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18. Footprints

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"Wait, wait, explain it to me one more time." Quark folded his hands on the table, where he'd rudely butted in on Kira and Odo's private space. "You were pregnant during the fabric counterfeiting debacle?"

Odo couldn't hide his smile. He'd already explained how it happened. Now, he enjoyed watching the wheels in the Ferengi's head turn. "I was actually in labor during the sting operation."

Quark's gaze flitted to Kira.

"He was," she added. "He had Kejal two hours later."

"Well! That explains the mood swings." Quark scoffed. "One minute you were almost chipper. The next, you bit my head off."

"Your skull is too thick to chew on." Odo remarked off-handedly.

Kira almost spat out her springwine.

Quark snickered, tapping his fingers on the table just loud enough to annoy Odo. The years wrinkled his skin, but his wit remained sharp as ever. "Good, I rather like my skull the way it is. Anyway, I like Kejal a lot more than I like you. He actually knows how to have fun. Even if it did mean disrupting my business...now look at him. The ladies love him."

Odo watched Kejal lean on the dabo table directly below him and wink at the two dabo girls he was hanging around with earlier. The blonde leaned against his shoulder. The brunette kept giggling and accepting his chips. Across the table, Kirayoshi placed his bets. They got along great.

"Heh, Kejal was blessed with all the charm I never had."

"You can say that again." Quark snorted. He broke into a sharp-toothed grin. "It's not the same without you, Odo."

Kira placed her hand in Odo's.

"I know, but I'm not staying." Odo said solemnly. "But don't think you can get away with anything. Malath is an excellent security chief."

Quark rolled his eyes. "Tch, yeah. He's as annoying as you were."

"Good! Now be a proper bartender and bring us both some champagne."

"You drink now?"

"I can, yes." Odo glanced at Kira.

"His appearance isn't the only thing that's changed." Kira leaned her shoulder against Odo's. He felt his substance tremble at her touch.

The lecherous grin Quark flashed on his way to get their drinks made Odo roll his eyes.

"He is still a pest," Odo grumbled.

Kira patted his forearm. "But he runs a good bar and holosuite. It's been years since he's caused any real trouble. Malath keeps him in line."

Quark returned with their requested beverages. He rubbed his hands together after delivering them.

"Well, you two, enjoy your reception. I hope the marriage lasts longer than the pining." He looked pointedly at Odo.

"Hmph!" Odo raised his glass. "Nerys, here's to us."

"And here's to marriage." Kira tapped her glass against Odo's.

"Great...now, don't hesitate to look me up if you need frictionless sheets."

Kira gasped and shot Quark a death glare.

"Quark!" Odo snarled.

Quark smiled again and beat a hasty retreat to hop behind his bar once more. He moved quick for an old Ferengi.

"Ugh, same old Quark." Odo sipped generously from his champagne glass. He swallowed and let the vacuole settle in his chest. His eyes drifted shut. The champagne bubbles tickled almost unbearably. Memories of thirty years ago drifted through his mind.

Kira laid her head on his shoulder. "What are you doing?"

"Oh." Odo set his glass down and took her hand. "I suppose I'm remembering how it felt to carry Kejal in my chest. Even now, I sometimes miss it."

She smiled softly. The lighting above the table complimented the auburn of her hair. "Are you capable of having more children?"

"It's...complicated. I could, yes, but I don't want to. It wouldn't be the same." Odo rubbed his thumb across her bumpy knuckles. "My people don't reproduce sexually. But if a Changeling is ill or otherwise dying, they can allow themselves to be absorbed by another willing, healthy Changeling. They gestate for anywhere from a week to a month and are born again as an infant, healthy, and with all their previous knowledge. All they have to do is grow up again.

"As it turns out, the Hundred-- me included-- had their memories wiped immediately after birth, but the records are incomplete. I can't tell you why or how. Sometimes I wonder who I was before."

Kira's eyes softened when she focused on his face. "Maybe you were like Kejal."

Odo chuckled, kissing her forehead. "Who knows?"

"Dabo!" Kejal shouted below. "Hey, mother, mom, I'm on fire here!"

Kira raised her glass to him. "Don't burn yourself out too fast!"

Odo peered over the railing. Kejal had a sizeable pile of gold pressed latinum.

"Sometimes, it feels like he's ours," said Kira.

"That was my initial thought, too. In a way, he is ours. You took part in shaping him. Just as Doctor Mora and I did." Odo lowered his gaze. The pain of loss stung like a hot ember. "He would have enjoyed Kejal's stunt on the bar."

