Hours later, the sun rose and his family stirred. He'd already gone through two pots of tea. The creak stopped awhile ago, but he forced himself not to think on it much. Luna came in first, taking her seat beside him and holding his hand. She said nothing, but her presence was all he really needed. His father joined him next, taking one look at him and slumping down in the chair at the head of the table. Luna retrieved a cup for him and filled it with tea. Bill and Fleur came into the kitchen, muttering quietly to each other and still looking tired. Fleur said something about "zee couch being too 'ard," and Ron bit back telling her she was sleeping on Bill. Ginny and the twins came in next, sitting down and talking quietly to each other, Fred and George making fun of Ginny' bedhead. His mum, Charlie, and Remus were last, Molly telling Remus he needed to eat more and that she'd make him a large, healthy breakfast, while Charlie scrubbed at his face with his hand.
Ron's mum kissed his forehead gently before she walked over to the stove. "Harry came back last night," she informed the other occupants of the kitchen. "He was a little beat up but he was alive," she said, trying to sound cheery.
"That's good," Charlie said, sleepily. "Maybe now that they're gone, he can..." He let it trail off, the meaning there already.
Ron stared down into his tea, swallowing thickly.
"What's wrong with you?" one of the twins asked Ron.
"Yeah, this is the first time we've seen you up this early since you went to Hogwarts," the other added, chuckling lightly.
Ron slowly lifted his head as he dug in his pocket and pulled out the letters. He glanced around at everyone, settling on Remus, who suddenly sat up straight, straining his ears. He waited, and waited, and waited some more. But there was nothing to hear. "The creak," he said brokenly. A loud crash could be heard as his mother dropped a pan knowingly.
Ron shook his head, tightening his jaw. His breathing picked up and his eyes filled. "He... He wanted me to read these to you," he said tightly, his voice going in and out. "Hermione wrote one and... and he wrote the other after she..." He swallowed again, closing his eyes tightly.
"When?" Remus asked, his voice hoarse.
"A couple hours ago," Ron told him, nodding. "He asked me not to let you in if you woke up, but you all slept through it so..."
Remus shook his head, standing up from his chair so quickly it fell back, and hurrying out of the room. The rest of the kitchen emptied out, following him up. Ron slowly rose from his seat, deciding to go with them. He climbed the stairs languidly, already hearing the broken tears of the people standing around Harry. Luna was next to him, holding his hand tightly. Ron entered Harry's room to find his vision blocked by his brothers, who looked back at him, their faces stricken, and slowly moved out of the way so he could see. Remus was kneeling on the ground, in the same place Harry had been that night he mourned Hermione, his head bowed and arms hanging limply by his sides. Ron glanced at his mum, seeing her hands pressed up over her mouth as tears fell down her face, while she leaned into Arthur, who stared sadly at Harry, his arms around his wife.
Ron finally looked over at Harry, who was surrounded by his own blood, his wrists torn open and dark red sustenance finished rushing out from the deep wounds. His face was peaceful, eyes closed, mouth in the faintest of smiles. His face was pale, verging on grey. He was hugging a book, Hogwarts: A History, but the blood wasn't staining it. Harry must have put a spell on it to keep from tarnishing Hermione's favorite book. He was still, his body laid out comfortably, on his side of the bed. He was wearing his pajamas, a white shirt and some black pants with gold snitches on them that Hermione bought for him last Christmas while they were hunting for Horcruxes. The blood stained through his shirt, dripping down onto the bedspread. Ron simply stared, an odd sensation running through him. The wait was over. It wasn't comforting or horrific, more of a time for him to finally breathe. He missed him already, remembered talking to him only a few hours before, but he knew that wherever Harry was, Hermione was too. And somehow that made it a little better.
He left the room, walking downstairs and waiting for them to follow. They slowly began to slip back into the kitchen, sitting down at the table with pale faces, tears drawing paths down their cheeks. Shock and sadness were written in every expression they showed and Ron wondered if they really hadn't expected it. He waited until all of them were seated, leaning against the counter and sipping his tea. He'd already known Harry was gone, had a couple hours to let it sink in. He was in a state of just being. He wasn't feeling much, wasn't thinking anything except breath in, out, in, out. Just keep breathing. Finally, when they all looked up at him expectantly, he took out the letters and smoothed them in his shaky hands.
