If You Love Someone, by DoofusPrime
Notes: Hey, everybody. Here's my first fic for Freaks and Geeks, taking place after Lindsay returns from her trip at the end of the show.It's going to be 6 chapters in all.
Disclaimer: All publicly recognizable characters, settings, etc. are the property of their respective owners. The original characters and plot are the property of the author. The author is in no way associated with the owners, creators, or producers of any media franchise. This work was not created for profit. No copyright infringement is intended.
The Prodigal Daughter
It wasn't the smell of drugs and incense that unsettled Lindsay's stomach. It wasn't that greasy hot dog double value dinner they'd had earlier, although that didn't help. And it wasn't the way the van was jerking and bobbing on a particularly pothole-ridden road, either. Lindsay knew what what bothering her: it was coming home. The road trip was over, they were back in Chippewa, and she'd be reunited with her family at any moment. Normally she enjoyed coming home after a long trip to strange places, but this was different. She knew she hadn't thought things through. By now, they had to know.
"Hey, Lindsay," said Victor, who looked back as he drove the van. "You're not gonna, like, puke all over van, are you? That stuff is hard to clean out. Believe me, I know."
Kim snapped her fingers. "Keep your eyes on the road." She turned to Lindsay. "You feeling okay?"
"Yeah, I was just thinking."
"About what? How you're gonna be in huge trouble when you get home?"
Kim laughed as Lindsay punched her playfully on the arm. Lindsay had brought up the subject before, but it hadn't really sunk in until now. Now that they were minutes from her house. Strands of emotion had been twisting and turning inside her ever since they left the hotel where they had been staying for their last stop on the Grateful Dead tour. The whole drive back had been a weird mixture of contentment, happiness, dread, and guilt. The concert had been amazing – something Lindsay knew she would never forget. Life changing. Lindsay changing. It wasn't just the music, either. It was the fact that she had even done it. The fact that she had chosen it over the academic summit at the University of Michigan. She knew it was a pivotal moment.
But that didn't mean her parents would know. She had done bad things in the past, mostly since she started hanging out with McKinley High School's little band of freaks, but this seemed different. Maybe it was the importance she was assigning to it, the way it felt so monumental, but she couldn't shake the foreboding feeling that grew in the pit of her stomach the closer she got to home. This was even worse than crashing a car - especially since it was that other lady's fault in the first place for going down the driveway without stopping.
Whatever her parents did this time, it would be big.
"Well," said Victor, "here are are. This is where you said, right?"
Laurie touched her arm as the van slowed down. "Don't be a stranger, okay?"
"Don't worry, I won't."
The van stopped, and Kim wrenched open the side door with a theatrical flourish. Lindsay looked out at her suburban neighborhood, cloaked in darkness. There was her house. A light was on in the living room window. She had briefly hoped that her parents might be out, just so she could get a few minutes to prepare herself, but her parents didn't go out that much. She'd have to face them now. She stepped out of the van.
"Hey, Lindsay," said Kim.
"Daniel said something about hanging out tonight. You wanna meet us in the parking lot at Jimmy's?"
"I dunno, Kim. I might be in a lot of trouble."
"You think?" laughed Kim. "Maybe you can sneak out, though. I mean, what do you care what your parents think after you totally skipped that academic thing? I thought this was, like, some kind of turning point for you."
Lindsay knew her friend was just ribbing her, but something about the comment unsettled her even more. Kim seemed to sense the change in mood and shrugged awkwardly, as if trying to say it was best to ignore anything she said. "Well, just let us know what happens."
Lindsay nodded. She said goodbye to her new friends, Victor and Laurie, before leaving the van behind and heading for her house. She could see movement beyond the living room window, and when she got to the front door, the faint sound of laughing voices reached her from inside. It was hard to tell exactly who it was, but it wasn't her parents; that would have been nice, if they had been in a good mood when she got home. Her brother and his friends were probably over. As for her parents, for all she knew, they were waiting for her in there. Waiting like spiders for her to drop right into their web.
There was nothing left to do but open the door and face her fate.
Bill pounded his fist against the table, shaking a few game dice which were laying nearby and surprising everyone with his unusual display of anger. "There's no way some big monkey can beat a radioactive dinosaur!"
"Look, Bill," said Neal, rolling his eyes, "it's just maneuverability. Monkeys go through trees all the time, so it's not that hard to imagine he can run circles around a bigger opponent! Besides, you said it yourself – you watched the movie with your mom, and the ending made it obvious who won."
