katmarajade: Woman drinking coffee with words "wake up" over her face (Default)
[personal profile] katmarajade
Title: There's Something About ...
Author: [personal profile] katmarajade
Rating: PG
Pairing(s): Hannah Abbott/Pansy Parkinson
Summary: When Hannah first made the promise, she had no idea it would entail masquerading as her own brother, helping to save a fundraiser from disaster, and falling in love with a rather prickly princess who thought Hannah was someone else.
Warnings: cross dressing, slight AU (Hannah has a twin brother)
Word Count: 3700
Author's Notes: This was written for [personal profile] capeofstorm at this year's [community profile] femmefest. My first full-length foray into femme ended up being a lot of fun, a little bit crazy, and a whole lot of wacky, silly, situational comedy. So right up my alley! Inspired by prompts of cross dressing and secrets. Plot loosely based on Shakespeare's Twelfth Night. Many thanks to [personal profile] aigooism, [personal profile] songquake, & [personal profile] tree00faery, my fabulous betas. All remaining errors are my own.

Our story begins, as most stories do, with a misunderstanding. In this case, quite a lot of misunderstandings with a few wild misconceptions tossed in for good measure.

It was a misunderstanding that Pansy Parkinson, owner and sole employee of her event planning business, could put together the Ministry Orphans & Widows Fundraiser Ball without any assistance.

It was a misunderstanding on the part of Mrs Abbott that her 23-year-old twins Hannah and Sebastian were anxiously looking to settle down with a member of the opposite sex and have lots of sex and babies. (For the record, Sebastian balked at the "settle down" aspect of it and Hannah at the "with a member of the opposite sex" part.)

And so it was a misunderstanding that led Mrs Abbott to volunteer her son to assist a very stressed-out Pansy on the same day that Sebastian left the country to showcase his jazz hands on the Continent. One of the lead dancers had broken his leg, which meant that the understudy was taking over the rest of the tour; Sebastian was the new understudy to the old understudy. Perhaps not the biggest break in show business, but it was enough to excite Sebastian.

Hannah, who was quite close with her brother, had been sworn to secrecy about his whereabouts and had promised to cover for him. When she first made that promise, she had no idea it would entail masquerading as her own brother, helping to save a fundraiser from disaster, or falling in love with a rather prickly princess who thought Hannah was someone else.

Yet that was exactly what happened.

While Hannah was eating her breakfast, Mrs Abbott swanned in and made a grandiose announcement (as she liked to do) that her handsome son was going to be a veritable knight in shining armour to a very eligible young lady who was in desperate need.

When Mrs Abbott eventually realised that her son was not present, she huffed and made Hannah promise to let Sebastian know that he must be at the Rochefort Ball Room at four o'clock that afternoon and not a minute later.

A small storm of panic brewed in Hannah's head when she left for her morning shift at the Leaky Cauldron. She could send Sebastian an owl to let him know, or she could tell her mum he'd left town. Yeah, that would go over well. Or she could say that he was quarantined after being exposed to some rare, potentially lethal, contagious virus—that could work.

Halfway through her shift an owl arrived, skittering to a stop in front of her. She removed the message and glanced at the name.

"This is for Sebastian! I'm not my brother!" The bird seemed to shrug disinterestedly and took off. "Why is it that no one can tell us apart?" She muttered, opening the note.

Dear Sebastian,
I hope Hannah's already told you, but just in case she hasn't yet, you
must be at the Rochefort Ball Room at 4:00 this afternoon. Absolutely no excuses, young man! This is extremely important! Don't you dare let me find out that you've hared off to some silly show with your friends, or I shall get you a desk job at the Ministry faster than you can snap those bony little fingers of yours.
All my love,
Your mother

"Nice, Mum," Hannah said, tossing the note aside. Their mother would definitely not be understanding if she found out Sebastian had left town without telling her so he could dance. He was an adult, but still ... Mrs Abbott in a dither was no one to be messed with. Mum would kill him.

She swept a small owl feather off the table and then her eyes widened. She could ... no. But maybe ...

