On Friday night after dinner, the Sixth and Seventh years of each house assembled in the Great Hall. It had been cleared of the tables and a gramophone was situated in the middle of it. Professors McGonagall, Flitwick, Sprout, Slughorn and Longstreet stood in front of the teenagers.
Professor McGonagall cleared her throat. “Now, all of you know why you are here. In lieu of your disgraceful behaviour at the Halloween Ball, we professors have agreed that you must learn the art of dancing. And what more, good behaviour
Sirius looked slightly alarmed at the prospect that his professors would be teaching them dancing. McGonagall looked formidable with her hair tied back in a severe bun emphasizing the sharpness of her features. She looked even more stern than usual.
Suppressed laughing tittered across the group. She shot them a look and they fell silent.
“Now, Professor Longstreet has graciously given us his time to teach you ballroom dancing along with two other instructors who will be joining us shortly.”
The girls in the group exchanged sly looks with one another. It was well known that the new DADA professor was fit as anything. It made every girl in school compete for his attention and his presence inspired many student professor relationship fantasies.
However, professional as ever, he taught with firm discipline and kept his interactions with his female students to a minimum. He was a man on a mission: to teach them how to defend themselves. To arm them with knowledge and confidence.
And now, his mission was to teach them how to dance.
“Each of you will be partnered,” she continued. Murmurs rose from the group. Annoyed that she had been interrupted again, “And no, you will not be choosing your own partners.” She finished more sharply than intended to.
Groans arose. Lea and Lily exchanged a look. They both knew what they were thinking. “Please not a Slytherin.”
Their third roommate, Marlene gave a nervous look at her boyfriend, Benjy who glowered at the professors. She held his hand reassuringly.
James and Sirius were too busy to notice what she had said. James was preoccupied with staring at the back of Lily’s head and Sirius was playing with his wand seemingly oblivious to what was going on.
“I know all of you don’t want to spend three days a week learning how to dance for the next eight weeks with each other. But as an extra incentive, there will be a competition.
After six weeks, you will elect the best couple from each house to perform a dance at the opening of the Winter Formal. The four couples will compete against each other and whoever performs the best will win two hundred points for their respective house.” McGonagall said.
James heard this and his mouth dropped open slightly. If someone from Gryffindor won the competition, then the two hundred points would surely put them well ahead of Slytherin.
Currently they were behind, thanks to Sirius’ and his last prank which had cost them 50 points and other minor infractions others had caused.
Satisfied, McGonagall signaled for Sprout to produce a list of which presumably had the dance partners.
“Now when I call your names, please come together and move off to the side!” her voice said loudly.
Inexplicably Lily felt a tightening in her chest. Now that there was a competition against the houses, she knew that the partners had to be in house. Anxiety filled her. She wondered who’d be her partner and hoped she would get Remus or even Sirius. If she was James’s partner…then the universe surely hated her.
But why would she be feeling panicked about James? She didn’t like him. Not one little bit. Sure he was handsome, in the typical Quidditch player jock way, but still. He was cocky.
“Sturgis Podmore and Riley Abbot!” Sprout announced. The first Ravenclaw couple.
“Narcissus Black and Rabastan Lestrange!” Narcissus, a fair, fragile blond Slytherin girl who was engaged to Lucius Malfoy, several years her senior, cast a frightened look at Rabastan, who smirked at her.
Lea saw the scared look on the Slytherin girl’s face and for a moment felt sympathy for her. Their eyes met fleetingly, blue on blue and for brief minute, they understood each other. But then Narcissa turned away and tossed back her hair and the spell was broken.
Emotionlessly, Lea turned her attention to the names being called out.
Ten minutes later and she nor none of her mates had been announced. Several other Gryffindor couples had been announced.
“Marlene McKinnion and Remus Lupin!” Crestfallen Marlene gave Benjy, who was a Ravenclaw, a weak smile and then turned towards Remus who had paled in comparison.
She had noticed this and frowned. What, did he not like her?
