Ending further down the line

Chas sit down.

Chas followed Constantine into the narrow room. This room in Constantine's apartment was decked out in old furniture, floor was covered with a dusty red woven rug. Sunlight filtered in through a large dirty French window. Chas let his eyes room about the room, he hardly ever spent time in this room. Constantine only seemed to use it for important guests or special occasions and Chas was never any of these things. In the back of the room was a shelf: old leather books and arcane artifacts lingered in the dust, curious to see items of power so quietly kept. In spite of the dusty windows the room had a cheerful aspect, compared to the rest of Constantine house. Must have been the sun, that made it that way Chas decided.

All these observations aside Chas took his seat as Constantine had asked.

Constantine sat behind a large ornate wooden desk in faded red clothed chair, while Chas had been observing the furnishings Constantine had drawn three pamphlets from the desk draw.

"here." he pushed the papers across the desk at Chas.

"What are they?" Chas picked up the glossy paper, broadly embossed across the front of each was an expensive college crest.

"You have a choice Chas ."

Chas scanned the pamphlets with a bemused expression.

"Are you going back to school Constantine?"

Constantine laughed. Then coughed.

"No, these are for you." He said when he had cleared his throat.

"School?" Chas's bushy eye brows came together with confusion.

Constantine left the overstuffed desk, and walked over the windows, he drew the curtains little more deciding it was far too bright.

"Well, it's been a long time since you got paid, hasn't Chas?" Constantine said dryly, almost a joke not quiet.

"I thought I was your apprentice." The last statement hung in the air unanswered. Constantine had called Chas that many times before.

Constantine left the room. Meeting over. He went into the kitchen, leaving Chas still sitting in the expensive chair. Quickly Chas got up and followed Constantine back into the pale blue of the rest of the house. Constantine opened the fridge, and closed it again, he never really remembered to shop enough. Instead he open the cupboard pulled down a bottle of whiskey and poured a short glass.

"Well?" he hadn't really expected an answer.

"I don't know." Chas read the first one again, these were good schools, he could get a real job, and he imagined what their library must have been like.

"Go and think about it." Constantine turned his back on Chas, down the whiskey and lay down the couch.

"Ok." Chas replied with great uncertainty. This was dismissal.

"Do you want me to pick up you up some stuff from the shop?"

"No."

Chas left the apartment still holding the pamphlets.

All night he drove around with them in the cab.

The first school cost over sixty thousand for him to attend. Both of them were out of state. Very fancy. Where Constantine would get the money for him to attend? Chas drove through the night picking up his share of drunks, thoughts of the possible future wandered through his head. The colourful people of the night came in and out of his cab, mostly they tipped okay. It was dawn before Chas stumbled out of the cab and into is tiny single room apartment above the burger joint. The smell of oil and salt clung to the walls. Constantine had helped Chas to get this place and to get away from his violent stepfather. Chas remembered vividly how angry Constantine has been when he'd seen the cigarette burns on his hands. He'd watched his stepfather cower as Constantine ordered him never to hurt Chas again. That was the moment Chas finally knew that Constantine truly gave a damn about him, that all of the orders and bad tempered mornings were nothing and that somehow Constantine cared. Chas fished some cold pizza out of fridge and fell asleep on the couch.

X

"This is not what I want."

"What?"

"I don't want to be some lawyer somewhere." Chas tossed the expensive school guides down in front of Constantine.

"Really? And what do you want Chas?" Constantine drew out a cigarette; annoyingly it took a couple goes with his lighter to get it lit. He almost lost his cool with it.

"You need more fluid for that John, I told you so last week."

John blew smoke across the table.

Chas waved the smoke away, before meeting Constantine's dark eyes, he took a breath. "I want to learn about this stuff John." Chas said his uncertain voice quickening with enthusiasm as he stood and pointed about the room at some of the supernatural objects that lay casually scattered about.

"I want to do more than just read about them."

Constantine sat silently watching Chas .

"Why?"

"Why? John these things are amazing they go beyond the everyday life." A little part of John smiled, and another quaked he could just see how much Chas loved the supernatural.

"You don't have the sight."

"I know John I just thought.." Constantine interrupted him. Attacked him.

"You have no supernatural talent whatsoever. Face it Chas , you'll never be more than taxi driver. You'll never be able to do anything else. " John knew it was probably the meanest thing he had ever said to Chas.

"I I thought I was your apprentice..." Chas was ready to cry. Constantine laughed. Chas stared at Constantine's black eyes and wondered. Deeply wounded Chas left.

