Thanks to reviewers, Princess7Strawberry, Carl Rahl, FinaleUltimacian and anyone else who might have commented to me on the fic.

I was woken, by an harsh, insistent rapping on the apartment door. I shuffled over, looked through the peephole. Even though all I could see was an outline, I could tell who it was. The candles were still burning, but I could tell the power was back on, so I flicked on the lights, and opened the door. A draft gusted through the doorway and blew out the candles on the table.

"Freddie!" He was standing there, his face cut, both eyes bruised black and blue, his shirt torn, and I could tell he'd been crying. Sam had even managed to pull a clump of his hair out.

"Sam.. I left her." My relief was audible, tangible and written all over my face. I flung myself at him, burying my head in his chest with a hug.

We stood in the hallway for a minute, until I broke the hug. I grabbed Freddie and walked him over to the couch. He floundered, letting out a harsh sigh of pain as he did so.

"Freddie.. what happened? You look terrible.. do you want to go to the hospital?" I knew Freddie, and I knew that if he really thought he was badly injured, he'd have gone to the hospital on his own first.

"Thanks.. just what a guy likes to hear. No hospital. I'm sure they have better things to worry about at 3am than me. You know, stabbings, murders, that kinda thing. My mother has enough crap to worry about there tonight anyway." He chuckled, rasping and wheezing with every breath, like a 60 year old with smoker's cough.


"Sam, said some things, and did some stuff. And I left her."

"You know I can't just accept that. You need to tell me what happened."

"I went over, and as soon as I opened the door she threw me on the floor, then started choking me. When I was about to pass out, she let go, and kissed me, telling me she was sorry. Fucking lies." Freddie was talking with venom, hate had a voice, and it was coming from my sweet Fredward. I couldn't help but hate Sam at that moment, for creating that venom, that hate, and causing it to spill out of his mouth.

"She always does that you know. Hurts me, then says sorry, then kisses me, then tells me how she was the only one who would put up with my crap, that she's just trying to make me a better person."

"Freddie, it's not your fault at all."

"When you hear it all the time, you start to believe it. I'm just glad you were there to tell me otherwise. I don't know what would have happened to me without you." I knew it probably wasn't the best thing, but I knew I was blushing, and I couldn't help it.

"What changed? Why did you leave now?"

"Sam.. she wanted me to stop seeing you. I told her she was being stupid. I didn't think, I just blurted it out. I thought she was going to kill me. Sam grabbed me and pushed me all over her house, all the time screaming that you were trying to poison me against her."

"You know I'd never do that." I could care less what Sam thinks, she's hurt him so much Sam doesn't get to decide who Freddie spends time with anymore.

Freddie took in a long breath, then exhaled, "Eventually we ended up in her bedroom, and she tried to kiss me. I tried to push her away, and she tore my shirt. I got my feet under her, and kicked her into the wall and ran to the car." I breathed a sigh of relief, that meant Sam wouldn't be able to come over for a while at least. She had no car of her own, no money for a cab, and no-one would take her in their own car.

He started to explain further, but his phone started ringing. "I can't talk to her Carly."

I tentatively reached over, and took the phone. I pushed the little green button to open the line.

"Freddie? Get your ass back over here right now. I just want to talk, we can igno-"

"It's not Freddie."


"No shit. Where else do you think Freddie would go?"

"Put him on."

"No. You aren't going to talk to him, or see him, or anything until you get help."

"Pfft, I don't need any help. Mama takes care of herself."

"Cut the crap Sam. You've been taking out your problems on him. It's not fair."

"Whatever. I'm coming over. Tell Freddie to be ready to leave or there's going to be a real problem."

"If you come anywhere near me or Freddie, I'll call the cops."

"You wouldn't." The phone connection couldn't mask the shock in Sam's voice, like I was betraying her with even the threat itself.

I took a deep breath, and continued, "I will. I'm not going to let Freddie out of my sight, if you come near us, I'll go to the cops, I've got pictures of what you've done to him."

"Anyone could have done that. You haven't got any proof." Now Sam was nonchalant, he usual behavior when caught out.

"I've got a video." It was true. Freddie had left a camera on by accident, and it recorded Sam shoving Freddie to the ground and kicking him in the ribs 5 times. They didn't notice the camera blinking as it recorded, but after I came back from the bathroom, I did, and I noticed Freddie clutching his side.

"You're bluffing."

"I don't want you in jail. You need help Sam. You won't get that locked up."

"I don't need any fucking help!" Sam shouted down the line.

"I don't care what you think. You aren't coming near me, or Freddie, until you get the help you need. I'll help you in any way if you ask, but until you ask, this is goodbye. I'm going to make sure you don't hurt him ever again."

Freddie took the phone out of my hand.

His voice was calm, neutral, drained of emotion, "I don't love you anymore Sam. If you come near us, I'll tell them everything. Get help. Goodbye Sam." With that, he ended the call, and turned the power off.

"Thank you Carly." He said matter-of-factly.

"It's okay. I meant what I said, I'm not leaving you alone anymore. You're here now, that's all that matters." I leaned over and hugged him, he threw his head back and closed his eyes for a moment. I felt him wrap his arms around me, and we held each other, holding our breath, like we were afraid to let go of each other or continue.

We breathed out simultaneously, and I sat there, watching Freddie, his mouth kept opening, then closing.

His head kept tilting to the side, eyebrows going up and down, clearly thinking about his next words.


