The Time of Hagalaz, Presumed Guilty Part One

Chapter Twenty

Ziyal turned around to her father and his smirk with its entrenched glint glittering wet in his hard glassy eyes. He looked larger in some ways; smaller in others, attired in the Federation's regulation orange jumpsuit reserved for her prisoners rather than his brilliant black and silver Cardassian uniform.

He looked older. For a man who was still reasonably shy of middle age by Cardassian standards, the Gul Dukat self-appointed and acclaimed scourge of the galaxy, had aged ten years in the last eight months. Ziyal studied the fierce and tightly woven muscles of his bare arms exposed by the short sleeves of the jumpsuit; the long, thick fingers of his large hands planted firmly on his hips. She always thought about those arms and hands as strong before. Now they looked little more than like the rubbery withered limbs of Janice's mummy. The strong fleshy coloration of his chameleon skin faded into an unhealthy and sallow green under the room's light. Ziyal sighed, wondering and hoping her interpretation of the Prophets' task before her was right as Dukat's neck coiled forward with his infamous mocking leer. Loving her father deeply, almost madly, it would be a lie to say she hadn't upon occasion over the last three years entertained the thought of wiping that smile off his face with a blast from a phaser. How or why her father managed to incur that same leniency from her mother and Nerys escaped her even though she knew and understood their own deep and maddened feelings.

"Observation," Dukat jeered, "is what your tailor does best."

Wrong. It was Mister Damar who had killed her. Her father the one helpless to stop him, not Garak. An unfortunate event the Federation's crew of liberal psychiatrists and psychologists preferred to refer to it as. One that brought her father dangerously close to the diagnosis of a beaten man.

No one would ever know that though by the fight he continued to fight with her rather than fighting to figure out a way out from under the Federation's noose tightening around his neck. The Supreme Assembly wasn't as inclined as their Council of Physicians to view Cardassia's former Emperor as a bitterly wronged and misunderstood victim of circumstance, thereby letting him off the hook with little more than a slap on the wrist one more time.

"Wrong,"Ziyal nodded, as cruelly stubborn and impatient in her utter disregard of her father and his feelings as her brother Anon. "Anon did want to kiss her. He does want to kiss her. He WILL kiss her. Garak knows that. Kira doesn't, but yes, Garak does. Not Dax or Odo or even Quark -- yet, anyway," she acknowledged. "Quark will figure it out, but by that time it could be too late…like Captain Sisko." she regarded the Captain sadly. Sitting by himself, his attention buried in the padd. "He's just so preoccupied with everything. The station, the conference. He and Janice really are the only ones taking any of this seriously. If the rest of them aren't angry like Nerys, plotting like Damar…or in love."

A smile flitted briefly across Ziyal's face, thinking of her brother who stopped thinking about anything even remotely connected to establishing an Intelligence Network on her home world the moment he spotted Janice sitting in the middle of Quark's. "They are all just treating it like a joke. It's not their fault. Anon is a victim of his parentage.

"That's you, father," she charged Dukat. "Not them. Your fault, not theirs. They can't see Anon for you. They do just know you too well."

"I've tried!" Dukat beamed, pleased to hear it hadn't all been in vain.

"Be serious!" Ziyal insisted. "Anon's not just being 'Dukat'. He knows her. She knows him. Regardless of how or why, those two people know each other. That's why they're talking to one another. Their relationship doesn't spell scandal, it spells danger. You know that."

"On the contrary!" What Dukat knew and was even happier to report was that he was light years away from Terok Nor, comfortable in his Federation prison cell and merely having another one of his delusional fits.

"Only because you like having delusional fits," Ziyal assured. "You're not crazy, father, I'm half Bajoran. It's more than just the ridges on the bridge of my nose. There are different planes of existence -- Obviously." She tried a leer out on him.

"Kiss her?" Dukat reacted with a jolt as that much suddenly penetrated like a Klingon dagger.

"Father," Ziyal sighed again, "the memoirs of your military exploits read like a plot for Quark's sexual holosuites. Nerys is right. I don't know how you had the time to fight a war. Any war."

"We are not talking about me," Dukat interrupted harshly. "We are discussing your brother. Regardless of whether or not I wrote the book!"

"Of carnal knowledge and delights," Ziyal nodded. "You didn't write the book."

