Blessed Events


Diana Bloomfield


Joanne Spizzirri

  (c) 1997

  The day seemed to be endless to Doctor Julian Garak-Bashir. The day dragged on with a sea of faces floating in and out of the Infirmary for a multitude of various illnesses and injuries. It didn't help matters any for Julian to know that things would have run more smoothly and quickly for him had the Infirmary been running in an organized fashion. As it was, different members of his staff were choosing the same time to ask for vacations and time off. Now he was becoming more and more understaffed and overworked. At least Elim realized why he was so tired lately. A smile curved on Julian's lips as he thought about his husband.

  He could hardly believe that it had been over two years since he and the tailor became spouses. They had gotten into their little squabbles from time to time, that was normal for any couple, but most of the time things were wonderful between them. Even though he didn't like squabbling, Julian also wouldn't give up all the times they made up for anything. Thinking about Elim waiting at home for him made Julian look at the chronometer. Realizing that his shift ended hours ago, Julian tossed the data padd he was working on across the console and left one of the medical technicians in charge, unless there was an emergency, and headed for the habitat-ring.

  Entering the access code, the door slid open and Julian entered to find Garak sitting at the dining room table trying to feed Kirayoshi who seemed more interested in his toys than trying to eat dinner. Julian set his medkit down and walked over to kiss the tailor soundly on the lips.

  "Annell back out of babysitting duty again?" Julian asked with a smile.

  "Something came up and the Chief came into my shop this morning to see if I could take little Kirayoshi before his shift started," Garak replied, as he tried to keep Kirayoshi from climbing out of his high chair. The child knew full well how to feed himself, but he was determined to get his toy fire engine before showing any interest in the plate in front of him.

  "That's the third time this month Annell had 'something come up'. O'Brien's lucky that you don't mind bailing him out," Julian replied.

  Garak smiled at the small boy. "It's no problem really. I don't mind in the least."

  Julian couldn't help smiling at the expression on Garak's face. He wondered how many others knew how good the Cardassian was around children. He didn't appear nervous at all and the boy seemed to take to him. "Looks like you've got everything under control here, so I'm going to take a shower before dinner."

  "All right. O'Brien's shift should be over in another hour so I'll get all of Kirayoshi's toys packed up and get him ready for bed. He'll probably be asleep before O'Brien even gets here."

  "Sounds like a plan," Julian replied and kissed the tailor again before heading off to the bathroom where he stripped down and climbed under the warm spray. His protesting muscles started to feel better almost immediately as the water hit them. As he lathered up, he thought about how curious it was that Garak was doing so much babysitting recently. He was not only watching Kirayoshi, but there were several other couples who had sought Garak out to watch their children on occasion for the last several months. Garak didn't seem bothered in the least by it either. He knew that Garak's former marriage had been rocky at it's best and he often times wondered if Garak ever regretted not having any children. He, himself, had never thought much of raising a child on a station like DS9 anyhow, but then he had often seen how Miles' face would light up with pride whenever he looked at Kirayoshi or his Molly. He began to remember a conversation he had with O'Brien over darts quite a few months ago.

  "Don't you think it's a bit dangerous to raise children on a station like this?" Julian asked O'Brien, when the engineer made a comment about Keiko wanting a third child.

  "No, I don't think the risk of anything happening to them is all that great," the Irishman responded.

  "Two a.m. feedings, the diaper changing, the teething. I honestly don't see why you'd want to put yourself through that again," Julian replied and smiled when he got a bulls-eye.

  "Julian, that's because you've never seen them take their first step, have them look at you and call you 'daddy' for the first time and know they recognize you, or have them climb up in your lap after you've put in a long day at work and ask you to read them a bedtime story. Fatherhood isn't easy, but I wouldn't give it up for anything in the world," the Chief replied as the board beeped for fifty points.

  Julian hadn't let Miles know it at the time, but that comment really started him thinking for weeks afterwards. There were times when he was giving an infant an inoculation or present during a delivery and such and he would start wondering what kind of a father he would be. Oh, he knew when he had married Elim that he would have to make certain sacrifices for the marriage, and the benefits of the marriage far outweighed any of the little sacrifices. Still though, he couldn't help but wonder, if it was possible, what it would be like to raise a child with Elim. A small smile formed on his face as he thought about what a wonderful father Elim would make. He supposed they could always adopt if they wanted to, but he still couldn't help speculate what it would be like to raise a child of his own blood. He had no doubt that his mother would be thrilled that he was even having such thoughts, but was he even suited to be a father? He would also have to seriously consider how a child would effect his and Elim's marriage, not to mention his job.

