The Fat Lady Has Not Sung

June 25, 2014:

Paul and Sara pay Jason a visit because things are not even close to being over.

Gotham City: a cemetery then Jason's shop.


NPCs: None.


Mood Music: None.

Fade In…

It's actually a good thing that Paul and Sara are still on enforced leave. It gives them all day to look into things that their Captain would just not understand them doing during work. This particular time, it involves going to grill Jason about things that he either glossed over before this all started or ignored entirely.

The sun is shining brightly, flashing off of the many reflective surfaces scattered around in neat rows. The grass is the perfect green of golf courses and meadows in poems, so pure and absolute that looking at it and looking away fills one's vision with after image colors. The sky is a blue so pure and cloudless that it appears infinite, as if it would stretch on for all time in any direction, as though the /thought/ of a storm cloud hadn't yet been invented and so the sky carelessly carried on in it's endless perfection. The wind blows, nice and light, taking what would be a warm day otherwise and making it /just/ this side of chill and into the perfect level of 'comfortable'. In short… it's a perfect day. Completely perfect.

The fact that Jason is spending it standing at the very edge of a cemetery, peering through the wrought iron fence and out over the sea of headstones to a small gathering of people all wearing black around a deep hole in the ground, doesn't seem to phase the day's cheeriness at all.

With his toes /just/ shy of touching the grass and his face /just/ shy of brushing against the black iron bars, the Englishman stares blank faced across the perfect sunny day, his features a mask of stone and steel, so immobile they don't even look like flesh. When Paul and Sara near him he speaks, but he never looks away, "Holy ground." he says idly, his voice as flat as a robots, "I made sure they put her there, where…" he's quiet for a long moment, "where he can't get to her, to do anything to her. Keep her safe." and also where Jason himself will never be able to go, to visit, to speak with her, to take solace in even that small empty comfort. "I quit detectives. Go find another occultist to solve your mysteries. I'm done." but he doesn't move from the spot where he stands, staring still.

"He said you'd say that." Sara stops not too far away, hands in her pockets. "Six years of the Witchblade whispering in the back of my mind, I figured I could handle twenty-four hours of some asshole demon. Not so much, really." She takes a deep breath, forcing it out slowly. "If you've done a thousand years of that, Jason, you're not a quitter. The point is moot, though. Occultists are coming out of the woodwork these days."

"Oh bullshit." Paul says though his tone isn't as scornful as the words. "You really want us to believe, let alone yourself, that you're going to let him get away with everything he's done? 1700 years and you're suddenly willing to give up and let him win? Cause he's not done, you know. Of course you know. You know better than anyone. I know he hit you hard, Jason. But there will be time for this later after we've beaten him."

Jason Blood's answer is randomly instant, "Seventeen hundred years." he pauses, "More or less. We didn't have a calender back then, don't know when I was born. Fall sometime, maybe Novemberish." he sounds so flat and empty, "Oh that's cute, you think I've been this way forever. I quit all the time detective, I'm really very good at it. Besides," he reaches up with a hand and grips the iron fence bar in front of him, instantly there's the sound and smell of cooking flesh, "what do I care for your world?" smoke rises from the white knuckle grip on the fence, but Jason's face doesn't really register the pain. His hand drops however as white flames appear on it, and they puff away into wisps of smoke as the limb falls back to his side, though the wound is rather ugly. When Paul finishes Jason laughs, but it's not a joyful sound, it's jagged on the edges and broken in the middle, "You cannot beat him Paul, he isn't a thing that can be defeated, he can only be fought and I am so very tired of fighting. You are the Witchblade and the Rapture, you've more then enough power between the pair of you to handle … whatever." He glances down at his hand and winces at the burnt flesh there but doesn't do anything about it, but he finally turns to eye them, "What do you want?"

Sara doesn't answer immediately. There's a moment of silence, before she sighs. "I wanted to check on Gerry," she admits quietly. "I hoped…I hoped she was lying. I'm sorry, Jason. For whatever that's worth, I'm sorry."

"She's not in Hell." Paul says and sounds quite sure of that. If she were, guaranteed she'd have been tortured in front of Jason. No question. "It sucks but at least there's that." Reaching up, he runs a hand over his hair. "We need answers, Jason. We can't do anything without information and you're the expert here. For starters, he set this all up. How? He's locked in Hell. So how did he arrange things out here? Using lesser demons no doubt but there's got to be more than that. One of those other occultists says the pages of some book of sin are floating around and people are summoning demons. If they all come together, something really bad happens. Is that what he's doing?"

