Disclaimer- I do not own Harry Potter or any IP relating to the franchise. Just playing.
A/N- Please don't expect speedy updates. I'm aiming for once a week but no promises.
Harry, sitting next to Hermione and reading the Daily Prophet's Marriage Law Proclamation with her, looked up at her, "I'm so glad I'm a half-blood and you're a muggleborn," he said.
"That feeling is mutual Harry," Hermione said before gently kissing him on the lips, "You realize that Ron is going to blow up."
"He usually does," Harry sighed. "Telling him we were dating led to him not speaking to us. Reckon he's still going to do that?"
"I just don't understand his problem," Hermione said. "What does he want from us?"
"Maybe he wants you," Harry suggested. "You're beautiful, you're funny, you're smart, you're a great kisser…"
Hermione blushed, "Harry!"
"And when you blush you look adorable," he grinned.
"At least there's no more Voldemort issue although that's probably why this law was created," Hermione said. The previous year, their fourth year at Hogwarts, Dumbledore had worked out that Mad-Eye Moody was an imposter. Snape and McGonagall had incapacitated their 'colleague' and then Dumbledore, Flitwick, and a large contingency of Aurors had taken the cup-portkey to Little Hangleton's graveyard. The creepy snake-baby that was Voldemort had been contained and sent through the veil of death, which served to permanently destroy him. This was verified when the Death Eaters fell clutching their arms. Their magic had vanished upon the death of their master since the dark marks had bound their magic to him which left the magical world without about 1/3 of the pureblood population since they were now all squibs.
Harry glanced around the Great Hall. There were a few upset people. Purebloods that were dating half-bloods or muggleborns seemed to be the most upset or their girlfriend/boyfriend was. He pitied anyone who was stuck with Crabbe and Goyle. Malfoy had calmed after his father became a squib. Apparently seeing what happened to followers of the Dark Lord had served to drive home that his father had been subservient to the dark lord. Not that Harry and Draco were friends; but the hostility had cooled to a rivalry and Harry no longer had to worry about wands pointed at him behind his back. "Malfoy doesn't look happy about it," Harry said.
"Harry I don't think anyone will be happy about this law," Hermione said, "except those of us who are free of its influence."
He nodded and kissed her, "Very happy about that," he mumbled. Just as he was about to kiss her again he suddenly pulled back, "What about Sirius?"
Hermione thought about it, "That will be a problem. Maybe he could get an exception? All those years in Azkaban haven't really prepared him for marriage. He's still mentally recovering from his time there. We could talk to Professor Dumbledore about it." Harry nodded his agreement before resuming his breakfast.
When Ron entered the Great Hall he was late and thus forced to sit down opposite Harry and Hermione. He glared at them, "Oh just go away and shag why don't you? Civilized people are eating here."
Hermione raised an eyebrow at Ron, "Harry and I are holding hands."
"Bloody perverts," he muttered.
Harry tossed him the paper, "There you go Ron. Enjoy getting married."
"Wha-" Ron's question was unanswered as Hermione and Harry stood and walked away. He looked down at the paper and read about the marriage law. He looked at his brothers who were whispering to each other, "What's this mean?"
"That we're off to find girls," Fred (or maybe it was George) answered before they got up and walked away. Ron looked at Neville who was shuffling off toward the Hufflepuff table. What was he up to?
Neville approached the shy redhead, "Um, uh, Susan?"
"Hi Neville," she smiled softly.
"Uh, well I read the law and I was thinking about it and I was wondering if maybe you'd like to…you know…maybe…willyoumarryme?"
"What?" Susan's brow furrowed in confusion.
"Will you marry me," Neville said slowly, enunciating each word carefully like Hermione had taught him to when he cast spells.
Susan blushed but nodded and Neville smiled before he looked to see Harry and Hermione watching them near the hall entrance. Harry gave him a thumbs up and Neville stood that much straighter. "So how do we tell the Ministry?" Susan asked.
