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Star Trek - Deep Space Nine: The Bloodrose (MF,drugs)
by Quentin Rhodes

Major Kira found herself thinking about something rather disturbing the evening of the party. She was looking through her closet of clothes when she was caught suddenly by a recollection of her time in the Shakaar. She remembered the fighting, and the death, and the noise, all in a single instant in front of her closet, and she remembered she was battered and bloody. Battered, she recalled in this odd moment, from tramping for seven days through a swamp without sleeping or eating, bloody from murdering a young man who was supposedly a traitor.

She and two bounty hunters had followed a fugitive Bajoran man accused of treason. She had been sick when she found him, and half out of her mind, and she had slaughtered him with the perverse pleasure of a hunter, a carnivore.

She had done it with her own hands, twisted his neck until the blood leaked out of his mouth and his ears, and she had been laughing, and the other men had laughed too, only their laughing had been a little nervous, because they had never seen anything like that before. She had dropped his body into the swamp, and as she watched the frozen face sink beneath the slop she had been mesmerized by the beauty of death. Then, she had passed out.

She remembered all of this while looking for a dress to wear to the party. As she stood there, considering the green strapless thing over the black long-sleaved thing, she shivered in spite of herself, and felt very cold.

She took the green dress out and put it on. She combed her hair so that it lay against her head. Then she looked in the mirror.

She had a distinct look, a bit dikey, but not unpleasing. She frowned as she scrutinized herself, trying to figure out what was wrong. Then she thought of the terrible soft sounds the young man had made as she had broken his neck, and she picked up a black pencil and drew a tear drop at the corner of her left eye. There, complete. But of course, no one would see the scar that ran under her skin, across her face.

The host of that peculiar party was none other than Starfleet itself. It was to be a sprawling, ambitious affair, and had been planned to coincide with a diplomatic conference taking place on Deep Space Nine. Major Kira loathed the idea of having to fawn before the legions of self-important ambassadors -- she remembered with distaste the few encounters she had had with members of the Federation Diplomatic Council.

When she had finished getting ready she left her quarters and started for deck 21. Almost 30 decks of the space station had been cleared for the evening's festivities, and close to a thousand people were to be in attendence. Kira didn't like parties that big -- they seemed to her more of a display of wealth and power, as well as an obvious attempt to nurture Starfleet agendas. Why else would a thousand people be necessary? Certainly not to have fun.

She walked to the turbo lift and got on. It made a soft whirring noise as it shot up through the inside of the station, and she leaned against the wall and listened to the inscrutible device which drove her upward. She closed her eyes. When she opened them, the door had opened and deck 21 was spread out before her.

A dizzying, sweltering jungle of people stretched as far as she could see. There were security officers in Starfleet uniforms at every door, and Kira spotted the bronze diplomacy badge on the lapels of a few gentlemen standing near the turbo lift door. Security was tight, she knew, and there
was even a Federation patrol ship lazily orbiting the station, its anxious captain analyzing and reanalyzing scores of sensor readings. Bajoran security had been considered too pedestrian to see to the safety of hundreds of Federation diplomats, which meant that Chief of Security Odo had been free to accept his invitation. Kira smiled to herself. Odo hated parties.

Kira considered Odo for a moment. She didn't know if she would see him this evening -- it was possible they would never even be on the same level together -- but she rather wanted to see him. He'd been acting strangely lately, as though he were somehow off balance ... and she'd offered a decidedly unsympathetic ear to it all, which had seemed to upset him. She had a curious thought about him, and she felt something tingle in the pit of her stomach when she considered the possiblity. She wanted to see him.

She moved discreetly through the crowd. Such a collection of wild creatures they were, so odd and colorful -- a tall, bizarre Bolean woman in orange crepe-silk gave Kira an arch look as she passed, and Kira stared wonderously at the gold jewelry that was twined and twisted around the woman's neck and arms. The bands were like snakes, their frozen coils locked in a perpetually halted stuggle of death.

The room was as full as it could possibly have been. Kira could often only see faces, the people were packed that tight, and she was looking desperately for someone she knew. Parties were no fun without people you knew, and she intended to make the most out of the evening, to have some sort of memorable experience. She scanned the knots of people by the bar, and then the people through the door way in the corridor. It was then that she felt a tap on her shoulder.

The person who had tapped her was Lt. Dax. Kira turned around and saw the Trill standing before her in a sultry black evening gown, smiling contentedly and holding a drink in her hand.

