Spoilers: Happy Ever After
Summary: A Happy Ever After post-ep - which is the one where Ros decides, at the last minute, not to go to America with Channing.
Ros and Alex had long since abandoned thoughts of any entertainment other than that of Ed and Beckett cooking in Ros's kitchen. Although her new flat was more open than the old one, the kitchen was still round the corner from where the two women sat, on the sofa which was the only comfortable seat Ros had so far. The problem wasn't that she didn't have the money to buy more, it was just that she had quickly got attached to her new flat and furniture, and a small part of her was still scared something would happen to this one.
"It's gone very quiet," Alex said, "I wonder what they're doing in there."
Before Ros could reply, though, there came an ominous crash followed by Ed's voice: "Beckett!"
Ros winced and worried whether she would even have a kitchen left by the time they finished.
"I never touched it!"
"Guys..." Ros called, warningly.
"It's okay, it's just a plate, you've got loads," Beckett called back. It was probably supposed to be reassuring.
Alex smiled; Ros rolled her eyes. It was just as well they were good friends of hers, otherwise they might suddenly find their bank accounts had no money in, and they knew it. Although in Beckett's case that was not really much of a threat any more. Ros had considered sneaking some money into his account but she knew he would notice and that would be a more embarrassing conversation than any others they'd had on the subject so far.
"Maybe we should pay them for being the evening's entertainment," Alex suggested and Ros laughed.
Just then, Beckett came out of the kitchen, cutlery in hand, and gave Ros and Alex a smile before setting the table.
"So," Ros said, looking at Beckett's back, "everything okay in there?"
Beckett moved round the table to face them before he answered. "It's all in hand, don't worry, Ros." He waved his hand in what would have been a placatory gesture if he hadn't had a collection of knives and forks in it, and if Ed hadn't chosen that moment to swear loudly.
"Hmm," was all Ros said to that.
Alex giggled but then it wasn't her flat that was in danger.
Beckett grimaced and, having set out the cutlery, disappeared back into the depths of the kicthen and "Ed, what are you doing?" was heard from within it.
"It's supposed to look like that."
"No, it isn't."
A pause then, "Are you sure?"
There was quiet for a minute while Ros and Alex tried hard not to worry about being accidentally poisoned. Separately, the guys were fine and Ros had eaten food they'd cooked before with no ill effects. Together, though, they just seemed to egg each other on. Ros wondered if there was a way of extracting testosterone - it would probably make all the difference.
Eventually the master chefs brought the meal out and Ros was surprised by the way it was all tastefully arranged on the plate and nothing looked burnt. If she hadn't been sitting there the whole time she would have wondered if they'd just gone out and bought something and microwaved it. The comments she'd heard earlier still worried her but she reasoned the guys would probably not want to make themselves ill too. And besides, they could do wonderful things with a stomach pump these days.
All their fears were unfounded, though, when the meal surprised everyone by being delicious.
Afterwards, all four of them reclined at the table, equally unable to eat another thing. Although given that Ed and Beckett had managed to use up practically every ingredient in the place, that was probably just as well.
"We should clear up," Ed suggested.
"I have a dishwasher, we can leave it," Ros said. Not that she really wanted to have to deal with it all on her own in the morning but it was always nicer not to have to worry about the washing up after a nice meal.
"You haven't seen the state of the kitchen," Beckett said.
Ros thought that she probably didn't want to see the state of her kitchen.
"Come on," Beckett said, standing up and stacking the plates, "the sooner we start, the sooner we'll be finished."
"Agh. Who came up with that inspiring statement?"
But Beckett, heading for the kitchen, just laughed, and Ed was forced to follow.
Ros and Alex moved back to the sofa and switched the TV on. A bit of channel surfing revealed a Bond film was just starting. Alex made an 'ooh' sound as Bond leapt to safety with only the aid of his watch.
Ros sighed. "You can't actually make watches that do that," she said.
