Disclaimer: Last time you'll have to see this disclaimer, so hey, I don't own iCarly.
A/N: The end, it finally arrives. I actually wrote this the same day I wrote chapter nine and I was going to wait awhile before putting it up but eh, you've guys have waited long enough for this fic to finally close out. Feels good. Think I'm just going to make No Surprises a one-shot. Not sure I'll write for the fandom again but I'm not ruling it out or anything. I really want to honestly thank anyone who has reviewed, or favorite'd, or even just read it because that's kind of the point and all. Done wasting your time, thanks for sticking with me.
Chapter 10 - New Years Eve Redux
He navigated the sea of bodies, shifting in and out through layers of conversation and areas of personal space. The room was warm, just under stiflingly from the collective body heat of twenty or so teenagers and the dance music blasting from mounted speakers only had the temperature rising. The party was going at full speed currently, at Kaya Lawrence's house again. All bad memories get washed away because he entered the house an hour earlier under very different circumstances then when he did on Halloween. Then he was a mess; unsure of where he stood with Sam and paranoid that everything was about to fall apart (which it kind of did). Now he- well he was still unsure of where he stood with Sam but it didn't seem to matter as much; not in the moments she let him hold her or the times when things got a little out of control and a little PG-13.
Freddie held a drink firmly in his hand, in front of him and raised in the air just over the crowd while he moved through the main entryway of the house and into the living room, eyes searching for a certain blonde firecracker. It didn't take long to find her, near the center of the room absently swaying to the music while talking to a brunette girl with bright red highlights in her hair that was easily identifiable as Kaya Lawrence. It was only seconds later when he reached the two girls, offering the drink in his hand over to Sam while giving Kaya a nod.
"Just how you like it." The brunette boy took his place next to the familiar blonde.
Sam lifts the drink to her nose and sniffs. "Ninety-five percent rum?"
"Coke on the rocks, hold the alcohol." He informed with a grin.
"That's not what I wanted, Benson." Sam didn't look amused as she stood there, holding the drink by the brim at her waist.
Freddie just shrugged while Kaya looked a mixture of bored and amused. "Yeah but what's what you're getting."
"You're fired." Sam said offhandedly before lifting the drink and taking a sip from the cup.
He arched a brow in question. "Fired from what?"
"I don't know, you're just fired."
"Right, I'm going to give you two some privacy." Kaya finally injected.
"Oh, you don't have to, we were just-" Freddie started but was interrupted.
"Getting started. I don't have forty minutes to stand here and listen to banter- I've got to mingle, make sure nobody's naked or dead upstairs. You wouldn't believe the stains people leave on these carpets, absolutely no class. Price I pay for having social status." Kaya let out a faint sigh, placing a hand on Sam's arm. "I'll talk to you later, Puckett." She looked over to Freddie for a moment before back to Sam, her grin lofty. "Have fun."
And then it was just the two of them again. Well, the two of them in the middle of a crowd of people anyway. Sam was still swaying, randomly taking sips from the plastic cup in her hand and like always when Freddie was unsure or out of place, his hands went straight to his pockets and russet eyes shifted around the room. The moment wasn't entirely uncomfortable but he felt the need to break it and move on. His attention returned to Sam, leaning over slightly so she could hear him better.
"She left with what's his face to check out Amy Colden's party." Sam said while nodding to the front door like that explained everything.
"What's his face?" He echoed.
Freddie furrowed his brows, looking down to the ground for a second before back up at Sam. "Let me get this straight, you let our best friend just leave with some guy you don't even know the name of?"
"Calm down, the kid is on the level." The blonde rolled her eyes. "He's into literature or something; harmless. You could probably beat him up and that's really saying something."
"Must you take every shot you can at my masculinity?"
"What masculinity?" She smirked.
"I don't have to stand for this." Freddie announced resentfully, turning to act as if he was really going to walk away even though they both knew he never would.
"Oh yes you do."
Sam's tiny hand gripped his arm and turned him back around with ease before she crashed against his front, arms wrapping around his waist. Needless to say, Freddie was a little caught off guard but he did his best to keep it from showing. He wrapped his arms around her shoulders but very cautiously.
"This is touching in public. You do realize that." He was shooting for sarcastic but was sure it just came out uncertain.
"No," Sam said into his chest, hands reaching down and giving his butt a firm squeeze. "this is touching in public."
"Sam!" Freddie hissed out, scandalized and looking around as such.
"What?" She answered back in amusement.
He pulled back slightly, enough to search Sam's face before making his claim. "You've been drinking."
