the_water_clock: abstract painting (Untitled 1958 Coffee and Cinnamon)
[personal profile] the_water_clock
Author: Clio
Title: The Chance to Come Through
Pairing: Derek Hale/Stiles Stilinski
Rating: PG
Summary: Derek's auditioning because Laura talked him into it, though he's not sure a ballet dancer is really what a televised dance competition is looking for. Stiles is auditioning because it seemed like a fun thing to do with Scott on a Saturday morning, and maybe he'd get to dance with Comfort, his favorite female hip hop dancer. They both end up getting a lot more than they were looking for.
(A So You Think You Can Dance AU.)
Length: 7600 words
Notes: Written for the Teen Wolf Spring Fling, and thanks to everyone organizing that fest. Thanks also to [personal profile] honestys_easy for her help and enthusiasm in working out this AU and giving it the once-over, and the creator of the original photo set that started me thinking about this in the first place.
Also features Derek and Stiles quoting Center Stage at each other (since the quotes are self-conscious they should be easy to spot) as well as a line from the song "Cabaret." Title from "The Music and the Mirror" from A Chorus Line.


Prompt Photo. Derek and Laura audition to "The Beekeeper" by Dessa. Stiles auditions to "Whodat?" by Black Sheep.

Derek decides early on that if they embarrass themselves, he's going to blame the whole thing on Laura, because it was her idea. Derek often comes to this conclusion when Laura has talked him into some bullshit scheme, which is how Laura can actually get him to do these things.

Her latest scheme has them standing in line outside a theater in Oakland in the very early morning hours, surrounded by other dancers. Derek doesn't really like crowds, and he particularly dislikes the crowds of dancers he encounters at open calls. This open call, for a televised dance competition, makes all the bad parts even worse as his fellow dancers mug for the camera and try to express something they call "personality." There's a jokester about twenty people behind them, whose buddy must be the dancer with an actual chance of making it because surely no one could make such terrible jokes and be so generally graceless and actually be a dancer of any talent, but the giraffe-like host eats it up.

"Stop scowling," Laura says.

Derek rolls his eyes. "This is so dumb," he says. "They hardly ever take ballet dancers anyway."

Okay, fine, so Derek has been glued to every single episode of So You Think You Can Dance since it aired the summer he turned 12; so what? It's still true.

"They certainly won't if those ballet dancers are acting like they're too cool for school," Laura replies.

He sighs, but also tries to have a better attitude if only so Laura will leave him alone.

The cameras do find them eventually, because they're twins and yeah, they're both pretty good-looking, which isn't something Derek thinks about too much but he supposes every little bit helps. He puts on his ingratiating smile and hopes they don't turn his dancing with his sister into some creepy Flowers in the Attic thing.

Nigel seems to like the look of them, anyway, and they dance to a song Laura found about beekeepers and sleep and Prometheus. The story their piece is telling is less about any of that and more about two people working together to stay alive, which is something they know a lot about, unfortunately. There's a lot of showy spins and leaps, nothing like the kind of piece he'd do for a ballet company audition, but it's good emotional stuff.

When Nigel tells them they're going straight to Vegas, they do not jump up and down like idiots, but nod their thanks and take their tickets because they have some goddamned dignity even if they are going to be on television.

They don't leave immediately, but stick around to watch the other dancers since they don't really have plans for the rest of the day anyway. The jokester's friend gets up and does a charming Broadway-style tap routine to a peppy piano song and sells it with a big grin, so it's no surprise when he gets through.

The jokester—and Derek notices that he's actually rather tall and broad-shouldered, now that he's not wearing five shirts—gets up and tells jokes, naturally, and gets Nigel laughing about how surprising it is that he's a hip-hopper. He even flails around a bit, like he did in line, and Derek sinks down into his seat because seriously.

And then the music starts.

There are tricks aplenty, yes—spins and stops and all of that—but his limbs look almost liquid as they flow from one position to the next as quickly as the rapper spits out phrases. His hips thrust along with the high trumpet riff and his feet move faster than Derek can actually watch. As if all that wasn't enough, his face is just as animated as it was when he was telling jokes, going from intimidated to intimidating in a second, and when he winks all the contemporary girls sitting up front go into hysterics.

Lil C strings together several words that Derek can't make sense of but make the kid jump up and down, Mia says she wants to eat him on a cracker, and Nigel says something about his musicality, whatever. He's even had a few years of training, so the choreography in Vegas isn't going to be an issue. This kid is not only going through but his audition is probably going to be featured on the show and give him a fan base big enough to at least get on the tour.

Derek wants to be angry about this, but he's just ... not.

"Kid's good," Laura says, and Derek nods.


Prompt Photo.

Vegas week is harder than anything Stiles has done in his entire life, and that includes chemistry with Mr. Harris and his weekly detentions. Contemporary is fine (Travis is an inspiring genius), as is hip hop obviously (Nappy Tabs!), but the jive kicks him in the ass twice though he makes it through by the skin of his teeth. Jazz is Sonya and that's just flat out fun and kind of amazing.

