Author's Note: This is a fun little one-shot set just after the movie. It has nothing to do with the other series of Constantine fics I'm writing, so please don't try to connect it.
Kudos to Zelda for coming up with my title.
John Constantine was awakened in the dead of night to the sound of the ringing phone. The power had decided to go out about five hours prior, and he'd spent the greater part of the evening lying shirtless on top of the covers, trying not to suffocate in the stifling heat. He'd just managed to fall asleep, so now of course there had to be an interruption. He groaned and sat up, wondering if it was possible to suffer heat exhaustion in one's sleep.
He got to his feet and stumbled over to the wall, fumbling for the phone in the dark.
"This'd better be fucking important," he mumbled into the receiver, voice hoarse with sleep.
Her voice sounded choked, and even in that one word he thought he could detect panic. Every trace of annoyance vanished as he was instantly wide awake.
"Angela? What's wrong?"
"I…he…just…can you come here for a little?"
She was crying, he realized, and the thought scared him. He'd been so focused on himself lately, on cleaning up the apartment, trying to keep himself busy with something, anything to take his mind off the nicotine cravings. He'd told himself it was for her, that if he was to have any sort of relationship with her he needed to make himself fit—but really it was to distract himself from the reality of how very much he wanted just that.
"Where are you?"
Should've been more supportive, he chided himself. He'd left her alone to cope with the horrors of her newfound Sight, hadn't even been there to teach her to shield herself. Stupid, stupid, stupid. And typical. John Constantine, bastard who repeatedly screws over his friends. No wonder I don't have any left.
"My apartment. Just…hurry."
"I'll be right there."
He pulled on an undershirt and sweatpants and dashed out of the apartment, grabbing the Trinity amulet off the table as he did so. He'd actually been negligent enough to let her give it back to him, to let her leave herself unprotected. She'd sworn she'd be all right without it, that he should keep it, but of course that wasn't true at all.
Constantine ran down the stairs, not even present enough to notice that he was now able to breathe clearly for the first time in years. He was surprised to find Chas waiting on the curb, hat tipped, cab running. He didn't hesitate, just jumped in and slammed the door.
"Take me to—"
"I know," said Chas, starting the car.
"You know? What do you mean you know? How the hell could you?"
Chas grinned at his own reflection in the rearview mirror.
"Divine knowledge. Wonderful perk, that."
"Just drive. Fast."
"I know, John, I know."
Constantine sighed and slumped back against the seat, sticking a thumbnail in his mouth and chewing, wishing to god he had a cigarette or at the very least some gum. The ride to Angela's apartment wasn't long, but tonight it seemed interminable.
"She okay?" he blurted as Chas pulled up in front of the building.
"Physically," said Chas.
"What the hell happened?"
"Ask her yourself."
"I'm warning you, Chas—"
"Hey, don't abuse me, John! Count yourself lucky. It's not every guy who gets his own personal angel."
Constantine almost smiled at that. Almost. He got out of the car and sprinted up the steps, pounding on her door without even pausing to breathe.
"Angela! It's me. Open up."
The door swung open a moment later, revealing her tear-stained face in the dimly lit apartment. She was in a pair of faded jeans and a gray t-shirt which was ripped from the shoulder down, revealing a nasty looking scrape down her shoulder and chest.
"Jesus," he muttered. "Can I come in?"'
She nodded, stepped aside, still not entirely focusing on him. Constantine closed the door and double locked it behind them, then turned back to her.
"Angela, talk to me. What happened?"
She shook her head, pinched the bridge of her nose, swiped at her eyes.
He sighed, took her by the shoulders and led her over to the couch.
"Sit. I'll be right back."
He went into her kitchen and found the drawer with dishtowels, then wet the edge of one in the sink, making sure it was warm. She was sitting on the couch when he got back with her knees drawn up to her chest. He sat beside her and gently took hold of her ripped shirt.
"Can I take this off?"
