Disclaimer: Neither of the stories drawn on in this fic are mine. Constantine:Hellblazer belongs to DC/Vertigo Comics, and the Dark Tower series belongs to Stephen King. I am only responsible for my burning desire to mash the two together in an entirely uncanonical way.
And I'm a poor student, so if anyone feels the need to sue for all my wordly possessions, please be assured that you will get about a fiver out of it.

Warnings: Given the characters involved, anybody who has read Hellblazer will not be surprised to learn that there is much bad language. Beyond that, I think it's pretty much worksafe stuff, but anyone who takes issue with swearing might want to avoid this fic like the plague.
Also, as this will hopefully stretch all the way to the end of the Dark Tower series, and is set in the present-day in terms of Hellblazer, there may well be spoilers for both.

A/N: This is the first story I've posted on this site, so if I've gone wrong, please tell me. Also, I've never been to New York, so my knowledge of its geography is pretty shaky. I can take criticism, as long as it's constructive - in fact, I thrive on it.
Also, this will be long. Given that I'm in my GCSE year right now, it will also be updated sporadically at best. Bear that in mind.
Beta'd by gkingsley on LiveJournal.

1

He was running down the pavement – the sidewalk – in a strange city, chasing a demon that had just single-handedly torn apart an entire block of New York flats, or were they apartments, and there was somebody else in his head.

It was rather a worrying thing, he thought wearily, that it was only the last of these that took him by surprise.

Enough by surprise, in fact, that he stopped dead, just for a moment. The demon vanished around a corner, out of sight in a crowded street, and he simply had to take a moment to admire the blasé attitude of these New Yorkers. If this was London, they'd be screaming and running for the hills.

He gave this thought the consideration it deserved – which wasn't much – counted to ten, and then swore. Loudly, fluently, and angrily.

Heads barely turned. Bloody hell.

Sighing, he reached into the breast pocket of his dun trenchcoat, pulled out a packet of Silk Cuts, and leant back against the nearest wall. He stuck a cigarette in his mouth, lit it, and watched the end smoulder orange in the bright sunlight of a New York day for a moment. Then, exhaling slowly, he shoved his hand into his pocket and wandered into the shadow of a shop doorway, the building dark and empty.

"All right," he said out loud, taking another drag of his cigarette. "Who the fuck are you, and why are you in my mind?"

2

Roland of Gilead was very far from amused. This man, whoever he was – this man whose mind he was travelling in – was clearly not amused by the intrusion, either, and no doubt with good reason. But Roland had good reason, too, he considered.

He had left Eddie on the beach, to go through this door – this door that should have been marked Death, was instead marked The Last Standing Man – expecting… what, exactly? He wasn't sure, but he knew what he hadn't expected. He hadn't expected the Last Standing Man to be, not standing, but running. He hadn't expected the sudden roar of blood in his ears when he dived through the door, or the desperate chase on the other side. He hadn't expected – hadn't dared to expect – that the Last Standing Man would already be armed.

Most of all, though, he hadn't expected the Last Standing Man to know he was there.

He was exhausted. Sick. Hungry and thirsty. He had left Eddie Dean on the beach behind him, to the mercies of Detta Walker – and he doubted they would be tender. The grim humour in the Last Man's voice did not amuse him.

It did give him a certain hope, though. A man who was that sensitive to his presence would either be hugely useful – or hugely problematic. At least he wasn't panicking.

My name is Roland. Roland Deschain, of Gilead, he answered, when his thoughts were sufficiently pulled together. I need astin. Shells, food, but mostly astin. Mentally, he grimaced, remembering the way the red lines had moved up his arm, and the throbbing, pulsing pain of his missing fingers. There was something else, as well. What had they been called? The pills that Eddie had taken from Balazar's bathroom cabinet, those miraculous capsules that had made the poisoning recede and the fever fall back…

Cheflet, he said, shortly, in the Last Man's head. I need cheflet, too.

