Disclaimer: I don't own anything, I'm just borrowing things for a while and I promise I'll put everything back exactly how I found it when I've finished. Well, almost exactly how I found it. ;)
The fog was just lifting as Havers climbed into her car, more than ready to go home and go to sleep for a while. The case had pushed her friendship, and working partnership, with Lynley to the brink, and while they'd managed to save it, Havers knew things would never be the same between them. Lynley was a changed man since Helen's death. For a while he seemed to lean towards Havers, be protective of her like he used to be. But with this last case, something had changed. He seemed almost insistent on proving her wrong.
Havers closed the door to her flat and shed her jacket and shoes unceremoniously as she wandered into the kitchen. As tired as she felt, sleep suddenly evaded her, and she knew why. She wanted to confront Lynley, ask him what the hell was going on.
With a resolute expression etched firmly on her face, Havers turned, grabbed her jacket and walked back out of her flat. She didn't care if Lynley was sleeping, drinking himself into another bloody stupor, or entertaining; she wanted answers.
Upon hearing the knock on his door, Lynley paused the DVD and swung his legs off the couch. "Coming!" he yelled as there was another impatient tap. He opened the door and his eyes widened slightly in surprise. "Barbara. Is everything okay?" Lynley regretted asking that as soon as the words had left his mouth; he could tell by the expression on her face that everything was *not* alright.
"No, sir, it isn't," Havers replied tersely. "Can I come in?"
Lynley stood to one side. "Please, by all means. Here, let me get your jacket." He had learnt long ago that the best way to deal with a pissed off Havers was to be polite back. Her anger would burn out much quicker that way than if he argued with her.
"Thank you." Havers shrugged her coat off and handed it to him, along with her bag.
"Would you like to take your shoes off or are you not staying?" Lynley asked, a hint of amusement in his voice.
"I'd rather keep them on until you've heard what I've got to say, sir," Havers said, and Lynley winced slightly at her tone. "You might want to get rid of me pretty quickly."
He leant his back against the wall and folded his arms, but he made sure his posture wasn't rigid; he didn't want to appear defensive. He knew he'd done *something* to upset his DS, and he had a pretty good idea what, but he wanted to hear it from her. "Go on, then, Havers. Let's have it."
"Since Helen died, all I did was care about you and check that you were alright," Havers started without preamble. "But you just threw my friendship back in my face. I helped you with the case of your godson's death, made sure Tate didn't throw you in jail, and for a while, things actually seemed to be getting back to normal between us. But lately, especially this last case, your attitude towards me has been appalling. Sir."
"Elucidate, Detective Sergeant."
Havers glared at him. She knew he acted the smart arse on purpose, but every time he did, it annoyed her. Which was why he did it. *Git,* she thought. "Well, *sir*, you ridiculed everything I have to say, which isn't the first time it's happened, but this time it was in front of the rest of the team," she told him, gesturing with her hands. "Even though I was wrong, you still didn't listen to me. It was like you had to prove you were right, no matter what."
While Havers was talking, Lynley alternated between wanting to yell back at her, stay calm, or kiss her just to shut her the hell up. In the end, he opted for the middling answer, knowing deep down that he did actually owe her an explanation.
"Ha- Barbara, would you like some breakfast?" he asked.
"I - what?" Havers replied, frowning and shaking her head.
"I know we need to talk, but I'm hungry. Would you like some breakfast?" Lynley repeated.
"O-kay. Thank you, sir."
"You can take your shoes off as well, if you like," Lynley added over his shoulder as he headed into the kitchen. "I know it always relaxes me."
Havers couldn't help but smile. "Me too. Thank you, sir."
"So, what would you like?"
"What have you got?" Havers replied, sitting at the breakfast bar.
"Eggs, bread…eggs, bread," Lynley said, his head in the fridge. "Scrambled eggs on toast?"
"Sounds great, sir."
"Would you do that for me, Barbara?" Lynley asked.
Havers rolled her eyes. "Yes, sir. Where's the coffee?"
"Top cupboard on the left."
Havers made the coffee, then turned and shook her head. "Have you ever heard of 'consistency', sir?"
Lynley looked at her, an eyebrow raised. "Consistency?"
"Yeah. You know, being nice all the time, or being a grumpy bastard."
Havers pouted. "Yes, *sir.*"
Lynley shook his head slightly and finished breakfast. He put a plate in front of her and then sat next to her. "When Helen died, you were there. At the funeral, and afterwards, you were there. When I was trying to drink myself into an early grave, you were there, and you never gave up," he said between bites. "I felt as though I needed some space, and rather than tell you, I found it easier to just push you away."
"Thanks," Havers muttered sarcastically.
"I also felt as though I had to prove myself to the commissioner, and the rest of the team, which meant I had to be tougher than normal on you," he continued. "Or at least that's what I thought."
"Did it never occur to you to just…I don't know, talk to me, maybe?" Havers asked, motioning with her fork.
Lynley smiled. "How many senior officers ever think of talking to their juniors?"
"I thought…never mind, sir."
Lynley caught the way she stressed 'sir'. "What is it, Barbara?"
"Well, I thought we were supposed to be friends as well as boss and subordinate. Sir," Havers added.
Havers snorted. "You wouldn't think so sometimes."
Lynley sighed. "What can I do to make this up to you?"
"Try apologising, sir," Havers told him bluntly.
"I'm sorry. I never meant to treat you so badly," he replied sincerely. "Can you forgive me?"
