AN: I had an idea in response to all the marriage challenge fics that are floating around out there. Soooo... Here is my version.
Two large groups of people sat in the cavernous, echoing chamber located deep within the bowels of the Ministry of Magic. The room, ages old, had been the center of endless magical debates over the centuries. It had born witness to wizarding law being made, law that had changed the lives of countless magical folk.
It was a law that was being made at this very moment that caused the large room to tremble with the multitude of sounds. Voices raised in anger, in supplication, in defeat. Voices raised in dread and fear as the results of the great battle were laid bare before them.
Devastating results for the wizarding world as a whole.
Kingsley Shacklebolt stood in the center of the great maelstrom of emotion. The tall, dignified man's burning gaze fell upon each and every face gathered. His deep voice rose above the chatter.
"You have the results before you. The last battle left our population teetering dangerously on the non-viability level. We do not have enough citizens to continue to flourish. Our civilization, our very survival is threatened. We must repopulate our numbers."
The red and black clad members of the Wizengamot knew he was right. Their very existence was threatened and drastic measures were called for.
The deep voice of the Minister of Magic continued, "I want to take a vote. All in favour of the marriage law raise your hands."
Every single hand in the room rose as one.
Taking a gavel in his large beefy hand, Kingsley slammed it down on his podium with a resounding crack.
"The motion is carried. The Wizarding Marriage & Repopulation Proposal is now law."
"Can you believe this shit?"
The young red head was holding the Daily Prophet in her hands. Shaking the paper she looked around the large kitchen table of the burrow.
Seated around the scarred, ancient oak table were Arthur and Molly along with their family and extended family. Bill and Fleur, Charlie, George and Ron. Harry Potter and Hermione Granger were also present. The latter was home from university for the summer holidays.
"What does it say Gin?" Harry inquired adjusting his glasses.
The young red head snorted and replied, "The marriage law has been passed."
Ginny turned her head to address her best friend. Staring into the chocolate eyes of Hermione Granger, she said, "The report says that the population of the wizarding folk in Great Britain has dropped below the viability level."
"What's a viability level?" Ron spoke up. His blue eyes wide. He had stopped stuffing his face with Molly's delicious breakfast sausage and was looking at his sister with undisguised curiosity. The great battle has left its mark on everyone gathered. Ron Weasley had become more thoughtful and capable of putting his food down before speaking..
Hermione frowned as she replied to his question, "It means that the population can no longer sustain itself because there aren't enough of us left." Hermione had come out of the war with a harder edge. She was still the brightest witch of the age, but she had become a bit more jaded with her regard for her fellow witches and wizards.
She was still the same old Hermione, just a bit more suspicious. Every time she happened to glance at the scar on her forearm, she was once again reminded of the sorry nature of people in general.
Harry Potter's green eyes widened, "What's going to happen?" The young man had come out of the war with a great sense of relief... and a wee bit clingy. He'd latched onto Ginny and wasn't about to let go. Even if it did tend to smother the feisty red head.
Frowning, Ginny stared at the paper, "It already has. They passed the law. We now have thirty days to get married or the ministry will start doing the matching."
Molly grasped her husband's hand, "How will they do the matching?"
"With the sorting hat."
"Who are they bloody kidding?" Rolanda Hooch snorted as she took a large swig of her breakfast tea. She was staring at the headlines in The Daily Prophet.
Filius Flitwick looked over at the stewing flying teacher, "What's got you so riled up?" His squeaky voice causing the slightly hung over Hooch to wince.
"The Wizengamot passed that stupid marriage law!"
The diminutive charms professor cocked his head, "Why get upset? You're already married." He was referring to Hooch's wife of ten years, the lovely Henrietta Proudfoot. Or as Rolanda referred to her... Henny.
Shaking her head, the yellow eyed witch replied, "I wasn't referring to myself. In case you haven't noticed, there are several professors here who are still single."
It was at that moment that one of the more prominent and very single professors chose that moment to enter the staff lounge.
With all the grace of her animagus self, Minerva McGonagall quietly entered the large room to find a number of her professors staring at her. Glancing down at herself, she asked, "Whut? Something showing?"
Grinning, Hooch replied, "Yeah... your marital status."
Mystified, the Headmistress stared at her friend, "Whut?"
Tossing the paper across the table, Hooch answered, "Read on my friend. Read on." Knowing her friend as she did, Rolanda Hooch wisely stood and moved to vacate the room. Nudging Filius and Pomona, she motioned for them to leave as well.
It was a good thing too.
Moments after they'd closed the door, it burst open and angry flames of green and gold flickered and flamed in their wake. This was followed by an unearthly roar and a string of gaelic curse words.
The Headmistress of Hogwarts was not amused.
And so it came to pass that within the prescribed thirty days a mad mass of marriage mongers stormed the Ministry of Magic's Bureau of Marriage Licensing and Ceremonies.
Extra clerical staff had been added to accommodate the larger than normal crowd.
"Larger than normal crowd he says! It'll just be for a little while he says!" Percy Weasley grumbled as he gulped down another Red Centaur energy drink.
Another clerk glanced over at the disgruntled red head, "Shut it Percy! We have work to do." She eyed the empty Red Centaur can that he tossed in the bin, adding, "And stop drinking that crap! It'll make your knobblies shrink!"
