Tangible Schizophrenia


Alliance Prequel: Price

Author: Guede Mazaka
Rating: NC-17. Bondage.
Pairing: Dwight/Constantine, Dwight/Gail
Feedback: Good lines, typos, etc.
Disclaimer: Not my characters.
Notes: Sin City/Constantine crossover. Summary is taken from The Devil’s Dictionary by Ambrose Bierce.
Summary: Price: n. Value, plus a reasonable sum for the wear and tear of conscience in demanding it.


It’s been a while since Dwight has hit L. A. Not since back when he was trying to make an honest living as a photojournalist, looking to get promoted to the national—hell, maybe international scene. But that’s all gone, of course. He’s got his roots and they’ve got him a little tighter.

He steps out into the sunshine, brassy bright like light off the surgeon’s scalpel and already he’s regretting not saying no to Gail. Even if he had, he still would’ve ended up here, but at least he would have had the comfort of knowing that he’d tried to back out of it. He owes the girls and he loves her, deep down and gritty like the specks that he can’t ever dig out from beneath his nails these days, but goddamn it, he’s not an errand-boy. He’s a man with death riding on one shoulder and ten guilty sentences on the tips of his fingers. And away from Basin City, he doesn’t even have back-up just in case. He feels naked, and not in the way that means he’s closer to the real pulse of the city than the nine-to-five schmucks.

Well, this isn’t his city. And it’s changed a hell of a lot. Dwight gets one block before he finally gives in to the urge to light up. He steps into an alley and takes out one of Gail’s. They smell of other men’s sex and her sweat, of that spicy perfume she sometimes affects when she’s feeling a little insecure and of the tar of Basin City. For a moment he just holds it under his nose, and then he sticks one end between his lips and pats around for a light.

“I got it,” says a husky male voice, and there’s a small click.

By the time the flame’s leaped up between Dwight and John Constantine, Dwight has Constantine by the wrist with a sharp edge poking the little blue veins there. Constantine stays relaxed, but those little metal things dangling from his other hand damn well aren’t for decoration.

“You always this tense?” John raises an eyebrow. His lighter’s going to torch Dwight’s cigarette in another moment. There’s a couple of thick scars running lengthwise down his wrist.

“I’m not a day person.” Dwight drops the other man’s hand and slouches back, dragging smoke into his lungs. He gets Gail and sin and nicotine into his blood, a nice reminder about claims and priority and how rules can be funny, sometimes. Depending on how smart he is, L. A. might take him for a few rides, but his final drive isn’t going to be here. “Especially when I’ve got greeters I didn’t ask for.”

Apparently that’s hilarious, because John laughs beneath his breath as he tucks his stuff back into his coat-pocket. His eyes stay serious and wander down to take a closer look as the thimble-claw Dwight’s sliding off his thumb: nice little present from Miho, one of a handful that had come his way since he’d had a moment of mushiness and gotten her rollerblades for Christmas. “I thought you would’ve appreciated the fact that someone’s watching out for you,” he says, falling easily in step besides Dwight. “L. A. isn’t exactly the kind of town that you just walk into, especially the parts where you’re headed. And you’re not the average tourist. I live here, like it here, so you can’t blame me for taking an interest.”

He talks sideways, eyes always looking at Dwight from a cool slant. The corner of his mouth twitches upwards once in a while. His hands ride easy in his pockets the way gamblers’ hands do when they’re strutting up to the table with a big win floating ahead of them, and he keeps slightly ahead, nudging people out of the way. “So you’re a concerned citizen?”

“Of sorts.” They take a corner and nearly run into a guy wide enough to qualify as a road-block. Dwight goes left, John goes right, and by the time Dwight’s past the fat prick, John is lifting a hand in false cheery farewell. “See you round.”

Bastard. For a moment, Dwight’s tempted to follow him and…but he has even less time, now that he knows he’s been noticed. And anyway, it wouldn’t do him any good. He’s seen Constantine’s type once in a while—enough to know that he’s not going to be their last driver any more than they’re going to be his.

