The Nowhere Market

Summary:
November 5, 2014: Rowan tries to take Babs to an antique store in New York and they end up in the Nowhere Market with Constantine and Jay Donohue

The Nowhere Market - New York


Characters

NPCs

  • None

Mood Music:


The Winter Light is Cold and Bright and so the serpent basks.
The beast is bowed beneath his plough, the djinn rest in their flasks.
"The craftsman's made to fit his trade. The workmen match their tasks.
"On snowy floor we waltz the score, we masquers in our masques."

There is, if one knows where to look, a market. This market does not exist anywhere in particular. Most days, in fact, it doesn't exist at all. And when it does it's nearly impossible to find. Only those who are supposed to know about it know where it is, and the place changes every time. A meeting hall in Metropolis, a crumbling theatre in Gotham, a back alley in New York. Wherever it shows up, it always seems to be larger on the inside than on the outside. And the vendors here? And most of the customers? They're not human, not even close. Faerie horrors, dimensional beings and stranger things still rub shoulders as goblins and brownies hawk their wares and services, everything from the merely odd to the downright impossible can be bought and sold here. Normal people can't find it, ordinarily, but sometimes the interesting or the lucky make it in. And are allowed to stay. Those are the rules.

Rowan had asked Babs to come out with him to this particular corner of New York knowing that there was an antiques shop (Another World Antiques, in fact) and suspecting that it might be the kind of thing she'd appreciate. You never know what you'll find in such places. Case in point, they'd just been coming through the door, but the place they stepped into was decidedly not the inside of an antiques shop. Rather, the Market. The Nowhere Market.

***

The Big Apple!

Not many folks would be eager to find the dirty spots or even the not - as - clean ones. Jay Donohue would not be considered 'many folks'. Her work ethic is nearly insane and her focus pretty amazing. And for a rare change, she actually… kind of blends in with the oddities that also reside in this Marketplace. Today she's promised a shopkeeper that she'd clean the front of his store in exchange for two sets of clothes and a nice meal. It's so much nicer here in the Market, where folks know how to Deal properly and there's never hesitation on the parties involved to pay their 'fair share'. So it is that the toothpick of a girl is hovering a good six feet above the ground, scrubbing away at the detritus of decades while whistling a happy tune.

No one has commented yet that the spots she's cleaned thus far are literally sparkling when she's done with them…

***

A blonde haired man in a grey London Fog trenchcoat stalks down the aisles of the Nowhere Market. He moves like a ghost, passing between the patrons with a quick, agile step. A cigarette bobs between his lips, leaving a trail of smoke behind him that rises and merges with the ever-present fog that seems to hover ten feet overhead, just over the canopies.

It doesn't take him long to find his destination, one of the freestanding stalls tucked into an alcove. "'Allo Bill," Constantine says, stepping under the awning. He narrows his eyes at a Fae wood nymph wearing, of all things, a t-shirt that says DANCIN' QUEEN on it in bold letters. Synthetic material, of course. The Nymph blanches at Constantine's arrival.

"John!" he says in a surprisingly deep voice, like tree bark grinding. "I heard about those Poltergeists in Gotham last week," the Fae says. "That was a nasty business. I thought they threw you into a hospital. Someone said you were nearly dead."

***

Babs looks up at Rowan as they enter the market, a small look of suprise on her face which is schooled very quickly. "What's this?" she murmurs. Babs Gordon looks to be nothing more than what she seems, a disabled woman in a wheelchair, so being surprised is to be… expected. However, as Oracle, being surprised is something unusual. "I thought this was an antique shop?" Her green eyes scan the marketplace, taking it all in… well isn't this going to be fun….

***

Rowan blinks. Of all the unusual experiences he's accrued, he's never seen a place even remotely like this. "Uh, no, this doesn't look like a antique shop…" He glances back at the doorway they just came through, which still shows a New York city street, then back at the market. The floor here is all tile, but there's grass coming up through the grout and in the distance (this place is huge) greenery and trimmed hedges can be seen.

"Er… kind of odd…"

"Not nearly so odd as you two, dearie." Says a woman with raven feathers for hair at a stall next to them.

"Beg your pardon?"

***

"Oh you needn't beg dearie, I give away pardons for free. But it's not every day that a dragon and the worlds only princess who likes her tower come through the door. Must have been why you got let in. Too interesting to pass up." The Finder, for that is this creature's name, looks over into the market. "Jay! When you're done there I may have something for you to do!" She calls and then sighs. "Oh dear. It's Johnny-boy. I'd better find that thing he asked me to hold onto." The woman holds out her hand and a raven flits on down to it. She whispers to it and it takes off again with a purpose.

