Short stories: Oscar (Brothers Together)

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Oscar couldn’t sleep. He had a huge pillow to rest on and a warm shirt to curl up in, but his attention was focused away from them. At night, sometimes, he was up and about searching for food, after all. He was used to sleeping when he was tired, and at the moment he wasn’t tired.

He sat up on the pillow with his legs stretched out in front of himself and his hands braced on the plushy surface beneath him. Nearby, he could hear the quiet pattern of Sam breathing, sprawled under the shirt-blanket. Sam was a little more used to sleeping every night, or most every night.

Dean’s breathing was much easier to hear. His huge lungs were bigger than Oscar’s home in the walls. Probably. Those breaths created little breezes back and forth over the pillow, with the way Dean had hugged it protectively close. Oscar had stayed in the big motel room more and more often as the days wore by. He spent so much time with his friends, and couldn’t be happier.

It wasn’t doubt or even fear for the big, wide open room that kept Oscar awake now. For once, his reason was peaceful and without worry. He stared at the window of the motel room, where the edge of a curtain had gotten caught in just a way that left it hanging open a few inches.

To someone who barely stood over two inches tall, it was a wide break in the fabric indeed. Oscar stared at the sky beyond that window in awe. The streetlamp outside had flickered out earlier, and after that, Oscar couldn’t look away.

Oscar could see the stars out there.

Little twinkling lights seemed to peek back at him. Oscar had only ever seen the daytime sky with them, so far. By the time night fell, they were always safely back in the room to watch TV or run and play (sometimes with Dean trying to catch Sam and Oscar as they laughed and scurried away).

Oscar sighed contentedly and lay back down to draw some of the shirt over himself. He curled up, but made sure he could still see that small space between the curtains. He fell asleep watching the stars for the first time in his life.

Every Silver Lining

Oscar took slow breaths. He had to focus. He was getting better at this all the time, but it still only took one mistake for everything to go wrong. Two years of surviving by himself, down the drain if he got caught. He couldn’t let that happen.

Most of the smaller folk wouldn’t risk hiding in an occupied room. The risk of humans spotting them was simply too great. Even Oscar felt his heart hammering as he huddled in his hiding spot under the bed, close to the wall. A large tangle of lint and dustbunnies provided a good barricade while he waited.

The motel was more packed than it had ever been. A glimpse outside had revealed a bus in the parking lot, and seven rooms were booked out with four humans to a room. Teenagers, a whole class of them, on a trip. Their presence made waves … mostly sound waves.

Oscar had tried to check all of the new faces for a familiar one, just in case. They were all the right age. But they confirmed his doubts.

Dean wouldn't have come with a group like this anyway.

It was far from a total loss, though. Human teenagers, left mostly to their own devices, ate a lot of food. They didn’t clean up after themselves as much, either.

Oscar would never dream of venturing near the room where most of them had gone, calling it a “party room.” But one closer to home was promising enough. Oscar instead staked out a room with four girls that had decided to watch TV and gab the evening away. He didn't follow most of what they said, but he noticed every time they dropped some of their food. Several crumbs and even an entire potato chip lay just under the shadow of the beds, willfully ignored by the humans piled on top of the blankets.

Waiting in the room would work well. As soon as they were all asleep, Oscar could make his move. After watching each crumb fall, he wouldn’t even need to search, and he could grab all the food on his way back into the walls.

The risk of being caught was always there. Oscar huddled even smaller as he imagined one of those humans kneeling down and seeing him. With four of them, it’d be easy to herd him into a corner and catch him.

They might not be nice like Dean. In fact, it was very unlikely. Dean had been a rare human indeed, with his tiny brother Sam helping him realize that smaller folk were people. Not animals or pets or toys.

These girls might not be mean to Oscar, either. He’d figured out that a lot of humans liked small, cute things. Oscar was a tiny, ten-year-old boy. He would probably become a favorite living doll, or a pet that they loved to coo at and make faces at through the bars of a cage. He drifted into thoughts of how well he might be fed in that scenario, the only light in such a bleak imagined existence.

Even for all the food he could ever want, Oscar wouldn’t want a cage.

He waited for a long time in that room. His stomach pined for the food within view. But he waited. Oscar was very used to waiting. His patience kept him huddled safely out of sight of the humans. More crumbs fell from above. The TV droned on.