"Merely elaborated on it," Dukat's illuminating leer lit up again, looming its way towards her.

"All right, fine," Ziyal surrendered. "You were talking."

"Thank you! And, regardless of who wrote the book!" The idea her brother might use his mouth other than to spray the room with glib, sarcastic Cardassian charm disturbed and distressed him. "With warrant!" he snapped having once or twice upon a time inadvertently found himself in a similar situation she might recall. "Anon is a victim of sabotage."

"Maybe you are crazy," Ziyal acknowledged what the galaxy already knew.

"Kiss whom?" Dukat roared. An unwilling participant in his own hallucination he could at least expect to be given a straight answer.

"Janice," Ziyal shrugged.

"Janice." Dukat searched the occupants of the conference room in time to spot some Orion snake charmer about to wrap her tentacles around his unsuspecting son.

"She's Human," Ziyal answered his gasp.

"I can see that!" Dukat turned back to her with a snarl.

"Oh," Ziyal said. "Well, most people think she's Klingon."

“Klingon?” Dukat stared at his daughter blind apparently as well as dead.

"Her hair?" Ziyal offered.

"Hair?" Dukat sputtered.

"Nothing," Ziyal shook her head. "It figures you wouldn't notice something everyone else does."

"On the contrary," he said, "I noticed. What is she doing to my son?"

"Doing?" Ziyal frowned across the room to Janice diligently attempting to ignore Anon taking an inordinate amount of time deciding what he wanted to eat. "Nothing," she giggled. "Anon's the one talking to the fruit salad. Quark's right. He really is hopelessly inept at seduction. I think that's one of the reasons why Janice likes him so much because so is she. They don't feel threatened by one another. They really are kind of cute together."

"It's wrong!" Dukat begged interrupting.

"Wrong," Ziyal looked at him. "Since when do you know anything about what's wrong?"

"It's wrong," Dukat promised.

She still just looked at him. Finally he sighed. "Fine. Not right. And those are not my standards, those are the galaxy's. As everyone is always telling me."

The testimony fell on deaf ears. "I didn't bring you here to pass judgment," she reminded coldly. "You're supposed to be learning how to appreciate your value, never mind what anyone else says or thinks. Why do you think you are here? If you were here -- really here instead of languishing in some Federation holding cell, none of this would even be going on. Damar's only using Anon."

"Ziyal…" Dukat rolled his eyes with a groan. "If Anon's my son, he knows that -- as if he weren't, Damar wouldn't waste his time."

"In the meantime who could get killed this time is your daughter Janice!"

"Oh, well!" Dukat laughed, his chuckle mocking. "My dear, Ziyal, astounding as it might seem, for every one Janice Lange there are a thousand more. I repeat, your brother isn't inept, merely young."

"Married!" Ziyal stepped close, almost on his toes, her face in his face. "Anon is married, father. Janice is his wife. Or she will be. If she and Anon live. Mister Damar isn't the only threat, and Janice isn't the only one who could die. So could Anon!"

"Die?" Dukat's head whipped away from her not to stare at Anon but at Kira standing on the sidelines and doing nothing as usual.

"Nerys doesn't know anything about it, father," Janice shook her head. "You can't blame her every time something goes wrong. That's something else you have to learn."

"On the contrary!" Dukat corrected and Ziyal groaned. "Major Kira prides herself on being derelict in her responsibilities."

"Nerys' responsibilities to me did not include holding my hand and wiping my chin after I ate," Ziyal argued. "I was an adult, father. The decisions I made and opinions I had were my own."

"You were my daughter," Dukat cried back in frustrated agony. "It was Nerys' idea to bring you to Terok Nor. Your grave, Ziyal. Hardly a sanctuary!"

"Well, maybe, yes! If Nerys had a little more assistance from you other than attacking the Federation, and a little more constructive feedback other than an argument or some stupid insulting leer whenever she tried to talk with you, things may have turned out differently, or maybe not. I'm not sad to be dead, father. I've never felt so happy with finally understanding my own value than I ever did when I was alive. Being with the Prophets is like having the most wonderful moment I ever shared with you, Nerys, or Garak. One that in this world never ends. I will take my place beside the Prophets, father. I am going to do that. Do you know why? Because it is my right. Captain Sisko's dream of utopia come true and Kira's also, truly in her heart."

"Anon is my son!" Dukat insisted, his whine ending in whisper just so pained. "I can't, Ziyal! I just can't."

