"Deeds will not be less valiant because they are unpraised"

~J.R.R Tolkien

The tall, quiet, boy with kind eyes never made the news.

He did his job so well that when his life ended and the world kept turning, no one noticed.

No reporters showed up with flashing cameras and shouting voices. No journalists recorded with anxious hands the saga of Sam Winchester; a homeless kid from a tragic past who wished to be normal but became a hero instead.

No one realized the privilege they enjoyed simply in breathing their next breath; a privilege bought with the blood of one of the best men that ever lived.

When this boy flung himself into the depths of hell itself for the sake of a world that had only ever called him a freak and a nobody, no one even looked up from their morning coffee.

No one, that is, except for a man in a leather jacket with a face so damaged it hurt to look at.

This man, who, minutes ago, took on the devil and won, yet never raised a hand to strike; never lifted a finger, because he wouldn't dare break a single bone of Satan's precious, dark-haired, vessel.

Even when Lucifer himself was reflected in those hazel eyes Dean Winchester saw only his little Sammy.

The kid he'd always put first. The baby he tended as carefully as a new mother even though Dean was practically a baby himself.

Who bathed, fed, diapered and loved him from the moment he was placed in his tiny arms.

Who comforted him after childhood nightmares and carried his broken body to safety when the real nightmares came snarling out of the shadows.

Who shared with Sam a history so vast that losing him wasn't just losing a sibling, it was burning a library of now useless knowledge.

It was inside jokes that he'd never had to finish now falling flat on ignorant ears that waited for a punch line. It was insignificant quotes from favorite films, stupid lines he could say to no one but Sam without getting a blank stare. It was whole stories triggered by a murmur and recounted by nothing but a shared smirk. It was losing his reason to get up, because, why stand tall if no one is leaning on you?

It wasn't only the death of his brother, it was the death of his other self, best friend, child, his last remaining family member.

This man now knelt, motionless as a cemetery angel, grieving silently at the scorched edge of the earth for hours because, in the same moment that the world was saved for the masses, his world had fallen into ruin.

This man never really wanted to save the world, he just wanted to save his little brother. To cling to that last piece of his tiny family preserved so carefully by his own bitter self-sacrifice.

But the papers didn't headline the Winchester brothers.

The front page that day featured a story about a politician and his plan to rebuild the economy. The second page moved on to sports.

Alone in the melting heat of the direct sun, blood trickling down the back of his throat, broken face throbbing with the damage caused by his baby brother's fists, Dean Winchester mourned with eyes too swollen to shed tears.