AN: This is a fresh start for a story I released a few days ago. I hadn't realized that my Microsoft Works was making my story look like one giant block of text with no space at all. Forgive my tackiness. I hope you'll give this fic another chance. Thanks!
"Where's the love, Mandor," Hellboy quipped as he dodged another blow from the demon's spiked metal club. "I'm beginning to think that you don't like me." From his hiding spot behind two downed marble pillars, John Meyers could only grin as he listened to his charge's smart mouth. Hellboy's trash talking usually earned him an extra serving of…John winced as he watched the red hero sail through yet another marble pillar. Lucky that Big Red could take it as well as he dished it. A low murmur made John look down at the man whose head was resting in his lap. Skin color was returning to its normal hue of robin's egg blue.
"How's your head, Abe?" There was a slight burbling as the fish man's gills inhaled deeply from his water packs, and then black eyes tried to focus beneath fluttering lids.
"Still on my shoulders, I hope." Abe tried to lift his neck and winced as he failed. It seemed as if his eyes couldn't quite focus. "I believe that next time; I shall have to duck faster." John smiled. If Abe was able to make his usual dry jokes, he must not be too concussed.
"There was nothing to physically duck, Abe. Mandor's magical toady smacked you with a spell. Hellboy caught him with right to the jaw just after that. I think he landed somewhere over there…" Abe blinked as he listened to John's voice fade.
"John…?" Vision and telepathy still hazy from the magic blow to his head, Abe could only cry out when the blob that was John suddenly dumped him from his resting place. A blinding white light flared and the sounds of John's screams ushered Abe back into oblivion.
One month later…
"…so no jokes, Red. He's been through enough"
"Liz, you are my best friend in the world, but sometimes you just don't know me at all. Would I ever kick a man when he's down?" Liz cocked an eyebrow and stared at her friend. "Okay, I'll go easy on him. I guess I can't call him a Boy Scout anymore tho--oof!" Despite the throbbing pain in her elbow, she'd made her point, right into Hellboy's ribs. The industrial elevator suddenly churned into life and the friends watched as it lowered its passenger onto the floor of section fifty-one's greeting chamber. "Damn, Meyers, you're--oof!" Liz was going to have to put her arm in a sling at this rate. John Meyers smiled grimly and stepped off of the elevator platform. After a month's recuperation and some serious soul searching, John had come to realize that the Bureau was the best place to come to terms with…it.
"I'm still myself, no matter what shape my outside has taken. I'm still capable of being your liaison, so things won't change in that respect." Both Liz and HB's eyes widened at the change in John's voice. Not that the change in voice compared to the change in body. The customary sweater and trouser outfit had been replaced by jeans and a simple white T-shirt. After a month, John's brown hair was surprisingly long, brushing the tops of the shoulders with its tips. Those same laser blue eyes still rested in their normal position, but were now framed with exquisite cheekbones and devastatingly long lashes. John's trim physique now sported a perky, braless bosom and other sweet curves. John, in an irreversible magic attack gone awry, had been transformed into a woman. "John or Joan, I'm supposed to answer to both."
Hellboy was pumping iron when John/Joan brought in the breakfast cart the next morning. "Morning, Scout." Hellboy had dropped the gender on his favorite nickname for his nanny, but he was making it clear that things hadn't really changed in their friendship. It cheered John that HB wouldn't stop razzing him because of his new…condition? Lifestyle? He'd have to think some more on his phrasing later. He still thought like a man, but sometimes he'd catch a stray thought that baffled his masculine logic. He'd never worn high heeled shoes in his life, but he caught himself admiring another woman's footwear and wondering if his legs would look as good in them. Dragging his thoughts back, John began to set out Hellboy's breakfast. Pancakes, bacon, and eggs, twenty pounds of each, were arrayed on John's cart. This would last HB until lunchtime. Maybe.
Brushing aside some of HB's numerous cats, John perched on the arm of an old battered couch. Despite having lived for 60 years, physically and mentally, HB was in his early twenties and decorated like a frat boy fresh from the dorms. "You talk to Abe last night"
"Yeah, he'd been worried that I blamed him for the way I am now. A clean mind probe and we're all good now." Hellboy blinked as he chewed on some bacon.
"Since when do you use slang?" John smiled.
"Since my Johnson melted like a snowball in hell"
"Ooh, nice imagery."
John shifted his weigh and crossed his legs. A strange expression flitted across HB's face as he stopped eating. "What's up, Red?"
