[AN: Based on the "Marriage Law Challenge" on WIKTT. Hopefully this is a different take on the usual plot. All the fics were starting to look the same, so this is my idea (hopefully a little change)...]
I don't own anything about Harry Potter...if I did I'd be living in a castle in London with a view of the Globe Theatre...and I wouldn't write fic about Hermione and Severus being together...It would go straight into the books...The plot for this story is mine, however, thanks to the members of WIKTT for the plot bunny...
The noise in the Great Hall was so great that Dumbledore had to resort to conjuring a thunderclap and lighning flash to regain control. "If you would all please return to your seats and save questions until I have finished speaking..." Only after the last student was still did he continue, "I know this comes as a shock to us all, but I am afraid that there is nothing that can be done except to comply. The Ministry has made it clear that the new law is permanent and undisputable."
He paused to unroll a parchment scroll that lay in front of him on the table. "By the decree of the Ministry of Magic a marriage law has been passed. This new law requires all pureblood wizards or witches to wed a muggle-born witch or wizard, both over the age of seventeen. Once a witch or wizard turns seventeen they will be eligible to receive petitions from potential suitors. The witch or wizard will have two weeks following their seventeenth birthday to decided upon a spouse, or the Minstry will decide for them. Since the goal of this law is to keep magic thriving through non-squib offspring, the couple will be expected to produce a child within a year of marriage. Failure to do so will be delt with differently for each case." Dumbledore dropped the offending letter and swept the hall with his gaze.
"Since this only pertains to some sixth and seventh years, the rest of you may return to your common rooms," reluctantly the younger students exited the Hall, there feet visibly dragging. They always missed the good stuff. "As for those of you already seventeen, you will start receiving petitions tomorrow and will have two weeks to choose. Ceremonies will not interfere with school, for those of you who will want to remain, but married students are permitted to test out of classes in order to graduate. Those tests will be availiable no earlier than the end of the month, so there will be plenty of time to prepare." Dumbledore finished his speech with a sigh, "I wish you all the best of luck." With that he dismissed the entire group and left for his offices. He seldom agreed with what the Ministry did with its power, but this was by far the worst.
Severus couldn't believe what he was hearing. He was thirty-eight years old, the Ministry could not force him to wed someone! The stage in his life where he had wished for a family of his own had long since ended. He knew that dream would never come to pass, not for such a mean bastard like himself, and so he had replaced it. Now he just wanted to live in peace and die with dignity. Anything more was too much to ask for. He stood abruptly after Albus and swooped to his solitude. Tomorrow he would have to start expecting or giving petitions. Yeah, right.
Hermione just sat in stunned silence as Harry and Ron shouted their indignation. She was only seventeen! She still had to complete school and university and find a satisfying job. She did not have time for a husband to tie her down. She had bigger dreams, bigger goals then finding something to cook for supper or choosing a paint scheme. They had crushed the dreams it had taken a lifetime to build and achieve in just a single letter. She stood, leaving the boys to their own devices. Today was her last day of freedom, her last chance to learn something and not just coast through life accepting that things "just were". Tommorrow all the knowledge in the world could not stop the petitions.
[This was more like a prologue than a chapter, but I thught here was a good place to stop...]