Author's note: I did have this beta-ed, but I can't access the beta-ed version at the moment; I'm working on recovering it. If you would like to read the beta-ed version, you can find it on the After_Class, Snapeslash, and Potterslash groups. Probably a few more too, but I can't remember which one's I've posted it on. Reviews are always appreciated. All standard disclaimers apply. See one of the other pieces for the full spiel.

To Have and to Hold Lady Shadow


Harry Potter


"One last announcement before we begin the feast. As some of you may know, Hogwarts once had a tradition of Sorting that has been diminished over the years. Long before I was Headmaster the Sorting Hat used to not only place students in Houses, but provide them with a life partner. This was found to bring great physical and emotional strength to students...if not add some drama to school life. During these years grades were at an all time high, interhouse relationships were the best they'd ever been-before or since. This tradition was known to build strong character and make strong citizens and strong witches and wizards. However, in 1901 a parent board, which no longer exists ruled that the practice was not a favorable one and the current Headmistress was forced to remove the tradition. Now nearing a hundred years later, I as Headmaster have decided to re-open this tradition.
"In light of recent events I believe that the added strength and support would be helpful to all in these dark times. Therefore, tomorrow morning we will begin Sorting, for all students beginning with the seventh year class. Your cooperation is appreciated. Now, we may begin the feast." As soon as Dumbledore took his seat the Hall burst into excited whispers, which quickly grew into a quiet roar.

"We'll be sorted before dinner." Ron announced to his dorm the next morning.
"What makes you think that?" Semus inquired. He had made it no secret that he very much planned to end up with Dean and so had not been worried about the whole process. Dean hadn't talked to him all night.
"Because, you twit, it says so right here. Seventh years will be sorted before breakfast, sixth years before lunch, fifth years before dinner."
"Well, well, well, that's always useful. Dean? Do you like silk sheets?" Growling Dean left the room. Semus laughed. "He'll come back." He said confidently, fixing his tie and twitting his thumbs for a few minutes before bounding out of the room. Ron watched the door with a bemused expression before climbing on Harry's bed and watching him tightening his tie.
"Who do you think you'll end up with Harry?" Harry paused and looked honestly thoughtful for a moment before shrugging and tugging his tie so it fit neatly in the V of his shirt.
"Oh, come on, you must have some idea! What about Cho?" Harry snorted in a sudden burst of laughter.
"I don't think Cho and I would work out...."
"What do you mean? You were infatuated with her last year!" Harry simply shrugged again, eyes twinkling in amusement. "Fine, don't tell me." Ron hissed playfully, falling back on the bed.
"Well, who do you think you'll end up with?"
"Knowing my luck, I'll get stuck with Hermione..." Harry laughed and sat next to his friend.
"What do you mean 'knowing my luck'? You've had a crush on her since second year!" Ron started laughing as well and Neville was chuckling as he tried to get the wrinkles out of his robe, but was only succeeding in making them worse.
"I really do hope we end up together."
"That would be great, having Hermione as a sister." Harry decided, his eyes clouding with something like longing.
"Well at least you would only have to see her at family gatherings. I'd have to see her every morning."
"And you would love every minute of it." Ron grinned widely.
"Yah, I would."

Harry, Ron and Hermione were sitting by the fire pretending to do homework that afternoon when Fred and George stumbled through the porthole, grinning like idiots.
"There you two are! How come you weren't at breakfast or lunch?" Ron snapped immediately upon seeing his brothers. Wearing twin grins the two sauntered over to their brother.
"We had other...more important engagements to take care of." Hermione's face flushed and she buried her nose in her Herbology text.
"Who did you get paired with?" Ron asked eagerly and Harry gave up pretending not to listen and moved closer. The two were silent for many long minutes. "Oh, come off it, just tell us already!"
"Alright, alright!" Fred snapped. "You are looking at the future husband of...Lee Jordan!"
"Oh, no surprise there. What unfortunate person has to spend the rest of their life with you, George?"
"Actually Oliver was quite happy when I told him. Ecstatic even." Both Harry and Ron's mouths dropped open.
"Oliver? As in Oliver Wood? Former Gryffindor Quiddtich captain?" Harry asked hurriedly.
"The one and only. He took a long lunch break to come and see me..." he added almost sheepishly. Ron made a rather disgusted face but Harry smiled widely and congratulated the two. Fred was about to go into the details of what they'd spent lunch doing when Hermione stood rather hastily.
"Yes, will congratulations you two...Harry, Ron we'd best get going." All four boys burst into laughter, though Ron's was admittedly grateful rather than amused.
"We'll see you three at dinner..."
"Or will we?" Hermione blushed scarlet and forcefully pulled Harry and Ron away from the twins. On the way out they ran into Lee who gave them a very floaty smile and waved as he headed into the commons room.
"That pair is going to bring the destruction of the world...I just know it." Ron muttered as they headed for the long unused classroom 312. When they arrived, almost everyone was already there and had split into groups according to house. Most were talking anxiously, but some - like Neville - were sitting and apparently praying. After several minutes of listening to Semus explain to Dean exactly why they were going to end up together and Dean snapping at Semus to shut up, Professor McGonagall stepped out of a side door leading to an adjourning classroom.
"Listen up!" The room quieted almost immediately and McGonagall pulled out a long scroll and began calling names.

