Kanar and Roses: A DS9 Love Story (Chapter 1)

Her name was Emmeline. Dr. Emmeline Maturin. “M” for short. She had arrived on the station from Earth six weeks ago to oversee the expansion of the infirmary to become a full service hospital combining Star Fleet and civilian care. Though originally put out by this, it didn’t take long for that insipid Dr. Bashir to start mooning after her… It was disgusting.

Yes, she was one of the more attractive human females he’d seen during his stay on DS9 for the treaty renegotiations. Even better, she was one of the most intelligent people he’d ever met, and made even the most boring committee tête-à-têtes worthwhile. An adept and strategic thinker, self-possessed and strong willed. With only four words she had excruciatingly shut him down in that first meeting six weeks ago when he had questioned Starfleet’s intentions regarding the civilian hospital.

She was magnificent.

Watching her now from his seat at the bar, he admired her ability to concentrate despite the usual cacophony of Quark’s. He was a bookworm himself, and pondered whether this shared interest might serve as an icebreaker. No one else on DS9, or anywhere he’d been lately, made him consider making the effort.

He had separated from his wife some time ago, and after waiting the mandatory three years their divorce was finally formalized under Cardassian law last year. Through all those years he had remained a “family man”, hoping deep down for reconciliation, especially because divorce would mean he had failed. But he had failed, long before his wife had left him. And though he no longer grieved for his lost marriage, nor missed his ex-wife, he was reticent about pursuing something new and risking another failure.

“Not you, too,” the bartender jibed, pouring him another glass of kanar.

“Just what is it you’re getting at, Ferengi?” Damar responded dully, turning back to the bar without looking at Quark.

“That you and every other male in here hasn’t taken their eyes off Dr. M since she got here tonight, including me!” Quark retorted. “If I thought any one of us had a chance with her, I’d start up a pool!”

Damar shot back the kanar, stood up and left the bar, taking care not to look at her on his way out.

Later that night their paths crossed briefly on the promenade; She was heading back to the hospital, he was responding to a disturbance involving two of his subordinates.

“Good evening, doctor,” he said formally, nodding the way humans do.

“Good evening,” she said, polite but easy. He was disappointed she had not said his name. He took it for a strategic jab on her part, a thought that made his heart race even faster. His palms were sweaty, unusual for a Cardassian, especially in DS9’s too-cool environment.

Her commanding presence, fierce blue eyes, and sardonic smile… Formidable. And not the least bit undone by the youthful spray of — what did humans call them? freckles? — across her nose and cheeks. He was undone by them, though. He had noticed the handful of darker ones during that first committee meeting when she’d shut him down. Passing closer to her now he noticed an entire constellation, like faint stars that only appear when you’ve been staring at the night sky for sometime without looking away. He was unable to look away now, and wished he were close enough to count them all.

She held his gaze for a drawn out moment, then dismissed him with a slow blink, turning away and heading in the opposite direction.

He watched until the hospital door closed behind her, then stood staring at the door. Then turned and continued along the promenade.

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