Disclaimer: This is a transformative work based on the original creation of E. Kripke. This is strictly for personal use.

A/N: This is an idea I've been toying with since TMATEOTB. This scene takes place during episode 4.20 so spoilers for all of s.4 so far. This is after Anna has popped into the car and before they get to Jimmy's….

Dean noticed it while he was pumping gas. Sam had disappeared to go to the head, get them snacks, pay for the gas, and if Dean knew anything about his brother, call Ruby.

Dean sighed and hung up the nozzle. Hunching a little more deeply into his coat, he glanced once into the store before glancing briefly each way and jogging lightly across the street.

He hesitated at the heavy wooden door, glancing self-consciously in both directions. Dropping his chin to his chest, he breathed deeply, trying to steel himself. Finally, huffing out a quick breath and sparing a quick glance back across the road to make sure Sam was still occupied, Dean slipped surreptitiously into the building.

There was a light on in the entrance way and a short hall lead to the main chamber. The lights were dim however, and the shadows were dark. There was no real sense of menace, but neither was there an overwhelming sense of peace – not that Dean had really fooled himself into believing it could be that easy.

He entered the main chamber. It was more dimly lit than the entrance or hall. Most of the light came from the candles at the front, throwing flickering shadows along the walls and the promise of coloured glass in the windows.

Dean slid into the pew at the back. He never went up to the front. He never came this far if he encountered anyone. In fact, he'd only sat down a few times. He'd never actually done anything.

He cleared his throat uncomfortably. He wanted desperately to do this right, but he really had no point of reference. He'd railed against his mother's promise his entire life, so any advances that Pastor Jim had made had been met with hostility. Still. One couldn't live in the world – and watch a lot of tv and movies – without picking up some clues. Maybe they were false clichés, but they were all he had to go on.

Dean slid to his knees and clasped his hands together. He squeezed his eyes shut. He felt a little like a child who believed if he couldn't see you, you couldn't see him. Yet Dean desperately wanted to be seen this time.

"So. Um. Yeah." More throat clearing and a short bark of a cough.

"It's me again. I guess this is me. Praying. Again." Dean opened his eyes and stared hard at the floor. Waiting. He wasn't sure what to expect. When nothing happened he continued.

"Look. I'm praying. And I just wanted to make sure… I mean… just a suggestion… not trying to tell You Your job… " Dean rolled his eyes at his own lame attempts to get started.

"Ok. Um. It's Cas. Castiel. I just want to make sure he's ok. Anna seemed to think that You might hurt him in some way. That you might blame him for the crap that I've pulled. It's not his fault. I'm not the easiest person to deal with sometimes. Adorable, yes. But easy, no. Well not in that sense anyway. But the thing is. Please don't blame Cas, Castiel, for what I've done. I… I just seem to be having a hard time figuring out what You want, what to do. So please… could you just cut the guy a break. I mean you saddled him with a pretty nasty assignment. Sent him to Hell, after all. And it's not his fault if I'm not performing up to standard. I mean… that's kind of my M.O. too… so… I guess what I'm saying is… um. Wow. This is really hard. Please…. Please don't be mad at Cas. I think he was doing a pretty good job with a shit detail….Please don't punish him for helping me. I mean, it's gotta be my fault. He was only trying to help me. Isn't that what You told him to do? Wasn't that his job? Protecting someone. That's a really, really hard job. I know… So…I guess…I just wanted to make sure You didn't punish Cas – Castiel – when it's probably my fault anyway… you could just add it to my tab, maybe… I mean, I know I'm not doing a great job. Not living up to expectations… or dying to them either, I guess, but I'm doing the best I can and so was Cas… so please. Please cut him some slack?"

Dean took a breath and fell silent. Licked his lips. Nervously raised his eyes from the floor.

"Ok. Not quite the reaction I was hoping for, but at least, there wasn't any smiting…"

"I guess I'll take silence as Your version of 'go on'. Um… about Jimmy. Please keep an eye – or whatever - on Jimmy. Again. Shit detail. You people need to come with a better warning label. Poor guy. And again, not really fair to punish him further for my mistakes. I mean Sam was so keen on not letting him go who would have thought he'd let him give him the slip…So. Yeah. Could You maybe see your way to keeping Jimmy safe… or at least safe-ish… until we can get there?"

Dean stared hard at his clasped hands, resting on the pew in front of him. He chewed his bottom lip. He was at the really hard part now. He rubbed one palm over his face and up into his hair before bringing it back to rest in front of him. Up til now he'd been defending the unequivocally good guys, right? But he had one more request and he was pretty sure if smiting were to happen it might happen right after he finished this bit.

"So. You're a pretty tough audience." Dean sighed. Rolled his eyes at himself again. Wondered, not for the first time why people did this every day when they got no answers, no response, no acknowledgement. He, at least, could be pretty sure that God knew he existed. What was other people's evidence? He envied that kind of blind faith. He'd had it once. Maybe not for God, but for a comforting presence that he could let go and put his trust in, and he'd lost it. It wasn't a feeling he ever wanted to experience again – that utter loss – of self, of safety…

Dean shook himself. Focus. He didn't have a lot of time. The last thing he wanted was Sam to come looking for him. Though he was pretty damn sure this was the last place Sam would look. He pushed from his mind that this might be the last place that Sam would willing come to either.

"Yeah. Sorry. I have one last.. um… I guess favour to ask," Dean cleared his throat nervously. "It's my brother. Sam. I know he's maybe not at the top of your Christmas list right now, but I know that You know, that he's been talking to you a lot longer than I have. I know that he still wants to believe that things can be put right. I know that he might not be following the exact plan You've laid out. But he's in trouble. I think maybe he's sick. I…I don't know how to get through to him anymore… how to figure out what's going on… Maybe that's something else that was burned out of me… but if You could just maybe help Sam? Or help me to help him? I don't know how this works. I doubt you need me to spell it out, right? That's not how this works, right?"

Dean sighed. He wasn't sure he knew how anything worked anymore. There was a time when Sam couldn't do anything that surprised him. Now he was lucky if he could call what Sam would order for breakfast.

Dean's eyes strayed to the front, to the altar, and to the cross. Sacrifice. Always it came back to sacrifice.

"If there's a price to pay, please don't make others pay for what I owe." Dean closed his eyes and bowed his head. Images of Cas, of Jimmy, of Sam, played through his head.


A/N: I hope that I haven't offended anyone's religious beliefs. What I know about religion makes Dean look like the Pope… but my intention was not to offend. There is just something so evocative for me about Dean praying – it seems to fly in the face of his carefully constructed walls to open himself up in this way…. Thoughts?