Disclaimers- The WB and Eric Kripke et all own the boys of Supernatural. Prose and situation is the only thing I can say is my own.

Sanctuary, sanctuary, knocking at your door.

Sam finds it quite odd that his brother would finally run off to hide in the Church. A place full of relics and pictures of dead saints. The home of a God that allowed so many things to happen to the people that he claimed to love. He would never understand why this was the place that Dean would seek his shelter.

Dean wasn't what he would imagine in a priest. He was too pragmatic, too sarcastic and too fond of the bad things in life to fully commit to an austere and quiet life in the halls of God and Man.

But he had done it.

Cut himself off from the family and the hunting and had more or less hidden here. They had known where to find him, but they hadn't. John because he had been hurt his oldest had chosen to not continue what he felt was the family's calling, Sam because he couldn't figure out how exactly to approach Dean after he had made his decision.

So four years have passed in relative quiet and Sam now has to bridge the pit that has grown between them for their father's sake.

Sam feels his throat constrict just a bit as he walks past the dark, wooden archway and into an even darker sanctum lit here and there by candles that are little more than melting puddles of wax. He doesn't like churches. Whatever the denomination. He has never felt comfortable in them no matter what his father and even Dean tell him. He instinctively knows that this isn't his place. Not like it is for Dean and John.

Often, in the dark, he asks himself whether it is because of his powers. Whether the fleeting touch of the demon that either awoke or gave him those powers is responsible for the unease. He vows one of these days to bring it up to his father. No. he shakes his head at the thought. Maybe just to Dean. That is if he has enough courage to face the possibility of either getting a lecture of an exorcism out of the deal.

He smirks then. Despite not talking to Dean for four years, he is sure that isn't going to be the case. Dean practically raised him, was the entire world to him before he said he found his calling and took off. He was sure that whatever loyalty the Church demanded from his brother, blood would always have the strongest hold on Dean. Family is all that matters to the Winchesters in the end. Not even the Church could end that.

Sam pauses at the door and looks for the bowl of holy water. He sees nothing and proceeds ahead, genuflecting awkwardly as he does before going in and turning left where the confessionals are. There is only a lone woman, young, he can tell that by the blonde hair that escapes her veil and tries to be as inconspicuous as possible when he passes by her. She doesn't notice him. She's too absorbed in her prayers and the rosary beads she is clutching tightly in her hands.

He sees the light above the first box is on and he goes in. Once the door is shut and he has settled into the cramped and wood-polish scented bench does he begin to rethink what the hell he is going to say to Dean. He has to admit that he never thought that far ahead. Or that he did once, but the hassle of finding the right parish took most of the words out of his mind. And improvisation was never his strong suit.

It doesn't matter at that point because the window slides open and despite the screen separating them, Sam knows it is his brother. A little bit older than the last time that they set eyes on each other, hair a little longer, but still Dean.

"What has led you here my child?" Dean asks in a quiet voice that makes Sam snort quietly.

Do they all have a script or something that they have to memorize? He makes a mental note to ask Dean that later on...that is if his older brother even agrees to speak to him, never mind come with him.

"Dad hasn't been home in a few days," Sam says without preamble. There is several seconds of silence before one of the doors of the confessional bursts open with a bang.

Sam sits there, completely shocked before the door to his cubicle bursts open and a pair of hands pull him out of the small space.

"What the hell are you doing here, Sammy?" Dean asks him, his green eyes looking like stained glass in his anger. Sam smiles wryly as he pulls his older brother's hands away from his shirt.

"Nice to see you too, Dean," Sam smirks a bit when he takes in the sombre black clothes and the clerical collar,"Or should I say, father?"

That earns him a slap across the back of the head and another glare, not as harsh as the first one, but a glare nonetheless.

"Seriously Sammy. Not that it's unpleasant to see you, but what are you doing here?" Dean asks quietly. Sammy scratches at his head before he replies.

"Dad's missing, Dean. He hasn't been home in a few days," Sam tells him flatly.

Dean raises an eyebrow and crosses his arms across his chest. "And what does that have to do with me Sammy?"

Sam sighs in exasperation, but continues on doggedly. "He went on a hunt Dean and I haven't heard from him in days. I keep calling his phone and all I get is his cell-phone message."

Dean shrugs. "And I repeat, what does this have to do with me?"

"I need you to come and help me find him," Sam tells him quietly. He makes it a statement, but the question is too clear in the unspoken words between the lines: "Dad's gone. I have nobody else. I know you're part of the Church, but I'm your family. Please Dean."

"I told you I was done with that, Sammy. This is my life now. I promised myself I wasn't going to be a hunter again. It's not the life I want to live Sammy," Dean replies in a soft voice, his left hand going up to his neck before his fingers start working at the clerical collar around his neck.

Dean understands that their father being missing is serious. After all, this is the man that despite the lifestyle, raised them as well as he possibly could. But Dean wants Sammy to realise that for once in his life, he feels like he's really doing something tangible. He feels he is making a difference. Whether it is simply to offer superfluous comfort to the old women of the parish or organizing charity drives that he knows aren't going to do much in the end, he knows that there are people out there that need him. That are relying him on him for more than just being a good shot or for being his brother's baby-sitter. Not that he resents Sammy. He could never resent his little brother. But he certainly resents the feeling that he is more or less along for the ride. That he is not going to be as important in his father's eyes as Sammy is.

He wants to tell his little brother all of this, but the words are stuck in his throat. Despite having to write and give sermons every week, he can't get those words out. He knows that if he does speak, he will just mess it up and have Sammy going off in a fury like he did that last time they spoke. Just before he decided to run off and find his Sanctuary and peace of mind in the Church.

Sam takes the silence as a good sign that Dean is starting to think things over and that maybe he's going to be amenable to joining him in searching for their father. He is about to ask, to plead for his big brother to come back and help him with just this one task when they both hear a dull thud followed by a shriek that reverberates through the cavernous church.

They both rush to the source of the shriek only to stand and gape at the sight of the blonde woman that had been praying pinned to the crucifix above the altar. She was bleeding from a cut across her abdomen and she was crying and praying in garbled Czech for God to save her.

"Magdalena!" Dean shouts. He runs to her, but he's too late and Magdalena bursts into flames that spread all too quickly through the Church.

Dean doesn't register this and keeps on running towards Magdalena, despite the fact that her entire body is already engulfed in flames and there's no way that she is going to survive that. Sam knows that it's hysteria that compels Dean to do such a foolish thing and runs after his older brother. He pulls Dean out of the Church, not a few moments before the ceiling caved and made escape impossible.

Once outside, Dean collapses against Sammy. He's quiet. Too quiet. Sammy has to field all of the questions that the firemen ask over and over again as they are working to put out and figure out the cause of the fire in St. Andrew's church.

The fire fighters let them both go and to Sam, it isn't soon enough. Especially when some of the men stop to talk to Dean once it is known who the unfortunate victim of the blaze is. Sam only watches with curious interest as he watches his brother interact with the men. Despite being as shaken as they are and twice as weary, Dean doesn't shirk from his duties. He continues them until he is sure he can slip off unnoticed; which he does with that quiet stealth their father drilled into them.

He nods to Sam when he arrives at the car and checks out the weapons he knows are stored in the hidden compartment of the Impala before he slams the trunk shut and turns to his younger brother.

"When was the last time you heard from dad?"