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 The bottle of springwine is a biting cold against her hands. Kira pours herself a glass, hands steady as the vibrant blue liquid pools. Steady as a phaser set to kill. She sets the wine bottle back onto her table and glares into the now full glass. The wine does not stare back. After a brief moment of consideration, she drains the entire thing in one deliberate gulp. It burns the entire way down her throat, a tingly warm feeling fluttering to her toes. Kira swirls the few remaining drops before tightening her already white knuckled grip around the glass as the cold empty feeling begins to seep back in behind the buzz of alcohol. She pours herself another. She’s as steady as a summer day. Again, Kira downs the glass, pours another: rinse and repeat. It’s almost funny. She hadn’t reacted this way when her father had died (skin pale and sickly, mouth twisted into a grimace even in death, unaccompanied by his children even at the end), or the first time she saw a fellow resistance fighter die (her skin crumpled and burned where the phaser fire had hit, blood pulsing up from the wound onto her hands, red and sticky and-), or the first time she’d killed with her own two hands (black Cardassian blood seeping into Bajoran soil, his mouth unhinged in shock and his fingers still curled around a phaser, a knife protruding stark from his belly), or even when Kai Opaka had died (thick crimson trickling from her open lips, eyes wide and unseeing). She’d always reacted with anger, great waves of rage boiling to surface, spilling over and making her hands quiver with rage and bloodlust, or even the crushing burden of sadness, tears forming (never falling, never showing, not with the Cardassians watching, she could not show weakness, could not show weakness-) and pain tugging at her chest and making her dizzy with the need to push back, to fight.

But now… here with this glass of springwine clutched in her too steady hands, all Kira can feel is a gaping hole where Bareil once resided. It’s a void in between her ribs and heart that throbs cold and consuming. Even her anger feels empty. When Bareil had first died, she had wanted to lash out, to scream for him to come back, to hurt Bashir, to hurt Winn, to hurt herself. But now…

Kira pours the last bit of the springwine bottle into her glass. She’ll have to go to Quark’s again to get another bottle. This time, she lets the wine drip into her mouth before swirling the drink across her tongue, savoring the tart flavor of fermented kava. She can still remember her first time drinking springwine, after her first time fighting for the resistance.  Her fingers had stung from where she’d chewed through the delicate flesh and her ear had ached pleasantly, the weight of the d'ja pagh Lupaza had forged for her still fresh, a dull pain indicating her ascension into adulthood. She’d been giddy with adrenaline and the wine had tasted of victory, of the soaring joy that came with every bloodsoaked blow against their oppressors. The wine had been warm and  made her every laugh loud and rich. Lupaza had given her hair a soft ruffle and called her little sinoraptor and Kira’s whole world had burned with violent happiness.

Now it’s like the world has been desaturated, pruned away to its most basic colors.

The door chimes. Kira ignores it, rolling the last sip of wine across her lips. The door chimes again. She carefully sets her glass down onto the table. Kira stares at the empty bottle and glass. There’s probably some kind of parallel she could draw from this. The door chimes for a third time.

“Major, it’s Odo. Open up. Please.”

Kira closes her eyes and leans back, the crown of her head touching the back of the couch.

“...Kira, I know you’re in there.”

Her eyes flutter open. The ceiling is a murky gray steel and if she squints hard enough, it almost looks like a cloudy day. She vaguely wonders if it’s raining in Bareil’s garden.

“Please answer the door.” Kira turns Odo’s words over in her mind. She can’t quite focus on the meaning, all she can think about is his diluted Musilla accent, about how he could never quite shift his vocal chords to catch the right sounds, making his vowels always just slightly off. She had wanted to take Bareil to Musilla, to see the clear fresh waters, to visit the Museums, to- It’s stupid. She’d never showed him her home in Dahkur, the lack of Musilla visits should be the last thing on her mind and yet here she is, curled up on her couch thinking about she never showed Bareil her favorite places in fucking Musilla.

