Sooner or Later
Disclaimer: Let's face it. We all know I don't own any of the characters from the Harry Potter books. So if you see something here that was ever mentioned in the books remember that I was only given the material I didn't create it!
Chapter Eighteen: They've Been There All Along
Many tears were spread the day of graduation. Tears of happiness for some, and tears of sadness for others. It had taken a lot of concentration for Harry himself to make it through as far as he did without showing emotion himself.
He'd stepped away from the crowd for a moment hoping to get a clear shot at somewhere quieter. But on his way his heart jumped when he finally found his godfather.
"Sirius!", Harry jogged over, "I've been looking everywhere for you!"
"I've been around", Sirius grinned as Harry pulled him into a hug, "I'm so proud of you Harry"
"I sounded so stupid up there", Harry sighed staring down at the ground.
"You spoke from your heart", Sirius handed a small box to Harry, "This is for you…I've been saving it for you since your parents died"
Harry swallowed hard, "Do you want me to…to open it now?"
"I think you should wait until your alone", Sirius stared at Harry, "They'd be very proud of you Harry"
"Really?", Harry's eyes lit up.
"Well of course…I just wish you could've known them. The way that I knew them", Sirius frowned shutting his eyes briefly, "Well go on Harry…enjoy your day you deserve it"
"Thanks Sirius", Harry turned to leave. But then he paused briefly before turning back around, "For everything"
"Go on Harry!", Sirius waved him off, "We have the whole future ahead. Your graduation only lasts one day"
Giving Sirius one last glance Harry rushed off in his search for someone else.
"THERE YOU ARE!", A loud voice shouted from behind Harry.
Harry laughed, "Hey Ron…and stop while your ahead! I don't need to listen to how stupid I sounded"
"You were brilliant", Ron slammed his arm around Harry, "But are you ready for the real celebration now?"
"I thought we were doing the family thing at your place", Harry stared at his best friend curiously.
Ron nodded, "Oh we are…but tomorrow were outta here"
"Your winding me up…", Harry grinned.
"Hermione and me have been planning it for weeks", Ron continued ignoring Harry, "The one last adventure before we go our separate ways"
"RON!", Harry shouted making eyes turn to the two of them.
"Were going to Disneyland!", Ron jumped in the air.
"You aren't serious are you?", Harry bit his lip to stop laughing.
"Not really…I just always wanted to say that", Ron shrugged.
"So where are we really going?", Harry grew more interested by the second.
"Well it's going to sound dull to you now…but Hermione and I kind of have a surprise for you", Ron kept going, "So all I can tell you is were going to the sunshine state"
"California?", Harry asked, "and what's the surprise?"
"Geeze Harry…no Florida!", Ron laughed, "and of course I can't tell you"
"So all your telling me is Hermione…you and me are going to Florida…tomorrow?", Harry raised an eyebrow, "Have either of you ever been to the states?"
"Hermione has", Ron assured Harry, "she's the smartest kid in our year…I think she can plan a trip"
"You seriously had me believing we were going to Disneyland", Harry heard more footsteps coming their way, "Hey Hermi"
Hermione had tears rolling down her face. So Ron being himself couldn't resist a joke, "What's wrong? Were you not really at the top of the class?"
Hermione ignored her boyfriend turning to Harry, "That was beautiful Harry…so much better than mine. Everyone's talking about you out there"
Harry turned red, "It wasn't anything special…"
Brushing away the tears Hermione took a deep breath, "You didn't tell him did you?"
"I only told him that were leaving tomorrow", Ron shook his head, "I can keep a secret"
"Your parents are looking for you Ron", Hermione pointed out Ron's parents, "Your coming to Ron's right Harry?"
"Yeah…I just have to talk to one more person", Harry nodded, "I'll be there in a bit"
"See you soon", Hermione pulled Harry into a hug before her and Ron walked off hand in hand.
Scanning the crowd Harry finally spotted him. He'd been wanting to talk to Remus for the longest time. And now only one thing was stopping him.
"Harry", A small voice called from behind, "I was hoping I could catch you"
Harry turned around looking for whomever the voice belonged to, "Professor Sanibel?"
"Well firstly I wanted to congratulate you of course", Professor Sanibel smiled at Harry, "Wonderful speech. But I also wanted to talk to you about something else"
"Look if this is about you and Sirius I told Sirius…if he wants to get married that's his business", Harry stared at the ground again uneasily.
