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13 August 2010 @ 03:55 pm
Somewhen I was Meant to Be 4/9  




~ Chapter 3 ~

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Where’s the truth
For us to use
Cause all we seem to do is lose
Who we are and how we’ve tried
Are we all the same inside
It’s now or never to decide

~~~
Three Days Grace - Now or Never
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April 27th, Palo Alto

As long as he could remember, this had been his room.

The blue curtains with the yellow moons and twinkling stars. The neat row of stuffed animals sitting in the small crack between wall and bed. The lamp hanging from the ceiling in form of a flying saucer from which bouncing figures were hanging from. When he entered the room, it felt right to be there. As if it was waiting for him after a day at school like a loyal friend, a little puppy greeting him at the door. But as much as he enjoyed it, he felt like it wasn't meant for him and he was just waiting for the day when he would have to pack his bags and leave and never come back.

Matt was only eight years old but there were times when he wondered how often he had left dear places without remembering it.

Sometimes he felt like his existence had a spirit of its own. Another mind, hidden in his own. Like his life was a huge ocean and his eight year old self was standing at the shore, knowing that there was so much more water beyond the visible horizon. More water and more memories like the countless fishes in the sea. Undiscovered sea monsters and giant krakens. It was a thought that used to make him feel vulnerable and afraid. Experience had taught him, that these kind of thoughts were uncommon for his age and whenever he had dared to address his fears, his mother looked at him strangely. Amused, bemused and horrified, all in one. He always feared her face might fall of with all those contradicting emotions running over it. But then, the look would fade and be replaced by an expression of utter affection. She would kiss the top of his head and tell him to "Go play! Be a kid!" And he would laugh and giggle and tell her that he was a kid. Then, his mother would tell him that he was a weird kid. She would laugh about it and he would laugh because that's what eight year old boys do.

But deep down inside, so deep that he couldn't actually put it in words, he knew he was different.

It was late, nearly midnight, and he stood motionless in front of the window, staring outside. His eyes never leaving the corner of the house across from theirs, where a man was standing, staring up at him. Never even blinking in the harsh light of the street lamp.

The door to his room squeaked when his mother entered but still he didn't take his eyes off the watcher.

"Honey?" She sounded surprised and stood next to him, patting the top of his head. "What are you doing up? It's long past your bedtime."

"Can't sleep," He lied, his eyes still fixed on the stranger. For more than an hour Matt hadn't moved, his feet were aching and his heart was beating rapidly in his small chest. Carefully he reached out his hand to make sure the salt was still there where he put it.

"You put salt on the windows? Again?" She asked, not surprised. Only tired.

"Yeah. Sorry mom."

"It's okay. We'll clean it up tomorrow, okay? But you should sleep now."

With one last look at the stranger he let himself be guided back towards his bed. His beloved teddy bear was sitting on his pillow and he took it before he crawled under the covers his mom was holding up for him.

"Mom?"

She waited until his head hit the pillow, the stuffed bear pressed against his chest, before she pulled the blankets up.

"Yes, kiddo?" The nickname gave his heart a small pang and he pressed himself deeper into the pillow, wanted to make himself as small as possible.

"Can I have a dog?"

His mother chuckled. "It's midnight and you ask me for a dog?"

"What's got midnight to do with the dog?"

"Nothing. You just never asked for a pet." She shook her head, smiling. "Why do you want a dog all of a sudden?"

"I don't know." He pouted and shrugged. "He can bark."

"Sure he can bark. It's a dog. But why do you want him?" She reached to his bedside table and turned off the little rocket lamp with the thick blobs of red wax gliding up and down in the tube. The only light now came from the hallway and the distant, dirty yellow of the lamps on the streets.

"I don't know. I just want one." It's what little kids want.

"We'll talk about it tomorrow, okay?" She pushed away a curl from his forehead before kissing it softly. "Good night."

With that she got up, tiptoed out of the room and closed the door behind her.

