The next morning Odo was in his office, a little earlier than usual, working on a case file. The investigation report was an annoyance, and Odo was only writing it to soothe the ruffled feathers of the authorities on Kelvia Prime. It seemed a member of the planet's ruling class wanted to file charges against Quark, claiming he had been cheated while playing Dabo. Ordinarily, Odo would have sided with the Sigil, and launched a full investigation. Quark was not above cheating anyone, from ruffian to royal, but for once, the Ferengi was innocent. Odo knew Sigil's charges were false. Quark's Dabo tables were honest. Keeping honest Dabo tables created the illusion that the rest of Quark's was honest, which Odo knew was also false.
While Odo was composing the report, he was simultaneously running his weekly security scan. Doing two things at once was the only way he could give Major Kira the time she'd asked for, not that he minded, nor did he begrudge the earlier start to his day. The Constable would always make time for the Major, anytime she wanted.
Odo was typing the last paragraph of his report, relieved this waste-of-time placation to the Kelvian Royal Counsel was almost done, when the Computer chirped at him.
“Warning. Quantum activity exceeding specified limits detected.”
Odo paused, hands hovering over the keyboard. That was unexpected. Fluctuation in quantum activity was something Ops should have caught.
“Computer,” he called, “identify activity."
“Acitve chroniton particles detected in the habitat ring. Recommend full scan and sweep.”
Odo started typing again, but a few seconds later, the Computer made a sound of protest.
“Unable to comply. Source cannot be confirmed. Particles are localized in habitat ring, level 27, section 9.”
Informative, but not informative enough, Odo thought. Section 9 had over one hundred rooms. “Computer, can you be more specific?”
“Unable to comply. Recommend manual analysis by tricorder.”
Odo rolled his eyes. A piece of technology as sophisticated as the Computer ought to be able to handle a few stray chroniton particles on its own, but apparently today, it wasn't in the mood.
The Constable saved his file and logged off. Rising from his desk, he moved to a wall storage unit and took out a tricorder. With the Computer's assistance, he configured the tricorder to scan for the chroniton particles, and then set out to find the source of this latest annoyance.
Odo took the turbolift to the habitat ring and stepped off, tricorder open and ready. Odo was quite familiar with this part of the station. He'd walked it several times before, but he was starting worry as the turns and twists the tricorder guided him through became more and more familiar. The tricorder picked up stronger chroniton levels just ahead, leading him on, until Odo found himself standing before an all-too-familiar door.
“Computer, confirm. The particles are coming from Major Kira's quarters?”
“Confirmed. Chroniton particle count exceeds safe limits in room 117.”
Odo's worry grew stronger. What was going on in Kira's quarters to create these readings? Maybe Kira would know something about it, but she was on duty. Should he call her and have her come to her quarters, thus disturbing her work day, or should he just override her locks and take care of the matter himself?
Odo decided not to disturb the Major. A few chroniton particles were not an emergency, and besides, she'd given him her door code, along with an open invitation to visit anytime he wanted. It felt more honest to leave the mark of his presence, however, so he used his security override instead. As he punched his code into the panel, he still couldn't help but feel a trace of guilt. It was strange, entering Kira's home without her.
The door slid open, and Odo entered. He would find the source of the chroniton readings, run the cleaning scan, and get out of Kira's quarters as quickly as he could. He would assuage his guilt by messaging the Major and let her know what he'd done. It seemed a sound plan, so the Constable proceeded more boldly, tricorder raised, sweeping it with a side-to-side motion as he hunted the stray particles down.
They were all over Kira's quarters. Chroniton levels were increasing as he went deeper. This was going to take longer than he thought. There were more, dead ahead, in her bedroom, so many more, in fact, that Odo knew that was where he'd find the source. Major Kira's bedroom was definitely not where he wanted to go, that was entirely too personal, but he'd tread this far into Kira's privacy, he may as well finish what he started. As O'Brien often said, in for a penny, in for a pound.
Odo touched the panel to draw Kira's bedroom door open and looked in. Vaguely, he was aware of the tricorder slipping from his hand, of the clatter as it hit the floor, but that was unimportant. Nothing was important but what he saw in that room. Everything else in the universe faded away as Odo became mesmerized by the sight before him.
A thoroughly startled Kira Nerys was standing by her bed, towel in hand, dripping wet, skin a glowing, glistening vision of shimmering cream under the full light of her quarters. She was fully nude and turned frontally to Odo's position, her eyes wide with shock. Odo grabbed the door frame with one hand, crushing it under his grip, willing himself not to fly apart at the cellular level, not to fly right for her. He knew he should turn away, he should go, he had no right to see her like this. He needed to get out, to stop looking at her, but he couldn't seem to move. His cells wouldn't obey. What was wrong with him?
Kira took a step towards him. Were those tears on her cheeks?
“My Odo, my dear, is it really you?”
Her tone, those strange words, brought Odo back to reality. “Forgive me, Major,” he managed, dropping his gaze to the floor. “I'm sorry, I thought you were on duty, I didn't think you were here. I-I should have checked first, I'm...I'm so sorry. I'll leave, right now.”