"I want you to like me Harry…if I marry Sirius I'm going to be apart of your life whether you like it or not", Professor Sanibel continued, "I know you were hurt to be the last to find out. And we should've done it differently…I'll admit to it"
"It's okay Professor really", Harry repeated, "I'm happy for you both"
"Harry you don't have to call me that anymore", Professor Sanibel interrupted, "Nicole is fine…"
"I hate to be rude but…I kind of wanted to have a word with Remus before I went to the Weasley's…I'm certain you'll be there?", Harry snapped half irritated.
"Yes…", Nicole stuttered, "Of course…I won't keep you"
"Alright…thanks though", Harry gave her a fake smile, "Even though I've been a brat to you doesn't mean I don't like you"
"Oh Harry!", She wrapped her arms around the boy startling him, "I've been waiting so long to hear you say that"
Gently patting her on the back Harry caught Sirius' eye in the crowd. He was smiling like mad of course, his family 'I told you so' grin on his face.
"I'll see you later", Harry pulled away spotting Jodie rushed over, "Jodie wait!"
Jodie turned around and for the first time Harry noticed something in her arms, "Hey you brought Lily!"
"She wanted to see you of course!", Jodie smiled handing the small baby over, "Would you mind Harry?"
"Not at all", Harry shook his head, "Have you seen Remus?"
"Oh I'm sorry…he got called off somewhere right after the ceremony", Jodie frowned, "can I help you with something?"
"No that's alright", Harry stated sounding disappointed, "I'll just catch up with him later. Are you coming to the Weasley's?"
"Yep", Jodie nodded pushing some hair our of her face, "Remus said he'd meet us there if he could…amazing she wouldn't stop crying before and now she's happy…"
"Guess it depends on who's holding her", Sirius snuck up behind Harry.
"Sirius!", Harry jumped up startled, "Didn't see you there…"
"Little jumpy?", Sirius laughed grabbing Lily, "Were heading over to Ron's…they already left"
"Okay", Harry nodded, "I'll meet you there"
Before traveling to the Weasley's, Harry decided he couldn't wait any longer to see what was in the box Sirius had given him. So he made his way to the closest bathroom pulling the small box out of his pocket.
Unwrapping the package Harry pulled the top of the box off. When he saw what was inside his knees suddenly gave out knocking him to the floor. Wrapped inside the small package were his parents wedding rings.
He looked up when he heard the door slam closed.
"Great just great!", Draco Malfoy snapped seeing Harry on the floor, "listen if your killing yourself or something…I didn't see it I'm not involved"
Harry shook his head slightly, "Are you okay?"
"I could as you the same question", Draco looked in the mirror, "I tell you one thing Potter you are one lucky guy not having any parents to deal with"
"What are you saying?", Harry quickly shut the box closed, "You know what I would give to talk to my parents just one time? Don't you ever say that about your parents!"
Draco rolled his eyes, "Should've figured you'd say that. What about you?"
"Well…your sitting on the floor. In the boys bathroom. Is that your normal routine?", Draco looked down at Harry.
"My godfather gave me something…of my parents. I guess I just freaked out", Harry shrugged.
"Oh", Draco looked at his watch, "I have to get going. Have a nice life Potter"
"Guess I'll be hearing from you soon", Harry pulled himself back to his feet, "and I'm sure it won't be pleasant"
"Don't remind me", Draco sighed, "another reason to hate my father"
"Would you stop with that already?", Harry blurted out.
"You've met him…he's nothing special", Draco spoke back, "See you later Potter"
"Bye", Harry mouthed he himself following Draco out of the bathroom. The grounds had already started to clear. He assumed Sirius and everyone else too had left. So he too decided with one last look at the school that had been his home for the last seven years, that it was time to move on.
Upon arriving at the Weasley's, Harry had a rough time composing himself again. The shock of the box he'd earlier opened had opened a small hole inside him. For not the first time, he was wishing he had parents like Ron or Hermione instead living parentless.
Hoping to make a quiet entrance, Harry slowly entered the Weasley's house. He figured everyone was outside when he heard no voices.
"Harry dear there you are…we've been waiting. Picture time!", Mrs. Weasley's overexcited voice pulled Harry toward her.
