Disclaimer: Paramount owns all characters and concepts of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. No infringement on their copyrights is intended. Please do not link this story without my permission.
Note: This story is rated NC-17, so if you're underage or offended by sexual material, move along home. It was written sometime during the 5th season, intended to be set "in the near future". In it, I assumed that Dax and Worf had ended their romance (which I am not a fan of).
by Tracy L. Hemenover
Kira Nerys stirred groggily out of a comforting dark fog. Automatically she stretched, luxuriating in the sensation of muscles tightening, then loosening into a deeper relaxation. At first she sighed and tried to snuggle more firmly into her bed, under the blanket.
But it didn't yield. The surface underneath her, though covered with another blanket, was harder even than what normally passed for a bed on this station. It was sufficiently different from what she had become accustomed to that it caused her to snap to full alertness, sitting bolt upright and staring around her into the darkness.
Against the star-filled oval window, she saw two wide arches, joined together perpendicularly. The sight reminded her of where she was, and she lay back down, letting out a sigh of relief.
"Computer, time?" She did her best to whisper the words, her voice rough with sleep.
The computer replied at its usual volume. "It is zero four hundred hours, twelve minutes."
"You have almost four hours before you go on duty," a familiar voice rasped gently.
Kira turned her head with a guilty start. She could vaguely see Odo taking shape out of the darkness, from the floor beside her. "Sorry. I didn't mean to wake you."
"You didn't wake me," Odo told her. "I don't sleep, remember?" His tone became teasing, something she was still unused to from him. "At least, not -- "
" -- as humanoids know it," she chorused with him, chuckling as he joined her on the blanket. "Funny, this wasn't here when we..."
"No. After you fell asleep, I laid it down beside you, and moved you onto it. Then I gave you the pillow, and covered you. You didn't wake." She couldn't see his face, but she could imagine his clear blue eyes gazing at her with an expression that she had finally come to recognize, after all these years, as love. Love, and anxiety. "I hope that was all right."
"I'd say so," she smiled. "Only, there goes my reputation as a light sleeper." She chuckled again. "I don't know how you can stand these hard floors."
"I prefer hard floors," he said in his typical, solemn manner. "It's better than having to expel carpet fibers when I reform."
"So leave them in."
"If I do that, I feel them there all day. They can be...very distracting."
She reached for him, pulling him down to her in a tight, warm embrace. "Distracting? Like an itch, or like -- ?" By way of demonstration, she slipped her hand into his simulated abdomen, arranging her fingers in a certain way that his body had learned to respond to. It admitted her easily, and she waved her fingers gently within him, laughing wickedly at his gasp -- a humanoid response he had learned to mimic so well that he did it instinctively.
"Both." Completely in character, he endeavored to answer her, though his voice was choked. "Nerys..."
"Yes...?" She planted a kiss on his chin.
"Maybe you should leave..."
"To go...back to your quarters and get...some more sleep....If we do this...there won't be time..."
"You said yourself I have four hours 'til I go on duty." She moved her whole hand, and he let out a moan, though she noted with satisfaction that he wasn't stopping her -- which he could have done easily.
"But...you've only been asleep...for five hours. Bajorans...need more...ahhh!...more...sleep than that."
"Some things are more important than sleep," she assured him in all seriousness. Then it was her turn to gasp, as -- unable to endure any longer -- he enfolded her naked body in the molten amber liquid that was his true form, alternately soothing and exciting every centimeter of her skin. In a manner in which he was quickly becoming expert, he carefully stimulated her in every place but one, until she was nearly crying out to have him there.
The first time they had made love, she had been concerned that she did not know how to reciprocate for him. She wouldn't have thought it possible for him to feel pleasure with a humanoid; until learning of his feelings toward her, she wouldn't have thought it possible that he would even consider wanting to do so. Now, she knew better. She let her fingers swirl through him, her body writhe against him.
