Spencer wasn't what you would call normal. Anyone that knew him would vouge for that. But this was one time when his lack of normalcy had turned deadly.
He watched in a daze as the cops cuffed Freddie's Dad. He almost puked when they took Freddie's mom out in a body bag. But the most disturbing image was of Freddie, with his black eye and traumatized expression, sitting on the couch and answering the chief's questions. Carly and Sam were by the door, crying, wondering what was going on. They had gotten here after the cops had shown up. Only Spencer had caught a glimpse of what really happened, and he was thankful that he hadn't seen the whole thing.
If only he had gotten here 10 minutes sooner. If only he hadn't dawdled in the super market, wondering what kind of donuts to buy. Spencer had seriously stood there, for 10 minutes, telling himself that he was having a staring contest with the donuts, talking to them! If he was normal, he would have simply grabbed a pack of donuts and left. He would have come back in time, and maybe he could have stopped it. Then he wouldn't have to be staring at Freddie, guilt coursing through his veins every time he thought about what Freddie must be feeling.
Spencer was still staring into space, captured in his own thoughts when the policeman came up to him and wanted to ask him a couple of questions. It was as if he wasn't even in his own body. It was like someone else nodded, and told the whole story over again.
"So," the officer began, taking a wide stance with his notepad in hand. "Where were you from 7-8 this evening?"
"Uh, I was at my friend, Socko's, for a little bit. Then I went to the store to pick up some things."
"And you went straight to your apartment?"
"No. My apartment is right across the hall, and when I walked by I heard yelling and crying," Spencer paused. It seemed like so long ago, but it was only an hour, maybe less.
"Then what?" the officer probed.
Spencer took a deep breath. "I walked in, right as he hit Freddie across the face."
The officer jotted down some notes, as casual as if he were making a grocery list, his face neutral.
"I stood there for a second, then I dropped my bags, and went in swinging. But I didn't get to her fast enough. I had only taken a couple steps before he pulled the trigger," Spencer shuddered. Images flooded through his mind. They were forever zapped in his brain: blood, lots of blood. Freddie flying to the ground from the blow, curling up into the fetal position, helpless. His father's crazy expression.
"And then I punched him in the face, so he dropped the gun. He was coming after me, so I just grabbed the first thing I could get my hands on and hit him again."
"Yea, that's when you guys got here. I guess someone called the cops before I got here."
"Yes, we got a call reporting a domestic dispute around 7:45." He finished writing on his notepad, his big, beefy hands making the pen hard to see.
"Thank you, Mr. Shay," he said without emotion, and walked away.
Spencer's attention turned to the door, where his grocery bags still lay. The donuts seemed to taunt him, and make guilt rush through him once again. He slowly circled around, wondering what to do next, when he caught Freddie's eye. They stared at each other for a moment. He reminded Spencer of a little kid, lost and confused, his expression innocent. He wondered if Freddie was grateful, or if he resented him for not coming sooner. He wondered if Freddie was even there, or if he was feeling the same as Spencer: like he was watching all of this from up above, like he wasn't in his own body. Could he see Spencer's regret written all over his face?
Freddie looked down, breaking eye contact. Just then the same officer who questioned Spencer came up to him. "You can go home now, Mr. Shay." He started hearding him out of the door.
"Wait, where's Freddie gonna go?" he asked desperately.
"We've called his grandma. He'll stay there for now." They were at the door by this point.
"Ok," Spencer almost tripped over his damn grocery bags.
A week later
Carly and Sam were in the iCarly studio, but it felt so empty without Freddie there. It was the day of the first iCarly since that night, and at first neither of them wanted to do it, but decided that Freddie would want them to. It wasn't going to be like their usual shows. They didn't have any crazy stunts planned. Now that all seemed stupid.
"Ok, Sam, go turn the camera on," Carly said sadly. She stood up, wanting nothing more than for everything to be the way they were before.
"In 5, 4, 3, 2…" Sam said.
"Hey, I'm Carly."
"And I'm Sam."
"And this is iCarly," they both said together. Carly had no idea what they were going to do. This wasn't right. So, she said the first thing that came to her mind.
"Freddie, if you're watching this, we just want you to know that we miss you, and that we hope you're ok," she said briskly.
"And call us whenever you feel like it," Sam said. It was the only time that she didn't say anything teasing or mean to Freddie. Everything was backwards. Somehow, Carly knew that Freddie was watching. She just knew.
"We'll come visit you as soon as your grandma says its ok. Gibby and Spencer said they'll come, too!!" Carly worked to sound enthusiastic, but knew she wasn't pulling it off. Tears were beginning to swell up in her eyes. It was hard to believe that 2 weeks ago, they had all gone to the Groovy Smoothy and laughed and were happy.
"Ok, Fredward. We don't really have much else to say," said Sam. She looked at Carly for some support. She wasn't used to crying.
"Thanks for watching," Carly said. She solemnly went to the camera and turned it off. "And we're clear."