Story: Act number 2715
Summary: Kingsley Shacklebolt is cornered in his office by three overbearing wizards. When they emerge, a change takes hold of the wizarding world – Act 2715. What is this act and why does it have Hermione spending so much time with Blaise Zabini? DMxHG!
Kingsley Shacklebolt shook his headfor what felt like the tenth time since the meeting he was in had begun. "No. Absolutely not. No!"
"Shacklebolt," the first wizard wheedled, and Kingsley turned from his desk, struggling to hide outrage and disdain for the idea these wizards were proposing.
The first wizard was the worst, Kingsley had decided instantly upon hearing them speak. He was the oldest, and he spoke with a slight wheeze to his voice, making him sound decrepit and doddery. An act, Kingsley had realised. The man was the leader of the group of three, and though he sounded easy going and even kindly, he pressed his advantage by cajoling and whining, before proceeding to finish his speech with a smug look and hard words.
"Shacklebolt," he said. "Our community has never been more in need of such a thing! Morale is low, families have been pulled apart… surely even you can see that this could benefit us? Restore us to peace?"
Kingsley gritted his teeth. The three men had scheduled this meeting under the pretence of helping to 'restore' the wizarding communities in England after the war, and as they were three of the oldest and most influential members of the wizengamot, he could not decline. They had, however, dropped the pretence quickly and proposed this outrageous, ridiculous law, which they had been 'discussing' for the better part of half an hour.
"I know that this idea would rip the remaining shreds of dignity that some of the populous have, to pieces. I fought in the war too," he reminded them. What he didn't say was that he had fought, yes, while they cowered in their seats at the wizengamot and gone along and passed all the laws that Pius Thicknesse asked them to. They were in no position to try and remind him of everything that had happened. "I faced this war, and from my experiences, there is no way, no way, that anyone would succumb to this easily, let alone like it! Our friends and our children will never heal if we do this."
The second wizard spoke up. "What the families feel now is expected," he acknowledged with a slight dip of his head. "But it is not the current population that we are concerned with. It is the future generations that we aim this at and that would be benefited by this. If it were enacted, this – this blunder, would never happen again."
"Blunder?" Kingsley asked, disbelief colouring his tone at the overly casual word.
"Perhaps not the wisest of word choices," spoke up the first wizard again, shooting his companion a look. "But surely you would not want such a thing occurring again?" He gave Kingsley a smile that sent another snap of frustration through the newly-instated Minister. "Surely you want what is best… and to think, if we did as proposed, there would be no reason for this... war, to happen again. There would be no divided bloodlines and no excuse for prejudice. Surely you want that, Shacklebolt?" he wheezed, coughing slightly.
Kingsley felt the trap closing in. Deny them, and make it look like he had no plans to guarantee a safe future for the wizarding world, to look as if he wanted to continue the backwards of thinking that many wizards and witches maintained… or succumb and face the hatred of the people. He resisted the urge to sink his face into his hands. Politics. He hated them. Kingsley had come in to this job knowing it would be difficult, that it would take a tough person who made tough decisions to have any hope of setting things to rights again. But this…
"We've prepared the matches," the second wizard cut in again.
Kingsley stared at him.
"Surely this is a bit premature," he objected, but was waved off.
"We have looked at each individual in question and selected the best person for their personality." The wizard rummaged in his satchel, producing a folder. He rifled through it for a few seconds before withdrawing a slip of parchment. "For example, to use a well-known personality… Hermione Granger and -"
"No!" Kingsley cried, forgetting his professionalism for a second. "Never. Hermione Granger will never have to be put through the torment of this, especially after what was done to her. Have you not seen the marks she bears from her ordeals? To put her in this situation…"
The wheezing wizard gave Kingsley a sly smile. "We realise that, ah, it may be difficult for Miss Granger to adjust to this situation, so we took special consideration and time when deciding her match. But she will be matched!" he said firmly, smiling. "Because, as we have been told time and time again by yourself and her interviews with the press, that she dislikes receiving special treatment. So we propose to treat her no differently." He finished, the smile playing around his lips.
Kingsley shook his head as the second wizard picked up again. "As for the other two, Mr Potter and Mr Weasley, only the latter has reason to be paired up, and so he shall. He was not a difficult pairing to make, not at all. Mr Potter, being of the blood status he is, will not need to."
"Although," mused the first wizard, "If we could make an example of him…"
Kingsley cut him off. "Absolutely not. If you wish to make rules like this, you will abide by them to the letter. I will not have this getting more out of hand than it already is." He drew breath. "As for the matter of Miss Granger and Mr Weasley, could you not pair them together?"
"No, that would obviously look staged," the first wizard coughed seemingly regretfully. "And we cannot have that."
Kingsley sank back into his chair, his mind awhirl. "Nothing is decided yet." He said, trying not to show his weariness. "This is all speculation…?"
The third wizard cleared his throat and spoke for the first time, causing the minister to look up. "The court of the wizengamot has voted." The man had a deep, gravelly voice that suggested power. He laid a slip of parchment on Kingsley's desk. "All 52 signatures. This law has been passed."
Kingsley's sense of despair settled over him like a wet blanket. "I see." As minister, he could not personally veto or overrule a pass of a law by the wizengamot, when all 52 members had signed. But they had gone behind his back to do this. When? And how had not been informed? He ought to have been told, as to make his case against it! This was barely legal and certainly against tradition! He felt furious.
"Here are the terms and conditions regarding the law." The wheezy wizard set another piece of parchment down in front of him, and Kingsley stared at it.
Act Number 2715 - Henceforth known as 'The Marriage law'
The conditions of such the act are as follows:
Every pure-blooded or muggleborn witch or wizard between the ages of 18 (or on completion of their schooling) and 21 will be matched with another witch or wizard.
In each match there will be one muggleborn and one pureblood.
Halfbloods are not required to be matched.
Upon being matched, each citizen will receive a letter detailing their match and a time for a scheduled appointment.
Each matched pair must appear at the appointment or face ministry court.
Each pair must move into an apartment or form of housing together with in the space of a month of the appointment.
While the pair must be in residence together, they may choose to reside privately or with others as long as both of the pair dwell in the same location.
The matched pair will have one year to live together before they must marry in order to develop a relationship between the two.
In the event that the pair are unhappy together and think there is extenuating circumstances, and no longer wish to be matched, they must file an application to have their engagement reviewed.
If one half of the pair finds another match that is of the same blood status as their first match, they may submit an application to the ministry to have their pairing reviewed, but only at the consent of both partners and only after the year of living together.
Failure to marry within one year and one month of moving in together will end with the couple being examined by the ministry and applicable consequences will be carried out.
Once married, the couple must stay together for life or until three children have been born.
Kingsley finished reading and looked up at the three wizards, before looking down again and re-reading. It all seemed suspiciously reasonable, he thought. If only the wizarding community would see it that way.
He pushed the paper away with a sigh, and gestured for the wizards to sit. "I suppose, if this is going to go ahead, we have a lot to talk about."