ARCHIVING: Only with the permission of the author.

Minister of Lies
By Patricia L. Givens


Chapter 5-Revelations

When she reached Odo's door, Kira raised her hand to hit the door comm. She hesitated for a moment, her hand in mid-air, and then punched in the security code instead, hoping that Odo had not changed it since the last time she had visited. She tried to remember just exactly when the last time had been. Not since Shakaar had taken his new place in her life... She sighed as the door opened. She had made so many mistakes.

Kira entered and stood just inside the doorway, trying to adjust her eyes to the darkness within. After a few moments, she was able to make out the shapes of Odo's sculptures, or rather, his training devices. She wandered around the room, silently gliding her hand across the smooth surfaces, wondering if the smooth planes of his face might be indicative of the rest of his body. She stopped when she saw his bucket sitting on a table. Glancing inside of it, she was slightly disappointed to find it empty. She wondered where her plant had gone.

Kira sighed as she realized he was not there and turned to go. As she was about to key the door lock, she noticed a golden glow in the far corner. Walking over to it, she knelt and looked at Odo cautiously. Either he didn't know she was there, or he didn't care. She chose to believe the former.

Reaching out, she gently skimmed the surface of his 'body', delighting in the slight pulsing that she felt against her hand. Odo immediately stiffened, sliding into his usual form with ease. He stared at her, obviously shocked, until she leaned in and brushed her lips against his.

"Major?" He pulled back. "What are you doing here? Don't you have a shuttle-"

"Shhh, Odo." Kira moved closer to him and placed her hands on his shoulders. "Don't call me Major."

"Nerys, I-" His words were cut off by her lips as she kissed him hungrily, pressing his back into the floor as she rolled on top of him.

"I realized," She stared into his eyes after the kiss had ended. "That I needed to know….if we could be together…how we would be together. I still need the time, Odo…but I need this too."

He studied her for a moment and then nodded. "I can accept that…for now." He turned his head away. "But I am afraid I wouldn't know what…I wouldn't know how.."

Kira broke off his stammering with another kiss. Her hands crept up her chest to unfasten the clasps of her uniform. She moved away from him to pull it off and Odo immediately missed her warmth. When she returned, she was nude, and Odo found that he could not get his eyes to move from the point he was studying on the wall above her head.

"Odo," Kira whispered. "Odo, look at me."

He obeyed and was immediately frozen, lost in her pale skin that glowed faintly in the starlight. When he could move again, he found the Major smiling at him expectantly. "You are….very beautiful."

Kira's smiled broadened. Short and to the point…so like the Constable. "You are very sweet."

"Sweet?" Odo smiled tightly. "Try terrified."

Kira laughed quietly. "It's easy. Come here." She laid back and motioned for him to join her. When he had, she ran her hands over his still clad shoulders. "Lose the uniform."

Odo started slightly at the command, but shifted anyway, replacing the beige roughness of his uniform with pale skin that looked much paler for its smoothness. Kira traced his well formed chest with one finger. "Nice." She drew him close and whispered in his ear, "Very, very nice."

Her lips found his again, surprised at the answering passion of his mouth. He circled his arms around her and pulled her roughly against his chest. Kira gasped as his lips moved down her chin to bite lightly at her neck, raising red marks that she knew she would have a hard time explaining tomorrow. Right now, though, she just didn't care.

Odo didn't care either. He had stopped feeling self conscious when he sensed Kira's pulse quicken and now he was lost in kissing every inch of her shoulders. When he began to move down, she brought her hand up and wrapped her fingers around his hair. As he reached the swell of her breast, Kira's fingers tightened, something that would have been painful had he been anybody but who he was. He paused for a moment when his lips reached her nipple, then closed his mouth over it, sending a shock coursing along her body.

Kira bit her lower lip, trying not to cry out as his tongue played over her breasts. The shocks that had been running along her skin had intensified with Odo's excitement and the pleasure was almost more than she could bear. Just when she thought there was no part of her that his skin had not touched, she felt him shift against her, parting her legs and entering the warm wetness between her thighs. He filled her completely, touching every sensitive spot within her, causing her head to fall back as she focused on him inside of her. She couldn't tell when he began to move, she only knew that it wasn't exactly like movement. Instead, it was like an intense pulsing of Odo's flesh. She looked up at him and saw his head thrown back. She could that tell he was struggling to hold his form.

"Odo," She gasped. "Shift….please…I need to feel you against me…"

With a small cry, he fell, bathing her in his substance as it pulsed from within her. In his natural form, Odo flowed over her, running across her thighs, her clit, her lips…every part of her that he could reach. He was quickly overcome with sensations he had never experienced before, an intense pleasure that made him feel as though he was going to lose consciousness before it was over. He cried out from somewhere deep inside of himself and heard Kira's matching cry. Her back had arched and she was trembling violently as she collapsed back onto the floor, saying his name softly through her tears.

Maj—Nerys?" He reverted to his humanoid form with some difficulty and took her face into his hands. "I'm sorry…did I hurt you?"

"No," She smiled, her lips still trembling. "You didn't hurt me, Odo. That was…incredible."

Odo studied her as though he was looking for some sign of dishonesty. His doubt faded as she leaned into him, whispering into his ear.


"Bashir to Major Kira!"

Kira started in her sleep, trying to wave away the annoying voice that was dragging her back to consciousness. She cracked one eye open and found herself staring at an unfamiliar ceiling.

"Kira here." She mumbled, running her hands through her hair.

"Major," Bashir's voice was particularly irritating this morning. "I believe we had a date? For a shuttle to Missak?"

Kira's eyes flew open. "What time is it?" she croaked.

"0625. You're late."

"I'm sorry, Doctor. I'll be there as soon as possible. Kira out." She looked around her and was startled to find Odo watching her, his hair rumpled, his calm blue eyes focused on her lips as she spoke. "I have to go. I'm sorry. I can't believe I'm late. I'm never late!"

Odo chuckled and pulled her against his chest. He kissed her gently and then released her. "I love you, Kira Nerys." He said, simply.

