1. "And as for your two..." by Queenix
2. "Now see what you've started?" by Queenix
3. "Anything interesting happen while I was gone?" by Queenix
4. "Hey, dollface. You asleep?" by Queenix
5. "Nerys...Kira...Major" by Queenix
6. "That's two in two days." by Queenix
7. "Why don't you?" by Queenix
The transport shuttle was nearly to Bajor when Major Kira Nerys finally gave up on writing crew evaluations. The only reason she'd taken public transit in the first place, instead of piloting her own runabout, was so she could work on the dreaded reports. It turned out that was a mistake. So far, she had spent the whole trip fighting her own attention span, catching herself several times staring out the starboard window, lost in thought, and as a consequence had manged to get absolutely nothing done.
Kira looked down on the PADD in her lap, and heaved a sigh. If she didn't have these evals in to Sisko by the end of the week, her next trip to Bajor might be one way, but the only work she had started was a whopping one form, out of twenty. Maybe she could get that one lonely form done before they landed, and salvage something of her trip. Resolved, Kira picked up her PADD, and took a sip of her raktijino, reading the last thing she'd written.
Private Ch'thala has shown much growth since his transfer to Operations. We have been pleased with his efficiency, and his attention to detail. However, his performance would be greatly improved if Odo would shove me up against a wall, take what he wanted, and end this agonized mess for both of us.
Kira slapped a hand over her mouth. Her eyes popped. Had she really written that? Taking a furtive glance around, Kira double-punched the backspace, making those telling words disappear as fast as her fingers could make them. Prophets, if anyone had read that over her shoulder, she would have crawled under her seat and died.
Revealing statements gone, the Major shut the PADD off, and stuffed it back into her carry-all with an angry shove. There would most definitely be no more crew evals getting done today. Kira picked up her raktijino, and leaned back in her seat, trying to stay calm. What she'd written wasn't all that surprising, though, when she thought about it. After all, this wouldn't be the first time such ideas about her chief of security had distracted her. She was pretty sure just about every woman- and some of the men- on the station had wondered what Odo would be like in bed, at least once. After all, Odo was a shapeshifter, and though Kira was not the most imaginative person, she wasn't totally hopeless.
Not that all of her thoughts about Odo were dirty ones. It was the opposite, in fact. Odo was her friend first, her best friend, though Kira was uncertain how Odo was classifying their relationship these days. Since that night in Jadzia's closet, they couldn't seem to get back on track, and be the friends they were. Kira had tried giving Odo, and herself, some space, some time apart, in light of what they'd discussed that night. It had been intense, but if they could talk about their problems for eight hours straight, and not kill each other, there had to be hope things would work out.
The Major heaved a sigh, and looked back out the window. That closet conversation was over a year ago now. In all that time, Odo still hadn't made a move.
Kira thought about the near-disaster of the previous morning, in Vic's, where Julian's fancy hologram had almost spilled the beans about her and Odo in front of everyone. Jadzia was the only other person, besides Odo himself, who knew about Odo's feelings for her, and Kira didn't need a self-styled light bulb crying her business to the whole station. A part of her, though, almost wished that photometric busybody had finished what he was going to say, and had gotten things out in the open. Odo needed some kind of intervention.
How could someone profess to carry a long-burning torch for her, and then douse it when she was around? Whenever Odo saw her these days, it was 'Major' this, and 'Ma'am' that. She was getting 'How-can-I-help-youed' to death. To Kira, that night in Jadzia's closet was starting to seem like kind of dream now, a brief oasis where they'd both let their guards down, and finally found some honesty about their relationship. Much to Kira's confusion, as soon as they'd left that quiet nook, Odo had slid his formal mask right back on, holding her at arm's length and hiding behind rank to avoid being personal. As usual. For a whole year.
If it were up to her, Kira would carve the word "predictable" on Odo's crew eval, right at the top. Bolded. And underscored.
On that long ago night, Odo had said his feelings for her had not changed, and Kira had come out of that closet with her feelings not so clear, but with her heart definitely turning his direction. She had let go of that disturbing business with the Founder that had pushed them apart. She had forgiven Odo, fully, but was left with the sense that Odo was still having trouble forgiving himself. Kira figured it may have something to do with the current state of things. Still, she'd expected Odo to follow up in some way, to invite her to dinner, or for a walk, or a springball game, or...something. But for a whole year, there had been nothing. No cards, no invitations, not even so much as a drink at Quark's. Their Tuesday morning meetings had become downright clinical.
