Title: Work Study
Challenge: spnchallenges chart challenge - first job
Word Count: 767
Disclaimer: None of the Winchesters belong to me, alas.
Summary: Sam finds a job that will help him feel at home at Stanford
Note: This ficlet is set in the same universe as a previous story of mine, Storybook Ending, but it should stand fine on its own.
Moving into the dorm doesn't take long when you only have two large duffle bags worth of crap to put away. His roommate was back and forth from his parents' SUV twice with a huge rolling bin full of electronics, clothes, and books, and all Sam could do was smile and introduce himself and rearrange his clothes in the three dresser drawers they took up. When that was done, and he realized he still had a week until classes started, Sam headed over to the student employment office to look at the listings for work-study jobs.
His financial aid package included money from work-study, and there was no way he could get by here without the job. Felt kind of weird, though he figured that getting a job was normal, and normal was good. Normal was right. Dean and Dad had picked up jobs from time to time, but Sam had never really thought about it. He had school and training, and how could he have made time for a job?
There would have to be time, now. Nobody was going to be supporting him anymore. Not that he wanted them to.
He looked through the postings for on-campus jobs, passing by the ones that wanted office experience, which he didn't have, and the ones that sounded too boring for words, like checking IDs in the gym. Finally a promising possibility--the library. Paid crap, but it didn't require any experience, which fit his resume, or lack thereof. And there was something appealing about working in a library.
Whenever they had settled into a new town, Dad had taken them to the local library to sign up for cards. Dad, and later on Dean, needed access to the resources for research on hunting and finding new trouble spots. If the interlibrary loan ladies found some of the arcane books they requested unusual, nobody ever said anything. Sam just loved going to the library to pick out books to read, and more than that he loved the sameness.
The libraries all had differences, sure, but so many things were consistent--the same cheesy posters, the same Dewey Decimal number stickers on the ends of the rows, the same magazine racks, the same wood and vinyl chairs. As long as he was quiet and polite, none of the grown-ups gave him a hard time.
In high school, he started spending time in college libraries. At first, he found it jarring, some of that comfortable sameness stripped away. The indexing system was different, with letters in front of the numbers, but soon enough he figured out the Library of Congress numbering, too, and it was just another kind of sameness.
He couldn't take out any books from the college libraries, but he could read them. He could sit in a study carrel doing research for a World Studies project and pretend he was in college, working on a term paper. He could watch the college kids walking out the door and imagine that he was going with them to their dorm rooms and dining halls and classes.
When Dean would come pick him up, leaning against the Impala and making cracks about loser frat guys and nerds, Sam could never quite look him in the eye.
His second day in Palo Alto, walking into the Stanford library to find the woman he'd talked to on the phone, the periodicals department manager who was supposed to interview him, he told himself to stop thinking about Dean. Here he was, finally away from home, finally at college, finally living the life he wanted for himself, and still everything led back to Dean. Dean would like this greasy shit they sell at the cafeteria. Dean would think the security guard was a useless bastard who couldn't protect himself from a paper cut. Dean wouldn't wake him up like that, endlessly brushing with an electric toothbrush three feet away from him.
Dean was 600 miles away, if not more by now, hunting with Dad, and Sam hadn't gotten himself disowned by his father and traveled for a solid day on a crowded bus so that he could spend his time comparing every damn thing to his brother.
He walked into the periodicals department and looked at the shelves full of bound journals, solid and wide with white lettering on their spines, and the other shelves with current journals, different color covers contrasting with the white racking. He looked at the group of study carrels, with their wood and vinyl chairs, and the big cabinets full of microfilm. Yeah, he thought, this could be home.