In universe torn by strife and famine, many customs and laws conflicted with the practises of the day. With so much loss of life, adoption was common place, and the bonds created by such means were considered as strong as those through blood lines. However, emphasis was still that of genetic relations, and as such many estates were bound to out of date rules when it came to inheritance. It is on one such world that this story unfolded around a family lacking the necessary biological offspring to ensure the security for all. Not that the head of this house had intended it to have worked out that way, however life decided a different fate.
However, none of the unfairness inherit in the laws of old were on the mind of Sarek, head of the Longbourn estate family, at the moment. All he was thinking about, and not for the first time or even close to the first time, was how he and his wife had managed to adopt three male humans, all with distinct accents. The human part he understood, it was a result of his wife Amanda wanting a few of her own kind in a family of Vulcans. Not that she would admit to any such bias when selecting from those in need of a new home. No, it was the accents that he was once again pondering as he tried to follow the excited conversation. He didn't remember any check box regarding that particular trait on any form, but he suspected there was one and that his wife had checked it. Three such children were too much of a coincidence. Not that they were children anymore. And not that the accents bothered Sarek, except at times like this where the youngest was so excited that he didn't have a clue what the boy was saying. Tenting his fingers in front of himself, Sarek focused closer to the words being uttered, in hopes of being able to decipher them.
Amanda smiled patiently at her husband. She recognized the pose he had currently taken at the head of the table and stifled a little giggle. Not that he was alone in being confused; their two elder sons also appeared to be having a difficult time following what was being said as well. Taking pity on the three men, she interrupted young Chekov and stated, "Pavel and I heard in town today that Netherfield is to be occupied this summer. By an eligible party of fine fortune if the rumours are to be believed."
Pavel Chekov, the youngest of the adopted brood, nodded excitedly in agreement before adding, "T'Mir saw her when she was speaking to the agent for the estate. Said she was a great beauty. Imagine." The boy took on a dreamy expression as he contemplated what exactly had been meant by beautiful.
The eldest son Montgomery Scott, better known to all as Scotty, leaned forward at this point, his attention caught by the idea of a lovely young woman moving into the neighbourhood. "Fresh blood, always good."
That comment earned him a snort from his left as the middle son; Leonard McCoy rolled his eyes in disbelief. "Fresh blood? What are you a vampire?"
"Maybe," Scotty smirked, giving Leonard a wink before turning attention back to Pavel. "Did T'Mir elaborate on this beauty?"
Pavel pondered the question, trying to remember exactly what had been said.
"She mostly talked of her hair to be honest. Well that and her fortune, because like any matchmaking mother, she seemed more concerned about that."
His own scorn at the importance of financial matters showed in Pavel's tone as he finished.
"Ah, to be so young that finance plays no role in decisions," Sarek mused, tilting his head toward the snickering elder two instead of the son who inadvertently expressed the sentiment. "You two might want to remember that as most of this estate is entailed and you consider solidifying your own futures."
Before either could speak up to defend themselves, Amanda addressed her husband. "About that dear, you need to pay a visit when the new tenants get settled in."
Sarek raised his eyebrows in surprise. "I will?" He had a great dislike for the meet and greet that society deemed a necessity and avoided it when ever possible.
"Of course you will," Amanda replied with a smile. "As you just said, these two need to secure their futures, and what better way than a great beauty of good fortune?"
Sarek groaned at his wife's answer. He had definitely walked into that one. Another of those confounding rules of politeness where it was only truly acceptable for any of his sons to be acknowledged by the members of other households once the head of their house had met them. This was despite the fact that two of them were above age. He wasn't sure when that tradition started but he doubted that there was any sound logic behind it. This didn't stop him from responding in a negative manner.
"Well, I say send them on over and let them meet her themselves. Or just pick from those they already know, either way, I'm not going out and befriending every new arrival."
Amanda's smile morphed into a frown as her husband spoke. She glared at him across the table. "You know very well they can do no such."
"A stupid fact if there ever was one," scoffed Scotty who had little time for the social niceties. It was one of the reasons he was happier tinkering with equipment than attending balls and parties. "I think we should be able to march up and introduce ourselves if we want. Though might as well leave that one home."
He nodded toward Leonard at the last part.
"Ya," Pavel agreed with the bob of his head. "After all, it's a pretty girl." He dragged the last word out in a sing song voice.
