Disclaimer: Neither Milner nor Sam nor any other character mentioned belong to me; they are the great creations of Anthony Horowitz, ITV, et al. The song "The Jolly Miller" is a folk song, also known as "The Miller of Dee", but I used the lyrics found here .
Genre: Het/ PWP/ Friendship/Angst
Spoilers: Set between 4.01 "Invasion", and 4.02 "Bad Blood".
Summary: The Grace Davies/Will Grayson case has been resolved, but Milner hasn't found any rest yet. Maybe a late-night visit from a friend will help...
(What song is it? )
Paul Milner had never been a very good whistler. In fact, his choir leader in primary school had despaired of his showing any real musical talent. Always signaling him quiet at assembly, she'd been, subtly avoiding being seen to do so.
(Did you hear it at the dance? The other night, watching her and Farnetti...no, no, wasn't that.)
Paul himself would admit, his low baritone was a little bit rough. Pitch was never his strong suit. But he wasn't tone deaf, not by a long shot. He liked music, loved music. He treasured the memories of his mother singing him to sleep. All the old songs. Quietly, so as not to disturb his father.
(Da, da da...lived by the River Dee... )
It was one of those songs that was nagging at him now. He whistled it as best he could, pacing from the kitchen to the front room. Whistling snatches, until his mind wheeled off in another direction, and then back again. The cuckoo clock etching its own rhythm into the song. 11 o'clock in the PM and nothing is well.
(Will would know. He knew all of them. And that's the problem, isn't it? It's not the blasted song, it's him.)
He snapped his fingers, suddenly. "The piano bench."
The big piano in the front room had been there when he moved in (when you *and* Jane moved in). Big old thing, sturdy, Broadwood-made. Bench included. Paul didn't remember now when he'd discovered the books. When had he accidentally knocked over the bench?
Maybe one of *those* days, the awful days after he came home, and nothing fit, and he didn't fit, and everything hurt. Jane hadn't been there, that much he knew. He'd knocked the bench over, cursed out loud. and then seen the pile of sheet music on the floor. With that fragile book of folk songs on the top. Property of the previous owner, and how could you forget such a treasure trove?
He'd find the book, and he'd find the song, and then he could go to sleep and go to work in the morning.
(Go to work without Will Grayson's lonely eyes staring out of every report you try to write.)
Opening the bench, Milner found the book he was looking for. He sat down again, flipping through. He didn't read music well (not half so well as people, he flattered himself), but he would find that tune.
Page 37. There it was. And it all came flooding back; Will, singing at the mess line, with not a care in the world, or too many. Their sergeant raising a cocked eyebrow at the festivities, but since they'd be at the front tomorrow, what did he care?
Paul tried to sound it out himself, but the recognition came haltingly. Even with the aid of the piano keys, a lot of them now gone flat. Not so sturdy after all, it seemed.
(you should get it tuned, but where could you find a piano tuner in Hastings these days?)
"There was a jolly miller...once lived on the river Dee..."
(Mom loved this, but Dad, Dad hated it, called it 'damn depressing')
"He danced and he sang from morn till night, no lark-"
(no, that's flat)
"...la-ark so blithe as he."
Three sharp knocks at the door startled him out of his reverie. Who, at 11? Brooks, maybe, or even DCS Foyle. But why wouldn't they call?
Milner's leg ached. It always did at this time of night and this level of fatigue. But he dragged himself up anyway, and opened the door.
To find the last person there he might have expected. Who seemed to have surprised herself in the bargain as well.
"Sergeant Milner, I'm so sorry, I can't imagine what I was thinking...I'll just go-"
She was all nerves and twitches and confusion, and it was almost contagious. At one of her pauses, he put his hand on her arm. If for no other reason than to calm both of them down.
"Sam, Sam. It's all right. Come in, please."
That seemed to do it, as the young woman's tense shoulders lowered several inches. As they walked into the front room, he looked around at the chaos, and felt pangs of inhospitality.
"I'm not very good at this host business, I think. I don't have much. Would you like..."
She immediately shook her head "no", and started to tense up again.
