Dean gave a contented sigh to himself from where he was stretched out on top of the bed.
He tightened his grip on the pillow he was leaning on, relaxing as he enjoyed the end of the night. Time slipped away from all three kids in the motel room. Dean played the sentinel, watching over the younger children as they had fun down on the floor. He wouldn’t walk around so long as their games continued.
“Don’t go where I can’t see you,” Dean cautioned his younger brother as Sam darted towards the edge of the bed.
Sam waved gamely up at him with a huge grin, skidding to a halt only a few inches away. His small grey bag that Oscar had given him thudded against his back. Inside it was full of the supplies he’d begun to acquire, along with anything he found that was interesting. Oscar was teaching him what was useful and what wasn’t, important lessons to learn at their size.
Without Oscar around, he wouldn’t even know how to climb his way off the ground if he got stuck down there.
When Oscar got close, Sam giggled and dodged around him. “Can’t catch me!” he called in a light taunt.
Oscar whirled, almost turning too far in his haste while one hand reached for Sam and closed on air. He scrambled after the older kid, a determination keeping him from stumbling right off his feet. "Yeah I can! I can try!" he answered, darting after Sam with a laugh. They were both full of energy from the game, and the simple running around kept a smile on Oscar's face.
Before Sam and Dean showed up, Oscar didn't have the chance to play and run. Every moment was about survival and ensuring he wouldn't be hungry or too cold or in danger of being found. A kid his size had to work extra hard to make all that possible by himself. He never did find out what happened to his mom.
After Sam showed him how to play tag, it was like a dam burst. Oscar could be a kid again, he could play games and have fun again, and not worry about time lost for looking for food. Even now, he had some food in his bag, stashed away from when Dean had made a sandwich and chips for them all to share.
Oscar thought he might nearly be able to catch up to the older boy when there was a bright flash from the window, even with the curtains drawn closed. Oscar halted and whipped his curious gaze to the side, wondering what the source was.
Bare seconds later, an earth-shaking boom filled the air and seemed to shake Oscar to his core. His first instinct made him look across the room to his vent, where he got into the walls. He even took a step towards it before remembering himself. He turned a worried glance upwards where Dean lay on the bed.
The flash of lightning was reflected in the green eyes. Worry shone in them as Dean glanced towards the window. The sunset had arched across the sky with scattered red clouds and a shock of the last rays, but now it was dark and foreboding outside. The roaring pattern of rain started up seconds after the rumble of thunder died down.
A light flickered in the room, and that sealed Dean’s resolve. “C’mon guys, game’s over,” he muttered. He slipped off the edge of the bed, padding over to them on socked feet. He sank to the ground, holding his hand out. He didn’t want to risk them out in the room if the power went out. They were too small, and he was too big.
Lightning flashed outside again, and Sam bounced to his feet in surprise. He ran towards Dean’s hand as the thunder rumbled again.
The second rumble of thunder motivated Oscar to bound towards the offered hand, too. He nearly stumbled on the carpet threads, but he managed to keep his feet and run to Dean's outstretched fingers. He hopped up before the next flicker of all the lamps in the room.
Oscar crouched down on Dean's palm, looking wide-eyed up at the human. "Th-the thunder's a lot louder out here than in the walls," he said. His gaze strayed to the window in time for a more subdued flash and an upswing in the rain. Oscar's hand found Sam's arm almost on reflex, anchoring himself to the other kid and knowing he wasn't by himself while the sky raged outside. "It's still loud in there, too, though," he added in a quieter voice.
Dean lifted his hand away from the ground as the two kids huddled together. Before he went to stand, he cupped his hand against his chest, bringing up his second hand to shield them like he was protecting a flickering candle from the wind. Hidden from sight, another human would never know what Dean had cupped against his chest. Two tiny, fragile children that trusted him.
He stood and made his way over to the bed that was farthest from the window. “You don’t have to worry about a thing,” Dean promised them while he moved. “You’ll be safe with me, I promise.”
Sam and Oscar were close together inside of the cupped hands. Dean’s voice, compared to the thunder outside that could drown even him out, was a soft rumble. It was comforting to hear, and the warmth of his hands made them feel protected.
Another clash of thunder sounded out, and Sam flinched into Oscar. “I-it’s a lot louder,” he chattered nervously. There hadn’t been any storms since he’d been cursed, and he didn’t like it.
