"As the Prophets Have Willed It"
Carolyn R. Fulton
Stardate: _________, Major Kira Nerys, Personal Log – The Kendis Shrine
‘I must do my duty as the Prophets have willed it.’
Vedek Brisala said that, right before she was executed by the Cardassians for ‘promoting violent dissension against the State’. Somehow it now seems appropriate, strange as that might be on what is, for all intents and purposes, my wedding night. The moment we walked through the doors of the shrine and learned that the Prophets do, indeed, wish us to walk together through life, the formal marriage ceremony became just that – a formality.
I have always prided myself that I am an obedient daughter of the Prophets; that I do their will without shirking and with my whole heart. Today, though, I finally understood some of the factors that can turn a faithful believer into an agnostic. The Prophets have declared that my path lies with someone with whom I’m not in love – at least I don’t think that I am – someone I can’t even be sure I can trust. Someone not even Bajoran. Someone who will walk through that door any minute and lay claim to my body in ways I can’t begin to imagine. Odo …
It all started with a taunt from Dax – that if I was so worried about Odo’s feelings for me, I should just go ahead and take him to the Kendis shrine and settle things once and for all. I was insane enough to take her up on it. I dragged Odo off to the shrine where all couples go to see if their unions are meant to be, expecting to rid myself of a major annoyance in record time. Instead, in record time we were on our way back to the shrine’s Inn, where an Affirmed couple traditionally gives up one of their rooms and celebrates their union in that most primal of ancient rituals, where false coverings are stripped away and their bodies come together in a celebration of life. And so I lie waiting. Waiting …for Odo …
I finally heard him come into the room at least three hours later than I expected him. I had dozed off by then, but the moment I heard his quiet step, I was instantly, violently awake, my heart pounding as it hasn’t done since the day we liberated Gallitep. He sat down on the edge of the bed beside me, his eyes shining in the dark – he’s always had beautiful eyes. He was still in uniform, a fact I found both comforting and disconcerting. I never really expected him to ‘jump’ me, but it always feels strange to be naked when everyone else is fully clothed. Even when the ‘everyone’ is only one.
"I was beginning to think you weren’t coming." Hard as I tried, I couldn’t control the nervous quaver that garbled my words.
"I wanted to regenerate first." His voice came as a soft, rough-velvet rumble, another feature I had always liked. I was focusing on the positive for all I was worth. Then he sighed and admitted, "You were right to wonder. I nearly didn’t."
"You nearly didn’t come back?" So much for the overwhelming attraction of my no-not-so-young-anymore body that he had presumably wanted to get his hands on for years. I was so startled that I forgot to grab the sheet when I sat up. The cold air on my nipples was an instant reminder, but I forced myself not to reach for the covers. No sense in trying to hide what he was no doubt going to see on a pretty much daily basis for the rest of our lives. My life, anyway. Besides, it felt kind of good to see his eyes rivet helplessly to my chest for that one crucial second before he forced himself to look at his hands, folded primly in his lap. It felt normal, like something any man would do.
"I’m going back to the station." Bypassing my breasts, his blue eyes fixed resolutely on my face. "I just came by long enough to let you know."
This was not quite the response I had envisioned. "I don’t understand."
"Don’t you?" He snorted in what I could only read as disgust. "I suppose that makes sense -- you’re pretty obtuse."
That smarted, probably because it was true, at least as far as he was concerned. "I thought you wanted to be with me! Funny time for you to change your mind."
"I want to be your lover, not your -- sacred penance."
His aim was dead-on accurate. "Then why did you come here in the first place?"
"For the same reason you did. I thought those Prophets of yours would say that was that, and I could finally get on with my life."
I opened my mouth, but no sound came out. Much against my will, I stooped to what might be considered typical feminine behavior in such a situation. I bowed my head and began to cry.
I could feel his anxious, involuntary movement vibrate through the mattress, and then he reached out to lay a tentative hand over mine. "Nerys, please. Don’t."
"I need you to teach me," I whispered, "teach me to love you. Don’t you understand? I don’t have a choice, but I want it to become so that if I did have a choice, this is still what I’d choose. Does that make any sense?"