Kira squeezed his hand. "He watched from the Celestial Temple."

"I...hope so." Odo said it more for her sake than his. The subject at hand dug at his rawest wounds. He changed the topic by leaning in and whispering in her ear, "You know, Nerys...we never did have a proper wedding night."

He loved how her cheeks colored. "Is that a hint, Odo?"

The kiss he gave her erased all doubt.

Together, hand in hand, they threaded their way downstairs, left Quark's bar and stepped into the nearest turbolift.

Odo felt a sense of anticipation and dread when the turbolift started moving. Tomorrow morning, he'd be separated from Kira once again. Maybe for a long time.

Maybe years.

Maybe decades.

Thirty years changed nothing between us...a dozen more won't change anything either.

He let his eyes follow a lock of hair that brushed Kira's throat. Her pulse throbbed just below her jaw. Unable to stop himself, he leaned over and slowly kissed along the curve of her neck.

I am hers, and she is mine...the distance doesn't matter anymore.

"Odo..." Kira's breathing deepened. She groaned as he nibbled the shell of her ear. He placed his hands on her shoulders and literally let the substance of his fingers trickle down her skin. Goosebumps broke out all over her flesh. Her nipples hardened when he caressed them secretly under her dress.

They had to stop when they reached the level of Kira's quarters. A cadet entered the turbolift they were leaving. Their hands remained interlocked. To Odo's amusement, it took forever for Kira's shaky fingers to punch in her key code.

There was a swish and a hiss, and the doors opened. The sand mandala Kira brought to the station reflected images of them kissing deeply.

"Let's take our time," whispered Odo. "Let tonight last forever. Let tomorrow never come."

"I'm in no hurry, but you seem to be." Kira grinned, nipping his earlobe. In his ear, she cooed, "Let me take care of you. Then we'll go slow."

Nodding once, Odo somehow made it to the bed. She straddled his waist in her sparkling wedding gown. The kisses she gave him were...he could only describe them as predatory. Exactly the sort that excited him the most. She loosened his bow tie, unbuttoned his shirt collar and exhaled hot air across his jaw.

Odo found himself completely helpless in her arms. Kira kissed his mouth, winked and scooted back.

"I've always wanted to try this with you."

She unclasped his tuxedo slacks. He felt everything. Her fingertips, the vibration of the zipper going down and his shirt being moved up.

Then her mouth was on him, and he lost all ability to speak. He tried to stay solid, to make it last, but the sensations overpowered him within thirty seconds. So wet, slippery and warm. Rushing in and retreating like ocean tides. His sharp cry of release came at the same moment he melted into liquid on her mattress.

He remembered the champagne he drank too late. It escaped through the point of contact.

Nearly a minute passed before Odo remembered how to regain his form.

"Nerys, I'm...I'm sorry. I didn't mean to-- "

"Hush. I liked it." Kira placed a finger on his lips. There wasn't a drop on her. She grinned at him. "Let me get out of this dress."

Odo shape shifted his clothing away. When Kira walked towards her storage closet, he slipped behind her, gently kissing her skin as she exposed it. He helped her hang up the gold lace jacket and the simple red satin gown that went underneath.

"Are you wearing perfume?" Odo rumbled in her ear.

"Mmhmm...can you smell it?"

"No, I was wondering. What is the scent?"

"It's called After Dark." Kira showed him the blue triangular bottle. "I think it smells a little like champagne mixed into lavender incense."

"I remember the scents. You had me keep a bowl of lavender oil by my bed when I complained that I couldn't sleep as a humanoid. It did work, by the way."

She chuckled, deepening the fine lines around her eyes. Her hands worked quickly to undo her strapless pink bra and slid off her seamless jockey style underwear. Afterward, she used some sort of cloth that wiped the makeup off her face without water.

Odo unclasped the golden barrette holding her braid together. He trailed his fingers through her hair, relishing its softness as it slid between them. When down, her hair fell to her waist in auburn waves. Here and there, a few gray strands expressed her age. He could tell she kept it meticulously trimmed.

"I'm going to cut it short again," she mused.

"Why? It's beautiful like this. I remember...you had long hair when we first met."

Kira's eyes welled up. She caught Odo's hand, squeezing it.

"I cut it right after the Occupation ended. I started growing it again after you left. My hair was always long when you weren't part of my life." She took a pair of shiny silver shears out of a drawer and hastily gathered her hair in a low ponytail. "Odo, I want you to cut my hair."

