Chapter Name: Visions
Notes: Thanks to reviewers sweetstarre123, Darsnider, pink-strawberry-lemonade, Fanfic-Reader-88 and Snapplelinz.
"I find you to be a despicable, monstrously evil human being. You took advantage of the love and affection Miss Shay held for you, twisted it for your own sick and depraved needs. You have not shown one shred of remorse for your actions. I could go on and on about the harm, the damage your actions caused but I simply want you gone from my courtroom. You are the reason why her father spent the last two years of his life estranged from his only daughter. You stole five years of Miss Shay's life that she can never get back. What I can do however, is take years away from you. I sentence you to 15 years in prison, and you shall forever be listed as a registered sex offender. Get out of my courtroom. Ladies and Gentlemen of the jury, this concludes your service..."
It was the middle of the night, a week after the trial ended. Freddie was in the master bedroom on the top floor of the apartment, beside the old studio. He was putting the finishing touches on a website for a client.
He'd stepped foot in it exactly once before he moved in, when looking for something Carly had lost. It was filled with storage boxes. After he opened the first box and found a photo album packed with old photo's of Carly and Spencer's parents, he backed out of the room in unease. Whatever was in the boxes was in storage now, or distributed to Steven's surviving relatives.
A few of the items were with Spencer in France where he'd moved to feel closer to 'real art' in his words. Freddie thought he was running away from loneliness and the knowledge he'd lost his father, mother and that he'd let his little sister push him away. It was bitterly ironic to Freddie he thought, that Spencer was doing the same thing as his father did when Mrs. Shay died. Another generation of Shay men abandoning the people they were supposed to care for.
Freddie vowed he'd never do the same to Carly. He was done with running away.
Spencer had chanced a meeting with one of the major art gallery directors, which then became a job as part of the art history department. Which let him immerse himself in work.
Like father like son.
Way back, years ago, when Spencer found out about how he went into the master bedroom, he took Freddie aside and told him in no uncertain terms that he was never to go into that room again. Carly told him not to worry about it now though. It was his house. It was his bedroom now, and would actually get some use.
Speaking of Spencer, Freddie had been keeping him up to date on all the news. Spencer was in the middle of sorting out the details of a new wing of the gallery, and couldn't be spared the time off. At least that was the excuse Spencer gave.
After sending through an email, he thought he heard crying coming up through an air vent, just barely behind the music he was listening to. Freddie turned down the music. Nothing.
The next time he heard it in between a song change, and he recognized it immediately.
Freddie despised the world for making Carly cry like she was. He sighed. Freddie stood up, left the room and silently made his way down up stairs.
Carly's bedroom door was open, a crack of light peeking through. Freddie gently knocked then opened the door. Sam was holding onto Carly, wrapped tightly in a blanket almost like a mother carrying a newborn baby.
Their eyes locked, each taking in the sight of eyes filled with unspoken grief and anger and desire to do the best for Carly that they could.
"I got this.. get some sleep Freddie."
"Yeah. Go back to bed nub before you wake Carly." Sam placed Carly gently down onto the pillow and covered her back up with the blanket. She stood up from the bed and walked over, grabbing Freddie's hand and dragging him through the door so they could leave Carly to sleep.
Freddie quietly shut the door behind himself.
When Sam tried to detach her hand Freddie grabbed on and held firm.
"Sam.. you can come live here if you want. That place you live is an expensive shit-hole and it's on the other side of the city from where you work so you spend an hour fighting traffic on each trip. If you lived here you could get to work from here in 15."
"I know. I just don't want to i-"
Freddie cut her off, "I know things got fucked up with us in the last year of school... our break-up.. running away from Seattle for college without patching things up with you or Carly, but that's in the past now. For me at least. If you want it to be too, I just want to do the best for Carly. That's always involved you Sam."
"Yeah, but do you really want me here?"
"I wouldn't have asked otherwise. Pay me rent of half whatever you were paying at the other place, and a share of the other bills and try replacing all the food you eat sometimes and I'm cool. It's time to bury the hatchet Puckett. What do you say?"
Sam stepped in close to Freddie, then grabbed him by the waist in a strong hug. Freddie was pleasantly surprised.
"Thank you Freddie. We missed you. I missed you. I'm glad you're back. Carly is too. More than she can tell you right now." Sam said bashfully.
"No hard chiz," He said as they broke the hug.
"Yes hard chiz, you didn't have to do this. Not for me or for Carly."
"You're my friends, no matter what happened. I couldn't stand by and watch you two go through this alone." Freddie yawned, Sam followed straight after and they shared a quiet laugh.
"Well thank you anyway. For everything." Sam leaned up on her toes and planted a soft kiss on his cheek.
Freddie waited till Sam was down stairs then moved back to Carly's room. Freddie wanted to check Carly one last time before he went to bed. He opened the door slightly to see Carly still sleeping peacefully. Freddie closed the door carefully so as not to stir her, the click of the latch was the only sound in the room until the morning when Carly rose from her slumber.
"Carly.. Carly.. wake up.." Freddie was in a mild panic, having heard Carly's screams echo up into his room once more. Only this time Sam wasn't around to hear as she was visiting Melanie for the weekend.
Carly was speaking in fits and streams, gibberish word salad. Baby. No. Pain. Baby. Hurt. Sorry. Never. Griffin.
Freddie had declined so far to try to wake her physically, instead hoping to calm her down or wake her gently. Instead she started thrashing about, clearly in the middle of a nightmare. Hearing his name hardened his resolve.
