The Monday morning alarm assaulted Sam's ears. She opened her eyes groggily and groaned when she saw the time. Six-thirty was way too early in her opinion, but she was already running late. "SAM!" her dad yelled up the stairs. "You're late! Get your ass up!" She groaned again before making some sort of affirmative noise in response. She dragged herself out of bed and was halfway through her morning routine before thinking about how she'd have to face Hyde and the others in less than an hour. She felt a break down coming on. How in the world was she supposed to explain her freeze up and bolting last night? A better question: how much was Hyde going to tell Jekyll and Sabine?

By the time Sam walked into school, she was close to having a panic attack. She stopped just short of being in the line of sight of anyone at her normal morning table and took in the scene. Jekyll wasn't there yet- no surprise, he slept later than Sam most days; Sabine looked bored as Hyde was talking lowly and urgently to her. 'Damn. He's telling her.' Sam walked over unnoticed, dropped her backpack loudly and smirked when they both jumped and Hyde looked guiltily up at her. "Interesting conversation?" she asked lightly, sitting down.

"No, Hyde was just telling me about the English homework," Sabine said, her voice sounding a little too smooth to be true.

"Right," she dragged the word out, making her disbelief clear. "You know there was no English homework this weekend, Hyde." He looked at her awkwardly, the lie printed across his face. "And you should figure out a better story next time you wanna try to lie to me," she added sardonically.

"What else would we be talking about?" he challenged. She just looked at him.

"Who's talking about what?" The sleepy voice from behind Sam sounded confused.

Sam turned around and saw Jekyll running one hand through his floppy hair and a cup of coffee in the other. The mark on the side showed a double shot of espresso. "Rough night?" she asked.

He grinned. "No, it was amazing. Now who's talking about what? What'd I miss?"

"Nothing," Sam answered at the same time Sabine and Hyde chorused "Sam."

Jekyll just looked more confused. "Well that clears things right up."

Sam glared at Hyde and Sabine as she told Jekyll to ignore them. "We weren't talking about anything."

"Right." Jekyll wasn't convinced. Just then, conveniently, the bell rang and Sam didn't have to explain the situation. She glared at Hyde, silently warning him to keep his mouth shut before walking to class.


.z.

"Where's Sam?" Hyde asked Sabine when she walked up to the lunch table alone.

She shrugged. "Didn't see her on my way. Why are you so interested in her anyway?"

"I'm not," he muttered. Hyde didn't like the way Sabine was eying him. "What?"

"Nothing," she said just as Jekyll dropped into his seat, groaning. "What's your problem?" Jekyll mumbled something unintelligible with his head in arms. She looked over at Hyde, grinning. "I think he's trying to communicate. Too bad there isn't a monkey to interpret."

Jekyll looked up and glared. "Ha-ha very funny. I said I hate Coach Smith. He made us run today."

Sabine was unsympathetic. "Maybe it wouldn't have been so bad if you slept last night."

"I did," he whined, and then laughed as Sabine rolled her eyes.

"I meant real sleep, Jekyll."

"Whatever. Hey where's Sammy?"

"You better not let her hear you call her that," Hyde quipped as he looked around. Out of the corner of his eye he saw a familiar flicker of movement and turned in time to see a slim, dark haired figure slip into the library.


.z.

Unaware of the eyes on her, Sam entered the library, relishing in the peace and quiet. Scanning the large, open room, she immediately zoned in on a corner reading seat that she could see the door from but would be nearly invisible to anyone coming in. She wandered over casually, trying to avoid attracting attention and sank down into the deep chair. Even settled with a book in the peaceful atmosphere, Sam couldn't help but flick her gaze around every few minutes. Ever since her mom died and she and her dad had started running, it was impossible for Sam to feel secure in any place other than her own room. Even when she was in her living room or kitchen she was still on edge, waiting for her dad to come home or think of something she did wrong.

Halfway through the lunch hour, she glanced up and saw Hyde standing at the front of the library, turning around as if looking for someone. Damn, she thought, how'd he know I was in here? She'd come to the library to avoid her friends and their awkward questions. She tried to sink deeper into her chair and sit very still, hoping Hyde wouldn't see her. Knowing that Hyde was the type of guy to feel when someone was staring at him, Sam returned her gaze to her book. Since she wasn't actively looking around, Sam barely bit back her gasp when a large shadow crossed in front of her.

