(Author's note: I had a dream in which Ornstein and Tempest swapped bodies and once I woke up, the thought wouldn't leave me alone, so I talked to kittycatcaptain on twitter about it and they provided some beautiful scenarios.
Well, and because the whole thing didn't leave me alone, I had to write it down. It is a oneshot because that very much ISN'T canon to the main fic. Please enjoy.)
"Are you ready, Ornstein?", Tempest asked, one hand lying on the golden gauntlet of the dragon slayer, while his other hand reached towards the bonfire.
Ornstein nodded and Tempest touched the bonfire, ready for the warp. With Ornstein's warp sickness, he had to make sure that he was ready to warp, to not accidentally vomit all in his golden armour. Certainly a sight that Tempest didn't want to see himself.
The duo had a long day braving through Lordran behind them and Tempest already looked forward to getting Ornstein to rest, to cook him a nice meal and let him sleep in a soft bed.
"Alright then, we'll be in the cathedral at a jiffy.", Tempest said and pictured the bonfire in front of the Princess' chamber until he felt the familiar feeling of getting thrown through time and space and the... not so familiar feeling of an intense nausea washing over him.
Weird... that was normally Ornstein's problem... maybe his warp sickness had rubbed off on Tempest? Tempest got down on his knees and put both his hands on the floor, leaving his eyes closed, taking a few deep breaths to stave the nausea away.
After the nausea had gone away, Tempest opened his eyes. Weird, the bonfire felt strangely far away from his point of view. Normally Tempest could just stare right into it, but now he was staring at it from above. He also could see one of Ornstein's gauntleted hands on the ground, near to him. When Tempest remembered correctly, Ornstein should have been to his right. He turned his head to see that Ornstein wasn't there.
"Ornstein?", Tempest asked, surprised by how deep the voice coming out of his throat was. That wasn't his voice... that sounded more like...
"Little Storm?" A higher pitched voice sounded left to Tempest. Tempest's gaze wandered to his left and there he saw... himself. Only now Tempest looked down at himself and saw that he was engulfed in the familiar golden armour of the dragon slayer.
It took him a second, but once he connected the dots, he shot to his feet. "Eh?!", he gasped out.
"Little Storm... stay calm...", Ornstein said, having both of his hands... or Tempest's hands?... in the air in a placating gesture. "We appear to have.. swapped... bodies. Surely there is an explanation for it... just don't panic, DON'T PANIC... keep it together, damnit..."
Ornstein's breathing got quicker and quicker and while Tempest normally would have tried to get Ornstein out of his rising anxiety attack, the weight of several almost forgotten feelings suddenly crashed down on him.
Ornstein's body was hungry and by hungry it meant that he was practically starving. His stomach felt like it was down in his legs. He also was thirsty and while it wasn't that bad, it made Tempest feel a bit light headed. It didn't help that his newfound height made him dizzy anyway.
However, that wasn't the most pressing feeling at the moment. There was a certain feeling in Tempest's abdomen that he couldn't place at first, especially not the tingling and almost painful sensation in his crotch area, but once it clicked, both of Tempest's (Ornstein's?) hands flew to his mouth or wherever Ornstein's mouth was behind the helmet and he gasped.
"Ornstein! How long have you held it in?!", Tempest asked and then made a mad dash to where he remembered a privy was.
"Little Storm, wait, you don't even know how to get out of my armour!", he heard Ornstein call after him, but right at this moment, Tempest didn't care, along with his rising anger how badly Ornstein treated his body.
A few moments later both Tempest and Ornstein sat on the floor in front of the privy.
"Well, that was awkward.", Ornstein finally said with a sigh after a long while had passed.
"Oh, but everything went out just fine, Ornstein.", Tempest said. "Though I can't endorse how poorly you treat your body. You need to tell me when you need a break."
"No, not... that.", Ornstein said and Tempest could see on his own face how uncomfortable Ornstein was talking about what had just transpired. "This whole thing.", he gestured down at him. "That we swapped bodies. We need... we need to talk to Gwyndolin about it!"
"Not before you... or I, I guess, … have eaten something!", Tempest protested and Ornstein gave him a glare. Tempest didn't even know that his face could make such an expression, his big blue eyes stared at him downright maliciously, but he couldn't help but think that it looked adorable. He found himself adorable. How weird. Maybe it was because he was stuck in Ornstein's body?
"I would rather talk to Gwyndolin right away, but I know you will insist. Can I at least ask you to eat a quick snack and cook a meal for me... or yourself... later?", Ornstein crossed his arms and averted his gaze. How much his mannerism stayed the same even though he was in Tempest's body was astounding.
"Yes, sure.", Tempest said and went to the kitchen. Ornstein followed him but apparently had trouble keeping up, because after only a few seconds he said: "Little Storm, wait!"
"Huh?!", Tempest stopped, then laughed and rubbed the back of his head, or more, Ornstein's helmet. "Oh sorry, I am used to always taking long strides to keep up with you, I guess I have to walk slower now."
"And I am used to taking little strides so that you can keep up with me.", Ornstein grumbled.
After they synced their steps with each other, they arrived in the kitchen and Tempest found an apple, wondering why Ornstein made a face at the fruit and then flipped the visor of the helmet open, biting into it.
The first thing he should have noticed was that the fruit got stuck in his little fangs that he now possessed, but Tempest was to smitten by the fact that he...
"Taste! I can taste things! I... I haven't tasted anything in YEARS."
Tempest was sure that he had tears of joy in his eyes once he devoured the apple, not only because of hunger, but also because of the sensation of taste. It had been too long. After he was done eating, he had to spend a while to get apple bits that stuck in his teeth, out with his tongue.
"I wanted to warn you from eating an apple, but you were too fast.", Ornstein said.
"I don't care. I could taste an apple again.", Tempest said, having a dreamy look in his eyes.
"Just to be sure, I want you to remove every bit of apple between my teeth before we switch back, alright?!", Ornstein said and gave him another one of this clearly not threatening glares.
"Alright.", Tempest just said, having to restrain himself to give Ornstein a pat on the head. Even though that was technically Tempest's body, that was clearly Ornstein in there and the urge to give him some affection was strong in Tempest.
"Let's visit Gwyndolin then.", Ornstein said. Tempest nodded and the duo soon turned up in front of the Dark Moon Tomb.
"Ugh, Ornstein, it's really uncomfortable feeling so sick after every warp.", Tempest complained after he needed a few moments to steady his breathing again.
"I, for a change, find it rather pleasant to not get nauseous.", Ornstein said, but still looked at Tempest struggling with the warp sickness of his body with sympathetic eyes. "When I wasn't quite used to it, massaging my temples helped stave the sickness away."
"Really? Thanks for the tip, Ornstein.", Tempest said, getting up, still struggling a bit with his newfound height. "Um, so who's calling for Gwyndolin? Because... I have your voice right now... but I am not you... and by the flames, this is so confusing!"
"Calm down, little Storm.", Ornstein said. "I'll call for them."
Ornstein then stepped in front of the Dark Moon Tomb and called: "Gwyndolin! Please let us through. We need to talk."
There was the sound of someone teleporting and soon the fog gate in front of the tomb disappeared, with Gwyndolin standing in front of them.
"Chosen Undead? Why are you speaking exactly like Ornstein?", they asked, their head slowly turning to look at Tempest... or for them it was Ornstein. Tempest couldn't help himself but to give them a little wave with his hand.
"We'll explain it in a bit. Let's sit down first.", Ornstein said and stepped into the tomb, followed by Tempest. All the while they walked, not a single word was spoken, but Tempest saw how Gwyndolin glanced back at them now and then.
Once they had reached the room at the end of the Dark Moon Tomb, Gwyndolin beckoned for them to sit down and soon came back with three cups of tea. Tempest grabbed for his right away, eager to actually taste it again as opposed to only feeling the warmth, while Ornstein was rather reserved with his.
"So what is it you want to talk with me about, Chosen Undead?", Gwyndolin asked. "Also, you are surprisingly quiet, Ornstein."
"Well, how do I put this...?", Ornstein began, swirling the liquid in his cup around before setting it back on the table without having taken a sip. "I am Ornstein. The one next to me, that is the little Storm."
Tempest gave Gwyndolin an awkward smile and said a little: "Hello." as Gwyndolin's gaze (probably, it couldn't be seen under their head piece) wandered from Ornstein to Tempest.
There was a ridiculous long silence between the three of them. It was so long that Tempest involuntarily held his breath and almost fell into a coughing fit once he remembered to breathe again.
"So.", Gwyndolin finally broke the silence. "You are telling me that you, Ornstein, swapped bodies with the Chosen Undead."
"It's hard to believe, I know, I couldn't even believe it myself. First, I reached out for the bonfire, second, I am looking down on it, even though it normally is on eye level for me and then I look at myself, or Ornstein, in this case and then it dawned and-"
"You definitely have swapped bodies.", Gwyndolin said and a smile adorned their face. "Ornstein would never say that many words at once without even ending the sentence properly."
"Hey!", Ornstein and Tempest pretty much shouted at the same time and then they glanced at each other and both of them fell into a chuckle until Ornstein cleared his throat and got all serious again.
"I was hoping you had some explanation and an idea how to reverse it.", he said.
