In-Flight Beverage (Language warning)

Summary:
October 12, 2014: Magic follows need? Jim gets another chance to visit the House of Mystery!

The House of Mystery!

This arcane manse has a perverse habit of defying expectations and being much, much more grand on the inside than any perceptive 'outside', however, it typically does not make the sound of a stuck parking brake when a door opens to it.


Characters

NPCs
None


Mood Music:
None


A door opens and then wham, it's the House of Mystery. Jim is likely surprised and baffled, but Constantine's clearly expecting the man.

"Ah, Jim, just the bloke I was looking for," Constantine says, stepping around a large circular table. He sets something on fire briefly, then scribes something in a book. It's set at a height one can stand and work at comfortably, with minimal stooping. "Wait, why was I looking for you?" he says, squinting at Jim. "There was something. I don't remember," he confesses, walking towards the man with a handful of books. He promptly unloads them all into Jim's arms and moves back towards the table, squinting into a crystal ball. "Do /you/ remember why I summoned you? No, of course, why would you? It was your idea to begin with." He shakes his head at his own words and goes back to staring into the crystal ball, thumping it periodically. "Bollocks, I can't get this thing to work," he mutters.

***

Jim *had* been stepping out of the head (water closet for the British types) at his temporary lodgings in the Stark Industries Tower. Given recent events, this change of venue is not as unwelcome as he might have viewed it in the past. In fact, the rather comforting idea of a hidey-hole in time, space, and elsewhen is rather appealing, given the recent stalker his partner had… 'acquired'.

He makes his way around and gets the books dropped into his arms.

"It'd seem that you need a spare set of hands to help you carry books around?"

Such a kidder, Jim, such a kidder.

"Honestly, I'm sure it's a 'need' thing and you've got the 'know' somewhere in your noggin' and about to let it rip. And… have you tried whispering sweet nothings to it and rubbing it?"

Was that the directions from a tantric book, or one of the more skinematic cable channels? Or… has Jim tried the hazardous route of growing a sense of humor?

***

"Don't be clever, Jim," Constantine replies absently, thumping the crystal ball a few more times. "Damn! I'm going to miss the Manchester United match." He fishes for a cigarette and lights it with a flickering of his fingers that is almost too fast to follow, then exhales through his nose. Interestingly, the cigarette doesn't appear to ash at all.

"Wait, why /are/ you holding those books? Put those over there," he says, nodding at a mostly empty desk.

The moment Jim turns back, Constantine is in front of him, waving a little billfold in Jim's face. It says, 'Maybe Constantine can hide me'. "You said this or thought it a little too hard," Constantine says. "Slightly magic paper," he reminds Jim, making it vanish with a flicker of his wrist. "I like to know when people take my name in vain. What are you running from?" he asks Reha.

***

"Are you sure? I mean, it felt like I was doing a good job at it." The lack of certainty destroys the humor and renders the mirthful aspects a bit more sedate as he takes the books to the designated location and sets them down in an exceptionally precise pattern, though he doesn't seem to be aware of the placement particulars himself as his hands simply go through motions.

"That… was a thought that went through my mind about four hours ago, yes. A rather… direct and solid one before I got the text back from Pepper to go in to work."

Jim lets out a little bit of a sigh.

"You got something to drink, man? Because this one is going to require a glass."

He glances back at the smoking fellow.

"A ghost of the world of the partner's past came calling last night. She was armored and weilding a great mace, and was dead - set on executing me for 'crimes against her people'."

***

"…."

Without a word, Constantine heads towards a liquor cabinet and produces a bottle of what looks like fifty year old whiskey, except that it was apparently bottled in the last year or so.

"Time-locked whiskey cabinet," he explains, retrieving two glasses and pouring for each of them. "Still haven't found the back of it. I think there's a bottle of Jameson from their original decanting somewhere in there, but I don't care much for Irish whiskey." He pours what looks like a good single-malt scotch for each of them and takes a long draught from the (very) full glass, and then lifts a chin at Jim, falling into a chair bonelessly. "So out to execute the host and not the symbiote, eh? Is she a ghost ghost or one of those horrible avenging revenants?" he asks, looking over the rim of his glass.

***

Jim nods appreciatively. Better living through thaumaturgy, indeed. Not a thing to complain about, really, especially given the moment of respite AND the blessed malt. While the fellow is inquiring, Jim is imbibing. Slowly, not slamming the thing, appreciating the various stages of a nice draw.

"It would seem, and no. Very much flesh and blood, and it had scared the partner so much that its been nearly catatonic compared to its normal verbosity. I suspect she is actually very much alive and… Damn. Let's try again."

He takes that moment to take another sip.

