Title: an eye for an eye, guitarist for guitarist
Pairings: Mike/Michael
Rating: NC-17
Word Count: 2789
Summary: A continuation of TAI TV 3.22. This won't make any sense if you haven't seen that.
Disclaimer: I admit it! I made it up! Also: Don't google yourself.
Notes: For soloecal, on her birthday. ♥


When Mike wakes up, the first thing he notices is hair in his face. And then he sees himself. After a few seconds of staring in disbelief, he leans forward and carefully pokes his mirror image. Then he jumps back because oh shit it’s awake.

It isn’t until Mike-but-not-really jumps too and says, “Holy shit,” in a distinctly familiar Australian accent that Mike realizes that they’ve switched. He looks down, first at his hands, then his arms, all the way down to his toes. There’s no doubt about it, he’s in Michael’s body.

“What the fuck?” Mike says, pushing his hair out of his eyes.

“You don’t have my voice,” Michael says, as if it’s only just occurred to him.

“No shit, Sherlock.” He pulls at his shirt, tighter than he’s used to wearing. How does Michael stand it?

“But how are you going to pass as me if you don’t have my voice?” Mike looks at him in horror. “I mean, at least until we figure this out, right?”

Mike lets that sink in for a few minutes. Pretending to be Michael. It can’t be that hard, can it? “C’mon mate, let’s head on down to the venue to practice,” he attempts in what he considers his best Australian accent.

Michael’s grimace tells him he didn’t sound as convincing as he thought.

“Shut up. I’d like to hear you do better.”

“Hey, guys. I’m Santi and I think we should do something crazy,” Michael says. He sounds like an Australian chain smoker who just entered retirement.

“I sound nothing like that.”

“I know, I can’t do it right. Your voice is kind of... raspy and like a raccoon, but I can’t get the American accent right.”

“A raccoon? No, no, man. You’re confused. A raccoon is the little animal with the—”

“I know what a raccoon is, Mike.”

“Apparently you don’t! You’re confusing it with, like, a lion.”

Michael gives him a dubious look. “Whatever. The point is that there’s no way people are gonna believe your voice in my body.”

“Or yours in mine,” Mike reminds him. A raccoon, really. “Maybe we can just say we’ve lost our voices? Butcher could probably cover some of the backup, or... we can work something out, at least for the next night or two.” Two nights. Mike really hopes it doesn’t take that long.

Michael nods, pulling at his hair. Mike makes a pained noise, and Michael stops immediately. “Sorry,” he mumbles. “It feels weird.”

Mike sighs. “I guess we should go find William. Work out something for tonight’s show.”


Mike’s next 48 hours are miserable.

“Are you okay, man?” William asks Michael – or Mike, so he thinks – after the show. “You were looking down the whole time you were playing tonight.” Mike watches as Michael waves him off, finds a piece of paper and writes, No worries. William studies him for a second with a worried look, then lets him walk away. Mike looks down when William transfers the worried look to him, pretending to be busy writing.

The second night, after a full day of trying and failing to come up with crazy ways to switch back, Mike is tired and cranky, and he knows Michael is, too. They play to each other for most of the show, preferring it to looking out at the crowd. It’s still awkward to see himself play guitar, but Mike loves the feeling of getting lost in the music, listening and working off of Michael’s chords.

“You guys were amazing tonight!” William congratulates them both on the bus after the show. Mike smiles so hard his face hurts, but then he turns to look at Michael and, surprised to see his own face, his smile falls.

“Maybe you should lose your voices more often!” Butcher jokes.

“No way, man,” Sisky protests. “It’s too quiet like this. I’m borrrred.”

“Hey!” Jack interjects. “I’ve got an idea. Maybe we can use this for TAI TV—”

And at that, Mike rolls his eyes and heads back to his bunk.


Not being able to talk to anyone sucks. It’s only been two days, but Mike doesn’t get many chances to be alone with Michael, so he has to pretend to be sick constantly. He wakes up on the third day of this hell and decides he’s going to explore the venue. He takes his green notebook in case he needs to say anything, but leaves a page on the counter for Michael with Mike’s voice written across the top.

After almost an hour of sneaking around and opening doors, Mike finds a storage room. It has all kinds of crazy shit, like costumes and props and a really intricate mirror. He finds an awesome shirt that looks like chain mail and, after holding it up to the light, decides to try it on.

He steps up to the mirror and immediately feels like an idiot. For a second, he had completely forgotten about the body switch. Feeling stupid, he pulls off the shirt and then... stops. He stares at the reflection in the mirror and suddenly lets himself think all the things he’s been trying to avoid thinking about ever since this craziness began.

He pulls a chair in front of the mirror, checks to make sure the door is closed, and then... He runs his hands across his chest, slowly, watching every detail in the mirror. He looks at Michael biting his lip and realizes it doesn’t look right. Michael probably wouldn’t do that. He ventures lower, unbuttoning his jeans and gasping at the first sensation. He takes in his reflection, mouth hanging open, and thinks, now that looks right.

