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13 August 2010 @ 03:49 pm
Somewhen I was Meant to Be 5/9  

~ Chapter 4 ~

Though these wounds have seen no wars
Except for the scars I have ignored
And this endless crutch, well it's never enough
It's been the Worst Day Since Yesterday

Flogging Molly - Worst Day since Yesterday

Their motel was only four blocks away from the diner, Dean realized when he arrived shortly after nine with his father. Nested between apartment houses it was run down and in severe need of paint and thereby looking like any other motel they had been into. Its shabbiness felt familiar, welcome even. Dean stepped inside, heaving the large duffel bag over his shoulder onto the bed, the weapons rattling inside.

After being picked up, he and his father had made a quick visit to the morgue to get a professional confirmation of the cause of death. But the interrogation hadn't produced new insights. Some blahblah about exploding blood vessels and hypocritical disapproval about too high blood cholesterol levels by a pathologist who looked like a stranded whale himself and father and son had called it a night.

While his father was his usual grim self, Dean found it hard to concentrate, his thoughts meandering back to Dee and her son and, admittedly, the apple pie which he was now putting on the small table next to the only window.

The dessert had gotten a little more pressure than necessary and looked a little flatter than it had been when he'd gotten it. The juicy goodness was leaking out of foil and he licked his sticky fingers. The taste hadn't changed a bit.

"I'm not hungry. You want the pie?" He asked his father, who had vanished into the bathroom leaving the door open. Dean could hear the faucet running.

"Not hungry?" John asked when he came out again, eyebrows raised. "What's wrong?"

"Nothing. I'm just not hungry. Had a piece at the diner. It's awesome."

His father made a growling sound in his throat and started to unpack the weapons. He hadn't used them which didn't mean they didn't deserve another cleaning. In the meantime, Dean started sorting the information they'd got. Maps, newspaper clippings and some "borrowed library material" as well as a copy from Paul Venetti's death certificate and autopsy report, the usual bedside reading.

"We should go back to that diner," John Winchester announced firmly, looking intently at the map of Palo Alto in which he was in the process of marking every traceable demonic activity over the last few weeks. "It's our best shot at the moment."

Dean's stomach clenched. "Why?" It came out more harshly than he had intended and his father looked up suspiciously.

"Because," John answered, eyes narrowed. Pointing his pen at the paper, he made a circling motion and explained "The activities seem to occur in a rough two mile radius with the diner in the center." He looked up, looking sharply at his son. "Who did you talk to exactly?"

"Just with..." He made a small pause, long enough for his father to lift his head. "... with the waitress. Did I mention the apple pie is God's gift to mankind?" He hesitated. "Uhm, the waitress name..."

"Name?" John urged, his face a sour grimace.

"Her name was ... Destiny. That's... a coincidence, right?"

He wanted to hear something like ‘Yes, Dean, that's a coincidence. Now eat your pie!’ but for a few seconds he didn't get anything but his father's intense stare.

"The waitress' name was Destiny?" John inquired.

"I questioned her...about the dead guy. She told me she didn't know him." Dean swallowed, a bitter taste in the back of his mouth. "And I ate pie. End of story."

There was a short silence between the two men and Dean realized exactly, why it was so hard to tell his father this. It sounded ridiculous. Pathetic. He was looking for bread crumbs in a forest and the name of a young woman with an eight year old son had nothing to do with destiny. At least not his destiny. But maybe...

"What else?"

"That's it. I told you it was nothing."

Somehow, it didn't feel like nothing. On the contrary, it felt like something. Something important. Something that made his stomach squirm and the hairs on his back stand up.

"This sounds..."

"...like nonsense. I know," Dean finished his father's sentence. "I don't... I didn't think it means anything but..."

"Where does she live?"

"Not sure. Definitely nearby. Her son said they lived a block away."

"Which could possibly make their home the exact center of the demonic activities."

"You want me to..."

"Go, check it out!" John finished the sentence absentmindedly, already concentrating back on the reports. "No need for both of us to sit around."

Dean nodded, almost happy to get out of the room. He needed fresh air to clear his head and get a grip on sanity. A strange sense of urgency made him speed up and he wondered where it was coming from.

The drive back to the diner took him less than five minutes and he parked the Impala directly in front of it in the no parking zone, jumping out of the car and taking the distance to the glass door with a few long strides.

It was quarter past nine and compared to earlier it was crowded. Most of the tables were occupied by large groups of students and Dean spotted two waitresses meandering between them. Another one was standing behind the counter. And none of them was Destiny.

"Excuse me?" He grabbed the arm of the first waitress, who looked at him half frightened, half annoyed. "Destiny? Is she working in the moment?" He asked, hoping to sound as urgent as it felt.