If you're reading this, then something both half-expected and very regretful has happened to me. I can only hope that Ron and Harry are alive and as well as can be expected. The war was bound to have casualties, we knew this, and I'm sorry that I'm one of them. It wasn't something planned for, of course, and I'm so sorry Harry, that I promised you something and didn't deliver. I never wanted to leave you. I never wanted to die. The war is a great cause though, and you know me! Is there anything I would rather die for?
I know how this war will end. Voldemort will perish and Harry will win. I know he will. I have no doubt that he has. Because the world cannot live in darkness. I must believe in good. I must think that there is something greater in the end. I believe in Harry. I've always believed in him. Voldemort thrives on fear and hatred, but Harry has so much love in him. As long as love exists, Voldemort will be kept in the background. So, with that, I must assume that while you read this, victory has been found and I am amongst the losses. Do not wallow for me, do not hole yourself away. I may not have been someone who generally enjoyed partying, but I certainly believe that celebration is in order. I absolutely demand that Fred and George throw a party. With spiked punch, of course, and Molly's cooking, because there's no better, and I want you all to laugh and dance and enjoy yourselves. I want you to live. Every single day, I want you to live this life for those who were lost. Don't think of me and cry over the loss, think of me and remember what I fought for.
Fred, George, you're brilliant. I may not condone trickery and pranking, but I do believe you have the most incredible minds and they shouldn't go to waste. I hope your business flourishes, though I have no doubt that it will. Expand, because the world deserves to learn of you and your brilliance. I love you both. You've been the most wonderful brothers to me. I'll miss you terribly, I'm sure.
Bill, Charlie, I regret that I never got to know you as well as your other siblings. I hope that Bill and Fleur are well and that their love survived the war. It's rare what they have, I know that. Fleur must love Bill far more than most of us ever expected and I regret doubting that in her. She's a lovely person and she deserves someone as intelligent and nice as Bill. Charlie, I wish I could have talked to you more about dragons. While they terrify me, I would have loved to have met one. From a distance, of course, but still. What you do is amazing, while rather dangerous, but I admire you for it. You have incredible courage.
Ginny, you have been my best girl friend for so long. I do wish you'd just let yourself be with Neville. He's such a sweet boy and I know he cares for you greatly. I wish I had your independence some days. That I could achieve your confidence. I know you sometimes feel like you fade into the background in your family, or even with me, Harry, and Ron, but know that we never forgot about you. You were always with us in some way. You will do great things, I know it.
Mr and Mrs Weasley, I can't tell you how much you mean to me. You've been the most wonderful parents I could have asked for. You were there when my parents simply couldn't understand this world. You were there when I truly needed you. I will always be grateful for every moment I spent with you and your incredible family. There is no family, pureblood or not, that has more dignity and sincere love like yours. You are both one of a kind and I thank the Gods that I was able to become part of your family for these last seven years. I love you both very dearly and I'll miss you.
Professor Lupin – Remus, you were one of my greatest heroes. The world, Wizarding or not, has no idea what it's missing out on by focusing on something so trivial as your Lycanthropy. I don't believe I've ever had the courage to tell you, but I'd like you to know that I've always admired you for being so strong. You shouldn't let it bring you down or define you. You are brilliant with or without it and while it may be a hindrance, it's just another part of who you really are. You are one of the smartest, most kind people I've ever known. One of these days, the world will open it's eyes and it will see you for what you really are. Remus: man, wizard, professor, philosopher of life, friend.
Professor McGonagall, Headmistress, you too have been an incredible mentor of mine. I can't thank you enough for being there during the darkest of days. I've looked up to you from the first day I set foot in Hogwarts, and I will continue to do so forever. While I haven't always followed the rules, yes I believe that is an understatement, I have always had a fondness for them. I've always been very proud of the fact that you, unlike many others, never bow to pressure or the need to win when it came to House points and rule breaking. You were always very fair and the world needs more of that.
Luna, we've never really been the closet of friends, but I do think I will pass on this one bit of information. Ron is a little slow on the uptake, but with a little persistence, I have no doubt that you two would make a lovely couple. He's a great person and while you can be a little odd (I mean that in the nicest way possible), I think you two would be good for each other. He needs a little weird wisdom in his life, and I've always known of your feelings for him, so it makes perfect and logical sense. Good luck.
