Fandom: Doctor Who/Star Trek: Deep Space 9
Pairing/characters: Fifth Doctor, Ezri Dax, mentions of Five/Turlough, Five/Sarah Jane Smith, Five/Turlough/Sarah Jane and Jadzia Dax/Worf
Disclaimer: None of the characters in this fic belong to me, they are merely borrowed for the duration.
Prompt: 778. Crossover, Doctor Who/Star Trek: DS9, any Time Lord and any Trill symbiont carrier discuss their regenerations; this inevitably leads talking about sexuality/past relationships among other things.
Summary: Two old friends. Dinner at Quark's.
Author's Notes: (if any) Yes, I know Five, Sarah and Turlough never travelled together in canon but I'm sort of stuck on this combination at the moment. The title comes from At the Grand Hotel/Table with a View from the musical Grand Hotel, which was running through my head as I wrote this. It's not particularly relevant otherwise. Written for lgbtfest. Betaed by snowishness with help from mjules.
People not familiar with Deep Space 9 in general and Quark's in particular, seeing them from a distance, might be excused for assuming that the young human couple sitting at a table for two on the balcony were a couple, human or for that matter, young. Once one got closer, one noticed the distinctive speckling around the neck area that signified the woman was a Trill and a science officer. This then was Ezri Dax, the latest host of the Dax symbiont. The man was harder to quantify as there were no obvious physical signs that gave away his race, and he was dressed in a manner that would only be recognised by a historian of the sport as a cricket outfit. And yet, he had greeted Ezri Dax as though they were old friends, referring casually to previous hosts as if he had known them well.
"Friend of yours?" Quark inquired of Ezri as he served them their meals. He would normally have left this to one of his employees, but he was curious. "Didn't you spend last night in the holosuite with Captain Sisko?"
"I did. Man's a demon batsman," the blond human replied easily. He'd mixed his baseball and his cricket terms, but it wasn't as though Quark would know the difference. "He hit a line drive in the fourth inning..."
"If you don't mind, Quark, this is a private conversation," Ezri interrupted before her friend had a chance to go into a detailed play-by-play of the game.
Quark glared at her. He might have expected such sharpness from Jadzia, but Ezri had seemed softer, somehow. "Just making polite conversation."
"Well, make it elsewhere. Don't you have an establishment to run?" Ezri turned away from him pointedly. "I'm glad you stopped by. It's been a while, Doctor."
The Doctor waved the Ferengi away dismissively, and Quark finally left. "It has been," he said emphatically. "Not since your wedding."
Ezri winced and changed the subject. That was a sore spot at the moment. "I like the new face. A little young, but..."
"You're one to talk," the Doctor said with a twinkle in his eye. "Sarah claims I look about nine, but if that's so, you look about eight. Thank you, by the way, for having Jake give her and Turlough a tour of the station. It might keep them out of trouble for a little while."
"I've never known anything to keep your companions out of trouble long, Doctor," Ezri replied as she took a forkful of pasta. "But Jake was glad to do it. Any chance to talk to another journalist, especially one from that period in history."
'Very true," he leaned his head to one side and studied her. "But at least when there are two of them, they can keep each other occupied. Unless they end up fighting all the time, like Turlough did when Tegan was travelling with us. They didn't even have the decency to do the repressed sexual tension thing, they just rubbed each other the wrong way." He tried his tempura. "Oh, this is lovely. Quark always has the best galactic fusion ideas. Qisk tempura is a brilliant idea." He waved a forkful at her. "I wonder how qisk would work in samosas. So spill, is something amiss with you and Worf?" The last thing he wanted to think about was his companions right now.
"I suppose you could say that. He just...Klingons have very specific beliefs about the afterlife, and having me wandering around with Jadzia's memories has...well, he isn't handling it very well. I tried suggesting that I take another post, but that didn't go over well with him or Benjamin." She gave him a strained smile. Worf's mood swings had caused her to doubt herself more than anything else since she'd been joined.
"You and Benjamin have been friends for a long time," the Doctor replied, "and he values your expertise. Whatever face you're wearing. I've had friends like that." He paused. "And others who needed a bit of an adjustment period."
Ezri dug into her pasta while she thought about how to reply to that. Finally she said, "And it gets easier the more changes they see. I - Ezri wasn't trained for this and I walked on to the station feeling clumsy and out-of-place and there was Ben calling me "old man" as if nothing had changed. And sometimes it's the differences that seem to surprise people rather than the similarities, even with a new face. Ben still acts like I'm the man he first met. I've- Ezri has always gender-identified as female."
"Been there, done that...maybe we should have t-shirts made up. Do they even wear t-shirts these days?" He mopped up a bit of stray qisk with a piece of bread. "Well the new face part of it. Haven't been a woman yet. I wonder what it says about me."
"I have no idea about the t-shirts. Are those some kind of Earth fashion?" Ezri stared at him. "But it's different for you. You are the same man. My hosts had lives before we were joined."
"Not that different. My personality changes just as much as yours does. And some of my companions deal with it and some don't. And the handful of people who've known me through multiple changes deal the best. Like your Benjamin. Like Sarah Jane."
Ezri smiled wryly at this. "If only Worf understood better. Instead he storms about glowering, is irrationally jealous if I even look at another man, and yet he seems to acknowledge that I am not Jadzia. He's confused and it's making me confused. I shudder to think how Worf would have reacted if the host a male this time around."
