Was it weird for you, too?

February 26, 2016:

Immediately following the events of Smoking and Joking, John brings Lyn somewhere safe to rest form her ordeal of the prior days.

Gotham city

John's apartment building in Gotham

Characters

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Lwa

NPCs: None.

Mentions:

Plot:

Mood Music: [*\# None.]


Fade In…

Gotham City wasn't a terrible place. There was an upper side to the city, a different side to the same coin, balancing out its natural darkness. There was glitz and glamour there, and the shimmering of beautiful lights on beautiful buildings, an expression of the upper crust. That is not where the pair walk.

After pausing for a drink and hotdog from a street vendor (the food of the gods to some), they keep to their path along the shadows and flickering, forgotten street lamps. The girl doesn't talk much, her mouth too busy chewing and cheeks being round like peaches. If she's not eating like the starved girl she was, she's sipping greedily from her massive, plastic cup of 44 oz. soda.

John eats about as fast, though it's mostly with disregard for propriety and less than with starving hunger. Like any naturalized New Yorker, he eats the hotdog with everything, and with gusto to boot.

"That was quite a trick," John tells Lyn. He uncaps his soda and fishes for a flask with one hand, and pours about eight ounces of strong-smelling bourbon into the cup, completely upending the container over his soda. "With the knife?" he clarifies, looking to Lyn. "I've only met a few mambos who could pull that off properly. Most of them don't get it right about the same time they decide to nick a vein to see if they can kill someone with it."

"Hmm?" She questions, glancing side long toward John as he speaks to her. The hotdog has vanished now and its paper sleeve is a ball, tucked away in the girl's pocket. "Mmmm." She nods slowly, still sipping all the more. Removing her lips from the straw, she swallows and clears her throat. "Yeah, well…don' t'ink I c'n mess it up. Not dat M' tryin' or anyt'ing. Jus'…always worked dat way. Y'did nice work wit dat gun, too. Must got deep pockets, dough. All de shit y'hidin' on ya'self."

"Huh." John shakes his head, looking a bit surprised. "Natural voodoo," he muses. "Happens once in a generation, but it does happen," he concedes. He sips on his spiked cola, thinking.

"Oh, the gun?" he glances at Lyn, then cracks a grin. "Yeah. It's a magician's trick," he tells Lyn. "Lots of secret pockets and sleight of hand, 's all. I like being prepared for the worst. Shotguns are damned handy tools to have when things get ugly."

"I guess." Lyn comments, half-heartedly, about the term 'natural voodoo'. Her steps are close with John's, even in time as they start taking the scenic route back to New York from the Gotham slums. "Jus' a trick, den?" Slipping a hand out of her pocket, the same where the trash had gone, she offers the man back his wallet. "I understand de sleight a'hand t'ing at least." Smirking, she winks behind her glasses, but perhaps he could tell regardless.

"Was interestin', dat place. I hope we c'n help dem spirits, if y'wanna sometime." Pausing, she takes another sip and then continues. "Why-why y'even give a damn 'bout a swamprat like me? Y'saved me, n'I can't neva pay y'back for dat. But…y'didn't have t'follow me inta Gotham, did ya?"

John doesn't miss a beat when the wallet appears, taking it and sweeping his coat back to push it back into his rear pocket. Without looking at Lynette, he flicks his wrist and hands her … her underwear, dangling from his index fingertip.

"I'm not sure they were actual spirits," John frowns, not missing a beat. "I think they might have been some kind of specter or something. Time was running weirdly for some reason." His brows furrow speculatively and he sips heavily from his soda.

"I'm pretty good friends— well, friends," he amends, rolling his eyes. "I'm well acquainted with one of the great hougans. You might know him— Papa Midnite," Constantine clarifies. "Voodoo's interesting stuff, but difficult, and dangerous. The fact you can do it on the fly without any training is a wee frightening," he tells Lyn. "And besides, I don't like the idea of Maniette walking around in a new flesh suit."

Lyn blinks and lowers her gaze to her hips. Hooking the side of her pants, she pulls them away. "Et merde. Guess dat 'plains dat." Reaching out, she goes to snatch her panties away; basic no frill things they were. "Papa Midnite? Don' t'ink I heard a'him. N' I had a lil trainin', kinda. Grew up 'round a place where ever'body believed in de Lwa."

