Prince Charming

<December 16, 2014: Constantine calls Kate in to deliver a charm.

Constantine's Moving Mansion

Somewhere in between everything.



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Mood Music:

Constantine is not, if anything, polite. Ever. Even if the Devil himself is starting him down. Respect for personal boundaries doesn't get you far with demons. So one day, unbeknownest to Kate, Constantine finds his seat in his parlor, literally staring into a crystal ball, one hand hovering over it while the other grips an arrow left over from their last encounter.

"Hawkeye," Constantine intones, eyes lidded. "I summon thee. Hawkeye, I call to thee. Hawkeye, thrice I say thy name- hearken to me, and find your way here!" He flings a fistful of powder into the fireplace and a shimmering blast of light explodes into his parlor, tugging Kate along inexplorably wherever she is to the rich carpet that sits in front of Constantine's mantle.

"Shit!" This is not, amusingly enough, the first time that Kate has been tugged from one place to another. She's done portals with Fenris. She's done rabbit holes with Vorpal. And now, apparently, she's been summoned. This is a new version, though, so she's a little bit wary when she comes out the other side, which is to say as soon as she's landed on the carpet, she's ducking and rolling toward the nearest cover.

"Hawkeye! It's Constantine!" John immediately bails and dives for cover himself, very wary of the possibility of arrows flying at him. He holds his hands up in a surrender position, not quite making his head visible. "Bloody hell, it's orright! This is my house- it's a safe place, scout's honor!" He peeks around the heavy legs of the table. "Don't shoot, okay?"

Luckily for John, Kate doesn't actually have a bow in hand. At the moment. Sometimes she keeps it in her trunk. In fact, the young woman who peeks out from behind an armchair looks…well, distressingly normal. Skinny jeans and a loose-fitting cashmere tunic along with those awful sheepskin boots don't exactly look like cdim-fighting gear. "Seriously?" That's definitely her voice, though. "I have a cell phone."

"You didn't /give/ me a cell number, you gave me a name," Constantine says, rising up once he realizes that Kate isn't going to shoot him. His hands waver, then drop, and he straightens upright entirely. "You said you needed that charm, post-haste, so I wanted to get you here and hand it off. Bloody hell, you try and do someone a favor," he mutters, mostly under his breath. "…you look good?" he ventures, almost apologetically.

"You can pull me through space, but you can't divine a phone number?" Kate pulls herself up from behind the chair, brushing herself off. "It's all right. I mean. Don't make a habit of it, you know? But I'm not going to shoot you. Partly because my bow is in my car, but also because you're doing me a favor, and it so it would be pretty rude." She pushes a hand through her hair, composing herself, then lets out a breath. Honestly, she seems more startled than upset, when it comes down to it. "Sorry," she says with a crooked smile.

Constantine nods once, not quite apologizing himself. Spotting something, he quickly gestures behind Kate. "Uh, if you'll head over here, I'll show you what I've been working on," he says. The moment she's not looking, he flicks a woman's brassiere behind the thick leather sofa from where it sits folded on a suitcase. He guides Kate to what looks what like a mad wizard's workbench, filled with bizarre knick-knacks and odds and ends. Sitting on a patch of green velvet is, of all things, what looks like a piece of heavily wadded steel wool, suspended in copper wire on a necklace. Constantine can't help but grin broadly, hands folded under his arms, bouncing a bit excitedly. "It's been a day since I got to whip up something like this. Took me about a week to get it right, but… I think it will do the trick."

The urge to pick up everything and ask what it is is a powerful thing. Kate's fingers actually twitch before she shoves her hands in her pockets, looking over the bench and the table. When he points her toward it, though, she has to pause, and pull one hand out to point to the necklace. "That?" she asks, fingers twitching again. "Is it- I mean, how's it work? Is there anything special I have to do with it?" Well, at least she's not picky about how it looks.

"Nope! You just wear it," Constantine tells Kate. "See, I can't stop light from bouncing off a mirror or whatnot, but I can at least make it impossible to be coherent. So if someone is trying to step through mirrors and reflections to hurt people, they'll have more than trouble. They're going to come out the other side bloodied up like they just ran through a bunch of steel wires. She'll hurt so much you'll spot her immediately, and hopefully she'll be stunned enough you can lay hands on her."

