Worf hardly saw Dax that day as she seemed to be unusually busy, her attention focused on a singularity on the far side of Bajor. She looked wane and tired and he wanted so much to ask what Bashir had said to her during her last physical, but he knew she would not like that.
Instead, he spent time with Sisko and Kira, discussing what happened at Starbase 357.
"I believe the Dominion will cease their hostilities," Worf said.
"You hope," Kira said with a small smile.
"Tell me exactly what was said," Sisko said, holding up a PADD. "I have your full report here, Commander, but I want your feelings on the situation."
Worf began detailing every meeting he had been to. There were several where he was a little vague on the events which had taken place, but those were the meetings clustered around Alexander's death. Sisko did not press the Klingon for more information regarding those meetings.
"I think we have to take an attitude of wait and see," Kira said when Worf was finished. "It seems that it could go either way. The Dominion says one thing but they do another. I do not trust them."
"Nor do I," Worf agreed. "They promise peace but I am suspicious."
"`Beware of Greeks bearing gifts,'" Sisko quoted softly. The Klingon and Bajoran eyed the Captain in bewilderment. Sisko offered a cryptic smile. "It's an ancient earth proverb."
Kira and Worf nodded.
"Dismissed. Thank you, Major, Commander."
Kira and Worf exited Sisko's office, both heading their own ways; Kira to Odo's office and Worf to daycare to pick up Daria.
When Worf reached the daycare, he could not see his daughter anywhere.
"Commander Dax already picked her up," the lieutenant in charge informed Worf. "I believe she ended her shift earlier than usual."
Without telling me? Worf thought uneasily. But of course there had to be some explanation, he thought, as he headed back to their quarters; perhaps Jadzia was planning something special tonight.
He entered the quarters and found the rooms unusually quiet.
"Jadzia?" he called out. There was no answer. "Computer, locate Commander Dax."
"Commander Dax is at Quark's."
At that moment, Bashir's voice came over the comlink, "Bashir to Worf."
"Worf, I have Daria here and I was wondering if you or Jadzia would come and get her."
Worf was stunned, but recovered his equilibrium in time to answer, "I will be right there."
As he marched down the halls to the infirmary, Worf was growing increasingly angry with Jadzia. To go to the bar without telling him and to deposit their daughter with the doctor was extremely irresponsible of her, he thought. Much as he liked and respected Julian Bashir, Worf knew it was not the doctor's duty to care for a two year old child. Especially one as active and energetic as Daria.
"I am sorry," Worf said to the doctor as he saw Bashir standing outside of the infirmary holding a sleeping Daria. "I do not understand."
"Nor do I," Bashir shrugged his shoulders. "Jadzia asked me if I could watch Daria for a bit but that was over two hours ago. I have a shuttle to catch to Bajor for a medical conference, otherwise I would not mind keeping her longer."
"I will take her now," Worf said, lifting the sleeping child out of Bashir's arms. Julian nodded and went back into the infirmary. If Daria had not been sleeping, Worf would have marched into Quark's and demanded of Jadzia what she was doing. But because he had a child to consider, he did not. Instead, he returned home and put Daria to bed.
"It seems so unlike him," Dax told Kira. Kira had found her friend nursing a glass of bloodwine at Quark's and immediately suspected that Dax was in a foul mood. It had not taken much probing from Kira to discover the problem and once she had heard about Artesia, Kira was properly indignant.
"It does," Kira said thoughtfully. "And from the briefing today in Sisko's office, it seems as if Worf's time and attention was completely consumed by what the Dominion may or may not do. I don't know, Jadzia. I think you should ask him about this Artesia."
"I'm just so mad, I don't know what to think though."
"Do you trust him?"
"Of course I do."
"Then what's the problem? Has Worf ever given you reason for suspicion or doubt before?"
"This woman could very well be lying."
"She knew about Alexander."
"Anyone could have found that out. Chances are, she's just trying to make mischief for you."
Dax nodded, "You're right. I should just confront Worf."
"You can't ignore him forever," Kira said sensibly. "You have to get the truth out. And I'm sure there is an explanation. But whatever it is, you two must work out soon, for Daria's sake."
"Daria!" Dax clamped a hand to her mouth. "I left her with Julian hours ago!"
"Actually, Jadzia, Worf has her now," a familiar British accent said from behind Dax.
