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A Gentle Trade

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Perhaps the sensible option in this entire bizarre as fuck scenario would’ve been to avoid any mirrors, but he'd always been rather hopeless at being sensible. He stood in the hotel bathroom, where they’d fled earlier so they could get a little privacy, and stared at himself in the mirror. Or rather… At Gently’s body in the mirror. Gently’s familiar face, Gently’s broad body, the wiry white hair curling liberally over Gently’s shoulders and down beneath his undershirt. Perhaps he should’ve kept the actual shirt on, but he’d wanted to get the full view of what he was working with now; and, as established, he’d never been that good at being sensible.

He heard the door of the actual room opening outside, and it was only the shock of that - of knowing that Gently was about to return, in his body - that got him moving again. He snatched up the shirt from where he’d discarded it, and hastily buttoned it over his - Gently’s - chest. And then flung open the bathroom door, and darted out to where Gently was closing the door behind him.

Gently looked at him as he entered, wryly cocking his eyebrow at his speed, and he allowed himself a moment to dwell on just how weird it was to see a typically Gently expression on his face. But then he got over himself, and down to the actually relevant matter at hand. “So, did you get anywhere? Did the person you went to see have any idea what you were on about? Do you know how to fix this?”

‘This’ being the weirdest thing that’d ever happened to him, in ten odd years of being a policeman. It’d started off as a perfectly standard interview, just going to exert some pressure on somebody who might’ve had something to do with a murder in a park, and had escalated quickly. First their suspect had started to look shifty, and then they’d started to look angry, and then there’d been an odd kind of powder thrown in both their faces - he’d thought it’d been some kind of cocaine at first - and when he’d blinkingly recovered it’d been to find himself staring at Gently standing in his own body. Panic had quickly followed, and a private hotel room where nobody could find them soon after that.

“Yes,” Gently said, interrupting his panicked thoughts on the matter. He looked infinitely weary at all this, which was yet another strange expression to see on his own face. He was perfectly capable of looking tired, he looked tired a lot these days, but it was still strange to see Gently’s bone deep exhaustion on him. “But you’re really not going to like it.”

“I’ll like being stuck in your body permanently a lot less,” he snapped. He sounded a little unconvincing, like he was trying to convince Gently of something instead of merely stating the facts, but he breezed past it as best he could. “Go on, then, stop dilly-dallying. What is it?”

Gently stared at him for a long moment more, his eyes unreadable despite the fact that they were his eyes, and then let out a low sigh. He was expecting an in depth explanation, or at the very least a barked order that he’d find extremely unpleasant in a variety of ways. What he wasn’t expecting was for Gently to step forwards, grasp him by the hips and drag him up into a kiss.

For a long, sweet moment he found himself utterly swept away by it. Gently’s hands - his own hands - exerted the perfect amount of pressure on his hips, and his lips were firm and confident. Usually he was the one to take control in any kind of kissing, he tended to go for birds who liked that sort of thing, but here he found himself strangely eager to be dominated. He giddily allowed the entire world to narrow down to Gently’s hands on him, Gently’s lips on his, Gently’s entire attention focused upon him in a way that he’d always secretly longed for.

And then, in one sickening moment, he remembered reality. Remembered that he was kissing himself - and, even worse, a bloke - and jerked back in one sudden moment. He stared up at Gently, panting and angry and so uncertain that he half felt like sinking to his knees and weeping like a child. “What do you think-?”

“It really is strange to see your expressions on my face,” Gently said, watching him closely as he attempted to splutter his way to some kind of justifiably offended protest. It occurred to him, for a frenzied moment, that he’d never seen himself looking quite so calm or resigned. “This is the only way to fix things. I spoke to the witch-”

“The witch?”

“The very experienced witch who happens to know a lot about such spells,” Gently said very calmly, and answered his open scepticism with a deliberately unyielding look. Considering that he had a face made for yielding, or so he thought in his more helplessly self-loathing moments, the overall effect was an odd one. “She was very firm on this point. The only way to return the both of us to our own bodies is for us to engage in sexual intercourse. Fucking, in short.”