"Oh, uh, I don't know," Neville frowned, "but I bet the professors might."
Albus Dumbledore sat behind his desk and watched Harry and Hermione enter his office. Since the final defeat of Voldemort and the freeing of Sirius Black Harry was much happier. It was quite noticeable and he felt rather guilty that he had been culpable in Harry's unhappiness up until that summer. But with the defeat of Voldemort Harry could live with Sirius and he did, Hermione visiting frequently that summer thanks to a reusable portkey that Albus had created for her.
Since Harry's freedom from the Dursleys Albus had felt quite guilty about the young man's living circumstances growing up; making it up to the lad was important to the headmaster. "Mr. Potter, Miss Granger, what can I do for you?"
"We saw the marriage law announcement and we're concerned about Sirius," Hermione said.
"He's not ready to date sir," Harry continued, "he's doing better, yes, but he's not ready to date or get married."
"I quite agree Mr. Potter," Albus said, "I presume you want me to use my influence to get Sirius to be exempt from this law?" Both teens nodded, "Very well then. I certainly think it the right thing to do. I shall take care of it. Have things improved with Mr. Ronald Weasley?"
"He told us we were disgusting and 'bloody perverts' for holding hands this morning," Harry sighed, "I don't know what his problem is sir."
Albus shook his head, "Young love can be rather baffling."
"Do you mean that he's in love with Hermione?" Harry asked. Hermione paled at the thought.
"No. I think that Mr. Weasley is jealous of the closeness the two of you share; a closeness he can never have with you Mr. Potter. Perhaps he's in part jealous of Harry as well; you have wealth, fame, and you're quite popular with the ladies."
"But I'm only with Hermione and she's the only one for me," Harry frowned.
"Yes but Mr. Weasley perhaps thought that you might leave the path clear for him to be with Miss Granger."
"He wants something you don't have but want, Harry," Hermione explained. Dumbledore nodded.
Harry didn't understand, "He already has that. Siblings and parents that love and care for him."
"Yes but Ron's very materialistic. Remember how he blew up at me when I reported the Firebolt to Professor McGonagall? Anyone watching would have thought the broomstick was his, not yours. My friendship wasn't as valuable to Ron as your broomstick."
Harry sat, thinking about their words. Suddenly he spoke, "Do you think Ron was friends with me just because I'm the 'Boy-Who-Lived'?"
Hermione looked up at Dumbledore, hoping he could answer that question because she didn't want to. Dumbledore nodded his head, "It is entirely plausible, Mr. Potter."
A heavy sigh escaped Harry and Hermione pulled him into a hug, "I'm sorry Harry."
"Not your fault. I know you have never looked at me as anything other than Harry," he said, returning the hug.
"We are cancelling classes for the day given this law's passing," Dumbledore said, "I daresay you should spend some time together. I will be quite busy today with paperwork," he sighed. "I will inform you both when Sirius is exempt from the law."
"Thank you sir," Harry said, helping Hermione up and leaving the office.
"So glad Angelina is a pureblood," Fred said, "Unfortunately for you Katie and Alicia are half-bloods."
Before George could say anything Fred was off to find Angelina, "Thoughtful, brother of mine. Leave me stuck."
He was walking through the hall when he saw Padma Patil surrounded by boys and not looking particularly happy about it, "Hey, lay off!" George made his way through, "What a bunch of berks. Come on I'll escort you to someplace where you can breathe."
"Thank you," Padma said, "Being a pureblood female is not fun today."
"I'm just glad Ginny's only fourteen," George said.
"You're George right?" Padma asked. He nodded and she smiled, "Is your twin as thrilled about this law as mine?"
"Well Fred told me, and I quote, 'So glad Angelina is a pureblood' before he ran off and ditched me."
"Parvati and I never really talk; we're too different. But she's elated and enjoying all the attention all the pureblood boys are giving her."
