This fan fiction is a crossover between Forever Knight and the film Constantine.

Tipping the Scales

Cousin Shelley


 

"Listen to me, Nicholas! You must fight this demon. There is goodness in you -- there is God in you." -- LaCroix to Nicholas, Sons of Belial


The exorcist didn't know anything.

Father Hennessy had sent John to Toronto, a complicated network of observers, investigators and priests having found evidence of a top-caste demon possession that had led them to the exorcist. Twice. The second exorcism was that of a police officer who'd been present at the first one. It was unusual for such a powerful demon to make an obvious jump like that, and unusual for any exorcist worth his salt to miss it and allow the new host to leave.

John sat in the back of the cab, exhausted. As he'd talked to Vanderwal, it became clear that the exorcist had been mesmerized and didn't even remember anyone coming to him that night, let alone names or how everything went down.

That hadn't stopped Constantine from finding out what he needed to know.

This demon was craftier than most. And had almost not been driven from detective Knight, whose friend had been with him during the exorcism and apparently had been the one to tamper with Vanderwal's memory, making it damn hard for John to do his job. The friend wasn't John's concern, though he was curious at how powerful he'd been to do such a good job on Vanderwal.

When he'd finally coaxed the information out of Vanderwal's muddled mind, he'd been surprised, which wasn't a familiar emotion these days. A vampire? A vampire who'd been possessed by a demon. John thought maybe the old exorcist was showing the first signs of senility for a moment, because demons didn't go around possessing vampires--they were already evil--it wasn't necessary. Simply no fun in it. And since the evil was already there, a demon moving into a vampire and setting up house was damn near impossible, anyway.

But this didn't appear to be an ordinary vampire. At least, he didn't imagine many ordinary vampires became homicide detectives. So Knight. . . he was a special case, even before the possession.

But Knight had to be bad news, somehow. Hell, who knew what might be lurking in him right now? Why else would a top-caste demon get in and fight that hard to stay, unless something big was going to become of it? Well-respected homicide detective or not, Knight had to go.

Vampires weren't part of the deal, part of the balance. But Constantine hadn't dispatched a vampire in months, because he rarely encountered them. They operated out of sight, below ground, their community becoming more and more secretive and efficient as technology allowed it. So when one did break from the pack it was usually a rogue, a troublemaker, and sometimes John had been the first to flush him out. But not often.

They were easy to kill, one of the easiest for those who knew the proper way. Stakes would do it, but such a death didn't completely extinguish the evil. It remained, almost like a mist in the air, until it could latch onto someone with a weak mind or a bitter heart. To destroy a vampire and its poison completely, light was the only absolute way. It didn't take more than the right symbol, a few words and little bit of holy water and it was like the sun started to shine from beneath their ribs, burning them up from the inside out.

John was tired, but it looked to be an easy job. He told Chas where to go so he could find this Knight, kill it, and have a long rest on the way home.

"Yeah," the kid said as he tapped the steering wheel with his fingers and glanced repeatedly in the rearview mirror. "Oh, yeah! Some vampire tries to erase your memory--no problem. A guy who can stick his feet in a pot of water and poke around in hell for a while is not going to let something like that stop him, mmm mmm, no way, not John Constantine. How'd you do it, John? Huh? Symbols, chants, some--some sort of blood ritual, what? Yep, Constantine has tricks up his sleeve that no little piss ant soldier demons can even--"

"Chas. Just drive."

"Yeah, okay," he said, still tapping the wheel. He started mumbling to himself about Constantine and Chas, the bad-ass mothers demons do not wanna mess with, when Constantine finally met his eyes in the mirror.

"And it wasn't a soldier demon."

"Nuuut a soldier demon?"

"No." John stared at him for a moment. "Watch the road."

"One of the big boys, huh? That's okay, Constantine's on the case, right? It's nothing you--nothing we can't handle. Of course not. Huh uh." He shook his head but kept his eyes on the road.

Sunrise was no more than an hour away when Knight finally emerged from the building. He stood outside and seemed to be waiting for something or someone. Constantine watched him from the back of the car, and flipped through his talismans. He found one that would likely work, and spoke the proper words in Latin. Nothing. He flipped to another possibility and began again. He'd gone through all of them, Knight not so much as twitching from any of them, and was about to start again, sure he must have missed one, when two women came from the building and approached the detective.

"Pretty ladies," Chas said, excited. "Is he--is he gonna bite 'em, John, you think?" He craned his neck back and forth as if trying to catch a glimpse of fangs.

A slim blonde and a buxom brunette stood together talking and laughing with Knight. They were pretty, John let himself notice. The brunette's face lit up as she talked to the detective. And then she and Knight kissed each other on the cheek, gave a quick hug, before the woman returned to the building and then he walked the other. . . to her car.

"A gentleman, detective vampire?" John mumbled. He let out an exasperated breath and waited for Knight to be alone so he could finish and get the hell out of there. Knight was obviously close to the woman who'd gone back inside, friends with this one. . . it just didn't add up.

Once the woman drove away and Knight was alone, John quickly went through his talismans, and again had no luck. This wasn't possible, something had to be blocking him. The vampire should have been immobilized and helpless by now. "Shit!" he said, as he got out of the car. "Stay here."

"John? Wait a minute. John!" Chas leaned out of the car window, his breath steaming in the cool air. "I'll. . .just stay here. Sure, that's what I'll do." Frustrated, he hit the steering wheel with the palm of his hand, accidentally honking the horn. He slid a little lower in the seat. "Sorry!"

