"Don't tell me you haven't unpacked yet," Dax teased.

Sisko gestured to the personal cargo containers still stacked neatly in the middle of the main living space of his quarters. "I've had so much free time," he teased back, his expression straight-faced.

She laughed. "I do see one or two that have been opened."

"Jake," he explained. "He's not real happy about sleeping on the floor so he raided the pods for everything that was his. I found him sleeping with his baseball glove again last night."

Dax helped herself to the only chair in the room. "Security blankets come in all sorts of forms."

"It's been years-"

"Ben. You're worrying about it. Don't. He'll adjust. He'll settle in. It might just take a little while." Her words carried the air of confidence that only came with experience.

"You're right," he conceded a moment later.

She grinned. "Of course I'm right. I have been a parent before, you know," she reminded him unnecessarily.

"Many times over."

"More or less," she replied, echoing words from their 'first' introduction.

A smile transformed his face. It wasn't going to be as difficult to become accustomed to this new host as he had feared. Already he felt comfortable in her presence. It seemed like a natural continuation of an easy and familiar comradery.

"How's his wrist?"

The smile faded. A sense of failure reared its ugly head. "Better. Dr. Bashir said it was only a mild sprain."

"That means he'll be back to catching before you know it."

He moved a cylindrical container to the deck and sank down on the rectangular one beneath it. His whole body slumped as he leaned forward, propped his elbows on his knees, and planted his chin in his hands. "I wish he'd told me earlier."

"Don't beat yourself up. Jake's not the only one who needs time to adjust. A lot has happened over the last couple of days," she pointed out, her tone serious.

"That has to be the biggest understatement of my life, Old Man."

That smile she so easily sported returned.

"Any word from the Chief?"

"He's repaired the fuel conduit on the Promenade and reinitialized the primary power flow."

He nodded in approval. "The airlocks?"

"All but four are done. One on the Docking Ring. Three on the lower pylons."

"The three science vessels?"

"Kira's cleared them for departure. We just received word two more are on their way."


"Tomorrow at twenty hundred."

He took in a deep breath and let it out slowly. At least the Frunalians were friendly and not prone to being problematic. He knew it was only likely to get busier. Explorers and exploiters alike would come in droves.

"You'll also be happy to know the temperature in Ops is no longer stuck at 32 degrees," she reported cheerfully. "And here I was just getting used to my workspace doubling as my own personal sauna."

"That makes one of us."

He rose from his makeshift seat and crossed to the replicator. "Two Raktajinos," he ordered.

It suddenly occurred to him that maybe Jadzia didn't like Klingon coffee as much as Curzon had. "You still like-"

"Do Trills have spots?" Yes, some things would be different between hosts. This was not one of those things.

He turned, each hand grasping a wide bottomed mug. "I can't guarantee how good it'll be. The replicator's only been up and running for the past hour."

She took the offered mug and proposed a toast. "To living dangerously."

"To being alive at all."

Simultaneously they took a sip. Ben immediately spit it back out. Jadzia forced it down with a grimace.

"Didn't you once say coffee would be the death of me?"

"I said blood wine would be the death of you."

She handed the mug back to him. "Close enough," she muttered.

"I suppose the airlocks aren't the only things that need work."

"What are the odds we get a decent meal out of the personal replicators any time in the next week?"

"You're assuming you can get a decent meal out of a replicator even when it's functioning well."

"You make a good point." It was then that a memory hit her. "Don't you owe me dinner?"

The inquiry caught him off-guard. He stopped and thought back to a time before Jadzia. To the last time he'd seen Curzon. To an offer he'd made in passing yet never had the opportunity to fulfill.

"Jambalaya," he confirmed, smiling.

"Don't think for a second I'm going to let you forget."

"Oh I have no doubt. It might be awhile-"

"I've waited this long-"

"You can wait a little longer," he finished for her.

She nodded. It was something they could both look forward to.

He took a moment to dispose of the replicator's failed experiments.

"I don't suppose you brought your chess board along," she ventured hopefully.

"Does Ben Sisko like baseball?"

Excitement radiated off the Science Officer. "Let's play a game!"


"Why not?"

"It's-" He gestured once again to his unpacked personal belongings.

"If you're not up to the challenge, just say so."

He pointed a finger at her, trying to maintain a stern glare. It didn't last for long. "I see how this is going to work," he declared.

Together, they unpacked.