“Major, I- if you need to... talk about it, I will be here.” She can almost picture Odo standing at her door, his face twisting in discomfort at the very thought of emotions , his skin rippling in his unease. Prophets, he’s a good friend. Even after everything she’s done, breaking his trust over Vaatrik (his blood had spread bright and angry across gray Cardassian metal floors, his red Bajoran blood so vibrant and real), lying to him, he still comes to her with concern in his not-quite-right voice, trying to understand, trying to ease the pain. She doesn’t deserve a friend like him. She hadn’t deserved Bareil. Her hands are stained with blood, an endless duality of red and black, and there’s still murder in her heart, an anger in her soul, in her pah , and there’s a darkness inside that will never be washed away, no matter how hard she scrubs. Bareil had been so...pure. He’d given his reputation for Opaka and his life for both Bajor and Cardassia. And Kira...Kira had killed more Bajorans and Cardassians than she could ever physically count and she can’t even bring herself to regret it because she had saved so, so many. But the blood won’t go away. It’s seeped between the ridges in her fingers and into every inch of her body, morphing her into something dangerous and other .

There hadn’t been any blood when Bareil had died. Bashir had stood over his corpse with his hands clean and unstained from the death wreaked by his actions. It’s all just so…

The door chimes again. Odo again? Kira glances over at the time: half an hour since Odo had said anything. She turns back to the ceiling. The door chimes, persistent. Kira digs her nails into her palms.

“Kira, open up! I’ve got a bottle alvas ale, bloodwine, and uh...some kind Human beverage? Voka? Vodka? I honestly have no idea, I took it from Benjamin’s stash.” Dax’s voice is full and warm from the other side of the door. I don’t deserve you, any of you .  Kira claws at the fabric above her heart. “This is the strong stuff. Not even Julian’s going to be able to fix our hangover tomorrow.” Dax sounds so...energetic. Alive. Kira doesn’t want to deal with anyone, but at the same time.... She looks at the empty bottle of springwine. With a sigh, Kira rolls off the couch and stumbles across the room. Her hands are ever steady as they go to open the door.

Dax is still in uniform, her science teals stark against the gray hallway and her hair back in a sleek ponytail.  Kira suddenly feels uncomfortable, standing there in her night slip and shorts. She’s embarrassingly aware that she hasn’t showered in days, not since Bareil’s death.

Dax gives a confident grin and enters with her three bottles of alcohol. The bloodwine is a thin crimson liquid in a bulbous bottle etched with the symbol of the Klingon Empire. The alvas ale is in a homey clay jug, probably made in one of the more agricultural regions of Bajor. The “vodka” is in a glass like the bloodwine, but its shape is that thin curved shape most Human alcohols come in. It looks like water, sloshing around in the unlabeled bottle. Dax sets them down next to her empty case of springwine. “I see you’ve already started,” she says, going to retrieve a glass for herself from the replicator.

“Yeah.” Kira can’t think of anything else to say.

Dax pours each of them each around a thumb’s worth of the “vodka.” They both pick up a glass. Kira gives the clear liquid a sniff and nearly gags. It smells like ethanol. Dax wrinkles her nose at the repugnant smell, her entire face scrunching up. It’s almost enough to make Kira laugh. She’s never met anyone with quite as expressive a face as Dax.

“On three?” Dax asks, showing all of her teeth. Her spots seem to glow against her skin in artificial light.

“On three.” Kira agrees.

“One.” Dax starts.

“Two.” They lift their drinks.

“Three.” The “vodka” burns all the way down.

“Huh. A bit like diluted Romulan ale.”

Kira nearly chokes. “You call this diluted?” She can feel a tingling heat around her fingertips. It’s much, much stronger than the springwine.

“There’s a reason Romulan ale is illegal in the Federation.”

“How did you get to try it then?” Kira questions, curious.

If possible, Dax’s sly grin grows. “Curzon won a bottle in a game of tongo.”

Kira snorts and pours two more shots. “Why did I even have to ask…”

They take the next few drinks in silence.

“Want to try another?” Dax asks.

“I’m just drunk enough to find the bloodwine appealing.”

“Good choice.” Dax pours the deep red liquid into their glasses

The bloodwine runs thick and salty across her tongue. It’s about as strong as the “vodka” if not a little stronger.  They once more brush with silence.

Kira’s halfway through her glass when Dax sets her own drink down, a somber expression settling upon her face. Kira looks down at her hands. She’s definitely not sober, but her hands are still steady.

“Tell me honestly, how are you doing?”

Kira clenches her teeth together and breathes. “Fine. I’m doing fine.”

The nervous look in Dax’s eyes is foreign in the place of her usual confidence. “I know what it’s like to lose a loved one, and that hurt will never go away, but-”

“I said I’m fine!” She stands in a sudden sharp movement. Her drink sloshes, dripping beads of liquid onto her carpet. It seeps in. Kira bites her tongue to keep from cursing. (It’s red, like Vaatrik, like Opaka, like-) “I’m fine. Everything’s fine.” She forces her eyes away from the now stained carpet.