"Uh, I hate to ruin your week like this, Scout, but…Ah, shit. Wait here, I'll get Liz." John rarely got to see Hellboy move at top speed, but today, the red demon moved as if a pack of crazed post-Thanksgiving shoppers were after him. A few minutes later, Liz marched into the room with a large bag in her arms. HB hesitated at the door.
"What's going on?" John winced as a ripple of pain shot through his gut. "What's happening to me," he asked as Liz calmly took his arm and began leading him to the ladies room.
"Let me be the first to congratulate you, Joan. You're having your first period"
"Oh, my god"
Hellboy managed to strangle his amusement as he watched Liz lead away a shell shocked John/Joan. If he started laughing, he wasn't sure that he could keep them from hearing him despite the thick metal walls of his room. Liz would toast his stereo faster than he could blink because she couldn't fry his fireproof ass. Liz had suddenly swung into sisterhood solidarity when John had said she could call him Joan. It appeared that Liz had been ready for another girl in the Bureau's testosterone chocked atmosphere and she was willing to take whatever she could get. Glancing around, HB sighed when he saw the stain on his couch. Poor kid hadn't even recognized that he was bleeding. Wetting a washcloth from his sink, Hellboy turned to blot up the stain. He was floored when instead of washing, Hellboy was compelled to bring his nose in close and inhale deeply.
"Holy shit." He wasn't sure what shocked him more. The fact that he'd smelled Meyer's menstrual blood or the fact that he was now so turned on that his head hurt from the sudden rush of fluid to his groin. He hadn't felt like this since the days he and Liz had tried dating. Even then, he'd never been this affected. The wailing mission alarm couldn't have come at a better time. Leaving the couch to be cleaned up later, Hellboy headed for the briefing room. Liz and Joan, the latter in a new set of jeans a la Liz and clutching a small leather purse like it was a lifeline, were just coming out of the ladies room. "Our song. . "
Their assignment was laid out by the love-to-hate cigar smoking Dr. Manning. It seemed that a tramp ship named the Ripe Banana had cruised into a local harbor, docked, and began to dislodge its cargo all without a sign of its crew. "It's like a modern day ghost ship," commented Liz.
"Only this Mary Celeste feels that the cargo should be delivered." Abe referenced the infamous ghost ship that to this day even the Bureau couldn't confirm or deny.
"Well, are we waiting for an engraved invitation?" Hellboy lit his customary stogie and eyed his partners. "Let's go play on the Love Boat."
"Sparky to Red and Scout. Blue and I are in position"
"Marco Polo, Sparky. We'll be there if you need us." John tried to listen to Hellboy and Liz's repartee, but he was distracted by the show the ghost ship was putting on. In the mess hall, food was being served by phantoms and eaten by invisible mouths. A small game of poker was being played out at the end of one table with bars of chocolate and cigarettes at stake. A cold chill swept through John as a ghost diner passed through him on the way to the food line.
"You ever saw anything like this before, Red?"
"Nope. This is a new one on me." Strangely comforted that Hellboy was just as in the dark as he was, John smiled. The smile faded as the underwear Liz had loaned him shifted again. Something must have shown on his face because HB cocked and eyebrow and looked inquiring.
"Liz only wears thongs." Confused for a minute, HB said nothing as another plate floated by, this one loaded with cherry pie a la mode.
"You mean you're wearing…?"
"Either that or commando." HB looked disturbed for a minute and had he not been naturally red to begin with, John could have almost sworn that the demon was blushing.
"They're red too." For the life of him, John couldn't begin to analyze the impulse that had made him admit these things to his partner. He looked away for a second in embarrassment and then raised his head to apologize. The look in Hellboy's golden eyes stopped the words from escaping his lips. Heat poured from the demon's gaze and John felt it warming him in places that had never felt like this before. Silence that was becoming tenser by the moment was suddenly broken by Abe's voice on the radio.
"Blue to Red and Scout. We've found something. Meet us on deck four near the engine room."
