Based on a Power Monkees story by the same name by the same author.
The warehouse fire was not too bad when Station 51 arrived, but it showed signs of becoming much, much worse. Johnny and Roy went inside to double-check for survivors.
"Hey Roy?" Johnny called loudly, so he could be heard through his mask. "C'mere, take a look at this!"
Roy joined his partner and his eyes grew huge. "What in the world....half these chemicals aren't labeled!"
"I know, and it's gettin' pretty hot in here," Johnny said. They looked at each other and broke into a run away from the drums.
But they were just a split-second too late. The drums burst with a deafening roar, and the noxious cocktail washed over both Roy and Johnny. Both screamed in agony as it leeched through their clothing and both reached instinctively toward each other.
When their hands touched, their screams grew worse.
Not more than two minutes later, Cap's arms folded around the man on the ground. He lifted him up and carried him out of the building. He sat him down on the bumper of the engine --- and blinked, doing a double-take. He checked the name stenciled on the turnout coat, then looked again at the man who was breathing oxygen, his eyes closed.
Whoa, Cap thought. How in the world did JOHNNY get ROY'S turnout coat?
He lay a hand on Johnny's shoulder. "You okay, pal?"
Johnny nodded. "...what happened, Cap?"
Cap did another double take. He waggled a finger in his ear. He could have sworn that was Roy's voice that came from Johnny's throat. "You got doused by chemicals. We're gonna ride you into Rampart in a minute, get you checked out." He licked his lips and asked. "Where's Roy, pal?"
"Right here." He lowered the oxygen mask and looked at Cap. "I'm right here."
Cap took an involuntary step backward. That was Roy's voice!
Then he looked closely at his friend, and screamed for that ambulance to hurry.
Johnny was looking up at him with Roy's azure eyes.
Brackett paused with his hand on the exam room door and sighed. He heard Johnny and Roy talking with Cap in there. Gonna be a full house, he said to himself as he went in.
His greeting died in his throat as he looked in the room. Johnny sat on the table, Cap standing beside him. Roy was nowhere to be seen. "....now hold on a minute," he stammered. "I heard...."
"You heard Johnny and Roy talking to me," Cap said. "That's why we're here."
His eyes flicked from one to the other. Finally Brackett just folded his arms. "Would one of you be so kind as to fill me in?"
"Well," Johnny began. "There was some kind'a explosion at the fire we were at----"
"--and somehow we both ended up in here," Roy's voice finished, coming from Johnny's throat.
Brackett's eyes grew huge. He stepped forward, letting out a low whistle as he took in the blue eyes gazing from the dirty face. "Get cleaned up," he ordered.
As Johnny hopped down, Brackett said, "Hold on. You said you're both in there? Johnny and Roy?"
"That's right, Doc," Johnny's voice said.
"Which of you seems to have primary control of the body?"
There was a pause and a silent debate, then Johnny's crooked grin appeared. But it was Roy's voice that said sheepishly, ".. uh...I seem to."
"Well, it seems we have an identity problem then. I have no idea what to call you!"
There was another pause, then Johnny's voice said quietly, "Neither do we, Doc." With that, he moved to the sink and began to wash his face and the front of his hair.
Cap walked over and said in a low voice, "I've been taking my cues from the voice --- when I hear Gage, I talk to him. When I hear DeSoto, I talk to him."
"But I need to talk to both," Brackett sighed.
The man at the sink turned around. "Then talk to us both," Johnny's voice said. "Cap's doing it right --- we think --- whichever one's speaking is the one to talk to."
Brackett shook his head. "You don't understand. I'm not talking about the minds....in some aspects, you are now one person. And that person is who I need to talk to."
The dark head bowed as a silent conversation went on. Then, with a sigh, the choice was made.
A new voice emerged from his throat. Johnny's in timbre and pitch, it held Roy's soft, shy speech pattern. "Gage," it said. "Call us Gage for the first name, DeSoto for the last. Cause till we can figure out how to undo this, that's who we are." The dark head suddenly shook almost violently. As it raised, the blue eyes were revealed to be swimming with tears. "No...." Gage corrected himself. "No, that's not right."
