Actions

Work Header

Pizza and Hexbags

Chapter Text

They had been in that motel room for three days now.  At first, Oscar thought it was just one guy.  The really tall human that stomped around with a confident swagger.  And who appeared to have more than a few weapons in that huge duffel bag he’d brought in. Oscar had checked it out one time, just to see if the guy kept any snacks in there.

He had looked like just another one of those rugged road-tripper types that came through all the time.

The revelation of the guns and a lot of salt (seriously, the guy was going to have serious blood pressure issues if he actually used that much salt) had been both horrifying and intriguing.  So, in spite of himself, Oscar had gone back to scope out the room a few more times.  That’s when he had seen him.  Another tiny person, just like him.  Though … he was pretty tall for one of their kind.

The pair had back-and-forth banter with each other.  Sure, the big human sometimes teased the smaller fellow.  He even put him in his pocket, a thought that made Oscar shudder.  But, they talked like equals.  Oscar was sure he was imagining it.  He had to have gone delirious from the general lack of quality food that could be found in a motel.  Because there was no way a human and a little guy would actually talk like brothers.

The pair—Sam and Dean, he had learned—also seemed to chat about some weird stuff.  Witches and curses and missing kids weird.  At one point, Dean, the huge human, had put on a cheap suit and gone out investigating.  He had Sam stowed in his inside pocket.  Oscar was pretty sure he heard Dean say something about impersonating the freaking FBI.

Once, Sam had come investigating in the walls.  Oscar wasn’t sure what he hoped to find.  But, if Sam was hanging around a human, Oscar didn’t want to be found by him.  He made himself scarce before the guy could find a trace of him.  He was intimidating enough as it was without being friends with a human of all things; he stood at a full four inches, compared to Oscar’s three and a quarter inches.  Thankfully, after the first couple searches, Sam gave up.

By their third day there, the pair of them didn’t seem any closer to solving what they came to solve.  Oscar was keeping tabs on them, wishing he could partake in the half-pizza sitting forgotten on the table.  They both were swamped in research, but Oscar knew better than to make a try at it.  They had an almost predatory awareness of everything around them, like hunters.  Especially Dean.

No matter how inexplicably nice Dean was to that Sam guy, Oscar did not want those green eyes focused on him.  Ever.

Oscar almost gave up.  He’d been waiting just inside one of the vents near the floor.  He was getting to his feet when a sound cut through the silence of the room, startling both of its occupants as well as the eavesdropper just inside the walls.  Dean picked up his cellphone and answered it in one swift motion.

“Bobby.  What do you have for me?” Dean grumbled.  There was a pause.  Sam watched Dean’s face from where he stood on the table, and Oscar watched the human’s profile from the vent.  “No kidding?  Guess we’ll have to check it out.  Thanks.”  Dean hung up.

Oscar couldn’t quite hear Sam’s question from where he hid.  But, before answering, Dean pushed back from the table and got to his feet.  Oscar cringed back a little.  Seeing that tall human at his full height … it was a bit unnerving.  But, Oscar had to watch as Dean carefully offered his palm to Sam.  That was the weirdest thing.

“Bobby found a lead.  Little old lady that was alive the last time this happened.  We gotta get her story, see if she can point us in the right direction.”

Oscar had never once seen Dean grab Sam.  Now, like all the other times, Dean moved his hand so carefully.  As if he feared every second that he’d lose hold of his tiny companion.  Oscar had always been taught that a human would only be interested in getting its hand on a little person for their own gain.  But this dynamic was clearly much kinder than that.  Safer.  And it definitely wasn’t like Sam was some kind of favorite trained pet, either.  Dean let Sam climb into his pocket and made sure he was secure before taking a single step.

Like he really was taking care of a little brother.  But that was impossible.

And then, the pair had left.  Oscar watched the room for several minutes.  The silence settled like a weight upon the room, filling every corner.  Oscar’s gaze drifted to the underside of the table.  The pizza box was still up there, wedged between the thick old books that still lay open.  Whatever project these guys were working on sure required a lot of reading.

After making sure that Dean wasn’t going to come tromping back in, Oscar decided to go for it.  How many opportunities would he have at pizza?!  He slipped out of the vent, his footsteps silent on the worn out carpeting with the outdated pattern.  He crept along the wall, ever alert for any sound.  Once he got to the adjacent wall, only the dresser stood between Oscar and the table.  Easy pickings.

Of course, that was when a sound made Oscar nearly jump out of his skin.  That was definitely a key in the lock, across the room.  Oscar glanced back at the vent.  If he ran over there, he’d definitely be seen.  So, instead, he bolted towards the dresser.  He managed to dive under its cover just as the door opened to admit two sets of sensible Mary Jane shoes.  The maids were here.

Oscar breathed a sigh of relief.  The maids were never very observant.  It was part of what made living in this motel so choice.  They didn’t notice him, and they did a shit job cleaning.  It left him plenty of supplies.

Oscar edged forward, looking to see which maids were on duty.  His eyes widened and he flinched back into the shadows.  Those women don’t work here, he thought.  For one thing, they were too young.  Too pretty.  For another, they didn’t have any cleaning supplies.  Only the frumpy uniforms.  Something was very wrong.  Oscar wanted to just leave, but he had no exits under that dresser.  Dammit.

“I told you this is where the hunter is staying,” one woman boasted.

“Sure, Celine.  Want a medal?  Let’s just drop the hexbag and go.”  The second woman sounded far more nervous.  Oscar could see her feet shifting anxiously.  What the hell is a hexbag?!

“Now, now.  This is a delicate bit of magic, little sister.  If we want to curse this hunter properly, we have to make sure nothing can disrupt the spell.  And that means placing the hexbag in a spot where it can’t be found.”  Oscar felt ice running up his spine as the woman’s voice changed from sickly-sweet to deadly and threatening.  “So, we aren’t here to drop this hexbag.  We are here to place it carefully, so that hunter can feel the worst pain he’s ever felt, before his blood boils and his heart bursts.  Understood, Megan?”

“Y-yes, Celine,” Megan squeaked, sounding fully cowed by her companion’s intensity.

Oscar covered his mouth with his hands.  Anything to prevent them hearing his rapid breathing.  Humans were terrifying already.  But these women were psychopaths!  Oscar couldn’t stop himself from shaking.  What did they mean with all these hexbags and curses?!  And all that about blood boiling … what did they mean?  It couldn’t be literal.  But, Dean must be in big trouble with these freaks.

Celine’s shoes approached where Megan stood.  The floor shook faintly with each step.  Oscar watched transfixed as she stopped in front of the other woman.  Megan shifted her stance nervously, but didn’t back away from the other woman’s proximity.  “I’m sorry, little sister,” Celine said quietly.  “I didn’t mean to snap at you.  But I want you to understand, that this hunter is very dangerous to us and our family.  So we can’t take this lightly.”

“I know, Celine.  I-I’m sorry,” Megan replied meekly.  “I know we have to do this.”

