Chapter 1 : Bodysnatchers
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Shannyn Sossamon as Isabel Bennett
Tyler Posey as Oliver Bennett
Sean Biggerstaff as Tall Wizard with Parchment
Isabel was supposed to become a Healer.
At least, that had been The Plan, or part of it ― to attend Healing school in the fall while her uncoordinated ponce of a brother went off to tryouts for Puddlemere United.
The Plan wasn't her plan, mind. This was entirely her father's doing ― another of his business-turned-life propositions, in effect and driving a wedge between him and his children since 2005 ― and neither Isabel nor Oliver were able to put in so much as a Sickle's worth, let alone the two of theirs together.
"Look after the Sickles and the Galleons will look after themselves," Mr. Bennett always said, whenever he was even around to say anything at all.
But with an absurdly wealthy father who had invented the new wiPhone and spent most of his time Apparating up and down the British Isles on business trips, when were his children ever allowed a say in their lives? Why, the man even hand-picked ― well, his personal assistant hand-picked, as Mr. Bennett was a very busy wizard, indeed ― the outfitting of the fraternal twins' very lifestyles, right down to their bedspreads. (Blue for Oliver and pink for Isabel, who fed it bit by bit to her pygmy puff, Fitzwilliam, until Mr. Bennett's personal assistant purchased her another twenty-seven just like it.)
It wasn't as though their father actually cared what they did; the facts of the matter were, Mr. Bennett relished being in control like a Dementor relished soul-sucking, and everyone had his or her own specific role in the well-structured Bennet family.
"Oliver, where the Buckbeak has my essence of dittany gone?" cried Isabel, rummaging through the supply cupboard. "I swear, you're more unorganized than Professor Longbottom ― "
It was a truth universally acknowledged, that a female Bennett must be in want of Healing certification, and that the family name must be upheld by the exceptionally manly occupations of the Bennett men, among which inventing wiPhones and playing Quidditch were especially lionhearted, though not in that particular order.
"Didn't you last leave it in that bin with my strawberry shampoo?" Oliver looked up innocently from the kit bag he was packing, making sure Isabel's back was turned before stowing away a lavender sleep mask. "And I, er...think I saw it next to my...erm, aftershave," he added gruffly for good measure, placing an undetectable extension charm on the bag. "You know, my very manly aftershave, the one with the plaid label and, er, manticore extract...."
Such a universal truth proved to be yet another objective of The Plan ― established by Mr. Bennett moments before the birth of the twins, prompted by an epiphany that took place during a very important wiPhone call ― and, try as they might to escape it, Isabel and Oliver seemed to be forever doomed by The Plan and all its pitfalls.
"You better not have been using it for your hair potion again," growled Isabel, appearing before her brother, the half-empty vial of dittany clutched in her slender hand.
Feigning a doe-eyed look of innocence reminiscent of a first year Hufflepuff, Oliver neatly zipped up his bag. "Dearest sister, I haven't the foggiest ― "
"You know as well as I do," Isabel interjected smoothly, her hazel eyes narrowed, "this Sleekeazy doesn't belong to me."
Oliver gave a rather nervous laugh. "Sl-sleekeazy? I don't recall ever buying any ― " His voice fell away as he caught sight of the bottle his sister was holding.
Isabel simply raised a practiced eyebrow, brandishing the incriminating evidence, which bore the unmistakable scrawl of This hair potion belongs to Oliver James Bennett across the label.
"Would you look at that, I must've gotten that ages ago," Oliver prattled on, passing a shaky hand through his hair. Typically, this would've been an attempt to casually dishevel his hair, but in this instance, Oliver was getting in his last few hair caresses, in case Isabel jinxed it off in her anger. "D'you know, my hand must've slipped over the bottle when I was moving your dittany, and as it turns out, it's loads more soothing to my scalp than essence of murtlap. Isn't that something?"
