FIC: imagine seeing it printed in the paper for all the world to see
Ellen - 12/8/12
Your stores are low. That bargirl is dreadful at her job
Jo - 12/8/12
Sophie is great at her job, mom, we already ordered last week. Delivery is expected today or tomorrow at latest.
Ellen - 12/8/12
That’s not good enough, Jo. I taught you better than that.
If you’re not going to appreciate feedback - I’ll just get out of your hair.
Jo - 12/9/12
Lots of stuff going on atm mom that the bar is Sophie and Harry’s domain and they’re on top of it so far as I can tell
Ellen - 12/15/12
Who knows what you can tell any more. If the bar goes into debts it’s your own fault.
I’ve gotten a message from Rufus regarding needing help and will be going there for a while.
You sort yourself out, missy, or you’re going to fall flat on your face like you always do.
You don’t have Ash to bail you out any more, and I won’t be either
Jo - 12/1512
How is Rufus?
Fine. Hunt was easy. I’ll be going to the East coast for a while until you grow up.
Jo - 12/25/12
Merry Christmas! You coming by Duluth at all?
Jo - 12/31/12
Happy New Year Mom! Hope all going well, bar’s running alright.
Ellen - 02/08/13
Heard from Bobby you got into some trouble on a hunt. Thought you’d grown out of that recklessness.
Jo - 02/16/13
Wasn’t a big deal.
Just some thing with a shifter. It was more cop-trouble.
Jo - 03/23/13
Were you going to be near Duluth for the 7th?
Jo - 04/03/13
Sam and Dean were going to be in town next week. Thought if you’d be around good to catch up for my birthday?
Jo - 04/12/13
Gordon is back. Big trouble. Could use some help.
Ellen - 04/12/13
You were big enough to handle him when you were 15, you can handle him on your own now. Get your monster to help if you’re still doing that.
“Sorry I haven’t been around much-” Jo started to say, leaning heaving onto the bartop as she rubbed her eyes. She’d been looking at the laptop screen for too long, months of catching up as she’d been struggling with the effort to deal with the fallout from the other hunter.
She’d barely left the house for weeks, even to come down to the bar, as she’d been too busy watching out for the other. Grey’d jumped at every creak and noise around the house ever since he’d gotten home, and she was considering what she could do aside from going and begging the other shadow to keep up his inconvenient choice of Whispering that running the bar and keeping tabs on what was going on there was so far down on her list of priorities. She was clearly a horrible businesswoman.
“Don’t worry about it at all, Jo.” Sophie brushed her off with a wide smile, quickly pulling out a caffeinated soft drink from the fridge so Jo could get a bit more energy back. “It’s been peaceful really, kinda like the place is actually mine-”
“You got the cash to buy me out?”
“Not yet, besides, you should just pay me a manager’s salary and let me take over.”
“You want that? Done!”
“I said you should, not that I want you to!” Sophie squawked, waving a hand at her as she moved to get the other ledger - the paper written back up that Jo did actually demand on being done even though most everything was electronic these days. Sophie understood it though or at least respected that Jo had a soft spot for keeping a hard copy, just for backup. There was a pause before the brunette added quietly, “Besides - I know it’s been a while since anyone new or old has been around, but like… Your mom or Anna aren’t going to be coming back and trying to take over again sometime are they?”
Jo jerked for a second before frowning. It had been a long time since there had been any noise from either of them.
She’d lost track and stopped caring about Anna’s desertion a long while back - a hissed comment under the redhead’s breath one night at the bar that made Jo question if those memories she claimed were gone actually were, and then after Jo pressed the question the other had stormed out and Jo hadn’t seen her since. It’d been almost a year at that point so she doubted she’d ever hear from her ever again - if Jo didn’t go looking, the redhead could stay missing so far as she was concerned. Especially if she wasn’t as wiped clean as she had claimed to be.
Her mom on the other hand was a different story. Jo had been reaching out, and hearing back sometimes, but… Things were never and had never been good. But since Ellen had reappeared and tried to pick up where they’d left off before Carthage - things had been worse. She remembered their last conversation in person - Ellen questioning what Jo wanted in life and accusing her of always picking fights when Jo’d asked genuinely for her opinion on her relationship and how things had been going - and their other communication had been breaking down even worse since. Jo didn’t suspect her mother would be coming around any time soon, especially not to take over her bar since she kept pushing Jo to ‘grow up’ and ‘find some maturity’. It was unlikely she’d be coming to ‘bail’ Jo out of her mess any time soon.
