Title: All We Can Hope…Is That We Don't Take This Ship Down
Summary: Carly infiltrates Sam's world.
Disclaimer: I don't own anything.
A/N: This is a post ep for iSpeed Date.
You cannot quit me so quickly//
There's no hope in you for me//
No corner you could squeeze me//
But I got all the time for you
"Sam?" You walk quickly down the stairs as Sam disappears around the corner with a flash of blonde hair and a glimpse of plaid, weaving your way through the kids filling the school halls, following her. "Sam?"
"Sam?!" You huff when you finally catch up with her at her locker and she spares you a quick glance before focusing on yanking books out of her black hole of a locker.
"What?" She pulls out her math book, shoving it into her checkered bag, hanging too heavy from one shoulder.
"Where have you been all weekend? I mean, I didn't even see you at the dance and I tried calling you, like, all weekend." You exhale, shifting your own bag on your shoulder and you're not even angry that Sam has been practically avoiding you for the last few days; you just want to know what's going on with her.
Then it happens, she gives you the look.
It's a look that's all dipping eyebrows and pressed lips and it speaks a million words without saying anything at all. Carelessness draped over something more important.
It's the look that she gives Ms. Briggs when there's nothing the teacher can say or do to stop Sam from trying to pull the waistband of Gibby's underwear over his head. It's the look she gives the boys that are just too nice and to clean cut, when they're bold enough to ask her out.
Your heart thumps hard in your chest suddenly, like there are jumper cables attached to your earlobes instead of dangling earrings and you've just been jump started. You watch her shift the weight of her backpack before slamming her locker shut and you're not really sure if it's the sound or her face that makes you wince.
"Been busy, I guess." She just shrugs, her words airy and you stand there blinking at her because that can't be right.
Sam doesn't talk to you like this, she doesn't treat you like she treats everyone else, you're special. You're special to her just like she's special to you but you don't feel special right now.
You feel like crap, like something not even worthy enough to be stuck to the bottom of her shoes as she brushes past you without a backwards glance and you wonder if this is how normal people feel around Sam.
You wonder if it's the reason why people sometimes clamber for her attention, yearn to be her friend, why Gibby is completely terrified of her but will always come when she calls, if people act like this around her because the alternative hurts.
"So, I had fun at the Groovy Smoothie the other night. Ya know, when it was just me and you after you scared Austin off and Malika…disappeared in a cloud of smoke."
You blink up at Freddie where he's leaning over you, hands on top of lab table that you usually share with Sam, who has decided not to come to class.
"Yeah, it was fun." You swallow, standing as the rest of class shuffles out the door around you and you cast a sidelong glance at Sam's empty stool, peeking out from the side of table where she painstakingly etched her name into the black table top with a bent paper clip. "Have you seen Sam at all today?" You ask, stretching your arm to tap your fingertips against the engraved letters.
"Uhm, no. She probably stayed home to get out of a test or something." Freddie shrugs, glancing around like Sam might pop out at any second with a wiffle bat and a vendetta. "You know Sam."
Yeah, you do.
You leave the classroom with Freddie trailing behind you like a lost puppy as you head to your locker.
"So, anyways, I was thinking that since you and I had such a good time that maybe we could…"
"What're you doing?!" You cry, completely cutting Freddie off and startling the wiry read head boy with a mouth full of metal who is shoving his backpack into Sam's locker. "That's Sam's locker. Do you know what she'll do to you?!"
Freddie lets out a frustrated breath near your ear but you ignore him, staring wide eyed at the kid in front of you.
"No, this-this is my locker." He starts, closing it gently. "Sam made me switch with her. She said if I didn't that she would do horrible, awful things to me and I am very afraid of her so I did."
You stare at him open mouth for a second, you're pulse racing before the kid gets enough sense to scurry away and you turn to face Freddie, expecting him to still be standing behind you but instead he's on one knee, looking up at you with big, brown, hopeful eyes.
"Carly Shay," He starts, taking your hand. "Will you do me the honor of letting me take you to B.F. Wang's on Saturday night?"
You pull your hand back to your chest like you've been burned, glancing back at Sam's ex locker before walking away.
You have no idea what you've done.
You're staring at the bottoms of Sam sneakers, blinking at the gum on the left one and wondering how it got so lucky while Freddie throws out ideas for the next iCarly.
