Beggars Can’t Be Choosers (2/3)

Back again with Oscar and the Winchester brothers! Last time it left of right as Dean returned to make Oscar’s life even more stressful. He really could use some help. Reminder that this story is split into chapter-length portions.

( 1 ) ( 3 ) ( DA Link )


Dean’s cocky, gruff voice rang out as he let the door slam behind him. “Would you believe there was not a single barfly hanging around–Sammy. What are you doing?”

Sam took his focus off of Oscar for only a moment to answer. “Dude. There’s something under the dresser.”

Dean scoffed somewhere high above and out of sight, but his boots stomped closer. Oscar flinched with every step. “What? Are you seriously freaking out over a mouse?”

Sam sounded exasperated. “Dean, if it was a mouse, I wouldn’t care. I don’t know what it is. Gimme your flashlight.”

Dean finally reached the dresser, and Oscar’s eyes stung with tears of worry. Sam’s face reappeared at the edge of the dresser, and soon Dean’s jean-clad knees hit the ground too. It wasn’t long before half of his face appeared, set in an intent frown.

The only difference was he held a flashlight in one of his hands. The beam was like looking straight at the sun after so long hiding in the shadows. Oscar threw his hands over his face hastily at the same time both humans gasped.

“What the hell?!” Dean all but barked.

“Dude, I know,” Sam agreed.

“Is that what pest control is here for?”

Sam scoffed. “I don’t know. We aren’t gonna find much out while it’s under the dresser, though.”

“It.” Oscar shuddered nonstop while their loud voices rumbled under the dresser. They didn’t see him any differently from the mice and bugs they hated. He was one of the intended victims of pest control, whether anyone knew it or not.

Sam and Dean knew now. Oscar peeked up to find the light still shining on him and the humans watching him closely.

Dean shifted where he crouched all the way on the floor. In an unknowing mimic of Sam, he tried to reach his arm under the dresser while still training the flashlight on Oscar’s tiny shape.

He didn’t have any more luck than Sam did. Dean’s arm couldn’t fit under the edge of the dresser, and though his fingers twitched in Oscar’s direction, they did nothing to coax him closer. He stayed huddled as far back as he could until the human huffed in frustration and yanked his arm back out from under the dresser.

“Sonofabitch,” he muttered. “Guessin’ you’re not gonna come outta there yourself, are ya?”

Oscar squinted in the brightness, and shook his head. He’d already answered Sam that way; it wouldn’t make any difference to show Dean he understood as well.

They’d come for him no matter what he did.

Both of their faces disappeared and the flashlight went away as the humans sat up. Oscar rubbed at his eyes in a vain attempt to get rid of the spots lingering in his vision. From blinking at what he could see of them, he had no idea what they had planned. Their legs shifted and their boots planted on the carpet to push them to their giant heights, and Oscar didn’t know what that meant.

For a moment, he wondered if they were backing off to try to coax him out. Then, everything around him became an earthquake.

The dresser all but lurched overhead, scraping against the wall and shaking Oscar away from it in a frantic dive. He pushed to his feet as the dresser scraped along in one direction, all from one human putting pressure on it.

Panic careened through Oscar’s bloodstream more than oxygen. Knowing humans had strength like that was nothing compared to seeing it. He darted in the wrong direction under the dresser before turning on his heel to try to follow it.

He turned too fast. His legs were too shaky from fear. He hid in the wrong spot. Could have. Would have. Should have. Oscar hit the ground just as the shadow of the dresser slid off his legs and finally came to a creaking halt.

Another shadow replaced it soon after, and though he scrambled to crawl back to safety, something heavy and strong and warm settled over his legs.

Oscar cried out in terror as the hand shifted and a thumb and finger each bigger than his body pinched around both legs and dragged him backwards. His bag nearly came loose from his shoulder, and he gripped the strap tightly as the carpet fibers tried to claw it away from him. He was forced into the open with everything he owned in tow.

Then, the hand lifted up. Oscar tried to twist free, but both of his legs were locked in that grip, an insurmountable obstacle for someone as small as he. His stomach filled with ice as he lifted away from the floor and the inches became a foot became two feet while everything in him wanted to remain rooted. The safe shadows under the dresser retreated away from him and soon were no longer an option.

He was captured. He dangled with his heart pounding in his ears and his legs locked in a harsh grasp. The hem of his shirt bunched up and his middle was exposed to the chilled air. The world was a blur and Oscar’s nerves fired in rapid, terrified confusion.

The human that caught him was already partway to his full height before he thought to cup his other hand underneath Oscar, like a living platform sliding into place beneath him. Oscar’s heart faltered with the thought that he might drop onto the waiting palm and be cocooned in a fist.

If that happened, there would be no stopping it. He could be crushed until no life remained in him, if the human wanted that.

