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A Ghost from the Past (11x17)

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((Warning: Spoilers ahead for the latest episode of Supernatural. 11 x 17: Red Meat. Read at your own risk!! See below for further notes about Dean.))



Sam coughed as his body seized up.

Opening his eyes in that moment was one of the hardest actions he’d ever done, but he did it. He fought for every inch and clung to life.

“You are one tough sonovabitch to kill.”

The tiny voice tickled the edge of his mind. Sam ignored it. Memories were coming back to him. Getting shot. Hauling ass through the forest with Dean and two vics before telling Dean to go on without him.

Dean never would, but Sam needed to try.

Then, the part that had caught even Sam, a seasoned hunter, off guard. The person he was trying to save, turning on him the moment Dean was out of sight. A hand on his mouth, suffocating him on his own breath.

Spotting the bite mark on the man’s arm.

With the memories flooding back, Sam knew what he needed to do.

“I know I call you Sasquatch a lot, but man, I had no idea you were this big.”

Sam pushed everything else out of his mind. Pressure. He needed pressure over the wound. He didn’t know how long he’d been out or how much blood he’d lost. His body might be on the edge of bleeding out from the bullet wound left unchecked.

Blood covered his entire front, reinforcing those fears.

Sam held down the bloodstained cloth on his stomach with one large hand, breathing heavily as he pulled himself off the ground. Aside from that persistently familiar voice that refused to let him slide into unconsciousness and oblivion, the cabin was still and silent. Dean was gone, the victims were gone, there was no sign of any other werewolves…

Corbin’s a werewolf!

Sam went to push himself up and stand. He needed to warn Dean. Had to--

Any thoughts in his mind fled as he saw where the familiar little voice was coming from as it piped up yet again.

“Need a hand with that?”

Dean?!

A ghost from his past was sitting up on the counter, watching him.

The man couldn’t have been more than four inches tall if he was standing straight. A familiar leather jacket from years past, a duffel bag slung over a shoulder, spiked dark blond hair that was longer and more casual than the way Dean styled it now and a cocky grin to make it all feel so, so wrong…

It was like he was looking at Dean through a mirror of ten years in the past. Before the apocalypse, before losing Bobby and Cas… the little guy before him didn’t have the weight of the world making his shoulders slump down. He lacked the grim countenance Sam had grown so adjusted to. A tiny amulet glimmered around his neck, something Sam knew was long gone.

And he was the size of a finger.

The moment Sam’s eyes landed on him at long last, the little guy scrambled to his feet and away from the edge of the counter, a wary look falling over his face.

This didn’t last. Once Sam, his chest heaving from the exertion and surprise, froze in place, Dean relaxed.

The tiny-Dean stuck his hands casually in his jacket pockets and defied reality just by existing.

“But…” Sam’s brow furrowed as he tried to work his way through everything that had happened. Being lightheaded from blood loss wasn’t helping his focus. “Dean left. I know he did. It’s the only thing he could have done if he wanted to save those two. So who are you, really? A shapeshifter? Some kind of fae?” His hand strayed to the silver knife he had in his jacket, one he was saving for the other werewolves the vics had said were lurking in the forest.

Dean looked offended. “Dude, you did not just call me a fairy.” The flat look from the tiny-Dean threw Sam off even more. It really was just like his brother. Dean went on. “You try spilling salt in front of me, I’m kicking it at you, injured or not.”

“Then, whu--” Sam was starting to have a hard time catching his breath. The gunshot wound vied for his attention once more. He needed to see to that if he wanted to survive.

Dean’s face softened, and Sam found himself marveling that even under four inches tall, he could read his brother like a book. “Tell ya what. I’ll answer your questions if you let me stitch you up. Fair?”

Sam nodded, hesitant. “Fair.”

He tore his eyes away from the tiny hunter that must be some kind of hallucination brought on by his loss of blood to peer at his wound. It was only getting worse.

Then he looked back up and almost gasped in shock again, if he’d had the energy to. “Dean!”

The young, tiny version of his older brother was dropping down from the high countertop on his own with a black thread. A strangely protective feeling rose up in Sam that he didn’t expect, considering there was no way this strange apparition was his brother. Yet he was the reason the guy was risking his tiny neck on some foolhardy stunt. Sam went to reach for Dean and help him down.

When his hand was in range, it got kicked. A little boot scuffed the edge of his knuckle. “Watch it!” Dean griped in annoyance.

Sam dropped his hand away, too caught off guard to think of a comeback and too weirded out by the tiny kick to just grab the guy off the thread. A trickle of amusement snuck its way between the pain of his injury and the fear that it wasn’t his brother in the room with him.

“But, Dean…” Sam still needed to protest. “You’re afraid of heights.” He figured it was a fair assessment after knowing Dean his entire life.

Dean rolled his eyes in exasperation as his boots touched ground on the scuffed wooden surface of the floor. He stepped back, flicked his black thread, and jostled the hook free from the counter above. All of this was done with practiced ease right up until the tiny guy caught the hook. Dean wrapped the thread around one arm as he stepped closer to his relatively giant brother. Even his walk was the familiar swagger, bowlegs and all, just on a scale where he could walk casually across a hand instead of across a room. “I’ve been doing this for years, Sam, I think I can handle it.”

“You’re not Dean,” Sam insisted, trying to sidle away from the tiny man like he was poison. His mind clung to the grim image of Dean the way he’d been before they parted ways.