"Malfoy, Draco." Draco came foreword confidently and McGonagall lead him into the next room. He came out looking less than happy. In fact he looked outright livid.
"I need to use the fire." He snapped. Everyone moved out of his way quickly. Draco cast a silencing spell over the area and contacted his father.
"I guess he didn't do too well!" Ron declared, laughing.
"Potter, Harry."
"Good luck, mate!" Ron said winking as Harry made his way to the door. McGonagall ushered him in and left. There sitting on a stool in the middle of the room was the Sorting Hat. Harry approached the stool warily and carefully picked the Hat up before setting it on his head.
"Ah, Mr. Potter! Hm...oh you always have been a bit difficult haven't you? Hm...yes, yes I see it now...unmistakable! You two will be great together! You will do great, great things..."
"Excuse me? Who will I do great things with?" Harry held his breath.
"Why, Severus Snape of course." Harry was silent for a minute.
"I'm sorry...can you repeat that, I-I don't think I heard you correctly."
"Oh, you heard me two will be good together, Mr. Potter never fear. He's a hard man...he's been through much, but he will provide you with everything you need. Go on then." Shaking, Harry removed the Hat from his head and momentarily considered shredding it, but the thought passed and he had set the Hat back on the stool.
"Mr. Potter? Are you done?"
"Yah." He attempted to move around Professor McGonagall, but she stood in his way.
"And the results are...?"
"I don't think you want to know...I don't even want to know..."
"Don't be silly, Potter. Who is it?"
"S-S...Sev...Severus Snape." He pressed out. Minerva McGonagall trained him with a sharp gaze and wrote the name next to his own.
"You must tell him at supper." She said briskly, writing something on a card and handing it to him.
"Can you do it?"
"No. It's the way of things. He must know by the end of the night." Harry nodded dumbly and took the card as if it would bite him. Harry was in a haze as he re-entered the room. He barely registered that Draco was now throwing his arms in the air and apparently screaming at his father while Pansy flitted around him trying to hear the words. Dean and Semus were sitting back to back and apparently weren't talking. Neville laying flat on his back and had apparently passed out. Cho was crying. Marietta was vainly trying to comfort her. Hermione was sitting next to Semus looking confused and hurt. Ron was shaking him. Harry was staring at him blankly as though he weren't there.
"Weasley, Ron." Eyebrows drawn together and head shaking in confusion, Ron went off muttering something about 'no one telling me anything...passing out and crying...screaming...' However he quickly joined the latter category as he came roaring out of the room, face red up to his ears. He looked around wildly but everyone with the exception of Neville (who had been revived twice and had passed out again each time) Dean who was patting Hermione on the shoulder while she cried softly, and Harry who was staring out the window unseeingly had already left.
"Let's go!" Ron snapped, pulling Harry bodily from the room. Hermione and Dean followed and Professor McGonagall thrust a half-conscious Neville Longbottom on them.

