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because it keeps you on your toes

Chapter Text

adagio - /əˈdäjō,əˈdäjēō/

adjective & adverb

"(especially as a direction) in slow tempo"

Hinata Shouyou lifted his leg against the wall in the tiny kitchenette in a lazy stretch, letting his head sink to his knee as he worked to turn out his standing leg from inside the hip, instead of forcing his feet. Just as he got to his desired position, his sleepy amber-eyed roommate seemed to materialize behind him in the doorway.

“Sho, I know you’re a dancer but can you stop putting your foot on the wall? It’s so flimsy, one day you’re going to go right through it.”

Hinata’s laugh was as bright as his hair, but he obliged, swinging the aforementioned leg down from its position on the wall. “Also, doesn’t your practice start at nine this morning?”

Hinata nodded enthusiastically in response as he went about pouring tea into a brightly coloured cup with a snap-on lid.

“Not gonna be late for my first day at a new theatre!”

Kenma Kozume, the aforementioned sleepy roommate, looked dubious about this comment as he wandered over to the fridge, taking his time to search through it placidly before responding.
“It’s 8:45 Sho, you better hurry up.”

Hinata glanced at the cheerful yellow clock that ticked away above the oven with a yelp.
“I’ve gotta get going then! I’ll see you later today Kenma!”

Kenma smiled and waved his hand in farewell as the bubbly dancer grabbed his cup and bag and was out the door in a few moments. 

The bus was quiet, yet filled with people all in their own little world. Hinata was no exception, earbuds in as he listened to an incredibly energetic pop song, bobbing his head along with the words. Before he knew it, it was his stop, and with a cheerful smile he hopped down the steep bus steps into the cool early morning air, hurrying as he walked. 8:55 was the time displayed on his phone as he neared the large stone building.

Miyagi Ballet Theatre.

It was one of the most prestigious companies in the region, and Hinata had been lucky to get in as an apprentice out of the hundreds of dancers who had auditioned with him, since only ten new dancers were selecter per year. He continued on through the broad oak double doors, and down a gently curving staircase, past several empty but spacious studios, through a courtyard lush with bright flowers until Hinata reached studio B22, chest heaving from his run.

He'd liked to have stopped to admire the beautiful grounds of the conservatory, but time for that would come later, along with the mountains of practice that would be pushed onto him. Hinata's spine tingled from base to tip at the thought of finally being here, here, able to explore the grounds and become part of something, part of a team to say in the least.

He pushed open the studio door to reveal a large marley floor with several metal barres spaced out through the room, dancers in various stages of warmup clothes already stretching out, legs lifted up to ears and toes rolling across the ground, pointed and flexed and pointed again.

A tall girl with a pure black leotard and pink tights rolled up to the ankle overtop the leotard caught his eye, then looked away just as quickly while she tucked a bobby pin into her impossibly-glossy bun. Her blue eyes were sharp and calculating, much like the lines of her body and the harsh planes of her face. Geometric. 

“Thank you for making it on time, Hinata.”

A soft voice startled him as he tried to catch his breath. A gently smiling man with dove-coloured hair inclined his head towards him. Although he spoke softly, the thin layer of ice concealed in his otherwise sunny tone still gave Hinata the impression that he was not to be talked back to. He lowered his eyes, cheeks now flushing pointe-shoe pink while he shimmied out of his sweatpants, feeling even more exposed as all eyes suddenly flickered to his tiny form. 

“I’m sorry sir."

“That’s quite alright. You’re here pretty much on time, but try to be just a bit more punctual if you could.” He smiled again, "It'll give you more time to warm up before morning classes."

At this point Hinata had decided he was nothing short of an angel. Suga turned away from Hinata, stepping to the front of the room near the piano. Hinata scurried to a place at the barre near a girl with flaxen hair braided at the nape of her elegant neck and next to her, a shorter dancer who was completely dotted with freckles, currently in the process of adjusting the straps of her deep red leotard in the mirror who he remembered from his audition for MBT.

In his soft, unassuming voice the grey-haired angel introduced himself as Sugawara Koushi, but they could call him Suga.

“I’d like to congratulate our new apprentices, three of which are in this class right now. They're a talented bunch." He said, as he gestured to them in turn. "Yamaguchi Tadashi, Hinata Shoyou, Tsukishima Kei and Kageyama Tobio. I hope the rest of you will give them a welcome worthy of our company. I’m a firm believer in making ballet less competitive. Don't go running off into your little cliques, alright?”

He paused to glance sharply at a tall, willowy girl whose delicate fingers gripped the barre, supporting her limber frame as she stretched out her legs. 

“Now that I’ve said that, let’s begin facing the barre. Slow pliés in all positions, three demi and two grande. Relevé and take a full port de bras for each set.”

Hinata went over the combo quickly in his head, determined not to forget it.

As the pianist began to play, Chopin's Nocturne Op. 9 No. 2,  he took the chance to sneak furtive glances around the mirrored room.

There were four other barres including his, and about twenty dancers in the class, being relatively small.  At his barre there was Yamaguchi and Tsukishima, along with Kageyama, the angular dancer from before. She was Hinata’s age, but was something of a genius in the world of ballet. However, she refused most partners because they ‘couldn’t keep up with her.' For a moment their gazes met, right before a cambre to the back. Hinata quickly averted his eyes from her sharp blue gaze, focusing on the arch of his own back.

 After several grueling hours of center, Sugawara began pairing several of the dancers off for partner work.

“We’ll be doing scenes from Sleeping Beauty in the next few months, so while casting is still far off, I’d like to see how you look with one another. That way I can give our casting director some idea of our newbies.”

At that, many of the older dancers dotted around the edges of the room glanced at him, a few smiling and whispering to each other. Hinata heard whispers of ‘Chibi-chan’ and ‘Shrimpy’, causing him to frown. Sure, he was short, rather unorthodox for a ballet dancer, but his jumping ability made up for his lack of height.

Still, he tried to set his face in a smile. They would just have to wait and see. Especially Kageyama, who had been looking at him disdainfully for the entirety of the practice, doing nothing less that scaring the life out of Hinata. However, he couldn’t help but begin to feel the flames of challenge in his stomach. Game on, Kageyama.

Chapter Text

merlebleu - bluebird in french


"an American songbird of the thrush subfamily, the male of which has a blue head, back, and wings"

 Sugawara had taught the class some of the choreography from the bluebird variation pas de deux, an upbeat but difficult piece with many turns and promenades en pointe which were nothing short of hell on female dancers’ ankles. They had all learned the choreography separately so that Sugawara could then pair them up and swap dancers from pairings as necessary, in order to find a balanced duo. As Hinata marked his steps along with Yamaguchi, his temporary partner, Sugawara called two dancers to the center.

“Hm, let me see Oikawa and Iwaizumi please?”

Oikawa turned out to be the willowy girl from earlier, the one that Sugawara had looked at so sharply. Iwaizumi, although a few centimeters shorter than her, was stone-faced with short, spiky dark hair and it seemed like he had an attitude to match. A complete contrast to the playful glimmer in Oikawa's brown eyes. With a smile, she took her place near the corner of the floor, one satin shoe extended in front of her, upper body tilted gracefully back with her arms framing her face. After a few heartbeats of Sugawara fiddling with the CD player, the first notes of the music began to play.

As Oikawa moved through the opening steps effortlessly, Iwaizumi joined her with an assemblé-royale, seeming to hover in the air for minutes on end before touching back to the floor, much like a real bird. Although the lighthearted piece didn’t suit Iwaizumi’s demeanour, he took to the role like a fish in water, melding with Oikawa’s steps easily and fluidly. There was a quality to their dancing that was incredibly unique to watch, putting a new spin on the classic bluebird pas de deux that showed the contrast of their personalities. Iwaizumi's sturdy, strong stature mixing with Oikawa's breezy, carefree way of moving.

Hinata watched in awe as Iwaizumi easily guided the taller dancer through the air in a grand jete lift, Oikawa landing lightly on the tips of her pointe shoes and boureé-ing away with her delicate hands extended behind her, each movement charged with energy but still precise.

The end of the pas de deux was every bit as impeccable as it’s beginning, with Oikawa in a penche, using Iwaizumi’s bent arm for support, yet she still stood strong with that same light smile on her lips.

At that moment, Hinata realized that there was something much more between Oikawa and Iwaizumi, past being co-dancers or even romantic relationships, which he had now picked up on. Instead, there was something more, something like an incredible trust that could only exist between the pair, the idea of a perfect pas de deux. Oikawa completely trusted Iwaizumi and he to her.

It was the sort of bond that is completely rare, and as the last notes of music floated into the spacious studio air, there was a hush, a stillness that no one dared break. It wasn’t until Oikawa gently released her arabesque, hovering for a moment in relevé before returning to a relaxed position.

“That was a good one, wasn’t it, Iwa-chan?”

‘Iwa-chan’ stared at her, back to his prickly self, but there was still a note of happiness lingering in his eyes. However, he only responded with a noise.

“I almost dropped you on that arabesque lift because you weren’t holding your upper body very well.”

“Gee, thanks Iwa-chan."

She pouted as they returned to where they had been standing before, banter quiet although the room heard it in their transfixed silence.

Yamaguchi, standing next to Hinata, took this moment to whisper to her blonde friend.

“She’s one of Miyagi’s principal dancers! And it's crazy because she's so tall, but they still made her a principal because her movements are precise and her technique is flawless, but her arms are still soft and gentle!"

The blonde gave her an annoyed look.

“Yamaguchi, I know that. Everyone in the dance world knows it. Even Shrimpy over there knows it, and he could hardly keep up with the exercises.”

Hinata’s face flushed as he turned to look as Tsukishima and Yamaguchi because, yes he could keep up with the exercises, and no, his name was not Shrimpy. Tsukishima looked down at him slyly, getting the rise out of Hinata that she had wanted, and Yamaguchi had to stifle her laughter.

“I did keep up! And my name is Hinata!"

He hollered at the blonde girl, who only laughed and replied with an offhand remark,

“Sure you could.”

“Shut up!”

Tsukishima and Yamaguchi were pretty much on the verge of tears from laughter, until Sugawara slipped up between them.

“Is there a reason you’re disrupting class?”

Quickly, they hushed themselves and shook their heads, wanting to escape Sugawara’s brand of cold anger.

“No sir.”

“Sorry! Sorry! I didn’t mean to make a ruckus!”

“I apologize sir.”

And as quickly as he had noticed the disruption, the serene smile was back and the small bit of tension between his eyebrows had disappeared from his face. Hinata's notion has been correct. Sugawara was not someone to be messed with, they had learned that quickly enough.

Chapter Text


en pointe - /point,pwaNt/


"on the tips of the toes"

“Ugh, I think Sugawara’s trying to kill us.”

“Right? I think my toes have been worn down in my pointe shoes." Bokuto Koutarou grimaced, fighting her way through a pair of sweatpants.

“They will be sorely missed.”

“Hey hey hey, have some sympathy!” Bokuto laughed, punching the dark-haired man with the catlike grin in the arm. He rubbed it, looking at the cackling woman, expression a strange mixture of pain and mirth.

“My god, Kou. I thought you were a ballerina, not an MMA fighter.”

“I have many secrets.” She put a finger to her lips, attempting to look coy, but only succeeded in looking cross-eyed. “But seriously, pointe is terrible why do women have to stand on their toes? I can jump just as high as you can, Kuroo! And I don’t see you with these torture devices on your feet!” The ending of her sentence morphed into a whine as she slid down abruptly in a center split, leaning over to her left side with a groan.

“If you hate them so much, why’re they still on your feet?”

Bokuto glanced over with a look of owlish surprise on her features.

“They are! I think they’re attached to me.”

"You're quite the medical miracle, bro. No toes and permanent pointe shoes." Kuroo laughed as he helped her stretch out her split, since Bokuto was a little less flexible compared to some of the other company members. But, where she lacked in flexibility, she made up for in power and stamina. 

“So what do you think of the new dancers?”

Bokuto grinned, switching legs. “They seem pretty promising, actually. As exuberant as they are, they have potential!”

“Using your words, are we?” Akaashi Keiji, ridiculously flexible principal dancer and full-time mother of Bokuto, said as she walked up to stand beside Kuroo.

Akaashi's dark hair was already free from its bun, curling around her neck right above her shoulders and sticking out a little on all sides. Bokuto couldn’t help but stare almost every time she walked into the room, and it showed because Kuroo had to flick her in the jaw to keep it closed.

“Y'know, you’re just as exuberant as they are, Kou."

Kuroo teased as he took off his well-worn dance shoes, tucking them away in his bright red bag leftover from high school. Akaashi smiled with her eyes, glancing at Bokuto.

“So are you, Kuroo. I think we’re all going to go insane the next time you two have a pas de deux.”

Kuroo feigned shock as he yanked Bokuto up from the floor by his side, the streaky-haired dancer wearing a similar expression.

“We can’t be that terrible, can we?”

"You both have done nothing less than lower my expectations every single time you’re partnered.”