"What's not right?" Brackett said softly.
"It's not who we are." There was another sigh and Gage's blue eyes slid closed in sheer resignation. "It.... It's who I AM."
Joanne DeSoto raced through the halls of Rampart till she reached Dixie's station. "Dixie!" she gasped, grabbing the blonde head nurse's arm. "Roy...they told me he'd been hurt..."
Dixie's eyes grew huge. She came around and took Joanne's hands. Looking into her eyes, she said softly, "Yes, Joanne...he was hurt on a rescue..."
"Oh, G-d...where is he? When can I see him?"
"Joanne..." She pulled Joanne to the side and sat her down. "He's been changed --"
"Changed? What do you mean, changed?"
Dixie took a deep breath. "There's no way to explain this to you without sounding like I've completely lost my mind." She stood up and held out her hand. Come on -- you're just going to have to see this for yourself."
The black-haired form sitting on the bed hugging his knees with his head bowed over them was a familiar sight to Joanne. She spared him hardly a second glance, her green eyes scanning the room. "Dixie..." she said at last," where's Roy? I see Johnny, but..."
Dixie nodded at the form on the bed. "Right there."
Joanne frowned. "No he's not... that's Johnny!"
Dixie sighed. "They were bathed in a chemical cocktail. We're still analyzing it... We don't understand how, but Johnny and Roy were.... fused. That man is Roy. And Johnny. We call him Gage DeSoto."
Joanne lay her palm on the thick glass. "...oh, Roy..."
Gage looked up when the door opened. Seeing who was there, he immediately unfolded his body and stood up. He tried to speak, but only a whisper emerged. "...Joanne..."
She managed a smile. "Hello...um....how....how are you doing?"
A pale ghost of Johnny's charming crooked smile touched his lips. "Fine," he said, and she heard the musical blend of their voices. "I'm...I'm doing fine. ....You?"
She tried to manage a nonchalant shrug, but her eyes filled with tears. "I'm...."
He opened his arms. She, however, did not go into them. Confused, he blinked and lowered his hands. "Jo....this is so confusing..."
"Yeah. It is." She just stared at him. "Your eyes...are blue."
For some reason, that struck him as funny and he laughed Roy's laugh. He wiped his blue eyes and giggled. "...yeah, they're blue!" He ran a hand through his hair and she saw Roy's wedding ring on his hand. "I still love you, Jo."
"I know." She lowered her eyes. "And I still love you, Roy...I mean..."
Silence descended. Then his soft voice cut it. "...you still love Roy. Not me."
Her head snapped up. "I...I didn't mean it that way, I --"
He held up a hand. "It's okay, honey." With a sigh, he lowered it. "I think maybe it would be better for us both if... if I moved into Johnny's apartment."
"Gage," he corrected, turning to look out the window that overlooked the ambulance bay. "I'm not Roy anymore. I'm not Johnny anymore. I'm Gage DeSoto." He lowered his head. "Jo, unless they can reverse this -- and it's looking awful permanent right now -- your husband died in that warehouse."
After a long moment, her warm, soft hand pressed gently between his shoulder blades. "Then how come I see him in every move you make? How come I hear his heart in every word you say? My husband still lives...G-Gage... and I still love him."
His shoulders heaved and his voice was thick with tears. "What....What if they can't reverse this, Jo? What if I can't be just Roy anymore?"
There was no hesitation whatsoever. "Then we'll deal with it. Together."
Gage turned and hugged her close. He was trembling. "I love you so much, Jo..."
"I love you too...."
His eyes closed. "But I am still moving into Johnny's apartment." He broke the embrace. "If they can reverse this, then I don't want any of us to carry any guilt... you know both of us love you in different ways -- but if we do anything while I'm like this ----"
Joanne nodded. "And if they can't...will you marry me?"
