Don't be Afraid of the Dark
Sam: age 9
Dean: age 13
"Dean?" Sammy Winchester tried to pull the covers up to his neck without impeding his sight of the closet.
"Hm?" Dean rolled over in effort to ignore his little brother, knowing that he wouldn't even if he could. He was exhausted; Sam hadn't slept in three days, and Dean was always right there, one bed over, having to talk him through the night.
"Dean there's something in the closet." The boy whispered.
"There's nothing in the closet Sammy." Dean closed his eyes tighter. "There's salt everywhere, nothing could get in. You're fine." Sam whimpered a little, obviously trying not to. Dean sighed a little and rolled back on his side to face his brother. "You still got that .45 Dad gave you?" Sam nodded. "Then nothing can get you, okay? It would be too afraid of the gun and me and Dad."
"But… Dad's gone, and what if it knows I can't shoot?" Sam didn't look toward his closet anymore, he concentrated on Dean.
"Then it better be pretty scared of me. Don't worry Sammy, if anything happens, I'll take care of it, okay?"
Sam nodded, knowing that his brother thought he was a baby. He'd checked the closet three times over the course of the past two days; there was nothing there and nothing coming through the salt, but still… every time he looked he could see it staring at him, looking with hatred in its eyes and a gruesome painted smile… It was worse than the clown in the movie.
Three nights ago, when they'd first moved in to there newest three-month-at-most home, Dean had stayed up to watch a scary movie. He didn't know his little brother was standing in the doorway, watching with him. He didn't know until later that Sam had run back into their room and hid behind the covers, staring at a homicidal clown in the closet until morning. He only found out the next morning, when Sam refused to get out of bed to walk past the closet.
Dean had asked their father for help with Sammy earlier that day, during one of the few times the man was in, and after being chewed out for being so irresponsible, John gave Sam a gun. Sammy was afraid to touch the thing, though he'd never say so and Dean would never admit to knowing it. It wasn't helping.
So it remained Dean's responsibility to wake up every night to tell his little brother that nothing was going to get him. The first time he'd thought it was sort of funny, being scared of a movie when Dad was out there living it, but now he was just tired.
"Dean?" Sam asked, wondering if his brother was still awake.
"What if it's faster than you? The clown in the movie was stronger than—"
"Here Sammy, what if I took the gun? It could outrun a bullet, and I won't miss." Sam nodded, but didn't move. "Give it here, Sammy." Dean asked.
"Come get it?" Sam asked, afraid to move just in case it would provoke the clown.
Dean groaned. Never would he ever watch another horror movie. He propped himself up on his elbow and reached over to Sam's nightstand to grab the gun. Suddenly, he could have sworn he saw movement out of the corner of his eye. Sam squeaked.
"Where'd it go?" He squealed.
"Shhhh… Shh, Sammy. Nothing's there." Dean looked around in spite of himself. He thought he saw something, but it could have just been that Sam was getting to him, and he was tired, and sort of hungry, and…
But if there was something there, then Sammy was in trouble. And that was not okay. Not even the possibility. "Hey Sammy?"
Sam's eyes locked onto his. "You saw it, didn't you?" He said softly. "I told you it was there."
"I didn't see anything Sammy, I was gonna ask if you were hungry." Dean lied. "Let's get something to eat in the kitchen."
Sam nodded and looked back at the closet. "Will you turn on the lights first?" He asked with such a pathetic, little-brother-beg in his voice that Dean would have done just about anything he asked, even if he didn't think they were in danger.
But he kept the gun with him as he went.
"Okay, come on." Dean felt better with the lights on too, and there was still nothing in the closet.
Sam threw the blankets off him and ran to the door with Dean, careful not to let him get more than a few steps ahead. "So what do you want to eat?"
"Lucky Charms." Sam said instantly, as though it was obvious.
"Only if you eat the whole bowl." Dean made him promise. He couldn't understand what Sam liked about those dried out little marshmallows, but if he wanted to buy that nasty cereal, he'd better eat all of it.
After the bowl was safely in front of him, with no milk so he could eat it like popcorn with his fingers (Sam was actually very picky about his food, but Dean knew how to handle it), he looked up at Dean. "Dad's working awful late this time." He tried to make conversation.
"He'll be home soon." Dean promised out of habit as he looked around.
"I hope he isn't."
Dean's eye fell on his little brother, wide with shock. "What'd you say?"
"I like my school here, and tomorrow's Saturday. The less Dad comes back, the longer we get to stay." Sam explained, picking out the marshmallows despite his promise.
"Shut up Sam." The boy looked up as his brother's voice hardened. "Don't you say stuff like that. Ever."
