Following the Harvelle back through the hallway, John noted to himself how the surroundings looked. Pausing for a quick moment, he headed back into the small living area to grab the drink he sat down on the table before returning to the room Ellen had walked into. Some of the rooms he passed seemed hardly used, maybe a guest room or Jo’s, it didn’t really matter. All he knew from it was that the amount of time that the kid spent here wasn’t long enough for her to make a standing impact on the area.
The set up was nice, John had to admit. If people knew that when they walked into this bar that they had an fifty man arsenal above their heads, well, John would love to see their faces and how quickly they could put money on the table. It was an exaggeration of the supplies, but numbers didn’t matter too much to civilian when you have an assault rifle on the wall.
It reminded him slightly of his own set up he had in his locker, only without the memorabilia. It lacked the occasional Kukri and landmine that blended in with the seldom Science Fair award. It wasn’t supposed to be a storehouse of memories and artifacts. It was simply a stockpile of weapons, a way to provide for the group.
Still could have used something illegal.
Maybe a grenade launcher or a couple hand grenades.
"Decent collection, must have taken a while to put together."
"Did you have to buy most of these guns? You gathered them pretty quickly."
He didn’t mean to pry into how she acquired these weapons, but he was grasping for conversational topics that didn’t end up in a perturbing silence. Maybe it was a knack he had for deadbeat conversations, but he rather have people complain that all he talked about was guns and hunting than awkward tension.
She’d had the new building for over half a year, after getting the bar in working order and was able to pay for the things she needed she’d started spending the extra money on the guns. It was strange to think she’d settled in so quickly, it was still strange being on earth and not in purgatory if she was going to be honest with herself. Shaking herself form her thoughts she refocused on what he had said. “Most of them I bought, some were sort of gifted.”
Hunters left things. Some had partners and didn’t want to keep their weapons after it went sideways. Some didn’t want to stay in the business any longer. It was too rough for some. They all came in with that look, the one that people said soldiers had. A new darkness in their eyes after they’d seen more than they could handle. Something was broken in all of them to even want to go looking for the monsters hiding in the shadows.
She flicked the lights off, the room going dark with little warning. Spinning on her heels she headed back across the bedroom, eyes scanning it for a moment before reaching the door. She hadn’t settled in to the room like she had the rest of the building. It was strange sleeping on something soft even after so many months. She still couldn’t get a full night’s sleep in without waking up and grasping for a weapon. It was something she hoped didn’t show in the sparse room, the sheets nearly perfectly tucked under the edges of a bed she could barely use.
“You been doing anything besides considering a career in meteorology?” The words were thrown casually over her shoulder as she led him back down the hall to the living room.
The conversation remained shallow, something she was grateful for. She didn’t care to talk about anything much deeper than the events of the last couple months. They had a history together. Something that she was unwilling to bring up. It was difficult thinking of John as a friend after what had happened but he was still a friend.
Looking down at the counter while her cereal starts getting wet from the small container of half and half that she found in the cooler. Looking down at the food with a sour face cutting her eyes at Ellen for a moment then looking back down at the food. Of course she was right. She could have gotten caught and in big trouble.
" You’re right…I have not done many things like that in the past. I just look at Dean and others and I know I can be like them. I have a lot of vampires left to kill and now demons too I guess. "
She stabs her spoon into the bowl of drenched sugar coated goodness.Listening to it crunch and clink as the spoon hits the bowl bottom. Screwing up wasn’t supposed to be her job she usually left that to the adults.
"Fine no more things like that but it would be nice if someone could stop me from making stupid mistakes before I do them"
Krissy looks at Ellen with a mouth full when her eyes get wide suddenly. ” Sugar! this needs sugar seriously bad”
She nodded, glad that the kid was being reasonable. There was no logical need for them to steal when they could afford the basic necessities and more. She could supply the girl with whatever she wanted within reason. Food wasn’t a problem, a car of her own might be but it wasn’t often that Ellen left the bar, if she was going to it was to the store or important enough to warrant the girl going with her. “More than demons and vampires out there to kill.”
Almost choking on the last of her coffee she started laughing at the girl as she struggled with the cereal. It didn’t really need sugar, Jo always wanted something sweet, with a cartoon figure on the front. Ellen couldn’t really help but indulge her when she was around, it was the least she could do for her own kid. Stifling a chuckle, she shook her head with amusement, “Think the only one that can stop you from messing p is you. Sugars in the cupboard.”
