Title: Metamorphosis
Author: Laura Schiller
Email: Rostockgirl AT aol.com
Summary: After the bathtub scene in "Genesis", Worf and Deanna really need to talk.
Disclaimers: Everything Star Trek, including Worf and Deanna Troi, belong to Paramount Pictures. No infringement is intended, no profit is made.


Worf was not only feeling horribly guilty, but he had no idea how to assuage it. If Deanna were a Klingon, he would have offered to duel with her, giving her the opportunity to punish him for his dishonorable behavior or perhaps even kill him. However, decent mok'bara practicioner though she was, Deanna simply wasn't his equal in size or strength. It was not an option.

A Human man would have tried to speak to her, but Worf, being anything but eloquent, felt he was sure to put his foot in his mouth somehow and offend her further. Besides, a verbal apology didn't seem quite dramatic and meaningful enough.

Perhaps he could do her some important service in the future; save her life, or the life of her loved ones, or something of tha nature. This was Starfleet, after all. Opportunities for heroism were available if you looked for them.

In the meantime, he found himself logging a great deal of holodeck time, hunting Qo'noS's largest, fiercest predators especially the creature he had been.

He was just following a set of maasklaak tracks through dense foliage when he heard a rustling noise behind him. A twig snapped; branches were brushed aside. Something was breathing. He sniffed the air, listing in his mind all the animals he had programmed into the simulation. Were any of them likely to sneak up behind their prospective prey?

He sniffed again, and grimaced. There was certainly no animal on Qo'noS who used uttaberry-scented shampoo.

"Counselor," he said in a hush, turning around, "Please remove yourself. This program is dangerous."

Deanna stood among the thick leaves and bright flowers, looking rather flower-like herself in her pink top and pants. She folded her arms and fixed him with narrowed black eyes.

"Dangerous, eh? All right computer, end program. Mr. Worf, we need to talk."

Here it comes. This is the part where she reports me to Commander Riker Riker! for sexual harassment. My name will be disgraced even more than it already is among Klingons and damn it all, I shall never see her again.

He drew himself up and met her eyes with what he hoped was an air of dignified resignation.

Deanna took a step closer. "You've been avoiding me. Why?"

"Is it not obvious?" He refused to back up; as a result, she came to stand close enough to punch him or kiss him if she wanted.

"I'd prefer to hear you say it." Her Betazoid accent came out more clipped and elegant than ever, as it did when she was feeling some strong emotion.

"I have behaved dishonorably towards you, Counselor," he sid, gathering all his courage to meet those velvety black eyes of hers. "I thought you would prefer me to stay out of your sight."

"And it didn't occur to you to confront me directly instead?"

When she put it that way, it sounded awful. She had such a talent for cutting remarks delivered in the gentlest of tones; he had run into that often enough during their counseling sessions with Alexander.

"What do you expect me to do?" he burst out, folowing the instinct which told him that the best defense is a good offense. "Fall on my knees and beg you to forgive me before you call Security to drag me to the Brig? What do you want from me?"

"I want you to listen!" She raised her voice to match his and placed a hand on his chest. He could feel the warmth of her even through his uniform.

"Suppose I don't want to report you?" she continued, her face blooming pink in contrast to the fierce tone of her voice. "Suppose I told you the bite doesn't bother me that much, and that I'm grateful for getting me safely to Sickbay before your transformation took over? Do you remember? You stopped. You could have ripped my uniform off me and taken me right there in the bathtub, but you stopped." During the last half of her speech, Deanna's voice had softened again, and she took her hand away.

Worf looked down at her with incredulous wonder. Could she be saying that she did care for him that she wanted him the way he wanted her?

He remembered, just barely, the shock of that moment when he drew away from her and saw her wide-eyed, holding her hand to her cheek, blood running between her fingers. It had been like a painstick to the soul.

"I am so ashamed of having hurt you," he confessed softly, lifting a hand to stroke her cheek. Dr. Crusher's dermal regenerator hadn't even left a scar. "I never wanted to see fear in your eyes when you look at me."

"I know," she said, turning to kiss the inside of his palm. "And I forgive you."

An impish little smile tugged at the corners of her mouth for the first time. "Next time, ask me first and I'll keep the scar."

"Next time?" In any one but a Klingon warrior with a bass voice, the tone of that question would have been a yelp.

"Counselor Deanna do you realize what this means? It means we would be mated not married, but a committed couple all the same. Do you truly feel that way about me?"

Deanna gave him her answer in no uncertain terms: by standing on tiptoe, wrapping her arms around his neck and kissing him on the lips. When they came up for air, her whole face seemed to be glowing.

"Worf," she said, tilting her head playfully, "Do you remember the mud baths on the Parallax Colony?"

How could he forget? Deanna, Alexander and Mrs. Troi had practically ganged up on him to get him into one of those. The feeling of the mud on one's skin was pleasant enough, and was supposed to be beneficial, but Worf wasn't one for sitting around in a tub doing nothing. Altogether, it had been a less than successful experience in recreation.

"What about them?"

"There are other things one can do in there besides sitting, you know. Computer, run program Parallax One. Without characters."

Deanna winked as the broken columns, sunshine, and open-air mud bath shimmered into existence on the hologrid. Worf reflect that he might come to enjoy that activity after all.


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