Disclaimers: Don’t own BTVS or the movie Constantine.
A/N – Know how hard it is to keep things FR15 with Constantine’s mouth? Prepare for many ****s.
By: Cousin Mary
Dawn looked up from her English Lit just in time to see Mr. Tall, Pale and Angry hurl himself into her backseat. He slammed the door harder than necessary before yelling, “Drive, dammit! Go!”
“I’m going, geez, take a pill!” Dawn griped back, throwing the cab into reverse and laying down a layer of rubber as she pulled out of the alley. She was halfway to the bypass before she glanced at her boss in the rearview mirror, he looked awful, but then he always did. “Are you okay?”
“I’m fine,” He sneered, lighting up a cigarette before slumping further down into the seat.
“Okay then,” Dawn rolled her eyes and slowed to a more street legal speed. Driving a cab wasn’t anything Dawn had ever actually pictured herself doing, even if she only ever had the one fare. But UCLA was expensive and she’d needed a job. Then somehow, through Council connections and some Wiccan’s half-baked attempt at prophecy, she’d ended up as John Constantine’s reluctant Girl Friday. “So, you get it?”
“Yeah, I got it,” He’d finished smoke one and immediately started number two. Dawn was used to the chain-smoking and didn’t bother commenting. She still had a nicorette box shaped bruise from her last attempt to look out for him. He blew a long stream of smoke out through his nose before adding, “Not that those damn bastards were grateful or anything.”
Meaning they hadn’t paid him. Dawn bit back a sigh, her boss was an exorcist, one of the best, but to say his bedside manner left a lot to be desired was like saying her sister sorta liked to shop.
“I save their son from Hell and what to I get? A goddamn hand shake and a f*** you very much,” John followed that up with a string of curses that would have been enough to make Spike blush. After five months as his driver though, Dawn was immune.
“We heading back home?” She asked absently, expecting him to decline. It was barely dark and he never wanted to go home this early, though he never really wanted to go anywhere else either.
“Just drive,” He grumbled, already staring unseeing out the window.
“It’s your money,” She shrugged and spun the wheel towards Mulholland Drive. If she was going to be stuck with him at least she could enjoy the scenery.
They’d only been driving for about twenty minutes when he started to fidget. Dawn eyed him warily, usually he stayed quiet for at least an hour.
“You know anything about Utukku demons?” He asked out of nowhere.
“Utukku?” Dawn’s eyebrows rose. Sure, John was supposed to be mentoring her, somehow Giles was certain she was going to learn something useful from the man, but so far she’d only learned to stay away LAX between 5 and 9. “They’re uh, Sumerian. They come up from the underworld to gather sacrifices.”
“They can’t take anything that wasn’t sacrificed?”
“No, I don’t think so,” Dawn split her attention between the road and John’s reflection. He looked pissed, well, more pissed than usual.
“You want to go there?” Dawn clarified.
“No, I’m just saying names at random, f***,” He lit up cigarette number 6, possibly 7.
“I wouldn’t put it past you,” She shot back, steering the cab towards L.A.’s most infamous occult bar. She’d never been there personally, but she’d heard stories. They pulled up out front and she waited for him to climb out.
“Park,” He ordered. “You’re coming in with me.”
Dawn blinked, not asking any of the dozens of questions running like ticker tape through her head. He wouldn’t answer anyway. She found a spot about a block away and parked. They walked back to the bar in silence.
Just past the front door was a bouncer of sorts, but instead of checking ID he held up a card. You had to guess what was on it to get in, Papa Midnight’s was for psychics and non-humans only.
“Cat on a fence,” John rattled off and was through the second door before Dawn could say anything. She tried to follow, but the bouncer stopped her, holding up another card.
“Uh,” Dawn stalled, staring intently at the blue and white checkered back. She knew that, theoretically at least, she should be able to do this. She was a mystical ball of energy for Pete’s Sake! But there was no knowing
, she stared and all she saw was the back of a card and an unimpressed bouncer. She closed her eyes and took a deep breath. Then, it felt like someone touched the back of her neck and her eyes flew open. “A monkey in a boat!”
