Summary: When they discover a crystal Jonathan and Jordan find out what it's like to be each other.
Notes: Written for argentum_ls
"Just because Sarah is the first girl to be interested in me rather than you." Jordan kicked out at the grass.
"That's not it. Were you even listening?" Were they even having the same argument? Jon turned on his brother, but found Jordan wasn't even paying attention. Instead he was staring at something he'd found on the ground.
"What's this?" Jordan bent to pick it up.
Jon could see it glinting in the light. It was a clear crystal with a rainbow of colors inside where the sunlight hit it. He reached for it too, not wanting Jordan to get to it first.
They both touched it at the same time. There was a flash, Jon overbalanced and fell in the dirt. When his vision returned to normal he saw they'd both dropped the crystal. And that when he looked over at his brother it was himself he saw.
"Jordan?" That was weird. It was definitely Jordan's voice he heard, but Jon was the one speaking.
"Jon, I…" Jordan blinked and frowned, as weirded out as Jon was. "I think we've switched bodies."
"What?" That didn't make sense. "That's science fiction. It can't happen in the real world."
Jordan shrugged. "Like Dad's powers. They're science fiction too."
Shit. Jon sat up with a sigh. "How do we switch back?"
"It must be something to do with the crystal." Jordan gave it a cautious look. "Maybe if we touch it at the same time again?"
It seemed like it was glowing a brilliant white now it wasn't hidden in the grass. Jon reached out for it, Jordan counted to three, and they both touched it.
"We must be doing something wrong." The frustration showed in Jordan's voice. Although it also sounded like Jon, which was so weird.
"I don't know what." Jon threw the crystal onto the ground, where it bounced before landing with the pointy end in the dirt. Why was Jordan expecting him to have all the answers?
"We'll ask Dad." Jordan picked the crystal up and shoved it in his pocket.
Jon glared at him. Why did he get to carry it? "Fine." He tucked his hands in his pockets and they started walking home.
They hadn't left the farm, but it was a big area and therefore a long walk. Jon didn't even remember coming this far. But then they had been arguing. Jordan couldn't see why he should stop complaining about the amazing life he had where he had powers and a girlfriend who loved him. What more did he want?
But Jon kept quiet about it now. If Jordan wouldn't see reason - or even listen - on the walk out, he was hardly going to on the walk back. He didn't even glance in Jordan's direction because it was too weird seeing himself.
Once they were at the house Jordan made sure to slip inside first and shout for Dad.
But it was Mom who came out of her office. "Your dad's dealing with an earthquake in Japan right now. What's up?"
Her attention was taken by Jordan pulling the crystal from his pocket. It was more colorless, now it was inside, like it was nothing special.
"What's that?" Mom asked, in the same tone she used when they'd done something wrong. It wasn't even their fault, this time.
"It's a crystal we found." Jordan said it as if it was unimportant.
If he wasn't going to explain, Jon would. "It made us switch bodies."
Mom studied each of them, frowning. Then she sighed. "Have you tried to make it switch you back?"
"Of course," Jon said. They weren't stupid.
"It didn't work," Jordan added. Even though that was completely redundant because obviously it hadn't.
"Right. Then we should put it somewhere safe in case it switches anyone else." She strode to her office, and Jon and Jordan followed. After rummaging around in a cupboard for a minute she pulled out an ordinary brown box. But it didn't look ordinary when she opened it.
"Is that lead-lined?" Jordan wondered.
"Why do you have a lead-lined box?" Jon asked.
"Never you mind." She held it out and Jordan dropped the crystal into it. Mom closed it with a clunk.
A gust of wind heralded Dad's return.
They trooped out to meet him in the kitchen. He frowned at Jon and Jordan. "What happened?"
"There was a crystal. It made us switch bodies," Jordan explained.
Mom passed the box over to Dad, who opened it and raised his eyebrows.
"Where did you find it?" He shut the box.
"Out by the edge of the farm. That way." Jon pointed. "It was hidden in the grass."