"Look, mate," the Last Man said out loud, taking a puff of the curious white stick in his mouth – Roland thought for a moment that it might be devilgrass, but the man's mind was too clear for that – and exhaling a mouthful of smoke, "I don't know what the fuck Cheflet is – sounds like a brand name or something – and I think you mean aspirin, not astin, but that's beside the point." His accent was unlike anything Roland had ever heard before – nothing like Eddie's, or Odetta's, or even Detta Walker's. If anything, it most closely resembled the gunslinger's own, but even that didn't quite cut it as a description.

"Point is," the Last Man went on, a little tautly, "you just lost me what could well be my one chance at taking that bloody demon down. I've chased it halfway across the world, trying to catch the bugger, and now it's gone. Where the fuck do I go now? Darkest fucking Africa? The food here's shit, the drink's bloody expensive, and I want to catch the first plane home I can, all right?" Stubbing out the glowing end of the white stick on the doorframe, he straightened up. "So, okay, say I take you at your word, and you're not some sort of demon, and I can trust you. I'll tell you this for piss all, Roland Deschain of Gilead, I've got fuck all reason to like you."

Roland looked out through the Last Man's eyes on a New York that seemed a distant impossibility, even after the wonders he had seen in Eddie's New York. Surely, then, the food must have gotten worse, he thought – nobody could call the tooter fish he had eaten before 'shit'.

Keep your mind where your mind should be, maggot! Cort's voice snapped at him, in his head. Roland sighed.

I'm not asking you to like me, he told the Last Man firmly. I need shells, food, astin, cheflet. If you do not help me, then I can help myself.

And then he came forwards.

3

The first thing he was aware of was the sheer resistance he encountered. With Eddie, and even Detta, he had simply been able to take control. But the Last Man fought, fought tooth and nail, and Roland suddenly encountered the worrying notion that, maybe, the Last Man might fight more strongly than he could deal with. And perhaps he could take control, if he pushed himself. But he needed the Last Man on his side, at least for now.

He went back again, more than a little worried. Both he and the Last Man were breathing heavily, but the Last Man seemed in rather worse state. Doubling over, he coughed, hacking and phlegmatic. Of course, Roland realised, he had no idea how long the man had been running – he was no doubt still exhausted from that.

"What the fuck was that?" the Last Man ground out eventually, straightening up and pulling another white stick out of his pocket. Roland, more than a little shaken, did not answer.

"Look, just tell me what 'cheflet' is," the Last Man suggested, reaching into a different pocket and pulling out a little, brightly-coloured box, half-transparent and filled with some sort of clear liquid. Pressing down on a little wheel on it with his thumb, he cursed, shook it, and then pressed down on the wheel again. Roland was astonished to see a little flame pop into life on the corner of the box, but the Last Man seemed entirely unfazed by it.

Lifting it to his mouth, he lit the end of the white stick, took a deep breath of the resulting smoke, and tucked the little fire-box back into his pocket. "Tell me what cheflet is – or what it does, anyway – and I'll see if I can get you some. Aspirin shouldn't be difficult. And shells… Do you mean bullets? 'Cause shells are what they used in World War One, to drop on people. If you mean bullets, yeah, I reckon I can find some. Somehow."

Bullets? Roland repeated, slowly. My shells are wet – I need some I can rely on. Are bullets what they call shells in your land? For guns?

"Shure are, pardner," the Last Man drawled, his voice a little less unfriendly, but still untrusting. Roland could place this accent a little better, the one that the Last Man was putting on – it reminded him of the people of Mejis, only this accent was stronger, drawling, and clearly mocking.

Then, yes, Roland said, when the Last Man didn't say anything more.

"Hm. The cheflet?"