Oscar shuddered from the noise, but the dim cave that Dean formed against his chest with his hands helped. Oscar couldn't see the big, looming room beyond those curled fingers, and the flickering lights were easier to ignore. He preferred the closed in spaces, like in the walls.
Dean's hands were a little better at times like this. They were warm, and Dean was a safe human. Oscar was afraid of Dean at first, but now that was such a distant thought.
He squirmed around so that he was leaning closer to Dean's chest and he could see past the protective fingers. He stared up at Dean's face. “Can you feel it shaking everything? I always-” he paused to flinch at another prolonged, rolling rumble. Oscar flinched back so he was next to Sam again. “I always feel it shaking the walls!”
“We can feel it shaking everything,” Dean confirmed in a hush as the lights flickered. He peered down to meet Oscar’s tiny gaze, and curled one of his fingers down to brush against the kid’s hair for reassurance. “Especially in a storm like this one.”
Crawling into the bed with them safely cupped between his hands, Dean took refuge under the covers. An especially loud boom made Sam squeak in surprise, and he held the hand even closer as the lights flickered, flickered…
And went out.
Dean let out a breath of surprise, glad he was in the bed with the kids close by. They were much too small to have wandering around in a storm like this. He lowered his hand to the surface of the bed, the cover over his head like a tent. He cracked open the hands enough to give them space, and tried to peer inside in the dim light that drifted through the windows from the streetlights.
“You two okay?” Dean asked in a hush.
Oscar was huddled close to Sam, his eyes wide and the pupils dilated. He could see decently well in the cloth tent Dean had made out of the blanket, but he had a feeling Sam and Dean couldn't see quite as well. He crawled towards the opening Dean left between his hands to poke his head out.
"I'm okay," he confirmed, looking around. He ducked back into the safety of the hands, looking to Sam. "Dean made a blanket house," he announced, a slight grin in his voice. Another low rumble of thunder outside made him chuckle nervously, but thankfully the storm was a little muffled by the blanket over Dean's head.
Dean grinned back at that. He didn’t move his hands from where they were protectively curled around the kids, but he did rest his head on the covers so he was as close to their level as he could get.
He could only make out dim shapes within the cave his hands made, but his experience with them over the last few weeks had him comfortable with what it felt like to have two kids goofing off in there. The light tickles could be easy to mistake for a rodent for any other human, but for Dean it was a beacon yelling out that his baby brother was there and depending on him.
“This is nothing,” Dean said with a grin. “Did dad ever tell you about that one time he was camping with Bobby?” If anything else, stories would help pass the time while they waited for the storm to pass them by.
Sam crawled forward so he was peeking out of the cave, the breeze caused by Dean’s words passing him by. He laid down with his head resting on his crossed arms. “Dad never told me any stories with Bobby,” he said wistfully.
“Well, they both had their own tents, and they were looking for some Wendigo up in Minnesota,” Dean started. “A big storm found them, and when it hit, dad’s tent got blown over on him. Bobby had to come untangle him from the fabric and drag him into the other tent.” He let out a laugh, remembering the look on John’s face when that story came out. “He never lets dad live it down.”
Oscar giggled, trying to imagine a big human tangled up in something like that. It was hard to believe they could get stuck, too, when so much of everything was designed for them. While Oscar could get caught under the blanket that Dean propped up with his head, or even stuck in a spiderweb, a human was strong.
He crawled forward like Sam, wriggling into place so he lay under the protective hands arched over them. He propped himself up on his elbows and hummed thoughtfully.
"One time my mom came back from checking some rooms and she said there was a big puddle by the window of one of 'em, 'cause somebody broke it in the corner and it rained," he said, offering up a story of his own. "Her shoes got wet!"
Oscar took a chance and leaned forward, partially out from under the cover of Dean's hands, to look up at the blanket overhead. Another flash of lightning made him flinch, but he still smiled up at Dean. "Don't let our tent fall on us!" he warned.
“I don’t think you have to worry about it,” Dean said wryly. He lightly brushed the dark forms he could make out with a finger, nudging them enough to rock them in place. Sam squirmed away with a laugh, batting his finger aside with a miniscule hand. “The only way this tent is falling far enough to cover you up is if I’m not in it.”
He wasn’t kidding. If he lay as flat as he could go, the cover would still make a tent that arched over their heads. Neither kid stood over three inches tall. Thunder rumbled outside, and Dean couldn’t stop himself from curling his hands a little closer at the reminder.
