DISCLAIMER: I do not own Cyborg 009. Therefore, I must write fanfiction about it.
A/N: First of all, I'd like to thank Mika and Sadie (mika-zero-zero twenty-one and half-star) for being my betas :) . Second, this is my 1st ever fanfiction lol. It takes place 2 years after it all begins. At this point in time, Black Ghost has been defeated and my fic follows from Shotaro Ishinomori's alternate ending. To clear up any confusion, I worked according to the theory that the First Generation Cyborgs (001-004) were placed in cryogenic stasis for 65 years (hence 67 used in the story). It's logical because in "Gilmore's Notes", he says that 'even though she looks 18, she's well over 80 years old'. 18+6583, hence my theory. The fic contains a slight spoiler for one of the episodes (I can't remember either name or number XD) after the defeat of 0013, when Joe shows Françoise the little carved rabbit. But it's nothing too big.:) Newayz nuff talk…on to the story. Enjoy and R/R plz.
I Can Dream Again
The multi-coloured lights twinkled and shimmered as 10 000 pairs of eyes gazed reverently upon the stage, spellbound. The dancers twirled gracefully as they performed one of the most well-known ballets, Swan Lake. Although each dancer's movements were captivating, it was the lead dancer who held everyone's attention.
The petite blonde went through her steps with the greatest of ease and with such exquisite grace that she seemed to be almost flying. Françoise Arnoul, 003, was on stage performing for the very first time in 67 years. She was wearing a white tutu and her trademark red ballet shoes. Her hair was done up in an elegant French knot, and a silver tiara glittered against the gold of her hair. Her fathomless eyes sparkled with happiness as she experienced the joys of dancing. She shone with radiant beauty and exuded the very aura of ballet, the purest of dance-forms. Of all eyes that watched her, one pair watched most earnestly.
Joe Shimamura, 009, gazed upon the lithe form belonging to the French dancer. His russet eyes were wide open as they drank in her every movement and his heart pounded against his chest, the heartbeats synchronizing with each step she took. He watched as the ballet came to a close and rose immediately to his feet to give Françoise a standing ovation along with the rest of the crowd. He felt his heart burst with joy and pride as she bowed, a smile lighting up her face. The audience threw flowers on the stage, and Joe heard Dr. Isaac Gilmore sigh in satisfaction beside him,
"Ah! My little ballerina!"
Yes, Joe thought, and, without him taking his eyes off the lovely dancer, his mind wandered back a few weeks…
He turned his head to find that the lone female cyborg had come up behind him. He'd been sitting alone on the beach, simply relaxing, watching the rolling waves gently caress the shore. For the first time in two years, his mind was free from all thoughts of Black Ghost.
"Can I talk to you for a while? If you're not busy, that is."
He looked into her eyes and said, "Françoise, I'm never too busy to talk to you."
She smiled and sat down beside him. The wind gently ruffled her golden hair and her emerald eyes shone with excitement.
"Joe, do you remember that time in the Dolphin when I was telling you about how I used to be a dancer? I told you that my dreams had been shattered when Black Ghost came into my life. But then you said that maybe we could dream again when they were gone."
"How could I forget? That's the first time I saw you dance. Well, sort of."
She giggled. "Black Ghost is gone now, Joe, and I've started dreaming."
With that, she reached into her pocket and pulled out a folded piece of paper. Blushing, she turned her head and shyly gave it to him. As he took it, their hands touched briefly and Joe felt a tingle in his spine. He blushed lightly and thanked God that her head was turned away and she didn't see.
"What's this?" he asked.
"Just look at it and see," she replied bashfully, her face still turned away from him.
He looked down at the paper and unfolded it. It was a poster, an advertisement for the Tokeruda Ballet Company of Japan. There was to be a performance of Tchaikovsky's Swan Lake in a few weeks time and the Company was inviting members of the public to audition for the parts. According to the poster, the cause was to showcase the talents of the lesser-known dancers of Japan. Joe looked at the still blushing Françoise and smiled at her.
"Which part?" he asked, to which she blushed even more furiously, if that was possible, and looked at him.
"I'm thinking of auditioning for Odette, the lead part. I've played her a couple times before, in school…oh, Joe!" She clasped her hands earnestly.
"I've waited so long for the opportunity to live without being in constant fear. Now, I have that chance. I can finally dream again, just like you said, and I'm dreaming big! If I can get that part in the ballet, it will open up so many doors for me, and I can continue my former dream of becoming a world-famous ballerina. So what do you think? Should I audition? Am I setting myself too high a goal?"
Joe looked at her earnest face. Her blush had receded but her cheeks were bright with excitement.
"Françoise, I think it's a great idea. Yes, you should audition, and no, you're not setting yourself too high a goal. You're a wonderful dancer, the best I've ever seen. You're going to have no trouble landing the lead part and we'll all come see you perform. I just know you will fulfil your dream. I believe in you."