"Some," he conceded, and I finally dared to look up into his face. The expression there was a disquieting mixture of reluctance, despair, and longing. I forced myself to reach out and lay a reassuring hand on his shoulder.
"We’ve been friends for so long -- I think we could learn to love each other if we tried."
"But that’s just it!" His voice was sharp and dismayed. "I already love you."
"Then don’t you want me to love you back?"
"I didn’t think it was supposed to work that way."
"Maybe you’ve been reading too many romantic novels. The thing is, it’s not about feelings. It’s not because of the way you feel, or the way I feel. It’s the will of the Prophets. You have to get used to that."
"My Prophets. They told me I’m supposed to be with you. If you won’t have me -- then I guess I’ll be alone."
It was a low blow, and I knew it. His head came up sharply, and his nostrils flared. "Nerys --"
"I don’t want to be alone. Please stay with me, Odo."
Odo. It felt odd to still call him that, like there should be a more intimate name to share between us. Odo, who had come so close to betraying the Federation, to betraying Bajor, to betraying me. Odo, who had nearly let me die, and who, if things went according to plan, was about to become my lover.
‘He didn’t let you die.’ It was a stern inner voice that reminded me, the one I always associated with Kai Opaka. ‘He gave it all up for you – his people, his home, his precious Link – everything.’
‘It was too damned close.’ Another voice, one that sounded strangely like Shakaar Edon, piped up with its usual arguments. ‘What happens next time? What if he decides he really can’t be bothered with a mere "solid" after all?’
He bowed his head, as though in silent conciliation. "I don’t want to be alone either. I’ve been alone all my life."
"Then be with me." Having to seduce him was an option that had never occurred to me. Nor was it something I was particularly good at. I waited helplessly as he considered my words, and looked down at my hands so there was no chance that he might continue to be influenced by the treacherous moisture in my eyes.
"All right." It was a soft-voiced acquiescence, gentle as a prayer. "I suppose it would be foolish to say no to the best chance I’ll ever have."
I forced a laugh, even while my heart lurched at the renewed realization of what he had agreed to. Odo. Odo is about to make love to me. Prophets, what does that even mean?
"Nerys –" I looked up, startled, as Odo brushed his hand lightly against my cheek. "I want this to be – as easy for you as possible." Not as good. As easy. Odo was under no illusions about my level of enthusiasm for this particular exercise. I felt a small stab of shame at my own misgivings.
"Odo –" I reached up and caught his hand in mine, twining my fingers with his. "It’s all right, tiena." It seemed advisable to try a small, soft endearment. "I know I can trust you." At least, I hoped I could. But I could see in a heartbeat that he wasn’t fooled.
"No, you don’t know that. You’re not even sure if you trust me now. But you can."
I tried to force out reassurances, but they wouldn’t come. I listened intently to Odo’s instead.
"I will never, ever hurt you, Nerys, or let anyone else hurt you. Not as long as I live. I know you don’t – I know you’re not in love with me. But I love you. I’ll always love you."
"Always is a long time for you." I couldn’t stop myself. If we were going to be honest, then we needed to be honest. "How can you know how you’ll feel ten – twenty years from now?"
"Because I know how I felt two hundred years from now. I may be a changeling, but some things won’t change."
I finally let myself look into his eyes – those wonderful, ‘bedroom’ eyes, the eyes I had noticed myself so many times in the past, but never dared to look into for too long. Why was that? Was I afraid I’d drown? Now I let myself swim, and swim deep. The love that shone in Odo’s eyes was pure, innocent, if innocence could coexist with a passion so intense that it slammed into me like a disruptor blast. Then his hands closed carefully on my shoulders as Odo leaned in cautiously to kiss me.
I met him halfway, to find his lips firm and gentle and shyly hesitant – it was like he was afraid that at any moment he’d wake up and find that this was all a dream. For the first time in hours that wasn’t my hope as well as I slipped my tongue into his narrow mouth and tasted him, also for the first time. His mouth was delicious, absolutely fresh, the only flavor a trace of kava and mint. I let my tongue find his and they began to dance together – awkwardly at first, and then with increasing vigor. I sighed and pressed into his chest, only to find his uniform scratchy against my nipples.
