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I kinda like how it bothers you

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“Nah.”
“Huh.”
And he's really considered it too, took his goddamned time coming up with that 'nah', staring broodily at the pier.
Miller lets the silence set. He's made it awkward, he can very well deal with it now.
“I should get back to Daisy” he says, and she sort of likes him for it. His home life has been a mess. Daisy's gone through a lot in the past few weeks, and he hasn't been able to be around for most of it, so it makes sense for him to go and spend time with his daughter.
Not that it's why he's refused her, though. No. He's not offering her any excuse, that's not his style. He doesn't want to come and have a drink with her, he says no. At least that's honest.
Honest is good, she thinks.
“I should get back to my boys.” Miller says, automatically. Not that she doesn't want to, really, but Tom could take care of Fred for another hour, and after that fierce goodbye service at the church, well, a drink would have done her some good.

They both get up. They don't touch. Of course they don't. He'd sat a good two feet away from her on the bench, lest they be mistaken for friends, she supposes.
“So... You and Daisy, then, you're gonna stay properly now? You don't hate it that much.” She's fishing now, she knows, but it's not like her life has been all that nice recently either, and it wouldn't hurt him that much to admit he's made a life here, and an alright one at that.
He doesn't smile – when does he? But he looks at her with some softness and says. “See you tomorrow Miller.”
What a complete tosser. She smiles at him. She hates that she smiles at him, but she does, because he's infuriatingly endearing, and a good friend besides, however loath to admit it he might be.

---

He finds Daisy home, leafing through an enormous pile of magazines.
“Hi Dad.” She smiles at him over an Ikea catalogue, and he can't help but smile back. She's stayed. He hadn't meant to make her stay. He'd been trying to respect her independence, and he'd nearly lost her again.
It had been Miller, and her rage – at the world, at Joe, at her own son, even – who'd convinced him to do something.
Of course it had been Miller.
“Find anything nice?” Hardy asks his daughter, because he wants to make good on his promise that they can make this a home, a fresh start for both of them – and that apparently starts with redecorating.
They spend the evening taking down references and measuring walls, in the vain hope to make their Ikea trip less labyrinthine.

“We should get you new bedsheets, too.” Daisy says over her pizza slice. He should really start cooking more. Maybe on Sundays? Organised people do that, don't they? Cook ahead for the week. They could make it a tradition.
“Why? What's wrong with mine?” He frowns at her.
“Nothing... It's just.” She frowns back at him. He can't blame her, it's his own frown on her face, albeit a softer, nicer version. “How'd your date go?”
He's really been trying not to roll his eyes at her, it doesn't set a good example, and he hates it when she does it to him.
Right now, though, he's making an exception.
“Fine.” It had gone more than fine truly, once they'd both admitted to feeling completely out of their depths, they'd shared a nice awkward dinner, and a much less awkward night, with an understanding that neither of them were actually really available for more. Daisy doesn't need the details.
“Are you going to see her again?”
“Nah.”
“Oh Dad! Why not? It'd be nice, wouldn't it? To have someone?”

What can he tell her? That he's not very good at having someone? That his job puts him through the wringer more often than not, that it makes him unreliable, undependable, and ultimately, undesirable? She knows it already, he's like that with her. He tries though, and he'll never stop, but she's his daughter, and it's different.
“I'm not... I know you wanted me to try the dating thing Daisy, but I'm not... I'm not a very available man.”
“Because of Ellie?” She asks, like it's a thing they do, talk about his love life, and his feelings, and the train wreck that they are.
“Don't you have school tomorrow? You should get to bed Daise...”
“So yes, then. Night Dad.” She kisses his cheek before taking her catalogue to bed, and Hardy just stays there, frowning at the couch.

Of course it's because of Miller. Bloody Miller. Her chirpiness had irked him at first, he'd thought she wasn't cut for the job, thought she was too soft, too emotional to get results.
That had been before. Before Joe. Before that disaster of a trial, before Miller had had to fight.
Her fierceness hadn't been that much of a surprise, that she'd been able to retain her sense of self, more so. Hardy begrudgingly admires how she still manages to be good and kind, when he's gone the way of most career cops, and has simply become hard. He knows, clearly, that he's the weak one here, that he needs the armour more than she does, because he can't balance it out. Because he's bad at boundaries.
He hadn't been able to keep his head off work even after Daisy was born, even though he loved her, even though he'd loved Tess. The only way he knows how to keep work away from home is to shut down.
It doesn't work. It keeps him from bouncing theories off of whoever he's with, and it keeps the gruesome details away from them, but it also keeps everything away from them, and that's just no way to be with someone.
So he won't.

