2019-07-11 - Helping the Homeless


Someone stole Constantine's dang house.

Log Info:

Storyteller: None
Date: Thu Jul 11 04:47:56 2019
Location: Shadowcrest - Interior

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Theme Song



Knock, knock. The sound isn't just a knuckle dusting the door of Shadowcrest. It's a Presence banging against the house, against the wards. Whomever's outside is more than human. A magus— one of the Wise. And someone with some power behind those knocks, as the house reacts to the scale of the personality at the door.

When it opens, John Constantine looks Zatanna up and down, and cracks a wry smile. "Well, you've grown up a mite, eh?" he informs Zatanna. He's smoking, hand-cut tobacco wrapped in fragile parchment paper. "Don't know if you remember me. John Constantine. Friend of Zatara's, back when," he explains.

Roguish, dirty, his right coatsleeve cut open and sticky with dried blood, blonde hair mussed, and with two days of stubble.

Almost definitely a wizard. No one else has such disregard for personal appearance.

"Who is it?" Zatanna asks her house. She looks over at a booksheld where the titles have rearranged themselves to spell out 'CONSTANTINE' with their first letters. "Oh," Zatanna says to her house, scrunching her face up, seeming a little disappointed.

When Zatanna answers the door, she looks more casual than she normally does. Her black hair is tied up in a sloppy but functional bun. She has on a black t-shirt and black sweatpants. It's very much a 'lazy day at home look,' but she's still wearing a black choker and earings that have magical charms with black stone set in them and all the other little accessories that give Zatanna a bit of magic no matter what she does.

And yes, she has grown up a mite.

"I remember you," Zatanna says. She motions for Constantine to come in, stepping out of his way. "My dad used to complain to Ibis and Ra-Man that he wasn't looking forward to you coming around when I turned eighteen." It might be a joke, the way Zatanna says it, with her stage-ready charisma. It might also not be a joke.

"So, I can see you're bleeding. Is this usual bleeding or do I need to get out the stuff to try and exorcise anything awful from the cut you got going there?"

"I think I remember that conversation," John tells Zatanna, wryly. He looks around the house as he enters, with the expression of someone rediscovering the familiar. "Offered to teach you a thing or two about the finer points of ritualism. He thought I'd be a bad influence. We argued, he won. Only time I ever saw him with a shotgun in hand. Figured I'd bugger off back to London for a while after that," John grins.

"Anyway, this nick?" He rubs his injured arm. "Couple days old now. Dr. Strange stitched it up nicely. Man's good with a needle and thread, scars or no scars."

A llittle trepidation is marked by a dry throat and a cough. "Uh, Giovanni's not around, is he? I heard he was out of the country, and we didn't exactly leave it on the most cordial on terms."

"Yeah, that's how talking to Italian men about their teenage daughters usually goes," Zatanna says, actually flashing a very smug smirk. She looks at his sleeve again. "I could probably fix that," she says, pointing at the dried blood and the tear in it. "Unless your coat is more than just your coat, if you know what I mean."

The question about whether Zatanna's father is home makes her stop in her tracks for a moment. She sets her hands on her hips and seems to be lost in thought for just a second or two, judging how to respond. "Ah… no," she finally says, looking back at Constantine. "He has not been around in… well, a decade, just about. Must be coming up on it." Zatanna swallows. She's clearly trying to be glib. The effort shows. "But that tells me you haven't seen him, so."

"Was hoping you'd offer," John admits, and shrugs out of it. It's handed over to Zatanna and her fingers buzz with the sensation of deeply etched spellwork laid into the jacket. Portable pockets of storage, subtle but inactive glamours.. it's been enchanted with some masterful spellwork to turn it into something much more than a mere weather garment. No wonder he wears it in this heat.

In a white dress shirt and loose-fitting necktie, he heads for a sofa he's well familiar with and drops into it. An ashtray that's probably not seen use in a few decades is dragged over and he taps the cigarette out into it.

"Sorry to hear Gio's missing. Like I said, last time. Shotguns. Scowls. Figured best to lay low. Unfortunately, that means I'm gonna need your help instead of his. I hope you've been keepin' your end of the family business, luv. Need a proper spellslinger, not a stage magician. It's important."

