"I wish I had not woke up today."
Garbage - Dog New Tricks
"Take a week off," PJ told them, pushed beyond anger to the calm on the other side. "Go and do whatever it is you people do when you're not fucking up my movie."
They went back to the hotel and lined up along the bar, a row of disconsolate faces and potent spirits.
"Fucking hell," Orlando declared, speaking for all of them. "Could that have gone any more wrong?"
They drank to that. The bartender refilled their drinks. It was going to be one of those nights.
At some stage in the ebb and flow, Dom found himself standing at the bar next to Viggo. Dom was waiting for another drink. Viggo was tilting his glass, watching the whiskey run over and around the ice. There was a little bubble of silence, and Dom felt faintly uncomfortable through the pleasant buzz of alcohol. Viggo did this to him. He was never quite sure how to communicate with him once it got past the usual banter. He felt slightly inadequate.
"Good whiskey?" he asked.
Viggo looked up, quirked that half smile of his. "About matches the rest of the day."
They laughed, and Dom's drink arrived, and he fled while he could.
Some time and many drinks later, Dom left the bar, meandered across the hotel lobby to the lifts. Liv was already waiting, in about the same state as him. They leaned against the mirrored walls of the elevator, laughing at each other. She managed to press the button for their floor on the third try.
Dom stared up at the ceiling, because that was where his neck seemed to want to be. It was mirrored too, and he stared at himself staring back. Same eyes that stared back at him in make-up. Same eyes that stared out from under Merry's curls. Same eyes that conveyed emotions he didn't feel for a character he wasn't.
He covered his eyes with his hands, rubbed at his face. It felt malleable under his hands. It felt like someone else's face.
He'd had too much to drink.
"Sometimes," he said from behind his hands, "I don't know who the fuck I am."
When he parted his fingers, Liv was nodding, slow and steady, as if to a rhythm he couldn't hear.
"Yeah," she drawled, accent even more pronounced. She raised a hand to her cheek. "This face... it's been so fucking many people. What belongs to me?"
Dom stared at her from between his fingers. "You."
Liv grinned, waving a finger at him. Mostly at him. "Yeah, but what's me?"
The lift bell rang, and they both started laughing. "Fuck this," Dom stated, letting his hands drop as the doors slid smoothly open. "I'm going to bed."
And that was really the last thing he remembered.
The thing was, though, Dominic was sure he hadn't set the alarm. So what the fuck was it doing waking him up? Jesus fucking hell, shut up!
Fourth try, he managed to hit something that made the infernal beeping stop. Then, he attempted to pry his eyes open, focussed on the devillish-red LED numbers. Six-fucking-thirty? He certainly never set the alarm for six-thirty. Not even yesterday, because he hadn't been needed until the afternoon.
It was as these thoughts passed sluggishly through his head that he finally realised what he was looking at. Sleek, black alarm clock on the bedside table, with a hand still resting on top of it.
A long-fingered, definitely feminine hand. The oval nails were elegantly manicured.
Dom lifted his hand.
The hand lifted.
Dom jumped, literally jumped, slipping backwards across the bed, stumbling out of the sheets in a clumsy slither, finally finding his feet.
Feminine feet. The toenails were painted. Feminine feet at the end of shapely, shaved legs. Under a little lace-and-satin nightgown that lay nicely over fundamentally female curves.
Dom looked up, across the room, to the mirror.
And, after a moment's stunned consideration, screamed. In a high-pitched, girlish voice.
It wasn't far across the room to the door, but it took him a minute to scrabble the bolt open. He never bothered with locking that in his room. This wasn't his room. Fuck, fuck, fuck. He finally got it open, wrenched the door open so hard it bounced off the wall with a thud, but he didn't notice, because he was already out in the corridor, gasping for breath. "Oh Jesus, sweet Jesus," he muttered, but that didn't help, because it wasn't his fucking voice.
As he stood in the corridor, frozen, the door to the next room opened abruptly, Elijah stalking out, tousle-haired and boxer-clad. "What the fuck is going on?" he shouted.
Dom just looked at him, opened his mouth, but couldn't think of a thing to say. He was starting to shiver.
And then, from further down the corridor, there came a muffled shout. "Holy fuck!" It was a voice Dom recognised. Recognised very well.
Elijah was frowning at him. "Are you all right?" He came a few steps closer.
Behind him, a door crashed open, and another male figure, also disheveled and wearing only boxers, ran into the hall. And stopped dead.
