Part 9

Empath joined Papa Smurf at the altar, the latter of which noticed a tear forming in Empath's eye. "What's wrong, my little Empath?" Papa Smurf asekd.

Empath sniffed. "This smurf can't help thinking about what happened five years ago, Papa Smurf, with you, Smurfette, and all the others. This smurf thought that losing you again like when you left this smurf years ago in Psychelia was the worst thing in the world for me...but losing Smurfette to the Key of Chronos being lost felt like this smurf's whole world was coming apart."

"I know how you feel, Empath," Papa Smurf said, putting his hand on Empath's shoulder to show some empathy. "The time we smurfed apart from each other with us time-traveling and you and Polaris trying to smurf us back home wasn't the smurfiest time in our lives, and sometimes I wish that the time apart never smurfened in the first place. But the important thing is that we have all smurfed through it in one piece...every Smurf is safe back home, and Smurfette resmurfed to a Smurf who loves her just as much as she loves you. We couldn't ask for a better miracle than that. This very day is a smurfing victory over those days for both you and Smurfette! Don't let what yesterday smurfed ruin this smurfious day today!"

"You're right, Papa Smurf," Empath said. "It was foolish for this smurf to keep dwelling on those days. I'm sorry for bringing this up."

"You have nothing to apologize for, Empath," Papa Smurf said, noticing Empath smiling again. "I knew how important smurfing with Smurfette for all time means to you, which was why I never gave up trying to smurf the time crystals in the right order to smurf us all back home. It was my way of smurfing how much I truly love you as my one and only son."

Then Polaris approached the two of them. "Empath, Papa Smurf...Brainy is now escorting the bride down the aisle toward the wedding altar."

"Smurfs like we're all ready here," Papa Smurf said.

"Thanks for the warning, Polaris," Empath said as Polaris took his place standing beside his friend.

Then wedding music began to play and the three of them watched as Brainy walked with Smurfette down the aisle, with Smurfette looking beautiful and radiant in her wedding dress and Brainy looking and sounding so proud to be able to have the honor and duty of being Smurfette's escort. Flowerbell and some of the young Pussywillow Pixies followed behind them as the matron of honor and the bridesmaids, with Acorn as the flower girl and Snappy as the ringbearer.

"Well, this is it," Papa Smurf said. "It smurfs like your days as a bachelor Smurf are all over."

"And not a moment too soon," Empath said.

"Smurfing any second thoughts about smurfing the knot with Smurfette?" Papa Smurf asked.

"Too many thoughts in this smurf's head, Papa Smurf," Empath said, "but not a single one that will make this smurf back out."

Finally Brainy and Smurfette have reached the altar, and as Brainy stepped aside to take his place among the other Smurfs, Empath lifted the wedding veil to see the beautiful face of Smurfette. Something about that moment of seeing her made Empath tear up again.

"Empath, what's wrong?" Smurfette asked sweetly. "You smurf like you haven't smurfed me in years! Is everything all right?"

Truth to tell, Empath really did feel like he hasn't seen Smurfette in years. At that moment, he felt like he was back with his friend Polaris Psyche traveling around the world, trying to find the way to get all the time-lost Smurfs back home, wondering if he was ever going to see Smurfette's face again. It was a really odd feeling. Nevertheless, Empath smiled.

"Everything is just the way that this smurf wanted it to be, Smurfette...perfect," Empath said, gently touching her face.

And then as the wedding music stopped, Papa Smurf took his place on the altar platform with Grandpa Smurf, Nanny, and Smoogle while Empath, Smurfette, Polaris, Flowerbelle, the Pussywillow Pixies, and Snappy faced forward as they stood before the assemblage of all the Smurfs. Wild stood among them dressed in a tuxedo like everyone else, though he still wore his leaf-woven Smurf hat.