"Julian, I'm sorry. I really meant to just stop in for a moment," Jadzia apologized. "I must have lost all track of time."
"It is of no consequence, really," Bashir nodded. "I just wanted to tell you that Daria is home now."
"This is as good of time as any," Kira told Dax. "Just do it."
Bashir looked puzzled, "Do what?"
"It's a private matter," Dax said, reluctant to get Bashir involved. If what Artesia had said was true, Jadzia had no intention of being humiliated before she had confronted Worf. She knew that even the barest hint of trouble in their marriage would be gist for the rumor mill and there were many (including Quark) who had wagers on how long their union would last. Dax was determined not to walk away from her marriage before Worf had told her exactly what his relationship with Artesia had been.
"You're right," Dax said, getting up. "I've procrastinated long enough."
"Good luck," Kira said softly.
"I don't think luck has anything to do with," Dax answered soberly.
"Where have you been?" Worf asked, trying to keep his voice - and anger - low. "You left our daughter with Bashir and did not inform me. That was very irresponsible."
"Worf," Jadzia sagged into the sofa. "I'm not in the mood to talk about that right now."
"When you take your responsibilities as a mother lightly -"
"I have never taken my responsibilities as a mother lightly and it's cruel of you to say so."
"Then what happened today? If you could not care for her, you should have informed me."
"I am sorry. I did not think."
"You did not think?" Worf was angry now.
"Look," Jadzia held up a hand. "I needed some time, okay? And I could not think with Daria around and Julian was willing to take her. I didn't intend to be gone as long as I was."
Jadzia stared at her husband, trying hard to find the right words to say what she was feeling. Unfortunately, there seemed to be no good way to broach the subject. She knew Worf was still grieving over Alexander's death and that until Martok brought the body to Deep Space Nine, there would be no closure for either of them.
"You had a message today," Jadzia began hesitantly. "From a woman named Artesia."
"Artesia?" Worf asked puzzled. "Oh Artesia."
"You know her?"
"She was very kind to me on Starbase 357 after I got the news... the news about Alexander," there was slight crack in Worf's voice - one that only Jadzia would be able to discern.
"Was she more to you than that, Worf?" Jadzia's voice was very low and gentle. She had to speak softly, in an effort to fight the tears that had the potential to slip into her voice.
"More? What do you mean?" Worf shook his head. "She was a friend when I needed a friend. Nothing more."
"She says she's pregnant with your child."
Worf stared at Jadzia, "What?"
"That's what she said. That's what she wants you to know."
"We were friends, nothing more. We shared some bloodwine and had dinner every night -"
"Every night?" Jadzia screeched.
"It's not what it sounds like," Worf reassured her. "I was in mourning for my son and she was there, understanding what it is like for a Klingon to grieve. She was very kind, but I do not love her, Jadzia. And it is impossible she is pregnant with my child."
"She says she is."
"She is lying."
Worf and Jadzia stared at each other.
"I believe you," Jadzia said finally. "You wouldn't turn your back on me, would you?"
"Never. How could you think such a thing?"
"I never did until this morning. I never had cause to think such things about you."
"I assure you, nothing happened. She is lying. That woman is lying."
Jadzia nodded, trusting completely in her husband. If there was anything Worf held dear, it was his honor and he would never taint his honor with something as shallow as a meaningless affair. No, it was Artesia who was lying; Jadzia was sure of that.
Bashir found O'Brien playing darts at Quark's. Lately, the engineer had taken to spending less time at the bar, as his wife and children had recently returned to the station. But today, apparently, Keiko had taken the children on an expedition to Bajor and Bashir was relieved to see his old friend pursuing one of their favorite recreational activities.
"Hello there," Bashir said, watching as O'Brien wrapped up his game.
"Hello yourself," O'Brien answered.
"Pretty good round?"
"Decent. Want to play?"
"No," Bashir shook his head. "I'm actually on my way back to the infirmary."
"How was the conference on Bajor?"
"Quite enlightening actually. I find the study of genetics to be quite fascinating."
"That isn't your main specialty, is it?"
"No," Bashir said. "Immunology. But genetics runs quite high on my list of medical interests. And there have been some excellent studies done lately. Very intriguing. And actually, there was one that should appeal to you, something about the effect of force field dynamics on genetic make-up. It sounds like a very promising treatment."
"You're thinking about Dax?"
