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iSam's Rebound

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He knows he shouldn't be doing this.

If anyone found out, he'd be in huge trouble.

His relationships with Carly, his dad, granddad, and Freddie - perhaps especially Freddie - would be jeopardized. Maybe more; who knows?

But he can't bear to see her so torn in agony, especially since she's normally the toughest person he knows. He doesn't care he's being used, that it won't mean anything the next day, that they'll wake up in the morning and pretend nothing happened.

It's definitely not love or anything close, but for the moment it's what she needs. It's what he needs.

It's what they both need.

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Nearly an hour ago when she came barging in, Sam demanded to know where Carly was without so much as a greeting to Spencer, who had been on the couch watching TV. Her voice quivered and her eyes flashed dangerously, telling him something was wrong, she was in a foul mood, that Sam Puckett shouldn't be messed with right now. (Well, ever, but especially not now.)

In a soft voice, he cautiously told her that Carly wasn't here; she had gone to a friend's house to work on a school project and had decided last-minute to stay overnight.

Sam stood by the door for a moment, growled, "Never mind then," and was about to storm out.

Spencer saw her face crumple as she turned toward the door. His brow furrowed, now completely worried about her.

"Wait, Sam. What's wrong?" he asked gently, standing up . His hands were out as if he were facing a wild animal he needed to soothe.

Sam paused with her back still facing Spencer. She shook her head. "Nothing. I'm fine. I'm just gonna go, alright?" She tried to deliver this with conviction, but she clearly didn't mean it.

Sam gasped in shock when Spencer touched her shoulder. She whirled around. "What do you want, Spencer?!" she exploded, tears streaming down her face.

"I want to know what's hurting you, Sam," he whispered, looking into her normally proud blue eyes that now screamed she needed help, she was broken. She was trying to maintain a calm expression, thought it was obvious she was breaking down on the inside. Sam bit her lower lip and averted her eyes from Spencer's inspective gaze.

Upon meeting no resistance, he gently pulled her back into the apartment and led her to the couch where she slowly sank down, still staring at her shoes. Spencer took a seat beside her. He turned the TV off so that silence filled the apartment.

He looked at Sam patiently, waiting for her to speak. He knew that he couldn't push her very far — she wouldn't let herself be pushed — so he had to wait until she was ready on her own time. The minutes ticked by as he continued to wait and she continued to stay quiet.

Finally, Sam muttered, "Freddie broke up with me." She looked up at Spencer now. Her eyes were livid. How hard and angry they seemed.

"Oh, Sam, I'm sorry."

He scooted closer to her and gave her a side-hug, rubbing her arm comfortingly. "Do you want to talk about it?" Spencer asked tenderly.

He sucked in a breath and held his concerned expression. Although he was extremely troubled at seeing how distraught Sam was, there was a small part of him on the inside - a part he had been trying to silence for a while now - that couldn't help but celebrate. Spencer had never thought that Carly's best friends matched well romantically, though he knew deep down he would think Sam wouldn't be right with anyone else either. Anyone but him...

But not that it could ever happen. She was his little sister's best friend and twelve years younger, and he knew he'd be frowned down upon by society if he ever tried anything. So all he could do was simply keep his distance and admire her from afar. Spencer was content enough watching her be happy, though he had to admit seeing Sam with Freddie or with any other guy, for that matter, made him uncomfortable. He often left the room as quickly as he could when he saw them together, a burning pit of jealousy churning in his stomach.

Sam let out a mirthless laugh, interrupting Spencer's mulling. "What's there to talk about? The stupid nub just said, 'I think we should just be friends. I can't date you anymore.' Like, what the hell does that mean?!" Sam used a mocking tone for Freddie's words and rolled her eyes disgustedly. "Whatever. I'm too good for that stew bag anyway." She crossed her arms, an angry scowl on her face.

Several seconds later, her tough expression crumbled into vulnerability and utter sadness. She began to cry again, leaning into Spencer's shoulder. Spencer wrapped his arms around the sobbing girl and made little shushing noises. "It's okay, don't cry. Shhh. It'll be okay," he murmured.

He was slightly uncomfortable, as he normally didn't have to deal with crying girls in general, let alone Sam in tears. For such heavily emotional moments, Carly had always gone to Sam, to Spencer's relief.

