4859/Saved by the Cell

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Saved by the Cell
Date of Scene: 24 January 2021
Location: Jacqueline Falsworth's Penthouse
Synopsis: Peggy and Constantine arrive to bail Jacqueline and her 'guest', psychic Flora Lopez, out of a quickly decaying situation. When the day is finally saved, half the heroes are down and Peggy's got a sensitive AAR to write.
Cast of Characters: Jacqueline Falsworth, Meggan Puceanu, Peggy Carter, John Constantine

Jacqueline Falsworth has posed:
"Peggy It's Jac." Jacqueline Falsworth says into the cellphone in her hand. "I'm afraid I need a favour, my friend. If you know anyone in SHIELD's WAND division, I'm under attack by spectres. I could use a banishing spell or two, if they've got any. At my condo." A beat. "And, "Peggy Please hurry. I have a guest whom I fear may be dying."

Probably should have led with that.

The spectre stalks around her protective circle, a skinny, bony shadow of ashes and smoke with a vaguely humanoid shape and long viscious claws on its hands. It's passing leaches the vitality out of all it touches, spreading spectral cold and fear. It lashes out, prevented from harming the women by the barrier of salt that surrounds Jac and Flora Lopez -- the medium all but unconscious in Jac's lap.

Jacqueline doesn't even flinch. She knows the thing is now on borrowed time. The chances of Peggy Carter letting her down are slim. So, she smiles darkly and flips the monster a very unladylike Yeoman's salute. "Checkmate, beastie."

It hisses and shrieks at her, scoring the floor. She picks up her cell again and dials the conscierge desk at the entry to the building. "David?" she says to the middle-aged and very proper doorman, "I'm expecting company -- A friend, Peggy Carter. She may have others with her. They may show you a SHIELD badge or two. It's fine. Please let them up without delay. Tell them I've left the door unlocked."

All of which means she's going to need to leave Flora alone in the circle, get to that door and grab those pages on the table on her way back into the circle... all without being caught. "Let's have a race, beastie," she suggests, flashing fangs as she smiles at the thing.

She places Flora carefully on the ground, taking care to tuck her limbs against her body so they're well away from the edges of the circle. She picks up the saltbox and springs at full speed across the barrier.

Everything seems to slow down around her as she pours more salt down to seal whatever breech her passing has left. The circle sealed, she takes off for the door, a line of bright spitfire behind her. She unlocks the door and speeds back to the kitchen, grabbing those pages on her way back into the circle. Then, she's pouring down more salt to seal her passage back in, snarling back at the creature who's barely had time to turn its head in the meantime.

"Not much for racing, hmm? Pity." Not.

Meggan Puceanu has posed:
Flora Lopez has seen better days. It might be telling from the state of her tailored clothes, the kind found in Barney's or Net-a-Porter, or few other tells. Her limp hair is nothing like the lustrous waves Jac saw, and had on camera, when they met. The warm olive skintone doesn't hide a pasty pallor to her, the grooves in dry lips. Nothing but a colourful scarf hides the disfigured bruises on her throat, or the peculiar running mascara effect of bruises down from her eyes. Oddly, her facial bruises are softer, almost white. Those on her neck haven't even come into their own. But they will, if she survives. Not gurgling for breath through crushed tissues. Not fighting back against the unknown, the hidden force still jangling unheard.

"... Key... No. Turn...." Her words are slurred, hardly audible, the flash of fists on the salt barrier corroding it. The laughter filling the room with a disembodied, sinister aspect only hastens the destruction of mundane objects, paper to ash, floorboards to warped, grey slabs gone brittle. "Outer darrrk," moans the fallen woman. Her eyes are still white, wide, the grey smoke a stormcloud to the turmoil elsewhere.

Bad is a bad state.

Peggy Carter has posed:
The moment Peggy got the call, she was moving. 'On my way. Hopefully bringing help. Hold tight,' she texts back to the woman. Fortunately, she was not in the middle of a HYDRA hunt or a meeting with a certain mysterious director, she could drop anything else she was doing and hit the road. So she does. It's while she's in transit to her car, she's texting John frantically. 'Constantine. Need your expertise now. Emergency. Spectres?? Need banishing spell?? at this address. I'll meet you in the lobby. Please.' That final please probably hurt her a little bit, but she's still polite and it's proper. Even if the situation is desperate.

Not even 10 minutes later, she's outside of the lobby, hoping her phone message got through and waiting for a familiar man in a trench coat so she can get him in. "Glad I can expect you to be reliable for the thing you are good at. ... Thank you." The last comment is a bit softer than her first clipped, still slightly too-cold words. But there's no time for catching up as she flashes her SHIELD badge to the doorman and double times it towards the elevators. She clearly wasn't expecting a fight as she's dressed for casual work -- a deep navy A-line dress trimmed in red, matching red heels, her hair down in those usual soft curls. She should be going to a swing dance, not a party of spectral dangers. When they're finally upstairs, she knocks triple time at the door. "Jac?"

