Characters and places belong to Paramount. Artesia, Jolar, Opac and Daria belong to us, as does the story.
Thanks to Seema for letting me write this with her and for being patient when I had writer's block - Liz
Thanks Liz for working on this with me and for all your wonderful ideas! I'm so glad we did this! - Seema
Note: You should never look at old fic. Never. Because that's when you see bad things. Liz and I are in total agreement about this one, so we thought we'd warn our dear readers. We think the premise is good, the execution is flawed. Revisions are forthcoming... eventually. It's been two years and we're still unable to figure out what we were thinking when we wrote this. I've reformatted this story to make it easier to read. We hope. This story just goes to prove that good beta readers aren't necessarily the best writing partners.
Klingon sat by the little bed, the PADD in his hand. His deep voice echoed through the room.
"And the servant girl married the Prince and they were very, very happy together," he said gently.
In the bed, the small child stirred comfortably, a smile running across her little features.
"Did they live happily ever after?" she asked.
"Of course. Happily ever after."
"Like you and Mommy?"
"Yes, but not quite as happy. Because, you see, they didn't have you for their little girl. Now, you must sleep."
The Klingon tucked the blankets tightly around the child and the leaned over to kiss her tiny forehead, where the gentle Klingon ridges were covered by dark hair.
"Good night," he whispered. He turned the PADD off and put it back on the shelf and then turned to leave. He could see his wife, standing in the door, her body a black silhouette against the light.
"Jadzia," Worf said quietly.
"I was listening to you read," Jadzia said softly, pulling her husband to her. "You must have told that story a million times already."
"It is her favorite."
"Well, you tell it awfully well. Is she asleep?"
"Yes," Worf answered.
"Good," Jadzia replied, wrapping her hands around his neck. "I was hoping to have you to myself for a while."
"Something I can do for you?"
"A bedtime story, I think."
"Um," Jadzia pretended to think. "Something definitely not appropriate for children."
Worf laughed, "I will see what I can do."
The next morning, Worf rose much after Jadzia had left. She had taken Daria with her, so that Worf could continue to sleep undisturbed. Jadzia had left his breakfast for him in the replicator and he sat down to eat. He enjoyed these quiet times alone, because Daria, at eighteen months old, was starting to be quite a handful at times. It wasn't that he didn't love his daughter; on the contrary, he adored the child but sometimes, she could exhaust him both physically and mentally.
The fact that Daria was extremely intelligent meant that both parents were often searching for answers to questions they had never even thought of before. And of course, there was Jadzia. He loved his wife dearly, but her poor health for the last few months was starting to worry him greatly. Bashir had said that some of her problems stemmed from an injury she had sustained when she had been attacked by the Pah'Wraiths during the Federation's invasion of Cardassia.
Of course that had been almost four years ago, but the damage had been done and Bashir had privately confided to Worf that he doubted that they could have more children; it would be too debilitating and dangerous for Jadzia. As it was, Worf thought Daria was handful enough for her mother, though he would never say such a thing to Jadzia; he knew only too well that Jadzia knew instinctively what Bashir's advice had been and that she had been devastated by the revelation.
And there was Alexander. Worf had not heard from his son in months and of course, no news was good news. But despite all of their differences, Worf did care very much for his son and wanted to know that everything was well with the boy. His solitude was interrupted by the whir of the doors as Jadzia came into their quarters.
"Hi," she said.
"I thought you were on duty."
"I am," Jadzia smiled wryly. "But your daughter wants her bear and nothing will appease her unless I get her this toy."
Worf shook his head, "You can't cater to her every whim, Jadzia."
"If it were for you or I, Worf, I wouldn't, but the daycare is threatening to throw her out. What do you want me to do?"
"In that case..."
"Exactly. I knew you would come around to my way of thinking."
Worf frowned; it displeased him how easily both he and Jadzia gave into Daria. By the time the child reached the age of five, she would be spoiled rotten.
"Any word on Alexander?" Jadzia asked, coming out Daria's room, the wanted toy in her hands.
"I haven't checked subspace yet."
"Let me know if you hear from him."
She kissed Worf gently on the forehead, "I have to run. I will see you in Ops."
After Jadzia was gone, Worf checked his messages; nothing from Alexander.
