A Pointed Gun Is Personal

August 05, 2014: Paul seeks out Constantine for information.

Constantine's apartment



Mood Music:

Despite having access to anywhere with that damnable door of his, Constantine maintains an apartment. In Queens, no less. It's a convenient way to track him down, though the magical wards around it make the air fairly buzz with power. It's pretty clear to anyone with a lick of magical talent that breaking into Constantine's apartment is either going to require a lot of power or a lot of skill, or a willingness to take some heavy kicks in the teeth.

Paul only met the wizard once. He's more Sara's contact but she's off learning to fly and he doesn't feel like waiting for answer. As bad as things could get, it doesn't seem wise to waste time. Having used official police resources to get information on one John Constantine, he heads over to Queens and knocks on the door. Even if there's no answer, there's several excellent restaurants he can pass the time.

"Yeah, a minute." There's the 'sense' of someone on the opposite side of the door, then the sound of a few locks being undone. John opens the door a crack, looking over a security bar- a far more durable version of a security chain. "Oh, hey, I know you," Constantine says. "Your Sara's partner, right? Paul something. What do you want, officer?" John inquires, his tone polite, though he doesn't open the door entirely.

Yes, Paul. The one with the artifact hanging from his neck. As opposed to the artifact on her wrist. "Answers, Mr. Constantine. Or even speculation. I don't think I should be more specific out here, do you?"

"As long as you're coming in for a quick talk," Constantine says. He glances deliberately at Paul's badge. "Off the record, too, given the topic matter." He closes the door and undoes the latches, then invites Paul in to a fairly spacious apartment. It's filled with an incredible amount of clutter- beakers, phials, books (lots of books), files, folders, what looks like a human skull, candles, and sigils. On every surface of every wall, sigils, runes, and inscriptions have been laboriously hand-carved, some crudely, some with refined instruments and then filled in with silvered metal.

"Here, have a seat," Constantine says, moving some books from a high-backed chair at his table, which is surprisingly clean. Artifacts aside, the entire /place/ looks extremely well dusted and mopped, even. Constantine must have a cleaning service. "Now, Mr. Manning," Constantine says, producing a revolver from his pocket. He cocks the hammer, holding it at hip level, and aims it at Paul. There's no immediate threat to the motion, but Constantine keeps it beared down at Paul. "Sorry. Don't take it personally, but I have a lot of people swing by here on the pretense of a social chat. Most of them don't make my eyes cross with the amount of power they're carrying around." He wiggles the Webley. "Blessed iron and silver baptized in holy water. This isn't for guests, though," he explains. "I welcome you as your host, with all the rights and obligations that follow," Constantine says, settling into a seat a few feet away from Paul. It's an old ritual, the custom of host and guest, but one that carries a lot of weight in the realm of the weird.

"This is all off the record." Paul agrees and steps into the apartment. "The Captain doesn't want to know about demons trying to destroy the world. It gives him heartburn. As he walks deeper into the apartment, he looks around as if it were a crime scene before taking the offered seat. When the gun appears, he freezes though his eyes narrow. "First, it's Detective Manning. And my partner knows where I am. Second, I always take guns pointed at me personally. And third, since when do wizards need guns instead of magic? Was that supposed to be a spell of some sort?"

"Of sorts," Constantine agrees with a friendly smile, the barrel held steady and close to his hip where it'd be difficult to grab. "Let's just say I'm progressive. It would be better to say that you accept my offer of hospitality, and you bear me no ill-will nor will you attempt to harm me or those who I invite here as guests, for the duration of your stay. Then I can put this gun away, and we can sit and have a nice cup of tea and a pleasant chat?" he suggests. He sounds like he really means it. "Forgive the gun, but a little paranoia can be extremely helpful, whereas the least amount of laxity can often prove fatal. You are a bobby, right?" the Brit asks cheerily. "You understand that the most dangerous person is the one who you least suspect to be a threat."

"I see. In that case, I accept your hospitality and have no intention of shooting you or your guests in the head or anywhere else or killing them in any other way unless provoked by a threat to my life. Or yours." Paul adds after a moment. "How's that?"

