Shall We Dance?
By Tig Jones
Disclaimer: Shall We Dansu? and Ranma ½ do not belong to me. I
Chapter 2: Rumba
"Now the half turn goes like this – quick – quick – slow." Tofu stepped forward on his left foot, pivoted to the right, making a 180 degree turn, then brought his left foot back beside his right. He then did a half turn with his right foot, pivoting to the left.
Right – turn – slow.
Left – turn – slow.
The three girls followed him. Akane's face red with trying not to scream in frustration. Seeing this, Tofu walked over to her and placed a gentle hand on her shoulder. "Hang in there, Akane."
Soon, they found themselves standing in pairs again. "Half turns are initiated by the man. Ladies respond one step later and finish one step behind. Akane! Akane! Remember to go back with the foot you lead with!" Tofu said as Akane once again stepped on his toes.
"Akane, maybe you should stop thinking of this as dancing," he suggested. Confused, Akane just looked at him. Was he suggesting she give up? Tofu smiled. "You're a martial artist, and in martial arts, like dance, you need to memorize steps. You're probably thinking you can't do this because you're not a dancer, but martial arts is dancing in a way. Just think of each dance step as a martial arts move, and pretend you're practicing katas. Doing your katas help you relax, right?"
Akane brightened. Martial arts she could do. Dancing didn't seem so difficult anymore.
Near the end of the lesson, the twins and Akane were going over all the steps they had learned in a little song and dance.
"Basic! Basic! Half turn! Half Turn! Basic! Basic! Full turn! Full turn! New York! New York! Basic! Basic!"
"Congratulations, Akane-san!" one of the twins cheered. The other agreed, equally as enthusiastic.
Tofu patted her on the shoulder. "You're doing great, Akane. I knew you could do it if you stopped letting it intimidate you."
Akane gave him a grateful smile. "Thank you so much, Doctor Tofu!"
Ranma sat crossed legged on a rock, staring at the koi pond pensively. Kasumi made her quiet way to him, and gently questioned him with her eyes.
"Something's up with Akane," he blurted out. "She's late coming back from school and she started that job at Ucchan's."
"She does seem more energetic and happy."
"I guess that's good news," Ranma considered slowly.
Kasumi laid a hand on his arm. "You're worried about her, aren't you?"
Ranma's face froze in a look or surprise and he fell of the rock. Springing up, Ranma backed away from Kasumi. "No way!" he emphasized. He turned and walked into the house, Kasumi patiently at his back.
As he mounted the stairs to his room, he wondered what it was that had cheered Akane up.
At her next lesson, Akane and the twins danced with invisible partners, their arms held in front of them. The girls chanted their steps together: slow – slow – quick – quick.
"Akane, keep you head up," chided Tofu as he caught her staring at her feet yet again. "Keep up the good work, girls!" he called out as he walked into the office.
They tried to continue practicing, but were completely distracted when rumba music filled the studio and a couple took to the floor. The man was handsome in a nondescript way, tall with a dancer's body and slicked back hair. It was the woman who commanded attention. Her dress was short and black, her feet at the end of long legs were incased in wicked looking heels. But it was her hair, her long blonde hair piled on her head that really drew one's eye.
The dancers' hips moved in sensual time with the music, and Akane and the twins ooh-d and awe-d at their dance. Another couple, determined to tango, were not so impressed. But Akane just watched the blonde woman and appreciated her grace and flair. She was focused and composed, that is, until she looked over and saw Akane's face smiling at her. Then her dancing became awkward as she tried to force her partner away from the girls.
Finally, the tango-ing man couldn't take it anymore, and broke away from his partner to turn off the music. "Infidels!" he shouted to the other couple. "How do you expect us to tango to this rhumba!"
It was Kuno! Akane recoiled in shock.
Kuno marched up to the blonde woman. "Why must the great Tiger of the Dance Floor be subjected to such treatment? And by who?! I can't stand to watch you dance anymore, pretending you're Ginger Rogers with that stupid wig on your head! Ginger Kuonji indeed!" And with that, Kuno pulled the blonde wig of a mortified Ukyo as Akane could only watch in fascinated horror.
An hour later, Akane and Ukyo sat in the empty Ucchan's and shared a pot of tea.
"Ukyo, you were really fantastic today."
She gave a small smile. "Five years would make a good dancer out of anyone."
"Five years!" Akane exclaimed. Ukyo nodded.
"I took it up so I could be a girl, even for a little bit, while pretending to be a boy for so long. It became my release. After a hard week, I can put on my wig and become Ginger Rogers. I just forget everything, I'm so completely happy. You know how crazy it gets here and at school." It was Akane's turn to nod.
