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An Echo of What Has Been Paid

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Sometimes you forget how young Sam is.

Because primarily, when you're out in the field, what matters is his ability to get you out and bring you home. And yeah, you've seen more than a few good runners go, but when it's your turn, you're sure it won't happen because of a mistake on Sam's part.

It's because he's good at his job you forget. It's because half the time, he's cracking jokes about the here and now, and because everyone grows up a little too fast when it gets rough.

It jumps out at you sometimes. His hero worship of the old Runner 10, or actively denying his love for Demons & Darkness right up until you and Maxine catch him in his lie.

It's in the way he thinks of exploding chickens before land mines, the way he still holds a grudge against Nadia, and it even goes back to how he mourned Alice during your initial training.

You see it most when shit hits the fan and he pleads with Janine.

You're not that much older than him. A few years. He was in his major classes, and just finding out how much he hated them, which means, what, nineteen? Twenty? A sophomore or an early junior?

So young.

But you trust him to bring you home.

You trust him to watch the back of your Demon Hunter, even as his Berserker decides to rush the mob, roll a one, and trip headfirst into the previously unnoticed trench.

You trust him to be there when you break down remembering how the only reason you know the words to that one song was because you had a friend in high school who was obsessed with that band, and she'd play the album when you hung out at her house.

It happens. Everyone understands.

Sam is there when you feel too young for this too.