"Ah, it's good to see someone I know," said the Trill, smiling.

Kira laughed a short, breathless laugh. "I didn't think I'd ever find someone in this mob."

"You see," said Dax, "the trick is to speculate where people are going to be, and then narrow down your search parameter. You said you were coming a little late, and your quarters are closest to deck 21, so I stationed myself near the turbo lift that would most likely place you here, and waited."

"Ingenious."

Dax grinned wider, and took a sip from her drink. Kira eyed it with interest.

"What is it?" she asked, gesturing to the glass.

"Vodka," replied Dax with great seriousness.

"Vodka?" Kira shook her head. "Never heard of it."

"Earth spirit," Dax mused looking at the glass, "very interesting. Hardly a taste at all, but very engaging, very potent stuff." She finished the vodka. "Do you want a drink, Kira?"

Kira glanced around at the groups of people mingling close to them, and said: "Yes. I would like one very much."

At the bar, Dax asked Kira what she was in the mood for.

"Something hard," Kira said shortly. "And something sweet."

"Bartender," Dax sang, "give my friend a Korellian resthak, please."

The little human man behind the bar bobbed his head subserviently, goggling a little at the two beautiful women, and began digging about for his bottles.

He produced a flask of fine green liquid and poured a good deal of it into a tall glass, dropped in a twist of lime, and handed it to Major Kira. Kira took it and licked the rim.

"It's very good," said Dax. "The Korellians have mastered the art of distilling a sweet liqueur that is at the same time very strong. One glass of that should do you."

"Look," said Kira, taking a sip and smiling,"it even matches my dress."

For close to an hour, the two women drifted through the crowd. Kira finished her resthak and liked it enough to have another, against her better judgement, but what did it matter? How often did she have the opportunity to get drunk? She posed this question to Dax, and then resolved that this evening she would get very drunk indeed, and let that be a lesson to them who have forgotten about enjoyment, for enjoyment's sake!

Streams of people, coming going, and going and coming, strings like, animated toys. Kira sat with her head against the wall, half-listening to Julian Bashir compliment Dax's dress.

"Stunning, Jadzia, you look stunning. But that's no surprise. You know, you put those diplomat ladies and all their beaurocratic finery to shame any day. Have you done something to your hair? It certainly seems that way..."

Kira imagined it was very late. She chuckled to herself and thought what a farce time was, who needed time anyways? What did it matter if it was morning, or midnight, or a quarter-to-eight? We are the same no matter what time it is, it is we who change, time changes us not. She was feeling very viscous, and a nervous creature ran circles in her stomach. She wanted to run ten miles, or swim in an ocean, or climb the world's tallest tree.

"My dear fellow! My god, that suit looks smashing on you. Ten times better than it looks on me, don't you think, Jadzia?"

Kira raised her head. Odo had joined them suddenly, and Julian was refering to Odo's borrowed clothes, Julian's grey, silk trimmed tunic and black pants.

"Indeed, you look very handsome, Odo." Dax was smiling another one of her inward smiles.

"You see, Jadzia, I originally lent them to him in the hopes that he could imitate them himself, but he claimed that he couldn't get the lines to fall quite right."

"I must thank you again for letting me borrow them, doctor, as I am at a loss concerning humanoid fashion in general."

Kira stared at him. The grey and black might have made Julian's desert handsomeness seem a little muddy, but it made Odo into a Dark Soldier. It hung from his tall, spare frame like a uniform of anarchy, and his sculpted lines looked hard and clean and sleek, like those of a race horse. To Kira, in her muddled state, he had the devastating and unrealized beauty of a waterfall, or a river canyon.

And then that strange thought she had had before when she had first come to the party arose in her again. The thought had not been a new one, but she had never really considered it seriously until now. It had been a curiosity as to what it would be like to be with a shapeshifter, to make love to one, to have one become whatever she desired. She knew Odo would never consent, but she had entertained the idea before, and now she had an overwhelming urge to act upon it. She gazed lecherously at Odo's wavering form, as it split and melded and split again.

Odo stood quietly listening to Dax and Julian discuss music. Julian was all for Verdi, while Dax much prefered the psychology of Wagner, no matter what the German philosophers said. Kira crept around to Odo's side and took him by the elbow, pulling him a little roughly around a corner.

"Odo," she hissed at him, in a whisper, "are you having fun?"

A strange, lopsided smile from him: "No, are you?"