"Perhaps and others who have suffered the same kind of decay. The premise is you can use the phase variance to create shifts in genetic structure thus altering the very DNA of the cell. It's still quite experimental and I would want to test the theory myself, but if it is a workable theory, then the implications are profound."
"I would be interested in hearing your results."
"I will keep you informed," Bashir promised.
The days dragged slowly as Worf kept thinking about Artesia. He could not forget the look on Jadzia's face when she had asked about that woman and Worf was relieved that Jadzia believed him. He took his wedding vows very seriously - he had proved that more than once - and he would never forsake his wife or daughter for anything.
He stood by the airlock, Jadzia at his side, as they heard the Rotarran docking. The ship had sustained heavy damage, but Martok had assured Worf that Alexander had died an honorable death, saving two of his comrades from near death. It was a bittersweet revelation for both Worf and Jadzia.
"Worf," Martok stepped off the ship, looking at least twenty years older. "Jadzia."
"General," Dax said softly. She knew that Martok had some regard for her, but she was always careful when it came to the House of Martok; Sirella, Martok's wife, still had not completely accepted Jadzia as her daughter-in-law.
"Worf," the General walked off with Worf, leaving Jadzia to walk slowly behind. She had thought about bringing Daria to greet Martok, but had not wanted to expose the child yet to the death of the brother she had never known. It was better that Worf and Martok had some time alone together, Jadzia said, so she quickened her pace to catch up to the two men.
"I will meet you in Ops," Jadzia said. "And Martok, if you would like to join us for dinner?"
Martok nodded, "I look forward to it."
After Jadzia was gone, Martok said in a low voice to Worf, "There are some matters which I must discuss with you."
Worf led the way to the Defiant, knowing that they could have complete privacy aboard the battleship.
"I am truly sorry about Alexander. He was a good boy," Martok said, once they had settled into the less than comfortable mess hall. "Trustworthy and honorable to the end."
"Thank you," Worf said stiffly.
"You have planned something for tomorrow night? A wake, I believe?"
"Jadzia insisted. It's a human tradition."
"Ah. And how is Jadzia?"
Worf thought for a moment, reluctant to discuss Jadzia with Martok. He was aware of how Sirella felt about Jadzia and knew that Sirella would love to exploit any weakness in the Trill.
"She is feeling much better lately," Worf said. "Bashir has started some new treatments that last longer."
"That is good to hear," Martok said sincerely. "Have you thought about what will happen now?"
"Who will lead your house now?" Martok asked. "You have earned the right, Worf, to one day lead your own house. Who will follow you now?'
Worf shrugged, "I do not know. Daria?"
"A woman cannot lead, Worf."
"That was an unusual circumstance."
"I think an exception should be made this time also, should Daria desire the honor when she is old enough."
"Have you considered having another child?"
Worf shook his head, "No. I would not risk Jadzia's health for another child."
"Even if this new treatment is successful?"
"I do not believe this new treatment will be that successful," Worf admitted reluctantly. "Each treatment only slows the decay. Eventually, the regression begins anew and Bashir must find something else to help Jadzia. Even if this treatment stabilized her condition for the next few years, I would not risk it."
"You must think of your legacy, Worf."
"My legacy will be Daria," Worf said firmly. "I had a son and he is dead. I cannot, and will not, ask Jadzia to risk her life on the chance we may have a son who will lead the House of Worf. It is not an option."
"But it is something to consider," Martok answered firmly. "And you must consider it, Worf."
Worf growled but did not say anything; he could not contradict Martok, it would be disrespectful.
But he did have something he wanted to say.
"I will not leave Jadzia," Worf said quietly. "Not for anything, not for anyone. I cannot. It would be dishonorable."
Martok nodded, "As you wish."
The mood in their quarters was understandably low-key that evening. Worf was busy with the preparations for Alexander's wake and Jadzia seemed perturbed by the thought that Martok was bringing Sirella to dinner. Even Daria sensed the tension and managed to keep out of everyone's way, sitting neatly on the sofa, taking care not to spill anything on her new dress.
After dinner, Martok and Worf went for a walk on the Promenade, no doubt to discuss some arrangements. Jadzia stayed behind as Daria was falling asleep.
"Have you thought of the future?" Sirella's voice cut through Jadzia coldly. Jadzia turned away from her sleeping daughter.
"The future?" Jadzia frowned. "What do you mean?"
"Worf's future is very important to me."
