Author's Note: So this plot bunny. It's been gnawing at me for over a month. I loved the movie - all but the feeling of "unsaid" between John and Angela, so here's my two cents.
Also, I wrote this while listening to "Blue and Yellow" by The Used - so listen to that while you read this! Enjoy & review! - Karys
The Search For Something More
isn't about making the right choices. It's about dealing
with the consequences." -Midori Koto
Detective Angela Dodson walked at a brisk pace through the motel lobby, a mixture of determination and dread pulling her stomach into knots. She took a sharp turn and walked up to the motel's front desk, flashing her badge at the middle-aged man who had been stuck with the graveyard shift. Her old softball bag bumped against the desk, break the tense silence of the lobby. It was filled with contents most detectives wouldn't ever think to use in their entire careers.
Well. . .this was her night job, after all.
"You called about a tenant?" Angela asked the front desk man; she kept her voice low and steady.
The balding man nodded in silence, and pointed down a hall that veered off to the left from the lobby. He looked as pale as a corpse, and Angela would bet her badge that he hadn't even seen whatever was doing the possessing in their true form.
Angela pulled a small white business card and flipped it over, handing it to the man.
"If I'm not back in ten minutes, call this number," she instructed, holding out the card to him.
The man took it and nodded again, mutely. Angela turned on her heel and headed down the hall at the same brisk pace, her hand nervously rubbing the polyester strap of her bag in anticipation. This kind of thing wasn't like riding a bike. It was intricate and it had to be timed perfectly. If you forgot even one part of it, it could cost your life.
Angela glanced at the room number before entering - 333. Halfway to hell. Angela grimaced.
Not if I have anything to say about it, she thought with a renewed fervor, remembering the hellish ordeal her own sister had gone through.
Walking into the room, Angela saw four men huddled in a corner, one of them balancing a floor-length mirror on its edge. Good, she thought. The front desk man had made sure she had what she needed for this to work.
The men looked up at her abrupt entrance, all spooked by the situation. The silence was broken a second time that night – a sickening screech that resounded from the bed. Angela's head whipped in the direction of the noise, and her heart plummeted when she saw the body of a boy who couldn't be more than seven years old, writhing on the bed as if he was aflame. His hands and feet were bound with rope at the four corners of the bed.
"Jesus," Angela breathed, her eyes wide. The horrors of the damned never ceased to terrify her, no matter how many exorcisms she performed.
The boy's head shot up at the sound of the seer's voice. His face was cracked and warped; his eyes had an unearthly glow to them. Taking a deep breath, Angela unzipped her old softball bag and pulled out a pure gold cross about the size of her palm. She clenched it between her fingers, wielding it as a weapon, ready to. . .before her eyes, in front of the reality before her, Angela saw the corner of the mirror catching on a wooden shudder and the demon spiraling out of the mirror and on to the mortal plane.
The vision was gone with her next breath, but she would have to be ready for that moment when it came. It paid off to be a psychic and an exorcist sometimes.
Glancing out the window, Angela saw she had a couple hours before sunset. Plenty of time - hopefully - to save the boy's life and send the demon back to hell. The window gave easy access to a side street that was cast in sunlight; she just had to make sure the demon didn't shatter the glass and escape before she could let the sunlight do the job for her.
Angela turned to the men, and instructed, "Hold the mirror above me."
She climbed onto the bed, carefully. The possessed boy tried to snap at her with its yellowed, elongated teeth. Angela got on both knees over the young boy's body and covered its demonic eyes with her hand while she placed the gold cross on the boy's chest. The cross burned his pale skin through his shirt and the demon inside the boy shrieked as the pain seared its black soul.
"Whatever happens. . . " Angela glanced over her shoulder, made eye contact with the men, "Don't look." Angela hoped they would heed her warning - people hadn't before and it had led to anything. . .good. The men came to stand around the bed, holding the mirror above her as she had instructed. Angela knew demons could make mortals see anything they wanted - bugs, spiders, bees. Whatever it took to get them to lose their concentration.
