You know what you do/you set my heart on fire

She wonders if he would die for her like he was willing to Carly.

It's an odd contemplation, one she should think ridiculous but instead consumes her every thought for the rest of the day. She rationalises that he is her boyfriend and that he chose her but it is the ever persistent, nagging self-doubt that seems to win out. She doesn't enjoy obsessing like some over-dramatic teenager and it's not so much the act (she certainly wouldn't ask him to die for her in that Twlight-esque, brutishly cringe worthy type way) but it's more the sentiment. Does he care enough like he did with his big, true, first love and soul mate? She thinks it to probably be the last Carly insecurity left and she'll admit to it being quite a large one.

It's the symbolism she thinks. She remembers a lesson on poetry in English class about symbolism through actions or some chizz, and she figures that's what this is. Being willing to die for someone means you love them unconditionally or so she hears from every teen-angst movie floating around on her Netflix queue.

The Netflix queue that Freddie set up and paid for, for her.

That same Netflix queue he synced with his own so they could watch movies together in bed at night when he's at home and she's in her room.

Things like this should be enough for her and they are to an extent. She doesn't want the nubbish romanticisms that other girls her age seem to crave, she is quite happy with the little things. That's why she supposes she was happy to wait for him to tell her he loved her…seven months ago. Seven months, she muses, is a long time to love someone and not be sure if they feel any inclination towards the same. He hasn't hinted, not even spoken a word that has even rhymed with the forbidden four-letter utterance. Sam doesn't like games and she especially doesn't like them when they involve her feelings. She sort of wonders if his holding back is a way of keeping her on a tight leash. He finally has the upper hand after all, even though she is loathed to admit it. Maybe he's enjoying a little pay back after all those years of torture. Freddie would probably scold her for thinking anything like that, he would insist that he is innocent of all accused crimes and she is the crazy one. And maybe she is. It's like swings and roundabouts in her head, a constant back and forth of insecurity, anger and excitement. And while she's used to it she fears although he knows just how mental she can be, dealing with that on such an intense level might be different to dealing with it on the semi-personable manner he had before.

She glances over to him on the driver's side of his beat up Ford MG. Top down, aviator glasses perched on his nose and hair adorably messy in the wind, he looks suspiciously cool and she wants to sneer at the thought that he could ever be anything more than a dweeb.

Her dweeby boyfriend but a dweeb nonetheless.

Instead she can barely manage a smile when he catches her eye and reaches over to take her hand in the middle. Things like thisshe reminds herself. One hand on the wheel, his other on hers she has the inexplicable urge to just ask him – just to get it over with (like before).

"Where are you taking me Dishrag?" she blurts out, stumbling over the words as if they're not what she wants to say.

"A date - remember Sam? The things couples do together on a semi-structured basis?" he grins, tightening his hold on her fingers.

"Yeah and I thought that meant free meat within a reasonable vicinity, not crossing the border," she counters likes she's mad but he knows she isn't. She kind of likes the adventure. Bored, the picks up his iPear, flicking through the playlist sounding from the car stereo.

"How did you get it wired up to the jank system in his heap of junk?" she queries, half-interested.

"Well I needed to switch the amp system internally, reconfigure some wires to-"

"I don't care!" she interrupts, tiring quickly of the nerdy details he imparts to her.

"You asked," he mumbles, slightly exasperated now.

"Yeah but only because I wanted to know how you managed to figure out a way to get your crappy music to play in your crappy car so I could switch said crappy music for my iPear," she explains and its part tease, part truth.

"Glove box," is his only answer and she wriggles out of his grasp, searching through the cracked compartment in the dashboard to retrieve the music device. Successful, she coos and Freddie has to fight the urge to smile at how damn adorable it is when she does a little victory dance in the passenger seat. "Happy now?"

"Do I have bacon in my hands?"

"No."

"Well there's your answer Genius," she says, pulling a face as she busies herself with changing over media players.

"I don't know why you're complaining," he sighs, "It's not like we go to dinner ever anyway."

"Yeah, 'cause date night should be fun. Eating is a necessity and something that should be a basic requirement in any relationship. I'm not giving you an easy way out….now sssh – I love this song."