Neville, I don't believe you ever receive the credit you well deserve. You're hidden behind clumsiness and your shy demeanor, but that is not all you are. I've known you, Neville, for seven years, don't let the world push you to the background. You are just as strong, just as brave, just as smart as any other wizard. You were put into Gryffindor for a reason. I've been blessed to be your friend, I really have. Despite the blown up cauldrons and the little mistakes here or there, you will become a great wizard, Neville. I believe in you, so you should believe in yourself. Have I ever turned you wrong? Of course not. So you best listen to me and stand tall!
Hagrid, you are quite honestly the most lovable person I've ever had the pleasure to know. You always believed in me, always made me feel so special in this world. Even though you had a tendency to believe the meanest of creatures were really quite nice, I can't help but think that your tender heart is something that people far too often over look. Don't be regretful over being half-giant, there's just more heart and friendship in you. While I hope you'll be extra careful with your newest pet, I have no doubt that like most others under your care, it will grow to become just as good hearted and kind as you. I'll miss you terribly, please take care of Harry and Ron for me.
Ron, I'm so sorry that I let you down. I shouldn't have made that promise to you, not when I was faced with what was coming. I wanted you to go in with hope though, Ron. I didn't want you to worry for one minute that things could be different. I have no doubts at all that when I died, you tried your best. You did all you could, do you understand me? Do not blame yourself for whatever reason. When I died, it was of my own fault or that of another's, which would be my killer. Now, obviously, and quite logically, you were not my killer. So therefore, you cannot blame yourself at all. Hence, if you are feeling guilty at all, you're hereby not allowed to and I order you to stop. I want you to be happy, Ron Weasley. I want you to laugh and play Quidditch (yes, that's right, I just told you to play that blasted game), and I want you to do something with your life. You're more intelligent that you think, more powerful than you know, and you can do incredible things if you just put your mind to it. I believe in you, I always have.
I'm going to miss you, I really am. I'll miss all those ridiculous fights and your irritating need to disagree with me about everything. I'll miss telling you not to do things and reminding you that books aren't something to be afraid of actually reading. I'll miss your insatiable appetite and how you never remember not to talk with a full mouth. I'll miss you entirely. But this is the way of things and it can't be changed. So lift your chin, Ron Weasley, and face the world as it is now. Remember everything I've ever taught you and know that you are strong, smart, and a force to be reckoned with. Show the world what I already know, Ron.
Harry. My sweet,, wonderful Harry. I think I'll miss you most of all. I never wanted to leave you. In fact, I wanted to be with you always. With little children who have your hair and eyes, because honestly, my hair is quite the bother. My bookishness, because you're really quite hard to coax into studying and I'd rather our kids happily learn. I wanted so much for us Harry and I regret that we can't have it. I know you won. I never doubted that you would. You have so much to offer the world, that you simply couldn't have lost. I love you. I will always love you. Death can take away my right to breathe and walk, to read and grow, but it will never take away my love for you. Know that, remember that, cherish that. But don't you dare do anything drastic, Harry Potter. Don't you dare follow me, because I can't bare the thought of you dying because of me. I know! I know how you must be feeling. I've thought of this moment time and again and were I ever to lose you I'm quite sure that I wouldn't survive.
You have been my everything since I was just eleven years old. I have loved you unequivocally for nearly seven years. I didn't see it at first, I didn't realize it was anything but friendship for so long. But it was always there, simply waiting to be noticed. And these last few months have been the greatest of my life. Loving you, having you, there is nothing better, Harry. And it hurts, just thinking of not having you now, tears me apart. But there are reasons for things. This was meant to happen just as your defeat of Voldemort was.
I'm never going to forget you. I regret having to leave you, but I'll never regret what I died for. I wanted a world where there was no fear of Voldemort or Death Eaters. A world to raise our children in a world where you weren't burdened and overwhelmed with all that they expected of you. And if you're reading this and I'm gone then that is what I got, isn't it? I may not have my future with you, I may not have the children and the marriage I dreamed of, but my dream of peace came, didn't it? Live in that world for me, Harry. Live in that world and let yourself dream and love again. Because I can't think of a world that doesn't have your love in it. You have so much to give, so much inside of you. I was blessed to have it. I was grateful every day to have you. I can't imagine a day when I didn't love you and I don't want to. I may be gone, but I will always be with you. Know that, love. Find your peace.
