|His Buddy Socko
Author: twowritehands PM
"She said tell HIM that HIS socks rock. I guess she's been assuming my buddy Socko is a man." "That's funny, people were asking about the artist Shay and if SHE was hiring for models!" "HA! Did you correct them?" "No." "I DIDN'T EITHER!" SpockoNOTSLASHRated: Fiction T - English - Romance/Humor - Spencer S. & Socko - Chapters: 11 - Words: 37,101 - Reviews: 21 - Favs: 31 - Follows: 2 - Published: 05-19-11 - Status: Complete - id: 7005192
|A+ A- Full 3/4 1/2 Expand Tighten|
Disclaimer: iCarly belongs to smarter, cooler people
AN: the chapter titles are random Spencer-lines from the show that have at least some obscure connection to what is about to happen, if you squint maybe?
1. It's Called the Fire-Cracker, You Probably Heard of It.
Carly was crying. Who knew why anymore.
"Don't cry, blue skies!" Spencer sang-shouted as he bolted down the stairs to where his grandmother was trying to calm her. His backpack was slung over one of the skinny teenaged boy's shoulders and the bus would be by any minute.
He looked at his two-year-old baby sister who was red in the face, tears tracks were streaked down her cheeks and snot was everywhere. He screwed up his face and started to mimic her. Once he'd gotten the pitch right, her sobs quieted almost instantly and she stared at him in surprise—what did he have to cry about? He kept it up until her breathing was back under control and most of the redness had gone from her face.
When she was calm, he became calm again.
"Well, I never!" Grandmom cried in wonder. Spencer laughed and kissed her forehead, and outside the bus blew its horn.
"Be careful, love you!" Grandmom called after him as the screen door opened too far and whacked the wall.
"Wuv oo!" echoed little Carly.
He darted down the driveway, through the rain, and leapt onto the bus, skipping the first step entirely. His wet converse squeaked and skidded on the step when he landed and the thin, soles very nearly didn't hold. He flailed around, grabbed the safety rail as well as the rod mechanism that opened the door. There. He wasn't falling anymore, but he was nearly hanging out of the bus.
"Careful!" barked the bus driver.
It was just an awesome way to start the very first day of tenth grade in Yakima.
There was a new girl in first period. Spencer had lots of experience being the new kid having moved around his entire life—that was, until Carly was born and they came to live with Grandmom and Granddad. He knew she would appreciate a kind smile and someone to talk to.
"Waddup?" he asked, plopping down into the desk next to her.
She looked around at him—blue eyes so bright they looked like sapphires in the sunlight. Her white-blond ponytail nearly reached her desk seat, and she was wearing a white dress with a hem cut so that he could see knee-high socks of black and white stripes. Over all she looked like some kind of witch bride.
Spencer liked it.
"Hi," she said.
"Spencer Shay," he said. "You might have heard of me—they call me The King."
She laughed, "The King of what?"
"Oh," she said, "Well, I'm Annie Pren." She leaned forward across the aisle between them and said in a whisper, "They call me Socko."
"So you always wear socks like that?"
"Yeah, aren't they cool?"
"Sure," Spencer said, with a shrug. She was pretty enough with or without them so he didn't care either way.
"You're the kid that nearly killed himself getting on the bus this morning."
"YOU RIDE MY BUS?" he shouted.
She nodded, laughing.
"Cool," he said, though he wasn't sure he liked that she'd seen that. "So where're you from?"
"Really? Never saw you around before."
"I was home-schooled."
"But Dad walked out on us, so we moved into a smaller place and mom has to get a second job and well—no time for home lessons anymore."
Spencer had no idea how to respond to that other than, "That sucks."
"Yeah," she sighed.
"My mom died two years ago," he said suddenly. Maybe to try to balance things, he didn't know.
She blinked those shocking blue eyes. "Oh." There were a few beats and then she said. "Sorry."
The school day began and they had no classes together for the rest of the day. But she was on the bus when he boarded that afternoon.