Besides, Miller doesn't want him. She's bubbly, she's friendly. She's offering to go down the pub, like she'd invited him for dinner when they'd first started working together. It's the done thing. It's neighbourly. It's artificial. She wants them to be friendly, perhaps even friends, because she's absurdly nice, and because she feels bad for him. She cares for him in a vindictive way that he actually loves, but that's not love. That's just Miller.
She'd done the same with Beth, had carried on visiting, and helping out with little Lizzie, seemingly deaf to Beth's accusations and rejection, and eventually it had worked. Beth had caved, and they were close again, pillars of broken families.
He'd left. Not that Tess had wanted him to stay, but he'd tried to go back, and failed again.

Miller deserves better. She deserves someone who'll be able to just go down the pub, to actually enjoy a summer barbecue without grumbling or shutting people off.
Someone who can fuel her optimism, not secretly leech off of it the way he does.
That's why he didn't go to the pub. Why he'll keep not going to the pub, or for after-work pizza, not because he doesn't want to, but because he doesn't want to see her disappointment when it turns out that he actually is that ornery, and that uncommunicative, even as a friend. Or as anything else.

---

“He didn't!”
“You know he did.”
“Yeah. Of course he did. I don't see why you even bother, seriously Ellie, you could have anyone.” Beth says, and it's very loyal of her, when they both know that with the baggage they've got, neither of them is likely to get someone.
“He's... Look. I know how he is. And that's mostly grumpy. But underneath it all, he's loyal, and fierce, and he cares so much it hurts.” Miller tries to explain.
He's an arse. She knows he is, it doesn't make a lick of difference. She wants him there by her side, solid, attentive, comforting.
“Huh. He's not too bad looking either.” Beth raises an eyebrow at her, and she looks ten years younger.

Miller feels old, suddenly. Beth has been so strong, pulling through after Danny, and now that Mark's gone, she might have a shot at something new. Miller doesn't think she'll be able to trust anyone anymore. Except maybe Hardy. Hardy is so inflexibly righteous that she thinks she might trust him, if he let her.
“Well. There's that too.” She raises an eyebrow back at Beth.
They dissolve into a fit of giggles she'd never admit to, and that feels good. She needs that, a friendship, an actual one, not like the thing she had with Claire, never open, never honest, always on the verge of collapse.

“You should tell him.” Beth says later, once they've watched a movie and Miller has gone to check on the kids. Beth has also checked on Chloe who's babysitting for Lizzie.
“What?”
“Hardy. You should tell him. I think he fancies you too. He's come back, hasn't he? And he yells at you differently.”
“Here's to small victories.” Miller raises her mug in mock toast.
“No, I mean it. He's cross with everyone, alright? But with you it's different, it's more like he's putting on a show of being grumpy, so you can roll your eyes at him.”
“You think?” Miller is not convinced, she'd like to be, though, and Beth has always been persuasive.
“Yeah. And either way, what have you got to lose? Can the man be any more awkward?”
“Guess not.” She likes him awkward, really. He's not so much socially inept as socially indifferent. He won't pretend, but when he cares, you know it's real.
She doesn't need a social partner, what she wants is someone that'll be here at the end of the day, that'll understand what the job is like and what it takes out of you. And if that means talking shop at home, well, at least she won't just think in circles 'round her own head.

---

“Sir?” She asks late one night, after everybody's gone home.
“Huh?” Hardy looks up from his paperwork.
“Do you have any idea why I keep asking you to the pub?”
“Can't bear to drink alone?” Bloody hell. He'd intended for it to be teasing, not mean. Miller doesn't seem to mind him being an asshole – she rarely ever does nowadays, which makes it harder to keep refusing her invitations.
“Never stopped me before. No. Turns out I like you, actually. So if you cared to think about that a minute, and maybe reconsider your answer, that'd be lovely.” Miller leaves him there, gawping in the empty station.
Hardy goes home.

