The Return, part II

By Seema


Legalities first: Paramount owns all of the characters with the exception of the random ensign or lieutenant. The story, however, is all mine.

****

Jadzia sat at her dressing table, running her fingers over the silvery Klingon style earrings. She had worn them only twice and since she had begun her relationship with Worf, she had placed the earrings in the bottom of a small box and had not looked at them since. Worf. Jadzia buried her face in her hands. He had not spoken to her since the fight at the replimat. Instead he had curtly announced that he would be in the holosuites. Dax had tried desperately not to care, tried not to feel the anger directed at her.


"I can't ignore Lenara, can I?" Jadzia asked out loud. "I have to work with her and damn it, I was married to her once."

But only silence greeted her. Jadzia rubbed her eyes.

"Computer, locate Commander Worf," she said finally.

"Commander Worf is in holosuite three," the computer chirped.

Jadzia sighed, "Computer, how long has Commander Worf been in the holosuite?"

"Four hours, fifty-two minutes."

"Thank you."

For a moment, Jadzia contemplated going to see Worf, to talk to him. And then she decided to wait until the morning, when he had worked out his anger.

Still, she could not help but feel depressed as she climbed into bed alone. Sleep did not come easy and Jadzia finally sat up in bed, and wrapped her arms around her legs. She felt that same light-headed feeling she had experienced earlier when she had been on the Defiant.

"Dax to Bashir," she finally said.

"It's a little late, isn't it, Commander?" a clipped British accent floated over the com.

"Julian, I'm feeling a little faint."

"Anything serious?"

"I don't know," she rubbed a hand across her forehead. It was sweaty but cool.

"I'll come by your quarters in a few minutes."

"Thank you."

Jadzia stood up and grabbed her robe. She felt incredibly tired, but her mind was curiously active.

"Settle down, Dax," she said to herself. "Ignore this."

But it was impossible to ignore the symbiont, especially one carrying Curzon's memories. She pulled on a robe and then settled herself in the outside room to wait for the doctor.

Bashir arrived shortly, "You look terrible."

"Thank you, Julian. No wonder you have such luck with women. You say all the right things."

"No, honestly. You do. Hmmm, your body temperature is low. Lower than usual, I should say."

"I think I know what the problem is."

"Yes? Self-diagnosis is often self-defeating, Jadzia."

"It's Lenara."

"Ah, Lenara," the doctor leaned forward. "Quark has a betting pool on whether you will leave Worf for Lenara."

"I would not leave Worf."

"Actually, the odds are playing against him."

Dax sighed, "Are Worf and I really that impossible?"

"No, Jadzia. But go on, tell me more about Lenara."

"Well, Dax is overwhelmed. I can't keep the memories separate. I am trying very hard, but Dax isn't cooperating."

"Does this happen often to Trills?"

"Only in the period right after the initial transfer of symbiont to the new host. That's when the confusion is
extremely strong," Dax said thoughtfully. "Though I had a fairly easy adjustment."

"And now with Lenara on the station, you're finding it difficult to think straight?"

"Exactly. And it's getting worse."

Julian leaned back in his chair, "I don't know what to do for you. I can give the symbiont a tranquilizer, to calm it down."

"Could you please?" Jadzia asked. "As long as it won't hurt it. But I really need some clarity."

"It will be a mild sedative," Bashir said. He pulled a hypospray out of his med kit and injected the drug
into Jadzia's side. Almost immediately, she felt her thoughts clear.

"Much better," she said, smiling. "Thank you, Julian."

"You need to do something about Lenara," Bashir said seriously. "You have to make up your mind and I hate to see the betting pool at Quark's turn out to be correct."

"I know."

Julian reached over and gave her a hug, "You're a good friend, Jadzia, and Worf is a good friend too. Whatever happens, make sure it's for the best. For all of you."

"That's an awful burden, Julian."

"This situation must be resolved. And soon. It isn't healthy for you. I cannot keep sedating the symbiont while you gather yourself together."

"I understand. I will talk to Worf tonight."

