Disclaimer: I cannot tell a lie: it isn't mine. More's the pity aye?

Spoilers: None really. As usual though, it would help if you have seen the film.


Brother of the Pussy Ballerina

When my older brother told me he was quitting hockey to become a ballerina of all things, to say I was shocked is an understatement.

My brother had been my hero for as long as I could remember. He, an all-state hockey champion, had inspired me to play hockey myself. Everyone in school knew me as Tommy the hockey star's little brother. What would they call me now? The brother of the pussy ballerina?

"You're not…uh…gay are you?" I asked my brother slowly.

My brother just laughed. "I think if I were gay, it would have shown before now."

"Well, you did get those girly earrings," I said hesitantly.

"Hey, I thought you liked my studs!"

I didn't answer. A worse thought had just occurred to me.

"You won't have to wear tights will you?" I was almost afraid of the answer. Imagine my jock brother wearing tights! God that was scary. Shake it off. Shake it off.

"That's kind of a requirement," he said with a condescending lift of his eyebrow and a shrug. "Believe me, if I could dance in boxers I'd be much happier. But I have to say, after a while you get used to it. It's a bit like wearing really tight spandex except not as tacky."

"Oh, and that doesn't make you sound gay. When have you had the chance to wear spandex anyway?"

Tommy punched me playfully on my shoulder. "Shut up you brat. I can still take you down."

"You and what orchestra?"

"The New York Philharmonic, smart ass," he said without a pause.

"Clever, August Rush. Clever."

"Laugh now, little brother, but one day you might just feel differently."

"You mean about you becoming a ballerina? I don't think so."

"I mean you may want to follow in my footsteps."

I looked at him blankly. "I promise you, I will never, ever, want to become a tutu wearing ballerina."

"Wannah bet?" Tommy asked, both eyebrows raised in challenge. "And by the way, girls wear tutus."

"Yeah, you've had one too many concussions."

"My point exactly."

That was two years ago. Since then I had actively avoided going to any of my older brother's performances. I was sure the experience would scar me for life and I wanted to preserve my innocence for as long as possible. That and I was not entirely convinced tutus really were reserved for women only and the sight of my idol wearing one was sure to send me into therapy for the rest of my life.

Tonight though, I had finally let my parents convince me to go to Tommy's opening performance of his first major and lead role in the production "The Glass Slipper."

For the first few minutes, I mostly avoided looking at the stage and attempted to resist bobbing my head to the surprisingly good pop music. Apparently the New York Philharmonic was occupied elsewhere tonight. I had, however, glanced up when my brother (not that I'd admit it was my brother if anyone asked) made his entrance. Thankfully he wasn't wearing a tutu, but he was wearing skin colored tights that made him look naked. One glance was all it took before I hid my face in shame.

A good fifteen minutes after that, I felt my mother nudge my arm.

"Pay attention!" Her stage whisper was so loud that the person in front of us looked back with a warning glare. I stuck my tongue out at him. Mature, I know, but he'd been snobby all evening so I think I had the right. Damn ballet junkies.

And then I caught sight of the stage. Two people were dancing in the spotlight. I recognized my brother as one and I assumed the second was his Cinderella. She was wearing a blue costume that actually looked rather pretty while he was still wearing his exposing tights. They were both wearing masks.

They moved like flowing water, jumping and swaying across the stage. At that moment I got what was so beautiful about ballet and why my brother had given up his dream sport for it.

I was transfixed, my eyes glued to the stage. It was like nothing I'd seen before. It was a long time before I even noticed my mouth was hanging open.

As the show ended with a kiss between my brother and his co-star, I didn't even think to whisper something stupid like "No PDA's please" to my father like I usually would have. I was still in shock from my realization.

After the show, we went backstage to congratulate Tommy. I beat my parents to him. Fastening a casual expression on my face, I said to him, "You weren't as bad as I thought you'd be, Billy Elliot."

Tommy laughed. "That means a lot coming from you, pipsqueak." His smile was infectious.

"Jerk," I said, looking away. Just then my eyes caught on a girl a year or two younger than I standing a little way away from the female lead. I sauntered up to her.

"Of all the gin joints, in all the towns, in all the world, what are you doing here?" I asked with a cheeky grin. Quoting the classics always got a girl's attention. Made them think you were deep or something. Much more macho than complementing her form or something equally lame.

She just looked at me. "For your information, I'm here because my sister is the lead."

"Oh really? My brother is too! What a coincidence!" I said with a little too much enthusiasm. That got her attention.

"You're Tommy's little brother?" She asked.

"The one and only."

"Tommy's a wonderful dancer. You're really lucky to have him as brother."

"Well your sister's not too bad herself."

"I know. She promised to teach me when she has time. She's already given me a few lessons. I want to be just like her one day."

I looked at my brother, who was currently kissing my companion's sister, and thought about what I had witnessed back at the theater. He was right; my opinion had changed. "Yeah, me too," I responded.


A/N: I was thinking about what it would be like if I were told by my brother (if I had one) that he was quitting sports to become a ballerina and the start of this story came out. I know in the film Tommy makes it clear that he doesn't really want his brother to become a ballerina like him, but since when do younger siblings ever do what their elders tell them to do? Besides, I kind of leave it open how exactly he wants to be like him. Let's just say there's a double meaning in that. It's really up to you to decide what he meant.

Embedded Quote Tip: Humphrey Bogart