Which in fact, was totally the opposite. Remus was head over heels over her. But since she had a boyfriend, he never did anything about it. He wasn’t Sirius. And now, he was her dancing partner!
Seeing her frown at him jolted him out of his thoughts. He gave her a small smile, but it reached his eyes and Marlene felt slightly better when she saw the sincerity behind them. He gestured for her to go before him and she smiled a bit at his old fashioned manners.
Lea and Lily exchanged merry looks with each other and hoped, that maybe something good would come out of that pairing. However all traces of merriment were wiped off their faces when they heard their names called.
“Lily Evans and James Potter!” Yeap. The universe officially hated her.
“Lea de Tourval and Sirius Black!”
“Oh no,” Lily groaned slapping her forehead.
“Oh man!” James exclaimed ecstatic.
“Oh boy,” Lea said flatly.
“Oh god,” Sirius clapped his hands over his face.
Ten minutes later, the thirty odd some couples were assembled across the Great Hall. Professor Longstreet had allowed them five minutes of chatting, so as to ease the tension and “get to know each other” for those who weren’t familiar with their partners, which was a joke since they were all in house couples.
Lea stared at Sirius with a frown on her face. Sirius crossed his arms over his chest and smirked at her.
It wasn’t as if she hated him. They were mates. More or less. Kind of. When she wasn’t busy studying, tinkering on new spells, going out with boys here and there or smoking behind the old greenhouses with the other smokers of the school.
Ok. So they weren't mates. Mate-ish.Or something vaguely like that.
No, she didn’t hate him. She just didn’t fawn over him like every other idiotic girl in the school. Even Lily grudgingly admitted that Sirius was hot. He was cocky, arrogant and used to getting what he wanted, effortlessly. And that bothered her.
So in turn, she didn’t really like him. But found him in the circle of mates she had anyway. Probably because of Remus.
Remus was really the glue that held the group together. Smart, handsome and shy, he was a brilliant study partner for Lily and Lea. So when, in their third year when Sirius came asking for Remus’s help in Charms, he had directed him to Lea who was better.
Lea found herself helping Sirius master the laughing charm. For two straight hours they had practiced and it finally ended in both of them laughing their heads off as he had mastered it and then Sirius had the nerve to kiss her.
The kiss was the first and last kiss to date Lea had ever had from him. Furious, she had punched him in the nose and in turn, broken it sending him to the hospital wing. And thus setting the tone for their topsy turvy relationship they had over the years.
Various mishaps in group projects, late night study sessions, the occasional Quidditch practices that she attended when she dated Fabian Prewett and other things had cemented their tolerance for each other which was always laced with undertones of mild appreciation for each other.
They challenged each other, competed for the best marks, riled each other up, and though she would never admit, they were good for each other in some ways. She was sure of that, mostly likely in the academic context, but perhaps in just the general, universal, karma context as well.
Taking all of this into consideration, she rubbed her neck and finally said, “Look Sirius, don’t put your hands in any funny places and I’m sure we’ll be fine. Let’s just…make the best of this thing ok?”
Sirius snorted and then raked a hand through his locks. “Funny places. Define funny places Lea,”
“My breasts, my butt, my inner thighs and all that.” She listed in a matter of fact tone. She took extra precautions when it came to him, knowing Sirius Black and the typical teenage boys wandering hands and hormones, his hands could wander anywhere.
Rather be safe than sorry and list all untouchable areas right from the bat, Lea grimly thought.
Unconsciously his grey eyes wandered over said funny places and a grin spread across his face slowly as his eyes took in each place. Lea narrowed her eyes and gave him a sharp slap on the back of his head.
“Ow! What the hell was that for?”
“For looking at said places! C’mon Sirius, don’t be difficult. This might actually be…entertaining, if not an experience to remember.”
The determined look on her face said that she clearly wanted to avoid tension and confrontation. Sirius rolled his eyes. “Fine. No funny places will be looked at or touched. Scout’s honour.” He held up two fingers.
A small smile appeared on her face and he found himself smiling back. A real smile.