"Surely you're planning a birthday party," Kira was saying as Worf entered Ops. O'Brien shook his head.
"I don't know, Major," the Chief answered. "We'll have to see. With Keiko tied up on Bajor-"
"That's no excuse," Kira said with a laugh. "I can plan Yoshi's birthday party. Leave it all to me."
Chief shook his head, "That's what I'm afraid of."
Worf passed Dax at her station and greeted her with a nod of the head. As a rule, they worked very hard to keep their personal relationship separate from their professional relationship and in the four years they had been married, they had been successful - to an extent. The fact that Worf jeopardized a mission that could have saved millions of lives in order to save Jadzia's life always hung over them. Since that incident, they were no longer able to serve together on any mission. But now, with Daria in the picture, it did not bother them anymore; this way, if Dax was in the Badlands, then Worf could be at Deep Space Nine with the baby or vice versa.
"Commander," Sisko approached the Klingon.
"Captain," Worf greeted his commanding officer.
"A moment of your time."
The two moved towards Sisko's office but none of their fellow officers paid much attention. As the Strategic Officer on DS9, Worf often had many conversations with Sisko which their friends were not privy to. Even Dax did not know what went on between her husband and her old friend.
"I need you to go to Starbase 357," Sisko said. "I feel the Dominion is starting to renege on the last treaty we signed and I need someone I can trust to advise Admiral Necheyev of my suspicion."
"You can't go yourself?"
The captain shook his head, "I need to stay here, just in case the Dominion sends any Jem'Hadar through the wormhole. As Deep Space Nine's strategic officer, you know everything I know, so you will go."
"When do you want me to leave?"
"Three days. That will give Kira time to reassign everyone to take over your duties. I believe you will be gone for at least two weeks."
Worf nodded, "Understood."
"Starbase 357? Whatever for?" Dax asked as she set the table for dinner. She had sent Daria to Kira's for the night; the Bajoran loved having the child around.
"I already explained it to you," Worf said patiently.
"No, I know that. But why would Necheyev be there? It's an old starbase, uncomfortable and far away from anyplace."
"I do not know."
"Well, there's no point in getting overly suspicious," Dax said philosophically. She placed a steaming bowl on the table. "Hasperaat souffle."
"It's Kira's recipe. She got it from Vedek Bareil."
Worf nodded; he had never met Bareil but from Kira's stories, he understood that the Vedek had been an extremely honorable man.
"Do the honors?" Jadzia asked, passing the knife to Worf. "By the way, I agreed to a game of tongo tomorrow night, but it'll be a late game, so Daria should be asleep before I leave, but can you be home with her?"
"Good," Jadzia answered. "I'm really looking forward to this game. It's been so long since I played."
"Can you cover your bets?"
"You don't trust me?"
"Not especially," Worf answered with a smile as he cut into the steaming souffle. "I recall many debts I settled for you."
"That's what's wonderful about married life, Worf. Community property."
"I do not mind sharing with you, Jadzia, but I do mind sharing with the Ferengi."
"In that case, I will keep my wagers small," Jadzia answered.
"Oh, don't restrain yourself on my account," Worf replied. "After all, how long will this Ferengi's winning streak last?"
"It's been three months-"
"Sisko to Commander Worf."
Worf looked up, dismay crossing his face. Dax shrugged and continued to eat.
"Commander," Sisko's smooth but authoritative voice carried well over com system. "I have just received word that the Rotarran is leaving the demilitarized zone. The ship will arrive in one week."
"Is Alexander on board, Captain?"
Jadzia smiled at her husband, not wanting to say anything until he closed the connection linking him to the captain.
"I thought I should inform you of this," Sisko continued. "But unfortunately, I cannot relieve you of your obligations at Starbase 357."
"Understood, sir," Worf said.
"Well, that's good news," Jadzia said slowly. "Alexander is coming home."
"I will not be here to greet him."
"That's unfortunate," Jadzia said. "But don't worry, I will make him welcome. I can move Daria into our room and Alexander can have her room."
Worf nodded as he sat down. For a long moment, he simply could not speak. Jadzia leaned over to touch his arm gently.
"Are you all right?" she asked.
"I just-" he did not finish his sentence but Dax knew immediately what he meant; he was overwhelmed by the news Alexander was coming home and she knew better then to point his own emotion out to him.
