( Halloween bonding, here we come! )
Rural highways between small towns didn’t often see a lot of traffic, and this afternoon was no different. Jacob cruised along well past the speed limit, cutting through a flat landscape of yellow wheat fields and clusters of trees that only clung to half of their flame-colored leaves. The sky was an even mix of grey and blue, with the sun hiding its face behind a cluster of clouds. The afternoon was still bright, giving the world a warmer look than the autumn chill promised.
For Halloween, it definitely didn’t seem very spooky at all. Jacob smirked at the thought and found himself wondering about the real monsters out there, the ones Sam had told him about time and time again. Did they see the October holiday as a tribute, or an insult?
Either way, Jacob had a mission to mark the occasion somehow. Sam and Dean Winchester might be hunters with a self-assigned mission to hunt down the evil monsters out there, but even they needed a chance to relax once in a while. The day known for people running around in costume and pumpkins carved with goofy glowing grins was just an excuse. Jacob hadn’t seen any of the others in some time, anyway.
So, when Sam had gotten a hold of Dean’s phone to text him in an idle moment, Jacob hatched a plan. It was hasty, but up until that moment, he hadn’t made any plans whatsoever for Halloween. Now, as he drove his dark red Mercury down the deserted road with a plastic bag resting on the passenger seat, Jacob Andris had a self-assigned mission of his own.
He arrived in the small town Sam had mentioned in a text just under three hours after he set out earlier that day. It was the kind of place where everyone knew everyone, like an idyllic mirror image of his own small hometown back in Iowa. Jacob smiled faintly at the tidy jack-o-lantern arrangements on one porch, with a fall wreath on the door. It was almost like looking at his own house, decorated lovingly by his mom.
Most of the houses in the town had nice halloween decorations, some with big garish displays and others with more subtle nods to the holiday. Some families were already out walking around with their younger children, kids who would need to be in bed before the other trick-or-treaters headed out to raid their neighbors’ candy dishes.
Jacob wasn’t interested in the neighborhoods. In such a little town, it was easy to find what might be the only motel around. He didn’t stop a grin at the sight of proof that he’d found the place.
Pulling into the parking lot, Jacob found an open stall and glanced at the hulking black Chevy Impala parked outside one of the faded doors of the motel. A classic right out of the sixties and cared for like she was brand new, there was no mistaking Dean Winchester’s ride.
Jacob hurriedly gathered up his plastic bag of goodies and crossed the lot to the door guarded by that black-and-chrome car, noting the curtains drawn tightly closed. This had to be the right place.
Lifting a hand, Jacob knocked sharply on the door and waited.
Inside the room, there was a sharp contrast to all those homes celebrating Halloween. No spooky decorations hung, the tacky motel room wallpaper bright colors, the garish bedcovers a distinct clash. Dean Winchester sat at the only table in the room, his head resting on his arm while he watched a curious sight play out directly in front of him.
Two men, both able to fit in one of Dean’s hands, stood on his laptop. Dean’s younger brother, Sam, navigated the keys with growing confidence, occasionally shooting directions over his shoulder at Oscar as he sat by the touchpad. The smallest member of the group had his sewing equipment strewn across his lap, working at the microscopic threads whenever Sam didn’t need him navigating the screen of the laptop with the cursor.
Dean had to be careful to watch his breathing when Oscar was working so close by. He’d already been scolded once that night for nearly knocking Oscar’s needles from his grip. Sam and Oscar made a potent pair for scolds– Sam for the actual scolding and Oscar for the puppy eyes.
All in all, it was a fascinating scene to watch, and by the time knocking came on their door, Dean was zoned out.
Dean jerked up at the unexpected sound, and an annoyed “Hey ” drifted up at him from Sam’s position for bumping the table.
“Sorry,” Dean hissed at them under his breath, his eyes flashing between the door and the table. “Sit tight, guys.”
Dean stood, the two on his keyboard dropping away. Now, he could no longer make out the expressions on their faces as they looked up at him. No matter how many times Dean did this, he never got used to that. It was like jumping to the top of a building in seconds.
Pushing that thought out of his mind with determination to avoid any vertigo, Dean strode over to the door. There was an eyehole for him to peer through, and he did so. In his line of work, opening the door to the unknown could be dangerous.
The moment he saw who was out there, the suspicion faded.
