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Title: Protocol
Author: caitlin_chan  with input, help, and ideas from she_universe 
Genre: gen, drama
Wordcount: 4327
Rating: PG-14
Warning: Language, mostly. Lots. Sam has a potty mouth~ Also, several mentions of whores
Notes: this is the first (and incomplete) incarnation of what she_universe  and I have dubbed the Protocol Universe, or Proverse. The final version of this fic, and all other associated fics will eventually be posted at the comm, proverse (because it's this big collaboration project we've decided to do, haha). In which Sam and Derek eventually end up together.  XD  BTW, there's nothing up at proverse right now, so... well, if you want to look at the new layout, go ahead, but that's all there is.  XD



Sam puts down his empty glass and slides it across the bar to the bartender, shaking his head when asked if he wants a refill. He pats his pocket to make sure he hasn’t lost his damnable tie and leaves enough cash on the bar to pay for his drinks, and a tip. There’s a line-up out the doors to get into the Marquee tonight, so Sam decides to leave out the door in the basement and heads down the stairs.

The basement area has been almost entirely closed off but for the washrooms and a door that’s technically employees only. Nobody is down there to see Sam use it, though, so he isn’t worried. He makes sure his wallet is tucked securely into his pocket and then crosses the room and pushes the door open. Or rather, he tries to, but the door only bounces a little on its hinges. Sam can easily make it bounce off of the bricks even when drunk, so he kicks the door a few times and tries again, but it still won’t open.

Oi!” he calls through the door, pounding it once with a fist. “Get your arse away from this door before I kick it open and grind you into the alley wall!”

There’s a muffled thump from low down, and Sam tries the door again; it opens easily, and he steps out into the alleyway. He can still hear the music from upstairs, but the air is crisp and cold and smells of the sea and snow, though it’s almost April, and he takes a deep breath.

Turning at a noise behind him, Sam comes chin-to-forehead with some kid he’s never seen before glaring at him. Well, not that much of a kid, but he’s probably nineteen at best, and a short nineteen at that. The brat takes a half a step back and then sets his jaw and straightens up. Sam raises an eyebrow. The kid looks thoroughly ravished, his hair mussed and fancy shirt wrinkled, though his tight pants are done up and his belt is buckled, so he gets some credit in Sam’s mental tally for that.

“Was that you pounding on the door?” the brat asks, one hand rubbing lightly at his neck, where a few darks marks are visible.

Sam clenches a fist at the lazy smile and self-satisfied expression, his hand practically itching to punch the kid good and hard.

So he does.

He feels vindicated for all of half a minute, as the brat holds a hand to his likely-smarting cheek, glaring up at him because Sam has a good six inches on the kid. Then the fucking brat punches him back, sinking a fist in Sam’s gut with a superior smirk. Sam’s breath hisses out through his teeth and he steps back, clutching his stomach. The kid can’t aim worth shit, but it still hurts like hell.

“What was that for, you asswipe?” the brat demands, rubbing his cheek.

“Are you some kind of half-wit?!” Sam resists the urge to throttle him. “Hanging out back here all alone?”

Squaring his shoulders, the brat attempts to look down his nose while having to look up to meet Sam’s gaze. “It’s none of your business, and what’s it to you anyway?”

Sam runs a hand through his hair. “I’m just trying to knock some sense into you. For Chrissakes, you practically scream ‘jump me!’” Sam adds with a snort, and then he drops quickly to the ground and sweeps the kid’s feet out from under him. “Do yourself a favour and go the hell home, and don’t punch strangers who’re bigger than you.”

Sam turns and leaves the alleyway, heading home to his apartment on Harvard Street. Stupid fucking kid... He jams his hands into his pockets and tries to find something else to think about other than the kid he’s probably going to end up seeing in the Herald as a swarming victim.

His long legs and loping stride have Sam home inside of half an hour, and he waves at the old widow across the street that took it upon herself to half-adopt him when he moved in. She’s watering her plants in the front window and she waves back cheerily.

Sam lets himself in to his main floor apartment and puts on some water to boil for a quick cup of tea on his way to wash up and change for bed. Just one more workday, and then it’ll be the weekend. He turns on his bedroom light, all he needs to move easily about his apartment. He’ll have to remember to get some groceries and call his mum, and—the ringing of the phone interrupts his thoughts, and he goes back to the kitchen to pick up the cordless phone from the charger.

“Hello?”