I have nothing more to say except that I hope all of you have survived, that all of you are well and celebrating. I hope this world is better than the last and that all of you enjoy the lives you deserve to have. Good luck and goodbye.
Hermione Jane Granger"
Ron wiped at his face, folding the paper and replacing it in his pocket. As he read, he could hear her voice in his mind saying the words. He could see her sitting at a desk, penning it all out and putting her emotions and thoughts into every word. Hermione had taken the high road, choosing not to make them wallow or remember her in some sad, depressing way. She looked to the bright side of things, tried to bolster them for the future. He admired her for that, because the idea of thinking he was going to die would have made his letter much less confident and caring. Ron looked up to see the twins crying, though they tried to hide it by brushing at their faces and muttering bad jokes under their breath. His mum was sobbing into a handkerchief while his father patted her shoulder and sniffled to himself, a sad smile on his face. Remus was staring blankly down at the tabletop, his expression surprised and dazed. Ginny was crying on Charlie's shoulder as he held her at his side, rubbing her back comfortingly. Ron looked to Luna last, who gave him a watery smile and nodded as he held Harry's letter up. He cleared his throat, knowing that this one would be harder to read.
"I never gave much thought to writing one of these. Hermione got me so encouraged that I really didn't think any of us would die. I suppose I knew there would be casualties, I mean we were going to War. I guess I had false hopes that it wouldn't be anybody I loved or cared about. I'm sorry that Hagrid and Professor McGonagall were taken. They were both courageous and loyal. Two of the strongest and most loyal people I think I've ever met. I regret that Fred and George lost Angelina and Alicia, I don't think I've ever known any two girls better for them. I'm sorry for the loss of so many that I did and didn't know. I have a lot of regrets these days.
I suppose I always expected it would be me who went in the end. I thought Ron and Hermione would live forever, remembering that boy they knew in Hogwarts. I don't think I ever really allowed myself to think about what it would be like if I lost her. And now that it's happened I'm more than a little lost. I'm in the library because this is where she always was. I feel safe here. Like I know where I am and I can't get lost in it. There's just bookshelves filled with tomes, most of which I'm sure she read. There's empty tables and scraps of parchment here or there. And it's comforting. I can still remember how she looked when she diligently worked on an assignment just across the table from me. How she'd turn and tell Ron that he should be doing his homework and then she'd get back to writing more than needed for her own. I can still hear her voice and see her face perfectly. And sometimes that hurts more than comforts.
The second she was gone I realized what was going to happen. I'm not made for this world. I don't think I ever was. I had my purpose and I served it. The only reason I stuck around as long as I did was because she gave me the love I'd always searched for. She wanted to save the world and I was the one destined to do it. People like her and you don't deserve to live in a world where Voldemort ruled. And she believed in me, assured me that she knew I could do it. I could save the world. It was a huge responsibility, one that I never wanted. The world needed changing though and it wasn't as if I could let it be destroyed. I wanted this for her. I wanted a world where there wasn't darkness or death around every corner. I wanted to wake up one day in my future and see her sleeping next to me. I wanted to know that I had a wife and children, a real family. I wanted a future with her and only her. And when that was taken, I didn't want anything. I had nothing to want. I was just here, without her, and I can't handle that. I know it's hard to understand. I know that you all think that somehow I could get past it. That one day I will wake up and it won't hurt anymore, but I know that day isn't coming.
You have always been there for me, all of you, in some way. You've all been a family that I desperately needed. And I want you to be enough, you want you to be enough, but you aren't, you can't be. I'm sorry. I go to sleep and I see her and all I want is to have her back again. I wake up and I'm alone and all I can think of his how she used to feel in my arms. I can't eat because it feels pointless. I can't talk to you, because every time I see you I feel like somehow you cheated it. You lived and she didn't. And no, that's not your fault and I don't want you all to die. I'm glad you lived. I'm glad that this world, this new world where things are better, is going to have people like you in it. People who are courageous and smart, who won't let it be destroyed by hate and greed and everything that ate away at it before. But the only emotions I feel anymore are hatred and loss.
