Severus woke up the day after the funeral with a sense of peace he hadn't felt since Harry was attacked. He had a plan in his mind, and today he would complete it. He went down to the kitchen to prepare breakfast first. He made porridge and put a large amount of treacle in it, the same way Harry always liked it. It was far too sweet for Severus' tastes, but it reminded him of his beloved husband, and so he ate it all without hesitation.
"How can you stand to eat all that sugar?" Severus asked as he sat at the table across from his dear husband.
Harry gave him a cheeky grin and asked, "How can you stand your porridge so bland?"
Severus raised an amused eyebrow saying, "Point taken."
Harry chuckled lightly, eating another spoonful of his extra sweet porridge. After he'd swallowed, he said, "I suppose it's because I was mostly denied sugar and candy when I was growing up."
The fact that Harry hadn't said 'during my childhood' did not escape Severus' notice, but he said nothing about it. "That is a logical conclusion," he said. "Though I did not have much sugar during my upbringing either, and yet I do not crave sugar."
Harry smiled at him. "Then perhaps it's just because I have an insatiable sweet tooth."
"I believe that is the more believable thought," Severus replied.
After finishing his meal, he cleaned the kitchen until it sparkled. Next, he set out around the house, cleaning everything the Muggle way, just as Harry used to do, until the whole residence was spotless. It was late afternoon by the time he finished his cleaning, so he went out to the garden and began weeding. Small weeds were sprouting everywhere from the lack of Harry's diligent care.
Severus smiled gently as he watched Harry rip the weeds from the ground, sweat beading on his forehead. "I will never, for the life of me, understand why you insist on doing that manually. There are spells designed to make this kind of work unnecessary."
"It feels more fulfilling to do it myself," Harry replied, ripping up another weed. He wiped the sweat from his brow with the back of his hand, smearing dirt on his forehead. "Bloody Hell, it's hot out here tonight. Isn't it supposed to get cool after the sun goes down?"
Severus chuckled lightly, leaning against the doorframe to watch his husband toil. "It has been a very hot summer," he commented. "Of course, if you would use the spells instead of doing all this Muggle work, you wouldn't be having a problem with the heat."
"Yes, and I would have a terrible pot belly, and you wouldn't find me attractive anymore. What good is that?"
Severus shook his head at Harry's reasoning. "There are other ways to keep one's physique."
Harry sat on his knees, turning to look at Severus. "Would you rather I did it with magic?" he asked seriously, looking slightly worried.
"No," Severus replied, smiling gently. "This way gives me a lovely excuse to bathe you later on."
Harry smiled brilliantly at him. "That it does," he agreed, a mischievous glint appearing in his eyes. He bent back to his work, and Severus left him to it, going inside to fill some potions orders he needed to finish.
After he had weeded the entire garden, he began pruning the vegetable plants, making sure that there were no dead leaves left to hinder their growth. His next task was to harvest the ripe herbs and vegetables, clean them, jar them, preserve them and place them in the pantry. He smiled at the scents emanating from the pantry; reminded of the day Harry proposed keeping a garden.
"You know, Severus," Harry said, looking over the large expanse of backyard behind their home. "This land is perfect for an herb garden."
Severus raised an eyebrow in question.
"Think about it," Harry said. "You could have fresh ingredients for your potions, and I could have fresh ingredients for cooking with. Everything would turn out better."
"That is true," Severus agreed, wrapping an arm around Harry's waist.
"We have a large pantry," Harry went on, laying his head on Severus' shoulder. "We may as well put it to good use."
"I think that is a wonderful idea," Severus said, placing a kiss on top of Harry's head. They'd had a conversation similar to this once before, when Harry had first seen the pantry, but now Severus knew his husband was serious about the garden.
The memory brought a soft smile to Severus' face. He knew that he would never be able to forget Harry. His husband was dead, but in many ways, he was still with him. Severus sighed sadly, moving out of the pantry and up the stairs to take a bath. He filled the tub with very warm, though not hot, water, pouring Harry's soap into it. He disrobed, sank into the tub, and closed his eyes.
Severus breathed in deeply, loving the scent of Harry. "You always smell wonderful," he informed his young lover.
Harry smiled shyly up at him. "Thank you," he said. "Hermione suggested the soap, and I kind of liked it, so I kept using it."
"I like it as well," Severus commented. He bent his head, capturing Harry's lips with his own.
Severus washed his hair with Harry's shampoo, relishing in the scent of it. Once he was clean, he got out of the tub and dried off. He brushed his teeth, combed his hair out, remembering the day Harry had snipped at him for brushing it when it was wet, and put on his black silk pajama pants.
"You look wonderful in those pants, Severus," Harry had once said.
"Thank you, Harry," Severus murmured, closing his eyes to stem the tears he felt threatening to fall. He moved into the bedroom and got into the bed, on Harry's side. He pulled Harry's pillow to his body, and held it tightly, smelling his lover on it.
"Forgive me, Harry," he said to the empty room. "I was never strong enough for these kinds of situations. I know you would be furious with me for this, but I cannot live here anymore. I cannot think of my life without you in it. You completed me, and now you are no more. Forgive my weakness, Harry. I love you." He reached to the nightstand, lifted a small vial filled with a clear liquid, opened it and downed its contents in one swallow. "Forgive me, my love," he whispered, just as he fell asleep, never to wake again.
Author's Note: Many thanks to…
Lee: I had it archived at adultfanfiction . net, but not anymore. I'm glad you like it.
Medicated Drama Queen
Sliver of Melody
Strega: I hope this makes up some for his suffering in previous chapters.
I'd like to thank everyone who read this far, including those who didn't review. Sorry for the incredible sadness of this tale, but it was something I felt I had to do.