You wonder if it's that you made Sam ask out Gibby who turned her down though Sam didn't really seem hurt so much as blindly angry.
"…are you guys even listening or are am I just talking to myself?" Freddie interrupts your thoughts with loud words and a furrowed brow and you blink up at him, lifting your gaze from the bottom of Sam's shoes to his face.
"What? No, we're listening." You say apologetically and you notice the way Freddie's eyes get all soft and glistening like a baby dear. "Right, Sam?"
Sam looks away from the phone she's been fiddling with since the iCarly meeting started and up at you and you smile hopefully but feel it melt right off your face when Sam just looks away, pushing herself out of the beanbag chair.
"Actually, I don't really feel like doing this anymore. You guys can handle it right?" Sam asks, adjusting her shirt and you and Freddie both gape at Sam.
"What? No!" You start but Sam waves you off, shoving her phone in her pocket.
"Sure you guys can, the two of you make an awesome team, a dazzling duo, a terrific couple if you will. Planning an episode of iCarly without my help should be a piece of cake." She says and her words are dripping with sarcasm and you can't figure out why. "I'm gonna go meet some friends."
"Sam?" You exhale in disbelief because the person you're looking at isn't the Sam you know, it's the Sam everyone else knows.
Then she's gone, disappearing through the door that leads to the stairs and you can only watch her leave.
"Hey, she's right about one thing. We do make a good couple." Freddie grins, all charming smiles and suggestive eyebrows but you ignore him, swallowing down the tight, painful feeling crawling up your chest.
You feel sick.
You're stomach feels likes it's been twisted and knotted like a balloon animal and you can't seem to focus on anything besides the fact that the last 4 days have been some of the worst of your life because Sam won't even give you the time of day unless its to talk about iCarly and even then her focus is limited and fleeting while you can barely look away from her eyes and because your hair has started falling out.
"What did I do?" You slam Sam's locker shut, nearly catching her fingers in the process and even the threat of dismemberment isn't enough to attract Sam's gaze, instead she squeezes her eyes shut and takes in a slow labored breath like you're annoying her. And you're totally aware that you can be a little annoying sometimes and you have the real potential to be a full on pain in the ass but Sam has always embraced that nagging side of you.
"What did I do?" You exhale again, urgently, because you need to know what you did so you can fix it. Because you just can't take this anymore.
"I don't know what you're talking about." She sighs, meeting your gaze reluctantly.
"Sam! You're treating me like a piece of garbage…like-like that mysterious green goo in the bottom of your backpack." You blurt trying to control the anger welling up inside of you. "Now I need you to tell me what I did so I can fix it so my stomach will stop hurting and my hair will stop falling out and you can stop treating me like this. So we can be friends again because I need us to be friends again." you finish breathlessly and something in Sam's façade falters and breaks away.
"You didn't do anything." She finally exhales except her eyes are cutting away from you like she does when she's lying.
And you can't grasp why she's still lying to your face. God, what did you do?
"You-You're lying to me!" You sputter in disbelief and Sam shakes her head, her mouth quirked to the side as she walks away.
"I don't want to date you." You say the words very clearly, sure to enunciate ever syllable but Freddie is still smirking at you, one hand on the locker that use to be Sam's but now belongs to a kid that has spinach perpetually stuck in his braces. "I think we're better as friends."
You can practically see your words going through Freddie's right ear and out the left and even though you could never say anything hurtful to Freddie, you wish Sam was here to do it for you just so he would stop harassing you and get the point.
"But how do you know? I think we'd be an awesome couple. We both like math and romantic films…"
"Sam likes horror movies." You say without thinking, cutting him off and Freddie blinks at you while you blush bright red.
"Are you and Sam still fighting?" He asks, thankfully switching to normal friend mode and you nod, leaning against your locker.
"Yeah and it sucks because I don't even know what we're fighting over. She just…"
"Speak of the blond headed devil." It's Freddie's turn to interrupt you and when you glance behind you, there's Sam being dragged down the hall by the ear by Ms. Briggs while almost the entire school breaks into raucous applause.
Sam wriggles free to take a bow, grinning brightly and you wonder what she did this time but the thought is wiped from your brain when Sam meets your gaze quickly.
