Kingsley has to smile and nod all day; it's part of his current assignment to be pleasant, but watching Rosie, he actually feels pleased. There's nothing false about her smiles, nothing studied in the way she leans in to speak to a customer over the tap, tilting her head in that conspiratorially reassuring way of hers as someone shares a secret.
She never tells him what she hears. She never asks him what he does. Somehow, he finds himself letting little details slip. Constantly vigilant, he's not, not around Rosie.
This night, it's a witch with a drooping hat, shoulders rounded, tears falling, and Rosie reaches out to bob her chin and cluck. "Go home and wash him away in the bath. He doesn't deserve you, love."
Kingsley would bet a Galleon that the girl will do just that. Rosie has a way about her. He contemplates her ways as he rises and walks out with the last of the patrons before doubling back around to the alley behind the pub and Disapparating inside. He can hear Rosie in the kitchen as he begins stacking chairs.
"Ah, ah," she calls, as a rag floats his way. "Tabletops first."
With a raised eyebrow that Kingsley knows Rosie won't take seriously, he catches the rag and begins wiping down tables. He doesn't mind helping her close up; he's sat on his arse half the day while she's been on her feet, and the activity is soothing. He wipes down the table at the back of the pub, but doesn't stack up its chairs. It's their table.
"That shirt you left me to mend wouldn't take a sewing charm," Rosie says, bringing a tray.
Damn. "That smells grand. What is it?"
"That's what I'd like to know, but of course, I'd never ask."
Kingsley snorts. No, Rosie never asks him about anything; she just makes observations and waits quietly until he volunteers however much he's willing to. "Spilt something on it, repeatedly. I suppose there's a limit to how many cleaning charms a bit of cloth will take before it resists all spells."
"So I thought. Spilt, you say?" she asks, spooning something that looks spicy and smells heavenly into the bowl she's just set before him.
Kingsley picks up the spoons off the tray and moves them into place. "Spattered, more like, one day last week before work."
"Muggle governing is hell on shirts, then?"
"Muggle governing is boring, just like magical," he replies, tasting his dinner. "Mmm."
Rosie grins. "Yes, I do look good, even after closing time."
That's the last thing she says until they've done the washing up in the kitchen and he breaks. "I ran afoul of someone."
"You don't say."
"I didn't, no, and you shouldn't—"
"It's getting dangerous out there, Kings. I worry."
It's been dangerous, but Kingsley knows what she means; he takes her hand, pulls her close. "You know I'm careful."
"I do," she replies, leaning into him.
There, that's what he's been waiting for all day—not the soothing familiarity of their nightly routine, not Rosie's cooking, but Rosie, herself. Coming home to her, seeing her smile just for him, holding her in his arms.
"One day I'll retire, and then—"
"Daft," she interrupts, wrapping her arms around him.
"Daft to think you'd ever retire. You like dealing with . . . spattering."
"I like you more. . . . I'm glad you're safe."
He's not sure why he said that. No, that's a lie. He knows exactly why he did, but he's not going to explain it. The attack—by several someones—was a surprise, and vicious, but his assignment wasn't compromised, and no one knows about Rosie, so she is safe here. If he thought otherwise, he might . . . . No, Rosie's right. He's not about to give up his career for love, and nothing could ever make Rosie give up the Three Broomsticks.
When she speaks again, it's to whisper, "I wish you were."
The urgency in her voice makes Kingsley wonder what she's been hearing, but he knows better than to ask. "Publican's discretion," Rosie would respond, as she always has.
"That night I stayed, the first, we agreed that—"
"We wouldn't waste any time on worry," she says, looking up at him. "I remember. And it's a good thing, too, or we'd be at it full time."
"Mmm," Kingsley says, arching an eyebrow suggestively. "I like the sound of that, 'at it full time'."
Rosie just rolls her eyes and laughs, and then it's time for bed.