"No, not like that, Bolin," Iroh softly scolded while he helped Bolin steady himself. "You've got to step carefully, gracefullylike this." The air was his imaginary partner as he elegantly glided around the room.
"Yeah... No. Can't do that," Bolin dejectedly said while watching Iroh flit around the room like some sort of fairy tale prince. It wasn't fair. He was pretty and a good waltz dancer.
As if he could read Bolin's mind, Iroh sauntered over and placed a strong, comforting hand on Bolin's shoulder. "I'm sure you'll get it soon. I can only do it because I've had years of practice."
"Oh yeah? With whom?" Bolin impulsively blurted out. He flushed a dark red. Oops. Shouldn't have said that.
Iroh slightly widened in eyes in mild shock. "Why, Bolin?" he asked hesitantly.
"N-nothing. Just teach me how to do it again," Bolin replied.
Iroh shot Bolin a curious look. After a couple of minutes of awkward silence, he gently grasped Bolin's upper arm and led him out to the floor.
"Well first," he instructed, "I have to bow courteously." He rested his hands behind his back and on his abdomen, dipping down into a highly respectful bow. If Bolin had had more experience with ballroom waltzing and dealing with higher class-men, he would've noticed that it was a bow indicating much respect, a kind of bow that General Iroh shouldn't have given to a person of his class.
But this was Bolin, and all Bolin did was look blankly at the general, awaiting his next set of instructions.
Internally sighing, Iroh continued. "Then, I do this." He proceeded to position one hand on Bolin's waist.
At this point, Bolin was beginning to feel anxious for some reason. Oh my god, he thought, the realization finally backhanding him. General freaking Iroh is teaching me how to waltz and his hand is on my waist and he bowed to me and oh god, oh god...
"Bolin. Bolin? Have you been listening to me? You need to take my other hand, Bolin."
Bolin blinked, and snapped out of his mental run-on. In front of him was the general's right hand asking for his for permission to dance.
"I-I just... I... Doyoureallywantmeto?"
Bolin took a deep breath. "Y-You really want me to?"
Iroh looked confused. "To take my hand? Of coursearen't we here to learn waltzing in time for tomorrow's Republic City celebration in honor of disbanding Amon and the Equalists?"
"O-Ok." He vacillatingly took Iroh's extended hand.
"That's it, Bolin. Now place your other hand on my shoulder... Yes, good..."
The area where Iroh was placing his hand on Bolin's waist was growing strangely warm. Bolin was trying his best not to get the sweat of his palms over Iroh, though, but as Iroh shifted his hands and adjusted their position, Bolin found himself getting gradually more and more nervous, yet at the same time he felt...strangely happy.
"Now," Iroh finally continued, after deeming their posture proper enough to start dancing, "just follow me like thisone-two-three, one-two-three..."
Bolin couldn't see, think, or hear anymore. It was all too much. General. Iroh. Waltzing. With. Him. His vision went white and all he could hear was a low buzz, and then suddenly he was falling through the air...
"Bolin? Bolin?!" Iroh was so close, so very close to his face...
"What's wrong, Bolin? Are you alright? Why did you suddenly fall?!"
So that's what happenedI fell... Bolin dimly thought, his attention on the molten honey colors of Iroh's eyes.
...Wait. Oh crap. I fell. But I didn't feel a thud? Which means... His slow mind finally deduced that Iroh's hand was protectively cradling his back, and that the other hand was still clutching his in the waltz position. Iroh's eyebrows were furrowed in worry, which was rare for him.
Bolin couldn't move. He couldn't breathe, and once again, he couldn't think. All he could do was keep staring at Iroh's lovely caramel eyes, slightly aware that Iroh's mouth was moving, meaning that he was probably trying to communicate with him.
Iroh had caught him before he fell.
The distant murmur of Iroh's voice arbitrarily stopped. It was probably just his imagination, but Iroh now had an equally observant look in his eyes, looking as if he was about to
Bolin felt a light pressure on his mouth. His eyes widened in astonishment, then closed as he returned Iroh's kiss with the realization that this had been what he was really waiting for when he had agreed to let Iroh teach him how to ballroom dance.
They finally broke apart, trying not to make it too obvious to each other that they were gasping for oxygen.
"So, Iroh," Bolin said after they had caught their breaths. "Was that part of my ballroom waltzing training, too?"
Iroh gave a slight, foxy smile, which was another rarity.
"That part of instruction is only for when you're dancing with me."