Title: Like a Moth to a Flame
Author: D. Destiny
Email: DeaDestiny AT yahoo.com
Summary: After Jadzia's death Deanna goes to see Worf on DS9.
Author's Note: I'm following the TNG timeline up to and including First Contact and disregarding most of DS9's timeline. I'm assuming that Jadzia's death took place about three years after FC and that she married Worf a year earlier. I believe that's pretty much correct, but I didn't check it, so you'll just have to grin and bear it if I'm wrong :p
Disclaimers: Everything Star Trek, including Worf and Deanna Troi, belong to Paramount Pictures. No infringement is intended, no profit is made.

 

Klingons did not stargaze, Klingons did not pout and Klingons definitely did not cry. And yet here he sat, crying, yet no tears were falling from his eyes. Klingon eyes could not cry, but Klingon hearts could. His body screamed for him to do something, something that should involve decapitating a certain Cardessian with his wife's bat'leth...his former wife's bat'leth.

A growl of grief wretched free from within him and startled the lover's couple a couple of yards away, but he paid them no heed. Nothing matter but the feelings boiling inside him. It should have humiliated him, to be so controlled by his feelings. He was Klingon after all and vengeance had to be served.

Or had it? Indescribable fury had taken possession of him as Jadzia's life had slipped away and for untold seconds he had been itching to trace down every single person ever to hurt her and to subject them to the kind of torture Klingons did best.

And that was exactly where the problem lay; untold seconds. Seconds. When K'Ehleyr had been murdered he had felt a similar rage, only much stronger and it had lasted so very much longer. Was he doing Jadzia injustice by not grieving for her the way he had grieved for K'Ehleyr? Did it mean he loved her less? True that he had never been -in- love with her, but she had attracted him and he had grown to love her deeply.

So why was it that he wasn't out there hunting Dukat and whoever stood in his way, but was instead sitting here, gazing at the stars and analyzing what he was feeling? Behavior, not becoming of a Klingon warrior. He tried to tell himself. The truth was that his opinions and beliefs had changed a long time ago. K'Ehleyr had set everything in motion by questioning his ways; the Klingon ways and then...

Then there had been Deanna Troi.

She was the reason for his downfall as a warrior. He tried to tell himself. In truth, he believed she had made him a better warrior; his sense of honor stronger than before. She had taught him that even a warrior need not shield himself from feelings, for feelings could be as powerful a weapon as a bat'leth. If it hadn't been for her, he would have been hunting down slimy Cardessians right now.

That didn't mean he wouldn't get his revenge at all, he just wouldn't do so now. Now was a time to grief, and yes, to cry without tears.

* * *

It was easy to find him, all she had to do upon disembarking was opening her senses and his strong flow of emotions pulled her to him. She wasn't sure if he would want to see her; she wasn't even sure she wanted to see him but she knew she had to.

Even with light-years between them she had sensed the anger and grief that had nearly overwhelmed him and whether she wanted to or not, she had to come; like a moth to a flame.

She ordered the turbolift to halt and sagged against the wall. For the first time since leaving the Enterprise by shuttle she was thinking clearly. She did not want to see him. There was too much emotional baggage still floating in her mind. A single tear rolled from her left eye as her memory took her back to their break up. In so far that it had been a break-up; basically they'd simply parted. There had been no talk, no flying furniture, not even an explanation. Worf had been reassigned to DS9 at his request and he hadn't even bothered to tell her.

And now she traveled half across the quadrant to hold his hand as he grieved for his wife? What was she thinking?! Damn her empathy. It really sucked being an empath when it came to relationships, or even more specific; break-ups. And even now that her mind told her to run, her heart wouldn't let her, and so she told the computer to continue.

* * *

Worf growled again, and again the couple near him jumped, this time however they decided to leave, much to the Klingon's pleasure. He knew very well that many humanoids found Klingons an intimidated species and he had to admit that on many occasions he enjoyed the sense of power it gave him. That wasn't why he was growling however. He was doing his best to remember his wife Jadzia, but all he could think of were the times when she embarrassed him, their fights and just about every other negative aspect of their relationship.

It wasn't long before his mind reminded him of the more pleasant times. He was deep in thought when he gradually became aware of someone familiar hovering a couple of meters behind him. A slight smile, the first genuine smile since his mate's death, made itself known, but he didn't turn around to welcome his visitor and instead allowed himself to drift away on memories again. There was no need to watch his back, for she would watch it for him. There was no need to speak, for she appreciated silence just as much as he did and most of all, there was no need to be guarded, for he could never hide anything from her.

