John Constantine 101

April 08, 2016:

Chas calls up Lyn, asking her to return home.

Bristol, Gotham

A dive bar in Gotham City - Townhouse in Bristol, Gotham

Characters

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Lwa

NPCs: Chas Chandler

Mentions:

Plot:

Mood Music: [*\# None.]


Fade In…

The phone call to Lyn's hotel hadn't been a long one. Not blunt, just possessed of Chas' usual brevity. A quick hello, and a request for Lyn to meet him for a drink at a pub not far down the road.

The big cabby was there well ahead of the floofy-haired voodoun, holding a pale ale in both of his big mitts and making the pint look small in comparison. The seat across from him stays empty, despite the growing crowd hitting the evening pub crawl. There's something about the quiet, big-shouldered man that leaves him with an air of quiet dignity, his cabbie's hat pulled down just enough to hide his eyes from casual examination and his bushy black beard keeping his lips hidden.

Lyn would, by now, do anything for Chas Chandler, so when the request came out for her to meet him, she agreed. It didn't take her long before she found her way into the pub. Spotting him at his table, the snake-eyed girl offers a smile and wave. Her hair was still up in a faux-hawk fashion, with its curls bleached a silver-white. Her attire wasn't much different, either, with the exception of a new shirt; something black and huggy. Her jeans were still a mess of wear and tear, and her boots were scuffed and half laced.

Taking her seat with a plop, she continues to grin across at the man who easily dwarfs her in a number of ways. "How y'doin', chere?" She greets.

Chas smiles at Lyn. "Hey, pretty lady." He lifts his pint up a few inches in a toast of greeting. "I'm doing okay. How're you? You want a drink?" he offers, glancing around for the waitress and lifting two fingers to flag her down.

"Sorry to run you down while you're out on your own," he rumbles in that quiet, chesty basso. "I don't know exactly what John said, but knowing him, it was something that was mostly well-intentioned but came off as dicking self-pitying bullshit. Am I in the ballpark?"

"Funny. I didn' know dat John spoke any otha way." Lyn purses her lips, a bit unamused to hear anything about the Brit. "T'anks f'callin' me pretty, y'handsome man, you." Winking, she nods to the waitress, but ends up just ordering an IBC Cream Soda. "M'doin' alright. Makin' mistakes like y'suppose t'do when y'my age. Hell, Chas, could make you one of dem." Another wink, she chuckles away the prod.

"Seriousy, dough…John ok? He in trouble or somet'ing?" A beat passes, and her solid eyes then widen. "You in trouble?"

Chas smiles at Lyn again, shaking his head. "You're not making mistakes, Lyn, you're figuring out who you are and what you want. Nothing wrong with that. I'm you're friend, though— and that -would- be a mistake." He sips his beer, inhaling with a smack of his lips.

His easy smile fades a little and he focuses on the floofy-haired woman. "John's fine. I'm fine," Chas hastens to add. "I like being proactive. John only shows up when it's about to hit the fan. Difference between us, I guess." He rolls a shoulder in a shrug, palm flipping lazily.

"I don't know what's going on with you two. John won't say shit, which usually means he's messed up and doesn't want to talk about it. But, since he won't say it, I will: I miss having you around the townhouse," he says, plaintively. "I'd like it if you came back. But I know the biggest thing keeping you away is the raging British jackass who lives there."

"His house, y'know? Better dat I leave if he don' want me dere." She explains gently, though there's a frown pressing at the corners of her full lips. "Well, he don' respect me, f'one. M'jus' some dumb girl wit powers, playin' outside m'limits. Least t'im. Dere jus' t'ings I need t'be doin', n' he don' want me to. Too afraid, I t'ink."

Once her drink arrives, she smiles and offers thanks. Sipping from the bottle, she rests back in her seat and eyes Chas. Finally, a soft smile returns. "I been missin' you, too. N'dat asshole, John. I don'…I don' like t'inkin' dat I love'im, dough. Know he don' love nobody. Or, y'know, he does n'dat's why he like he is. But I ain't sittin' 'round f'dat shit. Don' deserve it."

Chas nods, saying nothing for a moment— letting Lyn say her piece. He sips more of his beer, leaving a bit of froth at the upper edge of his mustache.

"Look, I don't blame you for walking away. I'm not even sure asking you to come back is smart," he admits. "Or what's best for you. I just know John's got a knack for fucking things up and I'd just as soon not let it all go wrong for lack of someone saying -something-."

"Mostly I'm just here to make sure you're okay," he assures the girl. "And… well. John's complicated." He scowls. "He's so complicated, complicated's not a good word," he concedes, a bit later.

