It had taken most of the room about a minute to overcome the variously terrifying, disquieting, upsetting or horrifying thought that Severus Snape had just ordered his class to dance.
UN-fortunately, that mean that the entire class was just now coming to terms with their partners, not a one of which had been chosen as a decent dance partner. Harry Potter, his heart sinking, looked up at Greg Goyle (half a head taller than Harry, and twice as wide), and asked quietly, "Are you better at leading or following?"
"I've only ever led," Goyle said softly, "Just watch me and do as I do - except backward."
Harry Potter nodded, thinking warily that he'd been horrid at leading in the first place.
And yet, their pairing was not at all the wildest one in the room. Neville and Zach were attempting to dance, where they clearly hadn't even decided who was leading - of course, the quietly stolid Neville was a pretty poor pick for partnering with the obnoxious Zach, who seemed to be trying to tell Neville how to dance (which he'd be doing whether or not he was competent). And Malfoy was white as a ghost (turning nearly-translucent blue) as he gently put his arm around Hermione Granger's waist.
The whole room began to dance, in fits and starts (mainly because boys were apparently really, really bad at following.) Lavender and Parvati twirled around the room, dancing skillfully between people, half the boys were on the floor at some point, and the entire thing was basically chaos.
And that was before the Professor brought out the stinging hexes. That lasted all of five minutes, before Sue Li accidentally stepped on Anthony's leg, which was a neat trick, as she wasn't even partnered with him. It broke with a sickening crack. Everyone in the room stopped dancing, and most had their arms to their sides, looking in mute horror at the boy's teartracks that ran down his face as he sobbed quietly.
Professor Snape looked laconically at the unbloodied boy on the floor, before saying in an impassive tone, "Do I have a volunteer to be momentarily excused from the lesson? Apparently the Infirmary is due another visit."
Oddly enough, it was Justin who raised his hand, saying, "I'll take him to the infirmary." He used his wand to levitate the injured boy out of the room.
"Now," Snape said, clasping his hands together in front of him in a movement just short of a clap (and making his robes resemble a bat's wings curled around himself). "As it would appear that your British hearts are most successfully protesting the inclusion of a Provincial French dance in our curriculum, I suppose I must bow to popular demand." Snape then actually bowed (a short, twenty degree bow that did little other than sending his hair into his face). "English Country Square Dancing then." Snape's white teeth flashed in what might have been a smile on someone else, but on Snape was clearly a sneer.
The class would have gone better had anyone (and I mean anyone) actually known how to do English Country dancing. Snape used stinging hexes to teach, and so "hop lively" turned into less an instruction and more an order. It was actually worse than waltzing, even if fewer people wound up on the floor.
Goyle, when they weren't trying to dance closely, proved to be agile enough on his feet, and Harry found himself moving decently in the rhythm. It was an easy one -two-three-four.
It seemed like an eternity before Snape called a brief halt to the proceedings. "Would anyone like to tell me why we are dancing in a Defense class?"
Lavender, without waiting for herself to be called on, spoke up, giggling, "The Halloween Ball is almost here!"
"That's a month from now," Snape corrected dryly.
[a/n: Snape thinks he's witty. You be the judge.
Also, write a review, please! More reviews gives you more writing (and more directed writing as well).
Snape will be ... enjoying... explaining this to Minerva at the High Table, of course.]