Matt's eyes were heavy and itchy and he really wished he could just close them but...he just couldn't. Quickly, he kicked the blankets away. The carpet was chilly and scratchy under his feet after the warm, soft linen in his bed and carefully trying not to produce any sound he opened the drawer of his night stand, groping for the small flash light he kept hidden under his edition of Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone. It was a nightly ritual which he had started a few years ago, after he'd had his first nightmare. The first of many. He could remember the dream in every detail. Could remember the foul smell of the creature when it opened its mouth to suck out his life. Could feel its bony fingers against his skin. It had been a dream, just a dream, but since that dream he took a look into his closet every night before he went to sleep. Just to make sure. Because he doubted someone would come and rescue him. Not even the man in his dreams. The one with the piercing green eyes and the spikey hair and the pendant around his neck. He wouldn't be there. Not in time.

Just like every night, he let the round puddle of light crawl over his clothes. He pulled his jackets aside, illuminated every corner, then closed the closet when he was satisfied nothing was there. On his way back into bed, he passed the window, risking a quick glance at the opposite sidewalk. The stranger was gone, which did nothing to quell his anxiety.

With one leap he jumped back into bed and curled his skinny body into a tight ball, his breath now coming in short, hard gasps. He was afraid. He was so afraid and he had no idea why. Blindly, he searched for his teddy bear and pressed it against his body, tucking it under his chin.

"I'll take care of you, Dean-o," He said to his favourite toy. "No one's gonna hurt you. I promise."

It took a while before he finally managed to fall asleep.
"Where are you two?" Bobby asked before Dean had time to say hello into his mobile.

"Hey Bobby," Dean greeted, watching the scenery pass by. "Crossed the border to California about an hour ago."

"Just got an interesting case. Could be coincidence but..." Bobby began and Dean sat up a little straighter in the seat. "...sounds like demonic possession."

"In San Fancisco?"

"Palo Alto, exactly. Last night a student, Paul Venetti was found dead in an alley after witnesses had watched--and I'm citing here--an awfully bad breath come out of his mouth." Bobby snorted. "That's a new one. What the hell do they teach in that university?"

"Sounds like our thing," Dean nodded and locked eyes with his father, who was pressing his foot a little harder on the gas, pushing the car faster. "What else?"

"That's it." Dean could hear ruffling, the sound of sheets of paper being flicked through. "The boy was found on campus at three a.m. Witnesses weren't questioned since it looked like a natural case of death. Brain hemorrhage, my ass," Bobby muttered. "You got that?"

"Brain hemorrhage, my ass. Got that," Dean confirmed.

"Smart ass, " Bobby said gruffly. "Keep me informed." Without another word the older hunter cut the connection, leaving Dean behind with a father who had barely said a word since they had left the Singer salvage yard two days ago. With a few words Dean explained the situation and his father gave a short nod to indicate his understanding.

Dean had no idea what he was expecting but, oh God, he had many things he was hoping for. Answers, for one. Second, his brother would be nice. Thinking like that hurt like a bitch and every single time Dean let his thoughts wander he wished he could just scrub away the memory and useless hopes. His brother was dead (broken-burnt-ashes) and going to a place like Stanford was probably not the best way of dealing with it. Why did those fucking demons choose that city, of all places? The city where the sun was always shining. The city, where everyone was young and carefree and where demons and bad shitty things just had no right to be.

In his life Dean had been everywhere but there had to be a reason why he was passing the city borders of San Francisco for the first time on that particular day-- heading for a cryptic destiny and heading for Sam.

For once, they chose the highway to enter the city and they were surrounded by hundreds and hundreds of cars driving past them. Expensive looking Rovers and Ferraris and Cadillacs, their chrome sparkling and twinkling like the owners didn't rest it in a garage over night but in a car wash. Even though Dean loved the Impala, he felt ridiculously out of place in it.

"We should split," His father said. Dean wasn't surprised. They usually did when at the beginning of a case to cover more ground and gather more information. Apparently, this case wouldn't be any different whereas it felt different. Something would be waiting at the end of this road and Dean wasn't sure he wanted to know what it was.

