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A World of Secrets

Chapter Text

As Sam forced his way to wakefulness, the darkness tried to keep him down.

His mind stubbornly clawed its way out of the black abyss it had been cast into. All he knew was that the darkness wanted to keep him for eternity.

Though he was the youngest of the family, the trademark brand of Winchester stubbornness was no less potent. It was that determination that made him open up his eyes.

The darkness persisted.

Long shadows climbed the walls around Sam. A wood grain pattern covered the surface instead of the tacky motel room wallpaper he was expecting. The air had a chill that stood out in stark relief compared to the warmth of the days he remembered. The darkness continued to try and close in, but it wasn’t as absolute as it had been while he slept.

Sam let his head fall back down on the bed. Just the energy needed to look at his surroundings sapped him. His arms and legs went limp as he sucked in deep breath.

“Dean?” Sam’s voice was high-pitched and wavered with his worry. The flat, dead air around him swallowed the sound greedily.

Sam gulped. Where was he? Where was his family?

The memories that shoved their way into his mind didn’t help clear things up. A woman, standing in their room. Angry voices shouting back and forth.

Dean, pinned to a wall. Squirming helplessly with murder in his eyes, but he might as well be just a fly for all the good it did.

“Dean!” Sam’s second cry for his brother was stronger as some of his strength began to return. His throat was dry, keeping him from a full shout of desperation. Sam shoved himself up from the bed he was laying on. He needed to find Dean.

That was when the strangeness of his surroundings really started to sink in.

Artwork by creatorofuniverses

The surface he was laying on wasn’t a bed. In fact, as best Sam could tell, it didn’t seem to be more than a mass of blankets. Practically a nest of fabric that conformed to his body. There was no mattress below the covers. Just more covers.

The rest of the room made just as little sense. Dim light filtered through cracks in the walls and ceilings, illuminating motes that drifted peacefully in the air. A large blanket was draped over the only exit from the room, serving as a door.

Sam’s breathing quickened. No matter where he looked, nothing made sense.

Nothing was familiar.

As though summoned by the third call for Dean that died on Sam’s lips, a small woman bustled into the room.

Blonde hair cascaded over slim shoulders. Standing straight, she wouldn’t reach past Dean’s chin, despite the fact that at fourteen years of age, he wasn’t yet done growing. It made her one of the most petite women Sam had ever met.

He had no idea how true that was.

The woman’s blue eye were warm and soft as they landed on Sam. A silvery cup was held in one hand, nearly overflowing with water. She offered him a welcoming smile.

“Thank goodness you’re awake,” she breathed, perching on the edge of the fabric nest. Up close, Sam could see that her clothing was all handmade, lacking the straight lines and sharp corners he was used to. The fabric was thicker than his as well. Perhaps it was because of how cool the room was.

The metal cup of water was held out in his direction. Realizing how thirsty he was, Sam accepted it eagerly, gulping down the cool liquid.

She went on as he drank. “We almost thought you wouldn’t wake. It’s been a week since we saved you.”

While she talked, another figure appeared at the doorway, leaning against the wood frame. Tall and stern, this man was almost of a height with Sam’s dad. His blond hair and blue eyes triggered a chord in Sam’s mind

Like he’d seen him before.

None of that vied for Sam’s attention the way her words did. “A… week?” Sam asked, lowering down the strange metal cup. It bent a little in his hand as he tightened his grip, but he didn’t notice.

The woman’s blue eyes were soft as she nodded solemnly. 

“B-but…” Sam stuttered as he recalled the rest. “Dean. What happened to Dean?! He should be here, did he get hurt?!”

The woman and the man shared a look that was heavy with meaning, and the man came over. He was so much taller than she was, but even his stern demeanor softened at the sight of the scared child sitting in the fabric nest.

“Sam,” he said softly, “do you remember me?”

Sam shook his head, tears welling up in his hazel eyes.

The blue-eyed man brushed Sam’s messy hair back. “My name’s Walt, and this is Mallory,” he introduced, his voice remaining level. “A few days ago, you and your brother got attacked. Do you remember that?”

Sam nodded mutely.

“That lady… the w-itch…” Walt was uncertain as he enunciated the word as though he’d never said it before. “She hit you with something. Some… spell. After it was cast, your brother couldn’t see you.”

Walt swallowed thickly. “We got you out before you got hurt more… but Sam… your family. They’re gone. The witch ran and they chased her.”

Sam’s eyes started to spill over. “,” he mumbled. “Dean wouldn’t leave me. They wouldn’t abandon me!” By the end, he was shouting, his thin voice going up an octave in his panic. The memories in his mind clamored for attention. They overlapped and caused his breath to hitch.

The memory of holding a tiny man named Walt in his hands was swept away by rising panic.

Both Walt and Mallory flinched at the sound of his shout, eyes nervously flashing to their ceiling. Mallory put a delicate hand on Sam's shoulder. “Sam, they never wanted to,” she said in her lyrical voice. “They thought the witch killed you and just wanted to…” She trailed off, her eyebrows furrowing with uncertainty.

“She cursed you, Sam,” Walt cut in gruffly. “Everyone you knew is a giant. That’s why they didn’t see you and that’s why we had to get you out of there. They’re dangerous.

A silence stretched out between them. Sam’s hand started to shake, more of the cup crumpling inwards as a tear slid down his cheek. “G-giants?” he asked timidly.

Something in his mind clicked before Walt could get out another word. “No! ” Sam stated firmly. “Dean’s not… Dean would never...” His words jumbled and he started to hyperventilate.

Sam shoved the covers off. His water splashed out of the deformed cup. Droplets of water spilled onto the wooden flooring.

Hot. He was too hot.

The world was too cold but he was too hot.

Walt just barely managed to catch the metal cup as it fell, but it was too late.

Sam stumbled out of the bed… nest… fabric. He almost fell over to dodge a well-meaning grab from Mallory, her face covered with sympathy. Sam squirmed between the two people that had saved his life, his desperation giving energy to his escape.

He needed to go. Dean was out there, he had to be.

Sam just had to find him.

Shoving the fabric draped over the door frame, Sam ignored the cries of alarm that came from his former room. His eyes darted around the new room, and he quailed at the sight of a penny casually kicked against the side of the wall.

It was large enough to serve as a dinner plate.

No, they’re making it up. They’re lying, they have to be!

As soon as he saw another door frame, Sam ran for it. He had to get out before they grabbed him and put him back in bed. There might not be another chance for escape. Dean always told him to watch out for himself. A hand brushed reflexively against the knife tucked away in his soft tan jacket and Sam prayed he never had to use it.

There was a block in front of the door. It was heavy, but Sam shoved it to the side. The adrenaline filling him made his hands shaky, but it gave him energy he could draw on. He needed to get away, he needed to escape.

A dark passageway arched overhead. The panic that Sam was drowning in refused to let him really see it. He couldn’t make out the cobwebs that lurked in the unreachable corners. The nails in the wooden walls were bigger than his hand but his eyes just brushed over them. He needed to run.

And so he ran.

Wind whipped Sam’s hair into a frenzy. In the distance, the sound of boots came. He was being followed. Panic lent speed to his strides, and Sam pushed himself like he’d never pushed himself before. It was a race. He needed to find a way out of this dark world before that Walt could catch him. It was as simple as that.

Sam’s eyes flashed from side to side as he searched for a way out. The dark walls were dusty, but footprints could be made out in the thick dust. Sam set himself to following them, driven by desperation. He was only ten, and his legs weren’t as long as Walt’s. If it took him too long to find help, he’d lose the race.

“Sam! Wait up, please! You don’t understand!”

Sam pushed the voice out of his mind and ran even faster, if that was possible. A wood splinter jutted out, nearly tripping the young kid up, but he only stumbled, scraping one hand against the ground. The skin was raw and red as he forced himself to run again.

He spotted a light in the distance, and a tiny bubble of hope filled his chest.

A way out.

There was another shout in the distance, but Sam didn’t even hear it this time. The wall gave way to an opening where the light was, and Sam felt triumph fill his chest as it turned out to be warm motel room light. He was safe. He could just walk out the door and go search for…

Any thought he had in mind trailed off as Sam skid to a halt.

Something was more than wrong. The room was distorted, the beds and walls arching up over his head by what seemed like miles. He’d run right past the gigantic nightstand, thinking it was just another hallway, leaving him exposed in the center of the floor.

Sam froze, his entire body filling with fear as he realized that Walt may have been telling him the truth.


The Kansas summer heat didn't reach inside the room, with the air conditioning unit cranked up and humming away by the window. Murmured voices could be heard outside, the deep bass of a man and the softer warble of his wife chatting with some of the locals. Jacob only heard them because he knew they were there, but the sound was faint indeed.

He didn't particularly mind. He was busy tracing two toy trucks along the pattern of the worn out carpet. One in each hand, he also created sound effects of his own, mumbling out engines and tires screeching as the little vehicles chased each other around at his direction.

There was a park down the road from the motel, and Jacob wanted to go and play there, but his parents told him they'd do that later. Something about waiting for the afternoon when the sun wasn't beating down from straight overhead.

They'd put a stop to him running his trucks around on the sidewalk in front of their room very quickly. His mama had coaxed him back into the room with an apple juicebox, a bribe which he happily accepted. He thought absently that he should go and peek outside to ask her for another one.

One of his trucks drove right over his leg with a make-believe rumble of the engine, and then a made-up crashing sound as it hit the carpet on the other side.

"Oh no!" the invisible driver of the other truck said breathily, as it took a long route around to go and check on its fallen friend.

"We got it," they determined, while one truck flipped the other over again. Jacob grinned proudly. He shifted to get his feet underneath himself, propping his hands on his little toy trucks.

"Let's race," the pretend drivers said to each other, before Jacob pushed the toys along the carpet with more sound effects.

He exited his corner of the room near the table, and the trucks made a drifting turn as he rounded his parents' bed. Jacob almost stumbled, his sneakers hitting the carpet hard for a few steps, but he kept on and pushed the trucks around the foot of the bed.

He angled sharply to take his trucks through the space between the beds, but stopped abruptly. Something in his path drew his attention like a lightning rod, and Jacob's mouth formed a small 'o' as he stared.

It looked like a tiny little action figure, but it wasn't one of Jacob's. His eyes were wide with wonder as he stared. The small figure stood mere feet away from him, and Jacob's face slowly broke into a grin.

The tiny person was staring back, and that meant they weren't a toy. They were real!

Suddenly, the race between the toy trucks wasn't important at all. Jacob took his hands off them and simultaneously sprang forward. He landed with an oof, but he still smiled, for his hands had formed a dome over the small figure.

“No, no, no,” Walt said under his breath as he tried to keep up with Sam’s fleeing figure. He needed to catch the kid before he stumbled himself ass backwards into trouble. The problem was Sam might be scrawny, but he was fast.

After losing Bree so recently, Walt refused to lose another kid like this. Even one that was a human so recently. Big enough to grab Walt up in a fist, and keep him trapped.

Yet Sam had snatched him off the ground, all by accident, and hadn’t tried to keep him at all. Just talked, and put him back down. The kid had a kind soul, and Walt could believe that some humans might actually be trustworthy.

Trying to warn Sam’s family of the witch that was going to attack them had ended in failure. Walt was too late. He’d found the room in chaos, the older brother shouting his heart out in a thundering voice, and Sam…

For a moment Walt had feared the child was already dead. Spotting the tiny figure on the ground had solidified his determination, and he’d dared to dart out into the open to haul Sam out of the way. The father of the boys had come in, saving Dean at the last second.

If Walt hadn’t taken Sam, the boy’s own father might have unknowingly stepped on him.

“Sam! Wait up, please! You don’t understand!”

Walt’s shout was ignored. The tiny figure running from him veered for where a crack was letting in light, and his heart fell. That opening lead to one of the closer motel rooms. Sam was defenseless if he stumbled into it.

By the time Walt made it to the room, it was already too late.

