literature

Salads and Sulfur - 3

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Oscar waited in the vent that led to room 8, leaning against the side and listening for the sound of someone approaching the door. He tried to remember the last time he’d seen Dean sauntering into a room at the Knight’s Inn. He didn’t even realize at the time that Sam existed. It was just another tall human drifting in with a heavy duffel bag.

That was somewhere around four months ago. Oscar never kept track. He didn’t have a calendar and living day to day like he did meant that dates counted very little on his priority list.

He had to wonder what kind of dangerous adventures the Winchester brothers had gotten themselves into since last he saw them. With their line of work (one that he’d played helpful witness for twice now), he was ready for anything. Or so he told himself. They were still crazy, in his book.

A distant machine groaned and the vent corridor shuddered around Oscar as the air conditioning kicked on. Oscar pursed his lips, indecision gripping him. He wanted to keep a close watch for Dean’s arrival, but he knew the cool air in the vent would freeze him out.

Only one option leapt to mind, drawing a resigned sigh from him. Oscar peered out into the room, listening carefully for any signs of a human within. Just in case. He had checked from different angles before, and he knew there wasn’t anyone in there.

But it only took one mistake. If he had been captured by a human other than Dean those months ago, he might not be free now. Oscar might not even be alive.

After ensuring that he heard no slow, deep breaths of a human, Oscar slipped into the room on stealthy feet, his cloth bag held close to himself. He crept along the baseboard, swift, graceful movements minimizing his chance of being spotted without any cover. In no time at all, he was behind the dresser in the room.

He fetched his safety pin from his bag, uncoiling the thread attached to it. He’d been using the same pin and thread since he was just a kid. He never did grow heavy enough to need an upgrade. Occasionally he thought with envy of Sam’s three-pronged fishhook. But, Oscar’s pin caught on the edge of the dresser just fine, and it did the job just as well. He didn’t need as versatile of a hook anyway.

Oscar was a fast climber, at least. He hadn’t been able to show off his skills the last time Sam and Dean were around. He’d spent a lot of his time trapped up on the table while his pin was left behind. He clenched his jaw while he climbed, picturing the way everything went so dark when Dean grabbed him.

Unable to move, scarcely able to breathe through his terror, Oscar was whisked right into the air. He remembered panicking until the all-encompassing hand released him to the table. Up there, he couldn’t climb down on his own very easily, and he spent the rest of the case waiting there.

This time, at least, Dean probably wouldn’t go grabbing him. “Just gotta deal with him being really really tall,” he muttered.

Oscar pulled himself over the edge of the dresser, glad for the heavy shadow cast by the TV and the lamp resting on it. He hurried to the lamp, settling himself down behind it to wait. He’d told them room 8, though he wasn’t sure if they’d remember or if the management would let them claim a specific room.

