Thank you, Cloaks and Daggers, for this splendid challenge. My second prompt in the SNAFU challenge, as I chose to accept it, was switching bodies. I scoured the internet for a decent way to do this and managed to get really lucky in finding a way to make this work. But I won't post my inspiration for this story until the end. Hopefully some of you will pick up on it. :)
This is rated K for your reading pleasure.
Disclaimer: They aren't mine and I make no profit from this. But reviews are like candy and I love them. :)
Wally West didn't believe in magic.
So why he was standing in front of Zoltar the Fortune Teller at the carnival was beyond him. But hey, it couldn't hurt, right? Magic wasn't real anyway. It could all be debunked with science. And besides, Robin had already made a wish to be taller and that didn't look like it was ever going to happen.
He smiled to himself and looked around, the quarter in between his fingers hovering over the coin slot.
What do I want? What should I wish for?
That's when he heard Artemis laugh. His head snapped around at the sound. She was sitting next to Megan and laughing at something Robin must have said. Their eyes locked for a moment and she immediately looked away, her smile disappearing.
Wally rolled his eyes and scanned the crowd looking for Kaldur. He and Superboy had gone to get corn dogs before they left for the evening. He looked over at Artemis and noticed how her back straightened and she took notice of Superboy as they approached. The way she was admiring his physique wasn't exactly subtle. Then again, it's not like Supey would pick up on it anyway, he thought wryly.
While he had always been comfortable with the way he looked, he also hadn't been openly stared at by girls like Supey had, either. He flexed his hands and snuck a glance at his arms in the window of the Zoltar machine. An average-height, slightly-muscled teenager looked back at him. And with that his mind was made up.
With a wide grin he dropped the quarter into the slot. Zoltar's eyes lit up and his finger pointed directly at him, the mechanical voice asking what his wish was.
"I wish I were big, like Superboy, so girls would notice me," Wally answered quietly, so no one would over hear him.
"And so it shall be," the machine answered, before dispensing a small card. He plucked the card from the slot and turned it over.
Decide what you want and go for it.
He looked at the card and frowned for a moment. That's a lame fortune, he thought, tucking the card in his back pocket.
"Hey, Wally! We're heading back now. Let's go!"
With one more glance at the machine Wally turned and followed Robin.
Little did he know he would get his wish in the end.
He simply hadn't realized what he had actually wished for.
The next morning Wally opened his eyes and yawned. Sunlight spilled into his room through the half-open blinds and he sat up to stretch.
That's when he noticed something very peculiar.
Since when do I sleep in clothes? Where are my shorts?
He climbed out of bed and stared at his reflection in the full-length mirror on the back of his bedroom door.
He certainly got his wish, alright. Except somehow his wish had been severely distorted.
He was bigger than he was yesterday, sure. But instead of Wally West having bigger muscles and being several inches taller, like Superboy, he was now Wally West trapped in Superboy's body.
Blue eyes stared back at him in the mirror. He ran his hand along his.. Superboy's.. jaw, then through his black hair. He lifted the hem of the black tee-shirt and smiled widely at the sight.
Dude! I have a six-pack!
Uh oh. Mom!
He rushed into the bathroom and shut the door, completely forgetting about the super strength. The door slammed with a loud bang and the door frame splintered.
"Wally? What in the world are you doing?"
He turned on the shower and made some other background noise, hoping to camouflage his voice enough so she wouldn't notice anything if he had to talk to her. There was a knock at the door and Wally froze, Superboy's stunned expression staring back at him in the mirror.
"Wally, your father and I are leaving a bit early this morning so you'll have the house to yourself today. Have fun!"
He breathed a sigh of relief and glanced at the shower. Although he really wanted a hot shower, there was no way he was getting naked while trapped in Superboy's body. That was a sight he didn't want to see. Wally turned off the shower and groaned as he left the bathroom.
He really had to pee.
Nice. The computer even thinks I'm Supey.
Wally arrived to absolute chaos judging by the commotion in the living room.
"Wally.. I mean.. Superboy, please calm down," he heard Kaldur plead. "We'll get to the bottom of this, but you have to calm down." There was a loud crash and then a groan.
"Aw, man! That was my new laptop!" Robin cried. "Where's KF? Why isn't he here yet?"
"Because I don't have my super speed and had to use a teleporter," Wally said, entering the room.
"Wally?" Artemis asked, stepping carefully around the remains of Robin's laptop. She gave him a once-over, her face skeptical. "Is that really you?"
They all watched as Superboy's eyes rolled in a way that just screamed 'Wally'. Artemis stepped back in surprise.
"Yes, it's me."