Celine hummed approvingly.  “Good girl.  Would you like to do the honors?  I think just behind the headboard ought to be a good spot, don’t you?”

“O-okay, Celine!” Megan replied, her voice brightening somewhat.  Oscar’s brow dropped into a grim frown.  What were they doing?  He watched Megan walk over to the nightstand between the beds in the room.  There was a shuffling sound with the sheets on one of the beds.  Oscar heard Megan bump into the headboard once or twice before she stepped back, presumably to check her handiwork.  “How’s that, sister?” she asked, turning back towards Celine.

“An excellent job, sister.  Now, let’s leave before the hunter returns.  Time to tell the others that dear little Megan has placed her first hexbag.  The coven may even let you contribute your blood as the catalyst for the curse.”

“Oh!  You think so?” Megan asked eagerly.  Oscar remained frozen as those innocent-looking shoes carried the murderous, riddle-filled women out of the motel room once more.  They continued chatting outside.  Oscar waited until long after their voices had faded from hearing before he dared move.

He crept forward, wide eyes checking out the room from his low vantage point.  What did I just overhear?! he asked himself, his heart still pounding.  He suddenly wasn’t so keen on keeping tabs on Sam and Dean.  He didn’t even want to stick around to get some of that pizza.  Oscar made his way back to the wall.  He walked briskly towards the vent, planning to leave this room alone until Dean moved on.  This was just too weird.

He paused at the vent.  Celine had talked about putting Dean through ‘the worst pain he’d ever felt’.  She sounded serious.  Oscar had no idea how this could be managed.  But, he suddenly wondered if this “hexbag” thing was some kind of poison, or worse.  He swallowed thickly at the thought.  If a human died a gruesome death here, then Oscar could see humans swarming the place to investigate.  And what would they find?  What if they found evidence of little people living in the motel walls?

Even if they didn’t find any signs of the smaller folk, Oscar didn’t feel right.  He knew something that Dean and Sam didn’t.  There was a clear threat over their heads, and it seemed to center around whatever Megan had stashed behind the headboard.  Whatever it was, it was bad news.

Oscar groaned in frustration.  His stupid moral compass was pointing behind him, towards the nightstand.  He couldn’t just leave them to that, not if he could prevent it.  At least they’d be gone for a while.  He pivoted and stomped across the floor.  This time he didn’t stick close to the wall.  He made a beeline for the nightstand, thinking that he’d need to get onto it before he could check out the headboard and find this “hexbag”.

~~~~~

“Dean, do you think this woman can tell us anything we haven’t already found out?” Sam asked from his perch on Dean’s shoulder.  The Impala cruised down the highway towards the next town over, and he had jumped at the opportunity to travel outside the pocket for a while.  He knew he was safe there, and he trusted Dean to make sure he wouldn’t be seen.  But it could get pretty cramped sitting in there all the time while his brother smooth-talked his way through interviews and interrogations.

“She’s the only living lead we got, Sammy,” Dean answered.  “Bobby said her sister was one of the first kids taken last time this was happening.  We gotta find out what she knows, maybe track down the pattern.”  He kept his eyes forward on the road.  But, whenever he talked to Sam in the car like that, he always had to stop himself from glancing to the side.  With Sammy right next to his ear, it was almost like he was normal size, slouching in the passenger seat.  Somehow, that image just seemed right.

Sam nodded absently, but fell silent.  He just wasn’t convinced that this Belinda Walters would be able to give them anything useful.  After all, from what Dean had said, she was only six when her sister was taken.  And her parents had sent her out of town to live with her aunt almost immediately after.  But, a lead was a lead.  And after all the dead ends in the research, Sam was as ready to grasp at straws as Dean was.

The faded sign for the retirement home greeted them with once-colorful lettering.  The Impala rumbled to a stop in one of the parking stalls.  Dean offered Sam his hand, waiting until he felt his brother’s tiny shoes on his palm.  He was so damn small.  Dean could barely feel the weight there.  “Alright, Sammy.  Let’s go see if old Belinda remembers anything useful for us,” he announced while he tilted his hand so Sam could slide into his pocket.

“Sure thing.  Maybe if she’s batty enough, she’ll actually believe you’re her grandson,” Sammy quipped as he settled in.

“When have we ever been that lucky?” Dean retorted before exiting the car and making his way to the visitor’s entrance.

The girl at the front desk didn’t look to be any older than Dean.  That was a stroke of good luck.  He put on his most winning smile and sauntered up to the desk, leaning an elbow on it casually.  “Hey there, miss,” he greeted her amicably.  In his pocket, Sam put his hand over his face with a sigh.  You’re here to work, not flirt, Dean, he thought, though he knew he would probably never talk that habit out of his brother.

She smiled slowly, the look of someone caught off guard.  His smile had definitely disarmed her.  Still got it, Dean thought.  “Hello, sir.  How can I help you?  Are you here to visit someone, or are you a new volunteer?”  She almost sounded hopeful.

“Visiting,” Dean answered.  “I’m looking for Belinda Walters.  Can ya tell me where her room is?”

The desk clerk’s face fell.  “Oh.  I’m very sorry to be giving you this news, but Mrs. Walters passed this morning.  She had a heart attack.”

Dean’s eyes widened.  He dragged a hand down his face and clenched his jaw, hoping to hide his frustration with the old bat’s timing.  The woman behind the desk seemed to take his action as the shock of hearing about the death of a loved one.  “Are you family?” she asked softly, a sympathetic lilt in her voice now.

Dean cleared his throat.  “Yeah.  Yeah.  Did she, um, have anything in her room, like a diary, or…?” Dean asked.  If he couldn’t get the woman’s story, there might have been something in her personal items that could help them out regardless.

The clerk nodded.  She was already grabbing a simple form and attaching it to a clipboard for him.  She stood and handed Dean the clipboard over the desk.  “She didn’t have many personal effects, but I can get the box for you.  I just need you to fill this out as proof of relation, okay?”

~~~~~

“A heart attack right when we find out about her, huh?  That old lady couldn’t try to have worse timing,” Dean groused as he got back into the driver’s seat of the Impala.  He set the shoebox of her personal items on the passenger seat.  He offered Sam a hand before leaning over so they could look over its contents.

“It’s not her fault, Dean,” Sam chided gently, though he was frustrated too.  As Dean lifted the lid of the shoebox, Sam leaned forward on his other hand.  There were lots of photos in there, old and damaged by time.  Some trinkets, and a few old crafts clearly made by some young grandkid.  Sam took a moment to feel guilty that they’d stolen these things from Belinda’s family.

“What’s that?” Sam asked, when Dean’s other hand immediately grabbed a bundle of cloth tied with twine.  It looked like one of those homemade perfume bags, though it was grubby and rather ugly.

“I’m not sure, but I’ve definitely seen something like this in dad’s journal.  Like a hex-something-or-other,” Dean answered, turning the item over to view it from different angles.  If it was featured in that journal, it could only be bad news.

