Sam spent most of the time Dean was gone occupied on his bed. He was keeping a record of every monster he'd read about or heard about in his journal, so he could easily reach the information when he needed it, without having to rely on Dean to get him a book or open the computer. He hated any feeling of reliance, but trying to live in the human world while less than half a foot tall forced it on him.
So far, he had read through a good portion of their dad's journal and was slowly filling in some of the blanks thanks to the wonders of web searching. He was getting the hang of using a computer fast. Like it was something he'd been meant to do all along. Every morning after a night spent researching on the computer, he'd fill in more of his journal with information from the session. It was a good thing to do to fill his time when his brother wasn't around. And he'd also been learning what his family had been up to all those years he'd been separated from them, pouring over every inch of his father’s journal. The only blanks left were what Dean had been up to while he was separated from John.
His stomach rumbled, making him glad Dean was out getting food. He should really look into keeping a few things to the side in case he ever needed it... being completely dependent, even on his brother, would be a bad idea for him. What if something happened to Dean? Or they got separated. There were a million things that could go wrong at any time. And it wasn't exactly easy to get ahold of food at this size.
Sitting up in bed, Sam rubbed his wrist. There wasn't any pain in it any more when he moved it. He slowly unwrapped it, carefully flexing the fingers and making sure he could rotate the wrist. It hasn't been a bad sprain, thankfully. Later he'd have to see how well he did climbing to see if it was healed all the way. If his wrist was completely healed, he'd be able to get around on his own, without needing any help from Dean anymore. Just like all the years he'd spent living in that motel. And, he was hoping to explore some of these motels, see if he could find anyone else his size. He had no intention of abandoning his brother to live the way he'd used too, but it'd be nice to have someone else his size to talk to, even if only for a little while. The families in that motel couldn't be the only ones out there his size. His adopted family had always mentioned there were others out there, he just had to find them.
And it would give him something to do when Dean wasn't around. There were places Dean didn't think it was safe to have his four inch brother with him, or times when they'd both need space. It was good to have a plan for those times.
It was around a half hour before Dean returned, his arrival predictably heralded by the two knocks on the door. Sam didn't even bother moving from the bed, as he was currently comfortably sprawled out, working with his book and trying to sketch out the symbol for a Wendigo. A huge shadow fell over the nightstand for a moment, making Sam freeze up instinctively before his brother's distinctive thudding footsteps walked away. At the delicious smell of fresh food, his stomach rumbled again, making him focus on what was really important here. Sam hauled himself out of the little bed to peer around the stack of books.
On the edge of the shelf, Dean had left him a napkin with some eggs and a bit of pancake with them. A small bottlecap was sitting to the side, smelling of extra sugary coffee. Using the napkin like a picnic blanket, Sam happily settled down and dug in, enjoying the deliciously fresh food that used to be a rarity in his life. There were definite upsides to living with a human. This had to be one of the best meals of his life. Years of living off motel room leftovers and food snuck from the kitchens had taught him that. And Dean ate like this all the time.
Sitting there on the edge of the shelf with his food, Sam watched as his brother settled down at the small (to Dean - it towered over Sam's head) table in the room, pulling up his laptop while finishing his own breakfast. Sam usually avoided being around Dean when he was eating, because of how disconcerting it was too watch anyone - even Dean, whom he trusted with his life every single time he was picked up in those massive hands that could as easily crush Sam as lift him - eat bites of food almost as big as him. Another one of the many things that ground into Sam exactly how small and defenseless he was in this world.
Dean was probably checking for more cases again, or trying to see if he could pick up their dad's trail. Sam was curious about how the hunting went. He'd been too young before to ever go on a hunt with his father. Although he had been able to go to shooting ranges for target practice, and learned some of the more basic skills. And, he'd helped out with research whenever Dean bribed him. Not that he'd ever cared about the bribes. He'd been fascinated by the things his family hunted.
