The characters & places, unfortunately, belong to the powers that be at Paramount. No infringement or profit is intended.
The night sky exploded with fireworks, the bright colors illuminating the Bajoran skyline. In the distance, she could see the faint shadows of the Mangala Mountain Ridges. She sighed happily, knowing that for one night - and one night only - the war was far away and all the perfidy of the past year could be set aside.
For one night only. It was something she would have to remember.
"Enjoying yourself, Colonel?"
She turned at the sound of the familiar voice and blushed at the unfamiliar title.
"Very much so, Captain," Kira Nerys replied. "I couldn't have asked for a better party."
Benjamin Sisko laid his hands on the railing.
"No, you couldn't have," he replied. His features, for once, showed no sign of stress. Kira, in an absent-minded gesture, placed her hand on his forearm. He did not bother to shake it off; the years had melded them together in a way she would not have thought possible seven years previously. Then she had resented his presence, Starfleet's presence. She considered the intrusion a case of hand-holding and she had felt strongly then that Bajor could fend for itself without the help from Starfleet or the Federation of the Planets. Now, she could not imagine a day without this man by her side. She respected him in more ways than she could count, not only as a leader and a man, but also as the Emissary to the Prophets.
"How does it feel now to be a colonel?" Sisko asked.
"The same as it did when I was a major," Kira grinned. "Only now, even more people have to call me sir."
"It was a long time coming," Sisko said. "I fought for you."
"I know you did."
"This hasn't been easy," Sisko said and Kira knew he was referring to more than her. In the last year, Kira had discovered that Kai Winn had been responsible for a plague that had killed a dozen Bajorans and a Starfleet officer. Winn, rather than facing consequences, had infected herself with the virus and had died shortly thereafter. There had been a brief period of time when there had been some infighting among the Vedeks as to who would take Winn's place and finally, they had settled on Arin, a man with a soft voice and small stature. He would not have been Kira's first choice, but as she had gotten to know him, she had realized that Arin's dignity and gentleness would be a great asset in his new role as spiritual leader.
She looked at Sisko, also knowing that he was mourning the loss of a friend. Martok. Martok, who had betrayed Worf and his honor, had been stripped off his command and had been banished from the Klingon homeworld. Kira knew that Sisko had relied heavily on Martok for strategic advice, but she also knew that Sisko could not condone Martok's actions and so he missed the man he had once known.
"You should mingle more, Colonel," Sisko said. "It is your party, after all."
Kira sighed, "You're right, but it seems so strange that all these people would come to see me."
"They're happy for you. Your promotion is well deserved, Nerys."
She smiled at Sisko gratefully and then leaned over to give him a quick kiss on the cheek.
"Thank you, Captain," she told him.
Kira broke away from the railing and moved through the crowd. She felt a curious feeling, one of not being really there. She flowed through the crowd, relishing the strange anonymity that was bestowed upon her as the reason for this party.
In the distance, she saw Keiko O'Brien sitting on a bench, her eyes half-closed. Here at last was good news, Kira thought as she made her way to Keiko's side. Keiko had just announced a week earlier that she was pregnant again and Kira was truly happy for her.
"How do you feel?" Kira asked softly as she sat next to Keiko. Keiko opened her eyes wide.
"Exhausted," Keiko replied, patting her stomach gently. "Between the two I've already got and this one, I'm just about done for."
"I'm truly happy for you," Kira said. "This is the best news we've had in a while."
"I know," Keiko sighed. "You know, when we're here like this, celebrating, it's almost like the war doesn't exist. It's like it never happened. All those terrible battles we hear about or those lists and lists of the dead, it's like it never happened. It's somewhere else and it's happening to someone else. And then we'll go home and it'll start all over again and it's so oppressive."
Kira patted Keiko's hand, "It'll be over soon."
"It has to be," Kira said. "Someone has to give up soon. I don't know who's going to blink first: the Dominion or the Federation, but it's got to happen soon."
"I hope it's soon," Keiko said fervently. "It seems like such a waste sometimes, doesn't it?"
"Sometimes, yes," Kira acknowledged. "But don't worry yourself about it, Keiko. Please don't. It's not good for the baby or for your children. You need to take care of yourself and not worry so much about the war. Do you understand?"
