Part 2

London Calling





It shook the walls of Hell, echoing through its seven
levels, shattering brittle bones and nearly knocking Charon
off his boat.

It sent a dread chill through all that heard it, this alien
sound that did not belong in the land of eternal flames.

The noise of it could be heard through even the land of
Faerie, the Mortal Plane, and even the fringes of Heaven.

The First of the Fallen was laughing his ass off.


- - -


Had things been normal, John would have wrapped up the
situation neatly.  It wasn't like there was any overly
powerful demonic forces at work here, just a soul peddler
named Calcite from the dark dimensions and a geriatric
occult novice named Jack Emerson.

Except there were was one startling change to the usual
routine.

John Constantine was, at the moment, a girl.  To be more
exact, he was a very young woman, clad in a black, short
pleated skirt, a black sleeveless shirt of odd sorts that
looked a bit like something a World War Two sailor would've
worn, black arm length gloves, knee-high black boots, and a
thin golden tiara.  If she had looked in the mirror, she'd
say she looked like a girl from a private school for
dominatrix types.

And she'd just said said something that felt fairly silly
and useless.

"In the name of love... fuck off."

It made the old man blink.  It made John feel real stupid. 

It seemed to confuse Calcite.


- - -


"In the name of love," said Calcite slowly, "fuck off?"

She was feeling a little alarmed, a bit scared, and very
confused.  All those ridiculous 'Sailor Scout' types were in
Japan, weren't they?  This was London. 

Also, Calcite didn't quite recall those Sailor Scouts ever
being quite as... vulgar.  She thought it over. 

Moon Stick Up The Arse?  Jupiter Thundering Butt-whipping?
Venus Bitch Slap Chain?

Nope, none of the other Sailor Scouts ever said anything
like THAT.

It was clear that this was not only a Sailor Scout, but a
deranged one.

Calcite needed an out, and needed one fast.  When her
brothers and sisters clashed with one of them, they almost
always ended up dead, even the ones that decided that
running away was a good idea.

She hadn't come prepared to do battle with one of
THEM and felt that it was NOT a good day to die.


- - -


John felt instincts bubbling up in her mind, mostly cheezy
phrases and nifty action poses.  She was sick of those
instincts.  Because of them she was no longer a he and she'd
just said a really stupid battle phrase.

Be damned if she'd listen to THOSE instincts again.

With some effort, she shoved down the instinctual urges and
tried to do things her way.


- - -


"Y'see this rod here?" said the Sailor Scout, waving the
magic pen about. 

Calcite took a nervous step back, trying to put up a brave
front. "Feh, what're you going to do, zap me with it?"

Actually, that's exactly what she was afraid was about to
happen. 

This is it, Calcite thought.  This is where the ridiculous
looking girl in the mini-skirt with the magic wand zaps me
and I die looking like an idiot. 

"No," said the Sailor Scout.  "I'm gonna shove it up yer
arse unless you go back t'where you came from." 

Calcite considered this for a moment.  The Sailor Scout here
wasn't going to zap her.  She was actually being offered the
option to go back to the Dark Kingdom in one piece. 

Righto.  Time to leave!

"Okay.  Seeya!"  With a quick bow Calcite surrounded herself
in a small column of black smoke, then disappeared.


- - -


Jack Emerson paled with shock and alarm.  "Wait!  No!  What
about our deal!?"  His protests were in vain, as Calcite had
already gone, leaving only a small wisp of smoke in her
wake.

John sighed.  It wasn't exactly her usual operating
procedure, but it worked and it didn't involve any stupid
melodramatic phrases or poses. 

Now then, to make sure this didn't happen again...

John took one menacing step towards the geriatric novice
occultist, then wobbled around like an idiot, as John
Constantine did not normally walk about in high heels and it
showed. 

"Shit, this too?" she grumbled.  After a few tentative steps
forward to get used to the feel, she stalked (it was a
really wobbly sort of stalk, but still a stalk) to the old
man and lifted him up by his shirt.