Alex matched her sigh. "I used to like these."
Ros smiled slightly. She did too, back when she thought they were realistic and actually possible.
Alex soon got into the act though, complaining about the fighting. When Ed and Beckett joined them they added their own thoughts, although Ed spent time trying to convince them that he could do the stunts better than Bond could. Beckett was quieter but still put in a few words of his own.
The two guys were too gentlemanly to try and take the comfortable seat from Ros and Alex. Ros had found them some cushions and they sat on them at the foot of the sofa. Ros knew that the floor was hard but it didn't seem to matter too much for Ed was continually jumping up to demonstrate his refutation of a stunt. Beckett leaned his head against the seat and Ros tried not to move her legs too much to avoid kicking him in the head.
There were a few moments of quiet, though, as they were all either impressed by the story or the special effects, or in Ed's case Bond's ability to get any girl he wanted. One of Q's gadgets had given Ros an idea, though. As he demonstrated it she had frowned, considering it, and it was a while before she realised Beckett was looking up at her with an odd look on his face. He didn't comment, though, so neither did she.
When the Bond film ended the next programme turned out to be a murder mystery none of them followed. There was so rarely time to watch any television, and when they had time they all had other things they wanted to do. So it was nice to spend a comfortable evening not moving and not having to use their brains. And not being shot at or have people trying to kidnap them or blow them up.
"I think the old guy did it," Ros suggested, during one of the advert breaks.
"What, no way!" Beckett said. "He was miles away at the time."
"So he says. And that doesn't stop him paying someone else to do it."
"Because that always works out so well."
"All right, smartypants, who do you think did it?"
"Definitely the girl. I mean, she had a key!"
Ros considered his suggestion. "No, too obvious."
"Ed?" Beckett turned round to elicit some help.
Ed refused to be drawn though. "I'm staying out of this."
"I think the butler did it," Alex suggested.
"There isn't a butler," Ed said.
Alex just shrugged. "Seems as likely as any other suggestion."
Turning back to the screen, Beckett and Ros shared a smile. Neither of them were going to give, however. It was only when they reached the end that they found neither was right (nor was it the absent butler). Ed just laughed as the murderer was uncovered. Ros thought about leaning down and throttling him. Beckett had obviously had the same idea for Ros saw him shift slightly and Ed said, "Ow" in an indignant tone.
Luckily for Beckett he was saved from retribution by the discovery that Alex had fallen asleep.
"I'll take her home," Ed said, getting up and gently reaching over to wake her.
Alex yawned and barely opened her eyes.
"Come on," Ed said.
Alex allowed him to put his arm round her waist and leant against him as they negotiated the door and the stairs.
Ros reached for the remote control to turn the TV off and was suddenly aware, in the wake of Ed and Alex's departure, of an uncomfortable silence between her and Beckett. She knew they were all pretending that this was just an ordinary evening spent in each other's company and she knew what Beckett really wanted to speak to her about. When the others had arrived he had barely got the word "Channing" out before she'd forbidden him to talk about it, for tonight at least.
"I am sorry," Beckett said, after a while, not looking up, "it would have been a great opportunity. But I'm glad you stayed. I would have missed you. We would have missed you," he amended.
"I would have missed you guys too," Ros replied, quietly.
"Are you okay?" Beckett asked, after a pause. "I could stay if you like."
"This sofa's not that comfortable."
"Don't tell me you don't have spare rooms?" Beckett finally looked up at Ros, now they were back into something more like their familiar banter.
"I do, but I only have one bed."
Ros was only glad she had cleared the kitchen of some of her more valuable and delicate gizmos.
"In that case," he said, "I'll see you tomorrow."
Ros nodded. Beckett smiled at her before he left and she couldn't help but return it, just wishing he had said something earlier. That he'd realised he only had to ask her to stay and she would have. It was the only reflection she would allow herself, though, and she went to bed, determined not to think about it again.