Angry Souls

December 25, 2015:

After dinner with Hal, Astryd and Fenris.. Reese invades the House of Mysteries to spend Christmas with an old soul.

House of Mysteries

Characters

NPCs: House, Percival

Mentions:

Plot:

Mood Music: [*\# None.]


Fade In…

John's had a rough few days, reconstituting himself, more or less. It's not the first time he's had his soul violently ripped from his mortal shell and then co-opted by a demonic force, but it sure doesn't get any easier with practice.

John's fabled coping mechanism? A few weeks of heavy drinking in the House of Mystery's time-displaced sanctuary.

Sporting several heavy days of beard growth and wearing a white tee and sweatpants, John's not even at his usual nod for lack of grooming. This is just flat-out wearing clothes for the sake of wearing clothes.

He sprawls sideways in his comfy chair, a bottle of empty whiskey at his elbow, one that would have cost a few thousand dollars to buy it new. One hand rests on empty air, fingers running through the invisible fur of some kind of fetch or pet.

Dinner with friends. That's what one had needed. But still, the minds eye often turned to the one that inhabited her soul for a small period of time and of course the scars still lingered. Thankfully, that scar didn't include her taking on one of his many admirable traits, the swearing, the drinking, the cursing and the penchant for cigarettes that probably wouldn't have blackened her lungs either way..

*THUMP*!

One shouldn't find the House of Mysteries so easily and surely the magical wards played an attest to that. However, being connected to someone that intimately made it slightly easier, not to mention, at a certain point the House sat upon a Ley that was easily accessed by Reese and.. lets just say she popped in carrying dinner for the man. Not the asgardian ale, however. A bottle of some really cheap twenty dollar whiskey she stole. Or was it burbon. They all almost smelled the same.

But since she didn't know the lay of the house, she just.. stands there. No cane in sight. Just a bag and a grasp of the neck of the bottle she holds. "John Constantine?" She calls out. She knows he was there.

There's a crash of a bottle and a curse, and then a whisper of rushing movement. Something… something /huge/ flies at Reese, and it's utterly invisible, but then what feels like a slimy tongue licks her face affectionately, and the fetch pants happily at her.

A slimy ball hits the ground at her feet.

"Goddamnit, I will turn you into a slimy fungus-hopping toa-!" John bellows, energy crackling sluggishly around his outstretched fingers. He comes up short, sparking force dying out against his palm, and blinks at Reese.

"Oh, 's you," he slurs. He's still holding one quarter-full bottle in his other hand, and he leans against the doorpost with the exertion of the moment. "Blimey, I thought I was being invaded. What're you doin' here?" he asks, giving Reese a suspicious eye.

You would think that hearing a sound like that, Reese would turn and run? But the last time she turn and ran without direction in a place she wasn't familiar with, she wound up impaled through the chest on a sword of a kni.. whatever.

She does hold her breath, her eyes closing even though there was no need.. until that slimey lick smacks against her cheek which causes her nose to wrinkle and a gentle laugh to cut through the air. "What are you?" She asks the thing, but she doesn't lift a hand to pet. Some animals may not like that.

Hearing the thump at her feet, she does take a slight step back, her eyes opening and head turning, lips soon pursing as she offers up a slight shrug of her shoulders. "Well. I brought you food." She takes a careful step to the left, away from what was in front of her, and a step forward.. both hands striking out with fingers to poke whatever she ran into first.. "And I do not think that you have anyone to spend the holidays with. So I'm here."

"Hols? Blimey, what day is it?" John peers at the giant clock on the wall, which resembles an astrolabe far more than a regular timepiece, and it starts clicking in response to his attention. "Huh. Well, Merry Solstice," he grunts.

"That's my fetch, Percival. He's a guard dog, of sorts. Good job he's invisible, too, fetches are a bit terrifying if you've never seen one before." He whistles and the 'something' rushes away from Reese, apparently without contacting the ground, and it flits into the parlor.

John walks back into his sitting room without inviting Reese in… but not telling her to piss off, either.

Reese says nothing, she was still attempting to navigate the way towards John, her hands still out and.. surprisingly, not tripping over anything.. even reaching the doorjam of where she 'felt' the creature had ran past. "Percival is nice." She says quietly, knocking the bottle against the doorway, and into a place that.. almost smelled like poison and cigarettes. "Percival would be even nicer if he guided me towards the couch. Though.. John would be even nicer if he offered a helping hand.."

The fact that he wasn't telling her to leave was a good thing, for there was really a chance that she wouldn't anyways. "And you don't have to worry about me seeing anything. I'm blind. Hint. Hint."

