Thirty-six-year-old Remus Lupin strode carefully down the hall
towards the Headmaster's office. Dumbledore had requested an audience
with Remus the night before, but his duties with the Order of the
Phoenix and a trip to Diagon Alley the next morning for Harry's
upcoming seventeenth birthday party kept him from coming earlier.
Cakes," Remus intoned. The Gargoyle opened, exposing a set of stairs
and Remus stepped onto them, activating the charm that carried him
He raised his fist to knock on the faded oak door but stopped short when Dumbledore's clear voice rang out, "Come in, Remus."
Lupin opened the door, revealing Dumbledore's tidy office, snoozing phoenix and generous owner.
"Ah, Remus," Dumbledore began, "I trust your trip was successful?"
that the elderly wizard was referring to his excursion to Diagon Alley,
Remus nodded. "It's not every day your ward turns seventeen."
ever-present twinkle in the old man's eyes flared for a moment or two.
"Indeed. That's actually what I called you here for, Remus." He
gestured for Lupin to sit.
Taking the plush chintz armchair,
Remus asked, "Oh? Harry's in trouble already? School's not even in
session yet." It wouldn't be beyond the scope of reality for Remus to
find out that Harry had been involved in some sort of mischief. As good
of a lad as he was, Harry was the son of a Marauder.
"No, no. Nothing like that," said Dumbledore with a chuckle. "It's actually something to do with a magical contract of sorts."
Remus furrowed his brow, letting the small smile slide off his face. "Magical contract? What kind of contract?"
paused, as if to measure his words carefully, and steepled his fingers
under his chin. Remus was instantly on his guard. "What do you recall
about the Wizarding Decree of 1016?"
"What?" asked a suddenly perplexed Remus. He certainly hadn't expected that.
Wizarding Decree of 1016," repeated Dumbledore. "It's obviously very
old and has been modified quite a lot by more recent legislation,
but...there are a number of statutes stemming from that decree that are
in effect today."
"What does this have to do with Harry?"
Remus strained his brain for information on the law. Something about
how the magical community was to be organized....
"Allow me to
be terse, Remus." Dumbledore leaned forward in his chair and folded his
hands on the desk between them. "One of the more archaic forms of
Wizarding law is still active through this decree. Specifically, a less
acknowledged form of marriage can still be carried out today, if
certain qualifications are met."
"Marriage?" Remus said, his
ears perking up immediately. "Please don't tell me Harry's gone and got
married! He hasn't so much as dated anyone since fifth year."
Clearing his throat, Dumbledore continued. "Yes, well, Harry hasn't tied the knot quite yet, but I'm afraid that it may not be far off in his future."
colour drained from Lupin's face and he sat back in his chair. "You may
as well tell me," he said with a distracted wave of the hand.
is a quill in the Ministry, much like the one we use to record the
birth of magical children, that documents when arranged marriages
between two magical families are made. Sometime in July of 1981, James
and Arthur must have arranged for their children to be married. More
specifically, they made the agreement with a magically binding
Remus's mind was reeling. How could something like this have been overlooked? What was James thinking?
They knew about the prophecy by then; James and Lily must have known
what they were getting into. And that doesn't take into account how
Arthur fit into all of this.
"I see that you have many questions," interrupted Dumbledore. "I will endeavour to answer all of them."
"How did this happen?" Remus blurted. "Why are we just finding out about it now? And...what are we going to tell Harry?"
was silent for a moment, staring out the window. Without looking at
Remus, he passed a small glass jar across the desk. "Have a lemon drop.
I've found them to be most soothing in a stressful situation."
Almost automatically, Remus popped one into his mouth, letting the tangy sweetness invigorate his senses. How many times have I eaten one of these in this office? he mused.
one for himself, Dumbledore turned to him and continued. "I only found
out through a twist of luck. It seems that the office where this quill
is kept is next door to the assistant for the Magical Transportation
Department. I was there yesterday to renew my Apparation license and
happened to hear one of the clerks say 'Potter' and 'Weasley'. Well,
naturally, my curiosity was piqued and once I finished my business with
the Transportation Department, I inquired as to why those two names were being mentioned.
turns out that the reason no one has known about this until now is that
the quill isn't checked regularly. In fact, since there hasn't been an
arraigned marriage for over a hundred and fifty years, it hasn't been
checked at all this century."