"As a Klingon, he has a duty to leave an heir to lead his house."
Jadzia turned out the lights in the little girl's room and took Sirella by the elbow, leading the older woman back into the living room.
"I'm aware of Worf's duty," Jadzia said, trying to keep her temper.
"Now that Alexander -"
"If Worf and I decide to have more children, that will be our decision," Jadzia said smoothly. "I don't believe this is the proper time to discuss this. It is a private matter."
Sirella eyed her daughter-in-law with obvious dislike; Sirella had never cared for the Trill, but accepted her only because Martok asked it of her.
"Martok is working very hard for Worf's honor to be returned to him," Sirella went on. "But it has not been easy."
"We both are very appreciative of everything Martok has done for us. Don't think we're not grateful."
"Worf needs a son," Sirella said quietly. "He needs a Klingon wife. You cannot give him either of those. Unless you do, Martok will not find it easy to restore Worf's honor."
Jadzia walked towards the window, staring out into the endless field of stars.
"Worf would never abandon his family," Jadzia said. "It would not be honorable."
"You are standing in his way. At least with Alexander, he could show he had a son capable of leading a great house. Now? Now what does he have?" Sirella sneered.
At that moment, Worf and Martok returned. One look at Jadzia's stricken face, Worf knew immediately Sirella had done something to agitate his wife.
Martok sensed the hostility also and bid both Jadzia and Worf a good night.
As they got ready for bed, Worf noticed that Jadzia was unusually silent.
"What are you thinking?" he asked gently.
"A lot of things," she answered. "None of it important."
"Did Sirella upset you?"
"A little. She said some things about you, about me."
"Don't pay any attention to her or what others might say," Worf said softly as he slid under the covers.
It was good advice and Jadzia knew it; she just wish that she could take it.
"Commander!" Sisko's voice boomed across Ops and the large Klingon was startled out of his work.
"Yes, Captain?" Worf hurried across to where the captain was standing. Sisko looked unusually stern.
"In my office, please."
Worf tried not to think too hard about what Sisko had to tell him. After Alexander's wake, everyone had been extremely kind to him and more understanding than usual. But this hard edge in Sisko's voice was a little unnerving.
Sisko took his usual seat behind the large desk, his fingers immediately reaching out for the baseball which occupied a place of honor.
"There is a woman called Artesia," Sisko said. "She is the daughter of D'Toro. Perhaps you know her."
"We met. At Starbase 357. She was very kind to me when Alexander was killed."
"She says you're the father of her child."
"That is a lie."
"Starfleet doctors confirm she is pregnant. About four weeks pregnant, which exactly coincides with your trip to Starbase 357."
"It is a lie," Worf repeated. "I was not unfaithful to my wife."
Sisko sighed, "I'm in a difficult position, Worf. Starfleet wants me to do something and I am unwilling to issue a formal reprimand without any proof. So, I've asked Artesia to come here."
"Here?" Worf could hardly believe his ears.
"Yes," Sisko nodded. "Bashir has agreed to conduct the genetic tests required. If this child is not yours, then you have nothing to worry about."
"It is not my child."
"Good," Sisko said softly. "Because Dax is my friend and Daria is my goddaughter. For my sake and Jadzia's, I hope you're not lying."
Dax awoke with a start and looked around; it was night, she was still in her quarters, and a quick look to the right proved Worf was still sleeping too. She put her hand to her chest and could feel her heart pounding inside; even after 300 some years Dax could never prepare herself for a nightmare.
Still thinking about her nightmare, which had included Sirella, Artesia, Worf, and Martok, Dax shut her eyes again to sleep.
A few moments she knew that wasn't going to sleep, so she stood up and walked over to the replicator.
"Raktajino," she whispered softly and the drink began to materialize in the slot.
Dax reached for the drink and took a long sip. She walked out of the bedroom into the living room so that there would be no chance she would disturb Worf and sat down. Dax looked around the room; her things seemed so mismatched with Worf's - his knife here, her book there. They were so different every way; maybe Sirella was right, maybe she was standing in Worf's way. Dax forced herself to look away from the items in the room which were haunting her with Sirella's words. She found herself staring out the window instead, which was even worse. The stars were so free out in space, and she had taken Worf's freedom to lead his own house away.
Dax took another sip from her mug only to find it empty; she stared down at the bottom of the empty cup and sighed. She needed to talk to someone, and she needed to talk right now. Dax got up and walked back into the bedroom. when she looked at Worf she could feel tears gathering in her eyes, she couldn't talk to him right now.