"Doesn't seem to be stopping you," comes a surly rejoinder. A sigh comes a moment later, and leather creaks. John rises and walks towards Reese, relieving her of two boxes. "Four paces to your right, luv," he grumbles, moving towards what looks like a dining table. It's partially covered in scraps of paper, material, and magical components— but then a whoosh of sound precedes John, and invisible forces clean up the mess and set out a second placemat and utensils.

"Bloody cheek," he mutters, setting the meal down on the table. "Man can't even be comfortable in his own House, intruders coming and going as they please, bloody manservants setting guests up without being bid."

Reese.. albeit unwisely, holds her tongue. No sense in upsetting the man with foul words when he's taking the boxes out of her hands. She takes the four paces to her right, her hand reaching out to touch upon her chair, drawing it out just enough for her to squeeze in and settle. The whoosh of the sound was also felt, for her slightly messy hair lifted and fell back into place, her brows raising, head turning just a little so she could turn an ear to the table set before them.

"I would offer to leave but I'm old enough to know that I'm actually wanted around here.." She would gesture to the table, but instead.. her fingers reach out to touch, feeling the utensils.. the plate. "Case in point." She doesn't smile, she could be just as dickish as he, but.. naw. Tis the season. "Tell me how you're doing after your little soul ride. I hope that I didn't upset your composition too much, as in.. if you need me to heal you more, I can. Though if you're mental facilities need a check I'm afraid I can't offer you much in that department."

Dry.. as ever.

John takes a few chugs from his bottle, consuming a few hundred pounds worth of booze in three swallows. "/House/ seems to think you should stay around. She's a bloody schoolmarm sometimes," he says, sourly. "Talks to me like I'm a child, locks me out of the liquor cabinet, and lets in strays and vagabonds." He flops into the chair and crosses his arms a bit petulantly across his chest, scowling at the table, and the invisible servant helps Reese be seated, then starts whipping around serving up the food with precise and efficient motions. Sides are served up on warm plates, a drink is poured for Reese, and even a few candles get lit for some ambiance. Somewhere in the distance, strains of a soft four-piece orchestra kick off in a gentle classical fare.

"So your house is alive?" Obviously slow. For some reason, she can't feel this movement around her, but she certainly could hear. And from the sound of Constantine's voice? He wasn't moving an inch. In fact, it almost sounds as if he were drunkenly pouting.

The music that plays within the background draws out a little smirk, her head shaking just a touch as she draws her fingers through her hair in idle thought. "House also seems to think that this is a dinner date which would possibly end in you getting laid." She gestures around. "I can smell that you're drunk, have been drinking. And you should be nice to a vagabond who brings you food, so eat." She does, not really wasting much time in it at all. She could probably put away food as much as he could drink. It helps fuel her magic. "You still didn't answer my question. Tell me what you need."

"House is a smartarse," John repeats in a dour mutter as Reese calls him out across the board. "She's not alive, really, but she's conscious. Or at least, she's aware," he explains, his tone still surly. "It's a bit hard to explain unless she's willing to talk to you. English really isn't suitable for it."

He stares at the food with no visible appetite. Reese can't see the deep bags under his eyes, or the haggard quality of his skin and the ten-thousand yard stare. "I don't need anything," he repeats stubbornly. "I made the bloody mistake of relying on others again. Those damn gels decided to play the noble hero and it ended up nearly getting both of them killed, and almost destroying the universe. Not one of my better plays, and I wouldn't have had to make it at all if everyone had left well enough alone."

Reese can already walk through the astral plane, sense and invade ley lines and heal them and the beasts within, adding 'speaking to House' on her resume wasn't something she was willing or wanting to add to just yet. There was a time and place for everything. She was just grateful that it didn't get her on her way inside. That probably would have hurt.

"I don't know what you mean, or how you wound up in the situation that you were in, Constantine.." Reese mutters in between bites. Thankfully, she couldn't see him, she probably would have told him that he looked like shit. "..most times relying on people is a good thing. There is also the chance of saying that if you did not rely on them in that moment, and have done what you've done, something worse may have happened." She looks a little saddened at that. Was it for the loss of the Herald and his last and final words? Who knew.

"Try to see the benefit in all of this, John. If it wasn't you, it could have been someone else. And that person would possibly have failed and killed us all."

"You have no idea— no idea!" John says, his voice angry and almost a shout. "No idea how close it came to ending! A force like the Herald can't just possess any old soul, there're conditions to be met— certain signs, auspices. It was set for a bloody apocalypse and stumbled into the best possible vessel. And then, on top of it, it was /this/ close to getting its hooks into my corpse," he snaps, "and if that dark spirit had occupied my mortal flesh, there's nothing that would have stopped the Herald from smashing into the realm of reality from the Astral and undoing all of creation."