So I've made a decision, one that you're not going to like. I recently found out that Bellatrix and Lucius Malfoy made it through. I don't know where they are, but I'm going to find them. I don't care how long it takes, but I'm going to find them and I'm going to kill them. I realize what this makes me and I know that some of you won't approve. I wish I could say that deters me or even bothers me but it doesn't. And when they're gone, I'll be finished. I'm sorry I can't be that son for you, Molly and Arthur. I'm sorry I can't be that brother to you, Ron, Ginny, Fred and George, Charlie and Bill. I'm sorry I can't be that friend to you, Luna and Neville. But I'm not anything without her. I need to do this and I hope you'll understand.
I've loved her for so long that it physically hurts not to see her. She's been a part of me since I was eleven. The first person to hug me, to love me, to believe in me wholly. She was the first person who made me feel wanted and needed. Her opinion meant everything to me. Her word was law. She was so intelligent and loving that the idea that she's not here somehow makes the world a little less. She wants me to move on, to find love and live my life, but I don't think she ever really knew the full extent of how much I loved her. I could tell her every day, and I did. I whispered it to her while she slept. But the full meaning could never really be said with words or actions. The fact of the matter is, I'm not meant for a world she's not in. So I'm going to wherever she is. That's selfish of me, I know, but I've always been a little selfish. I was never all that good at letting go and she's not someone I'm willing to let go of.
I'll miss you. All of you. And I want you all to know that I love you. That I couldn't have come this far without you. I hope that you'll all understand this one day. That you love or will love someone as much as I love her. I'm sorry for how I might have treated you in the next while. I can't imagine myself being very good to you, so I'm sure I've been a real bastard lately. Whenever this reaches you, I'm also sorry for how you might find me. I never meant to hurt you, but there are only so many ways to take your own life. I won't go into details, that would just be cruel. I have no doubts that I went peacefully though. She told me to find my peace, and in all honesty, she's it. So I've gone to find her.
Thank you all.
P.S. Mr Weasley, the purpose of a rubber duck is, in my opinion, to keep the person in the tub company. Loneliness is something that plagues everyone, even Muggles. And so, since bathing is such a private matter, the rubber duck is something that floats around in the tub, being a companion in the most foolish of ways. Some of them squeak when squeezed, but that's about it. I hope that answers your question."
Ron let his hand fall and briefly glanced at Luna when she took it from his fingers to fold and put away. His throat was sore and his eyes raw as he watched his family cry and mourn. He wanted to say something to reassure them, to make them understand what he knew. That Harry was better off now, that he was happy where he was. His mouth wouldn't work though and he really didn't feel like making excuses for his best friend. He was lost and lonely and the ache in his chest was back. He considered going back up to his bedroom and crawling under the covers. Of taking the Dreamless Draught and drifting off to inky nothingness. He'd wake up to a world where Harry and Hermione no longer lived and he was the only one left in the Golden Trio, but at least one day would have passed.
Twenty-four hours in which he hadn't gone on to follow them. Because he would be the survivor. Someone had to be. Two-thirds of them were gone and what message did that really send to the world? Besides, hadn't Hermione told him to do something with his life? Hadn't she specifically told him not to wallow, and that he should show the world what she already knew? The first thing he thought of was that Hermione often called him an idiot and remarked on how stupid he could be. But she told him in her letter that she believed he was smart, he need only put his mind to it. So why not? Why shouldn't he go on? Why shouldn't he live for Harry and Hermione, like they asked him to?
One day at time, he thought. Luna hugged his side, her arms wrapping tight around his waist and holding on to him both to keep herself stable and to hold him up. And he thanked the heavens for sending him her. Because he wasn't sure he would have made it as long as he had without her there, holding him through the night. He hugged her back, hoping that maybe she could show him a future. One where instead of HarryandHermione and Ron were the trio, it was just LunaandRon. Ron, the survivor of a lost trio, the best friend of the legendary Harry Potter and Hermione Granger, the great Roonil Waslib. And maybe he'd be a hero in his own right, the one who survived both war and the loss of his most trusted and loved companions. He held Luna, letting the hot tears roll down his cheeks and the sob escape his throat, because he didn't have to hold it in anymore. The waiting was over. Harry was gone. Off with Hermione in the proverbial sunset of Heaven.