  When he was finished with his shower, he dressed and had a nice, light dinner with Elim. The tailor had been right, Kirayoshi was sound asleep when Miles came later to pick him up. Later on that night, when they were laying in each other's arms, Julian's mind kept coming back to his earlier thoughts.

  "Jahkim, has something been going on at work lately? You've been quite quiet tonight," Garak asked softly as he stroked Julian's back.

  "Nothing unusual at work, I've just been thinking about certain things lately, that's all," Julian replied as his arm tightened around the Cardassian's waist.

  "What kind of certain things," the tailor asked.

  Julian propped himself up on his elbow so he could look down into Garak's face. "Well, I saw the way you were with Kirayoshi tonight and other children that you've been babysitting over time and I guess I was just wondering if you ever felt any regret about not becoming a father. I mean, since you didn't have any from your first marriage and well, now. . ." Julian's voice trailed off.

  Garak reached up and gently stroked Julian's cheek. "Julian, if you're asking if I would have preferred marrying some woman just to have her bear me a child, the answer is no. I do not, nor will I ever, regret marrying you," Garak replied and pulled the doctor forward for a kiss. "However, I would admit that there have been times that I've wondered what it would be like to raise a child."

  "Actually, I have been too," Julian admitted honestly.

  The Cardassian looked at him in frank surprise. "Julian, I always thought you didn't believe children should be raised on a station or wanted to have to worry about a child when you're away on a mission. I even remember you telling Chief O'Brien once that you didn't think that you would even have the time to devote to a child with your commitments at the Infirmary."

  "I know, it just seems to be that lately I find myself thinking about it more and more. As for my job, I still have my doubts about that. I mean, if we did decide to raise a family, I would want to make sure I was there when the child needed me," Julian replied.

  "I've no doubt you would make a wonderful father, Jahkim. No one knows as well as I do how understanding and compassionate you are. Those are traits that some men would be envious in having where their own children are concerned," Garak reminded him. "As for your position, just remember that you would be a long way from raising a child on your own if you were to decide this is something you would want to do. In fact, I don't see a problem of setting up a nursery in the Infirmary if you wanted the baby with you at times."

  "There's also our marriage. If we take on the responsibility of raising a child, we won't be able to do things like leave for Risa for a weekend anytime we wanted and other things like that. I just wouldn't want you to feel like I would be neglecting you if we brought a child into the family."

  "Jahkim, we've been married over two years now and things are still going quite well for us. I don't think that a child would cause any sort of rift between us. Besides, we still have Major Kira and Lieutenant Commander Dax who haven't forgotten their promise to be our Bonding Patrons." Garak raised himself on his own elbow to look at the doctor. "I also believe that your heart is more than big enough to love me as well as a child." Garak searched Julian's hazel eyes. "Do you think I might end up neglecting you?" Julian was silent. "I hope not, because you need to remember that no matter what, you are the most important person in my life and always will be," Garak replied and leaned over to kiss Julian softly.

  "It would seem you've thought about this much more than you've let on and have a definite opinion on it," Julian replied, a small smile began to spread across his mouth.

  "Well, let's say that the idea of raising a child with you is far from an unpleasant thought and you know how important family is to Cardassians, but. . ." Garak started.

  "Then let's do it," Julian replied before he even realized the words had slipped out.

  Garak called for lights on and sat up in bed. "Julian, are you serious?"

  "Very serious," Julian assured him, feeling the excitement grow at the idea.

  Garak took him by the shoulders and looked Julian straightforward in the eyes. "Jahkim, this is a major decision. I don't want you making it if you have the least little doubts about it. This is something that we're going to have to undertake together and I don't want you doing it if it's just for my benefit."

  "It's not just for your benefit. I've been considering this for months now and can't seem to stop thinking about what it would be like to have a little son or daughter of our own. I know it's going to mean sacrifices, but I would be willing to make them if you would be. I think we both have a lot to offer a child," Julian replied.