Shaking her head, Jo cracked the top of her soda with a sigh before smiling across at her bar-tending friend. “I can safely assure you - unless I tell you, nobody is going to come and take the bar off of you again.”
“I’ll drink to that!” Sophie grinned widely back at her, tapping the lid of Jo’s can with a glass of water of her own before they both buckled down to get the ledgers done and all that boring paperwork Jo’d been ignoring and Sophie had been doing checked before the bar was due to open.
The postcards came in from all over the place.
And from all different people.
Some hunters would drop them off in hand, others mailed still, and some were put up by the hunter themselves. Those that were hunter notes usually had a list of details on the back of what was at the location and dates.
Chicago, Austin, San Andreas and others, even Ontario and Quebec.
Those that didn’t have those notes were usually from Ellen, and tucked in and pinned up amongst the rest same as all the others. Those didn’t get any special treatment, just like she knew hers never got additional glances or care.
Milwaukee sat tucked underneath Seattle, there was several from all over Florida and the warmer states.
Jo’d even bought her own postcards for Las Vegas and New Orleans that she’d laughed about tucking beside the strict disapproving sense she got off of the cards from her mother and seriousness from the hunter’s postcards.
Bright and shiny between them.
It was collage spanning the whole country of the webs of connection that the hunting community gave to them all.
And Jo found it comforting to know almost ever part of the country had some touch of not only the supernatural but someone who would protect the innocent or free the trapped.
Point Arena, California to West Quoddy, Maine.
That they’d finally bumped into one another was not surprising. That it was over a werewolf hunt where her daughter had bumped her arm and thrown off her shot was a surprise.
Ellen had expected the other had learned by now to not be so reckless and stupid.
She had hoped that her daughter would have finally matured into her age and stopped running headlong into things.
She had thought perhaps Jo would have grown out of being contrary and arguing because she wanted to rebel.
Their fight at the hotel after Jo had subdued the werewolf with a long chain of silver and getting far too close to the man’s claws for Ellen’s comfort until the sunrose and they’d dropped the man off at his home with the firm promise from the blonde that she’d be back before sundown that night to talk more through what his options were had been on a par with their old fights across the worn Roadhouse floorboards.
Jo had screamed and ranted and raved and demanded that she was right, and that she knew better and that she knew what she was doing. It was so reminiscent that Ellen couldn’t help but fall back into old patterns and asked just how Jo had done handling her old boyfriend since they’d last talked and queried just what Jo had done to turn her old ‘hero’ Gordon against her. The reaction had been icy but even more standard Jo than the screaming - a slammed door and a hiss that she was a grown-up and didn’t have to answer to Ellen anymore - but a firm grip on the other’s arm had stopped the chance of her storming out like the rebellious fifteen-year-old she’d been the last time they had this conversation.
Jo had been quiet and petulant, and tugged and pulled to free herself, but all Ellen could see was her pouting teenage daughter who thought she was strong enough, fast enough, good enough to be out on those dusty roads where she was going to end up dead and gnawed on by some monster. More than she already was, given the scarring on her neck that Ellen had heard through Bobby had been a very nasty accident. All she could see was that same child that wouldn’t listen to her, and screamed that it was Ellen’s fault that her daddy left so often and why couldn’t she be nice and understanding for once.
Ellen had shaken her head then as she let go of her glaring daughter and decided that was it. That was the moment she was done. She’d tried her best to protect her. She’d worked for years with a petulant, stubborn reckless brat of a child with daydreams and fantasies about her perfect father that Ellen could never quite scrub the idealistic glint from. She’d given her all and yet it never had an impact. And she was done. She was done trying to reign the other in, and fix her mistakes, and rescue her from her back choices. She was done trying to protect Jo from herself.
She’d not said as much to the raging blonde though. She’d waited a moment before sighing and simply saying that she was done. She was out.
“I’m not going to be hunting anymore, Jo, you’re going to finally be on your own. I hope you do know what you’re doing for once.”
Jo - 05/16/14
I love you mom. Hope today has been okay for you.
You near Chicago still?
Ellen - 05/18/14
Moved last month. Decided to try New York for a while. Moving as much as you hunt.
Jo - 07/23/14
Got a case in New York if you’re around might drop by?
