A/N: This is based on (yet another) ballet. I'm not ballet obsessed (I don't even do ballet) but I like the stories in them. It's quite a common one. See if you can guess which one it is. The setting for this story is almost our world, but with the addition of human knowledge of the Cat Kingdom. It will be explained later on.
One final notice; yes I know that there is a series called Being Human, but I called this Being Human before I was ever aware of the series and now I have grown used to the title and have no desire to change the name of it now, sorry. There aren't any ghosts, werewolves or vampires either, for those of you familiar with the series. But there are cats. =^^=
Chapter 1: Not for Everyone
"I believe everything happens for a reason. People change so you can learn how to let go. Things go wrong, so that you appreciate them when they're right. And sometimes... just sometimes... good things fall apart so better things can fall together."
"I said third position; third position, Haru!"
In the middle of the dance studio a brunette tripped over her own feet as she attempted to shuffle them into the ordered position, trying to keep her own balance at the same time – which quickly proved to be an impossible task. As she fell she knocked into several other dancers – all noticeably younger than herself – and the dance fell completely apart.
"Oh, Haru, what are we going to do with you?" sighed the teacher.
The brunette looked up from the floor. "Sorry, Miss Laurent." She pushed herself up, ignoring the now throbbing pain in her back and arms. She looked over at the rest of the class, who were slowly picking themselves up and checking each other over for bruises. "Sorry everyone," she mumbled.
There was a slight mumble of "That's alright," from the rest of the girls, who were quite used to such happenings.
When Haru had dusted herself down Miss Laurent crossed her arms. "Maybe while the rest of the class practises the routine, you should brush up on your positions," she suggested, not unkindly.
"Yes miss," murmured Haru sadly.
The teacher sighed. "I'm not trying to push you out; I'm just trying to help you. If you can get the basic positions then you can work on the other moves."
"I know, I know."
"What exactly is it about this that makes it so hard?"
"It's just... well my feet won't do what my brain is telling them to do. I have to concentrate to get them into position." To prove her point, Haru focussed fiercely, frowning down at her feet as she forced them into the third position. After several painful moments for the rest of the class – who, although they were a couple of years younger in age, had already mastered all five basic positions – Haru was standing – shakily – in what was generally accepted as the third position. She wobbled slightly and quickly brought herself out of it. "My balance isn't good either, miss," Haru added, as if that needed saying.
"Yes, I'm aware of that." The teacher sighed again. "See me after class."
Haru pulled her hair out of its tight bun, carefully trying to manoeuvre around the knots that had somehow tangled themselves up in her hair. She grimaced as she picked at a particularly stubborn snarl, holding the back of her hair to try to reduce the pain.
Miss Laurent came over to the girl by the barre – the wooden rail attached to the studio wall – and helped her take out the hair grips.
"What was it that you wanted to talk to me about?" Haru asked, only slightly cringing as a few of the deeper hair pins were deftly removed.
"It's about..." The teacher trailed off and laughed nervously. "Well, there's no easy way to put this, but I'm thinking that maybe ballet isn't for you."
Haru spun round to look at the woman, almost wrenching out some of the pins in the process, but ignoring the sharp pain. "What?"
"You've been in this beginner's class much longer than anyone else and you're still having trouble with the basics. Maybe you should try another style of dance; one that isn't so... strict in its approach," said the teacher calmly. She pulled out a pin that was dangling uselessly to a strand of her pupil's hair. "Miss Lewis is starting up a contemporary class tomorrow, you could try that."
"Am I really that bad?"
Miss Laurent sighed again. "I'm not saying that–"
"Yes you are."
"I'm just saying that perhaps you'd excel at another style. Ballet isn't for everyone, you know."
"It isn't from lack of trying, miss. I just... struggle with it."
"I know, and that's why I'm suggesting you experiment with other styles. Perhaps you'll find something more rewarding."
Haru's shoulders slumped. "Yes miss."
"So how was torture today?"
Haru, who was currently unlacing her shoes, glanced up at her friend. "Don't call it that."
