Title: Into the Night

A/N: half-beta'd by Chocolate and Lies & put up here on her whim.

He watches her dance, hidden away in the wings among the discarded props and set pieces. She doesn't know he's there; she thinks the entire place is empty as she warms up, stretching and kicking her legs, the red dress kicking up with her fishnet-encased leg. When she's apparently warm enough, she bends down to a small CD player and presses a button; it crackles to life and the music begins.

An electric guitar and castanets echo out into the audience and she begins to rock her hips to the beat; side to side, back and forth, her whole body rocking fluidly with the pulse of the song. The voice begins, deeply male and husky, and she moves her feet, clad in shiny black t-straps with silver side buckles; she prowls her way around the stage, sometimes letting her feet drag seductively behind her and sometimes pouncing and making the hem of her dress flutter in the wind.

It's when the chorus starts up that she surprises him. He knows she's always wanted to learn ballroom dancing; waltz, swing, tango, it doesn't matter, she just wants to know how to move like the professionals. He's never told her he'd gladly be her partner, although they've both talked longingly about learning the tango, all the while blushing a bit. He took lessons after their first discussion, hoping to surprise her at Prom with a dance; he'd wanted to be the man in their relationship, the one to lead. So when she puts a hand out into the air, the other grasping at nothing, and begins to dance as if with a partner, he's surprised. He didn't realize she'd learned how to partner-dance and suddenly all he wants to do is rush out onto the stage and put his hand on the curve of her back and guide her; his want doubles as she leans back, her hair almost brushing the stage and her leg stretching out before her, long, shapely, and completely encased in black fishnet stockings. His eye follows the seam of her stockings, up the line of her leg, up her calf, the inside of her knee, the inside of her thigh…and she's gone, dancing about the stage with her invisible partner again. He lets out a sigh, breathing a bit easier until he sees her face.

Her eyes are closed in utter ecstasy; he can faintly see her eyelids flutter, her eyelashes trembling against her flushed skin. She grins a grin too wide and too predatory for comfort; it's almost as if she's leering at him, a come-hither look without the heavily-made-up eyes, and he feels himself stiffen as she faces the wing where he stands. She's breathing heavily, her chest rising and falling in quick succession and he can see some stiffness of her own underneath the light red cloth; her arm sweeps up and he follows the curve she carves in the air, her hand pushing back her long brown hair, the tangled waves falling about her shoulders like some strange array of ribbons on a Christmas package. He's always found her attractive, in the geek-fashionable way, but he's never seen her like this. He's watched her act, watched her play music, watched her with their friends, but he's never seen her be truly her. This is who she really is; she's not on show for anyone, she's doing this for her.

Suddenly, he just can't help it. He walks onstage slowly, stealthily, taking care that his shoes don't squeak over the song's volume. She's facing the audience now, pretending she has a partner again; she pulls her right arm in front of her body, starting at her hip and across to the other side. He stands behind her for a moment—only one moment—and reaches around to her front. Her left hand is still on her stomach and she's merely moving her feet, stomping at the ground in an exact imitation of a flamenco dancer. She gasps as he places his cool hand over her heated one; her eyes open and she turns to look at him. He changes his grip, placing his left hand on her lower back, and taking her right in his. She looks up at him, eyes almost fever-bright with the thrill of the dance.

"I didn't know you could dance," she manages to breath out, almost inaudible over the song. He doesn't answer, just takes her across the floor, their feet beating out the castanet rhythm. They stop and she leans forward, her right knee bent almost to the floor; her head's at his chest level and she drags her arms across his stomach and around to his back. She looks up at him, shocked, as he puts a hand into the crevice of her knee, pulling her upright and hooking her leg around his waist. He raises his eyebrows quickly, roguishly, and she laughs, delighted. He bends her back, slowly, tightly, then tugs on her arms, pulling her straight again; his hands draw lines across her back, up her arms, and their hands twine together above their heads as the music stops. The CD whirls for another second or two, then clicks off and all that's left is the slightly static noise of the player and their breath. They stay there, hands and eyes locked; he can feel her thigh trembling against his hip and the slight vibration matches the one in his chest. He lets her down slowly, still holding one of her hands in his, still keeping his eyes directly on hers.

And we danced on into the night…