Title: Champagne
Author: Laura Schiller
Email: Rostockgirl AT aol.com
Summary: Extended ending scene for "Parallels". Deanna and Worf share a birthday dinner.
Disclaimers: Everything Star Trek, including Worf and Deanna Troi, belong to Paramount Pictures. No infringement is intended, no profit is made.

 

Worf placed his bat'leth and the tournament trophy onto his glass coffee table, peering cautiously around his quarters. The last time he had been here in this reality, Commander Riker had arranged an ambush of sorts: a surprise birthday party, complete with hugs, party hats and a Klingon rendition of 'For he's a jolly good fellow'. Counselor Troi had teased him affectionately about the problem of finding a Klingon word for 'jolly'.

He looked around. The place seemed to be empty.

"Welcome home, Worf."

He jumped. There she was, as if his thoughts had summoned her, rounding the corner with a small terrarium in her hands and a smile in her eyes. Deanna Troi of the black eyes and musical voice, her soft brown curls cascading down her back.

"I hope you don't mind, I let myself in," she continued. "I promised Alexander I'd feed his beetle while you were both away."

She walked past him and matter-of-factly placed the beetle's terrarium on a shelf. It gave him an overpowering sense of déjà vu; the other Counselor Troi had walked through his quarters in just that way, as if she belonged there... because she did. In his mind-bending trip through the different realities, he had met a Deanna who was his wife. He had even hugged and kissed her goodbye.

The current Deanna's lips, he couldn't help but notice, looked just as soft and inviting. Would kissing her feel the same as well? Kahless, what am I thinking?!

"So... you do not live here?" he asked awkwardly, just to be certain.

"What's that supposed to mean?"

"It is a long story."

He turned away, partly to hide the embarrassment that must be showing on his face. Not that she couldn't read him anyway - uncanny, empathic being that she was.

That aspect of her was something it had taken him years to accept. As a Klingon warrior, he did not appreciate his private emotions being open to inspection; however, now that he knew Deanna as a friend and crewmate, he very much appreciated her understanding nature. She had been invaluable in helping him raise Alexander.

What he had told the other Deanna was true: he had never considered her as a potential mate before. He had only ever loved one woman: K'Ehleyr, the mother of his son, whose soul was now in Stovoqor. She had matched him both in physical strength and temper; he would not know how to behave with a gentle lady like Deanna.

Her alternate, however, had seemed quite happy, and very much in love with him... he hoped, now that the quantum fissure was sealed, that she now had her own husband back.

"Happy birthday, Worf," said the current Counselor, handing him a package wrapped in pink.

He regarded it dubiously. "Thank you."

"Will wanted to give you a surprise party – but I knew you'd hate it, so I talked him out of it. I know Klingons like to be alone on their birthday... you probably want to meditate, or hit yourself with a painstick or something."

With another impish smile, she turned to leave. Worf found himself strangely touched by that kind little gesture... it was so like her.

"Deanna – " he said, on impulse. "You do not have to leave."

As son as the words were out of his mouth, he could have kicked himself for putting it so awkwardly. What was he supposed to say? I do not want you to leave sounded crude, demanding, even if it was the entire truth.

"Oh?" She turned by the door and gave him an arch, inquiring look. Had he offended her?

"I... have not had dinner," he continued, holding the pink gift package a little too tight. "Perhaps you would care to join me?"

This time, there was nothing of mischief or irony in her smile. It illuminated her face like a Risian sunrise; her painted lips shimmered in the light. How had he not noticed before how many different nuances there were in Deanna's smiles?

He simply hadn't been seeing clearly.

"I'd love to," she said.

=/\=

Deanna hadn't realized until seeing Worf again how much she had missed him while he was gone on that bat'leth tournament. Life without a good mok'bara workout, animated debates about everything from parenting to politics, and a certain strong, reassuring mental presence behind her on the bridge, had somehow become flat.

She wondered if he liked his present, and whether it was really appropriate to give him such a thing. He could be such an enigma to his human crewmates, even after six years.

Worf pulled out her chair for her. She glanced up at him in faint surprise; since when did he do that? It gave her a curious feeling to have him stand behind her like that, his big hands on the arms of her chair. It made her feel small and fragile, in a way that was not at all unpleasant.

"Champagne," Worf told the replicator, with an inquiring look in Deanna's direction. She inclined her head in agreement.

"Two glasses. One rokeg blood pie, and... ?"

"Make that two," she said.

"Are you sure?" he asked, picking up his own dish and glass and carrying them over to the table. "It really does contain blood. Replicated in this case, but still... "

"Why not? I'm feeling adventurous."

He ordered a second blood pie and handed it to her with a twinkle in his brown eyes, as if the word 'adventurous' reminded him of something. She picked up the fork included by the replicator and took a bite.

It was... peculiar. Salty, spicy, with a coppery tang to it. The cool, fresh champagne made a surprisingly pleasant contrast.

"Not bad," was her verdict.

"It is a copy of my mother's recipe," he explained. "She uses Earth ingredients... I have never tried an authentic Klingon blood pie."

She sensed a hint of nostalgia when he mentioned his mother, and something else. Regret, perhaps, for being so out of touch with the culture of his own homeworld. It was difficult for him, she knew, as a Klingon 'expatriate'; his strict adherence to tradition and codes of honor was his way of remembering who he really was.