* * *

Over fifteen minutes had passed since she had found him at one of the upper pylons of the station and still she kept her eyes fastened on a point just over his shoulder, knowing that if she'd be looking directly at him he would soon start to feel uncomfortable. With her eyes watching the wondrous colors of the wormhole as it opened and closed, her mind stayed focused on his. Every shift in his emotions, no matter how slight or insignificant registered in her mind and her heart fluttered as she realized how grateful he was for her mere presence.

When the strongest of emotions seemed to have dwindled down to acceptance she closed the short distance between them and after a moments of hesitation laid a small hand upon his shoulder, making sure there was but a companionable pressure upon his skin rather than an intrusion. Words were useless between them: after three years apart it was difficult to determine what was safe and what wasn't. She could tell him how sorry she was, but somehow that didn't seem right so she just stood and waited.

* * *

The gently touch on his shoulder sent currents of electricity running through his blood and it took him all his Klingon strength not to inhale sharply. He hadn't expected her to be there, hadn't dared to hope she would still talk to him. The way he'd left her had been less than honorable and he regretted it to this day. There was much he had to say and apologize for, but for now he was simply grateful that she had come.

Slowly he turned around, not opening his eyes until he knew he was facing her. She was still beautiful, her black eyes shining brightly with his pain and sorrow and the crystal clear teardrops they had produced lay on porcelain skin as if crafted and put there by Kahless himself. Her lips were colored in burgundy/purple, a color reminding him of blood. Looking down at her body he couldn't help but admire the way her dress --in the same color as her lips-- clung itself to her curves and he recognized the heavy necklace she wore as the one he had given to her on their last day together.

His heart ached for him to reach out and enfold her in his arms but he found he didn't have the courage to reach out to her; fearing she would disappear into thin air if he did. New tears formed in his eyes as Troi smiled fondly and took the last step that brought her against his chest. Automatically he put his arms around her slender form and hugged her tightly against him, he rested his chin on the top of her hair and deeply inhaled the scent of her, for just a while forgetting everything about the war, Cardessians and tall, pretty Trills.

Worf was well aware of the stares they were receiving, after all; his wife had just died and here he was standing in an intimate embrace with a beautiful half-Betazoid woman. But he did not care. All he cared about was the sensation of holding her slender body against his and the peace her presence brought to his mind. Since his marriage to Jadzia Dax he had done everything in his power to forget about the woman currently in his arms, he had dishonored Deanna by responding to Jadzia's advances, he had done that what he'd vowed never to do; hurt the woman who was the keeper of his very heart.

And despite that she had come to see him without being asked. Too many thoughts were pushing themselves in his head. There were so many questions he wished to ask her, so many things he needed to say that he couldn't find the words.

* * *

Deanna, of course sensed his turmoil and had to fight hard to keep her own tears from falling. She had expected their reunion to be difficult, but not like this. Being in his arms again made her recall their time together all over again and she knew that if she let herself, she could have easily lost herself in the strong current of his emotions.

Worf's passion for her had been very intense, and still was even now that it was clouded by grief and regret. Her entire being found peace in his embrace and for the first time since he had left she could honestly say that she was content. Her skin tingled and her heart was beating in synch with his. She knew however that she had to break the contact, no matter how right it felt to be held by him. And so she gently, and very reluctantly, stepped backwards; his arms immediately releasing their secure hold on her.

Their eyes locked and she did not dare to speak. Deanna was caught in a limbo of indecision and could do nothing, nothing but look back into his intense stare.

* * *

The stirring in his arms evaporated the turmoil raging in his mind, replacing it by and entirely different indecisiveness. He wanted nothing more than to hold her in his arms and for a fleeting moment he tightened his grip rather than loosening it, but he let her go eventually, for he would no right to hold her against her will.

She put enough distance between them for him to study her completely; from the strong, slender legs that supported her to the deep neckline of her dress, her slightly parted lips and brimming eyes. She seemed to be waiting for something. Her eyes were obviously asking him to do something, but he had been out of practice for too long and could not unravel what she meant. Then she looked at yet another officer who halted for a second to watch them, and he understood that she wished to go somewhere less public.

Unable to express any emotion he nodded slightly and marched to the nearest Turbolift, trusting her to follow him. As they entered he was relieved to see that they were alone. "Docking bays," he growled to the computer, startling both himself and his companion with the harsh words. They made their way to his quarters onboard the Defiant in silence, a silence Worf found he had missed. Jadzia had never stayed silent for very long, preferring to make jokes and puns rather than simply enjoy the moment. He glanced at Deanna under the cover of rolling his neck to loosen the muscles and wondered if she had missed him as well.