Hellboy shook his head as he watched Abe and Liz interrogate the only corporeal being to be found on board, a rodent of a man who's whining was surpassed only by his half-assed knowledge of the occult. Long and short of the situation, Rat Boy was teased by a few of his crew mates and ignored by the rest, so he curses the ship sending the entire crew into a half dimension. The crew thinks that the port is deserted while the port can't see the crew. Lucky for the crew of the Ripe Banana, the Bureau had some talented practitioners on their side. Abe and Liz were quickly learning what ritual Rat Boy had used so the experts could lift the curse. "They deserve to be this way, man. I lived like this without being cursed for the past three weeks." Reality seemed to settle on the man as agents snapped cuffs around his wrists. His voice fractured as tears began to slide down his face. "Nobody saw me, nobody would listen. I was a dead man who just didn't know it yet"
Bringing the rest of the Ripe Banana crew back into their normal plane of existence took the rest of the day and it was an oddly subdued team that returned to Section 51 that evening. Abe opted for a few good books and the comfort of his rotten eggs, while Liz plopped onto her couch and began an impromptu Gene Kelly marathon starting with Singing in the Rain. Hellboy headed for his room probably to finish whatever his cats had left from his breakfast. Agent Clay had offered to serve Hellboy's dinner, so John decided to make use of the whirlpool bath that had been added to his quarters. Liz had mentioned that heat would help with the discomfort in hisugh uterus. She'd also handed him a dose of a wonder drug called Midol. John wondered if they had created a chocolate coated version of the pills. Just the thought of the rich stuff made his mouth water. Too bad he couldn't blame his chocolate addiction on his change. John had always been a chocoholic from the first time his uncle had handed him a chocolate bunny and said, "Eat the ears first."
Reaching his room, John stripped and dug under his bed for his stash of Lindor truffles. Today had been a three truffle kind of day he decided as he snagged his favorites of hazelnut, mint, and dark chocolate. Setting his treats on the edge of the bath, he turned the water on full blast and began to wait for the tub to fill. As he had for the past month, John found himself staring at his body in the mirror. It wasn't so disorienting now to see his female form. Once he'd gotten over his first horrified reaction, he'd inspected every nook and cranny to see what sensations had changed and which had stayed the same. Masturbation had been a revelation. While it had taken longer to attain what had once been so easy in his male form, he found that his orgasm could last for minutes longer with a warm sensation sweeping throughout his body keeping him in pleasure with no end. 'Not that having a period was a reasonable trade off,' he thought as another cramp hit.
The tub was finally full, so with a great sigh as he anticipated the heat soaking into his body, John eased into the bath and popped a truffle into his mouth. Liz had a handle on this girl stuff for sure. She'd suggested shaving his legs as another relaxation technique and had given him the appropriate blades and lotions to complete the task. John was a veteran of face hair wars, so what the heck? It was just a bigger area to shave. Carefully, he began the task of denuding his legs.
Twenty minutes and two nicks later, the task was done and John was feeling pretty girly. 'Joan,' he corrected in his head. 'I'm Joan when I'm doing female things.' The therapist who had helped him begin to come to terms with his new status had recommended the new name to help sort out the dual aspects of his nature. Eventually, he'd been told, he'd become a balanced blend of male and female, but for now, it was best to be aware of the different aspects of both.
Truffles and heat having done their work, John got out of his bath and toweled off. Setting the tub to drain, he used some of his new jasmine lotion that he'd borrowed from Liz who was quickly becoming his guru in all things female. Her other scents of vanilla and cucumber melon had turned his stomach, but the freshness of the jasmine had appealed very much. Liz had explained that his previous scent of Old Spice wouldn't mesh with his new body, but he secretly thought that she just liked having a 'girl friend' to advise. Liz was probably getting some of the female friendship she'd missed having grown up with only Abe and Hellboy for playmates. Musing over Liz's childhood, John failed to hear the knock at his door. He'd just dropped his towel to pull on his favorite flannel pajamas when Agent Clay strode in. "Hellboy asked you to swing by…Oh-my-god-you're-naked!" Totally caught by surprise, John let out a shriek that could have cracked crystal and dove for his pajamas. Out of habit, he was struggling into the bottoms first when Hellboy came bounding into the room. Eyes narrowing, he saw the agitated struggle Joan had to get dressed and the high crimson color in Agent Clay's face and jumped to a bad conclusion.
"Son of a bitch!"
"Hellboy, no!" Forgetting his pajama top, John dashed to catch Hellboy before he could strangle poor Agent Clay. "Nothing's happened! I was just startled!" Agent Clay was turning an interesting shade of purple as Hellboy lifted him off of his feet by his neck. It took the sensation of Joan's bare chest pressed into his back to clear the red fog that had filled his vision. Carefully, he lowered his former handler to the floor and watched as the man swallowed the fresh air that was suddenly filling his lungs.
"Sorry, Clay." The agent just shook his head and waved away the apologies as he gulped in air.
"My fault," Clay croaked. Struggling to his feet, he grimace/smiled at John/Joan where she stood behind Hellboy. "Congratulations, you screamed like a girl." Having croaked his smart-alec quip, the agent took himself off for some medical attention.
