By the Emperor's Sister
My odd inspired response to WIKTT's 'The Marriage Law' Contest.
It was to be known as the shortest marriage in wizarding history.
The bride had been married off as to the letter of the unjust law. She and her new husband departed, after a short stint at the reception party, to the bridal chamber. Before the wedding night could be officially over with the cracking of the dawn, the groom was dead.
They say he died happily.
Hermione sat, in her widow's robes, knitting for lack of anything better to do. It was an occupation that kept her hands busy and took up time, but it let her mind wonder. Her brain still functioned. In fact it was going over the past few months repeatedly like an old fashioned movie stuck on repeat. But no matter how many times she watched, she still couldn't grasp just how things had ended up as they had.
The movie begins with being in love. Most stories usually begin that way, but the main participants don't realize that they are, in fact, in love. Hermione did know. So did her lover. Hermione Granger and Harry Potter were in love with each other, not that anyone else seemed to give a damn. Or so they felt once their troubles began.
Their troubles, of course, were the Ministry of Magic. Or to be more precise, the Ministry of Magic's laws. Or to be even more specific, their law regarding marriage for muggle-born witches.
The Ministry of Magic has finally acknowledged, publicly, that the wizarding world was in danger. But not of Lord Voldemort. No, they were still hiding their heads in the proverbial sand about that one. They announced that the continuation of intermarrying between Pureblood lines caused more and more stillbirths, squibs and barren children. So how do they fix this problem? Simple. They created the Preservation of Wizarding Heritage Law. Or the Marriage Law, as everyone else was calling it.
The law dictated that no Pureblood wizard could marry a Pureblood witch, unless it was discovered that they had no familial relations in their bloodlines. Which was a pretty rare thing indeed, for the Notts, the Browns and even the famed Malfoys all had Weasleys, Lovegoods, Potters, and Boneses somewhere in their ancestry. So the Ministry decreed that Pureblood males had to interbreed with Muggle-born females, in order to 'strengthen the blood'.
Naturally these Pureblood wizards were not happy about this law, despite the fact that it had been created to keep their families from extinction. Now, the ministers wanted to keep the funds coming in, not to mention secure their places in office, so they added a bit more to the PWH Law. Under this law any Pureblood wizard, or male head of a Pureblood family, could petition for a betrothal contract giving them legal power over the Muggle-born witch. That would make them very happy indeed, they decided. It seemed like a step backwards, before women's liberation and all such movements, but the ministers knew that if the power hungry had some power over it all, they would stay compliant-ish.
This step also was deemed necessary as they quickly discovered that the Muggle families felt that betrothal contracts were too 'barbaric' and they would rather let their daughters 'fall in love' and 'marry who they damn well pleased, wizarding family or no'.
The Muggle-born witches were trapped in a very uncomfortable corner, especially those whom were students and not yet of legal marrying age. Sure they couldn't be wed, yet, but a betrothal was not a wedding. It was a magically binding promise to do so, once the final scores on their final exams were finally put down. It was all rather final.
Add in the fact that they couldn't surrender their wands and return to Muggledom to escape the law just made it even more uncomfortable. Magic is magic and it doesn't have an on/off switch.
If you recall, our resident heroes, Harry and Hermione were in love.
They were head over feet, and wanted to get married, have careers, and a bush load of brats. Unfortunately, Harry Potter did not have a 'head of his pureblooded family', unless you counted Harry, himself. The ministers, perhaps in a fit of pique, or well it is hard to imagine what else, did not.
And Hermione received another offer, which was deemed much more acceptable by the Ministry's standards. This offer was from the Malfoys
So what does a couple in love do in such a situation? Bemoan their unfortunate situation? Yes they did that, as well as the other thing. The other thing being they PANICKED. They panicked as many others have panicked before them, and as many will do so after. Then they followed the natural course of action... elopement.
Like a quaint regency romance they ran off to Gretna Green.