Knowing Sam, Spencer fell back on something he knew was always a safe and assured topic with her. "Um, do you want some food? There's ham in the fridge. Or I could make you some spaghetti tacos."

"I'm not hungry."

"Oh." Spencer knew Sam was seriously hurting if she wasn't interested in eating. "Uh, well, come on, hey, there's plenty of other guys out there, lots of fish in the sea. You'll find someone else, hm?"

Sam sniffled. "You don't understand. It's incredibly difficult for me to learn to trust a guy. My dad, the guys I dated, they all betrayed me. It takes a lot for me to try and trust someone, and they always end up hurting me. And I've known Freddie for so long. Sure, he's a dumb dork, but he's always been there and seemed like someone I could put my faith in. So I tried. I really did, but it was still for nothing. It's just hard, y'know? Not knowing who to trust, always wondering if they'll betray you some day."

"I understand," Spencer quietly replied. "But you know what, Sam? It's Freddie's loss, not yours, if he can't see what an amazing person you are. You could do a lot better than him."

Before he could stop himself, he continued, "And for the record, if it were me, I would never deceive or leave you. I don't know why any guy would ever even dream of hurting you. If they were smart, they would know to never let you go because they'd be the luckiest guy in the world if they got to date you. They should enjoy every second spent with you and treat you the best that they possibly could. Because you're worth it and you deserve it, Sam Puckett."

He felt Sam stop shaking in his arms. She broke away from his embrace to look at him almost quizzically. "R-really?" she brushed her nose with her sleeve. "You really mean that? You're not just saying that to make me feel better?"

"Absolutely," Spencer mumbled a bit self-consciously. He broke their gaze, his face burning at almost revealing his true feelings for her so easily.

He persisted, not knowing where his sudden passion came from. "Sometimes you don't know what'll happen unless you try. Sure, you might get knocked down a couple times, but for that one time when things work out...man. It's worth it. It's really worth it. No hesitating, you just have to let go and go for it."

Sam made a little noise in her throat that sounded like "Hmm." She went silent.

They both stared at different things in the room.

Spencer tensed up. He hoped he hadn't betrayed his inner psyche too much.

He detected a shift in Sam's mood, though he couldn't tell exactly to what. But she wasn't crying anymore, which was good, right?

"Thanks, Spencer," Sam finally offered. "I appreciate that. No one's ever said something like that to me before."

"Yeah, no problem," Spencer answered a little too quickly. "I wouldn't say it if I didn't believe it."

They locked eyes for a quick second before Spencer had to look away again.

"Hey, so listen—" Spencer began.

He was quickly cut off when Sam leapt onto him and covered his mouth with hers.

"Mmph!" Spencer's eyes widened in utter shock. His limbs flailed.

Then he saw Sam's eyes were closed. Spencer shut his own eyes. He hesitatingly eased into the kiss, giving in to a moment he never thought would occur outside of his unconsciousness. He wrapped his arms around Sam again.

Spencer knew he shouldn't be encouraging her, that he should've broken off the kiss as soon as it happened. He knew it was his responsibility as the adult, as Carly's brother, and as any ethical person to not do this.

But for once, he ignored all the screaming morals in his head telling him to stop, demanding to know what the hell was he doing, warning him of how much trouble he'd be in — and simply focused all his senses on Sam's soft lips, the faint sweet smell of her, the ticklish feeling of some of her stray hairs against his face, the feel of her weight on him. He took it all in, daring to love every part against his better judgement.

Sam's kisses seemed to be getting wilder. Her mouth started to wander, causing Spencer to swallow with difficulty. With the subtle motion, Sam's attention drew to his Adam's apple. She licked it tenderly, making Spencer groan out loud.

Sam slid her hand slowly down his chest, sending chills up his spine. But when she didn't just stop at his torso and reached into his lap, Spencer jumped and quickly pushed Sam off.

He was about to tell her he wouldn't be doing that with her, at least, not presently, but the forlorn look in her deep blue eyes made him hesitate. It was a look he had never seen before on Sam, so torn and completely sad.

"Please," she whispered, almost pleading.