He takes it slow until he can’t stand it anymore, and then he speeds up, thrusting into his hand and biting back his sounds as much as he can. It’s not that he doesn’t want to make noise – he’s pretty sure no one’s around – but he can’t help but wish his voice had changed, too. That voice – god – it’s the only thing that’s missing.

He closes his eyes and imagines that reflection kneeling down, staring up at him momentarily, then opening that mouth and sliding it down Mike’s cock until he starts writhing. He’s close, so close, and then he hears “Mike?” and thinks oh shit and oh God and he’s coming all over Michael’s ampersand shirt and Michael is standing behind him and this all so messed up.

Mike has the offhand thought of that must have been so weird to see but that thought is mostly drowned out by the other one, which is mainly oh shit oh shit what did I just do? oh my god oh shit.

“I... I can explain,” he starts, but winces at the way his voice rasps and also he can’t explain, what is he even talking about?

Michael just stands there, unblinking, for what feels like forever. Mike can’t help but wonder if his face always looks like that when he’s surprised. He hasn’t spent a lot of time in front of mirrors.

Suddenly, Michael moves inside the room and closes the door, locking it fast. Shit, was that lock always there? “No, I’ve got it. You’re right. We probably just need to,” vague hand gesture, “do something like that, right, to switch back.”

Mike has no idea what Michael is talking about and also the shock is wearing down to just complete mortification. “Something like what?”

“Something, you know,” another wavy hand gesture.

“Crazy?” Mike suggests, and hates the way his voice cracks.

“Yeah, I guess.”

Michael starts looking around the room, seemingly interested in the random stuff in there, so Mike takes the opportunity to compose himself. He can’t pull on the ruined shirt (and yeah, he’ll definitely have to get Michael a new one), so he pulls on the stupid costume shirt. At least it looks good on Michael.

“Maybe...” Michael draws out, as if he’s still working it out, “maybe if we kissed?” He turns to look Mike in the eye.

Mike laughs nervously and says, “Yeah, that is pretty crazy.”

Michael stuffs his hands in his pockets and looks down at the floor, tilting his body in such a way that Mike can see more of Michael in the stance than he can see himself.

“I guess it’s worth a shot,” Mike agrees, shifting from foot to foot.

Michael returns his gaze to Mike and moves forward. Mike tries to think about what this will look like from the side instead of from his perspective, but he leans in and—“No, no way, it’s too weird. I can’t kiss myself, man, it freaks me out.”

“Maybe if we close our eyes?”

Mike sighs, thinks about it, then nods. He closes his eyes and leans in and, of course, their noses bump into each other. “Ow.”

“Sorry,” Michael murmurs. He reaches up to rest one hand on Mike’s cheek. “Just… close your eyes.” Mike glares at him for a second, ready to argue, but then decides to comply anyway. “Now,” Michael begins, “I want you to picture,” and Mike can feel his breath over his lips, “yourself on this side,” and he’s getting quieter with each word, “and me on yours.”

“Michael,” Mike exhales, and then their lips are pressing together. And the thing is, he can imagine that they’re switched. Some details feel wrong, but with Michael’s soft noises mingling with his own it’s easy to ignore them. They pull apart and Mike takes a step back, feeling dazed and sort of dizzy, then he opens his eyes.

It didn’t work.

He exhales all at once and starts laughing, unable to help himself. This is the most ridiculous situation he’s ever gotten himself into but come on, how could it get any worse?

The door rattles for a second before sliding open – apparently the lock is broken, good to know – and Travis sticks his head in, saying, “Is that the Carden Cackle I hear?” His smile falls as he looks at Mike. “Oh. Seriously?” he asks, looking from Mike (who’s still shaking with now silent laughter) to Michael (who is remarkably composed but smiling a bit) and back to Mike. “Okay, so here’s what you have to do...”


“We need hot chocolate,” Mike tells William as soon as they get back on the bus.

“Oh. Oh,” he says, staring at Mike. “Why didn’t you say so, man? This happened to me and Sisky, like, four days ago.”

Mike pauses. “What.”

“Here you go!” William says cheerfully, throwing the box to him before darting off toward the door. “Nice shirt, by the way!” he yells from outside, right before the door closes.

Mike glares at the closed door for a few seconds, remembering his mission only when Michael hands him the mug. “Right,” he says, then makes the drink.


When Mike wakes up, the first thing he notices is Michael. And then he sees the camera.

“Sorry, man,” Butcher says, “but I’m trying to beat Tom in a ‘my band fails more than yours’ contest and I’m pretty sure this is what a win looks like.” The camera clicks chk-ch and then Mike realizes that Michael’s leg is slung over his own so that they’ve formed some sort of awkward pretzel. Mike pokes at Michael because he’s pretty sure he’d want to be awake to protest such a gross invasion of privacy. Also Mike’s leg is asleep.

