Author's Note: This is pure fluff. Don't get me wrong…I love reading a good marriage law fic. I just can't help that thinking that after dealing with Voldemort that the inhabitants of JK Rowling's world might take matters into their own very capable hands if the Ministry were stupid enough to enact such a thing…
(As always, Ms. Rowling was responsible for bringing Harry Potter into the world…I just corrupt her characters for my own amusement.)
Two Professors and a Marriage Law
When Ministry Owls arrived in the Great Hall at breakfast with a letter for each and every student (and a goodly number of the teachers) at Hogwarts school of Witchcraft and Wizardry, an objective observer might have been surprised at the reaction of one Professor Hermione Granger.
She read the letter once with a shocked look on her face, then a second time with a look of sheer rage. Then the emotions were replaced by a calm, almost pleasant expression.
Professor Granger's reaction was unique amongst the inhabitants of Hogwarts. News of the so-called Marriage law and its requirements led to most of the school taking calming draughts…except for those lucky students and teachers that had access to firewhiskey.
Hermione ignored the general chaos and made her way to the library.
It didn't take her long to find the back issues of the Daily Prophet, and within the hour she had a fair idea of how this had happened.
Umbrage was like a cockroach. Hermione had no idea how the woman had wiggled her way out of charges after Harry defeated Voldemort, much less managed to get back into the position of Sr. Undersecretary to the Minister of Magic in the five years since the Battle of Hogwarts…but even with the Daily Prophet being obviously in the woman's pocket, there was a discernible pattern at the Ministry if one knew what to look for.
Hermione sent an owl to Arthur Weasley. The owl returned rather quickly.
I'm very glad to hear from you, although angered by the damnable circumstances. A friend suggested that I 'take the day off' today, so I am not at the Ministry at the moment, which I suppose is for the best.
Things have been very busy in the Ministry lately, and there have been some disturbing situations the past month or so…culminating with Kingsley catching a rare and highly contagious form of Hippogriff Pox three days ago, leaving the Ministry in the hands of Umbrage.
Worse, the Wizingmount is out of session and there aren't enough members left in the country to form an emergency assembly…most of them are attending a peace conference in Timbuktu.
The day that Kingsley took ill, I found Walter Wright (the head of the Auror office) singing a madrigal at the Undersecretary's door. A staff member assured me he'd simply been hexed, but now I think we must assume that Umbrage has stooped to the use of love potions.
Ron and Harry are still in Bulgaria with the Chudley Cannons, and Ginny and I have drugged Molly's tea so that my wife isn't carted off to Azkaban for murdering the Minister of Magic in broad daylight.
I'm contacting Order members as quickly as I can owl them. No one is forcing anyone to get married, we'll see to that.
Hermione snorted at the letter. The Ministry had gone so far as to assign each unmarried witch or wizard a mate. Like they were matching socks for Merlin's sake.
She folded her letters neatly and went down to the dungeon.
She had a very specific potion in mind, and it would take a little time to brew it.
Severus Snape wasn't surprised to find his colleague brewing. Since taking the post of Transfiguration Professor, she'd spent so much time in his dungeon that she had her own alcove. She was infusing the asphodel as he moved in behind her.
"That's too much asphodel, unless you're actually trying to poison her and make it look like an accident."
She didn't look up. "I haven't been paying close attention to matters at the Ministry lately; I didn't even know Umbrage still worked there."
Snape gave a single nod. "Kingsley assured me he had her firmly under control. He gave her the position eight or nine months ago when she managed to ram though an important piece of legislation. Her family is related to all the pureblood families and she knows how to work that to her advantage."
Hermione narrowed he eyes and made a show of infusing the amount she had measured…an amount that would send the drinker into a coma. He raised a brow. "Poison it is. If that's what you had in mind, I have quite a few deadly poisons already brewed in my stores."
She ignored his sarcasm (at least she assumed it was sarcasm…there was a slight chance that Snape was actually volunteering to help her assassinate the Minister of Magic).
"This won't kill her."
Her lips were thin as she decanted the potion into a vile and she added the stopper carefully.
She felt Severus' hand close around her own.
"As I'm certain that you've never refused to read anything that came into your petite little hands, you must have read the entire content of the letter."
Her face was serene. "I did."
Snape allowed some mild confusion he felt to leak out from his hyper-controlled mask. "Should we discuss it?"
She shrugged. "Not unless you want to. My course of action has nothing to do with your name being on my letter."
Severus smirked at her. "Good to know that the idea of marrying me didn't drive you to homicide."
She grinned. "I told you, this won't kill her. I haven't patented the thing because I really can't think of a good use for it, but I found that when you add an additional five grams of asphodel and three cherry stones to the mix, you get a new potion. Call it a hundred year sleeping draft."
She twirled the violet bottle in her fingers. "Admittedly, it might be better to kill her…I feel wretched for fobbing her off on future generations…but I'm hoping that someone will have perfected a personality enhancement solution by the time the old cow wakes up."
He looked deep into her eyes. Three years of teaching in the same halls had led to a certain inescapable intimacy. He knew the exact color of her eyes. They were the color of bourbon. Not whiskey, not caramel. Not chocolate. Bourbon. There was a coppery undertone in her eyes that set them apart from the norm.
"Are you really going to do this?"
She raised a brow. "What, stop an illegal takeover of the Ministry by an evil manipulative toad? Yeah, I thought I might."
Severus sighed. "Very well…"
The witch shot him an exasperated look. "I wasn't asking permission Severus."
He felt the corner of his lips turn up in response. "Neither was I. I'll meet you in the Great Hall in an hour. It may take some time to infiltrate the Ministry; I can't imagine that the new Minister has left security measures as slack as they have been in the last few years."
