"WHY DIDN'T YOU TELL ME YOU COULD STILL READ MY MIND AFTER WE UNLINKED????" Peter bellowed aloud at Mike as he pointed their merged body toward the thinking perch.
Would it have mattered? Mike responded mentally.
"MATTERED??? Man, it's important! That means on some level we are still linked, and may never be two completely different people again!'"
We've lived with that fact since the original link. It's never bothered you before.
"I didn't know you could still read my freakin' mind! I knew I had a great deal of your personality, your mannerisms... but this! Man, no wonder Colby could merge our bodies so easily -- our minds were still partially merged!"
I thought if I didn't let you know, you wouldn't feel so bad about being...
"Being like you. You're right, I didn't. I took it for granted that was just a side-effect of the merge. But it's not, is it? You've been feeding me chunks of your personality to make me a better leader!"
Busted. And calming techniques to keep your temper under control.
"Something else, too. You've been sampling my personality --becoming more like me as I've become more like you!"
None of it's permanent, man. You don't often get the chance to crawl inside another person's head.
"I don't buy it, man," Peter snapped, landing on the abandoned lighthouse. The Texas accent he spoke with made the frustration really shine through. "I thought once we disconnected, I'd only have to deal with your memories and impressions! I thought that's why I was still so much like you! To find out that you're still able to get inside my head when I'm unable to get inside yours..."
You want me to cool it? Mike asked carefully.
Peter thought long and hard before replying. "...No... I guess not, for now. We don't really have any choice right now anyway. I'm just ticked because you didn't tell me you could still do that." He considered for a moment. "...Maybe I can use this to communicate to you when I have to talk to you in private."
I really didn't think it was a big deal. So I can read your mind and emotions, and I use it to help you lead. It's just...
"I dig," Peter said. "I really do. It just bugs me that we're still linked on a fundamental level, and I don't know if I'll ever have myself back again, as I was."
Especially if we can't get our bodies split, Mike agreed.
Peter moved their body down to look into the window of the lighthouse. In the reflection, Mike's face looked out at them, the only traces of Peter being the birthmark and glowing eyes. "I see what you mean," Peter said quietly. "Let's go get Valerie and get back to work."
Agreed. Let's take care of our bodies, and leave our minds till later.
"With you, old buddy," Peter said. They veered off and headed back toward LA.
Michael touched down beside the car. Valerie smiled at him.
"All right now?" she asked.
"Yeah," Michael answered. "I had some... issues to work through." He slid in and started the car.
"Did you get them settled?"
He shrugged. "Not...really. We agreed to put them off till we got separated again."
"We?" Valerie asked, grinning.
The dimpled smile split Michael's face. "Both of us. Peter and Mike. We're gonna get our bodies separated, then try to deal with what Peter just found out."
Michael pointed the car toward the Pad. "Mike can still read Peter's mind. He could since the original link. Peter can no longer read Mike's thoughts, however."
Valerie whistled. "One-sided, indeed! How is... Peter... taking this?"
"Livid. But adjusting." He sighed. "Which is something we hope and pray we don't have to do --adjust to being one person, like this, from now on." Michael looked at her, sadly. "Valerie... we want to be two people again!"
She touched his face, tracing the black sideburn. "I want you to be two people again, too," she said. "I miss Peter's blonde hair."
"I could bleach it..." Michael began.
The part of him that was Mike bellowed in his head, In a pig's eye, shotgun!
Michael laughed aloud. "...Or not."
They pulled up outside the Pad and Michael didn't bother with the stairs. He walked Valerie around to the verandah, out of prying eyes. Then he gathered her in his arms and shot up over the railing, lightly touching down.
No sooner had he cut off the glow in his eyes than he heard a horrified gasp from inside. Michael walked in, to find Babbitt standing in the living room staring at him. Obviously he'd come over to collect his money, and had inadvertently seen the display of Michael's powers.
Davy slid down the tornado staircase banister, and pressed a house payment into Babbitt's hand. "Here y'go," he said brightly. "Next installment of the mortgage." He looked at Babbitt. "Mister Babbitt?"
Michael took a step forward. "He saw me, Davy," he said.
"Oh, no," Davy breathed.
"Y-You..." Babbitt stammered, "you look like Mike... but you sound like Peter! A-A Southern Peter! You... flew..."