"Saved a seat for ya," she said. She had her ponytail over one shoulder and she was braiding it wickedly fast. She must have been at it all day; there were hundreds of miniscule little braids.
"Thanks, Socko," he sank down next to her and kicked his bag into the floor.
"So wanna come over after school?" she asked, "I live two houses down from yours."
"Um, sorry—can't. Gotta help with my baby sister."
It wasn't a complete lie. The truth was he didn't want to go into a home-schooled witch's house. No matter how nice she was. It was weird.
For the rest of the year, they shared the bus ride and first period, chatting about random things—his latest prank or the last thing she saw on cable television. Even though she had been home-schooled, which Spencer had always believed was kind of sheltering, it turned out she was exposed to far more than he was. Grandmom and Grandad didn't have cable and even if they did, they'd never let him watch the stuff she talked about.
It sounded far too awesome.
It was weird at first, the way she spoke of things—things that made Spencer blush—with open easiness, even curiosity. She asked him outright about a lot of it, the kinds of things that would naturally be a mystery to girls. His answers were mumbled and brief. Once, he had to clap a hand over her mouth and tell her to stop.
(He never had the courage to ask her for certain explanations in return, and he was eternally thankful that she didn't supply them on her own. It wasn't that he didn't want to know—holy crab did he want to know—but she was a naturally loud speaker and enough people twisted around to look at them with wide eyes without adding that.) He tried to encourage her to speak only of the violent or horrifying things she saw on television, to save himself the blushes.
But even then, she managed to be shocking in her bluntness.
Sometimes he was so thankful that first period was over that he bolted for the door.
In his eleventh year, they shared no classes whatsoever and so it was only on bus rides that he had to deal with her. Not that he didn't like her—he quite enjoyed her, but only in small doses.
Like her outfits.
He could handle her outfits. They were fun. She wore dresses a lot, mostly something white resembling old-fashioned wedding dresses, and whacky handcrafted jewelry. She ALWAYS had on knee-high socks and he was almost sure she never wore the same pair twice.
Otherwise, she was far too much for one guy to deal with. She was excited to be in public school. She talked to teachers like they were her friends or something. She loved homework. She held up the lunch line to question lunch ladies using words like soy and organic and local ecosystem. She occasionally broke into song, loudly and with her eyes closed. She skipped down the hallway.
Aside from the various weird things about her, she always complimented his sketches, which was sweet of her. And she was funny. The girl named Socko was weird like that. She was the weirdest kid in school and, weirdly, most people liked her. She made a lot of friends, a variety across the board—cheerleaders, nerds, even the kids Spencer considered dangerous, and they ranged from freshmen, to seniors.
While his neighbor was a social butterfly, Spencer himself wasn't. He just had school buddies, kids he talked to every day in class but never called or invited over. His time was devoted to chores (which chiefly involved looking after Carly) and video games. At school he had a name for himself as the King of Pranks, but the rest of the time he was Carly's big brother "Pencey" and the Lord of the Game Sphere.
When Spencer got a car, he found himself asking her if she would like him to drive her to school. He wouldn't be riding the bus anymore, which was the only time they ever saw each other, and it felt mean to just stop seeing her all together like that. So he asked her, he couldn't help it.
He got a little more than he bargained for, learning on the first morning that he picked her up that she had an older brother, Tyler, who was a senior without a car and twice as blunt as his little sister. Seriously, the words Tyler wasn't afraid to use made Socko seem pretty delicate in word choice. The pair seemed to be at their bluntest in the mornings, and started every weekday with vivid recaps of dreams Spencer felt were the kind of things people were supposed to keep to themselves, or at the very least from one's brother or sister. Weird family.
And it wasn't like Spencer could drown it out with music. Dad wouldn't pay to install a new CD player, and the car had only had talk radio, so unless they wanted to hear the broadcast of a local religious sermon, they kept the radio off. He found himself speeding to school just to shorten the trips.
