Touch Deprivation

anonymous asked:

Random ask here, but when a little is living with a human, even though I know they are technically touched or manhandled all the time, do they ever experience touch deprivation? I don’t know how even being held to a chest in a hug compares to someone the same size interacting with you and to what extent that would affect you…

Well, that’s probably going to depend on the exact little in question.

For instance, I hate touching. The fact that someone could pick me up and move me around at any time would bother the hell out of me, and I’d be twitchy from too much touching!

Some would likely yearn for same-size touch, wishing to find another of their kind. Especially if they’re in forced captivity, instead of the mutually supportive relationship like Sam and Dean have.

This actually came up in the Sad Oscar AU (aka Brothers Consulted). Oscar spent a long time with humans that could and would pick him up whenever they wanted, and it’s just not the same…


Oscar was so shocked by the sight of someone with such small features that he didn’t even flinch back from the sudden embrace. She was taller than him, but her thin frame was at his scale. No giant hands or looming faces to force him to go wherever they wanted. As it sank in, he shuddered with sheer relief and hid his eyes against her shoulder.

One frail arm returned the hug, but even Oscar’s earnest cling was timid and weak. The hand on his cane gripped it so tightly it shook.

Oscar had had no shortage of physical contact since his capture. From Noriko to Charlotte, no human had any qualms about grabbing him up in a relentless grasp, hugging him or simply carrying him around. He was no stranger to touch, and yet he might as well be touch starved.

“S-someone came,” he muttered, almost more to himself than to the stranger holding him now.

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myimaginedairybeard asked:

It kinda looks as if BC Dean is even MORE afraid of heights than the one in BL. Is this because of the airplane? I mean, we have bad Oscar had dealt with it in the Sad Oscar au (SAVE HIM °^°) speaking of oz, the Sad Oscar au was the first time/au Oz had used his Pyrokinesis knack (you once said that if he had a knack this would be it. And cooling off a burning hot metal seems to fit that title of fire power), so does that mean we’re going to see it soon enough in other aus as well?

@nightmares06

Oh wow, this ask went in a few unexpected directions on its way to the end! 

I’ll leave the Oscar stuff to neon 😉

Dean in Brothers Consulted is absolutely more afraid of heights and flying than his Lost or canon SPN counterparts. It went from a basic phobia to a full-fledged PTSD. 

He’s coming to terms with hitching a ride on Sherlock’s shoulder, with the help of the scarf for support and to help hide the surroundings, but he’s not good when it comes to getting picked up and lifted without warning. 

Given time, he’ll get through those reactions, but planes. PLANES. He’s never going to be able to ride an airplane without a full-blown panic reaction, hyperventilating and losing sight of if he’s with friends or enemies. 

That plane ride happened when they were kids, they were trapped in a box, the entire world rattled around them for a full 10 hours before disembarking in a place where Dean had never been. Any fear of heights he ever had amped up several levels higher. 

The saddest part is Dean wouldn’t fully realize this until he’s on a plane and it turns on, because it’s triggered by the sounds more than the sights.

@neonwrite

I am so pleased that you noticed that detail! It wasn’t a very obvious moment, but you are correct that Oscar’s pyrokinesis knack activated in the Sad Oscar AU when he was being branded (which is why even he didn’t realize it – he was far too busy being upset and terrified and in pain). Now that we know Sad Oscar AU is actually Brothers Consulted, we might just see how he eventually further develops that ability! 😉 Dean’s gonna be so jealous.

As for other AUs, I’m always looking for opportunities to give him a reason for his knack to appear. Since he was born a wee borrower, it will only show up if he has a true need for it, and a need for the ability to manipulate fire doesn’t come along often. But don’t think we’re above stressing the little guy out with some fire someday!

Unnamed Sad Oscar AU guessed!

myimaginedairybeard asked:

Does the unnamed Sad Oscar AU takes place in Brothers Consulted?

Oh gosh. You’re the first person to guess that!

