Juxian Tang's Fiction
 
Main Page
Slash/Yaoi Fiction
Original Fiction
[+] Livejournal
[+] E-mail Juxian
Slash and Yaoi Fiction
Title: Damar Is Not Dead
Author: Juxian Tang
Fandom: Star Trek: Deep Space Nine
Pairing: Dukat/Damar
Rating: NC-17
Status: complete
Archive: yes
Feedback: juxiantang@hotmail.com
URL: http://juxian.slashcity.net
Disclaimer: Star Trek and the characters belong to Paramount. No copyright infringement is intended.
Spoilers: set after the end of the series. Flashback spoilers for Penumbra.
Thanks: Lots of thanks to Eggblue - as always - for beta and support.
Summary: Damar tries to save Dukat. But is it possible?

DAMAR IS NOT DEAD

...The only thing that burns in hell is the part of you that won't let go of life, your memories, your attachments. They burn them all away. But they're not punishing you... They're freeing your soul. So, if you're frightened of dying and you're holding on, you'll see devils tearing your life away. But if you've made your peace, then the devils are really angels, freeing you from the earth.

Louie to Jacob (Meister Ekhart's philosophy), "Jacob's Ladder"

Last night I had this dream again. It was an empty world; the ground cracked and dry as if the heat withered it - but it was not heat. It was cold and winds, the winds that gathered long strings of black heavy clouds, driving them to the horizon where the grey sky merged with the grey land.

He was there. He thought it would be fire - but a man cannot live in fire. A man can live in cold and dark, however. Live... Life without death - because death would mean the end - and it was not supposed to have the end. He knew it. He didn't know how long he had been there - but he knew how long he would be: forever.

Without light or shadows, without memories or oblivion, without agony or blankness. Alone.

He knew what he had done to be there. It was his award from those he had been serving to. Not because he had failed them. He should have always known it would be like this - but their love had been too sweet, too intoxicating to relinquish it. He had believed in their love.

He might have felt deceived, might have hated himself - only hatred and regrets were feelings. He couldn't feel. He was nothing and he belonged to nothingness.

He knew they would never let him go.

* * *

I felt cold. The feeling was so familiar, meaning inevitably that the night was over. It was not that I had to hurry somewhere; I had probably too much time to deal with - but I already got to know that as soon as the iciness of my hand that reached across the bed awaked me, I was not going to have any more sleep.

I rolled on my side to face him. My blanket was crumpled around my feet and I pulled it up, relishing the resurrecting warmth. He didn't need to have his cover straightened, why would he?

"Morning," I whispered quietly into the silence.

Pathetic. I knew it was - talking to him like this. I had flushed every time during the first days when I had heard myself. But I continued to do it - and I used to it. It was easy; there was nobody to ridicule me - and I just liked it too much. Even though he wouldn't answer.

Tentatively, I stirred my fingers, unclenching them from his palm slowly. I was not concerned about not bothering him but my hand got numb through the night and the little prickles already coursed through it. I licked the inside of my wrist to stop it and felt my breath stunningly warm on the chilled skin. My hand was the same cold as his now. Only mine would get warm in minutes.

In the beginning of the night, when I had a lot of warmth in me, it seemed that I could pass some to his body. I lay with him, stretched along him, my chest at his arm, my belly pressed to his side. But even then he was not really absorbing warmth. This way some stones never get warm, no matter how long you hold them. And by the morning my body betrayed my intentions, recoiling from the source of cold in my bed, the remnants of my control enough only for still holding his hand, even in my sleep.

"I'll be right back," crawling out of the bed.

Every morning was pretty much the same. Getting up, washing myself, getting dressed... no armor any more. It didn't look like I would ever need it - and what did I have to do with Cardassian army now?

I had my breakfast before taking care of him. Under the touch of the wet cloth his face was so cold and smooth that it made me think about glass. His eyelids were half-raised, must have been like that for all the night, the whites and the lower parts of irises visible, and I pressed them down smoothly. They didn't open again. It didn't really make any difference but he looked more tranquil with them shut - so peaceful that I would almost be able to believe that it was a good place where he was.

If not for the dreams...

Brushing and perfuming his hair. A shot of the nutrition solvent in the vein under his jaw. It was probably aimless, I knew - to feed him IV, the same as it was aimless turning him from side to side to avoid bedsores. He wouldn't be damaged, he wouldn't die; he hadn't even after all that time that he had spent in the Caves before I found him.

Yet I kept stubbornly doing it. Maybe, because there was nothing else to do.

* * *

Damar's personal logbook.

I've asked the computer to determine our position and there have been either blank boxes or absurd digits on the screen. Amazing. I've never seen anything like this before.

It's worked out a little bit later... the part of the galaxy so distant that the maps for it must have been in the computer's reserve memory. If we keep going like this, soon the ship will be in the completely unknown site.

Am I happy? It is what I want, right? Something new. Unknown. To be as far away as possible. To be out - without the chance to go back.

Well, perhaps it does make me happy - even though I know that moving in the space can't help in changing his state in any way. But sometimes I hope that being away from the places that hold so many phantoms of the past might mean some weird kind of remission. Cleansing. At least I try to hope.

It would be simply too grim if I couldn't.

* * *

"Welcome back, dead man. Consider it a miracle."

It was quite a time at the hospital. They couldn't keep the nerve suppressor on all the time and when they switched it off... good thing I didn't remember everything clearly. I hardly was ever lucid - but the pain followed me both through consciousness and oblivion, more insistent than the bright flashes of phasers - the last thing I had seen - more real that the faces of those who I had lost on the way to this needless victory... my son, my wife, my pretty silly Liika. They were all gone and I had to go with them. There was some final perfection in it.