Harry smiled as Mrs. Weasley dragged him outside, "Oh pictures…just what I hoped you'd say"
"Well it's about time!", Ron groaned when Harry appeared, "were starving!"
"Sorry", Harry muttered briefly.
Mr. Weasley had now taken over, "Okay Harry you stand between Ron and Hermione and--"
"Excuse me everyone but I…I need to talk to Harry"
All eyes turned, especially Harry's. And when then did he was standing face to face with Sarah Winston.
"Sarah?", Harry blurted out, "What are you doing here?"
"I'm sorry Harry…I've been meaning to talk to you for ages now", Sarah brushed a tear from her face, "Can we talk somewhere private?"
Harry had hardly noticed the crowd of people staring at Sarah, "Oh yes…of course"
The two finally settled down in the Weasley's kitchen. But somehow Harry knew everyone would be listening any anyway.
"What's going on? I thought you hated me…", Harry tried his hardest to look up at Sarah.
"I didn't know about Malfoy or….I didn't know Harry. And I'm sorry from the bottom of my heart. Hermione told me…told me everything. I'm so sorry Harry…", Sarah touched Harry's hand lightly.
"Then why did you wait until now to talk to me?", Harry pulled away.
"I was scared. After I found out about your running away and…well what matters is I'm here now right?", Sarah pleaded.
"So what do you want me to say?", Harry asked.
Sarah looked taken aback, "Well I….gosh Harry I don't know"
"Look we can be friends but…my life is pretty complicated these days Sarah. You don't want to be anymore than a friend to me", Harry took a deep breath, "maybe some day but…I can barely take care of myself these days"
"I should get going then…", Sarah held her breath uncomfortably.
"I'm sorry Sarah…I know this isn't want you expected", Harry shook his head, "and I'm probably making the stupidest decision of my life. But it's my stupid decision and I'm not going to change it"
Sarah nodded, "I have to get back home"
"Okay", Harry sighed, "I have to get back out there…so I guess I'll see you around?"
Standing up from the table Harry's head felt like it was spinning. Even though he'd heard Sarah close the door behind her he still muttered, "See you then"
Seconds later the back door opened with whispers of, "Harry what's going on? Harry what was she doing here? Are you going out now?"
Harry shrugged them all of, "I think I'm just going to go home…I'm kind of tired"
Sirius stared at Harry, "Harry…don't you think you can stick it out a little while?"
"I guess", Harry shrugged.
"What's wrong? Don't you feel well?", Jodie put her hand on Harry's forehead.
"In a way…no", Harry thought out loud.
Shooing everyone out of the room Sirius sat Harry down next to him, "Alright Harry there gone. Now what's bothering you?"
"I opened it", Harry took a deep breath, "Guess it's just got me kind of down. That they aren't here"
"Harry if I wouldn't known---"
"It's not your fault", Harry interrupted, "I'm just being stupid"
"Being stupid? Do you really think that?", Sirius blurted out, "It's normal for you to feel this way. Especially on days like today. I can completely understand that it's not the same having Jodie…or me or anyone else here as substitutes"
"I just told Sarah I wouldn't go out with her", Harry added.
"I think you did the right thing", Sirius assured Harry, "You have to get your own life on track right now. Here…I'll get you something to drink and we'll go out there and do our best for at least a hour. Okay?"
But Harry did something completely unexpected. A small tear fell from his face.
Sirius quickly pulled Harry into a hug, "It's my fault Harry…they should be here"
Uncontrollable tears flowing down his face Harry remained silent for a moment, "It's just not fair. Why can't at least one of them be here? Ron and Hermione have both of their parents…why can't I have one"
Sirius not knowing how to respond gently rubbed Harry's back, "Why don't you go wait out front. I'll go tell everyone something's come up"
Harry nodded rubbing his eyes. Sirius slowly let go of Harry before he went back outside.
"Were going to get going now", Sirius caught everyone's attention.
"Is everything alright?", Hermione who was closest to Sirius asked.
"It's a hard day for him", Sirius sighed, "he's having a tough time with his parents not being here"
Hermione could've sworn her heart stopped for a moment, "I never thought of it…were so stupid…"
Sirius shook his head, "Don't blame yourself…he's pretty good at hiding these things usually. I'll have him ready for tomorrow…he needs the break more then anyone. Just be careful with the surprise…if he's having such a hard time with this it might not be the best idea"
"It could help him though", Ron too had joined the conversation, "don't you think?"