"And you think she'd be interested in a kid like you?" Leonard teased, knowing that Pavel was sensitive about the age difference between him and his older brothers.
"Well, I doubt she would be," Scotty proclaimed, leaning back in his chair with a smirk of satisfaction. "Leaving the field wide open for me."
"You and every other bachelor in the county," Leonard countered. "And that's assuming she isn't into girls the way you two are."
"There dear, our son has a good point. You need to find out her preferences," Sarek commented, waving his hand toward Leonard as he spoke. "It's only logical to know these things before I waste my time. If it turns out she likes boys, I will go and introduce myself. But I make no promise that she won't decide she likes me best."
"And I won't guarantee that I won't let her have you," Amanda retorted, folding her arms over her chest to show her disapproval of her husband's jest, if he was indeed joking.
Leonard was in the sitting room with his adopted parents, his nose stuck inevitably in one medical PADD or another, when Scotty and Pavel burst into the room. The two had gone into town to buy parts for an engineering project they were working on together, but as they entered no purchases were to be seen. Pavel was eagerly speaking in between gasps for breath as he had raced back from Meryton. Scotty, who had not wanted to be let behind, was quite out of breath as well and collapsed against the door as he closed it. He didn't look as excited as his younger sibling, but that wasn't much of a surprise as the only words caught from Pavel's rapid speech was that of ball and party. The seated family members turned toward him however to interpret the relayed information, though the problem at the moment had as much to do with Pavel's speed as accent, a near impossible combination to understand.
With a shrug, Scotty moved from the supporting door to the nearest seat before complying with the pleading looks. "Well, we never made it to the shops. On the way there we ran into Christine who we made the mistake of stopping to talk to. Or Pavel did as I tried to keep going but you know how he likes to gossip."
Three heads nodded in agreement and waited for more of the story. When Scotty didn't immediately restart, Leonard impatiently snapped at his older brother. "Well what did Chris have to say?"
Taking a much needed deep breath, Scotty smirked and continued. "Well, it seems that T'Mir has decided to host a ball. It's a little party to welcome the new resident of Netherfield, so of course it will be a nice little opportunity to meet the lovely lady the county has been yammering on about the last few weeks. I didn't think it warranted running home to tell everyone but I got little say and a lot of dragging along."
"A party," Amanda murmured. She tapped her finger on her chin and pursed her lips in thought. "A party. Not that it will do us much good even if she is there since your father has been very uncooperative in that area."
Leonard leaned over and poked his father with the edge of his PADD. "Now would be a good time."
Sarek shot a stern look at the young man before addressing his wife. "I may have gone over yesterday and introduced myself to the young lady in question."
Amanda face glowed as she broke into a bright smile. "So there is a purpose to our attending then?"
"Yes," Sarek concurred with a slight nod. "One would think though, that the opportunity to socialize with old friends would be reason enough."
Amanda shook her head as she gave a little laugh. "That is all fine and well, but think of how embarrassing it would be if we couldn't greet the guest of honour directly because you were being your stubborn self."
"Me? Stubborn?" Sarek challenged.
Leonard jumped in before an actual battle broke out between the two over something so trivial. It never ceased to amaze him how the two could be so united on major things and squabble over every little one. "I am sure it will be fun and you will be able to chat all you want to the stars of the show, so let's not go there okay? And speaking of not going... I think I will skip the whole thing."
"Oh you will be going," both Amanda and Sarek informed him, almost in unison.
Leonard rolled his eyes on their demonstration of like-mindedness. "Why should I? As it's already been pointed out, more than once I might add since we found out about the new occupants at Netherfield, she is a woman and I don't swing that way. And before you bring up neighbours again, you aren't marrying me off to any of them. And I can't emphasize this part enough: I don't dance." Satisfied he had hit all the major points, Leonard gave a curt nod as if to say 'So there'.
"You dance beautifully," Amanda said dismissively.
"Plus, she will be bringing a party of friends of her own that are staying at Netherfield," Pavel informed his older brother. "You never know, the man of your dreams might just be among them."
"I somehow doubt it," Leonard snorted.