He takes a long drag on Gail’s cigarette and wonders briefly if he should ring her up. But no, it’s not gotten that bad yet. Best to just get a move on. Anyway, he’s got an idea brewing now and he thinks better when he’s in motion.

* * *

L. A.’s not his city, but he’s been around it once or twice and he knows it doesn’t get into people like Sin City does. It’s too close to other cities, got too many links to civilization that it doesn’t want to break, whereas out in the middle of nowhere, with nothing around to regularly siphon off the scum, Basin City’s had time to stew and seethe. It breeds things, minds, moods that would get crushed in the cradle anywhere else, but there, they’ve got time to get past the crippling childhood and grow up, adapt, acquire strengths that no one else has or wants. When he’s really drunk and bitter, Dwight tends to count himself one of them.

He’s not drunk now, but he’s thinking about it. He used to drown himself in alcohol and beat up frat-boys to blind himself to this kind of shit, and now he’s walking straight into a bar full of it.

There’s a burly guy at the door, one hand on the velvet rope and the other on a deck of oversized cards. He flashes the back of one at Dwight, who almost rolls his eyes at how…traditional it is. “Maggot-infested skull.”

On the other hand, L. A. does make it convenient in that after the passwords and the fancy sorting, it’s all business and out on the table. Everyone knows there are things walking in the night that figured in no one’s philosophy—maybe their nightmares, though—and so there’s no shock or denial to deal with. Sometimes Dwight has a feeling that even Gail is still trying to reason away Marv’s…eccentricities, or pretend that there’s a better explanation for why no one ever has to clean up the bodies in Sin City. Besides the one he showed her once, when he was drunk as hell and still coming down from fighting off Ava the first time.

Ava. Hell. She’d been a rare one out in the desert, but Dwight’s only in the bar for a couple seconds before he’s spotted half-a-dozen of her kind. He shrugs off the looks they smolder his way, turns a cold shoulder to their shock, and heads for the bar. Yeah, it doesn’t fucking work on him. “Jack Daniels,” he tells the bartender.

“And where did you spring from? Your first time in the city?” purrs somebody on his left. Tall, built compactly so he looks shorter, arrogant like he’s got people to burn. He probably does, if Dwight’s guessing right about him.

Dwight has just spent an afternoon working his ass off on keeping Wallenquist from bringing any more unusual shit to Basin City. He’s had to face things he hasn’t since he was running from girl to crime scene to bottle, trying to brawl his way out of seeing what he shouldn’t have been seeing. He’s had to cut deals and make sacrifices that maybe only Miho could understand—he’s definitely only going to be giving her the full details, and she can’t fucking talk back to tell him it’s okay, even if she were inclined that way. Which she isn’t and never was; she was the one who’d shown him how to start dealing with this shit after he’d saved her, and her way of doing that was hitting first.

In other words, he’s in a mood. “Not interested.”

“Hasty, aren’t—”

And the bastard gets hit from two sides at once: one of them bounces off, one doesn’t. Dwight grins as he sips his drink. He takes a long swallow before he twists his fingers around to snap it off.

“When are you going to learn, Balthazar? No means no,” John says, sliding in between Dwight and the bastard, who’s trying to smooth his suit without looking shocked at just missing getting squashed by a working that probably hasn’t been seen around these parts in a good century. “And hello, Mr. McCarthy. Just so you know, house rules say none of that, but I personally make an exception for Balthazar here.”

“Pity it isn’t your establishment, Johnny.” Balthazar jerks at his coat-sleeve and stalks off just as a coffee-skinned man walks out of a backdoor.

He looks at Dwight and suddenly there’s a ghostly whisper by Dwight’s ear saying to—“Apologies,” Dwight says, lifting his glass towards him. He downs it, drops a bill on the counter and takes off for the exit. That one probably knew what he’d just done, and he’s in no mood to start something between cities. “So you’ve been looking me up.”