"Carly.. please, it's me," Freddie held down her shoulders to prevent Carly from struggling, all the while calling her name. The restraint only served to increase Carly's panic.. her eyes finally flew open.
"Griffin don't please god don't hurt me, I'll let you if you don't hurt me, no no no, please please don't hurt me again if you love me," Carly cried out in horror, her body quaking against his hands.
"Carly it's me. Freddie. You're safe. I'm not going to hurt you." Freddie lifted his hands up from Carly's shoulders.
She immediately punched him in the face.
Freddie recoiled and groaned, his hand reached up to his nose. He didn't feel any bleeding, but it did hurt a hell of a lot. Carly leaped out of bed and ran out the door with Freddie racing after her. He turned on the light switch beside the door and flooded the entire floor with light.
"Carly stop! It's me. Freddie!"
Carly stopped in her tracks. She turned sharply on her heel. Her breath shuddered and caught in her throat, "Oh god Freddie."
Instead of running away she ran towards him, "I'm so sorry.. I was having a nightmare.. I hit you! Are you okay?"
"Yeah. I'll be fine. I'm worried about you though. It must have been a pretty intense nightmare." Freddie took Carly by the hand and lead her downstairs to sit on the couch. Freddie himself went into the kitchen. He made them each a mug of hot chocolate, and returned to give one to Carly.
"Do you want to talk about it?" He asked, as he sat next to Carly, who snuggled up beside him.
Freddie didn't broach the topic further. Carly calmed down next to him as they both drank their hot chocolate.
Carly's resolve wavered as her heart rate began to drop and she regained her composure.
"What did I say? Sam says I talk in my sleep." Carly looked up to Freddie, doe eyed and sad.
Freddie couldn't help his gaze wandering down to her arms. Her arms were covered by her night shirt, but he knew hidden underneath was a crisscross of red marks and scars, "Just random words."
Freddie saw her open her mouth slightly, like she was about to talk further. But instead she hesitated.
Instead of talking, she brought the drink up to her lips and took a sip.
"Thank you for making this, it's delicious." Carly finished up the drink, eating up the marshmallow last of all. They both put their cups down.
"You're welcome. Do you want to go back to sleep now? It's still very early."
"Yeah. I'm feeling much better."
Carly walked over to the elevator with Freddie following. He noticed Carly had pushed the button for his floor but not her own. He smiled and kissed her forehead.
Carly tucked in beside him and her soft fluttering breath filled the room. With that soothing lullaby playing next to his ears Freddie expected to get to sleep as fast as Carly did.
Instead he remained awake for another hour or so. Running through his mind was the question of how he could help Carly.
Sam, Carly and Freddie had walked to a nearby park.
The trio wandered around watching the kids play and run around. Sam had suggested it to Carly, who said it sounded like a wonderful idea. Carly then asked Freddie to come along. They had picked up some smoothies from the Groovy Smoothie.. still there just like always. A blast from the past, T-Bo still ran the place but wasn't in that day. Sam had two of course. Carly and Freddie having finished their single smoothies, made small talk about his latest client. The wind rustled the trees around them. Kids whooping and hollering ran about, centered on the play-set in the middle of the parkland. A group was playing football, another soccer.
Sam finally finished her second smoothie, a lemon ice and chucked it into a garbage can, "Man.. all these kids running around make me feel so old."
Freddie laughed as he noticed one older kid, probably 15 or 16 years old nudge his friend next to him and not so subtly point out towards Carly and Sam. They were practically drooling. It reminded him of how Gibby used to ogle anything with a pulse whenever they weren't with female company. It also reminded him of how that was pretty much a decade ago.
"I know the feeling. I feel like I'm 50, not 25." Freddie replied to Sam. They happened across an empty park bench. Freddie and Sam both looked at each other and nodded. Each took one end of the bench. Carly took the hint and sat in the middle. With Carly in between they both turned to her.
"Carls.. we didn't come out here just for smoothies." Sam told her.
"You didn't?" Carly said, an eyebrow arched in surprise.
"That's right Carly. Don't take this the wrong way.. but we're worried for you." Freddie said.
Before Carly could reply Sam continued, "We think you need help Carly. Serious help. We both agree, so does Spencer, we're going to get you that help."
Carly opened her mouth but Freddie cut her off this time.
Freddie continued, "Even if you don't think you do. This isn't an intervention. This isn't a punishment. This isn't your fault. We aren't blaming you. We both love you and you are hurting so badly right now."
"It's not that bad." Carly finally said.
"You wake up screaming every other night."
"I'm just tired. I stay up too late watching scary movies."
"Carls.. cupcake..." Sam gently held her left arm in place.
Freddie rolled up the sleeve on her long sleeved shirt, "You're cutting again. These are all fresh."
"No.. you're wrong. You're lying." Sam saw the defeat in her eyes before Carly knew it herself.
Freddie made the final statement on the issue.
"You're in pain. So much pain you're causing even more pain to distract from it. I don't know why, or how it all works, but I know this is not healthy. We're all in this together Carly. Me. You and Sam. Let us help you. You need help. Will you let us, help you?"
Sam let go of her arm, and Carly gently rolled down the sleeve again. It took a moment for Carly to reply but when she did it was one simple word.
AN: I'm planning another 2 chapters to end this story, but it will depend on how much I can fit into the next one and if it spills over into more than 2 chapters of content.
Fanfic-Reader-88: You are probably right.
baronvonmilo: You'll have to stay tuned to see.
pink-strawberry-lemonade: Thank you, I'm glad you liked it.