A/N: Hi there :)! This story hit me suddenly and did not let me go. I needed to get it out of my mind, so here it is.
Updates might be excruciatingly slow, my main focus is on my other story. This one has thankfully less plot behind it and practically writes itself. I also plan to keep it relatively short.
Pairings: I plan to make this a Tom Riddle/Harry Potter story. I wouldn't exactly call it a romance though. It's something more, err, twisted (?). There might be hints of Severus Snape/Harry Potter...maybe...but more of a mentor thingy.
Warnings: The rating may go up, depending how far I take it with the pairing. The story will probably also soon take a turn towards something more darker and distrubing.
Disclaimer: I do not own Harry Potter. All character belong to JK Rowling. No money is being made.
When Technique meets Talent
"Are you completely out of your mind?"
Albus Dumbledore, headmaster of the prestigious Hogwarts School for Dance, only smiled gently at his grim counterpart.
"How many times have you asked me that over the years, Severus?"
The man sat in front of his desk in the headmaster's office, scowling darkly at him. The expression was feared amongst his students, as it often ended in an excruciating exercise. Because they had known each other for so long now, it had long since lost its effect on Albus, much to Snape's chagrin.
"Too many times to count headmaster. It makes me wonder what exactly it is I'm trying to do here."
"And how many times did my ideas end pleasantly and not in the gruesome massacre you imagined?"
Snape had to keep himself from exploding. The headmaster had no clue just how much work Severus always had to do behind the scenes to make his ideas reality. However, being the man of icy control he was famous for, he sighed instead.
"Look Albus, I always respected your ideas to bring ballet out of the conservative clutches and towards something everyone can enjoy. But you have to do it step by step. You have already made too many controversial decisions for this year's end performance!"
"They aren't that controversial…" protested Albus.
"Performing 'A Prophecy' with nothing but students? The world will laugh at our attempt at such a difficult ballet! A female conductor for the orchestra? The critiques will tear her apart! Open auditions for the lead? That's the equivalent of saying our students aren't good enough to best mediocre hobby-dancers!"
"'A Prophecy' isn't much more difficult than other ballets. Most companies don't do it only because nobody can dance Voldemort's part. You know very well that the only reason I chose 'A Prophecy' was because Tom's technique is so flawless he will make the most difficult part in dance history look easy."
"And I agreed to it," reassured him Snape, "But why open auditions Albus? What good can possibly come out of these? Our school is the best and you worked hard to keep it that way. Our students have been hand selected by hundreds of instructors to finally arrive here. We have more than one senior who can dance the hero's part!"
"Technique-wise yes! But with absolutely no chemistry! There isn't a single student in this school who has understood the hero's part and can incorporate it."
"The end of year performance is the students' big chance to get contracts. Let Draco Malfoy dance the lead and I can guarantee you at least 2 of our students will get hired immediately. You don't have to sweep the audience of their feet, you have to do what's best for their future!"
Dumbledore's eyebrows rose in surprise. "You're aiming for acceptable, Severus?"
"I'm aiming for the possible!"
Dumbledore let out a tired sigh. "Look my boy, I promised I would choose one of our students if there was no one in the auditions that we both agreed on. So what's the harm?"
"The school's image will suffer Albus. You know how tough it is to stay at the top, things like these can kill us."
"How about this: We will hold the open auditions in three days- no, hear me out my boy. It will be on such a short notice that the news won't spread much further than London itself. Nobody will have enough time to prepare and the students form the other schools most likely won't take the chance. Besides, it will just be a day, you can take the time to relax from your teachings!"
Snape's displeased frown didn't disappear, but Albus knew him enough to know that he had once again defeated him by sheer determination.
"Fine. Fine! We'll have the bloody auditions. A day of looking at blemished technique, muscles with no control and stiff limbs. Yes, I'll enjoy myself immensely."
Despite what everyone said about his heartless and demanding nature, Snape was actually very confident in his senior students. Let the old man have his auditions.
There was no way some random street urchin would dance better than his trained students.
Harry stopped moving and looked around himself, suddenly realizing that he was standing on a park bench. Where was he?
"You're doing it again! Dancing with no music, yet completely blocking me out!"
He turned to his best friend who sat on the bench next to him. Right, they had met after work in the park that was closest for both of them. Harry had spaced out again.
