Summary: Story set sometime about 20+ years ago. Just a missing scene from "Something Wicked". Dean comforts Sam after the shtriga tries to kill him.

A/N: Hope this story hasn't been done before, if it has, I know nothing about it!

Rating: K+ for mild language

Thank you to my awesome friend Mikey, who beta'd this story for me! (Mikey is almost as big a fan of Supernatural as I :D)

You woke up and said baby I had one of those dreams again
The rain came down and I lost you in the wind
You said something about don't leave before you fell back sleep
Before I could sing my song back to you

But you could find yourself lost out in this world
And I'd find a way to get back to your side
No mountain's too high, no stone is too small
I'll build a bridge through the fire
For you I would crawl from New York to California

- New York to California, by Mat Kearney

Dean had only been gone for maybe an hour, at the diner just a short walk over. Playing pinball and drinking root beer until the manager had sent him home due to the fact that it was midnight and he was closing up. Okay, so maybe he'd been there longer than he had originally thought... though he had only intended to stay an hour. He had been going stir-crazy locked up in their motel room for days on end, taking care of Sammy while John was off hunting.

Dean had known something was wrong before he had seen it. He hadn't known what it was but he could sense its' presence. He could feel the evil, could smell it.

He had been foolish leaving Sam alone like that, especially knowing what kind of things were out there. Sam had nearly died because of his carelessness and Dean couldn't get out of his mind the image of the shtriga hovering over his baby brother, sucking the life out of him. He knew that if he ever allowed himself to fall asleep he would be having nightmares about the events of that night for a long time to come.

The worst part was that dad had placed a lot of responsibility on him, he had trusted Dean to look after Sammy and it was a responsibility Dean took very seriously. He had failed dad but worst of all he had failed Sam. The look in John's eyes as he had held Sammy tight to his chest, comforting the traumatized young boy, the anger he directed towards Dean, it had broken Dean's heart. He had destroyed the trust John had in him. And Dean knew, he would do whatever it took to get that trust back.

Sammy was going to be safe. Dean would see to that. There was no way in hell anything was going to harm his baby brother ever again.

"Pack your bags." John ordered Dean, jaw clenched, not looking at the kid as he thrust Dean's duffel bag into his arms.

John shoved past him, going into the other room where he started shoveling his clothes into his own luggage, growling, "I rely on you Dean to watch after Sam while I'm gone. I should be able to trust you... but if I hadn't come home when I did..." his voice trailed off. Unable to finish his sentence. The horror of what could have happened was too terrifying for him to dwell on.

Another town, another motel room. John had not been able to get out of Fitchburg Wisconsin fast enough.

Sam had been sleeping at three in the morning when John had carried him into the new motel room. Laid him gently on the bed. Dean hovering protectively behind him. No way he was letting Sammy out of his sight. Even if dad was still around.

An hour later, Dean lay awake. Exhausted but unwilling to shut his eyes. Unwilling to fall asleep, to leave Sam vulnerable to the monsters that lie in wait. He could tell by Sammy's breathing that he wasn't asleep either.

"Dean?" Sam whispered, "Are you awake?"

"Sure." Dean whispered back.

"I'm scared..." his voice shook, "I had a nightmare… about monsters."

Perhaps Sam had seen what had happened, Dean was thankful that he was attributing it to a nightmare.

"Don't worry, Sammy." Dean whispered soothingly, "I'm not gonna let anything bad happen to you. Nothing's gonna get you."

Sam was silent for a few moments, he rolled over onto his side to face Dean. Dean could see the fear in his eyes, even in the dark.

"But what if you fall asleep Dean? Or what if the monster eats you and then comes for me?"

Dean tried to laugh, "The monsters are only in your dreams, silly! I'm not gonna fall asleep and besides, the windows and doors are locked. No monster is gonna get you tonight. Not while I'm around."

Sam seemed comforted by this. Snuggled back under his covers and closed his eyes. Once again Dean listened for Sam's breathing to steady. Signaling that sleep had come.