"It is Kryptonian?" Mom asked.
Dad nodded. "I have been doing some work out that direction recently. It could have stirred something up. Although I would have thought we'd have found any crystals hidden out there by now."
"Why do the Kryptonians have a crystal that makes people switch bodies?" Jordan asked.
"I've never seen this one before, but I've heard of it," Dad said slowly.
That made Jon pay attention.
"I think it's an Empathy Crystal." He and Mom shared a look that Jon didn't understand. "What were you two doing when you touched it?"
They both hung their heads, but Jon answered, "Arguing," in a small voice.
Jon snapped his head up. Dad definitely knew something.
"You'll switch back after a while." Dad sounded nonchalant about the whole thing.
"How long is a while?" Jon asked, a lot more worried.
"I don't know." He shrugged. "Depends on the two of you."
That was such a non-answer. Although Jon knew better than to voice that thought.
"Go, hang out, it'll be fine." He waved in the direction of the stairs.
Mom was giving Dad an odd look. Why was he so unbothered by this? It couldn't only be because he wasn't the one who had switched bodies.
Jon sighed and trudged upstairs, with Jordan following.
Once upstairs Jon went into his bedroom and threw himself onto his bed. He stared at the wall, wishing he could go back into his own body and be done with this. Dad might think it was no big thing, but it was a massive tragedy. If they didn't switch back by the morning Mom and Dad might not let them go to school.
He had plans with Tegan after school. If he was in Jordan's body, he couldn't go. And it wasn't like Jordan could either. He would mess everything up with her. Finally, since moving to Smallville, he had a girl interested in him, not Jordan, and their whole relationship could end because he was in the wrong body.
Jordan was already playing a computer game: he could hear it through the walls. But it gave him an idea. He was in Jordan's body, so he must have Jordan's powers. Although he hadn't gotten any headaches from the super-hearing, like Jordan had when it first came in. Maybe it meant Jordan's body automatically knew how to handle it. And would also know how to use it.
He closed his eyes. The music and effects from Jordan's video game were as loud as if Jon was in the room. Jon even heard Jordan sigh. And the sound of the controller hitting the bed was a thunk, rather than the soft sound it would usually be.
Jon smiled. This was cool. Except he remembered how upset he'd been when Jordan had listened in on him. It wasn't like Jordan was doing anything interesting, but if their positions were reversed, Jon would be complaining.
Which made him feel guilty. He snapped his eyes open and stopped listening with Jordan's super-hearing. Maybe he could use one of the other powers. Super-strength meant he could lift his bed or something. But since he didn't want to rearrange his room, it wasn't worth bothering with. If he used the heat vision he'd get into trouble. What was the point of having super-powers if you couldn't use them?
Anyway, he needed a pee.
He made it to the bathroom, locked the door and turned to the toilet, then discovered a problem. He was about to open Jordan's pants and look at Jordan, not himself. It was too weird. He'd have to pee with his eyes closed or something. He definitely wasn't changing his clothes until he was back in his own body.
Jon felt defeated before he even made it to the kitchen for breakfast. Nothing had changed in the night. If they'd switched back he'd have found himself in Jordan's bed. But he'd woken up in his bed and his reflection in the mirror was still Jordan's.
He slumped into his chair only moments before Jordan did the same thing.
"Still not switched back?" Mom asked, over her cup of coffee.
"No." Jon wasn't that hungry, but bit into a slice of toast anyway. Food tasted weird in Jordan's mouth.
"No school," Dad said, finishing his breakfast. "Not until you switch back."
"I had plans with Sarah," Jordan groused.
Jon rolled his eyes. At least Jordan could be sure Sarah would wait until he could see her again.
"You tried to pretend to be each other for a day in Kindergarten once," Mom said, staring into the distance.
"We've never looked alike," Jon pointed out.
Mom nodded. "Your teacher noticed straight away."
Dad smiled at Mom's story. "Stay on the farm today."
Fine, whatever. It didn't matter, did it?
"And no video games," Mom added.
