Dean didn't know what it was that woke him up at first. He'd been sleeping soundly, having fallen asleep the second he'd hit the sheets, and then the next moment he'd woken up for no particular reason. At first he simply lay there in the darkness, his green eyes scanning the room in search of any kind of demonic presence.
There was nothing there as far as he could tell. Perhaps it was nerves or just some weird branch of puberty. At thirteen, he was more than accustomed to strange things happening with his body that he had no control over.
Sighing, he rolled onto his side and nearly gasped.
Sam was standing beside his bed in his space pajamas, his big blue-green eyes wide and staring at his older brother. His mop of messy brown hair was plastered to his forehead and he was breathing strangely.
"What's wrong?" Dean asked.
Sam didn't answer. He just stood there staring at Dean, who sat up in bed, worried now that something had happened to his little brother.
"Sam!" Dean said louder. "Are you alright?"
The youngest Winchester let out a low, shallow breath.
"Dean…" he said softly before falling forward onto the edge of the bed.
"SAM!" Dean caught his little brother, his eyes wide and terrified. Plunged deep into the nine year olds back was a large dagger, the kind the Winchester's used for hunting. Blood was streaking down Sam's back, seeping through the fabric of his pajamas.
"Sammy!" Dean cried, righting his brother and looking into his face which was pale and sweaty. "Sam, wake up!" He shook his brother, but still Sam did not stir. Tears filled the teen's eyes and fell down his face. He held his little brother to him and rocked him back and forth, sobbing loudly.
He felt Sam's head turn against his cheek.
"Sam!" Dean said hopefully, looking into the boy's face.
Sam's eyes were open and he was gazing up at Dean. He reached a small hand up to Dean.
"You…did…this…" Sam said softly.
Dean jolted awake, sitting upright in his bed, breathing heavily. He was in the room that he and Sam shared in the motel John had put them up in for the time being. His whole body was shaking with the memory of the dream he'd had.
He could feel the tears welling up in his eyes and before he could stop himself, the thirteen year old began to cry, wrapping his arms around his knees and resting his chin against his hands.
Even though it had been a dream, it had felt so real. The horror at seeing what had happened to Sam and the brutality at learning that he had been responsible for it. He knew that he would never kill his brother. But in dreams it didn't matter what was real and what wasn't. It didn't stop the fear or the pain from hurting any less.
He'd had nightmares before, brutal things brought on by the gradual introduction to the world that his family was tied too. He'd never once cried at them. They were demons and monsters that could be dealt with by meeting with the receiving end of one his father's guns. And now that he was training, he was less afraid of the monsters in his dreams than ever.
But this…this was his greatest fear…Sam dead…dead because of him…
He struggled to his feet and walked quietly across the room to Sam's bed. For a second he was terrified that he wouldn't find Sam there, or that he would only find a pool of blood.
But Sam was there, his little body curled into a ball under the sheets, his head turned slightly to the side. He was breathing steadily, his sleep undisturbed by nightmares of any kind.
Dean smiled down at the little figure and then scooped him up gently into his arms, carrying him across the room and back to his bed where he held the smaller boy against him and quietly rocked him back and forth, tears still streaming down his face.
He didn't want Sam to go away. It didn't matter to him if his dad left him. Dad was always leaving them alone to go on his hunts. Dean was okay with that because Sam always there. The thought of losing his baby brother hurt him worse than any kind of demon or monster ever could.
Before he knew it, the older boy was sniffling and sobbing like a baby, clutching Sam tightly against him, running his hand over the spot on Sam's back where the knife had been in his nightmare just to make sure that it really wasn't there.
He felt Sam stir in his arms.
"Wha…" he said groggily. Dean let go of Sam and tried quickly to mask the evidence of his tears to little avail. The young boy crawled closer to Dean's face and looked at him curiously, his big bright eyes concerned. "Dean," he said softly, "why are you crying?"
Dean cleared his throat and looked away from Sam.
"N-nothing." He choked out. "Just…uh…a bad dream."
"A bad dream?" Sam parroted, cocking his head to the side. "Was it scary?"
"Yeah Sammy…really scary." Dean said, trying hard not to cry again at the memory.
Sam sat there looking mildly confused. He didn't understand why his big brother would be scared of a dream. Dean wasn't scared of anything.
"But Dean…" Sam said, still bemused, "you're a big brother. You don't get afraid."
Dean could almost laugh at his younger brother's naïve innocence.
"There are a lot of things that I get scared of Sammy." Dean said, rolling over and trying to get a hold of his emotions in front of his brother.
Sam crawled over the bed and sat next to Dean's head, putting his hands in his lap and looking at the opposite wall, still mildly bemused by his brother's behavior.
"I get scared a lot." He said thoughtfully. "By the stuff we see and things like that…and I guess I get scared by bad dreams more than I should be…but it's okay when I get scared 'cause you're always there to keep me safe."
Dean sat up and looked at Sam, who was still sitting on the pillows and staring at the wall across from the bed, not looking at his brother.
"I never have to be too afraid when you're with me." Sam continued. "But I guess that's because you're the bravest person I know."
"Sam…" Dean said softly, sitting up and putting his arm over his brother's shoulder. Sam looked up at Dean and smiled.
"It's okay to be scared, Dean. It's okay for me because you make me feel better…so now that you're scared…I'll make you feel better." Sam smiled brightly at Dean, who felt himself on the verge of crying again, but out of an entirely different emotion than he had when he'd first awoken from the dream.
"Here." Sam said, gently pushing Dean back down to the bed. He crawled down just far enough so that he could wrap his small arms around Dean's neck. "There!" he said brightly. "Now you're safe!"
Dean smiled. "You know that song I sing to you when you get scared?" Dean asked.
"Yeah." Sam said quietly.
"Could you sing it to me Sammy?"
Sam smiled into his brother's hair and started to sing in his soft voice the song that Dean had sung to him so many times when they were huddled together during a thunder or storm or hiding from demons.
"Close your eyes, have no fear, the monsters gone, he's on the run and your brother's here. Beautiful, beautiful, beautiful, beautiful boy…"
Dean fell asleep listening to Sam singing. And mere moments after that, Sam fell asleep, his arms still wrapped around Dean's neck, neither of them disturbed by any bad dreams.