Disclaimers: Nope, don't own it. Don't own the movie either.

Pairing: 1+2, R+1, 3+4, 5+M, implied 13x2, 6+9, Howard+anything in a skirt (it just keeps growing...)
Warnings: Shounen-ai, Yaoi, eventual lemon -- please don't read if this doesn't appeal to you -- AU, OOCness, a tad angsty, Relena bashing, lots of references to dancing, and I've gone and bastardized Treize... sorry (really, I hate to do it but I needed a villain).
Spoilers: none

Shall We Dance
by Caroline

VII : Samba

"That's it. Heero, don't let your arms go limp. Good. Now side-chassÚ... Hilde! Posture! And the running finish..." Heero was breathing heavily from exertion as he and Hilde glided across the floor, listening to Une's directions. He twirled Hilde around one last time before the sweeping finish. But his leg muscles gave out at the last moment, sending both him and the girl to the floor.

"Itai!" Hilde exclaimed, rubbing her bottom.

"Gomen, Hilde," Heero apologized, helping her off the floor.

"It's okay. I'm tired too. I need a drink. Would you like one?"

"Sure. Arigatou."

"Une-sensei. I'm going to run down to the corner market to get some Chinese tea. Would you like one?"

"No thank you," the tall dancer declined politely, before turning back to Heero.

Hilde grabbed her purse and was heading for the door when a dark figure lurking just outside caused her to yelp in surprise. Heero and Une turned to see Wufei open the door, glaring at Hilde. "What are you screaming at, onna!"

"Why were you lurking outside like a criminal?" Hilde shot back.

"Une asked me to come."

"Ah Wufei. Thank you for coming down here on such short notice. I have a favor to ask of you."

The Chinese man looked at Une suspiciously. "Why do I have the feeling I'm not going to like this?"

"Wufei, I wanted to ask you if you'd consider being Hilde's partner for the rumba and paso doble portions of the competition. I mean no disrespect to you, Heero, but you're stronger on the modern dances. Wufei, you've shown an affinity to the Latin dances. I thought with two partners, we could concentrate on your strong points, rather than playing catch up with your weaker ones."

"You want me to dance with him?!," Hilde complained loudly. "I'd rather take my chances with Heero."

"Hilde," Une admonished gently, "Heero's rumba still needs a lot of work. He will get better in time, but time may be something we don't have. Please consider dancing with Wufei."

Heero watched, somewhat amused, as Hilde and Wufei stared each other down. Finally Hilde rolled her eyes and put threw her hands in the air in defeat. "Fine. Whatever. I'll dance with him."

"Excellent!" Une said, clapping her hands.

"'Neesan?" Duo asked as he came up to the group. "I'm heading home for the night, unless you need anything."

"Actually, Duo-chan, are you busy tonight?"

Duo cocked his head at his sister-in-law. "Not particularly. Why?"

"Would you mind working with Heero for a while? I want to watch these two practice their rumba."

Duo glanced at Heero, his face turning pink, before nodding his head. "All right."

Heero felt the warm fuzzies he felt whenever he was around the braided boy creep through his body. As Duo motioned him to the opposite end of the room, Heero felt his mouth go dry and his palms turn clammy. His reactions surprised him. He hadn't been this nervous the first time he'd danced with Duo... then again, last time, Duo hadn't kissed him yet either. And he knew his own presence was affecting Duo, since the young American kept blushing every time he looked at him.

"Let's work on your waltz," the violet-eyed dancer said softly as he took his position. Heero could feel himself tremble as he took Duo's hand. Duo counted under his breath to set the pace. When it was his cue, Heero stepped forward, twirling them around the dance floor. After a few moments, Duo stopped them and brought them back into their original position.

"You're still hesitating on the turns," the young dancer told him as he brought his arms up. "Let's try it again."

For the next hour he and Duo practiced the waltz. As the minutes passed, Heero became less aware of his proximity to the beautiful dancer and concentrated more on the dance. The competition was in a little over two months. He had to be ready.

The lesson was over before he realized it. Hilde and Wufei were now speaking civilized to each other, though every once in a while they would shoot nasty glances at the other. Still, it seemed to be working out. Une had high hopes for the two.

