Special thanks to Invader Johnny, without whom this chapter would probably have never gone up. Sorry!
Disclaimer: I don't own iCarly or the Teen Titans-I did take a lot from one of their episodes.
Freddie had had a dream. He'd been standing at Sam's grave, but it wasn't in a graveyard. It was in the middle of nowhere, maybe so she couldn't get near enough to any of the other dead to beat them up. Who knew. He remembered thinking how sad it was that she'd been alone the last few days of her life, and in death, she'd be alone forever.
Like all horribly vivid dreams, it disappeared the minute he woke up. Unfortunately, reality's problems pressed much harder.
"Where ishee? Whadja do?" Freddie asked a nearby nurse groggily.
"Honey, we've told you a million times. You need to go home. Your mother is driving us insane, and visiting hours are long over. Come back tomorrow. And bring someone else's mom."
"Mmkay." Seeing as that nurse was going to be of no use, he headed towards one of the nearest rooms and, praying he'd gone to sleep somewhere in her vicinity as opposed to a different floor, he hoped the room was hers. "Sam? Are you here?"
There was no answer. For reasons unknown to him, Freddie's heart sunk. That was stupid. Just because she wasn't in this room didn't mean...
He shuffled out and disturbed a few more hospital beds before the nurses chased him away. His mom intercepted, suddenly finding a connection with her son in their mutual fear of leaving the safe hospital and facing the real world's bacteria.
Sam wanted food. Badly. And if someone didn't give her some, she was going to get angry.
Getting angry, though, was easier than doing anything about it. She was in a full body cast and absolutely immobile. This was the part in the movies when some disgusting dog jumped on the bed and licked any exposed part of her it could find-namely, her eyes and her lips. She hoped her mother had left Frothy at home.
Sam wasn't really hungry. She hadn't been in a long time. But chewing gave her something to do other than lying around feeling sorry for herself. It was one of the most calming activities she-
A shadow fell over her. Glaring, she looked up and saw him. The stuff of her nightmares, the reason she'd had nightmares for the first time in her life.
She wanted to kill him.
He was in a hospital gown, now. His eyes were redder than before and he was shaky, relying on his portable IV pole for support. He was paler than he'd been the night he'd almost killed her, but thankfully less filthy. And somehow, he looked a lot weaker. But, seeing as her arms and legs were suspended from the ceiling, she supposed she did too.
"They got you too, huh. I remember you." That gravelly voice she hated so much. Her insides were burning with anger and disgust and felt like vomiting all over his pale, thin face. "You were that girl who told me I wouldn't get nowhere. Thought you were dead. Guess you almost are. Since you're probably not gonna see tomorrow, I'll just let you know you were right. I ain't gonna be great ever. Thought I would, you know. But once you get a coupla bottles down, seems like anything's possible."
She didn't care about his stupid drinking habit. She wanted him dead. Dead and far away from her.
"You were pretty strong for a little girl. But you didn't have a chance. Used to be a WWE champ. Used to have a pretty wife and a boy. Used to be great. Ain't great no more. It's all gone, thanks to the drinkin'. All gone..."
The look he gave her repulsed her. He pitied her too-this idiot who lost his whole life, pitied HER.
"I killed them, you know. Just like imma kill you tonight."
Maybe that was the cause for pity.
He took a deep breath and raised his arm. One blow was all it would take, and she was a dead girl. This was not how it was supposed to play out. She was supposed to have the upper hand at their next meeting. She was supposed to beat him. And how could she if she was dead?
The wrestler turned around in surprise. A plump, elderly nurse scolded him from the door of Sam's room.
"Marty, I told you not to go around visiting after hours! Go back to your room, you silly goose. I know this stay isn't very fun, but keep being strong, okay?"
He chuckled dryly. "I'm not strong anymore."
"Now don't go saying that, it won't help you get better at all. Come on, you can lean on me if you want, we're taking you back next door."
Next door? He would kill her in her sleep...
A little "mmph" made its way out of her throat. The kindly nurse turned and said, "Yes dear? Oh, you're that darling that-hmm, why don't we keep you nice and safe and locked up? Just to make your night a little easier. Sound okay?"
It was hard to give the nurse the death glare when she said that. At least she hadn't used the word "scared." Maybe it did sound somewhat okay.
The nurse waved goodbye, locked the door, and left with Marty. He pressed his face up to the glass in Sam's window before the nurse pulled him away. If Sam could've shuddered, she would have. It was no use trying to sleep; she spent most of the night wondering if the locked door would keep him out.
Carly heard about what happened after Freddie had made it home. Visiting hours were over, and she could barely fathom what Sam must be thinking about her. Some friend I am. She's dying and apparently I didn't care enough to go see her.