Tyce is just as much of an idiotic hack as he seems to be on TV, but Broadway is okay because of Scott—no, scratch that, everything that's okay is okay because of Scott, even if he's a little distracted by the pretty jazz dancer he had as a partner for Travis's contemporary piece. Stiles can't imagine going through this without a buddy he can actually trust.

Lydia, who took dance classes with Scott and Stiles until middle school, grabs them for the group dance, probably because she knows they'll shut up and do as they're told. She brings with her Scott's crush, Allison, whom she has apparently befriended on the basis of her shirts or something; girls are weird. Lydia pairs Scott with Allison because she thought they looked good in their contemporary, too. The four of them do a kind of partnery pop jazz thing to a Nikki Minaj song and it comes out better than Stiles thought it would when they were blearily rehearsing it at 3am the night before.

Luckily his old crush on Lydia doesn't flare up again, but this is mostly because of Grouchy Ballet Dude (GBD), whom Stiles first saw in line ahead of them at the auditions in Oakland. He has cheekbones that could cut glass and pecs for days and always stands up straight and must have a limited allotment of smiles per day which he uses up on stage. He barrels through choreography like it's nothing—even his hip hop is passable though Stiles is meanly glad to see him also struggle just a little with the jive. GBD's here with his sister, and they end up in a group with a blonde firecracker of a Latin ballroom dancer and one of those giant muscular contemporary dudes. They do a contemporary-ish thing with a lot of lifts and the girls looking ethereal and it's the hit of the groups round.

The night before final solos Stiles completely can't sleep, so he magnanimously leaves the room to Scott and Allison and wanders downstairs where at least he can work on his solo if not find some other like-minded dancers and maybe get his mind off the next day just a little. He's surprised when he walks down one dead-end hallway and finds GBD—okay, his name is Derek—practicing his own solo. There are only thirty-six dancers left now, which means their chances are better than even that they'll get on the show, but that's still sixteen people to cut. It also means that at this point Stiles has had a conversation with all the dancers that are left, except Derek.

Derek hasn't noticed him, is counting just under his breath, and before he can stop himself Stiles says, "If you let go of your center, it will just happen, naturally."

Derek stops and looks at Stiles over his shoulder. He's got the usual scowl, but then his shoulders relax a little and he raises one eyebrow. "I am the best goddamn dancer in the American Ballet Academy," he says. "Who the hell are you?"

Stiles laughs, because that is not the reply he was expecting. "Seriously?"

"I'm a ballet dancer," Derek says, shrugging. "Of course I have Center Stage memorized. Ethan Stiefel's half the reason I'm even here."

"Here, as in being a dancer, or here at these auditions?" Stiles asks.

"Both. I started taking modern and jazz classes because of that movie. Wouldn't have lasted this long without them."

"Me neither."

"Plus, Stiefel made dancing ballet look so cool. I had a poster of him on my wall when I was a kid."

Stiles leans back against the wall, raises his eyebrows. It's three am, and really, he may as well ask. "For inspiration, or because he's a hottie?"

Derek smiles, just a little, and glances down at the floor. "Both."

By the time Derek looks back up at Stiles, he's grinning. "So," he says, because no, he's not going to pursue this right now, "I guess you get nervous, too."

"Doesn't everybody?" he asks.

"You never show it," Stiles says. "Me, I chatter like a lunatic and fling myself into unmovable objects."

"That doesn't make you look nervous," Derek says. "That just makes you look like an idiot."

"Nice!" Stiles says, but he's laughing, and so is Derek. "So, if you have the music and want to do your solo for me—I can't promise intelligent crit, but I can clap and tell you how hot and charismatic you are."

"So you're Mary," Derek said.

"Pretty much," Stiles replied.

"I can do the same," Derek said. "I mean, as long as you don't expect me to be Lil C. I have no idea what he's talking about most of the time."

"I thought I wouldn't, until he was talking about my dancing," Stiles said. And then, because he can't just leave things alone, he adds, "So you're going to tell me how hot and charismatic I am?"

Derek cocks his head. "You don't know that?" he asks. "You should."

Stiles just blinks, and blames the late hour for the blank his mind has just become. "Um, okay, thanks?" he says. "If you want—your music?"

"Yeah, sure," Derek says, taking his ipod out of his pocket and handing it to Stiles. "The speakers are actually pretty loud on this thing."

Stiles sits down in the corner, grateful that Derek is dancing first, because even though he started it, their exchange has him a little unsteady. "When you're ready," he says.

(They both make the cut. Stiles, later, will always credit Scott for getting him through the week, and Derek for getting him through that night.)


Prompt Photo. Derek and Erica cha-cha to "Slyd" by !!!. Stiles and Allison dance to "Two Sides of Lonely" by The Lone Bellow.