"Why are you hiding in here?"

Sam looked up at Hyde; he looked annoyed. "I'm not hiding, and you didn't have to come searching for me if it was so much trouble."

He sat down next to her, ignoring the thinly concealed annoyance in her tone. "It was no trouble at all. And you are obviously hiding; why else would you be sitting back here in the corner alone?"

Sam sighed. "Once again, you show just how little you know about me. I always choose the corner seat, Hyde."

He looked puzzled. "Why?"

"Forget it," she muttered, but Hyde wasn't going to let it drop.

"Is it another instinct that you've developed since your mom died?" he asked, looking straight at her and keeping his voice low.

Sam ignored his question. "Won't Sabine and Jekyll be wondering where you are?"

"Nope. When I walked off I caught Sabine rolling her eyes. She doesn't get why I'm- how'd she put it? - 'so interested' in you. I don't think either of them expects to see us before lunch is over."

Sam sighed again. "Why are you so interested, Hyde?"

"Sam, don't you get it? I'm worried about you."

"Why?" She turned to completely face him, then almost recoiling at how intensely his blue eyes burned.

"I'll try to explain it if you answer one question for me."

Sam eyed him warily. "Good ahead."

"What happened last night?"

She forced herself to maintain eye contact with him. "Nothing."

"Bullshit. Why did you tense up like you did and then run away?"

She couldn't help it; she broke contact and looked down at her lap. "Hyde, please don't do this."

"Do what? Sam, I don't understand; please tell me what's going on."

Glancing at the clock, she saw they only had five minutes. She only had to stall him for five minutes and then she could scurry off to class and hope and pray for him to drop it. "Hyde, just please, please don't ask me to answer that." Shocked to feel her eyes watering, she turned her head away, but Hyde's large hand caught her chin and made her face him. Except for closing her fist, Sam didn't freak out and he noticed.

"See?" Hyde said softly. "It's not so bad to be touched."

"Whatever," she muttered, raising a hand to wipe her eyes.

"Hey, hey, why are you crying?" Hyde's gaze softened almost to pity and Sam yanked her chin out of his grasp.

"I'm not crying." She took an angry swipe at her eyes.

"Sam, I just want to help," Hyde pleaded.

"And I told you I don't need help." She turned and met his gaze. "Just, please, Hyde. You don't want to know what happened."

"Why not?" His tone turned demanding and Sam almost cringed. "What's so awful about what happened I don't want to know about?"

She lost her patience and stood. "Stand up."

"What?"

"Stand up," she repeated, motioning with her hands. Hyde stood, looking confused, and she took half a step closer, placing herself directly in front of him. "This is how we were standing, right?"

"Uh, yeah." He didn't get it.

"How tall are you?"

"Six-four, why?"

"I'm five-three. That's a foot difference- more than a foot technically. How tall do you think my dad is?"

The confusion almost left his face. "My height?" he guessed.

She nodded. "Within the inch. You've got a bulkier build, but if your shoulders weren't as broad, you'd look almost exactly like him- at least from my vantage point of being towered over."

"Oh, Sam-"

She cut him off. "Don't bother apologizing or swearing you'd never hurt me blah-blah-blah. I know you didn't mean to and I know you never would. It's psychosomatic- all in my head-" she clarified, seeing Hyde's confusion. "But the point is, it's something I have to fix, I just don't know how yet."

Hyde eyed her strangely. "It's all in your head because he put it there. You ever think he's the problem?"

"Well of course he's the problem! I know that, but until I'm eighteen, I can't fix that problem, just the repercussions."

"But Sam, surely there's something that we can do about him."

She shook her head. "There really isn't. All I can do is survive the next few years and when I'm eighteen, leave."

"And go where?"

Sam paused and Hyde knew she hadn't thought about that little factor. She shrugged. "Who cares? I can go anywhere I want."

"Can you?" he asked softly. "What about a driver's license or social security or, oh I don't know, something that says you're allowed to live and work in the country?"

