by JS Stephens
Copyright © 1999, revised 2013. All Rights Reserved.
Comments to: firstname.lastname@example.org
Disclaimers, warnings, other stuff: raise your hand if you saw the Star Trek: Deep Space Nine pisode "The Emperor's New Cloak". Okay, you may proceed. If you haven't seen the episode, you'll pick up the main plot pretty quickly, so don't worry. Yep, there is womanly subtext or maintext, I won't say more. And I'm just borrowing the characters, and plan to return them no worse for the wear.
"But wait, this is the best part," Quark said to his audience. "Not only did the mirror Ezri have an affair with the Intendent, it was obvious that she and the mirror Leeta had sparks flying as well. I'm sure that her interrogation was, shall we say, rather intense?"
"So, you're saying I had an affair with the Intendent, or my mirror self did?" Ezri Dax queried.
"Yes, but your counterpart broke it off, something to do with Brunt's death, but you two absolutely sizzled together. I mean, your counterpart sizzled," the Ferengi bartender quickly amended.
Colonel Kira muttered, "My counterpart seems to pick up the most interesting partners. At least she picked a cute one this time." She reached over and ruffled Ezri's short black hair affectionately. "I'd stay to hear more, but I'm sure I'll hear plenty when Captain Sisko nails your little Ferengi butt to the wall for crossing over to the mirror universe."
"But Kira, we had to rescue the Grand Nagus!" Quark protested. "He's the leader of our people! He needed us, actually asked for me by name."
Dr. Julian Bashir chuckled. "Good thing Odo isn't around, or he'd preempt the captain and slam you and your brother Rom into a cell right now. I think I'd better head back as well. Ezri, may I walk you to your quarters?"
"Sure, Julian. Quark, maybe I'll hear the rest of your tale later. Good-night, all." The small Trill woman stood up, following the tall, dark human doctor into the walkway of the Promenade corridor of Deep Space Nine. They walked in silence for a few paces, then Ezri asked, "Julian, is it my imagination, or is Kira trying to be more friendly toward me lately? I remember that she and Jadzia were close friends, but until the past week, she's been rather distant toward me. I mean, it was pretty traumatic for her that I was killed in the Bajoran chapel. I mean that Jadzia was killed in the chapel. Whatever, this life-tense mixing is pretty weird sometimes, you know? I'm not rambling too much am I?"
Julian smiled at the Star Fleet counselor. "No, Ezri, you are not rambling and yes, the colonel does seem friendlier toward you lately. She's probably starting to get over Jadzia's death and also wanting to keep that connection to Jadzia through you. But, I'm just a physician, not a counselor, so you tell me."
Ezri sighed as they entered the turbolift."Yeah, I'm the counselor, the mixed up one at that." They got off the lift and continued walking toward their quarters. "I'm still sorting out the memories of the various Dax hosts, it's very confusing at times. But, I have to remind myself that even Jadzia went through an adjustment period where she felt like her own identity was shaky." They stopped in front of Ezri's door. "Well, thanks for the chat, Julian, I'll see you tomorrow."
Julian chastely kissed Ezri's cheek, then said, "I had a fun evening, are you free for lunch after the staff meeting?"
"No, I'm going to eat in my office, I've had so many patients lately that I'm behind on my reports. But thanks for the offer anyway." She keyed her entry code to open her door, then turned back to the doctor. "Good-night, my friend."
"Good-night," Julian echoed as he watched Ezri walk into her quarters. "Sleep well, my dear," he said to the closed doors.
Ezri Dax yawned and stretched after her last patient for the day left. She was so tired, her day had been much longer than usual. The war between the Dominion and the Federation had made for a heavy load of shell-shocked soldiers, especially when the Fleet constantly rotated its personnel between the station and the battlefield. Ezri glanced at the chronometer, noting that it was already 19:00 hours. She finished up her notes, shut off her padd, tidied her desk, finally noticing that she was quite hungry. Well, it was pretty obvious when her stomach started growling loudly, she thought with tired amusement. As she prepared to leave the office, the door chimed. "Who is it?" she called out, hoping it was not another patient.
"Just me," answered Kira," may I come in?"
"Oh, sure," Ezri replied. She ran her fingers distractedly through her short black hair as the slender Bajoran walked into her office. "What can I do for you, Kira?"
