((Esperance, Eagle Eye Meadows))
::Once the music started up again, Taz could hardly wait to get up from her seat. Don’t get her wrong; the ceremony was beautiful, and she was genuinely happy for Delano and Mei’konda. But it was also a lot of sitting… for someone who was as restless as her, sitting in one place for too long was torture.::
::She raced over to the refreshments that had been set up along a narrow table near the bar. As she contemplated which treat to take — that pastry looked like it had her name on it — she felt the distinct presence of a snoop coming up behind her. She didn’t turn around as she addressed him.::
Taz: Do Vulcans like chocolate, Saavok?
::There was a loaded question.::
Saavok: It… disagrees with us. ::He said eventually.::
::’Disagreed’ the way alcohol disagreed with most other species. His father had warned him to stay away from it.::
::She finally turned around, a chocolate macaron cupped in her hand.::
Taz: Well, they’ve got plenty to choose from.
Saavok: That is accurate.
::The little Vulcan selected some carrot sticks with hummus. Taz popped the macaron into her mouth — to the horrified look of a nearby waiter. Since her mouth was full, Taz just shot back a disdainful look, furrowing her brow.::
Taz: oO What? Oo
Saavok: We are possibly expected to pace ourselves with the food. ::He replied quietly homing in on the fruit platter and wondering how much his friend had changed in the intervening years.::
::She turned back to the younger Vulcan and nodded, swallowing the treat so she could speak again.::
Taz: This place is too fancy for me.
::Saavok looked around with an assessing air.::
Saavok: I anticipate that the intention is to provide the guests with an agreeable experience.
::Most of which was lost on the Vulcan mentality, but Saavok was growing up amongst aliens and at least understood the impulse; perhaps better than his father did. Still, Tasnim struck him as the type who was more comfortable up to the elbows in machinery than relaxing in luxury; much like her not-quite mother.::
::As the rest of the guests finally caught up and were taking their seats at the tables, Taz looked over to the dance floor and smiled.::
Taz: So enlighten me some more, Pointy. Do Vulcans dance?
::Saavok followed her gaze.::
Saavok: Affirmative. We learn dance as a means of improving coordination and rhythm. ::He said.:: Father has explained the social aspect in many cultures. Do you dance?
::The last was added with a thoughtful look at Taz. She’d grown from an older child into a young woman, in that hasty way many shorter-lived species had. Saavok, his people evolved for a low-resource world, would take longer to mature physically. He’d befriended her following the incident with the Ronin-A, and she appeared to find his company agreeable. They did have some things in common; a will to further their understanding of the multiverse, and the lack of a counterpart in each other’s universes.::
Taz: Actually… I never really learned.
::A sad look emerged now on her face as she scanned across the room, taking note of all the happy faces. Back in her universe, such occasions of joy were few and far between. And certainly there hadn’t been much dancing aboard the Ronin or any other stop she and her mother had found along their journey.::
Saavok: Would you… like to dance?
::None of the usual, emotionally-neutral words Vulcans used seemed to fit the request. No doubt his dad would twist the language in order to find some other way to say that; Saavok didn’t bother.::
::She turned her head back to the Vulcan. There was such purity in his questions and perspective. Trademark Vulcan curiosity and yet without the curt arrogance that often times accompanied it.::
Taz: I’d like that very much.
::Saavok could see no reason why she should not.::
Saavok: Then I shall endeavour to facilitate.
::Tasnim wiped her hand on the tablecloth, leaving a slight smudge of chocolate, before grabbing onto Saavok’s hand, startling him.::
Taz: So you’re going to teach me?
Saavok: Affirmative. ::He nodded carefully.::
Taz: All right, then I’ll follow your lead.
::It was a discombobulating reversal of the usual dynamics of their friendship, and for a moment Saavok retreated into the comfort of Vulcan reticence.::
::They stepped out onto the modest dance floor, the only ones thus far, and Taz placed her arms on Saavok’s shoulders, her hands interlocked behind his neck. The music soon began again, and perhaps noting the new occupants of the floor, a slower ballad was chosen.::
Taz: All right, what do we do?
::He was accustomed to being taught, not to teaching others, and Saavok had to resist the urge to simply data-dump from his mind to hers, walls up against the touch of her fingers against his neck that gave him a telepathic pathway. Taz presumably had some telepathic abilities given her father was Betazoid, but they’d never communicated that way. He could feel what his father referred to in Standard as the ‘carrier wave’, the present of Taz’s mind.::
Saavok: The basic premise is to move in time with the music’s rhythm, and all movements are based on the footfall.
::He began to demonstrate, stepping from one foot to the other in time with the music, a simple side-to-side motion, facilitated by the slow music.::
::She tried her best to follow, stumbling a bit in the rhythm. Saavok on the other hand seemed a natural, and Taz was surprised at the ease with which the boy had slipped into the music.::
Taz: ::looking down at her feet:: Okay, I think I’ve got this...
Saavok: An additional displacement step is customary, such that if all participants utilise the same system, they collectively progress around the arena in an aesthetic manner.
::Vulcans didn’t go in for partner dancing much; the step that he demonstrated was apparently Betazoid in origin, but not dissimilar to a waltz step.::
Saavok: All further movements are based on the rhythmic step. ::He explained, as others moved around them.::
::She was still looking down at their feet, counting beats in her head as she tried matching to his footsteps.::
Taz: That’s it? How do we know which way to go to move around?
::What other steps? There were many. But the key thing about teaching someone to dance, was that you did it quietly somewhere where you could stop and start the music to explain and demonstrate and try things out; not in the middle of the dance floor. They could just maintain the basic step, no one would fault them for that, but was was boring. Feeling decidedly cheeky, Saavok gave a mental smile.::
Saavok: ~~ Like this. ~~
::Taz got a speed-of-thought warning of what to do, before Saavok pushed her out into a move that spun her around, pulled her back for a duck and pass, and curled her in again along his other arm.::
Taz: Oh my goodness!
::She had to take a second to catch her breath as she grabbed onto his shoulder as if she were about to fall off a cliff.::
Taz: Where did you learn *that*?
Saavok: Watching holovision. ::He said honestly.::
::She looked at him nervously but his confidence helped reassure her. She took another breath and relaxed her grip on him and stood a little straighter.::
Taz: Okay, let’s give it another go.
Saavok: As you wish.
::This time, they did a few more steps before she felt one hand of his guide her to move along a new path as another hand of his gently pressed against her back. A few more attempts followed before she found herself smiling with the new familiarity. After she spun around one last time, she returned back to their starting position, arms resting again on his shoulders.::
Taz: You’re a good teacher.
::He tried to be so, not having a lot of experience in teaching.::
Saavok: It is advantageous to have an apt student.
::She laughed as the pair continued to move to the music, other guests now making their way to the dance floor to join the young pair.::
Taz: Uh-huh, I bet you say that to all your dance partners.
Saavok: I have not previously had ‘dance partners’. ::He revealed.:: The experience is agreeable.
Taz: Well, then I think you’ll just need to come back and visit to give me lesson number 2.
::The invitation was particularly welcome. Somehow, he’d find a way to do so.::
Saavok: I would not object to that.
Tasnim “Taz” Shandres
Engineering Trainee, USS Veritas