Disclaimer: I own nothing to do with Harry Potter.
Hermione gazed up at the Great Hall with fondness. Ever since Dumbledore's death, she'd been counting down the days to come back, and she was finally here.
Suddenly Professor McGonagall spoke, and her attention snapped towards the front.
"Hello Hogwarts," said Professor McGonagall. "I would like everyone to know that I have become the new Headmistress of Hogwarts. I may not live up to the late Professor Dumbledore's methods, but I hope that everyone will give me a chance."
Hermione noticed that McGonagall's eyes got teary at that point, and Hermione felt her affection for the transfiguration teacher swell. Ever since Harry had defeated Voldemort in the summer, things were returning back to normal. Of course, it would never quite be the same, but they were all on the same road to recovery.
"I will still be the Transfiguration teacher, of course. I would like to introduce you all to the new member of our staff, Professor Mumble, who will be teaching Defence against the Dark Arts this year. I would also like to introduce all the 7th years to Professor Kane, who has been at this school for quite some time, but who many of you may not know. Professor Kane teaches muggle studies, and it is now mandatory for all 7th year students."
Ron and Harry both frowned, but Hermione's smile got bigger. "Now we can all take it together!" she beamed at them.
"Enjoy the feast, everyone," Professor McGonagall concluded, sitting down.
Ron immediately loaded his plate, while Hermione and Harry both chose to talk, slowly filling their plates up.
"Mandatory!" groaned Harry. "That's going to be such a bore. I already know everything about muggles."
"But it'll be so much more interesting!" Hermione said radiantly.
"Hermione, you've already taken it for a few years! How much more interesting does it get?" Harry asked her, amused.
"Well, apparently 7th year is mostly projects, so that'll be okay," she said, popping a chip in her mouth. "And if there are partners…" she looked at the two boys slyly.
Harry and Ron glanced at each other. "Mine!" they both called at the same time.
Hermione laughed. "Like I'd ever be partners with one of you," she snorted, and once again Harry and Ron looked at each other, confused.
Hermione laughed even harder, and the trio finished their meals happily.
The next day, after looking at their schedules thoroughly, they found that their first subject that day was Muggle Studies.
"Figures," grumbled Ron, while Hermione skipped ahead, half dragging Ron and Harry behind her.
They took their seats, chatting with some of their peers. After a few minutes, Professor Kane walked in. This was the first time many of the class had seen him properly.
He was a young wizard, probably in his early thirties. He had messy black hair, a little like Harry's, and a wide cut face, with broad shoulders. His chin wasn't cleanly shaven, and there was more than a trace of stubble there.
"Hello class," he said, clapping his hands together. "I'm Professor Kane, and we have a lot to do this year, so we'd better get started right now. Most of this year consists of long-term projects-" Hermione grinned, "- so you won't have much homework."
"The first project I'll be assigning today-" the class groaned, "-but this project is a different kind of project. No work is involved. You will have to live with a member of the opposite sex for a month."
Hermione put up her hand. "Yes?" Professor Kane asked her.
"Excuse me Professor, but what does this have to do with Muggle Studies?"
Professor Kane smiled at her. "You are going to be getting married, and acting like a newlywed couple."
The class stared.
"What the-" Ron started loudly.
"Remind me, what two houses are here today?"
"Gryffindor and Slytherin," Seamus Finnigan immediately stated. Harry got a feeling in the bottom of his stomach of what was about to happen.
"There you are then. Your partner will be in the opposite house, and of the opposite sex. The boys will have to propose to the girls, as that is how it is done traditionally. After everyone has a bride, you will converse with them for the rest of the period. At the end of today, the ceremony will take place, and you will be married. The binding is legal for one month, so boys, pick your partners carefully. Girls, I'm sorry, but you are not allowed to say no. The first boy that asks you is your husband."
The girls opened their mouths at the unfairness of that.
"Why?" asked Parvati. "Why can't we say no! That's completely sexist!"
"If you had the choice to say no, it would take all afternoon. As these two houses have the most rivalry, it will be the hardest. It will be a challenge. You will also share a dormitory with your partners. New dormitories have been created for this project on the sixth floor. A more precise location will be given at dinnertime."
"We need to go give them rings," stated Harry dully, who of course knew all about muggle marriages.
Kane nodded. "Of course. Boys, say the spell Enchuanto ringias. A ring, custom made with your sign on it, will appear in your hand. Do it right now please."
Suddenly the room was filled with, "Enchuanto ringias!" , and the boys were all looking at their own rings, and deciding who they would ask.
Ron put up his hand, and he looked slightly green.
"When do we propose?"
"Now. Boys, girls, stand up please. If the girls could go to the left of the classroom, and boys to the right, it will be easier."
The class divided, then looked at Kane expectantly.
"Well, what are you waiting for? Boys, please approach your partner in mind."
The class was frozen for a moment. Then chaos ensued. Boys moved forward as well as the girls, eager to be asked by someone.
Hermione shrank back, away from the mass of people. She had no desire to be picked by anyone. Perhaps, if all the boys were taken, she could go with someone from Ravenclaw or Hufflepuff. Even Zacharias Smith was preferable to Crabbe, Goyle, or at the very worst, Malfoy.
She watched with a smile as Harry and Ron both approached different girls nervously.
Lost in her own thoughts, she didn't even notice as someone approached her.
"Granger, marry me?"
Hermione shrieked and fell back, catching herself and looking into the pale grey eyes of the boy she had despised for seven years.
Review please! Don't be to hard on me, it's my first story. Constructive criticism welcome.