Let's Dance! @luxnyx
Pick U Up

The audience applauded. Captain bowed with a tear in his eye. This was it, he was finally here. He looked up to see a crowd of thousands of people, and he knew millions would be watching on television. It was his first time performing live on a national scale. He thought back to when he was just six years old and there were only two in his audience. He took another bow and went backstage. He bumped into someone who was now going onstage.

“Sorry!” Cap said and turned around to see… him.

“It’s alright!” The other said, glancing back.

Both had a moment of amazement and stared at each other for a second, then broke the other tore his eyes away. The crowd cheered as the next contestant appeared. Cap was entranced by his dancing. It wasn’t personally his style, but that made him revere him all the more. He’d always admired from afar but now they were in the same competition? And they’d locked eyes?

“Cap?” someone was clicking their fingers in front of his face. “Are you alright?”

Cap jumped.

“Okay, if you say so.”

“Okay, if you say so.”

The winners would be announced soon. The top two performers from eight cities would be paired together to compete in the quarterfinals of Button’s Ballroom. What started off as some Edwardian couple competing with other high-rising aristocrats by throwing the biggest and best balls had turned into a national, bridging on multi-national sensation. Captain was nervous to see who he was going to be paired with. What if… no, that was too hopeful.

“The scores are in and first, we have William Havers with a whopping 46 out of 50 points…” The host announced.

“Ah yes, very good, hardly surprising…” Captain muttered to himself.

The winners would be announced soon. The top two performers from eight cities would be paired together to compete in the quarterfinals of Button’s Ballroom. What started off as some Edwardian couple competing with other high-rising aristocrats by throwing the biggest and best balls had turned into a national, bridging on multi-national sensation. Captain was nervous to see who he was going to be paired with. What if… no, that was too hopeful.

He could hardly believe his ears. “Would the lucky two please step onstage?” Everything felt like a dream. He stepped back into the blinding light, still trying to process what was happening. He turned to see Havers staring at him… with adoration? No, it was probably just him imagining it. “Congratulations, you two, you deserve it!”

“This is all terribly exciting, isn’t it?” Havers leaned over and stage-whispered to his partner.

Cap’s cheeks turned slightly red.

“...And in second place, we have Captain… with a close 43 out of 50 points!”

“Now, you two, unlike in your other competitions, you will not choose the songs you perform to. Instead, we will give them to you privately…” The host continued to the two men their instructions.

He could hardly believe his ears. “Would the lucky two please step onstage?” Everything felt like a dream. He stepped back into the blinding light, still trying to process what was happening. He turned to see Havers staring at him… with adoration? No, it was probably just him imagining it. “Congratulations, you two, you deserve it!”

Cap had, has, good parents who were always supportive of him. He’d shown an enthusiastic, obsessive interest in dance ever since he was little. His parents had several tapes from the 60s, 70s and 80s of various genres of dance, but what really sparked his interest was ballet. It was rare to see male ballet dancers, but when he did, his eyes were glued to the screen. As he grew up, his parents introduced him to musicals and plays, ones such as Falsettos. His parents had managed to see the original 1992 performance and so they invited their son over to watch the 2016 revival with them. Cap had known about the existence of the LGBTQ+ community since he was little - his parents were both activists in the late 70s onwards - so he’d always been made to feel welcome and under no pressure whatsoever. Still, after watching said musical, he officially came out, aged 24.

Havers, however, was not so fortunate. His parents were distant and incapable of caring for him and his brother and sister, so they were looked after by their uber-religious grandparents who were very toxic, in multiple ways. They cut off the rest of the family; aunties, uncles, cousins, even Havers’ parents. Then, they weren’t allowed to have phones. It started to grow into much worse things, but luckily someone at Havers’ school noticed something was up with him and decided to quietly alert the school counsellor - this led to an entire court case in which the grandparents lost and the Havers children were given to their paternal aunty and uncle. Their own parents were on the mend and were now able to visit their children. Havers came out a few years later than Captain, just months before his most recent performance - he was 27, going on 28.

Captain’s doorbell rang. He jumped, his heart skipping a beat. He rushed to the door.

“Now, you two, unlike in your other competitions, you will not choose the songs you perform to. Instead, we will give them to you privately…” The host continued to the two men their instructions.

Ah, Cap thought. My name always catches people off guard. His parents couldn’t resist pulling a “Montgomery Montgomery” as both enjoyed the works of Lemony Snicket. Although it was a comical name he was oddly proud of it, and he was nearly famous enough in the UK for someone to just refer to him as Captain and have others know who they were talking about.