But I didn't go. A few days later - well, those were the first most agonizing days for Cardassia - I was on my feet again. The things were getting better by that time. There was help given - probably reluctant but they couldn't let the whole world perish. They didn't let the new Cardassia get buried under the ruins of the old mistakes.

It was a hard time. The Emergency Committee worked days and nights, regardless of themselves and others. For the first few weeks I got to sleep, maybe, too or three hours a day, too exhausted to dream. But eventually it started looking like our work was paid. The hardships were grievous - and would be for months, we knew it, but somehow the situation was not catastrophic any more.

Cardassia was going to survive. Oh didn't we always survive? It was what we were good at.

It was when the national elections passed and the things took a more quiet turn, I had this dream for the first time. The cold world, the wind - and him there. Not even asking for help because there was nobody to be asked. Alone.

You know I thought he was dead. I didn't know it for sure - I didn't know anything about him - but it was easier this way. Not to fear, not to expect that he could come back, that I could see him again.

Yes, I saw him again. Kept seeing him every night since then. He didn't know about me, didn't feel my presence there. It seemed that I probably was in his mind, being myself at the same time - as it happens in dreams. And I knew for sure that the things were wrong for him. I knew that I had to do something, even though I didn't know what. But I knew I would try.

One of Weyouns had asked me once what kind of loyalty it was I had towards Dukat. What could I tell him then? Really, what kind?

I looked for him secretly. I had the possibilities and I had time. My position in the new government was more symbolic that anything else. Oh they were extremely deferential to me, almost full of awe. I was a hero. A living slogan. Their rebel leader. But the thing was - and I knew it better than anyone else - the time of rebels was gone. Cardassia needed reformers now. Positive mentality, not destructiveness.

Nobody minded when I took this trip to Bajor.

You know for some reason I thought he would be as I had seen him for the last time - the fuckin' Bajoran disguise that I had hated so much! But he was a Cardassian. The face so serene and distant that I stopped short on the threshold of the Cave, the pain and happiness of seeing him again clashing with the realization that he was dead, despite everything.

I stumbled rushing to him and fell forward, on my knees. My hands trembled as I reached to him. I thought I couldn't touch him to feel him dead - but there was nothing else to do. His hands were icy, his skin freezing when I tried to raise him - but when I fumbled through his clothes for his heartbeat, I found it. Very soft and distant and faint - but it was there.

"Come on, Dukat, wake up! I've come for you."

I should have known better. He had been like that all this time - for weeks - for months, for all I knew - how could I think he would wake up now, that I was enough for him to come round?

His hands were wooden - and when I leant to them, checking his breath, his lips were unfeeling. He was just cold, I thought, if I could warm him up, everything would be okay, he would be back. Na´ve. But I must have wanted to be na´ve - because it meant having hope. I needed hope to go on with it.

There was no place for him in this world, dead or alive, I knew it. I thought about Cardassia where so many hated him - and about Bajor where there was practically no one who wouldn't hate him. And I thought about my post where I couldn't do almost anything, honorable but senseless, the rank that demanded respect without giving anything back.

I thought that he needed me. That he was, maybe, the only one in the whole world who needed me now, even though he didn't know it, could realize it there, where he was.

I made the decision.

Later, on the ship, I held him in my arms under the flows of almost scalding water, trying to warm him up, and looked at his face until my eyes hurt, hoping that his eyelashes would tremble.

"Damar!"

Nobody could say my name like this.

I didn't know then that, maybe, I would never hear him saying it again.

* * *

"What shall we do today? We have a choice. Books, tapes, talking. You know there was such a nice girl at the hospital... everything was falling apart around and she sat with me and read for me. Even though I didn't ask her for it, even when I was too dizzy to really listen. She read me poetry, of all things. Cardassian, Bajoran, even Ferengi - for some reason she must have thought it was what I needed. Very kind of her.

"I know you don't like poetry. But there are all those history novels and biographies that I had loaded on the ship before leaving. We can read the memoirs of Senator Kassen - I know you liked him. He amused you... you called him a perfect whore. Would you like me to start?

"No? Then how about the tapes? It is what you like to listen to, you see I remember. I used to find this music disturbing but somehow it became addictive - these long operas of fear, faith, incest and betrayal. And love beyond the grave.

"Oh well, maybe, I'd better just tell you something. About my father - did I tell you? How cold and strict he used to be, never talking to me, never touching me - neither to hug nor to punish. It's funny. Sometimes I deliberately did some mischief just so that he got pissed off and whipped me - as other fathers did. I hoped that his eyes would become angry, not just unseeing as they always were. He never got angry.

"And I wanted to do something good, too; so good that it would make him proud for me - and then he would understand that he was wrong, that I was really worth his while. I thought that one day I'd become a hero - for him. Ironic, isn't it? It was a bit too late when I did become a hero. He had been dead for twenty years by then. And he died looking at me with the same cold absent eyes.

"Later my mother told me that he suspected I was not his son. She didn't tell me if it was justified. Maybe, I was not his. Think about it. He gave me his name, spared me from being a nobody, a bastard. How could I demand his love, too? He must have thought I was incredibly greedy.

"Or shall I tell you about Zarem? We met at the Academy - on the first day there. You know how the things are at the Academy - nothing is easy. So fuckin' far from easy that I thought I wouldn't pull it out. I liked military life, I wanted to be an officer as long as I remembered - but even for me it was too much. Would I leave if Zarem was not near? I think I owed it to him. I owed him my life.

