Contractual Obligations

Womanhood

Contractual Obligations

Disclaimer: I don't own anything and will never make any money off it. I just hope some people like my writing. I don't plan on putting on of these on every chapter.

Chapter 1- Womanhood

Ginny watched her brothers playing quidditch out of the kitchen window, highly annoyed that she couldn't join them herself. This was partially because the boys still weren't convinced that she could fly and would never let her touch one of their brooms (though she would just "borrow" them at night). The other reason she was stuck was that she had been forced into helping her mother clean up after breakfast, which was yet another injustice. Sure, the boys had to help sometimes, but she was always stuck with more house work than the others. It was sexist oppression plain and simple, stopping her from flying with the wind in her hair.

There were sometimes advantages being the baby of the family and the only girl, but house work was one of the worst of the downsides.

There were always children around the Weasley household when she was small, even besides her brothers. On the Weasley side, had a few first cousins and tons of second cousins, and they would sometimes get together during the summers, particularly when they were younger. Most of them wouldn't let her play though, because she was the girl. Bill and Charlie would shut them up, but her oldest brothers weren't always around. There weren't any other girls born into the Weasley family, only the wives that married in, and they all wanted her to sit still and talk with them, such a boring endeavor. There hadn't been any other Weasley girls born in several generations actually, which she usually liked. She wouldn't admit it, but it made her feel special. And she could easily keep up with the boys, no matter what they said.

She didn't really have any cousins at all on the Prewett side, because her two uncles had died so young, and if she had any second cousins, she had never met them.

"Can I go mum?" Ginny begged, when the kitchen looked more or less clean. Molly Weasley was usually only this particular about cleanliness when Harry or other company was over, but this summer was different. Their parents had said the night before that soon they would all be staying somewhere else for the rest of the summer.

So, her mother was just nervously cleaning for no real reason, because everything would just be dustier whenever they came back. Not much else was said, but it was clear that safety was the major concern. Her mother had been finding more and more reasons to keep her children, especially Ginny, inside the house. As if being inside the house would safer than the yard if Death Eaters did decide to come.

Ginny knew that Bill and one of his curse breaking friends had set up pretty good wards for them, and around the whole property, not just the house. Their make-shift quidditch pitch was probably just as safe as the house. But wherever they were staying, Hermione was coming too, which was a relief. Harry would probably be there later in the summer. It would be nice to have Hermione to talk to, even if she would talk about school work too much.

*****Ginny, August 11th, 1995, Number 12 Grimmauld Place*****

Ginny's birthday hadn't felt different than any other day in years. When Ginny was turning eleven, she had asked her mum for them not to celebrate her birthday while Harry was around. She said that she was embarrassed that they didn't have real money, and that had made her parents drop the issue after the one big row about it. They seemed to think that not celebrating her birthday with friends (though she didn't really have any friends other than sometimes Luna back then) was a fitting punishment for the indignity of being ashamed of her family.

Really though, she just hadn't wanted to be the center of attention when Harry was around because she couldn't even manage to make herself talk to him. And Harry had been around for every birthday she had had since. Her parents and sometimes her older brothers gave her presents, but nothing else was really done. After the second year, Ginny's parents even stopped asking. Though Ginny had known months ago that she wouldn't really care what Harry thought this year, she also hadn't cared enough to make a change.

To think that she had spent so many years, practically all of her childhood so infatuated with Harry Potter, or at least the Boy Who Lived. Harry was nice enough when he wasn't doing the moody yelling bit, and there was something undeniably attractive about the whole Savior-of-the-Wizarding- World thing. But he just didn't make her heart beat faster anymore when they were together, not even in the slightest. Maybe it was that she had gotten to know him as a person, and discovered that she had only liked a childish imagination of the little boy that had stopped the villain of her nightmares. It had only made her crush more complete when he had saved her from the waking hell of her first year.

But she was older, stronger now. Being obsessed with the Boy Who Lived wouldn't have been fair to either of them if Harry ever did notice her.

There were other boys around, she supposed. Neville was sweet, inviting her to the Yule Ball. Michael Corner was cute enough. They'd danced at the ball as well, and been to Hogsmeade a few times since. They had "parted ways" at the end of the year. He said some arse line about enjoying their time together and planning to pick back up together in the fall. He wanted to take a break so that he could snog whomever he liked over the summer, even get some girl to sleep with him if he could manage.