"No, you have it backwards," Kira said, sitting on the edge of Ezri's desk, dark brown eyes twinkling merrily. "What I can do for you is to invite you to Vic Fontaine's club in the holosuite. Odo, Julian and I are going to dinner there and I thought you might like to join us. Does that sound like fun? None of us have enough fun lately with this war going on."
"You mean that old earth-style place that Julian raves about? I'm not sure I have anything appropriate to wear, Kira, I mostly have my uniforms and a few casual clothes," Ezri pointed out.
"Hey, don't be a party pooper," Kira laughed, holding out her hand to the small human. "Come on, Garak sent over a dress for you to wear tonight, he decided that the blue number would go great with your eyes."
Ezri took Kira's hand, letting the other woman pull her out of her desk chair. "But I don't get paid until next week," she protested.
"Well, Garak said it was on the house, something about he owed you one," Kira replied. "I guess it was your helping him through that rough spot recently."
The Trill blushed becomingly as she followed the Bajoran out of her office. "I guess I have no other excuses, then. Okay, Kira, you talked me into it, lead on." Kira smiled at Ezri as she keyed in her locking code to the counselor's office. "I hope I don't regret this."
"You won't," the colonel assured her. "Julian promised to be on his best behavior and I'll help you get ready. Believe it or not, I have been known to dress up on occasion. Come on or we'll be late, I promised Julian he could pick you up in thirty minutes."
Ezri stopped in her tracks, staring at Kira. "Wait, you promised Julian-I don't know how to dance, Kira."
Kira smiled impishly. "Oh, don't worry, Julian will teach you, he's a very good dancer. Now, come on, let's get you in that dress that Garak send over..."
The dinner had been as wonderful as promised and more. Ezri sipped her wine after devouring her food, ready to just rest from eating so much when Vic Fontaine appeared on the stage to start his show. Ezri soon found herself dancing with the doctor, who was just as good of a teacher as Kira had promised. She even relaxed as Julian spun her around the dance floor, weaving them delicately among the holographic couples, then finally leading her off the dance floor exclaiming that he was exhausted; they were soon joined by Odo and Kira.
"That was more fun than I expected," Ezri admitted to the group, "I think I'd like to try this again some evening. What does everyone else think?"
Julian's eyes sparkled as he quickly answered, "I think it is a marvelous idea, Ezri, shall we try it again tomorrow night?" Before anyone could reply the doctor's communicator chirped. He excused himself to answer it, then came back to the table a few minutes later, looking troubled. "Odo," he said to the security chief, "there's been a fight near the brig, we're both needed. Ladies, if you will excuse us?" They nodded as the doctor and the constable left the club.
Kira frowned as she watched the men depart, commenting, "That was fun while it lasted. Should we go now, or stay a while longer?"
Ezri listened to Vic's smooth voice floating above their heads for a moment, then answered, "I guess we should go, I'm getting pretty tired. Hey, thanks for inviting me though, I thoroughly enjoyed myself. Julian is a good dance instructor, just like you promised." She stood up and picked up her wrap, waiting to Kira to stand up as well. As the Bajoran officer stood, Ezri experienced brief regret at not spending more time with her, but quickly dismissed it. Neither one of them were like their mirror universe counterparts, she reminded herself.
Lost in thought, Ezri jumped when she felt Kira touch her shoulder to catch her attention. "DS9 to Dax, come in Dax," the other woman teased.
Ezri grinned ruefully. "Sorry, I was wrapped in thought, do you think that Julian and Odo will want to come back?"
"Why, are you interested in Julian?" Kira asked quickly.
Ezri considered her answer thoughtfully as they left the holosuite and made their way to the Promenade. "As a friend, yes, as anything more, I'm not sure. I'm still confused sometimes, but I'm finally able to sort out my feelings from those of my previous hosts most of the time. Jadzia was very fond of Julian, but she never could return his love. Sometimes I feel that half of the station was in love with Jadzia." Ezri ran her fingers through her hair, feeling exasperated.
Kira laughed, answering, "Oh, you exaggerate, only a quarter of the station was in love with Jadzia. She was a striking woman, but you are quite nice looking as well." They walked in silence for a moment longer, then Kira asked, "Is there anyone you are interested in? Not to be nosy or anything..."