"Chosen... Undead.", Gwyndolin looked at Tempest, clearly having to wrap their brain around the fact that he currently was inhabiting Ornstein's body. "You said that you were warping via the bonfire?"
"Please call me Tempest.", Tempest said, annoyed about that stupid prophecy name. "Or maybe I need a new name for now? Tempstein? Ornpest? Oh no, the last one doesn't sound very flattering. Let's just keep it asTempest."
"Little Storm, please.", Ornstein said, his face flushed a tiny bit red. Oh, what a treat to actually see his emotions, his face no longer hidden behind his mask all the time.
"Sorry, I am sorry.", Tempest grinned. "Yes, we usually move around Lordran via the power of the Lordvessel. I can take Ornstein with me when I touch him, so I normally hold his hand, but like, any kind of touching would be alright. Ornstein doesn't like the warping however and I have experienced this on my own now and I totally get it and-"
"Stop, Chosen... Tempest, you will destroy Ornstein's vocal cords by saying that many words at once.", Gwyndolin chuckled and Ornstein shot them a glare. "I think the solution for your... predicament is rather simple. Warping between the bonfires is a rather... difficult process. There shouldn't be any problems if only one person does it, however, because you are two persons, when your bodies were rearranged, your consciousnesses made a mistake and latched onto the wrong body. In short, it has been a warping failure."
"Ooooh, that makes so much sense.", Tempest said, a hand slapping against his forehead, but clanking against the open snout of Ornstein's helmet instead.
"Gwyndolin, there is a cure, right? Please tell us that it is reversible.", Ornstein's voice trembled, the same way it did when he was faced with a fiery threat.
"There is. I can mix a potion that will force your consciousnesses to enter an out of body experience. Then, you just need to return to your correct bodies.", Gwyndolin said.
"Excellent.", Ornstein said, finally taking the first sip of his tea and frowning, "Please mix it right away. We will wait so long."
"I am afraid there is a catch.", Gwyndolin said, staring in their own tea cup, clutching it with both hands. "This potion will take a whole week to complete."
Tempest saw how all colour drained out of Ornstein's face. "You mean we are stuck like this for a whole WEEK?!"
"It's the only way, Ornstein.", Gwyndolin said. "You'd better put your mission on halt until it is sorted out. See it as a chance to relax."
Ornstein's eyes went from Gwyndolin to Tempest and finally defeated on his cup of tea. "Right... thank you, Gwyndolin, we will spend some time in the cathedral."
"I will start right away.", Gwyndolin said. "I send a message once the potion is done."
"Thank you.", Tempest said and got up. "Shall we go back, Ornstein?"
Ornstein simply nodded and stood up himself, taking his place next to Tempest, silent while they walked during the long corridor. Once they arrived at the bonfire, Ornstein already reached out for it, but Tempest held him back, surprised at how easy it was for him.
"Actually, Ornstein, could we take the scenic route? I don't want to cause your body to puke..."
"Hm, oh, sure...", Ornstein said and went in front of Tempest, both of them stepping on the elevator.
As Ornstein struggled to get the elevator going, Tempest bowed down to him and whispered: "Be honest, Ornstein... is it really that bad being in my body for a week?"
"What?!", Ornstein said, clearly taken aback. "Oh no, little Storm, that's not it... It's..." Ornstein averted his gaze and from his throat escaped a big sigh. "You... your body doesn't taste anything and I... I looked forward to eating your food..."
"You did?!", Tempest had both hands in front of his mouth, or whatever part of Ornstein's helmet covered his mouth.
"Don't... don't read too much in it, it's just good, that's all.", Ornstein said and the way he flipped his head back and stared a bit in the sky, with his arms crossed, was so Ornstein that Tempest nearly forgot that he was staring at his own body right now.
"But... but that's not the only thing concerning me... Little Storm, there are certain things you have to do in my body, that make me.. kind of uncomfortable and... I don't really know how to explain it..." Ornstein fidgeted with his hands and Tempest had a hunch what he was talking about.
"Um, if it makes you feel better, I could close my eyes every time I have to do it.", he said. "And... I promise you, Ornstein, I won't touch your body in any inappropriate way."
"Little Storm, thanks...", Ornstein said. "And.. uh, sorry..."
"You hardly have to apologize for setting boundaries, Ornstein.", Tempest said. "After all, this is still your body."
"Still... thanks... for understanding...", Ornstein said again.
When the both of them walked up the stairs that led to the cathedral, Tempest suddenly heard Ornstein speak: "What about you?"
"Huh?", Tempest asked, stopping and turning to look at Ornstein, almost falling down the stairs when he lost his balance.
"I told you my boundaries, so it is only fair if you tell me yours.", Ornstein said, fidgeting with his hands and looking everywhere but at Tempest.
"Oh, that you mean. My boundaries, hmmm...", Tempest crossed his arm and tapped his foot. What exactly were his boundaries? "I mean... you already have seen me naked, washed me even, so I don't feel really uncomfortable when you stare at my naked body...", he murmured, not seeing how vigorously Ornstein blushed at his words. "And I probably don't have to tell you to not cook one of your strange dishes in my body, you don't have to eat or can taste anyway, so there is no need for it... Oh!", Tempest clapped his hands together. "Don't die. Humanity isn't that easy to come by, so I would appreciate it if you could keep my body alive."
"O-of course.", Ornstein said. Tempest gave him a smile, which Ornstein couldn't see of course and then the both of them continued to walk up the stairs.
Ornstein's mind had been putting a bit in ease with the little Storm promising he would not do anything weird to his body, but it just didn't get out of his mind that, every time he looked at the little Storm inhabiting his own body, he felt a tingling sensation... a sensation that he could only describe as lust. He was standing there, thinking his own freaking body was hot. What was wrong with him? Or was that a reaction of the little Storm's body? Suddenly, Ornstein started to doubt that Tempest wouldn't do anything inappropriate to his body, but had to shake this thought off. He knew Tempest long enough now that he wouldn't cross boundaries. At least not while he was fully awake and... those thoughts didn't help!
"Ornstein, be careful!", Tempest suddenly shouted and broke Ornstein out of his thoughts, who looked up only to see that one of the Giant Sentinels had their halberd raised and was about to strike. Ornstein didn't waste a second to raise his spear, wait, that was a sword, oh right, he was in Tempest's body and while he had put the sword into a blocking position, the halberd connected with it and hurled him several feet into the wall. Pain exploded in his back and head.
"Oh no, Ornstein!", Tempest shouted and stepped in to take up the fight with the sentinel and... oh dear, the way he held Ornstein's spear was all wrong and he only would get himself hurt and BY THE FLAME, if he died in this body it would be permanent! It was this thought that made Ornstein remember that his current body was those of an Undead.
Undead could heal themselves with Estus.
Tempest always carried his Estus flask close. He reached out with a trembling hand and found the warm flask on his belt, taking two sips of the liquid. It tasted like molten flames.
Ornstein felt how the wound on his head closed and the broken bones realigned and the pain just went away. It was similar to a healing miracle, a feeling he hadn't experienced in a long while. How easy it was for Tempest to heal himself almost made Ornstein jealous, but for now he needed to help the little Storm out and rushed in, attacking the legs of the sentinel with his sword while Tempest blocked its attack with his spear.
Together they managed to slay the foe and once it had vanished into the magic it was made up from, Tempest said: "We are still a good team."
"Hmph.", Ornstein only said, tapping his foot. "You could have got my body killed. You certainly need to learn how to wield my spear."
"Aaah, back to training, I guess.", Tempest said and went into the cathedral, Ornstein following him, making sure to avoid the Royal Sentinels into the hall. He didn't feel ready to fight them yet in this weak and small body.
"Where are you going?", he asked once he started to run after Tempest, who suddenly began making long strides again, making it so Ornstein could barely follow him anymore.
"To the kitchen.", Tempest answered. "That apple I had earlier was not nearly enough to sate my hunger. Also, I need to put something nourishing into your body."
Ornstein felt a bit strange following Tempest. Normally it would be him Tempest cooked for. He would watch him cook and then eat the food while Tempest would watch him and await his judgement, but now, he didn't need the food anymore. Tempest would practically cook for himself. It wouldn't hurt to still watch him, would it? Ornstein had always enjoyed watching people cook, especially Smough. It was similar with the little Storm... even though Ornstein didn't want for it to be similar. It wasn't the same with them.
Having arrived at the kitchen, Tempest looked around and then down at him. With this armour on, he wouldn't get any cooking done, so he needed to remove it first, but how did it work? The elite knight armour he had worn at the start of his quest had been easier to figure out, Ornstein's intricate armour was too much for him. He didn't even have a clue HOW he could see out of that helmet.
"Ornstein...", Tempest said sheepishly after a few attempts to get it off. "Help?"
Ornstein sighed but came closer. "I removed the greaves earlier, you remember? You need to take the outer layers down first before you can remove the inner layers." Ornstein quickly got to work, and in mere seconds all the armour covering Tempest's legs was on the ground. However, when Ornstein wanted to work on the rest of the armour, he looked up and sighed. "Guess I need to get on a chair."
"Oh, because you can't reach.", Tempest said and bowed down to pick Ornstein up, without even thinking about it. "Does it work now?"
Ornstein, whose face had become redder than red, just gasped and then growled, which sounded really adorable in the high pitched voice of Tempest body: "Let me down this instant."