John Constantine has posed:
Peggy probably got there by breaking the traffic laws, weaving through parked vehicles and possible voiding the warranty on her vehicle. A harrowing speed even for someone used to high-speed pursuits, fighting against a ticking clock.
    Constantine just cheats. An emergency cross-town trip wasn't cheap; it's hard to find reliable spirits willing to serve as an anchor for a short-range portal, even if it's just across a couple boroughs. But Peggy is not the sort of person who makes such calls in a fit of pique or on a whim.
    So Constantine steps out of an alley looking as if he had just been nearby when the call went out, and follows Peggy to the door.

She knocks three times; John checks the door for wards, then touches the lock with a fingertip. There's a whisper and it *clicks* open. "Stay behind me, luv," John tells Peggy, and reaches into his endless coat pockets for a glowing glass phial that fits neatly in his palm. "And don't look right at it." Magic crackles at the fingertips of his free hand as John gathers his willpower and surges smoothly into the room.

"Oye!" Constantine barks, and opens the phial with a thumb. He's forced to cringe away from the intense white light that pours from the container in a torrent.

Sunlight, captured in a bottle.

Jacqueline Falsworth has posed:
Jacqueline hears Peggy's knock, perhaps even her call through the door. She picks up her phone and texts. 'Door open. Spectre loose. Let mage in first. Kitchen.' Because surely Peggy didn't come without WAND, right?

She gathers Flora into her arms, trapping the pages of that damnable book between their bodies. Her head ducks, strawberry hair creating a curtain around both of them. She closes her eyes, pulling Flora's face against her shoulder to shield her eyes as sunlight rips through the penthouse like an accellerated dawn.

"Hang in there, love," she says softly to the medium. "I think the cavalry's here."

Peggy Carter has posed:
The venerable spy absolutely bristles as John tells her to stay behind, but the message flashed on her phone simply confirms it and that means instead of a smart remark, he just gets a grit of her jaw and swallowing back of those words. If nothing else, it meant she could watch him work. Every encounter helps her learn something new. So, she shifts the emergency kid on her shoulder (she didn't come armed ONLY for a fight) and remains at his back, her ICER in hand but pointed to the ground.

"Hell, that's bright." The warning is appreciated as she winces against the light, creeping farther into the room with him and calling in front, "Jac, we're here. Expert's up front. Soon as we can get through, I've got a med kit!" She calls reassuringly, her voice the calm and centering sort in a crisis. Even if she can do very little to fight magic, she can help keep up morale while they're going. She doesn't look exactly at the light, but her eyes carry over the mess of the room -- decaying floorboards, ashen paper. "John, stop! Hole. Right in front of you. Move a foot to the left!" She calls to him, hopefully catching his progress before he twists an ankle or worse.

John Constantine has posed:
Constantine's not one to ignore good advice and he dances over the hole in the ground without missing a beat. Into the building he charges, his other hand at the ready with a web of destructive energy cradled on his fingertips.

"...Must have got him with the first one," Constantine mutters. His hands lower slightly when no spook charges out at him immediately. "All right, we've got just a minute before he reforms," Constantine tells Peggy. "Get inside the salt circle and start tending first aid. Do /not/ cross the circle or break it, for any reason. I need to work a ritual to banish it for good."

John sweeps a section of countertop clear with a crash and rattle of dishes and flatware. Baggies of cloth and silk are produced; an old mug serves as a crucible. Constantine sketches complex designs on the counter with a thick Magic Marker and sets the crucible in the center of it.

Constantine's hands lift over the crucible and he closes his eyes. Learning to meditate quickly on demand-- key magus skill. He starts speaking in a low, guttural tongue. "Hen ofidiau, hen boen. Hen esgyrn, hen gnawd. Dychwelwch i'ch gweddill. Gadewch i'r byd i'r byw a'r meirw i'w gorffwys." At the last word a match is lit and dropped into the crucible. Sulfur, powder, and other additives flare up in a gout of purple flame and then abruptly extinguish.

"I think that got him," John says, and finally breathes a sigh of relief. "Who's not dead, sound off, eh?"

Meggan Puceanu has posed:
The spectre doesn't -seem- to be able to keep up with Jacqueline when she rushes back and forth through the condo. A condo that's losing property value by the quarter-hour, its paint fading, floor warping, artwork in proximity to the kitchen or living space cracked under a painted veneer or losing pigment laid down on a photograph. Flora's shoes, abandoned some steps away, have ceased to be elegant sensible pumps and more like the worn-out, abandoned footwear found in Grandma's attic that don't make the cut to donate to Oxfam.

