Bashir released me that night and I returned to my quarters. I got dressed for bed and sat up in bed, blankets pulled up to my chin.
The door chimed.
"Come," I called.
Worf walked in. I was glad to see him and I think it showed on my face. However, I could not tell from his expression what he was thinking.
"How do you feel?" he asked.
"Better. Much better."
He sat in the only chair in the room. I could not read his expression, so I could not tell what he was thinking. God, I hated that. Hated the uncertainty.
"Bashir told me about what Lieutenant Lam did," Worf said. "He told me everything."
"About you and Lieutenant Lam."
"He did?" I started to feel cold all over. I wondered if Bashir had truly turned against me now and then I banished the thought. Julian was my friend and he would not repeat a confidence.
"Lieutenant Lam wanted you dead."
"Yes. So I would not testify against him tomorrow."
"You will testify? You never told me that."
"I wasn't planning to. I was just going to support Sonora. But now I know that Stephen has abused me enough in the last three weeks for me to go to Starfleet with it. I'm going to tell them everything."
"But your health "
"I would not miss it now."
Worf sighed. He did not look at me and I knew he had something that he wanted to ask me desperately.
"Worf?" I asked gently. "Whatever you need to say, please do. It won't do either of us any good if we hold back now."
"Do you have feelings for him?"
I shook my head, "No, I don't think so. I did love him once, Worf. I won't lie about that. But we're different people now. In more ways than you can possibly count, Worf. And I won't deny that when I saw Stephen again, I did feel something."
"The damaxon accounts for that."
I thought for a moment. I could continue this lie Julian had started or I could tell Worf the truth.
"A little bit, maybe," I admitted. "But the underlying attraction on my part, yes, it was very much there."
Worf looked down at his hands. I closed my eyes, thinking that this time, I had lost him. And in my mind, I could see him getting up and leaving.
Serves you right, I thought bitterly. I bit my lip back, trying to hold back the tears which were threatening to pour down. The last thing I wanted, at this moment, was to be weak in front of Worf. I knew he would hate it more than anything.
Worf turned to me then, his eyes filled with love.
"When I was lying there, near death on the Rotarran, I was thinking only of you," he said gently. "And then you came and I saw your eyes, your smile, and I knew everything would be all right again. And then when Dr. Bashir called me and said you had collapsed, I was so afraid."
He held up a hand, "Let me finish. I love you, Jadzia, and I believe you this time. When I saw you, lying in that bio bed, I felt something in my heart; something I had no control over. Even now, I have no control over my heart except now I know that I do not want to be without you."
"Which means?" I could hardly believe my ears.
"We will get married as planned. You will speak of this to no one."
"Of course not," I assured him. I kissed his cheek. "Thank you."
Worf held me in his arms, "It will take time, Jadzia, before I can trust you again."
'But I thank you for being honest and for not hiding this from me."
"I always intended to tell you, Worf. I could not keep it from you. The guilt made me ill."
"I know. Bashir told me."
"You knew?" I said in amazement.
"No, but I knew something had happened because I saw your medical records on Bashir's desk and I asked him about it."
I shook my head, "Yes, Julian knows. He saw Stephen leave that night. He didn't know that nothing happened, only that Stephen was there."
"Tomorrow, you will testify."
"Yes. Julian wants me to rest, but I am determined to go there. Stephen tried to stop me, but I refuse to let an overdose of damaxon stop me. He will not win this time."
"I will be there tomorrow with you."
I hugged him, mindful of his hurt ribs, "Thank you. Thank you for being so wonderful and more than that, thank you for loving me."
Of course, I should have realized that nothing is easy with Worf and that the next morning he woke in an absolute foul mood.
"I refuse to allow you to see that man," he told me furiously.
"I'm not seeing him, Worf," I said reasonably. "I just want to tell Starfleet how atrociously he has acted."
Worf was not convinced and I was afraid that this court martial would come between us. I sat up in the bed, holding the blanket to my chest, hoping that Worf would change his mind. I knew he was still angry and that the mention of Stephen Lam provoked understandable anger in my lover. But somehow, he had to understand that I was not going there today to simply see Stephen again - no, I was going there to make a point. To make a point that this behavior was absolutely unacceptable.