He squirmed his own way into the room, the leather bag over his shoulder almost catching on the opening. Sam was out in the center of the floor, frozen in fear, and at the end of the towering beds, was…

A human kid, younger than Sam, staring in disbelief at the tiny child.

Walt tossed himself against the back of the nightstand as he heard the human moving.

I failed him…

Chapter Text

The sight of the kid coming around the bed didn’t unfreeze Sam in his fear, but it did make him glance upwards to meet the big brown eyes. There was a moment were the two kids just stared at each other with equal shock in their faces.

Then the larger, younger kid’s eyes lit up.

That was all Sam could remember clearly. The rest just happened too fast for his mind to comprehend. The floor shook under his boots, and two hands slammed down over him, casting his body into darkness. Sam gave a yelp of fear, afraid they would come down the rest of the way around him, and fell to the ground in a ball. He curled up, covering the back of his neck and shuddering as terror wracked his body.

The tears that had threatened him when he’d found out his family was gone came back, and he just barely managed to say “Please don’t hurt me, I’m sorry, please… I didn’t mean to come in here…” Sam scrunched his eyes shut.

Jacob pressed his cheek against the carpet, peering at his domed hands. He could hear a little voice in there, but it was so quiet and muffled that he couldn't understand the words. He pursed his lips in concentration and shifted his hands so that he could see in without giving the small figure a space to dart away from him.

The sight took the smile right out of his eyes. "Oh no," he muttered, squirming his body again to sit upright. At the same time, he scooped the little balled-up person onto his hands, cupping him in them like a bowl.

"I didn't mean ta hurtcha," Jacob said, his brow furrowing with worry. "Did I make you fall down? Didja hit your head?" He spoke in an excitable voice, holding the small figure like he'd picked up a baby bird.

Still undeniably curious, Jacob lifted his hands even higher to get a closer look. "Hi?" he said hopefully, nudging at the itty bitty back with one finger.

The motion of being picked up didn’t help Sam’s fears. His eyes started to overflow and he shuddered at the quick motion. It was like a rocket was taking off, lifted up into the air with no control whatsoever.

The words that rumbled overhead shook through Sam, and he tried covering up his ears. Sobs choked up his voice and the knowledge that someone so huge was looking right at him didn’t help.

A nudge against Sam’s back made him writhe desperately away. He wailed in fear at the pain, praying he wasn’t about to get squished between the kid’s hands. “N-no, please,” Sam begged, twisting desperately away from the probing fingertip. “Don’t h-hurt me. I’m s-sorry…” He put a hand against the finger, trying to push it away and buy himself some space.

Jacob drew in a gasp. The little voice sounded so sad, and of course the wriggling and pushing at his fingers worried him, too. He hoped he hadn't hurt the little guy at all, but he was crying. Jacob didn't know what to do. He glanced up at the door, wondering if his mama might know better what to do.

He looked back at the little person in his hands, noting that he seemed to be a kid, just like Jacob. "I'm sorry," he blurted, wishing he knew what he'd done to make the little boy cry. Jacob didn't want to be mean. His mama and papa always told him to be nice to everyone, even other kids he'd never met before.

"I didn't mean it, I'm real sorry," he said again, this time in a quieter voice that he hoped was comforting. Without waiting for an answer, he cupped his hands more securely around the tiny boy and held him to his chest in a hug. He couldn't even see the little guy anymore.

"Shh, shh, it's okay. I'm real sorry I made you cry. It's okay. Please don't cry." His murmurs surrounded the smaller boy, and Jacob sat still while he hugged him, hoping it would work.

Sam’s chest hiccuped as he cried, curling into as small a ball as he could while the kid’s voice rumbled around him. Everything was dark, except the few shards of light that snuck in past the huge fingers.

Surrounded. He was surrounded by fingers.

That thought made Sam bury his head against his knees, hugging them to himself. There was no room to thrash anymore, and he waited for the end to come. It was only after a few long moments that stretched out around the stuffy air inside of the hands that Sam realized there was a voice-- a voice that shook the wall next to him, but still a voice.

The words began to filter past his panic at last, and Sam scrubbed at his cheeks while his sobs slowed down. 

It’s okay?

Within the tight confines of a huge fist, okay was the last way Sam would describe his situation, but a little flutter of hope bloomed in his chest. Maybe… maybe they weren’t going to squish him. Maybe he’d be okay, and could go back to finding Dean when he got out.

Sam put a hand on the ground under him and tried to roll over so he could see out. “I-I can’t breathe in here,” he called up timidly.

Jacob's murmured reassurances halted at the sound of the little voice. He didn't understand the words since he'd gone and muffled the tiny boy again, but he paused and looked straight down anyway. His chin touched his chest and he could just barely see a tiny face peeking through the cracks between his fingers.

He bit his lower lip in concentration as he tilted his hands away, letting the boy tumble gently to his palms again. "I'm sorry," he whispered, hoping he hadn't squished the little guy while he hugged him.

With a look of renewed awe and hope that his small find was feeling a little better, Jacob lifted his hands up higher, almost eye level with him where he knelt. "Hello," he tried again, silently praying he wouldn't cause the little person to cry again.

Sam tried to gather himself, tears streaking down his face and starting to dry. He sniffled as he wiped his eyes with the too-long sleeve of the tan jacket his dad had just given him, his cheeks bright red.

The sight of how high off the ground he was made Sam cringe further back, wrapping his arms around him as he finally made eye contact with the kid that was holding him. The hiccups hadn’t worn off, shaking his shoulders as he tried to catch a breath. “H-hi,” he managed to get out, his voice quavering and feeble compared to the other kid’s. “I’m… ‘m sorry. I j-just wanted to find my big brother!” Sam covered up his eyes.

Jacob's eyes widened and he nearly hugged the little guy again. "Oh no, don't cry!" he pleaded, brushing at one of the teeny tiny arms with his thumb. He barely needed to touch it; the little kid's hands were almost too small to see. His thumb retreated and he tilted his head to try to catch the little person's eye.

"I didn't see your brother, I don't think," he admitted. "Maybe we can both look? What's he like? Is he little like you?" His eyes were wide at the thought of another tiny person. This one could practically ride around on one of his trucks.

"My name's Jacob," he remembered to say, offering a friendly smile. 

Sam cracked his fingers open so he could peek out at the giant holding him. The brown eyes peering down at him were huge, probably bigger than his whole head, but they didn’t look mad at him like he’d thought from the first second the hands descended upon him, slamming closed around him and keeping him from running back to Walt and safety.

At some point, his mind had changed track from thinking the motel rooms were safety to yearning for the little room he’d woken up in, with the people his own size and the pile of blankets to curl into.

It didn’t mean he’d given up on finding Dean, curse or not, but he was afraid. Somehow, in the time since his last memory of them being attacked, Sam’s normal world had been replaced by monumental furniture, dust bunnies the size of actual bunnies, and giants that could catch him in a hand, whether he was older than them or not.

Sam lowered his hands away from his face at last. “M-my name’s Sam,” he introduced himself shyly, wrapping his arms around his legs. He hugged them as close to his chest as possible. “But Dean’s not little! ” Sam protested loyally. “He’s like a whole five and a half feet tall, and I’m supposed to be almost four and a half feet tall. I-- I dunno what happened but everything got so huge and scary and now I can’t find him!”

Jacob's mouth twisted into a frown and he mulled over Sam's words carefully. He didn't know how tall five feet was, but he knew it was almost grown-up sized. He might have to ask his mama and papa later how tall they were for a frame of reference. He knew his dad was really tall, but that was the extent of it.

He did work out on his own that Sam was certainly not four and a half feet tall. His little legs would probably take a long time to cover that distance if he ran.

"I can help you look!" Jacob decided with a proud grin. He'd always been taught to be helpful to others when he could. He'd never gotten lost like Sam, but he imagined it had to be scary, even without being made so tiny.

He looked over the bed towards the closed door. He could still hear his parents out there. "We can have my mama and papa help. I bet they will! Then we'll find your brother, Sam!"

If anything, Sam drew himself into an even tighter ball. The voices outside crashed into his awareness with a startling clarity now that the complete panic he’d been in the entire time had fallen away. “B-but…” His ears flushed red at the thought of having to see even more giants.

More people that could close him in a fist. Maybe they wouldn’t open their hands like Jacob had done. Sam couldn’t stop them, after all.

He needed his big brother.

“What if they get mad at me?” Sam asked tearfully. “ ‘M not ‘upposed to be here! I was just tryin’ to find Dean, but I got lost. It’s all so dark and confusing and I don’t know where they went.” He hunched his shoulders. “Please… I don’t wanna get hurt.”

Jacob's brow furrowed with worry and he peered at Sam's tiny form. He was so small, and he was shaking with fear. Jacob didn't think his parents would be mad, but he could understand the reasoning. Kids weren't supposed to talk to strange adults, after all. Strangers could be bad.

He held Sam closer again, cupping him against his chest in another less-restricting hug. "Okay, okay," he said in a hush. "I'll keep you a secret. I'll help you find your brother and I won't tell my mama or my papa, okay?"

He lifted Sam back up before his eyes and smiled encouragingly. "It's gonna be okay, Sam. We're gonna find your brother an' maybe we can all be friends?" He had a hopeful look on his face again. Now that he looked a little closer at Sam's tiny form, he looked like he might be older than Jacob by a few years. He might be small, but he was a big kid, and like all younger children, Jacob felt he should try to impress the big kid.

For Sam, the hug was disorienting, but not unwelcome. John rarely hugged, and Dean was beginning to follow in his footsteps. Sam was young enough that a warm embrace was reassuring, and Jacob’s, though he still moved too fast for comfort, helped ease more of Sam’s fears. The novelty of an all-encompassing hug like that was enough to distract Sam and pique his curiosity. If he wasn’t in danger, he wouldn’t mind finding out more.

Sam rubbed his nose on the back of his sleeve again, finally recovering from his tears. “We don’t have many friends,” he told Jacob shyly. “We move a lot, for my dad’s work. I bet if we find Dean, he’ll be glad ta be friends!”

Shifting so he wasn’t hugging his knees anymore, Sam sat cross-legged on Jacob’s hand. He couldn’t help but glance around the room now that he wasn’t in immediate danger, his eyes going wide at how high he was off the ground. Jacob wasn’t even standing and they were higher up than any tree Sam had climbed while he was visiting Bobby! This high, Dean wouldn’t even have his eyes open.

Jacob beamed. He silently wished he could tell his parents about his new friend, since he usually told them about any new friend he made. He'd promised Sam, though, and it was wrong to break a promise like that, not to mention mean. So he would keep a secret and be nice. He was excited to meet someone new.

The novelty of how small Sam was caught Jacob's attention again. He couldn't help but look him over with intent curiosity for a few seconds, especially now that he'd uncurled from his fearful huddle. He didn't look like he was going to cry again, which was a step in the right direction. Jacob was doing a good job.

"That'll be great! Once we find him we can maybe go to the park. There's one right down the street and I think the slide was taller than my dad," he mused, suddenly wondering what a slide that big would be like for someone like Sam. He couldn't wrap his imagination around the concept, but he told himself that if Sam got scared he'd just have to keep hold on him so he'd be alright.

“Maybe…” Sam said, still nervous at the thought of how big everything was compared to him. If they found Dean, it might not be so scary. Sam knew that he was always safe with his big brother, and it wouldn’t matter if he was tiny. He took a deep, steadying breath, glad that the hiccups were going away now that he wasn’t in tears.

“We just have to find him, and I don’t know if we can.” Sam’s lip stuck out at the thought. He remembered Walt’s words, clearly telling him his family had chased after the witch. There was a chance the Winchesters would vanish in the Impala.

Leaving Sam behind, forgotten.

His eyes started to water again, and Sam stared down at Jacob’s palm. He traced the wrinkles in the skin with a hand, searching for a distraction from his thoughts. “Just gotta find them,” Sam repeated, this time for himself.

