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And so we have come to the final chapter of this story which has just been oodles of fun to write. I hope you guys enjoy the end and that it leaves you with the only the fondest memories of this fic! You guys rock!

Chapter Twelve

Found

*Ava*

By the next morning, Ava was singing a completely different tune.

For some reason the very thought of chasing Sirius down at Hogwarts didn’t seem appealing anymore. He had apologized and everything, but something still held her back from going. Perhaps it was just best for them to be friends.

The first time they had tried to move to some other level was a total disaster. And accepting an apology from a friend could wait until the end of break. If she went running to Hogwarts that meant she had fallen for Sirius Black, same as practically every girl in school. Ava’s mind seemed to be calmed by the reasoning, but something deeper still pulled at her heartstrings.

She tried to shake it off and forget, but found instead that it was nearly impossible to sit still. So she did things to distract herself. She cleaned her room for the first time since she was thirteen, finding things she had never even known she had lost. She organized her closet, which was crammed to the brim with clutter.

She washed the dishes in the sink until they sparkled. She was beginning to dust the family room when her father stepped in with folded arms.

“What are you doing?” he asked, looking shocked. “Do you know how many times I’ve tried to get you to do chores? You don’t do them when I assign them to you, yet here you are doing them on your own accord.”

Ava looked back at her father’s mustached face, for some reason feeling guilty. She felt like he would be able to see right through her.

“I can do chores if I want to,” she answered lamely. Her father laughed.

“You never want to. You’re on break. Go. Have fun. DO something.” Her father refused to let her do more chores, so she wandered back up to her room. Her brothers were all out doing things. Hanging out with friends, catching up, reveling in the fact that they were free from school.

And what was she doing? Sitting in her room, doing a whole lot of lame nothing. She considered going over to Tom’s but she knew that he would just rag on her for not following through on her idea to go see Sirius.

Bored, she flipped through a magazine that had fallen out of her closet during her cleaning. It was a fashion magazine, something she would never normally look at. Considering that she lived in a household of guys, she had no idea how it had ended up in her closet. Had her boredom really driven her to this? If she was so bored why didn’t she just go to Hogwarts for a few days? She was sure her dad would let her. Maybe it wasn’t boredom…it was anything to keep her from going and seeing him.

What was her problem? Any other girl would have been running like mad for Hogwarts, they would hitchhike if that’s what it took. Any other girl… Was she any other girl?

This thought was more than confusing enough so the mindless flipping of magazine pages was rather pleasing. She came to a page that featured magical hair style makeovers. It would show girls with before and after shots. Ava rolled her eyes at the pictures but her eyes lit up at one of the pictures.

It was interesting, considering it was one of the before shots, but the hair style was very appealing. Ava jumped a mile as there was a knock at the door. Her dad stuck his head in and grinned.

“Tom’s at the door,” he revealed. “And he seemed kind of surprised when I told him you were upstairs.”

Yikes. Tom was going to be upset.

“Please just tell him I’m not feeling well,” she answered.

“But…”

“Dad, please.”

“Alright.”

Ava returned her gaze to the hairstyle on the page. It was short, shorter than she had ever had her hair before. It landed near the chin. Maybe it was time for a change. Maybe it was time to leave things behind. Ava dug her wand out of her trunk which was shoved under the bed.

This could either turn out really nice, or really terrible. She had never done anything like this before, but for some reason it seemed like a really good idea. But why? Maybe it would help convince her that it was time to move on. That was stupid though. There was nothing to move on from. Nothing at all.

********

An hour and half later Ava’s head was feeling much lighter as she examined her short hair in the mirror. Was it that good? Not especially. Was it really bad? No, it was fine. She had made a sad attempt at layering, but it just left the back looking slightly awkward. The length was close to being correct, though it was a little longer than chin length. But she felt better, for reasons that were unknown to her.

********

Ava spent nearly the rest of her break, hanging around the house. She read the book Sirius had gotten her as well as three others. She spent time with her family, and also worked on avoiding Tom.

He came by once a day, seeing if he would actually come down and see him. Ava decided that the last thing she needed was Tom coming and trying to convince her to run off to see Sirius. She refused to do that.

However, her dad’s will finally ran out the day before she returned to Hogwarts.

Ava opened the door to her bedroom to find Tom standing there, still bundled in his layers of winter clothes.

“Dad!” Ava hollered down the stairs.

“Sorry hon,” he called back. “I could only say no to him so many times.” Ava sighed and flopped down on her bed, looking up at the ceiling, refusing to look over at Tom. Tom didn’t say anything at first. Instead, he took off his coat and gloves, draped his scarf over the chair for her desk and then sat on the corner of the bed.

“Nice hair,” he said simply, when he finally broke the silence. Ava turned on her side, facing the wall.

“Is that all you came over here to tell me?” she mumbled, getting under the covers and throwing them over her head.

“Wouldn’t be much of a best friend if it was,” Tom answered. “I think you know why I’ve come, considering you have been avoiding me for the past, however many days.”

“Well say what you’re going to say,” Ava muttered, running her hands through her hair, still finding herself surprised at how short it was.

