Roleplaying Log: Complicated
IC Details

It's all complicated in the Lance-Gordon house when Babs lets an old boyfriend sleep over.

Other Characters Referenced:
IC Date: November 20, 2018
IC Location: Sherwood Florists
OOC Notes & Details
Posted On: 26 Nov 2018 21:03
Rating & Warnings: R for language
Scene Soundtrack: [* ]
NPC & GM Credits: None
Associated Plots

This scene follows The Exorcism of Alysia Yeoh and is before A Team.

Music: Lovely — Billy Eilish

It's early. Or late? It's hard to say. Gothamites keep weird hours. Dinah had come home from dealing with a bunch of smugglers in Hell's Kitchen, and dirty and covered in someone else's blood. It'd taken a hot shower and an hour of work to clean her bike and get her leather cleaned and treated properly. Then, faceplant into bed.

Waking up a few hours later, she heads down to her kitchen wearing fuzzy pants, slippers, and a faded old Aerosmith t-shirt that looks well loved and much laundered. Brushing her bed-headed hair back from her face, she starts the coffee maker with a bleary-eyed expression and pours Cap'n Crunch into a bowl and loading it with milk from the old latch-handled fridge.

Losing track of time is not exactly part of Barbara's normal behavior, but she's definitely sleeping in… which is also not part of Barbara's normal behavior. Didn't she have work this morning? Who was filing the books? Reenacting scenes from Beauty and the Beast on the roller ladder?

Not Barbara Gordon.

When she realized that Dinah was awake and downstairs, she had seriously hesitated at the heavy bedroom door while staring at John Constantine in some hopes of guidance. Throwing John out the window is really not something she just immediately thinks is a great idea, so the only option was just… getting over it.

The door creaks open quietly, and Barbara steps out onto the landing in her own thrown-together joggers, Fair Isle knit socks, and a supersized t-shirt with the Bat Burger logo on it. What? She liked the Bat Burger run. She starts precariously down the stairs, totally forgetting that the third one is a tattletale, and it groans under her weight.

Then she's just committed to it, walking down the rest of the stairs without any attempt to hide the fact that she's coming, because… she's pretty sure John is going to be outrageously flamboyant about following her anyway.

"Hi Di," she calls, voice a bit resigned.

"Hey Babs," Dinah says, through a yawn. "Coffee's on, gimme a min," she mumbles. Dinah's not a morning person until she's had some caffeine and sugar to kickstart her metabolism. "Weirdest friggin' night last night," she says, not picking up on Babs' reticent tones yet. Back still to the ginger, she starts adding lots of coffeemate sweetener to her coffee until it turns a cheery mocha brown color. "Ran into this smuggling racket and then that chick Rad Sparrow showed up and almost blew the whole op. Kid caught a bullet in the ribs, and then I bumped into that detective over in Hell's Kitchen— Jessica Jones?" she remarks.

"Anyway, fun evening, we're going back out tonight to take a second look once the cops clear out." She turns, holding her bowl of cereal in one hand and spoon in the other, eating with her hips resting on the counter behind her.

"You do anything fun last night?"

Early, late. These things only have the meaning one allows them to have, and John allows them little meaning, contrary to the others. Sure, he's been up already this morning— but he's passed out again now, offering just -so much- useful insight into Barbara's debate. It /would/ make him easier to toss out the window, though.

The door opening stirs the warlock abruptly, eyes snapping open, though he doesn't immediately move when he remembers where he is, and realizes what the sound was, instead letting out a stress-releasing sigh and dropping his head back into the pillows for a minute, eyeballing the ceiling with a profound yawn. Then he rolls clear, pads to the same now-even-more rumpled slacks he had on the day before, and pulls them on, wandering towards the door.

Does he smell coffee?! There's a pause to hunt for his flask in the hung-up trenchcoat, and he takes a swig before pocketing it and leaving the room, closing the door with little of the redhead's conscious effort towards stealth. He whistles lightly, and unhurriedly paces towards the stairs.

Barbara only half-listens to Dinah's words, perhaps because she looks up the stairs to spot the first sign of John's approach. She quickly gathers up her hair over one shoulders, self-consciously combing her fingers through the tangles and muss.

"Rad Sparrow?" The question is distracted — an almost automatic reply to something that didn't quite sound right. Then she's exhaling a bit at Lance's more casual, and yet oh-so-probbing question.

"About that." She steps forward a bit more hastily, and drops into a low, half-whisper. "I have a boy upstairs."

Those words sound so juvenile, and yet she has no other way to voice the fact that someone very not expected is about to come down the stairs. "Please stay chill, okay? It was a very last minute decision." Good decision? Bad decision? Jury is still out.

