Dazed and Confused
A/N: As you've probably figured out, this is for the challenge that StepOnMe posted for two characters switching bodies. This is told mostly in Max and Iggy POV, with some Fang POV. Because I was worried that the switches might be confusing, I marked whose they are.
I wasn't really sure what genre to put this under, since it's going to have a bit of everything: Humor, drama, romance, action... all that good stuff. I know that most of this first part really isn't funny, so just bear with me. Also, for anyone wondering, there is no Miggyness here. There will be some Fax.
Disclaimer: I own nothing except for my plot. Dang it...
Chapter One: The Switch
"Iggy? Ig, are you in there?"
I knocked softly on the rotting wooden door. "Ig, come on. We need you to help make dinner. Unless you want me to do it."
I listened closely. Still no answer. That was odd- usually the mention of me even touching the food that we would eat was enough to make Iggy stop whatever he was doing.
I knocked again, louder this time. "Iggy!" I called. A muffled grunt came from the interior of the old tool shed, but he didn't emerge. Sighing, I quietly forced the heavy door open and stepped inside.
I blinked as my eyes tried to adjust to the sudden darkness. I suppressed a grumble. Although it was a righteous pain for the majority of the flock, it did make perfect sense for Iggy to work here; after all, he had no need for light.
The tool shed was one of the many advantages of the abandoned beach house that we had found. The other obvious benefits were shelter and relative security. (The disadvantages included an inordinate amount of dust on just about everything, no light in the tool shed, and the fact that part of the roof was caved in.)
But I slept in the tunnels of the New York Subway. I'm not complaining.
I turned towards Iggy, who obviously knew that I was in there but didn't acknowledge my presence. His fingers were flying, connecting wires and machinery that I knew nothing about. I will never understand how he always knew exactly how to put something together, even though he couldn't see it.
Iggy and bombs is not exactly my favorite combination. But somehow, he had managed to convince me that it was a good idea. I guess his plans (excuses, really) might work. If any Erasers show up, we do a quick U and A before they see us, then leave a little present behind while they stretch their dim IQ's trying to figure out where we went.
The problem is that it's usually not that simple. But whatever. I don't want to think about that just now.
Anyway, although Iggy might be on to something about the Erasers, it's more than just that. When he's building a bomb, he's actually… happy.
Well, as happy as a blind mutant bird freak on the run can be, anyway.
I studied his face. So peaceful. I wonder what he felt when he was working like this- calm, relaxed, happily tuned out from the world around him? I would have to ask him someday.
Suddenly, something hard and cold flickered across his face, followed by a look of confusion. Something was wrong. I could tell.
"Iggy?" I asked warily. "What is it?"
His hands fumbled desperately at the wires. I didn't know what was wrong. I had never seen him lose control of something he was working on. Never. "Iggy?" I prodded.
"Max," he said, his voice having a steely edge to it, "get out of here."
I was struck dumb. "What?" I said intelligently.
"Get out of here. Now." A look of panic was rising in his unseeing eyes.
I still didn't move.
I snapped out of it. In an instant, I turned on my heel and ran, blindly hoping that Iggy had enough sense to follow.
He and I were three steps out of the door when the tool shed exploded.
The blast rocketed through my body. Gasping for air, I lurched and fell to my knees. Oh, crap. This was the end. I could feel it. Goodbye, world. Sorry that I never got around to saving you.
But just then, as leaned forward and retched, I felt the oddest sensation: as if my very soul was being tugged out of my body. Was this it? Was I going to whatever afterlife there might be? Don't winged kids go to heaven?
Wait a minute. I didn't want to die. I would never see Angel or Nudge or Iggy or Gazzy or Fang ever again. No, I couldn't die now. I still had the freaking world to save, after all.
I strained against the invisible force pulling me up. I did not want to go now. No freaking way. With all my might, I forced my spirit into a U-turn. Now, that was more like it. It took a nosedive, speeding so fast that I couldn't see where I was going, and plunged straight into the body below.
