Marriage Law Chapter 2

Hermione stood in front of a full length mirror frowning at what she saw. Her light cream colored wedding robes swished around her ankles. Lavender Brown stood behind her rubbing her arms as if chilled. The room was quite warm.

“I don’t know, Hermione,” said Lavender. “It’s creepy if you ask me.”

“He has just as much right as anyone to choose a bride,” said Hermione as she leaned towards the mirror and swabbed light blue eye shadow over her eyelids.

“You know precisely what she means,” said Parvati Patil sharply. “I don’t approve of this law and neither does she.”

“Nevertheless, the law exists.” Hermione rustled through a white leather makeup bag and pulled out her mascara. “I don’t intend to be a fugitive. Or have my memory modified to make me more compliant.”

Parvati shook her head, unable to come up with another answer. A soft knock came from the door.

“Come in,” Hermione called out. Professor McGonagall came through the door, followed by Ginny Weasley.

“Professor!” Hermione exclaimed. “This must be a first, I don’t recall you ever visiting us before,” she smiled.

“I’m glad to see you’re feeling well,” McGonagall said nervously, as if expecting Hermione to burst into hysterical sobbing at any second.

“I’m feeling fine,” Hermione said. “A little nervous, but altogether I feel fine.”

Ginny raised an eyebrow. She was dressed in pale blue robes and was holding a small cluster of pink and white wildflowers.

“I’m glad you’re going to be in the ceremony, Ginny,” said Hermione. “I know it was short notice.”

What she was really concerned with was whether Ginny wanted to be her friend anymore.

“Don’t worry about it,” Ginny said with a wave of her flowers. “What you should worry about is your dad.”

“My dad?” Hermione said questioningly. “My parents are here?”

“Of course,” McGonagall said. “The Ministry owled them about the betrothal as well notifying them when the ceremony would be.”

“He’s been yelling at Snape for about a half an hour now,” said Ginny giggling. “Snapes been trying to convince your dad he really was the best choice, but your dad isn’t going for it.”

Hermione rolled her eyes. “He let him get on a roll,” she sighed. “If you let him start he never lets up. You need to cut him off early before he gets into it.”

“For some reason he thinks Snapes been perving after you for the last 7 years and he’s furious,” Ginny said, eyebrows raised.

“I’ve got to stop this.” Hermione started out of the room.

“Nonsense,” McGonagall said steering her back to the mirror. “Dumbledore will break it up when he thinks it’s gone on too long.”

Hermione turned back to her makeup bag, although hesitantly. She pulled out tweezers and began shaping her eyebrows.

“Your things will be moved before the end of the ceremony,” McGonagall said quickly.

“Moved?” Hermione said quizzically. “To where?”

“Your new husbands quarters,” said McGonagall with a bitter look on her face. “You are married, of course.” She pulled her robes around herself tighter.

“Of course,” Hermione said hollowly. She didn’t know why the details had failed to elude her before. True, he was keeping her away from the Death Eaters, and apparently Mr. Ollivander, who she would never look at in the same way ever again, but he didn’t have to make this pleasant for her.

“It’s almost time for the ceremony, Hermione,” Ginny said quickly. “We should get going.”

Parvati lifted a lace veil out of a bag and pinned it to Hermiones soft curls.

“You’ll be fine,” Parvati said. “Don’t look so terrified. I’m sure he has some redeemable qualities.”

“Like what?” snapped Lavender.

“She can now bottle fame, brew glory-“ Ginny began. The Gryffindor girls giggled.

“Don’t tell me he’s still giving that inane speech.” McGonagall said sharply. She looked appalled.

“He gets better at flapping for emphasis every year,” said Hermione. “Maybe I can put a stop to that.”

“Good point,” said Lavender handing her a bouquet of white roses. “But you can stop it later; first you have to get the deed done.”