Odo knew he'd find her beautiful no matter the length or color of her hair.

The shears were cold in his hand. He grasped Kira's ponytail, positioned the shears just above the rubber band and squeezed. In three snips, the ponytail fell to the floor like a discarded garment. Her remaining hair swung free around the nape of her neck.

Kira's shoulders relaxed. She let out the breath Odo didn't know she'd been holding. Two tears dripped down her cheekbones. She turned and embraced him tightly, causing him to drop the shears on the pile of her hair.

"You're the love of my life," Kira sniffed. "If I never see you again after tonight..."

"You will, Nerys." Odo kissed the tears off her face. "I promise, we will see each other. Now that I know it's still possible. Somehow. I will find a way."

They kept embracing, their foreheads touching.

Her lips quivered. "I'll wait as long as it takes. Just promise me you'll leave before I wake up tomorrow."

"Why?"

She swallowed hard, fighting for control of her emotions.

"Because it's the only way I'll be able to let you go again. Please, Odo..."

Odo nodded, reluctant. "All right." He pressed his lips to her brow. Anything to make it easier for her.

At his kiss, she broke down and sobbed into his chest.

This time, she didn't cry alone.

Odo led Kira back to the bed. Without a word, he surrounded her in his substance as they exchanged desperate kisses. There was no way to determine where her body ended and his began. They loved as a single being. Every breath came in unison. At the point of climax, they held each others' gaze. Afterward, they laid together to enjoy the afterglow.

"Do you remember what you did the night we first made love?" asked Kira.

"Mmhmm."

She kissed in his ear, "Let me see that again."

Odo happily obliged. He felt his form growing lighter as he became a glowing mist. Kira's fingers reached through him. She was breathing him in and exhaling him out. He settled on her skin like dew. She caressed herself-- and him.

"You're so beautiful, Odo," Kira gasped.

He reformed beside her. "So are you, Nerys."

They made love again. Slowly. Anything to delay the inevitable.

For the next round, he remained in his liquid state. He wanted to make up for all the times he wasn't around. For all the times he wouldn't be around.

Their lovemaking lasted until the wee hours. Kira fought sleep with all her might. But, eventually, after a whispered 'I love you,' Odo heard her soft snoring.

He didn't know how long he laid there, holding her in his arms. He'd memorized every aspect of her body long ago, yet there, in the silence, he did it again. The softness inside her thighs, the swell of her breasts, the curve created by her neck and the lines around her lips. He committed them all to the deepest corners in his mind.

Kira's clock struck oh-three-hundred. Odo knew he had to go.

He kissed his beloved wife deeply on the lips before he liquefied, oozed to the floor and reformed fully clothed in brown Bajoran travel attire.

Kira mumbled his name in her sleep. Her hand pawed at the space he recently occupied.

Odo padded to Kira's discarded ponytail. He quickly braided it, rolled it up into a ball and slipped it into a pocket he formed in his trousers. She'd want him to take it.

The sand mandala reflected Odo's image when he knelt at Kira's bedside and kissed her goodbye.

"I love you, Nerys. I've always loved you."

Then he left her there, alone. He walked quickly down the corridor without looking back for fear of hearing her cry, but he wasn't fast enough to escape his own tears. Two swipes of his hands wiped them off before he reached the Promenade.

Kejal sat against the door of Quark's closed bar. His face was covered in lipstick marks. He looked up, winked an eye shut and grinned.

Odo's sadness melted into uncontrollable laughter. He covered his mouth to muffle the noise. "What happened to you?"

"I paid women to kiss me." Kejal said proudly. "Malath didn't believe it'd work, so I proved him wrong. He threw me in a holding cell because he was mad about losing the bet. I sang Klingon operas until he kicked me out again, heh-heh! I bought him a drink to make it up to him. Oh! By the way, this one-- " he gestured to a dark red mark on his forehead-- "is from Chalan Aroya. I told her all about father. She said to send you her condolences."

He went on to point out and name the owner of each consecutive lipstick print.

Only you, Kejal... Odo thought with affection. He offered his hand.

Kejal accepted, letting Odo help him up. His face scrunched when Odo turned his fist into a cleaning cloth and wiped the lipstick off his skin.

"I miss father here more than at his home. His home is full of happy memories...but not this station. Does that seem strange, mother?"