With all of this nothing going on, Kira would have thought the constable had lost interest in her entirely, but once in a while, just sometimes, Odo would forget himself. The mask would slip off, and his feelings were there for her to see, warm and sure. How could such water-cool eyes conduct so much heat? Those searing glances were enough to spur Kira to make a move herself, but what came out of Odo's mouth didn't match his eyes, and the disparity made her less confident than ever.
And if Kira Nerys didn't have confidence, she had nothing.
So, as usual, her relationship with Odo was an agonized mess, and thinking about those blue and blazing gazes again certainly didn't help any. Kira squirmed in her seat, fanning a blush. Against a wall, indeed. Was it any wonder she was writing scandalous things on official documents? Odo needed to decide what he wanted from her, and do something about it soon, or the station was going to end up a smoking ruin when she spontaneously combusted.
“Folks, this is the captain speaking. We'll be landing on Bajor in about ten minutes. For your safety, we're asking you to return to your seats, and buckle yourselves in for the approach to atmosphere. We appreciate your flying with us today, and hope your stay on Bajor is a pleasant one. Walk with the Prophets.”
As the captain signed off, Kira secured her carry-all under the seat, and then secured herself for the landing. She was actually looking forward to this assignment on Bajor. Maybe taking care of business with the First Minister would get her mind off of her Odo problems. Though this visit was supposed to be about the war, she and Shakaar never stuck to business for long. After all, they'd both been in the war business a long time, so how much time did they ever spend dwelling on it? They both knew their roles well, so this debriefing should be short. It would be good, though, to see Shakaar again, to talk with him again. Kira found she had missed his comradeship, despite the ugliness that had ended their romantic relationship.
The transport shifted down in speed, and the green-blue globe of Bajor appeared in Kira's window. Her brow drew down as she made out the Dahkur continent. She hadn't seen Shakaar in person since they'd split, had only talked to him through government communiques and the occasional private message. Kira had preferred to let go of what happened between them, and not dwell on it, and Shakaar hadn't tried to bring any of it up with her since, but Kira had the sinking feeling Shakaar wasn't going to be able to avoid it anymore once he saw her in the flesh.
On second thought, a long conversation with Shakaar Edon sounded like going from the proverbial frying pan, and into the fire.
Major Kira handed the First Minister the PADD she had prepared, leaning across his desk to hand it to him. It contained the statistical data she'd gotten from the station's computer, information about the war with the Dominion that was normally Starfleet eyes only, but that she convinced Sisko to clear for use in this meeting. Shakkar was, after all, the First Minister of Bajor, and had a right to know what was really going on out on the front. Kira leaned back in her seat, and let Shakaar read, noting the frown that was growing deeper and deeper as he read. Kira knew what she'd handed him was tough to look at, but she kept her tone neutral, bringing what positive news she could to the statistics.
“Captain Sisko said if the Deltoi maintain their blockade on Kelp space, Starfleet will intervene," Kira said. "The Kelp are Starfleet's chief supplier of iltridium 7. They need that ore for new ships, so they won't let the Deltoi play games forever.”
The First Minister raised a brow at Kira over the PADD she'd given him. “Isn't it funny how if the Federation wants something, the Prime Directive isn't so prime anymore? But looking at this, I get it.” Shakaar tossed the PADD down on his desk. “I'll be honest, Nerys. The statistics you've shown me here are pretty grim. Starfleet has been hiding a lot from us.”
“Can you blame them?" Kira asked. "If people knew how badly this war was really going, they'd turn tail and run.”
“Reading stuff like this makes me think they should,” Shakkar returned, wiping a weary hand over his face.
“Shakaar Edon, listen to you,” Kira chided. “Weren't you the leader of one of the most notorious resistance cells on Bajor? Since when did you give up so easily?”
“I was a resistance leader. Now I'm a solid and serious head of state, with solid and serious concerns, like the preservation of my planet's population, and these kinds of numbers...” Shakaar sighed, and looked away from her, out the window of his office and onto the city view beyond. “In the resistance we had blind faith, Nerys, not statistics," he said. "The whole 'what we don't know' factor kept us going, gave us hope.” He swung back to her, and gestured at the PADD. “That is damned near hopeless.”
“Well, don't throw it in just yet, Shakaar,” Kira replied. “Starfleet's not done yet. I'm not done yet.”