The unnamed Sad Oscar AU is indeed secretly a part of Brothers Consulted. At some point during the writing of it, my cowriters couldn’t stand it any longer, and through nudges and some Upset conversations, it was decided that he needed a rescue in Brothers Consulted. So that “The End?” on the last installment was a red herring! It’s not truly the end of the Sad Oscar AU. Everything after that, well, it involves a Plot from Brothers Consulted that you will all have to wait and see (luckily it got voted in as the next story, so you’ll get closer to being able to guess the answer).

Of course, with BC and Oscar that means he will have to meet the Baker Street crew someday. One thing we have planned for that is an encounter with Sherlock in which the detective, predictably, runs his mouth. He’s going to learn that Oscar’s no “typical” borrower:


“W-well, I can be scared if I want to! I’ve had to do everything by myself since I was seven while all you humans did was take and take, a-and then someone took me and … I’m not a doll, I’m Oscar, and I’ll be nervous around humans all I want!”

The words had barely left his mouth before Oscar’s indignant look transformed into shock. The quietest squeak escaped him and he ducked behind the nearest hiding place he could find. That happened to be Dean.

Still Standing Still

Lucky number 13, another installment of the Sad Oscar AU. Oscar did manage to survive his last misadventure, but what next?

( x )


Oscar gripped the bars to either side with all the strength his hands could offer. His knuckles were even paler than his usual and his arms shook from the weight of even his small body. They weren’t used to doing so much work to hold him up, even with the parallel rails made just for him.

He didn’t have many options. It was that, or crawl everywhere for the rest of his life.

Not that he had many places to go. Since Charlotte’s last mistake, Oscar was off-limits. Something to do with “wasted investments” kept him safe from her careless handling. He couldn’t help but think about what he’d heard after his latest injury. If this one dies …

This one.

The glass front of his doll cage remained sealed unless they were giving him food or cleaning out his washroom. He had become an ornament more than a pet.

As a lance of pain raced outward from the middle of his back, Oscar told himself it wasn’t the worst. He could have been like the last occupant of the cage.

If this one dies …

His arms wobbled and he sank to the floor between his parallel bars. His legs didn’t respond at all. When he looked up, he swallowed a sob of lonely frustration.

He had so far to go to reach the other side.


The End?

Treats

Here we are with another installment for sad Oscar. I couldn’t really think of a place to split it up, so it’s all here. Brace.

( x )


Oscar didn’t move from the doll couch for a long time. He memorized the pattern on the ceiling, then forgot it again so he could observe it anew with the later-afternoon glare across it. His breathing was slow and trance-like, but every noise in the vast human house kept his heart rate on a sprint and he wouldn’t dare let his guard down.

When he finally heard the unmistakable cadence of footsteps approaching the room his dollhouse was opulently displayed in, he sat up. Through the glass front of his cage-house, he could survey the entrance to the room.

A large part of him wanted to dive behind doll furniture and hide, but his training petrified him to his seat. He didn’t want to risk upsetting the humans who bought him. Who owned him.

It didn’t take long for Charlotte to appear in the doorway like she was walking on stage for a performance. She walked with a proud air, confidence rattling in the floor upon every step. Her presence filled the room in a way that suggested she was used to attention and praise, and expected it regularly.

The obvious reason trailed behind her. Oscar hadn’t seen the other human much. He hadn’t seen him at all until well after the man had paid for him and carried him home from where he was branded and trained.

“You have to see his new little sweater on him,” Charlotte insisted. She and her husband closed the distance, her leading him in an indulgent trot across the room. Soon, they stood before the table and were all Oscar could see.

Oscar waited on the doll couch with his feet not quite reaching the floor. His hands, obscured by the over-large sleeves of the latest sweater Charlotte had pulled over his head, rested in his lap. As Charlotte and her husband leaned in to smile at him, Oscar’s cheeks warmed.

He’d grown up knowing he wasn’t supposed to be seen, but now there was no way to avoid it.

“It’s a good one, Charlotte,” the man said to humor her.

