Summary: Even though Sam has always had trouble with sleep, it's been a while since it has last been that big of a problem. That is until he wakes up and is suddenly unable to move. Anxious/Upset!Sam, Soothing/Bigbrother!Dean. Set in Season 8 sometime after 'As Time Goes By'. Beware of spoilers.

Author's note: I came up with the idea for this story after I woke up recently with a nightmare. Funny how ideas can pop into your head like that, isn't it? Anyways, had I not had that dream, this story probably wouldn't have seen the light of day so I guess it was at least good for something. I hope you're all doing well!


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"A ruffled mind makes a restless pillow." – Charlotte Brontë.

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Sam had always had issues with sleep. In more aspects and in more profound ways than most people had and would ever have in an entire lifetime. As a kid it had often happened that Sam would wake up in the middle of the night with a loud gasp; bathed in sweat and panting for air as the night terror still lingered in his mind even though he had no longer been asleep. Sometimes Dean had woken up too, sometimes he hadn't, but either way Sam would leave his bed, tiptoe to his brother's bed and would then try to fight back tears as he waited in silence for Dean to invite him under his covers. Dean had always done so - whether he had been truly awake or not – and Sam had always found comfort in his big brother's presence which meant that when he had been able to curl up into Dean's side, the night terror would finally let go of its hold of him.

Sleep hadn't been any easier when Sam grew up though. Especially not with the lives they lived. While his father and brother had usually slept peacefully at night after a day on the job, Sam had been tossing and turning – had been thinking of all the lives they hadn't been able to save on that particular day, and if something evil would eventually get the remaining part of his family as it had once ripped away his mother.

As time went by, Sam's nightmares were accompanied by visions that were hurtful and made him exhausted both physically and mentally. It didn't help when Dean had told him what their father's last words to Dean had been, and Sam had lain awake at nights wondering if he would at some point turn dark side.

He had been utterly broken and sleepless when Dean had only had a year left to live in before going to hell and, when Dean eventually did die and go to hell, Sam hadn't made peace with sleep either. Then came the apocalypse, the cage, the knowledge that Sam had been walking around doing God-only-knows-what while being soulless, the wall breaking inside his head, Lucifer keeping him awake and Dean disappearing to Purgatory.

Now the brothers were not only reunited but also yet again back on the same page. With Dean sleeping in a bed right next to him, Sam slept more peacefully at night than he had done in a very long time. Maybe that was why – despite Sam's history with sleep – that it came as such a big surprise to him when he woke up one early morning after a good night's sleep and suddenly found himself unable to move.

A strangled gasp left his slightly-parted lips as Sam felt like his entire body was locked in place as if someone had tied him down. But there were no restrains, nothing pinning him down. Sam simply couldn't move and - to top it all - he couldn't say anything either, not even open his eyes. Even though the feeling only lasted a few seconds, Sam was beyond scared when the invisible force let go of him and he swore he had also felt a presence before he was finally able to move again. Sam immediately shot up in bed while panting, flexed his fingers and toes to make sure they were working properly and then quickly let his eyes scan the surroundings for any signs of an intruder before his gaze settled on the bed next to him. It was empty which most likely meant that Dean had woken up early and had left the motel room to pick up breakfast for the two of them.

Even before Sam fully reached that conclusion, his thoughts were confirmed as his brother stepped into the room carrying a set of keys, a bag of food, two cups of coffee, and a newspaper underneath his armpit. Dean dumped his keys on the table while whistling but then froze mid-whistle as he noticed the expression on Sam's face.

"What?" Dean wanted to know – a frown slowly forming between his eyes as he put down the food, coffee and newspaper before he walked closer to his obviously freaked-out younger brother.

"What?" Dean repeated and took in the sweat on Sam's forehead, the paleness on his face and the slight shake of Sam's hands. "What's going on, Sam?"

"I.." Sam started, swallowed hard and then locked his eyes on Dean's. "I just.. I woke up and I couldn't move."

"What do you mean you couldn't move?" Dean asked.

"I couldn't move, Dean." Sam said and carded his hands through his shaggy hair before letting them wash down his face. "I was awake but.. I couldn't lift my arms and legs, not even turn my head. You know that feeling when your arm goes to sleep and you can't use it?"