"Gosh, you know, it's been forever," Zatanna says, frowning. She looks over the coat and resists the urge to pull it closer and sniff it. Instead, she folds it a bit so that she can hold it while focusing mostly on the torn sleeve. "Taochcnert naelc yrd dna riaper," she says aloud, standing behind the sofa where Constantine is sat. A moment later, his trenchcoat is slung over the back of the couch next to him, the sleeve — and everything else freshly dry-cleaned, the tear fixed as if it was never been there (and other signs of wear-and-tear similarly fixed). It's not any less magic than it was before, but it looks like it looked the day it was bought.

"Yeah, like I said. It's been forever, just me living in my big magic house with all my cool magic powers." Zatanna comes around to sit on the arm of the couch. "What do you need?"

"Bless you, luv," John groans, and examines the garmnet. "I'm getting by on ritual casting using the shit I've got in my pockets and ten bob I spent at Wal-Mart on chalk and wax. Feel like a bloody hedge wizard harvesting newt toes with a pair of nail clippers to save a quid."

He starts working on the coat's mended sleeve, tossing an ankle over his knee opposite and brushing his fingers over marred runes. A trickle of amythyst and sapphire power rolls into the cloth to fix the damaged sigils.

"There are a few domiciles like Shadowcrest. Magical homes," Constantine explains. "Here, of course. Strange's Sanctum, and that tosser lies like a rug if he says his was first. They came after my house— the House of Mysteries. Modelled on it," he says.

"It's huge inside. Miles of rooms if I need 'em. Prisons downstairs. Vaults of priceless magical relics." His face hardens. "Someone nicked it from me. Stole the Door when I called it and scarpered. I've no idea where it is, or who took it, or why. But— if they break into it, the least— the /least/ bad result is they open Pandora's Box in midtown. I need the House back. I need allies who know how to track her. Your dad's off the pitch, so I guess this is your chance to shine, luv."

Zatanna raises her eyebrows at the news. "Ah, crap," is her expert assessment of how bad the situation is. "Any idea who the someone is? Or at least a likely suspect?" Zatanna thinks for a second, then corrects that to: "Top ten likely suspects?"

The sorceress brings a heel up onto the armrest she's sitting on and casually loops her arms around her bent knee. She looks around the house, thinking. Perhaps about how to track down Constantine's missing Door. Perhaps about how bad it would be if someone stole her own. "Do you know HOW they did it, at least? Like, if we can single out the ritual…"

"Guess is as good as mine," John admits. "I've been beating the bushes. Gonna meet a bird named Ravager later; I was attacked by men with some kind of enchanted weapons. Gossamer steel or feyblades, they slashed right through this coat. Dumb enough not to cap me in the temple with a gun, and old fashioned t' boot? Sounds like enforcers to me, someone working an angle for some really old school bloke."

His face hardens. "I don't know how they did it. House can go anywhere, across time and space. I've been blocked from Calling her, and sometimes she won't go somewhere that's truly dangerous. Last thing I need is someone crashing in the front door. But they just… grabbed her. The doorframe, when I called her. Zap, poof, and they all just vanished. I've been calling her for a few days now. Only think I haven't done is a summoning spell, 'cause frankly I don't know how bad it'd be if I pulled House into the Sanctum. Overlapping multidimensional spaces? Could make an ugly mess."

He looks sidelong at Zatanna, gauging her profile. Finding his cigarette running short he stubs it in the ashtray and reaches for another. It's lit by summoned fire cupped in his palm, bright but not marring his pale skin.

Zatanna doesn't say anything about the cigarette being lit, but if Constantine looks up, he might notice that what ceiling fans the house has are currently going, when they weren't a few moments ago.

"That's… Jesus, yeah," Zatanna says, resting her chin on her bent knee. She furrows her brow, still working through this one. "The backyard here might be big enough… maybe… but there's still a lot of, uh, magic back there, and… yeah, I dunno. I mean. I'll hit the books and… I dunno. Did you try calling your home phone?" Zatanna looks over at Constantine, turning her head so that her cheek is on her knee and she's looking at him sideways. "See who picks up?"

"Cute," John says, with a wry smirk. "House manifests a phone if I need it, but she doesn't have a permanent number. Really complicates caller ID problems."