She walked to their closet and pulled out a silk robe, Dax quickly put it on and walked out of their quarters, not caring if anyone on the station saw her in her pajamas.
Sisko was having the loveliest dream when his door chime rang. Ignore it, he thought, whoever it is will go away.
When the door chime sounded again he put his pillow over his head and groaned loudly. Go away, he thought but after the third chime, he stood up and scratched his head. He looked over at the chronometer and noticed that it was 0242.
"This had better be important!" he growled to himself as the door chimed once more.
He walked over to it and pressed the button to open it. Dax flew into his arms.
"Benjamin-I'm-so-sorry-to-bother-you-but-I really-need-to-talk!" she said very fast as though she were frightened that Sisko would turn her out onto Promenade. Tears were flowing down her cheeks and she was wearing only her nightgown and robe; whatever it was, it must be important.
"Dax, you're never any bother!" Sisko said returning her tight hug; he led her over to his couch and sat her down. He sat down at the other end of the couch and waited for her to calm down a little.
"Now," he said. "What's wrong?"
Jadzia's tears started anew and Sisko scooted over to pull her into another hug.
"I'm afraid, Benjamin," Dax managed to whisper between her sobs.
"What are you afraid of?" Sisko asked, although he had a suspicion it had to do with her illness and the potential of this Klingon woman, Artesia, carrying a healthy child fathered by Worf's. Dax turned her head down as though she were ashamed of her fear.
"I'm afraid of everything. If Artesia truly is carrying Worf's child, then it would be in his best interest for him to leave me for her. I can't compete with a Klingon who can have a house full of children, Benjamin. I am a Trill; his people look down on a relationship like ours, I can't bear anymore children for him. All I am is a barrier in the road to having his house restored. If Worf stays with me then he'll probably never has his house restored since there won't be anyone to lead it after him."
They sat in silence for a moment. Sisko looked her over, noticing that her spots were very pale and he wondered how she was feeling.
"Don't be afraid, Jadzia," Sisko said comfortingly, "Worf hasn't left you yet, and he won't leave you. Artesia may be Klingon and she may also be able to carry a child but she is not you. Worf loves you, he doesn't love you any less because you're not a Klingon and you can't carry a child. You know that, Dax, you know he loves you."
"I know all that, Benjamin," Dax told him, "My heart tells me it's true, but for some reason I'm still afraid that it's not. I'm so afraid, Benjamin."
Sisko wasn't sure what to say; he had to be careful as he spoke. The wrong words would crush Dax like a flower or enrage her like a bull. After a moment more of thinking Sisko decided what he would say; he just hoped that it would help Dax.
"Be brave, Old Man," he said quietly. She looked him in the eyes and he could see her fear and pain begin to recede. They were still evident in her deep blue eyes but the emotions were now much more dim.
"Thank you, Ben," Dax's voice quivered slightly and a few tears were still slowly running down her face but she managed a tiny smile. "You've always been such a good friend to me."
Sisko nodded, "And I always will be, Jadzia."
They embraced one more time.
"Now, you should probably get back to your quarters and get some rest, Dax," Sisko urged.
Dax nodded slowly.
"Worf's probably wondering where I am by now as well."
Sisko shrugged and walked Dax over to the door.
"See you tomorrow, Old Man."
"Good night, Benjamin," she said with a small smile. "And thanks,"
"Anytime, Dax, anytime."
Jadzia walked through the doors the quarters she and Worf shared quietly. After the door shut behind she stopped to listen, Daria was awake and so was Worf; she could hear Daria giggling and could hear Worf's footfalls was moving toward her.
"Jadzia," Worf stepped into the main room with Daria clinging to one arm. "Where have you been? I was beginning to get worried."
"I needed to talk to Benjamin," she explained softly; she saw that the mug she had been drinking raktajino from was still on the table where she had left it. She walked over to it, picked it up and then slowly walked over to the replicator to put the mug inside. She pressed a few buttons on the replicator and the mug disappeared.
"In the middle of the night?" Worf asked skeptically.
"Yes," Dax answered indignantly.
