Strange New Worlds, etc.

"Quick, pretend you're my date," Jim says, appearing out of the crowd of wedding guests and taking Spock's hand.

"I am your date," Spock says, confused.

"That's exactly the energy I want from you," Jim says.

"What is presently transpiring?"

"Human stuff—I'll explain later—Sam!" Jim turns a brightly fake grin at his approaching brother.

"Jimmy," Sam says, giving him a look Spock can't identify. "Mom said you might be here."

"And here I am," Jim says, though the way he's standing suggests he may not be there for much longer. "This is Spock, my date."

"I am his date," Spock repeats, with the same intonation as before, registers Jim's delight at his unexpected cooperation, and then, because Amanda Grayson raised him right, adds, "It's nice to meet you."

Sam blinks in surprise and stammers out a polite—if somewhat disjointed—response, which Jim must find adequate because he makes their excuses and hustles Spock away, buzzing with satisfied mischief and saying, "That'll keep him for a while. Now stop pretending to be my date and come meet my cousin Henry. She races chickens—you'll love her."

"How does one race chickens?" Spock asks, wondering if perhaps he had misheard, but he can feel Jim thinking wouldn't you like to know and Spock would, and Jim flashes him a grin and pulls him back into the crowd.