This was entirely his own fault. 'Never bet with Dax' was practically the first rule of life on Deep Space Nine. He had seen countless others learn this lesson the hard way, and he had looked on smugly, certain that it could never happen to him. He had never been a betting man. Betting life-form.
They'd mellowed him.
All the same, it wouldn't have happened if he hadn't let his guard down. He should have known that the rule would hold true just as much for Ezri as it had for Jadzia, but no, he had let her innocent, slightly bewildered demeanour throw him. She had reeled him in like an Edosian suckerfish.
He was appalled at himself. Years he'd spent honing his instincts, only to be taken in by a pair of big eyes and a sweet smile. It was intolerable.
What was even more intolerable was his penance for losing the bet. But he was nothing if not honourable. He had bet, he had lost, and he would face the consequences, no matter the loss to his dignity.
(He had appealed to Nerys to get Sisko to forbid it on the grounds that the Chief of Security needed to maintain a certain professionalism, but she had refused.)
So he arrived at work, on time to the second just as he always was. He swore he could hear snickering on the Promenade, but when he looked up he couldn't trace the source of it.
There was no mirror in the security office, at least.
Nerys arrived for their usual morning meeting, balancing two cups of raktajino on a PADD. She nearly dropped them when she saw him. She laughed that laugh that he usually found so delightful. She hurried to the desk to set down the raktajinos so that she could collapse into a chair and surrender entirely to a giggle fit, her eyes dancing, her cheeks turning pink.
She fell out of the chair. He went to help her up and she just kept laughing. Eventually she caught her breath enough to apologise.
'It suits you,' she managed to gasp out.
'You're mocking me,' he said.
She swallowed hard to hold back another guffaw. 'Of course I am!' she said. 'Oh, Odo, I'm sorry. You know I don't think any less of you for it. And it's only until the end of your shift, and then you can put your normal hair back.'
He caught sight of his enormous, luridly purple beehive in the shiny surface of her PADD. At least it was neat and tidy. That was something.
It was going to be a very long shift.