A festive air hung over the room as the crowd twittered on about the pending arrival of Meryton's newest resident. The stories of how many guests she would be bringing with her had varied and grown as the evening had approached. Enthusiasm ran high, as it had been a while since anyone new had moved to their small town, and one with such high social stature, she was superior to everyone in the room. In honour of this fact, the top finery had been brought out to place the town's best foot forward. As the guest of honour arrived with her small entourage, several sets of judgemental eyes took in the decorations and spread set out before them.
Nyota Uhura had the attention of the entire room as she entered to greet the hosts, T'Mir and her husband Velik. It seemed as though she glided not walked across the floor, her hair hanging long down her back, shimmering as it swayed with her movement. She extended her hand in greeting, a bright smile spreading across her face as she thanked with the Vulcans for their kind invite before turning to introduce them to her companions. The number in the party was much lower than the grapevine had provided, with one woman and three men accompanying her.
As the crowds settled back into themselves, the chatter started about who it was that accompanied her. This was the topic on Christine Chapel, one of the wards of the hosts, had on her mind as she approached her good friends Leonard and Scotty.
"Hello there little lady," Scotty looked up from his glass of whiskey. He had been contemplating whether or not he had it in him to converse with the vision of loveliness he just seen enter the room when he had spied Christine approaching. He had to admit, it was the first time he understood the idea of having one's breath taken away by the mere presence of another individual.
Christine smiled and offered a quick kiss on Scotty's cheek before leaning against the back of the chair Leonard was seated in. Leonard himself had not acknowledged her arrival; rather he was still following the Meryton's newest fascinations with his eyes. She giggled a little before asking, "So what do you think of the little group from Netherfield?"
That got Leonard's attention and he turned in his chair to look at the leggy blonde standing behind him. With a nod toward his older brother, he replied "Oh one of us was very impressed. I think he got a little flushed when she glanced over this way."
"Hey," Scotty sputtered, his eyes narrowing in on the younger man. "I did no such thing. And I'm not the one following the group around the room."
"I'm sitting here not following anyone," Leonard teased, winking at Christine.
"With your eyes," Scotty glowered, the 'smartass' comment left unsaid but implied in both his tone and look. Leonard simply chuckled and shook his head.
"Are you curious about the lot or you just so bored that you'll follow anyone?" Christine had to ask because with Leonard you never really knew. He had a decided lack of inquisitiveness when it came to society in general.
"Just trying to decide if there is a couple among the group or if they are all singles," Leonard admitted as he turned once again toward the crowd seeking out the small group to continue his observation.
"The blondes are together," Christine informed the two men.
"Ah, so all brunettes are available?" Scotty asked. "That makes it easier to keep it straight."
"And another of those brunets has a fortune that dwarves that of Ms. Uhura," another voice entered the conversation as Amanda approached from a group closer to the new arrivals.
"Bet that little piece of news got all the mothers in the room excited," Leonard joked. "They must be lining up the girls to parade before him as we speak."
"From what I've heard," Christine mused, scrunching her nose a little. "They'd be better off lining up the boys. Pity, he's quite fine looking."
"Ah... one of those," Scotty offered with a slight nod.
Leonard swung around in his chair again, this time to frown at his brother. "And what's that suppose to mean?"
Scotty grinned as recalled a comment from the other day. "That maybe Pavel was right... you know about the dream man."
Amanda gave Scotty a light slap on his arm. "Behave yourself young man."
Christine, noting her father heading in the group's direction, gave a little shush to keep everyone from being caught gossiping. She stood up straight, a polite smile plastered on her face as she greeted her adopted father Velik, who escorted the leading lady in the night's show over to her little cluster of friends.
"Christine, Ms. Uhura expressed an interest in meeting you and your friends," Velik replied with a slight tilt to his head. He turned to Nyota and started introductions, gesturing to each as he spoke their name. "My daughter, Christine. Amanda the wife of Sarek, he is not in attendance tonight but I believe you have met." Nyota nodded in the affirmative. "And two of Amanda's sons Montgomery and Leonard."
Amanda smiled at the young lady and waved a small group dancing, "My youngest son Pavel is also in attendance."
Nyota smiled, watching the couples dance for a moment before observing, "He is quite energetic."
The comment was rewarded with a snort from Leonard who muttered, "That's one way to put it."
Nyota turned to look at the man sitting to her left, assessing him as best she could. "Leonard, right?" she asked and then continued when he nodded his ascension. "Do you dance, Leonard?"
He shot the woman a strained smile. "Not if I can avoid it."