The demon-boy continued to writhe and snarl under Angela's burning cross. She began chanting in ancient Aramaic, holy incantations she had forced herself to memorize ever since she'd decided to go into the exorcism business.
Angela could sense the demon being forced out of the boy's body and into the parallel plane of the mirror - the only thing that could trap something that wasn't in the plane it was supposed to be in. She recited the incantation a final time and felt the evil seep from the boy's body completely and into the mirror. Quickly, she whispered for the boy to keep his eyes closed, and jumped off the bed to open the shuttered windows. Recalling her vision, Angela ripped the left window shudder, rickety with age, off its hinges and tossed it to the floor.
"Flip it around and toss it out." At the mens' startled pauses, Angela widened her eyes with impatience. "Now!" She ordered. They moved into action, scrambling to do as told. "Don't look at the mirror!" She added.
Angela could see the demon pounding on the glass with its fisted claws, snarling and cursing in Hellspeak as the men shoved the mirror, sunny side up, out into the bright side street. The mirror shattered into sparkling dust, the metal backing hitting the pavement with a series of clanks.
Letting out a deep breath, Angela put her hands on her knees and closed her eyes for a moment. This had been an easy one. Nothing had gone wrong, and she was thankful for that, especially since it had been a boy so young who had had to suffer a possession by a demon.
The four men were staring in horror at the empty mirror frame. Angela stood up again and walked over to the bed.
"You can open your eyes now," Angela whispered. She looked up at one of the men and asked, "Where is his family?"
The man she was looking at gulped, and in his eyes Angela saw what had happened to the boy's parents. They were dead, killed by the demon when he had first possessed the boy. Sometimes she hated what she saw. . .
Angela let her eyes close, refusing to cry. A child murdering his own parents against his will.
She looked down at the little boy. He was scared out of his mind, shaking from the fear of the whole experience. His round blue eyes connected with Angela's, and she felt a sickening feeling curl in the pit of her stomach. He remembered what the demon had done. All of it. His head dropped as he begun to weep.
Angela sat down beside the boy, and wiped some hair away from his sweat-streaked forehead.
"You're safe now," Angela whispered, her throat tight. "I promise."
For the past hour, Angela had been beating herself up over the exorcism of the young boy. The sheer terror and confusion she saw in the kid's blue eyes hadn't left her yet, and they probably wouldn't for a good long while. She was no expert when it came to exorcisms. She knew enough to save the physical body of the mortal possessed, but anything beyond protecting their mind from long-term damage was out of her hands. She hated that possession victims sometimes remembered what they had done while the demon had been playing them like a puppet.
She had called social services and waited with the boy until a representative arrived. None of the men who had helped her during the exorcism would even look at the boy. And now, the kid was an orphan because she couldn't get there in time.
"Damnit!" Angela slapped the steering wheel of her car in frustration.
She needed information, and fast. Children seemed to be the popular target of possession these days, and it made her sick. She needed a way to protect them from it, the way she couldn't protect Isabel from it all. She didn't know of any incantations that could purge the short-term memory of possession victims, but she knew someone who did.
It had been a while since she had last visited Papa Midnite; two months, to be exact, the day she'd decided to make a small difference in the vast expanse of the world.
She had the willpower to become an exorcist, the extra sixth sense to know when something was going to go wrong during an exorcism before it happened. All she needed were the tools; the incantations to deport the demons back to hell and the relics to protect herself and those around her in the process. Papa Midnite had been reluctant to point her in the right direction, but he hadn't denied her the information in the end. She had, however, made him swear not to tell Constantine.
Angela trotted down the steps into Midnite's club. When she came to the bouncer, she only gave a glance at the card before answering, "Two pigs in a cloud."
The club was flooded with red neon light, casting everything in the same hue. Angela kept her head down as she made her way to the back of the club, but spun around when she felt a hand on her shoulder.
She didn't recognize the woman, but she could tell by her florescent yellow eyes that it was a half-breed.
"You should have stayed in hell with your twin, seer," the woman snarled.
Angela recoiled at the words, taking a step back from the female demon.
"Take your own advice, half-breed," Angela answered back.
Without waiting for a verbal backlash, Angela turned away and headed towards the back of the club again. She waited for the door to reveal itself and open, then she stepped in without preamble.
