Harry has to marry a witch for the good of Wizarding Britain. Harry does not like this.
This is my addition to the 1,000,000 Harry Potter Marriage Idiocy Law Fics (HP MILFs) out there.
Harry Potter clearly isn't mine. I'd like to be able to claim the plot of this little story, but it's probably already been done. Even this disclaimer has probably already been done. And I'm certain that every word contained herein has been used repeatedly in other fics.
The Obligatory Marriage Law Fic
/National Treasure/. That's what the Wizangamot declared me. And, like all treasures, I was to be kept safely locked up, taken out and showed off when someone else decided to.
Killing Riddle was a mistake. I see that now. Sure, I had some grievances with him, but we could have worked things out. Give me Pettigrew and let me empty my vault, and I'll leave Britain to you. Too bad I was so naive back when I could have made that offer. I didn't start to wise up until after Riddle was dead and I learned what was happening.
"Harry! You're daydreaming again. You have to keep working at picking a bride."
Good old Hermione. I have dozens to choose from, some with photos --- attractive, revealing, moving photos --- and she's turning the selection of a bride into /work/.
That's aside from the circumstances, of course. I'm a /treasure/. That makes me the property of Wizarding Britain, and too valuable to lose. It wasn't just the prestige of having the one and only Harry Potter, Slayer-of-He-Who-Must-Not-Be-Named. My family name, blood line, genes, and potential were too valuable to lose. Wizarding Britain would see me married, with children, regardless of my wishes.
"Keep filling in the chart, rating each witch in each category. Then we can mathematically pick which witch fits in a tick."
Impressive. She said that with a straight face.
A year ago Hermione was my best friend, and growing into an attractive young lady. I would certainly have considered her for stammered invitations to Hogsmeade dates and some awkward teenage fumbling and groping.
Not now. Now, her mindless obeisance to rules, no matter how pointless or unjust, is just annoying.
"Honestly, Harry. I've explained it a dozen times already. We have identified eight categories of compatibility and weighted them in importance in relation to each other. Now if you'll just stop daydreaming and finish filling in the chart, we can compute which of the candidates is most compatible with you."
Even if Hermione weren't working my last nerve, she wouldn't be acceptable for dates and awkward fumbling. She's not /pure/. Oh, not that way; I've not heard even rumors of anyone getting her clothes off.
"I've taken the liberty of researching the genealogies of the candidates and cross-matching to your own. Fortunately, none of this batch were second cousins or closer."
And there's the rub. The law states that I need to marry into a pure-blood family. Because my father was a pure-blood, there's a good chance that any given witch is my cousin. Because I was raised as a Muggle, I have a problem with that.
That's aside from the other problems related to being forced into a marriage. A doozy of a problem is that my mother was Muggle-born, which makes me a half-blood, which makes me automatically inferior to any pure-blood. Which makes any pure-blood who married me the controller of the family wealth. Which makes me suspect this is less about the Potter blood line and more about the Potter vault.
"Harry? Are you even listening?"
"Not really, Hermione. I already told you I don't plan to marry any of these women."
"But you have to! If you don't, they'll confiscate everything you own and force you to marry one of their choosing. That'll be worse than picking one yourself."
"Don't worry about it. Things will work out. You'll see." I put a silencing spell around myself and started on my homework. I was a week behind because of all this nonsense. Funny how "Schedule Queen" Granger has swapped out that mania for a new one.
The news was all over the castle at breakfast the next morning: Mandy Brocklehurst had slipped in the shower, broken her neck, and died before anyone found her. I might have mourned, or at least cared, but I barely knew her and didn't much like what I did know. Part of what I knew, and didn't like, was that she was one of the pure-bloods on my marriage candidates list. Well, her death makes my work of choosing a bride that much simpler.
Hermione kept after me, encouraging --- nagging --- me to pick a bride. She'd given up on getting me to fill in numbers for her "scientific" approach, and had taken to filling in the chart herself. Pretty nervy, and pretty annoying if I weren't ignoring the whole thing.
