Notes: I swore to myself that I would refrain from writing a post-iOMG fic since there are so many out there already and everything was starting to blur into one giant ball of post-iOMG madness. Well, I broke my word to myself and wrote this because it's the only way I can stay sane until the follow-up episode airs. I don't think this is anything like how things will play out on the actual show, but one can only try, right? I'm a total noob, never posted here before, so don't be too brutal.
Disclaimer: I don't own iCarly or its characters. Sadly.
The universe. It had not been kind to Fredward Benson. Starting the day he was born and his mother decided that "Fredward" was a name and not a form of abuse or a death sentence for any shot he had at a social life. Starting the day his mother was his mother. And the days he had to suffer the indignity of having most girls at school, including the girl of his dreams tower over him. And the day one of the only two people he had miraculously managed to befriend decided that he would make for an excellent punching bag. Life didn't throw lemons at him. They were more like large boulders out of which he was forced to make...gravel. Yet he did it. He choked down the gravel the best he could until the boulders started turning into rocks and then pebbles and then gumdrops. Yes, Freddie Benson had managed to reach a stage in life where he actually had one. Which brought him back to the fact that the universe that was starting to go soft on him was now playing a cosmic joke. He could just picture it pointing and laughing because in no version of reality did Freddie imagine Sam Puckett attached to his face. Voluntarily. Well, that wasn't entirely true. It's not like they hadn't kissed before. There was also that dream he had had once or twice. Well, a few times, but he had put it down to some sort of bizarre hormonal glitch.
Hormonal glitch. Perhaps that would explain the situation he now found himself in. Perhaps Sam was having one of those right now. Perhaps that would explain why he was enjoying the feel of her hands gripping his shoulders. Her grip tightened for a moment as she detached her lips from his and backed away. For the first time in their barely functional relationship, Freddie found himself looking at Sam. Really looking at her and what he saw made about as much sense as anything else that evening. She looked terrified. Sam Puckett, she who inspired fear in truck drivers looked terrified. Before his brain could process any of this, it began to fill with an overwhelming buzzing which seemed to block out all other sounds. When he spoke or at least attempted to it sounded like his voice was coming from miles away.
Sorry. Sorry, she said. What did that mean?
"It's cool," he replied lamely with a half shrug.
Well, what do you mean? taunted the voice in his head. Shut up!he shouted back.
"Excuse me?" said Sam as Freddie realized he had said that out loud.
"What? Oh, no, no, no, I didn't mean you!" he fumbled as her look of terror had now been replaced with one of confusion.
"You do know you're a bit old for imaginary friends, right Freddie?" she said sounding almost like her usual self. "You need to let Mr Bumbleboo go."
"I don't...wait, how did you know about Mr Bumbleboo?"
"This is the conversation you want to have right now?" she asked with a raised eyebrow.
"Well, you brought it up," he shot back childishly.
"Well, you're the one talking to yourself," she replied.
"Okay, stop. This is ridiculous," he said shaking his head to get rid of the annoying buzzing.
"Glad we agree," she said.
Now would be a good time to say something that is not completely moronic.The annoying voice was back. It was right, too as the awkward silence, Freddie's least favorite kind of silence, made a reappearance and threatened to swallow them whole. Sam's look of horror had subsided, but she still looked strangely defeated somehow as she gazed studiously at Freddie's shoes. Everything about her usually relaxed stance was tense, her shoulders raised stiffly, her mouth a hard line. Without warning she looked up and right at Freddie and proceeded to stare at him for what seemed like hours.
"Yeah, I figured," she said finally with a shake of her head and before Freddie knew what was happening she was trying to walk past him.
"Wait," he said blocking her way and grabbing her elbow, mostly out of instinct rather than any clear plan of action. "You're just gonna leave?"
"You're right, Benson, standing here and drowning in awkward sounds like a much better plan."
"Please, just...don't go," he said hating the fact that his voice had taken on a squeaky quality. "It wasn't Brad?"
