Do You Dance, Mister Darcy?
I'm Going on an Adventure
All Standard Disclaimers Apply
"I should infinitely prefer a book..." - Mary Bennet
The lavish Sinclair Estate hummed with the excited chatter of a spectacular birthday celebration. Shapes and shadows flickered across the stony façade of the centuries-old manor as finely dressed guests moved past the lantern-lit entrance. Obscenely expensive cars had been pulling up its gravel drive for what seemed like hours as "friends and acquaintances" of the Sinclair family continued to arrive. The assumed obligation of high society to host extravagant dinners and parties was usually cast aside by Lord Sinclair, so everyone invited to this infrequent affair made a point to attend.
Tonight was a very special occasion: the only daughter of Lord and Lady Sinclair was celebrating her sixteenth birthday. Lord Sinclair reluctantly adhered to his wife's strong insistence that they do something to officially present their daughter to high society. Typically a young girl with a royal title was thrown into the pearls and propriety of England's most exclusive tier of society around the blushing age of sixteen. Many of Lady Sonomi's friends and schoolmates had already celebrated their "coming out" inciting Sonomi's mother to throw her daughter an announcement party of her own. In an effort to please her mother, Sonomi agreed to a lavish sixteenth birthday gala.
This was how Sonomi found herself in the revived ballroom of the Sinclair manor surrounded by the finely dressed members of England's high society that she typically tried to avoid. In order to look the part of an English lady, her mother had convinced her to wear a slim-fitted, wine-red gown she had brought back from Italy. The dress was layered with an intricate lace design that wrapped the length of the gown and up over its sweetheart collar so that her neck and arms were cheekily visible beneath the lace. Her naturally straight hair had been curled and teased into a loose knot that twisted at the bottom of her skull. The final, delicate detail of her ensemble was the pair of tea drop diamond earrings that dangled elegantly from her earlobes. By all accounts, Lady Sonomi was the rose of the ball. She, however, felt more like a wallflower.
While her mother and father spun through the room greeting their guests and engaging in practiced small-talk, Lady Sonomi retreated to a secluded corner of the grand ballroom. She discreetly brought with her a small book and a cup of tea she had smuggled out of the kitchen. Struggling to sit comfortably within the constraints of her fitted dress, Sonomi settled herself in one of the ballroom's plush velvet seats and opened her book.
The calm, poised droll of high society faded into the background as she focused her attention on one of her favorite novels, Pride and Prejudice. She had finally arrived to the scene where Mr. Darcy announces his love for Elizabeth Bennet when a voice abruptly pulls her away.
"Ahem, Lady Anne?"
Startled by her intruder, Sonomi hurriedly abandoned her book and pushed herself further against her seat to sit straighter. Her mother would have strongly disapproved of Sonomi reading instead of mingling with guests at her own birthday party. Hopefully the young man that appeared across from her wouldn't bring it to her attention.
When she finally registered the young man, she felt herself become even more flustered. She recognized his handsome, fox-like features from one of the many business-themed journals Lord Sinclair collected in his office. "Hello, Ootori-san. I'm sorry; I didn't realize it was you." She instinctively began speaking in Japanese, her English accent glaringly obvious in the way she sounded her vowels.
The young man shook his head. "Please, I prefer 'Kyouya'."
"In that case, I insist you use my first name," said Sonomi, "'Anne' is just my English name." In an effort to ease the transition into English society, Sonomi's mother and father suggested she go by her middle name, Anne, when in English company. The title "Lady Anne" was a more traditional title than "Lady Sonomi" and helped incorporate her into the extensive English royal family albeit her obviously Japanese heritage.
The dashing, young Ootori smiled thinly out of propriety. "Of course, Lady Sonomi. I wanted to wish you a happy birthday and thank you for inviting my father and me to your birthday celebration. It has been a lovely evening."
Sonomi blushed at Kyouya's praise. "Thank you so much for attending. I know having your father here means a lot to my father. We can't express enough gratitude for all of your family's help with his illness." Although Lord Sinclair had been cancer free for the past two years, it still pained Sonomi to talk about it. Yoshio Ootori, originally a friend of her mother's, dedicated his best doctors to the treatment and healing of Sonomi's father. Throughout the grueling process, the Sinclair and Ootori families transcended from polite acquaintances to close friends and confidants.