That was… Well, fucking hell. He froze under the force of that statement and all the niggling little implications contained within. The only way to get back to his own body was to fuck himself. Was to fuck a man. Was to fuck Gently, his boss and mentor and so much else besides. He genuinely wasn’t sure what part of that was the worst, but it all intermingled into something decidedly unpleasant.

“-Very much not ideal, but that’s the way it is.” He realized that Gently was still speaking only after a moment, and focused in on him again with some effort. He couldn’t feel too guilty about it, it seemed only the reasonable reaction when you’d just had a bomb dropped on you. “Look, maybe take some time to think it over. Another day or two won’t hurt, and might even give us both enough time to stop panicking and think of a way to get through this without-”

“No, I’m fine,” he said, and only realized that he’d spoken when Gently blinked down at him. This was all terrible, the most terrible thing that he’d ever faced, but underneath the seething horror he was surprised to find a strange kind of resolution. “I don’t want a day or two to turn into a week, or even longer. I want to be back in my own body as soon as possible.”

Gently smirked down at him. That expression, at least, looked somewhat natural on his face; although Gently managed to imbue it with a strange kind of dashing charm, while he usually managed to look like a prick. “Dislike my old banger that much, then?”

“No- I- that isn’t what I-” He ground to a frustrated halt, glared up at Gently imploringly. Usually, these days, he didn’t mind being teased by Gently all that much; but it seemed really fucking unfair that he was doing it in this tits-up situation, where he was already holding on to his control by a thread. “Do we have to do this now?”

“Force of habit,” Gently said, which wasn’t quite an apology but was probably about as close as he was going to get. He gave him one of those rare smiles, this time looking terribly strange on his own face, and reached out to ever so softly touch his cheek. “It won’t take long, I promise. And I’ll make it as good for you as I can.”

“There’s no-” that sounded more like the statement of a lover, instead of a man set on simply getting on with it. He struggled with himself for a long moment, and when he finally spoke again his voice emerged decidedly plaintive. “Can we just get on with it, please?”

Gently smiled again, the expression looking less strange on his face by the moment, and bent down to kiss him once more.

The kiss was a little more awkward this time, he was somewhat less inclined to get swept away by it after all, but before long he still found himself settling into it. He wasn’t sure if Gently was just following the muscle memory of his body or if he was genuinely good at this himself, but he supposed it didn’t really matter either way. Gently was perfect at this: his lips firm, his hands tender, and his tongue so talented that he swore he could feel his brain leaking out of his ears. It was all unspeakably pleasant; more than pleasant, wonderful in a way he could already tell would be trouble in the future.

Eventually Gently brought his hands up to the knot of his tie, and he found himself frozen again for a long moment. Only a moment, though. He’d had a lot of sex in his time, and while he was well used to pulling underwear out of the way and just going for it he was reluctantly willing to acknowledge that removing a few clothes was generally the right way to go. At first it was a little awkward, the both of them fumbling and getting in the way of each other, but they soon got over that. They both stripped themselves every single night, after all, the only difference this time was that they were doing it inin different bodies.

Once they were both naked he expected Gently to linger a little, but it turned out that the man had little interest in drooling over his own body. Instead he took his hand in an almost courtly gesture, one that made his heart seize in his chest in a decidedly strange way, and led him over to the double bed that loomed in the centre of the room.

Gently got him comfortably flat on his back, propped up with rather more pillows than he’d been expecting, and then crawled on top of him again. Kissing in this position was a little different, decidedly more vulnerable in a way that he wasn’t sure he liked one bit, but he soon found himself swept away by it again. He allowed Gently to feed his tongue into his mouth, clutched at Gently’s shoulders - god his shoulders were narrow, he really needed to find a way to bulk them up a bit - and in the end even felt bold enough to attempt to lift his legs and wrap them around Gently’s hips.

He wasn’t, admittedly, expecting the sharp flare of pain that resulted from such an action. “Ow!”