Heero bade Duo and Une good night, his eyes lingering on the boy. Wufei and Hilde waved to him as they walked down the street. They didn't need to catch the train like Heero did. He climbed wearily up the steps, pleasantly surprised to find the platform empty. He was tired from dancing, but couldn't help but practice his steps as he waited for his train. As he came out of a turn, a movement from the dance studio window caught his eye. Raising his head, he saw Duo standing at the window, watching him intently. He smiled at the boy who hesitantly smiled back before closing the window and drawing the shades. Heero felt a warm flush flow through him. His attraction for the braided dancer grew deeper every day. With a heavy heart, he boarded the train as it pulled to a stop at the station. Yes, he was attracted to the boy. But he was still married. For the first time in his life, he didn't know what to do.

Milliardo cursed as the phone rang, startling him from the almost trance-like state he had put himself in as he practiced his dancing. It had been three weeks since he started his lessons, and he couldn't remember ever having as much fun as he was having now. Of course, his dance teacher might have had something to do with it... but he found he was really enjoying the class. Uncle Howard was right. Dancing was fun.

And the fact that Lucrezia has agreed to join him for dinner that evening was even better.

The phone rang again. Whoever it was was persistent to say the least. Milliardo decided to answer it rather than listen to the shrill sound of the bell.

"Yes?" he said curtly into the phone.

"Milliardo. Why haven't you called?" came the annoyingly shrill voice of his sister on the other end of the line.

The platinum-haired man sighed in annoyance. "What do you want, Relena?"

"I want you to tell me what Heero is up to! He's gone even longer now and I demand to know what's going on!"

"Have you tried asking him?"

"He'd just deny it," Relena insisted. "Besides, that's why I sent you to follow him. Have you found anything out yet?"

Milliardo hesitated. He desperately wanted to bring his stuck-up sister down off her high horse. But... something was holding him back. For the first time, he could understand how Heero felt... falling in love with dancing... falling in love with the dance teacher. How could he deny his brother-in-law the same feelings he was now experiencing? As much as he wanted to see Relena suffer, he couldn't do that to Heero. Not now. Not when he understood.

"Milliardo? Are you there?"

"Relena, I... don't have anything positive yet," he lied smoothly. "I may be on to something, but it'll take a little more time. Try to be patient."

Relena sighed. "Fine. But I want to hear something soon," she said as she broke the connection.

Milliardo placed the receiver down on the base before heading out of his study to look for some headache medicine. He'd figure out what to do about his sister later. Right now he had a dull ache in his temples he had to get rid of before he met Lucrezia at the restaurant. He hoped he had plenty extra strength stuff in his medicine cabinet. He had a feeling he'd need it before this mess with Relena was over.

Heero entered the dance studio the next evening in almost breathless anticipation. He wondered if Duo would be working with him again. He hoped so. He felt so much better about his dancing when the American was in his arms... as if he were lighter than air as he guided across the floor.

His heart almost sank when he walked in to the studio to see only Hilde and Wufei dancing under Une's watchful eye. As soon as she saw him, however, she hurried over.

"Heero," she said, smiling, "tonight you're going to start choosing a routine for the dances you'll be performing with Hilde."

Heero looked perplexed. Choosing a routine? He had no idea how to go about doing that, and voiced his concerns to the tall dancer.

"Daijoubu, Heero. Duo-chan will be here in a moment to help you." At that moment the door swung open to admit the beautiful dancer.

"Sorry to keep you waiting," he said cheerfully as he walked over. Turning to Heero he added, "Are you ready?"

"Ready for what?"

Duo shot a look at his sister-in-law. "You didn't tell him?"

"I was about to when you came in. Heero, I want you to go with Duo to our home. We have videos of past competitions I want you to take a look at and see what you'd like to do."

"You don't mind, do you?" Duo asked shyly.

Mind? Of course Heero didn't mind. His heart hammered away in his chest as he shook his head. He was going home with Duo... alone. Suddenly, he couldn't breathe. Forcing himself to calm down, he slowly brought his body under control. Nothing was going to happen. They were only going to Duo's home to work on the dances. That was all. He could handle that.

He left the studio with the braided boy in tow. As they walked, Duo chatted aimlessly about past competitions and what moves would impress the judges. Heero said very little as he watched the boy out of the corner of his eye. He couldn't help but feel happy. The American had a light in his eyes that he hadn't seen before. Just as dancing seemed to be bringing life back into his world, training for the upcoming competition seemed to be reenergizing Duo.

The walk to Duo's house was a short one. The long-haired dancer ushered him inside, gesturing for Heero to follow him up the stairs. Heero expected to see bedrooms and maybe a sitting room on the second floor, but when he reached the top of the stairs, his eyes grew wide in amazement. The second floor was one big open room. Not nearly as large as the dance studio, but big enough to dance in without running into the walls every few feet. Like the studio, mirrors lined the wall. Duo smiled at Heero's stunned expression and made a beeline to the entertainment center at the far end of the room.

