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Rubato Ballabile

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Arms arched up and inwards, toes en pointe, the dancer’s body soft and lithe. He smiled softly, allowing his leg to gently lift up inline with his torso, his arms falling out of the circular position above his head to extend on either sides of his body. Still en pointe, the megane held the position as long as he could, feeling the pleasurable burn in his calf muscles and torso from the powerful arabesque stance. Coming down from the high, he crouched and removed his ballet slippers, massaging his toes from the stress they had gone through the long day.

Miyuki Kazuya... an extraordinarily talented danseur yet only 17 himself. He had been scouted by Seidou’s Academy of Dance for the upcoming year. The range of accepted students was high school age, however you were only invited if you were scouted or passed the auditions... Kazuya had gotten quite lucky as it was very rare for people to be found and invited. He had danced in competitions all over the world, and won many of them as well. Ballet was something he cherished deeply...though his personality indicated otherwise.

Kazuya had a reputation for being very sarcastic, rude and snarky not due to a superiority belief, but it was an easy way to protect yourself. The world of dance was in no easy place to survive. So often people would hear about dancer’s costumes getting destroyed, people being injured and forced to stop. Even extremely talented dancers like Kazuya had to watch out for the sharks who would try to stop him from growing. Putting on a facade made them angry and easier to deal with. He had of course been a target numerous times, yet had gotten used to dealing with jealous people over the years. He expected no different from this school even if it was so picky with its admissions.

Another interesting thing with this school was that it was built to dorm people, and not just for ballet but multiple types of dances including contemporary, modern, jazz and tap. It was strange to hear more than just classical ballet music, but also the different styles’ music in the hallways as the doors to practice rooms opened. Of course they didn’t just teach dance, as many of the students still had to take normal classes.

He had general classes in between and around all the multiple ballet classes: warm-up which included barre and center, expression, technique, history of ballet, choreography, and free practice. This also was coupled with him auditioning for roles in the multiple performances Seidou puts on through the year.

Hearing the bell ring for the 5 minute warning, Kazuya finished his cool down stretches, making sure that every muscle wasn’t tensed up and relaxed so that he could lessen the affects of any accidents. He was very careful with his body, because it was all he really had and there was no way he wanted to hurt himself and miss out on weeks of practice.

Picking up his bag, and pulling some sweats over his tights he rushed to his first class, knowing that it was okay if dance students came to class in dance wear especially because some of the dances had intricate costumes, even practice ones, i.e., bharatanatyam or many other Indian dances. Running a hand through his hair, he muttered, “Well let’s see how this goes....”
Entering the classroom he heard one of the most obnoxious laughs ever, and considering his personality this was saying something. Looking around he saw a spiky green haired male in what appeared to be a baggy shirt and a strange pair of sweats, cackling at something. Shaking his head, he went up to the front of the classroom to see where his seat was. Kazuya’s eyes roamed the classroom finding seat M4. Great... behind mister laugher... Feeling amused yet also a little annoyed he headed to the seat behind him, taking care not to drop his large bag or books in his hands. Since he’d been practicing in the morning, he had all his things for ballet: tights, shirts, sweats, ballet slippers, towel, etc. Plus of course his things for class since the general classes had to begin pushing in advance of the end of the year performances. Around December were the musicals, shows, etc., and none of the students truly payed attention during class. Thus he wasn’t surprised by the assignments for the night, though he could see that many other students were surprised.

Well whatever...he’d just ignore most of them anyway so it wasn’t like it mattered. Unintentionally Kazuya would more often interact with ballet dancers since he understood them better, and even then his social circles tended to only be filled with dancers who caught his eye.

Finally the general classes were done, which oddly he continued to share with the green haired male, who Kazuya had yet to speak to. Though he had noticed the confused stare every time they both walked into the same class. Stretching his arms over his head, he bent backwards hearing the pops in his back relishing the chance to finally be let free of the structure that he despised. Ballet, while having more structure than some dances, was still an art that felt much more freeing than school. He didn’t think he’d have been okay to survive straight school without the promise of ballet after.