Tilting her head to take in Scotty, she posed a similar question to him, "How about you Montgomery, do you dance?"
"Scotty," Scotty corrected her quietly.
"Scotty it is," she agreed with a small smile.
"Oh he'd love to dance," Leonard informed her boldly, letting his accent slip in a little heavier. "He's a little shy though so he might not admit it. However, he was saying how you had a way of moving that suggested you would handle yourself well on the dance floor."
Nyota looked at Scotty full on at that point. Reaching her hand out to him, she suggested, "Why don't we find out if you were right?"
Scotty took hold of her hand and handing his drink over to Christine and followed Nyota to the dance floor. "Why don't we indeed."
Christine laid the glass on the small table behind the little group before turning to Leonard and demanding, "Come dance with me."
"Did you not hear what I just said," Leonard snapped but didn't resist as she grabbed his hand and pulled him to his feet.
"Yes, but you have to go out and admire your handy work," Christine explained patiently. "Plus, I want to dance."
"What handy work? And if there was handy work to be admired, it could be done from the sidelines," Leonard complained.
It was Christine's turn to give a snort of disbelief. "I've met your brother. He's a sweetie but there is no way he made any such comment."
"Dear," Amanda joined in. "Go dance with your friend. It won't kill you."
"You don't know that for sure," Leonard called over his shoulder to his mother as he allowed himself to be dragged onto the dance floor.
Leonard eventually made his way back to the chair he had been occupying in the corner of the ballroom. He had intended only to observe at the party, but once Christine had dragged him out on the floor it became necessary to stand up with a few more ladies in attendance, especially since there was a deficit of males with which the ladies could dance. What kept Leonard off the floor at most balls wasn't that he couldn't dance; more it was simply that he refused to ask and most new better to approach. Once someone did manage to get him up dancing it often lead to his being pounced on to be a partner by others. It was all about getting past initial reluctance on his part. He even had to dance with Nyota Uhura, as it would impolite not to do so and Leonard tended to behave as a gentleman to any ladies who weren't Christine. She had the distinction of being the equivalent of a sister in his eyes and tended to be treated as such.
As he took in the room once again from his cosy little corner, it occurred to Leonard that though Nyota had been dancing quite a bit, including several turns with Scotty, none of the remaining members of her group had taken to the floor. Not even the alleged couple whose names he had learnt were Janice and Kevin. Probably considered a little country soiree like this beneath them, as they all seemed to have quite the haughty air about them, particularly her Vulcan companion. He had brushed aside several attempts to set him up with a dance partner in a very abrupt manner. The initial charm brought on by fact that he was an individual of a greater fortune seemed to have worn off with each dismissal. While Leonard could sympathize with the desire to stay off the dance floor, it just shouldn't be done in polite society, especially when there was a shortage of dancers.
Leonard shifted uncomfortably in the chair as he heard voices of two people standing just out of his sight.
"You should do a little dancing Spock," Nyota stated to her friend. "You might just surprise yourself and have some fun. And before you say anything about Vulcans not having fun because there is emotion involved, I will remind you that this whole event is being hosted by Vulcans."
"Indeed it is. Very respectable Vulcans," Spock conceded. "However, I would argue that there is little value in my dancing as it is not an activity I enjoy at the best of times. Since this gathering is no where near the best of times, it would be even less fun for me."
"Oh please," Nyota scoffed dismissing his arguments. "There is a shortage of males present so women are limited in the opportunities to dance."
"A woman could dance with another woman," Spock pointed out. "This society does not frown on such behaviour."
"True," Nyota was the one to concede the point this time. "But not all people are comfortable doing so."
"It is also disconcerting to dance when one is a touch telepath. I have not brought gloves so I am likely to read passing thoughts as I partake in an activity," Spock continued in his reasons for choosing not to dance. "Then there is the risk of my attentions being misread, I do not wish to attract the attention of any woman at all, let alone any woman present here."
That confirmed what Christine had said earlier, Leonard thought to himself.
"I am suggesting you dance with a few of the ladies, Spock. Not propose marriage." Nyota sighed. "Anyway, it wouldn't hurt to dance a few faster dances, touch telepath or not."
"I have found that females, particularly human females, have the ability to read quite a bit in to very little," Spock stated, paused for a moment to consider what he had said before adding. "Though in fairness, human males also possess this ability."