Confusion settled on her face. "What are you talking about? Of course I'm a citizen; we've never had a problem before."

"Because your dad probably always forged the documents. Did he ever seem to always talk to someone before y'all left a town?"

"I-I don't think so. He never seemed to have regular contact with anyone, anywhere. I still don't understand how any of this matters."

The bell rang and Hyde picked up his backpack saying: "I'll explain after school. Let's get to English."


.z.

"So how was lunch, Sammy?" Jekyll asked as Sam and Hyde walked into class together.

"Did you just call me Sammy?" She sat down next to him and glared.

He grinned. "You don't like it?"

"Call me that one more timeā€¦" she threatened.

"Saaaaaammy." Jekyll laughed as Sam raised her fist but failed to stop the smile form spreading across her face. "Shut up, Jekyll," she muttered.

"So how was lunch?" Sabine asked Hyde in an undertone behind the two goofing off.

He glanced at her. "Fine. What's it to you?"

"Jeez, touchy, touchy. Nevermind then." Hyde grunted in response.

"So, seriously, what happened during lunch?" Jekyll asked Sam, quietly enough that Sabine and Hyde couldn't hear.

"Nothing," she whispered back, allowing confusion and accusation color her voice. "Why are y'all so keen on it anyway?"

"No reason." I've got to hand it to him, Sam thought, he can lie smoother than the rest.

"Okay fine." She turned to face the front and tuned out Sabine and Hyde's too-quite-to-understand conversation from behind.


.z.

After classes, Sam caught up with Hyde and bumped his shoulder. "So you gonna explain the crazy stuff you were spewin' today at lunch?"

"You're in a good mood," he observed, ignoring her question.

"How can ya tell?"

"You drop he 'g's and pick up a southern accent and slang when you're in a good mood," he remarked idly.

"Alright, fine, I'm in a good mood. Now don't ruin it by ignorin' my question. What were you talkin' about?"

Hyde sighed. "Haven't you taken Civics? You are a junior."

"Yeah I took it," she replied, waving her hand. "I also slept through it."

"How'd you pass?"

"Oh please, that class was so damn easy. All it was was memorizing a bunch of crap. I forgot it once I got past the test."

"Well what you were supposed to of learned is that there's this little thing called a social security card that proves you're an American citizen. Without one, you can't legally hold a job."

"I don't get it. My dad gets hired right away after we move. We have never had a problem with that."

"Like I said, you have to have one, but it's really easy to forge. Hence the reason your dad never has trouble."

"Well then if he can forge the documents, so can I," Sam said confidently. Hyde chuckled. "What?"

"It's not that simple. The documents can't be forged by someone at home with a standard computer. It's not so much easy to do as much as to get them. Your dad probably has built up contacts; I don't think y'all are as far off the grid as you think." They stopped and stood on the corner of Hyde's street.

"But," her voice wavered. "If I can't get one of these cards, then I can never leave my father!"

"Unless you go to the police," Hyde reminded her.

"Oh, not this again! I already told you I can't go to them!"

"I don't understand, your father's the one they're after, not you. You wouldn't get in trouble."

Sam hung her head. "I know."

"Then- what's the problem?" Hyde sounded so confused and it almost broke Sam's heart. How could she tell him why? He would be disgusted. She did nothing wrong, but she knew he would hate the real reason why. "Sam?"

"I- I just can't turn my father in. He's my only family."

Hyde made a choking noise and stopped to look at her. "You can't turn him in? What about what he's done to you?"

"I know! I know. I just- there's so much between us- and it's not all bad. He used to be a great dad, and he's my only link to my mom. I can't lose him, not like that. Not by my own doing."

"What, so when you leave you'll make weekly calls home? Maybe pop by for Sunday dinner?" Hyde voice was hard and a muscle jumped in his cheek. "Do you really think that's possible?"

"I-" she was at a loss. Didn't he get how hard it was for her? "Hyde, I just-"

"Forget about it Sam." He turned down his street.

"Hyde!" she called after him; he didn't look back.


A day behind schedule, I do apologize for that. As a matter of fact though, I might have to push my updates to once every two weeks until school lets out- it depends on how much I get done during Spring Break.

As always, review!