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Little Red

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He had to drive a good four hours to get to the nearest bitty store. He was just glad he lived close to a major city- he woulda been fucked if he’d lived more than five or six hours away. His patience wasn’t that long, he probably would have just gotten a cat or something.

Stan had told him multiple times that he should just spend a little bit of their savings and stay the night, but he’d shrugged his brother off as usual. Eight hours wasn’t bad, he’d thought. He’d lost plenty of night’s sleeps before, so this wasn’t much different. But, no, as it turned out, spending that many hours in a car was absolutely awful.

Rus made it to the city as tired as one could possibly be. As always, Stan had been right- he should have just brought enough money to snag a hotel for the night, but he hadn’t so now he had no choice.

Finding parking was shit. On his five block walk to the actual store he felt his spirits lift- he couldn’t deny he was excited as hell to get a pet. He’d been saving up for a bitty for months now, but the cheapest of the little shits were still over five hundred bucks. His brother had supported him fully, of course, like he always did. He’d even pitched in a little, despite all of Rus’s protests. His brother worked himself to the bone, gave all he had in everything he did. He’d said a bitty would be a good choice, if he got the right kind.

As his leisurely stroll brought him closer to the store, Rus found himself lost in thought. What kind would he get? He’d done a lot of research, all the stuff for the little guy was safe back in their apartment, but he had no idea what kind to get. He did like the prospect of the Edge’s, so tiny and filled with sass and anger. But did he really want to put up with that? He could go with something like a Sansy and get none of the anger but all of the sass, as well as some sick jokes from what he’d heard. But there were also the Papyrus’s, too. He could get a Papy, or a Boss, or a Lil Bro, or-

His ramblings brought him directly in front of the bitty store. It wasn’t big by any means, but then again, the things it sold rarely got taller than five or six inches, so it didn’t have to be. It was nestled between a coffee shop and what looked like a law firm. The front windows were clean and inviting, with pictures of some people and their bitties hanging inside. Russell smiled and hurried in, ducking his head because of his massive height.

The inside was just as nice as the outside. One of the walls was lined with supplies and cute little mini things, while the other had tanks filled with, well, bitties. There were a few of the little open enclosures pet stores had sometimes, but there were signs all over them that bitties were not to be picked up and children should be kept away at all times. That was a plus, at least.

“Hello! Welcome to Little Things. What can I help you with today?” the employee behind the counter asked, bustling over to Rus and giving him an enormous smile.

“I’m here to adopt, actually,” Rus said, looking over the guy’s head at all the tanks with bitties. Some were staring back at him, equally as intrigued.

“Absolutely!” the guy said, walking closer to the tanks and gesturing to them. “Did you have a particular bitty in mind?”

“Mm, nah, not really. Mind if I just look around for now?”

He straightened. “Of course! I’ll be behind the counter, if you have any questions or want to take one out just let me know,” he said, giving Rus another big grin. He scurried off and Rus was left alone, staring into the glass walls of the tanks to look at the bitties inside.

There sure were a lot of them looking at him. The nearest was an enclosure full of Papyrus-type bitties. Rus walked closer and leaned down to look. A Papy was staring up at him in wonder. It waved, and Rus couldn’t help but smile and wave back. God this was gonna be hard, they were all so tiny and cute. A Boss in the same tank shot him a look and he quickly moved on. Maybe not a Boss- he was kind of intimidating.

The bitties were all much the same. A Baby Blue came forward and jumped against the glass and waved while an Edge stood beside him with his arms crossed, eyeing Rus like he’d bomb the place.

“Hi!” the little pipsqueak of a bitty chirped, pressing his face to the glass. Baby Blue’s were a little too energetic for Rus, as far as he had read, but he knelt down closer to face level with the little thing and grinned.

“Heya, little dude.”

Baby Blue grinned, stars forming in his big ol eyes. “You’re so tall! Are you here to take somebody home?”

Rus smiled. He kind of reminded the human of his brother- short, round, and energetic to a fault.

“I might be. You got a sales pitch?”

The Baby Blue tilted his head. The angry little runt beside him groaned and turned away.

“C’mon, Blue, he wants to know why he should pick you,” the other explained. God their jackets were so small, this guy’s even had little tiny spikes on it.

The bitty clapped his hands together and looked back to Rus. “Oh! Well, I think you should pick whoever you like the most. Besides, I don’t want to get picked- then my friend would be lonely,” he said, reaching over and grabbing the other Sans bitty’s jacket. Rus’s heart melted even as the angry little thing screeched in indignity and shoved the little blue one away.

“Aww. Well, I can only afford one today, so I won’t pick either of you,” Rus said with another little grin. Baby Blue seemed surprised for a moment before he nodded and waved as the human began to walk away.

Rus continued to peruse the bitties. None of them seemed as eager to talk as the little Baby Blue had been, but he got some waves.

Once he was done looking at all the little guys in the tanks, he moved to the set ups in the middle of the store. One had an assortment of the much more exclusive (and expensive) non-skeleton bitties. A little Grillby bitty looked up at him. God he was a cutie- too bad Rus didn’t have the money for an exotic bitty. A Muffet gave him a wave with three of her hands as he gave them a parting “goodbye” and went to the next little open-topped enclosure.