A few exits and turns later, the Impala halted on a busy side street, filled with little shops and apartment houses. According to Bobby's information this is where the boy had been found and it was probably the best place to start with the search. Dean got out of the car, reached for his duffel on the backseat and leaned down to look into the car at his father.

"Call me if something comes up. I'll get us a room."

Dean nodded. "Yes Sir."

With that, the Impala took off and left Dean behind, standing like a lost puppy on the sidewalk in the middle of Palo Alto, California. He watched his father drive away before turning and taking a look around.

The street was bustling, most of them young people in little groups, books in their arms and talking vividly about some scientific crap that Dean had no way of understanding. Not that he wanted to, either, but the atmosphere was odd. It made Dean feel even less welcome and more than before he felt like he just didn't belong here. Slowly, he started to walk, looking at the map in his hand, on which he had marked the position where the student had been found. Five minutes later he had reached it. He was standing in a narrow alley with garbage cans decorating the walls. Mountains of soppy cardboard boxes with unidentifiable content. In this matter, Palo Alto was like any other city in the country.

There was no sign of a struggle, no signs of police investigations. It had been a death by natural cause, after all. Why should they investigate? Because of an exceptionally bad breath? Dean chuckled and folded his map. There was nothing here that would provide information. A swift look around made him walk back to the street where he had come from and took a few seconds to orient himself. On the other side of a street he could see a tiny copy shop, a hairdresser and a diner, that advertised fresh apple pie. The interest it piqued in Dean was anything but professional.

A little bell rang above him when he entered the diner and he looked around quickly. It was empty but that could have been the time. It was only early afternoon. The ambiance was like one of those diner's from the 50's. Screaming red benches with yellow tables and Grease, Saturday Night Fever and Footloose posters were hanging on the walls. It smelled like grease, too. But there was also the delicious smell of hot french fries and grilled hamburger. Dean's mouth began to water after only seconds and he walked to the counter, sitting down on a bar stool. A young woman walked towards him with a friendly smile and cute dimples. She had bright, almost watery blue eyes, full lips and a round face, framed by a few strands of dark blond hair that had gotten loose from her ponytail. Her white, clean uniform was hugging her easily and she walked a light step. Her smile was sincere and wide when she greeted him.

"Hello, what can I get you?"

With one look at her name tag he answered. "Hello, Dee. Whatever you can recommend, I guess," He smiled back and she leaned her hip against the counter when she stared up into the air, probably trying to remember the dish of the day.

"Well, you can't do much wrong with the Hawaii-burger," She said, enticingly.

"Pineapple? On my burger? Are you kidding?"

She laughed in understanding and turned around, yelling towards the kitchen "One Double Cheese with Extra onion... and two apple pies, one to go."

He studied her, impressed, and nodded. "Not bad. Have you ever been mistaken?"

"Sure." She shrugged. "But I suppose I was lucky this time, huh?"

"Dead-on."

The bell above the door rang and Dean turned to look at the small figure entering the diner. A young boy, not older than eight or nine had come in, striding with his head lowered over an open book. An unruly mob of hair was hanging low in the little boys face and Dean watched as he expertly maneuvered around the tables and chairs standing in his way without looking up. The boy walked towards the other side of the counter to climb on a bar stool that almost reached him to his chin.

"Hey honey," the waitress, Dee, had walked over and gave the boy a kiss on the top of his head, before he finally looked up, his brown eyes fixed on the woman, who probably was his mother. "How was your day?"

"Okay," The boy answered, his concentration back on the book and Dean realized he had been staring. It took quite some effort to avert his gaze after the display had left him confused and strangely touched. Unable to stop himself he looked back at the boy, observed his lips moving with the soundless words of the book and froze when the boy looked up under Dean's intense scrutiny. The boys eyes widened for a second when his gaze fell on Dean and his forehead wrinkled in stern concentration. Something about the boy felt strange and it took Dean a few moments before he could put his fingers on it. There was a certain familiarity about him that made Dean's heart stutter in his chest. An affection that he hadn't felt in eight years. The large brown eyes blinked at him, wide open with something like surprise and wariness unusual for a boy that age.