Daisy's staying over at the Latimer's, she made fast friends with Chloe, which he's eternally grateful for. He knows Chloe, he knows Beth. They're good people, Daisy's safe with them.
He regrets her absence though, she would have known what to make of Miller's little outburst. He knows, of course, that his eighteen year old daughter shouldn't be his main confident, but his life being what it is, she is.
He's got no one else to ask. For anything else he'd call Miller, ask for advice, or simply knock on her front door and bombard her with his thoughts until her cutting comments cleared things out for him.
But he can't. She's told him to reconsider. She's told him she likes him. Hardy feels that he's well past the age of playing the like or like-like game. Miller is too. If she hadn't meant it the way he hopes she did, she'd not have left. She would have pestered him about friendship and good manners.
So. There. Detective skills still intact.

Now what?
Hardy humphs. Considers the old bottle of Lagavulin he keeps for the really bad nights and the much rarer good ones. Makes tea.
Say he goes, Hardy mulls over his too brewed cup, they have a drink, or food. Miller likes food.
How is that an actual thought of his? He's supposed to be smart. That's his main redemption. He's smart, tenacious enough it veers straight down into stubbornness, and that makes him good at his job.
Doesn't make him good at relationships, that's been well established.
Except.
Except, Miller's also smart. Brilliant even. She's a grown woman, she's been through so much, has had to weather an entire town making assumptions about her, thinking she knew about Joe. Had to know about Joe, really. How could she not?
She hadn't, of course she hadn't, because Miller had assumed the best in people, still does actually, and that's maybe why she likes him.
Because if she says she does, she does. Hardy won't add himself to the list of people who pretend they can think for her.

So. Say he goes, and they have a drink, what next? They date?
Can he even date? Flowers, and dinners, and movies? Does he want that? Does Miller? Maybe she does, maybe she's looking for a fresh start.
Hardy doesn't feel too fresh. Or much of a start. He feels like a dead-end. But she doesn't.
She's anything but. She's perfect. She can push back against his relentlessness, can force him down from his rage, and knows when to leave him alone. She's funny and snarky and brave. She's polite and friendly, and fierce. She's a good friend. She's his only real friend. And she wants more.
So does he.

Hardy caves. She's not even here to pester him, and he still caves.
He gets up from the couch, reties his tie, vainly tries to tame his hair, knows it will get wrecked by the wind anyway, grabs his keys, and goes.

---

It's well past midnight, and the kitchen is as clean as it's gonna get. The bathroom too, the whole house really, minus the boys' rooms. Tom's much too old for her to clean his room, and Fred had already been in bed when she'd got home.
Miller's arranging the spices into a neat gradient of ochres and browns when she hears the knock on her door.
She messes up her spice rack. Finding a colour sorted spice rack in a suspect's house would definitely trigger alarms in her detective brain, and if it's actually Hardy at the door, she doesn't want him alarmed. He's gonna be pissed enough.

“Why d'you keep the name?” He asks when she opens the door. And he looks as confused as she is that that's what he chose to say.
I like the way you say it, she doesn't say. She most definitely doesn't say: I like how your accent made it my name, and never his.
“Wasn't about to let that bastard have anything else.” Is what she says, and it's not wrong. Just partial.
He frowns. He bites his lip. He opens his mouth. Seems to think better of it and sort of deflates. He throws her a pleading look, one she's never seen on his face before, and it's terrifying. He's lost here. He's everything she'd like to find, and he's so, so lost.

“Oh for Pete's sake, just come in already.” She steps aside and lets him in, watches him toe off his shoes, in deference to her obviously freshly cleaned floors, toss off his coat, and hang it on the rack.
And there he is, all suited up, he's even re-tied his tie. He looks amazing, and utterly ridiculous. It's the socks, she thinks. They must have been a gift from Daisy. There's a discreet pattern of hearts on them, that may get mistaken for polka dots, but aren't.
“So...” He starts, finally looking her in the eye.
She falters.
“How about that drink, then? Tea? Coffee? No. Not coffee, bad for your heart, you know. I've got vodka somewhere, I think.” She goes to the kitchen and starts fluttering about. It seems to strengthen his own resolve.

