A/N: Many thanks to Muggle Jane and Krissy for looking this over. I hope you all enjoy this new story of mine! xx
Disclaimer: The characters and canon situations in the following story belong solely to JK Rowling, Scholastic and WB. I am not making any money from the publishing or writing of this story.
Hermione sat at the Gryffindor table eating her breakfast. It seemed like a regular Tuesday, with nothing too exciting happening apart from the usual lessons.
She had just celebrated her seventeenth birthday three days ago, and life was going rather well.
Looking across the table, she saw Ron stuffing his face as usual, and Harry sending secret glances towards Ginny.
A usual day.
She glanced up towards the Head table, and saw Professor Dumbledore and Professor McGonagall in a heated discussion. Furrowing her eyebrows, she decided to watch them. McGonagall's face had turned a bright red, which was a tell-tale sign that her head of house was furious about something. She wondered what was wrong.
A flutter of wings announced that the mail had arrived. Looking up, Hermione was surprised to see a tawny owl drop a red envelope in front of her.
"Who's that from?" Ron asked in-between mouthfuls of food.
Hermione shrugged. "I have no idea."
Harry eyed the letter suspiciously. Looking around, he saw a few other people had received the same red envelope as well.
Hermione tore the envelope open, unaware of the Headmaster's eyes on her.
Her eyebrows knitted together when she saw the Ministry of Magic heading.
What on earth could they possibly want?
Dear Hermione Granger,
It is our pleasure to announce that last night, the Marriage Act was passed by the Ministry. As you are now of age, you fall under this arrangement. The terms of the act are as follows:
1. Muggle-born males and females have an obligation to the wizarding community to marry on or following their seventeenth birthday.
2. Pureblood families may petition any Muggle-born individual, and must receive an answer in two weeks following the petition.
3. A Muggle-born may only deny a petition if he or she accepts another from a different Pureblood family.
4. If needed, the Muggle-born female of the marriage may be forced by their Pureblood partner to desist from all strenuous activity (e.g. schooling, work) in order to rear the children.
5. The marriage must be consummated weekly. To ensure this, a binding ritual is requested along with the marriage ceremony. If the couple fails to comply, they will be fined and assigned a ministry member to ensure that copulation takes place.
6. The use of contraception (both magical and Muggle) is forbidden, and use of such is punishable by the Wizengamot.
7. An heir must be produced within one year of the marriage.
8. Marriages are for life. The bond cannot be broken, except by death.
Failure to comply with any of the terms listed above will result in your wand being destroyed, and a life sentence in Azkaban.
Within the next few days, you will receive propositions from Pureblood men who would like your hand.
I wish you the best of luck, and hope to see you soon in order to select the date for your wedding.
Have a nice day!
Hermione felt her breath catch in her throat. No… No, this wasn't possible. She re-read the article twice.
Suddenly, someone screamed across the hall. Hermione turned to see one of the seventh year girls crying. She had received the letter, too.
Hermione looked down, reading the letter once more.
Anger began to rise up inside of her. "What the hell!" she exclaimed. "They can't possibly do this…"
"Hermione, what does it say?" Harry asked, looking at Hermione's worried appearance.
She threw the letter towards him, and then stood up. She ran out of the Hall before anyone could stop her. She could feel the hot tears pouring down her cheeks.
She ran towards the Astronomy Tower, climbing the stairs quickly. Once she had reached her destination, she collapsed into a heap on the floor.
She couldn't believe this was happening. She would have to marry someone! Her life would be over before it could even begin.
A sob escaped her lips as she clutched her head in her hands. Her life was over— done with. No doubt whomever she was forced to marry would make her quit school.
Quit school to raise children.
Bile rose up in her throat.
It wasn't fair.
Hermione stayed like that, sobbing uncontrollably for what seemed like an age. However, after a while, reality began to sink in.
This had Voldemort's handiwork written all over it.
What if she had to marry a Death Eater? Her stomach clenched at the thought. Merlin knows what would happen to her if that was the case. Torture… Rape…. She shuddered at the thought.
Merlin, what if she had to marry someone old? Her nose crinkled in disgust.
This wasn't what she wanted! What would her parents think? They would be horrified, just like Hermione was.
She knew there wasn't any way out of it, yet she couldn't bring herself to accept it. Denial was a nice place to be at the moment.
Hermione spent the rest of the day in the tower overlooking the grounds. For once, she didn't care that she was missing her lessons. She didn't want to be around anyone.
She could only imagine what Harry and Ron were thinking right now. No doubt they would be trying to figure out a way to get her out of this predicament.
Ron was probably angry with her, despite it not being her choice in the matter. Hermione knew he liked her, and this would only cause tension between them.
He was a Pureblood, but he wasn't of age yet. But even if he was, she couldn't bring herself to marry him. Ron was like her brother; she couldn't think of being intimate with him.
Hermione felt the blood drain from her face.
She had completely forgotten that aspect of the law! She would have to lose her virginity to someone she didn't love… quite possibly someone she didn't know.
Hermione had never felt more horrified in her life. She felt like a piece of cattle that was going to go to the highest bidder.
Hermione heard footsteps coming up the stairs. Turning, she saw Professor McGonagall. The older woman offered Hermione a look of sympathy. In a rare gesture, she opened her arms to Hermione.
Hermione rose to her feet and threw her arms around the Professor. She held onto her robes as the sobs wracked her body.
Professor McGonagall wrapped her arms around her star pupil. The two of them held onto each other, each lost in their own thoughts.