Disclaimer: None of these characters belong to me; I simply extracted them from one world and plopped them into one of my own creation.

Author's Notes: To follow the story.

Dedication: This has always been Melissa's story. But somewhere along the way, she gained a passenger in her body. So now it's for Melissa, my surrogate sister and Ali, who will be my well-spoiled surrogate niece.


To Dance Beneath the Diamond Sky
by Kristen Elizabeth


One year later

Relena turned on the shower as hot as it would go without blistering her skin. When the water started coming out at the perfect temperature, she let the towel around her body fall to the tiled floor and stepped inside the glass enclosure.

She sighed as the water pounded on the delicate muscles at the back of her neck, working out the kinks and sore spots. It was her daily ritual, one she had come to depend on. It relaxed her for the day ahead. And usually, if she was lucky....or if it happened to be a day that ended in 'y'....she wouldn't be alone for long.

The cool rush of air from outside the protective glass walls hit her body first. It would have been chilly and unwelcome had she not immediately felt his strong arms circling her bare torso. The shower door closed behind him.

"Morning," Heero murmured into her wet hair.

Relena smiled and turned around to see her lover. He was looking down at her with sleep-heavy eyes; the faintest hint of stubble covered his chin. "I tried not to wake you."

The water slowly began to plaster down his long bangs as he kissed her. She could taste the mint of toothpaste on his tongue. "The water's nice..." he commented.

"Very," she whispered, running her hands up his muscled frame, newly slick with moisture. Her fingers paused on his scars. The short, thick one that cut across his lower left side and the longer, thinner surgical incision that ran down his chest....they were reminders of the past that he would always carry with him.

But they would never slow him down, as he had more than proven in the year since the night that changed their lives. He had worked his way through physical therapy without complaint and in plenty of time to claim his new position in the Ballet Conservatory's main company. But, as he often made known, he could have never done it without the woman who was, at that moment, pouring shampoo into her palm and working up a lather meant for his hair.

They had moved into the little apartment in Chelsea, not too far from Duo's parents' loft, almost immediately after graduation. Millardo had grumbled for several months about his sister "playing house," but as luck would have it, around that time Lucrezia's pregnancy began to show and his attention was turned to more important things. Relena was finally left alone to enjoy living with Heero.

Not that it was all sunshine and roses. In the grand tradition of his gender, Heero almost always forgot to put the toilet seat down, he left empty pizza boxes in the fridge for days and on very rare occasions, he snored. But the good things more than made up for the annoying. Having brunch in bed on Sunday mornings, holding hands on the subway going to rehearsals, waking in the middle of the night to make love by the moonlight...

And, of course, their shower time. Relena combed her soapy fingers through his hair, smoothing out the tangles and lightly massaging his scalp. As she worked, Heero was exploring, although he already knew every square inch of her ballet-toned flesh. When his hand slipped between her thighs, Relena gave him a look. "We can't. We'll be late for..."

But he had already lifted her into the air and pressed her back up against the tile wall. Wrapping her legs around his hips, he buried himself inside her before she could protest any further. Relena moaned softly; the warmth of the water and the heat of his body were incredible. "All right..." He slowly rocked his hips, nibbling on the notch of her throat. "But you're...making our excuses this...time."

Heero smiled into her neck and slid his hands down her body to cup her bottom. "Shh...."

Relena let him wash over her like the steady stream from the shower. She held onto his strong shoulders and rode the pleasure of his body until it became too much. Her loud cries were blissfully drowned out by the water. When the moment had peaked and faded for him, too, Heero slipped out of her body and set her back down on shaky legs. They kissed, slow and sweet, unlike the fast pace of their coupling.

"We could just call in sick," he suggested, wiping dripping shampoo suds off his face. He was fully awake now, although still not entirely ready to start the day.

"Funny how we only get sick on the exact same days." Laughing, Relena started lathering her own hair while Heero soaped her up with a sponge, paying particular attention to his favorite areas. "We can't let Hilde down. Her grade depends on us."

Heero helped her run the water through her long locks while she scrubbed him down . Mostly he just liked feeling her hair between his fingers. "What kind of class is 'Theories and Techniques in Education' anyway?"

"I would guess pretty much what it sounds like." After making sure they were both soap-free, she turned the water off and opened the glass door. "All I know is that she has to observe our rehearsal. But she can't do that if we're not at the studio."

"Is Maxwell tagging along with her?"

Relena winked as she threw a thick towel over his head. "Do they go anywhere without each other? Wait..." She pulled him down for another kiss. "Neither do we."

He would have liked the kiss to go further; there were times when she turned him on so much that once was just not enough. But she made it clear by gently pulling away that she was serious. And that she'd make it up to him later.

When they were dried, dressed (sweatpants and t-shirts over their leotards and tights), Heero had shaved and Relena had pinned up her hair, they pulled Pop-Tarts out of the cabinet, grabbed their rehearsal bags and walked, hand in hand, to the subway station. After a short ride spent feeding each other breakfast, they emerged back onto the streets, only this time much further uptown.

