Lonely Hearts

Jadzia Dax stood at the door to Quark's, watching as Kira swallowed a shot of something. "Uh oh," she said under her breath.

Bashir took one look and said, "You know, maybe it'd be better to just leave her alone?"

"She's my friend, Julian. I need to find out what's wrong."

He shook his head. "She's also hell on wheels when she drinks, Jadzia."

"Hell on wheels?"

Bashir laughed. "Been hanging around Vic too much."

"We get to meet him tomorrow?" At his nod, she smiled happily. Emony had been a big fan of old-fashioned lounge music. "Well, I for one can't wait."

"He's amazing. Not just for the singing and the fancy patter, but he knows so much about romance...about love and the human heart." He laughed. "Or the Trill one."

"Or the Bajoran one?" Dax asked with a smile as she watched Kira. Without turning, she asked Julian, "Wish me luck?"

They both watched as Kira threw back another drink.

"You'll need it. That's three by my count." He headed upstairs.

Dax worked her way over to the bar. "What are we drinking?" she asked Kira.

Without turning around, Kira said, "Quark surprised me."

Dax shot the Ferengi an amazed look. The last time he had done that, Kira had nearly killed five of his customers and Quark as well.

He shrugged. "It was an isolated incident. Nobody told me that Bajorans don't metabolize Rendevian Ale the way everyone else does."

Dax smiled. "I've never seen anyone break a metal chair that way." She winked at Kira.

Kira did not wink back.

Dax sat down and studied the bottle Quark was pouring from. "Tequila?" At his innocent look, she said, "At least put some tonic with that for the next one."

Kira shot her an annoyed glance.

"Something eating you?" Dax asked as she took a sip of the drink and immediately winced. She held it out and ordered Quark, "More tonic."

Quark poured more into her glass, then filled a new glass for Kira, this time putting in plenty of tonic under Dax's watchful eye. Dax watched Kira sip at her drink; her friend was resolutely studying the ice in the glass.

When Kira didn't answer, Dax tried to think about what was going on in Kira's life right now. The major usually didn't get this moody over anything but romance. But as far as Dax knew, Kira wasn't seeing anyone. Maybe she had met someone? "You know I'll find out one way or the other. I always do. So you might as well tell me what's going on. Who is he?"

"It's a secret," Kira muttered into her glass.

Dax cleared her throat softly. She knew she didn't have to remind Kira of what an excellent network she had. No secret stayed that way for long if Dax really wanted to find out the truth.

Rolling her eyes, Kira said, "Going to Bajor. To see Shakaar."

Kira's words were slightly slurred and at first Dax wasn't sure what she'd said. "Oh." Then she thought about the implications of that. "Oh-hhh."

"Don't start with me, Dax."

"Hey, if he makes you happy, I'm not going to say anything."

Kira mumbled something, and it took Dax a minute to translate it to, "Not sure he does make me happy."

"If he doesn't, what is it you want, Kira? What kind of man would make you happy?"

Kira turned in her stool, surveyed the bar. Her gaze stopped for a moment, and Dax looked to see what she was looking at. Odo stood in the doorway, the expression on his face infinitely tender as he caught sight of Kira.

Kira's voice was very soft as she said, "I like a man who's crazy about me."

Then Odo turned away, his expression changing again to the tough security officer.

Kira smiled. "I like a man who can live without me too."

"I get that," Dax said, motioning for Quark to refill their glasses.

"That's what I like about you," Kira said.

Dax turned back to Kira, saw Odo walking down the promenade. Hmmm, she thought. Odo. Odo and Kira? They were friends sure. But more maybe? She looked at Kira, saw that she had turned away.

"What was it you liked about Shakaar?"

Kira smiled, as if at a distant memory. "I like a man who will lay down beside me."

"So you like them tender?" Dax asked.

Kira nodded. Then her expression became tougher, and Dax knew Kira was remembering the times she and Shakaar had shared in the resistance. "I like a man who will stand up to me too."

Dax thought of Worf, how he never let her get away with anything. She clinked her glass against Kira's. "I get that too."

