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The washing machine hums.

The windows are cracked open and the breeze blows through them and the cats pace through the house because they can smell things from the outside for the first time in a season.

Louis lays in bed and blinks, lazily, admiring the sunbeam thrown across his chest. This is not how the house was when he fell asleep. It was lifeless with only the sound of heat rattling through the old radiator below the window. It smelled like sleep and sheets that were probably due for a wash.

(It still smells like sheets that are due for a wash, but less so - as Louis realises that now only a single blanket protects his dignity).

He stretches and yawns. A pair of yellow eyes follow his movements, disinterested as cats will be.

The smell of something wafts into the room, not from the window this time but from the doorway. It’s warm and delicious and Louis feels awake because oh god, he’s made croissants.

He only makes croissants in the spring, when he can open the windows and smell the new air (as new as it is in the middle of a city across from a park). He only makes croissants after reading poetry and waxing poetic of the last time they were in Paris.

(He only makes croissants after an especially good date night, Louis’ ego reminds him).

A pair of boxers, discarded from the night before, are thrown on. A quick run through of his hair with fingers that find more tangles than they care to fix. His glasses because allergy season starts today.

Two pairs of eyes watch him as he exits, soft footsteps on cold wooden floors. The smell reminds him of many things. Reminds him of several rings that adorn the fingers of the one he loves.

The kitchen is light and bright where the bedroom was soft and soothing. The radio plays and the washing machine hums and the open windows over the sink let the heat of the oven out, out and away through the tops of colourful row houses.

Three plates stacked high with croissants sit on the marble countertop.

Harry stands at the oven, mittens donned, in an apron and his workout bottoms. He’s been awake a long time.

His curls are unruly, wild - plastered to his forehead but also sticking up in the back. His eyes are intent, surveying the ones in the oven with care. His lips are full and pink and Louis remembers last night well.

“Croissants,” Louis says.

“Sweets for the sweet,” Harry says, taking the tray out of the oven.

He walks them over to the counter and Louis sees this batch has his favourite - with chocolate rolled into the middle.

He hooks his finger into the string of Harry’s apron and pulls. His gorgeous boy comes, and with him the smell of sweat, of boy, of Harry, of croissants.

Of life together.

The windows are cracked open,

and the washing machine hums.