A/N: Written purely because I felt like some wee!Dean angst.
He sat in the middle of the bed, white and shaking. Dad would be back in an hour, he'd said. Dean didn't know how long an hour was but so far it had felt like a lifetime. He looked at the old watch Dad had left him with, one hour was the big hand going around once, but Dean didn't know where the big hand had been when the hour started, this hour hadn't started at the twelve like most hours do.
Dad had told him to get some sleep and he'd tried, he really had, but he'd given up when the big hand pointed to eleven because every time he closed his eyes he saw things that made him open his eyes again. Then when he opened his eyes he saw things that made him want his daddy. He wanted to turn the light on because things hid in the shadows, he'd seen them from the back of the car. The wolf-man between the trees or the dark shape in the windows of the empty house. Dean didn't know what they were, only that they were bad and Dad made them go away.
Dad wasn't here so that meant that they were. So Dean sat in the middle of the bed, looking in every direction, staring the shadows down, jumping at every movement he caught in the corner of his eye. He sat like that until the big hand was half way between the one and the two when he saw a shadow reach for Sammy while he was looking the other way.
Sammy was on the other bed and there was a big gap between the two beds, a big gap full of darkness. Dean kept watching where Sam was until his back started feeling itchy and he had to look behind him to check nothing was creeping up on him, Dad said they did that a lot. There was nothing there so Dean snapped his gaze back towards Sammy where the darkness beneath the bed was that little bit blacker and the stain on the wall had grown, he was sure of it. There was nothing else for it, he had to get over there.
By the time the big hand was pointing to the three Dean had clambered up onto the other bed and was pulling Sammy toward him. Sammy fidgeted in his sleep and whined over being disturbed but Dean held him close and stared even harder at the darkness in the room. He wanted to turn the light on even more but the switch was right the way over the other side of the room and he couldn't leave Sammy. If he did then when he turned around Sammy might be gone and he didn't want that.
Sammy was warm and soft and Dean wrapped his arms around Sammy because they could take Sammy right from under his nose if he didn't. Dad had told him about that happening sometimes and how these things almost always happened when people thought they were safe. Well, Dean didn't feel safe now, he hoped that kept them away.
The big hand was pointing at the four when Sammy finally settled back into sleep. His head was resting on Dean's shoulder, thumb in mouth while the other hand held loosely to the back of Dean's neck. He smelt of baby and love and all things good and Dean held on tighter, the prospect of losing him all the more unbearable.
When the big hand was just past the five Dean heard the floorboards creek and something knock on the wall and Dean would have backed away, dragging Sammy with him, if it didn't mean getting closer to the other shadows. Instead he sat and waited, ears and eyes straining while his barely-controlled panic swelled and festered in his belly
Just before the big hand reached the six, tears began rolling silently down Dean's cheeks and dropping onto the back of Sammy's shirt. He didn't think he could sit here like this for much longer, he hoped the hour was over, it had to be almost over. Sammy shifted when the shaking of Dean's shoulders became uncomfortable to sleep on and ended up curled in his brother's lap, thumb still in his mouth and never feeling safer than when held tightly by Dean.
Dean wished he had something to keep the shadows away with. Dad had lots of things like that, he knew, but Dean was still too little for them, his hands weren't big enough for guns and the knives were too heavy for him. All he could do was watch and wait and hope. The big hand was pointing at the seven now, the hour must almost be over. Dean had to stifle a sob when he looked back at the watch and the big hand was still pointing at the seven. Perhaps this hour would never end, perhaps the shadows had already got them without Dean realising and they were making this hour last forever. Another look at the watch assured him this wasn't true, the hour was just going by really slowly. Dean pressed his lips together and squeezed Sammy slightly, that would still give them more time to do whatever they wanted.
As the big hand was slowly creeping towards the eight there was a knock on the door that made Dean jump. Then another, and another. Hope surged within Dean, that was Dad's special knock! He carefully slipped from under Sammy, leaving him asleep in the middle of the bed, and ran as fast as possible to the door.
"Daddy? That you?" he called and then sniffed loudly because his nose was running.
"Dean? What's wrong?" came his dad's voice from the other side. Dean opened the door quick as he could and latched onto his dad's leg. John picked him up and walked into the room, shutting the door behind him. "What's the matter?"
"There are shadows in here," Dean whispered, his breath hitching. John turned on the light and gave the room a once over. It was pretty bare, there weren't many places to hide. He saw Sammy curled up peacefully in the middle of his bed, at least whatever had Dean going hadn't disturbed his youngest.
"There's nothing here, Dean,"
"I know," John frowned at his son, but Dean continued before he could say anything, "You're here now, you make them go away. I don't know how to," ah, so that was the problem. John had suspected this moment might come one day, but not so soon, Dean had only just turned six for Christ's sake!
"Would you like to learn how?" Dean nodded and buried his face into his dad's shoulder. John held him for a little longer before setting him back down on the floor. "All right, you get back to bed now and we'll start in the morning,"
"Yes, sir," said Dean and he climbed back onto his bed and curled around Sammy, pulling the cover over them both. John sat on the bed opposite and watched them. Sammy snuggled back into his brother and Dean seemed to finally relax. "Dad?" he asked.
"You're not going anywhere are you?"
"No, I'm staying right here," John assured him. Dean pulled Sammy closer and was finally able to shut his eyes without an unsavoury mix of memory and imagination scaring him.
John watched over them and made sure they were both sleeping soundly before he even thought of going to bed himself. Tomorrow he was going to teach his six-year-old son how to wield a knife and then it wouldn't be long before he was teaching his six-year-old son how to shoot a gun. God help him. What was he doing?
Hope you enjoyed!