"Hardly." She looked at him critically, at his sculpted, mask-like face. He was searching her with hot blue eyes that were at once oddly inhuman and terribly beautiful.

"Come with me, won't you?" She put a clumsy arm around his waist and pulled him against her, like a cowboy in an Ancient Western.

He placed his hands against her shoulders and gently pushed her away, narrowing his eyes mockingly.

"You're drunk," he said flatly, with a hint of a smile.

"You noticed." She stretched out her arms in a very cat-like manner. "I have a lot of energy," she said.

"Oh really. Well, why don't you seduce an ambassador, then?"

"Shut up, Odo. Make up your mind."

His face was a sea of unhappy shadow. "Don't say that to me, Major."

"I'm sorry."

"What do you want from me?"

"Nothing much. Nothing at all, in fact."

Uncomfortable shifting, a long sigh. The sad blue eyes floated in their face like frozen tears.

Kira was dizzy. The ceiling was rotating, very slowly, but rotating all the same, and it was taking her with it. Her knees weren't working very well either. Odo's face drifted toward her and away from her as though it were on a tide.

He caught her when she fell. He could see it coming, she had been swaying back and forth for a few moments, and he was there when her legs gave out, catching her.

He tried to hold her up and make her walk so that he didn't have to carry her out of the room -- that would seem odd. He didn't want to make a scene, and he imagined she would not like to be part of one.

So they fumbled through the crowd, Kira's head lolling drunkenly against Odo's shoulder, until they got to the turbo lift. Odo pressed the button, the doors opened, and they went inside.

As they dropped level after level, Kira leaned heavily on Odo's arm. He tried to hold her up but she kept swaying back against the wall, and finally he positioned her arms around his neck so she could lean against his chest. She tightened her hold around his neck, and then quite suddenly kissed him on the mouth.

He made small sounds of protest, bringing his hands up to her wrists in a pathetic attempt to pry her off, but she held fast, bending his head back until he closed his eyes and gave in. She pulled away for a moment to look at him, her head spinning a little, then kissed him again, deeper, this time slipping her tongue into his mouth. She had no idea what to expect when she did this, but she discovered that his mouth felt very much like any other man's mouth she had ever kissed, warm and wet and a little sweet. He was shaking some, and had let his hands fall from her wrists. She pressed him against the wall and kissed him harder, running her hands down his body to hold his hips.

The turbo lift stopped and the door opened. Kira pulled away as quickly as she could, staggered a little, grabbed hold of the wall, and looked out.

There was, thankfully, no one there.

Odo still leaned against the turbo lift wall, trembling, as though he didn't trust his legs to hold him up. Kira reached out a hand to him, and he took it. She stepped carefully out of the turbo lift, with Odo helping her, and together they made their way down the corridor. Kira licked her lips a little, considering the taste of Odo's mouth and the taste of residual liquor, and Odo followed at her side, silent and shivering.

He had to carry her into her quarters. By the last corridor, she had very nearly passed out and he lifted her in his arms for the remainder of the walk. She was very heavy, and she kept moving, which made things difficult, but he managed to stumble to her quarters and go through the door. It was quite dark in the room, and he walked carefully to avoid tripping, over to the couch, where he tried to put her down. But she put her arms around his neck and held him to her, so that he had to keep her in his arms, and at last he simply sat down on the couch with her on his lap.

She seemed to be completely unconscious now, for her hold on him had loosened, and her head fell back a little, exposing her neck. She had a very lovely neck, rather swanlike and smooth, and he put his fingers on it, and stroked it lightly, and bent his head to kiss it.

Kira laughed softly as he did this, her eyes still closed. "Do that again," she whispered, mockingly.

He put his hand in her hair and kissed her chin. She continued to smile indolently, eyes closed. He leaned across her and kissed her bare shoulder. She reached up and pulled him down so that he lay beside her on the couch, and they were motionless in each other's arms for a moment.

He placed his chin on her shoulder and was very silent and still. She wondered suddenly if he was naked under Dr. Bashir's loaned clothes, if his physique was real and humanoid. She put her hands under his shirt, lifting it up to his chest. His skin was impossibly smooth and warm, and his body
was slender ... it was definitely a humanoid body, every bit.

He murmured "Do you want me to take it off?"

She said yes. He pulled the fine grey tunic over his head and dropped it on the floor by the couch. She ran her hands briefly over the smooth, approximated muscles, and kissed his collar bone.

