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Story Notes:
Disclaimer: Characters belong to Kripke
Written for: drytinder for the 2008 apocalyptothon
Prompt: Bela & Bobby & Ellen & the brothers Winchester in the aftermath (this one can end anyway you want it to)
Warning: Character death. (Apocalypse!)
Setting: Sort of an AU future after season two, minus the soul selling. Bela's in the fic, though.
For the first time in decades, it is safe for Ellen to walk alone at night.

She can protect herself, but she no longer must. She still has her guns, and her knowledge, but she doesn’t need them. There’s nothing else left, just her and weapons with nothing to shoot. She cleans them and oils them and, for a long while, waits.

They have a plan.

Sure, this isn’t quite what they expected. The demons would end the world, that was fucking obvious, and so they would meet up and hunt together, any of them left. They would recruit any they could and then ride out into the end, guns blazing.

Except there are no demons at the end of the world.

That was the first sign of the apocalypse.

The second was the way people just started dying. They didn’t get sick, there were no boils or vomiting or anything at all. One second they’d be alive, the next dead, and no one knew why.

Not everyone died. At first it was in other countries, except the demons were disappearing everywhere. Then, in Los Angeles, starlets turned up dead. The Winchesters went to investigate. She hasn’t heard from them since.

They went west, and Bobby went east, and she stuck to the middle of the country, looking for Jo, who had dropped out of contact weeks ago, and keeping an eye out for dead bodies.

She didn’t see much of either for over a month – sure, people died, but it was all natural causes, as far as she could tell, and Jo was absolutely non-existent.

Then it came, spread across the plains states, and she bunkered down, stuck to the plan.

Bobby calls while she’s waiting. They’re not supposed to call, they’re supposed to meet up, stick together, but when he tells her he’s found Jo, she doesn’t care so much for the plan anymore.

Especially when she finds out Jo’s dead, just like the others. He’s gonna burn her body, but he knows he has to wait for Ellen. She heads his way fast, puts her foot down on the gas pedal and doesn’t stop until the truck threatens to shake apart.

Her baby girl’s dead, and for awhile she doesn’t care that the rest of the world is going with her.

~~*

The monsters are gone, but Ellen is careful to salt her daughter’s body. It’s just an empty shell, but she’ll be damned if it rises up and comes for her. She’ll be damned if she has to put down her daughter, bury her twice.

They stand together long into the night, until the black sky fades to blue and then lightens, yellow and orange and red. The trees, dark silhouettes, block the sunrise itself, but every time she blinks, the colors change, grow brighter, and the darkness flees.

It is a new day, a new dawn, and she is the last of her family.

~~*

Bobby doesn’t say he’s sorry. Probably he doesn’t know how. Instead he cooks breakfast and gives her his extra blankets so she can sprawl across the cab of her truck, block out the sun, and sleep.

When she wakes, those damn Winchester brothers are sitting with Bobby, drinking coffee and talking in low voices. Her hair is a mess, her face gritty, and her mouth tastes like she swallowed ash and salt.

She climbs out of the truck, trailing blankets, and goes to join them.

“Ellen,” Sam says, and stands when she approaches. He always was too polite for his own damn good. “I’m really sorry.”

It hurts, hearing it like that, but he’s trying to do the right thing. She gives him a little nod, and meets his eyes. Bobby hands her a cup of coffee – it’s bitter and some of the grinds are still in it and stick to her teeth. Neither he nor Dean says anything about her Jo, which is good. She’s not sure she can take anymore.

“So what did you find out, boys?”

It’s best to keep her mind on business at hand.

“Not much.” Sam sits down when she does. “It’s not demon related; there aren’t any demons left. No one knows anything about the human deaths. They’re all recorded as natural causes, but it can’t be that. There are too many, and they all just – die.”

“The government’s not saying much. Just press release after press release about how they’re looking into it and not to panic. They’re worried, though. They’d have to be, but I’ve heard some talk. It’s not good. They want to close the borders. They don’t know if that will help.” Bobby drained his coffee. “No one knows anything, and that’s a real problem.”

“Have you talked to any witches? Is this magic?”

Sam and Dean exchange a look. “Maybe,” Sam concedes. “We don’t know any.”

“I do.” Ellen sighs and pushes herself to her feet. Her knees ache and her hips don’t feel right. She’s getting old, no matter how much she tries to fool herself. “Come on. We got some driving ahead of us.”

~~*

It’s not witches.

Well, if it is, it’s not normal witchcraft. Demon-fueled, maybe, and that could be why all the demons disappeared. Angie, her best source, isn’t sure. All she has is a name, and an artifact which might or might not have caused such disappearances and deaths in the past.

They’re looking for a Bela Talbot and a crown said to have ended the world.

~~*

Bela’s a pretty thing. Bobby knows her, tracks her down. They corner her in a hotel. They’re the only people there, because no one does much traveling anymore. Too afraid they’ll die on the road. Too afraid they’ll come home to houses full of dead families.

Bela’s not intimidated by them, not by their guns or Dean’s glare or the way they come rolling into the parking lot, their vehicles all rumbling in a row. She opens the door for them, offers to heat water for tea in her electric kettle.

She even speaks freely about the crown.

“Yes, I had it,” she says, and crosses one leg over the other. She folds her hands together on her lap, but no one is fooled by her fake politeness and modesty.

Sam leans forward, his eyes locked on her, and for a brief second there’s this expression on his face.

Well, it doesn’t fool almost anyone.

“And where is it now?” Dean presses.

“I sold it. To a buyer in Los Angeles.”

“You sold it.” Dean’s voice has gone flat, and he clenches and unclenches one fist.

“Of course. That’s what I do.”

There’s gonna be a fight if something doesn’t change fast.

“Where did you find it?” It doesn’t make sense that she sold it to a buyer in L.A. Too many things had gone wrong before then, too many deaths in other places. Ellen tries to put it all together.

“My dealer found it in Croatia. The stones were first discovered in New Zealand and smuggled out of the country. They were later set into a necklace-crown. It takes a lot of blood spilled to power them, I was told.”

“Why are you telling us so much information?”

She smiles a little, and gives a bit of a shrug. “You do have me outnumbered and outgunned.”

“True.”

“Usually my clients are simply collectors. They do not intend to use the artifacts I procure for them. This time – well, I do enjoy my life, and would like to continue living it.”

“So you think there’s a way to stop it?”

She smiles again, lifts her hands, palms to the ceiling. “If there is, surely your little band of merry men will be the ones to find it.” Ellen isn’t certain, but she thinks there’s a good dose of sarcasm to Bela’s words.

It doesn’t matter. She tells them identifying details of the buyer. She helps, whether she believes in them or not. It’s likely Ellen will never see her again.

It just isn’t fair, that Jo is dead, and this woman, sarcastic and fake, who causes trouble and possibly the end of the world, is allowed to live.

It’s a good thing Ellen gave up on believing in fairness long before the end of the world.

End


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