"And YOU, if you even THINK about doing this stunt ever
again, I'll make sure you end up in Hell!  You got that?!" 

He nodded, though his gaze seemed distracted.  

"Oi!" yelled John.  "You listening to me?  Hey.... eh?"

It was at this point she realized he was staring down at her
cleavage.

"YOU BLOODY PERVERT!"

*WHAM*


- - -


Gemma Constantine Masters hefted her backpack a bit
unsteadily, walking from the book stop to Uncle John's
townhouse with gritted teeth.  It stunned her how many books
were required for her classes, and it annoyed her greatly
how many of those required books were written by the
instructors. 

Bloody vultures, those bastards.

On the whole, it'd been a so-so day.  The professors didn't
seem too terrible and the course materials weren't too
terribly daunting.

It looked to be a rather pleasant first semester in college.

*MEOW*

She blinked and looked down, where a rather ragged and
battered white cat was rubbing up against her leg. 

"Hello there, kitty-cat," she said, bending down to scratch
it behind the ears.  The cat purred, seemingly pleased at
the contact.  "You poor thing," said Gemma, "looks like
you've had a rough time of it."

The cat meowed and nodded, followed by a few *ACK*s and
*Pthppth*s.

Gemma wondered if Uncle John would mind having a cat in the
house.  She didn't know why, but she felt it was important
to have the cat around.

"C'mon then, kitty.  Least I can do is give you some milk."

The cat meowed enthusiastically and followed.  It didn't
know who the girl was, but she seemed somewhat familiar.  It
liked the girl, definitely, and felt it was very important
to be near her.

"Now," said Gemma.  "What are we going to call you?"

*Meow*ack*hiss*ack*pthppth*ack*

She smiled.  "I know. We'll call you Bill."

Bill?  The cat thought it over.  Bill didn't seem quite
appropriate, no, but it would have to do for now.

"C'mon, Bill.  Let's get you that milk."

*Meow*ack*

"Ick, and we'll clean you up too.  Looks like you need some
bandages.  There's nasty cuts on you, like the one on your
head there, see?" 

*Meow?*


- - -


The elevator slowly made its way from the 14th floor.  A
stunned, silent, and still female John Constantine stood
there and watched the floor meter count down to one. 

He was a she.

He was a she.

He was a she.

Holy shite, he was a she.

Suddenly, she began choking the magic rod, shaking it about
violently.

"CHANGE ME BACK, YOU BLOODY STUPID FUCKING THING!!!  CHANGE 
ME BAAAAAAAAACK!!!"

The elevator passed several levels.  The moonlight orchestra
played the flute and violin version of The Clash's 'Should I
Stay or Should I Go' on the elevator speakers.

The pen-like object remained silent.

John Constantine remained a girl.

"FUUUUUUUUCK YOOOOOOUUU!"

*WHAM*WHAM*WHAM*

The floor meter pinged 8.  The moonlight orchestra began
their flute and cello version of 'We Will Rock You'.  There
were a few magic-wand-shaped dents in the wall.

The wand was unscathed.

John was still female.

"AAAAAAAAAGH!"

She threw the wand down in disgust, sank to the floor, and
covered her face with her hands.  This was a nightmare, one
big awful nightmare and yet another cosmic prank from the
gods as far as she was concerned.


Stupid mini-skirt.  Stupid tits.  Stupid high heels.

Damn.

Blast.

Felching Heck.

John almost yelled out 'WHAT DID I DO TO DESERVE THIS?!',
but after thinking it over, she had to admit she was due for
some bad karma. 

But THIS?

"At least," she growled, face still buried in hands, "gimmie
my bloody trenchcoat."

With a swirl of wind, she found her trenchcoat once more
around her.

John blinked, then stared at the magic wand strewn on the
floor.

"Well then, you do listen to me, don't you."

The pen remained silent.

"Don't suppose you could turn me back now, eh?"