More drink, she keeps walking with the man. Should she be allowed her undies, they would be stuffed into her pocket. "Born wit m'eyes, y'know. Knew lil t'ings naturally. Make some t'ings move, but what I do now? Dat came later." Shrugging, she keeps going and sighs. "'nyway, don' wanna talk 'bout it right now."

"We made it outta dere," she grins, changing the subject. "Y'gon' show me dat otha blade y'got in dere?"

John grins swarthily as Lyn snatches back her underwear, chuckling at his own clever ways. "Don't try to school me in picking pockets, luv," he scolds Lyn. "I've got pretty skilled fingers," he says, wiggling them tauntingly at Lyn.

He slugs more of his soda back, draining the (much) smaller container, and tosses the whole affair aside into a trash can. "Yer a brash lil' poppet, ain'tcha?" John inquires with an upticked eyebrow, still grinning amusedly. "I like that in a lass. You propositioning me 'cause I pulled your pert lil' bum out of the fire, or are you just into Brits?"

"Ain't tryin' t'school nobody. Jus' lettin' y'know I got some trick a'myown." At the comment, she shrugs her slender shoulders and continues her easy strides. She actually blushes at the idea of herself being 'brash', much less called such.

"Which one y'like better? Was jus'…excitin'. Ain't never been dat excitin' before. Y'don' look so bad, either."

"Welcome to Gotham," John says, mirthfully. "It tends to get a little exciting around here."

He eyes Lyn, but the crooked grin starts to fade from his face and he kicks the pavement, soles of his shoe scuffing.

"As much as I'd like a tumble in the hay, I'm not sure that's good for your long-term health," John says with a rigid expression. "People who spend too much time in my company tend to end up in more than their share of peril. Lass like you, I can tell you're going to be up to your neck in it. Plowing furrows in the sheets is likely to drastically shorten your lifespan."

"Merde…" the girl grumbles a bit and actually stops. Moving to stand in front of John, she looks up at him, just staring for awhile, one hand still clinging around her drink. "So, y'wan me t'deal wit how shitty life is gon' be f'myself witout de fun bits?" Her lips hug around her straw then, drinking up a few mouthfuls. "Jus' tell a girl 'no', Constontine. Don' need de 'I do it t'help save ya' stuff. We all fucked, chere. Well, not all of us, no? Least not t'night."

Another smirk the girl turns and starts walking again. "T'anks," she says at length. "F'helpin' me out so far, by de way."

John listens to her sudden insistent argument, brows going up a bit at her assertiveness. She walks away from him, and he admires the sway of her hips from behind with a side-tilt of his head. "Hmm."

He takes two quick steps and matches her pace, giving her a sidelong look. "I'll give you this, you know what you want," he concedes with a flashing grin. "I might be warming to your side of the argument."

"I ain't gon' last f'ever. N' after de other night? I coulda died den, too. But, didn't. I ain't got much in life, chere. Guess it's dat knew 'leaf' y'hear tell people talkin' 'bout afta somet'ing big happens t'dem." Finishing her drink, until it makes that sputtering noise of more air vs. liquids, she tosses the empty vessel into the next bin they pass.

Her hands sink into her pockets now, and every now and then she turns her head to face the Brit. "What if I told y'y missed y'chance?" Dimples in, cheeks round, her grin is playful, if perhaps a bit cruel. "Stupidest t'ing I might ever say in m'entire life? I don' trust many people, if anyone, John. So far? I trust you. Y'already saved me when y'didn't have t'. Dat-dat's somet'ing."

"Then that'd make you a heartless and manipulative wee banshee," John tells Lyn with an affirmative nod. "Which would put you in good company with most of my exes," he says, his tone turning wry as he veers next to her, just a whisper away.

"But then again, doesn't home sound nice? A cold meal, a stiff mattress, the sounds of neighbors snoring through thin walls," he offers in a bantering tone. "Much preferable to a down comforter, good bourbon and a hot bowl of soup."

