Kind of a Family Thing
Warning: Spoilers for 2x05 Simon Said. And although I wouldn't, myself, categorize this as an "Ellen Bashing" story…but her character isn't exactly portrayed with much…favoritism. Also, there is some mildly crude language.
Author's Rant: I don't think I'm alone when I say how much I really, really detest Ellen and Jo. Especially after the last episode, with the way Ellen spoke to Dean…she pissed me off big time. I won't discuss it any further here, there's other places for that…and if I start, I won't stop. So…this was written purely for my own release of pent up anger towards her character, and Jo's. And wow, is writing ever the ultimate therapy. I think a little of my own thoughts trickled out from Dean's mouth…so, apologies for any slight to intense out of characterness…but I did try so much to keep him in character. As per usual.
Dedicated to anyone who thinks Ellen was far past crossing the line of things not to say to Dean, around Dean, or about Dean.
Disclaimer: Oh, the terrible, terrible things that would happen to that Roadhouse (and it's occupants, minus Ash) if I owned Supernatural…but, I don't.
"So you, uh, want to tell me about this last hunt of yours?"
"Nope. Not really. No offense. Just…kind of a family thing."
The atmosphere was unsympathetic. And Dean was a bit too unnerved by the dangerously hushed looks that passed between Ellen and Jo towards Sam. And Ellen and Jo, they hadn't said anything, nothing much, at least with their words. It was their quiet, suspicious eyes that did all the talking. It was that ingrained hunter stare, a predator's silent glance, as if they were looking at the enemy…
It hardly took half an eye twitch, a shoulder slump, and a partial sigh for Dean to realize his little brother was as unnerved as he was. Sam had completely opened up with a near stranger, all because she asked—because supposedly she wanted to help—but really this only made everything worse. Dean scoffed inwardly. Sam definitely had the college boy smarts, but that didn't always supersede the younger brother gullibility. One day, maybe, Dean could teach him when to lose the latter…at least when dealing with people who weren't his big brother.
The older Winchester wished he could verbalize an 'I told you so' but he knew that wouldn't help lessen the guilt that each of them were feeling, and certainly wouldn't make him feel better.
And Dean watched without much observance as Ellen busied herself with a few bottles and glasses. It was funny, for someone who once had so much to say, she'd suddenly become too quiet. That made Sam worry about the thoughts running through her head. And frankly, it just pissed Dean off.
"I, uh…I need to get a few things from the car," Sam fiddled with sleeve and then scooted his chair back, breaking the heavy silence. Dean stood up right after him.
"I'll be right back, Dean."
And Sam's expression softened to that of blatant dejection. He wasn't going to hide it. He was just going to try and removed himself from the situation. And it took every bone, every muscle, and every vessel in his body for Dean to sit back down and respect Sam's space. But he did. Because he figured a moment alone with the two eager-to-help bartenders might do him so good to get some things off his chest.
It was a few moments after Sam was fully out of view, until the door shut that Dean returned his attention to Ellen.
"So, Ellen," Dean practically grumbled her name. "I really do appreciate this…safe haven you've offered my brother and me. It's real generous." He plastered on his fakest smile. "But, um…do me a favor and back off, all right?"
Ellen dropped a towel she'd been using to wipe a bottle off, or more so, threw it down.
"I'm sure you know a lot about hunting, a lot about hunters. Apparently, there's a lot out there to know. But when it comes to this, my family, you don't know the half of it. And you don't get to know."
"What the hell is your problem?" The younger blond spoke up, coming up from the back of the bar. Dean narrowed his eyes a moment.
"My problem?" Dean stood up. "First thing, you mind your tongue with me." Dean said bitterly, glancing at Ellen in the hopes she'd understand why such a statement would be meant to be taken offensively.
Jo was about to speak, but her mother cut her off.
"Jo, honey, I think Dean and I need to have a private talk."
"Fine," Jo said, coming from behind the bar out to the other side. As she passed by Dean, she huffed. "This isn't over, you know."
"Oh, I'm sure of that," Dean sighed, rolling his eyes. Jo had slammed a door to some room behind her and Ellen let out a harsh breath.
"What is it that has you so worked up?"
"I guess if I say 'none of your business' that'll just make you ask even more questions."
"Aren't you a bold, young man?"
"And cut the forced, motherly bullshit. I don't care if you're like my elder, or anything, you don't get to talk to me like I'm five. And you sure as hell don't get to look at my brother like he's a freak."
"I never said anything about your brother, Dean." Ellen said sternly.
"I saw the way you were looking at him after he told you about his abilities. Why he told you is beyond me. But he's not the bad guy here," Dean yelled angrily, desperately, needing those very words to be perceived as truth.
"I didn't say he was. And for the record, this is news to me. So excuse me for being a little anxious about the details."
"What I don't understand is why you have this sick curiosity about the demon we're hunting. It has nothin' to do with you," Dean sneered. He wanted so much for her to never have existed or to just go away somewhere and disappear. He was tired of dealing with her, and this secret hunter's guild he didn't want to associate with anymore.
"It has to do with everyone, can't you see that? Evil comes and goes into everyone's lives. What you're fighting is evil, and it's fighting back all the time…everyone is fair game to be a victim."
"Not this. This is different. This is family," Dean slammed his fist on the counter top and Ellen jumped, but didn't show signs of backing down.