Oikawa nodded in agreement as she crossed the floor to drop her bag near Bokuto and Akaashi’s, fishing a bobby pin out of her perfectly tamed brown locks. It was insane how she managed to escape the curse of post-bun-hair, an opinion Bokuto seemed to voice on the daily.

“I’m inhaling hairspray every day because of my hair and you can just take it out and you look like a model?”

Oikawa shrugged, flashing one of those smiles.

“It’s just naturally like that I guess?”

“Lies. You use no less than six-thousand hair products a day.” Iwaizumi said, flicking the back of her head. Oikawa blushed darkly.

“Iwaaa!”  She whined as Kuroo and Bokuto burst into laughter yet again.

“I knew it!” Bokuto cried, holding her worn-out pointe shoes above her head in victory.

“Christ, Kou, how have those shoes not just completely snapped in half yet?”

Bokuto shrugged nonchalantly, but agreed it was quite a miracle, considering the forceful way she tended to attack the floor in her dancing.

“By the way, is anyone up for anything tonight?”

Oikawa nodded along with Iwaizumi and Akaashi.

“We’re down!”

“What exactly entails anything? It’s a Tuesday, so you might want to be careful.”

Akaashi cautioned, probably the only one who managed to keep any of them from getting themselves killed.

“Dunno, just hanging out at someone’s apartment. I doubt you guys wanna come to Bokuto and I’s.”

The group collectively shuddered, knowing the trainwreck that Kuroo and Bokuto’s home was. It was almost impressive at the mess that managed to accumulate, despite Akaashi’s attempts to keep it clean when she came over.

“Iwa, you have the most space, can we come over?”

Oikawa smiled, wrapping her arms around him. Iwaizumi paused, looking at Oikawa for a moment before sighing.

“Ah, fine.”

Bokuto flung her pointe shoes into the air, laughing.

“Hey hey hey! Then it’s a party!”

As they hit the floor, the shank of the pointe shoe made a loud crack against the floor, and the stiff shoe completely snapped, the thick wooden toe coming loose and rattling around inside the box of the shoe. 

“Well, fuck me sideways.”

Chapter Text

danseur - /danˈsər/


"a male ballet dancer"

Kuroo pushed open the heavy doors to the theatre, catching sight of a certain group of newbies, eyes lighting up somewhat maniacally as he nudged Bokuto. Her large, amber eyes flickered with the same glee, which only caused Akaashi and Iwaizumi to look at each other with the same expression.

Get those two away from each other before something "accidentally" catches fire.

“Oya, Kou, What if we invited Shrimpy and his friends over? Yaknow, keepin with what Suga said about being friendly to the newbies?”

Bokuto grinned, eyes wide.

“That’s exactly what I was thinking! Camaraderie, alcohol, the whole nine yards!”

“Shit Kou, did you buy a dictionary or something recently? Really pulling out that vocab today.”

The whole group laughed at her expense, which (unfortunately for her) was quite a common occurrence.

Oikawa made a face, not-so-furtively glancing at Kageyama, distaste apparent in her deep brown eyes.

Kageyama must have been blind, because the literal poison pouring out of Oikawa’s expression could have melted a two-ton truck.

“What’s the look for, Oikawa?” Bokuto asked, haphazardly switching topics as always. Oikawa’s face quickly rearranged itself into a gleaming smile, blinking at Bokuto.

“What d’you mean Kou? What look?”

Iwaizumi sighed, knowing that Bokuto’s stubborn attitude, and Oikawa’s nonchalance, would have them arguing for the better part of an hour. Akaashi seemed to have the same idea, and pinched Bokuto’s waist, face blank as Bokuto yelped, but quieted down as much as she possibly could, before returning to the original topic. Inviting the newbie squad over.

Kuroo and Bokuto were picked to go talk to them, as oblivious as they were, they hadn’t realized that the tiny cluster of dancers had almost completely left their sight. This resulted into two very tall, gangly dancers sprinting down a crowded street, and Bokuto trying to turn it into a race. It was a wonder nobody was hurt, in Akaashi's opinion. Strangely enough, the most coordinated dancers tend to be the clumsiest.

“So, how would you guys like to come over and hang out with us? We’ll have booze and . . . other stuff?”

The stone-faced blonde girl raised her eyebrows, obviously disdainful.

“It’s a Tuesday. We have practice tomorrow. It might as well be work, since this is your job.

Kuroo waved his hand flippantly.

“It’ll be fine, Kou and I do this all the time.”

Bokuto nodded, strands of black and white hair shooting out from her bun after their mad dash through the city. They flopped around her face with her energetic bouncing, her spiky hair having finally escaped the tight confines of her bun.

“It’s true! Plus, we want to get to know the new kiddos!”

Hinata made a noise that sounded almost like ‘gwaah!’ and bounced even higher than Bokuto.

“That’s so cool! The older dancers are talking to us!”

Bokuto and Kuroo both smirked at each other, incredibly puffed up about being called cool.

Of course, Akaashi had to say something.

“Kou, Tetsu, they don’t even know your names. Also, if you tell them that they’re cool, their heads will legitimately pop.” This last statement was directed at Hinata, Yamaguchi, Kageyama and Tsukishima. 

“Like a balloon!” Oikawa chirped.

“Shut it, Miss Glamour, you’re no better!” Bokuto retaliated, delivering one of her infamous punches to the arm. Oikawa, of course, immediately pouted and acted like she'd been shot.

Ignoring the bickering pair, Kuroo went on to introduce himself.

“I’m Kuroo Tetsurou, the one who yells and looks like an owl is Bokuto Koutarou. The pretty one who is currently sobbing into the prickly one’s arms is Oikawa Tooru & Iwaizumi Hajime, respectively. Oh, and the girl who looks like she could kill you is Akaashi Keiji, and no, she probably won’t kill you. We’re all principals at Miyagi.”

Bokuto stopped bickering with Oikawa to cheer.

“And who are you, Shrimpy?”

His eyes flashed for a second, bright and determined. His tenacity was almost a little frightening.

“Hinata Shoyou! This is Kageyama Tobio, Tsukishima Kei and Yamaguchi Tadashi!”

Tsukishima gave him a look.

“Why are you introducing us if we barely know you? Well, I don’t know about Queen Kageyama over here, but we sure don’t.”

As the group reduced itself to angry chatter, they began getting some very strange looks from passers-by. A group of muscular young adults in workout gear all talking very loudly at one another is quite an interesting sight after all. But, Akaashi and Iwaizumi managed to steer them in the direction of a nearby café, and even though it was late, the group still seemed interested in fluffy desserts and drinks, the party forgotten for now. 

Akaashi let out a sigh of relief. They could party on the weekend, but trying to deflect Sugawara’s wrath from a hungover Bokuto would have been quite a task.

Chapter Text

pas de chat - /ˌpä də ˈSHä/


"a jump in which each foot in turn is raised to the opposite knee"

the step of the cat!

Several weeks into rehearsing parts and learning choreography for casting, Kageyama discovered that while Hinata was a hot mess of a human being, he was also one of the most dynamic dancers she had ever seen. He quite literally flew during his jumps, almost rivalling Bokuto and her explosive allegros.

His eyes were always lit with a passion that seemed to say ‘nobody wants this more than I do’. Which of course wasn’t true, Kageyama wanted to dance and succeed just as badly too. Yet, sometimes her expressions didn’t show past the brilliance of her technique. She had been called a doll and a mannequin before because of it, but had brushed it off. Now, watching Hinata, with his face so alive and lucid, Kageyama wasn’t so sure.

During a rehearsal of the Bluebird pas de deux with Yamaguchi and Hinata, Kageyama realized she was jealous. As Hinata kissed the sky, Yamaguchi was timid and soft next to him. A perfect pas de deux means balance. But this was off, and Sugawara quickly noticed.

“Yamaguchi, you and Hinata really aren’t a good match. Yamaguchi, you must have more attack. Let the audience know the story you’re telling, okay?”

As the piano started once more, Kageyama’s envy only heightened, the too-happy music taunting her. Her usually pallid features tinged red as she pretended to stretch her leg on a nearby barre, unable to watch. Yamaguchi looked too-small even while she danced on her own. As Hinata almost dropped her on a basic arabesque lift, and the whole room visibly shuddered at his blatant incompetence, somehow Kageyama could only think one thing.

That should be me up there.

“Hey, Kageyama! They posted the first few roles, did you see?” Kageyama feigned annoyance, glancing at the bouncing orange-haired boy sharply.


“Let’s go see!”

He grabbed her hand, dragging her along the corridor until they reached the bulletin board. Kageyama felt her heart leap into her throat at the sensation of Hinata’s hand around her own. Doing her best to keep up and fight the blush that seemed to be blossoming on her cheeks more often, Kageyama let herself be pulled along with Hinata until they skidded to a stop in front of the throng of dancers.

“Hey, hey, hey! Kuroo, you got the Puss in Boots part!”

“Really? Hell yeah!”

Kuroo high-fived Bokuto as another dancer, slender and whiplike and green eyes alight walked over to the throng. Lev Haiba. A dancer with "a lot of potential" as described by Ennoshita during her audition because of her long lines, but her lack of muscle control often had her looking like a silver spider.

“Kuroo, I’m doing a pas de deux with you!”

Kuroo made a face at Bokuto, but grinned all the same.

“You better keep those legs in check, there’s no way I’m going to be able to lift you otherwise.”

Lev laughed in response, walking away to join the tiny Yaku Morisuke.

A low alto voice swept into the chatter that reverberated off the hallway's marble floors. 

"Hey, everyone."

Bokuto's spine got just a little straighter as she turned from where she had been looking at the rehearsal schedule pinned up.

“Akaashi! Did you see what part you got?”

She smiled a little, rare but very genuinely.

“Yeah. Lilac Fairy.”

Bokuto clapped her hands and threw her arm over Akaashi, almost knocking her down completely.

“That’s great Keiji! You suit that part really well!”

Kuroo joined in the "tackle Akaashi party," hugging her tightly.

“Yeah, great job Kei!”

The role of the Lilac Fairy really did suit Akaashi. Lavender tutu, sweeping music. Classic, collected, beautiful. The waltz was one of the most famous solos in ballet, and the dark-haired dancer was perfect for it.

“Guess who Aurora and the Prince are?”

Bokuto jumped up from Akaashi’s shoulder.

“Oikawa and Iwaizumi?”

Kuroo nodded, smirking.

“A perfect role for a perfect pair.”

His jealousy was well hidden. Kuroo longed for that perfect match, secretly. And even though half of himself told himself it was just wishful thinking, the other half was wishing just as hard for someone to dance with who matched him perfectly, step for step.  

Chapter Text

couronne de fleurs - crown of flowers in french


"a wreath of flowers and leaves, worn on the head or hung as a decoration"

The day Sawamura Daichi, director of Miyagi Ballet Theatre walked into a corps du ballet rehearsal, Hinata just about had an aneurysm mid-jeté, fell down rather ungracefully and had to sit out with an icepack on his knee while Daichi observed the class in silence, standing near Sugawara.

It’s not like Tsukishima wasn’t surprised that the head of the theatre just up and walked into the room, but she liked to think that she was a little more mature. That, however didn’t stop her from ending her fouette sequence early so she could get a good look at him, as did the rest of the dancers. They had been rehearsing the Garland Waltz, a dance that required arms of steel and good depth perception, considering the ridiculous patterns and formations that the dancers had to weave all while holding heavy garlands of flowers above their heads. It was famous though, the lilt of the strings still caused all of their hearts to flutter, just a little, at hearing the timeless melody. 

Still, the second an opportunity for a break presented itself, the assembled waltzers practically flung the garlands to the ground, women checking the ties on their pointe shoes, stretching out sore muscles and complaining to each other in hushed voices about aches and pains in general.

Sawamura greeted Sugawara a little more warmly than regular co-workers would, but to the senior members of the theatre, their relationship was no secret. There was even a betting pool on the date they’d get engaged.

After a moment, Sugawara smiled, but his eyes had an edge to them.

“Did I say you could laze around? You’re all company members, most of you don’t even know the dance completely. You should be marking it and rehearsing.” He shot Bokuto and Kuroo a look, knowing they were about to protest. “Bokuto, your feet are a mess on that jump sequence because you keep looking at Akaashi. Figure the part out, you’re a principal dancer. Kuroo, if you drop your garland one more time I’ll staple it to your hands.”

Even though he looked like an angel, good god could he scold people. Even smirking Kuroo was serious, diligently going over the jumps with Bokuto.

Out of nowhere, Sugawara’s smile returned to its normal warm glow, as he turned to Sawamura.

“I’m sorry for not introducing Sawamura Daichi to you newer dancers; he’s the director here at Miyagi.” The tall but sturdy man smiled, raising a hand in greeting.

“I’m sorry for disrupting class and causing you with the orange hair to hurt your knee. I’m just interested to see how the production is coming along. His keen, dark eye searched the room of faces, before his gaze landed on Kageyama.