“Miller!” She snaps out of it, kettle in one hand, the other reaching out for the tea.
“Forget the bloody tea, I already had a cup while I was reconsidering.”
She puts everything down.
“Yeah? How'd that work for you?” She asks, a tad aggressively.
“I don't even like tea.” He frowns. “I like you, though.”
“You don't like tea?!” She can't help it. Tea is the only thing she's ever seen him consume voluntarily.
“Is it really the take away here, Miller?” He asks in his cop boss voice.
“I don't know, Sir, was me keeping my name the main question tonight?” She raises an eyebrow at him. The kind of eyebrow she'd raise at Tom, except she's already half smiling.

He smiles back, and it's a whole new thing. Hardy doesn't smile, generally speaking. He'll spare one for the children they have to interview sometimes, and he smiles at Daisy, but that's about it. That thing he's aiming at her is as disarming as his loss of composure in her hallway. It's shy, and tentative, and so very soft she can nearly forget his usual steadfastness.
He comes closer, gives her ample time to duck out or stop him. She's not about to. His eyes find hers. He lays a hand on hers where it's resting on the counter and they stand there, on the verge of something, long enough for Miller to become hyper aware of the weight of his hand, of the heat and softness of it, until finally he leans towards her and she meets him halfway.
They kiss and it makes sense. The way he's there, solid against her, but also gentle and pliant. The way his free hand has come up to cup her jaw and hers has travelled up to his shoulder. It makes sense like they should have done it years ago but also like now was the only good time for it to happen. She sighs into it and he lets her go, their bodies still close, his hands still on her.
“Right.” He ducks his head, and she has to laugh. She's seen the man brave press conferences and interview rooms, she's watched him give evidence and weather out the tabloids' filth, and now he looks vulnerable.
“Get yourself to the couch, I'll make that tea, now.”

---

“I'm always grumpy.” Hardy says, sipping at his tea. It's perfectly brewed, and he gets a glimpse into why people actually enjoy the taste and not just the warmth.
“I know.” She shrugs. “I'm a mess.”
“You're not.” She shrugs again, but it's a different one, a loaded one. He hates it.
“Miller. You're not. You've shown them all. You've stayed, you've kept your house, your boys, your job. Your head. You've shown me.”
“Oh, have I?” She raises an eyebrow at him. She does that a lot. He likes it. This specific eyebrow raise though, it seems pregnant with something else.
“You know you have.”
“Beth says you yell at me differently.” She says it like it's a good thing.
“You've discussed this with Beth, then?”
“Course I have. What do you think you are? Easy to have a crush on? Have you met you?” She's joking. He knows she is. He still goes in.
“I know, Miller. Are you sure? We do this, we're gonna have to tell the Chief Super, and the station. There's no illicit affair to be had here, it's all in or nothing.”
“I know. It might come as a surprise to you Sir, but I've actually thought about this.”
“Right. Sorry. Do you have to keep calling me Sir? Seems a bit formal.”
“I kinda like how it bothers you, to be honest.”

“Fine.” He can feel himself smiling. “Have it your way.” He says, and he means it entirely, if she's that sure, she can have him anyway she wants.
“I intend to.” She says, and she puts her mug down on the floor by the couch, pries his from his loose grasp and puts it next to her. It's all very domestic, until she leans towards him and slips a hand in his hair.
When she pulls him in, he goes willingly. His left hand finds her thigh and his right goes up to her nape. She kisses him like she means business, and he's absolutely on board. Their tongues find each other, and things devolve fairly fast into a proper snog.
It's when he feels her free hand tug at his shirt and snake up his back that Hardy's brain re-surfaces.
He pulls away, just enough to be able to speak.
“Wait.” She pulls back a little more, gets her hand out of his shirt. He regrets talking, goes on anyway. “Shouldn't we date first? Make sure this is working?”
“Isn't it working?” She cocks an eyebrow at him, then looks down pointedly at his crotch. He rolls his eyes.
“Oh, that's working alright, Miller. But that's not what I mean.”
“Do you want to date?” She asks, and she sounds a bit perplexed.
“I thought you might?” he tries, and he'd love to be more assertive, less terrified, but this right here, is the one thing he actually wants for himself, and he's ready to go at it anyway she likes, if that means it could work.