Dinah's face goes flat and she shoots a quick look towards Barbara. A flexion of muscle tenses her jaw and she drops the spoon against the side of her bowl, inhaling slowly through her nose as she controls her temper. "It's not that Castle guy, I hope," she warns Babs. "Barbara, I -told- you that guy was trouble…"

Running a hand through his own hair really only serves to further tousle John's closer cropped blonde crown, the random melody on his lips soft but not exactly stealthy, nor are the relatively unconcerned footfalls that fall on the stairway as he navigates his way, largely by listening and smelling coffee, towards the kitchen. John pauses in the doorway to lean one shoulder easily into the doorframe, initially just nodding to Dinah and shooting Barbara a winning, if slightly tired, smile.

Her tension registers, that and something else prompting a double-take at the Canary. Of all things, Constantine barks a single syllable of laughter. "Oh, you've -got- to be shitting me." He murmurs, to no one in particular; except maybe some bastard with a sick sense of humor in the sky or some shit.

"What the FUCK?" Dinah yelps. She recognizes Constantine as the mouthy drunk clinging to a dive bar, and the cop's daughter immediately starts down a mental road of assessing John as some kind of stalker.

She turns and sets her bowl aside hastily, and grabs a frying pan. It's half hefted as a throwing device before she catches Barbara's words, and she blinks in surprise, looking from Barbara to Constantine and back again.

She turns and tosses the frying pan at the counter before fixing a gimlet gaze on John. Arms wrap around her chest, hugging herself defensively. She looks like she just rolled out of bed, and she knows it.

"Jesus Babs, how drunk were you last night?" she asks her friend, ignoring Constantine totally. "I didn't know you were trolling the bars for hookups."

"Castle?" The mention of Frank sends a slightly awkward flush across her cheeks. "I thought we talked about this…" Then John is entering the room. First, Barbara is turning toward John to begin introductions, but then the incredulity from the Magician has her pivoting slightly toward Dinah.

Poor John. Barbara's assumptions immediately latch onto the evidence-backed reasoning that Dinah might be part of John's hook-up list. Barbara may be a hopeless romantic, but she's not a total chump. John Constantine had a reputation six years ago, she assumes he has a reputation now.

"Oh, I… what?" Gifted mind, common sense fail. And Dinah now has a frying pan like she's Tiffany Aching. She shifts slightly on her feet as she looks between Dinah and John. "Whoa, whoa, whoa!" Her hands shoot up seriously as she steps out between the two.

Then she blinks to Dinah. "I… not drunk at all." Then her brows furrow, lifting high above her eyes. "I wasn't! John is…" Then she glances to John, letting that hang there perhaps a bit too long. John is… John is…

Yes, John is shirtless and barefoot in Dinah's kitchen -stalking- her. The warlock's eyes narrow and he takes a step to the side, and a half of one back— getting hit is one thing, nailed with a frying pan he does -not- need this early in the morning. Or ever, really. More or less ignoring Dinah's UNWARRANTED condescension after she puts down the potentially lethal weapon, Constantine wipes a bit more sleep from his eyes and grins a lopsided grin at Barbara. No idiot either, it's not hard to guess what she's thinking.

"You had a couple, luv." He helpfully reminds Babs, because it's definitely the time for that. Neither of them were precisely -drunk- however— at least, by John's own standards. Which are totally legit. "I might have been pretty hammered the other night and decided it was a good idea to be a prick and a half to your roommate, though." It's almost an apology. Almost.

Oh good, Dinah knows his name. That's always a good sign— or maybe even Constantine prose veers towards the sarcastic. He gives a quiet little sigh that doesn't really carry to either woman and awkward bemusement shifts back towards the stoic and the tired as the warlock leans back against the doorframe and rubs his stubbled jawline intently.

Babs' -look- is answered in shoulders that shrug, and eyes that mirror that shrug. In another man, it would be sheepish; embarrassed. Even John likely is, a little bit, but guarded in this moment… it scarcely shows. She warned him he was a mess— it's not /his/ fault Barbara always thinks she knows better.

There's a monosyllabic snort at the idea he's here stalking Dinah, but really— it's all gracious enough, under the circumstances, that Constantine doesn't engage it. Or maybe he's just distracted by the flights of imagination telling him what Barbara's communicating whilst her back is turned. "A good an' proper tutor, obviously." Obviously. The Laughing Magician fills in his initial role decidedly sarcastically; and with just a trace of ill-tempered discomfort.

Dinah exchanges looks with Barbara. They've been friends long enough that a little conversation can take place just in that five-second exchange. A shifting of eyebrows. Tightening of lips. A small nod.

