Title: Shifts

Disclaimer: I own not a thing.

A/N: A drabble I got talked into (threatened into continuing). Maybe a three-shot. I don't know. Thanks to Kaya and Lee for taking a look at it.

/

Stepping out of the airport and into the crisp, chilled air of London; he watches the faint hue of red instantly start to flush over her milky white skin- mostly spreading across her cheeks and on the shell of her ears. He studies her look of fervent, and very much inherent, excitement.

Her eyes are bright, and blue, and always roaming.

"Dude, so glad to be off that freaking plane." Sam pauses for a moment, sparing him a glance before attempting to hail a taxi. "Being trapped with you in a tin can for nine hours was like one of my worst nightmares come to life."

He shakes his head because in all the years he's known her, it's become an automatic response; it's instinct. "I'm still surprised they let you through customs with the amount of hidden weaponry they found on your person. If I hadn't dragged you to the airport four hours in advance, we'd have probably missed our flight."

"Hey, when a girl is leaving the country- she needs to make sure she can protect herself in case of whatever. It was just plan B."

"What was plan A?" He asks with an arching brow and a tone suggesting he's aware that he isn't going to like her answer.

She grins wide; white teeth blinding despite her lacking relationship with a dentist.

"Using your body as a meat shield."

His plan had been to spend the summer abroad, visiting famous landmarks and as many museums as he could before college started in the fall.

Her plan had been to take a year off and backpack through Europe. It was either to lose herself or find herself; something contrived like that.

Sam's reasoning was, of course, left vague.

"Glad you're prepared." He intoned ironically. "But you do know that I'm only going to be around for the next two months, right?"

"Hence plan B and the weapons." She dismisses with practiced nonchalance, even more causal about the way she grips his arm, nails digging into the rough material of his coat after he tosses their bags in the trunk.

She pulls him to the side and then pushes him into the backseat of the taxi because it's always a pull and push sort of deal with her.

You get used to the shifts in gravity after awhile.

The inside of the car is warm and he's thankful for the heat pumping out of the vents. Freddie leans into the door on his side when they start moving, russet eyes watching the city landscape pass with a distracted focus about him.

To be honest, he's still not entirely sure how they came to the agreement that they would travel together while overseas. He remembered them sitting in Groovy Smootie; her making comments about his dedication in stalking her and how he was willing to follow her out of the country and him countering with pity for whatever hapless soul decided to pick her up while she was hitchhiking.

Some point after that, it was just decided.

Just like that.

"Benson." He reallocated his gaze to the blonde girl beside him as she spoke. "I think the dude wants you to stop drooling all over his window."

"I'm wasn't- I'm not drooling." Freddie returns with light contempt, fighting the urge to wipe at his mouth in spite of everything.

"Tell that to your wide open mouth a second ago. I mean geez, more water in here than the ocean we just flew over."

Instinct tells him to shake his head, so he does before going back to staring out the window as she starts in on something about legal drinking age and finding a pub.

And he doesn't even show reaction when she's all of a sudden leaning into his side, using his shoulder as a pillow. The kind you give a few punches to, to soften up.

Just another shift in gravity.

/

It was her idea to get one hotel room with two twin beds, one she didn't even let him in on until the words were out of her mouth at the check-in desk, to busy to spare him a glance as she slipped his wallet out of his back pocket and slid his debt card across the counter.

She's currently in the shower while he lays on his bed, callous fingertips sweeping against the fine threads of the sheets underneath him while he tries to focus on some TV movie.

It's a failing effort.

They had actually found that pub Sam was talking about in the cab- one of those really authentic English pubs that he admired and she revered. They didn't even look all that out of place either, comfort found in a booth full of teenagers near the back. The drinks they nursed were both on the rocks (the difference between them was his was only a coke and hers a whiskey). He was oddly proud of the fact that that was the only drink she ordered, half assuming he'd be dealing with a drunken mess of a girl by the end of the night.

Wouldn't be the first time.

"I think I just fell in love with that shower, hit mama in all the right spots."

Her words are deceptively close and when he turns his attention to her, Sam is standing between their beds, closer to his, combing her hair wearing nothing but a towel.

"That why you used all the hot water in the building and possible all of London?" He asked, looking back at the TV because it was safer.

"How long was I in there?"

His eyes made a quick shift to the clock on the bed stand table. "Forty-eight minutes."

"Whatever. We paid for the room, we should be able to take all the showers want." She scoffed, dropping the comb on her bed in favor of searching through her bag for nightwear.

Freddie fights the urge to correct her with a 'technically I paid for the room' because it will only lead to bad places for him. He doesn't have too much time to dwell on it when she starts to un-tuck the towel around her body, causing him to flip onto his side facing the wall and instantly close his eyes.

Her laugh is full, filling the room.

"You don't have to spaz out, Benson. I have underwear on."

He doesn't move. "I don't see how that changes anything."

"You're such a woman." She answers back with another laugh.

He doesn't really disagree but he also doesn't move, focusing on the swell and reside of his chest to bide his time. Sam had gotten way too comfortable with their friendship this last year, like way too comfortable. The running theory he has right now is it's a long term ploy to screw with his head and it's gotten mix results.

Hit or miss- right now very hit though.

There's a weight (a shift) behind him all of a sudden, sinking the mattress down and he's quick to flip over to find Sam in her usual nightwear (tank top and shorts) getting settled in beside him.

"Uh, what are you doing?" His tone borders on reprimanding.

"Thought we were going to watch TV or whatever."

"Did you forget which bed was yours?"

She rolls her eyes, grabbing the remote from in between them and starts to flip though the channels. "Dude, shut you face before I have to smother you with a pillow. We're watching TV."

/

She falls asleep on top of him an hour later but when he wakes up the next morning she's back in her own bed.

It's a complicated tide of relief and disappointment that washes though him.

/

The London skyline is the most breath-taking thing he's ever experienced, russet eyes nomadic as they rove around trying to take everything in.

It was his idea to take a ride on the London Eye but it was her enthusiasm that actually had them standing there side by side, almost pressed into the glass because of how full the pod is. Sam has a thumb hooked into one of his pockets and he can fill the tug of fabric every time she makes the slightest move.

"This is the tallest observation tower in the world." His voice would be lost in all the static noise of other conversations if not for their close proximity. He knows she doesn't care but neither have said anything in a good while. He figures if he's going to say anything, trivia would be the safest bet.

"Cool."

Her voice is light with distraction, breathless and absent.

His attention drifts from the skyline to her, eyes dilating at the sight of her features and hair highlighted by the sinking afternoon sun while she stares off down into the city below.

The London skyline is the second most breath-taking thing he's ever experienced after that.