Continuing Adventures of Paul And Sara

Summary:
July 22, 2014: Now both on leave, Paul and Sara discuss the latest happenings about dirty cops, demon and the end of the world. You know, same old. John Constantine is asked to elaborate on the latter.

A burned out warehouse on the piers.


Characters

NPCs


Mood Music:


Down by the piers, there's an abandoned warehouse that's more a shell of a warehouse due to a fire a couple years ago. It still hasn't been torn down and a new one put up. That costs money. While it doesn't function as a warehouse any more, it does make a nice parkour exercise yard which is how Paul knows of it. And he's asked Sara to meet him there up on the girder of what used to be the second floor. He's waiting there, dressed in his usual exercise clothes but with a large bag as well.

"You know, if anyone else asked me to come here," Sara says as she steps inside, voice echoing against the steel walls, "I'd think I was being set up for a hit. Are you that pissed at me for the whole Hell thing, Paul?" She looks around, trying to figure out where he is, until that tingle from the Witchblade gets her to look up. "I get it. You asked me here to tell me you're going back to your roots and joining the Bat Corps."

There's a chuckle from above and Paul says "I didn't want to be overheard. I also think well when I'm moving." though at the moment, he's just sitting on a girder. "Should I come down or do you want to come up?"

"I'm not a huge fan of that second plan," Sara admits, though she says it as she's already moving for a girder to start making her way up, step by step. "I'm going to kick ass on the physical test this year," she mutters under her breath, finally pulling herself up to where Paul waits. "So what don't you want to be overheard?"

"A couple of things." Paul refrains from tossing Sara the bag and, instead, pushes it to her. "Trent. Who now hangs out with a demon, by the way. But I happened to run into him at the precinct yesterday when I was filling out paperwork. Do you know there's actually more forms to fill out coming back from the dead than there is shooting someone?"

"I kind of figured," Sara shrugs, taking the bag and giving it a look without looking inside. "The demon bit's new, though. I don't know a whole lot about Trent," she adds, walking a stretch of the girder with careful balance. "I know he's linked to the Partisan somehow, and I know some bad guys have been after him. May at SHIELD seems to be close enough to be willing to vouch for him with the agency. People shoot at him a lot."

"New, yes. In a single day or the… supernatural feel of it wore off in the time it took him to get to Turkey and back to the ship. In any case, he brought that for you and promised it didn't involve murdering anyone to get." Yes, Paul actually asked him that point blank. "It's the names of dirty cops and corroborating evidence. Though I don't know how the DA and IA can use it against them considering how it was obtained. They might be able to recreate it however using more legal methods. Assuming they're willing to pretend that bag never existed."

"Well isn't that sweet," Sara murmurs, sighing and setting the bag aside. "At least we can get a look at things. Start watching more carefully. Know who we're dealing with to protect other cases." Carefully, she sits down on the edge of the girder, letting her legs dangle. "At least she's not shooting them," she points out helpfully.

"I didn't ask where he got this." Paul notes. "I'm assuming he just used his very illegal hacking abilities and not obtained anything from a cold blooded murderer since that goes way beyond the bounds of acceptable." There are degrees of illegally obtained evidence it seems. "You can decide who is best to give it to and what story to give them."

"I love you too, Paul," Sara singsongs, smile wry. "You know, in an entirely platonic, good partner sort of way. No need to worry about breaking my heart." Drawing one knee toward her chest, she sets her cheek on it as she watches him. "Kind of sorry about the whole Hell, Rapture thing. We're going to need to be careful. With the two of us together, with both of these things, we're going to draw a lot of weird."

Paul gives Sara a quick grin and shakes his head. "No, that's never going to be a problem. We might end up fighting over the same guy though." The brief humor fades quickly though as Sara continues. "Yes, well, that's the big thing I wanted to talk to you about. When we got back, Hill wanted to talk about what the hell was going on so I told her. It was that or go tell the Captain I was alive and putting that off a couple extra hours seemed like a good idea. So I told her about Etrigan and the Rapture and what it would mean if he had gotten his hands on it."