"Don’t you think you should take off your clothes?" I let a teasing note vibrate through my soft words, and was pleased to hear it echoed in Odo’s.
"You forget – I don’t wear any clothes." Odo drew back from me, and touched my lips gently with his fingertips. "But I see what you mean." His gaze was suddenly fearful again. "I – I need to change. If you’ll wait, I’ll be right back."
"You can change here." The bold suggestion was out of my mouth before I could stop it. The Kai Opaka voice reassured me, ‘You’re going to be with him for the rest of your life. You have to get used to it eventually.’ "I – I’d like to see it."
Odo considered my words carefully, as a little smile quirked the corners of his mouth. "All right," he said finally. "I’ll try to make it as – interesting as possible." He held out his hands in front of him, and slowly, starting at his wrists, he began to shift.
His uniform slowly vanished into sinewy arms and shoulders, his collar into a long, strong neck. The body he assumed wasn’t overburdened with muscle, but what was there was lean and hard and powerful, and his skin looked wonderfully unflawed. The fabric over his chest dissolved into smooth flesh surmounted by two small, pale nipples that stood taut against his fair skin. My fingers suddenly itched to touch him – I had never seen another body so deliciously smooth, unmarked by war or starvation. Flat stomach and lean hips were likewise revealed, and there, dimly outlined in the shadowy room against his pale belly was the darker bulk of his genitals. The penis he had shaped was distinctly and marvelously aroused, and I could feel the rush of juices to my own groin. A third voice murmured in my mind: ‘Now, this isn’t so bad, is it?’ It wasn’t Opaka, and it definitely wasn’t Shakaar. It was mine.
"There," he said finally, "you’ve seen. What do you think?"
It’s now or never, Nerys. "I can live with it." At that moment, I was more than ready to let past wrongs be forgotten – or at least overlooked for the time being. I lay back against my pillow, but I never let my eyes leave his, as Odo angled his body down after mine. My arms folded around him automatically, and he slipped between my thighs as easily as if he had made the journey a thousand times. Which, for all I knew, he had, at least in the confines of his mind. Then he was inside me, and all I could think about was how glorious it felt.
Funny … I’d never responded quite so strongly to what was almost purely visual foreplay. But the sensuous image of Odo’s uniform disappearing into the luscious smoothness of his skin had been an erotic feast. Not that he was idle now – his hands were all over me as we made love, so much so that I wondered if he wasn’t ‘cheating’, and had formed a hidden third arm or leg to hold himself up. Then he flipped on his back, still holding me securely impaled as he freed me to set the pace to our love-making. It wasn’t for nothing I was so handy at piloting a runabout. I dearly loved to steer.
"How is it? Is it all right?"
The soft question startled me, as did the expression in Odo’s eyes. How could a man look so anxious while his schlikta was buried twenty centimeters deep in the woman of his dreams? Then realization struck me, although I didn’t act on it at first. What I was doing felt far too good to give it up for any soul-searching. I rode against him more aggressively, and let the ridges on my clitoris grate with those on the base of his penis. Funny that he could make them so well there but not on his nose – then he reached up and caught my nipples in his fingertips, pulling at them gently, until they were so hard I thought they would burst. It was more than enough to send a healthy Bajoran woman over the edge, and I was certainly that. I screamed happily as I flew, and rode out my orgasm to its very last throb. I then collapsed against Odo’s chest, and let my hands travel aimlessly over his shoulders and arms.
"All right? I’d say so." Who says you have to be in love to really enjoy sex? I felt so sated that it was a major effort to prop myself up long enough to give Odo a reassuring smile. "It was wonderful, Constable. Well done."
I didn’t mean to sound flippant, but I knew that I did the second the words left my mouth. Odo winced, and turned his head to one side so I couldn’t watch the pain that had flared into his eyes. Regret slammed into me like a punch in the stomach, along with the usual accompanying guilt. This man was, if nothing else, one of the dearest friends I had. I had lost count of the times he had helped me, counseled me, even saved my life. When he had the audacity to fall in love with me, and I found out about it, I acted like he had offered me an insult rather than a gift. It suddenly occurred to me that even if I never loved Odo the way he loved me, I could at least be a better friend – the friend he had fallen in love with in the first place, not the woman who had rejected his love like she might have turned up her nose at a plateful of tube grubs.