The woman, her name tag read Megan, shook her head, red curls flying. She looked like she was about to dump the content of the half empty milkshakes over his head. But she answered anyway. "No, she works the day shifts." Already walking on she turned her back towards Dean and he quickly grabbed her again, pulling her back so she faced him. The glasses on her tray swayed precariously and one was tipping over, sprinkling him with what looked and smelled like coconut.

"Can you tell me where she lives?"

She stared at him, now clearly alarmed. Vainly, she tried to wriggle her arm out of his grip and he was painfully aware of two dozen or more pairs of eyes on him. He really needed the information before he was being kicked out or even worse thrown into a drunk tank.

"No!" She replied hotly. "Are you nuts? I most definitely won't tell some maniac the address of a friend."

"Look, I'm sorry. I don't have time for this." He let go of her, putting every ounce of effort in his voice to make it as severe as possible. "She might be in danger." Pronouncing every single word an intensity that made the other customers shrink back in either distress or disgust he hoped this would be enough.

"What do you mean?" At least she didn't run away.

"The death of the young boy three days ago?"

"The boy who died around the block?"

"That might not have been natural at all. I..." He looked around, finally aware of how much attention he was getting. Bad, really bad. And incredibly stupid. Maybe he was getting himself worked up over something that was just a coincidental choice of a name. She was probably sitting in front of the TV, blissfully ignorant about things that bumped in the night. On the other hand, better safe than sorry. "I just want to make sure she's okay."

"Are you a crazy serial killer or something?" She asked and Dean cringed, sighing soundlessly.

"Would you actually believe me if I told you no?" He answered and she deflated visibly.

"Probably not, huh?"

"I'm..." He fumbled in the pocket of his jacket for the emergency fake ID he always carried around just in case situations like that happened. It worked miracles. Holding the card into the air the customer turned back to their earlier discussions, disappointed that they would not be witnesses of a robbery, a kidnapping or something equally mundane. "I'm from the police, okay?"

Megan, too, visibly changed her attitude and her distrustful face quickly changed into a expression of worry. People were just too trustful these days.

"Is she in trouble?"

"Not yet. Maybe never," Dean answered in earnest. "But I really need to know where she lives to confirm that."

"Don't you guys have databases for stuff like that?"

Gosh, she's an awful interviewee and definitely watching too much fancy crime on TV.

"Yes...no. No time for that. I need the information now!"

She swallowed and looked around, looking around she expected help from bystanders. When she didn't get any she sighed heavily, pointing her fingers out of the diner.

"Go right around the corner and two streets further down. There's a newspaper kiosk across her street."

He was already rushing out, leaving her yelling voice behind. He considered walking the short distance but dismissed the idea instantly. Instead he climbed back into the car and started the engine, making a vicious u-turn. The smell of burned rubber lingered for a moment before dissipating into the chilly air.
Destiny Caravan was one of those persons whose life was full of balance. It was a moderate roller-coaster, well considered by the all mighty creator to make no one puke their guts out when they had too much popcorn before the ride. A series of ups followed by series of downs. Yin and Yang. Carrots and sticks.

There were times of joy, there were times of tears. She didn't regret, didn't feel bad about anything in her past. Not even the part where she had been pregnant underage. She had stayed optimistic, had always known that time would make things get back to normal and nice and worth it.

As a child she had been loved and sheltered. She had grown up in a street where homes were open and doors unlocked. The street belonged to the children and cars had to buy their paths through the masses with chocolate bars and skipping ropes. She'd had a goldfish named Suzie, then a rabbit called Mr. Binky. She had gotten her first kiss at fourteen and it had been awkward like every first kiss was supposed to be. Sloppy and wet and she hadn't like it at all even though Barney, who had worn glasses almost thicker than her pinky, had asked her to do it again.

She had gone shopping with her mom to get a dress for her junior prom and had cried over the first boy who broke her heart three weeks later, swearing to never fall in love again. The promise already forgotten another three weeks later.

Then she had lost her mother when she was sixteen. It had been quick, almost merciful in contrary to other possible cancer scenarios. Her mother had given her one last wish on her way to adulthood. Grow up to be happy. That's what life is about. It's about smiling and hugging and loving someone and be well loved in return. She had sobbed into her mother's shoulder and had promised to grow up to be grateful for everything life threw at her. Whether it was good or bad. She would stand up, dust off her pants and laugh in destiny's face to show who was in charge.

Her name was the very rebellion against a fate that she would not always be able to change.

She had gotten pretty good at it over the years and was convinced, this had to do with a certain eight year old who was now standing in the hallway, shaking like a leaf.