Derek gets paired up with Erica, the Latin ballroom dancer that was in their group in Vegas. He's relieved because while he isn't great with strangers he liked Erica from the start, and also because he's terrified of Latin ballroom. It's the ballet dancer's downfall, and just because he knows the history doesn't mean he isn't condemned to repeat it.

Of course they get a cha-cha first, to some hipster disco song brimming with sexual innuendo. Toni Redpath has Erica shimmy against Derek, since she can do the cha-cha with her eyes closed. With some effort he nails the steps, and even gets to the point where he can shake his hips in the very tight pants and heels—heels!—that they've put him in. And he can stand there and spin her all day. It's not like he doesn't know how to display a female dancer to best effect.

Laura's partnered with Scott, the Broadway kid. They have hip hop for this first week, and while they're a little awkward, they're also charming. Nigel says he wants more personality from Laura, but they look bound for the big middle, and Derek sighs in relief.

Lydia, the contemporary-girl friend of Stiles and Scott, gets Matt the ballroom dancer, who stands there awkward and annoyed as she effortlessly dances circles around him in a Fosse-esque Broadway number. He can't get out of his own way, and she doesn't look particularly pleased about it.

Boyd is up right before Derek, so he only vaguely sees him in flared shiny pants flinging one of the jazz girls around in a disco number. Derek is doing breathing exercises to keep himself calm. He doesn't let himself be distracted by their own pre-dance package, but closes his eyes and holds Erica's hands and just stays present.

They go out and—well, at least it's not a disaster. Derek remembers all the steps, they hit all their marks, he's smiling and leering, his hips are loose. Sure, his technique could be better, but it's only been a week. He keeps up with Erica and hopefully it doesn't look like she was pulling him around the floor.

The judges love Erica, at least. They tell Derek that he was lucky to have her, but also that he did a good job leading, which is a compliment he'll take. Then they tell him that he has to get into the floor and let go of his posture and be sexier and all the things that Derek was trying to do, really he was. Nigel, who'd noted earlier that Lydia was dancing in heels for the first time in her Broadway number, jokes that Derek was doing the same, and at least Derek can laugh at that so the last thing the audience sees isn't him nodding, blank-faced, while they give him the crit. But he's never been so glad to leave a stage as he is now.

He watches on the big screen as they show Stiles and Allison meeting in their first rehearsal. Of course they're jumping up and down to see that they're partnered, and Derek wonders if he should be more demonstrative outside of dancing, but that's just not him and he couldn't sustain it anyway. They have contemporary and do a whole emo thing about lost love or someone's a ghost maybe, Derek wasn't paying attention to the set up, and yes, it's very good. But they've both had formal training so he's not sure why the judges need to give Stiles a tongue bath just because hip hop is his specialty. Stiles is a great dancer but this is some serious overpraise; just because he makes jokes doesn't mean he can't be serious.

"Stop growling," Erica mutters. "We'll be fine."

"Sorry," Derek says, and is honestly embarrassed that he let any of that show. He makes sure to put a big smile on when Stiles and Allison get off the stage, congratulates them sincerely.

"Don't worry, dude," Stiles says. "I totally would have put you on the hot tamale train."

It's a kind thing to say, but it makes Derek itchy. He clears his throat. "Thanks," he says, nodding.

Stiles gives him a thumbs up as he runs off.

The next night, weirdly, Derek and Erica aren't even in the bottom three. Derek can't even breathe with his relief, and he hugs Erica close when Cat tells them they're safe, mimes his gratitude to the audience and the judges, and finds the also-safe Laura as soon as he's backstage. Matt the ballroom dancer goes home, as does another of the jazz girls.

Stiles, whose fate was really never in doubt, comes bouncing over. "I told you, dude! You are way too hot to go out this early."

"You mean too good," Laura says, scowling.

"Oh," Stiles says, and has the grace to look just a bit ashamed. "Derek's the best goddamn dancer in the American Ballet Academy. I thought we established that?"

And Derek really wants to hang on to his resentment about the judges overpraising Stiles, his conviction that Stiles is going to win this whole thing, wants something to rub against and be angry about to spur him on. But he just kind of ... can't. And it would be childish, anyway; it's not Stiles's fault.

"Who the hell are you?" he says to Stiles.

"Nobody," Stiles says, and smiles.

ballet and tap

Prompt Photo. Tyce cribs Scott and Laura's dance from this section of An American in Paris. Stiles and Allison dance to "Turn It Around" by Lucius. Derek and Erica dance to "Old Skin" by Olafur Arnalds.

Tasty Oreo is a fucking hack and if he's the reason Scott doesn't make it onto the tour Stiles will cut a bitch.

Stiles usually thinks of himself as a lover, not a fighter; he doesn't even like hip hop battles all that much. But you step to one of his own—and the only person more his own than Scott is his father—and Stiles will take care of some goddamn business. He consoles himself that he wouldn't be alone in sneaking out of the dancer condos because Scott's partner in this nonsense is Laura Hale, so Derek would be right fucking beside him.