"Aw, but you are so cute.", Tempest grinned, but let Ornstein down, waiting until the dragon slayer got a chair over, clearly struggling with the weight of the furniture and then stepped on it, helping Tempest with the rest of the armour. "I need to teach you how to put it on and off, we will do that later.", he said, once the last piece of armour laid on the ground and Tempest added the helmet, looking down at him. He was now clothed into a form-fitting black leather suit and while it wasn't much, Tempest would feel comfortable enough to cook in it, he wasn't naked at least. He just should put on some shoes, being barefoot felt strange.
However, it seemed to be the opposite for Ornstein. "Go grab some decent clothes RIGHT NOW.", he said, yelling the last two words, making Tempest flinch as he looked at Ornstein who had a hand in front of his nose, a hand through which thin streams of blood flowed. A nosebleed! Ornstein had a nosebleed! That was so adorable!
"Oh, uh, alright.", Tempest said once he realized how strange this whole situation was. "Take some Estus, it should help ceasing the nosebleed."
Tempest then turned around and walked briskly into the direction of Ornstein's room. Arriving there, he extended his hand to open the door only to rip it right out of its hinges.
"Whoops, I fix this later, I guess...", Tempest murmured, as he wondered if changing clothes would be fine, but he wouldn't change his underwear, so he wouldn't cross Ornstein's boundaries. After a brief look into Ornstein's cabinet, Tempest found some green pants and a yellow tunic which he fastened with a belt. He also found some socks and boots which he put on. That should be decent enough. He looked into the mirror to determine if everything was fine, but frowned once he saw the state Ornstein's ponytail was in.
"When has been the last time Ornstein combed this thing?", Tempest murmured and went on the search for a comb or a brush. It took him a criminally long time to find one, it was stuffed at the bottom of the drawer of Ornstein's night stand. Once Tempest had acquired the brush, he went in front of the mirror and then reached to the ponytail to untie it, amazed at how much it looked like red liquid gold was pouring over his shoulders.
"I knew Ornstein's hair was long, but I didn't know it was that long.", Tempest said, as he traced along one of the curls. It was so soft, far softer than he thought it would be. If only it wouldn't be full of knots, then it would feel even better. Tempest picked up the brush and got to work. This probably would take a while, but he refused to go and cook a meal as long as Ornstein's hair was in this disastrous state.
The little Storm had been gone for a good while now. Ornstein had heeded his advice and took some Estus, which had made the nosebleed cease. Still, that didn't answer the question why he suddenly got a nosebleed, by looking at his own body nonetheless. It was awful, Ornstein felt awful about it and he couldn't wait to get back in his own body. If only there was a way to make the potion quicker, but Gwyndolin had been clear on it. At least there was a way to change them back.
After Ornstein had waited for another five minutes, pacing up and down the kitchen, he decided to search for Tempest. He had sent him to put on some proper clothes, so he probably was in Ornstein's room. Ornstein very much hoped that Tempest hadn't taken this as an opportunity to investigate his room, feeling his heart sink a bit at his mistrust. He hadn't forbidden the little Storm to look at the things in his room, he simply found it common decency to not rummage around in stuff that didn't belong to you.
Ornstein could hear Tempest's voice, or at the moment, it was his own voice, just not spoken by him, once he approached his room.
"Stupid... knot! Why do you... have... to be... so stubborn?!", he growled and hissed and sometimes made a pained sound. What in the world was he doing in there? And why was the door leaned against the wall, completely ripped out of its hinges?
"Little Storm?", Ornstein announced his presence. "What are you doing? And why is the door...", Ornstein interrupted himself as he saw what the little Storm was doing to his hair right now. "...broken...", he finished his sentence.
"Oh, hi, Ornstein.", Tempest smiled down at him, Ornstein wondered if he had ever made such a face that looked so much like sunshine and rainbows, "Don't worry about the door, I accidentally broke it when I opened the room, I'll fix it later."
"I don't worry about the door...", Ornstein murmured and then raised his voice. "What are you doing to my hair?!"
"I am brushing it?", Tempest stared down at Ornstein as if he had just asked if water was wet. "I have no clue when you have last brushed your hair, but it feels like it has been weeks. With long hair like yours, you need to brush it regularly, Ornstein."
"...I hate brushing my hair...", Ornstein said, cringing every time the brush Tempest was holding combed through some streaks of his hair, barely able to look whenever it got caught on a knot and the little Storm did his best to untangle it.
"That explains why you said no when I offered to wash your hair.", Tempest said. "And here I thought you simply didn't like when someone touches your hair." A glimmer of sudden understanding flashed over Tempest's face. "Oh no, did I cross a boundary?!"
"I, uh, haven't said anything about my hair...", Ornstein admitted. "And I guess... it needed to be brushed... and because you aren't hating it... it's just... I can barely look..."
"I am almost done, ouch.", Tempest said. "Then I go back to the kitchen and cook. I can feel how hungry your body is, Ornstein. You can't live that unhealthy."
Oh, of course, now the little Storm gave Ornstein a lesson. How he didn't take proper care of his body. How he shouldn't wait until the last moment before he excused himself. How he should tell him once he was hungry or thirsty, so that they could take a break. How he should be sure to get some sleep in a proper bed once in a while.
Now that he thought about it, why did Ornstein take such bad care of himself? It was obvious that Tempest wanted for him to feel fine. Even though it was Tempest stuck in Ornstein's body right now, he always talked about the body as if it still belonged to Ornstein. He simply just had taken control over it, making sure that he took a break.
"I, uh...", Ornstein said, not really knowing where to go with the started sentence. "I trust you that you take proper care of my body."
"Of course I will, Ornstein.", Tempest grinned down at him and Ornstein found that his own grin looked pretty threatening, with his fangs and all. "Go back to the kitchen and wait for me. I only have three more knots to untangle."
Ornstein simply nodded and left again, on the way back, he went through Tempest's hair with his hands. It was so much shorter than his, but soft and Ornstein had the feeling he wanted to rub it. Technically, he could do that right now, as much as he wanted, but that was too weird, so he removed his hands from his hair and went back to the kitchen, where he silently waited for Tempest, who came in around ten minutes later.
"Aaaalright!", Tempest announced, which made Ornstein flinch, he never would make such sounds, but he heard them with his own voice. "Look, Ornstein, how soft your hair is! You should brush it more often!" Tempest leaned down in front of Ornstein and let the ponytail fall right in front of him, so that the tip would rest on the table. Ornstein had to admit that he hadn't seen his hair in such a good state in a long time.
"Impressive, little Storm.", he just said, not reaching out for it. He knew how his hair felt, he didn't need to touch it, much less with hands that weren't his.
"Now it is finally time to get some food in your body... oh, what should I cook? I am looking so forward to tasting things again, I can hardly decide." Tempest seemed to vibrate, but his words only made Ornstein remember that he couldn't taste right now. It made him.. jealous? The little Storm hadn't tasted anything in ages, he probably, no, very much deserved to have a little fun with food again.
"If you want my input...", Ornstein said. "I was looking forward to eating some beef coated in honey with beans on the side. Maybe my body still wants to eat it?"
"It certainly doesn't sound bad.", Tempest said and searched through the kitchen until he found all the ingredients he needed for the dish. Then, he went to work, or more, tried to get to work.
Because Ornstein's body was so much bigger than what Tempest was used to, all the time he grabbed up instead of down when he needed some spices, bumping his hands on the ceiling a few times, silently hissing when once again there was a bit of pain shooting through his hands.
Though, that wasn't the main problem. The main problem was... Ornstein's hands were large! Tempest was used to have so much smaller hands and soon he looked down on a piece of beef that was cut into a form beyond recognition, honey that was smeared everywhere and a portion of beans that was crushed.
"Ornstein... maybe your inability to cook comes from your hands being too LARGE?!", Tempest said, putting both of his hands in the air and looking accusingly at Ornstein.
"Little Storm, you know that I mistake salt and sugar...", Ornstein just said, sinking a bit into the bench he was waiting on. His cooking abilities were Tempest's best trait and now that he was stuck in Ornstein's body, they seemed to have vanished, even though the sorry dish he created STILL looked more edible than anything that Ornstein could ever create on his own.
"Whatever...", Tempest said. "I get used to your large hands later... for now we need to get some food in your body, because you are starving." Tempest looked down at the ingredients and sighed when he started to fire up the stove. At least Ornstein had pointed him to an apron that he could wear, exactly his size with a stitched on lion. It was adorable and Tempest would have loved to see Ornstein wearing it when he wasn't currently inhabiting his body. He had made frequent use of it to wipe off the honey.
Once the admittedly worst dish that Tempest had cooked in years was put on a plate, he sat in front of it, picked up a knife and a fork and began to eat.
The next thing Tempest knew was that a thousand different tastes suddenly exploded on his tongue. He just sat there and stared vacantly at the wall, the fork slipping out of his hand and falling on the table with a clang.
How he had missed tasting food. It was amazing, wonderful and... almost too much. He had the feeling that he barely could breath anymore.
"Little Storm?! Little Storm?! Is everything alright?! Talk to me!", Ornstein's panicked voice got him out of his stupor, big blue eyes of worry staring at him, it was so adorable. Why found Tempest his own face to be so cute?