"I am happy he is coming home," Worf said finally.
"Of course you are. He is your son and you haven't seen him in a long time."
The night before Worf was supposed to leave for Starbase 357, he spent cleaning the quarters. Jadzia, worn out from her day, had fallen asleep on the sofa. Worf eyed her for a long moment as he picked up some of Daria's scattered toys. The damage done to her by the Pah'Wraiths was quite extensive at the cellular level. Bashir had done his best to repair most of the affected cells, but Daria's birth had stressed her already weary body, and as a result the cellular decay had begun again.
Dax had spent much time in Bashir's office, undergoing regenerative treatment, but Bashir had told her and Worf that some of the damage was irreversible and there was only so much he could do. As a result, Jadzia was tired much of the time and a great burden of caring for their child fell to Worf. It did not bother him to take care of Daria, but it did disturb him to see that much of Jadzia's vitality and energy was slowly edging away.
Worf sat down on the sofa next to her, slowly picking up one swollen foot and massaging it with his big hands. Her eyes opened slowly.
"Oh," she said. "That feels good."
"I have finished packing."
"That is good. What time do you leave tomorrow?"
"At 0800 hours."
"That's early. Daria and I will come with you to the airlock."
"There is no need. You require your rest."
"Worf," Jadzia said in that voice that told him that she was exasperated with him. He knew that her weakness irritated her and that she had hated it whenever he acted overprotective.
"You were in Ops all day today," Worf said reasonably. "And then you came, took care of Daria and made dinner. For the next two weeks or more, you will have to care for Daria alone as well as discharge your duties on the station. I am simply concerned for your well-being."
"It's sweet of you," Jadzia said, leaning forward to kiss him softly. "But I can manage, really. You don't worry too much. It's more important that you keep your attention on the treaty. Make sure the Dominion has no intention of coming back through that wormhole. I certainly didn't discover it for them to come and make a nuisance of themselves here in the Alpha Quadrant."
"Don't worry. I will do my best."
Jadzia smiled at him, "That's why Sisko is sending you."
"You will let me know when Alexander arrives?"
"I will do that. As long as you keep massaging my feet like that, I will do anything you ask."
"In that case," Worf teased, as he leaned over to wrap his arms around his wife. His touch was gentle, as she settled into the strength of his embrace.
"Come," Worf said after a few minutes. "You are tired. We should sleep now."
"No," Jadzia said, sleep creeping into her voice. "Let's just stay like this a little longer. It's going to be two weeks, no, more than that, before I have you to myself again."
Worf decided not to argue.
The next day, Worf set the Shenandoah on course for Starbase 357 as Daria and Dax watched from Ops.
"He should arrive there within two days if all goes well," Sisko told Dax.
"Believe me, he scanned the area very well before he set off," Dax grinned wryly. "And he had O'Brien perform at least thirty of the most obscure maintenance checks ever."
"Worf is nothing if not thorough," Sisko said.
"And now you have to go to daycare," Dax said, lifting the little girl up. "You've had your field trip for today."
Daria pouted but then Kira came over and offered her a Bajoran sweet. Dax watched in amazement as Daria's frown turned to a gap-toothed grin.
"Kira, are you spoiling my child behind my back?" Dax asked.
"Someone has to," Kira answered with a grin. "Consider me the adoring aunt."
"Yes, and it will fall to me to undo the damage. Come along, Daru, it's off to daycare we go."
"I'll come with you," Kira said. "I'm off now anyway."
Dax let Daria run up ahead of them as they exited the turbolift.
"I heard that Alexander is coming back," Kira remarked. "Worf must be very happy."
"Ecstatic. I haven't seen him this happy in a long time."
"It's been a long time?"
"Since our wedding, I think," Dax said thoughtfully. "With the Klingons mounting an offense in the Gamma Quadrant, it's been hard to coordinate a rendezvous with the Rotarran."
"When is Alexander coming?'
"In three days, I believe. It's too bad Worf will miss his homecoming, but I've got a list of Alexander's favorite dishes from his grandmother and I'm going to program them into the replicator. I want to make sure he feels very welcome."
"Of course he will."