I don't know, the gunslinger confessed. All I know is, my blood was poisoned, and when I took the cheflet, the poison went away. Ed…

He had been going to say Eddie knows, but his caution checked him mid-word, a split-second too early, a split-second too late. Better not to let this stranger know what was going on, not everything, anyway. Unfortunately, the Last Man was obviously rather sharper than either of the others whose mind Roland has ridden in – his mind was not clogged by the strange devilgrass-stuff, as Eddie's had been, and Roland did not have the advantage of shock, as he did with Odetta/Detta – and he picked up on the hesitation. At least, from the irritated little noise the man made, Roland was fairly sure he had.

All he said, though, inside or outside his head, was "So, must be an antibiotic of some sort, I'm guessing? Right. Should be easy to get hold of. And food's the easiest of all, of course. Now you come to mention it, I'm fucking starving. If I eat, does it make things any better for you?"

If you buy some food, Roland suggested, testing the waters, I can take it back with me, and come back. I've done it before.

"Hm… Nah." The Last Man shrugged, huffing out a cloud of smoke and turning up the collar of his long coat. "Know why? 'Cause I don't trust you. I'll get you antibiotics, aspirin. Maybe bullets, if you'll be honest for a minute. But until I know what the deal is here, I'm not trusting you an inch. Got it?"

Roland was torn between irritation and a certain grudging respect. This man was a gunslinger, for certain – but one in whom Roland saw rather too much of himself. Such a clash of spirits was bound to grind.

"I'll get something to eat, then," the Last Man said after a moment. "Make a few calls. Get in some favours – I can probably have some shells by this evening. And then you can tell me what in the name of blue fuck is going on, all right?"

Yes, Roland agreed reluctantly. After all, what was the choice?

4

With a plateful of slightly suspicious pasta in front of him and a glass of beer in one hand, John regarded the New York street with a sinking heart. The demon could be anywhere. Anywhere at all. And there was some bastard in his head, talking like an archaic John Wayne.

Shit. Some days just didn't go right, did they?

Pulling his phone out, he punched in a number without looking, still picking at his tagliatelle without actually eating any of it. "Chas?"

"What do you want, you fucker?"

John smiled thinly. Always the same old Chas. Christ, he'd screwed up there.

"Chas, what do you know about possession?"

"I know it's six AM over here, that's what I know. Piss off, you wanker. I'm trying to sleep."

Shit again. Bloody time difference. He always forgot the bloody time difference.

"Chas…"

"John. Fuck off." The line went dead, and John threw the phone down on the table, cursing at the top of his voice.

I'm not possessing you, the voice in his head – Roland, it had called itself – said.

"Like fuck you're not," he muttered. "If you're not, then get the fuck out of my head. Fucker," he added, for good measure.

I can't. If I do, I'll be dead in five minutes. There's this… this woman. Detta Walker. And when I left, I was collapsing. I need food. I need astin. I need cheflet.

"All right! All right! I'll get your bloody cheflet stuff!"

Thankee-sai, said Roland's voice in his head.

"Thankee what-now?" John shook his head, gulping down a mouthful of beer and tapping out his cigarette on the slightly sticky tabletop. "Mate, you make no sense."

Roland said nothing. Shrugging, John took a mouthful of pasta and almost spat it out again. "Bloody hell! Tastes like shit!"

Roland continued to say nothing. John snorted. "Cheerful bastard, aren't you?" he commented dryly, and picked up his phone again. "Christ, I thought I was a grumpy old sod. Hey, Harry… yeah, 's me. You're a native, what the fuck's cheflet?" He frowned, kicking his feet up onto the chair opposite and running a hand through his hair. "No, I'm fairly sure that's what he said. Keflex? Really? The fuck is that? No, no, it makes plenty of sense. None of your business. Because I need to find some, that's why. No, still none of your business. No. No." Pausing for a swig of beer, he frowned. "Yeah, bloody thing got away. Keep an eye out, willya? Right. No, I know that. Whatever you say, you hand-waving ritualistic fuck. Heh, sure you're not. Fuck you. Thanks." Flicking the phone shut, he took another mouthful of pasta, washing it down quickly. "Huh. Bloody Americans," he muttered disdainfully, shoving the pasta away and finishing his drink. "A drugstore's a chemist, right? Roland?"

