Last chapter! Can't believe I actually finished something... thanks for stickin with me haha. Don't own iCarly!

"Fredward Benson! You've got some explaining to do young man!" When the first thing Freddie heard upon waking up was not his alarm clock, but his mother's shrill voice, the dazed brunette immediately felt that horrible, creeping feeling in his stomach.

Oh no.

He'd forgot to set his alarm last night, which meant he never snuck out Sam, which meant his mom had discovered her sleeping next to him and oh god he was gonna be sick. In a panicked frenzy, his eyelids snapped open and he shot up like he was on fire, a wild and guilty look in his eyes.

"M-mom! It's not what it—" A quick glance to his right and then his left revealed that he was all alone in his bed, the aggressive blonde nowhere to be found. Feeling his heart speed up, Freddie ripped back the covers as if to find her hiding under there. Not one of his more intelligent moments. "…looks like," he finished lamely. He was still twisting his head all around, scanning the room for Sam.

Marissa Benson could only look on anxiously while her son behaved very strangely. Like a hawk on its prey she swooped down upon the addled boy, thrusting a hand to his forehead, then his cheeks. "Are you feeling alright Freddie-bear? Should I get the first aid kit?"

"I'm fine mom… really. Just didn't get much sleep last night."

"Well why not?" Mrs. Benson asked frantically, mentally paging through all the things that could be possibly wrong with her precious baby boy; specifically, disorders that caused insomnia and extreme paranoia.

Freddie's throat dried up at the question. "B-because of the storm," he answered hastily. Well, it was half true.

"I don't know, maybe I should check your temperature just to be sure. It's almost ten, you're usually such an early riser… your internal clock might be broken…" After murmuring to herself for a bit about her son's vitals, she seemed to suddenly remember why she'd been yelling at him in the first place. "And what have I told you about leaving clothes on the floor? I know I've taught you better, Freddie." He craned his neck to see the mystery clothes she was referring to. Sure enough, the two pairs of pajamas he'd lent Sam the night before were strewn all over the carpet in a particularly Sammish fashion. Not quite messy enough to give his mom a heart attack, but definitely enough to piss her off.

"Sorry," he amended for the mess, hopping out of bed to pick up the clothes. "I um, felt like trying on clothes last night…?" Wait, that didn't come out right.

"Oh, it's alright. Hurry up and get ready for the day, I've had oatmeal on the stove for over an hour!" With that Mrs. Benson left to room to most likely go freak out over something else.

Freddie waited until she was out of sight, then shut the door and fell back on his bed with a sigh of relief. Memories of last night flooded back to him full force and he blushed, particularly recalling Sam's lips on his. The thoughts in his head concerning her were certainly a lot different than when he'd first lain down to go to bed last night… that was for sure.

It sounded really dumb and clichéd but he couldn't seem to get her off his mind. With each passing second, Freddie seemed to be more resolved with his feelings towards Sam. She was rude, violent, offensive, and completely insane at times, and now, he liked her.

He almost laughed out loud. Weird, how things had panned out.

He found himself wondering what time she had left this morning. Must have been early, because his mom always woke up around 7 and there was no way Sam was leaving undetected on her watch. Then he tried to figure out where she could have gone that early; he didn't think she would be all gung-ho for going back home knowing that her mom's boyfriend might still be lurking around. Maybe she'd finally found her way into Carly's? Or bashed her way in would be more like it, knowing Sam.

The knowledge that the blonde plaguing his head could be just across the hall lounging at Carly's place was making Freddie fidget. Okay, he was going to be a total dork for thinking this, but… how soon was too soon to run over and talk to her? There were so many ends left open from what had happened 6 hours prior, and the boy couldn't help but crave more answers. The only thing they'd actually admitted aloud was that they both liked a kiss that had happened two years ago. And yeah, it obvious from the whole make out thing that they two of them harbored some sort of feelings for each other, but what now? Should he ask her out or something? It just seemed too formal and proper when it came to him and Sam.