She felt goosebumps mark her skin and the hairs on her neck stand up. Standing in the middle of her own apartment she felt like a stranger. It felt as alien as if she had been standing on the moon. The sight familiar, yet the movement of air around her not from this world. Her arm felt heavy when she reached out to switch on the light, bathing the hallway in a yellow glimmer. Nothing was out of place. The photographs on the wall, the vase with the fresh flowers Jess had brought along yesterday. The doors leading to the other rooms were all open, inviting and a hysterical bubble of laughter hovered close to the surface of her emotions.


"Yes, honey?" She whispered, not really sure why she was whispering in the first place.

"I don't..." He trailed off, his small voice quivering and she felt her heart shatter with the pure terror she could hear in it. She wanted to bend down and wrap her arms around his shoulders but she couldn't move. Her limbs wouldn't listen. The purse - still slung around her shoulder -was sliding down her arm and landed on the floor. Unable to catch it as it fell Destiny stared at her son. "I don't like this man," He said, then in a pleading voice. "Please, mom, don't make me go away again."

It didn't make sense and she wanted to tell him that. Never! Never would she send him away. She would never leave him - not in the deepest sense of meaning - and whenever he needed her she would be there for him. All of a sudden it felt important to tell him that. Tears pooled in her eyes but she couldn't wipe them away.

And when a man, his yellow eyes glaring at her mischievously, stepped around the corner out of Matt's room the only thing she thought was: Matt had known all along.
The newspaper kiosk was a mere collection of planks hammered together to give a little protection from the sun and wind. At this time it was empty, the wooden flap was closed, the news racks void of paper. Across the street were terraced houses, neatly packed and close to each other. Some of the windows were lighted, and through some Dean could hear the TV blasting. Somewhere further down the street cars were driving along the busy main street and a dog was barking. Nothing unusual. Just the peaceful sounds of a relatively quiet neighborhood. Some pedestrians outside, walking their dogs or moving in little groups. Just what Dean needed - more nosey students. Some were looking at him with open distrust.

Heart racing, Dean got out of the car. Leaning casusally against it he tried to look as inconspicious as possible which was easier said than done with his fingers wrapped around his gun. The act was forgotten when a yell ripped through the peaceful quiet. It wasn't loud enough to raise attention if you weren't standing right in front of the house it came from. It could have been from a movie on TV. Or even from an angry girl who was kicking her boyfriend out of the flat for some far-fetched reason. There were many reasons why a woman would scream. Not all of them bad. Dean had experience with those kind of screams too. But since he did not believe in coincidences--that much he had found out about his trip to Palo Alto--he was moving before the echo had trailed off.

From the corners of his eyes he could see something flare up in one of the windows to his right and he didn't need to look at it to know that it was fire. His shoulder hit the closed door. The wood crunched under the impact but not budging an inch. Another sound from behind the door, a barely audible whimper and a high pitched "Mom!"

Pain flared in Dean's shoulder and he gasped for breath. A narrow window was placed next to the door and without thinking, he rammed the butt of his gun against it. The glass splintered after the second smash and wriggling his arm through the hole he reached for the knob from the inside, opening the door and rushing inside in one fluent motion. The hallway lay in darkness but an open door showed warm, reddish flickering. Dean turned around the corner, holding the gun ready in front of him and in a fraction of a second he assessed the situation. Matt was standing on his bed, a teddy bear pressed against his chest. One of his arms reached out towards his mother who was sliding across the wall, the top of her head almost against the ceiling. She saw him first, her eyes large and revealing the terror she must be feeling. "Help!" they seemed to scream while her mouth was working but not producing any sound.

A man with his back towards Dean was standing in the middle of the room, head cocked to the side and he turned around, an expression of honest surprise on his face. In the meantime the was engulfing the heavy curtains. It had started to lick on the walls, the wallpaper begun peeling down and the smell of burning filled the room. It spread fast, already having reached the shelf with children's books.

"Dean?" He said, the voice deep and almost purring. Surprise quickly hidden behind a mask of evil arrogance. "Oh, what an idiot I am." He scratched the back of his head. "I should have expected you. You and your father are always there when you're not needed and noticeably absent when you are. Well... at least depending on the view. Guess I had luck the last time, huh?" The man threw a piercing look at the little boy who was trembling in obvious fear on the bed.

"What's that supposed to mean?" Dean asked, not giving a rat's ass on the answer but hoping to win a few seconds.

"You don't know who I am, do you?" The man's lips parted in a burlesque attempt of a smile and looked almost pleasantly surprised. "Let me give you a hint." Lines were deepening around his eyes and Dean finally realized his eyes were glinting in an unnatural shade of yellow.