Maybe she was right, it might be an experience to remember.
Professor Longstreet clapped his hands and the chattering died down. “Ok everyone. Now tonight, we’ll just go over what we will be covering in the next eight weeks and go into some stretching and warm up routines.”
So first off, practices will be on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays. Each session will last an hour and half.
Lily’s eyes nearly rolled out of her head. An hour of half of studying would be gone thanks to these ridiculous dancing lessons! She was surely going to fail her winter exams.
“We will be learning to dance the Jive, the Tango, the Salsa, the Quickstep, the Paso Doble and the Viennese Waltz.
These dances are not easy. They are hard, they are technically tough and you will find yourself frustrated. But once you learn the moves and get into the groove, you’ll might find yourselves enjoying them.
“You will come in proper attire. I don’t expect you to come and learn dancing in these ridiculous robes we wear. Gentleman, that means t shirts, sweatpants or other loose trousers or what you wear for working out.
Ladies, modest tank tops, t-shirts, leggings, leg warmers or other dance appropriate skirts paired with leggings. Nothing skimpy or plunging please.
As for footwear, we will first practice basic trainers and then move on to dance shoes. Eventually ladies will be practicing in heels.
Lea raised an eyebrow. Guys get dance shoes and girls get stuck with heels later on? Not fair.
As if he could almost read her mind, Professor Longstreet raised his voice, “And no Lea, this is not me being sexist, this is just how dance is, plus with some of the dances and the clothes you’ll be wearing, heels might be beneficial.” He grinned at her and Lea bit back a smile of her own.
Sirius felt a fleeting stab of animosity towards his professor and then it disappeared.
“With that being said I want everyone to spread out and stay close to your partners. We’re going to begin stretching and then go into some basic dance moves, spread out!”
They quickly spread them across the floor and took off their robes. The announcement said to come in comfortable clothes, no skirts or dresses and Lea was very grateful for that.
They commenced with some basic breathing exercises and then moved into stretches. As Lea bent forward to reach her feet, she could hear some exclamations of pain from others.
She herself felt a familiar ache but then it felt good as she flexed her feet and pressed her face into her thighs.
Sirius looked at her, mildly impressed. “Where’d you get that kind of flexibility Lea? You don’t play any sport.”
Having being on the Quidditch team, Sirius and many other of the boys were finding this easy. But he didn’t expect her to do these stretches so easily, and so well.
“Sirius, I’ve grown up in a family with five brothers who are in the Wizarding Armed Forces and my parents were part of the Resistance during the the War. It’s kind of mandatory to be athletic, or capable of being athletic in my house, remember?”
He did. He briefly recalled overhearing Lea telling Lily about her family when asked. She didn’t talk about them very much. She was quite a secretive person.
“So… do you work out?”
“I run. I lift some weights when I can.”
The time for talking was cut because soon Professor Longstreet ushered them into their first dance lesson.
In the remaining 45 minutes, they found themselves learning the basic box step, grapevine-ing to the right and left, learning how to pivot, pirouette and turn.
At the end, Sirius wiped the sweat off his brow with his t shirt exposing some of his toned olive skinned stomach. A fact that didn’t go unmissed by many girls.
Dorcas eyed him appreciatively and gave Lea the stink eye. Unperturbed, Lea waggled her eyebrows and gave her fake grin. The other girl turned her attention elsewhere and the grin melted off lea’s face as quickly as it had come.
“Okayyyyy…I didn’t expect this to be so…”
“Hard was the word I was going for, but thanks for trying to preserve my masculinity.”
At nine thirty Professor Longstreet called it a night and Lea turned to Sirius. “Ok…so we have 8 weeks of practice, three days of week…so that makes 24 practices, and this was the first once, so…”
“23 left to go.” He chuckled.
“Yeah. Anyway. It shouldn’t be that bad. I’ll most likely see you later on in the Common Room.”
“Yeap.” With that she gave him what he privately called her “Mona Lisa” smile and left to go find Lily.