“Sam, hi, it’s Emily from across the road.”

Sam frowns. “Is everything all right, Mrs. P.?”

“Oh, I’m fine, hun, but I was just heading to bed and noticed you have a whore on your deck.”

“A who—wait, what?”

“A young man in very tight pants. He certainly looks like a whore, wearing pants like that.”

Sam thumps his head against the wall he’s leaning on and tries very hard not to swear aloud.

“He didn’t knock loud enough for me to hear him, I guess. And don’t worry, I don’t know any whores.” Sam doesn’t think he knows any whores, anyway, and the brat seemed far to naïve to be one, unless he’s just that new to the profession. “Thanks for telling me.”

“You’re welcome, Sam. You get yourself to bed soon, now.”

“I will. Night, Mrs. P.”

“Good night, hun.”

Hanging up the phone with a growl, Sam stalks across the kitchen and wrenches his front door open. The brat whips his head around, looking rather like a deer in headlights.

“I told you to go home, not follow me home. You aren’t a damn dog, are you?”

“How’d you know I was here? I never knocked.”

“My neighbour called to say I had a whore on my deck.”

The brat flushes and sputters angrily, then tries to push his way into the apartment. Sam blocks him easily.

“Go home!”

Rebuffed and shifting slightly from foot to foot, the kid looks away. “I can’t.”

“Why the hell not?”

He mutters something inaudible, and Sam frowns.

“What?”

“My wallet and cell phone got stolen.”

“Let me guess—the chick you were necking lifted them?”

The kid clears his throat. “Prick, actually.”

Sam sighs heavily. “You’re one dumb shit, you know that?”

“How was I supposed to know he’d take them!” he says petulantly, and Sam tries not to punch him. Again.

Glancing across the street, Sam can see Mrs. P. watching him—probably making sure this person at his door isn’t going to jump him or something—so he steps back and waves his arm. “Fine, come in and you can use my phone.”

The kid steps quickly into the apartment, chafing at his arms a little, and Sam grabs his shoulder; it’s cool under his hand.

“Shoes off here,” he commands, and then points to his kitchen table. “Have a seat.”

The kettle is whistling by this point, so Sam steps over and turns off the burner. The kid sits down, his shoulders hunched and his arms tightly crossed—unsurprising, considering the cold March night and his state of dress. He didn’t have a jacket on in the alleyway, either.

“Hey, kid—”

“Derek. Not ‘kid,’” he says with a shiver.

“Derek. I’m Sam. Tea?”

“What?” Derek furrows his brow, and Sam holds up the kettle.

“D’you want some tea?”

“…Uh, sure.”

Sam gets a second mug from the cupboard and drops a teabag in each, adding the water. “The phone is on the wall, so call your folks so you can get outta my hair.”

“I can’t.”

“What?”

“I don’t know their number. It was on my cell phone.”

Plunking a mug down on the table in front of Derek, Sam groans again. “You don’t know your parents’—your own phone number.”

“I’ve never had to dial it from memory, so why would I bother to remember it?”

“I’ve got no words for you, kid,” Sam says, then downs half his tea in one go, wincing only slightly at the heat.

“It’s Derek.”

“Well, look them up in the phone book then, kid.

“We’re probably unlisted.” The kid—Derek—wraps his hands around the mug, his shoulders drooping slightly, and takes a slow pull of his tea.

“Jesus H. Christ. You’re unbelievable. Are you even legal?”

“I’m nineteen,” Derek shoots back defensively, taking another sip of tea.

Sam snorts. “When, last week?”

“...Yesterday. Hey, you aren’t that much older than me!”

Sam chokes on his mouthful of tea and coughs a bit to clear his airway. “Jesus. I’m twenty-three, kid, and even when I was nineteen I wasn’t as dense as you.”

Derek scowls at him over his mug as he takes another drink, though the expression seems half-hearted, and then rubs his eyes.

Sam drains the last of his tea with a sigh, and then stands. “Look, you sit here and try to remember your folks’ phone number. I’m getting changed – I have work in the morning.”

He puts his cup in the kitchen sink and then goes to his bedroom. Despite being stuffed in his pocket for several hours, his tie is salvageable without ironing for tomorrow, so Sam tosses is across the top of his dresser. He changes into flannel pants and an old tee, then goes and washes up in the bathroom and returns to the kitchen. He stops short when he sees Derek.

