Title: Moment of Life

Pairing: Constantine/Chas, Constantine/Other

Rating: R for language, sex, and uh...prostitution I guess

Disclaimer: There is no way anything in here will ever belong to me. Except I guess the prostitute. So yay for that.

It was a shit ass day in March when he got the call. Bastard couldn't even be bothered to pick up the telephone to summon him, but instead contacted him by leaving a trail of birds in front of his door. Dead birds. The necks had been broken and the entrails and blood still steaming as they spelled out the name.

Franz Kurtz. He was known to the general public as a priest, and known in the occult world, such as it was, as something of a trader of demon artifacts. To John Constantine, he was known as the asshole who had taken off half way though the exorcism of a demon get together they had crashed a few years back, taking with him the demon artifacts John had been promised half of in exchange for his cooperation in the matter. It was really too bad too. That lust talisman would have been an incredible bargaining chip.

He considered not going, but Kurtz wasn't a half bad exorcist, so whatever this problem was it had to be good. It might add a small positive in the checking balance of his soul . And whatever price he would be able to extort from Kurtz in exchange for his help in the matter, would look pretty good on his actual checking balance.

Actually any attempts to reverse the firm negative both balances hung in was, of course, useless, but there was a small streak of desperate optimism deep inside John that was all that kept his sanity together. So he lit a cigarette, and called the kid.

It was early morning, and the grey of the sky seemed to suck away all the warmth from the yellow of the taxi cab, as Chas drove up. Rainy, miserable day. It was obviously a day meant to be spent getting truly, blissfully drunk rather than chasing surly demons all around this wet concrete town while God sat somewhere up in the clouds, probably laughing his ass off at them all.

"Will you get in?" Chas demanded, as John stared at the sky, contemplating. "Before my bits freeze off and wither away."

"Now that would be a shame." Banter with the kid was probably preferable to a staring match with an invisible deity.

Chas muttered something that sounded like "bastard" but lacked it's usual flair. Maybe he was just tired, John reasoned as he slammed the door, and the leather seat cracked under his weight.

The cigarette was warm beneath his fingers, and the haze of smoke filled up the car, pressing against the windows like ghosts entreating to be let out.

"How can you breathe through all this crap?" Chas muttered from the driver's seat, leaning forward and peering through the smoke in the car, and the shadows on the road.

"I'm used to smoke," John muttered as he snuffed out the glowing tip against the window pain. It left a black smudge in the glass, a hole in the clear outline of the city. He glanced at Chas through the haze, and added, "You will be too, you keep this up."

"Stay," he said once they had arrived at the dilapidated building. Kid, as usual, didn't want to, but luckily enough John had about twenty years more of being an ornery bastard, and that kind of practice has to pay off at some point. After about two minutes of heated debate, he slammed the car door shut on Chas protests, and walked into the tenements. He found the priest immediately and lost no time in opening bargaing talks.

"Birds?" he asked, twisting the preist's shoulder into the moldy decay that used to be a wall. Voice not quite as low and menacing as he would have liked, but still pretty good.

"It worked," the frail man answered, not the least bit phased by the 150 pounds of angry demon hunter pressed against him. Constantine wasn't surprised, as Kurtz always had struck him as a bit of an idiot.

"Even in this hell hole, you must have a phone."

"I haven't bloody had time for a phone call. Everywhere I turn she's there."

"Who?"

"It's a Succumbi demon."

Succumbi demons. Nasty sort, but not too serious. Not to John at any rate. Now if he was a hormonal sixteen year old with delusions of grandeur and a smattering of book learned magic, that would have been a different story, but Chas was thankfully in the car.

"Succumbi, huh? You not up to the task or something, mate?"

"Look, just get rid of her, and you can have the talisman back."

He considered that. On the one hand the news reports when the priest was found days later, dead from sexual exhaustion, promised to be quite entertaining. On the other hand the price that talisman could fetch would keep him in holy water and information for quite some time. He briefly considered beating him to death, and stealing the talisman, but a stone look in the priests eyes, reminded him that he came from a pretty powerful lineage, and killing him might cause more problems with his extended family than it was worth. Pity that was.

"Fine, where to then?"

"Third door, left."

