This is the end of this story, though I have committed myself to more Bill/Fleur for another challenge.

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Chocolates and Couscous (February 1996)

Both Gisela and Fleur have something waiting for them on their desk when they arrive at work on Monday morning. Gisela has an enormous bunch of red roses from Gottfried. (Fleur can hear Miss Payne moaning about the room they take up already, although she has not actually turned up yet.)

Fleur herself finds a heart-shaped box of chocolates (French ones – Bill knows her pretty well by now) with a red rose attached. There is a note too: "Fleur love, I am so sorry about Saturday. I missed you all weekend, and I can't wait to see you. Forgive me? Please? Love always, Bill. xxxxxxx" She cannot help smiling as she pops a chocolate in her mouth and stows the box in her drawer away from prying eyes. It is too hard to be mad with Bill for long. She catches Gladys Porlock shooting her a look of pure malice as she straightens up, and smiles at her sweetly. She can afford to be magnanimous. She – not poor Gladys with her magically dyed blonde hair and her slight air of desperation – is the one the best-looking, kindest, loveliest man in the bank missed all weekend.

She only sees him twice all day, and then briefly. Mid-morning, The Payne sends her up to the curse-breakers' floor with a sheaf of papers for Delloran Gumble, the head curse-breaker, to sign. Bill's office door is open as she passes, and she glances in and sees him and Zoran Madic both deeply absorbed in examining a jewel-encrusted casket that looks both valuable and somehow sinister. He does not notice her, and she tries hard not to mind. (It is not his fault. He is busy.) In the afternoon, he comes down to their floor to see Miss Payne about something, and gives her a grin and a wink in full view of Gladys, who pouts and scowls, and makes remarks about "pushy French tarts" for the rest of the afternoon. Fleur ignores her. She can afford to. She is the one going out with Bill this evening.

For once, he is at their meeting place before she is. (She is not sure why they continue to meet at the boarded-up shop further down Diagon Alley rather than at the bank. Their relationship is pretty much an open secret at work now. Perhaps it is just a habit.) He sweeps her into his arms when she arrives, kissing her hard and long.

"I missed you so much," he tells her as they break apart. "Have you forgiven me?"

She smiles, and links her arm through his. "'Ow can I not forgive a man who buys me chocolats Francais?" she asks, laughing up at him. "Where are we going?"

"Wait and see," he grins, putting his arm around her, and pulling a battered looking quill from his pocket. "Portkey," he tells her. "Are you ready?"

"Why can't we zhust Apparate?" she asks.

"Too far. Ready?" The Portkey is glowing blue, and she puts her hand on it, touching his.

The place where they land, him holding her upright (she hates travelling by Portkey), is warm, smells spicy, and is definitely not in England. Not France either.

"Where are we?" she gasps, as she regains her balance.

"Look over there," he tells her, grinning.

Pyramids. Mon Dieu, this is a man who takes her to Egypt for dinner? Egypt? She cannot help laughing.

They eat couscous and lamb in a tiny restaurant where Bill is obviously known. Of course, he worked here for several years. His Arabic is halting at first, but comes back to him as the evening progresses.

They talk and laugh, and the evening passes far too quickly. He asks her about her weekend, and she has to admit that she had a good time with Gisela on Saturday night. He pulls a face when she describes the film to him though.

"A skyscraper? In New York? In February? Sounds bloody cold to me," he says.

"I sink I prefer zis," she admits. "'Ow was your weekend?"

"Bloody cold. But not in New York. No skyscrapers either." (He briefly considers telling her the truth – that he spent it with a werewolf and the girl he fought with his brother over when he was seventeen. But he doesn't think that would go down well. Particularly the last part.) He sighs. "I wish I could tell you, Fleur. I want to. I hope I'll be able to soon, but it's not up to me."

She smiles and takes his hand. "It's okay. I trust you. I am sorry I was 'orreeble about it."

"Thank you." He leans over the table and kisses her. "Are you ready to go home?"

"I guess so. Back to reality," she sighs.

"Reality with you is pretty good," he tells her, as he settles the bill and pulls out the Portkey.

He spends the night at her flat, but for the sake of appearances they leave to go to work separately in the morning. As she passes the boarded-up shop where they meet, she notices a new sign above it: "93 Diagon Alley. Let Agreed." It does not matter. They do not need a secret place to meet any more. As far as she is concerned, the whole world can know that they are together.

It would be nice if it was to become a chocolate shop though.