Jacob nodded. He didn't notice the way Sam's voice filled with doubt and worry. His own confidence didn't waver. After all, finding Sam's brother was something they needed to do. There wasn't room in his thoughts for the possibility that they couldn't. He was already devising places they could start their search.

He opened his mouth to tell Sam some of his ideas. However, a sound at the door caught his attention and he whipped his gaze to the side. The doorknob was creaking; he remembered his mother saying it was awfully stiff when they first checked in.

His parents were returning to the room.

His promise to Sam ever in mind, Jacob looked back at the smaller boy with wide eyes. "Gonna hide ya," he whispered, before adjusting his grip so that Sam rolled onto one of his hands, which he closed over him. That fist was shoved into the pocket on his little dark green shirt, and in a second he had released his small friend again.

When the hand opened up around Sam, he let out a cry of surprise to find himself tumbling into a completely new place. Dark green material rushed up to surround him on all sides, and as soon as the hand was out of the pocket, a tiny bit of light filtered in.

For a moment, Sam thought Jacob was going back on his word. Instead of being helped, he was being claimed, stuck in a pocket just like some small toy the kid had found. His breathing quickened at that thought.

Claimed, with no way to escape.

Running back to Walt was looking a lot better by the second, at least until the new voices in the room dashed Sam’s thoughts and made him realize what was reallyhappening.

Jacob’s parents had returned.

The rapid transition was just in time for the door to open up. Jacob twisted around where he sat as his parents walked in the door, haloed by the bright summer sunlight filtering around them. Their conversation tapered off and both of them focused on him immediately, checking on him.

His mother was a kind, somewhat plump woman. Her wild curls were tied back in a poof of hair to keep them from frizzing in her face. She let out a puff of air as the air conditioning cooled her immediately. "Hi, honey," she greeted Jacob. "Still running those trucks around?"

"Looks like they got away from you," his father said with a chuckle, following his wife in and closing the door behind him. His brown eyes twinkled with a smile as he peered down at his child, and the trucks abandoned on the floor behind Jacob. Jacob had to tilt his head back to grin at his dad, who could probably reach the ceiling really easily if he wanted.

Sam crawled over to the corner of Jacob’s pocket, seeking the darkest part of the green flannel to hide in. He curled up into a ball, praying he couldn’t be seen from the outside. Jacob’s parents sounded huge. The bass rumble of the man’s voice was closer to thunder as he talked to his young son. Sam squeezed his eyes closed. A tiny hiccup escaped his chest as the nerves returned.

I’m not here, I’m not here, you can’t see me…

If thoughts could become deed, no one would find Sam hidden in the pocket. Unfortunately, in their world that was not something that was possible, unlike curses that turned children tiny.

Jacob felt Sam moving around in his pocket and it took so much of his willpower to avoid looking right down at him that he almost forgot to answer his parents. After a beat of hesitation in which they watched him with bemused, expectant looks, he squirmed around so he could lean forward and pick up his trucks again. The pocket swayed, and he bit his lip in concentration to avoid spilling Sam right out.

"They were gonna race!" he said proudly, holding up the trucks.

"Oh? Who's winning, kiddo?" his papa asked. His mama smiled faintly and sat with a quiet huff at the table, still exhausted from the heat outside.

Jacob lowered the two toy trucks to peer at them in his hand, and spared his pocket one fleeting glance. He had to keep up the act to keep them from noticing Sam. "The blue one," he said.

His papa smiled and squatted down near the end of the bed while Jacob got to his feet. A huge hand reached out and settled on top of his head, pausing before it ruffled his hair. Jacob laughed. "Well, don't let us stop the race," his papa said. "I wanna see if blue wins."

Jacob grinned, momentarily excited about continuing his trucks' race. He had to keep Sam always in mind, though, so as he sidled past his dad to keep up the game, he was careful not to brush against him and accidentally squish Sam.

His papa put a huge hand on his shoulder to stop him and Jacob turned to look up at him with wide eyes. "Something in your pocket?" he asked, mildly curious.

Sam could hear every word outside of the pocket, and he could feel every word that echoed up out of Jacob. His eyes were wide as he tried to scrunch down even further. A curious question for Jacob’s dad could be the end for the tiny kid hidden away. “No, no, nonono…” Sam whispered to himself, his thoughts slipping out with his nerves. If they found him with their kid or in their room, they might get mad. He was trespassing, just like he’d heard his dad mention before. People didn’t like trespassers.

All Sam could do in the pocket was scrunch down as much as possible and pretend he was invisible. His knife, a reassuring weight against his chest that always comforted him, would do him no good against building sized giants. The best a slash would do was give them a papercut, and make them angrier.

A few tears squeezed out of Sam’s eyes. “Please, I’m not here…” he begged the empty air, a half-thought prayer with no direction, too distracted to realize that he was speaking out loud.

Jacob paused, noticing the tiny voice at the edge of hearing. He couldn't tell if his papa heard it too, but he was still looking at him expectantly. Behind him, Jacob could see his mama leaning to watch curiously. He pursed his lips and clutched his toy trucks closer while he rapidly processed the situation to determine if they suspected something.

"Uh uh," he said, squirming away from his Dad's hand to walk hurriedly around the second bed. "I'm only playing trucks today, see?" He held up the trucks to display them even as he sidled into the narrow space between the bed and the wall.

His mama raised an eyebrow at him. "Jacob, are you telling the truth? You know you're not supposed to lie."

"I am! I'm just playing trucks!" he insisted.

His father stood up with a quiet creak of his joints as they hoisted all of his huge body up. His mama stood again and walked around her tall husband to stand at the foot of the second bed and look appraisingly at Jacob and his pocket.

"Jacob," his papa said gently. "Did I hear something? Do you have a mouse trapped in your pocket?" His deep voice was kind, patient with the boy, but also stern.

His mama was in charge of the really stern looks, and Jacob inched away from her even more as she leveled one on him. "Jacob Nicholas Andris, you tell us the truth right now or I'm going to come and check your pockets myself."

Art done by creatorofuniverses!

Chapter Text

If Sam could inch away from the two giants outside, he would. The stern tone of voice Jacob's mom had assumed was very familiar, and Sam couldn’t stifle an involuntary yelp of surprise. He heard it from his dad almost constantly. Dean was the patient teacher, John was the stern drill sergeant.

They were mad.

Sam put a hand on the hilt of his knife, drawing strength from the gift Dean had given him. Please don't hurt me.

Jacob heard Sam's quiet noise, and thought back to moments ago when the other kid worried Jacob's parents would be mad at him. He was scared of them. Telling mama and papa about him would be breaking a promise and would probably make him cry. Jacob didn't want to do either of those things.

He also didn't want to keep lying. He was supposed to listen to them when they told him to do something. Jacob's toy trucks fell to the floor and he pressed his hands against the wall behind him while the conflict practically dug into him. What was he to do?

"I don' ... don't wanna be mean," he finally murmured lamely, hanging his head but still peeking at his mother and father. His mouth was angled in a frown and his eyes stung.

"Hey, Jake, kiddo," his father said quietly, stepping around his wife with care that didn't seem to fit his huge frame. He stooped and braced his hands on his knees, peering at him with a serious but kind look. "You're not in trouble, okay? I don't know what got you so worried, but we do need to know if you're hiding something from us, especially if it's alive. Okay?"

Jacob stuck out his lower lip in a pout while he let his father's low rumble of a voice sink in. He knew they would come and check his pockets if he didn't give in. He thought he might have a chance at avoiding some trouble if he complied, and after a second his hands moved hesitantly to his pocket where he knew Sam was curled up in fear.

Now my new friend is gonna hate me, he thought sadly as he reached into the pocket and scooped his fingers under the small form to lift him out. He kept his hands cupped around Sam before revealing him, fixing an apologetic look on the tiny boy before opening his hands so his parents could see. He made sure to keep Sam close to him while he stared up at them. It felt like the world had frozen, with the way his mama and papa stared at his hands.

The second the fingers entered the pocket, Sam yelped and tried to burrow deeper into the green fabric. He did not want to be seen by more giants. He wanted to hide, anywhere out of sight, until they were all gone and he could think things through like he hadn’t been able to yet. From the second he woke up, it was like he was riding a runaway freight train that took off with his entire life. From curses, to Dean being gone, to being surrounded by strangers and then by giant strangers, Sam couldn’t catch a break.

Jacob’s fingers closed around and under him, and Sam tried to squirm his way off. He couldn’t move fast enough, and quickly found himself lifting up into the air. Despite everything else happening, Sam’s mind continued to hate the speed he was moved around at. Too fast!

Then, too soon for comfort, Sam realized the fingers were opening around him. Panicked, he glanced up and saw Jacob’s apologetic look, though he couldn’t blame the kid. He was only little, after all, and Sam knew better than anyone what it could be like to disobey his father.

Sam twisted around to finally see Jacob’s parents for the first time, and let out a yelp of real fear. The father was looming right over them, and Sam dove for the fingers around him. They were his only possible cover, and he tried to curl them around him to get out of sight again. Tears flowed from his eyes unbidden. “I’m s-sorry, I didn’t mean to sneak in!” Sam wailed in fear. “I j-just wanted to find my family and p-please don’t be mad. I don’t w-wanna get hurt!”

Sam was slowly blocked from sight as Jacob responded to his desperate moves. He folded one hand over the other as the tiny boy directed him, and formed a little cave with his hands for Sam to hide. Jacob didn't even look up at his parents anymore, instead putting all of his focus on his small friend. He felt so much remorse for not being able to keep him a secret for more than five minutes.

His parents were dumbstruck, barely able to get over the initial shock of seeing a tiny child in their own child's hands. His papa let out a slow breath. "Mariana, are you seeing what I am?" he asked in that deep rumbling voice of his.

"Oh my God," Mariana breathed. "Nicholas, move back," she instructed, shoving at her husband's shoulder to usher him further away from the two children. He was so tall compared to the absolutely tiny little boy. No wonder the child was babbling.

She had shifted from stern, concerned mother to a much softer countenance as her whole demeanor changed. Hearing the plaintive voice in Jacob's hand, the mother in her rose up with a fierce drive to make sure the poor boy was okay, and she knelt near Jacob and fixed her eyes on his hands.

"Shh, shh, you're not in any trouble, sweetie," she said cajolingly. "We thought... nevermind that. No one's gonna hurt you, okay?" 

Inside of Jacob’s protectively cupped hands, Sam was nearly hyperventilating at the sight of the two more giant giants. The only safety he had was the illusion that Jacob was giving him of hiding underneath the arched fingers. He took a deep breath at Mariana’s voice, and pushed a finger to the side so he could peek out at her.

The sight of Jacob’s father, still visible in the distance, almost made Sam duck right back down again. He was so big. If Godzilla was a guy, this man might fit the bill perfectly. Sam didn’t even know if he’d known anyone that tall when he was normal-sized.

Sam blinked teary eyes, and tried to stifle the hiccups that snuck back up on him while he cried. “Y-you aren’t mad?” he called out of his little hand-cave, hugging his arms around himself. 

Nicholas backed off further, barely hearing the tiny voice out of Jacob's hands. He could only see that he must be terrified, with the way even Jacob's hands were a worthy shelter for him. Nicholas' heart went out to him, but he knew better than to get too close to someone who already felt cornered; he'd learned long ago that his height worked against him in situations like this.

Mariana's brow pinched with worry. Her mothering instincts were telling her to scoop up the poor child and hold him and comfort him, but she knew that would just make everything worse. "Of course we're not mad," she said gently. She glanced up at Jacob. "I'm guessing you asked Jacob to help you hide from us?"

Jacob nodded sheepishly, protectively moving his hands a little closer to his chest. "I promised and I didn't wanna be mean and I'm sorry I lied," he murmured out hastily, but he still made no move to show Sam off after having his hands pulled closed over his tiny friend.

