Kara spent most of the night exploring the human's room. He wasn't around for a long time, giving her plenty of opportunity to see if there were any more clues she could use to find her daddy. The humans that had taken Sam hadn't left anything behind. No clues for her to follow, nothing she could use to save her daddy. Or anyone else.
Her tummy growled at her. Resting a hand over it she said softly, "Shh, I'll find food for you soon, promise. I don't have anything with me right now." She tried to push it from her mind as much as she could. There was nothing to be had in her small bag and nothing waiting for her back home. Not with daddy gone. Maybe she could find something while she was exploring. The human here had to leave crumbs at some point - if he ever ate. So far she hadn't seen him so much as touch any food.
When the human returned to the room, she hid behind the dresser. There was nowhere else for her to go. Tearfully, she watched his huge boots clomp around on the ground, terrified of how big he was. Those boots could crush her and he'd never even know she was there. But... he walked slower than a normal human while he was moving. Usually when she saw a human walk, the shoes swept across the floor faster than someone her size could ever hope to escape from.
Probably still hoping to see Sam, she thought sadly to herself. Like she hoped to see her daddy every time she returned to their home. She avoided it as much as she could. It was just a reminder of what she'd lost. First her mommy all those years ago, now daddy...
Once the lights in the room went dim overhead, Kara carefully climbed up the back of the dresser. It was dangerous to stay on the floor by herself, as her daddy had told her many times. She was so small, she could get hurt by the bugs and spiders that made their homes in the motel. Ever since those humans had started to take people like her daddy, the bugs had multiplied, starting to encroach on the places they used to live. She was the last one living there that she knew about at this point. So many had been lost in recent years. Not just to humans...
It was like this motel was cursed.
She finally made it to the top. With a quiet grunt she hauled herself over the edge, slipping as close behind the TV as she could. She peered nervously around it, staring at the huge human. He was hunched over his laptop, staring down at the bright screen. He was so intently focused on the strange device, she'd have been surprised if he noticed anything. She gave a sigh of thanks. He was so big. She was scared to death of catching his attention - no matter how nice he'd been to Sam, there was no telling what he'd do to her if he found her, and there was no way for her to defend herself.
With another sigh, she curled herself into a ball around her bag. It would be safe for her to rest her eyes... just for a few minutes...
Sam rested on the pile of fabric for what felt like hours. It wasn't relaxing by any stretch of the imagination, but he needed to keep his strength up. Needed to stay strong. The burning pain in his arm hadn't died down at all since being placed back in the crate by Beth. At least she'd been kinder than her brother...
An angry rage filled Sam at the memory of being crushed in the man's fist. Completely helpless to get out. If he was the same size as Dean, he'd show that asshole what it felt like to have his arm broken.
After what felt like forever, Bree was returned to the crate. Beth locked it up with a sad smile. "I'll be back later," she promised, smiling.
Bree waved at her as she left. Sam was surprised at that. Bree was far more comfortable around the human than he'd have expected. But... then again, she had been a captive more than half her life. Instead of the way he'd been shrunk down and lived with people his size, she'd been captured and forced to live with people that were so much bigger. It would be a coping mechanism to find a friend here. A way to survive, or hold on to your sanity. A form of Stockholm syndrome - completely unavoidable in the long run, and her time here certainly counted as 'the long run.'
Sam smiled at her as she came over. She sat down an inch away. "How's your arm?" she asked kindly.
Sam brushed his hand protectively over it. "Been better," he admitted. "That other human... Beth's brother..."
"Chance," Bree supplied helpfully. "His name is Chance."
Sam's mouth thinned to a line. Such an innocuous name for someone that had almost crushed him. Happily. "Chance," he allowed begrudgingly. "He... he came close to crushing me."
Bree's eyes fell away from Sam. "Yeah, that sounds like him," she muttered. "Beth won't let him near me ever since he dropped me, almost killing me. Even his parents were furious, and they usually don't give a damn."
