The Marriage Law is the brainchild of WIKTT. This take on it is my own.
Severus Snape paced back and forth in his office, clenching and unclenching his hands in desperate frustration. He had to find a bride within three short months, or he would loose his position at Hogwarts.Sixteen years of teaching all counted as nothing all because of that stupid, ridiculous, asinine marriage law! What idiot or group of idiots was responsible for this one?
Oh, he supposed, it probably made sense to require muggleborns to marry purebloods, but to impose these stupid time limits and to force the purebloods into propagating, whether they wanted to or not, was nothing short of tyranny! He increased his tempo of restless pacing. He had absolutely no idea who he could find to marry him; especially at this short notice, especially someone specified by this law-a Muggleborn or a half breed.
He had never sought the company of any woman of that description. None of his liaisons from his school days onward had been anything other than pureblood witches. Not that there had been that many...And most of his mistresses had been married, safe women to amuse himself with and amuse in return. But the last of those had been over two years ago. He had found that he liked his solitude better than the emptiness of those dubious relationships. Sex with people that he wouldn't even wish to have a conversation with was often rather depressing.
Albus Dumbledore had been no help to him at all. "You'll just have to work at meeting people, Severus," he had said. "Once you really try, you'll find it isn't all that hard after all. I'm sure something will turn up for you."
Fat chance, Snape thought to himself bitterly. It was fine for Dumbledore to speak of meeting people. For Severus, it was an exercise in self-humiliation. He slumped down at his desk and put his head in his hands. What the Hell was he going to do? He stank at meeting people, especially women. He found most of them insipid, had no idea what to say to them, and thought the sorts of things they talked about stupid and trivial.
He detested small talk. He certainly had no idea how to use it to attract a mate and he was well aware of the handicap of his looks. The crux of the matter was that he found most people irritating and boring, and they found him odd and even frightening. And he just couldn't pretend to be something he wasn't, even if he wanted to. He knew beyond a certainty that no matter how many tedious exchanges he would have to endure, it was unlikely to gain him a wife.
What an infernal position to be in! If events progressed to where he was sure they would, he would most likely be forced to leave the country and seek a position at Beauxbatons or Durmstrang, or even, the heavens forbid, America! He quietly cursed the entire Ministry of Magic to the darkest pits of Hell.
At that moment there was a knock at the door and it broke into his angry reverie. He wasn't expecting anyone. There were no detentions, for a change. It was probably Filch. Really, that man was an irritant. "Enter!" He growled.
The door opened and Miss Hermione Granger walked in quietly closing the door behind her. What in the world did the Gryffindor Know-it-all have to see him for? "What, Miss Granger?" He said as forbiddingly as he could. He certainly wasn't in the mood to be bothered just now.
Miss Granger walked up to his desk and squared her shoulders. She looked extremely nervous and he tool perverse satisfaction in that. Everyone looked extremely nervous standing in front of his desk, even the Slytherins. She cleared her throat and tried to speak but seemed unable. "Well?" He demanded. The girl stood straighter as if gathering her courage, took a breath, and tried again.
"Professor Snape," she began, "please don't think me rude or impertinent, but I came here to ask you a question."
He said nothing but only stared at her. Not that intimidating students would solve his problem, but at this point, it felt good. She took another deep breath and continued.
"I want to know if you've found a solution to your problem with the Marriage Law."
Snape was thunderstruck. He couldn't believe it! This was adding insult to injury! The cauldron of rage within him was beginning to boil. "And what possible business is it of yours?" He sneered.
"Well, only that I have the same problem, or rather a similar problem, too...and...well, perhaps we could be of help to each other," she said tentatively.
"Help to each other!" He sputtered, "How could you possibly help me, you silly girl? You're not even of age yet! You don't have to worry about that asinine law for another year! And I fail to see how that concerns me!"
"But I am of age," she said quietly, wretchedly. Her clasped hands were wringing themselves anxiously, yet she faced him and continued. He grudgingly gave her points for courage. "I used a time turner in my third year, and in my sixth year, to help me take extra classes and do the extra work. I didn't realize it would add to my age. I'm technically over eighteen, now and I have to marry someone. Draco Malfoy has already put in a formal request for me," she gulped desperately. Her voice was suddenly hard. "I'll die before I'll marry him! I'll turn my wand in and give up magic! I'll..."
"So you've come here to ask me? ME?" His voice rose incredulously. Snape was absolutely dumbfounded. Without thinking, he added explosively, "You must be out of your mind!"
Hermione blanched visibly and turned quickly away to make for the door. Sweet Merlin, what had he done? He'd blown it, of course. Severus whipped out his wand and blasted a locking spell on the door. Hermione stopped in front of it, rigid as if expecting him to blast her too, yet straight and tall and dignified even in her misery.
Severus tried to collect his thoughts. This was a situation he would never in his life have imagined and he had no idea how he was going to handle it. He approached her slowly. Her shoulders shook a little as though she was crying. "Miss Granger," he began awkwardly, trying to make his voice sound gentler.
"I didn't really believe you'd say yes," she whispered sadly, "But I was desperate enough that I couldn't help trying anyway."
"You must truly be desperate," he said bitterly. "Surely you could find a better solution than me! What about Weasley?"
