Chapter 1*: Book 1: Love - Chapter 1: The Petition
"Are you certain, Severus?" Albus Dumbledore asked the irritated man. "You are under no obligation."
Professor Severus Snape squirmed in his seat under the stare of the Headmaster of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. Dumbledore had a parchment in his hand that would legally bind Severus to a student. He felt ill.
"It has to be done, but who would go unchallenged?"
The words at the meeting in Grimmauld Place were burned into his memory. It had been days ago, and time was running out.
The Headmaster's purple velvet hat balanced on a corner of his high-backed chair. His silver hair and beard flowed over his shoulders and down the front of his majestic robes, while his sharp blue eyes peered over the crest of his spectacles and settled on Severus.
"Certain enough," said Severus. A strained expression passed over his features. He pinched the skin between his eyes. "She's too valuable to let slip into the wrong hands."
"Very well," Dumbledore handed a silver piece of parchment to Severus, along with a gold quill that glowed with magic. Severus took it, hands trembling.
Hermione Granger was enjoying her breakfast in the Great Hall of Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardy with her best friends, Ron Weasley and Harry Potter. when a large barn owl swooped down and dropped a blue scroll on the plate in front of her, splattering food everywhere. She froze.
Ministry of Magic: Department of Matrimonial Destiny was etched across the scroll.
"You're not old enough," said Ron, staring at her dumbfounded.
"I know," replied Hermione, distressed, and ignoring the students complaining about being caught up in the splatter.
"Then what's that for?" he asked in a panicked voice.
"I don't know!" cried Hermione, leaving the scroll untouched near her plate. Harry reached out and grabbed it. He unfurled it and read.
"It looks like your activities with the time-turner have been considered when establishing the time of your availability for the Muggle-born Laws." Harry grimaced.
"Can they do that?" Neville Longbottom breathed. "That's not right!"
"None of this is right!" Ginny Weasley snapped.
Another crackpot scheme of Minister Fudge's to safeguard the coming generations of the Wizarding community. The Marriage Law lowered the position of Muggle-born witches to property, and allowed pure-blooded wizards to petition for them.
"You had three proposals in the initial hour of your availability, so you're being given permission to choose your partner." Harry studied the page.
"Why didn't anybody tell me?" Ron was shocked.
"You wouldn't be permitted," Harry explained firmly, before Ron had an uncontrollable outburst and lost them the House Cup. "You're still underage. You didn't file for an exemption on time. Your relatives are spoken for," Harry added as a consideration.
"I didn't know!" Ron protested desperately.
Hermione paled and searched in her pack for a quill. Ron's face sank as he watched her scrabble on the parchment. The owl that brought it plummeted down from the crossbeams to take it back to the Ministry.
"So that's it?" Ron asked, calmly.
"I think so," answered Hermione.
"Who did you go with?" inquired Neville.
"Who did you have to choose from?" asked Ginny.
"Gregory Goyle, Garrick Ollivander, and Severus Snape," Hermione said blankly.
"Are you serious?" asked Ron, horrified. He had always intended to settle down with her when he had enough to offer. Now the Ministry had torn her away before they had an opportunity.
"Who did you go with?" Harry asked.
"Snape," hissed Hermione annoyed. "He's in the Order. Get a hold of yourselves."
"That would make sense," Ron said, looking relieved.
"I have to thank him tonight," Hermione said, gathering up her planner out of her pack.
"What do you mean?" Harry asked.
"We're getting married this evening," Hermione said, writing an entry in her planner.