The brat has his head pillowed on his crossed arms; his eyes are closed and to all appearances he is asleep. Sam sighs and shakes his head, and crosses the kitchen and moves the mug from the table to the sink. Derek doesn’t stir at the noise, so Sam gets an extra blanket from his linen closet and drapes it over the kid’s shoulders, and then takes himself off to bed.




Sam wakes to the sun on his face, streaming through the curtains he forgot to close the night before.

Wait, sun?!

Shooting a glance as his alarm clock, he explodes from his bed in a flurry of movement and curses, including telling his alarm to go hell for not waking him. He dresses quickly, then darts into the washroom to brush his teeth and run a comb through his hair as he tightens his tie. Coming out from the bathroom, he sees the brat has moved himself to the chesterfield, and kicks him off as he passes by.

“Shit!”

Good, the brat is awake. Sam shoves some paper into his briefcase and grabs an apple off the counter; if he hurries he can make the next bus before the rush hour ends and will only be half an hour late.

“What the hell was that for, Sam? I was sleeping! I already got woken up once this morning!”

Sam pauses, and his hand tightens on the bottle of Coke he’s in the process of pulling out of the fridge.

“Did you turn off my alarm?”

“It was loud,” Derek snaps, “and I was still tired!”

“For Chrissakes, you stupid shit, I have that alarm set for a reason! I have to work! I’m going to be late thanks to you!”

“Well, have fun.” The brat moves in to the space Sam vacated to poke through the fridge.

“Yeah, sure,” Sam says, then grabs the kid by his shirt collar and pulls him away from the fridge, kicking it closed. “Stay out of my food. Call your parents or someone, I don’t even care any more, then get out of my place. If you steal anything or break anything I will hunt you down. Lock the goddamn door—it locks from the inside, you don’t need a key—and don’t let it hit you on the way out.”

Checking his pockets quickly, Sam confirms the presence of his wallet, cell phone, keys, and bus pass, and then shoves his feet into his shoes and tugs on his jacket. He fires one more glare at the brat for good measure, and then takes off for the bus. The little voice in the back of his mind tells him that this day is going to suck serious balls, and Sam tells it to shut up.



Sam hates it when that little voice is right. He was an hour late even though he got the right bus because of an accident, and his boss reamed him out in front of his whole team, and then things just went downhill from there. He’s beyond glad to be out of there for the weekend.

On the bus heading home—two hours later than usual—Sam sighs and mentally thanks all that is presumably holy for the week finally being over. He tightens his grip on the pole and touches his forehead to the cool, yellow-painted metal for a moment, then pulls back, rocking on his feet with the motion of the bus. Watching out the window for the synagogue, he sees it coming up, though someone else requests the stop before he does.

Sam squeezes through the people to get off the bus and walks the short distance to his apartment in a couple of minutes, dodging teenagers and university students already out for the night, a few of them already well on their way to completely tanked. Fumbling in his pocket for his keys, Sam switches his briefcase to his left hand and gets the door open with a bit more trouble than usual, something he attributes to his mounting headache.

His shoes he leaves at the door, and the jacket is tossed over the back of one of his kitchen chairs. Heading to his room to change, Sam’s jaw drops and for a moment he can’t believe what he’s seeing: books are off their shelves and strewn on the sea chest he uses for a coffee table, the floor, and the chesterfield. If he ever sees that goddamn kid again, Sam is going to garrotte him with a fucking shoelace or something. Sam yanks violently at his tie, then pushes his bedroom door open and pauses. His closet door hangs open, and there are several shirts scattered across the floor.

“Jesus H. Christ. Fucking kid...”

Sam crosses to his closet; from the mess it looks like the kid didn’t find anything to suit his tastes. Just as well. Sam reaches for where his favourite green shirt always hangs, but it isn’t there. He scans the floor: no green shirt. He knows it was in his closet this morning, because he remembers seeing it. Straw, meet camel’s back.

That fucking brat!”

Snarling, Sam strips out of his work clothes and pulls on a pair of jeans and a blue cable knit sweater his mum made him for Christmas. He hangs up the clothes the brat left on his floor; spitting every curse he knows the entire time, then goes back into the living room and surveys the mess. Fuck this shit, he’ll deal with it after he gets something to eat and takes his pills. In the kitchen, Sam opens and closes cupboards as he looks at what he has to cook; he needs groceries, but he has some spaghetti, so he take sit out and fills a pot with water. There should be some sauce in the freezer—Sam turns as his apartment door opens, and Derek walks in.