It was so crazy it just might work.

*** ***

Two hours later, Hannah stared into her full length mirror. People had always marvelled at how much the Abbott twins looked alike. Both stood about 5'9" and had similar builds—Hannah's with broad shoulders and a trim, boyish figure, Sebastian slender and lithe. They shared the round Abbott face and the same huge blue eyes and, now that Hannah was standing there wearing Sebastian's trousers and jumper, well, even she had to admit the resemblance was uncanny.

Never particularly strong at Charms, Hannah was wary of trying anything more complicated than a small hairstyling charm that made her already short locks a touch shorter and added a hint of sideburns.

"Weird," she whispered, looking closely and grinning. "And cool!"

She dashed out of the house after grabbing an apple from the bowl on the dining room table. Mrs Abbot scurried out of the kitchen to wave her son off.

"Be good, darling! Be charming! And remember to—"

"Bye, Mum!" Hannah interrupted. She shouted it over her shoulder and tried to drop her voice just a tad.

*** ***

The Rochefort Ball Room was a disaster zone when Hannah arrived, and it seemed deserted. Suddenly, a huge wall-size chunk of plywood floated by.

"Watch it!" came the biting reproof.

"Sorry, I was supposed to, erm, I was sent over to ..." Hannah stumbled over her words as Pansy Parkinson stepped into view.

Tiny, with lush curves in all the right places, Pansy was gorgeous. Her hair had grown out a bit since Hogwarts and curled around her heart-shaped face, softening her look. Her haughty expression, perfect red pout, and grey eyes with the steely, combative glint—those were exactly the same.

Hannah flushed and Pansy's severe expression relaxed slightly.

"Sebastian Abbott? My mother told me you'd be stopping by. I appreciate the help, though I could have done without the unsubtle set-up. Though you're quite a lot nicer to look at than I remember. Were you this cute at Hogwarts?"

"Erm, no? I looked a bit different, quite a lot different, actually."

"Well, clearly we've both improved since then," Pansy allowed with a smirk. "Now, we've got three days to get this place ready for the party of the century. This is my first big gig as an event planner, and I'll be damned if I'm going to mess it up. It's proving a bit more work than I anticipated, however."

"Just tell me what you want me to do. I'm yours," Hannah said, holding her hands up as if to prove her point. She blushed deeply when Pansy smirked at her again.

"Is that right, Mr Abbott? You can start by getting these floors polished so we can move the tables in."

*** ***

Pansy continued to boss around her new companion, making snide comments whenever he tripped or fumbled, but with much less real heat than she was known for. She couldn't help but watch him. There was something delicate about him, something almost soft. He was ridiculous and bumbling and kept making this weird choked sound that she thought was probably laughter. But truly, there was something about him that was almost appealing.

No, that was madness. Clearly, there was not enough air in the ballroom. She'd insist on a few Ventilation Charms to increase circulation. He was a man—an odd and most peculiar man, to be sure, but a man. And Pansy Parkinson had realised her penchant for the fairer sex even while trying to convince herself, her parents, and the Malfoy family that she and Draco were meant to be.

Unsurprisingly, when something's not meant to be, you can't force it to work, no matter how fervent your denial. Pansy was unrepentantly gay, but there really was something about Sebastian ...

The following day they spent the morning assembling fancy party favours by hand, and Pansy couldn't help but be impressed by how graceful and nimble Sebastian's fingers were as he deftly tied the tiny purple bows.

That afternoon they Levitated massive amounts of tulle to decorate the room, adding in fairy lights and swaths of purple satin to accent. Trying to finish one particularly tricky corner, Pansy stood atop a table waving her wand furiously, trying to bind the ends of all her work together.

As she punched out the final fastening charm there was a moment of weightlessness, and suddenly our quite capable, powerful, young witch momentarily became a damsel in distress, and our heroine-in-hero's-clothing got her chance to run in, catching Pansy moments before she crashed into the floor.