“Who are you trying to convince, me? Or you?” Dax’s voice is soft as she asks, all curved edges and warmth. Something painful blooms between her ribs. Guilt? Hurt? It doesn’t matter. Kira lets her feet guide her. She paces the length of the couch.

“I don’t know how I feel.” Her voice breaks. “I love him and he just- he threw his life away, as if it meant nothing and I’m just so-so- empty . How the fuck am I supposed to feel? Sad? Angry? Prophets, part of me is so angry at him for doing this, for leaving for someone as corrupt as Winn , but… so much of me is just-void. I’m just so done. I’m done with losing people. I’m done with pain .”

Dax gives a grimace of a smile. “That void won’t last long. Life is pain, Kira. Pretty soon all that hurt is going to come rushing back in and all you can do is wait it out.”

“How… how do you deal with this ? For lifetimes ?” Kira runs her fingers through her hair and pulls before forcing herself to sit down. The cushion dips her closer to Dax. “You’ve had so many lives, gone through this so many times. How can you live with it? The-the loss?”

Dax presses a hand between her shoulder blades, reassuring and firm. “Every time is different. Every time is like getting your heart ripped out. It’s heartbreaking and it’s awful and makes you want to die. Every person leaves a different hole and that never goes away. But it gets better. I promise, it gets better.”

The room grows blurry. Kira rubs at her eyes. Her hands come back wet. Dammit she’s a fighter not some fragile piece of pottery.

“It’s so stupid. I just want to drink my problems away.”

Dax smiles in a way that doesn’t touch her eyes. “I can go with that.” She pours them both a generous amount of bloodwine. “Let’s get smashed.”

Kira sniffs back tears. “Cheers?”

Dax lifts her glass. “Cheers.”

Their glasses clink together, red liquid swirling and catching the light, sending crimson shadows streaming across their faces. They drink the night away.


 Kira wakes up with her face buried in the carpet and the jug of alvas ale tucked under her arm. She attempts to sit up. “Oh, ow.” Kira groans and presses her forehead back against the ground. Everything's pounding. She takes a moment to breathe through cracked lips. Why… why is she awake. Her whole body aches.

“Stab me with twice with a bat'leth, everything hurts.” The voice comes from above her.

“Dax?” Kira asks into the fuzzy carpet.

“Huh? Kira?” Dax does in fact sound like she had been mutilated with a bat’leth. Actually, that’s about how Kira feels.

“What are you- what are you doing  here?” Kira squints her eyes in vague confusion. All she can see is cream colored carpet.

“We got smashed last night.” Dax’s voice is muffled by the couch.

“Oh. Yeah. I’m on the floor.”

“Huh. Do you wanna a raktajino?”

Kira twists so she’s laying on her back. It gives her a slightly better view of Dax.“...yeah. That sounds good.”

Dax pauses before answering. “I can’t move my legs.”

Kira groans. She doesn’t exactly want to move either, but that raktajino sounds so good. “Computer, what time is it?”

“It is 0930 hours.” The computer chimes out.

“Shit!” Kira boltes up, stumbling in a futile attempt to stand. “We’re late for work!”

“Nope.” Dax says groggily. “I cleared it with Benjamin. We’ve got the day off.”

One of them must have turned the lights off last night: Kira can barely make out Dax’s sprawled form across her couch. “What? Lights, 40 percent.”

Dax groans as she blooms into view under the soft light. Kira blinks rapidly and rubs at her eyes. Dax buries her head into the couch cushion. “We had way too much to drink last night.” She mumbles.

“When-” Kira pinches the bridge of her nose, right along the ridges, breathing through the pain. “When did you ask Sisko for the day off?”

Dax slowly sits up. Her neck cracks and she makes a pitiful noise before stretching out her arms. “The same time I was raiding his alcohol cabinet.”

“I should be back at work, I’ve already missed so many days. Damn. I’ve got to be so far behind on paperwork.”

“Kira. Don’t stress it. With the situation with Bareil...everyone understands.”

Kira freezes. It takes her a  moment to catch her breath. There’s a thick, sharp pain in between her ribs. Bareil. She shoves the hurt down, shoves away the memories of Bareil’s soft hands and warm smiles and the tilt of his head. She had almost forgotten.

