Author's Note: All right, so here it is. The very last chapter. An epilogue, of sorts. I'm so sad that this story is over, because it is my first published fic and it's my baby and I love it a lot, even though the response was less than stellar. Please review and tell me what you think of it, even though it's, tear, over, sniffle.
"You may kiss the bride," the judge said, but the bride and groom had taken measures into their own hands. The moment that the young woman had said, "I do," the man standing in front of her had swooped her into his arms, and their lips met. The best man, a handsome young gentleman, was flashing the groom a thumbs up, which he returned from behind his new wife's back, and all of the groomsmen were chuckling. Well… all but one. One was staring at the door behind the great ballroom, trying desperately to forget how incredibly in love the bride and groom were. When he decided that this was completely impossible to ignore, he began wishing that he were the groom himself.
The groom was a tall, handsome young man of about eighteen. He had a shock of black hair that didn't seem willing to flatten even for his wedding day, a lean, muscular frame, and a charming white smile that had once enchanted every witch at Hogwarts.
Now, though, the smile was fixed on only one, his bride. The woman was undoubtedly gorgeous, the picture of a glowing beauty on her wedding day. Her skin was pale but luminous, and the long hair resting on her gently freckled shoulders was a brilliant, shimmering scarlet. Best of all were her eyes, though, wide and green and glistening with tears.
Those eyes made the lonely groomsman want to cry himself. But while Lily Evans Potter's tears were of joy, Remus Lupin's would be of anguish.
The ceremony ended, and the reception had yet to begin. Remus sat in a chair alone, staring off to some undetermined item in the distance. The people who passed him assumed that he was deep in thought, but his mind was blank. He was completely empty, so thoughtless and blind that he didn't notice her sneaking behind him, slipping her hands over his eyes.
He smiled involuntarily at her touch. "I'd know those hands anywhere, Lily Evans."
"Potter," she corrected, grinning proudly. Then, picking up on the suddenly wounded expression said, "Hey- Remus, d'you fancy a walk outside?"
He looked back at her, those green eyes wide with concern but still so content, thrilled to be Mrs. Lily Potter.
"Won't your husband mind?" he asked, half-joking.
Lily glanced over at James, who was laughing at something with Sirius and Peter, and smiled. "Nah. James lets me do whatever I want. Besides, we've got ten minutes before the reception begins. C'mon, Rem," she smiled, and he couldn't help himself. He nodded, and followed her outside.
"It's beautiful," he noted, taking in the scenery of the Potter's transformed courtyard.
Lily nodded her agreement. "It really is. James' mum arranged it all. I think she was really pleased that he's marrying so young, she told me she half expected him to die a single man." She laughed, but he was silent for a moment.
"So…" he said finally, with a sad sort of smile on his face. "You're married, Lils."
She grinned, and spun around in a circle, her dress flying along with her dark red curls. "I am, aren't I?" she laughed. "I'm married. I," she said, her voice becoming dramatic, "Am Mrs. James Henry Potter… the third."
Remus raised his eyebrows. "There have been three Mrs. James Henry Potters? And you're all right with this?"
Lily laughed. "I added the third for dramatic effect, all right?"
Remus nodded. "And your wedding?" he gestured to the courtyard around them, "Is it just what you always pictured.
She looked around, taking in the scenery with a smile, as though she'd never seen any of it. "Sort of." She hesitated, turning back to Remus but focusing on something past his left shoulder. "It wasn't always James, in my head."
"Who was it then?" Remus asked, though he didn't want to hear the answer.
"Well," she smiled. "When I was younger, it was the King of England. I had no idea he was so old… or ugly. Then it was Paul McCartney, for an awfully long time," she laughed, but then her face saddened as she refused to look him in the eye. "And then… then it was you."
"D'you wish it was me?" he asked, but immediately wished he hadn't.
She looked him straight in the eye, her first boyfriend, the first boy she had ever loved, and she shook her head. "No." she said, and he could tell by her voice that she was being completely honest, "No, I love James Potter. I love him with all my heart, and I wouldn't wish for anyone else in the world."
Remus swallowed, and nodded. IT was for the best, really. He didn't want Lily married to a man she didn't want to be married to. Still, she saw right through his artificial smile.
"Don't be sad, Remmy," she said softly, "You told me to give him a chance, remember?"
"I never said you had to marry him." He mumbled, but then he sighed. "Never mind, Lily. It's good you're with James. I'm happy for you. He'll treat you wonderfully, I'm sure…"
"He already does," she nodded. "He loves me, just like you said he would, and I love him. You were right, Remus, that day in the Shrieking Shack. He's good for me."
Remus nodded, forcing a smile. Today he hated being right.
"Hey." She said, stepping towards him. "Please don't be said. Never be sad because of me. I love you, all right?" she smiled at him, speaking those familiar words. "For always."
"You love him more." Remus said quietly.
"He's my husband," Lily said softly, "I have to love him more. But I love you a lot, and I'll never stop." She smiled, and stepped forward to gently kiss his cheek. "I'll see you in there, all right? I'll save you a dance."
"For the first dance," Sirius said, "The band will be playing a favorite of the bride's. Ready… I got sunshine, on a cloudy day…" he sang in a terrible falsetto voice, and everyone laughed. Sirius shook his head and bounded off the stage, grinning and cuing the band, and Lily and James took to the floor.
Remus stared towards them like everyone else, but his mind was back at Hogwarts School, and he was sixteen again, intertwined with a beautiful green-eyed girl, who was saying to him, "And, every time you hear that song, no matter how much you claim that you can't stand it, you will think about me and you'll smile."
He did think of her, replaying that golden afternoon in his mind, remembering what it was like to be the one who she loved most in the world, and he genuinely smiled.
At that moment, James spun her around, and she was facing him, and from over James' shoulder, she mouthed two precious words in his direction, two words that Remus would treasure for the rest of his life.