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Title: Together we stand.
Fandom: Supernatural
Characters: Ellen Harvelle, Jo Harvelle
Rating: PG-13
Words: ~1800 words

Summary Ellen takes the chance to get to know Jo better as they hunt together.

Notes A very late pinch hit for elliemurasaki wanted to riff off what Ellen and Jo would be like together when they hunted- if their prickliness with each other would die. It's purposely contrasted with the Winchester dynamic in the way it's set up.

The most difficult thing about hunting with her daughter, Ellen has long ago decided, is that Jo is far too good at it. Her daddy's daughter in so many things, from the dark brown eyes that are the image of Bill Harvelle's, to the knife she still carries though it hardly ever gets used. Jo likes her shotgun better. Don't mean she's not her momma's daughter as well though, and Ellen likes to think that the persistence comes from her. The way Jo rolls her eyes though is all her own, and her stance casual and easy, resting on the balls of her feet as though ready to drop everything and attack, that's something life has given to her, not genetics.

They ain't the Winchesters, (and dear God those boys sweet as they can be, have gone wrong along the line,) but Ellen suspects they might be becoming more like them each day. Things are changing between them, the map of their space and interaction is being redrawn. Jo had begged and bargained and pleaded for a lock on her door and her own key as a teen, made it clear she wanted and needed her own space, and Ellen had respected that, had let Jo shut herself away. When first she'd joined Jo on the hunt, she'd insisted on separate rooms, until she realised she couldn't sleep from fear that next door something was wrong. Now they sleep side by side in twin beds, and Jo hugs her pillow close, and her knives closer, doesn't think twice of protesting when Ellen gets the one room. It's not just money concerns, Ellen knows, all they have left now is each other, and she doesn't think that she could bear Jo not to be close, not anymore.

Kind of hard to lose the protectiveness though. Ellen knows intellectually that the daughter who has beaten up and killed more monsters than all likelihood she's had hot dinners in the past few years, don't need her momma to be looking out for her interests anywhere else, but it's a habit that's hard to break, and she only has to look at Dean Winchester to realise what she must look like to the rest of the world. Family melts lines, fucks you up in the head sometimes, but like iron in the blood, you can't purge it from you. So she has to accept it, has to change herself, teach an old dog new tricks. And Jo responds, flows back towards her in a way she hasn't since she was an angry teenager filing her nails with a knife that had never been intended for that purpose. It's kind of weird Ellen thinks, that it takes the end of the world as they know it, for her to get to know her daughter.

Ellen knows Jo likes to drink long tequila with soda and lime, doesn't like to dance and that sometimes, a time or two, she's picked up a woman not a man. All the things she should know about her daughter, delayed but never too late to learn, and she snatches each snippet greedily, stores it away inside. This is Jo, she thinks. This is my daughter, nd a painful pride and a frightening love spill over out of her, like she's nicked some too deep vein, and let herself spill out.

These mornings when Ellen wakes, she feels the subtle click of her bones, and it's an effort to make herself roll over and do her exercise routine before she has a shower. She's in better shape than she's ever been before though, keeps herself active and supple, because hell is she letting herself be shown up, and the one thing she insists on is decent food. None of the greasy diner food that they'd eat if Jo had her way every night. After all as Ellen says (before showing Jo the exact right way to suffocate an undine) sometimes mom really does know best. And Hell it's a laugh knowing she can still surprise her daughter like that.

Some nights they sit together at the side of the road, and do the sort of thing that they'd never done when Jo was younger (Ellen caught up in her grief over Bill, Jo sullen and distant with teenage hormones and a looming sense of righteousness.) Just talk for hours, a beer or two held loosely, a tartan blanket draped over Jo's shoulders, Ellen wrapped in the zigzagged quilt her grandmother had made, one of the few things from before the fire that has survived, fluttering on a washing line round back. It isn't deep or solemn, but they're together, and that's really what matters cliche as it may sound to anyone who hasn't lost everything but their family.

On those nights when Ellen looks at Jo on a camp-chair beside her, her heart sometimes squeezes painfully inside, and the normal familiar worries break through for a second. Jo should be at college, be learning to fight evil in different sorts of ways to stakes, guns and knives. These days when Jo laughs at that idea though, there's no malice in her voice and not much pain. It's an old argument worn smooth by time until its corners no longer hurt and jar, or drive a wedge between them. It's almost a source of fun now, Ellen thinking up jobs that Jo could do, skittles for her to knock down with a grin.

"Cop," she says now, with a smile lurking on her face, enjoying the incredulousness of the eyebrow that Jo arches at her.

"Cop," Jo echoes. "Mom, can you see me giving people tickets for driving too fast? Or acting like I have a stick jammed up my ass permanently, rounding up lost kids and saving treed cats. In fact," she says, warming to her theme, "are you saying I'd make a good pen-pusher, filling out my forms in triplicate because some poor bastard's lost a tail-light?"

"Language Joanna-Beth," Ellen says, for the sake of the mild indignance she'll get for her hypocrisy (four different uses of fuck as she hacked up a troublesome zombie, and Jo grinning at every one.)

Jo doesn't disappoint, ruffling up for a second before she calms, and sticks out her tongue. "Seriously," she says. "I can't imagine being a cop. Maybe a sheriff if I got a shiny badge or something. Ten gallon hat and honourary citizenship of Texas." They both laugh, like they can forget for a second that they're always one step away from being on the wrong side of a Wanted poster. Jo tilts her head back and drains the rest of her beer, grimacing as the luke-warm remnants hit her tastebuds, and puts the bottle neatly away. She still half looks at Ellen hesitantly, like she isn't sure she's allowed to do this, like this is the weirdest thing about their lives- sharing a couple of beers, and Ellen leans forward, fishes another one out and hands it to her. Her Joanna-Beth can hold her drink like Ellen and a second beer won't hurt none.