Finally, deliberately, he touched that place, pouring into it and around it, filling it. The tactile response of his surface was many times as sensitive as that of any humanoid hand, tongue, or penis. Though he went slowly, her sensations were so intense that she could only tolerate a few minutes of it before the crescendo of ecstasy overtook her and her body clenched and she let out a wordless shout of joy.
He withdrew slowly and solidified, sitting beside her and looking down at her face. It hadn't taken him long to learn to fashion another version of his humanoid form, one without clothing; he did it out of consideration, to make her feel more on an equal footing, even though she knew that only in his natural form was he ever truly "naked".
Extending an arm, she ran her hand over his skin, marveling at its smoothness. Like Tholian silk. Her fingers touched his face, and found that he was smiling. That incongruously shy little smile of his. She smiled herself, knowing he could see it easily.
"That was wonderful."
"Yes." Odo's affirmation was soft, heartfelt. He meant it. He had told her, after their first time, that feeling her move inside him was like feeling another Changeling linking with him. The mental component wasn't there in the same way, but on the other hand it was a more or less steady fulfillment, unlike the peaks and valleys of humanoid response.
This turn in their relationship was something she had never expected, but she was savoring the discoveries she was making, big and small -- about his feelings, about his abilities, about him. She had been through this stage with other lovers before, of course, but somehow this time seemed different. Maybe it was the fact that it was Odo -- the one man she had never conceived of as possessing such emotions. Prophets alone knew why; if he had enough emotional capacity to be her friend, why couldn't he fall in love too?
Which, of course, he had. He had loved her for years. Through all the pain and the changes he had been subjected to; through Bareil and Shakaar. The thought of someone loving her -- her, Kira Nerys -- so steadfastly, for so long, filled her with awe at times. What attributes, what virtues could she possibly have that could inspire that kind of emotion in anyone, let alone someone as marvelous as Odo himself was?
Sometimes it frightened her. She dreaded the possibility of letting him down in some way, of hurting him. He had already been hurt far too much in his life.
He leaned down, began kissing her. How he managed to kiss so sensuously with his almost total lack of lips was beyond her, but she wasn't complaining. Must have something to do with his shapeshifting. She returned the kiss with passion that challenged his and was met with more passion.
Together they rode it to another mutual conclusion.
"Karsht! Computer, lights! Time?"
"It is zero eight hundred hours, four minutes."
Kira sprang to her feet. "Damn, damn, damn! I'm late!" Blinking in the sudden brightness, she looked wildly around for her clothes, as Odo pulled himself up from a motionless pool of gold to his customary humanoid appearance, with uniform this time. She glared enviously at him. "Damn, I wish you could teach me that."
"I did try to tell you you needed to sleep, Nerys."
"Is that why you made love to me three more times? Why didn't you wake me?"
Odo gave her his best mild look. He knew from long experience that the key to calming Kira down at moments like this was not to get upset himself. "I can do a lot of things, but I can't keep time internally," he told her reasonably.
"How do you know when it's time to reform, then?"
"I set the computer to tell me."
"Why didn't you this time?"
"I'm off duty today."
Nerys paused in her frantic visual scan of his quarters. "You, off duty? What happened? Did Sisko threaten you or something?"
"Not Sisko. Someone decided it would be wise for all members of the Bajoran Militia on the station to have one day off per month. No exceptions." Odo kept his face straight, which of course wasn't much of a feat for him. But somehow his tone seemed to alert Nerys. She scrutinized him suspiciously.
"Who?" she demanded. When he didn't answer, merely looking calmly back at her, she snorted and shook her head. "I don't know what I was using for brains that day. Help me find my uniform, will you?"
Before he could tell her it was between the legs of his huge arched sculpture, hidden from her view by assorted other knickknacks, a commbadge bleeped. "Sisko to Kira."
Kira followed the voice and found the uniform and badge. She tapped it. "Captain, I'm sorry. I'm running late."
"So I guessed," Sisko's voice replied dryly. "Where are you?"