"It's just that I'm a little nervous. Alexander and I got along during the wedding celebrations, but we've never really spent much time together. But I do hope everything goes smoothly, because I know how important this is to Worf."
They turned down the hall to see Daria waiting for them. She waved a little hand at them and then scampered on ahead again.
"And I hope Worf and Alexander get along," Dax continued. "It's Worf's hope that Alexander will lead our house... in the future, that is."
"The House of Worf?" Kira asked with a grin.
"What about Daria?"
"Women can't lead a house except under special circumstances," Dax explained. "That's why Quark had to marry Grilka."
"You think Alexander is up to it?" Kira asked.
"I hope so," Dax said. "I know Worf is going to talk to him about it. That's why it's so important that everything go well. I don't want Worf to be disappointed."
"I know he doesn't have to doubt you. You will certainly do your part."
"I will try, but really, it's up to Worf and Alexander and what they want. That's going to be the interesting part."
Worf smiled and listened to the soft buzz of the runabout's engines pushing him toward Starbase 357. He started to think of Jadzia and Daria back home on the station. The next two weeks would be lonely, it would be the longest he had ever spent away from Jadzia since they were married.
Worf waited for the acknowledging beep, "Play something by Kurwin Opac."
Whenever he missed his wife or daughter he always played something by Opac. Opac was Jadzia's favorite Trill composer; when she wasn't listening to his Klingon operas or one of her lost composers, she would listen to Opac. His daughter also enjoyed Opac as he had written a lullaby that she loved. Every night Daria had to hear either Opac's lullaby or her mother sing an ancient one in the Trill language.
The thought of his wife caused him to worry though; she hadn't looked very well when had left. She had dismissed it as just having a bad night's sleep but he wasn't so sure. knew that she hated to admit her weakness, even to him. He hoped she would be all right.
"Computer," Worf called out, "Play Barak-Kadan."
The Klingon opera blasted loudly over the intercom and Worf smiled. He didn't want to think about his wife's health; he knew that her life span had been considerably shortened due to the Pah'Wraith attack. He didn't want to think about living without her. Worf began to sing along with male part of the opera and his worries slowly left him for now.
Sisko was standing near Dax's station when she arrived in Ops for her shift two days after Worf had left.
At first she figured he just wanted to talk to her or maybe play a game of chess; she hoped so, they hadn't played chess in a long time. Dax smiled at Sisko and he frowned; something must have happened in the time since she had been on duty yesterday and then, maybe some admiral had relayed important news that was troubling her friend.
"Dax," Sisko said quietly, "Could you please come into my office?"
No, it was something worse, Dax decided but she didn't know what though. They made their way across Ops and climbed the stairs to Sisko's office. He took a seat at his desk and picked up his baseball, rotating it slowly with his fingers, something he did when he was troubled.
"What's going on, Benjamin?" Dax asked, she sat in the seat across from him.
"Dax, I've just received a message concerning Rotarran," he started softly.
Suddenly Dax knew what was bothering him.
"Alexander," she whispered, "Is Alexander all right?"
Sisko looked down sadly and set his baseball back on its small stand. He shook his head no and took Dax's hand gently into his.
"Alexander is dead, Old Man," Sisko said, "He was killed in an engineering accident on the way here. I'm sorry, Dax."
Dax couldn't believe her ears: Alexander dead? It couldn't be possible, yet here Benjamin was telling her that it was true.
"Have you told Worf?" Dax managed to keep most of the emotions she was feeling out of her voice. Sisko again shook his head no.
"Let me do it, Benjamin, I think it would be easiest to hear coming from me."
"Are you sure, Jadzia?"
"I'm sure, Benjamin," Dax answered. "Thank you."
She stood to leave and Sisko stood too.
"Dax, take the day off and if you need to talk-"
Dax turned and managed to force a smile for her old friend.
"I know where to find you, Benjamin."
Dax walked through Ops avoiding the questioning gazes of the others. Once she was in the turbolift and she was alone everything seemed to strike her at once, how could she tell Worf that his son was dead?
It would kill Worf since she knew how much her husband loved the boy. And then there was the fact, the unspoken truth which lay between them, that they couldn't have any more children and Daria couldn't lead the house, even when she was old enough.
