Ch. 4- "Dancing Lessons"
Notes: This fic will probably be kind of long... bear with me if there are lapses between chapters, as I do have a career that exhausts/frustrates me quite often. I have never written HP fanfiction before, either, so sorry if I do the characters OOC or something.. ok, scratch that, there will be OOCness. This IS a slash fic, after all. =p And I think this is my first non-anime fanfic, too... o_O scary...
Thanks to Mami-san for beta-ing the fic- goddess knows I'm too damn lazy to spellcheck my own junk. @_@
I got the title frum the song of the same name from "Fushigi Yuugi"- it's Soi's song, I believe.
Warning: This is a Draco/Harry SLASH fic. Don't like that, bugger off. -_- And for those of you who despise Draco, I understand.. ^.^; He IS quite the shithead... but I can't help but like this couple. Also, if you haven't read all 4 current HP books, this fic will most likely contain spoilers. You've been forwarned.
The next morning, it was Kyle that Harry ran into first, not Malfoy. The older boy cornered him on the way to breakfast in the Hall, and Harry motioned to his friends to go on without him. As Hermione and Ron reluctantly continued towards the Great Hall, Harry turned to look at the Slytherin suspiciously, none too happy at being confronted by the one who had put such strange ideas about Malfoy in his head. "What do you want?" he sighed.
"I'm not allowed to congradulate you?" Kyle asked with feigned innocense. "Good match yesterday, Potter."
"Thanks," Harry said grudgingly. "Is that why you stopped me?"
"I've been hearing some interesting things from our friend Draco lately," Kyle said with a slow smile, "that I wanted to check up on."
"He's not 'our' friend," Harry snapped, irritated. "And I'm not interested in anything that git had to say about me."
"But it wasn't about you," Kyle said. "Well... not in full." He leaned against the wall, still grinning. "Were you aware that your friend Weasley is hiding something from you?"
Harry's eyes narrowed slightly. "What are you talking about?" he demanded.
"His secret, of course," Kyle said glibly. "He's keeping something from you."
Harry suddenly remembered Malfoy's threat to spread some secret about Ron all over the shool the night they had confronted him about Ginny. He remembered the horrified look on his friend's face. "Don't be stupid," he said anyway. "Even if he *does* have a secret, it can't be anything bad. It's his business," he added firmly. "Not yours. And definately not Malfoy's."
Kyle's lips curved in a small smile. "Such animosity," he teased.
Harry ignored him and continued on his way to the Great Hall.
"What was that all about?" Hermione asked curiously as Harry took a seat between his two friends.
"Nothing," Harry shrugged. "He was just being a pest."
Hermione lowered her voice. "So did you want to do the lessons tonight?" Ron flinched.
Harry hesitated. A flash of ebony hair across the Hall caught his attention, and his resolve strengthened. "Yes."
"Great." Hermione grinned. "Don't worry, Harry, you'll do fine."
Ron stabbed his eggs rather viciously with his fork and glowered at Harry when Hermione looked away, keeping his unpleasant comments to himself for once.
Malfoy had been acting just as nasty as always.
Any time they happened to run into each other in the halls and all through Potions he teased Harry- mostly about his ungracefulness in the Qudditch match, but also on the daily things he always found to annoy Harry with. By the end of Professor Snape's stress-inducing class, Ron looked ready to throttle the Slytherin and Harry's temper was getting short.
He was not about to let Malfoy get away from things so easily, however, and with his promise to himself the other night in mind, hurried to cut off the bleach-haired boy as the dismissed class drained out of the room. "Malfoy."
The other boy drew up short as Harry dodged in front of him, lips curling back in a sneer. "Out of the way, Potter," he snapped.
"Why don't you quit being a jerk for two seconds," Harry shot back angrily. "Yesterday- why did you catch me during the match?"
Draco blinked, then his eyes widened in ludicrous shock, his voice mockingly innocent. "Why, Potter, you think I WANTED to catch you?" He rolled his eyes, scowl back in place. "Get a life, Potter," he suggested snidely. "And a brain." He shoved past.
Harry stepped right in front of him again, struggling to keep his temper. Ron and Hermione had gone out the door already, but they would notice his absence in another few moments. "You're the kind of weasel that would let someone fall to his death," he snapped. "Just answer the question. Why did you catch me?"
"And have McGonnagal and that old bat Dumbledore give me detention for life?" Draco looked at him pitingly. "You're not worth it, Potter."
"I thought you just said you DIDN'T catch me on purpose," Harry said quickly.
Draco's face darkened, his eyes narrowing dangerously. "You know, Potter, I can tell your favorite colors are black and blue." He raised a fist half-way in a threatening motion. "Let me show you."
Harry fell back a step to put some distance between them, raising his own fist, glaring right back at the taller boy. "If you think I'm not going to fight back, you don't know me too well, Draco."
"Thank god for that," the other boy said as nastily as possible, shoving past him forcefully and stalking from the room.
Grinding his teeth, Harry stomped out to find his friends.