“Great,” Sam answered.  He was relieved that the trip hadn’t been a total waste.  “Let’s go check it out.”

“Took the words outta my mouth, Sammy,” Dean replied.  He tossed the bag back into the shoebox and held his other hand up next to his shoulder for Sam to get settled.  Then, he started the engine and began the trip back to the motel.  At least all the running back and forth wasn’t as monotonous with Sammy around.

~~~~~

Dammit, dammit, dammit, Oscar thought.  He stood on the back corner of the nightstand, leaning slightly to view the space behind the headboard.  Megan had wedged some kind of bundle between the cheap wooden bedframe and the box spring.  There was no way for Oscar to get it or make it obvious for Dean to find on his own.

He’d climbed up there for nothing!  Oscar debated what he should do.  Sure, he didn’t know these guys at all.  He owed them squat.  And that Dean guy was terrifying anyway.  Maybe he’d pissed off the wrong people and they would be tormenting him for what they thought was a good reason.

“Aw, hell, Oscar, what are ya trying to convince yourself of, huh?” he grumbled.  He couldn’t do anything for Dean.  As much as he wanted to help, out of a sense of comradery with his fellow tiny person, his hands were tied.  Oscar was not about to wait around and reveal himself just to tell them about that weird hexbag.  The last thing he needed was for a human to know about him, regardless of who he kept company with.

He sighed and knelt next to the edge of the nightstand.  His grappling hook (fashioned out of a safety pin and a long length of sturdy thread) still rested there.  He shifted, getting a good grip on the thread before lowering himself over the side to make the climb to the floor.

Oscar’s thoughts were distracted.  He kept worrying about whether or not he should have tried harder.  It was just so tough for him to write off someone’s fate like that, when he’d overheard the casual discussion of their painful murder.  Stupid moral compass.  He could get himself killed thinking that way!  What human would show him the same level of concern?  He got himself convinced again for a second.

But, then the guilt came creeping back, like fog after the wind has stopped blowing.  He sighed and tried to crane his neck to look at the hexbag again.  It was right at his eye level, but more than a foot away.  He knew he lacked the strength to get to it.  His only option would be to somehow make Dean aware of its location without revealing his own in the process.  While he pondered his options, Oscar neglected to notice that his safety pin was slipping.

All thoughts halted when he suddenly fell.  Oscar flailed his arms, trying to keep a grip on a thread that was no longer attached to anything.  A cry of alarm died in his throat as he plunged towards the floor, still more than a foot away.  He hit the carpet with a quiet whump, and the gasp he’d just sucked in was immediately forced back out of his lungs.

Oscar knew he should get up and move.  He should grab his grappling pin and string and run back to his entrance into the walls.  But, he lay there in the space between the bed and the nightstand, staring up at the ceiling.  It was impossibly far away.  He vaguely wondered if Dean, that gargantuan human, could reach it.

Oscar fell into a state of near unconsciousness, wondering if he’d regain the feeling in his limbs in time to get out of sight before Sam and Dean came back.

Chapter Text

Sam waited in the bottom of Dean’s pocket.  He’d gotten used to the general pitch and sway of his brother’s steps, though Dean seemed to be in a hurry.  He walked more briskly than usual from the car to the motel room door.  Sam barely had time to register the sound of the key fumbling into the lock before the door was slammed behind them.  He might have griped about the noise, but Sam knew that Dean would probably just slam the door next time anyway.

The shoebox of Belinda’s old pictures and things made a soft scraping noise when Dean set it on the table.  Sam looked up when Dean’s fingers entered the pocket, and he prepared himself to be lifted out.  But, before the action could be completed, Dean’s hand disappeared abruptly.  Sam could feel his brother’s stance change almost immediately.  Even Dean’s pulse quickened, and Sam knew he was on the hunt.  “What’s wrong, Dean?” he asked quietly, hazel eyes wide and fixed upward.

Dean didn’t answer.  He took some careful steps to the side.  Sam waited for his reply, a little frustrated that Dean ignored him and also a little worried that he couldn’t see what had him on edge.  Finally, Dean stepped forward.  Sam gasped when the brief sensation of falling left his stomach resting somewhere next to his heart.

Dean crouched on his knees in front of the nightstand.  He peered intently at the books that he had set up there as a wall, creating a space for Sam.  He could have sworn he saw movement darting behind those books.  Old habits die hard, and his first instinct was to check it out.  He knew that, if something really had gone back there, the only way back out was through him.  But now that he was kneeling in front of the nightstand, staring at what was essentially a room for his tiny brother, he paused.  What if it was another little guy like Sammy?

A faint jab of a miniscule elbow in his chest reminded Dean that Sam was still in his pocket.  He retrieved him carefully and lifted him to eye level.  Sam looked briefly surprised to see the hard look in Dean’s green eyes, but recovered to ask, “Dean?  What’s going on?”

“Think you got a visitor, Sammy,” Dean replied, trying to keep his gruff voice down.  If there was another tiny person hiding in the nightstand, he didn’t want to scare them any more than he probably already had.  It had taken him long enough to earn Sam’s trust, and that was his little brother.  He didn’t stand a chance with a complete stranger.

Sam’s jaw dropped slightly and he turned in Dean’s hand to peer at the space between the books that served as his doorway.  “Well, put me down so I can check,” he answered.  He couldn’t hide his eagerness at the prospect of talking to someone his own size.  He glanced back and saw doubt written clearly in the furrows of Dean’s brow.  “Dean, I’ll be fine,” he insisted.  “Let me just check it out, okay?  It’s not like you can’t move the book aside if you hear signs of trouble.”

Thankfully, Dean relented and lowered his hand.  He bridged his fingers to the edge of the low shelf without a word.  Sam glanced back up at him with a confident nod before walking between the books into his little space on the nightstand.  His bed rested in one corner, and his bag of belongings sat next to it.  But Sam’s eyes were drawn immediately to the opposite corner, as far away from the opening between the books as possible.

There was indeed another little person in here, pressing himself into the corner with a look of pure surprise on his face.  Sam saw that in one hand the guy held a safety pin, and in the other he clutched the partially-coiled string that was attached to it.  He must have been climbing the nightstand and been caught off guard by Dean coming in the room.  Sam met the guy’s light brown eyes with his steady hazel ones and held up his hands in a calming gesture, trying to quell some of the fear and confusion on the little guy’s face.

He was kind of small even by Sam’s standards; he was nearly a full inch shorter, and much skinnier too.  He reminded Sam that he was actually rather tall for a little person.  The stranger had mousey hair to go with those brown eyes, and a thin face made even more gaunt by something Sam recognized all too well.  This guy got by on whatever scraps he could find, and sometimes finding scraps was easier said than done.

“Hey, it’s alright.  Calm down,” Sam said quietly, keeping his hands up to show he meant no harm while taking a few hesitant steps towards the guy.

The little guy didn’t seem inclined to trust him.  “Why… why are you hanging around with a human?” he asked timidly.  Judging from his voice, this kid was definitely a bit younger than Sam.  His height wasn’t doing him any favors, either.

“That’s… a really long story,” Sam admitted with a weak, lopsided smile.  “But I’d be glad to explain it to you.  Just calm down, maybe?  And be careful with that pin,” he added the last sentence as an afterthought.  But, it felt necessary now that he realized he had basically cornered this guy.  He didn’t want him taking drastic measures and getting someone hurt; Sam knew that what basic combat training he remembered would probably win out against the smaller person, but he didn’t want to have to resort to that.

“Y-you’re just crazy,” the little guy muttered, though he did almost seem to relax his shoulders.  Almost.  “That’s all it is.  Get out of m-my way.  I’m leaving,” he demanded, though he really didn’t seem at all convinced of himself.

Sam sighed and took another step forward.  “Listen, it’s been a while since I’ve seen someone my size … can’t we just talk for a minute?  The human out there is not gonna hurt you or me or anyone, alright?  So maybe let’s just go out there and—“

“No way!” the younger man blurted.  He rushed forward and caught Sam by surprise.  The little guy tried to duck around him, but Sam threw an arm out to stop him.  He wound up spinning on his heels as the other continued charging forward, and they both fell to the ground, with the safety pin thankfully clattering out of the little guy’s hand.

Sam didn’t have time to rise to a seated position before the other person scrambled to his knees and punched his gut.  It wasn’t a very powerful punch; it was at a bad angle and the kid had clearly never hit anyone in his life.  Even so, Sam let out an “Oof!” from surprise at the panicked action and from having some of the wind knocked out of him.

Before the other guy could decide whether he wanted to hit again or scramble to his feet, light flooded into the space.  Sam couldn’t call a protest to Dean before his brother’s massive hand closed around the other little guy, dragging him away in a fist.  The poor guy was completely engulfed in Dean’s fingers, and Sam knew quite well how terrifying that could be.  He heard a few muffled pleas to be let go, but Dean ignored them.

“Dean, wait!  Don’t hurt him,” Sam yelled, quickly getting to his feet.  But he lost his footing again when Dean’s other hand scooped him up onto an open palm.  Sam was lifted out too, but not restrained like the other guy.  He got to his feet as soon as Dean held him close to his face, those green eyes checking him for injuries.

“You alright, Sammy?” Dean asked.  He still had his hand closed around the other person, though he wasn’t squeezing him.  Dean just figured a time out might be a good idea while he made sure Sammy hadn’t gotten hurt.  Even so, he couldn’t stop the guilt that trickled into his mind as he felt the little person fighting against his grasp, pushing with limbs even tinier than Sam’s and trying desperately to get free.  But, tiny or not, this guy had attacked Sammy.  He wasn’t going to get a free pass after that.

Yes, I’m fine,” Sam groused, glancing over at Dean’s other hand with worry and sympathy painted all over his face.  “It’s all just a misunderstanding, so can we try not to make it worse?!” he added pointedly.

