Snape. She couldn't believe it.
"I will never love you."
She stared at him in shock, her mouth hanging open unattractively as he strode from the room, robes flapping behind him. Those had been the only words he had spoken during the whole meeting. There was a part of her that couldn't blame him as she was sure he wasn't expecting to see her sitting there as his match, but that was really no reason to be so rude.
The Ministry official clearing his throat brought her attention back.
"You and your fiancé have to be married within the next thirty days. Good luck," he said, shooting her a look of pity before he also left the room. Great, just what she needed, pity from Ministry officials. She could only imagine the looks she was going to get when all the matches were released. Sighing loudly, she left the room thinking, not for the first time, that the Ministry was making a huge mistake.
"What do you mean, marriage law? That's ridiculous! You just can't force people to get married. This isn't the Dark Ages, for Merlin's sake."
"Calm down, Hermione. It's not that big of a deal. Besides, we'll probably be matched with each other anyway," Ron said, wriggling his eyebrows at her. She scoffed in disgust. Like she would actually want to be matched with him. Her eyes moved to Harry who looked equally as horrified as she felt, and she noticed he was trying to inch away from Ginny. However, no one else in the room seemed to think this was a bad idea.
"I would like to marry someone for love, Ronald. Not because a bunch of bumbling morons at the Ministry matched me with someone."
"Hermione's right. Isn't there anything we can do?" Harry asked, directing his question to Percy.
"I'm afraid not, Harry. It passed unanimously in the Wizengamot. There is no way to overturn it. If you don't follow the law, they will break your wand and exile you."
Hermione noticed Harry's eyes grew wide in shock at those words. She knew that there was no way he would ever leave the Wizarding world. Her heart sank because, while she knew she could survive in the Muggle world just fine, she didn't want to leave the one person that meant the world to her. She dropped her objections and listened dejectedly while Percy explained what would happen. The part where he described the first meeting of your match had her ears perking back up.
"You mean to tell me they aren't even going to tell us who our matches are before the meeting to discuss our plans? They can't even send out a letter or something? This is going to be a huge shock to most people; a little warning would be appreciated."
Percy nodded in agreement.
"I made that suggestion, but they were determined to conduct these meetings this way," he said.
"Of course they were," she muttered to herself. She supposed all she could do now was wait. And pray to Merlin that she wasn't matched with Ron.
As she walked down the halls that led to the public floos, they were packed with people. She recognized a majority of them from either Hogwarts or the Ministry, although there were a few she didn't know. It surprised her to see that most of them appeared to be happy, some even ecstatic. There was only a handful, herself included, that looked miserable. She stepped into the floo and called out for the Burrow.
The Burrow was packed with people. All the Weasleys were there, obviously, with their matched partners. In addition to them, Harry and Lee Jordan were in attendance, both with their matches. George was standing next to Angelina which didn't surprise her at all. Ginny was standing next to Draco Malfoy, both of them looking horrified by the other. Her eyes passed over two more Slytherins: Pansy, who was standing next to Ron (she had to giggle at that one), and Daphne, who was standing next to Harry. Her two friends looked somewhat happy with their matches.
Just as she was contemplating turning around and leaving, Harry spotted her.
"Hermione! Over here!"
She walked over to him and gave the group her congratulations. Daphne seemed pleased that she was being so pleasant, but Pansy just sneered at her. She didn't care though as she had bigger things to worry about.
"Attention! Attention please! According to the Ministry, all of you only have thirty days to fulfill the law by getting married. That is not a lot of time for planning. Let's start with dates, and then we can work our way from there," Mrs. Weasley said as her eyes spanned across the room. Unfortunately, her eyes seems to narrow on her, being the only person there without a match.
"Hermione, dear. Where's your match?"
"Um, well… I don't think he's coming, Mrs. Weasley."
"Nonsense. Who is he, dear? I'll just give him a floo call."
Knowing that all eyes in the room were currently fixed on her, she felt her face flush. Sighing, she said her match softly, not wanting to announce it to the entire room. She was hoping that no one had heard as she just wanted to delay the inevitable reaction for a while longer, but when she looked at Harry and saw the sadness in his eyes, she knew that he had.
"What was that, dear?"
"My match is Severus Snape."
Written for the Quidditch League Fanfiction Competition.
Prompt: Typical HP Trope: Marriage Law
Thanks to Rose and Dina for the look-over.