Title: Shaken (Part Seven)

Author: fatedtoflames (DJ)

Pairing: John Constantine/Chas

Rating: PG-13 for swearing and some violence

Spoilers Movie: No, takes place before the movie

Summary: Supernatural crises are no problem for John Constantine. But when Mother Nature throws her gauntlet down on John's life, will he and Chas be able to handle the consequences?

X-Posted to three Constantine communities(total) and my private LJ.

Reviews greatly appreciated!

The dumb mutt seemed to follow John no matter what. There were dozens of distractions and complications on the way, but nothing deterred the dog from following him wherever he went. And that's when he started to get suspicious.

Sure, he'd never heard of a possessed dog, but Hell always started shit with him anyway.

"What's your deal, huh?" He asked the dog, squatting down in front of it and gripping it by the ears. The dog just stared at him and panted happily. John flicked it on the nose, and then pulled out a small cross from his jacket and tapped the dog on the head with it.

No reaction. Simply more of that oblivious, sparkling stare.

"Okay, so let's try something else here…"

John pulled out his keychain of talismans. One by one, he lifted each one to the light.

Nothing. In fact, the dog started licking them.

John groaned in frustration and stood up, starting to walk again. So the dog most certainly wasn't a demon, that was for sure. You've never had a dog. Maybe this is what they act like all the time, John thought, glancing back at the happily trotting pup.

The warehouse had a little damage, but other than that it seemed untouched. Broken windows and a few missing roof panels were the only evidence that a disaster had occurred.

"Looks pretty quiet," John mumbled to the dog, who'd stopped beside him. John spent a few moments chewing himself out for repeatedly talking to a dog, and then moved forward again. "Let's get a look inside here…"

He walked to a back door and barely cracked it open, cringing as a stream of light broke through the darkness inside. He couldn't see anyone inside; only stacks of boxes, tons of dust, and a small forklift.

His eyes traveled down to the floor, where he inspected the coating of dust on it. Recent footprints were there, imprints in the dust. It looked as if fancy shoes had made one set of the imprints. The other set looked like common sneaker prints, something a teenager might wear, and the prints were smeared and smudged. Whoever made those prints had been struggling, dragged here forcibly.

Only one person John knew of would be wearing dress shoes after an earthquake and toting a struggling teen.

He sneered, and then slipped inside, almost closing the door on the dog, who insistently followed him inside. He followed the tracks through the huge building to a clearing in the center, where the tracks met another pair of tracks coming from a different door- tracks that looked like work boots. Construction boots.

John looked around the jumbled mess of footprints, finding drops of blood interspersed among the prints, until he finally figured out what transpired.

The fancy shoes went off toward the front door alone. Balthazar left without Chas.

The person wearing the work boots obviously took Chas, off toward a side door, but Chas had definitely been struggling. Drops of blood were on the floor, and bloody handprints were evident on a few of the boxes, as if Chas had grabbed them in an attempt to pull away. John smirked as he thought of the fight his apprentice would have put up despite the possession, especially if the demon hadn't been in control at the time.

The dog whimpered, and John looked up to where the dog was standing by the door. He headed over there, and almost laughed when he saw what was by the door- a wallet.

He picked it up, and found that it was smeared with blood- blood that he didn't doubt was from Chas. The kid was smart, smarter than he'd previously acknowledged. In the struggle he'd palmed and dropped the wallet, knowing that somehow John would find him.

Inside the wallet was a veritable jackpot. Credit cards, a few hundred dollars in fifties, and a driver's license, all branded with the name 'Gordon Whittaker'. John looked at the picture, and quickly realized that he'd seen this man before- at Midnite's club. A tall, skinny man, with quickly thinning blonde hair and blue eyes. You'd never expect him to be a demon by looking at him.

He also was a well known architect with a couple dozen building projects going in LA right now. His name was plastered all over the construction sites, so it was hard to miss where his buildings were going up.

If the demons needed a place to run an operation, one of Whittaker's buildings would be the perfect place to do it- especially if they were still being built, still under Whittaker's supervision.

Okay, think John, think. Most of the projects are skyscrapers. They wouldn't fare well in the earthquake, so that possibility is out. A lot of the other projects are too unfinished, just frames, open to the elements.

That left three in downtown LA- a two story accounting firm that would be finished in a month or so, a new hotel that would open its doors in a few weeks, and…

UCLA. He was in charge of construction of the new school of architecture building, which was supposed to open today.

The same day that the demons pulled this earthquake stunt.

Doubt that's a coincidence, John thought, heading for the door. He had to get to UCLA, despite the fact that the place would be a nuthouse after something like this. Half the student body was from out of state, many had never been in an earthquake, so the place was well known as a place to avoid in a crisis situation. Too many crazy people.

The click of nails on the pavement as John left the warehouse reminded him of his companion, and he smirked and shook his head as the dog once again caught up with him.

There was a lot of blood in that warehouse, Constantine. Pick up the pace, John thought, speeding up his strides. Then, a familiar voice cut through his thoughts and made him stop in his tracks.

"I would suggest you let Heaven handle this one, John," Gabriel said, and John spun around. In an instant he'd grabbed the angel by the tie and slammed him up against the wall.

"I really don't have time for you, bastard, especially since you're the reason he's gone," he hissed, but the half breed seemed undeterred by his harsh tone.

"For once, Constantine…you're going to get in over your head, and your fancy toys won't be able to pull you out," he said quietly, putting his hand over John's to keep him from choking him. John growled and shoved him against the wall before letting go.

"Doesn't matter. I'm going after them," he said, starting to walk again. Gabriel took up pace beside him.

"I would stress that this situation is far beyond what you can handle, being mortal…"

"Fuck off."

"I can't let you take your own life this way."

"So try and stop me," John said, knowing full well that Gabriel, even with unlimited power, had to respect the balance. He couldn't do a damn thing.

Gabriel stopped, and John continued walking. "You're making a mistake, John. One child isn't worth you going to Hell for all eternity, not to you. I know you…you can't make this decision."

John stopped and almost laughed, and then he looked over his shoulder.

"I've already made it."

John started walking again, the dog following closely.

Too bad I may have made the decision too late.