Nothing happened.

"Thought not."

The elevator meter pinged 1 and the doors slowly slid open. 
With a sigh, she picked up the wand, closed up her
trenchcoat, and began walking.

Time to calm down, she told herself.  Get your head
straight, think it over, get some facts on the matter.  Now,
who to see?  Dr. Occult knew about this male/female
weirdness, so he might be able to help.  He was in America,
though, so that would have to wait for a while.  Zatanna was
in town as part of her tour, but she wasn't sure if she
wanted Zatanna to see her like THIS. 

People to see, things to do.

She'd be damned if she was going to stay a she for much
longer.  There was no way she was planning on having to be a
girl long enough to need to know how a tampon worked. 

First things first: she needed a lift.


- - -


Chas Chandler, professional cabbie, thought it was going to
be a normal day.  So far, so good, with a nice amount of
cash in the till and not too many morons on the road. 

Then he saw a girl in a trenchcoat, stumbling down the road
a bit clumsily, waving at him.  That was the moment it all
went downhill.

He pulled over next to her and rolled down his window.
"Need a lift, miss?"

The woman turned, and her face broke out into a grin as
she ran up to the car.  "Chas!  Christ, I'm glad you're
here, mate!" 

He blinked, and his mind began racing.  Girl.  Short dirty
blond hair.  In her 20's.  Trenchcoat.  No... don't know
anyone like that... um... nope... nope... don't think so...

"Um, do I know you?"

The girl's face looked confused for a moment, then scowled
with realization.  "Chas, I know this is gonna sound crazy,
but it's me, John."

Chas stared at her for a moment.

"Get outta the car, y'daft bitch."

"Dammit, Chas!" yelled the woman, holding on to the car door
as it began to move forward.  "Hold on a moment!"

"I'd let go of the door if I were you," grumbled Chas.

"Who else'd know you asked me to kill yer mom's bloody
monkey!  Eh?"

Chas froze.  The monkey incident.  That was something which
would scar his soul forever.  Any time he heard or saw a
monkey after that, he was rendered impotent for weeks after.

It was a truly ugly incident.

And this woman knew of it.

Possibly.

"I don't know what you're talking about, lady," he grumbled.

"C'mon, Chas!  I KNOW you don't want me to talk about the
details!"

"Wot details?"  He eyed her dangerously.

"Two words, Chas.  Anal probe."

Oh shit.

No way.

"John?" Chas asked timidly.

"Does the trenchcoat look fuckin' familiar?" the woman
snarled.  "C'mon, Chas!  It's starting to rain out here and
these high heels are killin' me!" 

"R-right, get in."

The woman quickly hopped in the back seat and sighed as she
settled in.

"John, issat really you?" asked Chas in disbelief.

"Yeah, it's me," said John wearily.  "Mate, y'not gonna
believe the kind of day I just had..."


- - -


The Time Palace was a place outside of the normal bounds of
reality.  Here, standing guard over time was the wise and
serene Sailor Pluto.

With her long, dark green hair, tall and lean form, and
serious demeanor, she was very much a mystery woman to her
fellow Sailor Scouts.

Today, something was disturbing her tranquil thoughts, a
presence she thought was long dead and put to rest.  Though
with the return of the other Sailor Scouts, she guessed it
should have been expected.

Would she make the same mistakes now that she did all those
years ago?

There was only one way to find out.


- - -


"Well, here I am again," said Minako flatly.  She looking
out from the windows of Heathrow airport, with nothing but
tarmac in her sights, and sighed.

London, England.

The normally cheerful and chatty girl was subdued and
contemplative.  A long time ago, she'd stayed here along
with two friends, Katerina... and Alan. 

Katerina was like an older sister to her.  Alan was the
first man she'd ever fallen in love with.  They both
shattered her heart when she found out they were in love
with each other.  Disillusioned, bitter, and sad, she
disappeared from their lives and left England for good. 

Or so she thought.