He scratches his head under his cap and readjusts it with a frown. "John takes a dim view of amateurs. Problem is he's too good at what he does. So don't take that personally. I've seen him criticize Fenris for not doing a thing like he'd do it." He shrugs at Lyn. "It's not that he thinks you're incompetent. It's that he thinks -everyone- is incompetent. He's got a knack for finding fault with anything and everything folk do, whether it's their magic or their drinking or their lifestyle."

Chas looks out over the bar, drumming a finger against the side of his stein. "I think it's complicated more than usual because John feels like he's responsible for you as a magician and because you are … intimate. John's got a messed up sense of accountability. That's why he always does everything himself— if he screws it up, it's only on him. If someone else messes up because of something he told them or taught them or let them believe, then he beats himself up twice as hard. I think he's just always on the run from consequences."

"Well, dat's on 'im, n'I don' need t'be treated like dat. Y'don' work on bringin' somebody up jus' t'shit talk'im on a bad day. I mean…I got some otha' teachers s'I could learn all I could. I /ain't/ all on'im no more." Another drink, she eyes Chas and then reaches over for a napkin. Handing it to the man, she nibbles against her lower lip and turns her head away once more.

"I tell y'what. I try 'gain, but…I dunno. He drive me out again, n'm gone. Dis de first time I stopped runnin' in a long time. N'm gettin' ready t'face all de bad I did dat night. Why can't he see dat?"

Chas mumbles a 'thanks' and blots his beard, the napkin fizzling away into wet, damp folds on his fingers. "John pushes everyone away, eventually," Chas tells Lyn in those gently affectionate tones. "He's a clever ass, so sometimes it feels like you've got no choice but to leave— or he pisses you off enough that you can't stand to stay. But it's all him pushing people away from him."

"John thinks he knows the most about everything, but he really doesn't like himself. Like… at all," Chas explains. "He thinks he's the worst of all possible people. It's kind of nihilistic, and there's something liberating about that. As long as he -tries- to be a better person than the guy he thinks he is, he gives himself a pass on treating all of his friends like shit. It makes him totally intolerable but doesn't stop him from sailing to the rescue when someone needs it, whether they want it or not."

"I hate when y'right." Lyn mutters, a bit annoyed at the fact, and takes another sip from her drink. "I guess all we c'n do is see what happens, no? M'goin' 'gainst Marinette. I need to. Dat Fenris fella said he'd help me, too, n' make sure she can' possess me no more. Guess…best I c'n do is tell John. He show up if he wanna, but I'm do it anyway."

Another sip, she works at draining her beverage and then setting the empty vessel aside. She nods then, slowly at first, answering some silent, inner question for herself. "I come back." She decides and smiles once more up and across to her companion. "Y'give me a ride back?"

"Yeah, John says the same thing to me, too. It's the only reason we're friends," the big, looming cabby says with a warm smile. "Also, he can't cook, and he can't keep a woman around long enough to keep him well-enough fed. Beats Gotham rental rates."

He downs his beer and nods at Lyn, tossing some bills on the table and rising. "C'mon, my cab's out front. You have any bags or anything you need at the hotel?" he asks her, standing politely aside and extending a hand towards the door in invitation.

"Got m'bag." She explains, patting a messenger back that was resting against her hip. "I already checked out n'all dat. Was t'inkin' of movin' t'somewhere else." Pressing her chair back into the table, she follows after Chas, and for once, gets into the front seat of the cab.

Looking out of the window, she stares toward Gotham and stiffens for a moment. A deep breath, and sigh, she nods to the driver and rests back. "He c'n cook soup," she then comments with a smirk on her face. "He gon' hate y'f'bringin' me back."

"That's like saying he can make tea. It doesn't count," Chas says with a quiet laugh. "And don't worry about me and John. We've got our own ways of dealing with one another."

The trip's not a long one, and the cab pulls up in front of the looming townhouse that is somehow both gothic and modern at the same time. He puts the cab in park and waits for Lyn to leave, then leans an elbow out the window and clears his throat.

"When you go talk to John," he suggests, "you make it clear you're coming back on your terms. Not his. He won't like it, and he'll piss and moan… but I think it'll get you more leverage when he knows he's not setting the rules here."

"Oh…dat's low, Chas. Y'leavin' me n'everyt'ing." Rolling her eyes in faux exasperation, she leans closer to the window and presses a kiss against the man's cheek. "T'anks, chere. See y'later." Turning toward the house, she takes a breath, or five, before walking up to it and unlocking it. Stepping in, she shuts the door and locks it back into place.