“Jacob!” Dean greeted, swinging the door open as he recognized the overly-tall Greek kid Sam was fond of. Dean had to admit, having him around felt like adding another little brother to the family.
Jacob grinned back. With the door opened to him, he stepped into the room without wasting time outside. He knew that it was safest to have the door closed quickly when two vulnerable little guys like Oscar and Sam were around. They couldn’t afford for someone to catch even a glimpse of them, and Jacob made sure there was barely more than a second with the door open before he was out of the way.
“Hey, Dean,” he said back, offering a hand for the hunter to shake. “This is the closest you guys have been to Carlisle in a while, so I figured I’d make the trip.”
His eyes wandered over to the table, finding Sam and Oscar at the laptop. On the laptop, as it were. He offered them a grin, too. “Hey, guys!”
Oscar stared up at Jacob with wide eyes. The knock at the door, like most unexpected noises, had sent his heart rate right up. Seeing the friendly teenager put most of his nerves to rest right away, though he still clutched at the half-formed shirt he was sewing.
Jacob was tall. There was no getting around that. Oscar didn’t know him as well as he knew Dean, and even Dean could startle him sometimes.
He clutched his sewing close while he scrambled to his feet on the base of the laptop. The hard drive whirred away under his cloth-wrap shoes, sending warmth up into his soles. With two humans in the room, he made sure to hang on tight to his sewing needle so he wouldn’t lose it.
As Dean had heard before, they were very hard to make. Oscar needed the tiny shards of metal to do his sewing, and he needed his sewing to feel better about being out in the open like he and Sam tended to be most of the time.
“Um. Hi, Jacob,” Oscar tried, his voice thin from the lingering shock.
Sam didn’t show any trepidation for the new human, hopping eagerly down from the laptop so he could stride to the edge of the table. “Jacob!” he called eagerly, excited to see the teenager had been able to find them after all. “You got my message!”
Dean eyed his little brother up for a second before clasping Jacob’s arm and pulling him into a one-armed hug. “I see someone ran off with my phone again,” he said gamely, not upset in the least. And not surprised, either. Considering that his roommates were smaller than a finger, they did a good job of keeping him on his toes. Sam was particularly inventive and far more brash compared to Oscar.
“You weren’t using it! Figured I might as well!” Sam called from his place down on the table, eagerly awaiting his chance to see Jacob. They didn’t see him enough these days.
Jacob chuckled and shrugged at Dean as if to say what can you do? With his bag hanging on his wrist, he shoved his hands into the pocket of his faded orange hoodie, a trademark look for him. “Always good to hear from you guys. Sam keeps me up to date,” he quipped. It definitely wasn’t the first time Sam had sent him a text from Dean’s phone, and it wouldn’t stop anytime soon, either.
He stepped closer to the table on practiced steps, trying to keep his earth shaking to a minimum. He’d learned from Sam what kind of an impact he had, and now he also paid attention to Oscar, still rooted to the spot on the laptop.
One huge hand freed itself from the hoodie pocket and lowered to the table. Fingers the size of Sam’s body rested on the faux-wood surface, creating a bridge to his palm for Sam to use.
Sam didn’t show any of the same nerves as Oscar around the much-larger human in the room. He stepped onto the long fingers, walking one foot after the other like he was on a balance beam as he made his way to Jacob’s palm. Though normally he’d just scale right up to Jacob’s shoulder, he knew Jacob couldn’t see him up there so today he waited on the palm and gave him a thumbs up.
Dean chuckled at Oscar’s nerves, scooping up the smallest member of their group into his hands to ruffle his hair. “It’s just not fair Jacob’s the youngest and the tallest, ain’t it?” he asked rhetorically.
Oscar squeaked in surprise and tumbled over in Dean’s palm. He was used to Dean scooping him up swiftly, and the stomach-dropping feeling that came with it, but sometimes it still managed to startle him. He imagined Dean planned it when he could.
Jacob lifted his hand away from the table in a smooth, much slower motion and managed to shrug at the same time without jostling Sam. He’d had a lot of practice, even if it had been a while since he saw the small hunter. The feeling of tiny boots shifting minutely on his palm for balance was as familiar as ever. “I won’t deny, I got very lucky in the height department.”