"Let's not talk about this right now," I suggested hesitantly. "We haven't even had breakfast yet and I don't want to fight with you before I've had a raktijino."
Worf's face softened, "As you wish."
I wasn't feeling terribly well that day; I suppose near-death experiences have that effect on a person. I begged off of bridge duty and Sisko ordered me to rest. Worf had some things he had to take care of with Martok, mostly dealing with the new Rotarran, which would soon be arriving. Later on though, Worf stopped by my quarters to bring me dinner.
"How do you feel?" he asked solicitously.
"Okay," I said. "Oh, what's this?"
"Chicken noodle soup with rice. The captain say it has marvelous curative powers."
"He does, does he? Oh well, I can always try something new," I said. I sipped the yellowish concoction and discovered, yes, I did like it. Worf sat on the chair opposite me, watching me eat.
"I still intend to go to the court martial tomorrow," I said firmly.
"I will go with you!"
"No!" I exclaimed more forcefully than I intended; I had sudden visions of Worf ripping Stephen to pieces. Much as I despised Stephen at this moment, I also did not want Worf to kill him. "No, Worf. I will do this myself. This is my problem and I will take care of it."
"He has dishonored you and by that, he has always dishonored me."
"Worf, my love," I said. "Please, you have to let me fight my own battles, okay? So let me do this my own way. I'm begging you. I promise I won't bring you anymore dishonor, but just let me do this my own way."
I could tell Worf was torn, by the way his facial muscles were clenching and unclenching. I knew he wanted to face Stephen, but I could not allow it and I knew that Worf would obey my wishes, no matter how much he wished otherwise.
"If that's what you want," Worf said quietly.
"It is, thank you. And don't worry, Worf. It will be all right."
He sat there, contemplating me for a long moment and I was afraid that he was going to launch into another tirade of some kind. Thankfully he didn't and instead came to sit on the bed with me. I snuggled in his arms and we sat there, in comfortable silence.
"I love you," I told him. "I love you for this. I know it's not easy and I know it's all my fault, but thank you for understanding."
Worf merely grunted and tightened his arms around me.
The next day I faced Stephen in the court. He did not look at me. Sonora was there, her face ashen, but I could see that her resolve was strong. She did not flinch when the charges against her husband were read. Instead, her eyes maintained steady eye contact with Stephen until it was he who had to break away.
I wondered if he was ashamed of himself, if he felt regret for any of his actions. I wondered what he was thinking, if he was considering the effect that all of this would have on this three children. Most of all, I wondered if he realized how he had fallen and how this time, Sonora would not help him out of this mess.
I watched Stephen the whole time, thinking that he had the chance for a bright career in Starfleet, that he destroyed it all in the space of less than a month. It was, I thought, pathetic.
During the break, Sonora caught my arm.
"How do you feel, Jadzia?"
"I'm sorry about this. I never expected that Stephen would be that desperate."
"I didn't either. But that's the way he is. He hates it whenever someone takes a stand against him and I know he was angry because I left. I'm sorry for involving you in all this, Jadzia."
"No," I shook my head. "Don't worry about that. I want to thank you for doing this."
The security officer Stephen had accosted earlier told the panel how Stephen had tried to kiss her and how she had had no other resort than to shoot him.
"And I would do it again," she said defiantly. "That kind of behavior is unacceptable."
When it was my turn, I got up and told the panel truthfully what had happened between Stephen and me. I mentioned the incident in the Klingon restaurant, the time when he came to y quarters and most importantly, this recent incident when he had tried to kill me.
The judges listened intently, and when I was done, my eyes met Stephen's. He nodded at me and his lips formed the words, "I am sorry."
The hearing concluded several hours later. I felt absolutely drained of emotion as I watched Stephen. Somehow, I could not banish our happy times together but at the same time, I was very aware of all the wrong he had done, of all the hurts he had caused.
I wondered now how it would all turn out for him, if he would change now. In my heart, I knew nothing would change Stephen - he was a creature of such habit and vanities. A court martial could only be a trivial matter to him and not a catalyst for change. Of course, I hoped I was wrong.
"Lieutenant Stephen Lam, please rise," the court deputy asked.
Stephen stood, his back perfectly straight. His glance did not waver.