"Oh, sorry, Ornstein.", he said, "I just got overwhelmed by taste. I haven't tasted stuff in so many years and the apple and the tea earlier were nothing compared to a full cooked meal. By me, nonetheless, even though that is one of my inferior works. I just need to take it slow."
"Just remember breathing.", Ornstein said, "I thought for a moment you would faint."
"Yes, of course.", Tempest said and continued eating the meal, each fork making more tears in his eyes well up until he straight up was crying from joy, making Ornstein staring at him with an even more worried expression.
"It's fine, Ornstein.", Tempest said. "I am just... happy... That we have switched bodies might have been an accident, but it made it able for me to taste my cooking again. So, thank you."
Tempest gave Ornstein a smile and saw how the dragon slayer flinched and then touched his chest, where his heart was. Tempest stared at him a little while, but when Ornstein didn't seem to be in pain, he said: "I clean up and then I should go into bed. Are you fine with me using your bed?"
"Um, of course... it is the most comfortable for my body...", Ornstein said, "But... please don't clean up, little Storm, let me take care of it."
"Are you sure?", Tempest said and took the apron off, hanging it over the chair he had sat on. "Then have a good night. We'll see each other tomorrow."
"Good night, little Storm.", Ornstein said and Tempest left. Once he arrived at Ornstein's room, he noticed that the door still was ripped out of its hinges.
"Oh, I should fix this first...", Tempest said. Luckily, the door was put back in its hinges easily enough, nothing seemed to have been broken. Then, Tempest searched for a night shirt and once he was clothed in it and had untied Ornstein's ponytail, he remembered that he was still thirsty. He had completely forgotten to drink anything with the meal. Well, at least the tea earlier had helped with his initial thirst, but he knew that Ornstein's body would need more fluids.
He saw a jar on Ornstein's night stand and went over to drink from it, only to see that it was empty. "Aw, darn, I guess I have to get some water then...", Tempest murmured to himself and went to the cathedral's water fountain and because he was already out there, he could use the opportunity to visit the privy and prevent himself from waking up in the middle of the night.
"Damn, has being alive always been so much work?", Tempest said as he brought back the filled jar of water to Ornstein's room. "As an Undead, I definitely didn't have to spend so much time on basic needs."
Once Tempest arrived back at Ornstein's room, he took a sip from the water and then laid himself down, closing his eyes. He could sleep as an Undead, but it had never come easy to him, because he didn't need sleep. Ornstein's body, on the other hand, was very much craving it and so Tempest drifted away into the land of dreams soon.
Once Tempest had been gone, Ornstein had started to clean the kitchen and with that, he didn't only wash the dishes and wiped away the honey that fell on the floor, but he pretty much cleaned every nook and cranny until the kitchen was shiny. Smough would have been so proud of him.
It had only fully occurred to Ornstein after he had seen the little Storm eating and starting to cry because his taste had returned, but... the body he currently inhabited was undead. That meant something more than just being able to heal himself with Estus and not being able to die... It also meant that he wasn't getting hungry or thirsty. That he didn't need to visit the privy. And most importantly, it meant that he didn't get tired.
Ornstein now had to spend a whole night in a body that wouldn't distract him with any needs and he hardly knew how to do it. He knew that Tempest could sleep, but he had explained to him that it took quite a bit of effort to manage it, so Ornstein doubted he could learn it in a week.
That was why he had offered to clean the kitchen. He needed something to do in the night. So that he didn't have to stare at the wall and wait for morning to come and.. and... start to THINK. No, he didn't want that. It was worse enough that his body felt like a construct, he didn't want to actually think about it and more importantly, think about his feelings towards the little Storm and especially the feelings he had towards his own body.
Once the kitchen was cleaned, Ornstein took the apron and gave it a thorough cleaning too, rubbing out all the honey, which was quite a task, because Tempest's body was, well, it was weak. He needed to put so much effort into anything he did and Ornstein started to feel sorry for having groaned or sighed at Tempest, because he couldn't keep up. The Undead wasn't a fighter, it wasn't because he didn't want to, but because he couldn't. An apology might be in order.
After the apron was washed and hung up for drying, Ornstein looked out of the window. There wasn't really a way to see how much time had passed in Anor Londo, because the sun was an illusion from Gwyndolin. At night, they dropped the illusion and the moon shone on the town, but because of their status as moon deity, the moon would never move away from the sky.
All Ornstein could see was that it was still dark. He sighed and went to search for another task.
A good while later he had cleaned all the rooms they often occupied, repainted all the wooden boards with the knights on Gwyn on it and sorted through Smough's old clothes, marvelling at how big these shirts were. They had been big for his usual body, but for the little Storm they looked like he would just vanish in them.
Once Ornstein was done with these tasks however, the sun still wasn't there. Why was the night so long? Ornstein wandered the cathedral and found himself in the herbal garden, where he just started to work. He watered the plants, harvested them, prepared the herbs for drying and made a few potpourris.
After he was done with that, Ornstein noticed a peculiar smell about him and noticed that it was sweat. He had worked the whole night and that had brought the little Storm's body to heat up. Ornstein should probably take a bath.
As he went to the bathroom he thought about how he had told Tempest that he rather didn't want for him to take a bath so that he wouldn't look at certain parts and felt a tiny bit guilty because he would have to undress the little Storm's body completely for a bath. Well, the little Storm had been fine with it, so it should be no problem. Ornstein's thoughts also wandered to him having to take a bath immediately once they had swapped back, because after a week, he would probably reek. Just because he didn't want for the little Storm to... no, he didn't want to think about it. Of course he had to allow him to use the privy, because that couldn't wait a week, but... if it would have been possible, Ornstein would have liked to set a boundary for it too. He just hoped that the little Storm would hold his promise to not look.
As Ornstein entered the bathroom, he shed his clothes and then reached behind his head to clip his ponytail up, only to find nothing. Oh right, Tempest had short hair. It felt strange, now that he thought about it, not having the ponytail brushing against his back and rear. He always did had long hair, there only had been one instance where he had short hair and it had been because Artorias had accidentally cut his ponytail.
He remembered that he had hated the year he had needed to grow his hair back out. Ornstein wondered if Tempest had similar trouble with suddenly having too long hair?
Ornstein hadn't even noticed that he had lowered himself into the warm water and had stared at the wall. Oh no, he had started to THINK. Ornstein started to focus on cleaning Tempest's body instead, maybe scrubbing a bit too hard, because his skin felt rather rough and he could see a few splotches of red on Tempest's normally pale complexion. He took a sip of Estus once he got dressed again, feeling a bit guilty about the whole thing... also, because it was amazing how easily every bit of pain just vanished with it.
To Ornstein's disdain, he saw that it still wasn't bright outside. Could he find another thing to do? As he wandered the hallways, he caught a rather good smell and even though he knew he couldn't taste anything right now, he followed it to the kitchen, where he found... Tempest, a large amount of eggs and a dozen different prepared dishes.
"Oh hey, Ornstein.", Tempest said and waved to him, still in the night shirt he must have put on before getting to sleep. "I woke early and me not being able to handle cooking in your body bothered me so much, that I practiced by cracking eggs."
"I can see that.", Ornstein said and came into the kitchen. What a relief to not be alone anymore, to have someone to talk to and observe. "How did it go?"
"At first it didn't go so well.", Tempest pointed at a bowl and when Ornstein went to check it out, it was full of egg yolk and egg shells. "But then I got the hang of it and because I suddenly had so many eggs, I started to cook. I made omelets, I made scrambled eggs, I made sunny eggs, I made rice with eggs and then I couldn't think about egg dishes anymore, so I started to make pudding and cake."
Tempest gestured to all the dishes around him. "I am down to the last batch of cracked eggs though and decided to make cookies from it, they are almost ready, just need to bake them."
"I am glad to see you got your cooking skills back, little Storm.", Ornstein said, his arms crossed. "Only one question remains: Who is going to eat all of this?!"
"Me.", Tempest said. "I am so eager to taste all this stuff! I need to take advantage of it while I can!"
"Little Storm, I know my body is big, but even I can't eat that much. You only will make yourself throw up.", Ornstein tapped his food.
"But Ornstein, that will be my problem then, not yours.", Tempest said as he cut out the cookies from the prepared dough.
"It's still MY body.", Ornstein hissed, making Tempest flinch, which looked kind of comical, with how huge his current body was and with how small Ornstein currently was.
"Oh, alright... I share it with Gwyndolin then...", he said and looked at all the food wistfully. He really must have looked forward to eating all of it.
"Fine, you can have a bite of every dish.", Ornstein said, averting his gaze. "But don't make my body throw up."
"Understood, Ornstein, thank you.", Tempest said and gave Ornstein another one of these smiles that made his heart beat faster. Ugh, he needed to get back into the armour. Ornstein didn't even know his own body could make these expressions, he wanted to stop reacting to it.
Tempest didn't need to be told twice to taste all his creations. Once the cookies were in the oven (he looked so forward to eating them later), he created a plate for himself and carefully put all the dishes on it he wanted to eat, even sprinkling them with a few extra herbs. Ornstein just stared at him with a blank look.
"Why do you make such an effort just for eating?", he asked.
Tempest twirled around which almost made him lose his balance. Once he had regained it, he stemmed his hands at his hips and said: "Ornstein, eating is more than just putting food in your belly. There is an aesthetic to it too. You have much more fun eating a carefully arranged plate then a plate where everything is just mixed around with no sense of order or direction."
