Scandalous Liasions

June 11, 2015:

John and Scandal Savage meet in a bar; the journey takes them to unexpected places.

Flaherty's Pub

A well-worn, well-kept British Pub, with proper, room temperature ales and good pub food in the back. A place for travelers and expats.


NPCs: Paul



Mood Music: [*\ Dreamweaver]

Fade In…

John's back at Flaherty's Pub. Jesana had been locked up in House overnight for her own protection (and his, to be perfectly frank with himself). He'd shrugged the encounter with the coyote off to his friends and gone right back to drinking, enjoying the atmosphere of the pub- a proper Gastropub in a proper UK style, completely with warm, dark ales, hot fried food, and plenty of decorations to make expats and visitors feel right at home. He moves to a dart board by himself and starts flicking darts at the wall a bit listlessly, brow furrowed in thought.

Who in the world names their child Scandal?

It doesn't matter. It was a name to fit the face and the body, dressed down to tight jeans that waffle against the thick curve of her calf, small boots, heel low enough to get the job done if a twist and a turn of ankle is needed. Bomber leather jacket with a mess of dark brown hair sprayed and styled to perfection even if she did just run her fingers through and spritz. Green eyes relay upon the gathering of lonely souls, adamant on making herself a member. It's been a long time since she's been in the states.

And the States themselves seem to be booming.

Flight out from Milwaukee to Chicago, to the ghettos of Detroit, the broken down and ruined houses looked at and wondered.. Straight to Portland and back again, then to Gotham. The city that's bleak and never sleeps, where people like her live and -prosper-.

Hands remain within her jacket as the leggy woman enters, her gait a cool one, built on confidence and blood. A slight lean forward with hands drawn from pockets, curled into a fist which gives a brief rapping upon the counter top to gain the 'ttention of the tender. She was no priss when it came to drinks, and even if she didn't know the name of what she wanted to taste upon her tongue? She knew that she liked it..

"…strong and dirty."

Drink poured, slid, money slapped down, and a hop upon the stool in an even straddle sets her apart from the rest.

One of the darts veers off course and strikes the metal frame with a *ping*. John sighs, walks over and picks it up, examining it- the fletching had snapped loose and now the metal head was bent into a boomerang. "Bugger," he says. Wearing his white shirtsleeves and a narrow black tie, loosely gathered around his neck as almost an afterthought instead of apparel, he looks like almost any other given office worker at a glance. "Oye, Paul," he says, moving to the bar. He leans on it two seats down from Scandal, an introspective frown on his craggy features. The bartender looks up from retrieving some old washmouth bourbon for Scandal. "The quoits are buggered. Got any more?"

The bartender frowns. "Yeah, mate, but I'll have to go in the back," he says with a strong Welsh accent. "Mind the bar for me?"

John nods and vaults the bar with a lunge and a grunt, slapping Paul on the back, and walks to where he'd been serving Scandal. John comes up short at the sight of the lithe woman, then cocks a hip back and leans his hand on the bartop, resting his other hand on his narrow waist. "Well, hello luv," he says with a grin and a twinkle of his bright blue eyes. "What was Paul pulling up for you? Pick a poison?" he asks, reaching for a towel and slinging it over his shoulder.

It was a habit, the way her eyes darted two and fro around the bar. There was a large man near the back; reading some odd article upon his phone, the way his thumb swipes gives proof to that.. though it could just be an email. Another skinny man, possibly 5'6, hung his head as his fingers nervously clasped his drink. He may be up to no good, though there's a possible sign of distress in emotion that tells that once he arrives at his later destination shit could hit the fan. He wears no wedding ring, but shoulders were slumped.

A woman chats up a man, the way she leans into him as he speaks and laughs at almost every other word tells of a flirt. She wanted to take him home. The man wasn't bad looking, he seemed normal. With a couple of shots of Tequila he'd look like a god added with regret. Then there was the scraggily gent. Assumptions are bad, but this one worked a nine to five and sought release from the moment with idle games and drinks. It was something she could get behind.

As he jumped the bar, Scandal leans back, her elbows soon pressing, fingers steepling as she levels her gaze upon him.

Then smiles.

Gentle touch! "Oh, that's his name? Well.." She glances up, eyes roaming the row of drink for her to choose from. She wasn't sure what he was about to give her, she wasn't watching. Bad move, yet perhaps not. "I'm pretty sure he was going to give me something that was more than one-fifty proof." She drops her hands now, shoulders lifting. "Surprise me. What's the best this place has to offer?"

"The best?" John purses his lips in thought, looking down, then up, then tilting his head appraisingly at Scandal. "Depends on how your tastes run, I suppose," the Brit says in a tone of playful cheer. "Paul keeps some old Macallan around for when I'm in a mood for something strong. But," he says, wagging his finger and stepping away. "You don't know Paul."

"So that means you're new here." He retrieves a mug from overhead and rolls it down his forearm and pops it into the air with a flick of his elbow. He turns back to face Scandal, smiling, and catches it behind his back. "And if you don't know Paul, and you don't know Flaherty's, that means that you haven't tried his world-famous Lilypad Stout." He moves to a keg- an honest to god oak keg- and unscrews the tap, the liquid chug-a-lugging into the glass quietly. He pulls a perfect one-inch head of foam and passes the beer to the woman, the stuff almost pitch black in color. "Served properly at room temperature, the way God intended beer to be had." He spreads his hands, waiting for her to try it and report back.