Leonard stifled a snort on that comment as he didn't want them to realize that they were being overheard. Though given they were at a party they should be more than aware of just that possibility.
Nyota sighed. It annoyed her to no end that none of her friends were partaking in the events, though Kevin and Janice were at least indulging in the food and beverages, especially the wine that seemed to flow almost endlessly.
"Well, you could at least mingle a little more. There are a few interesting souls out there. And maybe, just maybe, you might meet someone who meets those ridiculously high standards of yours."
"My standards are not that high," Spock defended himself. "You just fail to understand them. Nor do you really try as you are determined to see everyone as acceptable without consideration of social standing."
"I do not see everyone as acceptable," Nyota scoffed. "I do understand that there are undesirables in the world. I just choose to start with them innocent until proven otherwise, whereas you see everyone guilty till proven innocent."
"It is a wonder you still have a fortune given your trusting attitude," Spock murmured, his voice as close to exasperated as it would ever get.
"Hey, once again, not asking you to actually commit to anyone, just suggesting you get to know a few people. It won't kill you," Nyota scolded with a shake of her head.
"You don't know that," Spock pointed out.
"Oh please," Nyota groaned. "I've met several very interesting people tonight."
"I did notice that you were paying particular attention to a man, dancing with him several times," Spock observed. "You should be careful about the message you are sending to him and his family paying that level of a compliment."
"Ah, Scotty," Nyota said with a smile. "He is quite entertaining, though not quite a smooth with the words as his brother would have me believe. I do think he was the one who thought up the compliment paid to me when we were introduced. Not that it matters, because Scotty has a charm all of his own."
"Compliment?" Spock asked.
"Yes, compliment. You have heard of them right?" Nyota teased. "Anyway, I think it might have more to do with that southern accent than the words. Though the words were nice."
"Southern accent? I thought the man had a Scottish accent," Spock's puzzlement showed in his voice.
"Scotty didn't deliver the compliment. He was merely credited with the words," Nyota explained. "His brother actually said the words. Scotty is a little shy and wouldn't be likely to say much let alone a full on compliment."
"Both brothers have accents, but different ones," Spock confirmed.
"Actually all three brothers have different accents. Quite interesting when families adopt is it not?" Nyota laughed.
"And the accent of the third brother?" Spock couldn't resist asking.
"I believe much like Scotty you have heard the youngest brother speak." Nyota informed him. "You want to guess."
"That young Russian boy you mean?" Spock asked her to confirm.
"That would be the one." Nyota nodded affirmatively as she spoke.
"Fascinating. Such a wide variety in one family." Spock mused. "I wonder how that came to be. One would expect children to learn the accent of their caretakers, yet all three have very different ones."
"Guess they were older when they were taken in," Nyota said with a shrug. "I didn't exactly ask."
"Your mind was on other things," Spock joked. Of course, anyone not familiar with his tone, like a certain eavesdropper, would not know this. "You do appear to be quite taken with the Scotsman aptly named Scotty. We don't know though if they are of sufficient standing to warrant such attention from you."
"Don't be such a stuffed shirt. It is a nickname you know. I know you loath those things," Nyota informed her friend.
"I had assumed as much," Spock replied dryly. "At least I can understand how the name evolved, unlike many nicknames I have encountered."
This time Leonard couldn't help but laugh as he thought of a nickname a friend of his had given him. He highly doubted that Nyota's friend would appreciate the origin of it. Not that that little fact would make him in any way unique since most people didn't get the nickname. But then most people, including his own family, didn't know him as well as Jim Kirk. Leonard was missing his partner in crime, but the man was still in London. The party would be more fun if he was here. Though it might cut into any success Scotty was having with Nyota, something that was putting a little confidence in his brother, something Scotty could really use in the area of romance. Jim knew how to charm the ladies and would have probably been able to dominate the newest lady in the county the way he seemed to dominate the attention of the rest.
Of course, his laughter caught the attention of the two chatting just to his side. Both looked at him, wondering what it was exactly he was laughing at. They probably would have realized that it was their conversation he was eavesdropping on if Pavel hadn't picked that moment to stumble over to his brother, clasp his shoulder, and proclaim this night the best night ever. Instead, they assumed based on that display that it was likely some antic that the young man had pulled before reaching his brother that was the cause. They did however decide to move from where they were standing, as they both felt a little disconcerting to be talking so openly regarding a family with two of its members so close by.