"Mommy!" Daria called happily. The Trill had no idea how the young child could be so energetic at these times in the morning. Dax walked back over to Worf and took her little girl into her arms. Daria put her hands as far as she could around her mother in a hug and smiled. Dax felt tears coming to her eyes again but this time she managed to hold them back. Dax's near breakdown didn't go missed by Worf; he put a supportive hand on her shoulder.
"Do you want to talk, Jadzia?"
"I have talked, Worf," she said somewhat icily, then more gently, "Go ahead back to bed, I'll stay up with Daria and see if I can't get her to go back to sleep."
"No, you look tired, perhaps-"
"Worf, please, I need to think."
The Klingon looked his wife over for a moment and finally nodded.
"Thank you," he said softly. "I love you."
"I love you too."
He pecked Dax on the cheek and Daria giggled.
He should have insisted she rested! Worf thought to himself as he, Captain Sisko, Dax, and Doctor Bashir stood at an airlock waiting for the transport carrying Artesia to dock. Dax looked very tired, as though she could barely stand, Bashir was eyeing her warily. Sisko on the other hand, didn't look much better than Dax, he was probably tired from last night as well.
"Commander, are you all right?" Bashir finally asked Dax; she looked over to him and nodded slowly. "Did you feel this way after your last treatment?"
He probably figured that the treatment she had gone through this morning was what was affecting her so.
"To tell you the truth, Julian," Dax said quietly, "I felt queasy after my last treatment." nodded but he didn't look so sure, he was probably making a mental note to keep an eye on Dax for the next few days. The airlock opened and people began to walk out. A few nodded to the foursome as they passed but most didn't pay any mind to them. Dax was starting to get impatient and began to pace.
"Where is she!?" Dax nearly shouted. Sisko put a hand on her shoulder.
"Dax, calm down, Artesia will be out soon enough."
As if Sisko's words were a cue the female Klingon stepped out of the airlock. She grinned widely at Worf and grabbed into a hug and kiss.
Dax let out a cry of dismay as Worf growled and pushed Artesia away.
"I missed you so much, par'machkai!" Artesia cried, even as Worf moved away from her.'s hand squeezed Dax's shoulder tightly as her body tensed at the use of the word "par'machkai."
"I am not your par'machkai!" Worf told Artesia firmly as she pulled him back into anand ran her fingers through his hair.
"That is not what you told me on Starbase 357 and our little boy proves it," Artesia patted her stomach fondly with a sly smile. Worf once again removed Artesia from himself and Doctor Bashir moved over to them.
"If you don't mind, Artesia," Bashir said, "I'll be the one to determine whose little boy it really is."
The young doctor held his tricorder over her stomach and waited for it to take a reading. It let out a soft beep and Bashir pulled the tricorder back.
"What does it say, Doctor?" Captain Sisko asked. Bashir didn't answer right away. Instead he slowly looked up at Worf - his face a mix of disgust and disbelief.
"Artesia is carrying a healthy baby boy, and the father is Worf."
Dax looked like she had been struck and Artesia grinned seizing the moment. Slowly she walked over to Dax.
"Hello Dorks, that is your name, isn't it?"
"The name is Dax!" Jadzia answered through her teeth.
"Oh well, Dax, Dorks, whatever. I figured that you wouldn't still be clinging to my par'machkai by now. Don't you have anything better to do? Like-"
"Miss D'Toro, we didn't invite you to Deep Space Nine to insult my science officer!" Sisko snapped. The Klingon looked at him and shrugged.
"Artesia," Bashir began, "Would you mind coming with me to the infirmary for a few additional tests?"
Artesia smiled confidently and nodded.
"Just one moment please," she walked back over to Worf and hugged him tightly. "I love you, my par'machkai!"
She tried to kiss him but Worf pushed her away quick enough.
"Leave!" Worf ordered and Artesia walked slowly after Doctor Bashir, tossing back a smug smile over her shoulder, a smile taunting Dax. As soon as Artesia had turned the corner Dax walked over to Worf and slapped him as hard as she could in the face.
"I trusted you! You told me you hadn't had sex with that woman! How could lie to me like that? I know that I'm not the best wife a Klingon could have, but how could you do this to me? How can you do this to Daria!?"
Sisko grabbed her tightly by the shoulders and pulled her away from Worf.
"Dax, take the day off. Worf," Sisko was barely able to control his rage, and he was holding his hands behind his back so that he would not throw a punch at Worf. "You do realize that I'm going to have to submit a formal reprimand to Starfleet."
