A/N: Well, this is it. After all the angst that's come before, this last part is almost pure fluff. And for all those who wanted poor Ron to get some happiness, I hope this satisfies.
This is for all of us onboard the Good Ship, the HMS Pumpkin Pie. Enjoy and please review!!
~Epilogue~Happily Ever After
Some months later…
The woman in the mirror was beautiful.
Beautiful in the traditional sense of being tall, slender, and wearing a lovely dress. But also radiant with happiness, eyes shining with hope and the certainty that she was doing the right thing.
She faced herself in the mirror, seeing in her mind's eye herself in another white dress at another wedding that had never happened. She remembered and she smiled, sighed, at the contrast between that day and this. Then she had been doubtful, uncertain. Today she was absolutely confident, brimming over with joy and hope. Today she truly felt like a bride.
She met her mother's tearful eyes in the mirror, knew that her mother, too, was thinking about that other disastrous wedding-that-wasn't.
The past would intrude, she knew, it was inevitable, but even that couldn't change the happiness of this day. This had truly been meant to be and only marked the reaffirmation of what had long ago been acknowledged.
She glanced at the clock. In just thirty minutes, she would become officially Mrs. Harry Potter.
She couldn't wait.
How was it possible, he wondered, to be so nervous and yet so happy at the same time?
He knew that this was right, was absolutely certain, for once in his life, of what he was doing and that this was quite possibly going to be the best thing that had ever happened to him.
He was marrying his best friend and the woman he'd adored for years, finally making their relationship official, although in all honesty, he already considered her to be his wife. This ceremony was just to put an official gloss over what had already been true and not really essential.
And yet, he was nervous. Somehow.
He looked at his godfather who smiled at him, understanding and amusement in his eyes. "Harry, relax. Hermione's been your wife in everything but name for the past 2 years almost. It's not really going to change a thing."
He looked at Ron, his best friend, who was looking somewhat strained despite his smile. Harry was glad to see, though, that Ron had brought Amy with him, his girlfriend and, if he was reading the signs correctly, soon-to-be fiancée.
Ron had met Amy a few months ago and immediately taken to the pretty Hufflepuff. People, especially Fred and George, had teased him for only liking her for her hair, that was a pretty auburn, not quite a Weasley red but close enough, and Ron only turned crimson, denying the charge. Amy was good for Ron, shared his sense of humor and balanced Ron's tendency to a quick temper with her own patience and sweetness.
Harry couldn't have been happier, knowing that finally Ron seemed on the verge of having what he and Hermione had.
Mr. and Mrs. Weasley, Ginny, Fred and George were also there. Charlie and Bill had sent regrets being unable to get away from their respective duties. He was grateful for the Weasleys' presence, knew they were officially accepting his and Hermione's relationship. It had taken some time and more than a month of awkwardness after the Weasleys' forgiveness had been obtained, but Arthur and Molly's genuine kindness and love had won out.
He and Hermione had spent Christmas at the Burrow again, as had been traditional.
Standing next to Sirius was Remus, his other best man.
Ron had been asked but had declined, which he had understood completely. There was no need to bring up more painful memories on a day that was meant to be for happiness alone.
Standing there, waiting, looking around at his nearest and dearest, Harry felt his nervousness fade away.
Everything was going to be fine.
There was a sudden hush, a rustle, as Hermione's parents hurriedly entered, taking their seats at the front. Hermione had chosen not to be given away as was traditional, saying that when she married him, she was choosing to give herself.
And then she appeared. Hermione, his bride, his partner, his love.
Their eyes met and held as she walked slowly toward him, never looking away, her eyes shining with the same love, joy and trust that he knew was also in his.
The ceremony was short, simple, and yet touching in its very simplicity.
The small audience smiled as they watched Harry and Hermione face each other, saying the words that would legally bind them together for the rest of their lives, as their hearts and minds had already been bound.
"I, Hermione Anne Granger, take you, Harry James Potter…"
"I, Harry James Potter, take you, Hermione Anne Granger…"
And Ron thought, Yes, this was always meant to be. I'm so happy for you both, and smiled as he squeezed Amy's hand on his knee.
And Sirius and Remus both thought, So like Lily and James, and blinked back tears.
And Harry and Hermione thought, At last, as they sealed their vows with a kiss that meant, Forever.