"What?" Jon and Jordan chorused, staring at her.
She ignored them. "Go out and do something. Or we'll find you something to do."
Certain that would involve chores, Jon headed for the door, Jordan right behind him.
"Stick together," Mom said, as they left.
"And don't touch any crystals," Dad yelled after them.
Like they were going to do that ever again.
Jon didn't know what they were supposed to do on the farm, on their own, in each other's bodies. There was nothing here and nothing to do. As kids they'd managed to find games to play out of nothing, but they were too old for that sort of thing now. And Jon was still too annoyed at Jordan.
He stuck his hands in his pockets and discovered what wasn't there. "I left my phone in the kitchen." He remembered having it in his hand, dumping it on the table, and then forgetting to pick it up. It meant he couldn't even continue texting Tegan.
He glanced back at the house, considering the idea of going back for it. But Mom or Dad might use that as an excuse to give him chores. Probably better not to bother, unless they went out.
"What are we going to do now?" Jordan was looking at Jon like he had all the ideas, but he didn't so he shrugged.
They might as well get away from the house, so he started walking. In the opposite direction to the way they'd gone yesterday.
Although Jordan stayed with him, he also pulled out his phone and started texting. With Sarah, probably. Jon sighed. It wasn't fair.
After a few minutes Jordan laughed. If this had been a normal day, Jon would have asked what it was and Jordan probably would have told him. But this wasn't normal and Jon didn't want to talk to Jordan. He sighed instead, which Jordan ignored.
Perhaps he could test out Jordan's super-powers. The heat vision was still out, but he could lift something heavy. Like a car. And then the reason he'd thought of a car became apparent as he heard one.
They were at the edge of the farm and there was a tiny back country road. The car wasn't traveling very fast and when it saw them it stopped and waved them over. There wasn't anything else interesting going on, so Jon nudged Jordan and jogged over, Jordan close behind.
The passenger had short gray hair, a gray beard and glasses. He was the sort of man the news always described as nondescript. "We're trying to get to New Carthage," he said, leaning out of the open window. The smell of cigarette smoke wafted out. "And I think we're lost. My phone battery died and he can't get a signal." He waved a hand at the driver.
"We don't really know how to get there." Jon hadn't really paid much attention to how you got anywhere by road, except around Smallville. And he hadn't been to New Carthage. "But my brother can look it up on his phone."
Jordan already had Google Maps open and was typing into it.
"Thanks, I appreciate it." The passenger smiled at them.
"Uh, so you back up and turn left. And then kind of…" Jordan squinted at the screen.
Jon leaned over, annoyed that Jordan was so terrible at giving directions. But it turned out they really weren't that obvious.
"Perhaps we can take a photo of your screen," the driver suggested. He was fatter and clean shaven with dirty blond hair.
"Sure." Although Jordan didn't show any sign of letting go of his phone. "I'm not handing my phone over to strangers," he said at Jon's look.
"Very wise." The driver grinned. "Don't worry, we'll get out. I'll be good to stretch my legs, anyway."
They both got out, the driver reaching into his pocket for his phone. Jon realized they were both very tall. And standing very close. Jordan gave Jon a worried look.
Jon tried to step away, but found the passenger was right behind him. Before he could step away, the man grabbed him and and held a handkerchief over his mouth and nose. It smelled horrible and his eyes started watering.
When he glanced over at Jordan he saw the driver had done the same to him. Jon tried not to breathe, but he couldn't hold his breath forever.
And then he remembered he had super-strength now. He tried to use it pull away from his attacker, but slid into unconsciousness instead.
When Jon awoke he had a headache and his hands were tied behind his back. The floor he was lying on was hard and cold, and there was a draft coming from somewhere. He wriggled into a sitting position, seeing Jordan doing the same thing, and took stock of his surroundings.
They were in a small room. It could be the office of a warehouse. The walls were solid at the bottom and glass above. As long as they stayed sitting down they couldn't be seen unless anyone looked in. He could hear voices coming from outside the office, although not what they were saying.