"Captain, that child is not mine, be-"
"Be quiet! I'm tired of hearing lies! You have just hurt my best friend very deeply and you expect me to believe you when you say the child is not yours? Look at the evidence, Mr. Worf, everyth-" Sisko stopped in mid-sentence realizing that his shouting was attracting attention and this was not exactly a public matter.
"Worf! My office, now!"
"More wine, Commander?" Quark asked cheerfully. Dax nodded and held up her glass. The Ferengi had no idea what had happened to Dax; he had just assumed she had had a bad day in Ops, or something like that. If he had any idea what had really happened, he would be a very happy Ferengi as the house had a running bet that the Dax-Worf marriage would not last.
"You know," he smiled and handed her the cup of wine. "It's like I always say, life is like a game of tongo, you never know what cards you're going to get and when you're going to run out of latinum. You've just got a bad hand right now, you have plenty of latinum, you've still got that husband of yours don't you?"
Dax inhaled sharply at the mention of Worf and choked on her wine. Quark patted her on the back until she was able to breath again and she looked up at him.
"Don't mention his name!" she told him. Her words were somewhat slurred and she was very definitely drunk. This was good for Quark though - if she was sober he wouldn't be able to get a word out of her, but as drunk as she was, he might be able to get something that might be profitable out of her.
"What happened, Dax? Come on, you can tell, Uncle Quark."
"She can't and she won't."
The Ferengi looked up to see Constable Odo standing next to Dax, his arms folded over his chest.
"You know, Quark," Odo helped Dax stand up to leave the bar. "I could throw you in the brig for an hour for this, you know you're not supposed to let customers get drunk."
"You wouldn't," Quark hoped.
"I would, you're long overdue for an hour anyway," Odo tapped his comm. "Deputy Surbu, would you please come down to Quark's and escort Quark to the brig where he'll stay for an hour."
Odo began to walk out, towing Dax along with him but Quark stopped him.
"I hate you," Quark said.
"That's good," Odo replied. "Because I hate you too."
Odo looked back to Dax who was wobbling slightly.
"Come on, I should probably get you to where you can rest."
Dax just nodded, although Odo doubted that either way it truly mattered to her.
Sisko took a sip of his Bajoran yellow leaf tea and grimaced. The beverage was definitely not as good as it smelled! He wondered what Major Kira liked in it; he saw her drinking it often in Ops and had decided to try it. Maybe it was an acquired taste like Ferengi tube grubs - although, he would never acquire a taste for those little slimy white things. As Sisko put the tea back into the replicator so he could get rid of it, his chime rang.
"Come in!" he called as he made the offensive yellow tea disappear. He turned to see who it was and saw Odo, pulling Dax behind him.
"Odo, what happened?"
Odo gave Dax an odd look before answering his question; she just smiled at them.
"She's drunk, Captain," Odo explained. "And given the circumstances, I didn't think it would be appropriate to take her back to her quarters as Worf is there."
Sisko nodded as Odo let Dax's arm go. She made her way over to the replicator and spoke.
"Computer, Black Hole," she ordered. The drink materialized, but before she could grab it Sisko pulled her away from the replicator.
"Come on, Old Man," Sisko said softly. "I think your sorrows are drowned enough for one day."
He led her to the couch and made her sit down.
"I haven't seen her this upset since she was Curzon drinking himself silly over some Risian dabo girl," Sisko told Odo. The shapeshifter nodded his agreement.
"I would be upset too, Captain," he replied, "If I had a husband who betrayed me like this."
With that, Odo walked out and Sisko frowned back at Dax.
Worf rocked Daria gently in his arms but still she would not stop crying.
"I want my Mommy!!" Daria shouted unhappily; she hadn't seen or heard from her mother since Dax and Worf had dropped her off at daycare before Artesia's arrival. "Mommy! Mommy!"
"Your mother is on a mission, Daria," Worf lied. He didn't think it would be appropriate to tell his daughter that her mother was avoiding him and he offered to take care of Daria for the day to give Dax time to cool off.
"She is off saving the universe," was what Worf and Dax always told Daria whenever one of them had to go on a mission. Worf wasn't sure how to respond to everything that had happened. He was being accused of something he knew that he didn't do. He knew that he didn't do it, but the evidence was still there and he could not explain it.
The doorbell chimed, Worf looked up excitedly hoping that his sweet Jadzia had come home to apologize. Oh how he longed to caress her in his big strong arms!
