Disclaimer: All Star Trek people, places, things, and ideas belong to Paramount Studios. AU of "The Changing Face of Evil," "When it rains…" and "What You Leave Behind."
Chapter 1: …It pours
It had been two days since Solbor had told her whom the 'man of the land' really was, two days since the unfortunately all-too-diligent assistant had met his death, and two days since the last time that she had been able to look at herself in the mirror. Killing him had actually been an accident. She had meant the knife for Gul Dukat, but as she held it her assistant had turned too quickly, receiving a death that she had not wanted to give him.
As Kai Winn kept reading the Kosst Amojan, all she could think about was the high price she was adding to, the high price that these so-called other deities seemed to keep asking for. The Prophets never asked for blood sacrifices or vast amounts of deception. Maybe I should've listened to Nerys, Winn pondered that night while lying awake in her bed, alone, staring up at the ceiling. She wished that she could go back two weeks, to a time when she was naïve to all this, to the short time spent with a lover in blissful ignorance.
Her lover. There was the same nagging thought again. It was not fair, Prophets, Pah Wraiths, or whomever, it just was not fair. When for the first time in her life she had felt wanted by someone, and wanted by a higher cause, it was all for a rouse and a colossal betrayal. Or was it? She had already accepted him as the chosen one who would change the face of Bajor. He did not have to become her lover to get her attention. Why did he choose to reach her on that level? It definitely set off Solbor's investigation, and it only proved to be a liability to him. There was no logical reason why he would do such a thing.
An hour after she had gone to bed, a scream in the night interrupted her musings and she grabbed her robe, rushing to find its source. Adding to her disappointment, she found Dukat holding his face, and the text of the Kosst Amojan open. "I told you that only the kai could read that. Why didn't you listen? You've let your arrogance get in the way again," she stated acidly.
"I was curious, and now I've been blinded," he declared.
She needed to clear her mind, and it would be impossible to do so with him still there. "Leave," she said simply.
"Adami, I'll die out there. I can't see!" he protested.
Forgetting that he could not see her, she shook her head. "You'll be surprised with the generosity of the Bajoran people toward a poor blind beggar. You may return when the powers that be decide to restore your sight."
Knowing that there was nothing he could say or do at that moment to convince her otherwise, he merely nodded and stood, feeling his way toward the door. He stopped before exiting though. "Adami, I am sorry about your assistant. I never meant to mix up anyone else in this like that," he relayed.
She watched from the window as a guard showed him out through the courtyard, trying to keep her eyes fixed on him as long as possible. Well that's the end of any sleep I was planning on, she concluded as she sat down at the desk and began to translate the text.
Four days had passed and she could barely conceal her agitation that he had not yet returned. She had translated what she needed to and did not like what she had learned. The Pah Wraiths demanded a second sacrifice while in the Fire Caves. One question kept swirling in her mind as she stared out the window at the building black storm clouds. What benevolent deities would ask for two murders without a choice?
Then the rain began to pour, refreshing the deep green plants of the city. Night had fallen and most of her security table had gone home. She could not stop her mind from wandering. Was he safe? Was he dry? Would he ever forgive her? She scolded herself for such thoughts, beginning to pace. After another few moments, she grabbed and donned a hooded gray rain cloak and snatched an extra one. Then she placed the book in a water-tight envelope before putting it into a shoulder bag and covertly left her estate.
Anyone back there would think that she had gone to bed. Holding the book and the other cloak closely, she began quietly lurking through the city, trying to peer over at circles of homeless and poor Bajorans keeping warm, while attempting to stay dry herself.
Dukat shivered around what he assumed was a fire pit circled by impoverished Bajorans, but he could see nothing to tell him otherwise. He was fortunate that one of the people, a man called Jonan Antos, had realized his condition immediately and invited him over to share the fire.
"You look like a man who's got a story. Been blind yer whole life?" the crotchety voice asked him.
"No," was Dukat's simple reply.
"I'm sorry. That's hard. Been to a doctor?" the old man inquired.
Dukat placed his hands by the heat. "No. I… saw something I wasn't supposed to see, and this 'blindness' is my punishment. It might be temporary."
"What the fire caves did you get yerself into? I'll bet I know. You saw a bit more of a lady than you should've," Jonan hypothesized.
"That wasn't exactly it, but my problem does involve a woman. I deceived her to reach a goal, but in the process I realized that I care for her. I don't know if she'll ever trust me again, let alone forgive me," Dukat admitted.
"She got a name?" the old man asked.
"Adami," Dukat answered.
The other man took a deep breath. "Nice name. You never know with women. Give her time and she might surprise you."
"I'm blind, wet, and stuck here with an optimist," Dukat muttered, looking up and letting the rain hit his face.
Jonan chuckled. "And I'm here with a comedian."
Winn had been unsuccessful in keeping the rain off as she shivered, looking from fire pit to fire pit. Prophets or whomever wants to listen, where are you Dukat? Realizing that her hood drooped low enough to shield most of her face, she decided to approach the next fire pit.
An old Bajoran man with a thick gray beard greeted her. "Hello there, I'm Jonan Antos."
Winn thought quickly and arrived at a suitable solution. "Kora, Adami."
"Bad night to get stuck out in the rain, ma'am," he mentioned, wondering if this woman might know his other guest.
She nodded. "It's… been a long night."
He put a hand on her back, scooting her closer toward the fire. As she began to warm herself, he called over to five others, "We've got ourselves another stray. Mika, do we still have soup?"
A tiny woman in a shabby old red dress walked over with a cracked bowl and spoon. "Here ya go. Other man wouldn't take it. Said he had to digest his guilt first. Strange night," she commented, handing the bowl to Winn.
"Thank you, and yes it is," Winn responded. After a few bites, her eyes had adjusted to the dim light and she could see the back of a man standing by himself, having moved out of the group.
He blinked in the rain and jumped when Jonan tapped him on the shoulder. "We've got a new one, a lady," he informed Dukat.
The Cardassian in Bajoran guise nodded and then realized that a bright glow had entered his vision. Going from darkness to a blurry haze, his vision became sharper as he could make out shapes of people. He focused on a woman holding a bowl. As everything cleared, he recognized the hands holding the bowl and sauntered over to her.
"Adami," he stated.
She jerked her head up to see him and quickly remembered which name to say. "Anjohl, I thought I'd never find you. Here, this will keep you at least slightly dryer," she remarked, handing him a gray cloak.
"So this is the woman," Jonan said with a smirk. Dukat merely nodded and pulled her aside.
"You came after me?" he questioned quietly.
"I finished the translation," she told him, hoping to hide her real reasons. "Your sight has been restored?"
He nodded. "The Pah-rophets have seen fit to grant me back my sight." He had named the Prophets because Jonan had overheard the conversation.
She shivered involuntarily from the rain. "Oh Adami, you're cold. I thought you of all people would know not to go out in weather like this."
When he touched her face, she closed her eyes for a moment, not wanting to push him away. "I'm sorry about sending you out," she conveyed.
"And you were right about me being arrogant. I shouldn't have tried to read it," he said, leaning closer to her. Both moved simultaneously and the tender, lingering kiss was mutual.
She spoke when they had parted. "I don't know if I'll ever trust you, or if I can forgive you, but I need your help."
He took one of her cold hands in his and nodded. "Let's go then," he stated. Before leaving, he turned back to Jonan and thanked him for being hospitable.
Leaving the quiet city was not too difficult, but there were no streetlights to lead them as they headed out into the country in the direction of the mountains. Winn shivered again and Dukat watched her with concern. "I'm fine," she told him quickly.