You Can Marry Me
The Ministry of Magic is after every pureblood in the country, absolutely convinced that the old Death Eaters are planning a war - when they're not. As a new law makes it legal to throw innocent people into jail and practice death penalties, Emily Goyle will do anything to save her family... but she didn't exactly expect that it would help to get married to Albus Potter, of all people.
Proposed to in a broom cupboard. Classy.
Chapter One: Emily: The Offer
I was running.
It was the kind of running you see in the muggle movies, when everything's just so surreal and you don't really believe it's you, absolutely terrified, muscles burning and clenching, breath making your throat dry and raw but you just keep going.
I was running from the chaos. It was absolute madness in the Great Hall, and I panicked and ran: I couldn't handle it. I kept running and running, up the Grand Staircase as though I was being chased – and really, I might as well have been.
And if you tell anyone how terrified I, Emily Goyle, had become, I'll kick your arse.
I reached the last set of stairs, shoes clanging and echoing in the vastness of the stone castle. I whipped my head around the corridors as I jogged; didn't this place have any place to hide?
You know, one that I actually know of?
I cursed my non-rule-breaking reputation and scanned around me with increasing panic. I need water, rest – but most of all, a place to hide. A classroom. Something.My eyes were suddenly drawn to a broom cupboard that I hadn't noticed at first.
Well, that was rather convenient.
I dove into the cupboard without a second thought and slammed the door shut. I pressed my ear against the door, listening above my pounding heart and heavy breathing for any footsteps.
I sighed in relief and turned to look for a good place to sit and rest my aching feet.
Note to self: neverwear heels again. They're the work of the devil.
Unfortunately, instead of gaining a few moments of relief, I slammed right into a person.
Bloody hell, I was trying to hide!
"Who's that?" I asked immediately, trying to hide the fear in my voice as I lit my wand – simultaneous with theirs. His face came into focus, and I narrowed my eyes.
"What are you doing here?"
"What are you doing here?" I couldn't believe it; this was Albus Potter. I had never really met him in my years here; sure, we knew of each other's existence, and my best friend had been dating his cousin for the past two years, but we'd never exchanged as much as a hello. Of all people, I met a Potterin this stupid broom cupboard. It was slightly ironic, given my situation.
"Potter, aren't you supposed to be downstairs?"
"Why aren't youthere?" he asked suspiciously, moving slightly in the blue light bursting from the tip of our wands. "I'm assuming you didn't come up here for the same reasons I did?"
"Which is what, exactly?"
I raised an eyebrow in disbelief. "Why the hell are you hiding from our own graduation?" He pulled a face, not looking the slightest bit guilty.
"Too many reporters. My parents will live if they don't see me in a tassel and gown."
"They'll probably kill you."
He laughed, lowering his wand slightly. "It happens. I'm assuming you're hiding as well?"
"How did you know?"
"This is the Room of Requirement. You probably needed to hide, so the room changed itself to fit your needs. Although," he added, wrinkling his nose, "you could've chosen a better spot. I was in a pretty nice room before you barged in –"
"Had a fireplace and everything –"
"I don't have time for this!" I snapped, feeling the urge to pull out my hair. "I don't know what I was thinking, running away from there, but I was just panicking and I don't have a plan and I don't know what's going on or what I'm going to do or if – what the hell!"
Something that looked suspiciously like tears had blurred my vision. They spilled as I swiped angrily at them, and surprisingly enough, they just kept falling.I made groan of frustration and nearly stomped my foot.
I. Do. Not. Cry.
I didn't need something as stupid as tears. I needed to focus. I needed a plan.
Potter was regarding me with a thoughtful expression. "I didn't know Slytherins could cry."
"No, seriously, this is a revelation –"
"I don't have time for this!" I repeated, wishing the tears would come to a screeching halt as they made their way down my face. I whipped around and groped for the door handle. "I need to get out of here –"
"No, wait!" Potter grabbed onto my arm and pulled me away from the door quickly, looking alert for the first time. "What happened down there?"
"Find out for yourself!"
"Goyle, can't you just explainwhy you're having a mental breakdown –"
"For Merlin's sake, there isn't enough time!" I shouted at him, turning back and freeing my arm from his grasp. "Don't you realize what's happened here?"
"That's what I'm trying to figure out, thanks –"
"Look, I apologize for interrupting you," I told him firmly, putting out my wand light. "I'm going to try and find my family now, I don't have any idea what's happened to them –"
"Why would anything happen to them?" Potter seemed desperate at this point, and it was probably the reason that drove him to do what he did next; as I grasped the doorknob, he grasped at my shoulders and forced me around, pushing me against the door.
