It starts, appropriately enough, with Adam and Jamie filming yet another blueprint for yet another myth. Adam's excited about the episode they're starting on; they're doing another round of mini myths, which should equal a whole week of smooth sailing for everybody involved. Of course, it doesn't work that way, not ever, but Adam's an optimist, and this almost looks like a vacation from where he's standing.
Where he's standing, currently, is next to Jamie, in front of the camera. "Have you ever heard the old urban legend about kissing your own elbow?" he asks, rubbing his hands together, with just a little bit of mad scientific glee.
"Yeah," Jamie answers, unhurried as usual. "It's supposed to be impossible. The human arm's not meant to bend that way."
"Aha," Adam says, holding up a finger. "But have you heard the second part of the story?"
"There's a second part," Jamie says, more a statement than a question; Jamie's bad at faking surprise on a good day, and this is already take three.
"Yes. And it says that if you do manage somehow, through some feat of self-torsion, you'll turn into the opposite sex."
Jamie is still not surprised; he sort of looks like he's just smelled something unpleasant. "If that's true, couldn't contortionists change all the time?"
"Maybe they know the secret, and that's why they don't."
Jamie shrugs noncommittally, the way that frustrates the hell out of Adam. "So, how do you wanna test this?"
"I think it's simple," Adam says, ready to get out of this segment and into something useful. "I'll try to do it; when that fails, we'll get a contortionist to come in and try to do it."
"We should do it in front of the high speed, so there's not any doubt," Jamie points out.
"Sounds like a plan," Adam says. He makes sure to hold for a few seconds, just in case. "Did we get it?" he asks.
Brian gives him the thumbs up. "You can go and play now, Adam."
"This is bull," Jamie says, amenably, as they're setting up the equipment for the high speed shots.
"Isn't it, though?" Adam replies. "But at least it doesn't involve stud finders and mind control."
"You liked the stud finder," he points out. "You spent ten minutes holding it up to your chest and giggling every time it beeped."
There's no way he's going to admit he was wearing a metal necklace that day for exactly that reason. "I don't giggle," he says instead. "So when it works, how long should I stay a girl?"
"I dunno," Jamie replies. "Six weeks?" he suggests, as flippant as he ever gets. "That seems like enough time to give it a spin."
Adam's about to ask him what the significance of that length of time is, but Brian's all het up to get started, so he saves it.
The test starts off just about how he expects it; he nearly strains his neck trying to make his elbow and his face get into the same geographical area. He knows he looks goofy, so he plays it up, twisting and pulling his arm this way and that, ending up with his arm sort of wrapped around his head.
"Want me to give you a hand?" Jamie- always ready to put Adam in pain, in a way that's really unnerving sometimes- asks.
"Yeah," Adam answers. "I think if I can pull it another few centimeters-"
Jamie comes over and tugs on Adam's arm, hard, a hand on his waist to brace him- and what happens next is a little complicated and messed up in Adam's head. Adam's busy laughing at Jamie and how much his arm hurts, but somehow his elbow bumps into his lips, maybe, or his face bumps into his elbow, but everything gets sort of funny and inside out for a minute, and maybe he blacks out for a second.
Adam's aware of three things, when he comes to:
1. He's on the floor and he doesn't remember how he got there, always a bad sign;
2. Jamie's sort of holding him, which is weird;
3. His goatee is gone.
In a few short hours, Adam goes from being Adam Savage, Basic Cable TV Show Host, to Adam Savage, Medical Marvel, to Adam Savage, Moderately Pissed Off Medical Marvel, to Adam Savage, Medical Marvel Who Is Going To Get His Fucking Lawyers Out Here Right Fucking Now If He Is Not Allowed To Leave The Fucking Hospital.
Jamie ends up driving him home, which is ideal. The hospital's gathered a crowd, and Jamie and Tory haven't got any compunctions at all about shoving their way through it or putting their hands over people's camera lenses; it's all very Hollywood, oddly enough. Tory plays pass interference while Adam climbs up into Jamie's truck, and they don't waste any time in getting the hell out of there.
The best part of all is that Jamie doesn't seem to want to talk about it any more than Adam does; his silence is the best thing he's not heard all day.
Jamie drops him off at home, where thankfully there aren't any paparazzi; Adam doesn't know if he could even deal with that right now. He goes to the refrigerator, drinks the first alcoholic thing he puts his hands on- a Corona left over from some barbecue, god knows how long ago- and heads up to bed.
When he gets to his room, he takes his clothes off- he takes his time about it, which is kind of different for him, since he usually just sort of throws things off wildly on his way to the shower or bed or whatever- and he knows he's stalling, but he doesn't know how to force himself to get with the program.
But eventually, finally, he's standing in front of the full-length mirror in his closet, completely naked; he checks himself out, top to bottom. The hair is more or less the same- fuller and thicker, which is nice, because male pattern baldness would be particularly inappropriate at the moment. His facial hair is just gone, except for a few wild hairs growing out of the underside of his chin; he rubs his hand over it, missing the familiar shape of his goatee. It draws his attention- his hand is too small, his wrists too delicate-looking, even though he doesn't feel any less strong than he did before.