"Sure." Dean nodded.

"Well it was sort of like that, only nothing felt numb. I just couldn't move anything." Sam said. "And I couldn't even speak."

"O-kay." Dean drew out and scratched the stubbles on his chin for a moment. "And you're sure you weren't still asleep and just dreaming you couldn't move?"

"I was awake, Dean." Sam glared and threw off his covers before heading to the bathroom.

"Hey, I'm not saying I don't believe you." Dean said and followed behind Sam. He leaned his shoulder against the door frame of the bathroom while he crossed his arms in front of his chest. "I'm just trying to look for a logical explanation here."

"I know." Sam sighed tiredly, splashed some water in his face and brushed his wet hands through his hair before grabbing a towel. "Maybe I wasn't fully awake after all."

"Tell you what." Dean said while Sam dried off his face with the towel. "It happens again, you tell me, and then we'll figure it out together, alright?"

"Yeah." Sam agreed, discarded the towel and then followed his older brother out of the bathroom. "So, what's the plan?"

"I say we go talk to Mr. Hayfield and find out what his connection to the victim was." Dean answered before taking a sip of his coffee.

Sam nodded while changing from sweats to a pair of jeans. The brothers were in South Rockwood, Michigan, on a ghost hunt. Weird things were happening on a local farm which most recently ended in a fatal accident for one of the employees who had been impaled on a pitchfork. The owner of the farm, Frederick Hayfield, had a bad reputation among the local people since he apparently didn't treat his workers very well. Every clue pointed towards a ghost haunting the place, but who it was and what its connection to the farm was, had yet to be figured out.

Even though Sam wanted to solve the case and save the lives of the remaining workers, the experience he'd had this morning was hard to shake off. Maybe Dean was right after all though; maybe there was indeed a logical reason behind Sam's sudden disability to move. But that didn't mean Sam wasn't still shaken up about it.

"Sam, you listening?" Dean asked and Sam turned to face his brother. "If I go talk to Mr. Hayfield, will you stay here and find out more about our victim and the farm?"

"Sure." Sam said, sat down by the table and pulled the much needed coffee closer to him.

"Hey." Dean said in a soft voice which made Sam look up.

Dean was studying his face and Sam saw the concern in his big brother's eyes.

"You alright?" Dean asked.

"I'm fine, Dean." Sam promised and offered his brother a little smile.

Dean returned the smile and then patted Sam's shoulder as he got up from his seat. Sam almost choked up when he realized that Dean – despite everything they'd been through – still cared as much about his younger brother as he had always done, and for that Sam was really grateful.

"See ya later, Rapunzel." Dean grinned as he put on his jacket.

"Don't run off with one of the milkmaids." Sam said and Dean chuckled.

"Stay away from Casa Erotica." Dean shot back and smirked as Sam's bitchface followed him out of the door.

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The second time it happened to Sam was back in the motel room after they'd finished the hunt.

As it was, Mr. Hayfield used to work in the stables before he had taken over the farm after his father passed away and, since Mr. Hayfield was a bad apple back then as well, he had one day raped and murdered one of the milkmaids who used to work there too. Her body had been discovered in the dunghill behind the stables, and the police mistakenly wrote her death off as an accident which meant that Mr. Hayfield had gotten away with his crimes. With the twenty years anniversary of her death coming up, the milkmaid had started haunting the place in search for revenge but unfortunately took it out on innocent workers. Dean and Sam had burned the milkmaid's bones but it unfortunately didn't get rid of the ghost, so – after they'd both been tossed around in the stable several times – Dean had in the end gotten rid of an old locket that belonged to the milkmaid. And while Sam had still been a bit disorientated after having been thrown into a wall, the ghost went up in flames but not before she successfully strangled Mr. Hayfield.

"I guess she got her revenge after all." Sam sighed when they had returned to their motel room just passed midnight.

"Well he had it coming, Sammy." Dean said while dabbing at the wound on Sam's forehead. "If you ask me, Mr. Hayfield got what he deserved after what he did to that girl. Now sit still."