Now he wanted to learn everything he could about hunting. Anything that could help him find the bastard that killed his mom and adopted family. Dean was supportive for the most part, but he didn't seem to like the idea of Sam ever putting himself at risk on an actual hunt. He'd have to make his brother understand that he was serious about wanting to help, no matter his size. He couldn't sit around and let Dean do all the work. No way.
Once he was finished with the food (fresh eggs were amazing), he hauled himself to his feet, climbing down from the nightstand. Wondering what Dean was up to, he slid on the boots he'd stashed at the edge of the nightstand while eating. With determination he started the long trek across the motel room floor to the table, fueled by his sugar and caffeine rush. He knew Dean would be happy to help him cross the distance, but Sam needed to keep his independence on some things. And now that his wrist was better, he shouldn't need any help getting around at all. Just like before he met back up with Dean. He'd always been one of the best climbers in the motel where he lived. Walt had taught him well.
Sam casually jogged across the soft carpet, occasionally tripping over thicker strands. It was ankle high to him, made for the far larger humans who wouldn't even notice the thick knots that offset his balance easily. He tugged his boot out of the knotted strands, brushing off the dust that coated his foot. The motel here must have worse service than the one he used to live in, if that was possible. The rugs there had never been this bad to walk over.
He came up alongside Dean's chair, slowing down his jog. The huge boot near him was tapping aimlessly, to the beat of some rock tune or another. One thing that hadn't changed about Dean since they were children was his love of old school rock. The music in the Impala to this day continued to play out the old classics they'd listened to growing up. Dean hadn't taken Sam's suggestion of updating his music collection too well when he'd brought it up.
"House rules, Sammy. Driver picks the music, shotgun shuts his cakehole."
Smirking at the memory, Sam sized up his next obstacle. Dean didn't seem to have noticed him yet, still typing determinedly away at the computer overhead with one hand. The other arm was resting casually on the leg above Sam. Since it didn't seem like Dean was going anywhere at the moment, Sam figured he'd be safe trying to climb up on his own. It would be a good time to see if his wrist was up to it now.
As soon as Sam gripped Dean's pants, the boot stilled. Dean had finally noticed where Sam was, and his brother wouldn't purposely do anything that might hurt Sam. Ever. Taking it slow in case his wrist was still injured, Sam hauled himself up his sibling’s jean-covered leg, scaling it like a denim-clad cliff. The jeans were well worn, and the coarse fabric offered plenty of finger holds for Sam at his size, so climbing was a breeze. Far easier than using the fishing line to get around on his own. And he had a feeling that if he slipped at all, Dean would be ready to catch him in a heartbeat.
There was a shifting in the shadows above him. Sam peered up cautiously - Dean had moved his arm off the leg, out of Sam's way. Sam smiled to himself, knowing how much Dean would want to help him, but was willing to let Sam do his own thing. Without the freedom to do what he wanted, even if it was something silly as using his brother’s pants for climbing, Sam would be little better than a pet. No matter how much he trusted or cared for his brother, he would never let himself become a pet to be cared for. He knew he could handle himself in the world. He just needed to prove it to Dean.
After a bit more climbing, Sam was able to haul himself up onto Dean's wide knee, relaxing briefly on the solid surface. He took in his options briefly. From where he was standing, he could see the edge of the table stretching far over his head still. His brother's arm bridged the gap above, resting casually over Sam's head. The arm cast a dark shadow over the area where he was standing. Even Dean's face was blocked from this point of view. The huge green jacket he was wearing hung to Sam's right, draped over the side of Dean's thigh. It would make climbing up the rest of the way even easier. He could either try to climb up onto the table from here, which from the look of things was still too high over his head to jump to, and he would most likely need Dean's help to reach, or he could scale up Dean the rest of the way using the jacket, to his shoulder. From there, he could easily reach the table if he wanted to as long as his brother cooperated, and there was no reason he wouldn't.
Choosing the easier option, he climbed the rest of the way up Dean's side, the thick jacket making it fairly easy. With an exhausted sigh, he collapsed against his brother's neck once he reached the apex.
He could feel his brother silently laughing at him by the time he finally made it to the top, subtly shaking the shoulder he was on. "How you feeling, Tarzan?"
