Riassunto: Steve and dancing are two roads never destined to meet
Note: Scritta per la M9 della 7° settimana del COWT9 per "TERSICORE: danza"
Dancing shouldn't be in Steve's mind as much as it is, he thinks. It's not only the ghost of Peggy's promised dance, haunting his mind and his heart with a melancholy that threatens to bring him to his knees most days, but it's also the image of all the couples dancing in the bars, laughing, tenderly embracing themselves. An experience that Steve wasn't privy to. After all, no one ever really wanted to dance with Steve and his frail body would have made it a titanic experience anyway.
So, Steve had seated on the side, looking at all the dames and their partner dancing under the soft lights of the clubs. They had been beautiful, of course, bathed in warm lights and swaying softly to the music. Steve would have loved to join, of course, but it had always felt almost impossible. Even if Steve knew how to dance - and he really didn't - there was no one for him to dance with.
He always thought it shouldn't be an experience to be have with just anyone. Of course, Bucky thought he was just too old fashioned, that there was nothing wrong about having a dance with someone you didn't care that much about and just wanted to have fun with. (Of course, he had been using it as a metaphor for sex, Steve isn't blind nor stupid and he had punched him in the arm, hard - not that it meant something when he was younger.)
If his belief were dated in the forties, they’re considered ancient now. And Steve, who is as slow to adapt to some things as he’s quick on others, struggles to catch up. He’s not as oblivious to the twenty first century seduction techniques and he refused to be a virgin for the rest of his natural born life, but he there’s one thing he has held steadfast in: he’s never danced with anyone.
He’s had propositions, especially because the rest of the Avengers seems to find the idea of dragging Steve to modern clubs (Discos, he’s told they’re called now) funny. Steve doesn’t particularly enjoy then, he thinks they’re an experience that’s best made drunk, and Steve can’t really be drunk anymore. It’s just an experience that will always be lost to him – and, if he’s honest, one he’s not too sad about missing.
Galas, as boring and dull as they are, represent much more the idea of dancing that Steve would like. If the parties weren’t filled with people that were there only to advance their social status or their influence and didn’t really care about the fundraiser or anything like that.
The music is usually nice, not too fast, melodic enough, and Steve found himself tapping his feet on more than one occasion, following the rhythm of the song and watching enviously all the couples twirling in the dance floor. Of course, Steve is usually at the Galas to work.
Even if Tony is better than him at socializing and smoothing things with the rich and the elites, Steve’s presence and title are enough to warrant him a lot of attention. Even if he doesn’t try that much, people flock to him and require a moment of his time. They ask him about the war, with a fascination that borders on worrying, and they ask him to talk about his various adventures. Steve would give them what they want, talk about all the terrible things he has seen, all the lives lost, but Fury reprimanded him the first night (“I understand they don’t know what they’re talking about, Captain, but we’re doing it for a good cause so stop making me have an aneurism and don’t tell the nice rich ladies about all the dead kids.”).
People have asked him to dance at these, of course, both men and women, with various degrees of insistence and egregious proposition to accompany it, but Steve for once knows that he needs to be professional, and he also holds no interest in any of them.
So, he usually ends up watching from the side as everyone else dances.
Lately, his eyes are usually glued to one person that finds himself on the dancefloor most nights. Tony is an expert dancer, it’s obvious in the way he controls the movement of the dance, and the perfect way he moves his feet. There’s no hesitation in his movements, and he conducts his partner efficiently, in whatever position he’s in. It’s obvious that he’s trained, but there’s also an innate elegance in every step he takes.
Honestly, Steve finds himself looking at Tony most times, even when he’s not dancing. There’s something fascinating about Tony, be it the elegant way he moves his hand when he’s trying to prove a point to someone, or the frantic and excited way he gesticulates when he’s in the tower, suffering from lack of sleep, after a discovery that has him completely enthralled. It might the sleepy way he walks into the kitchen at lunch, recovering from a nap. Or the smirk he always throws Steve just before they go into battle.
Steve has found that Tony is plenty distracting even when he’s doing nothing at all, just watching TV or looking into the distance or writing something. Maybe it’s Steve that’s too easily distracted.
Still, he’s not the only one that stops and stares when Tony starts dancing, usually accompanied by a very beautiful dame. He sees the looks people give his teammates and while some are envious, there are a lot that are just lustful, or wondering.
Strangely enough, Tony only ever dances with them. It seems that a dance, an act that has always been private for Steve, Tony offer willingly, but nothing else. It makes Steve wonder if he could ask Tony as well. Even with his inexperience, Tony would say yes, like he does with all the others that ask him, and Steve… Steve will have his dance.
The problem here is that Steve knows that they would have different expectations. The dance would mean more for Steve than Tony wants to offer him, and that means that Steve can’t ask him. No matter how much he’s starting to want to.
He usually drifts to the side, makes conversation with whoever seems to want to the most, and hopes that, at the end of the night, they will have gotten enough donations to really do something good for the world that doesn’t involve punching people in the face.
Tonight is just another night like all the others. Steve is dressed in a much too stuffed suit, one that hugs him way too tight around his chest in his opinion, but that has been approved by everyone else. Tony is around smooching everyone, making sure they get the donations they need. The other Avengers have already disappeared or were asked to just stay home. Steve is envious of them.