He rolled away from her suddenly, burying his face in the pillows of the couch. She sat up, a little dazed. She reached out her hand and stroked his shoulder.

"Odo... what's the matter...?"

He twisted his body away from her. "How can you do this with someone with a face like mine?" he asked softly into the pillow.

"There's nothing wrong with your face..." Kira didn't understand. She found it hard to think.

"It's freakish." Odo made a little sound of despair.

"Change it then," Kira said, "become something else."

He sat up and looked at her levelly. "What do you want?"

She racked her brain feebly, then said: "Whatever you want."

His face began to sink a little, and the forms melted off and sank in to show a new, refined face. The removal of the mask. The rising of Atlantis from the sea. It was him still, though finer, more delicate, as though wax had been scraped away from his features. Only his eyes remained exactly the same. But he had used her face as a model, shaping the lips approximately after hers, as well as the nose, so that the final result had a ghost of her own face in it.

She held his slender shoulders and kissed his forehead. "Beautiful," she said, "perfect."

He whispered, "Are you sure?"

She was.

She pulled off the rest of his clothes to see his whole body. He was perfect, every muscle and bone finely sculpted and fashioned. She didn't feel like an introduction, so she simply made love to him right there on the couch, without even taking off her dress. She was still drunk, and as she pulled him into her the room was spinning wildly. When she came, she had a terrible, frightening feeling that she was falling, but the falling continued and she grew used to it, the sinking and wind past her face and Odo's warm, slim body beneath her, falling with her. She spun and whirled in space and they made love for centuries without stopping, and soon she was floating out among the stars, away from any planets, flying endlessly through space without ever moving at all. All the time there was a
terrible roaring noise, and as she cradled Odo's slight frame she thought she also heard him saying something to her, in her ear. He might have been whispering, or he might have been shouting, or he might have been sobbing. But the roaring engulphed it all.

She slept when they were done, and she dreamt about the swamp, and about the seven days she had starved and grown ill, and about the young man who deserved death as much as she did. When she awoke she thought how very similar her pleasure had been in murdering that young man and in making love to Odo, and she shuddered in spite of herself.

He had, apparently, lain next to her while she slept, for the good part of the evening. She had no idea what time it was. She didn't much care. Odo was wide awake (he was always awake) and he was looking at her. She grinned eagerly and ran a cool finger down his stomach. But he flinched away.

She was angry. "What's the matter?" she asked.

"I don't want that now."

"What *do* you want?"

"I don't know."

Suddenly, a thought occured to her. Why had she seduced the shapeshifter, if seduce him she had? Not simply to make love to him as a humanoid man.

"Why don't you shift your shape for me?"

Odo looked at her, wide-eyed and bewildered. "For you?"

"Yes, for me."

A look that might have been chagrin passed across Odo's face. His white form became an iridescent orange, and the outlines of his body began to shimmer. Kira watched in fascination. The orange stuff crept across her skin, then suddenly covered her whole body. She panicked for a second, afraid of suffocating, but she found she could breathe easily, even as the liquid creature touched every inch of her skin. The effect was of a thousand fingers caressing her, and it made her dizzy even as it made her tremble with pleasure. She was virtually swimming in him, and when he drew away and formed himself again she was left with a strange tingling residue that made every nerve in her body sing. He leaned against the back of the couch and closed his eyes.

"Put your hand on my chest," he commanded gently.

Surprised a bit, she complied, and was startled even more when her hand sunk into his body. It felt just like it had before, and she wriggled her fingers a little inside him. Odo drew in his breath in spite of himself, and Kira laughed. She plunged both hands into his semiliquid flesh, and quite suddenly he arched his back and closed his eyes, as a rip tide of pleasure and shock tore over him. Kira moved her hands through his gelatinous body a bit more, running them up and down the length of his torso. He trembled and squeezed his eyes shut, his mouth slightly open, his breathing ragged and strange. Waves of ecstatic pleasure moved through his emulsoid form, catching him unaware each time and shaking him to the bottom of his consciousness. It was almost like pain, but he craved its return each time it died down, and welcomed it again even though it shook him like a twig in a wind storm. It became regular almost, striking him anew in pulses at steady intervals, and eventually the pulses got weaker and he began to breathe easier.

