Every storm runs, runs out of rain
Just like every dark night turns into day
Every heartache will fade away
Just like every storm runs, runs out of rain
It's gonna set you free,
It's gonna run out of pain,
And set you free
Teddy peered out at the crowd. Parents and siblings were shuffling around, looking for seats. Teddy spotted his grandmother and Harry sitting in the middle. He gave them a small wave before turning around.
The graduation ceremony took place outside every year. It was always held in front of the lake. The teachers always spent hours the day before conjuring up a beautiful stage and decorating it with colors of each House.
The weather was warm and sunny, perfect for an outside ceremony. All the girls were wearing light summer dresses and the boys were hot and stuffy in their dress pants and shirts. Teddy tugged at his graduation gown uncomfortably. It really was hot outside.
"Nervous?" Finn asked.
Teddy gulped. "Nope."
"You lying to me?"
Finn grinned. "Don't worry so much, mate. You'll be brilliant. I heard your speech. It was great."
"Really? I thought you hated it."
"No! I said I hated that there wasn't a bigger portion dedicated to me and the huge role I played in your life."
"You're an idiot." Teddy rolled his eyes.
Finn sighed and looked around. He smiled at the castle. "I can't believe that in a few hours, we'll no longer be students at this place."
Teddy shook his head. "It seems too soon."
"This is gonna be the first summer where we don't have to worry about homework or coming back the next semester."
"This summer is gonna be so weird," Teddy said, shaking his. "I'm moving out."
Finn grimaced. "Lucky you. I'd do anything to leave that hellhole I call home."
"Then why don't you?" Teddy asked. "Move in with me."
Finn blinked. "What?"
"Number 4 Grimmauld Place is huge. There's plenty of extra rooms. And it's not like you'd have to pay rent for it or anything."
Finn shook his head. "No, it's your new place. I don't wanna intrude. I'll just suck it up and live with my parents for a few months until I start earning some real money. Who knows, maybe they'll be different now that I've got an actual future to look forward to."
Teddy raised his eyebrows. "Your parents suck, Finn. You can't stay with them. Come live with me! It'll be so much fun. Listen, I was gonna ask you before, but we got into that whole fight…"
Finn grimaced. "Yeah, about that. I never really apologized. You were right, I was a dick to Sienna and I don't deserve her."
Teddy shook his head. "No, it wasn't my place to say anything. I should've stayed out of whatever you and Sienna were going through."
"No, you were looking out for S. You were a better friend to her than I ever was."
Teddy nodded. "So, are we good then?" he asked awkwardly.
"Yeah, of course, mate. The whole fight was just stupid."
"And long," Teddy added. "I think that's the longest I've ever been mad at you."
"It was," Finn said, "and it sucked. Do you know how many things I wanted to tell you but couldn't?"
"Mate, I'm serious about wanting you to move in with me. It'll be so much fun and I don't wanna be in that huge house all by myself. I'll get so bored."
Finn hesitated. "You really don't mind?"
"I already know which room you should have."
Finn grinned. "Well, then…alright!" He laughed. "We're gonna be roomies again! It's like nothing's changed!"
"Hey, guys, the ceremony's about to begin!" Luke exclaimed, appearing beside them, holding Grace's hand.
Grace eyed them warily. "Are you two okay? You look like you're about to cry or kiss. I'm never really sure with the two of you."
"Me and Teddy are living together!" Finn revealed, looking ecstatic.
Sienna ran up to them. "Hey, they're about to call all the seventh years up! We should get going soon." She allowed Finn to kiss her cheek.
"Wait!" Victoire and Skylar came running up to them. "We wanted to wish you guys luck before the ceremony began!" Victoire said breathlessly.
"And to say our final goodbyes," Skylar added, her eyes watering.
"Don't cry!" Finn ordered. "Don't go soft on me, Grey."
Skylar sniffled. "It's just…everything's changing now…and it's the last day we'll be together…"
"What are you talking about?" Sienna laughed. "We still have the entire summer ahead of us!"
Skylar hesitated. "Actually, we don't. I'm leaving first thing tomorrow for Madrid."
"Wait, what?" Grace frowned. "Why?"
"A few months ago, I asked Sienna's mum about my modeling career and she sent in my portfolio to a few people. She wrote to me last week and said that there was this amazing opportunity for me to go to Madrid this summer and work on the runway. She said that the designers really loved my look." Skylar looked around at all of them nervously. "It really is an amazing opportunity."
"And you leave tomorrow?" Sienna asked softly.
"First thing tomorrow morning." Skylar sighed. "My dad's already booked the flight and he's coming with me."
"You're flying there?" Finn said, making a face. "You really trust muggle transportation?"
Sienna looked at Skylar intently. "Skye, you went to my mum about this?"
"I know you and your mother have issues and she may suck as a mum, but you can't deny she's good at what she does." Skylar shrugged. "She hooked me up with the best people, and if you hadn't quit modeling a few years ago, I reckon you'd be huge by now, S."
