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SPN Fanfic: When the Fiddler Stops - Part 1 of 3 (RATED R) - CaffieneKittySpace
('i' before 'e' if you're looking for me)
SPN Fanfic: When the Fiddler Stops - Part 1 of 3 (RATED R)
Title: When the Fiddler Stops 1/3
Characters: Ash, Ellen, random Roadhouse OC's
Rating: GEN, R (Language!!! Violence!!! And a lot of death eventually!)
Warnings: SPOILERS for EP 2.21 (All Hell Breaks Loose, Part 1) and inferential spoilers for Ep 2.22 (AHBL 2) Also contains violence, egregious abuse of bar equipment and more swearing than I've had in any fic, like, ever, because some people are incorrigible potty-mouths when the camera's off. Looking at you, Dr. Badass.
Word Count: About 9000 words in total - 2118 this part.
Disclaimer: Ash, Ellen, the Winchesters, the world, the bar, all Kripke's. OC's are based on background extras, mostly, so Kripke probably owns them too.
Summary: Definitely not a typical night at the Roadhouse. An alternate missing scene for AHBL 1. Assorted POV's, primarily Ash. NOT HUMOR. (Huge A/N after cut, and more at the end, because I talk too much.)
Special Thanks To: wynterwolf47 who beta'd this, and without whom many poker players' heads would have exploded.

A/N: This is all based on my initial perception that there were some big chunky rings on the burnt hand with the watch on it in the Roadhouse wreckage in AHBL 1, but it was just exposed knuckle bone and a thumbnail. (I love the Special Effects people on this show!!) Also, I'd thought maybe Dean recognized Ash's watch because it was once Dean's, Sam's or John's watch. But it's not. Arg. However, the hand was still a right hand, not the left that Ash wore his watch on, and I think it had a sleeve too, now that I look again...

Anyway, this story was well underway by the time I figured out I was wrong about the rings, and then AHBL 2 aired... well, I thought Ash's urgent secret was quite different than it turned out to be. And then out of nowhere the damn plot-bunny went crazy on me and just. Wouldn't. STOP. And then it got sulky and wouldn't cooperate for months. But now it's done and dead, and here's the result. *salts and burns the plot-bunny corpse*

So. This is a highly improbable, microscopic, pretzel-free AU of no real consequence, an alternate version of what could have happened at the Roadhouse. Might be a wee bit cracky and really cheesy, might be utter crap. Definitely violent and contains in total at least 30 occurrences of the F-word overall and a smattering of other bleepables.

Please, for the love of all you hold dear, tell me what you think! This is way different than the stuff I usually write, so I'm really curious what y'all think of it. If people pelt me with eggs for it, I'll just delete it and call it a hallucination. :-)

It's in three parts, but will be updating within the next few days. It's all done already, just being tweaked.

Mainly though? I wrote this because I wanted a demonic bar brawl, dammit!


When the Fiddler Stops
Part 1
by CaffieneKitty
- - -

It's partner found, it's partner lost
and it's hell to pay when the fiddler stops:
it's closing time.
- "Closing Time", Leonard Cohen

Ash hung up and checked his watch. 8:18. Fuck. Unless Dean was in the state, there was no way he would make it to the Roadhouse before the shit hit the fan.

"Hey there," he bared his teeth and nodded at yet another unfamiliar face, and sidled through the door to the kitchen. Instead of going to his room though, he ducked to the side and opened the door to the back cooler.

A rifle greeted him. He greeted it back with a "Whoa!"

"Ash! Dammit!" hissed Ellen, lowering the gun barrel. "Knock!"

"Sorry, distracted," he stepped over the sill of the cooler door and the fresh line of salt just inside it, closing the door behind him. "Don't think Dean and Bobby are gonna make it here in time for the party."

Ellen put the rifle down and resumed disconnecting the dedicated water lines for the soda guns behind the bar. "That's a shame," she said, tight-jawed, "but maybe just as well. How's it look up front?"

"I count about two definite, one possible," Ash sniffed, "and a handful that might change sides just for the hell of it. If you'll 'scuse the pun."

Ellen shot him a stern look. "This isn't a joking matter, Ash."

"Hell, I know that!" Ash snagged a bottle of beer from an open case on the cooler shelf and cracked it open. Why the fuck not, after all. It'd calm his nerves. "We are in a heap of freshly stirred shit."

Ellen watched Ash take the beer and said nothing, reconnecting the water line to the first of two large kegs marked 'Special Reserve' on an overhead shelf. "Alright. We'll hold off as long as we can, but if they can't get here..."

