Author's notes: Written for Day 1 of March of the Monsters, for the prompt "Not today, Satan!" The Beast is basically Satan, and Bill's not far off, either. This also sort of fits for the other prompt, "Ghost."


He had the babies.

Wirt was staring into the hospital nursery, except there were only two bassinets there, one for each of the twins. Everything was dark, and in that darkness stood a darker shape, its glowing eyes providing the only light in the room.

The Beast.

The Beast was there, with Wirt's children, his long black fingers hovering over each crying infant.

Wirt wanted to throw himself at the window and break through the glass, but he was somehow frozen, not even able to scream.

The Beast laughed. It started as the low, deep chuckle that Wirt remembered, but kept rising until it was a high-pitched screech. He raised his head, and Wirt suddenly realized that it wasn't the Beast's head anymore—in its place was a bright yellow triangle, blazing with light until it was almost blinding, with one huge eye in the middle. The triangle-head cackling with laughter as the Beast's long fingers curled over Wirt's children, wrapping around them and—

"No!"

He gasped that one word aloud, and suddenly he was lying in his bed at home.

It was the middle of the night. The room was silent except for his wife's slow breathing, his own panicked gasps, and the soft crackle of the baby monitor on the nightstand.

For a moment Wirt's fear battled with his common sense. Fear won out, obviously, and he threw back the covers, jumped out of bed and crept out to the babies' room.

There was a dresser in the corner of the nursery, with Mabel and Mason's bassinets against the wall on either side of it. Wirt breathed a sigh of relief as he checked each one. The twins were both sleeping peacefully. Of course they were. It was stupid to think that they wouldn't be, just because of a nightmare.

Wirt put a hand to his clammy forehead. He suddenly felt dizzy. He sat down on the floor, not even bothering with the rocking chair on the other side of the room.

"It's been a long time since I had a dream like that," he muttered. "I used to get them about your Uncle Greg. Guess now I have you kids to worry about, huh?"

The twins didn't answer, obviously. Wirt listened to the quietness of the room, letting his eyes wander. The dresser top contained all the diaper-change materials, the baby monitor and two huge stuffed frogs that Greg had bought. There was also a toy box, carved by Wirt's stepfather and filled with things that the twins were too young to actually play with. A bookshelf against the far wall was bare except for a few parenting/baby name books and the hideous "stuffed Siamese gopher" that Wirt's Uncle Stan had given them.

He slowly climbed to his feet, then checked on each of the twins again. Mabel waved her little fist in the air as he slept, and Wirt smiled in spite of his fear. His face fell when he looked at Mason, however. He looked a lot smaller and frailer, somehow, even though the two were almost exactly the same size.

He put one hand on Mason's chest to make sure that he was breathing. Wirt checked on that a lot. Mason hadn't been born breathing. The doctors insisted that this was a fairly routine problem that would have no long-term consequences, which did approximately nothing to assuage Wirt's concerns.

He rubbed Mason's little body for a moment, eyes lingering on his scrunched-up face and the odd birthmark on his forehead. "My Little Dipper," he murmured fondly. "Don't worry. Daddy's not gonna let the big, bad Beast get you. Or anything...else..."

He stood there for a moment, trying to remember his dream. It was at the hospital, which made sense, given that the twins had only been home for a week now. He remembered the Beast hovering over them, his sense of paralysis, the helpless terror...and then...Wirt's forehead wrinkled. Something weird had happened near the end, but he couldn't remember what. It was frustrating, especially since the rest of the dream was so vivid.

Mason cooed softly. Wirt paused, wondering if he was going to start crying, but he only shifted a bit in his sleep.

"I hope you're having better dreams than I am," Wirt murmured, tucking his blanket around him. "In fact, I know you are. You two don't have any idea who the Beast is. Was. Because he can't hurt anyone ever again."

He knew that it was true. But just like with Mason's breathing, it was hard to really believe it sometimes.

He had to get to sleep; after all, the babies would be waking him up again within an hour or two. He kissed Mason on the head, then Mabel, then slipped out of the room and back into his bed.

He lay there for another moment, trying to remember the dream. Then he shook his head and closed his eyes. The babies were safe. That was all that mattered.