~~~~~

Oscar couldn’t breathe.  Or rather, he could, but his lungs were drawing in air so quickly that he didn’t have time to get any oxygen before he was exhaling again.  He vaguely remembered that that was called hyperventilating.  Why was he thinking of useless information when a human hand was wrapped around him, ready to squeeze all the life out of him at any moment?!

“P-please, please let me go!” he cried, twisting and squirming against fingers that were bigger than his own body.  Could Dean even hear him?  Did he care?  Would Oscar be kept captive until he was friendly like Sam?  Or would he be exterminated for attacking Dean’s friend?  He heard Sam and Dean talking, but couldn’t make out their words through the fog of his terror.

Then Dean was on the move.  Oscar felt his organs drop into his feet as the human stood, carrying him along.  Dean hadn’t yet squeezed him harshly or even threatened to do so.  But, all the same, he kept Oscar trapped.  Despite himself, Oscar felt some tears escape his eyes.  He pleaded once more.  “Let me go!”

And then, Oscar was released.  He yelped in surprise when he dropped less than an inch from Dean’s open hand onto the surface of the cheap motel table.  He scrambled backwards, but couldn’t get to his feet.  He knew his knees would just collapse beneath him, the way they were shaking.  Oscar dared to look up at the human’s face, and regretted it the minute he saw the frown in those green eyes.  Sure, from what he’d seen, Dean was always a little intense.  But now that intensity was aimed right at Oscar, and the little person shuddered.

He curled up with his arms protecting his head when Dean sat heavily in the chair at the table.  “Hey,” Dean muttered, clearly trying to keep his voice down to sound less terrifying.  It didn’t work, and Oscar kept right on cowering.  “Relax, wouldja?  I’m not gonna hurt you,” Dean continued, almost sounding confused, like he wasn’t sure what else to say.

“Dean, you just grabbed him without warning.  Put me down and I'll do the talking here.”  Sam’s steady voice chimed in, sounding both exasperated and concerned.  There was a pause during which the pair must have stared each other down.  And then Oscar heard footsteps coming slowly towards him.

Oscar peeked up in time for Sam to squat in front of him, arms resting on his knees.  “Hey.  You gonna be okay?” he asked gently.  Oscar swallowed dryly, but didn’t answer.  His eyes flicked from Sam up to Dean for just a moment before settling back on the person in front of him.  Sam sighed, his brow pinching with concern.  “I’m sorry that he scared you like that.  He just thought you attacked me.”

“I-I-I’m sorry,” Oscar replied quietly.  His voice was so soft that even Sam had to lean his head a little closer to hear the stammered apology.

Sam smiled encouragingly.  “It’s okay.  You really don’t have to worry about it, alright?  What’s your name?”

Oscar hesitated to answer.  But, he was already captured.  He didn’t even have his climbing rope; the only ways to the floor involved a steep drop or help from a human.  He lowered his arms from his head to hug his knees, making himself look even smaller in Dean’s looming shadow.  The human had a cautious look on his huge face, and Oscar couldn’t look at it for more than a second before becoming intimidated and looking away.

“My name is Oscar,” he finally answered.

“It’s nice to meet you, Oscar,” Sam replied, offering him another encouraging smile.  “I’m Sam.  This is Dean,” he gestured to the human behind him.  How did he manage to be so fearless when a human was looking right at him and could grab him at any second?  Sam was no less vulnerable than Oscar was, no matter that he was a whole four inches tall.

“Howdy,” Dean grumbled above them.  Oscar flinched and looked up at him in surprise.  Sam turned his head to throw an absolutely scathing bitchface at the human for interrupting.  Once again Oscar got the sense that these two were close, like brothers, despite the vast difference in size.

Sam turned back to Oscar.  “So, Oscar, are you alright?  You aren’t hurt, are you?”  When Oscar shook his head, Sam smiled faintly.  “Good to hear.”  He held out a hand.  Oscar stared at it, surprised and skeptical all at once.  But, Sam didn’t waver.  With a steeling breath, Oscar took Sam’s hand and let the taller man help him to his feet.