Charlotte beamed. “Argyle in miniature! Who’d have thought?” she gushed. Her ability to resist finally eroded, and she reached up to open the locked glass door at the front of the dollhouse. Oscar barely had time to stumble to his feet before her hand snatched him up like he might disappear.

Oscar closed his eyes to the sensation of Charlotte yanking him out in the open once more. Her grip was tight. He’d become all too familiar with human hands surrounding his body, preventing his every movement. The heat radiating all around him and the tiny changes in the pressure as their hands flexed and shifted. Charlotte held tightly enough that Oscar’s chest couldn’t expand all the way for a full breath.

“Be careful, Lottie,” the man chided her. His voice was gentle, as if it had never really scolded anyone for anything. It wasn’t the first time he’d failed to instill any concern in his wife.

“Oh, shush, Ollie’s fine,” Charlotte said. Oscar finally opened his eyes and found himself held in front of his dollhouse with them both watching. Their faces were so big. Too big. He blinked quickly to hide the tears that wanted so desperately to cascade down his cheeks.

“Well. Give him his treat, then, love!” Charlotte commanded, her eyebrows raised. “My poor baby is still far too thin. He needs to eat more.”

The man rolled his eyes and smirked. “You’ll have him fat and lazy before the year’s out,” he mused while he dug into his pocket. When his hand emerged again, a crinkly plastic packet of peanuts was clutched in his grasp. Most of the contents were gone, and it had been folded over itself to prevent a spill.

While Charlotte held Oscar steady in her tight grip, the man fished a crumb out of the packet. Even broken off, the portion of a peanut pinched in his fingers was several bites for Oscar. Small crystals of salt clung to it.

Oscar glanced up and met the man’s gaze. The human’s grin was wide and encouraging, but Oscar’s fear warped the expression. The eyes were too wide, the teeth too white. The hand came closer and his heart pounded.

“Alright, Ollie. Nibbles for you,” he announced. He held the broken peanut less than an inch in front of Oscar’s face. He couldn’t move enough to lean away from it.

There was a beat of silence, and then the man moved his hand even closer. Oscar’s face was practically smothered by the two large fingertips. The crumb shoved against his mouth and he closed his eyes in surprise. The smell of the peanut overwhelmed him and even though he didn’t want to, he opened his mouth to cough.

He almost immediately gagged as the human took that as a cue to try to shove the food into his mouth. The hand moved away, and Oscar spit it out on a reflex.

Normally, he’d have worried his reaction would offend them. They wanted to feed him a treat, but he couldn’t help choking on it when they tried it that way. He would normally be scared of Charlotte becoming upset and dismissive.

Reality was much worse.

The food falling away must have startled her. Oscar couldn’t be sure. Her hand moved as the crumb dropped to the table below, and then the fingers twitched around him. In a reflex to make sure she wouldn’t drop him, Charlotte tightened her grip.

Barely too much, but too much for sure.

Oscar’s breath rushed out first, and then something loud and ominous snapped within him.

Even with his lungs compressed, Oscar let loose a raspy shriek that sounded ghastly to his own ears. Everything in him shook as a sharp pain burst from his back, for a moment so much worse than when he was branded.

Then the numbness came, and he fell.

Charlotte dropped him. Oscar thought he might hit the floor, but the table rushed up to greet him first. He landed and released another, smaller yelp of pain as another crack reached his ears.

He lay on the hard surface gasping and twitching as the confused signals arrived from his body in a wave and all out of order. His hands tingled with electric pain. His head throbbed. His ankle was at a weird angle. He couldn’t shift it to a more comfortable one.

He couldn’t move his legs at all. They were only a mass of pins and needles attached at his waist.

Tears broke free as he lay there, no matter how much of his training scolded otherwise. The humans were yelling, but not at him.

“God dammit, Charlotte, have I not been telling you to be careful?” the man thundered. His voice shook everything. The air, the ground, the table. Oscar’s broken body vibrated in time with it.

Charlotte was distraught. “I-I-I didn’t mean to!”