But since Tyler had an after school job he wasn't there for the drives home, and Socko started borrowing Spencer's CDs and making the coolest mixed tapes to listen to on the way, so it wasn't all bad.
For her sixteenth birthday, she threw a big party and he finally saw the inside of her house. He was surprised that it looked perfectly normal, only it had a Buddha statue in the bathroom and an entire wall in the living room covered in finger paint.
He got her a pair of weird socks—wholly unoriginal as it turned out that the rest of the guests had had the same idea. Literally. Sixteen years old and she got twenty pairs of socks.
But she honestly didn't care, she was thrilled by each pair that she unwrapped.
After that, when she invited him over, he only turned her down when he had an actual excuse. They watched old movies and played video games or did homework if Tyler was there because Tyler was going to make sure his little sister got a college degree, so she would have more options than their mom, who was a manager at the local Inside Out Burger.
Spencer became a regular fixture in her house.
Until he accidently spilled gravy on an old rug, which turned out to be her grandmother's there on a kind of loan. He kind of wasn't welcome after that.
Senior year was a blast. She made friends with a girl named Stephanie that Spencer couldn't stop thinking about. She hooked them up and he got her interested in the quirkiest of his school buddies. His last year as a high school student was filled with double-dates, laughs, patented dance moves, and his landscape sketching phase.
A week after they graduated, Stephanie broke Spencer's heart. Meanwhile, Socko and their classmates moved to Seattle to follow their dreams of artistry. Spencer packed his bags and went to college. They called occasionally and somehow it became a thing to call on birthdays and leave incredibly silly birthday songs on each other's machines, but they never had the time to meet.
Four years of papers, exams, and the occasional hot professor later, Spencer was starting Yale Law School—yeah, Yale, why was everyone so surprised?—and then he was almost instantly dropping out—and Socko was opening a café in Seattle. He decided he didn't care for the east coast and would like to live in Seattle. Not only did he already have friends there—well, one friend, kind of—but he would be close enough to Yakima to see Carly regularly.
He got an apartment with enough space for an art studio, and then got two jobs, one in a junk yard and another waiting tables, to pay for it—just until he made a name for himself as a artist, of course.
Five years later, he was able to ditch the waiting tables thing but he still needed the junkyard paycheck. Then Grandmom was dead, and fourteen-year-old Carly was moving in with Spencer. With her came a monthly check for child-support from Dad and then another one from Grandad. So the junk yard lost a beloved employee.
Socko had dropped off the map for a year or two and then she called to say she was graduating from an electrical design school… She sent him what she called "Socko Socks". What he found in the box was something that only Socko could have made. A whacky pair of socks like she always wore, but they lit up.
He smiled and put them on, showed them off the first chance he got.
"Check out my socks!"
"Whoa! Cool! Where'd'ya get 'em?"
"My buddy Socko made 'em."
"I'm going out, kiddo, lock the door behind me."
"Okay—wait, where're'ya goin'?"
"To meet Socko. I picked up five more orders for Socko Socks—they're really popular!"
"Okay, see you later, and tell him your little sister thinks his socks rock."
Spencer smiled—and with words on the tip of his tongue he was out the door, but then it was shut and locked behind him, and suddenly there was no time to make corrections. With a laugh, he hurried to the café.
It was raining, of course. He darted out of the downpour and into the warm and dry of the café. He shook the water from his dad's old faded army jacket, scrubbed his converse on the mat.
A man sat in the corner, plucking out a tune on a guitar. The usual hobo was in out of the rain, huddled in the corner with a free hot tea. The smattering of customers were local college kids or struggling artists. The coffee machine was grinding away at the beans, overpowering the sound of light murmuring conversation. In the far corner was a man-sized sculpture, his latest one.
"No way!" he cried sprinting to it.
"Haha!" cried the girl behind the counter as she counted out change. She had hair the color of a red bell pepper, cut at her chin and styled into a perfect bob—it was like a helmet, or rather a giant red bell pepper with its bottom cut open and wedged onto her head. She smiled, setting the brightest, bluest eyes in the world aglow. "You likes?"