"Not you though," George observed, "I'm not happy about this law either. I mean, Fred and Angelina have been together since our fourth year. I'm happy his relationship isn't destroyed by this law but at the same time I'm a little annoyed that I have to do this on my own."
Padma nodded in understanding. "So what are you looking for in a girl?"
"Well she has to be smart," George said. "Patient and understanding, kind, happy to laugh, and she needs to understand how it's different being a twin." Suddenly George looked at Padma, "How about you?"
"Kind, funny, appreciative of me and my opinions, not judgmental and obviously he must be stunningly sexy," Padma grinned.
George puffed his chest out, "Why Ms. Patil you have described me perfectly! Especially the stunningly sexy part."
"I don't know I think Fred might be sexier," she teased.
George gave her his best kicked puppy dog face as he said, "And here I was thinking I was special." He scooped her up, "You must suffer for this wound to my ego! To the lake!"
He ran to the lake but didn't throw her in, "I'm pretty sure if I threw you in Hermione would kill me."
"Are you close to her?"
"She serves as the morality meter for our business. We were going to make love potions that we altered but she made it clear that was a dumb idea." George looked at Padma, "So what do you think? Should we try this whole marriage thing out?"
"Not much of a proposal there George."
"True but we don't really know each other very well, Padma. I know a bit about Parvati and no offense but I'm not a fan of her."
"I'm not either," Padma said. "Alright George. I'll marry you."
"Look at it this way," George said as they walked back up to the castle, "you could have ended up with someone worse."
"I'm not so sure about that," she said, nudging him playfully with her shoulder. George smirked. This could work.
Draco Malfoy took comfort in the fact that he and Pansy were already betrothed. She obviously did too. The pureblood boys were looking at every pureblood girl as though she was their last hope. Blaise had decided to pair up with Daphne. Goyle was talking to the girl the Ravenclaws called Loony Lovegood. Not unlike Granger, Lovegood had a fall birthday making her a year older or so than her other yearmates. There was a catch-22 to not being fifteen right now, he thought. While it bought you time it certainly didn't buy you many options. Girls like Luna Lovegood had more choices than someone like Ginny Weasley, whose birthday was in August just before the cutoff to go to Hogwarts.
Pansy put her paper to the side, "Draco let's go file for our marriage."
He stood and they made their way up to their head of house, Horace Slughorn. Snape's dark mark had rendered him a squib and he might have got out of going to Azkaban but he couldn't teach anymore.
Slughorn was annoying. You could see him drooling over Potter and more than once Draco had seen Granger's wand hand twitch, eager to hex the fame-hungry creep. He didn't blame her. Slughorn would be better named if his last name had leech in it. That was what he seemed to do. Leech onto anyone who was famous, knew someone who was, or who showed prowess and skill to try and earn their favor.
Luna Lovegood had not expected to have anyone ask her to marry them. She was, after all, 'Loony'. So when Gregory Goyle approached her and asked her to go for a walk with him she was surprised. He wasn't the gorilla he appeared, instead proving to be quiet and gentle. Even gentlemanly when he put his cloak over her shoulders when she shivered from the cold wind. When he asked why she was wearing two left shoes she confessed her housemates often stole her things and Greg became quite angry at this. "I'll deal with your bullies," he promised. After their walk he asked her to marry him and Luna accepted. Having a protector was a new experience but she quite liked it. And Greg had a sweet side.
Ron had to read the law three times to be sure that he'd read it properly. It wasn't like it would be hard to find a pureblood to marry. He looked around. There weren't all that many females left. He looked down the Gryffindor table, "Hey Lavender wanna marry me?"
"I'm a half-blood," Lavender said, "and not if you were the last man on Earth."
Ron frowned. Maybe this would be harder than he thought. How was he supposed to know who was a pureblood? Parvati was talking to Cormac McLaggen. Ron was better than Cormac, "Hey Parvati why be stuck with that slime when you could be with me?"
