1964-04-25 - The Matter with Anti-matter
Summary: Lois's visit to her favourite dive bar turns out… weirdly.
Related: Something Wicked Plotline
Theme Song: None
lois constantine 


Dive bar. The most divey of dive bars. It's on the edge of black Harlem and white poverity, but no one can much see color through the haze of heavy smoke in the air. Lois might be here chasing a story, or she started that way, but several shots of whiskey and a few less legal things later, and she's just enjoying the place. It's mostly empty, being a week night, so the woman is sitting alone at the very last stool on the bar. Her body is turned so her back slumps against the wall and her long legs are kicked up on the two bar stools down from her. She's dragging at a cigarette that is hand rolled and so not a cigarette, but no one seems to care. "…Put something on the damn juke…dun care what. It's too quiet in here… drive a girl nuts."

*

Arrival in 1964 had been dizzying, yet Constantine has managed to take it in stride, particularly as it allowed opportunity for things that could not be indulged during the Second Great War. With a lopsided smirk, he settles on a barstool with a stupid grin plastered to his face and he smacks the bar loudly.

The cigarette hanging out of his mouth means that he doesn't dare try to speak before lifting at least one hand from the bar to retrieve it and its precarious balance. With a long puff he can't help but smirk further, pondering some of life's great mysteries. A vague glance is cast towards Lois, and the smirk extends. He slips off the stool and treads to the juke box. He rests a single hand on the juke, inhales a long breath, and mutters a few words in Latin, prompting the thing to turn alight and begin playing whatever is next in the queue — none of it is music he knows.

His nose wrinkles at the Chuck Barry music that echoes through the room and then he shrugs before sauntering back to the stool and slumping down to purse that cigarette in his lips once again. His head cants to the side, "Bit catch that," he murmurs.

Out of seemingly nowhere he seems to have procured a glass of whiskey, neat that he sips.

*

The woman across from him certainly looks nothing like a proper 1940s dame. She's in ripped jeans that hug her like a second skin from the knees up but hang open in wide legs across her ankles. They are low enough on her hips to expose her belly button and much of her slender stomach all the way up to that RIDICULOUSLY colored Hawaiian shirt she has tied off below her breasts. Despite the haze of smoke in the room and the dim lighting, she's still hiding ice pale eyes behind a pair of tinted shades. However, when she looks over the glass' rims at him, he'll see her blue gaze is nice and bloodshot. She's a woman who is enjoying life.

"…Chuck Barry? Mm… I guess not everyone can have good taste in music and booze." She takes another drag of her joint, casually ashing it on the floor as she crosses her ankles right over left. SHe hasn't pulled her feet down yet. "…How'd you get the bartender to serve you so fast? I ain't seen him in twenty minutes." And her glass is achingly empty for it.

*

The name has the man's eyebrows lifting. "No… afraid you've got me mistaken for someone else. John Constantine," he offers. Evidently Chuck Barry means nothing to him. The remark about his drink prompts a smug smirk and a single word, "Magic," he actually winks at that, giving away nothing. Not really, anyways.

He takes a long puff on his cigarette and hums quietly. "All music now sound like this?" he arches a single eyebrow. "Seems a bit… much." Rubbing the back of his neck he eyes her glass and nods lightly towards it, "Maybe if you hadn't downed it so fast you would've remembered him pouring my drink, luv." His eyes sparkle with unmarred mischief.

*

"Then how about magicking me another one myself, hmm? A lady should never have an empty glass." Of course, Lois probably wasn't exactly a lady, but she certainly did pout well, especially over an empty tumbler of what smells like cheap shit whisky by the legs it's left behind. She rests her empty glass on the bar between them, almost hopefully. Her eyes glimmer with daring amusement, challenging him to show her that 'magic'.

"…And no, the music is Chuck Barry. No, it doens't all sound like this. Just the shitty popular stuff. You… aren't from around here, are you?" Lois finally asks, her mind growing a hint more suspicious as she looks him over. Finally, she shifts hands that her joint rests in and offers him her long, thin right palm, "John Constantine, you said? I'm Lois. Lois Lane. Best damn reporter in this city, and probably the most sober." She lets out with an over dramatic groan.