Ellen refilled her cup with the last of the pot of coffee, her back turned to the girl for a moment, an amused smile still playing across her lips. “How much of a sweet tooth you got, kid?”
Seeing red right now. How could she do that? This is a hunter’s life isn’t it? Ellen was the boss here and Krissy respects her. She will have to live by Ellen’s rules if she’s going to be part of this group.
Letting her arms fall to her side and starring at the older woman for a moment. Her face is that of irritation but she says nothing at this moment in time. She doesn’t want to disrespect the woman in her own building. Krissy briskly walks behind the bar and kneels down rummaging through the dry cereal. She wasn’t in the mood for this right now but when you’re hungry you take what you can get.
She tosses the rolled up bag of dried goods on the counter that’s marked ” Jo’s” Making no more eye contact with Ellen she find a bowl and some milk.
"Thanks for the food. I was just trying to help out but it seems like I can’t do anything right"
Which wasn’t at all true because this was the first stupid thing she did. Even to Krissy she felt like she was acting childish but looking like rookie was a bad feeling and she didn’t know how to react.
The kid was a little misguided, Ellen could see that, but she wasn’t going to go easy on her. Breaking the law was not something she was going to tolerate at her age, the boys and Jo knew what they were doing and could avoid the law when they did anything unlawful. It was going to happen but Krissy was going to need to learn when it was appropriate and when it wasn’t. “When you got what you need here you don’t need to go out and steal it.”
She looked over her mug at the girl. She was young, seen too much for her age but who among them couldn’t say the same. They’d all seen and experienced things that no one should have to, but someone had to so it might as well be them. Still didn’t make it right that a girl Krissy’s age had been through what she’d been through. “Breaking the law isn’t helping. It’s unnecessary. Just don’t do it again.”
Dean was hoping to get at least a couple words in before Ellen grilled him, but he honestly wasn’t surprised that those were the first words out of her mouth. Ellen was furious, she had every right to be, and Dean knew deserved every bit of whatever was coming to him.
"She’s with dad." Maybe the news would be less severe if he started with that. "We just… don’t know where yet."
There was a chance that they were both doing fine, but the tone in Dean’s voice made it clear that he didn’t believe that. The hunter couldn’t even look Ellen in the eyes. He shook his head with a sigh, glancing off to the side. They were all a team, and it wasn’t Dean’s sole responsibility to babysit them all, yet as always, he couldn’t help but shoulder all the guild. ”It’s my fault. I shouldn’t have let them go off from the group.”
She’s with dad
The words played over in Ellen’s head. Jo was with John. The man that had been with her husband when he had died. The man that she had trusted at one point to protect her family members, but couldn’t anymore. John was the only one probably with Jo and god knew where either of them were. Different scenarios started going through her head, different ways that it could have gone wrong. She should have known better than to trust the Winchester with her family again. Her teeth gritted together, hands knotting in the fabric of his shirt. “She’s where?”
She’s with dad. We just don’t know where yet.”
She didn’t want to think about John being the only one to have Jo’s back wherever they were. She liked John, always had, but it seemed to be a family trait, putting her family in danger. She’d lost both Bill and Jo because of Winchesters. John was supposed to look out for Bill, Jo hadn’t been the one the hell hound had been after it was a Winchester. It was part of their job, she knew that somewhere in the back of her mind but she couldn’t help but notice the pattern of Winchesters being the cause of so much grief.
It took everything she had not to hit him. He was right, it was his fault. He’d been the one leading them into the place. “What fucking happened?”
The dropping jaw could almost reach the floor. Her eyes followed the sandwiches as they made their flight into the trash can making a loud thud. Before being upset was going to set in Krissy tried to reason how safe they were to eat still. The empty tummy had been growling for a while and the delayed pleasure of pigging out on gas station food has turned into sheer disappointment.
"Did you have to throw them in the trash can? I’m really starving!" Krissy protests as she moves phones and keys from her pockets looking for her wallet then looks up quickly at the backpack remembering that her wallet WAS in there. Feeling a little helpless she drops her hands to her side and looks at Ellen wondering what’s going in the trash next.
