Harry Potter and associated characters are not mine and only borrowed for this flight of fancy. Catch and Release rules apply. If they were mine the ending would have been different.

Spring 1993

Back in Hermione Granger's second year, one of the girls in fourth year Ravenclaw had mentioned a betrothal while in the library. Hermione nudged her way into the conversation by asking what a betrothal meant in the wizarding world. The pureblood Ravenclaw girl stared at Hermione for a moment before recalling that the frizzy haired Granger was a muggleborn witch and knew little about how true culture worked.

"Well, parents try to find the best matches for their children. Betrothals and marriage are a cutthroat business amongst purebloods for the past several decades. It was not just about who you married. It is about finding a good match and having good children." Hermione thanked the girl and left. She was not ready to think about marriage yet but she had learned a little about her new life in the magical world. People were scared and there were many things going wrong. The war with Grindlewald and the reign of Voldemort had done a lot of damage to the pureblood lines. The true targets had been half bloods and muggleborns but pureblood died on both sides of the conflict as well.

There were fewer children being born and some of the less predominant pureblood familes had looked into marrying half blood children to remain intact. Granted the children of a union would be considered 'pure' as they could claim magical back to grandparents and only a single non magical in the great grandparents was the most preferred when possible.

Hermione had merely filed away the information for many years before she needed it.

Summer 1998

Hermione was bored. She was not really interested in doing much since the battle at Hogwart's. She leafed through an old copy of the Daily Prophet she had saved for clipping to her scrapbook as she tried to recall why she had saved that particular issue. She found her answer on the Society page.

'With the confirmed death of Lord Black, the fate of House Black resides in his heir, Harry Potter.'

Ministry officials yesterday confirmed that Sirius Black was sent through the Veil at the Ministry two weeks ago. Gringotts Bank confirmed this and confirmed that Harry Potter, the boy who lived, was named as heir to the Black family. With no issue of his own and no other males holding the name of Black to succeed him, who who be the successor was a topic for discussion for many years.

Genealogists scrambled to confirm the reason why Harry Potter was named as heir instead of Draco Malfoy who was expected to be named. Records confirmed that Harry Potter is the grandson of Dorea Black; the youngest sister of Pollox Black. Mr. Potter is the second cousin to Sirius Black and therefore eligible to achieve the title.

With Mr. Potter now holding claim to two Ancient and Noble lines, marriage contracts and betrothal requests have flooded Gringotts and the question is simple. Who will land the Boy who Lived?

Hermione looked at the genealogy of House Black printed on the page showing the relationship between Sirius and Harry. She glanced up the lines and noticed many familiar names; Malfoy, LeStrange, Crabbe, Bulstrode, Flint, Prewett, Weasley, Longbottom, Potter. She looked closer and noticed that Sirius' parents had been second cousins. She made a face at that but continued reading.

The Society page listed announced betrothals for June and she again saw a number of familiar pureblood names. A random thought about 'inbred gits' crossed her mind before she paused. Her encyclopedia like mind recalled some other facts. Harry's uncle's sister raised and bred bulldogs and so she had looked that up at one point. Dog breeding had to be careful to avoid inbreeding or the bloodlines would suffer and eventually die out.

Ideas flashed across her mind and she had a hypothesis but needed data. She reached for her parchment and address book.

Three weeks later, she was looking at something amazing

Hermione Granger was known by many as the brightest witch of her age. Although she personally disputed it in public, privately she was touched and flattered at the praise. As she looked at the glowing letters and numbers floating in front of her face, some small part of her actually believed it.

Her first letter had been to Harry. She knew that he was planning on marrying Ginny eventually but she wanted to research something. It asked him to sign a release to Gringotts and have them send her a complete ten generational family tree of every person who had sent in a betrothal request for Harry. The purpose was listed as an independent review of genealogies based on personality and not simply bloodlines. It stressed he trusted the goblins and their financial and legal records. But as he would need to marry someone and raise multiple children to satisfy both Houses he was heir to, he wanted to be sure the families were of acceptable morals to him before even looking at betrothal requests. Harry had signed it immediately and Hermione got her information the following day.

