The Return, part III

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.

~ * ~

Odo stood in the corner, watching the scene in front of him intently. He was quiet and unobtrusive as usual and his rough features born no sign of the anxiety which was rising within him. If what the Ferengi had told him was correct, then there was indeed a plot to assassinate Commander Worf. While Odo was not particularly attached to the gruff Klingon, he bristled at the idea that someone would even attempt to kill a member of the senior staff right under Odo's nose! Why, the very thought was preposterous!

"Hello, Constable."

Odo turned to face the captain of the station.

"I've never seen you at Quark's for quite this length of time before," Sisko observed, a smile playing across his lips.

"I'm watching."

"Anyone in particular?"

"There are two Andorians here, hired by Gowron to kill Commander Worf."

"So what Dax told me is true?"

"Unfortunately. But I need to see them with my own eyes. Quark has been a reliable source of information in the past, but he is still Quark."

"Well, then," Sisko said. "Don't let me keep you."

Odo tipped his head slightly as Captain Sisko moved away.

"Anything interesting, Odo?" Kira appeared at his shoulder. Odo sighed. Why wouldn't these humanoids leave him alone to do his job? He felt uncharacteristically annoyed with the Major.

"Just observing. Making sure Quark isn't swindling any of his guests."

Kira guffawed, as if the thought of Quark doing anything illegal was so far out of the realm of possibility.

"You should keep busy then," Kira smiled. She placed her hand on his elbow and Odo felt reassured by the warm touch. He knew that Kira was just as worried as he was. A breach in station security could have far-reaching consequences and everyone knew that the key to Bajor and the wormhole was Deep Space Nine.

"Don't worry about me, Major," Odo said genially. "I'm more concerned about Commander Worf."

"Dax says he's doing much better, that he's fussy as any Klingon warrior would be."

"They both unnerve me," Odo finally confessed.

"You've never been terribly fond of Worf, Odo."

"Yes, but it's Dax who has me on edge. She doesn't seem to be doing a good job at controlling herself."

"The situation is very tense. Someone tried to kill her husband! Her former spouse is on the station, which definitely complicates things for her. I would be distracted too."

"It's more than that. I have a feeling we are hearing more from Jadzia than we ever have in the past."

"Because the symbiont has been sedated?"




An altercation at the far end of the bar caught Odo's attention. Kira smiled to herself and left Quark's.


"How is Worf?" Lenara asked as Dax came into the lab.

"Better. Cranky."

"You can't expect less from a Klingon."

"No, I certainly couldn't."

"What are you doing here?" Lenara asked. "Sisko told me that you were no longer working on the experiment."

"I'm not. I just want to check some data and to apologize to you."

"To me? Whatever for?"

"For withdrawing from the experiment. I know you counted on my help."

"I appreciated your help but I understand. This has not been an easy time for you."

"You are understanding, but then, you always have been."

"Dax," Lenara moved closer. "Let's not remember anymore, okay? Because that's not us and it never was us.
That was another lifetime and I choose not to live in that lifetime anymore."

Dax looked at Lenara in surprise.

"But you said earlier -"

Lenara interrupted, "I know what I said earlier and what I felt earlier. And I'm not going to lie and tell you that how
I feel about you has changed. But I don't think you can handle that pressure anymore. And it's not fair for
Commander Worf."

"What does that mean?"

"I will be leaving the station in two days, regardless of whether the experiment is completed or not."

"Oh," Dax said, feeling an unexpected wave of sadness come over her. "I will miss you."

"I'm not saying good-bye forever. I expect you to keep in touch. Providing your husband agrees."

"He doesn't control everything I do."

"Yes, but I would not want to cause any further difficulties than I already have."

"Lenara, have I told you that you are wonderful?"

Lenara managed a tiny smile, "Many times, Jadzia. Many times."

Dax returned the smile and then said, "Well, I have a few hours to myself. Let's see if I can't help you a little bit with that experiment. I'd hate for you to have to come all the way back out here to try again."

"Oh, you don't have to. You have no obligation," Lenara insisted.

Jadzia stopped Dr. Kahn's protests, saying, "I know, but I want to."


"That's them!" Quark pointed out two Andorians sitting at a table, their heads close together.
Odo looked at the aliens with a mixture of distaste and surprise. He would have never expected Andorians to be in league with Gowron, but these days nothing seemed to surprise him anymore.