Ron was glaring at Malfoy's retreating back. "What the hell's up with him NOW?" He turned a suspicious eye on Harry. "Did he say something to you, Harry?"
"Never mind," Harry growled sourly. So much for the 'let's ask our mortal enemy' plan. His brain must have frozen from the cold last night. "Come on, let's go."
"I told my mum about the Ball," Ron said as the three walked down the Hall towards Defense Against the Dark Arts. "She's going to send our dress robes." He made a face.
Harry suddenly remembered the dance lessons he was going to be receiving that night and his irritation was suddenly swamped by anxiety. "Great," he said unenthusiastically.
Hermione rolled her eyes at them. "You two act as if you're going off to war."
"We are, practically," Ron grumbled, shoving his hands in the pockets of his robes. "Harry attracts bad luck like the plague. Or don't you remember all the stuff that happened fourth and fifth year? Besides, the actual *dance* part of the Yuletide Ball was boring! Me and Harry just sat around the whole time!"
Hermione looked suddenly cross. "Well then don't dance at all THIS year, either," she suggested tartly, and marched off ahead of them with her chin in the air.
Ron blinked. "What's up with her?"
Harry shook his head at his friend. "She's your date this year, remember? You pretty much just implied you aren't going to dance with her, didn't you?"
Ron flushed. "Cripes," he grumbled, scuffing his feet bad-temperedly as they marched up the ever-shifting staircases. "Girls are so weird."
Harry grinned at him.
Compared to the DADA teachers from Harry's previous years, Professor Viggersnat was possitively dull. He was worse than dull- students had been known to fall asleep during his class.
Ron slouched in his seat beside Harry and gave a muffled groan of torment. "Make it stop," he pleaded quietly. Harry covered a snicker.
"Hermione's glaring daggers at you," he muttered out of the side of his mouth. "You'd better pay attention. You know she can't stand it when you goof around in class."
"She can rot," Ron grumbled irritably. "She's probably just still pissy about me not wanting to dance."
Harry kept his eyes on the aged man at the front of the room droning on about goblins while he murmured, "If you didn't want to dance with her, why did you invite her?"
Ron shrugged uncomfortably and didn't answer.
Harry wisely changed the subject. "I thought Snape was going to blow a blood vessel when Viggersnat got this job," he whispered. "I wonder why Professor Dumbledore keeps hiring others before him when it's so obvious Snape wants the job."
"Maybe cuz he could be.." Ron looked at him meaningfully. 'A spy', he mouthed.
Harry shook his head a little, frowning. "I don't think that's it," he protested quietly. "What should that have to do with it? And we don't even know if he is one."
Ron chose to ignore that last remark. "Maybe You-Know-Who would get mad at him for teaching kids how to fight against everything he stands for." He shrugged. "What use is he as a spy if his boss doesn't trust him?"
Harry nodded slightly. "That could be it," he mused.
"Professor Viggersnat," Goyle said loudly, "how am I supposed to pay attention when those two pipsqueaks keep muttering in the back?"
Ron groaned and sank lower in his seat.
Harry glanced towards Malfoy in time to catch his triumphant smirk, and had the irrational urge to heave his thick DADA textbook at the other boy.
The aging professor squinted towards Harry and Ron through his tiny spectacles. "Are you two talking during my class?" he demanded in his wheezy voice.
"No, sir," Harry said quickly, straightening up and nudging Ron with his elbow.
"I hope not," the old man said, looking at him keenly before continuing on with his lecture.
"How'd a shaky old bat like him get to be DADA teacher anyhow?" Ron muttered rebelliously, sitting up straight.
"You may ask Professor Dumbledore that if you wish," Viggersnat suggested, eyes still on the board as his old, trembling hands sketched a rough goblin picture. "AFTER class, please."
Ron and Harry exchanged a startled, wide-eyed look and remained silent and attentive for the rest of the class.
That night Harry dragged a reluctant Ron down the dormitory stairs to where Hermione was waiting, his Invisibilty Cloak already clutched in his fist.
"It's about time," Hermione huffed, arms crossed over her chest impatiently. "Aren't GIRLS supposed to take forever getting ready?"
Ron glared at her, but she breezily ignored him. "All right, Harry," she said officiously after she had opened the fat lady's portrait and glanced outside briefly. "The coast is clear. Cover us all with your Cloak and we'll go to the libary."
Ron sighed heavily. "Let's get this over with."
They made their way carefully and slowly through the Halls towards the library, finding it a little difficult not to trample on each other's feet now that they had all grown more. After much hissing of "Ow!" "That's my foot!" "Watch it!" they finally reached the library with no run-ins with Filch or any Professors.
"OK," Hermione said as Harry rolled up the Cloak and they stood in the middle of the libary. She looked around pensively. "Think we can move some of these tables without making too much noise?"
Harry eyed the heavy tables dubiously. "I don't know..."
"What for?" Ron demanded irritably. He seemed high-strung and nervous.
"We need a clear space," Hermione informed him patiently.