"Sorry Ron. I just felt like moving after sitting ten hours behind that bloody counter." He jumped down and sat on the bench.
Ron let out a defeated sigh. "I can't believe I'm surrounded by dancers, maybe I somehow attract them?"
"Sure Ron, it's all your fault," laughed Harry.
"No seriously! Ginny now wants to dance professionally too, after constantly hearing from the twins how happy they are in that damn school. Percy has resigned pretty soon this time, he says at least she's a girl."
That damn school. Hogwarts. One of the top dance academies of the world. Without a doubt the best in Britain. And the most expensive one of course, but having more money didn't secure you a spot as a student.
To get in, you had to be a genetic freak, one in a million, with perfect dancer physique and years of practice. To get a scholarship was practically unheard of.
The Weasleys had done it four times.
They weren't a famous dance family like the Malfoys, in fact, they were dirt poor. Arthur and Molly Weasley were musicians, doomed to remain below the spotlight, but still as passionate about their art as in the beginning.
Their children had grown up in a house that was constantly filled with music. But the kids hadn't taken up any instruments. Instead, they had moved.
Bill was the first of them to get into Hogwarts, free of the murderous tuition fee. Charlie had followed, Percy had resolutely refused to even take one single lesson of dancing despite having the same perfect physique as his brothers, the twins had gotten into Hogwarts last year and Ron…Well…He was just Ron.
If it wasn't for the red hair, one would think he was adopted. His shoulders too broad, his joints too stiff, his ankles too weak… He just didn't have the right genes. But Harry's best friend never cared, for he had never understood the pull dancing and music had on his family. For now he was finishing his education and working a part-time job, a resigned spectator amidst his dance-crazy family.
Still, Harry knew Ron had already spent a good deal of his hard-earned money on dance lessons for his little sister. He loved his family unconditionally, no matter how many times he cursed their unprofitable passion.
As for Harry… Orphaned since he could remember, left at his aunt's doorstep, handed over to the depressing hell they called orphanage, he had ran away when he was 13 and never looked back.
Starved, half frozen to death, dirty and overall in the most pitiable state a human could be, the Weasleys had found him unconscious on the streets. Despite, or maybe because, being poor themselves, they had taken him home and nursed him back to health.
He had never seen so many kind people in one place.
It had also been the first time he had heard classical music. It had made him cry and laugh and despair, leaving him a shivering and sobbing mess on the Weasleys' couch.
And then he had walked in on Charlie while he was dancing in the attic. It had looked as if he was flying, as if he were free, expressing the emotions the music made Harry feel through movement.
He had tried to imitate him. And succeeded.
A natural they called him. Raw, uncultivated talent, hidden away in his small, malnourished body.
Since then, not a day went by without him dancing.
He had managed to get some part-time jobs and rented a room in the most worn-down part of London. Even if he would get a scholarship from Hogwarts, he still wouldn't be able to attend, because the scholarship didn't cover his living expenses, only the tuition fee.
But Harry wasn't sad about that. He just wanted this year to be over. He would be 18 next year, free to get a real job, preferably in some bar where constant music was guaranteed. If he could dance on a few nights to get some extra money, he would be as happy as anyone could be.
"Yo Harry! How is our favourite wasted talent doing today?"
Ron and Harry looked up at the familiar voices. Ron groaned, but Harry grinned broadly at the approaching twins. Their company was always bound to include laughter.
The twins sat down left and right from him, returning his grin.
"Yeah about that wasted…" began one.
"See, we think we can do something about that."
"Ta-daa!" Fred waved a flyer in front of Harry's nose.
Harry took it and read it sceptically. "Open auditions? Come on guys, I told you I don't want to attend Hogwarts."
"Oh but it's not auditions to get into Hogwarts!" clarified George.
"Nah, it's just for a part in our end of year performance," added Fred.
"No strings attached so to say!"
"Yep, you can just come in and dance your cute little ass off…"
"…and make everyone regret they didn't force you to become a professional dancer."
Harry laughed at their attempt to look intimidating. "That actually doesn't sound so bad, but I can't. All the rehearsing would interfere too much with my jobs."
The twins exchanged a meaningful look. "Ah but see… We're doing 'A Prophecy'.
