RATING: R for violence, gore, swearing, and UST
SPOILERS: None, unless you mean Constantine, in which case… all of it.
WARNINGS: Constantine-AU, pre-slash, violence, blasphemous themes, multiple character deaths (sometimes repeatedly!), borderline crack given the nature of the work.
WORD COUNT: This part 1,904; overall WIP, but prolly more than 30k, since the screenplay is almost 25.
SUMMARY: Castiel Constantine, an irreverent supernatural detective, has literally been to Hell and back. When Constantine teams up with skeptical police detective Dean Winchester to solve the mystery of the death of Sam, Dean’s brother, their investigation takes them through the world of demons and angels that exists just beneath the landscape of contemporary Los Angeles. Caught in a catastrophic series of otherworldly events, the two become inextricably involved and seek to find their own peace at whatever cost.
DISCLAIMER: Because I’m basically doing twice the stealing here, extra disclaimer is required. The characters from Supernatural or Constantine: Hellblazer do not belong to me, and the dialogue/story taken from Constantine is the property of Jamie Delano and Garth Ennis (comic), and Kevin Brodbin and Frank A. Cappello (screenplay). No infringement intended.
AUTHOR’S NOTE: I have a confession to make: in spite of my (usually) good taste, Constantine is one of my favourite movies. It is, for the most part, horribly clichéd and terribly acted (no one’s looking at you, Rachel and Tilda), but I’ve seen it a bazillion times and still manage to squeal with glee through most of it. I suppose that’s owing mostly to the strength of the comics upon which the movie was based, but the film manages to pack quite the punch, too, especially in the latter half. Anyway, my point is that I love it to bits, and had a conniption fit upon my last viewing when I realized HOW FREAKING PERFECTLY the movie could overlap with the SPN-verse. It’s kind of scary. The Castiel/Constantine jokes have been flying fast and furious in the fandom on account of that damn trenchcoat, but no one, as far as I know, has actually attempted an AU/crossover. This is basically my way of saying, “See? See? TOLD YOU!” But for what it's worth, while I've tried to follow the screenplay as close as possible (as opposed to the movie), I do on occasion follow some scenes from the film where they differ wildly (moreso towards the end).
“Hellblazer” - Prologue by nanoochka
In its long history, Istanbul has seen the rise of four separate empires ranging from Greek to Roman to Ottoman. New Rome, Constantinople, the city has been conquered and conquered again so many times since the fourth century that it is almost miraculous, really, that it has any sense of itself at all, beyond a sense of history. Perhaps it is the divisive nature of Istanbul—separating seas, separating continents—that has led to it being so many times divided itself.
The sweltering humidity of the pre-dawn has couched the city in a fog so thick that the tops of buildings are invisible from the ground; from the air, the ancient structures shrouded in such dense, curling mist make it look like more of a fairy-tale city than a bustling European metropolis, silk banners billowing against the night sky, Byzantine columns rising from the dust. Though the streets are constantly alive, in the remaining hours of darkness everything seems quiet and calm: a city at rest. No sound, save for endless waves crashing against the sea wall, reaching through the blanket of fog in a remote, dreamlike way.
Concealed by trees and situated slightly inland from Seraglio Point, a prison built of ancient stone and modern steel is barely discernable to the eye. Inside, the air is so thick and stale that the corridors appear without end, extending so far into infinite darkness that there remains little mystery as to why its prisoners have been driven slowly insane over the course of their internment, if they did not already arrive that way. Against the murmur of the sea, whispers and muttering voices emerge like living spirits, ramblings of those who, while not yet damned, aren’t very far from it. Guards patrol all throughout the night, but even they seem to avoid some of the darker passages, preferring to gather in clusters in the lamplight where they can smoke and play inexpert games of poker in the dim, chattering softly in Turkish to keep their spirits high and the ghosts at bay.
For each prisoner is a cell hardly more than closet-sized, stinking and damp from neglect and the abuse of time; more oubliette than dungeon, a place for the criminally insane to rot and be forgotten, spectres even to their own minds. At the very end of the corridor, in the final and darkest cell there is, kneels a prisoner so gaunt that his arms seem like twigs the colour of skin. Once, he would have been on the larger side of average, lighter-skinned than most of the other prisoners of Turkish descent, almost Syrian-looking in his fairness; but now he is just as defeated and emaciated as the rest. Like everyone else, his only clothing is the ratty, faded blue inmates’ uniform, stained brown in some places and in need of a wash as much as the attention of needle and thread. Whether he is deserving of this treatment is moot; arguably, half of the prisoners here have received punishment not befitting their crimes. The days have bled together for so long that he doesn’t know how long it’s been since he was first sentenced to imprisonment, since he was first declared mentally unfit to continue living his life out amongst the normal people.
Unaware or uncaring of his physical state, he kneels on the slick granite, head bowed so close to the ground before a rotted tapestry of Christ that his forehead almost touches the floor, hair dangling. Prayer seems evident, but beneath the hand he has concealed in the hem of the tapestry, he scratches away at the stone with an old spoon that has been worn to almost a nub from constant use. He’s been digging for a year, depriving himself of all but the barest necessities of sleep so that he can work through the hours of darkness.
Tonight, he breaks through. The rest of the process is easy going compared to the days and days of restless labour that have culminated in this first small moment of victory.