Wearing his shirt.

“This area is really dull when I don’t have any money to do anything,” the kid comments casually as he comes in and sits down at the kitchen table, putting his shod feet up on one of the other chairs.

Sam gapes at him for a moment, then slams the package of spaghetti down on the counter.

“What the fuck do you think you’re doing taking my fucking clothes and leaving my apartment a mess?! Get your goddamn>I> feet off my goddamn chair and put your own goddamn clothes back on!” Sam looms over Derek where he sits at the table, his superior height overshadowed by his anger and the volume of his voice.

Derek recoils a little and reflexively pulls his feet off the chair. “I didn’t think it’d be such a big deal, it’s just some clothes—”

“They’re my goddamn clothes—how did you even get those pants to fit you? No, I don’t want to know. Just put your own back on before I deck you again.” Sam stomps away and puts the pot of water on to boil for the pasta and retrieves the frozen sauce from the freezer.

The brat glares at him, then kicks his shoes into the entryway and goes into the living room and picks his clothes—which Sam hadn’t noticed—up from the floor at the end chesterfield where they were only partially visible unless one was looking at that specific spot. He strips off Sam’s clothes standing half in the kitchen, and Sam groans, rubbing his forehead with one hand.

“Jesus, have you no manners?”

“What, we’re both guys. Are you gay or something?” Derek snipes at him.

“Close; I’m bi.”

“I would have thought you’d enjoy the view then, but if it offends you, you can close your eyes.”

It doesn’t offend me, you fucktard, but you’re changing in my kitchen, Sam wants to snap, but instead says, “Well, you’re not really my type. You’re too young, aside from the fact that you look like a whore.”

“Whatever.” Derek pulls his shirt on, but doesn’t bother to button it up. “How long until the food is ready?”

“It’s my supper, not yours!”

“Come on, I haven’t eaten all day. I stayed out of your food this morning!”

“Oh, for the love of—fine! If you’ll just shut up, then I’ll feed you, okay?” Sam presses the heels of his hands against his temples. “Can you do that? Just shut up for a while?”

The kid shrugs and sits down on the chesterfield. Of course he wouldn’t offer to help. Why would he? Argh. Sam takes a deep breath and adds the pasta to the now-boiling water and shoves the container of frozen sauce in the microwave to heat it up. He stirs the noodles and watches the sauce and soon enough, supper is ready.

“Kid, food.” Derek gets up off the chesterfield and comes over to the table; Sam points. “Sit and eat. No talking,” he adds before the kid can say anything. “My head hurts to much too listen to you right now.”

Sam grabs his prescription off the top of the fridge, then sits down and starts in on his first real meal of the day. Thankfully, Derek stays quiet the entire time, and Sam is grateful for the silence. By the time he’s done, he feels a little bit less like punching the kid in the face, which is an improvement. Rising from his chair, Sam takes his plate and Derek’s to the sink and then gets him the cordless phone.

“Call someone. Call your family, your friends, I don’t care. Just call someone.”

Derek’s expression turns exaggeratedly sad and lost. “Call someone? Who do I call? Who am I? I must have amnesia or something.”

Sam forces himself to put the phone on the table instead of hitting the brat with it. “Don’t dick around with me, kid.”

“Kid? Is that my name?”

Moving to the sink, Sam turns on the hot water to fill the sink for dishes. “Fucking call someone. I am not dealing with this any more!”

“How do I call someone? Do you know the number I can call?” Derek’s voice is syrupy-sweet forced innocence, and Sam growls low in his throat, then turns on his heel.

“Are you fucking ten?! I don’t care if you want to run away from home or whatever, but you aren’t fucking doing it here!” Sam is shouting now, wet hands gesticulating wildly. “What, have you got some big problem?! A rich, snotty brat like you? Didn’t get everything you wanted from Mummy and Daddy so you run away and don’t call them to try and get them all worried?”

Derek’s face goes blank and his hand clenches around the phone on the table.

“You didn’t get you car? Or your motorcycle? Well let me tell you something, kid! Grow the fuck up!”

Sam turns back to the sink, panting slightly, and turns off the tap. It’s been running hot all this times and he plunges his hands into the burning water. The pain helps him centre himself, and he hears the quiet beeping of the phone being dialled. Lying little shit. Doesn’t know his number, Sam’s rosy red arse.

“Miles?” Derek’s voice is soft and steely. “I need you to pick me up.”

