Tones of Home
Roleplaying Log: Tones of Home
Participants
IC Details
Synopsis:

Sherwood Florists comes under threat by more of the demonic assassins Batgirl had faced beneath the city— though more questions than answers are had amidst the blame and tension that result. Awkward.

Other Characters Referenced:
IC Date: February 09, 2019
IC Location: Sherwood Florists - Gotham City
OOC Notes & Details
Posted On: 10 Feb 2019 18:41
Rating & Warnings: It's John Constantine and Dinah Lance, there's a lot of obscene language.
NPC & GM Credits:
Associated Plots

The diffuse illumination of twilight has yet to paint the Gotham skyline, currently awash with the dully diminished luminiescence of cityscape into cloudcover, casting long shadows through a hazy night above as below. Rain has come and gone, ushering away milder temperatures with it for a damp, bone-penetrating chill across the foggy, gothic metropolis. On the western horizon, lightning flashes lazily in the shrouded skies.

All in all, it was probably a bit of a downer evening -before- anyone got back to notice the flashes of unnatural energy inside the Florist shop's attached townhouse's lower floor, a myriad of flickering blue-white and angry, crackling, purple-edged black lightning.

A downer before opening the door and finding more or less the entire lower story alight in runic symbols, holy etchings, and spell-script of ancient tongues a-plenty burning bright with that blue-white magic, lighting up a veritable -plethora- of mystical protection and foci that someone must have etched there in intricate detail over some measure of time, indeed.

Unrelatedly, John Constantine corks a glass bottle that shimmies, shakes, and clanks angrily with a mass of swirling shadows and /bright/ glowing red eyes pounding all over within it, scratched seals on the flask glowing white-hot. Another mass of what seems to be darkness itself slices out from the shadows bordering the staircase as Constantine scrambles backwards, haphazard crab-walk style, as his chest is torn diagonally, long and shallow, by that lancing shape of shadow still free. "Fuckin' bollocks!!" The unlikely warlock emphatically incants.

* * *

"What the FUCK?!" The voice rings the rafters overhead. And makes the china cabinet chime. And probably sets off a car alarm or two. Dinah drops her duffel bag near her feet. Her expression— aghast, stunned, and enraged. All overlaid over exhaustion. It's been a long night of patrolling and dirt and grease stains her leather jacket and the anti-abrasion hosiery she wears on her legs. The runes, sigils, and marks across the interior of the building seem only to infuriate her more.

"What the SHIT, John! What'd you do to my house!" She stomps through the entryway with murder on her face and spots John on his back, bleeding, scrambling away from the mass of shadows chasing him.

Dinah's reflexes kick in. She doesn't even hesitate, launching forward in a sprinting dash and launching herself at the shadowy figure with a flying sidekick.

* * *

"Oh bloody hell." John further intones, and it's not clear if he's more concerned with the demon attacking him, or the intercession of the angry Canary. "Jesus fuckin' Christ Blackbird, all you kung-fu hoodlums are wired the same bloody way." It's like John's seen this reaction to murderous shadow demons before, somewhere.

"Not like that!" Adding credence to his words is the complete absence of form that Dinah finds beneath her capable kicking boot. Potentially unbalancingly, unexpectedly, she passing through what seems to be empty air— even as razors of pitch blackness lash out at and around her descent.

It's an onslaught abated quickly by a forceful word from Constantine that illuminates a runic brand running around one wrist and across his palm, a brilliant silvery blue luminescence burning outwards and filling the space; it's blinding, but only for its brightness: there is no lingering trauma to the human eye, no lingering haze like a flashbang of such magnitude might engender. Instead, it seems to momentarily shatter the shadowy figure, tendrils of black seeking one another from all corners of the space.

"Let's talk about that later, luv." The windows— pretty much all of the windows— are similarly burning with deep etchings, as if made by a knife. Some are smouldering, the scent of burnt hardwood and finish strong in the air. "We can't just banish these buggers, Blackbird— we've got to purify this space; leave no trail to follow to their metaphorical corpses, yeah?" Parlance the Canary might understand; if not a comforting framing device.

