Fandom: So You Think You Can Dance
Pairing: Lacey/Sara, kind of
Disclaimer: These are fictional, completely made up happenings about real people that I dreamed up in my head. They in no way represent reality. I’m not trying to imply that the people depicted herein would behave in this manner. Given that reality show contestants almost become characters, I only feel slightly better about the fact that I kind of see them as such in my head and so have written this fic. I certainly don’t own them, as they are real people, nor do I own SYTYCD (or purport to do so as this would require me to be in contact with Nigel).
A/N: This is the way things should have been. It presumes things that can never be because the rest of America and I obviously don’t see eye to eye on reality show contestants. This fic ignores the events of the results show for the top 8 dancers on ‘So You Think You Can Dance’ and may contain spoilers for that show (if you can spoil reality tv, that is). For those who don’t watch the show, at least in the first 2 seasons, the final four dancers have all performed with one another, which includes a routine for the two girls (and one for the two guys – and yes, I’ve changed the format just slightly, blink and you’ll miss it). I’ve never written RPFS before. I never thought I would, but something about Lacey just screams ‘write slash about me’ – and I don’t even really like Lacey. This fic also lays bare my love of dance and musical theatre. Yes, I am a dork. And now this author’s note is longer than the actual fic. I’ll be at email@example.com if you have anything to say.
“You’ve got to have chemistry with your partner, Lace,” Benji had said to her after Adam Shankman, of all people, outed her as an emotional golem after the dance with Neil. “Genuine chemistry,” he’d added, looking at her seriously. As if Lacey didn’t know that. She was a ballroom dancer just like he was, with more titles under her belt than he had, even, if you didn’t count the popularity show she was currently trying to win too. A ballroom dancer was nothing without chemistry with their partner.
Still, though, she doubted that this was quite what he meant. And, two days before the finale?
Maybe this wasn’t the best time to finally find the one partner with whom she had genuine chemistry. The one she could look at as if she wanted to tear off their clothes and have the truth of the sentiment show through.
It was so inappropriate on so many levels that she couldn’t even begin to count them. After all, it was a broadway routine, for goodness’ sake.
“I’m liking the emotion you’ve got going on,” Tyce was saying, chin resting on the palm of his hand as he tried to puzzle it out, “ but I’m looking for something a little different here, Lacey. This is fun, happy, gleeful, victorious. Not…”
He trailed off, not quite sure how to describe what he was getting instead. Animalistic just seemed so wrong, so counter to what he knew of the young dancer he’d worked with at the beginning of the season. Her routine with Kameron to the Chicago number had been good. She’d played the role of the practiced sexpot with all of the ease of a seasoned performer. He’d been convinced enough by the façade to buy it on its surface even if the authenticity had been lacking.
He’d never thought that actually having authenticity would be a problem. When he’d choreographed this routine in his mind, settling almost immediately on the disco version of ‘One Night Only’ from the Dreamgirls movie soundtrack, he’d pictured vivacious. He’d pictured a hint of conflict and an aura of triumph. He had not, not even in those few brief seconds when he’d thought about trying to get away with using ‘Sugar Daddy’ from Hedwig and the Angry Inch, pictured Lacey finally stepping into the adult sensuality she’d been mimicking all season long and inhabiting it so thoroughly.
It wasn’t as if the dance world didn’t provide its fair share of surprises, and surprise attractions on top of that, but when he’d been tasked with showcasing the top two girls for the finale, especially given that one of them was sweet, inauthentic Lacey, he just hadn’t anticipated it being a problem. If he’d known, maybe he would have gone with Hedwig. ‘Origin of Love’, perhaps. Or, more likely, something from Cabaret. Now that would have been far more appropriate. After all, life was beautiful, the girls were beautiful, and he had always been a big fan of Joel Grey. And that part about the Cabaret girls being each and every one a virgin?
Well, he was sure it fit for at least one of his charges.
Of course, if he thought about it that way, maybe he should have gone with ‘My First Woman’ from Kiss of the Spider Woman.
He rolled his eyes with a mental snort. If he didn’t stop, he’d be at it all day. There was always ‘What Is This Feeling?’ from Wicked or even ‘Take Me or Leave Me’ from RENT.
And actually, that RENT notion wasn’t all that bad. For a second, he thought about restarting from the beginning. After all, seeing Lacey emoting all of this desire while lesbians sang about their love life in the background? Now that would be groundbreaking television. He could see it now, his name on the nomination form come next Emmy season.
Although, come to think of it, maybe his choice of songs had been prophetic.