"Those are the two that caught me, right?"
"Yeah... Isabelle and Nicolas. Lovely people, right?" A brief bout of humor crossed her face before it extinguished. "Sam... I'm sorry for what you went through."
"Don't be sorry," Sam assured her. "You're not the one that hurt me. It's not your fault this happened."
"But still..." she blinked. She glanced over at Christian and Mikael. "I've been with these humans so long... I can't help but feel responsible. I mean, if they never caught me as a child they would never have known we existed. Christian would be with his daughter, Mikael would be safe at home..."
Sam scooched over, closing the distance between them. He carefully wrapped his arm around her. Hopefully this didn't make things worse, but he couldn't stand the look in her eyes... the blame, the depression, the regret. She could never go back to the way she'd been before being taken.
It couldn't be easy for her. She'd lived with these humans for years, surviving day to day. And suddenly they captured two other people like her, but with completely different outlooks. It wasn't her fault she was friendly with the human girl... and Sam had to admit Beth seemed very nice, especially compared to the rest of the family he'd been subjected to. Bree had survived, in her own way.
She stiffened at his touch, then curled against him. He wasn't prepared for what it felt like. She was soft and warm and nice against him. Sam had never been this close with a girl before, not even with Krissy, his one friend growing up.
Small shudders wracked her body. He rubbed his arm down her back, soothing her. "It's okay, Bree. None of this is your fault. It's all gonna be okay."
She turned her head, burying it into his shoulder. "How can you say that?" she mumbled into him. "They're not gonna stop. They'll just keep finding more of us..."
"There's only so many they can find around here, right? Any others still around should be more careful if they know about Christian and Mikael being taken." She shrank down against him at his words. "Did you ever ask Christian and Mikael if there were any others left?"
She shuddered against him. "They won't tell me. They think the first thing I'd do is tell Beth." Red-rimmed eyes peeked up at Sam. "But I wouldn't! I'd never put anyone else in danger! I promise!"
"I believe you," he assured her, rubbing her arm gently. "But look at it from their perspective... if they're wrong and they tell you, more people could end up hurt. Better to be safe than sorry, right? They might be protecting friends, loved ones..."
She deflated against him. "Like Christian's daughter."
"Yeah, like her," he blinked in surprise. "He told you about her?"
"He couldn't exactly hide it. The first week he was around all he did was worry about her... if she was alright, if she'd found food... he said that their house didn't have enough to feed her for more than a few days. She'd've had to go out and get her own food, and you know how dangerous that can be. How dangerous humans are, even when they don't see you! She's only seven! "
Sam sighed, thinking back to when Dean had caught him. It had to have been months ago by now. Dean could have easily hurt him without even realizing who Sam was. Trapped in a huge fist...no way out... as much as Sam trusted Dean now it still hurt to remember that moment. Hurt to remember his fruitless struggles. The terror from his own brother catching him like it was nothing. With Sam in his fist, Dean didn't even need to put any effort into keeping Sam trapped. Helpless. And Christian's daughter was even smaller than him, easier to catch. "Yeah, I know."
"Sam..." she pushed herself up so she could look him in the eyes. "You mentioned my parents yesterday."
Sam froze, the expression of a deer in headlights passing over his face.
She took this in. "Please Sam. I need to know how they are. How do you know them?"
"I... ah... Bree, they saved my life years ago. About a year after you were taken." Sam swallowed nervously. It was hard to even think about what had happened. "They uh, they raised me. Taught me everything I know. Your mom, Mallory, she's the one that made me these clothes." He plucked the edge of his sleeve, indicating the soft fabric that made up his jacket.
"Mom made this?" she asked quietly. A hand brushed down Sam's good arm. "But... these clothes almost look human."
"She did it for me. I was comatose when they found me, dressed like this. She ended up liking the clothes so much she made some for Walt too. Said they were very versatile, compared to what he normally wore."
