Learning to Dance
Author: E. Kathleen Roper
Archiving: All FQF will be archived solely at this site until January 30th, 2005. After that, it's yours to do with as you will.
Disclaimer: This story is based on characters and situations created and owned by JK Rowling, various publishers including but not limited to Bloomsbury Books, Scholastic Books and Raincoast Books, and Warner Bros., Inc. No money is being made and no copyright or trademark infringement is intended. I do not own Harry Potter, its characters, or anything associated with it. I'm not making any money from this story, and I don't intend to.
Challenge & Summary: Challenge #14: The Seventh Year Holiday Ball is coming up and Sirius's parents never had the decency to teach him how to dance. Insert Remus. Challenge #41: Sirius is going Christmas shopping--the problem is, no one will tell him what they want. To remedy this, Sirius goes snooping, and he is surprised at what he finds out.
Author Notes: The only dance I know is the Funky Chicken. Trying to waltz, following the instructions in this fic, will likely result in broken toes and a grumpy dance partner. I will warn you that this is complete and utter fluff...complete with gratuitous wanking. Many thanks to Sara McGregor for her wonderful work in cleaning this up. Wonderful beta! Any remaining mistakes are mine and mine alone. (And I will fight you for them!)
Sirius flopped across his bed, his arms flailing dramatically above his head, and moaned, "This is a disaster. A complete and total disaster! No! This is worse than a disaster. This is the end. I'm doomed. Doomed!"
Remus studied his friend, amusement lurking behind his eyes. "Honestly, Sirius, it's just a dance; how bad could it be?"
Sitting up, Sirius stared at him, his mouth gaping incredulously. "Are you insane? Just a dance? This is so much more than just a dance. This is so much worse than just a dance. This...this is a formal dance!"
"Well, yes," Remus said calmly, "but I still don't see what the problem is."
Sirius groaned and fell back across the bed, before pulling his pillow over his face and mumbling something incoherent into it's depths. Sighing, Remus walked over and plucked the pillow from his friend's hands. "Sirius," he said, somewhat impatiently, "just tell me what the problem is."
Sirius's face slowly turned red, and he blurted, "I can't dance!" before grabbing the pillow and hiding his face beneath it again.
Somewhat concerned that his friend would keep this up until he succeeded in smothering himself, Remus grabbed the pillow again and launched it onto his own bed so that it would be out of reach. "You can't dance?" he asked in confusion.
"No! I mean, yeah, I can do normal dancing," Sirius said quickly. "But...formal dancing? I'll make a fool of myself! Whose idiotic idea was it to have a formal dance this year anyway?"
"Headmaster Dumbledore's, I would assume," Remus said automatically. "But what do you mean you can't dance? All pureblood wizards know how to dance."
Sirius glared and shoved him off the bed. "Not all of them, obviously, or I'd know how, now wouldn't I?"
Picking himself up from the floor, Remus gave him a disgusted look. "Well if you're going to be like that, Sirius, then you can just handle this one on your own."
"Merlin, I'm sorry, Moony," Sirius said. "It's just...this is terrible! The headmaster said that all seventh years staying over Christmas hols have to go to the ball, and I can't go home, and James is staying because Lily is staying and--"
"Okay, okay! Take a breath, Sirius, this honestly isn't the end of the world. I'm sure there will be a lot of students who don't know how to dance, no one is going to care."
Sirius stared at him. "No one's going to care? Sure, they won't care if the muggleborn and half-blood students can't dance, it's to be expected, but everyone knows I'm a pureblood. If they find out I can't dance, I'll be the laughingstock of the school!"
Tilting his head to the side and giving Sirius a long look, Remus said, "You're really worried about this, aren't you?"
"Have you even been listening to me, Moony?" Sirius groaned. "Yes! I'm worried! I'm terrified! I'm going to be laughed at!"
"Okay then, this really isn't so bad. The ball isn't for another three weeks, and that's plenty of time," Remus said. "I can teach you how to dance."
"Wait, wait, wait! You know how to dance?"
"Of course I know how to dance!" Remus huffed. "My mum thought it was important, and she taught me to dance years ago."
"This is wonderful! This is perfect!" Sirius crowed. "I'm not going to make a fool of myself after all!"