While the cheerful voices rumbled around him, Oscar rolled over on Dean’s hand and hastily poked his sewing needle into the cloth for safe keeping. He huffed indignantly and bundled everything up to stuff in his bag before anything else. It wasn’t his fault that Jacob’s height always caught him off guard, but he imagined the teasing would probably never go away. It was Dean he was dealing with.
Despite his flustered start, Oscar felt better with him and Sam up at higher levels with the humans. “Lucky is a word for it,” he grumbled, brushing at his hair with tiny hands and trying to ignore the heat in his cheeks.
Dean grinned proudly at how flustered he’d made Oscar, glad to know he could still startle the little guy. No matter how many times they went through the same routine, he still had it.
Sam couldn’t stop himself from rolling his eyes at their antics. He still had a hard time believing how okay Oscar could be with Dean just plucking him randomly up. Dean or Jacob would get an earful from Sam if they tried that kind of shit with him.
“So what’d you bring?” Sam asked, putting his hands on Jacob’s thumb so he could lean over and peer down at the bag hanging from Jacob’s other wrist. He couldn’t hide the eagerness in his voice, wondering at what Jacob was up to.
Jacob grinned and lifted the bag up so he could set it on the table with a loud rustle. Now that no one was standing down there, he didn’t need to worry about accidentally burying them in the spoils of his quick stop at the store. With only one hand, he pulled the edges of the plastic bag down to reveal the contents.
That caught even Oscar’s attention, and it was his turn to lean forward. His hands braced against one of Dean’s fingers in a mirror of Sam and his eyebrows shot up. “‘Assorted Halloween candy’,” he read from the bright orange package Jacob had brought. “Oh, that’s today, huh? And what’s that underneath?”
Jacob smirked. He had predicted that Oscar would be drawn to the food right away. The guy might be extra little, but putting food in front of him always ran the risk of seeing a lot of it disappear into that little cloth bag.
He shoved the candy bag aside with another loud crackling of plastic to reveal a modest stack of DVDs. “Everywhere has some special going on for horror movies. I figure since it’s halloween, we could join in with the festivities… I know it’s probably a bit of a joke for guys who deal with monsters all the time, but hey,” he grinned hopefully, glancing to Sam for his reaction, “everyone needs a break now and then, right?”
“Any break that brings candy like that is welcome,” Dean said, thinking along the same lines as Oscar as he eyed up the huge bag of sweets.
“You better save plenty of chocolates for me!” Sam threatened as he saw Dean going for the bag of candy.
“Dude, I’m offended you have no faith in me,” Dean said in a mock-offended voice as he used a small knife to cut a hole in the bag. “Like I wouldn’t let you and Oscar have first dibs.” He smirked as he lowered Oscar to the table once more. Oscar and Sam together wouldn’t make a dent in the bag between them. “Better than trick or treating,” he said as he snatched a crunch bar from the bag.
Jacob chuckled, also lowering his hand to the table once more. Inwardly, he was very pleased that his idea had gone over so well with all three of them. “Probably true. Don’t even have to dress up for this,” he quipped.
Oscar glanced at the candy bar Dean had pilfered, soaring over his head, before looking back at the bag of candy. The opening made by Dean’s knife was wide enough for some of the assorted mix to spill out onto the table, and he could see the piles of sweets beyond it.
Unable to resist, he crept over to the bag on careful steps, ones that would be sneaky if two humans weren’t standing right there. He lifted an edge of the orange plastic to stare in at the piles of candy and then looked over his shoulder at Sam with a glint in his eye. “There’s definitely chocolate. I’ve never seen this much candy all in one place before!”
“That’s the whole point of Halloween!” Sam chirped happily as he jumped down from Jacob’s hand. He wasted no time on clambering up the bag as he already had what he wanted set in his mind. One of Sam’s great failings was his love of chocolate, and after losing his big stash, he took any opportunity to resupply.
The slick bag didn’t give Sam too much trouble as he made it to the opening in the bag, and he dove in with one particular candy wrapper in mind. “You’ve got to try some M&Ms!” Sam called over his shoulder, only his boots visible as he stretched for the brown wrapper.
Oscar’s eyebrows shot up and he inched closer, almost putting himself in the bag, too. Sam was quite a bit taller than him, and had a better reach into the treasure trove of sweets, but Oscar eyed his leather boots to make sure he wasn’t stuck in there. “What do the M’s stand for?” he asked. He’d always wondered how humans came up with some of the names for food. Even the ingredient lists were nearly incomprehensible.