Sam sensed that his brother would be yelling at him if it wasn't one in the morning, so he continued to placidly eat his cereal in silence. "…sorry."
There was another silence. "Hey Dean?"
Dean rolled his eyes. His brother hated sitting quietly, he'd do almost anything to stop it. Dean was upset, sure, but not mad at him. Sometimes he felt the same way… but every once in a while he'd have a nightmare about that night nine years ago, and the feeling would go away. "So Sammy, does the clown in your nightmares look like the one in the movie?" He asked, focusing on the reason for the gun in his hand instead of anything else.
"Uh-uh." Sam shook his head. "It looks way scarier. It's got this greenish make-up instead of white and black around the blue part over his eyes and he's got this big smile painted on over the red part of his mouth and it's got these creepy teeth—"
"Calm down Sammy, I just asked." Dean stopped him before he got too worked up, but that was the same clown Dean thought he saw. Too much of a coincidence.
"I'm gonna go back and close the closet doors okay? Would that help you sleep?" Dean asked, looking for an excuse to not alarm Sammy.
"No. It would open them, and that would be worse." Sam informed him easily. "Do you think it's a ghost Dean?"
"There's no such things as ghosts, Sammy." Dean rebuked lightly.
"Well I know… but today before you got home from school I came in and it was in the living room and it just turned the lights on and off and on again and just looked at me. Then it went away. What would do that?"
"Why didn't you tell me about that?" Dean asked loudly. It wasn't an angry yell; he was scared. It wasn't stuck in the bedroom. They weren't safe here.
"You would have just said that I was a baby again." Sam protested, not knowing what the big deal was. Then his eyes suddenly widened in excitement. "You do think it's real! You believe me!" He grinned.
Dean swallowed. "Fine, fine. I believe you. But here's the thing, Sammy: we gotta get rid of it, whatever it is."
"Okay, how?" Sam suddenly seemed a lot less scared. Dean breathed.
"I don't know."
Sam waited another second before offering, "I saw this movie one time where this guy came back as a ghost for revenge, but I'm pretty sure he disappeared when it killed like three people."
"Nobody's dying tonight." Dean said gruffly.
"I know, but if we knew what it wanted—"
Dean interrupted him. "We don't need to know what it wants, we need to know what it is." He thought. "Okay, first thing's first: We gotta make a salt circle. Now." He stood up. "And you don't leave my sight." Dean demanded, not realizing that he hadn't heard that since his mother last said it to him.
Sammy nodded and stood up with him, they walked over to the counters and grabbed out two bags of salt. Sam had to heave his with all his strength.
Dean saw Sam turn backward like a bicycle wheel and dropped his bag. "Sammy! Sammy, you okay?"
Sam held his head. "Yeah, the floor's all wet."
It wasn't when Dean poured the cereal. He dragged Sam across the floor on his butt and made a circle around him. Sam watched him and then asked, "Now what?"
"Well…" He had no idea. If the thing got past the salt at the door or windows, then there was a good chance this wouldn't work anyway. He was just doing what he knew. "Um, silver works on a lot of things. And holy water."
Sam's eyes widened. "We have holy water?" As though that was the coolest thing in the world. "Like from a church?"
Dean sat down miserably. "No. And my knife's back in the bedroom."
"But we've got a gun." Sam protested. His fear level rested solely on his brother's confidence, so this was not going well.
Dean saw that. "Yeah, we at least got a gun. It's a good gun, we'll be okay." He tried to look less worried. "We'll just wait for Dad, I guess. And we'll shoot it if it comes."
Sam nodded. "When will Dad be home?"
"I don't know Sammy… Why don't you try to sleep some? Time will go faster."
He nodded again and closed his eyes and put his head in the hollow of Dean's shoulder. Dean wrapped his arms around his brother protectively and rested his chin in Sam's hair. He smelled safe and normal, like his apple shampoo and Dean slowly started to feel better.
Only a little over an hour later, Sam suddenly squeaked. "There! Do you see it?" Dean looked at his brother and followed his eyes. There was nothing there.
But there was something behind them.
Dean turned to see their father. He was covered in blood, starting at his chest. "Dean." He said.
"Dad!" Dean stood up, taking Sam with him.
"Dad?" Sam asked, looking around.
Something was wrong, blood was coming from John's mouth and he fell to the ground. Dean started to run over, but Sam grabbed him and started shrieking. "No Dean! It's over there!"
Dean turned around to hit his little brother's hands away, but when he looked back, John was no where in sight. "Where'd he go?" He looked around frantically.
"W-where did you s-see him?" Sam asked, crying. "It was r-right there Dean. I-it was s-smiling at y-you." He started shaking. Dean hugged him, still looking.