"Listen to me!" Ziyal grabbed him before he did succumb into the sheltering arms of insanity, her greatest fear. "The only thing you can't do is change, father. Everyone understands and accepts that. All I'm asking you is to extend that same understanding and acceptance back…to Nerys…" her attention drifted to Kira standing and talking with Constable Odo. "If you can't give it to anyone else."

"Nerys?" her father's demanding growl brought her back.

Ziyal shrugged. "Well, to yourself also, of course. We've already covered that part. Nerys has earned that much respect from you."

"For killing my daughter?" Dukat stared at her aghast. "And now my son? Who is insane?"

"You are, father," she assured, "if you truly believe Nerys can be everywhere and know everything all at the same time. Here today, now, her duty is to Janice, not Anon. If you were here then maybe yes, again, things might be different. But you're not, are you? And Nerys can't be everywhere and know everything any more than Captain Sisko can be expected to hold off an army of Maquis all by himself."

"Maquis?" Dukat shook his pounding and aching head. "The Maquis are destroyed, Ziyal. As dead as you."

"Stick around, father," Ziyal invited him. "Those games people play don't always end in tears of laughter. Half the people you see in this room will be dead by 2110. That child of yours you see clinging to life in Garak's arms isn't me, it's Anon."

Dukat pushed himself free of her, wrenched loose, to head straight for Kira with a resounding roar for her attention.

"She can't hear or see you, father," Ziyal hung her head. "Any more than she can hear or see me…I think." she looked up suddenly with a concerned blink of her watery eyes. One really never knew with Nerys. Apart from being Bajoran, not a diluted half, in her own way Kira was as ardent and passionate in her relationship with Dukat as he was ardent and passionate in his relationship with her.

"In your own way," Ziyal grimaced. Her father dramatic in his recoiling from the blistering stench of Kira's hasperat with the utterly pertinent notification:

"Major, right now I wouldn't kiss you if you were the last woman left alive in the galaxy!"

"What about for all the latinum?" Ziyal joined him to ask, not that her question was anymore relative than his.

Dukat could have ignored her the way Kira was ignoring him but it wouldn't have been nearly as much fun. "A potentially different story," he oozed in an effort to irk her high moral principles.

It worked. "Do you lie awake at night trying to be figure out how to be as disgusting as you can be?" she retorted.

"Yes!" Dukat assured. Not that any of this was relative to saving his son's life to turn it over to the arms of some life-sucking M-113 salt creature posing as a Human doctor of anthropology and forensic science. "Or has that changed?" he batted his eyes. "Not your sister's long list of credentials, but the potential for pain and agony and death Anon is destined to endure before the station's chronometer reads 2110?"

Ziyal shrugged. "In a universe of infinite possibilities…"

"There are always two realities guaranteed," Dukat agreed. "One, no doubt in which my son dies, and the other in which he does not. Clever!"

"You have to admit the dramatic always gets your attention," Ziyal smiled.

"So it does," Dukat eyed Kira not exactly lustfully. "As far as any other reality that would take a rift of infinite proportions in the Space-Time continuum to change -- Major!" he barked in Kira's face and went unnoticed. He barked again. The second desperate command for her attention equally unnoticed or ignored.

"Father…" Ziyal caught Dukat's hand insistently swiping at the plate in Kira's hand in a vain effort to knock it away. "She really can't see or hear you. Not because she doesn't want to, but because she can't. You're not here."

"Then what do I have to lose?" Dukat challenged, daring to unleash Kira's immortal wrath with a scream for "NERYS!" at the top of his lungs.

"What?!" Kira's head snapped up from day-dreaming over her lunch with her familiar and becoming snarl Dukat had grown to love and cherish over the last ten years.

"Ah!" he triumphantly inhaled deeply the delightfully sour aroma of her breath searing the flesh of his cheeks, the feeling as pleasurable as a phaser burn. It was one of those special moments however doomed to be remarkably short lived. Kira's aggravated response was not in answer to him. It was for Odo mumbling something about you know who approaching you know where. The Constable's notice likewise expressed for Kira's sole benefit being as he was also unable to see or hear the former Emperor of Cardassia gracing them with his divine presence.