"No, no one right now," Ezri replied as they approached her door. She turned to face Kira, adding, "but I've never really been interested in anyone in particular. I've always been too busy being a good girl, then a good cadet, now a good officer." She stopped abruptly, biting her lip as if to keep from saying any more.
"If you are, feel free to talk to me," Kira offered gently. "I'd like for us to be friends, and not just because I was friends with Jadzia."
"I'll remember that," Ezri answered. For a moment, the two women searched each other's faces for something, some wisp of memory of past friendship. Kira put a hand on Ezri's shoulder, squeezing it affectionately before awkwardly dropping it. Ezri smiled in reply, saying softly, "Good-night, Nerys."
"Good-night, Ezri," Kira replied, looking into her brilliant blue eyes, "guess I'd better go along now. See you in the morning, don't forget we have a meeting with the captain."
"Oh yes, the weekly officers' briefing," Ezri replied, feeling like she was suddenly on safer ground. "I'll see you there." She tore herself away from Kira's gentle brown eyes and entered the code to her quarters.
Ezri Dax woke up so abruptly that she banged her head on the wall behind her bed. Rubbing the knot that resulted, she called out, "Lights, one quarter level." The computer obediently brought the lights up as Ezri stumbled out of bed, wondering where that dream had come from. It had started out when Kira Nerys had lost her lover and wound up in Jadzia Dax's quarters to talk. Jadzia led Kira to the couch, gently coaxing the smaller woman in her arms, telling her it was okay to cry, that no one would know about it. As Kira finally let herself cry, a wormhole opened up in front of them, sucking them into its vortex...
"Gods, of all the things, mixing memories and nightmares," Ezri grumbled to herself as she splashed water on her face. She stumbled over to the replicator, trying to figure out what to order for breakfast. After all, it was just half an hour before she would get up anyway, so she might as well get going. Trouble was, she had no idea what to order that wouldn't gross her out, Jadzia's tastes still sometimes surfaced. Making a face, Ezri decided to shower and get dressed instead and go to Quark's for breakfast. At least he had stopped trying to serve her Jadzia's favorites.
A short time later, she arrived at Quark's and spotted Julian at a table with Garak. Brightening, she walked over and asked, "Is there room for one more?"
Both men lit up, smiling at her, inviting her to be seated. Julian took the liberty of ordering breakfast for Ezri, leaving her in conversation with Garak. "Oh, but I knew that the dress was perfect for you, my dear," the Cardassian tailor was saying as Julian came back to the table, "I knew that it would match the color of your eyes perfectly. Julian, didn't you think that it was inspired to send that dress to Lt. Dax?"
Julian smiled broadly. "Yes, Garak, it was rather inspired, all eyes were on her last night, even Vic commented on it. Sorry that Odo and I had to run out so soon, but duty calls." Ezri smiled back at him, then was interrupted by the arrival of breakfast. "Say, when should we go back? I rather enjoyed dancing with you, Ezri."
Ezri swallowed, then answered, "Oh, any time, Julian, it was rather fun. Garak, would you like to join us next time?"
The Cardassian smiled, but declined. "I'm just a tailor, my dear, not a dancer."
The doctor parried, "Oh, you don't have to dance, you could watch us dancing in your creations."
"Now, there's an idea, my dear. Perhaps I shall reconsider. If you two would be kind as to excuse me, I must open my shop so I can sell more of my creations." Garak stood up, giving a slight bow to the two officers. "Ta-ta."
"Good-bye," the other two chorused. Julian turned back to watch Ezri finish her breakfast. "So, do you have a full day today? Any chance you'd be free for lunch?"
Ezri let out a huge sigh. "Not a chance, Julian, I still have a stack of forms to fill out that I didn't get to fill out last night. That's the punishment I get for having fun, not that I wouldn't like to have lunch with you," she answered, feeling like she was rambling again.
A smile crossed his dark face. "That's okay, I should really stay in and fill out some forms of my own during lunch. Perhaps dinner one night this week?"
"Perhaps," she allowed.
The doctor glanced at the chronometer on the wall and made a face. "I should be leaving, it's time for me to go to the infirmary. I'll give you a call later this week about dinner, would that be fine with you?"