He walked through, looking at all of his options, until he got to the back of the store. There was one little enclosure that was smaller than the rest- and it looked unoccupied. Rus hummed as he got closer and took a look. There was a little half-house thing in the pen, something that the others didn’t have. He leaned down and peeked inside, and sure enough, a little bitty was curled up in the farthest corner, back turned. Rus frowned. He heard delicate little sobs coming from the tiny dude.

“Ah, I’m sorry-” the store employee came around and stood beside the taller human, staring into the empty-looking enclosure. “You might not want this little guy…”

“Is he okay?” Rus asked. The sobbing quieted as they spoke.

“He’s, ah… he’s fine,” the employee said. “He gets overwhelmed by the others, so he stays on his own.”

Russell looked back into the little bitty house, but the tiny thing inside was turned away and curled up as tight as he could get. His frown deepened.

“Can I see him?”

The employee looked surprised. “You… want to hold him?”

“Yeah, if that’s okay.”

The kid seemed shocked, but he shook himself and reached forward into the house with only a moment’s pause. The sobbing escalated into hysterics. The guy shot Rus an apologetic look as he leaned down and began to coo.

“Shh, shh, it’s okay Red- somebody wants to see you, that’s all, don’t cry,” he said softly. Rus’s heart softened, and he was about to say it was okay, to leave the poor little guy in the house, but then the employee's hands were being pulled out, something unbelievably tiny clutched safely between them.

“Here- hold out your hands, not too high above the bedding, in case he gets spooked,” the guy instructed, and Rus complied immediately.

“Does he bite?”

“No no, he won’t bite, I promise. He’s, uh… he’s a little on the rough side, just make sure you don’t drop him,” the guy said as he laid his hand on top of Russell’s and gently, very gently deposited the little bitty into his upturned palms.

Rus wasn’t sure what he was expecting, but when the dude’s hands came away and he saw the little guy’s face, he nearly did drop the thing.

He was incredibly small- the smallest one he’d seen here, by far. But that wasn’t the awful part- his face was… oh jeez.

The little bitty stared up at the human, big red tears running down his face. The right side of his skull was fine, but the left…

A large, unsightly crack ran down his left eye socket. The socket- somehow, he had no idea how- had become deformed and droopy. It wouldn’t have been so bad if it wasn’t for the fact that the eyelight in the socket was enormous- bulgy, almost, like one of those black goldfish. It was ugly and kind of gross, if Rus was being honest.

“What the hell happened to him?” he asked immediately. The tiny thing weighed next to nothing, but warmed his palms. It hiccuped and pulled its hood up, good eye staring at Rus’s palms.

“He’s a rescue,” the employee explained softly. “His first owner was… not kind to him. We don’t know exactly what happened to his eye socket. He’s been back and forth for a good three years now… nobody that adopts him ever wants to keep him.”

Rus stared down at the bitty. It looked terrified, shaking like a leaf in his palms, large eye staring at nothing while the other unharmed one looked at anything that wasn’t Rus’s face. His jacket was long, a couple sizes too large by the looks of it, and his shorts were pulled up way too high. His hands were tucked in the front. Rus made a face.

“Is he, uh…?”

“Ah, no no, sorry- its for comfort. He always does that,” the guy said, reaching down and touching the unharmed side of the little dude’s skull.

“Is he a Cherry?”

“We don’t know. He could be an Edge or a Cherry. We, uh, we think he suffered considerable head trauma when he got hurt,” the guy explained softly, rubbing the side of the bitty’s skull for comfort. It seemed to help calm him down, but he was still shaking. It made Rus nervous- he didn’t want to drop the little dude.

“So what’s his name?”

“We call him Red.”

Rus nodded. He didn’t like looking at the little guys face for too long, god it was ugly, but he felt so bad for the thing.

He hesitantly shifted the little guy to one of his palms, where he easily fit, and brought his other up to replace the store employee’s. The bitty flinched at first, but he just rubbed the skull the same way the other guy had done, and eventually he seemed to relax.

“Don’t worry lil’ dude, I won’t hurt ya,” Rus said softly. “You’re pretty tiny, huh?”

Red looked up at him but didn’t say anything. He kept looking away, even going so far to to take his hands from his shorts and cover the wounded side of his face.

“Aww…” Rus breathed.

“... I think he likes you,” the guy said, warmly looking at the little dude. “He’s had it so hard- people keep bringing him back, they buy him out of pity but then come back for an exchange when they realize he isn’t like the other bitties.”

“That’s fuckin’ awful,” Rus said immediately, still rubbing the little guy’s skull. “How much is he?”

“Fifty dollars.”

Rus jerked his head up to look at the dude. “Wait… seriously?”

The clerk scratched his chin. “Don’t buy him just for the discount! Legally we’re not allowed to sell a rescue for anything over seventy five, but he’s just as much work as any other bitty. More, maybe.”

“So he’s only fifty bucks?” Rus asked, bringing the bitty closer to him. Once he got past the ugly little face, the thing was kind of cute… like a hairless cat. A little unconventional, but good nonetheless.

“He is. You’ll have to sign some papers, though- he isn’t allowed near children or other potentially dangerous housepets.”

Rus looked down at the little guy. His eyes were closed as he leaned gently into the touch of his finger.

“I’ll take him.”