However, this was Sonomi's first encounter with young Kyouya and she was impressed by the physical similarities between father and son. "I'm honestly surprised you made the journey to come, tonight," she continued, "I apologize for not introducing myself sooner."
"No need to apologize. I suspected that you would be occupied." Kyouya's dark eyes flickered to Sonomi's book lying idle on the table next to her. "But I assumed you would be tied up with guests, not a book."
Sonomi was rendered speechless with mortification.
But the young Ootori chuckled lowly, an amused smirk tugging at his lips. "Don't worry, I'll keep this between you and I. Personally, I would much prefer a book to a party."
Sonomi gave a sigh of relief. "Oh, thank you. I wouldn't hear the end of it if my mother found out. She's been horribly insistent that I be 'charming and engaging' with everyone, tonight… I'm afraid I'm not much of either."
"Oh, I wouldn't say that."
Sonomi felt her cheeks growing violently red. She was about to respond when the sound of metal tapping a champagne glass drew her attention to the middle of the room. Her mother and father were standing squarely in the midst of their guests, genuine expressions of pride and excitement glowing on their features.
Sonomi's younger brother, visibly exhausted by the night's excitement, was pressed up against their mother trying to hide himself in the folds of her satin gown. Quickly excusing herself from Kyouya's company, Sonomi rose to her feet and smoothed out her dress. She recognized this as the dreaded moment of her birthday toast when she would be singled out by her father and be ostentatiously presented to everyone in the ballroom.
Her father spoke first. "I would like to thank everyone for joining us this evening in celebrating a very special day for the Sinclair family." His bright eyes searched amongst the crowd until he spotted his daughter tucked away in the corner. He flashed Sonomi a knowing smile and raised his crystal glass. "My beloved daughter, a young woman whom I am unbelievably proud of, has turned sixteen. I am the luckiest father in the world to be blessed with a daughter as beautiful and poised as she. I am confident that she will continue to grow not only as a competent young woman, but also as a successful heir to the Sinclair name." He lifted his glass higher as a final salute to his daughter. "Happy birthday, Lady Sonomi Anne Sinclair!"
"Happy birthday!" echoed the party attendees.
Sonomi smiled as widely as she could and gave a slight curtsy before returning her father's solute and taking a sip from the champagne glass she had been discreetly given by a nearby server. Lady Sinclair had passed along her son, Andrew, to his nanny before sauntering towards her daughter and taking her arm. "Happy birthday, darling," her mother said in Japanese. "I know you hate these sorts of parties, but I am very impressed with how you've been carrying yourself. You'll become more comfortable with practice, I promise."
Sonomi returned her mother's bright smile. "Thank you, mother. I know this night is important."
As Lady Sinclair began leading her daughter towards the center of the ballroom, Sonomi tilted her head in an effort to catch Kyouya's attention, but he had disappeared. He probably wandered away during the toast, thought Sonomi, surprised she didn't catch him leaving. But she also didn't notice him approaching her in the first place, so it only seemed fitting she didn't notice him disappear. Although their encounter was brief, Sonomi decided she didn't dislike the gentlemanly young man and wouldn't mind running into him again.
"And how are you enjoying your evening?" inquired Sonomi's father as he began to gently spin her around the gleaming ballroom floor.
"I'm having an amazing birthday, thank you so much for doing all of this."
Sonomi caught the small twinkle in her father's eye as he returned her smile. She knew that he was aware of her discomfort amongst such powerful and refined company. Much like himself, she tried to avoid such engagements whenever possible, but they had both been roped into the affair by the much more sociable and charismatic Lady Yuki Sinclair.
"Your mother has truly outdone herself - even Yoshio and his son, Kyouya, are here. That stick-in-the-mud never comes to these sorts of things," laughed Lord Sinclair, giving his daughter a small twirl.
Sonomi giggled. Looking over his shoulder, she could spot the stoic father and son lingering in the back of the ballroom. It was impossible to tell if they were at all enjoying themselves; their dark eyes hovered impassively on the crowds around them. For a moment, Sonomi caught Kyouya's gaze and she quickly turned away.
Her flustered expression did not miss her father's notice. "Your mother says Kyouya is single," he teased.
Sonomi's face was now almost as red as her dress. "I don't know what that has to do with me," she insisted.