“Oh, well, so long as you're still on the job, I feel safer already.”
Kira rolled her eyes at him.
“I'm serious,” Shakaar said, smiling. “Who in the universe is brave enough to take on Kira Nerys? During the second occupation, I think the Dominion ended up wishing they'd just blown up DS9 instead of dealing with you. You should have seen some of the complaints that crossed my desk. You really annoyed the hell outta them, Major."
“Good," Kira said. "I'm glad I annoyed them. They had no business here.”
A steely look hardened Shakaar's features, a look that told Kira there was a less of 'was' in Shakaar than he realized. “No,” he agreed, "they didn't.” His look softened, growing warmer as he gazed at her across the desk. “Are we done talking shop, Kira? Can we just talk now? Nerys to Edon, not Major to First Minister?”
“Sure,” she smiled. “Besides, Major Kira has nothing else to report. And Nerys would like a cup of tea.”
“Comin' up,” Shakaar said, and hit the comm panel on his desk. “Send in tea service. For two, please.”
“Yes, Minister. Right away.”
“'Yes, Minister,'” Kira mocked. “Just like that, at the snap of your fingers, a whole staff of lackeys to do your bidding. What is that even like, for a former farmer?”
“I always had lackeys to do my bidding. You were one of them. Actually, you still are, or do you forget you work for the Bajoran government? I am your boss, you know.”
Kira chuckled. “That'll be the day.”
Shakaar returned her laugh, letting it fade as their eyes locked across the desk. “Nerys, I've missed you. Thanks for doing this. For seeing me.”
And there it was, just like she'd predicted on the transport. He was going to bring up what she didn't want to talk about. Didn't you just point out that you're my boss?" she smiled, trying to ignore the nervous flutter in her stomach. "I had to come.”
“You know that's not true,” he said. “I wouldn't have made you come here. We could have done this on the comm. I really expected you to say no when I called. We haven't seen each other since...you know.”
“No,” Kira said, looking down at her folded hands, “we haven't.”
“Nerys, I...I asked you here to tell you that I'm sorry. I was a jerk, I hurt you, and you have every right to hate me.”
“Edon, don't," Kira said, looking up at him. "I don't hate you. I forgave you for all of that, over a year ago.”
“Still, I owe you an apology. I humiliated you, and there's no excuse for it.”
“It's in the past," Kira said. "It's done.”
“Yes, but our break wasn't clean, and I can't move passed it. I need your full forgiveness.”
“And I just told you, Edon, you have it. Why are you bringing this up?”
“Because you were my friend first, Nerys, and while I did not make the best boyfriend, I have always been a loyal friend. A good friend. When I betrayed you, I betrayed myself, and it isn't like me to do either. I'm ashamed of what I did. And I owe you an explanation.”
“What is there to explain, Edon?" Kira replied. She gripped the handles of her chair, trying to keep her voice and her temper from rising any futher. "I found you in bed with someone else, literally caught you in the act. I think that statement was clear enough, and needs absolutely no explanation from you. The message was pretty clear, and if you don't mind, I'd rather not rehash this. The first time was bad enough."
"But, Nerys, we need to talk about-”
Shakaar's secretary entered with a gentle knock, and he bit off whatever he was going to say. Kira watched her cross the office with the tea service. The girl was just the type she would expect Shakaar to choose, young and pretty. As the girl set up the tea, Kira noted that she also moved with a compact efficiency that said there was more to her than a pretty face. This kid meant business. Maybe there was hope for Shakaar after all.
“Will there be anything else, sir?” the girl asked as she handed Shakaar his cup.
“That's all, Miranna. Thank you.”
The girl moved silently out of the room, shutting the ancient wooden doors to Shakaar's office carefully behind her.
Shakaar took a sip of his tea, and set the cup down with a grimace. “Too much kava." He reached for the pot. "Anyway," he said, adding more tea to his cup, "as you said, you were the one who found your lover in bed with someone else, which was all on me, my fault. But you didn't do anything about it, Nerys. And that's what I want to talk about. There were no fits, there were no hurled objects. You just walked away, like it was a minor annoyance.”
Kira tested her own tea, buying herself some time to reply. He was right about the kava. She reached for the pot and thinned her tea out as Shakaar had done. "I didn't want to make a scene," she said.