*

"Yeah, it's awful," the British man agrees. His lips curl into a kind of a sneer and then he shrugs. "Better than some of that gods awful stuff they played during the War though." Uncertainly, his lips twist to the side, "No, from Liverpool. Across the pond and all. New York is… something. Dingy. Dirty. Loud. My kind of scene." He shrugs at that. "And less dreary and wet. London is so bloody dreary and wet, it's bollocks."

He eyes her hand and then accepts it as he puffs on his cigarette. "Reporter, huh? In that case my name is John Jones." He shoots her a grim smile, not quite charming but also not entirely unconvinced.

"Why wait for a bartender?" he lifts his eyebrows. He slides over the bar in one fluid movement before nabbing a bottle of whiskey and popping off the cork to refill Lois's glass.

*

Well, that was a sort of magic in and of itself. As long as a handsome man was pouring her a drink, Lois didn't really care how he did it. She gives him a devilish little smile and a wink across her glasses, "You're my kind of bartender, at least." She banters back casually, taking one last drag of her joint and crushing out the tiny little bit of filter left in the tray next to her. She then scoops up her glass, raising it in his direction, "To interesting lives." It's the best toast she can give. She clinks her glass against his and then knocks back a good half glass of the stuff already, barely wincing. She rests the glass back down on the bar.

"John Constantine…" she tastes his name in her mouth again, especially as he tries to dodge it upon learning her profession. "I think I'll call you Connie… fits that sweet smile of yours. Now why is a Brit who doesn't know who the hell Chuck Barry is… and is griping about the war, but looks no older than me… stuck here in shit-hole New York?"

*

Once Lois has liquor in her glass, John hops over the bar again, back to the patron side, and lifts his own in cheers. "Ha!" he actually laughs at her toast. "To less than interesting lives! I'm only enough that I wish it were boring." He lifts the glass higher in the air. Instead, he toasts something different, "To having our heads still attached to our necks, breath in our lungs, and beats in our hearts." With that he nods. "Interesting lives," he murmurs again. "It's like you have a death wish, Miss Lane."

The nickname Connie earns her a skeptical narrowing of Constantine's eyes. "And now I know you're kidding. No one in the history of time or space has ever deigned to call my smile sweet. Traverse near and far and no one would make that mistake." The question though earns Lois a calculating gaze. "Now that," he snap-points at her, "is the question. And one that I haven't answered yet. Probably going to end up back in Poland. Probably. Maybe." He shrugs. "Who knows?"

*

A deep, husky, smoker's laugh escapes Lois' half glossed pink mouth. Most of the gloss has worn off on her glass and cigarettes, but there are still a few errant drops of a woman who attempted to be attractive when she went out this evening. "The only greater curse than may you have an interesting life is may you have a boring one. I know which one I've planned." She gives him another, more quiet, bitter sweet sort of laugh at the death wish comment. But she doesn't deny it. She just wiggles her brows a moment and slings back the rest of her whiskey. The whole damn glass took her two gulps.

"Poland? Why the f*ck would you go to Poland, Connie-boy? And are you hopped up on something? You talk like a coke head… 'swhy I don't like that shit. Sends you bouncing everywhere. Much nicer to actually relax at the end of the night, yanno?" Lois nods towards the dead joint in the tray next to her hand. She looks twitchy enough now that she could probably use another.

*

Constantine's lips twitch into a self-deprecating smirk. "Nah. Just a job," his nose wrinkles slightly. "For King and country and all that." His smile eases and he winks, "Bad news is didn't get paid upfront. Next time," he taps his nose as if he knows better now. "Learn from mistakes. Move on. Blahblahblah." With that he issues her an unceremonious shrug.

"Tell me you aren't one of those reporty-reporters? Those are the worst. They never get the bloody facts right. 'Man found dead outside London in potato field. Cause of death unknown. Blah blah blah investigators blah blah blah coroners blah blah blah things. Stuff.'" He waves his hand as if that's supposed to explain everything he's ranting about. He wrinkles his nose at the joint, "And I don't drugs. Nasty business that. Leaving reality for a bit is useful, but it means adapting to new reality again, and that's just asking for trouble. Especially if that reality changes on a dime. Then someone doesn't even know where they are." He puffs on his cigarette. "No. I'll stick to tobacco and chemicals, thank you very much."

