Magic and Mary Poppins

March 30, 2015:

Kitty calls on Constantine for some help in making a magical bag that can hold her katana. And possibly Lockheed

House of Mystery

MYSTERIOUS

Characters

NPCs: Lockheed

Mentions:

Mood Music: The Sorcerer's Apprentice - Fantasia


Fade In…

Constantine's friends know that there are places where he can be located (sort of). Few people know the same 'spot', and he has a habit of moving the doors to the magical House of Mystery without giving people notice (also a vexing habit of his).

Kitty, for some reason, was given an address in one of the shadier parts of Manhattan. It's actually not far from where they met foiling some pesky poltergeists. The door to the House is set in front of what's likely some kind of squatter's tenement- down on street level, a few yards from the front door itself. It's set down a few steps, so it sometimes necessitates walking over a hobo or a drunk to get to it.

*

Kitty is no stranger to the darker parts of New York and the world. In fact, she has recently thrown her lot to combat it. So, coming down to lower Manhattan to search out an old colleague is not something she thinks twice about it. If anyone wants to try and mug her downtown, they're going to be very surprised at the small purple dragon she keeps in her purse.

Knowing Constantine's habits to a certain extent and also his almost obsessive need for secrecy, the woman is not surprised by his current and constantly changing address. There are bad things after the man: that she will never argue with him about. However, as she has never been to the House of Mystery and does not know that it can actually be moved around, so her assumptions is that he continually changes addresses. Perhaps she should know better by now.

Either way, stepping over a few drunks to talk to John Constantine is nothing to her. After checking to make sure they are still breathing and do not need hospitalization, she continues on her mission. Determined, she knocks.

*

The door opens almost before the second knock, and John's standing there chewing on a lit cigarette, holding a bottle of scotch in one hand and a surprised look on his face. His narrow black pencil tie hangs loose around his neck. "Well, Kitty Pryde," he says. "Fancy seeing you in… where is this?" He steps past Kitty through the doorframe and looks around. "Huh. This is a … interesting neighborhood. Hmm. Better come in before you get… shanked, as Americans say." He steps back into the door of the basement level of the three-story, narrow tenement, and shuts the door after Kitty enters.

The House is much, much, MUCH bigger on the inside. Like giant, Victorian-era gilded mansion on the inside. Twin marble staircases, a giant statue of a wizard holding a sphere aloft, brilliant, smokeless flames…

John walks backwards a pace, holding his hands out to the side. "Welcome to the House of Mystery. Don't go wandering, she eats people." He slaps an oaken pillar fondly and walks towards what looks like a parlor, where a bright fireplace is burning and several warm, well-worn leather chairs and sofas are set out.

*

Much like in the movies, Kitty's hand is still raised to knock a second time when Constantine opens the door. Grinning, she lets the hand fall to her side and smirks at the appearance of the magician she's somehow become somewhat friends with. "Of all the basement apartments in all the world," she grins as a greeting and moves past him into the House of Mystery.

"What, you haven't been outside in a bit? And, by the way, not even Americans really call it shanked. That's kind of kept to prisons, I think." Growing up in Illinois, then Westchester and then Japan, she doesn't really know the slang. About to make another quip about his jumping from place to place, she grins, turning to him as she steps across the threshold. "Your hidey-hol" she pauses, taking in the Victorian mansion and staircases, amending her statement, "y shit." She blinks, head tilting upward and then around. "You didn't tell me you were rich, Constantine." At the mention of her eating people, she blinks a few times, not even considering that he's lying. "Yeah, I bet she does. I'd eat people two if I maintained marble staircase like this. And I live in a mansion right now." Well, a mansion that is a school.

"So, what, the outside is a facade?" She's trying to wrap her head around what exactly is happening here. Lockheed flutters out of her purse and curiously flaps about, just as amazed as the phasing mutant is.

*

"Yes. No. Imagine… a bubble, and there's another," Constantine gestures with his hands, "smaller bubble, sticking to it. Got that?"

"Forget it, it's stupid and it doesn't apply," he says, flicking his hands to the side, the bottle of scotch sloshing. "It's a… I think they call it a pocket universe. Not a plane, not a demesne- sort of a little piece of reality stuck between other parts of the multiverse. The door there opens wherever I want or need it to. Sometimes where House sends it because she's feeling bitchy," he says, flopping bonelessly onto the sofa. The next room over looks like some kind of repurposed sitting room, the table and walls overflowing with magical paraphenlia and relics and papers, viewable even from the small parlor. "It's also one of the most dangerous weapons in all of Creation. The assembled hordes of Genghis Khan have tried to break through that door, and the armies of Hell itself would love to get their talons on her."