"This is awfully cliché, Potter," I snarled, struggling in his grip. He ignored me.
"Please, my family's down there, too." There was definite pleading in his eyes.
"Then come with, if you must –"
"Maybe I can help?"
I stopped squirming for a second to snort. Just who did he think he was, offering help like this? I wasn't a damsel in distress; I may have been crying, but there was no need to treat me as though I couldn't handle this by myself.
"Rule number one, Potter," I sneered, infuriated that he was unrelenting in his grasp, "don't offer help when you don't know what you're in for."
"I won't ever know what I'm in for unless you tell me," he shot back. He wasn't even fighting to keep his hold on me against the wood, so I stopped moving. "Goyle, what happened down there?"
I blew a couple of bangs out of my eyes. "Are you going to let me go if I tell you?"
"It's the ministry," I began immediately, not wanting to waste any time. "You do know they've been hinting at the non-Death-Eater act for a while, right?"
"Yeah, I heard about it."
"Well, they've passed a law." A lump was forming slowly in my throat as I spoke, making my voice come out thick and the tears came faster. "The minister of magic announced that they would be taking in pure bloods, Slytherins and Death Eaters – and anyone who's linked to them."
His eyebrows furrowed. "Taking in?"
"They all have to go into the ministry," I explained quickly, feeling more panicked as I spoke of the circumstances. "They'll be checked – under unfair conditions, I expect," I added, wiping my eyes. "There's no option of a happy life, really. There's probation, imprisonment or… well, death."
"Death?" Potter's already pale face drained of all colour – or was that just the wonky lighting? "You're joking, right? They didn't even do that in the last war! They can't just kill off old Death Eaters –"
"Well," I admitted, "the death thing is sort of more implied."
"Oh." He bit the inside of his cheek. "But they still chuck the Death Eaters in prison?"
"And their families," I interjected, my voice breaking.
"But that's – that's you, isn't it?"
"Way to state the obvious." I began to squirm again, trying to peel Potter's hands off my shoulders. "Let me go, I explained what's going on!"
"But why would they do it?" he demanded, gripping me tighter. "Death Eaters haven't been active for nearly thirty years!"
"I'm aware of that."
"But then –"
"Do you really think they care? The ministry is scared, Potter! They think there's going to be some kind of war, and they've been trying to stop it for years!"
"Haven't you ever noticed how people treat us? Haven't you noticed how the ministry has been forcing ideals that purebloods are the ones that are scum, and that we should rot in hell for all they care? Do you ever listen to the taunts we get the halls?"
"Slytherins aren't the only ones capable of insults! This has been escalating for years, and now, just now, at our graduation, they passed this law that is inevitably going to kill me!"
"Now my mother and father and Scorpius and his family are all there, and I just deserted them because I was –"
There was no way I was going to admit to Potter, of all people, how scared I was.
Feeling more than slightly hysterical, I took his shaking hands off my shoulders and slid down to the ground, breathing deeply and wiping my cheeks. "I don't know what I'm going to do."
Potter kneeled down and leveled with me. "I can help."
And with that, I began to laugh.
Dear Merlin, I really was hysterical.
"Excuse me?" I asked, unsuccessfully attempting to stop the loud bouts of laughter that were echoing in the small cupboard. I could see Potter's face flicker with irritation.
"What? I can do something –"
"You're even more oblivious than I thought you were," I told him in between chuckles. Potter still wants to help me? "Rule number two: don't let your optimism blind you. You can't actually do anything to help me."
"I could –"
"And furthermore, I don't know why you'd want to." My laughter faded as the thought struck me. "We're not friends. I don't even think we've barely said 'hello' to each other in the seven years we've been here."
It was ironic. The War was caused, basically, by the love Voldemort's mother felt for Muggle Tom Riddle. It caused a chain effect because of the amount of magical blood in a person.
I thought we would've gone past that. Everything was fine for the first twelve years of my life; Harry Potter was still largely affecting the Ministry's actions and I had just started Hogwarts. Potter's father was trying to let the magical community advance.
But. It was that shred of doubt, that fear that led the Ministry away from Harry Potter. Slowly, he was a hero with empty ideas. Hogwarts changed and naturally, my life changed. People whispered in the halls. The Potter-Weasley clan were the shining beacons of light throughout the school – throughout the wizarding world.
Make that the oblivious beacons of light. They were becoming a right joke and didn't know it. They were always laughing, playing Quidditch and falling in love. Those kids were trophies – a constant reminder of what happened. Others around them were wrapping themselves in fear of something that didn't exist. I don't know any old Death Eaters that are insisting on another war. The older ones may gossip, but most have moved on.
Why can't the Ministry move on from what happened so long ago?
