Rating: T

Notes: Just something that came into my mind a week or so ago before work. I've been picking at it every so often and here it is. I don't think it's especially good or breaking new ground, but it's something at least.

Summary: Freddie witnesses Carly having her heart broken. Short one-shot. Is Creddie, but what flavor is up to the reader.

It had all clicked. The overheard conversations. The sideways glances. The people who watched him walk by with her, then shook their heads in disdain.

Of course, she had to be the ex-girlfriend of Carly's current boyfriend. The girl who suddenly turned up who happened to be an 'old friend' of Matthew. The week long visit was a week too long in Freddie's mind. Carly had just left their lunch meeting to make a surprise visit to his dorm. In a flash of connection, he suddenly put together all the whispered and rumours he'd heard about Matthew. All having started in the last week. Why it took him so long to make the connection he didn't know.

It didn't take him long to get there once he did.

But when he did it was too late. Freddie stood outside in the hallway just in time to see Carly walking away from the door, tears streaming down her face coming towards him. He opened his mouth but thought better of it.

"Don't.. just don't."

"I wouldn't." Carly retreated farther away from him as he turned over his next action in his mind. He'd told her the guy was trouble. When he pressed, she retreated. So he stopped bringing it up. Freddie never wanted her to get hurt but it was beyond his control after a certain point. That had always been clear to the two of them. On a couple of occasions the balance swung back the other way, although not for very long. Especially when she'd been with him so long. The idea that Carly thought he might want to gloat about it hurt him. But given how little he thought of Matthew, it didn't surprise him and he didn't blame Carly for it either.

Ringing down the hallway was Matthew calling out, "I didn't want you to find out this way!"

Freddie turned his head back inside the room. He stalked inside, heavy footfalls creaking on the floorboards.

This more than an old-friend was currently putting her pants back on.

Matthew was looking around the room for his shirt. He heard Freddie walk in and turned.

"Look.. bro, chillax, I can exp-" The crack of Freddie's fist colliding with his head reverberated around the room, interrupting his pointless attempt to rationalize the situation. The blonde would-be lawyer with the trust fund collapsed in a heap under a table.

Matthew drew himself up gingerly. After wiping a stream of blood from his nose with the shirt he was looking for he raised his hands in the air.

"Maybe I deserved that, but-"

Freddie took one step forward, and Matthew shut his mouth.

"Two years and you wreck it for her?" Freddie said, pointing at the other woman, "We're only months away from graduation! Don't dare think this is over. When I come back, we're going to have a long talk.. just you and me. And you will listen. If you don't feel like listening we're going to have a major problem. Might not be today, but it will happen. Got it?"

All Matthew did was nod. Freddie turned sharply on his heel and left the room.

He sighed as he inevitably made his way to the only place he could even think of being right now.

Freddie took the short walk to her room, gathering his wits outside her room before he knocked. A series of muffled noises emanated from the room. He raised his hands and they thudded against the heavy wooden door.

"Go away."

"You know who it is."

"I said go away. Please.. just go. I don't want you to see me like this."

"You know I can't. I won't."

Freddie heard a tiny sigh through the door.

"Come in."

The handle clicked as he opened it, the door swung open. Freddie had seen Carly in some bad places, but never like this. He usually heard about it a day.. or week after. Carly wanted to spare him from her troubles.

This was raw. This was pure and in the moment. This was a state he never wanted to see Carly in.

He could see right through her to her soul as he stood before her. The devastation, her silent anguish broken with deep wracking sobs. Curled into a ball on the couch with tears streaming down her face. Freddie's gut doubled over. Inside his stomach was swirling with the anger he felt for Matt mixing with the grief at seeing Carly this way as he looked on her part of the room. A dozen picture frames were already strewn across the room, broken and shattered.

His feet felt like concrete as he gingerly tried to avoid the worst of the glass shards. They shattered and cracked under his shoes as he stepped towards the couch. That's how he knew Carly would be feeling.. like her heart had been ripped out and walked on. With Sam on the other side of the country going through her cooking school, it was his job to help pick up the pieces, both glass and emotional.

Freddie sat down beside her prostrate form, gently smoothing over her ruffled hair. How many times had he been in this position? By his count.. about a dozen. The first really bad one was in the wake of Steven. After coming back from LA.. well, it hit Carly hard. Another hard one was what him and Sam had called her first real boyfriend. Her first. Incidentally his overhearing a private conversation between Carly and Sam talking about how good it was and how it felt caused his first meltdown and the start of acceptance that what he wanted to happen with Carly never would be. It wasn't pretty and despite being the cause of it, Carly had helped him like he'd always helped her.

The boyfriend and Carly met during a group meeting for military families.. then suddenly in the summer the entire family had been shipped out to Diego Garcia. He hated all the boys.. and eventually the college age men that used and hurt Carly. He never forgave a single one. It didn't mean he gave free passes whenever Carly had wronged them. No, not by a long shot. One thing he promised himself was never to patronize her and pretend or lie to her face about her relationships.

Even if he was there once the boyfriend broke up with Carly because she'd got drunk at a party and slept with his best friend. Or when she dumped him by text message. Or by changing her Splashface profile.

Carly was not perfect.

But she was his angel.

"This wasn't my fault was it?" Carly asked, muffled by the pillow her head occupied.

"Carly no dear. Not when he did that." His attempt at soothing comfort backfired. The wrong choice of words. All the last part did was remind her exactly what had just taken place, and a fresh stream of tears and crying erupted and kept coming.

All he could do was pick up her tiny body with his strong hands, and pull her protectively into his chest. Freddie wrapped his arms tight around her, letting her know she was safe and secured. Freddie felt the hot tears falling on his shirt, and couldn't stop tears of his own escaping.

"It's going to be okay.. I promise.. I'm…" Freddie trailed off as the correct words failed to come to mind.

Sorry? That doesn't even need to be said.

Off to the shops, I'll get us some ice cream? Too light hearted.

Never going to leave you? Too creepy.

Going to kill that asshole? Too aggressive. Carly never liked violence anyway.

Still in love with you? Yeah, that's a great time for that to come out. Assuming any time would be good for that to come out.

"...here for you now. We'll get through this together."

Carly pulled her hands from her face, looked up and returned his hug with complete conviction. The tears stopped momentarily and her frown upturned slightly into a melancholy smile, "I love you Freddie, you mean so much to me. Thank you for being here."

As her head shifted into the crook of his neck she failed to watch his own smile turn down, his own melancholy and longing and desire spreading over his face. He said the words he knew in his heart had different meanings for himself and for her. But he said them anyway because she needed to hear them right now.

"I love you too Carly."


AN: So there you have it. I hope you enjoyed this short story. I'm going to keep working on my other stories, I've been working hard, doing a lot of overtime, and it's exhausting. Sorry for delays.

I'd like to again thank Snapplelinz. Without her, I would get nothing at all done.