His first action upon standing was to shuffle back from Dean a little.  Oscar was pretty sure this human would never cease to intimidate him.  But he was willing to admit that maybe Dean just had one of those faces.  It didn’t hurt that his eyes seemed to stare right through him, studying his every move.  But, even so, Dean’s look appeared to soften just a bit when he saw Oscar’s fearful recoil.

Sam opened his mouth to speak again, but Oscar interrupted him with a blurted question.  “S-so, why are you hanging around a human?”

~~~~~

Dean could hardly believe it, but he really was looking at another tiny person.  It was still so surreal sometimes, to think that Sammy had been shrunk.  But, next to this guy, he actually looked tall.  His teeny, pocket-sized brother looked like a freaking moose next to Oscar.  Dean shifted slightly in his seat.  He knew he was looming over the pair of them, but he couldn’t figure out how to back off while still keeping an eye on Oscar in case he decided to jump at Sam again.  Dean knew that Sam didn’t like him being so protective, but sometimes he really couldn’t help it.

Sam rubbed the back of his neck, screwing his face up as he thought about how to explain things to Oscar.  The guy looked suspicious but curious.  He was probably way too intelligent for glossing over the truth to work.  “Well … like I said, it’s a really long story.  Dean is ... actually my brother.”

Oscar balked, his eyes widening in disbelief.  “Do I look like a dumbass?!” he asked.

Dean chuckled.  “Believe me, Oz, there’re weirder things in this world than that,” he told him.

“It’s Oscar,” Oscar clarified, actually keeping eye contact with Dean for once.  “But seriously.  You gotta mean that you, like, adopted him or something, right?”

Sam sighed.  Of course he’d expected disbelief.  It would just be tough to explain the whole story quickly.  And, in order to do so, he’d have to break it to Oscar that all kinds of scary things went bump in the night.  “Look, Dean’s my real brother.  I know it’s really hard to believe.  It’s kind of a long story but we’re not making this up.  Why would we?”

Dean could see that Oscar still didn’t quite believe it.  But, Sammy had managed to get the little guy’s attention and hold it.  Sam was good at talking to people, despite having met so few of them.  Man, getting information out of people would be a lot easier if Sam could come along with Dean for investigations.

“Listen, Oz,” Dean interjected.  He reached over their heads to pull one of the research books closer.  He ignored the way Oscar backed away from his arm, a look of shock on his upturned face.  “Why don’t ya sit down.  I’ll heat up some of that pizza for you, and Sammy here can get storytime going.”

Oscar frowned.  “My name isn’t Oz,” he insisted, only earning a faint smirk from Dean.  It was just too entertaining to see him get so worked up over something so silly.  But then, the little guy looked over his shoulder at the pizza box, and it looked like Dean’s offer finally made it through.

“It’s pretty good, Oscar,” Sam added with an encouraging smile.  “Come on.  Dean’ll get that ready and I’ll explain everything …”

~~~~~

“So, now you guys go around hunting these ghosts and witches and stuff,” Oscar muttered quietly, still a little disbelieving.  He sat on the edge of a thick library book, his feet not quite reaching the tabletop.  Sam sat next to him, and on his other side there was a torn piece of cardboard that had held his portion of the freaking delicious pizza that Dean had heated up in the microwave.  It was Oscar’s first warm food ever, and boy was it good.

“Exactly right, Oz,” Dean answered.  Oscar shot him a scathing look, but had long since given up on correcting him.

“We try to help people.  A lot of the supernatural is really dangerous, and we try to find it before too many people get hurt or killed,” Sam explained with a shrug.  “I’m still pretty rusty at it, but I’m getting back up to speed.”

Oscar nodded absently.  Sam had explained how he was cursed when he was just a kid, shrunk down from human size.  Oscar thought it was nerve-wracking enough to have been born this small.  He couldn’t imagine having a taste of what it’s like to be big, and then lose that.  And then, after getting adjusted to his new size, Sam had lost his family to one of the demons that wandered around pretending to be humans.

It was all quite a lot for Oscar to take in.

“That’s why we’re in town, actually,” Sam continued.  “There have been some kids going missing, and it happened the exact same way decades ago.  We think something supernatural might be the cause.”

Oscar turned his focus to Dean when the human reached over to a shoebox that sat on the table and reached in with one gargantuan hand.  He set a bundle of ratty cloth tied with twine next to the book that Sam and Oscar sat on.  “So far this is one of our only leads.  It was found in the room of the last living witness of the last time this crap happened.”  He dragged the closed laptop closer.  Oscar looked at the tabletop in surprise, feeling every tremor of the action.

But then he stood and hesitantly stepped towards the bundle that Dean set down.  He noticed that Sam stood too.  They both walked around it curiously.  Oscar swallowed thickly.  Now that he got a good look at it, he knew that this thing was definitely identical to the hexbag that was still wedged behind Dean’s headboard.  “Y-you found a hexbag?” he asked incredulously.  “Aren’t these really dangerous?”  They hunted the supernatural, and it sure sounded like these fell right into that category.  Oscar could only assume they knew what it was.

“A what?  A hexbag?  Are you sure?” Sam asked.  But, before Oscar could answer him, Dean had opened the laptop quickly and was typing something into it.  The human stared at the screen for several silent seconds, a hard look returning to his green eyes.  Oscar didn’t like the feeling he got.

Sam walked briskly over to stand right next to the laptop, reading the gigantic screen.  Oscar stood awkwardly next to the hexbag, fretting silently.  Did they really not know?  But that meant they were wide open to the attack that Megan and Celine had set up!  He opened his mouth to warn them, but both Sam and Dean turned their gazes to him in unison.  Sam looked concerned, but Dean just looked suspicious as hell.  That’s not good.

“W-what’s wrong?” Oscar asked tentatively, glancing between the two brothers.

“Oscar, a hexbag like this one is an item used to focus curses on people,” Sam explained steadily, his hazel eyes trailing to the hexbag resting on the table next to Oscar.  Oscar gasped and looked at in surprise.  All of the fake maids’ conversation started to make more sense.  He backed away from it quickly, wondering if he’d be cursed just by standing so close.

“Which brings up some questions,” Dean’s voice growled over him.  Oscar looked in that direction in time to see a hand rushing at him.  He turned to dash away across the tabletop, but he didn’t take two steps before a finger and thumb that dwarfed his body pinched around the back of his shirt and yanked him backwards.  Oscar flailed his arms and legs even as the table dropped out from beneath him.

“L-let me down!” Oscar cried, his voice several pitches higher than usual.  But he fell silent and still when he was suspended right in front of Dean’s face.  There was no escaping that suspicious glare.  Oscar stared in shock at the green eyes that seemed to have made up their mind.  He wished he knew what exactly Dean had decided about him.

