Disclaimer: I don't known Harry Potter or any recognizable places or characters.
Bonds of Matrimony
A/N: I really wanted to write a Hermione/Snape story, and as I was having a hard time coming up with a way to start one, I cheated a little. :) This is a Marriage Law story, because I've always liked Marriage Law stories about these two, and because I want to see if I can even write these two characters together. If my experiment is successful, perhaps I can continue this pairing. Not sure how long it will be, but it won't be short. Thanks for reading. Hope you enjoy! :)
A/N 2: This takes place in Hermione's 6th year, but it doesn't follow the story. For instance, Draco's not given the task to kill Dumbledore, but he is a Death Eater (you will see later). Voldemort is still alive and kicking, in fact he's growing more powerful. Hermione is of age in the Wizarding World, as will be explained. I think that explains everything. If I need to clarify something else, I will do so in individual chapter notes.
The New Law
Voldemort stood before his Deatheaters, a wicked grin on his face. It was obvious he'd just done something, or was about to do something that made him very happy, elated in fact. "My followers," he hissed.
"I have a surprise for you..." The room was silent, waiting for their master to reveal his secret to them. There had been few advancements for their side in the war, of late, and everyone was interested to know what had their leader so excited.
Snape stood to the side, keeping his eyes both toward Voldemort as well as on the gathered Deatheaters around him. He was observing and listening, a skill he'd picked up as second nature in all his years as a spy. Four words caught his attention. "..Marriage Law..." and "...Potter's Mudblood..." He controlled the urge to growl in frustration. When would this job become easier? When would he get a break? When would he be able to stop looking after those three morons?
The Dark Lord wanted to use Miss Granger, and he imagined there was no better way than to force her to marry a Deatheater. He was a fool if he thought that would ever work. The girl had a harder head than Potter, and was ten times the fighter. But he knew Voldemort could not be swayed, so the question was, which of his 'brothers of the Dark' would have the honor of trying to break her. He shuddered at the thought. He might not like the girl, but she was an innocent. She was barely more than a child, and he hated to think of the horrors she'd face as a Deatheater's mudblood wife.
"That is all, my friends." Voldemort said at the end of his speech. "You may stay behind if you wish to discuss this matter personally." With that, Snape bid his 'friends' goodbye and apparated directly out of the house and in front of the Hogwarts entrance. He had to speak to Dumbledore. Annoying as she was, the Order couldn't risk one of their biggest weapons falling in the hands of Voldemort, even if only in body nor spirit.
Hermione sat between Ron and Harry at breakfast, and laughed at how ravenous they seemed to be that morning. "You two act as if you are starved to death." she laughed.
"Growing boy, and all that..." Ron said, thankfully between bites instead of with his mouth full like usual. Hermione just giggled, noticing the post was swooping in. Plopped down in front of her was the Daily Prophet, and two thick envelopes. Puzzled, she furrowed her brow. Both envelopes were from the ministry. That was quite odd since they usually only ever wrote to inform a person of an infraction. She'd committed none.
"What's that?" Harry asked, pointing toward the official documents in her hand.
"I don't know." Hermione said.
"I got one, too," Katie Bell said from down the table. That is peculiar. Hermione noticed, looking around, that most of the seventh years had one envelope, not two, but very few sixth years and lower had anything.
"One way to find out," she said, slipping her finger under the lip of the envelope and pulling the letter out of the first one.
'Miss Hermione Granger,
The Ministry of Magic has just passed a law that pertains to you, personally. A Marriage Law (the fifth in Wizarding history), uniting muggle-borns with Purebloods/Half-Bloods requires that you find and marry a wizard or either Pureblood or Half-blood status.
Our records show that, you are nearly 18, by use of a ministry approved time-turner. This means you are of age, and will be required to adhere to the law, or your wand will be taken and you will be forced out of our society.
You have four months to marry, and then an additional two years to produce a child. All details of the law shall be made clear in the law itself which will be made available to you by the Headmaster of Hogwarts later today.
As with all good societies, there is a protocol with which these matters are dealt with. You shall receive contracts for marriage in the post. Once you've chosen a proper suitor, you and your chosen will contact the ministry to marry. If you have any questions, the Ministry will gladly hear them.