Mariana smiled faintly, but the look quickly shifted back to concerned, and she looked back at Jacob's hands to try to see the boy peeking out. "We didn't mean to scare you," she said, guessing that their stern instructions had been ten times as nerve-wracking for such a tiny kid. "We didn't know what Jacob was hiding, and it's our job to take care of him, after all. I understand why you wanted to hide, sweetie, but you don't need to be afraid of us. Will you come out and say hi to me?"

Sam hastily tried to wipe his tears away and raked his fingers through his hair, torn. He wanted to stay out of sight, but he knew that he couldn’t ask Jacob to hold him like this forever. As safe as the dark felt with the thundering voices outside and the giants.

Pushing Jacob’s finger the rest of the way from in front of him, Sam blinked up at his friend’s mom. She was so big, and he knew Jacob’s dad was bigger. Maybe if they didn’t want him around, he could at least get them to let him slip back into the walls.

Sam brushed at his face again, and tried to gather his courage. Ever since finding himself big enough to be pinched between two fingers, that had become a lot more difficult.

“M-my name’s Sam,” he said tremulously as he looked up at her. “I… I lost my family and I don’t know what happened, but everything’s so big and I didn’t know what else to do.”

"Oh," Mariana let out, her heart breaking at the sight of how small and scared Sam was. His little voice, so soft and timid, spoke right to her heart. "Oh, Sam, it'll be alright. Don't worry about a thing."

She shifted where she knelt, wanting to move closer but knowing that both Sam and Jacob might balk if she did. Jacob had taken to the task of keeping Sam safe, and she would be lying if she said she wasn't proud of him for that. He still looked worried, like his defiance moments ago might get him into trouble.

"Sam, I'm Mariana, and that's my husband Nicholas," she introduced herself, patting her own chest before gesturing behind herself to where Nicholas was leaning against the wall. "We'll help you find your family. But first, this is very important, I need you to tell us if you're hurt and what you know about what happened, okay?"

Sam blinked up at them. “Nice to meet you ma’am.” He shifted so he was kneeling, and her words reminded him that he had gotten hurt. When he was running from Walt, and tripped. His right hand was raw and red, and when he turned it over to check it, there was blood caked where the skin had scraped off.

Holding his hand out for her, Sam looked hopefully up at Mariana. “I fell before I ran in your room,” he explained. “I wanted to go find Dean, but I had no idea where I was.” 

Something in Sam told him that the stern man wouldn’t want anyone to know he was there, so he avoided mentioning him. If he’d saved Sam’s life from the witch, Sam owed him. He would repay Walt how he could, despite running away. Walt and Mallory had offered him safety, and Sam had ignored them. Maybe if he’d listened, he wouldn’t be hurt now.

“I don’t think you’ll believe me about what happened though,” Sam finished truthfully.

Mariana had to squint to see Sam's tiny hand, even though he held it out to her so prominently. His fingers were almost microscopic, they were so tiny, and it suddenly struck her how impossible this was supposed to be. Tiny children weren't supposed to be real, and yet her son had somehow managed to find and pocket one.

In the end, she clucked her tongue pitifully. "How about we see about that after we put something on your hand," she suggested with a smile. She shifted back before standing at her full height and leaving Jacob room to come out of the corner he'd worked himself into. "Jacob, baby, why don't you and Sam come into the bathroom counter where the light's better?"

Jacob nodded, but before he left his corner he looked down at Sam in his hands. His eyes were a little wide and still misty from the stress, but he smiled faintly at Sam anyway. "Mama has good stuff to put on cuts to make them better. But it's kinda smelly," he explained, waiting for Sam to decide whether he wanted it.

“O-okay.” Jacob wasn’t the only one who was recovering from the stress of the last few minutes. Sam’s voice was still shaky, but he gave his new friend an encouraging smile. “I think that’s a good idea. And don’t worry! It wasn’t your fault.” Sam patted one of the fingers near him that he’d hidden under previously.

Despite the warm words, Sam couldn’t stop himself from glancing nervously over at Jacob’s dad, Nicholas, across the room from them. From a distance, it was easy to see that the man would tower over John Winchester. Sam continued to fret that he’d be mad about him sneaking into their room.

Soon enough, Nicholas was out of sight as Jacob made his way out from where he'd tried to shield himself. The boy sidled past his mama and turned towards the bathroom alcove, and just like that even his small chest blocked Nicholas from view.

Jacob took careful steps with Sam in hand, trying to avoid making him tip over or roll around in his cupped hands. He was so small that exaggerated motions could do that. Jacob was careful all the way to the counter, and even bit his bottom lip in concentration. Once there, he had to reach up to be able to rest his hands flat on the counter for Sam to step off onto it.

Mariana stooped to pick up Jacob's toy trucks before they were forgotten in the motel room (she knew better than to think it'd be easy to console him if his favorite toys were lost). Once those were tossed onto the bed, she sent a glance to Nicholas for solidarity before following Jacob into the alcove.

"Alright, Sam," she greeted, kneeling down by the counter again so she was more level with both children. "Can I see your hand again, sweetie?" she asked, tentatively offering her own extended fingertip for him to rest his hand on. She had no idea how she'd manage to treat such a small injury, but she had to try. A tiny infection would be much worse.

After spending so long either held in a hand or tucked away in a pocket, solid ground beneath Sam’s boots felt so strange. He knew that it might look like the counter was a solid surface, but in reality there was open air beneath it, where the basin of the sink could be seen and the bathroom trash was tucked under. The room he and Dean had stayed in while their dad hunted was almost identical, aside from the beds and bathroom on the reverse side of the wall, like it was a mirror image.

Mariana’s hand was much larger than either of Jacob’s, or even both of his together. Sam was hesitant as he walked up to it, knowing how fast he could get snatched off the counter, just like being grabbed from the ground before.

But he needed someone he could trust, and everyone in the family had been kind so far.

Sam held his hand palm up against Mariana’s fingertip, almost flinching away at the rough feeling of her fingerprint. He stared hopefully up at her.

Mariana did her best to keep still. Sam had signs throughout his demeanor of nervousness over the size of everything. Mariana couldn't begin to know what had happened to him, but she couldn't help but think he hadn't always been that small. Of course, that wasn't supposed to be possible, and her mind kept telling her so, but her eyes didn't lie.

Her other senses didn't, either. She could feel that tiny hand resting palm up on her fingertip, an almost nonexistent weight that she only felt because she knew to look out for it.

She squinted appraisingly at Sam's little hand, and then offered him an encouraging smile. "My goodness, you got yourself pretty good," she told him. "We'll clean it right up."

With that assurance, she glanced around at the supplies they had while gently moving her fingertip out from under Sam's hand. She opted to reach for one of the tissues in the box on the counter rather than a scratchy hand towel that would make a circus tent for Sam.

She also grabbed her travel kit of various necessities, handing it over to Jacob. "Find the medicine for mama?" she asked him, and he nodded and opened up the bag to look. Mariana bunched up the tissue and got it damp with a few drips from the faucet before holding it out to Sam.

If it were Jacob, she would have simply grabbed his hand and gently scrubbed at it herself to clean any dirt out. With Sam, Mariana was secretly terrified of accidentally squeezing him too hard. She had to compromise. "Just need to wash it out, and then we'll put some medicine on and you'll be good as new," she told him kindly.

Sam’s eyes were wide at how fast Mariana moved, but he nodded in understanding. He had a feeling he would think that a lot until he got back to normal. They were just so big, and he was too small for it all.

Taking a step towards the tissue, Sam stuck both hands into it and started to clean his injured palm. The blood washed off, showing the pink skin underneath with the scratches from his fall. Sam stuck his lip out in determination as he finished cleaning both hands, glad to get the dust off from being in the walls.

“Okay,” Sam determined as he looked his hand over. He held it out to Mariana again. “All clean!”

Chapter Text

Mariana smiled, glad to see even a little exuberance surfacing in the small child. His fear and worry broke her heart, but hopefully they'd be able to get past the hurdles soon. "Good work," she told him.

"Here's the medicine!" Jacob announced, holding up a tube of antibiotic ointment in one fist. The entire tube was longer than Sam was tall, and it looked to be about half used up. Jacob handed it over to his mother and then kept his eye on the process as she opened it up and squeezed the smallest dab that she could onto her fingertip.

"I think if I tried to put it on you it'd cover your whole hand," she said with a smile, and Jacob snickered at the thought. His nose wrinkled, remembering the smell of the stuff.

Mariana held out her fingertip again for Sam to take some of the ointment. "Just pinch some of it in your fingers, and then rub it onto the scratches."

“ ‘Kay.” Sam followed her direction, taking a glob of the paste for himself. It did have a pungent odor to it, a lot stronger than what he remembered from the last time he’d skinned his knees running on a sidewalk. With careful concentration, he applied it like she said, putting a generous amount on the heel of his palm, where most of the scrape was. It only stung a little, and Sam rubbed in the rest of his glob over every place his skin had reddened.

Definitely better than the time he’d seen Dean pouring their dad’s whiskey over an injury the grizzled hunter had acquired.

“I think I got it all,” he said thoughtfully as he checked the rest of his hand over.

"Good. Now all we need is to cover it," Mariana decided, taking the small bag back from Jacob. She sifted through it and found a band-aid, but then paused. The band-aid would be simple to just stick onto Jacob, but Sam was less than three inches tall. The glue from the sticky part of the bandage could do more harm than good.

In the end, she looked back at Jacob. "Jacob, honey," she said, getting his attention off of staring at Sam curiously. "Papa has a first aid kit in his bag, I think. Will you go get it from him?"

He nodded and grinned. "I'll go get it," he confirmed, before padding off across the room to where his papa waited, curious himself but behaving.

Mariana looked back to Sam with a smile. "I'm going to have to make things up as I go along," she confessed. "A band-aid is a little bit much for you so I was thinking of tying some gauze onto your hand. If you don't mind having a mitten on for a little while."

“I don’t mind,” Sam told her. He looked his hand over, trying to imagine what the gauze would look like. Already he could see different textures on everyday objects. The weave of Jacob’s shirt was coarser than it should be, and both Jacob’s and Mariana’s hands had more wrinkles than they should. Sam stared at his own skin, just barely able to make the same texture that was clear as day on theirs.

His would be microscopic for anyone else to look at.

“I think I have to make things up as I go, too,” Sam said truthfully to Mariana. “Everything’s so different now.”

She nodded. It didn't take any convincing to believe the poor tiny boy's words. She thought about what he'd said before, about losing his family and not knowing where to go. Finding them would have to jump to the top of their priority list if they could.

The police might be able to help. On the other hand, Mariana couldn't help but imagine them taking the poor miniature child away and keeping him someplace "secure" to study his condition while they tried to contact his family. After everything he'd already been through, her instincts told her not to let something so stressful happen to the poor kid. He was so tiny that he wouldn't be able to protect himself if it came to something like that.

Jacob returned and pulled her out of her thoughts. "Here's the first aid box, mama," he announced, holding it up. He sent Sam a smile of encouragement and of simple gladness that they were getting him fixed up.

"Thank you, honey," she told him, taking the box and ruffling his brown hair. She opened the box on her lap and sighed as she stared into it, trying to think of the best way to go about this for Sam. The gauze would be thick, and the only way she'd be able to tie some would be to use a lot more than Sam actually needed.

She cut the narrowest strip she could, and then looked back up at Sam on the counter. Her hands were held at the ready, but before she reached towards him again she smiled sheepishly. "You might have to help me get it all in place," she told him. "It's a lot but it's better than not covering up your poor hand, right?"

“It’ll work,” Sam said, determined to do just that. He knew how cuts could get way worse if they were left alone, and didn’t want that. Being small was bad enough.

He held out his hand for Mariana, and stayed still as she began to wrap it up with restrained motions. Yet again, Sam could see how the other humans moved so fast. It might just be because he was smaller than them but the quick motions left his eyes wide.