She signals to the radio, an exuberant track ringing in his ears when he turns to her and he is taken back to see her lift her hands into the air, giving a charming little wiggle dance in place.

"What's that?" he laughs heartedly when she repeats the ridiculous movement.

"S'called the Sam Snake," she answers playfully, breaking into robot moves.

"Sam…Sam people can see you," he tells her through snorts of laughter, his arm coming over in a perfunctory attempt to still her theatrical dancing. She shrugs him off easily rising in her seat.

"C'mon Benson, shake what your momma gave ya," she encourages with a grin, "which to be fair isn't much."

"Hey! You said you liked my ass."

"Who said I was talking about your ass?"

"Stabs at the manhood," he chuckles, stealing as many safe glances of her as possible, "Classy."

"Always," she confirms and pulls his arm off the steering wheel, "C'mon, dance monkey boy."

After meekly declining to join whatever freak show she was trying perform for passing cars, Freddie realises with the forth tug on his hand that he is not immune to the feminine wiles of his girlfriend and is forced to mimic sliding head turns in back and forth directions. He really wishes people would stop encouraging her with car honks and cheers because honestly this is the kind of behaviour conducive to causing serious traffic accidents. On the other hand he is begrudged to admit it is sort of fun to see her clap encouragement with her hands, clearly glad he is willing to make an absolute fool of himself for her. God knows Freddie's dancing can only ever make him look like a fool. He wonders quietly how they got here, now, completely contented and ridiculously happy. Enviably happy or so Carly tells him. Once upon a time Freddie could have only imagined himself this content with one girl and it wasn't the blonde dancing shamelessly to his right. Indeed at one time Freddie would have honestly believed that she was the last person who could ever make him happy and it wasn't a callous, bitter conviction but rather an honest one. He genuinely assumed he irritated her and while they would be friends, good friends even, that conflict would always exist in some form or other. It's odd then that that conflict is what makes him feel so alive now. Breathlessly she falls back into place beside him, her laughter an uneven sound against the fading musical backdrop of her playlist.

"I'm getting hungry," she announces, a little uncomfortable with how Freddie stares at her from the driver's side, "I want meat."

It takes him an increasingly awkward ten seconds to drag his eyes away, refocusing his gaze on the road ahead. "Nearly there now."

"And there'll be meat?" she asks, attempting to retrain the mood.

"Isn't there always?"

She grins forgetting the uneasy tension from earlier when he takes her hand again tangling his fingers in hers and brings them to his mouth, his lips tracing her knuckles.

"You do know I haven't washed my hands in two days," she confesses but it's not enough for him to detach his lips from her fingers and cease the butterflies in her stomach.

"Your germs are my germs," he smiles and she rolls her eyes at just how dorky he can still be. The rest of the ride is done in companionable silence, Sam rearranging herself on the seat so her feet prop up out the car but still angled in a comfortable enough position so that her hand just rests in his. Honestly, she couldn't let go even if she wanted to. It's like second nature now in a way she never thought it would be. Whenever they're together there's this natural sync where things just fall into place, and it wouldn't make sense if she didn't take his hand or he didn't wrap an arm around her waist just so they were physically touching. And it's not like she's sucking his face in public, or copping a feel whenever she gets a chance – she has some self-control and he's still a dork with the ability to repulse her on occasion.

The thing is – she kind of likes it.

Not the dork thing obviously but the touching thing. It doesn't nauseate her as much as she thought it would and it's sort of a surprise. A nice one but still a surprise. Sam doesn't crave affection. She doesn't go through girly periods of needing cuddled or held, she doesn't need him to touch her or hold her - but she wants him to. And the great thing is (the thing that convinces her that this just might work) is that he understands the limits and boundaries. He gets her and he knows the difference between a quick peck on the lips and a full on make out session. She never feels smothered or like he's marking his territory. She feels like he just might want to too. If he never says the infamous l word, if he doesn't ever feel it the way she does, she decides that this might just be enough. The idea he wants her sits ok and it's enough. A part of her wonders if she's prepared to settle a little, if she's giving up on something she shouldn't really give up on but Sam doesn't believe in fairy tales. Sometimes love just isn't necessary.