"So what can I do for you, wee lass?" he asks Kitty.

*

As Constantine has not truly messed with Kitty before, when she's asked questions like this, so she takes his words at face value. She picture the bubble, then she pictures the bubble sticking to it. And then, she gives a glare at the magician and rolls her eyes. "You are such an ass," she snickers, though she doesn't seem overly put out. She, at least, knows what to expect with him when he's being a jackass.

"Y'know, if you're pouring, you could at least offer a girl and her dragon a drink." While Lockheed doesn't actually drink it is only polite. She meanders to the doorway, peeking into the next room over where the magical paraphernalia are laid out and other interesting things are available for viewing.

At his second comment, something clicks and she smirks, looking over her shoulder at him. "Oh, you don't say? So it defies both space and time, hm? If you say so, Doctor." The comparison is enough to make her stifle a well meaning giggle. The question, though, is enough to make her turn from the open door, though she does not move from it. "I had a question for you, actually. I was trying to figure out a way to carry my katana - and possibly - Lockheed with me where ever I went, but didn't involve a purse. Neither of them really fit the space. It seemed like a magical question and I thought I'd ask you if it was possible."

*

Constantine narrows his eyes at Kitty when she asks for a drink, but gets to his feet grudgingly, moving to a wet bar. He fishes out a few lowball glasses and a pair of clear ice spheres, dropping them into the containers, then looks at the bottle in his hand and pours both of them a full glass.

He gives her another withering look at the 'Doctor' crack, but brings her a glass, setting his bottle aside, and drops back into his seat on the sofa. "Macallan scotch. Picked this up from a pretty good run- it should be, uh…" he glances at the bottle label. "Hmm. About sixty years old, by now." He hoists his glass at her in toast and takes a sip.

"So, seriously, what do you want from me?"

*

As Kitty takes the glass from Constatine, she turns away from the door of curios and other things she is desperately interested in. It takes some doing, but Constantine is interesting enough in himself that she doesn't quite lament not having the chance to go through whatever is in the next room over. Picking a chair, she settles herself into it, careful with the glass now holding the scotch. At his introduction to what it is she's drinking, her eyebrows raise. "I didn't mean to guilt you into giving me the good stuff," she says truthfully. "So, you really are rich? Or is this from some alternate reality or something?" She's recently come into some knowledge that that's a thing.

With a smile, she raises her glass and then rests it against her thigh. "Well, one, it's been awhile. I was starting to wonder if you were some sort of mirage. And, second, I'm serious. I want to find a way to make sure I'm always armed. Carrying around a sword isn't exactly an option in modern society and I've been caught without a weapon three times in the past month. I can't keep letting that happen. Is there a way you could help me?"

*

Constantine eyerolls. "Kitty, luv, do you think anyone can guilt /me/ into anything?" he says with an arched eyebrow. "This is just my sipping scotch. I have some Louis XIII laying around if scotch isn't your thing," he says with a shrug.

"I'm not so much rich as I have limitless resources," Constantine says, carefully. "I know how to leverage some of my equipment and skills into a commodity. Wizards tend to be long lived and if you're smart, you invest early, get comfortable, and get a time machine," he mumbles into his scotch.

The question about being a mirage neatly avoided, he contemplates Kitty's words. "Well… the problem with a pocket dimension is that it's very easy for a creature to accidentally die," he explains to Kitty. "And I have no idea how it would interact with your phasing. We can try, though. As for the katana, well… are you really /attached/ to your current dismemberment tool? I might have one in the closet that would replace it."

*

Kitty raises a eyebrow at Constantine, "Yes, I definitely you could be guilted into something." She smirks at him through her sip at the scotch. While she has not had much of the liquor, she's been around Logan enough that she's used to it. "Scotch, probably not, but you don't have a hidden Victorian mansion without hiding a few things. And people who hide things can be guilted." It's basically logic, and her own dealings with the man have shown her that he has a conscience and far too much of a protective aura.

Lockheed settles on the arm of her chair and breathes a ring of smoke at the idea of creatures accidentally dying in her hope of a new magical invisible purse. "Okay, so no Lockheed in there, got it." She holds the glass up to the dragon, who turns his nose up regally at it. "And, yes, I am quite emotionally attached to my current katana. If I need to have some secondary sword in the pocket dimension, then that's fine, but losing my main weapon would be…" she frowns, realizing that the following words don't cut it. "I wouldn't want to."