"Well, gee, what gave you that idea?" she snapped. "Maybe if you and Carly had just listened to me the nine hundred times I said I don't love Brad, none of this would have happened. But, no, you two fruit cocktails just had to push and nag and then you had to come out here and you just kept talking and talking and talking with your stupid voice and your stupid face and I couldn't...no, Freddie, it was never Brad, okay? It was always - Gibby!"
"Oh hey guys," said a familiar voice behind them.
"Uh, hey Gibby," said Freddie as he turned around. "Look now's not really a good -"
"Brad's looking for you," he said with the requisite Gibbyness, not seeming to notice anything out of the ordinary.
"Yeah, but -"
"Dude are you wearing Strawberry Blitz gloss? That's my favorite! Nice."
Before Freddie could think of a way to deal with this increasingly bizarre situation as he hurriedly wiped his lips with the back of his hand, Sam was already halfway to the door.
"Thanks Gib," she said as she brushed past Gibby and practically power walked across the room into the hallway before she disappeared from sight.
"Yeah, thanks, Gib," repeated Freddie.
"No problem," said Gibby apparently detecting none of the sarcasm.
"Shouldn't you be helping Carly?" Freddie asked.
"I was looking for her too."
"Well, shouldn't you be off doing that, then?" said Freddie almost rudely.
"No need," said Gibby, cheerfully. "She's right here crouching behind the doo - OW!"
Gibby proceeded to grip his foot and hop around in pain as Freddie rushed into the room and looked around.
"What was that for?" whined Gibby now staring at a pile of backpacks by the door.
Backpacks, however, were not meant to have legs or arms. Freddie's stomach dropped into his feet as he saw Carly sitting on the floor among the backpacks, using most of them to cover her body and one to cover her face.
"Carly?" said Freddie incredulously.
She slowly lowered the bag she was holding and gave Freddie what he assumed was meant to be a smile, but looked more like a grimace.
"Oh, heeeeeeeey...you," she said awkwardly.
Freddie would have laughed if he didn't feel like crying. As was par for the course that evening, all he could do was stammer.
"What're you...why...how long have you been -"
"Oh, well, you know," said Carly untangling herself from the bags and standing up. "I was just...uh...playing hide and seek with Gibby, here."
"Huh?" was all Gibby could manage earning him a glare from Carly.
"Gibby, could you give us a sec?" asked Freddie.
"Sure. Take all the time you need," said Gibby looking at Carly as he walked out of the room. "And you people think I'm the weird one."
"What did you see?" asked Freddie deciding that this was not the time for subtlety.
"That depends, what do you think I saw? Hmmm?" she replied with even less subtlety.
"How long were you hiding behind the door?"
"Okay, fine, IsawyouandSamkissing!" she blurted out shrilly stringing all the words together.
Freddie groaned and collapsed into a nearby chair. Carly for her part was uncharacteristically quiet and stood with her hands in her back pockets.
"Sooo," she started after a long pause. "I take it we...uh...bet on the wrong horse?"
"Yeah, no chiz," he snapped. "You can put the barn away now."
"Hey, you're the one who came up with the Brad theory first, so don't get all snippy at me!"
"Sorry, Carly," he said guiltily. "It's just...I don't even know."
"Freddie, this is huge! Sam's in lo -"
"Don't say it!" he snapped again. "She's probably out there thinking about what a big mistake she made by..."
"Ahhh! Don't say that either!"
"Freddie, I know Sam. Apparently not as well as I thought, but I know her, okay? I saw her kissing you."
"Well, she never commits that much to mistakes," said Carly quietly.
"Why aren't you freaking out about this?" asked Freddie.
"Because you're freaking out enough for the both of us," she said with a smile. "And it's not silly anymore, Freddie. This is -"
"Huge. Yeah, I heard you the first time."
"So, are you gonna go talk to her or not? One of us has to."