The next day found the Longbourn family discussing the night before at great length, though Leonard could had done without the play-by-play. Having been forced to go was bad enough; he didn't feel like reliving it as well. Of course the reason the ball had come up was a good one in Leonard's eyes. Christine had dragged her newly returned brother over for a visit, resulting in Pavel and Scotty needing to get the young man caught up on all that he had missed. Leonard on the other hand was just relieved that Jim had finally made his way back to Meryton. He had started to think he was going to go crazy without his friend around.
"So Chris said you actually got up and danced Bones," Jim stated for about the third time since arriving.
"Good God man, it's not that hard to believe is it?" Leonard asked in an exasperated voice. "I do know how you know. In fact, I am a more popular partner than you, Mr. Steps on Everyone's Toes."
"I do not," Jim denied vehemently. "You do something once and you never live it down."
"You did it more than once," Christine teased. "And I had the foot injuries to prove it."
"Stepping on your sister's toes doesn't count," Jim scoffed.
"Scotty danced several times with the guest of honour," Pavel informed Jim. He was quite proud that his oldest brother had made such a strong impression on the lady of good fortune. "And she was great a beauty, moved with such grace. She and Scotty looked quite fine on the dance floor."
"Hey, he was just lucky I wasn't back in time to make it to the ball," Jim smirked, giving Pavel a quick wink. "Otherwise he would have had real competition."
"She also danced with Leonard," Christine informed her brother. "In fact she asked him first but he so graciously pointed her toward Scotty. He can be sweet like that."
"Sweet? I don't think so," Jim scoffed. "More like he didn't want to have to dance. Somehow I am sure it's your fault he wasn't able to avoid it all together."
"It is true that Christine was the one to get Leonard up on the dance floor," Amanda confirmed. "That is usually the case though isn't it? It's a pity there wasn't more of a balance between men and women. Some frown upon boys dancing together if any ladies are still seated. Leonard might have had more fun dancing if he could get one of the boys up with him instead."
"Not really," Leonard admitted with a shake of his head. "Dancing is simply not that much fun."
"I don't get how you can be so good at something you dislike so much," Scotty muttered. "I love to dance but am too awkward and uncomfortable on the floor because I have little to no sense of rhythm. Seems unfair somehow. It's the need to actually talk to people that makes me avoid balls and such."
"You mean talk to people about something other than engineering," Amanda corrected her eldest son. "You have no problem talking to people about that, male or female."
Scotty shrugged sheepishly. He knew damn well if the person was wiling and capable to talk engineering with him he wouldn't care who they were, all nervousness would leave him, and he'd be able to chat away. It was the reason he tended to spend most of his time with his youngest brother. Pavel was the only person around who could keep up with him in most conversations. He had done quite a bit of dancing last night but not a lot of chatting. Most of the females around here had little to no interest in any of his favourite topics.
"Well you must have found something of interest to talk to Ms. Uhura about," Amanda commented. "You two seemed to be talking while up on the dance floor."
"Naw, I just followed advice I've been given before and listened to what the lady wants to talk about," Scotty confessed. "She is a lady of languages, it was quite interesting."
"At least it wasn't that simpering garbage that many of the others want to discuss," Leonard sneered with a roll of his eyes. "If I had one more talk about the latest fashion I was not going to be responsible for the damage inflected."
"Yes, you would," Jim joked. "You'd patch any injuries right up. Get to play doctor. That by the way, for most kiddies, means something very different than for you Bones. You actually want to do doctoring."
"Yes, we all know what you want to do," Leonard shot back. "Some of us are looking for actual connections, not fleeting ones."
Jim laughed and waved a finger at Leonard as he chided, "No changing the subject, old man; you have to tell me more about what you were up to last night."
"Dancing," Pavel sighed. "Lots and lots of dancing."
"That was you, moron," Leonard griped. "I was mostly observing and thankfully only occasionally trapped on the floor when it was completely unavoidable. I didn't have the right amount of detachment to weasel my way out of it. Or maybe I should say the right amount of fortune."
"Whose fortune got them out of dancing?" Jim quizzed the group.
"Oh, Ms Uhura's friends. Not one of them got up and danced last night. At least I don't remember any of them doing it," Christine supplied. "Not even the couple."
"How many accompanied her?" Jim asked.