It took a few moments for the shock of the situation to begin to fade. It was the realization that he was topless and pressed intimately into Hellboy's back that brought John back into awareness. That and the fact that he liked the rough texture of HB's black shirt scratching across the tips of his breasts. Blushing, John quickly turned around and tried to find his pajama top. It didn't occur to him to simply cross his arms over his chest as a natural born American girl would, but he'd only been this sex for a month.
Unable to sort out what he was feeling, Hellboy vented his frustration on the only available target… "What are you doing running around buck naked anyway, Meyers? That curse makes you an exhibitionist to boot? Start locking your doors, Scout, or you'll be inviting in a lot more than you can handle."
John froze in the middle of buttoning up his flannel shirt. A dull anger was building inside of his chest as Hellboy's outrageous words filtered in. "So it's my fault that you overreacted to Agent Clay's mistake?" John struggled to keep his voice cool, but his voice tightened with every passing second. "Real mature, Hellboy. I think you should leave before I do something equally immature, like throwing something at you." His eyes lit up as he spotted the perfect missile. It was a heavy crystal ball that he'd found at a rummage sale a while back. As blunt objects went, this would make a sizable dent in the thickest of skulls. Hellboy wasn't worried about being beamed in the head, but this malevolent aspect of a person he'd once called the Boy Scout disarmed him. Retreat seemed the best tactic at the moment.
"Don't get your panties in a wad," he said as he backed slowly out of the room. "I hope you wake up in a better mood tomorrow." At the door, Hellboy couldn't resist saying. "Know why they call it PMS? 'Because Mad Cow Disease was already taken." He slammed the door and ran, grinning all the way. The door muffled what sounded like a really good cursing rant. John's unsuspected talent for trash talking made Hellboy's chuckles turn into a full-on cackle.
Over the next three weeks, things at the Bureau settled into a routine of sorts with only a few bumps such as when one of Hellboy's cats defected and began to live in Joan's quarters. The marmalade tabby, a monster of a cat whose mother might have had relations with a mountain lion, met Joan at her door and invited himself inside. The cat which Joan decided could only be named something like, 'Killer,' or 'Butch,' leapt onto the bed, made a surprisingly kitten-like meow, and made it clear that this was his new domain by promptly falling asleep. Joan, having inside knowledge on how stubborn a sleeping male could be, went in search of Hellboy. She found him cleaning The Samaritan next to Abe's library water tank. Hellboy had been listening as Abe read aloud Douglas Adam's The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy. It was a scene that Joan wouldn't normally break up, but a two ton feline was shedding all over her favorite jersey sheets.
"One of your cats is loose and has decided to take up residence on my bed"
"The baby tiger that sounds like a kitten"
"Peaches has adopted you, huh?" Hellboy didn't seem as upset as Joan had hoped he'd be. She had been counting on him to swoop in and save his baby from her evil clutches…hold on, Peaches?
"You named that massive alley cat Peaches! He looks like he eats small dogs for breakfast!" Both Abe and Hellboy grinned.
"Only the one time with that Chihuahua and some chair upholstery, but I had forgotten to feed him for a few hours"
"He ate a small dog and parts of some furniture after you missed his feeding by a few hours! Quick, when was the last time you fed him!" Hellboy seemed to seriously ponder Joan's question for a moment.
"Couldn't have been more than a few…hey, don't you have that nice, new leather computer chair?" He found himself addressing thin air. His eyes stayed on the door through which she had streaked like a guided missile.
"You're really starting to feel for her, aren't you," Abe asked. Hellboy resumed cleaning the Samaritan by staring down the sights before beginning to oil the massive gun.
"Lay off with the psychic stuff, Blue"
"Don't have to, Red. You're easy"
And just like that, Joan was adopted by the King of Bad Ass Cats, Peaches. Or as she started to call him when she was in a playful mood, Peaches, Despoiler of all Leather Furniture and Bane of Chihuahuas. Sometimes, in quiet moments such as when Peaches was curled up in her lap while she typed her mission reports, Joan realized just how much her personality had changed since the spell had first changed her sex. During her month away from the Bureau for Paranormal Research and Defense, she/ John hadn't exactly clung to her masculinity, but in comparison to the past three weeks, she could see how she'd mentally resisted the change. With Liz's encouragement, Abe's quiet acceptance, and Hellboy's…well, everything the big red guy did lately spoke directly to Joan's hormones, it seemed…Pushing that thought aside yet again, Joan continued with her original list. With Liz, Abe, and Hellboy each helping her in their own, different ways Joan could grasp just how far she'd come from being a man in a woman's body to being something a bit more balanced. It was like her Yen and her Yang were both working at full, yet equal capacity.