Reese jumps at the angry rise and inflection of his voice. It almost seemed as if the more he spoke, the smaller she had become. Each vowel and syllable causes her shoulders to raise as her hand lifts tp press against her mouth, draw along her cheek and then to her ear as if she had means to blot out every word that he said. That affection for the loss of the Herald almost turned into sheer guilt. Even if she had a plan there was something.. something within the being that made her want to watch the world burn just to understand and belong.

"I know.." She murmured quietly. "I stood by his side and accepted the terms without thought because that was in my heart at the moment of meeting." She pushes the chair back, hands planting upon the table to be used as a guide as she tries to draw near. That's if he doesn't get up and move away. "You cannot possibly live on this earth for nearly four hundred years and not wish and want it to burn, but goddamn it John.. you're -here-." She pauses a little to emphasize that. "You.. are.. here. But you are still wearing and bearing the sign of the Herald as am I wearing the stain of his Prophet. And we have to live with that. But if you think that drinking yourself into oblivion is the better way of dealing with it and shutting yourself out from the world then so be it. But you won't be doing it alone, you rotten bastard. Not tonight." Her hand is held out.. wanting that bottle. If he doesn't give it, she probably would.. well, not take it but go for the drink that was poured.

John gives Reese an appraising look when she demands the bottle, then with a grunt and a *clunk*, passes it to where she can reach. He grudingly picks up a fork and takes a few bites of his food, then digs in with the appetite of someone who only immediatley realized how hungry he /really/ was.

"Drinking and rotting my liver's worked for me for most of my life, I don't see a reason to stop now," he mutters into his plate, neverminding any sense of manners.

With a snatch of the bottle, she turns to rest the small of her back against the table, feet stretched out yet flatly planted against the floor as she takes a generous swig (as in, a quick gulp, not too much.) "Actually.." She starts, pressing the back of her hand against her mouth. "..with that healing I gave you when you woke up should have written off your rotting liver and lungs and given you a do over."

"So now, you can start it all over again." She wiggles the bottle, then sets it down. "And again.. and again.. and again.." Fingers wave. "For some reason, people tend to live longer than their means after healing. I can purge you of your toxins and you can get drunk all over again."

"I'll tell you a story," John says, his words slurring a bit. "Once upon a time, I had lung cancer. Stage four— doctors said I had only a year or two left. Months, maybe. I spent every day I had smiting every demon I could, saving every child, exorcising every demon. I knew where I was bound the day I got that diagnosis, 'cause the Devil sent me a message, saying he'd come collect me personally."

"Then this barmy lass walked into my offices and said she needed my help. I ended up eating a metaphorical bullet for her. Devil comes along and God says he doesn't get his due, so ol' Snatch reaches into my ribs and" he makes a tearing motion "rips out the cancer. Holds these two sulferous black tarballs up in front of me and tells me, 'John, your soul by rights is mine. You just need to stay alive long enough to cock it up again'."

"Since then my lungs are clear, my liver doesn't rot, and I've not had so much as a cold. Whatever he did to me, he wanted to be sure I'd live long enough to earn my way back into damnation."

Reese listened, she was a good listener in the case that she occasionally took bits of her food to eat, and a lot of his liquor to drink. She could get drunk with the best of them, but her high only lasted an hour.. two tops. Maybe longer since she barely partook in any of that stuff in a couple of.. decades at best.

"Ouch.." She murmurs quietly, though there was a slight smile upon her face. "What do you young people call it now a days?" She reaches out with her foot to feel her chair, dragging it closer so that she could sit near, just in case. "I think you people call it a dick move?" She shakes her head. "You were close with that last.. cock-up? With the Herald.. I don't know much about God and the way the lord works, as some of those texts were fiddled with and forged to their perverted likings. But I do think that he could practically out-dick the Devil and keep you on his roster." She grins a touch. "Got another story? Or did you reach your quota?"

"He's a tosser," John says, sourly. "A great bloody wanker, a kid with a magnifying glass. He's got the only game in town and he makes sure that your options are burn in eternity or play by his rules." The magi reaches for his liquor and slams back another belt. "I'm full of stories, luv, the sort that'd burn your ears and shock your soul. Someday someone will sit down and write a book or summat, I'm sure, an' they'll say 'It's a good job we sealed him away from all time'," he assures her, forearms resting on the table. "I know things no man should know an' seen things that'd shatter the minds of most. It's a bloody wonder I'm sane at all."

Reese snorts just a touch, her nose wrinkling at the analogy and her head shaking all the more. Though, she pauses for a moment, a serious look upon her face as she reaches out with her hand.. which subtly begins to glow a faint blue.

