Challenge: A character changes clothes, but it is done for different reasons than people would expect. During the story a character misreads something.

AN: So I'm a day late (SORRY!) and seriously, I don't even know where this idea came from 0_o.


In retrospect, attempting a level six enchantment three weeks into their second year at Dragonholm Academy probably hadn't been the best idea. But in Royce's defence Arch was supposed to be a giant NERD. Lord knew the kid friggin' looked it. Dark Einstein-esque hair, a face as pale as it was pinched and glasses that looked to be made from the bottom of two sawed off Coke bottles completed a picture that, quite frankly, couldn't have gotten any more stereotypically poindexter if the kid had been decked out in a lab coat..

Even the little frown of confusion currently pointed in Royce's rather more downward than normal facing direction had all the makings of Frankenstein studying his latest failed experiment.

Which would make Royce the monster. How fitting.

"Fix me!" Royce demanded, trying to ignore how alien his voice now sounded.

Arch for his part chewed on his lip, dropping his gaze to the sheaf of hand-written papers before him. "I don't understand how-"

"We don't need to understand!" Royce interrupted, voice ticking into an almost hysterical high note. Not that it was easy to tell the difference anymore which was just freaking creepy. "Just – reverse it! Do something!"

Arch shot him a look over-top of his glasses – the same look Royce got anytime he suggested being anything short of anal-retentive with his homework. "To reverse it, we first need to understand what went wrong," he explained with the air of one repeating something he'd heard in a textbook which, knowing Arch, he probably had. This didn't help Royce's temper any.

"What happened?" he yelled incredulously. "You screwed up is what happened! LOOK at me!"

And Arch did, magnified eyes sweeping over a body that had once been a little tall and gangly for his age but that now was just...just... Arch's gaze stopped somewhere in the vicinity of Royce's chest and Royce watched as a red blush suddenly blossomed across the other boy's cheekbones. Oh. Dear God.

"Dude!" Royce cried, slapping both arms across his chest in horror. "Stop checking me out!"

Arch went impossibly redder. "Sorry! Sorry," he said hastily, dropping his gaze back to the papers before him. The papers that started this whole damn mess in the first place. "You're just...it's all..." Arch mimed where words failed him – an obvious little gesture familiar to frat boys the world over – before he seemed to realise what he was doing and blushed harder, dropping his hands hastily.

Royce tried very hard to set fire to the other boy with a glare alone. "I know what 'I'm just'," he growled. "Time to get me back to what I'm supposed to be."

"Okay," Arch nodded, almost like he were trying to shunt his brain back on track. Royce rolled his eyes and crossed his arms firmly over a chest that was really just not the right shape at ALL. It somehow didn't matter that he was still fully clothed – the Academy boys uniform hanging off him just that little bit awkwardly – he suddenly felt freaking naked.

Royce watched with no little trepidation as Arch scanned hastily through the notes, brow creased in concentration as he muttered some of the more complicated spell variations. It was a habit of Arch's that Royce had come to appreciate in the years they'd been friends. It came in very handy particularly around exam time.

To say Arch was smart would be like calling the world a little bowed at the edges. Royce didn't use terms like 'certified genius' when simpler ones like 'giant nerd' would suffice but even he couldn't help but be a little in awe of his friend's brain sometimes.

Then of course there were times like this; times when Arch's giant nerd-smarts got Royce in epically traumatising hot water. The fact it was always his own damn idea didn't matter a whole lot after all...

Across from him Arch's mouth suddenly stopped moving, dropping itself into a little 'o' of realisation before he swallowed nervously. "Oh..."

Royce leapt on the word like a starving man leaps on a hamburger. "Oh? What oh?!"

The look Arch turned on him was not promising. At all. "I um...I misread something."

Royce blinked. Then blinked again. "You misread something?!"

Arch's ears went pink as he nodded, clearing his throat. "The syntax is very similar-"

"What did you misread?" Royce interrupted - he knew from years of experience that letting Arch head off on an explanation could mean an extra two plus hours of nodding and smiling.

"Well ah -" Arch cleared his throat. "You know how you wanted to take a girl to the dance?" Royce raised an eyebrow and Arch's ears neared combustion levels. "Well – turns out the word 'take' is very similar to the word 'be'."

For a full moment Royce could only stare. Then he swore. Loudly.


Arch was not a bad person. Sure he always managed to find himself in trouble of some description but in his defence most of that sort of thing tended to start with a sentence from Royce. Mostly ones beginning with "Hey, wouldn't it be cool if..."

After ten years of friendship Arch still hadn't learned how to say no to Royce. One day it was going to get him into serious trouble.

Luckily today it was just ridiculously hilarious.

"Are you going to spend the whole night in there?" he called, trying and failing to keep the slight twist of mirth out of his tone. There was a crash from beyond the closed dorm-room door, the sort of sound a one-of-a-kind glass beaker set hitting the wall might make. Arch sighed, thanking the curriculum for teaching them reparation spells last semester.

"Royce come on, we're going to be late!" he called, fingers pulling again at the starched collar about his neck. What was it with tuxes that always required the wearer to feel like he was being strangled? It was with that thought the door to the room finally crashed open and Arch suddenly found himself choking for a very different reason.

The dress was, knee-length, blue and shimmery – a mastery of transmogrification spell-work if Arch did say so himself. He'd been a bit dubious at first that it would fit as Royce seemed to have kept most of his height after the ah...incident but, as Arch now saw, he needn't have worried. The dress fit perfectly – framing Royce's newly gained curves in an attractive yet modest way. The sleeves were short and belled and the bust-line high – something Royce had been most vehement about.

The colour of the garment brought out Royce's blue eyes well and that combined with the short but still much-longer-than-normal blonde bob that the boy was now sporting gave the whole picture a very...well, wholesome look.

In short, Royce looked pretty. Arch tried very, very hard not to bite his tongue in half while trying not to laugh. Royce's face certainly wasn't helping matters. Arch might have employed the word 'apocalyptic' but it didn't seem to convey the right amount of lemon-faced sourness.

"I hate you," Royce said, voice an unlikely blend of resignation and acid and though Arch knew he was poking the bear he couldn't help but grin.

"Shall we?" he said sweetly, crooking his arm in Royce's direction.

Unsurprisingly Royce glared at his elbow like it had committed a personal atrocity before snapping the door shut behind him with the air of one throwing the lever on a guillotine. "And you're sure this will break the freaking spell?" he asked as they started down the hall. The dance was being held in the emporium across campus – a short walk but what must have felt like crossing the Sahara to Royce.

They hadn't told anyone about the spell-backfire. Serious penalties awaited those who dabbled in unauthorised magic at Dragonholm and neither he nor especially Royce had the best record to begin with. So, rather than face the music, they'd opted instead to attempt to fulfil the parameters of the errant wording-mixup. Royce had cast that he wanted to attend the dance as as girl and so he would.

Arch nodded as he trotted along behind Royce, trying and failing to not follow the swish of the dress. This was just...weird. "I've checked all the lore," he explained, not for the first time. "This should satisfy the magics and bring the conditions of the spell to a close."

Royce snorted but said nothing as they pushed through the front doors out into the night. And really, Arch couldn't help himself. "And hey, look at the bright side," he grinned. "At least we both have dates to the dance."

The wicked bruise that earned him was totally worth it an hour later when the spell wore off right in the middle of the dance-floor.