A/N: One huge, enormous Thank-You to Rheadyn for being AMAZING… as well as being my beta. She gets all the credz (and my eternal gratitude) for the ending which is stolen directly from her head… kind of like Magic Head. :)
Disclaimer: (completely forgot to do this on my other 2 stories and now I don't know how to edit them… *is made of fail*) I do not own Sherlock in any form.
Dancing With Sherlock For Beginners
"Balls of your feet John."
"There IS a beat you know, following it would be a good start."
"No, slide your feet, don't stomp them."
"Really, John, I'm in awe. You have all the grace of a pregnant hippopotamus."
John threw up his hands in frustration.
"And you have all the patience of a caffeinated hummingbird!" He stomped (yes, he could stomp if he very well pleased) over to the stereo and turned it off. "This was a bad idea."
"You need dance lessons and have no money to attend a class. I happen to know how to ballroom dance. I fail to see how this is a bad idea."
"Anything that involves you teaching is a bad idea, Sherlock."
John walked into the kitchen, filled the kettle with water and set it on the stove to boil. Tea. He needed tea. Tea made everything better. Even insufferable flatmates.
Their last case had been one of those super secret if-you-post-this-on-your-blog-I'll-have-the-internet-destroyed kind of cases that Mycroft occasionally forced on them. As a result they had been invited to attend a ball at Buckingham Palace. Well, 'invited' was a relative term when it came to Mycroft, it was interchangeable with words like 'threatened', 'blackmailed' or 'coerced'.
John, having a well-hidden (or so he thought) romantic streak, had actually been rather excited about the prospect of a ball. Until he realized that it entailed dancing. And not just any dancing where he could just sway awkwardly on the spot but ballroom dancing. That involved steps-to-botch-up, feet-to-trod-on and partners-to-alienate. Then there was the awkward conversation with Sherlock that had gone something like:
"A completely irrational waste of time."
"Yes but, if one wanted to learn—"
"Don't refer to yourself in the third person, John. You're not nearly pretentious enough to pull it off"
"Your time would be better employed fixing the spelling mistakes on your blog. I found 3 this morning."
"CAN I FINISH A SENTENCE?"
"Well I haven't found anything wrong with your punctuation yet so I would assume so."
"I am going to momentarily forget that I want to punch you in order to ask: Do you know anyone who knows how to ballroom dance? Because I would like to learn."
"Very well, I'll teach you."
John had experienced a premonition then, a niggling thought, that perhaps having Sherlock teach him how to dance was not such a good idea. But like with all things that involved Sherlock, John happily ignored the glaring danger and do-not-enter signs that his brain was flashing at him and was swept away in the natural disaster that was Sherlock Holmes.
Sherlock had decided to start with the waltz. It was simple he insisted. John's two left feet disagreed rather forcefully. They thought the tempo was too slow and stomping, they said, is much more fun than sliding.
It also didn't help that Sherlock was a rather negligent teacher. He had shown John the basic steps and then stood aside to watch John embarrass himself. And of course, being Sherlock, he didn't do it silently. The constant barrage of criticism had started with John's very first step.
The worst had been when, just as John was getting used to the unnatural movements, Sherlock had suddenly said:
"Get your hands off her bum."
"Whose bum?" John had asked, completely bewildered.
"The poor imaginary woman you're dancing with. At this rate, she could file a sexual assault charge against you." Sherlock answered with a smirk.
At times like these John wondered if he was insane for actually seeking out Sherlock's company. Must be the war damage. The kettle whistled sympathetically from the stove and John pulled out two mugs, more from habit than any sense of kindness. Sherlock joined him at the kitchen table looking mildly frustrated while John made them both some tea. He took a moment to fruitlessly search the cupboards for something that wasn't rotting for the sake of science, Sherlock was studying mould this week, before slumping into a chair.
"I can't dance." he sighed, taking a long sip of tea. It burned a little as it went down his throat before pooling warmly in his stomach.
"I noticed." John glared at Sherlock who frowned as if John was a particularly perplexing puzzle. "That bothers you, doesn't it?"
"Of course it bothers me!"
"Why? Dancing is… unimportant."
"It's important to me." John said curtly and left it at that. Sherlock knew far too much about him already; he didn't need to know about John's more pathetic romantic fantasies.
In a rare instance of tact, Sherlock didn't pursue that line of thought.
"You're not awful" he said slowly, making the sentence sound like it might be a question he expected John to answer.
John felt his lips being pulled up into a reluctant smile. For Sherlock, that had been almost a compliment.
"You're a bad liar, Sherlock." He said into his tea. It was doing wonders for soothing his embarrassment and he was feeling much more relaxed.
"That is untrue; I am very skilled at lying. It comes from a complete disregard for the emotions of others." Sherlock smiled like that was a good thing. "How's your tea?"
"Good." And it was good, really good, warm and a bit bitter and— "Sherlock! Did you spike my tea?"
"Yes. Now drink up." Sherlock said bringing out a bottle of rum from under the table and topping off both their mugs.
"I—…WHY are you spiking our tea?"
"Because you need to relax, your movements are too stiff. Alcohol will help."