He doesn’t have to look to know that Constantine’s following him out, or that John’s damned interested in what Dwight had just pulled. “Seemed polite. I’m guessing you know who I am.”

“Not really. I don’t care about what happens outside of my little piece of the world.” That throws Constantine for a loop, which gives Dwight a small, stupid but warm glow of self-satisfaction. Famous, hell—a wanted man’s the last person to think that’s a great thing, or to be all that impressed by it. “We’re not going to have the ‘don’t inform the police about me’ talk, are we? I did have the impression that you were smarter than that.”

“I’m flattered,” John dryly replies. Now that his ego’s gotten over itself, he’s drawn back a little to reassess. His expression is coolly unreadable, eyes opaque even when he offers Dwight a cigarette. “Are we going to have this out on the street? Because, you know, I had the impression that your talent for self-destruction only kicked in when there were ladies around.”

They’re well away from the club now, ambling fast down a road where only one in three of the street-lights are working. One of those is coming up, Dwight notes. He slows down and looks at it, squinting into the sodium-yellow glare.

John snorts, like he’s figured out what Dwight was doing, and turns to pull the cigarette from his mouth. In the second that John’s arm is crooking away from himself, Dwight steps in and shoves the other man up against the pole. He gets a little bit of the smoke dribbling out of John’s mouth, sucks it in and blows it out his nose while he’s tongue-fucking John wordless. Hands running from John’s hips to chest and then out to grab John’s slack arms, pin them back while squeezing them in a promise.

After a moment, John stops fighting and gets into it. Which is when Dwight detaches himself and stands back. Narrow-eyed and panting, John casually brings the cigarette back to his mouth and sucks it from halfway-gone down to the filter. “That was interesting.”

“That’s something people generally have out on the street,” Dwight says. He’s itching for a cigarette now, damn Constantine, but he forces himself to keep away from his pockets. “Nice alley over that way, if that’s what you want. Knife on the prick get you all hot and ready? Like the idea that I could kill you while you’re still trying to get over the fact that I’d surprised you?”

John doesn’t attempt to straighten himself out, but instead slouches more. His tie’s loose and his shirt’s pulled half out of his pants, his hair falls in spikes over his glittering eyes. He blows himself a mask of curling gray wisps. “Well, I definitely don’t like you talking like a whore. You learn that from your girlfriend?”

And it’s been years since the first time Gail told Dwight to shut the fuck up and stand back, that that was what she was, but that kind of comment still raises his hackles. He loses focus.

It’s only for a second, but seconds are precious as gold in this end of town. Next second, Dwight’s spinning out of the fucking way, and the second after that, he’s the one with his back up against the pole. John’s mouth is messy and hot and vicious on his own, and John’s hands are burning against his hips—literally. The fucking son of a bitch has something pressed up against Dwight and it makes his own bones twist in their sockets till tears are coming from his eyes. “Listen, cock of the walk,” John’s saying, “This isn’t your town, isn’t your night--”

Then he freezes. Six inches of steel snuggling up to the curve of a man’s ass will do that. Dwight tilts the knife, just enough so its tip scrapes across John’s inner thigh and taps at the bulge that would be the back of John’s balls. “You know, most people don’t fall for the same trick twice.”

The first thought John has is to rip out Dwight’s guts anyway; Dwight can see that clear as a frame-up in John’s angry eyes. The second, surprisingly enough, seems to be amusement: John’s hands relax on Dwight’s hips and he even smiles, though he doesn’t show any teeth. “What was that you did back there to Balthazar? I’ve never seen anything like it.”

Looks like Dwight’s read was pretty damn accurate, after all. “Well, if we’re going to be like that, why don’t you invite me upstairs for coffee and cakes?” he sarcastically replies.