"He died on Bajor in the summer after the graduation. The famous Tervek revolt - and we were send to suppress it. He got caught. It was not a nice sight when we found him... what was left of him. We wiped out the rebels' group, not leaving anyone alive. I ran this operation and got the rank of Glen for it. And I tried to forget how his long-fingered hands felt on my cheeks under the blinding flows of water in the showers. The water tasted brimstone. His lips tasted brimstone, too.

"I thought I managed to forget. I thought I never gave my wife a reason to suspect anything was wrong. I loved her. I really did. It was just the job that kept me away from her - from her and from our son. And I always thought I would have enough time to make up for it. I thought they believed me. I thought they didn't know about Liika and others - or even if they did, I thought I would do something good to them and they would forgive me. I didn't think they would die knowing that I was the one who brought it on them.

"Or shall I tell you about the moment when I saw those Jem'Hadar in front of me and the blinding light entered my chest? And how maddening the pain was - it must have continued only for seconds, I had to be dead almost instantly - but it went on and on - and I knew I was dying. I knew it was right, it was what had to be - but a part of me so passionately wanted to live, clawed for life, for memories, for what I loved and feared. For you. I didn't want to leave you. I thought we could be together. Again."

* * *

"I'll do what I can."

"I knew you would say it."

Very well. He knew. I didn't know it myself - until he reached for my sleeve and hailed me - in his special way that I could never resist... would never be able to resist.

He brought the glass of kanar to his lips but his eyes stayed on me, ruthless, and I felt my mouth getting dry in spite of the drink I swallowed. I made a short intake of breath, gathering my strength. I knew I had to say something - even though I didn't know exactly what it had to be. Tell him not to do it? As if he would ever listen to me. Tell him... Just to tell him something to make him stay for some moments more - because now when he got from me what he wanted, he would leave. The grip on my heart was tighter than his hold on my arm could ever be.

Dukat would leave - again. I would not be able to stop him.

I didn't have time to tell anything, even to call his name. Suddenly he made a step towards me, reaching his hand around me to put the glass on the table. His closeness was overwhelming, his warmth heady, dazzling, I could feel it enveloping me even through the armor - and it scared me. I was losing control too easy. I didn't want to.

"Did I spoil your date, Damar?" his voice was soft, almost purring - and his arm stayed where it was - as if accidentally, around my back. His voice... like silk touching my skin, making the scales stand up on my nape. He had to stop it, I couldn't bear it. I didn't move. It was the only thing I could do. "You lost the chance of fun tonight."

Did he know what his voice was doing to me when he spoke like this? Something told me that he did know but my mind resisted to admit that he could be so consciously cruel to me.

"It's nothing, Dukat."

It was nothing. Liika was nothing.

"But you look... disappointed."

Did I? Wrong. I felt anything but disappointed. Brain-fucked - maybe - but not disappointed. Well, it was a bit too late to make my face a mask - and it wouldn't deceive him, anyway. His eyes were so close. I couldn't look in them but I had nowhere to look away. Then he raised his hand and I followed it with my eyes - until his thumb stroked my cheekbone.

"What shall we do about it, Damar?"

He chuckled. He took the glass from my hand, put it on the table - and again his arm stayed around me, the heat burning me almost unbearably. His thumb traced the ridge over my eye, rough and warm, making me shiver, making me barely catch a moan - as if it hurt me. I almost couldn't breathe - there was too much of him too near to me - and I thought what it would be if I fainted, if I fell forward on him.

"Why don't you answer?"

He knew why. His voice was the only thing that held my consciousness - and it was the thing that drove me mad, too. I wanted to make him stop, desperately wanted before it would be too late, before I would be lost totally - but I knew there was nothing I could do. Nothing I would do even if I could.

"Just tell me, Damar. Tell me how I can make it up for you - and we'll try to do something about it."

Why was he doing it, I thought desperately. To secure my help? I had already promised him to help, I wouldn't take my word back. His eyes, sky-grey, so clear and sober in the contrast with the delirium he inspired me, sucked me into them.

"Don't tell me you forgot everything."

How could I? It snapped in my mind, the memories that I seemed to hold in such a firm hold flooded me: the first time when I had seen him... the desire I didn't dare to admit even to myself - the desire I thought I would never feel again in my life. But only seeing him was enough to make it burn in me. My shame and fear and indignity - and his cold ironic eyes as if he knew everything from the first moment. Knew and what? Laughed at me? Detested me? Didn't care?

Then, later, on the Klingon ship, he called for me, late at night. He said he felt lonely and needed a companion. I couldn't tell exactly how it all happened. I remembered just the bitter mix of disgrace and happiness as I felt him closer to me than it seemed possible... inside me. I remembered the delight as I submitted to him. I remembered his elusiveness when I wanted more, just wanted him in my arms. I had never had.

My descent was quick. My bliss was short. I knew it never supposed to go on.

I remembered the bitter jealousy that came later, too. The redhead Major and this abomination of his daughter - he seemed to care about them so much that there was nothing left of him for anything else. Not for me, certainly. And I did this, maybe, most stupid thing in my life - killed his daughter in front of him - because she was a traitor, of course... But how could I not admit it to myself later, in my loneliness, when I had so much time to think about it, that I killed her because I wanted to kill her? I wanted him for myself. I almost ruined him.

