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FIC: The Woodsman and the Widow

Title: The Woodsman and the Widow
Fandom: Supernatural
Pairing: Ellen Harvelle/Rufus Turner, prior Ellen/Bill
Words/Rating: 1500 words / PG-13
Summary At Bill's wake, Rufus makes Ellen an offer, alpha to omega. She's too smart not to take it.

A/N: This is another installment of what I'm now calling the Fairy Tale 'verse, which also includes my Jo/Sam a/b/o fics These Spooky Old Woods and Too Hot, Too Cold, Just Right. I've been wanting to write some Rufus/Ellen for a while, and stripytights got me thinking about this 'verse again today. So, here's the story of how (and why) Rufus became Jo's stepfather.

Also available at AO3 here.

~~~~~

Rufus finds Ellen at the wake. Steve is tending bar tonight, thank God, and she can sit on her stool and sip on her beer in peace, nobody bothering the recently bereaved widow. Nobody except for Rufus. He slides up onto the stool next to hers, nods to Steve. Soon enough a fifth of that specialty stuff he likes slides in front of him. He takes his time sipping on it.

She has an idea what he’s sitting here for. It’s a necessary conversation, but she’s in no hurry to have it.

“Jo doing all right?” he asks finally.

“Well enough.” Just to be sure, Ellen glances over to the corner where Jo and Tamara Willis are keeping each other occupied, Tamara’s alpha Isaac presiding. Ellen feels a little sorry about that, their own loss being so recent. She doesn’t feel a lot sorry, though. She hasn’t got room enough left for that.

“And yourself?”

Ellen takes a big swallow, feels the burn down her throat like the burn behind her eyelids. “About what you’d expect.”

Rufus nods, slow and ponderous. The weight of the loss hangs on him, too, though not nearly so heavy as it hangs on her. He and Bill went back a long time. He takes another sip and says, “You planning on what to do next?”

And here’s the question Ellen’s been expecting. “Keep the bar, raise up Jo, keep her safe.” These are all Ellen cares to think about. The rest is just details - ought to be just details.

“And in a couple of months?” When she goes into heat, he means. Funny how as loud and blustery a bastard as Rufus Turner turns circumspect when it comes to omega business.

“Haven’t got a plan for that yet.”

“Uh huh.” Rufus gives his Irish whisky a good, hard look. “Listen. Back east, I ain’t got nothing but an antiquated heap of boards. You need an alpha to come keep an eye, stake his claim every six months, you tell me.”

“You don’t need to do that,” Ellen says. It’s a token protest.

“I’m just saying. Omega and kid, running a joint like this with alphas coming in and out all the time? Not saying most of ‘em would mess with anything that belonged to Bill Harvelle, but some might. He was a friend, and I don’t want to see anything happening to you or Jo.”

Decent of him, to make it as much about Jo as about her. It’s even true. Ellen wouldn’t be the only one suffering if – when – some alpha decided to take advantage of an unmated omega.

Rufus continues, “You say the word, I’ll pack my worldly possessions and high-tail it over here.”

“I’ll think about it,” Ellen says.

She already knows what she’ll tell him.

--

They tie the knot in approved Normal fashion, with a marriage certificate and rings. Rufus leans down to let her peck him on the lips. The clerk smiles on approvingly.

It’s for Jo; if anything happens to Ellen, she wants Rufus to have some better legal standing than ‘live-in boyfriend.’

Rufus acts like he moved all the way here to sleep on her couch. She cures him of that notion; she pulls him into bed that night and gives him the dubious honor of holding her while she sobs.

It’s three weeks Bill’s been gone.

--

The Roadhouse might be home to Rufus now, as much as any place is, but that doesn’t mean Ellen sees him all that much. He stops in when his hunts bring him around, stays a few nights drinking Ellen’s liquor and chatting up the locals and the passers-through. It’s at least half show; he wasn’t here half so often when Bill was alive, and they had a hell of a lot more to say to each other than he and Ellen do.

He’s staking his claim, as promised, if not in quite the way he meant it then. She’s known to be his, now, the roadhouse under his protection, and that’s what she and Jo need most.

That’s not to say she minds it so much, those nights when she’s got him to warm her cold feet up against.

--

Rufus comes around a good week before her heat comes in, and he doesn’t leave. Ellen sends Jo to stay with neighbors - Normal neighbors, who thinks Ellen’s going on her honeymoon with that man she took up with so soon after Bill’s death.

Near enough, Ellen supposes. It’s not so different from what normals do on honeymoons: she and Rufus lock themselves in the bedroom and don’t come out for three days.

“Now, was that so bad?” he teases as he’s leaving.

And it wasn’t. God forgive her, it’s been four months since Bill’s passing, and Ellen didn’t know how much she’d been feeling that particular need until it was filled. So to speak. Not that she’s going to tell Rufus that, self-satisfied bastard that he is.

She kisses him, though. Leans right up and plants one on him, and even if it didn’t feel so natural, it’d have been worth it anyway for the look on his face.

--

The thing about marrying another damn fool hunter – not that she’d prefer her chances with a mage – is that sometimes he, as hunters do, bites off more than he can chew. Then he expects Ellen stitch him up and change out his bandages and generally face the fact of his mortality calmly and without emotion.

“How’d you live this long with that much stupid in your skull?” Ellen asks, wiping the dribbles of antiseptic from the third of seven claw-shaped gashes she’s found so far. “Going after a wendigo with nothing but a shotgun and good intentions.”