* * *

Odd apartment, odder coffeemaker. It looks like it’s been through a couple wars and maybe doubled as a witches’ cauldron, but the java it spits out isn’t half-bad.

John is pouring himself a mug now, though he’s going to scald himself unless he stops eying Dwight and pays some fucking attention. “I always heard weird shit about Basin City, but never got out to check on it myself till a couple weeks ago. The place is really something.”

“No, it’s just old. It does things how people did them a hundred, two hundred years ago.” Having taken his mandatory sip, Dwight’s now staring at the rest and wondering how dumb he’s going to be tonight. For one, he’s pretty sure this wasn’t what Gail had in mind when she told him to have some fun while he was out so he’d stop moping around Old Town about breaking up with Shellie.

Two, this might not be his final ride, but he’s thinking it’ll probably hurry that one along. He’s thinking with his dick again. He’s about to jump off the bridge without a cable to yank him back. He is the stupidest jackass on earth.

He’s got this damnable itch in him—had it ever since he was walking up the stairs to Gail’s apartment and smelled that damned blood on her that was the wrong color—and he’s about to get it scratched for a load of bad reasons. Can’t get too close to Gail, can’t chance any of the other girls because of her jealousy, can’t try a nice girl because it wouldn’t be fair to her. Can’t find people that’ll understand, can’t stand the idea that he’s got to get into this bullshit good and deep again, can’t turn away from it because it’s coming whether he likes it or not.

“Not Christian?” John takes one sip before he puts down his cup, jerks off his coat to throw it in the corner. He tugs at his tie till he can pull it over his head, then turns around to lean against the counter, playing with it.

“Not as far as I know. But then, nothing’s older than sex and death, and those are the cornerstones of Sin City.” The one advantage Dwight can see is that he’s going to clear his head. He hopes it’ll last him a while, because things are complicated enough without adding a regular commute to L. A. to them.

It’s getting warm. He’s tempted to check the thermostat across the room to see if it’s actually just the weather, but it’s already damn late and he has a morning train to catch. He shrugs his way out of his coat and puddles it up on the counter; he doesn’t dress so professionally so all he’s got under that are jeans and a dark green t-shirt.

“If I wasn’t beginning to like you, you’d really annoy the hell out of me,” John says. Bit of tease in his voice as he walks over, snapping his tie tight around one wrist. “You got a specialty?”

“Yours is hitting sore spots, I’m guessing.” Dwight hikes up a foot and unstraps the knife from his leg. He pulls another one from the sole of his high-tops.

The grin on John’s face is wide and toothy, and the look in his eye is verging on something that makes Dwight want to punch him. He dramatically whips open his cuffs and pulls them down to show Dwight tattoos on the forearms. Since Dwight’s education in such matters is more or less street, he isn’t quite sure what they do, but he can feel that the magnitude of whatever that is would be damn big. And he can use his head to notice that they’re halves.

“Put them together and you’ve got a problem.” John pulls a chain of little charms from his pants-pocket and carefully lays them on the counter just as Dwight digs a jade amulet out from beneath his shirt.

Getting off another couple of knives and the gun holstered at the small of his back gives Dwight some time to ponder that. He watches John pull off his shoes to show long, elegant feet, as nicely boned as Gail’s are.

“So there’ll be no ‘together,’” Dwight says slowly, and a deep dark hungry side of him enjoys seeing how John’s shoulders stiffen.

Of course, then he’s letting that deep dark hungry side out to play, and there’s no looking at John because Dwight has snagged that tie and yanked up John’s arms behind his back. He lashes the wrists so they cross each other, making sure it’s tight so John can’t squeeze his forearms together. John’s already adding a moaning undertone to his gasps, sending the blood down into Dwight’s groin where it thickens in his flesh, makes it hot till he’s shoving John back against the counter so it’ll only take one hand to get both their zippers down. He gets his mouth on John’s throat, lips it till he can feel the skin warming, and then sucks hard till he can see the goddamn heat in a red flush on the white. John’s already grinding at his hips, getting Dwight’s hand stuck so the little metal teeth of the zippers chew on it. Fucker snags himself on Dwight’s fly and just gets harder; Dwight has to force them apart to let their pants follow gravity’s spell.