"Wow," said Pansy, a bit breathless from the fall. "You're a real knight in shining armour."

"Oh." Hannah blushed and went to tuck her hair behind her ear only to remember there was no hair long enough for tucking. She covered by awkwardly scratching her ear.

"So, what do you do when you're not rescuing damsels?"

"I dunno, it's sort of a full time gig," said Hannah with fake seriousness before cracking a smile. Pansy laughed and it made the butterflies in Hannah's belly begin humming.

"No wonder you're so good at it then," Pansy said with a wink, but her teasing attitude faltered at the intense feeling that rose up in her when Sebastian smiled at her. Pansy shook her head and stood up. It was baffling, but she was finding herself attracted to this boy, this silly, brave, and wonderful man. But that didn't make a bit of sense. With typical sass and style, Pansy gave a huff and pretended she hadn't noticed a thing, not one single thing.

*** ***

The next day, Friday, was the day of the ball, and, as is usually the case, it was the day our story got much more interesting, far more complicated, and downright comical.

While our heroine slept in a bit, exhausted from a late night of setting up and fighting with tulle, the real Sebastian returned home. He had fallen and broken his leg on stage. Unfortunately, though he could fix it up within a day or two, his Muggle colleagues had witnessed the rather dramatic fall first hand, so he had gone home to fake a proper convalescence.

Mrs Abbott, who, bless her clueless heart, hadn't noticed his absence, saw him at the breakfast table and send him straight off to Rochefort Ball Room, where he was supposed to be helping the lovely Miss Parkinson.

Already bored after a single day away from the stage and quite eager to escape his mother and any other matchmaking schemes she had up her sleeves, Sebastian set off to offer his services.

He walked in on a scene of organised chaos.

"No! Over there!" yelled a curvy, petite witch from the stage. "Johann, you may be gorgeous, but I can still fire you. Don't you dare sneak carnations into those arrangements—you know how I feel about them."

A huffy young man Sebastian assumed was Johann threw his hands up and dropped his wand, letting hundreds of flowers crash to the floor.

"Sebastian! Oh good, you're here," she shouted. "Be a dear and sort that, will you?"

Sebastian opened his mouth to claim a very real ignorance in floral arrangements, but Pansy had already turned to the caterer and was in a fierce discussion about canapés. Shrugging, he began gathering up the flowers and tucking them into large vases nearby.

It was around this time that Hannah woke up, realised her alarm had not gone off, that she was very late, and that Pansy might actually kill her. She paused a moment, wondering if the bollocks-severing hex that Pansy was rumoured to have perfected would leave any marks on a person who was, in fact, bollocks-less. She didn't really want to find out.

Leaping out of bed, she rushed to Sebastian's room to grab a clean pair of trousers. She frowned when she saw his bed appeared slept in. Was he back so soon? Then, with a comical bit of short-sightedness, she dismissed the notion, thinking it couldn't possibly affect her.

Of course, she was about to be proven quite wrong.

*** ***

Hannah arrived to find Sebastian creating the world's most ridiculous-looking floral arrangements in the middle of Pansy's otherwise beautiful ball room. Spotting Pansy in a loud argument with a twitchy-looking violinist, Hannah grabbed an enormous vase of purple roses to cover her face as she passed by. She set them down and dove underneath the table that Sebastian was working at, hidden by the white draping.

"What are you doing here?" she hissed, causing him to jump.

"Cor, Hannah, you nearly gave me heart failure. What the hell are you doing under the table? I'm here because of Mum—why else?"

"But you're not supposed to be here!" she whispered frantically.

"Why not? Wait, are you wearing my clothes? And what the bloody hell have you done to your hair? You look just like–"

"You?" Hannah finished his sentence with a look of chagrin and a shrug. "That was actually the point."

"Why are you dressed like a boy? Your sideburns look ridiculous, you know that, right?"

"Shut it! I was in a hurry this morning," she shot back, reaching up to check on her charmed hair.

"I don't understand what's going on here ..." Sebastian said, glancing around with confusion.