It almost ruined me. Sometimes I felt I was already beyond the verge of madness when I thought about him in captivity. When I got to know that he escaped, it became better. But even then I knew he wouldn't forgive me.

He said I was not to blame. Sisko was. Oh really? But I was happy to hear it. I was ready to believe him. Only saying that and... what he was doing now... it was different things. Could he forgive me - like this?

He couldn't mean it. And if he meant it, if he did - and if he was going to push me away - I wouldn't stand it.

"My Glinn."

His fingers were harsh on my lips - and I made a sound of despair that was almost a sob.

"Dukat, please..." the last thing before I would fall.

"Please what? Please leave? Or please do it?"

Please leave was so easy - the only possible variant I could choose - and everything would be over - and I would be alone again... with Liika, with all others. With nothing. Without him. How could I bring myself to say it?

"Please... don't stop."

He laughed grabbing my head and pulling it to himself. His mouth tasted kanar - and also his own taste that I could never forget but that kept eluding me. Sometimes at nights I woke up thinking that I felt it but it was never really that, never like this.

My hands trembled when I put them around his shoulders. His clothes were soft but his muscles and ridges hard under them. Maddening. He had his hands on my face, almost rude, unlocking our lips, looking in my eyes with his special scrutiny - and a moment before he said it, I knew it was that. He wouldn't push me away.

"On your hands and knees, Damar," he ordered, making a step back and pulling at the belt of his pants.

* * *

The days never seemed long on the ship - and yet I was looking forward to the nights. Was afraid of them, too. At nights I was with him in the cold world.

He asked himself how he could survive there - without warmth or shelter - and was any food there? There must have been because he didn't die but he didn't remember acquiring it. He didn't remember when he was less cold - but he must have been because cold like this would certainly kill him, he was a Cardassian, after all.

Or a Bajoran? He didn't remember.

Anyway, he never died. Maybe, if he needed to do something for it, to fight for his life, it wouldn't be so bad. It would be at least something to occupy his mind, to distract it from eating itself in emptiness. But if he could die, he would be able to end it, would already end it - and he knew they were not going to be so merciful to him. There was no leaving for him.

The shadows came to visit him. The ones he had loved, the ones he had hated - but now he couldn't even distinguish the former from the latter. He couldn't pin the names to them - come on, he couldn't recall his own name - and he didn't see their faces. It didn't matter, anyway, because he knew they were not real. They didn't come to torment him and they didn't come to help. Just the reminder of what he had had once.

Of what he had lost.

* * *

Damar's personal logbook.

The point of no return is passed. Now we won't be able to get back even if wanted to.

I shouldn't think about it but I can't help asking if I have done the right thing leaving the Alpha Quadrant. If it has been the only thing I could do. You see, at the moment when I found him, I thought only that it was unsafe for him if anybody else knew that he was still alive, at least as alive as he was. There would be too many people wishing him completely dead. Punished... I couldn't let it happen. I just wanted him out. But if I stayed...

Would the punishment they would probably want for him any worse than what was with him now? Maybe, if I stayed, if I let them know about him, they would be able to do something. They would find the way to reach for him, they have all those machines to get into his brain. And death - full death - might be what he *really* wanted.

Maybe, the dreams came to me because I was supposed to do it.

Yesterday I had a desperate idea. I attached the wires to his temples and switched on the current. I almost didn't care if I would kill him. Or, rather, somehow I knew I wouldn't. It was the faintest hope that, maybe, this would make his brain work again.

Do I have to say nothing happened? His body arched violently, falling back on the bed the same motionless and still. How could I expect it would work? He is not here, in his brain. I know where he is, right?

There were black burns on his temples when I took off the wires. I sat with him and kissed these places before applying the regenerator. I knew he would probably mock me mercilessly - but he didn't know about it and I... I just can't relinquish some things.

There is so little pleasure in my life. To lie with him, having his head on my shoulder, running my fingers through his hair, leaning to him close enough to catch the cold breath from his lips. The only thing that is left for me.

I know I am a fool or a madman. But at these moments I don't feel despair so sharply - and it does matter.

* * *

I woke up in the middle of the night. The cold was the same bad as always - the worst thing about it was probably that it never changed. His still profile glimmered in the half-light slightly - the mask. Of death? Oh if it was...

I lay looking at him, feeling how the cold lodged itself comfortably deep in my chest. Nothing ever changed. It could go on forever - and I knew it. The space was endless, the ship was a self-supporting system - and I could spend all my life, all those twenty or thirty years I had in front of me - like that, grooming his lifeless body and visiting him in the cold world every night - witnessing his despair and never able to do anything.

And after that? Something told me that everything would go on the same. His body wouldn't change, wouldn't deteriorate - unlike mine would because there wouldn't be anybody to throw my corpse to the space. He would lie the same in the bed that we shared so strangely for so long. The sarcophagus... for his body - the same as his body was the sarcophagus for his mind, his soul locked in the cold world without a chance of redemption.

I couldn't stand it. Suddenly it was too much for me. I just couldn't any more.

"Please forgive me," my voice sounded pathetic - forlorn - but I didn't care. "I did fail you."

The phaser was at my side - I didn't need it near but the old habits died hard. I reached for it. The serenity of his face was killing. I pulled the blanket away from him and uncrossed his arms, exposing his chest. He felt so cold while the handle of the phaser got already warm in my palm. I pressed the stingers to the place between his ribs.

"Is it the only thing I can do? Is it what you want me to do?"

No, it was what *I* wanted to do.