Then an unpleasant idea occurred to him. What if, the brunette thought dejectedly, this was just another we-never-speak-of-it-again type deal? It wasn't that far-fetched. In fact, Sam was known for purposefully sweeping things she didn't feel like dealing with under the rug. Freddie sat up, the sick feeling returning to his gut.

That was it. He was tired of tearing himself up over Sam, and if he was anything, Freddie was a man of action - years of relentlessly chasing after Carly could prove it. Hoisting himself out of bed, he marched straight into the shower, resolving to head to apartment 8-C as soon as he was done.

He and Sam were going to straighten some things out, and for real this time, not just skirt around the important issues like last night on the fire escape. And if she tried to avoid him, Freddie mused as he twisted on the hot water, well… he'd cross that bridge when he came to it.

One bowl of wheat-germ oatmeal and a bagel with grape jelly later (he tried scarfing them down but his mother threatened to not let him leave the apartment if he didn't chew at a safe pace), Freddie found himself knocking on the Shay's front door, which was still locked. He leaned back and forth on his heels, hearing scuffling from within the apartment.

The muffled voice of Spencer reached his ears. "Carlayyy! Get the door, my hands are currently occupado." Footsteps, and then the door opened to reveal the lively face of a certain Carly Shay, who was still in her pj's.

"Freddie," she greeted cheerfully.


She smiled. "You're here earlier than as per usual." Opening the door wider for him to come inside, she turned to recommence watching Girly Cow reruns on the couch. Freddie took the silent invitation and joined her happily, temporarily forgetting his original mission. Formalities weren't really necessary here; he was over so often that this place was pretty much his second home.

"Freddo," Spencer acknowledged him from kitchen. The brunette stretched his neck around Carly to see the eccentric artist currently working on some giant sculpture made out of what looked like peanut butter.

"I thought you learned your lesson about food sculptures after Toasty the butter guy?" Freddie joked.

"Hey. Don't hate on my muse."

The two teens laughed and turned their attention back to the animated cow on TV. Carly nudged his side good naturedly. "So how was the rest of your Friday night mister?"

The boy next to her tensed faintly but then managed to put on his best cool face. "Uh, it was fine, nothing special…why?"

"Just askin'," she shrugged, not really paying attention. His shoulders slumped, relaxed. For a second there he thought she somehow knew about—

He sucked in a breath, remembering why he was here in the first place.

"Sam around?" His eyes furtively inspected the area for a glimpse of blonde hair as he posed the question.

Carly didn't look up from the television. "Nope, although she'll probably be here soon. She texted me like a half hour ago asking if Spencer still had leftover ribs from Rick's and I told her yes."

He tried to mask his disappointment. "Oh. Ha, I'm surprised she's not here already."

"I know right." She giggled slightly, both teens thinking about their meat-lovin' best friend, although for very different reasons. "Hey, since you're here, let's watch a some of those videos people sent us after iCarly yesterday. I haven't seen any of them yet, Spencer made me shut down the computer 'cause of the lightning." She got up to walk over to the computer at the counter and her 'tech stooge' followed dutifully.

"That was some intense storming going on," Spencer piped up upon hearing his name. "Did you guys hear that thunder last night? Man!"

"No, no, I was asleep then," Freddie interjected stiffly. The Shay siblings momentarily ceased their typing and peanut butter sculpting to fix him with an odd look; he cleared his throat and changed the subject. "So uh, what do you think about that one video with the watermelon and the hermit crabs?"

His quick turnaround seemed to quell the siblings' curiosity, and Spencer turned back to his peanut butter man while his younger sister began to talk animatedly about how 'she couldn't believe how strong those hermit crabs were.' With one last wistful glimpse at the front door, Freddie accepted that the Sam thing was going to have to wait.

By the time noon rolled around, Sam still hadn't shown and Carly and Freddie had watched so many videos and replied to so many emails that their brains were near fried. The web star swiveled around in her stool and sighed, stretching her arms and legs.