"Those are the ones who were asking about Commander Worf just before he was shot."

"Can you found out what they are saying?" Odo asked. "Offer them more of what they are drinking. On the house."

"Odo! It's a very expensive ale, imported all the way from Betazed and stored for over two hundred years!"

"Quark, do you want to be able to take possession of the thirty crates of Regalian liquid crystals in the cargo bay?" Odo asked.

The Ferengi gulped, "On the house then."

"I knew you would see my way."


Dax punched in some numbers and then smiled at the result, "There we go. According to the simulation, this should work wonderfully."

Kahn peered over her shoulder, "Yes. When do you think we can take the Defiant out?"

"Let me go ask Major Kira."

"All right."

Dax excused herself and went to Ops, in search of Major Kira. She found the Bajoran in her usual spot, checking the neutrino levels as a Vulcan ship burst out of the wormhole.

"Hello, Nerys," Dax said.

"Jadzia! What are you doing up and about?"

"I was helping Dr. Kahn in the science lab."

"Can you?"

"Can I what?"

"Help her. Think coherently enough to help her."

"Don't look so embarrassed, Major. Just because Dax is being kept relatively calm, doesn't mean Jadzia has lost all sense of everything. And you have to keep in mind, Jadzia is the scientist, not Dax."

"I'm sorry. Even after serving with you for six years, I'm not quite sure how the symbiont-host relationship works."

"It's a new feeling for me too," Dax said. "But I was wondering about the use of the Defiant."


"Kahn and I just ran a simulation that looks like it's going to work. We'd like to try it out."

"Is tomorrow too soon?"

"Tomorrow is perfect. Dr. Kahn intends to leave in two days."

"And how do you feel about that?"

"Frankly, I feel fine about it. I was confused when she first came aboard, but not since then. And now with this assassination attempt, I just know that I could not function without Worf, that I need him more than anyone else."

"I'm glad. We were worried for a while."

"Well, you can tell the station gossips to stop. Worf and I are just fine and when Lenara leaves in two days, I will be fine with that too."


Dax returned to the science lab, eager to tell Kahn the news.

"We can take the Defiant tomorrow. Kira has agreed," Dax told Lenara. "I think it will work this time."

"We say that every time!" Kahn laughed.

"Yes. But I think, if we say it enough, it will come true!"

"Now, if you will excuse me, I promised Julian I would stop by today for a brief check-up."


"I'm seeing too much of you, Jadzia. Certainly more than I want," Bashir said, shaking his head. "And I never thought I would say that."

"How do I feel?"

"According to my tricorder, you feel fine."

"Terrific. And Julian, I think I'm going to be okay and we won't need to sedate the symbiont anymore."

"Are you sure?"

"Lenara and I spoke this afternoon. Everything is fine."

"Glad to hear it. Hop down."

Dax slipped off the biobed.

"Now, Jadzia," Julian said with the most serious expression he could manage. "I do not want to see either you or Worf here for a very long time."

Dax offered him a smile, "We'll try to stay out of your way."


Worf studied the ceiling of his quarters for a long moment and then sat up and swung his feet over the side of the bed. He knew what Sisko said, what Bashir and Jadzia said, but he was bored and he did not intend to spend one more minute locked away in his quarters. It was hardly honorable to hide from one's enemies. He took a quick sonic shower and then put on his uniform. After a quick look in the mirror - he didn't like to think he was vain - Worf was reassured as to his appearance and he left the quarters.

"Computer," he said as he walked towards the turbolift. "Locate Lieutenant Commander Jadzia Dax."

"Commander Dax is in sickbay."

Worf headed towards sickbay.


The Andorians moved stealthily down the corridor, leaving no mystery as to their ultimate destination. Odo followed them quietly as they approached the quarters Worf shared with Dax. The two Andorians positioned themselves outside the door while Odo watched. After five minutes, Odo approached them.

"Are you lost, gentlemen?" Odo asked.

"We are looking for Commander Worf," one of the Andorians said.

At least they were honest assassins, Odo thought.

"Any reason?"

"We have something for him."

"May I ask what?"


Odo considered. He couldn't arrest the Andorians without probable cause and insolence certainly wasn't a strong enough reason to throw the two men into the brig.

"You may not loiter in front of his quarters. I'm sure neither Commander Worf or his wife would appreciate your presence," Odo said.

