Pairing: None, Gen.
Summary: Sam's first winter at Stanford is weird.
Sam's first winter at Stanford is weird.
The dorms shut down for break and he doesn't have any friends yet—it's only been a semester, it's not that long, he always took a while to make friends growing up—so he strikes a deal with one of his bosses and forfeits his paycheck for the next month to sleep on the sofa in the break room. He knows it's a shit deal but he won't get a motel room, he can't, he refuses to.
He does double and triple shifts at all his jobs. Works sixteen hours bartending at The Watering Hole then eight hours checking IDs and breaking up fights at No Idea. Everyone who has vacation seems to take it all at once so he only has enough time to sleep every other day or so.
He makes good money, even with an entire check gone from his income. His tips from the restaurant are insane, everyone wants to impress their friends and relatives and their potential love interests this time of the year. He averages a hundred and fifty dollars a night, give or take. He has no idea if that's good for everyone else but it's fucking fantastic for him.
He can't help but overhear the conversations. Girls in line at the club with their skimpy outfits and no coats in the middle of December huddled together and talking about the "freezing" forty-eight degree weather. It still feels weird to him that there's no snow on the ground.
After shift change Sam heads into the club. He climbs the stairs, makes his way through the VIP platform and ducks back into the room off the manager's office. Rick wakes him two hours and sixteen minutes later and offers to drive him to the restaurant. Sam falls back asleep in the passenger's seat, face tucked into the window and Fool to Cry whispering out of the speakers.
It's Christmas before he knows it. He works a full twenty-four hours at the restaurant before Christy kicks him out around five. He knows it's closer to night than day as soon as he steps outside, the street busy but not jammed, the sun low and falling.
He calls a cab and goes to Outback, orders a lobster and a steak, medium rare, and doesn't think of Dean or his dad at all.
He drops a hundred dollars on the table when he leaves. His cab doesn't get there for an hour and as he sits on the bench inside the door and doesn't think about his roommate having some feast with his family at home or the presents he didn't know where a part of this day until he was nine.
He doesn't think about the all-night poker tournaments that used to be how he marked this day. He doesn't think about splitting a bottle of Jack with his dad and his brother three years ago or the two months he spent in surgery from the sheet metal he split his foot in half on later that night.
The cab ride back is slow and numb. The shocks on the Caddy are worn and the ride is bumpy, the Christmas music is blaring and grating his ears and the driver is entirely too happy for someone who's spending Christmas shuffling people around. Sam tips the driver half and doesn't wish him pain when he drives off.
No Idea is twice as busy as normal, young adults escaping visiting parents and college kids bonding with younger siblings and masses of people avoiding and ignoring the families they don't have. He uses his bag for a pillow and grabs the blanket his boss lets him keep in his office, curls himself on the couch and tries to ignore the headache-inducing bass thumping through the walls.
He's still awake when his phone rings. He answers it and says nothing. The only sound on the other end is breathing, wet with the occasional grunt thrown in. Sam closes his eyes, breathes deep and feels the tension slide off of him. He sleeps deep for the first time since August.