iPush & iRun

It was all anyone around her ever did. They pushed and they ran. That was the Puckett way.

Synopsis: Sam gets a call from her father, nearly 10 years after he left and never looked back. A conflicted Sam then finds herself on Freddie Benson's fire escape at 3 in the morning, a bucket of fried chicken and a bag of fat cakes in hand, a curious Freddie Benson at her side.

Author's Note: This is my second iCarly fanfic. It's just a fluffy, angsty little one shot. I'm still trying to get back into the swing of things so this is a little rusty. A six year break from writing fan fiction can do that to a person...so play nice please! ;P Anyways, the song used throughout is called "Kiss Me Slowly" by Parachute. It's a pretty ace song. You should check it out. You should also review my story while you're at it. Just saying.

Disclaimer: I own the bowl of soggy Cheerios sitting in front of me, but unfortunately I do not own iCarly.

Well, I'm not sure what this is going to be,

But with my eyes closed all I see is the skyline,

The moon above you and the streets below.

Hold my breath as you're moving in,

Taste your lips and feel your skin.

When the time comes, baby don't run, just kiss me slowly.

She closed her eyes and breathed in deep, panting slightly as the icy city air filled her lungs. Her mind flashed back to the night they'd sat on this very fire escape, bubbling over with a strange mix of adolescent awkwardness and unrealized feelings.

A slight smile crept onto her face as she thought back to the moment when he had suggested they kiss, or maybe, if she was being honest, she had suggested it. Planted the idea in his head & steered the conversation. Mama had always played to win.

She laughed, remembering her command to him, "Well, lean." She remembered his hesitance as he stared at the ground. She remembered the now familiar feeling of his lips pressed against hers. At the time, it was strange and new and tinged with awkwardness, but it was a feeling she would grow to love. Most of all, she remembered that feeling in her stomach, that flip that happened the moment they'd broken apart and she'd found herself staring into his eyes. At the time she'd passed if off as a bad meatball (I mean, she had just eaten nearly an entire box of meatballs clearly labeled "inexpensive meatballs". That was just asking for trouble).

Eventually, she'd learn it wasn't just a bad meatball. Not even close. At 14 though, the thought of it being anything else was too impossible, too daunting. So, she blamed it on the meatballs.

Finally, she remembered running. She remembered running from his stupid nuby brown eyes & his doofy smile. The smile he'd given her as he'd jokingly said, "I hate you." "I hate you too," she had half-heartedly replied back, as she stepped through the window and back into the building.

And then, once she was out of Freddie's line of sight, she'd run.

Stay with me, baby stay with me,

Tonight don't leave me alone.

Walk with me, come and walk with me,

To the edge of all we've ever known.

"So, do you want to talk about it?" Freddie's voice pulled Sam out of her thoughts and back to the present.

"There's nothing to talk about," she said, a sense of finality to her otherwise thin voice.

"Sam, you show up on my fire escape at 3 in the morning with a grocery bag full of fat cakes and a bucket of fried chicken…at 3 in the morning…on a school night…in the middle of January…" he paused as if this explained his confusion.

Sam shrugged. "I was in the neighborhood. Just getting my fat cake & fried chicken fix. No big chiz."

Freddie laughed and shook his head. "Sam, you haven't even touched that bag of fat cakes and I'm pretty sure you're chicken legs are turning into popsicles, which means you've been sitting out here for a long time and not eating at that. What's wrong?"

She gave a non-committal shrug and stared blankly at the skyline in front of her. She could tell him, she thought. She probably should, I mean, he was her boyfriend after all. Wasn't that what boyfriends & girlfriends did? Tell each other personal chiz.

"Well, at least come inside. It's freezing out here," Freddie replied, a tone of worry in his voice.

"What about mommy dearest?" she retorted. "Is she going to try and chase me out of the place with a plastic bat again?"

One night, when Freddie & Sam had first started dating, Sam had been sleeping over at Carly's place. There had been a repeat on TV of one of her favorite MMA fights and she'd wanted Freddie to see it. At 2 in the morning Sam had picked the lock to the Benson's place, tiptoed into the apartment and made her way to Freddie's room. Being who she was, Sam figured the best way to wake a sleeping Freddie Benson was with a good tackle and a punch to the arm. She jumped on him and, at least in her opinion, lightly & playfully punched his arm. Apparently it hadn't been as light as she'd thought because he awoke with a yelp. Mrs. Benson, awakened by the commotion, came running in, a plastic bat in her hand. Her mouth dropped at the sight of her groggy son, essentially being straddled by his pajama clad girlfriend in bed at 2 in the morning. She let out a horrified scream as Sam jumped off of Freddie and bounded out of the room. Mrs. Benson followed her, and as she ran out of the apartment Sam swore she heard Mrs. Benson yelling something about "demon" and "juvenile hall" and "abstinence."