He found out soon enough.  “So, Oscar, why is it that you knew what that was without even thinking about it?  This is some pretty dark stuff.  Seems a little odd that a ‘harmless’ little guy would know what a hexbag is just by looking at it.”  The accusatory tone in Dean’s voice was unmistakable.  He suspected that Oscar had something to do with the accursed things!  Oscar knew he should have just run!

Oscar glanced down.  Far below him, the hard surface of the table waited, ready to break him even if he escaped Dean’s grasp.  Sam stood there, looking like he wanted to tell Dean to back down, but he was suspicious, too.  Oscar looked back up at Dean’s expectant glare.  These guys kill whatever they think is a threat… He’s gonna kill me! Oscar realized.

“Oh, God,” Oscar blurted, covering his face with his hands and shivering uncontrollably.  “I s-swear, I only found out about them today,” he insisted through his palms.  “Please don’t squash me!”

“What do you mean, Oscar?” Sam’s voice called up from the table.  “How did you find out about them?  Are more people in danger?”

“Yeah, Oz.  Is someone else in danger from this little hexbag scheme?  I’d appreciate the help, seeing as it looks like you’re a couple steps ahead of us on this,” Dean chimed in derisively.  “Who’s the next target?” he demanded.

“You are!”

Chapter Text

Oscar peeked through his fingers and saw some shock fighting for space on Dean’s face.  Before the human could recover from his revelation, Oscar decided to spill the explanation he’d been waiting for a chance to give.  “There were some maids in here earlier that weren’t really maids and they were talking about hexbags and they said you were a hunter and they wanted to boil your blood and they put one of those things behind your bed and I was just in here to get some pizza and I overheard them that’s all I swear please don’t kill me!”  He took a deep breath after all of that, and then some tears leaked out of his brown eyes as his body began to shake again.  Oscar curled up as much as he could with someone suspending him by his shirt like that.

Dean didn’t speak right away, but stuttered a few times as if trying to decide what question he wanted to ask.  Oscar kept his face covered, awaiting the worst.  Dean cleared his throat, a sound that sent an icy feeling up and down Oscar’s spine.  “Are you threatening-“

“Dean, don’t,” Sam cut in.  Oscar heard a number of things fighting for control of the smaller brother’s tone.  Among them were both sympathy and annoyance.  “Put him down and let him explain before you give him a heart attack.”  Oscar looked down and tried not to think about the height and whether his legs would actually break if Dean dropped him.  Sam stood there, his feet set apart and his arms crossed.  But he was looking at Oscar with discomfort and concern in his eyes.

Oscar never thought he would have seen one of his kind standing up to a human like that.  Especially not one as scary as Dean.  He almost didn’t notice himself moving downward as Dean actually gave in.  He started to squirm again once he was only an inch away from the table, and it prompted Dean to let him go before his feet were on solid ground.  Oscar stumbled, but surprisingly didn’t fall down.  He looked at his arm, where Sam had reached out and caught him before he could fall.  “Th-thank you,” Oscar muttered once he’d righted himself.

Sam nodded tersely, his hazel eyes skating over Oscar’s skinny frame with concern.  Oscar didn’t keep his gaze on the smaller brother for long.  He got Dean in his peripheral vision, but couldn’t look at the human any more directly than that.  Oscar began to sidle away from Dean, towards the middle of the table.  No one stopped him, though he could feel their gazes on him.

Sam sighed once Oscar had made it a few inches.  “Oscar.  I know you’re scared … believe me, I get it.  But we need you to give us that explanation again, and maybe now that you’re on solid ground you could take a breath or two so we can keep up.”  The words could have been sarcastic, though the tone of voice that Sam used was closer to weary concern.  His patience combined with the begrudging silence from Dean, still looming over them, made Oscar stop inching away.  He stared at his feet, and for several seconds the only noise was the whirring of the hard drive in the laptop nearby.  

~~~~~

Dean watched the little guy work up the courage to speak again.  He could see that his tiny legs were tense, ready to bolt at the first sign of movement.  Dean wanted to demand that the guy spit it out, dammit, before the apparent threat over his head took effect.  But he glanced over at Sam, and it stopped his thoughts in their tracks.

Sam was watching Oscar with a heavy look of empathy on his tiny face.  Suddenly Dean realized how he must have looked.  Grabbing someone around Sam’s size, dangling him in the air, and yelling at him … Dean must have looked like a monster.  He had realized that Oscar knew something they didn’t, and jumped to conclusions.  He just wanted to protect Sam and himself.  But he’d been blinded by his own paranoia.  He watched Oscar, guilt furrowing his brow as the little guy slowly looked up.

“It’s okay, Oscar.  He’s not going to grab you again, okay?” Sam assured Oscar, a certain finality in his tone reserved for Dean.  He heard his brother shift slightly in his chair, but got no protests.  “Please tell us what you know.  We need all the information we can get to stop any more people from getting hurt.”  Sam focused on the little guy, a kind look on his face as he tried not to think about how scared he looked.  Sam had felt a beat of that same fear, watching Dean glare at the smaller person.  How easily it could have been Sam in that position, those weeks prior when Dean had first found him.

Oscar looked up and met Sam’s gaze.  The tremulous fear was still written all over his face, but Oscar’s hands clenched into fists to stop their shaking.  “I said that some maids came in here earlier, but they weren’t really maids.  They don’t work here.  I know what all the maids here look like.”

Sam exchanged a glance with Dean.  This was just the kind of break they needed on this case.  And the enemy had overlooked a witness.  “Alright, Oscar, that’s good.  What did these women do?”

Oscar shifted his feet uncomfortably.  “They talked about.  Um.  Boiling Dean’s blood.  With a curse.”

Dean raised his eyebrows.  “Oh, thanks for the warning, Oz.  Glad to have you on the team,” he grumbled.  He almost regretted his words when Sammy sent him one of his patented bitchfaces.  But Dean wasn’t about to apologize, not with a threat like boiling his freaking blood looming in the air.

“I … I was getting to it!” Oscar protested, clearly flustered.  “They put it behind the headboard.”  He pointed his tiny finger toward the bed behind Dean.

Sam looked in that direction, even as Dean turned his huge torso to look over his shoulder.  He glanced back, looking suspicious.  Sam thought he might know what his brother was thinking about.  If Oscar had been hiding, how did he even know where the would-be maids had hidden the bag?  If he was anywhere that he could watch them plant it, they’d have been able to see him.  “Well?  Go check it out, Dean,” Sam suggested, meeting Dean’s wary gaze.

Dean pushed his chair back and rose to his feet with a quiet grunt.  He stalked towards the nightstand.  One glance back at the table showed that Sam and Oscar were watching with interest.  He leaned over, peering around the headboard curiously.  His eyebrows shifted upwards when he saw something that didn’t fit in with the bland sheets of the mattress.  Cleverly wedged between the cheap box spring and the bed’s frame was a bundle of ratty cloth.  The hexbag.

“Got it,” Dean muttered. He had to turn his body to get a good enough angle to slip his arm into the narrow space.  He almost didn’t fit.  But, eventually, his fingers brushed against the rough fabric and he dragged it out.  It was pretty well hidden.  If he hadn’t known where to look, he never would have found this little thing.

Sam’s hazel eyes zeroed on the bundle as Dean brought it back to the table.  Dean stood over the table for a few seconds, still scowling faintly at the hexbag.  Sam took an instinctive step backwards from the perspective.  Sometimes it just caught him by surprise all over again how huge Dean was now.  Behind him, Oscar stared straight up, too, wary of the hunter.

“Well, Sammy,” Dean rumbled.  “How do we get rid of this thing before it, y’know, boils my blood?

“Uh, right,” Sam answered, walking the few steps back to the laptop.  The page Dean had found about hexbags was still up.  “Looks like we need to burn it …”

