The Space Between Heaven & Hell

I don't know if I'll pick this up again sometime in the future, turn it into a series or something. For now, though, this is all I've got. None of the boys are mine, sadly. Enjoy!

He's not alone, John realizes, waking with the sudden realization. Two figures are standing over him, where he'd slept – passed out, really – on the couch in his loft above the bowling alley. He must be losing his touch.

"This him?" One voice asks, figures indistinguishable in the darkness of the room.

"Yes." The other replies, and suddenly the lights are flipped on, seeming blinding in contrast.

A snort comes from the first. "Well, for a hunter – sorry, the hunter, he's not very alert." He says, as John forces his eyes to focus. The guy is clad in jeans and layered t-shirts with a jacket over top.

The other is dressed not unlike Constantine himself – in black slacks, a crisp, but rumpled white dress shirt, a blue tie, and a beige trench coat. "He has his reasons for his lethargic state, isn't that right, John Constantine?"

Constantine doesn't look impressed by the intruder's knowledge of his name or of his reasons, instead he takes them both in, assessing them. The first is all human, but reeks of hellfire. The second, not so much. "Angel." He declares. "Half-breed."

"Hey, he's not half anything." The first counters, looking ready to fight over the issue. "He's all angel."

The angel reaches out, blocking the other's steady momentum forward. "Relax, Dean." He looks to John then. "I am Castiel. I've been sent to return something to you."

He stands, walks past them both to the half-empty bottle of whiskey on the table, and takes a long swig of it before he turns back to them. "Yeah, well, get on with it. Doubt I'll be interested."

Castiel steps forward, reaches out a hand and manages to touch two fingers to Constantine's forehead before he can swat them away. His eyes roll back into his skull and then they close. John nearly falls over with the sudden change in consciousness, but luckily Dean catches him before he hits the floor. "Glad it wasn't me for a change." He sighs, dragging the man back to the couch. "Your brain ninja powers give me headaches."

It only takes a few moments for Constantine to wake up again, this time to noise coming from the direction of his bed as well as from the two intruders.

Castiel holds up a hand and John finds himself frozen in place. "You will be needed. Both of you."

"Both…?" He stares, and then he realizes, runs to the bed.

"What's going on, Cas?" Dean asks, bewildered more so than anyone else. The angel shakes his head in answer, watching.

"Chas." Constantine gapes in disbelief at the pajama clad boy curled up in his bed. He reaches out, his hand settling cautiously on his young apprentice's shoulder, as if expecting him to suddenly disappear, but he doesn't. He rolls over a bit, towards Constantine's touch. He's… really there. Infuriated, he wheels on Castiel. "You pulled him out of Heaven!?" The hunter's hands fist in the fabric of the angel's shirt collar, quite thoroughly enraged. "I… I should deport you…"

Dean pulls a sawed off shotgun, pointing it at Constantine. "Hey, now. Let's just take it easy, here. No one's deporting anyone." He growls out. "Cas?"

"Drop that." Castiel warns him, and Dean obeys his angel commands, albeit reluctantly. "He was given a choice to come back to you. He accepted. As I said: You will both be needed in an upcoming war between heaven and hell. You two are right in the middle of it all. Just as I am, just as Dean is."

"What if I don't want to be part of your war?"

"I'm afraid that it's not a decision you get to make." Castiel answered, nodding toward Chas' prone form in Constantine's bed. "Take care of him until you're called to fight. He'll be waking up soon."

And just like that, the two intruders were gone.

John frowns, making his way back to his still sleeping apprentice. He sits down on the edge of the bed, watching. Chas had been dead for years, almost four now. How is it he could have just come back? Perfectly fine, as if he'd never been attacked by Gabriel at the hospital, never been buried in the ground? There were no marks on him, not even the scars he'd had before he'd even met Constantine. The only thing present was a hand-print that seemed permanently etched on his bare shoulder.

"Mm, John?"

"What the hell did you wanna come back to this shithole for?" Is the first thing he says. Not 'hey, welcome back,' or 'Damn it, Chas, I missed you,' or 'so, how was Heaven?'

The younger laughs - he expected as much - as he sits up, inspecting his hands as if he hasn't seen them since he'd... left. "I had my reasons." Chas answers simply. "The war. Angela showing up in Heaven – you never told her about what you did for Isabel, did you? – that was another part. You, you were most my reasons."

"You shoulda stayed up there." Constantine shrugs, as if he doesn't mind talking about Angela's murder. As if he doesn't grasp the full magnitude of why Chas came back for him. "I can take care of myself."

"Yeah, you can. Doesn't mean you should have to."

"I'm not fighting in any war, Chas. I'm done with all of that." He counters, unexpectedly. "Let the angels and demons fight their own battles."

"It's not that simple, Constantine. You want to know why Angela was killed?" He presses, doesn't wait for an answer. "It wasn't a bunch of gangbangers out on the street. Demons did it. They needed her to break one of the seals that would allow Lucifer to walk free on Earth."

John frowns. He hadn't known that. There had been no signs of half-breeds at Angela's murder scene. He'd checked.

"The angels are doing their best to keep it from happening. But, there are too many demons and too many seals, not enough angels willing to fight anymore. They can't protect all of them." A long pause. "A lot of the seals seem to be around here. They let me come back because they knew you'd believe me when I told you. If they'd sent Castiel to tell you, you would never have believed him."

That much was right. He wouldn't have believed the half-breed, could hardly believe it now, but for Chas' presence here. "What am I supposed to do, then, Chas?"

"You and I, we're supposed to stop more seals from breaking. Eventually, we fight."

He spots the less than half-full whiskey bottle again, but makes no move to get up to get it for the first time since Angela died three months ago. "Hey, Chas?"

"I know. I missed you, too."