Blue eyes widened as a hand crept down to cradle his precious family jewels. Seeing that they felt the same size, he sighed in relief and stepped back to his counter, "Next please!"
A lovely red blonde witch stepped to his window. Large hazel eyes blinked in surprise, "Perc? What are you doing here?"
Penelope Clearwater was still as lovely as ever. Same shoulder length hair, same cute button nose, same smile. The only thing different was the skinny wizard standing by her side.
Percy frowned at the man who had the nerve to pursue his Penny.
"Never mind what I'm doing here, what are you doing with Stan Shunpike of all people?" The Weasley man was incensed.
Huffing her indignation, Penny replied, "You never called, you never owled me. What was I supposed to think?
"I did too!"
Shunpike wiped his nose on his sleeve and muttered, "Look red, me and Penns here are getting hitched so bugger off and get the papers!" He wrapped his arm around the young witch possessively.
"Unhand that woman you piss-ant! She is my witch!" Percy screamed as he jumped up on the counter.
The other clerks in the office stared at the short, red haired man. Yes, Percy Weasley had finally gone mad... or grown a pair.
Drawing his wand, Percy glared down at Shunpike, "I shall here-by fight for her hand you villainous ruffian!"
Stan Shunpike might've been a little slow on the uptake, but he knew when to play his cards and when to fold. Or in this case run screaming for the door.
Penelope Clearwater stood in front of Percy's counter with her mouth hanging open. Her former beau stood above her looking like an enraged pixie but... cute.
Crystal blue eyes fastened on widened hazel, "Penelope Clearwater! You are my witch and I love you! Marry me please?"
"Oh yes! Oh yes! Oh yes!"
Standing in the queue, Harry Potter stared at Ginny Weasley, "Wow. Some family I'm marrying in to."
Blue eyes twinkled as the young woman replied, "You have no idea."
Behind them, Lavender Brown batted her eyelashes at Ron Weasley, "Oh Won-Won I had no idea the Weasley men were so... passionate!"
In the following days, several hundred couples were hastily wed. That did not mean that there wasn't plenty of eligible wizards and witches remaining...
Kingsley Shacklebolt timidly knocked on the great oak doors that led to the office of the Head of Hogwarts. He broke out in goosebumps upon hearing the Headmistress' command.
Pulling as much dignity as he could into himself, the Minister of Magic entered the office of one Minerva McGonagall.
Hearing the door open, the fierce witch lowered her quill to the desk and fastened her emerald gaze on her visitor. Seeing who it was, she screeched, "You!"
The large, dark skinned man jumped.
"You dare to come here? After what you did?"
Dark brown eyes widened innocently, "What did I do?"
Emerald eyes narrowed to slits, "You are responsible for this God forsaken law!"
Putting on his best puppy dog face, he pleaded, "Minerva... you know how it is."
"Don't Minerva me you over grown Gob-shite!"
Several quills leapt from the desk and soared through the air on a direct course for the Minister of Magic's forehead.
"Ow! Ow! Dammit Minerva! Ow!"
Reaching into the inner pocket of his robe, he pulled out the viability study that the department of mysteries had conducted the previous year. Along with that was another independent study conducted by Merlin University. Both reports had reached the same dire conclusion and thus precipitated the new law.
Levitating the parchments to Minerva's desk he whimpered, "Read it for yourself. I had to do something!" He winced as he plucked a quill from between his frightened brown eyes.
Snorting, McGonagall sat down and picked up the documents. Her emerald eyes widened as she perused the results of both studies.
"Is this true?"
Nodding the large dark skinned man dabbed the blood and ink from his forehead, "We had to do something. The marriage law was the best we could come up with."
Minerva shook her head, "Could you not have made the parameters from the ages of seventeen to say seventy-six maybe?"
Shaking his head, the tall wizard replied, "That wouldn't have anything to do with the fact that you're seventy-seven does it?
Her only reply was a low growl.
Dark eyes twinkled a bit as Kingsley replied, "Sorry Min, but the age range of seventeen to one hundred seventeen still stands."
"Come on Min! It'll be ok."
He took a step closer to her desk and added, "There was a reason I came here by the way."
A quizzical eyebrow quirked and in a derisive tone, she replied, "Oh?"
Nodding, the big man replied, "I find myself in the same predicament as yourself. I need to find a wife. I asked Hermione Granger and she flat out refused."
Minerva grinned, "Good for her."
Kingsley scratched his head, "Yes well it looks like she's going to be one of the ones who gets matched by the hat." He pointed up to the shelf where the sorting hat was sitting, listening.
"And a good match she will be!" It chimed in with a cackle.
Ignoring the smart alecky piece of ancient haberdashery, Kingsley plunged on, "Well seeing as she is one of the two most powerful witches in Britain, I thought I'd ask her."
Minerva cocked her head, "Who is the other witch?"
Grinning, he answered, "You are."
The older witch immediately saw where the conversation was headed, "Oh hell no Kingsley Shacklebolt! Bugger off! I'll take my chances with the sorting hat."
As the Minister of Magic fled in fear, a certain smart alecky piece of head gear began to plot.
-to be continued