Jacob chuckled and leaned down slightly to watch Sam’s efforts to dive right into the bag for his prize. “I don’t think it stands for anything, it’s just a chocolate covered in candy … You got that, Sam?” He reached down and nudged one of the tiny boots with a fingertip.
“I’m fine!” came the muffled reply as Sam tried to kick at Jacob’s fingertip, trying to keep the human from pulling him away from his treasure. “Just… gotta… reach… Aha!”
Dean huffed with laughter as he watched Sam try and back out of the bag, and found the shifting surface of the candy to be harder to get out of than he’d assumed. “Right, pint-size,” Dean snorted. “You’re fine.”
Lightly pinching one of Sam’s boots, Dean tugged his little brother out of the bag. Both of Sam’s hands were clutched around the brown foil of a regular M&M bag, and as Dean lifted him out of the bag, he held his other hand out below for when it slipped free of Sam’s grasp.
“Hey!” Sam complained, upside down and trying to stretch for his bag of candy. “Give it back!”
Dean rolled his eyes as he deposited Sam onto his palm next to the candy. “You should be thanking me,” he said as Sam scrambled to grab the bag.
Jacob chuckled again. Sam looked almost ready to fight someone for that bag of M&Ms. It was almost big enough for him to crawl into it. Soon enough, Sam’s silver knife would glint in the light and tear into the wrapping to free the colorful candy from the packaging. Jacob had seen the little guy break open M&Ms with that little blade many times before. Knocking them against the table didn’t work as well for him.
His eyes drifted back to Oscar, who stood near the opening in the bag surveying his options. Oscar was more timid with Jacob, but he took a chance anyway and reached down to nudge one of his tiny shoulders. He almost paused, noting just how big his entire hand looked to such a little guy.
“Still deciding?” he asked. “Or are you not hungry?”
Oscar turned his head to look up past the massive hand at Jacob’s face. “I’m just thinking,” he shot back indignantly. He hadn’t taken that long, and he didn’t want to dive in like Sam had anyway. They knew how well that had gone for him.
In the end, he stepped forward into the bag, his cloth foot wraps lending him some dexterity on the smooth but slanted terrain. He reached out to snag a cube-shaped confection wrapped in bright foil. The caramel smell wafting around it made his mouth water even as he hastily stumbled backwards out of the bag. “There, I got-” his assurance cut short as he fell to a seat on a KitKat bar that had fallen from the bag, as if waiting to trip him up.
Dean had to cover his mouth to hide his laughter. “You both need to work on your candy-snitching skills,” he chortled.
Sam clung to the bag of M&Ms as the hand he was on swayed midair from Dean’s laughter, thundering out of the chest so close by. Seconds later, Dean’s other hand swept Oscar, his caramel and the KitKat all out of the bag, and came to rest next to Sam’s.
Dean tilted his head for a moment, considering how he was going to get candy for himself, but before he could move either hand, Sam had squirmed his way into the hand with Oscar, sitting in the middle of all the candy to show off his find.
“You have to try one,” Sam informed Oscar as he ripped open the bag.
Dean shook his head, and picked up the bag of candy. “Well, I think we’re all ready for some movies with this haul,” he said to Jacob. “We can find out exactly how to not kill a werewolf tonight.”
Jacob nodded and picked up the first movie from the small pile. “Sounds good. Knowing the wrong way is still useful, right?” he quipped. Since Dean’s hands were full of candy and a couple of small candy thieves, he slid the laptop towards himself to pick it up on one hand. The screen still patiently showed the news site that Sam had been checking out before the interruption.
Oscar, for his part, was immersed in the sight of colorful candies revealed in the M&M bag. Smooth coatings of candy covered up the chocolate, but he could still smell it. He took a slow breath to appreciate the sweet aroma and smiled faintly.
“Werewolves or not, at least there’s food,” he said glibly. He retrieved a red M&M from the bag, running his fingers curiously over the faded white ’m’ printed on one side.
Dean smiled indulgently. “That’s all that matters, right?” he asked, conveying the pair in his hand over to the bed. Neither complained, too busy digging into the candy to pay him any mind. Jacob and Dean both already knew Sam and Oscar could get themselves over to the bed without a problem, so they had no need to prove themselves.
