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) 2001 by C. Zdroj. This story is Rated NC-17.

Save the Stranger
by C. Zdroj

Chronology Note: This story is set during an alternate version of the Cardassian Occupation.

~~~

Did I force you to remember
in the sacred name of love?
Well to be brave
Save the stranger ...
-- Stevie Nicks, "Sable on Blonde"

~~~

She looked up at the approach of the pale figure clothed in shadow. She felt the heat creep up over her face and was glad of the dim lighting, of the pervasive grayness of the space station. She had schooled herself into a pose of belligerence while waiting in the storage bay, her arms folded over her chest, one hip thrust out. She made her gaze and her voice defiant as she met his eyes. "The Ferengi said you wanted to talk to me."

"How interesting," said the constable--his resonant voice full of chilly amusement. "He told me that you were waiting here for me with new information on the Va'atrick matter."

She had told Furel this was a stupid idea. The alien's loyalties could not be bought. This she knew instinctively--and yet she also knew, just as surely, that he might be appealed to in some other way. This was why she had finally agreed to go through with it. Now that she was here, and committed, she had a strange and unexplainable desire to see what lay hidden behind his mask. For his assumed toughness and indifference was a mask, a mask that had slipped very briefly during their first meeting, when he had apologized to her for a perceived sexual come-on. He was attracted to her, she sensed, but did not know how to act on it.

"Lying is standard procedure for most Ferengi," she offered with a smile, still trying to sound insolent. "I've told you everything I know."

"So why are you here?"

It was a simple enough question. The ready answer that she had formulated some hours earlier suddenly eluded her. Her arm still ached with the bruising where Dukat's hand had clutched her. The reminder made her feel dirty. Violated. The constable's hard, bright eyes gave her no place to hide. What had she hoped to find there? Absolution? To confess herself, after he had promised that she would surely be turned over to the spoonheads in that event? Guilty she undoubtedly was--not of killing Va'atrick--that had been necessity, survival. But she was guilty of other things, things that couldn't be covered over with words likce collaborator, freedom, mission, acceptable losses ... What was it about this man's face that made her want to confess every wrong she'd ever done, every life she'd ever taken?

He looked at her, through her ...

She reached out and took his hand, turning it palm-up and laying hers over it. His skin was warm, and it felt as smooth as it looked. Unscarred and uncalloused, long-fingered and elegant, his was the hand of someone who'd "never been in the mines." He'd spotted her initial lie because of such close attention to detail--a lifetime of learning to imitate humanoids, or so she'd heard.

She looked at his face again and his eyes didn't flinch, and so she pressed his palm against her breast through the fabric of her clothing, almost savagely, and held it there. He didn't resist this presumption, this invasion upon his private nature. He only lowered his eyes and said, "Don't play games with me." But his voice was soft now, as if she'd located the crack in his armor. Suddenly she wanted to see more of him. With her free hand she allowed her fingertips to come up and touch his chin. That did make him flinch. He tried to look away from her, tilting his head a fraction, directing his gaze at the floor.

Who did this to you? She wondered, for she knew this posture, and the fear it signified. She'd see it in countless Bajoran refugees who'd had their will to resist drained away through the constant round of Cardassian brutality and oppression. And yet, only moments ago, the man before her had been utterly different. Hard, uncompromising. Resilient.

Working quickly, she undid the first three buttons of her tunic to admit his hand. She had to push his fingers underneath the fabric, but once there they traced lightly and cautiously over the swell of her bare breast, grazing the nipple. She bit her lip and her breath caught in her throat, as his touch became surer, as though a switch had been flipped. He began to caress her with a kind of agonizing slowness. Her body quivered at the warmth of his tentative touch, universes different from the iron grip of the Cardassian's hand. She had needed to know that. There was hesitation in the alien's touch, discrimination, a sensitivity to the faintest degree of pressure. Yet there was power too, written on that impassive, mask-like face and rigidly held body. Yes. From somewhere this outwardly shy creature had summoned strength and courage enough to face down the Cardassian Prefect of Bajor. In spite of herself she had a sudden need to touch that power, to feel her own body vibrate against it.