"Good. I hope you feel better. Good night, Jadzia."

"Good night, Julian," Jadzia said. As soon as the doctor was gone, she said, "Dax to Worf."

A moment passed and then Worf answered, "Yes?"

"I need to talk to you. Can you come home?"

"Yes. I will be there shortly."

****

"I was wrong," Worf said gruffly. He wrapped his arms around Jadzia, holding her close. She snuggled closer to him, grateful he had finally come home.

"No. You had every right to be angry. I just keep putting it off," she admitted. "But I had to tell her. It was so hard, but I had to tell her."

"Do you still have feelings for her? Now that she is here?"

"I will be honest, Worf, and I don't want you to be angry."

"I will not be angry."

"Jadzia loves you. Loves you deeply and truly. It's Dax who is the problem," she sat up for a moment, tucking the fur-lined blanket closer around Worf.

"Dax?"

"Dax remembers what it was like to love Lenara. Dax remembers how Torias loved Nelani and how Jadzia loved Lenara. It makes it very difficult for me, Worf."

"Can you separate those feelings?" it was a purely rhetorical question; Worf was genuinely interested.

"I'm trying," Jadzia said. "It's difficult."

"I understand."

"I don't think you do, but it's all right," Jadzia kissed him on the nose. "I'm just glad you came home. I didn't think you were going to."

"I would never leave you."

She gazed at him for a long moment, "Promise?"

"I promise."

And finally, the sleep which had been eluding her, came. Jadzia snuggled up to her husband, draping her arm across his chest.

****

"Lenara!" Dax spotted Kahn in the replimat, staring forlornly into a cup of coffee.

"Good morning, Jadzia," Lenara looked up. For a moment, Jadzia stared into swollen, red eyes and felt absolutely awful about what she had done to Lenara.

"Do you mind if I join you?" Dax asked.

"Will Commander Worf be angry?"

"He is not angry anymore. We spoke last night. Everything is fine."

"He loves you a lot, doesn't he?"

Dax allowed herself a slight smile, "Yes."

"You are very lucky, Jadzia."

"I know."

"I just wish it were different. That I had taken the chance we had five years ago."

"You don't know how much I wanted you to come back. There were days when I was so angry at you and there were other days, when I had something I was just bursting with and I wanted someone to tell and that someone would have been you," Dax said. "I was angry for a really long time."

"I can imagine. I missed you too. And I admit, I came back to Deep Space Nine, hoping to pick up where we left off. I see that that's impossible now."

"I'm afraid so, yes."

A wistful expression crossed Lenara's face, "There is no possibility?"

"I couldn't, Lenara. I love Worf with an intensity that almost hurts inside. It's like this rush inside of me, this incredible feeling of amazement inside. I would never do anything to hurt him."

"Is it comfortable being with him? The way you and I are comfortable?"

"In a way, yes. But there every memory with him is new, whereas there is nothing really new we can feel about
each other. I think I would miss those feelings I share with Worf."

"I understand."

"That's not to say I'm disregarding what you feel for me or what I feel for you. It's just that the nature
of those feelings have changed."

"I see."

"It's just that with Worf, everything is different and I can't possibly do anything to hurt him. I just need you
to understand that, Lenara. I made a vow to love only him and I cannot break that vow," Jadzia stood. "I am sorry."

"It's all right. I will be all right," Lenara answered.

"Will I see you in the lab this afternoon?"

"Yes."

"Good," Dax said. "I will see you then."

Lenara watched Dax's retreating figure longingly. She understood Dax's words, but she felt increasingly frustrated by the situation. A fragment of something Dax had said came back to her: "With Worf, everything is different," Dax had said.

And it suddenly occurred to Lenara that if Worf was no longer in the picture, than the situation would be changed and Jadzia would be free. The idea made Lenara almost giddy with excitement as she signaled the waiter for another coffee.

****

"It won't work! I don't see why!" Lenara almost screamed in frustration. She turned away from her computer to see the bridge crew, including Commander Worf, staring at her.

"Calm down, Dr. Kahn," Worf said. "Screaming will not help your experiment."

