45. Dreaming

Three strokes. Flip. Four strokes. Flip.

Alone in her small dollhouse, Bree contented herself counting the time as she brushed her hair. The Mangas family was out for the day, at some park or another, and Briella Watch was left on her own to pass the time.

Only a passing thought was given to the people she knew were in the storage room, waiting to be sold. She couldn’t think too much about them, there was nothing she could do. She was sealed away, trapped in a house inside a room with all entrances to the walls sealed off.

This family knew the tricks, after all.

Three strokes. A quick flip of her hair, and a garishly pink doll hairbrush went through the strands of golden hair while Bree stared into the clouds outside the window. Long eyelashes closed, and a tear hid at the side of her eye.

People were trapped, and she was up here, with her head in the clouds. Every night, she was plagued by thoughts of what could have been. Her only release was in sleep, in dreams of her old home with her mother and her father. Mallory’s constant smile at her while she took her first steps, Walt’s stern pride as he taught her how to climb.

Every night, she saw their faces in her dreams and they pushed back the dark cloud that hung over her head. She had to hide it, though. Beth couldn’t know what she was thinking.

They couldn’t take away her dreams.

Four strokes. Flip.

Sam Makes a New Friend

“This is something else,” Sam said, keeping his voice at a low level. It felt… eerie, inside the walls. Like he was in another world, almost. He didn’t want to disturb the surroundings, knowing that he was outsized by almost everything in their world.

Oscar smiled faintly. It was easier to see his face in the low light leaking in from a split in the wallpaper above. They were just on the edge of the illumination before it faded into murky darkness in either direction. “It’s not too bad,” he said, nudging a woodchip with his shoe. It, like some other debris, was left behind from when the building was made.

“The path to my house is a lot cleaner, though, ‘cause I don’t want too much dust,” he explained conversationally. Oscar looked in both directions before he nodded to himself, assured of which direction they’d need to go if they wanted to get to his home from here. That was a long walk.

He opened his mouth to say more, but paused, almost frozen, and listened. There was a distant sound in the dust, something moving in the darkness beyond the area they could see. Oscar listened with a look of concentration on his face and turned his eyes towards the source, watching the dark. If they needed to run, they at least had the air duct right there to scurry into.

Oscar could see farther into the dark. When he saw the source of the quiet shuffling, his face broke into a grin. “Oh!” he muttered excitedly, glancing aside to Sam to see if he’d noticed yet.

Sam gasped at the sound, and found himself coughing on some dust he’d inhaled. The sounds echoing in the walls around them didn’t sound like a person’s footsteps, and were far too lightweight to be a human nearby. He couldn’t put an image to what the source was, and worry filled him at the thought of not knowing what was out there.

“Wh-what is it?” Sam asked Oscar tremulously. His hand once again gripped the younger boy’s sleeve, seeking out security. The hilt of his knife brushed against his chest with the movement, reminding him that he may be small, but he had a way to defend himself if he needed it.

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Nowhere Else to Turn (Part 8/8)


( This is my entry for the @brothersapart 2016 Contest: . Enjoy! )

“When is she gonna wake up?” Ziana asked. The white bandage on Shay’s arm was remarkably cleaner than the improvised scrap of cloth she had worn the past couple days. Ziana’s stomach still churned at the thought of the wound itself, but the fresh wrapping gave her hope that it was on its way to healing.

“Hard to say,” Dean said, standing by the bed and inadvertently towering over the three smaller people.

Ziana tried to not to look directly at him. It had been hard enough to face him while she was on the desk and she could only see his torso. To occupy herself, she set the handmade ice packs on Shay’s stomach for the time being and started to scoop Shay into her arms.

Dean’s voice rumbled through the air again, prompting Ziana to freeze. “Hey, what’re you doing?”

Gathering her nerves, Ziana looked up. He hadn’t grabbed her again since the first time. He had even been rather patient with her hesitation when he had to transport her back to the bed.

Since she had already gotten away with yelling at him, she figured there was no harm in speaking freely. “I’m taking her home,” she answered. “You helped her, and… Thanks for that. But I saw you packing up earlier. Well, I don’t want to be around when the maids show up, so me and her need to be outta here.”

The bedspread had some give under Ziana’s feet, so standing with Shay in her arms nearly made her topple right back over. She would have toppled over, if a certain giant hand didn’t appear at her back to steady her. Ziana almost jumped out of her skin, skittering back and making damn sure that she kept her balance so Dean wouldn’t do that again. Still, she wobbled. It didn’t help that she was exhausted from lack of sleep and all the stress between Shay’s illness. And meeting a human.