"I think I might get something from the deli across the street," Carly declared, hopping down and heading for the stairs to change. "Anyone else want anything?"

"Yeah, grab me a falafel. I've been cravin' one of those since I saw that hot lady sellin 'em on the corner last week. And there's cash in the dish by the door." Spencer, now pretty much covered head-to-toe in peanut butter, sauntered over to the bar and grinned at the two teens. Carly made a disgusted face at him.

"Gross, it's all in your hair."

At her observation the artist in question automatically brought a hand to his head, effectively smearing the sticky goo deeper within his brown locks. "Right… while you're out, I'm gonna go try and wash out the peanut butter that's made its way into… weird places."

Earning an 'eww' from his younger comrades, Spencer brushed past Freddie and jokingly made to poke Carly with a gooey finger, who squealed and disappeared up the stairs with an annoyed "Spencerrr!"

Her brother just laughed and continued on his way to the shower. "If Sam comes over tell her not to eat my sculpture, it's in the freezer!" He called over his shoulder to the lone teenager left in the living room.

Freddie gave a halfhearted "kay" and turned back around in his seat to rest his chin in his palms, thoughts of Sam still fluttering in his brain. Sam. Where the heck was she anyway? Obviously his guess that she would've gone straight to Carly's was completely wrong… he hoped that she was okay, wherever she was.

Timing was apparently on his side today because at that very moment the door banged open, and in strolled the missing Sam Puckett.

"Yo, heard there were ribs." Freddie head snapped up immediately at the sound of the familiar voice; when he twisted his head to see the source of it, she'd already passed him on her way to the fridge, so he ended up doing this awkward 360 in the stool that he prayed she didn't see.

His prayers were most likely answered for when he finally caught site of Sam, her head was so far in the Shay's refrigerator that it was pretty much impossible for her to be seeing anything besides food items. Freddie gulped. Now that he knew Sam was in the room, his heartbeat had picked up quite a bit of speed and his head was kind of swimming a little. Funny what one night could do.

Finally the supposedly starved teenager happily extracted herself from the chilled box of food wonderland, her arms full of meat products and most importantly, leftover ribs from Rick's Rib joint. Nudging the refrigerator door shut with her hip, she pivoted around to find herself under the intense stare of Freddie from over at the bar. They caught each others' gaze, and there was a second or two of silence during which their changing relationship seemed to really sink in for both of them.

"Benson," she nodded at him.


Sam laughed and brought her load of food over to the counter, standing directly across from him. "So where are the people who actually live here?" she asked, biting into her first rib.

"Spencer's in the shower, Carly's upstairs." Now that they were face to face, Freddie couldn't help but give her bruise a once-over; it had turned more of a purplish-blackish color since he'd last seen it.

"Cool, cool." Sam bobbed her head genially and fixed her attention on the meaty goodness in front of her. She seemed like she was in a pretty good mood. It was now or never, he decided.

"Uh, Sam, I—"

"Ohmygod! Sam, what happened!" Carly had appeared at the foot of the staircase, her concerned eyes fixated on her best friend's face. Sam only chewed nonchalantly.

"What, you mean this?" The blonde asked casually through a mouthful of beef.

"Yes, that!"

She shrugged. "Had a little scuffle with this band of hobos on my way home last night. I showed them why they shouldn't mess with Mama. No big deal." Freddie's eyebrows shot up. She was lying. Why would she lie to Carly?

Carly didn't look the least bit convinced. "Why would a band of hobos randomly jump you?"

"They wanted my sandwich."

"Sam! Don't lie!" The brunette girl was starting to take on her infamous 'whipped up' tone.

"I'm not lying!" Sam stared pointedly into Carly's eyes with her best 'I'm dead serious' face. "I went to Clark's Deli as soon as I left your place last night, I swear!"

Once Sam raised her voice a little Carly seemed to simmer down. "Promise?"

"Yeah!" Freddie could only look on silently as Sam nodded determinedly. It was strange to actually witness her famous lying abilities in action.