It was dusty too, he thought, as he heard Jordan cough.
"You okay?" He kept his voice to a whisper, not sure how far their voices would carry.
Jordan nodded, then winced. Probably the same headache Jon had. "But I dropped my phone before I passed out."
Which meant they couldn't call anyone. Or use Google Maps to find out where they were. "Do you still have the ELT?"
"Yeah. Do you think we should call Dad?" Jordan looked unsure about the prospect.
"We've been kidnapped," Jon pointed out. That was a pretty good reason.
"Yeah, but maybe we could get him some information first."
"Good idea." Jon nodded. "We're not in danger right now, so it's not like there's any rush. Can you hear what they're saying?"
"No." Jordan gave him an odd look. "But you can."
Oh, yeah. He'd forgotten he still had super-powers. At least with this one he'd tried it out before and knew it worked. He closed his eyes and focused on the conversation.
"I bet you thought I'd be in jail for a long time," the driver was saying. "I bet you'd forgotten me. But now I'm out and I want revenge on you, Lois Lane."
Jon gasped. He heard Jordan asking, "What?" but he ignored his brother, wanting to hear more and not being sure if he could concentrate on hearing two things at once.
"What do you want?" Mom's voice sounded like it was coming from the phone. If she wasn't here that was good. Sort of.
"You. In exchange for your sons."
He couldn't ignore Jordan pulling on his arm any more, but it was okay - he'd heard enough. He opened his eyes, turned his attention to the room and told Jordan what he'd heard.
"She'll definitely call Dad," Jordan said, and Jon nodded.
If all they had to do was to wait until Dad arrived, that wasn't too bad.
Except there were footsteps coming closer and the door was wrenched open. The driver seemed even taller, from their position on the ground. He had a lit cigarette in one hand and his phone in the other. It was one of those cheap dumb phones. But must be on speaker because he held it closer to both boys. "You mother wants us to prove we have you."
Jon bit his lip. He should say something clever that let Mom know something useful. If she'd been kidnapped she'd be able to think of something. But he couldn't. He didn't even know where they were.
Jordan didn't speak either.
The man sighed. "Do I have to do everything myself?" He leaned down, reached over to Jordan and pressed his cigarette against Jordan's arm.
It was only for a moment, before Jordan lurched backwards, crying out in pain.
"Don't you hurt him!" Jon was quickly on his knees, putting himself between Jordan and the driver.
"Don't hurt them!" Mom said, at the other end of the phone.
The man grinned. "Come alone." And stabbed at the off button. But at least he left the office, slamming the door on his way out and making the walls shake.
Jon turned to Jordan, worried. "Are you okay?"
Jordan took a couple deep breaths before he spoke. "I'm fine." He frowned. "You don't look okay, though."
"My eyes are burning," Jon admitted. They weren't watery though, which is what he'd have expected if something in the air was affecting them. He rubbed at them and then stared at his wrists. Somehow he'd snapped the rope that was tying them together without noticing.
Jordan's eyes had gone wide, though. "That's my heat vision. Jon, you have to calm down."
"Would it be so bad?" Jon closed his eyes, hoping that would help. Although if the heat vision came out when his eyes were closed would they do something terrible to his eyelids? He didn't want to think about that. "It would get us out of here."
"Yeah, and then they'd know one of us has powers and be even more determined to track us down."
Jon gritted his teeth. Jordan was right: that would be worse. And they didn't know where the passenger was or what they had out there to hurt Mom with. Mom and Dad would be on their way already, but how long would they take? What if Dad was at some emergency on the other side of the world or something?
"Take some deep breaths," Jordan advised and Jon did so. "You know, if things don't work out with Tegan, I've seen that other cheerleader watching you. What's her name?"
Jon opened his eyes, the burning subsiding.
Jordan had his face screwed up in thought. "Candice, that's it. I just… I thought you might have a chance with her. I don't know, I might be wrong."
"Huh." Jon remembered Candice. She was pretty.