Parvati ignored Ron and he frowned as Cormac asked her to marry him and she accepted. Well Parvati was a bit of an airhead. Maybe she didn't see how slimy he was. He looked around the Great Hall. Alot of students had left, leaving very few remaining. There was no way he'd marry a Slytherin. Slimy bastards, the whole lot. Ravenclaws were too ruddy smart. He could barely stand Hermione Granger going on and on about classes and homework; he didn't want his wife to be like that or even worse. That left Gryffindor and Hufflepuff. Ron wasn't sure who to ask though. He remembered Susan Bones was the niece of Amelia Bones. They were purebloods. And she was pretty quiet. Perfect for his mum to approve of. He looked around for Susan only to find her talking to Neville. No one could have wanted Neville over Ron. That was impossible. Neville was…Neville.
Ron strutted over to the Hufflepuff table brimming with confidence, "Hey there Bones. I'll just go tell the professors we're a couple now."
The Neville who went down to breakfast that morning would have wilted under Ron's presence. But this Neville had the support of Harry Potter and Hermione Granger, his two heroes. He had the approval of Susan Bones, who accepted him as her future husband. And when he'd told his head of house about their engagement she'd given him an encouraging smile and said that his parents would have approved of his choice. This Neville was brimming with self-confidence and if there was one thing he'd learned from watching Hermione and Harry's relationship grow over the years it was their protectiveness of each other. "Back off Ron. Susan's my fiancée and we're getting married."
"Oh please no one wants you," Ron said before looking back at Susan. "Let's just go tell the professors then."
"I'm marrying Neville," Susan said, glaring at Ron who was oblivious to her.
When Ron put his hand on Susan's arm Neville stood, "Leave her alone Ron!"
"She's my fiancée and I can do what I want," Ron argued.
Neville couldn't take it anymore. He punched Ron in the face, knocking the redhead onto his arse, "You stupid prick! No wonder you're not friends with Hermione and Harry anymore. They're probably sick of your stupidity!"
Ron was holding his nose, which was bleeding down his robes. McGonagall came over, "Mr. Longbottom what is the meaning of this?"
"Weasley wouldn't listen when Susan told him she was already engaged to Neville. He put his hands on her and said she was now his fiancée and he could do what he wanted," Hannah said. McGonagall's ire turned to Ron who was dragged unceremoniously off of the floor and up to the hospital wing by a furious McGonagall. All the way there she ranted about him losing his Hogsmeade privileges and needing to learn to respect women.
With their day free Harry and Hermione went for a walk in the upper floors of the castle, hoping to avoid the students eagerly seeking mates so that they wouldn't be stuck with whoever the Ministry matched them with. "Can you imagine having a timetable to get to know the person you're going to marry?" Harry asked.
"No," she answered. "That's a great deal of pressure. But then, I think I'd rather make a quick decision that was still mine than let the Ministry choose for me."
"Agreed," Harry said. "I thought with Voldemort gone this would be normal year."
"I don't think there's such a thing at Hogwarts, Harry. Or in the magical world. I don't think they have a normal that doesn't involve an element of danger or distress."
"That's depressing," Harry mumbled, sliding his arm around her waist, "They're going to have to have married quarters for a section of the school."
"Not everyone though. I mean, all told I think we have ten to twelve purebloods in Gryffindor over the course of the seven yeargroups. If the other houses, save Slytherin, are the same then it shouldn't be too bad."
Harry smiled. That was his Hermione. Always thinking. "So if you had to marry someone tomorrow who would it be?"
"You of course," she pulled him to her, "you might not think so Mr. Potter but you're quite the catch and I'm quite in love with you."
Harry beamed at his girlfriend before leaning in to kiss her, "I've always thought that you were the most perfect girl in the whole school to date; just never really believed I was worthy of you."
"Well occasionally you can be an idiot but we'll work on that," she teased before pulling him to her by his shirt to kiss him.