"My little Smurfs, as both your Papa Smurf and the leader of this village," he began, "it smurfs me great pleasure to smurf the long-awaited privilege of smurfing these two fine Smurfs together in the bonds of smurfy matrimony. I know how eager the both of you are in wanting to smurf eterntiy with each other. However, if there is any Smurf who feels that these two should not be smurfed together in marriage, please smurf now or forever hold your smurf!"

"I hate that...," one of the Smurfs began to speak.

"Grouchy! What is it?" Papa Smurf asked as every Smurf now looked at him, expecting for him to speak his mind.

Grouchy looked nervous, as he just simply said something without actually thinking, and he didn't know what else to say beyond that. "Uh...that is...I mean...I would hate that Empath and Smurfette would not be smurfed together as a married couple for all time!"

Every Smurf sighed with relief after what Grouchy had said.

"Well, thank you for your honest and heart-smurfed commentary, Grouchy," Papa Smurf said. "I'm sure that they both appreciate your concerns for them. Now, if there are no other objections to this marriage, then let us proceed!"

No other Smurf said anything. Even Hefty, who was planning to make an objection of his own at this point in the ceremony, remained silent.

"But I hate that it couldn't have been me with Smurfette," Grouchy muttered under his breath.

Then Papa Smurf proceeded to the next part. "Empathy Psyche Smurf, do you take Smurfette to be your smurfully-wedded wife, to cherish, honor, and obey, in sickness and in health, in good times and in bad, for better and for worse, to love her as long as you both shall smurf?"

Empath looked into Smurfette's eyes. "This smurf...that is...well, I do, Papa Smurf."

"And Smurfette, do you take Empathy Psyche Smurf to be your smurfully-wedded husband, to cherish, honor, and obey, in sickness and in health, in good times and in bad, for better and for worse, to love him as long as you both shall smurf?"

Smurfette looked into Empath's eyes. "I do, Papa Smurf."

Papa Smurf then called forth Snappy. He raised up the pillow which contained the rings that Smithy Smurf has forged for them. "These rings made of gold will show that the two of you are insmurfably bound to each other for all time. You will smurf your own vows and in turn smurf the ring on the other's finger."

Empath was the first to take the ring. "Smurfette, from the day this smurf had met you, this smurf felt an incompleteness not just as a Smurf, but also in my very being. You have been very patient with this smurf, and you have taught this smurf more about being a Smurf than anything Papa Smurf could have taught." He then placed the ring on Smurfette's finger. "With this ring, this smurf vows that, from the depths of my own soul, to be the kind of Smurf that you want this smurf to be, to give you everything that your heart desires no matter the cost, to make you the one and only Smurf that this smurf will always love above all others."

Smurfette took the second ring. "Empath, from the moment I smurfed eyes on you, I smurfed as if my Prince Smurfing has come at last, underneath all the years of being smurfed as an emotionless Psyche. You smurfed in me things that I never thought I could possibly smurf as a Smurf, and you have smurfed me as being beautiful regardless of how I smurfed." She then placed the ring on Empath's finger. "With this ring, I vow that, from everything that I smurf within me, I will help resmurf unto you the Smurf that you should have been smurfed smurf you a home and a family that will always love you, and to have you as the one and only Smurf that I will always smurf above all others."

"Then, by the powers smurfed in me by Mother Nature and Father Time, who smurf before us as witnesses, and by all the Smurfs who have smurfed throughout the ages, I shall pronounce that Empathy Psyche Smurf and Smurfette are now husband and wife," Papa Smurf said. "May this bond between them smurf for all time!"

Every Smurf in the audience cheered wildly at the pronouncement, while Hefty thrust his fist in the air to show his approval.

"You may now kiss your bride, Empath," Papa Smurf said to the now-married couple.

"This smurf wishes to have this one dance with Smurfette before we make our vow of eternal love known, Papa Smurf," Empath requested.

Papa Smurf nodded, and Empath then turned toward Harmony, sitting by the grand piano, waiting to play that one song Empath had composed for Smurfette. He knew that now was the time and he started playing it.