*

Another husky laugh escapes her lips, Lois' bloodshot eyes slightly skeptical, "First thing, Connie-boy… drugs ARE chemicals, so… If you use chemicals, you use drugs. ANd not all of them take you to another reality, just some of the fun ones, but you gotta be in a safe space to do that shit and where is safe in New York? No where, I tell you that…" Lois huffs out, like the expert she thinks she is. She then stretches over, reaching for the bottle again, the bartender probably drugged out somewhere himself considering he is her dealer. So, she doesn't feel too bad about pouring them both a bit more booze.

"Secondly, everyone is those kind of reporters that knows their stuff. We do ACTUALLY have to tell true facts, you know, and be unbiased about the issues. It's part of the fourth estate. It's the only way to remain sacred. THAT Being said…I'm not one of those boring ones. I'm a bit more… interactive. Inspire people to get the real story." She grins almost proudly as she reaches over, grabbing a copy of the Bugle that is laying around. It has one of her 'Intoxicated Interviews' just below the fold, "That's my current series. Bulletin wouldn't take it, so I'm runnin' it in the Bugle. Nothing tells the real story like getting someone right plastered."

*

"Riiiiight. But those weren't the facts," John challenges as he takes a long puff on his smoke. "They didn't want to admit the real facts, because those facts, the real facts broke their worldview and would destroy their sense of reality thereby making it surreality." He takes a long gulp of his whiskey, shooting it back quickly.

He lifts an eyebrow at the notion of Intoxicated Interviews and murmurs something under his breath. "Miss Lane, a person has to be concerned about what reality is and what it isn't when they're engaging in this kind of work. Even moreso in my work. Believe me." He takes another gulp of the whiskey.

"And, as an aside, maybe you're just a shit writer when you're not plastered, hence the change?" Both of his eyebrows lift at that. "Need the drugs and liquor as a crutch rather than a tool."

*

Oh, them's fightin' words. The moment he implies that she might be a shit writer, Lois stiffens a bit more, her back straightening and eyes staring at him hard across the rims of her glasses. "…Trust me, Constantine, I'm one of the best god damn writer's this side of the Mississippi. Hell, probably this side of Hollywood, and I work off the truth. I *want* the facts, world breaking or not. Just there's a whole lot of boring world out there so, sometimes, you spice it up to keep people's interest. Lower inhibitions. Get people's *real* truth on the page." Lois motions offhandedly to the cover page there, but he's certainly got her hackles up. She'll defend her writing until the day she dies.

"And… just, exactly, what IS your kind of work? I don't think you actually explained that yet. To be so defensive and particular about reality." She is watching him with a sharper interest than she showed before. Despite her seeming careless, druggie attitude, he's piqued her curiosity now. There's an intelligence glimmering behind her eyes that she normally shuts off, but she's now let coming awake. She's no longer reaching for another joint or the glass of whiskey.

*

"Ehn," ever-eloquently, John polishes off his own glass, admires the legs, and sets it back on the bar. "My work is… what it is." His eyebrows lift and he shoots her an all-too-confident smirk. "It forces me to travel. Sometimes against my will," his eyebrows lift at that and he takes another long puff on his cigarette. And then as a point of correction or clarification he says, "Mostly against my will. Whether I like it or not destiny has it purposes in mind and Lady Luck is no lady. She's a downright whore, but she shares her goods freely with John."

That same glimmer of mischief reflects in his eyes, wholly pleased with himself and the reaction he's earned. And perhaps, as that glimmer extends, and Lois's intelligence awakens, she may realize that the bar has cleared out. Slowly, but surely, leaving them nearly alone in the space.

Save the bartender. Who finally trails out of the back. He stares at the pair and his nostrils flare. His hands begin to lift, and as he does so, John reaches for Lois's hand to pull her safely behind the bar in a kind of dive before black energy emits across the field.

"Well Dorothy, I can say you're not in Kansas anymore," he murmurs as he pulls the cigarette from his lips. "Stay down!" He instructs.

*

That is the issue with Lois — she's too damn intelligent for her own good. Too intelligent for her own sanity, so she kills it, burns it out with drugs and booze, whatever she can use to shut it off. But when she shuts it off, she loses that edge which would put her ahead of the game. It means that she notices, just a few moments too late, just how empty the bar is. Lois blinks, pale eyes flickering around the place. "…John, we should…" She begins to warn him that they need to get out of there, but he's already two steps ahead of the game.