The constable tilted his head. "Not for money," he said, almost sadly. "Not for food?" He seemed almost disappointed. His hand had become still against her breast.

"You saved my life," she said, as though this explained everything. 

"I assumed you were innocent," he said evenly.

None of us are innocent, she thought, but said nothing. She gripped his fingers, making him squeeze her flesh. She gasped in pleasure, a gasp that was almost a groan, and his gasp echoed hers. A moment of brief, silent accord. "Please," she whispered, feeling a deep, hidden throbbing in her body, a sudden, irrational desire for him to hunt out all of her secrets and expose them, to break her open and see her as she was.

He averted his eyes, almost as if her unspoken desires were radiating out of her and causing him pain. "Haven't you heard?" he said, bitterly sarcastic. "I know nothing about sex. I don't require it."

She made her look a challenge, her breathing hard now, her heart racing. "Don't you wonder, though? Aren't you even curious?"

He continued to stare at her with that measuring look. He was not picturing her body, she knew, but was trying to see something more elusive--not even the truth or falseness of her words--but something more fundamental, something that went to the core of her. He was trying to see *her.* He let his hand fall slowly from her body, but kept his gaze fixed on her.

She began to open the rest of her tunic, peeling it down, baring her upper body to him in the chill and dimness. Her breasts, no longer hidden, were soft and small and pale, their nipples raised and hard, aching with wanting his hands on them. He stood silently, taking in the sight of her body only briefly before his eyes settled back on her face. Her cheeks were burning. She imagined her body alight with suppressed desire, glowing with white heat in the gray-blackness all around them.

She took his hands once more and drew him closer, let her lips graze his thin mouth in a kiss. His hands slipped out of hers and then traveled to the small of her back, gently but surely pressing her body against his own. She felt the heat and solidity of him--the body underneath the clothes. Was there a real body underneath real clothing? A man inside that ash-gray peasant garb that both did and did not resemble a uniform?

His fingertips kneaded the place on her skin where they had come to rest, pushing on her hips and rocking them gently forward until her pubic bone was rubbing against the front of his trousers. He held her still, making sure she felt it, the swelling rise of his pseudo-flesh. The humanoid solidity of his hips liquefied suddenly, molding to fit the contours of hers, filling the space between her thighs with suggestive heat that licked over the dampness of her crotch. She gasped. It was true then. He was alien, not only to her world but to her entire notion of existence. Strangely, the thought did not disturb her at all. Shapeshifter, so she had heard Dukat call him. Her nipples rubbed painfully against the rough fabric covering his chest. It felt genuine enough. She arched back and his hands deftly shifted to the back of her head, his mouth covering hers with unexpected skill, his tongue like warm honey sliding past her lips to entwine with her own. She moaned, arching against him, startled by both her own rising desire and his sudden eagerness.

His hands anticipated her, pressing her back against one of the metal packing crates, bracing her hips gently before sliding her trousers and dingy white briefs down her body until they were crumpled around her calves. He said nothing this while, and neither did she. There was only the sound of their breathing in the close, gray air. Did shapeshifters need to breathe, or had he simply learned to mimic humanoid body functions?

His hands returned to her breasts, massaging their cold, stiff nipples, rubbing them gently, warming her. Then his touch moved down over her ribs and smooth belly, making trails of heat on her skin in the cool air of the docking bay. His fingers tickled through her pubic hair, then explored her thighs and buttocks, defining her shape delicately, until one hand slid firmly between her legs. She bit back a cry at the suddenness of the gesture, and he stopped, his eyes seeking hers. The expression on his face was not readable.

"Are you afraid of me?" he asked.

She did not look away, but held his gaze firmly. Her body was taut and shivering. "No," she whispered. There was a small movement, a slight shift in his facial expression.