Despite the seriousness of her last statement, she grins. "And don't think I didn't hear you talk about a time machine. That is something my ears are highly attuned toward."

*

"Keep remembering all these things I'm saying and you won't get any new toys," Constantine says, wryly. He takes another sip of his scotch and heaves to his feet, moving towards the mess in the other room.

"Well, bring that big knife and that dumb dragon along, and let's see what I can come up with," John says, disappearing around the corner. "I might be able to come up with something useful, though it'll probably take a few tries. Hope you don't have strong feelings about aging, you'll probably be here a few days."

The next room was probably a dining room connected to the room Kitty currently occupies, but it's been repurposed into John's laboratory. About twenty feet on a side, it's dominated by the huge table running down the middle. A massive fireplace burns in odd colors and with hidden depths in the far wall.

"Don't touch anything."

*

"Hey, if you don't want me to remember things, then you shouldn't say them. Telling me things and expecting me to forget them makes me think you expect me to be stupid. And I'm not." Kitty may be many things, but she is not about to sell her intelligence short.

As Constantine stands and moves toward the other room, she scrambles up as well and follows. Lockheed perches on his shoulder, giving the magician a dirty look at being called stupid. She has all the things she's wanting to put in some sort of pocket dimension, but she's still wary of losing it. "I'm fine with whatever. Though, I should probably let the school I teach at know. I can push classes back a few days, but they need to know." She's sure Scott will understand, at least. Or, well, she's going to hope that he does because she's going to do this anyway. Kitty may be smart, but she's also stubborn and headstrong. She's gotten it into her head to do this, so it's going to happen.

As Kitty looks around the next room, she leans over an orb, mist swirling inside. A hand reaches out to touch it just at Constantine's warning. Quickly, she straightens. "Of course," she says evenly. "Never would touch a thing."

*

"I said aging, not your bloody social life," John says, looking back up at Kitty with a raised eyebrow. "You'll be home in time for tea." He flips through the pages of the book rapidly, considering them, then makes a triumphant noise and stabs a page with a finger. "Hah, there it is. I knew I had it written down somewhere. I've used this design before. A bit tricky, but it works a ruddy charm and it's reliable." He walks past Kitty, stopping long enough to rub Lockheed's chin, and goes to a wardrobe. He opens it once, and it's full of a massive assortment of phials, beakers, and the like. "No," he mutters, closing and opening the doors. A set of bookshelves appears. "No."

Writing equipment.
"No."
Old beer bottles.
"No."
Animal pelts."No."

He closes the doors, reaches up and twists the various ornaments and carvings on the face of it. "Hang on, it always takes me a blood minute…" he opens the doors. "Ah, here we go. Can you sew?" he asks Kitty, pulling out a needle, thread, and a few pieces of gold-threaded cloth.

*

"When you say I'll be here a few days, I assume that meant consecutively. You know, I think you say things like that just to get a rise out of people." Kitty turns at Constantine, glaring slightly. She's saying this because it's certainly getting a rise out of her. She's used to being a smart person and knowing what's going on around her. Magic, though, is completely out of her element.
At the tossed needle, thread and cloth, she bobbles it, the spool of thread rolling down her leg as she attempts to kick it up back into her arms. Lockheed comes to her rescue as he scoops it up in his mouth and brings it back to her. "I can sew passably. Does it have to be a perfect stitch or something? Also, what am I sewing?"

*

Constantine stops and wheels, frowning at Kitty like it's not glaringly self-evident. "Don't be daft, lass. You're sewing up a test bag for your new purse. We're going to need to do some prototyping and testing, of course. I'm not going to hand you a bloody portable pocket dimension and have it destroy half of Manhattan because we didn't test the design. I'm going to find a way to make it work with your phase-shift skill. I need to understand more of how you do that," he says, wagging a finger and going back to the book and his scotch.

*

"Yes, forgive me for not knowing about what magical sewing processes went into a pocket dimension," Kitty replies with a bit of rolled eyes. She picks up her scotch glass and takes a generous swig. "You know, if I knew how to do this myself I would have made you go through the trouble."

However, her bad mood is slightly dissipated when he says he's going to figure out a way to make the whole thing work with her mutant abilities. "Really? I figured I'd have to drop the bag or something when I phased. I mean, I don't know what you can learn about it. It's in my genes. When I think about it, I can move through things. That's the gist of the matter."

