AN: yes, I know the marriage fic thing has pretty much been done to death, but I thought I'd give it a try anyways... please bear with me, it's as unique as any of the others... it's kind of vaguely book compliant if you ignore the epilogue and you don't mind a sneaky resurrection or two... I have rated this fic M to cover later chapters...please respect the ratings system...
Disclaimer: Alas, I am not JKR, therefore I don't own anything you recognise, and I am definitely not making any money from this.
Summary: Never in a million years had Hermione expected her life to turn out this way. In the time it takes to read three words, Hermione' life is given a whole new set of rules. Good job she's a quick learner. HG/SS, marriage law fic, rated M for later chapters
Never in a million years had Hermione expected her life to turn out this way. She sat at the kitchen table staring at the letter Harry had written her, his handwriting slightly blotchy from his writing it and sending it so hurriedly. She was in trouble, big trouble. Finally, and with a heavy sigh, she pulled a blank piece of parchment towards her and wrote carefully,
I'm sorry, Harry,
I can't do what you ask of me. Thank you for your concern all the same.
Please give my love to Ginny and Lily,
The owl that had brought Harry's missive held out it's leg expectantly, it had clearly been told to wait for a reply. She attached it gently and opened the window for it to fly away, which it did immediately. Crossing the room once more she flicked the kettle on, a cup of tea would help her think.
Just as the kettle had boiled, and she was pouring the water into the cup, another owl swooped in through the open window. She took it reluctantly, and the owl, also having been told to wait for her reply settled itself onto the back of one of the pine chairs.
Harry has just written me regarding the situation we will soon be finding ourselves in. He tells me he has written to you as well. I agree with him as to his suggestion, it seems to be the best course of action, there are not many pureblood families left since the trials and most f those that are aren't exactly the kind of people you'd ant to spend the rest of your life with.
I know that I am not your equal in anyway, and that you hold no attraction for me, but I can offer you security, and freedom, and I will do my utmost to give you everything you desire.
Hoping this letter finds you well,
Hermione closed her eyes and groaned aloud. She needed time to think, and unfortunately, according to Harry, time was the one thing she didn't have. The law would be passed the next day, and anyone unmarried would be matched and paired off as the ministry saw fit.
She stirred a spoon of sugar into her tea. She knew Neville truly meant his promises, she also knew that he had always had something of a crush on her. It was, however, just as he himself said, they were not equal in, well, anything. Sure Neville had a big heart and was a lovely young man, but Hermione needed intelligence, a challenge, she needed someone she could spar with without worrying about hurting their feelings or having what she'd said be misunderstood. She needed someone who would give her peace and quiet whilst she worked, would respect her individuality. She needed someone she knew could look after themselves. Another sigh. Was she just being too picky? After all, Neville was also right that purebloods were very limited, and most of those had been part of Voldemort's regime. Perhaps she should just say yes and resign herself to the fates. She pulled another sheet of parchment towards her, she loaded the quill and addressed the letter, but then she stopped, she just couldn't make her hand move to write an acceptance of marriage to Neville, she just couldn't,
I thank you so much for your kind offer. I honestly believ that you will make a wonderful husband to some immensely lucky witch, but I regret that that witch cannot be me. I love you dearly, as I do Harry and Ron, and all the Weasley boys, as I would a brother.
Please forgive me,
A single tear rolled down her cheek as she attached the scroll to the leg of the waiting bird. It didn't really matter, her life was in the hands of the fates whether she had married Neville or not. She could only hope that the ministry were kind in their matching.
The next morning, Hermione woke to find a ministry owl tapping at her window. This is it, she told herself, the very end of my life as I know it. She took the scroll to the kitchen with her, leaving it, still sealed, on the table whilst she ate a leisurely breakfast, trying everything to belay the moment she would have to read the confirmation of what she already knew. Finally, the moment could be put off no longer. She took the scroll in shaking hands and broke the seal, feeling the pulse of magic, confirming to the ministry that she had received and read the scroll.
