Chapter 1 : Saying Goodbye
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Beautiful floral decorations adorned the ends of the several rows of seats that were lined up within the Great Hall. All of the House tables had been removed, and in their place were hundreds of individual seats that were filling up quickly. Out of the corner of my eye, I saw more people filing into the magnificently decorated room, all of them beaming and admiring the lavish setting.
Professor Lupin and Tonks were standing next to Ron, hugging him and offering him words of advice. Both were smiling brightly at him, so proud and happy that he'd finally decided to settle down with the woman he'd loved since his schoolboy days at Hogwarts. The same woman that is standing here, watching her future husband talk and laugh with the people that are here to witness her wedding. I find myself smiling as his face reddens at the mention of my name. Even after all these years, my heart still flutters in excitement every time my eyes linger on his soft, smiling features.
I see my mother and father sitting at the very front of the room, happy smiles on their faces. Even after twelve years of their daughter being part of the magical world, they're still amazed by it. I can see their eyes widening in amazement as they look upon the thousands of softly burning candles hovering in midair, only inches above their heads.
Mr. and Mrs. Weasley are sitting directly across from my parents, holding hands while Mrs. Weasley dabs at her eyes. Today must be such an important day for her. Her youngest son is finally getting married. I know that she's happy, but she must feel some sort of sorrow knowing that her son will be leaving home forever to start a family of his own.
My eyes scan over the enormous crowd of people that have gathered to celebrate the wedding of Ronald Weasley and Hermione Granger. My wedding. The happiest day of my life. Everyone that I love is here to share in my happiness. All except for one.
"Hermione, you've got fifteen minutes," Ginny said to me suddenly, pulling me away from my thoughts.
I smile and nod, admiring her in the soft forest green bridesmaid gown I picked out for her. Though there's a bright smile upon her slightly freckled face, I can see the sadness that has lingered in her brown eyes for the past five years. It has never fully faded from her eyes, even though she tries to cover it up with a sparkling smile and cheerful demeanor. Despite the fact that I know how happy she is for Ron and I, I can't help but think that she's somewhat resentful, angry at the fact that her own wedding never happened.
I watch as she turns and walks away from me, entering the small changing room located within my bridal chamber. I can hear her choked sobs echoing from behind the thin walls, but I don't go in to comfort her. I know that if I were to console her during her time of need, she would become angry and embarrassed. Though, she has no reason to feel that way. My own eyes are stinging with unshed tears, and my throat has become constricted from the lump forming within it.
I turn my head and peek outside of the door, again scanning over the crowd of people that have gathered inside of the Great Hall to witness my wedding. For a hopeful, fleeting second, I almost expected him to be standing next to Ron, taking his place as the best man. But instead Fred stood there, wearing a nervous smile, knowing that he wasn't supposed to be the man standing there. He knew that another man, one with sparkling green eyes and untidy black hair, was supposed to be standing there, serving as his brother's best man. But that man had long since been gone from the lives of everyone who had held him so dear in their hearts.
And that same man was the reason why I was struggling against the lump rising in my throat, sobs threatening to escape me at any moment. He was supposed to be here. He was supposed to share in what was supposed to be the happiest day of my life. But somehow it didn't feel quite so happy without him, my best friend, there to celebrate with me.
I walk over to a small desk located in the far corner of the room and pull open the top drawer. Inside lays a folded piece of parchment I had placed there earlier that day. This morning when I had woken up, I had written a letter to my best friend, one I knew he would never be able to read. But that didn't matter. What mattered was that this was my way of saying goodbye to the man who had been ripped so suddenly from my life.
It's been five years. Five long, hard years without you here. I honestly don't know how I've managed to survive this long without you in my life. Truthfully, I don't know how anyone has survived without you here. You were always the one who held us all together. And since you've been gone, things just haven't been the same.
Today is my wedding day, Harry. In a few hours I'll be Mrs. Ronald Weasley. I know how strange that must sound. All Ron and I ever did was fight while we were at Hogwarts. But I think that you knew all along that we would end up together. I could tell by the way you looked at us that you knew something we didn't. And to think...I thought I knew everything.
I thought that this was supposed to be the happiest day of my life. Don't get me wrong, I am happy...but not as happy as I think I should be. It's because you're not here. Back at Hogwarts, when I would imagine what my future would be like, I always pictured you in it. I always thought that you, Ron and I would grow up together and be lifelong friends. But obviously, my hopeful vision of my future didn't come true. Things are totally different from how I envisioned them.
I never thought that you wouldn't live to see your nineteenth birthday. I know, you tried to warn us about the Prophecy, tried to prepare us for the worst. But honestly Harry, did you think that we actually thought that you would die saving us? We held onto the hope that you would defeat Voldemort and would come out of the war victoriously. And I suppose you did...after all, Voldemort died by your hand. But you fell too, Harry. That night, the world lost both the most evil and the greatest wizards that had ever lived.
Ever since you've been gone, everyone's just been a wreck. Mr. and Mrs. Weasley always considered you as their son, and losing you was like losing one of their own children. Sometimes I still see Mrs. Weasley looking dazedly at the photograph she keeps of you that sits on the mantel. And Ginny...she tries to act like she's fine, Harry, but I know that she's not. I know that she resents the fact that I'm getting married today. I can see it in her eyes. I saw her yesterday sitting in her room, twirling the engagement ring you gave her around her finger. She hasn't worn that ring since the night you died, and I know how much that bothers her. Her dream was to marry you, but since you've been gone that dream has become nothing but a faded memory in her mind.
More than anything, I just wish that I would have gotten the chance to say goodbye to you. You were taken so suddenly, so abruptly from our lives that there was no time to say goodbye to you. I wish I would have gotten the chance to see your smile one last time, or hear your voice float through my ears. I wish I would have been able to see those green eyes of yours again, and feel the comfort that always ran through me when you wrapped me in one of your famous hugs. I wish I would have gotten the chance to tell you just how much you meant to me, how much I loved you, how much I'd miss you.
You were never the Boy Who Lived to me, Harry. When I looked at you, I didn't even notice the scar that brought you recognition from everyone else. Because to me, you were just Harry. Just Harry, my best friend, my closest confidant. Just Harry, the man I will forever miss, but who will never die in my heart.
And now the time has come for me to say goodbye. So goodbye, Harry. I'm sure that we'll see each other again, when my time comes to join you in whichever place you are. Until then, you will always be alive in my memories and within my heart.
A few silent tears trickle down my cheeks as I refold the letter and stuff it into an envelope. I place it back inside of the desk drawer just as Ginny emerges from the dressing room, her eyes slightly red, but a large smile plastered onto her face. I look at her sympathetically, knowing what she must be going through, but also knowing that in time her wounds will heal. In time, she'll move on from Harry, never forgetting their love, but allowing herself to love another. And in time I know that I'll be the one in the bridesmaid's gown, smiling at Ginny as she makes her way down the aisle.
As I make my way down the aisle towards my future husband, I can't help but smile as I picture Harry's face in my mind. Somehow I know that he's here, he's watching, even though I can't see him. He may be gone physically, but he is still very much alive in my heart.
A/N: You've taken the time to read, so please review! Any and all feedback is appreciated!