Finding Hell
by Maya Tawi

part two

He wasn't dead.

He didn't know how he knew; he just did. When Dean thought about dying at all, he kind of expected it to be a lot like this, a flat uniform grayness robbed of all sensation. But this wasn't death, because even in his worst nightmares, death didn't include John Constantine arguing with a man in a hat.

Dean wasn't sure how he was seeing this, wasn't even sure he still had eyes to see, but there it was. They weren't paying him any attention, and didn't even seem to notice he was there, wherever there was. Maybe he wasn't. It was a chilling thought.

"You owe me," Constantine was saying, as he fingered an unlit cigarette.

A flicker of movement, and then the cigarette was in the other man's mouth, end flaring cherry red; Dean hadn't even seen him light it. When he spoke, his voice rippled through Dean's consciousness like a stone dropping in a lake. "I'm letting you live, blanc. That's gratitude enough."

Constantine eyed the smoke with undisguised longing. "Don't you mess me about, Baron."

"You speak as though we're fucking equals. Mind your damned tongue."

"Damned it is," Constantine said equably. "No point in minding it now."

"The boy's a sacrifice. My sacrifice." The man was turned away so that Dean couldn't see his face, but he could hear the leer in his voice. "And what will you offer in exchange? Your own beating shit of a heart?"

"Think I'll hang on to that for a while yet." Constantine fumbled in his pockets, extracting a second cigarette and lighting it through more conventional means. "You've heard of Beroul, haven't you?"

"That ringpiece supposed to mean something to me?"

"Not quite up on your current events, are you?" Constantine's grin was a horrible, smug rictus. "He's dead, Mr. Baron. Him and about a dozen other death gods out in L.A. I've had a busy month."

Anger rippled around the man like a black curtain. The man; nice euphemism, Dean thought. No point in fooling himself. This was Papa Guede, in all his true glory. "You fucking dare to threaten me, blanc?"

"Just a glimpse of my CV. For your consideration, like."

"And just what about this little shit is worth saving?"

"Hey," Dean objected. "I'm right here, dumbass."

Then: Oh shit, I said that out loud, didn't I?

They turned as one to stare at him. Constantine looked annoyed; Papa Guede, vaguely amused. Dean stared back, mesmerized. His face was black-- not the dark mahogany of Minuit's skin, but a true pitch black, like asphalt glistening after the rain. He was wearing the exact same clothes as Constantine, and Dean felt a sudden sweep of vertigo at the two of them, twins dark and light, like yin and yang. Yang and yin. Whichever was which. He knew this shit, knew it like the back of his hand, but he could feel the knowledge slipping away, and it scared the hell out of him. He wasn't dead yet, but he was dying, and what was he doing wasting time in this twilight world when he should be on his way to a hospital or something?

Constantine said, "I liked it better when you couldn't talk."

"Tough," Dean snapped. "I'm dying, bitch, how about pretending I get a say in this?" Again: whatever this was. He didn't know why, but he was pretty sure that for whatever reason, Constantine was bargaining for his life. The idea didn't spark much confidence.

"He's entertaining," Papa Guede allowed, fixing Dean with one hollow black eye. The gaze felt like boots stomping on his grave. "So's a fucking jack-in-the-box. Give me a reason, blanc."

"Your life isn't reason enough?"

"You talk a good game, Constantine, but you can't kill me. That cunt Mictlantecuhtli won't be doing your dirty work anymore. Do me a favor and stop flinging bullshit."

"So you have been paying attention after all."

Papa Guede's voice rumbled like an earthquake. "I see all, fuckhole. And you're running out of time."

Constantine took a long, contemplative drag. Dean would have held his breath, if he'd had breath to hold. How exactly did Constantine plan to justify his continuing existence?

Why was he bothering?

"He's got work to do," Constantine said finally, pinning Dean with a laser stare. "You can see it, same as me. There's things even you don't want to muck about with."

"Don't you fucking tell me what I want."

"Fine. I'm asking nice now. You know this isn't supposed to happen, any more than Chester was supposed to trap you like he did. Dean here set you free. One good turn, eh?"

He did? Dean couldn't remember, but right now he was willing to take Constantine's word for it.

Guede said, "This isn't over between us, blanc."

Constantine sighed. "It never is."

And the gray world gave way to darkness.

Pain shocked Dean back to awareness like a slap in the face. He tried to open his mouth, to say something or maybe just scream, but the tape was still there, and he only heard himself whimper.

"Relax, blanc," came Constantine's voice, but it sounded different, more guttural somehow. "You're not dying today."

Sure as hell felt like it, as another ripple of pain shook Dean to the core. His eyes flew open and he tried to sit up, but something heavy pressed against his chest, holding him in place. Whatever that thing was, it wasn't anything he could see; Constantine was leaning over him, hands hovering above his body but not actually touching. His top hat was set at a rakish angle on his head, and two cigarettes burned lazily in the corner of his mouth. For just an instant, Dean thought he saw two of them-- twins dark and light-- and then he blinked, and there was just Constantine again.

At first he didn't notice the absence of the pain. It transmuted into something else, just as hot and heavy and sharp, and only when he inhaled and felt both lungs blessedly inflate did he realize what had happened. Dean glanced down at himself, shifting uneasily on the hard stone. His T-shirt was in tatters, the loose flaps of fabric sticky with drying blood, but the skin beneath was whole. And lower, just south of his stomach, he felt....

"Put it to good use," Constantine said, and winked.

Then he shuddered, his one visible eye rolled up, and he slumped against Dean with a faint moan.

Dean grunted at the unexpected weight. His free hand was trapped between Constantine's body and his own, and he shoved with the back of it, getting in some elbow action for good measure; Constantine's limp form hit the floorboards with a thud. Then he ripped the tape from his mouth, along with what felt like several layers of skin and stubble, and yelped, "Son of a bitch!"

Constantine's eyes rolled up at him from his slumped position on the floor. His glasses and hat had been knocked askew, and he swept them off with a look of annoyance, then picked up one of the still-burning cigarettes from where they had fallen and stuck it back in his mouth. "Some thanks."

"That freaking hurt, ass." Dean fumbled for his left wrist, expecting to have to pick the lock, but his fingers hit a small metal catch and the cuffs sprang open. He sat up, wincing, and reached for his ankles, only slightly hampered by his still-aching dick. "What the hell was that?"

Constantine shifted around until his back was pressed against the side of the altar, legs sprawled in front of him. "You might be a bit more specific."

"I might be kicking your ass right now," Dean spat, as the last ankle cuff clicked open. He slid off the altar and spun around with a glower. "You hit me! You were making a deal with that thing, you nearly had me sacrificed, and what the hell do you know about my mother?"

"Fuck-all, mate," Constantine said with a lazy shrug. He held out his hand. "Hand up?"

Dean stared at him.

"No, suppose not." He pulled himself up with some difficulty and gave Dean a laughably guileless look. "Pecker up, squire, take a look around. We won."

After a moment, Dean did, noticing the state of the room for the first time since he'd woken up. Both covens had gone, and the floor was littered with crushed seeds and bloodstains. Minuit was sprawled lifeless in the middle of the mess, staring sightlessly at the ceiling, the knife hilt still jutting from his chest. Dean didn't see Green's corpse anywhere, and didn't much want to look for it.

We won.

He took a step forward, and the movement rubbed his dick against his jeans, a reminder that there was still one loose end to take care of. Put it to good use, Constantine had said, except Dean was starting to think that hadn't really been him, and he didn't want to think about what that meant. He just wanted to fuck something, get this insane death lust, whatever it was, the hell out of his system and get on with his life. And Constantine was right there, glancing over his shoulder now and seeming to listen for something, and wasn't that what they'd been building toward for two days now?

It would be so easy, and Constantine was probably expecting it. Maybe even counting on it. Smug bastard.

Dean gritted his teeth and waited until Constantine turned back around, then hauled back and punched him in the face.