He didn’t drop. Once the ascent to giant human height came to an end, another low squeak of fear escaped Oscar’s heaving chest. He clung to his bag and finally took a moment to notice who captured him. He looked up and found Sam’s eyes boring into him from an upside-down face. The enormous hand that pulled him out of his hiding place was Sam’s.

That slack jawed stare didn’t last long. He lowered Oscar to his other waiting hand in lieu of dropping him, and kept his resolute focus on his captive. Oscar tried to curl into a protective ball as the palm moved up to greet him, but when Sam finally released his legs, he collapsed in a heap instead.

The skin was thick and it radiated heat. Oscar could count out a heavy pulse beneath him as he scrambled to right himself. He sat up with his bag clutched close and his body curled around it as much as he could. Sam was still staring at him. Oscar’s vision blurred with new tears.

He found out where Dean had gone when his gruff voice broke the silence. “Bring ‘im over here. We can get to the bottom of this.”

Sam turned, and his whole hand moved along with him. Oscar curled up more tightly around his bag, but watched his surroundings with teary eyes. He’d never had a perspective of the room quite like this. His stomach was queasy.

Dean waited at the table. Sam turned away from the dresser completely and closed the distance, while Oscar twisted around to keep a wary eye on the other human. It only took Sam seconds to cover so much ground.

Oscar found himself held high above the ground with two humans looking at him. Sam’s gaze was curious compared to Dean’s distrust, but both of them shared an intensity that pressed in on Oscar despite not being enclosed in a hand yet. He trembled so much, he wondered if they could see it.

“What is he?” Dean asked. For a second, his frown deepened and he scanned Oscar’s tiny appearance for answers.

Sam shrugged and the action bounced Oscar on his hand. Before he could right himself, Sam’s other hand appeared. Oscar yelped as it closed in and nudged at his arms, thinner than twigs compared to Sam’s fingertips. One fingertip briefly touched his face, and then his wild hair. “Dunno. It … he’s shaped like a little doll.”

Oscar opened his mouth to protest, to insist that he was not a doll, but the words refused to come. Instead, he squeaked as one of Sam’s long fingers curled around his arm to tug it away from his protective hunch. He balked, but it gave the human an instant long enough to pinch at the fabric of his bag curiously.

“He even has a little bag,” Sam observed. Oscar’s strength was no match for him, and in moments his bag was yanked away from him. He fell to his hands and knees on Sam’s palm and watched his bag sway in the pinch grip of Sam’s other hand.

“Alright, little guy, c’mere,” Dean said. Before Oscar could look his way, the other human reached out to take him from Sam. A finger and thumb once again pinched his body, this time around his waist, and hauled him up. Oscar yelped and kicked, but soon he was held before Dean instead.

Those intent eyes glanced over him before Dean’s lips pursed. Oscar’s tears, covering his cheeks, didn’t convince the man at all.

The hand shifted so it encased Oscar in a fist from the waist down. He wouldn’t fall, but he could be squashed if Dean added much more pressure. Oscar pushed on a giant knuckle and tried to twist free while the humans watched.

Dean raised one skeptical eyebrow. “How’s that workin’ for ya, munchkin?” Oscar froze and stared at him in continued terror. He didn’t know what the derisive question meant.

Sam, apparently, did. He sighed, and the sound carried more exasperation than words would have. “I guess we know he can’t just zap away or he’d have done that. Maybe it’s some kind of fairy?”

Dean glanced away from Oscar for only a second, but his eyes were drawn back quickly as if Oscar was a magnet. “I dunno. Fairies should have wings, right?”

“I have no clue,” Sam admitted. “But we aren’t gonna get anywhere like this. Let’s give him a little space, here …” as his voice trailed off, he used a sweeping motion with one enormous arm to push the laptop aside.

Everything became motion again as both humans sat down. Oscar, still locked in Dean’s fist, shut his eyes against the vertigo as he moved around at the whim of an enormous hand. He doubted Dean even realized how much his motions translated to Oscar. Humans rarely noticed things like that.

The grasp around Oscar’s body loosened before that motion stopped, and a cry of alarm blurted out of him. His eyes shot open and he tried to grab at Dean’s fingers, but they sprang away from him as the human opened his hand and let Oscar go.

Fortunately, he didn’t have far to fall. Oscar’s cloth-wrapped feet hit the table after only two inches, and he stumbled. Somehow, he kept enough balance not to topple over, shaky knees and all.

Out on the table, Oscar was on display. Sam and Dean sat on either side, making it impossible to face them both at the same time. Sam still held Oscar’s bag in one hand, but his focus was solely on Oscar. It looked like he wanted to grab him up again to take a closer look, judging by the twitch in his free hand. Oscar shuddered.

On the other side, Dean watched him with an inscrutable frown. Oscar found himself standing with his feet close together and his shoulders bunched up as if he might shrink away so they couldn’t stare. He missed the shadows that normally hid him from sight.

“Alright, munchkin,” Dean broke the silence, “ tell us what you are. Why were you sneaking around in here?”