‘One night only/Then you’ll have to run…’
Yeah, he could see Sara as the love’em and leave’em kind of girl.
“Let’s try that one again,” he said, barely repressing a grin. “Everything I said before, Lacey? Forget it. Go with what you’re feeling.”
Trying to fight back her blush and nearly overwhelming, completely authentic lust, Lacey did just that.
For once, Lacey was glad that the tight schedule demanded by a weekly reality television show was rigorous. She was glad that she had to learn four new routines for the finale in just one week, each in a different style and with different partners, because all of that physical and mental exertion kept her from making quite as big a fool of herself as she imagined might be possible under different circumstances. Instead, she had the intricacies of an Alex de Silva club salsa routine, the all-encompassing wrath of a Mia Michaels contemporary routine and, of course, the obligatory Wade Robson group routine to worry about – all of which should have been enough to leave her with only just enough energy to spare for her broadway routine with Tyce.
“Again,” Tyce said, normally friendly face serious and focused. “More passion this time.”
Lacey was pretty sure that Tyce was having a monumentally good time at her expense.
Had she been a violent person, she might have taken off her shoe and thrown it directly at his head.
She was doing just fine on the passion part, or so she thought, especially since Sara was wearing that tight black tank top she seemed to favor and had her hair pulled back in a no-nonsense ponytail that, for some reason, elicited a feeling of hunger within Lacey that was, frankly, quite disturbing. And, it didn’t help that, during their breaks, Sara would take a long swig from her water bottle and then joke and laugh with Tyce and his assistant, swapping roles for a moment as she tried to teach Tyce some breaker moves, bouncing and spinning and popping up with a smile and an adorable little gangster mug.
For her part, Lacey sat alone in the corner, sullen and uncomfortable, unable to tear her eyes away.
They were on a pretty tight schedule, so Lacey was almost out of the door, rushing to her next routine, when she heard Sara’s voice. It was a low murmur, almost conspiratorial.
“Are you sure you meant more passion?” she was asking Tyce, sounding genuinely confused. “I had the feeling there was supposed to be a different vibe for this piece.”
She couldn’t hear Tyce’s reply (and really wasn’t all that certain that she wanted to) and didn’t want to be caught eavesdropping, so she hurried on to the studio down the hall. She paid rapt attention to Mia and gave everything she had and pretended that everything was just peachy keen fine, even though her stomach was tied in knots and her mind was focused not on dance but on a particular dancer. And even then, certainly not on the right one.
He’d known that all that boy-crazy posturing couldn’t have been real.
As arrogant smirk wasn’t necessarily a rare facial expression for Danny, no one seemed to pay the slightest bit of attention to the way he was looking at Lacey as Mia expounded, yet again, on the meaning behind the dance she’d choreographed.
He’d considered his little stop at the doorway to studio three as merely reconnaissance. At this point, there wasn’t much they could do to lift their performances any higher, outside of even more practice, but Danny liked to get a sense of the competition anyway. And so, on a break from his own practice time with Pasha, he’d decided to do a little harmless spying.
He couldn’t hear what Tyce was saying over the low, almost sub-audible thump of music, but he could clearly see the broadway routine he’d choreographed. Danny had watched for a few minutes, as impressed by the routine as he could be by almost anything broadway. The music had stopped, Tyce had approached and had an intense conversation with the dancers and it all started back again, and Danny had momentarily considered that his sneak peek had offered little in the way of information when an almost errant glance Lacey’s way had given him pause. He focused for a second, the look on the girl’s face somehow familiar yet slightly out of his grasp.
She looked almost… well, if he didn’t know better, he would go with something like lusty.
It was a completely ridiculous thought, of course. Lacey had a well developed repertoire of performance faces, and over the course of the competition he had seen most of them. All had rung false – she was a consummate professional, he’d give her that. But, the only true feeling he’d ever gotten from her was intense nervousness or abject fear. Everything else she projected was a much practiced act, though he couldn’t fault her for that. Sometimes he had trouble letting emotion shine through in his dancing too, and he could empathize with the pressure of belonging to a dancing family that knew little of anything but success. At least he didn’t have the onus of a brother who had won the championship the previous year – after all, Travis had only come in second.
This, though, rang true. This emotion wasn’t practiced and wasn’t, from what he could tell, anything close to what she was actually supposed to be projecting. Sara certainly didn’t have a matching lasciviousness on her face. She was a study in concentration, for the most part, interspersed with what looked like jealousy and anger.
The low beat of the music edged into his consciousness again, louder this time, and he picked out the trail of lyrics that revealed its source.
