DISCLAIMER: The Star Trek: Deep Space Nine characters are the property of Paramount Studios, Inc and Viacom. The story contents are the creation and property of C. Zdroj and are copyright (c) 2003 by C. Zdroj. This story is Rated R.

Five Things That Never Happened to Odo
by C. Zdroj

1st Place: ASCEM GO Awards 2003--Best Odo/Kira Story

Chronology Note: These scenes take place is five different alternate DS9 universes, and portray some things Odo didn't get to do in the series canon--or perhaps, not exactly in the way that he does here.

~~~

Alternate Reality I


"You know, shapeshifter," purred Dukat. "I thought you were incorruptible. So alien from anything humanoid that you would be ... uncontaminated by the impulses of the flesh."

"I don't know what you're trying to imply."

Dukat's gaze leveled abruptly with Odo's. "Did you think I wouldn't notice the way you were looking at her?"

Kira Nerys. Odo knew that the immediate look of recognition on his face had already betrayed him. Dukat smiled. "Do you really imagine that a girl like that could have ... feelings for someone--for something--like you?"

Odo straightened his shoulders and glared at the Cardassian prefect. "I don't know what you think you saw out there, Gul Dukat--perhaps your own desires color your vision--but I assure you that I have no sexual interest in that young woman or anyone else on this station."

"Kira Nerys is off the station now, thanks to you," said Dukat, almost casually. "She's guilty, of course, but we can let that pass."

Odo was a little taken aback. Dukat's mind games had been thusfar transparent, but now he wasn't certain where their conversation was leading. Dukat smiled his most predatory smile, then at the look of bewilderment on Odo's face, feigned surprise. "You don't mean to say that you believed her little tale, did you? I suppose that's to be expected; you're new to such matters. Well, well ... an honest mistake, then. In that case, I believe I can find more work for you."

"What makes you think that I'm going to do any more of your dirty work?"

Dukat stood for the first time. The action had exactly the effect intended, and Odo had to steel himself to avoid flinching. "Because as much as you try to pretend otherwise, shapeshifter, you are a man of compassion. That is your weakness. A good military strategist knows how to exploit weakness. I now know who Kira Nerys is. I know what resistance cell she belongs to, and I know where to find it. I mean to make you my chief of security; you'll do well in that post--and the Bajorans will trust you. But if you give me any reason to ... doubt your loyalty to me, then I will make it my business to look up your little friend and her resistance cell. Is all of that clear to you?"

Odo's eyes glittered with rage, but the rest of his body gave away nothing.

"Perfectly clear, Gul Dukat," he said

The Cardassian seated himself and smiled again. "Good. I knew you were the perfect man for this job."

****

Alternate Reality II


She frowned into the mirror. "What do you make of him?"

He did not have to ask who she meant. They were both in the process of evaluating the new Starfleet station commander. Odo allowed himself to consider the question as his hands came to rest on Kira's bare shoulders.

After a moment, he said: "Not what I would've expected."

Her gaze, reflected in the mirror, became shrewd and assessing, and she surveyed Odo's features in the polished glass before actually glancing up at him. "Is that good or is that bad?"

"I'm not sure yet. I've decided to suspend judgement for a while."

Now genuinely surprised, she raised an eyebrow. "I'm impressed, Constable. You don't usually ‘suspend judgement' for just anyone."

"Let's just say I was intrigued by his handling of Quark ..."

Her smile told him that she wasn't fooled by this evasion. He always raised the issue of Quark as a means of changing the subject. She was letting it pass this time. For a moment he was taken aback to see how well she read him. When did I become so transparent? he wondered, he who had deliberately cultivated the most guarded and enigmatic face possible--the face he showed to everyone but her.

Kira shut her eyes and expelled her tension with a sigh, letting her body curve back against his hands.

Their mutual seduction, as always, surprised him by the ease with which it unfolded. The palms of her hands slid over the backs of his, lightly caressing. She had once told him that it was his hands that first made her wonder what he'd be like in bed. Ever since then he'd been meticulous about shaping them. Now he let them go liquid slowly, insinuating himself beneath her white under-tunic, easing it over her shoulders and then off, revealing her body: the leanness of her muscles, the paleness of her skin.