"Um…" Rowan looks down at Babs.

***

The cleaning elf(?) continues to work away with speed, care, and skill. When The Finder shouts over to her, she pauses only briefly to raise her right hand in the somewhat universal 'ok' sign, then goes back to work. She's almost done with what she Promised, and one should never leave a job Undone. That's just all kinds of Bad.

Then something in the wall catches her eye and she scrubs at it a bit more briskly than she had been, dust and friction sending something shiny flying to land in front of Babs. It appears to be a very well-crafted replica of The One Ring, complete with some strange ancient script.

"Huh.Don'tseethateveryday."

***

"Goes to show you can't trust experts," Constante replies, a bit drolly. "I'm of half a mind to dig up the fellow who wrote the Big Book of Hauntings and slap his corpse around a bit for confusing a bloody achak with a poltergeist. Almost ended up with this fine mother's son dying before his time." He chuckles, a dry, withered sound, and holds up a little bag between two fingers, setting it on the counter. The Fae nods and holds a leaf-twined finger up, then rummages and hands John a little leaf-wrapped parcel. "Thanks, mate."

Small talk done, Constantine makes the parcel vanish into a pocket and walks down the road towards where the newcomers are. He does need to see The Finder, after all.

***

Babs blinks and blinks again as The Finder addresses the couple. "Um sorry, worlds only princess…." and just trails off, the Dragon reference makes perfect sense; Princess not so much; Tower - definitely. Babs does prefer her tower and it's not often she leaves it to venture out… maybe this is why.

Looking up at Rowan, again, Babs grins "At least we're interesting. I wonder if that's interesting in a chinese curse sort of way though…" she muses just as the artefact (that's a good term, right?) lands on the ground in front of her… Babs peers at it, trying to make it out. "Did you see that, Rowann?" She's preoccupied with whatever that is on the ground, so doesn't notice the blonde man approaching.

***

Rowan kneels down and looks at the ring. He doesn't touch it because he did come from a world where magic was if not commonplace then certainly a known factor. And this place seems quite magical. "There's writing on it… but I can't make it out." He looks up tracking from where the ring was to see… odd. That's an… "Excuse me? Miss Elf? You dropped something."

***

The elfin girl finishes up her cleaning when Rowan calls out to her, and she smiles a bit. That smile… it's a bit jarring, to say the least.

Slowly she descends, then zips over by the gathering pile of people. There's a bit of a sniff.

"Notanelf, kay?"

Despite that unnerving smile on her face, her tone is very much in the irritated category.

"Ifitbelongstoanyoneit'dbetheshopownerovertherewiththeclothes, wasonhisstore?"

Someone may want to ask her to slow down a bit.

***

Constantine drops a shoe over the ring, having suddenly entered the circle. He looks around at the three with a severe expression, a cigarette bobbling on his lips. "Best not to go picking up magical tidbits that throw themselves at you," he advises the two newcomers after a moment. "You never know who's going to walk along and decide you owe them something for it. Place like this, you could end up selling someone your real name to get out of a debt." He glances at the hovering elfin girl. "Did you chuck this little piece of gold at them? Don't make me ask you twice more," he adds, almost immediately. "I don't like to put on airs, but I can always tell when a Fae is trying to pull a fast one, and I'd hate to compel the truth from you."

***

Babs is a bit bemused by all of this and as the 'notanelf, kay?' starts speaking, she leans forward in her chair trying to understand her. Babs is quick, but that Fae is quicker "I don't think I got all of that, want to slow downa bit for us poor humans?" And then the blonde man appears, Babs is sure he looks familiar, and he's quite blunt to the little Fae. Leaning back again in the chair, Babs tilts her head as she regards the blonde, "Is that really necessary, sir?"

***

Rowan stands and looks with a canted head at 'not an elf' and the tall blonde man. Most of the locals seem to be giving him a wide berth. The woman next to them in the stall is grinning though.

"Hello Johnny-boy." She smiles sweetly. "Come to collect have you? Jay, nice to see you back. I'd be willing to trade you a few of my trinkets if I could get this place as spotless as you left Ol' Gruff's.

The Shopkeeper of the other shop comes out. It is indeed… a large, bipedal goat. A billy-goat Gruff, actually, if one knows the stories. He doesn't beat trolls anymore. He's retired.