Jason Blood eyes Sara for a long moment, but his expression doesn't soften. Cops see this all the time, iron control clung to by the absolutely smallest of margins, a single slip and it will all fall apart. "She wasn't lying, nor was she gentle about it." he says to Sara, "Generally the Magdalena doesn't lie, that is after all a sin." he then nods at Paul, "I know. She's where I will never see her again." he glances back over his shoulder at the fence and the funeral beyond, "You know how many times I've been married in seventeen hundred years?" Jason asks no one in particular, "Three." he answers, "You mortals with your divorces and your throwing away of vows as if they were soiled rags, the respect you don't seem able to even show to yourself… It is beyond comprehension. I manage one marriage every six centuries more or less, and there are people here who've not been alive forty single years and have more spouses then…" he takes a long deep breath and sighs, "Sure Paul, you're right. What's the loss of a wife when weighed against the plots of a demon. After all, one of those I only have to deal with every day of my seemingly endless existence, the other only comes around every six hundred years or so. I should just get over it, move on. I'm sure to find another woman of her caliber say, around 2615 right?" he reaches up to press a pair of fingertips to his eyes.

"Sorry. That was unfair of me." he's quiet as seconds tick by before he lifts his head again. "Okay, let me see." he turns his back on the cemetery and begins to walk away down the sidewalk, but he's a bit tall and his clip is just this side of 'fleeing for his life' rather then 'leisurely stroll'. "You know that getting to and from Hell is harder then myth makes it sound, but messages pass pretty freely, or they can, the problem is in finding the recipient you want. Hell is enormous, imagine if you wanted to only find one guy name Chin Li. You don't know where on the Earth he is, there's no satellites, no databases, no phones, only word of mouth and literally everyone you run into is a guaranteed liar because they're all demons or the Lost. Your best bet would be to /start/ in China, but then you'd have only about a billion people to go through, and what if he's the son of some family that immigrated to Norway in the Eighties? Well now you have to start scouring Europe…" he glances at the two cops, "You get the idea. Now He isn't just any demon so he's easier to find, but it's still not simple. This means that you need to set up dead drops, guaranteed paths of communication."

"I'd offer to bring her to justice for you, but we both know that's been taken care of," Sara says quietly to Jason's explanation, saying nothing more after that. When he takes off, she follows, though it seems more in support of Paul than of her own volition. Feelings aren't really her forte, so though she may have some on the topic of Gerry, she doesn't want to actually go into them. That might get awkward.

"No, Jason. You shouldn't get over it. But there's lots of wives and husbands and children who are going to die if this isn't stopped. We all need to do our duty and deal with the nightmares later." And Paul's got plenty of those, all of which are coming back with Jason around. It doesn't help that he quite literally screams HELL by just existing. Which might be why he's making sure Sara is between them. He falls silent as Jason starts to explain then asks "And? If he planned all this, nothing says he's done."

Jason Blood sighs at Paul's words, "They're going to die anyway." he points out to Paul, "Everyone you've ever even heard of will die, except me." he continues to walk, "If the demise of some mortals comes today or in sixty years it has very little impact on me anymore. You have to understand how small all this seems." this isn't the way he was talking before, but grief is like that, making someone into someone else. It'd be nice if he wasn't stuck in the 'emo' stage of grief and could find a different one. Acceptance would be nice. "And he's never done Paul. Ever. It took him almost a century before he managed it, but he was responsible for the spread of the Plague. He brought the strain back from the Pit, he let it mature in the Chinese, grow even more dangerous, then he manipulated events so that a fire would force rats from the slave pens and onto merchant ships bound for Europe. It took me nearly twenty years to figure out all the steps involved, all the twists of his mind and how well he planned it. By then one third of a continent was dead in the most horrid ways you can imagine. Trust me, he's never done." Jason rubs a hand over his face and visibly wrenches at himself, trying to force himself to focus, he's hopping from one whiny complaint to another and even he's growing annoyed with himself, not that it's helping him stop mind you… "I don't know what his next step will be, or where it will take anyone. I'm not even completely certain all of this was planned or if it was some good fortune on his part he simply took advantage of, though I find it's never safe to underestimate him." he sighs heavily, "There's nothing saying that he didn't tell one of you something, or things, that will cause you to make great errors and bring about an apocalypse or two in the future. Figuring out his plan is impossible, but maybe we can find a way to-" he stops talking and looks around, "We need Holy Ground." he says, then quickly clarifies, "/not/ the cemetery."