They proceeded to the bed with very few words exchanged, losing themselves there in the tangle of each other, an organic dance of flesh and fluid.

Afterward, he lay pooled some little distance from her on the bed, deliberately keeping himself apart. It always took him a while to recover from the sensory rush of physical contact with her.

The two of them had become bed-partners almost by accident. They had discovered that they "fit" each other over the course of their work together: the dozens of security briefings, the countless joint patrols through the corridors of the war-ravaged station, and their seemingly endless rounds of battle-weary shop-talk and lack of talk--when they were both too tired to speak and so ended up sharing the silence, which never felt awkward between them.

And then one day, he touched her. He pulled her out of the line of someone's phaser-blast, very probably saving her life. The abrupt, unexpected physical contact broke the last remaining barrier between them.

The next day she came to his office for their usual briefing, and before leaving, she laid her hand over his own for a nerve-tingling second. It was as if they had both decided something.

Odo could recall these moments of their courtship--if one could call it that--with near-perfect clarity. Yet such details seemed distant and almost mythological whenever he was actually with her, like a dream only hazily recollected. When they were together, it was as if they had always been so, had always spent their evenings like this--sharing their bodies in a manner that seemed, on the surface, almost casual.

What astonished him every time he touched Kira was his own ease in doing so. She never asked him to "perform" as he had done for Dukat and his cronies. He was deeply aware, of course, that every action he took as a humanoid was, of necessity, a kind of performance. Therefore it had taken him completely by surprise the first time his own fingers went liquid against Kira's skin almost of their own volition. He wasn't sure what astonished him more: the fact that she did not register fear or disgust--or the fact that he had somehow known she wouldn't.

Now, as he slowly assumed his humanoid form again, he felt her stirring beside him on the bed. She sat up and slipped her arms around his waist, pressing herself against his back. Odo closed his eyes, suddenly afraid of the feelings her touch roused in him.

"Were you disappointed that we didn't find anything in the wormhole?" she asked.

The nature of her question surprised him. In truth he'd been expecting some kind of upbraiding after he'd bullied his way into that runabout the other day, right in front of two of the Starfleet officers. It did not escape him that Kira had let this public insubordination pass without comment.

"I wasn't really expecting to find much," he lied. It would have been truer to say that he had tried not to expect anything.

There was a silence, and for a moment he thought that would be the end of it. But then she spoke again.

"What would you do ... if you did find other shapeshifters?"

He took her hands in his own and slowly kissed them, one finger at a time. "I'm not sure," he said. "I suppose it would depend what kind of people they were." He smiled a little. "They might not like me. Not many people like me."

"I think you underestimate your own charm." Kira let her lips brush the side of his neck. "Would you miss me?" she whispered. "Would you miss this ...?" Despite the teasing bravado with which she asked, she sounded almost afraid of his answer.

He closed his eyes and squeezed her hands. "Yes," he said. "Actually I think I would." He dared not say any more, for fear of examining his own feelings too closely.

Kira pressed her body against his once more and let out a sigh. He let himself imagine it was one of relief.

****

Alternate Reality III


For a long time afterward he sat in the garden, trying to become used to his humanoid skin once more. He almost didn't hear her approaching footsteps. It was her voice that brought him out of himself.

"So how's the shapeshifting going?"

She was trying hard to sound casual. It relieved him to be able to notice that detail.

He remained where he was and scooped up a nearby rock in one hand, hefting it for a moment while he tried to shape thoughts into words. The process was ... not exactly more difficult now, but it was more complex.

"I'm not sure," he said, still not looking at her.

"Oh?"

He continued to stare at the rock in his hand, not really certain what he should say to her, how he should explain it. Who would have believed that a few moments of contact with his own people could have altered his own sense of self so completely? He was still trying to wrap his mind around what had happened. Eventually, however, he decided that plain truth was best.

"I've experienced a link," he said, and immediately knew that this statement was inadequate.

She hesitated before answering him. "And ... how did that go?"