Harry stared at them speechless. "' A Prophecy'? The prophecy-…But- that…"
That was impossible. 'A Prophecy' was well-known for being the most difficult ballet piece in history. A school celebrating the graduation of his senior class shouldn't be able to even pull off half of the piece.
Harry had seen it on DVD, actually, he watched it almost once a week. He couldn't describe what it was, but something about the piece just drew him in. No other ballet had ever made so much sense to him.
Especially the Hero. A ridiculous name for a character yes, but Harry understood him. Knew him. Lived him.
The piece was about him finding out about a magical world, hidden from view. About his interactions with his friends, foes, professors and of course, his nemesis.
'A Prophecy' was also famous for the distinct lack of names for his characters, even the leading ones. The hero was simply that 'The Hero'.
With the exception of He-who-shall-not-be-named. Ironically, Lord Voldemort was the only character with a name. And the one that made the piece so infamous.
In one century, there might be one dancer who could pull off Voldemort's choreography. It was said that when the piece first emerged, the dance companies had laughed at it, claiming the part of the villain was simply impossible for a human to dance.
Salazar Slytherin had proven them wrong.
Since then, dance companies all over the world tried desperately to perform 'A Prophecy', for if you succeeded, your name would be equal to eternal glory.
"We thought you'd be interested," smirked George
They saw Harry's lack of reaction and changed tactics. "Look, just come and have fun at the auditions. You can dance on our big stage!"
"And there's live music! A whole orchestra!"
"The teachers don't expect anyone outside of the school to get the part anyways…"
"Especially Snape," specified his brother.
"That slimy git."
"So you're relatively safe not to get the part," explained Fred.
"Relatively," George pointed out.
"There's always the possibility you'll have them on their knees, begging and sobbing…"
"…A natural reaction to your dancing, really."
"But you could still decline of course."
"At least we think so," mused Fred and they exchanged knowing glances again.
"You can never be sure with Malfoy…"
"…He might lock you up…"
"…But let's not think about that."
Harry laughed again at their onslaught of arguments. "Okay I get it! Spare me the gruesome details! When is it?"
"In three days. The news just got out."
"We think Dumbledore has finally cracked completely," whispered George conspiratorially.
"But we saw that coming after he announced we'd do 'A Prophecy'."
The twins turned to their brother. "Ron, try guessing what parts we got, even though we aren't seniors yet."
Ron stuck his tongue out at them. While Ron wasn't interested in dancing, he was still bound to get a lot of passive knowledge about the different ballets.
"Oh I don't know… How about two trees?" he taunted.
"Argh, you wound us little brother."
They sprang up and made a show of bowing in front of Harry.
"'Twin 1' and 'Twin 2', at your service," they exclaimed in unison.
"We keep changing between the parts."
"Snape suspects, but he can't prove anything."
"It drives him crazy."
"Anyways…" They sat down again, flanking Harry.
"We will drag you there by force if we have to."
"We know you won't be able to resist once the music starts."
Harry sighed and read the flyer once again, still in disbelief. "And you're really doing 'A Prophecy' with students? Who plays Voldemort?"
"Aaahh…" moaned the twins in unison, their faces locked in a mask of pure agony.
"Tom Marvolo Riddle."
"Top student," said George.
"Top asshole," clarified Fred.
"Arrogant, proud, conceited, egoistical, psychopathic…"
"In short," interrupted his brother, "The guy was born for that role."
George imitated a dreamy expression like that of a lovesick teenager. "Look at his technique! His feet! Flawless! Perfect! How graceful! Those turns! Those jumps!"
"One would think he's some kind of reincarnated god."
"He certainly thinks he is."
Ron yawned disinterested. "You guys know it's already ten past one right?"
"Oh fuuuck! Our lunch is over."
"And we have Snape first thing afterwards," groaned Fred.
They hastily packed their things and ran off, but not without turning back one more time.
"See you in three days Harry!"
"Dead or alive!"
It seemed to Harry as if he had only blinked once before the day of the open auditions already arrived.
He hadn't practiced at all. His various jobs left him no time, his small room no space and his penniless state no chance to change that fact.
But as he walked through Hogwarts' massive main entrance and into a horde of nervous bundles, the anticipation in the air almost choking him, he couldn't help but feel privileged that he didn't want the part. Those that wanted it desperately looked ready to keel over.