He pretty much does that himself, eeling down John’s heaving chest hands first and mouth a slow, dragging second so when he reaches John’s waist, he can look up and see the spit-trails sticking the cotton to John’s body, the bunched-up wet spots where he stopped to have a bite at the squirming flesh. Cotton tastes awful, always does, but Dwight wipes out that taste soon enough when he licks at John’s belly. Just a short one, just shy of the start of the dark thick hair over the man’s crotch, but John jumps to meet him and he laughs as he ignores that in favor of suddenly, roughly shoving his tongue into John’s bellybutton. Twining it lasciviously around, corkscrewing against the thin skin and very much not attending the cock bumping at his chin.

“Jesus fucking Christ.” John’s teeth are gritted together and his lips are pulled back so Dwight can see just how hard. Bastard’s going to snap one, maybe, or—no, that’s a drawer-handle creaking behind John. “Must be top cocksucker back there.”

Dwight drops all the way to his knees and drives in to bite John hard, choosing a piece of thigh just beneath that flushed bobbing cock. He bumps John’s balls as he does, ripping a deep, deep groan from the other man. What he leaves behind is a red-going-blue-black pair of half-crescents; Dwight runs his tongue along them and thinks he tastes plums. Just an illusion, just an illusion. Runs his tongue up and around, traces over the tightened balls and has a good, long slurp at that prick, and the salt he tastes, the wet muskiness he smells, the rawness—that’s real. “You want me to eat this, or eat it?”

“Okay, okay, take it back, just—fuck, it wasn’t that much of an insult—oh, God.” And back goes John’s head, snapping like it’s on rubber bands, because Dwight’s deep-throated and drawn back on his cock in a split second. His head comes back down and he stares blearily at Dwight who’s holding his prick up by the head and just meandering his tongue all over it.

The thrust of John’s hips forward is fast and hard like he’s trying to drill the damn thing into Dwight’s forehead. No, thank you, Dwight’s already had to change faces once. He covers the head with his mouth and wriggles his tongue right in the slit. John’s body rams into the counter and he half-screams swearwords.

“Certainly, sir. The customer’s always right,” Dwight cheerfully replies. The next time John shoves at him—aiming more to slap him with the damned thing than to get it fucked—Dwight opens wide. And then there’s that moment of choking he sometimes gets, but he swallows past it and keeps swallowing, swallowing in a punishing rhythm that he can see build up inside John’s body. Rattles his knees, bangs his hips and back against the counter, strains against his ribs till they’re shaking with breaths so fast that the air’s not moving—it gets sucked back into John’s lungs before it ever makes it all the way out.

Then it explodes, crashes right up from where Dwight’s kneeling to come ragged and hoarse out of John’s mouth. The part of the ceiling directly above them glows for a second before going back to normal. The cock in Dwight’s mouth jumps a little once, jumps a lot the second time, and then it’s all he can do to keep up with the come spurting down his throat. He gags a little in the middle, and when he draws back, he’s got some dripping down his chin.

“You fucking cocky son of a bitch,” John gasps, crazed light in his eyes and wolf-grin stretching his mouth as much as Dwight’s lips felt like they have been. Before Dwight can do anything, John’s suddenly dropped down, slammed onto his knees with audible cracks that he doesn’t seem to notice because he’s busy licking and chewing his own come off Dwight’s face.

And Dwight’s got him by the hair, yanking him round so they can properly maul the hell out of each other’s mouths. He’s about to get up and get lube, oil, whatever the hell, but suddenly he’s got stuff oozing over his hand. John laughs and lunges past his surprise to get him by the throat, and so hard that the man nearly knocks himself off balance.