"Sam, it's 11 at night, and you're standing in my front room. You *can* call me Paul, if you want."
"All right then. Paul. I...I don't know, if I'm stepping past the line, tell me please. Are you all right?"
The sheer fumbling good nature of this suddenly struck Milner as amusing. He had to keep from laughing.
"Sam, I'm fine. Did you really drive all the way over here to ask that?"
Sam, however, as he should have remembered, had a sense for people almost as good as his own. At this quick response, she raised an eyebrow, but accepted it for now.
"No...well not quite. It's been such a tense week, with the Americans, and the Grace Davies case and, well, everything..."
(awkward, awkward, get it out of the way)
"I heard about Andrew."
"Yes...yes, and I've just been distracted, and not a very good friend, I feel. So I came to say, I'm sorry, I'm very sorry, about Will Grayson."
This was not so amusing, and Milner had to break eye contact for a bit.
"Thank you, Sam."
(You, and Carter, and the still, you four, because Will was in there too. and you were so angry. So angry. And if that constable hadn't come back in when he did...)
Sam sensed the changed air in the room, and glanced towards the piano. If only for something to do.
"What were you singing?"
"You could hear? I thought I was being as quiet as a church-mouse."
"Aha, you are not subtle, as you think, Monsieur Milner."
*That* made him laugh.
"...ye gods, Sam, that's the worst French accent I've ever heard."
"Oh, Messieur, I am trez insulted!"
"Okay, okay, I'll tell you, just stop it."
Milner went back over to the piano bench, and laid the song-book carefully on the music-stand. He patted the seat next to him, unconsciously, and Sam sat down.
(she sits down, and you feel the electricity, but you ignore it, because it's Sam, and obviously she wouldn't want to )
"Oh, 'The Jolly Miller'! My father used to sing it to me all the time."
"Oh yes. Didn't just use that booming voice for hymns, you know."
And with that, she started reading the music, singing the song sweet and clear. Trilling on the line about the lark. He couldn't help but stare at her as she did. Sam, singing as if possessed by some ancient muse.
"And this the burden of his song for ever used to be-e-"
At this, he turned back to the music, and joined in at the last line.
"I care for nobody, no, not I, if nobody cares for me."
Silence fell, and neither could look at the other for a moment. But as he was staring at his feet (need to polish those workshoes) he felt Sam's smaller hand reach over to clasp his larger one. He couldn't look her in the eye yet.
"That's...it's not true, Paul. You have people who care for you."
"I know, Sam."
He looked up finally, and was almost overcome by the care he saw in her eyes.
(oh, Sam Stewart, you can't even help it, can you, how beautiful you are)
They were inches apart on the bench, and fitfully, he leaned over, and kissed Sam. Gently, expecting not much of anything. And then something miraculous happened. She kissed him back, softly at first, then with more vigour. Paul closed his eyes. They stayed, entwined like that, for who knew how long.
Eventually, though they did have to come up for air, and he opened his eyes again. A pleasant view, he thought.
"Mister...Mistah Milner, I do declare."
"Are we on to 'Gone With The Wind' now, Miss Stewart?"
Sam grinned back.
"You're not *quite* Clark Gable, but I think you'll do."
That sealed it; he had to lean over and kiss her again. This time, more passionately, grasping, with lips and tongue, every inch that she deigned to give him. He suddenly felt her arms under his, her fingers searching in his too-short hair. Paul pulled her close, one cupping her face, stroking her soft cheek with his forefinger; the other moving downwards, towards the small of her back.
With all his senses occupied, he didn't even sense that they were leaning (listing, slightly, to port, as a navvy might put it) towards the piano. Paul and Sam were shocked when they accidentally played a dissonant minor chord. Both tried to keep the kiss going, but the gales of laughter interfered.
"Maybe we should..."
"I think it would be a good idea yes."
They both stood, but then the kissing ensued again; this time with Sam's hands venturing mischievously southwards. Paul's hands followed, while quite another bit of his anatomy already stood at partial attention.
Neither of them really wanted to move, but Paul tried sidling towards the front stairs. It was then that his leg betrayed him, stumbling. He nearly took Sam down with him, before bracing himself on the railing. Reality set in, and he pulled back for a second.