Most of the other Smurfs were half-expecting Harmony to do a horrible job playing Empath's love song, since he was pretty well known as the worst musician to ever play any instrument. But this time, Harmony surprised everyone, making the piano and Empath's music sound just as beautiful as the wedding itself. Empath took Smurfette's hand as they danced with each other in their arms and Empath sweetly serenaded his newlywed wife, telling her in words and music that he would truly love her until his time was through. Smurfette felt so captivated, she truly believed everything Empath had said and even sang along, vowing to love him forever as well. As the music came to a close, the other Smurfs cheered wildly as Empath and Smurfette kissed each other.

Empath and Smurfette then met with Hefty, who basically looked happy and content.

"Hefty, I just wanted to say that you were a real gentlesmurf and I appreciate that you were willing to smurf your heart to me so that I could love Empath again," Smurfette said. "All those years that I thought that you cared mostly about your muscles, I'm glad to see the true Hefty Smurf come out once more to my rescue, and for that I am grateful and I consider you a true friend." She gave Hefty a kiss on the cheek.

"I just wanted to see you happy, Smurfette," Hefty said. "There's nothing I wouldn't do for you to make sure of that."

"And I would expect nothing less than that from Sir Hefty the Bravehearted," Smurfette said, smiling.

"It's interesting, Hefty, that with your opportunity to speak out against the union taking place, you chose to allow it without any reservation," Empath said.

"I've smurfed what I had to smurf to Smurfette and I feel content with that, Empath," Hefty said. "Not that I'm still not jealous of you right now for marrying Smurfette, but if what we smurfed through with Chlorhydris smurfed me anything, the only way I can truly smurf my love for Smurfette now is to let her go and smurf her heart to a Smurf that I can truly count upon now."

"Just to let you know, Hefty, you did tell Chlorhydris that this smurf is your friend," Empath said.

"Well, that's one thing I'm not smurfing back, Empath," Hefty said. "And if it means anything to you, I'm always going to be yours from now on."

Hefty extended his hand toward Empath, which he accepted and shook. "This smurf is honored to have you as a friend."

After Empath and Smurfette had moved on, Duncan showed up beside Hefty. "I never thought you had it in you, my boy, to smurf the heart that's underneath all them muscles that you smurf," Duncan said, slapping Hefty in the back.

"I can't fight Empath on anything, Gutsy, but I still know who I can challenge when it smurfs to being the toughest Smurf of all," Hefty said.

"Anytime, anywhere, laddie, I'll be the Smurf who can challenge you in anything...even in things that muscles and fists can't smurf," Duncan said.

Jokey had his surprise packages exploding confetti as the newlywed couple made their way to the banquet table, making the first slice in their wedding cake that Greedy had baked and designed with two tiny figurines that Sculptor had crafted on top. The other Smurfs and their guests toasted Empath and Smurfette with smurfberry wine and sarsaparilla ale, some of which got poured on their heads, and even asked if they would ever name their first child after their fellow Smurfs. Vanity with Handy's photo-smurfer made sure he took enough pictures of the happy couple so that they could remember this moment for the rest of their lives. But for the most part, Vanity wanted to remember a wedding that was just as beautiful to look at as he was, every day.

Just before Empath and Smurfette were to embark on their honeymoon to enjoy their first few days of marital bliss, Papa Smurf had to tell Empath something very important that was on his mind.

"Promise me, Empath, that when you smurf your first child with Smurfette, that you wouldn't be foolish enough to smurf him away to Psychelia. I almost missed out on being a Papa Smurf to you the first time…I just don't want to lose the chance of ever becoming a Grandpa Smurf."

Empath knew what Papa Smurf was saying. "You can count on this smurf, Papa Smurf, to make sure that, whether it's a boy or a girl, this smurf will love and care enough for the child to prevent that mistake from happening again," he affirmed. "Of course, this smurf is hoping that it would take after Smurfette!"

