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Nightmare

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There was a gorgeous girl wearing short shorts and roller skates delivering a platter full of burgers and fries to his flashy sports car. A second followed behind, holding a pie in each hand. Dean was having the best dream. Which was why he groaned with frustration when he brought a burger to his mouth for a great big bite and woke up instead of tasting it.

“Dean? Wake up, Dean.” Sammy tugged at Dean’s sock where it stuck out at the bottom of the too-small bed.

Dean groaned again, head burrowing under his pillow. “Go away, Sammy.”

“Dean,” Sammy pleaded, “I need you. I had a nightmare.”

Uh-huh. Sam was always pretending to have nightmares just so that he could get some attention. And when Dad wasn’t around, his favorite person to give him attention was of course Dean. So Dean wasn’t buying this for one second.

“It was just a dream, Sammy. Go back to bed. Go back to sleep.”

But Sam whimpered and tugged again at Dean’s sock, almost pulling it right off. “But it really was a nightmare. A sc-scary one with fire everywhere.”

Dean threw off his pillow, his eyes wide. “Were there… people in your nightmare, Sammy?”

The little boy thought about it hard and finally shook his head. “Can’t remember, but I don’t think so. It was scary, though.”

Dean sighed. The last thing he needed was Sam to start dreaming about the yellow-eyed demon or about their Mom burning to death before his eyes.

“I don’t… I don’t think I can go back to sleep.”

Dean lifted his arm and, with it, his covers. “Get in, kiddo. Plenty of room,” he lied. The small bed was barely big enough for Dean. But he scooted all the way over, pressing himself against the wall as Sam got in on the other side. Pretty soon, they were both going to outgrow this tiny bed. Dean should start checking yard sales or something for bigger ones, but he knew Dad would never be able to afford a new mattress. Maybe they were just destined to sleep on couches or makeshift nests of blankets and pillows on the floor.

Tonight, though, they just managed to fit. Dean slid his pillow over for Sammy to use while stretching his arm out and resting his head on that. “You cold?” Dean asked. Sammy shook his head. “You comfortable?” Sammy shrugged. “Yeah, I know. It’s not the best arrangement, but you’re safe. That’s what matters.”

“Always safe with you watching out for me,” Sammy murmured, closing his eyes.

Dean reached out and mussed the kid’s hair. “I’ll always look out for you. Even in the middle of the night when I’m hungry for burgers.”

“Burgers?”

“That’s what I was dreaming about when you woke me up.”

“Sorry.” Sammy smiled. “Think I’ll dream about burgers, too, now that I’m in your bed?”

Just as long as the kid didn’t have another nightmare of Mom pinned to the ceiling, burning right above him, Dean didn’t care what he dreamed about. “I hope you do,” Dean said.