She swears, loudly and unlady like, as she is pulled down behind the bar like that. But she moves. Lois knows danger when it shows it's face. "… what the SHIT!" She hisses, ducked down there, tight and protected, "…What the hell is wrong with Keith?" She whispers, that the bartender which she thought she knew well, but was apparently wrong. She watches all of this with wide eyes, studying John close, adrenaline kicking away most of the cloudiness from her skull so she can drink in all those details. This was so going to be a story later.

*

The cigarette between John's lips is further pursed between them, prompting them to tighten as he a single hand kicks up just a tick of the flame. In the palm of his hand, a ball of flame collects. He takes a single step away from Lois. As he does so, the other hand lifts to meet the first, gathering that light. His eyes focus, reflecting that same flame-broiled manner. Hot. Angry.

He rises from his spot on the ground, having garnered enough flames to defend himself, and with a rather large force, throws the balls of fire towards the bar tender. "Lois, you need to go," Constantine levels as he stares at the black-eyed bartender.

Keith, for his part catches fire. His shoulder smoulders, but he doesn't react, prompting John to urge somewhat louder, "Now. Leaving now would be — " but as the words escape, that same blackness, the nothingness emits from Keith's palms, creating a giant black hole between the pair and the door. " — bad. Very bad. Stay close!"

More blackness emits from the man's palms, causing John to grasp for Lois again to hide behind a table.

*

Of course, the moment Constantine tells her she needs to go, that idea goes in the trash. Lois laughs, still a bit too careless, but also the sound of a woman who has only just started really ENJOYING the night. An interesting life indeed, "F*ck that! The party just started! God, I wish we could get film of this!" Lois crows out, as only a properly, utterly insane reporter with no sense of self preservation can. She's not going anywhere.

Which is fortunate, because it means she's no where near that black pool that is between them and the door. Her eyes widen, jaw slightly gaping, "…what the hell IS that?" She asks him, but she does tuck a little bit closer. While he's got fireballs in his hand, something else that's certainly drawing her attention, she has nothing but her zippo from her back pocket. That zippo would have to be enough, she carrying it like it was her holy water or torch of life. Hopefully there was enough fluid left in it. "I'm with you. Tell me how to help!" She stumbles back behind that table, cursing lighting again. On sheer instinct, she tosses one of the chairs in Keith's direct. THERE. TAKE THAT.

*

The chair tossed towards Keith is met with another press of dark matter. And it disappears. Into the blackness. Constantine cringes, "Just stay away from it!" The instruction is likely to be heeded. He hopes. He tosses another fistful of fire towards the bartender before moving in closer to the bar.

He closes his eyes for a few beats and murmurs a long line of quiet words under his breath. One by one the bottles behind the bar topple, crashing with the sound of breaking glass as they collapse to the ground. Liquor lines the entire bar and John shakes his head once before accumulating fire in his hands once more. In a single movement, the flames kick up and take the liquor, using it as a fuel to consume the bar itself and putting a wall of flame between them and Keith.

John looks towards Lois, "There another exit? We can't beat him here, only slow him down. We need more — " his nose wrinkles. "Desperately. A lot more." He actually cringes at that as he examines the blackness that lays towards the front door. "If there isn't another way out. You're going to have to literally hold onto me…"

*

"…well shit." Lois mutters as she sees the chair just DISAPPEAR. So much for distracting Keith with her wiley chair-throwing skills! Lois blinks, trying to figure another way to help, but Connie just has way more fire, literally and figuratively, than she does. She still watches it all with wide-eyed, excited interest, her cheeks flushed with excitement instead of the pallor that should come with shock. She's loving this.

"…Another way out? Buddy, this is the Bronx. We're lucky there's a door knob on the one door they DO have. And there sure ain't no kitchen." Fire codes are laughable here. THere was another door, but it was on the same wall as the original, considering the place was only in half a building and it had a solid wall between it and the business behind it.

So, Lois reaches up, wrapping her slender arms around his shoulders, "I guess I'll just to have to take a chance and trust a handsome Brit. Lead the way, Connie." SHe winks at him, more than flirtatiously. Yes, she's taking the time to flirt. Right now.