"What's going on here?" she asked, turning around to look at Superboy. Wally chuckled at the sight of Superboy in his body. He looked incredibly uncomfortable sitting on the couch, a dark scowl on his face, hands tangled in his red hair.
"I hate being you," he said to Wally, glaring up at him. "I hate it."
"And you think I like being you?" Wally replied. "Nearly everything I touch winds up broken." He looked down at Robin as he collected the pieces of his broken laptop. "And, apparently you break everything you touch, too."
"He doesn't know how to control your speed, KF, so he suddenly accelerates and can't stop." Robin sighed and stood up. "And then he gets angry and it gets worse." He glared at Superboy.
"We haven't been able to figure this out yet," Megan added. "Do you have any idea how this happened?"
Wally could feel their eyes on him and he squirmed uncomfortably. He hadn't really thought about it that much since he woke up. How did this happen? He was the only one who was supposed to have looked different. He hadn't wished to actually be Superboy.
He looked up and studied Superboy, noticing how he kept bouncing his leg.
"Supey? You know that twinge you feel? That urge to move?"
He looked up at Wally and then back to his leg, which stopped moving. He nodded.
"Anytime you feel that, resist it. That's your..." he stopped and shook his head. "That's my body telling you that it wants to run. Fight that urge and it should help. And stay in small rooms. I need room to accelerate, so if you don't have the room? You literally can't run."
Superboy stood up and took a tentative step toward the kitchen. "Thanks."
"Sure," Wally replied as Superboy slowly passed him.
"So, Wally, what was your morning like?" Robin asked, glancing up at him. "It had to have been better than ours." He looked at Artemis when she huffed an irritated sigh.
"Yeah, because waking up to your voice is such a treat," she muttered.
"You know, Artemis, did it ever cross your mind that this isn't about you? Superboy is trapped in my body. And I'm trapped in his. Do you have any idea how much this sucks?"
She stared at him, wide-eyed at his frustrated reply. Wally ignored her, turned around and walked away. He was going to find Superboy.
If he was going to be stuck in this body, he might as well learn how to use it.
Superboy and Wally spent the rest of the day teaching each other how to use their strength and speed without any further destruction of property. They were on the Kent farm in Smallville, away from prying eyes and laughing colleagues.
"Now try it again. But this time, try not to leave a giant crater." Superboy bit back a grin, trying not to annoy Wally further. He was already frustrated enough. Wally took a deep breath and jumped off the roof of the barn. He concentrated hard, landing on the ground with a quiet thud and immediately dropping down to one knee into a crouch.
"Finally! I got it!" he yelled, dusting the dirt off his knee. "I can totally see why you prefer being you, Supey. That was so cool!"
Superboy cocked an eyebrow and disappeared, only to reappear behind Wally. "I like having your speed. Running that fast almost beats being able to pick up a school bus," he replied, an easy smile on his face.
Wally sighed and leaned against the fence surrounding the pasture. "It was me, you know."
Superboy looked at him and frowned. "What are you talking about?"
"It was me. I'm the reason we're doing this whole 'Freaky Friday' thing."
Superboy shook his head, missing the pop culture reference entirely. Wally sighed and Superboy watched as his cheeks turned red.
"Never mind," he muttered, waving his hand dismissively. "At the carnival last night. Every girl who walked by nearly tripped because they were all staring at you. I wanted to know what that felt like so I wished that I was you."
Superboy stared at him for a moment and Wally braced himself for an angry rant, secretly glad he was the nearly-invincible one during this discussion.
"People stare at me because because I look familiar. I probably remind them Clark Kent or Superman. I doubt they're thinking anything else," Superboy said.
Wally pondered that statement for a few minutes then started pacing back and forth in front of Superboy.
"That's definitely not the reaction I expected from you," he said, staring at the ground as he paced. "Not to say that I'm not relieved you didn't come at me fist-first. But you can't honestly say the only reason people stare at you is because you look like Superman? Really?" He stopped pacing and turned, facing Superboy.
"Look at you!" Wally gestured to the body he was currently inhabiting. "You're tall. You're strong. And you're ridiculously ripped for a sixteen year-old. Why wouldn't girls stare? Have you ever seen the way Megan looks at you? You're a moron if you haven't." Wally slapped a hand over his mouth in horror at the inadvertent insult. "Sorry."
Superboy glared for a moment, but let it slide. "Ok, fine. If I'm a moron then so are you." Wally shuddered uncomfortably at how well Supey used his facial expressions.
"How am I the moron here?"
Superboy just looked at him sarcastically, tilting his head ever-so-slightly. "Really, Wally?"
"Ok, fine. Ridiculous wish aside, why am I a moron?"