The man shook his head. “If this one dies you’re not getting another one,” he warned her. “I’ll call the bloke who sold him to me. Might be they know how to deal with this.”

Oscar’s eyelids fluttered and he tried to make sense of their words. All he could do was gasp. Each breath in was like swallowing fire, and every breath out was like a heavy pressure settling over him that he needed to overcome each time.

The man retreated from his vision. Charlotte remained for a moment to watch over him. She didn’t touch his fallen body, and Oscar didn’t know if he preferred that. He needed comfort more than anything. Someone to tell him he would be okay and the pain would stop. But it was her that had hurt him.

As blackness crept over him, Oscar wondered through all the pain if he would wake up again.

Forever Home

It’s time to check in on little Oscar again. He’s had such a rough time of late. I should also note that my plans suggest only two more updates after Forever Home. We’re nearing the end of the Unnamed Sad Oscar AU that swept us all up in the feels.

( x )


Oscar squirmed uncomfortably, but he didn’t dare struggle as much as he wanted to. Trapped in a hand, he wouldn’t have anywhere to go if he were to escape. More than that, his training still rang loudly in his memory despite how long it had been.

Weeks, maybe months, had gone by. Oscar had been “adopted,” so the humans liked to call it. He knew what that really meant.

He was theirs. Their own living doll, a pet to hold and play with whenever they wished.

The man who’d paid for him insisted that he was a family pet, but Charlotte always insisted otherwise. The woman of the house, home more often than not, Oscar saw her more than any other human in his life. The afternoons all ran together, and one day was no different from the next. This one was looking to be the same.

“Oh, my darling little Ollie,” Charlotte cooed as she lifted him up towards her face. He still didn’t have the courage to correct her.

Her other hand appeared, with one finger extended. Oscar pursed his lips and held in a squeak as she petted his messy hair. Each stroke strained his neck and tilted his head back. His eyes were wide, and she smiled at him. She thought it was cute to pet him that way. He wasn’t allowed to tell her that it hurt.

“Mummy has a gift for you, are you excited?” Charlotte prompted.

Oscar winced. Unlike Noriko, the last human to treat him like her favorite doll, Charlotte really did expect an answer from him. He’d learned quickly that she became more dismissive of him if he didn’t answer, and when Charlotte became dismissive, she became careless. He’d bruised himself against his doll table when she discarded him in his cage the first time he found out.

He waited until his head was tilted back under her rough influence and he could meet her gaze. “Y-yes,” he squeaked out. “I’m-I’m excited.”

It didn’t sound convincing to him. Oscar could only hear the dread in his voice, the dread that built up in him like a shield against the terror of every day since he’d been captured.

Charlotte only heard what she wanted to hear. She squealed with delight, and Oscar’s world lurched as she held him close to her chest in a hug. The necklace she wore nearly tangled around him.

Another lurch as she held him in front of her again. Oscar didn’t have a chance to find his bearings before her thumb shifted against his chest and pushed him upwards in her grasp. He squeaked and shut his eyes tight, but somehow she didn’t drop him. His entire upper body was free to the open air now. It felt like he could topple over at any second.

He didn’t. Instead, Charlotte’s hand returned and pinched at the hem of his doll shirt. It was a thick, clumsily-made thing, pale blue and a stark contrast to the drab colors he’d always made himself. It wouldn’t blend in anywhere.

With a deft upward tug, it came off. It forced Oscar’s arms straight up as Charlotte took it away from him before he was ready. He nearly caught his chin on the collar, but he’d become used to this sort of thing long ago. The less he resisted it, the less likely he was to twist something or get hurt.

He didn’t see where the old shirt was tossed once it was removed. With a shudder, Oscar eyed Charlotte’s other hand as it disappeared into one of her pockets. His chest was bare to the air, but his shivering wasn’t from the cold.

“Ohhh, poor Ollie,” she cooed. Her hand emerged, but it closed in a fist around whatever she had in store for him. Instead, she poked at Oscar’s stomach with one manicured nail, and he cringed back. “You still need to try to eat more, sweetie. I’ll be sure to bring you some treats after dinner.”