Ornstein never had thought too much about it, but Tempest normally had arranged his plate in a rather nice and pleasant way. He hadn't even thought a single time to thank him for all the care he put into presenting his food. The little Storm surely was a food wizard.
"You are right... I guess...", Ornstein said and continued to observe Tempest as he put the plate in front of him and started eating, not as quickly as yesterday, but calmly, taking his time, seeming to taste test the dishes and, even though Ornstein felt like he wanted to sink into the ground for it, judging at his face, the food was up to par.
"I am not going to lie, Ornstein, I will miss being able to taste stuff once we have to swap back.", Tempest said, wiping his mouth with a napkin.
"I myself look rather forward to get my sense of taste back...", Ornstein murmured and regretted it because Tempest's eyes sparkled.
"Oh, Ornstein, you just did admit that you like my food!", he said and jumped up, completely forgetting about his height and knocking over not only the chair he had sat one but also the table, which made the empty plate tumble to the ground and shatter in a dozen pieces.
"Oh, shoot.", Tempest said, "I better clean that up... I need to clean up anyway." He gestured at the mess all over the kitchen and went to the corner to get a broom.
"No, wait!", Ornstein heard himself say. "Don't bother with it, I clean it up later."
"Huh, but it's my mess, Ornstein.", Tempest said.
"Yes, I know, but... I want to clean it up, you do all the cooking already.", Ornstein quickly said, knowing that the real reason for him wanting to clean was, to get the day over with, because Tempest's body without needs made him feel more and more estranged.
"If you say so.", Tempest said and put the broom into Ornstein's hands. Then, he went to the oven and removed the cookies. "They are too hot to eat them yet, but I look forward to eating them later. I will go get myself dressed. Shall we meet up later, Ornstein?"
"Yes, wait in my room, I need to show you something...", Ornstein said, his gaze wandering through the kitchen and falling on the pieces of his armour that he had stacked neatly away in the night. "Oh, take my armour with you."
"All pieces?!", Tempest seemed to be taken aback. "They are far too heavy for me!"
"You inhabit my body right now, little Storm.", Ornstein said with a wry smile. He knew that his body was strong enough to carry his armour, after all, he was normally wearing it for the better part of the day.
"Oh, right.", Tempest said, "How could I forget that?" He then picked the armour up, still struggling a bit with how to transport all pieces, but once he managed, he wobbled out of the room. Ornstein just took a look at the kitchen and got to work, cleaning and putting any leftovers away, which he planned to give to Gwyndolin later.
Arriving at Ornstein's room, Tempest put down the armour, which made a lot of noise. He sometimes wondered how Ornstein managed to walk in it without making much noise, or maybe he just got used to the constant clanking because he was with Ornstein all the time. Because Tempest still was wearing the night shirt, he searched out a few clothes to wear, also deciding to change the underwear, wriggling out of the dirty one while having his eyes closed, having to put on the clean one the same way, struggling a bit with it. He asked himself why Ornstein preferred such underwear, it felt tight and weird, he very much preferred the much more loose loincloth he was wearing.
Once Tempest had dressed himself accordingly, he looked at Ornstein's armour. It always looked so effortless when Ornstein donned it, maybe his body remembered how it worked? Tempest put up the pieces and got to work.
After fifteen minutes Tempest had to admit to himself that he had no clue how to don Ornstein's armour. Every time he thought a piece was fitting right, he found out that he couldn't put on another piece and most of the time they just fell back on the ground with a clatter. Frustrated, Tempest put all the armour pieces on the ground and decided to wait for Ornstein again. As he sat himself on the bed, his gaze fell to the mirror. He hadn't brushed his hair yet. He should take care of it while Ornstein was still away, so that he wouldn't get mad again.
Tempest took the brush that still laid in front of the mirror and started to work on the ponytail, this time not untying it, carefully working around the knots. As he looked into the mirror and saw Ornstein's face frown at the little pain he experienced whenever a knot was stubborn, Tempest asked himself which other faces of Ornstein he never had seen because the dragon slayer always wore a helmet.
Tempest glanced to the door and when he didn't see or hear Ornstein coming, a devious grin appeared on his face, which he had to look at in the mirror immediately. He was sure that Ornstein never would make such a face, even when masked, that made it all the more interesting.
Tempest absolutely had to see a smile, so he smiled at the mirror and his heart skipped a beat at how cute it looked. Sure, he had seen Ornstein smile before, but it was always a tiny smile, never a full on smile. What would he give for Ornstein to make this face at him... then he frowned, but that was a face Ornstein often made, so it wasn't that interesting. He should try a few different expressions. So Tempest glared at the mirror, laughing at himself, because he was sure that Ornstein did this under his mask all the time and then he cocked his head and raised a brow in confusion. He also bared his teeth at the mirror, which looked downright dangerous with how sharp Ornstein's canines were and tried to make himself laugh, which worked when he thought about Ornstein's reaction to all this, but he had his eyes closed and couldn't actually see it. Wiping tears out of his eyes from laughing too much at the irony, Tempest looked down at himself while thinking of the next expression, at Ornstein's toned arms and pronounced chest.
Should he? A glance to the door told him that Ornstein still wasn't there, so it wouldn't hurt to try. Tempest started a slow flex in front of the mirror, marvelling at Ornstein's muscles that showed beneath the fabric of his shirt. No wonder it was so easy for Ornstein to pick Tempest up and carry him around, his body surely was strong enough and had the muscles to prove it.
Tempest flexed a bit more in front of the mirror, murmuring: "Oooh, look how strong you are." until he heard a voice talking.
"What the hell are you doing?"
Tempest flinched and dropped the act immediately when he saw Ornstein standing in the door. "Ornstein, since when have you stood there?", he asked. Had he seen the whole thing?
"I just arrived.", Ornstein said. "And apparently at the right time, because you are doing weird stuff in front of the mirror."
"I... I just...", Tempest said, feeling like it would be inappropriate to give away that he had wanted to see Ornstein emote. "I just never had muscles like this...", he finally said, hoping that he had saved himself.
"Yes, that is apparent.", Ornstein said and lifted a very thin arm. "I need both hands to carry my own spear and even then it is too heavy. Anyway...", Ornstein stopped looking at his arm and pointed at his armour. "It's time to show you how to don this."
After around an hour and several failed tries, Ornstein seemed to have grown impatient.
"How many times do I have to tell you? You first put on the greaves, then the cuirass, then the rerebrace and then the pauldrons. Wearing armour is like wearing several layers. Maybe think about it like an onion. Haven't you worn elite knight armour when I met you?"
"Yes, but that was easier to put on than your armour. There are so many spikes and I sometimes don't really know how to put it...", Tempest said, still struggling with getting the pauldrons on. "And why don't I have the boots on yet?"
"They are called sabatons and they can be put on last, because they just need to connect to the greaves, that is the least of trouble.", Ornstein explained, walking around Tempest and eventually getting up on a chair to help him fasten the armour parts. "There, now the pauldrons are fixed. Now let's put on the vambrace..."
"How did you do that? And what is a vambrace?", Tempest asked, head swimming with all those armour lingo.
"The armour you wear over your forearm, you need to put it on before you put on the couter and then at last, you can start to wear the gauntlets.", Ornstein didn't even react to Tempest's first question.
"How do you even do that on your own?! Didn't you knights used to have squires who helped you out?", Tempest asked, still amazed at how easily Ornstein fixed the armour Tempest was struggling so much with.
"Yes, that's true, but I never was comfortable giving this task to another, so I learned to don my armour myself.", Ornstein said. "I have centuries of practice, it is practically second nature for me, but you struggle even more than me the first time."
"Give me a break, you used to be a silver knight, right? You were used to wearing fancy armour.", Tempest said, pretty much giving up on donning the armour himself and just letting Ornstein handle everything.
"That's true.", Ornstein said and then dropped the matter, only telling Tempest what he was doing, until the armour was completely put on.
"There, now we can go outside.", Tempest said and grabbed for Ornstein's spear, but Ornstein stopped him.
"Now you doff it and put it on again, following my instructions."
"Ornsteiiiiin...", Tempest started to whine, but one glare from him (a strangely adorable glare), Tempest knew he had no choice and so the armour lesson continued another hour until he had managed to don at least seventy percent of it without help.
"What now?", Tempest said, picking up Ornstein's spear. Every weapon he usually would wield felt far too small for him, but he kind of wished, he could have a sword instead. He knew that Ornstein could wield swords, but asking him to not wield a spear in Ornstein's body felt like blasphemy.
"Let's go train.", Ornstein said. "That will help us get used to our current bodies and should we face danger, we need to be able to protect ourselves."
"Alright.", Tempest said and soon the both of them were at the training area next to the bonfire with the fire keeper.
Tempest was holding Ornstein's spear in both hands while he waited for Ornstein to get through his belongings. "I need to find something like a spear that your body is able to lift... Oh, you have a silver knight spear? That will do nicely." Ornstein pulled the spear out of Tempest's belongings and adjusted himself to it. Tempest could see in an instance, just how practiced Ornstein was with this weapon, even in a foreign body, his stance with the spear appeared to be flawless.
"I am pretty sure I got this while fighting some of the silver knights.", Tempest said.
"Yes, sometimes they leave their stuff behind.", Ornstein murmured. "Now, little Storm, show me your stance."