Dropping the bag of candy in the middle of the bed, Dean let Sam, Oscar and their stash slide off onto the cover, closer to the foot of the bed. This way, the humans could lay down flat on the bed to watch the laptop screen and be slightly-less towering during the movie.
Jacob followed the rest, setting the laptop down in front of the pile of candy and the two guarding it as gently as he could. The wide, flat base sank into the bed covers just enough that Jacob caught a glimpse of Oscar eyeing him warily before returning his focus to the candy he and Sam had claimed for themselves.
The disk drive clacked when Jacob pushed the button to open it up, and soon the DVD was placed in the shallow cradle. “Let’s see how the special effects are in the bargain bin werewolf flick,” he said, taking a seat on the end of the bed as slowly as he could. He didn’t want the mattress sinking under him too fast for Sam and Oscar to avoid tumbling.
Oscar noticed the changing landscape immediately, and shifted where he sat so his knees were drawn up closer. Jacob loomed without even trying, and Oscar found himself secretly glad he was closer to Dean’s side. The kid would take more getting used to. Sam had done it; Oscar would work it out.
“A werewolf movie can’t be as awful as a real werewolf.” He shuddered. How Dean had come to decide he liked hunting those things, Oscar might never guess.
“You have no idea,” Dean said pompously, reaching over to grab another Crunch bar. Sam eyed his fingers up while they were close by, zealously guarding the stash he and Oscar were sharing.
“These movies don’t know what werewolves look like at all.” Dean tore through the package of his chocolate and popped it in his mouth, talking through the snack. “All the fur, making them look like actual wolves,” he waved his hand around dismissively as he had to actually stop talking to swallow.
Sam gave Dean a look for his overenthusiastic replies and lacking table manners. Jacob was much better behaved than that. “Tell us about it,” Sam said, breaking into his first M&M.
“You’ll have to keep a running tally of the mistakes, Dean,” Jacob chimed in. He finally claimed something of his own from the pile, keeping his hand well away from Sam and Oscar (as much as he could with them sitting so close to the bag). Oscar was still skittish, and Jacob knew very well not to get in the way of Sam and chocolate when he’d managed to claim some.
A mini packet of Starburst lifted away from the hoard of candies while the computer fans started up in earnest, preparing to start rolling the movie. “Lemme hit the lights. Gotta at least try to make it scary or its just not Halloween.”
Oscar opened his mouth to argue that they didn’t need things to be scary, but Jacob was already standing. Back to his huge full height, it was a simple matter for him to cross to the switch and kill the lights. Oscar blinked in surprise and the computer screen glared brightly at them all.
Sam nudged Oscar with an elbow as he bit into his M&M. “Don’t worry, I’ll protect you,” he avowed with a gleam in his eyes, the light from the laptop giving him plenty of light to see Oscar with.
“And I’ll protect you both,” Dean joked, dropping a hand over Sam and Oscar to form a cave over their heads. Not restraining them at all, but letting them feel briefly secure in an enclosed space. At least, until Sam punched at the hand to get him to lay off.
Oscar huffed, but didn’t join in trying to shoo Dean’s hand away. He was just glad that, with the lights switched off, no one but Sam could possibly see the blushing in his cheeks yet again, and set to peeling away the wrapper of the caramel he’d claimed. They had a cinema-sized screen to view, and it was already loading up the DVD’s menu.
Jacob settled himself on the bed at last, joining the group. The way they had things set up, he was far too tall to fit completely, but he managed to scrunch himself into place, all with as few earthquakes as he could. He saw only a few accusing glances shot his way, so he considered it a win and settled down with his arms folded so he could rest his chin. “Keep it down, guys, the movie is gonna start.” This time, when he reached over their heads to tap the touchpad and get things going, he nudged at Sam’s shoulder.
Sam halfheartedly tried to push Jacob away, but there was no annoyance in the gesture. “Like you can’t hear it over us,” he shot back, knowing their voices could be almost too quiet to hear at times.
The beginning began to play, and they all watched avidly. When Sam glanced around the room, he could see the rapt attention in Dean’s eyes, who, no matter how many times he disavowed cheesy horror flicks, still seemed to get a kick out of them. The laptop screen reflected in the large green eyes that were bigger than Sam and Oscar’s heads as the first kill of the movie took place.
