It's Valentine's day, and I felt the inclination to write a little fluff- but all is not as it seems!

Happily Ever After?

It was August: the time of year when summer seems at its most blissful. The royal blue sky was highlighted by the occasional cloud lazily wafted by a slight breeze, and illuminated by the sun, whose golden caress fell upon ripening grain in the fields and leafy trees in the orchards. England was saturated with warmth; the balmy air dispelled any lingering fear, now seeming only to belong to the memory of the clawing cold of winter. People whistled in the streets, donned shorts and removed their shirts, or else merely lay, sated with heat, in gardens or parks throughout the country.

August was the time when joyful bells pealed a welcome to couples emerging from church porches, eyes squinted against the sun after the cool dimness of the chapel. Relatives, their minds for once focused solely on the festivities of the day, happily rain confetti upon the newlyweds. Guests would mingle outdoors, bearing white arms which clutch long glasses of cold drink. In a floral corner the couple look deeply into each other's eyes for a posed photograph. The atmosphere is of glorious warm contentment, punctuated by brief eddies which swirl the baking air, buffeting forgotten confetti, swaying individual blades of grass, and idly ruffling untidy black hair.



A young man, standing by a window opened in an attempt to air the stuffy room, tried to smooth his hair back, but to no avail.

"Can't you do something?" came an exasperated voice.

The young man turned to the full length mirror before him, shrugged helplessly, and straightened his dress robes.

"Well there's no point in doing that- you'll never look respectable unless you can sort out…"

The young man's laughter interrupted the mirror's huffing. He grinned at his happy reflection, the sun flashing on his glasses.

"hmph!" the looking glass tutted.

He shook his head, further disturbing the unruly hair which so offended his mirror, and left the room.

"Wish me luck!" he called over his shoulder.

******

A young woman gazed shyly at her reflection, feeling rather embarrassed.

"You look lovely dear," her mirror said, in a somewhat choked voice.

The glass was actually misting over.

"Lovely," it repeated proudly.

Could mirrors cry? The girl pondered the question vaguely, until she heard a violent sob behind her. Even if her looking glass wasn't crying, her mother certainly was.

"Oh darling, you do look beautiful," her mother sniffed, fanning herself vigorously with her hat (large, pink, and naturally bought especially for the occasion). The young woman could tell that it was only fear of ruining the dress that prevented her mother from crying all over her. Nevertheless she flung her arms round her mother.

"NO! Don't, you'll spoil it!" came the protesting squawk.

The Maid of Honour, who sported a gold band on her ring finger from her own wedding several months before, flew to her best friend's side and made a few infinitesimal adjustments to the delicate headdress nestled on the bride's vibrant hair.

A knock on the door. The girl's stomach lurched. Was this the messenger coming to tell her that her groom had changed his mind, jumped on to his broomstick, and flown away? She knew she was being silly, but relief surged through her all the same, when her father entered the room.

"Oh my," was all he managed, staring at his daughter.

"He is still here?" she couldn't prevent herself from asking.

Her father merely laughed at her, and appeared perilously close to ruffling her hair, a paternal gesture that assuredly would have destroyed her veil. Not to mention her mother.

"Well I'd better get going, I'll see you in the church dear." Her mother had regained her composure and, patting her daughter's now trembling hand, bustled out of the room.

The next few minutes simultaneously snailed by like hours, and flew like seconds until her father, upon checking his watch, announced that they should leave. A final hug with the Maid of Honour, followed by final arrangements as, efficient through her tears, her best friend smoothed the full skirt of the bride's dress, tucked in a stray coppery strand of hair that had come loose, and handed her the bridal bouquet. Lilies. The two friends swapped a smile. Then the young woman, chest beating painfully hard, took her father's arm. The procession left the room.

******

The groom paced the aisle impatiently, viewing the guests, nodding politely where he felt he should. Amos Diggory, Emmeline Vance, Andromeda Tonks… A disapproving expression amidst the sea of smiling faces caught his eye. He hadn't expected the Dursleys to come, although as family they'd had to invite them. Suddenly he smiled at the thought of the Dursleys' displeasure at being surrounded by so many 'freaks'. He returned to the altar, where the Best Man was standing, talking to Remus.