"You're a real comedian, you know that?"
Dean sniggered. “Of course, we all know how awesome I am.” He switched to a serious tone. “So, how's your wrist doing after all that climbing, monkey boy?"
Sam held it up where Dean could spy it out of the corner of his eye. He flexed his fingers to show that the bandage had come off. "Great, doesn't hurt at all now. It thankfully wasn't too bad a sprain." Sitting on the edge of the shoulder with his legs hanging off, Sam inspected the computer from his perch. "Whatcha reading?"
"Just checking out Dad's last position. Trying to get a new lead on tracking him down."
"No luck so far?"
"No, nothing." Dean sighed. "I checked all the options... missing person’s reports, obituaries, even ran his plates to see if he ran any red lights recently. Not a sign. When he wants to vanish, he really vanishes. There's no trace." He rubbed his face with his other hand, giving off an air of frustration.
Sam mused for a few moments, unsure of what he was about to say. "Dean, I've been thinking... you should call Dad, tell him what happened to me." Sam tried to ignore the way Dean sucked in a breath of air in surprise. He pushed through the sudden doubt springing up in his mind. "You know... we haven't even called him to tell him I was ok or anything yet."
"I know. I was waiting to let you decide what you wanted to do. It's your call." He turned his head as far towards Sam as he could. "You know how Dad is with the supernatural, Sam," he rumbled quietly.
Sam flushed slightly at the thought, unable to push away the ever-present fear that came from being around a human. And it would be even worse if his dad was around, too. Sam didn't want to think what it'd be like around more than one human, helpless next to them. At least he'd have Dean for support. "I know. It's not like I'm a human anymore, right? But... it's still Dad, and he deserves to know I'm alive. Even if I'm stuck like this. He went through a lot all those years ago because of me." Standing up, Sam slid down the sleeve of Dean's jacket. He walked casually over to the table, using Dean's forearm as a bridge. Once he was there, he hopped down to the surface. He glanced back up at Dean when he was safely across, standing fearlessly between his brother's thick arms on the table. Not a place he'd have been comfortable standing in a week ago. Now he knew he couldn't be safer, even though he could still feel the adrenaline pump into him the way he was so easily surrounded. "You should be the one to call him."
"Whatever you say, it's your call," Dean reached into his pocket, pulling out his cell phone. "Did you want to say anything to him?" He asked curiously before opening the phone.
Sam shook his head quickly. He wouldn't know where to begin. The last time he'd talked to the man had been in another life.
With a small shrug, Dean dialed their Dad's number and placed the phone down on the table next to Sam, switching it into speaker mode so Sam could hear, or chime in if he decided to. After a few rings, the voicemail message started up.
"This is John Winchester. I can't be reached. If this is an emergency, call my son Dean. 866 907 3235. He can help."
Sam couldn't help a slight flinch when he heard his Dad's voice for the first time in over a decade. The last thing he had ever expected not too long ago...
Dean hesitated when he noticed Sam's reaction, then started talking fast, leaning slightly over the phone, and by extension, Sam. "Dad? This is Dean. I need to talk to you. It's Sam. He's... Dad he's been alive all this time. It's... it's a long story, but you need to know. He's been cursed. By that witch we thought got him." Dean managed a small laugh at this, still finding it hard to believe himself. "Dad, he's been cursed so he's trapped at four inches tall. So... yeah. Call me. Us. Call us." Dean hit the End Call button on his phone. His eyes flicked up to Sam, who hadn't moved a muscle since the call started.
Sam glanced up at Dean, unable to hide his nervousness. He felt like one big bundle of nerves, standing so exposed, out in the open with nowhere to run. "Ah, so, what's the plan for today," he said, hoping to change the subject before Dean picked up on it. Having more than one human know about him... he was going to have to get used to the idea somehow. He still had enough trouble acting casual around just Dean. He couldn't imagine more.