“Oh, Kira.” Something of the heart wrenching ache must have shown on her face because Dax twists forward, her glossy blue eyes wide. “I-”

“I’ll get those raktajinos.” She says it roughly, forcing herself to stumble forward to the replicator. It only takes a few seconds for the machine to create two steaming cups of Klingon coffee. Kira spends them with her eyes clenched closed and her fingers pressed hard against the counter top. And then the coffee is done and Kira forces herself to breathe. She digs through a few drawers before pulling out two hyposprays of generic painkillers.

“Here.” Kira presses the warm mug into Dax’s hands before collapsing down on the couch beside her. She drops one of the hyposprays into Dax’s free palm.

“Mmmm. Much better.” Dax stretches out her long curved legs, brushing her feet against the table. She has spots all the way down to her toes. “Do you want to go out for breakfast?”

Kira looks consideringly into her raktajino. The buzz of caffeine mixed with the low level drug has already chased away a large amount of the pain, dimming her headache into a dull, thin throbbing. It’s been days since she'd left her quarters. Facing a world without Bareil had seemed unbearable, but now with Dax at her side… She feels...warm. Almost, almost okay. “Yeah. Let's get breakfast.”

Dax leaves to get dressed. It takes a bit, but Kira manages to dig out an outfit that isn’t her uniform or something from her time in the resistance, and even then, she still ends up sticking to the white sleeveless shirt she usually wears under her maroon uniform. Oh well. At least she’s presentable. And smells less like she’d taken a bath in alcohol.

They meet up again at the Celestial Cafe. It’s a cosy little place bathed in soft golden light and decorated in traditional Bajoran designs and colors. Chalan Aroya seats them at a table in the back corner, a sympathetic smile on her lips and a vague statement of comfort.

It’s like a punch to the gut. Dread trickles into her stomach. Kira takes a moment to look around the cafe, at the patrons not so discreet glances in her direction, at the look in Chalan’s eyes. They pity her.

“I- this wasn’t a good idea, I should go back to-”

And then suddenly Dax has her hands enveloped around her own and she’s being pushed into the a soft chair facing away from the rest of the cafe. “Ignore them. Pretend it’s just us. What do you want to eat?”

Kira hesitates. Bareil’s death is still an unbearable needling beneath her skin and her pride screams for her to flee, to hide away until she isn’t looked at like some heart broken child , but maybe, just maybe, things won’t be so bad with Dax by her side. Dax doesn’t pity her, Dax understands . “Hasperat. I’ll get Hasperat.”

Dax grins.


 

Soon, days slip into weeks into months and things slowly do get better. Kira goes back to active duty. People stop trying to comfort her at every turn. She and Dax fall into a routine, spending at least one day per week trying the different venues around the promenade, going to the holosuite, or just lounging around one of their rooms. Some form of meal is shared every other day, if not every day.

It’s a towards the end of the week when Dax approaches her with a coy smile and a holo-program chip twirling across her fingers. “You’re going to love this one.”

Kira raises an eyebrow. She still finds most holoprograms frivolous, although Dax has a way of making them bearable.“You said the same thing about the Earth one last week.”

Dax has the sense to look mildly embarrassed. “Julian recommended it.”

Kira’s lips quirk upwards. “How surprising. Anything specifically I should bring this time?”

“Hiking boots. Warm clothes.”

“Hmmm. You’ve peaked my interest.”

Dax’s eyes light up with delight. “Meet you in the holo in twenty?”

“I’ll be there.” Kira agrees.

She rushes to her quarters, feeling surprisingly light. She already has a pair of fuzzy brown boots in her closet, so there’s no need to replicate new ones. Warm clothes on the other hand are unsurprisingly absent from her wardrobe. Most of her clothes from her life on Bajor had been lost in some way or another by the end of the occupation. She replicates black winter pants and a grey parka. It’s an uncomfortably warm outfit to wear in the 25°C of the space station. Thankfully, it’s a short walk to Quark’s.

Dax is waiting for her outside of their suite, two walking sticks in her grasp.

“So, where are we going?” Kira asks, taking one of the sticks from Dax.

“It’s better to show you.” Dax attempts to sound mysterious.

The holosuite doors slide open with a soft whirl to reveal an endless landscape of gleaming whites and thick blooming grays. Kira gasps. Sprawled out before them is range of jagged coal cliffs capped with soft swirls of snow under a thinly clouded blue-gray sky. It’s snowing, gentle wet clumps that stick to the hair and ground, just light enough to not be a nuisance. The air is dry and brisk, light winds spiraling brushes of cold air rustling through their clothes and hair. A thin worn path spirals its way from the base of the cliffs up into the distant place of the upper mountain.