"Harry, based on the criteria we identified as important to you," --- /We/? Almost the only input I had on "identifying the criteria" was an observation that I don't care about breast size but a fat butt was a turn-off. --- "the best candidate is Helen Montague."
"Who? I don't think I've ever heard of her. Pretty sure I've never met her."
"Honestly, Harry! Don't you read the profiles at all? How do you expect to make the best decision if you don't do your research?"
"I've told you before. I don't plan on choosing any of them. Trying to force me to marry a pure-blood is the best way to get me to marry a Muggle. Or maybe I'll just turn gay."
"Don't joke, Harry! This is too important. And to answer your question, Helen Montague is a first-year in Hufflepuff. She is slim and her family---"
"Stop right there! Are you seriously suggesting I should marry an /eleven year old/?"
"She just turned twelve. And you don't have to get married for another year, so long as you sign the betrothal papers within the next two months."
"Stop, Hermione. Just stop. Even if I were going along with this, I'm not marrying a thirteen year old."
Hermione looked inclined to argue --- nag --- some more, so I silenced her, stuck her to her chair, and walked away. She was going to follow me and keep nagging, but walking through the library with a chair stuck to her rear end was too undignified, I guess.
The news was all over the castle at breakfast the next morning: a group of seventh-year Slytherins had a mishap brewing potions in the dorms. The poison cloud killed all three of the incompetent brewers, then spread and killed two more students and sickened a bunch more before the Slytherin dorms were evacuated. It was well known that Slytherins got extra potions lessons and exercises, including material essential to doing well on NEWTs. But who would have thought they'd be stupid enough to brew dangerous potions in an underground, poorly ventilated dungeon with only one exit?
I might have mourned the deaths, or even cared, but all of the students were Slytherins, all of them were pure-bloods (redundancy alert), three of them were on my bridal candidates list, and four of them had been thorns in my side my entire Hogwarts career. Pansy, Millicent, Theodore, and Draco, good riddance. Daphne, I hardly knew ye, but your death lightens my marriage burden, so good riddance to you, too.
"Mr Potter. Miss Granger has informed me that you are less than fully cooperative with the Societal Reconstruction Act."
"She has, has she? How interesting."
"Don't take that tone with me, Potter. You may have been lauded by the Wizengamot in full session, but I am still your Head of House. While you are a student here, you will keep a civil tongue in your head and do as you are told."
"Since you remember the Wizengamot session, do you also remember that I was ordered to come to Hogwarts even though I didn't want to? It was to keep me close to most of the brides that I was ordered to pick from. Do you remember that? I have to be here even though I'm of age and don't want to, so doesn't that make Hogwarts a jail? Should I call you Prison Guard rather than Professor?"
"Detention, Potter! I will not tolerate such rudeness!"
"I'm not going. What are you going to do, expel me?"
McGonagall took a deep breath, trying to get a grip on her (rather foul) temper. I had a choice of letting her calm down or provoking her further. Decisions, decisions...
"Mr Potter, I am attempting to be as fair to you as possible. Yes, you have had an unwanted burden laid upon you. But you need to consider your duty to Wizarding Britain. Without our society you would be cast adrift to fend for yourself."
"Yes, I see what you mean. When I was a little boy I might have been treated like a slave, and beaten and starved and called a freak.
"Tell me, weren't you involved in leaving me on the Dursleys' doorstep? Now tell me, just what do I owe Wizarding Britain?"
"Potter!" She gritted her teeth. Deep breath. Another. "I understand the pressure you are under. I want you to know that you can always come to me with your troubles. Remember from your first day at Hogwarts: your Head of House is your advocate in any difficulty within the school or with the outside world."
"Yes, I remember when Umbridge was torturing me. 'Keep your head down.' Wasn't that your advice? Thank you, Jail Guard McGonagall, but I'll get along fine without your advocacy."