Lenara stared back at him numbly, realizing that she was angry at him for marrying Dax.

"I am sorry for disturbing everyone," she said meekly.

"It's okay," Dax appeared from nowhere. "Look here. You entered this logarithm wrong. That's the problem."

Dax made the necessary corrections, "Now, try that."

Lenara retried the experiment and to her amazement, a small blip entered on her console.

"It looks like you had a slight wormhole that last for approximately one second," Dax said. "That's
excellent. Now, if you could just expand on that, it would be perfect. See? You get closer everyday."

"I wouldn't be able to do it without your help."

"Yes, you could," Dax said encouragingly. "Like I said before, the ideas are all yours. Sometimes,
it just requires a fresh mind to look them over."

"Thank you, though."

Dax returned to her seat, trying to ignore the aches that were beginning to take over all of her
thoughts. Bashir had sedated the symbiont several times and then they had mutually decided that
it would not be wise to administer any more sedative without causing harm to the symbiont. So now,
Dax had to cope with a barrage of memories and feelings and she rapidly felt as if she would lose
her mind. Those feelings were becoming more intense the more time she spent with Lenara.

Now, as she pressed her hands to her temples, she made up her mind; she would stop working on the
experiment. Anything to make the headaches go away.

****

"You sure you don't want to eat? You have to eat sometime," Lenara said to Dax. After returning
from their trip on the Defiant, the two women had immediately headed for the lab. After working
for several hours, Dax had to admit she was feeling quite hungry.

"Well, good then," Lenara said. "Let's get something to eat."

Dax considered. Worf would be working for several more hours and surely he would not protest.

"All right," Dax said.

"Quark's?"

"Sure. Much as Worf hates to admit it, Quark has the best food on the station."

"I remember you were a good cook."

"Nelani was a good cook," Dax laughed. "I am a scientist."

Lenara grinned as they walked down the Promenade, "There I go, getting all mixed up again."

"It happens to me too."

"I've been wanting to ask you," Lenara said as they slid into a booth at Quark's. "Was it difficult, the war?"

"Well, war is always difficult."

"That's not what I meant."

"I know. But it was difficult, yes. It still is difficult. I think it's hardest when Worf and I are separated. I constantly worry if he is safe or not. He has amazing stamina though. I remember when he was in a Jem'Hadar prison camp, they kept making him fight. He never gave up. Not for a moment. When he came home, I was so shocked by all that he had been through," Dax smiled at the memory. "I was just so grateful he came home at all."

"We hear stories of things that happen," Lenara said. "But on Trill, the Dominion is just a name. We don't know much about them."

"I hope the Dominion never comes to Trill. I couldn't bear it."

"What would you do, as a Starfleet officer and a Trill, if the Dominion ever came?"

"I would do my job."

"Which is?"

"Whatever Starfleet orders me to do."

"And Worf?"

"Same. But he is also the first officer of General Martok's ship, so he has to go with Martok every now and then."

"You must miss him when he goes."

"Dreadfully. I write him everyday. I can't send the letters, but he reads them all when he comes home. And he does the same."

Lenara was quiet for a moment; Jadzia's constant talk of Worf was starting to grate on her nerves.

"But it seems as if the station is doing very well," Lenara said. "Despite everything."

"Benjamin is a good captain. He manages to maintain a sense of calm, a sense of peace. It's all a
an illusion, but it helps keeps people somewhat optimistic."

"He cares deeply for you, doesn't he?"

"Sisko? Yes. Curzon was his mentor, but I have developed a close relationship with him. Without
Benjamin, I would not have married Worf."

Lenara smiled tentatively. Worf again! She wanted to scream, but she decided it wouldn't be wise.

"What are you thinking? You are quiet," Jadzia said.

"I was remembering that dinner, long ago, when everyone was watching us. That first night
I was on Deep Space Nine. Do you remember it?"

"Yes. And I was trying my best to avoid you."

"That was Sisko's advice, wasn't it?"

"Yes."

"I'm glad you ignored it."