Captain found himself rewatching Havers’ performance for the umpteenth time that evening to distract himself from his anxious waiting for the lists of three songs he’d dance to with Havers. He’d dance… with Havers… What a warm thought. Cap caught himself blushing. They’d had a similar journey in their dancing careers, Cap slightly ahead, but he felt this was Havers’ big break.

"Ah, I see. Anyway, I'm here to give you your list of songs. I've already stopped by Mr Havers', who you will meet at this-" Humphrey gave Cap a piece of paper and pointed to the address and room number on it. "Address. That's where I am a judge for Button's Ballroom, and that number is the studio you and your partner will be practicing in. But don't worry, either myself or another member of staff will show you around."

Cap turned pink at the words "your partner", even though he knew the context in which he and Havers were referred to as such.

"Thank you, Mr King, I-I mean, Humphrey. See you…"

"Oh, tomorrow, rehearsals start at 9AM sharp, so get there around half an hour before so we can brief all of the dancers. See you then!" 


Captain’s doorbell rang. He jumped, his heart skipping a beat. He rushed to the door.

“Good morning, Capcap! Oh I do hope we’ve not woken you up, you sound a bit tired,” His mother’s voice crackled from the other side of the line.

“Hello!” A friendly, but unfamiliar face greeted. “I’m Mr King, but you can call me Humphrey. You’re, um… a Mr Captain… Captain?”

“Well, it’s so nice to hear from you. Ah, Graham, Capcap’s on the phone, would you like to talk to him?” A few muffled noises of excitement were heard.

Ah, Cap thought. My name always catches people off guard. His parents couldn’t resist pulling a “Montgomery Montgomery” as both enjoyed the works of Lemony Snicket. Although it was a comical name he was oddly proud of it, and he was nearly famous enough in the UK for someone to just refer to him as Captain and have others know who they were talking about.

“Hello, my boy! How’s the dance competition?”“Rehearsals are starting today, I have to be there in just under an hour, so I’ll have to start heading off in around 30 minutes. The songs have been chosen for us this time, and the one I’m practising today isn’t really my thing, but I’m sure I can make it work.”

"Yes," Captain Captain sighed, half smiling to himself. "You can just call me Captain."

“That’s my son. I’m so proud of you, we both are, aren’t we, Lucy?”

"Ah, I see. Anyway, I'm here to give you your list of songs. I've already stopped by Mr Havers', who you will meet at this-" Humphrey gave Cap a piece of paper and pointed to the address and room number on it. "Address. That's where I am a judge for Button's Ballroom, and that number is the studio you and your partner will be practicing in. But don't worry, either myself or another member of staff will show you around."

“Oh yes, we’re coming round to see you off, just because it’s been so long since we’ve actually seen you in person. I hope you don’t mind!”

Cap turned pink at the words "your partner", even though he knew the context in which he and Havers were referred to as such.

“Your mother says make sure you have a big healthy breakfast, okay, goodbye son, see you then!” Click.

Cap followed his mother’s advice, ate a good breakfast and got dressed. After that, he still had ten minutes before his parents were due to arrive. His mind started to wander. What would everyone think of him? What would the costumes and set look like? He sat there for a few more minutes, then remembered that his parents would be over soon. He made sure he was properly ready, locked his house and waited outside. He eventually saw some figures approaching from the horizon.

"Oh, tomorrow, rehearsals start at 9AM sharp, so get there around half an hour before so we can brief all of the dancers. See you then!" 

“My boy!”

Cap nodded and closed the door. As he was getting ready for bed, his mind kept whirring. The first song wasn't really his style, how would Havers react when he was incapable of dancing to this genre? How would Havers be around him? Would Havers feel the same way? Cap slumped onto his bed, exhausted, set his alarm for 7:30AM and immediately fell asleep.

He woke up to his alarm blaring loudly. He sighed frustratedly, not wanting to get up. He wondered why he’d set his alarm earlier than normal. Suddenly he bolted upright, remembering everything. His phone was vibrating - a call from his parents.

“Hello?” Captain said wearily rising from his bed.

“Good morning, Capcap! Oh I do hope we’ve not woken you up, you sound a bit tired,” His mother’s voice crackled from the other side of the line.

“Oh, er, Mr King- Humphrey, these are my parents, Graham and Lucy Captain,” Cap gestured to the respective parents. “Mum, Dad, this is Mr Humphrey King, he co-hosts the show and is a judge.”

“Oh, how exciting!” Lucy chimed and shook Humphrey’s hand.

“Our little boy is so grown up now!” Graham said and copied his wife. 

Lucy faked wiping tears away from her eyes with a handkerchief.