"Depends on what tastes you mean." Scandal draws back. Though, the friendly smile was still there. One appreciates a person who's personable and who could pull it together even when down in the dumps. "But I'm open." Hands splay across the counter top. "Give me what you got." She knocks again, faint habit, leaning back just enough upon the stool to keep Constantine within her full viewing. His words, entire candor, express joy in the current situation.

Or maybe she's making an ass out of herself in assuming.

But he pegged her. She was somewhat new in town. There and back again, hopefully forgotten by the villanous and heroic few, a slight lean forward to watch him toss the bottle with a flick as if he were performing magic. That draws a grin, impressive almost, it was like a show just for her.

Could anyone be that conceited?

Liquid poured, glass drug back towards her chest with slender fingers, gripped.. drink… drink… "Augh.." She shakes her head briefly, cheeks flushing. It's been a while since she partook, and this one was a borderline alcoholic. "Leaves a bit of a taste." She even smacks her lips afterwards. How unladylike!

John chuckles sympathetically. "Slow down, luv," he advises her. "It's a proper elixir, but best savoured. If you drink that too fast, you'll either die of shock or sensual overload." He leans his hands against the bar in front of her again, shoulders rolling upwards as he locks his elbows out.

"So what brings you down to the Pub?" he inquires, looking for all the world like he belongs back there, sans an apron. "Not many newcomers in here, let alone by themselves- it's a quiet place and we tend to keep to ourselves. Most Yanks have no taste for warm beer," he adds with a grin and a chuckle. "Not that I'm objecting, of course- I'm always glad to see lovely new faces around here. Just curious, if you don't mind telling a total stranger something so intimately private as to your choice in bars."

Scandal was already on her second sip; but she slows down as told. She was already getting hot around the gills and had to push the drink back far enough to fan herself with her hand. Her eyes took a little bit of a water, but that was fine, it made the light hit them enough for them to seem weird. "Who in their right mind would make that shit?" She blurts out. She didn't care about insulting people, and this rugged man possibly shared the same thoughts.

"That's easy." Scandal states. "Needed a drink. Nothing more, nothing less. You spend most of your days flying and trying to get the jet lag out of the system by sleep. Me?" She wrinkles her nose, giving a slight shake of her head. "I do it by the bottle." Her head tilts briefly, the glass taken up again, another sip, and another flush of her cheeks. "I don't have a choice in bars. I go where the wind takes me." There would have been a wink if she wasn't afraid of dropping a tear down upon her cheek.

"Your questioning me being here makes me think that you think I have motives. You treat all of your friends patrons like that? New.. patrons?"

"Well, it's an acquired taste," John apologizes, reaching for the thick mug and taking a sip for himself. He smacks his lips, too, perhaps unconsciously, and looks pleased with the flavor. "How about a nice cold pale ale, eh? I think I can find some American domestics in the refrigerator. Not sure how old they are, though," he frowns, going to a repurposed icebox and pulling it open to dig through the contents.

He considers her question, then shrugs. "I'm a suspicious bugger," he says, as if that's explanation enough. "And nosy. You're pretty, you probably aren't from the Kingdoms, and you turned your nose up at Lilypad Stout. That tells me you're here to drink some problems away, or you're looking for someone. Ah!" He reaches into the back for a frost-wrapped bottle of something pale yellow and sudsy. He walks back to her and pops the cap off with his thumbnail. "Either way, I'm wondering if you're looking for someone I know, out to make a friend, or just in need of an ear to talk into and a shoulder to lean on. So. What can I do to help?" he asks, resting his hands on his narrow hips.

It wasn't in Scandal to protest someone switching up her drink. "It's a taste to get used to, that's for certain." She could feel the effects, the way her shoulder held and carried that subtle burn, how she needed to get up and move to work it off. There was a fire in her belly too, and at least one of her eyelids felt a little heavy.

"Hnn? Oh. It's good to be suspicious, at times. Where it counts." One hand held upright, finger crooked, the slight shine of metal hidden beneath the sleeve of her coat. "But I see you already have me pegged with the chosen few.." She sways a little, shoulder lifting to rotate and roll as she clears her throat, her hand reaching out for the pale sudsy stuff which was soon partook, but it didn't hold that same.. twang. It was missed.

"I could be, or could not be looking…" She pauses a little. "For someone. Right." The bottle was set down in favor of the glass, one finger drawn from it's surface to point into his direction. "I may or may not want to talk either.." She draws the glass to her lips, sip.. whether he still wanted to continue to drink from that same mug is up in the air. He may just have to pry it from her hands.

"But.. you shouldn't ask strahn.. strahn.. people if you they.. need help. Might kill-ya foh that."

John nods at Scandal, following the line of drunk logic pretty easily. "Well, sounds as if you may or may not need a drink and a bartender, then," he agrees, setting the mug back in easy reach of the lithely predatory woman sitting at the bar. "So I may or may not stand here while you decide if you're going to kill me or kiss me later."