"I didn't fly, Mister B," Michael said. "I jumped. I jumped up the two top steps, and vaulted around the railing." He smiled, flashing the dimples without thinking. "I could've broken my fool neck..."
"Peter's smile..." Babbitt whispered, and Michael realized he'd made a mistake.
He erased the smile and said, "You're seeing things, Mister B. Peter's... Peter's out of town this month --family emergency in Connecticut." He put and arm around Mr. Babbitt's shoulders, gently steering him toward the door. "You're so used to havin' Peter around, that you're thinkin' I sound like him and smile like him."
"I'm... seeing things?" Babbitt asked, not noticing he was being led out.
"Sure!" Michael said lightly. He didn't realize it, but his voice was changing. It was Mike's voice coming out of the merged throat now. "See, I'm Mike, remember? Michael Nesmith. You know, tall Southern guy..."
Babbitt drew himself up to his full height, eyes snapping with sudden anger. "I know who you are, Nesmith." He ran a hand along his forehead. "I'm tired... I guess I was seeing things..." He straightened up again. "I'll be back next month for another house payment."
"We'll be here," Michael said brightly, waving to Mr. Babbitt as he left. Mr. B looked back over his shoulder once or twice, confused, and was gone. Michael closed the door and slumped against it, blowing air out of his cheeks. "That was too close," he said, and it was Peter's voice again. "We have got to find Colby and get separated. I don't know how much longer I can live like this!"
"So, where were you two off to earlier?" Davy asked Michael, as he nudged Micky's ribs in knowing comradery. Micky grinned at Davy and made kissing noises against his hand. Valerie looked at them sideways, raising an eyebrow.
Michael chuckled and looked down. "You mean we three?" Micky wiped the smirk off his face and listened to Michael. "We and Valerie went to Cartwright & Co to see what-all we could find out about Colby."
"Did you find anything useful?" Davy asked seriously.
"We found Colby's last known address on one of the main computers," Valerie explained. "Colby is a creature of habit, so he probably still lives there."
"We should go there," Michael suggested. "We have to confront him."
"I'm in," Micky said.
"All for one!" Davy said.
"And one for all," Michael said, and they were off.
The Monkees made their way to Colby's house and snuck in thru the cellar doors. The basement had no windows to let in light. Micky and Davy began to creep forward, hands outstretched in the darkness.
"Guys..." Michael said, standing by the doorway.
Davy bumped into some boxes. "It's very dark in here, very dark," Davy muttered.
"Uh, guys..." Michael said again.
Micky bumped into Davy. "Ah! Ah! I found Colby! I found him!" he whispered excitedly.
"Don'tdothat..." Davy said.
"Mike, I can't see!" Micky cried.
"That's MichAEL," Davy poked Micky.
"Guys, if you'll wait just a second--"
"Ow! Colby's got a gun!" Micky gulped.
Michael held up his hands and cast a light throughout the cellar. Micky and Davy turned, as best they could, caught up together in a pretzel, one breeze away from toppling all over themselves.
Micky looked at Davy. "Whew!" he breathed. "Don't DO that!"
"I'm not Colby, ya twit!" Davy whispered, smoothing his shirt and regaining his dignity.
"Will you quit foolin' and come on?" Michael walked by them, half-smiling, toward the stairs that led up to the first floor. Micky and Davy began to smack each other's arms, bickering silently, then fell in line behind Michael. They crept up the stairs...
When they got to the top, Michael stopped.
"The door's locked," he said. "We gotta get it open without making a noise. Davy?"
Davy squeezed past the others to the top step. He stood at the doorknob, holding it, and shrunk down to three inches in size. "I can't quite get it..." Davy said, hanging from the knob.
"C'mon, Davy, you can do it," Michael whispered.
"That's not easy, what I just did!" Davy complained. He closed his eyes and concentrated intently. He struggled a bit, then shrunk a bit more, to his minimum size of two inches. He swung back and forth for a second, then grabbed the edge of the keyhole. Davy reached into the keyhole and fiddled a bit. The door opened, and Micky jumped, holding his chest.
Davy grew back to his normal height. "Come ON..." he said, raising an eyebrow at Micky. Michael and Micky moved past him out of the basement. Davy and Micky quietly slapped each other for a second, until Michael looked back.