John closed his eyes as the horn honked and wished he'd flown to Toronto. Now that the detective was looking right at him. . . "Detective Knight? Nice car." He looked up and down the length of the Cadillac.

"Thank you. You are?"

"Constantine. John Constantine." He didn't offer to shake hands. Instead, he slowly reached inside his jacket for a cigarette, noting how Knight watched him carefully. He wondered if the vampire could sense something wrong, or if it was the police training that led him to suspect the movements of John's hands.

"You a religious. . . man, detective?" He lit the cigarette.

Knight looked at him, a new suspicion in his eyes. "May I ask why--"

"Vanderwal," he said, assuming that would be explanation enough. Judging by the look on Knight's face, it was. "I'm an. . . exorcist, too, and yours, well, it was a special case." John realized that he was putting himself in danger by saying too much. But he didn’t see any other way around it. And he was damned curious. "Happen to have anything on you right now, protect you from demons? Cross, rosary, bible, something of that nature? If not. . . it might be a good idea, given recent events," he lied.

Knight stared at him for a moment, and then his expression changed. "Holy water."

"You're carrying holy water?" That would explain why he hadn't been able to get to the vampire, his ritual went after the evil inside the vampire, and somehow the holy water was forming a barrier around him. Yet, a closed container of holy water would not protect him from a demon, it only protected him now because it was 'in the way' of his ritual latching onto the evil, it could never stop a demon from latching onto the good. Surely the priest might have pointed that out. So why would a vampire. . . ?

"May I. . . see it?"

"Why?"

"I'd just like to make sure you're adequately protected."

Knight pulled out a small flask and slowly handed it over. "I know the priest who blessed it, I'm sure it's fine."

"Thank you." John thumbed a talisman, chanted, and Knight dropped to his knees. "I appreciate your cooperation."

Knight's face was a grimace of pain as he tried to pull himself up by the car door. "What. . . what are you. . . . why?"

Damnit, he shouldn't be moving at all. It was almost as if there wasn't enough evil to make the ritual effective, even with the holy water gone, and that just wasn't possible.

Was it?

"Knight, tell me. Why would a vampire, an intelligent vampire, let's assume, carry holy water? Just to keep the demon from coming back again? That likely wouldn't work, and I think you probably know that. So, tell me why."

Knight looked up sharply at the word vampire, an almost defeated expression on his face. As if he knew John was there to end him. He held a hand up toward Constantine, showing a raw circle in the middle of his palm. "I use it. . . to see if it's less. . . each day. . . ."

Constantine laughed bitterly and looked back toward Chas. He was glad the kid wasn't hearing this, he didn't think he had the patience to try to explain something he could barely understand himself.

"You pour it on yourself, to see how badly it burns you?"

Knight nodded and then hissed in pain, still trying to rise from his knees. "It didn't. . . didn't burn that much. . . before. . . ."

"A gentleman, detective, masochist vampire. Will wonders never cease." He rubbed his forehead. "You're a detective. Why? Do you feed off some of the scum you arrest? Or do you kill randomly, and then 'protect and serve' as a fucking hobby?" Constantine was practically shouting now, his confusion and frustration pissing him off. He held his arms out to his sides. "Help me understand."

"Don't. . . kill. Cow blood."

Why did John start talking to him, asking him questions? Why didn't he just off him, still moving or not? A gentleman, masochist vampire who doesn't drink human blood, and solves murder cases when the sun's down.

"WHY?"

Knight looked at him for a moment as if he wasn't going to answer. Then another spasm of pain hit him and he dropped to all fours. "Make up. . . for what I've done. Repay my. . .debt. . . I--" He took several panting breaths and seemed to be trying to speak, but nothing came out.

"Shit!" Constantine flipped his cigarette away, spoke a few words of Latin, and Knight slumped against the Caddy. It made sense now, why a demon would have tried to hang on to this one. Demons thrived on corrupting the good. And though he never thought it possible, this vampire. . . had enough good in him to make it worth a demon's while. Corrupt him, and have a vampire's power, his body, as your personal playground. Like a mad dictator with a nuclear weapon. And what fun to corrupt the once-corrupted who's now trying desperately to get back into God's good graces.

He and Knight had a hell of a lot in common.

John watched the detective pull himself to his feet, with something close to guilt prompting him to speak. He wouldn't go so far as to apologize, but he felt an explanation was the least he could offer.

He heard Chas holler his name a couple of times while he and Knight were talking, and he raised his hand behind him, signaling for the boy to wait as he smoked with his other hand. He told Knight about himself, just a little, enough for him to understand why he was here. Knight seemed to hold back quite a bit of his story, too, which was fine with John.

Amazingly enough, by the end of their conversation, he felt like he almost understood how the crusader Nicholas DeBrabant had ended up in Toronto as detective Knight, fighting crime and trying to find a way into heaven.

Almost.

When they were finished talking, Nick held out his hand. After a moment, John shook it.

"Maybe we'll both find the redemption we're looking for," Nick said.

Constantine tipped his head in a single nod. "Stranger things have happened."

Halfway back to the cab where he knew Chas waited nervously with a thousand questions he really didn't want to answer, Constantine stopped. He knocked a fresh cigarette from the pack and lit it from the one in his mouth, then threw the butt down and crushed it under his shoe. As he sucked in a long, satisfying drag, he looked up at the dark, pre-dawn sky.

"I hope this one doesn't count against me." He exhaled smoke through his nose, and started walking again.