***

For Tele ...

Misery Loves Company ***

by

Odo V'lonn

As told to Carolyn R. Fulton

***

My existence says it all, I suppose — my parents did manage to finally get together, through no fault of their own. A lot of people think they should be grateful to their parents for the gift of life — not me! If it had been left strictly up to them, they would never have gotten around to it! I would be, at best, the bratty Bajoran purebred daughter of a boring politician, or at worst, nothing but a look of longing in my father's eyes. Parents can be so maddening at time.

I frequently will just scratch down my name as O. V'lonn. When people ask what the 'O' stands for, I explain that it's the first letter in my parents' prevailing emotional trait. Obtuse.

No, if I ever need to stand up and make a speech in front of an adoring crowd, and have to thank someone for getting me there, I think I'll thank my Aunt Dax. Or would that be my Aunt Jadzia? Or my Uncle Curzon, for that matter? Trills can be so confusing, with their present and past hosts all jumbled in there together — I'm probably safest sticking with Aunt Dax. Besides, I've always suspected that the Jadzia side of that little combo is a trifle prudish. I'm sure it was Dax who got my father to count her spots.

Perhaps I should explain.

Trills — that's the race my Aunt Dax belongs to — have this lovely pattern of brownish spots that run down each side of their faces, onto their necks, and continuing down "all the way", as Aunt Dax once put it. (They also have extremely ugly symbiotic organisms in their tummies, or at least the "joined ones" do — Jadzia's symbiont is named Dax. Joining is supposed to be the ultimate achievement for a trill, although I suspect the real triumph is on the part of the Symbiosis Commission's P.R. department. Those symbionts are ugly!) She even showed them — her spots, not her symbiont — to me once, when I was old enough to be curious and still young enough to get away with such a personal inquiry. We were in her Hoobishan Baths holoprogram — Aunt Dax has the world's best holoprograms, she's been collecting them for years. Two lives worth, at least, and maybe a few more. I'm not sure what my mother would have had to say about Aunt Dax taking me to the Hoobishan baths (although that particular program played a large part in my personal history), but Aunt Dax rarely bothers to consult her in advance about such things. She said that if it were left strictly to my mother, she'd raise me up to be next Kai, and then where would Bajor be?

I heartily agree with Aunt Dax.

Bajor is the planetary birthplace of my mother, Kira Nerys — Colonel now, although she was still a major when she married my father, a Changeling from the Gamma Quadrant. Bajorans are called a very 'spiritual people', which translates, as near as I can tell, to high levels of discomfort over being open and up front about anything that feels too wonderful. Aunt Dax assures me that sex with my father is too damned good for my mother to ever breathe a word about it to an innocent like me.

All questions related to my innocence (or lack thereof) aside, I have to admit that Aunt Dax is probably right in her suspicions. She's a good godmother, though, in that she thinks I should know about these things, especially in view of the fact that I take after the shapeshifter side of the family, at least as far as abilities go. I have my mother's looks, more or less (except when I want to change them), but my father's ability to morph into pretty much whatever I choose. (Which makes me think of the time that I almost managed to seduce Julian — my folks call him my Uncle Julian, but damned if I'm going to — by imitating Aunt Dax, but that's another story.) My parents seem to go by the old Earth axiom that silence is golden. It's enough to make me want to tear my hair out. I mean, it's not like I couldn't grow it right back.

All of this makes it sound like I don't love my parents, but I do. It's hard to explain the dynamic between us — my father is definitely a daddy, and my mother is definitely a Mother. I suspect that I'm largely responsible for the lovely wings of silver hair at Mom's temples, and a few of those little lines around her mouth — fortunately, most of her lines are smile lines. My parents love each other to the point of temporary insanity, except that you can't call it temporary since there's no cure on the horizon. Julian says they're "besotted". I only know that they still go at it like rabbits — and that they would be appalled to hear me say so.

Perhaps I should amend that statement. My mother would be appalled, my dad would be — startled, but amused. I certainly have no trouble understanding why he would prefer shifting all over my mother rather than some statue in the study. It still amazes me, though, that my mom is such a screamer — though not as amazed as she would be to learn how many times I used to shape myself into an extra ficus and hide in the corner of their bedroom. This was back when I was younger, and desperate for facts that I couldn't seem to find in any of my textbooks — it stopped when I told Dax about it, as she promised me that she would inform my father of my activities in no uncertain terms unless I gave her my solemn word never to do it again. (I never break my word. Well, not my solemn word.) She also refused to help me develop a holoprogram of Julian Bashir, but fortunately Uncle Quark isn't nearly so squeamish.