"Cool," Dean said with an angry curl of his lip, shaking out his fist as Constantine staggered back and wiped blood from his mouth. The cigarette fell again, and this time he didn't bother to pick it up. "Go us."

Then he spun and stalked for the door, hearing the faint sound of sirens start up in the distance. He glanced back just once, just long enough to see that Constantine was gone, then let the black door slam shut behind him and stepped into the cool night air.

Dean's dramatic exit was foiled when he realized he had to go back for his cell phone, unless he wanted to become Gabirel's latest suspect. He made it out the back door just as the squad calls were pulling up to the front, and had to circle the long way around the street to make it to his car from the opposite direction, trying to look like an innocent rubbernecker, leather jacket zipped up to his throat to hide the bloodstains. One of the cops shot him a suspicious look but didn't stop him, and Dean resisted the urge to stomp on the gas pedal and peel out, coasting away instead at a stately thirty miles per hour until the flashing lights were out of sight.

He waited until he was stuck in downtown traffic again before flipping open his phone and hitting the speed-dial. His father answered on the first ring. "Dean? What's going on? Are you okay?"

"It's over," Dean said, and exhaustion hit like a physical blow as he realized the truth of his words. He wasn't dead, he hadn't even fucked up, and Constantine hadn't had to get him out of anything he hadn't gotten Dean into in the first place. "Minuit's dead."

There was a long pause. When John spoke again, his voice was soft. "Did you...?"

"Yeah," Dean said shortly, staring out the windshield at the glowing red light ahead. It wasn't the first time he had killed something, not even really the first time he'd killed someone, someone that had started out human, anyway. Still, he couldn't help feeling like there was an important difference between a fledgling werewolf and a human being who just happened to be hosting the spirit of a death god.

After another silence, John said, "Good job, son. I'm proud of you."

Dean tried not to glow at the praise; the urge was easier than usual to resist. "You still in Jericho?"

"Yeah. Things are turning out a little more complicated than I expected." John hesitated. "I might not be home for a few days."

"You want me to come?"

"No." The denial was quick and emphatic, and Dean pulled the phone away and stared at it for a second, then raised it back to his ear when a long honk sounded behind him and burned rubber through the intersection. His father was still talking, sounding less sharp now. "Why don't you take a couple days, have a break? It's been a tough few weeks."

Dean frowned, glancing sideways at the phone as if it were the one to blame. "Did I hear that right? Are you seriously giving me vacation time?"

"You've earned it, Dean. Hunting's our whole lives. It wouldn't hurt to take a couple days off now and then."

Except John's days off usually consisted of him, an empty cabin somewhere, and a fridge stocked high with Miller Lite. Not that Dean would ever dream of saying so. "You know me, Dad. I'll just get bored."

"You're in New Orleans, Dean," his father said, with just a hint of that dry humor that had become more and more scarce ever since Sam left. "I have faith you'll find a way to pass the time."

"Hey, I'm nothing if not resourceful."

Dean didn't realize until he'd already hung up that for the first time since he could remember, his father hadn't pressed him for details as soon as the job was done. The man had sounded distracted for some reason; his lack of curiosity was just more fuel for Dean's suspicions.

Maybe it didn't mean anything. Maybe Dad was worried, and didn't want to push him.

Maybe he needed a vacation after all.

Dean didn't actually intend to stay in New Orleans, despite his father's suggestion. It was a tempting idea, to take a few days and see the more conventional side of the ultimate party city; but after being manhandled by a walking corpse, mortally wounded, and then stabbing a man through the heart, the allure of doing Jell-O shots while surrounded by roving bands of inebriated frat boys kind of lost its appeal. Dean preferred to take his leisure time in short but action-packed bursts, never long enough to get antsy or pissed off at the rest of the world. True, he needed something to take the edge off, his body tense and frustrated by the lack of any real fight, but opening up the Impala's engine on a stretch of empty highway usually did the trick. Even if Dad didn't need his help out in Jericho, he could head back to Kansas, maybe get in a few days of weapons training before the next job.

Besides, staying in one place too long, with no job to distract him, always carried the risk of getting too attached. And Dean had already learned that lesson, thank you very much; he didn't need another demonstration.

He tried to concentrate on driving, on getting back to the motel without mowing over any pedestrians in a fit of pique, but his persistent hard-on kept distracting him, and the vibrations coming through the seat weren't helping any. Finally, he pulled over in front of a relatively uncrowded bar, headed first to one of the ubiquitous souvenir shops next door. He gave the selection a quick once-over and grabbed a dark purple T-shirt with Bonjour y'all scrawled across the front in gold glitter. It was, sadly, the least garish one on the rack.

"Who the hell shops here, pimps?" he asked, handing over Hector Aframian's credit card at the register. He hadn't used the card yet, so it shouldn't send up any flags. And even if it did, he'd be long gone by then.

"You tell me," the cashier said, swiping the card with deft aplomb. She was young and cute, if somewhat over-moussed, and Dean considered turning on the charm, maybe inviting her out back for a quickie. Then he thought that wherever the Baron was now, he'd probably enjoy it too much, and collected his card and his regrettable purchase with a forced smile and a nod.

The girl looked vaguely disappointed, which was good for his ego, at least.

The bar was all but deserted, with only a couple of what looked like regulars slumped over their drinks, and the bathroom was a single unisex room with a cracked mirror and a flickering fluorescent light. Dean locked the door behind him and slumped back against it with a sigh, running a hand over his face and through his hair, grimacing as flecks of dried blood drifted to the floor. Down to business.

He hung his jacket on the door hook and peeled off his ruined shirt. It was slow going, glued to his chest with more dried blood, but finally he wadded the thing up and started to pitch it into the trash can. Then he stopped, looked at the empty paper towel dispenser, and said, "Oh, that's classy."

It wasn't the seediest thing he'd ever done, jerking off in the bathroom of some nameless bar into his own bloody T-shirt, but it was definitely up there. It was hard and rough and not enjoyable in the least; more like taking a dump, or some other unpleasant but necessary biological function. He stalled at first, legs spread and back braced against the door, holding his dick in his hand, and wondered for a brief uneasy moment if it was some kind of built-in safeguard or something, if he wouldn't be able to take care of this on his own; started to wonder if he could make it back to the cashier next door without getting arrested for indecent exposure. Then he pictured Papa Guede's face, hovering over the two of them and laughing, and perversely, it was enough to spur him on. He crammed his left hand into his mouth as he came, biting his knuckles to muffle the sound.

The orgasm hit him like a Mack truck, leaving him wrecked and weak-kneed from the force of it. He drooped against the door for a few moments more, catching his breath, then finally dropped the sodden fabric in the garbage and cleaned up the best he could without paper towels. He could still smell the blood when he was done, but at least he didn't look like a mass murderer anymore.

The stupid purple shirt was smaller than he'd expected, and it pulled tight across his chest for that ever-popular rent-boy look. Dean left the bar with his jacket pulled close around him, counting down the minutes until he could change back into his own clothes.

It was after midnight by the time he made it back to the motel, and it looked like he was going to have a head start in packing. His duffel bag was sittin in the lobby next to the check-in desk, and the clerk refused to hand over his key.

"Dude," Dean said as patiently as he could with easy access to an edged weapon and the scent of blood still lingering in his nose, which wasn't really all that patient, "I never even checked out."

The clerk sneered. "You don't pay for the day, you don't get a room. This ain't the Ritz, boy."

"That explains the lack of mints on the pillow." Explaining that he hadn't paid because he was too busy being tied to a bed was probably more trouble than it was worth. Then again, here, that was probably just par for the course. "Look, can't I at least check to make sure you got all my stuff?"

"Room's occupied," the clerk said with a sniff.

"Come on. Like it's something I've never seen before."

The clerk pointed at the door. "Out."

Dean sighed. "You're a real people person, aren't you, Jimmy?"

"You call me Mr. Higgins, boy," he snapped. "And I don't need no customers carryin' an arsenal like yours. You take your shit and go, or I'm calling the police."

Dean raised his hands in surrender; he knew when he was beat. "Yes sir, Mr. Higgins, sir."