Jadzia began to feel uncomfortable, as her memories of that night began to surface.

"The food was delicious," Lenara continued. "You were telling me what was good to eat and what wasn't. And everyone, everyone was staring at us. It was almost like we were a freak show of some kind."

"They were curious," Dax said slowly.

"Are you all right? You look pale."

"I'm sorry," Dax said. "You're going to have to excuse me."

Dax got up from the table and began to stumble towards the door.

"Jadzia!" Lenara ran to her side. "What's happening to you?"

"I just feel a little ill. I just need to go home."

"Do you want me to call someone?"

"No, I will be fine. I just need rest," Dax murmured. "Just please, leave me alone."

As she made her way home, Dax's vision and mind began to grow rapidly foggy.
She opened and closed her eyes, trying to clear her vision. She placed a hand
on the wall, trying to keep her balance and as the doors to her quarters slid open, she fell inside.

****

"I don't want to sedate the symbiont again, but I have no other choice," the doctor's voice rose
distantly in Jadzia's ears. She tried to open her mouth to speak, but she felt curiously restrained.

"Will the symbiont damaged?" Worf's voice rumbled low. Jadzia could feel Worf's hand around hers and
even though she couldn't speak, she felt enormously grateful for his support.

"I don't know. It's difficult to say," Bashir sounded frustrated. "But her neural pathways are overloaded
and Dax is contributing to that overload."

There was a long silence.

"I wish I knew what Jadzia would want," Worf said quietly.

She wanted to tell him that it was okay, that Julian could go ahead and sedate the symbiontů anything for a moment of clarity.

"Worf," Julian said in his clipped tones. "There isn't much time. She could slip deeper into the coma if I don't act soon."

"Do it then," Worf said harshly.

Dax felt the cool hiss of the hypospray against her side and she could feel the fogginess clear and power returning to her muscles. Her eyes opened.

"Hello," she mumbled.

Worf and Julian came into focus, both men hovering anxiously above her.

"How do you feel?" Worf asked anxiously.

"Better," Dax said.

"I'm ordering full rest for you. At least for the next 26 hours," Bashir said.

"I'm not going to argue with that," Dax answered. She tried to sit up and ended up leaning against Worf. Worf dropped a kiss on her head.

"You scared me," he said. "I came home and you were lying on the floor."

"I felt faint at the replimat. I was eating with Lenara and suddenly, I just had to leave. I don't know what's come over me."

"You must stay away from Lenara. Her presence is jeopardizing your health."

"I know. But the experimentů"

"Jadzia," Worf said. "Dr. Kahn can finish the experiment without you."

"You're right. As usual."

"Good. Now, you get some rest."

****

"The experiment has been delayed, so we will not be needing the Defiant today," Worf said to Chief O'Brien as the two men strolled down the Promenade.

"How is Commander Dax feeling?"

"Better. She left sickbay yesterday and I believe she plans to do some work in the lab today for a while. Dr. Bashir has advised that Jadzia carry a light load for a while."

"That's understandable. But Dr. Kahn must be disappointed that Dax will not help her finish the experiment."

"It is for the best."

O'Brien looked at his old friend sideways, wondering if there was a double meaning behind Worf's words
and whether the Klingon was actually feeling jealousy.


"With the Defiant in dock, it will be no problem to recalibrate the engines," Worf said. "I noticed
they were feeling sluggish the last time we were out."

"Sluggish? The Defiant's engines are running top-notch," O'Brien said, puzzled.

"Nonetheless, I would like you to check them at your earliest convenience."

"Aye, sir," O'Brien said. The Irishman privately thought that the Klingon's obsession with the Defiant was a little over the top, but who was he to disagree? If Worf wanted him to look at the engines, he would look at the engines.

"I will look at them this afternoon," O'Brien promised.

"Good," Worf said, just as he fell heavily against O'Brien.

"Worf!" O'Brien yelped and then realized that the Klingon was hurt. Badly. O'Brien hit his com
badge. "Security to the Promenade. Bashir to the Promenade."