There was always one more charge in the phaser to finish with it. I wouldn't have to go on without him. The sarcophagus. But what did it matter?

Yes, what did it matter? A sudden fit of rage overwhelmed me. I'd shoot him - I would be sure that he would be really dead, would make a hole in his chest big enough to burn his heart out.. I'd shoot him - the same as I had shot his daughter - and what? Would it do any good? Would it free his soul?

The truth was that it would free me. The dreams would stop - and maybe before my death I would be able to convince myself that it worked, that the cold world had never existed.

And he would be there. Forever. Alone. Just as he was now.

"Fuck you, Dukat!" the anger was blinding. I grabbed his shoulder, shaking him, his body unresisting in my hands, his head flopping back and forth. "Why? Why?"

His hair, so thin and brittle, looking so dead, fell across his face when I let him go. I reached my hand to tidy it - and slapped him, his head dangling listlessly, falling awry. I slapped him again. There was a little blood appearing in the corner of his mouth. He could bleed - but he felt nothing.

I threw the phaser across the room, hearing the pitiful spatter of the broken mirror rushing on the floor.

"Don't think you will get rid of me so easily. I am staying with you. As long as it takes."

* * *

I recognized the place immediately. The land was cold and hard and barren like a rock and the sky was of the same twilight color merging dirt into dirt on the horizon.

The wind was horrible. I had never realized how bad it was when I had been there before. Now I knew. I stood on the hard merciless ground and the wind tried to overturn me, filling my mouth, choking me. I turned around and around, looking for protection from it, fearing to fall because something told me I wouldn't be able to get up again. There seemed to be sharp glass in my eyes - the fluid on the eyelashes turning into ice in moments. I looked but all I could see was only grey and dusk.

It was his world and I was there. For him. I had to find him. I didn't know how, it seemed impossible, everything was the same empty as long as I could see - but I made a step, almost toppling, my clothes flopping around me like boneless wings. The wind pushed me back but I fought it - and made another step, then one more. I didn't know where I walked. I just knew I had to.

So I did.

* * *

When I woke up this morning, I was closer to him than I had ever been - my arm across his chest, our hands intertwined under my chin - for once the cold didn't bother me. I couldn't be colder than I already was. The cold world... Now I knew how it was.

I rose over him, trembling, looking in his face with the intensity that burnt my eyes. His eyelashes didn't flutter. I shouldn't have hoped. But I could be patient. I could wait. And they did seem to flutter when my tears fell on his eyelids.

"Is it that?" I didn't need the answer, I knew it. "Is it what I am for? Please, please let it be."

His mouth was soft and slack, accepting my tongue, unresponsive to the warmth of my breath. There was no taste in it, just softness and acceptance - of my kisses and sobs as I held his head in my palms and cried.

* * *

Damar's personal logbook.

In the morning I tinkered with the conduct system. It didn't need any repair but I started reassembling the unit just to do something. The thing is that I want to stay in bed too much, waiting for sleep to come - to get back to the cold world again, to try again. But - surprise, surprise - it doesn't come off. I can stay with him just hugging him - I won't be able to stop myself - but it is a bit closer to madness than I can afford.

So, I got out of the bed and gave some task to my idle hands. A bad idea. There was a jump of pressure when I sank the bolts into the panel and one of them shot out from the slot. It passed by my temple and buried in the opposite wall so deeply that I couldn't dig it out later.

I took another one calmly and then felt my knees turning into jelly. If a little bit on the left... I could be dead, with half of my scull blown off. Was I afraid to die? I am a soldier, was a soldier. Then, with Jem'Hadar discharging their phasers in me, I was sure I didn't have a chance - but it was anger, not fear. And now... Being killed in a senseless accident...

He wouldn't even know how close I was.

* * *

He knew I was there.

It was not hope - it was certain knowledge that he was not alone any more in this world. For a while after he had understood it he didn't do anything about it, his mind was so numbed that it didn't start working. But then the realization came.

There was no joy - he didn't know joy, he couldn't even imagine how it felt. But the new knowledge brought some definite changes to him. It demanded some reaction. And for the first time - for how long? - he did something on his own.

He got up and walked.

He didn't know why he did it, how it could help, he didn't know where he was going to, where this other was and if he was any good for him. He only knew that he did the right thing. The wind was the same bitter and stunning as always, unending torture, his eyes could see nothing but the land in front of him, the sky that was the same dark and unrelenting as the ground.

He walked.

* * *

The coldness of his face was painful to my palms. But my thumbs continued to slide over the ridges above his eyes. So clear, so hard. So perfect. In this tranquility his face was smoother, younger but more distant, too - with this only expression: haughty and somehow sad.

"Don't worry, we can do it. I know," I passed my hand through his hair, the strand spilling between my fingers easily. His hair was warmer than his face. "We are doing great. You are doing great, my dear. You are strong. You will be able to do it. Please do it. For yourself. For me."

I knew the pattern of his ridges so well, had touched it so many times - when washing him, when turning him. And yet it was fascinating. My fingers stroked the hard contours, going down to his chest under the blanket. The lines were so exact, so completed. The extension of his ribcage fell abruptly to the hollow of his belly. The scales were soft there, almost imperceptible to the touch.

I kissed him. His lips yielded easily under mine but then I kissed down his neck and the ridges were hard as I nibbled on them and my hands stroked up and down his body, until sliding to the unbearable iciness between his thighs.

How cold he was there! While I was so burning hot. His hand I took in mine seemed to be carved of ice, hurting when I pushed in under my clothes, to the source of flame there.