The Ginny of years ago would have just nodded and taken back up with him the next term, glad that someone was paying attention to her. But she was a strong woman now, like Gwenog Jones, and she didn't need any childish boy by her side. She would be just fine on her own. And maybe, when she was a few years older, she'd find a real man, not a stupid boy.

When she looked around the large room, she saw that Hermione must have already left for the morning, but a glance at the clock in the corner told her that the boys wouldn't be up for an hour if she was lucky.

Her mother's smile was brighter when Ginny came down the stairs than she had seen on her mother's face all summer. "There's my girl," her mother said. "Well, I can't really call you a little girl anymore now, can I? It's the day of your womanhood. It was a big to do even in my day. Not that our family holds to such things, of course," she laughed. "My first grandchildren had better not come from you, my little woman," she said in a way that Ginny thought her mother was only half joking.

"Mum, I'm just turning fourteen. And I've been a woman since I was eleven, and see, no grandchildren for you yet. I don't know why this would change anything."

"Don't take that tone with me, Ginny. Sit down and enjoy your breakfast. We have a few little somethings tucked away for you too," her mother said with a smile, busying herself making more piles of food, enough to feed the whole Order, though Ginny was fairly certain that they wouldn't all be stopping by for her fourteenth birthday.

Crashing sounds in the hall announced the arrival of Tonks, Ginny's favourite member of the Order outside of her own family. She had known Tonks vaguely for years because the older girl had been friends with Bill and Charlie when they were all at Hogwarts. Ginny would be sorely disappointed if one of her oldest brothers didn't come to their senses and pursue the witch. If Tonks would put up with one of them, she would be the best sister.

The bright-haired witch- blue today- was solemn, which was strange. She locked eyes with Ginny as her mother quieted the portrait in the hallway. The whole house would be awake and grumpy soon. Hermione poked her head out of the library door and entered the room, giving quick greeting the Tonks. Ginny knew that something serious was going on.

Strangely, Tonks carried a large, angry looking owl perched on her arm. A Ministry owl with Ministry parchment clutched in its beak. "Molly. There's a letter for Ginny. From the Department of Records. I've tried to check it- sorry Ginny- but it's spelled and the bird is mean," she said, holding up hands covered in burns and scratches. "Typical ministry dispelling wasn't effective either, though Bill could possibly do something with it if he were around," Tonks said, looking around as if Bill would appear. He might be around for Ginny's birthday dinner, but maybe not.

"Well, we'll just have to ignore the thing. I can't imagine anything that the Department of Records might wish with with Ginny. Arthur!" Ginny's mother called. "Arthur!"

"It does seem irregular," Hermione murmured, but Ginny only had eyes and ears for Tonks.

"I have a contact in the Department," Tonks continued, "So I did some poking around. He said he was vow bound not to say anything about the contents, but he could say that he knows it's legitimate and that only Ginny could open it, and it wouldn't hurt her. I can confirm that it is really from the Ministry myself. We learn the magical signatures as part of Auror training."

There were more protests from her mother and growing background noises from the rest of the household. Ginny heard the portrait of Sirius's mother start its screaming again, but she stepped forward, almost compelled to do so, and reached for the scroll. The owl released it willingly, and Ginny noticed nothing but a faint warmth from the parchment. It was... comforting magic if anything, and Tonks had said that it was okay. Ginny looked past her wariness of anything magical with writing after her first year, and opened the scroll.

The language was flowery but a word jumped out at her quickly, demanding to be acknowledged. 'Marriage.' Marriage. Marriage Contract. She began skimming faster, looking for key word. Only one thing really mattered on a document like that. She barely acknowledged terrifying words like 'Purity, fidelity, and everlasting union.' There was only one thing that she was looking for, and she thought her throat would close up when she found it. 'Son of the Malfoy line,' the scroll read. She didn't read any further, though that was still only the top of the parchment. She dropped the document on the floor, because she didn't want to touch it anymore.

Her mother managed to pick up the damned scroll that seemed to have lost its magical bite. Ginny actually wished that no one else could still touch it and regretted dropping it as her mother cautiously picked it up.

Ginny should have thrown it away, burned it, and pretended it didn't exist before anyone else read it. Her mother held the parchment, hands shaking for only moments before positively screaming for Ginny's father to join them. "ARTHUR!"

Ginny dimly noted that she could smell food over-cooking, breakfast clearly forgotten. She barely noticed any of the voices around her as she sat down again and attempted to eat her eggs and sausage that had seemed so appetizing before, hoping everything would just go away.