"Wonderful!" Constantine declares. He aims the gun away from Paul, lowers the trigger, and tucks it back into a voluminous pocket. "Tea?" he asks, rising and moving to a little stove. "Again, I do apologize for the pistol," he tells Paul. "I have had a few too many unasked for visitors wander in under the pretense of a 'consultation' and turn out to be out to eat my face off. Very vexing," Constantine says, the water quickly reaching a boil. He brings the kettle to the table and sets out a small selection of tea and two cups.

"So, Detective Manning, how can I be of assistance to you?"

"Tea would be fine. And aren't you supposed to have magical wards around your home to prevent that kind of thing?" Paul's seen that in at least a half dozen shows. "As to what you can help with, tell me about demons. And of books and pages and Elder Gods."

"Ohh," Constantine murmurs, jutting out his lower jaw a bit contemplatively. "Dark and dangerous words, there. Words that have started wars and nearly kicked off an apocalypse or two. Well, I say apocalypse, that's a best-case," Constantine says, wrinkling his nose. "But of Elder Gods, there wouldn't be an apocalypse in the Biblical sense of the word," the wizard explains, pouring some water through a tea strainer and letting it steep. "Think more along the lines of the end of all things. Everywhere. Earth, Heaven, Hell, the worlds between and beyond and above and below. The Elder Gods are things of thought and terror," he explains in the tone of an academician, warming to a topic. "They aren't 'of' our reality. Their sole goal is to break through to our world- to all worlds- and undo them, to render all things as nothing but thought and chaos. Dangerous things for a copper to be speaking of, even here," Constantine remarks.

"So Elder Gods aren't demons?" It's not really a question. "And demons wouldn't automatically help Elder Gods? I haven't had a lot of choice about it." Paul points out. "But I do have a responsibility to learn about it and do what I can to stop it all. Since you sounded like you want the same thing, here I am."

Constantine scratches his chin, considering Paul judiciously. "When you know about demons," he begins, "they know about you. You start to see the shadows that aren't," Constantine observes. "The missing children who are more than missing. The mass killers with no motive. Demons revel in carnage and destruction," he points out. "Seeing one- or, bearing around an artifact charged with the power of Hell itself- forces you to see things that most people can't or won't."

He pours Paul some tea, unasked, letting the words sink in. "When you start talking about Elder Gods, the Things Beyond the Void, you open yourself up to a world that even demons hesitate to tread in," Constantine says, his normally cheery voice dark and foreboding.

"Once you start looking beyond the Veil, between the worlds where the unimaginable happens daily, you'll never close your eyes to it again. You'll start seeing things that aren't just evil, but /horrible/. Evil is predictable, it follows a logical, reasonable pattern. But the Things that Walk the Void… if you're very lucky, very, very lucky, the worst thing you'll get if you glimpse that Void is nightmares for the rest of your life. If you're slightly less fortunate, your mind will snap and you'll die of shock. Most are driven to madness by a single glimpse of those Things," Constantine remarks, settling into his seat. "Is that something you're prepared to risk, Detective?"

"I already see them." Paul points out. "So warning me about the danger is a bit moot at this point. Though I'm fairly certain it has nothing to do with the power of Hell. It doesn't seem to like demons at all. I don't know how it feels about Elder Gods." They haven't been introduced. And hopefully, never will be. He pauses to make sure Constantine is done then sighs softly. "Look, Constantine. It's my job to make sure people are safe. This toy changes nothing except that I now know there's a lot more out there people need to be kept safe from. Actually," he adds with a frown, "I started noticing that when I got my partner. But if there's some major danger going down and this thing can help at all, I'm certainly not going to go stand in the corner and hope someone else can save me." tl;dr version: yes.

"You're a bastion, Detective," Constantine replies. "A warrior of light, holding a two-edged sword that stands in the way of Hell itself. But this… I don't think this is your fight," he says, not unsympathetically. "The worst a demon can do is kill you. The Elder Gods can end your existence. They can wipe you from reality, body and soul, or imprison you for eternity in places where even Heaven and Hell cannot tread. They are… locked away," he says, struggling to find the right words. "Not metaphorically. Literally. Sealed from this reality. It is one of the few points upon which the forces of Light and Dark agree- the Outer Gates shall remain closed."