***

"That'ssoundadvice." Jay offers that, then nods at the explanation. She's only been here a little while but that seems to be the course if a person isn't careful. Then the blonde-haired fellow asks her if she threw the ring, and she smiles a freakish bit more, even as the tone that comes from her lips is almost frosty. Not quite chilly enough to make the air turn to vapor from her mouth, though.

"No. It's from the clothier's front wall came out when I was cleaning, giveittohim, maybe?"

Then John goes right out and calls her a Fae, and that smile.. well, the Joker would be darn jealous of that smile now. It's the kind of smile that promises loss of fingers or toes if the mouth opened and then closed suddenly.

"Not an elf. Not Fae. Human. Cut it out."

Definitely jarring given that the tone coming from her voice is one of growing anger, but that inhuman smile simply does not match it.

Then the woman says the right words and the smile starts to fade back to a very expressionless set of lips as the diminutive floating girl considers.

"Don't need trinkets right now, but if'n you promise to feed me a nice ribeye every sixth-day for the next moon, I'll clean the front of your store, too?"

***

Constantine bares his teeth at Jay in a near-grin of his own. "Well, glad we're on the same page now, luv," he tells the flying, angry girl. "Can't blame a bloke for checking, can you?" He ashes his cigarette, staring the girl down fearlessly, then turns to the old woman. "Granny-o'-th'-Feathers," he says in a tone that's absolutely respectful and just a /little/ bit teasing. He smiles at her and then nods his head politely to Ol' Gruff. "Master Gruff. Still terrorizing the local troll kids with your pickled troll fingers?" he asks, clearly familiar with both of the individuals. He shifts his foot aside and produces a gold-inlaid napkin with a flourish, picking the ring up, carefully folding it in the cloth and tucking it in a coat pocket. "If you've got my parcel…?" he asks the old woman, digging in another pocket. He produces a small, colorless phial with one hand, inside which spirals a little wisp of blue flame. "This should cover it. Snipped a piece of living flame off a lifespark." He passes the phial toward the raven-feathered woman.

***

Babs settles more firmly back in her chair and crosses her arms. Watching the transaction between Johnny-boy and and the shopkeeper is mildly interesting but it's rude to interrupt when business is being conducted. Quirking an eyebrow at Rowan, Babs simply watches.

***

"Thank you John. So considerate. I can always count on you to find the most interesting things." A raven swoops down with a small wooden case, depositing it in John's hands, and then flies off. "As promised, your parcel safe and unopened. You must let me know, though, if you do anything interesting with it."

Across the way Ol' Gruff waves. "Only when they don't stay off my lawn." He bleats with a smirk before headed back into his shop.

The Finder looks at Jay with a grin. "You have yourself a deal, little Miss." She says, nodding to her crows. Several of them fly off, out the door behind Babs and Rowan.

"So what about you two dearies? Here to browse or buy? Ooooooh… I do like your aura, Miss." She smiles at Babs. "Perhaps you'd be willing to trade a nip of it for something. Are these friends of yours John? Oh, where are my manners? John, this is Jay. She's a cleaner and one of the best. Knows how to deal, she does."

***

Rowan looks down at Babs, confused. Not having a fairy tale background to speak of, this entire scene is alien to him.

***

The copper-gold haired girl points at her eyes with her index and middle fingers of her right hand, then points them at John in the 'I'm keeping my eyes on you' motion as she tilts her head slightly to look at Babs and Rowan, eyes dancing over each one of them in turn. "Hmmm."

It looks like her slitted eyes saw something as she was looking at the two of them, then she nods to the Blue and Babs. "Jay Donohue, custodian, nice t'meetcha!" She offers a thin hand for the shaking to the two of them in polite greeting, not Deal-sealing.

Regardless of that outcome, she nods to the shopkeeper and begins to clean The Finder's stall. It's almost magical watching her work, though it doesn't look like she's using anything more than skill and focus as years of grime start to vanish under her eager attentions.

"That might not be such a good idea, ma'am. That's not the kind of currency you want to be trading straight-off, I wouldn't think? Perhaps you've something Better?" she offers as pure advice to the wheelchair bound woman, even as she works away…

John got a bit of a grunt and a nod from the woman. Call HER an elf, huh?

***

Constantine winks at the woman and looks back at Babs and Rowan, then tilts his brow at The Finder. "They're just a couple of straights who wandered in," he reminds the supernatural woman. "Don't go snacking on auras. You know it gets me all bothered when I hear about some poor sodding fool turning up here in a rat pile with their soul eaten to bits and pieces."

