Jacob slept deeply.
After a few hours of his body shutting down almost completely to recover, his mind fired up to process his day. His injuries were on the mend, but the rest of the damage went deeper than Dean or anyone could reach.
After days of terror and impossible situations, with his tormentor showing up to tell him how much he deserved it, Jacob's thoughts roiled like winds in a hurricane. His experiences all blended together in a horrifying, kaleidoscopic recap of everything he'd endured. Jacob was as helpless against the memories as he was against the actual scenarios.
Trying desperately to escape Dean's grasp when the coins were swept up, only to put his all into staying in Dean's hand immediately after. A smarmy voice in the background made small talk with Dean and Jacob recognized it now. The trickster's laugh was so loud. So pervasive. There was no escaping it.
Landing in a whirlpool of beer. Back and forth, back and forth, dragged under the freezing liquid. Jacob tried to gasp and only had golden ice to gulp down. And then things were dark, and boiling, and the back and forth carried him between teeth bigger than his head before nearly sending him beyond to an even darker place that'd burn him until there was nothing left. Dean wouldn't notice. His voice echoed around and was oblivious.
My friends will give up on me.
The dark became silent. The quiet oppressed him, pushing him into a soft surface. And then the dark became heavy. Jacob couldn't move. He was crushed against a stomach that was waking. Growling. Demanding he feed it.
He'd been dropped there by someone. Smirking eyes flashed in his memory. Jacob's heart fluttered in fear.
Jacob balked away, into a corner full of dust and cobwebs he couldn't even see. Needles of dark stabbed at his eyes. Then, the silence was shattered by a scratching. Claws that would rip him to shreds.
He tried to run but couldn't.
He was stuck in spiderwebs. Dustbunnies towered over him. Jacob felt like he was trying to run through cement. Couldn't get away. The shadows around him deepened. A rustling and clicking echoed from all directions. A spider. Prowling closer and closer until-
Jacob's sleeping body twitched from the fear. He was too exhausted and in too much pain to toss and turn in his sleep, but the terror of reliving his worst moments at his reduced size showed on his face. Despite his deep sleep there was a line furrowing in his brow. A quiet sound, barely audible, leaked out of him and it might have been a plea. There was laughter in his head, gleeful as its source watched his struggles just to stay alive in a world designed to kill him.
During the night, Sam found himself waking up. Soft moonlight played across the beds in the room, illuminating Dean’s collapsed figure on the bed closest to the window. The nightstand was still and quiet, and Sam realized that Bowman was fast asleep only a few inches away from him on the pillow.
Whimpers and a light rustling of covers told him what had woken him up during such a calm night. Jacob’s face was upset and stressed. Even as Sam watched, his eyes rapidly flashed from side to side, the movement visible underneath the closed lids. A low whine of fear crept up out of Jacob’s throat as a hand twitched, trying to fend off the nightmares.
Worried for him, Sam pulled off his satchel and left it next to Bowman on the pillow. He slid down the cushioned slope, touching down on the soft covers of the bed. He watched his footing carefully as he picked his way across the bed, wary of any sudden movements from the massive human in his sleep.
Sam climbed up the other pillow, not far from Jacob’s ear. “Jacob, it’s okay, you’re safe now.” His voice was hushed. He was close enough that Jacob wouldn’t have a problem hearing him speak, and there was no reason to wake Dean or Bowman up. They needed the rest just as much.
When there was no response, Sam walked closer. He pushed against Jacob’s cheek, trying to draw him away from sleep. “You don’t have to be afraid. You’re you now, and we’re all lookin’ out for you.”
The faint tickle drew more and more of Jacob's attention, until he could hear Sam's voice. He clawed his way towards consciousness, succeeding just enough to open bleary eyes. He lifted his head from the pillow in surprise, breathing deeply as sleep tried to reclaim him again. He was so, so tired.
Jacob propped himself up on one arm, squinting tiredly at the source of his waking. When he'd pushed himself up, he'd nearly toppled Sam right over on the plush surface. Between his own sleepy haze and the darkness in the room, Jacob could hardly see him standing there. Had he really managed to walk right up to Jacob like that without tumbling?
The encouraging words churned around in his head before Jacob finally realized the meaning and had the presence of mind to appreciate the sentiment. Then, while the nightmarish visions started to fade, he realized something else.