"Artist of the house next served!" she said even though no one else was in line. He left his sculpture for the counter and bent his long frame to rest on his elbows on the ceramic tiles there—a mosaic, something new age and abstract. Spencer didn't get it, but he liked it. It was all blues, greens and browns. To him it looked like a shattered world pieced back together, backwards and inside out, but whole again, and he'd lost a mother on the same day he got a sister so he could understand that.
He was momentarily lost in his memories as he stared at the tiles of the counter. The guitarist spoke up over his own melody to ask of the lone café worker,
"Hey, Socko, is that the guy who made The Running Man?" and she replied, "Yup—and he's looking for a new commission, too."
"I'll spread the word around," the musician said.
"Thanks!" She did a kind of twirl-gliding-walking-thing that looked like a move that belonged in an ice dancing routine, to Spencer's end of the counter and dropped down onto her elbows, too. Her right arm was covered in tattoos of stars, a kind of waterfall of them. She mirrored his stance. It put her blue eyes right on level with his brown ones. Her full pink lips had a quirk in one corner.
"What'll it be, Shay?" she asked.
"The usual, thanks," he said, straightening and running his fingers through his short hair where he felt water droplets rolling around tickling him. She reached up and tugged at a cowlick. "You ought to grow it out—I bet you'd look sexy."
He scoffed instantly with Colonel Shay's voice booming in his head that there were men hairstyles and women hairstyles and they ought to stay that way. Then he wondered why he was still letting his father tell him what to do.
"Maybe I will," he said as he dropped cash for his coffee onto the table. Then he dug a piece of paper from his back pocket and waved it in front of her eyes.
"Oooh, what's that?" she asked, breathless with pretend wonder.
"Five orders for Socko's Socks," he said and her pretend wonder vanished, replaced with wide-eyed surprise.
"Five?" She echoed.
He nodded. She squealed and lifted the countertop to hurry to him and snatch the paper away. Beneath a swishing black skirt were black knee-high socks that lit up with a pattern of white skulls and she wore red converse shoes.
"And my little sister says your socks rock," he added as she swirled around a little more.
"She's sweet," Socko said, as her blue eyes swept over the orders for her socks. She sank into a chair at a window table. Spencer dropped his long frame into the one across from her. His mouth was open and he was smiling—it looked like a turtle smile.
"It's funny," Spencer said, "because actually she said 'tell him that his socks rock'. I guess she's been automatically assuming all these years that my friend Socko was a man."
Socko's blue eyes were round and she forgot about her orders. She was smiling so big all her teeth were showing—and they were nice teeth.
"That's so hilarious!" She cried, grabbing his hand with the one where the star fall ended in a single blue star beneath her knuckles. "The same thing happened this morning! Well, not the same thing, but—"she fluttered her hands around as if to bat away the irrelevant. "My friends were in asking about The Running Man and I said that my friend Shay made it, and one asked if she was hiring for models!"
Spencer laughed, thrilled by the strangeness of coincidence. "HA!" His eyebrows snapped together and went low over his brown eyes. "Did you correct them?"
She looked down, then up through thick eyelashes with a sheepish smile. "No,"
"I DIDN'T EITHER!" Spencer cried exuberantly and with inappropriate volume in his excitement. The guitarist skipped a beat in his playing and all faces looked around at him, but then no one cared and the music was back.
Spencer and Socko laughed for nearly twenty minutes and then she had some customers to serve and he had to get back to the apartment—Carly was only fourteen and he didn't feel comfortable leaving her alone for too long.
Carly was watching TV. "Hey was Socko psyched by all the orders for his socks?"
Spencer smiled, a laugh bubbling out of him—it was baffling how he could have a friend for twelve years and somehow never made it clear that she was a woman—but then he decided it was too funny to fix. He didn't correct Carly.
And it would be years before he would have to.
AN: So what do you think? Is this Spencer/OC or Spocko?