I like my Uncle Quark. My mother is still galled that I call him that, but Dad is more tolerant. Uncle Quark was the first one to guess how my father felt about my mother — I think that Dad has had a certain soft spot for the old scoundrel ever since. Uncle Quark assures me that I wouldn't recognize the man my father used to be — uptight, strait-laced, would never admit to a gentle feeling if his life depended on it — and he may well be right. But that was before my father counted my Aunt Dax's spots.

To hear her tell the story ...

***

Jadzia Dax almost missed the single light burning in the Security Office on her way home after a particularly long, but not grueling, shift in Ops. The Promenade was dark, nightcycle more than half over, and the only beings apparently still awake and about were herself and Security Chief Odo.

Jadzia went up and tapped on the glass doors before letting herself into Odo's office.

"Odo — you're up very late," she observed.

Odo looked at her wryly. "The obvious response would be, 'So are you, Commander'." He looked back down at the data PADD in his hand. "Therefore, I don't think I'll say it."

"Don't you need to regenerate?"

"Not for a while yet — so if you're hoping to rearrange the items in my quarters before you go to bed tonight, you're going to be disappointed."

Something about Odo's cool complacency annoyed Dax intensely. "Actually, I thought I'd see if you wanted to join me for a little late-night outing." Dax wasn't sure where the invitation came from, but it sounded good as it came out of her mouth.

Odo's hand paused in tapping data into his PADD. "What kind of outing?" he asked suspiciously.

"A holosuite outing."

Odo snorted skeptically. "Yes, I'm very likely to want to do that," he drawled sarcastically.

"You do it with Chief O'Brien. Why not me?" Dax shot back her retort without hesitation.

"Because Chief O'Brien takes me kayaking. You're just as likely to take me to the Pleasure Palaces of Rix."

Dax shrugged. "They're not that bad — you'd know that if you'd ever been there."

"Besides — Quark's is closed."

"I have a credit chip I can use during his off-hours. It's a new scheme he's trying — more profit for him, and people who otherwise 'wouldn't be caught dead" going into a holosuite can do so in 'complete anonymity'."

"You sound like you're quoting his sales pitch," Odo observed.

"Come on, Odo — I'm too keyed up to go to sleep for a while, and it would be fun."

"What kind of program did you have in mind?" Odo asked suspiciously, but Dax could sense he was weakening.

"Just a place I used to go to on Trill. Very peaceful, very relaxing — I just hate to go alone, having someone to talk to is half of the fun. Please?"

Odo put down his data PADD with a sigh. "I suppose ..."

"Thank you, Odo. You'll love it, I promise you. I'll meet you at the upper level entrance, I just have to change."

"Change?" All of Odo's warning lights went on. "Why do you have to change?"

"Because I've been wearing this uniform for sixteen hours! Trust me!" Dax gave her most wheedling smile.

"Hmph." Odo gave her a final, narrow-eyed look. "I'm probably going to regret this ..."

***

"The Hoobishan Baths?" Odo stared at Dax accusatorily. "You brought me to the Hoobishan Baths?"

"They're famous on Trill as a place for relaxing and engaging in good conversation." Dax, wearing a very minimal outfit — Odo supposed it was what was called a bathing suit — stretched out in a lounge chair and sighed in contentment. Odo, maintaining his usual uniformed appearance, perched on the absolute edge of another seat, looking like he would have preferred a program for Dante's Seventh Circle of Hell.

"Odo, relax," Dax urged. "Why don't you take a swim?"

"A swim?"

"You're a liquid — can't all liquids swim?"

"I don't know — I've never tried it."

"Well, then ..." Dax waved her hand at the pool stretching before them, lazy curls of steam rising from its surface. "The water looks wonderful — why don't you try it now?"

"I really should be getting back to my office, Commander."

"Odo, can't you relax for even a minute? It's no wonder you can't —" Dax stopped abruptly, a look of guilt sliding across her face.