“Oh, c'mon, Nerys” Shakaar returned. “I'm supposed to believe that? I'm supposed to buy that Major Kira Nerys of Bajor, no-bull-tolerating, dragon-tempered, acid-tongued terror of Deep Space 9, who even gave the Dominion a turn with her hell-cat ways, had nothing to say about catching her boyfriend with another woman? And not only that, you made up a cover story involving the Kendra shrine to save his sorry ass from the court of public opinion...Did you ever ask yourself why, Nerys? Why you didn't get righteously and justifiably pissed about me and Grinnelle?"
What was Shakaar trying to do? Make her righteously pissed now? "That cover story was as much for me as it was for you,” Kira replied, still holding her temper in check. “Do you think I wanted everyone to know what happened, what you did? And I was angry, Edon. I still am.”
“Yeah, but not like you should be, or you wouldn't be here now...I'll tell you why you didn't care, Nerys. Because you'd already been unfaithful yourself.”
“WHAT!” Kira slammed her cup down on the desk. “Edon, that better be some kind of joke, because that is utterly ridiculous! When I'm in a relationship, it is exclusive. I know how to keep it in my pants, unlike some people.”
Shakaar was as nonplussed by Kira's temper and her outburst, as he ever had been. “You weren't unfaithful in body," he replied, chin in hand. "That's true, but in your mind, in your heart...you did betray me.”
Kira heaved a breath. “What are you talking about?”
“Nerys, you were never mine, not truly. There was a barrier between us, all the time, a shadow that hovered over our relationship, always there, always following. Like some kind of vapory bodyguard making sure we didn't get too close. Are you gonna tell me you didn't notice?”
“Edon, what are you saying?”
“I'm saying, Nerys, you never loved me. Not really. Prophets know, the deck was stacked against us to begin with. I'm the First Minister. I haven't got time for lunch, let alone a girlfriend. But we made it work. We made the distance work, we dealt with your surrogacy, with the threats, and elections, and assassins, even an intergalactic war. We conquered all those things, but none of them, strangely enough, were the problem. The problem was you, and your shadow.”
“What is this shadow business?” Kira said, running a hand through her hair. “You are making no sense.”
“You can't do that, Nerys, not with me. I've known you for too many years. This thing you do, the walls, the barriers, the refusal to open your eyes. You know damned well who the shadow is, what his name is, and why it was you could never really let yourself fall in love with me. You know why I was driven into someone else's arms-” The look Kira shot him would have melted metal. Shakaar held up his hands. “Not that I'm blaming you for my behavior...But why was I even tempted at all? It was because the woman I loved, even when she was with me, always had someone else on her mind.”
Kira slammed her fist on his desk, heedless as her teacup jumped and sloshed its contents on the aged wood. “The only other man I ever loved was Antos! I won't have you tarnish his memory by-”
“I'm not talking about Bareil Antos, and you know it. He's buried, Nerys, and neither one of us is sentimental about the dead.”
“Then who the hell are you talking about?”
“I'm not gonna say his name for you. It only got dropped, oh, about a thousand times when we were together, so I know it's not so hard for you to pronounce.”
Kira fell back in her seat, the spine-stiffening haze of her anger dissolving. Now she knew who Shakaar meant. She did talk about Odo a lot, and she could see where Shakaar could draw conclusions like this, but that still didn't change the fact that he'd cheated on her, and how could he blame that on Odo? She'd never pegged Shakaar as the jealous type.
Holding the two side by side, Kira could see every mistake she'd made in choosing Shakaar Edon for a mate. Odo would never cheat, and if for some reason he did, he wouldn't blame it on someone else. He was too honest, but Shakaar wasn't, not when it came to his personal life. She had known that, though, hadn't she? She knew exactly what Edon was like, she'd heard the rumors, but she'd dated him anyway. How could she give a man like Shakaar three years of her life, but couldn't bring herself to ask a man like Odo to dinner?
Kira decided she wasn't discussing her chief of security with the First Minister. Ever. “Look, Edon, I don't want to argue about this. The bottom line is, I've lost enough friends over the years. I don't want to add you to the list. Can we leave this alone?"
Shakaar heaved a frustrated sigh. "Obviously, I'm not gonna get through to you, not today, anyway. And I don't bring these things up to make you angry, Nerys. I just want you to be happy. If you're going to keep denying how you feel, you won't be...Do this much for me, and for yourself. When you go back to your station, take some time, and meditate on what I've said. When you do, ask yourself this. Who in the universe is brave enough take on Kira Nerys?”