He hoped fervently that she had and that she hadn't turned to Will Riker for comfort. On the other hand he hoped she had gotten over him soon, for he did not wish her to have spent years missing him. She did look well, despite all the happenings of the past months, but her eyes seemed too large. And the lines in her face hadn't been there when he'd last seen her during their encounter with the Borg.

A small, amused smile graced her features, silently laughing at him without insulting him in the slightest. "How long can you stay?" He blurted without thinking.

* * *

Deanna was well aware of his scrutiny, but rather than objecting she used the opportunity to study him in return. His face had hardly changed, his ridges perhaps slightly more pronounced, his eyes hardened by grief and anger but he radiated a quiet happiness that tugged at her heart; he was truly happy at seeing her! Inwardly she roared with joyous laughter, not daring to voice it in fear of breaking the fragile air between them. Only when she sensed his tender worry did she allow an outward sign of her mirth.

"How long can you stay?" His rough and clipped voice startled her as it sliced the precious silence around them

Yes, how long can I stay? She questioned herself. Captain Picard had granted her leave for as long as she needed it, but not without reminding her that the crew needed her. However, should Worf ask; she would stay forever. "As long as you want me too," she blushed slightly at her choice of words but refused to avert her gaze.

* * *

*I wish you could stay forever* Worf thought to himself. Perhaps it was wrong of him to desire another woman so quickly after his mate's death, it was dishonorable to Jadzia, it was undermining their marriage and yet, he could not help himself.

Having reached his quarters he swiftly released the lock and watched as Deanna stepped inside, her eyes slowly took in the dark and somber living area. He remember thinking how she would hate it, when he had taken residence in these quarters and furnished them and judging by scolding look on her face, he had been right.

"Well, I suppose it's comforting to know that some things never change." She huffed as she dropped into the leather couch, watching him as he order a prune juice and hot chocolate from the replicator.

* * *

"It is," he agreed and handed her the hot chocolate. Almost did he sit down next to her, but stopped himself short and instead went to sit across of her. This was unfamiliar territory for him; he did not know what was expected of him by Jadzia, or by Deanna. All he knew was that he was quickly loosing himself in the depths of Troi's eyes. Behavior not becoming of a grieving warrior --or so he tried to tell himself.

Three hours had passed since she'd entered his quarters and they had spoken but a handful of words. Not that it bothered her on either a professional or personal level. She knew Worf well enough to know that he wasn't ready to talk and, like him, she had used the silence to reflect upon times past. Looking at the chrono Deanna suddenly realized that she hadn't been assigned quarters yet and she really didn't want to bother the officers on the late shift. She startled her somber companion as she pushed herself to her feet, raising her hand in the same move to gesture him not to move. "I haven't been assigned quarters yet, I'm going to take care of that now and retire for the night." The words didn't come out as easily, or as friendly as she would've liked. Apparently, being so near to him had had more of an impact than she had foreseen.

Despite her objections, Worf rose as well and with a few steps he stood so near to her that she could feel his breath ruffling her hair and the heat of his body colliding in waves against her own. "You may stay here,"he said, his voice as harsh as during the first years she had known him, "you can sleep in the bedroom, I shall take the couch."

Her eyes searched his as she mulled over his words. Sleeping in the bed he had shared with his wife was strange beyond words! Besides, she didn't think she could stay near him for much longer without breaking down. "I don't think that would be wise." She put a hand on his shoulder as both a sign of farewell and support.

"I shall contact Major Kira to see to the arrangements." The Klingon acknowledged. "You should find her in Ops." Deanna nodded and headed for the doors, painfully aware of Worf's eyes on her back as he watched her go. "Sleep well Worf." She told him just before the doors closed. He hadn't slept well since Jadzia's death and he doubted that tonight would be any different, be it for different reasons.

Stepping into the corridor Deanna fought the urge to look back. It was hard to believe he still had this effect on her after three years and even harder to believe that she had been able to fight it for so long. Just being in the same room with him had set her nerves on fire. Had he been anyone else, she would long since have made up an excuse and left.

Another sigh left her throat, she was sighing a lot she noticed. In the turbolift she took a few seconds to run a plexing exercise to calm her nerves and by the time the lift reached its destination she felt reasonably composed again, ready to face whoever might be waiting for her.

The Ops area was completely different from what she had been expecting. The consoles seemed more or less tossed into their places without any apparent sense of aesthetics. She had been on the station once before, but never had she been in any of the official areas. As she stepped from the lift onto the Bridge of the station nearly all present turned to see the intruder. She sensed the familiar waves of surprise and puzzlement and couldn't help but smile.

