Dedication: The last chapter of Mishini's birthday fic...Two months overdue...

Disclaimer: Fairy Tail and all related characters belong to Hiro Mashima. I own nothing save this plot and my characters—Amarith Sorano, Josh Atwell, Renya Tsukawa, and Miyako Takashi.


May I have this Dance?
An Amarith Sorano & Hibiki Laytis Three-shot

Chapter III
Wondrously Real

By Shadow Countess

~.~.~.~

'One day, you'll find the person you love, she'll be your whole world, and you'll give your heart to her. With your heart comes everything."

He wanted her to be that person, the person he gave his heart and world to. She wanted to be that person, the person who received his heart and world. But things never happen the way one wants it to, for fate, parents, and distrust, are always around to interfere and tear them apart.

And he could only watch as she slipped from his grasp.

~.~.~.~

5th December; 07:00

A blink of the eye, and life had danced past them. Autumn had departed from the lands, and along with it left the cooling breezes and fiery scenes. Winter had come and graced the lands, and along with it came flakes of white and wind of ice.

A shiver seized her spine at the frigid cold, the iciness that vanished when a cup of steaming hot cappuccino was placed in her ungloved hands.

"Thank you," she breathed quietly, raising a puff of white mist, and lifted the container to her lips for a quick sip. Lips parted for a sigh of content as the warmth of the dark liquid spread through her body.

"Why aren't you wearing gloves, Princess?" he questioned, taking one of her hands in his.

Amarith rolled her eyes. "I hate gloves...Drop the title, won't you?"

Hibiki merely chuckled and reached for her bag. "What do you think will come today?" was the question while he walked her to her locker.

Over the past weeks, the gifts from her anonymous admirer had continued coming in. The mornings were a simple present, different each time, while lunch came with one similar to the morning's, only better, prettier, and clearly more expensive.

A book of Romeo and Juliet was followed by a collection of Shakespeare's renowned works. After a plain musical box came one with many songs and a spinning couple dressed in ball gown and tuxedo. She had found the hint a little too obvious, for the girl had the same colored hair as her. Upon receiving a single soft toy, she ended up facing a zoo of plush animals.

Though she had tried going to school the moment the gates swung open, leaving only when they closed, and spending every free moment she had in the locker room, she had caught neither head nor tail of her admirer. However, she was confident it was not Hibiki, Eve or Ren, for the gifts appeared even when they left the school for dance clubs together late at night.

Shoulders pulled into a quick shrug. "We'll see soon, no?"

5th December; 07:15

Sorano-san,

No rose can compare to your beauty.

Your secret admirer

"He's running out of ideas. This is cliché," Amarith laughed softly. Yet, when she stood on tiptoes to peek at the top of her locker, she found nothing. Brows furrowed with incomprehension. Where was her rose? She turned with a low sigh, only to find Hibiki staring down at her with an indecipherable mien. "Hibiki-san?"

Toned frame jerked with a start. "Sorry, I was thinking."

"You were, weren't you?" A teasing smile.

"Quiet, Princess." Her mischievous streak was getting more and more pronounced by the day. "Do you think someone took it?"

"Why the rose and not the other gifts? Some were much better..."

Hibiki's replied died and faded away when the turning of doorknob drew their attention. A brow arched, she tipped her head towards the entrance, watching as the door of oak eased open to reveal a boy standing at the doorway, a bouquet held before his chest.

"Tsukawa-kun?" Amarith's tone was one of shock and surprise as she took in the crimson roses that was wrapped in pale cream and pink paper and tied with a single ribbon. "Why are you here?"

Renya Tsukawa was a fellow dancer, though he had chosen to pursue Latin instead of Standard. The two of them weren't close, but had exchanged short, civil conversations every now and then due to their similar backgrounds: They were both orphans whom Blue Pegasus had offered scholarships to.

Eyes of dark emerald darted, scanning the rows of lockers, as Amarith fixed him with an unwavering stare. He cleared his throat nervously. "Sorano-san, would you..." Faltering, he looked down at the ground, dark brown hair flopping over his eyes, and shuffled his feet uneasily.

"Would I what?" she prompted with a slight curve of a brow. She knew what he wanted, but preferred having him voice it out himself while she thought the question over.

"W-would you go to the dance with me?" The century-old institute had cultivated a decades-old tradition of holding a ball every Christmas Eve, and it had soon become the highlight of each school year.

"Which one?" Corners of lips tucked into an impish smile while she pretended to ponder it over. Renya fidgeted uncomfortably. A smile, and she decided to take pity on him. After all, his lack of confidence was well-known throughout the school. "Yes, I will. Thank you for all the gifts...I especially enjoyed the Boys over Flowers set. It's a limited edition, is it not?"