Dom pushed past Elijah, barely noticing he was there. Was almost running by the time he reached the other figure, swung his fist with all his momentum and shock and burgeoning anger behind it. Hit the target squarely on the chin, and the other figure went staggering backwards, falling over completely as Dom jumped him. They landed heavily, Dom grabbing at the other's shoulders. There was a voice shouting, an almost incoherent female voice. "Get out get out get out of my motherfucking body you bastard!"
Jesus, it was him.
Then there were hands dragging him up and off, pulling at his elbows and shoulder and waist. He watched the other figure simply lie on the floor, gasping for breath, and rubbing at his chin. A chin Dom knew. Shaved every day. Not today. There was a light covering of stubble rasping at every swipe of fingers.
"Fucking hell, Liv!" Elijah shouted at him. "Are you trying to kill him?"
Billy moved past them, crouched down. "You OK, Dom?"
Dom closed his eyes, and prayed to wake up.
But when he opened them again, he was still in the corridor, staring down into his own eyes. "Liv?" he whispered, voice cracking.
"What?" Elijah asked.
The figure - him, Dom, his body... shit - was accepting Billy's offer of help getting up, but those eyes never left his. He nodded. Liv nodded. Dom folded his hands - Liv's hands - under his arms. He was really shivering now. And his knuckles hurt. "What's going on?" The voice was barely a plaintive squeak.
"Well, that'd be my question too," Elijah noted.
"How about we get out of the corridor before we start discussing it?" It was Sean's suggestion, and Dom noticed Orlando was there too. Not to mention the curious crowd gathering in the corridor behind them.
Dom looked back to Liv in his body, who gestured towards the open door of the room that used to be his. Still was, really. Jesus, he felt like his head was on backwards. "Let's go, then."
Liv went first, shadowed by Billy, who cast a frown back at Dom. Elijah still had hold of his elbow as they shuffled in, Sean behind them. Dom could hear Orli in the corridor - "Show's over, folks" - before the door closed behind him.
Liv was sitting on the edge of the bed, Billy crouched beside. "You'd better call room service for an icepack," Billy noted, looking up.
"Two," Sean corrected, stepping past Dom and Elijah. "That was a fucking vicious right hook. How's your hand, Liv?"
It wasn't until Sean looked at him quizzically that Dom blinked. Oh, right, Liv was him. "Uh." He raised his hand, stretched the fingers out. The knuckles were red, but none of them seemed to be split. "Um, fine?"
"Two icepacks," Orlando declared, moving over to the bedside phone.
There was silence in the room as he spoke quietly to room service. Dom took the chance to shrug free of the hand Elijah seemed to have forgotten, make his way across the room and push a pair of jeans off an armchair, collapse into it. He felt drained, and his knuckles were getting worse by the second. Plus, there was an insistent throbbing at the back of his skull that reminded him that he'd been very drunk when he went to bed last night. Or Liv had. Or something. Fuck. Maybe if he could stop the world moving for two seconds, he could figure this out.
But the world kept moving. Orlando hung up the phone. "They'll be up in a few minutes."
"Well," Elijah said, and Dom looked up to where he was leaning against the wall, glaring in Dom's direction. "What the fuck was all that about, then?"
Dom opened his mouth, closed it again, desperately tried to think of something coherent to say. "Well, I just... it's sort of..." For Christ's sake, it wasn't even his sodding accent in that voice. His words came out with that lazy, smooth drawl he'd always quite liked about Liv's voice.
"It's personal." Yeah, and that was his voice, his accent. Dom looked over to Liv, still sitting on the edge of the bed. Knees together, her hands - his hands - curled around them. It was a Liv pose, shaped in his limbs. Dom looked down, realised he was sprawled all over the armchair. He sat up straighter, drew his knees together, tried to pull the hem of the little satin thing down.
"Personal?" Sean repeated, and Dom looked up again in time to catch his raised eyebrow.
Orlando was much more straightforward. "Lover's tiff? Since when were you two shagging?"
"We're not." They said it in unison, and then their eyes locked. Dom looked away, grimacing. God, what were they saying? What were they doing? What the fuck was going on? He ran a hand through his hair - a nervous gesture he hardly thought about - but got caught up in long, dark tresses that weren't his.
Elijah threw his hands up in the air, exasperated. "What, is it that time of the month or something?"
"Fuck you!" Liv cried. Liv in Dom's body. Elijah looked even more confused.
Dom buried his face in his hands, ginger with the injured knuckles. He almost jumped out of his skin at a warm hand on his shoulder, looked up wildly into Orlando's brown eyes, closer than he could remember ever seeing them before. He leaned hurriedly back, and Orlando blinked, then said: "Look, something's obviously going on. We're friends; just tell us, Liv."