The clerk waved a threatening fist. "I ain't too old to kick your ass, boy."

"Oh, I believe it." Dean shouldered his pack and sauntered toward the door.

"Hey!" the clerk called after him. "You still gotta pay!"

Dean tossed a lazy wave over his shoulder. "See you around, Jimmy."

He threw his bag into the passenger seat and drove off with no real destination in mind, other than away, just in case Higgins called the cops after all. He didn't stop until he was back downtown, creeping through traffic again, and then pulled over in the first empty spot he saw. A quick rummage through his pack showed that nothing seemed to be missing, although the cap had come off his bottle of holy water and the EMF meter was shorted out. Great; now he'd have to gut another Walkman to replace the fried circuits. Worse, all his clothes were soaked. He was stuck with the purple shirt.

Dean sighed and announced, "I hate my life."

Don't fool yourself, girl, Frank Zappa sang, and grudgingly Dean took his point, if not his choice of noun-- it was still better than the alternative. Then the next line made him snap off the stereo so fast, the knob almost came off in his hand. He was definitely in more of a Metallica mood now anyway.

He zipped the bag shut with a muttered curse and looked up, noticing his surroundings for the first time. He wasn't sure what to make of the fact that he was just around the corner from the strip club where he'd found Constantine the night before.

Oh, who was he kidding? Dean knew exactly what to make of it. Even with the edge off, he still wanted to get laid. Dean figured it would take a hell of a lot to make him not want to get laid, and in the eleven years since his first blow job behind a haunted church, he still hadn't discovered just what it would take to get to that point. Still, there were easier ways to get his rocks off. Less dangerous to life and limb.

He reached for the ignition, then let his hand fall with another sigh. His earlier rage at Constantine had dimmed; Dean could never stay that pissed for very long. Resentment was a different story, and he still resented the man plenty, but just that wasn't enough to override his baser instincts. Even after his pit stop, with whatever sexual side effects of the ritual gone from his system, his feelings for Constantine were still a tangled mess. John freaking Constantine was irritating, off-putting, intimidating, and still way too old; and Dean still felt insanely and irresistibly drawn to him.

Besides, he realized with sudden annoyance, Constantine still had his gun.

"God, I'm a tool," he muttered, and grabbed his keys and opened the door with an angry shove.

The same bouncer was on duty, and he greeted Dean with a broad grin. "Back to see the show?"

"It was so good the first time, I couldn't stay away," Dean agreed, handing over his ten dollars without complaint. Having just saved fifty bucks on the motel room, it was hard to begrudge the man the cover. "You get yourself something special with that, buddy."

He shouldn't be here, he thought, passing through the door with a depressing sense of déjà vu. He should be hitting the road now, if he wanted to make any kind of distance before he crashed. Besides, there was no reason to think Constantine would even come back here.

No reason, except there he was, in the very same spot at the bar, spinning a soggy cardboard coaster between his fingers and looking supremely bored. Again Dean was struck with the urge to flee, and again he steeled himself and approached the bar with casual unconcern.

"Surprise me," he told the bartender as he sat down. At this point, anything alcoholic would do.

Constantine's shoulders tensed, but he didn't otherwise react. He was out of the funeral clothes and back in his tan trench coat, and looked at the same time both less imposing and more self-assured.

"Didn't expect to see you here again," he said at last, not looking at Dean.

Dean snorted. "Why, because you set me up and screwed me over? Now why would I hold a grudge?"

"Let's set the record straight, kid," Constantine said, leveling a long, slender finger at him. "I didn't set you up for sod all. You stuck your nose in and nearly fucked me over."

"What were you even doing there?" Dean demanded, because granted, it was hard to argue with that. "And don't fuck around," he added when Constantine opened his mouth. "I heard you trying to make a deal with that freak."

"Heard rumors," Constantine said with a shrug, flicking a small plastic lighter on and off. "Went to have a butcher's, see if it was actually Midnite. Like I said, I don't trust that prat to stay dead." He slanted Dean a sharp sideways look. "What about you? Shouldn't you be somewhere copping off at the prom or something?"

"Dude," Dean said, injured. "I'm 26, not 16."

Constantine turned to look at him finally, with an edged smile. "Blow me, you kids get younger-looking every day."

"Well, yeah, at your age."

Constantine pulled out a cigarette and fingered it, looking like he was waging an internal battle; Dean made a point of not watching his hands. Then he shrugged and stuck the filter in his mouth. "Nice dodge. What's your story, Dean Winchester?"

Dean narrowed his eyes. "You knew about my mother. You don't know the rest?"

"I just knew the name, mate," Constantine said, holding the flame just beyond the end of his cigarette. "Plucked fresh from your brain and brought straight to the supper table. The details I'll need to hear from you."

"Why do you care?"

He lit up finally, closing his eyes in a moment of evident bliss. "Student of human nature, me."

He didn't say anything else, seeming content to wait. Dean's drink arrived, a grimy glass of watered-down beer, and he drank deeply, taking the opportunity to stall. It was the one rule they had, because expect to die fighting wasn't so much a rule as it was a given: nobody knew the family business. They did what they did, and they kept their mouths shut. The last time Dean had seriously broken the rule, he'd had his heart stomped for his trouble. But the rule didn't really apply this time; even if Constantine didn't know them, he was obviously the real veteran in the room. Besides, he might be a useful contact to have.

When Dean set his beer down again, it was half-empty, and he was starting to feel a little buzz. "My dad and I, we're hunters," he said at last. It had taken a while, but he'd finally gotten used to not mentioning Sam anymore. "It's a family thing."

"What, you got bored when the deer didn't fight back?"

Dean forced a thin smile. "Something killed my mother. We're gonna find out what."

"I stand corrected."

Time to change the subject. "So what, Minuit was faking it the whole time?"

"Not bloody likely, son. He was the real thing all right."

Dean let the son pass without comment. This time. "But you said--"

"I lied," Constantine said with a puff. "Shocking, innit?"

"If he was that easy to kill, why didn't you do it before?"

"What am I, 00-bleeding-7? Sorry, mate, left my license to kill in me other trousers."

"Yeah," Dean said with a hard look. "Killing, that's just immoral."

Constantine shrugged, not acknowledging the dig. "Any road, he wasn't. Easy an' all. As long as Papa Guede was in him, he was almost invincible."

Dean frowned. "Come again?

"As the nun said to the vicar." Constantine grinned. "Almost invincible, mind. D'you know how to trap a loa?"

"Well," Dean said, "I thought about learning, but there was this class on underwater basket weaving instead."

"I wouldn't recommend it. Most times the poor bloke only succeeds in making a shambles of things."

"I'll try to keep that in mind."

Constantine continued as if he hadn't spoken. "But if you do decide to give it a go, there's only one way to hold a loa as powerful as Papa Guede. You have to carve his veve into your heart."

Dean's frown deepened. "What, like his chest?"

"Is that the language gap again?" Constantine cocked his head. "His heart. Squishy red pumpy thing?"

"But how would he--" Dean stopped. "You know what? Never mind. So what's your point?"

"My point," Constantine said, and paused for another drag, "is that half-inch spot of real estate was the only place where Chester was vulnerable. Lucky you managed to hit it first try, eh?"

Dean stared at him, shaken by the idea of the near-miss. "I didn't even know!"

"Picked up on that, thanks," Constantine said dryly. "Good thing for me blood pressure I didn't know that before."

"That's why you uncuffed me? You knew I'd do it."

"I hoped."

"What was that, magic? Telekinesis?"

Constantine smiled faintly. "Can't go giving away all my tricks, can I?"

Dean took another drink; the taste wasn't so bad once he got used to it. Still, he felt compelled to point out to the bartender that Surprise me didn't mean Surprise me with death.

"Straight up now," Constantine said, once he'd gotten that off his chest. "What are you doing here?"

"Taking in the sights," Dean said easily.

"Really." His voice dropped. "That's all you're interested in, is looking?"