Potter sighed and slumped down beside me. "I just think it's unfair what they're doing. And for your information, I am not oblivious – just misinformed."
"Open your eyes," I said, bringing my knees to my chest. "The evidence has been around you for a while, now. Right now, I'm just concerned about how the ministry is going to take us in – I mean, it'll be a hearing, but –"
"What are you going to do when you get out of here?"
"I don't know," I said quietly. "I could run. My entire family could probably find some place where there isn't any magic, and we could… go there…"
"There must be some way to get your family out of it," he said thoughtfully.
I contemplated it yet again. The families that were safe were the exact opposite of who was safe during the War thirty years ago. Muggle borns or half-bloods were completely at ease.
"I don't know," I said a few moments later. "I mean, if I had a good reason at the hearing... like a really good reason, the ministry might let us go."
"How about the fact that your dad's a Healer - right?" he confirmed. I nodded. "Does that service give you any leeway?"
I shrugged. "I'm not sure if it'll matter. He has The Dark Mark."
"You could try it though, right?" he asked. "I'm sure he has a clean record."
"He does." My eyes burned again. "Everyone deserves second chances."
We fell silent.
"So it's pretty chaotic, huh?" he asked as more tears began to slip down my face. I nodded.
"Absolute madness down there. It's why I…"
"Ran away?" he asked. "You can't run away forever. Unless you plan on living without magic for the rest of your life."
I shook my head. "I mean, I think everyone's fine. The ministry won't take anyone without a hearing. I'm just worried about Scorpius."
"Are you friends?" I nodded. He's the best friend I'd ever had. "What makes you think Malfoy won't be okay?"
"You know who is father is," I said shortly, not looking at him. "He's a traitor to Death Eaters, but that doesn't mean anything to the ministry, does it? He's probably one of the most wanted by now." I stood, nearly tripping on my gown. "I should go –"
"And let them get you, too? I don't think so," he told me, snorting. "You need a plan."
"Potter, I need to go!" I insisted as he grabbed my arm again. If he's going to hold me to the door again, I'm going to kick him, I swear I will. "I need to check if my family is okay, and if Scorpius –"
"You just said they won't do anything without a hearing!" he protested, "and I know for a fact that Malfoy is safe, even if they take him to the ministry –"
"What the hell makes you say that?" I cried, panic rising steadily within me again. "Potter, this is none of your business, and I shouldn't have run away, so let me fix this –"
"Who did he propose to last night?" I stopped dead.
"Oh," I said in a feeble voice, remembering. "To Weasley…"
In the freaking library, too.
"Do you really think that anyone with a connection to Rose wouldn't be safe?" I tried to take deeper breaths, thinking.
For someone as oblivious as him, he had a point.
"Well… I still need to get back there," I told him, wrenching my arm out of his grasp. "So thanks, but I don't really think you can help me –"
There was something in his voice that made me uneasy enough to stop in my tracks. Even in the low light from his wand, I could see that his mind was reeling.
I had a bad feeling about this.
"Potter, I can't stay –"
"I mean, you just have to prove your innocence, right?" he asked. I nodded. "I mean, then it could be anything, really. There are lots of options."
"I guess," I said, "but... what is there? I mean, if you want to help me run away, there's that. We could plead to the ministry that my dad's a healer - they might go for that. What else?"
"I dunno, I just... don't panic," he said fiercely, looking as though he were deep in thought. "I'm sure we can think of something. What was your father's role in the war?"
I turned red. "Not sure. I don't think he did much but guard, to be honest."
"Well, there's that!" he pointed out excitedly. "And maybe I can go with you to the hearing. If Scorpius has a connection to Rose, maybe if you have a connection to me, that'll do something."
I rolled my eyes. "Why would having a connection to you help?"
"My dad's the saviour of the world,princess," he emphasized. "I could probably even get him to come to the hearing and overrule the minister. Plead your case for you."
"There's just one flaw in your genius plan," I said heavily. "Why would Harry Potter, of all people, come to plead at my family's case? Doesn't make much sense, does it?"
"What if – wait, no." He ran a hand through his black hair, and I could see that if there was more room in this cupboard, he'd be pacing. It made me jittery to watch him. "I don't know if you'd ever agree to this – and Merlin knows my parents would kill me."
"I mean, there's this thing." He raked a hand through his hair. "It's an idea. It's not a bad idea," he mumbled quietly. "It might work. It's your choice, we can try something else. But it's just…"
"Just what?" I asked sharply, my impatience wearing thin. "Look, Potter, I'll do anything to save my family."
"Anything," I said, hoping I wouldn't have to regret my words.
"Alright," he said softly, locking his green eyes with my brown ones. "You can marry me."