"Uh, in my quarters," Kira improvised, hesitating just a little. "I overslept."
"Very well, Major." Sisko's slight pause told Odo that he hadn't missed Kira's.
"I'll be up there in fifteen minutes. Kira out." Kira dumped the uniform on the floor again and rushed for the bathroom. Odo stood beside the uniform, unable to keep from smiling at the spectacle of her swiftly retreating, naked rear end.
He gathered up the blankets and folded them neatly, to put them back in the closet where he had stashed them after his reconversion. They had been on his bed, when he had had one. Perhaps he should reinstall one in the bedroom, if he and Nerys were going to use his quarters often. Until now, they had always used hers.
As he carried the blankets and pillow to the closet, he lowered his nose to them and inhaled, imagining that he could detect her scent there. On the whole, there weren't many things he missed about being a solid, but the senses of smell and taste were among them. He had tried on occasion to see if he could re-establish them, but so far no luck.
After the blankets were tidily put away, he went to the replicator. When she emerged from the shower, he was ready with a hasperat and a raktajino with two measures of kava (just the way she liked it, except slightly cooler than usual so that she would be able to drink it immediately). Knowing Kira, she wouldn't eat unless he insisted.
He was right. She eyed the food as she strode to her uniform. "Odo -- that's very sweet of you, but really, I don't have time to eat."
"One thing I observed while I was a humanoid," he countered, "was the fact that I could function reasonably well on either inadequate sleep, or no food. Not both. Sisko will understand."
She looked reluctantly tempted, the uniform in her hands.
"Nerys, it's my fault that you're late. I don't want to be responsible for you fainting in Ops, too."
"I have never fainted," she grumbled, but she put the uniform down and approached him. "But all right. One bite and one sip." She suited actions to words. "There. Happy?" she asked with her mouth full.
"Yes," he assured her, wiping a crumb from her upper lip with his hand.
She rolled her eyes at his solicitude, then went to pick up the uniform yet again. Suddenly, she froze. "Oh no."
Kira held up the uniform so that he could see it. It was hopelessly rumpled, but that was the least of the problem. There was a gaping tear running from the collar almost to where her right nipple would be. "How the hell did this happen?" she demanded.
Odo examined the tear. "I assume it was last night, when you -- "
"Damn!" she swore. "Now what am I going to do? I can't wear this!"
He assessed the situation for a moment, then began to shapeshift into his liquid form.
"Odo, what are you -- "
He was wrapping himself around her.
She gasped in involuntary reaction, but her tone was adamant. "Odo, look, I appreciate the sentiment, but can't this wait until later?"
He was solidifying into a replica of her uniform, sans tear.
Kira drew in a breath, comprehending. "Are you crazy?"
He could have answered, but it would have taken too much time to figure out how to manufacture a vocal apparatus in this form. He contented himself with a slight shove against her back, trusting that she would get the idea.
She did. With a shake of her head, she muttered, "I must be out of my mind." She started off, slowly at first, as if she were afraid she might hurt him, then with something more resembling her usual stride. Out the door, down the corridor, to the turbolift...
As she went, Odo had time to consider what he was doing. Maybe Kira was right. But her haste to get to Ops and to her duties had been rather infectious. Ah well, he could do this. It would be an interesting test of his abilities, albeit not quite what he had had in mind for today. He had pictured a day of shapeshifting in his quarters -- ever since his time as a humanoid, he had felt a need to practice, as if he might become solid again if he didn't. (For all he knew...)
In any case, he was committed now.
And besides, this had been a secret -- very secret -- fantasy of his for years.
"Odo," she said. They were in the turbolift. Her voice was low, though they were alone. "Could you...tighten up a little? Around my...here?" She demonstrated, clasping him against her breasts. He obliged, lending her some firmer support in that area. "That's it."
He could only assume he wasn't squeezing her too hard. Good. Apparently this was going to be more complicated than he had supposed, but he could handle it.
