Your own footsteps pounding against the road: "Sam!" you yell into your cell, "Sammy!"
"Too late," says someone else's voice, and then they hang up just as you swerve around the corner of the building and bust the door open with your shoulder.
"Where --" But you stop, because you can see where.
"Too late," the vampire says again. Blood everywhere, too much blood, and your heartbeat resolves itself into a deafening chorus of dead dead dead dead.
Dead, dead, and you open your eyes to the demon's smile.
"You know," you say when your breath returns; light, conversational. "I think I want my money back. I really was picturing a lot more fire and brimstone."
"Dean, honey." Her hair falls against the skin of her shoulder like perfection and it's fucked, it's fucked, but you want her. You can't not. "Credit me with a little more imagination than that, please."
What you really want is to rip her apart. You want your fingers in her hair and you want to devour her. You want to see if what's under your feet is really concrete and if she'll gasp as you slam her down into it; you want to see if her mouth still tastes like a slow cigarette burn.
"It's not real." You laugh and it feels like gravel rumbling in your chest, fierce, constricting. "You can show me anything you want, you impotent bitch, but you're not touching him. Not really."
She makes a tutting sound in the back of her throat. "Them's not the rules of dreaming, sweetheart. You know that. Self-awareness isn't part of the deal."
Insert smart comment here: right now you're too angry to speak -- too scared to move -- and you're imagining fucking her and wrapping your hands around her neck.
"You're going to see them die, Dean," she says, and now it's Cassie standing in front of you. "You're going to see your father being torn apart from the inside, and you're going to hear your mother burning, and you're going to watch me slice off your girlfriend's fingers one. By. One." Folding down the digits of her slim brown hand in neat illustration. "And it's going to be very, very real."
You close your eyes, but it's Cassie's voice, Cassie's warm familiar voice, and you remind yourself that whatever she can throw at you, it won't make you regret a thing.
"And as for dear Sammy," she drawls, "well, we'll have to come up with a few hundred variations on betrayal, won't we? I think it'll be you. I think you're going to chain your little brother down and watch your knives glow orange in the fire, and you're going to watch him scream and beg you to stop because you promised you'd take care of him, you promised, and then you're going to set the metal against his skin and...well, Dean? It's your dream. Would you care to fill in the gaps?"
Of course it's your dream: it's every nightmare you've buried in the violence of your finger against the trigger of a gun and the growl of the Impala's engine. She's painting it on the inside of your eyelids, so you open them again, because even her face twisted into that sultry satisfaction is better than --
"So that's it? That's all you can come up with?" As an experiment you lash out with your fist, but she catches your arm before the blow can land and then she flicks a look at you from under her lashes and you've got just enough time to think: this is gonna hurt.
And then she twists.
"Uh uh," she says, and she's not Cassie any longer and her eyes flash red; or maybe that's just you, coming down off the scream. Maybe that's just the blood, maybe that's just the bone of your wrist poking through the skin. "Now we're getting ahead of ourselves. Give it a few decades, Dean: a few decades of watching your family suffer and knowing that it's all your fault, and then we can move on to the physical pain." She bends closer. "Trust me," she murmurs. "By then you'll be begging for it."
In your head your daddy's saying, what's important is never to show them that you're afraid, and you're eight years old and the world is streaming past the car window and being swallowed by the night.
"Pity," and your lips burn as you smile at her. "I was hoping you'd be one of those succubus types, you know? Show a guy a good time while you devour his soul."
"Sorry, Dean, but no." She kisses you on the forehead, gently. "I'm going to make all of your dreams come true."