Jo's smile is bright, lights up her face, and she toasts them both, condensation sliding down the outside of the bottle from the warm grasp of her fingers. Ellen opens her own, and answers. "Your great grand-daddy was a cop," she says, in contribution to the discussion. "And his daddy before him."

"Why wasn't your father?" Jo asks, because she hasn't ever known her grandparents. Ellen Simons was an orphan long before she ever met Bill Harvelle, and she don't often like to think of those days.

"My grand-daddy- your great grand-daddy wasn't a great cop. Crooked as anything when it came to the cards, and not averse to a little backhander under the table to look away from certain places at certain times"- Ellen doesn't believe in varnishing the truth even for family- "but he knew right from real wrong, couldn't shut his eyes to evil when it came down to it. Turned out there were somethings you couldn't pay him to ignore, like blood-drinkers. And your great-grandmother was a real toughie. When he came home to tell her what he'd seen, she sharpened the stakes herself, and through trial and error they put paid to that thing." She takes a sip of beer, and blinks a little. If she concentrates real hard she can still hear her own momma telling her this story.

"Go on," Jo prompts. She's scrunched down small now, wound up tight in the warmth of her blanket, the wind whipping a little more chill into their bones.

"Hard to close your eyes once you've seen," Ellen says softly, and that's a truth they both know, deep as anything. "They had a kid already at that point- my father, they were settled in the town. In those days it was different, you didn't just abandon your home. You guarded it, guarded your town. They used to hunt together; they called it their dancing nights. Must've been in my father's blood from then on. Whatever the reason, he grew up longing for it." The rest of the story is there, how Charlie Simons met a woman called Ada Simpson, and how they had a daughter Ellen, but she thinks she'll save that for another night.

Jo nods, filing away the pieces of family history with everything else Ellen has ever taught her, then wrinkles her nose. "You mean I have cop blood?" she says, "Ew."

Ellen's about to scold, when she catches the laughing look, realises Jo is playing her in her turn, swats her on the arm. "You do," she says. "And publican blood from Bill's side of the family, which strictly speaking just means whisky runs in your veins."

"It kind of freaks me out sometimes," Jo says, and she's looking into the sky now, at the immense scattering of stars above them. "How many people there were before us I mean. How many tiny things that could've been different, and I wouldn't be here. I wouldn't be me."

Ellen can't even imagine that, there being no Jo. She thinks that there would have to a Jo-shaped hole in the world if she didn't exist, acknowledges a mother's love might skew her judgement, but couldn't ever convince herself it wasn't true. Doesn't say it out loud though, because this new peace between them, this new understanding is too tender to bring so openly into the light. Too much love could smother it, too hastily expressed. But she feels it all the way through. When they sleep, she waits until Jo's breathing becomes regular and deep before she closes her own eyes, breathes in synch with it, prays to a God she's not sure about to keep them both safe. She can't lose this now that she has it.


( 13 comments — Leave a comment )
Jan. 7th, 2013 03:54 pm (UTC)
This is so good! I love that hunting together actually brings them closer and I got all emotional at the Ellen-getting-to-know-who-her-daughter-is.

Truly lovely insight. :):):)
Jan. 7th, 2013 06:45 pm (UTC)
Aww thank you! I'm really glad you liked it, it was a lot of fun to imagine Ellen and Jo hunting together. Cheers!
Jan. 9th, 2013 05:51 am (UTC)
Edition #2443
User heard_the_owl referenced to your post from Edition #2443 saying: [...] by (PG) Together we stand. [...]
Jan. 9th, 2013 04:32 pm (UTC)
The way you wrote Ellen's voice is perfect! :D I really love how organic their relationship feels. The way it contrasts with Sam and Dean is gloriously subtle. Great job!
Jan. 9th, 2013 05:53 pm (UTC)
Thank you very much, I'm really glad Ellen's voice worked for you!
Jan. 11th, 2013 05:04 am (UTC)
Exquisite! I think Ellen and Jo maybe were like this in the time before they died fighting off the Apocalypse! I really love the way you mixed Ellen's maternal feelings with her pride in having a partner in her daughter--it rings true!
Jan. 12th, 2013 02:47 am (UTC)
Thank you very much, I'm really glad that it rang true to you! Much appreciated :)
Jan. 11th, 2013 06:11 am (UTC)
Very nice. Great voices. I hated when they died on the show!
Jan. 12th, 2013 02:56 am (UTC)
Cheers, thank you v much. I hated when they died on the show as well- what a waste of such fantastic characters.
Jan. 13th, 2013 05:52 pm (UTC)
This is really neat! I've always thought there wasn't nearly enough fic about their mother-daughter relationship. Ellen's voice rings very true here, I think, and I love that they're able to share these little times together, have a beer and reminiscing and relaxing a little while. Neat!
Jan. 18th, 2013 11:02 pm (UTC)
Aww I only just got this- thank you so much! I'm super glad Ellen's voice worked for you in it, and thanks for the comment.
Jan. 28th, 2013 07:24 am (UTC)
Oh, this was so good! And what a wonderful Ellen you have, here. I loved getting to see Jo through her eyes.
Jan. 28th, 2013 10:55 am (UTC)
Thank you so much! It was really nice to get a chance to write Ellen and Jo like this, so I'm really pleased Ellen came across well.
( 13 comments — Leave a comment )