1965-01-18 - Stereotypical Lurking
Summary: Constantine is watching Lamont's home when he notices there's a shadow around the perimeter. Inviting Morbius in for tea and drinks, the two have a chat about being the necessary asshole.
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morbius constantine 


As John's been settling in at Kent's pad, it's likely not terribly difficult for him to notice that as the evening falls early in winter in New York, the house is being stalked. Patrolled. Watched. Lamont's put a mystical alarm on the perimeter, sure, though it never seems to get tripped, as the stalker doesn't seem to be inclined to cross into the yard itself where Lindon has winterized his flowering bushes.

I cannot say how long it takes him to figure out, but alarms may quell when Constantine realizes that the stalker isn't one of Hargrove's misfits, or the man himself, but rather, a familiar face. Morbius watches the house, vigilantly. Who knows for how long or how this may eat into his evenings and progress in other endeavors, or if either of the men (or the monster-hunting sister) knows about this. Like a macabre gargoyle of the brownstone manners.

Constantine agreed to watch Kent's place while the family was gone. Hell it was imperative to make sure their personal fortresses were secured… and it gave John a fantastic reason to riffle through the place to see what he's been up to all these years. He knew Lamont wouldn't be offended as he'd expect absolutely no less from his once mentor and only living…well… he was as close to family as this stray feral cat was going to ever get, and 60 years has proven this to be true. It was hard to tell if anyone noticed anything but eventually there was a cup of tea left on the back porch as if someone were to leave milk out for a cat with a note that read:

"When you're done being a stereotype come in and get warm, mate" ~JC

Not hard to catch the note beside the cup of tea. The tea itself was odd, but the note sitting beside it was downright strange. Letters aren't entirely unusual between Morbius and Lindon, however. The old fashioned man-bat was a romantic at heart and frequently sent his lover letters with an occasional return from the Archive.

Morbius crossed the mystical alarms and into the yard, visible and at a normal pace rather than his speedster-bordering one. Plucking up the note lightly between his fingers, a dryly bemused look touching his face.

A leaden knock on the door followed.

Constantine isn't Strange, he's John. He would never want the responsibilities that man had. He was once a romantic though in spite of his best efforts and took pity on his skulking friend, ooooor was a sunnovabitch that needed to be entertained while he house sat. The door opened and John hung in the doorframe with one eyebrow arched, "Bloody hell it said cme on in. For a chap with a Ph. D. it's like you can't read." That was John for, good, I'm glad you decided to actually join us. Or possibly even welcome. Still the house was warm as was the rest of the tea in the pot and a volume laid open that he was picking through in true nosy fashion.

Morbius held the cup in one hand, the note in the other, the writing flicked outward between two of his clawed fingers so John could see it. "I'll remember that next time I feel like showing up at your home, John. It's nice to see you as well." You've just incited vampyric breaking and entering, Constantine. Congratulations. "For a man with 'master of the dark arts' on his card, you—well…" He lets the sentence drift off and hang with a smart-alek twist of his lips.

Morbius isn't dressed like a substitute architecture professor today, and rather than tweed and a sweatervest, he's clothed himself in a more ragged longcoat, sweater and slacks, all of which look like they've seen some wear. His hat remains present, however. You know. For skulking. His long ears tucked beneath it. Casual skulking attire.

Before waiting for John to move from the doorway, Morbius reached out to tuck the sassy note into the dabbler's breast pocket and bodily pushed himself inside the warm house. "I wasn't aware you were watching the house."

Constantinepointed out, "Yes, but it's not my home either. So there's that. sit your arse down. Besides, you're of less a concern to me than those that actually do show." He paused glibly adding, "I mean I live with a vampire and a preacher that literally doesn't pull punches. Gaining your company spontaneously concerns me not, but if you don't make me get the door? you'd be more welcome." There was a wink to suggest it all in good nature. "So why are we skulking inn the cold?" Tea, hot, appeared in front of the scientist.

"Less of a concern than your housemates, well that sounds a little symptomatic of your lifestyle, doesn't it?" Michael points out with an amused angle to his mouth, plucking his hat off his head and dropping it on the coat rack. Jacket to follow carefully as he brings the cold cup of tea inside, balancing it in hand. "Skulking in the cold is part of the deal, hasn't your roommate told you? If I don't get in a certain amount of hours stalking, skulking or otherwise looming, I need to turn in my 'horrific monster' license—Thank you. Lord, I wish it would snow. This bitter cold is irritating."