He finally manages to steel himself, lowering his arm and taking a good look at the main event, so to speak. He hasn't got any chest hair, thank god. He's got some breasts, they seem to be pretty much okay, he's not really in the mood to rate them on a ten-scale or anything. He can't actually see, well, his junk, and that's really, really bizarre to him, for some reason.
"Well," he says to his reflection, hysterical laughter bubbling up inside of him, "there's your problem."
He refuses, just refuses to do any interviews or press conferences or any of that shit, not if they have anything to do with the fact that he's suddenly, apparently, unmistakably female (whatever that means). He still loves getting out and talking to people, craves interaction, can't sit still when he's alone- but he can't fucking stand being one note, famous for something he did on accident instead of any of the things he's actually gotten out there and done.
He keeps turning everybody down, and they keep calling; but it spreads so fast and so far that it's like an earthquake. He might have been the epicenter, but what does it matter, when the effects are so much more interesting?
And then Angelina Jolie switches on TV for charity or something, and the media loses interest in him entirely.
The fans don't, but Adam's been at enough cons to know that that's a never-have-never-will thing. The emails and the at-replies are immediate, but it takes a little while for the letters to start pouring in. A lot of them are death threats or marriage proposals, both of which he finds deeply unsettling, and neither of which he reads unless he has to. A lot of them are from the tourists- that's what they're calling them, the people flexible enough to change over on a Friday afternoon and change back before work on Monday morning. Tory probably qualifies as the first one; he spent a very distracting three days prancing around the shop, bothering Grant and Kari, before he got bored and switched back during his lunch hour, much to everyone's (Adam and Jamie's) relief.
Anyway, most of those letters are just as TMI as the marriage proposals and just as scary as the death threats, so they usually hit the trash just as quickly. Some of the letters, though, some of them are thank you letters; some of them are from people who insist that Adam has saved their lives. He doesn't know how he feels about that- uneasy, maybe, at the thought of being anybody's savior or role model or anything, especially people whose lives he never even considered, which he really just doesn't even have any frame of reference for.
He saves those letters anyway.
They set it all up, a whole Adam vs. Adam show, because Adam's only going to go through this if there's a good goddamn reason. They've got all these benchmarks from Adam's old- from his real- from his male body- swim tests and treadmill times and alcohol tolerance and he's kind of astounded at how much the Discovery Channel knows about him, at this point, but at least it's convenient.
The best part is, everything that makes Adam feel queasy when he thinks about it (and he does, and that's totally weird to him, being at odds with what is, ostensibly, his own body) is stuff that they can't show on TV anyway. Nobody even jokes about it, about making him do anything untoward in the name of science- which is good, because Adam gets the distinct feeling that Jamie would fire their ass on the spot, show or no show, contract or no contract.
"Whenever you get bored, let me know," Jamie says to him, about two weeks after it happens; they're building a rig to bat a tennis ball through a wall. A normal day, more or less.
"It's cool," Adam answers. "I've only got this weld left, then I'm gonna stop for lunch anyway."
Jamie's hands freeze, mid-sanding. "That's not what I meant," he says, disapprovingly, like Adam's fucking around.
Adam's so perplexed that he flips his mask down and goes back to his welding, making his last tidy seam across the metal before he puts the torch carefully aside. "Okay," he says slowly, putting his mask up again. "Assume I'm an idiot."
"When you get bored of being a woman," Jamie clarifies.
"Bored?" He laughs; he's still not used to how high it sounds when he does it. "This is for science, man."
Jamie looks at him like his head is on fire; it's not really a new look from him.
A lot of things are just as he expected. He swims faster and gets drunk easier and has to be taken aside by Kari and given the secrets of the sports bra before the running trial. On that note, he doesn't get as many people as he expects staring at his rack; it probably has to do with the fact that they're all staring at Kari's instead, which he really doesn't blame them for.
People look at him though, all the time. They look at his face, they look into his eyes when they talk to him, they look him up and down and all over and he swears they didn't do that before. He swears that a normal conversation used to be looking at the wall, looking at the table saw, looking all around the place, not just staring into people's faces all the time.
The really weird thing is that Jamie keeps looking at him.
It's not quite the same, of course, because god forbid Jamie ever do anything like a normal person. He doesn't talk to Adam's tits or anything so blatant; he just looks at Adam, all the time, long, sweeping up-and-down looks, like- hell, Adam doesn't know. Like it's totally not a big deal that he's constantly checking Adam out; like he doesn't care if anybody realizes he is or not; like he's got every right in the world to do it. In a different context, Adam can see how it would be hot, those sorts of proprietary glances, except that he's Adam and Jamie's Jamie, and they don't even make sense.