And by nonsense, he means the unoriginal, unimaginative shit show of a routine Tyce has Scott and Laura doing, a rip off of the ballet from An American in Paris. Sure, Scott is a charming tap dancer and Laura is a ballerina but that's where the resemblance to Gene Kelly and Leslie Caron ends, thank you very much. And the dancing is entirely derivative, complete with Scott pretending to tap en pointe, yet captures exactly none of the fun of the actual movie.

Stiles and Allison open the show with their jazz number, in which Allison sizzles and Stiles is mostly along for the ride, but he acquits himself well and isn't particularly concerned. After four weeks he's figured out the rhythms from the inside and knows that he and Allison aren't dancers with targets on their back. Nor are Derek and Erica, who have a Mia Michaels contemporary that blows everyone away. After their crit they head straight for Stiles and Allison, huddled in the dancer section of the audience.

The packages this week are "what I will and will not miss about my partner" because the couples are breaking up; they'll all be dancing with all-stars from now until the finale. Lydia's had a different partner every week because hers keep going home, so she just giggles her way through the package. Her partner this week is obnoxious rich-kid ballroom dancer Jackson, who would totally have been her type in high school. They get hip hop, she dances rings around him, lather, rinse, repeat.

(Stiles said what he'll miss most about Allison is her laugh, and what he won't miss is her tendency to kick him; she said what she'd miss most are his jokes, and what she won't miss are … his jokes. Nice.)

Scott and Laura are next, and they are their typical charming selves in their little package. Stiles tries not to grit his teeth when Tyce is on screen. Then they're dancing and it's … fine. Not particularly memorable, perfectly well done, dancing the hell out of what they were given, but not great. Not something that's going to send people running to the phones if they haven't already been won over by their personalities. The judges praise them, but they aren't overly excited, either.

Derek sighs. "Well, that's as good as we could have hoped for," he says.

The next night Stiles, Allison, Derek and Erica are all dispatched to safety very quickly at the top of the show, which only gives them more time to stand around and worry. Boyd and his partner Nadya join them, and everyone else gets ready for their solos. They huddle up in the usual spot, but this time Stiles finds himself holding hands with Derek. He's not sure who took whose hand, or whether it matters; he's just comforted that someone else is as worried as he is. To be fair, Allison doesn't look much better.

Stiles scarcely notices the guest dancers; everything between the solos and the final decision is a blur. All he can sense is Derek's hand in his and Allison leaning against his other shoulder. Nigel says it's a difficult but unanimous decision, and does the girls first, keeping Lydia (of course) but sending home sweet little Katie, whom everyone loved. Stiles is sad but relieved for Derek's sake; he can feel the other man's relief as his sister comes flying into his arms. They do Katie's goodbye package and everyone cheers loudly.

It's the boys next and this time Derek very deliberately takes Stiles's hand into his own, and they exchange a smile. "For luck," Derek whispers.

Nigel says something to Jackson, and then to Danny, sternly, before sending Scott to safety. Stiles is jubilant, giving Derek a big hug while they wait for Scott to make his way off stage. Allison gets to him first but Stiles gets a piece of it, too.

"I feel bad though," Scott says, looking back up on stage where they're sending Jackson home, continuing the Curse of Lydia. Jackson and Danny are buddies just as much as Stiles and Scott are, and it's just like Scott to have empathy for them. But Stiles doesn't care, because Jackson is a dick, and also is not Stiles's best friend. Stiles would not cut a bitch for Jackson.

That night, when they're lying in their beds, Scott says, "Can you believe we're going on tour? And Allison too?"

"I'm beginning to think you're more excited about her than about me!" Stiles says.

"Shut up!" Scott says, and throws a pillow at him. "Also whatever, it's not like you're not into Grouchy Ballet Dude."

"Excuse me, we're just friends and also he's out of my league," Stiles says.

"Excuse me, I saw you two holding hands and also no one's out of your league," Scott replies.

"We were just worried about you and Laura!" Stiles protests.

"Yeah," Scott says. "Keep telling yourself that."

And as Stiles has a boundless capacity for not facing up to things, he does exactly that.

tango and cash

Prompt Photo. Derek dances to "Que Voy a Hacer" by Gaby Moreno. Stiles dances to "Pide Piso" by Bajofondo Tango Club.

The first week of all-stars, Stiles is so excited he glows. "Dude! Tour and dancing with Comfort? All of my ambitions for this experience, fulfilled!"

Derek gets contemporary with Allison Holker, and he has to work on his solo because he hasn't danced one since Vegas, as he and Erica were never in the bottom three. Neither were Stiles and Allison, so they're all a little on edge, while the others are entirely unsympathetic to their plight.

Laura dances a perfectly nice jive with Pasha, does a sweet solo to a Tori Amos song, and gets eliminated.