Unable to visualize Harry
married to anyone, let alone an arranged one, Remus sat in his chair,
completely gobsmacked. Then he realized exactly who it was that Harry
was supposed to be married to. "Have you spoken to Arthur? Does he even
"Actually, according to the law, certain procedures are
supposed to be followed. My knowledge could affect the course of
events, and I risk severe consequences by even telling you."
Having just regained his colour, Remus blanched again. "What sort of consequences?"
clouds billowed around a full moon as Harry Potter watched the empty
streets of Little Whinging. He would be leaving Privet Drive for good
the following morning and in his excitement, Harry couldn't seem to
Dumbledore had given him permission to finish out
the holidays with the Weasleys. He would finally get to spend his
birthday with the only family he had known.
With a sigh, he re-read a letter he had received from them yesterday.
your things together and be ready to leave on Monday. Ron and I will be
taking you by Portkey at eight o'clock that morning. We'll be aiming
for the back garden, so as not to frighten the Muggles. Meet us there
and we'll help you say goodbye to that wretched place forever.
Love from, Ginny
the Department of Mysteries over a year ago, Ginny, Neville, and to a
certain extent, Luna, had been included in with the "trio" more often
than not. Ginny had been an important part of the effort to remove
Harry's less than cheerful attitude the previous summer, and ever
since, she and Harry had fallen into what Harry considered a
Ginny was the strangest sort of
friend, though. Unlike Ron or Hermione, Ginny wasn't afraid to tell
Harry off. She had a tendency to make Harry participate in activities
when he didn't want to, and had the most annoying habit of turning up
when he wanted to be left alone. The oddest thing in Harry's sight was
that he found he didn't mind.
As soon as they
arrived in the Burrow's garden, Ron grabbed Harry's trunk and Hedwig's
cage and thrust them at Ginny. "Here, Ginny. Take these upstairs. Harry
and I are going to go flying."
Ginny's feathers were
immediately ruffled. "I don't bloody well think so. You can take them
up yourself. Or Harry, for that matter," she said with her fists
clenched, as if to make sure Harry's things couldn't pop into her hands
if she left them open. "Besides, if there's flying to be had, I'm just
as capable as the next person."
"I need to talk with Harry, alone," Ron said slowly.
seemed torn and had been looking warily between Ron and Ginny. "Listen,
Ginny," he began. "You don't have to take my things, but let me and Ron
talk for about fifteen minutes?" Ron nodded. "Then you can come fly
Ginny weighed her options. It would have been easier
to just browbeat Ron into letting her come, but now that Harry had
spelled out her options, his suggestion seemed reasonable. "All right."
"Great," Ron said happily. "We'll see you later, Ginny."
Ron drug Harry over to the broom shed to extract his Cleansweep and they were off to the makeshift Quidditch Pitch.
As Ron and Harry left, Ginny sat on Harry's trunk and propped her chin on her hand to wait.
screen door on the side of the house squeaked open and Ginny turned to
find Hermione looking back at her. "Get a good look at Harry's bum?"
"When did you get here?" Ginny asked, deliberately ignoring her question.
before you did." Hermione motioned for Ginny to budge over and then
joined her on Harry's trunk. "I've already taken my things to your
Ginny returned her chin to her hand and caught the top
of Harry's head as the boys turned to enter the paddock. "What did you
get Harry for his birthday?"
"Not telling," Hermione answered cheerfully. "But I'm sure he's got what you want for your birthday."
back of Ginny's hand hit Hermione in the shoulder. "I can't help it if
he's got a cute bum. It's not like I'm pining after him like a lost
puppy any more."
"Uh-huh," Hermione said. "You just keep telling yourself that."
"Well, you're one to talk, aren't you?" Ginny countered. "I mean, if Harry or Ron asked you out, would you say no?"
Hermione blushed but otherwise kept her composure. "That's for me to know and for you to find out, Miss Weasley."
come off it, Hermione," Ginny said with a giggle. "Everyone knows Ron's
got a thing for you, and no matter how close you keep your cards, you
have to admit to being attracted to him." Ginny thought about that for
a moment and added, "Even if he is my brother."
"So you don't think I should ask Harry out? He is dishy."
Ginny scowled. "This is not a good day to push my buttons, Hermione."
relax, Ginny," Hermione soothed. "I'm not after Harry Potter. Even if
you died a horrible, tragic death, and he needed the attention that
only I could give I don't think it would work out between us. He's too
Ginny snorted. "How do you know? Maybe he's got a thing for you, but he's holding back because he knows how Ron feels."
froze, apparently surprised at this thought. Then she shook her head.