"Shh!" he whispered. "Time to be serious!" He turned and crouched. "Look. The light's on in that room over there." He indicated a room several feet away. The door was open and light spilled out into the hallway.
The three crept closer, stopping just short of the door. Davy shrunk to a foot tall and peeked in to the room. He pulled back. "It's Colby!" he said quietly. "He's looking at some papers."
"Those could be what we're looking for!" Michael whispered. "Let's GO, Monkees!"
All three Monkees jumped into the room. Colby looked up, startled, and instantly grabbed a stack of papers from his desk and threw them into the fireplace.
Micky caught the motion and made the papers invisible, then encased them in a field and drew them toward himself. He folded them up and stuck them into his jeans.
Michael flew over and grabbed Colby roughly by the arms. "Why did you do this to us?" he bellowed.
"To punish you for loving Valerie Cartwright!" Colby sneered. "After what her father did to me, all her family needs to be punished! Even her lover!"
"We're not lovers," Michael corrected him, gritting his teeth. He squeezed his hands more tightly around Colby's arms. "Reverse this! Change me back!"
Colby laughed. "I can't. I just burned the only papers that held the diagrams for the machine. And I didn't memorize them." He laughed as Michael released him, staggering a step backward.
Burned... Michael thought. I'm... we're...
For the rest of our lives.
His eyes began to glow. With a scream borne of primal rage, he lasered a hole in the ceiling and shot through it, vanishing into the late afternoon sky.
"Michael..." Davy said, looking up through the hole. He looked at Micky, and they both grabbed Colby.
"Come ON..." Micky pulled Colby along. "It's curtains for you!" he said melodramatically. He looked at Davy. "It's OK man." He pulled the top of the papers out of his pants so Davy could see they were the ones Colby had been reading.
Colby didn't see them and laughed evilly to himself, muttering incoherently. Micky and Davy took him downtown and turned him in, then went back to the Pad to wait for Michael's temper to cool.
When Michael returned to the Pad, he was still trembling. But now he was in control, two minds holding down two tempers. Micky and Davy were huddled over the kitchen table, poring over some papers.
"What are you lookin' at?" Michael asked wearily.
"Diagrams," Micky answered.
"What of?" Michael asked, dropping heavily onto the chaise lounge, covering his blue eyes with a hand --the picture of resignation.
Michael made an exasperated noise. "WHAT machine? I"m in no mood for guessin' games!"
Micky walked over to a large tarp-covered blob in the corner of the living room. "This machine," he said, pulling the tarp away.
Michael sat up slowly, shock and delight warring on his face as he dared to begin hoping again. It was the machine that had fused Mike and Peter into Michael.
"HOW?" he gasped.
"Micky rescued the papers," Davy said.
"Does it work?"
"Only one way to find out." Micky gestured toward the machine. "Any time you're ready."
Michael walked over to the mirror in the corner of the room and studied his reflection, Mike's face with Peter's eyes and smile. "Goodbye, Michael," he said softly. "We hope."
He joyfully flew over and settled in the center of the machine. Davy and Micky strapped him down. Micky checked the connections, and plugged it in. He glanced at Michael and chuckled.
Michael's fingers were crossed.
"Here we go," Micky said. He looked down at Michael. "Good luck, man."
Davy took Michael's hand. "Good luck Michael," he said hopefully. "We'll see you two again soon."
"Thanks good buddy," Michael replied. He laid his head back and nervously looked at the ceiling, waiting.
Micky threw the switch on the side of the machine and stepped back.
The disc Michael lay on began to spin. It spun faster and faster and Michael had to shut his eyes to keep from throwing up. A noise began to sound as Michael began to glow. The glow intensified to such a brightness that Micky and Davy had to shield their eyes. Then they realized what the sound was.
Michael was screaming.
The glow flared into a brilliant white light that left Micky and Davy seeing spots, even though their arms were over their eyes. Then the light was gone.
The machine began to slow its spin. At long last, it came to a stop. Micky and Davy quickly stepped closer to see what had happened.
Mike and Peter lay on the circular slab. Both had their eyes closed. Both wore the outfit Michael had been wearing --black shirt and blue jeans. Micky and Davy cheered and jumped up and down at the sight.
Then Micky stopped jumping. "Wait!" he gasped. "Wait, what if the merge isn't completely undone? What if there's some side-effects?"
"You're right," Davy gasped. "It's too soon to be celebrating... Mike? Peter? Mike, say something."
