Rating: Blue Cortina
Warnings: strangeness, demons, graphic novel crossover.
Summary: Sam finds himself in a really strange place, with even stranger company.
A/N: Unbeated again, in a rush, again. I just couldn't bear to miss out on another flashfic deadline! Forgive me any flaws, my work is gradually taking over my life. Kinda like grangrene, but not as fun ;P
Sam growled deep in his throat and drove his fist into the face of the man opposite him. He felt a knuckle give as he hit him wrong, on the strong bone of the jaw. He held back a hiss of pain as the others around them roared their approval.
'All right, break it up, break it up!' In They came, throwing their weight around, and their truncheons.
'Right Lory, Mulk, yer both in solitary!'
As Sam was pushed away from the crowd he looked up, trying to memorise the sky before he was swallowed up again into Strangeways prison.
The name had a certain ring to it, a almost magical, lyrical quality. He was pretty sure that he'd heard heard at least one song called Strangeways.
It was pretty infamous for a while after the riot in 1990, before they changed the name. But he never thought he'd be living in it. Sighing, he laid back on the cold concrete floor.
'I know what you're doing.'
The voice came out of the blackness. Harsh Liverpool accent, horse with smokers lung. Sounding smug through all the harshness. Sam sat up.
'Every day since you've got here, you've picked a fight. Been to solitary more times then most blokes here wank off.'
Sam wasn't sure what to say to that.
'Who the hell are you?'
The voice sighed. 'Well, if this were happier times, I'd give you the full spiel. But for now, you'll just have to call me John. And your Pete Lory eh? Original. Bit of a daft name for a prize fighter like you though.'
Sam bristled without really knowing why. 'I don't like fighting.'
The voice snorted. 'Doesn't take a genius to figure that out.'
'I don't think you understand the "solitary" part of solitary confinement.'
'Fine then. But don't expect Hunt and the lads to come rescue you.'
He felt as if his heart had literally stopped.
'...What did you say!?'
'That's why you want to stay away from the others. So they won't figure you for a copper. Sounds like an undercover job gone south.'
Sam opened his mouth to ask a question.
'Don't worry, I'm not gonna grass on yeh. Your secrets safe with me. Sides, you've got a right to be carefull, jail as...wicked as this one. Good ol' Pierpoint, bless him, stretched more then his fair share of necks here. You know, when he resigned, the Government begged him not to.'
There was a pause. He bit his lip, knowing that the stranger just was baiting him, wanting him to ask the question. But he couldn't help himself.
'Why did they?'
'Cause they wanted him to stay on. Because he was their best killer. And no-one else would do the work. God love the working man.' He chuckled dryly.
Sam was about to retort when he heard the man moving away.
'No wait-!' but he was already gone.
Sam got out of solitary after three days, the guards glaring at him, daring him to make a move. He ignored them with a studied indifference as he walked into the yard, blinking up at the overcast sky.
'Welcome back sunshine.'
The Liverpool voice. He turned around to see a middle aged bloke who looked a bit like Sting. Only.....seedier. He was smoking a cigarette which was snatched from his mouth by one of the guards.
'Oi! I were enjoying that!'
The guard smirked and took a long drag.
'And now I am.'
The man glared at him before turning back to Sam.
'Bastard took the last of me silk cut.'
Sam dug into his pocket and offered him a Marlbaro, causing John to wrinkle his nose.
'Nah thanks, rather smoke rat-droppings.'
Sam nodded and put them back carefully, not wanting to loose the last of his bartering goods.
'So John. Why are you here?'
'A grievous misunderstanding soon to be cleared up.'
'Oh is that so?'
'Sounds like a lot of cobblers to me.' He rolled his eyes. Cobblers? Gene must be rubbing off on him. John fixed him with a annoyed stare.
'What, you really want to know?'
'Yeah sure. Pretend you're Robbie Williams.'
The man frowned. 'Wha?'
He laughed then, a startled bark. 'Damn you're sharp.' He grinned at him and Sam grinned back. 'Yeh, so much I'd cut m'self.'
They chuckled again briefly. 'So Pete, if that's your real name, can I ask you a question?'
'Sure, go ahead.'
John turned towards him, fixing him with one cold eye.
'How's it happen that someone from 1973 knows a song from 1998?'
Sam stared at John, who gazed back mildly.
'...Sorry, what did you say?'
John snorted. 'Oh come on. I'm from the future, you're from the future. Let's get together, compare notes. Braid each others hair.'
Sam continued to stare at him in disbelief. John sighed.
'All right, you want to know how I ended up here? Well, there was this girl. Smart, pretty, funny. She had this sister, also smart, pretty, funny. And thought I was sex on a flippin' stick. So naturally, I slept with her. Turns out, my girl knew a bit more about my work then she let on, and she had a mean streak. Long story short: I'm back in time with a geas set on me.'
'Geas. 'S an Irish word. Means "I can't bloody well go back to me own time until someone says my name".'
Sam looked at him. 'Well John, you're still here.'
John clenched his hands in frustration. 'My full name you plonker! If I can get someone to say my full name, I can go back.'