She found the wallet in the bag without much difficulty. Tossing the bag back onto the table she started going through the wallet pulling out various cards that didn’t look like they should be there, credit cards, fake ids. After tossing the almost empty wallet onto the table with the bag she turned and opened a drawer, pulling out scissors. She cut up the cards, letting the pieces fall onto the counter. Without turning around from what she was doing she nodded at the fridge, “There’s food. Eggs or cereal, just clean up your mess.”
She placed the scissors back in the drawer and collected the sharp pieces of plastic to put in the trash with the breakfast sandwiches. She turned an eye on Krissy, her arms folded across her chest. “You don’t steal in this house, no fake card, no hotwiring cars, no paying for things with money you don’t have. If you want something you can ask.”
A clumsy “Woah,” wobbled out of her mouth as her mother had stood and turned without her realization. Stumbling back and away from Ellen arms Jo’s eyes widened once the to and fro of the room settled and her focus zeroed onto her mother’s face. Ellen’s lips parted as she spoke to expose a set of filed teeth while fragile hands extended out to her, and two red, plump pomes burrowed deep into doughy, ruddied eye sockets. Her brown hair frizzed out at the crown of her head and fell in matted wads garnished with flat yellow needled shaped leaves poking out of the chaotic mess.
A childish snicker bubbled over her lips into the air, “I’m feelin’ good. But you should check out your face.” Rotted earth reeked from her mother’s every pore. Gagging slightly and rapidly waving a hand in front of her face, Jo scampered off towards the counter. “Maybe you should take a shower.” Her balance had returned once the surrounding stopped lapping up against the ceiling. A line of divided coniferous trees had shoved themselves out of the wooden panels and it’s leaves, matching the ones stuck into her mother, littered the floor.
Greedy fingers swiped for the half eaten box of Cocoa Puffs and burrowed themselves in, pulling out an overflowing handful only to shove part of it to her mouth. Chocolate residue dusted around her lips, the remaining cereal trickled unnoticeably down to ground. “I feel like you should sweep too.”
Her eyes narrowed at her daughter. She had never seen Jo like this but she had seen other people under the influence of drugs. She didn’t know what had happened between the car and now but it was definitely something she was not happy with. She didn’t know what her daughter was talking about with the face thing, Ellen had cleaned up when Jo had. She chose to ignore it. The girl clearly had something in her system. She blinked at the cocoa puffs and the words that fell from her daughter’s mouth like the cereal to the floor. It had been a long day already but obviously it wasn’t going to end just yet. With a sigh she muttered to herself, “I can’t do this alone.”
She pulled the cell phone from her pocket and dialed Benny, the fry cook being close by and almost always available. She felt bad about calling him at such a late hour but she didn’t know what else to do. She’d never handed high people as well as she did drunk people, at least all they wanted to do was vomit and sleep most of the time. Ignoring Jo’s crunching of the chocolate flavored cereal, she waited for him to pick up. As soon as he did she spoke quickly with glances at Jo. “Sorry to be calling this late, I have an issue with my daughter. It’s been a long day and if you don’t min I’d like some help.”
It felt odd asking him for help but he had been a loyal employee and she thought of him as a friend. If something started happening to Jo, if whatever was in her system was dangerous, Ellen would need help. And she wasn’t so sure that Cas or Naomi would come to her aid if she needed them, though Naomi had promised she was still a busy woman.
Dean felt a huge sense of regret for taking on this mission at Lucifer’s crypt. It had sounded so promising at first. Gaining the artifact was supposed to be a win for the hunters, but in reality, the crypt turned out to be a major loss. At least, that was the way Dean saw things. Not only did he leave empty-handed, but he lost his father and Jo. Again. And who knows what even happened with Castiel?
But the angel and the artifact could wait. Finding John and Jo took the highest priority. They had to be alive somewhere. Dean couldn’t allow himself to doubt that for one second. He was focused on getting them back as soon as possible.
Though, he completely dreaded this next step. The hunter almost wished he could skip ahead straight to the fighting demons part, but he knew that wouldn’t be possible. He stepped out of his car and hesitated a moment, trying to plan how to proceed. Dean went over the scenario hundreds of times in his mind, but he still couldn’t decide the best way to begin. Whatever happened, he doubted it would go very well. It was best to just get this over with as soon as possible, so Dean made his way towards the entrance of the Roadhouse, completely unprepared to confess what happened to Ellen.
