Disclaimer: The world and characters of Harry Potter belong to JK Rowlings.

This story is D/H post-DH. Slash. It will start as a Marriage Law fic but will change into something else.

Windbound – A condition wherein the ship is detained in one particular station by contrary winds.

September 10th 1998
Hogwarts

Hermione Granger walked rapidly to the Library, after adroitly evading Peeves. She wore neatly her school uniform; her bushy hair was somewhat tamed thanks to the advice of Ginny. The petite redhead had apparently read in Witch Weekly about a new spell developed by Avernius Lockhart to tame hair. This individual was the cousin of a certain G. Lockhart who was in St. Mungo's. He shared the same narcissistic qualities but Avernius used them at least positively.

Hermione still had to do the Ancient Runes homework. Unfortunately none of the Gryffindors took that class, except for Lavender Brown, and she was determined to let the blonde bimbo flounder on her own.

The Library was almost deserted, only Susan Bones and Terry Boot were there. Hermione made her determined way to her favorite table and sat down. She soon heard someone greeting Terry and Susan and that person put down some books next to her. She turned and saw the Slytherin, Draco Malfoy. He still looked somewhat thin after having endured one year under the watchful eyes of Riddle Jr. He had cut his hair short, and did not look as pale as always, having gone to Barcelona for two weeks.

Hermione remembered 10 days after the Battle, when Harry, Ron and she were having breakfast in 12 Grimmauld Place, witnessing the sudden arrival of a regal Eagle owl, bearing an urgent missive from Draco, asking for their help in keeping the Malfoy family free.

Of course Ron was of a mind to let them fend for themselves, and Hermione initially agreed with that viewpoint, until Harry made an impassioned speech about extending olive branches to former enemies. He made the point that the Malfoys committed mistakes, grievous ones; but in the end they abstained from battle and sought only to help each other.

At the end, Hermione concurred and the two of them gave their testimony at a plenary session of the Wizengamot. Ron decided to go to the Burrow that day. In front of the Wizengamot, they spoke about the fact that Draco Malfoy kept their identity secret that fateful day at the Manor, that Narcissa Malfoy saved Harry's life by outright lying to Voldemort in front of his Death Eaters, that Draco's shout in the Room of Hidden Things earned precious seconds to escape Crabbe and Goyle's attacks, which eventually saved them.

The Wizengamot faced the strong support of two of the Light's icons for the Malfoys, it was forced to declare them free. From that day forward, Harry and Hermione were faced with a relentlessly polite Draco, and they started to accept, even enjoy his company, and his somewhat tempered acerbic wit. Unfortunately Ron would not bury the hatchet and remained as contrary as ever; quite a different position from Harry's wisdom and depth of maturity.

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Hermione was forcibly yanked from her reverie by Draco's cheerful voice saying, "What are you doing here, Hermione?"

Hermione turned to the Slytherin and narrowed her eyes, saying "Why are you so cheerful, Malfoy?" "What are you reading?"

Hermione skillfully grabbed Draco's book and read the title, "Magical Inheritance by Abo Gado." Her eyes twinkled and Hermione continued excitedly, "Hey, Magical Inheritance! Does this mean you are a Veela? Do you have to have a mate or you will die? Is it Harry?"

Draco blushed and then chuckled, trying to deal with an excitable Hermione. "You are wrong, Granger. Not all blond people are Veelas, or Scandinavia would be a giant love nest. On second thought, maybe they are Veelas!"

"Anyway, the book is about Magical Inheritance, like for example, the inheritance of large estates."

"You see, centuries ago the Tudors and Stuarts liked to employ Parliament to issue Bills of Attainder and grab hold of noble estates, which they would later use as they saw fit. Kind of like the Ministry of Magic today. Many purebloods, as a result, cast complex spells on their estates, binding them exclusively to their blood. That way, if someone unlawfully seized their assets, they would be put directly under Gringott's management."

"The kings got the message and left us alone. Those spells are still active. The estate always goes to the next in blood, and there can be no obstructions. That's why in many Wizarding families there can be no disownment. That is also why some Wizarding families do not disinherit their own heirs, if they did, the money would disappear from their grasp and end up in Gringott's."