"Maybe." She shrugged with a grin that said 'yes'.
"When? I was only gone like two minutes."
"That's one minute and fifty-five seconds more than I needed." Sam untangled herself from Freddie but held onto his hand very loosely. "It was like two drinks, don't freak."
"I'm not freaking." He insisted.
"Yeah, I believe that." She responded, not at all convinced.
"I don't but that's okay, whatever makes you sleep better at night." She grinned before looking around them and scrunching up her nose slightly. "Eh, let's get out of here."
"You want to leave?" He asked a bit confused.
"Yeah. If a party isn't hopping enough to keep Carly in attendance, I should have been gone a long time ago."
Sam pulled him through the crowd, still holding onto his hand but much tighter now in efforts not to lose him (which is ironic considering that was her intention for so long during the course of their friendship). The moment they shoved through the front door and outside, the noise level was the most staggering difference; it went from a booming roar to a filtered static, low and humming. The duo walked through the finely manicured grass until they arrived on the street. Their pace was dawdling, now side by side but still connected at the hands, something Freddie refused to acknowledge because the second he pointed it out, she'd let go and that's the hardest thing about being with the blonde girl; knowing how easily it is for her to simply let go.
The streets were empty, only lit up by strategically placed streetlamps and the mute glow from house windows. They moved in a comfortable silence, and his eyes explored the landscape in front of them, cement leading towards vague outlines on the horizon. He felt good in the moment, maybe better than he had in all the years leading up to this point, all the moments that made up his life. He had freedom at home. Not a lot but more than he ever thought possible. He opportunities to basically go to any school he wanted for any degree there was to be offered. He had a girl (she'd insist that she had him if asked, claiming he was another piece of property for her portfolio) that despite how hard he tried and how much resistance he put up, he cared very muchfor . There wasn't a lot more he could ask for.
"What's with the dopey introspective look?" Sam's voice cut through the stillness, looking over at him with the usual uninterested yet involved stare.
"Just thinking that it's been a crazy year." He offered a bit vaguely before continuing. "Crazy but good."
The blonde seemed to think it over for a moment. "It's been alright."
"Anything you'd change?"
"Lot of chiz I'd change if I could." He guessed it showed in his face how her words affected him because she rolled her eyes, pulling the arm with the hand she was holding onto around her shoulders and molding carelessly into his side. "Nothing major though."
"Cool." He said, failing to be nonchalant about the matter.
"Yeah, I am." She agreed before looking up at him with squinted eyes. "You still need a lot of work though."
Freddie only laughed. "Uh huh, what do you wanna do tomorrow?"
"Dunno, take it as it comes."
A block and a half later, the shapes in the distance had finally found clarity. A slide, swing set, seesaw and dome shaped jungle gym all composed of what looked like metal and coated in bright paint. Reds, oranges, and yellows. As if on the same wavelength, the two continued straight and towards the neighborhood playground, pushing through the gate and onto the woodchips. When she let go of his hand and moved out of his side to inspect the seesaw, his hands found his jacket pockets, the chill in the air becoming more and more biting as the minutes ticked away.
Sam moved to the side of the seesaw touching the ground, placing her converse clad foot on the seat. "Seesaw with me, Benson?"
"Never again." He stated instantly with more conviction than you would think possible.
Freddie shrugged his shoulders. "As long as it means never going through that amount of pain again, I'm fine with that."
"It was an accident." She claimed idly.
"No, it wasn't."
"I said I was sorry." She insisted half-heartedly.
"No, you didn't."
"I meant to?" She lied badly.
The two of them stood there in a stalemate, a few feet between them. Sam tilted her head, lips pursed together before a light grin reshaped them.
"You ready for that New Years kiss?" She asked, slowly starting to cut the distance away with small, leisure steps.
"It's only eleven." Freddie stated, trying to figure out what she was getting at.
"Ten, nine, eight." The blonde started to count down, still moving forwards, locking eyes with his.
"What are you playing at, Sam?"
She only grinned wider. "Seven, six, five."
"Four, three, two, one." When Sam finally reached him, she pressed flush against the front of his body. Her arms were hanging at her sides and her hands found his that had come fumbling out of his pockets instantly, intertwining fingers. They stared at one and other, as they had become accustomed to doing right before certain things happened. The blonde rose on her tip-toes, tilting her head to the side and placing a understated kiss to his cheek before whispering in his ear. "Hint of things to come. You gotta wait till midnight though." She paused. "And meet me at the top of the jungle gym for the real thing."
That's when she took off running towards the jungle gym.
And he followed like always.