"It wasn't obvious," said Bill, "and the movie was wrong."
Sam laughed. "Surely you aren't implying movies can lie, Bill?"
"I am. And don't call me Shirley."
All three of them laughed at this, along with Gordon and Harris, who had both been listening to the argument and trading the occasional amused smirk with each other without contributing much in the way of their own opinions. Daniel was trying to keep up, but he didn't know much about the subject. He didn't know why Bill being called Shirley was so funny, either, but it seemed like some kind of inside joke Sam had set up deliberately. There was something weird about playing a game of D&D with little kids and feeling like he was the one with a lot to learn.
"What do you think, Daniel?" asked Sam. "Who would win, King Kong or Godzilla?"
Daniel shrugged. "Oh, I dunno. I haven't seen much of those movies or anything. I figure Godzilla's a bigger guy, and he breathes fire and stuff, right? That'd probably kick a monkey's ass."
The boys laughed at his comment. Daniel was glad to say something funny, although he noticed Sam's mother give him a quick look as she entered the room, probably having overheard him say 'ass'. He smiled at her, trying his best to be charming, as she set down a tray of cheese and crackers to join the sodas everyone had already grabbed in the kitchen and taken to the living room table. "Are you boys almost done with your game?" she asked them, glancing at her son. "Lindsay should be back soon, and I'm sure she wants a little peace and quiet after her trip."
"Sure, mom. We were just wrapping things up."
Mrs. Weir left the room, giving Daniel another look. He couldn't figure out what it meant., but it still set off a twinge of guilt in the pit of his stomach. Lindsay's parents knew where she had been, and it was his fault. Sort of. The academic thing at that college, or whatever it was, had called them up to tell them their daughter hadn't arrived when she was supposed to, and since that was about the same time he had come over for his second D&D tournament with Sam and his friends, they had asked Daniel if he knew where their daughter was. They seemed pretty worried, and, well – Daniel couldn't bring himself to lie to them. That wouldn't make Lindsay any less mad at him, though.
"Is she in trouble?" asked Sam.
Daniel nodded. "Yeah, probably."
The table had fallen silent after Mrs. Weir bringing up Lindsay. The Weirs weren't very good at keeping any secrets - like the fact that they were mad, and that Lindsay would probably be coming home to an awkward night. Mr. Weir in particular had been pacing around all night long, barely saying a word to Daniel when he got there. It reminded him of Nick, when his friend been smoking too much and got into one of his rants about his dad.
"Hey," said Sam, "before we go, we were hoping to ask you something."
It took a moment for Daniel to realize Sam was talking to him. The boy glanced at his friends, who glanced back at him nervously, like they were all waiting for Sam to ask him the question. "Yeah?" he asked. "Go ahead."
"Well, we were wondering – I man, it's no big deal, but-"
Sam was about to trail off when Neal interrupted him:
"We were wondering if you wanted to go to a convention with us."
It wasn't a question Daniel had been expecting, but the five boys around the table were already staring, waiting for an answer. Even Harris looked expectant, and he normally acted about as laid back as Daniel. He barely even knew what a convention was. What did you do at a convention? All he knew for sure was that it was something nerdy, although he wasn't sure what, exactly. Not that playing D&D wasn't nerdy, but this was only the third time he was here doing that. As far as Daniel was concerned, it was still just something he was testing out.
"There's lots of cool stuff to do," said Gordon, who looked like he was about to jump out of his seat just at the thought of a convention. "You can dress up like a character if you want, you can buy comics and talk to people who make them-"
"I haven't really read any comics," said Daniel. "Like what kind of comics?"
"Spider-Man, Batman," said Neal. "X-Men."
"How come there's so many comics about weird men?" asked Daniel.
The group looked blankly at each other. Daniel was pleased to see he had stumped them.
"Well, there's comics about anything, really. There's Wonder Woman, too, so it's not all men."
"Is she hot?"
They all nodded in unison.
"Anyway, we could show you some issues. I've got a bunch of them at my house."
Harris stroked his chin, deep in thought. "As do I. I'd be willing to let you borrow a selection, although some of them are shrink-wrapped, so you couldn't actually open them."
"But the convention is in a week or so," added Sam. "You'd have to decide pretty fast."