When she needed help, Sam was able to take the end of the gauze and tie up his hand. He held it up to show it off to Jacob. “What do you think? It’s like an oven mitt! I could be a cook!” Sam gave his new friend a big smile, wanting to make sure Jacob wasn’t upset anymore about letting him down. It wasn’t Jacob’s fault, and Sam didn’t want him to think it was.

Jacob grinned and snickered quietly. "Or a baseball player!" he added in, staring at the thick bandaging wrapped around that little hand. It made the injury look a lot worse than a scrape from falling down. Hopefully that meant it'd get better a lot faster. Jacob hadn't even noticed the blood on Sam's hands when he first picked him up.

Mariana smiled, too, endeared by how well the two children got along. She knew they hadn't known each other for that long, since she and Nicholas hadn't been out of the room for too much time. Just enough to chat with a neighbor and then talk about the budget for their little road trip. And yet, it looked like Sam and Jacob had already befriended one another.

Jacob bridged his hands to the edge of the counter again, keeping them still despite his excitement for everything working out. "Does it feel better? I never had a bandaid that big before," he said, his eyes still fixed on the wrapped up little hand. Even thickened with gauze, Sam probably wouldn't be able to cover one of Jacob's fingertips.

Sam took his hand back, clasping it with his other hand. “It feels better,” he told Jacob. “Now I won’t be able to make it worse, especially with a bandage this big.”

The thought of walking onto a hand still had Sam hesitant, but it was better than any other options. He was way too small to climb down on his own, he wasn’t keen on being picked up by anyone, and Mariana was really nice, but her hands were a lot bigger. So he walked over to Jacob and cautiously picked his way across the pliant skin. More than once Sam thought he’d tumble over, but he managed to sit down in the center of Jacob’s palm. “Don’t go too fast, okay?” Sam asked Jacob seriously, remembering how fast some of his trips had been.

Before they left, he remembered he was supposed to do more, and went “Oh!” Sam turned to Mariana and bobbed his head. “Thanks for all your help, ma’am.”

"Of course, Sam," she told him with a nod. Her curls bounced in their ponytail at the back of her head. She watched as Jacob chewed his bottom lip in concentration, moving his hands slowly so they were cupped in front of his chest. He was very careful to keep Sam safe in his hands, and Mariana wasn't worried at all that Sam was in danger there. Her boy had always been a gentle soul.

"Now that you're all fixed up, maybe you can come and tell us what happened," Mariana suggested, getting to her feet as Jacob stepped back from the counter. He followed her back into the main room, keeping his steps steadier than he ever had and looking down at Sam all the while.

Nicholas was still in a chair at the table, opposite them. He sat up straighter, trying to catch a glimpse of Sam from where Jacob had paused near one of the beds, but he still didn't stand. "Hey, kiddo," he greeted, knowing Sam would most likely still be nervous about him. Most kids were wary of his size, and he knew he took getting used to.

Sam’s hand found its way to the green flannel shirt that rose up behind him, the fingers twining nervously into the fabric. It gave him something to anchor on as he stared up at the largest person he’d ever laid eyes on in his life. Even all the way up on Jacob’s hands, which was very high to a kid who barely topped two and a half inches, he had to crane his neck slightly to meet Nicholas in the eyes.

“H-hi sir,” Sam replied nervously, his hazel eyes wide. It felt like he needed to raise his voice for it to carry all the way to the towering man, and he wondered if Nicholas would be able to hear him from there.

In truth, Nicholas didn't hear the tiny voice directed at him. He did, however, notice how scared Sam was, and how he clung to Jacob for security. It wasn't surprising. In a room full of giant things and people, Jacob was the littlest giant there. He had already started to bond with Sam before Nicholas and Mariana came in.

"Don't worry," Nicholas said gently, settling back in his chair. "I know there's a lot of me here," he quipped with a shrug. "You can talk to Jake and Mariana and maybe they'll fill me in later, alright?"

Mariana sat on the end of the bed while Jacob remained standing, holding Sam close to himself and watching both of his parents for what might happen next. She clasped her hands in her lap, glancing over at her husband before peering worriedly at the tiny boy again. "What happened, Sam? We want to help you find your family but we need to know how you got... like this."

Sam tore himself away from watching Jacob’s dad with a wary eye. He couldn’t help it. The man was just that big. Mariana, despite the way she could loom over Jacob and Sam if she wanted to, would be tiny herself next to him. He focused his attention on her, and his thoughts went back to what he remembered before waking up in an unknown room with the people that saved him.

“Well,” he started. “I… was in a room with my older brother, Dean. He’s been watching me while dad’s out, and we’ve been here for a week. We were watching TV, and then this lady was in the room with us.”

Sam’s eyes were bright at the memory, reliving every detail. “She was tall, and Dean got really mad at her. He tried to get rid of her, but he got pinned to the wall.” Instinctively, Sam avoided mentioning that Dean had been pinned by magic. He’d been told people got upset when they heard about anything supernatural, and he was already going to be telling them enough. “There was a bright flash of light, then… I woke up.”

Untangling his fingers from Jacob’s shirt, Sam rubbed tiredly at his eyes. It felt like an entire year had passed since waking up with Walt and Mallory watching over him. “I dunno where Dean and dad went, and I didn’t know where I was, just that everything got huge and wrong and I ran, and…” He glanced up over his shoulder at Jacob. “That’s when I stumbled into here.”

Mariana wrung her hands. If Sam was telling the truth, and they had no reason to think he wasn't, he had been shrunk by magic. Mariana was a devout member of her church, but she couldn't deny the evidence right in front of her eyes. Sam was an innocent child and something terrible had befallen him.

"Ohh, sweetie," she muttered, temporarily dumbstruck as the situation really sank in.

Chapter Text

Meanwhile, Jacob's eyes were wide. He tried to imagine waking up so little, and he felt his shoulders tensing up in spite of himself. His fingers curled slightly, almost ready to hug Sam again for what he'd been through, but instead he just brushed one tiny arm with his thumb, getting better and better at the gesture.

"Maybe his brother's still in one a' the other rooms," Jacob suggested. "We can just go ask."

Mariana smiled faintly, and didn't contradict him. "It's ... not the worst idea," she admitted.

Sam grew pensive at the reminder. “I dunno. They said I was asleep for a whole week,” he recounted, thinking of Walt and Mallory. The drink they’d given him was long ago now, and he was reminded of his thirst and an empty feeling in his stomach.

A part of his mind reminded him that the other two tiny people wouldn’t want anyone to know they existed. Walt’s words about other people being dangerous stood out. That wasn’t the words of someone who’d just walk up to Mariana or Dean, no matter how helpful they were.

That made Sam clam up about Walt and Mallory, and hurry to tell them about his family. “Dean and dad might not be here anymore,” he made sure to inform them. “But if they were, they’re Dean and John Winchester, and our car is a big black 1967 Impala.” Though Sam wasn’t anywhere near as into cars as Dean was, he remembered that as clear as day. “We don’t have a home. We live on the road.”

Mariana turned to Nicholas, but he'd already grabbed a notepad and pen strewn on the table, ready to write details down. He couldn't hear what Sam had said, but he jotted down the details as Mariana repeated them to him. If those details were all they had, they'd need to remember them exactly if they were to find John or Dean or even that Impala.

"I might ask the motel clerk if they can tell us anything," Mariana mused out loud. Inwardly, she worried about the detail Sam had let slip out before blurting out more details. If he'd been asleep for a week, and his family hadn't found him, there was no saying how far they could have gotten. They could be in town, or they could be on the coast by now.

"Well... I think it sounds like you've been through a lot, Sam." Mariana decided that, in the meantime, she would look after the boy. Until they found his family, he was in their care. "If you were asleep for so long ... you must be hungry?"

"He can have some a' my trail mix!" Jacob chimed in. "And maybe some apple juice too since it's good for you."

Mariana couldn't help a chuckle. "I think you just want an excuse to finish whatever he doesn't have," she remarked, reaching out to brush a hand over Jacob's hair. He grinned but didn't deny it. "Well, Sam? Does that sound good to you?"

Sam managed to not react to Mariana moving so quick to brush Jacob’s hair. It was definitely going to take time to adjust to that, and he hoped that he wouldn’t need that time. If they found Dean and John, his dad knew a lot about the supernatural. Maybe he could find a cure for Sam.

A little hope to cling to.

“That sounds really good,” Sam said, his stomach making a sound of agreement in time with his words. “I only had a little water since I woke up.”

"Oh, good God," Mariana muttered, suddenly thinking she should have asked if Sam wanted food first. "I'll get you something right away, sweetie," she announced, before she was standing again and bustling over to the mini fridge.

With his mama getting food and his papa sitting at the table, Jacob remained where he was for a second more. Then, moving slowly so that he wouldn't just drop Sam's seat out from under him, he sat down on the floor with his back against the end of one of the beds, keeping out of the way. He crossed his legs and sighed, and his own eyelids drooped for a moment.

He came back to himself when his mother returned. She had managed to ration out some trail mix onto a paper plate, and there was even a bottle cap with some apple juice at the bottom balanced right in the middle for Sam. The remaining juice box was in her other hand, held steady. She gave the children a bemused smile. "Do you want to have your snack here or at the table?" she asked them, knowing that either way didn't bother her. Jacob might be giant to Sam, but he wasn't that big, and the motel room's chairs were a bit tall for him anyway.

Sam considered his options. It was easy to see that Jacob was exhausted after everything they’d gone through since Sam had dashed heedlessly into the room. The table would be the better place for them to eat, though he found himself shooting a nervous glance over at Nicholas. The sharp size disparity between them made Sam naturally wary, no matter that there had been no threatening moves made thus far.

He’s not gonna do anything. He’s Jacob’s dad. I’ll be fine. They’ve all been really nice to me.

The bed would be too hard to eat on. The surface would bounce under him, making it difficult to balance his drink, so Sam pointed at the table. “Can we eat over there?” he asked, his ears flushing red in a bout of nerves he was trying to hide.

Mariana smiled gently. She might not be able to see Sam's face very clearly, but she could hear how timid his already-quiet little voice was. "Alright," she said, standing back and waiting for Jacob to stand up. He almost had difficulty, with both of his hands occupied keeping Sam stable, but he managed it with a grin and marched towards the table.

"Trail mix is my favorite," he said conversationally as he reached the table.

"Don't forget to share it," Nicholas chimed in, quieting his deep voice. He chose to remain seated in the opposite chair as Jacob bridged his hands to the table and Mariana set the plate and juicebox down.

Nicholas had one arm leaning idly on the table, but as he saw closer than ever before just how small Sam was, he gently removed it to give the kid even more space. He felt extra big like that, with his little son holding an even tinier child on his hands. 

“We usually had granola bars,” Sam told Jacob. He was unsteady as he picked his way over fingers, and hopped down to the table. Again, the feeling of solid ground beneath his boots struck him. There was no pulse beneath his feet, no minute muscle twitches as he was held suspended in the air. 

On the other hand, there was a very large giant sitting at the other end of the table. Sam was thankful Jacob’s dad was sitting down. Every move the man made reminded Sam that he didn’t stand the length of a finger in height. In fact, Sam had the distinct impression that he might be lucky to stand half a finger tall.

The plate with the food was only a few steps away, and Sam didn’t waste any time once he was standing on the table. With food so close, he really was feeling the hunger that gnawed at his belly.

Before anything else, Sam carefully picked out one piece of everything found in the trail mix. He ended up with a peanut, a raisin and a dried slice of apple, and the biggest M&M he’d ever seen. He chose to place his takings on the edge of the plate and sat with his legs crossed next to the bottlecap of apple juice. Sam took a drink first. It was far more than he’d ever finish, and the cool liquid was welcome after all the tears from earlier.

"Mama likes granola bars," Jacob answered, after hoisting himself up onto the chair. Mariana chuckled and pushed the chair closer to the table so that he could reach, and the first thing he grabbed was the apple juice.