Sienna sighed. "Just be careful, okay? I don't want you getting hurt because of my mother."
"She won't hurt me," Skylar told her. "She hurt you because she put being your manager ahead of being your mother. I won't have that problem with her. She's not my mum."
Sienna nodded. "Just still promise me you'll be careful. The modeling world is crazy. You have to be strong if you want to go into it."
Grace forced a smile. "I'm sure you'll be brilliant, Skye. I just wish you would've given me a heads up. How long are you going to be gone?"
"Most of the summer," Skylar said.
"Is that what that letter was about?" Grace asked, crossing her arms.
"Don't be mad," Skylar sighed. "I promise I will be back with plenty of time for us to hang out this summer. It's just…I really wanna do this. It'd be a dream come true."
Victoire shot Grace a look before smiling at Skylar. "Congratulations, Skye. It really does sound like an amazing opportunity. It's Madrid!"
Skylar smiled. "Thanks, Vic."
"I'm happy for you too. I'm just gonna miss you." Grace grumbled.
"You'll be amazing," Sienna told Skylar sincerely. "I mean, you're gorgeous. So much prettier than all those other girls, I bet."
Teddy raised his eyebrows. "Wow. I guess everybody's going their own way this summer."
"What do you mean?" Victoire frowned.
Luke glanced at Grace anxiously. "Well, Finn and I received our letters about Quidditch camp yesterday. The Chudley Cannons are interested in us and they want us to get to camp early."
"How early?" Grace asked, stunned.
"Next week," Luke said after a moment of hesitation. "Gracie, I'm so sorry I didn't tell you sooner. It's just…I was trying to find the right time…"
"We only have one more week together?" Grace yelped. "I thought we had an entire summer!"
Victoire glanced at Sienna. "Please tell me you're not going away too."
"Nope. I'll be locked up in the studio all summer." Sienna glanced at Finn. "That is, when I'm not visiting my wickedly talented boyfriend at camp."
Finn grinned, leaning down to kiss Sienna.
Teddy sighed and wrapped his arm around Victoire. "I guess it's true. We're all going our separate ways this summer."
Victoire looked around at all her friends. "We still have one last night together, you guys. Let's make it count."
"Seventh years, please come take your seats," the Headmaster announced.
"We need to get going," Luke said grimly.
"Group hug?" Grace suggested.
"I don't do hugs," Victoire said.
"You will today," Skylar ordered, pushing Victoire forward.
"Get in here, Weasley," Finn shouted.
The seven of them came together for a hug.
"It's the end of an era," Victoire said, her eyes glittering with tears.
"Last call for all seventh years!" The Headmaster said once more, his voice amplified by his wand.
"We should really get going this time," Sienna said, slipping her hand into Findley's.
Luke gave Grace a quick kiss. "I love you," he told her sincerely.
Grace sighed. "I love you too," she replied with a sad smile.
"Time for my heartwarming speech," Teddy announced nervously.
"You'll do great, Teddy," Victoire promised, giving him a small push.
The four of them made their way to their seats, where Slughorn was waiting impatiently.
"Well, I reckon we should find our own seats," Skylar said. "Pretty soon, all the seats will be filled up."
Victoire nodded. "Yeah, okay." She was watching Teddy head up to the stage. He took his seat on stage beside several other students who were giving speeches.
"Oh, perfect!" Skylar exclaimed, pointing down the row. "Three seats!"
The three girls made their way down the aisle and took their seats in between two families. "These seats are kinda far away," Grace complained.
"We should've tried to find seats earlier," Skylar said, shaking her head grimly.
Victoire looked up ahead. She spotted Andromeda sitting near the middle. Her graying hair was pulled up into a clip. She was wearing a modest, dark blue summer dress. Victoire watched her with a sad smile as she kept dabbing her eyes with a handkerchief. Harry was sitting beside her, flashing several pictures of Teddy up on the stage. Ginny was on his other side. She was chatting casually with the mum beside her, small laughs escaping her every so often.
Victoire suddenly felt a lump in her throat. She stood up abruptly.
"Vic, what are you doing?" Grace asked.
"Erm…bathroom…" Victoire said quickly.
"Are you sure?" Skylar asked, checking her watch. "The ceremony will probably start soon. You wouldn't want to miss the beginning."
"I'll be quick," she muttered. Victoire made her way down the aisle and quickly scurried back up to the castle.
"Ms. Weasley, where are you going?" Professor Flitwick squeaked as Victoire reached the large double doors.
"Bathroom," Victoire replied.
"Smart idea!" He replied. "The ceremony tends to drag on a bit. So many students!"
Victoire nodded and made her way inside, heading straight for the girl's bathroom. She burst inside and locked the door behind her. Victoire wasn't quite sure why she suddenly felt so panicky. Her heart was racing, her palms were unusually sweaty, and her breathing had become heavy.