"I didn't want Mum to get angry at you for not helping out her friend's daughter. So I pretended to be you, showed up here, and it got kind of out of hand! I was having fun and she's so pretty and I don't know! Did Pansy really believe that you were me, I mean you, or me-as-you? You know what I mean!"

"Oh, I dunno, actually. She only really saw me across the room and told me to help with these flowers and then got distracted with a lot of yelling. She's a little crazy, that one."

"Well, then switch with me!" Suddenly Sebastian was yanked underneath the table, which sent a metal platter clattering loudly to the floor. A loud series of shrieks and thumps came from the table, drawing a few odd looks. Finally Hannah emerged from under the table, patting at her hair and looking around shiftily.

"Sebastian? What is going on?" Pansy asked, striding over to the table, her high heels clicking on the marble floor.

"Nothing, Pansy. Absolutely fine here, ow!" Hannah kicked at her brother who was pinching her leg from underneath the table. "Absolutely perfectly fine. Just finishing up here with these ... oh, well, this one needs a bit of fixing. Let me just get that." Hannah immediately yanked out the three carnations that had somehow found their way into the bouquet and gestured at the flowers.

"See? All better."

"Right ... are you okay, Sebastian? You're acting very strangely."

"Perhaps I need a cup of tea. It was a late night and I didn't get quite enough sleep."

"Sure, go grab one from the kitchens. Just make sure these flowers are finished and in place in short order, all right?"

"Will do," Hannah replied, clearing her throat as her voice had crept up a bit during the conversation. Pansy gave her a strange look, but let it go.

Pansy returned to her discussion with the string quartet, which seemed to have turned into a string trio. As soon as Pansy was out of earshot, Hannah ducked down to where Sebastian was still hiding.

"You have to get out of here!" she said, giving him her most insistent look.

"Fine! I didn't want to be here in the first place and these stupid flowers are making me sneeze." He made to stand up and she yanked him back down.

"No! You cannot let Pansy see you—she'll know that I'm faking then! You have to get out of here without being seen. Be stealthy—you can do that, right?"

"Stealthy? Have you gone mental?"

"Please, Sebastian," she begged. The puppy dog eyes got him every time and she cheered inwardly when she saw his resolve waver.

"Right, stealth. I can do that."

Hannah watched anxiously as Sebastian stood up, brushed off his trousers casually, glanced around, and hurried toward the exit. Just as she let out the breath she'd been holding, he tripped over the platter that had fallen earlier and tumbled loudly to the ground. Everyone turned to stare.

"All right then, Sebastian?" Pansy called from across the room.

"Fine!" he exclaimed, rubbing his hand across his face in an effort to hide.

"The kitchen is that way," Pansy corrected, giving him an exasperated look and pointing in the opposite direction.

"Oh, right, kitchen. I'll just, erm, drop this off while I'm there!" Sebastian grabbed the silver platter and held it up before jogging all the way back across the room to the kitchen.

Hannah remained under the table for several minutes—until enough time had passed for her to reasonably "reappear"—before popping up and fixing the remainder of Sebastian's sad attempt at arranging flowers. As she was smiling at them in approval, Hannah felt a warm hand on her shoulder. Turning around quickly, she almost spun into Pansy, who was, as usual, balancing in precariously high heels.

"Careful there, Abbott," Pansy teased and Hannah blushed furiously, embarrassed at how little it took for Pansy to get a reaction out of her. "Nice work on the flowers. Let's put those two over by the stage and this one near the entrance ..."

Pansy's voice trailed off as they turned to see what the commotion near the entrance was all about. Hannah groaned when Mrs Abbott marched into sight dragging a desperate-looking Sebastian behind her.

"Oh, blast," she muttered as Pansy watched the dramatic Abbott family entrance with narrowed eyes.

"If I have told you once, I've told you a thousand times, young man. You were supposed to be helping Miss Parkinson and here I find you sneaking out when there is work to be done!" Mrs Abbott hissed loudly, her words carrying through the large room. "Now, you are to stay here until there is absolutely no work left for you to do, I am quite clear, Sebastian?"