  "I couldn't agree more," Garak replied pulling Julian down onto his chest as he laid back down and gently kissed the younger man's lips. A gleam of excitement crept into the Cardassian's crystal eyes. "When were you thinking about starting the adoption process? The sooner we begin, the sooner we'll be fathers." Garak couldn't help chuckle at the thought of being called Father.

  "Actually," Julian replied slowly, "I was thinking about the fact that we may not have to go through an adoption."

  "What else could you possibly have in mind?" Garak asked curiously as he called for lights off again. "Just what other alternatives do we have? Do you wish to mate with a woman or expect me to do the same? Or have you been keeping a secret from me?" he asked as his hand found it's way between Julian's legs. "In case you haven't noticed, my sweet Jahkim, our options are very limited."

  "A surrogate," Julian replied. Garak was quiet, so he continued. "What we could do is have a female who is willing to donate an egg, then I could combine our DNA and insert it into the egg and then implant it back into the mother." Garak continued to remain silent. "What do you think? It would be a way to have a child who would be a part of each of us."

  Garak couldn't help smiling at the thought of having a little boy or girl with Julian's dark, expressive eyes and adorable smile. "I would like nothing more than to have a child who is part of us both, but do you think that there will be a woman on this station that would be willing to help us?" Garak asked.

  "Oh, I think I know of someone who would be helpful if she knew how important this is to us," Julian replied and he told Garak just who he had in mind.

  "You're right. I do think she would be interested in helping us," Garak replied. "She is always watching out for us anyway."

  "I hope she'll do it," Julian replied as he tried to smother a yawn that escaped. "I really want to make this happen."

  Garak ran his hand through Julian's chestnut hair. "If we want it, I know we can make it happen somehow." Garak looked down to see Julian had already fallen asleep against his chest with a contented smile on his lips. Garak bent his head to brush his lips against those soft lips without waking him before laying back to fall asleep himself. 'A child. We're going to be parents,' Garak told himself, still not quite wanting to allow himself to hope that it would be true. Garak yawned and allowed sleep to overtake him as well.


  The next day, Julian found it difficult to concentrate at the beginning of his shift. Earlier that morning, Garak and Julian decided that they would approach the friend they wanted to help them after Julian's shift ended and the tailor closed his shop, because they would be finishing their duties at the same time as she would be. In the meantime, Julian discovered that he had to force himself more and more to stay focused on what he was doing. As the day wore on, the repetitive nature of the tests he was performing gave him a sense of normality so he could stop thinking about nursery schemes and such, long enough to get his job done. He became so caught up in his research that Nurse Jabara had to remind him that his shift was over. Looking over at the chronometer and giving a large cat-like stretch, Julian left Jabara in charge and went to find the tailor. Walking across the Promenade, Julian headed for the tailor's shop. He reached his destination just in time to see the tailor locking his door.

  "Are you ready, Jahkim?" Garak greeted with a warm smile that Julian returned easily.

  "Ready as ever, Love," Julian replied, his hand drifting to the tailor's as they walked in the direction of their friend's quarters. "Have you thought about how we're going to approach her about this?"

  "I think the best method is to approach her as straightforward as possible," Garak replied as his hand came up to sound the chime and Julian nodded in agreement. The door slid open and standing in the doorway was the person they were wanting to talk to.

  "Garak, Julian! Hi there. How are you two doing?" the Trill inquired taking a step back to allow them to enter.

  "We're doing well, Jadzia," Julian replied with a smile and took a seat by Garak on Dax's sofa.

  Jadzia watched Garak and Julian look to each other, speaking silently with their eyes. "What can I do for you boys?" she asked.

  Julian smiled affectionately at Garak and then turned his attention to the Trill. "Well, Garak and I have come to make an important decision recently. It's something that's going to change our lives drastically but it's something we're going to need your help with."

  Dax looked first at Julian then at Garak with confusion. "Well, if there's anything I can help you with, you know you can count on me."

  "Commander, I wouldn't be so hasty to make that statement until you hear us out," Garak replied and then looked at the doctor who began explaining their plans. By the time he had finished, the Trill had a huge smile on her face, her eyes were practically glowing.

  "Me? You're asking me to be your surrogate mother?" Both the doctor and tailor nodded. As Dax rose from her chair she couldn't resist hugging both of them. "I would be honored to help you guys out. I've been a mother five times and a father three and let me tell you something, it's an experience that you'll never forget! Oh, I can't believe it, the two of you wanting a baby! This is going to be wonderful."

