Age 16) Harry:
“For goodness sake, Y/N, you’re sixteen!” Harry’s voice bounces off the walls, echoing throughout the otherwise deserted house.
You don’t say anything, because you know that he’s right. You shouldn’t be scared of monsters under your bed and beasts hiding in your wardrobe; not when you’re sixteen years old.
You knew that you sounded like a five-year-old, and maybe you really were, but Harry’s bad mood didn’t make the situation any better.
He had come home from work that day in a foul mood. The boys had pranked him, and all of their laughing and screaming had given him a splitting headache.
“Honestly, Y/N! Who the hell is afraid of ‘monsters’ at your age? Who has nightmares about them hiding in wardrobes at sixteen?” Harry yelled, glaring down at your shorter stature.
You didn’t say anything, as before, because you knew that he would be mad at you for it. He didn’t really mean anything he was saying, and he wasn’t trying to hurt you, but he just wasn’t himself that afternoon.
Perhaps it hadn’t been wise to bother him so soon after coming home from work.
Tears began to well in your eyes, but you wiped them away before Harry could see them. You didn’t want him to think that you were any more of a baby than he was already accusing you of.
But, Harry had seen them in your sparkling, pained eyes before you could wipe them away. His voice cut off, and his eyes widened. He was shocked; you didn’t cry often, at least not in front of people.
And Harry did not like his little sister crying.
“I’m so, so, so sorry, Y/N! I didn’t mean any of it, really, I just…. Work and the boys – they’re all so tiring… I’m sorry, Y/N, I didn’t mean to make you cry. Please don’t cry-”
You cut off your brother’s rambling before he could finish voicing his disarrayed thoughts.
You didn’t say anything to him, just ran into his arms, catching him off guard. After a moment of shock, he wrapped his arms around you, resting his chin on the top of your head, before whispering a muffled “sorry” under his breath.
(Age 15) Liam:
It wasn’t an odd thing for you; to wake up screaming, trembling, frightened. It happened more often than you would have liked to admit.
And Liam knew about it; he knew a lot more about it than you would have liked.
And so, when you woke up that night, terrified, you tried to not make a big deal out of. You didn’t wake up your father, or your mother, or your brother, out of sheer embarrassment that they would make it out to be more than it really was.
Instead of telling somebody, like you knew you should have, you tried to ignore the fear that consumed your thoughts. You sat in your bed, afraid – terrified even –, of the darkness that filled the room, of the groaning sounds the old house made at night.
But mostly, you were afraid of the crashing sound that broke the thick silence, the sound coming from just outside of your bedroom.
You could see the yellow glow of the light through the crack beneath the door; you could hear quiet whispers, muffled by the thick walls.
The door creaked open, and you gasped, burying your head beneath the mound of blankets on your bed.
Liam’s voice filled the room and the bed dipped as he sat upon the mattress.
“Dad tripped over the table in the hall.”
You don’t answer.
“I know you’re awake, Y/N.” He sighs, and pulls the covers away from your face, his eyes widening as he takes in the familiar sight – your teary eyes and red nose.
Immediately, he pulls you into his arms, wrapping you up tightly in his warm embrace.
“Why didn’t you wake me up?” he asks quietly. He doesn’t really expect a response, so you don’t give him one. You instead bury you face further in his chest, sobbing quietly in his arms until you eventually tire yourself out and fall into a peaceful sleep.
(Age 10) Zayn:
You woke up covered in sweat. You were trembling with fear, your heart was pounding in your chest and it felt as if it was going to burst. Your breathing came in ragged breaths, your eyes darting around the dark room. You didn’t want to wake up your brother; you knew he would be mad at you.
But you also knew that nobody else would be able to calm you down.
You jumped out of bed and ran down the hall, before barging into his room.
“Zayn!” You whisper-yelled at your older brother, creeping closer to his bed.
He moaned something incomprehensible and rolled over, throwing his arm in a nonchalant manner at you, as if to tell you to leave.
“Zayn, please.” You begged, shaking his shoulder violently to wake him.
“Hmm?” He opened his eyes, looking up at your tear-stained cheeks and red nose, “Y/N?”