Kira grinned. "That's what I like about you." She seemed to consider some of the men in the bar, then turned back to studying the entrance. Odo walked by again, he didn't look in. She murmured, "Don't want a man to be my twin. Under my thumb, under my skin."

"Yeah, that gets old," Dax agreed, wondering how many drinks Kira had tossed back before she got there. This was certainly a new pattern of speech for the usually clipped and all business major. And her sentences didn't normally rhyme.

"Don't want a man like a shadow on the ground. With nothing else to do but follow me around."

Quark looked out at Odo as if he knew a secret, and Dax wondered how much the Constable had told him. She'd grill Quark later.

"What else do you like?" she asked, ignoring Quark's smirk. "What about Bareil?"

Kira smiled, this time her look was tender. "I like a man who will cry on my shoulder. Who don't mind if I cry sometimes too."

Dax couldn't imagine Worf crying, especially given that he had no tear ducts, but she nodded solemnly. "I get that."

Kira laughed, apparently enjoying the running line, which seemed to become more amusing each time Quark topped off her drink. She leaned in and hugged Dax. "That's what I like about you," she said, this time slurring the words so much that Dax wouldn't have understood them if they hadn't been playing this game.

Dax laughed. "What else?"

Kira thought. "I like a man who can make it happen."

Dax smiled in evil delight. "Oh, yes."

"Who can get me laughing when my whole world breaks in two." Kira moved closer to her, ran her hand down Dax's leg. "That's what I like about you." She took a long drink and held the glass out to Quark, who ignored Dax and filled the glass to the brim even though she was shaking her head and mouthing, "Stop doing that."

"Don't you have somewhere else to be, Quark?" Dax hissed.

He grinned. "Not on your life." He leaned forward, his elbows on the bar. "I'm thinking Bajorans metabolize tequila in a very interesting way too."

Kira drank deep, throwing her head back and nearly falling off the chair. Dax caught her, pulled her back to a more secure perch.

Kira grinned at her. "You can be soft, honey, you can be strong. Maybe that's the reason we get along."

Dax saw Worf at the door. After how jealous he'd been of Arandis on Risa, Dax didn't think he was going to like this. "Kira, don't take this the wrong way, but stop it. Worf is here."

Kira giggled, watched the Klingon come in. She giggled harder as Odo trailed behind him. She whispered in Dax's ear, "Everything you do, you do just right." Her hand was on Dax's back, moving in lazy circles. "You're tender in love, tough in a fight."

Dax pulled away, saw Kira tilt and then saw Odo stretch his arm farther than was possible for a non shapeshifter, steadying Kira before she fell off the stool. Kira looked down at his hand, then grinned at him in a silly yet very sweet way. She pulled him close to her, stumbled over her words as she said, "I like a man who will lay down beside me."

Odo's lips tightened. "You're drunk, Nerys." He looked over at Quark. "What were you serving her?"

"Hey, she's old enough to make her own decisions."

Dax could tell Odo didn't think that was the point. Kira meanwhile had draped herself over him. Her eyes were half shut and she put her head on his chest. "Stand up to me, cry on my shoulder."

Dax decided she couldn't imagine Odo crying any more than Worf. She wondered if Odo had tear ducts.

Kira giggled again, her body sagging more against Odo. Dax saw his expression as he wrapped his arm tightly around her to keep her upright. It was the look of a man lost. Oh, Odo, Dax thought, suddenly feeling very sad. You love her.

Kira's words suddenly seemed mean. "Crazy 'bout me, can live without me too."

"Kira," Dax said, wanting to get her away from Odo. She looked at Worf. "Help her."

He shot her a look that clearly said he didn't see why they needed to get involved.

"Worf," she said firmly.

Kira's arms had gone around Odo's neck and he was staring at her. For a moment, Dax thought he might kiss her and she noticed that Quark had straightened up, a look of shocked anticipation on his face. "Odo," Dax said softly. "Odo, she's drunk."

Kira was moving closer. "That's what I like about..."