Michael jerks awake and immediately leans away from Mike, taking his leg with him. “Aww,” Butcher whines. He glares at Mike and says, “Those first three better have turned out.”

Three?” Mike repeats, but Butcher is already heading back to the bunks. Mike considers chasing after him but the second he even thinks of moving leads to, “Ow, pins and needles.”

Michael rubs at his eyes and gives Mike a confused look.

“My leg’s asleep.”

“Oh.” Michael blinks at him. “Sorry.”

“You look like hell,” Mike points out.

Michael looks surprised for a second, then smiles. “You don’t look so hot yourself. Not as hot as you used to be,” he says, pulling at his ridiculous shirt.

Mike barks a laugh. “Seriously? That’s the best you can come up with.”

Michael just shrugs, and yeah, Mike’s missed seeing that smile.


That night, they both go back to singing their respective backup vocals and ignore each other throughout the set. Overall, they sound like shit. Mike is fully prepared when William comes up to him after the show, ready with excuses and promises that it won’t happen again.

He’s not so sure he believes what he says, though.


“So, we sounded terrible,” Michael says to him the next morning.

“I’m doing great, Michael! How are you?” Mike asks, narrowing his eyes. He’s now heard from Sisky, Butcher, Tony, Jack, and even Hunter’s brother Drew that never speaks that he sucked last night.

“Hey, it’s not your fault,” Michael amends. “I wasn’t paying attention, you know? I wasn’t listening to—”

“Stop, just stop,” Mike interrupts. “Don’t take the blame for this. You know it wasn’t your fault. Just… forget it.” He stands up from the table and leaves the bus to check out today’s venue. He doesn’t think about the hurt look on Michael’s face when he walked away.


He’s still busy not thinking about that stupid look when Michael’s stupid face appears in the doorway and reminds him. “Thought I might find you here.”

“In a broom closet?” Mike asks.

“You usually go to small places when you’re upset.”

“My bunk’s a pretty small place.”

“Small places where you don’t think people can find you.”

“Obviously I picked the wrong place.”

Michael shrugs. “I would’ve found you anyway.”

Mike stares at his shoes. He’s sitting on a bucket in a broom closet trying to figure out his life, and yesterday he was living it in someone else’s body. When did everything get so fucked up? “I’m sorry I snapped at you,” he says.

Michael flips over another bucket and sits down across from Mike. “So are we going to talk about it?”

“Talk about what?”

“How you took advantage of my poor, innocent body.”

Mike swallows and watches his foot as he scuffs it into the ground. “I don’t know what you’re talking about.”

After a few long, painful seconds of silence, Michael sighs. “I’m just mad I didn’t have the same idea,” he says.

Mike looks up at him carefully. “Funny.”

Michael doesn’t answer. Instead, his gaze falls just below Mike’s eyes and his mouth falls open just slightly. “Can you do me a favor?” he asks. “Close your eyes.”

Mike does, but after a few seconds of silence he regrets not asking questions first. But then Michael’s breath ghosts over his lips, a second’s notice before their lips press firmly together. Mike tilts his head up to get a better angle and – bam – their noses collide. “Ow.”

Jesus.” Mike says. He bites his lip and looks up at Michael, who is standing up straight again and rubbing his nose. “Sorry.” He stands up and takes a step toward Michael, resting his right hand on Michael’s cheek. “One more try?”

“Alright,” Michael says, placing his hands on Mike’s hips. “But just one.”


“Where the fuck are they?” William asks, staring at his watch. “We were supposed to soundcheck thirty minutes ago!”

“They’re probably still mad that we ganged up on them.” Butcher points out.

“Yeah man, even Michael was starting to get that look in his eye, and we didn’t even get Hey Monday to yell at him yet.”

“You think I took it too far?” William asks, biting his lip.

“I’m just saying,” Butcher starts, “it’s not like them to be this late.”

William sighs. “Let me call Tony.”

“Where the fuck are you guys?” Tony asks as soon as he picks up the phone.


“Mike and Michael have been waiting for thirty minutes, and we need you guys down here. What did I tell you about answering your phone?”

“I was—no, I mean, we’ll be right there.” William hangs up and stares at the phone. “I was avoiding his calls to cover for them, and they were there the whole time!”

“That doesn’t make sense. Why wouldn’t they call?” Sisky asks.

“Maybe they were making out,” Butcher suggests, waggling his eyebrows.

William and Sisky stare at him for exactly five seconds before they all burst out laughing simultaneously.


That night, Mike and Michael play to each other and stay perfectly in sync the whole time. They change up a bit of “About a Girl” on the spot and everyone compliments them on it later – even Drew.


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