The Dance Lesson

by Ceryndip

Response to the June 2000 story challenge to write a story in which Iolaus rescues the damsel in distress in 500 words or less.

Iolaus arrived fashionably late dressed in his best tunic and to his delight found the party in full swing. His keen eyes took in the room; band at one end, food at the other, beautiful women everywhere, Hercules on the dance floor. He stopped frozen in amazement. Hercules on the dance floor? Yellow shirt, leather braided pants, yes, it was him. Hercules didn't dance. He'd never danced as long as Iolaus has known him. Alcmene had tried, much to the amusement of a teenage Iolaus but the lessons never worked.

Yet, there the demigod was, whirling around the floor with one of these young lovely creatures in his arms. Iolaus couldn't see the woman who'd managed to drag his friend onto the floor. Her face was obscured by the feather boa around her neck. She moved with smooth grace across the floor. The occasional flash of thigh through the slit in her skirt tantalized the eye.

Iolaus knew immediately that he had to rescue this young woman from his best friend's two left feet.

"We must not have those delicate toes bruised by a my big clumsy partner. Hercules can't possibly be enjoying himself," Iolaus murmured to himself as he crossed the floor determined to rescue both of them from each other. "Partners are supposed to back each other up after all."

Hercules smiled mischievously at his dance partner when Iolaus tapped him on the shoulder.

"Buddy, glad to see that you made it," he bowed to his partner. "We can finish catching up during a later dance, perhaps?"

"Certainly, though your friend has certain obvious charms of his own," she added with a twinkle in her eye.

"He certainly does," Hercules added as he surrendered his dance partner with a flourish and headed toward the refreshment table.

Iolaus stepped into Hercules' place to find a mature woman, not the young maiden he was expecting. Leave it to Herc to let himself be dragged onto the floor for a mercy dance. Iolaus smiled and held out his arms. The lady easily slipped into his light embrace and they stepped out together in time to the lively music.

"You must be Iolaus. Hercules has told me so much about you but he neglected to mention you were so handsome or so muscular."

"He didn't?" Iolaus suddenly felt in over his head. Where did Hercules wander off to?

"No, he didn't tell me you could dance either, not that you wouldn't benefit from lessons. I could set up a private session or two," she ran her hand up and down his biceps, "worked wonders for Hercules."

Iolaus swallowed as he felt his body break out in a sweat, "Herc? Herc's had private lessons?"

She sighed, "I wish, they were only semi private, he had a different partner then, but a girl can dream."

"We're talking about dancing lessons?" Iolaus needed clarification, lots of clarification.

"Of course."

"You are Herc's dance teacher?"

"Yes, I've been teaching handsome young men the fine art for...well, long enough," she replied coyly.

Iolaus was still processing, " didn't need...rescuing?"

"Oh deary me, from who...Hercules? Goodness no, but you're starting to look as if you might be in need of some rescuing yourself. Maybe we'd better sit down over here. Let me rub your shoulders, you need to relax...."

Iolaus could hear Hercules' laughter from the opposite end of the room. "One of these days, Herc, one of these days..."

Written 7 June 2000.

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