He’d have to wait a while, and, if they didn’t show up, he could go and peek into the other rooms to find the gigantic hunter.

~~~~~

Oscar didn’t know when exactly he dozed off, but he definitely woke with a start. The familiar scrape of a metal key in the door lock drew him to alertness immediately. Oscar slept light, even when he didn’t mean to sleep. It was instinct.

He scrambled to his feet and sidled around the lamp, just enough to glimpse the door from where he hid on the dresser. He couldn’t risk assuming the human checking in would be the one he knew.

Oscar was crazy enough to trust a human at all, but he wasn’t that crazy.

The door swung open with a familiar creak of the old hinges and a rush of fresh air from the outdoors. Oscar caught a glimpse of the sky out there, and of a lush green tree, laden with spring leaves.

But, of course, his focus was drawn to the human.

He was tall, and the casual spike of his hair added an inch or two of height that he really didn’t need. He swaggered into the room with a heavy duffel bag slung over one shoulder and a plastic bag of unknown contents in the other hand. He nudged the door shut behind him with a well-worn boot.

If all that didn’t convince Oscar that it was Dean, the small man sitting on his shoulder, hidden near the collar, did the trick.

Oscar recognized Sam’s tall form. Sam might be one of the small folk like him, but he stood at a whole four inches tall, and he was bulkier than Oscar by far. Oscar blinked shyly while Dean discarded the duffel bag first, and then set the plastic bag on the table.

“Think he’s here already?” Dean rumbled, his green eyes scanning the room even as he talked to Sam.

“He probably knows we’re here, yeah,” came Sam’s much softer voice.

Oscar sighed. There was nothing for it. He couldn’t delay this for too long or he might psych himself out and lose the nerve.

Even though it went against everything he ever knew, Oscar shuffled out into view of the towering human.

His eyes were fixed upwards, and even though he had mentally prepared himself for this for hours, he still stiffened when those sharp eyes honed in on him immediately. He swallowed thickly even as a grin as wide as he was tall broke over Dean’s face.

“Hey, Oz!” he greeted, stepping over to the dresser. Oscar took several deep breaths and stood his ground despite really wanting to run while the human closed the distance between them. Soon, Dean was kneeling in front of the dresser and Oscar was within reaching distance. He blinked rapidly and told himself that that didn’t matter.

It helped to argue. “M-my name is still Oscar, not Oz, “ he pointed out.

Dean almost looked saddened by the tremor in Oscar’s voice. Oscar couldn’t be sure he really saw it, because soon enough there was a grin back on Dean’s face and he was chuckling. The booming noise echoed around them. “Sure thing, Oz,” he replied, looking pleased with the frown it earned him.

Sam waved from his spot on the shoulder. “Hi, Oscar!” he greeted. Oscar waved back weakly. At least one of them used his name right. “It’s good to see you’re doing alright.”

“L-likewise,” Oscar called back.

There was a short, awkward pause before Sam piped up again. “So … did you want to come to the table?” he waved his arm vaguely at the plastic bag Dean had left there. “You can tell us what’s going on while we all eat, if you want. We brought food.”

If there was one surefire way to Oscar’s heart, it was food. The fear and trepidation of standing there in full view of a human were pushed aside as memories of the last time he’d had warm food came rushing to the fore of his mind. His stomach grumbled in appreciation of the memory and hope of more.

“Is it pizza?” he asked, actually taking a step away from the lamp and towards the edge of the dresser.

Dean’s eyes crinkled a little at the edges from his smile. “Nope. This time you get to try a burger, Oz,” he told him.

Sam rolled his eyes. “Or you could also try some salad, if you want something healthy,” he said with a teasing jab of an elbow in Dean’s neck.

Oscar paused, thinking about it. “I’ll try both,” he decided, taking another hesitant step forward.

“Attaboy,” Dean replied. He moved, and Oscar stopped. Soon, a hand came into view and settled a few inches in front of him. It waited patiently, just like the last time Dean had offered a hand.

Oscar was determined not to be so afraid this time around. He knew the Winchesters were strange, but good people. So he took a steeling breath before walking forward.

He was careful with each step after he put a shoe up on Dean’s fingertip. The surface beneath him had more give than he expected, though Oscar could scarcely remember if it had surprised him just as much last time. The shock that he was walking right onto a hand that could hide him effortlessly in a fist overrode the musings.

Oscar looked up at Dean once he was centered on the palm, his hands clasped in front of himself. “Okay,” he said, letting the human know that he was ready. As ready as he’d ever be.

Dean smirked faintly, and soon everything shifted. The hand lifted up and Dean did too, rising to his full standing height. Sam remained up on the shoulder, sitting there casually and keeping an eye on Oscar.

It was over in no time. Oscar stumbled hastily off of Dean’s hand onto the table, and by the time he turned back Sam was already making his way down the ramp Dean created with his arm. He was nimble and quick, and almost made it look normal to walk around on a human like that.

With his passengers safely on the solid surface of the table, Dean was free to drag the plastic bag of food closer. Sam and Oscar made sure to keep out of the way as the big white styrofoam boxes emerged from the plastic. A wall of scent hit them, and Oscar’s mouth watered.

“Uh … thanks for offering to let me have some of that,” Oscar said, slightly dazed at the sight of the burger when Dean flipped open the lid of the first container. The second was full of leafy greens with a splash of orange here and there from tomatoes, but Oscar was fixated on the heat haze.

“Can’t leave our honorary hunter without some grub,” Dean quipped, gesturing with a hand towards the boxes.

Oscar raised his eyebrows as Sam marched right up to the salad without further prompting, but soon got the lead out of his own shoes and crept towards the boxed up burger and fries. Part of him was barking caution! but it was being stifled by the part of him insisting food.

“I dunno about ‘honorary hunter,’ “ he answered even as he reached the box and placed his hands on the edge to peer inside. He looked up at Dean. “All I did was see something weird.”