Gretna Green Weddings are easy to arrange. There are two venues to choose from within the Old Blacksmith's Shop. The Marriage Room, the centerpiece of the Old Blacksmith's Shop. It is the original Blacksmith's workshop where thousands of lovers were married over the anvil in days gone by. Alternatively, if one prefers a more private ceremony, they can wed in a finely appointed private marriage room, also located within the Old Blacksmith's Shop. Afterwards, the wedding photos can be taken over the wedding anvil. Quite romantic really.
Of course they have to get there first, without being caught by the officials.
Hermione and Harry poured over their secreted information with glee. "You know, I never knew you could still get to Gretna Green by stagecoach."
"But it takes days by coach to get there Harry." She pointed out. "Or at least it does from London."
"And how, pray tell, did you know that little tidbit of knowledge, love?" Harry teased, as his girlfriend's cheeks began to redden.
"Ah well... Romances these days are usually very well researched! Harry Potter stop teasing me or we'll never get married!"
He couldn't help but grin at that, as he leaned in closer to taste the temptation that was her soft pink lips. He came up about five or so minutes later. They really couldn't afford an all out snog session.
Hermione breathed deeply, as she collected her scattered thoughts. "So rail it is then."
"Yes. We Knight bus to Carlisle, and then take the rail. It says here that the intercity trains link so we can get off at Gretna and dash off to be wed over the anvil." He smiled. It was really going to happen. Before breakfast they would be off, skipping through the passage to Hogsmeade and the outskirts of town to summon the bus. By the time the Ministry would have received news of their magical departure, they would already be on the train. Or perhaps they'd be, hopefully, married. The plan was flawless, as Hermione Granger had worked it out herself.
And it worked.
To a point.
Mr. and Mrs. Potter were happily ensconced in the honeymoon suit, about to 'give birth to the beasts with two backs' when the Ministry arrived. It was quite the embarrassing sight to behold. Several Aurors apparated into the room, where Mr. Potter was ravishing his new bride. Who was more embarrassed, the Potters, to be caught en flagrant délit, or the officials, who had to suffer some of the junior members gaping, and drooling, and commenting on the sizes; it was difficult to say.
The Ministers were not amused. They were furious actually.
Harry and Hermione were married.
Or so they thought.
Oh what a devious creature the Minister of Magic is. True the young lovers were legally wed, though under the age of 18, they did have written consent of the families as well as the valid certificate from the Old Blacksmith's Shop, in Gretna, Scotland. But the minister did not give up that easily, especially when his ire was raised. He found himself a loophole. Well in all honestly he created his own loophole.
Muggle marriages did not count.
Well, they did count, he couldn't contest that, but as far as he could push the letter, they did not count as a valid in the wizarding world. She could be Mrs. Hermione Potter in the Muggle world all she wanted, but in the wizarding one, she was still un-wed.
And to make matters worse, he decided that Hermione was too much of a loose canon to have wandering about, so as punishment for their elopement, he took away her rights. She was treated as a prisoner of the court and forced to wed the younger Malfoy.
The lovers were torn from each other's arms and separated cruelly. Hermione was quickly wed for the second time, to Draco Malfoy.
She'd be damned if she let the bastards see her cry.
The wedding was a grand affair, though rather tame for a Malfoy. Many important people were invited: there were some Ministers, Ambassadors, Businessmen, Famous Singers and anyone else deemed important enough to attend. Hermione's husband and her friends and family were not allowed to attend. In fact, no one from Hogwarts was in attendance, apart from the groom, his best men, and one Professor Severus Snape. It was quite a ceremony. The reception following was equally grandiose, if not more so.
Not that the newlyweds stayed long to enjoy the festivities. No one noticed that they left early, and no one really cared. The booze was free, the spotlight was glowing, and there were photographers to be smiling and posing at.Hermione was nervous. That is to say, she was near terrified and about to panic once again. The only reason she hadn't tried to make a run for it already was the fact that her wrist was tied to the bedpost. She sincerely hoped that Draco Malfoy wasn't the kinky sort. Harry and she hadn't had time to consummate their relationship, so she expected it to bloody hurt when Draco had his way with her.
