Deliberation – 4. Oh How the Years Go By

Dani’s days on Cardassia IV passed, and before long they turned into months. And those months turned into years. Life settled into a normal routine, one which Rubula was constantly trying to disrupt. Dukat would spend the week on Cardassia Prime, working, and leave for Four after work on Friday afternoons. He spent the weekends with Dani and Nate. In the meantime, Rubula did everything she could to get Dukat’s attention and keep him at home. She cooked for him. She pretended to take great interest in his work. She tried to be affectionate toward him. She even resorted to walking around the house nude. But it was all to no avail. Dukat successfully ignored Rubula. His heart remained with Dani.

Soon, six years had passed since Dani had relocated to Cardassia IV. Despite the initial difficulty surrounding the transition, Dani had become accustomed to her lifestyle. She was used to the idea of Dukat being married to another woman and had become used to only seeing him on weekends. The knowledge that she was enduring this so that she and Dukat could be married was what kept her hanging on. She had settled into a comfortable routine with Rowat, Melba, and Nate, which was why she was so surprised when that routine was successfully disrupted one night when Rubula Dukat showed up on Dani’s doorstep.

Dani opened the door and stared into the blue eyes of Rubula Dukat. Dani recognized her face from the news vids.

Rubula knew that the woman who answered the door must be Janeway. What other Terran would be living in a house on Four? She studied the woman. The Terran wasn’t any younger than she, and she certainly wasn’t prettier, by Cardassian standards. Honestly, at first glance, Rubula couldn’t see any reason why Dukat had preferred this creature over her all these years.

“Can I help you?” Dani asked, erring on the side of caution by asking the question.

“Yes,” Rubula said. “You’re Lt. Janeway, I presume?”

“That’s right. And you’re Rubula Dukat.” Saying the woman’s name with Dukat’s left a bitter taste in Dani’s mouth.

Rubula nodded slightly. “May I come in?”

“Yes, please,” Dani said, having momentarily forgotten her manners by letting the other woman remain on the porch for so long. She stepped to the side so that the other woman could enter. Dani shut the door behind her. “I wasn’t expecting any company,” Dani told the woman, leading her to the living room.

“At any rate, you probably weren’t expecting me,” Rubula said. “I can’t say I know what I’m doing here, either.”

“Have a seat,” Dani said politely. She watched as Rubula perched herself on the edge of the sofa. Dani remained standing for the moment. “Can I get you anything? Something to drink?”

“No, thank you,” Rubula said.

Dani nodded. She took a seat in one of the chairs facing the couch, not really knowing what else she should do in such an awkward situation.

“You have a nice home,” Rubula complimented superficially.

Dani had spent enough time with Cardassians to pick up on how hollow the statement had been. “Thank you,” she said. She studied the woman sitting across from her. She was a real class act, a Cardassian socialite in the truest sense, probably from a very wealthy, very influential family. She was beautiful, of course, and was dressed impeccably. The one thing that surprised Dani most about Rubula’s appearance was that the woman didn’t wear her hair in one of the elaborate styles that most Cardassian females often favored. Instead, her long, straight, dark hair was pulled back into a simple low ponytail.

Rubula’s eyes, after initially surveying the room, fell on the mantle above the fireplace in front of her. An array of photographs decorated the shelf. One was of two older Starfleet officers, a woman and a man, whom Rubula assumed to be Janeway’s parents. They had to be. Janeway looked just like both of them. The next picture was of Janeway with Dukat, and then a few pictures of Janeway alone and a few of Dukat alone. Finally, her eyes led her to a family portrait – a photo of Janeway, Dukat … and their young son.

The picture made Rubula cringe. Her eyes lowered to the floor. Dukat had truly looked happy in all those photographs on the mantle. It wasn’t anything like the Dukat she knew; he’d never greeted her with the face he presented in those pictures.

Dani watched Rubula, concern and apprehension rising within her. Rubula, her eyes downcast, looked positively depressed. “Are you all right?” Dani asked, slowly standing, preparing to walk over to Rubula.

“No, I am not!” Rubula snapped. Anger, frustration, and despair welled up inside her all at once. “I am not all right.” She looked up at Dani with tear-rimmed eyes. “I don’t understand.”

Dani shook her head, not following the course of the conversation. “Don’t understand what?” She took a few tentative steps toward Rubula.

“I don’t understand why he wants you and not me,” Rubula revealed. “It’s as if I don’t even exist to him. Explain it to me. Please. What is it that you’re doing that I’m not?”