For weeks after that, Mrs. Benson wouldn't leave Sam & Freddie in the apartment together and she watched them like a hawk. She even got into a weird habit of always leaving the TV in the living room on particularly sad episodes of '16 & Pregnant' or horrific birthing videos.

"She's out of town at an aggressive parenting conference. You're safe," he chuckled.

"If you say so, Benson," Sam replied as she took his hand and stepped into the warmth of the apartment.

Once in Freddie's room, Freddie sat at the head of his bed. Sam sat lazily at the foot, swinging her legs over the edge.

"So, you want to explain what's going on now?" Freddie asked again.

"When are you going to get rid of these 'Galaxy Wars' bed sheets, Benson? You're almost 18. I thought you'd get less nuby with age. Guess I was wrong. Once a nub, always a nub," she said as she stared absentmindedly at his sheets.

"Except you love that I'm a nub, so I don't think I'll ever change," he smiled that same smug smile that always made her stomach flip. She grabbed a pillow off of the bed and smacked him in the shoulder with it, laughing slightly as she did so.

"Don't get a big head dork. I tolerate you because I feel bad that you're such a nub and no other girl will ever want you," she said teasingly.

"Well then, guess it's not so bad being a nub if it gets a girl like you to hang around me, even if it is out of pity," he laughed.

After a few moments of silence he said with a smug smile, "So, you came all the way over here at 3 in the morning with a bag of fat cakes and a bucket of fried chicken to tell me to change my sheets?"

Sam contemplated saying that, yes, she had, in fact, come all the way to Bushwell Plaza on a freezing January night when she wasn't even spending the night at Carly's to tell him to change his sheets and to stop being such a nub. That's why she was here at 3 in the morning with an unopened box of fat cakes and frozen fried chicken legs.

She knew he wouldn't believe it, but it didn't matter right? He didn't really need to know why she was here. In all honesty, even she didn't know why she'd come to Freddie's fire escape after hearing the news. It was an automatic response. She hadn't even thought about it. She'd opened the door to her apartment and run. Before she knew it, she was sitting on Freddie's fire escape, panting slightly, and freezing. She wasn't even sure how long she'd sat there before she texted Freddie and let him know she was there. It could have been 2 minutes; it could have been 2 hours. She'd lost track.

After a few more minutes of silence, Sam finally spoke up.

"Where's your Dad, Freddie?"

She shows me everything she used to know,

Picture frames and country roads,

When the days were long and the world was small.

She stood by as it fell apart,

Separate rooms and broken hearts,

But I won't be the one to let you go.

Freddie stared at Sam, slightly taken aback.

"I..uh…I-," Freddie stuttered and stammered. "Sam, what is this about?"

"It's just a question. We're dating. Isn't this what boyfriends & girlfriends do? They tell each other personal chiz," Sam replied in a clipped and slightly annoyed tone.

"But, you've never…we've never really talked about…," Freddie's voice trailed off.

"Look, forget it. I'm going to crash at Carly's. I'll see you later, Benson," she said bitterly as she stood up and began to walk towards the door. She wasn't sure why his hesitance had made her so annoyed, but it had.

"Sam, no. Wait…," Freddie started. Sam stopped & turned back around to face Freddie. She could see that familiar sense of apprehension on his face, except this time it was lined with something different. It was lined with sadness.

"He…passed away when I was a baby. I was only a few months old. It was a car accident. I…I never knew him. I never really got a chance too…" he said shakily as he stared past Sam, his expression unreadable. "It's why my mom is the way she is, ya know? She worries a lot because…I'm kind of all she's got…"

Sam noticed a heavy sadness now forming on his face. Sam didn't know why she'd asked him. The question had just come spilling out of her and now she wished she could just pull it back in.

"I—I'm sorry Freddie." Sam stuttered. She'd asked the question without thinking about what his response would be. For some reason, the answer she'd gotten hadn't been one she'd ever actually expected. It was weird. She'd known Freddie since they were in 6th grade. They'd been dating for quite a few months now. They'd spent almost every day together for the past 5 or so years…but they never really talked about their parents, well besides jabs at Mrs. Benson & Pam for being crazies (admittedly very different kinds of crazy, but crazy nonetheless.) It was this sort of unspoken rule they had that the topic was, for the most part, off limits.