Daniel wasn't sure. It was true that he was trying different things lately, and this Dungeons & Dragons thing had been pretty fun, but wasn't there such a thing as being too nerdy? Going to a convention – that was the kind of thing people like Gordon did. Although Daniel had to admit that once you got used to the smell, Gordon turned out to be a pretty friendly guy. People at school gave the kid more of a hard time than he deserved.
They were all staring at him and waiting for an answer, which was making him uncomfortable. "Let me think about it, guys," he said. "I mean, I got a really busy schedule for the next week-"
Daniel's lie trailed off at the sound of a car coming down the street. There wasn't much traffic in the Weirs' neighborhood after dark, and so they had been paying attention to every passing car, wondering if it was Lindsay back from her trip. This time, though, they heard the car stopping just outside the driveway – and from the sound of the engine, Daniel thought it was probably a van. A door opened, and faint voices rang out. Daniel recognized Kim's among them. Lindsay was definitely back. He heard her parents moving in the kitchen, saw Mrs. Weir waiting near the front door. Everyone sat in rapt attention, and it was a surprisingly long time before the door finally opened.
"Oh – hey, mom."
"Hello, Lindsay. Welcome back."
Lindsay appeared in the living room entrance. She smiled in confusion at Daniel, who smiled back. Maybe Sam hadn't mentioned their D&D games to his sister yet. "Hey, Sam," she said to her brother. "Hey, everybody."
"Hello, Lindsay," said Neal with exaggerated friendliness. "Nice trip?"
"It was pretty good."
"Learn a lot of things at the academic summit?"
This question came from Bill, who had a faint smile on his face as Sam jabbed him with an elbow under the table. Lindsay's face went white for a moment. Before she could respond, her mother lay a hand on her shoulder. "I'm sure your father wants to say hello to you, Lindsay," she said.
"Sure. Where is he?"
"Are you guys about finished?" Mrs. Weir asked everyone at the table. "I know you probably don't have a curfew, Daniel, but Neal, Bill – I'm sure your parents will be unhappy if you come back too late. It may be summer, but it's still a week night."
Daniel exchanged glances with his fellow players, trying to keep from laughing at Mrs. Weir's weird comment, but she had already disappeared down the hall with Lindsay. He felt defensive about not having a curfew, just for a minute, anyway – why did she assume that? But then, it was true. His parents didn't even know where he was most of the time, and when he didn't have to take care of his dad, he liked avoiding them. They weren't friendly the way the Weirs were.
He turned back to Sam, who was putting the game away with his friends while they got ready to leave. "Hey, Sam," he said, "I'm gonna stick around a little while. See how Lindsay's trip was."
"Sure," said Sam with a shrug.
Daniel inched his way out of the living room, not wanting to look like he was eavesdropping. Even though he was totally going to eavesdrop. He heard the sound of voices coming from down the hall – he was pretty sure they were coming from Lindsay's room. Hopefully she wasn't going to get it too hard from them. Maybe they were friendlier than his parents, more caring, but the flip side of parents caring about you as much as the Weirs did was that when you did something they didn't like, sometimes you actually got in trouble for it.
The two of them stared at her as they sat in a pair of chairs in her room. An awkward silence surrounded them; her father, in particular, had pretty much ignored her when she said hello. The sound of the front door shutting came to them from down the hall, and Lindsay knew her parents had been waiting for Sam's friends to leave before they started talking. That was also why they had ended up here in her room, which was more awkward than just talking in the kitchen. She braced herself, getting the feeling that this was going to be painful.
"We know where you were," her father said coldly.
Lindsay didn't know what to say, but she wasn't really surprised.
"Did you really think you could hide something like that?" her mother asked. "It was obvious something was going on when you called us on the phone, with all that noise in the background. And you lied to us, Lindsay."
"We knew what was going on before you even called us, anyway. The university called us before that and said you hadn't gotten to the summit on time. Do you know how worried you made us, Lindsay?"
"We were very worried," agreed her father.
"Luckily for us, Daniel was here at the house, so we could ask him where you really were."
Lindsay was confused. "Why didn't you call me then?"
"We wanted to wait for you to call us first. We wanted to see if you would at least be honest with us once you had gotten where you were going instead."
The way her mother spoke, in a voice tinged with disappointment, made Lindsay lower her eyes, her cheeks flushing with shame. So it had been a test. And once she lied to them, they just let it slide. Waiting for her to come home before they could lay down the hammer. Her father's icy look was adding a worried edge to her shame. "I'm sorry," she said. "I shouldn't have lied to you."