"I wouldn't know what to say to her anyway," said Freddie glumly.
Carly stopped short of whatever she was going to say as they heard footsteps and voices approaching. It wasn't long before Brad entered the room followed by a murderous looking Sam.
"See?" said Brad happily. "I told you he'd be in here."
"Great," Sam barked out between clenched teeth.
Carly simply stood there looking like a deer in the headlights glancing from Sam to Freddie to Brad as though one of them was likely to explode any minute. Brad, like Gibby appeared not to sense the tension and continued with a smile.
"So, Freddie, we need you to finish the project, man."
Freddie didn't reply. He was too busy monitoring Sam for some sort of indication of what to do. For her part, she managed to avoid his eyes and stared at Brad.
"Yeah, okay, let's go" said Freddie finally.
"Great," said Brad. "I was thinking we should test the app on Sam again to make sure it -"
"NO!" shouted Sam and Freddie simultaneously and Brad finally had the sense to look bewildered.
The room was suddenly filled with the echoes of a loud scream from across the hall.
Carly ran out of the room with Freddie, Sam and Brad in tow. The scene that greeted them in the science room was utter pandemonium. Spencer was no longer in the stimulus chamber, but was hopping around with his sleeve on fire as students rushed to help. The stimulus chamber itself was ablaze on the inside as Gibby, armed with a fire extinguisher attempted to put it out to no avail.
By the time the fire force arrived the fire had burned its way through most of the stimulus chamber which confused everyone involved given the chamber was meant to be fire proof. The lock in was canceled for the night and parents were called to come and pick up their kids. To Freddie's surprise, Sam had not left already as he had expected, but before he got a chance to talk to her, she left with Carly and Spencer. Freddie's mother arrived not long after that, hysterical as expected, threatening Principal Franklin with a lawsuit for endangering the life of her precious baby boy. Freddie felt strangely relieved. At least something in his life could be counted on to be consistent.
Once home and in bed, Freddie couldn't sleep. Shocking said the annoying voice. He just lay there fully dressed. He hadn't even taken his shoes off. The fights, the insults, the teasing, the violence it was all playing on a loop in his head. You forgot the flirting.
Perfect. He was back to talking to himself. All his life he had everything and everyone neatly filed away into cabinets. Mom (Insane), Carly (Future Wife), Spencer (Future Pyrokinetic Superhero), Cousin Amanda (Disgusting), Gibby (Gibby), but after tonight, Sam didn't fit in her cabinet anymore. Had he been honest with himself he probably would have recognized earlier that Sam and his relationship with her was always too complicated to fit into anything. He thought he knew what it was. This thing that they had going. He thought they had an unspoken understanding about how they worked and how they would behave. He thought he was holding up his end of the bargain by playing along. He had come to count on their little game. Enjoy it even. Of course she would throw everything off balance by doing something like the stunt she pulled tonight. Why did she always have to throw things off balance?
The more he lay there thinking about it, the angrier he got. Before he could think it through, he found himself sneaking out of his room, out his front door and knocking on Carly's. There was no response for almost five minutes, before he remembered they had a doorbell. Finally he heard the click of the lock and the door swung open to reveal a disheveled and less than amused Carly.
"You do realize it's 4 am?" she said groggily.
"Where is she?" Freddie asked, barging in without waiting for an invitation and Carly shut the door behind him.
"Who do you think?"
"She's asleep at home," said Carly. "Unlike some people who think it's normal to be awake at this ungodly hour."
"Wait, Sam is sleeping at her own house?" asked Freddie incredulously.
Carly merely shrugged, obviously not in the mood for talking.
"Since when does she do that?"
"She does that sometimes. Well, that and since I tried to talk to her about what happened and she just took off before I could stop her."
"Did you -"
"Yeah, I checked to see if she got home alright," said Carly seeming to read his mind. "I called the landline and she was there. Now can I go back to sleep?"
"Uh, yeah," said Freddie, making up his mind.
