing herself for the flash of pain as the Matchmaker pricked her finger. Watching the blood spill out, she found herself oddly fascinated by the gleam of light off the crimson droplet.
It splashed into the crystal dust, turning into a shiny, purplish stain.
Now that that was done, she could see the official and Drusilla both release a sigh of relief. Honestly, she couldn't be the only one who'd put up a fight about this.
Though . . . she did doubt anyone else had to be asked repeatedly for a solid twenty minutes before relenting.
Clearing her throat, Drusilla raised her wand—elm, Hermione guessed from the color of the wood, and inscribed with beautifully embellished runic symbols. She waved the instrument over the glittering dust, muttering the incantation under her breath.
Hermione swallowed hard, forcing her gaze to the floor as the mix of blood and crystalline grains swirled and shifted beneath the force of the Matchmaker's command. She didn't want to see. The best she could hope for was that this perfectly paired wizard the spell was supposed to find for her wasn't some pure-blood elitist not fully won over by the Post-War reformations.
She could only imagine how painful meeting her future in-laws would be.
Everything in her line of sight became a means of distraction. The lightly-scuffed toes of her black leather boots, the faded blue denim of her jeans, with their Muggle-fashionable torn knees, the tiny, barely-noticeable bits of fuzz clinging to the bottom hem of her dark-blue jumper.
She knew she had to be there today, but she'd had deliberately decided not to go out of her way to dress nicely for the meeting in a subtle show of protest. Unfortunately, the gesture seemed lost on the two Ministry members before her.
"What?" The official's voice was high—a tone of disbelief. "I don't understand."
"Neither do I. I've actually never seen this before," Drusilla said in a whisper.
Hermione refused to lift her gaze, despite her curiosity. What was going on atop that desk? She was too hopeful that whatever they were seeing meant a loophole for her.
"Surely this can't be a first."
From the way the volume of the Matchmaker's voice shifted, Hermione thought Drusilla must've turned to speak over her shoulder to the supervising wizard. "Allow me to clarify. I've never heard of this happening before, either."
Drusilla forced out a sigh from between pursed lips. "I've no idea. It's right there, she has—"
"Okay, what?" Hermione snapped, finally having enough of the cryptic discussion. "I'm standing right bloody here!"
She lifted her gaze, hoping that perhaps their confusion denoted something wonderfully momentous—like, say, their Matching Divination coming up blank! Yes, that was a wonderful thought! That could be certainly be . . . true.
Hermione's thoughts ground to a halt and her jaw dropped as she saw what they were fussing over. The blood-stained crystal dust had swirled into a definite likeness of not one face, but two.
The images of two wizards stared back at her from the desktop. Two wizards remarkably familiar to her.
She backpedaled a step, all but collapsing into one of the chairs that faced the Matchmaker's desk.
"I think she's going to need a minute," the Ministry official said to Drusilla in a stage-whisper.
"Yes, and I needed your statement of the obvious to notice the girl's state of distress, Markham."
"Markham, that was your name," Hermione muttered absently as she shook her head.
Markham hmphed, folding his arms across his chest. He reminded himself she'd just had a bit of a shock; she couldn't be held responsible for any rude statements that fell out of her mouth just now.
"It must be a mistake."
Frowning, Drusilla stepped around the desk and moved to settle in the chair beside Hermione's. "I'm sorry, Miss Granger. There is no mistake. You have two perfect matches."
Hermione looked up, meeting the other witch's gaze. "I can't—can't have two. Especially not those two. Well, no, one of them, maybe, but the other one? Impossible! There has to be something in the Law that forbids this!"
Feeling for the younger woman, Drusilla sighed and reached out to place her hand over Hermione's. "The Law states that the Muggle-born witch or wizard must wed the pure-blood to whom they are matched. The magic here selects the wizard to whom you are most suited."
Hermione's face fell, her eyes growing wide.
"I'm sorry Miss Granger, but if magic, itself, cannot choose between these two, then neither can we."
Turning to face Drusilla, Hermione clung to her hand. "But there has to be a mistake. Please, please . . . just try again!"
Drusilla looked about the room, her expression thoughtful. Rolling her eyes, she finally nodded. "Fine. However, I must caution you that the result will likely be the same."
Hermione's heart sank, but she only offered a shrug. "Well, I suppose I'll have to accept the results then."