A young, lean man rose from his seat next to a dark-haired woman and walked up to her, his eyes quickly roaming over her body as he did so. Deanna recognized him from the files she had been reading and stepped down to greet him. "I'm sorry ma'am," he spoke, "but civilians are not allowed here."

"That's quite all right," Troi replied cheerfully, "her eyes sliding down to his collar, Lieutenant Bashir." Then reached out her hand in greeting. "Commander Deanna Troi from the Enterprise." She slipped passed him to the Bajoran woman who'd stood up at hearing her name, silently laughing at the doctor's perplexed expression. "Major Kira?" She half-questioned, not at all surprised by the woman's firm grip.

"Yes. Welcome aboard DS Nine Commander. Worf asked me to find you guest quarters," Kira cut herself off as she became aware of a looming figure behind her and took a small step to the side. "Commander Sisko; Commander Deanna Troi from the Enterprise."

Benjamin nodded slightly and smiled, silently wondering how much this woman took after her mother. "I'm afraid we weren't aware of your arrival Commander, had we been--"

"That's all right," Deanna interrupted, "it's my fault really. I never bothered to announce myself."

"May I ask what brings you here?"

An expression of sorrow crossed Troi's face for a brief moment, but disappeared just as soon. "An old friend." She answered after a moment's hesitation, smiling up at the dark-skinned man.

Sisko nodded in return and moved backwards towards his office. "I hope you'll enjoy your time here. Major."

"I'll lead you to your quarters." The Bajoran woman said smoothly and began to head for the Turbolift, leaving Deanna no option but to follow.

* * *

In the darkness of his quarters Worf was brooding over the newest development in his life. He had missed Jadzia since her death, but now that Deanna was here the missing had lessened considerably. Instead of thinking about his deceased wife, he found himself thinking about a possible feature with Troi. He loved her still; her mere presence still caused his warrior heart to sing the bold songs of love and honor and victory.

Having dishonored her, however, a second chance might not be given. For that matter, she might have already mated with someone else. His temper flaring, Worf grabbed the nearest object and hurled it again the far wall, not recognizing it as his wedding picture until the framing had shattered into a million pieces.

* * *

Wearily Deanna stared at the cup of tea she'd ordered, trying to decide whether or not it was wise to drink the Klingon tea. The dark liquid had a considerable negative effect on Klingon health and could be lethal to humans, but when drank by a half-Human, half-Betazoid it had some unusual effects. When she and Worf had performed the Klingon tea ceremony it had left her incredibly energized for about twelve hours, in he two days that had followed she'd been on an emotional rollercoaster; one that she fortunately had been able to suppress during duty, and constantly nauseous. In spite of Beverly's instance she had refused to take medication and thereby proved to Worf that she could withstand the tea even better than himself.

She didn't look up when someone sat down across the table, the emotions she sensed giving her enough clues. She really wasn't in the mood to be cordial and choose to ignore her companion until he spoke. Her mood only grew fouler when she sensed how he hammed and hawed and she wished he would say something so she could tell him off. "Commander, I, uh, I wanted toapologize for earlier. Perhaps I can--"

"Miss Troi." The Ferengi owner interrupted. "You may access your suite now."

"Thank you," she acknowledged happily; grateful for the escape he provided. Without sparing Julian Bashir as much as a glance she stood up and left the table, hastily making her way to the third of the holosuites. The program was already running when she stepped inside and without even looking she picked up the stick waiting for her at the right side of the arena. Her opponent was already circling the area while carefully watching her as she got ready for the fight.

No words were spoken as she indicated the beginning of the fight, cautiously watching the agile moves of her Klingon opponent.

* * *

Coming to a halt Worf stared at the mess he'd made. Everything that could've been broken, had been broken and lay in pieces on the floor of his quarters, yet he felt no better than before. Suddenly a long forgotten memory popped up in his mind.

The day had been a particularly bad one, between an insubordinate security officer, an dignitary who refused to get is name right and missing lunch with Deanna, he was near the end of his patience by the time he entered his quarters. He was looking forward to spending some time with Alexander and teaching him the ways of a warrior. When he got there however, he found a note of Alexander informing him that he had gone to spend the afternoon on the Holodeck with Darlene Suns.

He roared with displeasure and smashed his fist into the nearest wall, roaring louder when the pleasuring sounds of breaking furniture couldn't be heard. With a swipe of his arm, he had thrown the objects off the table onto the floor and then pounded both fists on the tables surface, almost smiling as he watched the surface shatter into pieces.

Only then did he become aware of a presence behind him and when he turned he found Deanna leaning against the far wall, her arms crossed in front of her and a small, tolerant smile upon her lips. "Four for he big, bad Klingon, zero for the tables?" Had she been anyone else, she wouldn't be standing on her feet anymore. However, coming from her, the words eased his ire, rather than inflame it.