“Odo, don't go,” she blurted. “Please, don't go. Let me dry off, and we can talk. Wait for me, I'll be right there."
Odo looked back up, careful to keep his eyes on Kira's face. Through the haze of his lust, and his embarrassment, it occurred to Odo that it might be dangerous for him to do as she asked. He really shouldn't stay, not with his matrix worked up like this. If he lost control of his form, he might give in to the urge to pour himself into Kira's lap, which would make this situation infinitely more embarrassing.
It also occurred to Odo this was not the reaction he should be getting from Kira Nerys. She should be throwing things at him, swearing at him. At the very least, the Major should be as embarrassed as he was, trying to cover herself. It didn't seem to bother Kira at all that he was seeing more of her than even Dr. Bashir had seen. Odo remembered his purpose for being here, remembered the high particle counts in this room, and suspicion added itself to his emotional turmoil.
Odo gave Kira a tight nod and turned away. He picked up his tricorder, saving the readings before he closed it. Maybe he would wait, after all.
Odo moved to Kira's living area and set the tricorder carefully on her table. He dropped on the sofa and groaned. Suspicious certainly didn't change gorgeous. He leaned back against the cushions, and dug the heels of his hands into his eyes, as if rubbing the artificial orbs would somehow erase what was forever seared in his visual memory. Prophets, she was incredible. How was he supposed to sit here, and look at her, talk with her, like he hadn't just seen the Celestial Temple itself?
Odo's head snapped around at the sound of Kira's voice. He shot up from the sofa. “H-Hello...”
Kira was wrapped in a soft white robe, relatively dry, but she'd rushed the job. Her hair was still soaking wet. It hung in long, dark pieces around her chin, pieces he wanted to reach out and...Her hair...
“You're not Nerys.”
“No, I'm—I'm Dassi. Kira Adassa, actually. Her aunt.” She held out her hand. “It's nice to meet you.”
“Her aunt?” Odo said, taking her hand. The woman's hand was trembling. Odo kept it, wrapping it in both of his, trying to still that tremor as he found himself caught by a pair of liquid brown eyes.
Odo slowly released her hand. “I'm sorry, I don't mean to stare. You look so much like Nerys.”
“It is a close family resemblance.” The woman gave him a one-sided grin. “With or without clothes on.”
Odo turned away from her and wiped a hand over his face. Oh, Prophets, Kira's family, her aunt. Was that worse, or better? The Constable was torn between feeling gratitude he hadn't embarrassed himself in front of the genuine article, and feeling like a degenerate for lusting after a member of Kira's family.
Yet Kira Nerys had said she had no living family. He swung back to look closer at this supposed aunt.
Her face was Kira's face, certainly. Her skin, her blush just like Kira's. The line of her shoulders, the way she tilted her head, the bow of her upper lip, all of it screamed Kira Nerys. There was something about her eyes, though, something about their expression. Even though she was smiling at him, her eyes were sad. Tired. As if she had been through things that had permanently fixed those finely painted lines on more than just her face, and Odo found himself falling into those dark depths yet again.
“Dassi," Odo returned. The name didn't feel right even as he said it. "Please, forgive me for my earlier intrusion, for my...indiscretion.”
“It was an accident, Odo. Please, think nothing of it.”
That was about as likely as Quark becoming the next Kai. Aunt or no, this woman was practically Kira Nerys herself, and Odo would be thinking about these unexpected events for some time. Even now, his fingers itched to take that robe from her, to reveal what was underneath, so he could run his hands over that beautifully pale skin, so he could cup one of those perfect—
The Constable took a deep breath. “I really should be going.”
The woman took a step closer. “Do you have to, Odo? Can't you stay, just a little longer? I've...I've heard so much about you, I feel like I know you already.” Her smile grew brittle. “I was looking forward to meeting my niece's best friend. You're all she talks about.”
“The Major. She doesn't actually know I'm here. Maybe I should let her know...”
The woman turned away from him, hiding behind her hair, but not before Odo saw her face crumple. He clenched his hand into a fist by his side, again resisting the urge to reach for her, to stop those tears.
“You're probably right, Odo,” she said, her voice watery. She heaved a breath and turned back to him, her smile plastered gamely back on. “You should go. You should let Nerys know that you've met me.”
Odo dipped his head, taking his leave. He swiped the tricorder off the table and moved to the door. Turning back, he took a last look at this haunted woman, who looked so very much like the woman he loved. The urge to run back to her, to sweep her up and hold her against whatever it was that was chasing her was nearly overwhelming.
“Good day, madam,” he said, and hurried out the door, before he changed his mind.
Odo rushed from Kira's quarters, and through the halls of the habitat ring, making his way back to security as quickly as he could. He mentally cataloged which of the Bajoran archives he would need to access, what offices he would need to call. There was certain information he wanted, and he only had two hours to get it before Major Kira showed up at his office. Kira and her houseguest were definitely hiding something, and DS9's chief of security intended to find out what.
On the turbolift, however, Odo lost his focus. He found he couldn't stop thinking about the lovely line of ridges on Kira Adassa's nose.