While he took a sip of his drink, Jacob couldn't help but stare with curious eyes at Sam with his own cap of juice. It was like a bucket in his little hands. Jacob noticed with a look of awe that the M&M Sam had claimed was nearly the size of his head.

"Trail mix is a good snack in the car, so long as I don't drop anything. The M&M's could melt and then they're ruined," he said ruefully while he picked up some of his own trail mix.

"Makes the car smell nice, though, doesn't it?" Nicholas mused, grinning even as Mariana gave him a dirty look for making light of such a thing. Melted chocolate in upholstery was a nightmare to clean and attracted ants.

"I don't wanna just smell chocolate, I wanna eat it," Jacob countered, looking to Sam for support in his argument.

“I like anything chocolate,” Sam declared loyally, finding himself joining the family banter with ease. It was a lot like the bickering with Dean that happened constantly, with his older brother being contrary sometimes just for the sake of being contrary. Those times ended with their dad aggravated more often than not. 

He pulled his M&M protectively close, realizing that there was enough chocolate in it for like an entire week.

Whether the chocolate was good or not, Sam tried the rest of his food first. The peanut was good, but eating it in bites was a lot different than eating a little peanut at a time, and he had to set it aside. The dried apple wasn’t as good as it looked, but the raisin tasted great. Once he tore the skin, the inside was tasty and soft for him to eat.

The M&M posed a bigger challenge, due to the thick candy shell that coated it. Sam tried knocking it against the table to get a crack, but nothing happened. The shell gleamed in the light, mocking him. Sam frowned as he considered his options. He wasn’t strong enough to break the candy shell of an M&M. It was a distressing thought, but then a light came and Sam saw a way out.

The silver knife tucked away in Sam’s jacket, forgotten in there since being snatched up off the ground, would be sharp enough to crack the shell.

Sam withdrew his coveted silver knife into the light, his tongue sticking out in concentration as he held the M&M steady between his boots and chipped away at the shell until he got a piece of chocolate free. He grinned triumphantly as he took a bite of his well-deserved reward.

The glimmer of that knife caught every eye. Jacob watched Sam treat himself to a huge piece of chocolate with some envy, quickly forgetting the dangerous tool in favor of imagining having that much chocolate to himself. He absently ate more of his own trail mix as he thought about it.

Mariana and Nicholas, however, were entirely focused on the fact that a child smaller than a finger had a knife stashed on him. They hadn't dared interrupt him while he was working on breaking open the M&M, lest he slip and slice his own leg or hand. Afterwards, however, came the difficult decision of whether or not to mention it.

They shared a glance, trying to communicate silently what they were thinking. A knife like that in full size would be incredibly dangerous for children to have. Sam looked like he might be old enough to handle himself wisely with it, but Mariana knew without a doubt that she'd never let Jacob near such a thing.

Nicholas was in agreement on that issue, however he sent a few thoughtful glances Sam's way while the children worked on their snacks. Sam was so small that he'd actually needed the assistance of the knife for the task of eating an M&M. Everything in the world had somehow become far too large for him, and maybe having the knife around was his only personal defense against it. Sam would have trouble with a spider if it was ambitious enough.

"Sam ... sweetie," Mariana finally spoke, chuckling quietly as she tried to find the right words. "Just ... um. Be careful with that knife, okay? I'm sure you've already heard that before, but ... Be careful."

Sam glanced up, surprised at the turn their conversation had taken. His chocolate treat was forgotten in his hand with everyone’s attention on his treasured knife.

Once Sam had discovered the truth about what their father did, Dean had chosen to start teaching him self-defense. The son of a hunter needed to be prepared for being attacked, and according to Dean, he wasn’t going to let his little brother be some ‘damsel in distress.’ Commence hand to hand training, and at Sam’s next birthday, he’d opened up a rare gift-- one that wasn’t for a chick-- from Dean, and revealed the gleaming silver knife.

Hand to hand combat techniques shifted to being able to use the knife, and proper care for the shining blade. Sam was glad he’d taken them to heart, considering it was one of his only possessions aside from the clothes on his back.

He came from a family who viewed weapons as a necessity in life. If you didn’t have a weapon on you, you were vulnerable.

What good did the knife do me against the witch?

Sam held his knife close. “I, uh… I know how to use it,” he replied, shy but firm. If there was one thing in the world he’d never let go, it was his knife. It made it seem as though Dean was by his side, and Sam knew he might need that more than ever right now.

The knife vanished into Sam’s jacket. Inside, there were pockets Dean had helped him sew in, and one of them held the sheath for the blade to protect it from his skin.

With it safely out of sight, Sam glanced up at Mariana, then over to Nicholas. “Dean made it for me,” he said, his voice gaining in strength. “To protect myself if anyone bad came after me. He taught me how to use it.”

Mariana looked worried again, but Nicholas spoke up next. "Don't worry, kiddo," he muttered, still trying to find a tone of voice that was respectful of Sam's small size. His usual bass rumble probably sounded far more exaggerated to such tiny ears.

"It's a good idea to have something to defend yourself," he went on gently, offering the boy a smile. "Just in case, right?"

He couldn't look over at Mariana's concerned look at the moment. He knew her motherly instinct was telling her that a sharp weapon like that wasn't safe for a child, but Sam's determination spoke volumes. If they tried to take that from him, he'd resent them.

"Just gotta be careful," Jacob interjected, his eyes wide. "Knives are sharp." He parroted the words back that he'd learned from various adults in his life. Even big kids weren't immune to truths like that.

"And Jacob, you are not to touch his knife, okay?" Mariana finally spoke up, unable to resist laying some kind of ground rules for it.

Chapter Text

Sam gave Nicholas a fleeting glimpse before he went back to staring down at his chocolate bite he held pinched between two fingers. “Thank you, sir,” Sam said, having a hard time meeting the eyes of a guy who could give some buildings a run for their money if Sam was normal sized. Sam’s voice sounded so thin and reedy compared to the bass rumble that sounded out of his chest.

The rest of Mariana’s concern, Sam could try and lay to rest. One of his first lessons was safety with weapons. Dean wouldn’t risk his younger brother because of skimping on important lessons like that. “You don’t have to worry, ma’am,” Sam told her. “I won’t ever put it down.” He held up his arm and pointed at the front of his jacket. “Dean helped me put a sheath in my jacket so it's safe if I’m not using it.”

Mariana turned her attention from Jacob to Sam again and smiled. His polite demeanor truly did lay some of her worries to rest. "Alright," she relented. "I just want to make sure you're both safe," she admitted to him, almost wishing she could reach out and brush his hair back like she'd done with Jacob moments ago.

Jacob picked up his juice box again and sipped at the straw until the telltale noises of an empty drink echoed loudly out of it. "Ooops," he said quietly, setting the box aside. They were always gone before he wanted them to be, and he nibbled at a dried apple slice instead for consolation.

"It's almost like a little sword," he mused aloud. "Real short sword. Sam's like a avenat, um, an a’venturer."

“Definitely feels like it,” Sam continued the musing, glancing around the room they were in. During the course of two days, his world had transformed from the regular, comforting confines of yet another motel in a long line of successors to arching walls, towering furniture with dark forests of dust bunnies underneath.

Sam shuddered, drawing his legs close as he nibbled on the rest of his bite of chocolate. As good as it was, even the flake he’d removed from the M&M was too much for his tiny stomach. Sam found himself putting it down on the tabletop with a forlorn look in his eye.

The apple juice was just as good as before, and Sam drank as much as he could. It was like lifting up a bucket, so he decided that sipping it out of his hand was the best method. Gone were the days of using a cup his own size. He would have to make do, just like his family always did.

When Sam was full, he glanced up to see Jacob’s forlorn look for his own apple juice. Sam stood and pushed his bottlecap closer to the kid. “I’m full,” he declared. “You can have the rest if you want.”

Jacob's eyebrows shot up and he beamed. He glanced up at his parents to see if they'd heard, and they were giving him bemused smiles over the simple excitement. It was so nice of Sam. Jacob finished up his dried fruit hastily.

"I can really have it?" he asked, lowering his head to the table. He wound up with his chin rested on it, and he was still taller than Sam. When he didn't get any indication otherwise, he reached forward cautiously, wary the closer his hand got to Sam. He remembered the older kid asking him not to move too fast, and wanted to keep to that request the best he could.

He pinched the little cap and pulled it closer, sipping the last of the apple juice from it before setting it down and sitting up again. "Thanks, Sam." He rubbed at one of his eyes absently, and Mariana caught the action almost immediately.

"I think Jacob could use a short nap," she suggested, holding up a halting hand before the boy could protest. "Ah. I see you getting sleepy," she said with a smile, daring him to deny it.

“I wouldn’t mind a nap,” Sam piped in helpfully before Jacob could dig his heels in more. There were a few tricks Sam had learned from being a little brother all his life, including ways around obstinance.

It wasn’t a lie, either. Sam didn’t know if he would be able to sleep, but his eyes were blurry and as he rubbed at his own face, he found some of the dried tears caked on his cheeks and tried to scrub them off. Even with a week of sleep, a deep exhaustion lurked in his bones. That deep darkness he’d dragged himself from was closer to a coma, a complete lack of consciousness or awareness, even to the level of dreams. It was a period of time in which Sam hadn’t existed.

That didn’t mean he wasn’t unsettled by the thought of sleeping in a room full of giants, but there wasn’t much Sam could do for that. He gave another thought to trying to sneak away and find Walt again, but a part of him was latched on that hope of finding Dean and John, so he could go home where he belonged. Going back to Walt was giving up on that, in his mind.

Jacob's mouth twisted into a defeated frown and he rubbed at his eyes more. Now that he'd been found out, trying to hide it was even less useful than before, but he was tired. He hadn't been through as much as Sam had, but he still had had a lot of excitement for one day, not to mention the confrontation with his parents. For such a young child, that was a lot of stress all at once.

"Okay," he said, wriggling a little to scoot off the front of his chair. He turned his head away and hid a yawn with his arm like he'd been taught to do, before blinking owlishly and offering his hands for Sam again. "I guess if you're tired, too, it should be nap time."

Nicholas chuckled. "Yes, you two get some rest. And Sam?" he said, before the small boy could walk onto Jacob's hands. "We'll go and ask the desk if they know anything, alright? We'll find them."

Sam paused and looked back to meet Nicholas’ eyes. With the warm reassurance, it was easier to hold that steady gaze. Sam was still small, but there was hope, and he had to hold onto it. If they found his family, his dad could look for a cure. He knew everything there was about the supernatural, he’d know what to do.

“Thanks for helping, sir,” Sam said, more assured than he’d been with Nicholas the entire time. “I hope you find them, too.” He brushed his hair back. “It’s just not the same without Dean,” he murmured softly to himself.

Jacob’s hands were steady when Sam walked on again. It was becoming a regular form of transport for the cursed kid with an alarming speed, but he couldn’t let that get him down. It could be worse, and Jacob was very careful

“You’re getting good at this!” Sam called up to Jacob as he sat himself down in the bowled palms.

Jacob grinned, bringing his hands carefully towards himself again to anchor Sam in front of his chest. The praise came as no small relief. He'd never had to practice holding someone so small before, so he was glad Sam approved. "Good! I'm being extra careful."

"How about you be extra careful on over to your bed, mister," Mariana prompted, ushering Jacob to the bed farthest from the door.

Jacob noted the two rumpled pillows and then had an idea. "A whole pillow is like a really big bed for Sam," he noted, looking wide-eyed up at his mama before looking down at Sam like he was the luckiest kid in the world.

Sam sized it up, unable to believe what he was looking at. A pillow was the size of a house. He was gonna have to be careful sleeping that high up. The bed was taller than the school he and Dean had gone to!

“I bet it’s comfy,” Sam agreed. “But it’s probably gonna be cold without blankets like the bed has.” He shivered a little. When he wasn’t being held by Jacob, the chill in the air was sharper than he remembered from before. It was supposed to be warm in the summer. Dean had cranked the AC all the way up in their own room during the Kansas heat, but now Sam was wishing there was no AC on.

