Notes: Written for the croctober fanfic challenge. Contains adult themes, sexual references.
Summary: A feeling of nostalgic longing for something or someone that one was fond of and which is lost. Dark Creddie. Two-shot.
Saudade [saw'dadi] : A Portuguese and Galician word for a feeling of nostalgic longing for something or someone that one was fond of and which is lost. It often carries a fatalist tone and a repressed knowledge that the object of longing might really never return.
Freddie and Carly both had exceptionally high grades. Freddie was the more naturally gifted, whilst Carly achieved through intense concentration, planning and studying. They both helped each other, multiple subjects taken by both, hours spent together learning.
Carly helped Freddie with her multitude of notes, she could recall even the smallest detail, and Freddie would help Carly by impressing the overall picture, then examining individual pieces for their importance and impact on the situation or problem at hand.
What looked like the inevitable post-graduation breakup was postponed. They didn't plan it. Freddie hadn't hacked into the computers like Sam had joked, or spied, or stalked, or snooped, or intercepted communication to end up in the same place as Carly.
It simply happened. On their large list of potential colleges, they had independently come to the joint conclusion of their first choice. When the acceptances came, on the same day, in the same white envelopes, they all celebrated. Spencer, Sam, Ms Benson, Carly and Freddie together. Sam stayed in Seattle to learn in community college, and moved in with Spencer.
Freddie still harbored his unrequited love for Carly, it had grown even stronger with the time spent together, and hoped that a change of scenery could improve his chances. Carly had not as yet given any indication that would change, but they were happy in their delusions. Freddie pretended that he was over Carly through pained smiles, Carly pretended to believe him, with Sam always ready with an insult or comeback to ensure he kept pretending. In the back of his mind, he wondered just what was wrong with him.
Freddie spent the first year working long, long hours in pursuit of high level computer programming and business courses, and the second year wasn't much better. The time they spent together was minimal, but happy. During their third year they grew apart despite living almost as close as they had back in Seattle. Freddie had become notoriously solitary, hours spent in darkness, watching line after line of code flowing down the screen like rain.
Literal darkness, working at night, free from distraction. The only distraction he allowed himself was Carly, yet he burned inside, as Carly always had male "friends" with her. Freddie made small talk, masking jealousy, bitterness, resentment at her companions, with jokes and laughter, with chit-chat. He still felt in his heart he just had to wait. Eventually he would get his chance.
After these meetings, he would go back to his code. Freddie forced his emotions down. The 1's and 0's that ultimately comprised the words on the screen didn't recognise emotion. Freddie was fine with that. Mentally blank, he could spend hours reading, to create, to fix, to solve, to compile, to code without restriction, without emotion, without error. It became a release of sorts, away from the world, away from Carly, her boyfriends, and his pain, all conveniently bottled away, justified with the idea that it helped him work.
It stayed down for another year, until it finally came boiling over. Only a few short months before they were done, there was a confrontation. He didn't scream. He didn't shout. They didn't throw things, or hurl insults.
He took the seat next to Carly, and went through the mental checklist he had been building for near to a decade, comparing himself to the men and boys that Carly had been with, whilst he watched, and was left to the side. It wasn't something crazy like being secretly related to each other, this might sound terrible, but Freddie had checked and confirmed that wasn't the case. All it took was a hair sample.
"Am I not smart enough?" Most of the people she had dated were in considerably more prestigious courses. Law, Medicine, Theoretical Physics.
"Of course not, you are the smartest person I know." Carly pleaded with him to stop now. Carly knew where this was heading, and she did not like it at all.
"Is it my looks? Am I hideous to you? Do I embarrass you? Do you not want to be around me?" The 3rd was a linebacker on their football team. A colossus amongst men, popular as well. Freddie never thought himself as anything particularly good looking, but he had kept fit, an hour every day, after spending the night on the computer, he would leave, then return just as the sun rose, then slept. At worst he was a little pale, just like almost every science, maths, computing or engineering student was.
"Don't be absurd, you never embarrass me." It was the truth. Carly had never thought that about him. Carly cherished him, admired his work ethic, and treasured his support.
"Did I treat you badly? Do I lie to you? Did I make you feel insignificant? Did I ever hit you?" Freddie had found out. Carly never told him because she feared he might do something stupid, but he had ways and means. He made sure the man never so much as spoke to Carly again. Freddie came within a whisker of deciding to kill him, after he implied that it was her own fault, and that she 'had it coming'.
Only the man turning back around suddenly and asking him a random question about what course he was doing, as Freddie's hand trailed over the lamp on the desk, kept the urge from consuming him. He fled quickly after getting an assurance that he wouldn't go back to Carly, shocked at how close he'd come to cold-blooded murder. It sickened him, made him question his own moral fiber, only to conclude he was simply looking to protect Carly, and that many people in his situation would do the same thing.
Freddie shook the thoughts out of his head, coming back to the matter at hand. His words came in a stream, Carly simply sat there listening. More questions. No, again and again, the answer was No. It wasn't this, it wasn't that.