"Azazel!" Recognition hit Dean like a freight train and he stumbled. Never before had he seen the man who had killed his mother and, supposedly, his brother but the color of his eyes was a dead giveaway--in the truest sense of meaning. Blood-red anger threatened to blind him and he had to remind himself of breathing. At least, he had accomplished what he had hoped. Azazel's concentration was on him. Without taking his eyes of his opponent Dean could see Matt climbing off his bed behind the demon's back and rush to a table to climb back on it and reach his mother's feet. Seconds later she fell, tumbling over the table and taking her son with her. It made Azazel turn around and he lifted his hands about to start some wicked mojo again when Dean aimed and pulled the trigger. Once, twice, three times. Azazel's body staggered under the bullets, more perplex than really hurt. But it gave them a few seconds. Enough for Destiny and her son to pass Azazel and Dean on their way out of the room.

Smoke was now starting to fog Dean's view in earnest, the rancid stink scratching in his throat. Heat was becoming unbearable when the fire engulfed the ceiling in a small explosion that made Dean fall backwards out of the room and on his ass, ushering the woman and her son in front of him through the hallway. Just out. Out and away. Finally the night air, even though it was mild and warm, bit his heated skin when he reached the pavement where Destiny was holding her son pressed against her, the boy's legs wrapped around her waist and Dean could see them shiver in shock.

Her head turned, slowly, her eyes big and round, filled with a confusion that Dean could understand only too well. "This is my home." Her fingers flexed as she held onto the blue pjs of Matt. The quiet boy had buried his face into her side, holding onto her with all the strength he could muster with his skinny arms.

"We gotta leave. Now!" Dean urged, already hearing the sirens in the distance. "It's too late. I'll get you somewhere safe. I promise."

At his words, Matt's face turned towards him and Dean's almost buckled under the intense plea for help, for the wish to make things better directed at him. Making things better was not in his power. Had never been. Things he started turned out messy. People he met turned out broken. Brothers he had turned out dead. It was a cruel fact.

How could Dean possibly make things better for others if he hadn't yet found a way to make his own life worth it?

He waited until Destiny had slid into the passenger seat next to her son before rounding the car and getting in himself. He started the engine and as the car sped up he watched the burning house in the rear view mirror getting further away, wondering what the hell they had gotten themselves into.
"Get them out of here!" John Winchester bellowed, his eyes narrowed so tightly that Dean couldn't see their iris' anymore. "When I told you to check it out I didn't mean to bring them in. We don't need civilians here." Civilians sounding more like swear word.

"Dad...!" Yes, maybe Dean did sound a little pouting but that was not surprising. Dee was still standing next to the door, Matt in front of her. They hadn't even entered the room before hurricane John had started to sweep them out again with Dean standing between them. She flinched under John Winchester's tirade, too shocked to defend herself. Matt had resolved to staring alternately at Dean and John, his round face a mask of utter stoicism. Dean threw a quick glance at the woman and her son, hoping to offer some comfort when John kept ranting. Sure, Dean got it. His father was angry. Been there, done that. It wasn't new. Wasn't even surprising. Dean hadn't expected his father to welcome the two refugees with open arms and a warm soup but throwing them out like unwanted invaders?

What had happened with saving people, hunting things? Situations like that made it clear, that their so-called family business had been out of business since the very day Sam had died.

From the corner of his eye he could see Matt looking up at his Mom with fearful eyes and she did the only thing in her current condition that would help her out of the situation: Herding her son in front of her she vanished into the bathroom. She had enough to deal with in the moment to endure a live match of Winchester VS Winchester.

"I don't want them here!" John grunted when the bathroom door had closed.

"This is insane. Fuck! Didn't you hear what I said? He wanted to kill them. He wanted to kill the boy," Dean hissed, keeping his voice down so Dee and Matt wouldn't have to hear it said out loud.

"I got it the first time, Dean," John answered.

"Care to explain why you want to throw them out then?"

Dean felt like a little boy again, who had found a little puppy and was now asking his father to keep it, with the metaphorical puppy being sharply aware of the commotion it caused.

His father's reaction was confusing the hell out of Dean. Sure, he hadn't expected his father to do a happy dance on the table at the aspect of being so close to Azazel that the smells of his fire was still lingering in Dean clothes, but the outright objection to even give shelter for one crappy night...

Sometimes Dean felt painfully ashamed of his father. This moment? Definitely one of them.

"The boy's name is Matt," Dean said, lowering his voice. "He's eight years old and today a demon wanted to kill him and his mother. And you want to throw him out? What's wrong with you?" Dean asked, disappointed. "Does this have to do with Sam?"

