"I don't think I can do this, John."
John chuckled, watching as Karl finished up with the wig and set the veil on Chas's head. "Don't worry, kid, this is an easy one. Like I said, the guests all know it's a sham."
"But there's a demon who was hired to kill us sitting in that church."
"Your dress has been blessed by a priest, not to mention worn by quite a few saintly women. He won't be able to get within five feet of you. And if he does…that's why the dress has a bulletproof inset."
Chas pouted. "I don't wanna get married. Especially not to you. That's just creepy," he said, although the funny feeling in his stomach was hinting otherwise.
John took a long drag off his cigarette. "It's fake. You know that."
"But still, it's a wedding, John. A wedding."
"You just now noticed?"
Chas snorted. "I can't believe you talked me into this…"
"You said you wanted to help, and the real bride didn't really want to do this mock marriage to catch a demon. You brought this on yourself."
"There. He's done," Karlos said, stepping back. Chas looked absolutely stunning, and absolutely female, in a simple lacey wedding dress. The dress was about three hundred years old and took about three hours of bartering a price to borrow it from Midnite's stash, but it was perfect.
John looked at his watch, and then put out his cigarette. "About that time…"
Chas wrinkled his nose. "You smoked that right before I have to kiss you? As if this wasn't bad enough already…"
"If this goes the way I think it will, kid, the wedding won't even get that far."
John left the room, and Karlos was positively beaming.
"My best work. You're simply fabulous. May I take a picture?"
Chas never thought he'd be walking down the aisle.
One, because he's male. It's the girl's job to walk down the aisle. Two, he never saw himself 'settling down', so to speak. That sounded like a nightmare to him, being ties down, a 9 to 5 job…not for him. Not ever.
But here he was, trying to remember how Karlos told him to walk with the music as he stepped down the aisle. There were 'oos' and 'ahs' as 'Laura McDaniels' made her way down the aisle- all faked. Everyone but the demon knew this was a set-up, and that the bride was a stand-in.
Of course, none knew that the bride was also male. Not even the priest.
Finding a woman willing to marry John Constantine on this short notice? Impossible. Maybe even with all the notice in the world, impossible.
Maybe just flat out impossible.
Chas took a deep, shaky breath and looked up at John. He was standing by the altar, his hands shoved into his pockets, and Chas could just imagine his thoughts at the moment: Why does this music have to be so damn slow? Can't the kid walk faster? I wish this demon would do his thing so I can get outta here and have a smoke…
Chas almost laughed, and John quirked an eyebrow at him as he reached the altar. Chas gave him a grin, even though his view was slightly obscured by the veil.
"What's so funny?" John whispered, and Chas shrugged.
The next part of the ceremony was like watching paint dry- the Liturgy of the Word. The priest read passages from the Bible and talked endlessly about the sanctity of marriage, leaving Chas to his own thoughts.
He met John's gaze, and it was unnerving. John seemed to be lost in thought, staring at Chas, looking almost…peaceful. Thoughtful. Chas shifted uncomfortably, the butterflies in his stomach growing more frantic under John's studious gaze.
"You may now recite the marriage vows," the priest finally said, and one of the groomsmen stepped forward and handed John a ring. Chas's mind raced, and he was glad John was going first- he wasn't sure his frantic thoughts could piece together the vows he'd had to memorize the night before.
"In the name of God, I, James, take you, Laura, to be my wife," John started, taking a firm hold on Chas's hand, as if afraid the boy would try to pull away. His voice, though, was steady. "To have and to hold from this day forward…for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer…in sickness and in health, to love and to cherish…"
John's eyes met Chas's as he slipped the ring on the teenager's finger, and he gave Chas a smirk. "Until we are parted by death. This is my solemn vow."
Chas mouth felt dry, his hands were shaking, and his knees felt weak. What's your problem, Chas? This isn't real. You know it's not real, he thought as he took the ring from one of the bridesmaids.