Tempest adjusted his stance until he felt comfortable holding the spear and striking with it, but Ornstein just frowned. Tempest was sure that his face never had frowned that much in twenty-four hours.
"No, no, that won't do, that is all wrong, you have to get slightly in your knees, straighten your back, relax your shoulders."
"What? All at once? How does this even work?!", Tempest asked, feeling his back crack only thinking about spraining his body like that.
"And your hands, look. You are holding the spear beneath the cross, not above. With a spear you can do a variety of attacks, but it's most defining feature is the reach, so you want to keep your hands rather low. If you two hand it, you need to make sure to have enough room to lunge."
"Like this?", Tempest said, adjusting his grip on the spear, all while trying to get his body into the stance that Ornstein had described.
"Almost... let me show you.", Ornstein picked up the silver knight spear and slowly went into the described stance. "From this stance, you can perform all kinds of attacks.", he said. "Like a thrust, that is the most common attack for a spear or a strike, which is less common. A spear has a blade on its end, so opposed to a sword, you want to utilize the blade, keeping your distance and stab your opponent from afar." Ornstein demonstrated each word by performing the said actions, making Tempest take a step back, because the blade came a bit too close for his taste.
"I trained you with a sword, because it is a more versatile weapon and more easy to learn.", Ornstein said, leaning himself on the spear. "With a spear, parrying is done vastly different for example, but I never was the kind who parried, so I am teaching you how to use my spear to the fullest."
"Alright.", Tempest nodded. "Let's begin then."
The better part of the day was then spent with them training. Ornstein went full onto Tempest, teaching him how to utilize his spear and even tried some of the more advanced techniques, but that got too much for Tempest. At the end, he felt utterly exhausted, hungry, thirsty and sweaty. How he wished he could take a bath, but Ornstein's boundaries... he asked Ornstein if he could at least wash his body without taking his underwear off and Ornstein reluctantly agreed to it. Tempest went back to the cathedral, but Ornstein wanted to stay a little while longer.
Once Tempest was gone, Ornstein trained a little bit longer. While he certainly had the skill, he felt how weak the body of Tempest was. It was difficult to hold the spear for a long while and he couldn't jump very high, which made his usual lunging attacks difficult. He also had an easier time when he held the spear with two hands, as opposed to one hand, which he often preferred.
After a good while, he stopped, admitting to himself that it wouldn't be of any use. Tempest's body was undead. It would only get stronger with soul power. He could practice his skill, but Ornstein already had the skill. He just had to get used to this body. He now understood better why Tempest normally stayed in his range.
He stayed a little while longer to clean up, even though it felt like he didn't need to swipe, there wasn't that much dirt on the floor, but he never felt at ease when he left dirt after training and then went back to the cathedral, deep in thought. If they had to fight, could he be any help? The little Storm was used to fighting with all kinds of tricks, but Ornstein was a much more direct fighter, having been a knight for centuries.
He went up the stairs, thinking about maybe trying out his miracles. He hadn't tried them out yet. Was his faith in his conscience or in his body? It may be worth a try. Just as he thought about if the little Storm had a talisman in his belongings, Ornstein suddenly felt a sharp pain and as he looked down, he saw a halberd sticking out of his chest.
Oh no... he had forgotten that the sentinels would attack him! He grabbed for the Estus on his belt, but before he could even think about closing the wound, the second sentinel approached and Ornstein could only watch as its halberd went down on his head and it exploded with pain.
The next thing Ornstein knew was that he was sitting next to a bonfire. Did he just... Had he just... died? That felt a lot different than he had thought... he remembered a bunch of pain and then darkness and then he was... alive again? He looked down at his hands and arms and saw how they had shrivelled up. He groaned. He had promised the little Storm one thing and that was not dying and now exactly that had happened.
Maybe, if he was sneaky about it, he could use up a humanity and collect another one somewhere so that Tempest wouldn't notice it...
"Ah, Ornstein! What have I told you?!", the sudden voice made Ornstein freeze and he slowly turned around as he saw Tempest standing there, carrying a wash basin and tapping his foot.
"Little Storm, I...", Ornstein said, not really knowing what he should say to him.
"Whatever, just give me the humanity back once we swapped back.", Tempest said, leaving Ornstein standing there completely perplexed, especially when he just walked away, but then, he turned around and asked: "Ornstein, are you alright?"
"Huh? Yes, I am, I think...", Ornstein said.
"Good. The first death can be pretty harsh, but you get used to it. I died so many times, it doesn't really affect me anymore. What almost got me down was the feeling of utter helplessness as everyone around me started to hollow."
Ornstein stared at Tempest for a little while longer before finding a humanity and crushing it in his palm. The little Storm was a lot stronger than he thought. Not physically, but mentally. Even when he had been at the verge of hollowing, he had searched for help.
Something that Ornstein never had tried...
Once his body was restored, Ornstein sat down next to the bonfire and hugged his legs. Just what had he done with his life? Maybe it was finally time to think.
Tempest chuckled to himself as he walked back to Ornstein's room with the filled wash basin. He had expected for him to die, he was just glad that it didn't traumatize him too much. He seemed to have been more concerned about overstepping Tempest's boundaries than he had been at having died.
Maybe it was because Ornstein had been ready for death for a long time now? Tempest wondered if it was disappointing for him that he came back? He remembered a time in the asylum, when everyone had gotten hollow, where he had tried to kill himself numerous time, but he always had just woken up back in his cell, probably having brought back to life by the bonfire out there and having hurled back to his cell by the guards that hadn't hollowed back then.
Once Tempest arrived at Ornstein's room, he opened the door and pretty much ripped it out of its hinges again. With a sigh, he put the wash basin down and went to repair the door, then he undressed, leaving the underwear on and started to slowly clean Ornstein's body.
As he moved the wash cloth over his skin, he noticed all these scars. Of course he had seen them before, but never in such great detail. Burns mostly, especially on the left arm. Some scars were from weapons. A rather large scar on Ornstein's chest and a few criss-crossed on his legs, that must have been where Tempest had... no, he didn't want to think about it.
Curiously, there weren't any scars on Ornstein's face. Maybe it was because his helmet's shape protected him. He really never must have taken it off while fighting... of course, Tempest knew this.
He looked down at the scars. Every one of them had a story behind them. His own body didn't have any interesting scars. The ones of his battles vanished when he healed them with Estus or got reborn from a bonfire.
The scar that was the most prevalent, was his darksign. It had been where Tempest had been killed. The wound had turned into the darksign, the cursed symbol that made him undead.
Tempest had stopped to resent it. Without the darksign, he never had met Ornstein and he was very glad for that opportunity. He heard that Astora had gotten destroyed anyway, so... he wouldn't be able to get back there. That is why he told Ornstein that he wanted to open up a tavern on the road. To give the people without a home, like himself, a temporary one.
Lost in his thoughts, Tempest finished washing himself and dried his body with a towel, then put on some clothes and then went to find Ornstein to spend some time with him. He wanted to hear the stories about the scars.
The days passed and Tempest got more and more used to inhabiting Ornstein's body. His day normally consisted of getting up, getting dressed and brushing his hair (he had no clue how Ornstein could bear running around with such matted hair), visiting the privy and then making breakfast to eat, being sure that he cooked a new meal because he had to exploit having a sense of taste.
Ornstein normally already was there and watched him cook, always, without a fail, cleaning the kitchen while Tempest donned the armour, needing far too long for it and normally having to wait for Ornstein to help him out with it. Then they would train until it was time for Tempest to each lunch and after lunch, they either continued training or went separate for a while.
While it felt like it could be boring, Tempest wouldn't had mind if their life could continue like this forever. He knew it wasn't possible, he had to fulfil the mission of the Chosen Undead before his body and mind would give in to the hollowing, but for the moment, he could dream. In a land as grim as Lordran, where would they be without hope?
Tempest had just finished eating lunch and was thinking about maybe lying down for a nap, because his body was heavy after all the training, when Ornstein suddenly stomped towards him, having a certain look in his eyes that made Tempest wanting to shrink, even though he was the bigger of the two at the moment.
"Little Storm, can you explain to me why all the doors in the west wing are out of their hinges?", Ornstein asked, crossing his arms, gaze turning into one of accusation.
"Well...", Tempest started, knowing that there was no good explanation for it, "I am sorry, Ornstein, I always forget how strong you are. I normally need more strength to open the doors and because I am used to it, I rip them out their hinges all the time. I wanted to practice on the door in the west wing, but I failed... and because I ripped all the doors out anyway, I thought I would leave them like that until after we swapped back, you know, to not having to repair them over and over again..."
Ornstein let out a deep, heavy sigh. "I can't even be mad at you, little Storm.", he said dryly. "Not with how honest you are and there isn't anyone besides us in the cathedral anyway."
"And the titanite demon.", Tempest added.
"Yes... and the titanite demon... which you haven't taken care of when you were here..."
"It was hard enough to get to you, Ornstein, I didn't want to lower my chances by fighting a demon that wasn't even interested in leaving the room. Shall we maybe take care of it right now?"
"No, you are not used enough to my techniques and I could accidentally die again. One time truly was enough.", Ornstein said, shaking his head. "What have you planned now? Because originally I wanted to show you something."
"Napping.", Tempest said truthfully. "Having to make up for your lack of sleep." He gave Ornstein a grin.