Papa Midnite sat at his desk, about to light up a cigar.
"Midnite," Angela greeted. The door snicked shut behind her as she walked over and took a seat in front of the age-old wizard.
Midnite looked up from his cigar and Angela felt his gaze search her face and mind with scrutiny. "You look tired, Angela," he said in his deep voice.
Angela let out a bitter laugh and ran her hands through her hair. "Three months and I've seen things that would make Special Victims' job look like a walk in the park."
"Word is getting around about you," Midnite brought up, inhaling his cigar deeply. He cast Angela a querying look.
Angela's face creased in worry. "You haven't told Constantine."
Midnite looked past Angela for a moment and let out a deep sigh. "You're a psychic, Angela. When you add exorcist to the list of professions, becoming notorious among the fallen is part of the territory."
Angela always hated it when Midnite went cryptic on her like that. Midnite recognized the resilience in her eyes and spoke again.
"What happened?" He asked, sagely.
Angela closed her eyes against the sudden onslaught of pain she felt swell in her chest. "They're trying to take children now."
The wizard shook his head. "They are the future," he replied in a regretful tone.
"I need to know if there are any incantations that can protect the mind," Angela cut to the chase. "Ones that are gentle enough to protect a child after I exorcise them."
Midnite sat back in his chair, tenting his fingers. His calm expression and demeanor made Angela feel uncomfortable. Papa Midnite was no one to fool around with. And in his case, one's mind certainly did not wither with age.
"Tell me," Midnite said quietly, ". . .that this isn't about saving him."
"Saving who?" Angela shot back, a little too quickly.
Midnite smiled, his bright white teeth a sharp contrast to his dark skin in the dim light of the room. "You two are interesting. . .carrying the weight of the world on your shoulders."
"Can you help me or not?" Angela repeated, avoiding Midnite's gaze. The floor had suddenly become so more interesting.
"John is the only exorcist I know experienced enough to give you the answers you seek," Midnite finally spoke.
Angela didn't miss the smirk in his eyes as she turned and left.
The cemetery was cast in twilight when Angela arrived. A slithering melancholy seeped into her bones as she walked among the graves of the dearly departed. It was silent and deserted - a night off for the grave crawlers of hell. Isabel's grave was next to an old elm tree. In the dying light, the tree vaguely reminded Angela of the Garden of Evil, the paradise that was lost to Adam and Eve.
Pushing aside the stray thought, Angela slid her gun - the one she kept loaded with half lead bullets, the other half silver bullets - into her pocket holster.
With slow steps, Angela made her way to Isabel's grave. For a moment, the seer simply stood, reading the thick, engraved letters on the marble headstone.
BELOVED DAUGHTER AND SISTER
She let the memories ease out of the grave and wash over her, and she swore she could almost feel her sister standing next to her, a comforting hand on her shoulder. Angela wasn't sure if that was her visions or her own deep seeded wishes causing the feelings, but at that moment, she didn't care. She just wanted to be close to her sister.
Angela had gone to Midnite in search of a priest that would perform a proper Catholic burial, one that was able to understand Isabel's unique situation. And now, she knew and felt it. . .her sister was at peace.
Because of Constantine, she reminded herself.
Angela let out a bitter laugh, and knelt in front of her sister's grave, twirling a white lily between her hands. They had grown over her sister's grave, undisturbed, ever since she had been buried four months ago.
"If it wasn't for what you did, Izzy, I'd have never met him," Angela confessed. Despite the bitter tone, she felt tears claw their way up her throat. "I'd have never gotten into this whole exorcism business. . .never have seen the horrors for real, only see them in my visions. . ." Angela trailed off, lifting up a hand to gently trace the engraved letters on the headstone.
"I blame myself, you know," Angela whispered. "Midnite's right. I carry the weight of the world on my shoulders. And the worst part is--"
"You do it out of guilt."
Her head shot up at the sound of that voice. His voice.
Perfect timing, Angela thought.
Slowly, Angela turned around on her knee and stood, looking at the man in the black coat. "John," Angela said. He hadn't changed a bit since the last time she saw him.