She stared at him, shocked to hear what she had already known. She tried to tell herself it was his voice that sent shivers down her spine, and not the words he had said. Shaking herself, she tugged her uniform on and headed for the door.

"I'll see you when I get back."

"I'll be here." Odo shifted his hair back into place.

With a final glance back, she fled, leaving Odo to smile after her departing form.

Dax slammed her hands down on the bed, arching her back to try and relieve some of the frustrated tension she felt. Glancing at her console, she groaned. 0600 hours. With a sigh, she got up and ordered a Rak'tegino. It was really too early for Klingon coffee, but she didn't expect to get anymore sleep anyway. She settled into a chair and began to go over some research she had been neglecting when her console flashed with an incoming message. She tapped the control and has surprised when Tala's face appeared on the screen. She looked as though she had been crying.

"'Zia?" Her voice was steady but there was a pleading in her eyes that Jadzia caught immediately. "I…I know it's late, but you said if I ever needed to talk…"

"I'll be right there." She smiled at the woman gently. "Just let me get dressed."

"Thanks. I'll leave the door unlocked. I'm going to take a shower, just come in when you get here."

Dax nodded and ended the transmission. She pulled on her favorite workout clothes, a set of well worn, blue sweats, and headed down the hall. She passed several of her morning crew headed into the Labs and smiled at them as she passed, taking their curious looks with good grace. When she reached Tala's door, she took her at her word and entered unannounced.

Jadzia glanced around as she entered. The room was neat, but cluttered. Tala's belongings had been transferred from her ship and lay about the room, presumably waiting to be put away. She noticed a great deal of paper lying across the low coffee table that ran the length of the couch, and sat down in front of it. She picked up some of the papers, her curiosity overcoming her manners, and was surprised to find them all filled with the gently slanting script of handwritten prose. Each paper was signed at the bottom with the initials KT. She glanced through the door to the bedroom and heard the shower still running. With a guilty flush, she began to read:

A Solitary Seduction

how long before the torture

becomes something I need?

How long before the aching pain

turns into something sweet?

how long before the lonely nights

I prefer instead

of a woman, warm and soft

nestled in my bed?

How long before my restless dreams

play out and finally cease?

How long before this lonely life

turns into one of peace?

How long before I understand

and finally embrace,

that all my wants and needs and dreams

have filled that empty space?

How long before I can accept

my world and life alone?

How long before I realize,

that's all I've ever known?


Dax slowly lowered the paper back onto the table. Her heart ached for the pain that Talas must have felt to put those words on paper.

"Did you like it?" Tala's voice carried from across the room, where she stood in a doorway, her hair still wet. A white tunic draped over her lithe form, accenting the body beneath.

"I-" Dax flushed. "I'm sorry. I didn't mean to intrude. I'm sure these are very private."

Tala moved to the window and stared out in the direction of the wormhole. "Did you like it?" She repeated softly.

"No." Dax took a deep breath. "It was a good poem, but I can't honestly say that I liked it. It was too much like the writer has….given up."

"Maybe she has…" Dax watched as she brushed violently at a tear that was sliding down her cheek. "I'm sorry 'Zia. I had a dream…a nightmare…"

"About Nan'Tekk." Jadzia's words were a statement, not a question.

Tala's attention swung back to the portal as the wormhole flared open, swallowing a runabout that was headed to the Gamma Quadrant. Tala placed her hand on the window, curling her fingers against the glass as her sisters ship disappeared in a swirl of blue light. "Be well, Nerys." She whispered.

Dax watched her with concern until Tala finally sighed and joined her on the couch. She placed her hand on the Bajoran's arm in comfort. "Are you all right?"

"No," Tala choked, trying to hold back her tears. "I need to talk to you…I need to tell somebody.."

"Tell me." Jadzia placed an arm across her shoulders, trying to still the shaking in her shoulders.

"Jadzia, something happened to me during my internment at Nan'Tekk. If Nerys were to find out about it…it could destroy her. But if I don't tell her, she will continue to support a man whose entire life has been based on lies."

"Who?" Dax looked at her in surprise.

Tala shook her head. "Let me tell you everything, otherwise you might not understand." She waited for Jadzia's nod. "I spent four years at Nan'Tekk, four long, miserable years. The only good thing in my life then was Zenece. She was the rock that I clung to. The reason for my survival." Tala shook off that thought. "The guards at the mining camp were very brutal. They had…'games' that they enjoyed playing with the Bajorans under their supervision." She shuddered slightly. "They would pick a Bajoran man out of the crowd and tell him to rape a woman they had selected for their amusement. Normally, the man would refuse, and they would kill him as an example of what happens when you disobey Cardassian rule. The woman would be released, to show their benevolent mercy."

Dax felt her heart ache for the woman in front of her. She squeezed her shoulders a little tighter as she continued.

"Eventually, it was my turn. They pulled me out of the crowd and stood me in front of the prisoners and the guards. Then, they grabbed a man who had been trying to edge his way to the back of the room. They told him to rape me, or die." A tear slid down her cheek. "And without a moments hesitation, he did. The guards were so surprised that I was able to disappear into the crowd. The next woman was not so lucky. Nor were any of their other 'amusements'. This man became their lap dog. They would drag him around by his chain and command him to do unspeakable things to anyone they happened to choose. Horrible things. And he did them. All of them, without a word. The people he abused took a long time to recover. Some of them never did. The ones that couldn't get past it, were called 'cryers'." Jadzia felt Tala's shoulders began to shake violently, her body racked by emotions. "My lover was one of them. When he was done with her, she couldn't walk. Her body was torn and ravaged, she was bruised beyond recognition and both of her wrists were broken from the force he had used to hold them over her head. I tried to help her, to comfort her, but there was nothing I could do. She would lay in the corner of our cell and whimper whenever I touched her. She cried loudly every night until the guards finally showed up. They dragged her out of our cell and threw her on the ground." Tala's face went pale. "I heard her scream when she landed on her hands. A guard slammed me onto the bed and knelt in the middle of my back, pulling up on my hair, forcing me to watch. Gul Boran stood over her. The son of a bitch was smiling. He said….he said she wasn't worth a phaser blast, and began to kick her where she lay." Her whole body had gone stiff and Dax glanced at her hands. They were curled into fists so tightly, that her knuckles were whiter than the tunic she wore. "She screamed over and over, until I thought I would go mad. But she didn't die. She was a tough woman…physically anyway. She lay there and she screamed until I couldn't stand it anymore. The anger and the hatred exploded out of me in strength, strength that I used to throw the Cardassian that was riding me backwards into the wall. I heard his head connect with a sound more satisfying than anything you can imagine. I was out of the cell before he even hit the ground. Gul Boran was so surprised," a feral grin covered her features. "I put my foot into his head hard enough to send blood flying against the wall. My second kick drove three ribs into his black heart." Her body trembled as the memories slid away. "I picked her up, tried to hold her close…but everything I did…everywhere I touched, even my tears on her face, caused her pain."

