¬This is the edited version of the first chapter and the second chapter should follow shortly :)¬
Go easy on me, this is my first Fanfiction attempt ever, so I would appreciate constructive criticism and not just complete bashing if you wouldn't mind, but if you can't manage that I can take the bashing. Oh and any positive reviews will be loved and I will reply personally to every review, negative or positive. Extended Summary: Despite the fact that the wizarding world has steadily been rebuilding itself after the war, those who took part in the horrors of this wizarding war seem to be unable to handle everything that has happened. Hermione Granger, still the brightest witch of the age, has played a major part in keeping everyone else from completely breaking, but she is finding it harder and harder to remain strong. Despite this, she continues struggling alone, trying to piece her life back together bit by bit, after taking her NEWTs (passing with O on all 13 she took), she accepted a job in the Unspeakable department. She quickly become, well known for her hard work and dedication to the job. Then the unthinkable happens, the ministry passes the marriage law, and there is nothing anyone can do to stop them Can a broken Hermione, together with her husband, fix not only each other but the wizarding world? I will be sticking to pretty much everything but the epilogue of the seventh book, but I'm killing off Narcissa Malfoy for story-line purposes. The main couple featured in this story will be Lucius/Hermione, but it will also feature, Harry/Pansy, Draco/Ginny, Ron/Luna, Neville/Hannah abbot, and George/Angelina ~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~On with the story~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~
Hermione stood in front of her mirror, silently casting a modified version of a disillusion charm, to hide the dark purple bags under her eyes, pulling on a baggy sweater and a pair of blue jeans. Her mind wondered as she continued her morning routine, and once again she found herself thinking about everything that happened during the war. How every time she closed her eyes, she could see the bodies littering the ground around her, hear the screams ring out, smell the metallic scent of blood and she even when she opened them she couldn't forget.
Despite this, she knew that the second she arrived at the burrow, she would put on her brave face and continue to pretend everything was okay. Then like always, everyone one else would be too wrapped up in trying to hold themselves together to realize how broken she really was...
Her thoughts were interrupted, when the alarm in her bedroom went off, signifying that it was time for her to get out of bed. Unfortunately as usual, she had been awoken long before the alarm went off.
Hermione looked once more at her reflection, grabbing her wand, before she walked out of the bathroom and into her bedroom. She stopped in front of her nightstand and glanced at her alarm clock as it continued to ring. Finally reaching up and gently pressing the off button, silencing the alarm for the time being, hoping tomorrow she might actually need it.
She left her bedroom, making her way down the hall, and into her dark kitchen. Without turning on the light, she went over to the refrigerator and took out a bottle of water. She broke the seal with a resounding pop, leaning against the refrigerator door while she drank the contents of the bottle. *Only a few more hours to kill before the meeting at the burrow* She thought as she placed the half empty water bottle back into the refrigerator and continued to lean against the door deep in thought.
After sometime, Hermione found herself curled up on her couch reading a Hogwarts, A history for the billionth time. Like always she found that it too easy to lose herself in the pages and forget about everything that was troubling her. She might have sat there all day, had it not been for her infuriatingly accurate internal clock telling her it was time to leave for the borrow.
After reading the last page, she let out a small sigh, before grabbing her wand and apparating to outskirts of the burrow. When she landed, she had to take a second to collect herself for it some reason apparating was something she just couldn't get used to.
She had only taken a few steps, when she heard a loud pop from behind her, and without a second thought, she turned, shoving her wand into the throat of the person behind her.
Instead of the enemy she expected, she found herself looking in to the startled eyes of one George Weasley, "Oh My God, George I'm so sorry, y-y-you startled me" she stammered, as she put her wand into her pocket and fought back the embarrassing flush threatening to take over her face.
George just nodded and shrugged, giving her a smile that never reached his eyes "It's okay Hermione, I would be startled too it a bloke as good looking as me suddenly appeared behind me." he joked but it was a half-hearted attempt at best and she found it so depressing she almost wished he hadn't even tried. Yet she forced herself to smile and laugh, because it was so rare for George to even talk, let alone joke that when he did, everyone tried to laugh.
She gave another forced grin as George gestured to the house, and then started down the path to the burrow, leaving Hermione to try and catch up with his particularly long strides. At a petite size of 5'1, keeping up with George who towered over her at about 6'1, was extremely difficult, and she ended up practically jogging to keep up with him.
Finally the two of them reached the door, and Hermione quietly steeled herself for what lay beyond. After a second or two, George opened the door and immediately the two of them were greeted by Mrs. Weasleys rather large bosom as she pulled them into a tight embrace.
