ACT II: CHAPTER EIGHTEEN

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A/N: I'm dedicating this chapter to @innaturalnirvana for her encouraging comments, especially during the rougher chapters in this fic. Thank you!

LAST PAST CHAPTER! This also marks the end of Harry's POV. The rest of the fic will be in Louis' POV.


HARRY / PAST

Dear Harry,

It's been weeks since I've seen or heard from you. You haven't responded to any of my emails or letters. I'm worried about you. Why won't you talk to me? Didn't you enjoy our trip? I wanted to thank you again for accompanying me to Kiev. I've told all of your instructors what a good boy you were and how much you impressed me.

You have so much potential, Harry, but you and I both know that potential isn't enough. You're talent is raw and unrefined. You are far from where you need to be when it comes to technique. I don't normally do this, but I would like to invite you to come live with me in Paris over the summer so I can mentor you personally. It's unorthodox but I think you would benefit from the individualized attention and my connections here in Paris. I don't think a big noisy classroom is the right learning environment for a sensitive boy like you. I know what you need, Harry. I understand you.

If you're obedient and you work hard under my tutelage, I can give you the career of your dreams. I can get you a spot in any company in the world.

I do hope you'll consider my offer. I would hate to see all that wonderful potential go to waste!

Eagerly awaiting your reply.

Yours,

Alex

P.S. Forgive me, my pet. I never meant to hurt you. Things will be different this time. I promise x

The card had a waxwing with a red berry in its mouth on the front.

Madame Lesauvage crossed the studio and swept a strand of grey hair into her bun. "Well?"

We were alone in the studio. Beauchamp had asked her to hand-deliver the card to make sure I read it. I had deleted all his other emails and thrown out his previous letters unopened.

"He wants to mentor me in Paris this summer."

"Oh Harry, that's wonderful!" She clapped a hand over her mouth and placed an arm proudly around my shoulder. "Are you going to call him or write him back?"

"Madame, can I ask you a question?"

She nodded.

"What's the best dance company in the world?"

"Well, the Paris Opera Ballet is the oldest, but the Bolshoi is by far the biggest—the word 'Bolshoi' is Russian for 'grand'—and it has the most decorated history. It's where Tchaikovsky premiered Swan Lake."

I considered this for a moment.

She crossed her long thin arms, her sharp elbows protruding from her bodysuit like two arrows.

"You should take this offer very seriously, Harry. You've improved a lot these last few months, but training with someone like Alex could be the difference between dancing for a company like the Bolshoi and dancing for some tiny regional company in Leeds."

"He wants me for the whole summer."

She brushed the curls out of my eyes and lifted my chin. "I know, dear. You want to go home and see your family and friends, don't you? But these are the sacrifices we must make for this profession. I was taken from my parents when I was just seven to train at the École de Danse de l'Opéra in Paris."

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