Jadzia tried to control the rage in her face as she asked quietly, "How did you get her out?"

Tala smiled sadly and closed her eyes, allowing the tears to flow more freely than they ever had. "I didn't." She whispered. "I couldn't. I tried to think of any possibilities, and only came up with one. So I kissed her…and broke her neck."

Dax started, shocked by what she had heard. She ran a hand across her face. "What did they do to you?"

Tala looked at her gently. "You don't want to know, Jadzia. Any more than I want to tell you." She looked out the window. "I tried to find out who he was…the man who had ruined my life. Turns out he had been captured in a resistance raid on a Cardassian outpost. Nobody knew his name, only that he had been fighting the Cardassians before he arrived. Shortly after Zenece died, he escaped. That was two years into my time there. I spent the next two years trying to salvage something of my former self. I don't think I ever really succeeded. My only peace was the gratitude in her eyes when she died. It was all I had left…to hold onto."

"And you don't think Kira can handle what happened to you?"

"No, that isn't it, Jadzia." She stared at the floor. "Four years after I had arrived, two years after Zay's death, we were rescued from the camp by several resistance groups that had joined together for the raid. I spent the next nine years in the Gamma Quadrant, and I never saw that man again…until yesterday." Tala took a deep breath. "The man who destroyed my life, and the lives of so many others, now sits in the office of the First Minister of Bajor. That man is Shakaar Edon."


Chapter 6-Distractions

Kira glanced over at Bashir and tugged at her collar. It was bad enough she had been late, she didn't need his condescending remarks as well.

"I could fix those with a dermal regenerator, if you like." Bashir continued to key information into the console as he spoke.

"I don't know what you are talking about." Kira said sternly, trying to warn him off. She should have known it wouldn't work.

"I'm talking about the reason you've been pulling on your collar. You've straightened it four times in the last hour, but it still doesn't cover them." He leaned closer and peeled her jacket back so he could get a better look at her neck. "Really, Major. Didn't your mother tell you these were bad for your skin?"

"That's enough, Julian." She shrugged his hands away. "If you could treat them, I would appreciate it. But if you're just going to make snide remarks, you can keep them to yourself."

Bashir dug in a pack and pulled out the regenerator. He activated it over the three red marks that marred the Major's otherwise flawless skin and then clucked over his work. "There you are. All gone." He smoothed her collar back against her neck and moved back to his chair, where he sat and studied her for a few moments.

Kira, feeling his eyes one her, finally spun her chair around to face him. "Is there something you would like to ask me, Doctor?"

"Well," Bashir took a few deep breaths. "It's just that….I wasn't aware that the First Minister was on the Station last night." He looked at her expectantly.

"He wasn't." Kira said simply. She weighed Bashir's facial response before continuing. "I was with…someone else."

"I see." He smiled as he turned his attention back to his work.

"What's that supposed to mean?" Kira demanded.

Bashir's smiled broadened at her hostile tone. "It means, Major, that I understand that you were not with the First Minister when the markings occurred." He raised his eyebrows. "Might I hazard a guess as to who you were with?"

Kira sighed. "I'm pretty sure you don't even have to guess."

"Well, the Constable's feelings for you have been well known for some time. I must say I was always…" Bashir searched for the perfect word. "Cheering for him."

"Why is it that I get the feeling Quark may have been taking bets on this particular event?" She felt a headache start behind her eyes. "Is there anyone that didn't know? Morn maybe?"

"Ahhh, no." He tried to hide his smile. "Morn won the pool."

"Oh, I see." Kira's calm tone began to worry him. "And what exactly was the bet he made?"

Bashir cleared his throat and managed to look sheepish. "He bet that you would be too blind to see it, before you took up with Shakaar."

"Well, that's just perfect." She thought back to what her sister had said about gossip. "Are there any other bets about me going around the Station, Doctor?"

"None that I know of," He made a great pretense of scratching his chin thoughtfully. "Except for the one between Dax and myself."

"Between you and Dax?" She closed her eyes in frustration. "And that would be?"

"How long it will take you to decide on the one person who is the only real choice." Bashir turned his attention back to the console and fervently ignored her for the next two hours.

Dax shifted uncomfortably. Her neck hurt and when she opened her eyes, she understood why. She was still sitting on Tala's couch, holding the Bajoran as she had for the two hours it had taken for her to cry herself to sleep. She looked at Tala, a rush of emotions taking her breath away as she thought about everything that the beautiful woman had been through in her short 29 years of life. She had been 16 when she was taken to Nan'Tekk, and 20 when she came out. But that time and the 9 years she had spent so far away from her world seemed to have aged her beyond even Dax's years. It could not have helped that those last 9 years had been spent alone. The poem she had read suddenly made more sense.

She stroked Tala's cheek, enjoying the softness of the woman's skin as she sighed and leaned over to look at the console. 0900 hours. She stifled a curse as she tried to extricate herself from the arms that had wrapped around her neck sometime during the night. Just as she freed herself, Tala woke.

