Disclaimer: I own nothing. Ha, there, I wish I did but I don't.
A/N: This actually began as a request I found in my email. They thought up a storyline but didn't really want to write it so they asked if I wanted to. I love a challenge so I accepted. Let's see if you all like this. I never thought I would write a marriage law fic, but here I am doing just that.
Summary: What happens when the smartest witch in her year has to marry the most hated professor? Will they ever grow to love each other? And what will happen when a new person enters the potions master life? How will Hermione deal with that plus try to get pregnant and finish her last year of training?
Hermione sat on her bed at her parents' house, tightly clutching a letter. It was late August and a light breeze was blowing through her open window. Tears streamed down her face as she choked back a sob. She had to compose herself before she went downstairs for her last dinner. She was going back to Hogwarts tomorrow morning and she didn't want her parents last memory of the summer to be of her crying. She took a shaky breath, looked at her reflection in the mirror, and ran a hand through her unruly hair. She would deal with the letter later when she met up with her friends on the train to school. She plastered a smile on her face and made her way down the stairs. It was going to be a tough year for her.
What the Law Requires
Hermione and her parents carefully made their way through the crowd of students. She wanted to just say her goodbyes and find Harry and Ron. The letter she had received while at home was tucked away in her jeans pocket. She needed someone she could trust and she could think of no one else but her two best mates. She found the doorway to the train and turned to her parents. "Goodbye, Mum. Goodbye, Dad. I'll write to you." She hugged both her parents and hopped onto the train before they could say anything. She was afraid that they would set her off crying again and she didn't have any more tears left.
She walked down the corridor and found Harry sitting by himself. She opened the compartment door and went inside. Harry looked up at her and smiled. "Hey, Mione."
"Hey, Harry," she said back. "Where's Ron?"
"Who knows? He's probably off snogging his latest girlfriend."
"Oh? Who?" Hermione hadn't heard anything about Ron having a girlfriend.
"Some girl in Ravenclaw. Something about a marriage law that just went into effect. I'm not really sure what is going on," Harry explained.
Hermione's jaw dropped. She thought that the law was only for girls her age. "Marriage law?" she asked. She knew what it was about but wanted Harry to explain.
"Yeah. While I was at Ron's house, some girl came over, crying her eyes out. They spent a few hours, alone, and when they finally emerged from the kitchen, they were holding hands and smiling at each other. I cornered Ron about it and he told me something about a law saying that any girl, 17 years or older who could bear children, were being forced to marry. The ministry would find them a husband if they didn't find someone for themselves by September 1st." Harry looked up at Hermione and saw that she was wide-eyed. "Mione? What's wrong?"
Hermione sat down opposite him and reached into her pocket. She pulled out the letter and handed it to Harry. "I got this letter a week ago."
Harry took the letter and read it. When he was done, he looked up at Hermione, sympathy in his eyes. "Now I understand. This girl must have gone to Ron to help her. I hope he knows what he's getting into."
Hermione nodded. Even though this law affected her, she was still concerned for her friends as well. But just as she thought about Ron, her own problems came back into her mind and she started to cry. Harry jumped over to sit next to her and pulled her into a one-armed hug. He let her cry for a while. When she was done, she sat up and wiped her eyes with the sleeve of her shirt. "Sorry, Harry," she said.
"We'll think of something. Maybe I could marry you," he suggested.
Hermione looked at Harry and laughed. "Harry, not that I think your suggestion is ridiculous, it's just that I see you as a brother, not a husband. And the law also states that you have to have a child within the first year of marriage. You have a bright future ahead of you. I appreciate that you want to help but I'm just going to have to let the ministry pick the guy for me."
Harry breathed a sigh of relief that sent them both laughing again. After Harry calmed down and caught his breath, he turned to her. "But September 1st is tomorrow. How do you know that you'll be paired with a decent person? The guy could be a total creep."
"It's a chance I'll have to take." She looked at Harry and took his hand. "But whoever it is, please tell me that you'll stand by my side? I couldn't bear it if I lost you because of this idiotic law."
Harry pulled Hermione into a hug. "I could never desert you. Even if they paired you with Snape, you'll always have my friendship."
Hermione pulled back from the hug and stared at him. "Don't say that!" she hissed. "That would be horrible. Imagine if I really were to become Mrs. Snape. Ugh, the thought makes me queasy."