"Very well. We shall find him elsewhere," the Andorian replied.

Odo watched their retreating figures. Something wasn't right; it was too easy.


"Hi," Worf grabbed Jadzia's arm as she turned out of sickbay.

"Worf! You scared me!" she twisted free. "What are you doing up?"

"I was bored."

"Worf, someone is trying to kill you. Doesn't that mean something to you?"

"I am aware of this."

"Well, then, what are you doing out? Did you tell Odo at least?"

"Not yet."

"Oh," she sighed. "What am I going to do with you?"

"We can have lunch early."

Dax raised an eyebrow, "You're hungry? We just had breakfast a few hours ago."

"I know."

"You must really be bored. Come then, we can have lunch and then I want you to come to the lab with me and see what Lenara and I have done."

"You have improved upon the experiment?"

"Yes. In fact the latest simulations show that it will work this time."

"You say that every time."

Dax looked at him suspiciously for a moment and then smiled. She linked her arm in his and said, "Come, let's
get something to eat."


Once seated at Quark's, Worf began to get that characteristic frown he always wore whenever the Ferengi was within ten kilometers of him.

"Don't fuss, Commander," Dax said soothingly. "After all, we did get married here."

"I do not like the Ferengi."

"I think you have a special fondness for Quark and his food."

"I do not."

Dax laughed, "Well, if you don't like it here, we can try the new Klingon restaurant that just opened on the Promenade."

"It is all right. You want to eat here, we will eat here."

"You are being awfully accommodating."

"I must take both of our needs into consideration. It is part of marriage."

"Oh," Dax laughed. "Worf, it looks like you have visitors."

Two Andorians were flanking the Klingon. Worf twisted around.

"Hello," he said.

At that moment, Odo showed up, followed by two security officers.

"It is all right, Odo," Worf said.

"These are the men who are trying to kill you," Odo said.

"What are you talking about?" Worf looked puzzled. "This is Lerralf and Nord."

"You know them?" Odo asked.

"Yes. I had asked them to fulfill a request for me," Worf said. "Though I did not think they would contact me in public."

Odo looked as angry as Dax and Worf had ever seen him.

"Where's the bartender?" Odo asked furiously and then stalked off in search of Quark.

"Where is it?" Worf asked.

"Here," the Andorian called Nord placed a small, brightly wrapped package on the table.

"When can we expect payment?" Nord asked.

"Immediately," Worf replied and he paid the man. The Andorians left, and Dax stared curiously at the package.

"For you," Worf pushed the package at her. "I had not intended to give it to you like this."

"What is it?"

"Open it."

Dax complied, ripping open the paper. Her enthusiasm was infectious and Worf found himself anticipating her reaction with the same enthusiasm.

"Oh, Worf! It's beautiful!" Dax exclaimed. She lifted a small, flat wooden box out and caressed the wood gently.
"And it feels so smooth. I love it. Thank you."

"Open the box."

Inside there were a pair of earrings, blue stones inlaid in silver. It was a classic Andorian pattern. Dax lifted them, touching them in awe.

"They are beautiful, Worf. Thank you."

"I know Dr. Kahn gave you a pair of earrings," Worf began uncomfortably. "I thought I would too."

It was a rough way to express himself but Dax understood perfectly. She covered his larger, warmer hands with her cooler ones.

"Thank you. I will wear them. Tonight."

"I'm glad you like them."

"I love them and I love you."


Odo eyed the bar, keeping his attention on the table where Worf and Dax were sitting. He felt like a fool and felt like a bigger fool for believing Quark. The Ferengi sidled up to Odo.

"Did you catch them?"

"No, you fool. They were hired by Commander Worf to bring a present for Commander Dax."

Quark looked genuinely surprised, "A present for Commander Dax?"

"Yes. That means the assassins are still on the loose."

"I don't think so. Oh, I don't like that," Quark said.

"What do you mean?"

"They were the ones talking about Gowron and having to get close to Worf."

"We already know why they needed to meet Commander Worf."

"But why were they discussing Gowron?" Quark insisted.

Odo looked at the Ferengi for a long moment.

"That is a curious point," the changeling conceded. He watched as Worf and Dax left the bar and then several minutes later, the two Andorians followed the couple. "Wait a minute."


"Lenara," Dax entered the lab. "I brought Commander Worf to see our experiment."