*

"It doesn't quite work that way," John offers in reply, but the game is always rigged in his favour. With Lois clinging to his back, Constantine actually draws the flames back towards him — with raised hands, he allows Keith some space.

In the blink of an eye the black matter flies towards them. John's eyes close, allowing whatever fate to befall them, but as they do, something changes. Around the pair, the world becomes a flash of light, a pop. It's dizzying and removed, and the flourish of colour rips time and space apart as they wind up… in Central Park.

John's eyes open and he peeks around behind him. "You alright, Miss Lane?"

*

The woman holds onto him for dear life, heart thudding madly in her chest. Lois is as scared as she is excited, enjoying every moment, but not foolish enough to think they are safe. So she tightly presses against him, her nose into his shoulder, half hiding her face but not DARE hiding her eyes. SHe wants to see every last inch of this, especially as he draws the fire and darkness towards them. The black matter seems everywhere. Lois starts a warning, "John, I-!"

And then they are suddenly not in the bar. They're tumbling to the soft, early spring ground of central park. No one else is around, except some homeless and hookers up the path, because this is Central Park after dark. But they were safe. Lois half stumbles back from him, fingertips linger against his shoulder, eyes going wide as they snap around the place, "…W-what… What? Yeah, yeah…I'm fine. Confused as all hell, but… Fine. YOu?"

*

John pats down his brown trench coat. "That was smoother than expected. Last jump as worse," he notes before issuing her a noncommittal shrug. "Told you that you weren't in Kansas anymore." His lips purse irritably and he hums to himself in a kind of trance of indecision. "Still learning," he offers blandly. "Knew we would end up somewhere, but wasn't sure where. Good to not be in the path of a madman." He wrinkles his nose, "Know you have a penchant for your chemicals, but probably best to steer clear that bar, yeah?"

He turns on his heel to tread back to the road as his hands tuck deeply into his pockets. "The facts aren't all they're cracked up to be, Miss Lane. And truth and reality are variable," it's as if the entire affair at the bar doesn't register for him. And maybe it doesn't. "Hence the question about being a reporty-reporter. Have no use for those. They rely on only what they know instead of the truth."

*

A ragged, half laughing sort of breath escapes Lois' lips as she looks around, considering the park, "…Please tell me that we're still in 1964. This is central park…" But there isn't anything IMMEDIATE to mark the year, and the woman's mind does actually seem open enough to the small concept of time travel. Since they, you know, did just travel a good 100 blocks south in the blink of an eye, what else could be possible? She shakes it off with another ragged breath, reaching into her back pocket and going for her cigarettes.

"…F*ck! My cigarettes are still on the bar. DAMMIT… That was my last pack." Isn't it always one's last pack? Anyway. She growls beneath her breath, "Gimmie one of yours. I know you gott'em. ANd no, I am not a reporty-reporter… that shit was crazy, but I definitely saw it happenin' and I ain't that high, so… Spill. What the hell just happened? Well, cigarette first. Then spill."

*

John reaches into his trench and extracts his pack of cigarette's which he issues her one. He's not such a gentleman that he offers to light it, although apparently he can control flames with his hands. Bars just contain men of many talents. He rubs his chin as he ponders the question. "Well," he begins, "it's not exactly explainable yet. I'm investigating." He shrugs at her at that. "I investigate the occult and strange occurrences. Have been since before the first World War." His lips purse.

He pauses. "Unless you mean the getting here." His eyebrows lift, "I said luck was a whore not a Lady. And she and I have been having a long-term affair. Means it carries me where I need to be when I need to be. I'm assuming it's still 1964. Doubt it would've moved us out of time and left me in New York. But… stranger things have happened." He shrugs.

*

Well, at least she had a cigarette now. That made things far more tenable. Lois doesn't expect the light either, just sticking the filter between her lips and digging out her zippo that she had earlier. SHe strikes it a few times and does manage to get the flame going, taking a deep breath in to get the cherry flaring. She almost visibly relaxes the first time that tobacco hits her lungs. "…Much better. At least you got good taste in smokes." Lois mutters, stalking over towards a bench to sit down an assess.