Even before Sam opened his mouth, she could tell by the look on his face that he was against her departure plan.

“What if you get back in there and she needs something else?” Sam pointed out. “We can wait for a while, see if she wakes up. Right, Dean?” He looked to his massive older brother, and Ziana couldn’t help but be impressed that a smaller person could possibly call the shots in any way.

“Kinda defeats the purpose of helping out if we don’t know if we really helped,” Dean said.

“Besides,” Sam added before Ziana could protest, “you look like you’re ready to pass out. We won’t make you stay, but you’re welcome to. We can hold off on leaving for a while longer.”

Ziana pursed her lips, ready to turn them down, but when she looked down at Shay’s face, the words died in her throat. After mustering up the courage and going through all the trouble of revealing herself to a human, she needed to go all the way. Needed to make sure that her actions were worth it in the end. That meant taking whatever these strange brothers had to offer in regards to helping Shay.

“Fine,” she muttered, lowering Shay back down to the bed and adjusting her limbs to a comfortable position.

Ziana was vulnerable without her needle, and she had half a mind to ask to go back home just to grab it, but the thought of leaving Shay alone with a giant–even one that wanted to help–was out of the question.

“You should get some rest,” Sam said, walking over and putting a gentle hand on her shoulder. “You’re safe in here.”

“No thanks,” she snorted, shrugging him off to sit beside Shay stiffly, determined not to sleep.

Neither brother argued with her beyond that. She worried they were going to stay staring at her and Shay until she woke up, but soon enough, they went back to their own business. Whatever that was.

Sam climbed right onto Dean’s hand without hesitation. It didn’t sit right with Ziana at all, a shiver running down her spine. Sure, she had needed to do the same thing to get back to the bed from the table, but at least she had been openly conflicted about it.

Removing her attention from the brothers, she looked back down at Shay and set one wrapped ice pack on her forehead and the other two on either side of her neck. Ziana was certain the ice would melt soon enough, but she supposed she could always ask Dean for more ice and paper towels, even if the thought of getting the giant man’s attention went against every instinct in her body.

Anything to keep Shay comfortable.


Ziana wasn’t sure when she fell asleep. The next thing she knew, she snapped up into a sitting position, praying she had only dozed off for a few moments. She blinked her drowsiness away and immediately became aware that something was wrong.

Shay was gone.

Springing to her feet on the bed, Ziana found the largest and most likely culprit sitting on a chair by the bed and eating from a pile of food in a styrofoam container. He didn’t even notice her stand, but she certainly got his attention when she yelled.

“Where is she?” She stormed closer to the edge of the bed, fists balled up at her sides. “What did you do to her?”

“Ziana, I’m fine!” A familiar voice from somewhere farther down the bed pulled Ziana’s away from what was beginning to look like an exasperated scowl from Dean.

Shay sat a few feet away with Sam, the two of them eating from what appeared to be a helping of whatever was in Dean’s box.

“Shay…” All the air exited Ziana’s lung in one relieved sigh. She rushed over, all but ignoring Sam as she checked on Shay’s condition. Her cheeks were still flushed with fever, but she was sitting up on her own and looking alert. A little wobbly, but awake. “How do you feel?” Ziana asked. “How long have you been awake? Why didn’t you wake me up?”

“I said I’m fine.” Shay sounded almost annoyed, a smile tugging at her lips nonetheless. “I’ve been up for about an hour, and uh… Let’s just say that it was hard to go back to sleep once I saw where I was.” She threw a fairly nervous look at Dean.

Ziana grimaced and nodded. “You’re taking this pretty well,” she said.

Dean chuckled, making both Ziana and Shay tense up. He raised his eyebrows at Ziana. “Well, she practically threw herself on top of you to ‘protect’ you, until Sammy convinced her that you’re the one who brought her here in the first place.”

“Y-Yeah.” Shay caught Ziana’s wrist in a gentle grip and gave it a squeeze. “They told me what you did.”

Ziana laughed in disbelief of herself. “Pretty stupid, huh?”

“Very. Especially after giving Sam a black eye.”

Sam gave a small snort at that, and Ziana turned to give him a once-over. The bruise seemed to be getting a little better, but it would be a while before it was nothing but memory. With Shay awake, Ziana wasn’t sure what got hold of her, but she bowed her head slightly.