~~~~~

After Dean had put the two hexbags in the hotel’s trashcan, he lit a match.  It fell slowly, mesmerizingly, into the container.  At first, Oscar thought he was just going to cause a fire in the whole building, and he fretted about being stuck up on a table when that broke out.  But then, his eyes widened in awe as flickers of ghastly blue reached up out of the depths of the trashcan, clawing at the air.  He hadn’t seen that much fire in his lifetime, but he knew for a fact that it wasn’t supposed to look like that.

“Well, glad that’s over with,” Dean quipped with a scowl still tinting his face.  Oscar looked back up at his green eyes and saw that they had turned in his direction once more.  Dean still looked quite suspicious.  Oscar shrank back as the human returned to the table and sat heavily in the chair.  Oscar was glad that Sam still stood somewhat between him and the gigantic brother.

“Now, Oz,” Dean began, resting his arms heavily on the table.  Oscar could feel the tremors rattling through his feet.  “Mind telling us anything else about these maids?”

Oscar swallowed thickly.  His throat was like sandpaper, and despite himself he shuddered once under Dean’s singular focus.  This human was terrifying.  Especially when he was on a mission, whatever his current mission seemed to be.  “I, um.  I-I didn’t get a very good look at them, b-but I did hear their names,” he answered, his voice quiet.  He winced when Dean leaned a little closer to hear him better.  Even Sam seemed to flinch back from the sudden movement, and Oscar saw Dean’s gaze flicker to his tiny brother for a fraction of a second, regret shining in the green.

“Speak up, Oz, lives could be at stake,” Dean growled, though he kept his volume down for the benefit of the tiny, sensitive hearing in his brother and in Oscar.

Oscar’s eyes widened slightly and he trembled in spite of himself.  Dean’s intensity was only winding up his nerves even further.  He brought to mind the memory of Sam, standing up to the human with no fear in his eyes.  Of Sam, trusting this human with his own life.  Because, from what Oscar had found out, Dean saved lives, even if he was completely terrifying while doing so.  So Oscar took a deep, shaky breath before inclining his head to speak up a little louder.  “Their names were Celine and Megan.  Celine sounded like she knew more about the whole scheme.  From what I saw, she had dark hair cut to about here,” he swiped his hand in the air at about his jaw to indicate Celine’s stark haircut.  “I didn’t get a very good look at Megan,” he finished, hoping that would be enough information.

Dean frowned faintly, almost looking like he recognized something.  Sam, however, perked up immediately.  “Dean!  Wasn’t Celine the name of that librarian?  The one who volunteers to read to kids every few weeks?”

Dean leaned back and looked at his brother, all but ignoring Oscar as the pair went into full hunter mode, discussing a woman that Dean had chatted with when they first started investigating the case.  Oscar watched with some curiosity as Dean quickly typed something into the laptop.  Once he’d found what he was looking for, Dean looked Oscar’s way again.  “C’mere, Oz.  This the chick?”

Oscar didn’t want to get any closer, but he would have to in order to see what was on the screen.  He shuffled up next to the base of the laptop, making sure to place Sam between himself and the human.  Oscar tilted his head to look up at the image on the screen.  It was from the local library’s webpage, the staff section.  A woman’s photo was displayed, a broad, charming smile on her face.  Oscar remembered those grey eyes of hers, and all of the malice on display in them during his brief glimpse of her.  It was definitely the same woman.  “Th-that’s her,” he announced with a nod, turning his head to look at Sam.

Sam nodded.  “Great.  This was the last hint we needed, Oscar.  Great work,” he smiled encouragingly, and despite his fear Oscar felt some pride swelling in his chest.  I’m helping these guys save a bunch of kids, he realized with awe.

Dean didn’t hesitate much after that to practically spill out of his chair to prepare weapons for himself from that worn out duffel bag.  Oscar and Sam watched and waited.  The final touch was a handgun kept shining silver with ornate engravings along the side, tucked into Dean’s pants in such a way that his jacket covered it from view.  And then the human stomped back toward the table.

“Alright, Sammy, let’s go kill us some witches,” Dean announced, setting a hand palm-up on the table.  Sam climbed on without any hesitation.  Seeing that was still absolutely crazy for Oscar.  He looked up at Dean’s face, but it seemed that both brothers were too eager to get going to give him any notice.  Oscar’s jaw dropped as Sam slipped into Dean’s pocket, and then the human left in a hurry.

The slamming of the door rang in his ears.  Oscar watched it with perplexed eyes for several silent seconds.  As strange as it sounded, he wanted Dean to come back through that door.

“Please, don’t let those jerks get killed,” he muttered out loud, frowning as he heard the telltale rumble of a car starting.

~~~~~

With Oscar’s information, the rest of their almost-leads had fallen right into place.  Sam couldn’t believe how simple a task finding the coven was, after just a short brainstorm in the Impala as Dean drove to the library.  Celine.  Megan.  The missing kids.  The monthly book-reading tradition, started just before kids started disappearing.  It was so easy, after realizing just how closely Celine was really involved.  She’d been the most surprised to see Dean burst into the basement meeting place, guns blazing.

Sam sat on Dean’s shoulder, leaning on his neck.  He could feel that his brother’s pulse was still pounding, working out the last of the adrenaline rush.  They needed to get back to the hotel to deal with the injuries of the night.  While Dean had distracted the witches, Sam had been hard at work reading out counter curses to free the comatose children.  They’d both gotten a little battered in the rush, though Sam had dived for cover as soon as the kids broke loose.

After the innocents were out of the way, Dean made short work of the surprised witches, but not without getting a few scratches on his face and arms, courtesy of a bay window.

“Good work getting the kids out, Sammy,” Dean complimented, feeling quite accomplished.  Another successful hunt for his tiny brother.  He couldn’t help but feel immensely proud.  Sam was always so brave, despite his size.  He was a real natural at this stuff.  “You’re really getting good at this.”

Sam smiled, patting the giant neck with his hand.  “Not bad yourself, Dean,” he answered.  He could feel a muscle twitch as his action almost tickled his big brother.  Both of Dean’s hands were on the steering wheel, but Sam could see that one had almost left it to scratch at the feather-light feeling.  The fact that Dean was trying so hard to make sure Sam didn’t get knocked around by his simple actions … it really made the smaller Winchester feel safe.

As Dean pulled into the motel’s parking lot, he chuckled.  “I guess once we’re cleaned up I better get us some beers to celebrate, huh?  I’m guessing Oscar scrammed as soon as we were out the door,” he mused.  He felt Sam shift on his shoulder, and the silence coming from his tiny brother didn’t give him a great feeling.  What’d I say? he wondered, glancing at the rearview mirror to catch a glimpse of Sam’s exasperated face.

“Dean … I can’t believe I didn’t think of it.  But Oscar’s still on the table.” Sam answered quietly when the Impala settled into the parking stall outside their door.  Sam stared at the dull metal number nailed to the door.

Dean threw Sam a critical look through the rearview mirror.  “Nah.  You think?  Why would he stick around after …”  After I scared the hell out of him?

Sam sighed.  “He dropped his climbing rope before you grabbed him the first time.  He has no way to get down.”  He suddenly felt a sinking guilt.  How long had they taken to beat the witches?  How long had Oscar been forced to sit waiting on that table for them to return?  Out in the open, the absolute last place someone like him would want to be?  It had to be lonely and terrifying.  Sam thought he could imagine exactly what Oscar must be thinking.