"You know things. I know things no man should know and have seen them and was punished for it by loss of my sight and a total memory wipe of what had happened and what had been." She takes in a little breath.. it was a thought.. at least. "But you've probably seen more than I. Know more. Soul older than this old one sitting right here with you. You'd probably know how to unlock it all so I could see, so we both could see what was so damn secret that they had to protect when I was reborn again." She shrugs her shoulders, closing her fingers shut. "Probably.." She wasn't moping, she was.. just wondering.

"Oh, I've been punished," John assures Reese. "I'm just damnably good at making the best of it."

He contemplates the blind woman, eyes narrowing. "Sometimes things are shut away for good reason," he tells her. "The mind has a way of guarding itself. I could possibly fix it, aye," he acknowledges with a slurred tilt of one hand. "But can and should are far between. If I go rooting about in your skull and I find that memory that you hid away— that blinded you to protect you— who knows what confronting it could do? Your mind might snap like a bloody twig."

"Is that why you came here? Looking for a helping hand?"

It took a moment for her to answer, his words weighed upon her and it was something that she's told herself for centuries. It was for her own good.. it was the condition for her being alive. Give and take. Take and give, that sort of thing. But in the end, what's best really is what's best.

"I doubt it." She finally says, arms folding about her. "And no. That's not really why I came here. You lived in a part of me that no ones been close to so it's a responsibility I've stupidly taken upon myself to make sure that you were alright tonight."

"Stupid's the right word," John agrees, in a surly tone as he slouches back towards bitter self-recrimination. "I'll survive, and that's the best any of us can hope for. It doesn't matter if I get chewed up and spat out, eh? As long as John Constantine's around to take the lickings, that bastich in the sky will keep me moving."

He abruptly grabs a glass and throws it at the ceiling overhead, chair kicking back as he stands. "Oye, you hear me you great tossing wanker?!" he bellows at the roof, ignoring the invisible servant who snatches the glass shards up before they've stopped bouncing on the floor. "I'll live yet, aye! I'll even outlast YOU, you tosser! Then who'll have the last laugh?!"

"Unless you want to di—.." Her words were abruptly cut off by his furious ranting, the toss of the glass was enough for her to duck down just enough, hands drawing over her head to shield herself from a rain of glass that probably wasn't even aimed in her direction. Christ. In her long life, she's never dealt with anyone like him. Even children were easily tamed.

"CONSTANTINE."

Like that'll drag him out of his rut. "You are a very, very angry and scary man." She admits, which is something that she'd rarely do. Something even more rare, is her forcing herself upon him to sober him up so that he'd gain the lucidity she thinks he needs.. though.. with as much liquor he probably has left and her full bottle, it'd be all for naught. "That 'tosser' is having the last laugh right now because you're currently yelling at him and you know damn well he's not going to yell -back-."

John staggers and falls, bouncing off the table with an 'oof' and then sprawling on the ground, one on hip. He struggles to something close to a sitting position, then rolls onto his hands and knees in an attempt to get his equilibrium back.

"Donnit matter," he says, his Liverpudlian brogue getting thicker by the minute. "He's lissenin', aye, he's up there, an' he's /spyin'/ on me, the wanker." John slaps a hand on the table and with a grunt leverages himself to a kneeling position, blinking owlishly. "Bloody 'ell, how'd I get down here? Why's my head spinnin', you put some mojo on me?" he asks Reese, suspicious and belligerent.

Was he throwing more things? She tilts her ear towards the sounds of him stumbling, scrambling and scraping, one brow gone up, her body twitching with the need to help but.. she just doesn't. She's as still as a mouse watching a trap, "He spies on everyone." She says almost ominously, finally uncurling from herself as she hears him near, her hands slowly drawing away from her own arms to reach out with expertise to grasp his cheeks within her hands.

"You fell." She states, matter-o-factly. "And you're drunk. Probably more drunk than you've ever been in your life." With that, she shrugs. "So, I'm spending the night with you. You're going to show me where your bed is, and I will undress you. And then I will sleep next to you to make sure that you do not vomit hibachi and die in your sleep."

"My dear Irish grandma, she'd whack your thighs with a spoon fer hearin' you talk to her laddy boy like that," John says in an odd, whistling brogue. "An' I'm not piled out in me own gravy yet, so I'd say this is more like /near/ to th' drunkest I've ever been."

He tries to fight Reese's assistance, but he's so intoxicated it'd be a wonder if he could find his nose with both hands and a map. "Oye, Percie, be a lamb an' lay some lamps fer our guest," John slurs. The gas lamps on the wall immediately flicker from warm yellow to a pale green, one by one, as if indicating a path for Reese to follow.

"~o/Ohhh, Johnny Boy, the piiipes, th' pipes are…. somethin'," John says, singing badly out of key.

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