Dean didn't realize that he had fallen asleep until he was startled awake by raccoons digging through trash in the alley. He jolted up, his chest constricted in fear. He did a quick survey of the room. Ran to the window, pushed aside the curtain and strained his neck to peer out. The street lights illuminated the alleyway. Nothing out there except for garbage strewn about and over-sized black and white furry animals picking their way through it. He was just jumpy. He felt dizzy with relief. He realized he had been holding his breath and it felt as if his heart had stopped beating for several moments as well. He sank down to the floor, back against the wall. Put his knees to his chest and sobbed. How could he have done that? How could he have let himself fall asleep? What if the shtriga had followed them there and snatched Sammy while Dean had lay there unconscious? He shuddered.

He wiped his eyes with his sleeve, sniffed loudly. He looked over at Sammy and realized he couldn't hear him breathing. He stood up and padded over to where Sam lay sleeping. Maybe the shtriga had done more harm to Sam than they had realized. Dean listened intently, his heart racing in his chest, a cold feeling of dread in the pit of his stomach. He placed his hand near Sam's mouth, felt the warm air of Sam's breath. Again, relief. He sighed heavily and climbed back into bed.

He turned on his side and watched Sam sleep. Comforted by the rhythmic rise and fall of Sam's chest.

The raccoons in the alley were knocking things around again. This time they woke Sam up.

"Dean!" He whispered, panic in his voice. His face white.

"What's wrong Sammy?"

"Did you hear that?"

"It's just raccoons digging through the garbage outside."

"I thought I heard something in the closet!" Sam insisted.

Dean grabbed his flashlight off the night stand, "Alright Sammy, would you feel better if I search the room for monsters?"

Sam nodded, eyes wide.

Dean flipped the bedroom light on, went over to the closet, opened the door wide for Sam to see.

"See Sammy? Nothin' in here." He said, sweeping his flashlight over the interior of the closet. "Come here." He motioned for Sam to join him.

Together they knelt by the side of the bed, lowering himself onto his stomach he shone the flashlight around, "Nothin' but dust bunnies under here." He teasingly mussed up Sammy's hair. "Now get back to bed. It's really late and if dad hears us he'll whip our asses!"

"Could you leave the light on?" Sam asked hopefully as Dean reached to turn out the lights.

Dean shrugged and nodded, it was just as well. Normally he hated it when Sam wanted to sleep with the lights on, it usually kept him awake. But tonight that was exactly what he wanted.

Dean pulled a comic book from his duffel bag, propped his pillow up against the head of the bed, settling into a comfortable sitting position, back against the wall. Every now and then he glanced up from his book to make sure Sam was okay.

Silence settled over the room again. Just the sound of the clock ticking on the wall and Sam tossing around on his bed. Unable to sleep. Ten minutes later he sat up, "Dean."

"Huh?"

Dean looked up from the book and Sam was right by his bedside, staring him. Clutching his pillow to his chest.

"I can't sleep and I'm scared."

"I've left the light on, I've check the closets and under the bed, what more do you want me to do brother?"

Sam rubbed his eyes. He shivered, clutched his pillow closer to himself, "Can I sleep with you?"

Dean nodded, shifting over to the farther end of the bed, pulling back the blankets to let Sam in. Sammy settled in, laying his head on Dean's legs, curling his legs to his chest. Comforted by his brother's closeness.

"Dean?" Sam whispered, "Don't leave me, okay?"

"Try and make me, bitch!" Dean grinned, poking Sam in the arm.

Sam giggled, "Dad doesn't like it when you say that word!"

"Well if you don't tell him then I won't either!"

"What are you reading?" Sam asked several minutes later, turning his head and looking up at Dean.

"Batman." He replied, not looking up from what he was reading.

"Can you read it to me?"

"Sure." Dean said, ruffling Sam's hair and turning the pages back to the beginning of the book.

He read in a soft voice, so as not to awaken their father in the next room, "Now that Batman's getting married, this town is gonna be a soft touch…"

The End

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