  Julian couldn't help chuckling. If Dax was this excited now, he could only imagine how his own mother would react to the news. He looked over at Garak, who smiling broadly himself. "So when do you want to start the testing to prepare for this?" he asked happy that she was so agreeable with the idea.

  Jadzia looked at Julian pensively and nibbled at her bottom lip before answering. "I really should let Worf know what's going to be going on, but I'm sure he won't have much to say about it." The Trill smiled again. "Besides, if he does, I'll simply convince him to see things my way," she replied sounding very sure of herself. "I'll be seeing him tonight, so why don't we plan for the tests first thing in the morning."

  Julian leaned over and kissed her on the cheek. "Jadzia, you are being absolutely wonderful about everything. I can't begin to tell you how much this means to us," he said while linking his fingers with the Cardassian's.

  "Oh, I think I do. If I didn't think you really wanted this or thought you weren't ready to become parents, I wouldn't be agreeable at all," Dax responded seriously.

  "Just think of it," Julian replied. "If everything runs smoothly with the tests, then by the end of the week, we could actually do the procedure!" Garak slipped his arm around Julian's shoulders and pulled him close as the Trill saw the excitement and hope in their eyes.

  "I'm sure everything will go very smoothly," Garak assured the doctor.

  Later on that night, Julian and Garak were in the shower together and Julian's thoughts still hadn't settled down.

  "We're going to have so much to do. I honestly don't know how I'm going to manage to get any sleep tonight. I'll have to call Mother of course, as soon as we know for sure it's going to happen. What about the nursery? I suppose we could set it up in the spare bedroom. What do you think about possibly having the crib in the bedroom with us? Think the captain would mind the idea of putting another nursery in the Infirmary? Hey, we could also set something up in your shop too. That way we can both watch the baby." Julian would have continued rambling on if the tailor hadn't set the soap down and pulled the doctor's slick and sudsy body to his and quieted him with a kiss.

  "Jahkim, even if everything goes well, which I'm sure it will because I am quite confident in your professional ability, we will have a very long time to plan everything," Garak reminded him and then leaned in close to nuzzle and run his tongue across the sensitive spot behind Julian's ear. Julian sighed and ran his hands down the length of the tailor's back and over his flank. "In the meantime," Garak replied huskily in Julian's ear, "I think I can distract your thoughts for a while."

  A soapy hand found it's way between Julian's cheeks and a slippery finger slowly ran the length, gently probing as it went. Julian let out a soft little moan and pressed himself closer to the Cardassian, his hands coming up to gently pinch and twist the hardening charcoal nubs of flesh of the tailor's nipples before bending his head to take them into his mouth and flick them with his tongue. Garak moaned and his probing became more insistant. Slowly one of his digits worked it's way past the muscular entrance to Julian's body. Working it in and out gently, Garak slowly rubbed the doctor's prostrate and elicited more groaning from the younger man.

  Julian drew his own soft murmurs from the tailor when he slid his hand between their bodied to take the stiffening flesh of the tailor's shaft firmly with his fingers and began a gentle stroking rhythm which soon built to match the rhythm the tailor had set with his own fingers. Their lips sought each other, their tongues dueling together, trying to gain entrance to the other's mouth. The heat of the water that trickled down them was no match for the heat of their bodies as the friction grew stronger and more urgent. Breaking the kiss, Garak lowered himself to his knees onto the ceramic bottom of the shower took Julian's rigid member into his mouth. His tongue ran over the head before running the length of the base. The Cardassian's other hand came up to gently squeeze and manipulate Julian's testicles. Even with the water, Garak could still smell and taste the doctor's muskiness. Julian's head fell back against the wall of the shower as the tailor's sucking became more forceful. Julian found himself being drawn in so far that the tailor's nose touched the tight ebony curls of his groin only to be released and drawn in again and again.

  Just when Julian thought he couldn't stand the excruciatingly sweet suffering any longer and felt that his legs would soon buckle, Garak rose and turned Julian around by the shoulders to face the tiled wall. Grasping the doctor's hips tightly, Garak pulled him back to him and nudged Julian's opening with the tip of his aching member.