It is said that time heals all wounds, and those left by
Katerina and Alan were eventually mended by time and effort.
She missed them dearly, as they missed her, and all was
forgiven.

Still, a part of her heart would still loved, and would
always be in love with Alan.

And that was exactly why she was feeling somber at that
moment.  

She was back.  

In England.  

For the wedding of Katerina and Alan.

Minako thought she was over him at last, and ready to face
the reality of Alan and Katerina, happily ever after, till
death do they part...

"Aaaargh."

What I need, she thought, is a good walk.  The wedding
wasn't for another few days.  There was lots of London to
wander.

And so she wandered.


- - -


It was a pub like any other, filled with mostly normal folk,
except the agitated cabbie and the irritated girl in a
trenchcoat sitting in a corner booth.

"And 'poof', you went an'... er... lost your manhood?" asked
Chas, astonished. 

"Seems to be, mate."  John scowled at her glass of beer for
a moment, then downed it in one fell swoop.

"Shit, John, this is... this is..."

"Pretty fucking ridiculous, innit?"

"T'say the least, mate.  Wot'cha gonna do now?"

John shrugged.  "Not sure.  There's a few mates of mine that
might be in the know on this bollocks.  Need you to gimmie a
lift for a while, okay?"

"Aw, c'mon John.  Me boss'll kill me!"

"I'll kill you first," growled John.  "You owe me, dammit."

"Won't do us a bit of good if I'm fired, eh?" griped Chas. 

She sighed, then pulled out a wad of cash, her winnings from
the previous week's gambling.  "Fine, I'll cover the bloody
cost.  Here, eh?"  She tossed a few bills Chas' way, then
stood up.

"Hey, where're you going?" asked Chas.

"Need 'nother beer."

"Oh."

She strode over to the bar for another glass, making sure
the trenchcoat was firmly closed around her.  

"Oi!  Nice arse!"

"Shattup, Chas!"

"Hahahahaha!"

For once, Chas got in a good joke at John's expense.  This
just might be a good day yet, thought the cabbie.

Returning with a mug in hand, John made her way clumsily
(cursing the high heels every step of the way) through the
somewhat crowded tables.  A few feet into the mess, a tragic
mistake was made.

Someone grabbed John's ass.

Startled, John dropped her drink to the floor and whirled
around to see a table full of drunk rowdies, all leering at
her. 

"Awright, who's the wiseass?!" Chas heard her snarl.  He
groaned, not in the mood for a bar fight, and really hoped
one didn't start now.  He couldn't hear exactly what the men
were saying to her, but Chas had a bad feeling it wasn't
helping the situation.

His fears were confirmed when when she yelled and picked up
one of the ruffians by the shirt collar.

"You made me spill my friggin' drink, arsehole!  In the
name'a all beer drinking girls everywhere, I'm gonna kick
your arse to the moon!"

She meant to toss him over the table.  Instead, she tossed
him across the room and out the window.

The bar suddenly went silent.

John looked astonished.  "Oh.  Bugger."

Needless to say, with a room full of people drunk to various
degrees was a powder keg waiting to explode.

"Get the bitch!"

And John had just set off the spark.


- - -


Once more the dynamic duo of Chas Chandler and John
Constantine had set off on the road, though Chas was looking
a little worse for wear, with a bruise on his face and a cut
near his eye.

"What the hell did y'do that for?!" yelled Chas.

"It was an accident!" John yelled back.  "Didn't mean to
throw the man out the window!  Shite, I didn't know I could
do that!"  She looked at her hands as if they were dangerous
weapons, which she believed they were at the moment.  "I've
turned into Wonder Woman, Chas.  This is ridiculous." 

"And what the hell was that speech?"

"What speech?"

"In the name'a all beer drinking girls everywhere, et-cetera
et-cetera."

"I dunno," said John.  "It just seemed to come up
automatically, reflex-like, y'know?