Succumbi demons were normally fairly easy to exorcise. Or as easy as demons ever were when they were simultaneously trying to strangle you, and give you a hard on. But this one had a few surprises. To begin with, it has brought friends.

There was the little matter of the sigil in the middle of the floor. Which meant the priest had conjured this demon. From hell. On purpose.

Previous thoughts of revenge and divine mandate aside, Constantine was just about to go kill the priest for being such a dumbass when a familiar curly head popped out of the doorway.

"Or course," he thought as he walked over and followed Chaos into the hallway, and yelled, "I thought I said to stay in the car."

"But I heard..."

"Not in the hall way, not in the sigil, certainly not in the middle of a fucking demon harem."

He had, almost unconsciously, been advancing on Chas the whole time, until he stood right in front of him, boxing him into a little clump of pale skin, and wide eyes against the walls. He was about wondered if this sudden habit of cornering people in this building meant anything in particular, but Chas' face cut him off.

So white he seemed to be a corpse, as if there was no blood left in his entire body. Eyes dark and wide like endless portals to another world. Body shaking, slightly, as John experimentally pressed in closer.

Even the non initiated could see the symptoms of a spell on Chaos.

"Oh, fuck no," was the only thought that came to mind. He was not getting into this now. And certainly not here with that demon bitch still out for blood, in multiple senses of the word.

"Where are you going?" Chas asked when he abruptly pulled off him, and stormed down the hall to the entrance where Kurtz must still be waiting.

"I'm going find Kurtz, deport that succumbi bitch, get the amulet, and then get so fucking drunk that tomorrow this will all just be a bad dream."

It actually proved fairly easy once the preist admitted to the sigil, and showed him the book he had copied it from. The preist hadn't exactly willingly given up the information, but when faced with an angry John Constantine, people had a way of re-examening what was truly important to them. The demons didn't even have a chance. Which only left Chas.

"Kid," John asked cautiously, upon his return to the hall where Chaos was sitting in a ball of limbs, waiting. Why was he even here?

"John, I…you." Chas was standing up now, a pink chill rushing through his body.

"You touched the sigil," he said blankly, and Chas just stared. No witty response, no answer, just those goddamn wide eyes.

"Well, fuck," John said.

By the time they actually got into the apartment, John was ready to consume enough alcohol to drink an entire gang of Hell's Angel under the table, and then going on a killing spree, deporting every succumbi demon in the LA vicinity back to the fiery pits from whence they came.

Chas just stood there, looking at him, eyes shifting from John to the door way, like a wild animal caught between wanting to run away and needing to attack.

"Close the door." Chas shivered and did so. Succumbi magic was powerful stuff. Made you do things you normally wouldn't. Rather like love, he supposed.

John cupped Chas' hand in his. Picked up the knife and pressed it into the flesh at the top of the kid's hand making sure to angle it slightly. The metal was cold against his fingers, and Chas skin was warm against his palm.

He kept that angle and leaned in closer. So close their breath was mixing, and he could feel the desire and the need rising, and he wouldn't think that Chas was one to tremble so why could he feel that figure shaking against him he wasn't sure.

He wondered what Chas was thinking. Did this magic leave any room for other thought? He didn't know. Under that ratted t-shirt a heart, was it still Chas'- he didn't know, was beating, like a humming bird on the verge of expiration, like a corned animal poised for a fight to the death, and he guessed not.

Chas' mouth was open, his eyes starting to retreat within himself, as the breaths which passed those lips became more and more ragged, and sporadic. Someone, and John would like the think it was Chas, closed the gap between them then, the knife slitting the skin, as the tongue slid in his mouth. For a moment Chas stopped breathing, as John stole the air from him.

Another moment of life was gone, and it wasn't even enough because John still wanted to take.

He wanted to take Chas on the floor where they stood. Back pressing into the wall on one side, and hungry flesh descending on the other. He wanted to scratch, and bite, and lick until every nerve ending was raw and exposed and waiting there for him.

He wanted to gather that pale boy pressing against him, and drag him to the bed. Hold him, and suck him, and melt him down to the core. Scoop whatever was left under his palms, and hold him there. Fuck past the point of exhaustion until all that demonic lust was spent, until there was nothing left of either of them. Nothing except for a sticky heap of muscles and cooling sweat, and they could lie there, dead to the world, but alive to that room, awake to that moment in time, all cares spread out forgotten across the sheets.