Her second request had taken several days to get accomplished. She had known when she came up with this idea she had too much raw data to deal with on her own. She wrote a letter to the Technomancy Dept. of MITW (Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Wizardry) in the United States outlining her idea. A phone call came to her house the following day and lasted for nearly six hours as she discussed her plan with a graduate student. Two days after that she received a visit from a brown robed deliveryman who left a half dozen boxes labeled MITW

The boxes contained several pieces of equipment on loan to her from MITW with the codicil of her having to share her data and results for study and possible later publication. The magical computer, scanner and display globe looked like something out of 'Star Trek: The Next Generation' and worked nearly as well. The installed software would process any scanned item into databases and magically create displays based on what she wished to see.

Her third request had been to Madame Pince in the Hogwart's Library. She requested the final student ranking of all students for the last 300 years along with current students of all years. Madame Pince had come to expect strange requests of the Granger girl and had a house elf compile the list for her and send it off in a large crate.

It took Hermione a week of 12 hour days to scan all the information into the computer. Once it was all entered, she sent a computer copy of all the raw data back to MITW for them to play with. Finally she got to work using both the computer keyboard and the stylus wand attached to the display globe. She assembled the various family trees into a floating three dimensional visual display as she worked each of the more than 100 genealogies she had acquired. She was extremely glad this was technomancy based as creating this with technology alone would have been far beyond any programming skill she had and with magic alone it would have taken years to compile by hand. She deftly moved things around with the stylus wand to minimize line overlap and marriage line crossover. Females would move along the marriage line from their birth family to the one the married into. Magicals could ive for one hundred years with little problem but most had children early, usually in their early 20's so all of her data fit into the time frame she wanted.

In the end she got something that looked paired cylinders with several major family lines lingering along the edges and sitting between the cylinders. One looked much more tightly bound together than the other as intermarriage made them more closely blood related

Hermione noticed immediately that one cylinder contained a majority of 'light' families while the tighter one contained mainly 'dark' families. Strangely, a dozen or so lines including the Potter Weasley, and Longbottom lines ended up in the space between due to a number of marriages between remained but closer to the 'light' cylinder.

Next, Hermione began her formatting of the data. Blood status was a major concern among wizarding families so she used bold letters for pure bloods, underlined letters for halfbloods and italicized letters for muggleborn or squibs. The trees provided did not include family information for muggleborns prior to joining the magical world or for squibs that left. She was only concerned with those that had magical ability at this time but made a note to follow up at some point.

Next she worked on the family trees. She cross-linked marriages between family trees with another color code based on how far apart the relations were. More than 3rd cousins were linked by white lines, 2nd cousins by green, 1st cousins by yellow and siblings by red. Marriages that led to family trees she did not have were colored pink and a letter M.

She correlated all the magical names with their school ranking and assigned a color in the display for each level. Top 10 percent of each class ranking got gold letters, next silver, purple, red, orange, yellow, green, blue indigo, violet, and black as the bottom 10 percent. As an afterthought, she added Head Boy and Head Girl indicators to show a letter H along with the gold lettering for top 10 percent.

When she finally hit the key to display everything on the globe it was too packed to read. Grumbling, she hit F11 for Full Room mode and looked up amazed. She knew things were going badly for purebloods but the information she put together would scare a good many of them. Three centuries before you could see established lines entering into the view at the top. Good breeding told was something many purebloods would often say. Three centuries before it had. Most line had gold and silver names indicating they were the best and brightest of wizardkind. Large familes, magical children and only occasional broken links to other trees not known to her data. Light bred with light, dark bred with dark. The trees in the middle like Weasley, Longbottom and Potter had white marriage lines leading from gold and silver names in both cylinders. Those families married the best and brightest as well. She also noticed them middle trees also showed half bloods more often than the twin groupings. Occasional muggleborns in gold and silver also graces the light cylinder and middle areas.