"Why me? Did you come here to be amused?" he grated, and in that moment she heard it clearly. The pain in his voice, the explanation for his skill with her body. The dark history she knew he would not speak of, and that yet hung between them, as tangible as a veil of black silk. For a moment she just stood there quivering as he studied her, looking at her, seeing deep into her. Her vulva becoming warm and wet as his eyes traveled over her body for the first time. His fingers, gently, cautiously, moved to touch the velvet warmth between her thighs, and she gasped softly. She gripped the front of his tunic and pulled his face toward hers, her tongue forcing its way into his mouth. She felt his body shudder as she explored him hungrily, and when she released his mouth finally she kept her fingers knotted in the fabric, her eyes locked with his. "I came because ..." because two hours ago I thought I was dead? "Because I'm sick of this place--the cold, the smell ... the--don't you ever just get sick of the cold?"

"The cold doesn't bother me," he said, his voice rough with emotion.

"And what about the blood--the death?" she pressed, her voice biting. She looked up at him a for a moment. The way the sparse light reflected on his face, he looked as if he might cry. Could shapeshifters cry? "I felt you wanting me. I know you do," her whisper was harsh and pleading.

He didn't deny her accusation. For a moment his face just hovered there before her. There was a long moment of silence. "And you want me, is that it?" he said at last. She nodded. His hands came up slowly to close around her clenched fingers. "You're hurting me," he said, calmly, gently. She slowly released him and he sighed. He closed his eyes, concentrating, looking for a moment almost like a vedek captured in meditation, and he shimmered golden in that cold darkness, filling it with warm light for a flickering moment as he changed. He stood before her naked, as naked as she was, a smooth, well-formed, anatomically-correct humanoid male with smooth, flawless skin. Obviously a body formed by long practice.

He knelt then before her then, almost reverentially, his hands grazing her hips. She closed her eyes as the warmth traveled downward, as his hands opened her again and his lips slowly brushed the inside of her thigh. She gasped as she felt his tongue darting out to taste her, cautiously at first, then growing bold, stroking gently over her moist lips and then between them, opening, gently laving the pulsing bud of her clit, tickling its ridges, reaching deep into her with sudden authority and sureness, kissing her body deeply, avidly. Kira stood, barely, on quivering, jellied legs, partially collapsed against the metal crate, growls and moans of pleasure spilling from her throat. When he surfaced to kiss her mouth again, plunging his tongue deep once more, she tasted herself, her sins, her mortality, the blood on her own hands.

She ran her nails down his back, not gently, but like an animal in a spasm of fury, feeling trails of moisture beneath her nails and wondering if she was somehow rending his silken flesh, but his gasp was not of pain. She brought her hands up again, over a warm, water-smooth chest. She reached hungrily for him now, her fingers fanning out over lean, narrow buttocks, sliding around front to discover a long, elegantly smooth male organ that curved upward into her touch. The two of them gasped at the same moment as he pressed her tight between his body and the cold metal wall, and she could suddenly feel that very real, very solid cock pulsing warmly in the wet space between her thighs.

His hands gripped her shoulders, his eyes locked with hers. Then he pulled her against him, into a deep, desperate kiss, his hips moving slowly, rubbing himself gently back and forth against her vulva. Kira groaned at the teasing strokes, clutching his hips possessively, wanting. She reached to grip his penis with one hand, angling her hips until she could feel him at her threshold. She cried out as he began to push his way into her. His hips gave little, jerking thrusts at first, and she growled and panted as he gradually sank himself deeper. She moaned softly when at last he was completely sheathed in her body, with the hungry walls of her vagina throbbing around him.

There was a near breathless pause, then her defiant shout of pleasure rang off the walls of the cargo bay as he continued to thrust inside her, now pulling her with him into a desperate, almost violent motion. She heard him moaning with passion, with longing, as though he reached for something just beyond his grasp. She clutched his shoulders in triumphant possession, her nails biting into his skin, and clenched her jaw as her own hips moved in response, firm and purposeful. She groaned and thrust back as he surged inside her. She opened herself, wrapping her legs around his hips, sharing his desperate rhythm. Their climax was hard and sudden and Kira felt liquid heat erupt within her, surging into her depths. The alien's cry was one of anguish, hers one of deep relief. She felt him shudder and as he did, for a moment his shape wavered, and she thought he might slip away like water.  "Stay with me," she whispered into his neck, "Stay with me ..." She sought to soothe the distress that she felt in his trembling limbs, caressing his shoulders, rubbing her lips against his smooth throat. For a few moments, all was harsh breathing in the stillness. They clung together, and she imagined that his grief washed over her, merging with her own guilt and regret. He was utterly still in her embrace, and yet his pain, sharp and piercing, was as clear to her as if he'd been shaking with sobs. She drew back and saw his face suddenly unguarded. Prophets, he was beautiful. His face haunted, his eyes luminous. This was why she had wanted him--because she'd seen him stand up to Dukat, because his very silence--his stark, thin, resolute, figure, had made the swaggering Cardassian look small and insignificant. She reached up to lay hands on either side of that remarkable face.