Constantine looks at Babs and Rowan. "Welcome to the Nowhere Market," Constantine explains. "It's a place-between-places. Sort of a meeting ground for the supernatural in the tri-city area. Faeries, elves, ghouls, demons, anyone with something to barter or trade shows up here. Don't give out your full name from your own lips and don't offer to sell anything to anyone, no matter how ephermal it might seem. A nibble from your aura might not kill you, but a few big bites will leave you kicked into an alley in Gotham, drooling and catatonic. Oh, and don't make any deals. That's a good way to end up enslaved for a century of servitude."

***

Shaking the small womans hand Babs eyes crinkle with amusement "Pleased to meet you too, Jay, I'm Babs." Her eyes follow the custodian as she begins her work only to be distracted by Constantine explanation. Nodding at Constantine to acknowledge the advice Babs turns her attention to the store keeper and smiles faintly "I guess we're browsing, giving this is not where we expected to be… and given my friends advice here" Babs cants her head Constantine-wise "I'll decline your offer, with thanks of course." Looking up at Rowan, Babs gives a confused little smile "Don't ask me, you bought us here."

***

"Er… how?" Rowan blinks. He's still not at all sure. Let's see. He opened the door. Stepped inside behind Babs. And… yeah. Definitely odd.

"Well do let me know if you change your mind, Dearie." The Finder grins, turning her gaze from Babs to Rowan to John.

"Oh John." She laughs. "You know I always give fair value." Indeed she can't do otherwise. It may not be wise, but the deals are always fair.

Rowan blinks. "Mmmmmmm. This seems like a place where we'd have to be really, really careful…" He looks up at John. "Er, how'd you get in here?"

***

When John explains the market, Jay just gives a bit of a shrug, then grimaces at the 'don't make any Deals' comment. You just have to know what you're offering and what you reasonably expect in return. What's so hard about that?

She nods a bit to Babs at the handshake, eyes crinkling as well. Though her lips are neutral, there is definitely the hint of amusement from her as well.

She's already cleared about a quarter of the stall, even as she brings out some light chemicals to work with.

"Some of these might be a bit strong, fair warning. This corner hasn't been cleaned in a while."

Right now, it's the intense cleansing smell of pine!

***

"I took the F train," Constantine says in a tone of withering condescension to Rowan. "I've got my own ride, of course. If you're a creature of magic, the Nowhere Market is as easy to find as Times Square. If you're a straight, then you just walked through the wrong moment." He glances from Babs to Rowan, then looks over his shoulder with a furious scowl in both directions. A few patrons of the market who'd been loitering inconspicuously abruptly vanish, turning and disappearing around corners or straight up flying into the fog overhead.

"It's not a place in space, it's a place in time as well," Constantine explains, his face wiped of the false anger. "And in reality. You need to hold a certain thought in your head while looking in a mirror at twelve o'clock sharp, or turn the lights off six times during the night of a full moon. Once you have an instinct for how it works, you can get here anytime you like. A few Ways stay static, but they aren't widely advertised. Don't want straights just wandering into here pell-mell."

***

Murmuring to Rowan "It's a saying that's all" Babs focusses her attention on Constantine, his withering condescension met with a calm raise of a single eyebrow. As he winds down in his lesson, Babs turns to Rowan with a considering glance "Was there anything like this where you came from?" The smell of pine wafting by gains her attention and she looks at the cleaning in progress. "Do you hire out to normals, Jay?" she asks, mostly jokingly.

***

"Oh." Rowan says. "Er, no Babs. Or, well… maybe? But I'd never been there. Now that I think of it some of the Magi tribes had resources that we never quite figured out how they got…"

"Oh you can find anything here dearie." The Finder assures. "Anything your heart desires, if you're willing to pay the price. Johnny boy could tall you all about that, couldn't you?" The woman grins at John and then looks up at Jay's work, quite impressed. "I'd say you missed a spot but… you haven't."

***

"Well, nicetoknowyou'reanequalopportunitya-hole." Jay quips as she cleans, noting the condescending tone from the magus as she works. Her snark sort of vanishes as his tone softens somewhat.

"If'n you get in, though, make sure you do all your shoppin' and all deals are square before you leave. Y'always want to have a good word with folks, 'specially 'round here. An' after I'm done with this Deal 'ere, I'm heading back to Normaltown, because you stay here too long and you start getting lost. Never a good thing. 'specially when you get folks calling you an 'elf'." She grumbles a bit then glances over at Babs. "I am 'normal'. I might look a little funny but I'm just like anybody else not from around here. Whatcha want cleaned and whatcha offerin' for it?"

