Disclaimer: I am not J.K. Rowling. I do not own Harry Potter.
The following piece was originally posted by me on another website, but I subsequently removed it since some of the members did not seem to speak English as a first language and indicated confusion over the word 'parody'.
This piece is a parody. It is based on the fanfiction concept of the Ministry of Magic issuing laws dictating the matrimonial status of members of the population.
This piece is a one-shot.
Rating: This piece is rated 'M' to be on the safe side on account of occasional use of strong language.
"What the 'crap'?"
Lily Evans, seventh year student at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry (and this school year's Head Girl, to boot) was pissed off. In fact she went well beyond pissed off – and to tell the truth, she didn't actually say the word 'crap' in the venting her displeasure at the news which the owl had brought her in the shape of an official Ministry letter, but used a considerably longer, pithier, much more colourful phrase, involving hippogriff excrement and the casting of aspersions upon the parentage of several Ministry officials.
This was not the sort of news which she wished to receive at the breakfast in the Great Hall (a repast slightly delayed by a serious snogging incident) upon the morn of Monday, January 30th, 1978, her eighteenth birthday.
She was going to have to get James in on this, and then they would both have to have a word with their head of house.
"There's nothing I can do about it, Miss Evans and Mr. Potter." a harassed looking Professor McGonagall said. "The headmaster made an announcement at the start of the school year, and I assembled the entire sixth and seventh forms in the Gryffindor common room the night after, to remind everyone what was coming, to answer any questions as best I could, and to offer what help I could with handling paperwork to those for whom it might be an issue if they so wished for it. You've had practically five months to register a plea with the Ministry for Miss Evans to be omitted – Merlin knows, with you being a pure-blood from an old family, Mr. Potter, they'd have practically fallen over themselves to be agreeable to you, had you made any kind of desire to 'lay claim' to Miss Evans officially apparent on appropriate documentation duly lodged with the Ministry."
"We were busy with other stuff, for the headmaster, that night." James said earnestly. "Important, official, head boy and girl stuff."
Lily couldn't help but flush a deep crimson at the memory; they'd been supposed to be busy with such things, but it had in fact turned into their first ever marathon snogging session, behind a bush in one of the school's greenhouses.
"Your friends were certainly there, Mr. Potter." Professor McGonagall commented in a biting tone. "I recollect Mr. Black making some highly indelicate remarks, which had half the females present tittering and three girls outright 'swooning', and he assured me sincerely at the end that he'd 'catch you up' on it."
"He may have meant to, but… oh bugger." James trailed off and frowned. "I thought he was joking about that. He certainly made it sound like one huge joke."
"As I explained, back in September, failure to file any paperwork at all with the Ministry by a pupil's eighteenth birthday is assumed by the Ministry to be the equivalent to legal consent by the pupil in question to participate in the whole ridiculous process. The headmaster and half of Slytherin house have been up in arms about it – and it takes a lot to bring Albus Dumbledore and the most fanatical members of traditionalist families together on an issue, I must say – but the Minster's convinced that this crazy scheme that this 'Umbridge' bureaucrat has cooked up is just what Wizarding Britain needs right now…"
"What can we do?" Lily asked.
"All I can advise, Miss Evans, is that you speak to the headmaster as soon as possible. There is an off-chance, if he can get to the Ministry before they draw a name for you, that he may be able to put in some last-minute appeal against the process in your particular case. He is not completely without influence in these troubled times."
As it turned out, Albus Dumbledore was thirty-seven minutes too late at the Ministry.
Given the circumstances, he considered it best not to make it known to Miss Evans and Mr. Potter that the portrait network (old gossips that they were) had reported to him that Miss Evans and Mr. Potter had delayed their arrival at breakfast, where a certain Ministry owl had been impatiently waiting for Miss Evans in the Great Hall, by at least three quarters of an hour that morning for the purpose of young Mr. Potter engaging in some heavy duty 'happy birthday' snogging, with Miss Evans. After all, even if Miss Evans had opened the letter three quarters of an hour earlier, it did not stand to reason that she and Mr. Potter would have reached Albus' office, to pant out a desperate explanation and request for assistance, three quarters of an hour sooner. Well probably not, at any rate.
And in any case, indicating the possibility that a snog may have cost her an escape from the lottery would definitely not engage him in Miss Evans' good graces, her headmaster suspected; especially not given whom the lottery had pulled out of the metaphorical hat for her…
As it was, he had considered it prudent to request at the Ministry that the news of the 'scion of an old family' who had been selected for her as her 'new long-term life partner' be delivered to Miss Evans by a squad of heavily protected aurors. Albus Dumbledore was under no illusions as to how Miss Evans was going to take that bit of news.
"…To who?" Lily demanded.
"To Morfin Gaunt, Miss Evans." Auror Alastor Moody replied. "Man was a nasty piece of work in his prime – sent to Azkaban for life for crimes against muggles – but has been a bit kooky and basically docile since being jailed. Between ourselves, I think that at some point somebody may have been a bit heavy-handed with some sort of mind-adjusting magic on him, and broken him a bit, but those in authority I've mentioned this to just tell me that I'm being overly paranoid, and the DMLE certainly never did anything like 'that' to him. Not that a denial like that doesn't mean they wouldn't have done, but you haven't heard me say that either, if you know what I mean?"