Gently pushing the door in he walked in, hearing the sounds of Canon playing in the background. It was the warm-up room. He didn’t know how the dance styles were split apart, but he thought it was ballet, contemporary, and hip hop in one room. He figured he was right seeing people doing different warmups, but shrugged, heading over to the barre and placing his things near the wall. It seemed as if the ballet dancers had commandeered the one side of the room, and the other dancers had the other section.

Going through the 5 stances, from rote memory, he watched the other dancers, warming up: stretches and basic dances that helped to wake up their muscles. He noticed that the dancer from before in all his classes was in here too. He raised his eyebrow, smirking when their eyes met. Receiving the confused glare, his smirk widened before refocusing on his form, feet moving into croisé before opening up into one, before his knees bent into demi plié, relevé, and then grand plié. Eventually his body had warmed up using the barre, for the next section:

He could see some of the other ballet dancers in his group were pretty good, in his not so humble opinion. Everyone here was obsessed with dance, and that’s what they were here for...but you could tell those who were good, from those who had the potential to be great. He wasn’t ashamed for his eyes to run over ....was it Kawakami? ...his body while he was lifting his leg. The male was very strong and clearly quite skilled, but he almost felt like he was hesitant to push further. He seemed to be staying close to another dancer, he thought it was Shirasu. They seemed to be staying close and helping each other.
Kazuya was used to analyzing the people around him to try and bring out their potential. Often he would do whatever was required. He’d once explained it as, “If it means making the ballerina shine, I'll do whatever it takes. I'll lie if I have to, and make myself hated if I have to.” He loved solo performances, but dancing alongside a talented ballerina, or in a corps de ballet was his absolute favourite thing. He could relate to the other dancers, they bonded over the weeks of learning and practicing, and even if they hated him at the end, they were able to put out an amazing performance together.

He didn’t really know these two, so he didn’t want to say anything. Especially because it was only barre and center. There was still expression, technique and a multitude of sections he hadn’t seen them in. Shaking his head to focus again, his posture shaking slightly, he tuned his ears back to the instructor’s commands and executed the appropriate moves accordingly. He hummed along with the music, under his breath, letting his body follow commands unconsciously. His arms up and out as he spun, feeling the music in his bones.

On the other side of the room was a different yet oddly similar situation. The dancers here were less structured and smooth. They seemed to effortlessly express emotions; anger, sadness, passion, all the extremities yet move fluidly and in a controlled fashion.

They were the hip hop dancers, though many also knew more than one form of dance as incorporating many styles was quite popular. One of the talented dancers was Kuramochi Youichi, or the green spiky haired laugher from before. He had been dancing since he was little: tap, contemporary, ballroom dancing, and finally hip hop. He found hip hop to be the most comfortable with his personality which grew and flourished on the streets before being scouted for Seidou.

Unlike many of the other dancers here he did not have a coach, or some instructor who could help him get better one-on-one, so he took it upon himself to become great... by himself. While no means a simple task with a teacher, it was excruciatingly difficult without a guide in his dancing, resulting in his style being much more free than the others who had hip hop taught to them versus YouTube.

As he danced Youichi felt at peace yet also completely in tune with his emotions that were brought out. He was quite skilled at dancing, easily breezing through the small audition he had to participate in once he was scouted. It was a bit simpler than the official audition which tested your knowledge of dance history, techniques and your ability. His audition only included the last two, alongside a general high school entrance exam.

Youichi had taught himself the three main styles of hip hop: b-boying, popping and locking having become especially good with b-boying and popping the more he practiced. Youichi had chosen a fun song, with a grunge background and had danced his heart out. Unknown to him, he’d even impressed the generally unshakeable ballet teacher: Kataoka, who had a reputation of never being impressed by other styles.

