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It wasn’t always about hunting.

Sometimes, it was about Ben fighting with his Aunt and storming out of the house, fully intent on never returning, only to be talked down by Sam. Ben called him in the middle of the night, begging for a hunt, and Sam saw right through him. It took a four-hour conversation and Sam talking about the times he had run away, too, and the freedom and the loneliness and everything he missed before Ben admitted he didn’t want to run away, he just wanted his Aunt to understand. He just wanted her to understand that he couldn’t let go of his Mom, no matter what the doctors said, and that he couldn’t just play nice with the other kids in school because none of them had been through the tragedy he had. It took four hours of Sam’s patient, gentle logic before Ben returned him to the only family he had left, to try and make things work for just a little while longer.

Sometimes, it was about Jesse waking up from a nightmare in the middle of nowhere and teleporting into Sam’s room so that he could bury himself under blankets that smelled of Sam and still held psychic traces of the promise of safety. Sam tried not to have a heart attack when he walked in to find Jesse a tired lump under his sheets, but didn’t tell him to leave. Instead he put a pillow under his head and tucked him in properly, stroking his hair and murmuring a song Jess used to sing to him. Jesse didn’t have any more nightmares that night.

Sometimes, it was about Sam putting training on hold for a day to help Claire and Jacob with their World History project. Their topic was Japan, and Jacob spent most of his time complaining about misconceptions about kitsunes while Claire kicked him under the table, threatening to bruise his shins. Sam laughed and gave them ideas for their presentation, sharing lore that he knew of and the history he’d picked up over the years. Claire and Jacob got the highest grade in the class.

It was about Jacob calling Sam at two in the morning to drive him and Claire home from a party because Claire was allergic to something in the latest batch of punch and drunk as he was, he knew Sam and his Mom would kill him twice over if he got behind the wheel of a car.

It was about Ben calling Sam in a panic at the beginning of February because he wasn’t sure what he was supposed to be doing about Valentines Day with the girl he’d been sort-of-maybe seeing for a few weeks and then deciding to call Jacob, because he was the one with a steady girlfriend.

It was about Claire accidentally texting Sam that all the girls in her school were ‘fucking skanks’ because she couldn’t see clearly through the tears in her eyes. Sam called her back almost immediately, despite being on a hunt at the other end of the country, and found out she was crying her eyes out in the girls’ restroom after her classmates had been particularly vicious. Sam let her rant and sob because he remembered high school, when everyone was lost and angry and scared and taking it out on each other.

It was about throwing Jesse a birthday party because he hadn’t had a proper one in far too long. Jesse swore up and down that he wasn’t crying, not really, but Claire slipped him napkins under the table and kissed his cheek. Jacob and Ben sang ‘Happy Birthday’ horribly, horribly out of tune, with really cheesy extra verses, until Sam flicked his gaze towards the cooler and Jesse used his powers to dump ice all over them. Jesse’s shrieks of laughter echoed throughout the park as Ben and Jacob chased him around and Sam laughed as Claire buried her face in her hands, groaning “Boys.”

It was about Sam taking Claire shopping for her prom dress because her mother was too busy and Jacob was out of town helping Ben and Krissy Chambers on a wendigo hunt. When Claire mentioned that most guys hated clothes shopping, Sam laughed and told her about all the times he’d been dragged out with Jess while at Stanford.

It wasn’t always about hunting. Sometimes, it was just about family.