Contractual Obligations: Remix
Title: Contractual Obligations: Remix
Author: Jinni (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Disclaimer: All things HP belong to JK Rowling, et al.
Distribution: The normal places.
Author’s Notes: A certain someone got all excited when I said one night that CO would have been a much more ‘fun’ fic had the main character not been Snape… that Bill, perhaps, would have made a better candidate for Hermione’s hand. Then more people squealed when they heard I was even considering writing this fic… and thus it began. There were no set details of the actual Marriage Law… so you’ll notice I have some of the details different in this fic than they were in the original CO. That was intentional. This fic will not be nearly as long as CO. Nor will it be angsty. Probably humorous, with a touch of romance and generalness.
Summary: Molly and Arthur Weasley do the only thing they can think of to save Hermione from a fate worse than death…
The owl arrived just as they had sat down to dinner, flapping excitedly around the kitchen as both Molly and Arthur Weasley looked on with faint amusement at the familiar creature.
"Can I have the letter, Pig?" Molly rolled her eyes, setting aside her fork to fix the still madly flapping creature with a stern look. It took a dive at her head, swooping back up at the last second yet still taking with it a few strands of her hair.
"Crazy little bugger," Arthur laughed as the owl made one final circle around the room before coming to a rest on the back of an empty chair.
Pig hooted chirpily as he was relieved of his burden, dipping into the tiny saucer of water Molly fetched for him with a gusto that sent droplets of water flying all over the table. One landed on her personally and she wiped at it absently, watching the emotions play across her husband’s face as he began to read the letter. Nothing good, by the look of that tight crease of displeasure between his brows, she told herself.
"Well?'" She raised her brows at her husband. "What's Ron gotten into now?"
He didn't comment on her assumption that the letter came from Ginny, nor the fact that she automatically also assumed their youngest son had somehow managed to get into something only a month after the start of classes. Perhaps after all these years they’d become jaded by the nonsense that their children seemed to get into without even really trying. But Arthur didn’t return her look of mild amusement. In fact, his smile disappeared so quickly that Molly felt genuinely worried. "Arthur?"
"Dreadful," he muttered quietly, turning sad eyes to her. "Hermione received two contracts today."
"No! Contracts?" Molly gasped, her heart sinking as her husband nodded in affirmation. The new marriage law had never hit so close to home before. Until this very second she hadn’t even remembered, however awful that was, that she knew anyone who would be affected. After all, her own daughter was pureblooded and was not within the scope of the newest decree the Ministry had passed down. "Who?"
"Malfoy, on behalf of his son," he replied evenly, distaste lurking at the edge of his tone. "And Snape senior on behalf of Severus."
Molly's eyes shut slowly, sadness suffusing her very being. Hermione was like a daughter to her and now the poor thing was going to have to choose between a wizard old enough to be her father or a boy that would most certainly do his best to make her miserable. As awful as it was, the Weasley matriarch couldn't help but feel relieved that Ginny, as a pureblood, would never have to go through this.
"Simply awful," she agreed with a sigh. "Those choices... Well, she does have until the end of the week to entertain more contracts. Perhaps she'll get a better offer."
"My thought exactly!" Her husband grinned, picking up his fork to stab at his dinner. "So which of the boys would be best, hmm?"
"Arthur Weasley!" she snapped, eyes going suddenly wide as she realized what he meant... Which had been nowhere even remotely close to the path of her own tumultuous thoughts. "We are not going to just offer up our children!"
"Well, of course not... I suppose Malfoy and Severus aren't *all* bad." He shifted uncomfortably under her glare and within moments she found herself sighing anew.
It was an idea, she supposed; even if not a spectacularly brilliant one. Still, whatever choice did the poor girl have? Marry Severus? Marry Malfoy? She’d rather Hermione live out the rest of her days banned completely from wizarding society than go through with either of those ridiculous choices.
"And which of the boys would you propose we do this to? Ron?" she murmured softly.
The idea of Ron marrying anyone at this point sounded ludicrous even in her head. He was still far too immature for that supposed honor. For that matter, he'd had all these years to date Hermione if he really liked her... And that had never happened.
“No. Not Ron,” Arthur shook his head. “He’s too… too… “
“Un-Hermione like?” Molly offered. “The twins, then? No, that’s just as futile. She’d wind up hexing whichever volunteered before they even made it to the wedding night.”
If they offered up one of their sons…
“We could be grandparents if this happens.”
