As far as John Constantine was concerned, any day that found him in Gotham was a bad one. He never could stand the place, and not just because it was dirty and smelly and dangerous. He was used to that, or he ought to be. Not even because it was in America, where a bloke couldn't get a decent pint or fag in the whole bloody country.

No, the problem, of course, was him. Batman - a bloke who fancied himself an authority figure if there ever was one and John had never dealt well with authority.

Trying to follow a trail here was unpleasant; he was never quite sure if the crawling sensation on his skin was the magic that practically saturated the air or the feeling of eyes, watching and judging him.

John knew he wouldn't get away without seeing him, so he wasn't even surprised when he turned a corner and saw the figure there, seemingly formed out of the sooty dusk itself. Batman said nothing, merely stood there, making a statement by his mere presence.

"Losing your touch, aren't you, mate?" John gave him a cheeky grin and lit one of the last Silk Cuts he had on him, blowing smoke in Batman's general direction. It was the wrong approach and he knew it, but he couldn't help himself - it was instinct, his natural response to anyone trying to intimidate him.

"John Constantine. It's been a long time." And there it was again, that voice - like nails on a chalkboard, at least to John.

He shrugged, dismissing any attempt at reminiscence. Wasn't like Batman was a bloke to sit around and chat with anyway, even if he'd wanted to - not the sort you'd meet down at the pub and celebrate old victories or commemorate defeats with. Truthfully, he's surprised he remembered their meeting at all; maybe his reputation wasn't entirely a lot of hot air.

"You've got a magic problem," John said, cutting straight to the chase.

No reply, just that unnerving stare from lenses that completely hid the eyes he knew must be behind the mask.

"You're not a magician." Wasn't even a question, just a statement of fact. They both knew it was true. Batman was a lot of things, probably more than John knew or cared to know, but magic wasn't his strong point. "You need my help."

For a minute, for the course of the silence that stretches to the point of awkwardness after his declaration, Constantine expected him to refuse, order him out. And then, of course, he'd have to insist and there'd be a lot of unnecessary bollocks before Batman saw sense. If he ever did - if he were the sort of bloke who saw sense easily, he probably wouldn't be running around in a bat suit to begin with.

But instead he nodded, crossing his arms over his chest and he stared down at Constantine. "Tell me." And, much as he hated to obey orders, as much as Batman's attitude got on his last nerve, he did.