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 NC-17.

Sex, Faith, and Questing after Visions
by C. Zdroj


Chronology Note: This story is set immediately after the ST:DS9 episode "Covenant."

~~~

"Time is the great gift. Sex is the great equalizer. Love is the great mystery."
--Mary-Chapin Carpenter, Time, Sex, Love

~~~

She had agreed, reluctantly, to a complete medical examination as soon as they returned to DS9. It was all too easy to believe that Dukat might have slipped her some drug or disease or Prophets knew what else during her imprisonment on Terok Nor. Bashir had found nothing amiss, however, and had certified her fit for duty. But Julian hadn't been able to look at her pagh, Kira thought grimly. If he had, he might have reached a very different conclusion indeed.

Still, she was all too used to the routine of shouldering her troubles in silence and getting on with duty. It had now been three days since Vedek Fala had died in her arms, passing from this life to whatever might await the devotees of the pagh-wraiths in the next. For three days, she had not slept for thinking about all that had happened during her brief stay with the wraith cultists. She knew that her fatigue was affecting her performance, but no one else seemed to have noticed it yet.

Odo notices, said the voice of her better judgement. That's why you're avoiding him. He always notices. Kira shoved that voice to the back of her awareness and went on with her work.

It was now past o-two-hundred hours. Still in her uniform, Kira was prowling her quarters like a restless hara-cat. This simply could not go on, and she knew it. Sleep was essential to the functioning of any soldier, and she was beginning to show all the signs of going without it for too long. She laid a shaking hand on her prayer mandala and as quickly drew it back. She could not bear to look into the light of the shrine. It shamed her somehow, and frightened her at the same time. She thought about heading out to the promenade, to Quark's little dive of a bar--anywhere to get away from that light. And she heard Vedek Fala speaking, almost as clearly as if he had been standing behind her: "It's no good, Nerys. You can't run from the Prophets. They see all of us wherever we go."

"I didn't do anything wrong," she told the silence around her. "Fala chose his fate. I couldn't help him." The icon continued to glow serenely in the dimness of the room, unresponsive to her words. Kira chose to hide from it in the adjoining bedroom, where she could look out at the stars through the viewport. She went to the replicator and ordered a drink--the strongest Klingon blood wine that the computer could conjure up. It was foul stuff, the kind Jadzia had used to drink with so much relish. But it had one advantage: it made one quite drunk very fast. Kira made herself down the entire contents of the glass, almost gagging on the thick dark fluid.

She didn't remember smashing her glass against the window. She didn't remember passing out on her bed.

She opened her eyes to dimness and a raging headache, and for a moment she imagined that she could see Dukat's face leering down at her in the faint light, like some toothy predatory reptile getting ready to strike. Twisting, she raised a hand to smash that smug face and tumbled off the bed onto the hard floor.

"Get off me!" she snarled at the hands and arms that materialized from nowhere to lift her up. "Go to hell, Dukat!" Her hands froze into claws as she tried to swipe at the hated face.

"Nerys?"

Startled into full wakefulness, Kira looked up, finding no Cardassian attacker, but instead a pair of anxious blue eyes. Her fumbling hand reached out to touch the contours of a smooth, familiar face. "Odo?"

He lifted her back onto the bed, and Kira, reassured by the welcome strength of his arms, allowed herself to relax. For several moments, she lay back on the mattress, numbed and staring at the ceiling. Odo's fingers trailed gently through her sweat-soaked hair as he sat beside her on the bed.  "What are you doing here?" she asked, drained.

His voice rumbled softly above her. "I can leave if you like ..."

"No--don't." She reached out blindly for his hand and squeezed it hard, then closed her eyes, letting her breath out in a long sigh.

"What's going on, Nerys?"

Gentle as the question was, Kira was in no mood to be interrogated by her own chief of security--even if they had been sleeping together for the last few months.

"It's too hot in here," she grumbled, trying to change the subject. "How did I let myself fall asleep in this damned uniform?"

"One of the many hazzards of too much blood wine," said Odo dryly.

"How did you--?"

"Call it an educated guess."

"Figures," Kira grumbled softly.

"I did take your boots off," Odo said. There was a faint touch of amusement in his voice.