The lift deposited them in Ops. Kira strode out toward her station, passing Dax, who smiled at her. A little too knowingly, in that Dax way she had. No, she couldn't suspect his presence. Dax was astute, not omniscient. She was probably merely making an educated guess as to the reason for Kira's tardiness.
"Morning," the Trill said. "Late night, I take it?"
"Catching up on the docking reports," Kira explained. There was something overly casual in her voice. She still didn't lie very well, Odo thought with a combination of fondness and resignation.
Dax nodded. "Ahhh." Her smile deepened. "Lunch at Quark's later? I'd love to hear all about those...docking reports."
"Um, sure." Kira sounded nervous, as well she might be. She walked quickly to her station. Odo reflected, not for the first time, that it was a good thing Kira was a command officer and not one of his deputies. Now Dax would know something was up.
But then, Dax always seemed to know when something was up. At least when it concerned other people's personal lives. He counted himself lucky that she had never picked up on his feelings for Kira. At least, he was fairly sure she hadn't. She would have said something by now...wouldn't she?
Kira busied herself about her duties. Odo's regard for her would have ratcheted up a notch, if that were possible. If he had had her job, he would have resigned ages ago. Hailing incoming ships, instructing departing ones, coordinating docking and undocking procedures, dealing with rude bureaucrats and impatient captains. It seemed enormously complex and mind-numbingly dull at the same time.
The major break in the monotony that morning was the Bajoran icon merchant who wanted to see Sisko. Apparently she had the notion that her business would be boosted tremendously by a commercial endorsement from the Emissary. Kira handled the matter without Sisko ever needing to become aware of it. She sent the merchant on her way, and returned to her station, shaking her head for the benefit of Dax, who grinned back.
There wasn't a lot for Odo to do other than experience the form he was in. He was stretched around her torso and limbs. Her weight pressed the part of him that was her boots to the floor (it wasn't painful, but he would be glad when she sat down). He was doing his best to fit snugly but not confiningly around her, in the manner of her real uniform, which meant he had to continue hugging her everywhere.
All in all, he had definitely been on much worse morphing details, but in this case he had better not let himself think about the delicate (but very pleasant) position he was in. He tried going into what he thought of as his "surveillance mode", which basically consisted of letting his mind wander while staying on the alert. It was how he normally got through particularly long periods of spying.
However, it was difficult to stay sufficiently distracted, with her enclosed within him, moving, breathing...and she was obviously hyper-aware of him as well. Her body was in an almost continual state of arousal throughout the morning. It was all he could do not to respond, not to encourage her pleasure; and to keep his own to a near-subliminal internal hum.
He was beginning to truly understand for the first time a phrase he had often seen used by authors of romance novels: "sweet torture".
Kira had thought her lunch break would never come. Perhaps she could race back to her quarters, tell Odo thanks and let him off the hook, get into a real uniform, then race to Quark's to fend off Dax and her probing questions. But Jadzia joined her the instant she started for the turbolift, smiling brightly and regaling her with the latest bit of station gossip. It involved Lieutenant Manwaring, who had, according to rumor, finally proposed to Freyla from the assay office. There was some speculation about whether there would be a double wedding with Lieutenant Strek and Deputy Seeli, whose engagement had lasted for almost two years now.
Kira responded with "Really" and "Uh-huh" at all the appropriate pauses, and finally gave up on escaping. She would just have to go on wearing Odo for a while longer. Maybe there would be just enough time after she finished eating for her to go and change then.
They sat at a table and gave their orders to the waiter, then Dax leaned forward, an all too familiar expression on her face: pure, blatant, expectant curiosity.
"What?" Kira asked, though she knew perfectly well what was on her friend's mind.
"Something's going on. What is it?"
Dax gave her that "don't kid a kidder" look. "You don't actually think I'm going to let you get away with that, do you?"