"Well, no more so than usual," Remus murmured. "Stand up, then. We might as well get started, we've only got three weeks."
"Right!" Sirius said, leaping to his feet. "So, what do I do?"
"We'll start with something simple," Remus said. "So come over here and--"
Sirius took several steps back and his eyes widened comically. "Wait! You mean I have to dance with you?"
"Well, yes," Remus said, blinking in confusion. "How else am I supposed to teach you to dance?"
"I don't know," Sirius said, blushing. "I thought maybe you could just show me, or...."
"Don't be an idiot, Sirius. The only way to learn to dance is to actually dance. And that takes two people."
"Right, sorry. Guess I wasn't thinking." The red faded slightly from Sirius's cheeks and he took a few steps towards Remus. "I can do this, really," he said, sounding like he was trying to convince himself.
"Okay, to start with, I'll lead," Remus said, slipping into what Sirius thought of as his lecturing voice. "Once you've got that down, we'll try it the other way." He stepped in close to Sirius and slipped his right arm around his back. Taking Sirius's right arm, he positioned it on his shoulder, before lacing the fingers of their left hands together. "This is the starting position," he said, mildly concerned that his voice seemed to have dropped an octave.
"Right," Sirius said, his voice coming out higher than usual. He coughed slightly to clear his throat and fought down the blush that was threatening to rise again. "Um, Moony, do we really have to stand so close?"
Remus laughed. "You do want to learn to dance, don't you? Just pretend that I'm a girl. That Ravenclaw you were drooling over at lunch, maybe."
"No offence, Remus, but standing this close, if you were a girl, you'd better believe I'd know it."
Lifting his hand, he smacked Sirius lightly on the back of the head. "Funny, Sirius, really funny. Now pay attention." Settling his arm back into place, he pulled them slightly closer together and looked down into Sirius's eyes. They seemed an even darker grey than usual. "Okay, start by moving your left foot back. No, not that far," he corrected. "Now, slide your right foot to the side, no, no, the other side, Sirius, or you'll fall over, and back a bit.
"Good, good. And bring your left foot over to join the right. Not bad," he said, when Sirius got it. "It's just those three steps, for this, we'll add the others in when you've got these down. Now let's try it again."
This wasn't so bad, Sirius thought as they moved around the room, Remus's firm hand against his back, guiding him through the steps. In fact, it was kind of nice. Wait. Nice? He mentally slapped himself. Dancing with Remus wasn't nice! It was instructional. Nice would be dancing close to that sweet little Ravenclaw's soft body, not being pressed against Remus's tall, lean-- he shook his head slightly to clear it and sent his brain off to think about Quidditch and girls and that flying motorcycle he had been designing.
"Not bad," Remus said again, bringing them to a halt but not stepping away or releasing Sirius's hand. "See, that wasn't so hard."
Hard. Oh, Merlin, why did Remus have to use that word? Suddenly the close proximity of their bodies, and the warmth of their fingers twined together, combined to send some kind of warped signal to Sirius's confused body, and he felt himself begin to harden. He jumped away from Remus as though he had been burned, and he felt his face blaze red. "Shit!" he yelped, his mind groping blindly for an excuse to flee as quickly as possible. "Detention! I need a detention! I mean, I have a detention! Now. Ten minutes ago! I--" Giving up, he fled the room, leaving Remus staring after him with a vaguely puzzled look on his face.
It had been nearly curfew before Sirius had returned to the dorm, looking more like he had been out flying than like someone who had served a four hour detention, and he had immediately gone to bed, refusing to even look at Remus. Remus slept uneasily that night, worrying that he might have unintentionally done something to upset Sirius.
He had enjoyed the impromptu dance lesson, and he selfishly hoped to be able to continue it again soon, but after the way Sirius had run off, he didn't see that as a real possibility. Remus had known for years now that he fancied men -- Sirius in particular, though he knew nothing would ever come of it, as Sirius was a dyed-in-the-wool skirt chaser -- and the chance to hold the object of his many late night fantasies was something he just couldn't pass up.