He found he had the strangest urge to swallow, as if there were a lump in his throat. That was ridiculous, of course.

"Odo? Are you all right?" There was the slightest edge of panic trying to break through the compassion in her voice.

"I'm fine, Major."

"You seem a little ... well, not quite yourself." She crouched down beside him now and set her hand on his shoulder. He looked up at her. "Are you sure you're okay?"

He tried to smile at her, but was sure that his expression must have looked half-hearted and twisted. "I'm fine, Kira--truly I am." He so rarely addressed her without using her rank, and he saw from the flicker of surprise that crossed her face that the use of her unadorned family name had not gone unnoticed.

He glanced at her hand where it still rested on his shoulder. The protective attitude that she had adopted toward him during this whole adventure suddenly seemed extraordinary to him. He was so used to looking out for himself that he was unsure how to react to it.

"You don't need to worry. The experience was--a little overwhelming, that's all," he told her.

"I imagine it would be."

"Did you see the bird?" he couldn't help asking.

"The bird?"

"The Arbazan vulture. It was the last form that I took before I landed here and resumed my humanoid shape. I tried so many different shapes after I ..." he was surprised at the shyness in his own voice. "After I linked with the other changeling."

"The female?" asked Kira. Was he imagining the hint of mischief in her eyes and voice?

"Well--not female as such. Not as you think of it. Changelings don't have a fixed gender. But yes, it was her--the one who greeted us."

"And the link?" she prompted.

"It was ..." Again he paused as words seemed inadequate. "...very liberating." Perhaps he should have said "intoxicating," but he knew that word-choice would bother Kira. "I never realized just how solitary I've been up to now."

"I always thought you preferred it that way."

"So did I."

Kira's expression changed, taking on a dawning recognition and a hint of sorrow. "Odo, I'm sorry that I wasn't a better friend to you. I just realized that ... I never asked you much about yourself all this time. I suppose I assumed you didn't want to talk about it." She looked at the twilit, unearthly garden around them. "I guess this means you're not coming back with me."

There was a long silence. All the things that had gone unsaid during the years of their friendship might have come tumbling out at that moment, in that alien twilight. But they chose instead to share the silence one last time.

Odo's voice, when it came at last, was very soft. "I need to be here for a while." Then, softer yet: "I'm sorry."

Astonishingly, she took his face between her hands and looked into his eyes. The corners of her own eyes were damp. "Don't be sorry. This is what you've always wanted. I'm happy for you." Then she kissed his forehead, as if she were bestowing some kind of blessing.

Odo drew back, unsure of what to say. He took the rock he had been holding--a fragment of some kind of translucent amber that rather resembled a changeling in its primal state. He pressed it into her palm and wrapped her fingers around it.

"I'll miss you, Nerys," he said.

"I'll miss you too, Odo," she whispered. "Good luck."

****

Alternate Reality IV


He did not know how many hours he stood there, waiting for her door to open, waiting for Shakaar to emerge from her quarters.

Perhaps Quark was right, and he was only ever happy when he was miserable. For the very act of standing here was a kind of self-inflicted punishment. There was no reason in the world for him to have personally relieved the Starfleet security officer who had been keeping watch, protecting the First Minister from any lurking would-be assassins.

Of course, Odo's own reasons for standing here had nothing to do with protecting Shakaar. That was a convenient fiction for the benefit of others--Sisko, Worf. He was standing outside Kira's door because he could, because his power and authority enabled him to play at being a sentry exactly as he had once pretended to be a rat in a cargo bay to spy on some Klingon saboteurs. The fact that he looked like a security chief on guard duty was of no consequence. He was good at assuming forms and their poses.

Some time well into the morning, but before any reasonable waking hour, Kira's door finally slid open with a hiss, and Shakaar emerged with Nerys right behind him. Odo did not turn around, but he felt their footsteps, heard the low murmur of their voices. They seemed in the process of some highly personal discussion, but they immediately fell silent as soon as they noted him standing there.

"I'll see you later then ... all right?" Kira said to Shakaar. Her voice sounded anxious.