Jacob pursed his lips in thought. He glanced over the blankets on the bed and noted that they were way too big; Sam could get lost in them easily. He turned to look up at Mariana, who raised her eyebrows expectantly. "Mama, we need a blanket for Sam," he explained, and she smiled, once again endeared by the sight of her child looking out for Sam.

"Alright, Jacob, I'll get... a shirt from your bag. That can be like a blanket," she compromised.

Jacob thought about it while he closed the distance to the bed. He held his hands out towards the pillow for Sam to climb onto it and asked "Will that make a good blanket?" he asked, trying to imagine sleeping with a giant shirt for a blanket. He had trouble picturing it. He could hear his mother already retrieving one from his bag and returning, and he looked over his shoulder at her, eyeing the shirt critically.

Sam watched the shirt approach from his spot on Jacob’s hand. It looked like another flannel, and he remembered what the inside of the pocket had felt like. It might not be as comfortable as a normal bed, but it would work while he was tiny.

“That’ll be great!” Sam called up as he hopped down to the pillow. “I-- umpf!”

Not expecting the ground to give way under his weight, Sam tumbled into the folds of the white pillow, finding himself rolling several times before coming to a halt. Dizzy, Sam flopped back onto the pillow, staring straight up at the ceiling. “Whoa.”

Jacob giggled and hoisted himself up onto the bed. He noticed with widened eyes that even that motion caused the pillow to rock back and forth a little. Once he was up on the bed, he put a hand on the pillow to steady it for Sam. He might have been lying down, but that still had to have been quite a ride. "Sorry, Sam," he said sheepishly, leaning a little to look down and check on the smaller boy.

"Jacob, don't crowd him," Mariana chided, setting the folded shirt gently on the pillow a few inches from Sam. Once Jacob sat back she smiled sheepishly at the pillow's small occupant. "Quite a fall! I guess it's like walking on a cloud, isn't it?"

Sam rolled over so he could push himself back up. “Like a cloud with earthquakes…” he said as he tried to stand up. He made it a few wobbling steps before tumbling again. The pillow was not going to cooperate. Sam made a face. “Or cloudquakes,” he declared as he tried crawling forward instead.

Determination got him to the shirt, and Sam dove into the folds. It wasn’t the same as the fabric nest he’d woken up in while he was with Walt and Mallory, but it wouldn’t be a bad substitute. It was certainly warm, and though the fabric was scratchier than motel room sheets at his normal size, the pillow cover would be even itchier.

Wriggling around, Sam righted himself and yanked his boots off. They got tossed an inch away from the shirt, and Sam peeked out at the giants around him. “It’s like a fort!”

Jacob ducked his head to peer under the edge of the shirt that Sam had declared his fort. "Maybe later I can build a fort, too," he suggested, clutching the edge of his own blanket thoughtfully. It would be like a huge circus tent if Sam joined him in his fort, and Jacob was already hopeful for such a game.

"Later, maybe," Mariana said, gently tugging the blanket from his grasp to settle it over the fidgeting boy. Jacob lay back on his own pillow after minimal coaxing, his eyelids growing heavy despite all of his excitement.

She brushed Jacob's hair out of his face one last time before looking at Sam again. "Will you be alright in that fort of yours?" she asked with a smile.

Sam pulled the shirt close around him, only his face and neck visible when he peered up at Mariana. “It feels safe,” he said as he snuggled in, bringing more and more fabric close around him. With it bunched close, he could block out the huge room around him and pretend he was out camping in a sleeping bag. Sam yawned, laying down his head as his eyelids grew heavy.

The food in his belly helped him to relax, and Sam blinked blearily up at Mariana. “We were in room 142,” he told her tiredly, remembering one last detail to help with their search for his parents.

That would hopefully give them what they needed, and Sam curled up into as small a ball as he could, hugging the shirt to him for comfort. Normally, in a room with only Dean around, Sam would sprawl out on a bed as much as he could. Today, he felt nervous and vulnerable, and balled up for security.

Mariana nodded. "Okay," she said in a hush. She very nearly reached out to brush his hair back like she'd done with Jacob, but refrained. For one thing, she didn't know the kid well enough to judge whether he'd be okay with that kind of contact. For another, she'd need to use a fingertip just to avoid wrenching his tiny neck.

Once the kids were settled, she stepped back from the bed on quiet, practiced steps that made as little noise as she could. Nicholas stood and made his way to the door with his notepad. With one last glance at the bed across the room, Mariana stepped outside so she could discuss with her husband what they might do and leave the kids with a peaceful room to rest.

The door closed, and the silence settled over the two kids.

Down on the floor, behind the nightstand, waited the last person in the room.

Sam was the only one who could have suspected that he was there, and though he’d tensed during Sam’s explanation of being cursed, the young boy had never mentioned who had saved him from the hateful witch who stole his world away.

Walt was crouched on the ground, ever watchful for the other child, Jacob, to get up out of bed. Now that the parents were gone, it was safer in the room, but not completely safe for a man smaller than a hand.

It was never completely safe.

It was to Walt’s surprise that Sam was okay. He’d seen the boy snatched up into a fist, and then watched two other humans discover him. Maybe it was because Sam used to be a human like them, or maybe it was because he was only a few years older than their own child, but instead of ending up in a cage the way Walt’s dear Bree had, Sam was given food and water, his hand fixed up, and a place to sleep.

Maybe things would be okay.

Deep down, Walt could remember one of the only other humans he’d interacted with who had turned out to be kind and helpful. The man had taken the cage Walt was trapped in and released him onto the floor, never once snatching at him. If there was one nice human, there could be more.

For Sam’s sake, he hoped so.

These people might be able to help the child find his family. Walt had only seen the brothers interact a few times, but he could remember how the other one, Dean, had reacted to seeing his brother vanish. Tears and a raging anger, desperate squirming to escape whatever was holding him to the wall. Though it had done no good, Dean tried.

Walt stood, then backed away to his own entrance. He would come back later, to make sure that Sam wasn’t caged against his will. A child belonged with his family, and that was the one thing that Walt couldn’t give Sam.

Turning on his heel, Walt vanished into the depths of the motel.

A deep-seated exhaustion that was built up from the day took hold of Sam. The warm flannel around him insulated him from the chill lurking in the air, and as he lay in bed he curled it tighter and tighter around himself.

Stress kept him from falling completely asleep. Worry for his family, worry for him. Fear he would never see Dean or John again combined with terror for his own situation. Over and over again, the attack flashed through his mind. An angry, triumphant laugh and a flash of light that slammed into him. In reality that flash was painless as he crumpled to the floor but in his memory he could see it slamming into him like a sledgehammer.

Tears streaked down Sam’s face as he sniffled. He tried to bury his face into the warm fabric, his body shaking with silent cries.

The quiet sniffle was just barely loud enough to catch Jacob's attention. He shifted where he lay, nearly asleep himself, to glance over at the other pillow on the bed. He blinked owlishly at the shirt bundled on the top, but he couldn't really see Sam there.

He could only see a small bump that shuddered in time with the quietest little breaths. Sam was ... crying?

Jacob stuck his lower lip out in a thoughtful pout. Sam was lost and very small. It made sense that he'd be scared and sad to go along with it, but Jacob wanted to try to help his new friend if he could.

He moved slowly and carefully, reaching towards the pillow to pinch one corner in his hand. He tugged the whole thing closer to where he lay, and then, even slower, lifted his hand up to settle it in a half-dome over Sam's tiny, curled up shape. Jacob created a little hand-tent for Sam, much like when the smaller boy had hidden from his parents.

Sam froze up when the pillow quaked under him, trembles in the plushy surface going in time with the room moving. He was afraid for a moment, with no real idea what was happening and if he was in danger.

The world was so different now that he was cursed.

There were dangers out there for him that didn't exist when he was normal sized. Things he wouldn't dream of worrying about.

A dark shadow appeared overhead, and Sam realized it was Jacob's hand. He relaxed a little, realizing the other kid must have moved the pillow. He wasn't in danger here. The hand cupped over the shirt piled up around Sam, putting no pressure on the tiny child.

The warmth from Jacob's hand helped lull Sam's tears, and he curled even closer up in the shirt. Slowly the fear dropped away and soon the child was fast asleep in a dark world he didn't fit in anymore.

Jacob blinked slowly a few more times before he couldn't stay awake any longer. After the excitement, his body welcomed some rest, and he relaxed into his pillow. His hand remained settled over Sam, a protective cover for the small child that had wandered in. So long as his tiny, curled up form was under shelter, he was going to be alright, and the thought lulled Jacob into a contented sleep.

"No, the name is Winchester, not Bonham," Mariana argued with exasperation. The first stop she and Nicholas had made after leaving the kids to their nap was the front desk. It was amazing they'd made it this far in the conversation at all, because the lazy clerk truly didn't want to be of any help at all.

"Ma'am, there hasn't been a Winchester staying in any of the rooms in the last several months just from looking at these records," the clerk shot back with a put-upon frown. "An' if I scroll down, I'm bettin' I won't see any Winchesters farther down the list. You're mixed up."

"Hey, now," Nicholas chided in a warning tone. He waited behind Mariana, supporting her with his very presence. No one could ignore the tall, broad man, especially in contrast to his short, plump wife.

The clerk's gaze flickered up and he rolled his eyes and typed something into his computer. "Look, guys, I'm already kinda skirting the rules here telling you anything," he said. "There are no records for a Winchester staying in 142."

"That's ...!" Mariana began, before stopping herself to take a breath. She had to formulate a white lie to avoid saying anything about a lost child to draw the police. If she could protect Sam from that level of stress, she would.

"A friend in town said that's where he was staying last week," she said steadily, looking imploringly at the clerk.

He pursed his lips and glanced back at his computer. "All I got for then is a Bonham. No contact information, and the guy took off out of here after making a ruckus in the middle of the damn night. I'm sorry. Maybe check with that friend and see if they know," he suggested.

Mariana sighed, and Nicholas put a large hand on her shoulder. "Come on, Ana. We'll figure it out," he cajoled her. The two left the exasperated clerk alone and stepped outside into the early afternoon heat.

"What're we gonna do, Nick?" Mariana asked, staring across the parking lot at their door. The door behind which slept a child she had promised to help.

"We'll keep looking. Find other options. It'll be alright. In the meantime, we'll take care of Sam the best we can. Okay?"

Mariana frowned, but leaned heavily into Nicholas' side. It was like leaning against a wall, for all the effect it had on him. "Okay."

Chapter Text

The next week passed by in a blur for Sam. His world was consumed by the effort to try and adapt to living at almost a twentieth of his size, and trying to keep up with Jacob while his family was on vacation.

Every minute was an adventure. The three humans didn’t take long to discover that raised voices-- even just raised in excitement-- could hurt Sam’s hearing. He was too small for it. His own voice had become a lot softer, hard to make out if he was too far away. Sam did his best to make sure at least one person in the family knew where he was at all times.

Mostly, that came down to Jacob. The two kids spent most of their time together, exploring Sam’s new world. Jacob had big, wide eyes as he watched Sam walk across the dresser, so tiny in front of the television that perched there. They tried out the room phone and discovered Sam had to press down really hard on the buttons, but he could press them if he needed to.

There were a few times where Sam found himself wondering after Walt and the tiny Mallory. When he woke up that first day from his nap, Sam contemplated the side of the bed one last time before choosing to stay on the pillow. Snuggling down into the flannel shirt, he reaffirmed his determination to find his big brother and get back to normal one day.

Now, Sam was sitting in a place he wouldn’t have imagined before his curse. Jacob’s hands were cupped under him and they were in the backseat of the Andris family car, on their way home.

They hadn’t found Dean and John yet, but Sam wouldn’t give up hope. His family was out there.

One day, he’d return to them.