He sat up in his bed, concern upon his features. He didn’t like seeing his baby sister upset.
“I had a bad dream.” You sigh, knowing that you sound like a three-year-old.
Opening up his arms, Zayn invited you into the safety of them. He held you close to his chest, until you fell asleep, soothing you.
(Age 14) Louis:
You knew he was right; he was always right, and now was no exception.
Louis had warned you not to watch that movie. He had told you; twelve times he had said it.
“It’s too scary for you,” he had said. “You aren’t old enough,” he had said.
At the time, you had acted the way any fourteen-year-old girl would when somebody told them that they couldn’t do something.
You did it.
And now, as you sat here, crying, you knew that he had been right – as much as you hated to admit it, your brother was right.
You couldn’t sleep. You kept tossing and turning. You hid beneath the blanket, but it was in the middle of summer, and it made you unbelievably hot. You would have taken the blanket off, but you were too scared to move, and so you instead hid beneath the blanket, sweating, and grimacing at every sound you heard, every voice that spoke and everything in between.
You heard the door open, the hinges on the old thing squeaking, and footsteps shuffle into the room. The door closed, and you felt your heart hammering against your chest. Feet shuffled against the wooden floorboards, and you heard things being moved, crashing and scraping.
It was late, and the darkness that filled the room was doing nothing to soothe the fact that you were terrified out of your mind.
The blanket flew off of the bed, and you screamed as a masked face appeared before you.
Laughter filled the room as the man pulled off the mask, revealing your older brother, Louis. He fell back onto the floor, his obnoxiously loud laughter filling the small room.
“You should’ve seen your face!” he laughs, somehow managing to get the words out between his endless chuckles and gasps for air.
“You’re such a jerk!” you yell, picking up the nearest thing – which happened to be the DVD case of the film you had been watching – and hurled it across the room at him, aiming for his face.
But, you just happened to have dreadful aim, and the case instead fell beside his foot.
Louis looked down at it, his brow furrowed as he connected the dots, looking back up at your frightened eyes and tear-stained cheeks.
“Y/N…” he sighs, shuffling over to your bed and gathering you into his arms.
“Don’t you dare say it, Louis.” You hissed.
“Say what?” your older brother asked, playing innocent.
“You know what. ‘I told you so.’”
Louis felt your tears soak through the fabric of his shirt, he felt you tremble in his arms.
He didn’t like it. He didn’t like seeing his sister upset; he didn’t like seeing his sister this terrified. He was trying to distract himself from doing something dumb. He said stupid things and made bad jokes in an attempt to cheer you up, in an attempt to distract himself from doing something dumb.
And he made bad puns and terrible jokes long after you were asleep in his arms, because even though you were safe, he was still mad – but more so at himself than you, for letting you watch that stupid horror film anyway.
After all, in his mind, he was your big brother and you were his baby sister, and he wasn’t meant to let you get hurt.
(Age 5) Niall:
You were only five years old, but in your mind, you were a ‘big girl’, and big girls didn’t go running to their older brothers over stupid bad dreams.
At least, that was what you kept telling yourself.
You were sweating, and crying quietly. You had a nightmare, and you knew that there was no hope in going back to sleep; you instead decided to just wait out the night.
The branch of the old oak tree outside was brushing against the glass window again, creating an eerie sound that seemed to fill the room. You thought it was a monster, trying to get into your room, scratching desperately at the window.
You curl up into a small ball, hiding under the blankets, squeezing your eyes shut to block out the frightening sounds of the night.
But eventually, you couldn’t do it anymore.
“Niall!” You called, standing up and bolting into his room. You jumped onto his bed, shaking him until he woke up, repeatedly calling his name in a not-so-quiet voice.
“Y/N?” Niall groaned, rubbing his eye as he sat up. He froze once he saw your scared expression and teary eyes.
“I had a bad dream…” You whine, crawling into his lap.
“Aw, sweetie, not again…” Niall says sympathetically, pushing your hair back from your face as he held you.
And he held you there all night, as you told him about your nightmare and the monsters trying to get into your room.
And he promised to protect you from all of the monsters, because you were his baby sister.
And he didn’t mind one little bit.