"No, I don't think so. He's not so much as blinked at me that way, Ginny."
The mirth left Ginny's laugh and she said, "Yeah, well...he hasn't so much as blinked at me, either."
"What about Colin?" Hermione asked quietly. "He certainly seems to keep looking at you, even after you broke up."
"Colin never grew up."
"He loved his painting more than me."
Ginny raised her eyebrows. "Do I have to go over that one with you again?"
"No," Hermione said. "I suppose not."
heart was beating rapidly. The thrill of flying again after five weeks
off was a welcome feeling, and Harry was doing his best to make sure
that he made the most of it.
"So how does it feel to be free?" Ron asked as they continued their game of follow-the-leader.
Harry smiled and shot past his friend. "Almost as good as grinding Malfoy's face into the pitch," he yelled as he passed.
"Oi! You're supposed to be following the leader. Not showing off," Ron said with a smile.
Harry swivelled on his broom until he could see Ron. "If you weren't so ruddy slow, I might let you lead more often."
a few minutes of flying, they glided over to a large oak tree and
pushed through the branches until they found a small platform high
above the ground. Bill had built it when he was thirteen and Ron had
discovered it the summer before he left for Hogwarts.
"So what's on your mind, Ron?" Harry asked quickly.
Ron laid his broom across his lap and sighed. "I'm going to ask Hermione out today."
Harry's expression remained impassive. "About time, mate. How do you think she'll take it?"
wiped his face with his hand and leaned back against the trunk of the
tree. "I dunno. I 'spect she'll want to hex me at first, but I'm
counting on my wit and charm to woo her."
Harry pursed his
lips. "Well then, you're certainly doomed." Snapping his fingers in an
exaggerated manner he looked up, "But Ron.... What if she fancies Malfoy?"
"Malfoy!" spluttered Ron. "What makes you think – "
Unable to help it, Harry dissolved into unrestrained laughter.
"You git!" Ron said as he punched Harry in the shoulder. "I'll eat your Firebolt before Hermione gives him the time of day."
"Yeah," Harry said, regaining his composure. "But eat your own broom. I'm a little partial to mine."
looked to be on the verge of another witty comeback, but the sound of
Ginny's voice came across the pitch. "Roooonnn. Haaarrrry."
"Speaking of which," Ron said with a waggle of his eyebrows. "When are you going to ask Ginny out?"
Now it was Harry's turn to splutter. "What are you on about? She's over me and – well, we're just friends."
Harry. You aren't fooling anyone when you say that." Ron clapped his
shoulder and stood. "I saw the way you reacted when she grabbed your
leg, you know."
"She didn't grab my leg, Ron. She...she brushed against it."
straddled his broom and said, "It's my story and I'm sticking with it.
Just ask her out soon, mate. I'm sure Hermione would love to go on a
double with you two." Then he shot off from the platform and crashed
through the top branches of the tree.
"You git!" Harry called, shaking his head and laughing.
Thursday was Harry's birthday. The day was filled with presents,
friends, and best of all, loads of Harry's favourite foods. Fred and
George made a token appearance, enchanting the candles to sing shrilly
only after they were blown out for the first time. Luna Lovegood
visited from the village to wish him a happy birthday and to give Ron a
kiss on his cheek. Hermione didn't look happy with that at all.
the birthday dinner was finishing up, Harry secluded himself on a
wicker chair near the garden. He propped his legs on a matching ottoman
and linked his fingers behind his head. Mr. Weasley had cast a bug
repellent charm over the whole garden, so there were only a few,
distant buzzing noises to listen to outside of the chattering
When the guests finally filtered away from the tables, Mrs. Weasley banished the dishes and joined in with the mingling.
Harry let a contented smile slip onto his face and he sunk down further into the cushions on the chair.
"You've had quite a birthday, Harry," said Remus Lupin, as he approached with a drink in his hand.
"Yeah," Harry agreed. "It's been the best I've ever had, actually."
sat down across from Harry on a wicker loveseat. "I'm glad you've
enjoyed it, because I've got some information that will most likely be
difficult for you to deal with."
Harry tensed up immediately. "What do you mean? Is Voldemort doing anything? I haven't felt anything in my scar..."
Remus answered with a deadpanned expression. "It's not anything to do
with Voldemort. It's something much more frightening than that."
