|Grave Measures Extra: Loose Ends
Author: Guede Mazaka
Some days John wondered why he bothered getting up, since he inevitably ended up back on his ass. The boost from his…thing with Gabriel and Balthazar could only do so much, and even that was dialed down by Gabriel’s radio silence. God knew where the bastard was now…
“Mr. Constantine?” quavered a woman in the corner. The kid on the bed promptly contorted, snarling and snapping at her, and she threw herself back out of the room, shrieking.
“It’s okay, it’ll be another minute.” John rolled over and hunted around till he’d found his charms. His hips were aching and his shoulders said he’d better not try anything funny or else they might just go on strike. He told them to fuck off and struggled back onto the bed. The boy kicked out at him and grazed his side, but he slipped past to force him back down. “Now, asshole, where were we? Oh, right. Et filii…”
The balance had finally bounced back into force, so it was a simple matter to deport the jackass. But nevertheless, by the time John got off the bed to let the hysterical parents rush in, he found his cigarette had burned down all the way to the filter. Son of a bitch—one lucky kick, and so much for the nice start to the day for which John had been hoping.
He made his way to the bathroom and leaned over the sink to splash some water on his face. Something red and sticky glimmered in the bottom; he snapped back, swearing violently, and almost knocked down a towel-bar. Then he got himself under control and snorted, going back over to the clean sink. A quick rinse-up, a stop to graciously decline the family’s offer of money in favor of a weird old statuette they thought was worthless, and he was out on the street.
A sleek black car pulled up to the curb, so close that its rear tires nearly ran over John’s toes. He grimaced and scuffled back just as the back window scrolled down. “Very fucking funny. The bathroom, I mean.”
“It always is,” Balthazar said. He put his hand on the window and leaned out, critically looking over John. “Perhaps you should just give me the relic.”
“What, and miss out on seeing you do a hostile corporate take-over on your fellow shitheads? Not a chance in hell.” John didn’t wait for Balthazar to pull himself in before he jerked open the car door. He slid in and then delicately rearranged his coat, grinning at how Balthazar pointedly turned away. “Always wanted to see how the high life was.”
Balthazar slouched back and lifted a finger, somehow signaling the driver to move off. “Then you should lose the bowling alley.”
“And switch to your penthouse? Yeah, if I felt like dying by inches. Anyway, doesn’t seem to bother you when you stay over.” Five minutes after. The last couple weeks with the cancer, John had been too drained for the rush to hit, but now it was back in full force. A sudden jangling that made his fingers dance on his knees, a loose drunken warmth in his muscles.
“You’ve got no self-control, do you?” Balthazar tsked, slitting a glance at him.
John didn’t raise his head. Just reached out, grabbed Balthazar’s jaw before he could mouth off anymore, and dragged him across the seat. Contemptuous as Balthazar looked, he came pretty easily.
“Anyway,” he said a little bit later, “I’m not sure Gabriel knows where your place is.”
Balthazar muttered something about levels of intelligence and phonebooks as he redid his tie, but he wasn’t trying too hard to be annoying. He took a long time to tie a simple slip-knot.
“Can you figure out where he is?” John softly asked. He pretended to just drop the question in the air, not really directing it.
His reply was a slow shake of the head. A moment later, Balthazar abruptly snapped his heel into the floor. John agreed. Goddamn it.