"Sam, you're avoiding my question. How are they now? When did you last see them... does Beth's family know where they are? Are they in danger?"
"Bree, slow down." He held out a hand, gently clasping hers. "I'm sorry, but you need to know."
Fearful eyes blinked at him. Mallory's eyes. He could recognize her in Bree's face, putting an ache in his chest. The soft blue eyes started to water as she caught on to his mood. "Need to know what, Sam?"
"Bree... a few months ago, their home was attacked. I... I was the only one to survive..."
"No..." she whispered. She pulled away from Sam. "No, they're alive, they have to be alive. They're all I have left..." she stumbled back from him. "You're lying, you have to be..."
But she didn't. She ran away from him. Sam watched her go sadly. He could feel tears of his own prick at his eyes, remembering the last sight he'd seen of their tiny home. Black and charred where Mallory and Walt had last been... his adopted mother's clothing burnt to a crisp... Sam hadn't cared if he survived there. If it hadn't been Dean that found him that day he probably wouldn't be around anymore, either. Dean had saved him then.
Bree crumpled in the back corner of the crate, sobbing desperately to herself. Mikael and Christian stared at her in surprise. Sam could feel their eyes burn holes in him the moment he faced away. Blaming him.
He buried his head in his arms.
A thunderous thud filled the air, startling Kara from sleep. She squealed in fear, grabbing her bag to her chest.
Heavy silence fell.
Her heart thudded heavily in her chest, panicked breaths shaking her body. She'd forgotten where she was. That she wasn't home, safe in her bed with daddy nearby. She stayed as still as she could, willing herself to not even breathe. Just a mouse... silent as a mouse... you didn't hear anything... she thought tremulously, desperately willing the human to ignore the noise she'd made.
"Hello?" came a deep voice. The air itself rumbled around her at the powerful sound. Covering her ears, she ducked her head against her chest, tears falling from her eyes to the rough surface of the dresser beneath her.
He'd heard her.
A minute more passed, the silence pregnant with expectation. A shaky breath hiccupped in her throat from fear.
A huge scuffing sound filled the air. The human was standing up, his boots hitting the ground and shaking the dresser beneath her. A light clicked on overhead, illuminating the room.
Blinking in the sudden brightness, Kara clutched her small hook, threading the rope through her fingers. All she had to do was slip down from the dresser and get back in the walls where it was safe. Why had she ever stayed here?
Because this is the last link to the people who took daddy from me...
That thought filled her as she gathered herself to run. She wasn't going to lose the link to her daddy. She was just going to get to safety and then she could find out more. When the human wasn't around again. She'd be safer... more careful this time. Yeah. That's what she'd do.
Huge, thudding footsteps filled the air. The entire dresser shook under her. He was coming. Kara closed her eyes for a second, then ran.
A huge exclamation filled the air the second she moved. Her vision narrowed down to a tunnel, focusing on the edge of the dresser.
Seconds before she reached it and safety, her entire world went black. Something strong wrapped around her, closing around her body. She shrieked, trying to escape the powerful grip. She couldn't move her arms or legs. Whatever had her wasn't budging. Her entire body was encased.
Her chest fluttered, starved lungs trying to draw breath in her prison. She could feel the world moving as whatever had her shifted, taking her away from the safety of her hiding place. A heavy pulse beat in her ears, thudded against her back. It filled her entire world.
Light filtered in suddenly. Kara found herself lying on her back. Desperate breaths shook her, her small body wracked with fear. Something moved at the edge of her vision and she flinched away, spotting the massive fingers surrounding her, light slipping through the cracks between them. They were twice as long as her body, thick and powerful, arching over her body.
A hand. She was in a hand.
Past the rushing blood in her head she realized a rumbling voice was filling the air, trying to talk to her. It was fast, powerful, loud... its tone just as panicked as she felt. Trembling, Kara tried to scrub the tears out of her eyes. Since opening up the fingers hadn't moved. She shivered at how strong she knew each one would be. And here she was, helplessly trapped in their clutches.