"Sure, Julian, I'd love it," Ezri affirmed. Julian hesitated, but left without further comment. Ezri went back to her breakfast, wondering why food that was so bad for you tasted so good. She sure hoped that Julian had not ordered real bacon, but this tasted suspiciously like the real thing...
Kira looked quite smashing in the flowing dress and gauzy wrap, Jadzia thought. It was a rare party that did not require dress uniforms and Kira was making the most of it. Jadzia sidled up to her friend and murmured, "Looks like a Garak original."
"You are right," Kira smirked, "do you think anyone will notice?"
"You sure have my attention," Jadzia said, looking directly into Kira's warm brown eyes.
"Why, thank you, my dear," Jadzia laughed as she tucked her hand under Kira's arm. "Now let's go raid the goodies table before the chocolate is gone. I must admit that dark chocolate is one of the sublime human inventions of all times." The two friends walked over to the buffet table, piling various foods on their plates, including a few dark truffles. They found an empty table to sit at and soon were laughing over an incident that had happened recently in Quark's bar. "I had no idea that Quark was so ticklish," Jadzia smirked as she popped a truffle in her mouth. A look of pure bliss covered her face as she let the candy melt in her mouth. "Almost better than sex," she commented breathily after the candy had melted.
"You sure do enjoy your food," Kira noted as she watched her friend's face. "I never saw anyone who so actively enjoyed eating."
Jadzia replied impishly, "Of course I do, I am quite the hedonist, you should know that by now." She cocked her head, listening. "Hey, the band started, want to dance?"
Kira looked at her questioningly. "Dance?"
"Sure, why not? I'm not dating anyone at the moment and Odo hasn't noticed you yet, maybe this would make him jealous," Jadzia replied mischievously. "Come on, I'm not like I'm proposing marriage or anything!" Kira groaned as she let Jadzia pull her up from her chair, following her out to the dance floor.
Jadzia took the Bajoran into her arms, swinging her lightly into the crowd. The band was playing a lively number, one that Benjamin Sisko would have called "Dixieland jazz." After several numbers, the band changed moods and played a slower number, one with a vocalist, who started singing, "There's a place for us / Somewhere a place for us," Jadzia found herself humming along, trying to place the tune, finally remembering. "Ah, Somewhere from West Side Story, a musical from 20th century Earth, I think," she said as she gently guided Kira through the dance. She continued to hum along, slowly dancing with her friend, feeling Kira's small body wrapped in her arms. She laid her cheek against Kira's cheek, closing her eyes for just a moment, swaying with the slow beat of the music. As the tune ended, she looked into Kira's soft brown eyes, wanting to stare into her friend's eyes for the rest of the night, wanting to see desire welling up in them, wanting to take Kira's face in her hands and kiss her quite senseless...
"The time is now oh six hundred," the computer blandly announced as Ezri jerked awake. "Okay, I'm up," she grumbled to the disembodied voice. "What an bizarre dream," she muttered as she stumbled to the bathroom. Not a good time for the alarm to go off, she thought, then immediately wondered why a) she had that dream and b) why she wanted the dream to continue.
Ezri knew that Jadzia had briefly gotten back together with a former wife, or Dax's former wife, or something like that, but she never thought that Jadzia was regularly attracted to women. Had her former host been bisexual? As a counselor, Ezri knew that for many species, sexuality was not defined in absolute terms, but was rather more of a continuum, with a sliding scale. Just because she had never personally been attracted to a woman before didn't mean anything. "Oh, enough psychobabble!" she chided herself as she stripped off her night clothes.
That night, Julian asked Ezri to Vic's again, saying that Odo and Kira were certainly going and that Garak might even show up for a few minutes. "He's willing to lend you another outfit, but he won't even tell me what it is," the doctor told her. Ezri decided to go, despite the disturbing dream of the morning.
It turned out that the outfit was an old fashioned tuxedo, complete with dark blue vest and matching tie. "Oh, Garak," she breathed as she looked at the outfit, hanging on her closet door, "what have you done to me this time?" Nevertheless, she took a quick shower and dressed in the unfamiliar clothes, wondering why the tailor had chosen this particular outfit for her. If memory served her correctly, men had worn tuxedos to formal events during the twentieth and twenty-first centuries on earth, not women. She knew that Julian wore one sometimes when he played some character in the holosuite and looked very handsome in it, indeed.
