Title: John Constantine: Demon hunter, Bad Ass, Idiot
Author: Silverkitsune1 (this may be changing very soon)
Rating: R for language
Disclaimer: Neither Constantine nor Hellblazer belong to me. They are the property of Warner Brothers, and DC/Vertigo respectively.
Thank you to all the lovely people whoreviewed and enjoyedpart one. Extra thanks to my beta reader for taking the time out of her busy life to read this over for me.
Part: 2 of 2
Chas Kramer is not a bad ass. John knows this. It's not like it's a surprise. It's something you pick up when you first meet him. It's like saying Chas has brown hair or Chas is way too pale. It's a physical thing you notice right away. Like as your palm is lightly smacking the face of the kid who just five minutes ago had a demon trying to crawl it's way onto good old terra firma via his gangly teenage body you're thinking, "Oh yeah, weak as a kitten. Better watch it." And the deeper you sink into the world John lives in, the more you can truly understand how undeniably dangerous it is to be without the bad ass title attached to the end of your name.
I blinked. Twice, and it was two times too many. It shouldn't have happened, but in two minutes it won't matter. This asshole is going home. Latin didn't work, but that just means I'll have to dip into the Sanskrit. It never fails to annoy me when the Latin doesn't work. That's two surprises in one night. Oh yeah, officially pissed off.
The problem is that no one is born a bad ass. Anyone who tells you they were is lying. A person becomes a bad ass (it's a very simple process). A long time ago, something inside a person got broken, and since (for reasons being a bad ass saves you from having to discuss) the broken part never really heals correctly, you're forced to walk around doing anything and everything to forget about the pain. It's like trying to ignore two shards of a broken bone grating against one another in your chest. Tends to make people ornery (though in all honesty John was an ornery, self-centered, bastard in his pre-bad ass days anyway).
It's not a demon. The thing killing my "oh, so appreciated apprentice" is a greasy, drugged up, human. Mother. Fucker.
Bas asses do not have emotional attachments of any kind. Not unless there is the possibility of a good fuck coming out of it somewhere down the line. To do that would break the bad ass code (which no one will ever write down, because to write it down would take away from being a bad ass). They can, however, occasionally grow attached to things. Things that are usually smaller, weaker and more often than not of the female sex. Then said bad ass will feverishly deny said attachment, until something occurs that makes them go just a tiny bit ballistic and show that the attachment is actually there. Even if the bad ass in question would rather let a dog play with his balls than admit it.
It would be lying to say that I didn't enjoy smashing the back of this asshole's head in. I hadn't actually planned on using the iron cross Midnight sold to me. Thing must weigh four pounds, and I was going to melt the fucker down. Make bullets, maybe icons. Nice to see it has multiple uses.
All of this is not a problem for John. John is not attached to Chas. He is attached to his cigarettes. He is attached to the bottle of whisky underneath the sink. He would miss these things if they were gone. He is not attached to Chas. He is accustomed to Chas. He is accustomed to the kid sleeping on his couch. He is accustomed to reaching for a book only to find that Chas is already nose deep in it. He is accustomed to the never-ending string of questions (half of which he answers half of which he ignores). He is accustomed to that ridiculous cap and accustomed to the cab that still smells like cloves, angel blood and fried chicken (long story).John doesn't consider killing the man who was strangling Chas ballistic. He considers that practical.
Kid's face is blotchy. The lax of oxygen caused some of the blood vessels in his face to burst. It happens. He'll be fine. He's breathing, and all that blood will wash right off him.
When Chas wakes up, it's with a whimper and a cough (neither of which go straight to John's gut thank you very much). There's a fuzzy look in his eyes as he stares at John sitting cross-legged a few feet away, and John salutes him with a lit cigarette before smashing what little remains of it into the floorboards. Standing up, he offers Chas a hand.
Yeah Kid, that's it, deep breaths, you're fine. Show me you've got some guts by not having a panic attack.