Down in Jacob’s hands, Sam couldn’t see out the windows. He found himself shifting around impatiently, anxious to see where they were. “Are we almost there?” Sam asked, trying to resist the impulse to stand. He knew that was dangerous, and at his size he didn’t need to throw in any more danger.

Jacob grinned at Sam before looking up. Even after several days knowing Sam, he hadn't gotten tired of watching his miniature movements. He'd even gotten used to feeling that tiny weight shifting around on his hands. He hoped it would make him better at carrying Sam not-too-fast like he preferred. He didn't have a perfect record with that quite yet.

"Mama, are we close?" he asked.

She turned to look at him with a faint smile, her sunglasses glinting in the light. Her eyes flickered to Sam in his hands, making sure the smaller boy was alright. "Thirty more minutes, baby," she answered. Then, she pointed out his window. "You can almost see downtown Des Moines, though."

Jacob gasped and turned his head to look. After only a second, he remembered to slowly lift his hands enough for Sam to see too. A cluster of tall buildings was just barely visible in the distance. Panes of glass threw back the colors of steel and sky. "That's the city where papa works," he explained.

Sam leaned forward eagerly, peering past Jacob’s fingers. He could see the closer land speeding by the car, and found himself wondering just how big the buildings in the city would look from his new perspective. The motel itself when they’d left was big enough, and that was only one story, stretching out on both sides as the car pulled away.

His eyes flashed to Jacob’s dad in the front for a second. Sam still hadn’t come to terms with the man’s sheer size. Though Nicholas behaved himself perfectly if he was ever around the tiny child, keeping his voice low and listening carefully for Sam, he would always loom. There was no way to get around that. Nicholas Andris was six foot five inches tall, and Sam was lucky to top two and a half.

“Where’s he work?” Sam asked curiously. He could match Jacob question for question in his drive to know, and the concept of staying in one place to work and living in a house was completely new to him. It was something everyone else did, not him.

"Ummm," Jacob stalled, biting his bottom lip as he thought about it. "He builds stuff," he said cautiously, still unsure of the actual name of his father's workplace. He glanced over at Mariana again for help.

"Papa works with big machines in a factory," she reminded him gently. "They make parts for buildings."

"Yeah," Jacob recalled with a nod, grinning proudly. "Sometimes papa works so hard he sleeps on the couch right away when he comes home!"

"Are you telling stories on me back there?" Nicholas spoke up, glancing at the kids in the rearview mirror and flashing a grin. 

Sam caught the look and flushed, ducking his head down. His nerves had a hard time with that deep bass rumble of a voice, but he still managed to reply “My dad falls asleep in front of the TV a lot when he comes home from work.” A memory of Thanksgiving day with their dad passed out on the couch came to mind, but Sam didn’t share that. He didn’t need the looks that he got in school when teachers found out his father wasn’t home much.

“He doesn’t work in a factory, though,” Sam continued on. “I’ve seen him work with machinery when he’s fixing the Impala, and he’s good at fixing things. Dean’s good at it too. He likes to help out.”

Jacob listened along eagerly. Something about hearing his small friend talk about his family, the few times he did, was fascinating. Part of Jacob kept imagining Dean and John at Sam's scale, since he'd never seen Sam at the proper size. He knew that couldn't be right, since the motel people had said that the man in room 142 left in a hurry; he couldn't drive a big car if he was small.

"Someday I might be strong enough to fix stuff or build stuff, too," he said hopefully. "Maybe. I could learn from papa and maybe even meet your brother and learn from him, too. We can both help out."

“It’s a lot of work!” Sam told Jacob. “Dean will be outside all day if he gets caught up with cars. He doesn’t even notice when I go exploring. I gotta be careful not to get lost, though. Dean gets worried if he can’t find me, and then dad gets mad at Dean.”

Quieting down, Sam turned to watch the fields pass out the window, wondering where his family might be. They might even be in the same city as Jacob’s family, and no one would ever know. Drifters, in for a night and gone in the morning. Just long enough to save who they could.

Sam didn’t know that Dean was sequestered at Bobby’s house at that very moment. He wasn’t allowed to cross the front door, and the two hunters were searching everywhere they could for the witch that had vanished.

She was gone, taking any trace of Sam with her.

Dean stared out the kitchen window of Bobby’s house, watching the junkyard that stretched out before him. Farther out, the fields and the trees separated the home from any neighbors, separating the hunter’s headquarters from a world that didn’t believe in curses or witches.

There would be no happy ending for them that day. Sam was gone, and his killer vanished.

Since the attack, Dean hadn’t said a word. Not to his father, not at the Gas ‘n Sip on the way home when he pointed out a sandwich from the clerk, and not to Bobby’s gentle prods.

He just watched the world pass him by, shadows under his eyes that hadn’t been there a few weeks ago.

It was impossible for either brother to know what the other was doing, but Sam at least had hope. He could cling to his memories and know that they were out there. He could search.

Dean had none of that.

Sam bounced back down in his seat and leaned against Jacob’s chest. It was strange to lean against a surface that swayed in and out with constant gusts of breath, but the constant pound of the other kid’s heart was a good anchor for Sam. He let out a small breath of his own, and let his eyes watch the clouds pass by outside.

Jacob rested his head against the back of his booster seat, slouching his shoulders a little as the car fell into easy silence again. The roaring of the road beneath the tires kept up a constant thrum in his ears and he counted the clouds and tried to make up animals out of their shapes.

He never could have expected his vacation to go like this. He was returning home with the smallest friend he ever made sitting right on his hands. His parents had talked him through things time and time again. It's not safe for other people to know about Sam. We have to keep him a secret or he could get really hurt.

Jacob was determined for that never to happen. He promised to look out for Sam as long as he needed to.

In the front seat, Mariana glanced back at the boys once every few minutes. Jacob was blinking slowly, his eyelids heavy as the ride lulled him into relaxation. Little Sam, resting on his hands, was so quiet and relaxed there, too. The two had really bonded over the last week.

It was a dangerous combination. At one point, Sam had contributed to Jacob's begging face with some puppy eyes of his own from inside Jacob's pocket. Mariana hadn't been able to say no to buying them a treat after that.

She shared a quick glance with Nicholas before facing front again. Things were definitely going to change in their home, until they somehow managed to hear about John Winchester. It wasn't right that Sam was separated from his family, but in the meantime Mariana was determined that they'd be his substitute family. He would be cared for.

When the first buildings on the outskirts of their little Iowa town came into view, she looked back again with a smile. "Almost to Carlisle, boys. Betcha can't wait to get to the house and stretch your legs a little after sitting for so long, huh?"

Sam bobbed his head, eager and excited and more than a little nervous for their trip to be over. He had no idea what was coming, but the thought of a giant house to see intrigued him. In the motel room, he only had two rooms to check out with Jacob. An entire house offered a wealth of opportunities, and he’d get to see where he was going to be staying while they searched for his family.

“Is it a big house?” Sam called up to her, leaning forward with Jacob’s fingers as support. He’d stayed at houses before with Dean while their dad was working. Bobby’s most often, but there were other friends of John Winchester around who offered the boys a roof over their head that they didn’t need to pay for. Those times were nice because Dean didn’t seem to worry as much. There was always food available.

"Big enough for us," she answered back with a smile. After Sam's initial nerves, Mariana was glad to see him eager about things whenever it happened. She didn't want him to be scared, though he had every right to be. Even without his size, life had thrown him quite a curveball.

"It's got a kitchen and a living room and a little office, and mama and papa's room, and my room," Jacob chimed in with a grin. For his part, he couldn't wait to show Sam around his house.

In a conspiratorial whisper, Jacob added "And there's a coat closet in the hall and it's the best spot for hide and seek. Papa never knows!"

Sam had to laugh at that. The thought of hiding in an entire closet at his size seemed silly now. He could hide behind an alarm clock if he wanted to, or a coffee mug. “I bet no one could find me if it was my turn to hide!” Sam declared.

The mention of bedrooms reminded Sam that he didn't have a place to call his own anymore. It used to be normal, and all he'd need was a bed to rest his head on, but now everyone else had their own room.

Clearly he wouldn't need an entire bedroom to himself, but…

“Where will I stay?” Sam asked, glancing between Jacob and Mariana.

"You can stay in my room!" Jacob volunteered, smiling wide at the thought. There would be plenty of room for him, after all, and that way they could even talk quietly before going to sleep. Jacob imagined it would be like having a sibling of his own around. He looked hopefully at his mother for confirmation.

"I was thinking about that, too," Mariana said. "Jacob's bed isn't as big as the motel room beds, so we'd need to set you up on the dresser next to it, maybe. Otherwise we could think of something else if you want. Our house is yours while you're with us, Sam."

Jacob pursed his lips and fixed Sam with a hopeful look. He wouldn't pressure the smaller boy if he didn't want to stay in his room, but he would welcome him there if that's where he chose to stay. 

“Umm…” Sam’s voice trembled a bit once he was put on the spot. He was getting better, but he still got nervous to have the attention of so many giants on him at once. They were just so much bigger than he was. “Jacob’s room is fine.”

It would be easy to get used to staying in the same room as Jacob. During Sam’s entire life, he’d had Dean around at the very least, and Dean and John close by the rest of the time. Spending a night completely on his own was a foreign concept. None of the motels they stayed in would ever have separate rooms for the kids, and he’d bunk in the room with his brother if they stayed with friends of the family.

“It’ll be kinda like camping,” Sam decided. “The shirt’s like a sleeping bag, and we can look at the stars before we go to sleep. Dean taught me where Orion’s Belt is, I bet I can find it again without him.”

Jacob beamed, ecstatic to hear Sam's verdict. He nudged his little shoulder with a thumb in lieu of hugging him. After that first day, he'd learned that hugs could be overwhelming. Even so, he had to show he was happy with Sam somehow. He was already looking forward to sharing a room with his new friend, regardless of how long it might be. He'd be able to help look after Sam and make sure he was alright.

"I wanna know about Ryan's belt," he said eagerly, looking out the window at the sky as if he could see the stars in it if he tried hard enough. "A lot of the cons ... star pictures come from Greek stuff! I'm Greek!"

Jacob’s simple exuberance brought a grin to Sam’s face. Despite everything else, he was glad he’d met the kid. Though their first meeting hadn’t gone particularly smooth, considering how Sam was grabbed from the ground before he knew what was going on, Jacob had turned out to be a good friend. Young, excitable and helpful, determined to find a way to help his tiny friend regardless that he didn’t understand everything that was going on.

“How ‘bout I teach you everything I know about the stars and constellations, and you teach me everything you know about being Greek?” Sam offered. His family didn’t delve into their past at all. They were drifters, and even at Sam’s young age he recognized how out-of-the-ordinary that was. The closest they came to traditions was their dad passed out on the couch during the holidays, and that was if he was around.

"Okay, that'll be fun," Jacob decided with a nod. Other kids in preschool had never been very interested in Jacob's heritage, even though he could sort of speak a whole different language. Not that it bothered him- he would often get preoccupied with playing games, too. "I bet papa could tell us a lot, too. He's from Greece! He visited one time and brought me back a necklace, but mama didn't let me bring it on vacation."

"Didn't want you to lose it all the way out there, right?" Mariana chimed in with a smile. "We're on our street, boys."

Jacob perked up and his gaze whipped to the window. He lifted his hands a little more to make sure Sam could see as the family car pulled into a little driveway beside a tidy one-story house. "There it is! I wonder if we got any mail while we were gone."

Sam was on his feet the second he felt the car pull to a stop, peering out the window with wide eyes. This would be his home until they managed to track his father down. Sam wished he'd taken the time to memorize Bobby or pastor Jim's numbers, but he was always distracted by other things.

One day, hopefully soon, he'd be back with them. They could find him a cure and life would go back to normal.

Until then, at least he'd found a place to stay with a nice family.

Sam bounced eagerly on his heels. “I can't wait to see it!”