Not to mention that fear of heights that had never quite left him.

Dean stopped in his tracks. The wary, fearful expression from earlier was gone, replaced by only sadness and concern. “You’re right. Your Dean is with those victims right now. He’s going to get them help, just like you need help.”

Those tiny green eyes were so familiar as they bored through Sam. It didn’t matter that they were so small he could block their owner from sight with a single move. He was caught in that gaze like a net.

“I might not be your Dean, and hell. You’re definitely not my Sam.” Dean held out a tiny hand and hovered it above his head with a wry grin, approximating Sam’s height if they were on the same scale.

Definitely not the same.

“But I am Dean, and you are Sam and I’m not letting my little brother down. Not now, not ever, not even in some twisted funhouse mirror version of my world where your ass is obnoxiously huge. Sam…” He trailed off for a second and had to swallow dryly. “I saw you lying on the ground and you looked dead. I can’t… I just can’t let that happen. Even if it's just a dream.”

“So, what…” Sam managed to croak out. “You’re just some miniaturized version of my brother that decided to pop in and say ‘Hi?’ ”

Dean shrugged. “You got me. Last I remember I was asleep on the bookshelf and you were flopped on the shirt fast asleep not far away. Taking up as much space as you can, just like normal. Then I wake up and see you, extra large.” He waved around at the cabin. “I wasn’t holding much hope that you were my Sam with the curse broken.”

“Curse?” This time when Sam took in the sight of the tiny hunter, it was like he was seeing him for the first time. “So you’re… trapped that size, aren’t you?”

Dean grabbed the fabric of Sam’s bloodied shirt, making the larger hunter stiffen in place. “I’ve learned to deal with it,” he pointed out. “Now shaddup and let me patch you up. Someone’s gonna need to go haul the other me’s handsome ass out of whatever fire he manages to fall into.”

Sam was silent while the tiny man climbed up his side. As fevered and exhausted as he was, it was undeniably fascinating to see a tiny version of his older brother using him to climb up. Tiny hands and boots dug into his side for support, and Dean’s body was so light Sam might have missed it if he wasn’t watching close.

Dean reached the wound, and directed Sam to remove his hand. Used to following Dean’s direction, Sam did as he was told. They both winced at the sight of the torn skin. Dean - Sam’s Dean, the larger of the Deans, had already removed the bullet before leaving with the victims. Before one of the victims had tried to kill Sam. Good thing, too. The newer, smaller Dean might not be able to reach the bullet inside Sam with his tiny arms.

Not that Sam was about to start underestimating the little guy now.

The bullet hole was no longer oozing blood when Sam lifted the fabric from it, but enough caked his stomach and chest that Dean was practically trudging through it while he came up to the wound. His tiny boots were instantly bloodstained.

“You might want to close your eyes,” Dean warned Sam. “This will hurt.”

Sam’s question died on his lips as Dean held up his hook and thread.

He knew exactly what Dean was thinking. There were no other options.

That didn't mean he'd enjoy it.

The hook sliced into the skin of his stomach. Dean’s arms were instantly coated with blood as he worked but he didn’t falter as Sam sucked in a gasp. He drew the metal through the skin with steady hands and more strength than should be possible at his size. He wasn’t deterred by the quivering flesh under his boots or the sheen of sweat that mixed with the slick blood.

Even though they were from different worlds, that was still his Sam.

By the time Dean reached the end and was pulling the hook through one last time, Sam was holding his breath for fear of sending Dean sprawling at a crucial juncture. Dean pulled the black thread taut, then sliced his hook free with an equally tiny knife.

Both brothers let out a sigh of relief as he finished. The bloodied little hook was tucked into the leather duffel bag that hung over his shoulder. Dean was smug as he brushed his blood stained hands off. “And that, boys and girls, is how you stitch up Godzi--”

The sound of a truck pulling up to the house came.

Dean was swept off his feet by a huge hand before he could utter another word. Sam, fueled solely by adrenaline and newly put together, was on his feet in an instant. The little hunter in his hand was sent tumbling during the rapid movement.

The hand holding his tiny, younger big brother cradled the other man protectively close while his other hand fell on his own silver knife. The blade alone was three times the length of Dean’s little body and the surprised griping in his hand cut off at the sight.

Sam glanced down and saw Dean with a deer-in-headlights look on his face, directed towards the knife. A knot of guilt formed in Sam’s stomach as he remembered how wary the tiny guy had been before.

“Think you can watch my back?” Sam whispered to his tiny-Dean, lifting him up. The last thing he wanted to do was scare the little guy that was trying his damndest to save Sam.

Dean nodded, his tiny nervous greens meeting Sam’s emotional hazels. He seemed to draw strength from that look and brandished his own knife, a twin to Sam’s that shone like silver. “Shoulder.”

Sam grinned and lifted Dean to where he indicated. The little guy scrambled onto his shoulder, hands and legs finding purchase on the thick canvas of the jacket. He settled in the crook of Sam’s neck like it was the place he was supposed to be.

And it felt right.

“We got this,” Dean said, his voice full of determination. A tiny hand rested against the side of Sam’s neck. Sam’s feral grin matched the one Dean wore on his face, and he stumbled to the side. He needed to get under cover to catch the werewolves off guard.

Sam had Dean back at his side and they were ready to face the monsters. It might not be the Dean he’d grown up with, but it was a Dean and together they were a team.

Come whatever.

FIN