Satisfied with the admission, Superboy continued. "You've never seen the way Artemis looks at you." Wally stared at him, jaw dropping a bit. Superboy smiled knowingly. "We've all seen it. Even me."
Wally shook his head. "She doesn't even give me the time of day, so, you're wrong. It's not like it's a big deal or anything, but you're wrong."
"If it isn't such a big deal, then why wish to be me in the first place?" Superboy crossed his arms and leaned against the fence post, a victorious smirk on his face. Wally opened his mouth to answer, then snapped it shut again when he couldn't come up with anything.
"If you don't believe me, fine. But when we get back, just look at her. That's all the proof you'll need." He waited until Wally acknowledged the statement before taking off for Mount Justice.
Wally sighed and looked up at the evening sky.
How did things get so complicated?
All he wanted was to be like Superboy, to see what it felt like to be adored by girls for a change, instead of being asked to help with homework or being picked for a partner in school because he did most of the work.
It didn't help matters any that he couldn't say no to a pretty girl.
He dreaded the long trip back to Mount Justice, despite the fact he could use the teleporter again.
He hadn't thought about it much, but right about then, he really missed being Kid Flash.
Things just moved too slowly to be anyone else.
He cringed as the computer announced his greeting and Megan drifted into the room.
"Hey, Wally. How was your trip back?"
"Fine, I guess. It took a bit longer than I'd have liked, but there's not much I can do about it."
Her face fell at his remark and he flinched.
"Ah, I'm sorry, Megan. That came out all wrong."
"That's ok, it must be hard to be where you are. Are you hungry?" She pointed toward the kitchen. "We have food ready."
They headed into the kitchen, where Kaldur, Artemis and Superboy where sitting.
"Where's Rob?" Wally asked, grabbing a plate.
"He had to get back to Gotham. Some kind of emergency, apparently," Artemis said. "We thought you'd gone back to Central City already."
"Yeah, well, I don't think my parents would appreciate this," he gestured to himself, "coming home to them. It would be a little creepy."
"Are you going to stay here tonight?" Kaldur asked. Wally nodded.
"Yeah. This place has a better library I can use for research. I'm going to see what I can find to help get us out of this mess."
Superboy glanced up from his plate, catching Wally's gaze, and gave a grateful nod.
They ate in companionable silence while Wally pushed his food around his plate with his fork.
"Not hungry, huh?"
Wally looked up when Artemis spoke.
"No. Not really. Would you be?"
"I guess not, no."
They lapsed into silence again. A few minutes later, Superboy finished a sixth helping of spaghetti and leaned back in this chair.
"How do you do this, Wally? Eat so much all the time? I can barely keep up."
"You learn to pack snacks everywhere you can fit them," he replied. He looked up at Superboy. "I'm sorry. I never meant for this to happen."
Artemis, Megan and Kaldur looked at Wally, then at Superboy.
"What do you.." Artemis began.
"I know, Wally," Superboy cut in. "I know." He stood up and went over to the sink to empty his plate. His fork dropped to the floor and he reached down to grab it.
And that's when Wally noticed it.
Her gaze strayed to Superboy, and Artemis watched intently as he bent over, retrieved the fork and stood in front of the sink. He moved to the cupboard to grab a glass and her focus followed him.
Wally fought the urge to grin. Superboy was up and moving around in an attempt to show Wally just how often Artemis watched him. He turned, watching Artemis as she leaned her head on her hand, a small, if not content smile on her face as she continued staring at Superboy. Megan and Kaldur exchanged smiles.
"So, Artemis," Wally said, breaking her concentration. "What are your plans for this evening?"
He could see the exact moment she remembered she was only staring at Wally's body as the embarassment spilled across her face. She turned back toward him and cleared her throat, her cheeks turning a bright shade of red.
"I'm heading back to Gotham a little later," she stammered. "Actually, I think I'll go back now before it gets too late." She abruptly left the table and rushed from the room.
"Artemis, wait! I'm sorry!" Wally called after her.
"Whatever, Wally. Good night," she answered, her yell echoing down the hall.
The four of them sat in silence for a moment, staring at each other.
"It's about time you noticed, Wally. For crying out loud!" Megan blurted out.
"What?" he looked at Megan, then at Superboy. Kaldur spoke next.
"She does that every time you have your back turned, Wally. And she's been doing that for weeks now. Did you really not ever notice it?"
He stared out into the hallway with a goofy smile on his face, not hearing any of the laughter around him.
"I need to get started on the research. You know where to find me," he said, standing up so quickly he nearly knocked his chair over. "Later!"
Superboy just shook his head and smiled.
For being a genius? The kid was absolutely clueless sometimes.