They'd both been beyond tired when they'd finally crashed in each their bed that night, and Sam barely touched his pillow before he'd started drifting off to sleep. But when Sam reached the moment where sleep was just about to claim him, his body once again betrayed him.

Sam's limps where locked in place – his brain desperately trying to make his body respond to its commands, but no matter how hard Sam tried, he remained unable to move. His breathing hitched and his heart hammered away as he again felt like he was being watched by an unknown presence. After what felt like an eternity (but in reality weren't more than mere seconds) the younger Winchester brother succeeded in opening his eyes slightly. And then he wished he hadn't. Sam's heart picked up speed as the motel room walls started closing in on him while shadows of unknown creatures moved along them. The only thing that was keeping Sam somewhat composed at this point was the fact that, throughout it all, he could also hear Dean snoring in the bed next to him and he let the sound calm him down until his eyes fell shut.

Somehow Sam must have fallen asleep. How and when it had happened he wasn't sure about, but when he woke up again in the early morning everything was back to normal. It took him a couple of moments to remember why he had a nagging feeling that something wasn't right, and he then practically flew out of bed.

The youngest Winchester brother stared at his bed with eyes wide of fear and he took another couple of steps away from it like was he trying not to provoke a dangerous animal. He then spun around as he bumped into the edge of the other bed in the room that was currently still occupied by his snoring older brother.

"Dean." Sam called and urgently shook his brother's shoulder.

"Sammy, go back to sleep." Dean mumbled and tossed one of his arms over his eyes.

"Dean, wake up!" Sam said.

This time the distress in his little brother's voice made Dean grasp the knife underneath his pillow and he sat up with the knife in hand; ready to kill whoever or whatever was making Sam sound like that.

"What's going on?" Dean asked, scanning the surroundings for a second before looking at Sam's face. He then lowered the knife. "Sam?"

"It happened again." Sam said, bit his lower lip and stared back at his brother while he waited for Dean's reaction.

"What.." Dean started but then his eyes widened in realization. "You couldn't move?"

Sam shook his head and swallowed hard.

"Did it happen just now?" Dean asked and got up from his bed.

"No, last night. Just before I fell asleep." Sam said. "And.. There was something else too."

"What?" Dean asked. A frown forming on his forehead as he – judging by the look on his little brother's face – was certain he wasn't gonna like the answer.

"It was like someone was there, watching me." Sam admitted. "I saw these shadows and the walls were closing in on me."

"Hold on, the walls were closing in on you?" Dean asked incredulously.

"I know it sounds weird Dean, but that's what happened." Sam said, the tone of his voice clearly indicating how upset he really was, and Dean realized it had been quite a while since he'd last seen Sam this freaked out about something.

"I believe you, okay?" Dean said and moved his head to catch his brother's eyes once again. "And whatever it is, we'll figure it out. Okay Sammy?"

Sam nodded and Dean did as well before he started pacing back and forth in the room.

"Okay, I need this one more time from the beginning." Dean said while pacing.

The younger brother told Dean everything he could remember from the first episode and from the episode the night before, and Dean calmly listened to every detail – saving them in the special file inside his mind that contained everything Sammy related – while his concern spiked on the inside.

"Alright, here's what we're gonna do." Dean said when Sam was done talking. "You're gonna turn on your laptop and find everything we could possibly be dealing with here."

"And what are you gonna do?" Sam wanted to know.

Dean looked at his worried brother and let out a sigh. The first thing that always popped into his mind was calling Bobby but their surrogate father was dead and gone, so that obviously ruled out that option. His second thought had been calling Castiel but ever since the trench coat wearing angel had disappeared to Heaven with Alfie's body, Dean knew he couldn't rely on his help either so that option could be ruled out as well.

"I'm gonna call Garth. Maybe he has a theory." Dean answered. "And then I'm gonna look through Dad's journal."

"Okay." Sam said and let out a breath, looking much calmer now that Dean had taken charge of the situation.

The older brother quirked a wry smile, despite the seriousness of the situation, when he was reminded of all the times over the years that Sam had sought comfort in his big brother; believing that Dean could fix everything. And Dean did intend to fix whatever this thing was – did intend to get rid of the unknown something that dared to threat his little brother. Nothing got away with threatening Sam.

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I'm very interested in feedback ;)