Carefully, he lowered his friend to the ground. Within moments, Odo had appeared.

"What's going on?" the changeling queried.

"Worf's been shot!" O'Brien said. "I don't know where the blast came from, it happened all so suddenly."

Odo signaled to his deputies and the yellow-shirted officers spread out over the Promenade. O'Brien turned his attention back to his old friend. Blood stained the Klingon's uniform and O'Brien pressed his fingers against Worf's neck. There was a faint pulse.

"What happened?" Bashir showed up, medkit in hand.

"Worf's been shot," O'Brien said. No matter how many times he said the words, the reality of his words felt very strange. He could not imagine the strong Klingon felled by a simple blast from a phaser but here he was, cradling Worf on his lap.

"He is alive," Bashir said. "But barely. Bashir to Kira."

"Kira here."

"Two to beam to sickbay."

"Stand by."

In a moment, Bashir and Worf were gone and O'Brien sat crouched on the Promenade. He rubbed
his eyes for a moment and then looked up to see Odo starring at him.

"There isn't anyone around," O'Brien said.

"The Promenade was deserted when we arrived here," Odo affirmed.

"How odd," O'Brien said.

Odo held out a hand and O'Brien gratefully took it.

"Why would anyone want to shoot Worf?" O'Brien asked.

Odo shrugged, "The Commander has his enemies. Doubtless, the list would be too long for us to go through now."

"You're right."

"Still," Odo said thoughtfully. "I never expected such an outright attack. Very interesting."

****

Lenara entered the lab, out of breath. She was laughing and her laughter caused Dax to jump.

"Jadzia!"

"Hello, Lenara."

"I was told you weren't coming today, that you were resting at home."

Dax nodded, "I was, but I just had one or two things to catch up. What is so funny?"

"Just something I saw on the Promenade a moment ago. I was coming back from Quark's and I saw these two Dabo girls fighting over Quark. It struck me as extremely funny."

Dax had to laugh, "That is amusing."

"Do you like Quark, Jadzia?"

Dax considered, "Um, he's a good tongo player."

"I thought so."

At that moment, Bashir's voice clipped over the com, "Bashir to Dax."

"Dax here."

"Report to sickbay, Commander."

"Julian, I feel fine."

"Jadzia. I don't feel like arguing."

Dax turned to Lenara and shrugged, "Well, I suppose it's just Bashir being overprotective. He is a good doctor, but very fussy sometimes."

"You must go then," Lenara said quietly.

"Is something wrong?"

"No. No, nothing's wrong."

"Good. Dax to Bashir, I'm on my way."

With a nod of her head to Lenara, Dax exited the science lab.

****

Jadzia entered sickbay, a slight smile on her face as she thought of what she wanted to say to Julian.

"You fuss entirely too much, Doctor," Dax said as she caught a glimpse of Bashir.

"You're here," Bashir said.

"You called me. I came. And I assure you, I feel absolutely fine. Never better, as a matter of fact."

"Now you're lying."

"Of course," Dax replied, feeling keenly the symbiont's strange silence. "But physically, I feel fine."

"I didn't call you here to check on your health, Commander."

Dax eyed him skeptically, "What then?"

"Worf."

"Worf?"

"He's been shot."

Dax opened her eyes wide as color drained out of her face.

"Shot?" she gasped. "Oh my God! How? Why?"

"We don't know. He and Miles were walking on the Promenade and suddenly he was shot."

"God," Dax put her hand up to her forehead. "Where is he?"

"Sleeping."

"Will he be all right?"

"Yes. I think so."

"You think so?" Jadzia nearly shrieked. "You're not sure."

"I try not to make promises, Jadzia."

"Let me see him," Dax insisted.

Bashir nodded, aware that Dax wasn't acting herself and that she seemed very vulnerable, now that the symbiont had been silenced.

He led her into another room and Dax rushed to Worf's side. She lifted his hand.

"Worf? It's me. Jadzia. Can you hear me?"

Nothing. Dax turned to Julian, an expression of pure despair running across her face.

"Was it a phaser?" she asked.

