A week into their last year at Hogwarts, the ministry sent out notice that the wizarding worlds population was in sharp decline and needed to be rebuilt.

"The Ministry mandates all magical humans ages 17-40 to marry and reproduce a magical child within two years.

Magical marriages are binding, so wizards and witches will be encouraged to practice divination stress relief techniques for the road ahead with their partner.

Single adult witches and wizards will submit their financial portfolio, personality questionnaire and a picture to the clerk's Office of Magical Marriages.

Each student wizard and witch will be paired with a compatible partner according to the sorting hat. Each student shall sit under the hat for an hour and the results will be announced at dinner seven days following the last students sort. "

"Bloody hell. I can't believe this is happening." Harry said as he put the letter down. Everyone that was of age received a letter.

"When is your appointment with the hat, Harry?" Ron asked as he motioned with his head towards the professors table.

He looked at his watch, "at noon. I have twenty minutes."

Ron sighed, "Mine is right after yours then."

"By house." She said

"What?" harry and Ron quipped in unison, confused as usual by her remarks.

"They are making appointments by house. Gryffindor is first, then Hufflepuff, then Ravenclaw and lastly, Slytherin." She said impatiently.

She nibbled on her lower lip, "What if I get paired with…Goyle? ..or….or someone way older than I am..like thirty?" she whined.

"The letter said compatible. Goyle is not compatible to you. You will get paired with someone smart probably." Harry soothed.

"Hey! Maybe you and I will be paired! We could be best friends and married, my mom could teach you how to cook and we could just live at the burrow – it will be great." Ron said excitedly at the thought.

"Ron, Harry said someone smart." Hermione giggled and left the table.

Harry stifled a laugh and followed her.

Ron shrugged as he watched them leave and picked up another piece of chicken. He was famished.

The days progressed slowly and finally it was time for the announcement of pairing. Everyone was deathly silent; you could feel the tension in the air…even Ron couldn't eat at a time like this.

"Let's begin." McGonogall said. She went alphabetically and finally…

"Hermione Granger and …." She looked at the parchment and turned to Dumbledore "is this correct?" showing him the parchment.

He nodded with a twinkle in his eye how interesting He thought.

Hermione practically died right then and there, she couldn't take it anymore…"Professor?"

"Oh right. Yes…ahem Hermione Granger and Draco Malfoy." She announced.

The two tables erupted in chaos – some shouting, some laughing and a whole lot of denial, by two very outraged seventh years.

"NO WAY! NO NO NO! LOOK AT THE PARCHMENT AGAIN!" Hermione yelled in hysteria.

"WHAT!!??? SHE'S ….SHE'S NOT …..I'M A PURE….I'M A MALFOY!" he sputtered in obvious distress shaking his head.

This cannot be true. Why would they pair him with her???

He looked over at her. She had regained composure, but still visibly upset; her hand over her mouth with tears streaming down her face, sitting there stunned into silence.

He knew how she felt.

My life is going to be H.E.L.L. He hates me, his family hates me – I could run away! No, I will not run. This just stinks of hairy monkey balls. She thought bleakly

"Harry Potter and Pansy Parkinson." Harry groaned and looked over at Pansy. She just stared back, no discernable facial expression.

He smiled and waved a little, she smiled and he noticed how pretty her face was….this may not be nearly as bad as I thought. His smile widened.

Pansy was breathless, she hoped at the very least she would be paired with Blaise or Draco, but since Draco was with …Gryffindors Golden Girl, she hoped Blaise. {The announcement}

.Harry Potter.

He's kind of cute. I like his unruly hair. I'm ok with this. She thought and returned his smile.

"Are you quite done, Pans?" Draco asked her, bringing her attention back to the people around her.

He smiled, knowing what she was thinking. "So I guess you are ok with your pairing?"

"Yes. Yes I am." she said.

Draco and she had been friends for years. She loved him like a brother and now she only hoped that Granger wouldn't ruin that friendship.

"Ron Weasely and Luna Lovegood." He looked over at her and she smiled.

Ron was a little worried, but it would be fine at least she was interesting and at least he didn't get Pansy… or worse, Lavender Thought Ron as he picked up another sandwich.

