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The Diplomatic Thing To Do

Weyoun could never quite work out how he'd managed to slip into this persistent and exasperating situation. Certainly, he was prepared to do many things to smooth the paths of diplomacy for the Dominion; pouring wine, talking for hours, even in one memorable case struggling to participate in one culture's ritual dance. He was fairly certain, however, that even by these standards his efforts in getting along with the Dominion's Cardassian allies were a trifle unusual.

It wasn't a diplomat's place to outright refuse even the bluntest demands, and Dukat had not been blunt. He'd started with veiled insinuations, subtle suggestions, mild remarks with multiple levels of meaning. Aided by his research into the motivations of other species, Weyoun became more and more aware of what was going on; aware, but with no clue on how to head this situation off.

He'd gone through speculation on what the Founder would say to him, but had been forced to conclude she would have no interest. This was the business of solids, things gods were above. If he wasn't being asked anything that would weaken or compromise the Dominion, then she would not care to issue orders preventing the matter.

In front of the Founders, a Vorta's dignity did not matter. Now it seemed that Dukat was intent upon lessening his dignity in other areas as well. It was really rather vexing. Resigned to the difficulties of his tasks, Weyoun had acceded.

On the positive side, Dukat was far more cooperative after their meetings. Weyoun began scheduling his day accordingly- earlier times for participating in Dukat's bizarre antics, followed by general committees and other procedures, in which Dukat's relaxed, possibly even amused attitude made reaching agreements much easier.

What did it really matter if Weyoun was inevitably exhausted by the end of the day, as long as the Dominion's goals were furthered by his efforts? It really didn't matter at all, surely. Contorting himself into strange positions, doing or saying whatever he was prompted to, or merely remaining still and silent...none of it mattered. It didn't even matter that he saw amusement lurking in the Cardassian's eyes more and more frequently. Regardless of how unorthodox the methods required, Weyoun was doing his job. It really had to be that simple. He was a diplomat. He was maintaining channels of communication between allies. Still, he wished he could figure out why the situation had become so strange.

***

Dukat was very proud of this particular success. It had taken a great deal of manipulation to bring matters to this point. Weyoun was not the primary goal here. Instead, it was his dignity Dukat was after. If the Vorta was prepared to sacrifice that quality for his so-called gods, then it was only fair that he do so for Dukat as well.

Naturally, once he'd secured his success in private, it was time to expand his influence. Dukat dipped into more exotic ideas, and watched as Weyoun concocted excuses for bruises, cuts, splatters of dye... really, there was no end to the number of ways he could subtly mark the Vorta, just to see him scramble for ways to explain the marks to others. Of course, those brutish Jem'Hadar were oblivious, but some of Dukat's underlings had begun to realise. They too had no great liking for Weyoun, and Dukat's amused demeanour was spreading. They became obscurely proud of Dukat for outwitting the Vorta, regardless of his methods. In the end, it was all about gaining superiority, wasn't it? And he had done that.

Of course, there came a day when the Founder was no longer satisfied with vague excuses. She'd become curious, and had secreted herself in Dukat's quarters. Of course, he'd realised she was there. Cardassian memory was not feeble, and he'd have remembered if there had been three of those little statues rather than two. On that day, Dukat took a great deal of pleasure in encouraging Weyoun's degradation much further, with the extra thrill of knowing the Vorta was being judged by his 'god' without ever knowing.

Stammering apologies disregarded, Weyoun had been...replaced. This had been a rather more complete replacement than the usual change of clone. The new Weyoun had made it clear that he bore the same number as the last, whose existence in the chain of Weyouns was to be forgotten. Dukat didn't mind. Nor did he try the same tricks on this Weyoun. Once had been enough. He had already proven control complete enough to utterly destroy the previous Weyoun, and saw no further need of that game.

Dukat even went so far as to openly accept the forgetting of the other. It was what the Dominion wanted, there were no more exciting challenges to be had in doing otherwise...and, as Weyoun would have said...it was the diplomatic thing to do.