Stan Baker hadn’t thought about the word ‘borrower’ in ages.
He vaguely remembered a series of stories of the same name that he read when he was in primary school. They depicted tiny little people, inches high, managing to survive by living alongside human beings and picking tiny amounts of food and supplies from them. That much he could recall, so evidently the stories had more of an impact on him than he thought…
The last place he expected to experience nostalgia for a children’s story was during a surprise meeting with his employer.
At first Stan thought he’d misheard; he had been winding down for the night before receiving his summons. He’d hurried over so fast he hadn’t had time to brush away all the dog hair from the cuffs of his trousers and the hem of his dark wool coat, perhaps he was still reeling from the rush to his employer’s office.
No. The boss was completely serious. Apparently, the existence of people so small came to his attention through Sherlock Holmes, of all people. The consulting detective had become involved with some of the (actual, real) tiny people.
A pair of brothers called the Winchesters.
Stan didn’t get to learn much about them before his employer got down to business, unfortunately. As fascinating as the stuff about borrowers was, it was only a small part of the mission.
The agent thumbed through the file given to him and listened to the briefing in a bit of a haze. All the information was in his hands, allowing Stan to quietly marvel at the revelation of tiny people. A concept so fantastical that it was universally consigned to childhood imagination.
Welp, he is in one of our finished stories, but it hasn’t gotten its chance to post yet!
Stan was first dreamed up in A Burglary at Baker Street, when Dean and Sherlock needed a bit of assistance from a government agent, and he just took off so much right then that he’s become an integral part of the stories written in the Sherlock side of the BA universe!
As it remains, he won’t get his deserved screentime until Burglary is voted in, though we’ll likely work on editing the Chosen stories as well soon.
Stan absolutely is! He’s the most polite Brit, and he’ll always offer a cuppa!
But I think this time, calling Dean such a formal name might be somewhat of an inside joke between them, considering how they first met.
“Mr. Holmes,” the man greeted. Sherlock hummed to himself, noting the distinct lack of an Irish dialect.
The man’s brow shot up when he caught sight of the tiny figure contrasting the deep blue folds of Sherlock’s scarf.
“And… Mr. Winchester?” he guessed at length.
Dean straightened in place, letting the scarf fall down from his shoulders so more of him could be seen. “Mister Winchester is my dad,” he corrected, his voice level and even to avoid betraying any nerves. “You can call me Dean.”
That thought swirled on repeat in Stan Baker’s head as he returned to his flat, a place small enough for the 21 year old to afford on his own humble salary. He leaned against the door after it shut, stunned.
Deep green eyes widened and darted to the side. Sitting idly on the hooks on the wall meant to hold keys or coats, hooks Stan rarely used for such things, was a tiny woman no taller than a finger.
After a moment of staring, Stan let out a huff of a sigh that ruffled the woman’s short hair. He recognized her. Hard not to,she hadn’t changed a bit since the last time he saw her.
“Don’t people normally outgrow their imaginary friends?” he asked dryly.
She shrugged. “Suppose so. I always did think we had a special something, though.”
He shot her a flat look. “Well, thanks for dropping by, Tinkerbell, but I’ve grown up.”
“Zepheera,” she corrected, pushing herself up to stand balanced on the metal hook, hands on her hops. “Bit childish to resort to name-calling, don’t ya think?”
Again Stan huffed. “I don’t need to listen to this. You’re not even real.”
A moment passed between them.
“Well?” Zepheera prodded.“You’ve got long legs. Go ahead and leave if you don’t want me around.”
Stan’s brow furrowed, but he couldn’t look Zepheera in the eye. When he still didn’t make a move to leave, he sighed.
“Not a rough day,” he admitted, answering her initial question. “Just…kind of a weird one.”
At last he met her much smaller gaze, tiny pinpricks of violet that once had Stan convinced she was a faerie of some kind. With those eyes as kind as ever, Zepheera offered a small smile. “I’m up for tea if you wanna chat about it.”
Stan couldn’t refuse.
As always, Zepheera was a good listener. She sipped her tea evenly (from a cup Stan could swear she materialized out of thin air, unless she simply carried it around all the time in her tiny rucksack) and waited patiently for the end of Stan’s story.
“Sounds like you’ve got a new job lined up,” she commented.
“I haven’t accepted the offer yet,” Stan reminded her.
“And why not?”
Stan ran a hand through his hair.“Because… It’s a big decision. Punching out the occasional creep on the street is one thing, but this… If I make good here, I’ll be dealing with serious criminals. Terrorists, too. I could die.”
The words hung heavy in the air for a few breaths, a solemn silence broken after Zepheera finished off the last dregs of her tea and got to her feet.
“Well,” she sighed, making her way slowly closer to Stan as she stowed her cup away, “the Stan Baker I know never could sit back while bullies were running rampant.”
Stan chuckled and found his chin lowering onto his folded arms the closer Zepheera came.
With a smile, she gave a small shrug.“And, not saying you will, but if things do get hairy out there, at least you’ll die doing what you love. Walking into danger.”
Stan blinked at Zepheera’s phrasing, feeling hope creep up on him. Then he heaved a world-weary breath, slumping his shoulders and burying his face in his arms.
A feather-light touch patted against one of his knuckles, and from that same direction Zepheera said, “See ya ‘round, Baker. Do what you think is right.”
The next time Stan looked up, Zepheera had vanished. Just like she always did.
@borrowedtimeandspace– Lawl, he is not Secret Agent 777. As for MI6, well…yes and no. He is a government agent, but he works for a particular minor government official and his job description varies depending on the assignment.
As seriously as Stan takes his job, he is also extremely flop for smols, Dean in particular. He has a hard time saying no to the little guy.
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
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!
And another guess that comes right from the Brothers Apart chatroom! Dean might be the size of a mouse, but he has The Heart of a Wolf!
“What do you want?” Sherlock sighed. The last time the agent had set foot in Baker Street, he’d somehow gotten himself enrolled in a bizarre training with Dean.
Still, even Sherlock had to admit (at least to himself, and certainly not out loud) that he had the makings of an acceptable ally.
With their recent addition of Detective-Inspector Greg Lestrade to the list of people who knew about Sam and Dean, Sherlock was beginning to resign himself to this pattern.
“Oh, er. Well, I was mostly wondering if Dean would be up for another training session.”
“I don’t see why not.” Sherlock’s blunt reply was strictly derived from Dean’s previous encounters with Agent Baker. They were quite easygoing with one another, the agent mindful of his movements around Dean, who was seemingly unafraid to tell it like it was to anyone no matter how tall. Objections to the opportunity to refine Agent Baker’s skills were likely to be rare, if existent.
“Brilliant! ” After a slight pause, Agent Baker began a hesitant question. “Do you, ah, think he’ll mind–?”
Sherlock rolled his eyes with a disinterested noise and hung up the phone on the spot.
44. What’s one thing they wish they could do more often, but can’t?
Stan would love a vacation. As much as he loves his work, it’s a near-constant cycle of near-death experiences. If he could take a few weeks off and go abroad with Nathan, they would have the time of their lives. Backpacking in Peru, hitting up one of the Disney parks, maybe even visit Hobbiton in New Zealand. Some time to relax is hardly ever an option for him, alas.