“You ‘ere for me, luv?” John asks sleepily. He should probably be scared. Or something. Actually, lack of adrenal response? Maybe she is here for him? He looks back into the bed behind him but there’s nothing there but a pillow and a sleeping hunter.
She shakes her head and smiles at him. That soft sweet smile that makes so many willingly walk into her arms. Peaceful promises of endless rest and painless nothing.
“Bugger, you’re not here for the lad are ya?” John’s never literally fucked someone to death. But there’s a first for everything and he’s almost willing to believe that he is actually toxic enough to do it. He’d been hoping that demon blood wouldn’t agree with the Mark but not like that.
But Death just shakes her head again. Moves from her position at the end of the bed to sit down on its edge next to John. Still smiling soft and serene.
“No, John. I’m not here for either of you. Although I will come in person for each.” She reaches out to pick up his hand and he lets her. Because she is what she is. Utterly unstoppable. The ultimate end. She gets to do what she wants. “Anyway, you’re both rather good at avoiding me. Don’t you think?”
He shrugs. “Luck’s gotta run out some time, luv.”
“One would assume,” she says, smile far too knowing for his liking. “I’m not here for a collection, John. I’m here to ask for a favour.” Her universe deep eyes meet his and he swallows back some of that genuine mortal fear.
That… doesn’t sound good. The thing about a favour for one of the Endless is that it sounds like a good deal. Having one of Them owe you sounds like something you want. But it’s a con, a fawney rig. Brass for gold. It always costs more than you think. And it means getting involved in a whole new level of fucked up world melting bad. They play at the universal level and he’s just a fucked up little punk from Liverpool. This was never what he signed up for. Not that it’s ever really a choice though. Not with Them.
“What,” he says, not quite asks, as suspiciously as he dares. Takes back his hand so he can light a ciggie while he processes whatever it is she’s about to force on him. He feels the warm star-forged metal of her ring slide against his skin and tries not to shudder.
“It’s Fate she…” Death starts to say.
“No,” he interrupts her. Which is stupid. Really pig-headed, arse over ears, moronic. But… no. Just no.
She looks at him impassively while he realises that he just interrupted the most powerful being in, and above, all creation.
The thing is, the Three Sisters are an entity which he has had more than enough to do with for ten lifetimes. Not to mention he’s pretty sure the middle one flirts with him and the other two want him obliterated. Which… okay, even when you don’t have the universe’s biggest case of split personality, that is a pretty normal reaction to John Constantine. But it’s still bleeding creepy.
“Why can’t sodding Destiny deal with it, whatever it is?” John asks, only a little plaintively. Because he knows it isn’t really worth fighting this, but there’s something in him that won’t let him yield that easy. Even to Death. And that right there is kind of his whole story really. “They’re his b… kids.”
Or whatever. Offspring? Progeny? Aspects? What to call the children of the Endless probably isn’t the most pertinent question of the night really.
“Because he’s Destiny,” Death says with a sigh and a shrug. It’s a very human gesture. One he knows all too well. He’s seen Cheryl do it. And Chas come to think of it. Normally after the words ‘Because he’s John’ and normally when he’s completely rat arsed drunk or about to do something world endingly stupid. So, you know, quite bloody often. The parallel would be funny if it wasn’t terrifying.
“Right. Let me rephrase. Why me?”
“Because you are what you are, John,” she says. Gives him another infuriatingly soft smile. Sometimes he thinks he’s a little bit in love with her. It would explain a lot. “For this, I need the Laughing Magician. And at the moment that would be you.”
The last bit wasn’t necessary. He was already well and truly aware of all the pain and hellfire that particular heritage brought down on him. And, yeah alright, sometimes helped him avoid some too. But it was still closer to a dig than a compliment.
He looks down at Winchester sleeping soundly through all this. At this point he doubts even another apocalypse would be able to wake anyone in the building. Even the damn angel is probably asleep thanks to Death’s influence. She always gets what she wants. Always gets everything eventually, even if she doesn’t want it. He takes a deep breath, closes his eyes and draws on a bit of inner steel he’s not always sure is there.
“An’ if I do this, you will owe me one? That’s your offer?”
