6. Catch – A Wild Baker Appears
Sort of doing these out of order, but I’m determined to do them all
Simon Baker rapped gently on his youngest brother’s bedroom door. “Suppertime! Get it while it’s hot!”
These days, Simon thought to give Stan whatever space he needed. School had always been a rough time for the kid, even more so now that he was a teenager. Even so, Simon tried to keep spirits light in the hopes of cheering Stan up.
Simon’s brow pinched when there came no answer. Usually, even on the worst days, he’d get a grumble in response at least. Stan would never turn down a meal.
“C’mon Stanley, don’t want it to get cold without you,” he called through the door as he made a move to open it. He went slow, not one to burst in on anyone, and he listened for Stan to correct him.
It wasn’t that he hated being called Stanley, but he did prefer ‘Stan’.
Only when Simon still didn’t hear a peep out of the room did he open it all the way. Now he was concerned.
His frown deepened as he stepped into the room and found it empty. Stan wasn’t in bed, but his schoolbag was still there and the window was securely shut. Simon knew Stan came home earlier, so where did he–?
A light skittering on the floor by his feet interrupted Simon’s thoughts. He looked down; when he didn’t see anything, he took a wary step closer.
In the corner of Simon’s eye, he noticed something quick and tiny dashing into the open. He didn’t get a good look before it took shelter under Stan’s dresser.
Simon sighed and strode over to shut Stan’s door. If his brother brought another mouse in the house, he’d better take care of it before it got into the walls. Then he could resume figuring out where Stan went.
Grabbing one of Stan’s jars and a ventilated lid from the desk, Simon lowered himself to the floor to peer under the dresser. It was too dark to see in any detail, but a small shape hurried to the far side. Simon sat up and reached around to snatch it before it hid under the bed.
In his hurry to get his catch into the jar, Simon didn’t notice that it didn’t quite feel like a mouse in his grasp.
He made sure to tilt the jar so the little thing would slide safely to the bottom. Simon was used to this habit of Stan’s, and he knew it came from a well-meaning place. Their youngest brother was never one to walk away when anyone or anything needed help. Even a lost, injured mouse.
So it was a complete shock to Simon when he lifted the jar to find something that definitely wasn’t a mouse.
AU: Brothers Lost
Timeline: After The Water’s Fine
The old house creaked and groaned, constantly settling as the wind outside tested its strength. Jacob crept through the main hall, his boots muffled by a dusty rug that had been traversed many times over the years. The house truly was old, so much so that its wiring was shaky at best, and anything electronic didn’t fit in with the decor.
Jacob kept his flashlight trained on the ground as he walked, and his eyes flickered from side to side. He normally had two small companions on either shoulder, giving him input on where he should go.
They’d led him to this house, this old old place, and that was as far as he’d gotten with their guidance. Old floorboards and walls meant lots of passages within the woodwork of the home to explore. As the only ones that could fit in there, Sam and Dean were the best choice. Sam was only four inches tall, and Dean was a little smaller, but that had yet to slow them down.
Sam and Dean Winchester were hunters, and it ran in the family. After so long thinking their lives had crashed into a dead end in a little motel in Kansas, they were back on the job with a determination to rival anyone. While helping them look for their dad, a hunter who had dropped of the map a couple years back, Jacob was learning the trade as well.
They would scope out the inside of the walls and see if they could find any evidence of what might be causing the strange activity reported from that house. Jacob, being much taller and bulkier, would venture the halls and rooms, scoping out what he could.
Despite knowing how capable they were and how fiercely the brothers defended their independence, Jacob couldn’t help but worry about them in the back of his mind. This was an entirely new place. He didn’t even know the normal dangers they might face in the walls, and this house would probably have new ones. Old, unstable framework would shift and crush them, or a resident rat, used to having the place to itself, could sneak up on them.
Jacob had to remind himself often of how long they’d been living at their size. They were cursed as kids, and he’d only known them for a month or so at the most. Of their group, he was the least experienced with hunting.
The thoughts quieted as he wandered into what looked like a living room. He needed to focus. They were there to find signs of a vengeful spirit or even a poltergeist.
A flicker of motion in one corner drew Jacob’s gaze like a beacon. Normally, he’d never notice something like that, but after hanging around with people the size of his fingers around, he could never be too careful. He had to keep his eyes open for them.
The risks if he didn’t were far too great.
“Sam? Dean?” he called, his voice low but still shattering the silence. He always felt huge and loud when he was dealing with them, and when they were all on a hunt. After the case with Melanie, he’d tried to learn better stealth, with Dean giving him pointers, but he didn’t think it was working very quickly.
Even so, he crossed the room to where he’d seen the motion, next to a heavy cabinet. He knelt down next to it and shone his flashlight in the corner, expecting to find one of the Winchesters snooping around. He could expect a scold or a harsh complaint if it was Dean.
Instead, there was a surprised little squeak.
Jacob’s eyebrows shot up and he gasped at the sight of a tiny mouse. It was curled up with its back to the corner, and a little pink tail wrapped around the tiny paws. Round ears and a whiskered nose quivered in time with the rapid breaths seen in the tiny curled up body.