Carly relented and walked over to her friend, brushing her blonde bangs aside so she could access the 'hobo induced' damage. "Aw," she said sadly, "they took your sandwich?"

"Uh huh. Can't win 'em all y'know…"

"Well I was just on my way to Clark's anyway. I'll buy you a new sandwich, kay?" She gave Sam a one-armed squeeze and then headed for the door.

"You're the best Carls."

"Yeah, yeah, I know. You two try not to kill each other while I'm gone." Carly added with a winning smile, prompting her two friends to glance at one another sideways at the irony in her statement. Then the door shut, the third member of their trio was gone, and Sam and Freddie were once again very much alone.

First off, he shot the girl who was currently gnawing persistently on a rib bone a skeptical look. "A band of hobos jumped you for a sandwich? Really?"

Sam polished off the last shred of meat on the entire plate, throwing the bone down with a clatter. "Eh, I didn't feel like cookin' up anything better. Besides now Carly's buying me a replacement sandwich."

"But you never had a sandwich that needed replacing." A grin was making its way across his face. She breathed an accomplished sigh and moseyed on over to the couch, falling back into it and sprawling her limbs out everywhere.

"Exactly. You sure catch on quickly Fredhead."

Slowly Freddie dismounted the stool and followed her lead, taking a seat on the couch cushion furthest from her. "How come you didn't tell Carly?" He asked carefully.

"Cause why worry her over nothing? The Turd situation has been taken care of." Her voice was dripping with a smugly satisfied tone.

"What do you mean, 'taken care of'?" Freddie's eyes widened. "Sam, you didn't—!"

Before he could finish his cracked out theory on what Sam might've done to Turd the said delinquent sat up and lightly slapped him upside the head. "Chill dude, I didn't do anything illegal…" She settled back into the couch cushions, closing her eyes and smiling. "My mom dumped his ass."

His horrified expression morphed into one of excitement. "No way."

"Yup. Last night, right after I left, too - when I got home this morning she was apologizing and everything, it was unreal." Although she was obviously tried to hide her extreme happiness, she was practically glowing with it. Sam put a finger to her chin. "Granted when she was telling me all this she was on her way out to get her belly button pierced, but hey. Turd's out of the picture so she can feel free to continue being as stupid and tacky as she wants."

Freddie rolled his eyes. He would never understand the mystery that was Sam's mother, but at least the woman had done right by her daughter for once. Scooting next to her, he put a hand on her shoulder. "Hey, Sam, that's great."

They were doing that eye contact thing again where they would both just stare without saying anything, trying to figure each other out. This time Sam broke it off with a curt, "yeah, yeah."

She shut her eyelids again, leaving the increasingly nervous kid next to her to ponder his next move. Alright Freddie, he mentally prepped himself, this is the part where you make a move. So do something. Anything. He made to gradually move his arm around her, but then pulled away at the last second. Okay, how 'bout we start by saying something.



He paused for a moment, trying to figure out how to word the same question he'd once posed to Carly a long time ago. It'd been pretty hard and a little embarrassing to ask Carly about the exact status of their relationship; with Sam, it was like taking that feeling and multiplying it by a thousand. She was definitely no Carly—there was that unpredictability factor to consider. Freddie braced himself and continued.

"Um… please don't hurt me for asking you this, but... last night." His sentence fizzled out quite lamely.

She cracked open an eye. "What about it?"

"Y'know," he shrugged awkwardly, "I mean, do you—are we—?"

An amused snort escaped her lips and it shut Freddie up right away. She crossed her arms and shot him an 'are you kidding me' look. "Aw, come on Fredward, you're not really initiating the whole 'what are we' conversation with me, are you?" The insult lost some of its bite due to the wide smile spreading on Sam's face, however he couldn't stop himself from flushing a deep red at the truth in her question; she was probably thinking he was in serious need of a crash course in manliness.