Her smile melts away to nothing before she can look away and bat at Ms. Briggs' hands as she grabs Sam by the collar and proceeds to drag her down the hall towards Principal Franklin's office.
"You weren't even like this when you broke up with Griffin."
Spencer tousles your hair as he passes by you where you're curled around a box of cereal on the couch and you groan in response, burrowing further beneath the blanket and using your free hand, the one not popping Fiber Nuts in your mouth, to turn down the television with the remote.
"This is worse than ending things with Griffin!" You declare around a mouthful of warm, stick cereal. "This is Sam we're talking about. I don't need some PeeWee loving, bad boy wannabe but I do need my best friend."
"Well, what did you do to make her so upset?" Spencer asks from the kitchen and from under your mound of blankets and pillows you can hear him shuffling around in the cabinets.
"I don't know!" You cry, flinging your blankets off and sitting up and Spencer jumps when you slam the half empty box of cereal on the coffee table. "The last time we talked she was going to Gibby's house to drag him to the dance."
"So, what happened after that?" Spencer asks while he proceeds to pull every single green item, food, dish, cleaning product, from the kitchen and line them up on the countertop.
"I don't know. I went to the Groovy Smoothie with Freddie and our lame dates after the dance and when they left Freedie and I danced. Sam was supposed to meet up with us but she never showed so Freddie's mom came and picked us up and then I didn't see or hear from Sam till Monday." You explain and Spencer makes a thoughtful noise, cupping his face and stroking his non existent beard.
"And you say that Sam was supposed to meet you guys at the Groovy Smoothie but she never showed up?" He asks and you nod, picking a fiber nut out of your hair.
"Maybe Sam did show up." Spencer says, putting a can of peas on the counter.
"No, I would've seen her…" You start and Spencer shakes his head.
"Not if your head was buried lovingly in our resident tech producer's ever broadening chest." Spencer points out and your lips part to correct him because your head was NOT buried lovingly anywhere on Freddie but your brain gets stuck on the fact that Spencer's right. Sam must've seen you and Freddie dancing.
"Oh my god." You mutter because it explains so much. "OHMYGOD! You're so right."
"I'm your big brother, Carls. Of course I'm right and it looks like you've gotten yourself into a quite the love triangle." Spencer says from somewhere deep in the refrigerator now and you turn to squint at his butt where it's wriggling happily at you.
"We're not in a love triangle." You cry as Spencer dances out of the refrigerator holding a cabbage and a pitcher of limeade.
"Sure you are. You guys are all tangled up in each other and it was only a matter of time, really, before this happened."
"You think Sam has a crush on Freddie or something?" You ask. "That's why she's been ignoring me? Because she's jealous or something?"
Spencer smiles at you then like you're an adorably confused puppy or something. "I think you guys are three 16-year-olds with a very complicated relationship and this…" He gestures widely then with a handful of green grapes. "…has been a long time coming."
"Is Sam home?"
Sam's mother gives you the once over, eyes flicking over you head to toe, taking in the way your absolutely soaked and your clothes hanging heavy from your frame before smiling slow and warm.
"Carly, its raining out." She points out needlessly as she ushers you into the foyer and reaching to close the door behind you. "Where's your umbrella?"
You don't point out that you rushed over her without proper rain protection because you need to talk to Sam. Because it feels like there's a billion questions and words tangled in long strings that are wrapped around your brain. Instead you say, "I forgot it, I guess." While you drip water on the Puckett's floor.
"Is Sam home?" You ask again and Sam's mom nods over her shoulder towards Sam's bedroom.
"Yeah, she's been in there all day. I think she might have a bug or something." Sam's mom mutters the last part to herself, squinting thoughtfully. "I'll make her some soup."
"Can I talk to her?" You ask, pushing your wet hair off of your face and she nods like she'd forgotten you were there for a minute.
"Yes, of course, just be careful because she may be contagious."
And with that Sam's mom is gone and banging around in the kitchen while you stand stupid and wet in the entry way but after a few breaths to calm your curling, swimming stomach, you're moving across the house.
You shoes squeak wetly on the hardwood as you move through the house. Through the living room, down the hall and the last door on the left is Sam's.
You rap on the door quietly before twisting the knob and pushing it open.
"Sam? It's Carly."
You had a plan before you stepped into her bedroom.