He held no illusions on the matter; Sirius would be disgusted if he knew of the lurid images Remus's mind conjured up as he stroked himself behind the closed curtains of his bed. It would undoubtedly be the end of their friendship, and as such, Remus would never breathe a word of it to anyone. But there was no harm in fantasizing, and the feel of Sirius's hard body pressed against his as they moved around the dorm room would fuel his imagination for months to come.
Most troubling was the thought that he had somehow given himself away that afternoon, that Sirius had realised how Remus truly felt about him, and that realisation was what had sent Sirius running from the room. Sadly, he resolved to drop the matter of dance lessons. While it would be heavenly to hold Sirius again, the risk to their friendship would be too great. This afternoon's embarrassment would be smoothed over quickly enough, and life would continue as always. And Remus would still have his fantasies.
Slipping his hand into his pants, Remus wrapped his fingers around his aching cock, and thrust against his palm, imagining that it was Sirius's hot mouth and slick lips. As his orgasm washed over him, he bit his hand, preventing his traitorous mouth from releasing the forbidden name that hovered on his lips. And finally, Remus slept.
The next morning Sirius acted as though nothing had happened. He was his usual hyperactive self, flashing his vibrant grin and flirting with every female at the Gryffindor table, and most of the ones at the neighbouring tables. He joked with Remus like he always had, and soon Remus began to think that he had simply overreacted to the previous day's dance lesson. When breakfast was finished, and they rose to leave, Sirius pulled Remus aside so that they wouldn't be overheard.
"So, Moony," he said playfully, "when's the next dance lesson?"
Remus blinked in surprise; he hadn't thought Sirius would actually want to continue the lessons. Obviously he had misread the situation earlier. His resolve to drop the matter dissolved instantly. "We've both got a free period after lunch today. We could meet in the empty room near the Astronomy Tower," he said, referring to the abandoned classroom that was a popular spot for students to meet for illicit romantic encounters. He almost blushed at the unintended innuendo implied by his choice of location, but luckily Sirius didn't seem to pick up on it.
"Yeah, that will be perfect. Plenty of room to move around, and the classroom should be deserted this time of day. Not much chance of anyone walking in on us," he said with a wink.
Remus held back a groan; Sirius really had no idea, or he never would have joked like that. No one could be that evil. "Right," he said, faintly. "After lunch, then."
"Great! It's a date," Sirius said with a flippant grin and turned to stride off to his first class of the day.
Remus seriously considered pounding his head against the stone wall of the castle, but was certain that would draw a bit too much attention. Instead he sighed and hurried off to his own lessons.
By lunchtime, Remus had managed to get his brain back under control. All memories of that flirtatious wink, and Sirius's jokes, had been buried deep inside his mind, though he knew they would undoubtedly resurface later in the privacy of his bed. The day had seemed to drag endlessly on, as he both dreaded and anticipated this afternoon's dance lesson. While he looked forward to being able to hold Sirius again, even this innocently, a small part of his mind was desperately afraid that he would give in to the urge to throw Sirius down on the ground and ravish him thoroughly.
He was so wrapped up in that line of thought that he didn't even notice lunch was over until Sirius reached over and shook his shoulder. Jumping slightly, Remus yelped, "What?"
"Wake up, Moony, naptime's over," Sirius said. "You coming or not?"
"Right, sorry," he said in embarrassment. "I was just lost in thought."
Sirius laughed. "Must have been some nice thoughts, you were grinning like an idiot."
"I was not!" Remus said indignantly. He grabbed his bag and headed out of the great hall, not looking to see if Sirius was following. After a moment he heard fast steps behind him and saw Sirius fall into step beside him.
"What's the hurry?"
"Nothing," he said, slowing his pace slightly. "I'm just a bit distracted. I've got an Arithmancy paper due next week and I'm not certain I know the material well enough to write it. Should probably get some studying in soon."
"Oh," Sirius said, his voice tinged with disappointment. "If you don't have time for this, it's fine, really. I just thought--"
"No, no, it's fine," he said hurriedly. "I've got plenty of time, and I'm sure the paper will be easier than it looks. It only needs to be twenty inches, and most of it is stuff we covered weeks ago. I'm worrying over nothing."