"Come in," he called and as the door opened Worf's hopes vanished when he saw that it was Martok - the last person he wanted to see right now. Daria, however, seemed quite pleased to see her grandfather, she stopped crying and reached out to him. The elder Klingon took the child into his arms and smiled.
"Ah, Daria, my lovely granddaughter, how are you?"
"Mommy is on a mission to save the universe," Daria exclaimed matter-of-factly. The Klingon nodded as though he weren't really interested and turned to Worf.
"I've heard the wonderful news, Worf," he said, "I mean about Artesia and your son. Daria, you are going to have a brother!"
Worf mentally groaned; he knew what was coming; a talk about how his house could would be restored because of Artesia.
"Is Mommy going to have another baby?" Daria asked her eyes wide with curiosity.
Worf, trying to hide his anger, took her from Martok's arms and rocked her slowly.
"It is time I put her to bed," Worf explained.
"I will wait for you out here."
Worf was dismayed but he couldn't just dismiss Martok; no, his respect for his elder was too much and Klingon honor would allow not him to disregard the general.
No matter how long he stalled with Daria and no matter how long he waited, Martok would still be there to discuss the possibility of leaving Jadzia for Artesia and the healthy baby boy she carried.
When Worf returned after putting Daria to sleep, he saw Martok was still waiting for him.
"You have to consider this seriously, Worf," Martok urged him. "I have checked on Artesia's lineage and she comes from the House of D'Toro, one of the proudest houses in the Empire. Many would be proud to be joined to her."
"This is not my child," Worf insisted. His voice barely concealed the fury he felt over the fact that no one seemed to believe him.
"I have talked to both Artesia and Doctor Bashir," Martok continued. "All tests confirm this is your child."
"They are lying."
"That doesn't change the fact that Artesia is carrying your son. Think, Worf!" Martok said in excitement. "Marrying Artesia will restore your honor and your house."
"How?" Worf asked in a curiously detached voice.
"Gowron has agreed to give your family a seat on the High Council once again if you marry Artesia. Her father, Imar, is a cousin of Gowron's and Gowron is quite fond of Artesia."
"I would think he would not want me to marry his cousin then," Worf said softly.
"On the contrary," Martok said. "Worf, this is everything you've ever wished for. What are you waiting for?"
"You know how I feel about Jadzia."
"You have an obligation to your son and the Empire."
"And my honor?"
"Of course your honor."
"It would not be honorable to leave Jadzia."
"It could be done honorably. If she agreed to it."
"No!" Worf pounded his fist on the table. "I will not consider it."
Martok stood up, "We will talk again."
"It is not necessary. I will not change my mind."
"We will see."
Sisko paced his quarters, deep in thought. At one point, he paused by the window and stroked his chin with his fingers. He didn't know what to do with Commander Worf. One part of him wanted to believe that Worf had not had anything to do with that Klingon woman, but Bashir's tests proved otherwise. And as for Dax, who had remained secluded in Kira's quarters, he didn't know quite what to say to her.
The door chimed and almost reluctantly, Sisko said, "Come."
It was Major Kira. She was dressed in civilian Bajoran attire - a green and beige outfit which suited her very well.
"Something I can do for you, Major?" Sisko asked.
The Bajoran shrugged her shoulders, "I was wondering what you were planning to do about Worf."
"Punishment, you mean?"
"Adultery isn't a crime in Starfleet. Only if it's committed with another officer."
"Do you really believe he did this?"
"I don't want to believe that he did."
"But you do?"
"I think so," Sisko sighed. "I listened to Artesia's story. After Worf heard about Alexander's death, they spent a lot of time together. She says they are in love. He says he appreciated her support during that difficult time."
"Have you talked to any witnesses at Starbase 357?" Kira queried.
"Odo is looking into it," Sisko sighed. "This isn't easy for any of us. And if Artesia is lying-"
"But why would she lie?" Kira asked, puzzled.
"I suppose she could lie if she was afraid of something, the truth perhaps. But Bashir's tests prove conclusively that this is a male child fathered by none other Worf. The tests put his paternity in the ninety-nine point nine percentile. You can't get more accurate than that."
Kira nodded, "I have to say something to Jadzia."
"Don't," Sisko shook his head. "She should talk to her husband. They are the only ones who can figure out what the truth is and it's her place to forgive him, not ours."
Go on to Part Three
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