Disclaimer: Yeah, I don't own anything.
A/N: Epilogue to We've got all the time is in the works for anyone who cares but I'm putting it off because… well I can. This story will probably be around ten chapters, set over the course of year at different parties and functions for certain holidays. New Years to Valentine's Day to Saint Patrick's Day, etc etc.
Thanks to Vix for beta'ing (though the website might have done something weird to the format) and the awesome opinions and help.
Chapter One - New Years Eve
He navigated the sea of bodies, shifting in and out through layers of conversation and areas of personal space. Under dim lighting and the low buzz of rock music, Freddie pushed his way into the kitchen with intent to make it over to the refreshments on the table near the corner without having one more person accidentally elbow him in the side and or face. It was a pretty sizeable goal but dreams aren't worth pursuing unless their big, otherwise they're just another possibility for the mundane to occur. He wasn't really sure in the moment but he had either heard that from a movie or his English teacher. Either way, he couldn't help but think it was pretty motivational then and now.
Getting to the table, he looked over all the choices offered before reaching for a can of soda. Popping back the tab, he just held it in hand and turned his gaze back onto the celebrating landscape. This was Luke Fender's party, thrown at Amy Colden's house whose parents were out of town and who just so happened to be madly in love with Luke to the point that the guy was able to talk her into anything including throwing this party and rumors of a questionable tattoo somewhere on her body that no one has proof exists but are all pretty sure does. Freddie got there maybe an hour or two ago with Carly and Sam and had managed to not lose them for oh, a good twenty minutes until Gibby got a hold of him and by the time he turned around they had abandoned him for greener pastures. Where said greener pastures were, he had no idea in hell because he had yet to catch a glimpse of either girl since then.
Freddie lifted the can of generic soda to his lips and took a drink, letting the carbonated substance burn a trail down his throat. It went down smoother than some of the other stuff on the table, that's for sure. It seems another thing Luke was able to talk Amy into was raiding her parent's liquor cabinet because there was a wide array of alcohol offered out to anyone willing to commit to a night of memory loss and a morning of throbbing headaches. He wasn't sad that he wouldn't be joining that select fe- well, not select. Pretty much the whole party was drinking but still, he was going to pass. Last party they went too, he had a little too much punch, which he later found out was spiked and needless to say that ended up with the girl's carrying him home while he yelled at the top of his lungs, challenging the villain from the Galaxy Wars movie franchise to a duel to the death.
He shook his head, letting the thought sink back into the dark; where memories go, good or bad, to drift around until called on again. Right as he was about to take another drink, some guy comes barreling over to the table and roughly bumps into Freddie's side causing him to topple a step over. He managed to balance himself out but not before he spilled some soda on his shirt. The brunette looked down to the wet circle on his tee shirt and then over to the guy who looked kind of familiar and kind of drunk. Apologetic, but drunk.
"Whoa, sorry man. I totally didn't see you there."
Freddie gave the guy a strong moment of consideration and in the end, he decided it wasn't worth getting bent out of shape over. Stuff like this happens at parties all the time, and mostly to him. He just nodded his head slightly, setting down his drink on the table. "Don't worry about it, it's not a big deal."
"Ah cool, thanks for being chill bro. Yo, have a Happy New Years!" And with that, the guy grabbed a whole bottle of, well something alcoholic and skipped (yes skipped) off back into the party, disappearing into the crowd like he had never emerged in the first place.
His pace was leisure, moving from the table over to the counter top where a roll of paper towels hung from a rack against the wall. He ripped one square section off and balled it up in his hand before rubbing furiously at the damp spot on his shirt, thinking this really was par for the course. He didn't even want to come to this party, not being the hugest fan of Luke Fender. Freddie pretty much thought the guy was a huge douche bag and would feel more than perfect never seeing the kid again after high school. Yet all that didn't matter because in the end, it wasn't his choice where he went. Sam had declared they were all going to the party and as if she was a prophet, here they are. Predicted and delivered.
