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Disclaimer: This is a work of fan fiction, written because the author has an abiding love for the works of Joanne K. Rowling and Garth Nix. Any characters, settings, places from the Harry Potter books and movies used in this work are the property of Joanne K. Rowling, and Warner Brothers; any concepts, items and settings from the Abhorsen books used in this work are the property of Garth Nix. Original characters, settings and concepts belong to the author of this work. The author will not receive any money or other remuneration for presenting the work on this archive site. The work is the intellectual property of the author, is available solely for the private enjoyment of readers at FanFictionNet, and may not be copied or redistributed by any means without the explicit written consent of the author.
All characters, places and events in this story are either the products of the relevant author's imagination or they are used entirely fictiously.
Summary: Hermione saves Snape's life in the Shrieking Shack. While he is still in coma at St. Mungo's, slowly recovering from his injuries, he's put on trial for his crimes. In spite of Harry's efforts to get him pardoned, Snape's freedom comes with a condition. He gets released on probation for three years. To prove his social rehabilitation, Snape needs to find a wife within these three years, or it's a life-sentence in Azkaban for him.
But finding a wife is not as easy as it used to be in the wizarding world. To prevent genetic defects resulting from constant inbreeding among purebloods, a marriage law has been passed. The wizarding genealogies have been bespelled so that only people with favourable combinations of genes will receive the permission to marry.
Harry and his friends decide to save Snape from Azkaban and to find him a wife. Naturally, things go very wrong and Hermione ends up being volunteered for the job.
Trying to win Snape's trust as his apprentice, Hermione discovers that there's more to Severus Snape than she ever knew. At her master's side, she gets sucked into a web of political and magical intrigue, nefarious plots and evil schemes. Muggle-born witches and wizards die, Necromancers are afoot, a wizarding portrait stops moving, the Deathly Hallows disappear and resurface again …
And in the middle of it all, Hermione falls head over heels, hopelessly and completely in love with Severus Snape.
The story in fandom acronyms: HP, AU, Post-DH, EWE, Snape!Lives, HG/SS, WIKTT MLC, X-over, H/C
"A marriage law?" Harry crumpled the edge of the paper as he waved the Daily Prophet angrily around. "Don't they have anything better to do just now?"
It was six months after the last battle. The dead were buried, but there were still Death Eaters on the loose.
Hermione looked up from her plate, grateful for the distraction. Kreacher behaved as if he had to win a cooking competition at each meal, but she had less appetite than ever.
"Well, at some point things have to go back to normal," she said. Normal. How could anything ever be normal again? she thought. "What do they say?"
"Something about squibs and jea-ns and precautions and bloodlines," Ron mumbled around his toast.
Hermione turned to the third of the trio and frowned. "How do you know about that? Since when do you read?"
Ron had the grace to blush. He swallowed convulsively, then cleared his throat. "I don't actually. I overheard mum talking about it."
"Give me that, Harry," Hermione demanded. "I bet it wasn't 'jeans' you heard mentioned, but 'genes'."
Harry rolled his eyes, but handed over the paper. Hermione pushed her chair back from the table, and disappeared behind the paper until only the top of her head, a wisp of bushy brown curls remained visible. After a few minutes she put down the paper, shaking her head in a bemused manner.
"You know, this actually makes a lot of sense," she said at last. "The Ministry must be losing its touch."
"What?" Harry stared at her. "What's sensible about coming up with a marriage law when there are still Death Eaters running around?"
"So what are those jeans?" Ron asked.
"Well – basically it's a law against inbreeding. Just think of that tapestry," she waved her hand towards the door and the rest of the house, "and how everyone among the pure-blooded families is related to everyone else. Magical ability is tied to our genes, Ronald. Oh, don't look at me like that. I've told you about them before. How a baby gets red hair? Remember? Information encoded in the cells of our body?"
Ron ducked, wincing.
Ashamed, Hermione bit down on her lip. She really shouldn't get that impatient with him. She knew how frayed her friend's nerves still were. But did he never really listen to her? Did he never remember a single thing she told him?
