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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2. Sweet Children

Ellen had always been the sort of person to get on with things - she wasn't one to hesitate - and right now, this was certainly a useful quality. Sparking into action, she bolted through the living room and into a corridor, turning her head one way, and then the other. There were muffled scraping sounds coming from her right and she ploughed down the corridor on that side, only slowing slightly when she reached the door at the end.

Not even stopping to consider the situation, she smashed her boot into the centre of the wood, smacking it open, and toppled into the room. 

Lying down, stretched out in the middle of the floor, was a small but well-built boy of about ten, his left cheek smeared with blood and his eyes dazed, an army rifle lying awkwardly over his chest. Next to him sat a smaller kid, bouncy brown hair framing his childish face, patting the unconscious boy's shoulders repeatedly, tears streaming down his face. He looked up at her, nothing in his eyes except the most blatant panic. 

"I - I, I don't underst-" The younger boy began to say, but Ellen cut him off, striding over to him and kneeling down.

"What the hell happened?" She asked. "Are you...Sam? Look, we gotta get your brother some help!" She exclaimed, examining the nasty scrape on the older boy's cheek. It was deep and already starting to bruise, blood slowly ebbing out of the wound. 

"There was a, a demon, and it came in and Dean shot it but the g-gun hit him when he fired and the demon left but he won't wake up and Dad's out and, and-" Sam's spout of words lost all form when he burst into tears. Ellen hushed him and attempted to calm him down, but he just kept on at his brother, willing him to wake up. Willing him to come back.

In the meantime, Ellen couldn't believe what she'd heard. John had left his kids in an unprotected house, and some awful demon had come in and attacked the boys. Dean had got himself all bloodied up because he'd tried to look after his little brother - that had been left down to him. A, what, ten year old boy? Looking after a household and a little kid all by himself; protecting everyone but himself from the demon. She was beyond angry.

"Sam. Go get me a first aid kit - you've got one, right?" Sam nodded through his tears and ran out of the door. Ellen grabbed a pillow from the bed in the corner of the room and propped Dean up on it. What would have happened if she hadn't arrived? Would Dean still be there, knocked out on the floor, with Sam desperate for him to wake up but unable to do anything? It was awful.

Shifting herself up onto her knees, she gratefully took the first aid kit from a flustered Sam, who'd dashed into the room at the speed of a professional runner, and rummaged through it. She found some antibacterial wipes, and cautiously cleaned away the blood around the graze. Once it was clean, she dabbed the area with cream and covered it with a strip of bandage. 

"Sam?" She called. He was squatting down next to Dean, lips pinched tightly together, but looked up at his name. "Put this pillow back on the bed, would you?" She asked, and he nodded, scurrying across the room and back. He was so quiet, Ellen marvelled. Jo never closed her mouth unless she could help it, and it occurred to Ellen that maybe this was what life was like for the boys. Follow Dad's orders. Don't argue back. 

Sighing, she heaved Dean's body into the air, carrying him as quickly as possible to the bed, where she lay him down gently, the pillow supporting his head. 

"Is he gonna be okay?" Sam's timid voice asked from where he stood by her side. 

"I think so, Sam. I hope so. Now, where's your Dad gone?" She said, trying to keep the whirling angry storm inside her from exploding outwards.

"He, um...he...who are you?" He asked, finally realising his situation. She doubted he'd fully thought about what was happening when she'd burst through the door and, well, rescued the pair of them. He'd just blurted out all that stuff about Dean shooting the demon without thinking about who he could be talking to - it was lucky Ellen was fairly handy when it came to the Hell dimension. 

"I'm Ellen, sweetie. Friend of your dad's." She reassured him, before realising that she might not be quite as good friends with John as she'd thought after this. Then again, she'd managed to forgive him for the time her husband was killed. It had taken a lot of time, but she had. If John had an explanation for this incident, maybe it wouldn't be so bad. 

There was a moment of silence, before Sam spoke up again:

"Thank you, Ellen." 

"That's okay, Sam." 

A noise coming from within the house caught Ellen's attention. It was the unforgettable stomping sound of John Winchester's footsteps, followed by various muttered curses. He obviously wasn't too please about the front door, then.

She could hear him walking around, most likely in the kitchen, and she couldn't help but wonder what he was going to do. Of course he wasn't going to gush over his sons and plead Ellen for forgiveness, but he might show some emotion. John was a hardened man, but he wasn't heartless. He wasn't.

The clomping continued, steadily getting louder, before the door in the corridor opened, and the man himself walked into the room. 

"Ellen?" John asked, bewildered. "The hell are you doing here?"

"Good afternoon, John." She said, blandly. The two of them stood, facing each other, Ellen with her arms folded and John with his shoulders back. 

"I said, what are you doing?" 

"Why don't you ask your boys, huh? Why don't you let them tell you all about it?" She spat, stepping aside so that John could see the rest of the room. His face fell.

"What the..." He pushed past her and ran to the bed, dropping down to the height of the mattress. He shook Dean's shoulders gently, in an attempt to wake him, but when that didn’t work, he stood up, and strode over to Sam.

"Sam? Sam, how did this happen? How did-" He stopped short, his eyes falling on a patch of floor beneath the windowsill. Ellen followed his gaze to a small spread of black dust. 

"Sulphur." She whispered to herself.

John's lips tightened, and he turned back to Sam.

"It, it, it wasn't Dean's fault! I promise!" Sam cried, as John shook his head. 

"Course it is." He said, dangerously quiet.

"I'm sorry?" Ellen interjected. "It's 'his fault'? What are you talking about - you left them alone in an unguarded house to ward off a demon-"

"It was only unguarded because Dean didn't join up the damn salt circle properly!" John yelled. There was a slight pause, before Ellen stepped forward.

"That's. It." She said. "That's enough. If you wanted the salt circle done properly, you should have drawn the goddamn salt circle. And if you wanted to get rid of a demon, you should have shot it yourself, not left your ten year-old son to fire at it at knock himself out with the rebound!" She shouted, ignoring the black anger that was shadowing John's face. 

"Get out of my house." John snarled. "Just get out. You don't know shit about this family." He straightened up, shaking his head in disbelief.

"I'm not leaving until I know that both of your sons are well and good, and that they'll stay that way." Ellen said, moving to block the doorway. 

"Oh they'll be just fine. I'd worry about yourself if I were you." He said quietly.

"Good thing you're not." She retorted, barging past him and kneeling down beside Dean. The boy was looking a lot less pale than before, but he was still out cold. She mentally crossed her fingers, hoping he would wake up soon enough for her to make sure he was alright. 

"Get away from my son." John said slowly. She shook her head. "Ellen..." She didn't move. 

"Ellen!" She heard Sam cry from the corner of the room where he'd been standing the whole time. Spinning her head round, she looked up just too late to see John send a firm fist into the back of her neck.

There was a flash of red pain, and she crumpled backwards onto the floor, her whole head buzzing and sparking. Shifting about, she rolled over, and slid to her knees, heaving herself up from the floor.

Staggering forward, Ellen stood a few feet away from John. 

"You bastard." She spat, her vision fizzing with yellow and purple stars. "You absolute bastard." 

She raised an arm up. There would be no holding back now - not even with the boys in the room.

She was going to bring John down.

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