“You’re more nag than that Donnie Hall’s sway-backed mare.”

Ellen presses her towel into the next wound, and Rufus flinches. He keeps on grumbling, though, his usual endless stream of crap, right up to when she throws the bloody towel on the floor and says, “You think I ain’t lost enough husbands for one year?”

He flinches harder this time, all through his body and up into his eyes. Ellen isn’t sorry. She finishes cleaning him up and puts him to bed, and then she goes and sleeps with Jo.

--

Ellen gives Rufus a call one day and asks him to drop by the next time he’s able. Nothing wrong, she promises him; some business she wouldn’t mind him taking care of, but no hurry. She doesn’t want him hurrying, nor worrying, either. She knows he’s been trying not to worry her, although taking his broken ribs to Steve Wandell and holing up there was taking it a sight too far. He knows that now; she was very clear about it.

He gives her a call when he’s close. She locates Jo elsewhere and leaves the bar to Josh, the kid who’s taking the back room as part of his wages. Good kid. Knew better than to bother her when she didn’t want to be bothered, like now.

When Rufus gets in, she settles him on the sofa and brings him a whisky from the bar, a scotch for herself. Hers is liquid courage. His is just comfort, maybe. She won’t ask.

When she finishes, she shoves her glass across the coffe table, and she cozies right up to him. He eyes her; he knows this isn’t just Ellen needing some arms to hold her. She reaches up and cups his jaw; she thumbs across the patch of scruff that runs down the middle of his chin.

“And just what are you planning to do now?” he asks.

“Mm,” Ellen says, and leans in for a kiss. She hasn’t kissed him much, just a peck here and there, a goodbye for luck as he goes off to a new hunt. Not like this.

When she pulls back to a take a breath, Rufus says, “Not that I’m complaining, but what did I miss? There some special occasion I don’t know about?”

“Well,” Ellen says, “it is our anniversary.”

She watches him tick through the months in his head as his eyebrows rise higher and higher. “Uh huh,” he says finally, like he thinks she’ll bawl him out for forgetting. Like that’s the kind of relationship this is.

“A year now. I thought maybe it was time we sealed the deal.” Ellen runs her hand up his thigh, and a shiver runs through him. No question he’s interested, anyway.

Still, he says, “You saying a couple of marathon heat screwings don’t count?”

“No. They don’t.”

He ain’t Bill, and she can’t swear she doesn’t think of Bill at any point in the proceedings. Rufus just laughs and wipes the tears off her. After it all, he mutters into the dark, “You know I didn’t get you anything.”

Ellen’s almost asleep; it takes her a moment to reply. “You came when I called,” she says.

--

Rufus doesn’t hunt quite so often now. He sells booze from behind the bar, and he scowls at all the alphas making eyes at Jo, and every night he’s home, he sleeps with Ellen’s head tucked under his chin.

[end]

Original entry posted at Dreamwidth. Feel free to reply here or there. (comment count unavailable DW replies)

Comments

( 6 comments — Leave a comment )
stripytights
Feb. 13th, 2013 03:48 pm (UTC)
Aw man this made me feel so conflicted which was amazing. On the one hand \o/ Rufus being awesome, and loving how pragmatic Ellen is (and how convincingly it was written,) on the other hand D: at the need for that pragmatism and such a tough world.

I really liked the build up of their relationship in this- it's not fake, nor is it ideal, it's necessary and yet still has that little extra spark. Lovely job.
snickfic
Feb. 13th, 2013 11:40 pm (UTC)
Yay, I am so glad you liked it! I realized as I was writing all that out to you yesterday how much headcanon I have for this 'verse that's never appeared in any of the stories. Like, clearly at some point John finds out about Mary being a hunter, when Dean pops a knot if not before. And then as I thought about the Rufus/Ellen backstory, I realized how much my sort of story it was, and I had to write it down. As you say - necessary, not ideal, but not without warmth for all that.

Thank you for the lovely comment. :)
brutti_ma_buoni
Feb. 13th, 2013 10:10 pm (UTC)
Ach, meant to comment this morning and failed. I enjoyed this *a lot*. That sense of Ellen being practical, being fair to Rufus, moving on and braving the world; and yet still hugely hurting over Bill. It all just quietly fits together and is very satisfying as it goes.
snickfic
Feb. 13th, 2013 11:43 pm (UTC)
Yay, thank you! I am so glad the emotions rang true. As you may have picked up on, these quiet sorts of stories are some of my favorites. :)
scarletscarlet
Feb. 15th, 2013 07:39 pm (UTC)
One of my favourite things about this 'verse is the thing where "heat" sex doesn't get counted as sex by Ellen and Jo - a biological necessity that's intrusive, (can be fun, can be unwelcome) and is considered very, very different from the sex someone chooses to have with someone else when it's not body chemistry screwing everything up.

I like very much that Rufus and Ellen's arrangement had some affection as well as utility, and that the former eventually grew into something more for them, too.
snickfic
Feb. 16th, 2013 04:26 am (UTC)
Yep. *nod* Heat sex is necessary, but not meaningful in an intimacy sort of way. I mean, the ideal situation is that an omega be with an alpha with whom they want to share that intimacy anyway, and so heat sex is just another type of sex. However, we haven't seen an omega in that scenario.

Utility+affection growing into something more is one of my favorite kinds of stories. It's when I realized that that must have been what happened here that I decided to write this. :)

I'm glad you enjoyed!
( 6 comments — Leave a comment )

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