Dean gave him a knowing smile, making Sam realize his brother had picked up on his worry anyway. Giant or not, Dean could read him better than anyone else, even after all the years they'd been separated. "Well, I was thinking we could head towards Dad's last known position. See if we can't pick up a new case on the way."
"Sounds good." Sam stretched. "When do we leave?"
Dean stood up and stretched out the same way as Sam, his arms soaring high above Sam's head. He closed the laptop and went over to his bag. "Soon as I grab our stuff."
Once he had everything thrown back in his bag, and Sam's little bed packed back in the box he had for it, he put his hand on the table next to Sam. Sam took the initiative and scrambled up the long arm, climbing back to his favorite shoulder perch. Dean arched an eyebrow down at Sam. "You hate me picking you up that much?"
"It's not that." Sam stated. Dean frowned down at him, clearly not believing a word. "It's not, I swear!" He folded his arms. "I just... feel more independent like this. And I need to get back in practice now that my wrist is better. Can't be slacking off."
"Whatever you say." Shaking his head, Dean headed for the door.
Shortly after, Dean reached the car with his little brother hiding by his collar. Sam still refused to go in the pocket if he could avoid it. Not that Dean could blame him today. Breathing in the hot, stifling air, Dean practically gagged. "Feels like the middle of the desert," he complained to the air.
"Wouldn't there be no humidity in the desert?" A tiny voice piped up from his shoulder. With no one around, Sam didn't have to worry about being overheard.
Dean rolled his eyes. "Thanks for the clarification, poindexter."
Hurriedly, he tossed his duffel in the back of the Impala. He put the box with Sam's stuff in the back with more care, not wanting to knock about the tiny bed more than necessary. He didn't particularly want to go into a store to replace it. He would make quite the scene in the girly section of a toy store, shopping for dollhouse furniture. Sam would never let him hear the end of it.
Sam was grumbling by the time they got in the car and Dean turned it on. "Could you sweat anymore?" He whined, trying to distance himself from Dean's neck. Not so easy when you're sitting on someone’s shoulder.
Dean scooped his squirming, bitching brother off his shoulder into a fist. "Like that's my fault," he muttered. He grabbed one of his clean flannel shirts from the back, bunching it up for Sam to sit on, and set his squirmy brother down. He pointed at Sam. "Stay still or you're going in the pocket, Mr... fussy pants."
Sam sniggered. "You gotta work on your nicknames. I think you're losing your touch there." He wasted no time drying himself off on the sleeve of the shirt he was on.
"Shaddup." He grimaced down at Sam. "I'm serious, though. You're too small for a seat belt. I don't want you to go flying, man. If it wasn't so hot, you'd still be on my shoulder."
"I'll be careful, promise." Sam rolled his eyes up at Dean. "What are you, my mother?"
Dean reached over with a smirk, mussing up Sam's long hair with a careful fingertip. Sam batted at his fingers angrily, glaring at Dean while he tried to fix his hair. Dean put the car in drive, gratefully leaving the baking hot parking lot behind.
It was almost midnight before the Impala rolled into the parking lot of the best motel Dean could find to suit their needs. His parameters were pretty simple these days - fairly cheap, but hopefully without rats and/or cockroaches. The last thing he needed was Sam getting attacked because he picked a bottom-feeder motel to save ten bucks. As long as his credit card scams stayed steady, he wasn't overly concerned about money. And there was always hustling a game of pool or poker at the local bar if things got too tight. He always kept a little back-up cash on hand if it came to that.
He glanced over at the shirt Sam was curled up in. His brother hadn't said a word in hours, falling dead asleep once the sun went down. Dean knew that Sam stayed up late most nights, reading over books and websites. He was determined to catch up on over a decade’s worth of learning in a week, so he never went to bed early. Because of that, he almost always fell asleep when he was in Dean's pocket, or they were traveling in the Impala, since there was nothing he could do at those times. Dean didn't envy his position.
Carefully, Dean folded part of the shirt over Sam's miniscule sleeping form, covering him enough that no one would be able to glance into the window and see a living action figure sleeping on the seat.
