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Ben woke up with an aching in his head and knew something had gone wrong. His first thought was the Croatoans, that they must have gotten past Jadzia and Nog, but no, they hadn't even gotten to the Croats yet, had they? He looked up into the distance, where he'd been told the Croats were; he could hear gunfire, and screams. Croats didn't scream.

He'd been talking to the other him, the future him, when... Ben winced, hand going to cradle the back of his head automatically. The other Ben, he - he must've knocked Ben out. But why?

The trail he'd left was obvious, just a matter of following heavy footprints left in the dirt - spread far apart, leaving deep imprints. He'd been running; branches were snapped to either side, in the direction Ben was heading. It only took him a few minutes to reach the other Ben. But as he got to the edge of the clearing, he could see it was already too late.

The other Ben dropped to the ground, dead. His neck gaped open, sluggishly bleeding at the edges.

Standing over his body, wiping blood away from her mouth, was Mayor Kira.

Not the angel still possessing her in his time, Ben could tell that immediately. The way she moved, the smile that spread across her face - this was no angel.

"Benjamin Sisko," she said with a menacing smile. "I finally get to drain you, and then God sends me a refill just as I've finished." As she spoke, her second set of teeth, needle sharp and thin, dropped slowly into view. "I truly must be blessed."

She stopped, teeth less than an inch from his neck. Ben jolted away; he hadn't even realized she was moving until she was on top of him. She sniffed him once, twice. "You aren't from around here," she said.

Ben swallowed thickly. "No. No, I'm not."

"You're from the past."

He resisted the urge to nod, all too aware of how close her teeth were. "That's right."

She hummed thoughtfully. "If I kill you now, you won't be here for me to kill later."

Ben stayed absolutely still.

Kira backed away, and grinned. "Tell Leeta I said hi, won't you?" And with that, she was gone.

Hands shaking, fury slowly starting to overwhelm numb shock, Ben headed back for the truck, and the camp beyond that.


"He lied," Ben said grimly. "Your Benjamin Sisko told me Mayor Kira disappeared along with the angels, years ago."

Smiley shrugged. "And so she did, in a manner of speaking." Ben made an outraged noise, but Smiley just tutted. "You wouldn't've believed the truth without seeing it for yourself, now would you?" He had a point there, Ben was reluctant to admit. "And anyway, now you know, don't you? What all you need to prevent, to keep this future from happening?"

Ben thought back. Kira a vampire. Odo gone, vanished along with every other shifter they knew of. Angels gone too. Creatures in an all-out war against humanity, and each other, and those strange Croatoan-infected people...

It was a lot to prevent.

"I've got something to start with," he said. "And that'll just have to do."