The dorm room was finally starting to feel like home to Sam. At least, he thought that was what the feeling inside of him was, that weird sense of relief to step inside, to be surrounded by things that were his and his alone. His bed. His desk with his laptop. His shoes under the bed and clothes in his
dresser. Not some motel bed or motel dresser that was temporary. Two days was all it had taken for him to settle in, something he hadn’t thought would be as easy as it was.
Sam stared up at the ceiling, the room still dark. He turned just enough to look at the clock. A little after five in the morning. The sun wasn’t even beginning to rise yet, and here he was, already awake. He should have known that letting go of his previous life wouldn’t be as easy as just going off to college. There was a part of him that still woke early, body keyed up and ready to go. Early morning workouts, weapons practice. That’s what these hours had been used for when he was with Dean and Dad. Training before school or before a hunt. Making sure that he kept in top shape.
In other words, something that he didn’t need
to do anymore because he wasn’t a hunter.
So why had he still gotten up yesterday morning, crept out of the room as quietly as possible so that he didn’t wake up Connor, and gone for a jog around campus?
And why was that exactly what he was going to do today, too?Because there’s no reason
not to stay in shape
, he told himself. Just because he wasn’t hunting anymore didn’t mean he should lose the years of tone and conditioning he’d put into his body. Being away from Dad wasn’t a reason to indulge in laziness.
Sitting up slowly, Sam swung his legs over the side of the bed, conscious of his still-sleeping roommate. Connor had turned out to be a good guy so far. A little weird sometimes, but Sam knew that the same could be said of him
. They hadn’t had a whole lot of time to talk; Connor seemed pretty busy at night when Sam was likely to be in the room surfing the internet or flipping through the textbooks he’d already bought, even though the first day of classes was still a week out.
But what he’d seen so far gave Sam hope that he and Connor would get to be friends eventually if they weren’t already on their way there. He was very smart, had a wicked sense of humor, and didn’t press Sam to talk when Sam clammed up about something. Like family or where he was from. If anything, Connor was just as tight-lipped on the subject of family, which, yeah, made Sam wonder what was up with that, of course. But if he wanted his privacy – wanted not to be poked and prodded to give up details that he wasn’t comfortable sharing with anyone – then he couldn’t pry at Connor to talk, either.
Even with all the things that he couldn’t
talk about, there was still a lot that he and Connor seemed to have in common. For one, they were taking a lot of the same classes, with Connor also being a pre-law major. Sam thought that he couldn’t have gotten luckier in that regard. They’d both have someone to help with late night cramming before tests.
Like him, Connor didn’t see any particular fun in the parties that were already being advertised on campus. In fact, Connor had gone as far as to say that he didn’t do crowds
and saw no point in impairing
himself with alcohol.
Weird way to put it, but Sam could understand. He wasn’t the type to hang out with a lot of people just to get drunk off his ass, either. Didn’t like to dull his senses, either. You could take the hunter out of the hunt, but you could never take the hunt out of the hunter. He was always going to be wary of letting his guard down too much.
They were both sort of loners as far as Sam could see. Other than Connor going off at night – though Sam got the feeling that wasn’t to meet up with anyone – Sam’s roommate didn’t really seem to be hanging out with anyone.
Like two peas in a fucked up pod, he guessed. That’s what they were.
Yawning wide enough that his jaw popped, Sam stretched his arms up over his head, feeling the slow burn spread through his muscles as they lengthened and woke up. He left on his sweat pants, stopped just long enough to tug on a t-shirt and sneakers, then he was out and running in the still-cool air of the early morning.
He couldn’t help but wonder if Dean was somewhere doing the exact same thing as he pushed himself into an easy jog.
Connor was awake and sitting on his bed with his own laptop when Sam let himself back into the room almost an hour later.
“Hey, man,” he greeted as Connor looked up. “Hope I didn’t wake you.”
The shrug was easy when it came. “I don’t need that much sleep anyway. Don’t worry about it.” He gave Sam a half-smile and shut his laptop. “You do this every morning?”
Sam nodded and crossed to his dresser, tugging out a change of clothes. The communal showers at the end of the hall would be empty this early in the morning, and that was yet another perk of being conditioned to get up at the butt crack of dawn. “Yeah,” he said finally, turning back to Connor with his clothes in his hand. “I guess I sort of got used to it growing up. Dad –“
His mouth shut, the words dying on his lips. That was more than he’d told Connor about his family so far. It felt like a betrayal to speak so casually about the people that he’d turned his back on. Sam swallowed down that feeling with a mental sigh of fuck it
and continued, “My Dad was big about staying in shape. Got me and my brother up early every morning to workout.”
Workout. Spar. Practice with the guns and the knives. He had to make up time somewhere, after all, since Sam had insisted on going to school on a regular basis. And that meant getting up early to train
. Even though he knew that his Dad had only been doing what he thought was best, it still hurt like a bitch to think of how normal
kids had stayed in bed until they had to, got up, showered, and then went to school. Normal
kids hadn’t spent the first part of their day learning to protect themselves from monsters
“Sounds like a good guy,” Connor said conversationally.No, not really
, Sam thought, the denial so swift and strong that it was like instinct. No way he was going to admit that much, though. Not yet. Probably not ever since it would involve either making up a lot of lies or letting Connor know about the crap that went on out there in the real world
. Since he had no intention of ruining Connor’s life with that kind of knowledge, Sam just couldn’t see them having any big revealing conversations about just what kind of guy Dad was.
“He’s great,” Sam forced himself to say.
Connor’s brow wrinkled for a second, and Sam thought he might call him on the bullshit. Then Connor gave him another one of those half-smiles that sort of made Sam wonder if he just wasn’t used to smiling at all, and the moment was gone.
“Mind if I tag along with you? You go jogging, right?”
“Um yeah. And sure, that’s fine,” Sam stuttered through the words, thrown totally off balance by the question. He’d thought that maybe his roommate would ask him to try to be quieter when he left or something. Not that the other man would want to join in the impromptu, definitely-not-training, sessions.
“Cool,” Connor said.
Sam thought about warning him that he ran a good distance each morning, but stopped. Connor looked like he was in good shape. Either he’d be able to hang with him the whole way or he wouldn’t. Warning him off now would be like saying he didn’t think Connor was good enough
, and since he’d been in that position before, Sam could honestly say that he didn’t think that kind of warning
would do anything good for their friendship.
A friendship which already meant more to him than it should have just because it was so goddamned normal
“Gonna go shower,” he offered, halfway out the door by the time he heard Connor’s muttered acknowledgement. Whatever he was doing on the laptop was obviously pretty engrossing. Surfing porn like any other guy his age, Sam would bet money on.
Sam was still thinking about his new morning workout partner as he walked down the empty hallway to the men’s bathroom.
He never even noticed the morning paper delivered outside of one of the dorm rooms, the headline proclaiming loudly: Body found in woods