1964-04-23 - Who's Your Daddy?
Summary: Torn out of time, John is summoned to meet Zatanna Zatara.
Related: NA
Theme Song: None
constantine zatanna 


Shadowcrest Manor is a place that is both of and not of this world. It appears where the owner wishes it and has multiple wards to block intruders. It is, essentially, a magic fortress. And Zatanna has lived within its walls for the past 19 years. However, now she knows that things require desperate measures. And desperate measures require calling in and doing things one might not normally. So it is that Zatanna has found a name in her father's journal that she has also heard about through her own research. If anyone can help find Giovanni Zatanna, it is him.

In a vacant ballroom - who knows how many Shadowcrest has - she has marked a circle in chalk and placed candles. Taking a few deep breaths, she sits cross-legged in the center. Closing her eyes, she centers herself. A breath in, a breath out. Then, she calls out, the words echoing on the polished wood. "Raeh em Nhoj Enitnatsnoc. I nommus uoy!"

*

World War II Poland had been met with extreme scorn. John Constantine had followed the magics enacted by HYDRA to a dusty, altogether removed, facility. With his relics in hand and a cigarette pursed between his lips he treads to the entrance, using the wall as a bit of shield as he moves along its edge.

While lined against the wall, he reaches across, and pushes the door open.

Nothing about John looks like a soldier. He's never been a soldier; only a detective. Even in his efforts here he's been little more than a glorified investigator. Yet the mission has been clear. For Queen and country.

He takes a puff of his cigarette and then slips into the room, rounding the corner with adept stealth that he'd acquired after years of work.

"Constantine," the voice is familiar and laced with clear disdain.

"Gustav!" John replies with easy delight and warmth — neither of which are particularly easy for the occult detective.

"So you found us…" the man's voice lowers.

John shrugs. "Just lucky, I guess, mate. Old chap. Pal. Not sure you are someone anyone wants to have control of a doomsday device. Just sayin'," his lips turn up on one side into a grim smile. "So. We should talk about," his head nods towards the large device covered in script most couldn't read in the centre of the room.

"No, we shouldn't," Gustav replies. "You should die." The weapon seemed to come from nowhere and the shot from above wasn't something that John had anticipated.

The flash of light was familiar as was the colours that surrounded the brief journey. Dizzying and nearly blinding the world seems to turn on its axis as he wakens in Shadowcrest Manor in front of Zatanna Zatara, as summoned.

John's lips purse around the cigarette, tightening considerably as he pats down his coat as if accounting that each of his bits made it to this time and space. His dark eyes narrow at the young woman in front of him. Flatly, he muses, "Well this is fortuitous. I was on my last cigarette," he takes a puff from the stub. "Got a biggie?"

*

As John Constantine materializes in front of her, Zatanna Zatara looks up. It was only a little after he spell was complete that she hears the and feels the unmistakable pop of energy that magic leaves behind. Seemingly unperturbed by his demeanor, Zatanna does not leave the circle, but stands up within it.

"John Constantine?" she asks, words serious as she studies the man in front of her. It seems obvious that she finds her impression of him lacking from what she expected to start. There's a long silence about the cigarette before she frowns and sighs.

To seemingly no one, she says, "A packet of cigarettes, please? Possibly a lighter. I"m not sure how well prepare this one is." It's clear she does not think very much of Constantine at first glance. "I believe you knew my father? Giovanni Zatara?" It also seems as if she wishes to get down to business right at the start.
"

*

Taking another puff on the quickly disappearing cigarette, John eyes Zatanna carefully. His jaw tightens, his head cants to the side, and, rather appraisingly, he arches a single eyebrow in his assessment. "I didn't know Giovanni had any children," his lips twist into something akin to a frown. "Wait!" he raises a finger. "Does Giovanni know?" his nose scrunches. "Can't imagine that'd be a happy awakening." His cringe is palpable as he shudders once. "That should never happen to me, Goddess-willing. Ehn. Goddesses if I'm being totally politically correct — " his eyes turn up towards the ceiling.

His hands press together in a pseudo prayer format, "Promise me this isn't one of those 'Who's your Daddy' motifs. They're terrible." He rubs his nose. "Pretty sure I sat through one once. Which leads me to an important piece of advice, legal or not, always use birth control."