"Oh, I'm so glad to see you two, it's been so long, and I've missed you all dearly." Mrs. Weasley announced cheerfully, though you could see the sadness deep within her eyes, when she saw George without Fred at his side.
"Mrs. Weasley, I love you but you're suffocating me" Hermione managed to get out, as Molly continued to press her tightly into her chest, as though she was afraid that they would disappear if she let them go.
Finally, after what seemed like hours, Molly released them but not before reprimanding Hermione, "Please dear, call me Molly." Hermione replied with the usual, "Will do, Mrs. Weasley" She looked around, until her eyes came to rest on the table, apparently George and her were the last two to arrive.
"Hermione, thank god you're finally here, I was beginning to become overwhelmed by the sheer amount of testosterone in the room. I'm in dire need of some estrogen" Ginny called from her seat next to Harry, "Hurry, I managed to save you a seat but you never know when one of these gits might decide to steal it!"
Hermione let out a small laugh and maneuvered around the large table to take her seat next to Ginny, exchanging greeting with the other along the way. Despite her immeasurable love for those at the table, all the greetings felt half-hearted and everyone at the table seemed to lack all the spark they had before the war. Not that she was surprised, even after half a year; they were all struggling to come to terms with both the events during the war and everything that has happened as a result.
Hermione glanced around the table, and couldn't help the sadness that struck her, when her eyes settled on the empty seat next to George. Despite, what most might have thought, Hermione truly did love the twins, though she found their constant rule breaking annoying, they had a special place in her heart. She had always admired their ability to bring joy to those around them, no matter how dark the times, and to say that she had lost a piece of herself upon Fred's death simply couldn't do it justice.
She was shaken out of her thoughts when green flames shot out of the fire-place as Kingsley Shacklebolt, the new minister of magic, stepped into the living room and took a seat at the table, next to Mr. and Mrs. Weasley.
Though Hermione had been anticipating bad news, when she had first received the summons, she knew that she had failed to truly prepare herself when she saw Kingsleys face. He looked so tired, and for once he looked old, as though someone had come and taken away all the fight he had left
As he opened his mouth, Hermione started to prepare her for the worst but nothing could have prepared her for what happened next, as he solemnly declared, "Against my advice Wizengamot has recently passed a marriage law, which will be effective immediately, for all witches and wizards between the ages of sixteen and fifty five who are unmarried. Please, know I tried as hardest to stop this law from being passed, but I was severely outnumbered by those in favor of the law." Kingsley told the, seeming to grow older with every word, but he collected himself and continum solemnly on after a few seconds.
"I lost most of my supporters after the latest wizarding population survey came back and revealed that we lost almost half the wizarding population during or as a direct result of the war. I also came to extend my sincerest apologizes to you all and to let you know that I tried my hardest to stop this." For a mere second following Kingsley declaration there was silence, but after that the room was thrown into chaos, as everyone tried to voice their opinions at once.
"How can they do this to...?" "I absolutely refuse to even think about taking part in this barbaric law..." "This is ridiculous, after everything how could they?" "What if we don't like our future spo...?" "How will they choose who we belong to?" "This isn't fair; I'm already in love with..." "They can't do this to our children; I won't stand for this..." "Haven't we suffered enough at the hands of the ministry?" "There has to be something you can do Kingsley" "This is so not happening, do they think…"
Finally the chorus of voices came to an abrupt halt, when there was a small tap at the window; Mrs. Weasley quickly got up and opened it. The room was quickly flooded with Ministry owls, landing in front of everyone, waiting for them to take their parcels.
Everyone stared in, a range of emotions passing over all their faces. Most of them were still trying to wrap their minds around what they had just been told, were unable to truly grasp that the evidence of what they were trying so hard to deny was sitting right in front of them.
Hermione was the first to move, as she quietly took the letter from the owl's leg, her hands trembling as she broke the wax seal and pulled out the parchment. Her movements seemed to pull the others out of their trances, and they each slowly reached for their own letter.
Dear Hermione Granger, A new law has been passed by the Wizengamot, binding all eligible witches and wizards between the ages of sixteen and fifty-five to the bonds of marriage. This law was passed in order to repopulate the wizarding world, and also to aide in dispelling any lingering tensions between the remaining population of our world. We will be selecting you're husband or wife using various compatibility tests and spells, which should provide the name of the person you are best suited to. The next piece of parchment to arrive will contain the details of the law, and the name of your future betrothed. Sincerely, The ministry of Magic
Hermione looked up from the letter in her hands unable to mask the horror crossing her features; despite Kingsley warning, she found that reading the letter made what he said concrete, and undeniable. This honestly made things worse, because it's much easier to pretend that what someone says isn't true, when the evidence of his words isn't staring you in the face.
