Disclaimer: The characters and concepts of The Dresden Files belong to Jim Butcher. Eric Kripke created those of Supernatural. All I own is this story. This is uniquely for fun and absolutely no profit.

Chapter 1

At first, Sam had gone up to the church just to see if he could go in, if holy ground would admit him entry after what he'd done, after what he'd become.

He had been on a morning supply run while Dean was still sleeping off the previous night's encounter with a vampire. Just one vampire, when they had come ready for a whole nest, shouldn't have been a problem, but the thing had caught them off guard when it had shed its skin and turned into a giant bat. Dead man's blood hadn't had much effect either.

The thing had scratched Sam's arm viciously and cracked three of Dean's ribs by the time they managed to dispatch it.

They had come to Chicago on Castiel's advice. Technically, they had come to Chicago because their research had turned up a hunt and a nest of vampires was a welcome respite from looking up demonic omens – apparently, the ultimate evil was good at hiding - but the angel had suggested that the Windy City might bring them an ally against the newly risen Lucifer. Castiel had warned that this was purely his own intuition, that there was no divine certainty that said ally could be found. That, more than anything, had convinced Dean to come. He trusted his own personal angel considerably more than he did the rest of the Heavenly Host, save Anna.

They had just started checking out the area when the vamp jumped them. Two days in Chicago and they were had already been beat up, and they still had the rest of the nest - which would no doubt now be on high alert - to dispatch. Sam really hoped the angel had been right, and that this ally would turn up soon.

So there he stood, with one hand on the door handle of Saint Mary of the Angel. He half expected the door to be locked, which was perfectly normal for a church in a big city in the middle of the week. A locked door would be a quiet kind of dismissal, leaving him to wonder if it was just bad timing.

The door did open.

Sam took in a breath, braced himself for a blow and took a single step forward. When lightning didn't strike him down, he took another careful step, then another, and another, until he was standing by the last pew. He sat down before his legs gave out from under him. After everything that had happened, he hadn't expected this to be so hard, so meaningful. God was still letting him in.

Hands joined on the back of the pew in front of him and brow pressed to his fingers, Sam Winchester, former demon blood junky, bringer of the apocalypse, releaser of Lucifer, began to pray.

He prayed for his brother, the angels chosen warrior. He prayed for their brotherhood, which had gotten frayed over the last few years. He prayed for himself, for a chance at redemption. He prayed for humanity, for their salvation from the doom Sam had brought upon them. He prayed, begged that Zachariah's words to Dean about God being gone were a lie, a mistake, that God was still there, still watching over them, still listening to his prayers.

At some point, he must have started talking aloud, because a hand squeezed his shoulder and a gentle voice said, "He hears you."

Sam looked up to see the priest standing beside him. "I'm sorry." He scrambled to his feet.

The priest put up a placating hand. "If a church isn't the right place for prayer, I don't know what is. Of course, if you'd prefer to talk, that's what I'm here for. I'm Father Forthill."

"Thank you but, I should be going."

"Is everything all right?" asked a man who had just come down the aisle. He walked with a cane, but was well muscled, giving Sam the impression of a once formidable force only recently taken out of commission.

"Of course Michel. This is a good friend of mine, Michel Carpenter."

The younger man extends a hand politely. "Sam. Nice to meet you."

Michel frowned. When he withdrew his hand, there was blood on it.

Sam lifted his coat sleeve. The bandage on his arm showed three evenly spaced bloody lines where the vampire got him. One side was soaked through with red and blood was running down his arm. "Great," he remarked, and then he remembered that he wasn't alone. "Sorry, must have torn some stitches." Fumbling in his jacket pocket, he took out some napkins that he'd picked up a the diner down the street from the motel. He handed one to Michel and pressed the rest against his forearm.

"We have a first aid kit," suggested the stunned priest.

"No, it's okay, really. I'll take care of it."

The two men stared as Sam hurried out of the church. Michel caught the door before it swung shut, and saw his new acquaintance driving away in a black Chevrolet Impala.

"What kind of man stitches up his own arm?" asked Father Forthill from behind him.

"I'm not sure, but I'm going to find out." He carefully wiped the blood from his hand, and from where it had dripped on the pew. "I think I'll go visit Harry Dresden."