Dani understood the reason for the visit now, but what was she supposed to tell this woman? The truth? That Dukat’s marriage to her was purely a political move? “We have a history together,” she said.

Rowat entered the room, catching both Rubula’s and Dani’s attention. Both of them stood “Is everything all right?” Rowat asked. “I thought I heard something.”

“Everything’s fine, Rowat,” Dani assured him.

Rowat nodded and looked from Dani to the visitor in front of the couch. He froze upon realizing who was standing there. It was Dukat’s wife. What the hell was she doing here?

Before Rowat could ask, a little boy broke into the room from behind Rowat, running at full speed in Dani’s direction. He put on the brakes upon reaching her and gazed up at his mother. “Mom, I want to stay up for a little while longer, but Melba and Rowat say I have to go to bed now,” the little boy complained.

“Nathan Janeway, where are your manners?” Dani gently chided. “Say hello to our guest.”

“Sorry,” the boy apologized. He turned dutifully to Rubula and looked up at her. “Hello. Pleased to meet you.”

“Nathan, this is Rubula,” Dani said. “She’s a friend of your father’s.”

Rubula laughed internally at the assertion. She and Dukat were married, but she would hardly call their relationship friendly. That was part of the problem. They were more like passing acquaintances than husband and wife.

Dani looked at Rubula and kneeled beside Nate. “This is my son,” she introduced.

Rubula looked down at the pair. The resemblance between them was unmistakable, most clearly in the dark eyes that they both shared. She’d always tried to deny to herself the probability that the child had anything to do with Dukat, but seeing him in person, Rubula could see that the child was clearly her husband’s. The little boy was a spitting image of her husband, save for the brown eyes and less pronounced ridges.

Dani turned to Nate. “Honey, why don’t you go to your room and we’ll talk about your bedtime when I’m done in here, okay?” Nate nodded. “Good boy.” She kissed him on the cheek. “I’ll be there in a little while.”

“Okay,” Nate said. He left the room. Rowat followed, flashing a final puzzled look to Dani, who stood and turned to Rubula.

“You asked what it was about me,” Dani began, resuming their conversation. “I told you we have a history. We also have a son.”

“He’s a beautiful child,” Rubula said, giving another hollow compliment. The negative feelings that had pervaded her earlier gave way to triumph as she began to unload to Janeway her real reason for coming to see her. “I feel, however, that you should know that Dukat – Marac – and I also share a child.” She never called him Marac at home, but Janeway didn’t have to know that. She watched the other woman and relished in the way the color seemed to drain from her smooth face all at once.

“What?” was all that Dani could manage to say.

“We will share a child, anyway,” Rubula continued, a small smile coming to her lips. “I’m going to have his child.”

Dani felt like she’d been sucker-punched. She stumbled backwards until she found her chair. Another earth-shattering surprise, but how? She’d read the news and watched the vids religiously. An impending pregnancy hadn’t been anywhere on the radar. And Dukat hadn’t told her – again.


Dukat was actually curious about where Rubula was. He didn’t care, one way or the other, whether she had taken on a lover. In fact, if that were the case, he’d look at it as a blessing. But he knew that it was unusual for her to be out so late. Usually at this hour, she was trying to lure him into her bedroom.

When she walked into the house, he inquired as to her whereabouts. Rubula answered him casually, “I went to visit Lt. Janeway.”

Dukat’s face momentarily went pale. Then, he became angry. His life with Danielle and his life on Prime were two worlds that were never supposed to intersect. “Why?” he demanded.

“I was curious about the woman you spend so much of your time with,” Rubula replied. “I’d never met her before.”

That was how it was supposed to be, Dukat thought bitterly. “It’s none of your concern, Rubula,” Dukat said harshly. “You shouldn’t have gone.”

“I met your son,” Rubula continued. “I told Janeway that he would soon have a brother.”

Dukat thought his ears must be failing him. He began to step towards Rubula. “You what?” he hissed.

“I told her we were going to have a child together.” To her credit, Rubula stood her ground.

“Why did you tell her that?” Dukat asked, his tone grave. “You had no business over there.”

Rubula got mad right back at him. “You are not her husband. You’re mine. You should be spending your time with me, not her.”

“It was not your place to tell her,” Dukat persisted angrily. “I wanted to break it to her gently.”