"It's not that kind of strip club, John." It was the first time he'd said Constantine's first name out loud, and it felt strange in his mouth, almost like a liberty he wasn't sure he should take. Except taking liberties was what Dean did.

Constantine didn't seem to notice, or more likely didn't care. "And you're not that kind of girl?"

"Dude, you haven't even bought me a drink yet."

"Sure I did."

"No," Dean said, "ya didn't."

Constantine waved at the bartender. "Hey, Lou. Put that horse piss on my tab."

Dean waited until Lou shuffled off again, then asked under his breath, "You're never paying that tab, are you?"

"I am shocked and offended that you would say such a thing."

"My heart bleeds."

"Could only improve that shirt."

Dean made a face down at the gold glitter. "Yeah, well, the bloodstained look is so passé."

"Oh dear," Constantine said. "There's me behind the times again."

He stood then, without warning, and Dean felt an unsettling lurch in his chest that felt a hell of a lot like disappointment. He covered and asked dryly, "Leaving so soon?"

"Shine's well off this place," Constantine said, leaning over to crush his cigarette in the ashtray. He paused, giving Dean another sideways look. "Are you coming or what?"

The disappointment vanished, replaced immediately by something Dean almost never felt: nerves. He thought about it. He thought about long days alone in Wichita, just him and his arsenal for company. Then he thought about what someone like John Constantine could do in bed.

He said, "I'm driving."

Constantine grinned. "Just like old times."

Constantine slid into the backseat without even waiting for Dean to move his bag from the front, and something about the way he leaned against the door made Dean think he ought to be charging for the ride. He held out his hand without a word before starting the engine, and to his credit, Constantine didn't even hesitate before handing over the gun. Dean grunted in acknowledgment as he removed the clip and returned both pieces safely to the glove compartment.

As they pulled out into traffic, Constantine asked, "No music?"

Dean wasn't about to turn on the stereo, not with Zappa still in the tape deck. Twisted motherfucker. He passed the shoebox to the backseat and said generously, "Your choice."

Constantine handed him back an old Leonard Cohen tape, which Dean didn't even think he had anymore, not since his Walkman stopped playing music and started detecting ghosts. He hated driving to Cohen because it depressed the hell out of him; hard to floor the engine and feel glum at the same time, but anything was better than the tense, charged silence. Then that low, insinuating voice sang There's gonna be a meter on your bed that will disclose what everybody knows, and Dean couldn't help wondering if Constantine was trying to make a point, or if he was just getting paranoid in his old age.

Your place or mine had never quite come up. Dean didn't have a place anymore, and Constantine, it seemed, never had. Dean was willing to stop at the first by-the-hour place they passed, but Constantine ignored them, directing him all the way to a Ritz-Carlton at the edge of town.

Before he turned off the engine, Dean asked, "You plan on paying for this?" He still had Hector's credit card, all but untouched save the $18.50 he'd spent on the shirt, but as far as he was concerned it was still Constantine's turn.

"Something like that," Constantine said, and didn't elaborate.

"Well, that's nice and cryptic."

"We aim to please."

Dean followed Constantine through the automatic doors with his hands shoved deep in his pockets, silently daring any strangers to comment. He could guess at the picture they presented-- two thoroughly disreputable-looking men, one a good twenty years older than the other (at least; he still didn't know just how old Constantine was), walking a little too close to just be friends. He didn't dare touch Constantine, not yet, but his skin itched for the contact.

It was a lazier, more natural arousal than before, slow and diffuse instead of hard and sharp and urgent, and in a weird way it was both better and worse like this. Better because he wasn't getting off on his own impending death; worse because now he had nobody to blame for it but himself. He wasn't even drunk, which made this the first time he'd ever left a bar with a guy without at least three shots in his stomach. And Constantine was just strolling along like it was no big deal, like he did this sort of thing every day. Hell, for all Dean knew, maybe he did.

That train of thought sparked another, and for a brief, panicked moment, Dean wondered if he'd replaced the condoms in his wallet since the last time. Then he wondered in what capacity he expected to use them, and felt suddenly dizzy at the film strip of images clicking through his brain.

They were so distracting that he missed most of Constantine's conversation at the check-in desk-- a much nicer one than Higgins', with a much better-looking clerk behind it, who was only giving them mildly dubious looks, instead of going the whole hog-- and tuned in just in time to hear Constantine say, "I already paid, yeah?"

"Yes," the clerk agreed, and handed over the keycard, looking dazed. And okay, Dean had been out of it for a second there, but he definitely hadn't seen any money change hands.

He crowded behind Constantine on the way to the elevator and hissed in his ear, "How do you do that?"

"I ask nicely," Constantine said, flipping the keycard over in his hands like he'd never seen one before. He didn't bother to look at Dean.

"Come on. It's magic, right? Can you, like, teach me?" Damn, if Dean could do that, he and Dad wouldn't even have to run credit scams anymore. He'd still hustle pool, though, because that was just fun.

The elevator dinged open and Constantine stepped inside, shooting him a withering look. "You've got enough troubles, squire. Don't go looking for more."

"Yeah, not having to pay for anything, that's a real pain in the ass."

Constantine shrugged. "It'll bite me in the arse later, I'm sure, but it's this or card games. I didn't exactly bring me traveler's checks."

"Uh-huh," Dean said, unconvinced. The doors started to close, and he moved behind Constantine, sliding a hand over his hip and down to cup his crotch through his black pants. "You get off on that whole hard-bitten tough guy act, don't you, John?" Dean breathed in his ear. "Gets you hard, doesn't it?"

Constantine's image stared back at him from the gleaming metal doors, eyes hard and burning even in the indistinct reflection. His mouth was a tight, grim line, but Dean wasn't worried. He knew why they were here; pretty hard to misinterpret a suite in a swanky hotel, or the hot pulse against his hand, proving that Constantine did get off on it after all. Unless Constantine was one of those hyper-alpha control freaks, and God, that would suck if it were true. It would suck on so many levels.

He stilled, tense and waiting and deliberately not moving his hand. For a moment it felt like Constantine was going to shove him away; then Dean's back hit the wall, and there was a tongue pushing into his mouth and an efficient pair of hands working their way into his jeans.

Dean felt his mouth go slack, more from surprise than anything else, and God, the things Constantine could do with his tongue. It was like no kiss Dean had ever experienced; it was hotter and slower and deeper and, Jesus, so damn filthy it shouldn't even be called a kiss, tongue-fucking of the best possible kind. Constantine tasted of stale cigarettes and off-brand liquor, and Dean had to clutch at the fabric of his trench coat to keep from sliding down the wall. The warm fingers on his dick were almost incidental, more an afterthought than the main event.

Almost, except those fingers were deft with more than just an unending stream of cheap cigarettes, and soon Dean was contemplating the very real fear that he just might come right there.


"Oh look," Constantine said, pulling away. "There's our stop."

It was small comfort that he looked a lot less composed than he sounded, his face flushed and his fingers twitching. Dean stared at him, mouth still hanging open, then looked down at himself and tried to remember how his own fingers worked.

"After you," Constantine said, smirking as he stepped aside.

Fucking bastard.

At least it was late, and nobody was waiting in the hall to get a good eyeful. Dean tucked himself in with shaking hands, then swiped his fingers over his mouth, lingering over the slight burn from Constantine's stubble. His legs were still weak, he was painfully hard, and his chest heaved as if he'd been running from a pack of werewolves. And that was just a kiss. Well, a kiss and a grope, but still.

"Sadist," he muttered as he stalked past Constantine into the hallway.

Constantine followed. "We can try that if you like."

"Fuck you."

"We can try that too."

Dean looked back and grinned. Constantine was definitely eyeing his ass.

He put a little more swagger in his step as he walked-- not hard to do; he was walking kind of bow-legged already-- and heard Constantine's breath catch behind him. The effect was somewhat spoiled when he walked right past their room. He hadn't heard the number.

"Going somewhere?" Constantine called after him, and he turned back with a scowl.