There was a pause, and Oscar shuddered again. He ate better in captivity than he ever had in his whole life on his own, but it didn’t feel like a victory. His constant fear ensured it.

“Um. Th-thanks. Thank you,” he stammered out.

He had remembered himself just in time. Charlotte smiled wide. “You’re welcome, Oliver. Now, arms up?”

She held up the item she’d retrieved from her pocket at last. The new shirt was darker than the last one, but still not enough for Oscar to hide anywhere. The cloth looked softer, at least, but there was a strange diamond pattern on the front. Charlotte’s proud smile was a backdrop to the ugly thing, and she shook the shirt in what she probably thought was an enticing fashion.

Oscar sighed. He couldn’t smile. He’d never smiled for her, no matter how much she tried to coax it out of him. Instead, he put his arms up and forward like she’d asked. It was the best he could do.

This time, at least, it was enough. Charlotte adjusted her grip on the shirt (so small in her hand, but oversized for Oscar) and brought it close. Oscar put his arms into the bottom and ducked his head as she pulled it over him. He scrambled quickly to find the sleeves, and his hands slipped through the fabric just in time for the collar to settle over his head. His hair became even wilder when his head popped free.

He didn’t have any resistance in him even if he wanted to squirm away while Charlotte fussed at the hem and the sleeves of his new shirt. She made sure it settled over his waist and wasn’t too short (it wasn’t) and even checked to see if the sleeves were too long for him (they were).

Eventually, she was satisfied, and she bounced on her feet. Oscar braced himself the best he could against her hand, and then his body bowed over as she moved him once again. This time, he was close to her face.

“You look adorable, Ollie,” she cooed. Oscar could see his reflection in her eyes. His brow was pinched with worry and his knuckles were white as he braced his hands.

Adorable. All the humans who ever called him that only brought out the “compliment” when he was terrified of them.

He winced as he moved yet again, this time closer to Charlotte’s lips. Oscar turned his head to the side and went rigid as she kissed him, an unwanted and inevitable show of her so-called love for him. His reward for being cute in her eyes. It was no different from Noriko, except perhaps how careful Noriko used to be.

When he lowered next, Oscar finally saw the opening into his cage approaching. He sighed with relief, even as the hand around him dove into the dollhouse-prison and deposited him on a miniature couch. At least in there he was away from human hands, though with the glass front on the dollhouse and its many rooms, he was never truly away from human eyes.

Charlotte gave him one last indulgent smile as she latched the door closed, and Oscar sighed. Her footsteps rattled through the floor as she retreated, and he felt every one but didn’t care.

Lying his head back in defeat on the doll’s couch, Oscar stared up at the ceiling of his forever home and wondered how long “forever” was supposed to be.

For the moment, only stories connected to a BA AU will appear in the Lounge, leaving Oscar out of the flow so long as his AU stands alone.

With small Jacob, due to overwhelming demand, he’s going to find himself back down at his extra bitty size when he transfers to the Lounge with the others. Exactly how well this goes over with him and Dean, we’ll all have to wait and see for after the horror story posts.

They Never Buy Pairs

It’s the tenth update for the Sad Oscar AU! When it began, I definitely didn’t have much direction planned out for what would happen to the poor guy. Now, I have a plan, and even (eventually) an ending to the story/AU! Let’s take one more step on the adventure. Poor lil guy.

( x )


“Good news, Ollie. You’ve been bought.”

The voice was loud and harsh, forcing Oscar out of sleep earlier than he was used to. He barely parsed the words by the time he thought to open his eyes. A hand loomed in his vision and sent a bolt of fear through him.

No matter how many months he’d spent in captivity, that never became an easier sight. Never.

He shot upright as the fingers reached him. Not to escape–he knew better. Standing meant the hand wouldn’t force him into an uncomfortable ball when it gathered him up. Instead, the fingers slipped around him and closed in unbreakable coils. Only his head and shoulders remained free of the uncomfortable pressure all around him. He held in his squeak of discomfort.