“Unfortunately I have rather more aches and pains these days than I’d like,” Gently said, drawing back to give him a wry look. He was so distracted by how wryness looked on his face, it was a little bit like his usual smart-arse expression but so much more mature somehow, that he barely noticed Gently rolling him over onto his side until it happened. “Let’s try something slightly different.”

He experienced a brief moment of offence, at being moved around like a sack of spuds, but that faded soon enough. He tilted his head back against Gently’s - his own - shoulder, God he really needed to do some weight training, and eased automatically. “Good thing I trust you, guv.”

Gently paused for a long moment, and when he spoke again his voice sounded strange. Kind of like he did when he was smiling, but also kind of like he did when he was genuinely affected by something. “A very good thing indeed. Now, this may feel a little cold at first.”

He stiffened, as he felt Gently’s fingers - his fingers, decidedly longer than Gently’s and he suspected a little more dexterous - press up against his hole, then forced himself to ease again as best he could. Gently, at least, was kind enough not to tease when it came to this. He was quick but thorough, pressing at first one finger into him and then two and then three until he was split all the way open around him. He’d never had anything this far inside of him before, and to his surprise he found that he rather liked it. After a frozen moment of consideration, he decided to pretend that it was the response of Gently’s body and absolutely nothing more.

He was losing his mind a little by the time Gently finally drew his fingers out of him. He made a low noise of protest, sounding terribly strange in Gently’s voice, and Gently made an absent-minded soothing sound and ran a tender hand along his flank. A moment later he withdrew, and he heard the unmistakable sound of a condom wrapper rustling.

This, as it turned out, was a constant process of tensing and easing. He stiffened again, just a little at the thought of such intimacy, and Gently quite obviously noticed. This time he didn’t content himself with just a hand ran along the flank, but instead reached out and gently pressed a hand over his belly just above his cock. “Hush now. Just breathe through it for me.”

A part of him wanted to start yelling, to start demanding how the hell he was supposed to just breathe through a bit of buggery, but he wasn’t much accustomed to disobeying Gently now. He did his best, breathing in as deeply as Gently’s body would allow, and closed his eyes as Gently got lined up and slowly started to sink into him.

It was awkward at first. Of course it was awkward at first, he was having a poker inserted up his bloody arse. Despite his best intentions, and they really were his very best intentions, he found himself tensing as Gently slowly and steadily pushed deeper into him. He’d never done this before himself, and judging by the tightness of Gently’s body he hadn’t done this in a few decades at least. This was all going to end in disaster, he feared abruptly, neither of them were going to orgasm and they were going to be stuck like this forever.

Mercifully, he always had been a tiny bit overdramatic. Eventually Gently got all the way in, and paused there for a long moment as he caught his breath. A moment, and then he leant up just a little to kiss him just beneath the ear and at the same time reached around to wrap a hand around his cock. It remained awkward for a long few moments and then, to his profound surprise, all that melted away on a sea of steadily building pleasure. It turned out that Gently knew his own body better than expected, well enough to know exactly how to take himself apart.

Gently set up a steady rhythm, thrusting into him at seemingly the perfect speed, and at the same time started wanking him off with a careful precision that he very much appreciated. He’d bedded a fair few birds, but it’d never quite been like this; he’d never felt quite so focused on, or quite so protected. Before long the sex grew good, and then great, and then - in a way that beggared belief - mind-blowing. Every time Gently kissed his neck he found himself gasping, every time Gently tugged at his cock fire flooded through him, every time Gently thrust into him his brain leaked steadily out from in between his ears. The entire world narrowed down to just the two of them, rutting on the bed like animals.

Gently came first, and to be perfectly honest he was surprised he’d lasted that long considering that his body was still perfectly capable of acting like a horny teenager when the situation called for it. He felt a surge of heat inside the condom, and felt Gently’s hand - his own hand - clench hard around him for a long moment… And then he was following over the edge too, a breathless surge that reduced him to a state of pure and floating pleasure.