"It's okay Sammy, it's okay." Dean started muttering, almost without realizing it.
"W-where's Dad?" He slowly stopped crying.
Dean took a deep breath. "I don't think he's here." Admitting it seemed to kill all of the safety he'd felt a moment ago. "I think it's trying to scare me too."
Sam stopped shaking as his breathing started to pace with his brother's. "Are you scared Dean?" he asked carefully.
"No. Not me… Are you scared?"
"No way." Dean knew he was lying, but making him say he was fine would help Sam put up with waiting. If he kept reminding himself that he wasn't scared, he wouldn't be after a while. The magic of nine-year-olds.
"Okay Sammy, let's sit back to back, just so we can see everything." Dean suggested. He positioned them so that Sam really could only see the counters, but he could see everything. Sam was fine with this, so long as he kept hold of his brother's hand.
Dean curled his knees into his chest as Sammy leaned against him; he put one hand over his knees and rested his head on them. He didn't even realize when sleep started to take him.
Sam knew though, he could feel his breathing change from where their backs touched. Slowly, he moved so that he could look out into the living room over his brother's shoulder. Dean only stirred when Sam moved his hand.
The room looked normal. It felt normal. Sam knew it wouldn't last, but just for that moment…
He looked down at the gun next to where there hands were. It didn't offer him the sense of safety he'd pretended, he just didn't want John to think he was any more of a baby than he already did. But Dean said his knife would help…
Sam looked back at the living room. It still looked safe. He slowly, carefully disentangled his hand from Dean's, nearly waking him three times before he could take a step outside of the circle. He did, hesitantly.
He ran to their room as fast as he could. The lights were still on, reflecting off the knife on Dean's dresser. He ripped it from its place, already turned around toward the hallway. His heart sounded louder than the soft padding of his socks as he ran. He could see the circle, right where he left it, and stopped dead.
It was there. Right in between him and safety.
Sam dropped the knife and forgot about it completely. He backed away an inch at a time as it turned around to look at him. "Dean?" He couldn't even hear his own voice.
It came closer slowly, but Sam couldn't move any faster. His back hit the wall behind him and it kept coming, its face hovering so close that Sam could feel the heat of its breath. It made a hungry sound.
Something snapped him out of his frozen fear. "Dean!" He screeched and threw his hands over his face and sank to the floor.
Dean's head snapped up. It took under a second for him to take in the scene before him. He saw a bloody, pale Sam turn to look at him with such utter hate in his eyes Dean sat frozen. Then Sam turned back around to look down at… Sammy. Huddled on the ground and crying his name.
He ran forward, his brain not knowing what his body was doing until he found the knife in his hand and launched himself at the figure over his brother. The figure changed as Dean struck it. It became his mother, the clown, a giant spider and several half-forms then kept Dean fighting to stay on him. It screamed and roared and Dean withdrew the knife and stabbed it again three times before it disappeared from beneath him.
It reappeared twice before settling before the front door as dead John. Dean paid it no attention the instant it stopped moving. "Sammy." He whirled back around to his brother and grabbed his shoulders hard. "Sammy! Are you okay?" Sam stayed where he was on the floor until Dean touched him. He started to thrash and scream. Dean pulled him hard into his chest until he stopped.
Sam cried hard as soon as he realized where he was. Dean just breathed.
Dad. Dead on the floor.
Bloody Sammy. Hating him.
The feeling of his knife breaching skin…
His thoughts were interrupted by a wet, sticky feeling under his fingers. "Sammy?" He whispered, recognizing the feeling instantly. Blood. Bleeding. "Sammy." He pulled him to an arm's length away and looked at the red spot boy's shoulder.
He dropped the knife when he realized who had made the wound. It must have happened when he was holding Sam.
Sammy didn't make eye contact with him. He stared at the floor, looking like he was crying until he threw Dean's restraining hands off his shoulders and hugged him again.
"Come on, Sammy." He pulled the boy up and lifted him onto he couch, setting him down and walking right past John's body to make another salt circle. He grabbed a kitchen rag for Sam's shoulder, not letting him far enough out of his sight to get a bandage from the bathroom.
He sat on the couch next to his brother, and Sam laid down, resting his head in Dean's lap. Dean gingerly pressed the rag to Sam's shoulder and stared straight ahead for a long time.
"…Sammy?" He asked. Sam didn't respond. "Why were you outside the circle?" He tried to sound like his father would: rebuking, but fair as he gave them a chance to explain. He ended up sounding like a child, asking why a relative died.
Sam swallowed. "…you wanted your knife." And he wanted his brother to be safe. He'd thought that it would be okay…
"Sammy," Dean wasn't sure what to say. His recent experience overloaded him; he was now too devoid of emotions to do anything but sit there. "Never again, Sammy."
