Merlin snapped the book shut, eyebrows bristling with irritation. His one rule - his only rule - that he not be disturbed while he was reading. That wasn't too much to ask, surely?
On the other side of the study door something teetered, toppled, shattered, shards skittering across the flagged floor. The door shook as something heavy hit it. Beyond it, voices; low, surly, clipped.
Muttering under his breath, Merlin lay the book aside and clambered to his feet. He was almost sure what he would see - Leon, arms folded across chest, staring in feigned disinterest at something in the middle distance; Cloud, fist clenched at his sides glaring at the ground. The old wizard gestured wearily and the door banged open.
"I never said I'd join your stupid gang!" Cloud was by the window, eyes fixed on the street outside.
"I never asked you to!" Leon on his hands and knees, picking up the pieces of the retort flask that glistened wetly among the dark liquid splashed over the stones.
"Don't touch that!" Merlin snapped.
Both men turned towards him.
"All I ask... all I ask is that I be left alone to work! Is that too much? Well?"
The wizard peered over the tops of his glasses at the two young men.
"But he..." Leon started to protest.
"I don't want to hear it!" Merlin snapped.
"I didn't..." Cloud muttered.
Merlin's bristling eyebrows silenced him.
"Well. Neither of you have anything to say for yourselves? Hmmm?" Merlin raised a warning finger and both Cloud and Leon closed their mouths, shooting each other angry glances. "That's better. Now. If you're quite sure you don't mind, I have work to do." The old man turned back towards his study door, poking at the wet stain spreading across the floor. "Neither of you got any of this on you, did you? Well?"
Leon shook his head, wiping furtively at the long scratch snaking along his forearm where the flying glass had cut him. Cloud made a little gesture of denial, licking his lips.
"Good! Good! I was thinking of trying it out on some Shadows once I'd made a few more adjustments. No telling what it would do to them if I tried it now!" Merlin chuckled.
"What is it?" Leon asked, frowning.
"Eh? Eh? Oh, just a new spell I've been working on. Empathga, I call it. I thought if enemies could be made to understand who they were fighting against, they might lose the will to do it. Clever, eh?" Merlin paused, waiting for the two men to be impressed. "Yes. Well. Remind me to try it on you two when it's finished. Now get out and leave me to work." The study door slammed to behind him.
Leon turned to Cloud. "You didn't...?"
"No. Well, I've got a town to rebuild. Have fun doing whatever it is you're so busy doing."
When Cloud woke up the following morning he noticed two things straight away. One was the scratch on his arm, itching and inflamed. The other was his hard-on. Pushing the covers away, Cloud took his dick in his hand, smiling a little at the feel of it. Swinging his legs over the edge of the bed he stopped, frowning.
"What the?" he muttered, looking at the dark pubic hair curling at his groin. "What the fuck?" at the voice coming out of his mouth.
He looked again at the dick in his hand, thick, long, raddled with veins, at the hand gripping it, the chewed down nails and the skin calloused by hard labour. Cloud didn't chew his nails. Cloud didn't have that much dick.
"Fuck," he said again. Then "shit!" letting go of what he was holding, wiping his hand on the sheets. "Fuck fuck fuck fuck."
He lifted a hand to his hair - hanging into his eyes, much too long in the back - and pushed it from his face, rubbing at his eyes and cheeks in an effort to wake up, feeling the scar that shouldn't be there, rubbing harder until he remembered what he had just been doing with that hand.
"I'm dreaming," he said, trying not to hear Leon's voice. "I'm dreaming is all. Just some stupid nightmare."
He clambered to his feet and stood for a moment, trying to get used to feel of everything being different, of his feet feeling bigger against the floor, of everything being just that little bit further away.
"This is fucking weird," he said, opening the door to the bathroom.
Leon was looking at him out of the mirror above the basin, hair tangled from sleep, stark naked, dick stiff. Cloud raised his hand and Leon did too. Cloud put the hand on his head and Leon did too. Cloud turned away from the mirror, peering back over his shoulder to see Leon doing the same.
Cloud turned back to the mirror, leaned towards it.
"What the hell?," he breathed, watching Leon's lips move behind the fog of breath on the glass. His balls were itching, and he scratched at them absent-mindedly with his thumb. Leon's dick swung in the mirror.
