Born In the Wrong Time

December 14, 2015:

John Constantine finally makes his return. Last words: 'Take a flying piss of a dock'.

Somewhere.

Characters

NPCs: The Herald, Green Lantern Corps

Mentions:

Plot:

Mood Music: [*\# None.]


Fade In…

In the realm of the Astral, a land of potential, a seeping emptiness has been scouring away the planescape. Lands and worlds have fallen to this scourge— ideas, ideals, even dreams and the memories of lost civilizations, all consumed by a terrible force that advances like a blotting cancer throughout that reality.

Seikatsu is one who fell prey to that force, but instead of being consumed, she was one nourished by the terrible entity proclaiming a new and awful master who seeks to reset reality and start anew. This being, the Herald, wearing the face of a man once known as John Constantine, is wreaking a terrible swathe— and now he approaches the Oan Plains, a fabled land beyond reality where the echoes of the Lantern Corps reside beyond time and space, in a place of well-assured rest and security.

In the distance, the Dreadnaught looms, and darkness follows in the might behemoth-machine's wake.

Through Reese's insight, Hal was able to learn of the threat to the Oan Plains. While he was concerned about this giant evil whosiwhatsit to begin with, this particular location offers a unique opportunity - through the will and power of the fallen Lanterns, the Green Lantern's ring can connect directly to the Astral, allowing the Emerald Warrior to open a portal and access a portion of the universe he'd never encountered before.

He emerges from the aperture with Reese along for the ride - she's a native of this particular land, after all, and knows far more about it than he. His ring glows with a lambent light, almost like a green torch in the darkness as the shades of Lanterns Past swirl around them, a sussurus of alien dialects mingling together into a single, whispered mantra.

"Save us, Hal Jordan…"

The brodding malfeasance of the Dreadnaught increases with proximity. It's… a null/entity. Not just destroying what exists, but replacing Something with Nothing. It's a true anathema to existence, and the power of Oa— all those lifetimes of Green Lanterns— rails against it, stirring in agitation as that terrible empty void closes in around it. Once again, the Green Lantern Corps stands a single light in a terrible, fathomless void.

An awareness projects from the Dreadnaught, presenting itself in the form of a rather average looking human. He's sallow-faced, with pale blonde hair and a deep five o'clock shadow, wearing a trenchoat and worn old black tie. "The last light in the the falling night," he says, in a voice that's somewhere between bemusedly weary and full of infinite potential for mayhem. "I'm not sure what you're hoping to accomplish here, Corpsman," he says, immediately identifying Hal across that fathomless void. "I remember a time when the Oans were scrabbling in sand for clapshells, and staring fearfully into shadow for predators. Do you think you can possibly stop our purpose?"

The power of the fallen begins to gather into his ring, their collective will beginning to unite. The Corps trained to do things like this, to work together in united purpose. They projected their wills into Hal's ring, adding their force to his already titanic force. The glow from his ring begins to grow brighter and brighter, until it's like he's clutching a star in his fist. The spirits themselves seem to glow along with it, flames of green sprouting up from the multitude around him, creating a see of flame upon which Hal Jordan and Seikatsu stand, the Prophet at his shoulder.

"I think ancient tales and superstitions cannot stand against the Light of the Guardians. I think we've kept the darkness at bay for a very, very long time and you're no different than the rest. I think, for all your huffing and puffing, your big bad wolf behind isn't about to blow this house in."

Silence.

That was all that Seikatsu retained with the travel. The way into the new lands for Hal yet old for her were breached in a new method of travel that one could find most useful. There was not a loss of body and limb, she was gone from the earth and inside the other, flesh and bone and realized.

Still, even walking this coil she was changed, the hair that she wore soon began to lift and rise as if she were underwater, the katana that rested at her side which carried by a wrap around her waist was soon taken, eyes glow a blue and focused upon the blade as she looks towards it.. and draws it to shear off the dark locks that premate her vision.

It wasn't a perfect cut, but it was still there.

The Dreadnaught, frightening in all forms as the Herald who contains himself within the visage of John Constantine causes her spirit to nearly whither, yet the Prophet within nearly seeks to rise but was batted down by the force of good by the man hidden within her heart and the one that stood at her side.

Yes. It means what it says; she carried the body of John Constantine within her heart, hidden, protected through otherworldly magicks that were too painful to revisit.