She glanced around the rest of the table, and found that one by one everyone looked up, with matching expressions of horror and shock.
Ginny stood up, anger quickly taking the forefront of her expression, and loudly declared, "I'm simply not going to stand for this, I'm leaving right this instant to go have a talk with those pretentious old bastards. I mean, who do they think they are? They pass this pathetic excuse for a law and expect us all to follow without any protest, but they feel as though none of them actually have to take part in it! Un-Fucking-Believable."
While Ginny went on her tirade, Hermione saw Harry place his hands over his face, and she could tell how worried he was that Ginny would be matched with someone aside from him. She also noticed that Ron seemed to have steam bellowing out of his ears, and she knew that if someone didn't say something he was going to blow a fuse.
With that Hermione made her decision, as Ginny started towards the fireplace, she leaned over and grasped her hand, amber eyes, dark with uncertainty and fear. "Ginny, I know that you know, that I completely agree with you and I would gladly join you but I also know that the only thing that would achieve, is getting the two of us in trouble and possibly resulting in a situation far worse than this, for all of us. So please, calm down, because after everything we have been through, the last thing we need is for things to get any worse than they already are."
Ginny froze mid-step and slowly turned around, clearly trying to fight back tears "But Hermione, what if we get paired with people we've never met or god forbid someone who fought on the other side of the war? If I can't fight this, then I don't know what to do...I don't think I could survive if I was matched with someone aside from Harry"
Hermione stood up and took Ginny into her arms, "I can't promise everything will be okay, but I can assure you that the likelihood of Harry and you not being matched is slim to none. So please, just take a deep breath and know that whatever happens we won't abandon you!" Hermione continued, as the red-head tried not to let anyone see her shoulder shaking or hear her pitiful attempt at silencing her tears, before she moved them back to the table.
The temporary silence was shattered when Ron jumped up, knocking his chair over in the process, his eyes alight and his ear almost blending in with his hair they were so red. It was clear his temper had finally taken over "I don't care what you say, Hermione! This is absolutely ridiculous; those bloody gits can't honestly think they are going to get away with this? Can they?" He screamed, as he wheeled around to face Kingsley "How in the name of Merlin could you have let this happen? They have no right to do this to us?" he ranted, spraying a fine mist of spit in Kingsley direction.
Hermione watched with growing irritation, as Ron continued to rant and rave as though he was the only one being forced into this by the ministry of magic. Let alone that unlike the rest of his brothers, who had the decency to look like they wanted to murder someone for hurting their sister, Ron was only concerned about him self...like usual.
"Ronald Bilius Weasley, you sit down and shut up this instant or I swear to Merlin I will hex you into oblivion." Hermione stated with a deadly edge to her voice, unsurprisingly Ron immediately shut-up, as everyone else stared at her in shock, unprepared for the fiery anger they saw in her eyes.
"Honestly, your ability to make everything about you, all the while completely ignoring the fact that everyone else is suffering just like you, never ceases to amaze me. You are without a doubt the most self-absorbed prick I know, how do you manage it? I mean you make Malfoy look like a bloody saint" Hermione finished, with a satisfied smirk, as Ron reluctantly sat down.
After Ron's verbal lashing, Ginny burst into the first sincere fit of laughter any of them had heard for quite some time. Apparently watching Ron get beat-down was something everyone found amusing, because after a few seconds she was joined by everyone at the table. Even Hermione herself eventually joined in, shortly followed by Ron, who figured it was safe to join in if Hermione did.
"Oh Merlin, Hermione, you have no idea how much I enjoy it when you ring my brother out" Ginny said in-between fits of laughter, though her eyes were still swollen from her earlier tears, they were now alight with laughter instead of dimmed by sadness.
Hermione replied with the first real smile to grace her lips since the final battle, glancing around the room, noticing that for the first time in a long time everyone at the table was smiling and laughing like they had before the war.
*Maybe there is a light at the end of the tunnel after all* She thought to herself, as she gave in once against to the laughter that came bubbling up in her chest, and allowed the warmth to fight away the heavy weight of all her sorrows.
After that, the group passed the time, trying as hard as they could to ignore the rising panic they felt, and pretending that they might all just wake up to find that this was all just a dream.
Finally after what seemed like years, owls came swooping through the window Molly had left open for them, and once again landed directly in front of the people at the table.
