A/N: I haven't written in such a loooong time, and I was on vacation for the Fourth of July when I got bored and came up with a story. So, here it is! It's not really a romace fic (although it does have Harry/Ginny in it), which is new for me. I suppose you could call it angst, but then again I think the ending is too happy for it to really be considered angst. So we'll call it general. It is a general fic. Post HBP.
Disclaimer: I do not own Harry Potter or any of the stuff you see here. Except for Harry's tree and the Weasley's porch swing. Those were totally my doing. Although I'm sure I've read something about favorite trees or porch swings before, so I really don't even own those. So, pretty much, nothing's mine.
A/N 2: Oh, and happy (belated) Fourth of July to my fellow Yankees! And for those of you who aren't American... well, happy fourth of July to you too! I mean, every country has July fourth. What else would come between July third and July fifth?
He'll Come Around
"You sure it should be me?"
"Of course we are."
"He knows you better than he knows us."
"But I've had time with him. This could be your one chance to see him."
"We want you to go, Padfoot. He misses you."
"He loves you, Sirius."
"You're sure? I mean, he would want to see you."
"Go, Sirius. We know you miss him too."
"We'll have all the time in the world with him when it comes to that, but for now he needs you."
"But I- you're really sure?"
Harry Potter was walking through the Weasley's back yard, heading toward the tree he liked to sit under when he wanted to think. They had been searching for Horcruxes for a month now and had hardly come up with anything. They were currently trying to track down a locket that had once resided at Grimmauld Place but had been sold in one of Mundungus Fletcher's "business transactions". They weren't getting very far with it. Without Dumbledore there to guide and give helpful hints, it was beginning to seem hopeless.
Harry sat down with his back against the tree and sighed. Maybe it was hopeless. He couldn't even find the Horcux, not to mention that he had no idea what to do with it when he got it. He was only of average intelligence, he certainly wasn't any more powerful than any other wizard his age, and the only reason he was expected to defeat Voldemort was because of some stupid prophecy made before he was even born. They called him the Chosen One. The Boy Who Lived. They excpected so much of him, and it wasn't that he minded the pressure so much as that he didn't have a clue what he was doing. So far he had accomplished nothing other than disappointing everyone. He wasn't good enough. That's all there was to it.
Harry closed his eyes in frustration.
He had let them down. All of them. His friends, his teachers, the wizarding community as a whole. His parents. Sirius.
He had failed them all.
Harry's eyes shot open and he jumped to his feet. He could've sworn he'd just heard-
"S- Sirius?" He asked the thin air.
He heard a laugh that he hadn't heard in over a year, and then again he heard that voice, "Harry. Behind you."
He turned around sharply and stared. He was speechless. It couldn't be... he was dead. Harry had seen him die. Hadn't he?
He heard the laugh again. "No, Harry, I haven't come back from the dead. It's just a visit."
"Yeah, it's me."
Harry cautiously walked up to what he was sure was a hallucination of his godfather and touched his shoulder. It was solid.
"Sirius," Harry croaked, throwing his arms around his godfather and hugging him fiercely.
Sirius was slightly surprised, but smiled and returned the hug.
Sirius wa there. His godfather. Sirius. To Harry's complete horror he felt tears welling up.
"I'm sorry, Sirius," Harry said gruffly, trying to ignore the stinging in the back of his eyes.
"You're sorry? Sorry for what?"
"I failed you. I let you die. I let Dumbledore die."
Harry's frustration came out as he squeezed his eyes shut as tightly as possible, angry and upset.
"So many people have lost their lives, and all I have to show for it is a dead-end search for something we don't even know is a Horcrux. I'm not who everyone thinks I am. I'm just some stupid kid that Voldemort decided to mark or whatever."
"Whoa, whoa, Harry. You have not failed me. Or anyone else, for that matter. They're up there, Harry. Dumbledore, Diggory, your mum and dad. We're all up there, and we have been watching you, and we all agree that you are doing a fine job."
Harry pulled his head away from Sirius' shoulder and looked at him disbelievingly.
"I promise, Harry. All of us know that you're gonna do it. And if you're worried about the path you're going on now, don't be. I can't tell you everything I know, it would be breaking too many rules even for my standards, but if you promise not to tell you heard it from me... I heard Dumbledore muttering something about how impressed he was when you figured out to look for that locket."
"Really. And also, Harry, you did not let anyone die. All of our deaths can be attributed to Voldemort and his followers and nobody else. It is all his fault. The blame lays solely on him. You understand? And let me tell you something else- we all died for the cause, Harry. For your cause. For you. We didn't die because of you. We died for you. So that you can do what we all trust you to do- get rid of Voldemort once and for all."