"I am sorry. Do I do something you don't want me to?" my voice was desperate, shame and pleasure tearing me apart - but pleasure was stronger, overwhelming me. I couldn't stop it. "I know you don't mind. Please."

Please. Who did I plead with? The coldness of his slack palm on my shaft made me gasp. My cock pushed into it, getting numb with cold and still painfully tender. The flame was inside me, spreading through my abdomen from my genitals.

His body was scalding cold as I curled along him, clinging. Out joint hands slid over my shaft. My breath became sobbing.

"Please," I kept whispering to him as both our hands speeded up even more, the peak closing. "Oh thank you, thank you, yes, I am here, yes..."

My semen splashed out - and I went limp at his side, as close as I could be, enveloping his unresponsive body with mine. I raised his smeared hand to my lips.

"I'll wash it, my dear, don't worry."

His head was in my arms and I cradled it, still feeling the cold of his lips on mine, my cock burning softly, getting warm again.

"I love you," I whispered to his ear. "I always did. Come to meet me."

* * *

"I am not going to spend all my life poising as a Bajoran," he smiled to his reflection again. Self-enamoured. I felt sick, reached for the doorpost involuntarily to steady myself. The room was too small to look anywhere else but at him, no matter how I wanted to. "But for now - I need it."

He didn't look at me. It was good. I turned away, thinking that I would be able to leave without saying anything else. I could stand it, it was nothing awful. He would leave tomorrow - and I wouldn't see him again until he returned his normal appearance - I would take care of it. I could forget it. As soon as he would be out of my sight.

"Damar!"

Please, not this voice!

His steps were lighter, I sensed it despite myself. Maybe, it was just that he didn't have the armor on.

"Turn back to me."

He stood behind. The voice was low, intimate, the richest undertones he could muster. He made it consciously, of course - knowing - I gave him enough of this knowledge, it was a pity not to use it. And I still felt helpless in front of him.

"I am here, Damar."

I turned back. He was close. Closer than I thought he would be - the tanned Bajoran face just in a few palm-widths from me.

"What is it with you? So bad, huh?"

What did he expect me to say? I couldn't pretend any more.

"Yes," I whispered helplessly. He smiled, not insulted in a little bit. The warm color of his face blurred in front of my eyes.

"But not *so* bad?" I felt his palm cupping suddenly around my crotch. Obscene. I winced - the feeling was electrifying, the touch that I knew so well. Possessive, undeniable, claiming... Wrong!

"Don't tell me it is, you fuckin' little racist, because I won't believe you anyway."

The touch, the voice. The same. The smell, the feeling, the warmth - different. Even the way his eyelashes shadowed his eyes was different. I couldn't explain it. I closed my eyes and pushed towards his hand.

In a moment it was gone. Leaving me cold and empty where it touched - but I felt it again, slapping my face, not heavily, just scathingly - and I flushed with humiliation - but at the same time I knew it was exactly what I wanted to feel.

"Damar!" there was slight reproach - and mockery - in his voice that I recognized so well. "Why don't you look at me? Look at me."

I did. He won me. He put his hands around my cheeks - the palms that had to be callused for a Bajoran but were still stunningly soft for Dukat - and, as if hypnotized, I raised my hands and cupped them around his face in the same manner. His mouth was so soft and warm - the softness and warmth that I never enjoyed in women, Bajoran or Cardassian - but the claiming of my lips was the same recognizable, urgent as always - and I threw myself towards him, my arms braced around him, pressing him to me.

His body didn't feel right - slighter and smoother than it had to be, without the ridges, but strangely I was past caring. I pushed my tongue aggressively into his melting mouth, ravaging these vulnerable lips - and I felt him backing away from me, understood the reason when I felt the faint film of blood on my lips.

"I am sorry," I let his mouth go, thinking that I should unlock my arms around him, too, but for some reason unable to do it. Just a few moments ago I couldn't look at him - and now I didn't want to let him go.

"Oh come one, Damar," there was contentment in his voice, not anger. He licked his lips and smiled at the same time - and then he plunged towards me, his unprotected chest to my armor, his bottom belly against mine - and I locked my arms around him with even more force. Dazed, I saw him taking off the Bajoran ear-clip slowly, dropping it on the floor. The soft sound of it falling was like a signal for me. Something clicked in my mind as I pushed him to the bed.

We stumbled - we were too close - but it was not that he didn't comply. I pulled his clothes off of him and saw the deep imprints of my armor on his chest. A wave of shame coursed through me - I didn't think it would be like this - or, maybe, I knew it would be when I crushed his body against mine - and wanted it. Wanted to revenge myself on him for his new vulnerability? And at the same time I knew he wanted it, too, I just followed his needs. Wasn't it always like that between us?

His body was an insult for my perception - everything in it - flat where the ridges had to be, hair where it had to be smooth - but for some reason the despise, the shame I felt for him and for myself for this abomination only added to my excitement. Oh he always turned my brains upside down, didn't he?

Had I ever been so excited in my life? I pulled off the lower plate of my armor angrily, my cock hard and dark, standing almost parallel to my belly. My eyes roamed over him in hunger, the sight of the changes that touched every part of it was sickening and entrancing at once.

I reached for the clasps of my chest-plate when he raised his hand.

"No, don't take it off."

"But..."

He smiled rejecting it easily and I obeyed. Of course, I did.

"Let's check now how the new instrument works, huh?"

For a moment I was sickened with jealousy thinking how he would use 'the new instrument' when away. But I didn't have a claim there. I could only accept. As always.