Hermione took a deep breath and looked at herself in the mirror. Her robes were tasteful. Pleated to make the back look fuller and cut a little long so she had a train. The veil was white and woven with gold threads to make it shimmer warmly. Her makeup made her face look blemish free and her cheeks were flushed with nervousness.

“I’m ready,” Hermione said, letting her breath out.

Ginny opened the door and the group of women walked down the staircase, descending to the Great Hall where Hermione’s betrothed waited for her.

&&

Hermione stood behind Ginny as soft music tinkled from the Great Hall. Ginny hugged her quickly before starting a slow march through the double doors.

Hermione’s father stood beside Hermione and took her arm. He stood slightly shorter than her, his silver hair shining in the candlelight.

“He’ll take care of you,” said her father gruffly. “From what I understand it was the best option. It was between him and Mundungus.”

Hermione stifled a laugh at the idea of being wed to a pile of rags. “I suppose so.”

“I’m sorry, kitten,” Hermione’s father said, trying not to get emotional. Hermione heard the strain in his voice.

“Dad, it’ll be alright,” Hermione hugged him; not knowing whether or not it would be alright at all.

Her father wiped his eyes hastily with a handkerchief and looked at her.

“You look beautiful,” he said straightening her veil.

“Thanks, dad.” She took his arm and they began the slow march up to the podium that had been moved to the front of the Great Hall.

The long tables had been moved to encircle the room where presents and food were stacked. The long benches were positioned to watch the ceremony.

“Amazing what people can do on such short notice,” Hermione whispered to her father, staring at the sea of heads, not really recognizing anyone. He chuckled at her.

She could see Snape as she approached the front of the hall. He was wearing a high collared shirt and black long coat. A burgundy ascot lay at his throat and a white flower was pinned to his coat. His raven hair was caught behind his neck with a white silk ribbon. Hermione couldn’t help but notice he actually looked a little handsome when he decided to put forth a little effort.

Hermione felt her cheeks burn and she stared at the long red carpet leading her to her betrothed. As her father put her hand in Snapes she felt her veins burn cold. Dumbledore chanted the binding spell that entwined them magically. Hermione heard herself recite the appropriate words at the right time and heard Dumbledore close the book, ending the ceremony.

Nothing prepared her for the feel of his lips on hers. They were warm. Not dry at all. The gentle pressure startled her and she jumped slightly.

Snape drew back and frowned slightly for a split second. Then he turned and took her arm. He stalked down the aisle, dragging her behind him. They left the Great Hall and he led her down to the dungeons.

“Aren’t we even going to eat?” Hermione asked.

“There is food in my quarters,” said Snape. “Didn’t you see who was present?”

“No,” said Hermione crossly. “I didn’t get to see much of anything.”

“There were several unsavory persons from the Ministry that I wouldn’t put past the idea of slipping potions into the food,” said Snape, frowning.

“Veritaserum?” Hermione asked as a portal behind a statue of a large stone fish opened.

“Possibly,” said Snape bitterly, stepping into his quarters. “If they felt particularly kind.”

A table was filled with platters and bowls of the food that was available downstairs.

“I wish I would have gotten to say good bye to my parents,” said Hermione, looking at the portal shrink closed.

“I know this may be difficult for you, Hermione,” he said slowly. “Your parents were told I would be taking you away right away. They were told to mingle for awhile, and then someone will bring them here. They have been told not to sample the food downstairs.”

“I hear my dad gave you a hard time.”

Snape snorted. “Nothing unexpected. I would do the same thing for my daughter,” he thought for a moment. “There would have been more fire, of course.”

Hermione stifled a giggle, though not very well. Snape looked at her sharply. It didn’t help.

“That was a really funny visual,” she said, trying to compose herself. She felt slightly hysterical. A corner of his mouth quirked for a split second before he scowled.

“Your quarters are in here,” said Snape, walking to a portrait of a sleeping black cat. He meowed at it and the picture stretched and rose. ”Emicoatus.”

