Sam looked up from the desk where he was researching their latest case, and looked across at his brother, who was sleeping in the early dawn light, an orange tinge spreading across his features.

Dean had recently worked himself into frenzy, what with all the new cases they had, and getting up with Sam during the night due to his nightmares; the poor dude was exhausted.

He was now curled up in his bed, both arms clutching at his thin pillow, the blanket pulled up to his chin.

Sam chuckled slightly as Dean's nose wiggled; a sign that he was going to sneeze, sure enough, seconds later, he did, waking himself up in the progress.

'Sammy?' Dean said; sleep in his voice, looking at his younger brother in mild concern.

'What are you doing up? Another nightmare?'

Sam shook his head, 'wouldn't know, I haven't slept yet' he smiled.

Dean gave him a small frown, before pretending to tut. 'Well, you make sure you get some, you know I'll help you with those nightmare, don't you?' he said softly, looking at Sam in his big-brother way.

'Yeah, thanks dude' Sam whispered back, not quite sure why he was whispering to his brother.

Dean frowned, turning onto his back before looking at Sam.

'What?' asked Sam, looking around himself for something.

'You don't need to thank me, Sammy-that's what big brothers are here for' he said, before giving his brother a smile and burying his face in the pillow. 'Wake me up in a couple of hours, and then we can get outta this dump.'

'Will do!' Sam chuckled, before turning back to his laptop.

After a while, he found himself staring more and more at the sleeping form that was his brother.

He was so grateful that Dean was here with him, he didn't know how he would be coping if he wasn't.

The nightmares where bad enough, but then came the hunts, the funny looks he was sure he was getting, Jess...

Dean had been with him every step of the way, but Sam knew he didn't expect thanks, however sometimes he wished he would, Dean Winchester was majorly overlooked in his books.

It must have been cold there in my shadow

To never have sunlight on your face

You were content to let me shine, that's your way.

You always walked a step behind

Sam knew that Dean wanted a life of his own, that he wanted a family, a regular job, a happy, safe, apple pie life, but he knew he wasn't going to get one anytime soon, but that was the only thing that Sam desperately wanted for his brother. A normal life someday.

Not running around after his little brother who should really be looking after himself, not looking for their AWOL father who did nothing but belittle and undermine him, not driving round the dirt roads of the US hunting down any fugly that crosses their path.

No, he knew that Dean wanted a safe, happy, contented life, if only for a little while.

I was the one with all the glory

While you were the one with all the strength

A beautiful face without a name, for so long

A beautiful smile that hides the pain

Did you ever know that you're my hero?

And everything I would like to be

I can fly higher than an eagle,

For you are the wind beneath my wings.

Dean had always been the strength, the pillar of their partnership, where Sam would sometimes buckle, Dean would stay strong; get the job done, no matter what.

Sam would give anything to have that strength, that inner force that kept Dean fighting on, because hell had he thought of giving up, he had even run away to Stanford to keep away from his true destiny. But Dean had stayed, loyal to a father who ordered him around, tied to this life by good honest love for family, friends, and the willingness to help other people in dire need.

It might have appeared to go unnoticed

But I've got it all here in my heart

I want you to know I know the truth, of course I know

I would be nothing without you

Sam knew that Dean would do anything for him, would even die for him if the occasion ever arose, and he would always be exactly the same, willing to sacrifice anything to save his brother.

Dean had given up everything for him, absolutely anything, but Sam had given up nothing, he didn't even want to come back into the hunting fold, but Dean needed his help, and he would always be at his side, and nothing would ever change that.

Did you ever know that you're my hero?

And everything I would like to be

I can fly higher than an eagle,

For you are the wind beneath my wings.

Dean deserved more than Sam could ever give him; he had looked after him as a kid, heck he was still looking after him even now, he was staying up to help him through his nightmares, watched his back out on hunts, protected him from anything that he thought could harm him- all with the Dean Winchester patented grin plastered to his face, never letting anyone, especially Sam, know what he was really feeling inside.

Of course Sam knew that Dean was hurting. He knew that he was desperately worried about the safety of their dad, but it was more than that, it was apparent in the way he threw Sam up against that bridge on their first hunt back together-he was still grieving for their mother.

With a jolt Sam realised that his brother never has gotten over the death of their mother; he could hear it in his voice in the seldom times that he spoke of her, could see when his eyes misted over and he would have to turn away, pretending to cough, he knew his brother like no one else in the entire world.

He had tried to help, had tried to speak to him, but Dean wasn't having any of it, just waved away his concerns, then he would ask about Sam's feelings, and for some reason Sam would divulge, and Dean would listen intently, before putting an arm round his shoulder and muttering to him.

'It's ok Sammy, I gotcha...nothing can hurt you now...'

Did I ever tell you you're my hero?

Your everything, everything, I would wish to be

I can fly higher than an eagle

Because you are the wings beneath my wings...

Fifteen minutes later, and Dean's couple of hours where up.

Sam made sure both his and his brother's bags were packed, before going over to rouse the sleeping Dean.

'Hey...Dean...wakey wakey dude!' Sam said, pushing his shoulder gently.

Dean woke up with a jolt, turning to his brother with a dopey sleep smile on his face.

'You still didn't get any sleep did ya?' he muttered, stretching in the covers before yawning.

'Nah, but I'll get a couple of hours in the car- come on, I packed your duffel.

'Aww you did?' Dean's smile turned up a couple of notches, as he looked across at his bag, there was a lot of things to go into that damn bag; Sam shouldn't have packed it.

'Thanks dude!' he muttered, before going into the bathroom to wash his face-they had a long drive ahead of them, so he wanted to be refreshed.

As he came back in, Sam, already laden with bags, punched him lightly on the shoulder.

'What was that for?' Dean pretended to grumble, rubbing an imaginary sore spot in his arm.

'You don't need to thank me...that's what little brother's are for!' said Sam, deadpan.

Dean looked at him, before chuckling and pushing him toward the door. He knew Sam would never let him live that down.

'Shut up'

'Bitch'

'Jerk'

I hope you enjoyed this fic, I enjoyed writing it!

The song is 'Wind Beneath My Wings' by Bette Midler, and I would urge you to listen to it, it is a beautiful song!

Please review; your comments will be warmly welcomed!