"So, what's your story?" Freddie said, pulling his gaze from the wall and staring pointedly at Sam.

Sam bit her lip, now feeling foolish for bringing up the topic at all. She felt foolish for feeling so bad when Freddie had never even known his father. He'd never had a chance. She'd at least had a chance.

"It's…it's nothing…" she gazed at the ground, playing with the hem of her sweatshirt.

Freddie gave a knowing look. He wouldn't push the topic. Sam knew that. He was nice and polite. He respected people's boundaries. He was always thinking about everyone else. He was good. Sam on the other hand had pushed the topic even though Freddie clearly didn't want to talk about it…because that was what Sam did. Sam pushed everyone & everything. She pushed limits & people. She pushed them and then ran. That was what she did. It was all she'd ever really known how to do.

She met Freddie on the first day of 6th grade. She remembered watching as he struggled to open his locker. She'd thought he was cute in a nub sort of way (that she would never have admitted to at the time.) She offered to help him open the lock. When she'd gotten the locker open, she'd pushed him in. And then she'd run.

It wasn't just Freddie. She'd even pushed Carly too. The only difference was that Carly had pushed back and so she didn't run. It was a rare occurrence that anyone pushed back and Sam had known, right then and there, that Carly was a keeper.

Sure, it was lame of her, but it was all she ever saw….pushing & running. Her parents lived their lives running away from things. They lived their lives pushing people away and then running. Even her twin sister Melanie had, more or less. It was all anyone around her ever did. They pushed and they ran. That was the Puckett way.

"You can crash here tonight if you want," Freddie began. "Like I said, my mom is gone for the next two days. I can give you some clothes to-."

Sam cut him off.

"He left. He left when I was 8. He told my mom he was going to the store and that he'd be right back. I asked him to pick me up some fat cakes." Sam laughed somewhat bitterly. It was a detail that, in retrospect, was so innocent and naïve and juvenile and…stupid, but she remembered it. "He said okay, ruffled my hair, and he never came back."

Freddie stood silent and watched Sam closely as she went on. It was rare for her to be so confessional and forthcoming. Freddie knew that and so, he let her continue, not daring to interrupt. He knew she didn't want sympathy or advice. She just wanted him to listen. And he did.

"He called today. He called me Sammy like he used to before he left. He acted like it was normal…like we talk all the time and it hasn't been 9 years since I've heard from him." Sam let out another resentful laugh.

"He's going to be in Seattle next weekend. He wants to see me. Says he's talked to Melanie and he wants to fix things with us. The bastard wants to fix things. Like, he can just come back after nearly a decade and say 'Hey there Sammy, I'll buy you that box of fat cakes I promised you 9 years ago and we can go to the arcade like we used to. I'll even give you an extra dollar to play that game you used to love. You know the one where you whack the mechanical pigs over the head with a mallet? What was it? Whack-a-pig? We can catch up and it'll be just like old times again and..'," Sam's voice wavered slightly.

"This is so screwed up of me. Here I am ranting and raving about my dad and you, Freddie, you don't-" Sam stopped herself.

"Sam, I can't believe I have to remind you of all people of this but, it's okay to be angry. What your dad did, it wasn't right. You have a right to be mad about it," Freddie said, getting off of his bed and walking towards her.

"It's just…I run Freddie. I push & I run and it's their fault."

Freddie stared at Sam, a vague look of confusion muddled his features.

"Do you remember the first day we met?" She began and Freddie nodded, laughing slightly. "I pushed you into your locker and then I ran."

"My first encounter with the famous Sam Puckett. How could I forget it? I had a bruise on my arm for weeks after that." He smiled fondly.

"And I kept pushing you…pushing you away and…" She paused. "Do you remember the first time we kissed?"

Freddie nodded and smiled somewhat sheepishly, his mind flashing back to their awkward first kiss on the fire escape.

"I ran. After we kissed and I stepped back inside, I ran." Sam couldn't believe she was admitting this to Freddie. It wasn't like her to be so forthcoming, to talk about emotions, to admit that fat cakes and fried chicken couldn't solve everything. It wasn't like her at all, but she couldn't help it. It was as if a faucet had been turned on and everything was pouring out.

"I literally ran, Freddie. I ran from you because I liked you. And I pushed you away even harder after that. And then I kissed you again and I ran again, even trying to prove to everyone that I was crazy…" Sam paused breathing in deeply.