Sam was standing right on his pillow. Where a sleeping giant had been mere seconds ago. That just wasn't safe. Jacob might have pointed this out if he thought he could trust himself to say coherent words. As it was, Sam had his own pillow to sleep on that was much safer. How he managed to trust a sleeping giant, someone so huge and mostly unaware of him, was beyond Jacob in his exhaustion.
Jacob lifted his free hand from where it rested on the mattress, bringing it towards Sam carefully but swiftly. If he was just going to stand there, Jacob would have to get him safely to the pillow himself. He scooped his hand behind Sam, letting him fall onto his palm and arching his fingers to keep him from rolling right back off. Jacob was comforted that he felt the tiny weight on his hand. It meant this was real and no horrifying curtain would be drawn back.
Jacob lifted Sam away from the pillow. Since it was safe again, he laid back down on it. His sluggish collapse was enough that he forgot the task at hand, and had yet to put Sam down. He shifted carefully, subconsciously taking care not to drop or squash his small passenger despite sleep claiming him so quickly.
When Jacob settled again, he was lying on his side, the hand with Sam cupped close to his chest. The other hand cupped near it protectively, determined not to leave Sam insecure. After a few nights small enough to be a teddy bear for Sam, it seemed Jacob was, in his own way, returning the favor. He never closed his hands completely over the smaller hunter, but he shielded him with them, like one might block a candle from the wind. The nightmares that had gripped him before had a harder time latching on after that.
Sam only struggled for a moment out of surprise. Of all the things that could have happened, Jacob waking up and picking him up wasn’t the most unexpected, but he hadn’t expected to find himself cupped against a chest. He thought he’d just end up either being moved back to the pillow with Bowman or put on the nightstand out of the way. Or at least for Jacob to wake up all the way.
Instead, he found himself in two hands, carefully caved around him to keep him safe. He sat there for a moment, listening to the breathing in the chest behind him. Slowly, the breathing began to even out as Jacob slipped into a deep sleep again, untouched by bad dreams.
Briefly considering his situation, Sam slipped to the edge of the hands. Jacob shifted restlessly when he was about to jump off, giving Sam pause. It wasn’t like he was in any danger here… and his friend clearly needed some support.
Sam moved back to the center of the hand. He just moved a finger out of his way, and settled down with the finger as a pillow. A few minutes later, he joined the rest of the room in sleep, his small chest moving up and down peacefully.
Dawn came slowly the next day. Morning clouds kept the window dark until 9 a.m. with a grey darkness that began to evaporate. Splinters of light hit the windows and pierced through the dark room, though Dean tried to shy away.
Awake, he stretched his arms in a lazy yawn. Rubbing his hair, he glanced over at the others as he got out of bed. Bowman was curled into a small green ball on the pillow, but Sam had vanished. Briefly worried, Dean checked the ground around his feet before taking another step, but didn’t see any sign of the small Winchester.
It took him a few minutes to figure out where his brother had gone. A small shifting in Jacob’s hands caught Dean’s attention, and he didn’t bother hiding the smirk. Sam was curled up inside, fast asleep. He was reminded of the morning he’d found Sam using Jacob as a teddy bear.
How the tables had turned.
With Sam in no danger and resting peacefully, Dean let them be while he went to get ready for the day. It wasn’t the first time that Sam had fallen asleep on a human, and Dean wasn’t about to take that decision away from him. They all trusted Jacob.
A quick shower later, he had a clean set of clothes on and gingerly slipped his boots on, keeping the broken toe straight. If he was fast, he’d be able to get back to the room with breakfast for everyone and no one the wiser.
Scooping up his keys, the last thing he made sure to do was shift the pillow Bowman was on over to his bed, where he could leave the sprite in a shaft of sunlight. It was the least he could do after Bowman willingly left his family and home behind to help them save Jacob. Without Bowman, they would have lost the kid more than once.
That set, Dean left his friends sleeping in peace and stepped out into the cool morning air.
The warm rays of the sun on his wings caught Bowman's attention enough to wake him. He was sluggish and barely registered where he was, but he would count it as awake on a normal day. He uncurled his body slowly, stretching his arms above his head while his legs stretched in the opposite direction. And then he flopped over onto his front, wings shifting.
His leafy green wings spread slowly, luxuriously, catching sunlight in a brilliant verdant display and throwing shards of green light on the pillow around him. Bowman stretched again, rolling his shoulders and turning over on his side. He rolled over completely then, his wings clumsily following the motion. He had to sit up only slightly so he didn't simply land on one. Bowman found the most comfortable position lying on his back with his wings stretched out to gather the much needed sunlight.