"Don't go." She looked at her, sleep still dulling her eyes.

"I have to. I'm on duty in 30 minutes." She tried to turn away but found herself hypnotized by the beautiful green eyes that stared back at her. She had thought them brown when they first met, but now realized that they had changed colors. She had noticed it briefly during the short time that they had known each other, and wondered if it had anything to do with her changes in mood.

"Call in sick." Tala swallowed as she took in the Trill's beauty. "I need you."

Dax opened her mouth to object, and then saw the truth of that statement mirrored in her eyes. With a sigh, she hit her commbadge. "Dax to Sisko."

"Sisko here." His voice was cheerful and fully awake. Dax imagined that he had had his 8 hours of sleep and a few Rak'tegino's as well.

"Benjamin, I need a favor."

"What can I do for you, Old Man?"

"I need to be excused from duty today, if it is possible. I have a…a friend that needs some comfort."

"Ahhh…" She could almost hear him smile. "Well, I seem to recall that you have stockpiled quite a lot of leave time. Why don't you take a few days," Now she knew he was smiling. "To comfort your friend."

"That would be wonderful, Benjamin. Thank you."

"Anytime, old man." His voice returned to its professional tones. "I'll get Lieutenant Morda to cover your duty shifts. I'll see you back in Ops in, oh say… five days? Sisko out."

Dax smiled at Tala and sat back down, She opened her arms for her to snuggle back into them, but Tala shook her head and pulled her up off of the couch and led her to the bedroom. Once there, she pulled her tunic off and slid under the covers, pulling the other side down so that Dax could join her.

Dax was speechless. She stood, rooted to floor, and looked quizzically at the bed.

"Don't worry, 'Zia. You're safe for right now." She patted the mattress beside her. "I just want your arms around me."

Dax nodded and slipped out of her sweats. She was wearing a long undershirt beneath them, but nothing else. She slid into the bed facing Tala, who immediately turned her back on the Trill and snuggled against her chest. Dax closed her eyes at the pleasure of the warm skin against hers. She took a few deep breaths and wrapped her arm around Tala's stomach, 'spooning' the woman from behind.

"That's nice." Tala whispered. "You're so soft…and sweet." She sighed in contentment.

"Tala?" Dax said softly.


"I…I don't want to make you hurt anymore than you have to, but there are a few questions that I think someone should ask."

She felt Tala stiffen against her, and tightened her arm, trying to comfort her in the best way she knew how. After a moment, she relaxed. "Go ahead…"

Dax took a deep breath. "It was so long ago, is there any way you could be mistaken?"

For a long moment, she said nothing. Finally, she turned and looked into Jadzia's concerned eyes. "If you lost your life, not just once, but twice to the same man, do you really think you would ever mistake his face?"


Tala shook her head. "I guess I didn't explain it well enough." She touched Jadzia's face softly before she continued. "The resistance raid on Nan'Tekk was made possible by the joining of several different resistance cells. The Shakaar cell led the siege, with the other groups swarming through after the original attack. It had all been planned, down the very last detail. There were to be no Cardassian Patrols in that area, on that day. All the patrols had been lured to another area by a rather obvious raid on a munitions stockpile. There was absolutely no reason for a Galor class warship to be in our flight path. Even the patrol ships were just rebuilt scouters." She massaged her temples. "Somebody told them where we were going to be…and when. Somebody with a good enough reason to want 1500 of their own people killed at the hands of the Cardassians." She looked at Dax pointedly. "Can you imagine who might have had a good enough reason?"

Dax felt sick. All this time, Kira and the others had been supporting a man that was not only a rapist, but a murderer as well. Each of the 388 lives lost in that attack were on his head. She shuddered as she imagined Kira's response.

"Shakaar was the only one with a reason to turn us over to the Cardassians. To keep his secret."

"Then why rescue you at all?"

"A few members of the resistance went with us on the Nakota, and the tale of the raid has been told a thousand times over the campfires of Missak. One of the biggest fallacies is that the raid was Shakaar's doing. It wasn't. It was actually the Aleram Resistance Cell that organized the attack on Nan'Tekk. But Shakaar took over, making the final plans himself. Aleram never had much charisma, his cell was all but unknown, but he did care for Bajor. So much that he stepped down and allowed the 'hero' to take his place."

"Aleram?" Dax looked at the floor. That name. Something about that name.

"Yes. Aleram Kass. He was a good man. He was lost in the raid."

Dax tried to grasp at the information that was locked in her mind. Every time she thought she had it, it slipped away, skirting to the edge of her memory. She rubbed her eyes. Maybe if she got some sleep…

That thought was cut off by Tala's hand, which had come to rest lightly on her abdomen. Dax felt her stomach muscles clench as she turned to look into very green eyes.

Those eyes never wavered as the hand slid upwards, running along the edge of her breast to rest on her collarbone.

"Tala," She swallowed. "I'm having a hard time concentrating."

"Maybe that's a good thing." She leaned down and brushed her lips over Jadzia's. Feeling the quick response, she lingered a while, letting her tongue run along the Trill's lower lip. Jadzia shuddered and pulled away. "What's wrong?" The hurt in her voice was apparent.

"I'm not so sure this is a good idea, Tala." Jadzia sighed heavily. "This is an extremely emotional time for you. You might regret it later."

"Oh, I don't think so." Tala leaned in to capture her lips again, but Jadzia turned her head away. She looked at the Trill thoughtfully before speaking. "Have you ever made love with Nerys, 'Zia?"

Dax sat up quickly, a look of shock coloring her face. "No! Of course not."

Tala smiled at her quick response. "Why 'Of course not'? I know you've thought about it. I can see it in your face."

The silence stretched out for a moment, before she answered. "In passing, perhaps. There have been times when her passion has been…very attractive."

"I know. I grew up with her at the Singha Refugee Camp. She had an entourage wherever she went. She was loud and boisterous, told you exactly how she felt about things, and held no reservations about her body. She would say that, sometimes, the only way to survive was to assault life head on. That the only way to drag your heart through the dirt and the wreckage and come out on the other side with it still in one piece, was to feel as though you were invincible, to distract yourself from everything around you. From the things that beat you down and kept you there."