The cat yawned and its mouth grew wider. So wide in fact, that it began to cover the canvas. “Is this supposed to happen?” Hermione asked Snape. He looked at her and nodded. He defiantly looked amused.

The wide grin began to stretch the stone frame and all the color turned grey. When it finally stopped, it had widened into an arched doorframe with two tiny points at the top.

“Who came up with this?” Hermione asked, amazed.

“Helga Hufflepuff,” said Snape, stiffly. “These were her original quarters. I’m still not sure I’ve found everything hidden in here. Apparently she had a fondness for charms.”

Hermione stepped in the doorway and blinked at her room. The deep burgundy and gold she was accustomed to was gone, replaced with a deep midnight blue and accented with silver trim.

“You’d think I was a Ravenclaw,” she remarked, frowning.

“We originally tried red, but the house elves complained they were seeing pink after spending any amount of time in here,” Snape said.

“I see,” said Hermione slowly.

“A particular house elf took it upon himself to make sure it was up to his specifications,” Snape said, quirking an ayabrow.

“Oh dear,” said Hermione wincing. “I hope he wasn’t too much trouble.”

“I daresay I wouldn’t have thought of as many details had he not been involved. It made an easier transition.” Snape pushed a panel on her wall and it opened into her bathroom.

Hermione had been looking at the king sized canopy bed. The frame was wrought iron with silver vines painted over it, twining up into the fabric. The comforter was velvet and such a deep blue it was almost black. It was very soft to the touch and Hermione suspected it was enchanted. Crookshanks was purring merrily in the center of it.

“Well, you’ve certainly made yourself at home,” Hermione remarked to him. Crookshanks yawned widely and pulled himself to his feet. A pool of long ginger hair remained where he was sleeping. Velvet. What was Dobby thinking?

Crookshanks padded over to her and butted her hand with his head. She stroked him for a few seconds and he flopped back on the comforter. “Lazy,” she accused.

Hermione turned back to Severus and he led her into a bathroom that looked as if it were carved from a single piece of stone. The ceiling was enchanted to look like the night sky, much like the Great Hall. The bathtub was a piece of hollowed out granite. Water poured from a small waterfall coming out of the wall. Small ferns and flowers grew in small pockets of earth set in the stone. Her bathroom things were arranged on stone shelves flanking a mirror above a carved stone sink. Celtic knot work flowed around the mirror and sink.

“This is incredible,” Hermione awed. “She took this much time to do a bathroom? Why aren’t you using it?”

“I don’t believe bathing should be an out of doors experience,” he sniffed imperiously. “I understand she took her bathing time seriously.”

“No kidding,” said Hermione looking at the openmouthed frog fixtures. A soft knock resounded from the main room.

“I think your parents are here,” Snape said, shivering. Hermione stifled a grin.

Snape walked to his receiving room and opened the door to his chambers. Dumbledore walked through the portal.

“Would you like some food, Headmaster?” Hermione said politely, wondering where her parents were.

“Yes, thank you,” said Dumbledore walking over to a tea service Hermione had not noticed on a cart near one wall. He poured himself a cup of tea and went to fill his plate from the assortment of food on the table. “Your parents will not be joining us, however,” Dumbledore looked at Hermione over the top of his gold wire-rimmed glasses.

“It seems your father was so nervous he forgot the warning to refrain from eating,” Dumbledore quickly glanced at Snape. He frowned.

“What happened?” Hermione paled.

“Nothing all that serious,” Dumbledore said with a wave of his hand. “Just got hold of a prototype. He’ll be fine in a few days.”

“A Weasley Wizard Wheezes prototype?” Snape asked, his face turning stony.

“Yes, that would be the company,” Dumbledore said quickly. “Muffin?” He held his plate out to Hermione.

“What happened?” asked Hermione. “I’m assuming it was just a shape-changing spell. They’re working on pigs now, aren’t they?”

“Actually, they’re working on shrinking,” said Dumbledore.

