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The Founders cannot understand this and don’t want to. Attraction, mating—love—they might be vaguely aware that such things happen among Solids but they don’t seem to care, either to learn about it or to stamp it out. That’s a very good thing. Weyoun is unfailingly loyal to the Founders and he doesn’t want a choice forced upon him; he’s never particularly liked choices. Genetic programming, he’s always supposed; gods make choices and Vorta produce the results of those choices. But this choice has been all his – his and Eris’s, and it’s one of the few in any of his lives that the Founders have had no part in. It’s a part of his life that he’s happy to keep from them – imagine; him, happy to cut off even part of himself from his gods – but for the first time in all his lifetimes he has something to be afraid of, and that’s losing this precious thing between him and another Vorta. And the Founders don’t like fear in their servants. The Vorta have been bred to think, but not to think too hard.

He’s not the first Vorta to make this choice and he won’t be the last. His previous clone – Weyoun Three – scoffed at romantic love as the pointless distraction that it surely is, especially after he caught two sub-officers fumbling at each other in a lower corridor of the battlecruiser he served on. He could remember thinking, in that other life, that there was something a little sickening about the whole thing; the exchange of bodily fluids, the sweat, the unsanitary proximity of orifices.

Weyoun Four is never sure what the reason is for any of the changes in his personality from clone to clone, all he knows is that they’re real, and that he’s both the same man and a different man than his predecessors. And he knew, as he spent weeks and months with Eris aboard a hastily-constructed space station, administering the newly conquered Yaderans, that there was something different in him, because the more time he spent with Eris, the more the things that had nauseated his predecessor didn’t seem like such bad ideas.

At first they ate together – technically it’s breakfast, as the station is on Yaderan local time, though what does it matter? – because their shifts ended at the same time; because they’re both Fours of their respective lines; because their lines have been active roughly the same amount of time. They found that they liked each other, and then Weyoun found that he liked staring at her eyes.

Obviously he can’t tell if she’s beautiful or not, though he likes to think that she is. Once, he kissed a Karemman who said she liked his ears; the experience wasn’t particularly memorable or worthy of repetition. But the first time he and Eris kiss it’s all he wants to do; it drives thoughts of trade contracts and Jem’Hadar units and occupation timetables straight out of his mind and that’s when he knows, with a flash of insight, that the Founders have no idea what this is like. They would never allow it to continue; would program it out of the Vorta as surely as they’d programmed out aesthetics. And that was what it meant to be a god and Weyoun isn’t troubled by it, exactly, but nor does he want to give up this thing between him and Eris, which starts with a kiss in her quarters and Weyoun acting more confident than he felt, and becomes...more.

Eventually, of course, they were re-assigned, and he thought about asking her, the last night before they left, if this was over, the two of them in one bed; sweaty; mouths on each other’s and everywhere else and as close to becoming one being as two Vorta could get. In the end he didn’t. He kissed her shoulder and settled down next to her to sleep, and she twined one of her legs around one of his, and the next morning they dressed and went to their separate airlocks.

Vorta aren’t supposed to make choices, but Weyoun and Eris keep making this one, over and over and over. Coincidence brings them both to the same station for repairs, years later, and she finds him on his ship before he even knows she’s docked there. Now Eris’s back is to the bulkhead of an empty corridor as they kiss hungrily, making up for lost time, clothing whispering as they run their hands over each other’s bodies. Before any of his Jem’Hadar come upon them – he doesn’t know what they would think of this and doesn’t really care, but it still seems better not to let them see – she nips at his ear and whispers, “As exciting as the chance of discovery is, your quarters were what I had in mind.”

“Ah, you’ve planned this,” he chuckles, and at her sly answering smile, kisses her hard and swiftly before pulling away and straightening his uniform.

His quarters are three decks down and he only has two hours before he’s due at a debriefing on the station, and so talking can wait. When they’re apart – and they’re usually apart, after all – Weyoun is able to step back and wonder if this is the right thing to be doing. He doesn’t have any explanation for why one of his clones wants this and why another didn’t, and he’s thought more than once that the ardor would fade, for one of them, at least, if not both. When they’re together, though, he…loses perspective. Eris says once that her predecessors have never done this either, and he muses that it must be something Fours do, to which she replies that she doesn’t plan on giving it up when Eris Five is activated. Her tone is playful but there’s something very serious in her eyes.

He didn’t tell her he loves her then, but he does now as they move together on the hard, narrow bed, their uniforms discarded on the floor. There’s hardly any space; the bed is set into an alcove in the wall that doesn’t even provide enough room to sit up, so every movement must be controlled, careful; not that he can imagine making love to her any other way. She presses her face into his neck; her lips to his skin, and murmurs that she loves him too, and then his mouth finds hers and they don’t speak anymore. It’s been true for a long time, what they feel for each other, even if neither of them has ever said it. They are Vorta; they live only to serve the Founders, to devote every last bit of selfless adoration to them, but this is most definitely outside that credo.

They feel as though they’re breaking some rule that’s never been articulated and that’s why they’re quiet, biting back moans; winnowing them down to whimpers against each other’s pale skin. Her muffled gasps are loud to him, but then, he can hear her heart hammering, even over his own ragged breathing. None of it is loud enough to carry through the door or bulkheads.

If it’s wrong, he rationalizes in those infinite, blazing moments just before climax, then it’s because the Founders allow them to be wrong. They made male and female, after all; Vorta aren’t like Jem’Hadar; and maybe it’s just basic biological need – too basic to be engineered out.

Except when Eris clutches at him, shuddering, and hisses his name, he doesn’t think that there’s anything basic about this at all; that it’s blissfully complicated, and a blissful complication, in a life that’s supposed to be devoid of the latter. And for a few more minutes, their lives are their own – an odd feeling for a Vorta, but in this case a pleasant one, as the narrow bed keeps them pressed together, legs and arms tangled and the still-foreign tang of sex in the air.

Finally, he kisses her slowly and says, “I have to go. The Jem’Hadar need their white before my debriefing.”

She traces a finger down the line of his ear. “Duty does call,” she says, letting her hand linger on his face for another moment before she rolls out from beneath him. As they dress, she asks off-handedly, “Would you like to have dinner with me tonight? I managed to get some rippleberries on my last stop at Kurill Prime.”

The answer is easy, because he’s made this choice before, and part of him has a feeling that, lost perspective or not, he’s going to keep making it into his next lifetime, just like Eris. And so whether the Founders don’t know or don’t care, Weyoun is grateful to them for allowing their servants to have this. “Of course,” he replies. “You need a Vorta to share those with, after all.”

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