Tala looked out the portal towards the wormhole. "She said that making love was one of the sweetest distractions she had ever known. I understood what she meant, when I tried it." She flushed slightly. "I actually tried it quite a lot…until I met Zenece…then there was only her." She shook her head and continued. "After everything was over, after we settled on Missak, I thought I would find someone and settle down. But they needed their leader, one that would give her whole attention to the settlement and their problems. And so I found another excuse not to press my heart. Another reason not to move on. Eventually, I just decided that I would remain as I was, and I was happy about that decision…until now." She looked directly into Jadzia's eyes. "Three days aren't much, I know. But for the first time in 11 years, I feel alive again. And that's because of you, 'Zia. My pulse races when you come near, my heart pounds until I can barely speak….I feel breathless. I haven't felt like that in a long, long time. I think I could love you, Jadzia Dax. Maybe I already do. All I know for certain, is that right here, right now, I want you. For more than just a distraction."

Jadzia swallowed. Bringing her hands up, she cupped Tala's face and looked into her eyes. She saw the truth of her words mirrored there, and felt her heart beginning to pound within her chest.

"Tala.." Jadzia's whisper curled around Tala like a caress. She stopped breathing when the Trill brought her lips to the corner of her mouth, running them back under her ear. "Are you sure?"

"Yes," The Bajoran slid her hands up Dax's back. "please…I've been alone so long."

Jadzia didn't answer. Instead, she brought her hands out and across Tala's shoulders, closing her eyes as she felt the soft skin beneath her fingers.

With her eyes still closed, she moistened her lips and kissed the hollow in Tala's throat, letting her tongue dart out as she traced the delicate collarbone with her mouth. "So sweet." Dax whispered. Sitting up, she straddled Tala's hips with her bare thighs and pulled off her undershirt. She looked down to find Tala smiling at her. It was an infectious smile that she felt on her own lips as well. "What?"

Tala brought her hand up and traced Jadzia's markings as they ran up her hip. She followed their trail across the outside of her stomach, and finally, across the swell of her breasts. "They do go all the way down. I've been wondering about that.."

Jadzia laughed softly. "Anything else you'd like to know?"

"Oh, yes. Most of them you can show me. But, tell me about this." She picked up one of the Trill's hands. It was warm to the touch. "After that first night on the Promenade, I did some reading." She blushed but continued anyway. "I read that blood circulation is normally low in Trills, and especially so in the extremities. Twice now your hands have been warm….why?"

"Well," Jadzia leaned forward and began to trace a line down Tala's abdomen. "Trill physiology is much like any humanoids. The harder our hearts beat, the better the circulation." She kissed the smooth skin between Tala's breasts. "Right now, my whole body is burning up."

"I'll take that as a compliment." Tala grinned. A grin that faded as Jadzia's mouth closed upon her breast. She had known that she was attracted to this woman, this Trill. What she hadn't known was how strong her reaction would be. She pushed herself up off the bed, offering herself to the woman on top of her.

Jadzia couldn't think, she couldn't see…all she could do was feel. The body beneath her was young and firm, the muscles hardened from years of work, but it was the voice, the smile and the heart within that was the cause of the fluttering in the pit of her stomach. As her tongue played slowly over each of Tala's nipples, she felt an excitement that she remembered from another lifetime, but never before in this one. With a low moan, she pushed her thoughts away and brought her lips back to Tala's, positioning her long body on top of the Bajoran and tasting the sweetness of her tongue.

Tala was in heaven. The softness of Jadzia's skin and the warmth of her weight on top of her drove all caution from her mind. With a strong, swift movement, she rolled over, tucking Dax beneath her. She smiled briefly at the Trill's look of surprise before trailing her lips along the same path of spots that her hands had followed earlier. Her mouth covered each of her nipples briefly, before resuming it's trail down Jadzia's stomach. There were no spots on Jadzia's thighs, but she kissed them anyway, using her chin to nudge them open so that she could nibble on the sensitive skin within.

Jadzia reached down and curled her fingers into Tala's hair. The warm lips against her skin were intoxicating. She held her breath as Tala's tongue moved upwards to caress the folds of her labia, and then let it out with a low moan as hands crept up her sides to cover her breasts. She tried to breathe, tried to think, but it seemed that Dax had taken that moment to retreat and leave her consciousness completely to the 33 year old woman she might have been. In her mind she could even picture Dax as Curzon, sitting back and laughing merrily at her as she lost herself in the very sensations she had always thought him too fond of.

But in the end, she just didn't care. The beautiful Bajoran laying between her thighs controlled her thoughts, her heartbeats, every whisper of pleasure and every breath she drew. She arched her back as Tala's lips moved faster, her tongue pressing harder until Jadzia shuddered and fell back, moaning, into the bed.

For a moment, it was all she could do just to lay there and breathe. Her thighs still shook from the strength of her climax and she could feel little shocks emanating out from the symbiont inside of her. She smiled to herself. It looked as though Dax hadn't gone that far after all. She sighed when Tala climbed up her body and kissed her, opening her mouth so that Dax could taste herself on her lips. Tala's cheeks were warm and moist as she rubbed her face against them. The tremor that ran through the Bajoran's body was enough to get Dax's heart pounding again. She turned on her side and gently lowered Tala onto her back.

The first kiss was tender, gentle, but ran through Tala's body like fire. The second was passion, and tore through her like a knife. She moaned when Dax pulled away to draw her hair over her shoulder. With slow, sensual movements, Dax trailed her hair over Tala's breasts and abdomen, making her tremble as the silky softness sent shudders down her spine. When the dark silk reached her thighs, Tala let out the breath she had been holding and allowed her legs to part. Jadzia lowered herself down until her face rested on the fragrant patch of hair below her belly, and breathed in deeply, enjoying the complex scent of her, like the oceans of Trill and the hills of Bajor, sweet and strong.