The First Minister nodded. "Of course, Nerys. Lunch?"

"That would be wonderful. Lunch-time then."

Shakaar headed off down the hallway, and for the first time in hours, Odo felt self-conscious about his presence there in the corridor. Nerys addressed him without waiting for him to turn around. "Odo ... what are doing here?"

"I ..." He turned and saw her. She looked sleepy in a way that was amazingly attractive. Her damp hair framed her face softly, and she wore a loose robe of copper-colored silk. There was a flush of color on her cheeks, on her neck and chest. It occurred to Odo that she was likely wearing nothing underneath that robe, a thought which disturbed him precisely because he found the idea so strangely alluring.

"I thought of something else I needed to ask you ..." he lied.

"For the investigation. Of course ... Come in." She gestured him into her quarters.

They went inside, and Odo stared at his surroundings as if they were foreign. Eventually his gaze came to rest on a low table in the main room, where there stood two long-stemmed glasses, one drained, the other still half-full, and a bottle of Bajoran spring wine resting in a bucket of half-melted ice.

"More ‘silly humanoid mating-rituals,' I guess," said Kira, in response to his gaze.

"I beg your pardon?" said Odo softly, surprised by the shakiness of his own voice.

"Shakaar was here most of the night," she explained, as though she thought he might not have noticed that fact. "On the sofa," she added, a little too hastily. Her lips twisted into a slightly grim expression. "I doubt that was what he was hoping for, especially after all that wine. I'm afraid I disappointed him ..."

Odo tried--and failed--to quell the surge of wild, irrational hope that suddenly sprang to life inside him. "Oh?" he said, as mildly as he could.

"You know what's funny?" Kira went on. "I've been fantasizing about seducing Edon ever since I was thirteen--and then, when he actually starts to get interested in me ... I just couldn't go through with it. I guess I just value him too much as a friend."

Odo's heart sank.

"I don't know how I could've been so stupid not to see this coming," Kira snorted. "I suppose you could even say I led him on--flirting like a schoolgirl ..." Suddenly noticing the look on Odo's face, she stopped. "I'm sorry, I didn't mean to embarrass you. These sorts of things must all seem silly and pointless to you."

"No--not at all," he tried to reassure her--but he found that he couldn't even look into her eyes for fear of giving something away with his own.

"Shakaar and I had a long talk last night. I told him that we were good friends, and that I wanted to keep it that way."

Odo couldn't help but turn away from her now. He was certain that if she saw his face, she would instantly know the secret that he'd hidden for so long--a secret that was all too much like Shakaar's. If the handsome First Minister had failed to win Kira, then what chance did he have? No doubt Kira saw him too as a friend--and would want to "keep it that way" in his own case as well.

That was when she came to stand behind him and wrapped her arms around his waist, her hands meeting somewhere over his non-existent heart. Odo closed his eyes. His changeling skin was so acutely sensitive right now, he seemed to feel every inch of her that was pressed to his back--every fold of her silk robe, every curve of the flesh that it covered.

"I'm so glad you're here," she said. "I can always tell you everything, and you always listen--even when I'm babbling like an idiot."

Odo let out a soft breath. He took her hands and held them tightly in his own. "I'm glad, Nerys," he whispered. "Glad that I can help you. Always."

She released him and turned him to face her. He tried to look away once more, but it was no good.

"Odo ... are you all right? I thought you wanted to ask me some questions."

"I ... I did ... but they're not important now."

She looked at him keenly. Odo wanted to dissolve himself into the floor, but knew that he could not.

"How long were you outside my door, Odo?" she asked quietly.

His voice was so low he could barely hear it himself. "Nearly all night," he confessed. "I ... relieved the Starfleet officer that was on duty there when I found out that Shakaar was in your quarters."

He waited, fully prepared for her to slap him across the face.

She didn't. Her voice was surprisingly light as she said: "Well, that explains a lot." Her fingertips touched his cheek, then skimmed down underneath his chin so that she could raise his face and make him look into her eyes. She smiled a little.

"Are you telling me that you were feeling jealous, Constable?"