“Koushi, have you cast her yet?” Sugawara smiled knowingly.

“Ennoshita and I have been working on it.”

“Could I try something?”

Sugawara shrugged.

“I don’t think this waltz is going anywhere today, why not.” He paused, nodding to the dancers. “If you have a solo or pas de deux, please rehearse it, I’ll need you in a few minutes. The rest of you may go, thank you.”

Hinata stood up to leave, his knee feeling much better from the cooling touch of the ice. However it seemed that Sawamura had other plans.

“Could I ask you to perform something for me please?”

Hinata felt a bubble of excitement burst in his stomach. A chance to perform for the director? Absolutely! “You’re aware of the Canary Fairy solo, yes? Koushi tells me you’ve been rehearsing parts of it with Yamaguchi and Nishinoya, is that right?” Hinata nodded. “Even though it’s a female role, he says you seem to know it well enough. Would you mind showing me?”

Chapter Text

princesse florine - known as princess flora in english


"the kind-hearted princess from The Blue Bird, a well known fairy tale"

 The chime of the music began, and Hinata ran forward, taking short, tiny steps as his hands flicked from side to side, the movements still rather feminine for a male variation, yet they worked somehow. Instead of the typical rond de jambe en l'air that followed the entrance, he switched it for a tour jete to the back, soaring through the air while his arms opened, catching himself lightly and moving on to the next sequence of turns and quick, light footwork.

His movements were sharp, flurried and somewhat erratic, and Kageyama was transfixed as she sewed her pointe shoe on the side of the room, trying not to prick herself but failing. Hinata was light, so light and full of energy that while he was small, his movements were impossible to look away from. He smiled as his eyes followed the arc of his hands as they made feather-light brushes against the air. As he did one last grand jete and held it, perfectly into an arabesque, the dancers in the room all clapped, perhaps not as transfixed as they had been for the Bluebird duet, but interested all the same.

“You have a very interesting quality to your movements. And you changed the choreography to fit on the spot, which is difficult to do. It was an excellent performance.”

Hinata beamed, thanking him.

“You, with the dark blue leotard? Do you know the steps for the Princess Florine/Bluebird pas de deux?”

Kageyama looked down at the fabric of her leotard, eyes wide. Yes, she knew them, but was he really talking to her? Hinata answered her question.

“Kageyama, he means you!” He turned to Sawamura. “She knows it really well, she’s super smart!”

Kageyama felt that familiar flutter in her stomach before nodding.

“Ah. . . yeah, he’s right.”

Suga laughed. 

"You're super smart?" 

Immediately, Kageyama felt the blood rush to her face, spluttering.

"Wait um! No that's not what I meant. . ." 

Hinata's laughter drowned out the rest of her sentence, which only made her blush harder. 

“Would you two show me?”

Hinata jumped up and down, spring-loaded as always.


Sawamura smiled.

“Yes, really. Hinata is a very. . . bright dancer, and your movements are more precise and quiet. I think you’d have a good partnership.”

Would they? Her stomach flipped over, wondering what would happen if they didn’t. Would it mean she and Hinata couldn’t be together? Did she even want them to be together?

Pushing these thoughts aside, she focused her blue eyes on Hinata, eyeing him as if to say, ‘you better not mess up or I’ll kick you with this torture-shoe’. He seemed to get the message because he recoiled visibly at Kageyama’s stormy expression.

“Kageyama, dear, please try to smile. Princess Florine is a happy character, try to enjoy the dance.” Sugawara said to her as she passed by to take the same spot that Oikawa had taken earlier that month. Kageyama tried to rearrange her features into a smile, but her hands trembled just a little bit as Oikawa, Kuroo, Iwaizumi, Bokuto and Akaashi walked into the room, presumably prepping for solos and duets. However, once Oikawa saw Kageyama in the starting pose for the pas de deux, she nudged Kuroo who grinned at Bokuto.

Oh boy.

The music sounded just like a bluebird hopping along a branch, as Kageyama moved through the familiar steps with practiced ease, she let herself fall into Hinata’s rhythm, slightly offbeat but interesting all the same. She had to keep herself focused, in the moment, during his jump sections because of the insane height that he got. But when she did her turns into his arms, Kageyama felt those brown eyes watching her intently. The focus that emanated off the pair was incredible. He almost dropped her on several lifts, and because of their height difference, she kicked him in the jaw on a penche.

But when the last few notes of the music died off, even Oikawa was quite speechless.

Only Sawamura and Sugawara broke the silence, Sugawara wearing one of his ‘told you so’ smiles.

“Hinata. You’re an excellent soloist, but when your did that duet, your technique was quite nice. You almost fed off of Kageyama’s precision. Kageyama. I haven’t seen you enjoy yourself dancing until now. Beautiful work, you two.”

Chapter Text

la feé des lilas - known as the fairy of the lilacs or the lilac fairy in english


"once again, the Lilac Fairy quells the hubbub and reminds the King and Queen that Aurora is merely asleep"

 “It’s Friday! Finally!”

Bokuto said suddenly to Kuroo and Lev as they walked through the halls of Miyagi, Kuroo’s Doc Martens echoing off the marble floor.

“That is correct, Kou.”

He deadpanned, completely dead from rehearsal. Trying to get Lev to get to the right spot and do what she was supposed to was like herding a cat, literally.

“Aww, why so boring Tetsu?”

Kuroo gave the stripy-haired girl a look as Lev piped up with a  “Sorry Kuroo!”

“Yeah, yeah. It’s just that sometimes Ennoshita can be even tougher than Suga, and that’s saying something.”

Bokuto nodded in agreement as they turned the corner, walking into an empty studio to begin warming up for rehearsals.

“Tell me about it. I was with him yesterday learning the Precious Stone pas de quatre and he yelled at Yahaba for like thirty minutes straight because she couldn’t remember which side to exit on. He gets so calm and then literally punches you in the face.”

Kuroo agreed as he exchanged the heavy black shoes for white canvas ballet slippers, leaving his black sweatshirt and grey leggings on as they started going over the steps for the Act 1 reverence.

“Speaking of the pas de quatre, did you get a role in it?”

Bokuto grinned, loudly exclaiming.

“Sure did! I’m the Diamond Fairy!”

Kuroo high-fived her as did Lev.

“Who’re the rest of the stones?”

Lev questioned, marking a turn section, ballet shoes squeaking.

“Nishinoya is the Topaz Fairy, Yahaba’s the Sapphire Fairy, and Yaku is the Ruby Fairy.”

“That’s a really weird height difference, isn’t it?”

As Bokuto zipped a cream-coloured jacket over her black leotard and sweatpants, she nodded in agreement.

“Yeah, I was really confused about that at first, since Suga had Tsukishima and Komi doing some of the solos, but it turns out Yaku was the only one who could keep her balance well enough on the Ruby solo.”

The Ruby Fairy’s solo was one of the most difficult in the production, because of the constant rising up on pointe shoes. Many dancers who performed the solo tended to be on the shorter side, considering many of them had more balance. Yaku, for one was remarkably steady and calm as a dancer, completely contrasting to her fiery personality, which Lev had been on the receiving end of quite a few times.

“Tetsu, by any chance do you know the counts for the first section of the solo?”

“Why would I?”

“Oh. Right.”

Bokuto was undeterred by this, and decided to head next door where Akaashi and several other dancers were rehearsing the fairy solos from Act 1, judging by the cheerful notes of the Canary Solo’s music that flooded from the open door.
Bokuto peeked into the doorway, watching as Yachi, a shy but energetic girl, executed a turn section almost perfectly, landing lightly with a bright smile on her face. The Canary solo suited her almost perfectly, her flighty, bird like demeanor perfect for the dance.
As she curtesyed, running ‘offstage’, Akaashi seemingly materialized at the corner of the room, serene smile on her face as the waltz began to play, and oh boy was Bokuto absolutely in for it.

She stood in the corner of the room, unable to take her eyes off the fluid, melting grace that was Akaashi Keiji.
The white, harsh studio light reflected off the planes of her arms as they stroked through the air, stretching wide, perfectly in time on her balancés, each movement strong and sure and so different from usual, quiet self. Akaashi’s dark brown eyes met Bokuto’s for a second and then her smile widened, genuine and beautiful like her movements. All too soon, the music died away and Akaashi was dipping her head gently as if to say ‘bye for now.'

“Kou, what’s taking you so long- Ah.”

Kuroo looped an arm through Bokuto's, squeezing her hand.

“Isn’t she amazing? I knew Akaashi was good, but she fucking slayed that.”

Bokuto nodded, still speechless.
Of course, Akaashi took this moment to walk over, breathing heavily and sipping on a water bottle.

“Yo, Keiji. That was insanely good!”

Akaashi smiled, but her eyes were on Bokuto. Would she approve?

“Yeah. . . You did really good."

Bokuto’s eyes were down, her hands fiddling with the drawstring of her jacket.
A pang of anxiety struck Akaashi, but her face remained neutral.

“Well? Why’d you come in? Weren’t you helping Lev with the pas de deux?”

Kuroo swore.

“I should probably get back to her before she starts chewing on the barre or something.”

As he left, Bokuto swallowed hard. Now it was just them. Well, then and the corps du ballet that was currently ‘rehearsing’ but actually hanging on their every word.

“I think Bokuto’s gonna confess!”

Nishinoya whispered to Asahi, the tall, shy girl who was dancing the role of the nurse, and was also in the corps du ballet during Act 3, the wedding scene.
Tanaka, a sharp-tongued dancer with a cheerful personality hmm-ed in agreement, but Oikawa, who was sprawled across the floor with a heating pad on her knee shook her head.

“No, Kou’s not confessing. I’m sure she wants to, but she won’t.”

“How can you be so sure?”

“Just am.”

Oikawa said airily, causing Hinata who was marking the bluebird steps nearby to breathe “so cool. . .”
Iwaizumi, however, laughed.

“No, Bokuto told you that she wanted to wait until she was absolutely sure.”

“Iwa! Why’d you ruin my secrets?”

Iwaizumi said nothing, feigning innocence as Nishinoya dissolved into hysteric laughter.

“Anyways I was wondering if you knew the Diamond Fairy steps?”

Akaashi sighed. Back to normal.

“Ah, no, I don’t. Tsukishima does though, she’s over there.”

Bokuto grinned, thanking Akaashi and bounding over to the blonde.

“Hey, care to do the great Bokuto a favour?”

“This better be good, I just took my pointe shoes off.”

Chapter Text

musique - music in french


"vocal or instrumental sounds (or both) combined in such a way as to produce beauty of form, harmony, and expression of emotion"

 “. . .So if you could help me out, that’d be great.”

Tsukishima pondered this as she stepped into a pair of rubber Nike sandals, sighing.

“Yeah, okay.”

Bokuto’s face lit up.

“Hey, hey, hey! I’ll meet you in the studio next door, Tetsu should be in there along with Lev.”

Tsukishima looked quizzical once more.

“And why are you going to meet me there if it’s next door?”

Bokuto blushed, her large golden eyes darting over to look at Akaashi as the slender dancer bent easily into a fondu, melting through the simple step as her leg extended impossibly high, showing just how flexible she was.

“I have some stuff to do here, ahaha. . .” Bokuto trailed off, playing nervously with a tendril of hair that had escaped from the coil of her duotoned bun.

Tsukishima had to hide a smile at that, a real one.

“Whatever you say.”

Bokuto flashed her a smile before practically skipping over to Akaashi. “Thanks, Tsukki!”

As the blonde slipped on her dark brown fleece jacket, she paused for half a second.

“Tsukki?” She murmured to herself. Nobody but Yamaguchi had called her that before.

Did that make them friends?

“Yo Tsukishima! Where’s Kou?” Kuroo asked from where he lay on his back, earbuds in. Tsukishima glanced around the room, but it was completely empty.

“Where’s the tall one?”

Kuroo popped out an earbud, rolling over to look at Tsukishima. The blonde kicked off her shoes, pulling on a pair of mismatched socks instead.

“Lev left, she had another rehearsal to get to. So it’s just us.” He smirked, yet Tsukishima still looked deadpan. “Actually though, where’s Kou at?”

“Talking to Akaashi.”

Kuroo laughed.

“Oh man, then it’s really gonna be a while. Make yourself comfy!” Kuroo joked, patting the floor next to him.

When the blonde girl settled down next to him, crosslegged with her earbuds in hand, he almost jumped straight through the roof. She studied him, golden eyes sharp. But her mouth made no sound, she just watched with a sort of pensive tension. 

“Ah. . . so what’re you listening to?”

It was her turn to look shocked as she slipped a headphone out, eyes wide.

“You’re gonna think I’m crazy.”

“Kou listens to Hannah Montana. Don’t worry.”

She had to crack a smile at that.

“I knew there was someone under that ice!” Her smile melted just as quickly, ignoring the remark.

“I listen to a lot of classical music, but I always end up listening to music from famous ballets.”

“How’s that crazy? You’re a ballerina, right? Or are you just a really good method actor?”