Paul comes back, then, but John waves the big fellow off, apparently having no issue playing bartender for the moment. "Can I at least know your name? Or, failing that, a passable alias?" he says, lifting an eyebrow to go with a playful grin. "I wouldn't want to call you something inappropriate, but 'pretty eyes' seems like it might be a bit demeaning to your gender. I'm all for women's lib, you know."

"Thats.. right."

Scandal leaned forward just a bit, resting most of her upper half upon the counter top. That slow creeping burn? Made it's way to the base of her spine, and radiated towards her right. There was discomfort shown, yet pushed aside as her body began to feel heavy. Yeah, she was off of it. That's what not drinking for a very long while would do to a person. "So.." She slurred briefly.

"Hah..hawl did you know?" The question was put out there. If she were indeed going to kiss or kill him, he'd have to guess, and guess fast. "Caus.. I don' remmmm…" Her lips press hard, her free hand pressing against the edge of the bar to push herself back and upright, shoulders rolling, head leaning to the left and right to get rid of an errant tick, then.. confusion. "Wait.."

"OH! Scandal.." She presses her lips together again.. *flpflpflpflpflp'ing* herself into a slight fit of laughter. She would -never- give her name willy nilly! That lillyjarpaddrinkstuff was the shit!

"Ohmygodicantbelieveididthatcrap." She sniffs slightly, hand lifting to lazily rub beneath her nose, her eyes lowering.. and.. "Wha.. who's a fib?"

"Blimey, you're a little bit of a lightweight, Scandal," John says with a chuckle, watching her try to maintain her aplomb. Still, he eyes the mug of stout a bit suspiciously. Maybe he'd have a talk with Paul about fermentation time.

"Look, luv, I'm just filling for Paul, but you look like you've had a long night," he says. He hops his butt onto the bartop and spins, then hops down onto her side of things. "It's quiet here, Paul doesn't really need my help. Can I help you get to a lor- a taxi?" he offers. "It seems to me you could use a good night's sleep more than a drink and a charming stranger's company."

Scandal laughs, swaying just a little upon the bar as she finishes the drink that she paid for. It would possibly serve to be a bad move in the morning, but to hell with it. She was about to cut loose. "I.. I used to beashe.. a. aschololic." Scandal manages to get out, the mug pushed aside as both heels of her palm smack right into her eyes to rub. "Ooooooh.." She drawls out, meaning to toss back a bit of snark, but instead she draws one leg forward and down until she feels the ground beneath her feet, which allows her to step to the side and stand.

"You.. you just shutup…" She mumbles, her hand drawn up to rub at her eye again, fingers lifting to pat lightly at her cheeks as she tries to blow away the drunk with a bit of breath. "I.. did I say I cam.." Her jaw works a little, her body was on fire. " here to kiss or.. kills you?" She wipes away at her face again, this time with her entire sleeve.

"Caus.. I forg.. I man I didn't.. but.. you're lookin' mighty Hot."

"Hey, what's that?"

It's not so much mysticism as misdirection- John points to something just out of her line of sight. He does so with the unmistakeable urgency of someone hailing a threat for a friend before it can ambush them. Difficult to fake, which is why it's such an effective tactic.

His other hand moves up and he presses two fingers to Scandal's forehead, hiding the pinch of pixie dust he'd palmed and just thrown in her face. "Easy, luv, easy," he murmurs, catching her easily and setting her on a stool. He leans her head back with a frown, tugging at her eyelid to make sure she isn't going into catatonic shock. "Blimey, she's proper knackered. Paul!" he says, keeping his hands on Scandal's shoulders to make sure she doesn't fall over. "Oye, PAUL! Wanker!" he yells across the mostly-empty bar. The drunk, who'd passed out, snorts awake. "Call me a cab, eh? She's bloody knackered." He pats her cheek once, gently. "Don't worry, luv. We'll get you to a hotel. No malfeasance from me tonight, I promise."

Scandal was already moving in towards the kill. Or the kiss. You see, those places that were visited were contract jobs that were taken out and given to her in dropboxes in random locations. It all starts with A profile was made of the victim who happened to poke and message her, the time, date, and location given of their sorded affair, and soon that person would be crossed off the list. Profile deleted, gone from the server. Why.. it was a funny thing, her showing up like that.

John Constantine was a clear match for her, yet somewhere? Someone needed him gone.

But call this moment beer goggles, there was intent to ravage him right there in the middle of the bar to ease that burn, until he points and she looks…

Sleepy bye bye.

'What was that?' She thinks, her body soon gone limp as she leans against him, her head lolling back until she was resting comfortably upon the stool with his assistance. 'Huhhh..' She could hear herself droll out, or at least attempt to. She couldn't even build that unfettered rage. She was just.. there.. easily moved and a clear target should anyone at least try to lay a hand. No.. that's what she needed right? Pain.. "Baannnfnaaarr.." She manages to get out. Well, that's something at least!

John hoists Scandal up into his arms with a grunt. He's stronger than he looks, but she's no featherweight, either. He accepts his coat from Paul, nodding thanks, and struggles up the stairs with Scandal in his arms. "Bloody hell, woman, you better appreciate this in the morning," he grunts. He hails a cab, disarming the fellow's concerns with a grin, and directs him to a cheap but clean hotel not far off.