"I see him," Kira assured, meaning the clearly visible figure of Anon slipping across the floor to sidle up to the unsuspecting Doctor Lange trailing the ends of her voluminous cloud of hair through the yamok sauce and assorted other condiments.

"Okay, maybe Nerys does pay a little attention to Anon," Ziyal admitted as Kira's plate of hasperat slammed through her father's chest to come to rest in Constable Odo's obliging outstretched hand.

"Not enough!" Dukat stared down in disbelief on Kira effortlessly following the path of her plate through one side of him to reappear on the other and take off on a fast trot for his son.

"To prevent Anon from being killed, or getting married?" Ziyal laughed at her father's priceless expression.

"Both!" Dukat collected himself with a snap. "We are not Klingons. We do not have to prove our superiority by dying in combat or for conquest. We are superior. Anon is obviously confused."

"Something to do with what anger excites, restraint heightens," Ziyal nodded. "Remind me to remind Kira…unless you're going to stand here and try to tell me you've restrained yourself in any other way with anyone else," she blinked innocently to Dukat's flickering frown. "I really think it's only fair I warn her. Don't you?"

Dukat had no idea. Less even what she might think she was talking about.

"You," Ziyal promised. "After all, remember in a universe of infinite possibilities there are always two realities guaranteed. One where you do, the other where you don't."

"Do and don't what?" Dukat insisted.

"We'll have to see," Ziyal tucked her arm through his, the tip of her nose wrinkled in wicked delight. "In the meantime, what was the name of that asteroid where the Dominion held General Martok and Doctor Bashir captive -- I mean, you do understand why Doctor Bashir, don't you?" she verified.

"Who?" Dukat said.

Ziyal nodded satisfied. "He's a doctor, father. He could have identified Dukat as a Changeling, so naturally they had to replace him aboard the station with a Changeling as well…"

"What?" Dukat said.

"The same reason the Changeling had to reject both Kira and I," Ziyal nodded. "Because knowing you as well as we do we would have suspected something to be wrong about Dukat, too."

"What?" Dukat said.

"Think, father," she encouraged. "That's your trouble, you're just not thinking. Don't you remember the asteroid -- don't you remember be captured and brought to the asteroid as a prisoner of the Dominion en route to the station to escort Captain Sisko and his staff to the Klingon home world to expose Chancellor Gowron as a Dominion plant?"

"What?" Dukat said, that time incredulously.

Ziyal smiled. "Well, I don't know who can go before the Federation Supreme Assembly with such an outrageous story, father, if you can't; which, of course you can. You're just too overwrought by the death of your daughter to be thinking clearly. But then, father," she said, "I'm sure whatever you expected to find when the Dominion finally released you in an effort to cover Mister Damar's betrayal of the Union, and instead have everyone blaming you, was me dead. Silenced by Mister Damar because by that time, I knew, father, of course I knew. However angry I was, however confused, I knew something was terribly wrong about your decision to align Cardassia with the Dominion; the Union is independent, father, as it is supreme. Under the Dominion it would be neither, and you just would never embrace such an idea; you wouldn't. And if Kira thought hard enough, she'd know that as well. You're just frightened, father. Frightened of Mister Damar being in the position to kill your sons as well."

"In his dreams!" Dukat snapped.

"And yours, father," Ziyal laughed, "if you think the UFP will ever believe you; but that's not the point, is it? What they believe, and what they will have to accept are two different things…" she pressed a message cylinder into his hand. "And not because of the discovery of some lost transmission from I to you, or you to me…"

Dukat glanced from the cylinder to her. Ziyal smiled again. "I also like that idea of a rift in the Space-Time continuum. I'm not sure Kira would be able to talk you out of aligning with the Dominion even if she did have a chance, but I know she'd want to try despite the dangers to the Time line. Other than that…what do you think of the name George? I like it. Even though I do understand Attila is Human for some sort of conquering tyrant like the Klingon Kahless, I agree with Anon. It does sound more like something you would name a girl."

Maybe in some other universe but not in this one if Kira had anything to say about it or any aspirations of one Gul Anon Dukat busy salting his Kaferian apples with fried Ferengi tube grubs.

"Did you get my message?" Anon asked Janice.

"What message is that?" she giggled down on the mess he was making on his plate. "Anon, what are you doing? You couldn't pay a Ferengi to eat that."

He didn't care about any Ferengi. "The rose."