“Well everyone’s always complaining that if they hear music from their ballets one more time that they’ll die or something like that, but I don’t really get tired of them. Like see?” She held up her phone for emphasis. “The Rose Adagio.”

“Well maybe that’s a little crazy, but it’s not so much crazy as it is cute.”

Tsukishima blushed, turning her head away. Suddenly she was a shy high schooler again, just for a still moment until she composed herself, tucking a strand of hair behind her ear along with the rest of her emotions.

“You think I’m cute?”

“Well, yeah. I thought you were going to kill me with a single look when I first saw you, but you’re actually pretty dorky.”

The blonde elbowed him in the side, eyes flashing with amusement.

“How much better are you? What music do you listen to?” Kuroo was about to open his mouth, but Tsukishima kept going. “Yes, I saw that Hatsune Miku keychain on your bag. And I’m a dork?”

Kuroo raised his hands in defeat.
“You caught me. I listen to vocaloid. A friend got me into it, actually.” He said, thinking about Kenma.

Tsukishima laughed, not an entirely unpleasant sound.

“Hey, trade?”

“Trade what?”


She shrugged, handing him her phone.

Kuroo placed the earbuds in his ears, smiling as ‘Dance of the Little Swans’ by Tchaikovsky filled his ears. Next to him, it couldn’t be more different as ‘Childish War’ by Kagamine Rin and Len played into Tsukishima’s head.

“Hey hey hey! Sorry for the wait!”

From where he was slumped against Tsukishima, Kuroo rolled his eyes.

“No you’re not.”

“Okay, yeah. But now that I’m here, you guys have to stop being coupley and teach me things.”

Tsukishima blinked a few times, a little taken aback by the ball of energy that was Bokuto Koutarou.

“Um. Yeah. Let’s do that.”

Chapter Text

sauté - /sōˈtā,sôˈtā/


"a jump off both feet, landing in the same position"

translated literally, it means "to jump"

 “Kou, you’re still not really holding your arms right. They're too square, and your wrists are cutting off your line." 

Bokuto made a face, her whole face deflating.

“That's elementary stuff, I should be able to do this!" She paused, dropping her arms from the arabesque line and twisting her mouth sideways. "Maybe they cast me wrong. . . You’d be better off in this role, Tsukki.”

Kuroo walked back into the room, holding several bottles of water. He seemed to assess the situation, his yellow eyes sweeping across Bokuto's downcast gaze and Tsukishima's exasperation before walking over to the droopy, owl-eyed girl.

“Hey Kou, wanna have a contest?”

She peeked at Kuroo through jagged bangs that had become unpinned from her already messy bun.

“What kind of contest?”

Kuroo smiled, catlike as he handed Tsukishima a bottle.

“Oh nothing big. .  just a jumping contest.”

The smallest flicker became apparent in Bokuto’s eyes as she began undoing the ribbons on her pointe shoes.

Tsukishima shot Kuroo a dubious look, but Kuroo just kept smiling that catlike grin, tossing her a wink with complete nonchalance.

“Tsukki, do you mind giving us a jump combo? Make it tough."

Tsukishima nodded, surprised but paused to chew her lip as she bounced in place to mark the combination before giving it. 

“Let's see then. . . Oh! The combination Sugawara gave us this morning during warmups." Bokuto sucked in air through her teeth. Suga was a tough instructor, but nothing was as bad as his ridiculous jump combinations.

"Ok. Two entrechat cinq, jeté saute coupé balloné to pas de bouree, asemblé with royale, entrechat trois, changement and repeat, leading with the other foot.”

They both took a few moments to process this, before falling into place to start.

"Count us off, Tsukki!" Bokuto exclaimed, the flicker in her eyes growing into that special kind of fire that only lit when she had a goal, a mission. Something to give her purpose, if only for the moment.

The blonde girl nodded from where she now sat, stretching her impossibly long limbs in a split.

“Alright, five, six, seven, eight. . .”

The moment Bokuto’s toes left the ground, she never completely touched back down to the marley. Her soft ballet shoes sifted across the floor, getting just as much height has Kuroo did on his jumps.

And Kuroo was something else entirely. While Bokuto was explosive, attacking the floor as she sprung up again and again, Kuroo was like a glacier, silent and powerful. His eyes were completely focused and staring into the mirror, sheer power emanating from his form.

When the time came to repeat on the left side though, he tossed Tsukishima a wink and suddenly slipped right before the jete saute.

“Hey hey hey! I win!” Bokuto cried as she kept jumping, her energy absolutely endless. Instead of following the routine now, she did a chassé into a sprawling, lazy grand jete, laughing with joy as her lean legs stretched into an oversplit. 

“Looks like I really am the best!”

Kuroo only shook his head from where he stood.

“Alright, we really need to get this done. I know you Kou, you’re stalling for time, so start from the beginning of the solo, ok?”

Bokuto nodded, pausing for a second as she began re-tying her pointe shoes, quiet for once. Kuroo regarded her for a moment, before tackling her into a hug, effectively causing Bokuto to tie her fingers into the satin ribbons.

“Not that I don’t love you, Tetsu, but what was that for?” Kuroo smiled, deftly undoing the knots.

“I know you wanna kill this performance, and you will. But you can’t be so hard on yourself. Just because it's delicate, dainty, and not in your comfort zone, doesn't mean you're going to mess it up. You’re gonna learn the steps, you’re gonna perform it well. You’ve never let Miyagi down before. This solo is no harder than anything else you’ve ever done, I promise.”

Bokuto was quiet for a few moments before her lips curved into a small smile, not her usual bright grin, but a softer, warmer smile. With her amber eyes downcast, she murmured softly,

“Thank you, Tetsu.”

Chapter Text

saut de chat - /so də ʃa/


"a jump similar to a grande jété differing in that the front leg extends through a développé instead of a grand battement"

the leap of the cat!

They were now a full month into preparations for Sleeping Beauty, and Kuroo felt like he was absolutely losing it. Sugawara had expectedly upped the amount of rehearsal time, and all of the principals basically lived at the theatre now. Much to the stage-shy Tsukishima’s chagrin, rehearsals were now on Miyagi’s sprawling stage, and soloist choreography had been almost completely learned. It was that time during production season where the ballet masters were no longer searching for technique, but feeling, storytelling, emotion.

People come to the ballet to see art come to life.

That was what his old teacher, Nekomata had always told him, and it was true. Being a professional was now about being able to convey a message, a meaning. But that was the most difficult part for so many dancers, including himself. There’s just so much to think about when onstage, who could even have time to focus on your face? 

All these worries swirling in his mind as Kuroo walked caused him to bang directly into a door. Jumping in shock and rubbing his knee, he looked around to make sure his reputation as Slick Dude™ wasn’t tarnished. Luckily for him, it wasn’t, and so he continued on his way, pushing through the door into the quiet, sun-filled studio. A warm feeling spread into his chest as he remembered what happened last time he had been in this studio with Tsukishima, her back pressed against his as they listened to music, drinking in each other’s company. Since they, he had coaxed her into giving him her number, and promising not to bother her with cat emojis at 3:00 am. He soon broke that promise, of course, but he had a feeling Tsukishima was probably not as mad as she seemed to be.

Of course, he could be crazy and now she actually hated him and he was just oblivious and-

There he went again. This sort of thing happened when Kuroo got overwhelmed. He immediately started panicking, quietly, to himself. His mind would swim with worst-case scenarios until he was ready to throw up.

He did have a way to combat it though. Dance.

While his mind had been whirring, methodically his hands had moved of their own accord, stripping out of his sweats to reveal the simple black tights and high-necked sleeveless top he wore underneath. Now, he crossed the floor of the smaller studio to the music player, stopping for a moment to soak in the sunshine that flooded in through the large, wraparound windows of the room. He plugged his phone in, scrolling through his playlist of classical and ballet music to find Vivaldi’s Winter, the first movement.

As the music began to build, sounding like a ticking clock with its sharp rhythm, he began dancing his way across the floor with a slew of chaine and pique turns down the diagonal of the room, before beginning a series of pirouettes. Doubles and triples turned into eights, nines, tens, now with a lá seconde turns thrown into the mix, whirling along with the dramatic, swelling music.

Kuroo landed them all, before running to the corner of the studio, arms outstretched as he threw his head back in a saut de chat that seemed to hover in the air for hours. Sweat formed on his forehead, but he didn’t care, as he continued to dance, setting free all of his worries and frustrations into countless attitude turns and arabesque turns, because that was where his real strengths lay. Sure, he could jump and his technique was alright, but his his foundation were his turns, and he turned to that foundation now as the music grew once more and Kuroo threw himself into another jeté leap, before a voice struck him out of his frenzied turns.

“If you’re not careful, you’re going to get injured. And nobody wants that.”

The dry voice could only belong to the golden-eyed Tsukishima Kei, who was currently leaning against the doorway, sunlight hitting her hair and turning it the colour of wheat. She flashed him a smile, albeit a quick one, and sat down to slip off her blue warm-up boots, revealing her pointe shoes and tights rolled up to the ankle. She left her sweatshirt on as she crossed the room to stand next to him, pushing up onto her full pointe so she could be the same height as him. Her strands of fuzzy hair had curled around her face, and looked like a halo to Kuroo. Which was fitting, because he was certain she was an angel.

“Also your form on that leap was horrendous.”

And they were back to their regularly scheduled Tsukishima “Fucking Savage Goddamn” Kei.

Chapter Text

valse - /väls/


"french term for waltz (especially as used in the titles of pieces of music)"

In her opinion, she had never been particularly romantic, never one to fall completely head over heels for someone. At least, she didn’t notice for a long time, not until a certain dark-haired young man had slipped into her heart, in his own charming way. Tsukishima Kei didn’t realize this until she watched him from the doorway, as he poured more life into his actions than she had ever seen.

She had been walking by the small studio when she heard the strains of Vivaldi’s Winter, which wasn’t in Sleeping Beauty, so she was mostly confused as to why anyone would be rehearsing anything else since these days nobody had time for anything other than rehearsals.

Most of the dancers were dancing multiple roles anyways, but Tsukishima could only stop and gape in shock when she saw none other than Kuroo Tetsurou gliding across the floor, his eyes partly closed as the pique turns he performed led him into a double pirouette, right in the middle of the patches of sunlight that dripped in from the windows, coating parts of him in shadows and light.

Tsukishima was enraptured for what seemed like ages as he propelled himself into a grand jeté, that hung in the still air for heartbeats until its landing. It was the sloppy, out of place tombé-coupé jeté combination that took him around the perimeter of the studio that caused Tsukishima’s golden eyes to blink in surprise at the nothing if not dangerous landing that Kuroo displayed each time he touched down from the sprawling jeté leaps.

It was then that she realized something was clearly wrong, and suddenly the blonde was at a complete loss for what to do. She barely knew Kuroo, save for some lighthearted texting and friendly chatter during rehearsals. She definitely didn’t know him like his bubbly roommate (and possibly more, in her opinion) Bokuto seemed to, but she was the only one around in the much-less frequented North Wing of Miyagi. It was the historic part of the theatre, so its six studios were much smaller and less well-taken care of than the spacious rooms in the West Wing. But Kuroo seemed to have a deep affection for the small, square old marley floor with its slightly splintering barres and huge, rattling wooden door that never shut properly with a dull brassy doorknob that was about to fall clean off.

Still at a loss for what exactly to do, she responded in the way only Tsukishima could. With sarcasm. She could feel his eyes on her as she slipped into the room, dropping her faded green bag onto the floor, breaking the smooth melody of the waltz that swirled through the room, Vivaldi’s Winter having long since ended and now was replaced with the shimmery tones of the famous Waltz of the Flowers, composed by none other than Tchaikovsky himself. Rising up onto the very tips of her pointe shoes, now eye to eye with him. Her offhand remark about his form was immediately returned with Kuroo’s brand of cheesy romance.
“Awfully good atmosphere, hm?”
Tsukishima rolled her eyes, although she secretly agreed, the sweeping tones of the waltz lifting her mood considerably, and swayed to the music, having come down off pointe, a small smile on her face.

Out of nowhere, a hand was outstretched in front of her, open to take. Tsukishima stared for a moment, before throwing all caution to the wind and taking it as suddenly she was pulled into Kuroo’s orbit, the hypnotic grace of his steps only spurring her on to match him as their impromptu pas de deux began.

Chapter Text

coulisse - /ko͞oˈlēs/


"the spaces between pieces of flat scenery on a stage or in a theater; the wings"

dans les coulisses - in the wings in french

 The first thing Kuroo noticed, was how incredibly freezing Tsukishima’s hands were. Tsukishima could only pull in closer to Kuroo, drinking in his warmth as she chaine-turned into his arms, dipping her low and looking her dead in the eye, sending a rush of. . . something through her limbs. She really couldn’t put her finger on it, as the waltz grew in volume and their steps grew bigger, his strong hands curling around her waist as he led her through countless lifts, some which didn’t end so well, and their laughter rang through the room. Her muscles ached and the arches of her feet were sore, but she felt so content, so relaxed to be dancing with Kuroo that Tsukishima barely even noticed the fatigue.