"Dumbledore didn't die for any cause. He died becasue he was betrayed by Snape, the evil bastard. Dumbledore trusted him, and that's why he died. I could have stopped him, I could have kept him from-"
"Harry! You couldn't have stopped Snape. Dumbledore wouldn't have wanted you to stop Snape. Look, Harry, I hate the git just as much as you do, if not more. But they are some things you don't know about, and- well, that's something you'll have to take up with Dumbledore, at any rate. But what I'm trying to say is, none of it is your fault. You've done everything in your power to fight Voldemort ever since you knew who he was and who you were."
Harry stood in silence for a moment, and then asked, "How are you here, Sirius? I mean, I'm glad that you are, but how? I know you died. I was there. But you're here and you're not a ghost."
Sirius laughed again. "Of course I'm not a ghost. If I were a ghost I'd be transparent and complaining about my worldly woes. But I didn't come to explain the afterlife, Harry. I came because we decided that someone had to talk to you about not losing hope. And look, this isn't an everyday thing. Not everyone gets a visit from a dead friend whenever they feel a little hopeless. But it is imperative that you keep trying, Harry, and that is why they sent me. You have to know that you can't give up. You are the only one who can get rid of Voldemort. The only one, Harry. Do you understand that? Now, you've got some great friends that will help you get there, and they will be there at the end. But only you can deliver the final blow that will defreat him once and for all. This isn't the time for losing hope, Harry. And frankly, you have no reason to lose hope. Ron and Hermione and Ginny trust you and believe in you and are helping you in every way possible. The Order of the Phoenix has all of its resources available to you. And we're all watching over you, Harry. We know that you can- and will- defeat Voldemort. And we don't want you to forget that."
"So that's why you came? To tell me that I can't lose hope?"
"And because I wanted to see you. I've missed you, Harry. It's great being back with my best friends again, but it isn't really complete without my godson there, too. Actually, I thought Lily or James should have been the one to come to you, but they insisted that I come. I know it's probably a disappointment and that you'd have rather seen one of them-" Sirius began, but he was interrupted.
"No. No, I- tell them thanks for that. I'm glad it was you."
"Yeah. I mean, I've missed you too," Harry said quietly, and again to his horror he found that tears were welling up in his eyes.
"They wanted me to tell you that they're proud of you. And that they love you."
Harry swallowed hard.
"You have to keep fighting, Harry. We all know that you can."
"I know. Thank you."
"A lot of people love you, Harry. You know that, right?"
Harry nodded. He knew what Sirius was trying to say. It wasn't easy for him to say it directly, but Harry understood. It wasn't easy for Harry to say it, either.
"Can you... stay for a little while? You know, so we can talk and stuff?"
"Yeah, I stay for a while. But only for a little while, Harry. It's not exactly natural for me to be here."
"Yeah, I know. I just- you know, I wanna catch up."
"Well we can certainly do that. So tell me, Harry, how's Ginny?" Sirius asked with a grin.
"She's fine," Harry muttered, blushing.
"Rise and shine, sleepy head!"
Harry groaned and tried to pull his pillow over his head, but-
"You slept in the orchard all night, mate. Mum was worried sick when she didn't find you in your bed, but I had figured you had just come out here."
Harry opened his eyes and hastily shut them again. It was way too bright out.
"Come on, get up. We've got an exciting day of cursed necklace research ahead of us!"
Harry's heart sank. That's why he had come to his tree last night. Stupid Horcruxes.
"Are you okay, Harry?"
"'M fine, Ron. Just-" Harry gasped.
He had just remembered.
"What? What is it?" Ron asked in alarm.
"Ron! You'll never believe it! I came out here because I was upset about the Horcruxes, and I saw- I talked to Sirius!"
Ron looked at him in shock. "Sirius? But how-?"
"I don't know how, he said something about them sending someone to keep me from giving up hope."
"Harry- Sirius is dead."
"I know, I know, and trust me this isn't some stupid thing that I imagined because I'm still depressed about that! This was real! I talked to him. I touched him. He was right here!"
Ron gave Harry a pitying look, and Harry knew it was no use.
"Harry, I think you had a dream. Dead people don't just come for a visit when they fancy a chat."
Harry sighed. A dream. Was that all it had been? Well then it had sure been a realistic dream. No, it had to have been real. Harry had seen him. He had hugged him. And Sirius had spoken to him in a way that only he could. No Dream-Sirius could have done the same. It just wasn't possible.
He followed Ron back inside and then went up to the room they were sharing. He changed into his everyday robes, pulled on a clean pair of socks, and headed back downstairs for breakfast.
"-reckons he saw Sirius."
"Well maybe he did, Ron."
"Ginny, Sirius is dead. He couldn't have-"
"Hey guys!" Harry said cheerfully, pretending he hadn't overheard their conversation.
"Good morning, Harry," Hermione said cheerfully.