Coming back to the dance classroom, he continued his warm up, his eyes scanning the other dancers as he stretched to touch his toes feeling the muscles in his calves burn from the slight strain the longer he held the position. He hoped the other dancers were stretching enough, since he knew the easy chance of hurting oneself if you didn’t. Hearing horror stories about people’s injuries had been one of the most common things he’d heard. Looking up from his feet, he made eye contact with one of the ballet dancers from across the room whom if he was correct, sat behind him in his general classes.

He saw the slight smirk growing on the other’s face, even from the distance and felt his own face fall into one of confusion. Did they know each other? Was he doing something strange. Looking down at himself, Youichi couldn’t see anything wrong, nothing was overly tight or loose and his hair had been spiked carefully to look natural yet styled. Baring his teeth at the ballet dancer who had turn his head continuing his dancing, the glasses’ reflection blocking his eyes, Youichi determinedly tried to ignore him.
However he couldn’t help but admire the sleek lines of the ballet dancer who was clearly extremely talented and seemed to know it as it showed in his graceful and confident steps.

Youichi had almost wanted to learn ballet having watched a performance of the Nutcracker when he was younger, the way the dancers had moved was so inspiring, and he’d always wanted to do those jumps. Though it was clearly the ladies who shined the most, he could see the continuous support and shining talent from the men as well, and wanted to be just like them. Of course soon after, He left and his mother was left to pick up the pieces of their broken family, and Youichi suppressed these dreams. Except underestimating his mother was never a good idea as she had pulled some strings to get a high school friend who was a dance teacher to come give a free lesson to Youichi to see what kind of dance he’d be the most skilled in. Learning that his body was not the strongest for ballet and he’d be better suited to other styles had hurt, but he’d still thrown himself into the rigorous practice of the other styles.

Eventually stumbling upon hip hop he’d found his passion, but had no classes as it wasn’t offered in the studio he’d been going to. The one studio that had it, was on the other end of the city and was much too expensive, thus he taught himself. Feeling the unspoken challenge from the other male, he let himself fall into the music, his warm up complete, allowing the familiar rhythms and sounds to pulse through his body. Waiting for the down 4 beat, he threw himself into the breakdancing portion, locking eyes with other hip hop dancers calling them into the game. A large cypher forming, Youichi danced before pulling back and letting the next person in, his eyebrows lifting in a silent barb to the other dancer.

Kazuya held back a grin at the other male’s impromptu dancing, his eyes following and categorizing the moves automatically. He didn’t know much about the dance style, but he could see the raw talent which was slowly becoming more refined and solid. He felt himself nod at the gleaming eyes, before turning to the piano player in the corner, requesting a song. Waiting for the correct beat, he led out with his right leg, allowing the piano’s soothing notes wash over him, the familiar techniques firmly ingrained in his body. Keeping his eyes locked on to the eyes of the hip hop dancer he allowed his dancing to convey the message.

You can't beat me.

That damn annoying smirk, Youichi snarled before shaking his head. It would do no good to let his annoyance show in his dancing, which was heavily affected by emotions. Just as he was going to drop into a 6-step, the teacher arrived and he stopped to focus on him, ignoring the ballet dancer who had smirked at him.

And so, the first day of classes were finished. Now they just had the rest of the year to go through. General classes’ tests and projects, dealing with sore muscles and tired eyes, and attempts at making friends.

At some point, Kazuya and Youichi had introduced themselves, especially because the teachers often thought it was prudent to pair the cackling and snarky duo together. There’s a reason that there is a strong belief that people of similar nature can clash. The two males constantly argued, Youichi getting pissed with the ballet dancer’s snark, and Kazuya getting annoyed with the other male’s similar crass attitude and keen observations. However over time they learnt to put up with each other and even helped each other with general classes, especially because Youichi’s strength lay in the arts: languages, fine arts, and history, while Kazuya’s were more analytical: sciences, maths, and business.