I knelt under his intent eyes. My mind rebelled at what I was supposed to do - to a Bajoran! - but there was such a sweet core in the bitterness of this humiliation. He couldn't be kinder to me. I licked and circled my lips preparing to take his Bajoran cock in my mouth.

He laughed. I stopped abruptly, my mouth still ready to envelop his ridged shaft, when he pushed me in the forehead. My heart sank.

"No, Damar, it is not what I want."

He couldn't... I wouldn't let him... not when he looked like this! But deep in my heart I knew that I would - and that his cock forced up to my ass would bring me the most desired pleasure, so generously blended with disgrace.

There was this softness in his eyes - the expression that I got to see so rare but that had more power over me than anything else. I looked sheepishly at him waiting for him to tell me in what pose he wanted me. Then he pulled me over himself.

"Hug me," his voice was gentle but it was an order. Anything that came from him was an order. I put my arms around him and felt him sighing in pleasure. "More."

With no ridges protecting him, I felt hesitant - but I did - and almost convulsed when my cock pressed against the scalding hot of his upright shaft. I kissed him because I believed it was what he wanted - and I already didn't know if I wanted to do it or hated doing it.

"Fuck me."

The words were said in my mouth; I must have been mistaken. I rose over him on my elbows, looking intently in his face. He nodded - seriously, just a trace of the usual irony in the depth of his ever-changing eyes.

"But why, Dukat? You never..."

"New looks - new personality," he chuckled.

I felt losing it. I couldn't ask more. Even if he wanted to stop me now, he would be hardly able to do it.

I sat up, yanking his legs apart for me. There was such a weird expression in his eyes - dreamy, almost delirious. His body tensed when I handled him too roughly but relaxed consciously again. I had just enough self-control to slick my cock before pushing it in.

He tossed his head back growling in pain. I knew I would hurt him - he knew it, too - he was not... accustomed. But I knew he wanted it. Yet it horrified me when I felt his entrance yielding to my cock too easily, getting wet as I tore him, when I felt him freezing in pain. I locked my arms around him as if it could diminish pain - but I knew it was only worse, with the plates of my armor scraping his chest. And I still was entering him, the side ridges on my cock spreading his opening wider. He made a strange breathless sound - and I echoed it as I sank fully into him.

I would like to be careful, to spare him - but the flimsy bond of my control was giving off - and I pulled out, violently, wrenching the ridges out of him, catching his gasp in my mouth. Then I thrust back.

The motions were getting smoother, blood and pre-cum making it easier - and I lost control, I couldn't limit my speed any more. I knew it was too fast, too hard, he couldn't stand it. He had to stand it. He was the one who made me do it! My arm was locked around him, pulling him even closer if it was possible, my body reverberating with the small gasps he made. But his mouth was the same fervent as mine, our lips sealed together, his tongue struggling with mine - insanely. I bit his lips viciously, feeling his flinch and relishing it.

His cock was captured in my palm, squeezed between our bodies. There was nothing delicate in my touches, hardly anything erotic as my rough palm slid over it in cadence with my own cock plunging into him. A tiny part of my mind begged me to stop before I really injured him - but how could I stop? And his arms were around me, pulling me closer, his softened fingers playing with the scales on my nape, his chest pressed to mine - and he moved subtly as if rubbing his chest against my armor, the moans he made tearing and fascinating.

His bloodied mouth tasted salty and its vulnerability was heartbreaking. I clamped on it and he tried to dodge his head away for a moment. Then he dived into kiss again and my hand clasped on his shoulder convulsively, the fingernails digging deeply into his skin, leaving the rakes of raw flesh.

"Very Cardassian, huh?" he was barely coherent and he was laughing.

His moans became raw, hoarse as my hand clasped around his cock brutally, almost crushing it - and I buried my cock inside him. It could not be pain why I cried out when coming - but it was so close to pain that it stunned me. It felt like boiling wave coursing through me - and the relief was bliss itself. I stopped moving, somehow keeping from falling on him exhausted - and then I felt his cock pulsing in my hand - beat after beat, spreading the wet warmth over my fingers. I shuddered. It hurt me to be so happy to feel it. Then I landed on the bed at his side.

Later my arms still ached because I wanted to hug him - but he was already out of reach, even though still with me, still languid and smiley. Sometimes I thought it was the worst thing in sex with Dukat - these moments after - when I still was with him and he already shut me off.

"It was... good."

His lips were split and slightly swollen but he still smiled. I wanted to reach my hand, to touch the splits that I had inflicted myself but how could I dare?

"It was new. Something with perception, you know."

"You need a regenerator," I did reach for the traces of my fingernails on his chest and he pushed my hand away.

"I'll take care of myself, Damar."

Yes, of course.

"We should try it again... some day," he said lazily and my heart sank. I was not certain I would be able to go through another. "Promise me."

"Sure," I said.

He left the next morning... to play with his demons.

* * *

The sharp wind was eating my eyes, tears filling them but even this didn't make the world around me sparkle. Nothing was sparkling there, just dull and empty and cold. So cold. My body seemed unfeeling but still ached as I walked against the wind, every step like through thick liquid, every step seeming the last I could make.

One more. Then one more. So many times I repeated it that it became my litany. An accompaniment to the agonizing walk. I blinked off the tears to have a moment of clarity, just to become blind again almost at once.

At first I thought I didn't really see it. My eyes hurt too much, they were letting me down. The black silhouette on the grey horizon. It couldn't be. It just didn't happen like this. After so many days.