The Trill rolled her eyes and sighed exaggeratedly. "All right, I'll spell it out. You came in late this morning."
"I can count on one hand the times you've been late in five years. The first three times, Bareil was on the station. The fourth and fifth times, Shakaar was on the station. I think there's a definite pattern there."
"So?" Kira was determined to play dumb as long as she could.
"So, you're no longer seeing Shakaar, and he's on Bajor anyway. Therefore, the only logical conclusion is that you're seeing someone new. And you didn't tell me!" Dax scowled in mock outrage, before leaning forward again. "Now, are you going to tell me who he is, or do I have to drag it out of you?"
Kira let out an exasperated sigh. "Don't you ever get tired of other people's lives?"
"No," Dax said promptly, smiling. "They're my hobby. And don't change the subject."
"Why the secrecy? You know I'm going to find out sooner or later."
Kira sighed again. "It's not a secret...exactly. It's just that...well, we were hoping to -- "
"A-ha!" Dax crowed. "There is someone! Who is he?"
Kira could have bitten off her tongue. She had always been much too straightforward for her own good. But then, trying to throw Dax off the trail when she had scented blood was somewhat akin to trying to get the best end of a deal with a Ferengi.
"As I was saying," she continued doggedly, "we were hoping to keep it private for a little while longer."
"A little while longer? How long has it been going on?"
Kira shrugged. "About two weeks."
"Two weeks?!" Dax lifted her eyebrows, then shook her head. "I don't know whether to be impressed with your discretion, or infuriated that something's been going on that long that I didn't know about!" She sat back and grinned. "But you still haven't answered my question." Before Kira could ask what question (as if she didn't know), the Trill reiterated. "Who is he?"
"Well -- " Kira was saved by the arrival of their lunches. The sight and smell of the ratamba stew provoked a loud gurgle from her stomach. She gave Dax a sheepish grin. "Sorry." She picked up her fork.
As she started to dig in, however, she found her fork blocked by one of Dax's hands.
"Jadzia -- "
"I'm not going to let you eat until you tell me."
"Jadzia, I'm starved! You heard my stomach just now."
"If drastic measures are what it takes, drastic measures are what I'll use." Dax's expression reminded Kira that she had three hundred years' worth of stubbornness to call on, and she knew how to use it.
Kira's stomach rumbled again. She hoped the vibrations weren't bothering Odo too badly. (Actually, though she didn't know it, he found it a very...interesting sensation.) She thought of jabbing Dax's hand with the fork, but decided against it. "Look, I've had barely anything today. If Odo hadn't made me eat that bite of hasperat this morning, I -- " She stopped, realizing she had just spilled the katterpods.
Dax slowly withdrew her hand. Her eyes were wide. "Let me get this straight. Odo was with you this morning?" Kira didn't say anything; she didn't have to. "Am I correct in assuming that that means he was with you last night as well?"
Suddenly Kira had to smile. She even felt laughter bubbling to the surface. Whether it was at Dax's effective if unsubtle interrogation technique (she wondered if Odo was taking notes), or simply from relief, she couldn't have said. It occurred to her that somewhere inside she had wanted someone to know. Perversely, now she wanted everyone to know (and telling Dax was a good way of ensuring that), despite the fact that it had been her idea that she and Odo keep their budding romance to themselves for now.
Her chuckle was all the confirmation Dax needed. Beaming, the Trill half-rose and leaned over the little table, embracing Kira as tightly as their positions allowed. She pulled back, her eyes dancing. "You wouldn't believe how happy I am to hear that! I've been rooting for the two of you to get together for five years!"
"That long?" Kira finally was able to take a bite of stew. It tasted wonderful.
"Yes! Where is he? I've got to hug him."
You just did, Kira thought, stifling a giggle. "He's off duty today. He said he was going to take the time to practice shapeshifting," she added, proud of her improvisation. Then she saw Dax's hand moving toward her commbadge. Alarmed, she hastily reached out and grabbed the Trill's wrist. "No, don't call him! He...hates being interrupted in the middle of practice, unless it's an emergency."