"You mean how many ladies, I doubt you care about any of the guys," Scotty chimed back into the conversation. It was an unusual occurrence for him to be the primary source of information and he was enjoying it. "There weren't any single ladies with her, just an old friend of Nyota's who is one half of that couple Chris was referring to. There were three male companions, one of course being the husband of the old friend, and the other two being of no competition for you given their inclinations."
"Were they a couple as well?" Jim asked. It was a possibility under the circumstances Scotty just shared.
"No," Scotty responded with a shake of his head. "Sulu was a ward of Spock's father, so they are family."
Jim snickered and slapped Leonard on the back. "You had two opportunities walking around last night and you wasted all your time charming the local ladies, all of whom are wise to you and your ways."
"What do you mean wise to my ways," Leonard grimaced. He was feeling a little defensive as he always did after any of these events. Jim usually gave him a difficult time over meeting others people's demands instead of spending time on his own. "I was being nice and giving them an opportunity to enjoy themselves. Goes completely against the grain but once your sister got me up there, it was hard to avoid. And they weren't exactly opportunities to do much more than dance with the locals." He made little air quotes as he muttered the word opportunities.
"Why not?" Jim asked as he narrowed his eyes on his friend's face.
Leonard pinched the bridge of his nose and sighed before admitting what he overheard. "Because I would be lacking in the proper social standing to be worthy of their attentions. Or at least that was what that Spock guy stated. I assume the same would apply for his brother."
Various reactions of "What?" or "Excuses mes" were heard in the room on that comment.
"Okay, I'll bite," Jim as usual was the first to recover from the unexpected information. "How do you know that?"
"Simple, I may have inadvertently overheard a conversation between him and well, Nyota," Leonard explained sheepishly, ducking his head from the look of disapproval from his mother. "It's not like I deliberately listened in. They were speaking close to where I was sitting. I didn't have to strain to hear them. In fact it was difficult not to overhear."
Scotty leaned back in the chair he was sitting in, suddenly feeling a little depressed. The same logic would have to be applied to him so that he too would be below that of Nyota's. Not that he had any real expectations from a single night of socializing, but it was fun to think maybe he could have had a shot. That little piece of information removed a remote possibility. He was a little surprised that Leonard hadn't shared it with him before now, but then his brother, though blunt and often grumpy, didn't necessarily go out of his way to rain on another's parade. He would only probably bring it up if he thought Scotty was getting in over his head or as he did now, because Jim was annoying him about not pursuing anyone. The younger man could not understand why Leonard didn't seem to ever act on any possible social connections. Jim had no trouble bouncing back when hurt so he didn't grasp that his friend was one of those "once bitten, twice shy" personalities that kept everyone at a distance. Scotty however could understand Leonard's philosophy and he hadn't been burnt to the extent his younger brother had been.
Leonard noticed the change in mood of his older brother and smiling to himself, added, "Now Nyota didn't seem to find our status nearly as objectionable but then she may have been quite enamoured with a certain someone." Leaning over so Scotty could see his face; he shot his brother a smile and a wink.
"It is very improper of them to discuss the matter somewhere where you could overhear. Not that it would be proper to be saying such things anywhere, but it is just poor manners to do so at a party where anyone could hear," Amanda scolded. She was insulted on behalf of herself and her children. She did understand that with the family fortune and estate entailed away from them there were those who would view them as socially inferior, she just didn't like anyone speaking of such matters where her boys might hear it. She was warmed however that Nyota had expressed an interest in Scotty and had ignored such social trivialities. It boded well for making a match in that quarter for one of her boys. Now if only there was something she could do for the other two. It was discouraging to hear how the young Vulcan had thought because she seldom got an opportunity to play matchmaker for her middle son, and she had hoped she would get the opportunity at this time. She would not make the mistake of pressuring him into going against his predilection again.
The consensus of the town of Meryton and the county of Hertfordshire was that Nyota Uhura was a charming young lady who had a less than desirable taste in friends. Her entourage had held themselves back in a very noticeable way at the ball. This had left a sour taste for the locals. However, there was no arguing of their importance so there was no speaking of cutting her friends. It would be both rude to the welcome young lady to ignore the rest. It was this sentiment that got the entire entourage invited to a smaller gathering, once again hosted by the more prestigious Vulcan couple of T'Mir and Velik.