He breaks her out of her reverie with a little nudge and her natural response is to punch him back – hard.

"Sam!" he scolds, glaring at her from the driver's side, "I was just letting you know we're here!"

"Oh," she sighs, a little embarrassed, "Sorry. But you know the rules. Don't bite the hand that feeds you."

"Wha-Sam that doesn't even make sense," he argues, frustrated and rubs the spot she just hit.

"Sure it does."

"No because in that case…you know what? Never mind. We're here now," he tells her and she looks at him like he's forgetting something huge. "What?"

"Well?" she shrugs, gesturing towards the door.

"You want me to open your door for you?" he asks, incredulous.

"Why not Benson? You were the one that planned this romantic date. If you're going to do something, do it right. I am a lady after all."

"You're something," she hears him mutter under his breath and watches amused as he makes his way around to the passenger side and flings the door open. She sits still, staring ahead. "What now?"

Clearing her throat she sticks out an expectant hand, dangling it in the air for him to take.

"You've got to be freakin' kidding me," he laughs but takes her hand anyway, guiding her from the car. "Better, my lady?"

"Getting there. You could lose the attitude," she suggests and straightens her t-shirt over the band of her jeans. "Whatever happened to the eager little beaver who planned extravagant dates to parachuting centres and camping trips in the woods?"

"He ran out of money trying to keep you fed," Freddie deadpans but can't fight the involuntary smile tugging on his lips.

"Huh. Maybe it's time for a newer model then," she smirks, nudging close to him as she squeezes past and swaggers across sandy grass until she reaches the end of a dune. She's breathless at what waits for her just over the hump of land obscuring her view, her eyes searching out a long expanse of golden sand meeting what is perhaps the largest pool of seawater she has ever seen. Waves crash in white against the shore and she thinks it akin to some sort of novel or movie trying desperately to achieve atmosphere through imagery. Usually she wouldn't be into that shit, but she's found herself paying a lot more attention in English of late. It's her age she supposes.

"Well?" he asks tentatively behind her and she whirls round, eyeing the quirky purple picnic basket hanging from his hand.

"Manly," she can't help but jest and it's a little if not a lot defensive. It's not often that Sam Puckett is surprised or taken back, especially by Freddie Benson. There's a comfort in predictability, a comfort in their synchronisation and she doesn't expect romantic gestures to factor into the mundane of their awkward teenage trysts. Again, it's the getting older perhaps. He suddenly looks embarrassed, regretful possibly that he has tried something new and she feels a lot like a jackass.

"Too much?" he says dejectedly as if he already knows the answer.

"No," she shakes her head, frowning, "No. Just…not what I was expecting."

"I just thought…well – we don't do stuff like this. Ever."

"Yeah," she agrees but it's a self-conscious, breathless sound, her attention dragged back to the beach behind her.

"You hate it."

"I don't!" she defends shrilly, head snapping back round.

"Yeah you do. C'mon. I'll drive us home, we can pick up a McDonald's on the way back."

"Benson," she growls stepping into his personal space, a fist coiled just below his chin, "Stop being such a dork and just help me pick a spot to eat on."

"How come we can never do romance without you threatening me?"

"How come we can never do romance without you acting like a total loser?" she counters without missing a beat and takes his free hand in hers, dragging him down grassy dunes towards the sand. She feels like she's powering through, trying to steer past the utter unease that overwhelms them and regurgitates memories of early relationship dates and encounters, dates she recalls, that that felt quite similar to this. She settles on an area of soft sand and it's not particularly interesting or spectacular but more close to a waiting exit should either of them decide they've drowned in enough awkward for a lifetime of dating. She takes charge, taking the basket and blanket and laying them out on the ground before kneeling down to unpack its contents.

"Well?" she says, pilfering a quick glance at him, "Are you going to make me do all the work?"

He visibly shakes himself, falling down beside her on chequered cotton and dutifully aiding her unpacking efforts. She's sort of pleased he's so easily ordered and, falling back into earlier easiness, ruffles his hair much like she would a dog or family pet. "There's a good boy."