Sara nods to that, brows furrowed in a faint frown. "No, that's for the best, I think," she agrees quietly. "I gave Steve the broad brush strokes of what happened already. And I get the feeling SHIELD finds out about things eventually when they want to know. Hill's going to want to know more about the Witchblade, I'm sure." She wrinkles her nose. "Like I'm dangerous or something. Five years ago, sure. Not so much now."

"Oh, she did imply that." Paul agrees but makes a dismissing motion. "That's not the important part. As I was explaining how Etrigan set this entire thing up to get his hands on the Rapture, a very simple question suddenly hit me over the head." He pauses to give Sara a Significant Look. "When Jason is here, Etrigan is in Hell. When Jason is in Hell, Etrigan is here but that hasn't happened in a long time. So how did he set it all up? How does a convict, in prison, arrange for a hit outside?" He knows. He's sure Sara knows.

"Uh." Sara pauses, rubbing a hand at the back of her neck as she thinks that one through. "Well, either he's got contacts outside, or he's whispering in the back of Jason's mind. But the outside contacts seem like the most reasonable explanation. I mean, none of this would've happened if the whole hollows thing hadn't gone down, right?"

"You're not taking it back far enough." Paul says, watching Sara. "How did he arrange the Hollows thing? How did he get the information on Jason's wife to the Magdalena? How did he have every single detail not just planned out in advance but prepared for every single thing he did once he got Jason to release him? No one escapes from Hell on their own. How does a convict arrange a hit? Sending messages out with other convicts who are either released or have visitation privileges. How do demons get out? They're summoned by wizards. Etrigan is powerful enough he can force lesser demons to do what he wants."

"Yeah," Sara says slowly. "Though I've got a feeling some of them can slip through without a summoning. But we'll take that argument. That's a lot of work to set up, though. And I can think of a couple people who might know a thing or two about demons, but neither of them strike me as the 'set up the end of the world' type." She pauses once she says that, brows rising. "Except for the fact that it doesn't have to be someone we know," she says suddenly. "Because, according to them, there's some spell book that's gotten out."

"What?" Paul asks, brow furring. This is news to him. But then, he's been out of the world for almost a week. "According to who? What do you mean a spell book's gotten out? A book on demon summoning?"

"John Constantine. He does what we do, without the extra-powerful artifacts," Sara explains. "The other guy's… something else. And when I say something else, I mean on a whole different scale. Apparently he can be a wolf, and the other night he seemed chummy with Loki. Who is a Norse trickster god. Or so says my late night wikipedia research. Jeremiah Wolfson."

What we do. That's going to take getting used to. "Loki." Paul repeats. "You've met a Norse god." Stop. That's irrelevant at the moment. "Whatever. So some kind of spell book is floating around and someone is summoning demons with it? And then carrying out Etrigan's wishes or maybe the demons are."

"Sort of. Stumbled into weirdness alongside." Sara waves a hand, going back to the main topic. "Super old, super powerful, lots of pages, lots of pieces. And it's definitely an end times sort of thing. Opening up doors to the Elder Gods and that sort of thing. Which makes me think Etrigan probably isn't orchestrating that sort of thing so much as taking advantage of it. He didn't strike me as the sharing type."

"No, I'm sure he's not." Paul agrees. "But I"m also sure he's arrogant enough to have set it in motion thinking he'd be able to reap the rewards and once he did, shut it all down. Except he failed and now it's still happening. In which case, we're in deep shit."

"Whether it's him, or whether it's someone else, it's happening." Sara drops both legs over the edge again, letting her feet dangle. "I'll give Constantine a call, see if he minds meeting you. Though I'm sure he'll have some questions about…" She gestures to his neck, grimacing faintly.

"That's to be expected. But this kind of takes precedence I think." Paul points out. "Get a hold of him. We need more information. Etrigan might not be a problem any more but what he started is." Or took advantage of. Whatever.

"I don't think he has a cell phone," Sara notes. "But he did give me a number. For an office. Or something. I don't know, Paul, the people we run with, you can never assume reasonable things." But she pulls out her phone, dialing in the number Constantine gave her.

"Constantine's Crematorium, you kill 'em, we grill 'em," Constantine says, flicking a dart at the board on the back of his door at home. He balances the cell phone against his left shoulder, flicking another dart.

"Cute, but I prefer to do my own grilling," Sara smirks. "It's Sara Pezzini. I've got someone I think you ought to meet, and we've got some thoughts about that whole spell book issue. You free to meet somewhere?"