The gunslinger said nothing.

"Fat lot of good you are," John grumbled, shoving his chair under the table and slamming a handful of coins on the till, not checking what they were worth. "Keep the change."

"There isn't any…" the woman behind the counter started angrily, counting out the money into the till, but John was already out of the door and well on his way down the street.

The last she saw of him was his disappearing back, vanishing down the crowded street as he argued with himself.

5

"So, tell me," the Last Man – John, that was his name – said, as he strode down the street with his hands in his pockets and his head down, "what's going on? Where the fuck's Gilead, for a start?"

Nowhere, Roland said, a little stiffly. It's complicated. All you need to know is

"I'll decide what I need to know, thanks," John said, cutting him off. "Why are you in my head?"

I told you, Roland replied cagily, because I need…

"Food, shells, astin and cheflet – Keflex, even. I know, I know. That's bloody useless, isn't it? You think about it while I give Midnite a ring, all right? Christ," he added, although Roland didn't think it was aimed at him, "how many fucking calls do I have to make for this bullshit? I'm not made of money, you know." He flicked open the talking box that he had been using to talk to the man called Chas, and while he was distracted, Roland seized the opportunity to come forward again. Not far, just enough to make John's head turn, to check, quickly, that the door was still there.

It was still there. It was still open. And Roland caught a brief, brief glimpse of what lay beyond, before John seized control, forcing their gaze forward again.

What the fuck are you trying to do? he demanded silently of Roland. What the fuck was that?

But then a man's voice was speaking into John's ear, distracting him, and for the moment, the gunslinger was saved from having to reply.

6

"Penicillin?" the drugstore clerk asked, raising an eyebrow.

John nodded. "Penicillin. Keflex, specifically – it is Keflex, right? I'm a stranger around here."

"Clearly," the clerk muttered under his breath. "How much?"

John shrugged. Roland! he called, inside his head. Roland, how much do you need? Give or take?

The gunslinger didn't answer. He was in shock.

This place… This place…

It was full of people. Normal people, or at least they looked like normal people. A normal shop, or at least it looked like a normal shop. And a normal man behind the counter.

This was nothing like what he had expected. Nothing at all.

No dark, cavernous rooms. No twisting smoke. No glass phials and bubbling liquids. Certainly no man in flowing robes, as he had expected. The place was filled to the brim with astonishing goods – goods that Roland could see no real use for; stuffs to turn your teeth white or your skin dark, to make you lose hair or grow it, to remove blemishes, to change your looks, to keep them the same… It was a place where quack remedies shared a shelf with wonders he would never even have thought of – the only thing he recognised on sight was the astin that stocked a good half of a shelf, and the rest was seen from the corner of his eye, left to sink in later.

The whole place was brightly-lit, with long, white lamps that stretched all across the ceiling. In one corner, there was a curved mirror, in which Roland could just make out the long trenchcoat and messy blonde hair of the Last Standing Man. Around him, men and women bustled to and fro, eyes on the shelves, as though these remedies meant something. Roland wondered vaguely who would be fool enough to buy such quack remedies, but only briefly.

"What do you mean, I can't buy it?" John demanded, dragging the gunslinger out of his thoughts at last. "It's on prescription, right? How the fuck am I supposed to have a prescription you'll take? I only arrived in the damn country last night!"

"Sorry," the man behind the counter said. Both Roland and John could easily hear the insincerity in his voice. "I can't give you Keflex without a prescription."

"Sod you," John replied, shoving two fingers in front of the man's face. Roland didn't understand the gesture, but he was fairly sure it wasn't a wish for long life and good fortune. "You could have a little fucking charity."