"Don't do this, Victoire," Victoire muttered to herself, making her way to the sink. She looked at herself in the mirror. "Don't," she told herself more urgently, but it was too late. The tears were already streaming down her cheeks and her face had become red and blotchy. Victoire let out a small sob and buried her face in her hands, crying softly all alone in the bathroom.
For the past two weeks, Victoire had been able to ignore Chris dying and the fact that everything was changing around her. She'd buried herself in schoolwork and helping Teddy prepare for his speech. There'd been packing and lists to make and last-minute assignments to turn in. She'd been so busy, she'd hardly had time to think about all the changes happening around her. Her four best friends were graduating and would not be returning. Pretty soon, Luke and Finn would be playing Quidditch professionally, and she doubted she'd see them very often. Sienna was going to go off on a world tour if everything went according to plan, and if that worked out, there was no way Victoire would get to see her as often. She'd be off in different countries every weekend. Teddy was going off to train to be an Auror. None of them would be returning next year either. Victoire would never have breakfast with them in the Great Hall again or wake up in Teddy's dormitory with Finn throwing chocolate frogs at her face or play alongside the guys at Quidditch games. It would all be different next year. Even the summer was going to be different. Everybody was going off to do their own thing. Skylar would be going off to Madrid to be in fashion shows and photo shoots. Luke and Finn would be at camp most of the summer. Sienna and Teddy would probably be extremely busy. Nothing would be the same.
Worst of all? Chris was dead. Victoire found it harder and harder every day to imagine continuing her life without him. She would never again hear his laugh or see his smile. She would never again have to listen to his rants about protecting the environment or securing equal rights for half-breeds. She would never again force him to listen to her complain about Teddy or her parents. She would never again hear his voice. And that absolutely terrified her.
"Hey, Vic?" Skylar knocked on the door. "Are you alright in there? Gracie sent me to check up on you."
Victoire took a deep breath. "I'm fine," she replied shakily.
There was a pause. "Vic," Skylar said slowly after a moment.
"I'm fine!" Victoire said forcefully. "I'll be right out." She gulped and looked at herself in the mirror once more. After taking several deep breaths, Victoire's breathing became steadier and her heartbeat slowed.
"Victoire!" Skylar called out once more, her voice more panicked.
Sighing, Victoire straightened up and walked over to the door. "What?" she asked, opening the door.
Skylar surveyed her uneasily. "You've been crying," she said.
Victoire swallowed. "It's nothing."
"Vic," Skylar sighed, "it's okay to be upset."
Victoire wiped her eyes. "It just hit me, that's all."
"What hit you?"
"The fact that everything's changing. Everybody's going their separate ways."
Skylar's eyes softened. "If you don't want me to go to Madrid—"
"Don't be stupid," Victoire interrupted. "Of course I want you to go to Madrid. I'm just really going to miss you. I'm gonna miss everyone. And it wouldn't be so bad if…"
"Chris were still alive?" Skylar finished for her, her voice softening.
Victoire nodded. "I can only take so much, you know? It's like Chris died and that was hard enough and then everyone leaves and everything begins to change all at once. It just freaked me out."
"You know, it's been two weeks since the funeral, and no matter how much time passes, I still can't come up with the right thing to say to you. And I'm beginning to realize there isn't a right thing to say. What happened…well, it sucks."
Victoire looked at her. "Skye, I know you don't like to talk about it, but…when did it begin to get better after your mum died?"
Skylar blinked. "Honestly, it still hurts a little bit. But I had my dad and my sister at the time. And one day, I woke up and it didn't hurt so much. I can't lie to you and tell you it ever stops hurting, but it does get better. Much better."
Victoire nodded. "That's good."
Outside, the choir began singing. Skylar glanced at the large double doors. "The ceremony's beginning."
"We should go," Victoire finally said. "I don't want to miss Teddy's speech."
The two girls started forward and stepped outside. Grace was ushering them over, mouthing for them to hurry up. Victoire could see Teddy on stage, listening to the choir singing. When he spotted her, Teddy grinned and winked. Victoire smiled and followed Skylar down the aisle toward their seats.
She thought back to what Teddy had said to her all those months ago. He said they'd either sink or swim as a couple but he was willing to take that risk, because he knew they'd swim. Victoire couldn't help but feel guilty. He always had so much faith in their relationship, in her.
"Teddy's about to begin his speech," Grace whispered as Victoire took her seat. Grace glanced sideways at Victoire. She noticed her red eyes and puffy cheeks. "Are you okay?"
Victoire smiled. "I will be. I've got you guys, don't I?"
Grace nodded and smiled. "Yeah, you do."
A/N: Hey, guys! Thanks so much for reading this fic and leaving me all those wonderful reviews and messages! This is the last chapter of Sink or Swim; however, I am working on writing a sequel to it called Marching On. I hope you all take the time to check it out!