Dwight shrugs, goes with it and goes backwards till his shoulders beat on the floor. He’s got all four fingers up John’s ass in no time at all and John is writhing on them, straddling Dwight’s waist so Dwight’s cock slaps itself harder and harder against his stomach. The fingers are barely out before John fucks himself onto Dwight’s prick, and then it’s Dwight’s turn to swear at him. “Goddamn bastard—”

“What, didn’t expect me to warn you, did you? I thought we were past that.” John’s body squeezes at Dwight like he’s trying to pull Dwight inside him cock-first, and frankly, at this point that wouldn’t surprise Dwight at all. He laughs again when Dwight tries to pull back, as if he could.

Of course, that’s not the point. The point is to fight and get yanked back, to spit and snarl and just get torn apart for once. To let it all out and not give a shit what comes back, to go head-to-head with someone and come away licking at the wounds with a smile. It’s exactly what Dwight needs.

He loses it like a freight train smashed it out of him, clawing at the floor and arching till he can hear his backbone creaking. And too late, he sees John’s hands whip out from behind him, the tie dangling loose from one, and his fingers are stuck to the floor as he comes so he can’t block the thin black line that slings around his neck.

* * *

“So what were you saying about tricks?” John says, head cocked. He has the ends of his tie wrapped around his hands—one pull and Dwight is choking to death or spasming towards that from a broken neck.

If they were in this for something as simple as turnaround, anyway. After the first flood of panic, Dwight’s brain starts to kick in and he just looks at John.

Something makes John’s cheek tic. Could be irritation, could be admiration, could be some fucked-up combination of that plus more. He slowly lowers his hands, untwining the tie from around them and then from around Dwight’s neck. “You really, really get close to pissing me off.”

As soon as the last of the silk slips from his throat, Dwight is pushing himself up and rubbing at it. He heaves at John’s hips till the other man finally lifts himself off, then grabs for the edge of the counter. Takes him a moment to find his coffee because he remembers it being on the wrong side. “Don’t come back to Basin City.”

“You sure about that?” John says, just shy of coy.

Dwight rolls his eyes. “Don’t. Come back.”

“How about I call first, hmm?” With a grunt, John gets onto his feet and limps to the counter to get his own cup. He sips a bit, then grimaces and knocks out the contents into the sink. “Give you time to give your apologies to Gail.”

If he showed up any time soon, Dwight decides, he’s going to feed Constantine to Miho. “Don’t be a stupid bastard. Not any more than you already are.”

“Are you referring to the stupid, or the bastard?” John jerks his chin at the coffee Dwight is finishing. “Want another before you go?”

“No, this is fine. Thanks.” And Dwight’s gotten lucky in his lapse, because he’s looking at John just in time to see the flash of surprise on John’s face at that. Yeah, he had the right read on him.


Dwight sits on the floor a little longer and wonders what the hell he’s going to tell Gail.

* * *

Gail doesn’t get up when Dwight walks in, but just stays in front of her mirror, unsnapping one buckle after another. She likes to do it herself, same way she always loads her own guns, so he leans against the wall where she can see him. “It—”

“If he causes trouble, it’s on your damn head,” she tells them. The second-to-last buckle gives away with an angry tug, the last one with a slow, teasing one. Once the harness is off, Gail spreads her knees and rubs her hands restlessly up and down her thighs, shaking her head. “Jesus, Dwight.”

“I know.” And that’s all he has to say—he’s forgiven, God knows why, but nothing’s forgotten. Which is, with anyone and not just their particular brand of hellishness, as good as it gets.

“Yeah.” Her hands pause on her knees, then slide back and down between her legs where he can’t see. Dwight closes his eyes, but doesn’t leave because as hard as the next half-hour’s going to be for him, he deserves it. And because she’ll kill him if he doesn’t take his damn punishment like a man. “So tell me about him.” Leather of the seat creaking, Gail already going breathless. “Give me what you can, baby.”


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