Sam Winchester didn't go to church often. Not actually. Sure, many a monster has chosen to hunt or haunt or what have you in a Holy House, but that was different. Today, Sam was here to mourn.

Seven years.

Sam had given up any hope he may have had long ago. Of course, he'd gone down every strange, dark, sketchy, and crazy path he could dig up, but once he hit three years, he concluded that it was useless.

Dean Winchester died seven years ago today, and there's nothing poor, lonely, broken Sammy can do.

He could hunt, sure. Carry on the family business as the only Winchester left standing. And he did. However, that didn't change the fact that he was alone, didn't make the knowledge that Dean was gone for good any less painful. It just wasn't fair that he got a second chance at the expense of his brother. Dean couldn't go on without him? How did he think Sam would handle it when the hell hounds came for him, as they inevitably would? He knew that he should have moved on by now, but guilt kept the wound fresh. Seven years ago felt like just yesterday.

He stopped at some roadside church on his way through Illinois. A sad, dilapidated old place, long since abandoned. It was decorated with dirty, broken windows, six short benches that served as pews, an altar, and a good-sized wooden cross leaning against the far wall.

This had been his tradition for the past seven years. On the anniversary of Dean's death, he'd drop whatever he was doing to go to church. At first, it was to pray to anyone who'd listen. Beg for someone, anyone, to please please bring his brother back. The problem was that either no one could hear him or no one cared, so this quickly turned into a time for mourning. Now, as he had the past few years, Sam sat in an empty pew, rest his weary head on clasped hands, and quietly wept.

Seeing as this particular church was notably empty when he got there, so run down that most wouldn't even notice it. Sam was justifiably surprised when he heard an all-too-familiar voice from the direction of the door:

"Crying in church? Come on now, Sammy. Of all things, I didn't expect you to go soft."