In short order, having talked his way past any concerns, John has Scandal out on a bed, flopped on her back. He stares at her, thoughtfully, eyes narrowed. On the one hand, she'd certainly gotten tanked in a hurry, and no one's a good enough actress to pull it off that convincingly. He turns to leave, taking a few steps, then pauses.

On the other hand… that metal up her sleeve. He moves to Scandal's side and pinches her cheek once, hard, to see if she's out. He reaches over and starts rolling the sleeve up to check for what she's got hidden.

The ride was a blur. It was a myriad of colors, something that flashes by along with voices that were too warped to be of concern. At least she wasn't dead weight. She was still somewhat upon her feet, the booted heel making it tough for her to walk the straight and narrow, a lean of an ankle here, a stumble and a jump there…

Does anyone know what laying upon clouds truly feel like? Even though the motel wasn't up to her snuff, she felt as if she were sinking into the bed, and drifting right off to sleep. The room spun of course, that was natural, but her constitution remained strong enough for her to hold whatever contents remained within her belly.

Why.. she felt something crawling..

The metals were almost like vambraces, long and drawn up towards the elbow. An old mechanism made to look brand new with the variations of atlantean metals adorned. There was a crest etched into each one, a strange literature that gives credence to the family name, one that is as old as time. "Nnn.." She tries to say, but her arm draws up as she rolls lazily to her side at a flop. Yeah, her stomach was starting to turn by the way the room spun, she went left and it went right.

John curses, softly. A gorgeous girl in a bar hitting on him would be nothing new, but adding rare, heavily adorned Atlantean-style battle implements to the mix? John frowns and rubs a thumb over the crest, then goes to his jacket and pulls out a little box. "Omnius linguis," he murmurs, producing a small monocole. He places it in his eye and reads the script, carefully, frown turning into a scowl. He gets a rubbing from it with pencil and paper, shoving the note into his breast pocket, and then quickly and professionally gives Scandal a thorough patdown, searching her for particularly damning or incriminating evidence.

Body armor. Something so thin yet fitted to the frame to make the sinch about her waist almost painful. The jacket hid this, as well as the various knives and implements of torture that could possibly cause a grown man, 6'5 and 250 cringe and cry in his sleep. But that was the only thing found upon her, save for a wallet within her back pocket.

A picture of two women were found within. As well as a picture of John Constantine.

A few credit cards with names that obviously didn't match what the name was told to him. 'Mandy Grace.' 'Guadalupe Lopez.' 'Sanita Oryo'.

But then paydirt, as far as names are concerned. 'Scandal Savage'.

There was a slight snorting snore that draws from her, one hand stretched out, bringing wrist and palm upright, fingers grasping.. grabbing the pillow which was soon dragged beneath her head.

John's been in the game quite a while. He knows what a hit looks like. "Fuck me," he says, finally. He looks at Scandal, biting his lower lip. A phone comes out and he starts snapping pictures of all the documentation, like a good investigator should, and carefully puts them all back into place, even orienting them the right direction- just as they all had been inserted into the fold to begin with.

He paces a step, considering options. A few ideas flit past his head. "You're lucky I've a personal rule about killing pretty girls," John mutters, finally, speaking to himself. He reaches into his coat pockets and starts digging up a few items, then pillages the hotel room for a random assortment of odds and ends- a cup, soap, a piece of wood. They get arranged on the table and he murmurs over them, using the pencil to mark out a series of runes on the varnish.

The wallet and photo of him come back out, and he plucks out a hair and adheres it to the back with a wad of spittle, then uses a penknife to prick the soft tissue around his nail and ooze a drop of blood onto the back, where it'll hopefully go unnoticed.

It takes a couple of minutes to set the ritual up. John moves to straddle Scandal with a grimace, avoiding sitting on her, and holds his hands out, murmuring softly, the picture of him resting gently on her forehead. He starts speaking in a slow, precise tongue, elocuting deliberately as he works the spell.

First, sleep, to ensure her mind is stable. Then thoughts of relaxation, of peace, to help aid with serenity and receptiveness. Feeling the hard, ragged edges of the iron willpower that controls her temper and protects her mind, he casts about for leverage, the mind magic caressing her thoughts into idle swirls.

He opens his eyes and frowns. No purchase there. He stares at her face, then inspiration strikes. Eyes lid again and he casts his thoughts forward, but instead of trying to tap her rage at the jugular, he tries to divert it. Focusing on the picture, the spell marries her thoughts of him from her killer's conditioning to the lust he'd sensed. There might not be a geas that could stop her from hunting him, but with some luck (which John always seems to find in his lint-filled pockets), he could at least divert it into more interesting avenues. At worst, it'd confuse the hell out of her.

'What? Who said that?'

Dreams were the stuff that made people feel safe, cozy in their beds. The pixie dust and the long john silver or lilly-jar-pad drink that she had allowed the transition to flit through her system easily. And now she was a child again, wandering through the great halls made of oak and wood. 'I know I heard that noise, but I don't know which way it came from?' Was she speaking english? No. That was spanish. Old spanish..

