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Home Again



***

It was only later that he realized that life had moved on, without him.

He entered the doorway of his home-- he was glad to see that Kasidy had built it. She was much the same as he remembered her, save a few wrinkles that hadn't been there before. She didn't notice him at first, continuing to talk to the young woman at the table. His daughter, he knew, at an instant, with dark colored skin, and smooth flat nose. They both turn, the younger woman looking confused, but the older woman looking gladdened-- and bewildered. Kasidy cries.

His daughter's name is Jadzia, and he approves, of her, and of the intricate earring that glitters across her profile.

***

Kasidy wraps her arm in his, while he sips on a rajktegino and showing him the house. She is savoring his touch, and he doesn't mind it. The little things are what remind him of how life was, before. Jadzia hangs back, not saying much. Here are the holophotos, important events he missed while he was 'away'. There are smiling faces-- Kira in a Starfleet uniform, captain's pips on her collar. Julian and Ezri, in wedding attire. Jadzia being confirmed by the Kai.

And the bookshelf, holding four very special novels by Jacob Sisko. He runs his hand across the spines, savoring the touch, before asking what his son has been doing.

The answer comes slowly, and faltering. They think it was suicide, but he left no note.

***

The setting sun is framed by the mountains of Kendra, and the light glistens off the stream out back. He sits on the bench, clasping a hard-bound book. It isn't open, a good thing, since tears cannot stain the leather like it can the page. After a while, the sun sets, and he runs out of tears. Kasidy comes out. She leans her head against his shoulder, simply being there.

She tells him that Jadzia is inside, cooking. She has the family talent, learned from his father during his last days, spent here, on Bajor. Kasidy tells him all about her, how she grew up here on Bajor, listening to stories of the Emissary. She doesn't say it in words, but he knows she means that his own daughter only sees him as a distant icon, someone mysterious but important, and far off. Later, they both stop talking, as the sky fades and the moons appear, in their intricate dances above.

The lights go on in the house, and Jadzia tells them that dinner is done. He can smell it, even all the way out here. Kasidy stands up, and goes inside, encouraging him to join them. He says he will, in a moment. Kasidy nods, and treks up the worn pathway, to the patio door, then steps inside. He can hear the sound of clanking dishes, and the rattling of a table being moved across the wooden floor. He lifts the leather cover to the book, Anslem, to read the first few pages.

'To my father, who is coming home. Soon.'

***



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