Boats against the Current
She stepped through the heavy wooden doors that blocked the entrance to the temple, his hand in her arm. Inside, there were a few tourists milling about, but she felt sure they could find a quiet place to talk, wherever the humans had used to meditate. He came along placidly, and her hand tightened around his own, feeling it very solidly in her own.
Finally, she found one. It didn't have wooden doors, but it did have a small entrance, and a bunch of candles lit up behind her, apparently to the statue of a small woman. She wasn't looking at that, exactly. She was looking at Odo's smooth face, lit up in candle light, partially obscuring the pale eyes she was so used to looking in.
"We need to talk." She said, her voice a whisper. Even now there were people probably looking at them.
"Yes, we do. I have to tell you..."
"I'd like to go first." She blurted. He blinked and then dipped his head towards her, watching guardedly.
"Last night, you didn't come back. I know, you were probably out making a decision about ...us. I understand that." She paused, and he opened his mouth to say something.
"Not yet. I'm not finished. So, I guess that's fine, that you didn't come back. But today, I was speaking with Jake, and he basically forced me to think about something I've been avoiding. Pushing out of mind. The fact that sooner or later, this meeting will be over. And you'll go back to the Link." She paced like a trapped razor cat a few feet away from him.
"That's fine. I mean, it isn't fine, but I can accept that this is the price I have to pay for having fallen in love with a changeling, with you. I just need you, us to be honest about it to each other. No more, dancing around the issue. You always told me the truth before, let's not stop that now. Once we get it out, then we can concentrate on enjoy the rest of our time."
She stopped pacing then, looking for all the world like the fighter she had once been, as if he said the wrong word, she might spring, and he wouldn't know if she'd try to tear him apart, or smother him in love. And it was too funny, but he'd laugh later.
"I'm staying here, with you. That's what I was looking for you to tell you. She and I have decided to let me stay here, with you."
She turned slightly, then, and then looked back, her mouth half open in shock. A slight bubbling chuckle erupted into full laugher as she pressed against the stone walls, so as not to fall over. He stepped close to her, afraid she was in some sort of hysteric shock.
That's when she kissed him, hard, against the lips.
"That makes this so much easier, then." She whispered, once they had parted.
A week or so later, she found herself leaning against the balcony, watching the water in the bay lap itself against the shore below. Summer was quickly cooling into fall, so she had dressed warmly, in a nice sweater and pants set. Behind her, she could hear Keiko objecting to some way that Miles had placed the plates, and Molly making a joke about the two of them.
"So, it all turned out all right with you and Jake in the end, hasn't it?" 'Yoshi asked, leaning against the same balcony, as his young bride stepped out from the threshold bearing drinks.
She too, found herself laughing. "Of course. He'll never admit it, but he's secretly so pleased Odo is staying." She took one from the grasp of Alamelu, nodding her head in thanks.
"Because of his novel, or for other reasons?" This was asked by Alamelu, as she sipped from her own glass, the other hand placed just so on 'Yoshi's shoulder. Kirayoshi looked at her in surprise.
Nerys nodded, and said, "A little of both, I think."
Alamelu nodded, and looked out over the vista as well. They all lapsed into silence, of the happy, well meaning sort. A few seconds later, she heard the padding of her lover's feet, and then the warmth as he encircled her in his arms.
He was with her. And he wasn't leaving. The knowledge warmed her to the very center of her being.