“Hello, my boy! How’s the dance competition?”“Rehearsals are starting today, I have to be there in just under an hour, so I’ll have to start heading off in around 30 minutes. The songs have been chosen for us this time, and the one I’m practising today isn’t really my thing, but I’m sure I can make it work.”

“Come on, give your old man and mother a kiss!”

“Dad…” Cap said, flushing and looking in the opposite direction of his dad. “Oh, alright.”

His parents giggled. Cap sighed with relief, as he knew they could’ve been more over the top if they’d wanted to.

“Won’t you stay for tea?” Humphrey asked politely.

“Oh, no, we have places to be,” Lucy said. “But thank you for the offer!”

“Your mother says make sure you have a big healthy breakfast, okay, goodbye son, see you then!” Click.

“Of course! It was nice meeting you, Mr King!” Graham started to wave goodbye.

“Please, call me Humphrey. It was an honour Mr and Mrs Captain!” Humphrey bid his new acquaintances adieu. The Captains waved goodbye properly and exited the building. “Right, as I said, we have just a bit of time for some tea before the briefing. Join us?”

Cap followed his mother’s advice, ate a good breakfast and got dressed. After that, he still had ten minutes before his parents were due to arrive. His mind started to wander. What would everyone think of him? What would the costumes and set look like? He sat there for a few more minutes, then remembered that his parents would be over soon. He made sure he was properly ready, locked his house and waited outside. He eventually saw some figures approaching from the horizon.

“Fantastic place isn’t it?” Havers eagerly started the conversation.

“Yes, it really is.” Cap almost went completely red as he saw the wide-eyed expression Havers was making at him. “I-I never dreamed it’d be so spacious. I-I mean all of the theatres I’ve performed in were always a bit small for my liking.”

Havers smiled and took a sip of his drink.

“Good lord…” Cap braced himself to be overwhelmed with a massive hug. And as he expected, he felt two pairs of arms embrace him. It felt good, and he hugged back, smiling the widest he’d smiled in ages. “It’s good to see you.”

The three stood there in silence, enjoying the warmth of each others’ company.

“Well, this car won’t drive itself to rehearsals now, will it?” Mrs Captain said.

“Well, this car won’t drive itself to rehearsals now, will it?” Mrs Captain said.

Before Cap knew it, he was in his car, putting the postcode into his satnav, and was suddenly at Button’s Ballroom studios. He got out along with his parents. He took a deep breath and was greeted by a friendly face.

“Now everyone,” She projected her voice so the whole room could hear. Cap noted her posh accent. “I trust that everyone is present (Humphrey, would you please assure all of the intended people are here). While my colleague does that, I would like to congratulate our wonderful sixteen dancers for making it to the quarterfinals!” She started a round of applause and the rest of the room joined in. 

“I trust that Humphrey here already gave you the songs you will be performing for us. These songs have been intended to both challenge you and bring you each out of your comfort zone. You will have to work together.” Cap and Havers looked at each other. 

“Additionally, there will be cameras rolling while you are rehearsing, our audience view the programme for the drama as well as the dancing.” Havers blushed redder than Cap at this. The lady let out a small exhale. “Well, if everyone who should be present are indeed so, that’s all I have to say, unless Humphrey here has anything to add. No? Very good. Humphrey will now guide you to the studios.”

The co-host excitedly jumped up and led to sixteen dancers through some double doors and into a hallway. He pointed out each couples’ studio as they walked by. Havers felt something brush against his hand; Cap didn’t realise what he was doing. Havers wrapped his little finger around Cap’s.

“Here it is! Studio number 8. Your costumes are on that bench, you can change in the cubicles through that door, that’s it, I guess. Have fun guys, this space is all yours for this morning, lunch will be provided between twelve and two this afternoon. See you then!” Humphrey said, animated.

Cap gulped, but Havers tightened his clutch on his hand. Havers took his partner into the room and sat him down on a free space on the bench.

“You okay? Should I ask for some water?” Havers asked.

“Just… nerves, I think. I don’t know what’s come over me. Thank you, Havers, but I think I just need you to… stay here with me.”

Havers helped Cap calm down with some breathing exercises and a few minutes later, both were dressed. Havers could tell something was still up with Cap, even if he wasn’t anxious as such.

“Sorry, it’s just that this song, what was it… ‘Pick U Up’... isn’t really my style. I hadn’t even heard of Foster The People before this.”

Has he been living under a rock? Havers thought. Oh. I should’ve guessed. I was probably too caught up in my own ambitions for this dance. Thinking about it, it is too modern for Captain. Without realising, he said:

“I’ll teach you!”