"No wonder I can't what?" Odo asked sharply.

Dax took a deep breath and quietly finished her statement. "It's no wonder you can't get anywhere with Kira."

The silence between them swelled, expanded like some multi-celled organism. "Thank you for your insight," Odo said finally, in a tight, controlled voice. "I'll try to remember it." He stood as if to go.

"Odo, wait — I'm sorry, I shouldn't have mentioned it." Dax stood also, putting a placating hand on Odo's arm. "We've never talked very much about when Curzon was 'joined' with you — maybe we should have before now."

"It was an experience I — valued very much, Commander."

"And you don't tend to share the things you really value," Dax observed quietly.

Odo looked startled at the assessment, then slowly nodded. "I don't have very many of them. Perhaps I — hoard them as a result."

"You've got to make an investment if you want to see any return, Constable."

"Let's just say that my few attempts at 'investing' have turned out badly." Odo hesitated, almost as though there was a great deal more he wanted to say — was dying to say. Impulsively, Dax leaned over and kissed him on the cheek.

"You have a lot of friends here, Odo. We just want to be a part of your life."

"Thank you, Dax. I'll try to keep that in mind." Odo started moving toward the door.

"Odo, wait! I — I need your help!" Dax's words shot out of nowhere.

"What with, Commander?" Odo turned back, looking at her curiously.

With what, indeed? Dax wondered. One of her older personalities — she was quite sure it was Curzon — pushed an answer out of her mouth. "I need help counting my spots."

"What?" Odo's face was a study in absolute bewilderment.

"My — spots. The Symbiosis Commission wants an exact count of my spots." Dax dug in and vowed to see the lie through.

"Whatever for?"

"Some kind of new theory they have — about the number of spots and the way they're distributed being a clue as to whether or not a Trill is suitable for Joining."

"And they want you to count them."

Dax nodded apologetically.

Odo rolled his eyes in derision. "Bureaucrats!" he exclaimed. "If it isn't one useless thing, it's another." He stared at Dax in sudden suspicion. "Why can't it be done with a medical scan, or a tricorder?"

"I don't know — it might have something to do with the presence of the symbiont, but electronic data has proven to be — unreliable. I just thought that you, since you have so many sensors that you can dedicate in the areas that you choose, you might be able to —"

"To —?"

"To — shapeshift. On my spots. To count them." Now that the idea was out of her mouth, Dax felt a certain tweak of anticipatory excitement. Even the symbiont seemed interested in the idea of such a new sensation — Dax swallowed hard before giving her most charming smile.

"You said they wanted an exact count," Odo observed.

Dax nodded. "That's right."

"But — Commander — some of your spots are — they're in places that —" Odo stopped, uncomfortable.

"I know — I wouldn't ask you if I weren't desperate, Odo. After all, I can hardly ask Julian to do a visual count of them — we'd never finish!"

"What about Major Kira?"

"Oh, she'd be too embarrassed. It's different for you, Odo — it's not like you — you know —"

"Yes, but I'd have to touch you to do it."

"That's true — but it won't take you nearly as long. Please, Odo — it would mean so much to me."

There was a long pause while Odo eyed the Trill reluctantly. Finally he said, "Too bad your spots run down the front." Odo sighed. "All right, Dax — take those things off — you'd better not sit back down on your chair, I'm not sure it will hold both of our weights."

"All right." Her hands suddenly shaking a little, Dax unfastened the bra of her bathing suit and tossed it on the lounge chair, following it up with the scrap of fabric that passed for briefs. She managed to give Odo what she hoped was a natural-looking smile. "Here you go, Constable."

"Hmm ..." Odo studied her critically. "Lie down. It will be easier for me to spread over you that way. And please — close your eyes. I'd rather you didn't look at me, if you don't mind."

"Oh — sure!" Dax lay down at the edge of the pool, obediently closing her eyes. She could feel her body quivering with anticipation — her nipples, the same dusky brown as her spots, rose hard and tight from her breasts, and she hoped desperately that Odo wasn't particularly well-versed on the particulars on humanoid sexual response. She could feel the blood rushing under her skin, no doubt darkening her spots — oh, yes, she was one aroused Trill.

"Are you ready?" Odo asked softly.