Bashir nodded grimly, "Set to kill."

Dax took a deep breath, "I'm going to talk to Odo. Please, keep me informed."

"Of course."

Dax left sickbay, her hands behind her back. Bashir took a deep breath and turned back to his patient.

****

"I don't understand how something like this could happen," Dax said to Odo. The changeling regarded the hysterical Trill with some concern. She seemed less in control than usual and not for the first time, he wondered how much impact the symbiont actually had on Jadzia.

"Sit down, please, Commander."

"How could someone just shoot Worf on the Promenade? What kind of security is there on this station?"

"You need to calm down, Jadzia."

Dax stopped pacing for a moment and then finally took the seat Odo had offered her moments before.

"I am sorry, Odo," Dax said, realizing how uncomfortable Odo was with a display of emotion. But she couldn't help; without the calming effect that the symbiont usually provided, Dax felt herself completely out of control.

"We are looking into it," Odo said gently. "Dr. Bashir informs me that Worf should make a full recovery."

"Do you have any suspects?"

"Your husband has plenty of enemies, Commander."

She sighed, "Tell me about it. It could be anyone."

"We are checking the station logs carefully to see if there are any suspicious persons on the station."

"Just keep me informed."

"Where will you be?"

Dax eyed him firmly, "In sickbaby."

****

Lenara stood in the door of sickbay, contemplating the scene before her. Dax was curled up on the biobed, her arm flung across Worf. Their chests rose in synchronization, and Lenara felt like she finally understood everything now.

"You even breathe together," she whispered.

A hand on her shoulder made Lenara jump.

"Hello, Dr. Kahn," Bashir's voice rang softly in her ear.

She turned to face him, "I was looking for Dax."

"They are resting."

"I see that."

"But I will be sure to let Jadzia know you were here."

"No, it's all right," Lenara said quietly. "I'd rather you didn't."

"As you wish."

Lenara stood for a moment longer, eyeing the couple.

"Are they happy?" she asked.

"I think so, yes."

"They look happy together."

"Yes."

Lenara smiled at the doctor for a moment and then said, "Please don't tell Jadzia I wasn't here. But I want to thank you."

"Thank me?"

"For setting me straight."

Bashir looked at her, puzzled.

"Good night, doctor."

After Lenara left, Bashir shook his head. He would never understand Trills; especially beautiful, joined Trills.

****

"How do you feel?" Dax stretched out for a moment and then sat up. She stared down at Worf. She suddenly felt over-protective, in a strange role-reversal. But now that Worf had been out of sickbay for the last two days, her feelings had grown stronger and now she was reluctant to let Worf out of her sight.

"My arm is sore," Worf said.

"I can get you something from Doctor Bashir."

"It is not necessary."

"You don't need to live with the pain, Worf."

"I do not feel pain."

Dax laughed and kissed him lightly on the forehead, "Oh, my brave Klingon warrior."

"Are you returning to work today?"

"Yes. I must. I have ignored Dr. Kahn for the last three days."

"You must complete the experiment."

"I hope to. Soon. And I want to talk to Odo. He has some ideas about the person who shot you."

"He does? Why didn't you say something?"

"I didn't want to worry you."

"Jadzia."

"He talked to Quark."

"The Ferengi!" Worf snarled.

"Quark has more information than anyone else on this station. Odo knows that, Worf."

"What did he learn?"

"Quark thinks that Gowron has sent an assassin here to kill you."

"Gowron!"

"We should have guessed, huh? It's not like Gowron and you have a cozy relationship."

"Especially now that I have joined Martok's house."

"Odo is trying to find out exactly who Gowron sent."

"I hope he finds out soon. I do not intend to spend much more time here."

"Well, until Odo does, I don't want you going anywhere. Is that understood?"

Worf stared at his wife, "You are worried."

"Of course I am!"

He smiled for a moment, "Now you know how I feel."

Dax returned the smile and jumped out of bed, "Now, you stay here. I will come back and have lunch with you."

"Don't be late."

"I assure you, I won't be."

Go to the conclusion


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