Often their arguments were ridiculous usually around their general studies. One week, Kazuya did really well in a physics test while Youichi did not do so hot on the test. Their science teacher, Suzuki-sensei decided to pair those who did well with those who were subpar on the test. Turning around, Youichi scowled at Kazuya sitting behind him. The megane smirked, “Mochi-chan what happened to you? Did you not do well on the test? Poor you~” Kazuya’s hand came up to his mouth to smother his chuckles, only serving to make the other male more annoyed. “Shut up asshole, let’s just get this assignment over” the green haired male crossed his arms, his brows furrowed. Generally they interacted this way in class, one pushing and prodding the other.

Obviously they didn’t share the same dance classes, since Kazuya’s were all related to ballet, composition, or ballet history (eugh.) Youichi’s were hip hop technique, improv, and composition which was in a different side of the school. They didn’t see each other much outside of their general classes and warm up, which usually resulted in them having a “battle” before class would start.

They had a day off late September, and Kazuya had taken it upon himself to go practice for the upcoming auditions for The Nutcracker in early December. He was hoping to be the Nutcracker himself. He’d also privately admitted that he’d love to audition for the mixed pairing performance, which was when two dancers of different styles danced together, however he knew nothing of the other styles nor would his mother be impressed as she wholeheartedly believed that ballet was the best being a retired prima ballerina herself. He had a very high interest in other dance styles but never had a chance to learn them, and now that he’d already fortified his reputation as a ballet dancer it would be hard for that to change. However there was one person he could’ve asked if he really thought about it.

Sighing, he shook his head trying to clear out these thoughts as he walked over to his favourite practice room. The room wasn’t super large but it had a nice window and seemed to have good acoustics with mirrors in the best places capturing his every motion. As he got closer, he heard some music from the room and scowled because that meant he would have to find a new room which was frustrating. Looking through the window on the door however, nearly had him dropping his bag in surprise. It was Youichi! And unlike in class, at least in warm up, where he’d seen the other male follow instructions and sometimes even look a bit stiff, he was completely open here. He could see every emotion: love, anger, passion, excitement, etc, being displayed all over the boy’s motions, his face and the ferocity of every step he took.
Kazuya couldn’t look away.

He was mesmerized by the male’s dancing and watched for nearly 1 hour before realizing what he was doing. Blushing he ran away from the room and went to practice his own dancing. Except he kept getting distracted. Every time he closed his eyes he saw the other male dancing. And every time he blushed since this had never happened before and there really was no reason for him to be embarrassed, it’s just dancing, he tried to convince himself.

Maybe....maybe if I saw it again, then I could it behind me? Like...accept it’s good and move on. I bet it was mainly surprise someone else used this room.....yeah. He did his best to convince himself that it was nothing, all the while knowing that finding someone’s dancing that beautiful but not wanting to admit it was a bit strange.

Lucky for him, it seemed that Youichi had a pattern of practicing every other day since he had a free period. And no...Kazuya was not a stalker, it just came up in conversation, he’d say that with a straight face, blushing internally.

And thus became the habit of watching the other male dance as much as he could. It wasn’t the clean lines or structure of ballet, but it wasn’t the grunge theme that he had in his head about hip hop. This was fresh, smooth yet also powerful. He’d set it up that once Youichi entered the room, Kazuya would wait 15 minutes to let him warm up, and then watch, periodically ducking away so that if anyone saw they’d think he just arrived and hadn’t spent 30 minutes watching a person practice.
A few weeks after the first encounter with Youichi’s dancing, he came to the room expecting the same as usual, but instead he saw that the door was open, and the hip hop dancer was just sitting inside with his head bowed and legs crossed. Almost as if he could hear him Youichi’s eyes lifted as Kazuya walked towards the room and scowled calling him in.

Standing up, the green haired male scowled slightly, “So...would it have been so hard to just come talk to me? Or I don’t know...ask to watch?”

Shock at being caught flashed in his eyes, before Kazuya’s masks locked into place and he snickered, “Why Mochi-chan...whatever could you be speaking about? I’m a ballet dancer remember....what benefit would I get from watching you?” His signature smirk and sardonic chuckle finishing the statement.