Playful faces are exchanged, the banter re-emerges and it's suddenly like it was before except oddly intimate. A lot less bickering sidekicks and a lot more real relationship. It's a bit new and lot strange but Sam muses she might just get used to it.


"Was your first crush really Carly?"

It's not an accusatory question or a trap when Sam asks, more a comfortable inquisition into his past. Apparently Freddie feels the same because he hardly flinches in her lap, not even bothering to lower his book.

"Yup," he says, annunciating the word. She has a feeling he's not really paying attention, so she hazards a glance down at him through dark blue rimmed expensive designer glasses she had made him buy her. Her suspicions are confirmed when he turns another page in his book. She had propped herself back on her elbows, basking in the evening sunlight when his head came to rest in her centre of her crossed legs and she hadn't thought it strange or uncomfortable at the time, so she let him stay like that nestled snugly against her thigh. Now she feels sort of like a sappy 90's movie couple and fights the impulse to kick him off her lap.

"Who was yours?" he asks but not like he's interested and more like he's obligated.

"Anyone," she chuckles, "Everyone."

"Yeah I know that feeling," he concurs, turning another page.

"Jeremy Hammond, 4th grade," the name tumbles from her lips without much change of stopping and the boy below her looks suspiciously intrigued behind overly large sunglasses.

"Who is he?"

"My first love," she lies because she can't stand to confess to the tragedy that Freddie Benson has been her first and only love. That really would be pathetic.

"Oh?" he closes his book on his chest regarding her with renewed interest, "And where is Mr Hammond now?"

Sam shrugs pressing her face into the fading sunlight. "No idea."

"What was he like?"

"He was a good dude," she confirms and a little teasingly adds, "a bit of bad boy. You know me."

"So…what happened?"

She hazards a glimpse down at him and is a little amused to find his glasses pushed back up onto his forehead, his face contorted into something that looks oddly like jealousy.

"You feeling threatened Benson?" she grins. He struggles against an involuntary groan that threatens to escape at the sensation of her nails scraping along his scalp.

"No," he replies, "Just curious."

"Huh. Well it ended with him deciding he wanted to hold Delta Jennings hand at recess instead of mine. It was a very trying break up but I got through it by rigging his locker with puke."

Freddie's nose wrinkles and he reminds himself to never ever break up with Sam Puckett. "Nice."

"It actually was…ya know…before all the puke. I would have probably died for him if someone had of asked me to."

"Yeah, it's weird to think of the stuff you're willing to do for something you think you love right?" he chortles swiping his glasses back down.

"Yeah," she forces a laugh and decides in that moment to just take the plunge, to just ask and get it over with like she wanted to before. "It was kinda like how you were with Carly actually. You know….putting yourself in front of that truck. Risking your life."

"It was kind of instinct," he murmurs and she feels her heart sink, "Something I sort of had to do."

"Would you…I mean do you-do you feel the same about me?"

There. She said it. It's out in the universe and there's no chance (even if she wanted to) of taking it back. No matter how much of a loser it made her look.

She feels his weight shift out of her lap and she purposely keeps her head tilted to the sky doing her best to stay nonchalant, like she hasn't just rocked their fragile little universe and broached a subject previously deemed un-broachable.

"Sam," he says her name softly in her ear and it's so close to a command she can't help but turn her head to his. He's smiling when she finally meets his concealed gaze, eyes crinkling in the corners and he seems almost amused that she would even ask. She's unsure why it's all so funny; why her insecurity is so freaking hilarious. "Sam Puckett – I would do anything for you."

She still can't see anything behind those stupid glasses and is uncertain of what the hell she should do next when he kisses her soundly in the centre of her lips, effectively silencing any argument she might have had. Relaxing in to it, her hands come up to his shoulders and she grips like she's holding something soft and breakable beneath steel but in reality is only terrified of holding on just that little bit too tightly. Sam's actions tend to give her away; she is a woman of very few words and many actions so she finds herself mentally reeling herself back when she thinks she goes that little bit too far. She supposes this trait would be a good thing if she employed it during her many fights and spats, but rather she feels she uses it as an emotional safety net, a precipice she constantly balances on.