Both men’s faces turned tomato red. “I mean, if that’s fine with you…”

“Of- Of course, I-I mean…” Cap stammered. “How about, um, you show me… what you have in mind for this performance?”

“Please, call me Humphrey. It was an honour Mr and Mrs Captain!” Humphrey bid his new acquaintances adieu. The Captains waved goodbye properly and exited the building. “Right, as I said, we have just a bit of time for some tea before the briefing. Join us?”

“Oh my God, sorry, I’ve just been spouting ideas at you!”

Cap nodded and followed his guide to a room backstage which looked like a cafeteria. His eyes widened as he’d never seen anything like this for a studio backstage. There were a variety of people sitting at a long table nearest the back wall. Out of around 20-30 of the people sitting, he only recognised one face: William Havers. They caught each other's eyes for the second time in the space of 24 hours. Havers waved enthusiastically and gestured to a space next to him. Cap waved back meekly, descended a small set of stairs and headed over to sit down.

“Director and cameramen here, may we come in?”

“Y-yes, it’s fine, we were just about to get started!”

Four people entered the room, one of which caught Cap’s attention (but was nowhere near to how he saw his partner). Havers noticed this and couldn’t help feeling jealous, even though neither had spoken of their affections.

“Hi, I’m Adam, first assistant director, this is our main director, and these are my cameramen - Wolfgang and Helmut.” The eye-catching man introduced himself and his coworkers, and the four shook hands with the two dancers. “We’ve done this for all the couples, but we just need you to introduce yourself - name, pronouns, etcetera, your main dancing style, and so one. If you get stuck we’ll prompt you. So, Havers, if you just sit there…”

Adam began directing the dancers and Wolfgang and Helmut started filming. Soon, the necessary footage was taken and Cap and Havers could start practising. 

“We’ll leave, but there’s a few small cameras in this studio, so do be aware of that. We don’t use all footage captured on those, as other departments will decide which bits they consider suitable to put in the actual show. We’ll, um, see you around.” Adam and co left the room.

Havers hastily began teaching Cap the ways of modern dance, and quickly developed a dance routine. It was almost perfect, except it needed to involve two main dancers. Cap was still a bit stiff, but managed to think of two places in the routine where he could fit himself into. However, one of those was a tricky move which required a lot of strength and trust.

“Yes, I suppose you are sweet enough, eh?” He said, teasing.

“Nonsense!” Cap replied. “You know I work out like a soldier.”

Cap really turned bright red this time. He’d just made an offhand joke he’d picked up from his mother, but Havers had managed to make him blush harder than he’d ever done. Cap hastily took a long sip and looked away from Havers, now having been embarrassed twice, but for a different reason. The hum of chatter quietened as a lady, who looked much older than the rest of the young staff, stood up at the front and clincked a teaspoon against her cup. She was dressed in an elegant, long, white (or was it grey?) dress which covered her shoulders and arms.

Cap held his partner’s waist tightly. Havers jumped off the floor as he was lifted with surprising ease. Havers felt light as a feather and spread out his arms. He looked down to see a pink, sweaty, yet happy face beaming at him. Both forgot about the rest of the world for a split second and everything was perfect in that moment, until…

“Ow!”

Miraculously, Cap was not hurt, apart from being a little shaken by the fall. He didn’t know why or how his arms had given way, as he was using all his might to support his dance-mate. Havers, however, did sustain a minor injury - a sprained ankle - but nothing the resident doctor couldn’t handle.

“Additionally, there will be cameras rolling while you are rehearsing, our audience view the programme for the drama as well as the dancing.” Havers blushed redder than Cap at this. The lady let out a small exhale. “Well, if everyone who should be present are indeed so, that’s all I have to say, unless Humphrey here has anything to add. No? Very good. Humphrey will now guide you to the studios.”

Captain and Havers flushed pink.

The co-host excitedly jumped up and led to sixteen dancers through some double doors and into a hallway. He pointed out each couples’ studio as they walked by. Havers felt something brush against his hand; Cap didn’t realise what he was doing. Havers wrapped his little finger around Cap’s.

“He needs some physio and exercise?” Dr. Doktor was being difficult.

“No, the bit before that.” Havers said, breathlessly.

Cap gulped, but Havers tightened his clutch on his hand. Havers took his partner into the room and sat him down on a free space on the bench.

“No, the bit before!” Both said in sync, turning to each other and becoming even more red in the face.

“Oh! About you being boyfriends. I understand if you don’t want others knowing yet, what with you being upcoming celebrities and all. But, like, it’s so obvious, so you better try harder to cover up you two being in love.”

