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In One's Shoes

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One would assume one knows what it's like waking up blind. It would be like, "Oh, have I not opened my eyes? Yes I have. So why can I not see? Are the lights out? Has the sun gone dark? Oh no, I must be blind!" Not that Moomintroll has thought in excess of such an occurrence, but it should be obvious, he would assume.

He is not, therefore, prepared for the disorienting visual cues beholden to his sense of sight upon opening his eyes on this late spring day. Where he's used to seeing his bedroom ceiling, he sees a few shades of beige, lined up next to each other as though in accordance with an angled beam of light. Where he's accustomed to seeing a round, white blank in his field of vision, the beige continues.

Moomintroll's first thought is that he's gone blind. It's so much different than he thought! Rather than blackness, he's privy to an odd beige. He blinks, and he notices that he can still see the dark on the other side of his eyelids. This is very frightening, he thinks.

His mind sluggish, it takes Moomintroll all of this still pondering to start out of bed with a gasp—and he's greeted with another anomaly. He expects, viscerally, to fall on the floor, but he doesn't. He simply jumps, rolls over, and lands a little further to the left than where the end of his bed should be. His paw slides against the sheet, and he feels a pad of tiny threads underneath, like grass.

Moomintroll squeezes his eyes shut against the onslaught of unexpected sensations. "Ease up, Moomintroll," he whispers to himself. "You've just had a nightmare. I'll just count to three, and—Snufkin?"

Moomintroll was certain he'd been the one speaking, but his ears seem to be playing tricks; was that Snufkin just now? His voice sounded odd, but Moomintroll knows his friend anywhere.

"Snufkin, are you..." Moomintroll trails off as, with eyes open now, his senses finally settle in to his surroundings. The beige he saw a minute ago is actually a tent wall, and the different shades are the effect of the morning sun shining through. "Am I in Snufkin's tent?" Moomintroll murmurs, and then he yelps and covers his mouth, because that wasn't his voice.

In a panic, Moomin scrambles to his feet and stumbles outside, getting momentarily tangled in a sheet as he tries to remember how to unzip a tent flap. He hardly notices the way his paws are smooth against the fabric, or how something green and floppy catches his foot on the way out. When he's managed to steady himself on the grass outside, finally sure of his surroundings, Moomintroll realizes what, precisely, is wrong with his field of vision.

His nose is gone.

He reaches for it. His fingers slide through the air and tickle his face. He raises them to his eyes and gasps. Then, spinning 'round, Moomin looks down at his body. He sees clothes, and bare feet, and a hat on the ground. He moves on automatic to lift the article of clothing and place it on his head. He turns again, and he sees Snufkin's boots sitting half-toppled out of the tent. He looks down at his feet once more, and he sees... not moomin feet. (He thinks the brown things there are called socks.)

"Oh," Moomintroll gasps in understanding. He takes hold of the bottom of Snufkin's tunic and stretches it out for inspection. A slow smile makes its way onto his—onto Snufkin's face. "I've swapped bodies with Snufkin!"

Moomin isn't quite sure how he feels about this. He doesn't think he's done anything to warrant it, but he can't say he minds too much. It could have been much worse. (He tries not to think too hard about just how so.) That said, he should definitely do something about it. He's not used to waking up this far from his family.

First thing's first, he thinks, is that his best friend probably wouldn't want him running around barefoot in his body. "Quite right, too," Moomintroll murmurs, sitting down to slip on Snufkin's boots. He doesn't understand the appeal of all this clothing, but he's sure he would feel the same if he did.

As he struggles with the laces, Moomin hums thoughtfully. He quite likes the sound of Snufkin's voice so close to his ears. Even though his accent is slightly different, he feels a bit giddy at the thought of getting to hear his friend say anything he wants.

He decides to experiment.

"Moomintroll," he says softly. He tries to capture Snufkin's tone, the warm greeting he loves to hear. "Ahem. Moomintroll. Moomintroll. Moomin...troll. Moomintroll. Moomintrrrroll."

"Moomintroll."

Moomin starts for the second time that morning. The perfect bow he's close to completing falls apart in his paws, but he doesn't quite care at the moment. He looks up to find a familiar figure with an equally familiar, yet unfitting, smile standing over him. "Snufkin?" Moomin squeaks.

"I thought so," sighs Moomin's voice in a decidedly un-Moomin way. The figure is him, but different. He has Snufkin's accent, and he's standing with shoulders lower than he's accustomed to seeing in the mirror. Not to mention... has his nose always been that big?

Snufkin-in-Moomintroll's-body kneels down and begins retying the laces Moomin was having trouble with. Moomin leans back on his—on Snufkin's paws to give him space. "Do you know how this happened, Snufkin?" Moomintroll asks.

"No idea," Snufkin replies. He picks up the other boot and slides it onto the other foot. "I thought at first that I was having another dream, but this day is proving to be as real as anything." He finishes tying the other boot and turns to Moomintroll. "Does Little My always demand to know where you're going when you leave the house?"

Moomin smiles awkwardly. "Only when I'm acting suspicious. You didn't tell them what was happening, did you?"

Snufkin shakes his—Moomin's head.

Moomin sighs with relief. Snufkin stands, so he pushes himself to his feet as well. "Good," he says, brushing the wrinkles out of his tunic. "I don't want to think about what Little My would do if she found out about this."

"That's what I was thinking."

Moomintroll glances up at the house. Little My is up there, squinting out at them from the porch railing. Snufkin must have been pretty suspicious, which means Little My will probably spend all day trying to find out what's happened.

Once again, Moomin sighs. "Whatever shall we do, Snufkin?"

"I haven't the slightest idea." Something shifts, and Moomin turns his borrowed head again to see Snufkin tucking his hat over Moomin's original ears. "But we could have some fun with this, if nothing else."

"Fun?"

"Yes, fun." Snufkin rubs his furry belly thoughtfully. "Haven't you ever wanted to view the world from another person's point of view?"

"I suppose..." Moomintroll tabs his chin. "I can't say I ever thought of being you, though."

"Nor me you," Snufkin agrees. "In fact, if this were anyone else, I'm sure I would be incredibly uncomfortable."

Moomin can feel his face and ears grow hot, and he wishes Snufkin hadn't taken his hat so soon. "W-well, I suppose that's a compliment! And, um, I you, as well. Too."

Snufkin smiles softly. "Of course, I would still like to find an answer to all of this. Can you remember what you were doing last night, Moomin?"