The quiet evening in wasn't quite as quiet as planned once Pavel decided it would be more fun if they included a little dancing. He was skating on the edge of scandalous behaviour.
Jim and Leonard were standing in one corner watching the impromptu dance session. Leonard was a little concerned that Pavel would make a bit of a spectacle of himself and embarrass the remaining family members in attendance, but there was little that could be done about it now as Velik had approved of the activity.
"I noticed that the lovely Nyota is paying attention once again to big brother Scotty," Jim observed with a laugh.
"She is showing good taste since she seems to have decided you aren't worth the bother," Leonard scoffed.
"I imagine she's a little confused, after all who can resist me?" Jim joked, waving his arm with a dramatic flare. "I am after all, irresistible."
That caused a bark of laughter out of Leonard's mouth. The sound brought the eyes of several people to seek the two out; it was not often that the citizens of Meryton witnessed Leonard's laughter. Once he pulled himself back into a semblance of order, most eyes left to find a more entertaining view. However one set stayed focused on the man, that set of eyes did not go unnoticed by his companion who felt the need to point out to the older man that he was being watched.
"You seem to have caught the attention of one of her companions," Jim observed with a tilt of his head. "This is the third time I've noticed that Mr. Spock has focused his attention on you since they have arrived tonight."
"I can't think why he'd be doing that," Leonard sneered. "I 'm sure I am beneath his attention. He basically said so the other night. You sure he isn't looking at you?"
"Positive. Though I am irresistible," Jim couldn't resist stating again before informing his friend, "His eyes are definitely following your actions not mine. Including watching you when you first came over to speak to me,"
"You are paying an awful lot of attention to him," Leonard retorted. "Are you sure there isn't some interest on your part?"
"Only in that he is paying a particular attention to you. I feel it is my duty as your friend to make you aware of such things since you have to be one of the most oblivious people I know," Jim smirked. "You'd probably miss it if he hit you over the head with the proverbial sledge hammer."
"As long as he doesn't hit me with an actual one which he might be inclined to do for all I know," Leonard shot back, turning slightly to take in a better look at the Vulcan who was staring at him.
"Hey, he is showing good taste after the poor judgement of ruling you beneath him socially," Jim said with a nod. "Maybe he isn't as bad as some are inclined to brand him."
"Or maybe he is looking for a flaw to interject himself between Scotty and Nyota and some one told him I was the weak link," Leonard snapped.
"In that case he'd be better off watching Pavel tonight," Jim noted. "That boy seems hell bent to make a fool of himself with the dancing. Bit fixated on the whole thing as of late."
"It's boring around here, he needs something to occupy his time," Leonard defended his younger brother, though he was concerned of the wildness in the movements on the dance floor. "I suppose I should go and remind him that he is to be civilized in his dance, it's a party not some native ritual."
On that note Leonard set out across the room to have a word with his younger brother about showing a little decorum. As he past Velik he noticed that the man had been making small talk with his observer and on passing the two Velik called to him. "Here, here Leonard why aren't you enjoying a little dancing like your little brother?"
"I had no intention of dancing tonight," Leonard explained.
"Oh, of course you do," Velik argued. "I am sure Mr. Spock here would be happy to dance a little jig with you, wouldn't you sir? You two have that in common you know."
Spock raised an eyebrow at the comment while Leonard rolled his eyes. He never quite got the leap in logic that two guys who like other guys would automatically like each other. No one made the same leap with individuals of the opposite sex. Then again, the townsfolk always had matchmaking tendencies surface when any unattached individuals were afoot and they didn't get as many opportunities with him as they did with his brothers, given his inclination.
"I would be honoured to provide such a service to Mr. McCoy," Spock stated in a polite, even tone.
"I assure you that would not be necessary," Leonard stated firmly, catching the suggestive movement of the eyebrows from Jim who overheard Spock's comment. "I did not move over this way to secure myself a dance partner. I merely wanted to have a word with my younger brother in hope of having him recall the actual dance movements he learnt as a child and not whatever it is he is currently performing." With a curt nod of his head, Leonard walked away from the two before he found himself inadvertently dancing with the man. In his rush to extract himself from the situation he did not notice another of the Netherfield group approach Spock and comment on the situation. A short conversation had Spock paying compliment to Leonard, one that may have escaped his ears but not that of Jim, who stored the information away to be shared at a later date.