For the next few days, Chas seemed out of it. Distracted. John even caught him muttering to himself a few times, and not in the 'Kramer, Chas Kramer, asshole' fashion that he usually did.
But he assumed Chas would get over it. Every teenager had an episode like this sometime; it was all a part of growing up.
Evidently, Chas wasn't over this phase yet.
Only four days after the incident with Midnite, John was interrupted in his nightly routine of drinking whiskey till he passed out by Chas bursting in with a book in hand.
"I found it, John! I can prove it!"
John groaned, slamming his glass down. "Jesus Christ, Chas, get the fuck out of here with that shit."
"But I really can prove it this time! See, if Midnite had cast this spell, then the medallion wouldn't have-"
All the time Chas was rambling, John was standing up. He sneered, and then gave the kid a sharp slap. Chas stumbled and almost fell, the book falling to the floor.
"I'm so fuckin' sick and tired of this, Chas. You're not only ruining what little reputation you might've had, but if you keep this up, my reputation is gonna go down the drain too," he snapped as Chas rubbed his jaw. "If I hear a single word out of your mother about Midnite or possessions, I swear I'll fire you on the spot."
"Fuckin' Christ, Chas, don't you know when to give it up?"
Chas stared at John for a few moments, and then got a look of utter determination on his face, lifting his chin.
"Fine. If you don't believe me, I'll find someone who does," he said, picking up the book.
"You're just gonna make a fool of yourself!" John yelled after him as the teenager left the apartment. "I swear, I'm not bailin' you out of jail again!"
The door slammed. John snorted, sitting heavily back down in his chair and pouring himself more whiskey, and trying to ignore the nagging voice in the back of his head that told him he should've listened more closely to what Chas wanted to say.
John was just beginning to doze when his phone rang. He growled and kicked the sheets down, getting up and shuffling through the kitchen to the phone.
John immediately recognized Beeman's voice on the other end of the line. "What?"
"Your apprentice just stopped by here."
John groaned and rolled his eyes. "What did he do this time?"
A pause. "You mean you didn't send him to get those items?"
"He brought me references to a spell. He told me you'd sent him here to get items to counteract the effects of the spell."
"So you didn't send him."
"Where was he going, Beeman? Where the hell did that little shit go?"
"I-I don't know, he said something about running the counter spell by Midnite, just in case I was-"
John hung up, not even letting Beeman finish his sentence. He was out the door and hailing a cab in less than a minute, the fact that he was drunk not making this any easier.
Midnite wouldn't kill Chas if the kid tried to work some cheap, unpracticed magic; he might get mad, cast a spell or two out of spite, inflict some pain, but he wouldn't kill him. John knew this. But for some reason, he was still in a panic.
When he reached the club, he knew something was different. Only a few people were dancing, and those people were quite obviously very drunk- the rest were huddled in their private circles, murmuring quietly. The bouncer was not at the door.
John walked straight back to the back room, Midnite's office, and didn't hesitate to push the door open. But the site that greeted him was more than what he expected.
The bouncer was holding Chas from behind, but the boy was hanging lifeless in his grasp. In front of them stood Midnite, who was holding a blood-coated dagger. He saw John standing in the doorway, and he tossed the knife aside.
"What the hell?" John choked, running forward. The bouncer let go of Chas as John grabbed onto him, but the boy was obviously dead, his shirt soaked with blood. John dropped to his knees and lowered Chas to the floor, pressing his hand over the knife wound in the teenager's chest even though he knew it was no use.
"Get this trash out of my office," Midnite ordered, and John's eyes narrowed.
Midnite had too much respect for him to do something like this. Midnite, in any other normal time, might've punished Chas and called John, but he would never kill a defenseless teenager. It was below him to do something like that.
Unless said teenager knew more than he should.
"Chas was right all along."
Midnite froze, and then slowly looked back down at John. "I beg your pardon?"
John clenched his jaw, looking back down at the lifeless body of his apprentice. It was enough to make him tremble with rage.
"I should've listened to him from the start about you. I should've trusted him."
Midnite literally growled. "Have you lost your mind, Constantine?"
John looked back down at Chas, and caught sight of something in the boy's pocket. He reached inside, pulling out some kind of spell book. As Midnite headed for him, he opened it up to the dog-eared page and began to read the Latin inside.
The moment the first sentence was read, Midnite let out a shriek and fell back. The bouncer punched John hard, and he fell to the floor, the book skidding across the floor. John grabbed at the dagger that had been used to kill Chas, since it had been tossed aside like so much garbage, but the bouncer got to it first.