After her visit with Shakkar, Major Kira was commandeered by the Vedek Assembly, and she was not happy about it. Shakaar's secretary had forwarded Kira's statistical data to their office, and they wanted a personal explanation for what they'd read. So did the Counsel of Ministers. And General Sato. Kira's return to DS9 ended up being delayed for two more days.
Holed up with a bunch of politicians and militia types had left her too tired to do any more thinking about Odo, at least not until she'd found herself on the return transport, heading back to DS9. Her conversation with Shakaar had given her plenty to consider, now that she had a little time to do so, and Kira formed a plan for dealing with it on the way back to the station.
She had made mistakes with Shakaar by not being honest with herself, he was right about that much, and she wasn't going to repeat them with Odo. She was going to take matters into her own hands this time, enough waiting for wishy-washy Changelings to make up their minds. She was going to ask Odo to dinner. Tonight. He could watch her chew her meal as they both chewed over their relationship. They would get things out in the open and get this over with, one way or another, the way Kira liked to do things. Enough of this cloak and dagger, cat and mouse game they were playing. She wanted this Odo problem dealt with. Today.
As a riled-up Kira disembarked from the transport, it seemed like fated timing that Odo was crossing the Promenade at that same moment. Her heart lept at the sight of him, bubbling away her irritation in an instant. How many people in this universe could actually do that, could turn her mood so quickly, just by their physical presence?
The thought steadied her resolve about asking him to dinner. Kira ran up to him, beaming, expecting Odo to return at least some of her sentiment, but was quickly disappointed.
The Constable was distracted, distant. He seemed almost embarrassed to see her, as if he couldn't wait to get away from her. Kira didn't really understand the emotion that hooded his gaze, or what she could have done to cause it. Odo eyes wouldn't meet hers as he stammered a greeting. Guilt, Kira realized, finding the word she wanted. The Constable actually seemed guilty about something. What in the world had Odo been up to while she was gone?
Obviously, Kira decided, whatever it was, it didn't have anything to do with her. Odo's discomfort, though, was growing, so Kira let him go about his business and didn't press for an explanation, but dropped her plan to ask him to dinner. As Odo moved across the Promenade, making his way away from Kira as fast as he could, she couldn't help a last look at his swiftly retreating form.
A conflicted, confounding, and complicated man was her Constable.
After seeing Odo on the Promenade, Kira had done as Shakaar suggested. Kira had thought the First Minister sounded a little condescending when he'd told her to go meditate, and had decided not to, just to be contrary. But what happened on the Promenade with Odo made her more broody than ever, and she knew she needed to dump some of this negativity before it revved up to full-throttled anger.
Too tired and frustrated to bother with setting things up in her quarters, she'd gone to Quark's. He had a program on file, acquired just for her, of the meditation caves in the Kiva Monastery. The isolation and tranquility of those caves made them one of Kira's favorite places, and their encapsulating darkness sounded just like what the doctor- or the First Minister- had ordered.
But of course Kira still didn't get her chance to rest. Julian's hologram was causing trouble again. It broke into her program, and interrupted her meditation. Of all things, the nosy bundle of photons was there to ask her to dinner, on behalf of Odo. Any other day, she would have refused, would have stormed out of the holosuite, found her chief of security, and asked him what he was thinking, sending an artificial emissary to do his dirty work. However, given Odo's reticence this morning, she wondered if she had misinterpreted things. Maybe it wasn't guilt, but something else she'd seen. Could she be so lucky, that she and Odo had come to the same conclusion on the same day, and that the Constable also wanted their relationship status resolved? Hadn't she been waiting for this for a year? Did it matter how the request was delivered, so long as it was done?
According to the light bulb, the answer was no.
In spite of the ancient lounge act, Kira said yes to dinner. Much to her everlasting regret.
After her first date with Odo had ended in total disaster, it was Kira's closet that held the answers this time. In her closet, in the bottom drawer of her dresser, hiding underneath some strappy black underthings she never really wore, was a bright blue bottle of liquid obliteration.
Kira had headed straight for that bottle as soon as she'd left the holosuite. Ironically, it had been her fellow victim of this night's trickery who'd introduced her to Maraltian seev-ale, years ago, and she'd been quite pleased with its instant, anesthetizing effects on her Bajoran physiology. Good stuff, was seev-ale. She'd gotten Quark to get her a bottle of her own, for occasions just like this, when things looked so grim that booze was the only possible way to salvation. The bottle had laid hidden in her closet for some time, but like most fine things, seev-ale aged well.
