Title: Their Bench

Author: dancesabove

Disclaimer: The characters in Foyle's War were created by Anthony Horowitz. No infringement is intended, no profit is made.

Rating: K+

Pairing: Samantha Stewart and Christopher Foyle

A/N: Given a wee scenario challenge last year by my fellow Foyle/Sam shipper TartanLioness, I managed this little vignette and posted it on the Quietly Enigmatic forum. Another Foyle/Sam fellow shipper (F/S f.s.?), GiuliettaC, encouraged me to publish it here as well.

Shall I continue it?

I suppose this could be set any summer after the first series.

It was so restful, sitting here on this bench facing the sea, enjoying the peace of the water today, and the delicate warmth of this June breeze. Foyle wondered if Sam could tell when he was surreptitiously studying her. When they were driving, naturally, she had her eyes on the road most of the time, or was deep in thought about cases. His lips quirked when he thought about the look she'd have when she was pondering a case. She was often such a help when she'd finished thinking things out. Oh, sometimes she'd say something a bit obvious; he almost laughed thinking about the exchange they had once had about the anonymous note pieced together from newsprint. She had recommended that he investigate what newspapers the bits of type had come from: "That might tell you something about the person that sent them." He had stifled a sardonic smile and told her that he had thought of that. And she'd surprised him with a beautifully radiant smile of concession. "Sorry," she'd said, good-naturedly. He'd hidden a deep breath. She was so sweet. He had wanted very much at that moment to take her hand and apologise back, for deflating her bubble.

But now they were not in the car, he could see her right side. Different facial blemishes, different freckle patterns, a slightly different sweep to the hair on this side of her parting. This eyebrow could arch just as elegantly as the other. And... she'd shifted her eyes to the corner, and caught him gazing.

She turned so that he could see both eyes, and there was that smile again. "Penny..." she murmured, and his heart leapt. Was that mischief in her deep brown eyes? Flirtatiousness? He realised his mouth was open, and he shut it quickly, hoping his colour didn't betray him.

"Hmm. Just remembering how early on you began to help me with things." He gave her a whisper of a smile.

Sam watched his nervous little bowing of his head. As self-confident as he was in dealing with the men, or with criminals, he often showed her a modest side… one might even say a slightly insecure side, and in a man of his authority and level of courage it was absolutely endearing. And made him even more appealing to her. She already was much more attracted to him than was always comfortable for her; the smallest movement of one corner of his mouth could make her feel as if her stomach were about to take flight.

"Sorry it's been a rather dull week," he offered, leaning back a bit on their bench and seeming to re-focus on a flock of seagulls heading towards a bank of clouds. "But perhaps we needed the respite."

Indeed it had been hectic the week before, Sam reflected. Hardly an opportunity to think about anything but work and the car and whether the bacon might be better at the St Leonards shop. How lovely it was, though, to enjoy one's work so much that it was rather the high point. It probably was greatly influenced by the calibre of person with whom one worked...

Foyle turned his head. This time it was she who'd been staring.

And it wasn't the first time he'd noticed that. Was she trying to work out whether he approved of her? Or how to read what he was thinking about a case? Was there any way on earth she might find an old relic like him... enjoyable to look at?

At the moment her eyes were wide and expressive, like warm chocolate. That melting appeal, used when trying her persuasive best to get him to agree to one of her slightly "off the wall" plans… the proposal that she approach Graeme in the pub, for example; or that he speak personally with her father the time she had feared that Reverend Stewart's plan was to order her to come home. Those eyes. He could swim in them. How much wider they'd become if she had any inkling of how he sometimes thought of her.

He blinked; then as he held those liquid eyes with his own, he said, very softly, "Penny for yours."

Slowly Sam extended her right hand until she was grazing the fingers of his left. She traced her middle finger lightly along his knuckles and down the back of his hand towards his wrist. He had shut his eyes, and she wondered with a thundering heart whether he might be appalled at what she was doing.

"Sam?" he said hoarsely, and still she was not sure. She returned the wandering finger to the prominent veins and tendons of that gentle hand... the one that tightened the knot of his tie each morning as she waited for him in the front hall; the one he usually answered the telephone with.

"I was wondering," she said, her voice shaking only slightly as she tried for a chipper tone, "whether I might call you something besides 'sir'... if I were asking if I might... if I might do this."

She grasped and raised his hand to her right cheek, holding it tenderly in place there beneath hers, and gazing full into his eyes.

Instinctively he curved his fingers on the peach-soft skin and stroked the contour of her face. "I think we've known each other long enough," he said quietly, "that you may call me 'Christopher.'"

Except in the midst of a fevered fantasy she never had spoken his Christian name aloud, and now that she did, the deep blush that rose to her face gave him a hint of the only other times she may have done so. And thus it was for him… he admired her and respected her and counted upon her, but now he knew that he was also free to love her. To love her in a passionate way; to make real some of the dreams he hadn't dared let himself hope might come true. As he leaned forward to caress her soft lips with his own, he could see the welcome in her eyes, and he knew that as long as they lived, this place they had chosen to sit would always be "their bench."