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There was really only one more box to unpack. George lifted it onto the kitchen counter and pulled out a small bundle wrapped in an old towel.


He put the mismatched spoons and the slightly bent forks carefully in the empty drawer. (You'll only need two of each; you won't want to wash a pile of dishes.) The knives had been sharpened so many times that they didn't even look like knives anymore. He smiled as he placed them beside the forks.


One pot and one pan, slightly dented. He placed them on the stove. There were always pots and pans on the stove at home.


He carefully unwrapped the bowls and plates: old, chipped, and none of them the same. (I can't believe you're dropping out of school! What do you know about running a business? You're too young to move out! At least you'll keep each other safe...) He put them in the cupboard and closed the door.


He was somehow startled to find nothing in the refrigerator. It had always been full at home, no matter what else had to be patched or done without. It was a little unsettling. He closed the door.


George turned out the light and wandered through the tiny living room, between stacks of plans and papers, cauldrons, and boxes of not-quite-finished charms. There was a stack of wood in the corner, a bag of nails, and two hammers. They'd build workbenches tomorrow night.


He stopped in the bedroom doorway. There was only one bed because one queen was cheaper than two twins and Mum had insisted they keep their beds at the Burrow (at least I got to see you over the summers! You can make the time to visit us once a month).


They hadn't mentioned that part to Mum.


George turned down the covers. Mum had given them old flannel sheets (I bought these just after your dad and I got married), two thick, knitted blankets (these were supposed to be for when you got married), and a quilt made of long, dark squares of old trousers, sweaters, and robes (you boys wore your knees and elbows out faster than I could patch them). It was strong and practical and full of memories. George liked it.


He pulled off his shirt, kicked off his shoes, traded trousers for pyjama bottoms, and slipped under the covers.


And suddenly the reality of it all crashed into him: old pots and pans and blankets and a dream and belief in each other and courage and George realized that they'd just started a life together, together, just the two of them, and the world spun violently out from under him.


George gripped the sheets in his fists and took a deep breath. If he could just touch Fred everything would make sense and everything would be okay, only ... everything was okay. Everything was just the way it had always been, the way he had always expected it to be and maybe that was why he was so rattled, because this was exactly what he'd always wanted.


George listened to the stairs creak as Fred climbed up to the flat. He made soft noises in the kitchen and glided into the bedroom with two mugs (they'll do for cold as well as hot) and a bottle of champagne.


"We don't have the money for that," George said softly into the ringing silence.


"I traded for it." Fred smiled and poured champagne into the mugs. "And besides, it's our first night in our first apartment. A little celebration is in order." He lifted his mug.


"To our new life. To us." Fred smiled and his eyes said trust me - it's going to be okay and George let out a breath he didn't know he'd been holding.


Fred kissed him then, long and slow and sweet, and the world fell back into place.


Everything was just fine.