Laria and Tigranian lay on a blanket behind the guest cottage and stared up at the clear night sky. The smell of ripening kava and salam grass on the breeze was perfect. She pulled closer to him and rested her head on his chest.
“He’s out there, somewhere…” she said with concern in her voice.
“He is, but so are Annabeth, Katie, Alex, Phil, Tren…they can hold their own. When the Repulse gets here tomorrow, they’ll make sure we get back to them safely.”
She looked up into his eyes.
“Right now, there’s no place else in the galaxy than I’d rather be than right here. This would be everything I ever wanted, except for that Romulan petaQ!”
Tigranian raised his eyebrows.
“Very good. You’re pronunciation is getting much better.”
She smiled. “Thanks, I’ve been practicing.” Shen then turned somber again. “Why can’t we have just one perfect moment? Why does something else always have to ruin it?”
“Perfect moments are ones you make, L. They’ll always be a petaQ, or a family squabble, or something that gets in the way of being happy. Tomorrow, we may have to fight a disgraced Romulan for our lives, but tonight let’s just be here with each other.”
“I used to come lay down here all the time growing up. I dreamed of what it would be like to be on starship and visit every single one of those little specks of light. Now, all I want to do is stay here with you.”
“That’s kinda why I wanted to wait until we came to Gault: to give you another happy memory of this place.”
Now, it was Laria’s turn to raise her eyebrows.
“What do you mean?”
Tigranian reached down into his pocket and pulled out the little black box. He opened it and gently placed it front of her. Laria looked down in shock at the ring with the crest of the House of Torlek just a few centimeters from her nose.
“Marry me, Laria.”
She searched her mind, but couldn’t find the right words to say. Her silence started to worry Tigranian. So many things crossed her mind, but she only managed to utter one question.
“Is this how Klingons traditionally propose?”
“Usually there’s more raw animal parts and biting involved. I decided to skip that. Hope you’re not too insulted.”
His eyes started to show real concern.
“I love you with every fiber of my being, but how could I ever hope to be your wife? I’m a clumsy Bajoran girl from Gault who writes science papers when she’s at work and fetches cups of coffee when she’s at home. You need a real warrior, not someone who pretends to be one when she’s off-duty.”
At that statement, Tigranian sat up. He gently took her hand and placed it over her own heart.
“Do you feel that?”
“Of course I do, but…”
“I said, do you feel that?” he said more forcefully.
“Yes, Daniel, I have a pulse.”
“No, Laria, its more than just your heartbeat. It’s your nature: powerful, alive, and steady. You say you pretend to be a warrior?” he said still looking into her eyes. “I’ve seen plenty of people pretend to be things in my life, but when you fight, you’re not pretending. You’re letting your true self emerge. When you pick up a blade, you forget everything that people have told you that you can’t be and instead remember what…you…are.
Back in Rakantha, you were told you are of Bajor…but also something else. I know what that something else is now. If I didn’t, I wouldn’t ask you to embark on a journey with me that will bind us together in this life and into the next.”
“But what about Torlek? How will you convince your Klingon family to let me join your house? I don’t even speak Klingon!”
“I won’t need to convince them. I know they will soon see it as I have.”
“But what if they don’t?” she said still unsure of herself.
“No,” he said placing a hand on her face. “Don’t let doubt creep in! Look inside yourself, Laria, daughter of Amira. If you truly ask yourself what your heart wants and somehow still feel you shouldn’t be my wife, than I will put that ring away and never speak of it again. But if it tells you the truth, then I will stand with you against all who would oppose us. No one can oppose the beating of two Klingon hearts…even if they were born human and Bajoran.”
Laria managed to laugh before pausing to consider his words. She looked up at the sky and then back towards the farmhouse. Finally, she looked back at Tigranian and smiled. She reached down, plucked the ring from its box, and slid it onto her left hand.
“tlhIngan maH,” she said with tears forming in her eyes.
He smiled and gently placed his hands on the sides of her head.
They kissed under the stars.
* * * *
The next morning, Tigranian and Laria dropped their bags just on the other side of the gate.
Lanassa wrapped her arms around Tigranian, once again squeezing the breath from his body.
“I always asked the Prophets to give me a son as well. Now, they’ve finally answered my prayers.”
“Thank…you, Lanassa,” Tigranian said with a wheeze.
“Oh, Ga hane chat mes,” she said hugging Laria next. “Yis kezza shad les lave.”
“I love you too, Mama.”
“You be careful,” she said sternly to Laria. Lanassa then turned to Tigranian. “Please make sure she eats, she’s getting so skinny.” He chuckled.
“I’ll do what I can, Ma’am.”
Jion walked up to his daughter and hugged her.
“Goodbye, Daddy,” she said with a smile.
“I am so proud of you, Laria.”
She leaned back from his embrace and looked at him with surprise.
“No, Laria-ga-ne?” she asked. Jion pointed to his heart.
“You will always be Laria-ga-ne in here, but someone finally helped me realize what an amazing young woman you’ve grown into.”
Laria looked over to Tigranian. He flashed her a feigned look of ignorance and shrugged his shoulders. She looked back to her grinning father.
Laria hugged him again and smiled.
“Yis kezza shad les lave, Dade’”
“Yis kezza shad les lave, Laria.”
“Now you,” he said turning to Tigranian. “When you two are planning that wedding, just remember that Gault can be beautiful in the spring time.”
“Actually, Jion,” Tigranian said taking a step towards him. He looked over to Laria who nodded. “We were thinking about Bajor. We found this beautiful little temple in Rakantha and a very friendly vedek we’ve grown rather fond of…”
Jion stood there for a second in amazement. Then Tigranian leaned forward and hugged him.
“Don’t do anything stupid,” Jion said happily. “You’re a part of this family now, which means you answer to me.”
“I think things are gonna work out just fine…” Tigranian said stepping back over to their bags. Laria walked up next to him.
“Have a good trip,” Lanassa said wrapping an arm around her husband.
“Call us when you get there!” Jion said to Laria.
Laria resisted the urge to roll her eyes again.
“I will, Dad.”
Tigranian reached into his pocket and tapped his comm badge.
“Tigranian to Elbe, two to beam up.” The runabout’s computer acknowledged his message and they disappeared.