"Limited edition?" was the confused echo.

A quick, fleeting frown darted over her features. "You're the secret admirer, no?"

"Yes..." Renya nodded. "I am."

She tilted her head with a uncomprehending nibble of her lower lip. "Then, didn't you give me the disks the other day?"

He hesitated, and nodded with an uncertain smile. "I did...I'm glad you like it. So, is the dance on?"

"Yes." A tip of head. "I have to go...See you later?"

At her words, Renya's unsteady smile brightened. And Hibiki's never wavering one faded.

7th December; 13:30

"Amarith-san?"

Upon hearing the call of her name, said girl halted the lighthearted bantering she was exchanging with Hibiki over tuna sandwiches and lemonades to glance at the door. "Hi, Tsukawa-kun. Do you need something?"

Renya shook his head with a distrustful look directed at Hibiki. He knew who he was, and did not want to offend him and unleash the school's displeasure upon himself. "No, it's alright. I was just wondering if you would like to book a song for the dance."

"Book?" The repeat was coupled with a nonplussed frown. It was her first Christmas spent at Blue Pegasus, and there was many details she was not yet informed of.

"We choose a song, add it to the list, and the orchestra would play it for us on that day while we dance to it."

She offered him a nonchalant shrug of slender shoulders. "Surprise me with the song, I suppose. What dance would you prefer?"

A pause, and Renya peeked past the locks falling over his eyes at her. "I heard that you can salsa really well, so...You see," he hastened to add. "I'm no good with Standard, and Latin gets really boring after a while."

"It's fine with me." The smile she sent his way was light, halfhearted.

"See you later?"

"Sure."

A quick wave of farewell, and he was gone.

7th December; 15:33

"Hibiki-san, is there something wrong?" Amarith queried, canting her head to cast him a fleeting glance as they took a break from samba. Hibiki had been uncharacteristically quiet after Renya's departure, and those watchful, contemplating eyes fazed her.

"Why did you agree to his invitation?"

The question startled both of them, for it was totally unexpected and uncalled for. Eyes widened, butane blue boring into amaranthine purple. Amarith froze, stopping the tying of her dance trainers. Hibiki simply stared. He didn't know where that question, or the courage to ask it, had come from, but since it was out, he wanted an answer.

Though he had shared many dances with Amarith, the salsa was the dance, the only dance that truly joined and entwined their souls. It was their dance, so why did she agree to salsa with Tsukawa?

She paused, fluttered her eyes in a series of rapid blinks, and shrugged. "Tsukawa-kun's spent lots of money on me, so it's only right that I return the favor. And it's not like I'll get a date otherwise."

"You can go with me."

"I can, but I won't. You have Miyako," Amarith snapped tiredly, silently cursing her heart for skipping a beat at his words. "Your parents can only stand me spending this much time with you. Anymore, and they'll crack. After all, they intend for her to be your fiancée, no?"

"But—"

She narrowed her eyes and shot him a flat glare. "No buts. I got myself a date, and I thank you to stay out of it."

Her challenging gaze never flittered, never left his face, as he returned the glare with an equally fierce one. A moment later, shoulders slumped, and he mumbled a soft 'Let's stop here for today' before leaving the room.

She watched wordlessly, yet the slamming of door she was anticipating never came: He was too refined for something so uncouth, but the anger radiating from his stiffened form conveyed the message just fine. Forlorn eyes lowered to the floor; hair fell past her shoulders to dangle beside her countenance. She drew her knees close and hugged them to her chest.

Within the white cage of her rib, her heart pounded, slamming against its enclosure in a desperate attempt to break free. It twisted and turned, contorting into odd positions and driving flashes of acute pain through her flesh.

"Damn..." she whispered softly, biting on the tender flesh of her lower lip as tears threatened to spill. If this was love, if love was so painful, then why did so many pursue it? It...Life was unfair, for it made her heart beat for the one person she would never get, the one person whose heart belonged to another being.

And yet, it took all her willpower to not chase after him and beg for his forgiveness, and it took all of his to not turn back and apologize.

10th December; 21:30

He swirled his drink with a heavy sigh, eyes of dark, unnaturally solemn blue watching the ice cubes chink.

His life was a mess. Nothing made sense anymore, and nothing added up. Everything he had once known was turning on him; it was a blurred mess that drew him closer before rearing its ugly head and ensnarling him for the rest of eternity.

A dull ache pounded his head from the song blasting from the speakers. He took a long draft and emptied his glass. Regret. He should have dined at a quiet restaurant instead of letting Ren and Eve drag him to the salsa club, especially since he had no intention of dancing.