When the girls finally settled into their beds and switched off the lamps, Oscar was rubbing his eyes sleepily. He waited at least thirty minutes more before moving. He had to be sure they were all asleep.

Then, he was off.

Oscar collected every last scrap. The full potato chip he tucked under his arm, it was so big. His bag actually filled up. As he scurried back to his entrance into the walls with that reassuring weight bouncing along to the rhythm of his run, his heart lifted just a little. It was probably enough food to last him several days, if not a full week.

With a life like Oscar’s, every little silver lining counted.

When he brought everything home, after not once being noticed by the humans, Oscar enjoyed himself organizing the food on his pantry shelves. He still wasn’t tall enough to reach the highest ones, but the lower shelves he could fill with crumbs and the stacked shards of the potato chip.

Once everything was put away, he picked up the piece of chip that he’d set aside for his meal for the day. His stomach thanked him profusely as he wolfed down the salty, starchy snack. His brown eyes even fluttered closed for a second. He didn’t let any of the food go to waste. The oil and salt it left on his fingers was licked clean and then Oscar went about getting ready for bed.

He washed his hands and his face from his bottle cap of water. He made sure his door was closed tightly against any bugs, and made sure no bugs had already snuck in. He peeked into his pantry one more time, to reassure himself that everything was still there.

It was, and he smiled faintly. “Good,” he breathed.

Finally, Oscar crept into the partitioned off bedroom where his nest of blankets waited invitingly. He pretended they were proud of him for doing such a good job getting supplies that night, and snuggled up under the whole pile to keep warm.

“Goodnight,” he said to the empty home. He pretended that, wherever they were, his friends heard him.

A Cause for Celebration

Oscar didn’t fully understand it, but every once in a while the office staff would decorate the lobby of the motel. He vaguely remembered his mom telling him that the humans had special days that they liked to celebrate every year. Since he didn’t have a calendar (and could barely make sense of one anyway), he was still learning when to anticipate these days.

He watched surreptitiously from a vent as one of the older staff members, a lady with hearing problems and a frown stuck in the wrinkles on her face, trudged around the room. Despite her scowly appearance, she seemed pleasant to every person that came in and Oscar knew her voice well. It was softer than it looked like it should be, and she talked about her grandchildren to whomever would listen.

He sometimes wished he had a grandmother like her. Someone that could take care of him since he didn’t have anyone at all. He was twelve years old and it had been four years since he had warm food.

At least Oscar remembered that he was supposed to check the office sometimes, make sure they weren’t planning any pest control or something. That was how he’d found the woman in the lobby, frowning around absently and hanging paper shapes from the ceiling or taping them to the walls.

They were pumpkins with scary faces or black bats with fanged grins. Some of the shapes were stylized pictures of wrapped candies. Oscar knew this one. He frowned thoughtfully and tried to remember the word.

One of the maids came into the room to duck behind the front desk and find something back there. She grinned at the shapes already hung up. “Getting ready for Halloween?” she asked.

Aha! Oscar thought with a faint smile. While the ladies struck up a conversation, he inched back away from the vent. He had seen what he needed to, and he needed to focus on seeking out food now.

‘Halloween’ was a strange holiday for the humans. Oscar didn’t know what it was for, but he never questioned it, because a lot of times people had late nights away from their bed. Seeking food was easier. It also meant that the one they called ‘Thanksgiving’ was coming up, and after that was ‘Christmas.’ Lots of people drifted through and dropped more crumbs than usual.

Oscar didn’t celebrate the holidays the same way humans did, but they were worth looking forward to in his own way. Anything that made his life easier was to be celebrated.

He ventured into the dark with silent steps and found himself drifting back in memories again. He wondered with a peaceful acceptance if his friends were out there somewhere, excited to do whatever it was humans did on Halloween and Thanksgiving and Christmas. Like he often did, he imagined finding Sam around the corner, beckoning him to hurry back to the room, inviting him to join Sam and Dean for their celebration this year.

Come on, Oz, Dean’s already started! Sam said in his imagination.

Oscar smiled and walked faster, even though he didn’t really have anywhere to go. It was nice to imagine, though. He knew that this Halloween wouldn’t be any different than any of his other Halloweens, or any in the future. Oscar was there to stay.

He could still celebrate. He had his memories to keep him company.