When he pulls back he's still smiling and she's still processing, a vague look of confusion etched into flushed peach skin. He frowns, bemused.

"Not the right answer?"

"No….no it was perfect Dweeb," she forces a smile all the while thinking to herself that yes, while it may have been a perfectly sound answer it was not the one she wanted. It wasn't the one she had hoped for. A rush of cool evening air tingles the back of her neck and she shivers. "It's getting cold. Maybe we should go."

"We can't!" he says and it's her turn to be confused, stunned by the shrillness with which he objects. "I mean…we can't. Not yet."

"But it's getting dark," she reminds him, rubbing her arms.

"Just a little while longer? I'm kind of enjoying getting away from everyone. We don't get much time alone."

"Ok…sure," she agrees, "So we're just gonna sit?"

"Sit or lie?" he offers, leaning back on the patterned quilt and holding out an arm to her. She can make peace with lying down; food and naps co-exist rather peacefully in Sam Puckett's book. She fixes herself rather comfortably into the open crook of his arm, her own snaking around his middle to hug in a little bit tighter. She feels him jump, startled at the feel of her bright blue converse nudging his legs apart. Her own smooth calve comes to rest just against his and this was what she was taking about. The touching – it's incessant and needy and completely natural but still just teetering on the line of acceptable. The newness of every little move, every brush of the hand is thrilling and sends her hormones into overdrive. She briefly wonders if that's what he's doing now; a romantic night underneath the quickly darkening sky all so he can get laid. Ultimately she decides the Nerd is not that resourceful or enigmatic; there's no way he could plan something like that and for her not to even clue in. She's broken out of her silent musings with a slow rumble from his chest and a sentence that strikes horror into the pit of her stomach.

"I think you're pretty without any make-up on."

"Freddie don't you dare," she warns and there's enough intent there for him to take it seriously if he chose to. Unfortunately he chooses to ignore her.

"I think you're funny when you tell the punch line wrong," he continues and she rolls her eyes into his chest.

"Benson."

"You make me feel like I'm living a teenage dream the way you turn me on," he begins to hum the lyrics on top of her head and she looks around to make sure there's enough space between them and the silent, much cooler couple occupying the strand near them. "I can't sleep-"

"Oh you will. It'll be a deep and everlasting one if you keep singing that song," she mumbles, stealing a glimpse at his face. He's completely relaxed beneath her one hand propping up his head behind, his eyes closed to the ever-approaching night. She wishes she could still strike as much fear into him as she used to, just to save from any embarrassment that might come when he inevitably decides to belt out the rest of the lyrics to a Katy Perry song in public. She realises she might just have to start ritualistic beatings.

"Let's run away and don't ever look back," he smiles that part, his voice a hoarse drone at the back of his throat. Just for smiling she pinches and twists his nipple hard. He flinches and bats her off, his lower lip pouting out. "Ow. What was that for?"

"For singing to me. In public no less."

"I wasn't singing to you, I was singing near you," he corrects, rubbing his chest clearly afflicted,

"Same diff," she scolds.

"Just trying to pass the time," he sighs and she peeks up at him curiously throw long lashes.

"Pass the time before what?"

"Who said before anything? I just said pass the time."

"Huh. You know? I'm getting pretty tired. I think I want to go."

"No!" His eyes snap open. "Not yet."

"Ugh, why not? I'm bored!" she whines, propping herself up on his chest. "Bored."

"Sam."

"So bored."

"Sam!"

"Just give me the keys, you can lie here for as long as you want?"

"No."

"Ugh…why not? It's so cold and we're quickly running out of supplies. What if we get stuck here?"

"Sam. There's over twenty fatcakes left and the car is just over the hill. You are not going to starve to death on a beach," he rationalises with his eyes clamped firmly shut and she can tell he's trying to calm himself, taking long deep breaths.

"Are you trying to get into my pants?" she deadpans but there's a little curiosity to the question and he spots it, peering out through one eye.

