Disclaimer: Neither Supernatural nor American Gods belongs to me.
Note: Unbetaed. Spoilers for American Gods if you don't know who Low Key is. Set during Folsom Prison Blues in Supernatural. Other than pretending Shadow was in prison in Arkansas, I figure this fits in pretty well with both canons. Can be read without knowledge of American Gods. Inspired by lyrawing's excellent American Gods/Supernatural crossover 'Dust in the Wind'. Let me know what you think.
Prison reminded Sam a lot of high school. There was the bad cafeteria food, the inexplicable cliques, and, 'oh look, his brother was in detention again'. Dean probably thought solitary was better than detention – at least no one was making him do homework.
Sam's job was to mingle because that was what he always did. Except these weren't the mingle type of people. They weren't Sam's type of people either. Part of him felt guilty for thinking that, but another part was fiercely glad he didn't fit in here. That was probably why it scared him to see how easily Dean adapted.
Not that Sam wasn't doing okay on his own. In spite of his young face, his size made nearly everyone leave him alone. The one guy who had tried something was still wheezing and limping. Unlike Dean, Sam hadn't been caught fighting, and although no one said anything, Sam hadn't been bothered since. Now if only his cell mate would quit staring at him…
It was the dining hall that reminded him the most of high school. Here, the cliques were obvious: the gamblers, the dealers, the old timers, the psychos, the mother rapers, the father rapers. And he cannot believe he just made that joke. He decided to blame it on Dean, even though he first heard 'Alice's Restaurant' in its entirety one drunken night at Stanford.
Sam is a 'loner', and there are more of them here than there were in his high school. He would rather sit alone, but he really should try to get some information if they are ever going to get out of here. He just had to choose someone who wouldn't stab him with their fork.
A guy at one of the round tables seemed to sense his approach, and sent him an angry glare – definitely the homicidal silverware wielding type. Sam continued on, making it all look casual. Dean would have just picked a guy and sat. And Dean would either have learned everything they needed, or gotten a spoon in the gut.
At the end of a long table was a guy as tall as Sam, if not taller. His features and skin tone made it impossible to determine his race or origin – a true American. It must get him heckled a lot in this place, and yet there was a neutral, calm look on the man's face. Sam knew that the worst this guy would do is refuse to talk to him. He sat down across from the man.
"Sam," he offered, when the man's eyes finally drifted to his face.
"Why?" Sam asked before he could stop himself.
Shadow shrugged. "It's a name." And the look he gave Sam made him certain that Shadow had handled the name question a thousand times before in the exact same way.
Sam decided to change the subject. "How long have you been in?" It was the standard question and a good one for his purposes. The old timers would know more about the old cell block and Moody.
Another shrug. "Awhile." Sam was disappointed, but perhaps Shadow had heard something, or witnessed one of the new murders.
A man slipped into the seat next to Shadow, accidentally jostling Shadow's tray and sending water slopping out of Shadow's full cup. Sam recognized him as one of the cafeteria workers – they ate after everyone else had been served, but could take as much as they liked – hence why serving the food was a job for the top of the prison hierarchy. It certainly explained why Sam was on latrine duty after breakfast.
"Sam," he said again. The other man gave the impression of having been inside a long time. Sam couldn't pin down his age, one second he thought middle–aged, the next ancient, and the next, closer to Dean's age. There were twisted scars across his lips and face from what looked like acid.
"Low Key." Low Key didn't stare, but looked Sam over in one assessing glance. There was no obvious tell, but Sam suddenly knew he was in the presence of a Trickster – a ballsy one, considering his choice of names. Why a Trickster would be serving time like this was beyond him, and yet, somehow, the thought didn't alarm him like it should have.
"Nice name," said Sam, only realizing after he said it that it might not be a good idea to point out.
Low Key winked and chuckled, though Sam didn't miss the hidden wariness. Sam doubted anyone got Low Key's little pun here in prison. Shadow certainly looked confused.
"I'll bet you've been here a long time," Sam said. He was pretty certain they were hunting a ghost, but if there was a Trickster involved…
Low Key shook his head. "'Fraid not, Samuel. A few years here and there. Randall's been here longest."
"Know anything about the old cell block?" challenged Sam.
"I'm just an old hustler from Minnesota," said Low Key, and it was amazing the man could look so innocent despite his scars, and the short–cropped red hair that made him look like some sort of holocaust survivor. Sam suspected Low Key and Dean would get on really well.
"And I'm just a small town boy from Kansas." Sam was offended the other man had tried the old, 'I'm harmless' routine on him.
And then it was like time slowed down and wound to a stop around them. Shadow was frozen, mid–frown while everyone else faded into gray. Low Key's orange jumpsuit glared like a beacon. In the silence, the soft scrape of Low Key leaning forward to talk to him was like the scratching of a record right next to Sam's ear.
"Someone has gifted you with far too much sight and not enough wisdom, Samuel." His smile was crooked. "I'd get involved – your brother has raised a few glasses in my direction over the years – but I'm in the middle of a much greater con. So you are going to forget this meeting, and ignore Shadow and I for as long as you're here. Talk to Randall if you want to get rid of the spirit."
Low Key made a strange gesture with his left hand, like he was turning a key only he could see, and then Sam was sitting alone at a table. His food was cold, and even more disgusting than when it was warm so he threw it away. He was cleaning the bathrooms next. Hopefully, he'd be able to find this guy, Randall, everyone kept talking about and get some answers to his questions.
The End. Comments? Questions?