Instead of going right to their quarters, Dax found her legs leading her to Quark's. it would be good to think for a while instead of call Worf right away. Dax sat at the first open table she saw and looked around, everyone, except the occasional soul who'd spent his last slip of latinum on dabo, seemed happy.
"What's your pleasure, Commander?"
Dax looked over at Quark and managed a for smile for him.
"Prune juice, please," She said. Quark nodded and tapped it down onto his PADD. He was about to walk away but turned back and grinned wickedly.
"How about another tongo game tonight?" he asked referring to the forty-three bars of latinum she'd lost to him in their last game. Dax didn't answer as she was thinking of ways to tell Worf that Alexander was dead. When she still hadn't responded a moment later Quark frowned and went to the next table.
The words finally broke into Dax's mind. She looked up at Kira and motioned for her to sit down.
"Are you all right, Dax? I've been asking you that for the past minute."
"I'm sorry, Kira," Dax answered. "I've just got a lot on my mind right now."
"Anything I can help with?"
"I don't think so, unless you're good at telling a person his son isn't coming home. That his son is in Sto'vo'kor."
Kira's eyebrows rose up in surprise, "Alexander?"
Dax nodded, trying to fight back tears. At that moment, Quark set her prune juice on the table. Kira tossed a few bars of latinum at him and frowned.
"Go away!" Kira turned her attention back to Dax and grabbed her friend's hands.
"And you have to tell Worf?"
The Trill nodded. "I don't know how I'm going to though; it'll crush him."
They sat quietly for a moment and Dax pulled her hands from Kira's to take a sip of her prune juice.
"I would suggest just telling it to him straight, Dax," Kira said. "I don't think he'd want you beating around the bush."
"I know, but I don't want to talk to him now, not even on subspace."
"I don't think anyone would want to call her husband and tell him his son was dead. You've got to though. How would you like it if Daria died and he kept it from you just because he knew that it would hurt you? You're hurting him more if you keep it from him, Jadzia."
Dax nodded realizing that Kira was right in every way and stood up.
"Thanks, Nerys," she said, "I'm going to tell Worf now."
Worf took a bite of gagh and savored the flavor of the worms as they slid down his throat. It wasn't often that he got to enjoy gagh alone, Daria loved the stuff, so whenever he had it, he had to share with her. Not that he minded sharing with his daughter, it was nice to eat his entire meal by himself. He was about to take a second bite of his meal when the communications PADD near his bed buzzed; he had incoming message.
Alexander must have arrived early on Deep Space Nine and was calling to talk to him.
"Hello," he said as the screen blinked on and his wife appeared on the monitor. She looked worried and as though she had been crying.
"Jadzia, are you unwell?" he asked, "Is Daria all right?"
"We're both fine," she told him quietly.
"Then what is wrong?!"
"Worf," Dax started, "Benjamin received a message from the Rotarran earlier today."
"Alexander will still be able to make it to Deep Space Nine, won't he?"
A few tears rolled down Dax's cheeks as she shook her head and Worf knew that Alexander was dead.
"How did it happen, Jadzia? Did he die honorably?" Worf watched his wife wipe away the tears and try to stay collected while she delivered this message.
"I don't know. All Sisko told me was he died in an engineering accident on the way here." Worf felt as though he'd been struck in the chest with a hammer as he tried to digest Jadzia's message: Alexander was dead.
"In an accident!" Worf repeated bitterly, "He deserved better than to die in an accident in the middle of nowhere!!"
Dax nodded but didn't say anything; Worf got the feeling she wasn't sure how to respond to him, despite the fact that she was three hundred years old and full of experience.
"I'm sorry, Worf," she finally said. "I know how much you loved Alexander. I know how much this reunion meant to you."
She probably did know how Worf felt; after all, she had been a mother and a father many times. He didn't want her to worry about him though, taking Daria and her failing health were enough stress for his lovely wife.
"It is not your fault, Jadzia. Do not worry about it. I will see you in a few days."
He cut the transmission off and looked around his quarters, they seemed emptier now because he knew that he would never again hear his son speaking to him except in recordings, emptier because his dream of the House of Worf would never be fulfilled now. And worse, because Alexander would never know now how much Worf had loved him. The Klingon let out a shout of anger and frustration before he stormed out of his quarters. He needed to vent some steam; he needed to find a reason why his son had died.