The news was all over the castle at breakfast the next morning: a group of young witches had gotten into a fight the night before, and, in a display of physical might over magical prowess, had beaten and clawed each other to death. The only clue to the cause was a piece of parchment listing the names of my candidate brides. Four of the names had been crossed off. I might have mourned, or even cared, but everyone in this group had been on the list themselves, making them willing participants in the attempt to enslave me. Ta-ta, ladies, and don't let the door hit you in the ass.
Hmm. Ta-tas and ass. I really wish I had seen the cat fight, at least through the clothes-ripping stage. Didn't need to see it in the bloody stage.
Over the next week or so, the newspapers and owls from home were full of news about a lot of deaths, several almost every day. Students, and professors, were upset. A lot of students went home to be with surviving relatives, and a lot more were given time off from classes.
The deaths are obviously the work of skilled assassins. Magic-users are being killed singly or in groups. Out shopping in Diagon Alley or in their ancestral homes behind solid wards. By strangling wire and poison and falling objects. And there's never a trace of the killers --- no spell residue, no trace of prohibited curses, no remnant of apparition. The aurors are mystified and the people are incensed.
Strange thing: When Riddle and his munchers were active, deaths were reported weekly if not daily. People were stressed about this, but it didn't hit home quite as hard. I don't remember anyone going home for a week or two during my fifth year, when the raids were ramping up, and Dean Thomas didn't get time off from classes when his father was killed. Maybe it's because everyone thinks that the world is all sunshine and fluffy bunnies now that Riddle Voldemort You-Know-Who is dead. The cynical side of me (which is getting louder every day) thinks it's because Muggles and Muggle-born were being killed a couple years ago, and it's pure-bloods being killed now.
Another thing to consider is that most of the current corpses are women, especially youngish women, and almost all unmarried. In fact, I think the only married women were caught by poisoned punch at some sort of gathering of a bunch of young women.
During Ol' Voldie's reign of terror, it was mostly men being targeted. Young women were as often as not captured and taken to headquarters. That was a fate worse than death, but the point is, women are the targets this time. It's new, and it's got people scared.
You can see they're scared in the editorials and letters to the editor in all the papers and magazines. "Find the killers and give them the Kiss at once!" they all seem to say. Strange, this seems a lot harsher than what the papers were saying when the munchers were on the rampage. I guess that's because a couple of years ago it was fine, upstanding, rich citizens like Lucius Malfoy killing Muggle-born. But there I go, sounding cynical again.
Just by chance, more than a dozen of these women were on my Brides list. Well, not so much "chance". British Wizarding society isn't all that big. There aren't that many youngish, unmarried women. When you narrow it down to only pure-bloods, probably half of them are here at Hogwarts. With about fifty killed in ten days, it's to be expected that half of my list would go away just like that. "It's a simple matter of mathematical probability," Hermione would probably say.
Then one morning the Prophet proclaimed that not one murder had been reported in the previous day. Everyone breathed a sigh of relief, and life at school continued normally.
The news was all over the castle at breakfast the next morning: Susan Bones and Violet Burke had been found dead in bed. Susan's bed. Without any nightclothes. There wasn't any question about what they were doing, but a lot of speculation on how they managed to kill themselves doing it.
I might have mourned, or even cared, but they were both on my list of pure-blooded prospective brides. Aside from their apparent willingness to tie me down and steal my family fortune, there was the matter of sexual orientation. Not that I will be forced to marry anyone, but being forced to marry a lesbian would be hell on earth. Susan always seemed pleasant enough, but all things considered, I won't be shedding any tears for her.
By this point, my Bride Candidates list was down to three names, one in school (preteen Helen Montague), one recent graduate, and one kind of old by a teenager's standards.
You would think that someone would notice that my list had gone from thirty to three in less than a month. And someone did. Too bad they didn't conclude that putting a woman's name on my list was about the same as killing her. No, of course not. Using the quality of logic we expect from wizard-kind, the ministry decided that the thing to do was to add even more witches to the list.