Looking around, briefly, she heads for the kitchen after kicking off her boots and leaving her bag behind. She was still a bit hungry, so she begins to hunt around in the kitchen.

There's a shuffling sound upstairs and the noises of John's footsteps descending down the two flights to the ground floor follow. He comes around the corner into the kitchen, dressed like he always does— rumpled slacks, old tie, shirt that's probably a day old already at least. A relieved look crosses his face for a moment, before that knowing, sly look returns.

"'ello Luv," he says in that Liverpudlian accent. "Chas said he was pretty solid he could bring you 'round again. I thought you were well quit of me." He leans a shoulder against the doorway, eyes bright and alert— much more sober than he was the last time they saw one another. "You just popping in for a nibble or are you considering coming back?"

"M'comin' back." She explains without so much as a second glance to the Brit. She makes a noise as her tongue presses against the back of her teeth. "He always hidin' de good stuff in de back." Tiny as she was, she climbs up onto the counter to have easier access to the top most shelf in the cabinet, and its goodies. "M'comin' back," she repeats then before finally turning her head to face John. Her snake like eyes settling down on him. "N'I'm doin' it cause /I/ wan' to."

"He what?" John blinks as Lyn starts pulling down food- real food- from the cabinets. "Blimey, I didn't know that was there." He grumbles under his breath, watching her fetching about and setting a meal up with practiced efficiency.

"Why -do- you want to come back?" he asks Lyn, after a few beats, sounding a bit curious. Her self-possessed tone seems to have provoked a bit of a shift in him. Less defensive, less guarded— more curious about how she's thinking and processing things.

"Jus' wanna. Y'let me live here, 'member? 'sides, Chas said he missed havin' me 'round." As plain as an answer could be, the girl then crawls off the counter and looks at what she had brought down from the heavens; it was things to make brownies. "Guess I gotta learn y'how t'cook, too. Dat way, y'c'n at least feed y'self now and den." She muses with a rueful smirk.

Moving about the area, she sets the oven to preheat, while gathering some bowls, milk, eggs, sugar; the whole nine yards.

"Chas is a softy," John says, wryly. "I'd say you have his number well in hand." He watches her shifting around the kitchen with casual efficiency, and snorts at her suggestion. "I don't cook," he says, bluntly. "I'd end up stirring demon peppers into my chili and then die horribly of some kind of satanic gastro distress. Besides, this is the tri-cities. There's a pub ten feet in every direction."

He regards Lyn quizzically. "I'm not going to kick you out unless you start deliberately inviting ghosts and spirits in without using a summoning circle," he assures the woman. "But… I confess to being a wee bit curious if you're coming back to live here or to train. I got the sense you were getting more from Papa's instruction than from mine."

"Y'jealous, John? Gotta tell ya, don' suit y'well." She pauses though, after cracking one egg into a bowl. "S'nice t'see, dough. Well, I like havin' a place t'live, sure. Y'wan train me more, I won' say no, either. I like learnin'." Next comes the milk and oil, the contents in the bowl getting mixed up with a wood spoon until it becomes wondefully thick and gooey.

The smell was amazing; chocolate and vanilla. "Y'wan' dese t'have nuts? If so, m'gon' put mine in de pan already."

"Hey, I'm a dashingly brilliant blighter. Not perfect," John says, with an unapologetic grin. He saunters towards Lyn and tries to dip a finger into the bowl to score a lick of chocolate from it. "As much as Midnite and I wrangle, he's basically the best at what he does. The Loa picked him for their priest as a reason. I don't know how he does it, or why," he concedes, "but… if you want to learn to be a mambo, he's the best in the business. If he's taking an interest in your education, then— and I'm only saying this once— you'd be a fool to pass on it. He can teach you that world better than I can. I'm a con man with a few tricks. He's a bloody full-styled voodoo king."

"I ain't givin' y'up, John. Not even f'Papa. I learn from y'both. Diff'rent teachers jus' got diff'rent t'ings t'offer." She allows the almost kiddish tasting from the bowl before starting to pour the rest into a prepped pan. Spoon and scraped bowl left behind, she offers said spoon out to John for him to take should he so wish to.

"Hmm." John takes the spoon and cleans it with an idle motion, eyeing Lyn with thoughtful speculation. "Okay, so… what do you want to learn from -me-, then?" he asks Lyn, sounding genuinely curious now. "I thought you just tagged along with me at first because you needed a safe berth of harbor. Then I thought you just stuck around for the companionship. You never really said why you were here. I… admittedly, I could have asked, but…" he mumbles under his breath. "I'm… not always the best at that sort of talk."

