We thought the war was over when Harry Potter, the Chosen One, vanquished the Dark Lord. On the contrary, the war had only just begun…
The War had taken an immense toll on the British Wizarding World. Two-thirds of the population’s children had become fatherless and wives, without husbands. Many wizards had preferred that they, themselves, go into the battle instead of their wives and girlfriends. Other wizards were drawn in by the glory of battle while others still joined because they had nothing else to do. For whichever reason it was that the War enticed these wizards, a strong imbalance among the sexes now existed in the Wizarding world.
Witches were desperately searching for love or plainly marriage for the first few years after it ended. However, there was no men to be found. The shortage reached a boiling point when witches began to emigrate to other countries. In 2006, the Marriage Statutes were instituted as an extreme measure.
“For every wizard citizen or resident of age, including those previously married, there are to be three witches that he must marry and impregnate. He must choose one name from each of the three bowls presented to him at his match-maker appointment. The three bowls shall represent Purebloods, Half-bloods, and Muggleborns, respectively. No one can avoid this fate unless a witch or wizard is found to be physically incapable of producing a child. Wizards are to be given a government allotment for each child they sire that they cannot support.” Of course, some wizards abused this single boon. How the Ministry has money to compensate them, I neither know nor wish to know.
“Children are to be taken from their mothers at birth and given over to their sire.” That brings me to the cruellest point of all. Mothers are not allowed sustained contact with the children they have carried in their wombs for nine months. The ministry figured that this would lessen the burden that mothers would have but for most, it has had the opposite effect. Not a day goes by that I don’t think of my two children.
“These marriages are to last approximately a year and one day. Partners are to be reassigned the next day.” I have already been “married” once. Right before it happened, I had been engaged. We had been childhood sweethearts, he and I. He was usually boisterous when upset but he became quiet and withdrawn when the news came out. No words were heard from him as he looked down towards the hands in his lap, stricken.
The day before our individual doom, we had made promises to keep in contact. I knew it was ridiculous to even promise this but I needed some hope to cling to. Those hopes were dashed when I woke up the next morning to a friend’s insistent knocking. The news he told of brought me to the floor in sobs. My fiancé had decided that he wouldn’t live if he couldn’t be with me. I was broken. The light and joy in my heart had vanished. I, Hermione Granger, was alone.
An owl arrived two days later. During the previous day, all eligible men were required to stand in the line of their designated age group to retrieve the three names. I gasped as I read the name of my arranged husband.
“Dear Miss Granger,
It is my duty to inform you that you are to be married tomorrow to Mr Draco Abraxas Malfoy at approximately eleven o’clock in the morning. You are to report to Ministry Level 2, Room 420. Please be prompt. By reading this, you are compelled to be in attendance. If you do not report or are conspiring with others to evade your responsibility, you will be prosecuted.
Head of Marital Affairs Committee
Department of Magical Law Enforcement”
I told myself that it could have been worse. I could have been assigned a vile and grotesque man like Goyle. Not that Malfoy was any better. Although, he had helped us when we were brought to Malfoy Manor by the Snatchers. Surely, he couldn’t be that terrible. Yeah? I took deep calming breaths. I had a funeral to attend. Ron didn’t deserve any of this.
The Weasley family looked despondent when I arrived. Harry was sitting next to Ginny as he comforted her. My eyes landed on Mrs Weasley. She was inconsolable and reasonably so. Ron’s death had revived all the memories of Fred’s, a loss that was still fresh in all of our minds. Two of her boys had died before they had a chance to know marriage, children, and old age. I walked up to the faded woman and hugged her. I didn’t need to say the words that were on my tongue. Mrs Weasley understood. She had lost her youngest son and I had lost my love and best friend. If not for these new laws, he would have still been alive and I would have been her daughter-in-law.
Mr Weasley asked if I would not mind giving a speech before they lowered the casket. This would be the last time I had to say goodbye to Ron. As I walked to the podium, my legs trembled and I fell. Luna, of all people, helped me up. Slowly, she walked with me to the front. When Luna was sure that I was steady on my legs, she went to sit. I grasped the podium like a lifeline and stared into the crowd. Kingsley Shacklebolt was curiously absent. It was then that I realised that not only were they grieving for Ron, they were also grieving for their losses in the Second Blood War and for the future.
“I can’t begin to describe how I feel about his death nor about the laws that lead to this.” I began. “I can, however, describe how marvellous Ronald’s fleeting life was and how blessed I was to know him. I met Ronald on our first train trip to Hogwarts on the Hogwarts Express. He had a smudge on his nose, though I imagine he was happy I informed him of this.” They all laughed.