* * *

"Jesus FUCK!" Dinah curses and screams in pain. She's got the werewithal to stick the landing but it turns into a tumbling roll, leaving spatters of her blood everywhere. Fresh, scalpel-thin wounds adorn her legs and face, though it seems her sturdy jacket absorbed the brunt of the slashing injuries. There's a reason she wears it after all.

She pants and grimaces, steeling herself and pushing the pain into the corner of her awareness. "Fucking goddamn knife-ass shadows," she says, teeth clenched. "Fine. Hell with it. What do we do?" she demands, curtly. "I don't exactly have any crucifixes and holy water laying around."

* * *

John nods curtly and speaks another trio of ancient words, associated with Babylonian and proto-Canaanite tribal scripts, for the scholarly xeno-archaeologist among us, and the odd remnants of his summoned mage-light flutter ceilingward and burn brighter in intensity, casting the space in purifying, oppositional light.

"First of all— your gang of kung-fu hoodlums is hunting not one, but two disturbingly cult-like hoards of demon-servicing shitheels. This is at best half my fault." And they'll get to why it might not be entirely their fault later. Maybe.

"Second: Shit, luv. I'm a certified Scout in Her Majesty's service." He's also, notably, often talking a load of bollocks. Still: Constantine /is/ prepared. He offers over two small linen bags tied with plant fiber and a small, heavy little hammer. "North and West cardinal points on this floor, make a hole as close to the foundation as you can. Bag goes in the hole. I got South and East."

An antique brass compass is offered over to ease this part: interestingly, if tangentially, it's aligned to magical geometry and lines of power that themselves are attuned to the fields of the Earth. The last thing he gives her are three small spheres any Gothamite worth their salt would recognize as homemade incindieries. "When these buggers try to stop you; they're all trapped in here, now." John says it like he's proud of it; he is.

* * *

Dinah transfers the goods to her left hand, grabs John's collar in her right, and hauls him down to get nose to nose with the angriest snarl he's *ever* seen on her petite face. Loose tie or not— she's twisting his collar in an expert chokehold. "You better start coming up with a good story you limey dickweasle," she grates. "Because I wanna know why these fucking ghosts are in my *home*."

She releases John with a shove and furious glare. Shoulders set and tense she leaves out the side door and jogs as fast as terrain allows to get to the north point of the house.

Dinah hefts the hammer, winces, and holds her breath. "Sorry daddy," she whispers, and averts her eyes as she puts a hole in the foundation of her ancestral home before stuffing the first linen bag into it. She shudders as if feeling the disapproving glare of generations of Lance family members, and beats feet towards the south to put the next charm in place.

* * *

Constantine doesn't do much more than go a tense sort of limp in the angry grasp, just frowning into the snarl for the duration, and brushing himself off as he's shoved, staggering, clear. "Glad we're in agreement, luv." The warlock rather flippantly decides, turning his attention to doing, well, his part of this whole shindig. Accord clearly reached by the two trusting teammates, the first parcel is delivered smoothly: such as smashing holes in one's abode to ward off evil can ever be called smooth.

The second? By the second the entities know exactly what's up: and they come at the pair hard. Dinah might find the homemade explosives in her possession a rudimentary flashbang, built for sustained, and blessed, light rather than a sudden flare. It might come in handy when the vague, monstrously humanoid shape comes shearing from the shadows at her.

The one that comes at Constantine? In short, it finds itself sealed inside a brand that runs up the magician's forearm, now exposed by rolled back sleeves and burning an angry crimson, a deep brand that seeps John's blood from all its myriad edges. "We bloody well set?!?" John hollers out through the floor, "Time to get this fuckin' show on the road!" There's a tense edge to the words, the essence of urgency; a suddenly ticking clock Constantine soundly dislikes.

* * *

Dinah throws a punch and pays for it with a fistful of sharp cuts to her first. She hisses in pain, grabs a flashbang, and throws it at the ground. The shadowy figure vanishes with a wail of pain and she puts on a burst of speed to the north face of the house.