In traditional pas de deux fashion, Kuroo now stepped away from the suddenly-lively blonde to let her perform a short solo, which she powered through with a golden intensity. It made Kuroo suddenly remember why he fell in love with ballet after all. Tsukishima's queenly aura evoked memories of tutus and dust-mote filled air rich with the scent of hairspray backstage behind heavy red curtains. Visions of the women helping each other do their hair in hushed voices, bobby pins and gossip passed back and forth as they wet their satin pointe shoe ribbons to hold the knot as tightly as possible for the next act. They scuffed their toes into the rosin box in the wings, final checks on clips and laces of costumes and hairpieces before gliding out into the world of buttery light.

It reminded him of the men stretching each other out, marking through solos and jump combinations, flexed feet in worn canvas slippers swishing back and forth, hair combs with the thick scent of gel and running back and forth to grab tulle skirts and costumes of flowing chiffon for the women. It was the hushed reverence for the art that they all shared that kept him coming into practice every morning, that moment of exhilaration spent standing on the darkened stage right before the lights came up. It was an art and a sport hundreds of years old, still performed with timeless grace. Each variation performed was the same as it had been the first time it was performed. It was unchanged for the most part in a rapidly changing world, and it was the biggest security that they could have.

“Kuroo? Why are you just standing there? It’s your solo, unless you don’t want to? It’s not like this is important.”

Kuroo blinked, brought out of his reverie suddenly by Tsukishima’s low, soft voice.

“No, I’ll dance.”

With that, he paused, counting himself in before performing a quick flurry of travelling turns, but now he was composed, back to that glacial focus that he was known for. Tsukishima smiled, a warm feeling fluttering in her heart because now he was back to classic, powerful Kuroo. When he finished, he flopped onto the floor with an overdramatic sigh.

“Now that was one hell of a warmup. I don’t know how I’m gonna get through practice today.”

Tsukishima nodded, mouth full of of water. She swallowed before replying.

“Shouldn’t we be there right now or something?”

The amber eyes that had been shut in tired bliss now shot open, as Kuroo propelled himself off the floor.

“Shit! You’re right. We have Act 3 rehearsal right now and I was supposed to go over Lev’s solo and fuck! I forgot! She’s going to murder me!” He said, all in one big rush as the pair collected their bags and hurried as fast as they could to the West Wing, where the prestigious Miyagi Theatre lay in wait.

Chapter Text

méprise - mistake in french


"an action or judgment that is misguided or wrong"

 “Hey, you there! Shrimpy! Quit staring off into space, it’s your cue!”

“Kinoshita, that was nowhere near a stage whisper!”

“Neither was that, Narita!”

Their arguing was quickly silenced by a certain look from a certain queen, namely Shimizu Kiyoko, her grey eyes flashing at the bickering males. Kiyoko wasn’t just queenly by nature, it was literally the role she had in this production, aka Aurora's mom, the Queen Mother.

Hinata blinked in surprise as Kinoshita gave him a small shove, the light-haired dancer’s brow furrowed as the first notes of the coda began to play.

“Hinata, you missed it! Get out there!” Kinoshita “stage-whispered” again. Eyes wide and with a hurried thank you to Kinoshita, Hinata walked to the edge of the curtain, breathing in as deeply as he could. With that, Hinata was off, floppy orange bangs barely held back with a few pins as he leapt into the center of the stage, hurrying the steps in double-time in order to get back onto the music.

As he worked his way through assemblés and sisones, each step taking him higher and making him look as though he was really floating through the sky, he caught the eye of Ennoshita, who was directing this particular rehearsal along with Sugawara. His face was blank except for an eyebrow that was skeptically arched. Probably because I was distracted and missed my cue. Hinata thought to himself as he spiralled upwards into a tour en l'air with ease, getting lost in the music as its key changed to cue in Kageyama, who he knew had entered behind him just like they had practiced for weeks, arms outstretched and a small smile on her lips as if to say hello to the audience, even if there was barely anyone there.

As Kageyama worked her way down the diagonal of the stage, light on her feet as usual, Hinata caught the first glimpse of the lovely black-haired ballerina in her element. While she was cold in her daily life, the luminous nature of the stage warmed her right up and the harsh lines of her body and face were suddenly soft, illuminated in a torrent of hot stage light. Her eyes, usually a very dark blue, were suddenly alive. Her sharp elbows and wrists malleable, just like the rest of her body as it swept through the combination.

The perfectly-precise nature of her pique turns now brought her to the corner of the stage, and then several quick pique rond de jambe en l’air took her to Hinata where he waited, smiling the sunny smile she had seen on her first day at Miyagi. As she got closer, she felt her heart flutter just a little, nearing his outstretched arms as their movements became playful, fluttering back and forth without words. To the onlookers from the wings, they looked like a young girl chasing a bluebird, bantering back and forth happily.

As the strings swelled a final time, they joined together at the corner of the stage, Kageyama’s hand warm but stiff in Hinata’s as they prepared for the final section of the dance, the one that they had been having trouble with since the pair had found out they were dancing together. Their lack of synchronization had Ennoshita actually banging his head against the door the last time they had rehearsed it in-studio, and since this was the first time onstage, it added a whole new slew of problems for the duet. Kageyama was even taller than Hinata en pointe, and so they were constantly tripping over each other’s feet as they tried to perform a succession of pas de chat and développé arabesque. The speed of the music didn’t help either, Hinata’s rather sloppy technique only adding to the confusion of their muddled limbs.

It didn’t work at all. Before Kageyama could figure out was happening, she was on the floor with Hinata yelling in surprise on top of her, the music quickly coming to a halt. Her head spun but she mustered a glare at Hinata. They had almost had it! Only on the final arabesque where Hinata let go of Kageyama so she could fling her leg back in practiced joy, he had forgotten to actually let go of her hand, resulting in her being dragged around off pointe and onto the floor with him.

To add insult to injury, she could now hear Oikawa’s teasing laughter and the sharp sound of Kuroo sucking in air through his teeth from where they stood with Iwaizumi and Akaashi in the wings, so Kageyama did what she could to maintain her dignity, standing up gingerly and brushing the gross ballet floor debris off her light grey leotard and faded pink tights that were stretched over top of the leotard.

“Hinata, what was that exactly?” Sugawara asked, a note of amusement in his voice as he came to perch on the edge of the stage.

Hinata blushed, which clashed horribly with the orange hair that he now ran a hand through sheepishly.

“Sorry sir. Kageyama’s just really tall.”

“You’re just too short!” She retorted, but was quickly silenced by a look from Suga that sent a chill down her spine.


The lights in the seats now came up, illuminating the few who had filled into the seats and were now watching, and the harsh stage lights dimmed as the ballerinas and danseurs in the wings emerged from behind the curtains, stretching out for the next scene and talking in hushed voices as Hinata and Kageyama were treated to a thorough correction session.

“. . .Hinata, you’ve been extremely distracted all practice. You missed your cue just now, and you were on the wrong foot for most of the reverence at the end of the act earlier. This is not how a member of MBT works, especially a soloist. We gave you and Kageyama this piece because we saw potential. You need to pull it together, or you’ll seriously injure yourself or your partner.” Ennoshita said, but Hinata could barely register after the first few words. He was right, he had been distracted, but the problem was that Hinata could not figure out what was distracting him at all.

At least, until Kageyama stood up from where she had been fiddling with her shoe, tucking a wisp of hair that had flown free from her bun behind her ear as she looked around with those impossibly dark blue eyes.

Oh. Maybe I do know what’s distracting me.

“You two, go find a place to rehearse this. You better have it down by the end of the week.” Suga warned, before clapping his hands together to assemble the corps, every color of leotard and every stage of a falling-apart bun suddenly in their places as a waltz began, fading away as Kageyama and Hinata pushed through the massive double doors, refusing to make eye contact with each other all the way to the closest empty studio. They were so wrapped up in this that they barely noticed a breathless Kuroo and Tsukishima sprinting by into the theatre, and the raucous laughter that then floated out the open door into the marble hallway.

Chapter Text

prima - /ˌprēmə/


"the chief female dancer in a ballet or ballet company"

 Fat raindrops slid down the windowpanes as Kageyama pushed open the door to studio L16, not bothering to turn the lights on, the wash of grey light from the suddenly-rainy afternoon enough to see Hinata and his solemn face.

“If you’re going to lecture me on how I need to take this more seriously, you can save it.”

About to open her mouth and do just that, Kageyama paused in shock. Hinata had a rather angry look in those haunting eyes in place of his usual fire-filled smile. “You’re not the only one who wants this pas to succeed, and I’m not the only one who needs to fix things.”

Immediately incensed, the hot-tempered girl raised a thin black eyebrow, twisting her mouth sideways.

“From what I can see, you can barely keep up with me!”

Hinata rolled his eyes rather uncharacteristically.

“Are you really still doing this prima thing? When are you going to realize that you’re not perfect? When are you going to figure out that if someone can’t keep up with you then you still have to adjust to make it look good? There’s no point in being talented if you can’t work with others!” His voice rose to a shout, stepping closer to Kageyama in the middle of the dance floor.

“Don’t tell me to hold back!” She yelled right back, fingernails digging into pale palms.

“It’s not holding back if you’re balancing it out!” Hinata paused, hands uncurling as he stepped back. “You’re not at your academy anymore. You can’t be a queen forever.”

A queen.

Now there was a phrase Kageyama knew well. During all her years dancing at Kitagawa Daiichi, her old ballet school, she had been called queen many times.

It wasn’t a compliment. They called Oikawa queen too, when she had been there. A doll, a princess, a mannequin. Unfeeling and plastic and only thinking about herself. Kageyama would’ve been lying if she hadn’t said that Hinata’s words stung. Especially coming from him, someone she had come to be almost friends with.

Kageyama had never been too close with anyone. She was never invited to sleepovers at school, parties after showcases and recitals. She didn’t flop on the floor of the shiny-tiled locker rooms with her friends like the other girls did, sighing and comparing how messed up their feet were after hours en pointe. Maybe they were jealous of her technique and high arches. Or maybe it was because she had never once spoken to them, just sailed on by and ran herself ragged practicing.

Instead she confined herself to empty studios and hundreds of extra classes. She practically lived there, when her teacher realized she had potential and pushed her even harder, day and night. There were times where she came home at midnight, feet rubbed raw and bleeding and homework undone. She’d wake up all too early next morning with dried salt on her cheeks and muscles stretched thin to struggle through piles of books and papers. She was ice on the outside because she was small on the inside. A small girl with spindly legs and a shaky heart who was scared of reaching out because she didn’t know how anymore.

“Kageyama?” A feather-light hand touched her shoulder and she twitched, hands flying to her face only for her fingertips to come away wet. Oh. She’d been crying. That was new. She hadn’t cried in front of anyone in a while. “Kageyama?” The voice came again, a little more frantically. “Hey! Kageyama! I’m sorry! Are you okay?”

Those inky blue eyes glanced up at Hinata, a slender hand scrubbing at them quickly to erase the traces of tears.

“‘M fine.”

She mumbled, voice dusted with unease. “Didn’t mean to make you worry. We should get practicing, yeah?”

Hinata shot her a worried look.

“Um? Are you sure?”

“Yes. Sawamura and Suga picked us to do this for a reason. I don’t wanna be held back, but I don’t wanna let them down either.” Hinata laughed, a high, clear sound that made Kageyama’s heart ache with a whole flock of emotions.

“Then we’d better get to work.”

Chapter Text

enfin - finally in french


"after a long time, typically involving difficulty or delay"

 Although Kageyama’s voice was still shaky and Hinata still had a tingling feeling of strange unease in his stomach, they pushed through the doubt, replaying the same tape of music over and over again until Kageyama thought she would puke at the sound of the same strings playing the same repeated melody.

Ah, the joys of being a dancer.

At around 6:00, the sky started to darken and so did the studio, both of them too engrossed in the section they were currently working through to bother to turn the lights on.

There was a strangely intimate quality about dancing together in the shadowy confines of the studio, even more so than their pas de deux usually were. Every touch of Hinata’s felt like feathers brushing against the exposed skin of her shoulders and arms, ghosting along the curves of her waist as he dipped her low, golden eyes looking right back into her own. As they segued into the most difficult section, there was finally a change. After three hours of working through the complex step sequence and focusing their energy to the dance and the dance only, Hinata and Kageyama were suddenly matched, step for step.

She felt like she was walking on air, gliding through assemblés and arabesques with Hinata by her side, the genuine smile she had come to adore on his face, even in the handfuls of twilight that were tossed, smooth and liquid, across the floor of the studio.

One last arabesque, head thrown back and arms outstretched and then they were off again, sailing through the rest of the coda with ease that they had yet to experience.

As Hinata stood, having just finished a final soaring grand jeté, he watched Kageyama’s breathless figure silhouetted in the window, her hands smoothing back the flyaways from her bun. He allowed himself to be there, in that moment, and simply breathe- nothing extra, just Kageyama.