*

"Right, but everything- everything," John says, digging through another wardrobe for some sundry items, "works off of /some/ kind of natural law. Even if we aren't sure why or how. Even if that how is something magical- even magic has laws," he explains to Kitty. "Now, stop asking questions and start sewing. I need to focus on reading. Let me know when you have a few of those ready."

*

With a raised eyebrow, Kitty looks to Lockheed and then back to the fabric and needle and thread. "Alright alright." She picks a seat somewhere so that Constantine can concentrate on his working and she can focus sewing. The scotch glass is perched precariously between her knees as she works. The curious dragon takes a bit of a taste before flying up to another perch, sneezing little bursts of fire.

While Kitty may be many things, a seamstress is not one of them. Her brow knits in concentration as she sews up a bag. It's already clear that it will be lopsided, but it will hold things. It's slow going, but after awhile, she has three of them. While they're not pretty, she's strangely proud of her work. Holding one of them up, she grins. "Got about three. How many do you think we'll need?"

*

"I want to say about six," John says, gathering materials and books and settling them out in front of him. "I want to make sure I make this recipe right if my little friend Lockheed here is going to be living part-time in it," he says, ruffling the dragon's wings.

After a half-dozen attempts, they'd managed to manufacture a few useable but laughably crude 'purses' for Kitty, working from her hand-sewn test purses. The pocket dimension inside was just large enough for the umbrella Constantine had commandeered as a substitute for Kitty's katana. John had pushed on one of the walls of the room and the entire laboratory expanded at his touch, revealing a large ritual circle in a corner, surrounded by braziers, magical accessories, and a loaded 12-gauge shotgun for special visitors. After an hour of carefully cleaning and ritually purifying the circle of any lingering magical energies, John had deemed the area ready for use.

"This is looking good," John says, nodding and puffing on yet another cigarette. Moving to a little desk, he pulls up a large mirror and touches the frame. He swings it around and it becomes two-way glass, allowing him to peer through it at the circle. "All right, luv, time for the moment of truth," John tells Kitty, taking Lockhood from the girl and bribing him to a shoulder seat with a little piece of steak from lunch. He looks at her, then gestures at the circle. "Well, get down to your skivvies and up on the doctor's table," he says. "Let's see if the bags will shift with you."

*

At the room expanding, Kitty watches it with wide-eyed wonder, clearly curious as to how he's able to do that. Though she knows the answer will be 'magic' she certainly wishes to know more about it than that. For now, though, she keeps the questions limited to how her bag will work and what what exactly he's doing. She attempts to keep out of the way as best she can, but this is far too interesting for her to remain completely on the sidelines.

Lockheed is also quite intrigued by the process, flapping here and there to watch the proceedings. He flits to one of the expanded walls, touching it with a claw cautiously before settling down. At the bribery from Constantine, he easily glides to his shoulder, landing there and devouring the steak piece quickly.

"Skivvies? Why do I have to be in my underwear? You realize my clothes shift with me when I phase, right?" She sheds her coat easily enough, but stripping down wasn't exactly in the bargain.

*

"Well, it was worth a try," John says innocently, passing Lockheed more steak. "I thought it'd brighten the room a bit. You know. Art," he says, with a vague wave of his hand before passing a bag to Kitty, his eyes almost completely innocent.

"All right, let's see what happens with this one. You have the ancient umbrella of Gloucestshire in that bag, which is magically enchanted to keep you even slightly more dry than a regular umbrella." He winks at Kitty from around the mirror then settles down to peer through it, his face studiously intent.

*

At the admission, Kitty raises a singular eyebrow. It's clear she's not amused that he just attempted to get her stripped down in the process of doing her a favor, but she also doesn't yell at him for it. She takes the bag from Constantine and then smirks, "I'm almost flattered, but I bet you say that to every gal you make a Mary Poppin's bag for."

Bouncing the bag up and down a few times to judge its weight, she nods and grins. "A magical umbrella, got it." She also looks through the glass, curious, before moving to where gestured with her hopefully magic bag. "Just tell me when I should try and phase. This thing isn't going to explode or anything, will it?"

*

"You think I get a lot of lasses in here?" John says with an equally arched eyebrow. "Not many womenfolk are keen to follow a man back to his magic house that exists between dimensions." He grins cheekily, as close to one gets to a vague apology from the magician, and focuses on the mirror again. "and no, it probably won't explode."