"I ... yes, I suppose I was." He blew out a soft breath. "Yes. I was." There, now it was laid bare. Odo felt strangely relieved to let go of his secret. Kira studied his face for a moment.

"And here you had all of us thinking that you were immune to those kinds of feelings. I have to give you credit, Odo. You had me fooled."

"You're ... not angry with me?"

She shook her head. "Afraid not." Then she leaned up and forward, and Odo felt her lips brush his own.

Without another word, she took his hands and guided them down to the thin cord that was tied at her waist. His fingers, though shaking, worked deftly to undo the knot. As easily as thought, the robe slipped from Kira's shoulders and crumpled in a heap to the floor.

Odo had been right. She wore not a stitch of clothing underneath it.

****

Alternate Reality V


The female Founder, looking ragged and charred and less like herself than he had ever seen her, actually shrank back from Odo's approach. He moved slowly, as if confronting a wounded animal, and within a foot of her, he stopped, holding his outstretched hand palm-up. "Link with me," he said.

His voice was almost pleading, for there was part of him that hated to see her brought to this state, powerless before her adversaries. He could recall only too well the Great Link's collective memories of persecution at the hands of solids. It was painfully ironic to see his foe--yet also his mentor and sometime lover--the embodiment of all that was most mysterious, alluring, magical, and powerful about his own species, forced into the position of the abject "hunted." She had become in this moment what changelings had been centuries before. Before they had made themselves into the gods of the Dominion.

Yet, he reminded himself, she must be made to see reason--to surrender herself to him now--if the Great Link was to survive.

"Link with me," he repeated, more firmly now, almost a command.

The Founder shook her head. "It's no good. I'm dying, Odo. I could not link with you even if I wished it."

"You can--and you will." Odo stepped up to her, then forcibly seized her hands, wrapping his fingers around her crumbling ones. She stared at him for a moment in pure astonishment as their hands melted and merged together, and then the female changeling closed her eyes and shuddered, her body sagging against Odo's. He caught her, held her, as they began, almost imperceptibly at first, to melt and pool together.

Odo felt no panic as his sense of self bled into hers, until, for a brief, ecstatic moment, they were one being instead of two. In that moment, he was reminded of his very first link with her, there in that twilight place that the Obsidian Order had since destroyed. It all came flooding back to him now--the astonishment, the sheer sense of wonder at his own power.

This time, however, that power was at his disposal and control. His cells intermingled with hers because he wished it, when and where and at the moment he wished it--not recklessly out of unschooled instinct and passion. His being permeated hers, bringing with it the undeniable shock and joy of physical intimacy, of deep--yes, sexual--pleasure and release. For a moment, he wondered if complete separation was even possible after such a joining. Would not some microscopic fragments of his being and knowledge continue to taint her--and hers to taint him--long after they had re-coalesced back into their individual selves?

Yet his mind was clear. He seemed to be observing his own pleasure in this link from afar. He had work to do. Like an archivist straightening a disordered bookshelf, he sifted through and reordered her cells--just as the Link had once done with his own, the time they had made him human. But he was restoring her to herself, removing and casting aside the poisons and distortions of disease, restoring order in the most fundamental way to her body. He did not disappear into her, or into the joined awareness that was both of them. He remained himself--Odo--throughout their intimate exchange. He was aware also, of the world outside their link: of Nerys, trusting him, watching his back, as always--her hand locked on Garak's arm, preventing the Cardassian from firing his phaser as they watched, watched in astonishment, in horror--perhaps even in hope.

Slowly he reformed the humanoid body that he was accustomed to, the body that had in some sense become his "true" form, the natural expression of himself. It was an act that he had once regarded as drudgery and a sham, but which now filled him with a sense of pride at his own capabilities. He had come to appreciate the suppleness of his fluid body so much more now that he had experienced the horror of feeling it fall apart. Sketching in the details of his appearance quickly and easily, he now let himself enjoy the sense of mastery that came with being able to do this. It did not surprise him to look up and find the female changeling in her humanoid form as well, looking as healthy and whole as he knew himself to be.

