Disclaimer: Kai Winn, Gul Dukat, DS9 and all Star Trek nouns belong to Paramount Studios.

Last Kiss

"I rid myself of the Prophets and shed a lifetime of hypocrisy," Kai Winn heard herself say.

The heat radiating from the fires seemed not only to penetrate her physical being, but also her essence. She felt as if everything around her were ablaze. The very air in the cave crackled with energy. Then she looked over at him. All the while during the walk to the precipice, she had tried to convince herself that Gul Dukat was still the evil, conniving, sinister, Cardassian monster that she had grown to despise. But in the sensuous flames, she saw him, probably for the first time, as a man.

She did not see the dictator, the repressor, the murderer. She saw the passionate, confident, complicated man who had come to Bajor, driven by a higher purpose. And she realized with guilt that for some unknown reason, he seemed to love her. All he had wanted was forgiveness that she could not offer. Only the dead could forgive his past. But the more she thought on it, the more she remembered how unclean her own ivory hands were. She had killed in cold blood a good man who did not deserve such a death. If she was actually honest with herself, she would admit to plotting and scheming her way to power.

What right did she have to call him a war criminal when she too had committed a few highly questionable acts? The only real difference was that his were out in the open for all to see while hers were covered over and well-buried. Could she really go through with what she had planned? Did he really deserve such an enormous betrayal from her?

The heat was having a profound affect on her mind, making everything appear more vivid and larger than life. She was intoxicated by the flames and felt a sudden burst of energy as it was transformed into a spontaneous act. He had been completely shocked when she grabbed his shoulders and pulled him to her. She kissed him soundly and did not pull away as he embraced her.

"Adami, I've never seen you look so radiant," he told her over the blaring wind-like sounds that the fires made.

She looked directly into his excited eyes. "I feel like a young girl, waiting for my lover to sweep me off my feet," she called back.

Lover? Had she just referred to him as her lover? One should not fraternize with sacrifices. Yes, he had been her lover. Gul Dukat, the scum of the Occupation, had been her lover. Was he still? One did not kill off one's lover. Suddenly all she wanted to do was go back to the magisterial estate with him and as far away from the fire caves as possible.

"Do you give yourself completely to the Pah Wraiths?" he asked her.

It sounded to her like he had said, 'Do you give yourself completely to me?' and she paused before answering, "Yes, with all my heart."

But they had come here for a dark and destructive purpose. Her head still spinning from the thrill of the fires, she did the only thing that came to mind and pulled him down for another kiss. This time he responded instantly to her passionate kiss. When he deepened it she wrapped her arms around his neck. It was just one last kiss. When they drew apart slowly, she could not even look him in the eyes.

She knew that the Pah Wraiths needed a sacrifice worthy of them, and she also knew that she was not worthy of either side at the moment. The Prophets did not want her, and of the two she knew the Pah Wraiths were more likely to use him than her. She tried to convince herself that it was all for the better of Bajor.

Later when she had poured the wine containing the poison, she hesitated before offering it to him, debating whether or not she should simply end her own life without much trouble. He seemed to notice her hesitation and raised an eyebrow. "No, you first," she finally said, handing the cup to him.

"I am honored," he told her as he drank deeply from the cup.

She pretended not to see the look of horror in his eyes when she dumped out the contents of the cup after he had handed it back to her. He gripped his stomach as he doubled over in a burst of pain. "Adami, why?" he demanded.

Though she could have stepped out of his reach and just stared down at him, she knelt down next to him and held his head in her lap. "The Pah Wraiths demanded a sacrifice. You were worthy, and I am needed to finish the rituals," she explained. A single tear dripped down her face as she caressed his cheek. "And I'm sorry," she whispered.

At his dying breath, she bent down and kissed his forehead, as if kissing him goodbye as well as any chance she had of turning back.

Fin.