Title: Nothing Moves And I Rarely Smile
By: Bridget McKennitt
Character: Ellen Harvelle
Rating: PG
Word Count: 1416
Summary: She was without home and family, a situation she did not expect to find herself in. With nothing tying her to one locale, Ellen traveled the roads.
Contains: No warnings in as far I know that can't be extrapolated from the header itself.
Disclaimer: Supernatural is owned by Eric Kripke and other companies. They are used here without permission, and for entertainment purposes only. No challenge or infringement upon the copyright is intended, nor should any be inferred.

It had been about a year since she'd helped the Winchesters close the Devil's Gate and the demons escaped out into the world. Six months since she last saw her daughter, Jo, somewhere up in Iowa. Two months since Jo's last postcard, detailing her brush with a possessed widower (her heart nearly leaped up into her throat at the thought of Jo tangling with her first demon). One month since she had spoken with Bobby, getting second hand information about what Sam and Dean had been up to (as well as promising to send any information that could help Sam in his desperate times).

After the Roadhouse had been destroyed by the demons, Ellen had no plans of reopening the saloon. She knew the hunters would be wary of gathering in one place in case of tragedy striking once more, and she did not want to stake her life on getting lucky again. No matter how much she fought with Jo, her daughter would not give up her wandering hunter life and return to her. She was without home and family, a situation she did not expect to find herself in.

With nothing tying her to one locale, Ellen traveled the roads.

She ended up in Scottsbluff, Nebraska when a case fell into her lap, quite literally. She was having breakfast outside a cafe when a newspaper landed on her lap and the first article she saw was of a teenage girl sliced to ribbons in her home. Ellen had nothing to do, nothing but the open road that no matter how many miles she ate up in her beat up pick up truck, she could not leave behind her troubles, and decided to take on the case. It turned out the girl's deceased father had come back for murder, and the fix was simple - salt and burn.

Somehow she found herself in Sioux County, South Dakota at Bobby's place and Ellen drank his holy water whiskey (can never be too careful) before spending the night. Bobby told her of Dean's death, poor lost boy, and Sam's distance, before asking her how was her family.

Her husband was long dead, Bobby knew that, and Jo was out hunting. There wasn't much to tell.

Ellen met up with Tamara by happenstance in Billings, Montana, and offered the newly arrived hunter a stay in her motel room. Tamara accepted the offer and a shot of whiskey. Tamara continued to hunt after her husband's death, and though she wanted to shy away from demons all together, she knew Isaac would not want her to give up their duty just because of how he died. Ellen understood how Tamara felt, having that constricting feeling inside her chest that a civvie would take heed and turn away from. Not hunters. Ellen gave Tamara her cell phone number and left the next morning.

Jo called and she met her daughter in Idaho Falls, Idaho. Jo had sounded excited over the phone and when Ellen saw her standing next to an Asian guy of about the same height, Ellen knew before Jo could say a word what her news would be. A wave of euphoria coursed through Ellen's body, happy in the knowledge that her baby girl would have a normal life away from hunting. Bill would be proud.

Then Jo opened her mouth and Ellen's happy delusions came crashing down. The guy, who was indeed her boyfriend, was also a hunter. Kenji was polite and smart, he graduated from Brown, but he was relatively new at hunting and that was a flaw Ellen could not ignore. One look at Jo's beaming face, however, made Ellen keep her mouth shut. Bill was around the same age as Kenji during his first hunt, and the Winchester boys were even younger. Jo would be okay, even better because she was not hunting alone. As long as neither made deals with a demon, they would be fine.

She hugged Kenji, told him to take good care of her daughter, and invited them both out for dinner. Jo had plenty of stories to tell and Ellen forced herself to listen through the hunting ones, smiling genuinely at how the two of them met.

Ellen met up with Tamara again, this time in Salt Lake City, Utah. Tamara had found a nest of vampires and Ellen was in the neighborhood. It was big enough that it would take more than one person for the job, but small enough that a second set of hands would do. They flushed the vampires out of their nest and made quick work of the creatures. There was a spark in Tamara's eyes that Ellen had not seen since the days of when Isaac was alive and the two were wrapped up in each other. She wanted to ask if it meant that the other hunter had found someone, even if it was only for a night, but she restrained herself from asking. Hunters were loners, unless they were in a family pack, and she would not be considered family to Tamara. At least her friend had a moment of happiness in her post-Isaac world.

Ellen wondered if she should turn around and take up the hunt with her daughter and her someday son-in-law, but decided against it. Those two needed time and Ellen knew her presence would only strain things. She said her good-byes to Tamara and continued on her journey.

She stumbled across a demon gathering power for itself in Boulder, Colorado. He had kidnapped at least four children by the time she arrived and took them back to an abandoned warehouse. It took a week of surveillance and another week of putting her plan into motion before she could stop him, sending him back to Hell. Though the children were injured, none of them had died. Ellen did not doubt that they would need therapy to help them cope after what they went through.

She was cynical enough to think that this may a turning point for some of them to become hunters later on in their lives. Any hunter who became a hunter did so because of a supernatural tragedy. It was a sad and cold fact.

It had been two years since she helped the Winchesters close the Devil's Gate and the demons escaped out into the world. Two years since she stepped foot in the cemetery where Samuel Colt decided to build a doorway to keep Hell at bay. Two years since she started her wandering, and in all that time, she realized she had been flirting with Wyoming, flirting with where it all began (or perhaps where it all ended). Dean came back from Hell and Sam could not leave his brother alone, despite all the silence and secrets between them. Jo and Kenji announced their engagement and Ellen wished them the best of luck, the good sort of luck, in their upcoming marriage.

Ellen stared at the Devil's Gate, folding her arms over her chest in an attempt to shield off the cold. It looked harmless, but she knew better. There were many harmful things that looked harmless at first. Before this moment, she had been a wife, a mother, a hunter, a bar owner, and a good friend. Where could she go from here? She could retire from the hunting life, not that she did much of it while Jo was growing, but she could. A hunter continued their job until they died or retired, but retirement wasn't much of anything to look forward to when paranoia was your only friend.

No. She wasn't ready for retirement, by any means, but nor did she want to pick up where she last left off as a bar owner or continue traveling the back roads of the continental U.S. looking for cases, at least not because she had to. Whatever happened next needed to happen because she wanted it to. Her decision. Her choice.

Ellen took one last look at the Devil's Gate, her eyes roving over the inscribed markings and designs. Samuel Colt had a purpose in his life in creating this as well as the Colt and she had to do the same. She was resourceful and stubborn enough for anything.

Ellen turned around and headed out of the cemetery, stepping over the weeds growing wild between the tombstones. The one thing she did know was that whatever her purpose was, she wasn't going to find it here among the dead and demonic.

The Voice of Serenity

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