"Oh — definitely — I mean, yes, I'm ready." Willing and able, she silently added the rest of the response that Curzon had learned from Benjamin Sisko. She sighed a little as something warm and molten closed on her ankles, and began inching its way up her body. She gritted her teeth, forcing herself not to gasp, even as she felt the muscles in her groin automatically soften, felt her knees give and her thighs relax, ever so slightly.

She set herself to quietly withstand Odo's touching her until he had covered her entire body. Only then did Dax let herself relax, allowing her thighs to open as she ran her fingers tantalizingly through the substance that covered her.

"This," she murmured, "is just wonderful."

As in response to her words, the substance blanketing her skin started to move against it even more enticingly, finding her most tender regions and stimulating them mercilessly until she thought her head would explode and she came with all the ferocity of which her joined species was capable.. Then, suddenly, Odo solidified in the confines of her arms. Dax noticed from some vague corner of her mind that he did so minus the uniform.

"You have," he whispered, "four thousand, seven hundred and twenty-three spots — and a whole lot of explaining to do."

"Let me — let me catch my breath," Dax gasped. There was a glimmer of hope in the trace of softness in Odo's eyes, and the unconsciously sensuous way he ran his hand up the smooth line of her neck. Not averse to using any possible advantage she could, Dax squirmed a little beneath her unsuspecting partner, and was gratified by his barely audible moan. Dax said meekly, "I don't know — I guess I thought it would — loosen you up." She ventured a little thrust with her hips. The ensuing look on Odo's face could have been pain — but he didn't move from his position against her.

"More than rearranging my furniture?" he managed.

Dax shrugged. "It was something — even more personal."

A spark flashed through Odo's eyes. "It is that," he agreed sharply.

Dax ran her hands over his chest, then down his sides and flat stomach. "Was it that awful?" she murmured curiously.

"You — you — " Odo sputtered "— it was — it was — " He sighed and buried his face in the side of her neck. "It was wonderful."

Dax giggled, letting her legs and thighs twine around him. "Besides, I was just doing what you're supposed to do in a holosuite."

"What do you mean?" Odo drew back to look at her curiously.

Dax smiled — her calm, secret smile. "Fulfilling a fantasy, of course. Shapeshifters are the stuff of fantasy, you know."

"No — I didn't," Odo confessed. He smiled a little in return, and dared to slide a hand up Dax's body to fondle her breast. Dax purred in contentment.

"I haven't done anything like this in a long time," she sighed. "Nerys doesn't know what she's missing ..."

***

Apparently, though, my mom was about to find out.

The details of this part of the story — at least the ending — would be much sketchier if Aunt Dax hadn't thoughtfully remembered to activate a holographic imager when she entered the holosuite that night — and remembered to remove it along with the data before my father could get it and dispose of it. Aunt Dax, being no fool, swore to him shortly thereafter that no such recording existed, and apparently put up quite a fuss that he could possibly suspect her of having done such a thing.

Consequently, I imagine that I am one of the few beings in existence who actually has a holographic record of her own conception. I am touched and proud.

Of course, Aunt Dax tried to edit out the truly naughty parts, but she didn't do the most thorough job at erasing them — just a standard double-encrypted delete. Between me, Uncle Quark, and Uncle Rom, we had no trouble at all putting it back together — and you should have seen their faces when we finally got to watch the complete program! I never knew a Ferengi's ears could turn pink!

But I'm getting ahead of myself. At first it went something like this ...

***

At first Dax wondered if her reference to Kira wasn't the worst thing in the world she could have said, as Odo stiffened against her, his eyes bright with anger. She soon realized, though, that his anger was directed elsewhere, as his hands started moving purposefully against her, even while his lower body returned slowly, enticingly to his liquid state.

"You're right — she doesn't. Let's just keep it our secret, shall we?" Odo asked softly, and waited until Dax finally gave him a reluctant nod. "In fact, I don't plan to ever refer to this again — and I hope that you won't either."

"Not even to you?" Dax asked quietly.

"Well — maybe someday," Odo acceded. "Just not right away."