John opened his mouth because that was outrageous and ridiculous and so Sherlock and… Okay, alcohol actually sounded like a pretty good idea right now. John finished off his rum and tea and felt the beginnings of the alcohol seep into his brain, making everything go soft.
"I'll dance with you this time." Sherlock said when they returned to the living room.
"What?" John squeaked.
His friend arched a brow at him.
"I believe it would be better if you stopped abusing the air and practiced with a real person. Also it would be more useful for you to learn how to move with a partner."
"Right. Okay. That makes sense." Why was he nervous all of a sudden?
Sherlock stepped close to him and held out his hand at shoulder height. John felt a spike of adrenaline shoot through him as he placed his hand in Sherlock's which was big and warm. This was stupid! It was just Sherlock, the man who invaded his personal space and manhandled him on a regular basis. There was no reason to be nervous. Well, apart from the obvious reason that Sherlock was completely unstable, breathed danger and got excited by serial murderers. But that was neither here nor there.
"Place your other hand on my shoulder."
"What? Why do I have to dance the woman's part? It's not like I'm going to be dancing with many men."
"Your sexual preferences are none of my concern." Sherlock said with a smirk. "And you're dancing the woman's part because you couldn't lead if I wore a collar and you held the leash. Now shut up and put your hand on my shoulder."
"You don't need a collar." John muttered placing his hand gingerly on Sherlock's shoulder. "You need a muzzle."
Sherlock laughed delightedly as the music started up again and John couldn't help but join in. John loved Sherlock's laugh. It sounded so innocent, like a child discovering fireflies for the first time, but it was also deep and rumbled like thunder before a storm. Between the alcohol and Sherlock's intoxicating laugh, John didn't even notice that they had started dancing till Sherlock gave him one of his strange little smiles and said:
"You're doing significantly better now."
"Well, I'm in the hands of a master."
The mischievous spark in Sherlock's eyes was all the warning John had before he was suddenly dipped backwards. Surprised, John cursed and clutched reflexively at Sherlock's shoulder. But Sherlock had the situation well in hand, strong arms held John securely in place as he was righted once more.
"Jesus Sherlock! A little warning?
"Oh, dull! Takes all the fun out of it." Sherlock said positively grinning now.
"Last I checked dancing was not a supposed to be a type of strategic ambush." John grumbled. "Although after that demonstration maybe I'll sell the idea to the British Forces as a fright tactic."
Sherlock looked thoughtful.
"Do you think that would work on Anderson?"
There was a moment of silence as the image of Sherlock dancing with a horrified Anderson, probably at a crime scene, surrounded by dead bodies, sank into John's mind. And then he was howling with laughter. He stumbled over his steps as Sherlock continued to lead them in lazy circles. When John calmed down enough to see straight again, he found Sherlock looking at him curiously.
"Why is dancing important to you?" he asked in his usual manner of continuing a conversation John had thought was long since over.
"It's romantic, intimate." John said without thinking. Oh great, now Sherlock would think he was coming on to him again.
Sherlock pulled him closer until they were chest to chest. John swallowed nervously.
"You were about to knock over the fermenting thumbs." He answered casually.
John's right left foot chose to take that particular moment to rebel against the no-stomping rule and landed neatly on Sherlock's. Their feet tangled and they toppled over, John landing on top of the consulting detective.
"—impossibly clumsy." Sherlock groaned with a hand flung over his eyes.
John laughed weakly and placed his head back on Sherlock's chest. He was strangely unwilling to get up.
"I see you will both be well prepared for tomorrow evening." Mycroft's voice drifted through the flat.
John whipped around to see Mrs. Hudson, Mycroft and Lestrade standing in the doorway. Mrs. Hudson had a fond look on her face, Mycroft looked smug and Lestrade— Lestrade was beside himself with laughter. That's when John noticed the camera phone in Lestrade's hand.
"Oh bugger." he swore, clambering off of Sherlock in a hurry.
"Lestrade," Sherlock said, exhibiting a lot more poise as he calmly collected himself off the floor, "I should probably inform you that should that video show up anywhere, all of Scotland Yard will find out that you did ballet as a child… And still secretly practice in your office" Lestrade's laughter choked off abruptly. "Now, if you'll all excuse us, John and I are busy." And with that he moved to shut the door.
Feeling very hot in the face, John met Mrs. Hudson's gaze. "We're not a couple." He mumbled unpersuasively.
"Of course not, dear." Mrs. Hudson said, sending him a smile reserved for in-denial-tenants before the door swung closed.
A/N: I give credit where credit is due. The line about having the grace of a pregnant hippopotamus is taken from my Dad… and is frequently used against me -_-
Sherlock teaches John to ballroom dance. You know, just in case it comes in handy for a future case. ;)
They're quite terse about it at first because Sherlock is a bossy teacher and John is uncomfortable. But as it goes on, as well as with the help of some beer, they loosen up and are joking, giggling and doing it rather well until someone steps on another's foot and they're on top of each other on the floor, laughing, tipsy.
Then they look up to see Mrs. Hudson, Mycroft and Lestrade watching from the doorway. And it's all on Lestrade's phone.