I love him.

People say I'm crazy. Privately of course; publicly, I am the envy of women across the Empire, and great dignitaries fall at my feet, and I have the world at my fingertips. For I am the wife of Gul Dukat; the leader of Cardassia and the greatest man who ever lived. There is no higher place, save that of the Gul himself.

But I hear the whispers on the transports, feel the stares in the street. I am an object of scorn and pity. For they know what our great leader does when no one is watching. They know all about his little games, about the women he keeps waiting on the sidelines while he parades about arm-in-arm with me. I am his prize; a widely respected woman, a great scientist, a loving mother–-exactly the kind of wife a man like him should have. But when no one is looking on, things are different.

Don't think I don't know. I'm not stupid. I have my sources–-and even if I did not, the look in his eyes, the slyness in his smile, would give it away. He is as transparent as a wisp of Tellarite silk–-at least to me.

And don't think I don't care.

He is away from home for months, sometimes years, at a time; he gets lonely, and I must be at home to care for the children. He is simply branching out, trying to find a little joy in the horrible duties he must perform every day. It is in the nature of Cardassians–-of all men.

These are the excuses I try to make myself believe, trying to rationalize his actions against my sense of morality. And I wish that I could convince myself.

Because I love him.

I didn't see this when I married him. They say that love is blindness, and I almost agree; I was young and starry-eyed, and all I could see was the handsome, brilliant war hero who had a wonderful way with words and could make a woman feel that she was the most beautiful he'd ever seen. I know he loved me then; and I don't know what happened.

One day, sooner or later, it will come out. It will all blow up in his face. Perhaps there will be a child, or perhaps a mistress will turn on him; but it will happen. It always does. And on that day, I will scorn him; I will divorce him, and swear never to look upon his face again. And I will keep to that oath; he will not bother me again, and the children will live without him for as long as they are under my roof. Indeed, perhaps he shall be happier; he will have no more restraints, no more shackles of guilt to weigh upon whatever small bit of conscience he possesses, and he will be free to seduce and prey upon women across the Quadrant.

But on that day, I will weep. I will keep my head high as I scorn him before thousands; my face will be as cold as stone, and I will not waver. But when I return home, when there are no more prying eyes, I shall hide away from everyone and weep.

For I still love him.

If love is not blindness, then it at least contains the willingness to pretend blindness. For after all he has done, after the millions he has murdered, after the countless times he has been unfaithful–-I still love him.

And I shall never understand why.