Kate Bishop's brows rise as she looks at the charm, considering. "That's an interesting take on it," she says slowly. "So it'll hit her when she comes through. How far away, though?" she asks. "She doesn't seem like the sort to come running through herself. Last time she sent in the duplicates, and I don't think they're going to be worried about getting scratched up too much."

"If they're duplicates, they'll be hurt just as much," Constantine explains. "It'll prevent mirror magic from properly working- duplicates won't be able to manifest proper, and even they're magic will be diffracted and disturbed. It won't /stop/ her, but it'll give you a serious fighting advantage."

"Same with the scrying, then?" Kate asks, reaching out to pick up the charm. "Like looking through scratched up glass?" Curious, she pokes at the bits of wire, a slow grin spreading despite herself. Because magic is cool, whether or not it does what you thought it would do.

"Yyyes," Constantine hedges. "I'm not a physicist, luv. I ballparked it. But that's the general idea. Stopping someone magical, cold, is hard work. It's like trying to stop a scrum half charging the field. Easier just to trip him while he's running," Constantine tells Kate. "So if you wear this, and she shows up, and I did my work right, it should make her life pretty miserable." He gestures at Kate. "I, uh, hope it works," he says. "I'm winging it a bit here with that. I don't know how her powers work, so it's a bit of a crapshoot if she's just another metahuman with a weird skill. I figured easier to err on the side of caution."

"Can't be worse than nothing, right?" Kate replies, looking back with a crooked grin and holding out a hand. "Thanks," she says more quietly, sincere. "It's pretty cool all around, actually."

Constantine doesn't seem to know how to respond to the compliment, because after he drops the necklace into her hand, he rubs the back of his neck and moves back to the scrying table, putting his back to Kate and snatching up a bottle of scotch that had been sitting there. The lanky wizard takes a few belts from it, and given the weathering on the label, it's probably old enough to remember the Cold War era. "It's nothing," he mutters, suddenly the crusty introvert again. "I'm just the right bloke in the right place. Can't have you lot cut to ribbons by some crazy bitch dancing through the window panes."

"You made a magic amulet to keep the creepy Bloody Mary mirror lady from jumping me," Kate points out, grin flashing. "That's pretty cool. And, you know. Not something just anyone can do. Along with the whole travel thing," she adds, turning back toward where she appeared just a few moments ago. "I didn't think you could actually summon physical entities. The secret service would freak if they knew that was a thing."

Constantine moves to the large leather sofa, flopping bonelessly into it with the bottle of scotch balanced on one knee. "It wasn't a summons, it was a … really forceful invitation," Constantine explains. "Ripping someone straight from reality isn't easy. You gave me a name and I had a token- made it easy to find you and pull you in. I couldn't just whistle up the Prime Minister, for instance. Never met the bugger," Constantine explains. "You have to hear someone's name, know a bit of who they are, before you can really pull it off." He takes another hit of his scotch, looking at the carpet in front of the fireplace, where Kate's eyes are directed. He looks at the woman, a bit blearily. "Bit odd, seeing you without your crime-fighting gear on," he says. "I'm not used to seeing heroes out of their special knickers."

"So the next time someone asks how Barton and I can both be Hawkeye, I can tell them I'm Hawkeye enough for it to count as a true name for a summoning?" Kate grins, moving to drop into a ratty old armchair when he sits down. "Also kind of awesome." She shifts to sit cross-legged in the chair, setting her elbows on her knees and resting her chin on one fist. "The special knickers are useful. I mean. Mine are," she adds, wrinkling her nose. "Armor in there, for one."

"Probably helps when you're being shot at," Constantine tells Kate with a slow, approving nod, staring at the fireplace. After a moment, he takes another belt from the bottle and, leaning forward, swings the bottom end of the bottle at Kate, offering her a drink. "You're not more Hawkeye than this Clint bloke- you're … Hawkeye." He frowns, rubbing the stubble on his chin. "It's not just having a name. Your name- how you regard yourself- is Hawkeye. So I form a picture of you in my mind, with your name, your self-identity, your personality, all attached to it. I don't know who this bloke is, but I'd have an easier time whistling him up in the phone book than I would summoning you. I don't know him," Constantine shrugs, as if that explains it all .

"That seems very self-help-ish," Kate muses, considering. "You are who you think you are. What if I was really good at pretending, though, and was playing you the whole time?" she asks. "Would you get no answer when you tried the whole thing?"