Now I'm up to my original thirty, and a bit above. An even three dozen witches now eagerly await my decision as to which shall grace my life and steer my fortune, or so the ministry flunky had the nerve to tell me. He also said that in these difficult times it was my duty, my honor, and my privilege to contribute what I could to pure-blood magical society. I didn't know whether to hex him into oblivion or point out his logical fallacies. Instead, I just puked all over his desk and then was escorted back to Hogwarts.
The news was all over the castle at breakfast the next morning: Ron and Ginny Weasley had been cursed to death in a hallway last night. It sounded as if they'd been slammed into a wall hard enough to break their backs and skulls. A note had apparently been left near them: Blood Traitors Die. Well, that pointed a big arrow of suspicion.
I might have mourned, or even cared, but Ron had ceased being my friend over this whole marriage law issue. Where Hermione told me to go along with it because "The Law Is the Law", Ron seemed to think I owed it to pure-blood society to marry a pure-blood and keep the pure-blood culture going. I wonder if that had something to do with his jealousy and betrayals over the years: I'm just a /half-blood/, so I don't deserve the money or fame.
As for Ginny, it's a funny thing: once I stopped eating any food made by Mrs Weasley or anything Ginny had handled, I lost interest in her. A real funny thing... In any event, she was nothing special to me. I'm not celebrating her death, but not weeping over it, either. The fact that Ginny's name had been added to my List of Acceptable Brides, to replace one of the recently-deceased, just made me care even less.
And so it went. By ones and in small groups, the women on the list died. Those outside Hogwarts were clearly murdered. Within Hogwarts there was a mix: falls down stairs, choking on chicken bones, attacks in the corridors. Little Helen committed suicide. I felt a little bad about that, but not too much because she was part of the plot to enslave me.
The biggest group of witches died when they got together for some reason in one of the dungeon classrooms under the lake. The water-holding-out spell failed and the room flooded before anyone could get out. No sympathy for that group --- are you trying to tell me that in a group of a dozen witches in fourth year and above, not one could fix the ceiling, cast a bubble-head charm, or even open a door? If they're that incompetent, they're no loss to magical society.
And with that last group, my list was actually empty.
Finally someone noticed that something strange was going on. Sixty-three witches had been approved to be my brides. All sixty-three died in a month and a half. It seemed pretty suspicious, even to the logic-challenged wizarding world. As a result, a couple of aurors and a couple of unspeakables checked me over, seeing if I was cursed. Nope, not a thing. Even my curse scar had only a trace left, since Tommy-boy bit the big one. The investigators threw up their hands and declared there was nothing there.
This led to the Wizengamot saying there was no reason not to continue with the bride list. And do it one better! Now I'm supposed to pick one wife. After that, she'll be in charge and will choose as many of the other witches as she sees fit. These lucky ladies will not marry me, but they'll bear my children. Wizarding Britain has suffered a huge population decrease around my generation, you see, and so we need to rebuild as quickly as possible. It is my duty, my honor, and my privilege to contribute my immaculate blood-line and immeasurable powers to the next generation.
But of course my blood-line isn't all that immaculate, which is why my pure-blood wife will be making all the decisions, as well as paying the other witches a large sum for their "inconvenience".
Riddle wanted to rule these idiots? I guess that makes him the King of the Idiots.
Am I a Dark Lord? Certainly not. I don't want to rule anyone. I just want them to leave me alone. If they won't leave me alone, I'll fight with everything I have to make them leave me alone.
I can't destroy the pure-blood cabal with a swish of my wand. I've got power and a mort of deadly spells, but it's not enough.
One thing I learned with the Dursleys is patience. I can work a long time to get what I want.
If there's no next generation of pure-bloods, soon enough there will be no pure-blood society.
"Kreacher!" My deranged, psychotic, homicidal, and shockingly capable elf appeared silently. "I have another one."