Hermione ran down the hall of the Ministry with tears in her eyes. Her normally tame wavy brown hair was everywhere as if she had just run a marathon. "I can't believe that jerk!" She mumbled angrily as she made her way to her office.
"Watch out!" Someone yelled as she felt herself collide with something hard. She fell and hit her bum hard against the ground. "Geez Granger, what is your problem?!"
She looked up to see steely gray eyes looking down at her. Her eyes got wide as the tears started to fall down her cheeks. "Malfoy..." She whispered, realization dawning upon her.
"Granger?" Draco Malfoy said uncertainly. He took a step back to give her some room to get up.
"Malfoy, we need to talk." She said slowly as she got up from the floor. She wiped the tears away with the sleeve of her robe and saw a confused look across his face.
"What about?" He asked, his eyebrows knit in confusion. "I already put the report on your desk."
"Not about that." She said. "Please come with me to my office." She asked in a pleading voice.
He nodded and followed her to her office where he closed the door behind her. He couldn't understand her behavior. She had just gone home for lunch when she returned crying. It was certainly out of character for her to lose her head at work. He wouldn't call them friends but certainly after working together for 5 years he could say they were somewhat acquaintances. He still didn't particularly like her but he didn't hate her like he did in school.
"Malfoy, sit down. You're not going to believe what I'm about to tell you." Hermione said, grabbing a tissue from her desk as she sat down.
Draco sat down across from her and looked at her intently. What could this possibly do with him?
Hermione took a deep breath. "Malfoy, I went home for lunch today, thinking no one would be there since Ron was at work." She looked down at her hands for a moment before continuing. "Well, I was wrong, Ron was home...and he wasn't alone."
Realization dawned upon Draco's face as he understood what she was telling him. She caught her fiancé cheating on her.
"I'm sorry Granger, but how is this my concern?" He asked more coldly than he planned to.
She sniffled and looked back up at him. "He was with...Astoria." She said slowly. "They didn't see me. I ran out after I saw them and they never saw me."
Draco's eyes nearly popped out of his head. "You must have this wrong, Granger." He said quickly. "Astoria would never do that to me. We're getting married in a few weeks!" He practically shouted.
Hermione's eyes welled with tears again. "I'm sorry Draco, but I know it was her." She grabbed another tissue and wiped her eyes. She conjured up a bottle and put her wand to her temple. She pulled out a silvery string and put it into the bottle. "You can check my memory in the pensieve but I promise I'm not making this up." She handed the bottle to Draco.
He took the bottle and held it tightly in his hands. "Let's go, then." They both stood up and made their way down the hall. One of the benefits to working for the Ministry of Magic was having access to just about anything they needed.
They turned into a room and Hermione shut the door behind her. She put a silencing charm on the room while Draco grabbed a pensieve off the shelf and placed it on the table that was in the middle of the room. He dumped her memory in and placed his face into the cool water.
He felt himself falling when he suddenly saw a door in front of him. He followed Hermione, walking through the door and noticing a handbag on the couch. He knew right away that it was Astoria's handbag. He felt himself not want to go any farther but the memory continued. She had looked in the kitchen, the living room, and then was walking up the stairs to what he presumed was the bedroom. Then he heard distinct noises, noises that made her pause at the top of the stairs. She made her way to the bedroom and reluctantly he looked in where he saw a sight he never thought was possible. They were on the bed, oblivious to her presence, going at it like rabbits. He watched as she put her hand to her mouth and ran back down the stairs and out the door. He felt himself being pulled and then he was standing in front of the pensieve soaking in all that he just saw.
"Bloody hell..." Draco said as he ran his hand through his light blond hair.
Hermione watched as a barrage of emotions went through his face. First shock, then sadness and then anger. "I'm sorry Malfoy, but I wasn't lying."
"Obviously." He spat. He looked at her and his face softened as he realized she was in the same position. "Your wedding is next week, right?" He asked softly.