The only ward is one of the oldest in European study, a circle of salt. Nothing else, but to a practitioner, it's a scarred dome barely holding, the women within sheltered by the spirit-positive charge. Salt crystals are a dull wall, bits of them turning grey and then dust, blown this way and that by unseen gale winds. Something hung on the wall shatters. Glasses in a cabinet rattle and smash down when rotten wood and rusted nails give out. More smashing down around him, spilled out everywhere. Expensive appliances blink as their circuitry boards give up the ghost in a savage profusion of sparks that rain down on John, haloing him in a green-crackle fire not advised by Viking or Samsung.

Flora is barely there, her eyes filled by the viscous swirls of a crystal ball. She opens her mouth in a plaintive, fixed sound that doesn't come out. Blue lips, grey skin, those terrible starburst bruises in pasty white crawl down her fine cheeks. The first convulsion begins as her wrist slaps against the ground, yanked of its own accord. Fingernails scrape over the wood, repeatedly, a vicious shift where Jacqueline holds her safe.


Almost like a pop when the crucible goes, gives, something smartly found. The frigid stillness in the condo crystallizes in that temperature drop so swift that it leaves Peggy breathing a cloud of cool air. That might cause John's teeth to chatter. Red shoes dim to a brownish shade. Heels in a pool of that tangible chill erode away, wobbling, weakened.

Jacqueline Falsworth has posed:
Jacqueline looks up as Constantine and Peggy make their way into the decaying kitchen. "We're as fine as we can be," she says, glancing between the disreputable looking mage and her friend. "But Ms Lopez is dying. There are spirits plaguing her and I can't break their hold." She's not a mage or a medium.

Her eyes are dark. She shifts, when the sparks cascade and more of the apartment disintegrates. "Guess I'm going to be renovating," she murmurs, pulling Flora closer against her still, making room for Peggy. She reaches out with one hand to snag her box of salt. "Be careful," she warns. "I'm running low." It was almost full when she started. There's not much more than a quarter of the box, left.

Her fangs are visible behind her lips, and her eyes remain black, white swallowed up by the vampiric gaze. As long as the monster stalks her home, she cannot help but let the monster inside her out. "Bloody hell," she hisses, as she watches the spectre move through the kitchen. To her eyes, it looks like the freakin' Witch King of Angmar crossed with an incarantion of Death. "Look out, it's right behind you!"

Peggy Carter has posed:
The very few, scant moments of almost peace that come with John's initial entrance are unnervingly reassuring. Peggy doesn't trust that she has time to dash across the apartment to the salt circle, but she's certainly going to try. "If you need back up here, you YELL. Don't try to hero this all on your own, Constantine." Peggy flatly snaps to him as she's moving through the place, searching for the pair. "Am I going to break this circle by crossing over it?" She asks as she dashes in the room...

And then it's too late. The thing is wrapped around her shoes. Behind her. Iciness everywhere in such a shocking drop of temperature it's hard to breathe for a moment. Her heels are degrading fast, strap around her ankle snapping and sending her slightly stumbling as she whips around in the spectre's direction. Somehow, she doubts her ICER is going to help.

With the thing this close, she's *not* willing to break the circle. Instead, she reaches her free hand into the neckline of her dress and pulls out the closest thing she has to a religious symbol -- the round, golden pendant she's worn around her neck for 90 years with her family's tree on it. She jerks it forward, a shield of belief, as she tries to stand her ground against the thing.

If *nothing* else, she'll keep it distracted as John does his work. Or so she'll try.

John Constantine has posed:
     The scream of fear grabs Constantine's attention as much as the screech of *wrongness* drives against his nerves. That same feeling of entropy, something degrading space and time, robbing color and emotion and sensation from the world. It's a dreadful thing to experience. A cessation of *being*.

Constantine breaks into a sprint towards the other room. A pocket scalpel slashes a gouge in his palm, no time to make it nice or pretty. The magus gathers his will and focus, feeding on the universe around him to fuel his spell. It gets weaker and threadier the closer he gets to the creature, but-- it is enough.

Constantine abruptly collapses mid-stride. Like strings were cut, going limp and crashing badly to the rotted old floor. The specter still recoils back with unnatural momentum. It wails in pain and fear, thrashing and screaming as some unseen force assails it. Claws rake at an invisible noose clenching around its neck. Spirit or shade or not, it was once a human, and even ghost can recall well the primal terror of being throttled.

A flash of blue light fills the room. It turns to aquamarine fire on the spectre's skin. The screams are shrill, inhuman. It is hurting. It's in *agony*. But the fire licks at spectral flesh until the whole thing is a smoldering column of incandescent flame. It struggles, then goes limp, and then-- it evaporates with a great lack of fanfare. Like smoke sucked up into a duct.

Meggan Puceanu has posed:
What's an instant to a human? Nothing compared to an instant for a spirit, something borne to eternity. All this happens between the time of a mage cutting himself, between the azure inferno.

