The floppy-haired teen could see the bright flashes from behind his eyelids, scrunched-shut under the safety of the motel duvet.
He wanted to turn over and bury his face under the pillow, hands over his ears, eyes blissfully unaware of the electric sky-slams happening outside. But he was a Winchester.
He couldn't show weakness.
Sam could shoot a ghost, recite an ancient exorcism, or hurl a silver blade into a shapeshifter. But here was the 13-year-old scared of a thunderstorm.
That latest atmospheric roll felt like it vibrated through his bones. He laid there as rigid as he could, trying to keep a steady breathing pattern. The last thing he needed was for Dad to find out. John Winchester would drag him out of bed, shove him outside into the storm and lock the door until Sam overcame the childish fear.
Nope. The teen was staying put even if he didn't sleep a wink. He'd pay for it in the morning but he could hide, it if he awoke early enough to steal a cup of coffee from the vending machine in the hallway. That was if Dean wasn't already awake.
Usually when in motels, Sam and his older brother would share a bed while their Dad had the other. But this particular motel just outside Imperial, Nebraska actually had twin beds, meaning while Dad had the master double, Sam and Dean had separate beds. Typical. He could really do with Dean by his side right now. He'd still be lying stock-still but he'd feel much safer and would probably at least get a suitable amount of sleep.
The youngest Winchester could feel his heart rate increasing again and, still under the duvet, concentrated on his breathing. In. Out. In. Out.
Wind was howling against the single-paned windows. Torrents of rain slashing the glass.
His tension didn't let up upon feeling the mattress move down near his left hip, indicating someone had sat beside him. Sam now felt idiotic for having the damn duvet over his face, a complete giveaway of his current vulnerability. Expecting his father to shake him awake or at least yank the checked material from his face, Sam didn't move but tried to relax to give the impression of sleep.
"Sammy, you're gonna suffocate if you keep yourself stuck under there," came Dean's low soft voice and Sam let out the breath he didn't realize he'd been holding. "You can't fool me, little brother."
The teen pulled the sheet down enough so that his eyes peeked out. Another flash from the window made him jump, but he didn't pull the duvet over himself again. He just stared at Dean, eyes relaying a whole conversation to his older brother without words.
To his credit, the older teen didn't tear him a new one for being scared. Sam liked that about Dean. On a hunt he was robotic in his actions, even frightening sometimes when it came to the kills, but he always gave a damn about Sam's welfare. Looking up at him now, Dean simply smiled.
"Scoot over then, Bitch," he said quietly, moving to join Sam on the bed. He positioned himself so he was slumped against the headboard, his arm draped protectively over his younger brother's back. Sam curled into the comfort, resting his head on Dean's belly. "Ain't no lightning gonna stop you from sleeping tonight."
Sam felt the tension leave his frame as he breathed deeper. Sleep was already clouding his brain but not before he recognized his older brother was rubbing soothing circles on his back and humming a Led Zeppelin song.
Sam smiled and before unconsciousness claimed him he managed a whispered reply, "Jerk."
The storm lasted through the night, but Sam was oblivious. He slept soundly, guarded against his fears by the one person who always took care of him no matter what. Dean may have woken up the following morning with a sore neck, but it was never mentioned.