Lord Sinclair laughed loudly. As the song wound down and the duo slowed their waltz to a stop, Lord Sinclair pecked his daughter lightly on the forehead to the controlled applause of their audience. Once the next song picked up, Sonomi gave her father a small curtsy before hurrying off to some quiet corner. She had fulfilled her obligation as the subject of the event and was now eager to find some time to herself.
As the hem of her red dress slipped out of her father's view, Yoshio Ootori suddenly appeared at Lord Sinclair's elbow. "We need to talk," he urged his friend.
Lord Sinclair looked over at the grim faced businessman. There was a strange look of urgency reflecting in his narrowed eyes that quietly alarmed Lord Sinclair. Nodding, he motioned for Yoshio to follow him out of the main ballroom and towards his study hidden away at the far end of the manor.
Once Lord Sinclair pulled the doors to his study shut and the two were finally alone, Yoshi Ootori began to issue a warning. "The identity of Sonomi's birth-father has been leaked."
Lord Sinclair felt his blood run cold. Taking a deep breath, he made his way over to his leather desk chair and fell back against the worn cushions. Yoshio followed his lead and opted to occupy one of the smaller, low-back chairs across from his friend. The two sat in silence for a moment, illuminated by the low glow of the dusty chandelier hanging above them.
"I was afraid of this," mumbled Lord Sinclair. "I suspected that when Sonomi became of age, there would be renewed interest in her background. I sincerely hoped Yuki's agreement with her ex-husband would hold strong, at least until after she turned eighteen."
Yoshio's brow furrowed. "That's rather wishful thinking, don't you think? Her ex-husband isn't the only one who knows the truth. Now that the Suoh boy has been transferred to Ouran Academy and is poised to inherit his father's legacy, there has been a lot of chatter about the Suoh family. There are some people who are… unhappy with the decision."
Lord Sinclair flinched at the name of his wife's ex-husband. It had been years since the two of them even mentioned her previous marriage and it pained him to confront the reality that while Yuki and Yuzuru Suoh could carry on with their lives separately, Sonomi will always be Yuzuru's biological daughter.
"I'm sure you know what I'm about to suggest," urged Yoshio.
Lord Sinclair sighed. "Get ahead of the rumors."
After hours of mingling, drinking, and laughing, the last of the party guests finally trickled out of the manor and into their awaiting chauffeured cars. Little Lord Andrew had been tucked away in his bed shortly after the toast, leaving Sonomi and her parents to rest a moment in the manor's front parlor. The ballroom was being attended to by the estate's hired staff while the family members retired to themselves to muse over the evening's festivities.
"I thought the ball was a marvelous success," remarked Lady Yuki Sinclair, sipping a glass of sherry.
She had removed the large emeralds that hung heavy from her earlobes and a few of the ornate combs that had been secured in her long, dark hair. Even in her tired state, she was still painfully beautiful. Sonomi wished she had inherited her mother's cat-like eyes and high cheekbones. Sonomi thought her own features were too round to be pretty and eyes too child-like to be alluring.
Lord Sinclair echoed his wife's sentiments. "As much as I hate these sorts of things, I have to admit the evening was rather lovely. I'm delighted Yoshio was able to make it. I was convinced he would be too busy to make such a long journey," he said, referencing the typically expressionless Japanese man Sonomi had seen conversing with her father for most of the night.
Unlike her mother and father who were entertaining glasses of sherry and whiskey respectively, Sonomi opted for a soothing glass of chamomile tea. She was reclining comfortably against one of the parlor couches with her lithe legs folded nimbly underneath her and her long, tangled hair draped unceremoniously over her shoulder. She was decidedly more comfortable even though she was still wearing her frustratingly restrictive gown.
"And don't think I didn't notice you and the young Ootori boy, Sonomi," her mother said, her dark eyes twinkling with mirth. "He's quite handsome, don't you think?"
Sonomi felt her cheeks burn for what seemed like the hundredth time that evening. "We were just having a polite conversation," Sonomi stubbornly insisted. "We didn't really talk about anything interesting."
Lady Sinclair laughed lightly. "If you say so. But if I know Yoshio and his sons as well as I think I do, I would dare to say Kyouya seemed quite taken with you."