"It's a fifty fifty shot. It's either going to help him or hurt him", Sirius shrugged, "but if you notice any odd behavior please promise me you'll get him out of there"
"Of course", Ron spoke for Hermione, "well…you better go. I hope Harry feels better"
"Me too Ron. Me too"
When Sirius and Harry got home nothing more had been said. Harry had simply rushed up to bed throwing a pillow over his head. He hadn't even bothered to climb under the covers or shut his door, which was unusual for him.
Sirius slowly entered the room, "Harry don't you want to change into something more comfortable?"
Harry shook his head.
"You'll feel better", Sirius went to Harry's dresser pulling a pair of pajamas our, "Come on Harry"
Pulling Harry to a sitting position Sirius helped him pull his shirt off. When Harry was finally changed Sirius pulled the covers out for him. Harry gratefully climbed in.
Sirius sat down on the bed next to his godson, "I know it doesn't help…but Harry I love you as if you were my own son. I know I'm a horrible father replacement but I just wanted you to know that"
Harry laid still shutting his eyes.
"Sleep well", Sirius patted Harry's shoulder, "I'll leave your door open"
Sirius stood up and walked away hoping Harry would think he left. Sure enough Harry immediately sat up. He walked over to his school trunk and pulled something out. Sirius already knew what it was, and his heart ached watching his godson.
Harry was staring down at one of the few pictures that Sirius had retrieved from the Potter's house. One that had been taking only days before James and Lily died.
Harry shook a bit as he threw the picture back inside his trunk. Finally he climbed back into bed, no doubt silently crying himself to sleep.
Feeling horrible about it Sirius shook Harry awake the next morning. He'd already packed everything he thought the boy would need. Ron and Hermione were waiting in the family room.
"Harry", Sirius muttered in his ear, "Harry your friends are here"
Harry's eyes snapped open, "What do you mean?"
"Ron and Hermione are taking you on a little trip remember?", Sirius smiled, "they told me what they have planned. I hope you enjoy it"
Harry took a deep breath, "I'm not sure I feel like going anymore"
"Your going", Sirius commanded, "so get yourself cleaned up in downstairs pronto"
Making sure Harry really had gotten up Sirius proceeded to go back downstairs.
"How is he today?", Hermione set her backpack on the ground, "any better?"
Sirius frowned, "About the same. Doesn't know I saw but…he cried himself to sleep last night"
Hermione shut her eyes for a moment, "I can't even begin to imagine what he's going through"
"Me either…couldn't imagine never even getting the chance to know my brother. I'm really not sure which would hurt worse", Ron shook his head.
"You mean knowing the person or not having the chance?", Hermione spoke up, "They're both horrible"
"He'll get through it though", Sirius assured them, "he's the strongest boy I've ever met"
"Maybe he's too strong", Hermione looked from Ron to Sirius, "maybe he's been taught to keep to himself for so long…that he doesn't know how to handle it anymore"
"Could very well be", Sirius sat down "but then I keep telling myself. Everything happens for a reason. Harry could've grown up a spoiled brat otherwise"
Ron laughed, "I could hardly imagine Harry as a spoiled brat"
Sirius laughed along, "True…but who knows. All those years at the Dursley's would be enough to send me to the nuthouse. He handled it well"
"Are they really that bad?", Hermione who'd never met Harry's family asked.
"Trust me they are", Ron nodded, "especially his fat cousin…they must've fed that kid Harry's share since the two of them were born"
"Hey Harry", Hermione smiled cheerfully seeing Harry drag himself downstairs, "ready too go?"
Harry shrugged looking over at Sirius, "Thanks for packing for me"
"No problem", Sirius stood up as Hermione and Ron had, "Did you two have breakfast yet?"
"Figured we'd pick something up at the airport", Hermione explained, "it's really too bad we can't just apparate"
"I don't even know if I could master that distance", Sirius laughed, "I feel much better knowing you three are in the hands of professionals"
"Well we'd better get going", Ron grabbed Harry's bag from him.