Ash drank the beer and looked twitchy.

"How sure are you they won't get here in time?" Ellen asked.

"Damn sure, 'less that car of Dean's can fly. Estimate we've got two hours at most before the demons make their move."

"Can you e-mail it to them? Get the information out?"

Ash shook back his hair. "Running Outlook on the tracking computer was givin' me all kinds of false positives for demonic activity, so..." He wilted under Ellen's glare. "There's no way there's something secure enough to send this, especially to a fucking cell phone. No telling how far this has gotten, but I'd say pretty damned far. We need to get to them in person and have a sit-down somewhere at the ass-end of nowhere. We all need to get the fuck out of here."

"You need to get out of here, get to Dean and Bobby. This is my bar, Bill and I started this place when I got pregnant, and I'm not going to take off and leave it and the people in it to those bastards."

"No fucking way, Ellen. Jo'd have my ass if you die. I like my ass."

Ellen cracked a tense grin. "Now, Ash, you know I've been tellin' you for years. Jo doesn't want your ass."

Ash smirked. "Who's the joker now?"

Ellen finished connecting the second water line to the other keg. "Gonna need a car. The truck's got a busted leaf-spring and a blown head gasket, and the RV's been up on blocks since '92."

"I thought your day guy was supposed to get the parts to fix that truck three weeks ago."

"Ethan? He's been finding excuses not to, doing the errands into town himself..."

Ash nodded. "Make that two definites and two possibles."

Ellen glowered. "Who are the guys you figure to change sides?"

Ash jerked his hear towards the bar on the other side of the cooler wall. "Spence McCall. Gary Suleiman. Nick Petroski."

Ellen pressed her lips together and nodded. "Yeah. They've been dipping a little far into the shadows lately, more ways than one... Anyone out there to be rallied, when the time comes?"

"Maybe, here and there. Ken Braddock and his usual gang of bullshitters were tits-deep in a poker game, last I looked."

Ellen nodded, reconnecting the CO2 line and checking the gauge. The dial read in the green, ready to go.

"Terry Dearborn was coming in the door before I got on the phone, didn't see if he was with anyone."

"He's an ass, but he's alright."

"As long as they ain't got to him first. Hell, anybody can be turned when it comes to that." Ash suddenly looked up and met Ellen's eyes examining him.

"Cristo," they said simultaneously. Ash smirked again.

Ellen rolled her eyes. "Can you sneak out and steal someone's car?"

Ash held up his hands and wiggled his fingers. "Sure, if it had a fucking keyboard."

Ellen scowled. "I've gotta get back out there. Lucy knows to keep Ethan off the soda guns, but it's a busy night. We can't let on we know. If our hand tips early, they'll attack before we're ready." She glanced up at the kegs. "You need to get a working vehicle."

Ash nodded and turned to the door, but stopped with his hand on the handle. "Hey... Ellen?"


"I'm glad that Jo fucked off, I mean, took off. So she's not here today. Y'know?"

Ellen's face hardened for a second. "No one's gladder about that than me right now. But thanks, Ash."


Ash sauntered out of the back hall, nodding at Spence McCall and his cronies who were bellied up to the bar and monopolizing Ethan. Then Spence and Ethan both turned to stare blankly at him, and Ash felt a chill down the back of his neck that his mullet couldn't block.

Three definites and two possibles. Fuck me sideways, Ash thought.

Lucy was wiping off glassware and watching the cluster at the bar. She nodded at Ash. One ally. Around the bar, the number of unfamiliar faces lurking around the sides of the room... God damn.

Ash avoided making eye contact in his usual non-suspicious and suave way and picked his way through to the poker table. Ken Braddock, blowhard extraordinaire, sat at the table with Claudia, Terry, and... well thank fucking Christ. Ted Averette, Ken and Claudia's little shadow. Shitty at poker, Ash had heard, but well-off enough not to give a rat's ass how much cash he spread around, especially if it was to other hunters.

"Saaaay, d'you all happen to have a spare seat for this hand?" Ash asked, trying not to glance around the room.

Nearly in unison, four faces turned to stare at the mulleted intruder. "For who?" grunted Ken, leaning back in his chair with a grin.

"My glorious self, of course."

"Erm... Ash, duckie..." ventured Terry, greying head tilting forward, his British-accented words mock-apologetic. "I hate to break this to you, but you don't play poker."

"Who says I don't?"

"Well, you, as I recall. Last month wasn't it? Something about poker being for idiots who couldn't count past thirteen?" Terry winked across the table at Claudia, who grinned back and snapped her gum.

