Chapter 1 : Dancing Lessons.
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Further notes: Written for Raielle's AVPM challenge. You will find Quirrell and Voldemort out-of-character if you compare them to JKR's characters, but hopefully you'll find them in-character with their AVPM counterparts.
Lastly: I wrote this story imagining that Voldy and Quirrell were dancing to "Shall We Dance" from The King and I (credit to Rodgers & Hammerstein). Due to copyright issues, I cannot provide the lyrics here, but if you are unfamiliar with the song, feel free to look them up yourself or watch a clip on YouTube.
Quirrell was wide awake. Perhaps it was the late-night excursions into the Forbidden Forest or the late hours spent researching or marking papers. Maybe it was having to sleep on his side. Whatever the reason, he had been having trouble sleeping lately. All this stress really wasn’t good for him. Some nights he found that the wet lapping of the lake and the embrace of the black velvet sky soothed him to sleep, but it was growing too cold to steal outside now. Instead, he was huddled by the fire in his room, reading a book by firelight.
A sudden, single gust of wind swirled through the room, caught the parchment he used as a bookmark, and tugged it from his fingers. He made a disgusted noise in his throat.
“Something wrong, Quirrell?” a disembodied voice asked.
“Oh, no, nothing! Heh, heh. Just a mysterious ‘wind,’” he made air quotes, “blowing my bookmark around. It’s nothing. Accio!"
“You’re lucky you can feel the wind. I can’t feel the wind because I don’t have a body. I can’t even feel the warmth of the fire without a body. But if you turned around, I could feel the warmth on my face.”
“No! I’m using the light to read my book. If your face is cold, we can put the turban on again.”
“The turban? No need to get hasty, Quirrell. I just want to see the flames flickering. I’ve always thought flickering fireplaces were romantic,” the voice sighed. “Seeing the flames dancing with one another . . . doesn’t it make you want to dance too?”
“No,” came the short reply, accompanied by a firm rustle of paper as Quirrell forcefully turned a page. “Fireplaces just make me warm. And give me light.”
“Oh, ok. I see. Say, Quirrell, didn’t you ever want to sit by a fireplace and, oh, I don’t know, maybe drink hot cocoa with someone special?”
“Hot cocoa? I love hot cocoa!” Quirrell marked his place and set his book down, turning in his chair as if looking for the voice.
“I know. So do I. I can make yummy hot cocoa, you know.” A soft giggle stopped abruptly, and the voice sharpened, for it had caught a glimpse of the turban lying crumpled on the hearth. “Quirrell. What did we agree about folding clothes?”
“Oh, right, sorry, my Lord,” Quirrell said with a nervous laugh, pulling out his wand again. “Clothes folding spell,” he commanded, and the turban rose into the air, folded itself into an exact rectangle, and settled on a nearby chair.
“What did I say about calling me ‘my Lord’?”
“Right, sorry, my—V-v-voldemort.”
There was a companionable silence for a short time, broken only by the crackling fire. What a nice silence it was too, an absolutely beautiful night. It was warm in the room, and he felt so lazy and relaxed. His eyelids drooped, and the flames flitted across his face, making red and black patterns behind his eyelids. It was so peaceful and relaxing here, and he found himself wishing he could while away all his nights like this, lounging by the fire, reading a book, and spending time with—
“Quirrell?” the voice interrupted his thoughts. “I’m bored.”
“Don’t be sorry. Do something! Entertain me.”
“How, my Lord?”
“How? Quirrell. Just do something!”
“What do you want to do?”
“Oh, I don’t know. I don’t suppose . . . no. Well, perhaps you—Quirrell. Shall we dance?”
“What? No, I don’t know how to dance.”
“I can teach you.”
“No thanks. I know! Let’s do a crossword puzzle.”
“That’s a terrible idea. I hate crossword puzzles! You never let me look at the clues. You only read them when you get stuck so I can tell you the answer.”
Quirrell looked annoyed. “That’s because if I let you look, you know all the answers right away, so it’s no fun for me.”
“That’s a pity. I am a good dancer, you know, but if you won’t let me teach you . . .”