"Can't we just pretend the tables are other dancers?" Harry suggested.
"Hm, good idea," Hermione relented, glancing around again. "It will help you learn how to avoid any collisions."
"That would really give Malfoy something to laugh at," Harry agreed sourly.
"All right, Harry, come here." Hermione snagged Harry's sleeve and dragged him to a spot in the libarary a little more spacious than the rest of it. "OK, now put your hands on my waist."
"Wh-what?" Harry sputtered, feeling his face flush in spite of himself.
Hermione ignored him, grabbing his hands and putting them firmly on her hips. She reached up, placing her hands on his shoulders. "OK. Now listen to me and move your feet. All you have to do is move to the music."
"What music?" Harry asked helplessly, wishing now that he had never agreed to such a stupid idea.
"I'll hum," Hermione sighed, "if it will help. Now.. this is for normal slow dancing, OK? You dance like this during a slow song with someone you like."
Ron was watching them warily from where he was perched on a table. "Like when you ask Cho to dance," he suggested, perking up a little. "Boy will that make Malfoy mad."
"Uh.." Harry said intelligently.
"Ok, now all you do is move around to the music slow, ok?" Hermione began to move, humming quietly, and Harry nervously moved with her, hands a feather-light touch on her hips. It felt weird to be holding his friend the way he was, and it made him uncomfortable.
"Harry, you're supposed to lead," Hermione reminded him after a minute or two, arching a brow at him.
"Can't we move on to something else?" Harry pleaded.
Hermione shook her head hopelessly at him and dropped her hands. Harry gratefully pulled his own hands away. "Ok, then we'll do a waltz," Hermione said briskly. "This IS a Ball, after all." She took one of Harry's hands. "Put the other one around my waist," she commanded, and Harry did so tentatively. She rested her free hand on his upper arm. "Ok, now LEAD this time, Harry. Once you get the hang of it, I mean. Just kind of move me around the room in circles, ok? Listen to the beat. Ready? And ONE two three..."
Harry only stepped on her feet twice and stumbled once, but after a while he began to get the knack of it. Then Hermione told him to try manuevering them through the tables, and he knocked his knee and hip against the sturdy furniture before he couldn't stand Ron's snickering anymore. He withdrew hastily, face burning. "All right," he said quickly, "I get it now."
"No you don't," Hermione said stubbornly. "You have to learn how to manuever through the tables or you'll bump into everyone at the Ball! And you still don't have the steps just right." She beckoned to Ron. "Your turn, Ron. Come here and help me."
Ron balked, but walked over meekly when she glared at him.
"Now watch," she told Harry sternly, clasping Ron's hand as he nervously put his arm around her waist. "OK, Ron, let's go. ONE two three.."
Ron was even worse than Harry. Harry wondered vaguely if it was because Ron truly was a horrible dancer or if it was because he was dancing with Hermione.
After being stepped on repeatedly, Hermione finally pulled away in exasperation. "Honestly, Ron, how are you supposed to help Harry when you can't even dance yourself?"
Ron's face had been beet-red throughout, and he snapped at her irritably in his embarrassment. "Hey, YOU volunteered me for this, smarty. Anyway, it just feels too weird dancing with you."
Hermione drew in a sharp breath, and Harry stopped his laughter quickly.
Ron realized his blunder and quickly tried to save himself. "Er, I didn't mean it that way," he said hastily. "It's just, uh, it feels weird dancing with you cuz you're, uh... Cuz you're just a friend and uh-"
"Fine," Hermione said icily. "Then maybe you should get yourself another date for the Ball." She pointed angrily towards Harry, looking as if she wanted very much to storm from the room. "But I'm not leaving this library until Harry learns how to dance," she said through her teeth. "If you can't dance with ME, dance with HIM. Help each other out and MAYBE you two won't end up in a heap in front of everybody."
Ron's quick temper sparked, his voice rising. "Quit being such a snooty--"
Harry hurried over and seized his friend by the arm, dragging him away. "Ron," he hissed, "knock it off! Quit putting your foot in your mouth! Keep it down or Filch could hear you."
"I'm not going to dance with Harry, either," Ron snapped, ignoring him as he jerked his arm free. "I can't dance with a BOY!"
"So you can't dance with me or boys, is that it?" Hermione's voice was rising to a near-screech, face furious. "Ron Weasley, find yourself another date for the Ball!" She turned on her heel and stomped towards the library door.
"Hermione, wait," Harry hissed, running to catch her. "You can't go out there without the Cloak! Filch could catch you!"
That gave her pause, though she still glared furiously at Ron. Harry covered them all with the Cloak and they set off for the dorms in seething silence. Feeling trapped in the middle of their argument, Harry kept his mouth shut and silently wished for a cure for Ron's short temper.
Author's Notes: waaaaaaghhhh I'm so sorry this chapter took soooo long to get up!! I just haven't had the slightest urge to work on it, and work is kicking me in the ass. Stress is bad. @_@
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Chapter 12 + Epilogue