"Don't apologize for waking me up or anything," she added sounding annoyed in earnest now.
"Sorry," Freddie said distractedly before striding out the door.
Freddie had never thrown rocks at a girl's window before. He had never imagined the first time he did would be at Sam Puckett's. He was also quickly discovering that the movies made it look far easier than it actually was. It was hard enough to aim at the window in the dark and even harder to dodge the ones that bounced off and rocketed back down at you or the ones that didn't even reach the window and fell back on your head. Deciding that this tactic was futile Freddie stared up at the old tree that stood beside the house. One of the thicker branches fell conveniently close to the ledge under Sam's window. It was probably how she sneaked out as often as she did.
There were an endless amount of things that Freddie's mother deemed unacceptable. Climbing trees was close to the top of that list. It was a Level 1 offense. Feeling rebellious Freddie began to make his way up the tree. It wasn't as tough as he imagined since this particular tree had well placed branches, but the feeling of doing something his mother thought was extremely dangerous was oddly satisfying. Finally reaching the branch outside the window, Freddie stepped off it and onto the ledge. Before he could steady himself the window was shoved open and a hand yanked him in by the collar. Next thing he knew he was face first on the floor with his hands held painfully behind his back and a knee even more painfully digging into his spine.
"Freddie?" said Sam in disbelief. "What the chiz do you think you're doing?"
"Maybe if you let me go I can tell you," he managed to groan out.
Sam released her hold on him and he scrambled up, twisting his neck around to get rid of the pain before turning to look at Sam as she slid the window shut. She was in a rather cute pair of baby pink pajamas with little blue elephants on them which he recognized as one of Carly's. He almost smiled at the image of Sam standing there looking so childlike and soft only moments after nearly giving him a reason for orthopedic surgery.
"Well?" she said impatiently. "How did you even get up here?"
"I climbed the tree."
"I bet your mom would love that," she sneered, though she sounded half impressed. "We have a front door, you know. You scared the crap out of me lurking at the window like some creeper."
"I wasn't lurking!" he said defensively. "I just didn't think your mom would let me in at four in the morning."
"My mom's not here. She's off on some road trip with her latest masterpiece of a boyfriend."
"Oh," said Freddie suddenly feeling foolish. "Should you be here by yourself? It's not the best neighborhood."
"For years I've been doing this and you pick now to worry?"
"I didn't mean it like -"
"Relax, Benson," she said playfully punching him in the shoulder. "We have industrial strength locks on all our doors and windows and a burglar alarm. Plus, in case you hadn't noticed, I can handle myself."
"That you can," he said cringing at the admiring tone in which the words came out.
"So, you're here because?"
"You're seriously asking that question?" Freddie asked, some of his earlier anger returning.
"Seems like a logical enough question," she replied feigning ignorance.
"We're not doing that, Sam. Pretending it never happened. You avoiding me."
"Funny, I thought me avoiding you would be a dream come true for you," she stated blankly now staring at the carpet.
"We're not doing that either. You hate me, I hate you, we're not friends, it's the same old routine and I'm done with it. I thought you were too."
"Why? Because I had some sort of adolescent meltdown? Because I lost my mind for about ten seconds?"
"Stop, just stop. You and I both know that that was no meltdown. Can we for once just be completely honest about what's going on here?" he said gesturing between them.
"Nothing. Nothing is going on. Nothing has ever been going on!"
Sam let out a groan and threw her hands in the air.
"What do you want from me, Freddie?"
"Fine," she almost snarled. "Fine. You want the truth? Here it is. I like you, okay? That way. The stupid girly way that makes me wanna puke when I realize that I can't think straight when you so much as smirk at me with your dorky face or the fact that the thought of you with other girls makes me want to punch something. There you go. Truth. Is that what you wanted to hear? Sometimes I think I might even..."
"What?" Freddie challenged, trying not to think to hard about the implications of what she just said.