Dinah gives Babs' shoulder a little brush with the back of her knuckles, an affectionate pat in lieu of a hug, and turns her blue eyes back towards John. In fuzzy pants and slippers, hair a tangled mess around her head, she still looks dangerous. A bit of the mama tiger in this one, and the mixture of embarrassment and resignation on Barbara's face speaks volumes.

Like she's assessing which arm she might remove, and beat him to death with the severed limb. More to the point, despite being the relatively petite gymnast she is, her attitude projects that she could *do* it. A lengthy silence grows, just to show John she's not going to be intimidated by awkwardness in her own house.

"So demons, huh?" she says, finally, and looks back to Barbara. "This isn't another Solomon Grundy situation, is it?"

The barbs that needle this conversation are a bit disconcerting. She knows Dinah is looking out for her, and John is just being John, but… The way barriers and walls build up around John tells her a lot more than he probably wants, and it has her frowning slightly as she collects both mugs. She turns back toward him, stepping in just close enough to hand him one of the ceramics. Not quite paying attention, he's been given a mug that boldly states: This Bitch Reads Books And Has A Black Belt. The little silhouette is of a bespectacled girl holding a book and posed mid-roundhouse kick.

Barbara steps back to settle her hip into the table, curling both hands around her rather plain and mass-produced GCPD mug. "No… I mean, I don't think so. I think it's something from that whole Hell On Earth that was happening in New York City." She slips into the casual, more problem-solving conversation. She settles into it, using it like a security blanket… because she knows once John is out the door, she's facing the Mighty Interrogations of the Lance Family.

"You really don't want to know." It's not just John being difficult— what he found in that apartment is not normal, not routine possession, and decidedly -not- reassuring… even to him. When Constantine is worried about this shit, there's something to worry about. It goes beyond simply wanting to shield the others from the supernatural threats that Barbara is oh-so-eager to understand.

John's never had any doubt that either of the women could kick his ass— in fact, it's integral to the entire reason he targeted Dinah to give a hard time in the first place. A small upnod acknowledges the cup of coffee, and black is indeed preferred, especially right this minute… aside from the touch of the Irish he adds to it, not bothering to be subtle or abashed about it.

Then Constantine sips, smirking wryly at the mug he's been given. He's really only partially qualified for this one, and it's not the black belt part. There's a quiet tension to the Hellblazer's form— the door is almost certainly on his mind, just this minute. "She'll be alright." By which he means she'll survive, she'll make it through. "Herself again. At least mostly." He does what he can, inspirational mantra that that isn't.

Dinah winces. Demons are not her thing. Sure, criminals, monsters, the insane criminal who stalk the nights of Gotham. Dinah's fought against many of them, and usually come up victorious.

Demons, though, belong to another world. Nightmares of fang and sinew that can barely be hurt and are the exemplification of every cruel intention and capacity for violence that exists in the human heart.

"So…. a one-time thing?" she asks, tentatively. Work talk is good. Focus on work talk. "Or is this one of those bigger situations, again? Something threatening everything and everyone?"

John's demeanor is observed, and she straightens up purposefully from the table. "Um, yeah. So." She hesitates. "I'll probably go check on Alysia today. Told the Library I wouldn't be in…" It's a half-assed attempt to be subtle and at ease, only for it to be totally dismantled by Dinah's casual one-time thing.


Barbara thumbs the edge of the mug, glancing down into it briefly before she looks sidelong to John. Then she realizes that Dinah is talking about possessions not boy in her bedroom. She blushes, and the coffee mug is not big enough to hide behind so she just clears her throat, shrugs a shoulder.

"Hope so. Maybe just a desperate hope to stay on Earth and not go back to wherever they came from." Barbara gives John a look that suggestions a hopeful Right?

Dinah sucks air through her teeth, missing the sudden tension and the implied innuendo that drives it. Talk of demons and possession is more than enough to keep her attention for the moment. John's empty reassurances don't seem to assuage the concern on her face.

"God, I hate demons," she mutters. "Possession's an ugly thing. I hate that idea that they can just… sail in and take control of someone." She shudders.

Dinah slurps down her cooling coffee, at that perfect temperature where she can really induce a caffeine overload. Her features suddenly brighten.

"Hey, y'know who we should call— Zee," she tells Barbara. "I haven't seen her in a while, but I know she's tuned into this stuff."

Dinah's eyes flicker back to Constantine. "Do you know Zatanna? Mistress of Magic? Everyone says she's just a magician, but I've seen her do the real thing."

