Changing Hands (4/5)

Welcome back to the sad Oscar AU. The unfortunate adventure continues for the little guy, as another upset in his new normal changes things again.

Mina’s part was written by @nightmares06, who graciously helped to bring even more terror to Oscar’s life.

(x)


Oscar tried to squirm away, tried to keep himself in his protective curl. It was no use. Even with simple nudging, humans were far more powerful than he, and he found himself pinned and staring up.

The magnifier gave him a startling view of a green eye, cold and not at all interested in his discomfort. He shook and his breathing was ragged, but nothing relented. Oscar hesitantly placed his hands against the finger, giving it a shaky push, but of course he couldn’t budge it. He shuddered and ducked his head again.

Mina ignored Oscar’s struggles, going over him with a crucial eye. “He looks healthy enough,” she assessed. “Could probably use a few more meals in him. It’s amazing how little these gems can eat yet they still get by fine.”

One after the other, she pinched each of his arms and both his legs between her fingers to see that he was uninjured. She had enough training in handling the smaller folk to be able to find any surface injuries, though once she reached her destination with him, he would undergo a more rigorous examination to ensure he was worth as much as possible.

“Small but cute,” Mina said. “And a good age. Not many get caught in the prime of their lives.”

Thomas almost chuckled. “Some get lucky. Even this one was skinnier when I first found him,” he admitted. After some time feeding Oscar multiple meals a day, he had finally stopped looking skinny enough to waste away, but not by much. “I think we did him a favor, to be honest.”

Oscar looked up then, an incredulous look on his face. As always with Thomas, he only met indifference. His breathing quickened and tears filled his eyes again. As soon as Mina was done pinching his limbs, he tried to scoot himself away from her hands. “S-stop,” he managed to say, his voice quiet and wavering.

Mina gave no sign that she heard Oscar’s plea. “What’s his name?” she asked briskly, pulling away and closing up the pocket magnifier. This time, she withdrew a small black journal that fit in the palm of her hand, quickly opening it to the middle and brushing aside the red ribbon that marked her place.

The pages were worn and covered in tight script from a steady hand. A fountain pen was next to appear from the bag, and Mina looked expectantly at Thomas.

Thomas glanced down, searching his memory. As usual, Noriko had asked the little thing’s name all of one time and then proceeded to call him little baby or something like it ever since. He barely remembered what it was, but he wouldn’t be cruel and pass along the pet name. He shrugged, jostling the little guy on his palm. “Oliver.”

Oscar looked up at Thomas, disbelieving but at the same time not surprised. Thomas had only been in charge of bringing Oscar his food and intimidating him into eating it. Noriko was the one who spent time with him and she’d only asked once.

He turned to watch the pen in motion as the wrong name went into that book, the smallest one he’d ever seen and still too big for him to carry. A protest nearly rose to his throat, but trembling fear stopped it, and instead Oscar covered his face with his hands as more tears came.

“Hey,” Thomas said, curling a finger inward to nudge pointedly at the little guy’s back. His voice lacked any sign of real comfort. “Keep it together.”

“You can leave him on the table,” Mina said dismissively as she closed the notebook. More notes would be taken later on, along with the amount paid for him, and in the future, how much she made when she sold him to her foreign clients. She set the pen down overtop the black leather cover.

This time, it was a camera she pulled from her purse, small enough to fit in the palm of her hand. The development of digital technology had certainly made life easier when it came to documenting the small folk that got themselves caught.

“How does… Fifty grand sound for him,” Mina said idly as she turned on the camera.

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