"It was." She said. "It certainly isn't going to happen now. I'd rather marry a stranger." She said angrily.
Another realization hit him then. The marriage law. The bloody marriage law. A few years ago a marriage law was passed. Depending on the year you graduated Hogwarts (or should have graduated for those busy in the War) determined what year you needed to be married by. For example, those who graduated in May 1998 had until September 2005 to be married. If you were not married by then, the Ministry then assigned you to another unmarried wizard or witch whom you were to marry under penalty of law. This was to ensure the population of the wizarding community after the War. No one thought too much about it since there was no stipulation on who they had to marry, just that they had to marry. But a lot of people put it off to the end, hence the reason his nuptials had been planned for August. He imagined Hermione did the same.
"Merlin...I am not marrying some random stranger who couldn't find someone to marry in the first place!" Draco whined.
Hermione looked at him knowingly. "I know Malfoy. The prospect seems awful but it still has to be better than marrying a cheating git." She said despairingly.
Draco looked at her when an idea popped into his head. "Why don't we get married? Being married to you has got to be better than some old maid." He said suddenly.
She gaped at him. "Have you lost your mind, Malfoy?! We don't even like each other!" She yelled. "That is a ridiculous idea!"
"Look, what are our options? Get married to someone you don't know and that probably didn't get married because no one wants them or get married to someone you do know and can at least somewhat tolerate." An evil smirk crossed his face suddenly. "And we have the benefit of dumping our cheating significant others and telling them we left them for each other."
"Malfoy, really how childish..." Hermione began to say as she started to think about the position she was in. She needed to be married in a month otherwise she'd probably be given to some wizard who isn't attractive in any sense of the word. There was no way she would stay with the cheating bastard she currently called her fiancé. And it would be kind of fun to see him squirm when she told him she was leaving him for Malfoy. A sly smile started to grace her face as she thought about his face paling when she told him she knew he was cheating and that Malfoy was better than his cheating ass. "Ok, Malfoy...I can see your reasoning." She said slowly. "But there are conditions."
"Conditions? Like what?" Draco said, waiting upon the terms she would put on their marriage.
"I will not be a house wife. You will have to start paying your house elves. And you can't argue with having my friends over whenever I please." She said, ticking off her demands off her fingers. "We will consider this more of a desperate measure than a marriage."
Draco frowned at her demands. "Well, I have some terms of my own. You will take my last name. We will live in the manor." He said thinking as fast as he could of bargaining items. "Oh, and I will require an heir."
Hermione frowned at the last statement. "An heir? Together?"
"Yes, together. If you will be my wife, I will need a son to carry my name." He said sternly.
"But that means..." She said her face turning into a look of disgust as she realized what exactly that entailed.
"I am well aware of how to create a child, Granger." He smirked. "The manor is large, we won't have to be together much other than meals really. You'll have access to all my money. You will have the recognition that the Malfoy name brings. But you must be willing to have children."
She thought about the pros and cons of the situation. She really didn't have a choice. "Fine, Malfoy. But I don't want people to think this is a marriage of desperation. We both have images to uphold. I want this to seem real to the public." She said thinking about how the press would eat them alive if they found out it was a sham marriage.
"Agreed." He held out his hand and she shook it quickly. "We need to dump our current intendeds and set our wedding date. It'll be fun to see them scramble to get married. I seriously doubt Astoria would ever consider marrying a Weasley."
Hermione smiled at the thought of Ron scrambling for a partner. "Well, I was supposed to be married next week. You were supposed to be married three. Why don't we get married in two weeks then?" She suggested.
"That's fine with me." He agreed.
"Now how do we break up with our current partners?" She wondered out loud.
"I might have some ideas..." Draco smirked, the idea of vengeance filling his head.
A/N: Okay, here's my new story. Lets see where it takes us, shall we? Please review and let me know what you think! Happy New Year! ~Chrissy