Once her eyes were clear she stared tremulously up at her captor. Panicked green eyes bigger than her head met her frightened dark greys. She finally managed to focus on what he was saying... if only to think about anything but the size of his mouth. It was a few inches away from her, teeth that could bite her in half flashing in and out of view as he talked. He could eat her in one bite if he wanted to. The shaking started up in her arms again at that thought. She was helpless, trapped in a hand far bigger than she was, at the mercy of an unknown human.
"I'm not gonna hurt you, you're okay... please, please stop crying. I promise you're safe, nothing's gonna happen to you..." his words tumbled over each other as he failed to reassure the tiny, two-inch girl cupped helplessly in his palm. Hot breath washed over her body as close as she was held to his mouth in his own panic.
The hand moved again, the huge green eyes darting away from her. The giant human glanced quickly around the room, searching for something. Kara took the opportunity to try and jump off the side of his hand. It was only a few inches off the dresser, near the edge. She could make it. She could still escape. There was always hope.
"Whoa!" the human cried out as she desperately leapt. His other hand swooped around her before she landed, stopping her from reaching the dresser. His reflexes were unnatural. "Hey now, don't do that, you might get hurt... you're safe with me, I promise... I won't let anything happen to you..."
He moved fast, taking her away from the dresser. Kara squealed at the speed with which he walked, the terrifying height in the air she was held. The second hand cupped around the one holding her, keeping her trapped between thick, leathery walls of skin so she couldn't fall off. After a moment his hands lowered, landing softly on one of the beds in the room.
"There, can't have you getting hurt trying to escape from me. Right?"
Kara tumbled off his palm the instant she could, bouncing on the cushiony surface of the bed. She whipped around, making sure he wasn't going to grab at her again.
What she saw caught her off guard. Both his arms were gone and he was sitting back, away from the bed. Her bag had been left a few inches away from her. She hadn't even realized it had fallen from her arm during the excitement. She grabbed at it, clutching it to her chest. Blinking away the tears in her eyes, she stared up at him. "Why... why do you care?" she asked, her voice shaking with fear.
"Why wouldn't I?" There was surprise in his voice. Maybe even a little bit of hurt.
She hesitated, remembering how he'd been when she'd seen him with the other one... Sam, he'd been called. Careful, caring... everything she'd been told humans weren't. Maybe... maybe he really was different.
"No reason..." she mumbled, curling herself around her bag. A few tearful shakes hit as she checked her surroundings. The bed she was sitting on was expansive, stretching out from her in all directions. Massive folds in the covers were nearby, deep enough to get lost in. She was sitting closest to the human, near the center. He was resting on the floor, leaning against the bed opposite Kara. His head was at the same level as she was.
She pulled herself to her feet. He didn't move.
If she ran, he'd have plenty of time to grab her again. She was nowhere near cover and he was fast. She settled down. Her escape needed the right moment. "What do you want from me?" she asked tearfully.
An expression of shock passed over his face. "N-nothing!" he stuttered, "I just... I didn't want you getting hurt running from me." He shifted the way he was sitting, moving closer to her.
Kara stumbled away, tripping over her own feet. She sprawled on the bed, her fall cushioned by the plush surface.
He froze. "S-sorry," he mumbled. He held out a hand, palms out. "Not reaching for you. See?"
Kara nodded, untangling herself from the cover.
"I just wanted to get a better look at you. You're as safe with me as..." his voice trailed off, a tormented look passing over his face.
"As safe as Sam is. Was that what you were going to say?" Her voice, as tiny as it was, came out stronger than it had so far while talking to him. They did have something in common, after all. It was why she was here in the first place. They'd both lost someone important.
"How'd you know about him?" The human straightened, suddenly looming over her.
Kara squeaked at the movement, backing fearfully away. Any words she would have said were caught in her throat from sudden fear.