"Blaise Zabini and Ginny Weasely"

Ginny had just turned 17 yesterday, she was one year behind Harry and company, but since her birthday fell in January she was older than her same year peers.

The beautiful red-head turned immediately to look at Blaise, he smirked….and so did she. Yes! She thought.

The announcements went on until all of the eligible students were matched.

"Parvati Patil and Gregory Goyle" sympathy groans…

"Padma Patil and Theodore Nott"

"Lavender Brown and Vincent Crabbe" laughter…

"Seamus Finnegan and Milicent Bulstrode" sympathy and laughter… on and on it went.

"Each couple will meet me, Professors Snape and Dumbledore back here at 8pm this evening. You may go." Professor McGonogall said as she shooo'd them all out of the Great Hall quietly thanking the Gods that there were no casualties. Especially after she announced the Malfoy /Granger pairing, what was that sorting hat thinking?


Back at the ranch….or common rooms

Hermione just needed to sit down for a few moments. Breathe. Breathe. This was going to take much more than just breathing to get used to it. The REST OF HER LIFE! Ugh.

Just as she sat down on the couch, Ginny walked in with a curious look on her face.

"What are you thinking, Ginny?" Hermione asked suspiciously

"Oh nothing." She replied without focus.

Hermione knew what Ginny was thinking and had to leave in order not to box the girls ears out of pure jealous rage (Jealousy over Ginny's glee that she is ok with whom she is paired, not the person with whom she is paired.)

Ginny Zabini. Hmmmmm, that isn't bad.

She could hyphenate. Ginerva Weasley-Zabini? Merlin, No. She would drop the Weasley. Yes. That is what she will do. Mum will just have to live with it.

Speaking of…. Molly Weasley came stumbling out of the floo looking for her two youngest – "GINERVA. RON. Where are you?"

"I'm here mum." She wondered how her mother was going to react to the news of being related to the Zabinis.

So she just said it "I was paired with Blaise Zabini." She said and held her breath.

Relief washed over Molly as she was afraid Ginny would get the young Mr. Malfoy, "OH thank you Merlin. I was afraid you would be paired with Draco Malfoy."

Ginny choked a little and looked at her mother with a smirk

"What?" asked Molly

"Hermione." Was all Ginny said.

"NOOOOOOO!" When Molly made the connection, "I bet that girl needs a hug about now." "Who did Ron and Harry get paired with?" she asked glancing around for Hermione.

"Ron with Luna Lovegood and Harry with Pansy Parkinson."

Molly's eyebrows shot up at the thought of having to listen to Luna go on and on about nonexistent creatures…sigh.

"Aren't you worried for Harry, mom?" Ginny asked when she didn't get the reaction she thought she would.

"No, dear. I've known Pansy's mother for quite some time and she is a nice lady, good person, smart. I bet Pansy is also." Molly said matter-of-factly.

"Oh. Ok." Was all Ginny could think of to say.

*** Slytherin Common Room***

Pansy and Blaise were strangely quiet as Draco was lost in thought about how his father would react; if the Malfoy name would lose credibility with a mud…muggle born witch in the family…and offspring.

NO! Those things don't matter to him….only to his father. She is a powerful witch and exceptionally kind – as proven by her saving my arse …twice. She is just a little outspoken, but …almost as smart as me. She certainly could match me in wits during a verbal show down.

"Why are you two so quiet?" He asked, almost scared of their answers.

"Just trying to come to grips with our partners." Blaise said as Pansy nodded.

"I wonder what qualities the hat focused on to match three Slytherin and three Gryffindor, you know. It isn't like we are just any old Slytherin and they are any old Gryffindor." The Slytherin Princess looked at the Slytherin Princes, as they were referred, with a pointed stare.

Pansy continued, "The boy-who-lived. The Gryffindor Golden Girl and the Gryffindor Quidditch Beauty. Strange, don't you think?" The boys nodded in agreement.

"We have half an hour before we meet back in the Great hall. I'm going take a shower." As Draco excused himself Blaise and Pansy left too

*** In the Great Hall twelve couples in total were seated.

Luna was talking to Ron oblivious to the completely stricken expression lurking on his face. He couldn't help it, the thought of spending the rest of his life with her like this was quite wounding.