Lyn blinks and cants her head to the side. Her brows furrow slightly at the question. "Anyt'ing y'wanna teach me. Y'de best a what y'do…n' I don' know what all y'c'n do. So, ain't it up t'de teacher t'choose what t'show de student?" Resting back against a wall, she crosses her arms under her petite chest. "I did need a place t'stay dat was safe, but I only agreed after y'talked me into it, 'member? Unless m'mistakin', y'like de companionship, too. Y' /asked/ me t'stay 'round wit ya, John. Don' be puttin' dis all on me. N'no, y'piss poor at de talkin' sometimes."

John grumbles at Lyn, but doesn't dispute the point, jamming his hands in his pockets and scowling at the floor. He leans his shoulders against the the wall behind him. "I didn't want you getting rousted by some bloody cutpurse looking for an easy mark," he tells Lyn. "Let alone getting attacked by someone with an eye for a young mambo with a lot of bloody talent. Your blood alone is literally worth more than your weight in silver, in certain circles."

"And… well, blimey, I'd be lying if I said I didn't appreciate having a lovely lass around," he concedes, wryly. "But it gets all boggled up after that. I don't know if I'm sleeping with my student or teaching magic to the gel crashing at my townhouse. And I'm not sure how to feel about it," he admits, glancing at the distant wall. "It gets muddled up some. I don't like complicated. I like quippy banter and clever solutions."

Lyn blinks. This…was surprising, so much so that she looks as if she just might be slightly terrified, or worried. She keeps her stance, at least, and her arms under her chest. "Well…" she's out of words, at least for the time being.

Swallowing, she lowers her head and studies her boots and the floor before rolling those slitted pupils back up and against the Wizard across the room from her. "Y'don' wanna sleep t'gether, we don' gotta, John. I was t'inkin' it was pretty simple. We learn f'each other. Y'gotta stop t'inking of me like I don' know how t'look after m'self. Even somebody like you have n'off day once in 'while. I've been takin' care a'me f'fews years now, b'fore I even met ya. S'better I actually learn what I c'n do, den I take even /better/ care a'myself."

John spreads his hands helpelessly. "I'm not going to apologize for being concerned," he tells Lyn. "Some days I feel the inevitability of it more than others. I'm tired of watching people die in front of me. Or finding out that for want of a little time and attention, they might have endured something they didn't."

He exhales reedily. "I don't… it's not that the sex isn't bangin', lass," he tells Lyn, gently. "It's that I don't know who I'm supposed to be lookin' about when you're not here. Is it my friend, my apprentice, the sexy mambo, the gel I helepd that night…?" He shrugs. "It's complicated. I haven't shown you the smallest fraction of the smallest hint of a bigger picture yet. I want to. But I know that'll change your world forever. Because… you really are a tiny fish in the ocean at the mo', and I don't relish the idea of putting blood in the water."

"Don' wan' y't'be sorry f'givin' a damn, John, but carin' don' mean belittlin'." Lyn offers, her tone smooth and calm. In a way, the entire vibe of the room, and how they were yelling at each other, was slightly putting her on edge; the edge of weird. "Ain't I all dem t'ings, dough? People ain' jus' one sided, n'dat ain't bad. Jus' like I know y'ain't jus' s'm drunk bastard dat talk funny."

There, a joke, completely with a scrunched up nose and her tongue lightly sticking out. Pressing off the wall with her shoulders, she pads closer to the man and reaches out, softly slipping her hand atop his own. "John, I born in blood, chere. In a way, w'all are, jus' s'm of us ain't blind to it. I ain't blind, n' I ain't gon' run no more, neither. Don' care dat m'small. If y'dat worried, den help me grow. Jus'…growin' is don', John. Y'started out small too, didn't you?"

John frowns, but accepts Lyn's hand, squeezing her fingers gently. "I started out stupid, Lyn," he cautions her. "And I got folk killed. Killed and worst. I'm not trying to keep you from growing. I just want to make sure you don't end up dead because I showed you a step you couldn't get over. Or worse. And in this line of work there is… a lot worse than dead."

"I know dat. N'I had a feelin'. I jus'…I ain't startin' stupid. M'startin' wit teachers. Not jus' one, but three. M'learnin' much as I can, n'm goin' t'continue doin' dat. I ain't doin' not'ing on m'own, neither. Dey somebody dere. I know I ain't dat powerful n'I don' pretend I am." Her other hand reaches around, now holding to his hand with both of her own.

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