For those of you who aren't overly familiar with my stories, this is part of a longer series. It takes place during "Distractions," but can kind of stand on its own.
Thank you to everyone who reads this!
The Lady of Nua Breizh felt her chest constrict.
As she waited in the doorway at her brother's side, she saw him across the room. The Romulan officer was standing at the bar with what looked like his new superior. The other man was too busy debating with the Ferengi barkeep to notice anything else.
He had obviously seen her—he was staring intently at her, but she tried to ignore him. He was the last person she expected to see there. Indeed, she had never thought she would see him ever again.
Being around Romulans made her uneasy. Ever since her marriage to their ambassador had gone horribly wrong, she had difficulty trusting them. They were people like anyone else, she told herself each time she encountered them. But Tævek's bloody corpse still haunted her dreams.
And there stood Bochra, the subordinate of the person responsible for her husband's murder. By Romulan standards, that made him her enemy.
When he was a guest on her world, she was still so infuriated that she could barely stand the sight of him. So she did the prudent thing and avoided him all together. They said their goodbyes, and that was that. Yet now, five years later, their paths had crossed once more.
He asked her forgiveness for the second time before he left to go back to Romulus. Just as on the previous occasion, she had given it reluctantly. But as time passed, she managed to let go of her bitterness toward him. In any case, he had pointed out, he wasn't actually the one responsible for making her a widow.
Bochra realized that he was staring, so he looked away finally, pretending to listen to his leader argue with Quark.
The next thing she knew, Captain Sisko was holding the friendship cup expectantly to her. She accepted it gracefully, acting as though she had been paying attention the whole time. Sisko didn't look fooled. Being the last person in the line, she held onto it, noticing that there was still some wine left. The others dispersed and went to join the rest of the party. Except one stayed behind.
"Hello, Lady Allaire," said the Trill officer with a grin, "I'm Ezri Dax."
Guinevere smiled warmly and took her hand, "A pleasure, Lieutenant."
Though Dax asked her a several questions about Breton dancing, her eyes said there were other things she wished to know instead. Every so often, Guinevere would see Bochra glance in her direction out of the corner of her eye. He wanted to talk to her, but was clearly concerned that she would dismiss him if he tried.
"Well," said Dax, "I think I'll go try the dance now. It looks like a lot of fun." She held her hands behind her back and went to find a partner. Guinevere couldn't quite put her finger on it, but there was a way about her manner, which suggested that the Trill knew something she did not. She couldn't fathom what, and if the lieutenant didn't want to come right out and tell her, she had no interest in fishing for it.
But now she was alone. There was nothing for it, she surrendered. She had to speak to him; it was the just and honorable thing to do. He had saved her life, after all.
His back was turned to her as she approached. He shot back the remainder of his ale and set the glass down on the counter with a loud thud. Guinevere cleared her throat softly. When he turned around, he started, and quickly bowed. Apparently, he had not expected her to come over and strike up a conversation. Now that she was this close to him, she noticed the insignia on his collar. He had risen in rank.
"Commander Bochra," she greeted him cheerfully, "Congratulations on your promotion."
Bochra cheeks were still slightly flushed in surprise. "Thank you, Lady," he said, practically stammering. He quickly recovered his wits, however. "Lady?" he asked with his back to normal Romulan confidence.
It was then that she remembered that he had never learned her real name. He only knew her as Ǽselin. Had they been in a Romulan social setting, it would have been a bold request. For a soldier with few connections to ask a noblewoman such a question would have been an insult. But they weren't on Romulus anymore. And if she didn't tell him her name, he would undoubtedly learn it from someone else.
"Guinevere Allaire of Nua Breizh," she said unflinchingly.
The corners of his mouth turned up slightly. Romulans could be so arrogant. And yet, the way he looked at her made her heart flutter. It was not a condescending expression, but rather the look of one who was gratified with a reward he had worked long and hard to earn.
"I am very pleased that our paths have crossed again," he said respectfully, "And, though these are not perhaps the best of circumstances, your situation is certainly better than it was when we last met."
It was true enough. "That much is certain," Guinevere agreed. "Indeed, it is cold day in hell, non?"
"Pardon?" He tilted his head to the side.
"I mean your people have allied with the Federation," she clarified with a teasing smile.
Bochra raised an eyebrow slyly, amused that she had matched his audacity. "As have yours, my Lady," he returned.
"As I said, 'a cold day in hell,'" she repeated.
Bochra laughed with pleasure. He was clearly enjoying their conversation.
She took a drink from the goblet in her hand. "But," she continued, "better to be the allies of the Federation than the slaves of the Dominion. Do you not agree, Commander?" She offered him the cup, and met his handsome brown eyes.
He dashingly held her gaze as he accepted the offer, and thus officially sealed the rift. "Yes, my lady," he answered, draining the wine to the dregs. By this point, he was making no secret of the fact that he was trying to charm her.
Guinevere cursed herself. She realized that her control had slipped. To forgive and forget was one thing. She hadn't even seen it coming, but she had already passed a point of no return. His efforts to attract her were swiftly becoming successful.
Like a moth is drawn to a flame, she discovered that she was drawn to Bochra.