John narrowly avoided two of the bouncer's attempts to stab him, and then he punched the man in the nose, twisting the dagger away from him as the man clutched his nose in agony.
John didn't hesitate. Midnite was still recovering, as was the bouncer, and John took out the one he didn't want to have to deal with. Moments later, the bouncer dropped to the floor with the knife in his gut.
John stood up, looking around for the book, and eventually found it- in Midnite's hand. The man smirked darkly.
"Did you honestly think your petty incantations could bring me down?"
John didn't answer. Midnite stepped closer, gesturing to Chas.
"It's a shame. He had it all figured out, too."
"You're the one who didn't keep a leash on him, Johnny-boy."
John's eyes widened, and then narrowed. "Fuckin' asshole, Balthazar, what the hell makes you think you can run around possessing witch doctors?"
"It was for a business deal. One that your little apprentice ruined," Balthazar said, his body movements suddenly becoming strange, coming from Midnite.
"And when Chas saw you talking to yourself in that alley?"
"He saw me talking with the demon who's taking care of my physical form and matters for me."
"And he was right about the medallion. You would know the spells for items born of Hell."
Balthazar nodded. "Johnny, don't you think that's enough talk? You know you can't deport me, especially not without this book. Just drag the body out of here and into some back alley, say he got mugged. It's not like you'll miss him."
John could feel the urge to simply beat the arrogant man to a pulp rising inside him, but for once, he managed to remain calm. Instead, he reached into his jacket, pulled out a handgun he kept hidden for last-ditch efforts only (cause really, an exorcist who has to use a tiny gun? Not badass.), and he cocked it and pointed it right at Midnite's forehead.
"Midnite's human. I kill him, your whole ruse is up."
Balthazar laughed. "You wouldn't."
"And I don't doubt that you'd be aptly punished in Hell. After all, Lucifer will have Gabriel banging down his door to get on you for this stunt. You didn't seem to remember the Balance in your plans."
"The boy involved himself."
"Tell Lucifer that."
John pulled the trigger. Midnite fell to the floor, dead.
John dropped the gun, and as soon as that, he heard slow, heavy applause behind him. One person clapping. The smell of sulfur became evident in the room.
"Very nice, John," a familiar voice said, and John snorted.
"Lu. Should've known you'd get into this eventually," he said, turning around to face the white-clad man.
"Someone had to sort out this mess," Lucifer said with a wry smile. "Keep it from reaching Heaven's ears."
"You know that won't happen. They probably already know."
"But I can make you an offer…in return for your silence on the matter."
John sneered. "What could you possibly have that could interest me that much?"
"Chas Kramer's soul. In limbo."
"You kept him from reaching Heaven."
"That would give them the proof they need to have one more prissy angel annoying me for all eternity. I have enough problems with those snobs, I'll do what I can to keep more of those rats out of my business."
John looked down at Chas, considering.
"What happens to him if I don't take your offer?"
"He remains in limbo until I find something else I want from you."
"You're blackmailing me."
"You expected less?"
John almost laughed. "Fine. Fine. You promise me Balthazar will be punished and Chas restored good as new, and I'll keep my mouth shut."
"It's a deal."
Lucifer suddenly disappeared from the room, and for a few moments, there was an odd heaviness in the room. John couldn't even breath. Moments later, though, he heard coughing and looked over.
Chas groaned and reached up to his chest, and John dropped down next to him, helping the boy sit up.
"Are you okay?" he asked, looking at Chas's chest. Still blood covered, but no gaping wound.
"What h-happened?" Chas asked weakly, looking around.
"You were right, Chas, you were right all along."
John pulled Chas into a hug, rubbing his back- until he heard a groan from across the room. He pulled away and looked over his shoulder to where Midnite was sitting up, rubbing his unmarred forehead.
"John…what are you doing here? And what havoc did you cause to give me such a headache?" Midnite paused, catching site of the body on the floor. "And…why is my bouncer dead?"
John smirked, standing up and helping Chas to his feet.
"He was possessed. Had to kill him. He hit you over the head, that's all."
Chas's eyes widened. "John-"
Before Midnite could ask any questions, John dragged Chas out of the office, out of the club, and into a cab.
"John, shouldn't we-"
"But he isn't-"
"Chas, shut up."
"But I died!"
"You're alive now, problem solved."
Chas pouted. "You owe me an apology."
"A sincere one."
"I hate you."