"Those spells were the only thing that kept the Ministry from confiscating our estate. If we had been declared guilty and sent to Azkaban, then they would have had the right of seizure. Because we were declared free, the spells protected our ancestral wealth."

Hermione remembered something and countered, "But Sirius Black left the Black assets to Harry. How could he have done that with this magical inheritance thing?"

Draco turned on his side, studied Hermione carefully, smirked and replied, "The Blacks were not among those families that enacted the spells, they were far too independent and eccentric to do that. They preferred to dwell in absolute splendor: Toujours pur."

"Of course, seeing that blasted thing they proudly called their family tapestry, I'm convinced some of them were crazy. To whimsically disinherit family members is stupid. A guy was disowned for lending money to one of the several Blacks whose names were blacklisted on the tapestry. I wouldn't take that thing, even if Kreacher chased me and beat me with a serrated broomstick."

Hermione noticed a curious parchment among Draco's documents, about 14 by 17 inches. She made to grab it but Draco was faster than her. He kept it at arm's length.

She pouted and asked, "What is that, Draco?"

"Can you keep a secret, Granger?"
"Of course!"

Draco drawled, "When father and mother were at Hogwarts, they were very good in some subjects. Mother liked Charms and Father excelled in Arithmancy. In her First Year, Flitwick gave Mom an assignment, and she asked the help of the Head Boy Lucius Malfoy."

"The assignment having been finished, they continued on a quest of their own choosing. They came upon the idea of a drawing depicting where everybody was in Hogwarts."

Hermione gasped, and Draco continued nonchalantly, "When Father left, Mother carried on the task. During her last year at Hogwarts, she was joined in that quest by the redoubtable Severus Snape, my godfather-to-be. Unfortunately, in June 1975 they did not notice when a small rodent, a traitorous rat, spied on their meetings. Wormtail later relished boasting to Father how he blabbed everything they discussed about their project to the young Marauders."

"Unfortunately Remus Lupin was better at Charms than Narcissa, and they were able to finish their Marauder's Map."
Hermione interjected, "How do you know about it?"

Draco smirked as he replied, "Life under Voldemort was boring sometimes, Hermione. Wormtail liked to talk about his former friends and their exploits, at times it seemed as if he was in awe of them. I wonder why he betrayed them if he thought so."

"At any rate, Severus graduated and left Hogwarts. It was only years later, when Severus returned to teach here, that he developed a special potion that allowed the completion of their task."

Draco flourished the parchment, presented it and said, "Hermione, here is the Schlangenkarte."
Hermione replied huffily, "The Serpent's Map?"

She grabbed hold of an edge of the parchment and nothing happened. She continued, "Why does it have a German name? How does it work?"

Draco answered serenely, "When it was finished, Severus was on a German kick. He had to learn it in order to study ancient medieval manuscripts of the Holy Roman Empire concerning old alchemical methods like magical distillation and the basics of transmutation, the same texts which Nicholas Flamel perused in Aachen in 1541."

"As to how it operates, I assure you that it does not work on the basis of something as plebeian as a silly sentence serving as password. It only works when touched by the hands of a Malfoy, Black or Snape."

Saying that, Draco held the parchment in his hands and Hermione was astounded to note how the Serpent's Map operated. It did not show a complete Hogwarts representation like the Marauder's Map. Instead she could only see the Library, the corridors in the North and West side, and some adjoining classrooms.

She remembered one time her father was talking to the architect in charge of building the swimming pool, and she observed his architectural drawings. The Slytherin's Map looked just like that.

She was amused to note that the picture in the Map changed position according to how Draco moved his index finger. It acted like a pointing device. She was of a mind to tell Draco that his finger was a mouse, but she knew he would be first baffled and then enraged, better to bide her time.