Apparently, though, it won't work, either- the bag simply comes entirely undone when Kitty phases, and the umbrella goes bouncing out of the circle. "Damn. But, useful information," John says, making some notes on the pad next to his wrist. "I thought that might happen. Let's try the blue one, next…?"

On the fifth bag, it seems they've found the design that works- the umbrella doesn't fall out or go flying or rip the bag open. It 'phases' with Kitty, and the contents emerge unscathed.

"It seems we have a victor here," John applauds Kitty, moving to the circle to meet her and accept the crude bag. "This is why it's important to prototype," he says, examining the bag carefully and checking his notes on it. "Now we've got a notion on how this works. I think we can make you a proper purse, now, not just a pouch made with rough stichwork. And I'm almost sure Lockheed can dwell in it quite comfortably, at least for a short while. Even while you're phased."

*

"I guess it's lucky for you that I exist between dimensions already," Kitty grins at Constantine as she phases with the bag. As it falls apart in her hands, the umbrella dropping to the ground in front of her. Surprised that phasing with the magical object would cause the bag to fall apart so easily, she blinks and then picks up the umbrella to try again.

As they work through different bags, she's continually studying the fabric and the stitching after it's clear they don't work. "Why do you think it does that?" she asks, picking up another bag to test. "You know, most things just kinda phase with me. Is it because of putting a bunch of space in a small area and then trying to affect that? That's the magic or is it my ability?"

The last time, she phases and the bag remains intact. Beaming, she holds it up for him to see: all together! Handing it off, she follows. Lockheed, still on Constantine's shoulder flies his wings a few time at the mention of his name being inside the bag. He's not too sure of that.

*

"I don't know, honestly," John admits. "I think it's because what you do is quite unique. Magic is largely tied up in intent and focus, but there are laws that it has to follow. Your abilities are at odds with the laws with which I'm familiar- but I think this will help settle things so that when you phase, instead of physically bringing this 'spare dimension' along with you, it rather tags along with your spiritual essence that you never abandon."

John goes to the front door and ducks out without a word, but he's gone for less than a minute. He emerges with a Louis Vuitton bag that is either a small book bag or a large purse. With a beam he waggles the purse at Kitty. "I understand this is the bag of choice for discerning young socialites about town. Is this what you had in mind?"

*

"Hm." Kitty certainly likes the idea that she has a unique ability. It very much interests her that her ability can affect the laws of magic quite so readily. Being the curious woman that she is, she will certainly try to find out more about it, if she can. "My spiritual essence," she quotes, thinking that through. "I never really thought about what comes along with me when I phase. I always just figured it was everything."

When Constantine leaves through the front door, she blinks, unsure if she should follow him or stay where she is. Luckily, the question is answered for her in a few moments when he returns. Her eyebrows raise. "That can't be a real Louis Vuitton, can it?" She's certainly expecting it to be a knock off sold by the people on the corner. "I mean, what I had in mind was a messenger bag or something, since that's what I had with me." Though she's not a socialite, she does love a good purse.

*

"It is everything," John says, settling the bag down on the desk. "And it's real. Took me a moment to recollect my French. You would expect the bloody flagship store to have at least one clerk who speaks a proper language."

"Most dimensional travel I know of involves… passing through a sub-dimension," John explains. "Rare spells I know of allow someone to pass through objects but they're just bloody weird variations, sending your physical essence off into a friendly dimension until you're… hrm. 'Thin' enough to slip through reality. You do all that at will and you bring all of you into whatever you slip through. I'm not a bloody physicist, maybe one of them can explain it," he ventures.

John gets to work on the bag, using the magical thread he'd selected and murmuring enchantments over the satchel.

*

Kitty's astonished look does not diminish when Constantine explains. "Wait what? Did you just go to France and buy a Louis Vuitton bag?" She'll assume the dimensional thing may have something to do with that, but it's still disorienting and strange to think that might actually be what happened. "They're worth a small fortune…" and she's not sure how she can repay him.

"Well, I mean, I'm not a magical spell. It's all happening on a cellular level, I think. Maybe it's the biological stuff mixing with the magic stuff." She's no expert on either, but it's at least a credible guess. It's the sort of thing she like to puzzle through. Settling again on a chair, she picks up her long forgotten glass of scotch and takes another drink. Intently, she watches him work and mutter enchantments over the fashionable bag.