"There you go," Dee put a plate with the ordered hamburger in front of Dean, startling him out of his thoughts. Again, she smiled at him but he could see she was mildly creeped out by his staring at her son. But something in this picture was missing and the feeling crawled over Dean's spine like marching ants. The waitress was still staring at him with a frown. He forced himself to grin sheepishly.

"I just..." He motioned towards the little boy, stammering. "He... I didn't...." Taking a deep breath he finally sighed. "He reminds me of my little brother."

"Oh," she answered, not sounding convinced but at least not looking like she wanted to call the police for him being a pervert. That was a plus.

"He just... he died a few years ago."

Why the hell am I telling her this?

Her face fell, her mouth opening in a soundless 'o' and her eyes lost their suspicious tinge. "I'm sorry."

"It's okay." Who was he kidding? Nothing was okay. Sam was dead and he was sitting in a diner eating grease-dripping hamburgers. He'd lost his appetite completely all of a sudden. "It's a long time ago." He could feel the boy's eyes on him, boring into him.

"That's awful. I'm really sorry." There was an honest sympathy in her voice and he swallowed painfully. What had gotten into him? He had never talked about it with anyone but the waitress seemed deeply moved by his confession. She held Dean's gaze for a few seconds before she assured herself that her son was still sitting safe and sound at the counter. A surge of panic and fear crossed her face and Dean felt like an ass for being the cause of such profound emotions in a stranger. In a young woman with an eight year old, of all people. If he didn't rot in hell for the frauds and other criminal activities in his line of work, he'd definitely hit the ditch for that one, that much was clear.

"No," He said hurriedly. "I'm sorry. I shouldn't be... Just ignore me, okay? I'll just eat now."

She looked like she wanted to say something but decided otherwise, walking away stiffly and Dean wasn't surprised when she walked back straight to the boy, ruffling through his hair affectionately.

To Dean's surprise his appetite returned quickly. The burger was delicious. Juicy and with the perfect amount of onions and mixed pickles, Just the way he liked it. From the corner of his eyes he still watched the little boy and his mother but his attention was directed to a newspaper lying folded next to him, that someone had probably left behind after reading. Curious, he skimmed through it and found the obituaries on one of the last pages. There, in the upper left corner was the grainy photograph of a young man, smiling shyly into the camera. Beneath it stood in simple letters "RIP - Paul Venetti - 2/13/1987 - 4/26/2007."

Distracted, he put his meal down and tried to gather information just by staring at it really intently. It didn't work though

"Did you know him?" He hadn't even realized the waitress had come back to his place. He was glad he hadn't pushed her into a deep depression with his stupid rush of emotionality and shook his head.

"Me? No." Wiping his mouth with a napkin he added conversationally, "But I heard about it in the news. Terrible. I hope you..." He pointed at his image. "Did you ... know him?"

She threw a quick glance at the picture and something like confusion shadowed her face. "Maybe, I don't know. There's a lot of people coming here. I might have seen him once or twice. But... no, I don't really." She shrugged her shoulder and at Dean's worried face she added, smiling. "So, no. Don't worry. Not poking in open wounds at my expense."

"Oh, good. Don't wanna spoil the good mood here."

She chuckled and her eyes twinkled, full of life. Dean found it hard to imagine that anything could spoil her mood at all.

"I heard..." He began carefully, taking another bite from his burger. "It happened somewhere close by?"

"Yeah," She nodded. "Just across the street in one of the alleys. But I wasn't here when it happened. I was at home with my son, Matt."

So, it really was her son and his name was Matt.

"Matt, huh? He likes to read?" Dean asked, grinning widely.

"Matt and his books are like this." She held her right hand into the air, middle and index finger entwined.

"I see," Dean said, surprised when the last bite of his burger was gone and another plate with a piece of pie appeared in front of him, still warm from the oven. The smell was sweet and rich with apple. "That smells great," He praised and took a bite, closing his eyes in blissful rapture. "Oh my God, that's the best apple pie ever."

She grinned and nodded. "I'll wrap up the second piece for you."

"Awesome!"