She turned to face him, tears staining her cheeks. He usually hated tears. It was odd, how seeing them on the face of this normally irritating student, seemed to move him more than harden him.
"Ron won't be of age in time. And I thought of Victor...but..." Her voice dropped to pained whisper. "He doesn't have to follow any such law in Bulgaria and...he doesn't want to actually marry a Muggleborn." Her last word shook. Obviously, Victor Krum had used a different one. Obviously, the man was an ass. "Not that you want to either," she added sadly.
"Miss Granger," he said heavily, "I am twenty years your senior, ugly as sin, and universally hated by everyone in this school. And you want to marry me?"
"Oh, I don't mind your age, Professor. My father is considerably older than my mother," she said softly and thoughtfully. "And you're not ugly, at least I never thought so, and since..." She hesitated a little, "I'm not very pretty myself, I could never judge someone on their appearances. And, anyway," she added shyly, "I've always thought you looked a little fascinating! And I've never hated you the way Harry and Ron do..." She paused for a moment and then continued as if winding up a sales pitch. "I think we actually have some things in common. We're both intelligent. We both like to read. We both like to learn and work experiments, and we're both a little...different from most people, and we were both on the same side..." Her eyes appealed to his. He couldn't believe it. She honestly seemed to...like him.
"You'd have to sleep with me you know," he said almost harshly even though, at this point, he was finding true harshness beyond him. She gulped and nodded. She did look a little frightened. She couldn't be a virgin! And she wanted him?
"I won't let Malfoy touch me!" She whispered. "All he wants to do is hurt me. And even though you scare me...a little...I don't think you'd really treat me that badly. I don't think you would deliberately hurt me."
She trusted him.
Malfoy would brutalize her, he knew that. And not just Draco, the son, either. Every vicious predator that walked on two legs that was affiliated with that family would have his way with her too. She wouldn't last a week. An unexpected wave of tenderness flooded though him. He could save her from that, at least.
He reached out and ran his fingers down the side of her face. Her beautiful face. What was all that nonsense she had said about not being pretty? His eyes traveled over her, really seeing her, as he had never allowed himself to look at one of his students before. He took in the glorious wild tangle that was her hair, the bright intelligence of her eyes, the sweet curves of her features so silky under his touch.
When was the last time he had touched someone? When was the last time someone had let him, had not flinched from him in fear or disgust? His fingers slid down her cheek and ran caressingly under her chin, his thumb moving gently over her wide sensuous mouth. There was only one thing to do with a mouth like that. He pulled her to him and kissed her.
Hermione had been unprepared when he touched her, when he ran his fingers along her cheek. It was such a tender gesture. Was this really Professor Snape? Cold, imperious Snape? The touch was soft and sensuous, and it made something flutter somewhere inside her.
He was looking so intently at her, really looking at her as if discovering her. It was an appraising look and something else totally. Something almost vulnerable as though he had let a mask slip and she was looking back at somebody different. What was the real Snape like?
His caressing fingers tickled under her chin and he ran his thumb over her lips. There was a glow of speculative intensity in his depthless eyes. It was as though his eyes were boring into hers and holding her under a spell. She could loose herself in those eyes. Then he was pulling her closer and she felt a moment of almost panic before he kissed her.
It was a gentle kiss, which confused her because never in her wildest dreams would she have ever imagined him to be gentle. Not Snape! It made her far more acquiescent than she would have been. His lips were soft and warm and far more experienced than hers. His kiss was caressing her, tasting her, pursuing her deeper and deeper. She had never been kissed like this before in her life! She had never even imagined being kissed like this! She found herself responding to him, leaning in closer, opening her mouth to him, and holding him tightly. What was happening to her?
When he released her, she was breathless, panting, and flushed with embarrassment, embarrassment and desire. She truly hadn't expected this!
"Yes, Miss Granger. I will marry you," he whispered before pulling her into another incredibly intimate kiss.
There was an awkward pause afterward where she blurted out, "You really are a good kisser, Professor!" She was immediately sorry she had said that. How juvenile could one get? He chuckled. It was a teasingly wicked chuckle.
"I'm good at a lot of other things too, Hermoine," his velvet voice whispered silkily in her ear. "Would you like me to show you now, or would you prefer to wait?"
Something warm tickled her earlobe as he gave her ear a playful nip. Her knees almost buckled. This wasn't what she had expected at all! She had envisioned a meeting of the minds, a collaboration of two intelligent, but helpless, Ministry victims. But not this. This was unbelievable! Her Potions teacher was making her aroused! She was suddenly a little frightened, more of herself than of him.
"I think we should go see Professor Dumbledore about sending in the marriage contract," she said carefully.
"Of course. First things first." He looked at her for a moment as she struggled with her awkwardness. "And you're right, by the way, my sweet," his dark velvet voice drawled, "on two counts. I won't hurt you and Malfoy certainly would. And...I do believe that this will actually turn out to be a truly excellent match."
Then he actually smiled, an expression Hermoine had never seen from her normally taciturn teacher. "Come, let's break the news to Dumbledore. I can't wait to see the look on his face. I expect it will be priceless!" He offered her his arm in an old fashioned courtly manner, and she took it, and they walked arm in arm out of the darkness of the dungeon and into the light.