"Are you buying the aspirin, or not?" the clerk asked mildly, tapping the little collection of aspirin bottles on the counter. "If so, that'll be eight dollars fifty, please."

"Go fuck yourself," John advised, turning on his heel and striding out. Behind him, the clerk, who was obviously in a fairly good humour, called after him, "Have a nice day!"

Well… Roland said, sighing. Can we not get the cheflet? You have to. John, you have to!

"You keep on saying that. You have yet to prove anything of the sort," John said, turning a corner and starting down the next street. "And you don't get to call me John, by the way. My friends call me John. Such as they are. You can call me Constantine, all right? At least until you've proved I can trust you as far as I can throw you. Then you can call me Bilbo fucking Baggins if you want."

I do not understand.

"Nah, didn't think you would." John – no, Constantine – shrugged, peering down one street, then the other. "Fuck. I need a map of this place," he muttered, turning the corner after a long moment of contemplation. "Right. I reckon I know how to get a Keflex prescription, and aspirin isn't restricted. Not even here," he added darkly, making the gunslinger think that maybe this city was less free than, perhaps, it appeared. He could not feel any great force on it, as had settled over Gilead in the last days, but then, not all evil was so obvious.

Constantine? he asked cautiously after a moment, as they strode through the massive glass doors – unlike anything Roland had ever seen – above which was written in Great Letters the word 'HOTEL'.

"That's my name. What is it now? Decided to tell me what's going on yet?"

Maybe. Later. Listen, Constantine, I need you to…

"Hurry? Work harder? Give a shit?"

The first one, Roland said, his voice entirely devoid of humour. I left my… my companion back in my own world. With Detta Walker, I think. If he falls asleep…

"You think? What the bloody hellfire? You think he's with… Detta, didja say? Don't you know?"

The gunslinger hesitated. It is… complicated.

"Most things are," Constantine replied with a shrug, flicking the smouldering remains of the white stick out of the doors again and grinding it into the ground with his heel. Striding back in, he wandered over to the receptionist, tapping his knuckles on the desk. "Any calls for me? Name's Constantine. John Constantine."

The plump woman sitting behind the desk, her feet on a pile of files, looked over boredly and shook her head, then went back to painting her fingernails with something crimson and sharp-smelling. "Not a thing, hon," she mumbled into her chest, intent on the tiny, crimson-clotted brush she was using.

"Isn't it nice to be popular?" Constantine commented dryly to empty air, shoving his hands back into his pockets. Roland said nothing.

The gunslinger and the Last Standing Man strode down a long, empty-smelling corridor, white and clinical, in total silence.

7

"So…" he said, tearing a piece of paper off the complementary notepad on the desk. "Ready to tell me what the fuck's going on?"

Roland paused, hesitating for a heartbeat. Through Constantine's eyes, he could see the strange clear tube, which Constantine's unconscious mind – the gunslinger had been rifling through it for a while, fascinated by how easy it was to access – identified as a 'biro', scratching over the thin, obviously cheap paper – although, by the standards of his own lands, any paper here was cheap, judging from the way that people tossed it away as though it was nothing precious at all. The handwriting was scraggly at best, but it was written in Great Letters, and by concentrating, Roland could just about tell what it said: THIS IS A… and then another word which he couldn't read, but which Constantine's mind informed him was PRESCRIPTION.

I don't think that will work, he muttered, not meaning for Constantine to hear. But the man whose mind he rode in was sharp, as he had seen from the beginning, and he heard it.

"Oh, trust me," he said, and in the speckled mirror in the wall opposite, Roland saw a smile that was far from reassuring. "It'll work. So, like I was saying, ready to tell me what the fuck's going on?"

I'll do better than tell you, Roland said simply. I'll show you.

"Show me what?"

You have to let me come forward first. Then I can show you.

Constantine laughed, low and grating. "Fuck, Roland. You expect me to fall for that? What do you take me for?"