Pansy's perfectly arched eyebrows flew up at that, and Hannah wished she could sink into the ground and disappear.

"Sebastian?" Pansy turned to Hannah.

"Well, you see, Pansy, the truth is that ..."

"Hannah Abbott!" There it was: the shriek that Hannah had been dreading. She winced and turned towards her mother, who was storming towards them.

"Hi, Mum," she said weakly.

"What in Merlin's name have you done to your hair, young lady?"

Pansy's eyes were wide as they darted back and forth between the outraged mother and the even-more-matched-than-usual set of Abbott twins.

"So, you're not really Sebastian?" Pansy asked, turning back to Hannah. "He is? Good Godric, you two do look a lot alike!"

"Erm, yes, actually. I was just trying to cover for my brother. Everyone always says how similar we look and I didn't think you'd actually know the difference, as you hadn't seen us in years, but then I ended up liking working with you so much and I just ... I'm sorry. I should never have lied to you."

"No, you shouldn't have lied to me," Pansy said, a frown marring her pretty face.

"Young lady, you're coming home with me at once. We need to figure out what we're going to do with that horrible hair of yours. Sebastian, you stay here and help Miss Parkinson."

"But I—" Sebastian began to argue but Mrs Abbott's glare cut him off.

Hannah grabbed Pansy's hand. "I'm so, so sorry, Pansy. I didn't mean it to get so out of hand, really, I didn't." With a small squeeze, Hannah let go and began to walk away, her furious mother clucking beside her.

"Wait!" Pansy shouted, causing Hannah to look back. "Stay. I want you here. You're the person who's been such a great help this whole week. Sebastian, no offense, but you're not much of a help."

Sebastian shrugged apologetically. "Yeah, erm, sorry about that." Pansy waved him off.

"You really want me to stay?" Hannah asked, a smile twitching at the edge of her lips.

"Yes, of course. This ball would be lost without you," Pansy said, her voice a bit snooty and all-business.

Hannah grinned and broke away from her mother, who was simply mouthing words in confusion. Sebastian gave them a relieved wink and quickly ushered Mrs Abbott out of the ball room.

"Lost without me, huh?" Hannah said quietly, moving in more closely. "I have a feeling you'd have managed on your own—you're the most capable woman I know."

"Perhaps, but you're actually quite helpful, if you must know, and I like having you around," Pansy said, a faint blush on her cheekbones. "Though, really, your hair is atrocious, now that your mother mentioned it."

"Yeah, I was in a hurry this morning," Hannah said. She waved her wand, and her hair returned to its normal state.

Pansy reached a hand out tentatively and brushed through the short curls. "I like it. I mean, you made a great boy—cutest boy I've seen in years, I might add—but it's nice to know who's underneath that. You've been driving me mad all week and now, well, now it makes sense."

"You mean ..." Hannah bit her lower lip, unable to finish her question.

"Yes, I mean," Pansy said softly, rolling her eyes. She reached up, letting one of her small manicured nails trace the lip Hannah was biting, and the other hand cup Hannah's cheek. Their lips met slowly, tentatively, moving softly against each other. Hannah could taste the sweetness of cherry-flavoured lip gloss and the tartness of Earl Grey, and she let her fingers trail down Pansy's arms, warm and silky soft, before coming to rest on Pansy's waist. Pansy nipped lightly at Hannah's full lower lip, the one Hannah herself had been biting moments before, and finally pulled back.

Hannah felt dizzy as she remained in that spot, dazed smile in place, hands still resting on the top of Pansy's grey pencil skirt, and she was pleased to see that Pansy appeared a bit flushed as well. Hannah grinned down at Pansy, who stood several inches shorter than her, even in sky high heels. Pansy offered a quick, secret smile, then said loudly in a faux annoyed voice,

"Well, hurry up then, we've got a ball to put on! Those flowers won't move themselves."

Hannah laughed and began Levitating the arrangements. After the ball, they would have all the time in the world.
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