"And you tried to talk to me and I kept pushing you away. Pushing & running. That's all I do. I don't know how to do anything else and it's their fault. I watched my Dad push me and Mel away. I watched him run away because he couldn't handle the responsibility of taking care of us…because he, as my mother puts it, "wanted to have fun." I've watched my mom push every good guy in her life away, constantly running from them, only to date scutter after scutter because she feels like she doesn't deserve anything better."

She laughed bitterly. "I'm going to be just like her, ya know? A real chip off the old block. I did the same thing to you. Pushed you away, then ran. I almost did it again tonight. It's only a matter of time before you man up & get sick of it. I'll push you away one too many times, with an insult or a shove. Then I'll run away and, for once, you won't run after me. You'll get tired of it.

Sam was breathing heavily, upset and anger and millions of other emotions she'd never even thought she was possible of feeling were surging through her. Sam Puckett was not an emotional person. She just wasn't. She didn't spill her soul. She didn't drag up old family issues. She didn't hash things out. She didn't do…this…and she couldn't understand why she was now, and with Freddie. It could have been Carly, but for some reason her legs had brought her to Freddie's fire escape and Freddie's room. For some reason she had chosen to have a complete meltdown in front of Fredward, the boy who, only a few short years ago, she wouldn't even cry in front of.

While Sam had ranted and raved, Freddie had stood silently, watching her closely as she talked. Once he was sure she'd gotten it all out of her system, Freddie spoke up.

"Sam, it's been almost 7 years of you pushing me away. Coming up with new ways to insult me, to embarrass me, to cause me physical pain…" Freddie laughed slightly at this. "But, I'm still here and, frankly, I don't have any intentions of going anywhere." Freddie stepped towards Sam, so that they were standing mere inches apart.

"How is that for manning up, Puckett?"

I can see you there with the city lights,

Fourteenth floor, pale blue eyes.

I can breathe you in.

Two shadows standing by the bedroom door,

No, I could not want you more than I did right then,

As our heads leaned in.

Freddie smiled smugly as he stared down at Sam.

"That's not manning up. Clearly, I just haven't caused you enough physical or emotional pain yet, Benson. Give it time. " she said, a slight smile returning to her face.

"Really, Princess Puckett?" He said, giving his eyebrow raise he seemed to have saved for Sam and Sam alone. She could feel the flip in her stomach as she stared into his eyes.

"Rea-" Sam began, but she was cut off by the familiar feeling of his lips pressed against hers. Though it wasn't filled with awkwardness like their first kiss, there was something new about it…something that made her stomach flip as if it were the first time again.

Their shadows loomed large upon the walls of the room as the light of the city skyline peaked in through the blinds. They stood there like that for who knows how long until, finally, Sam pulled back. Without saying a word, she walked away. She made her way out of his room, through the window, and out onto the fire escape.

Once there she stared out at the skyline. The sky was now tinged with a slight orange as the sun was starting to rise. She breathed in deep, filling her lungs once more with the still icy city air. She wasn't sure what she was going to do about her dad. After spilling her heart out to Fredward Benson at 3 in the morning, she didn't think her brain could handle anymore strenuous emotional chiz. She wasn't even used to doing that on a full stomach when she was wide awake, let alone an empty one when she was half asleep.

She'd figure it out eventually. She always did.

She felt a tap on her shoulder that pulled her out of her thoughts once more.

Freddie had followed her.

"You left these back inside," Freddie said, setting down Sam's bag of fat cakes and fried chicken.

Sam laughed slightly.

Freddie took a fat cake from the bag and opened it, handing Sam the packet.

"Thanks Fredward. All this emotional chiz has made me hungry."

"When aren't you hungry, Sam?" Freddie said with a laugh.

They sat there in silence as the sun continued to rise…well, silence other than for the sound of Sam tearing through the bag of fat cakes.

Maybe she did push and run, Sam thought. Maybe it was all she'd ever known. Maybe she could change. Maybe she couldn't. Maybe she would meet with her dad and let him buy her a fat cake and a round of whack-a-pig. Or maybe she wouldn't.

She wasn't really sure of any of those things. What she was sure of though, was that she'd managed to find people who always ran after her…people who never let her run away for good, no matter how hard she pushed…people like Spencer and Carly and…Freddie.

And she felt pretty damn lucky to have them…to have him.

Don't run away...

I know it's hard to love again,

When the only way it's been,

When the only love you know,

Just walked away...

If it's something that you want,

Darling you don't have to run,

You don't have to go ...