Kira smiled tiredly. "Well now you can take off the rest." She squeezed Odo's fingers again. His free hand traveled carefully to the back of her neck, and her exhausted body found enough energy to arch upward and allow him to undo the zipper. He peeled the uniform away from her gently, with lingering slowness. She closed her eyes again and pressed his hand between her now bare breasts, over her heart, grateful for his presence as she had not been in a long time.

He seemed hesitant. "Nerys ... are you sure that you ...?"

She cut him off by reaching out and wrapping him in a fierce embrace, pulling him down to her until their lips were crushed together. Odo relinquished himself with a sigh to the hunger of her kiss and the eagerness of her searching mouth. Kira's fingers slid possessively up over his back and between his shoulder blades as he morphed gracefully out of the semblance of his Bajoran uniform and into the slim unclothed humanoid shape that she had come to know so intimately. Her hands traveled downward along his spine and to his thighs and hips. She kissed him almost compulsively, delighting in the smoothness of his skin, the warmth of his body. In that moment she felt as though she would never get enough of either. There was a brief instant when he forced her to slow down, gently pushing her deeper into the bedding, pressing his forehead against hers while the two of them caught their breath.

Odo kissed Kira's forehead and her cheeks. From there his lips traveled downward, along the side of her neck and the satiny expanse of her upper chest. He kissed her breasts, rubbing his cheeks against the smooth flesh, letting his tongue pass over the firm, rosy nipples. Kira moaned, making soft, passionate sounds deep in her throat.

Then, abruptly, her whole body tensed and she gasped his name. "Odo ..."

The sound was like a half-suppressed groan, more suggestive of pain than of pleasure. Odo drew back in alarm and looked down at her. Kira had twisted so that one side of her face was pressed into the pillow. Her lips and jaw were clenched tight, her eyes squeezed shut.

"Nerys?"

For a moment she lay still, gasping softly. "It's nothing, Odo ... I just --"

"You thought I was Dukat earlier, while you were tossing in your sleep," he reminded her.

Kira turned fully onto her side, drawing up her knees and clutching the pillow. "I don't want to talk about it."

"As you wish." Odo's voice was sober and sad. Kira knew that she'd hurt him.

She sat up in bed and took him by the shoulders, forcing him to look at her. "It's not you." She bit her lip, glancing down at the crumpled bedclothes. "It's not your fault. It's me. I--" She ground her teeth, unable to continue.

"Dukat," said Odo sharply. "Did he--?"

"No!" Kira almost shouted. Then, aware of the harshness of her tone, she lowered her voice. "No," she repeated, quietly vehement.

Odo's face was shadowed. Kira knew that his memories of the former Cardassian prefect went back much further than her own. She decided to leave out the detail of waking up half-dressed on Terok Nor to find Dukat hovering over her. "He never touched me," she said. "But somehow I still feel ... contaminated." Her voice was low with disgust. "Just the way he was looking at me ..."

"I'm sorry," Odo said.

"There's no need for you to be sorry."

"Yes, there is." Odo's voice was bitter. "I'm the chief of security here. People aren't just supposed to vanish from this station--let alone the senior staff. Let alone ..." he paused, brushing her cheek with the side of his hand. "Let alone ... you." His voice fell to a whisper. "That transporter had a Dominion signature, you know."

"Actually, I didn't," she said. She'd been too distracted to even read the reports that had been filed on her own abduction. She studied Odo's face with concern. "You thought it was the Founders."

He nodded.

"Odo, you can't hold yourself responsible every time something happens to me."

"I know. But I do anyway."

She leaned forward to rub her lips along the bridge of his nose. "I've always known that about you," she told him. Odo accepted her touch, along with the comment, in silence, his hands resting in hers.

"You take so much on yourself," Kira said quietly.

Her lips brushed along his cheek. Her voice sank to a low whisper. "Odo, I need you. I need you to touch me." Her eyes locked with his. "After listening to Dukat spew all that poison--listening to him try to convince me that he ... loved me ..." Her voice was heavy with sarcasm, and yet she could not suppress a shudder. She leaned her head on Odo's shoulder and sighed. "I suppose he believed it in his own twisted way."

"No doubt," said Odo.

"I know it sounds crazy, but--after all that happened, I need you to make me feel ... clean again." Her dark eyes were direct and serious. "Only you can do that, Odo--make me feel whole again ... like I'm me."

Odo inclined his head, clearly surprised by this choice of words. "It sounds like you want a blessing," he said quietly. "I'm no vedek, you know."

