Disclaimer: Nope, none of them are mine, and I (Gatekeeper) am sorry for any suffering the story has caused. AnitaB, however, laughs at your pain.
Past All Explanation
by Gatekeeper and AnitaB
Kira knew there was chaos around her. The Gem Hadar had just tried to murder the command crew of DS9, and everyone was busy restoring law and order and cleaning up the fallen bodies. Those that weren't doing that were rounding up the Cardassians that had helped them get on board and locking them in the brig. Except, of course, for the one currently taking up a bed in the station's infirmary. Gul Dukat, the man who had saved her life, damn him.
He was all she could think about as she and Odo secured the civilians on the promenade, though she could have kicked herself for it. After all, it had been him who had led them all on to the station. But she could still see the look on his face as slumped into her arms, bleeding for her.
They had planned to go for Sisko first, but he was surrounded by too many Bajoran diplomats for the shot to be trusted. So they decided to go for her, hanging by the edge to keep the situation in control as she always did. Take out the second-in-command in the first moment, then peg the captain and the rest of the command crew as they rushed to her aid. She never would have even seen it coming, couldn't have done anything about it.
But someone else had gotten there first. She had been talking to security about something, she couldn't even remember what now, when she heard her name ripped from a familiar throat. She turned, only to catch Dukat's ragged form flying in front of her. The sound of the rifle blast seemed almost immediate, echoing in the sudden stillness as she felt its impact throw Dukat into her arms. He slumped against her, and Kira automatically supported his weight as she lowered him to the floor. She was oblivious to the battle around her as his blood soaked her uniform. He turned to her with his last remaining strength, and Kira could barely make out his raspy voice as he lifted a hand to her cheek. "Nerys, I'm sorry ...." Then he was gone.
That was why she was here now, in the infirmary, standing over the bed of the one man she thought she truly hated. He had saved her life, there was a certain honor in that she had to acknowledge. Besides, she wanted some answers. Kira hated being confused, and Dukat had always confused her.
She refused to admit her other reasons for being here, even to herself. How, as he had fallen against her, his life spilling through her fingers, she had wanted to cry out in protest. That, or weep like a child. He couldn't leave her. Not now, not like this. She couldn't not want him to.
She paced, her boot heels ringing through the otherwise silent infirmary. It was distracting, and that was the one thing she needed right now. Anything to keep her treacherous thoughts and emotions at bay. She didn't want to think, she couldn't think.
Suddenly, she turned to him, the ghost that had haunted her thoughts for days. "Dammit, Dukat, why?" she asked the still-unconscious form, unable to keep her voice from choking. "We already know you were there as one of the bad guys. You must have known you had to get out as soon as possible, that it was suicide to be on the station once the firing started. You had the perfect opening -- everyone would have been distracted as I fell. Why didn't you leave?"
Dukat, still being unconscious, refused to answer.
This enraged her for some reason. He had no right to do something that stupidly heroic without being able to justify himself. "You should have left me. It would have been so much easier if you had left me. Then I could go on safely hating you, you bastard, and not have to feel like this." In a way, it was good that he couldn't hear her. The Dukat she knew would have demanded an answer, not letting her get away with something so wishy-washy as "like this." He would have forced the words from her, and that was definitely something she couldn't deal with yet.
Suddenly exhausted by her emotional outburst, she collapsed into the chair beside his bed, resting her forehead on clasped hands. Then she lifted her head, reaching over to touch him almost despite herself. "Just talk to me," she whispered brokenly, "Just once. Something, anything. Just tell me why. Then maybe I can explain it to myself."
Tears ran down her face as she reached out to clasp his hand. "You'd better wake up, damn you, so I can pull something like this on you," she threatened. "No fair dying and winning like this. I still need to yell at you." She cradled his hand against her cheek and stared off into the silence.
Everyone on the station knew that there was something wrong with Kira. It was obvious to even the lowest cadet. She never argued with anyone, never yelled, never had a smart comeback -- she was merely quiet and docile. She had lost her fire. It was freaking everyone out.
People tried to talk to her about it, but she always insisted nothing was wrong, and the other person was usually too intimidated to push further. Jadzia Dax, however, was never intimidated.
She cornered Kira in the turbolift. "Is there something you'd like to talk about?"
Several lifetimes of "don't mess with me" suddenly manifested themselves in Dax's voice. "Oh, really?" she said, terribly unconvinced. "Well, there's something I'm just dying to talk about. Why don't you tell me what's wrong?"
The hard mask hiding Kira's emotions crumbled. "It's Dukat.." was all she could manage to get past the pain in her voice.
Dax blinked in shock, then swore. "Dammit, I thought it was something like that." She took Kira gently by the shoulders. "I heard what happened. It must have been terrible."
Kira crumpled against the wall, grateful to be able to tell someone, anyone. "Why did he do it?" she whispered. "And why does it hurt so much?" She buried her face in her hands, knowing that sympathy would break the barriers holding back her tears.
Dax swore again. She hadn't expected it to be quite like this. They needed a logical explanation for this, or at least the closest equivalent. "You two have quite a complex relationship," she finally attempted. "And now it's ending suddenly, without any warning. Maybe you're just feeling lost, without a resolution of some kind." At least her darling Worf would have bought it.
Kira suddenly brightened, grateful for the thread of sanity she had just been handed. "Yes, that's it," she told herself firmly. "That has to be it."
As Kira hurried to the infirmary to test the theory, Dax couldn't shake the feeling that her theory hadn't quite worked.
She was pacing again, as she tried to explain the situation to the unconscious man before her. It was so much safer to pace.
"We just need to resolve things. That's the key to all of it, the reason why I'm totally losing it and you did something to stupid. So all you have to do is wake up, we can yell at each other for awhile, and everything will be back to normal again." She turned to him suddenly, emotion overcoming her again. "So wake up!"
Dukat paid no attention, and Kira was once again left alone with her anguish. Feeling lost, she turned away from him, back to the darkened infirmary. Then she heard the voice behind her again, quieter but no less familiar than it had been days before. "Nerys...."
She whirled around, feeling whatever control she had gathered over the past few days slip away from her like water. She moved toward him as he painfully reached out to her, resting her hand in his. He brought it to his cheek, making sure she was real. He moved his eyes to her face, searching. "Are you all right?"
Kira closed her eyes, unable to stop the tears that kept slipping out of them. He was the one that almost died, and the first words out of his mouth were concerned about her safety? She was going to kill him if she ever stopped crying.
Alarm began to creep into his voice. "Kira, what's wrong?" he asked nervously. He reached his other hand out to touch her cheek, carefully wiping away her tears. "I've never seen you cry before."
She could no longer keep it in, no longer keep anything in. "Dammit," she whispered, covering his hand with her own. "I missed you."
Dukat had to close his eyes against the sudden swell of emotion that overcame him. He had waited so long for her to say it, had been so afraid that she never would. His voice was hoarse as he opened his eyes and whispered, "So, what are we going to do now?"
"I don't know." Kira opened her eyes, and Dukat could see a sudden determination in them. "But you'd better not leave me again." Her mouth lowered to meet his, and both of them were silent for a long time.