The woman not within a shelter of salt is a sitting duck, and it makes a simple act of reaching out. In a different state, it's an intimacy of a lover pulling Peggy's hair away, except flesh proves no proper barrier for this horror. Slender claws bifurcate the flesh, sinking in, a slow motion destructive reel painted across the wall for the speedster baring her fangs and seeing through the borrowed gift of a dying medium halfway into the spirit world and heading that way faster.

All the spectre needs is a touch to rip through the veil of self and start tearing that stuff that makes Margaret Carter her. In the same seconds, what is to say what Jacqueline will do?

The will-infused blood ripped from the Laughing Magician wells to the surface, commanded as a plenty potent exotic compound in the arcane community. While those precious seconds and his paces pass for him to close the distance, Flora bleeds out testimony with that jerky puppetry.

                                   TER RUN                                    

The scratches worked by bloody nails disregard the wheezing rasp from the unconscious Flora. On the wall, on the floor, whatever her arm can reach. All is confined within that rigid reach, her bleeding fingers in place of ink, stylus, knife. Quick gestures jerk into block capitals with a bizarre precision, the salt clouding and grey.

Against Jacqueline, the abandoned papers might start to stand out to John's awareness like a slap in the face. Mired spiritual corruption has two sources, slowly distinguishable, one separate from the other. The spectre. The innocuous pieces of paper. But the thick, dark taint of the infernal resolves into two polarities while Flora scribes new graffiti for Jacqueline's condo. Fancies the place up a bit. Adds character.

                                     KEY I                                    
                                    S CATHE                                    

The fire that burns the thing strikes into Peggy, too. Seethes around her with the claws rammed through her throat, for the pyrebright plumes crackle and cascade through her before the thing jerks itself back from the ruinous holocaust trying to call it home. Call it somewhere. John's buying them time, bought them safety. Between salt and spectral screams, is there not freedom?

           John John John you should know better. Amateur mistakes.            Blood swirls over the floor in the aftermath.

Jacqueline Falsworth has posed:
Again, the world slows to the space between heartbeats. Jacqueline picks up her box of salt -- the one thing she's seen that's made the thing coporeal enough for to to see when not in physical contact with Flora is the salt. She lays the woman down as gently as her speed will allow, bright spitfire errupting around them as the speedster shoots out of that circle in a blur too fast for most human eyes to adequately perceive. She spills salt onto that arm reaching for her friend, following it up with a viscious slash of vampiric claws -- fully intending to sever that arm from its body before it can touch her friend's spirit.

She may not be able to prevent wounded flesh, but by God she'll do everything she can to prevent a wounded soul. A century-long life without indication of a graceful end brings wounds enough without adding a spectre's scar on top of it.

She wraps Peggy in strong arms, spitfire marking her trail out of the kitchen, across the living room, only to bounce off the wall and ricochet past the damage and into a safe space beyond the open condo door. Her arms are curled around her friend, protecting her head and neck from whiplash or worse, as they skid to a long stop.

Peggy Carter has posed:
It all happens so fast. At the speed of souls and undead, sadly faster than human spies generally work. For once, the thing spearing through her doesn't hurt. If anything, it feels vaguely pleasant. The quiet disconnect from the pain, loneliness, and general difficulty of being alive. Something that some part of Peggy has longed for entirely too long -- the peace that death might bring, when she's lost so many others and never given that release herself. She lets out a breath that sounds almost like the after echoes of climax, le petite morte, as her eyes begin to flutter shut. Probably the biggest indication that something is Very Wrong is that she doesn't call out when John goes down. She does nothing at all...

And then she's being pulled away at super-human speed, into the other woman's arms. Her breath comes immediately back, a ragged, coughing echo as she's pulled back into the salt circle and safety. Dark eyes flutter open, head tucked under Jac's chin, suddenly all of them settled together in nothing but silence. John on the floor, Peggy dragging in a few ragged, remembering breaths. Her eyes try to take in the things she missed.

"...oh hell... Jac? I...I'm fine...I'm fine." She's probably not fine, but she's certainly talking like it. A little shaky but nothing more as she tries to turn herself, looking from the dying Fiona to the unconscious John... echoes of how she saw them before burned across her eyes. "C-check...check on him, I'll...do what I can for her..." She's trying to scramble out of her friends arms, not looking at the woman TOO long. She'll process that later. Now, she still has work to do. It's easier than dwelling on whatever just happened. If Jac lets her free, she crawls over to the other woman, checking for her pulse and quickly dragging open the crash kit she's brought with her.

Meggan Puceanu has posed:
Two down. Two up. No sign of the fifth wheel in their presence, which is probably saying something. Apparently well-aged, preserved women have an advantage against spectral entities striking out.