"Great!" Sirius said happily. "I'm thinking about asking Adriana Smith -- the Ravenclaw, you know? -- to go with me to the ball, and I just know that she knows how to dance. Sure, three weeks won't make me a master, but with your help, maybe I won't make a fool of myself."
Remus fought down an irrational surge of jealously, and an even more irrational urge to refuse to teach Sirius to dance, so that he would make a fool of himself in front of this Ravenclaw. He didn't want to lose Sirius to some snooty know-it-all with perky breasts and a squeaky voice! He ground that line of thought to a halt immediately. Sirius wasn't his to lose. Sirius was his friend. His best friend. His straight friend. And eventually he would "lose" him. Sirius would get married, and have a whole herd of snot-nosed little pureblood brats, and these few weeks of dance lessons would be the closest Remus would ever get to him. It was inevitable.
They reached the abandoned classroom almost without him noticing, and as Sirius shut the door, Remus quickly ran some complex Arithmancy equations through his head to centre his thoughts. "Okay," he said, forcing his voice to stay neutral. "Do you remember what I taught you yesterday?"
"Yeah, no problem," Sirius said, an unreadable expression flickering briefly over his face. "That was pretty simple." He walked over and entwined his arms with Remus's. "Like this, right?"
Remus shivered slightly at the contact, and nodded. "Right, but this time let's try it with you leading, since that's what you really need to learn." He repositioned their arms, and began talking Sirius through the steps. He was excruciatingly aware of the feel of Sirius's body next to his own, and it took all of his willpower to keep his physical responses under control.
Sirius was a fast study, and he soon had the simple steps down pat, his movements fluid and graceful. Remus's vagrant thoughts couldn't help but wonder if Sirius would move with such surety in a much more intimate dance. The kind that didn't involve so many layers of clothing separating them. He couldn't suppress the groan that escaped him with that thought, but luckily Sirius chose that moment to make a misstep and trod heavily upon Remus's foot.
"Oops, sorry, Moony," he said, embarrassed.
Remus grinned, relieved, and squeezed Sirius's shoulder slightly. "No worries, Padfoot, it happens."
Sirius stared into his eyes for a moment, that same unreadable expression flickering across his face. Then he blushed, dropped his arms, and stepped suddenly back. "Damn! I just remembered! I was supposed to take my Transfiguration notes to Adriana in the library before coming here." He edged towards the door, not meeting Remus's eyes. "I'll be right back, just fifteen minutes, I promise." He fled.
Once Sirius was gone, Remus slumped against a nearby wall and groaned. He couldn't help but wonder just how many of these dance lessons would end with Sirius running from the room. This was really such a bad idea.
Sirius ran down the hallway and ducked into the nearest boy's bathroom. He really had no intention of going to the library, but hopefully Remus had bought his excuse; at least this one was better than what he had come up with yesterday. Leaning against the wall, he took a long calming breath. He just needed to get himself under control. There was no question that he needed to learn to dance before this stupid ball. And there was no question that Remus would stop teaching him, immediately, if he realized that the guy he was dancing with was getting a hard-on from it.
It was a perfectly natural physical reaction, Sirius rationalized. A warm body, close proximity, lots of movement... his dick just didn't know any better. It didn't make him gay. He was seventeen years old, a strong breeze could cause the same response, sometimes. Right. Now he just needed to make it go away.
Slipping into one of the stalls, he shut the door and cast a quick silencing spell. Reaching under his robes he wrapped his hand around his throbbing erection and began to stroke it slowly, picturing Adriana and her huge round breasts and soft lips. He groaned softly as he thrust into his hand, but stopped, his eyes snapping open as the image in his mind shifted. The chest he saw was no longer soft and round, but hard and flat, sprinkled with light brown hair. The face floating through his head wasn't smooth and heart-shaped, but angled, with slight stubble on the jaw, and laughing brown eyes.
Sirius groaned. He was so not jacking off in a bathroom stall, thinking about his best friend. Remus would kill him if he knew. Banging his head lightly against the stall door, he tried to rationalize again. Okay. Okay, this made a strange kind of sense. Remus gave him this hard-on, no matter how unintentionally. So it only made sense that his mind would travel that route while he took care of it. It didn't make him gay. It certainly didn't mean he fancied Remus. He just needed to finish this up, and get back there, before Remus came looking for him.
