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"Doesn't it unnerve you," Odo asks, "that I'm . . . unstable? That I don't stay the same?"

"And I do?" It's late, and Kira is too sleepy for tact. "What's Kira Nerys? A refugee, a terrorist, a freedom fighter, a prisoner of war, a liaison to Starfleet?" Antos's lover, she thinks. Edon's. Yours. "I've been a Cardassian politician's daughter and the mother of a Terran baby. In another universe I'm a psychopath with a sparkly headband." She kisses him. "You're mistaking shape for substance."

He smiles then, and is quiet.

He'll ask again, she knows, on another night, in another form of words, as he has asked before. And she'll answer. Only the Prophets know if they'll come to the end of this question, or how it may shift and change before they do.

"Odo," she says. Whatever it means in Cardassian, it's one unchanging truth. "You're always Odo."