Sam seemed to realize that she had said too much already, but this time instead of clamming up, her anger seemed to pick up momentum.
"Happy now, are we? You always wanted the power, right? Well, there it is. It's all yours. Go ahead. You don't even have to let me down easy."
"Sorry, you lost me," said Freddie starting to feel genuinely confused.
"That's why you're here, isn't it? It's perfect. Poetic justice or whatever it is nerds like you would call it. The blonde headed demon admits she's in love with you presenting the perfect opportunity for you to make her life miserable in return. So, go ahead. Do it."
"What are you talking about?"
"I'm talking about the fact that everyone and your mother knows who you're so desperate to be with and it ain't me!"
"Carly?" sputtered Freddie incredulously, finally beginning to understand. "You think this is about Carly?"
"We come to it at last," Sam spat bitterly. "Yes, genius, Carly. You know, your future wife. The shining beacon against which you measure the entire female race. Well, I'm not her, okay? I'm never going to be her, so why don't you just tell me how much you love her and we can get this over with."
In that moment, something in Freddie's brain either snapped completely or fell perfectly into place because for the first time that night he felt entirely sure of his instincts. Sam, during her speech had somehow migrated to the other end of the room and Freddie strode towards her.
"What are you doing?" she asked as she saw him approach.
"Testing a theory," he replied before grabbing her by the waist, pulling her flush against him and kissing her like he had never been brave enough to kiss any girl in his life.
It wasn't long before Sam's hands were grabbing almost painfully at his hair to pull him closer and she walked backwards until her back hit the wall. The part of Freddie's brain that would have worried about where to put his hands seemed nonexistent as his hands moved apparently of their own accord, tangling in her hair, holding her face, clutching at her waist. He even impressed himself by not jumping out of his skin at the feel of her tongue pushing against his. He wasn't sure how long they went on, but the need to breathe started to outweigh well, other things and they finally pulled apart, but Freddie kept his grip around her waist and she left her hands resting on his chest as they looked at each other breathing heavily.
"Still think this is about Carly?" Freddie asked quietly, unable to help the smirk that spread across his face.
"Don't get too cocky, Benson," she said shoving him away, attempting not to smile and failing badly. "I think I hate you now more than I ever did."
"Oh really?" said Freddie, closing the distance between them again. "Then how come you'll let me do this?"
He leaned forward and kissed her again, though briefly this time.
"Dude, we have got to stop doing that," said Sam.
"What if - what if I don't want to stop doing that?" asked Freddie, surprising even himself.
"But, I thought I always made your life miserable."
"Sam, do you think I would have stuck around you this long if that really bothered me? I just thought of it as our thing, you know? You hit me, I call you a demon, life goes on. I told you, it'd be weird if it stopped completely."
They stood for a while in comfortable silence until Sam spoke again.
"So, what now?"
He took her hand and absently entwined their fingers, just to marvel at the fact that he could.
"I don't know for sure, Sam. I honestly don't. I'm still processing. But we've got time, you know? We don't have to figure it all out tonight."
"Sure," she said with a small laugh. "Process away nerd boy. I'm not going anywhere."
"In the meantime we can still... um...you know -"
Before he could finish his sentence Sam had grabbed him by the collar and yanked him into a kiss before pushing him away.
"Yeah, we can... um... you know all you want," she said rolling her eyes.
"Samantha!" called a gruff voice from downstairs causing Freddie to jump almost three feet in the air. "You home, kid?"
"Mom," whispered Sam as she shoved Freddie towards the window. "You need to leave."
"Aw, man, I was hoping I could take the front door this time," he whined as he climbed out onto the ledge and stepped onto the tree branch. "See you tomorrow?"
"Considering we see each other everyday I'd say that's a distinct possibility," Sam replied before slamming the window shut and retreating into her room.
This time when Freddie got home and collapsed into bed, he was only awake for mere seconds.
A/N: Reviews are always very much appreciated.