“You'd be so awkward on a date though, wouldn't you?” She says, and it should be insulting but isn't. She just knows that smooth is not a thing he'll ever be, and she doesn't seem to mind.
“I could woo you Miller, if you wanted. I'd buy you flowers and book us tables at fancy restaurants, if you wanted.” He'd try, anyway.
“Look Sir,” she smirks at him. He loves it.
“I'm all for flowers and dinner, if you can remember, or if you'd actually enjoy doing that, but I'm not looking to be wooed. You said if we do this it's all in. That's what I want. You know about me, you know about Joe and you know what the job's like. You know the hours, and how a case will worry at your brain until nothing else exists, and you know how I am, how I cope with it all. And I know you. You're obstinate, and grouchy, and tortured, and the least social bastard I've ever met. I know that. They call you shit-face for fuck's sake. I don't care.”
Her smirk is gone now, she's just looking at him, searching his eyes, or trying to convey something beyond her words.
He hopes he gets it.
“I just... I don't want you to regret this.” She's been through enough shit without having to add him to the list.

“That's my risk to take, not yours.” The hardness in her voice takes him by surprise. Shit. He's doing exactly what he'd told himself he wouldn't.
“Right. Shit. Sorry. Your decision.”
“Yes. So, here's what actually matters, do you want this? Us, together? Because if you do, Sir, I suggest you get your shit together and let me get on with this.” She tightens the hand she's left in his hair, not enough to hurt, but just enough to remind him that she's there, and that before he'd tried to be gallant, this had been going somewhere.
He doesn't answer, he just strengthens his own grip on her neck and lets himself fall back on the couch. She follows him down, steadies herself with her free arm, and he lets himself be kissed.

---

She breaks it off to rearrange them, gets up and pushes his legs on the couch so she can straddle him. She's careful to sit back on his thighs rather than his crotch – though she doesn't think he'd complain, she'd rather make this last. His hands find her hips as she gets working on his shirt buttons. She takes her time with it, kisses down his throat as she goes, then in the slight dip under his breastbone.
He watches her work, pupils blown, but he keeps quiet, seemingly content to be led.
She hasn't always been this assertive, but the last few years have changed her, and she knows what she wants.
Right now, what she wants is for Hardy to keep on looking at her like that, so she pushes the last button out of its hole and parts his shirt open, revealing the expanse of skin under it. He's as skinny as he looks with his suit on, though rather wiry. She dips down and nips at his side, then licks down his iliac furrow, stops where warm skin ends, at his trousers' belt.
He's slid a hand up her side, grazing at the side of her breast before tangling his fingers in her hair. He pulls her up for a kiss, pushing up on his elbow to meet her halfway.

“Miller”, he says when they part.
“Sir?” She asks, revelling in this new-found cheek of hers. She feels giddy and powerful, and she's not about to let the feeling go.
“Upstairs?” he asks, toying with her top shirt button. He's not so hesitant anymore, looking at her with a raised eyebrow, hair mussed up, cheeks and chest flushed pink. She likes him like that, heated up and wanting, still waiting for her pleasure.
“What's wrong with the couch?” She doesn't want to move. She has him right where she wants him, warm, and under her. She slides a hand up his pecs to make her point, and he grunts when her nails scratch at his nipple.
“Tom” he says, and he's got a point, they're in the middle of the living room, and she's lectured Tom about porn and privacy enough for him to earn the right to call her a hypocrite for the rest of her life if he finds them like this. Even more so if he finds them the way she intends to get them, much more naked and infinitely closer.
“I hate it when you're right.” She says, and she gets up, uses the opportunity to rake her eyes down his body, and doesn't regret it.
“Sorry, Miller.” He says, as he sits up and shrugs out of his shirt. “I'll make it up to you.” He adds with a cheeky half-smile.
“Well go on then.” She says, and she turns her back on him, adds maybe a little sway to her hips as she starts up the stairs.

