Summary: Careless was not something that Sam could afford to be.
Disclaimer: Add Supernatural to the list of things I most certainly do not own.
Author's Note: For keyweegirlie, who wanted Lindsey McDonald meeting Sam in law school. Well, here it is, rounding out the last of the non-Lost drabbles. Here you go sweetie, I hope you like it.
Careless was not something that Sam could afford to be. He had learned this, as a child, and learned it quickly. Carelessness, naivety, they had consequences, but even more extreme consequences for them. Children should be allowed to be careless, to make mistakes, but the Winchester children never where, and the older Sam became, the more he found himself looking over his shoulder and watching his step, the more resentful he grew of it, of the part of him that wasn’t allowed to be a normal twelve year old.
By age twenty two, it was as natural to him as breathing. He kept as close a watch on everyone around him as he could, and he still hated it, hated how deeply John had trained him to be like that, the way that he couldn't even fight it when he was so far away from the man. He was always on alert, always careful. He had come a long way from the small child who didn’t know, yet, that he couldn’t afford not to be.
In fact, his watchfulness could tender to border on paranoia. He was constantly aware of his surroundings, of nearly everyone around him no matter how mundane the setting. That training, that instinct, and that paranoia was the reason that he knew, halfway through the stacks in the library, he knew he was being followed.
Who (or what) ever they were, they weren’t that far behind. Maybe just a stack over. He took a deep breath and attempted to unclench his stomach. Maybe he was paranoid. Maybe it was just some other kid walking through the stacks, trying to find a book. But he couldn’t shake the feeling, the instinct, that he had been carrying with him his whole life, not even here.
He had two options: he could either calm down and try to find a way back into an open, public area or he could take the Dean approach and shoot first and ask questions later.
Taking a deep breath, he closed his eyes and tried to calm his nerves. When he opened his eyes again, he was no longer alone. He couldn’t stop himself from starting and, about six or eight feet down the aisle, the other guy looked up, strands of brown hair falling in his face.
“Wound a little tight, aren’t you?” he asked, reaching for a journal on one of the higher shelves. Sam nodded and tried to laugh it off.
“Yeah, uh, finals get to me that way,” he replied. “Lots of studying. No sleep.”
“Yeah,” Sam said, with a nod. The other man nodded back and smiled slightly.
“Well, it don’t get any easier from here. You’re in for a hell of a lot more work down the road.”
He nodded back. “Graduating come May.”
“Congratulations.” Sam tried to keep the twinge of envy from traveling up his chest and into his voice. This guy looked like the most normal man in the world, like he could be your next door neighbor. He probably had a normal family, a normal life. Sam envied him for that, for the life he would go on to live – the kind of life Sam would never be able to have, no matter how far away he tried to run from it.
“Lindsey McDonald,” the guys said, holding out his hand. Sam smiled and shook it.
“Pleased to meet you.”
“So, after you leave, where’re you headed?” Sam asked, for some reason eager to hear about it, to live vicariously through this man that he had just met, who’s life, who’s future, he wanted so badly.
“Down to LA,” Lindsey replied. “I got an offer from a firm down there, Wolfram and Hart.”
Sam screwed up his face a little, searching his memory. “I’ve never heard of it,” he said, coming up empty.
“I hadn’t either,” Lindsey replied. “But they’re persistent. And the salary and benefits are way to good to pass up.”
“Well, that’s the important part, right?” Sam said, with a chuckle and a nod. Lindsey just shrugged and grabbed another journal from the stacks.
“So, how about you Sam Winchester? What’s your story?” he asked. The question makes Sam freeze up for a second before he can answer.
“Pretty boring actually,” he replied, sounding rather unconvincing. Lindsey just gave him a steady nod, a knowing smile slowly spreading across his face as he seemed to be sizing Sam up.
“Keep lyin’ like that, kid, and you’ll be a natural lawyer,” he replied, still smirking. “Good luck Sam.”
“Yeah, thanks,” Sam replied, watching him walking back out of the stacks, journals piled up in his hands. Maybe, he though, as his mind started to work, he was wrong. The way Lindsey smiled at him, like he was on the inside of a joke that the rest of the world was on the outside of, had him reconsider his first impression of the man. Maybe, just maybe, he had never had, and wasn’t in for, a normal life.