"It's not like I never sleep.", Ornstein hissed and turned around. "Fine, I take care of the doors in the west wing, find me once you wake up."
Tempest shrugged as the mention of why Ornstein wanted to repair the doors, even though nobody used them and when Tempest went down there, maybe to practice another time, they would just get ripped out of the hinges again. He went to Ornstein's room, where the door already was only loosely put against the door frame and then laid down for his nap.
Once Tempest woke, mainly because of a dry throat, sleeping always parched him, he went to find Ornstein after taking a refreshing drink out of the jar on the night stand which he filled with fresh water every night. Ornstein was still in the west wing, having apparently finished repairing all the doors and stared at a wall.
"Is something wrong with the wall, Ornstein?", Tempest asked and Ornstein jumped in surprise.
"Oh, it's... it's looking a bit dull... I thought maybe I could paint it...", he said.
"Why?", Tempest asked, honestly confused why Ornstein would want to maintain the cathedral. Wouldn't they leave that place behind forever soon anyway? What was the point in painting a dull looking wall when nobody would be here anymore? Tempest doubted that the titanite demon would cherish it.
"Be.. Because.", Ornstein snapped and Tempest knew that the conversation was over. Ornstein probably had his reasons for his sudden household and repair whims, Tempest didn't find it to be a bad thing. Maybe his body had rubbed off on Ornstein, he always had searched for ways to better the tavern so that the guests would feel even more comfortable there.
"You wanted to show me something?", Tempest said instead and Ornstein nodded.
"Come with me.", he said. Tempest followed him until they were in Ornstein's trophy room, where two of the silver knights stood guard.
"Have you practiced parrying?", Tempest said jokingly. Ornstein shook his head and instead prepared his left hand.
"Watch.", he said and Tempest's eyes widened when he saw a lightning spear form in the hands of Ornstein, which got hurled at one of the silver knights, grilling them in one strike.
"What? How did you do that?", Tempest asked. "This miracle isn't even in my possession! I think you need to enter the Sunlight Warrior Covenant for it and you know that I entered the Grave Lord Covenant instead."
"By complete accident nonetheless.", Ornstein half hissed.
"Hey, I have never done that grave lord thing, you forbid me from doing it anyway.", Tempest tried to placate Ornstein.
"Good.", Ornstein said. "To answer your question, I was thinking about if my faith is tied to my body or my conscience. I had to train for a few days, but this night I managed to call unto my miracles. This should greatly enhance my combat prowess should we get into trouble."
"That's amazing... though, Ornstein, did you use the nights to train?", Tempest asked.
"Yes, your body doesn't need sleep anyway.", Ornstein answered.
"It may not need sleep, but it still CAN sleep. It isn't healthy staying awake all the time, Ornstein, that will just make your head spin, because you never calm down. I can't approve of you staying awake.", Tempest shook his head, showing his disappointment.
"I would have slept when I knew how! I don't know how to fall asleep when I am not tired!", Ornstein's voice started to increase in volume until he practically yelled the last word.
"Yes, because you sleep far too less.", Tempest said. "Which brings us back to our earlier argument. Anyway, when you want to fall asleep as an undead, you need to empty out your head. Don't think anything, just stare at the ceiling or close your eyes and soon you start to drift. The moment you think it's over, then you remember that you aren't tired. To summarize, don't think, empty your head and you manage."
"You make this sound far too easy...", Ornstein said.
"You have too many thoughts, that is your problem.", Tempest said. "Why worry about what you can't change? You feel better if you feel rested the next day though and that is why sleeping is important, even as an Undead. When you don't sleep, all the thoughts just clog your head and you can't concentrate anymore. Believe me, I needed a while to get it too, but when you sit all alone in a cell, you don't want to be awake anymore, you know? So you basically stop thinking."
Tempest suddenly grew quiet.
"Huh, now that I think about it, that might have been the cause for my first almost hollowing... Anyway... while sleep is important even for the Undead, we usually don't have to do it each day like the living do, so you should be fine, even when you don't sleep the whole week. I just think you should try it out, Ornstein, when you manage to fall asleep in an undead body, it will be so much easier in your living body."
"I... I will try.", Ornstein said and Tempest gave him a smile.
This evening, while Ornstein was pondering about how he should spend the night when he didn't manage to fall asleep, even though he had promised Tempest to try, he doubted he would manage, Tempest came to him and sat himself down next to him.
"I know it is only temporary and I didn't think too much about it, because I used to be alive, but, Ornstein, do you have trouble staying in my body because, you know...?", Tempest didn't finish the sentence and Ornstein knew why. He didn't want to say it out aloud.
"Because it is undead?", Ornstein said and Tempest gave him a shy nod.
Instead of answering Ornstein said: "So, little Storm, you aren't bothered to be stuck in my body?"
"At first I was a bit grossed out I have to admit.", Tempest said. "I forgot how it is to feel hungry or thirsty, to feel tired or having to...", he interrupted himself as Ornstein stared at him and then continued: "It was so much at once. I forgot how much stuff you have to do to your body everyday so that it would feel fine and content. I can't just get up and start my day, I have to drink and eat and I can't skip on sleeping when I feel like it. I have been undead for so long, that is why it felt so weird, but I got used to it soon and being able to taste again is awesome. I have to thank you for that, Ornstein."
"You always just take what happens to you and shrug it off.", Ornstein said. "Little Storm, I admire you for it. I don't know how you do it. All that happened to you, it would be enough to crush anyone, but you smile and carry on. You say that it couldn't have been changed and just accept it."
"When you have died a hundred times or more, you get used to it.", Tempest said. "I couldn't change that I died, but I could very much learn from it. So why despair when I could try again? Every time I did succeed somewhere where I failed prior until eventually I succeeded fully. When you are unable to die, you start to see life with different eyes."
Ornstein didn't say anything at first, simply looking at Tempest, then he put his head in his hands and said: "Little Storm, when I died in your body, I was shocked. I... I wanted to die for a long time and you know how mad I was that it didn't happen, that you failed to kill me... but then I died and... it wasn't permanent. I felt all the pain of dying and just woke up at the bonfire. There was... nothing great about it. It didn't feel like the salvation I sought. It just... happened. If I wouldn't have been undead, had it felt the same? Would I have felt salvation or would I just have... ceased to exist?"
"I don't know if we go anywhere when we die.", Tempest said. "Maybe we go to sleep? Maybe sometimes we don't want to go to sleep? Some souls stay behind after all, just look into my pockets."
Ornstein did as told and produced a little white glowing soul.
"The soul of an undead who gave up...", he said.
"An undead who hollowed beyond recognition, so that they stopped moving and even their soul left their body.", Tempest said. "Or maybe it is the soul power they had gained. One day, every hollow will burn themselves into the bonfire, so I heard. Every being craves for salvation, but I don't think it is as easy to get as you think..."
Tempest looked down at Ornstein and then gave him a little pat on the head, which earned him a glare. He chuckled, he always had wanted to do that.
"Anyway, isn't it far more rewarding when we keep living?", Tempest said. "When we live, there are so many things we can look forward to. Each day is filled with so many possibilities. How often did I go to bed anticipating the next meal I would cook? I always wanted to live my life to the fullest, but... it got cut short..."
"You still haven't given up.", Ornstein said. "Why? What kept you going? How could you go on without regretting what happened to you? Did you never regret what happened? Your whole life was over once you became undead!"
"If I had never become undead, I wouldn't have met you.", Tempest said, slowly and calmly as opposed to Ornstein's shrieking. "That was one of the best things that has ever happened to me."
Ornstein just stared at Tempest, opening his mouth and then closing it again, then staring down at the soul he still held in his hands. Then, he felt how tears started to fall out of his eyes.
"I... I don't get it...", he sobbed. "I just don't get it..."
"It's alright. You don't have to.", Tempest said and stroked Ornstein's head again, only that this time Ornstein did let it happen without trouble.
A day or so after their talk, Tempest found Ornstein carrying a bucket of paint, carefully walking down the steps. At the other end of the stairs he saw three more buckets. Was Ornstein planning to carry them one by one?
"Hey, Ornstein, do you need help with that?", Tempest asked and pointed at the paint buckets. Ornstein startled a tiny bit, probably not having expected for Tempest to be there, to focused on his task of carrying the paint bucket, but then he nodded.
"That would be a great help, thank you, little Storm.", he said, his face having only the slightest bit of a sour expression on it, his way of saying that he disliked how weak Tempest's body was.
"Alright then.", Tempest went up the stairs and stood in front of the paint buckets. He picked up two of them, one in each hand, with ease. For stuff like this, it was great to have a strong body like Ornstein's. Though, he probably could carry three buckets with ease? Ornstein was right handed, so Tempest picked the third bucket up too, the two of them in his right hand dangling at each other.
"Little Storm, I don't know if that is such a good idea...", Ornstein said, worry showing on his face.
"It's fine, they feel like they don't weigh anything.", Tempest said and began descending the stairs, after around five of them knowing why Ornstein had expressed concern.
Balancing the buckets without spilling the paint in them wasn't an easy task, especially for the both that were in his right hand. He slowed down and looked at them, sometimes looking at the bucket in his left, making sure that nothing would spill. The more steps he went down, the more he got used to the balancing act and once he was at around the last step, he looked up and said: "See, Ornstein, everything's fiiiiiiine!"