Kira took a swig straight from the bottle, and a little voice in her head- Julian's, for some reason- warned her it was a bad idea.
“Careful, Major. Too much of that, and you'll win a date with me this time. In the infirmary.”
“Shuddup, Julian," Kira mumbled. She stuck her tongue out at no one at all, and made a raspberry, but couldn't really feel it. Her tongue and lips were already numb. Kira made her way across her room and to her bed. She took another swig of seev-ale, and half fell, half sat on the edge of the mattress.
It was going to take Kira months to get Odo to forget this night. Dinner had been an unmitigated, unprecedented, and utterly undeniable disaster. What a mess. And she had that annoying pile of algorithms to thank for it.
A pox on tuxedo-wearing, period-specific, suite-jumping holograms. Swig. And their programmers.
Kira did, she acknowledged as she took another drink, have to give Vic credit for choosing that lovely song. The tune, the words came back to her, and she smiled. She had actually danced. With Odo. She'd loved it. Swig. She could still feel Odo's touch burning its way through the fabric of her dress.
That moment when he'd pulled her close, held her tight, it had all been so clear...
And oh, Prophets, Odo's face when he'd learned the truth. The confusion, the hurt, the shut-down misery of it. Why was she always hurting him?
Now who's predictable, Nerys?
Kira emptied the bottle. She fell on her bed, and closed her eyes, letting herself float off on a soft blue cloud of numbness. As she slept, she dreamed. And in her dreams, she was not alone. Someone was with her, someone with hands both kind and strong, and eyes as deep and clean as the sea.
Drinking half a bottle of aged seev-ale had been stupid. But effective. Kira had slept like a baby, though she did end up in the infirmary after all, seeking one of Julian's famous hangover hypos.
Dax had met her at the infirmary, took one look at her, and laughed.
“Rough night?” Jadzia chortled.
Kira winced. “That's an understatement.”
“You gonna tell me about it?”
"Nope. But did you know, Jadzia, that the station's chief of security is a wonderful dancer?"
Dax gave Kira a knowing smile, but said nothing, and helped her off the biobed. They left the infirmary, and started their morning trek to Ops.
As she walked along the Promenade with Jadzia, Kira thought over the events of the last few days. How did she frame it all into words for Dax, when she couldn't really explain it all to herself? Last night, through the haze of alcohol, she'd had thoughts of setting fire to the holosuite she was so angry, but in the light of day, through the painful lethargy of her pounding head, truth had struck. Vic had done her a favor. A really big one.
Even though their date had ended terribly, even though she knew Odo was hurt and embarrassed, and even though she couldn't think of a worse way to start a love affair, Kira realized one key thing. If it hadn't been for Vic and his meddling, her eyes may have never been opened. She may never have seen what Shakaar had known all along, and had been trying to tell her. She might never had felt that moment of clarity as Odo had swept her off her feet and around the dance floor. Kira may never have realized that all this time, she had been looking at her relationship with Odo from the wrong side.
What had she ever done to give Odo hope? What had she done to encourage him, to let him know it was okay to ask her on a date, to smile at her, to touch her, to let him know those were exactly the things she wanted from him? No wonder he'd turned to a hologram for help. The history of their relationship had laid out like a long and twisting road, and she had seen every wrong she had ever done her Changeling.
She was the one who'd shut him out, who'd rejected his feelings for her and left him full of doubt, forcing him to hide such a gift like it was a sin. She was the one who'd turned down the offer of a lifetime, to be loved by such a unique being, who loved her without reservation, and asked for nothing in return but the chance to show it. Who was her friend and her confidant and her protector. Who'd been there all along, a shield at her back, a hand when she needed it, and a heart that emptied itself, over and over, to keep hers full. A man who understood her better than anyone ever had, but loved her anyway.
She should never have let him leave that holosuite without her. Odo wasn't the problem. He was the solution.
“Dax, have you ever had a moment of clarity? Where the truth just seems to leap up and grab you?”
“Maybe one or two, in seven lifetimes.”
“That's all? One or two moments of clarity, in seven lifetimes?”
As she and Dax stood on the busy Promenade, debating clarity, fate again dropped Odo in her path. There he was, stepping gracefully out of security and streaming seamlessly into the throng of people on the square. Looking at him over Dax's shoulder, it was all so clear.