"Sam, Sam, I'm so sorry, damn, damn damn..."
This time, Sam took his face in her hands, turned his eyes to stare into hers.
"Paul, it's all right, really. Let me help you. Let someone else take the lead for once."
Then she took his hand, grasped firmly, and let him upstairs, towards the bedroom. One step at a time, they went, stealing kisses as they did so. At the top of the stairs, he rallied his courage and went further. Gently moving her uniform jacket aside, he kissed each shoulder, and then hung it on the bannister knob. She half-smiled, lazily.
"I'll have to come back for that later, than?"
"I think you might have to, yes."
She motioned towards the bedroom door.
"Yes." He opened the door, and turned to stand in the door way. A wicked grin graced Sam's beautiful face. She stayed in the hall, and pointed to his own suit jacket. He gladly complied, throwing it to her, and she placed it with the other.
And in a flash of green skirt, off-white blouse, and blond hair, Sam was all over him. She took charge, and Paul was happy to let her do so. She motioned for him to sit on the bed, and once he did so, she undressed him. Slowly. Carefully. After each button, he felt her fevered lips, her serpentine tongue over his chest. Every often, he would lean over, and pause her with a kiss of his own.
Then she got to his trousers. Paul's mind and body unconsciously braced for the downfall. For the end of this blissful paradise, once she saw the truth of his mangled form. But Sam was unfazed. She unbuttoned his fly, carefully, so carefully, and slid the pants-legs down. She paused, only once, at the prosthesis. She looked, but did not stare. And then she looked up into his eyes, with such a mix of love, and wonderment, and pride, that it was all that Paul could do not to weep then and there.
Instead, he leaned forward, to pull Sam's beautiful body atop his, and then back again on to the bed. They lay next to each other, panting, and then it was Paul's turn. He occupied her mouth with his, one hand slipping off her skirt and panties. That hand found exactly what it was looking for, and was rewarded with a soft but substantial moan from Sam. The other worked at each button on her blouse and was also finally rewarded. She twisted about, and athletically threw the blouse towards parts unknown. Leaving both of them naked and ready.
For a moment, he simply beheld her, the glory of her. And then, it was Paul's tongue which did the work, kissing each responsive nipple repeatedly and in turn.
However, Samantha Stewart had always been a very forthright young woman. Only being attended to did not fit her plans. While her lips were still engaged with his, *her* hands were firmly stroking his hard and ready member, and it took all his concentration not to cry out with pleasure.
After a while, with words, unspoken (if their brains could even have formed language at this point), Sam motioned Paul on to his back. His brain balked at the vulnerability of it, his fear made him hesitate. Then he looked again at his friend, his partner, his lover.
(you are safe here, you are safe with her, you are safe with Sam)
He lay back, and she climbed carefully atop him. As he waited in ecstatic frustration, on the verge of coming, she eased him inside her, and he wrapped her in his broad arms. She eased her hips, back and forth, first slowly, then faster, and faster. They kissed again, even as the throes of passion quickened. And then they were as one, crying out, as the shudders of ecstasy coursed through each of them in turn.
(Thus like the miller, bold and free, let us rejoice and sing; The days of youth are made for glee, and time is on the wing.)
As Milner and Sam lay there later, in the small hours of the morning, she looked over at him. He looked back at, stroking his hands through her wavy hair, hairpins long since lost to posterity.
Her eyes dimmed, somewhat. They were half-lidded with more than sleep, as she ventured what was on her mind.
"I do care for you, Paul, very much."
"And I care very much for you. But?"
"This...this night, this wonderful night. It's something we probably can't do again."
Paul looked towards the far wall, and moved his hand to stroke her naked shoulder.
"No, I suppose not."
"You are all right, aren't you, Paul?"
"I am, Sam, I am. And if I'm not, I've got you looking after me, haven't I?"
"You certainly well do, Sergeant Milner, and don't you bloody forget it."
Paul Milner grinned, and slipped an arm around her. He hugged her close, and kissed her forehead gently.
"No, I don't think I will, Sam."