"Odo," I whispered, as I took his chin in my fingertips and gently forced him to look at me, "I’m sorry."
"You’re hardly to blame for the way you feel." Odo pulled his chin free of my hand, and glanced pointedly away. "I’m not handsome, I’m not witty, I’m not charming – I’m an alien shapeshifter who’s nearly gotten you killed more than once. I can’t even make a decent face for you to look at. I’m not particularly brave, or honorable. The best I can manage is a middle-aged man with no eyebrows who has a good head for details, and some small knack for getting to the truth when a crime has been committed. Even that’s failed, at least once that we know of. That’s all that I am, all that I’m capable of, while you –"
"—while I’m an ex-terrorist who’s too quick to shoot off her mouth or her phaser. Who has a modest talent for coordinating docking schedules and maintenance checks. Whose ass you’ve pulled out of the fire a lot of times. Why do you love me, Odo? I’m not that special. Hell, your people are practically gods – I’m just another solid."
"When we first me, you treated me like – like I was normal."
"What do you mean?" This wasn’t what I expected – I guess I was looking for something a little more romantic. I slipped off of him to lie snuggled against his side, oddly grateful for the arm that curved automatically around me.
Odo’s voice was darker, gruffer than usual, as though it were hoarse with too many past regrets. "I had spent my entire aware life being met as an oddity. ‘You’re the shapeshifter! Do the Cardassian neck trick!’ You treated me like – just another humanoid."
"Yeah." I couldn’t help but chuckle as I remembered that seemingly inauspicious beginning. "At first I thought you were putting moves on me, and then I was scared shitless that you would find out that I really did kill Vaatrik." I really did kill Vaatrik. I wasn’t sure if I had ever put it that baldly before, even to myself. I could still remember those moments in Odo’s office after he finally realized the truth, with a sense of pain that was almost physical. I had cared so much then that he still respect me, that he would still consider me his friend. Where had that woman gone, to be replaced with the one I seemed to be now – cocksure, arrogant, and self-righteous? When had I been appointed arbiter to the world? I felt a deep stab of shame.
Odo, meanwhile, continued to speak in a soft voice. "You complimented me on my ability – something that had nothing to do with my being able to turn into a targ. You treated me like a person."
"You are a person." I wrapped my arms around his neck and hid my face against his chest. "Always." Dammit, I didn’t want to cry.
"I know. But you helped me to believe it." I felt his hand come to rest gently against my hair. "Still, it was more than that. When I first saw you, sitting there in the middle of the gloom and the smoke – your hair was the brightest thing in the room. You looked like an angel."
"Funny – I thought the same thing about you."
"You heard me. You looked so – I don’t know – smooth-featured, clean-lined, with those piercing blue eyes. It felt like you could see right through me. I was scared to death."
"You did look a little nervous," Odo conceded, a incongruous little chuckle in his voice. "I think I started to love you then."
"Oh, Odo …" I sat up abruptly at his side, before my tears could spill against his simulated skin. "I don’t deserve this – this devotion. I never asked for it, I never wanted it –"
"You think I did?" Odo’s voice expressed nothing but pure indignation, and he also jerked upright at my side. "You think I wanted to get involved with all of this ridiculous, messy, humanoid coupling? Do you honestly think I wanted to love you?!"
I looked over at the incensed Changeling seated beside me, the sheets pooled around his waist, the moonlight through the windows silvering his fair skin until he was a marble statue. His eyes were bright and outraged, and blue as the Bajoran sky. His hair was pale gold. I wasn’t in love with him, but I suddenly wanted him with an intensity that sent fire flashing through my groin. I leaned over and pressed my mouth to his.
"I know it’s messy and ridiculous. But make love to me anyway."
"Oh, Nerys …" I wasn’t sure if that note in his voice was passion or despair. But he pressed me back against the bed and began to kiss me – gently at first, and then with a desperate urgency. The realization that I had pushed aside earlier came back to tug me into guilt.
"Odo – do you enjoy this?"
Odo drew back to look at me, puzzled. "What do you mean?"
"Making love to me like this – is it good for you?"
"Isn’t it good for you?"