"Who says I want to be anywhere near your pants?"

She shrugs. "You think I don't know I'm hot?"

"Oh I know you know it," he chuckles, "Still doesn't mean I'm interested."

That sounds like a challenge to her. She crawls up his front and kisses him thoroughly on the mouth, her hands pushing on his chest for leverage. But with the way his hands grasp at her hips and pull her down she can't seem to keep her balance and ends up draping herself across his body, and they're so close she can hardly breathe. She is pretty sure she made her point about thirty seconds ago but she can't seem to pull back long enough to point and mock. Their lips move together in a languid rhythm, unhurried and familiar and when she moans into his mouth she can feel him smile, his fingers tickling the small expanse of skin just where her hoodie has ridden up.

"Mmm…mmm!" he hums urgently, pushing her back long enough to for words to escape. "You're going to miss it."

"I know you're only 17," she punctuates each word with another kiss, "But give yourself a little credit."

"No, not that," he laughs against her mouth unable to fight reflexive movements of their lips passing over each other, "Seriously Sam."

He shoves her up by the elbows and she rolls over onto the blanket with a soft thud, looking more than a little disgruntled at being pushed off.

"Dude. There better be a good reason you're rejecting me and my hot ass."

"There is just wait," he tells her and he has that excited Nerd face on that she fights so hard not to punch. No good can come of what happens after he makes the nerd face – she has learned this from ample experience. She notices him fish his keys from his jacket pocket and she stands with him, fully prepared to escape to the warmth of his Ford but he stops her with a palm on her stomach. "Stay there."

"If you dump me here, I will find you and I will kill you," she cautions. He doesn't heed her, jogging up the sand and disappearing over the dunes. She does wonder why she takes orders from the Nub and she supposes it's partly because she's tired, partly because she's hungry and partly (just a little) because she sort of likes him. She's debating between searching out another fatcake and chasing after him when he rounds the hill, carrying a large heavy bag over his shoulder. Breathlessly he dumps it on the ground immediately going to work on unpacking whatever's inside. She sees it then and groans, perhaps excessively loud.

"Not the Nerd lens," she whinges pointing at his long white telescope, "Anything but the nerd lens."

"This is a Celestron Advanced Series, it's got a 6 by 30 finderscope so I can-"

"I don't care!"

"Sam, can't you just pretend to be interested? It won't kill you."

"It might and I'm too young to die," she dismisses uninterestedly, falling back into the sand. She chooses to ignore him as he sets up the contraption instead deciding on catching some sleep while he works. With any luck whatever he's going to try to explain to her about the planets and moving 30 degrees north and whatever the heck that means for them, will be over by the time she wakes up. Unfortunately for Sam she underestimates Freddie's determination tonight and is woken by a relentless poking to her tummy, followed by an unmistakable Benson whine.

"Poke me one more time and you'll lose it," she yawns, stretching out, "How long was I out? Are we going home?"

"No, you're just in time," he grins holding out a hand for her. She groans again but lets him pull her to her feet – the sooner he shows her whatever planet or moon or star he wants her to see, the sooner she gets to curl up in her bed with fried chicken. He steps forward into her personal space and she wonders if the butterflies will ever stop when he does that but he seems completely unfazed, zipping up her neon pink hoodie to the neck and giving her arms a quick rub. "Ready?"

"As I'll ever be," she answers with an eye roll, lining herself up with telescope. He comes up behind her adjusting her stance and guiding the telescope round a little, tipping it towards the moon. He doesn't know every time he does that, every time his body moulds perfectly against hers her breath hitches and she feels like she can't breathe. He doesn't know when his hand brushes against hers it feels like the first time, every time. She tries not to think why (because she might just see it lasting if she does) and instead holds air inside her lungs until she thinks she might just explode. She's always trying to stop the butterflies.

"Ok, take a look," he whispers, his breath lapping at the side of her neck reminding her just how close she allows him to get now. A little sceptically she does as he asks, surprisingly without much of an argument. A small grunt here and a heel kick there just that little bit hard and she feels like she has space again. Like she's regained some of her own normalcy.