"What? It might as well be with all the accidents you have. Personally, I don't know why you put yourself through it all." Hiromi stood beside the brunette, a lacrosse stick held loftily in one hand. Hiromi was on the school lacrosse team, which held matches on Tuesdays and Thursdays, the first day being at the same time as Haru's ballet lesson. They were currently in the school changing room, with Hiromi waiting for her friend to get some 'proper' shoes on.
"You wouldn't understand," Haru muttered. She finally got her shoe off and Hiromi winced.
"You've got some bad blisters. Perhaps you should give next week off."
"I'm not going to ballet next week."
"Oh good. That'll give your feet some time to recover–"
"Hiromi, I'm never going back to ballet."
The lighter brunette stared. "What?"
"Miss Laurent basically asked me to give up ballet and try contemporary instead."
Hiromi sat down beside her friend on the bench that stretched around the room, which was attached to the wall, moving her lacrosse stick to a cane position. "What happened?"
"I fell over... again... and miss just kind of suggested that I should try another style of dancing when she came to see me after the lesson."
"Does the school even have a contemporary club?"
"Apparently one is starting up tomorrow."
"She's the teacher assistant in the modern languages department, isn't she? I didn't know she danced."
"Neither did I, but it seems she does."
Hiromi was biting her lip. "I think you should go for it."
"I think you should go for it," repeated Hiromi. "I mean, I think you should go to the contemporary club."
"What? You've seen how bad I am at ballet! Miss Laurent basically asked me to not bother coming back. What makes you think I'll be any better at contemporary?"
"No, Miss Laurent basically said that she feels you could do better at other styles."
Haru gave a doubtful look at Hiromi. "You know that actually just meant I was terrible."
Hiromi paused, then shrugged. "Yeah, but I could hardly say that, could I? I'm meant to be your best friend for crying out loud."
Haru finished putting on her shoes and stood up, slinging her bag over one shoulder. "Okay, maybe you have a point."
"I always have a point," said Hiromi gleefully.
Haru smiled and rolled her eyes. "Yeah, because you're just amazing like that," she joked.
"I know." The lighter brunette walked out with Haru, suddenly turning the conversation serious. "But – seriously – I think you should at least try contemporary. Give it a chance."
Haru shook her head. "I think I'll just give it up."
Hiromi crossed her arms. "Haru Yoshioka, how dare you give up so easily? For all you know, you could be amazing at contemporary!"
Haru scoffed. "Seriously? I think you got hit one too many times with a lacrosse stick this match."
"What's the worst that could happen?"
"I make a right fool out of myself."
Hiromi snorted. "Well, you've been doing that for two years in ballet anyway and you didn't seem to mind."
Haru grabbed Hiromi's lacrosse stick off her and whacked her over the head with it. "I thought you said you're my best friend!" she laughed.
Hiromi ducked to avoid another beating, jumping to try to regain control over her stick. "Yeah, and best friends are allowed to be brutally honest with each other! It's like, if you looked stupid in a dress, I'd tell you."
"Before or after I've worn it for a good half hour?"
Hiromi considered it for a few seconds. "It depends on what the situation is." She finally managed to snatch back her lacrosse stick, giving Haru a friendly whack in retaliation for her previous hit.
"You are so mean!" cried Haru, laughing as she swung her bag in front of her as protection from Hiromi's lacrosse stick. In the end she gave up and just legged it instead, racing out of the school gates as Hiromi puffed after her.
"You should so have joined the cross country team!" shouted Hiromi.
Haru laughed. "Not a chance!"
"You should've!" insisted her friend.
"What, and spend my own free time running round the school field like three times? No fear!" She spun on her heels, making a face at Hiromi. "You're the sporty one, not me."
Hiromi caught up with her as they came out of the school and headed in the direction of the crossroads. "That I may be, but it doesn't deny the fact that out of the two of us, you are the faster one."
Haru grinned. "I've spent way too much time running to school every day, that's why. If I actually got up when my alarm went off, I wouldn't have had so much practice."