"Solo had this room built for Une as a wedding present," the braided American said, smiling wistfully.

"It's amazing," Heero breathed in awe. The room was truly the centerpiece of the house. "Where do you sleep?" he joked, then immediately turned red as he realized what the question implied.

Duo blushed as well. "The bedrooms are downstairs at the back. They're a bit small, but it's worth it to have this space up here." He threw a couple of large pillows onto the floor in front of the television. He motioned for Heero to have a seat as he popped a video into the VCR.

For the next hour, he and Duo watched tapes of past competitions, discussing various steps and turns, what to do to impress the judges... what not to do to impress the judges. Heero was amazed at how much more there was to dance competitions other than the actual dancing. He'd feel nervous if it weren't for the boy sitting beside him. With Duo supporting him, he felt like he could conquer the world.

Duo was about to put in another tape when the phone rang. Excusing himself, he hopped up and ran downstairs to answer it. Heero amused himself by skimming through the Maxwells's record collection, and by thinking of how amazing Duo had looked in some of those videos. The boy had been young when he'd started. But he had talent. Even an amateur like Heero could see that. Again he wondered why Duo had quit dancing professionally. He figured it had something to do with why the braided dancer seemed detached from the world... why the light seemed to be missing from his eyes.

A loud voice from downstairs broke his reverie. He recognized the voice to be Duo's, and he seemed to be shouting at someone. Concerned, he raced down the stairs and into the kitchen just in time to see Duo slam the phone onto the hook. The violet-eyed youth was trembling and the haunted look was back in his eyes.

"Duo? Are you alright?"

"No. I need a drink." His voice shook with emotion as he reached for a glass on the counter, then turned to rummage around in a cabinet until he found a bottle of brandy. Pouring himself a liberal amount, he tipped the glass to his lips and downed the liquid in one shot.

"What's wrong?"

"Treize. That manipulative bastard!" Duo said angrily.

Heero felt an unfamiliar surge of jealousy and anger coupled with an overwhelming urge of protectiveness towards the braided boy at the mention of Treize's name. "What did he want?" he asked coldly.

"He wants me back. To dance under his school's name. To bring him prestige and honor," Duo spat out the words bitterly. "That man has no sense of honor! After what he did..." He trailed off to pour himself another drink.

Heero reached passed him to grab another glass. Duo poured some brandy into it and refilled his own.

"Duo, please... tell me what's wrong."

The beautiful dancer looked at him for a long moment before shrugging his shoulders in defeat. "Let's go sit down. It's kind of a long story."

They went into the living room and sat down on the small sofa. Duo curled his legs under him and nursed his drink for a moment before he started to speak.

"Remember when you asked me if I had ever made it to Blackpool and I said I had?" Heero nodded. "Well, that's not entirely accurate. I qualified for Blackpool but I never danced there." He took another long drink. "I suppose I should begin at the beginning.

"After my parents and Solo died, I threw myself into dancing. It was my way of grieving, I guess. Une tried to teach me, but she was dealing with some serious grief of her own. So she enrolled in the Khushrenada School of Dancing. It was a very prestigious school with an impressive history. I felt so lucky to have been accepted... and to have Treize Khushrenada himself as my teacher. I was thirteen, almost fourteen, and very impressionable for my age. Needless to say, I believed every word that came out of his mouth. When he told me I showed real promise as a dancer, I believed him. When he told me I was beautiful, I believed him. When he told me he loved me... I believed him. What a fool I was.

"He filled my head with empty promises and hollow declarations of love and I believed everything he told me! I was a na´ve teenager who'd lost almost everyone I'd ever loved. I was desperate for affection. When Treize said he loved me, I thought I loved him back. I let him into my bed thinking I'd found someone to love me, someone to fill the empty places in my heart. I should have known better.

"Treize was an excellent teacher, I'll give him that much. I rose through the levels of JADA at a dizzying pace with my partner, Dorothy. She was a couple of years older than me and another of Treize's star pupils. I didn't like her very much but we worked well as a team. Then we got the amazing news. We'd qualified for Blackpool. We were going to be representing Japan in an international competition.

"I was just shy of my eighteenth birthday when we went to England. Treize and I had been 'together' for a little over two years. And I, in my dazzling foolishness, thought we'd be together forever.