She doesn't really expect him to feel her up as she goes, and he doesn't, but she can feel his eyes on her, and he pulls her to him the second the bedroom door closes behind them. He's got his back to it, but he turns them around, and she finds herself pressed against the wood as he mouthes at her neck, fingers working on her shirt. He gets it open quickly, and pushes at the sleeves, catching her left bra strap and pulling it down with the shirt. He leaves it halfway off, which means she can't really move her arms anymore, and she doesn't care.
The cold air of the room raises goosebumps on her skin and it should feel weird, being in this room with another man, her boss of all people, but it doesn't. It's her house, they've repainted it with Tom, and Joe has never seen those walls, doesn't know she's chosen the colour because it reminded her of the sea, doesn't know she's changed all of their bed sheets, given away most of their furniture, because she couldn't bear to live with the reminders of their life together. Joe doesn't know, and more importantly, Joe doesn't get a say. She's going to screw Hardy on that bed, now, and ideally for the foreseeable future, and it's nobody's business but theirs. It feels right, she thinks, the way his hands skate on her skin, how tender he is, how reverent, even though he's got her pinned to the door, her arms caught in her shirt and one breast bared. It feels right. It feels even better when his thumb finds her nipple, circles around it until it grows hard and he leans down to suck on it. He's got one hand supporting her breast, and the other one tangled in her hair. She can do nothing but push up into his mouth, and moan. The hand in her hair tightens at the sound, and she can feel him draw in a breath. He blows air on her already sensitive nipple, and she moans louder.

Hardy moves his hand up, palm against her nipple, and it's nice, warm and pleasurable but not too stimulating. He's still there, but he's more focused on kissing her, and she kisses him back fiercely, pushing into him, biting at his lower lip when he pulls away.
“Bed.” She says, and he lets her go. She frees her arms as she walks to the bed, and she about to unclasp her bra when he stops her.
“Let me.” He says, and he's behind her, pulling her against his chest. He's slightly taller than she is, so he still has to bend his neck to bite at hers. He gets his hand back on her nipple, and she throws her head back, mouth opened. She can feel his cock against her, and she pushes back against it as he rubs her nipple between his thumb and his index, his free hand going up to her jaw, palm against her throat, never threatening, never tight, just there. She's clutching his arms with her hands, she can feel his muscles working as he works on her, and she feels herself get wet, wants more, and also less, as her nipple gets close to oversensitive.
“Sir.” She says, and it comes out ragged, begging, not at all the way she wants it to. “Hardy.” She tries again, and it's better, it's him, without the job, and without her snark, and she wants him like that too.
“Yeah?” He says, and stops moving his fingers, though his hands stay where they are.
“Bed.” She says again and turns around in his arms. He gets right on unclasping her bra, throws it away in the vague direction of her shirt, before he presses her against him.

He finds her mouth again, and this time it's slow, soft even. He's still hard against her, but right now he's just kissing her. His hands have come up to cup her face tenderly, and she's not sure she can take it, the way he handles her like she's precious, so she pushes him down on the bed.
“Miller...” he grunts as his back hits the sheets.
“Yeah?” she asks, watching him watch her as she takes off her slacks. Her knickers are nothing to write home about, plain grey cotton, but he seems to enjoy the view all the same.
“We're staying. Daisy's making me drive her to Ikea this weekend, we're redecorating. I've signed a renewable three-year lease.”
She'd been debating taking off his trousers or her knickers first, and he's talking about his lease. Of course he is. She sits down on the bed, and he moves to sit next to her.
“Bloody hell, you're bad at this.” She says, as her heart swells. He's staying. Not that she really thought he'd follow her to bed and then vanish back to Scotland, but it's good to hear him say it.
“Sorry,” he shrugs, and she can feel it where their arms are pressed together. “Thought you should know I don't hate it here.” He starts ghosting his hand over her legs, grazes his nails across her skin, from her knees to her mid-thigh. She silently wills him to go higher, lightly bites at his shoulder before replying.
“Good.” she says, and she means it, but she's mainly focusing on the too-few points of contact between them.

----


She'd been looking at him like she was about to eat him alive, and somehow he'd thought it was the perfect time to talk about Ikea. He'd meant it as a vaguely romantic thing, telling her he was actually committed to staying, but it had clearly not been the right time. If Miller's mouthing at his neck is any indication, it's rather time for him to get a little more proactive.
He lays her gently down on the bed, watches as her black curls spread on the sheets then kneels at her feet. He splays his hands on her thighs, keeps her legs down as he kisses his way up, revelling in the give of the flesh and in the satisfied sighs she breathes, like she'd been waiting to have him there forever.
As soon as he's moved high up enough, she grabs at his hair, pulls a little, and it's perfect. She's in charge here, and it frees him. He's under so much pressure all the time, being the DI, he relishes the feeling of being led. It's reassuring too, knowing that she wants this, that she knows what she wants and is going for it. It makes him more certain that this is a good idea, that they can make it work because they both actively want to.
He kisses past her knickers, all along her hips and up to her sternum, though he does slip a hand over her mound, feels the dampness of the cotton under his hand, and it earns him another tug at his hair.
“Hardy.” she growls.