"He does sort of have nothing but time," Sara agrees at the discussion of Etrigan's schemes. "And if he said something to make me terrible, I'm going to have a hell of a time sifting it out from everything else," she snorts softly. "He was not a fan of shutting up. What do we need holy ground for?" she asks, looking up with an arch of her brow and checking behind them.

"I don't think he said anything to me that would be helpful." Paul says after thinking a moment. "He was mostly gloating about how much smarter he was than everyone else and going on about what he'd do once everything worked the way he planned it. We all know how that turned out." At Jason's warning, he starts looking around. "Incoming? Do we have time to get to the car and drive somewhere? The cemetery's the only thing close."

Jason Blood shakes his head, "No no, just… we need a place we can't be over heard, and the only way, without my wards in my office, that I know to speak without him overhearing is…" he looks down at the deep burns on his palm, "Holy Ground."

"I don't see how that's going to work out for you, Jason," Sara says slowly, turning a brief look on his palm. "Do you need, like, platform boots or something so's not to burn your feet off?"

"Then why don't we just go to your office?" Paul suggests. "If we need to drive somewhere to talk, it might as well be there." He gestures toward the car and makes a shooing motion.

Jason Blood's lips tighten into a line, "My office is a bit of a mess right now." he admits, but he's clearly not excited about standing on holy ground either. Cause owie.

"We've both seen your other half, Jason," Sara points out, dry. "Is the bit of a mess worse than your other half? Besides, I owe Dick a visit. And some sort of explanation. I sort of ended up crashing at his place after I stumbled out of your shop."

"Your office it is." Paul decides. "We've also both seen worse places than your office, no matter how messy it is." Hell included. "The potential end of the world pretty much trumps any degree of messiness."

Jason Blood sighs, "The world will not end detective, only humanity." Jason points out, "The world will spin on unaffected." then he considers, "Your psyches however…" he shrugs, "As you wish." he climbs into the car and leans back in something approximating comfort.

Sara doesn't actually own a car. Which is the only possible reason she wouldn't be driving on this trip. That, and this is Paul's show, the idea that there's anything to be done about Etrigan's hell-side plotting.

"Actually, humanity's not going to end either." Paul points out. "It'll just be sent somewhere else, be it Hell, Heaven or whatever other dimension that science hasn't figured out yet exists." Once everyone's in, he drives them to Jason's shop. "Argue semantics if you want, but so long as someone is conscious and self aware, dead or alive doesn't seem like a big difference. It's just a question of where."

Jason Blood doesn't smile at Paul's words as they drive, but he does seem to sink into the seat a bit, "Philosophy was never one of my strong suites." he says almost tiredly, "I was born in the age philosophy went to die."

"None of it's going to end, because we're all going to stop it," Sara says simply. "The world has been about to end ever since it started. But every time, we manage."

Paul doesn't answer, not being one of those people who needs to fill silence. He concentrates on his driving since Gotham drivers are as bad as they are everything else. And crazy. But eventually they get to Jason's shop and he parks in front. "All right, let's get to it." he says once they get inside.

Jason Blood leads the way, and this time… they go deep, or deeper anyway. Once through the Gates of Hell wall tapestry, they pass through a room that is completely dark though despite that they can see Jason clearly enough. No one is stupid enough to deviate from where he walks, and they end up in a room now familiar to Sara, as she spent a little over a day letting Etrigan turn her inner doubts, fears, and demons into full blown borderline psychoses just by chatting with her. And since Sara was here last, Jason has… redecorated. With a flail. Shelves are broken, instruments shattered, shards of glass, steel, and stone lay all about, as if a great many things were struck with forces beyond mortal ken. Benches are ground to gravel, the flat stone walls have suffered blows that left cannon ball impact craters, and the only thing that remains intact is the ridiculously complex summoning ring in the middle of the room, the one Sara herself guarded for a day. Everything else is more then destroyed, it's obliterated. Jason sighs when he sees it. "Welcome home." he says hollowly.

Sara takes a long look around at the destruction, nodding slightly to herself. "Well. At least I feel a little better about ending up out on the street," she drawls, turning in a slow circle. "Seems like maybe it was a better place to be than here."