Four and a half hours later, Wally blinked his eyes owlishly, squinting to bring the computer screen into focus. He had several books spread out in front of him, a notepad to his right, and was leaning his head on his left hand.
He had twelve pages of notes about things that might reverse his wish. But they all involved magic, so they couldn't possibly work anyway.
Face it, Wally. You wished for this. Now you have to deal with it.
The clock in the corner of the screen read 2:48 am. He groaned quietly and put his head down on the desk.
I'll research more in the morning. Maybe some sleep would do me some good. Just a few..
By 2:49 am Wally was fast asleep, drooling on his arm.
Something was poking Wally. And it was way too early for someone to be messing with him.
"So, KF. Do you always drool this much when you sleep?"
Wally woke with a start, swiping at the drool on his cheek.
"Rob, what are you doing here? It's like, four in the morning." He winced as he stretched the kink in his neck.
"First? You shouldn't sleep hunched over. It's terrible for your neck and back. And second? It's almost eleven, not four."
Wally leapt from the chair and hurried to his room to look in a mirror. He was so excited he completely missed the fact he made it to his bedroom in just under a second.
"I'm ME again!" he yelled triumphantly. He bounced on the balls of his feet, grinning from ear to ear.
He bolted from the mountain and ran as fast as he could, reveling at the wind in his hair and being back in his own skin.
Wally returned a few minutes later, his hair windswept and his grin beaming. He hurried to the kitchen to get something to eat and was startled by Artemis, who was at the counter making a cup of tea. She wrapped her hands around the mug and turned around. Wally stood in the doorway.
"Are you Wally now, or are you still Superboy?" she asked, eying him warily. Wally just stared at her, waiting to see if she could tell the difference. When he didn't answer she stepped closer and watched him. He squirmed under her gaze and clenched his jaw to keep from giving anything away.
"You're' you' again. You're Wally," she said, "I'm sure of it."
"What makes you say that?" He raised an eyebrow.
"When you're trying to hold something back the muscles in your jaw tense," she said. "You're doing it right now."
The fact she had studied him enough to notice that set Wally's chest aflutter and he grinned instantly.
"What are you smiling at?" She backed up a step and crossed her arms over her chest.
"And when did you notice that?"
Without hesitation she replied, "The night of your run-in with Doctor Fate. You were going to ask me something after we got back. Instead you went chasing after Megan, yelling something about tickets to a magic show."
Wally stared at her in disbelief, the smile falling from his face. She caught on to that? But how..?
"So what were you going to ask me?" Her voice was tinged with something Wally couldn't put his finger on.
"I.. well, I was going to.." he stammered. He didn't know how to handle the fact Artemis had him pegged and had for quite a while, evidently. And the very fact she picked up on such a detail scrambled his thoughts until he could barely remember to breathe. He blinked and blurted out, "It was nothing."
She narrowed her eyes and sighed. "Fine. Whatever." She looked him in the eye before turning on her heel and stalking from the room, a strange look on her face. Wally closed his eyes and leaned against the counter. What was he supposed to say?
Hey, Artemis. I like you and want to know if you'd go out with me. He bit his lip, frowning. Yeah, like that would happen. Knowing her, she'd say no and laugh just for spite.
He recognized the look on her face before she'd turned and left. It had been on his own face just yesterday when he didn't get what he'd wished for.
The look on her face was disappointment, clear and simple.
She'd been thinking about that moment since they got back from Salem. Artemis figured out what he wanted to ask her and she still wanted him to ask, weeks later.
He couldn't believe it.
He grinned, remembering the card from the carnival. He reached into his back pocket and read it again.
Decide what you want and go for it.
At that moment it all made sense. Like a punch to the gut from Blockbuster, it hit him.
He finally knew what he wanted. And he was going to go and get it.
Wally marched into her room and stopped in front of Artemis, their faces inches apart. Catching her completely by surprise, he cupped her face and brushed his lips over hers. Her eyes fluttered closed as he kissed her, her hands wrapping themselves around his wrists. When she didn't pull away he kissed her again.
He leaned away first, an enormous grin on his face at the sight of Artemis stunned speechless, fingers tracing her lips.
"Do you still want me to ask you that question?"
She narrowed her eyes again, but this time there was a smile twitching at the corner of her mouth.
"I'll see you tomorrow at eight."
"Does this mean I can be your ninja boyfriend? You know, without the part where you try and kill me, of course."
"Just get out," she growled, grabbing and throwing a pillow at him. She was still smiling.
"I'll take that as a yes."
And there you have it, folks. The sappiest and fluffiest piece I have ever written. Please make a run to your local pharmacy if you suddenly need insulin after that enormous amount of sweet. And my inspiration for this was taken from the movie "Big", with Tom Hanks.