Nodding again, Drusilla gave the girl's hand another pat and stood.
Harry bolted upright at the sound of someone clearing their throat. He'd not even realized he'd drifted off as he waited on a bench outside the Matchmaker's office. Blinking hard, he lifted his hand, rubbing at his eyes behind the wire rims of his glasses.
He looked up to see Hermione standing in front of him. Her eyes were wide, and the color had drained from her face; she clutched two small boxes in her hand.
Shooting to his feet, he slipped his fingers around her elbows. "What happened? What took so long? Are you okay?"
She forced a smile. He was always so concerned for her. Her best friend, the person who understood her so well, perhaps this wouldn't be so bad.
Inhaling deeply, she blew the breath out slow. "Well," she said, pausing to force a gulp down her throat. "It took so long because I had them recast the divination a . . . few times. And, um, well . . . it's you."
His jaw fell as he tried to process her words. "Me? I don't—wait, what? You look like someone just ran over Crookshanks because you were matched to me?"
A nervous laugh bubbled out of her. "No, no," she whispered, shaking her head as she handed him one box. "That . . . I think we could make it work." Didn't many husbands and wives eventually come to consider one another best friends? They'd just . . . be starting backward.
Harry still didn't quite know how he felt—he was certain the missive informing him that he'd been matched was being penned as they spoke—as he opened the box. Inside, an opalescent band of purplish-red rested against a simple bed of black velvet.
"The rings are part of the spell . . . they form from the mixture Drusilla uses for the matching." She stopped there, unsure how he'd feel about walking around with her crystallized blood on his finger.
He shook his head, removing the ring from the box and slipping it on. She was right, he thought, they would make this work. They'd been through hell and back together; he knew if anyone could make an unexpected thing work, they could.
"Hermione, are you really okay with this?" He lifted his head as he asked, spotting the glint of silvery purple-red on her own finger.
Her expression became guarded suddenly as she followed his line of sight.
How could she tell him? How was this part of it ever going to work?
"You . . . were already wearing your ring when you came out of the office, weren't you?"
She nodded, biting her lip.
"So that second box isn't yours."
Hermione couldn't even shake her head. Instead she looked away, her brow furrowed.
Harry thought he was going to fall back onto the bench behind him. That . . . no . . . . What? "I'm not sure I understand."
"I . . . don't, either. Not really." She licked her lips nervously as she went on, reaching her empty hand out to tug at Harry's fingers, intertwining them with her own. "Um, but I—somehow—have two perfect matches among the pure-blood wizards."
His face scrunched in unpleasant anticipation. If this was her reaction, then it couldn't be good. He understood that if he was having an issue processing the situation, then he couldn't begin to imagine what she must be feeling just now.
"Who is it, Hermione?"
"Um . . . ." She swallowed uncomfortably as she dropped her head forward. "It's—"
"Granger, Potter," a remarkably familiar voice said from behind her. "Should've known working in the Ministry I'd be bound to run into you two at some point."
Hermione spun on her heel. Her jaw dropped as she found herself staring up at Draco Malfoy. Those cold, slate-grey eyes, that perfect, pale face—with the most oddly charming dusting of a five o'clock shadow gracing his jaw—and sleek, platinum hair were just as she remembered.
But it wasn't the recollection of classroom arguments, or fleeting war-time alliances, that caused her heart to drop into her stomach.
"Him," she said, the word squeaking out of her in a barely audible whisper.
Harry's eyes widened, his gaze darting from Hermione, to Draco, and back. "Him?"
She nodded, repeating herself, "Him."
"Me?" Draco asked, his brows shooting up his forehead. "What about me?" He hadn't the foggiest idea what they were talking about, but the way they looked at him made him think he might be better off simply walking away, rather than waiting around for them to explain.
"Uh . . . ." Hermione said, fidgeting with the box in her hand.
Harry held up a hand in caution as he lowered himself to take a seat on the bench. "Malfoy, I think you're going to need to sit down for this."
She watched, finding it amusing in a strange way, as Draco's expression shifted to a mix of trepidation and uncertainty as he stepped around her. Pivoting to face the two of them as Draco sat, she wondered how many conversations, arranged like this, awaited them.
Well, she supposed, it could always be worse. They could've been stuck with Ron.