A Sour Home

*Supernatural Battle of The Fandoms Winner 2015*

Ellen had always suspected that John Winchester wasn't the best of fathers. She was right.

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1. A Sour Home

The sickly-sweet smell of rotting autumnal leaves hung in the dewy mist all around Ellen, as she crunched her way up the gravel track towards the house. The sky was white-grey, the sun trapped behind a thick layer of foamy cloud, and it was slightly too cold for an afternoon in October. Sighing deeply, she trampled through a soggy mound of dead leaves, her black boots shining with moisture. The Winchester house hung back, white paint peeling off the outside walls, and the black slate tiles on the roof either missing or covered by mossy mould. It wasn't often that anyone visited the family; they didn't exactly partake in society the way most people did. Ellen knew all too well what happened when somebody started hunting demons. It simply ruined their lives, and there was no way back. 

Shaking her head slowly, she trudged on up the path, the handle of her silver blade, hidden in her shoe, rubbing at her ankle. It was embarrassing to have to make this journey, to admit to John that she was in trouble, but she couldn't put Jo at risk. Never. She was in the process of tracking down a spirit that was causing havoc in the areas surrounding her bar - all the hunters were talking about it  - but she couldn't do it alone. Without her husband to help her, she didn't have enough connections to get more information about the demon, and there was no telling who it would go for next. She had to protect her daughter.

As she came up to the splintering, wooden door of the bungalow's dingy porch, she noticed a silver bullet lying on the doorstep. John was getting careless with his supplies. He'd never really recovered from the grief of losing Mary, and she wasn't sure how much longer he would go before he broke completely. 

Maybe he was already gone. 

Dismissing the thought, she rapped on the door, ignoring the worryingly-loud creaking noises coming from the hinges. Silence. She knocked again, this time pounding her fist against the wood. Still no answer. 

In the end, she opted for the easy way: her boot slammed into the door, almost swinging it off its hinges. Stamping her foot on the step to shake off the dust, she strode into the house.

"Hello? John? John Winchester?" She called, standing in the kitchen entrance. Maybe he wasn't in, but, then again, it was the school holidays. Sam and Dean should be.

"Hello?" She shouted again. The kitchen was small and plain, and her voice barely echoed before the silence returned. It appeared the house was empty. Perhaps she should leave. 

Biting her lip in a moment of indecision, she leant against the counter, idly surveying the few personal items that were strewn across the cabinets. A butter knife lay amid some crumbs, and there were various old keys lying about next to some old lore document.

She reached for the latter, the paper stiff and dry in her hands, and began to read, but was written in an indecipherable old hand, and so she lay it back in its place, deciding it was probably something John was working on. Maybe he was even out investigating it right now. 

But still, where could Sam and Dean be? Surely John hadn't taken them out on the hunt. If he had, when he got back he would be in for one hell of a smacking. She'd never properly met John's boys - just heard the occasional story about them, and they sounded sweet. Sweet kids in a sour home. Maybe they liked it; maybe they enjoyed the thrill of chasing demons, or maybe they liked to hear the stories of it. But somehow, Ellen couldn't imagine it being in any way fun for long. Not even for a danger-hungry child. 

In the end, it would just be scary. 

Finding nothing of interest, she gave up on the kitchen, walking over to the door at the other side, which supposedly lead to the rest of the house. Opening it cautiously, she stepped into what appeared to be a living room of sorts. It was cluttered, but not with the usual family photos and books and ornaments found in a living room. Instead, it was filled to bursting with weapons. 

Guns, knives, bullets, silver, axes - the lot and more. There was a bookcase stuffed  with ammo and one next to it shoved full of lore books. The place was like a warehouse for the army - and probably contained more, as well. There was something about that felt so horribly wrong. To think that the kids had grown up with this room in their house as normal; to think that they knew these things existed - God, they'd probably had their fair share of using them. 

It wasn't good. No, no. John Winchester was messed up. Ellen couldn't help but feel unsympathetic towards him - yes, she'd brought Jo up working in a bar, and she knew that more than one man had approached her little daughter, but nothing had happened. Ellen had taught Jo to stand up for herself, to stand her ground.

She hadn't taught her how to kill. 

It was at that precise moment that she heard the cry: a desperate call from somewhere further into the building.

"DEAN!" 

She had barely taken a step before the gunshot rattled through the house.

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