"Shut up."

"Shut me up."

Dean grabbed him as soon as the door opened and propelled him backwards into the room, kicking the door shut behind him. Constantine watched him with hooded, glittering eyes. Dean licked his lips and said, "Don't mind if I do."

The second kiss was faster than the first, more urgent, and this time Dean got in plenty of lip and tongue action of his own. He tugged at Constantine's coat, wanting the thing off and on the floor, like, now, and felt answering hands at the zipper of his leather jacket. The metallic sound echoed in the huge room, and then Constantine pulled back with a breathless laugh that sounded suspiciously like a giggle. "Christ, I forgot."

Dean smacked him. "Asshole."

"Sorry, mate, I can't take you seriously in that thing." Constantine was grinning, his eyes bright with amusement, even as he winced and rubbed his shoulder.

"Really." Dean tugged at the hem of his shirt and smirked back. "Would it help if I took it off?"

Constantine's eyes darkened, and his mouth curled up. "I'm willing to test that theory."

"How selfless of you." He stretched, pulling the shirt over his head, and it was a relief to not have to worry about explaining his scars for once. Constantine probably had a few good ones of his own. Dean imagined he'd soon find out.

Not soon enough. He wadded up the purple fabric and tossed it over his shoulder, then hesitated. Constantine stood motionless in front of him, trench coat puddled around his feet but otherwise still fully dressed; his white button-down shirt wasn't even untucked. Dean narrowed his eyes. "Your turn."

"In a minute." Constantine started to circle around him, eyeing his bare skin with a predatory gleam. "I'm enjoying the view."

Dean wasn't sure whether to bask in the attention or fold his arms over his chest, and solved the dilemma by hooking his thumbs in his belt loops. "Dude, you wanted a striptease, you should've stayed at the club."

"I prefer the private show." Constantine's breath was hot on the back of his neck, and he couldn't suppress a shiver.

"Stick a twenty in my pants and I'll think about it."

"That much? I think I'm out of my league."

Dean turned his head halfway, just far enough to catch a glimpse of unruly blond hair. "Good thing I'm easy."

"Lucky me," Constantine agreed, tracing light fingers over one of his scars, a puckered white line that curved around Dean's ribs and down below the waist of his jeans. He shivered again at the touch. "What's this one from?"

"Uh." Dean tried to think; it was harder than he expected. "Um. A skinwalker."

The fingers dipped lower. "And just how friendly did this skinwalker get?"

Dean leaned back against him, trying not to moan. The press of fabric against his skin reminded him of what he was supposed to be doing, and he started to turn. Constantine's fingers dug into his hips, holding him in place. "I'm not done."

Dean tried to protest, but the unexpected rush of heat he felt at the words left him speechless. His hips felt branded, twin lines of fire burning straight from Constantine's hands to his dick. Just then, getting his jeans off seemed like the best idea ever.

He reached for the top button, and Constantine's hands moved again, gripping his wrists and holding them against his sides. Dean yelped at the pressure on his abraded skin. "Fuck, man, watch it!"

Constantine's grip loosened, but he didn't let go. "From the ropes?" he murmured, turning Dean bodily and starting to walk him toward the king-sized bed.

"Yeah, 'cause you tied me to a fucking bed." The anger started to swell up again, and Dean swallowed it with some effort. Wrong time, wrong place. It had been a long fucking day, and he was getting laid tonight if he had to kill somebody to do it.

Somebody else.

The close of teeth around his earlobe was a welcome distraction from increasingly dark thoughts. They tugged, just enough to sting but not enough for real pain, and then Constantine's tongue darted out to soothe the worried flesh. His voice dropped to a low hiss. "Did you like it?"

"Uh," Dean said again, staring at the approaching bed with sudden trepidation. "Not really."


His shins hit the edge of the mattress, and he stopped. Constantine eased him down and around, sitting him on the edge of the bed, then crouched down in front of him with a faint smirk playing around his mouth. Dean wet his suddenly dry lips and asked, with a decent stab at his usual sarcasm, "Seen enough?"

"Getting there."

Constantine started to unbutton his jeans, smacking his hands away when he reached down to help. The control freak hypothesis was looking more and more likely, and Dean was finding it harder and harder to care. It was unsettlingly hot, being manhandled like this; usually he was the one in control, and usually that was the way he liked it. But with Constantine, it seemed, usual went right out the window. Suddenly even the ropes didn't seem like such a bad idea anymore.

Not that he'd ever admit it.

And then he stopped thinking about it, stopped worrying about what it meant that the idea of John Constantine tying him down and just using him made his thighs tense with anticipation, stopped worrying about anything at all, because his hard-on was jutting out from his fly and Constantine was spitting in his hand, and then there was a warm, wet grip and then mouth and lips and tongue, and Dean felt his eyes roll up and fell back against the bed.

Constantine didn't even pause, just kept sucking, his lips meeting and then pulling back from the fist wrapped around Dean's cock. Dean couldn't keep from thrusting up, and figured that if Constantine minded, he'd just hold him down. Constantine didn't mind, and didn't mind either when Dean reached down and grabbed his hair, needing something to hold on to and finding no purchase on the slick bedspread. The first brush of teeth made Dean whimper, and he heard the sound coming from his throat and cringed, but he couldn't stop it; and then the spit-slippery hand moved down to his balls and Constantine swallowed his dick and the whimpers became a long, helpless moan.

It was without a doubt the best blowjob of his life. And that was putting a hell of a lot of strippers and even one or two working girls to shame.

It wasn't long before Dean felt his balls start to tighten, and he arched up in anticipation. But Constantine felt it too and tugged them back down, and even Dean's hands couldn't keep his mouth in place; he just pulled them away, along with a handful of hair, and pressed them down against the mattress, then pulled back with one last flick of his tongue over the slit.

Dean groaned at the loss, curling one leg around Constantine's body without conscious thought and digging in the heel of his boot, then letting it fall again. It took effort for him to focus, even more to get his voice working again; his throat already felt raw. Finally he managed to choke out, "Dude, what the hell?"

"I'm done looking," Constantine said, sounding insufferably smug, and also a little breathless.

"Jesus," Dean muttered at the ceiling. It seemed like the thing to say. "Is that what you people call it?"

"I'm a hands-on learner."

"Yeah, I liked the part where you had your hands on my dick." He'd stopped twitching now, and the ceiling was only swaying a little instead of spinning, so it seemed safe to prop himself up on his elbows and check out the rest of the room. Good thing he did, too; Constantine was standing, his back to the bed, and finally, finally getting to work on those damn buttons. Dean leered; he couldn't help it. "You need some help with that?"

"'Sall right." Constantine sounded amused. "I mastered buttons at a very young age."

Dean sat up carefully, mindful of his still-throbbing erection. They hadn't bothered to turn on the lamps, and in the dim light, his dick was almost the same shade of purple as his abandoned sartorial nightmare. He thought about mentioning it, then decided he didn't want to hear another word out of Constantine about that fucking shirt. Instead, he stood, holding up his jeans with one hand, and grinned. "Really, I insist."

Constantine glanced at him and cocked an eyebrow, a trick that always pissed Dean off because he couldn't do it himself. "You've your own matters to attend to, mate. Or d'you need help with the laces?"

"I mastered boots at a very young age." And firearms and knife-throwing and hand-to-hand combat, but that was beside the point. Dean struck a porn-star pose, tugging on his belt loops again, feeling his jeans slide down around his thighs. "I don't know, I'm kinda liking the look. What do you think?"

Constantine shrugged off his shirt and turned, giving Dean a moment's glance of a lean, pale back and a longer look at his similarly spare chest. There was enough muscle under the skin that he didn't look scrawny, just... wiry. Honed, like Dean's favorite knife, a plain black hilt with a stainless steel blade that he kept filed down to a razor's edge. Dangerous.

It shouldn't have been possible for a mouth to water and go dry at the same time, but somehow Dean managed.

"I think," Constantine said at last, in a low, controlled voice, "that's probably illegal in most southern states."