Dear Miss Granger,
I am writing to you this morning to announce the latest of improvements your new ministry is making to your magical community. We are currently working to draw witches and wizards of all blood status' together in order to eliminate discrimination, we are also working to improve the numbers of the populace, which, as you may be aware, has been in steady decline for many years, not aided by recent turbulent events.
In accordance with the above, we have, as of midnight this morning, begun to enforce a new law, this law shall hereafter be know as the Unity Law. This new law states that all Wizards or Witches of between the ages of 17 and 100 years are required to be engaged a suitable partner (see below for details as to acceptable partner choices) within one month of the date of this letter. are further required to complete the engagement with marriage and consummation within three months from the date of this letter.
Wizards and witches whom can prove that their parents and grandparent are all of magical stock (commonly known as Purebloods) are required to marry a partner who is of non magical (commonly known as Muggle) ancestry
Wizards and witches whom can prove that they have at least one parent or grandparent who was of Muggle ancestry (commonly known as Half-Bloods) are required to marry a partner of equal blood status to themselves or else of non magical (commonly known as Muggle) ancestry.
Wizards and witches whom can prove that their parents and grandparents are all of non-magical (commonly known as Muggle) ancestory (commonly known as Muggle Born) are required to marry a Partner of "pureblood" or "half blood" status (please note that in the event that more than one proposal is received, priority claim will be given to the suitor with the higher level of magical ancestry. For example, should a "pureblood" wizard and a "half blood" wizard both petition a "muggle born" witch, she will be obliged to accept the "pureblood" despite which order the proposals were made. Should two "half blood" wizards petition a "muggle Born" witch, the ministry will investigate how many "muggle" immediate relatives each wizard has and the witch will be obliged to marry the wizard with the least "muggle" relatives and therefore the nearest to ebing "pureblood".
As it is the ministry's wish that all of the magical community be as happy as possible in their marriages, much analysis of personality and intellect has been completed on your behalf by the ministry and a list of suitable matches will be arriving shortly. Pairings outside of this list will be ruled unacceptable by the ministry.
If you require further information or assistance, please do not hesitate to contact the myself or any of my colleagues.
Hoping You have a good day,
Department of Magical Union
Hermione took a deep steadying breath. Well, she didn't have anyone of Pureblood to petition for her, aside from Neville, and she would no sooner marry him than Horace Slughorn. All the Weasley boys were already married, and she was fairly certain that the few other purebloods she had known at school were also, that or they were currently spending a stretch in Azkaban. Harry hadn't told her that she wouldn't just be given a specific blood status to marry, but a list of actual names or people she was allowed to marry. For half a moment, Hermione wished she had accepted Neville after all. That is, until she reread the sentence about analysis or personality and intellect, at least who ever she was paried with would have something vaguely in common with her. Perhaps it wouldn't be so bad. There was nothing she could do anyway. She had cast aside her last lifeline of free will. She would just have to wait and see.
She didn't have to wait long. By 10am there was a green flash in her front room signalling that someone wished to contact her by floo. She spoke the password to allow them through and Harry stumbled out of her fireplace, closely followed by Ginny and Baby Lily (not that Baby Lily was truely a baby anymore, she was almost 2 years old.) Harry was holding a scroll with the ministry seal on it.
"I thought I'd better deliver these personally, 'Mione, you know, so we could be here to support you." Harry told her as he gave her a hug. Hermione just smiled her thanks and moved on to hug Ginny and take her god daughter into her arms.
"Come on into the kitchen," she invited them, adding quietly to Lily, "we'll see what Auntie Mione has in her biscuit tin, shall we?" the toddler squirmed in delight in her arms and gave a loud "ez peas!"
Soon they were all sat around her kitchen table, Lily covered in a sticky chocolaty mess from the half eaten kit-kat in her hand and the adults all holding steaming cups of tea.