He opens his eyes to watch her reaction. “An unspecified favour to be called in at me own convenience, yeah?”
“Yes,” she sighs it this time. Knows the very power she wants to exploit is probably going to get turned against her at some point. “Within the rules and reason of course.”
“Of course,” he says. Grimaces. Trust her to put on the perfect caveat. But he can work it. Probably. “Alright, let’s talk terms. But I’m going to need tea. Proper goddamned tea not this American swill.”
She stands up and offers him her hand. “Scotland?” she suggests.
“No, you’ll make me eat another deep fried mars bar or sumthin’ and I’ll be sick.” He balances his fag on his lip while he looks around for his clothes. Otherwise she’ll just zap him off naked again. And no one will notice because he’s with Her but it’s still bloody uncomfortable. He swings his legs off the edge of the bed and starts putting his trousers on.
“Provençe?” she says in perfect French. Because even languages die.
“Sure,” John says. Nods towards the man next to him. “Do I get to tell ‘em where I’m going or do we just flutter off?”
She shrugs and waves her hand towards the sleeping Winchester, who blinks awake almost immediately. Without any supernatural force keeping him asleep, the presence in the room is enough to wake him. Hand already sliding for a weapon until his eyes fall on Death standing next to his bed.
“What the fuck is he doing here,” Dean snaps. He scrambles back as though getting out of her reach will help. But at least the fear and disbelief is probably a healthier reaction to finding the Grim Reaper in your room. A lot healthier than John’s had been certainly. Ah well. No one ever accused John Constantine of being a model of humanity.
“Makin’ my life more difficult,” John says and lets the emphasis show the mortal irony in that one. “And, hang on, he?”
Dean looks at John like he’s the crazy one. Which alright, maybe they’re equally matched in that one too. But still.
“Most mortals see me as they need to,” Death answers. And, yeah John knew that. Knew she had more than one face to choose from. He sees what she prefers because he is what he is and then bled himself dry becoming more. But he just assumed Winchester would go for the cute goth chick. Who wouldn’t?
And then Death’s visage flickers. For a moment she’s the skeleton, cloak and scythe and all. And then he sees what Dean must see. A tall angular man with those same galactic eyes in a gaunt face.
“Bloody hell Winchester, I thought I had daddy issues!”
Death laughs. Fading back to her feminine form (for John’s eyes at least) mid-way through. So he hears both the deep melodic baritone and the sweeter but equally dangerous alto he’s used to. That probably shouldn’t be sexy for a whole range of reasons that he’s not even going to worry about right now.
Winchester still looks like he’s seriously thinking about trying to stab Death with an angel blade.
“S’right luv,” John lies soothingly. “Won’t take long?”
Death shrugs and sort of nods – which is apparently all the guarantee he’s getting on that one. Fan-bloody-tastic.
John shrugs into his shirt then leans forward to kiss Winchester. Grabs him by the jaw and presses in firm and reassuring with a confidence he doesn’t really feel. He feels Dean stiffen at first, aware of Death’s presence, but then he must decide to throw caution to the wind again and melts into it. A hand ends up in John’s hair like Dean is going to drag him back down into the bed. But Death clears her throat and Winchester flinches back.
John smirks at him and pats his cheek before standing back up and offering Death his hand.
“You’re just going off with him,” Dean half-flails at Death. “Wait, you’re not dying are you?”
“No I’m not dying… well not as far as I know, any road.” John looks at Death but she remains unmoved. Patience tends to come with inevitability. “And what would you do anyway?”
“Thought so. Don’t worry, luv. Won’t be a tick. Bring you back some of the god awful Tropézienne tart rubbish, yeah?”
“I… I don’t even know what that is?” Winchester manages to sound both pathetically defeated and dangerously grumpy at the same time. It’s fairly impressive.
“It’s sort of like a ‘pie’. You’ll love it, honest. Now, I’ve got some negotiations to win.” John smiles at Death with as much superiority as you can when you’re grinning at the End of all Ends.
Death rolls her eyes at John, winks at Winchester then grabs John’s hand. He gets one last glimpse of Winchester’s confusion before the word goes gold and they’re on a street corner in Toulon. It’s only then that he remembers he doesn’t even have his damn coat...