A tiny muscle in Isabel's jaw twitched. "I just purchased this vial last month, and there's only half of it left. If you mean to tell me ― "
"Look, I only ever used your dittany once," said Oliver hastily, snatching the bottle of Sleekeazy's Hair Potion from Isabel's grasp. "I sliced myself shaving the other day, and there was just so much blood, it was everywhere ― "
Unfortunately for Mr. Bennett, blood and magical maladies made Isabel squeamish ― though she would have happily taken a Bludger to the nose if she could nab a goal in the process ― and Oliver, though a fine Chaser, often said he much preferred treating injuries to receiving them, though he truthfully couldn't bear the idea of windswept hair past his Hogwarts years.
Mr. Bennett hadn't been gracious with his genes in the hair texture department, and untidy hair was considered passé since the Potter boys had graduated.
Isabel held up a hand, wincing as her stomach rolled. "Spare me the gory details, alright? Just...don't nick anymore of my potions, okay?"
Oliver opened his mouth indignantly, clearly affronted. "I wasn't nicking your ― " At a very stony glance from Isabel, he amended feebly, "Alright, maybe I was."
The hardships of fraternal twins.
All the same, the siblings had grinned and bared it ― "it" being the prickly thorns of The Plan in their sides ― all their lives, at least up until now. That was the very sort of thing that earned Isabel the title of "Ravenclaw Quidditch Captain" (as well as "So Plucky I Almost Forgot She Isn't a Bloke" after securing the Cup two years in a row) and Oliver the epithet of "Most Likely to Trade His Gryffindor Quidditch Kit for Healer Robes" (and "Healer McDishy" in the girls' dorms) in their final year at Hogwarts.
Shrewd, strategic, and boyishly cool, Isabel lived for Quidditch and the joys of wearing trousers, while Oliver was the only member of the Gryffindor team to feel concern over their Seeker, Albus Potter, possibly dying in his efforts to catch the Snitch. But Albus made it past graduation, and Oliver was able to sleep at night.
Some called the pair "insane," albeit for entirely different reasons, but most simply deemed them "brilliant" once they were able to tell the two apart. After all, it wasn't too hard, considering Isabel was every bit the bloke Oliver wasn't (save for her longer hair, although it was rumored there was a six-pack hidden beneath her robes, and it certainly wasn't made of butterbeer), despite Oliver thankfully being the one to attract the dithering females.
And yet here they were, sharing a two-bedroom flat in North Greenwich, preparing to say their goodbyes to each other for the summer, their respective paperwork clutched in their hands and ready to be delivered during the start of Puddlemere tryouts and Healer summer orientation.
"It will grow back, won't it?"
Isabel rolled her eyes, fingering her wand idly. "Don't sound so hopeful, Oliver, of course it will. Remember the time you cut it off the night before our first train ride to Hogwarts?"
"Ugh." Oliver closed his eyes briefly, grimacing and massaging his temples. "Please, don't remind me. I'm still having nightmares about it."
Isabel crossed her arms smugly, radiating satisfaction. "Well, I suppose last-minute remorse certainly is better than none at all...."
"Actually," Oliver pointed out, eyes still tightly squeezed shut, "that was more along the lines of you sparing me that awful mental image ― " With his eyes so carefully closed, it would've been impossible for him to see one of his own aromatherapy candles hurtling toward his head.
Isabel smiled brightly, admiring her aim. "You were saying?"
"Come on, Izzy, I was only joking!" Oliver rubbed the red, candle-shaped patch that had appeared on his forehead. "Honestly, for the love of cauldron cake ― "
"As I was saying," Isabel continued loudly, ignoring her twin, "I was hacked enough that it grew back overnight, didn't it?"
"Thank Merlin," muttered Oliver, ducking as a textbook sailed past his head. "And Circe as well...go on, then."
Isabel stared at him expectantly, bouncing excitedly on her toes. "Well, it shouldn't be too hard to grow it back if I'm in a foul enough mood, should it?"
"Suppose not," said Oliver finally.
"Oh, come on, Ollie," said Isabel exasperatedly, flicking her fringe out of her eyes, "it's just hair, isn't it?"