Voicing fear never got him anything good. At best, it went ignored. At worst, he could get reprimanded. The customers didn’t want them too afraid.

That’s what the salesman always repeated to Oscar and his friend and fellow captive, Jacob. Over and over in their training, their conditioning. Until, of course, weeks ago when Jacob was sold and Oscar was left all alone again.

Don’t get attached. They never buy pairs. It was coming true right before his eyes.

Now, he was more afraid than ever. The human, thankfully, didn’t take notice or didn’t care about the tears in Oscar’s eyes as he carried him out of the room with the cages for what would be the last time. It was all Oscar could do to hold it in to avoid punishment, but he was afraid.

New humans meant new terrors. Each time he changed hands, he found himself in a worse place than the last. Whoever had bought him couldn’t be any different. The pattern would go on.

“You’ll like these ones,” the salesman said in defiance of Oscar’s thoughts. “They tell me they already have an enclosure just for you. Just remember who you’re representing with them, are we clear?”

Oscar grimaced as the hand lifted enough for the man to peer down at him, but not enough to put him at eye level. He was not an equal, and there would be no illusions of that.

“Y-yes, sir,” Oscar squeaked out thickly. “Tha-thank you.”

The man wrinkled his nose in distaste for the tremors in Oscar’s voice, but huffed and didn’t say anything about it. He’d tried from the first day to get rid of it. Some days were better than others.

Today, Oscar didn’t think he’d be able to avoid his fear even if he wanted to suppress it.

The human carried him back to a room that Oscar hadn’t seen since he first arrived. The room where the salesman first inspected him and determined he would be a great asset. There was already something waiting on the table in the middle of the room, and Oscar recognized it right away.

It looked almost exactly like the box that Noriko had dropped him in when she sold him away. This one had the same air holes in the side and a heavy lid that he wouldn’t be able to move on his own even if he was tall enough to reach it. The only difference was that this one hadn’t been decorated, and as they reached the table, he saw no cushioning at the bottom.

“Sit tight, Ollie,” the human told him with a smirk, before sweeping his hand forward and letting Oscar slip through his fingers. Oscar clung to the last one for only a second, his legs swinging over the box. Then, sure he wouldn’t crash into something and before the man could notice, he let himself fall.

The lid was over him seconds later, and Oscar curled up into a ball. He knew what was coming. The box lurched up and swayed.

He really was leaving. His heart pounded and he shrank into a corner as much as he could.

A door opened. A new room. Oscar heard at least one other human moving around, despite the pounding in his ears. Something tapped the floor; footsteps?

The salesman had a much warmer voice when he greeted them. “Here we are, sir. Little Ollie all parceled up and ready to go home.”

The other human hummed thoughtfully. “I’m sure he’s as mild as you say, but be a lad and put something on that lid to keep him in? Charlotte would be livid if the little devil escaped before I even get him home.”

“Absolutely, sir,” the salesman’s voice was so sickly sweet that Oscar cringed. He’d never heard so much false warmth in it before.

Something rustled against the side of the box and then snapped into place. Oscar glanced up and spotted the stretched tan of a rubber band through one of his air holes. He had even less chance of escape now, and he never once planned to try. He was too afraid of what might happen if he did.

“An absolute pleasure doing business, sir,” the salesman said, and the box lurched forward. Oscar felt a sickly bolt of electricity through him with the knowledge that he’d changed hands again. The new human thought he owned him.

“No, thank you,” the new human said before he turned away. Oscar imagined an enormous door, but it didn’t lead to freedom. “Cheers.”

Conditioning (2/2)

( Read from the beginning )


Jacob.” The warning tone in the human’s voice startled them both. They flinched back and looked up to find the human staring darkly down at them.

Only a second later, he slammed a fist on the table barely two inches from where they stood, and Oscar cried out. They both fell back to a seat.