"All right," Dax said, clearly disappointed, and Kira released her wrist, barely managing to hide her sigh of relief by taking another mouthful of stew. The Trill sat back down, and leaned forward again, her own lunch apparently forgotten. "So, how did it happen? Did he finally tell you he's been in love with you all this time, or did you just finally figure it out?"
Kira felt her "uniform" quiver slightly -- apparently, Dax's knowledge was news to Odo -- and covered it up by eating another spoonful of stew. "You're saying you knew?" She discovered she wasn't as upset as she would have expected to be.
"Of course I knew. I think I knew almost from the time I first met both of you. Or at least, I suspected. I didn't confirm it until after my zhian'tara. Remember I told you I found out Curzon had been in love with me?" Kira nodded. "Well, what I didn't tell you was that that was one reason he and Odo were so compatible. They had something in common that superseded the differences in their personalities. They understood each other on a very fundamental level, because each of them was in love with someone they believed they could never have."
"Why didn't you tell me?" Kira asked, wondering why she wasn't angrier. After all, if she had known sooner, she and Odo both might have been spared a lot of pain and a lot of wasted time.
"I couldn't." Dax sobered abruptly. "Even when you care about people, it's usually a mistake to try to fix their lives for them, no matter how well-intentioned you are. Audrid did that a lot. She was always playing matchmaker for her friends. Sometimes it worked, and her friends were happy. But there was one couple who -- well, it's a long story, but suffice it to say, neither of them spoke to Audrid for years afterwards, and she swore she would never interfere again. I've tried to live by that."
Kira knew from experience how seriously Dax took commitments and oaths made by her previous hosts. She supposed she could accept it. "Did you ever mention to Odo that you knew?"
Dax shook her head. "I thought about it, but I decided against it. It would have been interfering, even if it was less direct than, say, locking you in a holosuite together, or sending each of you love poetry with the other's name on it. And you know Odo -- he'd only have denied it. So all I could really do was cheer him on in silence. And wonder how you could possibly be missing all the hints he was giving you."
"Well -- you remember how he always used to put down 'humanoid mating rituals'. I just naturally assumed he didn't want any part of them."
"It's an old human fable. There's a fox -- that's an Earth animal -- who sees some grapes up in a tree, and wants them...which is odd, since grapes don't grow on trees, and foxes are carnivorous...anyway, the fox tries and tries to get the grapes, but they're too high up, and he can't reach them. Finally he decides he doesn't really want them because they're probably sour anyway."
Kira eyed her doubtfully. "Oh. Cute story."
"The point is, some people, when they want something very badly but don't know how to get it, end up disparaging it." Dax looked earnestly at her. "If they pretend they don't want it, they can pretend it doesn't hurt not to have it."
Slowly, Kira nodded, understanding. She forgot for the moment that Odo was right there and could hear every word being said. Odo had never really discussed with her his reasons for his former attitude toward "coupling", as he usually put it. She had never thought to ask. But put in that light, a lot of things about her old friend/new lover now made sense to her.
Dax laid a cool hand on Kira's. "One other thing I learned through Curzon is that you were the first person who ever really accepted Odo as a person. It's no wonder he fell in love with you. But when you think about all he's faced, it's pretty incredible that he can love anybody. The question is, do you love him?"
"Yes. I do. I think maybe I always did." Kira's voice was soft. She wondered if she had ever actually told Odo that, even in the past two weeks. Or if he would believe her. She was coming to learn how fragile his self-esteem really was, under his facade of invulnerability.
"Good." Dax smiled. "That's half the battle right there. But be prepared. Odo may have fooled almost everyone into thinking he has no feelings, but the truth is, he has a lot of passion inside him, so much that he's never known what to do with it. And both of you have trouble trusting people, only Odo's even worse than you are. Just don't keep secrets, and never forget what a miraculous thing his love is. And that he's given it to you."