"She's late," he said, becoming nervous. "What if…" His best friend was laughing at him. Remus murmured something about a 'bride's prerogative.'

"She is coming, isn't she?" The groom demanded. Both men continued to laugh.

"Relax, she'll be here, not everyone's arrived yet," his best friend said finally.

"You have got the rings?"

"I gave them to Remus to look after."

He breathed a sigh of relief as Remus, after an unnecessary amount of pocket patting, handed over two slim golden bands, before strolling up the aisle to talk to Professor McGonagall who was decked out in her tartan best.

A shadow fell over the church. The groom and Best Man span round. Only to see Rubeus Hagrid squeezing through the door.

"Sorry I'm late," he called in his booming voice, eliciting laughter from the assembled congregation, and a stifled gasp from Petunia Dursley. The groom left his position to meet his old friend, and was treated to a clap on the back which sent him sprawling.

"Always knew I'd see you two get married," Hagrid remarked wisely. The young man picked himself up of the floor in time to be dusted down by his future mother in law, who had just entered the church and immediately began to fuss about the state of his dress robes. As he escorted her up the aisle, he was reminded painfully of his own parents, who wouldn't see him get married. He was slightly cheered, as he passed their pew however, by the horrified look on Vernon Dursley's face as Remus made 'polite' conversation with them.

He reached the altar, was hugged by his bride's mother, and waited.

By the church porch, the father of the bride pulled the fine gauzy veil down, over his daughter's face. He squeezed her hand, and she smiled gratefully behind the veil. This was it, the fulfillment of her girlish dreams. It was time.

At the altar the groom stiffened at the sound of bridal music. The Best Man squeezed his shoulder briefly. They turned to face the door of the church. It was time.

The Best Man swore softly under his breath. The groom was speechless. The pale ivory of the gown set off her pearly skin. The dress swept to the floor, and tightened at the waist, at which her shaking hands were gripping the flowers he had chosen. Tendrils of hair cascaded down her shoulders and the bodice of her dress; half of her fiery mane had been left loose, the rest was piled up, under a band of white flowers, which held the filmy veil in place, under which he could make out her sparkling eyes, and her mouth curved in a smile.

"I never knew she could look like that." The Best Man sounded awe struck, as the bride made her way to the altar.

The groom grabbed for her hand.

The service began.

"I do." His voice sounded unnaturally loud in his ears.

"I do." Hers was barely more that a whisper.

"Then I hereby pronounce you man and wife."

******

The veil was lifted back to reveal Lily's emerald eyes and happy smile. James beamed back at her. All thoughts of fear and darkness had vanished. Despite Gideon Prewett's suggestive cough when the vicar had commanded "speak now or forever hold your peace," the wedding had been perfect. This moment was perfect. Everything would be alright. They'd find a way to defeat Lord Voldemort, and then they'd live, happily ever after.

******

The veil was lifted back. Ginny's eyes were shining with happiness. Harry beamed back at her. Despite George Weasley's suggestive cough when the vicar had commanded "speak now or forever hold your peace," (they'd find out later that he and Fred had drawn lots to see who would do it) the service had been perfect. Harry looked at the faces before him.

Mrs Weasley was sobbing into her husband's shoulder.

Hagrid was dabbing at his eyes with a tea towel sized, polka dotted handkerchief.

The Dursleys were scowling.

Ron, beside Harry, was winking at Hermione, evidently keen to exercise his Best Man's rights with the Maid of Honour.

Remus Lupin was smiling fondly, if a little sadly, as he remembered a wedding very like this one, that had taken place many years before.

Everything was alright. It was over two years since Voldemort had been defeated, and the shadow of fear and accusation was gradually lifting from the country. Harry looked back at Ginny. They would live, happily ever after.

In case any of you were wondering, Alice Longbottom was Lily's Maid of Honour- they're best friends in my fic, Lily's Last Year. Peter Pettigrew was obviously at the first wedding, but not the second. Since Harry et al are adults now, they call Remus Lupin Remus, rather than Professor. James' parents have been murdered by Voldemort- but not Lily's (yet)

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