“I’m here for one purpose and one purpose only,” Tom stated in a professional voice. “To explain to you, and the audience (here he gestured to a few of Ava’s stuffed animals sitting on the window seat) why you are here hiding in your bed, instead of at Hogwarts in the waiting arms of Sirius Black.”

“Spare me,” Ava retorted, sticking her head out from under the blankets. Tom cleared his throat.

“When I had heard you were not actually heading to Hogwarts like we previously discussed, I immediately started to think of the reasons why. I figured that perhaps you were still angry with him, and that his letter and gift did nothing to sway your fury. But then, I remembered how you reacted upon getting the letter. You sprinted over to my house to tell me, quite excitedly in fact, what had occurred. I also saw you light up at the idea of returning to Hogwarts early to see him.”

“Is there some kind of point to this?” Ava grumbled back. “It was an initial reaction. I was a bit excited, but when I reflected I realized that going back to Hogwarts early was a stupid idea.”

“Shhh,” Tom urged. “So now here we are, and you have seemed to have completely changed your mind. And being my best friend, I think I know most of your moods and trends. When you get excited about something, you are normally serious about it. Also, you are a forgiving person. Stubborn to the core, but you are forgiving. Sirius made a great gesture to get back on your good side and I know deep down you have forgiven him.”

“So what if I have?” Ava snapped. “That doesn’t mean anything.”

“Oh yes it does!” Tom answered, clapping his hands in delight. “That means something other than anger is keeping you from going to see him. And I think I know exactly what it is.”

“Oh really?” Ava exclaimed, sitting up in her bed. “Let me guess. I’ve never had a relationship before, and I am just worried to pieces that it won’t work out and that I’ll end up getting hurt.”

Tom looked at her, confused. “No, that wasn’t what I was going to say at all. I was going to say that you’re definitely scared. Not scared of getting hurt though. Because you’ve never been in a relationship before you don’t know what getting hurt is like, so you can’t fear it. You’re scared of being like everyone else.”

Tom held up a hand, because he saw that Ava was going to butt in again.

“You’re scared that if the rest of the world sees you with Sirius Black, that means you’re no different than the rest of the girls chasing after him. As long as I’ve known you, you’ve had some rebel in you, a small rebel telling you to be different and that it was okay to be. And you’re scared of losing that. Losing that in the sight of others.”

Ava gulped, but found that she had no opposing argument to offer. All she could do was sit, and hope that the slight stinging in her eyes wasn’t from tears. Tom was right.

Tom, seeing her distress, scooted closer and gave her a smile.

“Just because you like Sirius Black, doesn’t make you the same as everyone else. Because you like him for reasons all your own. You see something in him, other people don’t. You don’t like him simply because he’s cute or because he’ll boost your popularity status. And the biggest difference is that he likes you back and likes you for reasons. And as your best friend, I order you to give him a chance.”

Ava smiled back and threw her arms around Tom’s neck.

“Thanks,” she whispered. “I’ve been working to find out what the reason was for days, and you got it. You got it on the first try.”

“It’s time to get out of your own way,” Tom answered, pulling away. “I’ll see you tomorrow.”

“I can’t believe I’ve wasted all this time,” Ava said miserably. “I should have gone to see him, and now it’s too late.”

“Just tell him when we get there,” Tom reassured. “Its all you can do now. Do you know what you need to do?”

“Yes.”

“Are you actually going to do it this time?”

“Yes.”

“Know what you’re going to say?”

“Not remotely.”

********

Though Ava cursed herself at first for not acting quicker, she realized that extra time was exactly what she needed to organize her thoughts, and to know exactly what to say. She kept quiet during the ride back to Hogwarts, and Tom didn’t disturb her.

To Ava, it was the quickest journey to Hogwarts ever. She found herself drumming her fingers over and over again on the window, watching the ice rain pelt the glass. She clutched the copy of the book Sirius had given her, in her other hand. She had intended to read it again during the ride, but never got past the first page.

When they finally reached the entrance hall, Ava and the rest of the returning students were shaking with cold. They had only been under the rain for a few seconds but it had done its job, soaking everyone to the bone with freezing rain.

“Well,” Tom said, clearly not wanting her to waste time. “Go find him.”

“Where do you think…?”

“It may be some total crazy coincidence that we are returning to our wonderful Hogwarts on a Thursday night, but is this not the night you guys used to meet?”

“I don’t think he would keep going,” Ava protested. “He has no need to.”

“He knows you get back tonight,” Tom continued. “That’s where I would look first.”

“Fine,” Ava answered. “I’ll see you later.”

“Good luck,” Tom sang from behind her as she turned. Ava couldn’t fight off a little feeling of dread deep inside her as she walked towards the abandoned classroom that she had gone to so many times.

She giggled as she thought of the time she had greased up Sirius’ hair, to his horror.

The giggled stopped as she began to worry again. She knew what she was going to say, but she didn’t’ know what he was going to say. Maybe he was mad. She would be mad at herself. She hadn’t let him explain himself or even talk to her.

The rest of these thoughts carried her all the way to the Ancient Ruins classroom. She put her hand on the door handle and paused. Here we go. The moment she had been dreading. And the moment that she had been looking forward too.