I was ready to see it dispel - the chimera, the illusion - as soon as I wiped my eyes. And when it didn't, I still didn't believe. It was not that. I couldn't let myself hope and then be deceived.

I walked. I couldn't run, even if I wanted to - the wind didn't let me, never would let me. I could only move slowly - and the shadow moved, too. Walking towards me.

Then I saw it was him - and still I thought it couldn't be like that - he would disappear as soon as I got closer. Did he see me? I couldn't distinguish the expression of his face - only that his eyes were open. I wanted to scream. I knew I didn't have to - and I couldn't scream, the wind would choke me. I just walked and he walked to me - and when we were in a few steps, I understood he saw me - and there was no smile, no relief on his face - just determination - and for a moment it made my heart sink - until I understood that it was the only expression he could still keep, so exhausted he was.

Then he stopped and I covered those few steps between us faster than I ever imagined I could it when I saw him swaying. I opened my arms for him, the only time praying it to be true. He said:

"Damar," - and went limp in my arms.

He was cold - worse than he had ever been in our bed - icy, incredible coldness that made me think about cryonics - and there was no joy, no hope on his face, no even surprise. But he said my name. It was worth everything.

I cuddled him in my arms, his weight making me sink on the ground with him eventually. I sobbed and laughed breathing on his lips, trying to shield him from the wind, hugging him to pass him some warmth - but I almost had none left. Then his black-and-grey eyes opened and found me - a strange expression of disbelief in them - and his arms clasped on me, under my jacket, dead cold on my cold skin, gripping me painfully - but I loved it.

"Damar," he said again and hastily I whispered to him over the wind:

"Yes, yes, my dear, I am here. I'll get you out. Just hold on me."

He did hold. His icy fingers dug into me, hooking into my flesh as if it could keep me there. I didn't mind. I wanted the desperation of this grip, to be double sure that I wouldn't lose him. I held him, too, almost the same tightly when getting up and getting him on his feet.

Just walk now. Walk back. I knew the path.

* * *

Damar's personal logbook.

This star system has a dying sun. The huge red sphere glimmering sickly in the darkness of the space. There is some life on the planets around it but I don't want to think what kind of life it is. I hope we'll get out of there as soon as possible. Well, we'll certainly do. We keep moving.

He is with me. Here, from where I sit, I can see him - in the bed, reading a book. His face is so calm and thoughtful as he fingers a strand of his hair. A long strand; he doesn't want to cut it.

He doesn't look at me, not interested what I am muttering into the computer. He likes when I leave him alone. With the books, with his music, even though he doesn't seem too interested in them, too. Just passing the time. But he likes warm blanket around him and warm baths. He likes warm things.

He is still too brittle. Too little food, too cold for too long. But he would be all right, I know. Physically, by all means. I am not sure about his absent look. He was for too long there. If I could get him out sooner... No, I don't need to think about this. I am not a greedy man. I know what I had, what I got. I appreciate it. I am happy. Happiness can be sad, too.

He thinks me annoying. Always around, cluttering about him. But he would not be able to take care of himself - I think he knows it. That's why he tries to be good to me - as much as he can. He talks to me. He even got up to look at the dying star because I said it was beautiful.

Maybe, one day he will be back with me completely. Maybe - I must face it - never. Maybe, it will be always like kissing the lips that answer without passion.

Kissing... Will I ever kiss him again? He doesn't need it - and how can I take it, no matter how much I need it, will always need it? Even though I know he will give it to me if I ask, it is just too all the same for him to reject me.

"We should try it again... some day. Promise?"

I always wanted my feelings about him to be pure. It maddened me that my thoughts about him were so contaminated with sex, with desire - it was not real, I thought, not real love. But I couldn't do anything about it. It looks like I am getting what I want. Funny...

I bring him a cup of tea, strong and steaming, just as he likes it. He nods without looking at me, folding his long fingers around the cup. He is still cold, can't get warm enough.

That's why at nights he says to me:

"Hold me," - softly and regally, the shadow of his former voice. And I oblige. Aren't I here for it?

And there was this time when he said that he could feel in the cold world how I had held him. Is it true? I want to believe it is. I just want to believe..

* * *

It was an empty world; the ground cracked and dry as if the heat withered it - but it was not heat. It was cold and winds, the winds that gathered long strings of black heavy clouds, driving them to the horizon where the grey sky merged with the grey land.

He was there. He didn't know for how long and how he had got there - and there was no sense in knowing it all the same because it didn't change anything. The only important thing was what he knew - there was no way out.

They wanted him to be there. They thought he deserved it. Maybe, it would be better if he knew that him being there at least amused them. But it didn't. They even didn't watch him. They left him alone. Without relief, without hope or help.

There could be no help. He belonged where he was and nobody could take him from there. Nobody would.

They would never let him go.

* * *

"...and today, on the first anniversary of those sad and happy events that founded the freedom of Cardassia, I think about those who don't meet this day with us - the heroes who gave their lives in the fight against the Dominion - and Legate Damar, the Cardassian Liberation Front leader, among them.

Looking back at what we achieved, I can't help wondering how much difference he could have made if he had stayed alive, if he hadn't faced those Jem'Hadar in the Dominion stronghold, saving my life and the life of Colonel Kira. How much he would be able to do for Cardassia, for her rebirth, for the spirit of her people... for all those who knew and loved him.

But history doesn't care about what people are feeling. Damar is dead. And the Cardassia that will never forget him lives on."

From the speech of Deputy Garak, 2376

THE END

[+] Back