"Five for the Klingon." He corrected her, watching intently as she made her way to him. He wondered what she had in mind this time, Troi was less predictable than a Klingon Targ.

"I gave Alexander permission to spend the rest of the day with Darlene, he will be home at 2100 hours. That..." She nuzzled his neck, leaving him no doubt as to what she had in mind, "means we have the," Worf bit back a growl as she raked her teeth along his skin "*five* *whole* hours."

And five glorious hours they had been.

His reminiscing however, had given him nothing but more frustration. What he needed, was a good work-out in one of the holosuites. He was positive he could...persuade Quark to make one of tem available.

* * *

Troi had been silent the entire time during the fight, fighting hard not only to win, but to keep herself from screaming. Anticipating the next move of her adversary, she bent her knees and swept her weapon around so it hit him in the back of knees. The tall Klingon howled in frustration and fell to his knees; with another hit in the chest she forced him to fall onto his back. The holo-graphic character now defeated, Deanna slumped to the ground, wiping her hand across her forehead to sweep the drops of sweat away.

When she finally regained control over her breathing she forced herself to stand up. "You have been practicing," a deep voice told her from behind. Startled, Troi swirled around to come face to face with Worf.

"Anger is a good motivation." She returned coldly, trying to break the lock of his eyes one hers while trying to stop herself from panting and feeling the pull of his body.

* * *

Lying flat on his back Worf couldn't help but smile appreciatively as he looked up to Troi's face looming over him. Little drops of sweat ran down her features, joining the ones glistering on the soft skin of her chest. His eyes followed a particular drop as it rolled down until it hit the upper-edge of her Mok'Bara outfit and slid along the white material until it reached its lowest point and then disappeared into her cleavage. She was panting fast and loud, the sweet sound of her breathing transporting him back to the times shed lain in his arms, slowly coming down from the heights their mutual passion had engendered, her smell not that different.

The fight they had just shared had had more passion behind it than he was used of her; but the passion was of the wrong kind; based on anger rather than love. Obviously she had not put the past, *their* past, behind her as he had feared. Right now he wasn't sure that was such a good thing. He would never admit it, but the few times he had seen her red-hot-angry made even him feel a little intimidated.

Unsure of how to break the limbo they were trapped in --him her watching him, him watching her-- Worf could only wait, she had after all won. When his nerves could stand no more he softly called out her name.

"What was she like?" The question came completely out of the blue for him and he was at loss for words to respond.

Deanna was in no hurry and patiently waited, holding herself perfectly still. "Jadzia was...pretty." It amazed him how difficult it was for him to describe her. "Tall and fierce and dedicated to her duties as both a joined Trill and a Starfleet officer. She knew the Klingon ways well and enjoyed participating in them."

"I can see why you loved her." He found her eyes brimming with tears and felt the urge to continue.

"She was always joking, no matter how dangerous the situation and she liked pulling pranks."

"Sounds like a perfect match." Deanna remarked, trying to sound cheerful. "Some optimism to counteract your pessimism." His often negative view on situations had been a point Deanna had teased him with ever since they had become friends, but throughout their relationship he had started to look at life in a more positive and less distrusting way.

He almost regretted it when Troi stood up and moved away from him. His eyes followed her lithe form as she walked to pick up a towel and wipe the perspiration off her skin. She turned around and watched him with sad eyes as he too got to his feet. "It is good to know that she made you happy."

His heart hammered faster when he heard the tone of her voice and for a few instances all he knew was that he had to stop her from walking out that door. "Deanna!" With quick steps he stood right behind her frozen form. "Jadzia was a wonderful woman, but...she was not you."

* * *

"Obviously not." Troi snapped before she could stop herself. Without turning she walked away from him and stormed out of the holosuite, not bothering to even pick up her isolinear chip at the bar. Fighting Worf had lessened her anger for a while, but once she had won and looked down on him she couldn't help but remember how strong his body felt against hers; how his strong hands would set her skin on fire.

His rich voice had finally called her back from the land of memories and she had almost allowed herself to fall on top of him and claim him once again as her own. Instead she was now storming through the dark corridors of the space station.

Inside the guest quarters assigned to her she looked around for anything to throw and growled in frustration when there was nothing; the room was as bare as a Zarieon sand mountain. It was just too much. Coming to the station, to Worf, had thrown salt in the open wound in her heart and being near him again had caused stronger emotions than she'd been prepared for.

Fallen under the weight of the emtions she dropped herself onto her knees, no longer able to hold back tears.