That was it, that name, that soft concern in Orlando's eyes, that hand on his shoulder. Dom pushed Orlando away, surged to his feet. "Bloody hell, I can't sodding handle this. I'm not L-"
Then he caught Liv's eyes, wide and startled, and the words died on his lips. He wasn't Liv. But, then again, he was. And she was him. This was real. It was fucking real. He couldn't just deny it and have it go away. And God. What were they going to do?
They were saved by the bell: a knock on the door, and the call of "Roomservice". Nobody moved for a moment, and then Orlando went to answer the door. As if a spell was broken, Sean suddenly pushed himself out of the chair he'd taken.
"It's too early for this shit. I'm making coffee." He headed towards the small kitchen. "Lij, come and help."
Still frowning, Elijah nevertheless trailed after him. Dom looked back over to Liv, and was startled by how pale she suddenly looked. He took the two steps towards the bed, and shot a look at Billy, who must have seen something in the gaze, because he backed off, moved away to the far side of the room.
Dom sat on the edge of the bed, laid a hand uncertainly on the shoulder of the body he was still thinking of as his. Liv twisted, and suddenly there were arms around his neck, a chin against his shoulder. And wow, this was weird. Stubble against his neck and tugging at long hair, and a male back under his hands, all the wrong shape, and his head was still spinning.
"Fuck, fuck, fuck," Liv was chanting in his ear, a breathless mutter with an edge of panic, and he realised abruptly that she was barely holding back tears. He tightened the hug, pulled her closer against him - and crap, yeah, he had breasts now, didn't he? Shifted a little, searching for somewhere comfortable.
"It's going to be OK, Liv," he whispered.
"How the fuck is it going to be OK?" she hissed back. "This is the definitive not OK moment, Dom."
He took a deep breath, and she dug fingers into his shoulder. "Calm down," he murmured. "We have to calm down. What are we going to do?"
Liv took a deep breath, and released her hold, shifted back a little. Her face - his - was less pale now, Dom noted. "Our first problem is the other guys," she reasoned, voice quiet, concentrating on business to hold the hysteria at bay. "We need to tell them. We need someone to help us if we're going to pull this off."
"What do you mean, pull this off?"
"Being each other."
"Shh! Dom, think about it. Who knows how long we're going to be stuck like this? It might even be perm-"
"Don't say it."
She shook her head slightly, but didn't push it. "Anyway, they're going to figure it out anyway. They know you, Dom. Really well. We have to tell them."
"Have to tell us what?"
They looked up as one, like they'd been caught at something. Orlando, ice-packs in hand, was looking down at them with curious eyes. He tossed the ice-packs over. Dom caught one, Liv fumbled the other, and it dropped into her lap. She picked it up quickly, placed it against her jaw with a faint wince, and shot Dom a pointed look.
He looked away, down to the ice-pack he wrapped around his knuckles, and then over to Billy, standing by the window. Then, he realised Liv was right. Billy's eyes were huge, staring at him. At the pair of them. Something had tipped him off. Some body language, or quirk, or something. Liv was right; Billy had already figured it out. The others would, too. Better to tell them.
Dom sighed, and looked back to Orlando. "You'd better call Sean and Elijah back in here," he said. "This is the sort of thing I only want to have to explain once."
Orlando, frowning, went to do just that, and Dom jumped slightly as a hand took his. Big hand, male hand, enfolding his smaller, feminine hand. He smiled up at Liv, who was smiling back. He turned back to face the other four.
Who were all staring at him.
"You're not, like, pregnant or something weird, are you Liv?" It was Orlando, voicing the question that seemed to be bothering three of them.
Dom opened his mouth. Liv's mouth. But it's original owner beat him to the punch. "Um, actually guys, I'm Liv." Three pairs of eyes swung in her direction. Billy kept staring at Dom. "That's Dom, there." The eyes swung back.
"Whathefuck?" You couldn't beat Elijah for eloquence.
Dom took a deep breath, and spelt it out for them. "Somehow, this morning, Liv and I woke up in each other's bodies. She's in mine," Liv waved, wiggling the fingers of his hand, with an apologetic little smile, "and I'm in hers."
"How much did you two fucking drink last night?" Sean demanded.
And that was just the beginning.
It had been 6:30 when Dom woke to find the world - or at least his personal version of it - mind-bogglingly altered.
