The World's A Stage
Disclaimer: I don't own HP or any of these characters. That belongs to JKR, Scholastic Books, Warner Brothers, etc.
Author's note: I hope you enjoy this part and leave me a review to let me know what you think. Thank you.

Part IV: Peace

An indescribable feeling of utmost happiness and delight rises from my bottom of my heart. I can only be glad to be here to day to witness a proclamation of love that has been long delayed.

My best friends are getting married. To each other. It was not what was expected, but it is right in so many ways.

But most of all it is right because I have never seen two people so much in love with each other.

I know that many people would roll their eyes out of sheer annoyance to hear me use such a cliché. That doesn't matter. It doesn't alter the truth.

And then there are those who wonder how I could stand their relationship. After all, I was supposed to be with Hermione. I should be the one standing with her today, promising to love and cherish her until the last breath leaves my body. By all rights, I should be enraged that my best friend would contrive to harm me by stealing away my girl for good. Or at least, that's what that school of reasoning would have you believe.

I can't help but wonder if those people are blind or worse. Anyone with eyes can see that Harry and Hermione are just happy with being together. With other couples I've known, their affection became clear by their little acts and deeds—by kisses dropped upon meetings and words extended in assurance. My best friends have no need for such obvious displays. Their love is something that pervades the air around them. You can feel their contentment and it spreads to you. They're delighted just to be together, to be in the same room, to be with each other. While I do not profess to be the world's greatest expert on love, I think that has to mean something.

Forget this attempt at being subtle. I'll be blunt as usual. That something is that they are in love. And that is all the blessing they need for their actions. That is all the reason I need to stand behind them in support. It doesn't matter what the world thinks about all of this. It doesn't matter that the world thinks that she should be with me instead of him. What matters is that this is right and this is true. After all I have seen throughout the years, there is simply no way that I could not be joyful about what lies between them.

I wasn't always this accepting.

I was in denial about the truth of their relationship for years. I think that somewhere I always knew that there was a deeper bond connecting Harry and Hermione than the one connecting her and me. Sometimes they talked in unison. Other times, they acted in unison—everyone knows they had often acted together to prevent me from playing a complete fool. At times, they thought as ones—and I swear that once I saw them breathe as one even before that time.

That time was awful. Hermione had left us both behind. I felt it so deeply. She had left me. She didn't want to be with me. Although everyone had always told me that we were so perfect together, that they had always known that we belonged together, and that we were best when we were together, she had still left. She had left because she didn't want me and I knew that when I heard the news. She had left because what everyone had thought was not true, but it took some time for me to see this reason for her departure.

In fact, it took Harry ramming the truth down my throat for me to even admit that it was there.

I think that I will never be able to forget that fight. I had gotten myself into a bit of a rut. I just could not get over the fact that Hermione had left me. That she had been able to walk out of my life, without looking behind, without even saying good-bye, in spite of all the moments we had shared. So I had taken to alternately raving about her idiocy and crying about her not being there to Harry at regular intervals. Then one day Harry had enough.

He ripped into my constant complaints viciously. He tore into me for complaining to him about not having her when I had the chance to hold her in my arms while he had never even gotten to admit his love to her face. It was a terrifying thing to see. I hope never to see anyone that angry and desperate.

That's when I could do nothing but face the truth. Hermione had wanted him, not me. She left us rather than have to do what was expected of her. She would have stayed for him, but not for me.

Realizing that did not make me happy at all.

I hate to admit it, but I did not react well at that time. Rather than accepting the truth of his friend and attempt to provide him comfort, as any good friend should, I threw his accusations back at him. I drove the fact that he didn't make her stay and that it was his fault that she was gone into his face time and time again. I mocked his feelings by saying it was clear that he had none for her, as he never shed any tears at all. My best friend had not done enough to keep our other best friend with us—but I drove him away that night.

I'm still not proud of what I said and did that night. Others may forgive me on the grounds of some sort of emotional distress, but I don't think that suffices. Not when I knew that my best friend was in pain because he wanted to prevent any from being inflicted upon me and yet I did not hesitate to hurt him as much as I possibly could.

I felt guilty the following day. It took me months to finally wind up the courage to apologize. It took me months to finally act as I should have in the first place. And when I finally did—I could not believe that a grown man could cry so much, could be hurt so much, and yet still remain breathing.

I hated Hermione at that moment. However, I now know that those years were hard on her too.

I asked her about that once, about what had she been doing while she was away from us. She looked down and away, before answering. She had been trying to live her life, she had said. She did not add it, but it was clear that she did not think that she had been very successful living without Harry.

I then asked her what she would have done if Harry had told her no again. Immediately, she tensed up. She clenched her fists. Her face drained of all color and her eyes betrayed the fear she remembered.

It took her a moment to gather herself. But then she weakly smiled at me and replied. She would have tried again. No matter how much each rejection hurt, she would have kept trying to convince Harry to admit his love. Because anything less was simply no longer an option.

Knowing as I do now, how much my two friends need each other to be happy, how could I possibly throw any more obstacles in their way? I had done enough already by being blind all those years as to the nature of their true feelings.

And so, I gave her away.

Some would see my role in the ceremony as being greatly symbolic. I gave away the love of my life to my best friend who needed her more than I ever could. However, she was never mine to give away.

Her love was never mine to give away.

I know they asked me because she had no one else to do the task. I know they asked me because they felt they needed my blessing. I told them upfront that they didn't need it. That they shouldn't wait on my approval before going on with the wedding.

They both smiled at that. Then, Hermione said that as her father could no longer do the deed, she was hoping that she could convince the man she loved as her brother to do so. Not because she needed that brother's approval or acceptance, but because that's where she wanted him to be.

Harry picked up where she left off. They didn't want a best man or a maid of honor. To offer me such a position would trivialize me, their very best friend. I would be standing on the outside, to the side of one of them. They would much rather have me behind them then and always, offering my support for all they chose to do that I knew was right. And they would prefer me to be in front of them, stopping them from making mistakes that I knew was wrong.

After those two heartfelt pleas, I did what anyone with a heart would do and accepted the offer. I gave her away to the man who deserved her because he made her happy. I'm willing with all my heart that they can feel the bastion of support that I'm providing for that which they are solemnizing today. I'm hoping with every fiber of my being that they know I want nothing for them to go wrong as they have already been through enough trials and sorrows.

Most of all, I want them to know that I agree with what is being said now with all of my soul.

"Those whom God hath joined together let no man put asunder."