"Yes, well that's your fault, not mine. "
Haru skipped backwards, sticking her tongue out at Hiromi for that reply. "Well good for you."
Hiromi laughed too, but suddenly lunged forward and caught Haru's shoulder. "Whoa! Haru, look where you're going, for goodness sake!"
Haru looked behind her to see she'd almost walked straight into the road. A car sped past, its music blaring out at full volume. She winced. "Thanks, Hiromi."
"No problem. People are always speeding up this road; it's a wonder no one's gotten killed yet. Anyway," added Hiromi, bringing the conversation to previous topics, "I don't know why you persevered with ballet for a full two years. I mean, you were coming out with blisters and sprained ankles on some days."
"You wouldn't understand," Haru mumbled.
"Try me." Hiromi's eyes widened. "Oh... it's Machida, isn't it?"
"What? No," said Haru, not very convincingly, even she had to admit.
"You're blushing," the lighter brunette said bluntly.
Haru self-consciously covered her cheeks with her hands. "Am I? I hadn't noticed."
Hiromi rolled her eyes. "What makes you think that learning to dance will make Machida even notice you anyway? He seems pretty caught up in himself if you ask me."
Haru tensed defensively. "Well I wasn't asking you."
Hiromi threw up her hands in defence. "Okay, okay, I'm sorry! I suppose I shouldn't have said something like that about your crush."
Haru sighed, her shoulders slouching. "Sorry, no, it's alright. It's just... today feels like it's been a disaster."
"Cheer up then, tomorrow's another day. And you will try that contemporary class; I shall ensure you do."
"I... I don't know, Hiromi."
"Who knows, you might find you have an innate talent for it."
The two girls looked at each other, then burst out laughing.
"Okay, or maybe not," Hiromi admitted. "But it's worth a shot. Anyway, apart from trying to impress Machida with your 'amazing' dancing skills, is there any other reasons you put yourself through that torture for two years?"
Haru hesitated, then nodded. "It's just... I'm fed up of being the klutz-y, clumsy one."
"But that's who you are."
"But maybe I don't want to be that," complained Haru. "Maybe I want to feel strong and graceful and beautiful for once in my life. Is there anything wrong with wanting that?"
Hiromi took a step back. "Sorry. It was just a thought. I didn't know you felt that way."
"Why do you think I put up with all those bruises and blisters for all that time? I thought that if anything could make me more graceful; could make me less... clumsy, it would be ballet. But I mucked up at that, just like I muck up everything else!"
"No, you don't muck everything up," protested Hiromi. "I'm impressed that you tried for so long – that shows real perseverance."
"Or stupidity," corrected Haru.
Hiromi hugged her friend. "Don't be like that. Hey, I'll even come along tomorrow and try contemporary with you, if that'll make you any happier."
Haru laughed at the idea of her friend joining her. "I thought you were into sports, not dancing."
"Dancing can be considered a sport," added Hiromi. "So... you'll go?"
"Only to see you dance."
"Hey, I could be awesome at it!" Hiromi swiped her lacrosse stick at Haru, who ducked and ran backwards.
"You'll have to do better than that!" teased Haru.
"We'll see about that."
Haru laughed again and ran further back, bumping into someone. "Oh, sorry."
The other person turned around. "It's okay." He had tawny hair and glistening green eyes – surprisingly green eyes. Haru blushed and apologised again, earning a kindly – if slightly amused – look from the stranger.
Hiromi caught up with them. "Don't mind my friend; she's a bit of a klutz," she gabbled and dragged her friend away. When they were far enough away to be out of earshot, Hiromi turned to Haru and whispered conspiringly, "Who was he? He was fit."
Haru laughed, although her laughter wasn't entirely true, because she could see where the other brunette was coming from. "You meet a guy in the street and you're already passing judgement? Hiromi, I expected better of you."
Hiromi raised an eyebrow. "He was fit though; you've got to admit that."
Haru giggled. "Yeah, he was."
A/N: Early update due to holiday plans, and I won't be around until next Thursday. Review still, please?
And I hope anyone who received exam results today received the grades they wanted. It's a stressful time, I know.