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by Seuzz
Rated: GC · Book · Occult · #2183311
A high school student finds a grimoire that shows how to make magical disguises.
#1006145 added March 11, 2021 at 12:00pm
Restrictions: None
Previously: "The Breaking Point

A naked Will Prescott stares up at you from the filthy floor with an alarmed expression.

You also feel some alarm, though less than you might have expected.

Because at least this clears up one thing: If he's Will Prescott, you think, that makes me Jack Li.

Except that doesn't seem right either.

"What the—?" Will says. "Who—?"

"Where'd Chelsea get off to?" you ask, and shine the light from your cell phone around. But there's no one else in the portable, and you turn the light back onto Will when he doesn't answer.

"Will?" you say when he just stares up at you with a hanging jaw and bugged-out eyes.

"Who the fuck are you?" he croaks out.

You bite your lip.

I'm Jack Li, you want to say. I came up here to meet with Chelsea Cooper because she wanted to talk about some shit or other. I don't know what's going on with her and you, but—

But you do know what's going on with him and her. Because you also want to say, I'm Will Prescott, and I came up here because Chelsea wanted to talk to me about the way she came onto me last night.

Two very good answers to the question, Who are you? But the second can't be the right answer, because the guy who would answer it that way is sitting on the floor in front of you.

But you don't leap to any conclusions just yet. "Who are you?" you challenge him.

He runs a tongue over his lower lip. "Look, I don't know what's going on—" he starts to say.

"Just tell me who you are. What name do you answer to? Come on," you snort as he settles into a deep, mulish silence. "I'm just as confused as you are."

His frown deepens to a hot glare. "Jack Li," he spits out.

"Yeah, can you prove it?"

"Like how?"

"Tell me where you live. Phone number, birthday. Shit you're supposed to know—" You have to pause, lest you be overwhelmed by a sense of vertigo. "Supposed to know if you're Jack Li." But how can someone else be me? a voice shouts in your head.

Through gritted teeth he rattles off an address, some names, some dates.

"Fine," you retort, "but can you tell me who Jack Hunter is?"

He flinches. "Come on," you urge him. "If you're really ... you'll know who Jack Hunter is."

His eyes glitter with fury. "Guy I knew back in middle school."

"Yeah, and what was so special about him?"

He doesn't answer.

You feel surprisingly calm (all things considered), but you are also losing patience. "Come on," you chide him. "I already know the answer, I just wanna see if you know it too."

Will shows you his teeth. "He was the first guy I ever seriously crushed on!" There's murder in his eye.

"How much of a crush?"

Will trembles all over. "I took took my name from him!" he snarls.

You nod. Test passed. "Okay, now what can you tell me about Will Prescott?"

"The fuck how come?" he demands.

Can he really not know? You launch the camera app on the phone and turn the screen toward him. He frowns at the screen for a very long time before his eyes pop.

"We've got a real problem," you tell him, "if you can't tell me anything about the guy you look like."

* * * * *

But he can't tell you anything about Will Prescott. Not one thing, except the kind of third-hand knowledge Jack Li has about Will Prescott. You, on the other hand, are quite fluent about both Jack's life and Will's.

"So the trouble is," you summarize after you and he have passed the situation back and forth between you, "you look like one of us but think like the other one. And I look like the other one but can think like both of us."

He is on his feet by the time you reach this point, but neither of you are dressed. For one thing, you can't help feeling that you're in the grip of some kind of hallucination, so that it would be wrong to put on Jack Li's clothes while your ... companion ... put on Will Prescott's. You also feel a related, semi-superstitious fear that putting on Jack's clothes will make this weird situation permanent. Until you get things settled one way or another, you don't want to make any more moves than you have to.

But where you're genuinely unsure about what has happened—and ambivalent about who is who—the other guy is adamant. He is calmer than after he first woke to find a someone with Jack Li's face looking back at him, but he is still grim and unhappy, and he doesn't hide his suspicion that you (whoever you are) are somehow behind it all. You are finally forced to go along with him this far: You must really be Will Prescott, and you have somehow acquired Jack's memories along with his face and form.