Kira watched in fascination as he shivered feverishly beneath her. This must be how shapeshifters make love to each other, she thought, though it was strange indeed. His skin was slick and hot to the touch, and he shook as though he were ill. He sighed deeply when she pulled away from him, and rose up to meet her as she gave him a final, affectionate kiss. She fell asleep for the second time that night, her hands moving in lazy circles over his moist flanks as the alcohol finally won out over her
exhausted brain, and she slipped into the dreamless sleep of inebriation.

* * *

It was already early morning when she woke, and Odo was gone. His clothes were still there, for some reason -- perhaps he had left hastily and forgotten them. He didn't really need them, anyhow ... Kira had a terrible headache. She wasn't surprised; that's what happened when one drank too much. She was surprisingly lucid, for all the pain in her head, and it was this morning-after lucidity which caused the first wave of panic.

She had made love to him. The man she had known for six years and who was her closest friend -- she had had sex with him. She frantically tried to remember why, but the attempt only raised a new and more serious question: why had *he* done it? Odo had no sexual appetite. He generally scorned the idea of humanoid reproductive rituals, as they had no appeal for him. But he had allowed her to make love to him. Why?

She got dressed and prepared to report for duty. It was difficult wading through the sensory slush produced by the hangover, but somehow she managed to regain feeling in most of her body and pull on her clothes. She washed her face and tried to cover the circles under her eyes with make-up, but eventually gave up.

On the turbo lift to Ops she decided that she would have to talk to Odo about it. He was there when she got there, present for the staff meeting which began every day. She saw him as she entered Ops and winced a little -- what was she going to say to him? She stood next to him during the meeting, and when it was over, she leaned over to him and whispered: "We need to talk."

He gave her a blank look and nodded, stepping toward the turbo lift and indicating with a slight movement of his head that she follow him. They got onto the turbo lift together and began the descent.

"Odo," she said when they were in the turbo lift, "what the hell happened last night?"

"I thought it was pretty obvious myself."

Kira had half suspected he would be like this, very unlike the Odo she had slept with.

"I mean *why* did we do what we did last night?"

"Major, I will remind you that it was your idea."

"Look," she began. "Let's just clear all of this up for the record and forget it ever happened, alright?"

Odo's face was expressionless. "I'm listening."

"We weren't thinking clearly, I had a few strange ideas, one thing led to another, and we did something that we shouldn't have done."

"Was it really that negative an experience?"

Kira thought about it for a minute. "You know, I really don't remember it."

Odo showed a ghost of a smile. "I should have expected that."

"But do you agree that it wouldn't have happened if we had been in a different -- state of mind?"

"Major, you're forgetting something."

"What's that?"

"*I* wasn't drunk."

Silence. Kira stared at him for a minute, blankly. Then she said: "What are you saying, Odo?"

"I'm saying that, while you might have been slightly -- altered -- I was not. The decision to do what we did was made for perfectly rational reasons."

"And what were those reasons, Odo?"

"I think I told you, last night."

"I can hardly remember last night!"

"I said it once, I won't say it again."

"Odo ..."

But Odo had turned away. Kira knew without trying further that she would get no more out of him. They rode in silence for a few minutes. Then, Odo spoke.

"I told you that I was in love with you," he said to the floor.

Major Kira did not display the shock she experienced. She could not think of a convincing way to do so, so she simply did nothing.

"I told you I was in love with you," he went on, "and that I would do anything for you. I imagine I proved that amply last night."

Major Kira nodded.

"I've never done anything like that before, and probably won't do it again. I've told you of my disdain for humanoid sexual politics and such. But it was an opportunity to be with you, and I couldn't turn it down. So there. There you have it. Your turn."

He was looking directly at her.

"I told you, I was drunk," she said lamely.

"So, that's it?"

"Pretty much."

Odo nodded to himself.

"I wanted to hurt you," Kira added quietly. "I wanted to pound you against the wall and make you *show* me, show me what you really were. I wanted to see you. I wanted to expose you."

"Well," Odo chuckled mirthlessly, "you certainly did that."

"You tear me up," she said.

"What?"

"You eat me alive. Don't you understand? You burn me."

"What are you talking about?!" Odo sounded a little hysterical.

"Dammit. Look: I think about you, I cry about you, I dream about you. But it can't continue. If it simply remains a strange nightmare I once had, we can just forget about it, and the fact that we were obsessed with each other can simply pass on."

Odo was staring at her, incredulous. "I don't want to forget it," he said.

"Well, I do. It's the only thing to do. If my love for you were only conscious for this one moment, then we can easily forget it. And we can be happy."

He shook his head. He knew she was wrong.

    

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