"I'm WORKING on it!" she shouts back, loud enough to rattle windows. Dinah ducks under a slashing claw and skids on her knees in front of the foundation. She hurls one more flashbang to buy some time and swings the hammer Con gave her, smashing a fist-sized hole in the old concrete. She shoves the bag in and rises to her feet, flashbang overhead and ready to throw down as the lurking shadows start getting their courage together to rush her en masse.

"Any TIME now, Constantine!" she screams, shoulders pressed against the siding of her home.

* * *

When he gets the (oh so very loud) word from the Bird, Constantine wastes no beats: he begins a practiced mantra full of intensity and intent, an audible channeling of will into the spellwork inlaid several times over, now, in Dinah Lance's treasured abode. It's an old and formidable ritual not to exorcise evil, not to expel it, but to purge it. A powerful, challenging choice really only made possible for this particular warlock because of the careful preparation made for just such a moment— because it was inevitable, really— and, well, faith that his luck will hold.

Even with that faith, even with that force of will, there's one utterance, scarcely a whisper of punctuation, that's recognizable to any English-speaker, Queen or Colonist. "… Please?" White magic is everywhere; even answering the good intentions of tarnished sods like John Constantine. The geometric sigils glimmering throughout the house flare with that purifying energy, and the entire home is suffused by a vertical surge of weaponized goodliness, godliness, universal harmony and love— whatever one's flavor happens to be, it obliterates the shadows.

It purges all sign of them. It sets a bluish incindiery to even the one locked in the sealed, cracking bottle. It eases the burning rune in John's forearm, setting it to dull, smouldering, blood-seeping wound as the warlock falls to his knees in the foyer, digging for a different sort of flask.

* * *

There's a shadow at the door. Dinah leans haggardly against the doorframe, her injured hand held close in and leather wrapping it to staunch the steady trickle of blood going down her left hand. "Is… did we get them all?" she asks, wearily. She looks like someone hit her with several panes of glass, leaking from numerous tiny slashes to her exposed skin. Her clothing is going to need significant mending as well, if not outright replacement. "And none of them got out— the neighborhood is safe?" she adds, a few beats later.

And finally, grudgingly— "And you're … drinking so clearly, you aren't dying."

* * *

"They're a bit legion for that, luv." John offers up in sardonic measure, swigging twice off the old flask before offering it over to Dinah; it's stocking a smooth, simple Irish whiskey, just this minute. "But all of these, and hopefully, whatever trail they followed to find this place with 'em."

Because he's a lucky man, right? Constantine's brow furrows notably. "We're all dying, Blackbird. But I'd put good money on this being one of the safer neighbourhoods in Gotham, even tonight." Which is as close to a guarantee as the warlock can really offer, end of the day.

There's always something else up the road, it's a lesson he's taken to heart for a long time now. "They get you bad?" She's standing, but with that crew? It's no guarantee one of the Birds isn't about to bite the big one, really. "We'll fix the place up, good as new. I know a guy." John knows a lot of guys.

* * *

Dinah slaps the flask from John's hands and grabs the front of his shirt. People forget that Dinah is actually a lot stronger than she looks, and she slams the conjurer against the foyer archway with teeth rattling force. Blood weeps from her knuckles and furthur stains his white dress shirt.

"Explanation. *Now*," she snarls. "This is my *home*. I've been here for *years* with no problem. No demons, no gangsters, no nothing. *that*," she says, tilting her head at Gotham-At-Large, "doesn't follow me *home*. Why the FUCK were those goddamn shadow things IN MY HOME, CONSTANTINE?" she hollers, raising her voice to ear-hurting volume and shaking him once more for good measure.

* * *

The thing that gets the most reaction amidst the man-handling? It's that flask going skittering free of his grasp, spilling perfectly servicable whiskey in a trickling pool on the floor. That gets a decisive frown that lingers through the wince as his rather already-hurting form is slammed hither and yon, shaken not stirred, carrying to the intensity of his eyes that fix back on Dinah, speaking contrary to his slouched nonchalance on the physical side of the confrontation.