The traffic was thick, but the nearest crosswalk was all the way down at the end of the block and the Conservatory lay directly across the street from the subway stairs. They waited for a moment as cars and cabs zipped by. Finally, Relena smiled at Heero. "Come on."

She stepped off the curb, holding his hand. Heero glanced to his right on instinct. A city bus barreled towards her, seemingly unaware of his girlfriend's existence.

"Relena!" he shouted. Without hesitation, he yanked on her arm, pulling her back onto the curb and against his body just as the bus whizzed past them. "Are you okay?!" he shouted through the noise of the street.

"I didn't even see it..."

Heero hugged her hard. "You've got to be careful, baby!"

She nodded, her pretty face ashen from the close encounter. After spending the extra minutes to walk to the pedestrian crossing and back, they arrived at the Conservatory and ran up the stairs to the rehearsal studios, rather than waste time with the elevator. They burst into the small room reserved for their one-on-one choreography lesson with Lucrezia, just recently back at work after her maternity leave.

Relena's new sister-in-law greeted them by handing over baby Graham and a patchwork bag of his things. "Punishment for being late. You get to change the kid."


Across town, Hilde was also running late. Duo sat on the edge of her twin bed and gave her roommate, who was eyeing him with a distinct look of interest, a forced smile. "How long has she been in there?"

The girl, Jessica if he remembered her name correctly, glanced at the bathroom door that connected her and Hilde's dorm room to their suitemates. "I don't know."

He pressed his thumbs together until his knuckles turned white. "Okay then." Another few minutes slipped by. "Hilde...babe," he called out. "We're late you know."

"Just a sec!" Duo could hear a hair dryer being turned on; inwardly, he groaned and settled in for a long wait.

He was beginning to doze, his chin had dropped down to his chest, when she finally appeared from the bathroom. Duo's eyes popped open and his head shot up. "Ready?"

"You're so wonderfully patient, Duo," she remarked, dryly. All was forgiven a moment later when he gave her a soft kiss. "Morning to you, too."

Duo held up a bag from Starbucks. "Breakfast at Tiffany's?" he suggested.

"Breakfast on the cross-town express." Hilde grabbed her backpack and keys and pulled him towards the door. "Later, Jessie."

They rode the bus from campus and arrived at the Conservatory only thirty minutes after Heero and Relena's rehearsal was set to have started. Hilde clutched her double latte a little tighter than necessary as she looked up at the familiar building.

How much time had she spent inside of it? Endless hours of lessons and rehearsals. She had sweated, laughed, cried, and most importantly, danced. It was her first time returning to the Conservatory since the accident that had changed her entire future. Were it not for a major project due at the end of the term, she doubted she would even be standing where she was. Old emotions, the ones she had almost convinced herself that she had laid to rest, resurfaced. Raw. Painful. Suffocating...

Duo took the cold coffee from her and tossed it into a street trash can. "You don't have to do this you know."

She watched him; his ability to read her mind seemed completely natural. It was the connection they shared. It was the reason that he always knew just what she was going to order at a restaurant, or just how much she really disliked her roommate. It was also how he knew the exact way to make her body explode when they made love. He glanced back at her, eyebrows raised, waiting for her response.

"It's too late to start a new project." Hilde straightened her shoulders. "Besides. My speciality is Dance Education. How can I teach little kids to dance if I can't even bear to be around real dancers?"

"I just don't want you to push yourself, babe." His fingers threaded through hers.

She graced him with her special smile as they started into the building. "Just keep holding my hand."


"Okay, Heero. Just like yesterday." Lucrezia walked across the rehearsal floor to her dancers. "It's a really quick change for Relena to go from the pirouette to the arabesque, so you've got to make sure you coupe jete en tourant your way over to her in time to help her into it."

Heero nodded, catching Relena's eye. "I won't let her fall on her face."

She flashed him a reassured smile although she had never been worried. "Can we try it without the music a few times, Lu?"

"I'd rather you get used to having to do it in time to the..." The older woman stopped. "We have visitors."

Relena glanced to the door just in time to catch the passing image of two people through the glass window that looked out into the hall before the studio door opened. Duo stepped inside first, dressed in his usual jeans and jacket. Hilde followed him in with obvious hesitation. She wore an outfit that appeared to have been chosen with special care, a long black skirt and a light blue sweater.

"Hey!" Duo called out. "Sorry we're late!"

"It's okay," the choreographer replied, giving her former students a welcoming smile. "Actually this might be a good point to take a five minute break."

It wasn't, but she wasn't blind to Hilde's discomfort. It would be wise, she decided, to give the four young people some time to talk things out. Plus she could run upstairs to Millardo's office where he was watching their five month old son.

Lucrezia started out the door. "I'll be back. Heero, Relena...don't relax too much."

Once she was gone, the two couples stood in awkward silence for a few moments. It was, oddly enough, Heero who spoke first. "It must be hard for you to be here, Hilde."