Derek doesn't really hear anything after that, because he's trying desperately not to cry on camera; America just voted his sister off, so they don't get his tears. Stiles is next to him, rubbing his shoulder and whispering that he needs to stop scowling, and he breathes and keeps it together until they finish eliminating Danny and everyone can rush up onto the stage. Of course that fucking camera is trying to get in his face while he's hugging Laura, so he just buries his head in her neck like he did when he was a kid.

"It's okay, honey," she whispers. "I'll be in the audience every night, then the finale, and then we'll be on tour. But you can win this thing, so you keep going, okay?"

He nods, but he doesn't look up until they're off air.

It isn't the same. Laura used to be right down the hall, but now she's gone back home for a few days. Even rehearsal for the group number, usually Derek's favorite part, doesn't pick up his spirits. He likes that there's no pressure on the dance, other than the usual performance pressure of not letting your choreographer or your fellow dancers down, but he realizes now that he also loved it because it was one of his few opportunities to dance with Laura. He mostly wants to sulk, but Stiles won't let him, keeps forcing him out of his room while singing "Cabaret" at him.

It doesn't help that his dance for the week is some kind of pole dancing ridiculousness, as if he's a stripper. Nigel's excited about it because apparently pole dancing applied to be an Olympic sport, which is even sillier. Derek likes his all-star, Melanie, just fine; she's full of tips for how to survive the weekly grind of interviews and rehearsals, mostly that it's important to keep eating.

Which is what Stiles says, too, so he does.

Stiles is dancing a tango, which he's nervous about—"Dude, I can't do smoldering"—but Stiles is so great at footwork that Derek isn't particularly worried about him. He worries even less when he sees the routine in dress rehearsal; now he's worried for himself, because Stiles can absolutely do smoldering.

Derek's glad he's a little apart from the others as he watches from the audience. Stiles is almost standing up straight for once, and he's wearing tight pants, a deep red dress shirt, and a vest, and there's a hat perched on his head. He is hot as a motherfucker, easily moving Anya across the floor and executing the fast steps and kicks perfectly. Derek can feel the flutters in his chest and when did that happen?

Stiles finds his way to Derek about ten minutes later to watch Lydia do her jazz number with Jakob. "Did we look okay?" he asks.

"Yeah," Derek replies. "You've definitely got it down."

"Awesome!" Stiles says, and grins. "I have a bunch of dollar bills in my pocket for your number."

"Shut up."

"How much for a private lap dance, huh?" he asks, waggling his eyebrows.

"More than you've got," Derek replies. "I don't come cheap."

"I should hope not," Stiles says, and his laughter rings in Derek's ears as he walks away to get ready.

Stiles is even better in performance that night, and when Nigel asks him about it he says, "To be honest I was just pretending I was Derek Hale!" and the whole place explodes. Stiles winks at the camera, and it's hard for Derek not to feel that wink was for him.

"You're an asshole," Derek says to him backstage.

"Whatever, you love it," he replies. "Now go out there and work hard for the money!"

So when Derek gets on that pole—stupid, ridiculous outfit of cuffed jeans, bare feet and no shirt, ugh—he dances for Stiles. He lets himself imagine that Stiles is sitting on stage, right there in front of him, and the whole thing flows better than it ever has. Derek feels good, all the way to the tips of his pointed toes.

When he gets backstage Stiles is staring, and his cheeks are flushed. Scott jostles him and that gets him to find his voice.

"That was, um, that was amazing, Derek," he says, voice barely above a whisper.

Derek grins. "Bet you'll be saving for that lap dance now," he says, and walks away. It feels good, with the shoe on the other foot.

Only, the next night, the shoe's on the other foot in a way Derek neither anticipated nor wanted. Even though he has an amazing contemporary with Sasha, and his solo is pitch-perfect, Scott is eliminated. Nigel makes a whole speech about how at this point in the competition they're all great dancers and it's just about connection and other things no one can control and that Scott should be very proud of himself. But none of that matters to Stiles, who has tears running down his face. Derek wraps an arm around his broad shoulders, pulls him close. Allison's crying, too.

The next morning, when Derek sees that Stiles isn't already up when he wanders into the kitchen, he heads up to the room Stiles had shared with Scott from the first night until the night before. He knocks, then opens the door, and Stiles has the covers up over his head.

"Donwanna," he says.

"Come on," Derek says. "What good is sitting alone in your room?"

"I know, I know," Stiles replies, and sighs, but he flips back the comforter and gets out of bed. His hair is sleep-mussed, and Derek balls his hand into a fist to resist the urge to push his fingers through it.

"Brought you coffee," he says, and hands Stiles a cup.

"Thanks, man," he says, looking Derek in the eyes, and Derek can tell he doesn't just mean for the coffee.

"No problem," Derek replies. "It's my turn."


Prompt Photo. Stiles waltzes to "Ordinary Day" by Vanessa Carlton. Derek dances the paso doble to "Die Another Day" by Madonna. Stiles dances his solo to "Robert Raimon Roy" by Robert Raimon Roy.