She flinched visibly at the sound of his words, but nodded and sat up to allow him access. He lifted the torn fabric over her head, careful not to make the bleeding worse. Angela gasped as he pressed the warm washcloth against her shoulder, but she didn't stop him. He finished cleaning the cut, took the washcloth back to the kitchen, then pulled one of the blankets down from the back of her sofa and wrapped it around her shoulders.
"Better?" he asked, sitting down again and offering her a glass of water he'd grabbed in the kitchen.
She took it from him and sipped gingerly. It was only then that he noticed the bruises on her face, nearly invisible in the dim light.
"Angela…tell me what happened."
She took a deep, shuddering breath, then set the glass on the table and leaned back against the sofa, covering her face with one hand.
"I…I came up here…after work. It was dark…I don't usually leave lights on. One…one of them was waiting for me when I got here."
"He said…that I'd pay. For what happened. He tried to…I fought him. Grabbed a knife from the kitchen. And then…something…I don't know why, I just—it was like…I was seeing myself through his eyes, and I—"
She broke off, shuddering.
"You tried to kill yourself." Constantine moved closer and put his arms around her, understanding. She nodded, buried her face against his shoulder, wrapped her arms around his waist. "That's demon influence. He was playing with you."
"Playing—" Her voice was incredulous; it was too cruel to believe. "Jesus."
He pulled away for a moment, remembering suddenly, then clasped the amulet around her neck.
"That should help. I'm sorry, Angela."
"I…I shouldn't have just left you on your own like this. There are things you need to know. Need to be taught."
She nodded again slowly, leaned back against him. It felt nice, he thought, though these most definitely would not be his choice circumstances. Still, it was the first human contact he'd had in years outside of a fist to the face, and he hadn't realized how much he'd wanted it until now.
"Is it safe to be here?" she asked suddenly. "The door was locked and he still got in. Is it safe to sleep?"
"If I stay with you," said Constantine, deciding that he liked the sound of that.
She narrowed her eyes at him.
"Always a catch." Then she smiled, just a little. "You know, I'd have no way to know if you were just making that up."
Constantine put on a mock-hurt face.
"I would never do that!" A pause, then, "Would you care?"
"That you were lying to me? Yes. That you wanted to stay? I'd be glad."
He looked away, not sure what to make of this. It made him uncomfortable, but it was a damn better feeling than rejection.
"Feeling better?" he asked at last, breaking the awkward silence.
"A little. Yeah. I just…god, I hate feeling so helpless."
He leaned over and kissed her temple, then forced himself to stand up.
"You need to lie down. He won't be back tonight, you can be sure of that."
Angela nodded, then stood up.
"I should probably put a shirt on, shouldn't I," she muttered, suddenly noticing the blanket.
Constantine smirked at her.
"Doesn't bother me."
She rolled her eyes at him, then went into the bedroom to change. Constantine took her glass to the kitchen, figuring he'd be nice, then followed her once he was sure he wouldn't be barging in. She stood looking out the window as though waiting for something to appear.
"Lie down," he said softly, coming up behind her. She jumped a little, then went over to the bed and obeyed. He sat on the edge of the bed beside her and turned out the light. There was still enough glow coming in from the street that he could see her face, see the question in her eyes.
I know, he thought silently. I want to too. But I can't. I just can't get that far into this yet. I'm not ready. I'll just end up hurting both of us.
He leaned over and rubbed her back with one hand, feeling awkward.
"John…" She rolled over to face him.
"I…I'm not ever going to feel strong again, am I. Not…like before."
Constantine sighed, gripped her shoulder. He felt a pang of guilt at the knowledge that he was partly responsible for having made her feel this way, but he also knew that she wouldn't have taken no for an answer. She would learn to cope, in time.
"Go to sleep," was his only reply.
"Sleep," he cut her off, like before. He couldn't stand to hear it. Not that. Not yet. "Go to sleep. I'm not going anywhere."
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