Harry laughed and held up his hands. "Ok, ok, maybe not Snape. It was just the worst-case scenario. Let's just get through the sorting ceremony and we'll put our heads together. Ron will be there and I know he'll want to help."
Hermione smiled back at Harry, her mood lifted a little. "Thank you, Harry. You truly are the greatest friend anyone could ever have."
After the sorting ceremony, Harry, Ron, and Hermione spent most of the first night trying to come up with someone that she could marry. Many names were passed around but she kept turning them down. Frustrated, the three made their way to bed where Hermione tossed and turned all night. It was useless. She would just have to have the ministry pick her husband and she'd deal with it then. She extinguished the candle by her bed and tried her best to get some sleep.
The next morning, Hermione was awakened by her best girl friend, Ginny. She put her hand to her eyes and moaned. "What time is it?" Hermione asked.
"Late," Ginny responded. "If you don't get up and dressed you'll miss breakfast."
"Shit," the older girl said. Ginny giggled because she rarely heard her friend curse. "Oh, bugger off, Ginny." Hermione jumped out of bed, quickly dressed, threw her hair into a ponytail, and dashed out the door. She didn't stop running until she reached the doors to the Great Hall. As she entered, she spotted Harry and Ron already eating. She made her way over to them and sat down next to Harry. "Sorry. I must have over slept," she muttered.
"Don't worry about it," Ron said.
"Yeah, we were up really late and I'm sure that even when you did go to bed, it wasn't very restful," Harry added. Hermione smiled at them and grabbed a piece of toast. She was about to take a sip of tea when Harry interrupted her. "Oh, and there's a letter for you. Looks official."
Hermione looked down at the table and saw a letter. It had the ministry seal on the back. She picked up the letter and noticed that her hand was shaking. Ron looked at her. "Maybe it's nothing," he said, trying to cheer her up.
Hermione tried to smile as she opened the letter. She took a deep breath and read. Harry and Ron watched her expression and they saw fear fill her eyes. She folded the letter up, stood, and walked out of the Great Hall in a daze. She made her way through the hallways and didn't stop until she reached the Headmistress' office. She stood outside, staring at the gargoyle. She didn't have the password and didn't realize that she had even walked this way to begin with. When realization hit her, she started banging on the wall next to the gargoyle screaming every curse word she could ever remember. After a few seconds, the gargoyle sprang aside and the door opened to the winding staircase. She wasted no time and ran the length of the stairs until she reached the top. She burst through the door and stopped, clutching her side and trying to breathe.
"Miss Granger, what, in the name of Merlin, are you doing outside of my office and using such language?" Professor McGonagall asked sternly.
Hermione looked up after her breathing returned to normal. "I absolutely refuse!" she yelled. "There is no way I'm going through with this."
"Please, have a seat and explain to me what you are talking about." McGonagall motioned for her to sit and she did so. She offered the young girl some tea but Hermione refused. "Now, tell me what is going on."
Hermione steeled herself but she started to cry. Instead, she handed over the letter she had received that morning. McGonagall took it and read it.
Our records indicate that you have not yet chosen a husband. You were given until the first of September to find someone and since you have not, it is our duty to pair you. We have considered your education, personality, and future in finding the perfect person to be your husband. It is our pleasure to have you paired with Severus Snape. You are to be married before Halloween and have a child within the year. To ensure that the arrangements have been made, a ministry official will be sent to Hogwarts by the end of September. Congratulations on your pending marriage and family.
Minister of Magic
McGonagall looked up at Hermione, after she had read the note, and tried to smile at her. "Oh dear."
Hermione sniffled and reached for a tissue. She wiped her eyes but couldn't look up. She couldn't look into the eyes of the headmistress without crying. How could the ministry do this to her? She was young and he was old. She cared about her friends and he was a loner. They were complete opposites. "How could they do this to me?" she finally asked the older lady.
"Maybe there's a way out of this," she offered. "I will contact the ministry and see what I can do. Surely there's a law that says a student can not marry a professor."
Hermione finally looked up, hope filling her eyes. "Do you think it's possible?"
"I said I would try. Now, why don't you get ready for your first class? Did you receive your timetable?"
"Oh no! I left the Great Hall before I received it," she stated, panicked.
McGonagall waved her wand and a sheet of parchment appeared in front of her. "Here. Now, get going. I'll contact you with any information I receive."