Something about John's smirk tightens up the space around her heart. She's not sure what it is, or why it does it, but it's done all the same. She breathes out a slow exhale, pressing the warm mug up against her cheek with her hand coiled around it.

Both Dinah and John's words around this whole thing has her worriedly thinking. Is there anything she can even do to stop a demon possession?

Then Barbara looks up at the mention of Zatanna. Six years of not a word between John and Babs means she is not going to realize the wound that Dinah has opened up until it is far too late. "No," she replies honestly. "I mean, I've heard of her… in passing… but I haven't done anything with her directly." The mention of being just a Magician has her flickering a glance to John.

"Fuckin' right." John hates demons, too. So, so very much. Barbara's seen it firsthand. The warlock sips his spiked coffee, and considers whether to fully explain that it wasn't even precisely possession that this demon was trying to use Alysia for. Then Dinah has her brainstorm, and there's no hiding the semi-audible moment of choking on coffee. John manages to get it down, but he's still the momentarily stunned image of a man who's been /soundly/ slapped.

Teeth clench, visibly shifting the warlock's cheeks and jawline as he grinds the hell out of them. The spinning wheels are obvious— the first sign that something's malfunctioning, since such cunning workings rarely show much more than John wants them to.

This isn't planning, figuring out what lie to tell, how much to share… it's the Hellblazer quietly, almost subtly reeling. His breaths are small, shallow, in the moments before he swallows hard without sipping any coffee, and moistens his lips in a singular sucking motion that chews both at once, very briefly. "I know Zee. She's the real thing." He confirms tersely, tensely, not so much concealing anything as just— not entirely collected to answer the rest immediately.

That much is easy, the rest of it? Not so much. It's not even an attempt to obscure the truth that drives the difficulty— after all, John's not effectively hiding /shit/. "Better'n I am." The three words have layers to their layers, and ample hurt beneath the brusque acknowledgement. "I need a fuckin' smoke." And just that abruptly, he turns heel and stalks back towards the stairs to retrieve just that; and maybe the rest of his shit.

Dinah's mid-sip when John tersely excuses himself; brows lift and she watches with vague puzzlement (and a bit of relief) when he heads to the stairs that lead up to Barbara's room. Her jaw hangs slack for just a moment and she turns to give Barbara a pointed look, her voice low.

"Okay, like— what is *that* about?" she murmurs, jerking a thumb in the direction of the departed spellcaster. "He comes in here looking like the cat that got the cream, and then he storms out of here all of a sudden."

"And did you two *really* meet over a friggin' exorcism and you… what, brought him back for a one-night stand?" she whispers. "I mean, I don't really have room to judge, but—" she glances over her shoulder. "I thought he was just some drunk barfly at McGinty's. He kept making passes at me when I bumped into him there. Wouldn't take the hint. I don't know if he was trying to get laid or get his ass kicked."

When Barbara's eyes alight on John, it's to see the abrupt shift of emotions twist his face. She's straightening up a little more, cup sliding off her cheek to reveal the bit of red left by its heat. "John — " Then he's heading back toward the stairs. One step carries her after him, and then she stops. Her confusion roots her in her place, trying to piece together what just happened.

"I… don't know," Barbara says softly. She frowns — and it's an uncomfortable, if not a bit wounded herself. "Maybe he knows Zatanna." Then she sets down the mug with a soft clink on the table.

Dinah's needling questions draws her eyes toward her friend, and her expression is reproachful. "No… he was doing card tricks outside this club in Manhattan back when I at Barnard. We… remember that guy I kinda told you about? Broke it off with him to come back to Gotham?" She looks back after John.

"He could help Alysia… and I don't know… he's John." She sinks her shoulders a bit, shuffling her feet. She doesn't seem at all surprised that he was hitting on Dinah, and she smiles a bit. "Yeah… sounds like John."

Dinah throws back her coffee in a gulp, refills it, and moves to sit on the corner opposite Barbara. She offers her friend a quiet handhold, hand resting on the table, and a squeeze of reassurance.

"I'm sorry I'm being a shit," she murmurs. "I thought he was just some barfly you hooked up with. Some barfly who was hitting on me a few nights ago," she clarifies. "I didn't realize he was— I didn't realize he was *that* John," she remarks, apologetically.

She exhales and looks at the liquor bottles on the fridge, tempted. Those blue eyes flicker back to Dinah, instead. "I don't know anything about him except for some rumors that he's involved with the occult community. If you vouch for him, I'll … dial back the bitchiness," she exhales, shoulders slumping a bit.

"Um… so are you two getting back together, or…?" she asks the question cautiously, leaving the dangling question for Barbara to answer.

