Expiration Date

by: Abigale

Character(s): Josh, Sam
Pairing(s): Josh/Sam
Category(s): Angst, Slash
Rating: YTEEN
Summary: Sam Seaborn Archive challenge.

Nothing Sam owns, except for his books, some clothes, and some photographs, is more than three and a half years old.

He turned one of the most emotionally overwhelming times in his life into an opportunity. A fresh start one usually only gets if their house is torn from its foundation by a tornado, or is carried away on the muddy, churning waters of a flood.

Something devastating.

But devastation implies an inability to rebuild, and Sam has rebuilt. He took his books, his clothes, his photographs, and he constructed a whole new life around them. They became the axis he assembled his new world around.

They, and Josh.

"And take your fucking 'Social Contract of the Firm' with you!"

The four-hundred twenty-nine page book went whizzing past Sam's head, falling short of the wall. "You've been out of law school for ten years, Sam. What the hell do you keep buying books for?!"

Stupidly, Sam opened his mouth, almost responded; it's what I do. Instead, he dropped his head, stared at the small hole in the faded area rug, the spot where he'd dropped his cigar one drunken night, afraid that Josh would be angry.

"I've had that son-of-a-bitch forever, what do I care?" he'd laughed instead, reminding Sam of his first roommate at Princeton.

"If I had your money, I sure as hell wouldn't be spending it on law books!"

There are things in the books that Sam feels he needs to know. He's not a lawyer anymore, but they think he is, and he'd hate to disappoint. He has only to look up at the florid face of Josh to know what that feels like.

"Do you think I'm impressed? Do you imagine me crouching under the covers, keening 'Sam's so much smarter than me. Oooh!' "

Sam imagines all the times they've crouched under the covers together. Crying 'oooh.'

This time, when he's on his knees, it's to retrieve the heavy book, which he absently dusts off with his hand. It's solid, and bound to within an inch of its life in dark, grainy leather, like the pores in skin. He stares at it, nearly mumbles that it'll be okay, he won't let anyone hurt it again.

Because no one says these things to Sam, Sam talks to his books.

As he draws himself from the floor, Sam sees Josh's long-toed feet, slightly blue against the cold, hard wood. He should rub them until they're tinged with pink. Or bring him some socks from the laundry; or simply tell him to step onto the rug.

"I'll stand wherever the hell I feel like standing!" Josh shouts. "Just like what you do is none of my concern!"

Anymore.

Sam lodges the book under his arm, and steps into Josh's space. He can't say goodbye, because it's never goodbye for them. So instead, he reaches up and wraps a sweat dampened curl around his finger.

It may no longer be his right; but he's earned the privilege.

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