"At a guess" Because he's not the all-seeing, all-knowing king shit of the universe, much as he might like to pretend now and again, " something finally followed you home. Least likely to be /me/, though." Which doesn't exactly rule him out. "You've been kicking over fuckin' hornets nests tied to a bloody bigger hive-mind, and it's unlikely only wizards on your side are tracing back the threads of those dust-ups, luv." John's 'explanation' is interrupted by a hearty, unbidden cough.

It takes just a breath for him to finish up his rant, however. "You want to kick the shit out of the bloke who said this would happen, who warned the lot of you off two or three times, minimum, who put down the wards so that when it happened anyway, he'd be ready, you be my fuckin' guest, Blackbird." John's eyes narrow, his softer tones harden the rest of the way with the building ire throughout. "Because we both know following good advice is bloody well beyond every last one of you daft fuckin' Birds."

* * *

Speaking of daft Birds, here's one now. Barbara Gordon with her duffel bag in one hand, and slim-silhouette backpack shouldered across her back is opening the door and about to step across the threshold when she blinks in surprise at the sight of John and Dinah in the foyer, and a good sense of argument in the air. She stands there for a long moment, blue eyes dancing between Dinah and John, and then she very quietly inquires, "Hi. What's up?"

She fully steps inside once that question is posed and then very gently shuts the door into place like she hasn't just walked knowingly into a hornet's nest.

* * *

Argument? Both are bleeding. Dinah looks like she crashed through a plate glass window, covered in numerous shallow bloody cuts that ruin her leggings and scar her knuckles and face with red streaks. She's got John pinned against the foyer arch, and mid-snarl she's interrupted by Barbara's arrival.

She looks at Babs, looks at John, looks back at Babs. "Some fucking job you did with the wards," she spits at Constantine. "Here I am, house reeking, shadow demons cutting the shit out of me, burn marks in heirloom wood, and you're sitting around reeking of *smug* and *booze*," she grates at John. "So let's run through that one more time, of *everyone* who's stirred up the shit with these goddamn magic gangsters, they came *here*?" she demands. "And you mister big-shot wizard, the best you had handy was a hail mary response that required two people and left holes in my house?"

* * *

"/I'm/ warded. /She's/ warded." The newly arrived, deceptively quiet redhead. "Supposed to keep eyes from following us back here." The pointed implications are practically spat beneath the understated quiet of the responding anger on Constantine's part. It's not entirely fair— the right set of hands, and the spellwork can be just as much of a trail. It's an imperfect science.

"Yeah, that's about right." John admits without softening his tone one lick. "Took 'em out, didn't I? Didn't /require/ you but it sure came in handy, under the circumstances." John's lucky that way. "A lot less of a 'hey, come fuck with us in force' than the whole place locked down against every evil bugger I even know how to seal out, burnin' their way in when and where they like instead of being stuck and fucked, y'reckon?"

Beat. "For the fuckin' record, I'm more an irritatingly tricky fish in a very large ocean than any kind of big shot, luv— but of course they came here. Of course you two, and me, we're top of the bloody list. Evil doesn't mean dumb, who do you think it falls on to stop this shit?"

* * *

Her mouth tightens into a thin frown as she actually takes in the entire situation. "Dinah," her voice is quiet, careful. "What's happened?" The question is asked quietly before she looks toward John. She's edging in slowly, putting down her bags as she does. "Um. I have no idea what's going on, so perhaps you can let John off the wall, and we can sit down, and I'll get a broom."

Then she takes another step forward, and then another. She's gotten some pieces — shadows in the house, John trying to step in, but it might already be too late. Barbara tries to keep her tone even, and calming. She raises both hands slowly. "And perhaps you two can both remember that we are supposed to all be working together and killing each other is really serving the other side of this fight."

She's closer to Dinah now, and her blue eyes meets John. "What happened?"

* * *

Dinah glares at John. It's clear she'd like to put his face through the wall. Instead she gives him one more shake and pushes off of him. The blonde stalks away with a heavy stride and retrieves a few towels from the closet, using them to bind up her left hand where she's bleeding slowly but freely.