By 7, they were mostly convinced that this wasn't some insane prank that Dom and Liv were pulling.
By 7:30, they'd decided that they had to get the hell out of town while they figured out what they were doing to do. They had a week, thank God. They had their usual beachhouse. Sean and Elijah went ahead, ostensibly because they could pack quickly, and so they could get everything arranged at the house. Actually, Sean pointed out - quietly - that Elijah had said practically nothing since Dom had started explaining everything, and he was looking more wild-eyed by the second. It wouldn't help anyone if he exploded.
Dom was, frankly, a bit pissed off about that. What the hell did Elijah have to be freaked out about? He wasn't the one who'd played musical bodies. He wasn't the one who'd had to have lessons in putting on underwear, and had to give lessons in how to pee standing up.
Honestly, you'd think some things would just be intuitive.
Everything was a whirlwind of activity from the moment the decision was made, and Dom was very glad not to be thinking. Thinking was a bad thing. Thinking made him uncertain as to whether or not his head was about to fall off.
By 8, they were pulling out of the hotel carpark.
They'd been on the road half an hour when Liv, in the back seat with Billy, suddenly started rummaging around in the backpack she had back there. "I almost forgot."
"Forgot what?" Dom asked. He turned around, but couldn't see anyway, and just made himself feel queasy. He turned back to face the road, and jumped when Liv stretched her arm over his shoulder.
"Here. You have to take this."
He took the slim box from the hand. His hand. Wearing his ring. Even that small fact was enough to bemuse him. He asked idly: "What's this?" His eyes dropped to the packet as he turned it over in his hands.
For a moment, he was merely confused, and then realisation dawned. And it all hit him. Fuck! This was just too much.
"Stop the car," he growled.
"What?" Orlando asked, glancing over at him.
"Just stop the goddamned car!"
They came to a screeching halt in the grass and gravel at the edge of the road. Dom had his seatbelt released, and was out of the car before they were even fully stopped. He slammed the door behind him, stalked a few steps away from the car.
"Dom!" His voice. It was his fucking voice.
He whirled around. The others were getting out of the car, Liv closing her door, a water bottle in her hand. He advanced, waving the packet at her. "Is this your idea of a fucking joke? It's not funny. This whole thing is not fucking funny."
She didn't flinch. "You see me laughing?"
He stopped, only a couple of steps away from her. Orlando and Billy watched over the roof of the car. Dom looked down at the packet, back up at Liv. "This is the Pill."
"I know." She was so damn calm. "I take it every day."
"Yeah, you do!" Too much, too much. He had to move, had to turn again, pace away from her. "You fucking do, Liv. I don't have pills and wires in my fucking underwear and fucking five red days a month or whatever the fuck it is. I don't want it!" He was screaming now, and he didn't particularly care, shouting at the empty wilderness around them. "I don't want to be a fucking woman! I don't want to be you, Liv!"
"Jesus fucking hell!" He turned again, this time to witness Liv striding towards him, and God, did he always look that intimidating when angry? Even with the purpling of bruises up the line of his jaw. "You think I want to be you? You fucking arrogant bastard; there are two of us in this mess, you know." She was right up in his face, now, screaming mad, and he wondered if she was going to hit him with the water bottle. "You think this is some private joke God and me are playing on you? Fuck you, Monaghan."
He was taller now, he noticed, leaning forward. "I just want my fucking body back," he snapped.
"Me too," she shot back. "But it isn't fucking happening, now is it?"
Glaring at her, Dom became aware of the sound of another motor, looked up as a car slowed on the other side of the road. The driver had his window wound down. "Are you having trouble?" he called out, concerned.
Orlando waved cheerfully. "No trouble. Just a disagreement about directions," he called, and the other driver waved back, and drove on.
Liv sighed. "Look, Dom, you're freaking out. I'm freaking out. I've been freaking out since I woke up this morning. But who knows what's going to happen. Maybe we'll wake up tomorrow morning in the right bodies and it'll all be behind us. Just a temporary glitch. And if that's the case," she continued, a small smile starting at the corner of her mouth. His mouth. Whatever. "If that's the case, then I don't want my cycle to be completely fucked just because you wouldn't swallow a little bitty pill."
Dom snorted, looked down at the pill packet still in his hand.
Liv smiled, and held out the water bottle. "We're stuck in this together, Dom. We'll never make it through if we don't help each other."
Grudgingly, Dom took the bottle from her. "Yeah."
"Great!" Orlando shouted. "Now get your fucking arses back in the car, or we'll never get there."
Plumbing by dee