Ash nodded, "Maybe I changed my mind."

Ken raised his eyebrows at Ash and Terry grinned ferally.

"Man's got a right to change his fucking mind." Ash watched two of the definites cross from opposite sides of the bar to sit at a corner table in the back, facing the poker game. They immediately leaned in to talk to each other. Time was fucking ticking. "Am I in?"

"Depends," drawled Ken. "You got money?"

Aw, shit. "Uh, not really..."

The table broke up laughing.

Behind Ash, Ellen came out through the kitchen door and whispered to Lucy, who scurried out into the main bar area with a tray and an order pad. Ellen stood behind the bar, fiddling with something under the counter away from Ethan, watching and waiting.

Fuck it, no time for this shit. Sam and Dean'd understand. "But I've got this." He peeled the watch off his left wrist, quickly noted the time - nearly eight thirty - and tossed it into the pot in the center of the table.

Ted, pushed his dark-rimmed glasses up, leaned in and peered at the watch. "Fifty bucks, if it was new," he sniffed.

Claudia grinned over towards Terry as though sharing a private joke, but Terry was looking curiously at Ash like he was a new kind of bug. "Not enough," Ken said. "Ante is a hun-"

"That there's John Winchester's watch," Ash said.

The table fell silent for a half-second. Claudia wrinkled her nose, and leaned back. Ted looked at the watch again like it would bite him. Terry gave a slow nod, still staring at Ash.

Ken glowered at the watch then at Ash. "...Bullshit."

"God's honest fuckin' truth." Or near enough.

"How'd you get it?"

"Did his son a favor once." The hunters at the table exchanged glances, except Terry, who had raised an eyebrow.

"Must have been quite a favor to get something of John's away from one of those two," Terry said.

Ash ducked his head. "He didn't exactly give it to me, more like left it with me for safe-keeping."

"And your idea of safe-keeping is to use it to get into a game of poker?"

"Am I in or not?" Come on, fuckers, come on.

Terry glanced over at Ken, who was still scowling at the watch. "Well, if no-one objects, I shall cover Ash's marker," Terry said, placing a hand on the neatly stacked pile of twenties in front of him.

"Naw," Ken said, reaching in and engulfing John's watch with his right hand. "I'll cover it. I always did want a piece of John Winchester." He tossed in a handful of cash into the pot with a grin. "Dunno what it is you plan on wagering with no money, Ash, but prepare to lose it. You've got your seat."


Ellen counted heads again and put down her pencil, picked up the stack of coasters and placed them carefully on the cork-lined serving tray next to a dozen small glasses. It had been a long time since Bill and her had set this all this up, back during the build-up to Devil's Gate, just in case. Hardly anyone knew about it anymore. Coordinating a group of random hunters like this without prior arrangement, argument, and pissing matches was about like herding cats. Not that there was much choice for anyone in this. Ellen hoped they...

Well, Ellen just hoped.

Out of the corner of her eye she noticed Ethan looming in her direction and looked up.

"Are the soda guns back up?" he asked.

Ellen bared her teeth. "No, they're down for the night. They need a part from town for the CO2 feed. Tank supplier'll deliver it tomorrow."

Ethan raised an eyebrow and spoke slowly, like an oil slick spreading across a calm lake. "You were back there a long time, Ellen. Are you sure it's just one part? Maybe I should take a look."

"No," Ellen said flatly. "It's a busy night, I need you out front." Not in back where you can see there's nothing wrong with the CO2. The way he handled salt shakers made Ellen think the salt line in the cooler doorway wouldn't have much effect on him.

"What if, say, someone wants a rum and coke?"

Ellen barked a laugh, startling herself. "How often do we need mix, Ethan? These people are straight-up and keep 'em comin' types, you know that." She glanced over Ethan's shoulder and met Spence McCall's level stare.

"Sometimes they do, though," Ethan oozed. "You're sure you don't want me to go into the back cooler, Ellen?"

She locked eyes with Ethan. "You can check it out after closing, after the rush dies down. 'Til then if someone gets their shorts in a wad for a vodka spritzer or a Shirley Temple, use the canned mix." She kicked the mini-fridge under the bar, making the shotgun on top of it rattle, smirked and purposefully turned her back on Ethan.

Ellen could hear him still standing behind her by the quiet; noise in the bar dampened slightly by his presence. She picked up a stack of invoices and flipped through them with one hand, not seeing a single one. Her other hand, fingernails tapping in vague time to the music on the jukebox, was resting next to one of the 'out of service' soda guns. She could feel Ethan's stare between her shoulder blades like a cinder. If now's when you're making your move, bastard, bring it on.