Six dancers left is not the week to have an off performance. But Stiles can feel it coming. He's got a waltz with Ashleigh, who's great, but Stiles's posture sucks and he can't seem to get the lyrical romanticism that he's supposed to have.

"You had better posture last week," Ashleigh points out, and she's not wrong.

Channeling Derek isn't going to work here. Derek doesn't make him think of clouds and rainbows and romance—he remembers that feeling; Lydia inspired it once. Stiles wants to throw Derek up against a wall and fuck him (or have Derek throw him against the wall; he's not picky). Hearts and flowers are fantasies, and he's having trouble believing in them long enough to sell this fucking dance. He wonders when he started wanting to win this thing.

Well, go to the finale, really. Derek's winning this thing, and anyone with eyes in their head knows it.

He keeps working on it, but he tries distracting himself, too. He texts back and forth with Scott, and hey, at least they'll be together next week even if Stiles shoots himself in the foot this week. He watches all the other dances: Boyd's doing pop jazz with Lauren to a Demi Lovato song, all very entertaining and video-ish and Stiles resists the urge to say, "I've got too much choreography in my head!" Allison's sultry in her rumba with Pasha and there will be absolutely no worries there, unlike Erica's weird Broadway thing with Neil, where Tasty Oreo strikes again. Lydia's got Twitch for hip hop and she makes being not even half his size look adorable instead of odd; she's also more hard-hitting than anyone ever gives her credit for.

Oh right, and Derek's dancing the paso doble that has been his destiny since he came on the show. He's shirtless and tight-pantsed and flings the cape around like he's been doing it all his life. He thrusts out his chest and scowls and Lacey looks legit scared of him. It's master-class level shit, and their choreographer Dmitry is gleeful. Stiles sits with his legs crossed.

He and Ashleigh rehearse a lot because if he can't get the romanticism at least he can make his arms softer and his back straighter and firm up his frame and get the rise and fall. He hopes being on the big stage in his tux with Ashleigh in her enormous dress will help, and it does to a certain extent. At least, it gets a little easier to fake it, though he's not sure how to do romance if he has to face away from Ashleigh most of the time.

He also works hard on his new solo, because it's going to be that dance that keeps him in the competition. He's been holding back a few tricks for a rainy day, and it's pouring now. Those tricks get interspersed with the personality stuff that's always been his stock-in-trade, keyed to the lyrics of his song while the rest of his body moves to the bass line and baritone sax. It's like a declaration: this is Stiles, take it or leave it.

He and Ashleigh are going second, so he only has to sit through Erica's Broadway number before he's out there waltzing across the floor. They manage to dance better than in their dress rehearsal, and the applause is more than polite. The judges are kind, saying that he showed good technique but they were missing the emotional connection and that's not like Stiles. Nigel tells him to kill it in his solo, and he nods and smiles and tries not to look resigned.

He totally kills it in his solo, and he's damned lucky that the solo comes after that stupid waltz, is the final solo of the evening. All that's left is Derek's show-closing paso, which predictably brings the house down.

Later, Derek finds him, says, "I don't think you're going anywhere."

Stiles tries to smile, shrugs, then says, "I started dancing long before this stupid TV show, and I'm gonna keep on dancing long after it. So tomorrow is one more day I get to dance."

He's going to miss getting hugs for Center Stage quotes.

Top ten will probably always be his favorite group dance, full of just his favorite people and no one else. But top six is pretty excellent, too: a Mia Michaels piece where they're all hanging off each other and balancing in ways that people should not be able to balance. After that Stiles gets ready for the news.

Only, the news never comes. Boyd goes home. Boyd had a great jazz number and okay, his solos were a little samey but that was often true with the contemporary guys. Stiles is going to the finale with Lydia, Allison and Derek. He does not understand this.

When they're back at the condos after Boyd and Erica's goodbye dinner (not much of a goodbye since everyone's back for the finale anyway) Lydia rolls her eyes at Stiles. "People love you, idiot," she says. "You haven't had a single bad week since this started. Of course they came out to vote for you this week. You're the one who's watched every season of this show! Don't you know how it works by now?"

"I thought I was the guy they loved only as long as I performed well," Stiles says. "Not the guy that people just like."

Lydia growls. "I can't even be in the room with you right now," she says, and flounces off to her room.

"Okay?" Derek says.

"She's just upset about Erica," Allison says, and when she gets blank looks from Stiles and Derek she adds, "Because they've been fucking since Vegas?"

"Um," Stiles says. "Really?"

"Oh my god, you two really do have your heads up each other's asses, don't you?" Allison shakes her head. "Lydia made a beeline for Erica right after the groups. You never noticed? Scott never said anything?"

"Scott only ever talked about you, actually," Stiles says.

"Huh." Allison gets up from the couch. "Well, I should make sure she isn't like, tearing apart her pillows or something."

