Disclaimer: Paramount Pictures owns, Dukat, Mekor, Tora Ziyal, and Tora Naprem. They even own Mrs. Dukat, I just happened to give her a name.

Author Notes: This little conversational piece takes place before the episode 'Return to Grace'. When you read this you may find Dukat a little out of character. He may seem like he's acting too romantic. Dukat had always intrigued me because of his ability to 'act'. One could never know for sure if he was being sincere or if he was acting. That's what made him such a great character. Please read and review, or feel free to contact me via e-mail at (tora_ziyal13@hotmail.com). Enjoy and thanks.

Rating: PG

The Unbinding Ties

By Tora Ziyal

Alira crossed her arms as she turned her body away from her husband. "I thought you loved me?"

Dukat reached for his wife but she stepped away from him. "I do love you. I always will love you, Alira."

Alira Dukat turned and faced her husband, her face twisted with madness. "What was her name?!"

Dukat shook his head. "It isn't important."

"Her name, Skrain. What was her name?"

Dukat shifted his gaze to the floor, away from his wife's beautiful green eyes. "Naprem." He finally answered.

"Naprem." Alira repeated. "A Bajoran woman."

"It was a long time ago, Alira. When you and I weren't getting along to well." Dukat defended himself.

"And that gives you the right to....." Alira couldn't even finish her sentence. She dropped her arms to her side and glared at him. "I could have came with you to Terok Nor."

"You were pregnant. I didn't want you there...I didn't want anything to happen to you or our child." He said stepping closer.

"Terok Nor, was probably the safest place. You were the commander of the station!" She spouted, throwing her arms into the air. "But instead of taking your family, you left us here! Only coming home a few times a month. The children grew up with out their father. And all the while you were at Terok Nor you were with Naprem.... Or was it a different woman?"

"Kira Meru." Dukat thought but he didn't dare share that with his wife. "I apologize for all those horrible things I've done. Let's start anew, Alira. Let's forget about the past and think about our future. Let's think about our children's future." He said placing his arms around her waist and pulling her in for a hug.

"No, Skrain!!" Alira protested as she wiggled her way out of his grasp, stepping farther away. "Perhaps we could have made amends but you brought *her* here. If you would have left her at that camp or would have killed her; I could have possibly forgave you. But you had to bring your precious Ziyal back to Cardassia!" By this time Alira was really upset. "It seems to me that you love her more than you love your own daughter Lycia. Why would you risk this family the embarrassment of bringing your half Bajoran daughter here?"

"She spent six years in a Breen prisoner of war camp. I thought she needed her father." Dukat defended himself again.

Alira stepped up to her husband and looked into those icy blue eyes she used to love so much. "I think the Occupation made you soft!" She snapped at him.

Dukat had no come back to give his wife. The only thing that kept running through his mind was how much he wanted to fix everything between him and Alira. He only wished for her to say how much she loved him. His greatest wish was to have Ziyal excepted into his family. Dukat lowered himself to his knees and took Alira's hands in his. "I swear to you, Alira, that there is not one day that goes by were I don't regret getting involved with Naprem. I only want our family to be as perfect as it once was before."

Alira shook her head. "You are a good liar, Skrain. You lie so well that you probably believe all that you're saying. But I've been married to you for the last twenty-five years, and I know better. I only pretended that you were a good husband and a father." She said sadly looking at him.

Dukat swallowed the large lump that formed inside his throat. "...You never thought I was a good husband?" He asked quietly.

"There were a few times when I thought that you were the greatest husband a woman could ever have." She paused a moment and a smile spread across her face. "Like the time you surprised me by taking me to Zayra Pier for the weekend."

Dukat smiled with her. "That was a good time, wasn't it?" He said squeezing her hands as he stood up on his feet, looking into her eyes.

Alira nodded. "It was the best time we ever shared alone."

"There were other times we had together." Dukat added.

Alira shook her head sadly. "Not like that one. You started spending more and more time with the Central Command and less and less time with your family."

Dukat nodded. "They needed me. You knew that." He paused. "If I had it may way I would have stayed on Cardassia than went to Terok Nor."

Another lie. Alira told herself. "Quit deluding."

Dukat glared at her. "I'm not *deluding* anything. I tell you the truth." His tone softened. "I admit, I'm not perfect but I swear to you that I will try my best from now on. Stay with me, Alira. If not for me than for our children."

Divorce wasn't something Cardassian's did but in certain instances a spouse could disassociate themselves and their children from their mate. Alira looked at Dukat. Questions spun through her head. She didn't know what she was going to do. If she did disassociate herself from him, would she be able to provide for her children? Before she could answer her question, she found herself in her husband's arms. He was kissing her as passionately as did so many years ago.

"I love you, Alira." He whispered in between his kisses. "You and our children are all I have now."

For a moment Alira found herself lost him his arms and in his kisses. She wanted nothing more than to say 'I love you too' but it was too late for that, she had already made up her mind. She placed her hand firmly against his chest and pushed herself away from him. "I'm taking the children and we are leaving you." She said firmly. "You and your daughter, Ziyal can live out the rest of your lives together. She is all the family you will have."

Dukat gritted his teeth. "If that is what you wish." He said clenching his fists so tightly, that they almost bled.

Alira could not stand the sight of him anymore. "Leave Dukat." She said turning her back to him.

Dukat shook his head. His emotions were a mix of sadness and anger. "Alira-"

"Good day Sir." Alira cut in, making it clear that she didn't wanted to deal with him anymore.

For a moment Dukat stood there looking at his wife. Trying to think of anything to make her take him back but he knew that there was nothing he could say to undo the damage that he had already done. Slowly he turned away and walked out.

Alira Dukat crossed her arms again as she watched Skrain Dukat walk down the dusty road from her window. "You poor fool. You brought this upon yourself." She reached for the drapes and pulled them shut.

"Mother?" A boy's voice called out from behind her.

Startled, Alira spun around. "Mekor." She said looking at her son.

"Father is not coming back, is he?"

Alira shook her head. "No son, he is not."

Mekor nodded his head and walked over to his mother placing his arms around her and giving her a hug. "We never needed him anyway."

Alira hugged her son back. "As much as you may say that, Mekor, we needed him more than anything." She thought as she wondered what would happen to them now? Even more so what would happen to Dukat now?