Odo hugged Kejal to his chest. "No. I miss him here, too."

Through the corner of his eye, he thought he saw Doctor Mora step into the nearby turbolift. The image vanished when he blinked.

"Come on. I want to make sure the shuttlecraft is refueled."

"You're in a hurry." Kejal snorted.

"Nerys asked me to leave before she woke up." Odo replied.

"Yeah. Her room. You take care of the shuttle. I'm going to wait and say goodbye to her."

Odo rolled his eyes, but he knew this meant a lot to Kejal. Decades could pass before they came this way again.

"All right, Kejal. She should be up in about two hours. I'm going to regenerate in the shuttle. Don't fool around."

"I won't. I think I sang myself out at the bar." Kejal smiled impishly. "I'll see you in awhile."

Nodding once, Odo took the tuborlift next to Quark's bar. Kejal climbed the stairs to the second level of the Promenade and shape shifted into a potted spiny basil plant.

Odo slipped Kira's lock of hair into Kejal's travel bag. Then he liquefied beside it. This regeneration period ended up being the most peaceful he'd had in months.

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Nobody paid attention to the spiny basil plant liquefying and oozing into the nearest air vent. Then again, not many people looked down at their feet early in the morning.

Kejal found Kira's office through trial and error. She ended up walking in while he was playfully spinning around in her huge chair.

"What in the-- Kejal?"

"Whoops!" Kejal stomped his foot to stop the spinning. "I came to say goodbye before mother and I left the station." He cocked his head. "You cut your hair."

She touched her hair, which she'd styled much like she had in the one old photo Odo had of her. "Yeah."

"But don't worry, it looks nice. Really." Kejal stood and walked past her desk. He gathered her in a strong hug. "I'm so glad I got to know you."

Kira sniffed, but somehow didn't burst into tears. She rested her head on his shoulder. "The feeling's mutual."

"But the goodbyes are hard, aren't they?" Kejal whispered, rubbing her back.

"Yup." She wiped her eyes and held onto his shoulders. How did she find such strength? "But you better go. A Romulan freighter is supposed to dock in an hour, and somehow I have to keep them away from the Klingons again."

"This job keeps you busy."

Nodding, she swallowed all her tears and straightened. "It does, but I wouldn't change anything about it."

"Good. Don't." Kejal chuckled. "Besides, it must annoy the Cardassians."

"Definitely!" Kira joined his amusement. She shook her head, sighed and cupped his face in her palms. "Sometimes, I feel like you belong to Odo and I."

Kejal's eyes softened. He grasped her wrists. "In a way, I do."

She kissed his forehead. "You should get going."

He hugged her again. "Take care, mom. I love you."

Her hands squeezed his forearms. "I love you too, son."

Elated, Kejal turned and exited her office.

Exactly four hours from that moment, Odo and Kejal sat together in a tiny two-seater science shuttle. On the viewscreen, the billowing structure of Kejal's nebula spread out before them.

Odo brought the ship as close as he safely could to the dark area of increased molecular density.

"Ready?" Odo asked.

Kejal handed him the rectangular box. "Ready."

Odo took out the braid. Kejal watched him gingerly lay it down on the transporter pad. As he did, the last words from Mora's final treatise echoed in his mind.

"What is life? What makes us alive? What makes our genes tick? What force animates us? I don't have that answer.

"What I do know, however, is life itself is about learning. Through our experiences, we grow, and through growth we acquire even more knowledge."


Kejal leaned on Odo's back. "This is a great thing you're doing, mother. Something only a scientist can appreciate."

Odo smiled over his shoulder. "I know."

"Our lives are a journey, and the path we take isn't always certain, but by applying what we've learned and experienced, we have the ability to create our own destination regardless of the terrain we face...and no matter where we walk, we leave footprints behind."

"It was your idea. You should do the honors." Kejal stroked the braid. Emotion swept over him. "He would want you to do it."

"From stardust we came, and to stardust I return you." Odo whispered under his breath, "Goodbye, Doctor Mora. No, goodbye...father."

To the computer, he said, "Energize."

"When I look back at my own path, I feel proud. Yes, there are parts I wish I could change, but overall I'm proud of what I have achieved in my lifetime."

Mora's braid disappeared in a white shimmer. The panel behind the transport pad lit up to confirm its safe arrival at its destination.

"I have two fantastic sons. We are not biologically related, yet they mean as much to me as my own flesh and blood. Watching them grow and learn has been the most rewarding experience of my lifetime."