John visibly deflated, his glare falling once more on the bathroom door.

"Dad, talk to me! I need to understand what's going on."

"You know everything you need to."

"Bullshit! I'm not your fucking subordinate here. First, I'm your son. Second, your partner. If we're going against that demon, I have to know what we're up against." John was silent and with a sliver of hope, Dean felt on the verge of a breakthrough. Just for the split of a second he felt like John wanted to spill everything on his mind just to get rid of it. Like shaking off a heavy burden. But the moment fled like flock of birds after a gunshot with the gunshot being caused by the accursed ringing of John's mobile and the older man reached for it like it was a life-saver in the middle of the open sea.

"Yes!" he bellowed into the phone and in an instant eyes widened almost comically. The female voice on the other end was piercing enough that even Dean, standing five feet away, could hear what it was saying.

"So, are you two done bickering? If so, bring them to me. The poor boy and his mother don't deserve to be in the company of you two fools."

Dean and John looked at each other, well aware that the boy's future as well as his mother's was now in the hands of Missouri, not in theirs.
In the end, Destiny and Matt shared a bed, the young woman curling around her son under the blankets like a flower whose petals would not uncurl until the first rays of sunlight (safety) would kiss their pale skin. John, though, had retreated to the car. Or at least Dean had hoped his father was getting some sleep and wasn't lying awake, staring at the ceiling like he did. He was tired, wasted even, and he knew he'd equal a walking zombie in the morning if he didn't get some shut eye.

Getting up every few minutes he walked over to the window, glancing at his father who stubbornly spent the restless night in the Impala. Which was a really stupid thing to do with Azazel running around somewhere out there. But Dean was unable to persuade his father to come back into the relative safety of their motel room. Whatever it was, John was seeing in Matt, it was bad enough to abandon every safety precaution he himself had drilled into his son like they were the ten commandments and he was a catholic priest. It was unnerving and this fact made Dean stare at the little boy with restless anticipation and confusion.

It was still dark outside, the darkest hour before sunrise, when Dean gave up trying to fall asleep and went into the bathroom to relieve himself. Returning into the main room he left the bathroom light on and tiptoed over to where their guests were fast asleep. Dee's arm was protectively wrapped around Matt's chest and her breathing made his hair quiver with every other puff of air.

Dean leaned down, feeling something warm settle in his stomach and was about to reach out and free Matt's face of a stubborn curl that was hanging over his long, dark eyelashes when the boy's eyes open fast enough to make him stumble in surprise.

"Hey!" Dean said quietly. "I thought you were sleeping."

"Bad dreams." Matt was blinking rapidly, his eyes still overshadowed with lack of sleep.

"You should sleep. Today's gonna be a long day and..." Dean trailed of, thinking hard how to explain that little boy that his life as it had been was over. The life he had known probably burned down in an angry fire that had taken all their possessions as well as normality. His childhood. "I'm sorry, kiddo."

"It's okay," Matt replied, now fully awake, and he carefully wriggled free from under his mother's arm. She made a small noise of agitation before slipping back into a deeper slumber. "I know."

"What do you know?"

"That we have to go with you. To the nice lady. She bakes cookies," Matt explained, smiling shyly and Dean felt himself grow cold.

"How do you know we're going to bring you to Missouri?"

Matt shrugged his shoulder as if he was asked to explain how he knew what you got when you counted one plus one. "I just do. What's in that duffel?"

He pointed at Dean's bag in which he had stuffed his weapons to keep them out of sight.

"It's... I... my guns," Dean answered thrown off his guard.

The boys eyes widened in awe and Dean expected a flood of questions like ’Can I see it? Can I hold it? Did you ever shoot someone?’ when Matt looked at him with the serious expression and said: "Can I help you clean them?"

Dumbfounded, Dean back-pedaled, opening his mouth in fruitless attempts to say ’What the fuck? What kind of a kid are you?’ when a memory hit him hard enough to make his vision blur. Like a short movie playing in front his eyes, showing a nine year old Sammy who had been watching his big brother clean those weapon for years now. Asking every evening whether he could help. Just help cleaning them because he knew weapons were dangerous and he was not supposed to touch them except when his father explicitly allowed it. Sammy had had a huge respect of them, had even refused to touch one if it was loaded at all until he had started to get his first shooting lessons when he turned twelve almost three years later.

Dean blinked for a moment then shook his head. "Sorry, not today."

Matt looked disappointed for a second before his smile widened and he looked at Dean hopefully. "Are we going to drive in the cool car of yours? Can I sit in the front?"

Dean was sure this was going to be one of the longest drives of his life.