Jadzia remained that way for a few moments, giving Tala enough time to regulate her breathing before she slid an arm under the Bajoran's body. We a firm motion, she pulled herself up and fixed her lips on Tala's breasts, moving from one to the other as her hand slid effortlessly into the moistness between her legs. Her fingers played over Tala's clitoris, sending spasms of pleasure through her shaking legs. She could feel the Trill stop breathing for a moment as she slid her fingers inside. Jadzia was completely still, save for the shaking of her hand that Tala could feel inside her.

After a moment, Jadzia caught her breath and closed her eyes. She concentrated on the warm softness that enveloped her fingers, concentrated on moving her hand in the rhythm Tala's body had already begun. Her mind went blank as she enjoyed the body arching beneath her. Her nostrils flared as the flesh around her fingers tightened. She felt her body respond in time with Tala's, reaching her second climax as the Bajoran reached her first.

Tala fell back on the bed, gasping quietly. She shivered slightly as Jadzia withdrew her fingers and crawled up beside her.

"Thank you." Tala whispered, tears running down her cheeks.

Jadzia laughed softly. "You don't have to thank me Tala. I wanted that as much as you did. And I still do.."

Tala smiled, burrowing her face into a soft, spotted shoulder. "I'm….a little out of practice. I may need a rest period."

Jadzia leaned down and ran her tongue across Tala's bottom lip. "I think you might need more than one…"

Shakaar Edon sat with his back to the rest of his office, watching as a Bolian Transport lifted off from a docking pad and headed out of Bajoran space. With a loud sigh, he lowered his head into his hands.

"First Minister?" A confused voice broke through his musings. "Sir? Are you all right?" She came around the desk and touched his face gently. "Edon?"

He turned so that he could look at the woman standing beside him. She had always been a good assistant and was an excellent lover, keeping his mind occupied while Kira was away, playing at being a diplomat. He frowned at himself. So ungracious a remark, even to himself. He had come to realize that his current situation had several possible outcomes, the only constant being that he was going to lose Nerys. "I'm fine, Misa." He looked down at his desk. "I just have a lot on my mind. Why don't we finish the letter later?"

She nodded slowly, pausing to brush the hair off of his forehead before leaving.

Once she had gone, the First Minister turned his attention back to the window. The transport was no longer in sight, but he stared in the direction it had gone. It hadn't taken him very long to realize that Denais had been right. The Adjetant, and a small group of his men, would be no more than six hours behind the Rio Grande, some of which they should be able to make up at warp.

He rubbed his hand across his eyes and tried to swallow the dryness in his mouth. He had made it clear that it was to be an intelligence operation only. No more than 5 people off the ship at any given time. No contact other than casual conversation and then, only if safe. If they were lucky, they would be able to pass themselves off as members of Kira's team.

Shakaar had, once again, made Denais responsible for keeping Kira alive. He had made it clear that he would not forgive any further action without his complete consent.

He sighed again, wondering just how much his direction meant anymore. It was something he didn't want to think about, but did anyway. He lost all track of time until he noticed that the light outside the window had shifted, showing him his own reflection in the now darkened glass. In his eyes, he saw the truth.

He could not control Denais.

And he had known it all along.

Music. Really, really loud music.

Dax cracked one eye open and peered around the room. With a sigh, she stretched and rolled over. A slow, sensuous smile played across her lips as memories of the night before ran through her mind.

"What are you smiling at?" Tala spoke from where she stood in the doorway, a matching smile on her face. "I was wondering if you were ever going to get up."

"Why?" Dax stretched her arms over her head, causing her spots to shift enticingly across the muscles of her abdomen. "What time is it?"

Tala swallowed, turning her face slightly to hide her flush. "Computer, time?"

The computer chirped its acknowledgment and answered, "Current time is 1600 hours."

Jadzia sat up quickly. "You're kidding!" She grabbed her shirt an slipped it over her head. "I haven't slept this late in…well…never."

Tala slid onto the bed beside her and kissed her gently. "Well, now you have." She ran her finger down Jadzia's cheek. "Good morning, 'Zia. It was wonderful to wake up to you this morning."

"How long have you been up?" She raised her voice slightly, to be heard over the music in the next room. "What are you listening to?"

"I've been up for four hours. But you looked so tired, I thought you could use the sleep. You didn't get much…last night."

"A fact that I am blissfully aware of." She smiled.

"And I ran into Jake Sisko out on the Promenade. I thought I would prowl the station while you were unconscious." She slid away from Dax's playful nudge. "He seemed quite interested in your whereabouts. Said his father was wondering where you had gotten to."

Jadzia flushed. "Did you tell him where I was?"

"Of course I did. I didn't want the Captain to…worry." She grinned impishly. "Jake seemed quite taken by your being here. He said something about it 'being about time'." Her heart skipped at Dax's answering smile. "Anyway, he gave my some data crystals, some very old earth music that he enjoys. Do you like it? I was hoping it would wake you up since you've slept through all of my attempts."

"I like it very much." She listened to the words:

You have spent nights, thinking of me,

missing my arms, but you needed to leave.

Leaving my cuts, leaving my burns,

hoping I'd learn.

Blood and Fire

are too much for these restless arms to hold.

And my nights of desire are calling me,

back to your fold…

She shook her head slightly. "Wow. Jake has some interesting taste in music."

Tala nodded. "I like that one too." She put her arms around the Trill and pulled her gently down, onto the bed. "What did you want to do today? Since you are officially on vacation."

Dax tapped her fingers in time with the music. "I have a surprise for you, actually."

"What?" Tala looked at her, a wonderfully childlike smile on her face. "I hate surprises."

"Well, I guess you are just going to have to get over that." She pulled herself out of Tala's embrace. "We have to go to my quarters first, though. And sometime today I need to go see Benjamin." She leaned back to kiss Tala lightly on the nose. "Rumor control." She explained.

"Of course." Tala had stayed where she was, stretching her lithe form out across the bed that Dax had just vacated. She looked the Trill up and down in a decidedly lecherous fashion.