She places her right index finger against her nose and points with her scrubbing cloth at The Finder before going back to work. "Fair work for a fair price. If only the folks Out There understood that. World'd move a lot easier."

***

Constantine smirks at the cleaning not-Fae, smoking more of his cigarette. But, he nods along with her advice. "No one's proper from 'around' here," Constantine informs Babs. "It's a market, not a residential center. People just come and go as they need to. There are markets like this all over the world. Anywhere there's a major city. Gypsies carried the Markets over Europe and brought the tradition here soon after the White Man came over." He stubs out his cigarette and tucks it into a pocket rather than throwing it away.

***

Bowing her head at the industrious young woman, Babs looks a little chagrinned "Please forgive me rudeness, I shouldn't have assumed. The answer is nothing just yet, but I may at some point. Let me know how to get in touch with you, ok?" and then Constantine has her attention again "I get that, thank you" is the best she can give this most interesting man. "So we can browse and shop, what type of currency is accepted? Obviously deals, but anything else?"

***

"Oh anything really. Favors, days of your life, memories of loved ones, bits of your soul…" The Finder trails off. "It just depends what you're willing to trade, really."

Rowan blanches a bit. Commerce this may be but it's pretty alien commerce even by his standards. "Pinfeathers of a dragon would be an interesting one. That might be valuable to some." The Finder adds with a grin. Clearly she can see things. Rowan winces. Getting plucked isn't exactly pleasant.

"What is a Gypsie?" The blue finally asks.

***

Jay's cleaned about half the stand by now, and it's sparkling a fair bit. And no, it doesn't appear to be some sort of fancy special effect… but some residual aspect of exceptionally hard work, perhaps?

"No forgiveness needed. You know what they say about assuming, right?" There's a bit of a mirthful tone to her question, then she shrugs. "If you wait 'til I'm done with the current work, I can give you my cel-phone number?" In a way… that's kind of a Deal too, isn't it?

"Anything and everything, 'pparently. In the little bit of time I've been working here I've heard the word 'soul' tossed around a couple of times, and other things. Enough stuff that you prob'ly don't want to think about it too much?"

"Gypsies are traveling clans also known as 'Travellers'. They tend to be free-spirited an' free-willed and not viewing themselves as beholden to local laws."

Seems someone was paying at least some attention in history class.

***

"Bloody hell, you /are/ an ignorant one," Constantine tells Rowan with a shake of his head. He narrows his eyes at The Finder, waggling two fingers at her. Pointing is, of course, extremely offensive for a reason. "We're on such good terms right now, Granny," he reminds the woman in that same bantering tone. "Don't make me regret our business association," the Brit says in a playfully warning tone.

"You seem smart enough," Constantine tells Babs. He looks at Rowan. "You, though, are about one bad turn of phrase away from accidentally getting poached. You realize not five minutes ago I ran off five poachers? They saw you coming a mile away, mate. They wouldn't have even asked nice before ripping your magical guts our your arse."

***

Babs shifts uneasily in her chair as The Finder lists acceptable currency "No shopping for us here today then." Jay gets a small smile "Well, it depends on how long /done/ is, but I'm happy to wait for a while. I'll leave you my contact details to - fair exchange, right?" Constantine gets the raised eyebrow, again "I thought you said we were normals, so what would poachers want with him?" Rowans question isn't surprising really "We can discuss it later, ok?" Babs murmurs to the Blue.

***

Rowan begins to back toward the door slowly. "Right… er, Babs, perhaps we should locate another place to browse antiques." He glances about at the stalls. The wares are indeed, quite strange. Trinkets made of otherworldly materials, weapons from flights of fancy, sweet dreams, nightmares, blessings, curses and other things besides. A dapper gentleman in a swallow tailed coat with the head of a praying mantis walks by, swinging a cane and whistling (somehow) a jaunty tune.

'Well, don't be a stranger dearie." The Finder grins.

***

The woman comes whipping around the third corner, about three-quarters of the way done with cleaning. The wood almost looks like it must have within the first year or so of the stand, definitely shiny and resisting the dust of the area for the time being. "Good on you keeping your butt, though, John. I'd've been kinda angry if you just started tossing trash around like a shiftless good - for - nothing."

She nods eagerly to Babs. "See, YOU get it. Doesn't have to be a huge thing." Despite her eager nodding her lips remain thinly pressed. If her smiles are her anger showing… perhaps that makes sense, then?