Ellen - 07/26/14
Moved last week - down in Florida.
Jo - 12/24/14
Merry Christmas mom!
I was going to go down to get some sun if you were still in Florida somewhere?
Ellen - 01/12/15
Hope you had good holidays and actually spent time with people not your knives.
I’ve actually moved to a spot in Texas and going to Michigan next month likely.
Jo - 02/12/15
Got a case near Michigan! Happy to see your daughter?
Ellen - 02/13/15
Would but I stayed in Texas
Nothing that would excite you here
Jo - 05/16/15
You ANYWHERE in the continental US this month?
Ellen - 05/20/15
How about I tell you next time I have time in MY schedule for once, Joanna Beth, rather than you thinking you and your gladding about as a hunter means everyone else has to operate under your schedule?
“You heard anything?”
“Since when?” Bobby grumbled the words back at her with a sharp look, and Jo quickly lowered her own voice as she watched his glance through the open doors into the kitchen where Dean was working on dinner. Or at least, what Dean called dinner. They were likely having some kind of tater-tot casserole - but at least Jo knew it would still be a dish made with love given how flustered the man seemed to be trying to cook for more than just himself and maybe Sam for once. Sam was resting upstairs in one of the spare beds after the boys had rolled in from a demon-hunt that’d resulted in a sore back for the taller hunter and a nasty gash on the other’s face that he covered with the worst bandaging Jo’d ever seen when she arrived. “I ain't heard nothing from your mom since more than a year passed.”
“Yeah?” Jo frowned to herself slightly, rubbing at the back of her neck as she thought about it. “Been longer than that since I last saw her.”
“Oh?” Bobby’s tone reeked of surprise, and Jo couldn’t quite meet the concerned and caring look in his eye as he seemed to take in that information. It was a surprise of course. Even when Jo’d been on the road without Ellen’s so called permission - despite her being a grown-ass-woman at the time - Jo had heard back from her more than she was now. Bobby knew how much the other had kept tabs on her, and especially through him as it was. “All I can say is that she hasn’t been in touch with me to follow up on your, Jo.”
Jo frowned all over again at that. It was so unusual and she had expected despite Ellen’s claims that she was out of hunting that she would keep tabs on her still. It was just what she’d always done. Ellen had never given her the chance to not be watched really - and thus half of the appeal of a strong, charismatic older hunter offering a chance away from Ellen’s control and watchful spies had been all the more - but that her mom really had stepped out from the hunter-sphere felt surprisingly okay.
Jo was standing on her own two feet, and even more than that, she was thriving on her own really.
“Ah well, I can’t really expect she’d want to keep up with things given I still haven’t changed how she wants yet.” Jo finally added after a long moment’s silence and taking a long drag from her beer. “Not bein’ a so called grownup and given up this huntin’ nonsense.”
“That what you think her issue is?” Bobby grumbled the words out, taking a long sip of his scotch as he considered her quietly for a moment. “Not the monster boyfriend?”
“Ha, all she wanted was me to settle down. I think she’s more angry he isn’t tryin’ to control my life like she did Daddy’s.”
“He doesn’t stop you hunting?”
“Not at all. Grey’s always respectful that huntin’ is what I do.”
Jo let out a quiet laugh as she looked at the grumpy but believing look the other gave her for a moment before letting out a soft sigh. “Pretty sure even if I wasn’t datin’ Grey, and wasn’t huntin’ she’d still not be happy or care all that much-”
“Jo, that’s your mom. She’ll always care about you,” Dean chimed in as he moved through from the kitchen, a disapproving frown on his face as he stared down at Jo for a moment. “It ain’t like you’re some horrible person that nobody could care about, and even then - she’s still your mom. Mother’s always love you.”
Jo felt a little shiver down her spine at those words, shaking her head to rid the tiny spark of fear they’d brought up, before letting out an exhausted sounding laugh. “You can think that if you like Deano. I’ll just know that I ain’t what my momma ever wanted in a kid and that she’s goin’ to be disappointed s’long as I’m not workin’ some kid-friendly job with a bun in the oven and a banker husband with a white picket fence. It’s fine.”
Dean gave her an even more disapproving look, which Jo shook her head again to rid before pointing a finger at him. “You shut up and sit down here so I can fix that hideous bandage, then you can fight with me ‘bout it.”