Stiles turns to Derek as Allison leaves the room. "Well, dude, guess it's you against me. Time to let our historic rivalry reach its full flower."

"Fuck that," Derek says, looking determined. "We're going to help each other dance the best we possibly can, and let America sort it out."

Stiles feels himself smiling, and it might be the first time he's smiled and meant it for almost a week. "Well, when you put it like that, how can I refuse?"

closed position

Prompt Photo. Derek and Stiles dance to "Midnight Sun" by Ella Fitzgerald.

Derek means what he says. For the finale Stiles is dancing a fox trot with Lydia while Derek's dancing hip hop with Allison, so they're in one of the rehearsal rooms trading tips and pushing each other's bodies into position.

(Their piece together is a Sonya Tayeh jazz thing where Derek is a wolf and Stiles is a raven and they get in each other's space a lot, something about how ravens and wolves work together in the wild. It's strange and beautiful and Derek's pretty sure it's going to be a big hit, one of those routines people remember forever. He's excited to be a part of it.)

But he probably should have thought through the effect that Stiles's strong hands and long fingers on his hips would have on him. He's glad he wears restrictive underwear, because this is just not professional. The hands-on approach works, though, as by the end of an hour Stiles is nodding and smiling as Derek goes through the choreography, popping his hips and rocking on his heels the way Lil C wants him to, every move sharp and precise.

"I think you've got it, dude," he says.

"Thanks," Derek says.

"Oh, you'll be sorry once we start this fox trot," Stiles replies.

"Standing up straight is half the battle," Derek says, squaring Stiles's shoulders.

Stiles moves around the room well enough, but he's struggling with his frame and there's something just not quite right, not unlike his waltz, and he grows frustrated as they repeat and he doesn't improve.

"Ginger Rogers did this backwards and in heels, you know," Derek says. "Stop being such a baby."

"Maybe that's the problem," Stiles says. "She gave him sex and he gave her class, right? So I should be Ginger, not Fred."

"I think that's more you and me," Derek says without really thinking, and Stiles's eyes widen.

"Yeah, I guess so," he says, and clears his throat.

Derek looks at him, then goes to the speakers where their ipods are plugged in. "Let's try something else," he says, and pulls up an Ella Fitzgerald song that's a favorite of his mother. "Did you go to prom?"

"Yeah, but I didn't have a date," he replies. "Unless you count Scott, I guess."

"Anyone you wanted to go with?"

"Not really," Stiles says. "Not then, anyway."

Derek straightens and walks over to Stiles. "Okay, let's dance."

"What? Why?"

"Because we're dancers and that's what we do."

"To this?" Stiles asks.

"Yep. You lead." He takes one of Stiles's hands in his, and puts his other hand on Stiles's shoulder.

"Okay," Stiles says, and they move slowly and haltingly across the floor at first. But Stiles gains confidence quickly, and Derek feels secure in his arms.

Which, is a thing.

"We need to work on this romance business with you," Derek says.

"Easy for you to say," Stiles says. "All those romantic ballets and looking the way you do."

"It's pretty simple, actually."

"Oh really? Tell me."

Derek cocks his head and smiles, just a little. "Stiles, you're doing it right now."

Stiles takes a shuddery breath. "So we're doing this?"

"If you want to," Derek replies. "You do want to, don't you?"

"Yeah, I just, I thought it would be, I dunno, rougher."

"It doesn't have to be."

Stiles nods, and then he's leaning forward and Derek is meeting him halfway. One thing for closed position, it certainly puts you in the right stance for kissing.

"So," Derek says, "why don't you try that fox trot again?"

Stiles sighs. "Not sure my knees will hold me up, to be honest."

"That's exactly what you need," Derek replies, and after another quick kiss he steps back. After all, they're going on tour. There's plenty of time.

Derek switches the song back to Stiles's foxtrot and soon he's gliding across the floor like he's dancing on a cloud. He does it a few more times, gaining confidence with each repetition, before there's a knock at the door.

"Time to go," Allison says. "See you in the van."

They pack up, quiet and smiling at each other, and then Stiles says, "So this is a thing, right?"

Derek shrugs. "I've tried, but I don't do casual very well."

"I bet you don't," Stiles says. "Well, let's see what happens"

"Yeah," Derek says. "Let's do that."


Freestyle Prompt. Derek and Stiles dance to "Tessellate" by Alt-J.

Of course Stiles manages to get himself a boyfriend right when he can't have all the sex all the time as he always thought he would. But they need to be dancing most of the time they aren't sleeping, and falling asleep in the middle of a blow job is just not a good look for anyone. Besides, the rest of the top ten are back in the condos, and while an elaborate room swap agreement leaves all the dating couples sharing rooms, there just isn't time.