And then they were both too exhausted. There would be no more talking tonight.
Dean turned on the television in front of them until he was sure Sam was asleep, and then turned it off to sit there in the dark for a minute. He ran his hand over the gun next to him and looked down at Sam's curly bush of hair. His face was smooth in sleep, without fear for the first time that night, but his knuckles were white around the small hilt of the silver knife.
Dean smiled bittersweetly. He didn't even wonder when Sam had time to pick up the weapon, he just cried a little to himself. Sammy should still be cuddling a teddy bear.
The doorknob started to turn in the corner of his eye. Tears were forgotten. He raised the .45 to his shoulder and took aim. John walked in at gunpoint.
"Dean?" He asked, bewildered at the sight of his thirteen year old with a gun trailed on him. He looked around quickly to note the salt circles and stare at his dead body on the floor.
John looked back at his oldest son comfortingly as he carefully stepped over the salt line. Dean finally lowered the gun and started breathing again. "Maybe you better tell me what happened."
Sam woke with a start and bolted upright in his bed. It took all of half a second for his breathing and heart rate to skyrocket and he was out in the hallway, headed for the kitchen in an instant. "Dean!"
There was no evidence of the previous night in the kitchen. Dean sat at the table with half a frozen waffle. "What?"
"Where is it!?" Sam asked in a panic. He didn't want to have the possibility of being behind him at any point.
"Where's what? Keep it down—"
Dean sighed. "Not this again. Look Sammy, I'm sorry you saw that movie, but there's no clown. And Dad's asleep so—"
Sam stared at him. "No! Last night! You saw it too, I know you did! You killed it!" He continued to yell.
"Sam, shut up. Dad's sleeping." Dean repeated. "Here, have a waffle and get dressed. We'll go outside." His little brother looked stricken. "Sammy, there's no evil-clown-thing—"
Sam wouldn't let him get a word in. "No, I'll prove it! Look, the last channel you watched was ABC." He flipped on the TV. Discovery Channel came on. Sam felt tears form in his eyes. "You changed it. I fell asleep and you changed it." He felt cheated out of his proof.
Dean's eyes widened innocently at the accusation. "Dude, what are you talking about?"
Sam shook his head. "I'm not making this up." He swore.
"Sammy, I know you've been having nightmares, but— Wait, I killed it?" He asked suddenly, pleased with himself as though he'd actually done something cool.
Sam ran back to his bedroom, seeking reprieve. He sprinted right past his father as he emerged from the only other door in the hall.
John heard the whole thing. He looked over at Dean sadly, seeing the true expression that had finally shown through. He was hurt and scared and exhausted and John put his hand on his son's shoulder in effort to comfort him.
Dean stood up and threw away his paper plate, feeling like scum. But Sammy couldn't know yet. Even if it meant lying to him.
He left the apartment to walk around outside for a bit.
Sam stood outside his closet. The doors were closed and he sure as hell wasn't the one who left them that way.
On the one hand, he didn't need to be scared because he knew Dean killed whatever had been in there last night. But on the other, he almost wanted something to still be there, just to prove he wasn't lying. Just to prove he wasn't dreaming.
His hands shook slightly as he reached for the door handles, and he deliberated for a moment, but he gathered the courage to throw the doors wide open. He pinched his eyes closed, but nothing happened. His heart beat almost as fast as the night before. He slowly opened his eyes and looked up to see…
His on one side, Dean's on the other.
Sam fought back tears of rage and shame. He was so sure that everything had been real. He remembered the salt burning the paper cut on his finger and he knew he felt the clown's breath on his face… No one could have dreamt it up; it had to be real.
And now Dean thought he was some sort of idiot. And he'd tell their father and everyone would have a good laugh at little scaredy-cat Sammy.
Sam looked up at the clothes and wiped away the tears on his cheeks. Sam wished he was a soldier like his brother; if his brother had a bad dream then they'd all just ignore it. Well fine, then they'd ignore this too. Sam would laugh with them for a minute and they'd all forget, and he'd make sure it never happened again. He'd never say another word about his nightmares. Not the ones of clowns or the ones of fire on the ones of that horrible yellow-eyed man.
He calmly reached up to take down a shirt for the day, then gasped in sudden pain.
There was a large gauze bandage on his shoulder.
Okay, the story on the monster (in case you were wondering) is this: it's a boggart. Across between the real myth (as seen in the lights and the water on the floor) and how J.K. Rowling portrayed them. They feed off fear, so really the boys probably weren't in any real danger anyways.
Review please? This is my first Supernatural fanfic.
I might be adding more chapters if you all like it. Or if I get bored.