She flung her arms around his neck and hugged him. Thrown off guard, he just sat there for a moment, but then wrapped his arms around her and pulled her closer to him, savouring the smell of her hair and the feel of her body. All too soon, she pulled away. However, she reached up, brushed away his bangs, and looked him straight in both eyes. He slowly leaned closer and closer, closing his eyes…and she pecked him on the cheek and jumped to her feet.
"I have to go and practise. I'll see you later, then."
And she ran off, leaving a very disappointed Joe sitting alone on the sand. His cheek still tingled where she'd kissed him and he felt the telltale heat of a blush rising to his face. He'd almost kissed her, just a few more seconds was all he needed…
"Hey, you coming or what?"
Joe snapped to the present at the sound of the voice. He looked up and saw Albert Heinrich, 004 looking at him.
"Yes…where are we going?"
"To see our ballerina, of course. Where else?"
Joe rose from his seat and followed the silver-haired German outside. A wave of seemingly cold air hit him as he stepped outside the Tokeruda auditorium and its warmth. The sudden transition made him shiver briefly, and he hugged himself. The indigo sky was strewn with stars and a soft cool wind blew through the trees. But Joe wasn't thinking about the beauty of the night; he was thinking about the beauty of the dancer who had entered his heart two years ago, and tonight had danced her way further in.
"Where is she?" he heard someone say. He didn't care who.
"Be patient," was the reply, "It'll take a while for her to get here. She must change…"
"Okay, I get it."
Joe chuckled. He continued to gaze at the sky, completely lost in his thoughts until…
"There's our girl."
Joe dropped his hands and turned as he heard Albert's voice and was greeted with the vision of an angel. Françoise was standing on the stairs leading directly to backstage. She had loosened her hair from its knot and it now tumbled messily around her shoulders, framing her head like a halo. The whitewashed doors stood directly behind her and seemed to spread from her back like wings. She had changed out of her costume into a white sleeveless dress, and her face was flushed and smiling. For all the dancing she had done that night, she didn't look tired. On the contrary, that dancing seemed to have awakened a part of her that had long lay dormant. It seemed to have invoked new life within her and filled her to bursting point with energy. She seemed ready to take the world by storm with her dancing and not stop doing so until she had accomplished this feat.
She leaped down the stairs into the arms of her waiting fan club of cyborgs and humans, who immediately bombarded her with heartfelt congratulations, all of which tumbled over each other.
"Wow! That sure was somethin'!"
"Simply marvellous, my dear. A true artist, you are!"
"You were great!"
"You touched my heart."
"That was amazing my dear!"
"It sure was," said Joe. His heart began to race as she focused her eyes on his. She smiled sweetly at him, but turned away at the sound of Albert's voice.
"I think tonight calls for a celebration, don't you?"
Chang Changku, Cyborg 006, stepped in. "Let's go to my restaurant. I'll whip up something a little extra special for our dancer!" Chang was a short, rotund Chinese man, and the cook amongst them.
Françoise blushed lightly and smiled. "Thank you, 006."
As everyone turned to leave, Joe offered her his arm.
The girl giggled and daintily took it. The others walked on and the two lagged behind. Joe supposed she was enjoying the night air, just as he was enjoying the special company. However, as they reached the cover of a dark tree, Françoise stopped, held Joe back, and looked into his eyes.
"Joe, thank you. Thank you for everything. You believed in me all the time and you gave me confidence. Because of you, I was able to dream again. You helped make tonight possible for me. You've always been there for me, no matter what, and I want to thank you for that." She lowered her eyelids coyly.
Joe gently held her chin with one of his hands and tilted her head upwards, forcing her to look at him. "Françoise, you don't have to thank me. I'll always continue to be there for you. I'll never, ever leave you because I…"
She put two fingers on his lips, cutting off the remainder of his words. Slowly, she leaned closer, closing her eyes. Joe leaned forward, eyes closed, and their lips met. He moved his hands around to her back and pulled her closer, and she encircled her arms around his neck. Gently, Joe held her to him, his mind closed off to everything but her and the feel of her mouth against his own. He asked for entry into her mouth and felt her grant it. Slowly, the kiss grew more explorative as they tasted each other for the first time. After what seemed to Joe like only a few seconds, they broke apart and looked into each other's eyes, foreheads pressed together. Softly, Françoise spoke.
"They'll be wondering where we are."
Joe nodded, and she took his hand and led him in the direction of the restaurant. He held on to her hand and glanced down at her. As they walked together, he realized that he was not the only one who had done any helping. He had helped her dream again, yes, but she had helped him to fulfil a two-year-long dream of his. He tightened his grip on her hand and smiled as they continued towards the restaurant.
A/N: Well, how was it? I'd like very much to hear your comments and criticism so please review. This is a one-shot but there will be a sequel.:) Lataz.