Dean took mercy on Oscar and reached out to tear off pieces of the burger, clumsily forming a miniature version of the sandwich and handing it to Oscar so he wouldn’t have to reach into the box too far or climb in to get the food. Once he got the overlarge portion of food into Oscar’s hands he replied, “Close enough, Oz. Once again your information might save some lives.”

“We might not have known about anything going on until another killing, if at all” Sam pointed out, already nibbling on a torn part of a spinach leaf.

Oscar felt the heat in his face and focused on reshaping the haphazard mini-burger that Dean had given him. There was a small, fleeting swell of pride in his chest. Last time, he’d helped the brothers figure out the ringleader of a group of witches to save some kidnapped children.

He winced when he remembered what had happened to the poor, unsuspecting man in the motel room, and hoped he might have spared someone else from a similar, gruesome fate. “...Maybe,” he relented, stepping away from the food box to give Dean plenty of room to eat his own food.

The three of them ate in a surprisingly companionable silence. Oscar managed to finish off the portion of a burger that Dean gave him, which mildly impressed the human considering how big it had looked in Oscar’s hands. He let Oscar stash some pieces of a french fry in his bag, something to carry home and store in his pantry.

Oscar tried some salad, too. It was good, as most food was good, but it wasn’t nearly as flavorful as the burger. He nibbled on his lettuce all the same, grateful to have it and even more grateful that Sam let him take an entire crouton for his bag.

When they’d had their fill, the food boxes were put away and Oscar was left sitting on a book with Sam seated next to him. He had his journal resting on his lap and a stub of pencil lead in hand, and Oscar knew what was coming next.

“Alright, Oscar, I know you already told us on the phone, but I need you to tell me again what you saw. Anything at all can be useful in tracking this thing down.”

Oscar sighed. “What even is this thing? All I saw was that black smoke coming in and … then …” he trailed off and shuddered.

Dean folded his arms on the table and rested his chin on them. “That black smoke means it was probably a demon,” he replied, while Sam noted Oscar’s words in his journal. “So it’s a good thing it didn’t see you. We don’t need those sons a bitches finding out about your folk.”

Oscar nodded. Then, seeing Sam’s expectant look, recounted what he saw in more detail than he cared to use. He was visibly cringing by the time he described the woman’s violent murder of the man in the other room, and Sam let him gloss over it to the end. “She just left after that, I think. The police said there wasn’t any evidence, they just know it was a woman because of the yelling. Some other customer heard the argument through the walls but didn’t care.”

Dean sighed, and the breeze ruffled through Oscar and Sam’s hair. Sam placed a hand on his page so it wouldn’t flutter over and make him lose his place. “Sadly, that sounds like most people,” Dean admitted. “Don’t wanna think about a problem ‘til it’s their problem. Most of the time it doesn’t matter, but sometimes people get hurt.”

Oscar looked down, thinking. His shoes swung lightly back and forth, thanks to the height of the book he sat on. He could be the same way. Most of the time, human problems didn’t really show up on his radar. He was too busy making sure he had enough food for himself, and could survive another week.

He also thought about the last time he’d met the Winchesters. Dean had terrified him, and yet when it came down to it, Oscar had information that could help them solve their case. He’d even saved Dean’s life, because while the witches were good at covering their trail, they simply hadn’t accounted for a witness that stood barely over three inches tall.

“W-well,” he said, entirely unsure of what he was about to offer. “If I can help somehow, I should.”

Sam looked up at him. “Oscar, you’ve already given us plenty to go off of. We can look around and figure out who-”

“But what if she kills someone again?” Oscar interrupted. “I-I know what the lady sounds like and kinda what she looks like. Maybe I can help you find her faster. Maybe …”

His voice tapered off yet again when he saw the looks on Sam and Dean’s faces. They were as surprised as he was by his sudden conviction. For a second, Oscar thought about taking back his offer before they could tell him it was too dangerous again. They didn’t need him along when they could do the job just fine on their own.

Sam smiled, closing his book gently. “Okay, Oscar, but if you want to go with us you have to be safe. We don’t want you getting hurt because of us.”

Dean grinned and reached out a hand to ruffle Oscar’s hair with a finger. Oscar tried to fix it and sent the human a flat look, but only got a wider grin in response.

“Welcome to the team, Oz.”
Comments21
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nightmares06's avatar
Dean's little sadness when he realizes Oscar's still nervous around him will get me every time ;w; Tol just wants to help his buddy and be buddies.
PL1's avatar
;w; Oscar must warm up to the silly tol. Poor Dean didn't mean to scare him so bad last time. He just wanted to protect himself and Sam. Oz will see.
nightmares06's avatar
;w; Dean is but a hopeful puppy with his smol friends.
PL1's avatar
;w; The puppy must be loved. He needs buddies always.
nightmares06's avatar
>w< Yes, all the buddies. They must not be scared of him for he is just a puppy
PL1's avatar
^-^ Oscar will come around eventually. The most timid little bean needs to realize it.
nightmares06's avatar
>w> Dean with his smols always makes me smile
LaEscritora's avatar
Oscar's a hero despite himself. X3 What a bitty buddy. He's going to help however he can!

This is still wonderful. ^^ You're doing super well with Sam and Dean too, they read very naturally.
PL1's avatar
:iconherotimeplz:

Ahhh, thanks. ;w; I'm so glad for that!
Phoenix-FireMage's avatar
Oscar's going on a demon hunt!

I wonder if this means he's gonna ride in a pocket.
PL1's avatar
He is!

You'll have to wait to find out, but it won't be too long 'til I get the next part ready. x3
Phoenix-FireMage's avatar
Well, pockets are the best way to get to the car, so I figure he probably will. Most likely with Sam.

Yay! Excited face!
bittykimmy13's avatar
Oz had that Determination B) I'm excited to see them working as a team!
PL1's avatar
>w< He's gotta try to help! He's wrapped up in this anyway, right? XD
Firenze11's avatar
Oscar totally just proved why he's an honorary hunter.
PL1's avatar
: D He's a lot braver than he thinks!
YouAreCool10's avatar
Ya know, I'm just happy that Oscar didn't see the demon when he was a kid! Talk about being even more traumatized!
PL1's avatar
:noes: That'd be so scary! Poor baby
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