Cort would love you, Roland grumbled, and realised as he said it that it was true. This Constantine could almost have been Cort, if he weren't so light-hearted.

"Cort?"

My old teacher. Constantine, I do not know this city. I do not know any of it. It would serve me little to throw myself into this world without an ally. Let me come forward for a moment – just a moment – and show you what I mean.

"I'm going to regret this, aren't I?" Constantine grumbled, folding up the paper and shoving it into his pocket. "If you move one inch, one fucking inch out of this room with my body, I swear…" He didn't finish. He didn't have to. Both the gunslinger and the Last Man knew the consequences would not be pleasant – for either of them.

Thankee-sai.

"There you go again, with your 'thankee-sai'," Constantine muttered aloud, standing up with his hands in his pockets. "Come on then, let's get this show on the road. Show me what you need to, then get the hell out." Without waiting for confirmation or denial, he simply let go.

It was, he considered, a very strange feeling not to be in control of your own body. It wasn't the first time he had been posessed, of course. But it was still strange, every time. And it reminded him uncomfortably of the other times, none of which had ended well.

What did you want to show me, then? he demanded tautly of Roland, noticing, out of the corner of his eye, that the reflection in the mirror had changed, subtly but still definitely; where his eyes had been a dull steel-grey, now they were bright, icy blue, clearer than any he had seen before.

"Not much," the gunslinger said, in Constantine's own voice. "Just this." Then, without any further preamble, he turned Constantine's head to look back over his shoulder.

For a moment, the Last Man was resolutely, horrifically silent, and Roland almost feared that Constantine had gone into as much shock as he himself had when walking into the (drugstore/chemist/alchemist's) before. Then there was a low, impressed whistle, coming from inside his head.

Bloody hell, Constantine thought at him. Then, as they both began to adjust a little to the sudden appearance of a door, floating a few feet behind them, he added, Is that Ed?

Roland nodded. "Eddie Dean," he said, then squinted. Eddie! It burst out of him without meaning it to, angry and violent. Eddie Dean, you stupid bastard!

He fell asleep? Constantine put in, somewhere between resignation and amusement.

He fell asleep, Roland replied. And that is definitely Detta Walker. A sudden, overwhelming sense of horror filled him as he watched the legless woman haul herself over towards the sleeping Eddie, gun in hand. The feral snarl on her face was nothing that could have come from Odetta Holmes, the cultured, civil woman with whom that demon shared a body. No, that was Detta all right. Detta to the core.

You're fucked, Constantine summarised. Grimly amused despite himself, Roland couldn't help but agree. Can I have my body back now?

Roland hesitated again, unwilling to tear his eyes from the scene unfolding in front of him.

Get out of my body, the Last Man repeated, shoving forwards to the front of his mind again. "Take one of my guns, if you can take stuff back through with you. Shoot the bitch."

It's not that simple! Roland replied. He had expected Constantine to disagree – the man had the look of one who cares very little – but it seemed that that façade was not much more than skin-deep. He could feel – actually feel – the sympathy bubbling up inside the man, although he tried to hide it.

"Not that simple. Got it," was all Constantine said, sitting down heavily on the bed. "It's enough. You're telling the truth, anyway. Look, I gave Papa Midnite a ring – he's in Manhattan. Were you listening in on that conversation?"

Not really, Roland replied. It was half-true. He had not been listening as such, but one of the first things Cort had taught them, and punctuated for years afterwards with shouted reminders and buffets, was to work back through everything your senses fed back, as quickly as possible.

He had heard the conversation, all right.

He just hadn't understood it.

"Well," Constantine was saying, fumbling in his pocket for the box of white sticks, "Midnight said he can get me the ammo. But I don't know what sort you're after. What's your gun like?"

A gun, Roland said, blankly. Two guns. Pistols. You saw them. Detta Walker was carrying one. Eddie has the other. Probably had by now, he amended a little bitterly.