Ukyo leaned in close. "I was hoping we could keep this between us. You know the kind of talk there'd be."
"Of course, of course!" Akane agreed quickly. The two girls smiled at each other and a bond was formed.
"You know," Ukyo started conversationally, "I'm part of JADA. That's the Japanese Amateur Dance Association. I'm at the third level. Besides competitions, there's also weekend dances. You should come to one of them."
"No, no, no, no," Akane replied quickly. "I'm only just begun. I'm not good enough."
"Don't be silly. It's a lot of fun. It's mostly older women, but you're cute enough to attract the men to you." Akane flushed. "Who knows, you might even meet someone!"
Akane gave a little laugh as she eyed Ukyo. She just wanted Akane away from Ranma. That would never change.
Ranma was waiting for her when she opened the front door at 10:30 that evening. Akane felt a shiver run through her at the look in his eyes. It wasn't from fear, but the concern and worry in Ranma's eyes caused a strange sensation in her stomach.
"Where have you been?" he demanded of her.
Her instinct told her to tell him it was none of his business, but her mind said differently. "I'm sorry. I met Ukyo downtown and we came back together and I decided to finish my homework at Ucchan's instead of coming home." He was still watching her. "I'm sorry," she apologized again. I should have called."
He sees the regret in her eyes, and the stirrings of something else. Ranma couldn't name it, but pulled at something within him and that made him want to run. Instead he just shrugged.
"Whatever. I don't really care. Kasumi was worried though." Akane didn't have to know that he'd been on edge since her shift had started at Ucchan's and she hadn't been home all day. Or that he left the house three times to check and see if she was actually at work before making himself turn about every time. Or that he picked the phone ten times to call Ukyo to see if Akane was there, only partially dialing before hanging up. No, Akane didn't need to know any of those things.
Akane looked at the floor. "Right, of course," she said quietly. Then she lost it. "Why the hell would you be worried about my whereabouts? I'm just a stupid, uncute tomboy, not worth the great Ranma's concern!" she yelled.
Ranma gave as good as he got. "Exactly! This summer's been so peaceful without you beating on me all the time. Too bad it can't last forever!"
Akane's eyes were bright, with what Ranma thought was anger and with what Akane knew were tears. "Ranma, you're such an idiot!" She pushed past him to run up to her room. Slamming her door she threw herself onto her bed. She must have mistaken the look in his eyes when she came in. He obviously wasn't concern about her welfare; he just wanted to pick a fight, the jerk. And she had tried so had to keep her emotions in check. Damn him, she would show him that she could be a girl worth worrying about.
It was then and there she had decided to stick with dancing no matter what. That idiot wasn't going to ruin her new found fun – nor was she going to tell him about it. He wasn't going to get anything from her after being so mean!
Downstairs, Ranma tried to figure out what just happened. He sighed as he let his body fall onto a couch. He freaked out and stupid something stupid, causing Akane's outburst. He really was an idiot. But in some way, he was relieved that she had yelled at him. The past week, Akane had treated him with cool indifference, not even bothering to get angry at him. As strange as it seemed, it hurt when she couldn't even muster up the energy to get mad at him.
In some masochistic way, Ranma enjoyed being the brunt of Akane's anger. Sure she was violent to a lot of people, but what she directed toward Ranma was different. She was always more upset when he was being a jerk; always hit him way more than anyone else. If his opinions and actions didn't mean anything to her, then she wouldn't get so upset. And he wasn't such an idiot not to notice that she was always more violent and mean to him when his other fiancées were around. He knew that meant something.
But the something in her eyes had thoroughly weirded him out, and he had reacted very badly. Now there was no way he could ask Akane what she was up to.
My apologies for having this out so late. I suffer from long periods of writer's block/general disinterest in writing. But I think I have to dedicate this chapter to Gackt, because listening to his music, for whatever reason, got me in the mood to write.
My thanks to everyone who reviewed. Each review made me feel guiltier and guiltier about not updating until I finally gave in. I'll give a bigger thanks in another chapter since I just want to get this out.
I didn't mean for Akane to seem so whatever about Ranma. To him, yeah, she's being distant, but she thinks she's proving that she can control her emotions, thus giving her greater control in other aspects of her life, including dance and her relationships. This chapter took a rather angsty turn, which I wasn't anticipating. But, for good or bad, that's the way I write my romance, full of angst.
This is based solely on the Japanese version of the film. Call me a snob, but I refuse to see the American version. I just can't see how they could possibly translate the charm and humour from the original, seeing as it's very much a culture-based comedy.
Please read and review. Also, check out my deviantART stuff, link located on my author page, if you have the time.
Sorry for any grammer/spelling/general nonsensicalness in this chapter. I did not edit at all!