"You do realize just how pear-shaped this could go, don't you?" said Oliver reasonably, choosing to avoid the question, since it never was just hair. "What if Dad or someone else finds out? You're bound to run into someone who knows us."
"We won't let it slip," retorted Isabel, casually pointing her wand at him for emphasis, "so long as you keep your gob shut and I keep a Disillusionment charm on my chest."
Luckily, she missed Oliver's nearly inaudible muttering of "What chest?"
Clearing his throat, he instead chose to say, louder, "What happens if they find your things, though? As far as I know, there's no easy way to Disillusion tampons and...urgh, sports bras," he finished disgustedly, plucking the bright garment from Isabel's bag. "You know they have a reputation for turning down girls, and I can guarantee they won't be pleased to see Isabel instead of Oliver, especially if she makes the team over a bunch of smelly blokes."
Isabel sighed frustratedly. "I'll figure out something, won't I?"
Oliver groaned, passing a hand over his face. "That's what I'm afraid of. So, I'm just going to tell the Healers my real name, while some other chap across the country is playing Quidditch with the same name, is it?"
"Yes, that should do," said Isabel absently, though in a much lower tone than before, in an attempt to sound more like a post-pubescent man. "Foolproof, right? I mean, er..." She cleared her throat importantly, her voice modulating an octave lower. "Chopped liver."
"Excuse me?" Oliver choked out. "What the Dervish and Banges do you mean by it?"
Isabel tossed her head, scoffing. "I was practicing being manly. Wasn't it obvious? Chopped liver is quite butch."
"That has to be the most idiotic thing I've ever heard," replied Oliver frankly.
Genuinely puzzled, Isabel asked, "The plan or chopped liver?" While Quidditch strategies were her forte, common sense, on the other hand, was not. "It was too much, wasn't it? God, they'll have me sussed out in a heartbeat, won't they?"
Oliver let out a dramatic sigh, shaking his head. "I was talking about both, Izzy. This is absolutely mad."
Isabel frowned, prodding her eyebrows with her wand in the hopes of making them slightly bushier. "Then why go along with it?"
"That's just it!" cried Oliver crossly, throwing his hands in the air. "I don't know! I'm supposed to be the rational one here!" Inhaling deeply, he tried again. "Izzy, I want to be a Healer, I really do, but this all sounds too stupid to work...."
Isabel impatiently waved a hand in dismissal. "Better to be hanged for a dragon as an egg, then, isn't it?"
Rather bossily, Isabel placed a hand on her hip. "Look, Ollie, there's no use crying over spilt potion now. Let's just get this over with, alright?" And, quick as a flash, she brought her wand up to her shoulder-length hair, giving it a small flick and muttering a spell she normally wouldn't have been caught dead finding in Witch Weekly.
"Gordon Bennett," breathed Oliver, his large brown eyes trailing after the numerous, former strands of Isabel's hair plummeting to the hardwood floor.
Isabel grinned, thoroughly enjoying the stricken look on his face as she Banished the fallen hair to goodness knows where. "How do I look?" She ran her fingers through her considerably shorter, boyish tufts of coffee-colored hair. It was surprisingly soft, and for the first time in her life, she understood why boys like her brother couldn't keep their hands out of their hair.
In fact, she almost regretted calling him a ponce once. Almost, but no cigar.
"You look...like me." Slowly, a parallel grin spread across Oliver's features, and the twins gazed at each other's similar faces ― from their now matching choppy, brunette hair, to their straight noses and high cheekbones that were so alike. The only difference besides their eye colors was, Isabel was still clearly a girl ― but only just, her dark eyelashes only slightly longer and her lips the tiniest bit pinker than Oliver's.
In short, she made a pretty boy.
Well, this certainly hadn't been in The Plan.
When Oliver voiced this aloud, Isabel shrugged. "No one will know the difference, will they? At the very worst, they'll just think I'm a bit of a prat who keeps around things like sports bras and...er, tampons."
"Yes," Oliver agreed sarcastically, "at the very worst."