Comfortable with his presence, Lockheed flutters to watch from a higher vantage point.

*

John works in studious quietude for some time, though with the odd nature of the House subjective time is difficult to pin down. The shadows from the artificial sun outside creep along the room at a predictable pace.

Finally, John finishes his work, looking at the bag critically. He sets it upright on the desk, then sticks his hand into it. His arm follows, and then he undoes the zipper a bit more and manages to get most of his head into it as well, far more than the bag should accommodate and well below the level of the desk's surface.

"All right, it works," John says. "A bit musty and dry in there." He takes one of the surviving pouches Kitty had sewn and goes to work inside the bag with another piece of magical thread, cigarette ash flicking to the side periodically. "Now it's time for a few 'convenience' features. A lady should always be accessorized and well-heeled, if you ask me."

*

Whatever time passes by, Kitty is quite content to spend it finishing off her glass of scotch and watching Constantine work. It's fascinating to try and figure out what each movement or word may mean when dealing with the bag. As it seems as if his work has come to an end, she straightens, grinning when he sticks his head through the bag down through the table.

As soon as he's back on their own plane of existence, she puts her hands together excitedly. "Oh, fantastic!" At the comment of what a lady should be, she snickers. "I'm not normally a heels sort of woman, but I do love pockets." They tend to come in handy. Moving a bit closer to the work table, she curiously inspects what it is he may be doing. "What features do you mean?"

*

"There was a wizard a long time ago named Heward, who had a little satchel he called his 'Handy Haversack'," John says, tongue in cheek as he feels something with his fingers that he can't see inside the bag, eyes going skywards in thought. "I think you'd call it a 'fanny pack' these days. He had enchanted it so that he could put his hand in it and whatever he wanted would land in his grasp. He would keep swords, lit torches, all manner of things at close grip. So when I say a woman should be well-heeled, I mean she should always have what she needs at hand. I have quite a few ideas for this little lovely toy."

John stops his sewing and gestures at the bag. "When it'd done, you'll have this seam here. The other pockets are quite normal so you won't accidentally give up the secret if you are just out with friends. The seam is nearly invisible to a passing eye, though some magical experts might spot it. You can open it from either side with a touch, and it will give you access to the sub-dimension inside. Lockheed can crawl in and out of there as he likes, too," the magician says, reaching for a fresh cigarette to light up, and following it up with a short of scotch around his drink.

*

"I believe those go around your waist," Kitty grins at the mention of fanny packs, she hasn't thought of them since she was a young girl. "Ahh, see, I thought you meant I should be wearing some nice heels to go along with that purse." Isn't the old adage that shoes should match the purse?

"You're quite a seamstress - seamster? - as well, Mr. Constantine. I'm duly impressed. You have a dimensional house, magic and can make a girl a fashionable purse. Is there anything you can't do?" Lockheed moves to Constantine's shoulder, nose all but inside the bag to investigate where he may be spending time when Kitty takes him out in public now. He's grown used to the knitting bag and then the messenger bag, but a space of his own where he's not cramped and at the whim of walls or a swing could be nice.

*

"I don't cook, luv," John says with another faint grin, more of a crinkling of his intense blue eyes. "And magical sewing is easy when you use an enchanted needle. Better than a Singer, rest my mum's soul," John chuckles.

"It'll have a few other bits and bobbins- it will be quite a bit tougher than simple silk and it should mend itself if something does hurt it. Remember, though, the magic is in the seam itself- if that gets damaged, you might have everything go spilling out like a bloody antique shop exploded."

John moves to a shelf, reaching for more thread and several scraps of papyrus, which he lights on fire while muttering around the cigarette. The smoke blends and hovers in the air over his head as if caressed by his incantations. "If a dire situation presents itself, you can hide yourself inside of it along with your pet. This-" he holds up a perfectly smooth rose quartz rock the size of his eye- "is going to become a 'survival stone'. A friend of mine developed it for when he travelled to odd places." He sets the stone aside. "It will supply food, water, air, and a bit of comfortable warmth if you need it. So if you have to duck into the bag to get away from the sun or a bloody blizzard, you can set up in it."

John goes for the scotch next, moving tiredly to an oversized chair with a wide seat. He pours at least three fingers into the glass and hooks a leg over the chair's arm, lolling his head back to settle on the broad armrest. The bottle dangles from one hand and the glass is drained in two gulps, then left resting on his narrow stomach. "Blimey, this is going to be ruddy major artifact of magic when I'm done. I should stitch my name on it so people know not to just call it 'Pryde's Makeup Storage Kit', or some bloody nonsense."