"Why are you still here?" Eve questioned, sliding into the seat beside his friend of sixteen years. In those sixteen years, he had never seen Hibiki brood, not even when he was kicked out after a single round in the nationals. This was an eyeopening experience.

Hibiki shrugged, his line of thought disrupted. "Don't feel like it."

"Don't feel like dancing? That's a first," Eve teased, receiving his drink from the bartender with a quick word of thanks. "Or maybe, you don't feel like salsaing with someone who isn't her?"

A frown. "I'm just tired of holding back all the time."

"Especially when you know what the good ones are like, namely, Amarith-san." He smirked. "Speaking of her, why isn't she here today? I haven't seen her for days."

"We...disputed, and now, she's subjected me to silent treatment," was the mournful confession.

The moment their practice ended, Amarith would bolt out of the room, giving him no time to speak. And all attempts made during training was met with dead ends: When he spoke, she remained silent. When he made a mistake in steps, she rectified it with her form and hands. He had not heard her voice for three whole days.

Eve arced a brow. "Disputed?" It wasn't Hibiki's style to lose his composure and argue with a girl, not even when they slapped him for breaking up, so why now?

"I reprimanded her for accepting Tsukawa's invitation."

"For what?" A roll of pale blue eyes. "She has every right to decide for herself."

"I know...I just lost it for a moment, and now, nothing I say has any effects on her. She should have waited for me to ask, no?"

"Then, why didn't you? Any sane girl would accept the first offer, especially since she might not get a second."

"She should have waited," Hibiki repeated grouchily. "I would have asked."j

Eve scoffed, and decided to let it go. "What happened to your charms? I thought you're good at placating girls?"

"Does Amarith look like a normal girl to you?" The look Hibiki shot Eve was one of deep annoyance. "Can you stop harping about her?"

"Can you stop moping over her?" Eve retaliated without missing a beat. "Just confess and get it over and done with."

"Confess?" Hibiki spluttered.

A groan. "It's so absurdly clear that everyone can see it, except you two. Amarith-san likes you, and you feel something for her, be it infatuation or whatnot, so why don't you just get together?"

"There's always my parents...She seems aversive of them, and I'm not good enough for her. She doesn't need someone who would toy around with her then throw her away."

"Will you?" was the quiet question.

"I don't know either...I just want to keep her safe." Shoulders lowered into a slump. "Eve...Do you know what it feels like to soar to the skies when you see someone smile, hear her laugh, and feel her delight? Because...that's what I feel when I'm with her, as though nothing in this world matters."

The younger boy bit back a laugh. In all his years, he had neither witnessed nor believed in true love—his parents had married out of family obligations—yet the scene unfolding before his eyes made him doubt his beliefs. Hibiki was unlike his usual self, being uncertain and afraid of getting into a relationship. Eve could only blame it on the addling influence of love. His love for Amarith.

"Dating her won't be easy. You'll need commitment."

A frown. "She's just a normal date."

Eve shrugged with a smile, and clapped a hand to his friend's shoulder. "We'll see, my friend. We'll see."

24th December; 21:00

Hôtel des Mirages, where the dance was being held, was one of the grandest hotels in town, and its ballroom was not to be underestimated. Chandeliers crafted from sparkling crystals draped from the high ceilings, casting ethereal shimmers on the numerous couples dancing beneath. Feet, shoed and heeled, clattered on the space cleared amidst the many tables.

It was a scene to behold, with the lavish decorations and the dancing couples. Every single pair was a professional in ballroom dancing, and all took this opportunity to flaunt their skills and attires.

With Renya a step behind, Amarith left the room for a breather. The grandness of the room was overwhelming; she wanted to seek solace from the outside.

"Our song is scheduled for nine-thirty," his voice drifted, parting the haze within her relaxed mind. She offered a quick tip of head, eyes fixed on the stars adorning the inky black skies. Stargazing with Renya felt strangely surreal. After all, it was one of the daily muses she had shared with Hibiki.

Him...

Lips fluttered with a quiet sigh. Ever since that day, she had not spoken to Hibiki even though her initial flare of anger had long faded: Her pride refused to let her stoop low and beg for his forgiveness. She had wanted to reconcile with him at the dance, yet he was nowhere to be found—Miyako had come with Atwell.

"Let's go back, Tsukawa-kun."

24th December; 21:30

Those orbs of deep violet blinked slowly as the orchestra called their names. Renya stood up, offered a single hand for her to take, and slowly helped her draw her chair back.

