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) 1998 by C. Zdroj. This story is Rated R.

Links Broken and Forged
by C. Zdroj

Chronology Notes: This is a companion piece to my story "Shapes in the Dark," and is set after the ST:DS9 episode "His Way"--or, if you prefer, after "What You Leave Behind."


~~~

She is eternal.

I have always loved her. It seems to me that I must have been dreaming of her even in the endless silence before I knew what I was. When I hold her now, in the darkness, with the whole of myself curled around her, it seems to me that I have always been meant for the warmth of this embrace. It is the most impossible, most blissful connection I can imagine--to be fitted precisely to the curves of her soft flesh, to feel, through my every cell and nerve and fiber, the soft exhalation of her breathing, the beating of her heart, the subtler, deeper rhythms of her body--a complex, delicate web of sensation. It is a connection that soothes and nourishes at the same time, and suffuses me with a joy so great that I would probably weep if I were in humanoid form.

She stirs sometimes with the dreams that haunt her, even cries in her sleep. I move over her, gently, trying to comfort, trying to give her some shade of the peace that she has given me. Sometimes I resume a humanoid shape, so that she can clutch something familiar, but of late I have noticed that she clings to me even in my natural shape, she draws her body around mine instinctively--partly to protect me, perhaps--partly seeking reassurance from my presence. We are intertwined.

We are linked.

She asks me sometimes, anxiety shining deep in her dark eyes, if I miss the connection with my people.

"Sometimes," I say.

Actually, I recall the Link quite often. I seem to have left some part of myself behind in that strange mingling of form, thought, and feeling. It is a unique bliss, the loss of which still haunts me. But when I look into her face, the fine lines of worry around her eyes, the pressing of her lips into an expression of doubt, I know that I would endure any loss to erase the anxiety from those features. How do I explain what she is to me? How do I tell her that before she came, I believed myself to be nothing? My heart--not a physical organ, but that non-existent place from which feeling is said to flow, what Bajorans would call a pagh, a soul, a spirit, has been languishing in wait for her my entire life. Words fail me so often. I hold her. I hold her fiercely and hope and pray to gods I do not believe in that she will feel how much she means to me.

When I touch her, I realize that I am complete in a way that the Link will never make me. I have trouble explaining this, even to myself. For Nerys and I cannot exchange feelings or thoughts directly when we make love. The instantaneous comprehension that comes in the Link, the all encompassing feeling of limitless possibility, is not there.

And yet ...

It is more miraculous, somehow, this tenuous and fierce connection that I have to a being that is so unlike myself. I marvel at her body, not only its beauty and complexity--but at its strength. Such a delicate thing to be so strong. She opens herself to me with such absolute trust, I am awed whenever I enter that cathedral.

She is my place of worship.

Feeling her hips rise up in joy to meet my own, feeling myself held securely so close to her womb--the place that housed her child, watching her face contort into a look of bliss as sharp as pain, her lips rounding into a circle, her neck flashing white as it arches back. Vulnerable. And yet all her muscles tighten as she cries out and it is her strength I feel. It washes over me in waves. I am stunned, even as I kiss her in the wake of her passion. She reaches into me. Her fingers comb through my flesh as it quivers on the edge of becoming liquid. Her hunger for me is real and warm, not the soothing coolness of the Link. There is a joining here that is somehow on a level that transcends linking. This is what I have been waiting for my whole life. It is in this moment that I am completed. This is why I felt so empty when the Founderess told me that this "solid" way of intimacy was a mere shadow of the Link. I felt it untrue then. I know it untrue now. I am not sure that my people would ever understand. They have no gods, but they surely have religion.

Their religion is the Link. Therefore I am worse than a traitor.

I am an idolater.

I worry that she will be the one to suffer for this. That they will punish me by harming her. She will not hear this argument. "It makes no difference," she says, in that casual way that she has with all matters of life and death. "I have never lived a safe life, Odo. I never will." I have never known anyone braver. I love her not just for her courage, but for her anger. It burns so fiercely within her, the expression of things I have not been able to say. Anger at being abandoned, at being judged and punished and used and deceived by those who call themselves my people. She carries all of that for me, in her way. She is an avenging angel in her fierceness and her willingness to fight and die. These are the things that I love in her and also fear. For one day, her courage may yet take her from me. And she would die for me, with no hesitation, as I would die for her.

She loves me. It is unbelievable.

She holds me against her body in my liquid form, her fingers softly trailing over the sensitive, shapeless amber fluid that is spilled over her body. She says again and again how beautiful I am, as her hands make aimless patterns on my surface. Can it be so, this perfect content that I feel right now?

I will hold it for as long as I--as long as we--can ... until the day death separates us.

~30~

Author's Notes: This story, like its companion, "Shapes in the Dark," was published in the fanzine Love and Justice III in 1998. Unlike "Shapes," which I allowed to sit on my hard-drive until I'd almost forgotten it, "Links," was written in a very short time, and was consciously created as a kind of "mirror-image" or "reply" to the earlier story, using the same tense, style, and subject matter, but related from Odo's POV. The time-frame for this piece is after "His Way,"  though it was actually written before that episode aired. Interestingly, it almost reads like a post-finale O/K reunion in some ways. (And I have no objection to anyone reading it that way.) This was one of my first attempts to stay in Odo's POV for the length of an entire story.