He went to the front desk of the motel and secured a room for them as fast as he could, hating the way he'd left Sam alone out there. If anyone found him, he was completely defenseless, too small to be able to stop people from grabbing or crushing him. Dean knew that all too well, considering the first thing he'd done when he'd discovered Sam hiding from him in his room for the first time was grab him. Sam hadn't been able to stop Dean at all, his best struggles meaningless in a hand bigger than his entire body. Dean remembered how strange it all had felt that first time... little bones more delicate than a birds pushing at his hand, unable to budge so much as a finger despite his panicked, desperate struggles. He hadn't even known it was Sam at the time. He shuddered at the thought of how close he'd been to hurting his little brother... how easy it would be to do anything to him at all... He still felt guilty over that reaction, no matter how many times Sam said its fine, don't worry, you didn't hurt me...
I could have. And that's all that matters.
It was all that would ever matter.
Once he had the key to their new room, he got back in the Impala, pulling it around the back of the motel. He dug out their supplies from the back seat and gently gathered the shirt Sam was sleeping in, trying not to wake his much-smaller brother. It was still stifling hot outside, smacking of a heat wave in the southwest US. I am so cranking the AC tonight.
Even the Impala's air hadn't been able to completely overpower the heat from outside. One of the very few downfalls of the car, sitting in the blazing hot sun, soaking up those rays with that gleaming black paint job. As much as he adored his baby, he'd wished for some reflectors to get the sun off her.
Once he was in the room, he settled the shirt with Sam on it in the second bed. He didn't want to wake up Sam, so he'd just leave him there for the night. He still set up the little bed under the nightstand, in case his brother woke up and wasn't able to fall asleep out in the open. He tossed his duffel bag into the corner, jacket on the floor, and collapsed face down on the unoccupied bed, unconscious before he hit the mattress.
The world resolved around her at last, blue swiftly fading to black as her journey through the portal ended. Her spell snapped off, broken when the portal was severed. She tumbled head over heels, suddenly finding herself free of Lityerses' confining fist without warning.
He was gone. Completely.
She gasped as she slammed into the ground, luckily much closer and softer than it had been before her journey, tumbling head over heels. She groaned when she finally came to a stop, shivering in the chill air. Her wing still throbbed, each shiver wracking her entire body with pain. Hesitant, she peeked over her shoulder at it. The second she saw the extent of the damage, she knew she'd never be able to cast a spell until it healed. Her balance was broken.
Hauling herself to a stand, she took stock of her location, knowing she needed to find cover from the cold or risk freezing.
Nixie... you can do it... just find some cover, somewhere to hide till the morning... heal... maybe this nightmare will then be over...
Keeping up the chant in her mind, she tried to see where she was. But the darkness was blacker than the black of night. She could only make out faint shapes in the dark... most towering over her head, colossal, dark and intimidating. Where am I...? I was in the forest before the portal, now I look to be surrounded by cliffs... what world did he choose to enter? Where have we been brought to? And where has he gone... Spotting a smaller shape ahead of her, she jogged towards it, trying to keep her broken wing as still as possible. She needed to find a freshwater spring as soon as possible for her wing, otherwise it was only going to get worse. But no matter how far she stretched her broken senses out, there was no fresh water to be found. She had no materials with her to splint her wing, no way to keep it steady for the healing to begin. And without it, she was worse than useless. She needed that water.
She growled at the thought, unsatisfied with this turn of events. If only he had not grabbed the wing, I would be fine.
She reached the dark shape at last, coming to a halt. Slowly, she circled it, unsure what it was. It looked like a small hill, but with such a strange texture to it, it was doubtful that was what it really was. Another huge shiver struck her, making her cry out in pain when her broken wing shook with the rest of her body. No time to figure out what it was... she needed to get under cover.
Finding a small alcove, she burrowed in, discovering a small cave that went far enough back to get out of the cold. It was warm, and insulated, and soft. Now that she was safe, she felt the pain and fear of her last few hours catch up to her, taking over her world with the quiet calm of unconsciousness.