At first she had wondered whether it truly was Sam who had hit her. One of the downsides of having an overly violent friend was living with the fact that should Sam decide to go crazy, Carly was powerless. But if Sam was insane, then was it really her fault?
I should leave dealing with paradoxes to someone with no life.
Freddie sat next to her on the couch, quietly staring at the blank TV screen. He hadn't moved a muscle for about fifteen minutes, which made every twitch of Carly's seem exaggerated. She shifted uncomfortably and the air in the cushion whooshed out, amplified by the silence.
"She's going to die."
Carly had never before been afraid of Freddie, but his tone of voice was so unfeeling she couldn't help it. "You don't know that." What a lie. They'd known it all along. Even if her injuries didn't kill her, Sam could no longer live with what she had become. Short of putting her in a straitjacket and locking her in a rubber room, they would physically lose their friend forever. Mentally, she was already gone.
"I read somewhere..." Freddie's voice cracked. "When a horse is in intolerable pain, it'll try and throw itself down on the ground and roll over. Guaranteed death."
"Sam's not a horse."
"Humans do it too. We call it suicide."
"Shut up!" There was no force in that statement. Freddie didn't even flinch. "Please, Freddie. This can't be the end of the line."
He glared at her. "What do you want me to do about it?"
"I don't know. But there has to be something. The horse doesn't always die, does it?"
Sam had spent most of the night trapped somewhere between dreamworld and reality, but by the time dawn broke she had drifted off. Her fear had awoken parts of her she hadn't even known existed, and a little Sam convention was taking place inside her head.
They were all walking around her house, eating her food, exchanging banter. But there was something wrong about each and every one of them. One wore a pink bandanna and carried a journal around with her; Sam never remembered writing down a word outside of the occasional "do-it-or-you-fail-this-grade-Miss-Puckett" homework. Another (a very small one) carried a calculator and adjusted her glasses every five seconds, muttering, "No, no, that' can't be right." Still another sat in a corner sucking her thumb, spouting childish gibberish every now and then.
But one of them caught her eye immediately, only because she seemed the most normal. Aggressive and cool, she had that easy smirk that Sam hadn't been able to form her mouth into recently. Because the Sam she was looking at was not afraid.
Normal Sam was sitting at the kitchen table, studying a towering burger as if trying to find the ideal bite zone. Sam approached her warily. "Hey."
The other girl looked up and eyed Sam in disgust. "Oh. It's you."
Wouldn't it technically be you, too?
"SAM!" cried Pink Sam suddenly, dashing into the kitchen. "OMG no one told me you were here! This is so totally awesome! Did you bring Freddie? I've been writing about him in my diary every day, just for you! Wanna read it?"
"What the fu-"
"Watch your language," advised Bespectacled Sam. "She abhors curse words."
"Did you just say 'abhors'?"
"Abhor. To hate, despise, dis-"
"Everyone shut up!" yelled Normal Sam. The kitchen fell silent. "I've been waiting ages for her to get here. It's time to get down to business. Get over here and sit down," she spat at Sam, who did so.
"You've been waiting for me?"
"More like I've been trying to get you back in here. One little thing goes wrong-doesn't mean you can take over," Normal Sam snarled.
"Please, let's try to keep this a little professional," the nerdy one cut in. "Sam has a multifaceted personality. Any one of us can take over, you are not to only one given precedence."
"All I'm saying," Smart Sam continued nervously, "is that you've been in control for Sam's whole life, and we've been hiding out in the recesses of her mind. Maybe it's time others had a turn. Personally, I don't like being so unused. I'm going to atrophy, and then who'll keep all of you in check?"
"No!" Sam cut in suddenly. "I want that one back! The old me!"
"Well, well. Couldn't face the real world, could you?" Normal Sam smiled smugly.
"What are you guys talking about? You act like I'm...one of you. I'm not. I'm the real Sam."
"No," explained the little one. "You are Cowardice."
"You see, most humans switch back and forth between different emotions, virtues, and aspects of their personality every day. Sam, however, has kept one face to the world for most of her life. That is, until you became powerful enough to overtake this one." She jerked her thumb at Normal Sam. "You used to be a vegetable, a little girl even smaller than me, and the most exciting thing you ever did was drool. And then that man came along and woke you up."
"Are you sure you're a part of my brain too?"
"Believe me," she sighed, "Sometimes I don't believe it either. Three hundred and twenty nine career detentions. Unbelievable."
"Thanks," grinned Normal Sam.
"Well, what do I do?" demanded Sam/Cowardice.
"You have to give the position back to Aggression," said Smarty Pants.
"Okay. Cool. She can have it. No problem."
"It's not that easy," growled Aggression. "You need to do it when you're awake."
And Sam's dreamworld dissolved.