Ferrari, seated in her quarters aboard the Europa awaiting the beginning of the night shift, was clearly grinning, her eyes on the screen in front of her, where the figures of Jadzia Dax and Lenara Kahn were displayed in a real time communication: what had happened over the last few days on Deep Space 9, with the arrival from Qo'noS of Grilka and her small retinue, could elicit no other reaction than full-on laughter. The whole thing was made so hilarious, in fact, by the fact that, as Dax had just finished recounting, Lieutenant Commander Worf and the Ferengi Quark were directly involved.

Less smiling, perhaps, was Lenara, who not only did not particularly appreciate Klingon culture per se, but also frowned upon the friendship established between her partner and Worf: it was very difficult, in fact, for the woman to get out of training sessions with the bat'leth, or any other Klingon bladed weapon, without a few cracked ribs or bruises too many. Add to that the fact that, just recently, Worf had also attempted to initiate a Klingon mating ritual with Jadzia herself, who (aware of Klingon customs) had been able to put her colleague in his place without too much trouble and without further besmirching his honour, and the possibility of Worf and Lenara becoming good friends had become very remote indeed.

«I guess Worf has learned his lesson once and for all,» Ferrari remarked, in a vain attempt to stop laughing at the image Dax had a little earlier painted of a dejected Worf returning to his quarters on the Defiant. Jadzia arched an elegant eyebrow, less amused than she had been at the start of their conversation via subspace: «Worf is Klingon to the core, despite being raised by humans. The ritual ended by respecting their code of honour, regardless of its conclusion: he will not repeat the experience, especially at the risk of being dishonoured by his actions. Besides,» she added, addressing Lenara more than Ferrari, but still looking towards the human, «I made it very clear to him how Lenara is my Par'Mach'kai

At Ferrari's questioning glance, Dax hastened to explain, reminding herself at the last that the other woman, however interested in Klingon culture, was not as well versed in the subject as she might have been, also and above all due to the experiences of one of her previous hosts, Curzon: «For Klingons, the term means one's partner. Of life.» She shrugged her shoulders, a little uncomfortable under the now penetrating gaze of Kahn, at her side, and Ferrari hurried to intervene, sensing some sort of latent danger in the air: «I think it's time to say goodbye, I'll be on bridge duty tonight...»
After a few greetings, warm if quick, the communication between Kahn and Dax's shared quarters on Deep Space 9 and Ferrari's on the Europa broke down, leaving the two Trills in the half-light of the base's Cardassian architecture.

Jadzia shifted a little uncomfortably in the chair she occupied opposite the terminal on the desk, Lenara's piercing gaze seeming to penetrate the back of her head. After she and Worf had remotely helped Quark win Grilka's favour, the Klingon had taken her by surprise when he had initiated that same mating ritual with her.
Using a loophole within those same traditions, Jadzia had managed to talk him out of it and make him realise that there was no history: her passion for the Klingon culture was not such as to justify any interest in him other than the one she had shown so far. She considered him a formidable warrior, even a good friend, at whose side she would always fight, ready to have his back and trust him to do the same for her, but nothing more than that.
It was also true that she regarded Lenara as her own life partner, so logically she had not lied to Worf when she had referred to her mate by the Klingon term Par'Mach'kai, but the two women were not actually married by any culture's standards.
This was compounded by the fact that they had never, in person, broached the subject before that moment, although there was an intention on both sides to take courage and, as soon as the opportunity arose, talk about it.

I'd say the opportunity to talk about it just presented itself, Jadzia reflected, actually not feeling at all ready for the conversation in question. In spite of the experience provided by her symbiont, in fact, Jadzia felt absolutely awkward at that moment: she wanted very much to propose taking the plunge, but the interconnected fears did not want to be pushed aside in any way.
Looking up at her partner, who had not moved a millimetre from her side and, on the contrary, was staring at her with piercing and strangely interested eyes, Jadzia offered her a smile between embarrassed and tense, before trying to get up. Lenara gently placed a hand on her shoulder, effectively preventing her from standing up, and moved closer to her until she brushed her hair with her cheek; Dax, remaining seated in her seat, inhaled deeply, inebriated by the scent of her companion whom she now perceived to be closer than ever. Their cheeks brushed and Lenara let her lips slide over the speckles that contoured Jadzia's face, kissing them softly one by one until she could graze her ear, and as Jadzia closed her eyes lost in the first shivers of arousal she whispered, «Yes.»
Jadzia gasped and turned sharply, standing up this time, eyes to eyes with Lenara, «Yes?»
«Yes. I said yes, for the Par'Mach'kai is a yes for me.»
Jadzia repeated the «Yes!» once more, but this time exclaiming it, and then she allowed herself to be embraced by a deep, passionate kiss with her future wife, holding her close and lifting her off the floor with what seemed to be ease, making her walk around the room with childlike joy.

When she finally put her back down and they pulled apart just enough to look into each other's eyes, they were both decidedly moved. «I didn't think we'd ever be able to broach the subject,» Kahn admitted, after she finally managed to catch her breath, and smiled sweetly at Dax, before continuing: «I'd been mulling it over for a while, but there never seemed to be the right opportunity, between your missions and my research... maybe I was just afraid of the 'consequences' and found every excuse I could to put it off.»
«I was afraid too,» Jadzia admitted, «but to be honest I would be afraid even now.» She smiled at her, slightly embarrassed, but continued: «I know it's irrational, we both have the experiences of our symbionts' previous guests to help us and, in a way, we've already been married, though not quite us personally.»
She ran her hands over her companion's back, rubbing it affectionately: «But I also know that with you it will be all new, all different, all to be experienced. And I am terrified of disappointing you, of losing you, of dying as happened with Torias and Nilani. But it is I, Jadzia, who feel these things and Dax is silent at the moment, perhaps out of respect or simply because it feels it is right for me to face 'alone' in a situation so familiar to it.»

«Hey,» Lenara's gaze dimmed for a moment, as memories of the pain that Nilani, Kahn's previous host, had felt when Torias had died, effectively ripping away the happiness they had known together for such a short time, surfaced almost point-blank, «we've already talked about it, I know you'll do everything you can to always come back to me. And we will face together all the obstacles we will have before us.» She gently touched her face with a hand, «I don't promise that we won't argue, that will be inevitable, in my opinion, even if we won't enjoy doing so. But I promise I will always stand by your side, as I know you will stand by mine.»
«Always,» Jadzia promised, «and I will see to it that Worf is no longer a problem for you. For us.» Grateful for her companion's words, Kahn kissed her passionately again. Everything else passed, in the immediate future, into the background: there was only them.

On board the Europa, everything was running smoothly: Ferrari had arrived, a little early, on the bridge to take over from her colleague in charge of Beta shift, and now she had a nice eight-hour shift in front of her to supervise the night activities. Thinking back to the conversation she had had with Dax and Kahn, with whom she had formed a strong bond of friendship that went beyond the working relationship, she laughed up her sleeves, at the same time regretting Worf. Jadzia clearly only had eyes for Kahn and it was clear that she was sorry, having to brutally set the Klingon straight, but it was clear how it couldn't have been any other way: really a pity that the other officer hadn't been able to realise this in time, thus avoiding such a humiliation.
When, later that night (from Europa’s point of view, of course), the communications officer turned over to her, at the Captain's station, an incoming text message from DS9, she grinned once more: there couldn't have been better news. Sending a succinct message in reply, she vowed to congratulate them at the first opportunity they would see each other.