The new au takes place in a world where borrowers are known and are treated as pets. When Dean was cursed, he was caught and shipped to England and put in a pet store. The lady we see handling him in the snippets isn’t the one who captured him, but simply a person who works there. Stan happens to walk into the pet shop and sees Dean.
AFIN – Both Sam and Dean are cursed. Sam and Dean are captured and shipped over to Europe at some point in their lives. Borrowers are well known in this world and are caught and sold as pets. When Sam and Dean are captured, Dean is separated from Sam in some way (bought by someone, moved to different location?) and Dean is put up for sale in a pet store where Stan comes and finds him
This is it! The background for Brothers Kept!
In Kept, borrowers (my supernatural-style borrowers) were discovered in the ‘50s. Ever since then, they’ve become highly sought after pets for the wealthy and rich (anyone that can afford the high costs of adopting a living, breathing person).
In America, borrowers are a very uncommon sight due to their rarity. American borrowers are even more costly than regular ones. The Winchesters grew up on the road with their father, not paying much mind to the little people. They knew they existed, it was just that borrowers were so rare they didn’t consider them in their day-to-day lives.
Until the curse.
When they tried to find help to seek out John Winchester, they were caught and shipped overseas, processed for sale. Sam, being young and impressionable, didn’t take long to sell, while Dean, angry, betrayed and mouthing off, got stuck in the store for… years. Constantly put down, disciplined for bad behavior, ignored by customers…
Then one day Stan happens by the store and discovers a borrower in a leather jacket and jeans with scratched out messages on the side of his cage that are a cry for help, and can’t turn his back on him.
We’ll have a second preview later on this week since the story name was guessed as well, A Friend in Need.
His gaze shifted again to regard the other cages and the patrons perusing them. The people of both sizes that he saw appeared entirely different than himself and Dean. Most of the borrowers were dressed in bright outfits, practically bouncing at the front of their cages to catch someone’s eye. The humans were all enamored of them, a child further down prodding his fingers against the glass to tease one.
Dean was visibly very different from the rest. His clothes were darker, almost as though they were advertising him as an edgy biker character of some kind. Yet he was clearly unused to the attention Stan was showing him, and was less than comfortable with it.
A cold spike shot through Stan’s insides when he noticed something in the back corner. Tucked behind a hamster water bottle where the average patron would miss it, there were little tick marks scratched into the glass. Stan tilted his head and noticed words put there and scratched through. Words that broke Stan’s heart to read.
Please save me Kill me
Stan’s brow pinched together as he reached a numb hand to lightly touch a fingertip to the glass on the other side of Dean’s scratches. He wished he could wipe them away, fix all that had made the poor bloke so miserable.
Dean couldn’t look away from the man.
Green eyes that put Dean’s to shame, a shock of red hair that looked perfectly wild and a pale complexion that nearly matched the borrowers who never saw the sun, the man touched the glass near Dean with a long finger that outsized the borrower.
Captivated by the intense gaze, Dean couldn’t help but lean forward and flatten his hand against the side of the glass to see the sheer difference between them. Compared to Stan’s fingertip, his hand was too small to fill the entire area, the tips of his fingers falling just short. He could make out every crevice and crack, the whorls of a fingerprint clearer than the words Dean had carved into the wall of his cage.
Dean was small. Insignificant. Nothing, a voice whispered in his mind.
A shock ran through Dean and he drew back from the fingertip like the glass had burned him, quickly pulling his sleeve down over his hand and trying to scrub away the scratches like the leather could possibly fix the mess he’d made.
Everything in this story was inspired by @wolfie180g‘s picture of Dean and Cas!