A Sky Not His Own by Djinn

Did I reach for a sky that wasn't my own? Lost in my own world - now I can never come home to you. - Too Late by Fisher


He tries to ignore the looks he sees Keiko giving him. Goes on talking as if he doesn't notice the speculative way she watches him from across the table. He's just catching up with an old friend. Just enjoying a chance hello halfway across the galaxy and years away from where they all first met. It's nothing more.

So what if it's Kira?

So they're all a little uncomfortable around each other. Awkwardness can give way to ease, if they will just let it be. Just dance around it for a while without giving it the power that it would have if they paid any attention to it.

But Keiko can't do that. She can't just let it go.

She can't forget.

Not that he's forgotten. He tries not to stare at Kira. Tries not to remember what it was like to hold her. To feel her in his arms. To make love to her.

He looks over at Keiko. Suspects that she is trying not to think the same thing.

Their eyes meet and he sees too much in Keiko's. He sees pain and sadness and regret and desire. He wonders if he is showing her the same thing.

So long ago. And no time at all. A moment in time, really. One moment that changed everything and nothing. When they all ended up on the same Starbase, at the same conference. A moment together and then left behind. Left as Kira returned to the Station and they returned to Earth. One night. A night to remember. A night they never speak of.

But he's always known that something between Keiko and him broke that night. Something precious that they can't ever get back. It's in her eyes now as she looks at the woman they held between them. As she touches Kira's hand, shows her holos of Molly and Yoshi. It's in the way she tries not to look at him, tries not to include him. Is doing everything to not make it the three of them.

Three of them. He pushes it out of his mind, or tries to. But memories of their soft skin, their fierce kisses and firm hands haunt him. He can't forget tasting Kira's lips, watching...and helping her touch Keiko, surrendering to the pleasures they brought him. He has tried to forget. But he can't. He'll never forget that night.

Keiko glances at him. He wonders if he has given his thoughts away. He tries to concentrate on what she is telling Kira about the children. Children...he almost laughs at them being called that anymore. They are grown now, starting out on their own. Molly is on her way to the Academy. Yoshi hasn't decided what he wants to do and Miles doesn't push him. He wants his son to find his own way, which Yoshi would do with or without his approval. He's always known the boy was different from him, from Keiko too. He's always wondered if being inside Kira changed him. Made him dreamy, disconnected, serene. The way Kira was when she carried him.

God, she was beautiful when she carried him.

He feels Keiko's hand brush his, calling him back to the present. Kira has turned, embarrassed he thinks at first, but then he realizes she is just checking the shuttle schedule. Keiko looks away, a subtle mask falling over her face, hiding the feelings he saw before.

But he knows what she is feeling; he is feeling it himself.

This woman, this lovely, fearless woman came between the two of them. She didn't mean to, didn't set out to, didn't even make the first move. But she still came between them. She drove a wedge between their hearts even as they pulled her between them that night so long ago. A night when it seemed that saying "I want you" was easier to say than "I miss you."

But he wasn't the one that started it. He was just enjoying them all being together again. Never expected it would happen. He sat across the room from Kira, shared the memories of the best time of his life, of the Station and people that he missed more than he wanted to admit. He was just enjoying being with her, had put aside the desire he had once felt for her when she carried his son. Put it aside, or just buried it deep, he wasn't sure which. At any rate, he did not touch her. Did not encourage his heart to see her as anything but a fellow officer.

It was Keiko that saw her pain, ached for how much Kira was hurting. Keiko that saw how heartbroken Kira was without Odo. Keiko that knew what to say, what to do. Miles was glad. He didn't want to add to Kira's pain, was afraid that whatever he said, it would be the wrong thing. But Keiko couldn't not try to help, couldn't just stand by and watch.

It was Keiko. Keiko that managed to get Kira to talk about Odo, to cry over Odo. It was Keiko that pulled her into warm arms as he watched helplessly. Keiko that kissed her cheek, soothing her as if she were Molly.

He wanted to help, felt like he should do something. He moved closer, laid his hand on Kira's shoulder, on top of Keiko's hand. Felt his wife entwine her fingers with his. There was no other sign from her. He's never understood how he knew it was okay to step closer, to watch as Kira turned her face up.

God, the way she looked when she cried. It broke his heart. He knew it broke Keiko's too because she was the one that leaned in, lips softly pressing against Kira's. Their clasped hands were rubbing Kira's hair, soothing her as best they could.

And then he felt Kira reach for his other hand even as she pushed herself against Keiko, returning the kiss desperately.

Keiko never let go of his hand, and the two of them moved together to pull Kira in, into the safety of their arms.

And it was safe. For all of them. A moment out of time to escape all the things they'd lost. One night to tell a woman they might never see again how much they missed her. How much they loved her. To thank her for keeping their son safe, for sharing that with them.

The three of them were in the bedroom then and he didn't remember how they got there. Clothes were coming off and hands were touching places they should never have gone. And then they were on the bed and his lips were on Kira's or on Keiko's, at times he didn't know which. And he didn't care.

It was all too much. He thought that he could never feel so much. And when he came out of his fog, he looked over at Keiko and realized that it really was too much. Her eyes held something that he had never seen before. Uncertainty. Of herself, of him. Of the woman that slept now between them.

He reached across Kira, took Keiko's hand. She stared down at his hand, then looked up at him. He could read the shock in her eyes, muddied by the lingering bliss of lovemaking more intense than the two of them had known in a long time.

And he knew at that moment that nothing would ever be the same again.

Just as it's not the same now. For Keiko and him. Kira, on the other hand, seems untroubled. As she gets up from the table, he realizes that she is not uncomfortable with the two of them, more at ease with what passed between them that one night so many years ago than they are. Unconcerned over what happened.

But then she would be. She didn't have to look at him over the breakfast table when they got back to Earth. Didn't have to pretend that everything was fine, normal. She went back to the Station, departed in the morning, giving them both a sad, sweet kiss. They left later that afternoon. Thought they left it all there on that Starbase.

He sighs as he glances at his wife, then at Kira. They never left it behind. Never left her behind. She was between them from that night on. They could never take what happened back. Not that they would have, if they could.

But loving her, being with her, put Keiko and him into some new world. Some place where their love was defined by the presence of another. Some place where things were new and not so easy to accept. They were not the people they had thought they were. And it was disruptive. The most basic things were suddenly called into question. No simple truths for them anymore.

They worked it out eventually. Found a way to push what happened into the dark, remote places in their minds. Maybe even forgot it.

Until now. Until Kira was once again between them.

She pulls him into her embrace, draws Keiko in too. He hears her murmur something. It sounds like "I love you," but he isn't sure and he doesn't want to ask. He looks up and Keiko is looking at him with the expression he is sure that he wears too.

Desire. Disappointment. Regret. Love. They both love Kira. They love each other. Nothing will change that. It will just take time again.

Time to let this settle. Disappear into the murk where it is safely hidden. Where they can pretend that it never happened. Where they can pretend that it is not between them, does not define them.

Where they can lie to themselves and say that they don't still want Kira in their arms.

A lie he believes until he sees Keiko's expression as she watches Kira walk away, out of their lives again.

A lie that she will see on his face if she turns to look.

Kira turns at the doorway and waves.

His hand is up, Keiko's rising at the same time. She brushes his shoulder as she waves.

He doesn't look at her as he says, "Let's go home."

She doesn't remind him that home got farther away the last time they said goodbye to Kira.

She doesn't need to.

He knows. He will always know.