Hello! The very kind and talented Lainadraws over at Tumblr wrote a one-shot (below) and has very graciously given me permission to continue her story. So this chapter belongs to her and subsequent chapters will be mine. I hope the change in writing styles won't be too jarring. f(^^; )
Disclaimer: Neither of us own Shingeki no Kyojin/Attack on Titan or any affiliates.
Armin cleared his throat, smiling nervously at the man with the clipboard.
"Uh, excuse me?" he questioned.
The man looked up from his notes, the thin Sharpie in his hand ceasing its scribbling.
"Hello?" The man seemed tired and irritated.
Armin nodded, adjusting the backpack on his shoulders. "This…this is 104 East 12th, right?"
The man nodded his head, returning his attention back to the board. "Yes."
"I-I was told to be here?"
The man looked up once more. He was short with a black undercut, and a noticeably short temper. "Armin Arlert."
"Yes!" The blonde nodded. "That's me."
"Ah." The man held the clipboard to his chest, looking stern. "You're late."
"I know, I know," Armin shook his head. "I apologize. I got lost along the way. Somehow, I ended up in Chinatown…."
"Not my fault you can't keep track of your own two feet," the man scolded. "You're lucky we've got another dancer running late. Your partner."
Relief flooded over Armin. He wouldn't be alone, the new jerk who got swallowed up by New York City.
The man frowned. "Wipe that smirk of your face, would you? She's a vet here, don't get too excited."
The man tucked the board under his arm, holding his hand out. "Levi Rivialle."
"Armin." He shook the man's hand.
"That woman over there's our director, Hanji," Levi stated, pointing to a tall woman in a long skirt and glasses, a psychotic smile on her face.
"To you? Yes."
"And our sponsor, Mr. Smith, isn't here today, so you can thank God for siding with your sorry ass this morning. We've got the other dancers over there you can go…associate with. Your partner gave my assistant a ring earlier. Apparently she'll be here any minute, but with Annie, that could mean she's halfway up some ass-crack alleyway down in Queens."
As if on cue, the door was flung open, colliding into the wall it was bolted to.
A short blonde shuffled in, baggy sweatpants on her hips, a bag at her side, and her hair in a bun.
"Speak of the devil." Levi tucked the board under his arm once more, waving his hand. "Oi, Annie. Get over here."
The girl dumped her bag by the wall, making her way to where Armin and the short man stood.
"This is your partner for the benefit," Levi introduced.
"Armin Arlert," the short man interrupted. Armin clamped his mouth shut.
Her eyes cut through him, as if examining him would judge everything she needed to know about him.
She stuck her hand out. "Annie Leonhardt."
"Leonhardt," Armin repeated, shaking her hand. "Is that…German?"
The bluntness made him freeze. "O…kay."
She twisted around, making for her bag as Levi signaled to Hanji. The woman clapped her hands, summoning everyone to pay attention.
Armin looked to his partner. She peeled away her sweatpants, stepping out in her dance clothing: black stockings and shorts and dance shoes, colored an unusually soft pink the complimented her eyes.
"I'm glad you all could make it," Hanji greeted everyone. "I want to take a moment to appreciate all of you being here with us. It's not an easy feat. Most of you have been called upon. Some of you auditioned. In any case, it means you're great. And you're being paid to put on the best damn show you can possibly put on."
A few of the dancers clapped.
"Now, not all of you know each other, know your partners, so we're going to take the first day to fool around a bit. Shit gets serious tomorrow and from then on out, so I want us to enjoy today. Today is a bloodless, vomit-less, painless day to get to know the man or woman or what have you that you're going to be spending the next eight months with. Now, partner up!" She clapped her hands. "I want you all to dance to the music, no matter what the style. We've got a dozen different stylistic dancers in here. I don't give a fuck what you're doing as long as you're dancing."
"We gonna play any of Levi's thug music?" a boy with a gray shaven head snickered.
"Piss off, Connie," Levi barked. "Sasha."
The girl that sat beside him, one with dark hair, slapped him in the back of the head. He groaned, swatting her hand away.
Armin rubbed his arm self-conciously. These people were a family. They already knew one another. He was the outsider, penetrating their community.
"First track," Hanji announced, taking a seat beside Levi. She pressed a button on her radio, the CD whirring to life. The music began, thumping through the air.
The dancers filtered into their two-person groups.
"Partner up, let's go, let's go!" Hanji commanded.
Armin turned around to Annie, her eyes disinterested.
Drums beat through the air. Annie straightened up. "You know ballroom, right?" she asked in a low, condescending voice.
"Of course," he murmured, placing a hand on her hip. He held out his hand and she let her palm grasp onto his.
Violin's pierced the air, a shiver racing through his body. Annie pointed her toe, letting it glide across the floor, sweeping in a circle, lifting it up Armin's side. He dipped her low, their faces close enough that their noses touched. They froze as the music fizzled into a temporary cease.
"Good, good, good," Hanji clapped. "Excellent form, everyone."
The violin came back, breaking through the walls, invading his ears, his body.
The pair straightened up instantly, their bodies pressed so tightly together, they could have melded into one.
Slowly, her left foot slide back. He followed with his right. Armin kept up with every backwards step Annie took. Quick and slow, long and short.
They paused, her hand tracing up his spine, over his head, over both of their heads.
He quickly held tighter to her hip as she rolled her back, arching over his arm, her hand stroking the air above her.
As the music hit a high note, he pulled on her waist, her body snapping back up.
Her eyes were blue fire.
Their feet began a deadly crisscross. Her toe would drag across his shin, his ankle, light and calculating. He watched their feet tangle and untangle, tangle and untangle. She was taunting him, waiting for him to screw up.
Everything she did, every stop and sweep and step Annie pulled out, her mirrored. The tango was a fight, a death match. Neither would die if they were equal. If they were on even ground.
Their feet quickened, small kicks, flicking ankles.
Armin removed his arm from her back, holding her out long. She arched her leg, toe pointed. He watched her leg, her beautiful toned leg, rise and fall.
She spun back into him, her back pressed against his chest. They froze a moment, slowly rocking from foot to foot.
He felt a pressure on his groin as she pushed into him, her weight intentional.
Annie spun in his arms, hand in his hand.
Armin gulped. Annie smirked.
Their feet began that dizzying tangle once more, quicker, longer. They nearly careened into other people.
They were lost in each other's eyes, the game.
Annie flung her leg up to kick; Armin caught her limb, fingers pressing into the back of her knee.
The music began to swell.
She stared at him with murderous intent.
He gave her skin a soft squeeze, finger tips trailing down, down to the edge of her shorts.
Violins were torn by their bows, screeching, screaming.
Annie bent her leg over his hand, arched her back, running her hands down his chest.
Fingernails scrapped over his shirt as she bent back.
Armin felt a chill run up his spine. Her eyes were fire, her body was fire.
Armin licked his lips. The music died. She lifted out of his hold, her hips swaying as she separated herself from him.
Hanji clapped twice. The music changed.
Annie's eyes were cold and biting, fire and ice.
They would be together for eight months.
She was going to burn him.
And that is chapter 1! If you liked it, please go over to Lainadraws' Tumblr and like, reblog, etc. the story! The link is lainadraws…tumblr…com/post/70845546088/aruani-au-where-they-are-dancers-n-stuff-i-will-love. Or you can leave a review FFN style and I'll make sure it gets to her. (^_^)