Sonomi knew her mother was just teasing her, but it didn't stop her heart from pounding at a rapid pace. Ridiculous, Sonomi thought, avoiding her mother's gaze by taking a sip of her tea. He probably thought I was silly for hiding in the corner with a book instead of engaging myself at my own birthday party. Definitely not the behavior of a charming and elegant lady… I probably looked like a bored child.
Sonomi berated herself for not being a more generous and entertaining hostess in front of Kyouya, but at the same time she didn't fully understand why it bothered her so much.
"Dear," Lord Sinclair said suddenly, his tone adopting a serious edge, "Do you think we ought to tell her about… her situation… tonight?"
Lady Sinclair looked troubled. "I thought we agreed we would tell her when she was at least seventeen?"
Sonomi gave her parents an alarmed look. The serious expression on her father's face deeply contrasted his usually dimpled smile and cheeky features. Even during his long and exhausting cancer treatments, Lord Sinclair's soft eyes and wide mouth would be curved into bright smiles and assuring grins. His tall, awkward stature and wispy blonde hair enhanced his bright countenance, making him the sun-like counterpart to his wife's glamorous moon-like glow.
"I know," said Lord Sinclair, his tired eyes resting on Sonomi. "But I had been talking with Yoshio about this and circumstances in Japan have complicated our plans. Talk of Sonomi's entitlement to your ex-husband's fortune has already been investigated. It is best we address the situation sooner rather than later."
Circumstances in Japan? Entitlement? Mother's first husband?
Sonomi's head began to spin.
Lady Sinclair gave a long sigh. "I was afraid this would happen. Yoshio has been trying to warn me for years… there's never really escaping that family."
Lord Sinclair reached across the small table between them and took his wife's hand. Lady Sinclair attempted a weak smile of encouragement before she turned towards their perplexed and slightly alarmed daughter.
"Sonomi," she said carefully, "We need to talk about your birth-father."
Sonomi nodded slowly. Lord Edward Sinclair was not Sonomi's biological father. Unlike the ambiguously Japanese and Western characteristics her younger brother possessed, Sonomi was undoubtedly of Japanese origin. Her birth into the Sinclair family was a bit of a scandal that shocked England's high society. She was conceived during her mother's first marriage to an unnamed Japanese man. The marriage dissolved relatively early in their union and under mysterious pretenses. Shortly after, her mother married Lord Sinclair in the midst of swirling rumors that they were lovers during Lady Sinclair's marriage. It was commonly thought a possible affair between them was what ruined the marriage.
However, the newlyweds never truly addressed these rumors. Instead, they happily welcomed the birth of Lady Sinclair's first born with as much love and affection as though she was Lord Sinclair's legitimate daughter. For all of Sonomi's life, her mother never mentioned the identity of her first husband. Even when they would travel to Japan to visit family and friends, her mother never suggested they meet Sonomi's mysterious father and Sonomi never asked. So to hear her mother and father abruptly bring up the topic that very evening both alarmed and excited Sonomi.
Lady Sinclair kept her voice calm and steady as she began telling her tale. "I was raised in a very wealthy and traditional household: I attended the best schools, I lived in the wealthiest neighborhoods, and I kept company with some of the world's most prestigious men and women. When I was eighteen, my mother saw it suitable that I settle down and marry. Because of the society that we lived in, I wasn't permitted to select my own husband…" she grimaced at the memory. "So, after I finished high school, I was engaged to a successful, young business man named Yuzuru Suoh."
Lord Sinclair gave his wife's hand a light squeeze out of encouragement before continuing on her behalf. "Your mother and your father were not happy together, Sonomi. They divorced after a few years. Your mother and I had met while they were still married, but when your birth father ended the marriage, we were able to finally be together. I know the whole thing seems horribly scandalous, but I love you, your mother, and your brother with all of my heart. Never think for one second that I don't consider you my little girl."
Sonomi could see the tears welling in her father's eyes and she felt her heart break. He had worked so hard all of her life to provide her with as loving and accepting of a childhood he could. Unfortunately, when you're blatantly not the biological heir of a royal title, you can never be entirely accepted as genuine. That was the bitter nature of Sonomi's upbringing.