"I'm not a bloody arms dealer, okay? I wouldn't know what sort of bullets your gun took if they danced in front of me to Swan fucking Lake with little signs saying 'I am a bullet that fits in Roland's gun', all right?"

I don't know how to describe them, not in a way that makes me sure of your understanding, Roland replied, nonplussed and more than a little irritable.

"There'll be some sort of chart somewhere, I should think. Reckon you can pick out the ones you need?"

Probably… Roland replied dubiously.

"I'll ring Midnite again, ask him about it," Constantine said, nodding briefly and sticking the brown end of one of the light-sticks into his mouth. The corner of his mouth clamped around it to hold it in place, he went on, "'Til then, we can get our arses down to the nearest chemist, and get you some Keflex, some aspirin – maybe some more fags for me."

Fags? asked Roland, confused. Constantine tapped the light-stick in his mouth, holding it up in front of his eyes so Roland could see it, then shoved it back into his mouth, pulled out that strange fire-box, and lit the end.

"Anywho…" he went on, straightening up and pulling open a drawer. "Like I said, I'll have them by evening. No earlier, though – fucking useless, eh? I get to a country where you can pick up a gun with your weekly shopping, and they won't sell me ammo, 'cause I'm not American enough. Apparently I'm breaking the law, carrying guns at all, but there you go. Nobody's called me out on it yet."

The yet is slightly emphasised, and Roland understood. Like him, this gunslinger – and gunslinger he certainly seems to be – clearly had no desire to waste time. No doubt, he needed to catch whatever manner of beast it was he was chasing through the streets before.

How many guns do you have with you? he asked, not sure what to expect. One? Two? Ten?

"Four." Less than he had hoped, more than he had feared. Good. "But one of them's a water pistol. Holy water. Chas came up with the idea – bloody brilliant. I look like a proper cunt wandering round New York with a kid's water pistol in my coat, though. One fires silver bullets – you never know when it might come in handy – and one of them is a crumpled mess. Demon got hold of it in Paris – not the one I'm chasing, different demon, sidetracked me – and crumpled it up like a piece of paper. I'd throw it out, but it's fucking hard to get rid of a gun, especially one that size."

And the fourth? Roland, who hadn't been following much of what Constantine had said, despite his best efforts, asked.

"Oh, the fourth's normal. Powerful, but normal." Reaching into his coat, he produced a brightly-coloured object, made of what Roland guessed was the same stuff as the fire-box. It mimicked the shape of a gun, but smaller than Roland's sandalwood-handled pistols – much smaller – and with a large, bulbous protrusion on the back. Constantine unscrewed this – which was now obvious as a water tank – and wandered into the tiny room connecting with his bathroom. Ducking past the cramped shower cubicle, he reached over a slightly greying sink to turn the tap on. As he held the tank under the resulting flow of water, he frowned.

"Why are you on that beach?" he asked eventually, turning the water off abruptly. With one hand over the mouth of the tank, he ducked back out of the room, and started rummaging in the drawer again.

I am searching for the Dark Tower, Roland replied, a little proudly, a little sadly.

"Dunno what that is, but good luck with it. Ah, there we go!" With a triumphant noise, Constantine pulled out a little chain, with a crucifix hanging from it, and dropped it into the water, where it sank with a little splash. "Blessed by Rowan Williams himself – doubt you know who that is, but there you go. All right…" Giving the lever on the front of the toy gun a couple of cranks, he pulled the trigger experimentally. Water arched into the air, scattering over the bedcovers and splashing onto the hem of his trenchcoat in a thin jet. "Holy water. Silver bullets. Cold steel." He touched the revolver holstered at his waist, which was smaller than Roland's guns, but not by much. Digging in the drawer again, he pulled out a box and shoved it in his pocket, following it quickly with a bandolier of shells, which, unfortunately, were also smaller than Roland's. "All right. If that demon shows up, I'm sorted. Let's go."