Kira leaned up and forward, placed an almost ceremonial kiss on his forehead. "I know," she whispered, "but this ... us, together--" She clasped his shoulders again, drawing him to her. "This is ... a sacred act."

He said nothing. He only kissed her and caressed her bare shoulders.

Odo felt Kira's muscles become softer as she relaxed into his embrace. He gathered her close and they sighed together, holding each other in the stillness. Kira let her head tip back as Odo kissed her throat, and she let out a gasp of relief as he drew her hips snugly against his own and simply let himself flow inside her. They groaned together. Odo allowed himself a moment to look at her--his Nerys, so strong and so trusting--to see the passion that his touch aroused in her. Her body arched so that her nipples brushed his chest, tiny, erect little nubs. He let his thumbs caress them, teasing them into even harder peaks. Kira growled softly with approval. Her hips moved eagerly as her body embraced him.

Odo held Kira while her body shuddered, moments later, into its climax. He kept on holding her while she caught her breath and her heartbeat slowed to normal. Her fingers traveled gently over his shoulders, and he felt her breath, warm against his cheek. Only then did he permit a release of his own pent up tension. "I love you," he breathed. A soft whisper, carrying raw hurt with it. She kissed him fiercely, his forehead, his cheeks, his mouth. She ran her fingers through his hair.

"I know," she whispered. "I love you too."

Anything else that she might have said was obliterated by another ferocious kiss. She sensed his need and opened her body, letting him seize and cover her with kisses. She was sure that the entire station must have heard her screams of passion as Odo covered her with himself, caressing every inch of her. Time was blotted out, and she did not know whether the pleasure lasted for hours or merely seconds. She only knew that she seemed to come back to herself very slowly some time later, even as Odo painstakingly reformed himself in her arms. She rolled him over on his back and sat perched astride his hips, for several moments gazing down at him thoughtfully while she stroked his chest.

Odo lay with his eyes closed. Kira went on stroking him until she sensed him at peace again.

She sighed. "I suppose I should take my own advice," she said at last.

"You blame yourself for the death of your friend," he said. It was not a question.

Kira nodded. "I just keep thinking there must have been something I could have done."

"You're only one person, Nerys."

"So are you," she replied.

They digested this in silence as they lay together.

"You know," said Kira slowly, "I kept being surprised that the wraith cultists were such ... ordinary people. From what I could see, they weren't especially bad people, and most of them weren't crazy. But they were desperate. They felt as if the Prophets had abandoned them." She hesitated. "In a way ... they reminded me of you."

Odo seemed surprised, and not entirely pleased. "In what way?"

"You were abandoned as a child. The Bajorans you met never gave you much reason to believe in the Prophets." Her gaze had that earnest, piercing quality that somehow he could never turn away from. Odo raised Kira's hand in his own, rubbing her fingers thoughtfully.

Finally he let himself break the silence, choosing his words with care. "I was never able to put my trust in anything but myself, until now--until you. But I know only too well how fallible I am, Nerys."

"That's why Weyoun's devotion bothered you so much," said Kira, half to herself.

"He gave his life for me. I never asked that. I never wanted to be anyone's god."

Kira stroked his cheek thoughtfully. "The Vorta can't help what they are ..." she whispered. "It was a kind thing that you did--giving Weyoun your blessing."

"Was it?" Odo sounded doubtful. "I perpetuated a myth about the Founders."

"You gave a dying man his dearest wish," she swallowed hard. "It was more than I could do for Fala."

They lapsed into silence again. After a while, Kira said: "Odo ... You may not be a god in your own eyes, but you are a blessing. My blessing." She leaned down and kissed his temple. "And awfully good in bed too," she added with a soft laugh.

"You know," Odo said, kissing her back, "When I'm here with you--sometimes I imagine I could believe in the Prophets." His voice was so soft it was as if he feared his own words.

Kira grinned broadly. "All part of my evil scheme--didn't you know?"

"Ah, now it all makes sense."

He kissed her again, and the shadows of memory receded away for them both, for the moment, into the eternity of the present.

 ~30~

Author's Notes: When I began writing this piece, shortly after the first airing of "Covenant" in 1998, I fully intended it to be a PWP. But as usual, Odo and Kira started telling me about their personal issues, so what could I do? An earlier, slightly different edit of this story appears in the fanzine Fragments of Amber (2002).