The students were seated with their friends instead of their betrothed – this would take some getting used to.

Professor Snape walked up and started speaking to those few who were listening,

"We decided to help you move past your initial insecurities by offering you a mild calming draught and encouraging you to …meet with your fiancés to get to know one another since you will be together for some time." Clipped Snape, clearly uncomfortable with giving them potions to 'relax' thinking if the Weasely boy, Crabbe and Goyle got any lazier they would slip into coma's. This will not end well.

McGonagall looked quite unprepared for the talk she was about to give….

"Well, I have been elected to speak to you about …..intimacy." she almost whispered.

"On your wedding nights there is a ….tradition of …deflowering the feminine partner." A snicker rolled through the audience.

As Hermione realized what was going to occur she stood up, horrified, "WAIT, professor McGonagall. We...Ah…we are aware of the …tradition…to which you referred.

We …I'm certain…will be ok without this …..discussion." She looked around the room to glaring eyes and disappointment and a general groan of dissatisfaction.

I guess they wanted to hear it she thought annoyed.

"Thank you, Hermione!" McGonagall said with a tad too much jubilance.

Snape was a bit relieved also. They are already horny; we don't need to add fuel to the fire.

"You're marrying a prude, Draco." sneered Millicent Bulstrode, which resulted in group laughter and more glares towards Hermione.

"She's right. We all know the tradition; we don't need to make anyone else more uncomfortable by spelling it out." Draco retorted.

He was annoyed at Hermione for speaking out, but he couldn't NOT defend his …fiancé.

Besides, who wants to hear the birds and bees talk from the old lady, anyway? It wasn't she was going to get graphic.

He looked at his fiancée it seemed for the first time.

When he really looked at her, she wasn't half bad…actually quite a beauty.

He tilted his head and took in every detail.

Wavy Chestnut hair that was no longer frizzy or bushy; it tumbled down her back to her waist.

She had whiskey brown eyes that shimmered with emotion – anger, fright, happiness….I wonder what color they are when she is feeling sexy…he let that last thought trail off

She was thin, athletic build, toned arms, but not overly muscular, flat stomach.

She had a button down white shirt on that fit her perfectly, a little ribbon at the top of her neck with a keyhole opening to the first button at the start of her cleavage, her breasts looked large but not unnaturally so, the shirt fit the contours of her waist as it dipped inward to meet at the top of her hips.

A small band of skin separated the bottom of her shirt from the top of her low-rider jeans; stylish, teasing, but not trashy…definitely sexy.

Her jeans were dark wash and skinny. She had the perfect butt for them, nice legs from what he could tell…long legs, but in proportion to her body and finally ….shiny lime green ballet slippers?

He almost laughed out loud. He looked up and met her pretty brown eyes. She smirked when he raised a brow at her rather loud shoes.

Even if they didn't get along, per se, he found her sexy no doubt about that. She was a beauty in his eyes.

The group fell silent and Hermione gave him a small smile a little in thanks.

She saw him looking her up and down, so she thought she would take the time-since he was busy- to really look at him.

Very stylish dress, always neat and clean; his hair was platinum and silky – she really wanted to smell his hair and run her fingers thru it. He had it flopping over his eyes at the moment and it was a bit longer in the back as is the trend now, so sexy – he was after all the Slytherin Sex God or so she had heard.

He had long lashes and smoky gray eyes, sharp features with full kissable lips. He was gorgeous.

His hands were beautiful…she was a hand girl. It was the first thing she looked at in a guy. His hands were a mix of both rough and smooth. His years playing Quidditch gave him calluses, but really made his hands strong looking, long fingers pale skin. His fingers were neither skinny nor fat, a happy in between, his fingernails perfectly manicured.

He was a good 6 to 8 inches taller than she was and when he sat up his chest was defined underneath the Tshirt he was wearing.

It was a plain white shirt –was it ironed? With tan cargo pants –also ironed- and brown shoes.

Oh. My. God. He was the Slytherin Sex God.

At that point, he looked at her, made a motion to her shoes and laughed a bit.

She LOVED these shoes, so she smiled back at him. Wow, those eyes – sexy.