One Night Only. Not a bad choice, he mused, matching the music with the character Sara was crafting. Jealousy and anger? Completely appropriate.
Lust and yearning? Not so much.
He almost wanted to laugh, but couldn’t. He sympathized with Lacey a little on this score, too, and understood the flashes of confusion he could see flit across her face. Nothing she’d encountered in what he imagined to be her relatively sheltered life had prepared her for what he was pretty sure was a fairly monstrous crush.
Ah, the delicious irony.
He knew he shouldn’t play with her but yet couldn’t help himself.
“So,” he asked casually, wiping his face down with a towel as he watched Mia warily out of the corner of his eyes, “what was it that did it for you? The attitude? The…” and here he paused, lips quirking up in a smirk, “guns1?”
Lacey looked deliciously confused. “Guns?”
“I can see why she brags,” he continued blithely, taking a sip of his water. “The upper body strength it takes to be a breaker is phenomenonal.”
He was expecting her to laugh or feign further confusion. Instead, Lacey went as stiff as a board, eyes as wide and wild as a cornered animal.
“I, uh… I don’t…”
It wasn’t necessarily a malicious need to see her struggle through the sentence that kept him silent for longer than was technically defensible. It was more blatant curiosity, perhaps, or the inescapable need to watch the head-on collision without blinking. But, Lacey had started to turn a deep, slightly startling red and had, as far as he could tell, stopped breathing.
He wasn’t heartless – just vaguely catty on occasion.
“Hey, it’s okay,” he reassured, tone as even and normal as if they were simply having a regular, uneventful conversation. “If it’s any consolation, I’m pretty sure she has absolutely no clue.”
It was the seeming understanding, perhaps, that made Lacey want to confide.
“I don’t know what to do,” she said, the words an agonized, breathless, spilling rush. “I don’t know how this happened.”
And she looked so genuinely confused, almost torn, that Danny felt himself let go of any lingering hint of voyeuristic curiosity. He just couldn’t, in good conscience, not intervene.
“The first thing you need to do,” he said, voice not nearly as sharp as he might have expected from himself, “is put it out of your mind. For the next three days, at least,” he added, seeing Lacey’s need to protest. “If I’m guessing right, it’s the only thing you can think about right now. ‘What does this mean? Why me? Why her?’”
He knew the laundry list of self-doubts and painful introspection. He’d been there, after all. And, from Lacey’s nearly worshipping look, as if he’d managed to climb into her psyche and lay bare all of her angst, he had a feeling that no matter the gender or the age difference, the process was close to the same.
“You just have to accept it and roll with it,” he proclaimed, shaking his head in bemusement and sympathetic affection. “What it means is that your life isn’t going to turn out the way that you, and probably the way a lot of other people, planned it. It happened to you because that’s just who you are – no need to try and fight it. And you fell for her because there’s something about her that speaks to you strongly enough for you to forget about everything you’ve been taught and everything you thought you knew about yourself. That doesn’t mean it will work out, or that it’s going to be some sort of epic love story. It just means you’re awake now and there’s no going back to sleep.”
Mia’s voice was loud, harsh against the bubble of intimacy that had wrapped itself around Danny and Lacey. “I want to make a change in the third phrase,” she was saying, already distracted and slightly irritable as she ran through the steps in front of the mirror, frowning as the movements fell just a little short of what she was looking for.
Danny sighed, then looked meaningfully at the still stricken Lacey. “And that’s all you need to know about it right now. When this thing is all over, then you can have whatever kind of meltdown you need.”
As the hot stage lights threatened to burn through her barely leashed outward calm on finale results night, Lacey decided that Danny had been right. Kind of like a fairy godmother, she mused, tightening her fingers around Sara’s. She hadn’t been able to push her feelings all the way to the side, but she’d given them a hard enough shove so that she was able to get onstage and do her job. And now she could wait for the results with the knowledge that she’d done her best (crisis notwithstanding) and clasp her fingers tightly around Sara’s in a show of solidarity and nervousness for all the world to see. And despite Danny’s oblique glance and slightly naughty wink and the deep blush it engendered, it was all in innocence, really. Perhaps she was enjoying it more than she should have given that her mind should have been preoccupied with thoughts of the $250,000 that just might be within her reach, but there was absolutely nothing wrong with holding Sara’s hand.
Nothing – and no one was going to tell her any different. Or, at least, she wasn’t going to listen.
And winning? Well, either way it went she was sure to get a heartfelt hug.
As for anything more? She had the whole tour to work on that.