She was a teenager again, at least she could possibly call it that. Her eyes placed upon the back of a mans head who hums. And hums loudly. When he gets like this, something bad was going to happen. And there was a moment of dread until that face penetrates her dreams.

'John? How'd you get here?'

The face was gone as the now young woman slides from the perch upon her motorcycle, helmet soon taken off as she watches the man turn.. the same look he carried tonight with a sunny dispostion, leading her somewhere.. but where? Blades were produced as she follows, the scene itself changing into a field of rolling hills, Scandal.. now a young woman stops and stares, her eyes glancing up towards the sunny skies.. and there he was, visage imprinted in smoke… which soon dissipates with the wind.

It was strange. Strange indeed. That feeling..

'I'm not here!' John says to Scandal, giving her a sunny smile. He's still in the clothing she'd seen him in at the bar- though a true dreamwalker would see the screaming hellscape in John's wake. Someone less psychically disciplined would just perceive it as an uneasy shadow behind him.

'But this is nice. I like it. Pretty here.' John draws a cigarette from the air and lights up with a flame cupped in his hands. 'Is it okay that I'm here?' he asks, looking at Scandal's face, suddenly behind the bar again. 'I can leave if you've got happier things to dream about,' he offers.

In the real world, John takes that splinter of wood and without a wince, starts driving it into his forearm, literally anchoring himself with pain so he doesn't lose himself in Scandal's mindscape.

'What do you mean you're not here.. you're standing right..'

The varying degrees of Scandal changes, from clothing to age, from height to even weight. To features that were once delicate soon turn harsh in battle. But there was something following him, something that made teenaged Scandal uneasy. But that uneasiness only shows with a grimace of anger. 'It used to be pretty here..'

And then it was tonight. At the bar. The same people who sat within that small place along with Paul, who constantly stopped, disappeared, and stopped again. His face wasn't there, and there were ten fingers to a hand which all seemed to blur and mesh in with the colors as he moved.

'Happier dreams aren't real for me.' She confesses, slowly hitching herself upon the bar, the wood suddenly feeling like grass as she rolls upon her back. The hill, a quiet place in which she was before, still the current age she was now.. whatever it was.

'But something wants me to ask you to say. I don't know why.' She rolls upon her side now, and they were in the hotel room, only she was awake (but sleep) and his back was to her as he sat.

'I'm good company,' John explains, shrugging. 'At least from the look of it. Maybe you imagined me being someone who'd be nice to you because you're just looking for a friend or something.' Her perspective shifts, John laying on the hillside with his head in Scandal's illusory lap.

He watches the clouds floating overhead, each one a portrait of someone in Scandal's memory. 'I like this hill. It's nice here.' The remark comes apropos of nothing. 'I'll stay if you want, but if you still want to kill me, I'd understand. You've had a very stressful day.' Though the accent is there, it's also /not/ there- as if Scandal couldn't quite imagine the vernacular John employs so casually. Subtle are the ways of a mind-walking wizard, apparently.

'Anyone can say they're good company, but the proof is in the pudding.'

The scene changes again, yet his head was within her lap. There was no dress that she wore, only a pair of shorts and a nice shirt, something breezy that allows the air in. She sighs, both hands drawing behind her head, fingers lacing within the other, her eyes upon the same sky that she looks at. It had an almost snow-globe like effect. The grass itself was soft and warm, carried a hint of dew upon the blades, the sun was warm, felt upon the skin but not hot enough to scald or burn.

'Stay. There's always time for a good conversation.' The matter of killing stung for some reason. But she doesn't bring that ill feeling. 'A job is a job, John Constantine. Personal feelings aside.' The sky itself begins to swirl with colors of blue and purple, a small smattering of red within. The clouds mix, adding highlights with the brighter tones. 'When I first saw you, it seemed like your day was stressful…' Her hand reaches down to lightly draw fingers within his messy mop of hair, giving a light tug, even if the feeling was phantom.

She still slept, however, nearly curled into a slight ball, the soft cadence of breathing mingled in with a quiet snore.

'Then it was very considerate of you to be so flirty with me', John's psychic avatar says, smiling at the woman as if she were the sole purpose of the world's existence. He tugs at her sleeve experimentally. 'I like this look on you. It's very pretty- you look like a young lady,' he informs her. 'Very peaceful.'

In the real world, their backs touch on the bed, though their eyes are shut- and in the dream, John moves, back against Scandal's as they both look skyward. 'I'm glad it wasn't personal. I'd hate for something to come between us- I don't want to just become another bad dream after you do the job,' the avatar suggests, feigning unease. 'If I were real, I might be more upset, of course. Do you really still want to kill me?'

'Oh sugar, you haven't seen my brand of flirt.' Her voice seemed happy, though that sentiment does not reach her eyes. Not even in this world of dreams, where it could have been a possibility. 'As opposed to before? What did I look like?' There was a small hint of unrest, could it be the shadow of hell that followed him? Or the fact that somewhere, deep within, she knew that this couldn't have been real. 'Peaceful..' Her voice trailed off, the sky no longer a focus, only the lids of her eyes which close within the dream and remain in the real.