*

"Who needs to cook in New York City?" There's always some place to order from. Kitty follows behind Constantine at a respectful distance, careful to not crowd or trip him as he goes around to the shelf to pick up knick knacks and other things to put in her bag.

Impressed by the sheer functionality it will lend her, she moves to the chair as he does. "My goodness. It really is a Mary Poppin's bag. Honestly, I was just hoping for a sack or something to put my katana in so I wouldn't get attacked by apes without a weapon again. This is far beyond what I'd even hoped for." Not only does she get a Louis Vuitton out of the deal, she gets a survival stone.

"How much do I owe you for the bag and the magic? I'm not sure I've got the money to cover it, but I'd be glad to help you out with something. Cleaning or cooking or whatever it is magicians barter with. Though, I imagine you have some mice and magic self sweeping brooms to deal with that."

As for what to call it, she grins, teasing, "I certainly was planning on taking all the credit for the bag, having your name sewn into it would hinder that slightly."

*

"There's a servant familiar who does the cleaning, yeah," John says. "Though the bloody tosser isn't allowed in the laboratory anymore. I couldn't find anything for a bloody month last time it got in there and 'organized' it," he says, wiggling fingers and his empty scotch glass in the air.

"Maybe some cooking. But the honest truth is that you're an up-and-comer, a real heroic type," John tells Kitty, looking up at the girl next to him. "You went in against those damned poltergeists without hesitation. This is more of an investment in you long-term. Who knows what you might become, or what your powers might end up being?"

"When I was a lad I was given the tools I needed, rather than having to scrap and fight for them. They set me up to succeed, and then when the time came to throw my cards on the table for it-" he gestures grandly at the House of Mystery. "I was able to lay my finger on the biggest prize of all."

*

"Is it a broom with arms?" Kitty asks hopefully. Having grown up on Disney cartoons, she has to ask. If she didn't, she would never forgive herself. "Or is it like the Beauty and the Beast book where it was all magic that can't be seen."

As for an up-and-comer, the woman shrugs. Lockheed soars back to curl up on her lap, sensing that most of the interesting magic and construction is done. "You looked like you could use the help. While I don't have the power to make bags have other dimensions in them or to heal quickly or to move things with my mind, I was born with the ability to do something. What's the use of it if I don't do something with it?" It's why she feels so at home in Xavier's, why she finally signed up to be an X-Man.

"I didn't realize that I was a hedge fund. Or a stock? Hm, I may be thinking of an IRA." She should really look into how to invest her money, as it's clear she has no real clue about that. "So, you're saying if I play my cards right, I could possibly get my own Hogwarts house."

*

"No, it's an ugly little imp thing. Fortunately, it's invisible except for a little shimmer in the air," John tells Kitty with a chuckle. "I don't know about the … Beauty and the Beast novel. Is that an American legend?" he asks.

"You might not end up with… this," John says, tilting his chin skywards. "But you'll find that some of your comrades will only ever have a hammer. When that happens, everything looks of a nail," John explains. "If you're smart and you've got the notion of where to look for things, you'll be able to lay your hands on the tool you need when the time comes. Then who knows?" he shrugs. "You might come sallying to /my/ aid when a crisis hits. Then I'll be bloody grateful I set you up for success. A little work now could pay off in terms of a lot of return later on. All I need to do is make sure you survive until you come into your own."

*

Absently, Kitty scratches at Lockheed's head. "It's a Grimm fairy tale. You know, beast has an enchanted castle, a beautiful girl is trapped there, they fall in love in the end. They made a Disney movie about it with a singing tea pot. I read an updated version of it when I was a girl where all the servants were invisible and magic."

As for the House of Mystery, she grins. "Well, I'll keep my eye out for another Hogwarts. And I'd be only too glad to come to your rescue with my Louis Vuitton purse and my katana of shining steel. It's the least I could do for you helping me out without asking anything immediately in return." She smiles, leaning back in her chair. "I'm pretty good on my survivability level, I think. I've lived through demon samurai, apes from space, poltergeists…" The list goes on. "But, I'm always willing to learn new things."