Clearly the world had other plans, because no sooner had he blinked, the sound of the studio door opening scraped its way into his ears and he was whirling around in too-bright light, a short man with curly dark hair and glasses standing in the doorway looking nothing if not embarrassed.

“Who’re you?” Kageyama immediately questioned, albeit rudely, stepping away from the window to stare down the man.

“Ah. . . my name is Takeda Ittetsu. . . I wanted to let you two know that there will be a rehearsal in here in a few minutes.” He paused, twisting his hands together with a smile. “Oh! You’re probably both in it, it’s solo rehearsal. Act 1.”

Hinata nodded enthusiastically.

“We are! It’s one of my favourite parts too, and not just because I have a solo! The revised choreography is really cool! Whoever arranged it is. . .” He trailed off with one of his signature noises of excitement.

Takeda blushed immediately, laughing.

“That’s quite a compliment there, I’m flattered.”

Kageyama’s eyes widened. “You’re the choreographer?” She gaped, hands clasping together. “How come we’ve never seen you before?”

“Takeda~! What do we have here?”

As quickly as she had been elated, Kageyama curled back in on herself, the familiar voice of Oikawa Tooru ringing into the room. “Oh I see. . . Our little Shrimpy and the princess, a little rendezvous in the studio?”

Kageyama bristled, immediately retorting back.

“Shut up Oikawa. What would you know?”

The tall brunette winked.

“More than I’d ever tell you, my dear~”

Takeda looked extremely confused by the exchange that was currently going on in front of him, and sidled out of the line of fire towards the refuge of the CD player, fiddling around with wires and tapes to set up for rehearsal.

Kageyama only scoffed and stalked over to the side of the room, Hinata in tow and at a loss for words.

Oikawa smiled a sharklike grin as more dancers began to fill the room.

“I hope you don’t slip again, my dear Kageyama. We’ll all be watching!” With that, she crossed the room to join several other principals, stiff shoes tapping across the thick marley to promptly get her forehead flicked by Iwaizumi.

“You’re not that cool Shittykawa. Quit trying to impress the new kids.”

This was immediately met with Kuroo’s signature horrific laughter, clutching his stomach and leaning on the equally laughing Bokuto as she attempted to retie her pointe shoes standing on one leg.

“Oh man Oikawa, you sure told them!”

Bokuto laughed even harder at this, sliding down the mirror with a squeaking sound, and presently falling to the floor in a heap with Kuroo. “What if we invited them to the party we’re having before opening night? If nothing, it’d be hilarious.” Kuroo continued, shoving Bokuto off him with a grunt. She was six feet of muscle and energy, it was a difficult task to say in the least. Bonelessly, she slid out of Kuroo’s lap and onto the ground.

“Does anyone know who else is overseeing this rehearsal?”

Akaashi, having just arrived, wordlessly grabbed Bokuto’s outstretched hands from where she was on the floor, yanking her up almost effortlessly. Bokuto almost jumped out of her skin when Akaashi didn’t let go of her wrist, tanned warm hands encircling her skin loosely.

“I heard Ennoshita.”

A groan sounded from Kuroo.

“I don’t even have a solo this act but he’s still gonna kick my ass if I mess around!”

Bokuto moved to sympathetically pat her friend on the shoulder, nodding along.

“Either way any of the teachers here will kick your ass, Tetsu.”

Kuroo shrugged.

“Good point, at least it’s not Ukai. Every time he oversees our rehearsals I have to borrow your toe tape, Kou, because the skin on my feet just magically disappears from all the turns he makes us do.”

A few seconds of stretching overworked muscles and cutting lengths of tape later, Ballet Master Ukai walked into the room, the smell of cigarette smoke wreathing him as he stood next to Takeda, completely silent. As the entire room of dancers stared at him, most of them were completely frozen. Oikawa had stopped mid-knee-wrap, Bokuto fell out of the turn sequence she had been marking, Kageyama paralyzed with her leg in devloppé somewhere near the side of her head, Hinata dropping an entire container of Yachi's bobby pins on the floor as he had been helping the tiny blonde ballerina redo her bun. Ukai raised an eyebrow.

“Well? Don’t let me stop you. Get back to warming up. We’ll start rehearsal in a minute.”

Chapter Text

brisé - /brēˈzā/


"a jump in which the dancer sweeps one leg into the air to the side while jumping off the other, brings both legs together in the air and beats them before landing"

literally, "broken"

The slinky sound of the Puss in Boots and White Cat pas de deux wound its way through the still air, just as Lev and Kuroo wound their way through their duet, and since Lev had finally grasped the idea of self control, her long limbs finally seemed to pay off, her arabesques and attitudes extending for miles underneath the white practice tutu she wore. As they finished it off with ease, Ukai nodded.

“Not bad. Lev, I see your control has improved since your audition.” He paused, thinking. “Hm. . . there’s nothing wrong with it technique-wise, but I think the story needs to shine through just a little more, especially with you Kuroo.”

Takeda smiled in agreement, adding his own words of advice.

“It’s really meant to be a playful dance, Kuroo, think more charming and airheaded, even, and less intense.”

“Kind of like your normal self!” Bokuto called from where she sprawled, leaning against Oikawa who was extremely worn out from her earlier solo runthrough. Stamina was not her strong suit, and it was a demanding role, being a lead. Kuroo looked to Iwaizumi helplessly who was next to them, stretching.

“She’s not wrong, man.”

Bokuto stopped pouting and grinned.

“Yeah, bro! I’m not wrong!”

“This time.” Oikawa giggled, poking Bokuto in the cheek but in her tired state missing and poking her directly in the eye, to which Bokuto immediately hollered and smacked Oikawa’s hand away.

At that, Kuroo laughed, goofy as it had been since he was a kid. Although Ukai had a hand over his eyes from the antics of his principal dancers, Takeda was beaming.

“Like that, Kuroo! Just as light-hearted as you usually are.”

Ukai finally uncovered his eyes.

“Yeah, he’s right. Keep thinking about that, okay? No need to run it again though, you’ll find it yourself. Anyways, next!” He clapped his hands together. “Little Red Riding Hood and Wolf, get ready. And Bluebird and Flora, you’re on deck.”

Hinata and Kageyama looked at each other, a giddy happiness pooling in Hinata’s stomach which he expressed by grabbing Kageyama’s hand.

Of course, Kageyama was disturbed and attempted to hit him in the arm before she had any idea what was actually going on. With her falling apart bun, she looked just like a disgruntled fluffy black bird. She immediately regretted letting go of Hinata’s hand after coming to her senses, but all Hinata did was laugh lightly and continue to stretch himself out across the wall-mounted barre, watching as Lev’s older sister took her position for the beginning of her duet, fake flowers in hand and a bright red practice tutu complimenting her light hair and skin.

Lev grinned, sending a cheer her way, as the rest of the studio clapped too. The slender dancer was apparently a favourite amongst the company, in the running to become a principal as well. Her steps progressed, quick hopping movements that were still playful to match the flashing light in her mismatched blue and brown eyes.

With a merry key change, the “big bad wolf” appeared with a powerful jump, behind Alisa who was currently pantomiming crying, a "lost girl in the woods." This wolf was none other than Ushijima Wakatoshi, his stocky build and sheer-force dance style a complete contrast to svelte Alisa. But this contrast worked, and the two played the role of the scared girl lost in the forest and the dangerous wolf well, the music increasing in speed and whirling through the room as the duet ended with Ushijima lifting Alisa into his arms with ease and running offstage with her.

It was simple, classic, and they executed it well, but none of that was on Kageyama’s mind as she wiped her palms on her navy blue practice tutu. But of course by now she should have remembered that tulle was not one of the more absorbent fabrics she had encountered. Caught up in all this, she made her way to the corner of the studio, trying to calm her breathing rate which had increased tenfold since Alisa and Ushijima had finished their pas.

Across the room, Kageyama caught the eye of Hinata seconds before he started his brisés, and he sent her a simple smile. She returned it, feeling warmth seep into her body and finally starting to slow her harsh breaths. The spiralling music was so familiar, and for once she left some of her technique behind to flow, melting into the well-worn steps with practiced grace. She felt the music thrum in her heart and the energy flooded out of her fingertips and toes as Kageyama sparked her own flavour into the dance alongside Hinata, who's dancing you could taste in the air, spiced like ginger and cinnamon.

“Ohoho? Looks like our odd couple finally pulled it together!”

Bokuto exclaimed, then downed half her water bottle in one go and wiped the back of her hand hurriedly across her mouth. “That was the best it’s ever been!”

Oikawa had gone quiet, slowly chewing the skin of her lip.

“It’s a strange feeling. . .”

“What is, Tooru?”

“Seeing someone you used to look down on succeed.”

Chapter Text

silencieux - quiet in french


"making little or no noise"

“You go tell them! I bought you a soda, you owe me Tetsu!”

Kuroo raised his hands in defeat, sighing dramatically.

“Fine, you got me Kou. I’ll go. . .” He paused as Bokuto lit up. “On one condition.”

“Bro, you already owe me. Since when could you write terms and conditions?”

“Since right now, bro.”

Akaashi, who walked alongside Iwaizumi, Oikawa and Alisa slightly ahead of the bickering duo, at a considerably faster pace shook her head, curly brown ponytail swinging with each movement.

“I guess I’ll just go myself then.” She murmured to her friends, turning to approach the cluster of rookie company members currently congregating at the drinking fountain.

A tug on the sleeve of her oversized teal sweatshirt made the soft-spoken dancer jump, before turning to see Oikawa, chocolate eyes wide. A sure sign that she was about to ask for something.

“Tooru? What’s up?”

“I’ll go with you!”

“She wants to talk to Kageyama!” Alisa called from behind her, currently rummaging through her enormous sand-coloured bag for something. “We’ll meet you guys outside, okay? By the main entrance steps!”

Oikawa raised her hand in recognition before turning back to Akaashi, cheeks now reddened.

“Yeah, Alisa’s right.” Akaashi shrugged.

“Why so embarrassed, Tooru? She’s your old protegé, why wouldn’t you want to congratulate her on a good rehearsal?” Her dark eyes flickered over to look at Kageyama. “Honestly, never mind. I forgot I was talking to you for a second there, Tooru. I know how weird you are about these things.”

Oikawa’s mouth opened and closed, and then opened again.

“. . . Yeah, you’re not wrong. Let’s just go invite those nerds to the party, ‘kay?”

Akaashi couldn’t help but laugh at that.

“You’re the biggest nerd I’ve ever met, what are you talking about?”

“Shut up Keiji!” Oikawa grumbled as she grabbed her friend’s wrist, dragging her off in the direction of the new dancers.

 "Sure! We’d love to go to your party!” Bubbled Hinata, his sunny smile never faltering.

“Okay, cool.” Akaashi said, before remembering something with a start. “Oh right, you’ll need details. Um. . . I guess I could just add you to the group chat? Most of the other principals are in it.”

Hinata’s eyes couldn’t get any wider at this point.

“B-but we’re not principals?!”

Oikawa rolled her eyes. This was getting ridiculous, and Hinata’s enthusiasm was draining.

“The way you all dance? You’ll be up there soon. You even have supporting roles, don’t sell yourself short. Especially you.” Oikawa finished, levelling a stare at Kageyama, who stared right back, gaze unfaltering. 

“Was that a compliment. . .?” Tsukishima said the their retreating figures.

Even Hinata was speechless for once, mouth hanging open as they stood, watching the two principals turn the corner. 

Further away, Akaashi turned to look at Oikawa, who was about to practically sing with glee.

“Ah! Keiji that was so cool! I felt so cool!”

She gave Oikawa a sideways look.

“We forgot to actually get their numbers.”

Oikawa’s resounding “Fuck!” was immediately met by the door to a studio swinging open, with Sugawara poking his head out. Those normally warm brown eyes were ice cold as he raised an eyebrow.

“How about you never do that again, 'kay Oikawa?”

A rapid nod from the suddenly-silenced brunette before Akaashi's fingers enclosed around Oikawa's wrist, dragging her off to catch up with the rest of them.

Chapter Text

fondú - /fänˈd(y)o͞o/


"(of a position) involving a lowering of the body by bending the knee of the supporting leg"

quite literally,"to melt"

On a rainy May morning, the dress rehearsal schedule for the coming week was posted on the bulletin outside the bigger studios, an area frequented by all the dancers. A bottle-blonde girl with double piercings in both ears turned the dancer next to her, a soft-faced brunette with choppy bangs who was currently in the process of twisting her shoulder-length hair up with a clip.

“Lord save us Hana, they’ve got us rehearsing day and night.”

“Terushima, chill.” Hana laughed as Terushima clung to her dramatically. “It’s production week, we’ve lived this before.”

Her friend sighed, a lanky arm draped across her shoulders.

“Might as well start breaking out the tape before company practice, huh.”

Hana nodded, somewhat lost in thought as they walked into their scheduled studio.