"Open it, then!" said Ginny after about five minutes of companionable silence, bursting half with nerves and half with excitement. Hermione carefully broke the seal and once again felt that light shimmer of magic. To her surprise there was only one name on her list. She read it over and over again, just to make sure that her eyes were not playing tricks on her. No, there was no mistaking it. Without so much as a word, she pushed the scroll back across the table to harry, who picked it up and immediately had it snatched from him by Ginny.
"No way! Harry, there's got to be another way, she can't marry him! isn't there an appeal process or something? I thought this was meant to be a list of names; surely she must have other options! Harry, she can't marry him!" Harry raised his eyebrows and took the parchment gently back from his wife and read it for himself.
"I'm sorry, Mione, I guess you should have married Neville after all, though I completely understand why you wouldn't want to." He said gravely. Hermione, however, didn't hear him, she was busy compiling lists of all the possible reasons she could have been matched with Severus Snape, of all people.
Severus Snape had determinedly ignored the ministry owl that had been equally persistently rapping on the window of the study at his house at Spinners End. He wanted nothing to do with the ministry and their stupid ideas. He had continued to ignore it when a second owl had joined the first a couple of hours later. His book was interesting, his chair was comfortable, he had a steaming mug of coffee within easy reach and he saw no reason to let the dunderheads at the ministry interrupt his morning, no doubt they only wanted to ask him some impertinent question about his past, all over again.
He had survived the war just barely, mostly die to his downing pretty much every form of healing potion and antivenin in his personal (an extensive) stores just before they had arrived for the final battle. Beyond that Poppy Pomfrey had worked an outright miracle. Much to his (and everyone else's) surprise, mostly due to Minerva McGonagall and Dumbledore's portrait, the ministry had – reluctantly - cleared him of all charges, and given him an Order of Merlin, first class no less. Ironically he had craved an Order of Merlin since his school days, but now he had it, he found himself struggling to be anything other than indifferent. The medal itself currently resided at the bottom of his sock drawer.
Finally, Just as Severus had summoned to himself a sandwich for lunch, a third owl appeared, and this one was carrying more than just a letter, it had an enchantment that allowed it to fly directly through the window, causing it to spring open and therefore also admitting the other two owls. With a grunt and a scowl, Severus snatched the three scrolls each baring the ministry seal and veritably flung all three birds out of the now open window before slamming it shut and warding it strongly. The three letters he defiantly tossed into the fire. Bugger the ministry.
He returned his plate to the kitchen by hand rather than magic, feeling that he should leave his chair at some point today. He rinsed it beneath the tap and then set it on the side to be more thoroughly washed a little later. When he returned to his book, however, he found that the letters he had earlier burnt had glued themselves to the front of the book, and would not let him open said text until he had read them first. After attempting to remove them by every magical method he could think of, he resigned himself that he would indeed have to read whatever it was that the ministry seemed to think was so important. The first letter was notification of some law the ministry was now enforcing, utter garbage in his opinion it emitted a trace of magic when he broke the seal, obviously the ministry confirming that it had been read. The Second letter held only one name, that of the 'Golden Trio's brain, the know-it-all Hermione Granger. The third was a polite but forceful missive from the ministry informing him that they were aware he had not yet acknowledged their previous two letters and said letters were urgent so could he please do so.
His hand was half way to the fire again when the realisation hit him that the letters implied he was to marry His ex-student. He snatched them back, eyes wide with shock and horror, and scoured them for something he must have misread or misunderstood, then again, this time tracing every word looking for any exploitable loophole. There was absolutely no way he was marrying Hermione Bloody Know Everything In The World Ever Bloody Granger. "Oh, gods, no" he growled, suddenly feeling the need for a drink a lot stronger than coffee.
AN: hope you liked the opening chapter, sorry it's a bit short. This is my first proper fanfic, so please be gentle if you're going to critic it – though any suggestions for improvement are gratefully received. I will hopefully have the next chapter up in the next couple of weeks (real life permitting). Hugs and cookies, ForeverPandora.