The Map showed the same level of detail as the other one, with some notable exceptions. She studied the circle denoting Susan Bones and was amused to see a small icon depicting a seemingly hallucinating badger, with her name and the initials HB. Likewise, Terry was represented by an image denoting a dyspeptic eagle and the words MB. She was enraged to note that her own icon was a seemingly psychotic lion and the initials MB, Malfoy was shown with a drawing of a smirking snake and the initials PB.

She asked somewhat irately, "What's with all the initials, Malfoy?"

Draco answered calmly, "You have to realize when the Map was made, and who made it. At that time, they believed completely in Riddle's ideals, which were also the ideas that had been circulating in Hogwarts for years. So they decided the Map would show who was Pureblood, Half-blood or Muggleborn."

"In my opinion, it was a waste of time to design the Map so. The device could show much more useful information, if only I could direct it, or program it as they did."

"Unfortunately, I once believed the same ideas until I was brutally shown how stupid they were when I witnessed Voldemort killing people notwithstanding their heritage."

"Living under the shadow of death, I made a vow with myself: that I would be free. If not free to do as I wanted, at least free from the imposed prejudices I grew under."

"But enough of my maudlin thoughts. I should have had the Map for the entirety of my school career, but my esteemed godfather decided that it would be better if I got it later. As if I would have abused the privilege!"

Hermione quickly hid behind a book as she rolled her eyes, imagining the mischief Draco would have undoubtedly caused if he had had the use of the Map earlier. She pictured Harry being attacked by Slytherins disguised as Dementors as he made his leisure way to the kitchen in Third Year. She imagined the Trio suffering heinous curses as the aftermath of the attack on Draco at the end of Fifth Year. It would have been difficult.

As Draco continued ranting about Snape's unfairness, Hermione could not help but observe how sad his eyes looked, how he hunched his shoulders when he spoke of Severus. Clearly the Potions Master was sorely missed by his godson.

Seeking to distract him, Hermione asked, "When did you get the Map, Draco?"

Draco visibly brightened and replied, "I got it last year. It was clear from Severus' demeanor that he hoped I would use it to escape the Carrows' deadly vigilance."

"I believe I used it wisely. You can ask Ginny if you want."
Hermione asked, astounded, "Ginny, what does she have to do with it?"

Draco stared at Hermione earnestly and replied, "I used the Map to spy on the Carrows. I knew they detested Ginny for being a Weasley, and Longbottom for defying them so. When I surmised that Amycus or Alecto were on the way to torture them, sometimes I would manage to casually interrupt their sessions with supposedly important messages from other Slytherins."

"I could not use that tactic always, but it was enough to deflect a little the insane Carrows."

"In the Map, I also witnessed the confrontation between Severus and the Heads of Houses, when they cornered him and forced him to jump out the window. It was the last time I ever saw Severus, as I noticed his name flicker and vanish on the Map he created, leaving Hogwarts for the last time."

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They were interrupted by the arrival of three Gryffindors, Harry, Ron and Ginny. Hermione noticed that Draco unobtrusively put the Map beneath all his other parchments.

Ron sat at the other end of the Library; he appeared to be studying intently a book he'd taken from his school bag. He did not look as thin as he had when they came back from the horcrux hunt, he had filled up, undoubtedly due to the gargantuan meals Mrs. Weasley had been cooking lately, trying to deflect her sadness due to the loss of her son.

Ron still had black rings under his eyes, a sign that he slept poorly. For once, he had thrown himself into school work to deal with the loss of Fred. He also tried to preserve some sense of continuity, and of course one of those threads was his enmity with Malfoy.

On the second day of classes, Ron had taunted Draco and intimated that his mother was a shared commodity among the Death Eaters. Then he punched Draco, expecting he would walk away scot-free like the time he hit Draco during the Final Battle. Instead he had faced a very irate Slytherin and Ron came away with a broken nose and a severe beating.

After staying in the Infirmary and having been thoroughly chastised by an irate Madame Pomphrey, they were led to the Headmistress's office, where Ron expected McGonagall would be lenient towards him, after all, he was a hero of the Light. Slughorn would probably put a weak defense of Malfoy. They all knew he secretly favored Gryffindor.

