Hermione sat curled up on her couch, sipping a cup of hot coffee as she reflected the evening before. She and Ron had fought, again, and broke up… again. She sighed to herself. They really needed to just stick to being friends. They keep trying, and it just doesn't seem to work. After ten times, you would think they would have gotten the hint by now.
She glanced at the clock and saw that she had just a little over an hour before she had to be in the office. She relaxed against the couch, knowing it would take half that time to finish getting ready so there really wasn't a rush. Besides, she didn't feel like talking to Harry about what happened between her and Ron, as she was sure he went over there to vent to Harry and Ginny after their breakup.
She glanced out the window and saw that an owl was heading towards her building with this mornings post. The front window was charmed so that the owl can just fly through without having to open it, but it also kept out the elements and acted like a normal window as well. The owl flew in, a regular post barn owl, and dropped the mail on the coffee table in front of her. She thanked the owl absently as she reached for the mail and stood up to take her cup of coffee to the kitchen. The Daily Prophet was on top and the heading caught her eye. She set her mug on the small dining table as she opened the newspaper. She gasped, dropping the rest of her mail on the floor as she began to read:
NEW WIZARDING MARRIAGE LAW TO TAKE EFFECT!
After many meetings, and much debate, the Ministry of Magic has finally agreed to a new wizarding marriage law to take effect at the beginning of the year. Due to the tragic numbers of deaths of witches and wizards all over the world during the Wizarding War of 1998, the number of marriages and offspring has dwindled and there is a huge risk of decline to the wizarding population.
This law will affect witches and wizards who are between the ages of 25 - 35 and will be in effect for at least the next ten years. After ten years have passed the Ministry will reevaluate the wizarding population and will determine if the law will be revoked or reinstated for another ten years.
For those who are between the ages of 25 - 35, they will have six months to find a partner and get married. If they are unable to find someone themselves, they can fill out the Compatibility Assessment Forms (CAFs) and the Ministry will match them to someone with the most compatibility to ensure the best possible outcome. Once married, the couple will have one year to either become pregnant or produce an offspring. If they are unable to get pregnant on their own, they can get medical assistance to help the process, or they may choose this option from the beginning.
If after five years of marriage, and after successfully having at least one offspring, the couple does not wish to be married any longer, they may separate.
More detailed information will be available in personalized letters sent to all eligible witches and wizards for whom this law will affect-
Hermione finally tore her eyes away from the Daily Prophet and began looking around for the rest of her mail that she had dropped earlier. She scooped them up from the floor and flipped through them until she found one with a thick envelope with the Ministry's wax seal. With a shaky hand, she opened the letter.
Dear Miss Hermione Granger,
As you should be aware, the Ministry will be putting into effect a new Wizarding Marriage Law starting at the first of the year. This law will affect witches and wizards who are between the ages of 25-35, and since your 25th birthday has already passed on the 19th of September, this law does in fact apply to you.
Starting January 1st, you will have six months to find a spouse and get married. If you cannot find someone, or if you want to be matched up instead of finding someone yourself, please fill out the Compatibility Assessment Forms (CAFs) that are enclosed with this letter. We will match you with someone with the highest compatibility percentage to ensure the best possible outcome.
Once you or the Ministry have found a suitable partner, you will need to notify the new Wizarding Law Marriage Department of the date you will be married. Once married, your marriage certificate will be sent to this office for their records. You will then have one calendar year to either produce an offspring or become pregnant, whether it be natural or with medical help. If, at the end of five years, and you have successfully produced at least one offspring, you wish to terminate your marriage, you may do so.
If you wish to be in a same-sex marriage, that is perfectly acceptable. We will provide help for you and your partner on having a child together, whether it be finding a surrogate to carry your child or finding a sperm donor. The choice will be yours.
We thank you for your cooperation in this matter. With people like you, you will help the wizarding population succeed in the upcoming years.
Wizarding Law Marriage Department
Hermione read the letter twice, not wanting to believe what was transpiring. There had been rumors around the office of this happening, but she never believed it… never thought this would be possible.
Six months. She had six months to find someone and marry them… it seemed impossible. Especially with how busy she always was at work, she barely even had a social life as it was. She took out the rest of the papers inside in the envelope and started to read the information about the Compatibility Assessments when her fireplace chimed, letting her know of an incoming person coming through the floo network to her home. Within seconds, her fireplace roared to life and out stepped Ron Weasley. He looked around and spotted her, relief shown all over his face.
"Ron? What are you doing here?" she asked.
Ron walked quickly over to her and dropped to his knees.
"Hermione.. Hermione I'm so sorry. Please… please will you…" he fumbled around his pockets before producing a black, velvet box and opened it up. Inside was a ring… a simple gold band with a small diamond on top. Hermione's mouth dropped open in surprise and her eyes flitted between the ring and the Ron, unsure of what to say.
Ron cleared his throat though his voice still cracked as he asked, "Will you marry me?"