“I’m sorry, Sam,” she said with utmost sincerity. “You saved Shay, and the only thing you have from me is a black eye.”

Sam waved off her apology. “Honestly, Dean was more upset about it than I was.”

“Hey, good luck making your own ice packs the next time you get punched out, shorty,” Dean grumbled, eliciting another flinch from Ziana and Shay–something that he didn’t let slip this time. “Oh, come on. You’re not still scared of me, are you?”

“No!” Ziana snapped at the same time that Shay murmured, “Yeah…”

“Guess you’ll be wanting to get back home now that Shay’s awake,” Sam said. “Have some food before you go, at least. It’s leftovers from yesterday, but it’s still good, really. And you can take as much as you want back with you.”

Ziana almost didn’t believe Sam’s generous offer, but he hadn’t given her any reason not to. With some coaxing from Shay, Ziana sat down by the napkin and dug in, trying and failing to ignore the sounds of Dean eating next to the bed. She couldn’t bring herself to mind all that much. Food supplies had been tight without Shay’s help in scavenging, and the offer of fresh hot food was something that even Ziana couldn’t turn down.

She sure was glad she hadn’t skewered Sam with her needle.

(Thanks so much for reading, and I hope you enjoyed it as much as I enjoyed writing it! The entry can be read in full here: )

Nowhere Else to Turn (Part 7/8)


( This is my entry for the @brothersapart 2016 Contest: . Enjoy! )

Dean watched intently as Sam took the cut section of the alcohol wipe and examined it. The piece had felt the right size while Dean had sliced it, but now it looked large and cumbersome in Sam’s much smaller hands. Averting his eyes briefly, Dean tried to swallow the feeling of being out of place among the three tiny folk on the bed, even though the motel room was scaled to his size, not theirs.

He had started to get used to Sam’s height, but seeing his shrunken brother around other tiny people was something Dean hadn’t been prepared for that morning.

A hiss of pain came from the bed. Dean looked down in time to see Shay writhe in response to the alcohol seeping into her wound. Her eyelids fluttered weakly, almost undetectable from her size, but her voice was unmissable. “Z-Ziana…”

Sam moved to keep cleaning the cut, but Ziana wasn’t having it. She sprang to her feet and half-tackled him to get the alcohol-soaked cloth away from her friend’s arm. Dean balked at the sight of the tiny struggle. Sam clearly held back to keep from hurting Ziana, while she was putting all her effort into stop him.

“Ziana!” Sam huffed and held the cloth out of her reach, patience growing thin. “I’m trying to–”

“I thought you said this would help!” She grabbed his shoulder and took another swipe at the cloth. “All you’re doing is hurting–HEY!”

Unable to sit back and watch Sam’s attempts to help be impeded, Dean snagged the back of Ziana’s t-shirt and pulled her off his brother. She swung her fists and kicked at nothing, as if she was trying to beat the open air to a pulp. On of her small hands brushed the side of her pants in a grab for a weapon that wasn’t there.

As quickly as her struggle started, it ended with her looking down at the bed below with wide eyes. The distance to the surface was nothing to Dean, but everything to her.

“Easy,” Dean muttered, lowering her into his free hand.

As she sat up rigidly, he could practically see her internal battle to either stay where she was or leap over the side of his palm. She glanced down and seemed to reel back from the latter idea. Nonetheless, he cupped his hands halfway just in case she changed her mind. She didn’t respond well to his attempt at helping. He felt slightly sick to his stomach at her tiny cry of alarm and the feeling of her panicked squirming to escape.

Aiming to keep her from jumping out and hurting herself, he had no choice but to seal his hands all the way, trapping her inside and sparking even more distress. The sensation of her struggles brought back an unwelcome reminder of when he first caught Sam–before he had known it was Sam.

But this time, he knew exactly what he was doing. If Ziana kept getting in the way, it would take hours before Shay’s wound was wrapped up, and by then it might be too late.

“I said easy,” Dean said firmly. “Even if that cut doesn’t need stitches, it’s a pretty nasty one. That’s alcohol Sam’s putting on her. Sorry to break it to you, kiddo, but it’s going to sting Shay no matter what. It needs to be cleaned this way.”

He glanced up from his hands, glad to see Sam had proceeded with cleaning the wound, though Dean noticed a touch of worry on Sam’s face when his little brother peeked over his shoulder. After all, someone his size was trapped right in front of him between Dean’s hands, and Sam was just letting it happen. But they both knew it was for the sake of saving an innocent.