Rubula threw up her hands in frustration. “Why don’t you just send that woman back to the Federation? I refuse to have her breaking up my family. I want my child to have full-time, not part-time, access to his father.”

Dukat’s voice dropped to an ominous tone. “She isn’t the one who’s breaking up a family,” he said. “Now get out of my sight right now. I don’t want to see you, I don’t want to hear you. I don’t want to know you.”

For any other marriage, the utterance of those words would have signaled the end. But even as Dukat stormed to his room, contemplating his next course of action, he knew that Rubula was going nowhere. Because she was greedy, and power-hungry, and despite all her temper tantrums about him not being home enough, about him not spending enough time with her, she would stay because of the lifestyle that her union with him afforded her. She would stay because of the power she had over other people. She would stay because of the power she wanted, but didn’t yet have, over Dukat.


Dukat was at the house on Cardassia IV the next day even though it was a weekday. Unlike previous instances, there were no smiling faces to greet him at the door.

“You did it again. I can’t believe you did it again.” Dani’s anger was apparent, but her voice wasn’t raised. “Why? I thought we agreed that we would talk about these things. What’s more, I thought you said this marriage was only a political thing. How the hell did she end up pregnant?”

“It’s … difficult to explain,” Dukat struggled, the bedroom door sliding shut behind him. “It’s a way for me to improve my chances of getting into office.”

“Office?” Dani slowly shook her head. “I can’t believe you. I can’t believe what you’re saying. You would say anything, do anything, use anyone, to get ahead.”

“No, Danielle,” Dukat protested. “I’m doing this for you. For Nate. For all of us. Can’t you see that?”

“You only care about yourself and getting what you want,” Dani asserted tearfully. “And you don’t give a damn who you hurt to get it.”

“Danielle – I love you.”

“No, you don’t. You can’t. You’ve been saying that for years, but I’m still out here, on this planet, with your son. If you loved me, we wouldn’t be out here. We would all leave together. Leave Cardassia.”

“You know I can’t do that. I can’t just pick up and leave.”

“And that’s the problem! If you really loved me as much as you claimed, you wouldn’t care about it. You wouldn’t care about anything but us.” Dani looked up at the ceiling with new understanding. “I just don’t know why I couldn’t see it before.”

“Danielle, my love, you and Nathan are everything to me,” Dukat insisted. “You’re all that I have. Things will change. They will.”

“They’re just words, Marac. Just words.”

“They are not just words; they’re my feelings!” Dukat cried.

“Well, your feelings aren’t enough!” Dani was thankful that Nate was out with Melba. She would have hated for the little boy to have heard his parents shouting at each other. “You haven’t done a thing to prove your feelings.”

“I’m doing everything! Everything I’m doing, everything I have done in the past six years, has been for you and Nate. Why can’t you see that?”

“I don’t wanna listen to this anymore. I’m tired of it. Fucking tired of it. Just get out! Leave me alone!”

Dukat didn’t say another word. There was nothing to be said. Not right now, anyway. He’d just let her cool off. Yes, that was what she needed. It was what she always needed – a little time to cool off. Damn Rubula for causing this mess in the first place. Damn her! Dukat left the house and Cardassia IV with little external protest.

After Dukat stormed past him on his way out of the house, Rowat hurried upstairs and found Janeway sitting on the bed, her head in her hands. Her small frame shook with the sobs that wracked her body. Rowat was at a loss, but instinct told him to walk over to the bed and sit beside her, so he did. He put his arms around her and she leaned into him, weeping freely.


Rowat was the first to awake. It took him a few moments to remember where he was, but then he did, and the events of the day came flooding back into his mind. The fight Janeway had had with Dukat. The crying. And then the calm. The two of them with Nate had spent the evening in front of the vid-screen in the rec lounge watching one of those old Earth films that Janeway liked so much. Something called ‘War Between the Stars’ or something to that effect. It’d had lots of fighting and action, and Nate had been completely enthralled by it, which hadn’t exactly been the case with his mother. A glance over at her every now and then told Rowat that she watched the screen, but there had been such an absent expression in her eyes that he doubted that her mind registered what was happening.

By now the film had ended, and the screen displayed a serene image of a fire flickering in a fireplace. Rowat glanced at the chronometer on the wall above the vid-screen. It was a little after 2400 hours. His eyes fell to a small figure on the floor in front of the screen. Nate. He was sleeping peacefully, probably dreaming about fighting evil generals with light swords, themes that had been widely featured in that movie.

