Jadzia Dax Throws A Party
Dax has never been a child.
Symbiotes are born in the pool, from eggs, and grow to their full adult size within weeks. They can be described as young, but not really as children. Dax has the memories of all of its previous hosts' childhoods, but children are never Joined, so Dax has no direct experience of being a humanoid Trill child.
Jadzia, of course, was a child, but she feels now, with Dax's memories merged with her own, that she wasted her childhood. Or at least, missed out on it. She spent it driven, focused on becoming the best Joining candidate she could be. When other Trill children were off playing, Jadzia had been studying, working, training body and mind. The competition for symbiotes is more fierce now than it was when even Curzon was young, let alone, say, Emony. She didn't really have a choice if she wanted to be Joined, but she definitely feels now that she missed out.
"The effect will only last a few days," Julian is saying reassuringly. "You should revert to physical adulthood in two or three days at the most."
The part of Jadzia that is a scientist wonders where her missing mass went, and what's going to happen when the negentropic energy field wears off and she snaps back to her real age. The part of Jadzia that missed out on being a kid, and Dax, who has never been a child, both want to make good use of the time.
"Two or three days?" Jadzia Dax says in a high-pitched, childish voice. "Well, I've got a lot of playing to get in, then."
"Excuse me?" Julian looks puzzled. "Playing?"
"Sure, Julian. Playing. That thing that children do. You must have heard of it." She grins at him. "I'm a child again; I'm not going to miss my chance to play." She hops off the examining table, her grin getting wider. "I am going to rent a holosuite from Quark, and for the next two or three days, I am going to play in it. Are you with me?"
"Oh, come on, Julian, surely you remember how to play."
"I... didn't play a lot when I was a boy. I mean, sports, yes, but not really a lot of unstructured play."
"Neither did I!" Jadzia says cheerfully. "I spent my whole childhood training to be a Joining candidate! So now that I have a second chance to play, I'm going to use it. Besides, I've never been Joined to a child before, so in that sense I never had had a chance to play."
"I... have to report my findings to Commander Sisko."
He's being such a stick in the mud. Julian isn't usually uncomfortable around children. She wonders if he's bothered by the fact that normally he's attracted to her and now she looks about eight, or if he's just taken aback by how easily she accepts this. But she's had how many lives now? A Joined Trill learns to roll with life's changes. "I want to invite him too. Let's go report to him together, and I'll invite him to come play with me. Maybe that baseball game he likes so much will actually turn out to be fun now that I'm a kid again." She feels full of energy. It's all she can do not to bounce up and down with impatience. "And Jake and Nog are actual children; well, they're both older than me, and Quark might not let Nog play when he should be working, but I bet I can talk him into it. And Molly can come, and of course Keiko has to tell me all about the time she got turned into a child and if she got to do anything fun, so the Chief can come along as well, and I'll bet Kira never had a chance to play much as a kid. Do you think Odo would like to play?"
"You sound like you're planning a party."
"A party! That would be a great idea. Do Earth children have inflatable cloth balls with helium inside when they have parties?"
Julian's mouth twitches into the start of a smile. "Ours are made of rubber, or metal foil. We call them balloons."
"So we can have Trill helium balls, and Earth balloons, and I have to ask Quark if Ferengi children have anything like that for their parties, and I'll bet Leeta would know more about Bajoran children's parties than Kira would, don't you think?"
"I think we need to go report to Commander Sisko," he says, but he's smiling now.
Jadzia bounces toward the door. "Of course we do. How else are we supposed to invite him and Jake to my party?"