Cloud looked at it, mouth part open, glanced up at Leon, naked and tousled, looking back out at him. He had to admit that Leon was one fine looking man, and that rebuilding a town kept him in shape, no matter how stupid it was. The heavy muscles of his chest and shoulders rolled as Cloud shifted, the vault of his ribs expanding and falling as Cloud breathed.
Cloud took his dick in his hand, watched the long muscles in Leon's forearm jump as he ran his fist along the shaft, breath hissing out between his clenched teeth as he peeled the skin back. He could feel Leon's heart hammering, the pulse quickening in his neck. Cloud rested his hands on the wall, one either side of the mirror.
"If this isn't a dream then you're one fucking lucky son of a bitch," Cloud muttered, and took hold of it again, closing his eyes, his other hand cupped around his balls.
"I don't think it's done quite what he expected, do you? And just what are you doing with that?"
Cloud opened his eyes. In the mirror, behind the curve of Leon's shoulder, he saw Cloud standing in the bathroom doorway, wearing Leon's jacket. He turned around.
"You didn't come here dressed like that?"
"Dressed like what?"
"In your jacket!"
"What the fuck are you talking about? Of course in my jacket!"
"Did anyone see you?"
"I don't know. Why?"
"What would you think if you saw me walking around in your jacket?"
"Oh. Oh, right. Well, I guess you better hope no one saw then."
"This isn't a dream, is it?"
Leon raised an eyebrow.
"A dream? Exactly how often do you dream about masturbating me? Although," he made a vulgar motion at his crotch, "I can see why you would." He took a step back. "Is that how I look? Weird. I'm used to being the other way around."
"You're not kidding," Cloud nodded, looking at his hair spiked in all the wrong directions. "Merlin?"
"I guess." Leon frowned, looking at Cloud's arm. "That's a nasty cut I've got there. Want to put something on that before it gets infected?"
"Sure, sure." Cloud turned to the cabinet, looking for cream. "So now what?"
"I've got a couple of ideas." Leon shrugged his jacket off Cloud's shoulders. "You look like you were in the middle of something there."
Cloud felt Leon's cheeks flush. "Shit. Man, I just..."
"Don't worry. It's not like you were sticking pins in it. Just as long as I get it back in one piece." Leon dropped to Cloud's knees. "Anyway, I've always wondered how this would feel."
He took hold of Cloud by his dick, turned him around.
"Oh shit!" Cloud hissed, as Leon ran Cloud's tongue across the engorged head of his dick. "Oh, fuck, man, that's my... ah... f...fuck... that's my mouth."
Leon pulled back. "Yeah. So? Want me to stop?" Forwards again.
Cloud could only make inarticulate noises until Leon came up for breath. "Man, how do you know how to do that?"
"You've never imagined the perfect blow job? I guess I just know what I like," Leon grinned. "Also, you have a very... uh... versatile tongue." Forwards again.
"Don't come in my mouth," Cloud whispered, a little later.
"Try and stop me," Leon mumbled, mouth full.
Cloud did, but like Leon said, he did have a very versatile tongue.
"How long do you think we've got 'til this wears off?"
"No idea," Leon turned away from the basin, drying Cloud's chin. "Man I should get you to suck me off more often, you were like a hose there."
"About that," Cloud glanced at the floor, still feeling the ache in Leon's balls.
"Yeah. That is kind of awkward." Leon nodded. "But we can worry about that later, right?"
"Sure." Cloud said uncertainly. "So..."
"I was wondering. That is, I sort of wanted you to... Fuck it, I don't even know who's who anymore!"
"Maybe just tell me what it is?"
Cloud reddened again. "I want you to fuck me."
Leon frowned. "Let me make sure I've got this straight. Are you saying that you - Cloud who looks like Leon - want me - Leon who looks like Cloud - to fuck you ? Or are you saying that you want the one of us who looks like me - looks like Leon - to fuck the one of us who looks like you - like Cloud?"
"What I'm saying is that I want you to fuck me. I don't know which way 'round that is."
"Well then," Leon grinned. "We'd just better do it both ways, to be sure."
When Cloud woke up the following morning he noticed two things straight away. One was the scratch on Leon's arm, yesterdays redness faded to a dull line. The other was his hard-on. Pushing the covers away, Cloud took Leon's dick in his hand, smiling a little at the feel of it. Leon stirred sleepily, wrapped his fingers around Cloud's.
"Morning," he said.