Then, the expected critique from Dean started to flow.
“See? When have we ever seen a werewolf run like that?
“Dude, he’s got enough hair to be any barbers dream.”
“One silver bullet! Is that so much to ask for!”
Jacob snickered along with the critique. Occasionally he would chime in with his own comments, and it served to egg Dean on. It was like throwing gas on a flame, and Dean provided nearly as much entertainment as the movie did with its campy storyline and effects.
A faint crackle of plastic drew his attention and Jacob’s eyes drifted away from the laptop screen. The flickering light from the movie illuminated a tiny figure rooting through the candies piled on the bed. Oscar.
The little guy moved cautiously to push aside various wrapped up candy. The light was at his back, rendering his face impossible to see, but Jacob pictured the thoughtful determination there. He smirked when Oscar stooped and made his selection, hoisting an individually wrapped gummy candy in his skinny little arms.
The speakers emitted a loud, shrill scream as the movie monster cornered a young woman, and Jacob noticed a squeak as Oscar flinched. The candy dropped to the covers again and those little feet stumbled back towards Sam to sink down next to him. Jacob could have sworn he saw little knees wobbling.
Moving slowly, Jacob tilted his head and reached out to push the abandoned candy over to the other two. It bumped up against Oscar, who looked around in shock before seeing what happened. “Ah … thanks,” he muttered.
Sam grinned up at Jacob, glad to see him helping Oscar out, maybe even starting to overcome the huge size difference between the pair. Oscar was so timid around Jacob, but not with Dean, and Sam would never be able to figure out why.
Dean missed all the subtext going on next to him. Eyes glued to the screen, he groped blindly for another piece of candy. Trying to avoid Dean’s oblivious motion, Sam shoved the KitKat towards his brother’s huge fingers. The hand flinched slightly at the motion, but quickly curled around the candy. Sam swore his older brother didn’t even look at what he was unwrapping as he remained fixated on the movie.
“Dude! Did you see that, Sammy?” Yup, Dean was hooked. “If they had any idea what they were doing, they’d never split up here!”
Sam couldn’t resist a “So, you’re saying next time you run off on your own in a case, you’re just asking for trouble?” to egg Dean on, remembering exactly how that had gone for Dean, and not in his favor.
Dean gave Sam an offended look in return. “You have no faith,” he complained.
It was Oscar’s turn to send Dean a look. He remembered just as well as any of them how stressful it was when Dean decided to go off on his own. Oscar had faced many terrifying things since he joined up with the ornery hunter, but he preferred that to waiting back and not knowing if Dean would make it back through the door in one piece.
“We’ve got plenty of faith,” he said with a much bigger attitude than his body. He strained at the plastic of his claimed candy, trying his best to break in and get at the gummy inside. “Faith that you’ll find trouble when you go lookin‘ for it.”
Dean rolled his eyes with a scoff. “That was one time! ” he defended himself obstinately.
Taking pity on Oscar’s mighty efforts, Dean pinched the gummy out of his hands and tore open the package. He didn’t like leaving his friends to struggle when they didn’t need to, though he rarely got away with helping them. For all their size was smaller than a finger, they were completely independent.
Dean carefully pushed the gummy back into Oscar’s arms as he turned back to the movie.
Oscar nearly fumbled the package of the candy and frowned. His cheeks warmed with the realization that it had somehow taken two humans to help him get to the candy he’d chosen on a whim. He had almost had it open himself. He might have said so, but the music in the movie became louder and drew his attention.
He tugged the gummy candy out of the wrapper at last. Thankfully, it was worth all the trouble he’d gone through to get it, and all the embarrassment too. At least the humans on either side were nice. Even Jacob, he had to admit. He’d heard several times from Sam how gentle the teen could be, and saw more examples of it just tonight.
Jacob watched the characters on screen wander themselves into trouble, courtesy of them splitting up. Dean was completely right. A raspy wolf how sound effect crackled in the speakers, and he smirked, remembering how Dean had even had something to say about that the first time it happened.
He shifted so he rested his cheek on his arms, relaxing. His heart warmed at the sight of Sam and Oscar both sitting there surrounded by their own weight in candy, eyes glued to the screen. The road trip out to the motel was long, but without a doubt it was worth making the night more than just another Halloween.