1965-05-20 - End Times and End Games
Summary: Strange goes below the earth to see what the errant Necromancer has planned. John gets Strange to cuss. It's a win-win
Related: None
Theme Song: None
strange constantine 

Monster Metropolis

Home of those that could not, or should not walk above. After a time disappearing from the public eye and checking in not with the New York or London office some started wondering after that envelope with 'All the Answers(tm)' showed up if that wasn't actually John Constantine's way of giving his two weeks notice.


The man could hardly be trusted to not push when it was a means to an end. Oh yeah that might go well. Likewise, he was never one to take betrayal sitting down. All portents led to a spot in Manhattan but where? Down. Deep into the Earth where the monsters roam and hellmouths occasionally rupture.

Today it was a cantina in New York Below beyond the access tunnels where John Constantine was getting pissed off some monstrous moonshine and consulting a map. Them were some dark circles there, but when you find out 20 years of your life were an elaborate lie? Not uncommon. A doorman stopped Strange with a card held facing away. Ah, pictorial Zener cards. A non-issue for the Sorcerer Supreme, but interesting security none the less. This was, apparently, common practice for anyone entering the bar. Fun place.

"If I wanted trouble, I wouldn't have bothered coming in through the front door," the Sorcerer comments almost coolly to the doorman in question. His voice issues from within the demi-shadows of a deeply-hooded…Cloak. Little Red Riding Strange? Go on, make the crack; he'll show wolfish teeth for you. The foxlight-glow about his pupils isn't a thing of note here, not underground in the Metropolis. Creatures are a dime-a-dozen who can make a glare lambent.

"The Tower, gilded," he comments before literally striding past the doorman in his usual presumptive way. Like a scent hound, he narrows in on the man in question in the cantina beyond. Interest finds him and slides away; his is an air of business and stand-offishness on par with few things on this earth. His boots make for a quiet, confident stride of approach. He stops at a respectful distance and runs his gaze up and down the man, his dark brows coming to knit. "John," he says by way of greeting even as he removes the manila folder from its tuck beneath one arm and half-brandishes it. "Let's talk."

Constantine would actually have to stop drinking before he could begin to have a hangover. Not his best look, but not his least common either. Fixed points on road maps lifted up to look at New York's finest- no not the damned constabulary. The iris of his eyes were rimmed with red, but it wasn't the bloodshot, that was something fel glowing faintly there from the embers of hellfire and those that carried it. Hell of a thing for a mortal to be carrying around. There was a deep breath that followed and a nod. His shoe pushed out the chair opposite of him which was as much of an invitation as any.

Lifting back the deep hood of the Cloak reveals silvered temples and the refined face, cheekbones and goatee and all. No doubt whispers and rumors spread — Why is the Sorcerer Supreme here, why now? — but they'll come to naught and die out long before they can cause harm. He sits in the offered chair and sets the manila folder down on the table. A silence almost construed as comfortable hovers about them as his gaze lingers on the map in particular and then he speaks, keeping his voice pitched conversationally-low for their ears alone.

"I got your report." A finger tap-taps on the closed flap of the golden envelope lightly. "If I'm not mistaken, you've got the air of a man up to his chin in ideas. Plans." Strange watches the other practitioner intently, an ability enviably easy for him as once-surgeon and now-guardian. "Care to share? I offer a listening ear and, potentially, some wisdom on matters."

Constantine shook his head and looked to the bartender and held up two fingers (polite-side out) and wiggled them and tapped the table. Two drinks. It's what John usually calls a good start. Evenly he replied, "Good. Nice t' know those stamps didn't go to waste." He heard him out though. Like dealing with Angels, even in the worst of moods there was a fine line of respect and knowing just how to walk it and what he could and couldn't get away with. Tonight his war was not with Strange though.

"You seen how far back this timeline goes? There's a lot of road to backtrack. But when've you known me to not have a plan?" He glanced the bar out of habit. Seedy people in questionable places and all. Looking back he asked, "How's Kent holdin up?"

"Cranston seems no worse for the wear. He arrives in a timely manner for his lessons and leaves without further comment on aforementioned matters," Strange replies, giving the bar a quick once-over himself. Curious gazes quickly avert and an arched eyebrow sends practiced disdain in their direction, just in case anyone was brave enough to continue oggling longer.