Hermione took the parchment and stood up. "Thank you, Headmistress." McGonagall waved her off and continued what she had been doing earlier. Hermione left the office and walked down the stairs. When she got outside the door, Harry was waiting for her. She looked around. "Where's Ron?" she asked.
"He met up with Jillian," Harry said.
"Oh, sorry. That's the name of his girlfriend. They are planning their wedding. It will take place during winter break."
"What?" Hermione couldn't believe what she was hearing. "She gets to wait until Christmas and I have to be married by Halloween? Can my life get any worse?"
Harry looked at her in confusion. "What are you talking about?"
"That letter I received said that I have to be married by Halloween. Is it because I didn't choose my own husband? Are they punishing me for that?" Hermione slumped down the wall behind her until she was sitting on the floor.
Harry knelt down in front of her and placed his hands on her knees. "So that's why you left so quickly. The ministry picked someone for you." Hermione nodded her head yes. "Well, who is it?"
Hermione put her head on Harry's hands. "Oh, Harry, it's horrible. I came here to see the headmistress and she's going to try and see if she can get it changed. I just can't marry that man. It's just-," she began but stopped as tears threatened to fall again.
Harry moved one of his hands out from under her and stroked her hair. "It can't be that bad. Just tell me who it is." He heard Hermione mumble something. "I'm sorry, but I couldn't hear you. What was that name again?"
Hermione raised her head and pushed her hair out of her eyes. "Snape," she whispered.
Harry sat down, disbelief in his eyes. "I am so sorry," he said.
Hermione looked up at him. "I don't need pity, Harry. I need a way out of this. That man is horrible. We have nothing in common and he berates me at every turn. How the hell am I supposed to marry him AND have a child? Eww, I can't even think about him in THAT way."
Harry held up one hand and winced. "Please, Hermione, I just ate." Harry looked at her. "I'm sorry. I'm sure McGonagall can help. But for now, we really need to get our arses to our first class."
"Please, don't tell me its potions," Hermione sighed.
"Um, yeah, it is," Harry said, cringing.
"Great. That's just what I needed to start my 7th year off with. I can't wait to go to the class that my future husband teaches," she mocked. The two stood up and made their way down to the dungeons hand in hand. Even though they acted as if they were dating, it couldn't have been farther from the truth. Like Hermione had mentioned before, she considered him a brother. With every waking moment, her world seemed to be getting worse and worse. With one final deep breath, she opened the door.
Hermione spent most of the class taking notes off the chalkboard. Snape gave instructions for a quiet class and that meant writing until their hands fell off. Well, not really, but it felt that way. The writing on the board was so small it was hard to see from the back of the room, the place where Harry, Ron, and Hermione had chosen to sit. Harry was trying to save Hermione from having to look at the professor and in doing so, made it hard to see.
Hermione noticed that Snape was busy with something at his desk and he didn't look happy. Could he have gotten the same letter as she had? She shook her head to rid her of those thoughts and kept writing. After a while, she stretched her neck and noticed Malfoy staring at her from across the room. He had a confused look on his face and she just rolled her eyes. What the hell did he want? She wondered to herself. Five minutes before the end of class, Snape stood up. All eyes rested on him and a silence filled the room.
"If you are finished writing, you may leave. Everyone, that is, except Miss Granger," he barked.
The whole class quickly grabbed their things and began filing out of the room. Hermione wished she was one of them but knew that there was no way out. She sighed and returned her parchment, ink, and quill to her bag. Harry placed a hand on her shoulder and she looked over at him. "You ok?" he asked.
Hermione shrugged. "If your future was planned out for you, would you be ok?" she asked him.
"I guess not. Want me to stay in the hallway until you're done?"
Hermione was about to respond when Snape walked over. "Mr. Potter, don't you have another class to get to?"
"I was just-," he started.
"Leave now, Mr. Potter, or detention can be arranged," Snape interrupted.
"Yes, Sir," Harry said under his breath. He quickly kissed Hermione on the cheek and exited the classroom.
Hermione rubbed her cheek as embarrassment set in. Snape chose to ignore the blush creeping into her face. "Miss Granger, I presume you have received your letter this morning?" he asked.
"Yes, Sir," she responded, not looking up. She couldn't bear to glance at him.
"The headmistress has informed me that you went to see her this morning. You wish to beseech the ministry to select another husband for you?" he seemed to ask her.