Judging by the squirms that hadn’t lessened in the slightest within the prison of Dean’s palms and fingers, Ziana was the only one who didn’t understand why she was trapped.

“Let me go!” Despite the toughness she displayed, there was no mistaking the pitch of terror in her voice.

Dean pursed his lips, knowing that it wouldn’t be easy for Sam to work while listening to Ziana’s frightened pleads. Cracking open his hands a bit, he half-expected Ziana to try and squeeze herself through the opening, but she scrambled back further into the hollow of his palms with her chest rising and falling deeply and rapidly. Rather than call out her fear with assurances and elicit a fresh wave of anger from her, Dean took a different approach.

“How ‘bout we find something productive to do, huh?” he asked, raising his eyebrows. Her only answer was a frown, so he went on before she could snap out of her confusion long enough to try and escape. “You said Shay has a fever, right? Well, since you blackened Sammy’s eye last night, we had to make an ice pack for it. We can make a couple more of those to try and bring Shay’s fever down.”

Without waiting for an answer, Dean stood up from the bedside, noting that Sam had almost finished wiping down the wound. Taking the lightest steps he could, Dean moved over to the table and took a seat. He lowered his hands to the tabletop and opened them, laying his fingers out so Ziana could climb off easily.

His attempt to be gentle went unappreciated, seeing as she tripped over his thumb in her mad dash to get off his hands. She whirled around to face him, brushing the side of her pants for her weapon again and backing up with slow steps.

“You look surprised,” he said, leaning back in his seat so he wouldn’t loom over her so much.

She stopped back-pedaling and narrowed her eyes at him. “Just always heard that a human would never let go once they get their hands on you. Guess you’re just weird or something.”

Hiding his wince with a snort, Dean knew at the back of his mind that Sam had been taught the exact same thing since he was cursed–that humans were nothing but a threat to the smaller folk. And in most cases, the lesson wasn’t wrong.

“Well, I kinda need both my hands for this,” Dean said.

Ziana flinched when he reached over her head to retrieve a roll of brown paper towels from the corner of the table. He leaned over to the mini-fridge, glad that he had gotten plenty of ice the night before. Straightening back up, he shook the bucket in search of smaller chunks of ice.

“Here. All you gotta do is wrap it up so it doesn’t slip out.” Dean tore a tiny piece of paper towel, trying to be more precise in his measurement than he had been with the alcohol wipe. He held it out to Ziana between a finger and thumb. She didn’t budge, looking between his fingers and his face. “C’mon,” he insisted. “If I wanted to grab you, I would’ve already.”

“Yeah, you did.” With that, she snatched the paper towel out from between his fingers and didn’t hesitate quite as much when he offered a sliver of ice on the pad of his index finger.

Rather than focus solely on wrapping up the ice, Ziana constantly peeked up at Dean, as if waiting for him to change his mind and be the evil sort of human she had been warned about all her life. It probably didn’t help that he sat there while doing nothing but watch her. He would have offered to make some ice packs of his own, but that would mean Ziana was less busy making them and more prone to have another fit over something or other.

And truth be told, there was something a little fascinating about watching such tiny hands construct something that would otherwise be mundane as Ziana paced a tight path on the table while she worked.

“Make sure you wrap it in a coupl’a layers so it doesn’t melt through,” he added.

“Yeah, I know,” she muttered, pretending she hadn’t nearly dropped the half-finished ice pack at the sound of his voice startling her.

“So, you and Shay have known each other for a while?” Dean asked. “What are you two? Sisters? Cousins? Friends?”

Ziana’s cheeks flushed so deeply that he would have believed she had a fever too. “F-Friends,” she said haltingly, looking up–though it seemed she was trying to look past Dean and at the bed rather than at him. She sighed. “We’re friends.” Clearing her throat, she held up the wrapped ice to show Dean. “Finished.”

Taking his curious frown away from her, Dean looked over his shoulder and found Sam getting ready to start wrapping the gash. Shay didn’t seem to have made any more outbursts, but to be on the safe side, Dean decided they could stand to make a few more ice packs.

Tearing another piece of paper towel, he held it out to Ziana. “Just a couple more.”

Nowhere Else to Turn (Part 6/8)


( This is my entry for the @brothersapart 2016 Contest: . Enjoy! )

“It’s good to see you again.”