"You're beautiful," she whispered.

He shook his head sadly, deliberately turning his gaze from hers. "Odo'ital," he rasped softly.

She drew in a short, astonished breath as she recognized the Cardassian word. Nothing? Surely not. "That's your name?" she asked in a low whisper.

"It's what they call me," he responded.

Strangely moved, she kissed his still-bowed forehead and then his cheeks, nuzzling his face softly, allowing her lips travel that smooth, gentle landscape. "Odo ..." she whispered, running her fingers gently through the fine, straw-blonde hair. She pressed her lips to the warmth of his cheek. "Not odo'ital ... never that ..." She went on kissing him in the stillness, her lips finding his eagerly, wrapping her arms around him, running her hands slowly down his back. Their two bodies remained joined for several more minutes as they became lost in each other: two, pale, thin, fragile bodies frantically trying to hold to each other in the vast, cold depths of that inhospitable space.  He gripped her shoulders in a way that suggested he was afraid, just then, of holding too tightly. He trembled. All that passion caged up by fear. Kira shut her eyes and drew him against her, for a moment simply holding him in the darkness. He was as afraid as she was, as alone. She could feel his pain because she knew it from her own bloody experience, like a tightness in the muscles, always seeking release. It was his pain that made him so beautiful, hidden, like the old and stubborn thorns buried in her own heart.

"Show me yourself," she whispered against that pale, soft, more-than-humanoid skin.

He met her eyes easily now, his voice very gentle. "Will the Bajoran resistance want to know how a shapeshifter makes love?" he said, quietly. She saw now. She hadn't fooled him at all, not for one instant.

Kira's eyes filled with tears. "I want to know."

"I believe you," he said, kissing her forehead and holding her close. She let her lips find his again in a softer, more gently intimate kiss--a kiss that lingered and deepened until it came to seem endless. And as she went on slowly, slowly kissing him, the wet heat between her thighs, the solidity that had been him, melted inside her and began to move within her, bubbling up and surging deep until she was awash in it.

She threw her head back and groaned, a deep and guttural sound, as he tenderly supported her body and spilled himself into her, caressing her depths, washing softly into her again and again, like ocean waves. Relief--cleansing relief, spilled down her nerve-endings as she climaxed again and again. Behind the sounds of her own pleasure, she could hear him moaning softly as well, low, guttural little noises of joy and pain that vibrated against her throat where his lips were pressed to her skin. There was an ocean inside her, big enough to swallow all of her sins. She gave her self up to it, trembling and finally collapsing into his arms--into him.

She had no idea how long it lasted, only that when she was herself again, she was lying on the ground with a blanket covering her naked body, and he was sitting beside her, dressed.

"So," he asked softly, staring out into the gray distance, as though he had sensed her waking without looking down at her. "What will you tell the Resistance when they inquire about my abilities?"

"I'll tell them it's true--that you're a shapeshifter," she said quietly.

He nodded.

She knelt beside him, put her arms around his shoulders, and kissed his cheek. When he turned his head, she kissed his mouth again, and he did not refuse it.

"I will also tell them you're a good man," she whispered. She saw in his eyes that he knew--knew that she had killed Va'atrick--and had let her go anyway. An almost-smile quirked one corner of the somber mouth. "But will they believe you?"

"I'll see that they do ..." She leaned forward to deepen the kiss, and he accepted the offer gracefully. This was not the end of anything, Kira realized in that instant, but rather the beginning of something neither of them would be able to control.

She didn't care.

 ~the end~

Author's Notes: This story was originally published in the fanzine Love and Justice VI (2001) and was posted to ASCEM in March of 2002.