Odo looked up at the viewscreen. His blue eyes gleamed. He wrapped his arm around Kejal's shoulders and pulled him close. Kejal welcomed the comforting half-hug.

"Let's wave to him." He said, raising his hand.

Smiling, Odo did the same. "That felt like goodbye."

"Their names are Odo and Kejal, and they are my footprints."

Onscreen, the dark section of the nebula churned like a Changeling taking shape.

"Let's go home," whispered Kejal.

Odo sat down and set in the course. Kejal glanced at the nebula on the viewscreen as the shuttlecraft pulled away. Seeing it sent a delightful shiver down his back, though he wasn't sure why.

I'm just tired. It's been a long night...oh wait, it's technically morning.

Kejal puffed out his cheeks and rubbed his eyes. "I'm going to regenerate. Will you be okay, mother?"

"Mmhmm."

The slosh of a Changeling liquefying filled the cabin. Only a tiny fraction of him remained conscious. Enough to sense Odo setting the ship on autopilot and leaning back in his chair.

During the next two hours, Odo slept. He did that a lot now-- just relaxing and going to sleep in his humanoid form. Except, this time, he mumbled Mora's name. Twice.

Kejal reassumed humanoid form. He watched his mother's hands twitch as though grasping someone's clothes. Odo's simulated breathing accelerated. He behaved in an extremely perturbed manner.

Then, suddenly, he startled awake, wide-eyed and gasping.

"Are you okay?" Kejal asked.

Odo groaned, shifting in his seat. "I'm fine. I...just a dream. I'm fine, Kejal."

"What was it about?"

A beep from the computer prompted Odo to make a minor course adjustment.

"I saw Doctor Mora in my dream." Odo replied. He shook his head and folded his arms.

Kejal gasped and leaned into his mother's personal space. "Mom says dreams of people who died are their way of visiting you. What did he look like? Do you remember?"

Something haunted flashed through Odo's blue eyes.

"He, um, he looked exactly like his wedding hologram. He had the blond braid...he looked younger than he was when I first encountered him."

Odo's description made Kejal long for the ability to sleep and dream. He curled up in his mother's lap, laying his head upon his shoulder.

"Tell me more."

"There isn't much to tell, Kejal." Odo encircled Kejal in his arms. "We were standing in a place of foggy white light, I suppose, and he was wearing white clothing. He hugged me, much like I'm holding you. His arms were strong again. He looked completely healthy, Kejal..."

More emotion washed over Kejal. His inner substance churned with the desire to hug his father again, and it hurt that he couldn't.

"Did he say anything?"

"Hm. Just some nonsense about seeing us in about eleven billion years. Dreams are often ridiculous and defy logic, so it didn't surprise me."

Kejal chuckled. "Mother, I think he's trying to tell you what you refuse to see. He's okay. He really is okay."

Odo kissed Kejal's hairline. "I admire your faith. Nerys once said faith is a journey."

"It is. Sometimes it happens overnight, and sometimes it takes a lifetime." Kejal met Odo's eyes. "Transporting father's braid into the nebula is just like the deka tree seed. You hope a star will form there, don't you?"

"I do. And I hope we're both still alive to see that star when it shines."

"We will be. I hope it has planets. Planets with people to watch that sun rise and set every single day."

Kejal felt Odo's mouth stretch in a smile against his forehead. "Oh, Kejal, you're such a dreamer."

"So are you. Don't pretend you aren't. I've seen parts of your mind that nobody else ever will." He touched his mother's chest. The very spot he was born from. "I saw all your hopes and dreams for me as I left your body. And they came true."

Odo squeezed Kejal's shoulder. "I know. I watched the holo-videos Doctor Mora left in his desk. He loved you with all he had, Kejal. Same as me."

Kejal focused on Odo's eyes. They carried a sadness in them that never entirely disappeared.

"He loved you that way, too, mother, but he didn't realize it until you left the lab. Do you remember the day he was talking nonsense about events from years ago?"

"I do."

Sitting up, Kejal went on. "One of those bad spells took him back to the day you left. He was crying. He said we had to find you before the Cardassians did. He said you were terrified of thunder. He said he needed to tell you he was sorry."

"I was able to say what needed to be said. You walked in right after we finished the conversation, actually. The night he died..."

"I know, and I'm glad." Kejal smiled and poked Odo's cheek. "So, are you going to let me fly this ship?"

Odo snorted and gestured at the controls. "Go ahead, but get in your own chair first. You're heavy."