“Can I borrow yours then?”

She blinked in surprise at Terushima’s rather jarring voice.

“Borrow my what?”

“Your toe tape.”


Terushima sighed and affectionately swatted Hana on the head.

“What’s up with you today, Hana? You seem lost.”

Hana laughed, tossing a roll of tape to Terushima, which effectively hit her in the side of her messy blonde head.

“You’re right, I feel pretty lost. Not in an angsty way or anything, just kind of nostalgic. Production week always gets to me.”

Terushima smiled, different from her usual sharklike grin, this one was softer somehow.

“Yeah, I gotcha. I think it does that to everyone.”

It did. Oikawa had gotten to the theatre exceptionally early that morning, leaving the home she shared with Iwaizumi in the light drizzle of rain that had kicked up as she walked to the theatre, blue umbrella aloft in one hand, a styrofoam cup of coffee in the other. She chewed on the plastic rim as she glided through the streets, the city just slowly beginning to wake up in the haze of the spring rain.

A quick stop in the deserted women’s locker rooms, tiles lacquered in powder pink and white and she was ready to go, dark hair secured in an elegant twist on the back of her head.

The combined smell of rubber, disinfectant and dust that always lingered in studio A14 made her nose tingle as Oikawa swiftly tied the slippery-soft ribbons of her pointe shoes near the door of the studio. It was a practiced motion, one she had been doing since she was in middle school, dancing with her old friends at Kitagawa Daiichi. But those memories were not for right now, she thought as she rose, methodically tapping the tip of the shoe on the floor to test it out. A hollow sound rang through the room, a few strikes from each foot in succession and then a few relevés to warm up and soften up the stiff but worn satin.

Brown eyes flickered around the room before choosing a place at the barre, leaving her dark grey sweatpants on. Lost in thought, Oikawa rumbled through a fast warm up, pliés and tendús stretching out her lean limbs. It was learned, it was comfortable. Ballet was like slipping into an old coat for Oikawa, it had been like breathing ever since she started out at Kitagawa Daiichi. She didn’t need music to dance, she became her own music.

She had worked her way up through the ranks of Miyagi Ballet Theatre, ever since she had been an apprentice in the corps. She had gotten noticed because she worked hard, so hard. And now Kageyama had a leading role? It was nothing if not interesting. But seeing her yesterday in perfect synchronization with that tiny ginger dancer was a rude awakening. When Oikawa had left Kitagawa Daiichi with Iwaizumi, Kindaichi and Kunimi, she had left the quickly advancing Kageyama behind as well. The younger dancer had asked her many times for help, but Oikawa in her typical fashion had brushed off the girl as always. When news from ballet schools had reached the big companies, and Oikawa had learned that Kageyama was auditioning for MBT, “the queen of Kitagawa,” she couldn’t help but feel a pang in her stomach. Was it her fault that Kageyama had slipped and slid down that path of a prima attitude?

“Tooru. If you’re not careful with those fondú, you’ll hurt your knee even more.” Oikawa blinked in surprise, turning to glance at the door. Akaashi stood there, face set and starched as usual but if you knew where to look, you could see a little light in those cold-coffee eyes. “Suga had a feeling you’d be in here. Told me to tell you that you’re wanted in the theatre for rehearsal in 20.” She continued, a slender streak of blue fabric and warm brown skin still leaning on the doorframe. “But how are you doing? You’re here unusually early. Hajime said you weren’t home when he left.” Oikawa smiled, not her usual flirty one but one that was almost nostalgic. She was certainly feeling nostalgic anyways.

“Nothing huge. Just woke up early and felt like coming here on my own.” Akaashi nodded.

“Thought so. Well, see you in a bit. The rest of us are warming up onstage if you want to come.”

“Thanks Kei, but I think I’ll be alright here.” Oikawa said, punctuating her sentence by blowing a kiss to the other dancer, whose laughter she could hear from down the hall, floaty and light. Just the kind of buoyancy Oikawa needed in her heart that morning.

Chapter Text

de côté - [duh koh-TAY]


"sideways. used to indicate that a step is to be made to the side, either to the right or to the left"

translated, it means "by the coast"

Rushing offstage in a blur of colour and light with Nishinoya, Bokuto and Yaku, Yahaba Shigeru paused to tuck in a stray ribbon on her pointe shoe, the lights from the stage leaching into the wings and shining softly off her intricately-embroidered blue tutu, the stiff sapphire-coloured fabric that stuck out from her small waist bouncing slightly with her hurried movements.

“C’mon Yahaba!”

The doll-eyed dancer made a face, illuminated harshly with her dramatic stage makeup as she nodded, hurrying into the crossover, where it was completely dark. The gentle tapping of pointe shoes was the only sound she could hear through the syrupy shadow as the group made their way through the dark hall. Yahaba could hear the rustle of Nishinoya’s yellow tutu gilded with hundreds of golden beads, smell the clean, cutting scent of Bokuto’s hair gel which she knew was slathered onto her stripy locks like shellac. Near her elbow, Yaku was breathing heavily, adjusting the elaborate red tiara that was pinned tightly to the base of her high bun, winded from the first section as they all were.

In a bloom of light, they were out of the crossover and facing the wings, eyes searching as the rest of Act 3 played out. Hana was a blaze of energy in her colourful tunic and pants, red boots flashing as she danced the part of the Ukrainian dancer, and the Ivans, Kunimi and Kindaichi in gold brocade with red silk sashed across their waists watched with identical grins from where they knelt. And there was Oikawa, no, Princess Aurora, wrapped in a blue tutu and a gentle smile on her face as she too, enjoyed the festivities that rollicked across the stage from her perch beside Iwaizumi and Asahi.

There was a nudge in the small of her back, and still lost in thought, Yahaba turned to look at Yaku.

“Wrong wing, Yahaba! You gotta move up one!”

Yahaba’s brown eyes widened in shock as she half-ran, half-walked to the third wing, but she was still watching the stage, and all too quickly she felt herself sliding on the damn pointe shoe ribbon that had become untucked once more.

Suddenly, she was on the ground and her ankle was at a strange angle, and oh god she wanted to shriek from the heat that shot through her bones. But Yahaba clamped a hand over her mouth, biting her lip in order to keep the show from completely derailing. She was a professional, after all.

But now, Bokuto was by her side in a rustle of silver and white tulle, holding her hand, and oh, there was that lighting director, Kyoutani or something? The flurry of silent activity was too much to focus on at once, and so she closed her eyes in his arms and tried her hardest not to think about the searing pain in her ankle.

“Tsukki! Something went really wrong, Takeda asked for you! Yahaba twisted her ankle and you know the pas de trois, don’t you? Even if you’ll be dancing the Sapphire role? It’s the same choreography! We have to hurry right now though, Bokuto’s dancing her solo and then it’ll be the coda for her and Kinoshita’s pas de deux and then we have to go!” the ever-bubbly Nishinoya said, bursting into the dressing room, a ball of yellow chiffon and gold embroidery.

Tsukishima dropped the water bottle she had been holding, but nodded her consent after realizing the circumstances, Yamaguchi already helping her to unzip the back of the heavily embellished burgundy and gold tutu that all the corps members wore for the wedding scene.

"Who will take my place in the corps?”

“Terushima. She’s taking off her makeup right now. You two are both pretty tall. The question is, how on earth are you going to fit into Yahaba’s tutu?”

Nishinoya mused, fixing her dark bangs that had come unpinned in the excitement. She had stopped bleaching them after high school, and now her hair was completely dark brown but still as unruly as ever.

“Geez, at least this happened during the dress rehearsal and not the actual performance! But poor Yahaba, it’s her first time performing this piece and now she’ll be out of commission for a while. . .”

Golden eyes widened as Tsukishima handed her tutu, now slung over a hanger, off to Terushima who still had streaks under her eyes from Carabosse’s elaborate makeup and began taking out her hairpiece, shock clearly illuminated in the lighted mirror.

“Don’t worry! We have a plan! For the tutu situation, at least.” Said Hinata all of a sudden, bounding up in his courtier’s costume with Kageyama in tow, a dark blue bodice clutched in her hands.

“Use the bodice from Princess Florine’s costume and the Sapphire tutu.”

“Thankfully they’re detachable.” Kageyama added, a small smile adorning her face.

“Good luck Tsukishima, you’re going to be fine.”

Nishinoya bounced in her pointe shoes, sunny smile on her lips. “It’s true! You’ve got this in the bag. But I better run! Gotta go get the rest of Yahaba’s costume for you, okay?”

The music of the coda floating in from the stage made them all kick into high gear, Bokuto bursting into the dressing room moments later with an armful of sapphire-coloured tulle, panting.

“They told me to bring this here! Put it on and go! They’re literally going to start in five seconds!”

With the blue headpiece haphazardly jammed in her blonde locks and the cerulean tutu half-fastened, Tsukishima flew out of the dressing room, reaching the dark wings of the stage right as Yaku and Nishinoya stepped out into the wash of hot theatre light on demi-pointe, their arms flowing apart like pushing open a curtain, drawing back together to cross over one another delicately.

Then the music picked up, the chime of the bells quickening, and they were off in a series of jumps and quick footwork. During an arabesque, Tsukishima caught Yaku’s eye and the tiny dancer winked, as they segued into the next part of the dance with ease, even if Tsukishima hadn’t really had any idea what she was doing on stage with a featured role.

She moved as she had been taught, precise, but Tsukishima could taste the electricity from her "teammates" on her tongue, the smell of theatre dust, chemically-sweet hairspray and sweat heavy in the air. Muscle and bone was stretched to the limit as step after step was performed.

As quickly as it had begun, their step sequence had ended and they were running offstage, but not before a quick curtsy to let the nonexistent audience know “bye for now!” Now that they were out of sight, Bokuto grabbed Tsukishima in a hug, not caring that both of them were now covered in sweat and that she was probably crumpling their jewel-bright tutus.

“You did really well, Tsukki! Even Akaashi thought you were wonderful!”

The lovely dark haired dancer smiled a half-smile at Tsukishima, dressed in a beautiful pale purple tutu, dotted with lilac flowers. The softness of the tulle armbands that encircled her upper arms cut through the harshness of her toned lines. The tutu was simple and beautiful, fitting for its equally classic wearer.

Akaashi turned to Tsukishima, movements swift and fluid in the darkness of the wings. As quietly as she had gotten Tsukishima’s attention, she had captured it.

While their conversation was idle, Akaashi was lucid, and realization dawned on Tsukishima why exactly Akaashi had landed the Lilac Fairy solo. Yes, she had flexibility and technique, but it was the way she handled herself in between stretched-out, expansive developpés and arabesques, pulled taut like taffy.

It only took a dart of her dark eyes or a flick of her fingertips to draw in everyone around her. She cast a spell on people in and out of costume, the ebb and flow of her energy hypnotic and sweet, like a stone sinking into a lake, ripples radiating outwards to embrace those around her.

In the wings, the Jewel Fairies and other assorted dancers had been conversing quietly, (against the director’s wishes, as per usual) Bokuto made a little noise of surprise in the back of her throat, pointing to the stage where Kuroo had just leapt out, catlike as ever, to join Lev in their pas de deux. Tsukishima was just as transfixed as she had been that sunlight-filled day in studio L16.

Kuroo truly was something else when he danced, all molten tranquility and lean muscle that flowed right along with the music, even with its abrupt choppiness. An attitude posé from Lev with Kuroo supporting her, and the duet was over. But, it was hardly a duet. Tsukishima’s eyes had only been on one person. It might as well have been a solo.

Chapter Text

 chaîné -  / s hā-ˈnā/


"a series of short usually fast turns by which a ballet dancer moves across the stage"

literally, it means "chain"

 The light and colour had drained from the expansive stage, and the dancers were dotted across it in various states of cooldown. Hairpieces had been dismantled, tutus hung up in the dressing rooms, although traces of heavy stage makeup still remained on cheeks and lips and eyes. Sugawara and Sawamura moved from group to group with clipboards and critiques of the dress rehearsal performance. Snippets of their voices could be heard, humming throughout the theater. Daichi’s deep baritone floated through the air, mingling with the low murmur of conversation as he read from a thick sheaf of notebook paper.


“Act 3 soloists, can you come over here please?”


Ennoshita called from where he stood, soon joined by Suga. Hinata jumped up as though he had been stung, forever at the ready. Tsukishima and Yamaguchi could only blink in surprise, getting to their feet much slower than Hinata, and even Kageyama had.


Speaking of Kageyama, the blue eyed dancer was now standing next to Oikawa onstage, looking straight at the floor with the faintest pink in her cheeks.


“I just wanted to say that your dancing was really cool!”


Oikawa blushed equally for a second, picking lint off her fluffy white sweatshirt, before realizing that she had an audience.


“Of course it was, Tobio-chan!”


She tried to wave her hand flippantly, but only succeeded in looking like she was having a muscle spasm. Kuroo snorted, collapsing into Bokuto’s shoulder.

“Look at this loser, trying to be slick in front of her kouhai.”