"Because of how the proceedings of the divorce were determined, I was able to officially adopt you… with certain terms. It was agreed upon by all families involved that when you turned eighteen, you would be given the opportunity to inherit the Suoh Estate," continued Lord Sinclair, "The family had concerns about securing an heir, so they dictated these terms as a precaution."
Sonomi felt her voice leap into her throat. "An heir to his estate!? I don't understand… what does this mean? Aren't there any other candidates? What about my role in this family?" She felt herself losing grip on her composure. The discovery of her biological father and her current situation was incredibly disorienting.
"Unfortunately this level of society is very particular about heirs. Yuzuru does have a son, albeit one born out of an affair," her mother said, voice laced with antipathy, "but you were conceived during his legitimate marriage to me which makes you a more suitable heir than his half-French son."
"Yuzuru's son…" Sonomi was assaulted by another wave of shock, "you mean my half-brother?"
Lady Sinclair moved to sit beside her daughter on the couch. Offering a small smile, she began to gently brush her fingers through Sonomi's hair; something she used to do when she was little. Sonomi couldn't decide if her mother was trying to comfort her, or if she was trying to comfort herself. Probably both, Sonomi thought, watching the sad expression in her mother's eyes.
"Yoshiro Ootori told me this evening that Yuzuru Suoh has been avoiding naming his son as heir to the Suoh name. It could be for a variety of reasons, but Yoshiro is convinced one of them is related to you coming of age," said Lord Sinclair. "I expect we will be hearing from the Japanese mogul in the near future. Japan's high society has already started to expect your Japanese debut."
Sonomi felt the room begin to spin. "Japanese... debut?"
"We can't decline your legitimacy as an heiress for you," her mother continued, pulling Sonomi into her arms, "In the eyes of the law, you are as much a candidate as his son is and the Suoh family has every right to make you the heir. However, you cannot officially accept or decline this legacy until you are eighteen. Until then, it is expected by our society that you carefully consider the possibility of accepting the Suoh name instead of Sinclair. If you're concerned about your place with this family, just know - by walking away from the Suoh name, you will still continue to be Lady Sonomi Anne Sinclair. But no matter what happens, you'll always, always, always be our daughter, regardless of your name."
Sonomi felt herself wrapping her arms around her mother's waist. Ever since her younger brother, Andrew, had been born, whispers of a shift in the line of succession had been floating around England's high society. Seeing as Andrew was Lord Sinclair's son by blood it was more appealing to the royal family that Andrew be the one to inherit the title and estate, not Sonomi. In a matter of minutes, Sonomi's place in the world and her family had been completely turned upside-down. She was the legitimate heir of a Japanese name; a name she could probably accept without contention; whereas if she were to continue as Lady Sonomi, her place in English socially would always be scrutinized.
But the thought of abandoning the name and legacy she was brought up with was too painful to truly consider. Although she was of Japanese parentage, Suoh sounded strange and foreign. Sinclair was bright with summers in the English countryside and cream tea during rainy afternoons. Suoh held nothing but an absent father and a broken marriage.
"What… do you propose I do?" Sonomi's voice was tired and overwhelmed.
Lady Sinclair gently ran her fingers along the length of her daughter's face, her eyes holding Sonomi's gaze carefully. "You will need to go to Japan and meet with Yuzuru. I cannot sway you to stay Lady Sinclair as much as he cannot sway you to become Sonomi Suoh. This is something you need to decide on your own. Since I have had the honor and privilege of raising you, you have known only your heritage as a Sinclair, but you need to dedicate time to Japanese culture and expectations in order to truly consider the Suoh name."
Sonomi opened her mouth to protest, but her father quickly cut her off. "It is easy to want to decline the Suoh name, now," He had been watching his wife and daughter with sad eyes. The reality of the situation weighed on him. He never expected that he would need to consider losing his daughter so soon to her obligations as the biological daughter of a prominent Japanese mogul, but he knew it was inevitable. "Our world of wealth and title is all about appearances. It is a balancing act of charm and familial ties. It is all about who you know and who knows you. Unfortunately, the circles Yuzuru Suoh runs in have already identified you as his legitimate heir. Years of keeping your mother's name out of the press and official documentation has officially expired. The internet has allowed too much to leak out. If Yuzuru wants to keep his peers content, he will have to agree with them; that's his balancing act."
