Chapter 8, part 2
Day 35, 2330 hours
Odo returned to his quarters, he looked to the left and saw Kira standing against the doorway to their bedroom, she was in her blue nightdress.
Kira looked sympathetic as she read the expression on Odo’s face. “Odo?” she said gently.
Odo though didn’t respond, there so were many conflicting desires and obligations in his head, he wasn’t sure how to respond. Slowly he entered the bedroom and sat down on the bed, Kira looked on hopelessly, she seemed unsure of herself, and she cautiously sat down next to Odo.
Finally Odo found the strength to explain to Kira about his problems. “I have a dilemma Nerys... If I leave DS9 and join the Great Link, I'll be helping my people. However, I'll be leaving you and the children, for how long I'm not sure. But if I stay, the urge to return to the Great Link will only increase, until it becomes... unbearable.”
Kira’s face became very taut, as she bottled in her emotional pain, she then averted her gaze from Odo. “Have you decided upon what to do?”
“No I haven't.” Odo turned to look at Kira, his expression was full of anguish and pain. “Please Nerys let me go to the Great Link, if you would just approve of my decision and not fight it, then it would be so much easier.”
All of a sudden Kira grabbed onto one of Odo’s hands, and she gazed steadily into Odo’s eyes. “Odo, if I could trust your people, I wouldn't have any problems with you joining the Great Link from time to time. But I don't trust them, I don't want you getting hurt! Your people have manipulated and abused you on more than one occasion.”
“I'll be fine! You worry to much!”
Despite Odo’s bravado, Kira didn’t look convinced, she let go of Odo’s hand. “What would your people gain by your return to the Great Link?”
“My knowledge of humanoids and my views on humanoids, I have to teach my people, to make them respect all sentient life forms.”
Kira looked aghast. “By giving to them all of your experiences and memories? What about our marriage Odo? Are you going to share to your people all of your intimate memories of me? Are you going to show them everything?”
Inwardly, Odo flinched at the disappointment and pain in Kira’s voice. “You don't understand, everything is shared in the Great Link, no shapeshifter keeps secrets to himself.”
“And that makes it alright?” said Kira indignantly. “What we have with our relationship is between you and me Odo, to share that with your people, would be improper. Why not share me with another man?”
Suddenly Odo stood up, he felt deeply angry by that remark. “It is not like that!” he said heatedly.
Kira jumped to her feet as well, her anger matching Odo's. “But it is!” she said fiercely. “That's the whole point of marriage, to share something which only we can share! It's a matter of privacy, I wouldn't want people prying and asking about the intimate things we do together! At the time when you returned to the Great Link I wasn't aware of this, but from the moment that shapeshifter spoke to you I realised he knew everything about our relationship eighteen years ago. If you go to the Great Link, they'll know everything about this marriage! It's a complete violation of the bond we have together!”
Odo wasn’t sure how to make his wife understand, without talking about his experiences in the Great Link. This was something he was not going to do in front of anyone, even Kira never asked him, because he would be telling her things about his people he would rather keep secret.
He grabbed Kira by the shoulders trying to force her to understand. “Listen to me Kira! I'll be sharing memories and feelings in the Great Link. That is what happens when two or more shapeshifters link with each other. You cannot understand it unless you are a shapeshifter.” Odo calmed down somewhat and he let go of Kira. “But to reassure you I'll hide all of my memories and intimate feelings of you when I'm in the Great Link.”
Despite Odo’s reassurance Kira still looked unconvinced. “But what stops the other shapeshifters from forcibly looking at those memories?”
Reluctantly Odo had no choice but to explain to her what had happened before in the Great Link. “I've never told you this... but the last time I went into the Great Link I showed my people nothing, absolutely nothing of the relationship I had with you! All they sensed was my love for you and that was all. You are wrong when you claim that the shapeshifter leader knows all the details of the relationship we had eighteen years ago, he knows absolutely nothing about this relationship!
“The same applies for all my people, they have had no idea and that's the way I intend to keep it. I wasn't going to share what I had with you to anyone, not even my own people and they understood that! They respected my wishes, and never pried into my memories of you!”
Tears built up in Kira’s eyes, she looked deeply touched by what Odo had said. “Do you really mean it, your people know nothing about our relationship?”
“Of course I did! I would never do anything to harm your feelings, or your privacy!”
“I deeply appreciate that, though I still think you shouldn't go to the Great Link.” She looked imploringly at Odo, as if begging him not to go. “Your people are desperate and they may try to manipulate you! They once tried to change you into a Founder on this very station, and for a time I nearly lost you! Besides have your people redeemed themselves? They still hold a contempt for solids, and they have exterminated thousands of Jem'Hadar!”