"It's over, Herald. Let our father continue to rest in peace. It is not his time."

The Herald exhales. "That's the entire point," he tells Seikatsu. "Our Father needs not a time, or a place. He exists beyond when or how. All of this— this idiotic continuity, this foolish notion of consequence and causality. You know this is true as well as anyone," he says, pointedly.

"I'm willing to forgive your momentary lapse in assisting this Lantern," the Herald says, gesturing at Hal, while looming shadows creep towards the Lantern Light that surrounds the Oan Plains. "He's just a relic of a dying age, a tool in the hands of decrepit masters who cling to order like they cling to warmth. You can't stop me— neither of you can resist the call of My Father. I will obliterate this universe and then move to reality itself, and I will reduce it all to ash and cinder to be made anew. It's nothing personal, you know," he shrugs.

"It's just the price of progress."

Hal Jordan shakes his head, 'You should know, since you're so decrepit and out of date, that some meanings have taken on different connotations. By those connotations, I promise, the only tool around here is you. And, although we just memt, you're clearly one of the biggest tools I've ever met," he says.

The Lanterns around him seem to coalesce, as he wraps his power around their spirits and make them seemingly empowered once more. He's connecting directly to the primal power battery on Oa, channeling the raw might of the whole Corps into himself - the Guardians understand what's at stake here and, much as the little blue bastards often annoy Hal, they've backed him up on this tonight. Soon, a sea of Green Lanterns, the living and the dead, stretch across the Plains. Their hands are outstretched, rings aglow, as they prepare to unleash their collectivemight on the Dreadnaught.

The one thing that she never would admit is that the Herald was a liar. He, spoke the truths of the world and made Reese see things the way they truly were even though there was much denial behind it. As he indicates Hal, she glances up towards him, a slight frown drawn upon her face as she looks towards the Herald once more, blade still held within her hand as she takes a slow step forward, her hand reaching out. "I never resist His call, Brother."

She did.

"Herald. My brother. Stop this or we will be forced to try." Even as her steps were slow, guarded.. blade clutched to the point her knuckles burned.. as the green light surrounds them.. she still persisted. Even though the Herald speaks the truth in all things.. he did not have Faith that all was as it was meant to be.

"Let. Him. Rest."

"This is just the inevitable, Seikatsu," the fellow says. "You can't prevent it from happening, anymore than you can stop entropy. He's a force of nature— as immutable as the universe itself, and older even."

The brighter the green light burns, the more the shadows retreat. But the Dreadnaught continues to close in, a terrible presence that nearly dwarfs the vast potential of the Oan Plains. It's a clash of titans in a literal sense, the huge emptiness attempting to swallow the brightest light of Creation. "From here we will proceed into reality, then across all the multiverses. Across all time and space we'll plunder and annihilate and consume, until all is nothing. John Constantine knows all the ways and secret walks, and once reality is gone, our Father will destroy Heaven and Hell and the worlds between, and remake it all!"

The very edges of the Oan Plains start to crumble and wear away at the terrible force attempting to consume them. "And there's nothing you can do to stop me!"

Hal Jordan begins to rise up above the ghostly Lanterns, along with Seikatsu at side, platform of power underneath them. He's becoming a beacon in the sky and, while the edges may crumble, the center holds. The other Lanterns seem about to unleash their might on the Dreadnaught when, suddenly, they raise their rings as one and fire instead into Hal Jordan.

Hal absorbs their power, channelling with his own titanic will and focusing it through his ring, where it builds in incandescence and potential, thousands of warrior souls from millenia gone adding their might to his as he stares down the Apocalyptic entity with his steel eyes blazing. "You have gotten your way for far too long, creature. It is time that you learned that this universe is protected…you will not merely be stopped…you will be undone!"

And then he unleashes, a massive, sweeping and hyperpotent blast of raw power driving into the oncoming monstrosity.

Nothing in this war has wounded the Dreadnaught. It's consumed and obliterated some of the oldest and most redoutable locations on the Astral plane. Jaller-Tall, the Singing Cities, Obersky… all home to ideas so long established that they'd taken on their own 'reality' on the Astral. All had fallen without resistance.

But the combined force of Oa— /that/ hurts.