Constantine tilted his head and murmured, "If you knew half the irony you'd likely be standing on the other side of the room throwing a brick at me." He was not aboutto tell him why. All in all he'd helped himself to the larder while the actual family was out because why let things spoil? "Yeah. Poor Cass had to do a river punge because he was the only one of us wouldn't die from hypothermia." He shook hsi head. Instead of joining in the somber bitterness of the weather he looked to Morbius almost offended, "OH do not say this like it's ne news. We agreed New York was awful. Don't tell me you've been practicing hope behimd my back now." Yes, we bring up the mood through communal bitching apparently. "As for the skulking? Eh been a while since I got involved. I think I remmeber that part though."

Taking the cold cup that was waiting outside for him back into the kitchen space to dump outick, cold teaMichael returns to properly stew over his refreshed bit, ruminating over it comfortably. "I'd never throw a brick in another person's home, John. Blood is ridiculously difficult get out of carpeting." Dry, dark humor as Morbius settles in on one of the couches, making himself right at home while the boys are out. "If I hit you with a brick, I'd make sure it was in your own home so that I could just burn the place down afterward. As a kindness." Of course I can't imagine that means the kittens are gone, however. Mewling and making trouble as tiny fluffs are prone to doing. And cat-shaped things.

The deep offense in John's expression is delicious. Savory, even. Michael shoots back with as much humbled modesty as he can muster, "You're right. I'm a foolish thing and I should know better. I apologize for this personal offense, and thank you for reminding me how bleak existence truly is. You are a saint." Sarcastically drizzling compliments and asking forgiveness for his transgressions. "Could I borrow your Preacher friend and ask him what I can do to make amends?"

Constantine gave Morbius that flat look. He offered drily, "Technically… I suppose I am. I don't see how this makes a difference and shame on you for not being all… sullen and morose." He shook his had and was quiet while he retreived his cup and sat folding one arm in front ogf him. "Cheers to you, mate. It's good to see you above ground." That was actually sincere. There was that after all.

An upswept eyebrow perks briefly as Morbius buries his nose in his cup for a drink, setting it down with a draw of his inhuman eyes in that direction. "Well, now, let's not go that far, hm? You did just find me stalking around outside my romantic interest's wizard's house, so let's not just discount my being sullen and morose just yet." A dry flick of a smile tossed haphazardly in John's direction. "But I am above ground, that is something. I spent last week trying to find a lost centaur in the midwest of all places, and their underground isn't nearly as nicely developed—though I suppose at least I didn't take an icy dip into hypothermic waters, so comparatively, I'm doing well." He considers John again, squinting. "Why did you need to get into a river so badly?"

Constantine lifted his teacup, "Well thank you for not betraying my high expectations of you." Comaraderie through derission? Well they had their way one could suppose. It was working. As to why they were going into the water he said ssimply, "I didn't, Cass did. Something of import to a friend fell in. We couldn't leave him hanging." He summed up and said in short, "We'll just say it started with a girl." He shrugged. And it did. Genesis had an opinion, and some lady pointed them at the thing they dove in for. But for safety's sake he left it at that.

"Oh, you are /welcome/," Michael almost laughed into his words. Almost. A chipper lift of his cup in return. Propping his ankle up on his opposite knee, Morbius leans back comfortably, keeping John company. Of the icy endeavor he threw his vampire friend into, he nods, understanding. "Don't most things start that way?" He understood enough about how John worked to know when he was talking around something. And honestly, he only pushed when it seemed interesting. Couldn't chase him around a tree all the time. "I have been meaning to ask out of curiosity, where did you pick up this vampire roommate of yours? I assume he's more of the conventional sort?"

Constantine rubbed his face actually breaking his resolve to snicker. A hand covered his mouth and the 5 o'clock shadow. Even John would admit to them both being broody shites, but there was no pretense in their company, just the fun of the bitter pagentry. "The sotry of the river ain't mine to tell beyond that. How I found Cass? Yeah. He's… the real deal." He paused andwaved a hand across the table, "Not a judgement. But yes. Christ, had to put him out once. Damn good thing I can fucking control fire. Terrifying. But he was takin care of the Preacher when I chased my things in their direction. Turns out my thing I was chasin is in the Preacher's care and rightly… Well I suppose it's as good there as anywhere else. Then we found out the powers that be are… errant and we're looking to hold pissant angels to task."

The sardonic lump of brimstone and ash shaped like John Constantine cracks and Morbius smiles mildly in kind, reflecting the crack in resolve once one of them actually did so. Companionably.

Shifting gears toward what he got up to and his other band of misfits, Michael listened quietly, curious by the end. "Like when you chased what your former lover did and found Lindon? Similar to that case where what you found was already being watched after. Though that's an interesting combination: A preacher and vampire traveling together. That's not something that you would expect." A perk of interest, Morbius' eyes narrow a bit, a little too cool and interested. "Holding angels to task."