Flora lies flat as a discarded body can be, her arm halted in the wretched crawl that ended in that final statement, the almost deliberate tap-tap-tap of her index finger telegraphing a message from beyond. They took care to arrange her nicely, at least. She doesn't respond to Peggy or Jacqueline without medical intervention, peculiarly peaceful at that angle. John's sprawl is less graceful by compare. Still, the wonders of modern medicine laugh at magic and can restore a semblance of normalcy, at least.

SHIELD knows a thing or two about knocked-out, weirdly damaged civilians.

The room slowly tilts back towards a normal temperature, though the damage to the condo doesn't vanish. Wrecked shoes, ruined floors, the kitchen an absolute disaster: all apply. John's clothes look like something from a few decades ago, left outside. Peggy's hair is a mess. Flora might well be covered in dust.

The record of the Sisters of Charity is little more than a heap of ashes. The envelope Jacqueline carefully preserved, blown away.

Two pretty pages lie forgotten, rolled up, as fresh and friendly as the day they were flensed.

Jacqueline Falsworth has posed:
Jacqueline releases Peggy as she senses the dissipation of the cold and the oppressive evil in the apartment, not to mention the new quiescence of the repulsive vellum pages. It's as much a kindness to her friend, allowing her to escape the arms of a monster, as anything else. She rises slowly to her feet and looks around her ruined appartment. Her fangs and claws slowly recede and her eyes gradually drain back to a human blue.

She gives her friend a silent nod, leaving the SHIELD agent to tend to the medium while she moves to check on the fallen mage. Kneeling beside him, she gently rolls him over and checks his breathing and his pulse. "Come on, lad," she murmurs softly. "Come on back to us. Don't tell me you're the type of bastard to run out on a pair of fine English lasses, are you?" Not to mention the fallen medium. She knows she may yet need his help for that.

She looks back over her shoulder at Peggy. "What's his name, Peg?"

John Constantine has posed:
Flora abruptly sits up, wheezing and choking. Wide-eyed, startled, looking confused at the state of things around her. Both hands rest on her throat; the gnarly bruising around her throat is clearly an impediment to speech, and she swallows with great difficulty.
     Abruptly she scrambles on hands and toes towards Constantine's prone form, almost shoulder checking Peggy in the process. Flora checks his pulse, then his pupils. A snarl of frustrated relief crosses her features and she sags back on her rear so the wall behind her can support her weight.

One hand keeps massaging her throat; she gives Peggy and Jacqueline a look of sour-faced aggrievement. Jac's question seems to be the pertinent one and Flora retrieves the marker.


It's underlined with an angry swipe, capped, and the pen's thrown at the prone blonde fellow.

"Bollocks," she whispers, immediately regrets the cost of pain in uttering that mild profanity.

Peggy Carter has posed:
Peg doesn't have time to dwell on how cold she feels, or the tightness in her throat. She needs to be certain this woman isn't dying. She quickly starts working, grabbing a sryinge of something faintly sedating and stablizing, meant to get her heartbeat undercontrol and evened out. And then she's running a small line of oygen to her nose, the crash kit filled with a mini-portable tank to get the basics of life into someone in Fiona's state. Peggy's well trained in using the emergency measures SHIELD gives them and Fiona's getting a full work up to get her stablized now. Adrenaline helps the dark haired woman's hands remain steady and stable as she works.

There is a heaviness in her chest that Peggy isn't certain if it's from the attack, or the fact she's now worried she may have gotten someone she vaguely cares about killed. Heavily worried eyes flicker back across her shoulder, some earnest care for the man rawly clear on her face as she looks at him and Jac. "John. Constantine." She answers, unaware of what is about to happen. In her gaze, isn't, however, disgust or fear of Jacqueline. Whatever she thought of the woman does not seem to have changed. "...Thank you." She rasps out to her old, old friend, before looking back to Fiona.

Just in time for the woman to rip out of her care. Peg jerks to the side, swearing beneath her breath as she tries to call after the body, "Lady, rest, this is not the time to move! You're barely recovered! and maybe you can tell me...what was... all of this about, Jacquline? Do you understand these messages? And...what she's doing NOW?" Peggy hasn't seen the pen's writing yet.

Meggan Puceanu has posed:
Shoes are ruined. Clothing, doable, though the scarf tangled around her throat covering those livid bruises is askew enough to give Jacqueline and Peggy an excellent view of the damage. It's serious enough to climb almost to the chin, spreading in blotches around the collarbone. Peggy's won't be so significant, but it absolutely does foretell the horrific marks she too will be bearing. The swelling is already setting in.

The petite woman's face does not wear that snarl well. Not in the least. It might as well be a stageplay of her assuming a convincing growly expression, and then falling back. Blood seeps from wounded fingers that still convulsively twitch, pen or no pen. A mystery, fingers. Adrenaline's after effects follow a vibration as she turns her head to stare at the floor. A point beyond the salt laid down by her instruction, reinforced by Jacqueline.