Rowat began to adjust his position on the sofa, which caused Janeway to stir beside him. Only then did he realize that she was curled up against him and that his arm was around her. She sat up slowly, groggily, looking around. Her eyes landed on Nate and then on Rowat, whom she could tell had just awakened as well.

“Wow,” she whispered. “I didn’t mean to go to sleep on the movie.”

“Me either,” Rowat whispered back.

“I guess we’d better get him to bed,” Dani said nodding to Nate. She and Rowat stood. Rowat walked over to the sleeping boy, knelt beside him, and picked him up. Nate only stirred slightly, not even waking up fully, as Rowat stood with him. Dani follwed them up the stairs and into Nate’s bedroom, where Rowat gently placed the boy in the bed, taking care to tuck him in. The door slid shut behind him as he walked out and joined Dani in the hallway.

“Ten years ago, I never thought this was where’d I’d be in life,” Dani said walking beside Rowat. “I never thought I’d be someone’s mistress, being strung along like some little dog.” The two of them walked into her bedroom. “How did this happen?”

“Things just spun out of control, I suppose,” Rowat offered.

“Yeah.” Dani walked over to the window and looked out at the sweeping view of the lake with the endless fall. “I just … I don’t want to do this anymore. I don’t want to spend the rest of my life on this rock waiting for him. But I guess I don’t have any choice, do I? There’s no way out, now. I’ll be stuck, because he’ll never leave her, not if she has his child.”

Rowat took a few steps toward her. “You don’t have to stay,” he said. “You can leave.”

“I know.” She turned and walked over to him. “I would, and I’ve seriously thought about it … but I don’t want Nate to grow up without his father, and I couldn’t just leave him here.”

Rowat could see that the subject was distressing to her, and that was the last thing he wanted. “Let’s not think about it right now,” he said. “I’m sorry for even bringing it up. I didn’t mean to upset you.”

“You don’t have to apologize for anything,” Dani said. “You’ve been the one constant in all of this, and don’t think I don’t appreciate it, because I do.” She took his hand. “I don’t know where I would be without you.” Rowat was about to utter his favorite phrase when Dani stopped him. “And don’t you dare say you were just doing your job, because I need to know that you want to be here.”

“Why is that so important to you?”

“Because I need you.” Dani looked up into Rowat’s green eyes. “I need you here with me.”

“You don’t need me.”

“Yes, I do. I do.” Dani wrapped her arms around Rowat’s torso. Rowat hesitated, but he soon wrapped his arms around her, relishing the sensation of her against him. It was like a dream-come-true to him, for it was something he had fantasized about for years. And for that reason, he didn’t trust himself with her.

“Dani,” he said. She pulled away and looked up at him. He knew that she knew what she was doing when she reached up and gently stroked his neck ridges. And he let her. In fact, he reciprocated by stroking her dark hair. They found each other’s lips and kissed timidly, each not quite sure if they wanted to venture into such uncharted territory. When neither of them hesitated, their kisses became fuller and were filled with more urgency, and nothing else mattered but the two of them at that moment. The desire, the need for contact – that was what carried them into the night.


Dani didn’t have to wake up because she hadn’t gone to sleep the night before. How could she when she had the overwhelming feeling that she’d just betrayed the father of her child? She looked over at her accomplice in this betrayal and was surprised to find him wide awake, green eyes blinking at her. “Hi,” Dani said softly.

“Hello,” Rowat said.

Dani sat up, pulling the bedsheets around her in the process. “I think we’ve made a mistake.” Rowat sat up, surprised by Dani’s declaration, and watched her slide out of the bed.

“Dani – wait,” Rowat said, but she was already out of bed and halfway across the room. Rowat got out of bed, sheets be damned, and went after her. He caught her gently by the elbow. “Dani, wait,” he repeated.

“We can’t do this,” she said. “He’s Nate’s father, and he’s still your boss. What have we done? We can’t do this to him.”

“Do this to him? Look at what he’s done, what he’s doing to you! He’s having a child with another woman, and he didn’t even have the guts to tell you about it.”

“He was going to,” Dani defended.

Rowat shook his head. He didn’t understand the sudden change in her. Yesterday, she’d seen so clearly that Dukat wasn’t going to change, that he wasn’t doing right by her. Now, she was back to defending him. “Dani – you deserve so much more. You’re too good for him.”

“I love him,” Dani said.