Constantine held up a finger "Eeeeh it's weirder than that," He didn't get into his own messed up physiology that Morbius had a glimps of once, but suffice to say it was lsightly more complicated. "Preacher, a Vampire, and a necromancy practicing exorcist. You went 2 for 3 on Irony there. Good job. Higher marks than most." He drank his tea and his jaw set. Oh there was certainly a story there. "You siad you were what? Orthodox? Man of science? Agnostic? Athiest"

"It sounds like the beginning of a joke," Michael observes. "A preacher, vampire and exorcist walk into a synagogue…" Waving a spindly-articulated hand out for John to fill in the rest as he likes.

"Raised Greek Orthodox. Naturally." Because Greece. "Agnostic for most of my adulthood until my understanding of the occult, divine and scientific world more or less became a melting pot of, what might you say? Fuck all?"

Constantine let the grin hold easily. There was Puck following their feet dropping eaves like a Gamgee. Oooooh look at Puck be cuuuuute. John squint at the cat and just poured another cup of tea and put it on teh floor for him. "Angels are all fuckers. Believe me on that. But good. Too many of those feathered fuckheads left me hanging. People got hurt. I can't abide that."

The small furry razor blades which Lindon fancies so much tromping around in little kitten stampedes, Michael watches as tiny bundles of fur roll in and out of the room, Puck following around tightly for his tea. The vampire smirks. "The cat-shaped un-cat seems pleased with you, John."

"Have you met any of the 'feathered fuckhead' residents in town, here?" Morbius queries mundanely as one can when talking about a divine entity. "Lindon is sleeping with one. You could have him introduce you in return for watching his cat-shaped un-cat."

Constantine squint to Morbius and sighed heavily. "No. I don't need to meet him, and why does this not at all surprise me." he shook his head and offered a rueful laugh, "I see now why you're worried about him though. He's entirely too trusting or maybe he knows what we don't. I've done battle with my share above and below and too many are remiss to owe me favours. If you ever have the inclination to catch wind of that mess some time I may be persuaded to trouble you with it. But it is what it is and not your burden, mate, but mine and none of it precicely ew news. What's keeping you though? You spend ever night in the cold pining or just those where we have killers on the lose that aren't us?" Oh yes he was just calling that spade a spade.

Morbius' lips curl as John hits the nail on the head. He seems gratified in the quiet way that a man who has been denied acknowledgement up to the point of thinking himself possibly insane finally gets a nod. Relieved as much as he is gratified. "I believe I've said that before, yes, but it still feels good to have someone else acknowledge that all Hargrove might need to do in order to get Lindon in his grasp is to convince him to sleep with him and Lindon would willingly go into his clutches. Or anyone else's for that matter. He is very, very trusting, and as Lamont does not seem concerned with that, well." Another leaving of the subject, Morbius lifts a hand, generally gesturing toward himself. "I get to be the asshole. Wonderful, isn't it? To be loathed for doing what needs to be done."

As long as he doesn't call Morbius a club, he'll likely be fine with it. The blunt question draws a flat smile out of him, leaning toward one arm of the couch comfortably. "Well, earlier this year it was just to drop off letters. Eventually it became pining. Not that you need any details on my personal life, but Lindon rather enjoyed the game of it, though it wasn't too frequent. The regularity came about when all of this unsavory business cropped up. I keep track of him most evenings where he might be. Not that I don't trust Lamont's abilities, but I've seen him put out of business pretty quickly. An extra pair of hands doesn't hurt. They'll be expecting Lamont."

Constantine shrugged. It was a little on the nose for John. Puck hopped up in John's lap seeming to be on the Gutter Mage when his mood shifts. He had no choice but tio just pet Puck being demanding or perhaps the cat was smarter than it let on and was taking care of the Wizard as it's apt to do. "Well, I mean you're pretty much describing my job role, Michael. Being loathed for doing what beed be done is sort of part of the deal. We can have what we want or we can be what they need and rarely the twain ever meet, mate. That's jsut how it is." He listened to teh explaination and shrugged it offnow throughly unable to drink his tea because Puck was. He sighed, "Just… help yourself Puck. I mean it's snesible. even we can't be everywhere at once. You want to trap a wizard? Thorw them everything to pay attention to and while they're focused on far sight just walk in the front door so they say."

