DISCLAIMER: I don't own Foyle's War and am not making any money from this.
A/N: This is a one shot that assumes Milner was more offended by Edith's automatic assumption of his guilt. There is a follow up for Sam, but it is unlikely to become a series.
Milner is a fool three times over and he knows it.
He had been a fool for Jane. He still had trouble sorting out the good times he was sure they had from the illusion he had of her. He remembered all too well the bad times, the long cold nights while she was visiting her sister and the even longer nights when she was just gone.
He had been a fool for Edith. Maybe he was just a fool for how she made him feel. Either way it had lasted right up until that cold moment he realised she believed, had actually believed that he had killed Jane and he realised that they hadn't taken the time to really look at each other, too happy to experience that shy childish infatuation again.
He was a fool for illusions and he was left cold from them. He can't, won't, feel that again which is why he won't let go now.
He is a fool for Sam. Even when he was married and he would not cross that line he had been drawn to her warmth. Being near Sam was like being in the sun, the warmth crept into your bones, her simple joy was infectious and in a lonely frozen life he couldn't help himself. He hadn't realised how far gone he was until that night his kitchen was warm and inviting and he had been laughing without realising and it had all happened just because she was there. Then there was that horrible sinking feeling when he realised his wife was in the door and how very bad it looked.
Sam was everything Jane and Edith hadn't been. Warm and steadfast, she charmed him despite himself.
However even now, with Jane long buried and Edith a distant memory, he cannot bring himself to entertain any future other then a long and hopefully distinguished career and a quiet retirement. He had no intention of going through that again, having his illusions stripped away or ending up in a marriage with a woman who would come to resent him. Better to be alone then to see the look on a woman's face when she found red scar tissue where a healthy limb once was. Jane had never managed it and it had never gotten to that moment with Edith, though he could imagine it well enough by the way she had blanched when her umbrella had caught the side of his leg and there had been a wooden sound. He supposed that while war wounds had a certain romance for her, the reality had not sat well with the rosy future she had in mind for them.
Better to keep the easy friendship with Sam then to risk the coldness creeping in. But somehow now, despite all the reasons he held onto, he couldn't help wanting her.
And it would be worse with her, not because he really thought she would turn out like the others as just another illusion, but because he rather suspected she wouldn't. It was worse somehow because if she was everything he thought she was, if she was as warm and bright and joyous then what did he have to offer her in return?
It had been a relief when she had taken up with Andrew. He couldn't help respecting the boy and he would treat Sam well, it put up a barrier that proved more resilient then his own marriage vows had been. Andrew was a celebrated pilot and a decent enough man and Sam seemed to be happy and Milner could not interfere with that. Her happiness was paramount.
He only found out when he had left slip a remark about Sam enjoying the new Americans and everything they bought, a fool remark referring to her palpable excitement of the prospect of food and new films, that had gone badly wrong and hit a target he wasn't aware existed. He and Foyle had only briefly spoken of Andrews abandonment of Sam, just a few odd words that made Milner wonder how much his senior had noticed of his own sergeants preoccupation.
She was close, so tantalisingly close but he is determined not to be a fool again.
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