  "Please," Julian whispered as he pressed backward. Between the soap, the water, and Garak's earlier stretching with his fingers, the tailor slid smoothly into the doctor's heated body. He went slowly until his entire length was embedded into the doctor. "Oh, Elim, yes!" Julian moaned as his body began to slowly rock back and forth against the Cardassian's.

  Garak's arm came around his waist while his other hand came around to grasp Julian's hard sex and began slowly pumping. As Julian pressed back further against him, becoming more and more urgent in his motions, Garak began driving into the doctor with more force--desperately trying to fill the void Julian had, which only Garak seemed to be able to sate. Julian thrust himself backwards with abandon, moaning and calling his husband's name repeatedly. Garak's manipulation of Julian's shaft became quicker and quicker as he felt the doctor coming nearer and nearer to the abyss--feeling the tension seep into his muscles, the pressure building ready to reach critical mass at any moment. Suddenly, Julian's body spasmed against him, the doctor's warm viscid seed came forth to cover the Cardassian's fingers, some getting on the tiled wall. Garak felt Julian's body secure and tightened around his, driving him to reach the pinnacle right afterwards, filling Julian's body with his own hot seed. They were still for several moments, each trying to regain control of their own senses before Garak carefully freed himself from the doctor's body, his arms still surrounding Julian. Julian turned around in his embrace and drew him close for a very long and deep kiss. After the need for air drove them apart, and Julian felt more trusting of his shaky legs, he climbed out of the shower. Grabbing a towel for himself, he also handed one to Garak and they began drying one another.

  Not bothering to dress, they padded into the bedroom and climbed into bed. Julian called for lights off before settling down into the crook of Garak's arm. The tailor held Julian tightly against him. Julian pressed a kiss against the Cardassian's chest and closed his eyes and tried to rest. His excitement had abated slightly out of sheer exhaustion, but had not been extinguished completely.


  "No, Jadzia, I will absolutely not permit it," Worf said angrily as he crossed his arms across his broad chest and stared down his equally determined fiancé. "I can not believe you even agreed to this without discussing it with me first."

  "Worf, if you could have seen the looks on their faces, you would have seen why I said yes. They are so looking forward to having a child," Dax implored.

  "I don't care. I don't like the idea of you carrying another couple's child while you're promised to me," Worf replied. "Besides, I don't like the thought of you raising a half-Cardassian child. It would be dishonorable to raise an enemy's child."

  "Worf, even with all the talk of traditions and trying to maintain the Klingon way of life, I never thought I would ever call you prejudice. I guess you are though, but let me ask you this, since when did you start considering Garak a personal enemy?" the Trill asked.

  "I don't consider him a personal enemy, but he is Cardassian and since Cardassia waged war on the Klingons they have been seen as the enemy," Worf tried to explain.

  "But Garak hasn't had anything to do with Cardassia since his exile so it isn't fair to judge him solely based on his race. Besides that, I wouldn't be raising their child, Julian and Garak would be," Jadzia reminded him.

  "Have you even given considerations to all the complications with such a procedure?" Worf asked her. "If we are to be getting married in the future, then what would happen after you would give birth to the child? Are you telling me you wouldn't want to be near as the infant grows? What if you or I would be transferred? It would not take much for you to become attached to the infant and then that would affect decisions dealing with us, and that is simply unacceptable."

  Jadzia noted the look of determination in the Klingon's eyes, but she knew her determination was just as strong. Closing the distance between them, she wrapped her arms invitingly around his neck. He glared at her, but eventually wrapped his arms around her waist. "You know, Kira had a little trouble adjusting to the idea of letting Kirayoshi go, but knew what it was that she had to do. If she was able to do it, I don't see why I should have any problems," the Trill replied logically.

  "Yes, but I know what it's like to have to leave child behind. Leaving Alexander behind was very hard for me and I wouldn't want you to have to face such a decision," Worf countered.

  Jadzia was touched that Worf was worried about her, but she wasn't giving up the argument. "Worf, you're right, it is hard to leave children. I know that because I've been a mother five times and a father three and each time I was given a new host I had to leave my former family behind," she reminded him. "That's why I 'know' I'm capable of handling this, whereas some women wouldn't be. I would rather it be me since I know I could let go than to have them go to someone else who might end up wanting to keep the child afterwards." Worf made a noncommittal grunting noise and Jadzia decided to lay down her trump card. "Besides that, don't you think you owe a debt to Julian and Garak?"