The body is still in the corner, bleeding across the pock marked wood floor, but he'll be damned (ha fucking ha) if he's going to carry it down the stairs himself. Chas stands on shaky legs, gingerly running his fingers over the bruises around his neck. Wincing because of the freshly split lip. Chas can't see them, but the bruises are shaped like two handprints, and the sight of them make John's own hands twitch with the need to pour a drink or light another cigarette or kill something. He ignores the feelings(body, corner, priorities), and with a sigh slides his hand under the freshly dead man's armpits and lifts.
For Christ sake, aren't people suffering from addictions supposed to be suffering from malnutrition? This fucker weighs 300 pounds. Fucking……Oh, no….don't you dare pass out kid. We are half way down the fucking stairs here and I'm below you. You are not allowed to look that white.
They drag the body into an alley across from the bowling alley. Even if anyone finds it (and yeah, they probably will) John doubts there will be any problems. He briefly considers cutting the guys liver out, (you'd be surprised just how much the black market will pay for any part of the human body) but instead lights another cigarette, and kicks the man in the side with enough force that he feels a few of the ribs break. His left foot will be sore tomorrow. When John emerges from the dark, Chas is still pale as milk and his teeth are chattering in the 95-degree L.A. heat.
He throws up as we cross the street. Misses my shoes, but his will need to be hosed off.
There are a dozen questions John should ask. A thousand things he should say. But he's John Constantine, and not all that great at verbal comfort. Instead, he shepherds Chas back to his apartment and gets him drunk on the whiskey underneath the sink. They drink until Chas is practically passed out on the table and John's smoked through his current and emergency pack of smokes. John puts him to bed. (Not his bed thank you very much. You choose couch, you live with couch), then walks 16 blocks to talk with a hispanic college student who's paying for her tuition through the sale of certain rare goods. John trades two jugs of holy water, three cats eyes and an ACDC CD for a new spell to scratch over his door. As she hands him a folded piece of notebook paper, she gives him a kind of smile that John has been familiar with since he first hit a growth spurt and learned to look dark and brooding. She's cute enough to make John consider the invite (it's been a very long time since John got laid), but in the end he takes the spell and leaves.
It's way too God damn late for this.
The spell is old and fickle. He can feel bits of power tumbling off the bit of paper as he trudges home. It sends jolts of power into his heart, his skull, his lungs, his groin (exactly how long had it been since he'd gotten laid again?). It takes concentration and all around hardheadedness to get the sucker to stick to the frame of his door (the wood is wrong and it doesn't want to merge with the unfamiliar), but most anything tends to listen to John after they've been properly persuaded. The morning passes, and John sleeps. When he wakes up again, it's noon and warm as hell (and he should know) in his apartment. He wanders around closing shades, blocking out the God given light that's trying to set him on fire when he sees Chas, staring at the new etchings above the door. Squinting against the light in order to read a dead language that maybe four other people in the entire world have even discussed in the past fifty years.
Go ahead kid. Impress me.
"John, this spell causes people to suffocate to death if they cross the threshold without an invitation."
John Constantine is a bad ass. He knows this. He's had far too much shit happen in his life to be anything but. It's not a mask he can take on and off, it's not an act that he performs every time he's asked to yank a misbehaving half breed out of some 35-year- old banker in red high-heels, and it's definitely not an occupation he got into for the money. He knows right down to the marrow in his bones that he, John Constantine, is a top of the line, world shaking, cigarette smoking bad ass. Clint Eastwood eat your heart out. It's what you've got to be to survive in his line of work, and what Chas is going to have to become (specifically, it's what John is going to have to turn him into) if he wants to keep the kid alive (and he does in a very kind of, sort of, round about, unconventional, non-caring, non-attachment sort of way). But every time he thinks he's ready to do it, every time he's ready to push the kid off the first fucking cliff he can find, he pulls back. It's not that John hasn't broken people before (there have to be enough to form a club by now), but anyone intentionally broken by John Constantine, would turn out to be one hell of a bad ass. He's not sure if he's ready to deal with that kind of competition (or that kind of guilt) just yet.