"Sunrise at Sunset" by Lieutenant Sara Crusher and Lieutenant JG Cyanah Kaelyre The waves caressed their bare feet as they sat in silence, staring out at the sunset. Their hands were intertwined, unwilling to separate despite the troubles their owners endured. One wore a deep green bikini with a sarong around her hips, her mostly straight fiery red hair falling to the small of her pale, lightly freckled back. The other had slightly wavy deep auburn hair that came to a rest just below her bare shoulders, where the strap of her black bikini cut a stark line across her fair skin. Though no words passed their lips, their minds hesitantly flirted over their telepathic link, searching for a clue as to how the other felt. Time slowly crept by, kept by the metronome of the waves, until the silence between them could last no longer. "Sara," the woman in the green bikini began as she realized where she was, "this. is the same island on Betazed where you told me that I'm your Imzadi, isn't it?" Sara had found it difficult to tear herself away from this place. Away from the place were that first life changing weekend had ended almost a year ago with Sara giving Cyanah a chameleon rose and telling her about the ideal of being Imzadi. She sat quietly for a little while longer as she watched the scenery reverse itself from what she had seen that morning during her run. The sun was sinking behind the ocean's horizon, and the twin moons, no longer shadows, were reclaiming their right to light up the pale sky. Sara felt her hand being squeezed lightly and she looked down. It amazed her as to just how perfectly it seemed to fit in the hand that held it. Finally, Sara looked up at the woman who sat next to her and nodded. "It is," she said softly. The waves kept time for another few minutes as Cyanah vainly tried to discern Sara's emotions, but her lover's mind was closed. Although Delosians had no natural telepathic or emapthic ability, Cyanah had improved remarkably at using her mind to communicate with Sara over the past year, despite the relatively low strength of their Imzadi bond. Finally, she gave up and said, "Sara, I can't tell what you're feeling... Please, just tell me." Her eyes found Sara's and locked into her gaze, begging for answers. The look in Cyanah's sparkling green eyes made Sara try even harder to find the words that had eluded her for so many weeks. Her mind felt like the tide; always coming in and going out of clarity and controlled by a mysterious force. "I'm not sure what I'm feeling, Cyanah. It changes from one minute to the next. Sometimes I understand and I'm fine with it. I know that what happened with you and Rhi has very little to do with us. All I want is for you to be happy and I'm more then willing to step aside while Rhi's the one who can do that for you." Sara paused and then returned her gaze to the waves. "But then at other times..." Once again, Sara couldn't find a way to explain. "You're right about it having very little to do with us, but wrong in assuming that you have to step aside at all." Cyanah idly squeezed the warm, wet sand between her toes, watching as water filled in the grooves that her toes left. "You're also wrong about only wanting me to be happy, because you obviously want you to be happy, too. And that is perfectly alright, Sara." She placed a finger on Sara's chin and gently turned her face so she could look her in the eye again. "Because I want you to be happy, too." Sara chewed her lip and kept her gaze fixed on Cyanah, despite the urge to look away. Her mind raced for words; she wanted to say so much but nothing seemed quite right. She wanted to express in words what she was too afraid to allow Cyanah to feel though their bond. She wanted to say more than just, "You're what makes me happy, Cy, even now with everything that's happening, all I need to be happy is you." Cyanah brushed Sara's lips with a light kiss, then looked back into her eyes as she slowly said, "You have me, Sara. So what's stopping you from being happy?" What was stopping her? She thought she had it all worked out this morning, but sitting here, facing the questions she had been trying to avoid, she couldn't remember what her heart had told her. Everything she had worked out in her head and in her heart had been overshadowed by the damned insecurities, which she just could not shake. Quietly, in a voice that could barely be heard over the waves, Sara gave in and said, "Rhi has you too now." "Does she?" Cyanah caressed Sara's cheek and left another light kiss on her lips. "Do you not see a difference between the two relationships?" Sara smiled ever so slightly from Cyanah's touch, nodding at first, but then shook her head. "You told me once you were closer to me cause we'd become major parts of each other's lives, but now you've been with her as well." "The difference lies in the emotional connections, Sara, not the physical." Suddenly things where finally making sense, or at least she hoped they were; maybe the line between attraction and love wasn't as fine as she thought. "How are we different to you, Cy?" she asked as she dug her fingers into the sand. Cyanah thought for a moment, turning to look at the sun, now just a sliver above the horizon. Turning back to face Sara, she said, "I think the most prominent difference is that I hardly know anything about Rhi, personally. You and I are intimate in many ways: our emotional love for each other, our Imzadi bond, our physical attraction, our lovemaking, and our sharing of the little details of our lives. With her, it's just the physical, and perhaps not even just that." She had to pause again to figure out how to phrase her next sentence, since she still wasn't quite perfectly fluent in the Terran language, but scientific jargon came to the rescue. "I almost believe that I'm a catalyst to help Rhi uncover her sexuality." Sara's delicate eyebrow raised as her lip curled into an inquisitive, if not confused look. "So you were an experiment?" Then she shook her head as she allowed her mind to open fully once again. "She cares about you, I can sense that from her, but not like I do." Sara paused as her cheeks flushed a light pink. "I should have been able to see the difference there. I shouldn't have allowed myself to get so jaded that I closed you out." "I don't think I was an experiment, but more of a transition. I know that she cares about me, but you and I have something that's much, much stronger, Sara. I truly do love you, and I can't say that about her." Cyanah smiled as things finally began to sort themselves out. "I should have been clearer all along about what my relationship with Rhi is, but I'm not sure that I knew until just now." Sara finally smiled as she felt as if she were no longer in a cold fog. "I'm sorry I shut you out, Cy; I was afraid that if let myself open up I won't feel the way you love me like I did before." Sara reached out and caressed the side of Cyanah's face and then ran her hand though her hair, "I love you, Cyanah, I always will." She smiled again before leaning in to kiss her. Cyanah was grateful to be able to feel Sara's mind again, as being without it made her feel so alone. She eagerly kissed Sara as they lay back onto the sand together, and then rolled on top of her to deepen the kiss while entwining her fingers in Sara's hair. Reaching out with her mind, she sought that connection between them that made their lovemaking so much more intimate, and was relieved when she found it again. Nothing was like it had been before; it had all changed, even the connection between them, but thankfully it was all for the better. Everything was stronger, and as Sara felt the warmth of the sand pressing into her back she was most grateful to have the best part of her self back again; the soft whispers of her Imzadi's mind inside her own. Looking into beautiful green eyes, Sara held Cyanah's face in her hands as it hovered above her own. Smiling, she brushed the back of her hand along Cyanah's cheek. "I've missed you, Imzadi." Sara's voice in her mind was like a fresh spring breeze in her mind, refreshing and sweet after a winter of stuffy indoor air. "And I've missed you. Thank you for coming back to me." "I always will as long as you let me," Sara replied. "I'm just sorry I stayed away so long." She ran her hand though Cyanah's hair again before bringing her closer. Her arms wrapped around Cyanah's body, holding her as tightly as she could and enjoying the feeling of having her weight pressing against her own body as they lie together in the soft white sand. The waves washed over their entwined legs as their fingers curled around stands of red hair and bikini straps. The twin moons and brightly shining stars above bathed them in a silvery light as they each took comfort and pleasure in reconnecting and rediscovering each other, there on their Imzadi beach.