Just before I sank into the body, I caught a glimpse of myself lying farther away, staring at the sky with a glassy-eyed expression.
And then, in that instant, everything went black.
I woke in a comfortable bed with the sunlight warming my face. Out of instinct, I yawned and stretched, only to wince when my shoulder violently protested. I rolled over, burying my face in the pillow. It felt great. I didn't want to wake up.
The sounds of Nudge's chatter wafted up from downstairs. Groaning, I reluctantly opened my eyes.
It looked exactly the same as when they were closed.
I closed and opened them again. Still no difference. I lifted my hand to my eyes and felt the lids moving. My eyes were open, but I couldn't see. At all.
I frantically scanned my memory for anything unusual, anything that could explain this. It came back to me in bits and pieces—Iggy yelling at me to get out; the explosion; the feeling of my soul leaving my body; and finally, seeing myself with that awful, glassy-eyed look.
I shook my head slowly. What had happened during that explosion?
I heard shuffling footsteps. It was Fang; I could tell just by the way he walked. I sat straight up. "Fang!" I called.
The footsteps stopped for a moment, then resumed more quickly. "Oh, good," he said, "you're up. About time—you've been out for a day and a half."
"A day and a half?" That was crazy. Unless it was a lot more serious than I thought, my mutant bird freak immune system should have healed me more quickly than that. What was going on? What had that bomb done to me?
"Yup." I heard him turn to go.
"What is it?"
"I- I can't see!"
He sighed audibly; I could practically see him rolling his eyes. "No duh," he said exasperatedly. As he shuffled out the door, I heard him mutter, "Jeez, Iggy, you're crazy."
Mmm. The bed was warm. And so, so comfortable. More so than usual, in fact. I didn't want to get up. That would mean parting with the comfort of my bed, and I was not particularly willing to do that. I rolled over.
"And then I was like, 'What are you talking about?' and she was like 'What do you think?' and then I got really mad 'cause she is so annoying sometimes and—"
I groaned as Nudge's nonstop chatter carried upstairs. I buried my face in the pillow. I guess I would have to get up now. There was no way I was going to be able to go back to sleep with her carrying on.
I was not happy about it.
Reluctantly, I sat up in bed and stretched. I opened my eyes, not that it ever made a difference anyway.
I could see.
I let out a small yip of excitement and flung the covers off myself, the comfort of the bed entirely forgotten. I could see. I could see!
I quickly scanned the surrounding area. Wait a minute—this wasn't my room; this was Max's. What was I doing in Max's room?
I didn't give myself much time to think about it. I could see now; that was all that mattered. I studied the blue walls and green comforter with delight. A book lay on the wooden dresser. I picked it up and read the cover: Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince. It was mostly green with purple lettering and featured a boy with glasses and an old man. I remembered hearing Max talking about this one. Apparently, it was all the rage among the non-mutant people of America.
As I put the book down, I studied my hands. They were smaller than I thought they were. The skin was slightly chapped, too. That was odd—mine usually weren't. I let it slide.
Just then, I realized that I had no idea what I looked like. I was dead curious—who wouldn't be? I wondered why that hadn't been the very first thing I had thought of. I let my gaze drift down to the rest of my body, expecting to see long, lanky legs and a flat, chiseled stomach.
The legs were long, as I had anticipated, although they were still a little shorter than what I had expected. My stomach, I could see through the outline of my shirt, was flat and hard. And—
Wait a minute.
Where did those come from?
I looked back down at my clothes. These pants were not mine. This shirt was not mine. And those—
Those were definitely not mine.
Slowly, dreading what I might see, I inched my way over to the bathroom mirror. Praying that I was wrong, that I would see the strawberry-blond hair and blue eyes that I was told I had, I braved a glance in the mirror…
…And Max's face stared back at me.
Max was gaping back at me.
I was Max.
I was Max?