Dean took a step closer, feeling light-headed and daring under the weight of that stare. "Maybe you'd better arrest me, then."

Constantine's hands settled on his belt. "Maybe I had."

And maybe he'd miscalculated. Dean licked his lips again, feeling them start to chap in the dry hotel air. Daring, sure, but that was a little intense even for him. Right now, anyway.

Maybe later.

Either he'd misread the gesture or Constantine saw his reaction, because the belt was unbuckled and tossed aside with little ceremony. Dean stepped forward again, and Constantine did the same, stopping about a foot or so away.

"If you want those boots off," he said softly, "I suggest you do it now."

Dazed, Dean could only nod and stumble backwards to the bed, sitting down harder than he intended. His dick bounced in rhythm with the mattress, which would've been funny if he hadn't been so desperately hard. Desperately, shirt-purple hard. Maybe it was funny after all.

It took some maneuvering to get his feet within reach, and then the knots presented a new problem. Urgency built into frustration, and Dean growled under his breath and slipped the knife from his boot, sliding the sharp edge under the laces.

The mattress dipped again beneath him, and Constantine's hot breath on his shoulder made him jump and nearly slice off his thumb. Constantine closed a hand over his and said dryly, "Bit drastic, don't you think?"

Through gritted teeth, Dean said, "Not unless you can magic 'em gone."

The hand disappeared. "Drastic it is."

Dean kept his knives sharp; the blade sliced through the knot like it wasn't even there. He yanked out the laces and kicked the boot across the room, where it thudded against the ornate wooden dresser, leaving a visible scuff mark. The second soon followed the first, knife tucked safely back inside, and then Dean wriggled out of his jeans with the alacrity of long practice.

"That's more like it," Constantine said, and tackled him to the bed, pinning his hands up next to his head.

He sucked in his breath at the full-body contact, then let it out with a small laugh; Constantine had shed his pants when Dean wasn't looking, and his erection burned hot and heavy against Dean's skin. "So I'm illegal, huh?"

Constantine glared down at him with what could only be described as malicious intent. His lips were barely touching Dean's; when he spoke, Dean felt the breath in his mouth like a phantom tongue. "You look," Constantine hissed, "like a wet fucking dream."

"Mmm." Dean ground up against him, savoring his small gasp. "Talk dirty to me, baby."

"You want dirty?" Constantine bit the skin beneath Dean's jaw, so hard he could feel his pulse pounding between the sharp teeth, and he couldn't stop the high, wordless sound that escaped from his mouth. Constantine held on like a terrier, tugging at his prize as Dean writhed beneath him, then let go just this side of too much and went on as though he'd never even stopped. "You've the lips of a back-alley tart. You've a mouth made for gobbing off."

"I'd be insulted," Dean panted, "if I knew what that meant." God, that had hurt. Another bruise to add to the collection. Probably the only one that wouldn't make him want to punch someone every time he saw it.

"To fellate," Constantine said precisely, confirming Dean's suspicions. "To open your smart-arse bloody mouth for the cock parade."

"Wrong time of year for Mardi Gras, John." He tried to keep his voice steady, and was pleased at the result.

Constantine bit him again, this time at the curve between neck and shoulder; Dean was still moaning when he pulled back. "To get on your knees and choke on a throatful of spunk. To gob off. Look it up."

"Jesus," Dean groaned, and it might even have been a prayer. He'd have slugged Constantine, if the litany wasn't getting him so hard he could feel his eyes cross. "What the hell dictionary do you use?"

"The OED," Constantine growled, "of finally shutting you the bloody hell up."

And, okay, if he really thought Constantine meant it, more than just a little. Dean knew he had a big mouth. He also knew that was probably what Constantine liked about him; they recognized their own. That and his lips, and goddamn it, he was never going to look at his own fucking mouth the same way again.

"Bitch," he said, grinning up at Constantine with all his teeth.

Constantine smirked back, then reached down between them and gave his dick a savage pump.

"Fffff--" The expletive caught in his teeth, and Constantine leaned in and swallowed the rest of it, until Dean thought he was going to pass out.

Then he eased back and rested his forehead against Dean's, watching with a mischievous smile as he gasped for air. "I haven't even started on your arse yet."

Dean let out a shaky breath. "Please tell me that's a euphemism."

Constantine's expression didn't change. "D'you want it to be?"

"Um." Good fucking question. "I don't have--"

"I do."

Of course.

Dean tried to think about it, to push past the haze of arousal and figure out what he did want, then realized that was missing the whole point. Overthinking sex was like... like some other useless thing. Sam probably thought about sex. Dean just did it, because sex was sex, and as long as it was good sex, what did he care? He checked in with the parts in question; his dick said yes please and his ass was somewhat muted on the subject, probably just as galled as the rest of him that this was yet another area where Constantine had more experience than he did. It was starting to get annoying. Not his fault that the men's rooms in the kind of bars he frequented didn't have much room to maneuver.

Sounded like a resounding majority to him.

He grinned, twisting his wrists against Constantine's hold, anticipation sending a shock of nervous energy through his body. "Shit, dude, long as I can sit down to drive tomorrow, my ass is yours."

Constantine snorted. "I see you have your priorities in order."

"Hey, I'm her bitch. Everyone else just rents."

"And what's the going rate, then?"

"Trust me," Dean said, "you've got it covered," and thrust up just enough to make his point.

Constantine released his hands finally, which was good, and sat back on Dean's thighs, leaving his hard-on waving in empty air, which was less good. Dean pushed up on his elbows to watch, and let one hand drift between his legs-- not to stroke, not yet, just holding on for now. Constantine raised an eyebrow as he moved, reaching behind himself for something, and Dean felt strangely disappointed by the lack of challenge. Every time he thought he'd figured out the game, dude kept changing the rules on him.

The something turned out to be Constantine's pants, draped over the foot of the bed. Neither of them spoke as he fumbled through the pockets. It could have been an awkward silence, but to Dean it felt like a respite, a quick breather before they moved on to the next stage, like the eye of a storm. And maybe it was a chance for Dean to change his mind, though if that were the case, Constantine was wasting his time. Dean didn't quit in the middle of things, especially not when they were about to get good.

At last, Constantine found the wrapped condom and dropped the pants to the floor. He rose to his knees with a small wince and leaned over, bracing himself with one hand as he moved a leg between Dean's thighs and nudged them apart. Dean frowned, suddenly uneasy; lack of experience was one thing, but he did know the theory. He gestured vaguely. "Don't you need...."

Both eyebrows went up this time. "Jazz hands?"

"Lube, dumbass." So much for being coy. He'd never been very good at it.

"Pre-lubed," Constantine said, ripping open the package as he spoke. "Handy, that."

"Oh." Dean hesitated. "Is that... enough?"

Constantine's hands paused halfway to his dick. "'Sall I have. You tell me."

Another goad. Constantine was still waiting for him to punk out.

Constantine could go fuck himself, except that would be kind of a waste.

"Hand it over, bitch," Dean said, struggling to sit up and snapping his fingers for the condom. "Haven't got my hands on you yet."

Constantine rocked back on his heels and watched impassively as Dean rolled the slippery rubber over his cock, the barest shudder his only reaction to the touch. This at least was familiar: the weight of the hot flesh in Dean's hand, the weird, almost alien feel of latex stretched over skin. Dean leaned close and breathed in, smelling sweat and sex and something vaguely chemical; he wanted to open his mouth, give Constantine a hands-on illustration of the dictionary definition, but the idea of a mouthful of lubricant gave him pause. Some other time.

It occurred to him that at some point, he'd stopped planning to leave the next day. Dad had said to take a vacation, though this probably wasn't what he had in mind.

And then Constantine was pushing him back down again, and he stopped thinking about Dad as his head hit the mattress, because that way lay serious issues. "Bring it on," he drawled instead, letting some flat Kansas slip into his voice, and spread his legs wider.

He expected pain; pain was familiar, grounding, if not necessarily a turn-on. He expected to feel fingers, spit-slick and stabbing, and tried not to tense up waiting for them.