“Prophets.” Kira breathes. “It’s beautiful. Where are we?”

“The Tenaran Ice Cliffs on Trill.” Dax says, almost tenderly. “I used to come here when I was younger—as Jadzia. My parents would always take me and my sister to the Cliffs for holidays. Those were some of Jadzia’s happiest childhood memories.”

Despite the cold, warmth blossoms beneath her skin.“Thank you for sharing this with me. It’s wonderful .”

“I figured you’d prefer the scenic route over another story.” Dax says knowledgeably. Kira’s ears tinge pink. She had been rather blatant with her dislike of fantasy based holoprograms.

“Yes, definitely. Hiking for fun, it’s… it’s a luxury that I could never afford before. It’s...nice.”

“I’m glad.” Dax sounds sincere.

They start along the path together. At times it grows slick with ice or thick with piled up snow, but it’s fun instead of nerve wracking and challenging instead of painful. (Winters during the occupation had been hellish, resistance fighters dropping with illness and frostbite and hunger, fresh food gone with fall and reserves dropping dangerously low, the only advantage they could cling to being the fact that the Cardassians were unwilling to leave the warmth of their hide aways, their reptilian biology for once a disadvantage.)

It takes almost two hours of walking, maneuvering, and climbing out of snow drifts to get to the top of the mountain cliffs. The view from the hight is even more spectacular than it was from the ground. In the far distance Kira can make the glittering of a far off city, a sea of snowfields dotted with little cabins and remote homes along the way. The few trees along the barren landscape are covered in vibrant teal colored bristle like leaves, making each tree stark and alien in the world of snow. Their hot breath spirals softly against the cold open air. It’s...comfortable. Kira can’t remember the last time she’d been this relaxed and… happy.

At her side, Dax lowers herself down to sit. Kira follows suit. They breathe through the comfortable silence, eyes drinking in the natural beauty.

“Thank you. For bringing me here.”

Dax turns to face her. “Thanks for coming. It’s been so long since so long since I’ve come, before I was joined even. Kira, I’m glad that it’s you I get to see it with for my first time as Dax.”

“Call me Nerys.” She blurts it out before she can truly understand what she’s saying. Her cheeks burn with embarrassment.

“Are, are you sure?” Dax’s eyes are wide and impossibly blue. “I mean, I know how much names mean to Bajorans and—”

“I’m sure.” And suddenly, Kira finds that she really is sure. She want Dax to say her name, to murmur Nerys with her foreign tongue and smile with her glittering teeth. She wants Dax to be family .

The smile Dax gives her is as bright as the sun. “If I get to call you Nerys, then you should call me Jadzia.”

“Jadzia” Kira rolls the word across her tongue, tasting it, exploring its every nook and cranny. Dax—no, Jadzia—edges closer slowly until they’re nearly touching. Then, carefully, awkwardly, she lets her arm fall over Kira’s shoulder.

“I’m so thankful I got to meet you.” Jadzia whispers.

Kira feels something molten and fiery stir in the center of her being. She leans into Jadzia’s half hug, resting her head against her shoulder. “Me too.” She murmurs the words into Jadzia’s jacket and smiles when her arms tighten around Kira’s smaller form. They sit that way, huddled together watching the snow dance across an endless landscape until their time runs out and the program fades around them like a dream.


 

The shuttle lands on Bajor around midmorning. The terminal is relatively uncrowded.

“So, where are we headed?” Jadzia asks, readjusting the strap on her satchel.

Kira roles her eyes. “It’s a surprise.”

“Hmmm. I like the sound of the that.” One of her arms link with Kira’s.

There’s a vehicle rental attached to to the shuttleport and for a few litas they rent a hoverbike.

It’s a pleasantly warm day, the sun soaking into skin and heating the air. This makes the ride especially enjoyable, cool moving air whipping through their hair and clothes, brushing almost lovingly against their skin. It’s enough to make Kira’s heart speed up. Jadzia has her arms around her waist and even though Kira knows it’s just because she’s the one driving, it sends her blood pumping in a frenzy of joy.

They speed past small towns and temples and endless fields of green until the land starts to slope and thick green hills begin to protrude from the land.

Kira stops the hoverbike on top of one of the higher hills.