He wanted to possess. And Chas wanted to give. The heat and hardness between them was proof enough.

But life rarely just gave what was desired.

Chas blood was sticky hot on John's hands, and it kept his mind focused. That was enough.

"Stay here." John said as he broke away so abruptly that it was several seconds before Chas's eyes had a chance to comprehend the fact that John was no longer there in front of him.

"There's something I have to take care off." The knife was dropped in the sink as he left. It was almost hidden there under all the other forgotten dishes. Chas had not yet regained the ability to be coherent, but as soon as he closed the door, John heard a string of swearing.

For a brief moment, he was going to look back, but instead he just walked down the staircase, and out the door, and let the night swallow him.

It easy enough to find what you're looking for if you know the right places. John didn't know any "right" places per se, but he did know a hell of a lot of wrong ones.

It was a sin, but after all the other ones he'd raked up this one hardly seemed to matter. Live long enough and everything except death seemed to stop mattering eventually.

The mouth in front of him mattered then because there was death on it's peripheral, the slight taste of decay hanging to the ashy voice that he caught with his tongue and silenced, twisting against the knotted bone and muscles rolling agaisnt him. Skin smooth beneath him, and rough hands pushing the shirt from his shoulders.

Dark, young eyes. Pale, freckled skin, and curly hair. But he stopped those thoughts immediately.

"Chas," it was barely more than a whisper, but Jonh could hear the laughter before him, and he opened his eyes, sight crashing against the too dark skin, a tattoo of a parrot marring the velvet.

"Is that who I am?" a voice, much too deep, murmured, artfully pulling the words from a satin throat.

"Doesn't matter," John said with his eyes closed, and pulled that roughly smooth skin under him, leaning back so his knees dug in the softness of mattress, catching a trace of wire here and there.

In the dark it was impossible to see that the traces of blood still on John's hand, but he could feel it burning; the demon inside clamoring to be released. This was one planned to unleash into this world, so he wrapped the hand around the hardness in front of him where the other man's blood fell waiting. With that John's part of the evening was done. Determination and need would take over for him from there.

Nothing left to do, but follow them through then. Make sure that the one hand stayed where it was, and did what was needed, while his other hand balanced against the slight curve of the abdomen in front of him, the muscles taut and flexing with each thrust.

He could feel his fingers begin to clench, bracing against the anchor of a body in front of him, but it couldn't keep his mind from falling. Muscles jumping up, and blood constricting in anticipation. Traces of sweat dripping down his hairline, condensing at the back of his neck, and he was almost there.

Darkness on the horizon of this florescent lighted room, oblivion and relief threatening to take him alive, and he reached for it, pushing harder towards it. He almost didn't care about anything else in that moment. Almost.

The orgasm burst around him, and there was darkness running ice cool through his veins, and for a single moment salvation and damnation didn't matter at all.

Through the after effects of the orgasms he felt the other man arriving at a similar state in his hand, and it was only then, when he was sure it had been completed properly, that he dared to let go. The wasted sex and magic dripped from his hands onto beige-yellow sheets, and John sat there for a moment. Caught his breath, and held it, before rolling off the condom, and recovering his pants from the floor.

"A hundred we said?" His voice was a little hoarse, and he wondered what he might screamed as the darkness took him away. He shook the thoughts aside, and laid five crumbled twenties on the table side. A body rolled languidly to the side of the bed, and he felt eyes, watching, contemplating.

"Yeah, honey. Come back anytime," the voice purred, but he was already gone.

He stepped out on the street, and for a moment the black of the night burned like memory. Through his post coital vision, the world looked just a little bit more focused, cleaner. The air felt cold and sharp against his face. John walked home, trying for the life of him not to feel like a teenager sneaking in past curfew.

It didn't matter any way because Chas was on the couch, eyes catching hold of John the moment he stepped inside. His skin wasn't so pale anymore. There was a bit of an unknown tinge of red on the edges, but the half empty whiskey bottle in front of him could probably explain that away.

On second thought, John decided, he was definitely blaming that on the whiskey.