"Mr. Worf," she inquired, changing the subject. "Would you mind explaining what you said just now? Asking if I live here?"

He cleared his throat and frowned at his pie before replying. "I have had... a strange experience... during my return journey. My shuttlecraft went through a quantum fissure... upon my arrival, I began to shift between different realities every few minutes. It was most disconcerting."

Trust Worf to make an understatement like that. He had probably been downright frightened – anyone would be, knowing that in the blink of an eye, you could find that your friends had died or your children had never been born. To be thrown out of one's own reality like a fish out of water. Deanna fixed her eyes on him, projecting calm. It's all right.

"In several of these realities, Counselor, you and I... we were... "

Oh, my. Was that attraction coming from him? It was! Not to mention waves of embarrassment. He couldn't meet her eyes. Deanna felt herself blushing.

"Involved?" she guessed, her voice coming out smaller than it was intended.

"Married," he said.

"Ah."

She took a sip of champagne; the tall, thin glass was completely inadequate at hiding her face. Get a grip, Counselor! she scolded herself. It's Lieutenant Worf, remember? Your friend. In this reality, which is the one that counts. All the same, she had dozens of questions – How had it happened? Did the other Deannas seem to be happy? Did they have children? Good gracious – any children of theirs would be a mix of three different species!

However, in order to not make Worf any more uneasy than he already was, she swallowed her questions and said instead, "I can see why you'd be startled. You must have thought you'd fallen right back into another quantum reality."

"I know the fissure has been sealed... it was only... "

"We can't always be logical about these things," said Deanna.

"Indeed."

They ate in silence for a while, alone together with their thoughts. Deanna's mind was still whirling. Married to Worf! A fellow officer on the same ship. How could any version of herself dare to do it? She had a notorious track record for unlucky relationships – Will Riker being the first – and it had made her wary where men were concerned.

She looked at his dark, thoughtful face across the table, with its heavy forehead ridges and tight ponytail. He was not what most human or Betazoid women would call handsome; however, there was a certain appeal to his tall, muscular frame. He could probably pick her up with one arm if he needed to. Not to mention that deep voice of his, she had always secretly admired it.

But a Betazoid and a Klingon! Could there be any two sentient species more opposite in the quadrant? Deanna was no warrior... one week undercover as a ferocious Tal Shiar agent notwithstanding. And there was nothing soft or caring about Worf... well, except sometimes when talking with Alexander... or with Deanna herself.

Well. Here was a problem.

With the trained detachment of a Starfleet counselor, Deanna pushed it into the back of her mind. These new thoughts about Worf (which probably weren't that new, come to think of it) could wait until he was not around to survey her with those brown eyes.

"So, how was your bat'leth tournament?" she asked, motioning to the trophy.

"Excellent." He smiled at the memory, a rare sight; it was amazing how a smile could transform a person's face. With a little encouragement, he began telling her about the matches he had fought, sometimes gesturing with both hands as he demonstrated the moves. Once, he almost made her laugh with his indignation about a cheating contestant ("That is not funny, Counselor!") and the contents of their plates and glasses dwindled without them half realizing it.

Did the other Deanna sit with Worf like this every evening? A woman could get used to this...

Before hr mind could spiral off into daydreams again, Worf suddenly looked over his shoulder. His gift from Deanna was still sitting behind him on the coffee table. He looked back at their empty plates.

"Go ahead," she said. "Open it."

With the faintly aggrieved air all her friends put on when she intuited their thoughts, he tore off the pink wrapping in a few efficient strokes, pried open the cardboard box and removed the styrofoam. Inside was a bronze sculpture of two humanoid figures, each around the size of Worf's hand. They were Klingons, a man and a woman in full armor, standing back to back with their bat'leths poised for combat. It was a replica of a famous life-sized statue in one of Q'onoS's museums.

"Emperor Kahless and his Empress, Lukara," said Worf, running one finger along the edge of one of the miniature blades. "Deanna... do you know the story? They fought off an army of five hundred on their wedding day."

She did know, in fact. Of all the Klingon legends she knew, this one was her favorite – because a woman was part of it, a woman with no less strength and courage than the man she loved. It couldn't have been easy being married to a hero, but Lukara had done it – and, unlike to many Klingon war tales, this one ended happily.

Worf picked up the sculpture with careful hands and placed it on his altar, right underneath the crossed daggers on the wall.

"She stood by him when nobody else would, even his own brother. She was his dearest friend as well as his lover. It was the beginning of the greatest romance in Klingon history. Thank you."

"You're very welcome, Mr. Worf. I'm glad you like it," said Deanna. And she was – happiness warmed her right down to her toes.

The chronometer let out a tiny beep, signaling the arrival of "ship's night". Deanna felt suddenly flustered; how long had she been here without even realizing it?

"I think perhaps I'd better be going," she said. "I'm quite busy tomorrow, so... "

"Right."

They stood facing each other in the middle of the room. He felt as awkward as she did; she could sense it. How silly – they were like a pair of teenagers. The humor of it cheered her up a little.

"Good night, Lieutenant," she said in her usual level, courteous tone.

"Good night, De- ahem – Counselor."

They nodded to each other and she walked away, the doors swishing sharply closed behind her.

 
The End

 

 
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