Havers tried not to smile, but a small one worked its way onto her lips. "I'll think about it."
"Well while you're thinking about it, you can dry," Lynley said, handing her a tea towel. "So, do you have any plans for the rest of the day?"
"Other than sleeping? No. My only plan was to come here and talk to you," she replied.
"I think so. Just don't do it again, sir," Havers said, her tone pleading.
Lynley smiled. "I won't, Barbara. And please, while we're here, off duty, you can call me Tommy. If you like."
Havers smiled back. "Alright, I try. So, Tommy, what are you doing today?"
"Watching DVDs," he replied.
Lynley mumbled something Havers didn't quite catch. "Sorry?" she said.
"Midsomer Murders," he repeated a little louder.
Havers gave a small laugh. "The TV show? I didn't know you were into things like that, si- Tommy."
"I find it amusing how people think crimes are done," Lynley told her in a mock-haughty tone. "If life was like Midsomer, we would have all our cases solved in two hours."
Havers grinned. "Is this one you've seen before?"
Lynley shook his head. "It came in the mail this morning." He looked at her curiously. "Want to watch it with me?"
"Alright," Havers replied after only a brief hesitation.
"Have you seen the show before?" Lynley asked as they moved to the living room.
"I've caught bits when it's been on the telly, yeah," Havers admitted, somewhat reluctantly.
Lynley raised both eyebrows this time. "Any other dark secrets you wish to share, Barbara?"
"Secrets, yes. Ones to share, no, Tommy," she replied with a smile.
They sat at opposite ends of the couch and Lynley restarted the DVD. They watched in companionable silence, just enjoying each other's company…for all of about ten minutes. By the time the episode had finished, they were both laughing too much to speak.
"Another?" Lynley asked, grinning.
"Yeah, alright. If I'm not intruding on your day off."
"If you were, I wouldn't have asked, would I?"
Havers blushed a little and ducked her head. "No, si- Tommy."
As the next episode started, Lynley stretched his arm out across the back of the couch. "Ten pounds says the butler did it."
"A tenner, in your language, says the butler did it," he repeated, pausing the DVD.
"You've seen this before!" Havers accused him. "And what do you mean, 'my language'?"
"Plain English, Barbara, without all the airs and graces, frills, doilies…."
"Yeah, yeah, I get the idea."
"And I haven't seen this one before - you just saw me take the wrapping off it," Lynley continued, his tone slightly protesting.
"You could have seen it on the telly…I'm sorry, *TV,*" Havers said.
Lynley stared at her. "Don't you trust me, Detective Sergeant?"
"Of course I do, sir. I just know you're not above cheating occasionally," Havers replied without blinking.
"Alright, I promise, on my life, that I've never seen this Midsomer episode before. Happy now?" he asked.
Havers grinned. "Make it twenty and you're on."
Lynley smiled back. "Feeling rich, are we?"
"Not particularly, but I think you're wrong, which means if I win, then I'll be rich."
"There was logic in there somewhere…."
Havers swatted his arm. "Alright, Mr Smart Arse, fifty says you're wrong and that the butler isn't the murderer."
Lynley glared at his subordinate. "Another comment like that and you'll be in big trouble."
"What? Mr Smart Arse?" Havers repeated. "Would you prefer The Little Lord?"
Without warning, Lynley launched himself forward and began to tickle Havers relentlessly. "I did warn you," he told her over her squeals.
"Stop!" she said breathlessly.
"Not until you promise that I'm allowed to say I told you so at the end of the episode, when it's proven that I am actually right and the butler did do it."
"Alright, alright! You can say I told you so, but only for today!" Havers yelled.
Lynley grinned and sat back a little, his hands on his thighs. "Glad we got that sorted."
Havers stared up at him. He was almost straddling her waist and she was half lay down on the couch, and there was no denying the blush on her cheeks was from his nearness. Physical contact between them was so rare and Havers relished it every time it happened.
Lynley sat back properly, also aware of the charged atmosphere between them, and then he extended his hand. "Let me help you."
"Thanks." Havers grabbed his hand and they pulled at the same time, causing her to sit up abruptly. The action brought them close together, and Havers could smell the aftershave Lynley must have used when he got home.
Havers put her finger on his lips. "Don't say anything, please. Just…let's enjoy this, yeah?"
He smiled softly and nodded, kissing her finger. He then removed the digit, leant forward and covered her lips with his. The kiss was gentle and unhurried, but told them both so much. When he pulled away, Lynley put a hand on her cheek. "Shall we watch the episode?" he asked.
"Why? Are you ready to get your butt kicked?" Havers replied cheekily.
"Very sure of yourself, aren't you," he stated as he took his position on the couch again. But when Havers went to sit at the other end, Lynley tugged on her hand and made her sit right next to him. "Are you sure *you* haven't seen this one before?"
Havers took a chance and snuggled into his side, one arm going around his waist. "I'm not the one ordering the DVDs, am I?"
Lynley smiled contentedly and put an arm casually around Havers' shoulders. "Would you like to insult me all day or watch the TV?"
"Well, the first is very appealing, but I need fifty pounds more," Havers replied.
"Thank you, Barbara," Lynley said dryly, hitting play on the remote.
"Any time, Tommy, darling. Any time."
*Two hours later….*
"I told you so."
"You know, I don't think I like you very much any more."
"Will you change your mind if I kiss you again?"
"You'll have to kiss me and find out, won't you?"