Chapter 13

Kira was speechless. Whatever she had been expecting, it most certainly had not been THAT!

She lifted her gaze and saw him standing across the room in front of the view port, arms crossed

tightlyin front ofhis chest while he stared stoically out at the stars. She simply couldn't believe that

he had asked that. That he had HAD to ask that! All the atrocities that Bajor had suffered ran

with dizzying speed through her mind.

Her vision dulled as she saw the ghostly faces of all the dead and dying Bajorans she had seen during the Occupation come floating before her mind's eye. Anger and pain swelled in her breast and the food in her mouth turned to ashes. Forgive? How could she forgive that? And for that matter, why should she hold anything against Ziyal? She was half-Bajoran and, despite her parentage, Kira would never hold a child at fault for the sins of its parent.And Ziyal had been a child. She didn't order the executions, she didn't oversee the mining facilities where Bajorans were treated worse than the lowest caste slaves.

And Tekeny. She felt a stab of pain just at the thought of him. He was a good man who truly repented the wrongs his people had done to hers. In his own way, he had done the best he could to right them. He had earned and deserved her respect and forgiveness.

Her vision cleared and she saw Dukat, still standing before the viewport. What, WHAT had he done to show his remorse? Left his daughter to die at the hands of a ruthless enemy? Brought war to the entire quadrant? He wanted forgiveness but, was he even sorry…for any of it? Slowly, Kira stood to her feet, placed her hands precisely on either side of the plate in front of her and leaned forward over the table.

In a deadly quiet voice she hissed at Dukat's rigid back, "Forgive you? You have the nerve to ask for forgiveness for things you're not even sorry for? Are you sorry about the things you did to Bajor? Are you sorry for the hurt you caused your daughter? Are you sorry for starting a war that will bring not only your people but this entire quadrant to its knees before its over? Ziyal had nothing to forgive and as for Tekeny, at least he repented his past actions and tried every way he knew to make up for them. I respected that. I respected them. I don't respect you."

Silently, Kira threw down her napkin and strode to the door. She stopped at the forcefield, but after a brief, violent order to the surprised day guard, the forcefield dropped and the doors swished open. Without a backward glance, Kira stormed out past a very confused guard and down the corridor.

The door swished gently to behind her and Dukat heard the soft hum of the forcefield as it reactivated. All the pleasure of the morning and peace of the night before had been stripped away and left him feeling hollow and painfully bare. He slowly let his head drop until it touched the cool plastisteel of the viewport. He swallowed hard against the ache in his throat and chest and whispered to an empty room, "That wasn't what I meant."

He closed his eyes so he wouldn't have to see the cloud of pain and despair he could feel settling over him once again.