He didn't expect to see Constantine's head drop between his legs, or to feel the sudden liquid heat that wormed its way into his ass, but it made sense that there the man was, still leading with his tongue. "Oh," he choked out, "shit," and felt his thigh muscles spasm.

Constantine smirked against him, tongue slipping deeper, and Dean felt the curve of his mouth as clearly as if he were seeing it firsthand: ass Braille, he thought, and would have laughed if he could find the breath. Then a finger slipped in next to the tongue, and that was a little more pain, a little more what he'd expected. But the pain just made it better, more real, because everything else was starting to feel distinctly surreal, from the elegant bedspread beneath his grasping fingers and the quiet hum of the air conditioner in the corner to the naked English mage between his legs, who'd probably seen things Dean's father had only ever read about, and who was currently easing a second finger into Dean's ass and brushing against that incredible spot inside that made him see stars.

"Jesus," Dean gasped when he found his voice again, "do it, come on, fucker, do it--"

Constantine's tongue slipped out, leaving the fingers in, and he raised his head with a maniacal grin. "Say please."

"Fuck you," Dean grunted, and felt a third finger join the party.

"Mm, not quite."

"Man, if you don't fuck me right the hell now--"

He broke off, panting, at another nudge to his prostate. Constantine laughed. "Well, when you ask so nicely."

The fingers slid out, and he sat up, pushing Dean's legs toward his chest. Dean grunted at the unaccustomed strain, muscles not used to flexing that way, and Constantine paused but didn't let go. "If you want to turn over, it's easier that way."

Dean grunted again, this time from annoyance. "Thanks, Florence Nightingale, I think I've got it." He grabbed the back of his thighs to demonstrate, glaring a challenge, and added, "If you think you can manage, I mean."

"Oh," Constantine said softly, grasping Dean's hips and meeting the challenge head-on, "I think I'll muddle through."

And it did hurt, though not as much as he'd feared; Constantine's tongue had done a good job of loosening him up, and it only seemed fair that it'd been put to good use for once. It was weird more than anything, pressure far bigger and hotter than anything he'd ever felt, and it knocked Dean for a loop, more jarring and, okay, intimate than a simple act of penetration had any right to be. If this was what it felt like for women all the time, he could have some serious respect for the party girls he'd known.

It all spun together, the slow slide of flesh and the fingers digging into his hip Constantine's fiercely intent grin or grimace or some strange combination of the two and Dean's own hands cramping on his thighs, and somewhere between the halfway mark and the bristle of pubic hair against his ass, Dean realized he'd been manipulated into all but begging to be fucked, and face-to-face no less. All the man did was keep offering him an out, which was enough to make sure he wouldn't take them, and Constantine got exactly what he wanted. Which didn't necessarily mean Dean didn't want it too, though faced with the reality of a dick up his ass, he was suddenly a lot less sure of that; but what really galled was that it was the same game he used on Sam, and it worked every time. He should have known better by now.

Well, Sam hadn't been around for a while. He'd gotten rusty.

But it was too late to back out, even if he wanted to; Constantine was all the way in and he didn't give Dean time to adjust, just pulled back and pushed in again, over and over. Dean grunted with each thrust, the sound a physical reaction as his body was jolted and his mouth still hung open, stupidly surprised. His erection flagged a bit at the monotony and the friction inside, only partly eased by the lube from the condom. His ass already felt numb. He wondered how long he ought to wait before he started heckling, wondered if there was a required period. Dear Miss Manners....

But Constantine wasn't just thrusting mindlessly; he was feeling around like he'd just walked into a dark room, groping for the light switch, and when he found it there might as well have been floodlights, and they were flashing right in Dean's face. It shot up Dean's spine like a live current, exploding in his brain; he wouldn't be surprised if it blew his head off.

Constantine gave a satisfied growl and settled in for the long haul, clutching Dean's hips hard enough to bruise, pulling Dean up against him every time he pushed down, and fuck, oh Jesus, it shouldn't be so hot, shouldn't be so fucking good to be used like that, but Constantine had a way of taking every one of Dean's shouldn'ts and flinging them back in his face. He heard himself moaning and sobbing for air, and barely recognized the voice as his. His ass sure as hell wasn't numb anymore; it burned with sensation, pain and pleasure and his own throbbing pulse, almost alive with it, and wasn't that a sick mental image. He wondered what the journal entry would look like for sentient asses. He wondered where he'd heard the word sentient. He wondered if it were possible to go insane from sex. He was moaning and sobbing for breath, and he barely recognized his voice.

He didn't realize his grip was slipping until his legs fell, skimming past Constantine's shoulders, splaying across the bed. The pressure shifted, moving away from his prostate, and Dean stared unseeing at the ceiling and gulped much-needed air. It was almost a welcome respite, until Constantine pushed them up again and over his shoulders this time, and found the spot again, and Dean decided breathing was overrated.

He expected Constantine to reach for his hips again, and was kind of looking forward to it, but instead felt one hand grab his right wrist and pin it to the mattress, while the other scraped short fingernails over one of his nipples. Dean hissed and reached for his chest with his free hand just as Constantine did the same to the other, and found himself rubbing the sore nub of skin, soothing it even as Constantine's fingers pinched and twisted at his other nipple. It felt unbearably erotic, the mixed signals twisting together down to his aching dick, and through it all Constantine never lost his rhythm. Dean shuddered, close to overload.

"All right, mate?" Constantine sounded amused. Dean wondered when the hell he didn't sound amused.

Talking; Dean could do talking. He thought. "Just... peachy," he gasped, trailing his hand down his stomach, twisting his other in Constantine's grip. "Fact... think I'm about to... be doing great...."

"Glad to hear it."

Constantine seemed pretty damn close himself. Dean asked, "How you doin'?" and even managed a leer for about half a second, before another thrust had him moaning again.

"Better and better," Constantine said breathlessly, and grabbed Dean's hips again and yeah, that was it. Both hands free again, he wrapped them around his dick, smearing pre-come down the shaft and fucking into his own hand. Oh yeah, close, all right. Closer still when Constantine yanked him up to meet a particularly violent thrust, and Dean could feel Constantine's control slipping as his fingers opened and closed and his hips stuttered back and forth. He swore loudly-- not sure what he was saying, but he thought of Papa Guede and felt inspired-- and whited out and spilled over his hands, a split second before Constantine hauled him up as far as he would go, so deep he could feel Constantine's balls draw up against his ass, and came.

Neither of them moved for a moment. Then Dean's legs fell again and Constantine let go of his hips, and he hit the mattress so hard he bounced.

"Stone me," Constantine said, slumping forward and bracing his hands on his knees.

"I should," Dean said without heat. "You think I can sit down after that? Fucker."

Constantine's head dropped, and his shoulders started to shake. It took Dean a moment to realize he was laughing.

"Shut up," Dean said lazily, nudging his foot against whatever body part was in reach, too drained to look and see which. "You think that's funny? I'm gonna kick your ass." He paused. "In a minute."

Constantine raised his head, still grinning. "Ta for the warning, then." He stretched, groaning softly, and giving Dean a nice look at the ribs shifting under his skin, then eased his legs off the bed with a wince and two loud cracks. "Bloody hell, I'm too old for this."

"Oh yeah," Dean said, folding his hands under his head and smirking at the ceiling. "I almost dozed off in the middle there."

Constantine smacked his thigh, and Dean yelped and jerked away. "Lippy little shit," Constantine said mildly as he started for the bathroom. "You were gagging for it."

"You sure that means what you think it means?"

"Gags," Constantine said thoughtfully. "Now there's an idea."

Dean groped for a pillow and flung it at him, and it bounced off the closing bathroom door. Constantine's laugh echoed on the tiles.

"No more sex for you!" Dean yelled.

He was a good liar.