Sensing Oliver's discomfort ― after all, his metrosexuality was a bit of a touchy subject for him; was it so wrong for a straight bloke to love his hair so much? ― Isabel clapped a hand briefly to his shoulder, giving it a light squeeze. "Don't worry, Ollie, I'll be the epitome of manliness. Hell, I might even grab my crotch a few times ― "
"Just ― don't let any blokes get close enough to you to be able tell the difference, alright?" said Oliver wearily, a severely pained look on his face. "And keep my hair looking good, yeah?"
"Git." Isabel glanced down at the papers in her hand, her eyes catching on Oliver's name. "So, I guess this is it, then?"
"Yeah," replied Oliver reluctantly, eyeballing his own papers and skimming over words like Healer and Oliver Bennett. "I guess so. Merlin, this is so stupid."
"Ah, shut up and give me a hug, will you...."
Simultaneously, the pair leaned forward, tightly embracing each other in a macho, yet heartfelt hug, punctuated by many pats on the back. "You'll make the team, don't worry," said Oliver bracingly, patting his sister's cheek. "I know you will. Do me proud, Izzy."
Isabel rumpled her brother's hair, savoring his expression of distaste, and shrugged on a grey jumper over her tank top, thankfully flat chest, and track pants. "Will do. Good luck, and find a cure for stupidity, will you?"
Oliver laughed, not even bothering to fix his hair. "Only if you'll be my test patient."
Swatting him in the chest playfully, Isabel gave him one last fond, appraising look and shouldered her rucksack. "See you around, then. If they take me on, I'll visit on free weekends."
Smiling, Oliver picked up his kit bag. "Watch out for community showers, they're full of naked blokes." Isabel rolled her eyes. "And look out for Albus Potter ― I hear he made captain this year. He'll be sure to remember me from school, so just...watch out, will you?"
Just as Isabel was turning on the spot to Apparate, she paused, curious. "Just between us, you know, bloke to bloke ― as a male, am I as dishy as you?"
Oliver seriously considered this for a moment. "Not quite, but nearly."
"Cheers," responded Isabel with a hearty laugh. With a loud pop, she was gone.
"Welcome to Puddlemere United! Name?"
Landing somewhat unsteadily on her feet, Isabel goggled at her lush, green surroundings, peppered with soaring blurs zooming around a vast pitch and other Quidditch hopefuls milling about on the ground. "Oliver," said Isabel confidently, returning her gaze to the tall man before her, belying her mettle by running a hand nervously through her newly shorn pixie cut. "Oliver Bennett from Greenwich." For good measure, she planted her feet apart widely, adopting what she thought to be a manly stance.
"Position you'll be trying out for?" asked the wizard amiably, scanning his scroll of parchment and trailing a finger down the list of names. Briefly, as he glanced up from his list, he wondered if all wizards from Greenwich stood with their legs far enough apart for a unicorn to walk through.
Heart pounding, Isabel took a deep breath, plastering a convincing, nonchalant grin across her face. "Chaser."
Offering a smile that mirrored her own, the man beckoned her forward with a sweeping hand gesture, handing her a set of navy blue Quidditch robes. "Glad to have you here. Chasers can warm up over there, on the left side of the pitch. Good luck, Oliver Bennett from Greenwich!"
Elated that she had passed her first test in the long road ahead of impersonating a man, Isabel allowed the man to wave his wand as she walked ― no, swaggered ― past, marveling as she felt the rush of heat and the letters of her last name emblazon themselves upon the back of the robes. She was just fingering the golden bulrushes on the sturdy material when she heard someone yell, "Oi, Quaffle coming your way!"
The last thing Isabel remembered as the rogue Quaffle bulleted straight toward her on the ground, the wind whistling, was that she had forgotten to Transfigure her day-of-the-week knickers into boxers with Norwegian Ridgebacks on them.
Author's Note: I love sports gender-benders (She's the Man, anyone?), and I hope I can do the branch of rom-com justice. The title for this chapter was taken from one of my favorite Radiohead songs, as I've been on a massive listening binge with their albums this summer.
Anyway, I'd love to hear what you thought! Tell me in a review. Thanks for reading!
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