Winter had come over Morristown with a finality that brought the entire Continental army to a halt. Harsh frost and snow descended over New Jersey, so much so the trees rattled their branches and the wind howled every night as storm after storm bit at the army’s heels. Luckily for Lafayette, he had the fortune to be housed in a proper house, rather than the tents some of the men had to deal with. The owner of the house, a Mr Arnold, was hosting a dance in three days in order to boost the men’s morale. Lafayette hurried out from Washington’s rooms, through the camp; his eyes stung because of the low light and smoke that had filled the room. The camp was busy, especially the officer’s quarters, men were rushing about and their shouts filled Lafayette’s ears. The house in which he, Alexander, and the other aides were stationed was lit, there were candles in each window; Lafayette could see a silhouette of someone with their back to the window. He dragged his eyes away from the figure and turned to open the door.
Music, wonderful joy inducing music assaulted Lafayette’s ears as soon as he stepped through the front door, he walked down the hall and into the large living room. Alexander stood, in the centre, illuminated by six candles; in trembling hands he held a violin. The bow danced across the strings, his fingers joining it in beautiful, seamless harmony. Lafayette stood still in shock, as Alexander played. The melody rose and fell following the notes on the page, it got louder and more desperate then it subsided, allowing its previous calm to overtake again. Lafayette was drawn in to the story the music created, allowing the notes to guide his emotions. Alex had his back to him; he rocked to the rhythm he created, his heels leaving the floor each time the music swelled. Lafayette made no move towards Alex, he watched with wide eyes. He had never seen Alexander look so relaxed; he was sure Alex would wear an expression of bliss. He wanted so to look; to see Alexander doing something that so clearly made him happy. Then, all too soon, the music stopped and Alex set the violin on the floor and turned.
“Lafayette, forgive me, I did not see you there,” Alexander gave a short smile.
“It is quite alright, now tell me how long you have been keeping your ability hidden from me?” Lafayette said, moving towards Alex.
“When I moved into college, my roommate played; he gave me usage of his instrument. I taught myself to read music. It calms me; when I saw they had a violin here, I asked the owner to play and he allowed it,” Alex laughed, joy lighting his eyes as he talked.
“You taught yourself?” Lafayette raised an eyebrow, he took a step back.
“Aye, I did. Then I taught myself to dance, it’s the only thing that makes me feels free, music,” Alex smiled, looking down, a flush rising across his cheeks.
“I confess, dancing is a lost art to me,” Lafayette huffed, “I could never control my movements correctly; all my limbs seem to move independently of each other.”
“I could teach you,” the words were spoken in a rush, the flush across Alexander’s cheeks even more pronounced. “What I mean is, perhaps with someone you’re friends with, it would be easier to learn.”
“I- oui, it would be, merci, Alexander,” Lafayette nodded, “But how will we have music to practice to?”
“I can sing, or hum a tune rather well, don’t worry about that,” Alex grinned, “no time like the present, Lafayette. Would you do me the honour of having this dance?” He said, bowing and sweeping his left arm to the side.
“Uh, yes?” Lafayette said, taking Alexander’s hand in his own, “Who leads?”
“Considering, you are not going to be lead next time you dance, you should lead,” Alexander straightened, and started to hum a tune.
Lafayette moved stiffly, focussing all his attention on not stepping on Alexander’s feet and on trying not to trip over. He tried to lead Alexander, tried so hard to keep in time with the tune, to move at the right moment; to find the rhythm in the music, but it was lost to him. Alexander, on the other hand, looked like he had been born to dance, moving into his role as easy and seamlessly as anything. He hardly moved a step out of place, or a beat out of time. His face was not tight and full of concentration as Lafayette’s was, Alexander’s face was relaxed as his coat swirled around as he span.
“Alexander, this isn’t working, I still can’t-“
“Hush, you’re doing fine, détendre, sentir la musique, comme ça,” Alexander placed his hands on Lafayette’s waist, moving him forward and backward with the tune. “Now, kick you legs out a little more. Better, see how easy it is.”
“Pas si facile,” Lafayette muttered, rolling his eyes.
“Feel the freedom in the music, imagine you can do no wrong, imagine you are as a bird,” Alexander moved in closer, pressing himself right up against Lafayette, “imagine you could do whatever you want.” Lafayette swore that he could feel Alexander smirk, before the warmth of his body was gone.
“Now, lead me,” Alexander held out his hand, an eyebrow raised, “show me what you have learned.”
And Lafayette did, he closed his eyes and listened to the tune Alex was humming. He felt the rise and fall of the rhythm, saw in his mind’s eye the way the music wanted him to move and, at last, he understood the freedom Alexander felt in dance. He understood why Alexander loved the movement and liberty dancing afforded him. All too soon, however, they reached the final movements in the dance. They held their hands up, palms facing each other, close but not touching; their eyes met. Suddenly, as if looking through a magnifying glass, Lafayette was aware of Alexander in a way he had not been before. He could see each micro movement, each breath and each swallow, each flicker of his eyes and each motion of his tongue as he wetted his lips.
They stood still, like statues, for what seemed like hours before Alexander reached out and threaded their fingers together, his other hand slid round the back of Lafayette’s neck, pulling him closer. Lafayette gasped, a sharp intake of breath against Alex’s lips; he could feel the way Alexander smiled, how his lips curved, before the moment was broken as Alexander leaned forward and took Lafayette’s lips in his own.
A/N: I know @halpdevon imagined Alexander not being able to dance, but I just love awkward Lafayette a lot, plus irl Alexander could dance and irl Lafayette trod on Marie Antoinette’s toes so… I raise you another piece of probably awful hamlaf writing. Enjoy. This is part of a lil trilogy thing I’m working on, check out Fraternité. No prizes for guessing what the third part is going to be called. None of my fics are beta read (I would love a beta though!)