"No. If you told me your name was … Jane. And you kept introducing yourself as Jane," Constantine says. "So all I knew you as was Jane, and I had this image in my mind of who you are, as Jane, and what you do, and the way you look and fight and react to things. Your name could be Mud, for all the magic cares. It's just a word. A rose, by any other name," he says, with a dismissive flick of his wrist. He adjusts the ragged length of cloth around his neck that passes for a necktie.

"Huh." Kate lifts the chain of the necklace between thumb and pinky, stretching it out to swing the charm from one end to the other. Idly, she looks around the room, considering the place. "Out of curiosity. Where are we right now?" she asks, gesturing in a circle with her free hand.

Constantine looks around them. It's a rather posh Victorian-style parlor, with the fancy, comfortable chairs, the unfathomably cushy leather sofa, and a roaring fireplace. His little workspace is the next room over, and through a set of open doors, a large double stairwell can be see. "This is my House. Won it in a bet," he says. "I keep it parked sort of… between places. Lets me go hither and yon when I need to, and I can bring guests in safely without niggling concerns like someone mailing me a bomb. It's a bit overdone," he admits, squinting at the vaulted ceiling, "but it's quiet and it's safe. The assembled armies of Alexander the Great couldn't get through those doors, and believe me, they've tried," he says, gesturing at a thick double door behind Kate.

"What'd you do to piss him off?" That question comes with a grin that's pure Kate, not entirely teasing. Because if that story exists, she wants to hear it. "So it's kind of one of those other dimension, in between places. I wonder if crazy mirror lady can even see in here. I traveled through a place like that when I went to Russia, too, actually. And there's Vorpal's rabbit holes. And Fenris does the portal thing." Kate is surrounded by strange magic things, and her reaction…is to treat them as though they're entirely normal.

"Let's just say I'm on good terms with Cleopatra," Constantine says dryly, to Kate's question.

"Everyone's is a bit different, luv," Constantine says with a knowing smirk, getting to his feet with a lurch. He takes another belt from the bottle, looking down at the fireplace. "Fenris and Vorpal stitch little bits of reality together. Sort of like folding a paper in half and poking a pencil through it," he offers, turning a bit towards Kate in her seat. "House is another piece of paper entirely. Not as quick and dirty as what those two buggers do, but hell on wheels for getting around where you're needed."

"And also you can stay here. In between." Kate pauses, giving Constantine a searching look for a moment. "You're not secretly, like, ninety years old because you spend a bunch of time here and time stops moving here, are you? Because I think I know a few too many super old people."

Constantine doesn't reply to Kate's question, taking another long drink of his scotch. "Time moves here, just like everywhere else," Constantine says. "Sometimes folks need something done in a day. You needed that necklace as fast as I could get it to you. What's a week or so here working if it saves a life?" Constantine says, a bit evasively, still looking into the flames with a dull, almost weary expression.

That was not a straight answer. Kate squints a bit, eyeing Constantine. "Okay. Well. Thank you?" she says, unfolding and hopping off the chair. "And as a side note?" She steps over to the couch, reaching for the glass. "I'm no expert, but I kind of feel like getting drunk is not a thing you should do while playing with the primal forces of the universe."

Constantine eyes Kate a bit balefully. "Luv, if there's one thing you /shouldn't/ do sober, it's meddle with the powers of Creation," he assures her. "Thinking about it too much will make your brain turn inside out. Best to be a bit pissed before you end up overthinking things and accidentally drive yourself mad, eh?" he says, fingers brushing Kate's as he doesn't quite readily surrender the bottle of scotch.

Kate…has more practice than she ought to with removing booze from drunks. "I thought you said focus was key," she points out. "I refuse to believe that alcohol helps you focus. Although…" She pauses, once again distracted by some other thought or theory. "Hey, what about people who are ADD? If you took some ritalin or something, would it help you focus? Probably not, I've heard it can actually make the problem worse if you're not really ADD."

"No idea," Constantine says with a shrug at Kate, finally letting her take the bottle away. "Could be it just messes with the brain even more. Look," he says, with a bit of an edge on his voice, turning to face the woman. "I don't drink because it's a focus problem," he tells Hawkeye. "I do it because it's physically painful to focus on the fabric of reality. Humans aren't meant to see things like that. We aren't built to sit there and go 'oh, I can just do this and defy the bloody laws of physics'. There's a cost," he says, "with everything we do, from looking into the future to raising the blood dead. The liquor? It just helps take the edge off of staring into a bloody dark and scary abyss."