He laughed slightly and wiped the tears from her face as she did the same to him. "Of course!"
Brackett walked into Tom Barnes's office. "You wanted to see me, Tom?"
The psychiatrist smiled up at him. "Kelly, it's good you could come." He gestured at the chair in front of his desk.
Brackett sat. "So you've been working with Gage?"
Tom sighed. "That's why I called you. This is quite the unique case."
"Tell me about it," Brackett sighed. "Two souls sharing a body with characteristics of both..."
"Any progress in identifying the components of the cocktail?"
"None yet --- once we do, though, then there's the matter of how to undo such a total fusion --"
"And time is running out."
Brackett's eyes narrowed. "Running out? What's that supposed to mean?"
Tom sighed. "It means, Kelly, that their minds and personalities -- their souls if you will -- are fusing as totally as their body has."
"What?" Brackett's jaw dropped. "Tom ---bottom-line it."
"Bottom line?" Tom spread his hands. "The bottom line is that if we can't un-fuse their bodies --- soon --- Roy DeSoto and John Gage will cease to exist as separate people. There will only be Gage DeSoto."
Sadly, the psychologist's words proved prophetic.
By the time they figured out what the chemicals were, what Gage would call The Fusion had occurred. John Gage and Roy DeSoto were now Gage RJ DeSoto.
He went through the paramedic re-certification and was soon partnered with Brice, who over the next few months underwent a sort of metamorphosis of his own.
After a few false starts, the prank war in the station was up and running again. It was during the aftermath of one of them that Gage broke the news.
He came out of the shower, his hair streaming in ebony rivulets down his face. He shook his head as the sirens faded into the distance. "I swear," he laughed. "Chet and his flour bombs..."
Brice chuckled, shaking his head as he took in his partner's cleaned-up appearance. "For a few moments, part of me thought I was looking at your ghost."
"He did overdo it on the flour," Gage laughed as he pulled on a fresh uniform. "Hey... uhm, Craig.. I've been wantin' to talk to you."
Brice held up a hand. "Stop right there." He began to move out of the locker room.
"Where are you going?"
"If you want to talk to me, alone, about something as serious as the tone of your voice indicates, then I need a strong cup of coffee." He smiled the easy, bedimpled smile that had begun to show more and more. "Otherwise I doubt my system could handle the shock."
"Oh, ha ha ha, very funny," Gage mock-growled as he followed Brice into the day room and sat at the table. "Why is it that I always end up with the straight-men for partners?"
"You make it too easy," Brice said, handing him a cup of coffee as he sat down across from him. "Okay... I'm braced -- er, ready..."
Gage found himself laughing. Brice had a devilish sense of humour that he was just now beginning to show. "You should have met Sarah years before," he chuckled. "Married life has done you a world of good."
Brice raised one shoulder in a negligent shrug. "I love her," he said simply. "And she loves me."
"And that's ultimately what matters," Gage nodded. "That's what I want to talk to you about."
"Okay." Blue eyes met blue eyes. "Go ahead."
"I'd like you to stand up with me at my wedding."
Brice just stared at him and a slow smile spread across his face. "When?"
"Saturday afternoon. At the beach."
He nodded. "I'll be there. I'll pick you up at your apartment about ten..... you going to move into her house?"
Gage nodded. "Be like old times...back with Joanne and the kids...." He smiled and ran a finger around the rim of his coffee cup.
"It's like starting over, isn't it?"
Gage nodded again, meeting Brice's eyes. "I..... It's different. A lot different. The kids are adjusting well -- they want us back together -- Joanne has fallen in love with me, not just who half of me was ....." He sighed. "But still..... I'm reconciling two sets of memories into one.... I'm ---" He shook his head. "I'm going home, Craig."
Brice smiled. "Yeah?"
"Yeah." And Gage began to smile too. "I'm finally... Going... Home."
Brice reached across the table and squeezed his hand. "Truthfully, Gage DeSoto? You never left."
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