Glancing at the old-fashioned pocket watch that came with the tuxedo, she realized that she had just a few minutes left. Ezri rummaged through her jewelry, coming up with pale blue earrings, ones that her beloved brother had given her once when he had taken a jewelry making course. They sparkled and flashed in the light as she put them in her ears, lending a little ambiguity to her outfit. Shaking her head, she left her quarters, hoping that she wouldn't run into anyone on her way to the holosuite.
Ezri entered the holosuite and quickly found her friends, weaving her way through the crowd to their table. "Oh, my, don't you look dashing!" Garak said, smiling at her as he stood up. "I do believe I will have to dance with you tonight, dear." He produced a white carnation and fixed it in the lapel buttonhole. "There, that completes the outfit," he said, fussing over her just a bit. Ezri felt a blush creeping up on her face as the Cardassian held out her chair for her. She sat down, glancing at her friends.
Kira raised her eyebrows as she saw what her friend was wearing. "Hey, Garak, how come she gets to cover up and I have to bare my shoulders?" the colonel teased the Cardassian tailor.
"Because you have lovely shoulders, Colonel," he replied smoothly. "Odo should be here to see them."
"Well, I couldn't tear him away, he said that there was some sort of security problem," Kira replied. "But, he told me to go have fun anyway."
As the evening wore on, Ezri alternated between dancing with Julian and Garak. She was pleasantly surprised at how smoothly the Cardassian danced, not thinking that a former member of the dreaded Obsidian Order would have such highly developed social skills. When she said as much, Garak chuckled, answering that he learned to dance as part of his formidable set of deadly skills, for dancing with officer's wives sometimes netted better results that tormenting their husbands. He then took her back to the table and held out his hand for Julian, who made a face, but got up to dance with his buddy.
Kira laughed at the doctor's expression and turned to the counselor and said, "Dax, maybe we'd better follow suit. Come dance with me!" She held out a hand, waiting for the Trill woman to take it.
Ezri took her hand and awkwardly followed Kira to the dance floor, remembering her vivid dream from the morning. They stopped, Ezri dropping Kira's hand, waiting to see what the Bajoran woman would do. Kira held out her arms expectantly, so Ezri took them, not sure whether to lead or follow, but Kira started dancing backwards, forcing Ezri to lead. Ezri started to relax in the rhythm of the music, taking a slightly firmer grip on Kira's waist and hand, but glancing around nervously. "Why so nervous?" Kira asked gently, leaning forward so that the other dancers would not hear.
"Um, I've never danced with a woman before. At least, not as a woman, unless you count Jadzia dancing with her former wife. I mean whichever host's former wife...damn, these past lives are so confusing sometimes," Ezri babbled.
Kira smiled, looking into Ezri's troubled blue eyes. "Don't worry, Jadzia sometimes danced with me when we were both between lovers." A sad look crept into her eyes as she said more softly, "I miss her, Ezri, she was one hell of a good friend."
"Yeah, I know," Ezri said more bitterly than she intended.
Kira looked at the younger woman sharply. "What do you mean by that?" Ezri shrugged as she dropped her arms and started to walk off the dance floor. Kira caught up with her and demanded, "Ezri, what is eating at you?"
"You wouldn't understand," Ezri said, shoving her hands in her trouser pockets. "I'm pretty tired, Colonel, maybe I'd better turn in." She stalked off, feeling miserable and confused at the same time.
Kira caught up with her in the hallway, determinedly matching her pace as they silently walked back to Ezri's quarters. She followed Ezri into her quarters and quietly demanded, "Just what is going on here, Counselor?"
Ezri dropped onto the couch, pulling a pillow into her lap and squeezing it tightly against her chest as she muttered, "Don't worry about me, Kira, you have plenty to worry about besides a mixed up Trill who can't separate her past and present lives."
Kira sat down beside her, laying a hand on Ezri's arm. "Who is in your thoughts?" she asked gently.
Ezri took a deep breath, then looked into those incredible brown eyes, finally whispering, "You. You and Jadzia."
Kira's eyebrows pulled together in bafflement. "Me? Jadzia?"