Laughing, Kejal moved to his seat and took the ship off autopilot. It wasn't long before the viewscreen showed a familiar brown world circling its central red dwarf.

"By the way, in my dream..." Odo spoke without taking his eyes off the viewscreen, "Doctor Mora showed me his wife and son. Olan looks just like him. Then he said something about life being love and love is something else, but my memory of the dream is fuzzy after that."

"And that's not enough to prove there's more?"

"Can we drop the subject?"

"Tch, you're so stubborn! Here, you fly this thing." Kejal got up and paced circles around the cabin. Now that he could see his homeworld, he was impatient to get back into the Great Link and share his experiences.

The lack of space in the shuttle meant he stepped on the transporter pad with each pass.

"Doctor Mora said the same thing." Odo remarked. He slid his hand across the control panel.

When Kejal stepped on the warp pad again, everything glimmered. Suddenly, he stood alone beneath a cloudy reddish-brown sky.

"Mother!" Kejal shook his fist playfully at the sky.

Odo shimmered into view holding the travel bag. He grinned. "You forgot your bag."

"Hey, you beamed me without warning."

"My hand slipped."

"Tch." Kejal elbowed Odo's side. "What about the shuttle?"

"It's pre-programmed to return to Bajor if we don't beam back aboard within the hour, but I suspect it'll run out of fuel and end up adrift before it reaches the wormhole."

Kejal nodded once and looked out over the golden ocean. The pull of the Great Link gnawed at his mind like the chords of a song he couldn't stop thinking about.

"It's nice to be home. Hey, Vokau!" He ran up to the blob coming ashore and hugged it before it fully formed into Vokau.

She shot him a look without discouraging the embrace. "Welcome home, Kejal. Did Mora Pol die well?"

The point blank question made him flinch.

"Yes."

"I'm..." Vokau hesitated, searching for the right words, "sorry, Kejal. Is there anything I can do?"

Her gray eyes didn't quite reflect her emotions, yet Kejal picked them up in her quiet voice.

"Well..." Kejal stepped back and extended his hand. "Here."

Vokau grasped his wrist. He bowed his head and let his arm liquefy. The chemical receptors in his morphogenic matrix let him pass his entire two month experience to her in just a few seconds.

"Oh...I see." Vokau didn't let go of his hand after their arms re-solidified. She stepped forward, awkwardly reached up and embraced Kejal. He grinned at seeing her learn. "Am I doing this properly?"

"You bet." Kejal gave her a gentle squeeze. "See? Their expressions of affection aren't so horrible, are they?"

"No, they aren't." Vokau turned to Odo. "Odo, welcome home."

Odo smiled a little. "Thank you. Any trouble in our absence?"

"None," she replied. Then she faced Kejal again, her expression as close to curious as it ever got. "What is this Celestial Temple you mentioned a moment ago?"

"You want to see what I believe in? I'll show you." Kejal grasped Vokau's hand and liquefied his palm. Her gray eyes widened before their hands congealed again.

And for the first time, she smiled.

"Oh, Kejal," Vokau squeezed his hand tightly. "The Bajoran faith sounds like a wonderful thing, but I'm not sure I understand it."

"I'll teach anyone who wants to listen." Kejal grinned. "Mother? Shall w-- mother?"

"I'm here." Odo reappeared through the hidden trap door beneath the island rocks. "I put your bag in the vault below."

"Ah." Kejal looked up at the cloudy red sky. Dim rays of sunlight occasionally broke through. He'd been through such an experience in seeing the end of his father's life, yet here, at home, almost nothing had changed.

Life went on.

Vokau oozed back into the ocean of Changelings without another word. The surrounding golden fluid rippled and lapped against Kejal's boots, beckoning.

"They're waiting for us, mother."

Odo joined Kejal at the island's edge. "Let's go home and tell them about Doctor Mora."

"And you get to tell them all about married life."

"Hmph!"

Odo extended his hand. Kejal interlocked their fingers. He smiled, his brown eyes gleaming.

Together, the two wayward drops became an ocean.

And time marched onward...

Chapter End Notes:
**Chapter soundtrack**

Kira's Hair: https://app.box.com/s/1ddfbnwyzjghkytlw3uy

Leave Before I Wake: https://app.box.com/s/57y4a7ip1qi7e5f1a9ql

A Scientist's Goodbye: https://app.box.com/s/ivkhanreax27s08poigf

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