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Hypothetical by dee
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John isn't straight. Chas knows John isn't straight. Hell, after that incident last Halloween with that Mexican relic hunter, probably everyone in town knows John isn't straight. (And what did we decide, Chas? That's right, no more thinking about that particular incident. Good.)

Thing is, Chas has always been fairly sure that he, himself, is straight.

Not that he's actually thought about it that much. Oh, yeah, sure, he thinks about sex all the time. Duh. But his spank bank had defaulted to girls back in middle school, and Chas has never bothered considering the possibility of an upgrade, getting distracted by finding the more interesting sections of the library, and then other libraries that only had interesting sections, and then the whole practical applications of aforementioned interesting sections, and... well, yeah. Somehow the whole potential sexuality crisis thing got sidelined by the necessity for isolating the effective agent in the rite for banishing a second-circle demon.

(Yeah, thanks, Chas knows he isn't normal. He's reconciled to that. Move along already.)

But maybe it's one of those things that, like acne attacks, you just can't escape about the whole growing up thing. Because Chas is pretty sure he's in the middle of one right now. A sexuality crisis, that is, not an acne attack. Shut up.

Thing is, he can't even talk about it with anyone. Because he knows, just knows, that he'd get as far as, "So, uh--" and then whoever it was, no matter who it was, they'd say, "This is about Constantine, isn't it?" And yes, it is, but that's not the... well, it is, but... oh, shut up.

It didn't start out like this! Chas met Beeman first - and there was a dude who knew his shit - and of course he'd heard of John, because you didn't spend five minutes in the area without someone mentioning his name, usually with a string of swearing attached. So when he'd finally met him, dropping past Beeman's to return something, Chas had had certain preformed ideas, and his first impression of John anyway was that the infamous Constantine was an arrogant, irritating, pig-headed bastard.

Pretty accurate, really.

Chas never wanted to work with (with, hah!) John. Beeman had convinced him it was a good idea. Presumably he'd convinced John of that too. Sometimes Chas really wishes Beeman hadn't bothered. Never mind fulfilling potential and the best practitioner in the civilised world, forget it, Chas'd trade it all in for not sitting here in John's armchair, chewing his thumbnail (aah! Stop that!) and trying not to think about how John isn't straight. Definitely not thinking about the Mexican, about how John got him up against the side of the damn cab and -- Jesus! Not thinking about it!

It'd be different, Chas figures (curling up into a ball of neurosis in the corner of the armchair), if he actually was working with John. Because then he could focus on that stuff, on the stuff that he's always enjoyed preoccupying himself with anyway. He could watch what John does, instead of just watching John. He is that good, after all. Always certain, always knows what he's doing, and Chas wants that. Wants it.

Ah shit.

He doesn't just want in to John Constantine's know-how anymore. He wants in to John. And he can scrub his hands over his face until he sees pinprick stars, but it's not helping and it's still there, that idea of hands that are always confident, always powered by certainty, and stop it, stop it, stop it.

"First sign of madness."

Chas jumps, literally, up and out of the chair. "Shit, John." He blinks. "What?"

"Talking to yourself." John's by the table, door open behind him, his face like someone had dug up his grave without asking first. He's turning his pockets out onto the table - lighter, cigarettes, keys - throwing them down like insults. "Go home."

Chas comes down to that end of the apartment, loitering at the other end of the table. "How'd the thing go?"

"Shit. Go home."

"Shit like it didn't work?"

As he turns to the cupboard, John's gaze glances over Chas like the flat of a blade. "Shit like piss off," he says, pulling the three-quarters-full bottle of scotch out of the place it rests on the rare occasions when it isn't being emptied. Grabs a glass too, though Chas has never understood why he doesn't just swig from the bottle. Some veneer of determined respectability?

John sloshes three fingers into the glass and knocks it back in one go (usual MO for the first of the session). The knuckles are raw on his hand, so things got physical. His sleeves are rolled up, but they always are. Always doing things, those hands, and Chas realises he's staring about the point John snarls, "Have you gone fucking deaf?"

He's pouring again, casual as you like, but there's something in his voice that's stretched taut, and Chas's eyes jump to his face. Tightness around his eyes, almost a twitch in his cheek. And Chas thinks, surely he's here for a reason. There has to be a reason. "Do you want to talk about it?"

Half a gulp, and John slams the glass down on the table, two drops of liquor escaping onto the table. "No I don't fucking want to talk about it. I'm sure this comes as a huge fucking surprise, but I'm not in the mood." There's nothing flat about his gaze this time, just the sharp edges, the slice. His fingers are white, pressed over the top of the glass like a cage. "Just leave, Chas."

Hands, Chas thinks. Hands, hands, hands, and he's coming around the table before his better judgement has even stopped lamenting his obsession and can step in and point out that he's taking his life in his hands, here, but by then his mouth is open and he's saying, "It's really not healthy, man. I just want--"

"I know what you want," John growls, and pushes off from the table with such force Chas hears the legs chirp against the floor, then he's seeing more pinprick stars, short of breath, and he realises his back's against the wall between two windows (one point of a shutter digging in just above his hip). John's hand is heavy across his collarbone, but John's just a shadow over and around him, and a voice like poisoned molasses in his ear, saying, "I know exactly what you want."

Chas is convinced already; his head's spinning, John's up against what feels like all of him and his knee's slotted between Chas's thighs and Chas is half hard when the hand slides between his legs and presses and his head smacks back into the wall and he sees stars again. That's getting a little repetitive, and Chas shakes his head to clear them, but then John's grip tightens against the base of his throat, pushing him up to his full height on the wall. (Like he's being measured, like his mother saying, "Stand up straight, Frank", except neither of those involves the unzipping of his fly.) "Oh Jesus."

That's John's hand around him, smooth, sure, not quite too hard. Chas's vision isn't clearing any, John's crushing him flat, grip like a band of steel around his throat. His breath is coming in gasps, but John's is steady, hot and damp on his earlobe and fuck, it's been about thirty seconds, he can't be this close to losing it, even if he's just a teenage boy and John's hand is John's hand and confident and implacable and fucking perfect.

Chas whimpers, twitches, scrabbles his fingers against the window frame beside him (gets a splinter under his middle fingernail and barely feels it) and John just pins him harder, twists or some fucking thing with his hand that sends all the air out of his lungs. John shifts, hefts Chas by his neck a little more, until he's stretched as far as he can go, tight as a wire, and then John's mouth fastens over Chas's neck, just above where his thumb's pressed against Chas's rabbit-nervous pulse. The edge of teeth, and he sucks at the skin and there's nothing Chas can do, he's coming, hard, and maybe the stars are finally gone or maybe he's just been swallowed up by them.

When John takes his support away, his body, his hands, Chas slithers down the wall, stopping just short of collapse on one knee and a shaking, bracing hand. His head's beating in time with the slow measure of John's tread, going away from him across the apartment.

"Get the fuck out," John says, somewhere far away, and Chas does.


He has a hickey the size of Nevada on one side, fingerprints on the other. Chas doesn't bother with a scarf or even turning his collar up. If John notices the marks, he doesn't say a thing.

Eventually the bruises fade.

Nothing changes. They never mention it again.