"…Alright. Occult and strange… occurences. WEll, that was definitely strange. Chair eating darkness, corrupted bartender. I mean… Keith had the best quaaludes in town, but I don't think that's exactly a normal side effect." Lois admits with a sad little moan. She needed to find another dealer now. "And long term affairs are never healthy. You start gettin' attached and that's just trouble. Much less to someone like luck. You're f*cked, buddy."

*

John actually shrugs at that. "I told you I'd do for a life less interesting," he mutters as he follows her towards the bench for a few beats. His hands tuck back into his pockets. "I play it as I need," and there it is. "I'm lucky." And he knew that somehow it would hold and they'd end up somewhere safe. Or, at least, safe enough. He turns his head. "That said, I'm going to have to look into your friend more. I was told something nasty was going down, but I hadn't expected anti-matter. It's like a blackhole if you know anything bout space," his nose wrinkles disapprovingly.

"But why here? And why now? He's obvious sold himself over to something…" but the thought is lost as Constantine rubs his chin. He turns on his heel. "I need to do some reading. Do yourself a favour, Miss Lane, and don't go back there. Your friend has been long taken by something. Just a matter of what. And when."

*

"..So… you're expecting a reporter, a reporter who DOES actually believe in some of this crazy shit, to not go back poking at what happened to her favourite bar or her favourite drug dealer, eh? To just pick up and carry on tomorrow like I didn't witness a black hole eat a chair and nearly rip us in half, or a handsome Brit didn't just transport me 100 blocks south because I held on tight enough? You REALLY THINK that's gonna happen?" Lois asks him, both brows arching so high they are practically on her scalp, not her forehead, and her lips smirking deep enough to be a submarine.

*

"No, I'm telling a reporter if she doesn't want to end up dead that she stay away from the bar and drug dealer," Constantine replies blandly. "That's not the kind of thing you come back from, luv. Black holes are dark. And black. And go on forever. Falling for the rest of eternity doesn't appeal to me, but then, Luck," he shrugs. His hail Mary is always on his side.

"And I know I'm foxy, but I didn't transport you, luck did," he smirks at that. "Just be glad you're still in one piece and can live to drug another day, yeah?" His eyebrows lift and he takes a couple paces away from her.

*

"Yeah, I mean, probably going back *INTO* the black hole filled bar isn't a great idea and I might actually be smart enough to take that advice. But I'm sticking my nose in this. Hell, my nose is already firmly stuck. I know people Keith knows. I know the deals he makes, who he talks to… Even if I can't talk to HIM again, I can probably figure out if there was anyone new in his life, or anywhere new he was going. Might be able to get you better information than you could get on your own."

Lois then leans back, crossing her long legs far too mock casually, smirk returning to her lips, "But, what would *I* know. I'm just a reporter who's been investigating weird shit in this city for a decade and has at least a hundred more contacts than a transplant weirdo with good taste in cigarettes and bad taste in dames. I'm sure I'd be no help to you what so ever." She takes a cock, casual drag of her cigarette, just WAITING for him to ask for her help.

*

John squints at her. "You done singing your accolades then?" he asks with a single arched eyebrow. "Or you going to splay your feathers and peacock around. You know the peacock isn't even the girl-bird, right? May as well have just asked me to whip it out." His eyebrows draw together. No, John Constantine is no gentleman.

"And I'm just the paranormal investigator who luck loves and grants the right place right time to." He scrubs his face. "I don't work with people, but I'll think on it, Miss Lane. If it's of need, I'll find you again. Whether or not I want to." And there it is, the simple truth of the matter. He drops his cigarette butt to the ground, steps on it, grinds it into the pavement, and reaches into his pocket for another as he turns on his heel.

*

"Mm…don't make promises about whipping it out when you're not willing to keep them, Constantine. You might just find someone actually willing to take you up on it." There is heat in her voice, and a promise. Lois is about as shy as she is modest — that is, to say, not at all. SHe doesn't bother to try and disguise the flirting and her grin is all trouble and sauce. She takes another deep drag of her cigarette, leaning back in the bench like she doesn't have a care in the world, even as he turns on his heel. She'll at least enjoy a long look at his behind as he goes.

"See you again, no doubt, Connie… You're too much trouble and I'm too much curiosity for it not to happen." She calls after him, especially if he doesn't take her up on the flirtations.

Unless otherwise stated, the content of this page is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 3.0 License