'Well...can't you say it?' The other man sighed.
'No, that's part of the geas.'
They stood there for a moment in silence before John turned to look at him, one eyebrow cocked.
'So..how did you get here?'
'Um...well...I was hit by a car in 2007, woke up here.'
John gave him a stare as if to say "I don't believe you".
'Well it's true!'
'Really?' John started to giggle. 'You got hit, by a car? That's how you got back here? Really?!' He started to laugh out loud. Sam scowled at him. 'S'not funny.' John howled with glee.
'Stop it!' Sam said, rather petulantly. John now had tears running down his cheeks.
John stopped laughing, now reduced to little puffs of mirth as they both stared up at Mulcher, the bloke he'd been fighting yesterday. If he hadn't got the first punch in, he'd have been spread over the yard like a lumpy jam. Mulcher was seven feet tall and thick as four bricks. He thought anyone smart was making fun of him, and would subsequently beat seven kinds of shit out of said person.
'Stop yer noise you bloody great tart.' He growled at Sam.
'Um...that wasn't me.'
'Shut. It. Don't care. We're not finished you an' me.'
'Really? Gorgeous, smart fella like you? I mean, was your mam drunk? Or your da blind?' Mulcher slowly turned to John who smiled blissfully.
'You got a death wish you little scouser shite?'
'Who me? I'm stuffed full of good intentions. As well as good will, good faith, good form.'
Mulcher was starting to get himself very worked up. Sam'd seen this before, and it wasn't pretty. But John kept rattling on, seemingly oblivious.
'Good nature, good health, good cheer, good works...good sized.' he winked and Mulcher pulled back his hand with a howl. John just stood there as Sam prepared to block Mulcher's punch. Then John ducked to the side. And Mulcher hit the bricks.
'Me 'and!' He howled, a overgrown baby having a fit. Sam saw the other cons in the yard smirking at them, and knew that Mulcher would never live this down.
'Mmm, the right one too. The wrong one for you though, wasn't it?'
He leaned down and whispered something in the man's ear. Mulcher stiffed, turning white. John straightened up, and grabbed Sam's arm, pulling him away as the other inmates started to crowd around.
'Cheers mate. '
'No problem. A wanker like that'll always fall for an easy trick. But you, you're a smart man. It'd take a pretty sharp customer to get one over you, am I right?'
Sam eyed the other man dubiously. Someone tried to butter you up like that, it was obvious that they wanted something. 'What do you want?'
'Nothing much. Just a favor really. Reckon you owe me, for back there.' He nodded back towards Mulcher.
Sam looked at him sideways.
'What kind of favor?'
The other man smiled. ' "Come with me if you want to live." '
'All right, I don't understand.'
' What, why I'm doing this "Simon in the Land of Chalk Drawings" imitations? Or why you're here?'
It was evening and they were in Johns cell. The man had managed to get Sam as his new cellmate, after bribing the guards. He was drawing something that didn't look like anything Simon had ever drawn. Circles and wheels, bits of latin, astrological symbols.... It all looked like something from a tarot card.
'No, I don't understand why I have to summon this...demon.'
He found it hard to even say. Demons, who believed in demons anyway?
Or little girls who lived in the telly?
All right, all right, fair enough.
'To summon a demon, well, this demon at least, you have to use your full name.'
'All right then.'
There was a pause. Sam hunkered down on his haunches, watching his new cellmate.
'So you're a, a what, a...warlock?' he asked. John shot him a disgusted look.
'Magician. I deal in real stuff, not that Harry Potter shite.'
'So you can't just say "Abracadabra" and whisk yourself out of here then.' Sam said dryly.
'That's right. And it's "Abrahadabra". There's no "c".' He stood up, dusting off his hands.
'Now say the magic words.' He grinned at Sam who flipped him the v's. He raised an eyebrow.
'I'm doing it aren't I? Just give me a second....' Sam read the paper that was in his hand a few times then cleared his throat. He paused.
'I can't believe I'm really doing this.'
'For Gods sake, just say the bloody words!'
Sighing, Sam started to speak.
' "Christ, by your power and grace grant your servant, Sam Tyler, the power to conceive in my mind and to execute that which I desire to do, the end to which I will attain by thy help. I entreat thee to compel the daemon Vessago to manifest before me that he will give me true and faithful answer, so that I may accomplish my desired end. Appear, appear, appear!" '
There was a popping sound and the center of the circle began to smoke. The smoke grew and writhed and became solid. Sam could feel his heart beating frantically inside his chest as he looked up at the creature.
Who summons me in the name of the White Christ?, it rumbled, pulling itself to it's full height. He swallowed as it moved up, and up and up. He couldn't see it very well in the darkness, but he caught hints of it. Joints twisting the wrong way, skin that bulged and stretched as if things were crawling under it. It smiled at him with teeth like a prehistoric shark, smelling of blood and mildew and rotten meat.
'You summon me? You, you frightened little thing? You don't even believe in Him.'
'But I do.' John smiled as the demon turned towards him.
'...Have we met? You seem...familiar.'
John shrugged. 'Friend of a friend, that sort of thing.'