"Some fucking goddamn eldritch shadow motherfuckers got in my *home*," Dinah grates. She ignores the pain and clamps down hard on the lacerations to her hand. "Tore the place up. Cut my hand up. John, miraculously had some kind of magic ace card in his hand," she spits. Doubt and acid irritation edge her voice. "So I put four new holes in the foundation, which will cost a fuckin' fortune to patch, and now I've got burned runes and marks all over the inside of my house." She tucks the wrap under her armpit to continue pressure on the wounds and stalks over to her little antique liquor cabinet. A bottle is uncorked with her teeth and Dinah takes several guzzling gulps from the glass. Despite her blustering fury, it's not hard to see how badly shaken she is by the supernatural home invasion.

* * *

"More assassins. Like in the Underground." John clarifies, in brief, for Barbara's benefit. He manages, mostly, to hide the further wince as he's shoved against the wall, tearing a sleeve off his bloodied shirt— looks like he caught a nice one up his chest, for his part— to wrap around the worse wound. A runic cut that looks like his own making, oozing blood and deep enough to almost demand sutures. "Somebody's not happy that I couldn't smite elite demonic headhunters without scuffin' the bloody woodwork." Clearly, John's feelings aren't hurt in the least by the tone of the exchange with Dinah. Clearly.

"I'll redo the work, see about the place, good as new, promise." He offers with some agitation by way of placation, though it's directed to Babs rather than Dinah. Stumbling a bit to where his flask fell on the floor, Constantine stoops to pluck it up and upends from what's /left/ of it into his gullet. "Did what I bloody well could." John mutters before turning away, taking a moment to survey the overloaded spellwork and assess just what he'll have to fix to keep that promise.

* * *

Blue eyes cut toward John once more after she listens to Dinah's story. "Was it the songbird?" The redhead is quiet in that request, quiet in the way she hopes that it was the bird, that perhaps the song of her little spirit did its job.

"Di. Come on. Let's go sit down. I'll get the first aid kit and some booze, and then we can talk about repairs. I got some money from my first few paychecks of Stark, and I can help with the foundation." Now she touches Dinah's shoulder as she eases the blonde back. Her eyes flicker to John, spotting the wound and her mouth thins into a tight line.

"If we could both just back off from each other's throats for a moment, please?" Barbara sounds tired, and that tired edge of her voice brings a bit of weight to her shoulders. Her hand reaches out to catch the edge of John's arm, and she squeezes gently.

* * *

"I'm fine," Dinah says shortly, in response to Barbara's tired, pointed request. "It looks worse than it is. There's some superglue in the toolbox."

Dinah finishes throwing back a few healthy gulps of bourbon, recaps the decanter, and sets it on the steel tray atop the little cabinet. She unwinds her towel enough to look at the minute slashes on her hands, thinks better of it, and cranks the improvised bandage back down.

* * *

When Babs crosses to John, the contact with his arm prompts a heavy, stabilizing lean back into her— thankfully, his trenchcoat is still fairly clean barring a bit of bloodspatter, now covering over his own makeshift bandage. Like Dinah, Barbara is stronger than she looks, and it's a feature the deceptively weary warlock takes full advantage of for a moment, weight shifting her way as he plants a lingering kiss on the redhead's brow. "Yeah, luv. Little early warning system worked us a charm."

That part's actually affirming. After the beat? "Everything's fine, can't you tell?" The followup murmur offered her way lands somewhere between flippant and genuinely amused. Some days, a bloke just has to laugh. Quietly. In hushed undertones that might not prompt addled Canaries to kick one's ass properly. "/I'm/ not about to turn my nose up at your tender ministrations." Maybe dare to prompt it a little. It's John.

* * *

The lean against her frame is met with a warm smile, and Barbara closes her eyes at the kiss. Then she breathes out a sigh and murmurs to him, "Could have perhaps been a bit earlier." But she's joking quietly with him, smiling sorrowfully as if to say that she understands any early warning is better than none at all. Then she steps away so she can check in on Dinah.

She crosses to her friend until they are close. "Bullshit," Barbara says that word softly to Dinah. "I"m going to go get the first aid kit, and you're both sitting down and I'm making sure that no one is bleeding." Her eyes cut to John briefly. "Now, both of you sit."