The sprite blinked slowly, letting himself relax. He was in a humongous room, all angles and synthetic shapes, but he was safe, and his friends were safe. That was worth the sense of ease that he let himself feel for the first time in several days. He yawned, very slowly accomplishing a wakeup in the morning sun.
Jacob didn't wake up quite so soon, but when he did he was momentarily confused. He had his hands cupped carefully to his chest and there was a small weight in them. He frowned faintly and opened his eyes, glancing down. Sam was resting there, flopped over in his careful grasp.
He vaguely remembered waking in the night. Seeing Sam by his pillow. And then thinking he should move Sam back to a safer spot to sleep.
He hoped Sam wasn't upset with him for turning him into a teddy. Jacob did remember that he'd felt relieved to find Sam still there, talking to him in the night when nightmares clouded his thoughts.
Making sure Sam was safe in one hand, Jacob lifted the other to his face to rub the sleepiness from his eyes. Sunlight was filling the room. He blinked quickly, trying to speed his waking. His exhausted body protested and told him he'd just have to be patient.
Sam started to stir as the world moved around him. “Dean?” he asked tiredly, rubbing a hand over his face and trying to figure out where he was. Huge fingers shifted around the edges of his vision. The only times he’d ever woken up in anyone’s hands before, it was always Dean that had been the one holding him. Or those times he’d tried waking Dean up… always a fun trip when the hunter snatched sleepily at him.
Memories came back from the night before. Waking to Jacob having nightmares, trying to calm him down… being scooped off the pillow and used as a teddy bear. It was a better reaction than being grabbed, he supposed. Sam couldn’t hide a smile when he stared up above his head. “Jacob. Guess you got some sleep after all.” Using a finger for balance, he pulled himself to his feet, giving his arms a good stretch over his head.
Jacob looked down again. He moved his hand carefully away from his chest, trying not to knock Sam over with the movement. He felt like every motion he made had to be too big. Too abrupt. He wasn't sure if that was from residual fear or from the "lessons" sinking in. Either way, Jacob was paying more attention than he would have given himself credit for this soon after waking.
"Guess I did," he mumbled in reply, shifting around to sit up. He turned his head to stifle a yawn with his free hand before focusing on Sam again. "Sorry for, uh, apparently sleep-grabbing ... hope I didn't knock you around or anything." He moved his hand to the nightstand, bridging his fingers to the edge so Sam could step off.
Sam shook his head while he stepped down to the nightstand. “No harm done. Trust me, you’re nothing like Dean when he sleep-grabs.”
Jacob smirked, then glanced over to the other bed. Dean was gone, but there was a pillow on the middle of it. Bowman was spread out on it, his wings soaking up sun while he snoozed. Sam's satchel lay nearby. Jacob stood and picked up the small bag carefully, pinching the strap in his fingers. Bowman didn't even twitch.
Jacob turned to hand the bag over to Sam, staring at the small container in amazement. He fit in there, just yesterday morning, as Sam had gracefully demonstrated when he stuffed Jacob into the satchel in a hurry. All in the name of frantic escape. Sam grinned gratefully up at Jacob, holding his bag close. It would certainly save him a hike to go get it.
"There ya go," Jacob muttered, sleep still weighing down his voice. He pointed a thumb over his shoulder, vaguely indicating the direction of the bathroom. "I'm gonna shower to try to wake up a bit." And try to get rid of the stress.
Waving Jacob off, Sam spent a few minutes relaxing in the calm quiet of the morning. It was a rare moment for such peace. The curtains over the window wafted gently in the cool air spitting out of the vents. Occasional shadows could be seen passing by, but none of the humans paid the innocuous room any mind.
Rubbing the back of his neck, Sam dug out his hook and climbed down to the floor. He went underneath to his mostly forgotten room. The bed was stripped bare and most of his belongings were left on top of the stand, but a small cup of water sat next to his desk. Sam splashed some of the soothing water on his face, stripping off his dirty jacket and shirt to clean off. He took his time scrubbing after the last few days of stress, using his sharp knife to carefully shave away any stubble and raking his fingers through his hair.
The sound from the bathroom of the water running gave him a good indication of how long he had, and Dean knew better than to peer under the nightstand this early in the morning, ensuring he had privacy for his morning ablutions. By the time he finished, he felt better than he had in over a week, with new clothing on and a fresh jacket. He’d have to spend some time washing his clothing later on, especially the jacket with the remaining bloodstains. With any luck, they wouldn’t be permanent. Mallory wouldn’t let him hear the end of it. She spent so much time scolding Walt whenever he ruined one of his jackets against a rat like that.