Looking down at her, Jadzia fancied that she could feel her symbiont's heart speed up to keep time with her own. She was so beautiful. From the lovely ridges on her nose to the slender ankles that were now crossed, Jadzia couldn't think of one part of the Bajoran she wouldn't want to kiss. She fought a strong urge to simply climb back into those waiting arms and lose herself for another day or two. Tala's face said that she would certainly welcome the idea. In the end, she pulled her uniform back on. "Quark is probably taking bets as to when we'll come out of this room."

Tala laughed. "All right! You win. I will stop trying to seduce you. For the time being anyway. I make no promises about my future behavior." She stood up. "We'll go to your quarters then. Lead the way." She watched as Jadzia exited the room, and smiled as she followed.

Odo entered his office and slumped into his chair. He didn't bother to call for the lights as he closed his eyes and let the memories of the previous night invade his consciousness. He had tried, unsuccessfully, to keep them at bay as he worked. It had taken him three hours to realize that he would not be able to concentrate until he had allowed his mind to go where it wanted to.

There was no denying the effect the Major had on him, it was something he had been living with for some time. But his response to her body, to her caress, to her voice, the night before was…well, it was astounding. He had always believed that his only physical release would be granted by joining the Great Link. Something that he could never do. The release he had experienced with Kira was different, but better in so many ways.

He felt his hands begin to tremble as his thoughts ran over how she had looked in the moonlight. Her skin so pale, so soft under his hands. Her gentleness with him, and her tone of command. He knew he would have remained unable to move, frozen with panic, if she had not forced the issue. He also knew that she was the only one he would ever allow to treat him that way. He fancied that he had almost been able to taste her lips, her body…but knew that was only an illusion.

It had been very pleasing though. More pleasing than he had ever thought possible.


Odo scrambled to his feet, embarrassed at not having heard the intruder. "Lights!" he bellowed, and then glared at the offender. "Quark! What are you doing here?"

"I came to complain!" The small Ferengi's nostrils flared in indignation. "I thought we had an agreement about your noise levels! Last night was completely unacceptable!"

Odo smirked. "I have it on good authority that you were not even in your quarters last night, Quark. Wasn't it Tongo night?"

"It was." Quark curled his lip in disgust. "Dax, however, decided to spend the evening in one of my holosuites." He grunted. "Everybody else loses too quickly. I assure you, I was back in my quarters by 0300 hours."

Odo was slightly disconcerted by that information, but did not allow it to show. "And I assure you, I have no idea what you are talking about."

Quark smiled at him. "Major Kira dropped by the bar last night."

"Meaning what?" Odo growled.

"Meaning nothing." Quark smiled. "I would appreciate it if you would be a little more quiet in the future." He brushed some invisible lint off the front of his jacket. "Have a good day, Constable." He strolled out of security, whistling as he went.

Odo slid back into his chair. He tried to work up an acceptable level of anger at the Ferengi's audacity, but found that he could only raise the faintest glimmer of frustration. With a sigh, he let a small smile creep onto his face.

It was still there to confuse his deputies when they came to deliver their afternoon reports.

"Tala!" Dax pushed the playful Bajoran's arms away for the fifth time. She glanced down the hallway. "I would like to be the first one to tell your sister about us!" She grinned when Tala stuck her tongue out at her. "You are in a good mood today."

"Why shouldn't I be?" She smiled up at Jadzia. "I'm home, I've found my sister, and I've just spent the evening making love to the most beautiful woman I have ever seen." She laughed again as Dax smiled in embarrassment at a couple of passing Ensigns. "And you are so cute when you are nervous."

"I'm not nervous." Dax protested. "I don't get nervous." She squeezed Tala's hand. "I'm just….happy." She finished with a mild sense of surprise. She had been happy the entire time she had been on DS9, but it didn't compare with the way she felt right now.

They continued to walk, heading down the coridoors towards Dax's quarters and Tala continued to tease her. "So," She put her arm around Jadzia's waist. "What will your friend Benjamin say about us?"

Dax smiled. "I don't know what he will say," She ignored her better judgment and pulled Tala closer. "But I can already see the smile he'll be wearing when he says it." She sobered somewhat, not wanting to ruin Tala's good mood, but she had to ask. "What about Kira?" She sighed when Tala pulled her arm away and crossed them over her chest.

"I know I have to tell her." She glanced at Dax. "I was hoping you could help me with that." She reached out quickly and put two fingers on Jadzia's lips when she began to speak. "But not today, okay?" She pleaded. "Let me have today. We'll talk about everything else tomorrow." She glanced down to the timepiece she wore on her wrist. "Nerys is more than halfway there. Maybe more, our calculations were very rough on the time estimates." She leaned into Jadzia's back as they came to a stop outside of her quarters. "With her there, it gives me a few days to decide how to tell her. Plus, it will give me some time to make some decisions about my life as well."

"Such as?" Dax reached out and keyed the door, leading Tala, who was still lost in her own thoughts, inside.

"Such as what I am going to do with myself now." She ran her hands through her hair. "I spent the first twenty years of my life fighting Cardassians, and the last nine fighting to get home. What am I going to do, now that I don't have anything to fight for?"

Jadzia leaned in and kissed her, brushing a few stray strands of fine red hair off of her forehead. She looked at her for a moment, her mind far away, before she smiled and nodded to herself. "Let me work on that one," Her heart was beating so hard she found it difficult to breathe. "I can be very creative when the occasion warrants."

"I believe it." Tala sat on the couch and pulled her legs up under her. "Go change your clothes, or whatever you have to do. I'll wait here." She raised one eyebrow suggestively. "Unless you need help…"

"Stay here." Dax warned. "I intend for you to get your surprise, and if we get stuck in here all day, as attractive as that may be, we won't make it to the holosuite."

"The holosuite?" Tala grinned. "Well, that sounds promising."

Jadzia leaned down and kissed her before heading into her bedroom.

She noticed it as soon as the door closed behind her. At first it was just a scent. A pleasing, lightly intoxicating smell that caused her to glance around in confusion. It wasn't until her eyes fell on her night table that she understood.