  "What are you talking about?" the Klingon asked with confusion.

  Jadzia looked him directly in the eyes. "When the three of you were captured and held in that Jem'Hadar camp and were forced to fight, wasn't it Garak and Julian who kept you alive?" Worf remained quiet. "Face it Worf, you owe them your life and I have never known you not to repay debts."

  Worf grumbled. "I suppose you are correct. If this would repay the debt then so be it, but know right now that I still don't approve of it, but it seems you have made your mind up."

  Jadzia smiled brightly and kissed her lover's lips. "Thank you, sweetheart, I know this means a lot to them." Worf grumbled again, but continued to kiss the Trill.


  The next day, Garak was busily working away the time until the alarm sounded to announce the start of his lunch hour. He had promised his husband that he would stop by the Infirmary to see how things were going with Jadzia's tests and didn't want to be late. Locking up his shop, Garak stopped at the Replimat long enough to replicate a sandwich for the doctor. He knew if he didn't bring Julian something, the doctor would more than likely forget to eat anything at all. He smiled to himself as he continued on his quest to the Infirmary. As he entered, he saw Jadzia still sitting on the bio-bed and a very frustrated and despondent looking Julian sitting on a stool facing her.

  "Julian, I am so sorry. I know how much this meant to you," Dax replied frowning in disappointment.

  Julian reached out and patted her leg. "It's not your fault, Jadzia. It's just something that's not within our control."

  Garak cocked his head slightly. "Doctor? What is it you've found out?"

  Julian heaved a weary sigh. "It seems that through some serology scans I ran on Jadzia, we discovered her Trill anatomy is missing two vital hormones that would make your Cardassian DNA compatible with hers." Julian stood up and began pacing about the room. "I found out these hormones can be synthesized, but when introduced into Jadzia's body there is an eighty-five percent chance that it could produce an anaphylactic reaction, possibly killing the Dax symbiot."

  Garak walked over to the doctor and took him into his arms. "It's all right, Jahkim, I'm sure we can still come up with something," he said soothingly.

  "What about Kira?" Dax suggested hopefully. Both men turned to her with raised eyebrows. "It was only a thought," she replied.

  "It's just that after giving birth to Kirayoshi, I doubt the Major would be too enthused at the prospect of carrying another couple's child again," Julian replied, his arms coming to rest at the tailor's waist. "I guess adoption is still an option." The disappointment was still very evident in his voice and he didn't meet the tailor's eyes.

  Garak took Julian's chin in his fingers and brought the doctor's eyes up to meet his. "As I've said before. . .we will find some way. I want you to have faith in that. Do you believe me?"

  "Yes," Julian replied, but it didn't come out sounding very confident.

  "Well, I certainly hope so because I haven't let you down yet and I don't plan on starting now," Garak replied and softly kissed Julian's lips.

  Jadzia coughed discreetly, reminding them she was still present. "Would you two like to be alone?" she asked with a smile.

  Julian turned to look at her. "Actually, since all of the tests are finished, you could leave if you'd like."

  Dax hopped off the table, came up behind Julian and placed her hands on his shoulders. "I'm still sorry that I couldn't be of more help for you two, but if anyone can come up with a way of making this happen it's you." She gave Julian a kiss on his cheek for support.

  "Like I said, you have nothing to be sorry about. You were willing to go much farther in the name of friendship than anyone else I'm aware of and I. . ." Julian looked to Garak. ". . .we appreciate it." Garak smiled in agreement.

  Jadzia gave Julian's shoulders a quick squeeze. "Well, if there is any way I can be of help, just let me know all right?" Garak and Julian both nodded and the Trill walked out the door.

  "Would you like to have lunch together?" Garak asked. He figured that he could save the sandwich for later if need be.

  "I would actually, but I've got a lot of work to catch up on. I hope you understand," Julian replied regretfully.

  Garak was sure that Julian did indeed have a lot of work to occupy his time, but he also had a suspicion that the doctor wanted some time to himself. "All right, Jahkim, but I'll be waiting for you come dinner time."

  Julian smiled slightly. "I'll make certain Jabara doesn't let me work through it again." Garak gave him another kiss and handed him the sandwich before leaving to reopen his shop.