At least for a long moment, and then things went decidedly weird. He’d taken drugs a grand total of once, during which he’d thrown up and then started crying about his dad catching him, but the experiences had a lot in common. It was like the entire world flipped upside down, his stomach lurching as floating blobs of psychedelic light flooded his vision. And then it ended, and he was back in his own body with the strong tang of copper in his mouth.

He felt… Strange. Bad in some ways, his face ached in a way he supposed was to be expected after being forced into unnatural expressions all day and his stomach felt decidedly unsettled from the entire experience, but not bad in others. Strike that, actively good in others; Gently’s body was still warm against him, and his come was warm over his hand, and his arse was warm where it was still tightly clenched around him. It all felt so much nicer than he’d ever expected.

He knew he should withdraw as quickly as he could, and probably surge into a full on panic attack a moment later, but somehow he couldn’t bring himself to. He managed to unwrap his hand from around Gently’s cock, but otherwise found himself lingering. He appreciated the feeling of being so deeply buried inside another person’s body, and found himself nuzzling up against Gently’s shoulder - with all that curly white hair, so very crisp against his cheek - almost as if he was embracing a lover instead of his very male boss.

Gently allowed this imposition for a long few moments, almost as if he was revelling in the illicit contact himself, and then cleared his throat in a decidedly amused fashion. “John?”

“Shit.” Reality kept flooding back in today, and each time was more unpleasant than the last. He jerked back, and only narrowly managed to stop himself before he pulled out of Gently’s body altogether; birds never liked it when he did that, and he supposed it wouldn’t be that different with a bloke. “Uh, sorry about that.”

“You would’ve been more sorry if you’d actually pulled out of me without a word of warning,” Gently said, a mild note of reproof in his voice. Perhaps that was one good thing about today, after everything he no longer felt inclined to be viciously humiliated by that. “Everything back right for you?”

“Yeah, I think so,” he said weakly. The panic had been delayed for a while, but now it was starting to surge inevitably through him in the most sickly way possible. “You?”

“Seems so,” Gently said, and lowered his hand to rest over his on his belly for a long moment - an undeniably soothing gesture, one that actually helped a surprising amount - before dropping it and shifting in a rather pointed seeming way. “Probably best if you actually get out of me now, as pleasant as this is. Slowly this time, if you please.”

He felt his cheeks go scarlet, and quickly moved to follow instructions. He rested his hand on Gently’s hip, and used the leverage to carefully pull out of him. Once he was done he hurriedly sat up to dispose of the condom in the bin beside the bed, and then experienced a heart stopping moment where he wondered if he should just dig it out again and go flush it down the loo. Buggery was legal now, but that didn’t mean that people wanted it going on in their place of business. His mind was suddenly filled with thoughts of being run out of town with pitchforks, of losing his job and being branded a sodomite for the world to sneer at.

Once he was out Gently carefully stretched, as if he was cataloguing his own litany of aches, and then turned over until he was facing him again. He watched him for a long moment, absorbing his no doubt entirely fucking obvious panic, and then let out a low sigh as if he was bracing himself for a storm. “You alright?”

What was he supposed to say to that? To actually say out loud his panicked thoughts of being run out of town was unthinkable, as was to share the strange mixture of disgust and triumph currently bubbling in his chest. He found himself stuttering for a long moment, before finally settling for giving Gently a hopelessly imploring look. “Guv…”

“John,” Gently said, his voice tender, and reached out for him. His hand settled over his cheekbone again, the same careful caress that he’d indulged in before, and to his profound surprise he found himself calming underneath it. Everything was terrible, and he wasn’t entirely sure of who he was now, but… At least Gently was here, steadily by his side just as always. “Don’t overthink it all now, alright? We can solve this case, and then see where we go from there. Nothing to worry about.”

“Yeah,” he said, almost inaudibly, and forced himself to meet Gently’s eyes. What he saw there made something in his chest ease even further, shifting from heart-pounding terror - the fear of the unknown - to something a great deal softer. He hesitated for a long moment, and then finally allowed himself to melt under Gently’s touch. “I’ll be fine.”

“Glad to hear it,” Gently said, and his smile - this time most definitely on his own face - was brighter than the sun.