"Sorry," he repeated, his voice softer. He shifted back away from her. "Let's try this again, alright...? My name's Dean. What's yours?"
"I'm... I'm Kara." Suddenly inspired, she stuck her hand out the same way she'd seen her daddy do when he'd met someone new.
A smile twitched on the giant human's face as he recognized the gesture. He slowly reached forward with his own hand. Kara could feel her insides freeze up when she realized exactly how much bigger than her it was. How easily that hand had engulfed her mere minutes ago. But all that happened when it reached her was a finger and thumb, both longer than her entire body, closed gently around her tiny hand, so light that she could barely feel it.
He released her hand. "Good to meet you, Kara." His hand dropped back to his side.
Kara's stomach growled, loudly, making her jump in surprise at the sound. Nervous, she glanced up to see his reaction. She didn't want to make him mad.
Worry filled his eyes. "You're hungry, aren't you." It wasn't a question. "Kara, how long's it been since you ate anything?"
"Uumm... I had the last of my crackers yesterday in the morning..." her voice drifted off. She tried to remember if she'd eaten anything else since. Nothing came to mind. She'd been hoping to find food here, but he kept it hidden and hadn't eaten any himself so there had been no crumbs for her to find.
Dean blinked at that. "Nothing since then?" He stood right up, a dark shadow falling over her.
Kara backed away, trying to put distance between them. The sight of him standing reminded her of how trapped she was right now. "N-no, nothing," she said with a hiccup of surprise, her voice fearful again as he towered over her. He was so big.
"Wait here," he said, sounding distracted. He thudded away, going over to the table. Her tiny body bounced in time with his powerful footsteps. Kara shivered. It would take her an hour to get over there and he did it in seconds. She couldn't see what he was doing at the table, her line of sight blocked by his body.
She was alone.
Kara's eyes flicked to the edge of the bed next to the nightstand. If she could just get over there before he turned back around, she could escape... Her daddy had helped nice old uncle Mikael make an escape path back there not long ago. All she had to do was reach it and he wouldn't be able to get to her.
She'd be safe at last.
For hours, Bree stayed in the back corner. She tried to avoid all the pitying stares the others sent her. She hated that. After so many years spent alone with only humans for company the last thing she ever wanted was for her own people to pity her.
Sam was still sitting where she'd left him, head buried in his arms. He hadn't moved an inch since they'd talked. That's how she realized he wasn't lying. If he was lying, he should have kept trying to convince her. But instead he sat there, a cloud of anger and guilt hanging low over his head. As upset as she was in his own way.
She closed her eyes. The dried tears on her cheeks cracked at the motion. She could remember her family so well... memories of them had kept her going all these years. No matter how long she'd been a captive, she'd never mentioned them to anyone. Except for Beth, the only person she could trust.
Anyone else in this cursed family would have made their first line of business catching the others. Chance, Isabelle, Nicolas... even Beth's granny had no problem taking people like her. Like objects. She'd watched them sell off more than one to that wretched Mina... the only bright side being that they never sold her off, with Beth so attached to her 'little friend,' as Isabelle put it.
Bree had no doubt if she'd ever slipped up and mentioned her family, they would have gone straight back to the motel she'd grown up in and tried to catch the others that were still there. She couldn't risk it. Her mother, father... her best friend Krissy growing up... she couldn't risk them anymore than Christian and Mikael would risk the others in their motel.
Beth was the only one she trusted. In all the years she'd been trapped, Beth had always been caring and cautious with Bree. Where Chance would grab her in an angry fist and almost crush her walking from one end of the room to the other, Beth would carefully hold out her hand, letting Bree get on without help. Even when she scooped Bree up without warning, the grip was light and careful.