"Of course, Commander," Dr. Kahn said. "I can pull the data up right over here on this console and run the simulation for you, Commander."

"Thank you," Worf said stiffly. He felt distinctly uncomfortable around Lenara Kahn, but Dax had assured him at lunch that everything had been resolved between the two of them. Still, it was an awkward situation to be in.
Dax moved to her own station and began running a series of tests while Kahn ran the simulation for Worf.

"Excellent work," the Klingon noted after the simulation ended. "When will you try it out?"

"Tomorrow. Kira has agreed to command the Defiant for us tomorrow," Dax answered.

"We can hardly wait."

At that moment, the doors to the lab slid open and Worf turned to see the two Andorians.

"What do you want?" he demanded. "I already paid you for the gift."

In response, Lerralf lifted a phaser.

"No!" Dax screamed, rushing to push Worf out of the way. The phaser fired, catching Dax in the shoulder. She fell to the floor, cradling her shoulder.

Another shot from the phaser missed and scorched part of the lab while a third blast came dangerously close to hitting Worf.

"Dax to security!" Dax said into her comm badge.

There were another two blasts from the phasers and Lenara fell heavily, landing half on Dax. Dax tried to see what was happening, but she was only dimly aware of Odo appearing and Worf scooping her up in his arms.


Bashir put away the dermal regenerator.

"Well, your arm should heal properly," he said. "But in the future, stay away from phasers."

"Oh, don't worry about it. I fully intend to," Dax said quietly. "Lenara?"

Bashir couldn't quite meet her eyes, "Dead."

"The symbiont?"

"In stasis."

"Oh," Dax closed her eyes for a moment.

"She saved Worf's life and yours too," Bashir said quietly. "She jumped in front of the phaser after you were wounded."

"Oh God."

"I've contacted Trill. They will be sending a new host as soon as possible."

"Of course," Dax said. "Um, Julian. Could I have a few minutes with Lenara?"

"Sure. Take all the time you need."


Sisko paced the length of his office. Odo and Worf watched him.

"How could something like this happen?" Sisko demanded.

"It turns out Gowron found out about my commission to the Andorians and asked them to perform an additional task," Worf said. "Apparently, Gowron has taken exception to my continued existence."

"I would have never thought that Andorians would work in league with the Chancellor," Sisko observed.

"I almost missed it too," Odo confessed with uncharacteristic humility. "It was perfect, because the Andorians had reason to see Commander Worf."

"Well, I have contacted the Trill government to inform them of Dr. Kahn's death," Sisko said quietly. "How is Jadzia?"

"She is recovering well," Worf said stiffly. "But she is affected by Dr. Kahn's death."

"The new host will be here tomorrow. See that Jadzia knows," Sisko said.

"I will," Worf said, knowing he would not relish the task ahead of him.


"Of course I will greet the new host," Dax said quietly when Worf informed her of the impending arrival. "How can I not?"

"I am concerned for you."


"I do not wish to be over-protective, Jadzia, but I do want you to reconsider."

"This is a part of Trill life, Worf. I am used to this."

Worf looked at her, thinking, "But I'm not used to this."


The new host's ship docked and Kira turned to face Dax.

"You can go, Dax, if you want to greet it."

Dax considered for a moment. She had stayed up all night, thinking about Lenara and how Lenara had saved Worf's life. She also remembered how much she had loved Lenara.

"I think I will stay here," Dax said quietly. Lenara was dead and she knew that no new host would bring more than Lenara's memories back - and those memories could be very painful, both for Dax and the new host. No, it was better that she did not meet the new host.


That night, Worf stirred and realized that Dax was not next to him. He got out of bed and walked into the other room. He found Dax staring out of the window at the stars. He walked up behind her and put his arms around her.

"What are you thinking?"

"Nothing," she said quietly. "Nothing at all."

"I love you."

"I love you too."

"Are you going to come to bed?"

Dax turned for a moment to face him and put her hand to his cheek.

"Not right now," she said.

"Do you miss her?"



"But not the same way I would miss you."



Worf felt comforted for a moment.

"Are you going to be awake for some time?"

"I think so. I would like some time alone."

"Very well. Good night then," he planted a small kiss on her cheek.

"Good night."

Jadzia waited for a moment and then turned back to gaze into the eternity of stars in front of her.

~The End~

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