'Us. You say as if we've already forged a bond. As if there's something..' Her hand gestures, fingers melding into the backdrop to create a different color within the sky. She wasn't wearing her pesars.. and her wrists look oddly slender without them.

'That's the question..' Scandal trails off. 'If you were real, yes. I would not hesitate to take your life.' The feeling of unease passes, drawing the scene a little darker, the grass slowly setting into a hint of decay near the bottom of the hill, that decay drawing grays, off-whites and black upon the surface. 'But here..' A cold wind blows, drawing gooseflesh upon her skin. 'I don't know..'

'I'd love to see more of it. I bet the real John would, too.' Invisible tendrils of psychic influence grab that line of thought and marry it up with her thoughts of the blonde Brit. John is perhaps not being the most /ethical/ of people, effectively brainwashing the woman by small measures, but at least he didn't shoot her. In the real world, his brow furrows in frustration, though he forces himself to relax and maintain that connction.

John exhales, steadily, and the avatar sits quiescent for a moment. 'You know, though, if you did kill me, then you wouldn't have good dreams about me. And this is a good dream. Isn't it?'

Back in her lap again. 'And we both know what you were REALLY thinking of when you first saw him'. The clouds roil overhead, becoming a scene of two familiar figures restlessly entangled on a bartop. 'I think that'd be a lot more fun in the long run. But…' the avatar shrugs, reaching up and tapping a golden dandelion against her nose. 'It's your life. I'm just a good-looking dream you're having'.

'You wouldn't be able to handle my brand.' Scandal laughs for the briefest moment, that laugh carrying upon the drift of the wind. The influences work just enough for there to be a hint of relaxation in the air as she sleeps. Not truly letting go, but letting go enough.

'There will still be good dreams. But that'll be the only thing we would have with each other. Just the dreams. Lost hopes, lost wishes..' A small bird flies overhead in a circle, trailing and dragging color with. Dreams were strange the way they transition, the hint of decay still slowly creeping, drowning out all life and all color..

The sight of the two tangled upon the bar does draw her to sit upright, her teeth gritted, her head turning to blot out the image as she takes a quick inhale. She manages to draw herself from beneath his head, feet dragging to a stand upon the hill, the wind slowly picking up in its pace which carries a slight howl upon it.

'I understand,' John says sadly. No matter where she looks, he's right there- just in the corner of her eye. 'But you know you can't have it both ways. If you kill the real me, then you won't want to remember the dream me. Every time you do, it'll end one way.' Abruptly, the avatar's neck tears open and blood hemorrhages from it in a grisly fountain.

'You have a job to do'. And he's intact, and fine, and holding both of Scandal's hands, those too-bright blue eyes looking into her features, mesmerizingly. 'But who says you have to do it today? Or tomorrow? Maybe you can just… you know. Wait a while. Get to know me and find the perfect time to strike. He surely thinks you're just a girl visiting town, and you saw how he looked at you.' The memory of those penetrating eyes lingers on her mind's visage for a moment. 'It'd be so easy to spend some time. Have some fun with him, and then when the fun runs out…' The avatar shrugs.

In the real world, a bead of sweat runs down John's face, and he twists the splinter deeper into his forearm, forcing himself through sheer grit and will to stay focused and grounded in reality.

A younger Scandal draws herself from behind the older one, who's hand reaches out to grip her shoulder to keep her held back. 'What if I want it both ways?' The younger one replies, who then begins to scream and endless scream as she sees the neck.. the blood. 'Stop it!' She snaps out, arms circling around the girl who soon disappears within her grasp, leaving behind a teddy bear, claw marks slashed down it's back and belly. A bit of it's stuffing falls out as she grips it tighter, which float away on the wind like a tiny cloud.

But the bear was soon replaced by hands that felt all too real, her gaze falling into his, her bottom lip bitten in thought, a hint of something there within cold eyes that soon draw back into nothingness.

'…he dies..' Those hands slip from his grasp, soon joining together as she wrestles with her own grip, thumb put to palm and massaged so hard, trying desperately to wake up. 'This goes against everything I stand for..' She admits, she was clearly considering it.

In the real world, her fingers clutch the pillow, and often times, she twitches, eyes squeezing a little bit tighter as they dart to and fro beneath tight lids.

In the dream, she stood in a hut, though she was clad in black leather, mask upon her face. Without the use of makeup, the family crest, a smaller version was seen beneath her eyes. Her blades were prominent was well, blades that nearly kiss the bottom of her kneecap as she stands in room filled with bodies that were there.. and not.

A light-switch of death and emptiness that gives credence to her daily feel. And this is where she's the more comfortable. 'Tell me honestly, John-not-John. What would you have me do?' She draws a hand, sweeping over the flickering and flashing scene of blood and gore, and a simple cabin that was empty. 'Give this life up, just for you? Deny and betray everything and who I am? The Immortals Daughter? Give him what he wishes for, by the skin of your back and body?' She approaches the avatar, slow..

'To know me, is to know Death.' Best get it over with before things go too far.

In reality, John growls, shaking his head and struggling to keep his composure. He's got too much discipline for the psychic backlash of 'dying' to kill him, but it'd leave him with one hell of a headache- and no other good options for dealing with her.