"What rose?" Janice moved down the long line of tantalizing delights in a ploy to deflect any potential suspicion. "The one from Quark?"

"No, it's not from Quark." Anon followed her step for step, fending off an inflamed platter of Klingon serpent worms startled to find their faces wet with a sticky rain of Cardassian yamok sauce as Janice swept by. "It's from me. It means…Let me see…" he stopped to recall what Pfrann had said. "'Thinking of you.' Yes, that's it. I am thinking of you."

"You are?" Janice turned around, her eyes misting over at the sentiment, her cheeks flushed slightly pink. "Is that why you're spraying purple-green goop all over everything?"

"Yamok sauce, not goop," Anon laughed. "And I'm not spraying, you are."

"I am?" Janice said. "Oh, I am." She groaned at the long trail of…?

"Yamok sauce," Anon nodded.

Staining the table, her tunic, her hair and just about everything including him.

"Oh, boy," Rom sprang to helpful attention with a snatch for a towel.

"No, it's all right," Anon shrugged away from the Ferengi gnat patting at his arm. "It's all right." He set aside his plate to find something Janice could use to wipe her hair clean before the color was permanently set.

"Um…maybe this?" Rom held out his towel.

"Yes, thank you." Anon took it.

"And, um…" Rom looked around, sloshing some cold water into a glass. "Maybe this?"

"That'll work," Anon agreed.

"Yup, that it should," Rom nodded. "That it should. If not, maybe…um…" he frowned around again coming to rest on Leeta glaring at him. "What would you use to remove yamok sauce from your hair?"

"Yamok sauce," Leeta's hands were on her hips.

"Yup," Rom nodded. "Yamok sauce. She…I mean, he," he said being as Anon was the one with the towel and the water. "He didn't do it. He's just, you know, the one helping her wash her hair."

"Wash her hair," Leeta banefully eyed Anon sponging away at Janice.

"Yup," Rom nodded. "Kind of looks that way, doesn't it?"

Leeta slammed him out of the way.

"I could do something like lick my lips and say it's delicious," Anon proposed slyly as he wet the sticky ends of Janice's hair with the towel. "But maybe I shouldn't. It sounds too much like my father."

"What would you say instead?" Janice bit her lip.

"Oh…let me think…" he tipped his head back for a moment before their eyes met again. Only this time it was the wrong set of pupils. Brown, not green, and burning back at him like two quantum torpedoes fixed on a target.

"What do you want?" Anon's stare hardened suspiciously at the unexpected appearance of the Bajoran siren Leeta. An even better question might be: "Where did you come from?"

Leeta laughed. A deep, vibrant throaty and deadly chuckle before she grabbed him by his collarless tunic. "Yamok sauce? Oh, please! Spill a glass of kanar over her shoulder, why don't you?"

She was crazy. If his father was crazy, this one was equally insane. "Her hair…" Anon started to say.

"I see her hair," Leeta assured. "Touch it and there won't be enough left of you to send home in a matter stream. Rom will make sure of that."

"Rom…" Anon said, his look coming to rest on the little Ferengi with the towel and the water.

"Yup," Rom waved. "That's me."

"I'll remember that," Anon promised, and he would.

"Good!" Leeta said.

"And will likewise mention it to my father when I see him." he notified Kira jumping into action with a barking order for Leeta to turn him loose. "After I remind him who is my mother and who is not. What I have to tolerate, I do not necessarily like -- or need." his contemptuous hypnotic stare bore into Kira prying Leeta's hands off of him. "That includes your protection. Now take your hands off of me like you told the other one to before I break them."

"He didn’t mean that," Janice anxiously implored when Anon strode away leaving behind a flustered Kira. "I can't believe Anon meant it," she blinked sadly after him, dismayed by the cold, uninhibited threat of violence uttered by her mate against the appointed guardian of his own sister; that really didn't make any sense. "His father must have honored you enormously to entrust the care of his daughter to you. Anon has to know that. Understand it. Realize it…" she whispered, realizing something herself. "He's hurt. Oh, Kira," she reached for Kira's arm in a natural and instinctive effort to help her understand. "He's not angry, he's hurt. Angry because he is hurt. Why, I think he thinks…I think he thinks…" she whispered again, feeling the intensity of Kira's bristling energy. It was powerful and potent. Not thinking she dropped Kira's arm, grasping for her ear to see if she could read her life force like Anar tried to teach her. She couldn't. All she could feel was an ear with the same bristling energy she could feel in Kira's arm and see on her face.