Isabelle and Nicolas had forced both their children to get jobs at the motel in town, hoping to find clues about other tiny people living in the area. From what they'd discovered, Bree's people tended to live in areas where they were hard to notice. Rarely did they chose to live in the walls of a house, though Bree had heard rumors of others making a living with a human family. It was mostly motels, hotels... even the occasional restaurant. Food was easier to come by, missing items were rarely noticed... a better deal on all ends.
Bree was the first they'd found, all those years ago. She'd been out exploring without her father knowing. The worst mistake of her life, as it turned out. But she'd been so curious, wanting to know what was really out there. Walt had never wanted to take her with him when he was out getting supplies. The few times they'd traveled together had always been to 'safe' rooms. No danger for her at all, no excitement.
The first room she'd ever snuck into had been Beth's.
Spotting a discarded candy bar on the table, she'd daringly crept up the side. She managed to get a few pieces of chocolate, filling the bag her father had made her the year before. That was when it all went to hell.
Of all people, Chance had been in the bathroom. When he came out, the light from the bathroom illuminated the table. She'd been caught out, trapped. A shout woke his entire family.
And that's all she wrote.
Bree had spent the next few days trapped in a cage they scrounged up. Nothing she did could get the bars to budge. They were thicker and stronger than her arms. Her father had found her hours before the family left. Bree remembered sobbing desperately as he did his best to free her. He tried everything. The lock was unbreakable, there was no way to bend the bars for him... all things a human would have no problem with.
The last time she'd seen him he'd embraced her through the bars, trying to hold her one last time. It's okay, Walt mumbled in her ear. We'll get you out. We'll find a way. She could hear the desperation in his voice as it trembled. His hand tightened around her neck. There's always a way, baby girl... he kissed her forehead through the bars. He jerked away when the doorknob started to twist. I'll be back, I promise...
And now her dad was dead. She'd never be able to give him another hug. Never tell him it wasn't his fault. It was hers. She'd been too overconfident, brash... eager to get out and explore. Her family was lost to her...
Days after the family left with her cage in tow, the parents had given her to their daughter. An early birthday present, they'd called her. Whatever that was. The only good thing that had happened to her. Beth was the only one willing to respond to Bree when she talked. Everyone else acted like it was just the wind talking. Like she couldn't speak, or even think for herself. Beth had been a blessing in disguise.
Ever since Beth and her brother got jobs at the local motel, their family had started to find and catch others like Bree. From what Bree understood, Chance was proud of being the one to track them all down. He'd become a security guard at the motel while Beth became the receptionist. He used the hidden cameras he'd placed in certain rooms to track movements. That was how he found Christian and Mikael. It must have been how he'd found Sam. The actual kidnapping was always left to the parents. They didn't want to risk Chance losing his job when they reaped so many rewards, and Beth refused to help them at all.
Everyone caught had been kept in the crate. Even Bree. Until recently she'd lived upstairs in a dollhouse. Her own bed, a comfortable blanket to sleep under, even silverware and dishes to eat from. She hadn't had anything like that growing up. But something changed after they started catching others. It was as though she'd suddenly become a precious commodity out of the blue.
A screaming fit from Beth had done no good. Neither of them liked Bree being trapped in the crate with the others, all of them treated no better than animals. Beth had done her best to get them better conditions but nothing had changed. Now she settled for sneaking them better food. Clean cloth to sleep in. Even better water. Bree she took out as much as she could. Her parents didn't trust her as much as they used to. For every Borrower (seriously, how had humans come up with that name?) Chance had brought home, she'd steadfastly refused to help. As far as Bree was concerned, Beth had proven her trust time and time again.
Not that it mattered. Christian and Mikael didn't trust Bree, not really. They cared for her, wanted to protect her from the other humans, but they didn't want to talk to her. In their eyes she was tainted after all her years here. And they refused any potential help from Beth.
And her last hope of somehow getting to go home one day, see her family again had been pulled from under her feet by that new guy, Sam. She had nothing left. Nothing but herself in this world. She gave a small scoff. The only person she could really rely on was a human. What was she coming to?