Jess was pressed in close, her head on his shoulder, sexy as hell in her nurse's outfit, chuckling as she watched the antics of their friends. The party was in full swing, the costumes slightly worse for wear now that the beer had started to take effect on the revellers.
The locale was decorated as befits Halloween, the music loud and catchy, everyone enjoying themselves, yet Sam Winchester had never felt so lonely.
Not one of the people in the room really knew him, not even Jess.
Oh, she'd mapped out his body, knew what turned him on, what caresses and kisses made him moan in pleasure, she truly loved him, yet none of them, not even she, had glimpsed his soul.
There was only one person who had, and Sam had left him behind.
Pushing down the pain of their abrupt separation in the traditional tried and true Winchester way, Sam had thrown himself into his studies.
Perhaps that's why he loved books so much, they couldn't cause you any pain, they were easy to handle, not like people, not like his dad and Dean.
He glanced around at the young men and women and part of him wondered what he was doing here amongst those who knew nothing of the horrors that surrounded them.
No ghosts or demons to infest their dreams, not like his own nightmare filled nights.
Suddenly he needed to get out, away from the noise and bustle.
An image of Dean's face grinning down at him as he fired a silver-tipped bolt at the werewolf which was about to take a bite out of Sam's shoulder, appeared before his eyes.
"Saved you from being dog chow little brother," he'd declared as he'd pulled his younger sibling up, his green eyes bright, hopped up on the adrenaline of the kill.
Sam had gotten away from all that. He was safe at Stanford, almost engaged to a beautiful girl who had miraculously fallen in love with a pauper like himself. All he possessed were the brains that had got him into Stanford and that wasn't much to offer a potential wife, but Jess seemed satisfied nonetheless.
He brought his lips up close to her ear, he didn't want to have to shout over the din. "Uh, I need some air, baby. Gonna go outside for a minute."
Jess turned her head to meet his eyes. "You okay?" she asked, a worried undertone to her question. She hadn't seen him drinking anything other than the light beer which still half-filled the bottle, so she doubted it was to puke.
"I'm fine. It's just too friggin' hot in here and you know how I get." He forced his lips to curl into a smile, though smiling was the last thing he felt like doing.
She laughed then, comforted by the grain of truth in his words. "Yeah, I know, If there was a sweating contest I'd bet on you for the win. Don't be too long though. I miss you already."
"You're the girl that understands me like no-one else," he replied, giving her lips a lingering kiss before pushing back his chair and making for the door, eager to get away from the party which made a mockery of all the evil he'd been in contact with since he was a child.
He hated Halloween.
Outside the cool night air greeted him like an old friend, clearing his mind from the smoky haze of the party.
This was the true world, he found himself thinking, not the parody inside.
In the shadows lay waiting predators that if he described them to his friends, he'd be carted off to the nut-house and locked away in a padded room for the rest of his life.
A doubt came to him then. Could he, Sam Winchester, knowing what he did, really have all this? College, Jess, the friends he'd made?
He didn't want to answer the question because if he was honest with himself there could only be one, and it wasn't the one he needed to hear.
He stared into the darkness that surrounded the college campus. Dean was out there somewhere hunting, destroying one by one the shadowy predators, while he was here living out his dream.
But dreams just like nightmares are temporary. They both have a shelf-life after which reality asserts itself.
Just as suddenly as he'd needed to get out of the room, he felt the urge to rush back in.
If Stanford was only a dream he wanted to milk it to the wake-up call, but he couldn't banish the feeling that the end was near, very near.
And a few days later when Dean came to him, he tried to hang on to his dream with all his might but he knew it was over.
Reality had asserted itself.