Sam’s voice might have made Ziana flinch if Dean’s footsteps hadn’t alerted her of his return. She gave a quiet hum of acknowledgement, too focused on figuring out of Shay had stirred or not when Dean’s walk sent tremors through the bed. It must have been wishful thinking because Shay’s face was passive, and she didn’t move at all where she lay–her upper half in Ziana’s arms and her lower half on the bedspread.

“For how long has she been like this?” Sam asked, coming to kneel by Ziana.

“She was awake last night when I got home after you and I… met.” Nestled among her fear for Shay was the realization that Sam had every reason to turn down helping her.

The bed shook again, the tremors tapering off instead of becoming more prominent this time. Ziana peeked over her shoulder at Dean’s broad form lurking by the table as he looked for something in a duffel bag. It was hard to decide what made her more nervous: looking at Dean, or not. Seeing as he hadn’t done anything particularly terrible to her or Shay, it was less nerve-wracking to not focus on the intimidating human.

“How can you deal with this?” Ziana muttered to Sam, throwing a look around the room. “Being out in the open–with him right there?”

To her surprise, Sam chuckled. “It wasn’t easy at first, I’ll admit. But he’s my brother. I trust him, and so can you.” At Ziana’s scoff, he leaned forward to give her a pointed look. “You must believe me at least a little, since you came here asking for help.”

“The question is,” Ziana said coolly, “are you going to give us help?”

His eyebrows raised incredulously. “Of course we are!”

“Even after I…” She couldn’t look at his black eye for more than a second before she trailed off and fixed her gaze back on Shay. “I mean, I got you pretty good. I sure as hell wouldn’t be helping anyone who did that to me.” She peeked at him in her peripherals, willing herself to shut up so she wouldn’t change his mind.

“Well, you’re the one who hit me,” Sam pointed out, grimacing as he touched the corner of the bruise. “Not Shay.”

Ziana gave a small start upon hearing him say Shay’s name. She supposed Dean had gone right ahead and told his brother their names while explaining the situation.

Her nerves wired once more when Dean approached again. She looked down at Shay’s face and stroked her hair, wondering how Shay would react to being out in the open the way she was. The night before, she hadn’t seemed completely against the idea of asking Sam and his giant supposed-brother for help, so that quelled some of Ziana’s guilt.

“We’re going to need to get that bandage off,” Sam said, drawing her attention back to him. “Maybe cut it off, by the looks of that knot.”

Dean knelt by the edge of the bed. Ziana leaned in the other direction automatically, turning her body to put Shay further out of his line of sight. He was more preoccupied with setting down some kind of bottle, a white roll of bandages, and a flat square package half Ziana’s height. He unrolled the fresh bandages, and Ziana’s eyes widened at the sight of the scissors he used to cut through the white cloth.

She gave Sam an alarmed frown. “No way. Not cutting Shay’s bandage off with those.”

“No,” Sam agreed, reaching into his jacket. “With this.”

He pulled out a knife far more intricate than any tool Ziana had ever seen. It was hard to focus on the finished handle when there was a glint of sharp silver protruding from it. She wondered if he had it on him when she pulled her needle out the night before. It was likely. If she had a nice weapon like that, she would never let it go.

A grimace split across Shay’s face when Sam started to cut away the bandage. Ziana would have wrenched her friend away if it weren’t for the risk of cutting Shay with the knife right by her arm.

“You’re hurting her!” Ziana slid one arm out from under Shay and snatched Sam’s wrist before he could go any further. She was relieved when he didn’t struggle and slice into Shay by accident.

Sam gave her a surprisingly patient look. “If it’s infected like you say, then getting this off of her is going to hurt her no matter what.”

“I suggest you let him finish that up if you want any of this ointment on her cut, sweetheart,” Dean put in. A chill ran down Ziana’s spine at the way his voice rumbled through her, and she let go of Sam’s wrist to stroke Shay’s hair agian.

Ziana squeezed her eyes shut when Sam peeled off the bandage completely. He made a soft noise of sympathy that sent her hopes sinking further. Still, she peeked at the wound and immediately felt last night’s meager dinner churn in her stomach. She looked at Sam’s face instead, noticing the way he glanced at her with concern.

“If you can’t handle it, I can try to clean it up and wrap it up.” His uncertain offer hung in the air for a long moment before Ziana nodded. She couldn’t even bear to look at the infected cut long enough to know how red it was, let alone focus long enough to clean it. Giving her a nod, Sam helped Ziana rest Shay all the way down on the bed. “I’ve never cleaned anything like this before, but I’m pretty sure I know what to do. It’s simple enough. I’ll clean it with the alcohol, spread some ointment on, and wrap the bandage.” Sam glanced up at Dean for confirmation before looking back at Ziana. “Alright?”