Worf walked quickly through the corridor in the direction of the Ten Forward located on the other end of the starbase. Most people heard him coming and moved out of his way but one woman, a Klingon woman, didn't move in time and he rammed into her, knocking them both down.
Worf quickly got up and pulled her to her feet.
"I am sorry," he said quickly. The woman shrugged.
"Where are you in such a hurry to?" she asked him, her hair was nearly the same color as Jadzia's and her eyes were black; she was very beautiful by Klingon standards.
"I needed to think," he said, "I was just informed that my son was killed. I'm sorry I did not see you."
To his surprise, Worf found he was ready to tell this woman all about Alexander, his shattered dreams, and how Jadzia could no longer have children. He had been unable to talk to anyone except Jadzia before, and even then it was hard to talk about some things.
"I am so sorry. I'm sure that he died an honorable death," the woman answered in a soft, melodic voice. "If you wish we could go down to the Ten Forward on this starbase for a cup of blood wine."
Worf smiled; a cup of real blood wine would taste good right now. Maybe if he drank enough perhaps it would take away the edge on the pain he felt.
"I would be honored to drink a cup of blood wine with you," he said as they started to walk. "I am Worf, son of Martok."
"I am Artesia, daughter of D'Toro."
Slowly they made their way to Starbase 357's Ten Forward where the first part of Artesia's plan would unfurl.
"Another cup of blood wine?" Artesia asked Worf as she took a small sip from her own cup. He nodded and stood up to call the waiter over to their table.
"More blood wine! We must have more blood wine!" he shouted. The waiter came over and looked the drunken Klingon over.
"I think you've have enough, Commander," the waiter timidly said to Worf.
"I will tell you when I have had enough!!" the Klingon roared angrily in the direction of the waiter.
Artesia stopped him just before he reached for the waiter and patted him on the shoulder.
"Worf, Worf," she said gently. "My dear, perhaps the waiter is right. Besides, you have work to do tomorrow, you need your rest."
Worf nodded at Artesia.
"You are right," he said. "I must go."
"Will you meet me here tomorrow for dinner and blood wine?" Artesia asked.
"Yes," Worf replied and he started to leave. Artesia knew that Worf would probably forget their date due to his drunkenness but that was all right, if he did she could always find his quarters and leave him a note.
Dax wondered what Worf was doing right then. At this particular moment, she was in Bashir's office, waiting for him to give her monthly check-up. After Daria's birth, she had to come in twice a month for treatment and once a month just to be checked-up on. She hated it but both Bashir and Worf insisted on it.
Then Bashir came into his office.
"Sorry to keep you waiting, Jadzia, Chief O'Brien sprained his shoulder again while kayaking and he was in a lot of pain so I took care of him right away."
Dax shrugged; it didn't matter to her whether she was taken care of first or last; she was only in the infirmary for a check-up.
"Julian," she started hopefully, "Do you think I could ever have children again after these treatments?"
Dax always asked Bashir that question when she came in; she just refused to give in to the fact that it would be to dangerous for her to go through pregnancy again. Bashir hated answering that question; he always did though, and sometimes Dax would cry afterwards.
"Jadzia," he told her evenly. "You could have another child anytime you want to, it's just you wouldn't be able to support the symbiont and the baby at the same time. Even if you did live, through some miracle, you'd probably be bedridden for the rest of your life which would shortened considerably more than it has been already. I know for a fact, Jadzia, Worf needs you to live as long as you can because honestly, he doesn't know how he would live without you. Hell, Jadzia, I don't know how I'd live without you; you're my best friend."
Tears glistened in Dax's eyes but they didn't stream down her cheek.
"Thank you, Julian," she said in response to his last statement. Slowly, Julian began her treatment.
Worf's time at Starbase 357 had been a lot lonelier then he had thought it would be. Since that terrible day when he had heard about Alexander's death from Jadzia, he had had dinner with Artesia every night. He truly enjoyed her company more than any other full-blooded Klingon woman he had ever met; she was different for some reason.
He had given her his subspace number so they could keep in touch as he was leaving that day.
"It is an honor to know you, Artesia."
"Qapla'!" Artesia said, knowing that her new friend had much grief to work through.
They shook hands.