"Go to hell John." Chas said, shutting the door and meaning every word. Constantine poured another belt of scotch, his hand shook slightly and his eyes were wet.

Three weeks passed before Chas contacted Constantine again. It was a wet miserable day.

Chas hesitated a moment and then knocked on the door.

"John." He'd lost ten pounds. He was white. His eyes looked bruised underneath.

"Chas, look. Umm." Constantine was lost for words. He thought he gotten rid of the boy for good.

Chas forced his way in.

There was a medical drip near the kitchen table.

The truth was confirmed to Chas . Invincible Constantine was dying. Impossible. Chas couldn't believe it.

Constantine sighed, awkwardly.

"Kid look. I am sorry about those things I said." There, he owed that at least to Chas. The next thing Constantine had to do was to get that horror filled look off Chas's face. Oh and he had tried so very hard to avoid that look. Chas walked over to the drip. Ran the cord through his fingers.

"What's that?" Huge brown eyes stared at Constantine. Perhaps he could yell at Chas. Chas walked into Constantine's caged bed, a small portable o2 tank stood near the bed. Normally the kid wouldn't dare go in there. "Are you? Do you really? Isn't there anything?"

Oh good more happy questions, then again he had hired the curious kid. Why hadn't he picked a dull kid, who stared at the wall all day.

"Come on kid, you've always known."

Chas felt all of twelve years old again being told his mother was dead. He was crying.

Constantine let Chas cry for a bit while swallowing his whiskey.

"Hey. Come on, Chas, I am not dead yet."

"There must be a way. You have beaten this before." Constantine badly wanted the pain killers in the draw. His chest burned.

"Sure kid sure." Constantine said without belief to comfort Chas . He had two more hours to go before he could take his next pill. Constantine coughed, putting an arm to his chest. Fuck'en cancer. Fuck it, Constantine pulled out the orange jar of pills swallowed one. Slowly the relief filled him, of course he couldn't breath as well, but this suppressed the cough as well. Chas watched Constantine's face relax as the tablet took over, and stared at the orange jar until Constantine put it back in the kitchen draw.

"Look, there is another school." Wearily John passed Chas a small folder. Chas looked at the school's description.

"This is in England. Constantine I don't want to go there."

"It's in wales actually." Some how he still had fond memories of that place, despite of its dangers. "It's where I went school for a while."

Chas was silent for a bit taking in the significance of the last statement. John drank down some scotch.

"This is where you need to go if want learn more."

"I'll go. As long as your here when I get back."

He had weeks left maybe if he was lucky. "Sure Chas. I'll be here."

"Liar."

Constantine smiled, his apprentice was marvelously quick.

"When?" Constantine was not going to dignify that stupid question with a response, he snorted laughter a little into his glass. "Soon?" Chas put two and two together out loud.

"You can't die your Constantine. This can't happen to you." Chas started to pace, thinking perhaps he might come up with a plan, to fix this, he Chas Kramer would fix this.

Watching the determined boy, Constantine laughed out loud the sound, dry and mirthless, half way feeling the effects of morphine and scotch.

"Why? It has happened once before." Chas stopped his pacing and slumped into the chair, he Chas Kramer, taxi driver of 17 had no way to cure cancer. He wanted to help, to do something.

"It's just not fair. You did so much."

"We did kid, we did a lot." Chas smiled at the rare acknowledgment. Constantine continued, quoting Gabrielle; "But I also smoked 3 packs of cigarettes a day since I was 15. I took a life..." he didn't flinch as he said it. Chas did. Constantine took another drink of scotch, and then there was hell to follow his well-rounded death, but Constantine didn't say that out loud.

Chas listened to Constantine's dry matter of fact summation. Constantine hated how he sounded, angry bitter, weak. Not quite up to his normal fuck'em all standard, but then that was cancer, all rainbows, lollipops, and blood.

He was dizzy from the alcohol. Hell he was pissed off. The kid was still here. The kid didn't want the only bloody thing he could do to protect him.

"Go Chas ."

"No."

"Go to the school.."

"No."

"I don't want you here for this Chas ." Where persistence had failed perhaps the bitter truth would do.

"Let me help you." Desperate Chas.

Constantine summons up some courage and reaches across the table to the teenager, taking his hand. They have hardly touched each other, affection rarely shown. Constantine looks the kid in the eyes. "Then go to the school. Learn and what you must. Come back and never let the world defeat you Chas."