"Sorry," she released Kira with an apologetic wince. "Sometimes I get carried away. It's not intentional…any more than Anon," she was unable to resist mentioning again despite the danger.

Kira wasn't listening. "Yes, he meant it! Of course, he meant it! What do you mean, he didn't mean it?" she demanded confused by more than what Anon may have meant or didn't mean. She was embarrassed. Why she was embarrassed, or felt embarrassed, she had no idea. "What do I care what he meant or didn't mean? He meant it! Why?"

"Oh," Janice bit her lip that time in thought not breathless excitement. "Well, I'm not sure. Probably because I would prefer to think he didn't mean it?"

That clarified things a lot, not. "What?" Kira said.

"Because I like you?" Janice smiled. "I can't imagine anyone not liking you?"

"Well, I like you, too; I don't understand you." No, Kira couldn't begin to pretend she understood her. She frowned feeling the lingering pressure of the fingers that had squeezed her ear. "But I like you. Yes," she said. "I do."

"Good," Janice tucked her arm through hers. "Everyone likes to be liked."

Cardassians were no exception.

Dukat scowled at Ziyal grimacing at his side. "Everyone likes to be liked?"

"Something like that," she admitted.

"Everyone likes to be liked." Dukat rocked on his heels thinking about the profound philosophy before erupting with a sputter. "What, in the name of your Prophets, is that supposed to mean? The woman has the sense of a Dabo hostess. I don't care how many doctorates or degrees she claims to have hidden under that! That!"

"Hair?" Ziyal replied. "I thought you said you didn't notice it?"

"I didn't." Dukat assured. "The child is half my age, why would I?"

"Because you would," Ziyal nodded. "But that's all right. If you miss Anon's point, I'm sure Nerys will make hers emphatically clear."

"What point?" Dukat snapped.

"Touch her and there won't be enough left of you to send home in a matter stream?" Ziyal gazed back at him misleading innocent and wide-eyed.

"Oh, really." Dukat looked over the so-named helpless waif Janice Lange, innocent in her shapeless beige tunic and flagrant in her spinning web of deception designed to coerce and confuse Nerys above and beyond his son. "Anyone with eyes can see the creature is attractive. The same as anyone with a brain would interpret any attention from me as a compliment to my son. That includes your brother and Major Kira. But, fine. Have it your way."

"Now you sound like Chief O'Brien," Ziyal scoffed.

He heard her wrong. "Chief O'Brien?" Her comparison escaped him; thoroughly. "Ziyal," he groaned. "How do I even remotely sound like Chief O'Brien?"

"You'll see." Ziyal promised and Dukat's eyes rolled one more time to the heavens above and beyond Terok Nor where he longed to be.

"You know actually it's Pfrann's fault Nerys ended up pregnant with Chief and Mrs. O'Brien's son last year," Ziyal also felt now was as good a time as any to disclose. "It wasn't an asteroid belt, it was the True Way practicing maneuvers in the Gamma Quadrant. And Kira's shuttle… well," she shrugged. "I guess you could say it kind of just got in the way."

Definitely heard her wrong. Dukat picked his gaping jaw back up from the floor. "Do you remember that?" Ziyal smiled.

"An emphatic no!"

"Work on it," she encouraged with a point for that message cylinder he held in his hand. "Honestly, father, where there's a will, there's a way out of every situation. Haven't you ever heard that before? I shouldn't have to do all of your thinking for you. You really are capable of taking on some of the responsibility of beating the Federation's Supreme Assembly at their game. Unless, of course, you really do want to spend the rest of your life in some Federation rehabilitation colony?"

"It isn't some rehabilitation colony!"

"No," Ziyal agreed. "It's the Federation rehabilitation colony on Elba II for the criminally insane. Sixteen consecutive life sentences if the Supreme Assembly gets their way. If you're lucky you'll see Cardassia again in two thousand years. How awful. Especially when even bad attention is better than no attention at all. Something else you know and I really shouldn't have to be telling you, yet for some reason I find I am."

"And if I agree?" Dukat sighed wearily. "Will you go away?"

"Not on your life!" Ziyal laughed. "I come by that very same stubbornness that Anon has. Naturally. And need I say, dear father, whose fault is that?"
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