"Maybe you'll have two girls fighting over you." Jordan grinned.
"Won't say no to that." Jon grinned back.
Although he turned serious a moment later. Here was Jordan reassuring him about his ability to get a girlfriend, when he'd been arguing with Jordan about his. "I'm sorry about what I said yesterday. About Sarah and powers and your life. I thought having powers would be better than this. But most of the time I can't use them and when I need to… It's kind of a burden, I guess."
"Yeah," Jordan agreed. "But it is kind of cool, though." He smiled, and Jon returned it.
Although he hadn't been listening, he heard a familiar car arrive. "Mom's here. Let's see what's going on."
They both went closer to the wall to peer though the bottom of the windows. Which was when Jon realized Jordan's wrists were still bound. He reached out to pull on the rope. It snapped easily, but when Jordan's hands sprung apart they touched Jon's.
Jon had a moment of dizziness and stumbled. He caught his arm on the door handle and cried out. When he checked his arm he found a cigarette burn. He was back in his own body.
He grit his teeth so he wouldn't make another sound. The burn throbbed now, but Jordan was probably right and it wouldn't have hurt so much if he hadn't knocked it.
It was too late, though. Jordan whispered, "Someone's coming."
Jon might not have powers any more but he could still do something. He crouched beside the door and took some deep breaths to try and damp down the pain.
As the door was flung open, he focused on the man's legs. As the man took a step into the room he raised his right leg, the one furthest from Jon. Jon gripped his left ankle and gave it a sharp tug. The man went crashing to the ground, landing with a loud thud.
Jon rushed over, and fell to his knees beside the man, scared he'd killed someone. It was the passenger from the car. After a nervous few seconds he saw see the man's stomach rise and then fall. He closed his eyes, relieved.
"Way to go, Mom!"
Upon opening his eyes, Jon peered out across the warehouse. It wasn't very big, but it was mostly empty. What Jordan was talking about was the driver, who was lying on the floor, and Mom, who was standing over him holding a taser.
"I'm glad the two of you are safe." Mom smiled at them.
Superman entered the door at the far end of the room and took in the two men on the ground. "Looks like you don't need me."
"I don't know how long they'll be unconscious for," Mom pointed out.
A blur and a second later, both men were bound, hands and feet.
"I'll call the police. And Chrissy." Mom headed for the door, and Dad walked over to Jon and Jordan.
"I'm proud of you two." He lay a hand on each of their shoulders. "You kept a cool head and helped your Mom. And resolved your differences."
"About that," Jon began. "What caused us to switch back?"
"It's an Empathy Crystal." Dad smiled. "It allows you to see what it's like to be someone else for a little while."
They had been arguing because Jon was jealous of Jordan. And maybe Jordan was jealous of Jon? He wouldn't have said that was possible yesterday, but now he was seeing that being not being special could be a good thing.
"Why didn't you tell us?" Jordan asked.
He shrugged. "You had to figure it out on your own. I knew you would, sooner or later."
But it would have been better if they hadn't had to be kidnapped to see it.
"What did Mom do to piss them off?" Neither of the kidnappers had stirred yet, which Jon was glad about.
"Helped catch a criminal gang. You know, the usual." He sighed. "I'll have to speak to her about her tendency to put herself in danger. But after we get that seen to." He gestured at Jon's arm.
The ER was busy, of course, and it was late when Jon got home. He let Mom fuss over him, then went upstairs to Jordan's room.
Jordan paused his game at Jon's entrance. "How's the arm?"
"Kind of numb." It wouldn't stay that way, but it was good for now. "I wish I'd gotten the chance to use the heat vision. That's the coolest power, you've got to admit."
Jordan grinned. "Mom still has the crystal, if you want to switch again some time."
Jon made a face. "Once was enough. It was too weird being you."
"Can't say I liked being you either." Jordan grinned. "You want to play? You can use Superman's heat-vision."
"Sure." Jon sat beside Jordan on the bed. "But you know I'm going to kick your ass."