'You're only looking at one side of things,' the avatar says, not backing away from her. The shadows on his face darken, eyes disappearing into dark pits, his face growing into a deep, shadowed scowl. 'You did the research. You scouted the target. You heard what they said about him- how dangerous he was.' A trenchcoat slides around him, and in the dream, he wears it like armor plate, wrapped in crawling blackness. 'That girl. You didn't believe her when she said he was a wizard. But what if he /is/? What if it's true what they say about him?'

The shadows deepen, becoming an inky mess of blackness that exists independent of the light backdropping John's avatar. 'She called him many names. She said he kills, and has killed. Fights demons and wizards. What an ally he could be! They called him THE HELLBLAZER! He who walks the pit, unburned!'

In the depths of shadow, flames flicker and growl, burning up his body as if he were a window into the infernal pit below. And in that window can be seen faces… thousands of screaming, mewling faces, accusation and despair written on them. And each of them is a death that Scandal caused.

The dream snaps around her and she falls into that hellscape, the faces all HERS, all screaming, dragging her into the pit of Hell itself.


And then John's hand darts down from a brilliant ray of sunlight, golden and warm, and pure. The scent of grass replaces sulfur for a moment- a cool breeze salves her cheek- and John smiles, warmly.

'Come with me, Scandal. If you let me pull you out, will you please let me live?'

Was the growling heard? It was enough to make her stir, drawing upon her back as one arm lays across the middle of his body, that constant contact shared.

But in the dream, it was something else entirely, the approach stops, her head tilts.. his face changed into something unrecognizable. There wasn't the scruffy man, who wasn't bad to look at in it's place. But a visage of evil, something only born from nightmares in which that tiny cabin soon drew into.

'IT WAS NOT THAT I DIDN'T BELIEVE HER!' Her voice carries along, echoing. 'IT'S JUST THAT I DID NOT CARE!'

Darkness began to lick and grasp at her feet as she takes those steps back, there was still an aura of confidence leaking. And perhaps that would have been the downfall in this mad, mad dream, the fact that she was too stubborn to let that objective go. The faces that she had seen only a glimpse before they were full of life surrounded her, and it set her heart to curl.

In the real world, her body jerks, a shrill breath taken, harsh and ragged, threatening to rip her asunder. Sweat was there, beading upon her skin, a harsh grimace to soft features ruin the peace she once had.

There was fire around her, burning, licking at her skin as the floor dissolve beneath her and she falls. She was no longer clad in her armor, but just a young woman; the black airy gown that she wore a flutter all around her, a mess of brown hair draping, covering her face as she reaches out with her hand…

And she has him! Or he has her! It was a blurred line of metaphors and mixed signals, for she held onto that hand tight and was pulled from the depths of darkness.. right into his arms which she fell into..

But out there, she couldn't breathe. Trauma lived within her bones.


In the real world, John lurches away from the woman on the bed and is noisily sick, sweat pouring from his brow. It takes a few long seconds for him to get his roiling gut under control, and faintly- oh so faintly- a ruddy red glow lingers in his eyes, and the stench of sulfur slips from his pores.

"Blimey, that was a bitch," he curses, softly. He walks to the sink and splashes water on his face, then horks in the sink a few times to clear the taste out. A towel gets splashed under the faucet, too, and he detours on his way back to grab the flask from his coat pocket and take a few chugs from it. Capping it off with a pop from his hand, he looks at Scandal, then sits next to her, wiping her face and collarbone off with gentle sweeps from the damp cloth, until she stops perspiring and her breathing stabilizes. He takes a breath and adjusts the photo next to her head, then drives the splinter into his forearm again, blood runneling down to stain his black pants.

Once again, she's on the hilltop. The birds sing, the grass grows, the sun blazes, and the memory of hell is just that- a bad dream, already slipping away. John holds her tight in his arms, a reassuring and very male presence for the troubled woman- projecting a sense of security and safety, a lifeline for her. 'I'm here, luv, I'm here,' he soothes. 'You're safe. You don't have to go back to that cabin again- or anywhere else. I promise,' he assures her, holding her arms tightly. He leans back and looks into her eyes, his sky-blue stare unblinking, and touches her chin.

Scandal was hard to kill, that was for certain. But would this be a way to end her? Through sleep? Through dreams? The breathing was harsh and ragged, almost as if she were choking, the absense of him bringing it to a severity, but his return? Drew it down. Funny how that works.

The hilltop was a treasured source, the one time that Scandal found piece within her life. Looking over the city that did not appear within the dream, for that was a part that no longer mattered.

The lean against him was quiet, her face buried within his chest, her arms clinging to him as fingers grasp against the white shirt, nails quite possibly ripping the fabric. There was a tremble there, in that moment she was at her most vulnerable. But those walls slowly find themselves creeping back upright, to stand erect from any emotion that she found ill to relay. Which would have been tears. A lot of them. And a lot of letting go.

The touch to her chin nearly causes her to pull away, the question there on her mind. One that didn't need to be spoken nor an answer to be put forth. She knew her job, in the real world.. but why was this dream so troubling to her? 'What would you have me do?' She asked.. she couldn't just leave it all behind. Not even for a dream.