He raises his head, takes in her flushed cheeks and her blown pupils, and he's ready to agree to whatever she's about to say.
“You're overdressed.” She says, and he does agree, his erection has been trapped at an awkward angle for a while now, but there had been more pressing matters. He's about to stand up and take his trousers off when she rolls them over and straddles him again. She hovers above him, working at the clasp at his belt, and Hardy is grateful for the moonlight shining through the windows.
She's beautiful, her hair is falling over her face and he can only see parts of it, the glimmer of her left eye, the flash of teeth where she's biting at her lower lip. He watches her hands as she pushes his trousers down, dragging along his skin. Her breasts hang heavy, nipples still hard, and he wants to take one in his mouth, the other one this time, it seems oddly important to make things even.

She's pulled off his socks with his trousers and she's back, she sitting on him now, her cunt lined up with his cock, and he regrets wearing underwear. She smirks at him knowingly and leans forward, drags herself against him just a fraction, just enough to make him crave more, and then she's kissing him. It's messy and dirty, and he encourages the process by grabbing at her ass. She seems to get the idea, because soon she's rutting against him, and they're not kissing so much as vaguely sharing air, both panting and grunting until she seems to decide that it's not enough.
She rolls off him and it'd be criminal, if she weren't pulling his boxers down. As it is, Hardy is glad for his pacemaker, because he can feel his heart beating furiously in his chest, in anticipation of what's to come, as much as out of sheer elation at what's already happened.
Miller gets up, then smirks at him as she hooks her thumbs into the waistband of her knickers and pushes down. He's pushed himself up to look at her, and she seems to enjoy being watched. She goes so far as to spin around slowly, gives him a fleeting glimpse of her ass, before she kneels by the bed, and comes back up with a condom in hand.
Hardy extends a hand but she shakes her head no, and goes back to sitting on his legs.

She teases her fingers along his hip bones, bends over to kiss him, and he can feel the heat of her on his thighs, the skin of her belly pressed against him, and he's so hard it's painful. He should have known she'd be a tease, she's always done exactly what she wanted, and he needs that now. They've spent weeks working on a rape case, and it's been hard on them both. She's ignored his order to stay distant to the victim, she's bitten his head off for choosing to interview Trish so soon, and he gets it. She cares, and she needs to do what she can, when she can. His job is to think long term, to calculate the risk and go for the path least likely to blow up.
Miller sits back up, works the condom open. She slides a finger down his cock before taking it in hand, and he closes his eyes, revels in the sensation of her skin on him, up until he can feel the latex being rolled down, and Miller talks to him.
“How long?”
“Huh?” he asks, somewhat thrown.
“I said,” Miller repeats, tracing random patterns on his chest as she move up to sit on him. He can feel her wet against him, and it really doesn't help him focus on her question. “How long have you wanted this?”
“Miller...” He growls, he's bad at dirty talk, he's bad at talking in general, and right now he's being very distracted by her, the sight of her body above his, the heat of it against him, and maybe that's why he doesn't lie.

“Since Claire told me about your night out.” He's not proud of it, she has every right to a one night stand, he's had one just ten days ago, but when Claire had told him in an obvious attempt to make him mad, it had actually bugged him.
“Oh yeah? Wished it had been you, did you?” she moves, lines herself up against his cock so that he'd just have to buck his hips to slide in. He doesn't. Her hands hold him steady, but mainly it's her eyes. She'll take him in when she wants to, and that'll be after he answers her question.
“Of course I did, still do actually” Hardy tries for cocky, but his voice comes out breathy, possibly even desperate, though he doesn't like to think so.
“Well then Sir,” she says, and she actually succeeds at being cocky, “as you wish.”