Mike moaned and sat up, hand going to his head. He looked down at himself and saw his own lanky form. He quickly turned his head to see the shorter man who lay beside him. He smiled and plopped back down with relief.
When they saw that smile, Micky and Davy breathed again. They were too far away to see the eye colour, but that was Mike's small, non-dimpled smile.
Mike looked over at Peter. His brow furrowed for a second as he leaned up on his elbows and looked closer. Then Peter's eyes snapped open and he sat up. He moaned, hand going to his head.
He looked back at Mike and grinned, dimples winking. "It worked," he whispered.
"It sure did." Mike smiled. The voices and respective accents were back where they belonged. Can you hear me? Mike thought to Peter. Finish this if you can: 'Simple Simon met a pieman....'
"Ahhh, it's good to be back!" Peter sighed happily. He hopped down. "Ohh, my head!" He put a hand over his eyes, hoping to stop the throbbing.
"Careful, now," Davy said. "Take it easy. It's good to have you back, mate." He and Micky patted Peter on the back. "You too, Mike," Davy said. "Come on off that thing." Mike got down and stood near Peter, welcomed by his pals. Micky looked him up and down.
"Oh-ho," Mike said, realizing. "Not the tallest anymore, eh?" He narrowed his eyes and smiled tiredly.
"Gladly, Mike." Micky smiled and rapped Mike's shoulder.
"So now what do we do?" Peter asked.
Mike looked at him. Peter? he thought. Guess you can't hear me.
"Destroy the machine for good," Micky suggested.
Peter telekinetically unplugged it, and Mike melted it with a laser beam. "That takes care of that," Mike said.
Except for one thing, Mike suddenly heard in his head. There's still the little matter of you bein' able to read my mind. Is that intact?
Mike turned to Peter. "It is on my end," he said. "Apparently it's still one-sided. I'm gonna think of a nursery rhyme, and you see if you can finish it." As I was going to St. Ives....
Peter had a blank expression on his face. "Nothing. I can't read yours."
"Can you receive impressions?" Mike thought an attention-getting signal to Peter.
Peter blinked. "Now that I got!"
"You think of something, and let me test this out," Mike suggested.
"Okay." Say what I'm thinking of. Do I have to do this all over again? Didn't I do this right the first time?
"Long Title," Mike said. "You're thinking of your new song."
"You're still linked," Micky breathed.
"Just like we were before this happened," Peter said. "We're normal again --or as normal as we four will ever be." He moved to the phone. "I'm going to go change and call Valerie and take her out to the ritziest place I know! This is gonna be a celebration night!" He then fixed Mike with a steely blue gaze. "And you stay outta my head for the night!"
"Unless something comes up," Mike said by way of promise.
Peter went up to the large bedroom the four shared. Once more the thought crossed his mind that they really needed to start looking into converting the empty downstairs room into a bedroom for two of them. The only hitch was they couldn't yet decide who would be moving down there.
He flipped the switch on the wall, and the large light fixture above flared bluish-white and died. Peter sighed. Night was falling and it would soon be too dark to see. There was a flashlight under one of the beds, he knew, but he could not remember under which. There were also light bulbs in the closet by Micky's bed, but he needed to find the flashlight so he could install the bulb!
Peter got down on his hands and knees and swept his hands under one bed. The light caused by his eyes' telekinetic glow might be helpful, but he was tired after the reverse merge and wanted only to find that flashlight...
Light suddenly flared under the bed. Peter smiled; he must have hit the switch with his fingertips. He slid his hand out from the bed to look underneath.... But his smile faded as a look of pure shock spread across his face.
Downstairs Mike was in mid-word when the thought came. Mike! Mike, get up here! Wait --slowly! Don't alarm the others --I don't want them to know yet --
Know what? Mike wondered as he got to his feet and finished his sentence. Then he said, "Pete's takin' a long time. I'm gonna go see what's goin' on."
"Why don't you check it out..." Micky tapped his temple in suggestion.
"Because I want to do it this way," Mike said rather snippily as he headed up the stairs. As he approached, Peter filled him in mentally on what had just happened, up to the moment he pulled his hand from the bed. "So?" Mike said as he came into the darkened room. He raised a hand, the glow from it lighting the space around him. "What did you see?"
Peter revealed his right hand which he had been concealing behind his back.