"Shucks. Forgot I got a heart. Exes, huh? Y'tell me when I'm y'girl first, alright?" Her eyes lower as the man moves closer, and as he speaks, she chuckles and shakes her head. With how near he is to her, it's a fair chance that that floofy hair might just brush against his face. "Don' get it much, so…I'd vote f'somet'ing warm. Put me in a good bed, I probably t'ink m'dead n'gone t'heaven." Nibbling her lower lip, what was once strong in want seems to be turning shy, and soft spoken.

"I've been known to inspire random acts of hallelujah in that bed," John quips, nose brushing Lyn's temple. He chuckles and pecks a kiss against her smooth cheek and straightens, moving along with his usual confident swagger. "But let's start slow, huh? Gel like you needs a proper meal and a safe berth. I've got canned instant soup and a space heater that's a fire hazard. We're not far, either," he says, gesturing vaguely midtown. "Take a cab and see where things take us?"

Lyn stalls after the kiss, clearly surprised and not expecting it what so ever. She reaches up then, her fingers touching the area carefully, perhaps not wishing to get rid of the sensation just yet. "Slow…o-oh. Sure." Coming back to her girlish senses, she catches up with John and reclaims her space by his side, along with their shared stride. "Sounds like a plan." She pauses then and seems to consider something. "Um, Chaz gon' be dere, too?"

"He lives two flats down," John reassures Lyn. He lifts a hand and whistles sharply at a passing cab, stepping bravely into the pooling light on the asphalt to do so. "Oye, mate!" he shouts. The cab screeches once and then pulls a tight, tire-screaming u-turn in the street, narrowly missing John's foot.

"Da, you need ride?" the driver, a hulking fellow with no neck, inquires. John says something in Russian and the fellow brightens, and flicks his 'available' light off. John opens the door for Lyn and gestures grandly. "Ladies first," he says with a wink and a flourish.

Lyn holds out a hand, trying to stop the man from walking out into the brights of an oncoming vehicle. He talks, changes to a language she doesn't know, and then a door is opened for her. Reaching back, she scratches against her scalp and enters. Passing a glance toward the driver, she at least gives him a gentle smile, but keeps her sunnies on and turns her attention to the door's window.

It is indeed a short drive to John's place. They cross through several of the city's strange zones, some of them just a few blocks wide, where criminal activity flourishes. They land in an older neighborhood, but one where the invisible line of gang activity is diminished by neighborhood patrols and police visits. It's subtle, but anyone who's lived in the big city can recognize the added security that's otherwise intangible.

John stops the cabbie in front of a brownstone that's about four stories tall. The lights behind the building are brighter, indicating a commercial district one street over. He walks up the steps and unlocks the door with an old skeleton key, and holds it aside for Lyn to enter. They walk into a small lobby and John takes another immediate left, avoiding the stairs, and opens the unlocked door there.

"C'mon in. Chaz lives two floors up, under the loft," he tells her. "Second floor's mostly for guests. Basement's flooded, so don't go down there," he says, shrugging out of his jacket. He throws his jacket onto a chair and loosens his tie a bit more. The room's floored with dark, almost black hardwood, and it's oddly decorated with a combination of worn furnishings from three decades prior and baroque furnishings that must be nearly a century old. It smells of cigarettes, incense, and some undiscernable subcurrents of scent, something metallic perhaps.

He lights a match and tosses it into the fireplace, which immediately roars to life with a heady warmth, and moves thorugh the living room towards a kitchen in the back. "Soup, right?" he calls. "There's some liquor in the wee cabinet there, if you're thirsty," he says, clattering around with some flatware.

When John returns to the living room he's greeted with the sight of Lynette curled up on the big easy chair. She's found a throw blanket and she's curled into a ball under it, completely asleep and breathing quietly and with a regular rhythm.

John stops, and a wry smile tugs down the corner of his mouth despite himself. He sets aside the soup and even his cigarette, and moves to the chair. "C'mere luv, gimme an arm," he murmurs, scooping Lyn into his arms. He carries her in his arms to the bedroom and puts her on the duvet, wrapping another blanket over her shoulders. He squeezes her shoulder reassuringly, then moves out to the living room, closing the door softly behind him.

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