Now, three days later, Ron found himself standing in front of a large headstone. Fresh dirt sat in front of one half, while a month had passed on the grave next to it. The ceremony had passed a short while ago, a quiet affair where only select guests were allowed to come. The newspapers had been trying their best to get an interview out of any of the Weasley's or schoolmates of Harry or Hermione. They'd been running stories like crazy. Bellatrix Lestrange's death was considered back page news compared to Harry's suicide. They got it right when they wrote that he killed himself over grief for his lost girlfriend. The first time they ever wrote anything about Harry and Hermione that was actually true. Story after story talked about their incredible love and loyalty ran every single day, seeming to take the paper over entirely. Those they got mostly wrong, writing fiction rather than fact. But then, they didn't really know the facts. Not all of them. All they knew was that Harry and Hermione were in love, that they fought together for a better world, and that Hermione died for the cause and Harry killed himself to be with her. But they didn't know the story in between. They didn't know how they fell in love, how much they loved, or even the people in love. They knew names and circumstances, but they didn't know Harry and Hermione, and Ron wasn't willing to share with the world his two best friends.
Ron wanted to be angry with Harry, but couldn't. He knew all along that it would end HarryandHermione together, in love, forever. He wished it hadn't been so tragic. Wished he could have seen them grow old together. Been an uncle and godfather to their children. But that wasn't how it turned out and there wasn't any room for "What if's?". They were long gone and were probably snogging somewhere up in heaven. Or whispering in secluded corners, cuddling in armchairs and reading to each other. Maybe they were making love on a cloud, disturbing the other souls. He wondered briefly what Sirius thought of them. Had he expected it? Thinking back, Ron always saw a knowing smirk on Sirius' face when he saw Harry and Hermione talking close to each other or exchanging conversations through their eyes. Were James and Lily Potter proud of them? Did they think Hermione was perfect for Harry? Did it matter? It wasn't as if they could reverse it now.
Sighing, Ron knelt between Harry and Hermione's graves at their shared tombstone. He had Hermione's single one replaced with one that symbolized them both. A black marble headstone simply stating their names, date of birth and death, and a few short words to define them, "Together, they have found their peace." His eyes traveled back and forth from their names. The Ministry wanted to do something extravagant for Harry. A large memorial with his tomb inside, but Ron promptly told them to sod off. Harry would be buried next to Hermione, with nothing but a regular headstone stating who he was. That's how Harry would want it. He knew that much. Harry was never really one for big and extravagant. He enjoyed small and comfortable. And he wouldn't want to be anywhere else but next to Hermione. When the Ministry said they'd move Hermione over to his tomb, too, Ron nearly decked the official. Ron got his way. He buried them next to each other and nobody put up a fuss after that. His parents agreed with what he did and wore the new robes he'd bought for them to the funeral. He tried to get them more, but they refused, and he decided he was going to stop asking if they wanted things and simply start giving them to them without waiting for their protest.
He used the money he had leftover from the Horcrux excursion, not yet having gone into Gringotts to settle up with them over the money he'd inherited. He already knew it was a huge sum. Harry had his money from his parents and then more from Sirius' will. He and Remus were likely the richest wizards alive, given that a great deal of the wealthy pureblooded families had been wiped out from the war. The money didn't much matter to him, but what he did with it did. He planned to help his family out, whether they wanted it or not. And he was going to open a bookstore, "Brainy Books," (the title was under revision still), which would be filled with both Muggle and Wizarding books. He was going to style it after how he saw Hermione when she lounged with her thick tomes. It'd be furnished with comfortable chairs, tall bookshelves, all arranged by subject and alphabetical order. It'd be done in gold and burgundy, appearing homey and comfortable. He was also planning on opening a Quidditch store furnished with pictures of Harry during his seeker days at Hogwarts, which he was going to be quite simply called, "The Golden Snitch." It'd carry everything to do with Quidditch, including the book that extensively covered every moment Harry played Quidditch, including games at The Burrow and practices at Hogwarts. He had high hopes for both stores and felt comfortable in the fact that even if they didn't work out, he didn't need the money, so he could keep them open for the sheer enjoyment of having something dedicated to them.