I love you,” Rowat blurted. He hadn’t meant to say it, but he might as well have; it was true. He took a step toward her, moving to close the small gap between them. “We could leave here. We could go back to the Federation, we could go anywhere you want.”

“Daril … ” Dani began to protest. She’d known his given name since they’d first met years before, but in all these years, the night they had just spent together had been the first time that she had called him by that name.

“It could just be the three of us, together,” Rowat insisted.

“Daril, he’s Nate’s father. I can’t just take that away from him.”

“I’ll be his father. I’m more of a father to him now than Dukat is anyway. I always have been. And don’t try to tell me differently, because you know what I’m saying is true. I love Nate. As if he were my very own. I was there when he was born. I’ve been there to comfort him when he’s fallen and scraped his knee, when he’s been sick. I’ve tucked him in at night and told him his bedtime stories. I was there for his first words, his first steps. Every day of his life, I’ve been there for that boy. Not just on weekends and special occasions.” Rowat stopped and took a moment. Then: “I’m thinking about him in all this, too. What are you going to do? Keep him on this planet forever? What about schools? Friends? Yes, Dukat could continue to hire a private tutor to take care of his educational needs, but what about his social needs? He needs to be with other children. He can’t do that here where there are no other children for miles around.”

His fingers found Dani’s face, where they stroked gently. “Dani, I just want what’s best for the two of you,” he said. “And I can’t believe that living out your life on this rock is that. Come away with me. We’ll start a new life. We’ll give Nate what he deserves.”


Dukat didn’t know what to think when he saw that he was receiving an incoming message from Danielle. It had been only a few days, but he hoped that had been long enough for her to calm down. It must be if she were calling him. He accessed the transmission and Dani’s face filled his terminal screen. “Danielle,” he greeted.

“Hello, Marac,” Dani said. “I think there’s a lot that we should talk about.”

“Yes, it appears so, doesn’t it?” Dukat agreed.

“When can you be back on Four?” Dani asked.

“Well, I have a long list of engagements for today,” Dukat began. “I can be on Four in two days.”

Dani nodded. “Okay. I’ll see you then.” She cut the transmission from her end.

Dukat regarded the blank screen with curiosity. Dani hadn’t appeared to be angry any longer, however her demeanor toward him had seemed cold and distant. It troubled him.


It was early when Dukat arrived on Cardassia IV two days later. He hadn’t expected anyone to be awake, yet, and was suprised to find that both Rowat and his beloved were both very much awake. When he walked through the front door and entered the den, they were both there, apparently waiting on him. He took it as a good sign. At least Danielle was willing to see him. The last time he’d been there, neither of them had had the most enjoyable experience.

Dani stood when Dukat entered. She was so nervous, she could barely see straight. Rowat moved to a spot a little ways behind her.

“My love,” Dukat said, walking over to Dani, as if everything were fine. He took her hands into his and kissed her. “We have much to discuss.”

“Yes, I know,” Dani said, nodding.

Dukat’s eyes slid over to Rowat. There was no need to say it; he wanted to be alone with Danielle. But Rowat didn’t move. He was still has granite. Dukat sighed, losing his patience. “Rowat, could you be so kind as to give us some privacy, please?”

“I want him to stay,” Dani said.

Dukat looked perplexed. “My dear, I hardly think his presence is appropriate or necessary for the matters that we need to discuss.”

“No,” Dani countered. “It is.” She pulled her hands from Dukat’s grip. Then she looked at Rowat, and Dukat could have sworn he saw something pass between them.

His brows knitted, confusion evident on his face. “Danielle – what is going on here?”

Dani closed her eyes, trying to muster strength. Before she could speak, Rowat did. “She’s leaving,” he said.

Dukat looked at his subordinate, his eyes squinting as if he were having difficulty hearing. “I beg your pardon?”

Rowat stepped forward. “She’s leaving. She’s leaving Cardassia IV. And she’s leaving you.”

Dukat didn’t know what to think at first. Ah, but it must be some kind of game, a joke maybe. A smile formed across his lips and he began to chuckle. “I get it,” he said, looking around at all in the room. “This is a practical joke. You’re teasing. You almost had me for a moment. Very clever.” He saw Dani look to the ground. Why was she so sad? The smile left his face.

“It isn’t a joke, Marac,” Dani said.

Dukat looked back and forth between Rowat and Dani. “You can’t possibly mean that-that you’re telling the truth?” he sputtered. The look that he read on her face told him the answer. “Now, wait – wait. Let’s all just calm down, here, okay?”