“We didn’t truly become friends until Halloween. Earlier that day, I locked myself up in Myrtle’s bathroom over a comment he said. Ron had said that I was a know-it-all and it was no wonder that I didn’t have any friends. His statement had hurt for two reasons: the fact that it was true and that he was the one to have said it. I had begun to fancy him the moment I laid eyes on him. That evening, a troll was smuggled into the building by Professor Quirrell, who was being possessed by Voldemort.” Many still flinched at the mention of the Dark Lord’s name.
“The troll found its way to Myrtle’s bathroom and cornered me. Harry had heard a rumour that I was in there and decided to come with Ron to save me. While the two scrambled to think of a way to rescue me, Ron remembered how I corrected him on the pronunciation of wingardium leviosa during our first Charms class. Well, he said it correctly this time as he levitated the troll’s club and knocked it unconscious. Our friendship was cemented thereafter as well as my feelings for him.
“I loved Ronald with all my heart. I don’t think I’ll ever feel that way again. I had so many dreams of our future- marriage, a home, children, and grandchildren. The list is endless. Ronald may be in that box but he will always be here to me.” I pointed to my heart and began to cry in earnest. This time, Ginny came to bring me to my seat. She too had tears in her eyes.
“That was great, Hermione. Ron would’ve appreciated that. He loved you so much.” she said gently.
“I know, Gin. Believe me, I know.”
I arrived with my belongings at my nuptial appointment ten minutes ahead of schedule. Despite this marriage being an utter sham, I decided to purchase a charming white two-piece suit. The other two girls were there as well. They didn’t bring their parents either. I think I’m lucky my parents are hardly on speaking terms with me. If they were, well, they would be outraged. I recognized one girl from school – Zoe Accrington. She was a year below above us. I did not know who the other girl was. Malfoy arrived within five minutes with both of his parents. His eyes bore a look of indifference… or was it resignation? His parents gave us a perfunctory nod. I suppose they thought themselves above this.
The marriage officer opened his door and welcomed us in. He wore a grey tweed suit with a black bowtie. The one remarkable thing about this gentleman was that he had an unusually prominent nose. Everything else about him was dull. Quite an odd thing to remember now that I think of it.
“Ah, Mr Malfoy, Ms Granger,” he quickly looked down at his parchment, “Ms Accrington, and Ms Cooden. My name is Mr Birchgrove and I shall act as your marriage officiator on this auspicious morning.” I guess it pays to be famous if someone actually knows your name but I digress.
“Now, shall we get to business?” We all numbly nodded our assent. “Right then.” he said as he rubbed his hands together before fetching some parchment. “Each of your marital contracts shall be created individually as Unbreakable Vows. There is a parchment that you all shall read from.” The other girls glanced nervously amongst ourselves.”
“Pardon me sir, but how will these vows protect us?” I asked.
“Good question, Ms Granger. These vows include wording that eliminates spousal abuse be it verbal, physical, or otherwise. Anymore questions?” No one else spoke. “Fantastic! Who shall be first? How about you, Ms Accrington?”
Zoe sighed and nodded. “I suppose so.”
“Absolutely fantastic. Here are both of your vows. You may take a gander at each other’s parchments to guarantee that they are in fact the very same.” Malfoy and Zoe did exactly that to their grim satisfaction until Malfoy’s father cleared his throat.
“All right, you may begin Mr Malfoy.”
“I do solemnly swear to protect Zoe Accrington while she is under my care for a year and a day. I swear not to neither harm Ms Accrington physically, verbally, emotionally, or mentally nor the child or children that she might bear me.”
“Good, good! Now you, Ms Accrington…” And so it went on.
It might have been only my imagination but when it was my turn for Malfoy to repeat the vows to me, it was different than with the other two. He uttered the words more softly and looked at me straight in the eye as he said them. Did he actually mean the words he was saying? Was our shared history something that united us? Dear reader, I nearly smiled despite having suffered at the hands of his relatives all those years ago.
When all was said and done, the Malfoy’s parents handed us slips of paper with an address written on it to apparated to. With a pop, I stood in front of the black gates of the large monstrosity called a home. The girls and I followed Malfoy’s example by walking straight through the gates, which he seemed to bypass as if he were a ghost. The very moment after we entered into the foyer a house elf appeared to take our suitcases. I was about to protest when Malfoy gave me a curt look that plainly said ‘no’. I obliged if only not to create a scene. We were then ushered into the dining room for dinner. None of us said a word throughout the entire affair. I cannot even recall what it was that I ate except for the seemingly fine quality of the food. It was in the middle of dessert that Mrs Malfoy finally spoke.
“Shortly hereafter, you will be shown to your rooms. You are given full permission to go about your business as you like. Ms Granger, you may research to your heart’s desire in our library, which Mags will show you after you are settled. However, the west wing is strictly off limits. Is that clear?”
“Yes, ma’am.” we chorused.