Harry smiled. Dream or no, Harry knew that Sirius was right. There was no reason to lose hope.
"Ron told us what you said about Sirius, Harry." Ginny said, coming up to him after breakfast. "I just want you to know, if you're sure you saw Sirius, then I believe you."
"Yeah, I overheard you guys before I got to the kitchen. But Ginny- why do you believe me? It seems so crazy to believe that I actually saw Sirius. I mean, who's to say it wasn't just a really good dream?"
"Harry, if you think you saw him, then you probably did. I've heard of it happening before."
"Yeah. I- well, can we take this outside?" she asked, glancing at Ron and Hermione in the next room.
"Sure," Harry said, unconsciously grabbing her hand and leading her to the back door.
"Well," Ginny began, guiding him to sit with her on the porch swing. "A couple years ago, just after my third year, actually, when Dumbledore was getting the Order together again, Mum and I were home alone and she confided something in me. We talk about things all the time, and this was one of those times when we just kind of let everything spill. So she told me about the Order, and how she wasn't sure she wanted to be a part of it. Her two younger brothers had been a part of the original Order and had died on duty. She didn't want to put any more of her family at risk like that. But she said that not long after she had decided to decline Dumbledore's invitation to join the Order, both Gideon and Fabian visited her. She couldn't believe it at first, but they talked to her and she touched them and she knew that they couldn't be her imagination. They told her that it was worth it to join the Order, and so she did. And she said that she's happy that she did. So you see, if you say you saw Sirius, then I believe you."
"Wow, I didn't know about your mum- that her brothers- I'm sorry to hear that."
"Well she's okay now. It was years and years ago, before either of us was born. So, Harry, what did Sirius have to say?"
"Well, he said that he came to tell me to not lose hope. I was feeling a bit down about everything lately, and he kind of made me snap out of it. And then he stayed and we just talked about everything. I told him about the Horcrux search and Bill and Fleur's wedding and the status of Ron and Hermione's not-quite-relationship-" at this Ginny giggled, "-and he told me about how Dumbledore was enjoying the afterlife, and that Cedric said hi, and then he told me all about my parents and the fun he'd been having with them for the past year or so. Apparently he and my dad pulled quite the prank on Dumbledore last month."
"Playing pranks in the afterlife?" Ginny laughed.
"Yeah, I know! It was great, Gin. I'm so glad he came."
"Me too, Harry."
"Thanks. For believing me. I- well, I knew you would."
"You're welcome, Harry," she said, smiling in a almost slightly bitter way as she looked at their connected hands.
"I know, I know. You're protecting me. Nobility and such. I guess I can understand."
"As soon as he's gone, Ginny."
"I just- I wish you could understand that it doesn't matter. Voldemort knows that we're all close to you, Harry. It's not like I would be any more threatened than I already am."
"I don't know, Gin... I- I just don't know."
Ginny sighed and stood off the swing, breaking the connection of their hands. She smiled at him and went back in to the house.
Harry stayed on the swing for another twenty minutes, just thinking. Then he headed back up to Ron's room. He flopped down on his bed and was surprised when he heard the wrinkling of paper. A note was sitting on his pillow, now somewhat crumpled. He picked it up curiously and read it's contents.
It wasn't a dream, Harry. I promise.
There was a paw print next to the signature. Harry grinned, and then looked at the note on the bottom that was in completely different hand writing.
Oh and Harry- keep Ginny close. It's what you both want, and
you aren't keeping her any safer by not being with her. I promise.
PS: Dad and Dumbledore say hi. And Cedric Diggory, too. We love you,
and we're all counting on you. We know you can do it, sweetheart.
Harry's smiled widened. Of course it hadn't been a dream.
"Look, Sirius! He got our note."
"I can't believe you guys didn't let me write anything!"
"I told him you said hi."
"Yeah, as a post script. I should've gotten to write something myself!"
"Oh hush, James. It doesn't matter, it's done now."
"You guys, look. He just stood up, and he's got that look on his face."
"Oh wow, Padfoot, look at that. He does have that look on his face. In fact, if I'm not mistaken, I think that's an exact replica of my Determined-To-Get-A-Girl face."
"James, the only look you ever had was the Oh-Please-Lily-Won't-You-Just-Go-Out-With-Me-Once? face."
"Oh shut it, you."
"Quiet, boys! Look at him. He looks like he's going to pounce her!"
"Poor girl doesn't know what's coming to her."
"Don't be silly, Sirius. She sees him coming, look at that smile on her face."
"Well would you look at that! My son, the romancer. 'Atta boy, Harry!"
"You did it, Sirius. You gave him hope. I knew he would come around."
"We all did, Lils. We all did."
A/N 3: Well, what did you think? Like it? Hate it? Have something constructive to say? Whatever you've got, I'll take it! I looove reviews!