"It’s great for me. I’m asking about you."
"I – I enjoy touching you very much." Odo’s tone was suddenly soft and hushed. "I – I enjoy feeling you fly."
"Yes, but is there a way it might be better for you? I’d like that." I traced my fingertips against his chest, and thought I saw a clue in the almost fluid ripple of pleasure that ran across his skin. "What if you made love to me as a liquid? Would that be – better somehow? Would you enjoy it more?"
"I don’t want to – make you uncomfortable."
"Why? Does it hurt?" This was a thought that hadn’t occurred to me. I wished it still hadn’t.
"I don’t think so – I haven’t had any complaints." Odo gave a tiny smile. "But you’re a bit more xenophobic than most."
"Xenophobic! I – I – all right, I guess I am, at that." I wasn’t the most self-analytical person I knew, but even I tended to recognize an obvious truth when it was shoved in my face. "I try not to be – I guess it’s part of having lived through the Occupation."
"It would be strange if you weren’t. I just don’t want to – aggravate it."
"Tell you what – if you do anything I don’t like, I’ll tell you about it."
"Yes, Nerys, but I don’t know if I could stop. The pleasure is so – intense. It tends to blur my thought processes."
"Well, then, let’s hope it blurs mine, too." I took a deep breath and tried to relax, even though my heart was pounding. The idea of Odo losing control was more than a little scary.
"I – I’ll start slowly. That should make it easier for me to pull back if you don’t like it." Odo seemed lost in thought for a moment, before he reached out and took my hand in his. Nothing more than that – it was oddly, sweetly shy. Then his fingertips went liquid against my palm.
It was the most incredible thing I’d ever felt. Soft, sensual, overwhelming – it was like he was in my skin, not just on it. I thought about what it would be like to have that feeling on my neck – my breasts – inside my vagina, swirling over my clitoris. I gasped.
"Are you all right?" Odo hand resolidified in a heartbeat, and there were only warm fingers wrapped around mine. "I’m sorry, I –"
"I’m fine. I don’t want you to stop. It’s just very – intense." Intense? Hell, I had practically hyperventilated. Still, what was a little extra oxygen between friends? I pulled his hands against me, and placed them squarely on my breasts. "Now try."
"Oh, Prophets …" Odo’s hands went liquid, and he melted against me like Aurelian golden chocolate – just as warm, just as smooth, and just as delicious. Hell, I could feel him in my pores – and then he slipped between my thighs, and I could feel him in something else. Tingling, electric, enticing, overwhelming – he found the ridges that marked my clitoris and danced along them, slipping under its tiny hood to find the indescribably sensitive spot beneath. It was like someone had channeled a warp conduit into my innermost self. The pleasure was almost intolerable. I gasped, I sobbed, I shrieked – and I flew. I flew like a Arbazon vulture, like a Tarkelian hawk, like all of those big birds Odo talked about changing into with that wistful note in his voice. I flew higher than any of them. And Odo did, too – I could feel it somehow, mirrored in his liquid substance, as our passion ricocheted back and forth between us, a phaser fired into a mirror. A warp core breach seemed imminent when Odo suddenly drew back into solid shape and collapsed in my arms.
I felt a sudden sense of satisfaction that had little to do with the ecstatic melody that still hummed contentedly in my groin. "I liked that," I said softly, and realized deliriously that I meant it, meant every word poised to pour out of me. "I loved it. It was the most wonderful thing I’ve ever felt."
"I loved it, too." Odo’s hand crept up to cover my breast – it was a beautiful hand, long and slender and strong, big enough to cup my entire breast – not that my breasts were all that big, but it was still a nice feeling when he did it. "Nerys, I want to make you happy. That’s all I’ve ever wanted. Even if you never love me the way I love you – I’ll try to – to somehow keep you content." There was a sad resolution to his words that stabbed like a knife at my heart.
"’My contentment and my joy are in doing the Prophets’ will.’" I quoted the ancient text automatically, but realized with a sense of wonder that this was a prophecy that could come true. I could, in fact, fall in love with this man. I could, in fact, find my friend again, and find love in the bargain. I shivered with anticipation and ran my fingers through the silk of his hair. "Give it time, Odo. We’ve made a good start."
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