Sighing exasperatedly, Youichi replied, “I saw you that day. In September? Standing at the door watching” rubbing the back of his neck, a sprinkle of red dusting his cheeks, “also... I heard you complaining about having to move courses around which seemed to line up perfectly with my dancing...” He’d seen the ballet dancer hanging around this dance room for quite a few days and had finally noticed what had been going on. He wouldn’t admit, but Youichi had blushed when he realized that meant that the snarky dancer liked his dancing enough to stop and watch a different style which was rare.

Coughing slightly, Kazuya tried to hide his embarrassment and just said, “Well so what if I’s just watching..” he didn’t look up, so didn’t see the amusement in the other’s face at his almost pout. Kazuya looked down at his pants, pulling a string out before lifting his face up, eyes burning. “Your dancing... is...” his hands tried to come up and explain what he meant but he got stuck so just took a deep breath before trying again. Running a hand through his hair, his voice steady but with the slightest waver, “Your dancing is so passionate and powerful. I was...entranced.”

The more the male spoke, the more Youichi’s eyes widened, not expecting that at all. He expected more arguments or denials. Scowling he looked away before biting out, “your dancing is quite good as well” though he hoped that the ballet dancer could tell what he really meant. “If you can come watch now? Like in the room.....” he muttered, looking at Kazuya again, “If you want Miyuki...we could even take turns dancing? I’d learn a bit about ballet?” Do I want to watch him dance? Is that why....I mean...when Miyuki was watching in warm up...I don’t feel that stiff... He didn’t know why this was the case though.

Scratching his cheek, Kazuya just nodded wordlessly trying to process what had happened. Youichi had found about him watching and wasn’t surprised or against it? Collecting all these thoughts he shoved them behind his facade trying to stay composed like he usually was. Emotions weren’t a bad thing however staying in control was very important to him. He walked to the far wall, set his bag down, spun on his heel before plopping gracefully onto the floor, “Well then Mochi-chan~, you should begin shouldn’t you?” his smirk firmly in place.

With that statement began an evolution of their friendship. Nothing dramatic, but instead of classes or coincidence pairing them them together, they began to actively (though neither would admit this) seek each other’s company outside of dance, though even then most conversations centered around dance. To an outside observer, Kazuya’s casual questions about hip hop would be just that, casual, but to Youichi he saw an interest in learning about different styles for some reason. Indulging him didn’t hurt he supposed.

Kazuya was glad that he had a ...friend? he guessed the hip hop dancer could be called that now. Truthfully he hadn’t had that many friends growing up so this was a new change since he wasn’t being used or beaten up for being sarcastic or pushy. But ...there was some other kind of issue as well. He didn’t seem to just like watching the male dance. Kazuya’s eyes tracked Youichi’s whenever he entered the room. At first he brushed it off as a friend thing, but when his eyes trailed away from the green haired male’s eyes to his lips frequently he knew something was up.

However it was Youichi who understood what he himself was feeling. He realized pretty quickly having been used to reading shoujo manga forced on him by another enthusiastic male at his studio. At some point, the hip hop dancer had fallen for the ballet dancer. How cheesy was this, it’s like Romeo and Juliet.... Except he wouldn’t let them kill themselves over this relationship. In fact, he was just going to repress these feelings. He didn’t want to lose one of the strongest friendships he’d had in a long time. Besides, Youichi was hard edged bad boy, while Kazuya was a clean cut passionate, strong, graceful ballet dancer. Why would he choose him. Maybe...distancing himself away would be good as well?

Now, Kazuya didn’t have the observation skills that Youichi had, however it only took him a few days to realize that he was indeed being avoided and it wasn’t just a fluke. He couldn’t figure out why he was, and every time he tried to ask him, the other male would make some excuse to go talk to ‘Ryo-san’ or ‘Zono needed to see me’, and Kazuya was sick of it. He didn't know what he had done, but if he was going to lose a friend inexplicably then he wanted to at least know what he had done. Eventually after an entire week of this, Kazuya had enough and dragged Youichi by the collar, ignoring the other's shouts, into 'their' practice room.