"Yes, Sir," Hermione responded. Surely he didn't want this marriage to take place.
"Yes, well, let's hope that the headmistress can arrange for other plans. You may go," he ended as he turned from her and glided back to the front of the room.
Hermione didn't need to be told twice. She quickly grabbed up her bag and left the room, not once turning back. If that confrontation was awkward, how would their marriage be if it were to take place? Once outside, she spotted Harry waiting for her. She ran up to him and hugged him. Harry, surprised, took some time to hug her back. "What was that for?" he asked.
"Just glad to be out of there," she responded. "I don't think he wants this marriage to take place either." They walked together to their next class, which was Charms. It was good to be back actually doing things. They were trying their best to work on non-verbal spells to refresh their memories from the previous year. The rest of the day seemed to fly by and, all too soon, they found themselves in the Great Hall for dinner. For the first time since that dreaded letter, Hermione found herself relaxing with her friends and laughing. Ron kept blowing kisses to his girlfriend across the room. It was so fluffy that Ginny was making gagging noises behind her glass of pumpkin juice. Ron shot her a few nasty glares but she ignored him. Of course, she was making her own goofy looks towards Harry. He was totally oblivious but Hermione caught all of them. She smiled at Ginny knowingly, and Ginny blushed. She would talk to the red head later about it.
Hermione started to yawn when McGonagall walked down the aisle towards her. She looked up when she felt someone standing behind her. "Miss Granger, could you please come with me?" the headmistress asked.
Hermione nodded, said goodbye to her friends, and made her way out of the Great Hall. She followed the headmistress silently. Hopefully, she had good news for her. As they entered the office, she saw that Snape was already there, sitting in one of the chairs. His hands were folded in front of him and it looked as though he had fallen asleep waiting for them. "It's about time you showed up," he scowled. "I do have lessons to prepare."
McGonagall motioned for Hermione to sit, ignoring Snape's foul mood. Hermione obeyed but leaned away from her potions professor. She didn't really want to sit that close to him. Once the headmistress sat down, she sighed. "Well, I've been in contact with the ministry all day," she started.
"And?" Snape interrupted.
"And, they will not back down on their proposal. They have stated that Hermione is a very bright young witch and needs a husband of equal intelligence. There were only two candidates that share this trait and they didn't want her to be wed to the other."
"Pray tell, who was the other?" Snape inquired.
McGonagall looked at Hermione with sympathy. "Lucius Malfoy." Hermione's eyes widened and Snape scoffed. "Since he lost his wife in the final battle, he is a bachelor again. They are currently trying to find someone to be his match. So, you see, Severus is the best match they had."
Hermione lowered her head, afraid that she would start crying again. This couldn't be happening. She was dreaming all this, right? It was just one big nightmare that she would soon wake up from. Unfortunately, she wasn't dreaming and the man she was to marry was sitting right next to her. "I see," he said.
Hermione heard him rise from his chair but she still couldn't look up. McGonagall felt sorry for the girl. "Miss Granger, you will have to be married to Professor Snape before the end of October. I suggest you decide when you want it done. I will conduct the ceremony. Then, you will be moved down to Severus' quarters. I know I don't have to remind you what needs to be done after that."
Hermione only nodded her head. Tears had formed in her eyes and were threatening to fall. She would not show weakness now. She couldn't afford to. She had to marry the only man she despised because of his treatment of her for the past six years. Once she got her emotions under control, she looked up. "If I have to marry him, how will I continue in potions?" It was the only question that was nagging her at the moment.
"I'm sure Professor Snape will not show favoritism once you are his wife."
"Ok," she stated. "Can I go now?"
"You may. I will meet with you at the end of the week to talk about the ceremony."
Hermione nodded again, stood up, and left the office. She didn't even look at Snape as she left, not daring herself to not cry in front of him. She needed to be strong. She needed to be brave. She needed to cry on her friend's shoulder and she knew that Harry would still be awake. Gods, what was happening to her life?
A/N: Well, that's the first chapter. I know, not a whole lot going on but I promise, it will get loads better. The person who emailed me the storyline had some pretty good suggestions about what I needed to include in this story. So, be patient and I hope you will read on. Much love to my wonderful reviewers of my other stories. Keep reviewing and let me know what you think of this one. It's almost exactly like the other marriage fic storylines, but I will try my best to be original. Thanks.