Slipping his knife back into his jacket, Sam sat on the edge of the bottom shelf. He leaned against one of the sides, letting one of his legs dangle while he spent the remaining time reading through his journal.
Jacob stood washing himself longer than strictly necessary, though he was careful not to let the bandaging on his back get too soaked. His hand felt so clumsy wrapped in gauze, but at least that he already knew would be cleaned and covered again daily for a while. The worst of his bruises stung terribly under the steady stream of water.
He couldn't wash away the memories and the pain and the fear, but at least he could wake himself up. Jacob found his eyes staying open easier when he finally shut the water off. He put on the same clothes he'd been wearing, since he had no replacements. The shredded t-shirt was the only real evidence of what he'd been through on his clothes. He'd probably never touch that black hoodie again.
With a sigh, he headed back out to the main room, more prepared to greet the day than before.
The moment he walked back into the room, there were two knocks at the door, followed by Dean’s entrance. The hunter had his hands full, with a tray of coffee clutched in one hand, a bag of breakfast food under an arm and an orange bundle of cloth in the other. “Look what the cat dragged in,” he greeted Jacob, grinning.
He dropped the coffees on the table and tossed the orange hoodie at Jacob. “I figure I owe you a shirt after what you went through. Nice, bright colors. There’s no way any of us have to worry about losing you in that,” Dean winked, “especially since you’re back to your normal Sasquatch size.” He tossed down the bag of food and started digging through it, getting out a selection of breakfast sandwiches and fruit and scattering it all over the table for everyone.
Out of the corner of his eye, he spotted movement down on the floor. Dean almost gave a start when he saw Sam hesitantly picking his way across the floor on his own. Away from cover, and out in the open around not one, but two humans, something Dean had never seen him do before.
Jacob was blown away. Standing there, all 6'5" of his natural height back, Sam looked so small down on the ground, so vulnerable. Away from all cover and in plain sight. Jacob remembered him pointing out why that was so dangerous and unsettling to do. And, now, he knew with a keen awareness why it was so scary.
Jacob had stood where Sam was now. He'd looked straight up and seen how helpless he really was, whether or not Dean noticed him. He had seen the expanse of the carpet stretching out on all sides, full of dust and whatever else because of the poor vacuuming job. He'd felt the looming shadows of the furniture as all of it seemed to lean in to glare down at him, colossal reminders of how small he was.
Jacob knew what it meant for Sam to be walking out in the open now. He knew how much trust had just been handed over to him.
His grip on the hoodie tightened until his knuckles were white. No chick flick moments, ran through his head in Dean's annoyed voice and Jacob had to chuckle internally. Dean, who'd looked out for him the best he could while Jacob was small. Who taught Jacob all about "the family business" and who trusted Jacob alone around his vulnerable little brother. The little brother that was all that was left of Dean’s shredded family.
Jacob had their trust. They'd gone to such lengths just to keep him safe while he was impossibly small. So small that, if he were walking alongside Sam right now, he would hardly be visible to Dean. He had their trust, and they had his without question. Jacob took a deep breath, nearly overwhelmed by the scene he'd found himself in.
He was among family.
The thought brought a grin to his face. He glanced down at the hoodie Dean had tossed him, unfolding and unzipping the brand new garment. He shrugged it on, zipping it up and already feeling more himself again. "Thanks," he said aloud, expressing gratitude for more than just the new jacket. He wasn't sure how he could express it and do it any amount of justice. Until he figured it out, thanks would have to do.
Dean busied himself at the table, separating out some coffee for Sam and Bowman (if the sprite ever woke up) while he hid a smile. He knew exactly how leery Sam was of being out in the open after years of staying out of sight. It went against everything Sam knew. He'd slowly overcome that instinct around Dean, and now it was being extended to Jacob.
Part of the family.
Sam had his neck craned back all the way, grinning as Jacob put in his new hoodie. "That color fits," he said, internally comparing it to the black.
He gestured at the table where Dean had laid out an entire mini-buffet of his own, including an entire selection of fruit for Bowman and enough food to tide over even guys the size of Dean and Jacob for the day. "Mind giving me a lift?" he asked Jacob, willing to push aside his usual desire for independence in lieu of showing Jacob he meant what he'd said about trust. Letting someone hold him was, to Sam, one of the most important ways to show his trust. Only Dean and Jacob had ever done so. Not even Bobby had picked him up yet.