Disclaimer: I don't own iCarly. Blah, blah-blah, blah-blah.
A/N: Very cheesy ending. But at least there is an ending. For me, that's progress.
June 2, 2022, Seattle Airport
Spencer waited at the arrivals gate. On a nearby bench, separated by the maximum possible space, sat a blond-haired girl and a brown-eyed boy. Each was playing a Nintendo XLS, but occasionally one would furtively peek at the other, make a face and quickly look away. Sam sat between them and played patty cake with the giggling toddler on her lap. As the passengers started to come through the gate, Spencer caught sight of Freddie, walking next to a dark-haired, slender woman. She was talking quickly, gesturing wildly with her hands. Spencer waved until he caught Freddie's attention. Freddie smiled and touched his wife's arm. They walked over to the waiting Shay family.
"You remember Sarah," said Freddie.
"Good to see you again, Spencer, Sam," she said, hugging Spencer and then placing a hand on Sam's shoulder.
"These are our kids, Melanie, Mike and Lilly," said Sam, gesturing to each child as she said their name.
"Or as we like to call them," said Spencer, grinning wickedly, "Melly Belly, Mikey and the Tiny Tyrant."
"Da-ad," whined Melanie with an embarrassed look on her face. "You promised."
Spencer tousled her hair and said to Sarah and Freddie, "Let's go get your bags."
As the group headed through the crowded airport, Spencer asked Sarah, "What have you been working on lately?"
"Documentaries. Environmental stuff mainly. I've been kicking around an idea about artists who use recycled materials. If I decide to do it, I'll give you a call."
"Sounds awesome," said Spencer enthusiastically.
"When does Carly get in?" asked Freddie.
"Last we heard," said Spencer uncomfortably, "about two hours before the reunion starts."
"We don't really know," said Sam, not hiding the anger in her voice. "She hasn't called or texted for the last week and a half. Spencer's tried to get in touch."
"She's probably just busy," said Freddie in a conciliatory voice. "She's in the middle of a really close campaign. She probably wouldn't even have run this time if the Bellamy scandal hadn't knocked the election wide open."
"She's pissed," said Sam. "Remember that Time article about censorship and the arts?"
"The one with the photo of the piece Spencer did for the Whitney?" said Sarah, nodding.
"I sort of went off on a tangent during the interview," said Spencer sheepishly. "I said that all it takes to raise a healthy child is one adult who's willing to really listen and respect the child's opinion."
"They didn't use it in the art piece, but the media got a hold of it somehow. There've been several articles about Carly's non-traditional family." Sam grimaced. "Half of them make it sound like Spencer's gay or something."
"It shouldn't matter," said Spencer. "I still would have done a good job taking care of Carly if I'd been gay."
"And that," said Freddie, rolling his eyes, "is exactly why Carly doesn't want you talking to reporters. You say whatever you think." Sam glared at Freddie. "I'm not saying Spencer's wrong, but look at it from Carly's point of view. She's already getting a lot of negative attention because she's so young, and Texas is a pretty conservative state."
"So why didn't she move somewhere that's actually made it into the twenty-first century?" asked Sam as she shifted Lilly into a more comfortable position on her hip.
"Because Bradford's law firm is there," said Freddie, his voice getting louder as he spoke. "And don't start in on him again. You said more than enough at their wedding."
Before Sam could answer, Spencer placed a hand on her shoulder and steered the conversation in a safer direction. "So, Freddie, still at Pixel?"
Sam said, "I saw your name in the credits for Karate Cats."
"Wow," said Freddie. "It's only been out a week."
Sam shrugged and smiled. "My kids are huge fans of your work." The group finally reached the baggage area. The large circular conveyor belts were still empty. Sam set down Lilly and kneaded her shoulder. "You're getting heavy, big girl."
Lilly stretched her arms towards Sam and said, "Mama, up."
"Hey, Mel," said Sam. "Watch Lilly for a little bit."
Melanie said sulkily, "I don't want to."
"Melanie Ann Shay," said Sam with a warning tone in her voice, "will you please entertain your sister so the grownups can talk?"
Melanie took Lilly's hand and mumbled, "I don't see why I always have to—"
Sam cut her off. "Because I'm the meanest mommy in the world." She smiled apologetically at Sarah and Freddie. The expression on Freddie's face told her that he was trying not to laugh.
"Really makes me look forward to having one of our own," he smirked. Sarah elbowed him in the ribs. "What? I didn't say—"
Sam glanced back and forth between Freddie and Sarah. "Congratulations," she said, giving Sarah a hug. "When are you due?"
"January," she replied. "I have three projects I need to wrap up before then."
Freddie looked slightly worried. "I keep telling her not to push herself too hard. We don't need the money. I make enough to take care of us."
Sarah looked him in the eye. "And I keep telling you that I can take care of myself."
Spencer grinned at Freddie. "You should drop it, Freddo. That's not a battle you're ever going to win."
Sarah asked Sam, "So what have you been up to?"
"Unlike the rest of you," said Sam matter-of-factly, "I'm never going to be famous. I spend most of my time teaching people how to go potty all by themselves."
Sarah looked confused. "You work in a daycare? I thought you were a physical therapist."
"I am. Lately it seems like I've been spending most of my time teaching people how to transfer from a wheelchair to a toilet. Not exactly glamorous." She turned to Freddie. "Don't make faces, Benson. Imagine how helpless you'd feel if you couldn't go to the bathroom by yourself."
Spencer put an arm around her shoulder. "You're too modest, Sam. Tell them about John."
She smiled but shook her head. "Patient confidentiality, Spence."
"That's just an excuse." He said to Freddie and Sarah, "One of Sam's very first patients lost his leg in a car wreck. He lost his wife too. He was driving at the time."
"Damn," said Freddie softly. Sarah murmured sympathetically.
Sam picked up the story. "My first day on the job, I came to get him for PT and he just laid there, staring at the ceiling. So I told him to haul his lazy ass out of bed because his prosthetic wasn't going to walk by itself." She unconsciously pulled a charcoal-gray stone out her pocket and rolled it around on her palm. "He did it, too, but he cursed at me every day for the next six months. Told me more than once that he couldn't hurt my feelings because I didn't have any."
Spencer's arm was still around Sam's shoulder, and he rubbed her arm as if to comfort her. "A year ago she got a letter with a picture of his new wife."
"He said that she was the second person since his accident who never once pitied him. I was the first." She held out her hand. "He sent me this." She tossed the stone to Freddie, who looked quite pleased with himself when he caught it.
Freddie looked at the words etched into the surface. "Shit happens," he read out loud. "Life goes on."
And they all lived happily ever after.