Sam knew something was wrong the moment he woke up.
“Huuuhh?” he mumbled. He shifted in his bed, trying to push his cover off.
The fabric was coarse between his fingers. Not the cover he’d fallen asleep under.
Sam sat bolt upright in bed right as a thunderous voice echoed around him. “Sam, get a move on, we’re gonna–”
Dean’s voice trailed off when the hunter peered under the nightstand. Sam’s heart fluttered in his chest, a staccato beat of fear filling him at the sight of Dean.
Oh, no, no, no, please… Sam shoved himself up in his bed, trying to scoot away from the hunter as Dean reached forward. Massive hands moved the books out of the way as Dean peered in at him.
Sam’s bed was bigger. His desk was bigger.
His pillow was bigger.
“Sammy?” Dean whispered, his voice as fearful as Sam had ever heard it.
“D-D-Dean…” he managed to stutter out. “What happened? ”
Sam was less than three inches tall.
“That’s it?” Dean asked softly, leaning down. “You don’t remember anything else last night?”
Sam shook his head desperately. He was sitting up on a book so he could see Dean better. It had taken time, but Dean had eventually managed to coax him out from under the nightstand. Sam’s first reaction had been to just cover his head with his formerly-soft cover and scream into his pillow, trying to pretend nothing had ever happened. Just act like Dean didn’t exist. He wasn’t smaller, he was normal. Normal.
As normal as it was to be four inches tall.
Luck or happenstance had struck. Sam’s satchel had shrunk down with him. He could still use his fishhook to climb, and his line was just as sturdy for him, even if it was now even smaller than ever to Dean. But his legs dangled off the book and every movement the massive hunter made was a painful reminder that he was even smaller.
Sam sighed. “I just… was up writing. Then I slept. I don’t even remember dreaming last night. I woke up, and my blanket felt weird… really coarse and thick. And I saw you…” Sam tucked his chin against his chest. “That’s when I realized what happened.” His voice was hoarse. The bottlecap of coffee was huge next to him. He was afraid to try and pick it up and find out just how heavy things were too him. His shoulders slumped down at the thought.
“Hey, we’re gonna figure this out, alright?” Dean told him softly. The hunter leaned down so his green eyes were level with Sam. “I’ve got your back, Sam. No matter what size.” The smile on his face was tenuous, but it was there.
“Dean… we never found anything about my curse in the first place,” Sam said. He brought himself to tilt his head up and meet that intense stare. A shiver went up his back at the new scale. “Where do we even have left to look?”
Dean shook his head. “Doesn’t matter. We’ll find a way. I know we’ll find a way.”
When he reached two inches, they drove to Bobby’s.
Sam’s heart pounded in his chest, fluttering like mad as the Impala’s engine roared through him. Everything was huge. He’d just gotten sort of used to his new size, and he’d woken up smaller. Real fear was beating in his heart. His entire life was a ticking time bomb. Soon he wouldn’t be able to even interact with Dean. It wouldn’t be safe.
That thought scared Sam more than anything.
The thought of having to stay away from Dean or Bobby, the thought of losing some of the last important people in his life…
He’d lose his brother more completely than when he’d first shrunk.
Even Bree would tower over him now. He was the same height as Kara. But slimmer, and far more out of place.
He tried to prepare himself when the engine of the Impala stopped. But there was really nothing that could prepare him for the immense movements of Dean.
The pocket swayed from side to side, almost knocking him over even where he was sitting. Gravity pushed him down as Dean stood up, and again as Dean went up the stairs to Bobby’s. Thunderous knocks shook Sam’s world right before a creaking door opened up.
“Boys.” Bobby’s gravely voice filled the air.
“Hey.” Dean pushed into the house, in too much of a hurry for formalities. Sam could hear every beat of Dean’s heart. He could hear how it sped up now that there were no distractions from their problem.
Sam was gathered out of the chest pocket by careful fingers and lowered to the table between the two giants. His massive family.
He caught his balance, clutching his satchel close as he stared up at them both. Dean’s face had new stress lines as he looked down at Sam. Bobby’s eyes were crinkled, but not with a smile. He was the one to lean down first.
“How you holdin’ up, Sam?”
Sam’s mouth was dry as he yelled up, “I’m fine!”
They all knew he was lying through his teeth.
Sam didn’t go further than a foot from Dean at any time once he was under an inch in height.
Sam shook on the table where he was standing, staring up at the two massive hunters trying to find a way out for him. Since he couldn’t do anything to help himself. The world was colder. Everything was colder. It made the fear sharper, more prominent.
It didn’t help that when Dean took in a deep breath, he could feel the suction. It breezed past his hair, shortly followed by a powerful gust as the hunter let it out in a heartfelt sigh. Innocent gestures that normally didn’t bother Sam. In fact, it was usually comforting.
But now he could feel the power in that gust of air. A little more and it would blow Sam right off his feet.
Green eyes bigger than Sam was flickered to the small hunter. Miniscule hunter. Sam wasn’t just small. He was tiny. Insignificant. So small that if they took their eyes away from him for too long, he might cease to exist.
Dean was almost whispering when he leaned in to talk to Sam. “Did you want me to get you something to eat?”
Sam shook his head before remembering that such a movement was almost impossible for Dean to see. “No,” he shouted up. “I’ve still got some leftovers in my bag!” He waited for the understanding to blossom in Dean’s face from his words.
It took Dean a moment, but a smile appeared as he heard Sam’s soft voice. “Okay, pint-size. Just hang on. We’ll have you back to your regular pocket size soon.”