"But we can help you. The more input, the more aid you have, the better the outcome. Just let us help you," Ellen was almost begging.
"I don't want your help!" Dean yelled, his voice almost breaking—just almost. "Ever since I met you, I haven't known what to think of you. You know…you think you can help us, and maybe you honestly want to help…but you just can't. It's that simple. There is nothing you could do and if anything you're just annoying me with how you suddenly think you have the right to interfere with Sam's life, and mine."
"If memory serves me correct, you're the ones who showed up here. I didn't ask for that."
"No," Dean's eyes widened. "But you basically asked us to stick around. And then you try to make our business your own, as if we should just trust you because we're supposed to? Tell me why that is, again?"
"Because you can. Your father did."
"Yeah," a quiet sadness flickered in Dean's eyes and his voice turned to a whisper. "Well, my father's dead."
Ellen looked away into some web of shadows at the back of the roadhouse, lost in thought.
"You're just as stubborn as he was," she spoke with a strong voice, but what she said was so brittle it broke over Dean and sliced his last nerve.
"Your interest in my life is so often piqued, so let me enlighten you on something. There are a lot of secrets and half-truths I've come to find out recently…some of them, God, I wish I didn't have to know. Others…I'm dealing with. But you know what's really weird? You're one my dad failed to mention—ever. Meaning whatever ties you had with him in your history are just that: history. So whatever ties you think you have with this family? They don't exist. And that's not a secret, even you know that."
For the first time Dean was ever able to fathom, Ellen actually looked human, looked hurt, affected by something that wasn't drunk or talking about a hunt but something that meant something.
But he didn't feel guilty about it.
"You're upset, I get that. You and your brother have been through a lot…and I'm sorry, but you do not have to go at this alone. You don't have to shut everyone who wants to lend a helping hand out. You think shutting a closet door with a monster inside just makes it give up and go away?"
"Don't patronize me, lady. I've been hunting pretty much all my life. And this war is not just any war. The instant the demon so much as blinked in my brother's general direction—this war became personal. It took my mother away. Took Sam's girlfriend, it got my father and it even tried to get me. But it wants my brother. And I was born to fight against the demon ever getting what it wants. And I will die in that very fight if need be. Whether you want to accept it or not, this isn't just any war. This is my war. And I will fight it alone, because I know I won't fail my brother. I won't let that thing get Sam. And when it comes to keeping Sammy safe, I'm the only one I trust for the job. So you really want to help? Stay out of our way."
Dean turned around and took a step towards the door, but stopped when he saw Sam standing there, looking all lost but somehow comfortable. Dean felt his face flush with warmth and quickly walked past Sam and out the door, not saying another word to Ellen.
Sam and Ellen looked at each other briefly, and Sam wasn't sure if there was something of moisture in her eyes he could almost recognize as tears, but he didn't spend enough time in the roadhouse to really know for sure. He just softly shut the door behind him and followed Dean back to the impala.
"Not now, Sam. Please. I've had enough marshmallow-drama that I'm really kicking myself for not having a bonfire. Let's just head back to the motel and call it a night, huh?"
Sam waited a second before entering the car after Dean and sighed. "Yeah, sure."
The minutes just seemed to whither away into the darkness as the early hours of nighttime stealthily approached. Sam and Dean lay on their respective beds and tried to go to sleep, but each had so much on their mind it was nearly impossible.
"Dean? About what you said, back at the roadhouse?"
"I'm going to pretend you didn't just bring that up."
"I'm sorry," Sam said, ignoring his brother. "I mean…I shouldn't have told Ellen everything I did."
Dean turned over on his side, facing away from Sam. "Well, as long as you've learned your lesson, I won't have to punish you…much."
"I'm serious, Dean. We don't even know if we can trust her, you know? And I just blurted out a huge secret and…the way she looked at me…like…"
Sam fell quiet.
"You're not a supernatural freak." Dean said softly.
"I didn't mean it that way when I said it. Don't get me wrong, you're still a freak…but you're my brother, so I'm allowed to call you that. Family history aside. But as for Ellen? Who cares what she, or Jo, or any other 'hunter' thinks. Whatever…plans…the demon has, we're going to figure them out and stop them from happening. Like I've told you before, I'm not gonna let anything bad happen to you. I promise you that."
"I know you won't," Sam stated obviously. There was such a point of confidence in his voice that it struck Dean with intrigue, and the older Winchester flipped on his other side to face the shadowy figure of his brother.
"And what makes you so sure?" Dean asked. He could practically hear Sam smiling.
Sam released a breath and shut his eyes as he gently spoke. "It's just…kind of a family thing."
Dean grinned in the dark.
Not my best piece, but I loved making Dean say what I wished he could say. Oh, the wicked powers of fanfiction, huh? And I love Kripke to death, but I hope he's as smart as I think he is and he'll get rid of Ellen and Jo somehow, some time soon. No offense if you happen to like their characters, I mean nothing against you personally. Opinions are welcome to be had. But I am a firm anti-Jo, anti-Ellen advocator. But, I love Ash. He can stay. And I'm sure there are other people out there who agree that Andy was just adorable…
Reviews, constructive comments, feedback, all very helpful and greatly appreciated. Thanks for taking the time to read my stuff. You deserve all the extra cookies in the world.