"Corv was supposed to enlighten the people of Thanagar. Something went wrong and it doesn't talk about whatever it was. Last night a woman clad in armor named Shayera Hol, claiming to be *from* Thanagar threatened my life. My apartment's gone, victim of her entrance method. Staying over at Stark Industries but I've been trying to think of other ways to get away from her… I just have this gut feeling that she's going to be watching like a hawk, and that woman is just waiting to pounce at the barest sign of the other…"

***

"Hmm."

Constantine considers things for a few moments, with a few sips of his whiskey and a few contemplative drags of his cigarette. "Well, fuck," he says, finally, spinning once in his chair. "That's bloody inconvenient," he observes sagaciously. "Sounds like she's just waiting for a chance to strike, and Stark can't protect you forever. And you can't stay here forever, either," he says. "For one, it's grossly impractical, and two, I don't like houseguests. Have any ideas on how to handle her?"

***

"You're fucking telling me." He takes another sip of the whiskey. Good stuff.

"And I don't want to hide away forever, I have two jobs and I need to get out and move around, or I'll go fucking nuts. Maybe that's what she's trying to do, play the psych game, try to make me break and drag it out of me. When she jumped me last night I told her if she really was from there then she'd be an illegal alien and she needed to go turn herself in. She paused briefly at that, before tossing me away and leaving."

Another slow sip as he considers. "This place is dangerous, as well." "No offense, Manse! Honest! Dangerous is sort of sexy too, when you think about it!"

Nothing like tempting the Fates there, eh, Jim?

He coughs and resumes. "The partner knows some fighting but probably not enough. But this woman seems to almost need to let loose on me or it for some reason… almost zealotry, there. If there were some way to weather some of the blows and get her to just stop and listen to reason, if that's even possible…."

***

"Don't press your luck, you're not cute enough," Constantine says, before his chair- with no visible outside force- goes flying across the room to another desk. He stops and fishes through some books, considering, then frowns and fishes through a tackle box apparently full of magical charms.

"I can work up some.. kind of, I don't know, defensive charm?" he hazards. "It wouldn't be much," he tells Jim, "but you could snap it open and possibly take a few blows. A minute. Maybe two," he hazards. "I don't know how strong she is. I mean, theoretically, you could stop a machine gun, but for all I know, she can knock down a brick wall," he counters. "How strong does she strike you?"

"So noted." The portly fellow watches the guy zip across the room using the chair express, then back. "She came through the roof, made a hole in it with her mace. I'd figure she's got the edge on the partner by at least a good two or three times. He's more finesse, she's more raw strength. Her armor looked pretty solid, like a cross between riot - gear and field plate, with a bird motif. Oh, and she has wings, too. And… put my futon through a wall, apparently enough to injure folks on the other side of said wall."

"Something small like that might be useful, but what are we talking about price-wise? I mean, I'm kind of tight right now given that most of my stuff got coated with dust that they think had asbestos in it…"

***

"I might need some of your blood or a bit of your soul later for something," Constantine says with a vague wave of his hand. "So we'll just say you owe me one, and figure that out down the road," he explains to Jim.

"You never know when some demi-humanoid blood will come in handy, or I've got to bribe a demon with some spiritual essence. Won't hurt a bit, it's like donating plasma," he assures Jim.

**

"Blood, sure. Soul… that one's a bit dicey. I can't speak for the partner and we're in a bit of a balance in our system, so tweaking that in either direction could be… problematic. But good with figuring it out later on and hoping like heck it isn't a Lord of Hell insisting that I pony up. Because that would suck mightily."

"Have to be very careful with blood, it can be charged with all sorts of things and it can impact what it does… but I'm not telling you anything you don't already know. Sorry, gonna dial back the 'cute' and just nod my head a bit, see?"

Jim nods vigorously. "I've donated blood before. Should be a piece of cake."

***

"Wonderful, I'm glad we figured this out," Constantine beams. He puts some things away, rises, and polishes off his scotch, setting the glass aside, where something invisible promptly whisks it away.

"I'll get to work on the charm. I should have it for you in… relatively speaking, five minutes," Constantine says. "I need to nip off somewhere for some phoenix feathers." He snaps his fingers and the door opens into the Stark offices, flooding the fire-lit mansion with harsh fluorescent lights. "So, y'know, read a magazine or whatever it is you Yanks do."

***

Jim finishes off his scotch and carefully sets the glass aside. At the comment about the charm he gives a bit of a nod. "I'd offer you some of its feathers, but it is being notably reticent about making its presence known, thankfully. And thank you again, John. You probably don't get that a lot, but seriously, thanks."

He gets up and heads to the doorway. "If on the off-chance you don't get it, any healing draughts or the like might be handy. And I'll keep an eye and ear out."

And with that he's back to the Tower and the doorway closes behind him…


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