"I take it your sortings didn't go quite so well...?" Fred asked once they sat down. Hermione was now fanning Neville, Semus had gotten up and moved to the other side of the table as soon as the last group showed up, Ron was still too enraged to speak and Harry was starring at his food as though he had never seen it before and wasn't quite sure what to do with it.
"No...not really. Apparently very few people in the fifth year class ended up with who they wanted to." Hermione provided when she was sure Neville would stay upright on his own.
"Really? Who got who?" George asked anxiously. Hermione opened her mouth then shut it.
"I'm perfectly happy with who I ended up with...only I don't think he is..." There was a moment of expectant silence.
"Now that's not fair Hermione! You know I'm not angry at you...I just...It's...I didn't even know I was straight for chrissake! Hellava way to inform a bloke that he don't like blokes..." Semus muttered. Hermione sighed and turned her attention to her food.
"Well you look to be in an amiable mood...who's your future life partner?" Lee asked Dean who was looking on his fellow housemates with sympathy.
"I can't say anything yet. She's in a younger year." He provided with a sly smiled. The twins and one future Weasley all narrowed their eyes and gave him a look that clearly said they were going to get it out of him one way or another. Dean sank into his chair and eyed them warily.
"Huh?" He looked at them dazedly.
"Who what?" There was a general groan around the table.
"Who. Did. You. Get. Paired. With?" Fred asked slowly, using primitive hand signals to make it clearer.
"Huh? Oh...Um...C-C-Cho C-Chang..." Neville pressed out before promptly passing out. Again.
"How the hell did that happen?" Fred asked his twin. George shrugged. It was revealed that several other people had yet to meet their mates, or couldn't disclose the information as they were in a younger year and thus knew nothing of the pairing as of yet. Fred had just turned his inquisitive gaze on his younger brother when Draco Malfoy came storming up to the table.
"Move." He snapped at Harry. Still very much in a daze, the Boy-Who- Lived obligingly moved over. Draco dropped between them. "Alright. Down to business. First things first, let's get a few things straight. Number one: We are taking my name, no questions asked. Number two: We will have at least one child which I will carry. Not negotiable. Number three: We will live at Malfoy Manor, period." He took a breath and gave Ron a cool look. For his part, Ron's shoulders were lifting wildly as he attempted to get himself under control. "Everything else is negotiable besides one other point which is thus: Malfoy Family Jewels will be used for wedding rings...bands...bracelets whatever. Questions?" Ron simply trembled. "You may speak now." He added in sweetly.
"Fine. My turn. One: You will attend ALL Weasley family gatherings."
"Fair enough."
"Two: You will treat my friends and family with respect." Draco pursed his lips, but nodded. "Three: You're sleeping on the couch!" Draco rolled his eyes.
"I suggest you take that last one back."
"Why is that!?"
"Because you idiotic nimbusul..." With a wave of his wand, he brought forth a contract. "According to nonnegotiable clause one, you and I must remain lawfully wed for a period of no less than twenty-five years and six months. If at any time during those twenty-five years and six months either of us is anything less than faithful, the contract will renew itself and we'll be stuck with another twenty-five years and six months. So unless your planning on remaining celibate for twenty-five and half years, I suggest you take that out of the contract." Ron glared and looked at the contract, reading it with a critical eye. Nothing was there that hadn't been said already.
"Remove last clause." He snapped finally. Draco gave him a tight smile. Ron screamed a few more clauses at the contract, all of which Draco accepted with a remarkable amount of grace.
"From the time of signing both parties understand the full extent of the contract. Twenty-five year and six month term will start upon sealing of contract. Dated September third nineteen-ninety nine....Do you understand everything Weasley?" Ron's nostrils were flaring but thus far had made an attempt to complete the process. He nodded jerkily. "Good. Signed Draco Malfoy 3.9.95" Draco said crisply, tapping his wand to the floating parchment. Ron repeated the process, but instead of disappearing to a file somewhere, it remained in the air, surrounded by a light red aura. "Now all that's left is to seal it and we're done." Ron glared at him mistrustfully and Draco suddenly leaned in a captured his lips. Ron's eyes widened in shock and his body stiffened.
"God bloody damnit, Weasley! A little help here?" Draco hissed, glaring at him. Ron's expression became purely murderous. "Oh, honestly! Have you never heard the phrase 'sealed with a kiss'? It has to be a two- way thing you twit! There's nothing about 'sealed by one party kissing a bloody brick wall'-" Ron had suddenly pulled Draco to him tightly, bringing their lips together. In shock Draco's mouth fell open and Ron brutally thrust his tongue into the warm cavern. Growling audibly, Draco kissed him back furiously. Apparently satisfied, the contract disappeared with a pop. Draco pulled away from his life mate forcefully and growled at him.
"Oh, and one more thing, Weasley. Unofficially of course. You and I will be a happy family...and we will be very much in love. Understood?" With that he stood, turned on his heel and stalked back to the Slythrin table. The Hall was stark silent.
"Well...I guess we have a Slythrin in the family, huh?" Fred ventured after a minute.
"Shut up!" Ron snapped furiously. The Hall reluctantly returned to previous conversations.
"So Harry-?"
"What?" Harry interrupted quickly, having come back to himself while Ron and Draco were fighting and was now acutely aware that dinner was winding down.
"The results of your sorting are?"
"What sorting?" He received pointed glares.
"Mr. Potter...?" Harry looked up to the head table. Professor McGonagall was giving him a pointed look. Swallowing hard, Harry stood slowly and placed a shaking hand inside his pocket as he moved to the head table. He was muttering prayers under his breath as he came to the front of the room. He gave his Head of House one last pleading look before drawing the card out of his jeans and quickly placing it in front of Snape. He immediately turned and practically ran back to his table. Or tried to anyway.
"Hold!" Harry stopped mid-stride, biting his lip and grimacing, he held still. "What is this?" Snape asked quietly, his voice dripping venom.
"You can read..." Harry squeaked out, regretting the words immediately.
"Ten points from Gryffindor for impertence. Get over here and explain this monstrosity to me." The hall was once again silent as Harry turned, breath hitched and obviously in pure misery.
"Um...well you see...Professor McGonagall gave me that to give to you...because the stupid...wretched..." He closed his eyes and took several deep breaths. Bringing himself to his full height, he opened his eyes. "The Hat decided that for some reason unknown, you and I would be...good together." Severus Snape glared at him for many long minutes.
"Very well..." He said tightly. "Take your seat, Mr. Potter...we will go over the particulars later..." Harry swallowed so hard that his chest heaved and his head bobbed. He nodded and turned, walking slowing back to his seat and trying desperately to quell the growing nausea that threatened to overwhelm him.
"Wow." Ron said slowly, having apparently forgotten his own state of distress. Harry pushed his plate to one side and promptly slammed his head on the table.
"It's. Not. Bloody. Fair..." He said, his forehead meeting the wood with every word. Hermione immediately wrapped her arms around his shoulders and insistently pulled him into an embrace, which he fought only momentarily.