* * *

There had been times, quite a lot even, when women behavior had completely confused him. This, was not one of them. He took after her as fast as he could without running, pointedly ignoring the curios glances Kira and Bashir were giving him.

Outside her assigned quarters he hesitated about what to do when she didn't respond to his request for entrance. Gathering his courage he ordered the computer to allow him access; pleased to find that Deanna had not engaged the privacy lock.

He hesitated again when he found her crying silently, sitting huddled on the floor; torn between pulling her into a firm embrace and leaving for the sake of not hurting her more. He had already opted for the latter, begrudgingly admitting that it was the honorable thing to do, when she quietly called to him.

"Please, not again." As if she was carrying the Enterprise on her shoulders Deanna slowly stood up and turned half a circle. "Don't walk out again. Not without an explanation, you owe me that much."

Worf studied the half-Betazoid's tear-stricken face. With any other person he would find such an obvious display of vulnerability annoying, yet it made her all the more desirable to him. He knew she wouldn't allow just anyone to see her like this; it was a right she reserved only for those most dearest to her and he felt honored and even a little humbled by it.

"Deanna, I do not know how..." How could he possibly explain what had happened since he had left her? He had never been a man of many words and preferred to rely on action.

"Why Worf? What was so special about her that you couldn't even talk to me?" Again he found himself at loss of what to say. Jadzia had been everything he could wish for in a mate who was not Klingon --had he not met Deanna and fallen in love with her before. If possible her watery eyes became even larger and she took a small step towards him. "Did you lie to me?" Her voice had always held a special quality to it; soft and clear with a slight accent, yet when needed it could sounds as sharp and as cold as a slice of latinum. Now, however, it carried so much hurt that it quite effectively tore at his hearts. "Didn't you love me after all? Or was I simply not good enough --not though enough."

"NO!" His fist connected with the wall without him even noticing it; all he saw were Deanna's tears burned in his eyes. "Do not -think- that! I love you!"

"Then why did you leave!?!" The sheer loudness of her voice nearly made him jump. "You promised you'd come back! You promised we'd be together. I trusted you!" Although he towered over her by nearly ten inches he felt but two inches tall. "I loved you." She finished in a low voice.

He forced himself to speak the words he had not even allowed himself to think for over four years. "I did love you Deanna. Deeply, it --it scared me."

* * *

Scared.

The word resonated through Deanna's mind, the meaning of it trailing behind it as the tail of a comet.

Worf had been scared...unbelievable. Worf was always so stoic and trusting that his honor and heritage would pull him through everything that at times when she had been scared out of her wits, she'd pulled strength from just looking at him. In fact, in the eight years they'd worked together, she could think of only two times when he had been openly scared; when he'd nearly committed suicide to prevent himself from going insane and when Alexander had been trapped in a biolab during a fire.

But even so, it was impossible to imagine him being scared by her, of all people. Her job was to be amicable and approachable and she was aware that her empathy often intimidated people, including Worf during his first years aboard, but she couldn't remember anyone ever being scared of her before, not when she was in her right mind anyway. Why?

Had it not been for the circumstances, she would have teased him mercilessly about feeling so uncomfortable. "I loved KEhleyr, intensely. But we hardly spent time together. What I feel for you, it is the same, but different." Deanna found herself unable to react in any way; the emotions that rolled from him wrapped themselves around her and immobilized her. "It runs deeper than any feeling I have felt before."

She wanted to believe him; she wanted so desperately to believe him. "I understand that, really I do," after all, she'd felt exactly the same way which was the reason why he'd gone to the monastery and she to Betazed. "But why didn't you return once your assignment on DS Nine was over?"

* * *

Indeed, why hadn't he?

It was too easy to simply say that it was because hed been scared, yet that was what it came down to. He was not just scared of the depths of his feelings for her, but he'd also been afraid of hurting her; physically or emotionally.

To him Deanna had always been an enigma, even more than Guinan. In Guinan he had recognized the anger she felt for the Borg, the disgust for Q and her loyalty to Picard. In Deanna--That was just the thing. Knowing that she could sense the emotions around her made it all the more mysterious how she could remain so calm; centered as she called it. The only thing she allowed her emotions to control were her eyes.

It had taken him a long time to understand her. In fact, during their first year aboard he had not paid much attention to her. The entire idea of having a counselor on board was alien to him; for as far as he knew there weren't Klingon counselors at all. Warriors did not need psychiatric help.

But then the incident with the alien entity happened and for the first time she showed a strength he had not thought she was capable and it got him thinking. Until then, he had always perceived her calm as fear; fright to stand up. Looking in retrospect, he'd seen that it had not been fear but courage. She was willing to face everything life threw at her and refused to bend.