*

"Oh, Belle et la Bete," John says, in polished French. "I'm sorry. Didn't click," he says, tapping his empty glass to his forehead. "It's actually French. I thought the Beast was a bit of a rotter, actually. Talk about bloody Stockholme syndrome. Still, I suppose it's a fantasy everyone has in some way or another," he contemplates, looking at the baroque-style ceiling. "A woman finds a hideous man, looks into his heart, brings an inner beauty out and marries into a rich aristocracy. Man finds a beautiful girl, kidnaps her, she decides to overlook his glaring character faults for some reason. Happiness all around," he says with a dry laugh.

*

"Oh, I'm not saying it was good for women…or anyone really. Just that I liked the idea of magical invisible servants." As John looks up, so does she, taking in the splendor of the ceilings. The entire room really is lovely. "That's the way it is with fairy tales. The women learn to love a man with deep character flaws, the man softens due to a woman's touch. That sort of thing. At least in the Disney movie, I doubt that it's a happy ending. They're in France right before the French Revolution."

*

"Magical invisible servants aren't really hard to get," John admits. "You just need to find a spell or two that lets you enjoin some extraplanar beastie to serve you. Most of them are immortal and bloody happy to get off their demesne or wherever the hell they're from."

"You might have a talent for magical arts, you know," John says, lolling his head over to look at Kitty, sitting in the seat. "You're bright, analytical, good instincts. It's not some great secret- you just need a decent set of instructions and a willingness to take a risk or two. If you're patient and deliberate, anyone can become a decent wizard."

*

"It's not a born thing?" Kitty asks, eyebrow raised. She assumed it was like Harry Potter where she had to be born with it. "I'm sure it's something I'd need a lot of practice with, though, so I don't accidentally light things on fire or something." As for getting a beastie to serve her, she frowns, unsure of how she feels about that. "I'm not sure how I feel about spelling someone into working for me." Of course, the idea of being a decent wizard is certainly something she's interested in. Who wouldn't want to learn how to do magic?

*

"There are some people born with an innate talent for it, certainly," John admits. "But some people can play the piano without ever having trained on one or read sheet music. Others are natural athletes without once having stepped into a gymnasium. Training and discipline help expand those talents, but the truth of it is that talent is just one way to power. Practice and focus is another- you just need to have something to help you take those first steps into tapping into the power around you already and bending it to your will."

*

Clearly the idea of being able to do magic is something that appeals to Kitty. "And by something do you mean someone that could help you train? And by someone could you possibly mean you?" She raises an eyebrow, smiling at Constantine. She certainly hopes it means he's willing to train her, since he seems to have an interest in her future. Plus, he should know better than to bring up something she's interested in that he can teach and say that it's something she could learn. That's just bound to get her to start pestering him about it.

*

"Maybe. I'll think about it. Just because anyone can learn it doesn't mean I should just teach it to any pretty face who wanders in," John says with a sly, teasing expression. "You're talking about handing someone a loaded gun that can go off for no bloody reason and tends to attract evil demons who want to eat your face or bribe you for your soul in exchange for power. Learning magic is about learning patience and mastering your impulses as it is studying the practice," he explains. "Think about it, though. Maybe that's the next major investment someone ought to make in you."

*

"Well, what about any intelligent person who may or may not have been told she has potential as an up and comer?" Kitty grins at his retort, sending back one of her own in the same teasing tone. "I mean, I'd imagine it starts out as more of a BB gun. Able to leave a scar, but not exactly going to kill someone. But, then, as I don't know the first thing about magic, I'm not sure if that reference is even accurate!" All the more reason she should have a tutor.

"Oh, believe me, I'll think about it. Once I'm curious about a thing, I tend to try and figure out all I can about it." It comes with the name. "I mean, I have the power to walk through walls since I was twelve and I have yet to rob a bank. I think that's some self restraint, right?" Despite the fact that she'd never actually rob anyone. It's not really in her nature.

*

"You also might not have a demon whispering your ear how murdering a puppy would get you a new hint of how it all works," John says dryly. He heaves to his feet, setting his drink and bottle aside, and ambles back towards the workbench. "Well, we've a few more hours of work- shall we get this finished?"

*

"Well, then that demon would have to know I would never murder a puppy even for a hint." Kitty pushes herself up from the chair. "Bugs, yes. Maybe even a mouse if I'm startled, but never a puppy." As for getting back to work, she nods. "Let's! I want to see how this all works out."

*

John and Kitty head back to work, then- a long day of work remains, but the final product is a work of art. Kitty has a brand new Louis Vuitton purse brimming with magical enhancements, and more importantly, Kitty and John have a new understanding with one another- and a stronger friendship than before.

Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 License