Oscar trembled. He opened his mouth, but no answer sprang forth. Even if he knew what to call himself, his voice had abandoned him to his fate. Whatever that fate was in their captivity.

Sam sighed, and Oscar whirled to face him instead. His huge face leaned closer, and there was more sympathy there than in Dean’s expression.

It didn’t matter much. He still loomed overhead, and Oscar’s trembling continued.

“Look, we just want to make sure you’re not dangerous, okay? We can never be too careful. If you tell us what you are, it’d be a big help for your case.”

Oscar’s brow pinched and his lips quivered. He wasn’t cut out for this. He shook his head and shrugged helplessly. Sam’s broad shoulders dipped almost imperceptibly as his kind demeanor failed to coax an answer out.

“Alright,” Dean groused. “Guess it’s time for a checklist.”

When Oscar faced him again, the human had a dull silver flask in one hand. He twisted the cap off with ease, and even that action was more than Oscar could accomplish. The flask opened and Dean tilted it to let some of the liquid within onto his fingers.

Oscar squeaked when Dean flicked his fingers at him. Several drops of water soared his way. He balked when they struck him, soaking his face and chest. As he stumbled back, his surprise stole his balance and he fell to a seat.

“So, not a demon,” Dean noted as casually as can be. Oscar brushed water from his face and gave the man a wary, skeptical look.

Dean smirked in return. For a moment, a part of his terrifying facade flickered away, but it returned in an instant. “I got one more test for ya, munchkin. Don’t panic,” he warned as he stowed the flask away in an inner pocket of his jacket. Then, he leaned down to reach for something below the table, face in a concentrated pout.

When he straightened again, Oscar watched Dean’s arm until his hand reappeared. A flash of metal glinted in the light, and his eyes widened.

Dean held a knife in his hand. It looked so small compared to him, and yet the bright blade was longer than Oscar was tall. Dean clutched it carefully, but the moment his hand even twitched in Oscar’s direction, it sent panic through him.

His words finally came. “No, please!” Oscar threw himself backwards on the table. Adrenaline shook in his every nerve, and he collapsed like a de-stringed marionette.

He glimpsed his tiny bag set on the table over near Sam, but lacked the strength to crawl for it. Tears streamed down his face and he sobbed openly now before curling up into a ball and covering his head with his arms. The trembling fear gripped him more tightly than Dean had done moments ago.

Sam scoffed out another of his exasperated sounds. “Dude, you couldn’t have used a silver bullet instead?”

“Those are all in the car!” Dean protested. Something metal clattered to the table, and Oscar flinched into an even tighter ball. Tears squeezed out of his eyes and his breaths were never deep enough to satisfy his aching lungs.

“Dean,” Sam said, his voice rolling like thunder overhead no matter how he tried to keep his volume steady. Everything was too loud, too bright, too heavy for Oscar as the terror sank in deeper and deeper under his skin. Sam’s earnestness was lost on the small captive. “If we keep on scaring him, I don’t think we have a prayer of getting any actual answers out of him for what he is. That knife is bigger than he is!”

Dean argued, but Oscar didn’t hear. His sobs came to a halt as a word broke through his terror haze.

Prayer.

If you encounter trouble with humans, I encourage you to pray.

The words echoed out of his memory in a gravelly voice, aided by the deep confidence of a pair of blue eyes. Oscar had nearly forgotten his chance encounter in the intervening months. After a brief streak of the extraordinary, things had returned to the routine so fast he could almost have imagined it.

But he hadn’t. Oscar had fallen and broken his leg, and if he hadn’t met Castiel the Angel, he would still be recovering from it. If he’d even have survived it at all.

He pushed himself up from where he’d fallen. His arms were as weak as a baby deer, but he managed to push himself up so he sat on his knees. At some point during his attempt to pose himself right, the humans noticed and their argument died away. Oscar did his best to ignore them.

His hands shook, but he wiped away the tears from his face, a failed attempt to clear his thoughts. With a pair of giant humans looming on either side, the task was impossible. His head throbbed with pressure, but he sniffled and ignored it. He clasped his hands in front of himself so hard they went numb after mere seconds. Finally, Oscar bowed his head just like he knew people were supposed to do.

“Is he … praying?! ” Dean’s disbelief was another discordant note in the air that almost threw Oscar’s focus. Desperation was his only shield.

Praying might be a human thing, but he knew he could do it. An Angel had told him so.

“Um,” he muttered, too quiet for Sam and Dean to hear. They both leaned closer until their faces were inches away, and Oscar’s eyes squeezed shut.

“C-Castiel, um. I’m praying,” he mumbled into his clasped hands. “I-I need help. Please. I don’t know what to do and you said to pray. Please send help…”

Silence.

“What’s he saying?” Dean whispered, several seconds after Oscar’s mumbled died down. Sam shrugged.

Then there was a rustle of air and all three occupants of the table jumped.

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