Odo walked a few paces, the issue with the extermination of the Jem'Hadar was the main problem with returning to the Great Link. He turned his back on Kira, as he tried to summon up the courage for what he had to say next. “I know and it seems unlikely that I could change my people's attitudes. But they have redeemed themselves somewhat, and they need my guidance, now more than ever!”
Kira swallowed, and her face became very rigid and determined, it was an obvious show of strength, to say the words which were so difficult to say. “Listen Odo, if you really want to rejoin the Great Link, I won't stop you, the children are old enough to understand why you are leaving them. But please take care, the Great Link isn't as secure as it once was...”
She paused, and walked up to Odo before hugging him firmly, she rested her head against his chest. “I don't want to lose you...”
Briefly Odo closed his eyes, for some reason Kira allowing him to return to the Great Link made him less eager to return to it. Slowly Odo was coming to a decision about what he should do. Right now he would have liked nothing better than to return Kira’s hug, and to hold her in his arms, but he still had some more thinking to do. “If you don’t mind, I’d like to be on my own, in the living room, I’ve got some thinking to do.”
Kira let go of Odo, her face was full of sadness. “Of course.”
Odo walked out of the bedroom, the door closed behind him and he proceeded to rest on the sofa. Over the next few minutes, he finally came to a decision, it was the best option in the short term…
Day 36, 0850 hours
It was close to the shapeshifter’s deadline and Odo was briskly walking towards the entrance to docking bay two. Taking a left turn at a T-shaped corridor, Odo spotted the shapeshifter waiting by the docking bay doors. As Odo approached, the shapeshifter saw him coming and walked towards Odo, the two came to a stop facing each other. “I presume you have decided to rejoin the Great Link?”
“No I'm staying here,” said Odo and he knew the shapeshifter was going to take this badly.
“But you are staying away from your home!” protested the shapeshifter.
“This is my home,” explained Odo. “Where my family stays I stay.”
There was an ugly look on the shapeshifter’s face. “It's your unrequited love for Kira isn't it?” he hissed. “And those wretched children of yours!”
“Leave Kira and my children out of this!” said Odo angrily.
“It's one thing to marry a solid, but to reproduce with it! It is simply...” The shape shifter paused while he tried to find an appropriate word. “Hideous!”
Odo could not believe how disgusted the shapeshifter looked, the shapeshifter’s reaction could be only have been caused by one thing: racism. “What I have with Kira far outweighs anything you could give me!”
The shapeshifter looked mightily aggrieved by Odo’s comment. “Is that so Odo? Believe in what you like, that is your decision, but know this: the urge to return to the Great Link will only grow. It has always been this way with shapeshifters, they need the company of fellow shapeshifters, as it is part of who we are. You may have deluded yourself into thinking that this doesn't apply to you, but it does Odo.”
Inwardly Odo agreed with the shapeshifter, though he would never openly admit it. “Being with my family is like being in the Great Link.”
“Then it is a poor substitute for the Great Link. I must leave now Odo... perhaps we will meet again.”
The shapeshifter turned away from Odo and entered the docking bay. The Jem’Hadar guards followed and when the docking bay doors had closed, Odo was on his own.
What really hurt Odo was not the shapeshifter condemning Odo’s family, but the cold disappointment in the shapeshifter’s voice at the very end of the conversation ‘Then it is a poor substitute for the Great Link.
Unfortunately the shapeshifter was absolutely right. The only way Odo could satisfy the urge of joining the Great Link was to do exactly that; to join it, since there were no half measures or compromises.
Odo could not understand why he felt so attached and attracted to Kira. She was a solid, physically she was completely different from Odo, and yet he loved Kira. He loved her personality, and everything about her. When she smiled at him, he felt so happy, and when Kira was sad it tore a hole in his heart. Of course there was the physical attraction, having sex with Kira gave him the same pleasure as having sex with a female changeling.
Kira had always been a friend, someone he deeply respected, and Odo had never fully understood the reasons why he loved her, but did that matter? However, Odo wondered why he constantly placed Kira’s interests above his; she wanted him to stay and he wanted to go the Great Link… Odo feared that he was staying with Kira and their children, not out of love but out of a sense of obligation…
One thing Odo was sure about was his responsibility to help his people. They were wavering in their commitment to keep the Dominion as a peaceful state, and in their believes that solids and changelings had an equal right to exist. To think seventeen years ago, Odo had left the Great Link absolutely certain about his people's future...