Sam kicks the door open, like Dean would, and keeps his gun ready to shoot the first thing entering his field of vision. It’s been weeks since they parted ways on that lost road, since he took that bus to California and basically kissed his brother –his friend- goodbye. He doesn’t think Dean truly understood what made him so angry that day. Sure, he’s got issues with being kept away from a normal life, but at least he could acknowledge it. Not like Dean, so well trained he can’t disobey their Dad’s order even to save him. That makes Sam so angry sometimes that, when it adds itself to his need for answers, his need to know what got Jessica, what destroyed his life, he finds himself wondering whether he’ll want to hug his Dad or smash his head against a wall when he finds him.
So he just goes on, follows what leads he can and puts the thinking part off. He’s received more than one text, both from Dean and from Dad, giving him coordinates of places he’s supposed to investigate… he usually ignores them, because he knows his best chances of finding Dad are in California right now, and he doesn’t want to go out of state –he knows he’s right because the texting on Dad’s part grows more restless each day that passes.
This case, though, is different. It’s a classic poltergeist in an old, abandoned house. Normally, it wouldn’t pose any problem, but the sort-of manor is to be destroyed as soon as all precious metals have been taken out, and a worker died here already, so Sam decided he could spare a day to take the thing out.
He walks slowly on the dust-covered floor, shotgun ready, until a translucent silhouette crosses the wall and lands in front of him. He doesn’t even take time to make out its shape and aims….
“WAIT!” The man screams, raising his arms. “Please. I mean no harm to you. I swear.”
“What are you?” Sam asks, still aiming at its head.
“I’m trapped,” he answers. “My spirit was imprisoned in the basement. It appears you broke the seal on the door when you forced it earlier. I owe you my freedom, it seems.”
“I’ve never heard of a ghost being imprisoned anywhere,” Sam says warily. “They’re just unable to leave the place they died in.”
“I am neither ghost, nor dead,” the guy says. “I was supposed to rescue my cousin from a group of Demons, so I used a spell to separate my soul from myself and travel to where she was without risking bodily harm, but they had a Sorcerer with them. He trapped me, tied me to a pendant which he placed in the basement and sealed away from the world. I thought I would never see the light of day again… you have done much good for me already, yet I see myself forced to ask for your help.”
“Why’s that?” Sam snaps, irritated at the guy’s unnecessarily formal speech.
“I am, as of yet, unable to touch anything, as demonstrated by my earlier crossing of the wall,” the man explains. “Therefore, I cannot hope to leave this place without someone moving the pendant retaining me. Do you think you could be that person?”
“Look, I’ve got a poltergeist to kick out right now and….”
“I can help with that,” the spirit offers with a hopeful smile. “If you want me to. I can’t touch anything, so those poultices would have to stay with you, but I am powerful enough to prevent it from attacking you while you place them in the walls.”
“You’d help a Hunter? A spirit?”
“As I already expressed, I am a human being, first and foremost. Besides, I used to chase the evil forces, too, before I was trapped. I can help you while we’re together, as a payment for your help in finding my body.”
Sam considers the spirit carefully for a while. He’s about as tall as himself, large shoulders, long hair tied back in a ponytail. His clothes are imprecise, blurred, as though they’re not what really count, and Sam can see the wall through his pale blue-grey frame.
“What’s your name?” He asks.
“Thomas Larcher. Tom for short.”
“Wouldn’t have guessed that one.”
Tom rolls his eyes, and Sam narrows his, searching for any trace of malignity in the spirit’s formal attitude, the contrast between that and his relaxed demeanor, the curve of the nervous smile bending his thin, thin lips.
He knows Dean would tell him not to accept, tell him you can’t trust a spirit, can’t trust anyone in this business, really. Dean would shrug and say it’s not their problem, that they’re here to protect people, not help spirits to accomplish their last wishes, it’s not their jobs. But Dean isn’t here. Dean hasn’t been here since that stupid fight on that stupid road, and they’re both too stubborn to admit they miss each other, too well trained to admit they can still feel. A demon took away their mom, but John took away their ability to just trust people sometimes.
It makes him sad. Makes him want to prove it’s a wrong move, a dick move, really.
So instead of leaving Tom on his own and dealing with the poltergeist alone, Sam says they got a deal.
(In the end, the poltergeist isn’t even that strong, and it’s ridiculously easy to kick it out of the house, but there’s been a moment when Tom disappeared and the knives trying to sneak on Sam fell to the floor of their own accord, so Sam supposes Tom isn’t completely useless, and he retrieves the pendant, as he promised.
And just like that, Sam Winchester goes back to Huntingfor he second time in the most unexpected way possible.)