Rating: T

Notes: Set after iGo Nuclear. This story is shortish, but too long for a single chapter. I feel the story is better in 3 chapters rather than one long one.

Italics: These are Carly's thoughts. Basically the story is a regular 3rd person POV, but the Italics represent Carly's direct character voice, commenting on something that the narrator or another character has seen or themselves said. It's a bit weird, but I hope not too confusing.

Summary: Carly and Freddie get into a fight during the Root and Berry retreat. Creddie.

Chapter 1

Carly had gotten sick of the pan flute in about 23 seconds. It was about average for the students gathered around the tent. I need to leave.

No teacher would ever stop a student going to the "bathroom" even if they thought the student was lying. As if that hole in the ground could be considered a bathroom. Carly was not the type of student a teacher would think was lying anyway. If I was Sam he would make sure I took someone else with me. The area wasn't particularly dangerous, there weren't any wild animals. It's a retreat, not the deep wilderness. Any that did appear were quickly found and led away from the area by rangers.

She started to clamber all over the rest of the students, including Freddie, Gibby and the handful of other students who had also failed their assignments sitting in the big communal tent where they ate dinner. Thinking about Sam distracted her, as she wondered where her best friend would be right now.

The distraction ended up causing a black and blue memory of the trip, as Carly accidentally kicked Gibby in the shin whilst trying to get through the zippered screen, followed by a mumbled sorry, a stumble and out into the darkness. Maybe I can get some time to myself. Carly had hated every minute they had spent there. Freddie never left her alone for more than 5 minutes, up until the she screamed "Just leave me ALONE!" at him. Carly tried to say sorry, but the damage was done, and he had really hurt him. I never meant to.

She surveyed the camp as she walked over to the other side. The burning log fire in the centre, with the tents pitched haphazardly in a rough interval. Each tent was far smaller than the communal tent that their teacher slept in, and only held enough space for 2 people and their bags. It wasn't much of a problem, as their school had supplied them with enough tents to house twice their number, meaning everyone had their own tent. Some of the students slept in the same tent, for company or from necessity. The teacher didn't really mind the few tents that ended up with a girl and boy in them, he knew that there wasn't any couples in the group, only friends.

The necessity part came as Gibby and Freddie had done on the first night because Gibby hadn't set his up properly, it fell apart in the evening and there wasn't enough light to set it up again. The sight of a shirtless Gibby thrashing about under his broken tent made for a good number of videos and pictures, all of which would be passed around once they got back to school. All Gibby did once he extricated himself was start dancing around the fire.

Why can't he leave me alone? Treading softly over the fallen logs and damp brush from the rain that had only just stopped falling, she kept walking towards the general area where they had spent the first 2 hours on their first day digging holes in the ground. Carly had always made it clear to Freddie that they were just friends. I don't believe myself when I tell him. There were times when she wanted to end the teasing, end his pain and just throw herself at the problem. Why can't I tell him? The answer was simple. I can't love him when he won't tell me the truth. He lies to himself. He lies to me. He only says what he thinks I want him to say, even if I ask him for nothing but the truth.

The tree with the huge Y fork in it indicated that she had arrived, and Carly sat down on a crude wooden bench, facing towards the bright, luminous full moon. Ever since she was a little girl, Spencer had always told her the moon was a giant pie, and that all the gouges were from people eating it up. Sam liked that story as well. There isn't a prize for understanding why Sam liked it.

Probably with Spencer. She always acts funny around him, when Sam thinks she is alone with him, but I see. The thought disturbed Carly, not specifically because of their age difference, but simply the trouble, the huge trouble Sam could get all of them into if she did try anything. The long argument, fight and reconciliation that followed Carly confronting Sam about it took more than a few hours, but ended with Sam agreeing with her.

"It won't happen, I promise". At least for a few years. Carly knew Sam was lonely. Their friendship didn't fill come close to filling the gaps that her current life had gouged out of her was even a stage where Sam thought that Carly could fill all of them. She was just confused and hurt. It happens to a lot of people. Sam latched onto people. When those people are supposed to protect and love you but do neither, it leaves the largest gaps of all. In time, with people who do protect and do love, those gaps can be healed. It would take more than one person though.

"Sometimes you need to risk something bad happening to allow something good to happen." Spencer had told her once, during a conversation on a completely unrelated topic, unrelated enough at least that they could be mutually deluded about who was being talking about. It would be good for him. For me. For us.

Freddie needed to get out from the shadow of his mother, and being with Carly would let him do that. "I think you know why Freddie likes you, and why I would want him to find a girl like you, such a nice girl, always polite, you always make him laugh, he knows you are as smart as he is." Ms Benson took a sip of her tea. "But don't remind him of it, it's always better for men to think they are the smart ones.. oh dear", her laughter trailed off in, just as the images of the memory itself was fading away. Ms Benson was one of the few adults she trusted, her job as a Nurse also meant she was used to being private about things similar to that, which is why Carly had asked her about Freddie. She also knew that Ms Benson trusted her as much as Carly trusted her.

"But why do you always worry about what he is doing?"

"Young lady, as long as you are with him, I don't worry at all about what he is doing. Sure, I worry about where he is, but I never worry about what he is doing, because I know that you worry about him enough to keep him safe."

I could take Freddie to that big bright moon and she would be happy. She smiled just thinking about herself and Freddie bouncing around on the moon, as Sam floated by eating a space food stick.

For me? For us?