Sam was such a light sleeper that it'd become a joke between him and Jess. He would wake up to the slightest creaking in the walls while Jess could probably sleep through an earthquake.
And yet the knocking – no, banging – at the door was loud enough to wake even Jess.
Sam sat up reaching for a knife under his pillow that he didn't keep there anymore. His hand closed around air.
"Sam, what's all the noise?"
"Probably a drunk freshman at the wrong room. I'll go check it out. Go back to sleep."
Sam got up.
He stepped over Jess's book bag she'd left in the floor. He padded to the door and glanced through the peephole.
And Sam saw the last person in the world he would have expected.
He quickly fumbled with the locks on the door and opened it.
"Dad?" Sam asked.
Dad pushed past Sam and into the apartment. Sam closed the door behind him.
The few years since Sam had left for college had barely aged his dad.
Sure there were new wrinkles around his eyes, but he was still wearing the same leather jacket he'd worn back when they hunted together and he held himself the same way Sam remembered.
The hunting life didn't allow hunters to get old.
Sam was still confident that his dad could take down any member of the college's football team – probably more than one.
But tonight he looked more tired than normal.
"I need you to come with me," Dad said, turning around to face Sam. "Grab what you need for a few days then we leave."
Sam raised his eyebrows a laughed. "What? No 'hey good to see you' or 'how's school'?"
"No, you don't get to just show up in the middle of the night after two years and order me to go with you without even an explanation."
The light in the foyer turned on and Sam glanced over his shoulder.
"Sam? What's wrong?"
"Hey, Jess." Sam turned back to his father. "Dad, this is my girlfriend Jessica."
"This is John?" Jessica asked. "This is your father?"
"Hi, Jessica." Dad barely glanced at her. "It's great to meet you, but I need to talk to my son for a second. Alone."
"What?" Sam said, walking over to stand beside Jess. "No. Whatever you have to say, you can say to the both of us."
John sighed and put his hands in his jacket pockets.
"Dean's on a trip and he hasn't been home in a few days."
"Okay? I haven't seen him. He doesn't exactly stop by often."
John tilted his head, staring at Sam. "Perhaps you didn't hear me. Dean is on a hunting trip. And he hasn't been home in a few days."
Sam frowned, weighing the options in his head.
"Jess, could you give us a sec?"
Sam followed Dad down the stairs. Even with the added height over his dad, he was having trouble keeping up.
"On his own? You sent him on a hunt by himself?" Sam demanded, glaring at the back of his fathers head.
"Yeah, he's old enough. It was supposed to be just a voodoo problem down in New Orleans."
"But on his own?"
Dad reached to open the door to outside but turned to Sam instead. "Yes. He's 26. He knows what he's doing. I wouldn't have sent him otherwise."
Dad pushed the door open, shaking his head.
He walked over to his truck.
Taking his journal out of the front seat, he turned back to Sam.
He opened it up to one of pages.
"See this? These are crop circles, cattle killings, and electrical storms all in the area Dean went."
"These signs, Sam... This is big. Dean needs our help."
"Where are you going?" Jess asked watching Sam pack a bag.
Sam only added clothes and his laptop. Dad had any weapons they would need and probably some they wouldn't.
"Yeah," Sam said. "He needs my help."
"Is he in trouble?"
"I don't know. He's out hunting with some friends. They've been gone to long." Sam hated lying to her, but it was easy. His entire childhood included him lying – it was as easy as breathing.
"But your interview, Sam. You can't miss it."
Sam threw his bag over his shoulder and smiled.
"I'll be back in time."
The first hour of the trip they didn't talk. Dad had the radio on and Sam was pretty sure it was the same cassette they'd listened to when Sam and Dean were kids.
Eventually Dad spoke up.
"Dallas or Houston?" He asked, not looking away from the road.
"What?" Sam said.
"There are two routes – one goes through Houston the other goes through Dallas. It's a long drive. Might as well have something to look at. Which do you want?"
Dad nodded and turned up the radio again. Sam instantly reached out to turn it back down.
"It's been two years," Sam said, looking straight ahead. "Two years and you haven't stopped by, you haven't called, you haven't done anything."
Dad didn't show any reaction. "That's a two way street."
"No," Sam turned to his father, angling his back to the door. "No, you said that if I left I wouldn't be welcome back. You know what that means? Don't call. You try to cut me off and then, as soon as you need me, you're at my doorstep at three-in-the-morning."
"The way I remember it, you said you wanted out. You wanted out of this life."
Dad shot Sam a glance before looking back at the road. "I left you alone, Sam. Gave you your wish the best I could. I haven't asked you for anything." Dad glared through the windshield. "Besides, this isn't for me."
Sam shook his head and turned back so he was looking straight again.
After a moment, he reached in the glove box and took out the map.
"Do you know what we're up against?" Sam said.
Dad nodded. "I have a pretty good idea."
When he didn't elaborate, Sam lowered the map to send his father a glare.
"And do you want to share with the class?"
"If you don't get rid of that attitude—"
"You'll what? Kick me out? Already did that. Leave me out of the hunt? You can't. You need me."
"I am your father. Act like it."
"And I am your son."
Usually at this point, or before, was when Dean would intervene. Try and keep the two of them from going for each other's throats. But Dean wasn't here.
"I'm trying to help you." Sam shook his head. "Just tell me what you know."
"I've been…following something. And I'm getting closer; I know it's tracks. I've gotten close to it a few times and it knows I'm on its trail. But I didn't check the area I sent Dean until he missed his check in. All the signs of this monster were in New Orleans. It was a trap meant for me, and I sent Dean right into it."
Sam nodded, jaw clenched. "What is it?"
Dad sighed. "It's a, uh, demon."
Sam raised his eyebrows.
"Excuse me?" Sam laughed without humor. "Dad, isn't this a bit out of our league?"
Dad nodded. "That's why I came to get you. Dean and I are going to need back up."
They needed more people. More hunters. This wasn't their normal gig.
Sam narrowed his eyes. "What aren't you telling me?"
"I'm not playing twenty questions with you! I've answered your questions. Drop it."
Sam gritted his teeth. "Fine." He shrugged his jacket off and balled it against the door. "Wake me up when we reach Bakersfield."
"Yeah." Dad reached over and turned the radio lower.