She busied herself with some foil and Dean took his time with the apple pie, wanting to enjoy it as long as possible, when he found himself being stared at by the boy.

"Hey!" Dean said, with his mouth full.

"You're not supposed to talk with your mouth full," The boy chastised with a frown from his place ten feet away.

"You're right," Dean replied, after having swallowed. "So, Matt, you come here often?"

"My mom works here. I come here every day after school," He explained shyly. "We just live one block away but I don't want to be alone at home."

"I know what you mean. Empty rooms always make me feel bored."

"Yeah..." The little boy ducked his again, his nose only inches away from the open book.

"What are you reading?"

"A book."

Dean rolled his eyes. That answer was just so Sam and the boy he was talking to hadn't even reached puberty yet. He felt sorry for the boy's mother because he knew Matt would be a hard nut to crack when he got older.

"No shi..." The waitress, who was watching his chat with her son like a mother hawk watching her babies, shot him a disapproving look. "...kidding. What's it about?"

"About a wizard."

"A wizard, huh?" Matt nodded.

"What can he do? Produce white bunnies out of hats?"

"No, he's a real wizard. With a wand," Matt explained, his enthusiasm about the book showing in the twinkling of his eyes and the way he swished and flicked his hand through the air. "He can do real magic and stuff. Like making things float. And he can fly on a broomstick."

"Aaah, Harry Potter," Dean grinned.

"Yeah," Matt confirmed happily. "Did you read it?"

Dean shook his head, his memories with his brother who - eight years ago - had tried to hide the book in his duffel, afraid of what his big brother would have to say about the fact that he was reading a kids novel. It had turned out to be a justified fear because when Dean had found out, he had started to tease his little brother without mercy. The hunter smiled at the memory, pondering about how Sam would never hear the end of the story.

"No, I didn't. How does it end?"

The boy had actually gotten up and moved closer, now sitting next to Dean, the heavy book pressed against his side.

"I don't know. The last book hasn't been published yet."

"Oh."

"That's okay. I will have time to read it later." Matt smiled. "The story is about a long journey towards what awaits you when you reach your destination. It'd be stupid to know the ending before finding out everything about the path."

Stunned, Dean blinked. Who the hell was that kid? With an astonished expression he turned towards the boy's mother who was clearly amused by his wonder.

"It's not my fault," She laughed and pointed at her son with her index finger. "He was like this when I got him."

"What the heck do you feed him with?" The only answer was a shrug of her shoulder and a grin.

"I like pancakes," Matt replied instead.

"That's my favourite, too. Pancakes with bananas," Dean said.

Matt nodded eagerly. "And chocolate syrup."

"You say it, kiddo!" Dean exclaimed and reached out his hand to have Matt high five it with his small fingers, before turning to his empty plate. "Dee? That apple pie was epic."

"Thanks. I'll make sure the message goes to the right person."

Out of the pocket of his jacked he produced a couple of bills and put them on the counter, next to the extra piece of apple pie which had been neatly wrapped up in several layers of foil. "I'm actually sorry but I gotta go. It was really nice meeting you." At the last words he looked at Matt whose face fell.

"You're welcome, ..." She paused and he got the hint.

"Dean, my name is Dean."

"You're welcome, Dean. It was nice meeting you, too."

With one last look at Matt, Dean grabbed the still warm apple pie and stood up, turning his back towards the mother and her son, another two people he had met just once and probably would never see again. He walked towards the door when his eyes fell on a panel of pictures hanging next to the counter. It had written "Welcome to Cindy's Diner" written in large letters on it. Under it were a row of pictures from staff members. A cook, a few women, probably more waitresses... and Dee. The picture looked like it was taken randomly, her hair was flying, probably in the middle of a head spin to look at the person who had taken the photograph. Under it he could read her full name...and froze.

Destiny 'Dee' Caravan

Coincidence was not a word in Dean's regular vocabulary. Okay, it was probably a coincidence that he had seen a black Chevy '67 Impala a few weeks ago on the parking lot of their current motel that wasn't theirs. Also, it was a coincidence that the last woman he'd wanted fun with had a little brother called Sam and she had regretted telling him because it had ruined Dean's mood and their evening. Physically speaking.

