No one in their right mind called John Constantine at two in the morning.
Regardless, John's phone was ringing. He groaned, growled at it, and then rolled over and pulled a pillow over his head.
It kept ringing.
Whoever it was, they had a death wish.
He rolled out of bed, his stiff joints protesting loudly at the movement and the floor ice cold under his feet. He shuffled into the kitchen, taking a swig from the glass of warm whiskey on the counter.
He finally grabbed at the phone on the wall, pressed it to his ear and grumbled, "What the hell do you want?"
"Constantine, come down here and get your apprentice the hell out of my bar."
John was wide awake in an instant at the sound of Midnite's extremely pissed off voice. "What's Chas doing there?" he asked, a feeling of dread filling him.
"Just get here or I'll leave him to the patrons he disrupted," Midnite muttered, and then there was a click as the witch doctor hung up on him.
John cursed and threw the phone across the room, sneering as it hit the wall with a sharp 'crack'. He got dressed with violent movements, pondering all the strange and morbid ways he was going to injure that boy when he got his hands on him. And how many paychecks he was going to refuse to give him.
He took a cab down to Midnite's, and the bouncer stepped aside and the crowds parted like the Red Sea for John to pass through. A very agitated crowd, at that- no one there looked very happy, and John was pretty certain Chas was the reason for that.
He went straight back to the office and shoved the door open, met with the sight of his gagged apprentice sitting on a barstool in the corner, two very large demons standing very close by.
"What the fuck did he do?" John asked Midnite, who stood and walked over to him.
"He followed me from downtown," Midnite said calmly, taking his cigar out of his mouth. "Accused me of being a demon. Then he proceeded to somehow get into the club, stand up on a barstool, and try to convince all my customers that I was plotting to kill them."
John was seeing red by the time Midnite finished. He growled, narrowing his eyes as he pushed past the two demons and yanked Chas off the barstool.
"He won't bother you again, I guarantee you that much," he said menacingly, dragging Chas out the door and through the club, ignoring the fact that the teenager was still gagged and his hands were tied behind his back.
He heard the boy trying to talk as he pulled him up the stairs, but he wouldn't have any of that. He shoved Chas into the back of the first cab, seething with rage, and there he promptly blew up.
"What the hell were you thinking? Do you know what Midnite does to people who cause trouble in his bar?" he yelled, and Chas scooted back against the opposite door in fear. John didn't stop at that.
"You're my apprentice, Chas, and when you pull stunts like that, guess who looks bad? Me. You make me look like an idiot, like I haven't taught you a damn thing."
Chas frowned and attempted to talk again, to no avail. He looked so pitiful, so desperate that John couldn't muster the energy to scream at him any more. He finally reached forward and yanked the gag off him, and immediately regretted it.
"But I heard him John, he was talkin' to Balthazar about blockin' off the exits and burnin' the place up, and he said somethin' about taking a trip to Hell to solidify a possession, a-and-"
"Chas. Chas. Chas," John said, covering Chas's mouth with his hand and barely restraining the urge to scream at the teenager some more to get the point across that he was not happy. "Midnite…cannot…be…possessed. Lucifer himself would get a run for his money possessing a man like that. Stop spouting this shit and just forget about tonight," he said slowly, moving his hand away.
"No. No more of this. You've done enough damage already, you little brat," John snapped, not even allowing Chas to say a single word further. "Keep your mouth shut and lay low for a couple days. Let all this blow over while you still have your dick attached as opposed to ripped off by an angry witch doctor."
Chas's face fell, and he finally stopped trying to explain himself. John looked away as Chas dropped his gaze to his feet, and after a few moments, he figured that the boy wasn't going to cause any more trouble. He reached over and untied his hands.
"What were you thinking, Chas?"
Chas sighed. "I know what I saw, John, I just…"
"You didn't see anything, Chas. It's that damn imagination of yours, getting you in trouble again," John said firmly, sitting back with a sigh. "I can't believe you pulled this stunt."
Chas stared at John for a few moments, and then bit his lip and turned his gaze out the window.
"I wish you believed me."
John only snorted.