“Are you sure she’ll be okay?” Ziana squared her jaw, determined to salvage some confidence in her voice. Truth be told, she appreciated that Sam explained what he was going to do instead of getting right to it.

“The cut doesn’t look deep,” he said, sounding more sure of himself. “If it were worse, well… I don’t know how we would stitch it up. But this–it shouldn’t need more than what we have here.” He gestured at the supplies Dean provided, making Ziana inadvertently look at the human again. The look on his face was probably concerned, but she couldn’t help but see it as menacing.

But Sam had a reassuring vibe about him. Out of the shadows within the walls, he didn’t look quite so sinister. At this point, Ziana couldn’t see what he would gain from putting up a front, so she didn’t argue. “Let’s not waste any time, then,” she said.

Nowhere Else to Turn (Part 5/8)


( This is my entry for the @brothersapart 2016 Contest: . Enjoy! )

Nothing particularly suspicious had come up on the Internet so far in Dean’s search for a potential case, but he knew something would crop up eventually. Something always did. Still, with no next destination in mind yet, he and Sam had slept in a little later than usual before Dean started packing up to vacate the motel room.

That was, until he heard a shrill sound from somewhere behind him. He reached for his gun automatically, eyes darting to the bathroom, where he had left Sam minutes prior to wash up in the sink. The sound had come from somewhere low, but not from the door.

A distant voice followed the whistle. “Hey!” Dean turned slowly, locking his gaze on the nightstand as the voice piped up again. “Yeah, I’m talkin’ to you, long legs!”

The volume of the voice left no doubt in Dean’s mind what–or rather who –was talking to him: a tiny person like Sam. He recalled the girl Sam had confessed to meeting the night before. The one that had given him a black eye.

Mindful of his comparatively big movements, Dean walked toward the nightstand and narrowed his eyes at the space between it and the bed, puzzled that someone so small would want to get his attention. He caught a movement in the shadows, the unmistakeable figure of a person, though there was something odd about the shape. Upon kneeling down in front of the gap between the furniture, Dean realized the figure looked strange because it was two figures.

One was limp in the other’s arms.

The conscious girl had shoulder-length brown hair and looked as pale as a sheet even in the shadows. She was primed to flee, shuffling in the direction of the nightstand.

“Hey now, you’re gonna go running off when you’re the one that called me?” Dean said, trying to keep his voice mild so he wouldn’t spook her away. By the looks of it, her friend wasn’t doing so hot.

The girl pursed her lips and straightened, but Dean had interacted with frightened victims from hunts enough long enough to know she worked hard to conceal terror and uncertainty under her stony expression.

“Does it look like I’m running off?” she grumbled. “I just don’t like the way you walk and talk so loud.”

“Right,” Dean said with a small laugh that made her stiffen. “And here I thought I was getting better after being with my brother.” He watched closely, noticing how she took the bait and tensed further upon Sam’s mention. “You didn’t happen to meet my brother, did you? Give him something, maybe?” Dean knew that he had all the power in the current situation, but he couldn’t bring himself to let the incident slide just yet. “A black eye?”

Her arms tightened under her friend’s shoulders and knees as she eyed Dean with matching suspicion. She looked like she wanted nothing more than to be as far away from him as possible, but she held her ground with surprising valiance.

“I’m sorry for hitting your brother,” she said, grimacing as if the apology burned her tongue. “I saw him out here with you earlier, and I thought he was trying to trick us into getting captured.” She seemed to lose her nerve and stopped looking at Dean, focusing on her her friend’s face instead.

Dean cocked his head. “Something tells me you’re not just here to apologize.”

She shook her head. “Sam asked me if there was anything you two could do to help. Well, you can. I’m Ziana, and this is Shay. She has an infected cut, and you have some kind of medicine, don’t you? Please. She doesn’t deserve to be in this kind of pain. She… She’s a good person.”

Sympathy wormed through him as he leaned closer to get a better look at Shay’s face, stopping when Ziana shuffled the slightest distance toward the nightstand. No way he would turn down helping someone innocent, especially when these two were clearly down to their last resort. That didn’t mean he was crazy about having Sam’s attacker near Sam.

“Yeah, a good person, huh?” He gave Ziana a skeptical raise of his eyebrows. “And what about you?”

She finally lifted her head again for the sole purpose of giving him a flat look. “Me? I’m an asshole. But buddy, me and her a package deal.”

