Disclaimer: I don't own iCarly. I do have a few hand-painted mugs.

A/N: This starts during Carly and Freddie's sophomore year of college.


October 29, 2013, Bushwell Plaza

Mrs. Benson walked briskly down the hallway towards her apartment. She'd just finished a busier-than-usual evening shift at the hospital and was looking forward to curling up in the bed with a cup of tea and a good book. As she rounded the corner, she spotted Sam curled up in the Shay's doorway. Her mouth was slightly open, and blond hair covered half her face.

Mrs. Benson crouched in front of the sleeping girl and gently shook her shoulder. "Sam," she whispered, "time to wake up."

Sam threw her arm over her face and mumbled, "I'm too tired to go upstairs. I'll just sleep on the couch."

"Sam!" said Mrs. Benson more forcefully. Sam opened her eyes and blinked sleepily. "Come inside. I'll make you a cup of tea."


Sam sat at the small, well-scrubbed kitchen table. She was wearing, under protest, a pair of Freddie's faded pajamas, which smelled faintly of laundry soap and even more faintly of bleach. She sipped chamomile tea from a large blue mug painted with slightly lopsided yellow and orange daisies. Mrs. Benson sat across the table. Her hands cradled a green mug with three evenly spaced rows of hand-painted black squares. Must be one Freddie made, thought Sam absently.

Mrs. Benson finally broke the silence. "Why didn't you let yourself in? From the stories Freddie has told me, you don't normally let a locked door stand in your way."

Sam frowned, remembering. "I was about to, but I heard giggling and…. Um, it sounded like I would be interrupting something. I sat down to wait for Spencer's date to leave, and I guess I fell asleep."

"Can I ask why you aren't sleeping at home?" asked Mrs. Benson.

"Fight with my boyfriend," said Sam in a bored voice.

Mrs. Benson considered her next question for a moment. "Do you need help?"

"I can take care of myself," said Sam. She poked the lemon wedge in her tea and watched it bob up and down.

Mrs. Benson looked as if she might say something else, but instead she picked up her mug and rinsed it in the sink. She held out her hand for Sam's mug, and said briskly, "You can sleep in Freddie's room tonight. I'll put on clean sheets in a minute. I keep extra toothbrushes in the hall closet. Dental floss is in the right hand drawer by the sink. What time do you need to wake up tomorrow?"


A/N: If anyone is willing to beta this story for me, I would be grateful.