Disclaimer: I don't own iCarly.
Freddie's knuckles were bleeding. They hurt more than your average papercut, but then, punching someone in the mouth could tear up skin pretty well.
"Don't tell my mom" was Freddie's only request to the school nurse. Unfortunately, she didn't listen to him.
Sam was taking her recent, messy break up pretty well. Very well, in fact. "You nub. I could've beat Pete up myself. Now you've got a bloody hand and a week of detention."
"Yeah, well, you would've gotten suspended if you'd done it. And someone had to."
"I'd've waited until school was out, genius."
"Fighting is a terrrrrrrible way to settle anything, you kids," the nurse scolded. "I wouldn't have thought you'd get into trouble like this, Fredward. You know, your mother visits me evvvvvvery week to make sure I'm stocked up on all of your medical needs. Before I met you today, I thought you were quite the sickly child, not some...Samantha Puckett-like character."
"I thought the same thing," Sam drawled dryly. She was definitely surprised. More than surprised, she was shocked. Freddie had willingly thrown a punch at her jerk-of-an-ex-boyfriend's face just for kissing some other girl, and the dweeb made Pete cry, too. Forget shocking, even. That was just plain impressive.
"What'd my mom say?"
"She was very distraught. She's coming right over."
"Great," muttered Freddie.
"Mrs. Payne? A child just fainted in room 202. She had to give an oral presentation, so we're not sure if she's serious or faking," blurted the intercom in the nurse's office.
"I'll get the smelling socks," the nurse grumbled.
"Don't you mean 'salts'?" Freddie asked.
"Nope. If they're faking, one sniff of these old things and they'll never do it again. If they're not, we'll call 911. Puckett, make sure he gets to Marissa without losing consciousness."
"Sure." Nurse Payne hustled out, and Freddie was left with a searing pain in his left hand and an awkwardness that rose from the aftermath of instinctively beating up the butthead who cheated on the girl Benson was supposed to hate.
"So. Nurse is on first-name terms with your mom, huh?"
"So. 'Mauled by Sam' is a medically plausibile excuse for a kid to be sent home, huh?"
"Really? Where does it say?"
"There's a form on her desk. Apparently Gibby went home with that particular problem today."
"Oh yeah. That's awesome." She kicked back on the chair she'd dragged in from the waiting room. "I'm a hazard to society."
"But we knew that."
More awkward silence.
"So why'd you do it?" she questioned finally. He knew she would, but he still tried to act stupid.
"Why'd you decide to forget all that 'I'm goody-two-shoes Freddie' junk and pop Pete in the kisser?"
"He was being a nub."
"I'm capable of breaking the noses of teenage boys, Freddo. I don't need you to do it for me."
"You've already mentioned that, Sam. I got it. If you're trying to get me to say something, just ask the question."
She remained silent. He'd tell her anyway. And he did.
"You shouldn't have to take anything from that idiot. You're way better than him. And you're not the only one who knows that."
"And I was insanely angry. Don't ask why." Because she already knew.
"Felt good to punch someone, didn't it?"
Sam considered him for a second. There was still one thing she didn't get.
"Why don't you do anything when I make you mad? Or even when I hurt you?"
He grinned. "I couldn't hit a girl. Even a sorry excuse for one like you. Besides, where would we be if I decided I wasn't going to take any of your nonsense anymore?"
The correct answer was 'not sitting here pretending we're a couple of kids in a chance situation, that's where.' But she would never admit that. Or that she was glad he'd let her walk all over him, because if he didn't, it would erase all the time they'd spent bickering and teasing and pranking, all the time Freddie spent admiring her confidence and spirit, all the time Sam spent testing his patience and forgiveness--just to make the alarming discovery that they knew no bounds. It would change the scene that had taken place in the hallway not five minutes ago, from having Freddie there to support her, to him being one of the people in the crowd who'd just watched while Pete stabbed her in the back.
His eyes were a little too warm and inviting for her liking. "I'd better make myself disappear before your mom gets here, or who knows what the crazy old bat'll do to me once she finds out it was my fault."
"Don't call my mom names," Freddie said automatically.
"Yeah, yeah, whatever." She paused on her way out the door and added quietly, "Thanks, Freddie."
"I said your fly's down."
He didn't need to see her poorly contained smile to know she was lying.