"In the name of God, I, Ch-er, Laura, take you, J-James, to be my w-uh, husband," Chas stuttered uncertainly, not looking up at John, instead keeping his eyes focused on John's hand as he grabbed it and harshly shoved the ring on, hoping to keep John from noticing that his hands were shaking. He heard a it of quiet, polite laughter from the pews, and he could already feel himself blushing deeply.
"To have and to h-hold from this day forward…for, um…for…" He looked at John helplessly, and John mouthed the next word. "Right. Uh…for better, for worse, for richer, for poorer…in sickness and in health, to…" He choked a bit on the words, then forced past that. "To love and to cherish…"
Chas hesitated again, and John reached up and tilted Chas's chin up, forcing the boy to look at him. Chas took a deep breath, then continued.
"Until we are parted by death. This…this is my solemn vow."
The priest went on with another Bible verse, and Chas expected relief, but none came. He was still just as nervous as before.
"I now pronounce you husband and wife. You may kiss the bride."
Oh, shit, here goes, Chas thought as John lifted the veil from his face. Okay, you can handle this. Just relax. It's not real, it's all a sham, Chas, just remember that, and then…
The next thing he knew, John's lips were pressed against his, and he let out a little squeak of surprise as John's hands cupped his face. He hesitated a moment before leaning into it, just to make it look real.
That's the only reason you're letting him stick his tongue in your mouth. To make it look real. Of course.
A loud 'bang' broke through the fog that was Chas's mind at the feeling of John exploring his mouth, and a split moment later something slammed into his back hard. He fell against John as pain shot through his back, and a few seconds later it was utter chaos.
He shot me. That bastard demon shot me, Chas thought frantically, still in too much pain to move. Sure, his dress was bulletproof, but that didn't change the fact that the bullet hit him going what seemed like 500 miles an hour.
John handed him off to a couple of groomsmen who hadn't fled, and John took off after said demon, who'd taken off in the assumption he'd taken out the bride.
"You okay, ma'am?" One of the groomsmen asked, and Chas nodded numbly.
I just kissed John.
I just got shot.
If my psychology teacher heard that, he'd start off on the whole Pavlov conditioning thing.
"Not bad, kid."
Chas looked up from the cold macaroni on the table to see John walking in the door. After the shooting, John had tons of things to deal with, and Chas was too bruised up and tired to argue when he was told to go home.
He gotten in a shower, a nap, and half of dinner before John came back from cleaning everything up. Of course, he hadn't had much of an appetite, with his mind restless.
"Yeah, well, I didn't do much," Chas said with a shrug, poking at his food. John dropped his jacket on the back of the chair, giving Chas a look.
"What's wrong with-"
"Nothing. I'm fine."
Chas snorted, but didn't say any more. John pulled a bottle of whiskey out of the cabinet, and an awkward silence settled in.
"Alright, kid, hand over the ring. I have to give it back in the morning," John said, holding out his hand. Chas looked down; he hadn't realized he was still wearing it.
On that note…John was still wearing his.
Chas shook that strange coincidence off, tugging the ring off his finger and dropping it into John's hand. John took his off and put them both on the counter, ready to be returned.
Chas stared at the rings for a few moments before returning his gaze to the macaroni. John sat down, pouring himself a glass of whiskey.
"So…" Chas started, and John took a swig of his whiskey.
"Spit it out, Chas."
"Well…about that kiss…"
"What about it?"
"You didn't tell me you were gonna shove your tongue down my throat."
"It looked real enough, didn't it? He fell for it, after all."
Chas sighed. "I know…but…"
John took another drink of his whiskey, and Chas swallowed hard.
"John, I was…I was kinda hoping we could do it again."
John looked up, and Chas's face flushed as he continued. "It was kinda nice, John, and I just figured-"
Chas didn't get a chance to finish the sentence, because John's lips were once again on his, and his hands were grasping Chas's shirt tightly. Chas leaned into it, keeping the lip-lock even in the uncomfortable over-the-table embrace.
Maybe I should dress in drag more often.