Hermione was truly petrified, because this piece of parchment would dictate the rest of her life. She reached out, trying to be brave for the others, despite the desire to run without ever looking back and took the parchment from the owl.
She opened it and she was greeted by the sight of beautiful writing that did nothing but fill her with dread.
Dear Hermione Granger, This letter contains the formal details of the Marriage law which will be put into effect immediately. Please read through each details of this law thoroughly because failure to comply with any of the following terms will result in the immediate stripping of memory, magic and expulsion from the wizarding world. The terms of Wizarding Law 20356 are as follows;
Section One: All witches and wizards are required to marry within a month, and they must be married by a member of the Ministry elected by the Ministry. Witches and Wizards will be married in the same way they have been for centuries, without any deviations, and as it has been for centuries, divorce is impossible. The Ministry's decision is final and anyone who tries to rebel against our decision will face the consequences without pity or care for title, powers or history.
Section two: To ensure fertility, every witch and wizard will be tested vigorously to ensure that they are fertile, before the wedding takes place. Should both the witch and wizard be proven fertile, they will have exactly 24 hours after the wedding to consummate the marriage. The ministry employ who dictates the wedding, will also place a spell on each witch and wizard to ensure that they go through the consummation process.
Section three: At anytime during the marriage a witch or wizard is found to be using any means contraceptives, whether muggle or magical, they will be sent to Azkaban for a minimum of six months. In order to ensure that this part of the law is followed, check-ups will be scheduled monthly, all witches and wizards will be tested to make sure that they complying. Though after the first child is born, these visits will cease, unless a witch or wizard has been accused of disobeying this law.
Section four: By the time of the marriage, all witches and wizards are expected to be living permanently with their spouses in a residence chosen during the month allotted them (whether it is purchased or chosen between their residencies). Spouses will be required to sleep in the same bed, be warned that a ministry employ can stop by unannounced at anytime to ensure that this is being done. Two warnings will be issued, if it is found that a witch or wizard is refusing to comply and if a third warning is issued, a minimum of six-months in Azkaban will be awarded. There is only one exception to this, if a witch becomes pregnant, she is allowed to sleep in her own bed, but only if she is uncomfortable sharing a bed with her spouse.
The ministry asks that all witches and wizards with whom this law applies, please follow the afore mentioned conditions because as the Ministry cares for each and every wizard under its rule. They would regret having to carry out any of the punishment mentioned above, though make no mistake, ANY failure to comply with this law will result in the harshest punishments, because the ministry believes in leading by example. Sincerely,
The ministry of Magic
P.S. The ministry wishes to congratulate all witches and wizards on their up and coming marriage.
She couldn't take it anymore, and she flung the first piece of paper to the ground. Then she stood up and began to pace, completely unaware that one by one every eye began to follow her "How dare they. How dare those ignorant gits think that they can get away with this!" Hermione stopped for a second as if trying to collect her thoughts, "Then they have the audacity to make it impossible for anyone to protest without being thrown into Azkaban or worse taken from the wizarding world all together! Kingsley, how is it possible for them to do this?" Hermione asked softly, suddenly all the anger was gone as quickly as it had come.
Hermione spun around and stared at the others, noticing how they too seemed to simply resign to their fates. *It's amazing how much the war has changed us...only months ago we would have fought this to the end, but now fighting is the last thing any of us truly wish to do again*
She slowly took her seat and stared at the others, letting one broken whisper escape her lips before she reached for the second piece of parchment "How could they do this to us? Have we not sacrificed everything to them? What more could they possibly take from us?"
She wasn't surprised when no one could give her an answer, so instead of waiting, she reached for the second parchment, once again her hands shaking so badly she could hardly read the words. She had tried to prepare herself for the worst but unfortunately, nothing could have prepared her, because sometimes nightmares just don't do reality justice.
Dear Hermione Granger, After numerous tests, we have determined that Lucius Malfoy is most suited for you. We hope that this letter finds you in good health, -Sincerely The Ministry of Magic
Hermione simply stared at the parchment, as it slowly slipped from her fingers, and she pushed back from the table so quickly that her chair fell to the floor with a resounding bang. She felt her chest constricting, as she lost the ability to breathe
Black spots danced around her vision, as her legs gave out underneath her and she collapsed to the floor. Memories of her torture in the Manor and the oppressive weight of the eyes that watched it all with a heavy silence seemed to attack her all at once. How could they allow her to be married to a death-eater, who had not only encouraged his son to verbally assault her at every turn but often times joined in. Let alone the same man who had attacked them all in the Ministry of Magic and witnessed her torture at the hands of his insane sister-in-law?