Despite everything, a smirk touched Dean’s lips. “Fair enough.”

He hesitated before reaching forward and laying a hand down just outside the gap between the nightstand and the bed. Ziana gasped and practically threw herself back against the wall, losing whatever composure she had managed to build up. Dean didn’t comment on it, trying to remind her instead why she had come out to ask for help in the first place.

“How did she get cut?” Dean asked, eyeing the crude cloth bandage on Shay’s upper arm.

“A-A nail in the wall a couple days ago.” Ziana leaned forward and then pulled back again, taking measured breaths. “She got a fever the next day and said she felt weak. Then she didn’t get up this morning, but she’s… Her heart’s still going, and she’s still breathing.” Looking from Dean’s face to his hand, she let out an agitated sigh. “What’s that for? Just bring me medicine, bandages, whatever she needs!”

“Well, you’re the one that brought her all the way out here,” he pointed out, curling his fingers in a beckoning gesture. “How much do you know about cleaning wounds?”

The look on her face said, not a thing, but he knew that she wouldn’t admit it. “How much do you know about cleaning wounds?” she challenged back.

“Listen, sweetheart, as fun as this is, we don’t have time for games. Your friend there could be fading fast for all you know, and you want to stand around arguing? I could give you medicine and bandages, but you and I don’t know how much time it’ll take for you to figure it out. Hell, I don’t even know exactly what she needs unless I see the cut for myself.”

Ziana didn’t answer this time, but he could see the mounting panic on her face as she made herself walk closer to his hand. He felt tug of guilt that he was being so pushy, but the infection could have Shay down to mere hours left, especially if she hadn’t even twitched from the sound of his and Ziana’s voices.

Stopping just short of the shadows, Ziana hesitated again, looking prepared to back-pedal to her starting point if Dean so much as breathed wrong. Even Dean was beginning to feel a slight flutter in his heart. He was getting used to carrying Sam around, but these were entirely different people he was dealing with now.

“You could just hand her over if you don’t want to be carried off yourself,” Dean suggested.

“Hand her over? To you? Like hell, long legs.” Ziana marched forward right onto Dean’s hand with as much grace as he would expect for someone climbing onto a hand for the first time. She stumbled every other step until she reached his palm.

It was then that she realized what she was doing. Her eyes ballooned as she looked up at Dean’s face and then at the lines of his palm beneath her. When his hand shifted, she dropped to a crouch and did a poor job of silencing a squeak of alarm. She knelt in the middle of his hand, tucking Shay close against her so that the unconscious girl wasn’t touching Dean at all. Ziana trembled and squeezed her eyes shut before ducking down with her face practically buried in Shay’s blond hair.

“Easy,” Dean murmured, rising carefully from the ground. “It’ll all be over in a second.”

Her head shot up. “What?”

“I didn’t mean all over, like–” Dean groaned and dragged his free hand down his face. “I mean, me carrying you. It’s over now, see?” He lowered his hand to the bed, keeping it as steady a platform as he could for Ziana to climb off.

She did so without a beat of hesitation, nearly tripping over her own feet on the surface of the bed. Rather than waste time with more assurances of his good intentions, Dean pulled his hand away and turned. Knowing that there was a nonexistent chance of Ziana allowing him lay a finger on Shay, he went to fetch Sam.

Nowhere Else to Turn (Part 4/8)


( This is my entry for the @brothersapart 2016 Contest: . Enjoy! )

Ziana slept for a total of five minutes while sitting by Shay’s bed. Spending the majority of the day and evening scoping out rooms for food and non-existent medication took more out of her than she cared to admit, but she didn’t dare go to bed after her encounter with the man claiming to be brothers with a friendly human.

A stressful day overall.

She blinked hard and shook her head as she came out of her brief nap. Standing up, she stretched her sore arms over her head; that was what she got for sitting with her arms crossed so tightly for hours. Shay was curled up with her back to Ziana, the blanket pulled up to her chin.

Dim light filtered from one wall. The lamps were on in the motel room on the other side. It had to be morning at least, judging by the rumble of footsteps coming from the room. Ziana could only hope that meant the “brothers” were preparing to leave that morning. After all, Sam claimed they would only stay for one more night.

“Good morning,” Ziana said in a singsong voice, moving over to the table to scrape up some breakfast. Not for her; she could do without, but Shay needed to eat and keep her strength up if they wanted any hope of breaking that fever. “Looks like Sam decided not to have his human come rain hell on us.”