I found myself surprised that we were given free range to do as we pleased. This was so long as we minded our own business and did not touch things or enter places forbidden to us. I was even specifically given admittance to their library so that I could continue my research for the Department of Law Enforcement. Women were allowed to continue their regular jobs until the seventh month of pregnancy. Of course, I was thrilled when I discovered this. Who wouldn’t be? I saw this of a chance of gaining some normality, however little there might be in this circumstance. As I closed my eyes that night, I had the fleeting thought that this place might not be so terrible.
The next night, I heard a gentle knocking on my door. Sure enough, it was Malfoy. He was blushing madly as I welcomed him into my room.
“I, erm, suppose you wouldn’t mind getting this over with, would you?” I understood perfectly where he was coming from. I wanted to get this unseemly part done with as quickly as possible.
“Yes.” I stared at him a moment before my brain could fully process what was happening. This boy, no man that I had despised was coming to me for sex so that I could get pregnant. What an odd world we live in.
“Have you, you know… done it before?” he anxiously asked me.
“Yes. You?” Malfoy looked outraged.
“What kind of question is that? Of course, I have!”
“Oh, how stupid of me! Surely, I must automatically know all the details of your sex life! Really, what rubbish!” I snarled.
“Hush, now. Don’t want to wake the entire manor, do you?” he said while using that infamous smirk of his. I was about to retort when he pounced. He seemed to have a habit of silencing me.
His kiss was an odd mixture of gentleness and passion, if one could imagine that. Against my better judgement, I responded to his advances. Our hands began to roam each other’s bodies as we stripped each other of clothing. Before he entered me, he brushed a hair from my face and looked upon me with unexpected tenderness. It felt good to forget Ron’s death and really, the world. The two of us continued for what seemed like days until we both climaxed in what felt like a volcano eruption. I never knew it could be like that and with Malfoy to boot. We panted as we tried to regain our breath.
“I think we need to try that again sometime.” he rasped out. I promptly hit him square on the head with my pillow.
Six months had gone by and all three of us were pregnant. I felt peculiarly jealous that Draco had succeeded in impregnating Zoe and Lydia. I was on good terms with them but it was difficult not to feel jealous of the times they… fornicated with Draco. He assured me that he had sex with them just enough to make sure they were pregnant. Ever since then, he has spent every night in my bed or I in his. I don’t know how I let things get this far but I am clearly enjoying this too much. I sometimes feel guilty that I am pushing away my feelings for my fiancé who died within the year but at other times, I feel so fucking great.
I can discuss a whole range of things with Draco from literature to even religion. His racism and my former dislike of him prevented us from seeing how compatible we truly are. I don’t believe I have ever felt this strongly about anyone in my life. I think it will break my heart when I have to leave. I cry inside each time he lovingly pats my swollen stomach. I have sworn to myself to never let any of the other men touch me like he does. Harry thinks I’m delusional and is a bit hurt that I’ve moved on so quickly from Ron. I made him promise not to tell Ginny because that would really ruin things. She got landed with Blaise Zabini, who’s even worse than how Draco used to be, if that’s possible. Ginny would have blabbed to her family and ensured that they would never forgive me. I’ve already lost my parents. I can’t bear to lose another pair.
Lydia and Zoe both had had different reactions. Lydia mostly stared into space. Sadly, she looked like a worn ragdoll with her blonde hair lying limply besides her face and her expressionless eyes. Zoe, on the other hand, took to becoming feisty and argumentative. Every single day was a battle for her to overcome. She particularly felt resentful of the fact that she was supposed to give up something as sacred as a firstborn child. The one person who could understand how I felt is Hannah, who has fallen in love with Neville. I discovered this accidentally when I overheard her whispering to Neville in Flourish and Botts. I would have love to chat with her about this but that would require admitting that I’ve eavesdropped on her. Pity.
Draco told me on several occasions that he would find a way for us to be together. I’m not sure if he could. All I knew was that I would carry a pain so deep once this child was born and taken away from me.
I am currently writing this as a free woman. Draco has done exactly as he promised me. It turns out that he and Harry contrived a plan to have a rebellion at precisely midnight of the day the new assignments were to be doled out. There were plenty of wizards and witches who joined, including former Voldemort supporters. The hordes of people surrounding the Minister Kingsley at his home and demanded that he repeal the law. Surprisingly, no one was hurt. Many were astonised that such a tactic worked. Though, it might have also helped that there was a stipulation that nobody sue the Ministry.They hammered out a deal wherein all the mothers, if they chose to, would be able to take on their children. Wizards are still requiried to claim these children as their own and adhere to the mothers’ wishes as they figure out living arrangements.
As of five hours ago at ten o’clock in the morning, I became secretly engaged to Draco Malfoy. We (Draco, albeit begrudgingly) agreed to keep it secret for a year, so that the Weasleys wouldn’t be hurt. I’m not sorry that this whole mess brought Draco to me. Whenever I look into Scorpius’ grey eyes, I can only see the love that created his adorable little face.