And the thing is, Jamie's the one who fucks up.
They're in the shop- they're always in the shop; it's kind of late, so they're alone, for once. Adam's been a- whatever it is that Adam is. He keeps reading all these philosophy books, and the more he does the more he thinks he has no idea what gender even is, and- here's the scary part- nobody else does either.
Anyway, he's not been a dude for over a month, and it's kind of starting to wear on everybody.
They're putting the tennis-ball-basher back together, this time in hopes of turning it into a produce-chucker, but it's not going back together the way it's supposed to. It's been not going back together for at least fifteen minutes now, which is really starting to harsh Adam's buzz about having the ability to launch a tomato at someone (okay, to have a tomato launched at him) at forty miles an hour.
"Pass me the lube," Jamie says, shortly. "I'm getting this damn thing in if it kills me."
"Why, Mister Hyneman," Adam flirts, outrageously, just to break up the tension, "are you coming on to me? Because I think it's working."
Jamie snorts- not with laughter, like Adam was hoping, but tense, like he's barely controlling himself. "If you want a quick fuck, go talk to Tory," he snaps, dropping the arm and walking away.
A number of thoughts go through Adam's head, all at once:
1. Tory? Really? Adam always figured Tory was into Grant, which would kind of preclude him being into Adam in his current state; then again, he also kind of figured Tory was into Kari, so maybe it's not as weird as it could be;
2. What is really weird is hearing Jamie say "fuck" without even hesitating;
3. "You totally like me!" Adam blurts out, and wow, was there any way for him to say that more like a fourteen year old girl?
Jamie's face goes red; he doesn't say anything, and he keeps walking.
"Seriously?" Adam just has to ask, following him, puppylike; something tells him it'd be a big mistake to let Jamie storm off.
Jamie still doesn't say anything, even though his ears are lobster-colored by this point.
"Is it, like," he kind of indicates himself, this body that he has, even though Jamie can't see, "the, uh- the new components?"
"I don't-" Jamie stops, falters, rounds on Adam. "I don't like to see you like this."
Adam's just about to ask him what the fuck that's supposed to mean, when the realization slams into him- Jamie's into dudes, Jamie's into dudes who are him, Adam, which is fifty times weirder.
"I'm still the same guy," Adam protests, not really sure why he's defending his new form, which he doesn't even like that much. "I just have a different body. Does it matter?"
"I thought maybe it wouldn't," Jamie admits. "Now I know it does."
"This is pretty high on the list of things I didn't know I didn't know."
"It comes with the territory," Jamie deadpans.
Adam's going to respond, but his watch beeps- he's got to leave now if he's going to be on time to get the kids. "We're gonna pick this conversation back up," he says, and it doesn't surprise him when Jamie sets his mouth into an unhappy line, everything about his body language saying the hell we are.
The kids think it's hilarious to call Adam "Mom."
That's because Adam has raised a couple of little assholes.
It all becomes a moot point at three o'clock in the morning, halfway through week five, when Adam fucks up.
It's not even really his fault. He wakes up from the craziest dream, all tangled up in his bedsheets; the far end is still tucked in, but he's halfway off the bed, somehow, and falling. It's almost sort of comfortable, kind of suspended like that, except that one of his arms is all twisted up funny. His elbow is right there, just in reach of his lips if he stretches; from somewhere in his sleep-addled brain, a voice says, "For the love of god, do it," and Adam does.
As soon as he comes to, he starts cursing; there's supposed to be another set of tests tomorrow, and he's going to have to go to the damn chiropractor if he twists his arm all out of whack again. The sporting thing to do, he knows, is change back and go through the last week and a half like he's supposed to.
But he's never been so happy to see his dick in his entire life, so he figures he's been a good enough sport already.
All he gets is disappointment and veiled relief when he walks into the shop in the morning, but he doesn't care, he so doesn't care, maybe because he already jerked off three times since waking up, just for the sheer rightness of it, the slide of his skin against his fingers.
And it ends, like it always does, with the two of them on their way to the blueprint room wrap up the special.
It's actually easier than it seems like it should be to divert Jamie as they're walking down the hallway, to crowd him up against the wall and kiss him; maybe it's because Adam's so much taller or because Jamie doesn't seem to have any interest in not getting kissed, but it works, and that's the important thing.
"It matters for you, I know," Adam says, preemptively, after they've parted. "Maybe it doesn't matter so much for me. Not that it doesn't matter to me. Cause this-" he sort of waves his arm, encompassing both of them- "matters a whole lot."
Jamie is just looking at him, and his mouth is unhappy, and Adam's heart maybe quails, just a little (or maybe a whole lot).
"Get back to work," Jamie says, after an eternity, his lips ticking up into a smile. "I'm not paying you to make out."
"You're not paying me at all," Adam points out, grinning, ducking in for another kiss. And it's warm and a little sloppy and Jamie's mustache is everywhere.
It's going to be so much better when his goatee grows back.