The Sorcerer looks back to John now. "I had the opportunity to discuss briefly with him, while Lindon was present. The man's visions granted him a location as to an object important to Hargrove: Archangel, in Siberia of all places. Are any of your plans leading you there? Or are there other fish to fry?" He rests his temple against two fingers, his chin otherwise occupying the rest of his hand as he leans an elbow on the arm of his chair.

|ROLL| Constantine +rolls 1d20 for: 14

Constantine considered the total weight of the question. He looked back to Strange taking the glass of scotch in front of himself and taking a drink. "Need t'make a pitstop first. Best way to catch any running animal is to kick his feet out from under em. Man took what I had from me. I feel inclined to pay back the favour." His finger worried the rim on the glass and tapped it. "I'm going after his man Spurling first. Be much harder to hide without his shade. Turns out that's why Kent's got such a bugger of a time pinpointing them. I figure I'll take care of what I need t'do and push the gate open, give you both a chance to get the drop on him. Could join after." He considered this and furrowed his brow, "Something that concerns me now in Russia?"

"Not necessarily," replies the Sorcerer slowly in terms of Russia, his attention off somewhere over John's right shoulder. By his expression, he's a thousand miles away and gears are whirring away behind his half-lidded eyes. "A phylactery, it's been called by the Archive…accompanied by a sense of immortal souls." His thoughtful tone is almost a purr, as if pleased to have some facet of mystery to turn about in his mental hands. "I intend to deal with it, one way or another. It's how to go about it, especially in a place where the elements themselves may not be terribly fond of me at this point in time." A lift of his brows and he shakes his head, his focus coming back to John proper now. His drink is ignored for the moment. "This Spurling. I'm certain you have creative plans for him…?"

Constantine watched Strange with a level eye and snorted far too frank for social politeness. "Let's be real, that human piece of fecal trash…ya really gonna miss em?" Slightly bleary eyes, but still with far too many of his faculties processing for John's own preference he did answer. Shifting in his chair leaning forward with a press of both forearms to the table edge, a slightly hurt tone arose as if it were even able to be genuine. Harm suffered to his pride, which to a wizard was near most of him. "You find a phylactery now? Did it even occur to anyone to call your friendly neighbourhood necromancer or is this that talk?" He paused and glanced askance and back to Strange, "I think that works better for Spider-Man that it does me. Still. Lotta souls in one little apartment. Gonna have a mess on your hands. We know where they're from?"

Strange levels a patient look right back at the necromancer.

"I simply wish to know your plans for the man, John, that is all. They may carry some weight." He eyes the glass of whiskey and pulls the glass towards himself, if only to fiddle with it. He slowly inks a perfect circle on condensation on the table as he silently rolls the bottom of the glass about. Not a drop of the drink spills.

"I'm well aware of how phylacteries work," he lightly reminds the man across from him. "It is knowledge in the vein of my mantle, after all. Though yes, it'll be one hell of a mess." He rubs at the silver-temple briefly with those two fingers, looking exasperated. "As to where they're from, no. The Archive has been cautious as to looking into it further, and well he should be." A scarred finger reaches out and tap-taps the envelope once more. "I have no desire to have anyone locate him."

Constantine offered plainly, "Bigger mess really. That whole, end of the Earth thing… unemployment doesn't sit well with our kind really. Best to just, you know, avoid the whole bloody mess." He nodded as if the reason to save the world would be so Strange didn't have to look for job. Considerate cheeky prat he was.

"Five years ago my ex bound me and killed me to have me sacrificed for what…" Two fingers tapped his temple as he took another drink." what I know. What comes naturally t'me. Funny thing about that," The grin turned smug, if not outright devious and very exhausted, "He didn't know I was already spoken for. Joke's on him when I died but, ya know, didn't die… broke up after that. Didn't sort out." Understatement of the month, "So, we'll say I'm happy that they left us the instruction manual for that neat little trick and we'll be able to fight fire with fire. Bring all Hargrove's shields down and then you can just go and look aaaaaall neat and snazzy like ya do, luv, and slap the stupid out of him."

Shadows scuttle across his expression even as Strange listens. Foreboding? Absolutely. Very few care to be on the receiving end of this look; apprentices at Kamar-Taj are sent scuttling by it alone. Then, a dry laugh escapes the Sorcerer's lips and he lifts the glass briefly as salute. The ambient light winks through the amber liquid.

"I do appreciate slapping stupid folk around. There's something about…furnishing common sense where it was ignored before." He'll call it that, apparently, all of the noise and thunder that's involved with the mantle of Sorcerer Supreme. What dark humor had in the moment melts away from his expression again. His next words are softer yet. "I did wonder why Lady Death had marked you as such. I am sorry that you were forced to experience that, John. If ridding this world of Hargrove and his influence is enough to lay those old ghosts to rest, I'm the happier for it. If we're being honest with one another, I'd rather you not be flustered."