"You know what else helps with that?" Kate sets the bottle down on a table out of reach. It's not far away. More symbolic than anything. "Therapy. Seriously, my next charity is going to be therapists for heroes. You would not believe the unhealthy things going on inside most of our heads."

"There isn't enough therapy in the world," Constantine snorts derisively, snatching up the bottle of scotch with a magician's sleight of hand and walking a few paces away, upending the bottle with a few swigs. "I'm not some daft bloke who shot someone in the heat of the moment. There isn't even salvation waiting for me at the end of the long goodnight, luv," Constantine says, half looking over his shoulder. "Let alone anything a hug from a fucking therapist could do for me."

"That's okay." Kate smiles crookedly, unfazed by the dismal interpretation. "I was never much of one for doing something because of the rewards you'd get for it. You do it because it's right. Because you can. So you must." She reaches up to fasten the charm around her neck, despite the fact that it obviously doesn't go with cashmere. "I think somewhere deep down, you get that. Otherwise why would a man who's got no salvation waiting for him keep fighting?"

Constantine slumps a bit as Kate points out the obvious. No hope, no future, no rewards. Keeping on to keep on keepin' on. "Maybe I'm just a glutton for punishment," Constantine says, turning half around, downcast eyes full of bitter self-recrimination, a grimace on his face. "Just because I'm proper fucked, doesn't mean the rest of the world need be. Everyone else can just go on living their lives. Maybe in a few centuries House will find some bloke as daft as me, and they'll find my skeleton sitting in the parlor next to a bottle of scotch." He lifts his bottle, looking at it with a deflated expression, then takes another sip anyway.

"I also don't believe in giving up hope," Kate adds, stepping over and reaching a hand out for his shoulder. "So. You need help, you can call me," she says lightly, offering over a card. It just says Hawkeye, and a number. "I can help with cover. But you're interesting. And I get the feeling you could use someone to walk beside you, even just for a little bit."

Constantine half turns when Kate touches him, as if it's been a long while since someone offered that basic sort of human support. With his free hand he reaches over and accepts the card, looking at Kate with a bit of wary curiousity on his face. "Dangerous road, walking next to me," Constantine says, finally, looking into Kate's eyes. "Lot of good people ended up dead doing that. You seem better than most- I don't know that I'd want your blood on my hands, too," he says, though he does rotate the card mindlessly from finger to finger, tracing the edges of it againt the edge of his nails.

"Maybe," Kate shrugs, smile flickering. "But one thing I've found? You get a lot further working with people than you do trying to do it all by yourself." She looks around again, then clears her throat. "Except, nice as this place is, I was sort of in the middle of a thing. How do I actually get out of here?"

"Oh." Constantine blinks, coming out of his reverie when Kate clears her throat, and walks over to the double doors. He presses his palm against a clear glass sphere in the door panel, which glows a pale azure, and then pushes the doors open, revealing the exact place from which he'd plucked Kate- more specifically, the view from the nearest convenient doorway. "Off you go, then, back to the world of the living," Constantine says, gesturing vaguely with the bottle of scotch. "Sleep tight, bedbugs, all that. If, uh," he says, "things go wrong, let me know," he says, making it as much request as offer. A business card of his own appears in his fingers, and he hands it to Kate. Only his name is on it. "Tear it in half and say my name three times, but only if it's truly dire straits," he says, trying to look nonchalant about his sudden act of concerned humanitarianism.

"Like running out of scotch?" Kate grins, taking the card and tucking it into her pocket. "Call," she says, pointing at him as she backs toward the door. And somehow, that single word carries a world of meaning. Call, if he needs help. Call, if something is happening. Call, rather than summon. Or maybe it's just, don't be a stranger.

Constantine nods despite himself- slumped, wearing a shirt stained by effort and scotch and sleep deprivation, and makes a silent gesture, turning his back to Kate. The door, from her end, turns out to be a closet- and it just *clicks* shut, and if opened again, is revealed to contain nothing but what was originally inside it.

Once more alone in his intradimensional mansion of aloneness, Constantine finishes the scotch up and chucks the bottle into the fireplace, then walks over to the crystal ball. He watches Kate putter around in her apartment for a few moments, then waves a hand over the sphere, clouding it with mist before tossing her card onto the table next to it. He goes to his workbench, then. Things to be done, still.

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