Before we really get into it, I should explain that this is an AU (Alternate Universe) fic. The boys are all older, late twenties I'd say. Duo's a little younger, about 21-22. Une is around 35 or so. Though age really isn't a factor... just thought you'd want to know. ^_^
by: Caroline

Shall We Dance
I : Overture

Heero slumped on the seat of the train and looked at his watch. For once, he wished time could slow down. Relena was throwing one of her dinner parties, and Heero had no desire to be there amidst the vapid gossipmongers. He'd stalled at the office for as long as he could to kill time. Relena, of course, had been furious that he even went to work at all. And Heero wouldn't tell her the only reason he'd taken the office job was to get out of the house.

As the train pulled away from yet another crowded station, Heero contemplated his marriage to Relena. They'd met at the University; Heero had been on full scholarship, and Relena, like many of her socialite friends, had gone to school simply to find a husband. For reasons he still didn't understand, she became obsessed with him. Normally he wouldn't have given Relena a second thought - but the lure of her money had been too tempting. His parents' business was in trouble, and by marrying her, Heero could help them out. So he'd done it... and three months later his parents had been killed in an automobile accident, leaving him alone and saddled with a wife he didn't love nor want.

Divorce was, naturally, out of the question. Relena wouldn't stand for it. Heaven forbid any kind of scandal be attached to her family name. So he'd distanced himself from her as much as possible - taking a job on the other side of the city, moving in to one of the spare guestrooms. And in return, Relena made his life a living hell. To all outside appearances, they had a normal marriage. Relena kept up the faÁade for appearance's sake. And Heero did it just so he wouldn't have to listen to her bitch at him when they were alone. He supposed he could fight for a divorce if he wanted... but after losing his only family, he felt like he had nothing left to fight for anymore.

Heero shifted his gaze to the view outside the window. They were almost there. Every night for the past few weeks he had anticipated the ride home. Each night he hoped he would see the beautiful boy at the window. Most nights he was disappointed. But a handful of times he had caught glimpses of the young man who had captivated his attention. It was the hope of seeing him again that made the commute home bearable.

As the train pulled up to the platform, he found himself holding his breath. Would he again be disappointed tonight? The train stopped. The doors opened. Heero looked up.

Standing against the soft light of the dance studio was the chestnut haired boy. Again dressed in dancer's attire, he had the same sad, wistful expression on his face. Heero swallowed hard... the boy was so achingly beautiful.

Before he knew what he was doing, Heero found himself on his feet and stepping off the train. He stood on the platform, stunned at his abrupt action. The sound of the automatic doors closing behind him broke him out of his dazed stupor. He turned and watched in surprise as the train pulled away. What was he doing? He was already late for Relena's dinner.

At the thought of spending the evening with Relena and her friends, Heero quickly turned and made his way down the platform steps. He hurried across the street to the dance studio. A sign pointed him to the upstairs entrance. He put his hand on the glass door and went inside.

Classical music filled the air within. The scent of jasmine permeated the room. Heero paused before the front desk to take in the warm surroundings. The windows facing the train station were at the far side of the large, open room. The two adjacent walls were lined with mirrors and ballet barres. The front end where he came in looked like some kind of waiting area. There were wooden benches, couches, and a table upon which sat several glasses and a pitcher of iced water. The walls here were lined with photographs and trophy cases. There was a small corridor off to the side but he couldn't tell where it led. The dance floor itself took up most of the room. Covered in polished wood, it stretched from one end of the room to the other. Heero watched several couples twirl and sail across the floor. They looked elegant and refined... everything he wasn't. Suddenly he felt out of place. He didn't know why he'd even come here. Ballroom dancing seemed more of Relena's thing than his.

"Excuse me? May I help you?" came a soft-spoken timber voice from off to the side. Heero turned and came face to face with the chestnut haired boy. He spoke with a slight American accent, and up close he could see that the young man was a few years younger than himself.

"I... ah," he stammered, suddenly feeling very nervous. "Your sign outside said visitors could stay and watch."

"Are you wanting to sign up for dance lessons?"

"H...hai."

The boy cocked his head to the side, then motioned him over to the desk. "Lessons are twice a week with a private instructor. You can schedule them whenever your teacher has an opening. Each lesson is two hours long and costs •7000 per hour."

Heero barely heard what the youth was saying. He was being bewitched by the boy's violet eyes. He actually had violet eyes! "That's... ah, quite a bit of money," he forced himself to say. Not that he couldn't afford it... he just had to say something.

"These are private lessons, sir," the young dancer explained gently. "We do have cheaper group rates, but I'm afraid all the beginner's classes are full."

"Wait a moment, Duo-chan," interrupted another voice. A tall, older lady with straight brown hair stepped over to the desk. "I believe we have an opening in the Wednesday evening class."

"Une, I thought that class was full?"

"There's always room for one more. And it's best to start in a group. Learn from other's mistakes, ne?" She smiled and bowed to Heero. "My name is Une. This is Duo Maxwell. Welcome to our school."

Heero bowed in return. "I'm Heero Yuy. It is a pleasure to meet you."

"Tell me, Yuy-san, why do you want to learn to dance?" Une asked politely.

Heero's eyes flashed briefly at Duo. "I... I think it would be interesting, madam. I've always been fascinated with Western dance." He was lying through his teeth and was sure they both knew it.

"Ballroom dance is one of the most beautiful and enjoyable forms of dance," Une continued. "I'm glad you have such an interest in it. Duo-chan, why don't you help Yuy-san fill out the paperwork while I finish up with this class? Yuy-san, the first beginner's class meets next Wednesday at seven. Please do not be late."

"No, madam," said Heero distractedly as Duo handed him the application. He filled it out and paid cash in advance for the first month of lessons. He wanted to speak further to the violet-eyed boy but found himself tongue-tied. All he could do was stammer a curt 'thank you' as he was ushered to the door. He walked back to the train platform in a kind of dazed confusion. Had he actually just signed up for ballroom dance lessons? And all because he wanted to get closer to the beautiful young dancer? Was he insane?

Heero smiled as he stepped onto the waiting train. Two hours every Wednesday night. Two hours he didn't have to spend with Relena. All he had to do now was convince her he would be working late on Wednesday evenings from now on. No problem. He was so straight laced she'd never suspect a thing. Suddenly he couldn't wait for Wednesday.

[prologue] [part ii] [back to Caroline's fic]