Worf went into the Shenandoah and slowly the door shut. As soon as the docking clamps released the runabout, Worf was free to return home to his wife and daughter.
Dax smiled as her daughter waited excitedly for docking procedures to end and for her father to come onboard the station. Daria clutched her bear to her chest with one hand and in the other, a finger painting she had made in daycare in the other day. Finally the door rolled open and Worf stepped out with his duffel bag slung over one shoulder.
"Daddy!!" Daria shouted and she toddled as fast she could to his side.
Worf scooped her up into his arms and hugged her tightly.
"I missed you, Daddy!" she told him. "Look what I made!"
She waved the painting in front of his face as Dax came over to see her husband. They kissed and Daria covered her eyes.
"Ewww!!" the toddler giggled and Dax looked at her in amusement.
"What's the matter, Daru? You never do that when the prince kisses the princess," Dax smiled and Daria grinned at her father.
"Look what I made!" Daria handed a drawing over to her father.
Worf took the picture and looked it over.
"It is very good, tell me about it."
"That one's you," she pointed to a greenish blob. "The blue one is Mommy and this one's me!" Daria explained.
Worf nodded and set her on the ground. He took his wife into his strong embrace and they kissed again.
"I missed you," Dax said when they broke off. "I was lonely at night." She smiled mischievously as she looped her arm through his.
"I missed you as well," Worf noted how Dax was avoiding the subject of Alexander. "We have a lot of catching up to do."
She took Worf's duffel bag and to walk off with it. "Come on, Daru, you're going to stay at Aunt Kira's."
She smiled seductively at Worf and he followed after her. He didn't miss the fact Jadzia was acting especially pleasing, as if trying to soften the blow of Alexander's death for him and for that, Worf was grateful.
Dax yawned and opened her eyes. Worf was gone. Judging from the silence, Daria was too. She checked the chronometer and saw that she had slept quite- well, late compared to what she had been sleeping to for the past two weeks; since Worf had left, Daria had woken her at 0430. Then the communications panel on the table buzzed; there was an incoming message on the line she and Worf shared.
Dax got up to answer it but first she had to stop by the replicator for a raktajino. She took a sip of the drink and sat at the table and pressed a button; the screen blinked on.
"Hi!" Dax said with a friendly smile as a female Klingon appeared on the screen, a female she didn't know.
"Hello, I'm looking for Worf. I was told I could reach him here."
Dax nodded and took another sip of her coffee.
"He's not here right now, he's going to be on duty until the end of the day. I could page him and tell him that he has a message if you want," Dax offered.
"No, my message is very important. he needs to know now. Can I trust you to deliver my message to him? It's very personal."
"Yes," Dax replied. "I'll make sure whatever it is you need for him to know will get to him and I can track your subspace number down if you give me your name."
"All right, my name is Artesia. I need you to tell Worf that I am pregnant with his child."
Dax dropped her raktijino on the floor as she stared at the woman on the screen, unable to speak.
"Oh, excuse me," the woman called Artesia said snidely, her lower lip curling up. "You must be Jadzia, Worf's wife."
"That's right," Dax said almost defiantly.
"Then this news must be a tremendous shock to you. I'm sorry you had to hear it this way."
This, Dax knew, was a lie; Artesia had wanted her to know.
"You said you are pregnant with my husband's child," Dax said, laying stress on the word `husband.'
"That's correct," Artesia said.
"That's impossible. Worf would never look at another woman."
"You believe what you believe. But, I would like to know where you were when your stepson was killed in that engineering accident. Where were you when your husband needed you?"
Dax averted her eyes, unable to offer an answer that would make sense. She had known that Worf would be devastated when he heard the news about Alexander yet she had made no move, no arrangements to be with him. And so, in his grief, had Worf gone to this woman? No, she thought. I don't believe it. I can't believe it.
"We have a child," Dax said softly, as if this was all the reason she needed to abandon her husband when he needed her. "And we have our respective duties. We have difficult times, but somehow we make it through."
"Well, then, I'm sorry for you and your child. Do let Worf know I called."
With that, Artesia disappeared from the viewscreen. Dax sat down heavily, unable to comprehend what had just transpired. Worf unfaithful?
"There's only one way to find out," Dax said out-loud. "I have to ask him."
Go on to Part Two
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