“Fine! Teach me how to dance. But you’re just wasting your time. I know I’ll be terrible at it.”
“You’ll be good at it! An artistic, sensitive soul like you, Quirrell?” the voice purred.
“Do you really think I’m . . . artistic and sensitive?” Quirrell asked hopefully.
“Of course I do. I wouldn’t lie to you.”
“You wouldn’t lie to me?”
“Of course I wouldn’t. You’re my friend, Quirrell. My best friend. What kind of monster do you think I am? Now, how about that dance?”
“Very well. What should I do first?”
“Stand up.” Quirrell rose and stood with his hands dangling awkwardly by his sides.
“Let’s learn a waltz. I think you’ll like waltzing. I’ll teach you the box step. It’s very simple. A waltz has a three-quarter beat. You count it like so. One, two, three, one, two, three, one, two, three.”
“One, two, three,” Quirrell repeated.
“Yes. Now, pretend you are standing at a corner of a box drawn on the ground. Wait, take your wand out.” Quirrell drew his wand, and a moment later, a shining square appeared on the carpet in the center of the room.
“That ought to make it easier,” said the voice, satisfied. “Now, go stand at the lower left corner.” Quirrell obediently moved across the room and stood at the appointed place. “Now step forward with your left foot to the corner in front of you—that’s one—and step your right foot to the top right corner—that’s two. Then move your left foot over to your right foot for three.” Quirrell shook his head, feeling confused already, but he stepped forward with his left foot.
“Good! Now step your right foot to the top right corner and bring your left foot to join it. Two, three. Beautiful! Are you ready for the next part?”
“I guess so.”
“It’s the same thing, only going backwards. Move your right foot directly backwards to the bottom right corner—one!—move your left foot to the corner where you started—two—and bring your right foot back over—three. See? Easy!”
Quirrell tried out the steps, and after practicing for a few minutes and having his technique corrected, he was starting to have a lot of fun.
“I think you’re ready for music, Quirrell. I knew you’d catch on like this.”
“Music? I don’t know.”
“Come on. Don’t be shy. Get out your wand, and I’ll put the music on for us.” A moment later, strains of a lively dance tune sang through the air.
“Since I’m the one teaching you, if I had my own body, I’d be leading, so pretend you’re following. Put your right hand out and pretend I’m holding it. Are you doing that?”
“Good. Now take your left hand and pretend you’re resting it on my shoulder.” Quirrell put his left hand out too. He felt a little foolish, so he closed his eyes and imagined a person in the empty space before him. A living, breathing person with his own body. A willowy body with long, strong fingers that could gently hold his. A tall body with warm, broad shoulders that would be a bit higher than his own.
“Quirrell? Do you have your hands up?” the voice broke into his thoughts.
“Good. If I was standing in front of you teaching you to dance, I’d have my hand on your waist, ready to guide you along. Now, are you ready?”
Quirrell had scarcely breathed another yes when the music grew louder. He opened his eyes and launched into his newly-learned box step but quickly lost count and got out of step.
“Quirrell? What are you doing? Again!” The music started playing again from the beginning. Quirrell closed his eyes this time, imagining his partner guiding him through the steps, a gentle but firm pressure at the small of his back, and that time it was easier. His feet flew over the ground, faster and faster. Finally, the music stopped and he sank into his chair, exhausted.
“Very good, Quirrell. You’re a natural!”
“Yes, you are.”
“Well, I think you’re a natural teacher!”
“Do you really think so?” The voice sounded pleased.
“Yes, I do. I’m your friend, remember? I wouldn’t lie to you.” Quirrell lapsed into silence, finally catching his breath. He slumped back in his chair, snagging his turban to use as a pillow. The first grey haze of dawn was beginning to appear on the horizon.
After some time, the voice spoke again, “That was fun, don’t you think, Quirrell?”
“Yes. Yes, it was.”
“We should do it again. Maybe tomorrow?”
“All right. Tomorrow.”
“Quirrell? I like you.”
There was a short pause, and Quirrell felt a blush creeping up his cheeks.
“I like you too,” he said.