"Angela," John returned in a calm, but low voice.
How could she have not sensed him coming? He was studying her very closely; enough to make old emotions come flooding back to the forefront of her mind. She didn't like that the great John Constantine had this kind of effect on her. The last time they had spoken, she had given him a chance to stay, but he had made an excuse and they had left things at that. Both their lives were complicated enough.
"What are you doing here?" Angela asked, curious despite the tension between her shoulders.
"Having a little chat with Chas," John answered, flashing his usual smirk. "You know. The whole birds and the bees scenario."
Angela smiled, briefly, remembering the clear-eyed boy from a couple of her dreams. "He's an archangel now, isn't he?"
"The punk got Gabriel's old position," he confirmed with a nod. John motioned to Isabel's grave. "Local church not good enough for confession anymore?"
"I wasn't asking for forgiveness," Angela lied. Useless.
"Sure," John flashed another smirk.
Angela mentally sighed at John's age-old favored phrase. Some things would never change.
The two remained silent for a little while, letting all that had gone unsaid between them settle in the few feet of space that separated them now.
"So, weight of the world, huh? Sounds like a lot of work," John broke the silence, steering the conversation in the direction Angela had been trying to avoid, and he knew it, too. It made her a little more than mad.
"Especially when you're alone," Angela replied in a quiet voice. Her choice of words cut him deep, and she could see that clearly on his face. Angela turned around and kneeled again by Isabel's grave, placing the white lily at the base of the marble headstone.
"Angela. Don't." John's voice came from behind her, a warning.
Angela put her hands on her knees and pushed herself up, walking up to Constantine so she was less than a foot away from him. She wanted him to hear what she was saying loud and clear; she knew how thick his skull could be sometimes. She knew almost everything about him.
"Don't what, John?" Angela asked; arms outstretched. "I live in a world where my own sister had to go to hell to save me."
"And I live in a world where everyone I touch turns to dust," John said, his voice tight with reigned-in anger. "Don't do this, Angela. Don't beat yourself up over this." John looked her straight in the eye. "You can't save everyone. It's not worth it."
So there the words were, the ones she had let lie between them the last time she had been with him, up on that rooftop, him giving her the one key that could lead to all hell on Earth. If he trusted her that much then, how did he see her now?
Angela didn't pause to rationalize their situations any further, because nothing could be considered rational in their situations.
So she stared right back at him, indifference flickering across her gaze just before she leaned up and kissed John, gently, on the lips; his breath smelled of wintergreen gum. It was another invitation, and leaning back, Angela searched John's face for any sign of emotion - anger, surprise, rejection, passion. . .anything. This was one thing she couldn't foresee herself doing. (Visions didn't know everything.)
John frowned, his brow creasing. He dropped his head slightly, breaking Angela's gaze for a moment. When he looked up again, the frown was gone, replaced with something Angela couldn't decipher even with all her years as a detective. . .but her senses (the ones that kept her up at night) told her it was something strong, and it wasn't rejection.
"You shouldn't have done that, Angela," John whispered.
"Yeah," Angela said.
"Yeah," John repeated, a second before he wrapped his arms around her waist, pulling her as close as he could to him, returning her questioning kiss with a full-force one of his own.
Instinctively, Angela slid her hands around John's neck, matching his passion with her own. On top of her own feelings, Angela felt John's feelings hit her like waves, and it left her head spinning. The heat traveled up her body in waves and she swore it was like electricity. When she moved to deepen the kiss, he met her halfway and it was. . .nothing like she'd dreamed of so many times since that night on the rooftop. When they finally broke apart, both were left breathless, but John kept Angela securely in his arms and let out a soft laugh. The sound seemed so uncharacteristic of him, but Angela liked it.
"Cheater," he accused with that same smirk. Sometimes surely wouldn't ever change.
"What?" Angela said, confused, though she was still smiling from their kiss.
"You knew that was coming," John said.
"What if I did?" Angela asked, her dazed smile now turning into a coy one.
John shrugged. "It really doesn't matter, " he whispered, leaning back down to kiss her again.