As the view got lower to 200 years ago, things began to change. The Napoleonic Wars had been fought with magical involved as well. Young deaths of male children as they fought and died as muggle guns powerful enough of piercing shield charms were invented. Color began appearing more often in the names more often than gold and silver. Families got smaller as they had fewer children. Heir and a spare was her first thought. That along with have girls until you get an heir then stop. Lines for marriage went from white to green and occasional yellow. The cylinders got tighter at that point as few marriage lines ended toward missing trees. Fewer still reached out of the tightly packed group of 20 or so families. She could tell that lines she did not have were either dying out or deemed 'not good enough' to marry. Children were beginning to go unmarried or had marriages with no issue. Squibs began appearing as the 19th century came to a close.

The early 20th century brought more tightly bound marriages. The first red marriage line appeared among the listed lines, the Gaunt line leading to Riddle. More squibs began appearing. World War 1. World War 2 and Grindlewald. First rise of Voldemort. Names of Hogwart's ranking reached black for the first time in pureblood lines on the 'dark' side of things. Lines fading ot a single child. The few with multiple children had many cut off without issue. Black gone and none to carry the name ahead. Crabbe, Goyle, Bulstrode, Parkinson all having more squibs than magical in their lines the past three generations. If this war had not wiped out all the magical males, they would have died in another couple of generation on their own. Only Malfoy still shown in silver with a male heir.

The 'light' side was not much better early on. There more half bloods were joining into the lines. Muggleborns marrying in happened more often. Blood purity vanished on the 'light' side within the past 20 years as they had suffered most under Voldemort's attacks. Only halfbloods remained on that part of the chart.

But, she noticed a point there as well. The gold and silver she had noticed fading from that side was returning toward the bottom. Larger families like the Weasley's were happening more often after halfbloods and muggleborns were introduced.

The middle area was the most shocking of all. A few touches with the wand banished the main groupings and she left three remaining. Longbottom showed pueblood along most of its length. Occasional halfbloods entered in but they children were good enough to be considered 'pure'. Marriage lines in white with a single green several generations back from her friend Neville. Gold silver and purple showed high marks in Hogwart's.

The Weasley line was similar to the Longbottom. Just as pure, just as good on marriages. They did not quite do as well academically as Longbottom but the string of Weasley children on the last generation was telling; gold, silver, gold, purple and faded purple, green and finally gold once more. The latest generation of Weasley had done well in school for the most part. Ron was the aberration but still never fell below his grandparents in similar standing.

Potter was a glowing tree of gold and silver. Pureblood but as with Longbottom and Weasly had occasional halfbloods who made pure children until James had married Lily, a muggleborn. But the gold italics letters with H under her name and James' also said something that few others did. Potter took in the best and brightest. A few other times H appeared under a gold Potter name.

She followed the line down to Harry. Harry's name lit up in silver letters, underlined as half blood. With all he had accomplished, all the distractions year after year, still being that high in the class showed much about him as well.

She did not know how long she stared at it before turning to the keyboard and quickly typing. The solitary name Hermione Jane Granger appeared in midair. Italics, gold, a capital H that would have appeared under it missing since she had not gone to Hogwart's for seventh year floated before her face. She moved the name with the wand to sit between the trees of Potter and Weasley. Her eyes took in the names it hovered between.

Harry James Potter.

Ronald Bilious Weasley.

She loved both men but in different ways. Words of an American poet she read back in primary school danced across her thoughts.

'Two roads diverged in a yellow wood, And sorry I could not travel both …'

If only she could

She turned to the computer and saved her work before packing up the equipment to return it to MITW.

The poem is the opening lines of Robert Frost, 'The Road Not Taken'