The female Founder, visibly astonished, studied her own "solid" hands and body as they separated. It pleased Odo to have taken her aback. For in their previous joinings she had always seemed to treat his responses as predictable, expected. No longer.

He stood waiting for her to collect herself, his arms folded across his chest as he watched the conflicting emotions traversing her face.

"You will order your forces to stand down," he said, his voice soft but still firm.

Still she resisted. "And if I don't?"

"If you don't, the Great Link will die," he told her. A statement of fact.

Her face twisted into a look of rage and disbelief. "You would not allow that to happen! Not to your own people!"

He kept his voice carefully measured, striving not to betray any emotion. Neither anguish nor guilt nor rage, all of which lay just beneath his carefully composed exterior.

"I will have no choice but to allow it--unless you stand down."

When she did not move, he spoke again, choosing to make a personal appeal. "I've lived out of the company of other changelings for a long time," he said, "but you haven't. You will go mad without the others. You know it. The Dominion cannot win this war, and if the Founders die, all order within Gamma Quadrant will crumble."

She glared at him, knowing he was right, that she was cornered. He saw her gaze come to rest upon Nerys for a moment, holding a mixture of contempt and disbelief. No doubt the Founder had discerned his intimacy with Kira from their link. The changeling's stare lingered only for a moment, however. In her mind, Odo was her only equal here. This was between the two of them. She turned to face him once more, her attitude still defiant, but muted now.

"This is your choice, then?" she asked. "After all that has happened? You would still choose the solids over your own kind?"

"The only choice to be made here is yours," said Odo. "Either you will order the Jem'Hadar to stand down--and we will allow you to return to the Link with the cure I have just given you--or else we will all die here; and the Great Link will die as well. And then you will have no place to go, even if you survive."

She stood still for a moment, and in those few seconds he almost believed that she would indeed sentence them all to death--Bajorans, humans, Jem'Hadar and Great Link alike, rather than concede that her cause was lost.

"It is you," she told him finally, "who will have no place to go. The Link will never welcome you back after this, and the solids that you call your friends--you will watch them all grow old and die, until you truly are alone." Her gaze flickered over to Kira again, but briefly.

"Make your choice," said Odo.

She nodded once, then turned to the console, her face an expressionless mask. She ordered the Jem'Hadar to stand down. Then she looked up at Odo once more. "There. It is done. You have your wish. You have saved your precious Bajor and Federation. I hope they appreciate your sacrifice--for that it what it is."

"This isn't what I wish," said Odo quietly. "This is what has to be."

The female changeling bowed her head.

Much, much later, back on DS9, the Founder's words came back to haunt him as he lay in bed with Nerys, having made love to her with so much urgency and desperate hunger that she was left gasping and speechless on the bed. He, a tingling pool of gel beside her, spilled among the twisted sheets, was not thinking of the warmth of her skin or her cries of passion at his touch, though these had given him pleasure. He was thinking of that which they had not shared and never would.

Their physical union, whatever heights of bliss it reached, would never be the Link, would never bring either of them that overwhelming sense of oneness and completion.

He was alone. He would always and fundamentally be alone, even with Nerys.

Her fingers trailed through his substance. His form rippled with involuntary pleasure. He made himself once more into the Odo that she recognized, and closed his eyes as her hands caressed his facsimile humanoid skin.

For a brief, blessed moment, all was blotted out by the pure sensation of her mouth on his. It hardly mattered that his wasn't a "real" mouth. The sensation was real, as was the heat between their bodies.

"I love you, Nerys," he whispered, holding her body close against his own, letting her be his link--to passion, to vulnerability--to himself.

He forced himself not to wonder what he would ever do without her.

~30~

Author's Notes: I have no idea who started the "five things that never happened" story-challenge format, but I've seen it used in several fandoms, and have always found it an interesting  and clever device for exploring AU scenarios. Naturally, I had to try it out on Odo. One or two of the scenes in this story might very well grow into full-length AU stories at some future time. You have been warned. "Five Things That Never Happened to Odo," appeared on ASCEM in 2003, and won 1st place in ASCEM's GO Awards as Best Odo/Kira story for that year.