Author's Note This story takes place right after "Sacrifice of Angels" and pre "Waltz". Basically, it's a what if. I never liked the way Dukat's character always seemed to get shafted. I think they could have played up the complexities of his character much better than they did. Misguided he may have been, but truly evil? Nah.

Please let me know if you think this is any good. And don't flame me to hard if I mess up on some of the culture issues. I'm not all up on Bajoran and Cardassian culture.

Oh, and by the way, I don't own any of it, I'm just borrowing it for awhile. So unless you really want a set of used DS9 DVDs and some car tires, please don't sue. That's about all I have that's worth anything.

Kira sat in her quarters, blankly staring at the wall. Over and over again, the events of the morning had played through her head. As hard as she tried, she couldn't get them to go away so now she sat, letting them have their way with her.

This morning had been the funeral service for Ziyal. Most everyone she knew had been there. Benjamin had made the address but he had asked her to do the eulogy since she had been the closest to her other than...her father. It had been an understood fact that he would not be able or allowed to do it. Even so, he had been there, albeit under guard, although Nerys had to admit to herself that even she didn't think he was capable of doing anything then. He had hardly looked aware of where he was, staring straight ahead with a fixed and glazed look to his eyes. It had been somewhat disturbing to her. This was a Dukat she was unfamiliar with and that made her uncomfortable. When she had stood to speak, he had looked briefly at her, almost as if he saw her and then his gaze had dropped back into that glazed and unseeing look.

It had been, for lack of a better descriptive, creepy.

After the service, she had vacillated over whether or not to say something to him. She didn't think it would be right to say nothing at all, and she knew Ziyal would have appreciated the gesture so she had approached him, wondering if he would even acknowledge her presence. So far, he had done a wonderful job of ignoring absolutely everything and everyone around him. She stood beside him for a moment and studied him. He was her enemy. She knew that. Even so, her feelings regarding him were so complex. At the moment, she couldn't really feel anything for him except a kind of irritated pity. Ziyal had loved him and, despite her personal prejudice towards him, Kira acknowledged the fact that he had loved his daughter. Drawing heavily on that knowledge, she reached out and placed her hand on his forearm.

"I'm sorry for your loss, Dukat," Kira swallowed hard and continued, "Ziyal was special to all of us." Kira halted, a sudden surge of emotion welling up and choking her. Oh, Ziyal, how could she say what she trying to say? Suddenly, a Bajoran phrase from long ago rose up in her mind and in a tear-filled voice she quoted,

"We who loved her, will miss her. May her spirit find joy with the Prophets."

Dukat continued to stare straight ahead.

Flustered at her own emotionality, Kira turned to leave. She had only gone a few steps when the quietest of whispers caught her ear.

"Nerys..."

She turned back, to see Dukat looking at her. He caught her gaze with his own and she flinched at what she saw there. It was a look she had seen all too often on Bajor. Pain, anguish, the despairing gaze of someone who feels they have nothing left to live for. She was held immobile by that speaking look for the barest of moments before his eyes once again shielded that window inward with the glazed look that had become familiar over the past couple of days. Shaken and not a little confused, she had hurriedly left the assembly and made her way to Ops.

As she sat at her station, sifting through reports, she couldn't seem to get that awful gaze out of her mind. She kept seeing Ziyal and Dukat as she had last seen them together, Dukat sitting in the corridor, holding Ziyal's lifeless body in his arms, curled protectively over her as if there still was something left of life to protect. They had had to pry her out of his arms. She had never seen anyone, not even during the Occupation, who looked as totally crushed and defeated. It had made her acutely uncomfortable to see her seemingly untouchable enemy in such a state. Why should it bother her? Dukat did not deserve her pity, and any and all connection she had with him because of Ziyal was now moot. Why then could she not get the vision of his look out of her mind?

"MAJOR!"

"What!" startled, Kira jumped in her seat and spun around to find Captain Sisko staring down at her, an odd expression on his face.

"Major, I have been trying to hail you but you did not answer. We had a meeting scheduled at 1100."

Kira paled. "What time is it?"

"1145"

Kira jumped to her feet, feeling the blood begin to rise in a heated tide up her face. "Captain, I…"

"No need for apologies, Major," Sisko smiled grimly, "I think we've all been a little distracted today." Sisko paused, looking thoughtfully at the deck below him. "Kira, I'd like for you to do something for me?"

"Yes, Captain?"

He looked back up at her, an inscrutable expression on his face, "Take the next couple of days off."

Kira looked stunned. Before she could retort, he continued, "You've done an outstanding job of holding this station together, Major, as I knew you would. I know that dealing with all you've had to deal with in the past few months must have been, to say the least, stressful and...I know how fond of Ziyal you were. Take the days," he urged gently, "You've earned it and, if I may say so, you need it as well."

"Captain..." Kira started to protest.

"Major," Captain Sisko firmed his voice, "I would rather not make this an order, but if I have to, I will. I need you operating at full capacity in order to get this station back to normal and I know from experience that until you deal with...everything, it is not going to happen."

Kira dropped her head, acknowledging the truth of the Captain's words. She slowly got to her feet then nodded her head wearily in understanding to the captain.

"I understand, Captain. You know how to find me if you need me." With that, Kira turned and headed away.

Sisko frowned. Now he knew something was wrong. The major never acquiesced that easily.