Tempest had managed to overlook the last step and Ornstein could only watch as he fell, or more, he ran to him and tried to catch him, completely forgetting about his current bodily situation and pretty much got trapped under his own big body. That wasn't the worst thing however, the paint buckets that Tempest had carried, had all fallen with him and now not only the floor was covered in paint, but also Tempest himself as well as Ornstein, though he wasn't that stained, because Tempest had shielded him.
"Ouch, are you alright, Ornstein?", Tempest said, rubbing his forehead as he stood up.
"I am fine.", Ornstein said, getting up himself and then glaring at Tempest. "Look what you've done! You are covered in paint! That needs to be washed right away! In the bathroom."
"Huh? Ornstein, I don't think I manage that with your rules. I would need to scrub this off and I can't do that with my eyes closed.", Tempest said, already feeling how some of the paint dried on his skin and, by the flame, was it in his crotch too? He definitely couldn't clean there.
"Just... get into the bathroom. With a blindfold on. I'll take care of this.", Ornstein growled. Tempest just nodded and headed to the bathroom, putting a blindfold on before he got undressed, waiting for Ornstein to come.
He came soon enough. "Why aren't you in the water?", he asked.
"Because I can't see like this, Ornstein.", Tempest said.
"Oh, right.", Ornstein took Tempest's hand (he felt himself blush at the gesture) and guided him to the water, where he instructed him to get in.
"What now?", Tempest asked.
"I will clean you from the paint. Or more, I will clean my body from the paint. Just how, little Storm, you were on the last step, how did you manage to fall at the last minute?"
Tempest didn't answer at first, because Ornstein cleaning him gave him some implications... even though Ornstein was cleaning his own body, but using Tempest's body to do so and oh, did he even notice the implications of this? Ornstein probably was so absorbed into getting his body clean without Tempest seeing, that he didn't notice it.
"Have you swallowed your tongue, little Storm?", Ornstein asked as Tempest heard the sounds of a wash cloth being wrung out.
"Sorry, Ornstein.", Tempest replied. "I got too confident. I should have only carried two buckets and even then, I should have taken it slower."
"Good.", Ornstein said and started scrubbing at Tempest, naturally the parts of his body that weren't covered by clothes had gotten the worst of the brunt, so his hands and neck were the first to get scrubbed. That wasn't so bad, but the paint had seeped through the clothes and also covered a lot of other parts...
That Tempest couldn't see anything, only feel and that Ornstein was working quietly, without uttering a single word, made it all the worse. Tempest even had to hold his breath to not start to moan while Ornstein cleaned his rear, being sure that Ornstein would never forgive him if he would let his body produce such a sound.
It was a good thing when Ornstein suddenly was pouring water over him and started working on his hair. "Tsk, now I am glad that you are stuck in my body, that must feel horrifying to get out.", he said and Tempest agreed. The paint was so adamantly stuck in his hair, each twinge was utterly painful and it seemed to take so long. Finally, finally Ornstein was done and gave Tempest another look over apparently.
"What?! The paint got even there?", Ornstein murmured and Tempest gasped when Ornstein grabbed that part. Now he clearly wasn't thinking! Tempest gave his best, holding his breath, trying to think about the grossest thing he had ever seen (the Gaping Dragon felt like a good bet), but the fact that it was Ornstein rubbing that part and all so while being in Tempest's body at the moment, made him ultimately fail.
"Little Storm, what the fuck?!"
"I couldn't do anything against it! It happens when you rub there, Ornstein, I tried to prevent it, I really tried.", Tempest almost cried.
"Well, stop it. Somehow!", Ornstein said. Tempest heard water splashing and then suddenly a shower of ice cold water hit him, which was enough to get any naughty thoughts out of his head.
"Did it help?", Ornstein asked.
"Y-yes.", Tempest shuddered from the cold. "Please tell me your body is clean enough now."
"It.. it is.", Ornstein said and then. "Little Storm, I am sorry, I was so caught up in cleaning my body that I forgot about the implications of such an act. It may have been because I washed you shortly after we went on our first mission."
"See, that is why I don't mind when you see my naked body.", Tempest said, sniffling, not from tears, but from the cold. "Can I warm up a bit before you dry me up?"
"Yeah, sure.", Ornstein said and while Tempest sank back into the warm water, he heard how Ornstein cleaned himself or Tempest's body to be precise.
Once they were done, dried up and clothed (and Tempest finally could take off the blindfold), he found the whole situation absurdly funny. In a sense, Ornstein had cleaned his own body, but while using Tempest's body, which Ornstein would have hated if the roles had been reversed. He could hardly contain his laughter.
"This isn't funny.", Ornstein said next to him.
"Sorry, Ornstein.", Tempest said, taking a few deep breaths. "I promise I won't get your body dirty anymore."
"I sure hope so.", Ornstein said and the two of them went back to the stairs where the paint got spilled to clean it up.
The day of the potion being finished was only one night away and Tempest stood in the kitchen, thinking instead of cooking.
"What are you waiting for? You have been standing around for thirty minutes now.", Ornstein mentioned from his usual corner.
"It's the last day I can taste, because Gwyndolin wants for us to take the potion right in the morning, so I am thinking about what to cook or if I should cook several meals at once, but I don't want to give you back your body with a stomach ache...", Tempest replied, cocking his head and staring at the stove.
"...I can handle a little stomach ache.", Ornstein said and Tempest beamed at him.
"Thank you, Ornstein!", he said and ran over, pretty much picking him up and twirling him around.
"Little Storm, stop!", Ornstein yelled and Tempest put him down, a sheepish smile on his face.
"Sorry, I forgot how strong I am. I am going to miss that once we swapped back."
"At least you won't rip any doors out of their hinges anymore then.", Ornstein said. "Can I request some of the dishes you eat?"
"Of course.", Tempest said and so the rest of the evening was spent cooking and eating, even though Tempest was horrified because Ornstein ordered peas in applesauce, but he had to admit that he liked it! That only was because he was in Ornstein's body, no way someone else would like this taste.
And so the next morning came and while Tempest wasn't exactly hungry, he didn't have a stomach ache either. It was a good thing he had made sure to drink a special herbal tea blend helping with digestion and he had to admit that Ornstein had a good metabolism, it had digested fast enough for him to not feel stuffed anymore.
After he woke up and took care of everything Ornstein's body needed (minus eating), he put on the armour with Ornstein's help and the both of them went to the Dark Moon Tomb.
"Well, that surely was an experience.", Tempest said.
"It was.", Ornstein agreed. "But I am glad that it's over."
"To be honest, while I will miss being able to taste, I am ready to get back in my own body too.", Tempest said.
"Even though it is undead?"
"I am used to it. And besides, I would be far too nervous about dying for good and I can use Estus to heal any injuries. Being undead has its advantages."
"...I didn't want to offend, sorry."
"You haven't, Ornstein.", Tempest smiled down at him, unseen behind the helmet. "Let's just take care of this little mishap and then continue with our mission."
Ornstein nodded and soon they stood in front of the Dark Moon Tomb, waiting for Gwyndolin to let them in.
"Ah, there you are.", Gwyndolin said once they lifted the fog gate. "Come, the potion needs to be inhaled." They slithered in front of them and Ornstein and Tempest followed.
Gwyndolin had prepared two bowls on the table with a cloth over both of them.
"Sit down and cover your head with the cloth, then wait for my signal.", they said. "Once you inhale the potion, your conscience should separate from your body and you simply need to return to your original body."
"Are you ready, Ornstein?", Tempest asked.
"Ready, little Storm.", Ornstein said and both of them sat down. Tempest removed the helmet, so that he could inhale the potion just fine and then covered his head with the cloth.
"It will work better if you are touching each other.", Gwyndolin said. "You were touching each other when it first happened, right?"
"Right...", Tempest murmured and put his hand on the table, which he felt got taken by Ornstein's hand.
"Alright, then, I will warm up the potion now and on my mark you take a deep breath.", Gwyndolin announced.
It took only a minute or two for the potion to be warm enough to steam, so once Tempest took a deep breath, he felt himself slip into a deep sleep... and the next time he opened his eyes, it was from above, looking at both of their bodies, laying on the table, still having their hands interlocked.
"That has been it then.", Tempest told himself, not really being able to hear anything, he existed as some kind of bodiless entity, the way he perceived himself was probably just how he remembered. When he looked up, he saw another entity floating there, clearly into the shape of Ornstein, but also looking like a wavering cloud.
"We will see each other on the other side.", Ornstein smiled at him and then both of them floated down.
The next time Tempest opened his eyes, he looked at Ornstein's face. The dragon slayer smiled at him and then let go of his hand.
"Good morning, little Storm.", he said.
Tempest grinned at him and then replied: "Good morning, Ornstein. What do you want for breakfast?"
(Author's note: So, yeah, that was the whole reason why I haven't worked on my other fics lately. It took an awful long time to be written, but I am glad I did it. I had so much fun with it. I never thought about using the body swap trope, but suddenly my mind was occupied by it.
Another big thanks to kittycatcaptain on twitter who listened to my ideas and provided their own. That Ornstein and Tempest kept their chemistry for example was their idea and also the bath scene, though I made it a bit more sfw, even though it borderlines on nsfw xD
Anyway, I hope you enjoy and regular Storm will get picked up soon.)