He dropped his coat on the table and approached the couch. Chas stood, eyeing him just like a punk kid about to start a bar brawl over something trivial.

This was the Chas he knew. The Chas who wouldn't back down. The Chas who coated his insecurities with bravado, and quick wit, who was so eager to experience life, and yet was still to young and stupid, to realize that every foolish deed demanded a price, and every misstep was a debt on the soul. It caused him about equal parts annoyance, pride, and a rather uncharacteristic need to protect that vivaciousness.

This was his Chas who stood up to face him, and for a minute John only wondered what would happen first: the punch, or the kiss. Instead Chas just gesture to some undefined point in the distance.

"What the fuck was that John?"

He could still smell the whisky on his lips. He almost reached out to grab him, pull him around the neck, and bring him so close that he could steal those last few intoxicating drips away. If he did, he wouldn't have to stop. He wouldn't have to question. He wouldn't have to think about this anymore.

"Succumbi demon. I told you to stay in the car."

"Not that. You. " Stumbling over the words now, from alcohol or something else. "I mean you just left me here, and, God, I wanted to, I mean, I would have."

Chas had lost most his coherency, but his eyes brought a whole knew slew of words to John's mind. Words like "delicious", "under aged" and "perverted bastard".

"It was a spell, kid. You wanted my life, well welcome to it."

John had been fifteen and in the mental institution, when the orderly had ripped that thin hospital cloth off him. The sedatives combined with the strength in the orderly's hands as they pinned his arms to the wall, hadn't allowed John to protest the mouth that was wrapped his prick, or the flesh that pressed inside of him.

There were still invisibles scars from where his tears burned down his cheeks those nights. That mouth blistered hot as hellfire below him, and John had prayed for God to make it stop even though he knew the orderly wasn't one of His.

"When you come back to us," the melty faced orderly had hissed in his ear, as John fought against the hands that wouldn't let him leave, and the hardness where his own blood was betraying him. "This will seem like heaven to you."

Chas was sixteen, and under the residual influence of magic and hormone, and Constantine was not quite one of Satan's league, not yet at any rate. John had a feeling that should probably change things more than it did.

"Thank you, John, but believe it or not I actually worked that out myself." The disdain and anger in that voice brought him back to the present, and he was glad for it.

"Then what the hell do you want me to say. Have another drink. Get yourself off. Go to sleep. Just leave me the fuck out of it."

There were eyes in the back of John's mind. The eyes of past friends of lovers, of everyone who ever got close to him: dead, and glassy, and gone. The kid was only sixteen old, and he was already more firmly entrenched in that world then he should be.

He may be a selfish bastard with a rather unsavory past, but this was one line John was not going to cross. Not tonight. He may be condemned to Hell, but he would be dammed if he was going to let Chas eyes, wide in betrayal, follow him there.

So he left Chas sitting there on the couch, mouth wide in protest. He closed the bedroom door, and sat on the cold sheets. Outside his door he heard cursing, and the crashing of something that he might have worried about had he owned anything of real value. Then it quieted down, and he fought the urge to go out and see what Chas was doing now.

Whatever it was there was nothing John could do for him.

Instead he lit a cigarette and cursed God, and Satan, and himself, and this whole stupid fucked up world that he was clinging to only out of fear, or rather precise knowledge, of what came next.

Chas was still there the next morning. John wasn't sure if he was surprised or pissed off by this fact. He was however, fairly certain of the hunger shaking though his lower abdomen, so he picked though some left over Chinese he found in the fridge, and tried not to wonder how old it was, and felt Chas wake up, silently watching.

This was the moment for him to say something, but instead he threw the take out container in the trash, and took some gauze out of a cupboard. He tossed the gauze in Chas' direction. The cut wasn't deep, and a towel had stopped most the bleeding, but wrapping it would be safer.

Morning after ritual being done, John lit a cigarette, and found his coat.

"There's a dealer in town. You coming?" John asked around the cigarette as he moved to exit, eyes on the door, not wavering, not waiting.

Chas contemplated the gauze for all of half a second. Then he threw it on the floor, and stood in one fluid gesture.

"I'm coming," he said. "Wait up."

John knew he shouldn't, but in the end he did.