"Carly, I'm not really sure how I should say this, but I need to know if it's true." He sounded stern, yet his shaking voice betrayed just how much he wanted me to be truthful.

"Always." I placed my hand in his, and I felt the pulse in his thumb beating.

Freddie looked at me. I met his gaze, seeing his eyes glisten as he prepared, the little flecks of color were mesmerizing, piercing into my soul. I've only looked at Freddie this closely once before, and it killed me when I moved to rest my head against his shoulder. That night he'd looked at me, and I'd see pure love, respect and hope. I knew that if I kept staring into him, I'd have kissed him right there in the Groovy Smoothie. But my heart hadn't melted yet. If only I'd just pushed my dou-

No! There was no sense in replaying that night's events in my head, what is done is done, and no amount of wishing will bring that back.

This time, I saw pain, hurt, yet I saw that hope still burning inside. Freddie was still gathering his courage, I didn't know if he was going to ask me the question, or try to kiss me. I'd be okay with both at this point.

"Freddie, what is it? You can tell me anything."

He nodded curtly, and opened his mouth, "Carly... are you in love with me?"

I gasped audibly, and before I could control my reaction to the question he continued, "It's okay if you aren't, but Sam said to me, before I left, that you were just jealous of the love we had. She warned me Carly. Not that I'd come crawling back, but that you would lie to me and didn't really love me. That you just wanted to destroy her."

"Are you still in love with Sam?"

"No. You're right Carly, I can't be in love with someone who hurts me so badly. I was for a while. But not now. Not for a while now." I felt like he wanted to add more, but his mouth snapped shut.

And that was all I needed to hear. I leaned over, and kissed him. After a few moments, being frozen by the shock, Freddie closed his eyes and turned his head slightly, and what had been me kissing him had turned into us kissing each other.

About a minute into the kiss, he roughly pushed me away, and started to run for the door. I chased after him, grabbed him by the shoulders and spun him around. I shrieked, as he drew his fist back like he was going to punch me. "Oh my god Carly!"

His eyes turned soft, but it took some moments for his hand to drop. "I'm so sorry, it was just a reaction, I didn't mean it, I'm still a little on edge. I'd never hurt you Carly."

"I know."

He breathed a sigh of relief. "Thanks. For everything. You've helped me so much, you don't even know."

"Why did you run?"

"I panicked. Sam's words flashed into my head and they scared me. That you might be lying to hurt Sam. Then I remembered who I was kissing. You Carly. You'd never hurt me like that. I'm okay now."

"What Sam said, it isn't true. I'm not doing this because of her. I'm doing this for you."

"I feel like I owe you, more than I could ever repay. You saved me." Freddie reached up, cradling my cheek in his hand. He was staring intently into my eyes, and I shied away.

"Carly. Look into my eyes. Tell me now. I need to see for myself. I need more than that kiss." His other arm held me by the waist, and he slowly pulled me into an embrace.

I looked up straight into his waiting eyes. The hope I'd always seen was shining strong as ever, and I knew I could give him the justification for that hope.

"I love you Freddie." I held my body against him, as his hand moved around to the back of my neck, sending shivers down my spine.

We both pushed towards each other, and we kissed again, desperate for contact and feeling to return, our mouths opened, my tongue meeting his. Freddie started off very passively, not really moving, allowing me to dictate our pace, even his hands hadn't moved. I stopped for a moment to let Freddie know he could touch me back.

It wasn't long before our shirts where left in a little heap beside us. His hands roamed my hair, face, gliding over my bra a few times as well, and it was when I reached down to unbuckle his pants that Freddie took my hands in his and told me to stop.

"We can't Carly, can we?"

"You don't want to?"

Freddie looked back at me like he was weighing up a debate in his head. I lightly kissed his lips once more, and that ended the internal conflict.

"How far do you want to go Carly?" He asked bashfully.

"I've waited so long for you Freddie, I want you. All of you." I wanted my words to sound provocative, erotic even, but instead they escaped my mouth with timidity and shyness. I looked down at the floor waiting for his reaction.

He nodded an affirmative. "We'll take it slow Carly, stop me straight away if you don't like something I do or I go too fast or whatever." He knew it was going to be my first time, throughout this he was still my best friend, and I still told him everything.

I led him by the hand up the stairs to my room, and I showed him that love and passion shouldn't always start or end with pain, hurt and suffering. Freddie was gentle, caring and he mesmerized me. I didn't expect it to feel so good, as we started out very awkwardly. Freddie made sure I was comfortable every step of the way. After we finished, he turned to me and smiled as we lay snuggled together.

There were no words. I couldn't expect them so soon. They would come in time. Yet as always, I knew what he was thinking from his eyes. Love, contentment, joy. No hint of shame, depression or hidden anguish. The sparkle of life was back in the warm brown eyes that could peer into my soul. That was enough for me.

I've started to get the real Freddie back.

It's all I ever wanted.


AN: I mentioned a potential epilogue, but I don't really feel it needs one. I guess it's up to the readers to decide for themselves what happened to Sam in the aftermath. Maybe I might even try a dark Sam-centric sequel!

Thanks to all the reviewers, the readers, and especially thanks to Ramsey, who provided me with the inspiration in a round-a-bout way for this story. 3

I should probably say something else, if you suspect or know of domestic violence, then report it, get help, and fix the problem.

Thanks for reading.