"Yes..." was the soft whisper, one ungloved hand falling onto his. "Let's go." Together, the duo stepped past the tables towards the limelight, only to be stopped by an icy, jeering sneer.

"Who asked you to come?"

The sharp snap drew her to a halt before she turned to glare at Miyako. "Tsukawa-kun," was the short, curt answer. "Is there a problem?"

One step. And the next. Miyako moved forward to stand before Amarith, icy eyes of midnight blue drilling into her violet ones. Josh stood next to his partner, a condescending, mocking sneer tugging at his lips.

"Of course there is. Balls aren't for scrums like you," Miyako spat. "Just because Hibiki-kun is your partner doesn't make you one of us."

Amarith rolled her eyes. She had not heard a single word from Miyako when the latter found out about the change of partners, and had guessed that Takashi was saving her anger for a situation like this. For a chance to utterly embarrass her in front of the entire school.

A single brow arched as she fixed Miyako with a steady stare. It was one thing to bully her in private, and another to taunt her in public. "Really? Then...They're for sluts?" Her retort was greeted with a raged hiss from Miyako.

"Come again, trash."

"You heard me," came the unhesitant rebut. A second later, a crack sounded, and Amarith found herself flung onto the ground. Her cheek smarted from the sharp blow landed on her flesh. Mind spun.

And then, all was silent. Even the orchestra stopped their music.

Proud, haughty eyes watched with ill-concealed delight as Amarith shifted herself into a sitting stance, her amaranthine gaze lowered to the ground. A smirk, and she moved forward to squat before her.

"So, scrum, how do you feel? Especially with your partner..." Orbs of the darkest blue drifted upwards casually towards Renya. He shifted nervously and took a tiny step back, not daring to help Amarith up for fear of angering those lording the school. "Why, is he embarrassed of you?"

"Bitch..." sibilant voice whispered. Her mind was reeling from the harsh blow, and her pride was in shards and shatters. Cheeks were aflame; soft and hazy mutters buzzed around her...

Only to stop a mere moment later.

The crowd of onlookers parted like waves, each and every individual moving backwards and out of the way as a single being passed by them and walked into the glow of the spotlights.

Hibiki Laytis.

A soft squeak, and Miyako recoiled. "Hibiki, you saw—"

"Yes, I saw," was the frosty interjection. "And we'll talk about what I saw later." With that, the blond bent down and helped his fallen dance partner up onto her feet, looped an arm around her waist, and departed, leaving a stunned Miyako in his wake.

24th December; 22:00

"Are you alright?" he questioned, reaching out a hand to wipe away the silent tears cascading down her cheeks. He had taken her to the town's public garden, where they sat on a bench beneath a withered tree.

A bite of her lower lip, and she nodded soundlessly. Though the lingering sensation of pain had dissipated, the memory was still painfully raw. Never had anyone struck her face before, not even the bullies from Phantom ten years ago. Miyako had not only hurt her physically, but had left a gaping wound on her pride as well.

"Then, don't cry." Arms encircled her trembling form and drew her close. Her cheek pressed against his chest; eyes fluttered to a close. "I'll speak to her later."

"Don't," was the hoarse whisper. "It'll only make matters worse, especially when you leave." Her breath died, catching in her throat, as he tucked her crown under his chin.

"It wouldn't. They won't dare to hurt my girl, will they?"

Head snapped up so quickly that she was surprised she didn't get a whiplash. "You mean..." she began, only to trail away at the finger he placed on her lips.

"I know you have Renya, but please, give me a chance," he murmured. He had intended to confess to her on Christmas amidst fireworks and fairy lights, yet...

It had taken him many days, but finally, Eve's cryptic message had come clear. As he practiced with her in his arms, as he watched her dance with Renya, he knew. What he felt for Amarith was not mere infatuation, but rather, love. And it was something he was willing to commit and sustain. After all, he was going to take the risk and give her a gift he had never thought of giving anyone else, something that was truly his: his heart.

Her mind fogged. "You..." His confession, and the shock coupling it, threw her off-tangent, for those words made her wildest dreams true. She knew she had come to love him: his show of weakness and self-doubt had cemented it for her. His initial display of perfection had entranced her, had drew her close, but it was his imperfections that had captured her, making her love him.

"I'm not perfect, and there's lots of things I lack, but I'll give you everything I have, including my heart."

"Your heart..." she echoed quietly. "I...There's nothing going on between Tsukawa-kun and I, and I doubt he particularly cares, seeing how he chose to protect himself over me." Head shook, long locks bounced, and she looked down at her lap. "I'll just return his gifts and forget that he ever existed."

"Don't give me mine."

Damn whiplashes, she cursed silently, swinging around to stare at him.

