Ha! They thought they could shackle her with their stupid Marriage Law for the Promotion of Wizarding Wealthfare, but every law had a loophole, and Hermione had found hers: if she was already married before midnight, they couldn't marry her off to the first available wizard like a piece of meat at the butcher's.
All she needed was a wizard, which could have been a problem, but the good news was she only needed a name to fill the parchment, and the best part was they didn't even ask for proof whether that person existed or not! By the time they managed to prove he didn't , she would have that stupid law repealed and buried under a ton of dragon dung.
So… a made-up name. That wasn't her forte, as her poor alias she had given the one time the snatchers had caught her during the war proved, but she had a plan. Opening Hogwarts, A History, Hermione flipped the pages, stopped at a random page and pointed her finger at what would be her future made-up husband's first name: The.
Well, that wouldn't do. She tried again. Goblin. Urgh. No. Loos. No! Disembowelment. Oh, come on! Her favourite book had never let her down before, but it took her another twenty minutes to finally find an acceptable name: Stephen. She would just have to strive to forget her imaginary husband was named after a dark wizard's pet toad.
A glance at the clock determined she had more than enough time to find her husband's name… if she wasn't too picky. Starting anew, she lifted her finger to peek at the word hiding underneath: strange . Okay… Strange. Mr and Mrs Strange. Stephen Strange. Hermione Strange. She giggled. That wasn't half bad.
Scrawling the new name of the parchment, she watched in satisfaction as it glowed gold and vanished in a shower of sparks. Her marriage was filed at the Ministry. That was easy. She was now officially married and off the hook of their ridiculous marriage law until they could prove otherwise. Good luck with that! It was far easier proving some existed rather than that they didn't.
Across the ocean, days later, Wong tried to chase away an irate owl from the sanctum, without much luck.
"It's day, you silly bird! Go sleep up a tree or something!"
But the feathery menace dive-bombed Strange the second he stepped in the hall, dropping a parchment in his hand and poop on his boot.
"Wong? What did you do to the mailman?"
"That is not the mailman," Wong replied, and rolled his eyes at having to state the obvious.
"This letter begs to differ." His eyes scrolled down the thick parchment, then up at him. "According to this, I'm a newlywed! I'll just pop over and say hello and meet her, but I expect a wedding gift when I return."
Before Wong could ask if he was serious, Strange had opened a portal and vanished, but he had a glimpse of a pale woman with crazy hair and fluffy pajamas. So, after much consideration, he put on his Beyonce playlist and browsed online shops for a sturdy hairbrush.
Hermione's initial glee at outsmarting the bigots who somehow still ran the Wizarding World had worn off into unease, and then slight nervousness. With announcements of marriages popping up everywhere - the Daily Prophet had literally ceased to write about anything else - she became less and less certain that she was going to get away with inventing a husband to get out of this law. She had been so excited about the loophole that she had somehow convinced herself that she would fly under the radar, just so long as the Ministry didn't have her on the unmarried list anymore.
The morning the law went into effect she had woken up with a pit in her stomach that would not subside. When the day had passed without event, she had talked herself down enough to sleep that night. Then two more days had gone by, without so much as a peep from her friends.
Admittedly, Harry and Ginny had been married for years, and even though Ron's engagement to Lavender Brown had been announced just days after the Marriage Law had been proposed, Hermione knew he'd been working up the courage to propose for weeks beforehand. She was the only one of her friends who had shown no intentions of marrying, and they were all busy with work and lives and children. Their paths just didn't cross often enough.
The morning of the fourth day after the Marriage Law had gone into effect, Hermione had picked up her copy of the Prophet from the windowsill where the delivery owl had left it hours before. She hadn't even unfolded it until she'd had her morning coffee firmly in hand, and had settled in at the breakfast table in her tiny London flat.
And, lo and behold, her nerves had been right.
Hermione's heart sank as soon as she saw the headline.
And then someone opened a fiery portal in the middle of her living room.
"I understand congratulations are in order."
Hermione gaped openly at the dark-haired man who stepped through into her apartment. He was tall and lean, and moved with an odd grace that was somehow a combination of utter control and arrogant swagger. He wore a long blue tunic and breeches with a wide leather belt around his waist, and a red cloak around his shoulders that radiated power. His hair was distinctly grey at the temples, but if his fair-skinned face was any indication, he wasn't much older than she.
The portal snapped shut behind him, cutting off the view of an absolutely ancient, rather magnificent library. The intruder looked her up and down, his piercing blue eyes calculating.
In other circumstances, Hermione might have withered under that assessing gaze, but two shocks in a row had woken her up fully. She shot out of her chair, furious.
"I don't know who you are, but you have no right to just barge in-"
"Oh," he purred, clearly pleased with himself, "I think you'll find that, legally, I have every right to be here. I am your husband, after all."
Three shocks were simply too much. Hermione collapsed bonelessly into the chair again.
A/N: This is a continuation of Why the Wizarding World Needs Google by MagdaTheMagpie on AO3. She kindly let me take her charmingly hilarious 500-word chapter and run with it. She is AMAZING and you need to go read her stuff Right. Now.
The first two sections of Chapter 1 are entirely Magda's work. The rest of this chapter and what else is to come is all me, and she isn't to blame for any of it.