Sirius Black looked at the headline and shook his head. "Stupid law," he mumbled. Then it hit him that he was a pureblood. Just as he was about to panic he got a letter. He opened it to read that Dumbledore was already speaking to the ministry about his case and that he would not have this law hanging over his head. Sirius sighed in relief before a thought came to him about who must have prompted this letter, "Kreacher do you think Harry would kill me if I sent flowers to Hermione?"
"No but Miss Hermione might," the elf answered.
Sirius chuckled. Harry was much like James: reckless, guided by his temper, a strong disregard for the rules, and while he wasn't a bad student he put minimal effort forward in his studies. Those very things had kept Lily from James for six years of their Hogwarts career with James trying very hard the last two to woo her to no avail. Hermione wasn't like Lily; she wasn't afraid to take Harry on or physically force him to study. She was far more full of fire and drive than Lily; Sirius liked that. He'd thought Lily and James were a good pair, certainly; but Hermione and Harry were a great pair. They instilled confidence in each other with a touch or a smile. Whereas James was bursting with ego and bravado Harry was far quieter and withdrawn. Paired with Hermione's lack of self-confidence they should have been a quiet couple that disappeared into the shadows.
Instead they were confident and, to Sirius' mind, not unlike a married couple in some ways. The way they communicated, the way they touched one another. Little touches that weren't the awkward heavy petting so often accompanying teenage romance. When Sirius had first met Hermione Granger, he'd been impressed with her courage, her passion for Harry, how protective she was of him, and how quick she was with both her wand and her brain. Not even Lily could put two and two together like Hermione could.
Harry had a new confidence once the pair became a couple. And it was a confidence that was obvious. He carried himself taller, was more protective of Hermione, and he was much more intent on schoolwork. His grades had improved greatly according to McGonagall. Sirius took being a godfather seriously this time (pun not intended) and was doing his best to be a good guardian for Harry. He spent time with the Granger parents and he and Harry went to the Granger home for dinner or the Grangers visited Grimmauld Place to have dinner that summer before the school year had begun again. Taking out parchment and quill he wrote a letter to Dumbledore and then one to Harry and Hermione.
George and Padma were sitting in a room off the Great Hall with Minerva McGonagall and Filius Flitwick who were filling out paperwork with them. The heads of houses were helping their students fill out the Ministry's wedding registration forms. "Do you two have any questions?"
Padma shook her head while George filled in his portion of the form. "When you're done you can give them to us and be on your way."
"Thank you for your help," Padma said. George nodded his head to her sentiments. The professors left and Padma sighed, "This is just ridiculous."
"Reckon I'm rather jealous of Harry and Hermione right now," George said. "They can be together and not worry about having to get married and do all these things."
"At least we'll have a few years before children are mandatory. I'm fifteen so that's five years before we have a child." George nodded in agreement.
Susan finished her letter to her parents before looking at Neville, "Do you think your grandmother will approve?"
"I think so. Though I'm a little nervous about getting married," he admitted.
"Me too Neville," Susan said quietly, "I've never had a boyfriend before and now I'll have a husband."
"I've never had a girlfriend either," he confessed, "but I'll try to be a good boyfriend and husband. I take all my cues from Harry and he's a good role model." Susan smiled. Neville did seem to admire Harry Potter but when she thought about how Harry treated Hermione she didn't think he could have a better role model.
Harry sat in a window, Hermione sitting between his legs with her back against his chest as they looked outside, "School is going to be so different now," she whispered.
"Yeah," Harry agreed. "I love you Hermione," he wrapped his arms around her and pulled her against him, "and if that law was made to apply to us but not permit us to be together, I'd do anything to make it so that we could still be together."
"You have the whole Boy-Who-Lived thing to use as political power, Harry," Hermione said, turning her head to look at him, "but thank you for that my love. I would do anything to make it so we could be together too."
Harry smiled and kissed her cheek as they lapsed into comfortable silence watching uncomfortable students form into couples on the grounds.