***

"I don't want to leave anything that's got a whiff of my aura laying around," Constantine informs Jay patronizingly. "I'm just smarter than most. Who are you anyway, the damn market street cleaner?"

He looks at the door Rowan approaches and clears his throat. "Doors are one way around here, chum," Constantine informs Rowan. He looks around, then rolls his eyes heavenward expressively. "Look, you two seem like decent enough folks, and I'm a sucker for a cute girl. I'll show you a Way out so you don't have to hock your shoes for a ride home. Call it my good deed for the day."

***

Looking at Rowan as he backs to the door, Babs holds out a hand. "I've business to do here first, Rowan. It's ok, I won't let anything happen to you." There's a small amount of amusement in those green eyes, the disabled woman protecting the Warrior? Jay gets a wry little nod, and from a compartment in the arm of her chair, Babs pulls a card with her other hand and holds it out to the small woman "Part of the exchange then." Constantine gets the full Babs smile "Flattery will get you everywhere… let me conclude this deal and we will accept your offer."

***

Rowan stops backing. He does, however, briefly look down to make sure that the bracer on his arm is in place. It's probably not a good idea to cause a disturbance in here. It's a better option than getting 'poached' though. Odd. He thought poaching was a method of cooking by immersion in boiling water. Either way, sounds bad. Still, the young man steps back up next to Babs looking sheepish.

***

"Don't care about your motivations, just care that you're not making a mess. So even if you're being a self-absorbed sort, it all works out. And no. They can't seem to find a good person to represent the entire market to Deal for it. Too many different factions and folks, right?"

As John explains about the Way… "I'll wash your jacket if you get me out of the Market when I'm done cleaning the stand here? Not worried about getting back here, just worried about getting back when I'm done."

She will take Babs' card and toss her cel-phone to the woman in the chair. "Should be able to dig it up under the user info."

***

"Bloody hell. See, don't do anything for free, either," Constantine advises Babs and Rowan. "You let one person know you'll give them a lift out and next thing you know, everyone is pestering you for safe transit."

He does nod grudgingly at Jay, though. "Fine, yeah. You, too," he says with a vague wave. "But no one touches my coat. We'll say you owe me a polite courtesy in the next month and call it square." He very specifically doesn't call it a favor, for a reason that might be obvious only to him and Jay.

***

"It's alright Rowan, this is quite fun really now that I'm starting to understand the rules" Babs murmurs. Catching Jay's phone, she expertly operates it, retrieves the number and sends it to herself… or at least the persons who contact information she's just given Jay. "My number is in there, Jay, just save it off when you get chance." and she tosses the phone back. "I believe the young lady offered you a deal in return for safe transit." Babs murmurs as she looks calmly at Constantine and then more firmly "I believe our business here is complete, if you're ready to leave Rowan, I believe we can" and Babs lets the Blue make the decision.

***

"I thnk I'm ready, yes." Rowan nods looking around once more. Yeah… not shopping here. Bad things might happen. "Lead on."

***

Jay nods to the mage as she finishes up the cleaning, spitting into her hand and polishing the last little bit, buffing it out with a rag from her belt and nodding to The Finder.

"There we go, ma'am. Clean as a whistle an' a lot more hygienic. See you on the sixthdays." There's definitely a tone of pride in her work, and the whole place is a bit sparkly, even.

She gives John a nod. "Polite courtesy in the next month to square the books. Gotcha." And she doesn't mind the alternate term, weird antisocial mages that can explode on a moment's notice get a little bit of leeway.

The phone is caught in return and stowed in a zipper pocket.

"Ready to go, I think…"

***

"Right. Follow me, you lot." And like the Pied Piper of Nowhere, Constantine leads them down a side alley that turns right four times, somehow, the sunlight filtering in overhead. He opens a simple wooden gate and then there they are, the four of them, standing in a residential area of Gotham. "Here you are. Bus stop is a block down the road," he says, pointing north. "Good luck. If you find yourself stuck in the Market again, might as well ask Granny for directions. Her prices are more fair than most and she won't take something from you you'll miss." He peers at them all, then ducks back in and shuts the door behind him without another word. Should one of them open the door again, they'll find it opens on a short dead-end behind an apartment building.

***

"Well that was fun" Babs beams brightly "Um Thank you Mr ….. you know I didn't get his name… John" she calls after Constantine. "Pleasure to meet Jay, I hope we can strike a Deal at some point." Looking to Rowan, the redhead smiles irrepressibly "It's never dull around you, come on, let's go find a cup of tea."


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