*

"He did," Zatanna tells Constantine very confidently. As they speak, a pack of cigarettes is brought in by a shimmery servant that looks solid when staring straight at him. Out of Constantine's periphery, though, the man seems to shimmer and almost disappear. It's disconcerting to people accustomed to magic.

There's an unamused raise of her eyebrow. "Yes. He knows that I am his daughter. He raised me." Then, as he talks about his unwillingness to have children, she sighs and shakes her head. "Yes, great, that is wonderful advice. What I want to know is if you have the means to find him. My father. You're supposedly a detective. He talked about it in his journals. And you knew him. Could you find where he is."

*

An uncertain glance is cast to the not-quite-there servant, but John greedily accepts the pack of cigarettes. "Rationing is for chumps," he murmurs to himself as he taps on the edge of the pack to get out a cigarette. He reaches into his coat pocket for a silver zippo and lights the cigarette pursed between his lips.

"Well," John clucks his tongue behind the cigarette, "not sure if you heard, Miss… Zatara?" presumably that's her name because she claims to be Giovanni's daughter, "but there's a war going on, and it's kind of got priority," he rocks his hand back and forth uncertainly. "There are some convinced that the doomsday device Gustav is working on will actually set off the end of the world by releasing — " he waves a hand as if Zatanna should just forget about the details. "Regardless, Poland's calling." His nose wrinkles, "They want their detective back," he shrugs.

"But," he takes a long puff of the cigarette and considers something. "I could find Giovanni if I wanted. Still though," he rubs his chin, "don't recall him having any offspring. And, to b frank, I can't picture him knocking boots with anyone. Ever."

*

At the uncertain glance, Zatanna can't help but smirk. Then, however, she gives a bit of a blinks. "A war? You mean the Cold War?"

As Constantine keeps talking, however, there is a more and more confused and wary expression. "Poland? And who is Gustav? Poland hasn't been involved in a war since World War II." Something is fishy here. She's not sure what exactly it is, but it is fishy.

As he rubs his chin, there's a dry reply, "Some detective, if you didn't know my father had a daughter." It's quite possible that Giovanni attempted to magically shield her, or her multiple years in Shadowcrest has made it hard for her to track, but these are the things she'd need Constantine to look through in order to find Giovanni. She's already gone through the normal tracks to try and find him. This is something beyond that.

With an exasperated sigh, she tosses her hands up and gives him a bit of a glare, "I"m not sure what to tell you. I'm here, so it happened."
"

*

Constantine's expression flattens as she mentions the Cold War and no Polish involvement since World War II. His lips press into a thin line and he smokes harder on the cigarette, taking long laborious puffs before treading to an armchair and slumping into it with all of the ceremony of a petulant child at the day's end. He covers his eyes with the back of his arm and continues to smoke.

In this dejected posture, with some semblance of irritation detectable in both manner (just look at him!) and voice, he asks, "And what year, pray tell, have you brought me?"

*

"What year? It's 1964. I can't teleport people through time." That is, she has never done it before, nor has she tried, really, since an ill advised try to see her mother. Zatanna is just as confused as Constantine on that matter.

Starting to cotton on to what is happening here, she blinks a few times, head cocking to the side. "…do you think it's still sometime in the 40s?"

*

Constantine's expression sours underneath his arm, evidenced only by the very vague downward curve of his lips and building tension in his posture. "Not everything is about you Miss Zatara. Although, it's good to know that you are so singularly obsessed. Ego could likely be the source of your undoing."

His arm drops to the side of the chair. "So." His eyes narrow and he examines her carefully. "Did we win? I feel like we won. Although," his nose wrinkles, "I suspect Gustav is still out there with his doomsday device. Aimed at bringing about the Apocalypse in whatever form he was going to do it." There's a pause as his eyes turn upwards, "Huh. That can't be good." His head shake and he shrugs at Zatanna's question. "It's why I was almost out of ciggies. I don't suggest rationing. Anything. Ever. Just engage in a constant Bacchanal. All the time."

*

And then he adds, "But… birth control." He points at her matter-of-factly.

*

Arms cross as she studies John, Zatanna's own expression going flat as he mentions that she thinks this is about her. "Yes, well, as I seem to be the one that brought you to this time period, I believe this is some about me. And I was only saying that I couldn't teleport people through time because you seemed confused as to when you were. Less about ego, more about information."