Stiles has the jazz piece with Derek, the fox trot with Lydia, a contemporary with Allison, hip hop with Comfort, his own solo, top twenty, top ten and top four group numbers, plus he has to brush up on his previous tango with Anya and jazz with Allison. He really does have too much choreography in his head at this point, mostly because it's all coming so fast.

But he makes time to sneak into Derek's rehearsals, especially the ones with Eliana, with whom he's dancing a pas de deux from Swan Lake. Derek mostly has to look yearning, which he does very well. Stiles jokes that if he'd known that's Derek's love-sick look they could have been sucking face five weeks sooner. Derek doesn't look like he agrees, though Stiles finds it endearing the way he rolls his eyes with his whole head and sighs with his entire body. It isn't much of a disincentive to annoy him, to be honest.

The finale is two long days of dancing that pass in a blur. The four of them open the show with a Broadway number, and after that Stiles remembers catching Allison as she leaps toward him; Lydia bumping Derek's ass with her hip; Lydia's hair flowing out behind them as they glided across the floor; Derek flipping Allison over his head in their Lindy hop; Lydia and Allison's competing salsa dancers; and flying across the stage with Comfort.

Stiles doesn't get to see anyone's solo or most of the all-star pieces, because of all the quick changes, but the best comes last, when he and Derek close the show with their jazz piece. Derek's covered in fur and Stiles in black feathers, and he rides onto the stage kneeling on Derek's back as he crouches low, then leaps over his shoulders to land in front of him. It's easily the most fun he's ever had on a stage, and given the evening he's just had that's saying something.

In bed that night Derek says, "At this point I'm not even sure if I care what happens."

"Are you kidding me?" Stiles says. "If I get that money I am totally leaving your ass. Luckily I won't have to because you're going to win."

Derek sighs. "Can we be serious, at least tonight?"

"No," Stiles says, but he rolls on top of Derek, pins him down, kisses him like he means it, like Derek's first kiss was opening the door and this is blasting it off its hinges. Besides, if there's something Stiles knows how to do, it's work out the jitters. "Sex tonight. Plenty of time to be serious after tomorrow."

"Keep kissing me, then," Derek whispers.

And Stiles is more than happy to do that.

The next day's performance is easier, of course, because the competition is over and everyone can relax. There are group dances, reprise dances, some guest dances. Nigel sells tickets to the tour by promising that people will see Derek dance with his sister and Stiles dance with Scott.

They're announcing the boys' results first, entirely appropriate as anything that comes after the coronation of Queen Lydia will be anti-climactic. There's a package about Derek where he's really intense, and one about Stiles where he's laughing a lot. They stand on the stage holding hands and grinning at each other and waiting for Cat to give them the results already.

She says Derek's name, and his face crumples. Stiles grabs him for the two seconds they'll let him and whispers in his ear, "You deserve this, okay? Enjoy this."

Derek nods, and then they're pulling Stiles away and there's confetti and everyone's applauding and Derek crouches for a little bit to get his breath before he can talk to Cat and thank his family and his fellow dancers and say "Oh my god" a lot and it's adorable how completely overwhelmed he is.

Stiles gets whisked backstage, to Scott's waiting and welcome arms, and he feels a little badly that Scott will have two runners-up on his hands by the end of th evening. By the time Stiles finds Derek again Laura is already there, helping him to calm down. Stiles hangs back and watches them, listening with half an ear to Cat talking to Allison and Lydia, when Derek looks up at him and smiles.

It will all be over soon. Later there will be a party, and after a quick break there will be rehearsals and a tour and the Big Future in which Stiles will apparently actually be a professional dancer which, how about that.

But right now, Derek's walking toward him, here in this little changing corner backstage where the cameras can't come, and as they kiss he can hear the crowd cheering for Lydia's win. Stiles is happy for her, but his cheers, such as they are, are for right here, and right now.

"So," Derek says, "need a date for the party tonight?"

Stiles recognizes the quote and laughs, but decides maybe it's time to go off book. "Actually I already have one. Amazing dancer, irritable, but totally won America's hearts just like I said he would."

Derek blinks, and stares at him, wide-eyed. "You're honestly happier about being right than you would have been if you'd won, aren't you?"

"I'm right, you won, we're both happy," Stiles says.

"I was already happy last night," Derek says, obstinately. "Or last week, or when we got to LA, or maybe that night in Vegas, or—"

Stiles stops him with a kiss, decides to just let him have this one. "Me too, dude," he says, grinning. "Me too."

Date: 2014-07-05 09:16 am (UTC)
From: [personal profile] leslieo54
Love love love - I've apparently got a thing about dance AUs, probably because I have no musicality (TM Strictly Ballroom) at all, myself. Well done, and thanks for sharing!

Date: 2017-04-30 01:37 pm (UTC)
endorwitch: (anime - nana-hachi squee n hearts)
From: [personal profile] endorwitch
i just read this.
so used to Ao3/tumblr where i can like things first, then comment on ao3 or reblog on tumblr......i was all 'where is the like button!' haha

this was very cute!! :D
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