"I understand but I don't like what you're saying."
"Sometimes I don't like what I'm saying either."
The two women sat in silence, their hands linked together. After a moment, Keiko spoke.
"It is a great party, Nerys. It's a beautiful night, this is a lovely location. It's truly wonderful and you deserve every minute."
"Why, thank you," Kira was touched. She rose. "I thank you for coming."
"You're very welcome," Keiko said, her eyes already closing with fatigue. Kira grinned to herself and moved on.
She found Worf and Dax sitting together; he was drinking bloodwine, she was drinking raktijino. Kira could see that Dax was eyeing the bloodwine enviously, but because she was still nursing, she could not have any.
Kira pulled up a seat next to Worf and Dax, thinking that the war had not been kind to them and that it showed, especially on Jadzia. Her body, battered by the Pah'Wraiths, was now slowly recovering, thanks to an innovative new treatment from Bashir. Of course Jadzia never complained, but Kira knew the treatments made her nauseous and sick to her stomach.
Worf, on the other hand, was his usual self, stoic and terse. He had his own burdens, including the loss of his only son and the betrayal of his best friend, Martok. Kira still could not really explain what had happened between Worf and Martok, but she understood enough to know how the hurt could fester and burn inside. Worf, thankfully, had not seemed to show any side-effects from his pain though and instead spent much of his time quietly on the Defiant.
"Great party," Jadzia said to Kira. Kira nodded automatically.
"You two should get up and dance or something," Kira said.
Jadzia laughed, "You forget, a warrior does not dance."
Worf growled at her, but Kira did not miss the underlying affection in his eyes as he stared at his wife.
"I'm glad you could come," Kira said sincerely.
"We wouldn't have missed it for the world," Jadzia replied. "Though, we should get going. I'm afraid our sitter is going to have her hands full with our little ones if it gets much later."
"Your children are sweet!" Kira protested. Jadzia shook her head while Worf grinned.
"You do not have to live with them," Worf said. "Or discipline them."
"Worf really is not good at discipline," Jadzia confided. "Daria already has him twisted around her little finger!"
"That is not true!" Worf protested.
Jadzia grinned at him, "It is and you know it."
Kira stood up, "Excuse me. I don't want to get involved in what is obviously a touchy issue for you. So thanks for coming and I'll talk to you later."
Kira walked through the revelers. The band was playing the latest hit song and she could see Jake and Nog on the dance floor. Jake was with his new girlfriend, a Bajoran girl named Celita, and Nog had come with Corinne, a fellow cadet from the Academy who had been assigned temporarily to Deep Space Nine. Kira didn't feel like bothering the young people, since they seemed to be having such a good time. She was glad that they had come though.
Quark was serving drinks; despite her own feelings towards Quark, she could not deny him the opportunity to earn profit honestly. And from the way it looked, Morn was the life of the party. She grinned to herself. Honestly, that barfly never stopped talking.
"Colonel!" Quark exclaimed. "Colonel Kira!"
Kira sighed; she had been hoping to slip by Quark unnoticed, but the Prophets hadn't granted her that luck tonight.
"What is it, Quark?" she asked.
"I just wanted to thank you for tonight."
"You're very welcome."
"And I wanted to congratulate you."
The two faced off, each waiting for the other to speak. Finally Kira said in exasperation, "Is that all you had to say?"
"That is all," Quark said grandly as he began to concoct a drink for someone else. All of her friends were here, Kira mused as she noted the faces. Everyone had come. Garak, Rom, Leeta, Shakaar, Lora Riata and more. Bashir was not here, as he had been forced to stay behind at the Infirmary to deal with the latest casualties.
But Odo was here and Kira felt a rush for her oldest and dearest friend. She had never told Odo how grateful she was to him, how wonderful he was to her. She knew that he loved her, loved her more as a friend, but she had never been able to reciprocate those feelings.
She walked towards him, feeling very much like a shy girl on her first date. He looked handsome tonight, with the glow of the soft lights reflecting on his rough features. He was wearing a tux tonight, something wildly exciting compared to the usual drab, brown uniform he wore. It was, Kira noted with a smile, the same tux he wore whenever he went into the holosuite.