Turning and locking the door after letting the other dancer go, Kazuya spun on his heels facing him. Crossing his arms, he waited. Not saying anything, he just stood knowing that at some point the other would break and at least say something.

Youichi winced at the expectant look on the ballet dancer's face. He wasn't getting out of this, but he'd try anyway, and hopefully he would be okay after it. Rubbing a hand on the back of his neck he asked, "Hey what are you doing Miyuki? What's the big issue that you had to drag me in here for?" His voice a fake sheepish tone. And while he could see the unimpressed look on his face Youichi wouldn't say the truth, he couldn't.

Kazuya's self control was on the brink of snapping. He had been frustrated at suddenly being avoided and for the other male to still try and do it, though they both knew that the jig was up, pissed him off even more. It was the broken smile at the end of the question that had Kazuya slamming the shorter male into the wall snarling about what on earth had happened for him to ignore him. "I know people like to pretend to be my friend, and then ditch me so that my 'heart' will break or whatever, but I honestly thought you were better Kuramochi" his voice stuttered, "I just want to know what it was that I did." The grip on Youichi's shirt slackened and Kazuya stepped away, turning to the door, an air of anger, betrayal and almost a hint of remorse.

"I like you," was what Kazuya heard softly from behind him. His eyes widened, and he turned around quickly, eyes searching the other male's face, silently requesting a repeat of the words. Youichi's eyes softened, yet they held a shade of wariness still, "I like you."

Kazuya whipped around, unlocked the door and turned to leave without saying a word. Just as he left, out of the corner of his eye he saw the heart wrenching self-depreciating smile on Youichi's face and became very confused at the strange feeling in his heart.

Kazuya had good childhood. His mother had been the original reason that Kazuya began dancing. She was a soloist in a famous ballet company and whenever he’d gotten the chance to watch her, Kazuya had always felt she was the most beautiful woman he’d ever seen. Even when she’d gotten injured and had to fully retire she’d aged gracefully and was still beautiful. However his distant father had affected Kazuya, who could never seem to please him. And then when middle school,began, he was called a pansy for being a dancer. He had been told that only ‘gay kids or fags’ were dancers. Though he'd eventually realized this was in fact not true, when he'd understood that his preference was in fact for those of his gender, Kazuya freaked. He didn't want people labelling him anymore. So these kind of thoughts were repressed and buried very deep. The confession pulled up the feelings of insecurity, confusion and dare he say it, attraction to Youichi.

However, he would not return these sentiments. His father had barely began accepting his dedication to dance, being gay would not help this matter. Furthermore he just walked out on the other male anyway. He didn't even know how he'd face the other. At least there was one thing for certain, he lost his one true friend in the entire school.

The following day was very tense as Kazuya couldn't look Youichi in the eye, and the hip hop dancer who'd promised himself to just act like normal was hurt by Kazuya's behaviour. Internally he knew he deserved this for springing something like this on the normally calm and closed off male. However when this same silence continued for nearly 3 days, during which Kazuya came to the understanding that he did indeed like Youichi. The male in question became more agitated before finally pulling the same trick Kazuya had done the last week, and dragged him into the infamous practice room.

Snarling, Youichi shoved him against the wall, “I don't care if you don't like me, don't you dare act like we can't be friends! Bastard how dare you...” All his energy gone, he slumped forward slightly, before pulling himself back up blushing. Since Youichi was looking away from the male shoved into the wall, he didn't see the hand coming near his face till he felt Kazuya cup it, and pull him closer to the ballet dancer. Hesitating at the last second, Youichi looked into Kazuya's eyes and only say affection and attraction in them, and he smiled.

Closing his eyes, Kazuya pressed his lips gently into Youichi's, letting them linger for a second before pulling back. Hearing the softly muttered ‘why’ from the other male, he just replied, “Damn the consequences” before yanking him back down for another kiss.

They’d have to talk after, Kazuya needed to apologize and then explain his reasoning. For now though, lifting his arms to wrap around Youichi’s neck, he was okay. Maybe even great.