“I am calm, Marac,” Dani said. “We’re leaving.”


Rowat spoke up for a second time. “I’m going with her.”

Dukat looked from Rowat to Dani in genuine disbelief. “You’re leaving with him?”

“Marac, I can’t stay here any longer,” Dani began to explain. “I can’t wait on you to create the perfect scenario. I’ve been waiting for six years, and I can’t do it anymore.”

“Danielle, I just need a little more time-”

“Well, I can’t give it!” Dani exploded.

“So, you’re just going to leave?” Dukat’s eyes flitted to Rowat and then back to Dani and was struck with a suddent realization. “Great guls … you’ve gone to bed with him, haven’t you?”

Dani’s eyes fell to the floor. “Marac … ”

“Fine,” Dukat said, his voice dripping with hurt and disgust. “Leave, if you wish. I won’t stop either one of you. But my son stays with me.”

“What?” Dani said with rising alarm.

“You can’t expect me to simply let you walk away with my son, never to see him again,” Dukat said.

Dani began to protest. “Marac, he’s my son, too.”

“I’m well aware of that,” Dukat said. “But I’m not the one who wants to leave. You’re more than welcome to stay. But if you want to leave, Nathan remains here with me.”

“That isn’t fair, Marac,” Dani said. “You didn’t even want him with you for the first six years of his life. Now, all of a sudden, you’re prepared to take him in and treat him like your son?” Dukat made a move to step around Dani, but she moved with him to block. “Where are you going?” she questioned.

“Danielle, please don’t make this difficult,” Dukat said.

“Make what difficult?” Dani asked. “Marac!”

Dukat commed his transport and two guards who had accompanied to Four entered the house immediately. One of them dutifully moved into place to restrain the increasingly frantic mother while the father moved past her with ease, en route to his son’s bedroom. The remaining guard leveled a phaser at Rowat in case he decided he wanted to try to act like a hero. A few seconds later, Dukat returned with a drowsy Nate in his arms.

“Here we go, son,” he said lightly. “You’re going on a little trip with Daddy.”

“Marac, please – don’t do this,” Dani pleaded, tearfully. “If you want me to beg, I’ll do it. I’ll do anything, but please don’t take my son.”

“Say goodbye to Mommy,” Dukat said to the little boy.

Nate groggily waved to Dani. “Bye, Mommy … ”

“Marac – ”

“Say, goodbye, my dear,” Dukat instructed Dani cheerily.

Dani looked at her son, her little Nate. She might as well do as Dukat instructed. She didn’t want to upset the young boy. “Bye, bye, sweetie,” she said. “Be good. I love you so much.”

“I love you, too, Mommy,” Nate said.

Dani looked from Nate to Dukat. He looked back at her with an ice cold stare that she’d never seen directed at her before, and Dani knew she would never see her son again.

Once Dukat and Nate were clear of the house, the guards retreated, leaving Dani and Rowat alone in the house.

Dani couldn’t get any air into her lungs. She fell to her knees, and fresh tears sprung to her eyes. Rowat knelt at her side, wrapping his arms around her.

“He took my son,” she said, in a dazed state. “He took my son!”

“We’ll get him back,” Rowat whispered to her. “We will. We’ll get him back.”

Dani turned. She wrapped her arms around Rowat and buried her head in his chest. “How?”

Rowat didn’t say anything, because he didn’t have an answer. He didn’t know where to find it. But it couldn’t end here. Not like this.

Dani closed her eyes and let herself melt into Rowat.


When she opened her eyes, she was alone. And she was back in her house in Indiana. She found herself curled into a kneeling position in the middle of her bedroom floor.

“It isn’t how you thought it would be, is it?”

Dani stood and whirled around to face Q. What the hell had just happened to her? She answered his query. “No.” She walked over and wearily sat down on her bed. “So, I guess this means you were right, about me and Marac not being meant to be.”

“Dani, I know you loved him, and he loved you, too. I know it,” Q said. “But sometimes, a lot of times, love isn’t enough.”

“I realize that. It sucks, but I do realize that now.” She sat, thinking about all that she had experienced. She knew it couldn’t have been a dream. It couldn’t have. It was all so real … what the hell had it been then? “So, what does this mean? Am I supposed to be with Will, then?”

Q smiled, which made Dani uncomfortable. “Is that what you think?”

“Q – wait!” But before Dani could even get the words out of her mouth, Q had snapped his fingers, and her environment had once again changed.

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