---

She takes him in, and it's so much better than it had been with that drunk guy off the pub, it doesn't even feel like the same thing.
She's been wet for the last half hour, she's been building up to this, and he's let her take her time, he's making an obvious effort not to move right now, his hands are gripping at her hips, and she would kiss him, except it would mean staying still, and friction is imperative right now.
She starts moving slowly, enjoys the feeling of his cock inside her and the drag of her clit against his pubic bone. He looks glorious under her, his mouth has fallen open, his face is flushed and his eyes are shining, and she feels loved. He hasn't said it yet, might not for a while, if his usual emotional illiteracy is anything to go by, but she can feel it. This man in her bed, Britain's worse cop, the least accommodating person she's ever met and the most impatient bastard she's ever come across, this man is pushing his fingers into her flesh in a desperate attempt at controlling his own hips, so she can set her pace and get what she wants. And if that's not love in Hardy's style, she doesn't know what is.
She leans down to kiss him after all, even though it means she's taking in less of him, because she loves him too, and it's too soon to say it.

He dives right into her mouth, and his hips finally buck up into her, and even though the angle isn't the easiest to work with, she's glad for the change of pace. He builds up a rhythm, steady but not too fast, and he keeps on kissing her, and once again it's so tender that she feels the need to break it off. She pushes back up, finds purchase on her extended arms, and she's in charge of the rhythm again. She's chasing her release now, moving frantically against him, around him too. Hardy seems to sense what she needs, because his hands leave her hips, and he's playing at her nipples, adding just the extra bit of stimulation she needs to come.
Miller tries not to scream out as she nears completion, the boys are sleeping downstairs and they don't need to hear them. She's not making a very good job of it, apparently, because Hardy pushes a thumb into her mouth and she bites down on it as she comes. Her orgasm is intense, long, and she shakes through it, then goes rigid as Hardy pushes into her one last time, and she doesn't see him fall apart, because her eyes have rolled back into her head, but she feels him inside her, and feels him tense between her thighs. Mostly, though, she hears him bite off a grunt, and then sigh deeply as his whole body relaxes, his hands falling at his sides, right about the time when she collapses down on him.

They stay like that for a while, Miller sprawled on top of him, her beating heart against his, her face buried in his neck.
He's still in her, and it's going to be uncomfortable soon, but she can't move yet, and he doesn't seem to mind, he's kissing lightly against her temple, breathing long and deep.
She'd love to stay forever, but they need to clean up at least a little, so she rolls off him, just enough for him to be able to get the condom off, but not so far that they stop touching.
“Miller?” he asks, while she slowly blinks back to reality.
“Hmm?”
“You have a bin?”
“In the bathroom.” She says, but she snakes an arm around him, gets closer and puts her head on his chest. She can hear his heart beat. It's the best sound in the world right now, and she's absolutely ready to fall asleep to it. “Don't go.”
He huffs a laugh.
“I'll be quick I swear.” he says, and he gently manoeuvres out of her embrace, and goes for the door. He doesn't bother to get dressed, and she watches him go, gleefully thinks that maybe soon she might get to bite his butt, and that's something to look forward too. She's barely had time to mourn his disappearance that he's back. She gets to watch him from the front, and it's not bad either, he's got nicely toned muscles and he looks utterly edible. He's also carrying a glass of water. More love.
He hands it to her and slips right back against her, and she drinks deep before resuming her position on his chest.

She's nearly drifting off when he starts speaking.
“My dad was Alec. I... He was a right bastard, and it never felt like it was me. It was like I was supposed to be just a smaller version of him, and I didn't want to. I could call you Ellie, though, if you wanted.”
“Don't you dare.”
He laughs, pushes a hand through her curls and scratches at her skull. She might very possibly purr, if only to match his rumbling accent.
“Alright then, Miller. Should we have a proper conversation now?” He asks, and maybe they should, but he's pulled the duvet over them, and everything is warm and comfortable, and talking can wait.
“I've never seen you so keen on talking before.” She teases, voice already heavy with sleep.
“I'm just trying to do this right, Miller. It's important.” He sounds so earnest then, that she pushes through the fatigue and kisses him again. They kiss like they've not just had sex and she can feel a tingle course through her, and had they been just ten years younger, she might have chased the feeling. As it is though, she gives his bottom lip one last playful bite and lays her head back on his heart.
“You're already doing this right, Sir, let's talk tomorrow, okay? After round two.”
“Right.” he kisses her brow. “Night Miller.”
“Goodnight, Sir.”