"Free, no, but for you, I'll make an exception. Where are you at?" Constantine asks, throwing the last dart and moving to his closet door.

Sara rattles off an address, which is for an abandoned warehouse that barely survived a fire a few years back. "And I promise we're not planning on dumping a body," she adds. "Paul just has questionable taste in work out locations."

A door opens and shuts in midair, and there, abruptly, is Constantine. He blinks. "Well, that worked better than I hoped!" Constantine says into the phone. He hangs up and walks towards Sara and Paul, leaving behind a rather plain looking door that's just… standing in the middle of an empty warehouse floor. "Aim was a bit off, but you can't beat the mileage," he adds, dryly. He saunters towards the duo, hands in his pockets, and stops a few feet away with a kick of one foot, standing comfortably.

"So! To what do I owe the pleasure?" he asks, looking from Sara to Paul questioningly.

Paul's just hanging out on the girder, listening to the conversation. It goes without saying that the door appearing from nowhere is more than a bit surprising. "Why can't you do that?" he asks Sara. Grabbing the edge of the girder, he lowers himself down till he's hanging, swings a couple times then lets go and rolls into the fall. "We wanted to talk about demons. Sara didn't mention your name."

"I'm a chronic underachiever, Paul," Sara answers her partner with a roll of her eyes, climbing down a girder herself. "And I did so tell you who it was. John Constantine, this is my partner, Paul Manning," she introduces the pair. "Paul, John. We're downright biblical here. Paul recently took an…exotic vacation," she explains. "It's given him a unique look on some recent events."

Constantine walks up to Paul, right in his personal space, and looks him over, with the expression of a man looking far deeper into a view than it should hold. "Yes, I should say you have," he murmurs. He walks around Paul in a circle, hands flapping in his jacket pockets, and even sniffs the fellow, running a finger along his sleeve and licking the pad of his thumb. "Sulfur and brimstone. Doesn't matter how much you clean, mate, you can't ever quite clean it off. Believe me, I know," Constantine says, producing a pair of glasses and leaning forward to examine Paul's face from a distance most people would find extremely personal. "Pulled an Orpheus, eh? Walked out of the Pit? Not many can say that."

"Oh, right. So you did." Paul admits. "I was a little distracted by your talking about Loki." Norse gods trump chain smoking wizards. He shoots Sara a look as the wizard inspects him. If he tries looking at Paul's teeth, he's going to get punched. "Climbed actually." he answers, stepping back a couple paces. The patriarchal cross under his tee just screams magical artifact even without being visible. "Do you know how a convict in a maximum security prison arranges a hit outside?"

"He's not very good with small talk," Sara adds helpfully, picking up a bag and moving it toward the door before coming back to the pair. She watches them, but she seems as interested in seeing what Constantine picks up from Paul as anything else.

Constantine finishes inspecting Paul, then takes the glasses off and tucks them back into a pocket of his coat, adjusting his tie with one hand. He digs for a notebook in his pocket and flips through it, glancing at the crucifex in Paul's possession once, then snaps it shut and regards Sara and Paul.

"With a cell phone, usually. Or if they're smart, they go after the family," Constantine says. "The demons down there will sometimes go all-out for the hard cases. A year in hell is a month in the Real world. It's easy enough to find a demon to go topside and torture someone's family just to break a man."

"You're on the right track." Paul agrees with a nod. "Find a prisoner weaker than you then bribe or threaten them into passing along the message. Either to a visitor they get or personally, assuming they're about to get released. Etrigan arranged everything just to get his hands on an artifact. The question was how. The answer is probably the same way a convict arranges a hit. But demons don't get visitors and they don't get released. They do though get summoned."

"Which is where what we were talking about the other night comes in," Sara provides. "Paul thinks there's a chance they're connected. Personally, I'm inclined to think Etrigan was just taking advantage of an opportunity, rather than master-minding all of it, but that's me."

"Ahh, see, you're wrong there," Constantine says, tapping the side of his nose. "Demons can get topside. The gates are too small for the big ones, but too powerful for the little ones. So you end up with some of the middling ones who can break through the walls of reality. Other can just… whisper through the bars."