"I was the one who gave you the second set," Hibiki professed, reading the unspoken question in her eyes. "I didn't like being ousted from a competition before it even began."

"You gave me the better ones?" She arced a slender brow, lips coiling into a smile. "Thank you...I really like them, especially the books. And the CD set," she added as an afterthought.

He chuckled. "Only the best for my princess."

"Whatever." Eyes rolled. "Why do you know my locker combination? And the first few gifts, and...This doesn't make any sense." She frowned. "You were with me most of the times, so how did you get the gifts into my locker?"

"Eve and Ren helped me, and I got your combination from Bob. They keep a record in the office."

"The first few gifts?" she prompted.

"I saw Tsukawa in the locker room one night, took a look, saw the chocolates, and decided to match it up. Same for the bracelet. As for the rest, I was always there when you received them, wasn't I?"

Amarith sighed with a faint smile. "What am I supposed to do about you?"

"That's simple. Dance with me." He stood up and offered her his hand. She rolled her eyes and took it. "Let's salsa. You won't faint on me, right?" he questioned with a chuckle.

A smirk graced her ivory-tinged features. "What will you do if that happens?"

"Catch you, of course." Like I always will.

"Oh, quiet."

They fell silent as they launched into salsa, swinging and moving along with the nonexistent music. Each was snarled in their own worlds of confusion, turmoil, and utter bliss. Moonbeams waltzed down from the open heavens, shrouding the couple in a veil of gentle innocence.

"You look absolutely stunning," he murmured, swinging her out before pulling her back into his arms.

She lifted her gaze, a slight twinkle lighting those amethyst-toned orbs. "You tell me that everyday, and to every girl you meet. It's starting to lose its charm." A sidestep.

"But I only mean it when it comes to you."

"When I meant losing your charms, I meant everything. Nothing works anymore." Cloth of dark violet flapped and whipped at her legs as he set her up for a swift underarm turn.

"Really?"

The low tease in his voice sent a shiver fizzing through her flesh. She glanced up, and froze at the dark gleam in his eyes. A swallow. "Really," she repeated shakily. "I mean it."

"I'll hold your words to it." She couldn't move, couldn't breathe, as he hooked a finger beneath her chin and tipped her face up. He was moving closer...leaning towards her...And his lips pressed against hers.

He blamed it on the addling influence of love as fireworks—the fireworks he had wanted during his proclamation of eternal love—exploded and colored his vision. Never had he felt like that, not even with someone far more experienced than Amarith.

Shakily, they drew apart. "I can't give you anything, Princess," he whispered unsteadily. "I know I'm not perfect, and that there's lots of things I lack, but I'll give you everything I have...Including my heart."

She rolled her eyes. "How can you say that? You just gave me your heart...and your world, and I'm not letting them go anytime soon."

"And I don't want them back, forever and ever. They're yours to keep," he whispered, running his fingers through her tresses, and ghosted a series of kisses along her crown. "Because I too have yours with me."

A smile flickered over her countenance. "You're too annoying for your own good," she grumbled.

"I am?" he teased, delighted. As she nodded her affirmation, he touched a kiss to her cheek. "You know, Princess, this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship."

"Oh, quiet."


Authoress' Note: Fin.

I feel extraordinarily proud of myself, for this is the first ever non-one-shot fic I've completed. Finally can I slap the 'complete' sign to it and end off with no summaries. I thank my odd addiction with ballroom dancing and Mishini for making me think of this idea, the random surges of impulse for helping me complete it, and Monkey for proof-reading it (a little). It has been a really fun piece of work, and now, with the writing kick in (in time to distract me from revising for finals), I might finally continue my other fics. Might.

To those who wondered: I posted this chapter and took it off almost immediately 'cause...I regretted posting. The story seemed too lacking...all bones and no flesh...at that point of time, so I decided to give it some time and add a little more flesh. Sorry for the wait but...this is quite a fast update for me. 1 month and 1 day is pretty short by my standard. Heh.

If there's any spelling mistakes, do tell me and I'll fix it as soon as possible. Monkey was too distracted by how...fluffy...this fic is to beta read properly.

Also, I'm aware that Amarith might be a tad Mary Sue-ish and the plot might fit a sshoujo manga (I love them!), but...This was, as I mentioned before, supposed to be 3 two-shots, but due to time constraints and a general lack of motivation, I shall end it here. And hence, all problems appearing in this three-shot will not have a chance to be rectified.

Sorry.

Lastly, if you want to leave a review, this is your last chance to do so. Please do, for it would make me one delighted authoress. Thank you to Oharu Chicken for reviewing.

Toodles.