Which maybe makes sense in other ways. Yes, you're perfectly comfortable thinking I'm Jack Li. But there's no getting around the fact that I'm Will Prescott is a much sturdier thought, and that Jack Li's memories only feel ... draped ... about you, while Will Prescott's memories feel like the thing that the other memories are draped over.

But getting this sorted out (provisionally) is just the start. There's still the question of how this happened, and what comes next.

Okay, clearly Chelsea had something to do with it. But there's no figuring out what happened until you find her, and there's no finding her until you decide what to do next.

So it's at this point that you finally get dressed. The other guy only has to climb into a t-shirt and some loose trousers, and he's already grabbed up his phone while you're still buttoning up a Hawaiian shirt over the white tee you're wearing underneath. You lay a hand over his while he's tapping in a text, and ask, "Whose phone should you be using?"

"Piss off," he snarls. "I don't know the password for yours." You shrug—it's a good point—and ask who he's texting. "Who do you think? Chelsea."

"You have her—?" You break off the question. Yes, he does have her real phone number, you remember. I remember her real phone number, though I've only used it a few times, and then in the last two days. "What do you expect her to say?"

"About what?"

"What do you think?"

He bristles. "I dunno."

"So what are you even going to ask her?"

He stops typing. Not that he had typed much. What is there to type? Hey, did you do some occult thing to me and Will that made us swap bodies?

"She was supposed to meet me out here," he says. "I was going to ask her where she is."

You shrug. You can anticipate her answer—

—and so you're not surprised by her reply: Wtf? Lol. Followed with, Lose my number ok?

"I always fucking knew she was a witch," mutters the other guy.

"So what now? I bet you don't feel like going out to the Warehouse"—that had been Jack's plan—"and I don't feel much like it either."

"You sure are taking this well," he growls.

"Yes I am," you reply with calm honesty, "because I'm taking it the way you should be taking it, if you're really— Jack." Almost you said, "If you're really me." "Are you sure you don't have any of, uh—" You point to your temple. "Because you're freaking out exactly the way the guy you look like—"

"Fuck you! I don't like this, you know," he says. "And I don't like the way you seem to be okay with—"

"I'm not okay with it. I'm just trying to keep my shit together." Keep your shit together, it seems to you, could be Jack's personal motto. "Come on." You grip him by the arm, even though he flinches from your touch. "If we're not gonna go partying, we can go back to my place. Your place. The Li residence."


"Because you have to spend the night somewhere, and you don't want to spend it at Will Prescott's, not if you're— You don't know how to act like, uh, me, do you?"

He shakes his head.

"There, you see? I don't know why, but I'm pretty sure I know how to fake my way through as you. Just try not to freak out when we get there, okay?"

* * * * *

At least he tries, though he fails. Not that Andrew and Judith Li notice. They are both very gracious to the friend that you bring home to spend the night, and if they notice the way he bristles and twitches, they say nothing about it.

But you give them a cover story anyway, telling them that "Will" had a humdinger of a fight with his mom and needs a place to cool down and crash for the night. That also (you hope) covers the whole awkward "sex" thing. Jack's parents know he's gay, and are supportive, but no one wants to think about—or to ostentatiously not think about—him sharing a bedroom with some random school friend. Funny, you think, that I'd remember to worry about that.

Once you're behind the bedroom door, you take your old phone back and text your mom, telling her that you're spending the night with Caleb, and you send Caleb a text asking for him to cover for you. When he asks what you're doing, you reply, Trying to get n trboule, tell u later.

"Leah wants to know where I am," Will announces after getting a text on his original phone. It rings shortly afterward, and half a dozen female voices blare out when he answers: "Jack, we need you! We want you!" they all shout, then collapse into a giggling fit.

Next: "Jack and Will

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