"Didn't you hear?", Hermione asked Harry who was looking at Ron oddly, "Ron got his license last summer"
"Oh", Harry nodded, "He didn't mention that"
"Have a great trip", Sirius nodded to Hermione and Ron, "Remember what we talked about"
Harry now turned his curious glance to Sirius. He didn't have time to comment however because Hermione and Ron had already pulled him out the door.
Even though he had no idea where they were going. Had no clue what was going on. Harry felt a bit of comfort in his two friends. They were looking out for him more then usual, making sure he was okay. Harry knew how stupid he must have look last night, so he also knew where the looks were coming from.
So by the time they got to the airport and boarded the plane Harry was feeling more relaxed. He shut his eyes leaning back in his chair.
Last night he'd learned one thing. No matter how he acted, no matter what stupid things he did Ron, Hermione, Sirius and everyone else would be there for him. And if he couldn't have his real family, this was the next best thing. He was only happy to have learned this sooner rather than later.
Aww…what a nice ending. Harry finally figured out after an entire year that his family had been there all along. Sure took him long enough. But wait…it's not over yet! What is this surprise Sirius, Ron, and Hermione were talking about? And what about that race for Minister of magic?
Look out for the sequel soon.
But until then this is time for my long soppy author's note. Firstly even if I don't hit my record this chapter, I really want to tell all the reviewers know that they are the reason that this story happened. If it wasn't for you guys I wouldn't have finished that.
Now you may say this is a clique and then I'm supposed to say this stuff…but I'm serious. Without your kind reviews I wouldn't have had the energy to finish this. So thank you from the bottom of my heart.
So after nearly one hundred days of work. Yes this fic started way back when we were still on summer vacation! I'm ready to put it on the shelf. But in the mean time please check out my other two stories. Brotherly Love which is the sequel to Pathways. And Anything But Ordinary which is the sequel to your longtime favorite Shades of Blue and Yellow.
Hope to hear from you all this chapter!
Hermione Cartwright- Hahah thanks. I reread it…I was pretty proud of it myself. I think I rushed through the first half of this chapter…but I really wanted to end this thing. I'll tell you one thing though…get ready for Anything But Ordinary. I have a brilliant plot! It's my first attempt at a more action/adventure fic!
Arwena- Hahah okay? Not sure I understood you but hey thanks for reviewing throughout this story!
Harrystwin- I almost had tears in my eyes myself when I read my last paragraph in this chapter. Here have a tissue! J/k…but really you've been with me since the beginning of this fic and I thank you from the bottom of my heart.
Minerva-Severus-Dumbledor- Interesting name…yeah like I said to Harrystwin…I almost had tears in my eyes myself when I wrote that last paragraph. I can't believe I actually finished this story! It's certainly been a long journey.
Fickle- Alright then! Thanks for reviewing!
SilverMoon- I know I know…your probably going to beat me over the head for not getting this out last weekend…but I was sick! There that's my excuse.
Ciria- I put quite a few Harry/Sirius moments in this one. I wanted to end with them on a good note. Harry sure has grown up a lot in this story. It's been a long journey for him…and the journey has only just begun.
Bookworm2000- I'm going to miss your comments which never make sense to me! Thanks for sticking with me!
Them Girl- This one was sad in its way as well…I didn't mean to do it two chapters in a row. Just fell that way. Thanks for reading my story!
A. Reader- Thank you soo sooo much!
Anaticulapraecantrix- I'm going to miss the fact that I have to copy/paste your name! I think Harry does deserve a hug. He's finally found his family.
Someone-Sarah is not in anyway related to Chloe. They're too different stories. And Sarah will be a big part of the next one so get used to her!
-_- I intend too! Just not for this story….
Lucerito-del-alba- I've always hated Fudge…that was just me making him look bad because I hate him. Excuse my behavior…Fudge just really made me mad at the end of book four. He's the worst minister of magic in the world.
CNJ- Hey I hope you realized this was the last chapter! Everyone compares my new stories to my horrible old ones….lol but I guess your right. Oh no…I forgot to read it again didn't I? Well thanks for your support in my stories!
He thought it was in the past. He thought he wouldn't have to worry any longer. But when new dark forces join with old ones Harry has a big decision to make. And it's one he's going to have to make all by himself.
Look for A Heart Without A Home soon by an AngelDusterBuster near you!
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Until next chapter remember to review this one! The more reviews I get the faster you'll see the next chapter. So why wouldn't you review? Hmm…that sounds pretty good to me!