Odo suddenly shoved Kira into Dax's arms and stalked away.

Kira pulled away, reached out for him, her expression of drunken sorrow breaking Dax's heart. Kira whispered, "Can't live my life without..."

"I get that," Dax said softly, as she let Worf take Kira from her. He seemed about to flip the major over his shoulder when Kira knocked him away, pulling herself up to her full height and glaring fiercely.

Dax smiled as Worf took a step back. Even he didn't like to mess with Kira. "You can walk?" she asked and Kira nodded carefully. "Ok, we'll walk. Let's go." She led Kira to the lift, Worf trailing behind. "So you love Odo?" she whispered and at Kira's look of dismay she smiled gently. "Don't worry. I won't tell him."

Kira's good mood seemed to suddenly evaporate. "We're just friends."

"That's not what it looked like to me." Dax ignored Kira's glare. "You should tell him."

Kira shook her head violently, then stopped the movement abruptly.

Dax wondered if she was going to be sick. "I just want what's best for you, you know that. But if he's the one?" At Kira's glare, she held up a hand. "All right, I know when to shut up."

Kira shot her a look that was just the slightest bit threatening. There was nothing of her previous drunken joy when she said softly, "That's what I like about you." Then she disappeared into her quarters.

"That was interesting," Worf said under his breath.

Dax looked back at him.

He shook his head. "You will insist on matchmaking."

"Hey, I was just trying to get her to loosen up."

"That's what you said after the Rendevian Ale incident."

"That was not my fault," Dax said with a grin. "How was I to know that she'd go nuts?"

"Perhaps it would be wiser to keep Major Kira and alcohol far, far away from each other," he said as they took the lift back to their own quarters.

"Perhaps," she agreed. "But a lot less fun."

He shook his head in disapproval. But she noticed that he could not hide a smile.

"What?"

"I was remembering how she tried to drown Quark in that vat of Kanar."

"He could have died, Worf." Dax tried not to laugh. It had been funny.

"I do not think the Constable thought it was amusing. Nor did he seem to find tonight's activity at all entertaining."

"He's in love with her," Dax murmured, following him into their quarters.

"Yes, that is apparent even to me," he said, as he pulled her into his arms.

She smiled. "Maybe I could--"

He shut her up with a fierce kiss. "Leave them be. Let them discover each other or not, the way we did...as fate determines."

She pushed him back against the wall, saw his lips curl up as she leaned in to bite his neck. "Fate? That wasn't fate, Worf. That was me practically bludgeoning you with the fact that I had feelings for you."

"Yes, I remember" he said, a glint in his eyes as he picked her up and carried her into the bedroom. "Don't take that moment away from them."

"Oh, all right," she said, allowing him to think that she had given up. And maybe she should give up? Kira was going to see Shakaar--maybe they would patch up whatever differences had come between them the last time? Maybe Shakaar was the man for Kira? But Odo loved her and that look on his face had been so sad. And the way Kira had sounded when he'd left--Dax was sure there was more to it than just friendship, no matter what Kira said. They were all supposed to meet in the holodeck tomorrow night. If Vic was as good as Julian seemed to think, maybe he'd be able to help.

Maybe he could use a little pre-briefing though? Dax smiled. She had some free time at lunch tomorrow. And she knew that Quark couldn't say no to her if she wanted to borrow Julian's holoprogram. What could be wrong with paying Vic a little advance visit, telling him how things stood between her friends? Dax laughed at herself. All of her selves. They never tired of matchmaking, and no matter how many times Worf admonished her to stop, they never would. That's what I like about you, she thought fondly. Then she tuned them out and gave herself over to Worf's embrace.

FIN

The challenge? Incorporate a song into a fic. The lyrics of the song have to be spoken as actual dialogue by one of the characters. The other characters can say whatever, but one person must speak *all* lyrics of the song as his/her primary dialogue. The song incorporated into this fic is "That's What I Like About You" performed by Trisha Yearwood and written by John Hadley, Kevin Welch, and Wally Wilson. See the lyrics at