It wasn't Odo that had kept them apart. It wasn't him that was uncertain. He knew what he wanted, had known for a long time. It was her that was the coward. It had always been her. She had run from her own feelings, not his, and all those judgments and rules and objections and excuses she'd wielded to shut out the best thing in her life faded away. None of them mattered, and they never had.
There he is, Nerys. Everything you ever wanted. And he wants you, too.
“Kira, are you having another moment of clarity?”
“That's two in two days,” Kira smiled. She turned from Dax, and ran to catch up with Odo.
Kira folded her hands behind her head, grinning at the ceiling, quite pleased with herself. Odo was done for, and she was responsible for it. She had finally managed to outdo the station's infallible chief of security, had outlasted him and reduced him to this, an inert mass of exhausted Changeling that covered her from neck to toes. It had been a close race to see which of them would tap out first, but Kira didn't have to go sleep if she didn't want to. Odo's body forced him to regenerate at some point, whether he liked it or not, and he had certainly put his body to use, so it was fair enough when it happened.
Kira looked over her amber-dipped skin, and smiled. She was so glad she had been there to catch him.
Sex, Kira decided, was forever ruined. If for some reason Odo left her, she would be no good for anyone else. The Major's speculations about her chief of security had been but a pale shadow of reality. No one had ever taken so much care with body, or her pleasure. All that discipline and restraint Odo possessed turned to something else entirely in the bedroom, every inch of her still singing from his attentions. None of her prior partners could come close to how good Odo turned out to be in bed, and she'd told him as much, right before their last round.
Odo had smiled smugly, and was quick to point out that he hadn't even shown her how to do things his way. That, he'd informed her, they would both need to be well rested for.
The Major recalled what had brought them to this, laying in her bed, spent and sated. That kiss on the Promenade was, for lack of any other word, epic. She and Odo would be trying to live down the impulsive- and public- exhibition they'd held, for months to come. After all, Dax had seen the whole thing, and Kira knew the Trill was going to bring it up as much as she possibly could.
Actually, Kira didn't blame Dax if she did. That was some kiss.
When it was over, and Odo had stood Kira straight, had caught her and held her up as her weakened knees nearly dropped her, the whole Promenade had burst into crazy applause. She'd buried her beet-red face in Odo's neck, hiding. She blushed again, just thinking about it. Prophets, she couldn't believe she'd so wholly lost herself in front of all those people.
Odo's passion had shocked her, the intensity of her reaction had shocked her, the crowd had shocked her, but Kira was shocked further still by what her Changeling had whispered in her ear.
“Nerys, if we don't get off this promenade, and find someplace private, these nice people are getting a rather graphic encore. Please, let's get out of here. Let's go to your quarters.”
“But we're on duty.”
“Duty be damned. I'm not waiting any longer. I want you, right now.”
She'd had just enough time to tell Dax to make excuses for her before Odo grabbed her by the hand, and impatiently, but still courteously, parted the crowd, rushing her onto the turbolift.
And it hadn't been all sex. After the initial hurricane that hit as soon as the door to her quarters closed (she still didn't know where he'd thrown her comm badge), they had slowed things down. They had blown off work completely and spent the whole day together, in her bed.
She had never done this before, wasted an entire day lazing around with a lover, adoring and being adored. Before Odo, she'd never wanted to. They had talked and laughed and explored one another. She'd sprawled herself across his chest as they dozed. When she got hungry, he'd fed her with his own hands, an activity that seemed to bring him a serious amount of satisfaction. And for once, she wasn't thinking about anything but the person she was with. Her mind was finally quiet.
Who in the universe, indeed?
Kira swirled a gentle finger in the amber gel on her belly, and was rewarded by a slight movement. A tendril formed and wound itself around her hand, clinging like a vine. She smiled as she watched Odo climb her arm, pulling on it, encouraging her to rest her arm on her stomach. A little wave of Odo enveloped her as she complied, answering another question she'd always had.
It was delightful, his real form. Warm and silky, rich and sensuous, decadent, like heated oil or melted chocolate. In his liquid state, she'd thought to find him cool, but he wasn't. He was slightly warmer than her, his heat enough that she didn't need anything else. The substance of her lover was a natural barrier between her and the cold.
On that thought, a warm and well-loved Kira closed her eyes, and went to sleep.