Sitting there, in a beautiful crystal vase, was the ugliest flower she had ever seen. With a small laugh, she walked over to it and touched one of it's petals. She grinned at the irony that such a wonderful scent, and such soft petals should belong to so ugly a plant. It was a strange shade of blue, somewhere between blue and black, and had several orange stalks rising up from the center. As she stared at it, she realized that it was becoming more attractive the longer she looked at it. Her ironic grin turned into a smile of delight as she noticed colors that seemed to swirl from within the petals. She picked it up gently and headed into the other room.

"This is wonderful." She sat down on the couch and held it out in front of her. "What is it?"

"Can you see the colors?" Tala looked at her hopefully, ignoring the question.

"Yes." Dax breathed. "There are so many different colors, and they look like they are moving underneath the surface. At first, I thought it was just a shade of off-black, but now…I don't know what color it is.""

Tala reached out and touched a petal gently. "It is a very delicate flower, which blooms no place other than the D'Kor province. At least, not that I have ever seen.." She smiled a little sadly. "I had thought them extinct, but I found this tree at the very outskirts, when Nerys and I went to the surface. It's a flower that is cherished for it's scent, but only a few out of a hundred can see the colors."

"Why is that?"

"I don't know. It's something that has mystified botanists from all over Bajor. A long time ago, in ancient times, this flower was used as a basis for choosing those who would serve the Prophets. Over the centuries, it lost it's importance, but not its fascination to the Bajora." She leaned in and inhaled deeply. "The colors are actually the flowers 'blood' moving within it's 'skin' A lot of scientists have speculated that it contains colors of a spectrum that only some can see." She looked at Dax intently. "You are the first off-worlder to ever see them."

"Well," Jadzia pulled the flower close to her chest. "I am honored. Might I know the name of this very special flower?"

"Talas." She beamed.

"What?" Dax smiled in delight for about the one hundredth time that day.

"My father got to name Nerys. Her name is a family name, our great grandmothers as a matter of fact. My mother named me. Nerys told me that she used to say my eyes matched the colors of the Talas tree. I'd like to think it wasn't because I was an unattractive infant!"

Dax laughed with her. "I can't believe there is any possibility of that." She kissed her again, pushing down the passion that she felt while trying to convey just the feeling behind it. "Thank you."

"You are very welcome." Tala pushed her away gently. "Go get ready. Could you wear your hair down?"

Jadzia nodded and started to leave the room. When she reached her bedroom door, a thought worked its way into her head. "Tala, how did you get this in my room?"

"Ahh," The Bajoran gave her a cocky grin. "I forgot to tell you that I ran into the Constable this morning as well."

"Odo?" Dax's jaw dropped. "Odo let you in my quarters?"

"No." She clarified. "He wouldn't do that, no matter what I said. But when I asked if he could do it for me, well, he said that maybe it was time someone messed around in your quarters."

"Odo said that?"

"You seem surprised."

"Well," Dax looked down at the flower. "Odo is not usually the type to enjoy playing tricks on people."

"Maybe so, but he was in an extremely good mood this morning."

Jadzia's head shot up at this particular bit of information. "A good mood? Odo?" A small smile started at the corners of her mouth and turned into a huge grin as it traveled across her cheeks. "Well, well, well. It looks like I have two stops to make after our trip to the holosuites. One to see Benjamin, and one to tease Odo."

Tala looked confused. "Tease him about what?"

"I'm going to get ready," Dax moved into the other room, calling back through the open door. "then I'll tell you all about it!"

Tala smiled to herself. "I certainly hope so."

Odo happened to glance out of his open office door just as Dax and Tala emerged from a Turbo-lift. He was momentarily taken aback by the Commander, whose hair trailed behind her like a well brushed mane, but found himself staring at Tala. She looked so much like her sister, yet too different to evoke anything but admiration from him. But then, he had always known that his affections would only ever belong to one woman. It was Nerys that he loved, and it seemed to be something that there was no cure for.

When he refocused his attention on the pair, he was astounded to find them staring back at him, matching looks of amusement and support showing quite clearly on both of their faces. With a curt nod, he looked away, trying not to be flustered by their sympathetic smiles. He was grateful when they finally entered Quarks.

He watched after them for a few moments, wondering how much they knew about his personal life, before turning his attention back to his reports.

Quark looked up from where he was tending bar and groaned.

"What's the matter, Quark?" Jadzia pinched his lobe playfully. "You always said you wanted to see me with my hair down."

"Maybe so," The Ferengi grunted. "But I meant when you were alone with me, not somebody else." He glanced at Tala. "I'm afraid all the Holosuites are in use at the moment."

"Now, Quark," Dax purred. "You and I both know that holosuite one is empty right now."

"It's on hold for Captain Sisko!" Quark's voice took on a wheedling tone. "He always has his base-ball games on this night."

"Yes, but he's working late in Ops and Jake is studying for his entrance exams. Benjamin told me that himself. And offered me his reserved holosuite, if I wanted it." She smiled innocently. "And I believe I want it."

Quark heaved a great sigh. "Fine. You know the rates."

"Quark!" Dax laughed. "You haven't forgotten that little bet you have yet to pay up on, have you? That night, two weeks ago, at the Tongo table?"

Tala was trying not to laugh. Jadzia really knew how to work this Ferengi, who was in the middle of turning several different shades of red.

"Oh, that." Quark nodded. "I remember. Ten 1-hour sessions in the holosuite."

"I believe, Quark, that the bet was ten hours in a holosuite, there were no limits on session time."

Quark's shoulders slumped in defeat.

"Oh, and Quark, I'll need a picnic basket."

"Of course, you would." Quark headed to the replicator as Tala smiled at her.

"Very nicely done. Why do we need a picnic basket?"

Jadzia pulled a small cylinder out of her blouse. "Kira gave this to me."

Tala took it from her and examined it. "What is it?"

Dax smiled. "Talas Pond."

Part 4

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