All the times she had come after him when he had been enraged with anger, never once had he seen her flinch or step back and when Captain Picard was furious for whatever reason she was the only one who dared to speak to him. He remembered the concerned looks of the crew when she would follow the Captain into his Ready Room during those times.

When she had joined his MokBara classes she had surprised him with her physical strength; she wasn't quite as strong as himself, but amazingly enough stronger than the average human. Later Deanna had explained that although Betazoids were a highly spiritual race who focused most of their energy on mental training and stability, they also prided themselves in training their bodies. After all, without a body a mind is practically useless.

But in spite of the physical and emotional strength she had often portrayed, he still feared he would hurt her, especially if things got more intimate, after all, Klingons were known for their roughness.

Then, unbidden, he remembered their first sexual encounter. To his surprise, Deanna had been the one to initiate it. What had surprised him even more had been his own gentleness, not because he was afraid to hurt her, but simply because he could not imagine treating her any different.

His passion flared as he recalled how responsive she had been. Quickly he tried to bury the feeling and focus on her question so that he would not upset her further. But if his passion had not reached her, then his attempted block certainly did.

* * *

While waiting for Worf's answer Deanna forced herself to push past her own emotions and focus instead on his. It amazed her how well she still knew his mind and the longer he remained silent, the better she understood the intense guilt and fear he felt.

Had felt.

The correction forced itself into her mind; the fear he -had- felt. The four years of separation had made him realize that his fear was insignificant to the love he felt for her. To her everlasting sadness; it had taken him those four years and a marriage to figure that out.

Just when she allowed herself to be happy rather than saddened she felt a sparkle of something familiar in him, and just as soon did she recognize the feeling she got when any of her friends tried to hide something from her. What bothered her, was that she had never felt it of him before. "Don't do that!" Damn! How had he managed to turn her into this uncertain, insecure woman? "Don't hide from me."

How were they going to get passed this awkwardness? An answer to a question only led to a new question, and the questions only led to doubts and resurfacing memories. The only thing she was certain of right now was that she loved him and that she was craving for his touch. But was that enough?

"I am sorry." His deep, rich voice alone sent shivers along her spine. How much longer would she be able to stand this, she wondered.

"No," Deanna finally responded after too long a silence, "it's all right. It's just that you never tried to hide anything from me before." For as long as she'd been onboard Worf had been the only one who accepted her empathy for what it was; a fact, an inconvenient fact, granted, but a fact nonetheless.

Perhaps that was where her failure lay. After Will Riker she had never allowed herself to open up to anyone; Worf included, even though she had been longer with him than anyone before or after for that matter.

Now that she knew, she might be able to set her mistakes straight. With new determination brightening her eyes she placed herself directly in front of him and aligned her hand along his jaw, not yet touching. After she'd locked her eyes with his she allowed her hand to make contact with his skin and had to bite back a gasp. She allowed everything she felt for him to show in her face and reached up until there were but a few millimeters separating them. "I love you."

* * *

When her hand touched his face Worf's hearts stopped beating. When he then felt her hot breath darting against his lips his hearts started to pound. When she said the words he thought he would never hear again he could no longer control himself and crushed her slender body against his. His mouth descended upon hers and when he encountered no objection he growled deep in his throat. Her sweet mouth felt so good and familiar against his, the taste of her exotic and intoxicating. For a brief moment his mind flashed to Jadzia, painfully reminding him that she had never aroused him so strongly as Deanna did at this moment.

His left hand slid to the small of her back and the other buried itself in her luxurious curls so he could deepen the kiss even more. The soft sigh she released caused him to probe deeper and her to respond to his growl with one of her own.

When they finally broke apart he roared loudly, admitting his passion for everyone to hear. Once finished he looked back at Troi and found her watching him with an amused little smile; exactly as he had expected.

"Where do we go from here?" She asked after long moments of silence.

"I do not care." Again Worf folded her into a tight embrace, almost as if making sure she wouldn't leave. "As long as I am with you and this time, I will allow nothing to come between us." He promised with heartfelt conviction. Letting her go the first time was the biggest mistake he had ever made and he would not make it again.

* * *

Epilogue

 

"So, Commander, do tell; why him?" The question earned him a poke between the ribs from the woman sitting next to him.

Deanna's smile grew wider as she sensed a ripple of annoyance from Worf and amused interest from the others at the table. "I thought you said you had him under control?" she directed her question to the Trill sitting across her.

Ezri Dax shrugged and petted her husband's arm. "I do...most of the time." Worf grunted in approval while Kira bellowed loudly, drawing surprised glances from pretty much everyone within hearing distance.