He didn't give her time to recover her voice as he padded out of the dungeon.
They were both in the Great Hall forty-five minutes later.
"Eager are we?"
She sniffed as he smirked. "Isn't that the pot calling the cauldron black?"
In a terribly old fashioned manner, he offered her his arm.
"My dear Professor Granger, would you care to accompany me?"
She took his arm and grinned up at him. "It would be my pleasure."
Later, in Severus's quarters…..
Hermione was laughing. "And the Draco Malfoy of all people shows up too…"
Severus snorted. "I'm not sure who was more shocked, him or Potter. And absolutely disgusted that they agreed enough on anything to work together…"
"The fact that every single member of the Weasley family showed up independently…" She sunk into another fit of laughter, egged on a bit by the fine glass of wine at her elbow.
"Oh the Weasleys were predictable, even the prat, Percy. No, I think the most surprising visitor to Umbrage's office was Luna Lovegood."
Hermione took a sip of wine. "I wonder what spell Luna was planning to use?"
Severus shook his head. "I sincerely hope she was planning to do something involving nargles."
The two of them had walked into the Ministry using a disillusionment charm and had flawlessly slipped the new Minister the potion in her tea. Their quiet, successful venture was almost immediately hampered by Fred and George Weasley sneaking into the office with determined looks on their faces and their wands ready for battle. Snape had stilled Hermione's words with a finger on her lips as the twins quickly discerned that someone had beaten them to the punch.
They grinned at each other, took matching swigs of a chameleon potion and left the office…but it was only moments later that Draco Malfoy and Harry had arrived…one using his cloak and the other a powerful disillusionment charm.
They quit calling each other names long enough to realize that someone had already taken care of the Minister of Magic. Hermione had trouble keeping a straight face at their obvious disappointment.
She and Professor Snape had been stuck in that office for six hours as a near constant parade of witches and wizards waltzed through security (the aurors were not happy about the marriage law) and ended up at the Minister's office. There were many faces that Hermione knew…Professor Sprout, Arabella Figg, Theodore Nott…and a good number she didn't recognize.
It seemed that there was one thing that the entire magical world (Pureblood, half-blood, Muggleborn, and Squib) could agree on…everyone wanted this law GONE. And seemingly everyone thought the best way to do that was to take Umbrage out. Hermione didn't want to think about the number of people who had walked into that office with the intent of killing the old bat.
Eventually she and Severus had slipped out, but not before seeing Mr. Filtch heading to the Minister's office as they left, with several boxes of chains and what appeared to be Weasley's Wizarding Wheezes in his hands.
Severus's laugh called her back to the present. "It's a good thing we hexed her door shut. I don't want to think of why Filtch had those handcuffs…."
Hermione nearly choked on her wine. "Ewww….I need to go wash my brain now." She stood up and stretched.
"Thank you for a lovely evening."
Severus stood up. "It was a lovely evening, wasn't it?"
A slight blush covered her cheeks.
"I would like to ask you something, but I don't want to offend you…"
Hermione took his arm as he escorted her back to her rooms.
"Ask away. If it offends me, I'll let you know."
"You didn't seem displeased to have me for your match, just upset that the Ministry was trying to force the issue…"
Her eyes widened, but her look turned impish quickly. "Well, if one were forced to wed for the strict purpose of breeding…a woman could do a lot worse…"
He chuckled lightly at her playful tone, but there was a gleam in his eye that was very, very intense.
"I watched you read your letter you know. I'd read mine, and my eyes went to you of course. You looked shocked, then enraged, and then the strangest expression I'd ever seen crossed your face…" He gave her a sardonic look. "It was calm. I assumed then that you had decided that no one was going to force you to marry a foul git…"
Hermione blushed. But truthfully, she'd been waiting for an opening like this for two years. She hadn't been in Gryffindor for nothing.
"I'm sorry. It was a fairly selfish thought, but the knowledge that I'd at least been paired with you rather than someone else eased my mind."
Snape stopped walking and pulled her slightly closer as they stood in the chilly corridor. "And why, my dear professor, would that set your mind at ease?" His face was unreadable, but there was nothing new about that.
He didn't let her finish that sentence, stopping her mouth with a kiss.
When they came up for air she raised a single brow.
"Why Severus Snape, what did I do to deserve that?"
He held her tightly, enjoying the warmth from her body. "Hmmm…well you must admit, it was somewhat overdue."
She snuggled closer to his chest. "Oh I will admit that. I'd given up hope that you'd ever notice that I am in fact, female."
Severus Snape brushed her lips again, enjoying the taste. "I am considered by all and sundry to be a rather clever man, my dear. I noticed that you were female almost immediately." There was a hint of a smile tugging at the corner of his mouth…and staring at his lips was distracting….
She pulled him out of the drafty hallway and into her rooms.
He splayed his hands around her waist.
"I was enraged when I read the letter, until I saw your name at the bottom. A feeling overcame me, and I suddenly realized that it was…joy. The thought of you, in my bed, as my wife, bearing my children…I nearly choked on the happiness it engineered inside me. Your expression, the lack of tears, the fact that you didn't hex me simply because it was my name on your letter…" He raised a brow. "Those things made me hope that perhaps you didn't see me just as a friend and colleague. After testing my hypothesis (i.e. kissing you silly in the hallway), I believe that you are not totally immune to me."
"I think that your hypothesis needs secondary verification Severus. After all, you wouldn't want anyone to say that you didn't test it thoroughly, correct?" She pulled him to her sofa, not that he put up much of a fight. "Well, if you insist Professor Granger, I will happily continue testing the limits of this…"