Another in the ever-expanding CW-verse, "Little Things" is the first real impropmtu piece to date. Timestamp is July 4, 1999, three days before "Heard The World Around". I got an image in my head, I fired up the ol' word processor, I wrote it. Quite frankly, after something in the range of two hundred thousand words, I needed to write a short. *grin* Don't worry, there are long pieces yet to come.

A note on email: I'm so, so sorry to everyone whom I've not gotten back with. :( Nearly a month after CW was completed I'm still staring, stunned, at my inbox, occasionally going "eep". I'm not used to praise over my work and it's a bit, erm, overwhelming. Not a complaint, not in the least, just a bit of a world-shifting experience. I appreciate it so, so much. Just takes a while for me to wrap my head around.

Disclaimer: Nope, still don't own 'em. Just gots my li'l Potions Class poster on the computer room closet door. And a kitten. A sharp kitten. Spiky.

Little Things

By Sushi


Sometimes it felt like the world was ready to collapse.

He looked so peaceful. Even now, with the horrors and crippling torment setting him three degrees off from the rest of humanity, his lips puckered in sleep and the tension woven tight at his separation from touch fell away for a few merciful hours.

Severus watched from across the bed. He was tired: in his brain, in his bones, in his soul. There would be no sleep tonight, though, or possibly any other in the last nights of his life. In three days he might turn forty-one. Forty-one. It seemed an impossibly large number. He'd hoped, at the very least, to see Harry off to nineteen, to see their bleak union off to a year. With the recent odd chill settling deeper between his neurons, it wasn't going to happen.

Gingerly, he slid one bony arm over top of the claret duvet. Fingertips brushed black hair like rabbit's fur and jerked back when Harry gently inclined his head to the touch. Breathe, Severus. Just breathe. Heart fluttering, he moved again to touch his maritus. "I'm sorry," he whispered. Harry stirred. He settled ever so slightly closer.

Nearly four months. If for no other reason than habit he still took the potion, two drops twice a day, letting the clear liquid settle like bitter tears beneath his tongue. If it were going to work it would have worked already. Four months. Ten more days, Severus, and if you're still alive and it hasn't shown a sign of working, end it. Go to Gran - he'll be along in his own time. Perhaps, in death, maritus et maritus might find some way to make up for Severus' mistakes.

Harry gave a little squeak and smiled faintly. Severus chuckled through the swelling in his nose. One tear. He didn't deserve the release, not after what his arrogance had done to his Harry, but he allowed a solitary saline drop to slide, clear and cathartic, into the bleached cotton of his pillowcase. It was the little things he would miss most: the small touches Harry allowed, the small smiles he sent when he didn't think Severus was looking, the small glimmers in the corners of his eyes that always accompanied those smiles. You never deserved him, old boy, but you won't get any complaints from me.

Those warm, pink lips twitched; it almost looked like they wanted something to kiss. Only in sleep, only in the subtly suggestible state between life and death, could he hope to touch his maritus. Perhaps that was why he deliberately no longer slept when Harry did. Lashes meshed, he leaned forward and gently offered the pink lips a contact. His fingertips barely rest against a prickled cheek. Somewhere, Harry must have known that it might be his last chance because he returned the pressure, the light pull. The tears that dotted his face weren't his own. "Greasy bastard," he murmured when Severus reluctantly let go.

"I love you, too," Severus murmured back.

Sometimes it felt like the world was ready to explode.

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