John's avatar shakes its head, smiling sadly. 'I'm just a dream, remember?' it says, holding her in arms that are loose and unbreakable at the same time- the dream unwilling to release the woman to run, perhaps. 'I don't want you to do anything. I can't even tell you to do anything'. He squeezes her hands, reassuringly.

'I'm just a representation of what /you/ want. All I can do is tell you what you already know and want from the world- I can only repeat your thoughts. But if you're dreaming of a man like me, what does that suggest? A man you were hired to kill, who you tracked and hunted and pursued, and… instead, you want me in your dreams. You fell into hell, and he pulled you out of it. If that isn't a metaphor, I don't know what is. But, again', he says, shrugging and smiling apologetically. 'Just a dream. I'm only as smart as you want me to be.'

The sky burns red as her heart breaks. Perhaps it was the sad smile, or the fact of the matter is, this really was just her imagination. A dream, something that she wanted deep down inside brought to confront her in a drunken filled sleep. She was always a believer in those sayings; that when a person is drunk, the utter truth comes out. Unabashed, with the lack of shame. And almost like all dreams, there were no answers. Nothing for her to follow, to lead upon, to think about. Only what she sees and what she's experienced.

Her forehead presses against his chest as her fingers crawl upright, her eyes closing as they curl around his shoulders, keeping him there and locked within that hug. If he felt she were to run away? There would be an ease as she didn't go, she only remained standing still.

'I want out.' She finally murmurs, keeping her face hidden and pressed against his chest. That grasp continually burns, nails digging into that avatar, so much that within this dream world? They begin to -grow-.

'Wake me up. I want to wake up. WAKE ME UP NOW!'

The avatar evaporates under her nails and fists, vanishing into a hiss of air. The storms rage, the clouds boil, and the dream world explodes into fury and flame as Scandal vents herself, until it all boils over into a cataclysm that wipes it all away, leaving her in somber, still silence, to sleep and await the sunrise when the pixie dust will wear off.

John curses and rips the splinter out, frustration stamped on his features. No good. He wraps a towel around his bloody arm, tying it off quickly, and touches his face as he tries to puzzle out his next option. His eyes stray to his coat… and the gun concealed in the pocket there.

She remained there, her hands dropping at her side, hanging loosely as a darkened shadow crosses her face. She doesn't move, the hill was the only solace she had.. and now she was in a pit of nothingness. And she couldn't stand it. 'John?' She couldn't wake up, no matter how much she pinched herself. 'Constantine?' There was nothing around her. No hill, no sight and almost no sound. The dreamless sleep that most fall into after a long night of booze or insomnia.


There was obviously something going on within that dream on her end that he could see. Inside of her mind, the actions that carry out upon the bed, the way her hand searches and curls against the pillow she once laid upon. There was obvious pain there, a hint of loss. Something was missing that would make her complete; even when the walls were up, there was still that want. For humans were social creatures and even though Scandal was a little bit more..

"John?" She murmurs in her sleep, it was almost a sad tone that carried upon her voice. She was going to hate him in the morning for making her feel this way.

It takes John a moment to recognize his name- to separate it from the fresh strain of his foray into her mind. He turns, blinking, and then moves quickly to the woman. He almost takes her hand again and stops, grimacing and driving that piece of wood under his skin once more with a muttered oath of pain.

Callused, nimble fingers squeeze hers.

'I'm still here'. John reassembles the avatar bit by bit- eyes, smile, face, hair, head, shoulders, hand, arms, legs, until he's standing in the void, looking at her again. 'I can't really go anywhere, you know. If you call for me I'll come running- but only if you really want me.' Without moving, he's in front of her again, close enough to stare into his eyes easily. 'What do you want me to do?'

And his hand was squeezed in return.

'Oh.' There was a moment there, that she would have screamed. Where she would have torn her mind apart just to find that sembliance of comfort again. This was just a dream right? No one would know the truth, that she was just..

'Anytime I call?' She needed to hear that answer; she found herself needing a lot of things. But this was for certain, the only place where she thinks she's safe to explore, to live a life that she'll never have. A hint of freedom, abandon, where she could let her proverbial hair /down/.

'Talk to me until I wake up?'

'Sure, but it'll be a bit boring,' the dream says, turning her around on the hillside to face the sun again. He sits down and puts her head in her lap, fingers stroking her hair with idle contentment. 'How about a story?' he suggests.

'Alice was beginning to get very tired of sitting by her sister on the bank, and of having nothing to do: once or twice she had peeped into the book her sister was reading, but it had no pictures or conversations in it, ‘and what is the use of a book,’ thought Alice ‘without pictures or conversation…?’

The dream goes on and on, as John tells the story of Alice in Wonderland, the girl lost in a dream, to Scandal. Perhaps she's read it- perhaps she only dreamed she did. Perhaps she thinks she's imagining a retelling of the movie. But his voice is rough and sweet, and the touch is gently affectionate.

When she awakes, she's in a clean room. No sign of ritual or blood or sick. She's tucked warmly under the covers, clothes still in place, and a cool towel on her brow. A note is scribbled on the pad by the phone.

'Brought you somewhere safe. You were knackered. Pleasant Dreams'. -John C.

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