She opened the door to the classroom and was actually prepared to see Sirius in there, maybe sitting in his normal seat. But…nothing.

The room was just an abandoned classroom. Ava didn’t know why, but she had felt that if Sirius had been there, perhaps it meant things were going to go well. Oh well. She would simply have to look elsewhere. He did know she was getting back tonight. Maybe it would okay if she waited a few more minutes.

And wait she did. In fact she waited for a long while. For some reason, she felt that Sirius would turn up here tonight. However, once it was past the meeting time, she got up dejected and headed for the door.

As she put her hand on the knob, she jumped back as the door opened and Sirius came in.

“No faith Ava?” he asked, sweeping into the room, and eyeing her short hair.
“You actually came?” Ava said, trying to mask some of her shock. “This is incredible.”

“Not exactly,” Sirius admitted. “I’m trying out this thing where I’m not going to lie as much. And the truth is, I ran into Tom in the hall, and he pointed me in the right direction.”

Ava smiled and thanked Tom mentally.

“Was it worth my coming?” Sirius asked next, reminding Ava that she still had a lot to say.

Ava paused a bit too long, so Sirius started to talk first.

“Would it help if I said I’m sorry again?”

“Don’t,” Ava answered and he fell silent. The words that she had rehearsed in her brain all those times came spilling out.

“I’m not mad. I was never really mad. I should have given you a chance to explain. You probably shouldn’t have come into this with the intention of tricking me, but the fact is you ended up being sincere. And you more than apologized for it. Over the holidays I realized that I was looking for a way out of being in a relationship with you, and you happened to present me with one.”

“That’s comforting,” Sirius answered, numbly.

“Sirius,” Ava continued softly. “You’re not the only one who discovered something about themselves. I realized that I have been so scared of liking you that I jumped at the chance at getting angry with you.”

“Scared of what?” he asked.

“I’ll get to that in a second,” Ava assured. “But something else first. I’ve realized that there are two extremes when it comes to being yourself. There is the side that commits itself to conformity and the other side runs from it at all costs. I used to think that the only way to lose part of yourself was to conform and be like everyone else. But now I’ve realized that if you are so focused on ridding yourself completely of conformity that you are also being swayed by ideas other than your own. Being yourself, and finding yourself is all about taking from both sides, experiencing the most you can, until you realize what the best of both worlds is for you.” She smiled brightly at Sirius.

He seemed a bit comforted but spoke, “Where does that leave us?”

“I was scared that I would have to dip into that other side of the spectrum, and that used to bother me. But I’ve realized, because of you, that you are the best of both worlds for me. And I want to thank you. I thought that we would only find things out about you, but we did more, we found things about me too. And its great. Kind of scary, but in a really good way.”

Sirius smiled back and stood up, causing Ava to stand as well.

“So does Mr. Best of Both Worlds get a kiss or something?”

“Or something,” Ava grinned, going over to him and patting him on the head. He looked crestfallen for half a second, before Ava put her arms around his neck and gave him the kiss he had asked for.

“Sorry,” she said, after it was over. “I wanted it to be a little spontaneous at least.”

“Good try,” Sirius laughed, but it was clear she has caught him a little off guard. “So. Are you ready to take our newly found selves and maybe take a little walk around the castle? We need to talk about what happened to your hair.”

“Shut up,” Ava answered, as they left the room. “I like it.”

“I never said I didn’t like it,” Sirius answered, as they walked down the hall hand in hand.
When they reached the end of the corridor, to both Sirius and Ava’s dismay, Ms. Crazy appeared from around the corner.

She took one look at their hands and asked,

“You two finally dating?”

“Yes,” they answered in unison.

“Jeez you could sound more excited,” Ava insisted, joking.

“You’re one to talk,” Sirius said, sarcastically. “I was just floored by your enthusiasm.”

Then both Ava and Sirius started laughing, out loud and they kept laughing until Ms. Crazy turned on her heel and left them holding their sides in chuckles.

“Well now we know insane laughter gets rid of her,” Ava observed.

“You know she apologized to me?” Sirius said.

“Really?”

“Since we make a pretty powerful team,” Sirius continued. “Maybe we could end up helping her. Help her true self.”

“You really think we can handle something like that?” Ava asked.
“We can handle anything.”

“You’re right,” Ava smiled. “We can.”

*******

THE END

Author’s Note

Hello my lovely readers! I want to thank you all so much for making this my most successful story ever on this site. You guys mean so much to me and your reviews and reads have really boosted both my confidence and I believe my writing has improved because of you! You are all just wonderful and you all have my never ending thanks.

A small minor note: I just published a one shot called Tears That Will Never Dry. Its about 5000 words, which is a mouthful I know, but I would love to know what some of you think. I really poured myself into this one, so any feedback would be great. If not, thanks anyway! It’s a mature rating, so if that’s not your thing, I would suggest against it.

I hope you all enjoyed the final chapter of Finding Ava. Thanks once more (I cannot say it enough) and keep up all the wonderful things you are writing!

All my love,

-Kira

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