It's more than just raw energy. It's order, in the purest form. An expression of positivity, of structure and certitude. It's the precise opposite of everything the Dreadnaught stands for, and the blow is a titanic one. The massive behemoth shudders and a full third of it blasts apart, screaming shadows flying into the Astral plane. Where there was darkness, light flares again as the suppressed parts of the Astral snap back into their proper place.

It stops the advance of the Dreadnaught full, and the massive entity shudders weakly as if it were a living, wounded being, a deep and mournful keening coming from inside the hulking monstrosity.

The entity resembling John Constantine staggers from inside the wreckage of the damaged vessel, looking…. shocked. Shadows leak from him like blood— and light shines through cracked flesh as the soul inside burns forth.

"-How— how did you do that?" he demands, grasping for something to sturdy him. "That's impossible! You… you /worms/ are beneath me!" he snarls, showing real fury. Shadows start to coil around him, the behemoth righting itself and already starting to stabilize its construction. "Seikatsu!" He grips the air and ice-cold fingers wrap around her heart, as real as any knife against her breast. "You traitorous swine! Stop him, or I'll scatter your atoms across the universe!"

There was a look of sadness that grows within her weary bones. Her hands slowly drop as the lights around her begin to battle, looking into the eyes of the worn, tired Herald as her own closes to lift a hand towards her beating heart. Those were the words that she didn't want to hear, yet even the Herald and Hal knew that her words were only half hearted. Inside, the Prophet wanted the Father to walk the Earth and remake anew, but what remains of Seikatsu within knew that it couldn't happen.

So many lives throughout the universe, a billion strong would be two times more that gone.

"I'm sorry, my Brother.." She murmurs aloud as the platform begins to rise, the blade twirled and planted within the surface as she brings herself to kneel. The ceremonial garb that she usually wears was soon stripped down to its bare bones as the light and might begin to blast against the Dreadnaught. Her eyes closing as she presses her forehead towards the hilt of the blade then stands, stretching her arm outright to snap the blade from the ground as she takes a flying leap from the platform to land with a graceful movement that would make Ang Lee blush.

It was a slow start into battle, the blue glow of the blade dim, her knees crouching as she leaps into the air only to be stopped by the icy cold grip of the Herald. She gasps in shock, blade soon falling, her back arching in middair as her fingers begin to claw at her chest.

"NOOO!" She screams out, her legs kicking.. fighting for a chance to touch the ground as the frightened gaze falls upon Hal. Her expression clears for but a moment, she remembers that strong will and the need to not be afraid.. to face the fear and beat the enemy no matter the cost.. even if it was one she truly, deeply considered a long.. long lost brother and Father..

"DO IT!"

Hal Jordan narrows his eyes as he sees Reese come under attack. He brings his will to bear with utter ferocity now, striking at the heart of the Dreadnaught. Still, while he believes in himself utterly, as always, just destroying the Dreadnaught might be enough to save her,not in time. Still, Hal Jordan doesn't falter or struggle, he doesn't wave. That isn't who he is.

Iinstead, he turns and shifts the beam until it engulfs Reese in it as well. Rather than destroying her, however, it begins to purge her. He's gotten a taste of the signature power of these entities from his contact with the Dreadnaught and now his power, on its way to destroy one, takes another, dragging at the monstrous darkness that's lodged itself within Reese and peeling it from her soul like snakeskin, flaking away and burning to ash as he continues to pummel the beast.

"You shall not have her! You shall not have us! We are the Green Lantern Corps and NO EVIL SHALL ESCAPE OUR SIGHT!"

For a moment, a hand reaches out towards Reese. Not in anger, but in desperate search for a connection.

Even evil needs love.

And then that glorious emerald light envelops Seikatsu, the form of John Constantine, the Dreadnaught, and the vessel's dark heart.

The explosion is… anticlimactic. The vast vessel crumples and collapses on itself, twisting, writhing as it tries to stablize its existence on the Astral plane— but that burning light purges the vessel away faster than it can restore itself. And as the Dreadnaught is consumed, the light of the Astral returns. Jaller-Tall, reborn. The Singing City, lively again. All that which had been suppressed by the burgeoning darkness, is restored by the righteous order of the combined might of the Lanterns.

In the end, the beam slows and stills, burning away the will and form of the Herald, searing off the corrupted energy around Seikatsu. Shrivelling, unravelling, barely recognizeable, the figure of the Herald slumps to knees, arms but twigs, reaching out in supplication.