Instead they faced a stern McGonagall and a person she introduced as Liz Lehmke. McGonagall said she was Hogwarts' Ombudswoman and glared ferociously at Draco.

Ron remembered hearing his father and Percy talk about some abstruse condition the Slytherins had requested in order to return to Hogwarts. As if the slimy snakes had the right to do so!

Percy had calmed his father, who was incensed, saying that the Slytherins felt the Headmistress would be too partial to Gryffindor. Matters of punishment would be reviewed by an Ombudswoman appointed by the Ministry who would have the final say. Otherwise the Slytherins threatened to withdraw themselves from Hogwarts, and the school could poorly absorb this drain of resources added to the costs of war reparations.

At the end, Lehmke acted fairly, and when the Headmistress punished Slytherin with 100 points for Malfoy's outburst, Liz quickly took 200 points off Gryffindor for provoking and starting the assault.
After this event, Ron tended to avoid Malfoy as much as possible, and so was skulking around in the Library.

Ginny approached Hermione's table, and brushing her fiery red hair aside, called mockingly, "Hey there, ferret!"
Draco responded gamely, "What's up, Weaselette?"

Ginny looked like a Scandinavian maid who would just as soon join her Viking in sailing to the edge of the world as in caring for their offspring. She was willowy and had strong, intelligent features. She liked to banter with Draco.

They had shared a very rough year in Hogwarts, when Draco was around, that is. He always seemed to appear at the most unexpected moments, like when she was about to be tortured. It was unsettling, but it made her reappraise the pale boy and decide that maybe he had changed.

Ginny asked, "Where is Finch-Fletchley? I need to discuss with him our plans for Hogsmeade."
Harry sat down next to Ginny and replied, "I saw him five minutes ago talking to Susan, must be Head business."

Ginny replied conspiratorially, "Figures, they are up to something!"
Hermione answered sententiously, "Come on, Ginny! They are good Heads."

The redhead narrowed her eyes and answered rebelliously, "I still think Harry should have been the Head Boy, or at least Ron; but they had to go and choose Justin. The world's crazy, I tell you." Apparently Ginny did not respect the curly-haired Hufflepuff at all.

Harry replied softly, "They were the best choice. They represent the best of both settings, the Muggle and the magical world. They are what is left of our innocence. They fought for the right side, it is time they enjoy some of the fruits of their labor. They are the side of Hogwarts that works quietly in the shadows, like the roots of a tree, providing support and succor."

Harry looked like a prince among men. He, like Ron, benefited from Mrs. Weasley's culinary skills. He wore the customary school uniform, his frame having filled at last. His unruly hair was still as wild as ever. He'd nearly been convinced by Ginny to get contacts, but he decided to keep his glasses. He had a healthy tan, maybe because of the hours he'd spent in the Weasley garden throwing gnomes around.

When the brouhaha of the victory over Voldemort's forces had died down, Harry asked Ginny to go out together again. To his surprise, Ginny had answered negatively. She had made the telling point that she had been really devastated because he had broken things with her. Surely she was on Voldemort's list already for being one of his friends and a Weasley, so his reasons for breaking up with her seemed facile to Ginny in retrospect. She wasn't sure she should acquiesce to his wishes this time, only to be brutally yanked from her dreams when his insecurity reared its ugly head again.

So now Harry and Ginny were friends. There was a subtle tension between them, but Ginny was comforted by the fact that Harry behaved like a perfect gentleman, as was his wont.

Ginny confided her troubled feelings to her friend Hermione. The brunette offered encouragement and in turn related her own ambivalent feelings towards Ron. She liked him, a lot, but she felt there were quite a number of barriers to be surmounted before they would be ready to bond; their constant fights were distracting at best and depressing at worst.

On Friday, they had pineapple jam, Harry's beloved flavor. He was enjoying it as the owls bearing messages came in. Hermione, Ginny and Ron had urged him to get another owl, but Harry couldn't bear to have a replacement for Hedwig.