The other hunter followed instructions with a quiet grumble, and Jo moved to grab Bobby’s first aid kit but found herself smiling softly as she heard the older hunter talking softly to the other man as she left the room.
“You know, she’s probably right. Jo’s always had so much more of her dad in her - it’s like Bill ain’t never left.”
Jo - 03/10/16
Not sure what you’re up to, but if you had a date/time to catch up would love to see you, mom
Jo - 04/07/16
Thank you for having me. Happy birthday for me. You free sometime?
Jo - 05/16/16
I miss you mom
I miss dad
Are you free?
Jo - 08/28/16
Wanted to see where you were at in case I’m ever nearby?
The sound of the siren was sharp and high pitched. It was endless and whirring. And all over the sound of it’s cry she could hear another cry. Someone sobbing and gasping and crying in pain. It was a ragged and harsh sound, and it made her ears and mind hurt to hear the pain in each gasp.
“The driver’s here! She’s breathing!” The voice was unfamiliar and in the state of fog right then, Ellen was sick of trying to differentiate yet another new voice. She heard a hiccup in the crier’s voice, but then the other voice continued again - shouting for the jaws of life and a gurney.
She tried to shake the voices away, the wailing siren too, but all that did was make the crier scream out in agony. Her agony, Ellen realised belatedly as she felt her neck stiff and painful and her head ring in an oddly disjointed way at her attempt to move. It was her crying. She rarely heard the sound, it was so odd to think of herself crying.
She had used to cry silently all the time - alone in bed, or in the shower, or out the back of the bar taking a ‘smoke’ break with no cigarettes when some hunter would come in hurt and dying or dead - but she had stopped after she’d lost her husband. Why cry over the other men foolish enough to follow him into death with their insane line of work? Why keep spilling her tears over a man who hadn’t cared enough about her to stay home? Why cry over what she saw had been falling apart even before they had been married a year?
She had cried afterwards though over someone else - tears had been spilt for years as she watched the lure of the same dangers draw her daughter in. Ellen had tried to stop it, but no one could stop the inevitable. And by the time her daughter had died in her arms and she’d been blown sky high along with her, she had been sure she’d shed her last tears over her husband’s choices to ruin her life. She should have packed up and left year, decades, earlier to try for any happiness but she’d failed her daughter and more importantly herself so the tears had burned away too.
Getting back, Ellen had not cried again. Why cry over her daughter being stupid enough to continue the same path where she left off? Why cry over hunters still, thirty years on? Ellen was sick of crying over hunters and she had left them behind her. It had been for her, and she deserved to be happy.
Sucking in a painful breath that felt more like liquid than air that left her gasping and crying as the paramedic tried to free her from her seat - Ellen was glad this was the time she was crying again. This seemed valid to cry about. Everything hurt but somehow nothing did either. Everything was a fog and quiet but oh so loud too. It seemed right to cry then.
Her life in Swainsboro, Georgia had been great. She’d been working at a few different jobs before getting a managers position at a small bookshop-slash-coffeeshop. She’d made many friends and been part of a community garden. She’d gone to church and been the only one to know that the God they prayed to was truly real and could listen if He wanted. She sometimes even sent a prayer to him that her old friends were safe and okay. She had been part of a council Beautification team working to make the community better. She had helped at the Church and at the local library reading story time every Tuesday and Thursday morning. She had been the Ellen she’d always wanted to be with a small dog and a cute little house that had no iron and no saltlines and no warding against the supernatural under every doorstep. She had been the woman she’d always dreamed she would be.
Her life had been a dream in the small quiet part of the world, and letting out a last hollow cry, Ellen could feel the world slipping from her in a way she did not experience the first time and could only think that she was glad this time she could die happy with the way her life had been. If only the rest of those she cared for could say the same.
“This number is no longer in service. For information, contact the phone service provider.” - 04/07/17
“Who’s that?” Jo found herself asking as she leaned against the counter top of the Police station. She was hear on a case the next town over but who didn’t have their own station and as such had their records stored there in Swainsboro. Her suit felt awkward and stiff but she knew that was just her own discomfort being surrounded by law enforcement rather than the suit itself - loving selected on a shopping trip with her sister earlier that year - given the quality of the fabric and the flattering cut of the pencil skirt and jacket that showed off her curves but in a way that still worked perfectly for a Federal agent cover but also a flirty journalist. Today it was Agent Bennet after some very important files about the cow mutilations and missing girls the next town over.