The bouncer still didn’t look impressed, but he let her through. Feeling ridiculously pleased with herself, Dawn crept inside ready for anything.
Anything except a dive bar, which is what Papa Midnight’s looked like to her. There were no windows and the whole place was narrow, like it was the hallway of a much bigger place. The ceiling was insanely high though, twice as high as the building had looked from the outside.
“Hello there," A man came up beside her and stood much too close for Dawn’s piece of mind. She stepped back and he smiled, too white teeth against a deep LA tan. "You’re new.”
“Uh, hi,” Dawn answered, her eyes darting around for John.
“He’s in the back with Midnight,” The man told her, never mind how he knew who she was looking for. He adjusted the cuffs of his pin-striped suit and nearly blinded her with the flash of a platinum Rolex. He had an English accent, slicked back hair and somehow Dawn knew he wasn’t human. Maybe John was
rubbing off on her.
“Well, I’ll just go wait at the bar then,” Dawn smiled politely and tried to edge her way around him, but he turned as she moved.
“What kind of gentleman would I be to allow a lady to go unescorted?” He smiled and for some reason she thought of a snake slithering. There was something slimy about it, but she couldn’t help but stare.
“That’s all right. I- I’ll be fine,” She told him, walking a little faster. The man had no problem keeping up.
“Let me buy you a drink,” He offered as they reached the bar, immediately claiming the seat next to her. He touched her bare arm then, and his hand felt hot enough to leave a mark. Dawn surreptitiously checked, it hadn’t.
“That’s okay, I’m good.” She insisted.
“Are you even old enough to drink?” He peered at her, obviously amused.
She wasn’t, but he didn’t need to know that. “Who are you anyway?”
“Johnny-boy hasn’t told you about me, eh?” His dark eyes seemed to twinkle and Dawn watched in horrified fascination as the twinkle formed the shape of tiny flames, deep in the irises of his dark eyes.
“You’re a demon. Satan, hellfire, brimstone...” Dawn was a little taken aback and unsure how to proceed. As a Scooby she was used to physical, bred, born, die demons. But what was sitting next to her was a demon born of Hell, the body was human but the soul was anything but. If someone managed to kill him, he’d just come back in a different body. Practically immortal and, let’s not forget, pure evil.
“Balthazar, at your service,” He punctuated his introduction by lifting her hand to his lips, a forked tongue came out and licked her knuckles.
“Eww, that’s just-” Dawn yanked her hand back, “ew!”
“Get away from her you half-breed piece of s***,” John came out of nowhere, followed closely by a huge black man that seemed to grow even larger as Dawn looked at him. John turned his attention on her next, “What the hell do you think you’re doing talking to him?”
“I wasn’t! He was talking and I was here, totally unrelated,” Dawn wasn’t sure why she was arguing, only that she didn’t want to get blamed for anything. “And you’re the one who left me out here alone!”
“Yes Johnny, poor little lamb all by her lonesome,” Balthazar smirked. “What were
“Shut-up, a******,” John’s cigarette hung off his bottom lip, defying all laws of gravity. His eyes flicked to the black man, who Dawn belatedly realized must be Papa Midnight himself, “You tell her what you told me.”
“Really think that’s a good idea Johnny?” Balthazar licked his lips, “Dawn here is much too sweet to be let near the likes of us.”
“How’d you know my name?!” Dawn demanded.
“He’s worried about something,” John's eyes widened, he was having one of his moments of perfect clarity. “She scares you.”
“Don’t be ridiculous,” Balthazar scoffed. “I merely have no wish to see a young woman torn limb from limb by hellbeasts, I have a heart you know.”
“No, you don’t,” John replied dryly. His smile was filled with grim humor, “Dawn’s going to change everything. She’s go to stop your revolving door, jam it to s***.”
“No one can do that,” the demon hissed.
“She can,” Papa Midnight intoned, his deep baritone making it sound like it was already true.
Dawn couldn’t help the shiver that ran down her spine. She was only supposed to be the driver!
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