The Doctor ran his long fingers through his hair, disordering it more. "That happens, doesn't it? Klingons and humans and other races, they're not hardwired to deal with the sort of problems that a sexual relationship with someone like us would bring up. And we're not really wired to deal with their issues." He shrugged, "or sometimes their lack thereof. Take Sarah and Turlough. She was born on Earth in the 1950s- not a terribly progressive time for the human race. The 1970s were a little better." The Doctor's face brightened. "But there was a lot of institutionalised privilege that just wasn't spoken of. Racism and sexism were just beginning to be recognised and questioned and challenged, if clumsily and same-sex relationships were just beginning to be spoken of openly."
Ezri looked startled at this. "I never realised. When Emony, my third host, was on Earth in the 23rd century, she saw a wide variety of arrangements among the humans. That was not that long after."
"Long in human terms," The Doctor pointed out. "It was a battle fought in stages, each time with a little more awareness of the issues at hand and a little more acceptance by the more conservative members of the community. So anyway, that's the world Sarah came from. We'd been lovers when she first travelled with me, after a surprisingly short adjustment period became lovers again after I regenerated and then we parted."
"I remember. She barely blinked when I mentioned knowing her when Curzon was my host." Ezri had been surprised. Benjamin had a long history with Curzon, Sarah had barely met him. "I had no idea she was from that time period. Judging from the movies Ben has shown me, I would have expected her to consider the Dax symbiont a parasite. Something to be destroyed." She nodded at one of the waiters, as she came over to fill their water glasses.
The Doctor waited for the waiter to leave before he continued, "Sarah's seen much more than the ordinary human of the time period and she came to me with a mind that was open to possibilities." Time passed, companions came and went, I regenerated again. When Turlough joined the crew, I was travelling with two women, a human and a Trakenite. When we became he and I became lovers, we tried to keep it quiet. He considered humans rather primitive in most respects, including sex and I don't like to give the appearance of favouritism." He paused to take another bite of qisk. "Nyssa left shortly thereafter, for reasons that had nothing to do with that. Tegan, the human, stayed on for a while, arguing with Turlough and becoming more and more unhappy with the death and destruction that surrounds me. The last straw involved the Daleks invading Earth. She asked for a clean break and I gave her one. What I didn't intend to do was pick up Sarah at the airport when I dropped Tegan off."
Ezri winced. "I've had one or two past relationships pass through Deep Space Nine. It's never pleasant, even when there is closure. Almost makes me grateful for the taboo against continuing relationships that started with a previous host."
"Even if Time Lords had a taboo like that, Sarah would probably go about blithely ignoring it. So there I was, past lover, present lover, both in the TARDIS. I pictured a thousand scenarios about Sarah thinking we'd pick up right where we left off and/or catching Turlough and me in the act. And I wasn't sure how Turlough would react to my inviting my ex to come along with us. He'd never been inclined to share."
"Worf would- there would have been blood spilled, possibly mine," Ezri commented. "I don't know how you get yourself into these situations. But given that you're telling me this now, I gather something entirely different happened?"
The Doctor ate another bite of qisk and continued, "The last thing I expected- I caught them in bed together. I didn't even know Turlough liked women that way. He certainly didn't show an interest in either Tegan or Nyssa and he'd always spoken very disparagingly of humans. I stood in the doorway, trying to parse just what was going on. And then they looked at each other and without saying a word grabbed me and pulled me into the bed with them. Quite nice, actually," the Doctor added diffidently
"Quite nice," Ezri covered her mouth to suppress a laugh. "Why do I get the feeling that that was the understatement of the century?"
The Doctor might have blushed or it might have just been the lighting. "The point is," he said, gesturing with a forkful of qisk, "that you can't always tell how other races will react sexually or otherwise to the way our forms change. Some people might look at this," he indicated the fork, "and claim that the hot pink colour was unnatural, or that using a vegetable from Bayrai in a dish from Earth was somehow wrong. I've misjudged the strength of my companions' cultures before- either through some of the things they've seen while they travelled with me, or by making or refusing an indication of sexual interest. But on the other hand, humans have a history of blending cultures, in their food and elsewhere."
"Unlike Klingons." Ezri sighed deeply. "Worf has spent time on Earth but he is very much a Klingon, which is both good and bad when it comes to relationships. Not so much the sex part, but letting Jadzia go while I'm still here. It's a dichotomy he hasn't reconciled yet."
"He will," the Doctor said blithely. "Most people can, if they put their minds to it, and it sounds like he is trying. It's not as though the customs of the Klingon empire are all he has ever known."
"You're probably right." Ezri tilted her head and looked at him. "Maybe it's a bit selfish of me. Not only do I have to work my way through my own issues, I have to deal with his as well. But at least I know it will be worth it in the end, and that it will end. He's never been through this before."
"I never know how my companions will react to my regenerations, but I don't generally have a choice in the matter. I have to trust that they will be there for me."He took her hand in his and turned it palm up. "And you need to too. Benjamin is a good start."
Ezri brightened. "You're probably right. Worf is really the exception that proves the rule. And Jadzia's feelings for him are still so very clear. I'm just too off balance to put them in their proper place." She turned her hand in his and squeezed. "It helps to talk to someone who understands."
The Doctor just grinned at this. "So what do you recommend for dessert?"