"Please," he wheezes. "All I wanted was to fix it all." Was that so terrible?" he whispers, barely able to vocalize.

Reese was ready to give up the ghost, her eyes were closed and fingers clenched, arms outstretched as the power of the Lantern soon hits her, flooding her with light.. will.. allowing all things done to become undone, erasing all damage and restoring it anew..

The terrible might of the Lanterns were proved this night, yet gentle in its caresse as it allows Reese to float to the ground, unscathed, unhurt.. her blue glowing light a beacon awash in the darkness..

Where there would be joy.. there was sadness.. triumph was met with loss as tears were bitten back with a clench of her teeth and a steele of her jaw. "No.." She murmurs to the Herald in earnest, her gaze gone back towards Hal as she mouths the words.. 'I'm sorry'.

All it took was for her to kneel in front of the Herald, her fingers reaching out to clasp his own, bringing it to her still beating heart, however rapid, but true.

"Your intentions were honorable and true to our Father.." She murmurs quietly as her knees shuffle forth, crossing the distance to bring them close enough for breaths to wash over bare skin. "But, let me show you another way." Her free hand reaches up to carefully drape around the Herald's frail shoulders, pulling him close and into a warm, loving embrace. Yet there was something there, something that could only be felt between the two, the body of John Constantine within that beating chest was pulled and tugged forth with her own will, and the need to be free and unfulfilled.

There was a quiet tap, a silent knock of the psyche of Constantine, but where he would be harsh with his words, her own were kind.

"We create ourselves; I am you and you are me. Let me show you the world as it should be through my own eyes.. watashi ni anata o aisa sete kudasai, watashi ni kimasu.."

Hal Jordan begins to free the power of the Lanterns, letting the fallen return to their rest. They form a vigil behind him, solemn and respectful as Seikatsu communes with the creature and prepares to restore John Constantine. Hal's entire body aches, his energies drained, both from body and ring, having thrown himself utterly into the task. He retains only enough power to take them home once more…

But he knows that Reese has a connection to this being, to this moment, far more intimate than his. And, while he may not understand it, his trust and respect for her means that he stands back while she clutches the enemy to her chest and waits to see what comes.

The Herald crumples into dust, and from those ashes something pale and gossamer and full of the brilliant potential of the human soul- raw, unfettered- emerges. It's both small and silent and yet painfully bright, as glorious as the power of the Lanterns itself. And that power slips into the body of John Constantine, and settles between his shoulderblades.

Nude, scarred, wounded, John heaves once in startled surprise, then coughs and shakes, curling into the fetal position on the ground. He casts around in surprise, blinking, then peers up at Seikatsu.

"Bloody hell, took you long enough," he tells her, hoarsely.

OW.

Though, leave it to Reese to not show pain in the moment of something important. Once the light and power of Constantine and Hal Jordan alike leaves her body, her hand presses down upon the ground to allow a shrill breath to come through, her eyes lifting towards the naked man with a slight smirk. "Shut up, baka.." She gestures towards Hal, needing help to rise herself, even though the three were tired.. worn.. ready to keel at a moments notice. But.. Constantine was hurt.. she was going to give him her last and let 'God' do all of the work. "Stay still."

Her hand reaches out to touch upon his shoulder, the blue light forming within the middle of her hand to pass into Constantine's body, filling him with warmth, revitalizing his spirit, healing any wounds and aches that may have come from being gone for so long. Sadly, this would do nothing for his horrible appetite, for food could only heal that wound.

But either way, once she was done, she slowly lowers herself to the ground, laying upon her side… her own body curling into the fetal position as her eyes slowly close..

The Green Lantern wraps the three of them in his power, cushioning Reese where she lays. "She's already warned me about you. Keep your trap shut or I'll make sure you join her in snoozeland before we get back to Earth. I don't need my ring to knock you out," he says, carrying them to the portal and saying farewell to the Astral plane…

Constantine sighs and relaxes as that healing warmth washes over him. It's a tiny step in a long healing process… but he's been through more than most people could handle on their worst of days, and he's done it more than once.

One eye flicks open and aims at Hal. "Having once told the Almighty God, Himself, to take a flyin' piss off a dock, mate… trust me that the only reason I'm stayin' quiet is because I could /really/ use a nap." His eyes flicker and lid, and he goes back to sleep, snoring softly.

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