* * *

Dinah sits down at the dining room table. It's as far as she can get from John without actually leaving the room, which would just be childish in the extreme. She picks at her ruined leggings and starts shrugging out of her jacket. The leather absorbed most of the slashing impact. The jacket might be ruined, but at least her arms and chest aren't a story of blood lacerations like her hand and legs are. "Fine. Whatever," she says, surly and in ill humor. It's not unreasonable— bloodied, banged up, and clearly guilty over how much damage has been inflicted on her family's home. Her eyes, haunted, flicker from one knife-wound in the wood to the eldritch scorch marks on old carpeting that's possibly old enough to predate Dinah's immediate family living there. She leans her head forward and rests her brow on the hardwood, trying to steady her breathing.

* * *

"I wouldn't have bitched." Constantine agrees of Barbara's gentle tease, moving on somewhat unsteady footing for the kitchen table, and dropping into a chair there with a pronounced drag and thud. He rests his injured arm gingerly on the tabletop, and slouches back into his seat, tugging lightly at the front of his shirt where it tries to stick to the chest-slice.

No lights are turned on in there, no (verbal) protest offered for the whole situation— but neither does he offer over an olive branch or push his proximity. The warlock just goes silent, which is always a great sign, and waits in the other room, sipping at his flask and staring pensively at the gradually less night-shrouded windowpane. It's at least technically cooperative.

* * *

Barbara definitely came home at the right moment. Good chance they would have tried to kill each other if she hadn't. Or, perhaps that's a bit more dramatic. She disappears into the kitchen to get that heavy duty first aid kit. Dinah is given the first of her attention, but she does get a clean cloth for John to press to his arm. Her smile for John is quiet, sincere, and then she's working to see to Dinah's hand.

The little bits of quiet anger that comes from the two is acknowledge, but left to stew until Barbara is closer to patching Dinah's hand. "I know you're upset about the house, Dinah… but I'm just glad you're both okay."

* * *

Dinah doens't just sit passively. She reaches for the tube of superglue in the container and she starts dabbing it at her smaller wounds— the ones that are clotting slowly and need to be sealed to heal more quickly. After all, that's what it's for. She looks like she lost a fight with an alley cat more than anything else, though the multitude of wounds leaks blood in a steady chorus more than any single one would do.

"I'm fine, Babs, really," she says, as Barbara tapes up her wounded left hand. She grabs a roll of gauze, some duct tape, and one of the glue tubes, and tosses them in a convenient salad bowl from the armoire. "I'm going to bed. You patch your… boyfriend up." She glares at John, clearly still angry with him no matter how irrational that feeling is. "I can take it from here." Instead of the stairs she heads around the kitchen towards her parent's old room, slamming the door shut behind her with a loud *thunk* that rattles the old bones of her home.

* * *

John's oblivious to the glaring— if not to the general tone and, certainly, the slamming. He doesn't visibly respond to it in the least, though, sitting still, maybe a little too still, at the other table. He uses the clean cloth, at least half-heartedly, to stymie the flow of blood from his one nasty wound over the second lesser cut, just holding it over his arm and considering the pane of glass with a far too intent look of thought on his face.

"Good bloody work not getting anyone eaten, John. It's rewarding business." He gripes to no one in particular when Barbara makes her way into closer proximity, eyeing the redhead with some fervour before forestalling any attempt to actually stitch him up by drawing her close with his good arm and kissing her with no shortage of venting, frankly uppity intensity of its own. They did already agree he was complicated. And maybe a touch difficult.

* * *

Barbara frowns after Dinah as she departs, and she quietly sees to the bloodied clean-up gauze. Her blue eyes carry a genuine worry for Di, but then it has the same worry for John as she steps around the table to sit beside him. She gently brushes her fingers along his forearm until she is encouraging him to turn toward her. "So — " But then she is being kissed, and she sinks into it briefly before she ducks her chin down slightly, and her eyes meet his. Her smile is a bit uncertain all the same.

"So," she tries again, "We can get the house secured again?" She settles into a chair beside him now, and she turns his arm to her as she starts to grab materials out of the first aid kit.

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