"I—no," He tried to sound convincing but her smirk told him she clearly wasn't buying it. She seemed so confident and he felt like such an idiot – how this was possible when a few hours ago they'd been so equally timid and unsure, he had no idea. "…Maybe?" He said a little too desperately.

She didn't respond to that. Sam was just watching him with that infuriating smirk on her face and making his stupid annoying heart beat faster. If he didn't know any better, she appeared to be enjoying the view of him fumbling for the right words. Okay, she totally was.

Freddie had to think quickly. Time for plan B. Did he even have a plan B?

"Uhm, just, forget I said anything. But maybe we could hang out later or something?"

"What do you think this is?" She scoffed, motioning around them. His face deadpanned; he was starting to get really frustrated and she wasn't giving him an inch. This wasn't supposed to turn into argument—at least not how he pictured things going in his head—but of course, this was Sam he was dealing with.

He backtracked. "Look, I just thought that after everything yesterday—or technically today I guess, whatever—we could start, I duno, spending some more time together. I mean obviously we both," he swallowed, very aware he was rambling, "I mean, there's something there, it's not just me, right?"

Freddie cut himself off there and looked hopefully at Sam. At first she just blinked at him and he couldn't tell what she was thinking.

Then she started to giggle. And not just a little bit—no, no no—Sam was straight up laughing at him.

The half-smile he had worn during his "speech" dropped. For that split second in time, Freddie got a horrible feeling in the pit of his stomach that everything that had happened between them was all some sick joke on Sam's part. He sucked in a shaky breath and attempted to subtly shift away from her, fighting to save the smidge of pride he had left.

Wow. Freddie inwardly cursed himself. He really was the most gullible idiot on the planet.

The worst part was that he fell for it completely… feelings for Sam and all.

Suddenly Sam's hands were on his shoulders and she was lightly shaking him, momentarily snapping him out of his self-deprecating haze and forcing him to look at her again.

"Yo. Freddie. I know what you're thinking so quit it." Now he was confused; he must have looked it because Sam let out a frustrated sigh. "Hey, I'm new at this too, okay? I mean I'm still surprised that you actually… just… breathe, dude. It's all good."

"Um. Okay…" He raised an eyebrow. She gave him another shake.

"C'mon, jumping right into stuff isn't really our style anyway, right? Just go with the flow. Y'know." Her tone was so perfectly nonchalant, her demeanor calm as ever. "…Baby steps."

With that Sam returned to her sprawled out position, this time resting her head in the crook of his neck, and proceeded to speculate aloud about what kind of sandwich Carly was going to bring back for her.

It took a second for everything to sink in, but when it did, Freddie relaxed at last. Settling more comfortably back into the couch cushions, he looped an arm behind Sam's head and let himself enjoy the moment, without over thinking it this time. It was still new and different, being this close to her, but devoid of the periods of awkward that seemed to pop up every minute the night before.

All the stuff he'd just been going on and on about was pretty stupid as he thought about it. Things made more sense this way – no epic proclamations of love or even like, not even a 'will you go out with me'… nothing. They just kind of fell together. It worked.

When they heard the elevator ding signifying Carly's return, the odd couple flew apart to a more platonic position, and just like that things returned to pretty-much normal. Besides Freddie being more, well, aware of the blonde in the room (random bouts of erratic heartbeat, subtle intervals of prolonged eye contact, higher frequency of playful banter), the trio's dynamic was the same as it always was. The three friends discussed upcoming iCarly bits, made fun of the Dingo channel, and joked about bacon. Sam was still abrasive and obnoxious and Freddie was still a giant nerd.

It was only during school on Monday, when Sam yanked him into a maintenance closet after 5th period, that Freddie understood exactly what Sam meant by 'baby steps.'

Oh, he could most definitely get used to this. He grinned against her lips, feeling Sam grin back. Thank-you, Turd.

The end : )

Haha, take that Ted the turd. I love how over the course of this whole story, Sam only called Freddie 'Freddie' once. Ehehhhhhh.

Hope you enjoyed! Review if you're awesome!

til next time lovelies