"We have bigger problems unfortunately," Constantine tells Paul and Sara. "While Etrigan's acquisition of the artifact is… well, worrisome," he admits, "it's not high on my to- do list. A more pressing matter is that someone is spreading pages from the Book of Sins about the city. Little pieces- rituals, summons, incantations. But the Book of Sins, while a powerful tool for demons, is also capable of ripping reality wide open if abused." He nods at the Rapture. "You've got… the equivalent of a subway turnstile card, there. But if the Book of Sins is ever read- I mean, read widespread, as it is slowly getting there- the gates will get thrown wide open."

"So it's possible Etrigan got his hand on the 'get out of Jail free card' specifically to get ahead of the walls breaking down, to build his power on both sides."

"It's possible." Paul admits. "I certainly don't believe everything he said. Hell, you couldn't get him to shut up. We need to talk to his better half." he adds to Sara. "But since it's that bad, what can we do? At least Etrigan is out of the picture for a while."

"See, Paul? Doesn't subway turnstile card make it seem better?" Sara smirks at her partner, crossing her arms loosely over her chest. Even that smirk fades at the suggestion of talking to Jason, though. It's possible she's holding a little bit of a grudge, despite her best intentions. "Did you manage to get hold of that library book you were looking for?" she arches a brow at Constantine.

"Actuallllly, that's in… safe hands. For the moment," Constantine tells Sara. "I have a good feeling about Miss Potts. She has character. There's a lot of temptation in that book. I don't like holding it any longer than I have to," he confesses. "It's the appendix of the book of the damned. In the right hands, with the right knowhow, the Book of Vice could help someone translate the Book of Sin- gather it into one place- and rip the walls of reality wide open."

"About as good as a bad boyfriend." Paul agrees, smirking back at his partner. But most of what's said is just going over his head. This book and that book and whoever Potts is. But the gist gets through and that is that it's bad. "So do you have this under control then? And if not, what can we do?"

"I am deeply in favor of not ripping the walls of reality wide open," Sara agrees, though there's a sympathetic grimace at the mention of temptations. "Any suggestions on securely keeping those two things apart? I'm going to go out on a limb and guess that burning one or the other isn't an option."

"As loathe as I am to suggest it," Constantine exhales, "we might need to assemble the Book of Sins. And store it in The Library," he says, looking to Sara. "This is a giant game of keep away. Someone out there is trying to gather the pages of the Book of Sin. It was scattered to the corners of the globe- the literal four corners, which are non-euclidian, mind," he points out, drawing an odd shape in the air, "and thought finally lost. Someone's enacted a spell to draw it back together, and it's filtering into our reality. The only solution is to remove it from our reality entirely. I can't think of a safer place to keep it," he shrugs.

"How?" It's a simple question that Paul asks. And he expects a simple answer. Not. "And what is this Library?"

"Remove it to where?" Sara asks in counterpoint to Paul's question. "Actually, you know, that's…You just let me know when you need some help. This stuff makes me head hurt," she admits.

"We need to get Pepper to read from the Book of Vice," Constantine explains. "She'll tell us where and how to find the missing pages. Once we have the completed Book of Sins, we can hide it in the Library in the House," he says, gesturing at Sara. "The House knew I needed the Book, so it gave it to the person best suited to carry it. We need to get the books together and hide them in the Library again, where no one can find them. And then just hope I don't descend into madness and try to read from both of them," Constantine says with a cheery smile.

"You're getting all this?" Paul asks Sara. Cause then she can explain it to him later. Cause he's lost. He digs his wallet out and extracts a card which he gives to Constantine. "Fine. You already have Sara's number, I'm sure. Give us a call when you know what we need to do. "

"Sort of," Sara answers Paul. "Get Potts to read the book long enough to tell us where the other book is, book it back to the library in the creepy house that just happens to be wherever and hope it doesn't decide someone should have them." She pauses at that, tilting her head. "Though I don't think it would be in favor of that, actually. Weird place, but not bad."

Constantine walks back towards the door, pocketing Paul's card. "You're welcome there anytime she feels like it," he tells Sara. "She's a funny place, but she has good taste." He lifts a hand in farewell, steps through the door, and closes it-

-and it vanishes as if it had never been.


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