Title: Tea and Cake
Author: Laura Schiller
Email: Rostockgirl AT aol.com
Summary: Worf and Deanna change their relationship with a (slightly modified) Klingon courtship ritual.
Author's Note: The Klingon ritual in this story is taken (with some obvious adaptations) from the DS9 episode "Looking For par'Mach in All the Wrong Places".
Disclaimers: Everything Star Trek, including Worf and Deanna Troi, belong to Paramount Pictures. No infringement is intended, no profit is made.



"Come in," said Deanna, looking up from the padd she was reading at her desk.

The doors opened to reveal Worf, in a dress uniform and with his long dark hair unbound, carrying something on a tray. He crossed the room in two strides before she could say hello, sent her stack of report padds clattering off the table with one hand, and placed the tray on the table in front of her with the other.

"I have brought you this, Deanna Troi," he said in a ringing voice that, though not much louder than usual, seemed to fill up the entire suite. "As a symbol of my allegiance. All I ask in return is to share your company and to honor to your name."

The item in question was a Ktarian chocolate puff the size of Deanna's own head. It came with a large knife, two forks, two plates, two cups, and a steaming pot of tea.

She looked up at Worf, strung tight with nerves beneath his stoic faηade, and laughed breathlessly, feeling more than a little nervous herself.

"Why, Worf – thank you! It's a lovely cake, a lovely gesture, but – er – what does it mean?"

"I replicated it," he said, drawing himself up to full attention and locking his hands behind his back. She stood up, so as not to crane her neck to look at him.

"It is – a courtship ritual of my people," he continued gruffly, meeting her eyes with an almost defiant air, as if daring her say something. "The customary gift item is a bloody leg of lingta, but I do not believe you would appreciate that."

She laughed again and shook her head. "Oh, no. Really, the tea and cake are perfect. Er … you're not proposing marriage, are you? Only, this is rather sudden … "

"No. In human terms, you might call it … dating. As I said, I want to share your company … get to know you as something other than a colleague and counselor … " He leaned across the table, bringing his face closer to hers. His brown eyes were very dark as they gazed into hers.

Deanna was past feeling nervous or uncertain. Her heart was pounding so hard she was certain he could hear it.

"Dating," she said. "Yes. That sounds just right."

She smiled up at him, reaching out to carefully explore his forehead ridges with her fingers. She had been secretly tempted to do that ever since their first meeting.

Worf took her small hand in his larger one (she could feel the calluses from his combat training against her softer skin) and sniffed the inside of her wrist, as if he found her scent to be beautiful.

"There is one thing you should know," he said quietly, leting her go. "Klingons do not often … engage in sexual relations outside of marriage."

"I know," said Deanna. How typically blunt of him to say that. "I don't mind. Let's just … try this relationship and see how it works out. I think it's worth the risk, don't you?"

He actually smiled back at her. "A worthy challenge, indeed."

The glint which still lingered in his eyes, and the slow simmering of her empathic senses, told her just what he meant by that.

"To beginnings," said Deanna, pouring tea and toasting him with her cup.

"Careful, Deanna!" Worf barked, startling her enough to nearly spill it. "I nearly forgot – "

He fished a hypospray out of his pocket, brushed back her hair, and injected something into the side of her neck.

"That variety of tea makes Humans ill," he explained, deeply embarrassed. "Human/Betazoid hybrids, perhaps, as well. I brought the antidote, just to be safe. It has a strong flavor, to balance the chocolate. I thought you might enjoy it."

Worf tossed down his cup like a whisky shot glass; Deanna sipped it cautiously. It was a smoky, spicy sort of tea, and it made her eyes water and her throat scorch

"Worth the risk," she affirmed, grinning, as she sat down and cut herself a generous slice of cake.


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