Hoping you are well,
Hermione's breath was coming out in pants by the end of the letter, and she willed herself not to have a panic attack. This couldn't be happening. It was 1996, not 1696. How could they force someone to marry? How...
She didn't even notice the murmuring going on around her, as students began reading their newspapers. The Marriage Law had made the front page, but she wasn't sure she wanted to know anymore. She also didn't notice the steel-grey eyes boring a hole in the back of her skull. All she could think about was the fact that she was about to be sold off into a loveless marriage, essentially becoming a baby maker, all to keep her magic.
"Hermione, what is it?" Harry asked, almost afraid to. He'd seen the Prophet and the pale color that Hermione had turned. He hoped they had nothing to do with each other.
Hermione couldn't force the words out of her mouth. She just passed the letter to Harry and let him read it before passing it to Ron. "'Mione, this isn't going to happen." Ron promised when he finished.
"I don't see how we can stop it," She said, her voice barely above a whisper.
"We'll think of something," Harry said, wrapping his arm around her. "Dumbledore will think of something."
"What's in the second envelope?" Ron asked, picking it up and handing it to her.
"I shudder to think," She said, proud that she'd kept herself from crying. The first letter has been so horrifying, the news could only get better, right?
"Only one way to find out," Ginny said, as she entered the conversation from reading the newspaper article. "Like ripping off a band-aid."
Hermione nodded, more to herself than anyone else, and tore open the envelope, pulling out the parchment inside.
The Malfoy family would like to formally extend this proposal on behalf of Draco Malfoy for your hand in marriage. Attached is a marriage contract that, if you agree to and sign, we will begin proceedings for the marriage itself.
Her tears were fighting for escape, but she knew, now, that Draco was watching. She couldn't let him see them. Draco Malfoy. He hated her. Why would he want to marry her? Why would Lucius or Narcissa ever agree to sully their pureblood line with the likes of her.
"Hermione, what..." Harry started, but pulled the fallen paper from her. "Bloody hell," he groaned, eyes wide as realization hit him. Anger tore at him, but he knew well enough to know, he had to keep it together if he expected Hermione to.
"What is it?" Ron asked.
"Malfoy. He's put in a marriage contract," Harry said, quietly. The Gryffindors within hearing distance all gasped.
"I've got to get out of here," Hermione said, leaving her books, papers, letters, and food behind. She couldn't take it anymore. Her chest felt like it was caving in and her heart was racing at the same time.
Snape, McGonagall, and Dumbledore, all knowing what Hermione had just received, watched helplessly as she ran from the Great Hall. "We have to do something, Albus," Minerva said, her heart breaking for the girl.
"Do you know who the contract is from?" Dumbledore asked Snape.
"I've got a few guesses," he said, turning toward the blonde at the Slytherin table. "And if I'm right, Miss Granger is in a hell of a lot more trouble than just being the wife of a Deatheater.
Hermione didn't go to her classes that day. She couldn't even imagine being in the same room with Malfoy, and she didn't think she could make it longer than twenty minutes without breaking down into sobs.
She thought about the situation from every angle. She could leave the wizarding world, but she knew she'd never feel whole without it. She was a witch. She'd always be a witch. She could beg someone else to proposition her. She had enough friends that it would probably work, but what then? Force someone who didn't want to marry her to bind with her for life? It seemed, not only unfair, but unsavory.
It was too much. The law, Malfoy, everything. She'd read the law through ten times since Dumbledore sent her a copy. It was quite extensive. copulation was required weekly. Charms would be placed on her to ensure this happened. No contraceptives (even the muggle kind) would be allowed. They really wanted baby factories more than anything. Considering Purebloods have a high Squib production rate, they came up with this brilliant idea. They only threw half-bloods in the mix to make one feel like they had a choice. There was not choice. Right now, the only person with their hat in the ring was Draco Malfoy, and as conventionally attractive as he was, the thought of sex with him every week make her stomach turn. There was not telling what vile things he'd do to her anyway.
Ginny had tried to comfort her. The boys begged her to come down and talk to them, but she couldn't move from her bed. She felt safe there, even if it was just an illusion. Her stomach grumbling was the only thing that forced her to finally leave her warm cocoon. She had to eat. Dinner was over hours ago. Sighing, she decided to make her way to the kitchens. Hopefully she could dodge Harry and Ron long enough to get there and back. She loved them, but she couldn't take the pity right now.