He began thrusting into his hand again, this time letting his mind go where it wanted, trying not to dwell on just what the images in his head might mean. He came quickly, and steadfastly ignored the name that slipped from his mouth in his moment of release. As he cleaned himself up he kept repeating silently that this meant nothing, and, more importantly, no one ever had to know.
The covert dancing lessons continued over the next two weeks, sometimes even twice a day, and Sirius managed to avoid embarrassing himself by taking a quick, precautionary trip to the bathroom beforehand to take the edge off. He was a quick study, and they had long since moved on to more complex dance steps. Sirius was no longer worried in the least that he would make a fool of himself at the ball. What he was worried about was the fact that, for the past two weeks, Remus had featured prominently in his masturbatory fantasies.
It just wasn't right. Maybe he could have dealt with it, if it was just some images in his head when he was wanking, but he found himself grinning like an idiot every time Remus walked into the room, and hanging on to his every word like some love-struck first year. Even worse, he found himself waiting impatiently for the next dance lesson, and dreading the inexorable approach of the ball, when the lessons would end. There was no way he could continue to deny it. He fancied Remus. Remus was definitely going to kill him.
When he glanced up from the paper he was supposed to be revising, Remus was giving him such a puzzled look that Sirius thought for a brief, panicked second that he had said that last thought aloud.
"Sirius," Remus said, in the tone that meant he had been trying to get his attention for several minutes, "I asked if you were planning to go with us to Hogsmeade tomorrow."
"Oh, right," Sirius said quickly. "Yeah, I need to start my Christmas shopping."
Remus rolled his eyes. "So soon? There's still a week left until Christmas. I would think you'd put it off a bit longer."
Sirius gave him a rude gesture before saying haughtily, "In that case, I won't buy you anything at all." Then he laughed, before continuing, "Speaking of that, what do you want for Christmas, Moony?"
Remus shrugged. "Anything will be fine."
"Moony," Sirius whined, "don't say that. I stink at picking out presents! You always tell me what you want!"
"Yes, I've always told you before, but maybe this time I want it to be a surprise."
"Fine!" Sirius huffed. "But don't get moody when you don't like it." He glared back down at his parchment, but inside he was panicking. He wanted to get Remus the perfect present this year, but how on earth was he supposed to do that, when Remus wouldn't tell him what the perfect present was?
Remus was digging through his bag, a frown creasing his face. "Sirius, do you have my Arithmancy text?"
Checking his own bag, Sirius shook his head. "No, I don't see it."
Muttering a slight profanity under his breath, Remus checked the time. "I must have left it in the library," he said. "I can probably get there and back before curfew." Standing, he hurried to the common room exit.
Once he was out of sight, Sirius threw down his paper and slumped in his seat. There was no way he could concentrate on this right now. He only had twelve hours to figure out the perfect gift for Remus, before they left for Hogsmeade in the morning. Suddenly, inspiration hit. Remus kept a journal; Sirius had seen him writing in it before. He was sure to find some clues as to what to buy him in there.
It would take Remus at least twenty minutes to get to the library and back, and that should be more than enough time to check the journal and put it away before he returned. Sirius dashed up the stairs to their dorm, and was relieved to find the room empty. He spelled open Remus's trunk, and it only took a moment to lift the concealing spell that hid the small leather-bound book.
The journal had several locking spells on it, but Sirius was really much better at charms than Remus was, so it took little effort to undo the enchantments. He ducked behind the curtains on his bed, as a precaution, and quickly began flipping through the pages, scanning over Remus's small, neat handwriting. His eyes stopped immediately when he saw his own name, but he hesitated before reading the passage. You never found out anything good about yourself by snooping. But curiosity won out, and he read: I think I'm going to have to kill Sirius.
Sirius yelped and slammed the journal shut, dropping it onto the bed. Remus knew! He was going to kill him. He took a few deep breaths and picked the book up again. Now he really had to find out just how much Remus knew. He flipped quickly through the pages until he found the passage again.
