*** I don't own the picture, Alan or any other places/things mentioned.
The mahogany grandfather clock chimes six times in the quiet London townhouse belonging to actor Alan Rickman and his wife of five years, (Y/N).
It's the end of a tiring day and they just arrived home after attending the funeral of fellow actress, Natasha Richardson. There had been crying and nerves are raw.
Alan unlocks the front door, holding it open -like the gentleman he is - for (Y/N) to enter first. She sighs as she steps into the house. The tension is tangible and emotions are running high.
Alan enters and puts his satchel bag on the sideboard in the front room and continues toward the kitchen.
He walks past his wife and gently squeezes her shoulders before planting a delicate kiss on the top of her head.
"I'll start dinner," he offers.
"Thank you," she attempts at a smile as she replies barely above a whisper.
He opens the refrigerator with the idea to start preparing dinner. Empty. He looks at the calendar on the freezer door and sees it is indeed Wednesday.
Rosa, their housekeeper, should have stocked the refrigerator and pantry today according to their weekly household schedule.
"It seems we've run out of ingredients," he says cautiously while eyeing his wife's tired form where she's slumped against the kitchen counter.
She's quiet, emotionally drained. For some reason, the death of Natasha has hit her hard.
She squeezes her eyes shut and sighs, "I've completely forgotten that Rosa called in sick today just as we were heading to the funeral..." Her voice cracks and trails off.
"No matter. I'll quickly head down to the corner shop," he says sincerely.
Even though they like to dine out with friends and on special occasions, (Y/N) as a rule doesn't like takeaways in the house.
Judging by her current state Alan decides she'll appreciate a home-cooked meal.
"I'll come with," her voice sounds hoarse from all the crying.
Alan looks stunned not expecting her to have the energy to join him but figures she doesn't want to be alone during this time.
At the small convenience store (Y/N) seems deep in thought and in a sort of trance.
She's fragile, Alan thinks to himself and takes her hand, pulling her from her trance. She clears her throat and smiles weakly.
With a grocery basket and his wallet in his other hand, they proceed to collect ingredients for a quick chicken masala.
In front of the fresh produce section, two young fans walk up to Alan excitedly.
Oh shit. He glances at his wife only to see she's out of it again. Surely, she wouldn't mind.
She nods timidly at him to go through with the autographs as if hearing his thoughts.
He silently signs his signature with a fake smile and the fans thank him before walking off in the opposite direction.
At the till Alan proceeds to unload the sparse groceries and grabs a few slabs of chocolate from the display for good measure. He figures (Y/N) might need some comfort snacks to ease the sorrow.
He pulls out his Royal Bank of Scotland credit card, pays for the shopping then takes his wife's hand in his again.
While heading for the exit they walk straight into a couple of paparazzi's. Blinding flashes instantly go off and Alan is pissed beyond words.
It's enough that he has to be violated by these vultures on occasion, but his wife is already fragile, tears streaks still clearly visible from her earlier crying.
She doesn't need to be the front-page story of a silly tabloid magazine tomorrow. The paps have a way to twist words, or a picture for that matter, in order to sell sensation.
He can just imagine the headline 'Mrs. Rickman already experiencing trouble in paradise?'
(Y/N) slips her hand from his hold, covers her face and heads toward the car while a fuming Alan follows suit with the grocery bag in hand.
Back home Alan pours two tall glasses from his vintage red wine collection. There's no reason to celebrate, yet he feels the moment is appropriate.
(Y/N) takes one large gulp, sighs and settles down on the plush tan leather corner sofa.
Alan starts dinner for real this time knowing his wife will appreciate some time alone in her head to process her emotions and the events of today.
Dinner was quiet at the table, but his wife at least finished her meal.
Good, she'll need her strength for tomorrow.
"Anytime you're ready, I'm here to listen," Alan offers and looks at her with nothing but love and adoration in his eyes.
She stares right through his chestnut eyes and tears start to form in hers. She sobs uncontrollably while her whole body shakes.
"Oh, darling. There, there," Alan comforts as he leans over and pulls her close to his chest.
He pulls her from her seat and leads her toward the sofa as she's still crying. She's seated next to him and Alan swings both her legs over his lap and cuddles her close.
She buries her face against his chest as she lets her heartbreak for her friend. His white dress shirt is now starting to cling to his chest from all her tears, but he doesn't mind.
(Y/N) needs to let it all out. She needs to heal and he understands. He always does.
"I'm - I'm so sor-ry," she hiccups between sobs. "I don't e-even know why-y I'm this em-motional."
"It's understandable, darling. She's been a great friend of ours for many years.
She was there the one moment and the next she was gone," Alan says solemnly as reality hit him and tears start to form in his own eyes.
He clears his throat and swallows the thick lump that started forming in his throat. He squeezes her tighter and his wife knows he's working through his own emotions now.
An hour later (Y/N)'s sobs subsided and Alan can only imagine that she's fallen asleep.
Indeed, Alan's steady breathing against her ear has calmed her and lulled her to sleep right there on the expensive sofa.
Alan feels his eyelids grow heavy and grabs the nearest cashmere throw to cover them both.
While still in their funeral attire, he knows their bodies will protest to the awkward sleeping positions in the morning, but for tonight it doesn't matter.
They found comfort in each other's arms as they both sleep peacefully.