"Someone out there is trying to open those doors," Constantine explains. "I am trying to prevent that from happening. I'm a bit fond of reality," he says gamely. "All of my stuff is here. But your gifts, remarkable as they are, are charged for stewardship of the battle between Heaven and Hell. I'm not sure you're suited for a fight where reality itself is at stake."

"Good. Wonderful. Fantastic. I'm glad to hear it." Paul notes dryly. "Let's keep them locked away. I'm in no hurry to face one down even if there was a chance of doing anything to it. But as you said before, someone or something is trying to let them out. And whoever it is are either people or demons, right? Against them, I can do something."

"The door only opens one way," Constantine confirms. He sets his teacup aside and regards Paul impassively. "Very well, detective. Thrice asked and done. You sound bound and determined to join this battle, and I may as well put you somewhere that I can keep an eye on you."

"When I find a battle where I can use your gun hand, I'll pick you up and we'll launch into the fray. Allon-sy!" he declares, popping to his feet. "Welcome to the battle, soldier. If you're the praying type, now would be a good time to start talking to God. He and I aren't on speaking terms at the moment, something about a misplaced relic and a tiny little revolution in Hell, not my fault," Constantine natters, bustling around his apartment, "but Heaven's a /bit/ sore at me. Ah!" He produces a little silver charm and hands it to Paul. "Here you go, mate," the Brit says, offering the bangle to Paul. "If I need you, the bracelet will let me home in on you. If you see a door where there wasn't, it means I've come calling."

Paul takes the charm and looks at it curiously. "If I hold it and say your full name, will you show up?" Jason's toy did that. Do they all work the same? He digs into his pocket and pulls out a few business cards, picking one out that also has a number written on the back. "Try to call beforehand. I might be in the precinct or shooting at gang members. Or worse, on a date." He puts away cards and charm then drinks some tea. "So what do you know about this?" he asks, tapping the cross under his shirt.

Constantine whips some glasses from his pocket and puts them on, squinting through the thick-rimmed lenses. "If I'm not quite mistaken, you're bearing one of the Thirteen under your shirt, chum," Constantine says to Paul. "Hard to say which one, offhand. Burns the mind like looking into the sun. Fortunately, I have my glasses. Glasses are cool," Constantine explains.

"But nothing else is so tied into reality- into /maintaining/ reality," Constantine says, suddenly a bit thoughtful. The tone disappears in a moment. "The Thirteen are written into lore stretching back to the days when men first built mud huts and prayed to the Sun," Constantine remarks, settling back into his seat. "Quite a thing for a detective to be hauling around- let alone two of them, between you and Officer Pezzini."

"It's called the Rapture." Paul explains. "It's a key and a road map to hell. Lets the bearer get in and out whenever they want. You can see why demons would want it. I don't know what the point of it it though. It doesn't seem to care about the Balance or dark and light like Sara's does."

Constantine makes a contemplative sound. "Either way, best not misplace that, eh?" he says, arching an eyebrow at Paul. "Heaven would not be too shy about getting their angelic grubby mitts on that either. I would not trust someone offering to take it off your hands," Constantine advises.

He gets to his feet and moves the teacups to the sink and the kettle to the stove again. "I am glad you stopped by, Detective," Constantine says, in the tone of a man politely inviting a guest to depart. "If you'll forgive me, I have things to do, people to speak to. Battles to be won, lost keys to locate, all in a day's work, really," the wizard says. He snaps his finger at his front door, which clicks and swings open. "I suppose this is goodbye until the next time, eh?"

"You can count on it." Paul wouldn't hand it off any more than he'd do a nuclear bomb. "You didn't mention if I can call you on this thing." he points out and walks toward the door but not through it yet.

"Hmm? Didn't I?" Constantine says. "Bother, I /am/ a bit scattered," he remarks cheerily. "Well, who knows? Give it a try when there's an emergency and I might pop in. Then again, I might not. Wizards are mysterious, and I am busier than most. In fact, I'm late for an appointment with Louis XIII. I'm going to ask him to lay in an extra bottle of cognac for me," he says, looking at his fob watch. "Never hurts to have friends with generous cellars and bad locks on their dungeons."

"Make it two bottles." Paul suggests. He hasn't a clue if Constantine is lying through his teeth or not but what the hell. Maybe he'll get booze out of it. He gives the man a nod then turns and leaves, pulling the door closed after him.

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