Disclaimer: I own nothing of the Star Trek world. I recently finished a story called 'Eros Pines', and this is its dark sister. I present to you 'Exquisite'.
Weyoun let his eyes sweep over the corridor one last time: this was his prize, his accomplishment. Even the tan walls had almost smiled at him as he walked past them, as he crushed the Federation under his thumb. This was Sisko's station, and the Dominion had easily plucked it from his grasp. But now Sisko had returned with the upper hand, and the Jem'Hadar and Cardassians were scrambling to evacuate. Every airlock was crowded, and lines were probably forming at every transporter. No one wanted to be here when the Federation came aboard; Weyoun knew how angry humans and their allies could get, especially when seeking revenge. Even the Vorta had to admit that Sisko was clever, and now it was time to leave lest he face the captain's wrath.
The airlock closed behind him and the ship lurched as the docking clamps were released. There was no turning back now.
He stared aimlessly out of his personal viewscreen, contemplating all the various forms of torture the Dominion had at its disposal. None of them seemed fitting for Dukat and his ilk; after all, if he and his men had disabled the minefield earlier, perhaps they wouldn't be in this mess. They probably would have taken the Federation by now. Yes, they would have been laughing as they orbited Earth had it not been for Damar's incompetence. He had received the word that Dukat was not on any of the retreating ships, and Weyoun knew Damar would be the perfect replacement. Ignorant, foolish, stupid...Damar was all these things. He could easily be manipulated...
He turned his mind to strategic matters and started planning new offensives. But a beeping noise interrupted his thoughts.
He barely heard the Third's report as he stared at the sensors. He couldn't tear his eyes from the object floating out in space: approximately 2 liters of golden goo floated effortlessly out in the vacuum of space, moving slowly. He ordered a halt.
He examined sensors and magnified the substance on his viewscreen, and he turned at the sound of the opening door.
"Why have we stopped?" the Female Founder demanded. Weyoun bowed.
"Founder, there is something you should see."
The First took off his headset and handed it to the Founder, who put it on impatiently. As she stared at the object, her expression softened considerably, and Weyoun even spied a tiny smile grace her lips.
"Beam it aboard, directly to my quarters."
Her order was obeyed immediately, and she quickly left the bridge without another word.
It had been a few months since the Dominion's retreat from Deep Space 9, and the war had reached a stagnant, tedious stalemate. For every Federation outpost that was invaded, a ketracel white storage facility would be blown up. For every fleet of ships from the Federation that was destroyed, two garrisons of Jem'Hadar and Cardassian ships were eliminated along with it. The war was bloody, tiresome, and far too long for Weyoun's tastes.
He was working a very late shift one night, completing several reports and planning new offensives, when he wearily walked down the corridor toward his quarters. It was dark, and the Jem'Hadar guards were not far behind him, but there was little chance he would be attacked in Central Command. Any excursion out into the streets was another matter. Patches of pale moonlight patterned the floor in striking squares of black and white, and he noticed a dark figure just inside one of the shafts of light, staring out of the high windows.
Probably one of Damar's comfort women, musing on the futility of her existence, he thought to himself. But he heard the guards behind him straighten to attention, but they did not move their weapons. Only one thing could make the Jem'Hadar act like that.
He straightened his posture as well, then strode forward with caution. When he came closer and was able to see her face, he gasped and bowed low.
"Founder," he breathed, spreading his arms wide in a sign of submission. "It is an honor to stand in your presence."
The Changeling turned to him in awe. Slowly, she came forward, and he saw it was not the Female Founder he reported to daily. This was another Changeling. She looked somewhat like the Founder, but her eyes were rounder and wider, and they were a clearer shade of blue. Her eyes were startling even, much like his own. She was the same height as the Founder, making her as tall as him, perhaps a little shorter. Unlike Odo, her features were slightly more defined and human-looking, and the only Changeling-looking features were her nose and browbone. They were more abstract than the rest of her face, but she had somehow managed to look more human than Odo, no doubt because of the Founder's assistance. Her ears were covered by dirty blonde hair, and her locks were longer than the Founder's. Her hair was cropped even all around and came to her chin, reminding him vaguely of Romulans.
The Changeling began to circle him, her face inches from his skin, examining him in absolute awe.