"No I don't." said Lily, torn for a moment between sheer outrage and confusion. She felt like hexing something to relieve her frustration, but this slightly crazy auror had relieved her of her wand a couple of minutes ago when she first tried to draw it, and he had then pinned her to the wall of the empty classroom in which this meeting was taking place with a combination of some sort of lifting spell and several expertly done sticking charms within moments. At this point, she was pretty much a captive audience.
"Quite right, that's the spirit, Miss Evans." the auror said, and he grinned at her. "So, the Ministry has set the date for your wedding to Mr. Gaunt and…"
"No." Lily said, her lip jutting dangerously. "Absolutely not."
"I don't think that you comprehend the seriousness of your situation in this, Miss Evans." the auror said, sternly. "The Ministry, in their desire to do away with blood-purity, have made the sentence for non-cooperation with the scheme imprisonment in Azkaban. Now under normal circumstances, Miss Evans, being sent to Azkaban would at least count as 'reasonable grounds' for your marriage not to go ahead, and someone else would be assigned to your 'intended', but since in this particular case your 'intended' is already in Azkaban, the Ministry would view your being sent there as no bar at all to the union taking place, since you would be able to spend all your time with him, as opposed to being limited to just regular visiting hours. Refusing to willingly cooperate will put you in Azkaban and the Ministry will marry you off to him anyway, under the Imperius Curse, if necessary. They're of the opinion that anyone taking a die-hard position against the legislation is some sort of blood-purist fanatic and probable Death-Eater-in-the-making, and we've been licensed to use Unforgiveables against Death Eaters, recently. Can't say that I'd privately agree with the latter, if given a choice; plenty of ways to flay a cat without resorting to magic like that, but that's not what's at issue here. What is at issue is that, unless you find a way to escape the country very quickly and disappear, you are going to marry Morfin Gaunt one way or another. By the way: did I mention that, under Ministry direction, I most regretfully applied a covert tracking charm to you, when we shook hands, just before this interview began? The Marriage Lottery office seemed to fancy that you might be a 'flight risk', for some reason, and they didn't want you to make them look like fools. If I were allowed the luxury of a private opinion – which as a devoted servant of the state, I of course do not – I speculate that I might consider them more than capable of making themselves look like fools without anyone else's aid, but that's all by the by…"
"Miss Evans appears not to have activated any of the three emergency portkeys with which I had discreetly equipped her." the headmaster said ten minutes later to Alastor Moody, as he and the auror met to discuss the 'Evans situation' privately in the headmaster's office. "You did tell her what the phrases were?"
"Of course not Albus. What do you think I am? A complete idiot?" The auror paused. "A meeting somewhere as unsecured as an empty Hogwarts classroom, practically anyone could have been watching. I did give her plenty of subtle clues, though, so that she could guess for herself. And since she was still there, at the end, I guess that she must have made her mind up to go through with it, no matter what protestations she was putting on for public show. A brave girl, that Gryffindor."
"Oh dear…" said the Hogwarts headmaster.
At three o' clock in the afternoon on June 21st, 1978, in a brief ceremony in Azkaban prison, Lily Evans became Mrs. Morfin Gaunt.
That evening James Potter and Sirius Black were brought in for questioning by Magical Law Enforcement on suspicion of having tried to make Mrs. Gaunt a widow in very short order by sending the groom a slice of ridiculously poisoned fruit cake. Both James and Sirius were able to prove to Magical Law Enforcement's satisfaction, however, their complete innocence in the matter.
In any case, the attempt to make Lily a widow had failed, since it had been an Azkaban guard who had 'confiscated' the cake sent to the prisoner and had eaten it, and the guard had not been unduly inconvenienced as the prison guards had plentiful bezoars and other poison antidotes on hand, since attempts to kill or incapacitate them by 'friends of prisoners' (although usually as part of a prison-break scheme) were not altogether unknown occurrences.
Meanwhile, in deference to the 'newly weds', Mr. and Mrs. Gaunt had been left together in a corner of Azkaban from which the dementors had been temporarily withdrawn.
I wanted to have a go at writing a 'marriage law' piece, but given the ridiculousness (as it seems) to me of the theme (although tragically in the real world a number of people are forced into marriages) I went with giving it a cartoonish treatment, intentionally over the top. There are a number of other pieces by other authors on this website who give marriage laws much more sinister and horrific treatments.
Obviously James could have married Lily himself in this piece if he hadn't been too distracted by other stuff.
And Albus did try to help Lily covertly (by offering her escape options (portkeys), which since he had made them would have got her out of Hogwarts), only he was much too covert about it, and relied on Alastor Moody. (And canon Albus does love to do 'clever' things secretly...)
I'm not sure that the 'Umbridge' in this piece could be the Dolores Umbridge of the original books (I think she might well be too young in 1978 to be in a prominent Ministry position), but it may well be another, trouble-making, relation.
Oh yes: that poisoned fruitcake. Who do we know in canon who might be good with poisons and who might object to Lily getting married to almost anyone?
This piece, as noted at the start, is a one-shot.
Update to notes (26th October, 2020: (clarification/reminder)
For those potentially confused by all those names beginning with 'M' in the Gaunt family of the original books, Marvolo Gaunt is the father of Merope Gaunt and of Morfin Gaunt. Merope and Morfin were brother and sister, which makes Morfin (the Gaunt who features in this piece) the uncle of Merope's son, one Tom Marvolo Riddle.