“How big is he?” Snape asked interested, reaching for a turkey leg. He picked at it with his fingers instead of biting into it. Hermione was amazed at how neatly he could eat something so messy.

“About the size of a mouse,” Dumbledore said.

Snape nodded. “How long until it wears off?”

“A week,” Dumbledore said cheerfully. “Your mother was just saying he needed to take some time off.”

“Where is he now?” Hermione asked.

“St. Mungo’s,” Dumbledore and Snape said in unison.

“It’s the only place with the capabilities to care for someone that’s shrunk themselves,” Snape said.

“You would know all about that,” Dumbledore said with a twinkle in his eye.

“You shrunk yourself?” Hermione asked Snape, trying not to smile.

“It wasn’t intentional,” Snape snorted, picking at his turkey leg.

“During his O.W.L.s,” Dumbledore said, shaking his head with a smile.

“Anyway, St. Mungo’s has excellent facilities,” Snape said to Hermione. “He’ll have a fully functioning home his size made out of balsa wood. When he expands he’ll just break out, as it were.”

“I take it mum went with him?” Hermione asked Dumbledore. He nodded as he sipped his tea.

Hermione finally felt her stomach lurch. She was married and she barely got to see her parents. She looked at the table of food near her and her stomach growled.

“I heard that from here,” Snape said. “Eat or you’ll make yourself sick.”

Hermione put a little turkey and fruit on her plate. Snape looked displeased, but stayed silent.

“Well,” said Dumbledore, setting his plate down and clapping his hands together. “This has been quite an exciting day. I suppose you’ll want to get some sleep before classes tomorrow.” He rose and Snape led him to the door.

“Goodnight, Hermione,” Dumbledore said, waving at her.

“Goodnight,” she said weakly, returning his wave. The portal shrunk silently behind him as he went. She was alone with Snape.

Hermione had been alone with Snape before, but never as a part of his household. She supposed she was going to have to learn to adapt. She nibbled at her food, and discovered how hungry she was. She looked up and realized Snape was cutting into a slab of vanilla frosted chocolate cake. It was decorated with small blue rosettes.

“What?” Hermione heard Snape ask as he realized she was staring at him.

“It’s just-“ she began. “That’s my wedding cake. It’s all kind of strange.”

“Do you want to help cut it?” Snape asked frowning.

“No,” she said testily. “I was just remarking this was the last thing I was expecting when I went to bed last night.”

“There was nothing else we could do,” Snape said sitting beside her on the couch.

“I understand,” said Hermione. “There’s only a month left until end of term, what will happen then?”

“We’ll figure that out later,” said Snape shoving some of his cake onto her plate. “For the meantime we kept you away from several unsavory elements.”

“Mr. Ollivander is a Deatheater?” Hermione asked shocked.

“Gads, no,” Snape said. “He’s just a lecherous old man in need of an heir. Or two. Or a dozen.”

Hermione shivered. Crookshanks padded into the room and leapt on the couch between Snape and Hermione. Hermione stroked his fur and he purred happily. He butted his flat orange face into Snapes hand. Snape scratched him behind the ears.

“I have scrolls to grade, kitty,” Snape said. Crookshanks purred louder and crawled onto Snapes lap.

“Is he always this distracting?” Snape asked frowning at the content cat.

“It’s easier if you don’t let him onto your lap until after you’re at your desk,” said Hermione shrugging. She reached over and picked up her cat. “I’ll take him. I have a paper to write, anyway.”

Snape rose as Hermione walked to her chambers.

“Good night,” Hermione said as she walked into the stone archway. It grew smaller and the gilded frame began to reappear. The black cat completed his yawn and stretched. It purred contentedly.

Snape turned to look at the table of food. The elves would have it cleared by the morning. He did have papers to grade. He cleared off a platter and took enough to last him through the evening, including the cake.

Snape glanced back at the cat on the wall. His wife was in there. He shook his body to ward off the chills he felt coming.

One day at a time. They had no choice.