Kira's mouth was dry as she absorbed Dax's words. "I'll...keep that in mind." She lifted her coffee to her lips.
"So. How's the sex?"
Coffee splattered all over the table, onto Dax, their lunches, and Kira. Abruptly, she recalled what, or rather who, she was wearing, and stared down at her chest in horror.
"Oh, I'm sorry. One of these days I'm going to learn not to do that to people." Dax's expression was contrite, but then she smiled impishly as she reached over and dabbed at Kira's "uniform" with her napkin. "No matter how much fun it is."
Kira held her breath until Dax withdrew to inspect her handiwork. The napkin was blotched with brown, but there wasn't a trace of coffee on the "uniform". She realized what had happened: Odo, who couldn't bear to be anything but scrupulously neat at all times, had used Dax's attempt to clean Kira up as a cover to morph the coffee away. A rather sophisticated and subtle feat of shapeshifting, really.
Dax was staring at the napkin and at Kira's chest where the stain had been, a puzzled expression on her face.
"New material," Kira explained, as casually as she could.
"Oh." Dax put the napkin away, giving Kira a quizzical stare. Kira could practically see the wheels turning. Then the Trill's eyes widened again, before she smiled slowly. "That's some amazing stuff."
Suddenly Kira felt uneasy. "Yes, it is."
"Did the Bajoran Militia issue that?"
"Um, yes." Kira winced inwardly. Dax knew. And Odo knew that Dax knew. And Dax knew they both knew that she knew.
"Really." Dax finally wiped the extra spots off her face, and began to eat her now coffee-flavored Andorian redbat, keeping her eyes on Kira. "Where did they get it? I'm sure when Starfleet hears about that fabric, they'll want to know the name of your tailor."
"I...think it's from somewhere in the Gamma Quadrant." She was digging herself in deeper and deeper. Odo and his damned compulsive need for order. Why hadn't he just let the coffee stay on him? It would have been a good excuse for her to run to her quarters and change.
"I see." Dax sipped her raktajino. "I hope you're enjoying it."
"Oh -- I am." Kira felt heat rush to her face, remembering the sexual tension that had tormented her all morning, something that would ordinarily have been impossible, considering how many times she and Odo had made love last night. Her embarrassment now was akin to the embarrassment she had felt knowing that Odo couldn't help but be aware of every pulsebeat down below -- which, of course, had made it even worse (or was that better?).
Dax smiled innocently at her. "If I were them, I'd give that source an exclusive contract."
"Oh, I believe that's the deal they have."
"Maybe even a permanent one."
"Well...I think they want to see how well it wears first."
"Pardon me, but I couldn't help overhearing the discussion you two ladies were having. What's this about a new miracle fabric?" Kira looked up and saw Quark standing beside them, his sharp-featured little Ferengi face avid with calculations.
"Oh, it's truly something incredible," Dax enthused while Kira tried to sink into her chair, wishing she had Odo's ability to turn into something and escape. "You can't stain it. It repels everything."
"Really. Does, ah..." Quark dragged a chair over to their table and sat. He lowered his voice. "Does Garak know about it?"
Dax leaned toward him, her eyes glinting blue mischief. "Not even Garak knows. So if I were you, I'd contact the Bajoran Militia quartermaster and see if they would tell me their source, before someone else finds out about it. Remember Rule number twenty-two."
Quark looked insulted that she felt it necessary to remind him. "A wise man can hear profit in the wind," he quoted automatically. "Thank you, Commander. I owe you one. Excuse me." He got up and hurried off, while Kira buried her face in her hands and listened to Dax's barely-contained merriment.
She finally looked up, glaring at the chortling Trill. "I," she said distinctly, "am going to kill you."
"Careful," Dax admonished, between gusts of giggles. "You never know where the Chief of Security might be."
