Hermione, just sitting down to eat her breakfast, spotted the usual owl that brought her the

Daily Prophet. The brown colored owl landed on the table, just barely missing the large platter

of sausage. Attached to its leg was a mud brown leather pouch so it could collect subscription

fees. Hermione reached for the paper as she dropped a few sickles into the pouch. The owl

gave a small hoot and took off once again. Harry and Ron came bounding up to the table and

each plopped on either side of her. Both immediately proceeded to shovel food into their

mouths, between mouthfuls the somehow managed a somewhat recognizable greeting.

Hermione rolled her eyes, and began to scan the front headlines of the paper. Suddenly her cup

crashed onto the table and pumpkin juice went spewing everywhere. She felt like she couldn't

breathe, she just stared at the paper in complete shock.

"Hermione, are you okay!?" Harry asked her in worried tones. Ron was looking at her

while he still brought food to his mouth. Hermione just couldn't bring herself to answer him; she

just let the paper drop to the table. Harry leaned over and grabbed the paper to read it. His

eyes widened as they fell on the headline she had been reading.

Marriage Law Passed

The Ministry of magic has been researching for the past several months the consequences

of continued intermarrying of the Pureblood line. It has been found that increased

stillbirths, squibs and barren children are the end result, leaving the Wizarding World in

grave danger. "After much discussion and research we have come to a conclusion that

will allow proper and a smooth resolution to the impending danger. All Muggleborn

witches will be married into Pureblood families. All Pureblood wizards, or heads of

Pureblood households can petition for a contract to marry a Muggleborn witch. Within 1

month of the approval of petition the couple will be wed. Proof of marriage must be

provided to the ministry within two weeks." An interview with Cornelius Fudge revealed.

"The contract has been deemed necessary as they Muggle families feel that betrothal

contracts are too old fashioned and many families want their daughters to fall in love.

The law takes affect immediately, and all Muggleborn witches ages 17 and older are

subject to it."

"'Mione, this is ridiculous! They can't seriously expect all Muggleborn witches to do this!"

Harry exploded. Ron began to speak, but his words were muffled by all the food he had in his

mouth. Hermione turned an exasperated look to Ron and scolded him.

"Ron, don't speak with your mouth full!" Ron hung his head and mumbled his apologies.

"Harry's right, Mione!" He said after much swallowing. Hermione sighed, and had a look

of concentration on her face.

"Well I am not going to let them do this that easily. I could swear I found something in a

book I read." She spoke hastily as she stood and took off towards the library.

Snape stood stalk still in the Headmaster's office, his face unreadable.

"I suppose you saw the Daily Prophet this morning Severus." Dumbledore began. Snape

only nodded. "Well, Lucius has put a contract out for Hermione. Cornelius just informed me of

it. Lucius wants her for Draco." That comment got a reaction out of Snape. His eyes narrowed

and he cleared his throat.

"Well you can only imagine why he wants her for Draco." Dumbledore nodded and leaned

back in his high-backed chair.

"You know Severus, I've seen the way you've looked at her."

"As I look at the other students." Snape stated somewhat warily.

"My dear boy, you know I see more than what you would like to admit." Snape glared

daggers at the Headmaster. "I think you should go speak to Miss Granger. You will

undoubtedly find her in her usual spot." Dumbledore gave an offhanded gesture with the wave of

his hand. "Mr. Potter and Mr. Weasley are still in the Great Hall, so I would hurry." Snape

sighed heavily and turned on his heel. His robes billowing about him he made his way to the


Hermione sat hunched over a huge stack of books. Her eyes scanning over the pages


"There has to be some old law, even a situation that can get me out of this." She muttered

to herself. She had gone through twelve books already, and still found nothing. She was so

concentrated on her research, rather frantic search, she never noticed a large black form behind

her. She rose to go retrieve another book, as she turned from her seat and ran straight into a

brick wall. A brick wall with black robes, greasy hair, and a large nose to boot.

"Oh I am so sorry professor!" She gave the Potions Master a horrified look. He looked

down his long nose at her.

"Ten points from Gryffindor for not paying attention to where you're going." He drawled.

A sneer plastered across his face, as usual. "Now aside from us speaking of your clumsiness

and inability to pay attention, I am here on different matters." Hermione looked up at him warily.

"As you know, a Marriage Law has passed," he began, "and you are not excluded from this


"Professor, I am aware of these facts, but I will find a way out of this." She stated primly.

"The Headmaster has already looked for alternatives, and has found none." Professor

Snape said exasperated. "There has not been a stone unturned in attempt to find a way out of

this for you. Lucius Malfoy has petitioned for a contract for you, to wed Draco. The

Headmaster and I feel that the only way to ensure your safety is that you marry me." Hermione

looked at him her eyes full of desperation. Like a bird trapped in a cage, she looked for an


"No, I will not marry you or anyone else. I will have my own choice, and I will have love!"

She cried out at him. It was so unlike Hermione to show such desperation, she was always calm

and reserved. Snape could only assume it was the fact that she could find no answer, which she

was unused to.

"Listen you chit, it is the only way! Didn't you hear me before? Lucius wants you for

Draco! Do you think you will live happily ever after with him?"

"Would I live happily ever after with you, Professor?" She asked him meekly, not meeting

his intense gaze.

"You are the only person who even comes close to meeting my intellectual standards. If

you wed anyone else, you would become bored. Your mind would whither away from lack of

activity. Besides, married to me would then grant you access to my private stores. Then you

would have no need to sneak around behind my back." He arched a brow at her and gauged

her response.

"My answer remains the same Professor. No." Snape glared at her and turned to leave.

"You will not be happy with him Miss Granger." He said softly.

"I will not be happy with you either. You can't even bring yourself to call me by my name

when you speak to me of personal matters." He paused for a moment and strode away.

"You will not be happy Hermione." He said ever so softly as he left, no one heard.