“Oliver here hasn’t been through any conditioning before, so I can understand his lapse, but you, Jacob? You know the rules,” the human said, as disappointed as a person could be. He took a seat at the table and clasped his hands in front of him. “Care to tell us which rule you just broke?”

Oscar’s eyes were wide and he trembled as the human leaned close. His face was set in a no-nonsense expression, and Oscar shied back from it. Jacob, on the other hand, set his expression in a wary mask.

“I … uh. Don’t speak unless spoken to?” Jacob offered. “But I thought that wouldn’t apply-”

The clasped hands moved too quickly for either of them. They each found an index finger shoving them onto their backs and pinning them down. Oscar squeaked in pain and Jacob grunted, and the human stared down at them dispassionately. “We have a reputation in this business, you know. High quality product. Y’think I got us here by selling you off with half-arsed training? Do better.”

The fingers lifted off of them and Oscar took a breath. He squeezed his eyes shut and rolled over onto his side while his back pulsed with pain. Beside him, he heard Jacob sigh and get to his feet wearily.

“Oliver. Get up.” The human’s words left no room for ambiguity. That was an order, and he expected it to be followed.

Oscar shuddered again and pushed himself back to a seat before scrubbing at the tears in his eyes. He grimaced as he rose the rest of the way to his feet, standing extra small next to Jacob, whose eyes were on his shoes.

“Very good,” the human praised. Oscar shuffled his feet and couldn’t bring himself to look up at the man. “Let’s get started.”

A hand reached out and snatched Oscar up. While the human began listing various rules and guidelines for how they were meant to act, the huge hands casually moved Oscar back and forth from one to the other, sometimes pinching around his waist and sometimes holding him in a fist. Once he even dangled upside down by his leg before being plopped down in a palm.

Handling. The human was simply trying to force him to get used to handling and being talked over.

“You shiver too much,” the human determined, partway through his explanation. “Customers don’t like that.”

He deposited Oscar on the table and grabbed Jacob instead before either of them could predict the movement. Oscar watched as Jacob was subjected to all the same handling, turned this way and that. It was like he was little more than an object to be fidgeted while the human held a conversation more with himself than with his tiny captives.

The worst part was seeing how Jacob hardly struggled at all. He winced at times, and Oscar knew his burns stung him more than once. And yet, the kid tried his best not to fight what was happening to him.

They were both helpless.

It was hard to guess the time, but it had to have been hours by the time the salesman carried Oscar and Jacob back towards the room with the cages. Oscar, despite the constant throbbing pain in his back, scrambled to the front of his own cage once the human deposited him on the floor.

He was just in time to see Jacob dropped into a different kind of cage, this one with no bars on the front and barely an opening at the top for air. It looked more like a safe than a cage, and its door was heavy when it closed up.

When the human had them both locked up, he smirked back at Oscar. “Don’t get attached, Ollie. They never buy pairs.”

And then he left them all alone in the room of cages once more.

Conditioning (1/2)

It’s high time for another update from sad Oscar! Things are getting more and more dire the longer he waits for a rescue.

( Read from the beginning ) 


When Oscar could walk again without too much pain to his back, the human that tended to his bandages didn’t visit as often. He had others to attend to, so he said. Oscar couldn’t help but wonder how many others like him waited in cages, nursing their own burns. How many had come before him and left already?

The smooth-talking human that sent him to be branded on his first day in the new city would come by instead. He wandered the room, peering into cages and talking to the prisoners within.

When the man came to Oscar’s cage one day, Oscar lingered in the farthest corner he could. He couldn’t press his back against the metal without sending a jolt of pain over his healing burn, but he did his best to keep the distance between them.

The human had a glint in his eye that Oscar didn’t like. “Ah. So skittish. It’s time you got over that, little one. Most customers don’t want something too frightened, not from us.”

The man’s impatient face blocked everything else out. Oscar stared silently out at him and tried not to let his tears escape.

He didn’t know how not to be frightened in such a terrifying place.

The human rolled his eyes. “You’re one of Noriko’s dolls, I’d have thought you’d be more socialized.”