But meeting a woman called Destiny a hundred feet away from where a young man died after demonic possession?

He didn't believe in coincidences. Not like that.

The name had hit him like a sledgehammer. He didn't remember leaving the diner. He didn't remember crossing the street. Didn't even remember sitting down on the bench to stare at the traffic without seeing it. There was just one thought in his head.

Find destiny, find Sam.

He had found destiny, his destiny, in the presence of a young waitress with a little son called Matt. And where there was a Destiny there should be a Sammy.

His throat constricting, he closed his eyes, squashing down his emotions that threatened to overwhelm him.

Now where is Sam?

Sam was dead. No question. Dean choked down a sob, ignoring the perplexed look of a passersby, laden with heavy bags.

This was a coincidence. A fucked up coincidence. Some universal entity had just won ten bucks and was having a laugh at the expense of Dean's turmoil. Haha, very funny. Dean wanted to shake his fists at someone, just so he could have someone to shout his anger at about being played like a joker in a card game. Yes, coincidence.

They were here to kick some demon ass. That's what he should concentrate on, not a single mom with an eight year old kid. Embarrassed he rubbed his hands over his face. This was not like him. He needed more information about the dead boy, needed to get a lead on something that didn't involve apple pie and Harry Potter books.

He needed...

...Sam.

His cell started to ring in that moment and he cleared his throat before answering.

"Yes?"

"Dean? Where're you?" His father sounded grumpy. Never a good sign.

"Uhm... where you left me." That sounded incredibly pathetic and obviously his father thought so too.

"You were supposed to gain information not twiddle your thumbs on some bench."

Quickly, Dean stood up looking behind himself at the graffiti-covered bench. How the hell did his father do that? "I'm..."

"I'll pick you up in five minutes."

His father ended the call without giving Dean a chance to reply. He had five minutes to get his bearings.


The end of her shift had been delayed for almost three hours. With two of her co-workers sick with the flu and one broken espresso machine that exploded hot milk all over the counter it was almost nine p.m., much later than usual, when Dee finally reached her apartment, Matt's fingers wrapped around hers. He hadn't let go ever since they had left the diner, his fingers squeezing almost painfully.

"Is everything okay, sweetheart?" She had asked, holding her hand against her son's forehead to see whether he maybe was coming up with something too.

"I just want to go home."

She had stared at him for a moment before nodding. He had been quiet all afternoon, writing and drawing into his notebook and when she wanted to see what he was drawing, he had closed it abruptly, hiding his pictures from her. "You're much too young to draw naughty pictures." She had laughed. He had stared at her non-plussed.

The door sprang open and she expected her son to wriggle himself into their home under her arms but he stood behind her, looking fearfully back onto the streets. Sundown had been an hour ago and dusk had settled quickly, making the street lamps flicker to life one by one. No one was on the street and for a fleeting moment Dee remembered the young man who had taken residence on the other side of the street a few days ago. The one she had gotten no real good look at but who had strangely looked similar to the photograph in the newspaper.

Just a coincidence, Dee decided and pushed the disturbing thoughts aside when she entered her apartment. There was no sign of Jess and a small note was pinned to the magnet board right next to the door.

Out with Zack and Rebecca. Don't wait up for me. Jess.

So much for a girl's night in front of the TV with manicure and Desperate Housewives.

To her surprise Matt was still standing outside, looking fearful and she sighed. She was not up to this. Not today.

"Come in, honey. It's late and you should be in bed."

"I don't want to. I think there's someone in the house."

Something like anger started to build in Dee. "Matt, I'm not going to say this again. I'm tired and tomorrow is a school day."

"But mom, ..."

"No buts, little man..."

Her son looked like he was about to cry and his little face crumbled in nameless frustration. Hesitantly he stepped over the threshold, looking left and right as if he was expecting someone to jump out of the shadows. Dee shivered and closed the door to keep the evil of the world outside--unaware that the real evil was already in the house.

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