“Try not to smile too widely, dear,” her husband rolled his eyes. “We will most certainly not be forcing that issue.”
Now it was her turn to look chagrined. “Of course.”
“Now… Ron, Fred and George are out of the question.”
“Percy, then?” She shrugged.
Arthur’s fork clattered to his plate. “I thought you –liked- Hermione.”
“You and I both know all too well how much of a bore that particular son is.”
“He’s a good boy,” Molly argued, but she knew her husband was right. Something had obviously gone wrong somewhere with Percy and she had a sneaky suspicion that it had something to do with a long stick and his –
“Bill?” She blinked, rolling the name around in her head. He wasn’t currently seeing anyone and hadn’t been for a while, unlike Charlie who was only weeks from engagement if she was reading the signs right. He was mature, caring. Successful and capable of taking care of a family, should the situation arise. Neither throwing himself into his work nor shirking it, he was all-around the best choice, now that she thought about it more.
“It will be his choice,” she stated firmly, her heart fluttering with the implications.
One of her boys.
It was enough to cause a sniffle or two.
If Bill agreed, of course.
“I’ll go floo him now.”
Bill glanced between his mother and father, shaking his head mostly in amusement. They’d laid out the idea to him so nicely, stating point after point why they couldn’t allow this young woman to be forced into one of the choices she’d already been given.
Really, though, they could have stopped at Snape. That alone was enough to give him nightmares for the rest of his life. He’d literally shuddered and made a grab for his water glass, trying to force back the bile. It was one thing to act like the Professor wasn’t ‘that bad’ when he was around his younger siblings, something else entirely to picture the greasy git marrying someone.
Especially a young someone like this Granger girl. Ron’s best friend. Long brown hair that had been nicely curled when he saw her over the summer hols. Definitely not hard on the eyes, even if she wasn’t one of those witches that would ever grace the cover of a magazine. And smart, too. Very smart.
But, like he’d said. They could have stopped at Snape.
It was when they’d mentioned the younger Malfoy that he finally interrupted. There were some things that just did not need to be discussed – and they’d already treaded on two of them in a matter of only a few minutes. Which was where they were at now. Him looking at them, them looking at him.
And not a word really being spoken.
What was there to say?
Yes, he’d do it.
No, he wouldn’t.
Those were the choices.
Actually ‘no’ wasn’t a choice at all. Not unless they planned on hitting one of the other boys up next. Though how anyone could think of marrying Percy the Prat or the twins was beyond him. “Why not Ron?”
“Too immature,” his parents sighed as one.
“She’d end up hexing him in his sleep, dear,” his mother added with a tiny smile in the corner of her mouth. “Those two are best as friends.”
Well, of course. Ron was right up there with the twins on the subject of maturity.
Bill sighed. He knew all about this marriage law. It was all the witches at work could talk about, even the purebloods. Disgraceful. Just this shy of slavery, they ranted and raved as they went through plan after plan on how to best make the Ministry repeal it. So far, unfortunately for Hermione, they’d been unsuccessful.
If he did this… they’d have to stay together until she conceived a child. Somehow he didn’t see her just hopping into the sack with him for a quick, shag, though. Nor did he see himself respecting her very much if that did turn out to be the case.
“We won’t force you.” His father offered, not that Bill had thought for a second that they would.
They just wanted to save Hermione.
And he couldn’t blame them.
He racked his brain for any reason why he absolutely couldn’t do this…
… and came up short, not surprisingly. There were no witches in his life. To be honest, he hadn’t been looking or even planning on looking. This would be a chance, true. But not necessarily a bad one. And he’d definitely be doing a grand job on his karma, saving her from those two.
“All right, then. I’ll do it.”
“You… will?” His father blinked in surprise, while his mother clasped her hands in front of her, eyes sparkling with something that looked distinctly like joy to Bill’s knowledgeable eye.
“She still has to agree to the contract,” he reminded them gently. It wasn’t that he was already looking for a way out of what he’d agreed to, but they needed to keep things in perspective. For all they knew Malfoy and Hermione were having an illicit love affair in the dungeons after classes.
As if that would happen. The only thing more ridiculous would be… be… Ginny and Malfoy!
“Son – the choices are you, Malfoy or Severus.”
“Right.” He nodded. “Good point. Might as well by the ring.”
“No need,” his mother smiled. “I got your grandmother’s out of the attic, dear. Just take it with you when you go to file the contract.”
Why did he get the feeling that there never really had been a choice for him in all of this?