“That photograph there.”
“Oh, you mean Mrs Helving!” The friendly dark haired woman working the counter replied, moving over to unpin the photograph of the middle aged woman. “Well, actually, I guess you mean Mrs Jane Doe.”
“She’s one of our unidentified persons-”
Jo felt like she’d just been doused in ice water as she looked between the photograph of her mother’s face smiling in a way Jo never really remembered seeing before and the officer. Her mother looked back up at her from the photograph - sure her hair was a little less grey and her eyes held more shine and the clothes she wore looked like a Sunday Church goer, but it was still her mom.
“Mrs Helv- uh, you know what, no, Mrs Helving.” The officer smiled gently, a touch of sadness in the woman’s face as she took in the photo over the counter across from Jo, before shaking her head. “Or at least that’s how she was known around town. She was so lovely - worked the Sunday School, and was part of the community garden, and ran the bookshop for old Mr Jenkins - but such a shame.”
“Shame?” Jo asked quietly handing the photograph back with a frown. “What’s a shame?”
“Well, that’s the thing. She wasn’t Mrs Helving! It was an alias!” The officer was wide eyed and sounded shocked to herself at such gossip, putting the photograph back gently. “Turns out all her identification papers were fake, and we only found out after the car crash that she wasn’t who she said she was.”
Jo frowned to herself, tucking her hands into her suit pockets to hide the slight shakes as she looked across curiously. As the officer looked back at her, Jo raised a brow in silent question.
“It was a few months ago. Poor dear!” The other woman shook her own head as she moved to sit back down at her counter with a sigh. “Back during the winter we had an unexpected snow storm. It wasn’t so bad, but poor poor Mrs Helving was in a car crash out on the interstate coming to help pack down the Nativity scene just after new years and her car was driven from the road by an eighteen wheeler. Died right after the paramedics arrived.”
“Oh.” Jo found herself letting out a quiet whoosh of breath as she looked away out the window for a moment, before forcing herself to shake the thought as another officer came out the back with the file boxes she was after. Work first, deal with that second. “Thanks, can I have an office?”
As she moved around to a spare room to read through the paperwork she was after, Jo opened a few tabs on her phone as well to research about the so-called Mrs Helving and her lovely life in Georgia. It wasn’t hard to find what she’d been up to, how the last few years had been, and how respected and cared for Ellen must have been the way she had been back in her domain of the Roadhouse - and yet the effervescent smile in place at all times was the way that never appeared at the last place. Ellen’s life looked great, and like she’d been happier off leaving the world of hunters and pain behind.
Jo had finished with her paperwork and made her way out of the station and towards the local diner to get a good dinner before setting off back to the hunting grounds of what definitely looked to be a lone vampire. She found herself eating her meal quietly, eyes on the articles and Facebook posts and every little thing she could find about her mother’s life, before she pushed away and somehow found herself drawn to the local cemetery the funeral notice had stated she would be resting.
Mrs Ellen Helving
She sowed courtesy and reaped friendship
She planted kindness and gathered love
Looking at it, Jo couldn’t help but let out a laugh at such ridiculousness.
That wasn’t the memory of her mother - it wasn’t what she would have put on such a tombstone and it wasn’t what she would ever say of Ellen Harvelle. Sure, she had been courteous and kind, made friends and shared a loving care for those that came through her door, but that wasn’t what a hunting-widow was made of. Ellen Harvell had been fire and fury, rage and coldness, and an ever present fear of the world outside of the Roadhouse doors where she couldn’t see or control things. That was what Jo would remember of her mother - not some kind woman who was open and loving to all. That wasn’t the tombstone where her mother rested. Her mother had left a charred building and slaughtered hounds of Hell in her wake, she had left a grave marker more in line with the fire that fueled her life.
A bouquet of flowers left behind was all that Jo really felt necessary when she had finished laughing at the tombstone. A small respectful set of flowers for a woman that Jo knew she didn’t know, a stranger with her mother’s past but without the baggage. The words were about a woman Jo never got to know - not the mother Jo had gotten, but how Ellen always should’ve been - and the end of her life seemed as normal as Jo knew she’d always wanted it to be.
Something felt hollow about it, but as Jo set off back to the next town - she knew that Carthage was only a few hours out of her way back home, and maybe she could leave some flowers at her real mother’s grave.