"Next you'll be kickin' arse in the name of Truth, Justice,
and Britania." 

"Shut up, you.  At least we kicked arse, eh?"

"Says the super 'ero inna mini-skirt," said Chas
sarcastically.

John frowned.  "Hm.  I do seem to be one'a those wankers,
now don't I?  Even gots me own sidekick, Cabbie Boy."

"Har-har.  Very funny."  Chas smirked  "Actually, you ought
t'be feeling bloody proud right now."

"Oh?" asked John.  "How d'ya figure that?"

"S'the first time you didn't get yer arse beaten silly in a
fist fight."

John had to admit, that was entirely true.

"Har-bloody-har.  Very funny, Chuckles."

"So, where to next?"

"To my flat, I guess.... no."  She looked out the cab window
miserably and sighed.  "No way I'm letting Gemma see me like
this.  Let's see... ah.  St. David University, eh?" 

"St. David's?"

John nodded.  "Yeah, there's a few lads that might know
what's going on with this damned ridiculous mini-skirt and
super-heroics bullshit.  And Chas?" 

"Yeh?"

"Got a cig?  'Cos I _really_ need a smoke right about now."


- - -


The very fabric of Hell was still thundering with the sounds
of the gleeful and chaotic laughter of the First of the
Fallen.

He thought about going up there, to laugh in John's face and
such, but if there was one thing he learned it was that
getting too personally involved sometimes didn't pay.

Oh, but there was more than one way to skin a sailor, and
the First of the Fallen was in a mood to play.

Still snickering and walking unevenly as laughter shook
through him, he stood tall posed as dramatically as he could
while snickering and snorting.

"RELEASE... aheheheh.... HA!... RELEASE THE HOUNDS!"

Maybe John would die.  Maybe not.  Either way, he hoped
Constantine would put up a good show.


- - -


//And in the news today-//

-click-

//Look out, Sailor V!//

-click-

//And Green slices it a bit to the right-//

-click-

//Tenoh and Wrightson neck and neck in the final lap!//

-click-

//-will punish you!//

With another click of the remote, Gemma turned off the
television.  "Nothing on the telly when you really need it,
eh Bill?" 

The cat, busy eyeing the bandage on its forehead, took a
moment to look blankly at her and meowed.  Then it stared
out the window to the balcony.

"Hm?  What's that you're looking at, Bill?"  Gemma followed
the cat's gaze to the open balcony, and nearly screamed in
surprise when she saw someone there.

The silhouette of a mysterious woman with long flowing hair
was visible, although barely, in the dark of night.  There
was something familiar about her, thought Gemma.  A flicker
of memory and emotions ran through her mind's eye,
frustratingly blurry and unclear.

The mystery woman seemed to notice Gemma's confusion and
turned away.

"No, wait!"

Gemma rushed to the balcony, but the stranger had already
leaped away and into the night.

A single name arose from the depths of her mind.

"Pluto."


- - -


Twilight turned to darkness and swept through the land,
catching Chas and John speeding through the edge of town on
eerily isolated streets. 

"Hey, er, John?" asked Chas, an edgy quivering in his
voice.

"Eh?"

"Er, whassat behind us?"

John turned around and looked at the darkness behind them.
"S'nothing there, Chuckles."

"You sure, John?  I can swear there's these red-like things
there," said Chas nervously.

"Red... what?"

John turned around again, and this time looked long and
hard.  Finally he noticed them.  Two... four... eight... 
more... lots of pairs of small red dots bobbing up and down
in the darkness behind them and steadily growing larger. 

Eyes.  Glowing red eyes.

"Uh oh."

"Uh oh?  Uh oh WHAT?" asked a steadily panicking Chas.

John rolled down the window slightly, then sniffed the air.
The taint of brimstone and excrement was in the wind.

"Oh.  Shite."

"What?!  What?!"

"Chas, don't slow down."

"Why?!  What's going on?!"

"Hellhounds."


-  e n d  p a r t  2  -