"More frightening?" Harry asked, sliding back in his seat and setting his feet firmly on the ground.
said Lupin, scratching his chin, "judging by how you've been acting
around her tonight, you might take to the idea better than I thought."
Harry shook his head, thinking that his guardian had lost his marbles. "Remus...what are you talking about?"
"Have you heard of the Wizarding Decree of 1016?" Lupin asked, quoting Dumbledore from a few days ago.
"The...what? I'm sorry, but I think you've hit your head. Are you feeling well?"
chuckled. "Yes, Harry. I'm quite fine. I haven't hit my head or
anything. I'm talking about the decree that formed the Ministry of
Magic and codified just about every line of Wizarding law at the time."
Still dubious about Remus's mental condition, Harry said, "Um...no? I must have slept through Binns's lesson that day."
"Well, one of the things that that statute provided for was arranged marriages."
right," said Harry, waiting for the other shoe to drop. "You're not
going to tell me that my dad arranged for me to marry Pansy Parkinson
or something, are you?"
Remus hesitated and a shiver of fear ran up Harry's spine. "Actually...that's not far from the truth."
"Which part?" whispered Harry. "Marriage, or Pansy?"
"Marriage. According to the Office of Ancient Wizarding Customs, you are to be married to Ginevra Molly Weasley."
in Harry's mind froze and nothing he did could wipe Ginny's face from
his mind. "Ginny?" he finally said. "And me? How?"
have all of the details, but the deal was made sometime in July of
1981, just before Ginny was born. Dumbledore stumbled onto it a few
days ago and according to the list of prescribed procedures and rules,
you have to be informed by your legal guardian, me, by your seventeenth
birthday, today. Ginny has to be told by you and you are to be wed by
her next birthday. No one else is supposed to speak of it until the
bride and groom are notified, or the arrangement will be voided and the
Harry's mind was spinning. "Procedures? I have to tell her... Punishment? What's the punishment?"
the first time since Harry had known him, Remus looked frightened.
"Well...you see... If you break any of the rules – there are almost a
hundred by the way – or if you and Ginny don't wed by her next
birthday... You both will lose your ability to...have relations with
Harry blanched. "WHAT? WHAT DO YOU MEAN I WON'T BE ABLE TO HAVE – "
Remus intoned with a flick of his wand. Harry immediately stopped
shouting, though his mouth continued to move. Several of the party
guests turned and looked oddly at Harry before they returned to their
drinks and conversations.
After a moment, Harry stopped talking, but motioned vigorously towards his neck.
ended the spell by tapping his wand on Harry's throat and Harry, more
calmly, said, "Thank you. Now would you please explain to me why I've
got to marry Ginny Weasley or my...my...thing won't work any more?"
"It's out of my control, Harry. According to the law, you've got to marry her by her next birthday and
consummate the marriage within thirty-six hours of the ceremony, or you
become impotent and she instantly becomes menopausal. You'll be like a
simmering pot of hormones for the rest of your life but will never be
able to act on your urges."
Harry moaned slowly. "What in the name of Merlin did I do to get into this? Who did this to me? There's really nothing at all I can do?" He was pulling at his face with his hands, desperately trying to grasp his situation.
"No one knows, except perhaps Arthur," Remus replied.
shot out of his chair, his eyes finding the patriarch of the Weasley
family standing next to his wife, talking with Hermione and Ron. He
took two steps before Remus's arms were around him.
"Hold on, there, Harry. Remember the rules? You can't tell anyone before you tell Ginny. Only after that can we ask Arthur what happened – assuming he remembers."
stopped struggling and Remus let go of his arms. "How do we know that
Dumbledore's knowledge hasn't already tripped the punishment?" Harry
"Are you...fully functional?" Remus asked with a straight face.
was caught off guard by the question, but remembering his
all-too-lucent dreams that morning, flushed red and nodded. "So what do
I have to do?"
"Talk to Ginny. Find someplace quiet and secluded, try to set the mood so that she's relaxed, and then tell her."
"Just like that?" asked Harry.
"Just like that," confirmed Remus.
"But her birthday is in twelve days! How are we supposed to get married in twelve days?"
"You'll think of something, Harry."
A/N: Once again, much thanks to my pre-betas and beta. This story
would be much less than what it is without them. I have written out
chapter two, but because of the vagaries of writing a complicated plot,
I won’t be posting it until chapter three is written – which covers the
entirety of the twelve days leading up to the deadline. So don’t look
for it for a little while. Sorry!