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“Finally,” Jadzia mutters under her breath, spotting Kira amid the trees at the edge of her field of vision. “Kira! I'm over here!” she shouts. 

She watches as Kira looks around and eventually sees her, Kira's double take noticeable even from a distance. She hurries towards Jadzia, her rust-colored woolen cape billowing behind her.

Once Kira is at her side, she takes in her situation, wide-eyed. Jadzia smiles sheepishly. She can't do much else anyway, given that she's tied to the trunk of a tree by several measures of rope. 

“What did you do to end up like this?” Kira asks with a very angry whisper. 

“I don't think King Hrothgar liked what I had to say.”

“I could've told you that right after the fight broke out in the hall.”

“I think his exact words were ‘let her be eaten by wolves’. So sensitive, these holodeck characters,” Jadzia comments. “You're lucky Freya likes you.”

“We're both lucky that she does,” Kira mutters, suddenly very interested in the loose threads of her outfit. “Or you'd be stuck here with no one to rescue you.” 

“I never doubted you'd come for me eventually. My hero,” Jadzia says with a grin. Kira rolls her eyes. 

She takes out her dagger from its scabbard and weighs it in her hands, focused on how to tackle the task in front of her. Jadzia had been joking about the hero part, but if she weren't tied to a tree she'd be swooning a little. 

Kira starts cutting the rope methodically, and soon enough Jadzia is free. 

“Thank you. I couldn't feel my arms anymore,” she says, stretching. 

“What now? We can't go back to Hrothgar.” 

“I suppose we could try to fight Grendel by ourselves. Unless Freya wants to help us again, of course,” Jadzia says, adding a bit of eyebrow-waggling for good measure. 

“Oh quit it, she's just programmed to like the player characters.” 

Jadzia sobers up some. “Does it bother you?” 

“At least she’s not Lancelot,” Kira replies, “but don’t think I don’t know what you’re doing.” She punctuates her statement by tapping Jadzia’s leather jerkin with the pommel of her dagger.

Now this is interesting. Jadzia fervently hopes Grendel won’t suddenly barge in and interrupt the conversation.

She crosses her arms. “And what am I doing, exactly?”

“These programs are silly enough on their own, but then they’re always nudging me to role-play romance too,” Kira says, making a face.

“I can change the parameters next time,” Jadzia says.

Kira scoffs. “See, that’s what I mean. Here you can just snap your fingers and make it all go away.” She shakes her head. “I just don’t get the appeal of romancing characters in a holoprogram.”

“So, you’d be okay with romancing real people in a holoprogram?”

Kira looks up at her sharply. Jadzia’s insides roil despite her bravado; everything’s on a knife-edge now.

“Like, you know—”

Jadzia is interrupted by Kira reaching up to kiss her. She doesn’t let her surprise hold her back for long; she draws Kira closer and soon they’re embracing, Kira still holding the dagger awkwardly against Jadzia’s back.

“This is quite the plot twist,” Jadzia murmurs eventually, against Kira’s ear.

Kira chuckles. “Do you like my revisions?”

“Yes. Yes I do,” Jadzia says, before kissing her again.