Dean didn't leave the next day, or the day after that, and the lingering ache in his sitting parts was only part of the reason. Constantine showed no intention of moving on soon, no one kicked them out of the room, and Dean's cell phone didn't ring once. They passed the time. Constantine used his belt once. Dean showed him what his mouth could do. He was on vacation. It was a novel experience.

All told, it was six days before he started to feel antsy again, and the still-silent phone became a vague worry in the back of his mind. The job in Jericho should have been over by now. Dad should have called him.

Time to leave.

Dean scrubbed the last of the water from his hair and tossed the towel on the bed, looking around for the laundry bag. He had to admit, they were living in style; they hardly left the room, but every time they did, their clothes were washed and the mini-bar was restocked. The one time Constantine had left his trench coat behind, he'd returned to find it pressed and dry-cleaned, the contents of the pockets-- cigarettes, three lighters, a matchbook, and a set of brass knuckles-- stacked neatly on the nightstand. Constantine had bitched for hours. Dean had laughed his ass off. That was the time Constantine had used the belt.

"Good times," Dean muttered, buttoning up his freshly laundered jeans. He'd gotten spoiled by fabric softener.

The sound of the shower cut off, and a moment later Constantine stepped out of the bathroom, surrounded by a warm billow of steam. He hadn't bothered with a towel. "Heading out?" he asked, grabbing the towel Dean had discarded.

"Places to go," Dean said, his voice muffled as he pulled his T-shirt over his head. "Things to kill. You know how it goes."

"Same old," Constantine agreed. He plucked the laundry bag from Dean's hands and shook out his pants. "Anything to do with the way you keep eyeing your mobile like it's your first good shag?"

"I do love it on vibrate. You got my socks in there?"

Constantine tossed them at him, one by one, and he caught them in both hands. "What about you?" he asked, leaning against the desk as he pulled them over his feet.

Constantine accepted the change of subject without comment. "Home for me. Can't get a single decent fag in this country."

"I'm insulted."


"See what I mean? I don't have to take this abuse."

Dean's duffel bag was still in the car, so he didn't have anything to pack except the knife under his pillow and the clothes on his back. He sat on the bed to lace up his boots, watching Constantine dress out of the corner of his eye, a striptease in reverse. It was weirdly sexy, and if he hadn't come five minutes ago in the shower, he'd be getting hard again. As it was, he sat and enjoyed the view, and knotted the last lace and slammed the knife into his booth sheath as Constantine was sliding his tie around his neck.

Dean stood and surveyed the room with a smirk: condom wrappers, empty mini-bottles, and a pile of room service trays in the corner. "Think we should clean up?"

"Feel free," Constantine said without looking up.

He didn't, but he did leave two twenties on the nightstand for the long-suffering maids. Cheap at the price.

He paused in the doorway, gripping the doorjamb over his head. "Need a ride?"

"Wrong direction, squire."

Right; Kansas wasn't exactly on the way to England. Still, he hesitated, strangely reluctant now to leave. They could at least share the elevator down, but Constantine seemed in no rush to finish dressing.

"Well," he said finally. "So it's been...."

"Fun?" Constantine said dryly.

"Exhausting," Dean said. "Later, John."

He stepped into the hallway, and was about to let the door swing closed when Constantine's matter-of-fact voice stopped him. "Do you like it?"

Dean blinked. "What, sex? Gee, let me think."

Constantine gave him a flat, unimpressed look. "I mean your life. This whole world your dad got you into. D'you like it here?"

"Well, yeah," Dean said after a moment. "What else is there?"

For a few seconds, Constantine just stared at him. Then, suddenly, he smiled.

"Fancy that," he said. "Mouths of babes."

Dean frowned, uncertain, and vaguely annoyed at the feeling.

Constantine raised two backwards fingers at him in what he assumed was an insulting gesture, then reached for his cigarettes on the nightstand and said, "Piss off, Dean Winchester."

Dean was still grinning as he stepped out into the parking lot, and his smile widened as he saw the Impala waiting where he'd left hear, gleaming dully in the late morning sun. "Missed me, baby?" he asked cheerfully, tossing his keys up once before unlocking the door.

He heard the sound of the engine as he slid inside, but it didn't register until he started fiddling with the rearview mirror and caught a flash of black and white. Dean twisted around and stared, his good mood abruptly evaporating. Cops, parked just behind him, so he couldn't pull out. He swore and slammed his hand against the steering wheel.

The two uniforms in the front seats made no move to get out, seeming more interested in whatever they were yapping about. Any hope Dean still had that this was just an unpleasant coincidence vanished when the back door swung open and Detective Robert Gabirel stepped out, glaring at him. Dude looked pissed.

"You sure know how to bring a guy down, don't you, Bobby?" Dean muttered as he turned the key in the ignition.

The Impala's engine roared to life, and Gabirel started walking faster, pointing at the cop car behind him, like maybe Dean just missed seeing it. "Malcolm Young!" he called. "A.k.a. Angus Young, a.k.a. Dean Winchester! Get out of the car!"

Dean rolled down the window and flashed his most innocent smile. "Problem, Officer?"

"Detective," Gabirel said through gritted teeth. "You're under arrest for impersonating a federal officer and interfering in a homicide case and, according to one James Higgins, possession of unregistered firearms. Step out of the car."

"Damn," Dean said. "Sounds serious. You're sure you got the right guy?"

Gabirel leaned down toward the window and bared his teeth. "Angus and Malcolm Young are the guitarists of AC/DC. I ran your plates, Mr. Winchester."

Dean tried to keep smiling. Bobby knew his metal bands? How quaint.

"Now step. Out. Of the car."

Dean eyed the curb in front of him, the stretch of manicured lawn between him and the highway, and sent a silent apology down to the Impala. "Love to, Bobby," he said aloud, "but I've got other plans. Rain check?"

He took a moment to enjoy the expression on Gabirel's face, then hit the gas, wincing as the shocks bounced against the curb. Then, as the tires spun in the damp grass, he glanced in the rearview mirror and grinned. He'd actually kicked up a cloud of dust. Gabirel was actually waving a fist at him and yelling.

It didn't get any better than this.

Dean checked for flashing lights in the rearview until he crossed into Arkansas, then pulled over at a rest stop for gas and some Slim Jims, breakfast of champions. He pulled out his phone on his way out of the convenience store, telling himself it was just a whim, and hit the first number on his speed dial.

The call went straight to voicemail. This is John Winchester. If it's an emergency, leave me a message.

"Dad," Dean said after the beep. "Hey, it's me. Heading back to the ranch." He cleared his throat. "Listen, check in when you get this, let me know how things are going." And then the standard good-bye: "Be careful."

He slipped the phone back in his pocket and started back to the car, chewing thoughtfully on processed meat product as he walked. Something wasn't quite right; he could feel it. Something big was happening, and Dad wasn't talking to him. Dad could be in serious trouble.

Later, he would wonder if it had been deliberate, if his father had left him in New Orleans to keep him out of the way. How far back John had planned it. If the whole job had been a ruse.

But for now, he just wondered.


Part One | Part Two

Notes on the music: I pretty much wrote this whole thing with my SPN mix CD on repeat, which you'd think would get old after a couple weeks, but I firmly believe there's no such thing as too much of a good thing, or too much good music, until I start trying to sing the songs in my sleep, but that's a whole other story about my obsessive tendencies and probably of very little interest to you all. Boring ramble short, the track listing is here, for some idea of the kind of mood I was aiming for, and several of the songs are among those referenced in the story. Those are, in order: "Bad Moon Rising" by Creedence Clearwater Revival; "Mother" by Danzig, from which I also got the story title; "Broken Hearts Are For Assholes" by Frank Zappa; and "Everybody Knows" by Leonard Cohen. And if you're not up on your Zappa, the complete lyric reads as follows:

Don't fool yourself, girl
It's going right up your poop chute

Frank Zappa was a special, special man, and I love him for it.

Also, unrelated point of interest: I put "Can't Find My Way Home" by Blind Faith on my soundtrack a week before "Route 666" aired. This has nothing to do with anything, except my inordinate and frankly kind of sad pride at that fact.


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