An eyebrow raises as he continues, seemingly unfazed by the idea that he has been transported through time and that there is a doomsday device somewhere. Dryly, she replies, "The Allies won the war, but in doing so we released a horrible being that then conquered the entire world. It still rules us to this day. All hail the Giant Toad God We May Not Name." As for rationing, she doesn't know much about that, she she merely shrugs her shoulders at him. "If you say so."

The comment about birth control is met with sigh. "Yes, it exists still. What is your point? The original question still remains: can you help me find my father or not?"

*

John squints at her and examines her carefully a few beats. "It's odd to me that Lady Luck would think you could help," again he rocks his hand back and forth, "but here I am!" His arms lift triumphantly, "So clearly we're in some need of each other, I think." He shrugs. "Not that I can get back in time on purpose to get back…" he snaps his fingers. "Well, we'll just have to find Gustav here then." That settles it, it seems.

He hums at the notion of a Giant Toad. "Well, we all knew it was inevitable anyways. I hope it at least has a pleasant scent?" His nose wrinkles in disgust, "Some amphibians smell just dastardly."

He squints at the last question and suggests, "Can as in capable? Most certainly. Can as in will?" He shrugs. "Depends what Lady Luck decides. Unless," he taps his chin. "Well, logically my being here suggests that I need you to help me with Gustav. And it's possible that your Father is there also. I mean, logically. Based on how these things work." He shrugs. "How easy is it to move about? The Giant Toad stop that nonsense? Would hate to be trapped in — wait. Where are we? We aren't in London are we? It's so dreary and wet! Please tell me it's not London."

*

As Constantine gathers his bearings and comes to a conclusion, Zatanna sighs. "I've…already told you how you could help." How she can help him? That's up to debate, but she also didn't expect that he would help her find her father for free. She's willing for quid pro quo.

"Gustav from World War II? He might have died in the War. I mean, what year did you come from? And if he was building an doomsday device, why hasn't he used it yet?" Constantine is talking pretty fast and she's mostly keeping up, but there are a lot of ideas being floated around right now. "You think my father is in the past? Or that this Gustav kidnapped him here?" She's not sure as to why he would even do that. "I've never even heard my dad mention him, why would he be interested in my father?"

Questions as to how they can move about with the Giant Toad are met with a quirk of an eyebrow and smirk. She thought he was joking about the fact that he thought it was an inevitability. "There's no Giant Toad, I was messing with you. We're outside of New York City, currently."

*

"All good questions, but I don't think I would be brought here," wherever here is, "if it was resolved. No," Constantine waggles his finger, "something must've gone awry." Maybe. Maybe not. He pushes himself up from the chair and begins pacing the room. "I think things are more tied together than sometimes even we suspect," he offers in reply. "And definitely more tied together than we know." His lips twitch with some unspoken thought. "And it could be that we need to help each other. But what that looks like," he shrugs. "Only time will tell. I'll have to read anything your Father has written. To know anything odd about his behaviour before his disappearance. That should give some hints. And then, of course, we'll have to rely on other methods as well. I'd rather start with the usual more traditional detecting if possible."

His tongue clucks at the notion of there not being a Giant Toad. "Of course there isn't," he replies matter-of-factly, begging far too many questions and offering no answers. One thing is for certain, he's a bit odd. "And New York is good. Lovely, even. Busy, but that's not always a bad thing…"

*

While Constantine waggles his finger and continues on his train of thought, Zatanna's eyes follow him, but she remains where she is in the center of her summoning circle. It's possible she's debating the ups and downs of sending this guy back to where he came from. For the time being, the candles continue to flicker and after a moment, she sighs and rubs her toe over the chalk she used to draw on the hardwood floors.

"That part is easy enough. There's a library in the Manor. That should get us most of what my father has written. Much of his other writings are warded, however." He didn't want just anyone to read his most important works…especially his daughter. As for his behavior before the disappearance, she frowns. That would involve backstory she's not yet willing to divulge. "Nothing was odd, really, I don't think. But, we're both busy people. I didn't see much of him the week before he disappeared." For now, she'll ignore the rest about the Giant Toad and the business of New York.

With a breath of power, she says, "Seldnac tuo." The candles about them flicker and she wobbles for a moment. Whatever she just did took far more power out of her than she realized would happen. A small gust of wind, however, moves through and the candles wink out. Not wishing to seem weak in front of this eccentric PI she read about in her father's journal, she instead straightens. "I-I'll show you to the library."

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