"The night before the quarter-finals, I realized I had left my dancing shoes in Dorothy's room. I walked down the hall to her room, hoping she hadn't gone to bed yet. I raised my hand to knock on her door when I noticed it was open. I heard a moan coming from within, so I pushed open the door to make sure she was all right. Instead I found her and Treize... together... naked... on the bed... well, I'm sure you can imagine what they were doing. Treize looked up from where he was bending over Dorothy's back, and... and instead of jumping up and trying to explain that it was just a mistake and it would never happen again... he just smiled at me. He smiled at me and kept... kept at it.

"I didn't say a word. I just turned around, shut the door, and walked away. Literally. I left my things, and walked out. I caught the next flight back to Japan. I didn't let myself break down until I got home.

"I locked myself in my room for days. I felt angry, betrayed. All I'd wanted was someone to love me, someone to protect me like that dancer had protected his partner all those years ago. I thought I had found it in Treize, but he had just been using me, using my talent and my body for his own selfish purposes. When I finally realized that, I broke down and told Une the whole sordid story. She was mad, not at me but at herself for being so wrapped up in her grief that she had missed what was going on. I tried to tell her it wasn't her fault, and she tried to tell me that Treize wasn't my fault. We were both a mess, but we got through it somehow. We had each other. She shook off her grief and decided to open a dance school, something she'd always wanted to do. And I, having irrevocably severed my ties to Treize and his school, decided to help her. And I've been there ever since."

Heero stared at the boy for a long moment. Again, he was filled with conflicting emotions. Should he run out and throttle Treize Khushrenada within an inch of his life for hurting Duo, or should he wrap his arms around the fragile-looking youth and hold him close? Sadly, he couldn't bring himself to do either one.

"What happened to Treize after you left?" he asked, watching as Duo poured himself another glass of brandy.

"He wasn't too happy with me. I'd embarrassed him and his reputation by walking out like that. At first, he tried harassing me... calling me a worthless, spoiled child. Then he tried to slander my reputation by telling everyone I had seduced him. Une put a stop to that. At one of the regional meets, in front of God and everyone, she told him where he could go and what he could do with himself when he got there. Fortunately, no one believed his lies. He'd been known to do this kind of thing before... seduce his students then spread stories about them when they walked away. Then... he stopped. We didn't hear any more from him."

"Why is he bothering you now?"

"Une is a well respected member of the dancing community. When word got around about what he did to me, enrollment at his school dropped. All of his star dancers went elsewhere. He needs someone to help him attract students, and for some insane reason, he's picked me."

"But you won't do it."

"No. I won't. I'm not going to fall into his trap again."

Heero watched the braided boy with a sense of pride. He knew too many people who, when faced with as much pain and tragedy as Duo had, would grab at any sort of attention that came along like a lifeline. The fact that Duo hadn't repeated his mistakes showed him that the young man had a strong heart. It was just one more thing that drew him to this boy... this violet-eyed swan that had captured his heart.

Duo put his glass down on one of the end tables and stood up. He wobbled on his feet for a moment before Heero hopped up to steady him.

"Thanks. Guess I shouldn't have had that fourth glass," Duo said jokingly.

"Are you okay?"

"I'm fine. Now come on. Let's go try out some of those steps I was showing you." He grabbed Heero's hand and dragged him back upstairs.

For the next hour, Duo endeavored to show Heero some steps that would impress the judges. When Heero repeatedly missed one, Duo threw his hands up in frustration.

"No, no, no! Your right foot needs to go forward and then to the right. One tiny error can cause you to lose as much as ten points! You have to get the steps exactly right!"

Heero stopped to look at Duo, panting in exertion. The long-haired boy was clutching the end of his braid in frustration, his shoulders tense. Duo looked more tired than he did. They needed a break. He was about to suggest one when he remembered something Une had told him.

'Dance is more than just the steps. Feel the music and just dance for the sheer joy. '

"Duo, do you ever dance just for fun?"

The American looked at him in puzzlement. "Fun? Dance is my life. It's a demanding mistress and something I've dedicated my entire being to."

"So in other words, no."

"I don't understand."

Heero sighed. He didn't have the words to explain. Glancing over at the stereo system, he had an idea. He walked over and began looking through the record collection. Knowing Une, she'd have it here somewhere.

"What are you doing?" Duo asked as he came up behind him.

Heero found what he was looking for: The King and I soundtrack. Duo raised an eyebrow as Heero placed it on the turntable.