"Yes," came the muffled reply, "you and Jadzia. Jadzia enjoyed flirting with you, dancing with you and, if my dreams are right, had thought about kissing you." Ezri looked up, a picture of misery. "I sometimes wonder if it was really Jadzia who wanted to kiss you or if it was me."
Kira wasn't sure what to say. Sure, she remembered Jadzia flirting with her at times, but that was just the woman's nature, she flirted with everyone. Just like Garak teasingly flirted with Julian Bashir, although Kira was pretty sure that the Cardassian would have happily fallen in bed with Julian given half a chance. She forced herself to look at Ezri's pale eyes, seeing misery there. "Honey," she said quietly, "Jadzia and I were very close friends, but she flirted with lots of people, so I wouldn't worry about those dreams too much. Even if it was you that wanted to kiss me, I'm afraid I'd have to decline, I'm very much in love with Odo."
Ezri nodded slowly, tossing the pillow aside. "You're entirely right, Kira, I'm sorry for even bringing it up. I suppose I confused Jadzia's flirting with something else." She let a small smile play on her lips. "I nearly forgot to thank you for the dance, you are an excellent dancer, Kira."
"You're welcome," Kira said, catching Ezri's icy hands in her warm ones, chafing them tenderly. "One thing that Jadzia taught me to have fun regardless of the circumstances, even though I rarely apply that particular lesson," she concluded wryly. She noted the vulnerable look in the Trill's eyes, the beginnings of tears. "It's okay to be sad sometimes," she said, not sure what else to do.
Ezri tried to choke back a sob, but failed. Instead, she instinctively leaned into Kira's body, wrapping her arms tightly around the older woman's waist, feeling Kira reciprocate after a few seconds. She had no idea why she was sobbing, other than a feeling of rejection, an exploration that would never happen. Several minutes later, the tears slacked off and she pulled back, fumbling toward her end table for a tissue. Kira politely looked away as Ezri regained her composure, then reached up and ran her fingers lightly over Ezri's hair until Ezri smiled a little bit. "You going to be okay now?" the Bajoran asked quietly.
"Yeah, I'll be fine, thank you," Ezri whispered, abruptly standing up. Kira stood up too, taking Ezri in her arms for a quick hug, then gently kissed Ezri's forehead before she left. Ezri watched the other woman leave, wondering if she had just screwed a potential friendship for good.
Months later, Ezri sat in Quark's bar, slowly sipping a glass of wine, avoiding Worf's prowling looks. She was waiting for Julian Bashir; they had a date tonight. Recently, she and Worf had been away on a mission and had found themselves in bed together, but as much as she had responded physically, she couldn't respond as much emotionally. After calling out Julian's name in her sleep and having this fact slapped in her face by Worf, she decided to follow up by making a dinner date with the doctor. After all, she thoroughly enjoyed his company and he was quite handsome. Her reverie was interrupted by a certain auburn-haired Bajoran colonel asking if she could sit for a moment. "Sure, be my guest," Ezri said.
Kira laid a hand on Ezri's arm, asking worriedly, "How are you holding up, Counselor? I mean, I heard about your briefing and heard that you and Worf, um..."
Ezri set her glass down, then laid a hand on top of Kira's. "Yes, but it wasn't what I expected, it was more like Jadzia was making love to Worf, not me. It was a rather strange feeling, Nerys."
Kira smiled, then leaned back in her chair. "I'm just glad you made it home safely, Ezri, I wouldn't want to lose such a good friend." She stood up, then pointed. "There's Julian, I'd better scat." She let her hand drop on Ezri's shoulder for a moment, squeezing it affectionately. "Be gentle with him, friend."
Ezri smiled up at the colonel. "I will, Kira, thanks." She watched as Kira melted into the crowd, then turned her attention to the doctor. "Good evening, Julian," she said brightly as he sat down in the chair that Kira had just vacated. This might be an interesting evening after all, she thought as his fingers brushed across hers.
Kira watched the two almost lovers from the promenade, wondering for a moment what made some people fall in love. Ezri iss certainly more confident since her little misadventure with Worf, she thought, and much more confident than that night we danced together at Vic's.
The colonel wondered briefly what would have happened if she had given in to her mild curiosity about the young woman. Probably nothing but pain, she decided. Probably nothing but pain.
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