Jadzia unmounts the bike. “Oh.” She says, almost reverently. Before them stretches strokes of brown and green, dusty umber cliffs and ridges dotted with patches of yellowed grass and viridescent trees.

Kira shifts nervously. It’s been a few weeks since their name exchange in the holosuite.“I figured, you showed me your home, I should do the same. Welcome to the Dahkur Hills.”

“Nerys… This is wonderful .” Jadzia pours herself into her words. “How long have you been coming here?”

“Since I joined the resistance.” Kira answers automatically. “My cell spent an entire winter hiding out in the caves up in the Kola Mountain.” Kira points up to the mountain positioned above the various hills and cliffs spread out before them. “I killed someone for the first time in those ridges.”

“Oh, Nerys…” Dax’s voice is sad and it takes Kira a second to catch up with what she just said.

“It’s fine.” She makes an attempt to fix the situation. This is not what she had wanted to talk about. “I’ve had a long time to accept what I’ve done. I’m at peace with it.”

“I’m glad for you.” Jadzia is hesitant. Kira mentally berates herself, Jadzia is a civilian, death is not an ingrained part of her life. Jadzia continues. “After finding out about Joran… it took a lot to accept that he was a part of me, is a part of me. He was Dax. He killed all those people. I killed all those people. And the guilt… it’s still there. I don’t think it will ever really leave.”

Kira forgets to breathe. What had she been thinking, of course Jadzia was acquainted with death. Guilt creeps in. How had she forgotten about Joran? Kira licks her lips.“I know what you mean. About the guilt. About it becoming apart of you”

There’s a moment of melancholy shared between them, the summer air thick with silence.

“Heh.” Jadzia finally says, her voice cracking. “This probably isn’t what you planned on when you decided to take me out here.”

Kira lets out a soft laugh. “I didn’t really get beyond mountain view and picnic.”

“Damn. The food’s probably started to bake in this heat.”

“I put ice packs into your bag. It should be fine.” Kira steps towards Jadzia. “Here, I’ll set up the blanket and you can take out the food.”

Jadzia nods and lifts the satchel strap over her head. She pulls out a quilt and tosses it to Kira.

Kira starts to unfold it. The quilt is a mash of bright colors, yellows, oranges, and purples overlapping inside of a brown border. There’s little Earth lobsters and shrimp patterns sewn all across the quilt. It looks strangely familiar.“Is this...Sisko’s?”

Jadzia looks like a vardanis caught in the headlights. “...maybe.”

“Why.” Kira raised an eyebrow.

“I borrowed it last time I got sick.”

Kira sends Jadzia a look. “How much of Sisko’s stuff have you ‘borrowed’?”

“Hey!” Jadzia huffs. “He’s been stealing my shit since he was a cadet. It’s only fair I return the favor.”

“So you admit to it being theft?” Kira teases.

“Hn.” Jadzia attempts to look offended and fails miserably. “Hurry it up with that blanket.”

“Alright, alright! No criminal acts here.”

Jadzia snorts. Kira lays the commander's quilt out on the thicket of grass. Jadzia takes the food containers out of her bag: Trill grakizh and lida juice, Bajoran alvas and larish pie, and Earth apple tarts for dessert. It’s the most relaxing meal they’ve had in a long while. There’s no emergencies to run and fix, no one to stop by for a quick chat, no distractions. It’s just them, Jadzia and Nerys, sprawled out in front of a breathtaking mountain view.

And if they edge a little closer to each other, their hands “accidentally” brushing against each other when serving out each dish, no one is there to see them blush. No one is there to see Kira lean forward towards Jadzia, her breath hot and nervous, and there’s certainly no one is there to see Jadzia close the distance between them. Their first kiss is soft and warm, stolen in between bites of dessert and light hearted conversation. Jadzia tastes of lida and apple, sweet and tart, and when Kira twists her fingers through her hair it feels like silk. Every touch is fire in her veins and every heart beat is heavenly.

“Wow.” Jadzia whispers the moment they come up for air, their faces still inches apart.

Kira presses her forehead against Jadzia’s. “I think I’m in love.” She answers breathlessly, eyes shining and heart pounding in her chest.

“Me too.” Jadzia says before moving in for another kiss.

They spend the rest of the afternoon soaking in the Bajoran sun and each other's company and lips. When they head back to the shuttle port, it’s with their hands interlocked and a smile in their eyes. They don’t let go for a long, long time.