The twins arguments had convinced Harry relatively easily. There was no way for him to dance the part – both because Hogwarts wouldn't take an untrained dancer and because Harry didn't have time anyways – but the audition would give him 15 minutes on a real stage, with the perfect surface to dance, live music and dancers that knew what they were doing.
He didn't get the chance to dance with a partner very often. Only sometimes with one of the Weasleys on holidays.
As soon as everyone had registered, they were informed that they would in fact, dance with students from Hogwarts during their audition. They weren't just looking for someone who could dance, they were looking for someone who could play the part and was compatible with the dancers that already had a confirmed part in the piece.
Harry hoped the twins would be there, but of course, depending on what act the judges wanted to see, their characters might not be needed.
"Do you think he didn't get into Hogwarts?"
"His physique is a bit…"
Harry ignored the hushed whispers around him and went to greet his best friend.
Almost all the contestants had brought family with them. They would be able to watch the different auditions while sitting with them in the auditorium.
Harry was fine on his own, but Ron had insisted he needed to come for 'moral support'.
"Come on, let's get this over with," grumbled Ron and dragged him to a seat in front of the stage.
"You certainly sound grumpy."
"Well, it's this bloody atmosphere in this bloody school. Makes my stomach all knotty. If they're all so nervous and jittery, why are they doing it to themselves in the first place? Gosh, I just don't understand you dancers."
"Hey don't look at me," protested Harry. "I don't get it either. That's why I don't want to be a professional in the first place remember?"
Of course earning enough to live by dancing sounded appealing, but there was too much negative stuff for Harry's liking.
Making it in the dance world was extremely hard, very painful, often lasted only a few years and you constantly had to watch your back for competition. If you made one mistake during an important performance, your career you sacrificed your whole life for was over within seconds.
It wasn't what Harry wanted at all. He just wanted to dance.
There was a general hustling around in the auditorium, dancers trying to calm their nerves, relatives trying to calm them down, people gossiping about famous dancers and musicians from the orchestra getting ready for their first rehearsal.
"That's a big orchestra just for a school performance," remarked Ron.
"It's Hogwarts," he shrugged.
Harry looked to see who had caught Ron's interest. "Hm? Which one?"
"That bushy haired one over there…"
Harry searched for the girl, who suddenly spun around and glared in their direction.
"I can hear you, you know."
"Wha-… No way!" Ron turned to Harry in disbelief. "She's kidding right? That's way too far away and we weren't that loud."
"Well what can I say, my ears are extraordinary," the girl shot back.
Ron leaned back in his chair sulkily. "Her teeth certainly are."
"I said I can hear you!"
Harry held up his hands in an attempt to calm them down. "Sorry, my friend has a love-hate relationship with musicians."
The girl threw her impressive mane back and stared haughtily at them. "I'm not a musician."
"Oh? What are you doing with the orchestra then?" asked Ron crossly.
The girl gave them one last look, clearly deeming them unworthy of her attention, before turning her back at them. "I'm the conductor."
Ron stared at her speechless and even Harry raised a surprised brow.
Headmaster Dumbledore certainly seemed to be at war with conventions. His end of year performance would prove to be interesting. Maybe the twins could somehow smuggle him in to watch the final performance?
He was pulled out of his musings when the whole auditorium began to clap excitedly.
The judges had appeared on the stage. Albus Dumbledore as the headmaster of course, Severus Snape, renowned critic and dance instructor, Minerva McGonagall, former prima ballerina and now teacher at Hogwarts, Lucius Malfoy, the embodiment for everything the name Malfoy stood for, as well as some others Harry couldn't name.
Dumbledore smiled warmly at the assembled dancers and spectators. "Welcome! It is my great pleasure to welcome you all to Hogwarts first open auditions! We are all looking very much forward to your performances. Now, a bit information first. You will all draw a lot out of this hat in order of your assigned numbers. The lot will indicate what scene from what act you will dance."
Excited murmurs broke out in the audience. They would dance different parts? How would the judges compare their performances? What if you just had bad luck?
Dumbledore held up his hands to ask for silence. "We do this so our students who already have been assigned a part will be able to start rehearsing. It will also make sure that everyone had the same time to prepare themselves mentally. As a last thing, we hope you realize what a privilege it is to be here. Acclaimed critics will watch our end of year performance and companies may offer contracts to dancers who caught their eyes."