Steve has been dodging the attention of a very determined lady all night, and as much as he wants to raise money for these poor children, he decides to tactically retreat to the balcony. He’s a master of stealth and he has successfully infiltrated a lot of enemy bases, he’s sure he can manage to sneak out of a party unnoticed if he puts his mind to it.
The first breath of fresh air does wonders to calm his nerves and soothes the nervous parts of his mind that had to be on high alert. There’s no one else here but him, and he feels the relief deep inside his soul.
The location of the Gala is beautiful and even the atmosphere inside had been magical, and in any other situation, Steve would have enjoyed himself. Maybe. It’s hard to say nowadays what he’d enjoy and what not.
He’s wondering how difficult it would be to slip away now, jump from the balcony into the garden and escape aided by the trees. He has already mapped the entire escape plan, with three different plans in case of trouble, when the door to the balcony opens and someone joins him in his sanctuary.
Steve is gearing up towards another painful interaction when he turns and sees Tony, smiling at him with a strange expression. He seems to be amused, but a little wary. He slips inside, but leaves the doors ajar, so that the music from inside slips in with him. It’s a little poetic, Steve thinks, that Tony is accompanied by his own musical theme. It’s a waltz, if Steve’s knowledge of music is up to date.
“I was wondering where you sneaked out to,” Tony says, with a smirk. “Hiding from the rest of the party?”
Steve shrugs, relaxing. Tony makes him nervous, yes, but it’s a good kind of nervous. “Yeah. I’m not good at these kinds of things, you know that.”
Tony uhms, and then he motions towards Steve. “Are you up for some company, or is this a party of one?”
Steve smiles at him. “You can stay. I can’t promise it’s going to be as fun as the party inside, however.”
“Ridiculous,” Tony murmurs stepping in, “this is already the most fun I’ve had all night.”
Steve knows that a lot of what Tony does is smokescreen and pretend, but it’s difficult for him to think that Tony doesn’t enjoy dancing. The way his feet move on the pavement, the way he sways with the music, it’s obvious how much he enjoys it.
“Don’t you like dancing?” he asks, then, because the doubts will gnaw at him if he doesn’t.
Tony smiles, shrugging. “Dancing? Very much so. The people I’m dancing with… I could pass on.”
Steve understands the sentiment very well, and so he laughs. “Yeah, there aren’t a lot of good conversationalists at this party. But they’re all good dancers. You especially.”
The other seems surprised by Steve’s compliment and he blinks a couple of times before frowning. “I didn’t think you had much interest in dancing. I’ve never seen you take a whirl at it, and I’m sure many have asked.”
He didn’t think Tony had noticed, and the realization fills him with warmth. Of course, it means absolutely nothing, but Steve can’t really stop his own reactions. “I’m not a very good dancer,” he admits, looking at his own feet, “never tried really. And I don’t… I don’t want to dance with just anyone.”
Tony nods, but he looks pensive. “No one at the numerous galas have catches your attention then?”
It’s such a ridiculous thing to ask that Steve almost laughs in Tony’s face. The other wouldn’t understand, after all, that he’s the one thing that has been able to hold Steve’s attention for far too long.
“There’s someone, but I wouldn’t subject them to my terrible dancing,” he admits in the end, opting out of lying. Steve tries to be as honest as possible to the people he trusts, and he doesn’t think lying to Tony would be beneficial.
Tony uhms again and then he moves, stopping just in front of Steve and extending a hand.
“Come on then,” the other says, with a confident yet supportive smile. “I’m sure you’re not as bad as you think you are.”
Steve freezes, looking at the offered hand with panic. Surely Tony isn’t asking him to dance, right? The sudden want that overcomes him is almost enough to make him stagger. “I really am,” he promises, softly.
Tony, however, doesn’t seem to be deterred. “I’m a really good dancer anyway, I’ll lead you.”
There’s no good way to shot Tony down, really, not without offending him, and so Steve extends his own hand and takes Tony’s in his. The other’s smile softens, and he leads Steve a step forward. “Put your hand on my hips, I’m going to lead but it just makes more sense. You’re too tall.”
“I’d say you’re too small,” Steve immediately replies, hoping to keep his own voice leveled. His heart is beating like crazy, but he hopes the other can’t tell.
“Funny guy,” Tony mumbles, and then starts moving. He’s leading Steve with firm gentleness, and Steve immediately looks down at his own feet to assure himself he’s not stomping on Tony’s foot. Tony, however, reprimands him immediately: “Eyes up, big boy.”
Steve complies, more out of habit than anything else, and he looks into Tony’s eyes. They’re sparkling half with mirth and half with something else. Steve doesn’t know what he’s doing, but he doesn’t want it to end.
“You know,” Tony says, his voice low, “you’re not that bad. I told you.”
Steve doesn’t know if it’s true, but he nods. He doesn’t trust his voice right now, but he relaxes in the hold, trying to let Tony and the music guide his movements. He’s rewarded with a smile from Tony, warm and proud.
“I was waiting for you to ask me to dance,” Tony says, out of the blue, “nights and nights, and in the end, I had to ask you.”
Steve trips then, finally stomping on Tony’s foot, but the other deserves it, really, sprinting this on Steve out of the blue. Tony winces and then laughs, amused and a little uncertain. “I thought you didn’t want to dance with me.”
And that’s such an absurd though that Steve doesn’t know where to start in denying it. So he doesn’t talk and just pushes forward, taking Tony’s lips in his, kissing that absurd thought away.