They were both under three inches tall, making them small and vulnerable to a storm like the one that raged outside. His protective side was as strong as ever. He’d keep them safe, just like he was supposed to.
“I used to hide under the covers like this during storms when we were at Bobby’s,” Sam confided to the others. “It felt safer there, especially when Dean was in the room.”
Oscar squirmed back so he was tucked under Dean's hands more securely again, and settled his head on his crossed arms. Even with the storm raging and the lightning sometimes filling the room with white light for less than a second at a time, he felt a lot safer than he normally would in a storm. He had someone protecting him from it, something he hadn't had in a while.
"I hide under all my blankets, too," he admitted. "It gets real dark and stuffy but I like the warm anyway. And it keeps dust from falling on my head." Oscar remembered more than one occurrence of crawling out from under his blankets after a storm to find several pieces of dust had crumbled down from his makeshift ceiling onto his bed. He always had to sweep after a storm, but it was better than water getting in.
"I like that my house is right in the middle of the motel so it's not too close to where the thunder's loud. Storms are scary 'cause they even make humans nervous."
“Everybody gets scared of thunderstorms,” Dean told Oscar. “Doesn’t matter how big. We’re not as different as you think.” He nudged his finger under one of Sam’s arms until the tiny hand was splayed out atop his fingertip. “It's just a little size difference, that’s all.”
Sam laughed at that as his hand was hoisted up a tiny bit on the finger. He stretched out his fingers, trying to cover Dean’s entire fingertip with his one hand. The skin was textured and ridged, but warm.
“You try!” Sam said with a laugh, pushing the awkwardly positioned finger towards his friend.
Oscar pushed himself up in surprise, staring at the way Sam's hand stretched as far as it could only to still fall short. He mused about Dean's words, too, about it all just being a little size difference. He'd never considered the similarities between humans and whatever his people were supposed to be. With Sam shrunk right next to him, though, it suddenly became a little more obvious.
"Okay," he answered, shifting so he could place one tiny hand on Dean's fingertip. His fingers could almost sink into the ridges and whorls of Dean's fingerprint, and Oscar brushed his thumb over the strange texture curiously.
"I always wondered why humans got to be so big," he admitted quietly, unable to resist placing his other hand on the fingertip, too. He still couldn't hope to cover it.
“I dunno,” Sam said. He put both his hands on the fingertip with Oscar, and together the two of them managed to cover it.
Dean let out a small laugh of amazement. He could just make out the tiny hands sitting on his finger in the dim light that made it into the motel room. He curled his thumb around so it very, very lightly covered up the four hands placed trustingly on his finger. Even with them pinched between his fingers, he could barely make out the feeling of tiny fingers.
“Maybe your people used to be friends with humans,” Dean mused thoughtfully. “We have all kinds of stories about little people. Maybe we’re big because you’re small, only we used to work together. You both can do things I can’t, after all.”
Oscar beamed. He didn't even mind having his hands disappear between two fingertips. He was too excited over hearing a human compliment the things he could do. "L-like climb really high and hide in the really little spaces," he supplied. Dean might be able to grab him and Sam up in a hand at any time, but there were things they could do, too.
"And we can tell when someone's walking around, too," he added, remembering many times he'd felt the rumbling in the ground to know that a human was walking in a room nearby. "I wish my people were still friends with humans," he decided with a nod. "This is a lot better than being afraid."
“It is!” Sam declared. He wiggled his fingers where they were pinched in Dean’s. The thick skin of the big thumb and big index finger only had a little give in it, but he could move it.
Dean opened up his fingers to release the four tiny hands. “We’ll just have to make sure we’re always friends,” he determined. “A little thing like size won’t get in our way.” He curled his hand back around them as thunder rang out.
Oscar flinched, ducking back into the protective shadow of Dean's hand. He was still smiling softly, despite his nerves. It was hard not to, when he was feeling so warm and safe and happy, so much more than he had in a long time. His hands were completely unharmed even after being held between two fingers bigger than his whole body, and that should surprise him, but it didn't. Because like Dean said, they'd make sure size wouldn't get in the way.
"Yeah, always friends," he agreed, settling in with Sam in the hand cave Dean provided for them. The big, daunting world didn't seem so huge with his friends there with him.