“Oh,” Jacob muttered. He’d cornered a mouse. “Uh. Sorry, little guy.” He remembered thinking that the brothers were so close to mice in size when he first started hanging around them. Now, he was seeing, they were definitely bigger than a mouse, or this one was exceptionally small. It might be young.
Jacob didn’t have much time to think about the fact that he’d cornered a tiny little mouse in his search for his friends before a crash sounded elsewhere in the house. It sounded like it came from upstairs, and recognition lit in his eyes. The attic had been cited in the stories about the house several times.
“If you see my friends when you get back in the walls, let them know I went upstairs,” he murmured with a smirk, wondering if Sam and Dean could already hear what he said. Him, their so-called Godzilla, talking to a mouse.
Then, he stood back to his full height, letting his flashlight beam drift away from the mouse. He didn’t watch where its shadowy shape darted to next.
He had to find out what caused that noise. It’s what a good hunter would do.
Oh, Sam! Don’t go in there!
I think he would be so surprised to see such big creatures afraid of him, all four inches of him in their cage. And those other littles will have to keep him away from any clowns because my god XD Giant clowns are not something for a wee Sammy. Dean is going to have a field day with this one if he remembers.
That would be so much food, for sure. So many people knocking over popcorn and spilling their drinks and candy, it’s like a field day for the smols and their mice, because of course they’ll have a group of mice living with them. It’s probably nice and warm to snuggle with the mice when it comes time to go to bed. Sam will love that.
I thought that story with Oz and the pups was SO CUTE, so I had to draw it
Oscar meant no harm, honest!
I’m sure we can all be glad that Oscar has someone to talk to, even if they only squeak back at him. The little guy needs his buddies to come back for him, and we definitely haven’t forgotten about him! Glad you enjoy the little updates on his life!
An update on how little Oscar is doing. In this short, he is around 16 years old.
“So that’s why I haven’t seen you in a few days,” Oscar remarked quietly. He couldn’t help but smile at the sight before him, and he was relieved. He had worried his friend might have gotten snapped in a trap somewhere in the dusty corners of the motel, only to be thrown out with the trash.
The truth was wriggling around in the fluffy nest of fur, lint, sawdust, and scraps of string. Oscar heard the muffled squeaking and inched forward to get a closer look. The mouse he knew, a descendant of the first mouse he ever met, squeaked in greeting and twitched her nose at him like Rita long before her so often did. Oscar held out a hand and let her nuzzle his arm with ticklish whiskers.
Once he’d said hello to their mother, Oscar couldn’t resist sitting down at the edge of the nest to greet the new arrivals. The mouse pups noticed him and crawled closer, their little noses poking out of the surrounding fluff before they emerged further.
They only had soft fuzz all over their bodies, rather than a full coat. Oscar brushed a gentle hand over ears that hadn’t even fully rounded yet and tiny backs that were so fragile he could feel their rapid heartbeats. The pups squeaked quietly, sniffing avidly though they couldn’t yet see him.
Oscar’s scent, after their mother’s, would be one of the first things they ever knew.
“Four pups,” he counted softly with a grin. Four new residents of the Knight’s Inn motel. Two of them at the most would stay once they were adults, he guessed. The mice didn’t crowd themselves in, simply because of resources.
Oscar had learned a lot about the habits of mice over the years. At sixteen, he’d known mice longer than he’d gotten to know his mother.
One of the pups had grey markings on her pink skin where her fur would be darker than the usual tan. She squirmed her way closer until she tumbled onto Oscar’s lap, her stumpy tail twitching back and forth and her tiny paws searching for purchase.
“Oops,” Oscar said with a chuckle. He picked up the little mouse, not even an inch long, and shifted her over so she was upright with her front paws on his leg in case she wanted to wander off of him again. Instead, she poked her little nose at his side before settling down with a tired squeak.
She was just in time for her brother to crawl into Oscar’s lap after her, and Oscar had to laugh. “You pups will overrun me,” he told them. Their mother squeaked and sniffed at Oscar’s face, tickling him with her whiskers. As he had with her when she was just a new pup, he was proving to be a very good babysitter.
In no time at all, Oscar had three mouse pups crowded onto his lap while the fourth rested in his arms. Every chance he got, Oscar tried to meet the mice as early as he could after litters were born. They imprinted on him, learning his scent, and he welcomed his new neighbors. Oscar rubbed behind their soft little ears, for a moment letting himself feel peaceful as the new baby mice rested on him.
August 27th excerpt:
Dean hesitated with his hands cupped close to his face. He had to be imagining things. He was going to open up his hands, and there would be nothing in there. Or, he amended, feeling a tiny weight in there and ticklish flutters against his palm, there’ll just be some mouse or moth. Can’t be a kid.
XD Aww, it’s an adorable idea but not quite up my alley! Plus, I wouldn’t want to steal the title of ‘mouse whisperer’ from Oscar. Sam’s skilled with mice, but Oscar’s best friend was Rita the mouse as a kid and she helped him survive when his mother vanished. ;o; She brought him food and let him hug her when he was really sad, and since then he’s made sure to imprint on all the new litters of baby mice. Mice only live a couple years, and Oscar has seen many generations go by while he’s the honorary mousie himself.
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.