He looked around for the trash can but after a few seconds with no reward, Freddie just shoved the balled paper towel in his back pocket. Russet eyes looked around, held to nothing - faces or objects. They just scanned over the room full of his classmates; some holding a quiet dialogue and others inebriated and loudly yelling punch lines with no set up which didn't matter, everyone around them still thought it was hilarious. He was really disenchanted with the thought of hanging around these people any longer and started off towards the backdoor, thinking some fresh air might just be the thing he needed.
Pushing the French door open, the first thing he noticed was the large in ground swimming pool making itself known as the centerpiece of the scene. He could tell it was a heated one due to the faint trails of stream caused from the warmth rising from the water and meeting the chilly Seattle air. Off to the side was a table, candle lit in the middle and a few chairs. Lots of lush green plants. He was the only one out here and Freddie couldn't understand why everyone was inside when this mini paradise existed just beyond some doors. Maybe they were afraid the cold weather would harsh their buzz or something. Whatever the reason, he was glad.
Each step was erratic, arbitrarily making his way over to the pool's edge. Hands found shelter from the air's bite in his pockets while he stood on the perimeter that surrounded the water, looking down at his reflection in the swells. The moment was an allusion for where he stood in world. On a night meant for celebration, at a party full of life, he stood alone out back, somberly contemplating many, many things. What comes after high school. What awaited him out in the real world, away from his family, and his friends and all the relationships keeping him grounded on his feet and not floating off into the sky, filled up with concern and questions. Mid-way through their junior year and this stuff was plaguing him more and more with each day. Graduating was so far away yet it wasn't. It was hiding on the horizon, waiting to catch a ride on the next sunrise without warning.
The shove to his back was focused and forceful, sending Freddie right into the warm waters below with a flail and a yelp. He swam in place for a second, suspended under water while he opened his eyes and worked through the shock and brief confusion and then he made his way to the surface. Popping up, he ran a hand through his wet hair, slicking back the brunette locks from his face while looking around, taking in deep breaths through his mouth. It didn't take long before the vision of Sam Puckett's grinning face and rebel without a cause stance came into view. His voice held no surprise, just the same tired verge wrapping the words while Freddie stood there, beads of water dripped down his face, holding steady to his skin until gravity established it's dominance and forced the liquid to free fall back into the pool.
"What? You're the one standing next to a pool daydreaming and I'm the bad guy? You know I can't help myself, that's practically baiting me." Sam shrugged her shoulders, rolling away any blame that could be put on her with the movement and her words. She started to move along side the pool, watching the water while waiting for his response. Her outfit was the usual standard. A band tee shirt for some indie band he had never heard of but she swore rocked the face off whatever crap he was listening. A pair of fitting torn jeans and blue converses. She had a jacket when they came here but it must have been left inside somewhere.
"Just because you can do something, doesn't mean you have to."
"I'm pretty sure it does. It's like science. I see a dork standing next to a pool and the result is him getting pushed into it. That's definitely science right there. I should know, I've taken it twice." She smirked, still following along the pool.
He was just about to comment that apparently twice wasn't enough but before the words could expel past his lips, the blonde beauty had jumped into the pool with her knees up against her chest and her arms wrapped around her legs in perfect cannonball form. He held firm against the currents of water her impact made and waited patiently for her to come back up.
Realizing the mistake he had made far too late, he was pulled under the water by Sam's iron grip on his ankle. Once he was able to get free, he tried to make a break for the surface but her hands got a hold of his shirt and kept him under to which he retaliated with tickling at her sides, causing her to release him instantly and the both swam to the top for air.
He sputtered a bit "You trying to drown me, Puckett?"
She moved the dripping gold strands from her face while turning her attention onto Freddie. "If I wanted you to sink to a watery grave, Benson. There would be no try, you'd be drown."
"Yeah, okay." He relented. "Fair enough."