'Oh… Bloody! I shouldn't have thought of that.' She groaned stifling an un-feminine 'eep' as the chamber door opened.
"Hermione." Draco whispered, as he eyed his trembling bride from the doorway. He closed it securely behind him, and slowly approached, a smile gracing his aristocratic features.
That surprised her. He was smiling, not smirking. She never knew he was capable of such an act. He looked almost human when he smiled.
Draco sat down, easing himself gently onto the mattress. "I won't hurt you, you know. You're my wife now, Hermione. I've wanted to do this for sometime. I'm going to show you the pleasurable side to our union." He said, leaning more and more over her body, stroking her like a delicate rose. "I promise to be gentle, the first time."
To her utter amazement he was, he really was. If ever she were questioned with Veritaserum, she would have to admit that loosing her virginity to Draco Malfoy was one of the more pleasant and possibly enjoyable experiences of her life.
Of course once she had a couple minutes to recover, it was completely different. After all, he was a 17-year-old male, with a lovely naked and well enough proportioned woman underneath him. One he was actually allowed to hump to his hormones content. Hermione actually lost count, and his constant gasping comments were only distracting. She didn't care that all this time her mere presence would cause his heart to begin flip-flopping. She was getting rather sore.
In the end, all she did recall of that fateful night was when she finally reached the point where she prayed to whatever god was out there to 'make him stop I'm TIRED already and I want to sleep' that he shocked her for the last time. When he came, short of breath and sweating like a horse, he gasped into her ear.
"I... love... you..."
Then he collapsed on top of her.
He was squishing her. 'He's heavy.' She noticed. She also noticed that he wasn't breathing, and damned if she could hear a heartbeat from her position.
Hermione Malfoy had one hell of a time getting untied, with deadweight on top of her. She managed though. She covered him up, and dressed herself in his bathrobe. Then she staggered over to the door, opened it, and screamed.
Apparently ventricular arrhythmia is as difficult to catch in the wizarding world as it is in the muggle one.
The Malfoy family has a large tome called the 'Malfoy Family Rules of Conduct'. In this book, Malfoys are forbidden from entering into carnal relations, with those who are not their wives. At least at the start of the marriage, after an heir or two is produced. They're not so uptight about straying. So as many likable candidates and girlfriends the Malfoy male is bound to acquire in his youth, he is forbidden from 'spilling his seed uselessly' as quoted from said tome. So as sexually educated as Draco Malfoy was, he was as much a virgin to the marriage bed as his bride.
This explains how he lived as long as he did.
Hermione, though, was too much woman for the lad, and he ended up over exerting his weak heart and killing himself, via ventricular fibrillation. The family was devastated.
Hermione sat and watched at Lucius Malfoy, a man she categorized as a cruel and heartless bastard, wept over his son's body like a baby. She was trying to comfort a hysterically distraught Narcissa when she belatedly realized that Death Eaters were people to. Together, they mourned over their loss.
But every cloud has a silver lining.
Beside the tome called 'Malfoy Family Rules of Conduct', there is a leather bound book entitled 'The Malfoy Family History and Hereditary Assurances'. A strange title for a book, unless you actually read the stupid thing, then it starts to make sense. This book explains all the little quirks about the Malfoys. Such as, firstborns are always male, as well as second. Females are always born as twins before they ever come out singly. A Malfoy always has blond to silver hair, no exceptions, and slightly pointy chins. A Malfoy only needs one time. This last bit is the reason for the 'Malfoy Family Rules of Conduct's' no sex before marriage clause.
It was also the reason Hermione was still alive, in a house of muggle-hating Death Eaters.
She was pregnant, with Draco Malfoy Jr. Hence the knitting.