Before Dean could sit back up, out of range of Sam’s voice, Sam waved at him to stop. There was a sudden need in him to tell Dean thanks…
Because he might not get another chance.
“Dean,” he yelled. “I just… I wanted to say thanks. For everything.”
Dean blinked back a tear, reaching forward with a finger. Sam almost flinched away, but he held steady, forcing himself to stand his ground. He trusted Dean. He could trust Dean. The tip of Dean’s finger was now as big as he was. Crevices in Dean’s skin could hold Sam’s entire hand. It brushed against him lightly before pulling away.
Dean couldn’t even mess up his hair as a joke anymore.
“Don’t you worry about thanking me, Sammy,” Dean said. “Not until you’re back to the right size, okay?”
Sam let out a barking, uncertain laugh as he sat down. He wrapped his arms around his legs to watch Dean open a book the size of a school like it was nothing. A breeze rustled his hair again as the page turned.
He must have drifted off while he sat there.
Waking up, something in Sam told him everything was different. Changed.
He blinked blearily, rubbing his eyes with a lazy hand as he yawned. “Dean? How’s the…”
He trailed off as he saw his surroundings.
The table was gone.
Sam’s entire world was inside of a deep canyon. He sat on the side of the steep walls, on a brown edge. Other protrusions could be seen sticking out in the distance, irregular and spiky. Even as he watched, one broke off and fell into the darkness.
Sam crawled to the edge to watch it land, but the bottom was too far away.
Deep rumbles and thunderclaps came from above. Sam brushed his hair back from his face, staring straight up at the top of his ‘canyon.’ The light above changed rapidly, like someone was pacing in front of the storm.
One rumble of thunder stuck out to him, and Sam realized what had happened. Where he was.
He hadn’t gone anywhere.
He was still on the table, but he was so small he’d fallen into a crack in the wood. Splinters surrounded him, and the dark canyon he was trapped in was a simple notch in the wooden table at Bobby’s. The thunder above… a brief, echoing cry of Sammy! …
Dean, trying to find his lost brother. The brother who’d vanished into thin air.
Darkness covered the crack again and Sam stared up, not realizing his danger at first as he tried to make out his brother in the dark sky above. An echoing sigh was the only warning he got before a huge whirlwind struck, knocking him straight towards the edge.
With a cry, Sam tumbled off the ledge. He had his fishhook out in a second, embedding it into a crack. He was so light he had no trouble holding his weight in place as he dangled there until the whirlwind ended.
Then the air started to rise up, and Sam clung to the cord with a desperation born of life-preservation as he did his damndest to keep from flying up with the air his brother was breathing in, huge lungs the size of a city greedily stealing the air around him. It rushed past, almost pulling him right off the cord.
Another rumble echoed through the world, and the light returned as Dean lifted his head to look at Bobby.
Sam couldn’t see any of that.
He couldn’t even make out Dean as more than a towering, looming shadow. Dean, his brother and best friend. The only person he’d been able to rely on for almost an entire year. A colossus that could snuff Sam out without a thought. As long as the immense hunters above were paying attention to Sam’s small corner of the world, he was in danger. Dean and Bobby had ceased to exist as people he could interact with. He was on his own.
Sam clambered to the center of his ledge again, breathing heavily after his close call. Then froze as he felt eyes on him. He wasn’t as alone as he’d thought.
He already knew who it was.
Sam turned to face her. Celeste. The architect of his curse.
She was standing against the wall of the canyon with a smirk. “Oh, Sammy. How nice of you to join us at last.”
Sam snarled, storming towards her. “What the hell did you do to me? Why now? ”
She held up a clawed hand. He froze in place, under her control. With a slow, swaying stride, she walked around him. “Hmmm. You did grow up nice,” she complimented. “Too bad I never got your brother with this. He would be fun to have around. Such pretty eye candy for a Winchester.”
He glared at her and she sighed. “Ruining all the fun. At least Dean-O made things interesting when I had him caught. Always screaming and yelling his dear little head off.” Her hot breath brushed against Sam’s neck. “You still have a part to play in things, Sammy boy. Maybe Dean will even play his part before you go subatomic. I… hope you enjoy the view on the way down. But your part in their world is over now. Welcome… to your new home. Until even this grows too big for you to see.” She gave him a wink as she straightened. “You might want to hold on to that hook of yours. It’ll come in handy.”
The air warped around her as she vanished.
Released from her freezing hold, Sam almost plunged through the air she’d been in moments before. He caught himself against the wall with a curse.
His situation started to really sink in. She’d stolen his world. His family… his brother. Everything. It was right there, above him. Around him. But forever out of reach. Dean might as well not exist at this size. If Sam tried to make his way back to them, he could die. They just had to brush against the tabletop and he would be just a memory. Put a book down. Spill a glass of water.
No way to communicate.
No way to let Dean know he was okay. He was alive.
Straightening, Sam steeled himself for what lay ahead.
He sent one last glance up at the sky. One last look at Bobby’s house beyond. One last wish for Dean, and a prayer that they’d see each other again one day in the future.
That one day he could embrace his brother as an equal. Dean’s smiling face flashed into his mind one last time, winking at him when the older hunter was up to no good. Sam smiled back at the memory, a forgotten tear falling down his face.
Then Sam turned to his new world. He needed to climb farther down if he wanted to survive another gust like the last one. His brother had become a force of nature Sam needed to weather just like a hurricane.
He dropped into darkness, eyes adjusting as he went.