Freddie walked his way through the water, muddled steps taking him to one side of the pool where he turned around and leaned his back against it. He watched as Sam was now floating on her back, her whole body in the warmth of the water except her face which tolerated the cold due to the ever losing battle with oxygen, always needing it to breath. Her cheeks were a flush red that seemed overly vibrant against her milky complexion, her eyes closed and face relaxed as she just drifted around, arms and legs going off in every which direction. He watched her intently and contently exist, floating along nomadically with the yells and laughter from inside as a soundtrack played at half volume, barely making it all the way to the pool and the two of them.
His arms lifted out of the water and trailed along the pavement edge, using the advantage to balance himself out and bring his legs shifting in the water.
"Where did you and Carly run off to after we got here?"
"Carly is talking to that kid Alex in the living room, I think."
"I've been around." She said off-handedly, bordering on cryptic all the while just continuing to drift with her eyes closed, a cheap simulation of having an out of body experience. "What about you? Why you hanging out here like a goon?"
"Why not?" She cracked an eye open and looked over at him, meeting his gaze that had never left her to let him know that he couldn't pull off the same grand sense of aloofness that she could. Freddie just shrugged in response, his voice light. "I don't know, just needed a break. I've been in there mingling or whatever but the later the hour, the higher their blood alcohol level gets."
"Yeah, they are hitting the bottles pretty hard."
Freddie watched her with a dubious expression. "You telling me you haven't partaken in the drinking?"
"I might have had a drink or two but unlike these and some lightweights." She grinned, giving him a pointed look to which he just shook his head with a light smile. "I can hold my liquor. You know cussing isn't the only thing I do like a sailor."
"I'm waiting for the day you get the popeye anchor tattooed on your forearm."
"That a dare?" He laughed and she grinned and they settled back into comfort of their relationship, a medley of banter and an endearing hostility that neither completely understood but took it as the stone they used to build the foundation of their interaction. They came to an unsaid understanding awhile ago that what they meant to one and other was a sense of preservation. When the world continued to spin and the things around them changed, they would always be Sam and Freddie. Their insults and episodes the catalyst for said understanding and yet they couldn't even keep their oath fully. Their dynamic had changed without their permission or notice. Somewhere down the line, they started using one and other for something more than preservation. They used one and other for the convenience of solidarity and familiarity. He'd keep her in check as best as he could and she'd do everything she could to fight out against it, causing him to break form and how she put it 'live a little.'
Sam finally immigrated over to where he was and positioned herself in similar fashion. Her eyes were staring off into the distance while his were on her, watching with innocent question.
At that moment, voices from the gathering inside grew louder and louder with each chant of a number, everyone beginning to count down the last ten seconds to midnight. He hadn't even realized how late it really was.
Sam twisted her body, looking behind them towards the French doors, studying the bodies passing by the glass. Moonlight played through certain strands of her hair, that and the rapt look overtaking her face caused him to tilt his head to the side looking at her. When they hit the five mark, Freddie decided that he was going to live a little.
Four, three, two, one.
He leaned over and placed a very soft kiss on Sam's cheek, who stiffened ever so slightly at the sudden contact. When he pulled away, she slowly turned her intense gaze on him, now studying him. Not phased by the look, it was one he knew very well, he let a lop-sided smile over take his lips. "Happy New Years, Sam."
She looked like she was having an internal debate and apparently the less violent option won out when she just lifted her hand and gave her cheek a long wipe, rubbing said hand against his shirt underwater afterward.
"Gross, Benson. Just because I pushed you in the pool doesn't mean you have to slobber on me."
He just laughed, shaking his head while he turned around and pulled himself out of the water and into the freezing air. With one knee knelt down on the cement, he offered a hand to Sam who took it. When she tried to pull him back down into the pool, his free hand gripped onto the edge and stopped the attempt. Sam arched a brow at him while grinning, letting him know she was impressed but she would get him next time. He returned the look letting her know while she was probably right, he'd be watching his back anyway.
Freddie helped the blonde out of the water and the two instantly headed for the French doors and the heat of the party.