It was glowing exactly like Mike's.
Mike cut off his light and closed the door, then moved to the bed. He reached out a hand, fingertips stopping a fraction of an inch from Peter's glowing ones. "How?" he said in a strangled whisper. "That's... MY... power..."
"I don't know..." Peter suddenly whirled to face the door, eyes glowing blue. There was an audible klatch! as the door locked itself. Peter turned back to Mike, eyes returning to their normal shade of blue. "OK, I'm still telekinetic... but this...."
"Let's see," Mike said, sitting down on the bed across from Peter. "Make it brighter."
Peter held up the glowing hand. The brightness did not increase. "I.. can't."
"Make it dimmer." That Peter could do. Then brought it back up to the level it had been, and Mike suggested, "Change the colour."
"I... can't do that, either. Seems I'm limited to white."
Mike moved aside a little. "Fire a laser at the window."
"How do I do that?" Peter asked.
"I think 'Hot-Beam' and aim it at the place I want it to go."
Peter pointed at the window and thought Hot-Beam. Nothing happened. "Well," Peter sighed, lowering the glowing appendage, "seems I'm a human flashlight." He met Mike's eyes. "How do I shut it off?" ...And his hand stopped glowing. "Oh, so all I gotta do is think off and it goes off," Peter mused.
"Yep." Mike produced a yellow light from his entire body, illuminating the room so Peter could change the light bulb. Once the room was lit by electricity, Mike cut off his light.
Peter turned to Mike. "And if I can do this..." His hands began to glow, and he smiled, turning it off. "Your turn."
"What do you mean?"
"If I've got some of your light powers, it stands to reason you've got some of my telekinesis. Try it."
Mike sighed. "All right... but you'll have to tell me how."
Eyes... Peter thought. If he does have it... his eyes might not be chocolate brown much longer...
Mike caught that. "You mean if I really am telekinetic --my eyes might turn dark blue?"
Peter nodded. "The glow might disperse the pigment like it did to mine."
"There might not even be a glow, Pete. That might be unique to you."
"Still..." Peter TKd a small pocket mirror from the bedside table to his hand and held it up. Mike looked into it, at his dark eyes. Peter lowered the mirror. "Ready?"
"As I'll ever be," Mike replied. "How do I do it?"
Peter held up the mirror, silvery back to Mike. "Focus on the mirror and visualize it moving to your hand. That's all there is to it."
Mike looked at the mirror and it was all Peter could to not to gasp. Mike's eyes began to glow --a brown glow only a shade lighter than the chocolate color of his eyes. The mirror rose shakily from Peter's fingers. "Steady it," Peter guided. "Your nervousness is showing."
Mike stabilized the mirror and glided it to his hand. He looked up at Peter, a stunned expression on his face. "I... did it." The glow died. Mike looked in the mirror. "And my eyes didn't change color."
"Because your glow is brown. The blueness must be uniquely mine."
They tested Mike's limits. Objects five pounds or under, he had no problem with. Anything over five pounds was impossible for him to move. And he could not fly.
I wonder if this is permanent? crossed Peter's mind.
"I don't know," Mike answered aloud. "Our mental link sure seems to be."
"But this is physical," Peter said. "And remember Ronnie? A power that isn't meant to be will fade."
Mike smiled. "So we'd better enjoy these while we have them."
A knock suddenly sounded. "You guys all right in there?"
"Be my guest, Mike," Peter said, stepping aside and waving a hand at the door. Mike looked at the latch, smiling a bit. His eyes began to glow, and the latch lifted. Micky and Davy walked in.
"What's going on in here?" Micky asked.
Peter and Mike looked at each other and just smiled. Mike's eyes were still glowing, and Micky hadn't noticed! Mike closed his eyes and when he opened them, the glow was gone. "Just talking," he said.
Micky's eyes narrowed. "Sounds to me like you two are keepin' more secrets."
"We are," Peter said.
"WELL?" Micky demanded.
"What would you say," Mike began slowly, "if I told you I was telekinetic and Peter could produce light?"
"I'd say you were crackers," Davy said.
Peter held up a glowing hand. "Saltines, Ritz or graham?"
Davy and Micky just looked at each other, eyes wide and jaws hanging open. They were not telepathic, but one thought shot through both their minds at the same time.
Great! How do we deal with this?
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