"You're a Solid, but you're not Jem'Hadar," she murmured. Her voice was lighter, less gruff than the Founder's. Weyoun breathed in slowly and nodded. She came around and faced him, then lifted his chin with a few fingers. Her eyes roamed over his every feature, lingering especially around his nose, eyes and ears.
"Amazing," she breathed as she examined his ears. "Your ears are...oh, what is the word..."
He frowned. "Founder?"
She laughed softly. "I'm still getting used to this Solid's language. It's...complicated."
"That is true sometimes, yes," he murmured, bowing his head. He couldn't think of a better response, so he stayed still and silent as she lightly touched the ridges on his ears.
"Oh," she breathed, "the word means more than pretty or even beautiful...can you help me?"
He turned to her. "Of course. How so?"
"Name me words. More...strong than pretty or beautiful..." She stared at him expectantly, and he understood.
"Lovely?" he offered. She shook her head.
He thought for a moment. "Gorgeous? Superb? Splendid? Striking?"
"Closer, but stronger, please." She was grinning now, her eyes darting back and forth from his unwavering gaze to the object of their strange discussion.
"Stronger!" she said a little louder, her eyes dancing with delight.
"Yes!" she exclaimed, and her eyes lit up with joy. "Your ears are exquisite! Your skin is so...flawless, your eyes, your detail...she doesn't like this language you have, but I think its wonderful!"
He nearly wept to receive such high praise from a Founder, even for something so simple as his appearance. His eyes widened as her hand reached out and began to trace his features. Her finger glided down his nose and traced the outline of his nostrils, than it moved down to his lips and followed the edge of his pale lips. Her hand cupped his cheek and felt the smooth, purple tinted skin, then she gripped his ear and began to trace every ridge of it. Then on to his hairline, and then she buried her hand in his hair.
"Your skin is so...smooth is the word, yes?" He nodded, smiling at her. "And your hair..." She still had not dislodged her hand from his locks; she was still absorbed in feeling it.
"I like the feel of this," she murmured simply. "It is pleasing."
"I'm glad," he said sincerely, smiling widely in relief and happiness. Her smile widened in response, and she placed both hands on either side of his face. His smile faded, and she frowned.
"Your lips move up and I like it. Can I see it again, please?"
He was confused for a moment, then he realized what she was asking. He smiled, and her smile returned.
"Yes...there is a word for this," she said, touching his lips, "yes?"
He nodded. "It's called a smile."
"A smile," she repeated, her eyes glittering. "Yes, I like it...your eyes are more...attractive when you smile. They are more beautiful now."
His throat tightened as strong emotions overwhelmed him. This was so strange, but he had never been happier in all his days, listening to her discover and judge him. Her discovery was wondrous and her judgment positive. She took a step back and took in his features as a whole.
"Attractive...you are attractive."
He blushed furiously. "Thank you, Founder."
She leaned back in and stared deeply into his eyes, and he stood there frozen as she did so. "Your eyes and mine...they are the same."
"The same color, yes," he replied, unsure for a moment.
"Color...yes, the difference in the way light reflects off of objects. The eyes of the Solids then perceive the reflection as color..."
He grinned enthusiastically. "In essence, yes. You...didn't seem to have trouble reciting that."
She laughed. "I wanted to know what your strange markings were, so she taught me to read. I like it...I have learned much, but..."
She looked at him imploringly. "I learn much from reading, but you have taught me much as well. To touch and examine is not the same as to simply see. I want more than to see."
She touched his ears again, running her thumb along every pronounced ridge. "I cannot do this by reading. And your language...you speak it so well."
He blushed again. "It is how we are made."
She grinned. "I like how you were made. All things have names, so what is yours?"
He was about to answer when another figure strode out of the shadows and smiled at the young Changeling.
"I think you've been out here on your own long enough," the Female Founder chided gently. "Come, it's time for you to rest now."
But the younger Changeling simply ran up to the Founder and pointed at Weyoun. "Look at him...isn't he beautiful?"
The Founder smiled slightly. "He was made to attract the Solids, but he is none of your concern. You will realize this once you learn more."
The Changeling looked hurt. "If you say so."
She gave her a patronizing smile. "I know this may be confusing and frustrating for you. You've only been exposed to the world of the Solids for a few short weeks. But everything will make sense to you in the end. Now come."
The two walked away, and the younger Changeling looked longingly back at him. "Thank you," she called softly. "You really are exquisite."
Then the shadows swallowed her, and she was gone.