Slowly she became aware of the fact that someone had pulled her into their chest, rocking her softly while they rubbed her back reassuringly. "It's okay Hermione, we're here for you, just breathe" came Harry's soothing voice, "We will all get through this, I promise" he continued, and she felt herself steadily regaining her composition.
"I'm sorry" she choked out, when she had finally calmed herself down "I'm sure you're all in the same situation as me, but I just…" she stopped unable to continue.
She let Harry pull her up, and carefully guide her back into her chair, which someone had been kind enough to put back up for her. "Hermione, who are you supposed to marry?" Harry asked her softly, unsure if he truly wanted to know the answer to his own question.
"I've been given to Lucius Malfoy" she replied, though her voice broke pitifully as she spoke his name, all hints of her normal bravery seemed to vanish. "Not that it really matters, there's nothing I can do to change it" she said bitterly, cutting everyone off, as they had just begun to protest, and clearly leaving no opening for anyone to say anything more, "what about you guys?"
It seemed that everyone else had neglected to read their second letters, and one by one they all read their letters, a rainbow of emotions coloring the room.
"They've matched me to Draco Malfoy" Ginny cried, practically hysterical "but I'm in love with Harry, we're supposed to be together, don't they understand that?"
Mr. Weasley stood up suddenly, saying something for the first time, "How can they give you girls to these death eaters? We fought to keep you alive and now they are just handing you to the enemy with a bow and expecting us to be okay with it?" he seethed, looking at Kingsley, demanding answers silently.
Kingsley only looked away "Arthur, there was nothing I could do and the only thing protesting will get any of us is time in Azkaban or something far worse. Please, I beg of you, try to make the best of this situation because unless you want to suffer the consequences, you have no other choice"
Mr. Weasley let out a huge sigh, "Kingsley is there any chance of this being repealed?" he asked softly.
Kingsley only shook his head solemnly, unable to look Mr. Weasley in the face, even as he replied, "Please Kingsley, think of my two girls, don't let them be another casualty of a war that was supposed to be over many years ago"
Hermione couldn't help but feel a rush of love, when Mr. Weasley said his two girls. Despite the fact that she had no idea what happened to her real parents, she had another pair right here, who would give their lives for her in a second.
"Who are you paired with?" Ginny asked Harry, breaking the dark silence that had settled over the room after Mr. Weasleys outburst, anger and bitterness making her tone much sharper then she intended it to be.
"Pansy Parkinson" Harry replied, voice laden with sadness and resignation. The Ministry was taking him from the one person who could make the nightmares fade and replace them with the possibilities of the future.
"How could they think Pig-faced Pansy Parkinson is better for you then me?" Ginny asked, though it was clear she didn't want an answer. "We are meant for each other, we survived a war to be together, and how can they expect us to just forget we ever had anything?"
Hermione looked away, unable to take the sadness in her two best friend's eyes, because they had always been meant for each other. Their fate was far crueler then hers, for they had to surrender the love of their lives to the enemy or risk losing everything including the memories they have left of each other. How could fate be so cruel?
No one said anything for a few minutes, and a heavy silence settled over them all. As the others found it, harder and harder to pick-up the parchment in front of them. For fear that they too would suffer a fate as cruel as the first three.
Finally Ron and Luna simultaneously picked up the parchment in front of them, and their eyes connected after a few seconds.
"I'm paired with Ron" "I'm paired with Luna" The two cried at the same time, as huge grins broke out upon their faces, because you see, Ron and Luna had been "secretly" going out for the longest time.
*At least someone gets a happy ending* Though Hermione sadly, not that she wasn't truly happy for her friends, she just wished deep down that she had been paired with someone who loved her like Ron loved Luna.
"I'm sure that we'll have lots of watsharpted nargles at our wedding," Luna's dreamy voice floated through the room, as she looked at Ron from across the table.
Ron smiled fondly at Luna, "I'm sure we will Luna, I'm sure we will"
Everyone, including Hermione herself, spent a few moments enjoying the fact that two of her dearest friends, were going to marry who they loved, before the last two at the table opened their letters.
"Angelina Johnson, I got Angelina Johnson" George cried before apparating out of the room with no warning.
"Is that a good thing or a bad thing?" Ron asked the remaining members of the room, and no one replied, because all of them were just as confused as the others.
Finally Neville, the only one who had yet to look at the piece of parchment in front of him, picked it up and read it silently. As he read, a small smile appeared on his face, and you see him visibly relaxing "I got Hannah Abbot"
Everyone smiled and almost at once congratulated him, because everyone knew the two of them had been crushing on each other long before the war ever started.