There was even more whispering after that. Everyone wanted a contract. It all but guaranteed a shining future.
"Our senior students have all reached the professional level. We are holding these auditions because we had trouble finding the right dancer for the Hero. But even so, I have to inform you that even if you are the best dancer here, it could still be that we will choose one of our own students in the end."
He paused to let that sink in, and the audience to grow quiet once again.
"Now, without further ado, may number one please step forward? Good luck to all of you."
And so it began.
The contestants were… Well… Harry didn't blame Severus Snape for his scowl.
They were dancers sure, but nowhere near professional. Most of them were mediocre at best. They made a stark contrast to the Hogwarts students who danced with them.
Some of them seemed to genuinely be happy for the opportunity though, a sentiment Harry could identify with.
Dancing was supposed to be fun. It was supposed to be a tool to express yourself. It should never have to be about being the best. Lamentably, that's exactly how it was at the professional level.
Harry was a bit confused about Hogwarts' reasons to hold open auditions. Yes the hero was a very tricky part emotional-wise. The character evolved clearly during the piece and showed many different sides depending on who he was facing. Since all the other roles were already assigned, they had to search for someone who could get the chemistry right with all of them.
These were things you couldn't achieve with technique alone, but still… Forcing such famous people to watch mediocre dancers seemed like a waste of time.
After several hours and dozens of contestants, Severus Snape clearly was at the end of his patience. It was quite amusing to watch in Harry's opinion.
"Miss Lovegood," the dark man pressed out. "This is an audition for the male lead."
The petite girl with the long blonde hair didn't seem concerned at all. "Oh. Well, it said open auditions so…"
"Ah what's the harm," smiled Dumbledore gently.
Snape turned to him rigidly. "The harm? We are wasting our time Albus!"
"Come now Severus, let her dance. Who knows? Maybe what we were searching for was a heroine all along!"
"You are not actually considering that?"
"Just let her dance. It's only 15 minutes, it won't make a big difference."
Snape's lips were trembling with the effort to restrain himself, but he didn't object anymore.
The girl was good. She was the first one that appeared to be on the same level as the Hogwarts students.
She was also lucky to draw a scene with the twins in it. The two obviously loved the gender-twist and she looked as if she had an awesome time on the stage.
At the end of her audition, the audience broke out into applause. She smiled brightly at all of them and gracefully made her way down the stage.
After her, the differences in the skill of the contestants was even more obvious.
The tension rose. The anticipation and excitement had been high before, but it became palpable now. They had seen scenes with the hero's friends, the godfather, how he first discovered magic, fights with dementors and werewolves and how he travelled back in time, but no one so far had drawn a scene with Voldemort in it.
Harry started to wonder whether that was intentional. Maybe the school wanted to hide this brilliant student away until the big performance?
He had to admit that he was a bit disappointed. Since he wouldn't have the money to go watch the ballet, he had been looking forward to at least see him dance at the auditions.
He wanted to see him for himself, the young man that would step into Salazar Slytherin's shoes.
But the hours went past and no Voldemort scene appeared.
Still, Harry didn't regret coming. The orchestra was brilliant, the Hogwarts student were a joy to watch even though they didn't have time to practice their parts yet and he got to see some of the most famous persons in the dance world.
When they finally called his name, startling Ron out of his slumber, Harry felt completely relaxed.
Since he didn't want the role anyways, he had absolutely no reason to be nervous. He didn't necessarily enjoy other people watching him dance, but he knew after a few seconds he would forget all about them, completely blocking everything out except the music.
He went up to the judges and McGonagall handed him the hat. He stuck his hand into it and grasped one of the paper slips. He gave the hat back, opened the paper and read it.
"Mr Potter, please read your designated scene out loud," stated Snape monotonous.
Harry checked his paper again. Twice.
"Act 5," he read slowly. "Scene 11: The possession."
The people in the audience literally snapped to attention.
It was a Voldemort scene. In fact, it was all about the Hero slowly being possessed by Voldemort, becoming him, fighting an agonizing internal conflict.
If Harry had wanted the part, he would have cried in dismay upon reading his lot. The possession was after the final battle in act 7 the most demanding scene for the hero.