"I don't think you are sorry, Lindsay."
Her father spoke quietly. It wasn't that he ever screamed at her or anything like that, but he tended to rant and rave when he got riled up about something; Lindsay wasn't used to a quiet voice when he was angry, so it was unsettling her. Now that she had said her piece, her mother seemed to be standing by and letting her husband take care of the punishment. Which was about how it usually went.
"So what are you gonna do?" she asked. "Ground me all summer?"
It came out as impudent, even though Lindsay didn't mean it that way. She was genuinely curious.
"What am I going to do?" asked her father. He looked at his wife.
"We haven't talked about that, honey," said her mother, "but I think-"
"You know," said her father, interrupting, "I don't think we're going to do anything."
Lindsay and her mom both seemed surprised by the comment.
"I don't know what the point is anymore."
The two of them kept staring at him, unsure of what to say, when the bedroom door opened. Daniel's head poked into the room, which sent a mixture of fear, relief, and amusement through her. Maybe her parents would be angry at him, but she welcomed the interruption, and she found it entertaining that Daniel thought he wasn't imposing if he just put his head through the door instead of his whole body. "Hey," he said to them, "I'm not interrupting, am I?"
"A little," said Lindsay's mother.
"Oh, well, sorry – I was just wondering if Lindsay wanted to go out tonight."
"I don't think that-"
Lindsay's father interrupted her mother for the second time. "She can go out."
Even Daniel was surprised at this.
"Honey, are you sure?"
"I'm sure, Jean. Lindsay, go ahead and go out."
Lindsay hesitated for a moment, expecting some kind of trap. "Really?"
"What do we care? You're going to do what you want, anyway."
Lindsay frowned at this. It was like her dad was sniping at her, trying to insult her. But did he seriously expect to get to her this way? In a burst of irritation, she joined Daniel at the door. If they really didn't care, then fine. She would go out. Besides - maybe her dad was right. She was going to do what she wanted. High school was almost over, and they had to accept the fact that she needed to figure life out on her own. "Fine," she said. "I'll see you guys later."
Her mother stared haplessly, while her father sat in his chair, looking completely indifferent. Lindsay left with Daniel. The two of them headed to the front door of the house. Daniel seemed to be hurrying in case Lindsay's parents changed their minds. She caught a glimpse of her brother in the kitchen and waved to him before they passed, but she didn't really want to stick around to say much, even though it was her first night back – the whole situation in her bedroom had just been weird. They darted out of the house and closed the front door behind them before heading to Daniel's car.
"Sounded like things were kinda tense in there," laughed Daniel. "I figured you could use a break."
"Yeah, thanks. Um, by the way, I heard you ratted on me to my parents?"
The question stopped Daniel for a moment as Lindsay got into his car. "Hey, come on," he said. "They put on the pressure. I dunno if you noticed, but they really know how to get things out of you! Besides, they were worried."
"Whatever. Let's just go."
Daniel got into the driver's seat and they headed off, his engine blaring and probably waking up everyone in the neighborhood. "By the way," she asked, "what were you doing at my house, anyway?"
"Oh, just hangin' out," said Daniel. "Playin' a game with your brother and his friends."
Lindsay gave him a questioning look and scrunched her nose up in amusement, but she didn't bother probing him for more information. She'd hear more about it later, and her mind was so occupied that she forgot about it almost immediately.
As they drove, headlights cutting through the darkness of ahead of them, Lindsay felt like she could use a pair of her own headlights. She didn't know what was coming, and her dad's reaction had thrown her into a cloud of nervous confusion. Beneath her veneer of a good mood, beneath the idle chatter she was trading with Daniel, she couldn't shake that seed of guilt that was now steadily growing. Before she had gotten home it was more of a nervous anticipation of her punishment, but now it was definitely guilt. What made it even weirder was that, despite the guilt, she knew she had done the right thing in going on that trip.
Her father had never acted like that before. Acting like he didn't care what she did. She almost wished they had just grounded her; better the devil you knew, after all.
Notes: That's it for the first chapter. Hopefully you guys enjoyed it, and I would appreciate any reviews and feedback. I'll probably update about once a week - and I am already essentially finished with the story in rough form, so don't worry, it will all be posted.