"Lieutenant Lam, you have been found guilty of the charges brought against you. You will be dishonorably discharged from Starfleet and will serve ten years in prison on Erata Four."
Stephen's head drooped slightly, but then he stiffened his posture again.
"Have you something to say to the court, Lieutenant?"
"Nothing, sir," he answered. This time, he did turn to look at me. A moment later, the guards ushered him out of the room.
I took a deep breath, letting all the tension drain out of my muscles. It was over and now, finally, I could begin my reconciliation with Worf.
Marisol Grey seemed to be expecting me when I walked into her store with Worf in tow. To be honest, I had never intended to return here, but after the hearing, I had found Worf pacing outside, waiting for me. At first I had been angry.
"You don't trust me?" I had nearly screeched.
"No," Worf said. "It's not that. I was taking a walk and I was just looking around and I found something that I thought you would like. So I came here to wait for you."
I touched his cheek gently with my fingers, "All right."
And to my intense surprise, Worf led me to Marisol Grey's shop. He had pointed to a soft, blue dress in the window of her shop.
"That would look lovely on you," he had said softly. I looked at him in amazement, as I had not told him about the dress I had previously bought.
Inside, the store was exactly as I remembered it. There was no sign of the other dress and I wondered briefly what Marisol had done with it. I decided not to ask her, as I did not want to upset Worf.
"You must be Worf," Marisol said in her lyrical voice. "Jadzia has told me much about you."
"Yes," Marisol nodded. "From the moment she walked into my store three weeks ago, she has not stopped talking about you. She missed you very much."
"Not as much I missed her," Worf said.
I looked at him in surprise, astonished at this gentle, forgiving side of Worf.
"Something I can do for you?" Marisol addressed me.
"I would like a dress," I said. I pointed to the blue dress. "That one."
"Would you like to try it on?"
I shook my head, "No. I think it's perfect already. Worf picked it out."
"In that case," Marisol wrapped the dress up. "Enjoy."
"How much?" I asked.
Marisol smiled, "Nothing. Let it bring you nothing but happiness."
I did not argue, knowing exactly what Marisol meant.
"Oh, I hope so," I answered. "I certainly hope so."
That night, I wore the dress for Worf and his eye had been good; the dress fit perfectly.
"You look lovely," he told me as I twirled around in the new dress for him. He caught me in his arms and released my hair from my clip. "I love your hair like this."
I nodded, unable to speak.
Worf indicated the table, which he had set for our meal. I sat as he lit the candles.
"Worf," I said softly. "I want you to know that I am sorry."
He reached over and placed a hand on my shoulder.
"It is all right. We will not talk of this again."
After dinner, we lay in each other's arms, not really speaking. It felt so good to be like this and more importantly, I felt that I had discovered both a new side to Worf and a new side of me.
I knew now that I still had impulses that needed to be controlled and that Worf could be forgiving even in the most unforgivable of situations. That's not to say that I forgave myself for my actions, but at least I knew now that I would never risk my relationship with Worf again.
It did not matter what my actions had been, I told myself, only what was in my heart. And that night, when I had kissed Stephen, it had been Worf in my heart.
But it was a thought with little comfort.
A week later, Worf and Martok, along with a new crew, left on the newly refurbished Rotarran.
Worf's last words to me had concerned our wedding; he would continue to plan it and when this was all over, yes, indeed, we would be getting married. I pledged to him that I would be faithful to him and that he would never have reason to doubt me again. I hoped he believed me.
As we left Starbase 357, I received a subspace message from Sonora Lyse. She was leaving with her children to return to Earth; she had decided to accept a position at Starfleet Headquarters.
"It will be easier there since my family is in San Francisco," she wrote. "It will be hard without Stephen, but in the long run, it is for the best. The children are too young to understand and I don't want them to have hard feelings about Stephen, but they also have to realize that what he has done is wrong. And I apologize to you, Jadzia, for any hurt I may have caused you. I know my actions weren't that of a friend and I'm asking now that we be friends. More than ever, I need a friend now. Yours, Sonora Lyse."
I wrote back to her, saying yes, that I did accept her friendship and if she ever needed me, she could call on me in the future.
I doubted that her pride would allow her to contact me again, but I felt better about everything that had happened after sending that message.