His expression turns thoughtful. "I could try and send something to 'er, see where she is. Might get a sense of how she's being blocked. If I can't find 'er, then I know she's held somewhere off-grid."

John sighs and stares at his cigarette, then takes a deeper drag and lays back to rest his head against the sofaback behind him. "'course, on the other hand, if the wards reject the teleport spell, then… well, we're proper fucked. Means they're indoors and took her over by force. That''ll make a whole -different- set of problems."

Zatanna shrugs gently at the phone idea being a no-go. She's giving the other mage a bit of a wry smirk, herself.

"Well. I'll help however I can. I still have Dad's library. His whole collection of… you know, stuff. And all of MY stuff. Just because I'm rich and famous and everyone loves me now, doesn't mean that I haven't been still curating the collection, and making acquisitions." Zatanna lifts her head and lowers her foot back to the floor.

"You need a place to crash?" Zatanna pats the back of the couch. "I've got a guest bedroom or three. And it'd probably be a better fit than hanging with Strange, as far as keeping yourself protected when you sleep."

"Blimey you're a fast one," John says, grinning up at Zatanna. "Haven't seen you in a decade and you're gonna offer me a room, just like that?" A finger snaps near his hip. Hard to tell if he's being serious or sarastic. A bit of both?

"But, uh… yeah. Could use a place to sleep. Strange is a decent bloke but the house rules are like prison. He alphabatizes /everything/, you know. Cereals, clothing, you name it. Whines if a smudge of dust appears and blimey if he doesn't talk like he fellated a bloody dictionary," Constantine snorts.

"Hopefully won't be long, though. I miss my taps and my kitchen." He glances down at his ratty attire. "And my closet. Been wearin' this for four days now. Change of fresh trousers would be nice."

"Don't worry, John. We'll find your house. And your kitchen, and your clothes, and your everything. The library's open to you. If you want to look around, go for it. Second floor. Eerht sriap fo sresuort." She reaches down to one side of the couch, just out of view, and picks up three pairs of slacks just like the ones Constantine's wearing, neatly folded — just clean and fresh.

Zatanna offers them with a little crooked grin. She's having fun showing off what she can do, maybe. "Anyway, some of the doors won't open for you. Nothing against you. It's just a security thing. Do me a favor and try not to jimmy them, okay?"

"Aww, and I didn't get you anything," John says, accepting the pants in his hands. He gets to his feet. "I know the drill. Helped set some of those locks," he grins at Zatanna. "Don't worry. I know how it works around here. I'll take the Green Room," he says, nodding at the upper level. "Always sleep well there. I probably still have some scotch squirreled away behind the closet," he says, thoughtfully.

John looks at Zatanna and his expression flattens. "Why're you helpin' me, luv?" he asks, plaintively. "I didn't have to twist your arm or bribe you one bit. I'm just some bloke who was mates with your da a decade ago. You could have turned me away at the door."

"Because I'm a good person," Zatanna replies, with a big wink and a grin, as if she was telling a joke onstage. "You said it yourself. You knew Dad. Obviously you didn't part under the best terms, but he respected you. So I respect you, too."

"Besides," Zatanna says. "If you try to snoop in my dresser or something, I still have Dad's shotgun." A pause of just half a beat. "PLUS my boyfriend shoots lasers from his eyes. So."

"Well my girlfriend dashes lightning from her tits, so don't sneak into my room or anything," Constantine bids Zatanna in precisely the same tone. "And fair warning, if you forgot: I'm a proper tosser. Don't look to me for warm and fuzzy. One thing Gio and I disagreed on vehemently was were that line between 'good' and 'stupid' is."

He shoves the clothes under his left arm. "Orright, I'm off for the matresses, then. We'll hit it early in the morn' tomorrow, then. Nine am. Closer to ten. Soft ten," he adds, going up the stairs.

"If you wanna make it at eleven, that'd be fine by me, too."

Zatanna lifts two fingers to her forehead in a teasing little tossed-off salute. Not the two-fingered salute Constantine is used to giving (and receiving). "John, you can be as much of a tosser as you want. Hell, if you want, you can be an asshole."

Zatanna is at the foot of the stairs, talking up to him as he goes: "Remember, I'm in show business. You can be as bad as you want, bud. You'd still be small potatoes when it comes to that. Sleep well, okay?"

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