She snuck out of the common room with a 'notice-me-not' charm which she removed once she was alone in the halls of the castle. Decidedly, that was a mistake, because only seconds later, she was noticed...by none other than Draco Malfoy.
"Well, if it isn't the mudblood, soon to be my bride," he said, his evil smirk marring his beautiful face.
"Out of my way, Malfoy," she said between gritted teeth as she pushed past him, but he gripped her by the shoulders and pushed her roughly against the wall.
"That's no way to talk to your fiance," he said, a twinkle in his eyes as he looked her up and down. "I think I'm going to enjoy breaking you in, Mudblood," he said leering at her.
"You disgust me. You are not my fiance. Now, unhand me." Hermione demanded. He didn't, and she sighed in frustration. "Why did you contract me, anyway? You hate me. You hate my blood. You couldn't possibly be happy about this."
Draco laughed in her face. "Silly little mudblood. You will be my fiance, it's only a matter of time. And in case you didn't read the Marriage Law, I'm bound by this as much as you. Purebloods are required to marry as well. I just figured I'd use it to my advantage. I always did wonder what was under these robes," he grinned at her, pulling at the top of her cloak.
Enraged, Hermione pushed him roughly off her her. "Do not touch me again, Malfoy," she said.
Draco raised his hands in surrender, chuckling at her mockingly. "We'll see how much of you I get to touch when you're mine, Granger. And we'll see how long it takes before you beg me to touch you." he said giving her a heated look, before turning on his heel and leaving her alone in the hall.
She was in such a state of shock she didn't even know how she'd gotten to the kitchens, but was grateful when Dobby fixed her up a plate of food. She didn't even taste it because she was still wrapped up in her thoughts about Malfoy. An eternity with him would be a nightmare. He made her skin crawl. She had to do something. But what?
"You know what has to be done, Severus," Albus said, his voice and demeanor tired.
"You have no idea what you are asking!" Snape snarled back. "Not just of me, but of her."
"I know very well what I ask, and you know there is no other way." Dumbledore said. "If you want that girl to die, then do nothing."
"Of course I don't want that. But, Albus, be reasonable." Snape tried to reason. "She will not want this."
"I have a feeling she will find this arrangement more satisfactory that her current situation." Dumbledore argued.
"I'll go to him, but I can't promise he'll listen to me. If he doesn't, you know what will happen." Snape said, cryptically.
"Yes," Dumbledore said. "I know. But I also know you can reason with him. He trusts you."
Snape sighed in frustration. This stupid law was ruining his life. The last thing he wanted to have to do was worry about Hermione Granger on top of everything else, but Albus had a point. There really was no other option. Anything else would just result in more death, or Miss Granger's sanity. As much as he loathed to admit it, they'd need her to beat the Dark Lord.
"Fine, I'd better be going. Time is wasting." He said, turning on his heel without another word to the Headmaster. When he was gone, Dumbledore sat heavily in his chair. He hoped this would work. He hated to think of what lie ahead for Hermione if it didn't.
"It is most unusual for one of my Deatheaters to call a meeting with me. This had better be good, Severus." Voldemort warned.
"Yes, sir." Snape said, groveling at the ground. "I wanted to discuss Granger and the Marriage Law."
"Yes," Voldemort said, his tone lightening. "Lucius is quite right. The best person for the job is Draco. He's her age, and unarguably handsome."
"True," Snape said, shifting to his left side. "But, I warn you. She hates him, and always will. If you want to bring her over and use her talents for our side, there is only one way to do it."
"Severus, I'm intrigued. What have you got up your sleeve?" The Dark Lord asked.
"She is a stubborn girl. She will not come over quietly. The only way to do it...is to get someone she trusts." Snape answered, hating himself for the words he was speaking. It felt so wrong, and dirty. Bartering himself and her, for the greater good.
"Severus, did you have someone in mind?" Voldemort asked, already knowing the answer the to question.
"You want her to marry a Deatheater? Well, there happens to be one she trust," Snape said, smiling up at the snake-like man evilly. "Me."