And Life Goes On
by Emily

It has been almost eleven years since the crash.

This is the tenth harvest Jadzia has helped organize and she isn't sure how to feel about that.

The first months on Gaia were hard ones. It was a struggle simply to survive. And once their survival was assured it finally began to sink in that they would never see their families again, that their old lives really were gone forever.

Jadzia Dax watched helplessly as her friends and crewmates began another struggle - this one perhaps even more difficult; accepting and embracing their new lives.

They never seemed to blame her which she frankly didn't understand. She'd been the one who insisted they investigate the anomalous readings. No matter what Benjamin said - and what her own common sense told her - she'd felt it was her fault they were stranded.

Adding to her guilt was the fact that unlike most of the others she had both her lover and her closest friend right alongside her on Gaia. Jadzia had often had a considerable amount of trouble looking the people who'd left behind spouses or children in the eye.

Jadzia thinks that she should probably still feel that way. Things have changed but not that much - their community is a small one and sometimes, most times actually, it's not a particularly easy life. It's hard to feel guilt, though, when she looks around and sees the happy families.

There are days when Gaia feels like a blessing.

And whenever she catches herself thinking that way she feels incredibly selfish.

Jake and Molly and Yoshi and the others have effectively lost their parents. Benjamin and Miles and all the other parents will always carry the pain of loosing their children. There are husbands and wives that will never know what happened to their spouses. Parents, siblings, aunts, uncles, cousins, lovers and friends in about two centuries will be waiting for answers that will likely never come. And as for Dax, well, Jadzia's two children are compatible and if they are very lucky perhaps her grandchildren will be as well but it's unlikely that Dax will survive more than two or three generations after she is gone.

That has always been one of the hardest things; knowing that she has failed all the hosts who came before her, that she has deprived the initiates on Trill of knowing Lela, Tobin, Emony, Audrid, Torias Curzon and even Joran and Verad.

Jadzia sighs heavily and drags herself back to the present. There is really no use in worrying about these things - there is nothing she can do to change them. Better to live in present then the past, she reminds herself, sternly. She smiles a bit as a new thought occurs to her. Danny and Sirala discovered several new (to them, anyway) species of plants, insects, and animals during their expedition to the southern continent last month. They brought back a handful of samples, including something with a composition remarkably similar to gagh. And Benjamin and Nerys had promised her some of the torga meat from their last hunt. Tonight will be a good night to surprise Worf, she thinks, happily.

It doesn't particularly matter if her effort to approximate one of Kang's recipes is successful. Her husband will appreciate the effort that went in to it. And, she glances at the sun; he'll be back in a few hours. It's a good thing they are nearly done for day, it'll take her at least an hour to prepare the meal and she wants to spend some time with Nicolas first. She suspects Nick has been feeling a little neglected since Worf and Jedrin left on the hunt. His older sister sometimes overshadows him and Jadzia knows that isn't an easy thing to deal with.

Jadzia notices Nerys shift and rest a hand on her swollen belly out of the corner of her eye and turns to her friend. "Nerys?" Her voice is soft, pitched so that nobody but Nerys will hear it. She doesn't want to get everyone excited if it's another false alarm. Miles, Julian, and Odo especially. They've been hovering over Nerys nearly as much as Benjamin has and Nerys is really starting to get frustrated by all the attention.

Nerys stands up suddenly an odd but familiar look on her face. "It's time."

Jadzia can't help but smile as she stands up. This baby will be will be the seventeenth born on Gaia but she knows it will be welcomed as warmly as the first. The children born here aren't just born to their parents they're born to the whole community. "Benjamin!"

Her old friend turns away from his conversation with Samuel and Jadzia points to a grinning Nerys. Benjamin lets out a whoop that draws everyone's attention and as they notice her and Nerys standing and Benjamin rushing toward them she literally feels the excitement start to spread.

Jadzia watches bemusedly as Benjamin reaches Nerys and eagerly places a hand on his wife's belly. She has known Benjamin Sisko for a long time but she has rarely seen him so...well, giddy. The first time was in a different lifetime; all those years ago when Curzon watched proudly as Ben married Jennifer.

Julian arrives with medical tricorder already in hand. He scans Nerys and studies the readings carefully before looking up and nodding at the small cluster of people that have gathered. He grins at the commotion that breaks out before focusing on Nerys and Benjamin. "Is everything prepared?" He asks, pointedly. Jadzia hides a smile and notices Benjamin doing the same as Nerys scowls.

Nerys had been absolutely, positively sure that Joey wouldn't arrive for weeks and she'd been the most surprised of all when he'd decided to make his appearance during a storm. There had been a mad scramble to mix the incense that aided in relaxation. It wasn't exactly like the incense that could be found on Bajor (Julian had created it himself from local materials shortly after Nerys and Benjamin married) but Nerys herself said she couldn't tell the difference. Jadzia still vividly recalls trying to convince Nerys that throttling Julian wasn't a good idea after he repeatedly lectured her about how unpredictable inter-species pregnancies are.

Jadzia smirks as Julian takes a step back and holds up his hands in a placating gesture. Nerys has softened a lot over the years but her glares are still formidable. Jadzia is comfortable being married to a Klingon but she is glad that she isn't often on the receiving end of Kira Nerys's temper.

"Shouldn't you lot be heading, oh, I don't know to the bloody hospital?" The faintly amused voice of Miles O'Brien breaks into the conversation.

Benjamin nods and puts a hand on the small of his wife's back to guide her forward. Nerys shakes her head but can't manage to keep a small smile off her face. Jadzia watches the scene fondly; knowing that her friend picked up that habit from Curzon.

Benjamin turns back briefly. "Coming, old man?"

"I'll get things settled here first but I wouldn't miss it." Jadzia says, simply.

Curzon and Jadzia had both wondered if Benjamin would ever truly recover from losing Jennifer. Jadzia had seen the depth of anger in Kira Nerys and wondered if the wounds that were inflicted on her friend during the Occupation would ever heal. And now two centuries in the past, in another quadrant of the galaxy, her friends are about to have their sixth child and they are practically glowing with happiness. She isn't quite sure how it happened and knows they aren't either but she is definitely glad for them.

Jadzia looks at them or Julian and Angie or Miles and Rita and can't bring herself to feel guilty about Gaia.


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