Bokuto sported an equally gleeful grin, chortling alongside her friend. Akaashi could only make a face on the other side of Bokuto, dark eyes still ringed with the remnants of eyeliner and mascara. The taller woman opened her mouth to say something, but the sound of Daichi’s voice ringing through the air cut her off.


“Alright, everyone. We’ll start with the demi-soloists - where’s Yachi?”


“Oh, sorry! I’m here!” Came her silvery voice, blonde head peeking out from behind Kuroo. Tucking her hands behind her back, her full body came into view, clad in faded pink tights and an oversized lavender sweater. Laughter swirled through the room once more, mingling with the dust motes that rippled in the lights.


“Poor Yacchan, she’s so tiny!”


Kuroo grinned, ruffling her short hair as she walked by him to stand in the view of the directors.


“Good work for the most part.” Suga smiled. “Otherwise, and I know you’ve heard this constantly, keep that confidence up. Dance outwards into the audience, don’t hide. Okay?” Yachi nodded, stepping backwards to disappear into the throng of dancers.


Ennoshita glanced around. “Kageyama, Hinata?” They both nodded, eyes trained on him. “Again, it was decent. Takeda-san says you both did an exceptional job during the last studio rehearsal?” More nodding. “It needs to be good like that every time, regardless of whether or not you’re onstage. I know you’re both new, but you have to perform. ” Hinata can feel Kageyama stiffen beside him at those words. His fingers twitch, wanting to reassure her, but he has the feeling that she’d slap him if he tried to hold her hand.


“Anyways, that’s all.” Ennoshita said, looking over at Suga who is talking animatedly to Kuroo and Lev. Hinata glances over at Kageyama, whose face is stonelike as usual.


“Y’know, it wasn’t the worst critique in the world.”


He says, hoping she won’t snap at him. Kageyama shrugged.


“Not the first time I’ve heard it. It’s always about expressions and performance.”


“Of course it is! We’re telling a story, aren’t we?”


She finally turned her head to look at him, but surprisingly, her eyes were placid.


“I guess.”

An icy sensation filled Hinata’s throat at these words. Has she given up? He doesn’t want to say it.


“I know you can perform, I’ve seen it! Why do you sound so sad, Kageyama?”


“Dunno. I’m just tired is all.”


The cold feeling continued to spread as Hinata pressed on.


“Are you actually okay?”


Kageyama nodded.


“Yeah. I’ll be fine.”


Sugawara and Ennoshita finished up talking to Oikawa and Iwaizumi, the majority of their conversation having been “be more regal! be less angry!” and sent all of them off to go sit down once more. With a sigh that can only come from having been stuck in one place for way too long, the dancers waited, piled up onstage together.


Kuroo and Bokuto quickly grew more antsy. Well, Bokuto did, but Kuroo continued to slip further and further into languidity. These two ends of the spectrum quickly collided in a flutter of movement as Bokuto accidentally jammed a wayward elbow into a half-asleep Kuroo’s stomach.


This, predictably resulted in a scuffle, Kuroo wheezing and desperately trying to feed Bokuto one of her own pointe shoes that had been lying on the floor beside her, and Bokuto’s frenzied laughter ringing through it all. Poor Iwaizumi was somehow dragged into the mess after Bokuto’s attempt to use him as a shield against a now-alert Kuroo Tetsurou. The rest of the nearby soloists and demi-soloists, including a bewildered Kageyama pulled their belongings out of the way lest they be used as weaponry as the chaos built.


Whipping around with dark eyes from where he had been critiquing a group of forest nymphs on their formation, Daichi quickly surveyed the blossoming mess, Kuroo and Bokuto predictably laughing in the middle of it all. His mouth opened to deliver one of his famous angry yelling lectures, but he was halted by Suga poking him in the side with a slanted smile upon his lips - “Watch.”


Miraculously Oikawa, who had her head on straight for once, quickly darted her way into the knot of raucous chatter, nipping the offending pointe shoe out of Kuroo’s hands and depositing it into Akaashi’s outstretched fingers.


“Show’s over dears. Let’s not all lose our minds at once, yes? Kuroo and Bokuto won’t have any unique talents anymore.”

“Cheap shot.”


“You deserve it.” Tsukishima muttered from where she had somehow been pulled into the throng, an arm still looped around Yamaguchi’s shoulders as if to protect her.


Daichi walked up to the dispersing crowd, his stormy expression dissipating as Suga laced his fingers with his own.


“Thank you very much Oikawa, and that’ll be all for rehearsal today. Opening night is tomorrow and by the looks of it, things will run just as expected.”


“So. . . badly?”


A voice calls from the crowd, skepticism apparent in their tone.


“I wouldn’t say badly, my dear Daishou. We just seem to have an interesting way of doing things here at MBT and I’m sure whatever happens, we’ll find a way to have a wonderful show.” He smiles again, one of those sunshine-filled ones that makes Daichi weak in the knees. “Well then, I’ll be seeing all of you tomorrow for morning practice. Enjoy the rest of your evening!”


“You stole our evening, there’s no rest of it!”


“And you signed up to be a professional ballet dancer, Tsukishima.”


Laughter rolls through the theatre, the mood shifting once again into that hopeful, although somewhat nervous energy that always crackles through the air between dancers before a show. Hinata could only hope that they really were ready for it.

Chapter Text

échappé - /,āSHaˈpā/


"(of a movement) progressing from a closed position (first, third, or fifth) to an open position (second or fourth) of the feet."

literally "to escape"

 “What do you mean there’s no understudy for Yahaba?”


“There was a mistake and for whatever reason Ennoshita never assigned one to her. You know some of the pas de quatre, and the Sapphire variation is quite short, it won’t be too hard to learn.”


Tsukishima sighed, in the midst of putting on her pointe shoes for morning rehearsals. Suga stood over her, a pained smile on his face.


“I’m sorry, Tsukishima-san, but we’re not really sure what else to do. You performed brilliantly during rehearsal yesterday, so Ennoshita and I both have complete faith that you can do this.”


The blonde dancer only shrugged.

“Looks I have no choice, so it’s fine. When do you want me to learn it?”


“Right now. Ennoshita is waiting for you in studio B28. You know where it is, right?”


“The one over in the West Wing?”


Suga nods. “You’re excused from this morning’s group rehearsals since you’re no longer in Act 3 as a corps member. Terushima can take your place again, she did well enough.”


Tsukishima nodded, swinging her dance bag over her shoulder as she stood up.


“Thanks for letting me know, Suga-san.”

The West Wing was much quieter today, since children’s classes were later in the day and most of the rehearsals were in North Wing. Tsukishima pushed open the door, her stomach doing an unexpected flip. It’s not like she’d never had a private class before, but the way Ennoshita tended to run things could be jarring on her own.


Well, no turning back now. Ennoshita was inside, flicking through an old iPod before selecting a song. The soft piano music wound through the air as he glanced at her.


“Are you warm yet, Tsukishima-san?”


“No, Suga told me to come here before corps rehearsals started.”


“Okay, no worries. Start in first position, you can leave your warmups on. I’ll keep it quick so we can spend time on the solo.”


Tsukishima lost herself in the music that day, body molding through each note of the music without thought. Before she knew it, Ennoshita had switched the track to the Sapphire solo. It didn’t jar her focus, instead it was picked up and carried away by the regal melody.


“Okay, we start with a relevé in fourth, and pick up to retiré with your arms in third. . .” Ennoshita’s quiet but firm voice was calming to hear as she picked her way through the dance. Even when she stumbled on some of the more difficult jumps and turns, he was quiet. The corrections were light, simple, along the lines of “point your feet” and “relax your shoulders.” She couldn’t help but worry that he was just waiting until the end of the solo to lay into her.


It didn’t happen.


“Decent job for a first run by yourself. Go get some water and we’ll do it again, okay?”

Tsukishima only nodded, feeling as though she was still bracing herself for an impact. But nothing ever came, she realized as she took her place once again in B Plus, the small room feeling suddenly feeling way too big. How was she supposed to fill up the stage when she could barely fill up the studio?


Ennoshita must have seen the usually passive expression in her eyes flicker with fear, because he stopped the music right after he started it.


“Alright, what’s wrong?”


The wall was almost effortlessly reconstructed as she stepped out of the position.


“I’m okay.”


He gazed at her for what felt like an eternity before shrugging and pressing play once more.

“More expression, Tsukishima!”


As the music’s key changed, Ennoshita continued to demand more and more until she finished in a less than perfect grand jeté leap. Pointe shoes clattered to the ground, not bothering to quiet her landing.


“Okay. I was easier on you the first time you did it, because you’re just learning it and you’re being a great help to all of us by stepping in for this role, but why the hell can’t you do something with your face? Onstage, you at least smiled, but in class it just looks like you don’t even care.”


Ah. There it was. Tsukishima only looked back, not knowing what to say for once.


“I hope you can figure something out, because right now, it’s not good enough. Perfection isn’t good enough for ballet. You should know that as well as anyone else here. We’re giving you an opportunity as a soloist, so take it!”


Finally managing to tug her heart out of her throat, Tsukishima stared right back at him.


“I didn’t ask for this. I was perfectly fine being in the corps.”


“Miyagi doesn’t need dancers who don’t always want more. Being comfortable isn’t an option.” Ennoshita sighs. “From the top. We’ll run it again.”

Chapter Text

 fleur de farine - the wheat flower, known as the fairy of joy in english


"joy leaps around the stage and spreads her limbs gleefully in high arabesques, ending with whipping turns."

“Good work today everyone. Head home, ice, get something to eat, and we’ll see you all back here at 6:00 o’clock sharp.” Daichi proclaimed, as the voices of the dancers swelled up once more, rife with chatter about the impending performance.

“Hey, Yamaguchi-chan, d’you wanna come over to my place before the show tonight? You can bring Tsukishima too, if you want!” Hinata chirped, bouncing on the balls of his feet nearby as she collected her warm up clothes and bag.

“That’s kind of you, Hinata.” Yamaguchi looked around for the tall blonde, spotting her talking to Kuroo and Bokuto. “I’ll ask her, okay?”

 “So what’s the issue you’re having?”

“Performance. Emotion. Especially energy in general.” Tsukishima said, voice dull.

Kuroo smiled, slow and lazy. “Ah, that’s Ennoshita for you. All of the teachers here, to be honest.”

Bokuto nodded, patting Tsukishima’s shoulder. A jolt licked through her, electricity emanating from the spot. “Don’t take it personally.”

“But I’m not. It’s not like I’ve never had harsh criticisms before.”

“It probably doesn’t feel like you are, but trust me. Every apprentice internalizes this stuff, whether they want to or not.”

Tsukishima’s mouth twisted sideways, regarding them both coolly. Still, she said nothing.

“Hey, you asked for our advice.” Kuroo shrugged, slanting a sideways look at Bokuto. “Look, when you get to the professional level you’re expected to have the technique and stuff down.”

“I do have it down.”

Another wary glance flitted back and forth between the two.

“Never said you didn’t. I’m just saying it to say it, really. But anyways. What I mean is, worry less about how much your foot is pointed, how high your leg is, and let yourself enjoy the dance. Believe me, we’ve all been there. All of you rookies are probably experiencing it tenfold since you somehow managed to all land solos.” Kuroo grinned and tugged on his red jacket. “Not exactly an everyday occurrence, as you may have guessed.”

Bokuto bounced up and down on the balls of her feet. “Exactly! Ballet is supposed to look effortless, sure, but it’s also supposed to be entertaining! If you’re not actually enjoying it, you’ll never be able to convince the audience that they should be enjoying it too!”

Kuroo snorted. “Kou, I love you, but that last bit made no sense.”

“It totally did!”

Before they could start, Tsukishima cut in with a rare smile. “It’s alright, I think I know what you mean.” She turned to Yamaguchi as she came skittering by, waving a hand to Kuroo and Bokuto in farewell. “Thanks for the tips. I'll see you all later.”

Kuroo was thoroughly confused.

 “So I know it’s not really your thing but it could be fun, Hinata asked me if you wanted to go to his apartment with Kageyama to ice and sew shoes and stuff before the show tonight.”

Tsukishima shrugged.

“Sure, why not.”

Yamaguchi’s dark eyes widened. “Really? I didn’t think you’d say yes.”

“Neither did I, honestly.” The blonde murmured, falling into step beside Yamaguchi as they made their way to the entrance, where Kageyama and Hinata were waiting.

“Tsukishima-chan! I’m so excited you and Yamaguchi are coming with us!”

Tsukishima wanted to retort with a “well I’m not” but it never came. Instead, she just laughed, “Hope you’ve got more than one ice bucket, because my feet are killing me.”

If it was possible for Hinata’s face to light up more, it did. “I’ll have to see if my neighbors have a bucket we can borrow!” Kageyama nudged him, a frown in her blue eyes.

“Hinata, the bus is here, you’re gonna miss it.”

Before turning around, he flashed a final grin at Tsukishima and Yamaguchi.

“All aboard, everyone!”