"Anyway, inbreeding is bad for the genes. If you have a tiny, stagnant gene pool, the risk of 'bad' genes 'meeting' and combining unfavourably is much higher than in an open society. Basically, if purebloods kept on marrying purebloods and got no new genes from outside, you might end up with a bunch of crazy squibs when all is said and done. The Ministry has bespelled the genealogies of all wizards and witches so that only those persons may marry and procreate –" She did not even sigh at Ron's clueless look. "– have babies, that is, who won't be mixing up bad genes. Basically, they want to prevent Draco from marrying his sister and producing another generation of lunatics."
"But Draco doesn't have a sister," Harry said, widening his eyes innocently.
Hermione stuck her tongue out at him. At least he'd understood her.
"So you see, Harry," she went on, "this law actually has something to do with – with clearing up the situation – some – some more."
Ron rubbed his nose thoughtfully, finally wrapping his mind around Hermione's explanation. "And how exactly are they going to do that? That law-thingy?"
"Well, if you want to marry, you have to apply to the wizarding genealogy offices. They take blood samples of your blood and your prospective wife's and run tests, comparing them to the combined bloodlines of the wizarding world. If they come up clean, you may marry and have babies. If not, you won't get a licence. And –" Hermione snorted, "if you try to have illegal unprotected intercourse, the men won't be able to function."
Both Harry and Ron went pale. Their hands jerked. Hermione felt the corners of her mouth twitch with amusement. If she hadn't been there, they'd have probably touched their bits just to make sure they were still attached to them. Men! Really. Thinking always of one thing and one thing only.
"So what else is new?" she asked, picking up the paper again.
"Snape's trial is about to begin," Ron muttered.
"What?" Harry and Hermione shouted together. Ron flinched again, paling slightly.
"I – I heard – someone at the Ministry talk about it yesterday, when I went there for the Wizard Wheezes files ..."
Ron didn't read anymore than he used to, but he was getting better at listening to people. With one notable exception, Hermione contemplated.
"But." Harry's voice sounded strained. "He's not well enough for a trial. What the hell are they thinking?"
Snape was still in St. Mungo's, Isolation Ward. Hovering on the brink of death for weeks, the healers still were not sure if he would ever be able to talk again or what other permanent damages the snake venom had inflicted on his body. Additionally, the memories he had given Harry hadn't been extracted with the normal spell, and could probably not be restored.
That Snape was alive at all was mainly due to Hermione's quick reaction. She shuddered, thinking back to those hectic minutes, when she'd somehow managed to get the blood flow staunched with magic and then had kept him breathing and his heart beating, using Muggle First Aid. She'd ended up in St Mungo's for two weeks herself, just from coming into contact with his poisoned blood.
"He won't even be able to defend himself," Hermione whispered, horrified.
Harry's green eyes flashed dangerously. Snape had always been a touchy subject with him. But since Snape's continued loyalty had been revealed, guilt and shame had been added to the already volatile mix of Harry's attitude towards the Potions Master.
"Then WE will have to defend him," Harry announced.
Every chapter will have exactly 1,000 words as counted by MS Word. On purpose. Really. Why? Mainly because of practical reasons – I don't really have the time to be writing fanfic at all at the moment (yes, you may take a look at the number of chapters and laugh now), so this is a way of keeping me from going overboard. Additionally, the method of writing this story in "mega-drabbles" provides a great opportunity to hone my self-editing skills. If you're a writer, try it sometime!
Warning: "Apprentice" is not great literature or even great fanfic, it's not even betaed and not likely to ever get proof-read. It's a wild ride, just for fun. Which is probably the best and the worst that can be said about it.
Thanks: Many thanks to Leany (fellow lawyer and HP-fan) who helped me brainstorm to come up with a plausible legal background for this challenge, and to Aranel, who doesn't like the good 'ship of Hermione Granger and Severus Snape at all, and still provides invaluable support all the time (reading over passages, helping with research, listening to me whining and plotting and rejoicing - a true friend!).
Comments and concrit, questions and suggestions: are always welcome. Just one thing: If you want me to reply to your comments, make sure that your comments are signed or that you provide your e-mail address.