Though they ask questions, the pointed stare at the debris -- ashes, salt, paper -- stays there for a bit. At least until... well, something.

Jacqueline Falsworth has posed:
"Best guess?" Jacqueline says, sitting back on her heels in surprise. "She's possessed." A beat. Eyes dart to the marker scrawl. "Likely by your friend here." The curse pretty much confirms it. Flora isn't, as far as the English woman knows, given to particularly British profanity.

And that's the only reason the MI-13 agent isn't immediately reaching to restrain the woman. Instead, she looks at the woman, evaluating. If she didn't know she was going to be ripping the whole apartment apart to do a complete rebuild from the studs up, she'd worry about the marker scrawl on the tiles. As it is... it's a convenient method of communication. "Shall I sit him up for you?" she asks mildly, unfazed by the gruffness Constantine's spirit shows. It's not like it's not written all over his body. "Do you need physical contact to return to your body, or will we need a spell or ritual? I don't believe Ms Lopez's condition will be improved while you're riding shotgun."

She glances to Peggy, visually checking on her friend. "She's a medium, Peg. Spirits can possess her more easily than most. Between the devils those pages beside you unleashed and what your friend's spirit may be doing to her... we'll be lucky if she's even breathing by the time we're done here." A grim twist of her lips into something akin to a smile. "So, please don't touch the pages. Pour some salt on them. And maybe bring us the med kit."

She's concerned for all of them, and it is very clear in her eyes, if not on the rest of her carefully reserved expression.

John Constantine has posed:
Flora/John makes a 'no' gesture and shakes her head at Jacqueline. To what precisely she's responding is a little unclear, but it mostly seems to be an expression of 'I have it handled'.

Conflict flickers on her features, torn in two different directions. With a dogged motion she rolls to her hands and knees and starts crawling towards the two un-damaged pages. Periodically her head jerks to one side as if fighting herself but it's apparent John's sheer, stubborn tenacity is winning out for the time being.

Peggy Carter has posed:
"wait...WHAT? He's in HER?" Peggy asks, dark eyes shooting wide now, raw anguish and shock on her face. In her head, if someone is a spirit out of their own body? That probably means they are dead. John is dead, and she's the one that brought him here. Since her current patient is not at her knees and there's no way for her to help Fiona while John is in her body, Peggy then immediately stands and stumbles on crumbling shoes in attempts to rush over to him.

Frustrated and unstead, Peggy kicks off her ruined pumps and dashes across the damaged floor boards, dropping to her knees at his side and starting to drag out the little AED from the crash bag at her side. Her expression is frantic and clearly caring as she reaches for his throat, readying not to find a pulse. But it's there. She blinks, open palm extending to rest over his chest, feel him breathe for just a moment. "...dammit you bloody bastard get OUT of that woman's body and INTO your own I thought you were DEAD!"

Meggan Puceanu has posed:
The steady, unpleasant stare that holds uncanny stillness doesn't come back once Flora-John moves. No need for those uncomfortable moments of clear intent, though when she's reaching for the vellum pages, the stiffness rising in her battered body becomes breathlessly apparent in all the parts not required entirely for reading. Neck stiff, back taut, limbs reflexively tightened: the tells, for someone like Jacqueline, are substantial. Fear, loathing, mixed up in a toxic brew.

Maybe one of those expressions is actually the medium's: a troubled twist of the lips for a second. Blood drips from wounded flesh. Stains something already happy to wick up the blood.

Jacqueline Falsworth has posed:
Jacqueline does not suffer from bloodlust. That doesn't mean she doesn't share a vampire's innate understanding and sensitivity to blood. She watches the pages soak up the drops that spill onto it. "Seriously," she grinds out between gritted teeth. "Can we salt those things?"

Peggy is there beside John, Flora/John is moving toward the pages. Jacqueline rises in a preternaturally fluid motion -- more because of her speed than her blood -- and picks up the pages before Flora's hands touch them. "Can we perhaps *not* use the medium to pick up the possessed pages, please?" she says dryly, blue eyes beginning to flick over the text.

She reads Latin well enough. And she's had more years than John's been alive to become familiar with occult rituals and lore. True, she's more a monster hunter than a mage, but dealing with monsters often means dealing with rituals and magic, too.

Her expression darkens as she reads. It certainly echoes the fragments she heard whispered during the begining stages of this attack, before Peggy arrived with her deranged mage. "It's a ritual," she tells them. "It requires the exansanguination and flensing of 10 men to prepare a vessel capable of holding a great supernatural power -- likely some sort of controlling spirit, possibly like the one we just saw. It's missing the invocation, but even if it weren't, I don't suggest we try it. Unleashing unholy hell on Manhattan rather compromises the lives of its citizens, I should think. I rather think both our organizations would frown on that."