Naturally, there wasn't time to go to her quarters and change before she had to return to Ops. Kira could have sworn Dax was dallying on purpose. And of course she couldn't just excuse herself and leave without validating Dax's suspicions. By the time she realized that such caution was pointless, their lunch break was nearly over.
As the afternoon went on, however, something dawned on Kira which made her feel infinitely better, in a rather mean way. Dax was jealous. Plain and simple. The glances the Trill kept sending her, though she still looked vastly amused, confirmed it. Kira finally shot her a look back: the biggest, smuggest smirk she could muster. She was the one with a lover who could become anything, after all, while Dax was "between" involvements since her breakup with Worf; and when next she found somebody, she would have to settle for the comparatively limited pleasures of a mere humanoid.
"Would one of you two mind letting someone else in on the joke?" O'Brien demanded at last, obviously unable to endure the constant back-and-forth between the two women any longer. Worf glanced up, with an expression under his beetled brows that said he was starting to wonder what was going on as well.
Dax looked at Kira. Kira looked at Dax.
"It's nothing," they said simultaneously.
O'Brien scowled. "Fine. I guess we men wouldn't understand."
Dax gave him a sly smile. "Oh, I don't know. Next time you see Odo, why don't you ask him?"
"Odo?!" O'Brien looked more puzzled than ever.
Kira had never been more glad to see the wormhole blossom open than she was at that moment. A ship was visible against its white heart before the wormhole winked out again. It was the starship Portland, returning from a science mission in the Gamma Quadrant; it had taken some damage in an unexpected ion storm. Kira couldn't quite suppress a relieved sigh as Dax and O'Brien both left Ops. Now only Worf was left, of the senior officers, and whatever else one could say about him, he at least knew how to keep his curiosity to himself.
The hours after that passed peacefully. Unfortunately, with nothing happening, her horniness gradually returned. The more she tried not to think about it, the more it persisted. Her frustration had built to nearly intolerable levels by the time her shift was finally over.
Odo must have been feeling it too. When she called for the turbolift to pause, he immediately knew why, and began shifting against her. He dispensed with the usual preliminary teasing, since the foreplay had lasted all day already. She came, with a loud groan, almost the instant he touched her clitoris. He didn't stop there. She writhed in ecstasy, exploding three more times in rapid succession as the relentless stimulation continued, all over her body, inside and out. They were quite possibly the most intense orgasms she had ever had.
Gasping, she finally whispered, "Stop," and he did, resolidifying and becoming a uniform again. She was so breathless when she ordered the lift to resume that it was a wonder the computer recognized her voice.
When the doors finally opened, there were two station personnel there, a Starfleet ensign and a Bajoran engineer. She summoned up a brisk nod for them as she strode out. They probably wondered why she looked so flushed.
It was with vast relief that she arrived in her quarters at last. Once inside, she stood in the middle of the living room, expectantly. "It's okay now."
Odo didn't move.
"Odo, did you hear me? No one's around. We're in my quarters."
Kira sighed, exasperated. "Very funny."
Finally he shifted. Her body was too overloaded to respond. She watched him pool on the floor and build himself up into his humanoid form. The naked version. And yes, he was definitely smiling.
She snorted. "Everyone's a comedian." Suddenly, however, she found herself smiling too. "Thank you, Odo. I don't know what I would have done without you."
"You would have gone to work naked," he said calmly. "And given the entire station something to talk about for a year, no doubt."
"You -- " She glared at him, but gave up and laughed as she let him embrace her. "Still, what you did...it's just sinking in, I guess."
"What do you mean?"
"Well...I've always trusted you, but today, I think I learned for the first time how much I really can trust you. Not only with my life, but with my -- with my dignity as well."
"I'm glad," he said quietly. "I would do anything for you. You know that, don't you?"
"I know." She was silent for a moment, wondering once more just how she had managed to come up so lucky. Then a thought struck her, and she had to smile. "Odo -- "
"When's your next day off?"
Copyright by Tracy L. Hemenover
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