The mention of the first human to keep him trapped, to treat him like an object, sent a shudder down Oscar’s spine. He closed his eyes and ducked his head. The man was right. He should be used to humans staring in at him by now, and a part of him was. The rest wouldn’t let go of that fear.

The human scoffed. Oscar wasn’t looking, so he didn’t notice the man moving until he heard the metallic clang of his cage front opening. He looked up in time for that hand to dive in after him.

He tried to push himself back, only to flinch forward when the action hurt his burn. The front of his shirt provided the human a handhold on him, just like the first time he’d ever met him. He dragged Oscar out of his cage in that pinch grip, no matter how his tiny shoes pushed against the floor.

Oscar found himself dangling over the floor in front of the man’s dispassionate eyes. “Christ,” the salesman muttered. “Here I thought you’d be more ready to go.” Oscar squeezed his eyes shut and tried to curl himself into a ball. Every movement stretched and strained his back, and the skin might as well be on fire again. His cheeks glistened with tears.

The human wasn’t moved, but he did let Oscar drop with a pained yelp to his other palm. “Alright, conditioning for you, then,” he spat, though it felt more like he was talking to the air than to Oscar. His fingers curled closed over his palm until the much smaller man was immobile in his fist.

“No one bothers to tell me these things,” the human complained to himself. “Could’ve been working on this one this whole time and had him ready for turnover. Louts.”

Oscar squirmed in the human’s grasp, but not for escape. The thick skin folded around him, ensuring he’d never be able to get out. Instead, he tried to find an angle that didn’t strain his back. The curve of the human’s palm pinched at him and he had tears in his eyes from the pain.

Footsteps jarred him, but Oscar didn’t care about where he would go. He’d been taken to other rooms before, never knowing the direction. They always made sure he wouldn’t be able to find his way around, if he ever found himself free of a cage.

Another metal door opened, and Oscar paused in sheer surprise. The human spoke to someone inside another cage. “Alright, you get some conditioning for today, too. Come here, titch.”

Oscar’s heart pattered. He was going to see someone else his size. It would be the first time in months.

Even though they were both captives of humans that wanted to sell them away, it was something.

Oscar waited with a confusing mix of emotions twisting up in his chest. One part of him was relieved, another part eager. Another part was sad to think of finally seeing someone else sharing his fate. The last part of him, a tiny voice in the back of his head, was afraid of what he’d see.

He knew they had arrived when the hand around him swung forward and abruptly opened. Oscar slid down the tilted palm and landed on a table. An overhead light filled the cramped room with its yellowish hue, but Oscar didn’t pay any attention to the walls or other furniture. He pushed himself up on his hands and knees in time to see the other captive dumped on the table only a few inches away.

The human didn’t sit right away. As he turned towards a cabinet in one corner, the other small person picked himself up and looked over at Oscar, mirroring his surprise to see him.

The guy was younger than Oscar, but he couldn’t be sure by much. He was tall. Easily almost four inches even, if not more. He rushed over to help Oscar to his feet.

He must have been burned, too. Underneath the bedraggled hem of his hooded jacket, Oscar saw the pristine white of bandages like his own. This person didn’t have doll clothes like Oscar did yet.

“Hey, buddy,” the kid greeted in a soft voice. “You okay?” He got a stunned nod from Oscar and smiled with relief. “That’s good. Man, it’s been forever since they’ve let me see anyone else…”

Oscar, his head tilted back, remembered to answer. “Y-yeah. Me too.”

The stranger’s eyebrows went up. He noticed, just as Oscar had, that they both shared an accent, very unlike the humans they’d met so far. “Damn. Sounds like you came a long way just like me,” the stranger whispered. “What’s your name?”

Oscar couldn’t help but think back to the last time someone had asked for his name. Mina, the human that sent him on a plane so far away from home, and she hadn’t even written down the right name. “I’m Oscar,” he replied, whispering just like his fellow prisoner.

The stranger nodded. “Nice to meet you, Oscar. I’m–”