You planned on confronting her about her feelings for Freddie because it's so obvious that there's something there.
You planned on telling her that she's acting so stupid and childish for someone who's almost 17 years old and that she needs to grow up.
You planned on asking her why she's hurting, possibly even killing, you with the way she's treating you.
You planned on getting this fixed tonight so that the empty, sick feeling you've been carrying around because Sam won't look you in the eye, will go away.
But Sam's room is dark when you walk in and shut the door behind yourself, the only light coming from the streetlamps outside and the green stars and planets stuck to her walls and ceiling. It's quiet too, no music blaring from the too expensive stereo she said 'fell off the back of a truck' and there's no static hum of the television.
It's dark and its silent but you can see Sam as clear as day curled up in bed, tucked on her side and as small as you've ever seen her and you hear the shaky, tearful breaths she's trying to cover up.
Your plan goes out the window.
"Sam?" You whisper in the dark, nearly tripping over a skateboard and then a volleyball as you move closer to the bed, your heart suddenly in your throat.
She doesn't answer you, just curls in on herself more and hiccups out another breath.
You say her name again but this time halfway through it a sob breaks past her lips and cuts you off, cuts all the air off from your chest too.
You're moving then, toeing off your soggy shoes at the side of the bed while you stare at the line of Sam's back before clambering onto the bed, under the blankets, behind her.
She doesn't flinch when you push yourself up against her back, not even when your waterlogged shirt presses rain water through her tank top and right to her skin.
"Sam?" You call as you nose your face against the back of her neck, forehead pressed to her nape and mouth hovering over the first knot of her spine.
"Carly." She says your name and it's the first time in what feels like forever that she's said your name with something other than annoyance and an eye roll.
"I'm here." You whisper, wrapping your arms around her as tight as you can and edging your leg between both of hers.
"I'm sorry." She starts so softly and you have to press even closer to hear her. "I'm sorry about everything, you know."
You nod a little, pressing your mouth to her skin and you feel her take a hard, tearful breath. "It's okay."
You should be mad, you have every right to because Sam treated you like dirt for reasons you still don't understand but you're telling her its okay again and you really, honestly mean it.
You don't blame her.
"I just…there's something wrong with me I think." She stammers, sniffling a little.
"Sam?" You're trying to be calming but her name sounds tight as it passes your lips, it feels tight coming up your throat.
"I'm not like the other girls." She whimpers and you tighten your arms around her. "There's something in-in my chest and in my head and I…I know it's not how I'm supposed to feel. It's not how I'm supposed to be."
You blink at the blond twists of her hair as you listen to her try to articulate a feeling you're realizing that you know all too well.
"I know." Is all you say, squeezing your eyes shut as tight as you can while Sam's fingers come up to trace your knuckles and she drags in staggered breaths.
There's silence then and your brain is thinking, thinking , thinking.
Thinking about Sam and her eyes and how happy you'll be in the morning when she'll look at you like you're special again. Thinking about how that emptiness that's been plaguing you is already seeping away with Sam this close.
Thinking about what that all means.
"You saw me and Freddie dancing at the Groovy Smoothie?" You ask suddenly, even though it's more of a statement and she makes a confirming noise that you feel start in her chest.
"I'm sorry I acted like I did. If you and the Nub want to get together then I'm okay with it."
She's lying but she's doing it for you and you can't help the warmth that floods your chest cavity.
"I don't. I mean, it was just a dance. It didn't mean anything." You admit. "I don't want to date Freddie or anything…especially if you want to." You feel Sam stiffen against you a little and you exhale against her skin. "Like, it'd be okay if you wanted to date Freddie."
"…I don't want to."
There' s more silence that's so heavy that it feels like its pressing you into the mattress and it feels like there's something else equally heavy sitting on the back of your tongue, threatening to tumble free.
"My mom thinks I'm sick." Sam finally croaks, her hoarse voice saving you from yourself. "She thinks I have that pig flu from eating too much ham but I don't think that's it. Mostly because ham would never betray me like that…"
"She thinks I'm contagious." She murmurs, covering your fingers with hers, hooking one of her ankles around yours despite your wet jeans.
Your stomach flutters hard in a way that in any other context should have you lurching for the bathroom but instead you're blushing and burying your face further into Sam's soft hair.
"Whatever you have, I think I have it too."