Sam glances over his shoulder as he hears the chair skid on the kitchen floor; the kid is walking over to him, eyes on the floor.

“I’m in Halifax; this man will give you directions,” he says, and then holds out the phone to Sam.

Sam takes it without thinking, and Derek walks out the front door without even putting on his shoes. Shaking his head slightly, Sam puts the phone to his ear.

“Who is this?”

“Could you tell me where Master Frederick is?” asks a tired, older male’s voice, apparently this ‘Miles.’

“Wha – who?”

“Master Frederick; I was just speaking with him.”

“Uh, right... master. Whatever.”

Sam gives the old man directions in a daze, rattling off street names and turns and his civic number automatically, and then hangs up the phone. He puts the cordless on the counter and dries the water from his hands, and crosses the room to open his front door.

Derek is standing on the deck, his shirt still unbuttoned and fluttering in the cold north wind, and leaning on the deck railing. He doesn’t look at Sam when Sam opens the door and clears his throat.

“Kid. Derek.”

Derek cocks his head slightly, just enough that Sam can see he’s listening.

“Derek, get back in here.”

The kid’s gaze flicks in his direction just long enough for Sam to make eye contact.

“I will not have someone who looks like a whore standing out on my deck.”

Derek doesn’t move.

“...Button your shirt and come back inside. It’s cold out.”

Sam turns to go back into the kitchen, pausing to see if Derek is coming; he is, so Sam moves out of the way. Derek comes in and sits back down at the kitchen table, his head bowed and his hands tightly clasped on the table in front of him. He’s shivering.

Sam fills the kettle with cold water and puts it on to boil, then moves across the kitchen to the living room and picks up the blanket that Derek used last night. He drops it nonchalantly on the kid’s head and goes to his cupboard for mugs and teabags. Sam can see Derek looking at him strangely in his peripheral vision as he takes the blanket off his head and wraps it around his shoulders, but forces himself not to meet the brat’s eyes.

Sam stands at the stove, watching the kettle as it heats; watched pots do boil, after all, and this way he can pretend Derek isn’t in the room. Whatever it was Sam said that set the kid off, he doesn’t feel like discussing it. The kettle boils and he adds the water to each mug, concentrating on the mundane task as he pokes the teabags around in the water for a couple of minutes and then fishes them out with a spoon. When he turns with both mugs in hand, Derek is staring at the tabletop again, his brow furrowed slightly. He glances up quickly as Sam puts one of the mugs in front of him, then wraps his hands around it and begins staring into his tea. Sam sits down with his own cup in hand, sipping at it slowly, then takes a deep breath.

“Kid—Derek. I shouldn’t have said all that shit. It’s hard to keep my temper with a migraine, but that doesn’t an excuse what I said. So I just wanted you to know, I’m sorry.”

Derek raises his eyes from his mug, meeting Sam’s gaze, and then looks back down.

Sam grimaces a little. Well, he couldn’t have seriously expected it would be that easy. Nothing else with this kid had been that easy, after all, except getting pissed off. He drinks his tea, watching Derek surreptitiously. He’s still staring at his tea, even though he’s shaking a little under the blanket he put around his shoulders.

Finally, when Sam has nearly finished his tea, Derek takes a drink. It isn’t an acceptance of Sam’s apology, but at least he’s doing something besides sitting there in silence. Drinking the last mouthful of tea, Sam puts his mug in the sink and starts tidying up the mess in his living room. He’s not going to make a snide remark about the mess. He’s not. Sam bites his lip to stifle a sigh and a grumble and moves around in near silence until a knock on his door interrupts the quiet and he goes to answer it.

Sam opens the door to an old man in a dark suit who couldn’t be anyone but Miles, but when he turns to tell the kid, he’s already there putting his shoes on. A word from Derek sends Miles back to the car in the driveway—Sam resists the urge to whistle; it’s a nice car—and he steps past Sam without a word and crosses the deck.

Derek pauses on the top step and shoots a quick glance back over his shoulder and nods at Sam.

“Thanks.”

Comments

( 2 splashes of ink — splash some ink )
she_universe
Apr. 15th, 2008 05:15 pm (UTC)
A WORLD OF PROTOCOL.




(I NEED AN ICON FOR THIS.)
caitlin_chan
Apr. 15th, 2008 05:35 pm (UTC)
ME TOO. WE NEED TO BRAINSTORM ICON IDEAS.
( 2 splashes of ink — splash some ink )