Within the hour, the prisoner has clawed his way between ancient walls of stone, scraping forward and forward at an incremental pace until a thick, wooden door swims into view from the blackness. The weight of the dead air is almost suffocating. Levering a shoulder against the wood, his weak frame heaves at the door in pathetic nudges until it groans open ever so slightly; air floods the dark chamber and he sucks at it like water, muffling his grateful gasps against his dirty sleeve. In his cell, the tapestry sucks forward and billows out again in the sudden gust of wind. The prisoner slips past the doorway and into a musty room that has remained untouched by light for an untold number of years.
It is empty except for some rotting, antique furniture and a few nondescript, empty crates. A yellowed skeleton lies on the ground, most likely where it first fell, while another slumps in a chair as though at rest. All these things go ignored as the prisoner notices the faintest trace of light seeping through the crumbling limestone of the far wall, a passage out, so stark against the constant companion of darkness that even his ruined eyesight cannot miss it. It is high up, too high, but after a moment’s consideration he begins dragging the crates across the floor, one at a time, wincing at how loud it seems in the quiet. He can barely lift one atop the other in his state.
Fingers scrabble against the ledge as he pulls himself up, aiming for the hole, but in a moment of miscalculation he pushes too hard with his feet and punches through the punky wood of the crate. His left foot sinks through to the ankle, and it is not until he reaches down to free himself that he stops to wonder about what might be inside, some type of fabric soft against the arch of his foot. A dim flash of red cloth is visible, and he pulls it out after his foot, unwrapping the object so quickly that he almost fails to notice that the cloth is actually a dirty and faded Nazi flag. At its centre sits an iron relic, so warped and crudely-shaped that it could just as easily be the petrified tooth of a prehistoric animal, or an ancient tool like an arrowhead. His brow begins to grow moist as he turns it over in his hands. With a scoff of disgust, the prisoner discards the old flag and grips the iron object tight against his chest. He begins working his way up to the ledge—his escape—once more.
Outside, in the corridor, the loser of the card game has been elected to do rounds in the darker, more obscure passages of the prison, a form of punishment more daunting than any amount of money gambled away and lost. Striding forward down the hall, he mutters jeers and curses at the more active, talkative prisoners, bouncing his flashlight beam back and forth and revealing faces carved from years of insanity and mistreatment. Most of the prisoners ignore his presence, continuing on with their litanies and gibberish, while others scream out at him with the expected declarations of wrongful accusation, pleas for release. The guard ignores them in turn, but when he reaches the end of the corridor and probes the darkness of the final cell with his torch, he notices the fluttering tapestry before he realizes that the space is devoid of life. When the tapestry billows out far enough to reveal the ragged hole in the wall, he jerks himself to attention and sounds the alarm.
Surprisingly given the prison’s state of disrepair, it doesn’t take long for word of an escaped prisoner to make the rounds, yellow floodlights blazing to life, alarms screaming into the night and breaking through the sleepy haze of silence. The other prisoners take up the chorus, and within minutes the entire prison more closely resembles the madhouse it’s supposed to be, a flurry of chaos and noise.
In the spotlights combing the night and the jail's ominous, imposing structure, a lone figure breaks free of the darkness and sprints for freedom, running to the trees on the other side of the prison wall with a force and determination completely at odds with his physical appearance. He runs faster than he as ever before been capable, even as a young man, even when healthy and full of life. The iron object remains clutched to his chest as his free arm pumps back and forth, heedless of the guards’ shouts and cries of, “Dur! Dur!” He runs even when gunshots begin to ring out, bullets whizzing scant inches away from his body, some of them so close that he feels the disturbance in the air around him. A few actually brush his uniform, but do not hit their target. Though he cannot see, the guards behind him curse and check their weapons in confusion even as they give chase.
Beyond the treeline is a road which runs parallel to the coast of the Bosphorus, the very tip of the Golden Horn overlooking the beautiful moonlit waters and the lights of Kadıköy across the strait. Heedless of anything but his escape, the prisoner runs into it, bounding out of the cover of trees and shadows and directly into the path of an oncoming car. Seeing the bedraggled man suddenly in the glow of his headlights, the driver slams on the brakes so hard that the tires screech and smoke, the car locking up in a violent skid on the fog-damp asphalt. Impact occurs a split second after the prisoner turns in alarm, and he is thrown across the road to land in an unceremonious heap on the unpaved shoulder. The car continues to slide, but eventually stops; frantically, the frantic driver launches himself out from behind the door and searches the darkness for a motionless figure on the side of the road. Upon exiting the car, however, he sees that his vehicle has accordioned from tire to windshield like he has gone head to head with a semi.
In the bushes, the prisoner gets to his feet, relic mysteriously still in hand. There is a moment where driver’s eyes meet victim’s, both of their faces so shocked and uncomprehending that neither moves for the better part of a minute, chests heaving. After a moment, the prisoner shakes himself back to alertness as though emerging from a trance, and immediately begins checking himself over, shaking his hands and arms and legs for injuries that aren’t there, when by all rights he should be a broken and bloody corpse. The brightness of the moon cuts through the darkness enough for him to notice that a symbol has emblazoned itself onto the tender skin of his wrist, red and shiny like a fresh scar. His eyes widen and he looks at the driver once more.
“Are you injured?” the driver asks slowly, taking a step forward. He is, understandably, hesitant, but neither man seems to know how to respond to the situation.
The sound of the driver’s voice sets the prisoner off. Spooked, scared, he spares a brief glance at the object in his hand before he takes off again into the night. He runs and runs; he does not look back.