Like Kira, most of them were at least slightly affected by the alcohol and synthehol they'd ingested. The reception had ended nearly two hours ago, but after disembarking from the Enterprise the DS Nine officers had invited them to a little after party in Quark's. The little Ferengi had been more than pleased to accommodate them, of course and judging by the number of beverages they had consumed already he would not regret it either.

"Well?" Julian prodded.

With a side long glance to Worf, Deanna stood up and rounded the table. She leaned over so that she could whisper in Julian's ear "I guess you could say I was drawn to him like a moth to a flame. I knew he would be hazardous for my health, but that it would be worth the risk." A mixture of emotions flickered through the minds of her friends and she couldn't help but grin at Julian's obvious discomfort.

After she and Worf had rekindled things slightly after Jadzia's death, she had accepted Sisko's offer to stay on DS Nine for a couple of months. It gave her and Worf the chance to get to know each other on an intimate level again without hurrying things.

Before their relationship had become public, Doctor Bashir had tried to court her, much to the amusement of everyone else. After three months on DS Nine she and Worf had returned to the Enterprise where they'd served for eight months until, twelve hours ago, they had gotten married. Finally. Now they were on their way to Earth for a well deserved honeymoon.

Deanna moved back to Worf and rested her hand on his shoulder. {Let's call it a night, shall we?} Her suggestion almost made him smile; he had long since had enough of socializing and wished nothing but her squirming underneath his touch. It was a good thing that Alexander had been assigned separate quarters. "If you'll excuse us, we have a wedding to celebrate."

She leaned her head against Worf's shoulder and snuggled as close to him as she could, content with letting him lead her away from the crowd. She didn't even notice it when he directed the turbolift to the upper pylon instead of the habitat ring, but when she exited the small cabin the sight of the vast expanse of space took care of that.

Worf said nothing and continued to pull her along until he'd reached a door that sealed off the rest of the corridor. He punched in a code in the panel next to it and the door slid open; revealing a large, typical Klingon made bed. Candles and stars were the only illumination in the small secluded room. "How did you do this?" Troi asked, surprised she could talk at all. Worf could be very romantic if he wanted, but never could she have dreamed of anything like this.

The bed itself was huge; nearly making up all of the space in the small cabin. The covers were deep red and the frame made of ebony wood. Golden symbols were crafted into the headboard and red drapes with golden edges hung from each of the four pylons. "Chief O'Brien owed me a favor." Worf said as he led her inside. "I wished to thank you, for giving me another chance."

"I never had a choice Worf and even if I had it wouldn't have made a difference." Without taking her eyes of his Troi crawled onto the bed. "HlghoS!" She ordered, exerting the only show of authority for the night. The emotions he radiated told her that he wished this night to be tender, rather than aggressive and she had no problem with that whatsoever.

He obeyed her command and joined her on the bed. "'lHg" He told her, tracing her face with two fingers. "You make me happy, Deanna." The genuine statement ľone she'd heard before- nearly brought tears to her eyes. She could remember a time when Worf would never admit to anyone how he felt, and that he now told her as husband only made her feel more precious than she already did.

The last few weeks had been harrowing on both of them; the preparations for the wedding had been tough enough, having two cultures that clashed on just about every turn. In fact, negotiating between their cultures had made her wonder how she and Worf had ever managed to build such a loving and happy relationship.

And then there had been their heritage. With Worf having been accepted into the House of Martok and his honor restored he was now a rather important person within Klingon politics and military; without having a position in either. For those reasons, as his mate, she had a number of obligations to the Klingon Empire.

The reverse was true as well; she being a Daughter of the Fifth House meant an important role in Betazed society, especially when her mother would step down as matriarch. And because Worf was married to her, he too had an important position.

She forced the thoughts out her conscious, determined to make full use of the wonderful gift he'd given her and bit his cheek hard enough to break the skin. Years ago she would never have believed that such an act could be so wonderfully erotic, but it was and the taste of his blood made her skin crawl with pleasure.

When she reclined onto the bed, surrendering herself completely to her husband of a few hours, he did nothing. "You are so beautiful."

"You already told me that" she returned playfully while feeling the same way he did. They were looking at each other through new eyes; mates, husband and wife. It just hadn't fully kicked into until now, here in a small, temporal cabin at the exact place where they had found each other again.

{Love me} she nearly begged of him, needing his touch now more than ever before.

Her heart soared with passion as his lips finally claimed hers, attacking her with such hunger it felt as if he was trying to draw her into his body. It was everything she had ever wanted, everything she had ever needed...it was simply perfect. For both of them.

 

 
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