Constantine dimpled a smirk lifting his glass. "To old wizards that don't mind gettin their hands dirty so others don't have to, eh, Strange?" He took another drink appreciating the practicality Stephen brought to the table. "I think she fancies me rightly. Died twice now. Didn't much take. First time though? That was a bit of a mess. Fifteen and shot as we made landfall on the beach. With another one of us at the time. Dabbler. Not the best. Good man. I got shot though and was bleedin out. We got the brilliantly fucked idea to summon a demon and bring it into submission and what not. Well… didn't quite go as planned and being fifteen and knowin everything as lads do I said I got this. DIdn't. Wound up possessed and with the blood of a Duke of hell runnin around in my veins welcoming its new hose. Had t'get Kent t'come in t'clean up the bloody mess. Ain't we a pair though." That smile was terse, but he could oly give Kent so much shit. he did come through for him and was his only semblance of family left standing. Even John couldn't shit on that.

Looking back to Strange, the Laughing Magician followed up with, "S'why I have t' do this maybe. Get out of his back pocket on that one. S'fair. Really? I'm in it at this point for the pure bloody revenge of it. Besides… they need fewer fekking toys. And we're the lads t'take it from em." He took a drink and swished it around hanging his head really considering this. "I was going to walk after this… but I'll see about meeting you in Russia. Get me the details. Shouldn't have to spend all that time cleaning up the mess alone and you wouldn't have said as much if you didn't want me interested. I met you. We'll see what's left of me that's standing."

A small smile breaks one of the clean lines of Strange's goatee as he shifts in the chair. The whiskey is sampled, found…adequate, and he indulges in one more small sip before setting the sweating drink aside again.

"I do not require that you accompany me to Russia, John, but nor will I stop you if you choose to do so. Hargrove has been masterful thus far at keeping himself beyond notice of all but a canny few. I can't imagine that following up on the phylactery will be anything as easy as a berry-picking jaunt." He almost rolls his eyes, but refrains…barely. "Assistance is always appreciated when it comes to a foe well-versed in the Arts."

He seems to consider something for a second or two before looking back up at John again. "I suspect that Hargrove may attract the attention of Lady Death with this phylactery. Souls locked are souls potentially denied to her. She may not be happy to see either of us." Another sigh, this one almost accepting, in a way. "Revenge though… Are you certain about revenge? Karma plays a very long game and these stakes are very high." His brows lift to accent the point.

|ROLL| Constantine +rolls 1d20 for: 17

Constantine paused over his drink and eyed strange, "If those are the souls that Hargrove took to distill? Then at least one of those is mine. We should like to have a word with it. If Aloys is in there I want my answers due. Until them? Karma?" John paused steeling himself. He'd fallen apart once and once was all he was affording the world at this point. "Take a third of a man's life t'pick em clean? I'd say a lil payback ain't exactly out of the question. I'm owed. We're just gonna settle up and when I'm done? I have every intention to put him in the space they tried to stick me. You know, nature hating a vacuum and all." Sauced or not, he'd put both time and careful effort into this one. See? And here you were worried I didn't like t'follow the rules."

Strange shakes his head the slightest as he looks upon the necromancer. His smile is faint, but present and almost…sad, in a way. Not quite pitying, because he avoids the emotion like the plague himself.

"I suppose if you're going to level the playing field, literally, by swapping tit for tat, I can't lodge a complaint. I'll be present to ensure that your soul returns to you rather than anyone else, bony hands be damned." He lifts the whiskey again in salute and then sips at it. A wince. "Next time, let's find another place for drinks, John."

Constantine nodded slowly and said, in earnest even, "I appreciate that, Stephen. I just… want to know the truth. I think we're overdue that. Next time we catch drinks though? Well I'll let you pick the venue. Maybe Prague. Barcelona's nice." He considered the sum of it all swaying in his seat. It might be the purest form of Constantine there was: robbed of everything and truths and still fighting to gain ground. Maybe they had that in common. With a squint John offered, "I appreciate you not being a twat about this. For what it's worth. Just make sure Kent doesn't get ahead of himself. He'll follow a portent like a basset hound into the jaws of a waiting alligator if he doesn't remember to look up once in a while." John for: I worry.

"Cranston is slowly learning to keep his guard up. I never let his confidence level get in the way of training." Strange allows himself a fond smirk. "He is likely far more apt than last you truly saw him at full-stretch. I am not an easy mentor. I don't allow for anything less than the best in my most apt students."

"But still…" and he pauses for a second, the grin taking on a wry light. "Don't be thankful yet, John. I may find a reason to be a…twat, as you put it."

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