Spencer knew Sam wanted this more than anything else right now. He knew she wasn't thinking straight, that she just wanted someone and something to help her forget about her current pain and heartache.

"You said I was worth it, Spencer. Show me I'm worth it."

Spencer inhaled sharply at her words. He closed his eyes for a second, trying to regain his composure and rationally think his way out of this. This was the final point where he had the chance to stop, where he could be redeemed more easily if he put an end to this now rather than later.

He could laugh awkwardly, mumble and backtrack that this wasn't what he had in mind when he was saying all those things. Yes, he had meant them, meant them with all his heart, but he couldn't let Sam know just how much he felt those things to be true. He should have said them with only the intent to comfort her. But it was too late, much too late for him to retract his self-damning words.

Spencer knew that in Sam's fragile emotional state, it'd be almost like taking advantage of her if he relented. After all, it was merely by chance that Freddie had chosen tonight to break up with Sam, and that Carly wasn't here to comfort her.

What was to say that Sam wouldn't have gone elsewhere? Flung herself onto another guy, asking him for what she was asking Spencer now? They'd probably say 'yes' in a heartbeat, but Spencer hesitated, weighing in on what to do. He at least had some self-constraint that came from years of experience hormonal teenage boys wouldn't have.

Spencer knew it wouldn't be right. And yet... it was Sam. And she was hurting deeply in a way he had never seen before, needing someone to pick up her shattered pieces and craft something whole again. Even if just for tonight.

Who would be better than Spencer, the artist?

Spencer took a few shaky breaths, waging an internal war. Every moment longer he hesitated, gazing into Sam's shining eyes, his will weakened. Whatever righteous logic he came up with faded into a dull hum.

Sam was searching his eyes, trying to predict if he'd relent to her wish.

Spencer knew a lot of things he should have done, but didn't. Finish law school, perhaps get a more stable job, to name but two. But things had worked out in the past. He was happier being a freelance artist and never regretted dropping out of law school. Why shouldn't everything work out now? Hell, wasn't he the one who had said a few minutes earlier to just go for it?

Damn it all, Sam was worth it.

With that, Spencer made up his mind and kissed her. Sam let out a half-laugh of surprise, but instantly responded feverishly, intertwining her arms around his neck as she resettled herself on his lap.

Sure, Spencer knew she was hurting so much and was just using him to distract her from her current situation.

Sam saw him as probably nothing more than a rebound, but he was okay with being that to help her through it all if it meant he wouldn't see her in such agony again.

It wasn't about the sex or how willing Sam was to lose herself in such a fragile state. Spencer knew it came from something deeper than that. No, Spencer simply cared too much for her. Sam was his weakness, and he would've done anything for her. Even if he would pay for it. Even if doing so would hurt him.

Spencer supported Sam's legs as he stood, causing Sam to instinctively tighten her arms around him, though she never stopped exploring his exposed skin with her mouth. He carried her to his room, his heart pounding faster with each step.

He laid Sam gently on his bed and hovered over her to gaze into her eyes. Sam stared back at him, her expression unreadable.

Spencer gave her another chance to reconsider. In a husky voice, he could barely breathe out, "Are you sure?"

Without a word, Sam pulled Spencer down. He finally gave in to all his senses and his desire for her; kissing, nipping, sucking, everywhere his mouth could reach on her voluptuous body. Clothes were strewn carelessly throughout the room. Moans, pleasured groans, and everything in between seeped through the thin walls of Spencer's bedroom.

Afterward, he sees how exhausted she is, both physically and emotionally. Sam tiredly wraps an arm around Spencer's chest. He curls a protective arm around her as well.

They lie there together, Sam enveloped in his arms, not saying anything. Spencer can feel her head getting gradually heavier and heavier as she slowly drifts off to sleep in the crook of his neck. Her breathing becomes deeper and more rhythmic. Although every breath Sam takes lightly tickles his neck, he doesn't move a muscle. Spencer remains in the position he's in, staring off into the darkness of the room. There is a slight, sad smile on the man's face as he, too, falls asleep.

His last thought is that he doesn't know what will happen when morning comes, but tonight, right now, he doesn't care. At the moment, he has Sam Puckett sleeping in his arms, in his bed, and they both have found some peace.

Spencer knows he definitely doesn't regret being her rebound.