Beta Version

Ivan sighed, glumly staring into his glass and resting his chin in his hand. It was a mark of his depression, he felt, that he could barely taste the liquor. Maybe he just wasn't concentrating hard enough. He took another sip–no, it was no good; it was all ashes.

When would he get lucky–more than lucky? When the devil would he be able to find someone to marry? Someone suitable. Someone Vor. Someone beautiful and witty and rich and–and this bit was important–someone who didn't particularly expect anything from Ivan except a few kids and extremely skilled lovemaking?

It was really getting ridiculous... He'd been single so long, people were starting to make not-very-funny jokes about his sexuality.

Ivan sighed again, hoping some stranger in the bar would take the hint and ask him what such a handsome man had to be sad about, but alas, the drinking establishments on Barrayar simply didn't hold people who rose to the occasion. Not in this occasion, anyway. He wished he had Miles' knack of getting attention–but no. That was no good. Miles' knacks all ran toward the insanely dangerous, and Ivan didn't want anything to do with that sort of knack.

Ivan tossed back the last of his drink and made to leave. As he headed for the door, he noticed a woman in the corner. She was deep in shadow, but her eyes flashed wicked humor, and her smile was wry. She looked like fun. She looked like just the sort of girl Ivan was after.

He altered his course, slipping over to her table and bowed deeply. "Ivan Vorpatril," he introduced himself.

"Ivan, what are you doing now, you idiot?" an amused voice responded, and Ivan jerked back upright in horror, staring into the how had he not realized it before rather thickly-lashed eyes of his foppish acquaintance, Byerly Vorrutyer.

"N–nothing," Ivan stammered. "You didn't say hello when you came in, so I thought maybe you'd forgotten who I was. I thought I should remind you."

Byerly looked doubtful, but said, "Well then, hello. Did you want to sit and have a drink?"

Ivan considered. "No, I don't think that would be a good idea," he said with complete honesty. Really, Byerly wasn't all that feminine...was he? Come to think of it, he was a bit... Ivan shook his head. "I should really go. I–have to leave," he said, and wheeled and headed for the door, leaving a confused By behind, still shaking his head.

Come to think of it, Byerly would make a pretty good woman...

If one Vorrutyer could do it, why not another?

Ivan smiled fiendishly. If nothing else worked out, he'd definitely keep the suggestion in mind.