"Come here," he told the braided boy as the familiar strains of Shall We Dance? filled the air. Taking Duo's hands as Une had taken his, he pulled the beautiful dancer across the dance floor. Around and around they skipped to the music. Duo tried to pull away but Heero wouldn't let him. Heero twirled the young man around at a dizzying pace, making up steps as he went. Gradually Duo began to relax, eventually even smiling. When Heero picked him up and whirled him around, he threw his head back and laughed. It was the most beautiful sound Heero had ever heard. They skipped back in the other direction, Duo laughing in wonderment, when Heero tripped over one of the cushions they had been using earlier to sit on. They tumbled to the ground with Duo landing on top of Heero, still laughing.

Heero, too, was grinning like an idiot. He had gotten the sullen boy to actually enjoy himself. And his laughter! The sound of it filled him with complete and utter joy. He couldn't explain it. And looking up into those laughing violet pools, he didn't want to.

Slowly he became aware of Duo's body pressed against his. His body tightened in reaction as he stared up into the American's flushed face. Duo was looking down at him in wide-eyed wonderment. They held each other's gaze for a long, long moment. He heard Duo's sharp intake of air and saw his lips part slightly. Slowly their faces gravitated toward one another. Their lips brushed lightly together. Heero could taste Duo's sweet breath and went in for more.

This time he pressed his mouth more firmly against the other boy's. His arms involuntarily wrapped themselves around the lithe body lying on top of him. One hand reached up and buried itself in his loosely braided hair. Duo's eyes fluttered closed as his hands clenched the front of Heero's shirt. The American made a little mewling sound in the back of his throat, causing Heero's blood to stir. Effortlessly he flipped them so Duo was now lying half beneath Heero's well-muscled physique. Violet eyes opened wide as Heero reversed their positions, only to close again as the Japanese man swooped down for another taste.

This time Heero ran his tongue along Duo's bottom lip as if asking permission to enter. Duo acquiesced, opening his mouth just enough for Heero to slip inside. Their tongues moved lazily against each other at first, simply getting used to each other's unique taste. But as the moment progressed, the kiss grew more heated. Heero's body quickened as their lips danced together. He moved one hand down to clutch at Duo's hip, molding the younger boy closer to his body as their mouths moved together in a lazy waltz of lips, tongue and teeth.

Heero didn't know how long they lay there, tasting and caressing each other. He would have been content to stay on those cushions with Duo all night, but the chiming of a clock from somewhere within the house snapped him out of his lust-filled haze. He broke off the kiss, breathing heavily. As he stared down into Duo's hazy violet eyes, he felt a surge of guilt run through him. There he was, lying on a pile of cushions with one of the most beautiful creatures he'd ever laid eyes on... and he was married. He had to tell Duo. The boy deserved to know the truth. But looking down into Duo's flushed face, he couldn't do it. He couldn't add to the young man's pain.

Heero leaned down to rest his forehead against Duo's, their hair mingling together. "I should go," he whispered softly.

Violet eyes looked at him with sadness. "Do you have to?" One delicate hand reached up to run down Heero's face.

"I... yes." Heero swallowed hard. He didn't want to leave. "It's late."

Duo reached up and kissed him again before nodding sadly and pushing the taller man off him to sit up. Heero smoothed chestnut bangs out of the young dancer's heart-shaped face. Silently he stood, helping Duo to his feet. Hand in hand they walked down stairs to the door.

"Heero," began Duo as the Japanese man was putting on his jacket, "tomorrow night, after class, do you think... I mean, would you like to have dinner together?"

Heero stared down at the smaller boy. "I'd love to," he replied before he could stop to think about it.

Duo's eyes lit up. "Great! So, I guess I'll see you tomorrow evening."

"I'm looking forward to it," Heero said as Duo opened the door for him.

Both young men stepped outside, Duo still clutching tightly to Heero's hand. As he stepped off the porch, Heero tried to disentangle his hand from Duo's. But the young dancer wouldn't let go. His eyes locked with Duo's. He surged back up the steps to steal one last, passion-filled kiss from the American's sweet, sweet lips before breaking away, his eyes promising more later.

He stumbled down the steps and through the small iron gate that led to the sidewalk. He turned and walked down the street, glancing behind him every few steps.

Duo stayed on the porch, watching him until he walked out of sight.

Treize stepped out of the shadows, eyes narrowing as he watched the two young men kiss on the porch. Heero Yuy. He'd learned the Japanese man's name after the incident in the dance hall. Idly he fingered the sling holding his dislocated arm in place. He held an intense hatred for the man who had humiliated him. And now Duo, the little slut, was fucking him. Well, not for long. He needed Duo to dance for his school. And absolutely no one was going to keep him from making that happen.

It was time he found out all he could about this Heero Yuy.

on to part 8

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