I reached up to the blond-streaked hair, to the chocolate brown eyes. I ran my fingers over my—her face. All real. I felt it all. What was going on? I was in Max's body? How on earth had this happened?
My thoughts flipped back to the explosion. I remembered somehow losing control of the bomb, knowing that it was going to explode, yelling at Max to get out of there. Running beside her. The explosion knocking me off my feet, feeling like I was going to die. My spirit being pulled out of my body. Fighting to live. My spirit diving into my body… and seeing myself lying there, my unseeing eyes glazed over. And then nothing.
All of a sudden, it clicked. I had almost died, but fought back with my will to live. My spirit was going to re-enter my body… but I guess it entered the wrong one. How on earth was I going to get back to mine?
Staring at the mirror in horror, I began to panic. And, much to my dismay, I let out a loud, piercing shriek.
There was silence for a moment before I heard quick footsteps. I suppressed a groan. That would be Fang, right on cue.
"Max?" he called, his voice tense with anxiety. "Are you okay?"
Fang stopped as he saw me staring at the mirror in abject terror. "Was it Eraser Max? Is she back?"
Eraser Max? Max was an Eraser?
His arm came up around me and he forced me to look him in the eyes. "Look, Max, you're not an Eraser, whatever the mirror might show you. I know that. You know that." He paused. "You'll be okay," he said, sounding almost as if he had said those same words to Max before. "I promise."
It took all of my extreme maturity not to gag. I had always had my suspicions about Max and Fang—those midnight conversations weren't nearly as quiet as they liked to think—but this was a little too much for me. I turned away from Fang.
"That's not all, is it?"
I nearly jumped in surprise. Did he always read Max this well?
Could he tell that I wasn't Max?
This could be a problem…
"Max?" There was his voice again, bringing me back to reality.
I attempted a smile, but I think it turned out as more of a grimace. "I'm fine," I said. "Really."
"Are you sure…" he began. I stopped him.
"I'm fine," I told him once again, a hint of exasperation creeping into my voice. "Now, if you'll excuse me, I have to change."
Fang had the decency to redden a little bit at my words. I gently pushed him out the door, shutting it quietly behind him, and let out a slow breath. I turned back to the mirror.
I really was Max; Fang's actions alone were evidence enough of that. And if I was Max…
Was Max me?
I tore my gaze away from the face in the mirror and strode purposefully down the hall towards my own room. If I was right, then what I would find in there would confirm my guesses about what had happened to me and Max.
Seeing yourself for the first time after you've been blind for most of your life is strange. Doing this outside of your body is even stranger. But there is absolutely nothing weirder—or, oddly enough, funnier—than seeing yourself for the first time, outside of your own body, and watching yourself run straight into a wall.
My—Max's—head met the white paneling with a loud thunk, and Max stumbled and fell back. Groaning, she rubbed her forehead. "Ouch," she muttered.
I struggled to contain my laughter. Being blind does take a while to get used to.
"Hello, Max," I said as calmly as I could. She jumped in surprise at the sound of her own voice.
"What…" she began.
"I'm glad to see that you've met the wall," I smirked. I gestured to the paneling. "Wall, meet Max." I paused and turned back to her. "He's not very talkative."
She glared at me, a look completely wasted since she was facing the wrong direction. I fought once again to stifle my laughter.
I failed miserably.
Tears rolled down my cheeks and my stomach started aching as I collapsed in uncontrollable mirth. Max was not so amused.
"So you think this is funny, do you? Somehow, we're… I don't even know what's happened to us, and you're just sitting there laughing? Come on!" Max's voice rose, and her face was flushed from shouting. However, her little tirade only increased my laughter, as she was still facing the wall. Max scowled.
Finally, I managed to get myself relatively under control. Up until now, I had been freaking out about how to switch back, but after seeing Max run into the wall it occurred to me that perhaps I ought to enjoy this while I could. I stumbled out of the room, still snickering silently.
This was going to be interesting… Oh, yes, very interesting indeed…
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