"I know that Empath won't smurf anything that bad," Smurfette added, laughing slightly. "But no matter Empath might teach our child about being able to smurf for the stars, he or she will still need me to smurf them back on the ground and remind them about being a Smurf, first and foremost." She hugged Papa Smurf and kissed him on the cheek. "Thank you so much for making me a real Smurf."

Papa Smurf blushed slightly. "I should thank you, Smurfette, for choosing to be a real Smurf. This wouldn't be possible if you hadn't smurfed into our lives."

The Smurflings were the last ones who wanted to say something to Empath, but weren't so sure of what to say. Finally Snappy decided to speak for them.

"Hey, Empath, you're not going to forget about us now, are you? I mean, it isn't going to be the same in the village anymore with Smurfette smurfing your reins."

"That is true, Snappy," Empath answered. "But you are part of my family now. No matter what happens between us, this smurf will still care for you and for all the other Smurfs."

"Hey, good luck, Empath and Smurfette," Slouchy said.

"May nature guide you in the right path," Nat said.

"Hasta lasagna…don't smurf any on ya!" Snappy said.

Sassette didn't know what to say, so Smurfette simply hugged her. "Take care of the Smurflings while I'm gone, little sister," she told her.

"I will, big sister," Sassette replied, wiping a tear from her eye. "And take good care of Empath for me. You're already making me jealous of you."

With those happy and heartfelt thoughts, Empath and Smurfette boarded the wicker gondola that a friendly stork was carrying to an island paradise far beyond the range of the Smurf forest. As the gondola lifted itself off the ground and the other Smurfs and guests gathered around it, Empath and Smurfette looked down at their fellow Smurfs as if it were the last time they would ever see them like this. Then Smurfette threw her bouquet to the crowd while Empath threw something frilly of Smurfette's.

"I can’t believe this!" Sassette jumped up and down with excitement. "I just smurfed the bouquet!"

"That’s nothing, Sassette!" Snappy jeered, holding up what looked like a garter. "I just smurfed something even better -- Smurfette’s slingshot!"

"Gee, Snappy, that’s a funny-smurfing slingshot you have there," Slouchy commented, sounding very sly.

"You know what they say," Nat added. "He who smurfs the slingshot must marry she who smurfs the bouquet!"

"Wait a minute!" Snappy whined, caught by surprise. "You mean -- I have to marry Sassette?"

"And I have to marry Snappy?" Sassette asked, also surprised.

Both of them stuck their tongues out at that thought. "Eeww -- that’s gross!" they both said together.

Nat and Slouchy decided to have more fun with that thought. "Snappy and Sassette sitting in a tree, s-m-u-r-f-i-n-g," they sang together, further teasing the both of them. "First comes love, then comes marriage, then comes a Smurfling in a baby carriage!"

Disgusted, Snappy and Sassette threw the bouquet and the garter at Nat and Slouchy as they laughed. They knew when they had enough teasing, even about something they certainly weren’t going to think about.

Meanwhile, Papa Smurf was watching the stork flying off into the horizon when he noticed Empath embracing Smurfette and kissing in the gondola. He didn’t notice Polaris Psyche standing right next to him until he spoke.

"Empath must have been a really special Smurf to you, Papa Smurf," Polaris commented.

"He was my son, Polaris," Papa Smurf nodded. "He made a change in my life ever since he was born. He made me a Papa Smurf long before I became that name. He made me smurf myself in ways that I have never smurfed possible. He helped bring an entire generation of orphans together into a family, and then eventually became part of it. If he ever thought he lost anything from that, I would say he gained a lot more -- the best of the both worlds he lived in."

"So that must make you the luckiest Smurf that ever lived, Papa Smurf," Polaris said.

Papa Smurf sighed, smiling. "No, Polaris...Empath is. He is definitely the luckiest Smurf of all!"