"Ok, I'm looking," she sighs, "What am I looking at?"

"Wait for it."

"I better not feel anything behind me."

"Seriously Sam, just wait."

She sighs again, heavier and more exasperated than before because Sam Puckett really does have very little patience. But then she sees it and she gasps, a sharp intake of breath that elicits a smile from the dark haired boy just beside her, his arm still draped around her slouched back.

"Holy crap!" she exclaims, "What the heck is that?"

"It's an asteroid," he divulges and she pulls back just long enough to regard him with a look of pleasant surprise.

"An asteroid?"

"Yup. A really big ass asteroid. Like the biggest we've seen in 33 years. Especially this close."

"It's gone!" she says and frowns, pulling back from the telescope, "You didn't get to see it."

"It's ok," he shrugs like it's no big deal.

"Why? Is it coming back?"

She bends over again peering through the expensive equipment in an otiose attempt to find the fast moving object again.

"Nah. Probably won't see one that close again for a while," he shrugs, hunkering down to follow the telescopes tilt to the sky.

"Dude, that was awesome. Can you imagine how much damage that thing could do? I can imagine Bruce Willis following it with a spaceship," she laughs and when she turns she is met with an intense pair of hazel eyes gazing up at her. He has this ridiculous grin plastered across his face like he has just won the lottery or some chiz so she asks him.

"What?"

"I love you," he says and there's nothing else to follow. She gasps for a second time that night but it's softer this time and she's fixated on his face, desperately trying to figure out if this is some sort of lame joke.

"What?" she repeats dumbly.

"I love you Sam. And I know it's crazy because you're kind of crazy. And you're kind of mean. Like tonight I was trying to show you something pretty special and all you could do was moan about it because unless you're clued in you're not interested. And you're violent – that hasn't stopped even though I hold your hand now. And you turn me into a babbling idiot with no smart comebacks…kind of like right now. But I love you. And that thing you asked earlier? I would. Without thinking."

He finishes like he has ran out of breath and he's looking at her expectantly as if his revelation is the equivalent to the asteroid hitting the earth that very second. She's not quite sure what the appropriate response is even if her heart screams at her to throw her arms around his neck and kiss him like the world is indeed ending. She finds herself reeling back though mouth slightly agape at the turn of events. Clearing her throat she turns her attention back to the ever-darkening night sky.

"Took you long enough," she says and while it has every intention of being a jab she falters a little, her lips quirking at the corners curling into a tell tale smile. He chuckles gently, his chest jumping against her arm with every breathy laugh and she knows then how close he is to pulling her to him. When he does his lips landing clumsily somewhere between her ear and neck and she shivers as he mumbles words there.

"Kiss me and tell me you love me you nub."

She wants to rebuke him for the order let alone the audacity of calling her a name solely reserved for his geeky tendencies. She wants to see what it's like to play the game on her end for a while, see what it feels like to have all of the power and none of the vulnerability for a change. But Sam feels her natural reaction turn from being cruel and teasing to what literally comes naturally. So she turns her head and kisses him softly on the lips before looking straight in his eyes and returning the sentiment with a gentle whisper.

It would seem now for Sam, love comes naturally.


A/N: Ok first off, it's a stormy night outside and I'm extremely worried about my sunflowers :( I have two - Bill and Bob. I lost Bob in a horrible wind related accident two days ago and I'm still a little tender about the whole ordeal. None of this is relevent to the chapter but I needed to get that off my chest because dammit, those flowers are like my children!

Secondly this isn't beta'd. Yeah. Sorry.

Thirdly I am not back. I am a figment of your imagination mostly because I still have 7000 words of a thesis to write. (Sssh don't tell anyone, but I may have an iLLM one-shot floating around soon too).

Fourthly, I have no knowledge of the cosmo's but I do know there is an asteroid due to fly very close by in November. Asteroids scare me. I will use Bruce Willis as a shield.

Fifthly, this isn't up to standard. Sorry.

Sixthly I like the word sixthly.

Seventhly I love Seddie. And the song that inspired this chapter - Set my heart on fire by sons and lovers. Check it out on youtube :)