"All right." Dax sighed luxuriously as Odo finished reverting to his natural substance and starting moving over her body. She was just getting ready to break out in a blissful scream when the unspeakable happened — she heard the door to the holosuite <swoosh> open, and a cheerful voice saying, "You couldn't sleep either, Dax? I hope you're not up to anything you don't want me to —"

The too-familiar voice died, with a strangled croak, in mid-sentence. Kira Nerys gasped, "Dax! You have a holoprogram of — Odo?"

The 'holoprogram' hovered against Dax, as motionless as if she had put it on pause. At least Kira had offered one of them an out, if they managed to bluff it through ... "Computer," Dax called, in what was a reasonably level voice given the circumstances, "make holographic image of Changeling resume customary humanoid form."

Odo promptly shot into a column of golden gel and recoalesced in his usual uniformed shape while Dax scrambled to her feet beside him. Unfortunately, in the terror of the moment, Dax had completely forgotten that the computer would answer her.

"Unable to comply. There is no holographic image of Changeling operative in this program."

Kira walked slowly closer, staring from Dax to the silent figure of Odo. Dax managed a sickly smile. "Must be a malfunction," she explained, shrugging.

Kira's eyes narrowed dangerously. "Computer," she called, "end program."

Black walls with yellow gridwork immediately sprang up to surround them — all three of them. Kira gave her friends a final look, before raising her hands as if to distance them, and looking away. "I'm sorry — I had no idea — you didn't have the lock setting on — I'll leave you alone now ..." Kira staggered blindly toward the door.

"Kira, wait!" Dax called. "It's not what you think — Odo was just helping me — count my spots."

Kira turned back to stare at her. "Count your — Dax, what kind of idiot do you take me for?!"

"Obviously the same kind of idiot she took me for." Odo's deep voice rumbled off the walls of the empty room. "I suspect the real fact is that Com — that Jadzia decided I was a little old to still be a virgin, and deep down I agreed with her."

"I see." Kira lowered her eyes, staring at the floor. A whisper of hurt flickered through her eyes, and in it Dax saw a glimmer of hope for both of her friends.

"Tell her the rest of it," Dax said suddenly, insistently. Odo's head jerked up and he glared at her, horrified.

"What rest of it?" Kira looked from one friend to another, puzzled and a little afraid.

"Why he hasn't taken advantage of any of his opportunities in the past. Why he's waited all this time. Tell her, Odo."

"I —" Odo paused helplessly. Finally he shook his head and whispered, "I can't."

"Why? Because you'll harm your friendship, and your friendship with Kira is more important than making love to anyone else? Tell her!"

"Odo —?" Kira stared at her friend, an odd look of comprehension beginning to filter into her eyes.

Dax let herself go. Shrugging on her robe, she grabbed her bathing suit and turned toward the door. "I'm leaving now," she announced. "But before I go, I'd like to make a suggestion — Nerys, make Odo to tell you exactly how he feels about you." Dax stalked away, the door to the holosuite swishing closed behind her.

Odo just stared at Kira, unable to speak, unable to move. Kira whispered, "Computer! Seal doors to holosuite — open only to my voice print. Authorization Kira-beta-alpha." She looked around at the bare walls. "Umm... computer, activate program Kira-Bajor-1."

The bare walls were replaced with a peaceful woodland glade, complete with trickling spring and rustic stone benches. Odo looked at Kira curiously.

Kira shrugged. "Every once in a while, I used to come here to meditate, after — a while ago. It's the only program I really know about."

"It's — very nice." Odo finally unglued his simulated tongue from the roof of his simulated mouth. "Nicer than the Hoobishan Baths, anyway."

Kira shrugged. "I don't know — I kind of like Dax's Hoobishan Baths program."

"Yes — I suppose I do, too." Odo, unable to meet Kira's gaze, wandered over to one of the flowering shrubs and touched its leaves thoughtfully. "A revska bush — with flowers instead of berries?"

"The replicated ones just aren't as good, and the flowers are beautiful." Kira moved to stand at Odo's side, raising her hand to touch one of the delicate white blossoms. As though possessed of a life of its own, her hand moved from the flower to close gently around Odo's fingertips. She asked softly, "How do you feel about me, Constable?"

"Nerys —" Taking every ounce of courage he possessed, as well as his heart, in his hands, Odo turned to face Kira. "I — I —" He stared at her helplessly. Finally he managed to murmur, "I'm in love with you."

