Boats Against the Current
Twilight's pale luminance filled the room from the sole window in Ssrasth's office and seemed to settle over the chairs and table in the conference room like a heavy drapery. Nerys opened her mouth as if to blurt something out-anything to end the silence that echoed. Then she closed it.
"It's good to see you again, Nerys." Odo said, when she seemingly couldn't come up with anything.
Nerys smiled, and almost laughed. "It's good to see you too, Odo. I didn't think you'd be coming to this."
He nodded. "Well, I thought you would be back on Deep Space Nine, but...." His blue eyes scanned her outfit. "Ambassador Nerys. I've missed a lot."
"That you have." She said, joyfully. "Let's go take a walk, and I'll catch you up on everybody." She offered. It wasn't exactly the greeting she had hoped for, but then, it was just good to be with him again. Speaking to him. Even if she was nervous-twenty years was a long time, even for a changeling.
The light of Luna in its full phase glistened over the Seine, the ancient river that coursed through the Federation's capital even now. Old-styled boats prowled the waterway, ducking under bridges with their cargo of visitors out for a romantic night in Paris. They walked over a bridge, as Kira rattled responses off about the various crew-members of Deep Space Nine, in response to Odo's questions.
"Jake's been doing very well for himself these days. He married a nice Bajoran girl a few years back, Liasa."
Odo nodded thoughtfully at that. "And does he still write?"
"Yes, he's the reporter for the Federation, on the Bajoran sector. And he's written a few books and short stories as well." She said guardedly, wondering if she should tell him about Jake's interest in them.
"I see. And what about Kassidy and the baby? Well, I suppose she would be grown by now." He offered as they neared the end of the bridge.
I nodded. "Kassidy still runs her cargo business. Jadzia, well, we call her Jaz for short, she lives on Bajor and goes to university."
Odo nodded, and then they lapsed into one of their now familiar silences. Both of us have a lot on our minds, I guess, Kira thought as she looked at Odo.
Kira took a deep breath and then continued with, "Jake is on Earth right now. We could go see him if you want."
Odo shrugged his shoulder, then looked over to her. "Maybe later." A slight pause and then, "Nerys, you've told me all about everyone I could possibly have known on the station, but you haven't told me anything about yourself."
She paused, and then laughed. "I haven't, have I?" She hadn't even realized that was the case. The talk about others had been a good buffer to keep from getting more personal. Even if we did have a fantastic reunion, at the end of this conference, he's still going to go back to the Link. And then I'll be in the same place I was twenty years ago, she thought sadly.
Odo smiled. "And it is that, that I am most interested in. I never thought you'd be in a desk job. You hated them." She looked at him, and decided to cast all cares to the wind. Maybe she would be left alone again, but that was no excuse. The Prophets had led her to this point, and she had to go forward.
Kira nodded and chuckled again. "And I still hate them. But this one is different somehow..." She started as they walked into the night.
They walked as she talked, sharing stories of what had happened-the good and the bad. As they did so, people of all colors and species stopped to look at them, and then share a smile with their nearest neighbor. Kira saw, and in her head mildly rebuked Jake for ever writing that dratted story, but smiled on the outside. Odo responded in his own gruff way, with a roll of the eyes or a slight snort, which only caused those watching them to twitter and smile more.
Kira was less familiar with Paris than she was of San Francisco, so she headed them to one of the few places she could navigate to anywhere in the city without getting lost. The enormous shadow cast by the large temple--cathedral, she mentally corrected herself, was an island of cool shadows on cobblestones, and the later it got, the fewer people came. They preferred to see it when the sun was out. The light of Luna, and one of the artificial habitations provided just enough illumination to marvel over the great stone structure and it's twin bell towers. The dark, grey stones reached up towards the sky, and the curving buttresses holding the stones up reminded her of docking pylons.
"This is one of the few places I've been in Paris. It's a cathedral, which is a human term for a temple." She said, stepping close to the large wooden doors.
Odo looked up and nodded, and then placed a hand on the large stone wall closest to him. "It certainly has a certain dark charm about it." The eyes of human deities looked down upon them. She wondered if he thought it looked, somehow, like an earthbound Cardassian space station.
She backed away to get a better look at the bell towers again, and closed her eyes as a wave of the past seemed to brush up against her pagh. Her eyes closed as she reasserted herself in the present. She took a few deep breaths to calm herself then opened her eyes to see a worried Odo looking at her and walking closer.
"Nerys, are you all right?" He asked, concern evident in his voice. The same protectiveness she'd always associated with his love. He stopped just a few inches from her.
"Yeah, I'm just..." she trailed off, not knowing how to put into words what was bothering her. Then, "Odo, why did you come back? Why now?"
He stepped back as if stung. "I had to-it was why I left. I have to ensure my people never threaten solids again." He frowned. "But that's not what you mean, is it? What you mean is why did I come back into your life." His blue eyes locked onto hers, and Nerys nodded, with a shuddering breath. Their gaze burned holes into her own, and she looked away.
"Yeah. Yeah, that's what I mean." She admitted, and the words sounded harsh, even if they were from a deep hurt. Kira watched him, searched his eyes for what he was thinking.
He bristled with hurt, and then slowly, he opened his mouth. It took him a minute or two. She hugged herself, wondering if it would be a well-composed acceptance. She found herself hoping it wasn't, and yet fearing it was, at the same time. Prophets, I'm being irrational, she thought angrily. I should be happy he's here, for now.
"I ... missed you every day in the Link. I should have known that you would eventually forget about me and move on." His voice was full of scorn for himself, and she realized he was experiencing one of those bouts of self-doubt he had early on in their relationship.
Kira stepped closer and took his hand. "I never forgot." She whispered fiercely. "And how could I have moved on?" She said, clasping the hand tightly. "I still love you." It was airy and almost insubstantial, after having been buried inside her for so long. But it was enough for him to hear. He looked up, and she leaned forward.
Above, the dance of the galaxies continued, but to them, it seemed as if time had stopped.
Onto Chapter Four