He had hit the source of the uncomfortable air with exact precision, and as was his way, had not hemmed, nor hawed around it. Hilde's chest tightened up for a second, but then relaxed. "Yeah. It is," she said, wistfully. "But it's getting better."

"I'm holding her hand," Duo explained, proudly. He glanced around. "It all looks pretty much the same. What are you guys rehearsing again?"

"It's just a little pas de deux for the Midsummer Nights of Dance," Relena said in a quiet voice, glancing down at the frayed tips of her pointe shoes. It was so strange seeing Hilde back in the studio. It threw her back in time a year to the days when she was a member of the corps doing her best to blend in, Heero was giving her the cold shoulder, and Jean-Paul haunted her nightmares.

Hilde had held all the promise for a bright future then, but in the blink of an eye, it had all been turned over to Relena. And now she was a company member and she had Heero in her bed every night to run the dead Frenchman out of her dreams. She never took anything for granted. Hilde's tragedy had given her a life. Would she ever stop feeling guilty for that?

"We'll have to get tickets," Hilde said a second later. Relena lifted her eyes to meet the girl's cornflower blue gaze. It was steady and warm, without anymore regret or blame. "We haven't been to the ballet in....way too long."

Something passed between the two girls, a common bond of shared pains that could finally be laid to rest. Relena smiled at her old acquaintance and new friend. "Tell me about this project. I hope we can help you."

By the time Lucrezia came back to the studio, all lingering tension had dissipated. Heero and Duo were standing by the barre, talking; Hilde and Relena were seated in the chairs that ran along the mirror, looking a pictures of Graham that Relena had pulled from her bag, the same ones of which every person Relena bumped into on the street got treated to a viewing. She was a very proud aunt.

"Are you two ready?" Lucrezia asked Heero and Relena. The couple quickly finished up their separate conversations and joined each other at the middle of the floor. Duo walked over and took a seat next to Hilde. "All right, let's pick it up right where we left off. Heero, you're at stage left; Relena, center stage." She pointed to the pianist, back from his own break. "Andre...give them four bars to prep."

As the soft notes from the piano began to flow, Duo took his girlfriend's hand. "Shouldn't you be taking notes?"

"I'm just going to observe for a minute," Hilde replied, never taking her eyes away from the two dancers. "Afterwards, I'll get a little interview with Lucrezia on breaking down combinations to teach them. No problem."

He squeezed her fingers. "You got it under control, babe." With that, he settled back to watch as the four bars ended and the dance commenced. Heero lept in high cope jete en tourants in a circle around Relena as she spun in perfect pirouettes on one foot. He thought he felt Hilde tense up...it wouldn't have been a surprise seeing as how the last movement she had ever made as a ballerina had been a fateful pirouette...but it was just his imagination. She seemed to be enjoying the dance.

Because she was, Duo relaxed, too. He had his girl back at his side. She was able to deal with her past while looking forward to her future as a dance instructor for elementary school children, a job that allowed her to work with her passion on an ankle that could never do all the things it once could. And while he was happily living in the land of Undecided Major, he already had a ring picked out at Tiffany's that someday he would slip onto her finger.

In fact, it seemed as though Heero had that same plan, only Relena's ring was on hold at Cartier's.

Back on the studio floor, the dark haired cavalier reached his blonde prima ballerina just at the exact moment to hold her hand as she balanced on one perfectly sculpted leg in a gorgeous arabesque. When she gracefully dropped out of it a moment later, he continued the well-rehearsed movements and spun away a few feet.

Relena smiled as she lightly, elegantly ran over to him. His arms were open and waiting, an invitation to trust him that she had no qualms taking. She let him gather her up, twist her around and hold her in a perfect fish dive.

There was a smattering of applause from their tiny audience. Relena's breath came in short gasps as Heero held her in the difficult position. A moment later, she was back on her own two feet, preparing for the next combination. Heero returned her smile with a private wink.

Her cheeks were flushed, her heart raced....and it had nothing to do with the dance.


"There's a passion inside, an inner strength that drives, and nobody can take that away from you. It's the greatest high, you set the floor on fire when you come alive....and we're dancing." -PYT


The End


I'm not entirely sure what to say here. Everyone who has ever read or reviewed this story.....wow. Thank you seems inadequate somehow. Last March, when I was driving to my friend Melissa's house for dinner one night listening to Brandy's version of "Everything I Do...", I had this flash vision of Heero and Relena dancing. And even I rolled my eyes at myself....I won't even mention how Melissa reacted when I proposed the idea of putting Heero and Duo in black tights and making them ballet dancers.

I'm overjoyed that this story struck the chord in people that it seems to have. It was completely unexpected. I hope I managed to tell a good story; that really has been my driving goal. I hope I keep doing so. As for any sequels to this story....I don't see it happening, but then, I've learned to never say never.

For the last time, I give you my thanks, each and every one of you. May you all, at some point in your lives, dance;)

Kristen Elizabeth
November 14, 2002