After a long second, Ethan moved away, bar noises no longer impeded by his bulk. Ellen kept tapping her fingernails and shuffling papers, breath steady and even, humming tensely.

Unless Ethan had twenty matchbooks in his pocket, or had been hitting the pickled eggs damn hard, the very faint stench of sulfur, not noticeable unless you were consciously looking for it, moved him from a possible to a definite. There hadn't been much doubt, but still. He'd been working here on and off for six months, damn him. Ellen's hand didn't shake as she picked up the pencil again. Not even slightly.

- - -
(onward to part 2)

Endnotes Part 1:

As I have been informed by my wonderful beta for this piece, wynterwolf47, I know nothing about poker. She tore her hair out trying to figure out what the hell was going on game-wise at that poker table and made it make much more sense than it did. She also informed me that just because a character has a British accent, this does not give me an excuse to use British spellings every once in a while at random, and that the kegs didn't need hooked up fifty billion times and many other things for which I owe her greatly indeed.

For those that missed it before in the disclaimer, here is the photo of the background extras on whom many of the OC's in this story are based. Terry is an OC hunter that's been floating around in stuff I haven't finished or posted yet as a snide background annoyance when Sam and Dean were small. Claudia is based on nothing at all, just sort of an ambiguously flirtatious hunter groupie turned hunter that likes shiny things that double as brass knuckles. The ones named in the photo that haven't been seen yet are coming in the next part.

Like I said above, Part 2 and 3 should follow in the next few days, they're written and beta'd, they just need tweaking.

And YES, I'm still writing the other WIP. In case anyone was worried.

Tags: , , ,
Current Mood: sore sore
Current Music: "We're Here for a Good Time (Not a Long Time)" ~ Trooper

8 comments or Leave a comment
curtainpull From: curtainpull Date: September 27th, 2007 09:13 am (UTC) (Link)
Oooo, I like the building tension in this, you really get the sense what it would be like to know that there's something coming, and they know you know, and everything. Really can't wait to see how this all goes down (and why does Ash need to be in the poker game? Hmmm)

I spotted one tiny typo, where you say Then Spence and Ethan and Spence both turned
caffienekitty From: caffienekitty Date: September 27th, 2007 03:26 pm (UTC) (Link)
OMG SPENCE HAS AN EVIL TWIN! Ha. No, that's my mistake entirely, thanks for the heads up. Ash is in the poker game to try and get a car and spread the word. It'll make more sense after I put up part 2, I hope.
gwendolyngrace From: gwendolyngrace Date: September 27th, 2007 03:22 pm (UTC) (Link)
Lines that made me snicker: "Running Outlook on the tracking computer was givin' me all kinds of false positives for demonic activity, so..."

and: "I always did want a piece of John Winchester."

Off to an interesting start! I would be THRILLED if it turned out Ash got away from the Roadhouse, though I admit that I can't really discern the detail you talk about in the screencap, but that's okay.
caffienekitty From: caffienekitty Date: September 27th, 2007 03:37 pm (UTC) (Link)
Thanks! That Outlook jab has been running around in my brain looking for a place to happen ever since the Demon Tracker Laptop was revealed. And seriously, who doesn't want a piece of John Winchester, in one way or another? ;-)

The screencap of the watch in the wreckage on the other entry? Yeah, it's really hard to see on some monitors, If you draw a line straight down from where Dean's bracelet touches the inside of his wrist, there's an irregular oval, and then a lighter section. I thought they were rings when the episode aired, but they're not.

It is very hard to see on some monitors. The flatscreen one at work is hopeless; even after fiddling around with contract and brightness It barely picks them up. I've got a traditional monitor at home that picks up the detail better.
quellefromage From: quellefromage Date: September 28th, 2007 01:44 am (UTC) (Link)
I love this--and I want Ash to LIVE, dammit!
caffienekitty From: caffienekitty Date: September 28th, 2007 01:58 am (UTC) (Link)
You'll have to wait and see... *grins evilly*
erinrua From: erinrua Date: September 28th, 2007 05:02 am (UTC) (Link)
Wow, this is an interesting AU. I'll look forward to seeing what comes next! (And yeah, I miss Ash terribly. You do a great job with his dryly sardonic manner.) :-)
Cheers ~

caffienekitty From: caffienekitty Date: September 28th, 2007 07:18 am (UTC) (Link)
Thanks, I'm glad the character is coming across okay! :-) Part 2 will be up before the end of the month.
8 comments or Leave a comment