If she ignored what they were saying, it didn't have to be real.

Marriage to Draco Malfoy.

When Ginny came to herself enough to notice the rest of her family, her mother was patting her shoulder. "It'll be okay, Dear," her mother said more firmly than anyone could possibly feel. Her father was actually crying clutching the parchment, though it was silently, and even he hadn't seemed to notice.

Her mother and father always took turns with their hysterics, anger or sadness, so no matter how much trouble they were in, at least one parent was always in control. They worked well that way, when it was really bad; they just inexplicably made sure that one of them was always collected enough to deal with the situation.

Would she ever have that with someone?

This was maybe the worst that Ginny had seen her parents, though maybe it only felt that way because it was about her. Maybe they had been worse off when she was in the Chamber, but none of the children had been around to see.

Hysteria only rose when the twins, Ron, and Harry tumbled down the stairs. Ginny could see her brothers glance between breakfast and the recent commotion, and she was surprised when all three of them ignored the food.

"Mum, what's wrong?" asked Fred.

"We got notice of a marriage contract in place for Ginny," her mother managed.

"Bloody hell," Ron piped up, though strangely staring at Harry instead of his own sister. He thought it would be to Harry? Ginny for a moment wished it were, even if she didn't love Harry, or even have a crush on him anymore. Almost anyone would be better than Malfoy, though maybe not Michael Corner.

"What can we do?" George asked, warming her a bit that her family was so behind her.

"Who's it with?" Fred butted in.

"Luscius Malfoy's son," her farther spoke, composure regained just as her mother looked like she would break.

"Bloody hell." Ron said again, apparently unable to say anything else. No one scolded him for the language.

"We'll convince the ferret-"

"-that it isn't in his best interest to mess with our sister," Fred finished.

"Can't marry her if he doesn't live long enough," Ron grumbled, which seemed to snap their mother back.

"It isn't the Malfoy boy's doing any more than it is Ginny's or ours," their mother said.

"It's got to be their fault," Fred again.

"I always thought she'd marry Harry," Ron muttered, sounding disheartened already. Ginny looked at Harry again then. He had been quiet through the ordeal so far, though now he was blushing as brightly as a Weasley and glaring at his best friend, resolutely not at her.

"Can I get out of it?" Ginny asked, the questions finally slipping out, "How can it even be real? How can that happen without my permission? Without even my parents' permission," she gasped, the words spilling from her lips rapidly.

Her father stepped in there. "From the date of the signatures, it must have been about... six generations ago, maybe seven. I don't really know enough family history to be sure. Bloodlines never seemed important…" her father said quietly. "But there hasn't been a Weasley woman born in the family since then, which is why the contract would have passed to you. It specifies a male Malfoy and a female Weasley, unmarried adults within a quarter of a century in age. Merlin! We'll bring it to Dumbledore, of course, and he'll know the best way to get out of it, of course he will. Not to worry at all, Princess," Arthur Weasley said very unconvincingly.

The whole Weasley family was terrible liars, except possibly the twins, but even the twins told the truth more often than not, even about their pranks and schemes. Ginny left her breakfast and her family, Hermione, Harry, and Tonks still with the irritable owl, retreating to the room she and Hermione shared. No one stopped her from leaving.

*****Draco*****

The Ministry owl went directly to him instead of looking for Father.

It was a formal document, he could clearly tell at first glance. It was a… marriage contract. But Father had said they were only just talking to the Greengrass family now, and had promised that nothing would be done without Draco's knowledge…

To a… Weasley!

It was a trick. They were after his- his family's money!

Or… no, it was signed by his great- grandfather's grandfather. Five generations before Draco. So it was outdated and had to be breakable. And even if it wasn't the current Weasleys after his money, it was the same poor family. But the Malfoys had money so they could pay to get out of these things, surely?

Everyone alive must have forgotten this thing even existed. He was just getting it now because- why? She must have just turned fourteen, Draco learned as he kept reading.

Within a month of the younger party coming of age they were to be married? That soon?

"Mother! Father!" Draco yelped. He didn't know why he called for his mother first.

A/N: Hey, I've been writing, but haven't felt ready to put anything out there, but I didn't want all of 2018 to pass without me uploading anything to this site. I hope you like it, and check out my other stuff too. I care about positive comments more than I should, even though writing this story has just been more for me. I hope to upload each weekend.