But as it was, Harry's heart jumped with delight. It was one of his favourite scenes. It would start out with a bit of fighting with Death Eaters and a small part with the Headmaster before becoming a duet between the two nemeses.
He would dance with Tom Riddle. He couldn't wait.
Harry took his position in the middle of the stage, where already a few Hogwarts students had appeared.
The music began. The students attacked. Harry evaded, dancing like a leaf in the wind, twirling amongst the Death Eaters. Sometimes one managed to grab him, throwing him high up in the air.
They were brilliant dancers. Harry didn't have to worry about anything except his dancing, whenever a position required a Death Eater, one of them was there, ready to assist him.
The music changed to something less dramatic and Harry fled from the fight.
The Death Eaters disappeared and Harry met the Headmaster. They did a bit of synchronized dancing before the music abruptly stopped, leaving the two dancers hanging awkwardly and alert on the stage.
The music slowly picked up. Something dark was coming. An attack out of nothing, the Headmaster jumped in front of Harry to shield him, but the assault flung him away, off stage.
Harry only caught a glimpse of Tom before the dancer was already there, pushing him down violently.
Harry rolled quickly to his feet leaping away from Voldemort. But his nemesis was everywhere, allowing him no escape.
Harry jumped and ducked and leapt, twirled and spun, even attacked him once, but Voldemort was merciless.
Harry could feel his adrenaline kicking in and small drops of sweat began to form on his forehead.
And then Tom - Voldemort? - started circling him, drawing closer, tightening his control. He forced Harry to synchronize with him, setting a hellish pace to keep up.
Normal synchronized dancing was relatively easy, as long as you practiced endlessly with your partner. It was much harder to imitate, to become your partner. It required you to analyse his dancing style, to know the person behind the dancing. This meant it was practically impossible to get it right.
Harry soon realized another problem. Tom's dancing style was the complete opposite of his. His technique was flawless, all his movements executed in perfect control, his feet firmly on the ground. Harry was floating, his body moving in wild, barely controlled, energetic motions.
For an untrained dancer to imitate Hogwarts top student bordered on the impossible. Still, the more Harry concentrated on Voldemort's dancing, the more he lost himself in it.
He didn't know if the change was big enough for the audience to see, but it certainly felt as if he was slowly brought down to earth, suddenly aware of the control over his muscles, his body forced to use the proper technique.
He lost himself completely when his mind seemingly let go of the concept that was Harry Potter. The other dancer wasn't a separate person anymore, he was just another part of him.
He barely registered when Voldemort made his final attack, shoving him to the ground. Harry let himself fall…and was caught by his - no, the Hero's - friends.
They gently pulled him to his feet, smiling and laughing, dancing around him. He yearned to stay with them, to remember who he was, but they nudged him back into Voldemort's clutches.
He broke free of the oppressing techniques and let the energy flow back into his movements. He remembered how to breathe again. As he forced Voldemort back with his turns, a smile broke out on his face. He was free.
He did a final jump that brought him right in front of Voldemort and the Hero stared his nemesis fearlessly in the face.
The scene ended.
He wasn't sure how long he stood there, breathing hard.
The first thing he noticed was deafening silence. He blinked a few times, realizing that Tom's face was only inches away from his. The student's eyes were slightly unfocused, telling Harry that he as well had been completely entranced by the story.
Harry clumsily took a few steps back. His body felt oddly heavy now that the music was silent.
He glanced down into the audience and searched for Ron.
His best friend was gaping at the stage, but a big grin split his face as soon as he caught Harry's eyes. He gave him two enthusiastic thumbs up.
Lucius Malfoy cleared his throat.
"Uhm… Err, yes… Thank you, ah, Mr Potter, that was quite… yes. Ahem, thank you."
Harry slightly inclined his head in the judges' direction and made his way off the stage.
He had already turned away when suddenly Tom's hand shot out, clutching his wrist painfully and yanked him back.
"Ouch, what the..!" Harry exclaimed dumbfounded.
Tom stared calmly at the judges who seemed to squirm a bit under his intensity. The student's features were determined and unyielding.
He pulled Harry even closer, his grip tightening even further.
"I want him."
A/N: Reviews are much appreciated :). They tell me whether I'm alone with my crazy mind or not...