Vessago glared at him.
'Do you travel the by the left or the right?'
'I'm a middle of the road man myself.' John said, smiling.
The creature sneered at him.
'A fence sitter. I should have known, a man like you will remain constant to his views.'
John looked almost like he was ready to explode for some reason. Sam frowned at the thing, getting his fear under control.
'Look, if you haven't anything good to say, don't say anything at all.' he said, trying to sound bold, but knowing that he sounded rather pathetic.
The thing grinned at him, making Sam wish it wouldn't.
'Why should I mortal? I am a demon. And didn't you summon me to speak? Speak I have. Do not blame me if what I say is not to your liking DCI Tyler.' He felt his eyes widen. The thing laughed.
'Oh yes, I know what you are, who you are.'
'I can see all that is lost and hidden, all that is past and future. And you, you are all those things. Oh, it is delicious to look on you, human man. Unstuck in time as you are.'
'Yeah that he is. Now sod off Billy no mates, or I'll kick you upstairs.'
It turned it's glittering eyes on the magician.
'Oh? What would you do to us John? You have no power here.'
'Yeah but long as yer in that circle, you have to listen to me, power or not. So hop off you tosser. You're 'bout as useful as a chocolate teapot.'
The thing hissed at him.
'You cannot order me around mouthful. He summoned us, and only he can banish us.'
'Say what you like, but you are helpless. You're lovers geas clings to you tenderly, caressing you as it binds your body and soul. If you cannot speak your name soon, then you will surely die in this place of ghosts and murder. Living out your days with half your mind shut to you. I can see it.'
'Well the futures not writ yet is it Mr. Giggles? I tell yer, you're as big a tosser as the bloke who started all this Christian religion shite, what's his face.'
John stopped, his eyebrows knitted together. Sam stood by, the sweat popping out over his face as the demon leaned forward.
'You see? Already you begin to decay. You cannot even remember Emperor Constantine's name, John-'
The demon stopped abruptly. It glared at John.
'You tricked me!'
John smiled at him.
'Yeh, I tricked you. Gotta say though, didn't think it'd be that easy.'
The demon roared it's displeasure.
'Quick Sam, end it!' John shouted.
'I release you!' Sam yelled, shutting his eyes and flinging his arm over his face, hand out to ward off the thing.
There was another pop, and then all was quiet. Tentatively, Sam opened his eyes.
The demon was gone.
'Well....that went as well as could be expected John.'
He looked around, seeing no-one.
He was alone in the cell. He looked out through the bars to see if John was there. Nothing.
The gaes must have been lifted.
Good for John, but bad for me he thought bitterly as he swiped at the chalk on the floor, trying to clean it before the guards checked in on him, cursing as he realised that he had no explanation for the disapearence of his new cell chum.
John whistled as he walked down the hallway to his apartment. He started to sing.
'I've got strange ways, but it won't take long my friend...'. He paused, remembering DCI Tyler, stuck in Strangeways prison. That poor bastard. Still, it'd be hard to go back, put the words in the right ear. It'd all happened long ago anyway, relatively speaking.
He frowned as he opened the door. He didn't remember leaving his tv on....
'Strange ways, twisted days.'
He turned around swiftly. There was a little girl in red standing behind him, looking vaguely familiar. He squinted at her.
'Have we met?'
She smiled, hugging her little clown doll to her.
'Ashes to ashes, dust to dust. But strangeways is all you get.'
'How did you get in here?' he demanded.
She pointed to the screen.
'Oh very funny.'
'Same game (Strangeways). But I don't like the games you play Mr. Constantine.'
He turned to run out the door, but she was there already.
'Inconstant con man. Concealing conceit.'
He turned to the windows, but she was standing in front of them, smiling.
'What do you want from me!'
She frowned. 'You left him there. Not nice. He's my friend, my only friend.'
She leaned in close.
'Bring him back. Or else.'
He shut his eyes tight. When he opened them again, he was alone, with only the test card girl on the tv for company. As he walked over to turn it off with shaking hands, he suddenly remembered: Test card F hadn't been on the telly in years.
'I get the idea.' he said to the empty room. Looked like he'd be going back to the seventies after all.
It was late. Gene was the last one to leave, which was usual these days. They'd been burning the midnight grease every day these past weeks, looking for Sam ever since that undercover operation'd gone off. He turned off the lights in his office.
'DCI Gene Hunt?'
He turned around. There was a blond man in a trenchcoat standing in the doorway, back lit by the lights of the CID.
'You've a man down I reckon. A man missing at least.'
'What do you know about it you gayarse?' he growled, moving threateningly towards him.
'He's in Strangeways prison. He's all right, mostly. They're keeping him there under the name Pete Lory.'
'Oh yeah, and how do you know so much?' Gene said, turning on the light.
No-one was there.
(A/N: There are at least four songs called 'Strangeways' or 'Strange ways' by Madvillain, Ace of Base, and KISS. I've used snippets of all of them in the fic, mostly in the exchanges between Constantine and the TCG. Also, the "Come with me if you want to live" line is indeed from Terminator.)