Watching the embodiment of fuzzy mischief claim John, Morbius smiled mildly while the fuzzy beast forced him to rethink his tea situation. "Which makes sense, really. You all seem a very far-sighted group." He pauses and peers at John a little more critically, crimson eyes narrowing. "You less than others. But it would make the most sense to toss out a distraction and then attack directly. When the dream entity incapacitated Lamont, it would've been an easy task to dispatch him. That's exactly what it tried to do, in fact. Luckily, I was there, along with a couple others who were busy with their own possessed people." He sighs, running a sharp fingernail over the edge of his shoe idly, back and forth. He doesn't have an argument for the issue of having what you want vs. being what they need, though it does seem to pull some very thoughtful silence off him. It also stands as a curiosity why the fuck was Morbius /here/ if Lindon wasn't?

Constantine squint an eyeb and admitted in taht brazen no-bullshit manner of his. "I've got more people buried than I got breathin, mate. My eyes are on teh ground for a reason. Two schools of thought: Inert potential and catalysts. Innate potential sits around inside a compound knowing it can do anyhting once it decides to release it. A catalyst? Well that works with environmental factors looking for the things affected and to effect. I fall in teh latter category. Just see more than most and in most cases too much. In all cases? It's over looking the simple things that bring ruin. Smudges on teh lens of a laser, soimple as it seems, fractures the whole thing like an explosive prism." There's your science for you. "The simple things, not the complex math."

"You're calling yourself a catalyst?" The suggestion seems to amuse Morbius. "I can appreciate both sides of the equation. Action usually has fewer regrets to follow than inaction. Fewer. Not none. Really it's perspective. Peering at the universe through a pinhole," he's said this before. "We only get a piece of this puzzle at a time, you squint too long at a prick of light, waiting for it to wobble so you can count the seconds and calculate it out, you can't split your attention on that." He flicks his hand. "There's a slew of metaphors we could use for this. And scientific and mystic alike don't exactly breed long-standing cooperation, either." He rubs a hand over one of his cheeks, watching Puck. "I'm thinking too hard on all of this, which only seems to make me want to find a bottle." His attention swims around the house as a whole. "Have you been taking advantage of free reign of this place?"

Constantine cracked a ry girn, "I make shit happen, Doctor." He got up and did, in fact, know wher hte liquor stores were kept and helped himself. It would be rude had he not exped the same of Lamont to help himself to whatever was now his. "Believe me I have. It'd disappoint the old man if I didn't." John held no punched on the label even though he was up there himself. "I came canny, he taught me how to take advantage. That siad we have an understanding that we won't bring harm into one another's home." The Saint of Last Resorts squint and looked at the place. "He's happy here. I won't put holes in his windows with rocks."

"Oh, I'm aware of what a catalyst is, Mister Constantine," Morbius tilts his voice a bit, making a tease of his name after being called 'Doctor'. "It's just interesting because Catalysts are rarely seen as a positive thing in life, where people seem to covet consistency."

Remaining right where he sat as the herd of kittens not-Puck tumble stampede through the room again to another far off room in the house. "That's admirable. That you still have a line of understanding between you that you won't cross. Respect and duty aside, find anything interesting?"

Constantine shook his head, "Certain things of his are fundamentally not messed with. As for the book? Eh, jus thonestly researching one of the many places the strange hallway in the Chinatown flat keeps trying to connect to. Trying to see if there's a hint of why on this end. Just… lookin for answers, mate. Sometiems we alook all over for the pieces because there just ain't enough."

"Not enough pieces or not enough eyes," Morbius hums objectively. "You said it yourself, you wizards do tend to look at things in the most convoluted manner possible." He taps a clawed finger against the side of his tea cup thoughtfully. "I wonder if that's why we keep interns and apprentices around. They don't have quite the tunnel vision that we do…" Musing out loud while he considers John for a couple moments. "Has that hallway always been that way? I'd say I can't believe that you tried to send me down it, but I can."

Constantine paused and tried to explain the hallway because he had no argument on interns to the point of nodding in agreement in teh absolute. "Eeeh in short summary? My ex- is a a megalomaniac assholeand the apartment may have gone as far as to gain partial sentience. If you want… to ahve a look I'll show you. Just don't ever open that doo rif I'm not ther. We've lost enough without wagering things we don't need to." It was sort of even sentimental or at least thoughtful in that 'Westley I'll likely kill you in teh morning' way.

"The /hallway/ gained partial sentience." Morbius repeats the sentence, partially because he wants to make sure that he heard it correctly, but also to see if it made any more sense if he said it out loud, rather than just hearing it out of John's crazy mouth.

It did not.

Constantine got up, Puck still crawling on him. A hand slapped Michael's knee on the way up as he went to get a refil on their tea. "Ooooh you'll see. THen? Then you'll wish you hadn't."

That would seem entirely true.

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