She regards the possessed medium, "All of which means you get to find another way to transfer yourself back, mate." She lifts the pages, pulling them back so they're shoulder height in her hand, beside her ear. Like keeping a detergent pod away from a toddler.

John Constantine has posed:
Even if he wasn't riding someone else's skin, John couldn't have stopped Jacqueline. That sheer, effortless speed goes faster than he can process.

So he contents himself with sitting again, face haggard with pain that's being doggedly ignored. Her head shakes at Jacqueline, and a finger jabs in the direction of the papers. The marker is dug out again and bruised, bleeding fingers write 'ritual' = 'Vineus' + 'Apollyon' out in blocky text. Fingers point from the papers to the note several times.

Flora's eyes turn to Peggy at the remonstration, and John just blinks and shrugs once at her. The sheer alarm she's experiencing largely seems to be filed under 'Peggy Problems'. The marker squeaks against another piece of drywall; Fiora's face draws into a grimace at the pain from her fingertips. GET COAT, POCKETS = DANGER. The marker's recapped again and Fiora sags back heavily against the wall. All this moving about and the conflict of intelligences in her head aren't helping a severe larynx bruise and a number of other psychic and physical maladies. In fact, a few moments later, the eyes lid and Fiora's body slumps sideways in a faint of sheer physical exhaustion taking the toll.

Meggan Puceanu has posed:
John-in-the-flowers might be suffering an attempt to try and read the ritual, but expertise counts for something. So do the wordless, formless whispers he is privy to. For example, correcting the mistaken conjugation of a verb. Pointing out that a phrase, in context, means something more precise: "Come into the self" as opposed to "come into the body," representing two different things. Having a personal translator acting as a very querulous, unhappy Siri is the sort of thing Tony Stark could only dream of.

Mostly because he'd probably never make Monday, Jarvis, Friday, Happyday, or anyone know fear, but regardless.

The woman in her own borrowed form doesn't look at the pages if she doesn't have to. She raises bleeding hands over her ears for a moment.

It doesn't help.

Peggy Carter has posed:
"I expect one of you to explain *all* of this to me once I'm not making certain no one in this room dies." Peggy states in a ragged rasp of a tone that is trying to be flat and steady, but it's hard against the blossoming bruises on her throat and through her larynx. While Peggy is up, moving, and acting very much like nothing is wrong, her physical form is showing the injuries of the day. But she has no time to worry about it as she gets up and moves for John's body.

"I can read all those languages if you need more eyes but.... I suspect you all can too." With that, she's done talking. It hurts and all of her feels oddly hollow. But she's got work to do. She kneels down by John's body and, with a surprising tenderness, shifts him into a slightly more comfortable position. Then she rolls his body to one side, slipping the coat off of his shoulder, before following suit on the other side. She carefully wraps it up into a square, securing the pockets all on the inside and then she pulls out a large plastic bag from the crash kit -- generally meant for evidence or maybe messy body parts, and slips the wrapped coat into it.

Once that's done, Flora's body seems to have finally collapsed. She moves back over to that frame and returns to the gentle, stablizing first aid she was giving before. Some pain medication is administered, her vitals checked again, the oxygen replaced from where John's motions pulled it out.

Jacqueline Falsworth has posed:
Jacqueline lets Peggy tend to the wounded. She knows better than to interfere with that -- too many hands spoil the broth, as they say. Concerned as she is for Peggy's condition, she knows exactly what mettle the other English woman is made of and remembers what signs to look for in her friend to know when she's pushing too far.

For her part, Jacqueline is the one person in the apartment who looks entirely refreshed. That's the advantage of the healing factor she possesses. It's even stronger now, than it was when she was a comparative youngster on the battlefields of Europe. Very few injuries last for more than a moment or two on her body.

She stoops to pick up her salt box and sets the pages inside the half ruined circle. Scraping what decent salt remains in that circle together to form a smaller circle around the pages themselves, she pours half the remaining salt to reinforce that circle before pouring the remaining half all over the pages made of human flesh.

"Now, shut the hell up," she tells the whispering vellum. "You're starting to piss me off."

Meggan Puceanu has posed:
The chanting no one but Flora hears grows louder. Just a smidge. But because it can, it does. Take that, healing nice healthy rich lady!

Peggy Carter has posed:
Once Peggy is certain the woman is going to be stable and not suddenly crash on her, the older woman sinks back onto her heels and lets out a slow, too-tired breath. She looks back over to Jacquline, worried eyes somewhat hollow and very tired but still clearly functional and awake. "I'm...sorry we didn't get here faster. I'll be curious how to help... more, but I should get his body somewhere... safe. And probably her's too. You know her. Do you wish to keep her here and I shall...take him? I might need help getting him into the car." She's not speaking near full tone now. The bruises and damage are coming up miserably around her throat and it hurts just to get words out, so she's keeping it quiet as possible.