I think I'm going to have to kill Sirius. He's going to drive me crazy, and he doesn't even realise it. These past few days have been torture. I hope Christmas gets here soon, or Sirius gives up on learning to dance, because I don't know how much more of this I can take. Holding him, being so close to him, and knowing that I can never have him.... It's almost painful, but the worst part is knowing that he has no idea. Knowing that he could never feel the same way. But at the same time, I love dancing with him, and I hope these next three weeks last forever, because this is as close to him as I'll ever get. I'll never have this again. I am so incredibly lame.
Sirius closed the journal, and stared at Remus's name in the lower corner of the cover, as though trying to convince himself that Remus had really written that. He suddenly realised that he was grinning like an idiot again, but this time he really didn't care. Remus fancied him. Remus actually fancied him! Remus wasn't going to kill him! Suddenly he jumped. Remus was going to kill him, if he came back to the dorm and found Sirius reading his private journal. Quickly, he put the book back where he had found it and replaced the spells that had been on it, before dashing back down to the common room, a new plan forming in his head.
The night of the Seventh Year Holiday Ball, Sirius spent nearly an hour getting ready, which prompted James -- who had spent nearly as much time in front of the mirror himself, the hypocrite -- to joke that he was acting like one of the girls. This caused a brief wrestling match to commence, which in turn sent them both back to their mirrors to repair the damage. When he was certain that he was as ready as he was going to be, he flashed the mirror a roguish grin, and the mirror told him that he looked absolutely dashing.
Sirius remembered why he'd always liked that particular mirror.
Making one last adjustment to his robes, Sirius set off to find Remus, who had left earlier, rolling his eyes at Sirius and James's antics. He found Remus in the common room, talking to a sixth year girl who was eying him far too appreciatively for Sirius's comfort. He bit back a surge of jealousy. He couldn't blame the girl; even in second-hand robes, Remus was dreadfully handsome.
He waited another five minutes, until James came down to the common room too, and then hurried towards Remus, not even trying to conceal his nervousness. Right now, it would work to his advantage. "Remus!" he hissed, keeping his voice down and casting a glare at the sixth year, which sent her scurrying away. "You've got to help me! I've forgotten everything. Just fifteen minutes," he said pleadingly. "Show me the steps again, so I don't make a fool of myself?" To forestall any argument on Remus's part, he threw out what was usually his weapon of last resort, the puppy dog eyes, a talent which had only been enhanced by his time as Padfoot.
Remus rolled his eyes, but Sirius didn't miss the covert, and appreciative, once-over Remus gave him. "I doubt you've forgotten, you're just nervous. But if you think it will help. Is the dorm empty?"
"Yes," Sirius said quietly. "James and Peter have already left." Glancing around to be sure that no one was paying much attention to them, he grabbed Remus by the arm and practically dragged him back to the dorm. Once they were inside, Sirius shut the door and cast several quick privacy spells on it. "Don't want to be disturbed," he said, with an embarrassed grin. Then he walked over and pulled Remus into his arms, leading him into a slow and graceful waltz.
Remus sighed and shook his head slightly, as though he was pushing away unwanted thoughts. "Don't worry, Sirius, you haven't forgotten anything. You're not going to embarrass Adriana, or yourself, at the ball."
Gazing up into Remus?s eyes, he said, in the low voice that he knew drove girls, and, hopefully Remus, crazy, "I know I won't embarrass Adriana. She'll be dancing with Peter at the ball."
Remus frowned, puzzled. "Peter asked your girl to the dance and you didn't kill him?"
"She's not my girl," Sirius said meaningfully, "and I told him weeks ago that he was free to go with her." Actually, it had only been a few days ago, but really, details aren't important at times like this.
Remus stopped dancing, but he didn't let go of Sirius. "Then who have you been learning to dance for?"
Gathering all his courage, Sirius said, "For you, Remus. I've been learning to dance for you. You're the only person I ever want to dance with." He saw the surprise flicker through Remus's eyes, but before he could say anything, Sirius pulled him down for a long, slow kiss. When they finally pulled apart, Sirius asked, breathlessly, "Is that okay?"
Remus stared at him for a long moment, before nodding slowly. "Yes, Sirius, that is very much okay." And then Remus leaned forward to kiss him again, wrapping his arms around him as though he would never willingly let go.