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She doesn’t have art in her soul. She has fire and rage and passion. But her fingers don’t hold stardust the way her mother’s did. The way Ziyal’s do. Her hands can’t paint, can’t sculpt, can’t create. She is a destroyer. A killer. A terrorist. It isn’t surprising that there is no art in her veins.

She used to think that she might have bled it out of her system before she could do anything with it. She was always clumsy with paint, creating terrible facsimiles of flowers, of memories, of family. She left blood on the battlefield, painted rocks with it as her disrupter destroyed her Cardassian oppressors. She left her own blood on dead comrades, on rocks, on scraps of clothing used to bind injuries.

She fumbles with paints, greens and blues and reds, hesitating before every brush against paper, cringing at her own clumsiness. It’s a terrible attempt and she sets down her brushes in defeat; there is no art inside of her. She is a destroyer of things, of lives, of paper.

She fights the urge to destroy her painting, angry at herself for even having that reaction. She fights back the anger in her soul, burning her chest, warming her cheeks. She lets her fingers brush the still-wet painting, leaving streaks along the painting. She isn’t surprised when the painting doesn’t look any worse--at least, this way, she’s intentionally painting poorly. Blue paint clings to her fingertips, smearing the reds of what should be flowers into purple smudges. She feels four years old again, she knows the disappointment her father must feel--she’s the worst finger-painter in the class--and she pulls her fingers away.

Paint stains her fingers and she studies them. They are meant for paperwork, for phasers, for anything but this. She has no talent for music, no talent for art. She isn’t meant to create. She thinks, some days, that the Prophets forgot to finish her. They gave her the curse of destruction but never gave her a gift of creation. She envies the ease with which Ziyal created beauty, envies the way it centered her, offers her relief from the pain. The emptiness.

She clenches her fist and the paint shifts to her palm. She feels the anger, the grief, the frustration again. She wants, so much, to be an artist, to create beauty to fill her ugly, empty heart. She reaches for the painting and crushes the paper angrily. After all, she has only ever been good at destroying.