Rating: 12 (US - PG-13)
Characters: Ellen Harvelle, Jo Harvelle.
Warnings: Mentions of canon character death.
Spoilers: Spoilers up to All Hell Break's Loose part 2
Word Count: 1119
Written For: ladybug218
Prompt: Their first conversation after the Roadhouse burns down in the S2 finale.
Summary: Ellen looked upon the remains.
A/N: Hope this lives up to your expectations!!
She could still smell the smoke, the burnt char from the rubble, even though it had been days since the Roadhouse was burnt to the ground. It had taken the police more than 24 hours to notice it, all the way out from any civilisation as they were, the wreckage having been called in by a well-meaning passer by.
Ellen had arrived back at the site of the destruction after helping Bobby and the Winchester boys close the Devil’s Gate. Bobby had offered her a bed at his place but Ellen had needed to get back. To sort this out before the war really began.
There had been firemen there when she first got back, dragging the bodies from the debris. She caught a glimpse of Ash, his mullet dangling down over his face as he was lifted to the nearest body bag and zipped in.
The police had asked questions. Who could have done this? Was there a list of those staying in the saloon? Was there any insurance paperwork for the building? Was there any family nearby they could call for her?
Ellen almost laughed at the last question; she only had one family member left and she’d lost her to hunting. She’d not heard from Jo since the night she’d packed up her bags, except for a single postcard two months later to say that she’d found a job and was doing all right. The card had ended with a note to say ‘don’t worry’, and was postmarked from _.
Finally they had all left, the bodies all taken to the nearest hospital morgue, and the police were convinced to leave her alone here with the ruins. The Roadhouse had been everything that Ellen had left in this world and now it was gone. Everything was gone; her husband. Her daughter. Her home.
A car pulled up behind her, but Ellen didn’t turn around. She barely heard it park and the door slam shut as its occupant jumped out but she did hear the desperate shout of “MOM!” Ellen turned to see Jo running towards her, eyes wide, wild and wet from crying as she reached her mother and threw her arms around Ellen tightly.
After a moment’s hesitation as Ellen’s mind finally caught up with the fact that Jo had returned, she wrapped her own arms around her daughter, taking comfort in the warmth.
Pulling back, but not letting go, Jo looked into Ellen’s eyes, “I tried to call but there was no answer. What happened?”
Ellen swallowed against the lump in her throat before replying, but the floodgates opened and she told Jo everything: the Devil’s Gate, the death of ‘the demon’ and about the demon attack on the Roadhouse. “I’d just gone out for __. We’d run out, and Ash was watching the place for me. Otherwise, I’d have been there too.”
Jo seemed to pull herself together as she listened. “We need to find somewhere to stay tonight, and somewhere to eat. There’s a diner not far from here, c’mon.”
Ellen was still in a daze as Jo led them into the nearest diner, staying close to her mother and insisting that Ellen at least try to eat something.
She blinked when a steaming cup of coffee was set down in front of her, not having noticed the waitress, a neatly dressed woman some years older than Ellen herself, take their order.
Ellen offered a tired smile trying not to notice the pitiful look the waitress - Pam, according to her name tag - gave the pair of them before she left. Wrapping her hands around the hot mug, Ellen took a long sniff and then sipped gratefully at the coffee as it warmed her.
Glancing up, she saw that Jo was watching her, concerned. “You sure could’ve picked a better time to call and come visit.”
Jo looked down; the pattern on the plastic green table suddenly became infinitely more interesting than her mother.
Ellen shook her head in a new understanding. “You weren’t planning on coming back, were you?”
Still looking down, Jo answered. “There was a demon in _. Just before I exorcised it, it told me…” she looked up, tears pricking her eyes again. “It told me that you were all dead. I thought I was too late.”
Unable to handle seeing her daughter in pain, even after everything, Ellen leaned across the table and put her hand over Jo’s for comfort.
They sat in silence for a while, until their food arrived. Then Ellen vaguely wondered how they must appear to the other customers in the diner, a few of whom were giving them surreptitious looks.
Even after watching her grow up, Ellen never quite ceased to be amazed at the amount of food Jo could put away and stay as skinny as she did. It was a trait that she’d definitely inherited from her father, and that memory of Bill made Ellen smile. As she watched Jo start to tuck into her breakfast she suddenly realised she was hungry herself; having not really eaten since before the Devil’s gate had opened.
Putting down the coffee, Ellen cut into a sausage and ate for the first time in days, appreciating the simplicities of eating a late breakfast with her only family and trying to not to think about everything else that was coming.
She was successful until they’d finished, paid up and Jo had suggested that they find somewhere to sleep. Then it all came flooding back to the front of Ellen’s mind and her face fell, nodding when Jo lead them outside and into her car.
They spent the next few days at the motel and inevitably Jo got itchy feet. She’d come back to check on her mother and now she would be running off again. Ellen’s suspicions were confirmed when she woke up early one morning and Jo was already up, head bent over her laptop, scribbling furiously into a notebook next to her, not noticing that Ellen was even awake until she’d got out of bed and walked up behind her. “Anything good?”
Jo glanced up for a moment and then nodded, pointing to a roadmap. “This is the Devil’s gate, and there-” she indicated a large number of red crosses that had been added in the surrounding areas around the pentagram where the Devil’s gate was located “-are cases of demonic possession since the gate was opened.”
"Well then." Ellen sat down and picked up a pile of the newspaper clippings. "Looks like we’ve got work to do."