When she received no answer, she looked over her shoulder from the crinkly wrapper.

“Shay?” she called, a little louder.

A barely audible moan came in reply.

Dropping the crumbs on the table, Ziana rushed back to the bed and leaned over Shay to turn her over. Skin hotter than ever, Shay fluttered her eyelids a few times but couldn’t keep them open more than halfway before they drooped back shut.

“Shay? Say something, come on!” Ziana sat on the edge of the bed and pulled the other girl’s upper body into her arms, giving her a rough shake. “Come on!”

“M’sleepy,” Shay murmured, peering at Ziana from under her eyelashes. “Just… a little more sleep. I’ll be fine.”

“Don’t give me that! You know this isn’t okay!”

Ziana bit her lip and shifted Shay’s weight to one side so she could peek under the bandage on Shay’s upper right arm. Bracing herself, she lifted the edge of the wrapped cloth and almost gagged; the skin around the gash was angry red and swollen. She didn’t look at it long enough to be sure, but some nasty stuff seemed to have built up on and around it.

“Gross,” Ziana hissed, cradling Shay back into both arms. “I’ll look again today for some medicine. Hell, even an actual bandage. I swear, I won’t come back until I–Shay?”

The other girl’s eyes were no longer even at half-mast. Her eyelids didn’t so much as twitch in response to Ziana’s voice. The only signal that assured Shay was alive was the weak tickle of breath on Ziana’s neck. But who knew for how much longer that would last if they carried on like this, with no proper medication for the festering wound.

Maybe we can help, she remembered the man from the motel room saying.

“Shut up, Sam,” Ziana muttered, clutching Shay more protectively at the mere thought of the massive human stomping through the room just beyond the wall. Dean, Sam had called him.

Shay let out a soft, shuddering sigh like a whimper, her head falling limply against Ziana’s shoulder. Her breaths came slower, and she began to shake. For a few agonizing moments, Ziana sat there on the edge of the bed, aware that Shay’s skin could go from burning hot to icy cold in a matter of hours if she didn’t do something.

“Fine, fine, fine!”

There was nowhere else to turn. She secured one arm around Shay’s shoulders and slipped the other under her knees to scoop her up. Too desperate to change her mind there and then, Ziana rushed to the passage leading to Sam and Dean’s room.


By the time she reached the opening behind the nightstand, Ziana had considered going back home no less than a dozen times. It occurred to her that she hadn’t brought her climbing gear. Not that it mattered. Hauling Shay around meant that hooks and ropes weren’t going to do either of them any good. Still, she felt naked without her usual supplies. She wanted to kick herself for not grabbing her needle on the way out, at least.

If Sam was lying and Dean was the snatch-em-up type, she and Shay were royally screwed. But what else could she do? She couldn’t leave Shay to die, even if others would do just that rather than go to a human for help. She could barely handle watching Shay when she first broke out in a fever.

The floor shook again–a sure sign that Dean hadn’t left the room. The drone of the TV was mere background noise between the human’s stomping and Ziana’s instincts screaming in her head to flee back to safety.

A glance down at Shay’s troubled face was enough to force Ziana through the opening and walk along the edge of the wall. She moved out from behind the nightstand, but stayed hidden between it and the bed’s shadows.

The towering human stood by the far table, packing things up by the looks of it. Sam hadn’t been lying when he said they were only staying for that night, and it seemed neither of the “brothers” had pursued any interest in finding people in the walls after last night’s incident.

Ziana swallowed hard. “H-Hey,” she said, quieter than a mouse.

And then Dean’s boots were on the move.

Ziana held Shay tighter, biting back a cry and shoving her back against the wall, but the human didn’t move in her direction. In fact, it seemed he was still minding his own business. He hadn’t even heard her. She squared her shoulders and tried again when he stopped moving in front of the dresser.

“Hey.” It wasn’t much louder than the first time.

Again, she was ignored.

Feeling her cheeks grow hot, she bit down hard on her lower lip and released a long, shrill whistle to get his attention. “Hey!” she roared. The giant’s movements paused. “Yeah, I’m talkin’ to you, long legs!”

The moment the words left her lips, Ziana realized she should have at least left Shay within the opening of the passageway until she could get a better read on Dean’s personality instead of carrying her vulnerable friend directly into danger. She should have grabbed her needle. She should have had a backup plan in case things went south.

She should have not yelled at a freaking giant.

But it was far too late to take it back and do it over. The boots turned and started for the nightstand.