Draco was eating breakfast – at the Hufflepuff table. Surprisingly enough, he had made friends of Justin, Hannah Abbot, Susan Bones and Terry Boot. Draco's main bone of contention had been with the Gryffindors, so it was somewhat easy for some Hufflepuffs and Ravenclaws to accept him. One of the many aftermaths of the war was that most people were tired of fighting, at the moment they adopted the motto 'live and let live.'

Gregory Goyle, Pansy Parkinson and several other Slytherins had transferred abroad.
Draco occasionally regaled them with stories of his friends' adventures in Durmstrang, like the time Goyle took the wrong boat at the Lake and ended up in Yokohama instead of Gdansk, or Pansy's trouble in following the inane tales of History of Magic. It would seem that class was fated to be boring, even when living persons imparted it. Blaise Zabini was studying his final year in Beauxbatons, and he wrote to Draco about life in beautiful Languedoc.

Draco still bristled easily, and he was sometimes a caustic observer, but he just seemed much more sure of himself lately, and able to tolerate differences of opinion with other people that would have enraged him before.

Of course there were a lot of students disgruntled with Malfoy and his role in the war. Malfoy didn't react as strongly as before to their taunts, though.

One morning Zacharias Smith started taunting Draco on the corridor in front of the Potions classroom, wondering how they allowed cowardly Death Eaters to study at Hogwarts. Surprising Smith, Ginny jumped to Draco's defense, saying that the Malfoys had saved Harry's life at least three times, and as for the cowardly tag, Draco had been in the Final Battle, while Smith himself turned tail and ran.

Several students snickered and laughed when they heard that.
Smith had snorted and countered that he very much doubted that. Then Ron walked by and said forcefully, "It's true that Malfoy was there. I know because I punched him right after a Death Eater attacked him!"

When they attacked Draco, he replied in kind. If they ever hexed him, his response was brutal. After all, he had been living with Death Eaters for quite a while and would know many painful, legal spells.

More than once he was saved from McGonagall's draconic punishments by the unflappable Liz Lehmke. Seeing that McGonagall had the knack of letting the other parties walk away free and concentrate her ire on Draco, the Ombudswoman warned the Headmistress that if her bigotry got the better of her, she would report it to the Ministry and she would be dismissed as Headmistress.

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Hermione took the newspaper offered by the owl and put the corresponding coins in its pouch. She opened the page and began to read, her eyes widening. The constant whispering and murmuring in the Great Hall ceased completely and there was a deathly quiet.

Hermione read:

Marriage Law approved by the Wizengamot

The Government, worried about the decline in population due to the past wars, has taken measures to counteract this. The Wizengamot proposed, and Minister of Magic Shacklebolt is expected to sign into law a measure that would ensure the survival of the Wizarding World.

Taking into account the constant and debilitating resentment caused by Blood issues, it has been decided that all Wizarding subjects aged 18 to 40, currently unmarried, will be duly wed and should be expecting a child within one year of their marriage. The unions will take place in such a form that a Pureblood will marry a Muggleborn, a Muggleborn a Pureblood or Half-blood, and a Half-blood either one of the other two.

In the next days, the happy couples should receive notifications of who are their future spouses. The couplings were done using the Goblet of Truth, a foolproof magical device.

Failure to comply with the provisions of this law will result in loss of magic and complete obliviation of Wizard memories.

These harsh actions are taken to ensure the renewed growth of our decimated society. When asked to comment, Minister Shacklebolt replied succinctly, "It's for the common good."

Reporter

Rita Skeeter

Draco noticed the sudden silence and turned to look at Susan, she and Justin appeared to be absorbed in reading the Daily Prophet. Draco turned to his other side, stole the paper from Terry and proceeded to read the article, after having promised his help with Terry's Arithmancy homework. Who would have guessed that Ravenclaws could be so devious?

The blond paled as he read the dreadful news. He discreetly looked around and found that many of his classmates were literally slack-jawed. Hermione and Ginny were pale and seemed about to faint. In contrast, Ron looked normal and fleetingly smirked, while Harry, after reading the distressing news, nodded benevolently to Neville Longbottom.