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Preparations.

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The Union Room
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The Network

Preparations.

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Fox

Adjusting his tie, Rory stepped into the room that was really starting to look nice. "Wow, pretty impressive," he muttered. Nice hangings, a giant hanging chandelier . . . Plus they seemed to be adding Roman-style columns to support a second-floor gallery. Not to mention the room was enormous - probably the size of two football fields.
He was dressed in what he was planning to wear to the ball
- a nice jacket and tie, and a kilt in his family colors. It was mostly blue.

Lenore had gone into work for a half-day, and she had decided to stop and take a look around the large room. Unaware that someone else had entered, she was gazing up at the tapestries that were being hung on the large windows.

Approaching Lenore, he smiled. "I bet you're glad not to be at home," he said, smiling. He was expecting her to compliment his appearance.

Hearing the voice, she turned around and found herself STARING at... Rory? "..You're dressed so --" Her words stopped short as she moved to place her hands lightly near his shoulders. "...Nice." Blink. "..What's the occasion?"

"Oh, just wanted to do a test-run in these, so they wouldn't look *totally* new." He patted her hands. "I can't wait to see what you'll be wearing." He smiled broadly.

"I haven't picked anything out, just yet, but Dr. Joy already told me I have to wear a dress," She wasn't completely opposed to the idea, but she wasn't about to voice it. "But you, you look so nice!" Lenore really sounded impressed.

Rory beamed. "Thanks! It's the family tartan, I'm very glad to be using it." He glanced her over. "You always look beautiful in dresses."

"You've only seen me in on ONCE," She let her hands fall away from his shoulders. "I dunno. I'm mainly going for political reasons," She shook her head again. "..But maybe it will be fun."

"It would be if you're with me," Rory said, winking at her. He just took it for granted she WAS going with him.

Blink. "I...never said I was going with you, Rory," Lenore said in a very plain tone.

He stared. ". . . Oh. I assumed it." He looked away, blushing. It felt like she was TRYING to make him feel stupid . . . "So . . . Do you have a date?"

"Did you assume I didn't?" Lenore looked at him quite seriously. Of course she didn't actually HAVE a date, but she wasn't going to divulge that just yet.

"I just assumed you'd be going with me." He started to walk away, but it was just to get a better look at a pillar being lifted by burly Machamp, and stopped.

"...You never -actually- asked me, you know," Lenore said softly as she stood there. Her eyes were still upon him, but she said nothing more.

"Well, what would you say if I DID ask you?" Rory asked, turning towards her. Was he smiling? It was hard to tell.

"I'd have to think about it." Perhaps he'd be surprised by her answer. "...Or, at least get back with you, because I think Dr. Joy is trying to arrange a date FOR me, since she thought I was going alone."

"What? Then tell her that you have a date! What if she pairs you up with someone . . . not good?" He looked HORRIFIED.

"This was last week, Rory." Lenore sweatdropped. "I... it'd be rude to turn someone down if she had it arranged already, wouldn't it?"

"Well, find out who it is . . . I mean, you were gone for awhile, so it'd make sense if you hadn't gotten a chance to tell her earlier . . ." He didn't like the thought of someone else having their GRUBBY MITTS on her.

"I'll try to find out. She could always leave it a mystery to me," Lenore remembered ONE occasion that had similar results. "I mean, what's the worst that could happen? It's probably just another League official."

"What if they're all . . . touchy and creepy?" He wiggled his fingers in a creepy manner. "You might end up with someone not good. Or what if she wanted to play a joke?"

"If they are, then I suppose I have to endure it for just one evening. It's not like it would mean I was dating that person," Lenore said firmly.

"Who will I go with, though?" Rory wondered aloud, almost talking to himself.

"Here, let me see... I can call her, since I think she should be out of her meeting by now." Pulling her phone out, she dialed her number and waited. "Dr. Joy? Ah, yes. I'm only here for a short while. I was just heading home, but I meant to ask you something..." The conversation went on from there, but after Lenore posed her question she just stared a moment. "Oh, really..? Okay. Thanks." Hanging
up, she put her phone away. "The only official available is Bruno." Unfortunately, Lenore would not realize the significance of the later.

Silence. ". . . Bruno?" He was staring at her as if she'd said she would be going with Satan.

Lenore just nodded. "He hasn't given any indication yet of acceptance or denial," She shrugged, still not making the connection.

"You can't go with him!" Rory said. "He's an ass and an enemy of my family! It's just . . . The mere idea . . . I can't even . . ." He trailed off, his face turning red and his hands making throttling motions. He hadn't even thought about the man being here . . .

"Rory, it... it'd just be for one night," Lenore said softly. "And it wouldn't mean anything. It all make for good politics," Lenore was trying to justify it, somehow - perhaps she didn't really understand how BAD this could be.

"But, but . . . he's the ENEMY!" Rory said, aghast. "You can't possibly do something this crazy! I mean, the man practically wants me dead!"

Frowning slightly, Lenore placed a hand at her hip. "Rory, it's not like he's part of Team Rocket. Anyway, maybe... if we hit ot off, he won't dislike you so much?"

"No. He'd just think that being nice to you would be a good way to spite me - and Shane. Mostly Shane. I'm just . . ." He trailed off, thinking of a different thing to say than what he'd originally thought. ". . . A non-entity."

Blink. "Huh? What... what're you talking about?" She didn't understand what he meant by 'non-entity-.'

"Less than a person," Rory said, shrugging. "Anyway, I'd be . . . deeply hurt if you did that."

"Well, we'll see, all right? I don't know... maybe he doesn't even WANT to go with me," Lenore was trying to make light of things.

"But of COURSE he'll want to go with you! Even if he somehow totally didn't want to he'd do it just to piss of Shane and me!" Rory was fuming now at his inability to express this.

Sweatdrop. "Rory, don't... try not to jump to any conclusions, okay? Maybe he already has something worked out that Dr. Joy wasn't aware of..."

"I don't have to jump to conclusions when I already know them." He was glowering. If someone he didn't know had walked by, he would have punched them just to relieve steam.

Trying to reach out and grasp him gently by the shoulder, she wanted him to calm down, but didn't really see HOW she could just make him feel better. "...I meant, we don't know what's going to happen yet, okay?" Her voice was gentle.

"All right. If you're going with him, though . . . I'm not going to go." He crossed his arms.

Lenore didn't know what to say to THAT. "...Well, I can't stop you."

"I don't want to see that man," he said. "If he can even be called that. It might be giving him too much credit." Plus he'd be SHAMED in front of everyone.
Sean says:

"All right. Well, I'm going to go back home." With that, she brushed past him.

Couldn't she see how important this was to him . . . ? He nodded and watched her go, silently.
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