“Just… nerves, I think. I don’t know what’s come over me. Thank you, Havers, but I think I just need you to… stay here with me.”

The two men quickly nodded together. They weren’t planning on ever telling anyone about what just happened, so that was a guarantee.

Havers helped Cap calm down with some breathing exercises and a few minutes later, both were dressed. Havers could tell something was still up with Cap, even if he wasn’t anxious as such.

“Sorry, it’s just that this song, what was it… ‘Pick U Up’... isn’t really my style. I hadn’t even heard of Foster The People before this.”

Has he been living under a rock? Havers thought. Oh. I should’ve guessed. I was probably too caught up in my own ambitions for this dance. Thinking about it, it is too modern for Captain. Without realising, he said:

Both men’s faces turned tomato red. “I mean, if that’s fine with you…”

“Of- Of course, I-I mean…” Cap stammered. “How about, um, you show me… what you have in mind for this performance?”

“Oh my God, sorry, I’ve just been spouting ideas at you!”

Four people entered the room, one of which caught Cap’s attention (but was nowhere near to how he saw his partner). Havers noticed this and couldn’t help feeling jealous, even though neither had spoken of their affections.

Four people entered the room, one of which caught Cap’s attention (but was nowhere near to how he saw his partner). Havers noticed this and couldn’t help feeling jealous, even though neither had spoken of their affections.

“Hi, I’m Adam, first assistant director, this is our main director, and these are my cameramen - Wolfgang and Helmut.” The eye-catching man introduced himself and his coworkers, and the four shook hands with the two dancers. “We’ve done this for all the couples, but we just need you to introduce yourself - name, pronouns, etcetera, your main dancing style, and so one. If you get stuck we’ll prompt you. So, Havers, if you just sit there…”

Adam began directing the dancers and Wolfgang and Helmut started filming. Soon, the necessary footage was taken and Cap and Havers could start practising. 

“Hi, I’m Adam, first assistant director, this is our main director, and these are my cameramen - Wolfgang and Helmut.” The eye-catching man introduced himself and his coworkers, and the four shook hands with the two dancers. “We’ve done this for all the couples, but we just need you to introduce yourself - name, pronouns, etcetera, your main dancing style, and so one. If you get stuck we’ll prompt you. So, Havers, if you just sit there…”

Adam began directing the dancers and Wolfgang and Helmut started filming. Soon, the necessary footage was taken and Cap and Havers could start practising. 

Havers hastily began teaching Cap the ways of modern dance, and quickly developed a dance routine. It was almost perfect, except it needed to involve two main dancers. Cap was still a bit stiff, but managed to think of two places in the routine where he could fit himself into. However, one of those was a tricky move which required a lot of strength and trust.

“It was silly of me to ask, really…” Havers trailed off weakly. “Okay, here I go.”

“Ow!”

Captain and Havers flushed pink.

Captain and Havers flushed pink.

“Wh-what was that f-first bit?” Cap sputtered.

“He needs some physio and exercise?” Dr. Doktor was being difficult.

Miraculously, Cap was not hurt, apart from being a little shaken by the fall. He didn’t know why or how his arms had given way, as he was using all his might to support his dance-mate. Havers, however, did sustain a minor injury - a sprained ankle - but nothing the resident doctor couldn’t handle.

“Oh! About you being boyfriends. I understand if you don’t want others knowing yet, what with you being upcoming celebrities and all. But, like, it’s so obvious, so you better try harder to cover up you two being in love.”

The two were embarrassed into silence and an awkward tension filled the air. “Are you... not boyfriends?” Doktor took the continued silence as a yes. “Oh lord…” They sighed. “I diagnose you both with gay and in love.” They muttered under their breath, not aware they weren’t thinking in their head. The two men gave the doctor flustered expressions. “Shit. Forget I said anything. Havers, I’ll arrange for some physio and exercise sessions to put in your schedule. And Captain, make sure he rests. Both of you, don’t speak a word of this.”

“Oh! About you being boyfriends. I understand if you don’t want others knowing yet, what with you being upcoming celebrities and all. But, like, it’s so obvious, so you better try harder to cover up you two being in love.”

The two were embarrassed into silence and an awkward tension filled the air. “Are you... not boyfriends?” Doktor took the continued silence as a yes. “Oh lord…” They sighed. “I diagnose you both with gay and in love.” They muttered under their breath, not aware they weren’t thinking in their head. The two men gave the doctor flustered expressions. “Shit. Forget I said anything. Havers, I’ll arrange for some physio and exercise sessions to put in your schedule. And Captain, make sure he rests. Both of you, don’t speak a word of this.”

1. Pick U Up 4775 0 0