Learning To Breathe Again

Summary: Eleven years after the Second War has ended Harry revisits the events of the night that brought Lord Voldemort's rule to an end and took the life of Ron. Events take their course as they lead Harry to Hermione again. After losing contact with her for eleven years he tries to make things right and together they begin to cope with Ron's passing. Together they learn to breathe again.

a/n: Hello :) This is my first Harry Potter fic so I hope you all like it :) Any comments, suggestions, or constructive criticism is welcome. Please r/r :) Thanks!


"I never, never thought that I would fall like that...Never knew that I could hurt this bad..."

Chapter One

He held the aged paper to his eyes again and read her desperate cry:

Harry,

I've been checking the post for two weeks now. Is something wrong? Are you okay? I hope that you are. I miss hearing from you Harry... it's hard to get used to not seeing you everyday, now I only see you on holidays or random visits. It's not enough... Harry, I miss him too...you've got to know that. I lie awake at night thinking what I did wrong. How I could have stopped it. It's not your fault... you've got to know that too. I saw Mrs. Weasely in the market just yesterday... she's looking frail... not good at all Harry. Maybe we both could pay her a visit? I know she would appreciate it. It'd be good for you too. Get back to me as soon as you can.

All my love,

Hermione

He rifled through the box to find the next letter, his heart was aching as he began to read:

Harry,

It's been a month now Harry... a month. Why don't you write me anymore? Nothing has changed between us. His... passing... has not affected our friendship. It hasn't with me. You just can't close off the world... It's not fair to the people who still need you. I need you Harry. I can't get through this on my own and I know you can't either. We're the only ones who understand... we were the only ones there. I feel like I'm going insane here Harry. I don't feel like I can talk to anyone about that night. You are the only one and your shutting me out. I don't understand. What did I do? I'm grieving just as much as you if not more Harry... he was my finance! Don't you get that? I loved him... it was more than a friendship for me. It had always been, but I guess you can't understand that either. You shut yourself off from anyone you attempts to love you. I watched it throughout our time at Hogwarts. You never could seem to let anyone in. I don't understand that... I would think that anyone who's lost so much in life would be open to someone's love. But all you did was push it away. I'm sorry Harry... I've said too much... I must go.. please write me Harry, I miss you.

All my love,

Hermione

Extracting the last letter from the age weary box a tear fell from his eye. He carefully unfolded the letter and read her last words carefully:

Harry,

I suppose I give up. Days turned into months and months has finally turned into years. I never thought I'd see the day when I felt I'd lost you completely. Now I know I have. It's unbearable... sitting here day after day hoping to hear from you. I can't do it any longer Harry... I just can't. Even though I don't understand... I've accepted it. I've finally accepted the fact that I've lost my two best friends in less than a year. You have know idea what it's like Harry... I just can't shut everyone out like you can... forget they ever existed. I still visit the Weasely's every week. They always ask of you... and I never have anything to tell them. Well I suppose I have something to tell them now... that I've lost my best friend. I'll always miss you Harry... know that... I'll never forget you... as you seem to have done everyone else. I'm sorry things have turned out like they have. I wish you all the best to come...

All my love,

Hermione

Harry carefully folded the letters and put them back into place along with all the others. Upon closing the lid he felt a sob rising through his chest. He pressed his lips together as if to hold it back. He wanted to keep a hold on his emotions, he was having a problem with that lately. He quickly stood from his position on his bed and pushed the box back up into the top of the closet. Smoothing his hands over his thighs he walked towards the kitchen, where a pot of freshly brewed coffee was waiting for him. He poured him self a cup of the strong substance and began to drink it as he looked over the Daily Prophet. He hadn't lost all contact with the wizarding world.

He read through the stories of higher taxes for broom bearing wizards due to air disturbance and the latest opening of Mario's Magical Meals, a new addition to Diagon Alley creating quite a buzz with it's signature dishes. He read until the shadows in the room changed to indicate noon, but he still couldn't help thinking of Hermione. It had been eleven years since he had last heard from her. It was his own fault. He hadn't been ready to feel again, he had wanted to close himself off from everyone after he defeated Voldemort, after Ron was murdered.

His thoughts now shifted to his best friend. Murdered by the cause of Darkness, he was killed by a Death Eater during that last struggle for power. Harry retaliated in anguish by ending Lord Voldemorts reign, then by slaying the Death Eater... then by taking them all. No one was left standing...only Hermione, who ripped apart by anguish, huddled over Ron weeping and screaming until the others came.

Hermione had been right, they were the only ones who understood. And he had pushed her away just like she had been one of the others. No he wasn't ready to feel... not yet.

Harry placed the Daily Prophet on the coffee table and pressed a hand to his forehead as he continued to slip in and out of his reverie.

Smoke floated all around them as Harry had slain the last of Voldemort's supporters. He felt as if the earth had just ended as he buckled under his own weight. He let his body freely crash into the ground as he listened to Hermione's endless screams. He felt light headed, out of breath. He felt like he were in a dream... a nightmare.

"I love you... I love you... do you know that?" A delirious Hermione sobbed into Ron's ear. "It wasn't supposed to be like this...we were supposed to get married and have children. Remember that? You said that you'd never leave me! That we'd live happily ever after! In- In... a cottage and we'd have kids and-"

Harry laid on the ground, he felt like he was dying, he couldn't catch his breath. Hermione never stopped screaming.

It played over and over in his mind like an endless tape. Tears streamed down his face as he continued to see Ron's crumpled body cradled in Hermione's arms. Her screams filled his head as gigantic sobs fled his chest. He wrapped his arms around himself as he mentally let himself be free. The chains that had bound him for eleven years loosened a little as Harry's emotions took over. He wailed in his empty cottage in the woods. No one would hear him. No one would get to see the breakdown of the Great Harry Potter.