Oscar's Movie Night

Oscar hadn’t had a very successful day. He managed to scrape together enough crumbs and bits of food for one meal, but that was no progress. His pantry would merely remain at the abysmally low levels it had been when he set out.

He shuffled quietly towards home, cloth shoes pushing dust around. He felt worn out to the core. Climbing furniture could wear on someone after doing it all evening and into the night. Especially someone who didn’t eat as much as they should, but in order to avoid running out, Oscar had to cut corners. He always had to cut corners.

While he walked, Oscar was drawn inevitably into memories. Years ago, when he was just a young kid and his mom had only been gone a year, Oscar had been happy again. A bright spot in his bleak outlook may well have saved his life.

He’d had food and water and a place he could go for more warmth when even his pile of blankets was too cold. Oscar had more than one meal a day, of all kinds of foods, the memory of which still made his mouth water and his stomach pine for more sometimes. He’d had a glow of health in his cheeks and a shy smile in his eyes.

Oscar had had friends.

Now he was back to having no one. Oscar had stupidly wished for that month to last longer. He’d even let himself imagine going with them when they left. But a note written in quick handwriting, punctuated with a hasty SORRY OZ had brought him back to reality.

That had to be nearly half his lifetime ago. Oscar remembered them every day. He often wondered if they remembered him. It didn’t seem likely. They’d gone on to meet new people and make new connections.

Oscar was still there, clinging to the frayed edges of what was left of his connection. Just like he’d started to forget things about his mom, he’d begun to forget things about Sam and Dean. Their voices were gone. Their faces had become a little vague.

But he still remembered how happy he’d been to spend time with them. He’d even gone outside safely.

A familiar swell of music echoed into his passages from the room adjacent. Oscar felt his heart tighten and drifted to the edge of the wall. He leaned his ear against it and planted his hands on it as well. He knew that music anywhere. Someone must have left the TV on when they went to bed.

The music of Jurassic Park threw Oscar back six years. The taste of popcorn and soda, the rise and fall of the surface beneath him, the brightness of the enormous screen were crystal clear in his head. He blinked rapidly as he thought about that day in the park. He and Sam had explored the grass, outside, with the open sky above and the fresh air all around. Oscar was free of worry even knowing there were birds that could carry him away out there.

He wasn’t alone.

The music and the sound of people talking and dinosaurs grumbling reached his hearing, and Oscar sighed. He saw this movie in a big theater with his friends, though he’d had to cover his eyes for a lot of it. He remembered how Dean had placed a protective hand over Sam and Oscar.

After listening for a while, Oscar opened his eyes. He was back in the walls. It was dim and dusty and chilly. He hadn’t had anything to eat yet that day, and he didn’t have a promise of safety or more food tomorrow.

Oscar sighed and stepped away from the edge of the wall, making his way home once more.

The New Litter

“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.
These are all short stories taking place in the Brothers Together univers, a Supernatural GT AU created originally by nightmares06  and in which I'm allowed to play a lot. :) Oscar, from my Food and Monsters series, met the young Winchester brothers when they were staying in the Knight's Inn as children. Due to unfortunate timing, he was unable to go with them when he left, but he still thinks about his only friends quite a lot! These short stories give a peek at his life in the motel on his own throughout the years.

Find a useful masterpost of the Brothers Together AU here
© 2016 - 2021 PL1
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Glkthread's avatar
So cute! Wonderful job on Oscar's characterisation, awesome glimpses into his life. I absolutely loved your Brothers Together collab.
PL1's avatar
Thank you very much! I'm glad you enjoyed the AU. :) We will definitely have to come back to it sometime!
AbusedPrivilege's avatar
I would love to see a follow-up to that story.  Ten years... twenty years later where Dean and Sam come back and find him. 
Ah.  I can dream. 
PL1's avatar
Can't let go of your dream! nightmares06 and I definitely haven't forgotten that Oscar needs his buddies back either ;P
YouAreCool10's avatar
Oh my god. I can't. I physically cannot.the feels Squeal! 
PL1's avatar
:happybounce:  There are too many cutes to be had with little Oscar!
YouAreCool10's avatar
CDupre's avatar
The mice! Oh my heart. <3
PL1's avatar
:heart: Oscar and his mousie friends! He can't resist them
CDupre's avatar
I wouldn't be able to either.
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