"I hope you're happy," he finally said, laying a bouquet of flowers down in front of their headstone. "I know you are, sort of. I mean, I expect that you're up there together, and I've never known you not to be happy when you were together." He sighed, shaking his head. "Nothing's the same without you. It's a little more empty, a little more suffocating. Sometimes I wonder... I wonder if maybe Harry made the right choice." He frowned, his eyes burning. He blinked furiously, "But then I think of how much Hermione would throttle me if I died, too, so I stop thinking of it," he said with a choked laugh. He sniffled, shrugging, "'Sides, Luna makes it a little less hard most days." He glanced over his shoulder, seeing the pretty blonde hanging out around Ginny and Neville by a distant tree, who were waiting for him to finish before they left for The Three Broomsticks to reminisce and drown themselves for one night in Firewhiskey and butterbeer, memories and sorrows.
"I miss you guys. I think I always will," he told them, biting his lip and swallowing the sob in his throat. "Now that I'm not so emotionless, it seems all I can do is cry and feel. It hurts a lot. Always feeling," he told them, "Don't know how girls can manage it all the time." He snickered, knowing Hermione would hate that comment. Inhaling shakily, he sighed, closing his eyes. "I want you to know that it hurts to know I wasn't enough, but that I kind of understand why. I couldn't really imagine Harry without Hermione anyway. It was surreal and I didn't really like it." He turned to Harry's grave, "You weren't really you, you know? And... And I can't think of Hermione without you with her." He clasped his hands together in his lap, twisting his fingers around nervously. "I guess what I'm saying is... I'm glad that you guys have each other, even if I can't have you here with me," he said, nodding as a tear escaped his eyes. Slowly, he rose from the ground. "I'll meet you up there one day." He turned looking at Luna as she smiled at him gently. "But it won't be today, and maybe not tomorrow." He looked down again, smiling sadly at the headstone. "We'll always be the Trio though." He winked, "Save me a seat in Heaven, will ya?"
Turning around, he walked away form his two best friends, feeling a little less heavy with torment and sadness. They were up there, somewhere, together. And maybe it hurt a little more before, back when they were alone. Hermione without anybody to look after and Harry with nobody to look after him. They were lost without each other and it just wasn't right for them to be separate. It still hurt, Ron couldn't help but wake up most mornings and think of how lonely it would be without them around. He could still hear Hermione's chastising voice on occasion, though Luna's had been popping up a lot more lately. He hadn't returned to Grimmauld since that day, but there were memories at the Burrow to interrupt his vision sometimes when his mind got away from him.
Just before he reached Ginny, Neville, and Luna, he turned back to look at the graves and he could have sworn, there, standing in front of their shared tombstone was Harry and Hermione, holding hands and smiling. His heart gave a little jump and he suddenly wished he could be there too, with them. Harry wrapped his arm around Hermione's shoulder and kissed the top of his head, while she smiled up at him and then waved at Ron. He lifted his hand as if to wave goodbye, a tear slipping down his cheek. "Ron," he heard Luna call. "Are you ready?"
"Yeah," he replied quietly. He stared at Hermione and Harry as they slowly faded from his vision. "I'm ready." Ready to face the new world. The one where Hermione and Harry were nothing but legend and memory. The one where he was still alive, still able to become somebody outside of the war. Luna's hand slipped into his and he turned from the cemetery to look at Neville and Ginny, holding hands and trying to appear casual. Some things would never change. Wherever Hermione and Harry were, they were probably discussing the fact that they had called that relationship, too.
They were likely smiling down on them, comforted in the fact that they still had each other. And maybe they weren't really a part of it, they couldn't be there with them as they went to The Three Broomsticks, or celebrated, finally, the end of dark days. But they had each other, and Ron couldn't ask for anything more. One day at a time. Today was hard, but tomorrow might be better, after all, yesterday hadn't been the greatest. It got better with each day passed. He was one day closer to the day he'd join Harry and Hermione, but better than that, he was a day closer to a bright future. The kind they wanted with each other, the kind they wanted for him. He could do it. For them. For himself. For everybody who died in the war, fighting for the right cause. Because he was the survivor, and he wouldn't let them die in vain. The world was his for the taking, and he would show them all what he could be. He would make it through, HarryandHermione expected it of him. And he could never let them down.