"Oh." Kira looked at her hand, still holding his. "I never thought you could be." Kira turned away and crossed to one of the benches, where she sank down as though her strength had abandoned her. Her shoulders quivered, and Odo realized with horror that she was crying.

"Major, I —" He crossed and, after some hesitation, seated himself beside her, careful to leave at least a foot of space between them. "I'm sorry — I never meant to upset you, or to make you uncomfortable — your friendship means too much to me for that." Odo floundered helplessly, staring down at his hands. "Please — don't say you can't be my friend."

"Of course I can be your friend," Kira whispered. "But I'd rather be your lover."

Odo's head snapped up and to the side as he fixed Kira with an unbelieving stare. Kira met his gaze with a wry smile, the tears slowly drying on her face.

"Did you never guess? Why I always come to you with my problems — or just to talk, to be with you? I just never thought your people would — could —" Kira blushed, turning to study the water trickling quietly into the spring. Then she looked back into his eyes.

"Good news," she whispered. "I'm in love with you, too."

Odo got slowly to his feet, his eyes never leaving Kira's. She followed him, taking his hand in hers.

"How can you?" Odo whispered. "I'm —"

She released his hand so she could take his face between her outstretched fingers. "You're Odo," Kira said simply. Standing on tiptoe, she kissed him, soft and full on the mouth.

She let him lower her to the 'ground' without another word, let him peel away her clothes and begin to explore her body with gentle hands that went liquid against her flesh. Kira only cried out once as his heated mass poured into her, filling the void between her thighs as it had never been filled before — Kira let the tears run unchecked down her cheeks as Odo moved against her, flowed over her and in her until she could no longer tell where he ended and she herself began. Somehow Odo managed to reform a mouth, whisper some words against her ear.

Something about shots.

"Of course I've had my shots," she managed to gasp. She wondered what he thought she was planning to do — take a trip to Cardassia? She'd never heard that Changelings carried any particular diseases ...

"Good ..." Something was happening within her, something critical and irrevocable, soldering her to him like white-hot metal — Kira finally let herself go, screaming in sheer rapture. Odo relaxed and resumed his form against her, kissing every place on her face, neck, and shoulders that his lips could reach.

Kira just lay there, sprawled out exhausted in her overwhelming contentment. She reached out and touched Odo's cheek gently.

"What did you think you were going to give me, Raxellian brain fever?" she teased. "Did I have my shots? Honestly!"

Odo looked at her, his face suddenly tense. "Not your immunizations — your shots."

"Wha — oh, Prophets." Kira stared at him. "But — you and I — we couldn't — could we?"

"I don't know. It — felt like we could."

"Like we could —?"

"Like we did."

"I — damn."

***

Touching, isn't it? I am particularly fond of my mother's tender remark upon realizing that I had been conceived.

Just to be on the safe side, they got married the following week. It was the talk of the station for months to come, especially as my mother started "showing" rather quickly. Like immediately. I'm not sure she's ever forgiven me for that — or for the speed of my development in general, for that matter. When stating my chronological years, Aunt Dax always adds 'going on thirty-five', and I suspect she's underestimating. In any event, I was born exactly three months after my parents little adventure, marking my arrival in the universe with a gelatinous <plop!> I'm not sure that my mother has any cause to be so irritated, since my father ended up carrying me for most of the three months — but that's another story.

Their anniversary is next week, as a matter of fact — technically, that makes today a rather special anniversary of mine. The day that a shapeshifter counted a Trill's spots — and found that he had a place in a certain Bajoran's heart — was ten years ago today.

Hmm ... Mom should be in a good mood. I wonder if I can finally talk her into letting me grow breasts ...

THE END

***

Copyright ( 1996 by Carolyn R. Fulton.

Paramount owns all rights to STAR TREK: DEEP SPACE NINE and the characters and universe depicted within. This is a work of fan fiction, designed solely for the enjoyment of fans of the Star Trek universe, and no infringement of Paramount's copyright or trademarks is intended. The following may be reproduced electronically or in single hard copy for your own enjoyment only, providing that all disclaimer material remains in place.


Like all fan-fic authors, your comments are my only reward. Please drop me a line at ds9kirys@me.com and let me know what you think!
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