Paul looks around and nods once at Jason's welcome. "If you're good with a screwdriver, IKEA has decent stuff for the price. So, we can talk here safely?"

Jason Blood shakes his head, "Not yet." he says as he walks over to the circle. He pulls a shard of glass from the floor and cuts his palm open, speaks a few words and flicks blood from his fingertips to different runes on the ground. It was the burnt hand he cut, so it bleeds with remarkable speeds. There's a sudden dull red glow and a sense of pressure in the air, like the cabin of a plane. "Now we can talk." he clarifies before considering, "Where was I?"

"Something about twenty years to figure out what Etrigan was doing with the plague?" Sara supplies, looking back to Paul to see if he remembers the exact point of departure. And why they needed privacy.

"You weren't certain if he wasn't just taking advantage of some things already happening." Paul answers. Picking a spot, he leans back against a wall.

Jason Blood nods his head, "Ah. Yes." Jason eyes them, "Eavesdropping." he says, "We can … tap his phone lines. So to speak." he reaches up to rub his face, "But that's very hard and exhausting."

"And I'm sure he has the best conversations," Sara grimaces at that suggestion. She's really had enough of Etrigan's ideas of conversation. In fact, as the others speak, she starts to rummage around in search of a broom or something to start cleaning the place up.

"I'll make the Starbucks run." Paul states. "We'll do whatever it takes." Which is to say Jason will do whatever it takes. But they'll help. "Because we're the good guys and that's what we do even though the the ones we do it for almost never say thank you and sometimes don't even realize anything happened in the first place. So what do we need to do?"

Jason Blood eyes Paul closely as he speaks but doesn't answer, surely by now everyone realizes Jason's not one of the good guys. He's one of the desperate ones, and the difference there is… pretty vast. "This could take weeks, months," Jason says, eying the pair of them, "And I can't hold this sort of enchantment for long periods of time. I simply lack the juice. When was the last time you guys set up a phone tap and found what you needed in the first day?" he points out. "I thought you understood how this works. We can listen in, but we've no idea /when/ to listen adn there are no automated recorders to do that listening for us."

Jason Blood looks around the room and sighs, "Go, both of you." he says after a moment. "I'll… start working on this, but I can't make any promises. This is just a shot in the dark, and it will drain me. I drain to much…" he makes an indistinct motion that despite it's vagueness clearly says 'DEMON!!' and he winces.

Sara raises her hands. "I was ready to let you get on with your life," she admits, shaking her head. "Paul's the one who's got this going." She pauses. "On the other hand, Paul's the one he killed, so that seems fair."

Paul just stares back at Jason. He's a good guy because that's the way it's going to be. "Let us know how we can help." Without looking at Sara, he says "He and Constantine should meet, don't you think? Compare notes, do whatever it is wizards do when they get together. Compare the size of their wands?" And no, Jason killed Paul. Etrigan was just the tool he used. It was Jason's decision to unleash the demon so the responsibility is his. Which explains the less than wholly sympathetic attitude. Once Etrigan's plan is stopped, Jason will have atoned sufficiently. Maybe.

Jason Blood's brows knit, "John Constantine?" Jason asks, and there is acid in his tone, "That would not be wise." two dark Englishmen who reek of Hell and demonic interventions? Yeah. They've met. Jason makes a shooing motion, "Go. Before I insist." guilt trips don't work so well on him, after all, Paul came back from the dead with super powers. Most of the people Jason's been responsible for killing haven't been so lucky… plus he's kinda jaded.

"I like these people better when they don't talk to each other," Sara murmurs to Paul's suggestion. "Word gets around in the occult community. Just wait until you meet a few people who you just walk up to and it's oh, yeah, the bearer. Which pretty much never ends well. You'll stop wanting to see them get together to compare notes." She steps back, then pauses by the door. "Thank you, Jason," she says more quietly. Other things go unsaid, but they're beneath the words. Sorry for your loss. If there's anything you need.

Paul nods once after a moment then starts retracing his steps. "Let us know if you need anything." he repeats. "We'll be in touch." After a couple steps though, he pauses and looks back. "Have another one of those stones to get in contact with you? The last got a bit singed."

Jason Blood looks around the room, then shakes his head, "No. But I will make another one and make sure detective Pezzini gets it." he says, after his gaze lands on Paul. Paul being this close makes him uncomfortable, the Key hanging around his neck is equal parts temptation and terror and he can feel it poking at the curse that binds him. Makes him itchy.

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