~~~~~

That had BETTER be them! Oscar thought with a tired scowl.  He sat on the book once again, kicking his legs back and forth so his feet scraped quietly on the tabletop.  He watched the window, now only lit by the streetlamps outside.

After realizing that Sam and Dean basically forgot him there, Oscar had paced around every edge of the table.  He’d tried to find a safe way to get himself down, and escape before the pair returned.  The pizza had been good, but all this hexbag and witches nonsense was a little too much adventure for Oscar.  He had tried to sleep off some of his recent fear, but the table was too hard and unforgiving.  In the end, he had taken up his seat on the book to wait for them to come back.

Being detached from the experience of a human effortlessly grabbing him up, Oscar had given himself plenty of time to get more and more annoyed about his situation.  At least, if those guys never came back, he’d have pizza to live on … but if the actual maids came in?  He was a sitting target.

All of his irritation dropped away, morphing back into nervousness when he saw a shadow pass by the window, and heard a key turn in the lock.  It was the loudest sound he’d ever heard.  Oscar watched the door, but soon had to throw his hands over his eyes when Dean reached in and flipped the lights on in the room.  Bright!  The fractured thought darted across his mind.

He heard Dean sigh, a heavy sound laden with … was that guilt?  After blinking a few times, Oscar looked up at the human.  Once his eyes met those gigantic green ones, Dean walked forward.  He looked like he’d been in quite a fight.  It didn’t make him look any less frightening.  Oscar hopped down from his perch to start inching away, even as Dean sat heavily in the chair in front of the table, resting his arms on the flat surface.

Oscar waited for Dean to reach into his pocket to retrieve his little brother.  But motion next to the human’s head caught Oscar’s still-adjusting eyes, which widened immediately.  There was Sam, climbing down from Dean’s shoulder and using his massive arm as a bridge to the table, natural as breathing.  He moved with such sure steps, completely trusting Dean not to let him fall.  Sam was brave.

“Oscar,” Sam started, looking even more shamefaced than Dean.  “We were so ready to go and fight.  I didn’t even think about …” his voice trailed into a sigh, and his brow knitted over his hazel eyes.  Oscar looked up at Sam’s face and decided that this near-apology was genuinely ashamed.

“Um.  D-don’t worry about it,” Oscar stammered out, wringing his hands nervously.  “Did you, uh, save those kids?” he asked uncertainly, glancing past Sam to Dean, who looked quite worn out.

Dean smirked above them.  “We did,” he answered in his gruff voice, sounding quite pleased with himself.

Sam nodded.  “And, really, Oscar, we probably wouldn’t have figured it out in time if you hadn’t told us all that.  So we owe you one.”  He chuckled sheepishly and rubbed the back of his neck.  “I’m sorry we didn’t get you a lift to the floor before we went.”

Oscar straightened up slightly.  There it was again.  That pride.  There were children that would live out their lives thanks to his help.  He smiled faintly, probably for the first time since meeting these crazy brothers.  “I’m, uh, glad you made it out okay, and got those kids out before something bad happened to them.”  Something as drastic and life-changing, perhaps, as a curse that left someone a fraction of their original size … Oscar doubted that’s what those witches had in mind, but at the same time he couldn’t help but notice how singularly focused Sam had been before leaving.  It was at least a little personal.

Sam nodded, an approving smile on his face.  And then, he held out his hand.  Oscar stared at it in surprise for a beat of hesitation, but then took it.  Or, perhaps more accurately, he placed his own small hand in Sam’s to shake it.  He got a sudden notion that Sam would be absolutely huge if he were still human.  “Well, Oscar, I guess we’d better let you get going, huh?” Sam asked, glancing over his shoulder at Dean.

Dean jolted, shaken out of whatever thoughts had caused him to drift off.  He was probably tired as hell.  “Right,” he grumbled.  He turned one of his huge hands over on the table.  His palm faced the ceiling, and his fingers twitched once to beckon Oscar to hop on.  “I’ll give you a lift, Oz.”

~~~~~

Sam watched with a faint smile as Oscar hesitantly inched towards Dean’s hand.  He knew that look.  The ‘is-he-about-to-grab-me’ look.  Sam had felt that exact trepidation when Dean had first offered him a hand.  But, rather than tease the little guy about it, Dean was actually waiting patiently for Oscar to work up the nerve.  Sam smiled softly.  Despite their rough start, Dean was making good progress in showing Oscar that he could be trusted.

Once again, Dean could scarcely believe that someone so small could exist.  If he thought Sam was light as a feather, then Oscar was practically not even there.  Dean lowered the nervous little person to the floor next to the chair, opting to stay seated to avoid scaring the little guy any more than he’d already done for the day.  “Not saying you didn’t do a pretty good job accidentally investigating for us, but uh, stay outta trouble, Oz,” Dean said with a smirk as Oscar quickly scrambled to the carpet.

Oscar, all three-and-a-quarter inches of him, turned to look up at Dean.  He clenched those little hands into fists to keep them from shaking, and stood his ground.  “For the last time, Dean, my name is Oscar,” he answered firmly.

Sam peered carefully over the edge of the table, smiling faintly at Oscar’s proud stand.  It was kind of relieving to see the little guy recovered enough to actually stand up to Dean.  “Take care, Oscar,” Sam called down to him.

Oscar glanced away from Dean’s smirking face to regard Sam, his head tilted straight back.  Sam saw him nod a few times before taking a few steps back, and then turning to run towards the nightstand where his climbing line remained.  The Winchesters watched in silence as the little guy gathered up his string and slinked into the shadows to finally escape the room.  Oscar was a lot braver than he seemed to think he was.

Once the little guy was long gone, Sam stepped back from the edge of the table to regard Dean.  "Now, Dean, about those beers ..."