One day, she would have to ask him to take her to the holosuite; she would love to know what program he was running that caused him to dress so elegantly.
"Nerys," his voice was deep and throaty as she approached. "Nerys, you look beautiful."
She had chosen an moss green evening gown for the evening. The delicate layers of material clung to her body in all the right places, but flowed gently down her lines, flattering and emphasizing her shape. Garak had made the dress especially for tonight, telling her that a newly made Colonel had to wear something elegant and soft, but sultry and seductive at the same time. Kira had laughed at him, telling him that she had no use for such garments. Garak had been stubborn about it, telling her to just wait and see. And she had and the results had been a pleasant surprise.
"You're all alone," Kira said in surprise.
"I was enjoying the view," Odo answered.
In the background, the music had slowed and the lights had dimmed. Kira turned to look over her shoulder. She could see Keiko dancing with her husband, Sisko with Kasidy, Jake with Celita, Nog and Corinne and even Dax and Worf.
"Do you want to dance?" Kira asked softly.
Odo looked at her in surprise.
"With you?" he asked.
"Of course with me," she answered. "Come on, Odo."
He had never been able to resist those eyes before and he certainly could not say no to her tonight of all nights. This night belonged to Kira Nerys and Odo was determined not to do anything to spoil it.
"As you wish," he answered.
She placed her hand in his and they walked out onto the dance floor. Kira felt herself melting again Odo, and for the first time, she appreciated him in a way she never thought possible. She found herself comforted and safe, with all the world in a different place all together.
Stop it, Nerys! she scolded herself as Odo's hands touched her back lightly. There was a tremor in her spine that she could not stop as his hands caressed her. She pressed herself closer to him, even though she knew she was asking for trouble.
"Nerys?" he whispered.
"Yes?" she answered in an equally breathless voice.
"You know I love you."
She looked up at him, their eyes meeting in sudden understanding and that's when Kira knew. Knew with certainty, that is. She didn't ever want to leave this night now, and she didn't want to leave Odo's arms at all.
It was strange how such a feeling of completeness could manifest itself after so many years, but as Kira reflected, it was a long time coming. She still wasn't sure if she loved Odo as much as he loved her, but she knew that in time, the answers would come.
Tonight, there was no need for such clear, defined lines. She only had to look around at the couples swaying around her to know that there was no easy way and that somehow, like everyone else, she and Odo would have to find their answers together.
The music stopped and the band played a fast, high-tempo piece. The couples melted off the floor and Kira watched O'Brien lead his wife to a chair. She watched the tender way he stroked her face and then kissed her gently.
I want that, she realized then. I want what the O'Briens have. I want someone to love me.
And she turned to Odo, knowing that he did indeed love her and that she loved him back.
"Odo," she began shakily. "I can't explain it."
He placed a finger on her lips, "Shh…"
She was immediately quiet.
"I know what you're thinking, Nerys," he said. "And it can be anyway you want it to be. If this is all you want, then I'm content, and if you need more, we can be more. Do you understand? You don't have to tell me what you want right now. It's not necessary."
"No," Kira said firmly. "It is necessary. Odo, after all this time, I wouldn't be able to do what you ask of me. I have to be fair to you and I want that more than anything else. To be fair to you."
Odo sighed, and seeing the expression on his face, Kira rushed full speed ahead.
"But I do want to try," she said quietly. "And I don't know if it's the night or what it is, Odo, but I do want to try. Just try and we don't need anything right now, no plans or anything. Let's just see what happens, okay? Let's just wait and see." Odo could hardly believe his ears. He bent his head towards her.
"You're sure?" he asked softly, his lips barely skimming hers.
"I'm sure," she breathed as her lips met his.
In the distance, O'Brien watched, a smile playing across his face.
"It's about time," he told his wife. "Those two were made for each other."
"I'm happy," Keiko said. "And I hope that they are as happy with each other as we are."
O'Brien nodded, wrapping his arm around his wife. It was only one night, he thought, but it was enough.
Because tomorrow would bring the enemy.
Have something to say about this piece? Visit the Message Board!
Back to Alternate Universe Fanfic Page