Meggan Puceanu has posed:
The groggy, weak attempt to wheeze out takes time. "Brother..." Bits and crackled pieces form. "Theo." Smoke-stained eyes gone fairly clear seek Jacqueline, imploring understanding if someone doesn't hijack her face first. Because a guest sometimes does that, even if they share a weird measure of control over the flesh and the self. Flora summons up spent energy, a low rasp not even possible to distinguish if the papers rustle or they bother themselves with the bag. Something incited from the lassitude of pain relief might help, though she claws for every precious sip of air -- and probably suffers the weight of John on her psyche. He is not an easy burden to bear. "Gottfried." She would lick her lips, but it hurts even to do that, letting her eyes slip closed instead. Hurts so much.

"Danger." Forget even rolling her throat, tilting her head. What hurts her hurts the man riding her shoulder too, demon or fallen angel that he is. "Hunters. Hunt."

It's quite a long time before she speaks again in her own cadence, not John's through her. "Keeping safe now."

Jacqueline Falsworth has posed:
Jacqueline nods to Peggy. "Yes. SHEILD's the best place for both of them," she agrees. "I haven't the resources to care for either, though I am going to want to keep tabs on them." She may need to speak to someone higher up at the agency about getting credentials to visit more regularly. 'Agent Exchange' or something.

Now that the pages are secure, she makes sure they're bagged up, scraping them in with all their salt. "I'm keeping these, however. WAND's not going to take kindly to it, I'm sure. But this happened in on my turf, Peggy. I'll happily keep you in the loop." She trusts Peggy. "But I'm not being shut out of this investigation."

She looks around her apartment and sighs. "I just finished getting unpacked," she laments.

Laying the pages on the table, she returns to Flora's side and stroke her hair back from her face, inspecting the damage to her throat and body. She looks grim. "Her name is Flora Lopez. She works for the Metropolitain Museum of History as a conservator. It's my fault she's this bad. I shouldn't have let her touch the damned things. I should have just turned her away and called WAND in the first place."

Peggy Carter has posed:
There is a momentary *something* behind Peggy's eyes, a flicker of distrust and concern when SHIELD is spoken about. But then Peggy is carefully packing it away with all those other emotions and replaces it with a pale, professional smile. "We do have a division for such things, and the best of medical care. I can get us all in and them settled. Let's...start moving. I'd rather know they are under good care and then... we can investigate the rest."

Then her expression softens just a bit. "Jac...if you want to stay with me a while, as things are...being cleaned here, you can. It's not as fancy but I've got room." Peggy reassures gently. She's then standing up, frowning a bit deeper at her shoes. Looks like she's going to be heading to the car barefoot. "If...you can take him, I can probably manage Flora." But John is a solid man and probably a good bit heavier. Peggy'd rather him in arms she knows can manage to carry him easily. She then scoops up the girl, ginger as possible, and starts heading for safety.

Meggan Puceanu has posed:
Probably better someone else take John, for Flora is almost a foot shorter and seventy pounds lighter. Just about. She is heavy from exhaustion, shoeless, and uncoordinated at best. She won't protest much except to wearily loll in a way that hurts the least. Not many ways hurt least. Maybe just close her eyes and pretend it goes away. Not likely.

Not with the presence in her head. Body. Same thing.

Jacqueline Falsworth has posed:
Jacqueline considers the offer. Staying at a hotel or at the corporation's guest suite, really wouldn't be an inconvenience to her -- certainly, it would be less of an inconvenience than impinging on Peggy's hospitality. But she's know the other woman for a very long time and can read her very well, as a result. Yes, it's been decades since they've seen each other. But some things, you don't forget. "I'd appreciate it," she agrees. Not only will it be nice to have the company, but she can perhaps find out just what it is that dogging her friend. And she can make sure she gets taken care of properly, too.

"Let me gather a couple of things, then we'll go." She takes no time at all to gather those things -- a dark rucksack with a change of clothes, her purse, and the pages from the table. A stream of spitfire disappears behind her, when she stops, bag on her back, to stoop and gather John gently into her arms. "It's your show, Peggy. Just let me lock the door on the way out and let David know that no visitors whatsoever are to be received until further notice."

Peggy Carter has posed:
While she didn't tell SHIELD officially she was coming, when they are on their way to the Triskelion, she does call in a report and start having the beds prepared for their two injured. She gives the run down about everything she can in a professional, clipped, quiet tone, the rasping in her throat not making it easy but she's trying to hide that (over the phone at least). She keeps one hand against John's forearm in the car, silently, some sort of protective touch that she'd never admit to but is certainly there. A long night of strange explanations is ahead of them, but at least they're going somewhere safe.