Freddie lowered his head, ashamed he would even ask the question, "Is my family not good enough? Is it because of money?" The trust funds, the mansions, a 'good name' was attached to another, he knew that his own future profession couldn't compete with that.
That was enough. Carly reached over and slapped Freddie across the face. "You bastard. How dare you. You have known me for how long, and you have the nerve to even think that all I want is money? That I'm some gold-digging slut?" Tears rolled down her face.
"I'm sorry." Freddie held her in his arms. He waited until her sobbing subsided, and asked his final questions.
"Why aren't I good enough for you? I've been with you, by your side, for years, I've loved you unconditionally. What did I do wrong? Why don't I deserve even a single chance?"
Carly had been waiting for it. She knew that he would one day ask it. The problem was that no answer was forthcoming. He hadn't done anything wrong.
"I'm so sorry, but I can't change the way I feel." Carly had often thought about faking it. Attempting to give him a chance, for a few months, to let him see herself as everything Freddie thought she was. The problem was he would see right through such a façade, he would know by looking in her eyes when she finally said 'Yes'. Or maybe he'd delude himself, and not realize until the moment they kissed, or perhaps he'd wait until they first slept together, if he wanted to know just how much of an object of charity he was for Carly. The last thing that he would want is to be patronized by his only, best, friend. That would hurt more than anything in the world in her view.
Freddie sat there for some time with his hands in his head. He didn't blame her. Deep down, for years and years, the thought that Carly would never love him gnawed away at him, the doubt, the fear that she would ultimately reject him completely, and utterly break his heart was always there. Freddie just refused to think about it.
Now, Carly saw all the doubt, the pain, the hurt, the years of rejection came crashing down like a broken dam. He cried, he wailed, he bawled his eyes out, then whimpered some more, talking to himself in low hushed tones not even Carly could understand, half spoken sentences, old conversations brought up, dismissed, cross-checked, along with curses of self-hating invective. On reflection, he wondered why was he stupid enough to delude himself that Carly, or indeed, anyone, would ever actually love him? Sam had told him from the first days that he professed his love for Carly, why hadn't he listened to her and given up right then and there.
Carly held him, wiped his tears away, being the friend she always was, and that she knew Freddie would want. It was strange, comforting the person whose heart you just tore asunder, but he needed her and she wasn't going to shirk their friendship in his time of need.
Once he was finished, Carly looked at Freddie again. She saw a broken man. The eyes that were once filled with life were dull. The smile that brightened her world was replaced with blank, grim coldness. Without a word, he got up, wiped his face, and left.
He filled the remaining time with work, finishing programs, sorting out potential job placements. Carly tried to cheer him up, but there was nothing she could do. The dispassionate emptiness stayed locked in his eyes and nothing could budge it, and it alarmed her.
They all knew what had taken place, and believe that it would just be a phase he went through for a few months before he was back to himself again. Instead, a deep melancholia set in Fredward Benson, the world shifting around him, unseen, unnoticed and Freddie didn't care.
Freddie sat, alone, in his room, just occupying space, getting through days and weeks through set schedules, his studies had been winding down, past final exams. When he had no classes or responsibilities, Freddie would get up, eat breakfast, sit in his chair for hours, and take his lunch out to sit on the bench in the shade, at the park, where Freddie and Carly had first had lunch together when they moved.
Carly would sit and talk with him sometimes about her life, about Sam, Spencer, and Seattle, but only garnered polite, passionless replies. Not the kind of replies from the man Carly had spend hundreds of hours talking with over those last few years. A couple of 'buddies' who had made the long haul from 1st year all the way through to 4th, sat with him occasionally, but they said nothing, they knew how Freddie thought of Carly, and how he needed to work through this.. obliteration of his dreams on his own. Not even a visit from Sam, Spencer and his mother helped.
Sam would try to insult him, punch him in the shoulder, anything to get a reaction, but he sat there, motionless. Spencer tried talking to him, but he was effortlessly deflected, misdirected and nothing important was discussed or revealed, without Spencer even knowing he was being dismissed like an annoying child. Freddie didn't fight his mother like he used to, instead a steady stream, "Yes Mother, no Mother, yes Mother, that sounds good Mother," kept her happy.
Carly tried to talk to him. To Freddie there was nothing to talk about. He wouldn't ever be good enough for Carly, and that's all that mattered. He concluded Carly must have taken pity on him, like an abandoned puppy, or maybe a horse with a broken leg, but Carly never had the heart to put him out of his misery.
Carly thought once they all got back to Seattle, everything would eventually go back to normal. She was shocked to find Freddie had applied, and accepted, a job with a multi-national conglomerate in North Virginia, without telling her.
Before Carly knew it, before she could come to terms with just exactly what she might be losing, he was gone.
AN: This is a two-shot. I was randomly reading wiki one day, something or other, and came across this word, the title. For some reason, it clicked with me.