"You're not being a shit," Barbara's voice is gentle, and warming to her friend. She rubs at the back of her neck, looking aside a bit toward where John has gone. "You're being Dinah, and I love you for that." She then looks down, fingers still hooked into the soft muscle of her neck. She had been so relaxed just a couple hours ago.

"Yeah… I knew that. It's why I called him." And not because she's been lonely and he's an ex-boyfriend, and, and, and… "Didn't think I'd just tumble right back in."

Then she laughs, but it is a bit of an awkward flutter instead of anything actually amused. "No… I don't think so." Then she winces, looking away. "I don't know. We have secrets, Di. Big ones… his might even be bigger than mine." She shakes her head, pushing up from the table and shaking her head. "I don't know," she repeats.

Fingernails rake at Dinah's hair, and she pushes it back from her brow and palms it down her neck with both hands. Elbows rest on the table and she exhales wearily, stretching her neck to look skywards.

"Fuck," she summarizes, concisely.

"We've all got secrets, Babs," Dinah points out, wearily. "I'm not gonna hold your toes to the fire over hooking up with an ex. God knows my track record there isn't any better than yours," she mutters, darkly.

"I know how it is— you're in a tense situation, there's a lot of danger… it is what it is," she says, shrugging pragmatically. "I just don't want you getting burned," she says, quietly. "I reserve the right to be picky about who you date, in any circumstance," she says, flashing a smile at Barbara. "But you can tell me to get bent if I'm cramping your style, too," she points out, gently. "Either way, just… … keep me in the loop," she concludes finally, wrestling through a few ways to work through that last minor remonstration.


Then she shuffles her feet again, sliding up against the countertop. She glances almost hopefully to the hallway, hoping to spot John. But then she drops her eyes again to her feet, and she tucks a bit of slipped red hair back behind her ear.

Then she bumps her shoulder gently with Dinah before she smiles weakly to the Black Canary. "I will… though don't expect much, okay? I get the feeling that this is one of those… rebound things." If her read on the whole Zee thing is accurate at all, and she's really honed that deductive reasoning under Bruce's tutelage.

Then she starts to push off the counter, raking both hands back through her red hair, pinning the long locks against the sides of her neck. She looks back to Dinah, and there's a tired softness in her smile. "I should go… check in on him. Make sure he at least has a window open… isn't stealing a pair of my underwear…" She's kidding. Mostly.

Dinah rubs her brow, smiling tolerantly, and hugs Barbara. "Okay. I'm gonna go sit in the front room and play some Wii or something while I finish waking up. Make myself scarce," she says. Its' an olive branch to Barbara— and to John, indirectly. "You go. Tend to your boytoy, we'll … talk about things later. If you want."

She gives Barbara a warm, reassuring hug, then shuffles out of the room in her oversized, fuzzy slippers, to hide in the parlor on the far side of the house while Barbara and John resolve their… issues.

"He's not — " my boytoy. But then she just sighs, and shares the hug with a warm squeeze. "We'll talk, because of course we'll talk." Then she gives Dinah's elbow a gentle squeeze before she steps for the portal to the hallway and back to the bottom of the stairs.

She stands there for a long moment before she starts to silently ascend the stairs. Except when she gets to that step; it groans under her foot because she once again forgets it's there. She's really not used to sneaking around Dinah's house. Then she's heading for the door to her room, and she awkwardly knocks on the heavy surface.

John's true to his word. He needed a fucking cigarette. It's more or less sucked dry now, a swift consumption that has a long, spearlike cherry dominating the end of the back third of the short. Silk Cut. Promises to only hurt pregnant woman; John is safe. Probably— one never quite knows in the occult community.

One of the windows is indeed open wide, and he's sitting below it on the floor, back against the wall, one leg stretched out in front of him with the other bent. His face somewhere between dazed and angry— mostly with himself— he draws another deep inhalation and blows a plume of smoke (mostly) out into the chill Gotham air, eyeballing the city outside that portal.

The knock on the door draws, of all things, a start, eyes going momentarily wide and then narrowing on the unflinching hardwood. He doesn't say anything, immediately, though assuming Babs tries again before entering, she'll get a snippy, "It's your goddamn room!" Constantine's just going to go ahead and figure it's not -Dinah- coming to check up on him. Regardless, he takes the last pull— or more like two or three puffs— from the duck in one overzealous inhalation, and coughs it out, extinguishing the butt.

The shout from inside her room prompts the only reasonable reaction from Barbara. She rolls her eyes, and then huffs out a soft breath. She pushes open the door, and steps inside. Each little detail is taken in: open window, slumped Constantine, the way he coughs through that last deep inhale. She ducks her head just a little as she shuts the door behind her with the softest click.

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