He stepped inside and glanced around, hoping to find the owner at her usual place behind the bar.
It’d been slow. Patience and waiting wasn’t one of her strongest points but it was something that she had spent almost a lifetime experiencing. She knew it would take days. The drive, the actual mission and the drive back ate up time like it was nothing. But the days moved slower than molasses, and she was getting anxious after she hadn’t heard anything, not even a phone call from Jo to know things had gone smoothly. The bar was nearly empty for a change, only one man at the end of the bar nursing his scotch. Ellen figured they were busy or trying to eat somewhere else since no one but Benny could cook and he was with the others.
When Dean walked in, she knew that something had gone wrong. She could feel it in ever bone of her body. The way he stood, the way he looked around for her, the way he didn’t have Jo with him. She rounded the bar, her eyes narrowed at the Winchester. She took steps toward him as she spoke, her voice cold and hard. “Where the hell is my daughter?”
Charlie looked slightly startled at the question. This place was new, unfamiliar, and she was busy taking in the surroundings - mostly the fact that some of the other patrons looking at her contempt. But she shrugged it off easily; she was getting more used to other hunters usually less than accepting attitude towards her.
Brushing some hair behind her ear, Charlie answered, “Uhm, a water would be fine.” She cast a weak smile at the other woman.
She resisted the urge to laugh. The girl looked so uncomfortable in the bar it was amusing. She shot her a polite smile and pulled out a glass. The rest of the patrons looked at Ellen for a moment before going back to whatever they’d been doing before. They looked to her for a next call and since none was coming they knew to stay out of whatever was going on. She set the glass on the bar top, the ice chips clinking together and against the glass.
"Can I get you anything else? Got some pretty good food if you’re hungry." She didn’t peg the girl as a hunter though it was a possibility. She looked too innocent to know some of the real costs of hunting though. Ellen wasn’t going to be the first one to mention anything in case the girl didn’t fit her regular patrons.
The bar smelled of stale beer and sweat. The hunters that sat around talked softly amongst themselves. A certain solemnness had been hanging around the bar of late. Too many people were dying, things were getting worse by the day and none of them had any idea for a solution. She knew the boys were working on something, they always were.
She was wiping down the bar, a stripped wash cloth in her hand, when the girl came in. She’d happened to glance up at the sound of the door to see the red head walk in. Now there was someone who didn’t look like they belonged. The girl looked young and inexperienced, she might have been around Jo’s age but she looked more like she belonged in an office than in a bar full of hunters. Ellen saw some of the men nudge each other nodding to the girl, sneers forming on their faces.
Coming down the bar to where the girl had taken a seat, Ellen tossed the cloth over her shoulder. She raised an eyebrow at her questioningly. “What can I get ya?”
The sight of Ellen made Krissy smile slightly feeling some sense of comfort sweep over her. She seemed tough and caring at the same time yet maybe a little bossy. Pretty much any adult seemed too bossy these days. Krissy didn’t believe there was a whole lot left to learn about the world after everything she’s seen, but lot of teenagers felt the same way. Old hunters always trying to kill themselves with coffee and cigarettes. She shakes her head with a slight laugh and slings her school bag from around her shoulder and lets it land on the counter. ” Morning, Ma’am. I got some breakfast. I borrowed the already hot wired truck in the parking lot and used my fake credit cards. “
Opening the bag there are a few bacon and egg biscuits wrapped in wax paper. The smell is heavenly for first thing in the morning when your tummy is craving food. With her eyes closed and a smile on her face Krissy draws a long sniff taking it in while lifting her head in Ellen’s direction opening her eyes when her head is fully lifted. ” Hungry?” she asks in a sarcastic tone.
She raised an eyebrow at the girl. Joyriding and fraud before breakfast was not exactly what she would have called good behavior or even acceptable. The girl was going to get herself in trouble with the law if she continued like this, and Ellen was not going to bail her out. She glanced at the bag, the contents weren’t really of consequence but how she’d gotten them was. Setting her mug of coffee on the counter, she picked the bag off the table, examining the sandwiches inside. She pulled them out and tossed them into the trash without blinking. “Your wallet in here too?”