"And you have your own balancing act," warned Lady Sinclair. "Don't cut ties if you can avoid it." Sonomi understood her mother's cautionary words. In order to legitimately inherit one name, she would need to ensure that the declined legacy was convinced of her decision. It was an immense honor to be the heir of any fortune and estate, let alone two. But these worlds were not all diamonds and champagne like they appeared to be; Sonomi would need to become politically adept and socially savvy. Suddenly she wished she was Elizabeth Bennet from Jane Austen's story. Elizabeth was self-assured and wildly independent. She had the audacity to decline a marriage proposal and refused a man's love for the sake of her sister's honor. Perhaps she wasn't the ideal heroine, but she had the conviction that Sonomi felt she herself lacked.
"I'll go to Japan," Sonomi decided, trying to sound confident, but failing horribly. "This is something I need to do… if nothing else, at least for my own sake."
Lord and Lady shared smiles of sad pride. They agreed Sonomi was making the right decision, but it meant that her world would never be the same. The family's moment of deep thought and emotion was interrupted when one of the remaining servants peeked into the parlor to inform them it was well past midnight.
Lord Sinclair jumped to his feet and stretched his long limbs in an exaggerated yawn. "Well, this has been mighty exciting! I feel like I might fall asleep at any moment. Ladies, shall we call it a night?"
Sonomi and her mother rose from their place on the couch and followed the lanky Lord out of the parlor and up the manor's marble staircase. Their conversation returned to the light, approving remarks about Sonomi's birthday ball and tomorrow's activities rather than reminiscing on Sonomi's presently controversial lineage.
After kissing her parents goodnight in front of her bedroom door, Sonomi quickly peeled off the evening's designer gown and pulled on one of her enormous t-shirts that served as her sleepwear. She quickly scrubbed off the make-up that took hours to apply by her mother's make-up artist. Her hair was matted and tangled due to the styling and products it had suffered through to be "ball ready" leaving Sonomi's attempts at brushing futile. Too tired to care, Sonomi stumbled towards her bed and face-planted into her duvet.
Her limbs ached with exhaustion, but her mind was swimming with the thoughts about her evasive father: Yuzuru Suoh. Finally, she had a name for the other half of her parentage. Soon, I'll have a face, too, she thought. The news of her having another half-brother also tugged at the corners of her mind. Mom said he's half French, she mused, exhaustion making her delirious, and my younger brother is half English. What a funny family... Preoccupied by similar thoughts and reflections, Sonomi was only able to drift asleep during the obscure hour of dawn when the dull-hue of early morning flooded her bedroom with a comforting glow.
Updated - 09/09/20
I'm just making some small tweaks to the existing chapters. Nothing that will alter the plot, just want to keep improving the content.
Updated - 04/30/20
Hello! I'm currently working on Chapter Seven of this story with the anime on in the background (it's been years since I've watched it - did it seriously come out in 2006?) I decided to make some tweaks to some of the existing chapters. Nothing that derails the plot, but it's been years since I started this and I just wanted to do some minor brushing up.
I'm breaking a million-year hiatus to revisit my FanFiction profile!
I decided to rewrite this particular story because I remember liking the plot. I never had the drive (or time) to finish it, so I kind of fort about it. When I came back to it, I realized it needed a total overhaul because it was kind of... not good. Not saying my writing is top-notch stuff, but I definitely think it has improved since my last chapter.
Anyway, this is a rewrite of my store "Half-Bloods and Half-Wits" which I have renamed "Do You Dance, Mister Darcy?" for a variety of reasons. One of them being "Half-Bloods and Half-Wits" as a title actually conflicted with the plot of the story so that needed to be fixed. I also decided it might be fun to try to make it be a little tribute to Jane Austen's 'Pride and Prejudice'. I don't want to betray how much my plot will harken to the book... I hope it'll become obvious further down the road (if people haven't pieced it together already!)
Also, just as a disclaimer, I'm basing this purely off of the anime, not the manga (I haven't gotten around to reading the manga, so sorry if the story strays too much from the Ouran Universe). I also haven't seen the anime in a long time, so I'll be brushing up on my familiarity with the host club while I'm writing this story. If I make any glaring errors, let me know and I'll try to keep things as close to canon as I can.
So, thank you so much for reading my first submission (I believe) in over four years!
- I'm Going on an Adventure (formally known as the Irish Baroness)