I found O'Brien and Bashir in the Defiant's mess hall, playing a game of chess.
"Trying something new?" I asked playfully, sitting down with them.
"He just took my rook," O'Brien complained. Bashir shook his head.
"Poor loser, that's what you are," Bashir said. He moved his queen across the board. "Ah, checkmate."
O'Brien groaned and moved his king the left. Bashir moved the queen yet again.
"This could go on all day, gentlemen," I told them. "Chief, I think Julian has you on this one."
"I don't know what I play with a genetically engineered-"
"Because you like the challenge," Bashir and I said together.
"Chief, I'm willing to coach you a bit," I told him. "You know the Captain and I play quite often."
"I may take you up on that, Commander," O'Brien said. "Now, if you two will excuse me."
"Of course," Julian said with a smile. "Is Worf gone?"
"Are things well between you?"
I met Bashir's eye, "Surprisingly well."
"I told you it would work out."
I rearranged the chess board and pushed the white pieces over to Bashir.
"What are you doing?" he asked as he set the pieces up.
"I like a challenge," I told him. "I play a pretty sharp game of chess."
"So the Captain tells me."
"Are you ready for the challenge?"
"It's late, Jadzia."
"I know," I hesitated. "But I think a quick game would be nice."
Julian regarded me, his gentle brown eyes probing for my inner motives.
"Okay," he answered. He picked up two pawns. "Black or white."
"White," I answered.
"All right," Julian arranged his pieces on the board.
"What is it?"
I took a deep breath, trying to think of what I would say next. Somehow, my own guilt kept tripping me up and despite the fact that Julian was such a close and dear friend, I did not really know how to explain myself to him.
"Julian, I have to apologize to you and this is as good of a time as any."
"Because you haven't been yourself and I know that the war has affected you more than anyone else and I should have paid attention. I'm sorry I didn't."
"It's all right, Jadzia. You had other things on your mind."
He moved his first pawn two squares forward. I countered with the corresponding black pawn.
"No," I said firmly. "It's not all right and that's what I'm telling you. Somehow, during this whole thing, I ignored all of my friends. O'Brien, you and especially Sisko. The war is tearing us apart and that's wrong."
"You've always been a good friend."
"I could have been a better one. Like you were to me."
"I don't know what you're talking about."
"You helped me with Worf," I said softly. "Without your intervention, I'm not sure if he would have ever talked to me again."
Julian shrugged, "It was true. Well, sort of."
"That's the point. We're friends, Julian, and I'm sorry if I forgot that. I won't ever again."
Bashir grinned at me as his horse took my pawn, "You're losing your concentration, Jadzia. Check."
"Already?" I looked down in amazement.
At that moment, the red alert siren went off and then Sisko's voice, calmly over the comm, asked that all senior officers report to the bridge. I looked at Bashir.
"Well?" he asked.
"I surrender the game to you. Come," I stood up. "We can't keep the Dominion waiting now, can we?"
~ The End ~
Author's Note: I started this story towards the end of September (1998) with a very definite idea of what should happen. Those ideas evolved along the way, making it a darker and more violent story than what I had originally intended. The original idea was supposed to be an affair between two former lovers and I originally intended that Jadzia would not tell Worf about her affair.
But my wonderful trio of editors (Jaz, Michael, Liz) set me straight on this. Jaz especially insisted that Jadzia would not conceal a secret and that it would be out of character for Jadzia to cheat on Worf. After tossing ideas back and forth, I finally settled on the rather violent, possessive relationship that existed between Stephen and Jadzia in the past. Worf's reaction, I had to work on a lot, because I wasn't quite sure how he would handle Jadzia's confessions of "infidelity." While Michael suggested that Stephen and Worf duel it out, I decided to add a degree of "civility" to Worf, a sense of gentlemanly refinement. It's out of character, I know, but it's also something that would not be expected.
And Liz, who has been through so many of my stories, pointed out several parts in the story where I had forgotten a detail or where something just didn't make sense. So thanks, Liz, for your help on this story and all others.
Finally, I wanted to work the Dominion War as a character in the story. To take something inanimate like the Dominion War and turn it into a major character seemed like an almost impossible task in the beginning. I think I accomplished what I set out to do in regards to the Dominion War, but that would be left up to you, the reader.
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