Harry, Hermione and Ron were seated at the Gryffindor table for their last year at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. In the past year they had successfully beaten Voldemort and now wanted to finish their education.
It wasn't essential, they would be guaranteed any job they wanted due to their celebrity status, but in reality they still wanted to be normal teenagers. Well, as normal as magical teenagers get. Harry was particularly glad to be back as it meant that he could spend all his time with Ginny.
However, there was one spanner in the works for the golden trio. The Marriage Law. It had been announced in August and they were to find out their future partners that evening. The law stated that all wizards and witches between the ages of 17 and 34 must marry by October the first and have had a child or be pregnant barring any exceptional circumstances by December the following year.
Everybody could cope with this part of the law but, there was no choice of partner and many of the students had NEWTS to take in the coming summer. How were they going to manage?
Professor McGonagall stood up at the owl lectern at the head of the Great Hall. After her normal welcoming speech, she added,
'Please will all 6th and 7th years remain behind.'
The nerves began to build as the other students filed out of the hall. Harry pulled Ginny to his side and kissed her head whilst Ron grabbed Hermione's hand underneath the table.
'Bloody hell, I hope we all get the right person', exclaimed Ron to nods from all those seated around them.
Professor McGonagall pointed to a stack of parchment behind her chair at the top table and flicked it out across the hall. Each student received their own piece of paper.
Nervously, Ginny opened hers as Harry watched. It was an enormous relief to see his own name on the paper – it felt better that when he knew Voldemort was truly dead! He kissed her passionately before they looked around to see how everyone else was faring.
Hermione was glued to Ron's lips so they assumed that this was good news. Ginny was surprised to see George standing behind her, scouring the crowd. They had pieces of paper in their hands as well and Ginny remembered that some people at Hogwarts must have been paired with old pupils. She couldn't imagine how that would work if you were living in different places and had to get married and have children.
'Hey, look Gin, I think George's been paired with Lavender!' Harry whispered in her ear. Ginny looked over to see George standing next to Lavender looking peeved. She swung her gaze around the room to see if she could spot Neville at all.
'Ohhhh,' she gasped. 'Look who Neville got. It's Pansy!'
Harry turned to look but was interrupted by Professor McGonagall shouting.
'Please will all couples line up at the main doors. We will be showing you your new quarters. Each couple will have their own rooms consisting of a sitting area and two bedrooms. One room for you and one for your children if they are born during your time here.'
Harry and Ginny ended up near the front of the line and were amazed as Professor McGonagall led them out of a door they had never seen before and into a courtyard that seemed to have appeared over the summer holidays.
'This is an extension to the original castle. Each side of the courtyard will house couples of different houses; we feel that as many pairing are mixed, there need not be any segregation any more. I will read the room numbers out now.'
Harry and Ginny were pleased to hear that their entire family were housed in the rooms from 42 to 44 so would all be in a line on the same corridor. As they headed over to the south side of the courtyard, they could see the others. George and Lavender were looking decidedly frosty towards each other, but they were surprised to see Neville and Pansy having a fairly energetic conversation. Ginny decided that they must have decided to make the best of a bad situation.
As they approached their number, they found that their door was a painting of a centaur that looked very like Firenze. He greeted them as they approached and told them their password for entry. The password was Fawkes. He swung open and they could see into their rooms.
The sitting area was decorated in red and gold, the Gryffindor colours and there were dark wooden chairs and table at each end of the room for them to work on. To the left was the smaller bedroom that has a crib and other baby accessories ready in it. It was painted a light green with white edging and white pained baby furniture. There was a bathroom next door and at the back of the flat was their bedroom. It had been painted a pale lilac with darker purple hints. In the centre of the room was a massive four poster bed with a bassinet at the base of it.
'This baby stuff is all freaking me out a bit, to be honest. I'm only seventeen and by next summer, I'll probably be a mother,' Ginny whispered Harry who nodded.
'Hey, don't worry Gin. You'll be a great mother and, if we really struggle we can always enlist your Mum's help. This is like all her dreams come true!' Ginny giggled in response to Harry very true reply and pulled him toward the bed with a glance.
'We'd better start on that challenge the Ministry has set us! We'll get married tomorrow and then there's nothing holding us back.'