  The rest of the day, Julian went through the motions of his job but his mind was more on thinking about a child than his duties. It felt strange to Julian to realize that several days ago he hadn't even thought of bringing the idea of having a child up to Garak, but now he couldn't think of anything else. Since Garak had shown interest and desire for the idea, it helped to fuel his own. Even though he realized it wasn't his fault, he couldn't help feeling like he let Elim down by giving him false hope before Julian knew whether or not all the details would fall in place. Before Julian even realized it, Jabara had reminded him that his shift was over and he headed home for dinner with his spouse.

  When Julian entered their quarters, he noticed dinner was already on the table. "Have you been waiting long on me?" he asked as he walked into a hug.

  "No, I just finished preparing it, so you have time for quick shower," Garak replied with a quick kiss before he let the doctor go.

  Julian grabbed some clean clothes and headed into the bathroom. When he came back out a while later in fresh clean clothes, Garak thought he looked like he felt better, but there was still something troubling the doctor. As they ate, Garak asked him about different things about his day and such, but Julian wasn't in his normal talkative mood. After awhile Garak fell silent himself as he finished the rest of his meal and returned it to the replicator.

  Julian soon finished his meal, and settled down to read a couple of chapters of his latest mystery novel before going to bed, when Garak sat down on the sofa beside him and pulled the padd out of his hand and set it down on the coffee table.

  "Julian, are you still troubled about this afternoon?" Garak asked, trying to read Julian's eyes.

  " I feel like I've let you down," Julian replied honestly.

  Garak brought his fingers up to gently caress the younger man's cheek. "Jahkim, you could never let me down." He brought Julian's face up to meet his eyes. "It's really important to you that our child is created from us isn't it?"

  "Well, it may sound strange, for some reason, the more I keep thinking about it, the more important it seems. I know it doesn't make any difference whether we adopt or not because we'll still have a child to love regardless, but. . . ."

  "It does make a difference to you, doesn't it?" Garak surmised.

  "I sound like a hypocrite, don't I?" Julian asked with embarrassment.

  "Not at all, Love," Garak assured him. "It's quite a natural instinct to want to have a child that's genetically yours. Someone of your blood to pass on your knowledge, beliefs. . .someone to carry on a part of you long after you've gone."

  "It doesn't seem like that's going to be happening for us does it?" Julian replied with a small regretful smile.

  Garak looked away from Julian briefly and considered confiding something to him. When he looked back again into Julian's sad hazel eyes, he knew he had no choice. "Jahkim, it would be possible to still have a child of our own."

  Julian looked at him skeptically. "How?"

  Garak began to appear nervous. "Well, I've been hesitant to bring this out, considering that my species hasn't had a need for this for well over a hundred years, but. . . ."

  "But what?" Julian probed, his curiosity getting the better of him.

  "You know that I am reptilian in heritage, right?" Julian nodded and Garak continued. "Well, reptiles have a certain characteristic trait that only seems to come out when there is a majority of one sex in our society. This trait helps to preserve us by making it possible for us to continue to reproduce."

  "What is this particular trait?" Julian asked slowly.

  "When certain hormones are either secreted by us naturally or somehow otherwise introduced into our system, we are able to become reproductionally hermaphroditic," Garak explained.

  Julian stared at him for several minutes before saying anything. "So what your saying is. . . ." He wasn't even able to finish the statement.

  "So what I'm saying is that I, under your care of providing me with the essential hormones, could in theory become capable of carrying our child," Garak finished for him.

  Julian blinked at him, still in shock. "You? You could carry a child? Why didn't you tell me this before?"

  Garak shrugged his shoulders and looked at Julian. "It never really came up. I always assumed that raising a family wasn't a priority in your life and when you brought it up to me the other night and seemed interested in having a surrogate, I figured that it may be a bit safer that way, because as I said, this hasn't been done in generations."

  Julian then looked a little embarrassed when a thought occurred to him. "Umm, would this procedure. . .change. . .?" he asked and waved his hand at the tailor.

  Garak knew what the doctor was getting at and chuckled at him. "In theory, if you only give me a small enough amount of the hormones to induce conception but no more than that, then there shouldn't be any physical changes where my sexuality is concerned. And as far as the birth will go, there shouldn't be any danger with a cesarean delivery," Garak explained to him.

  Even though relief was evident on his face, Julian still was having a hard time digesting what Garak was proposing, not to mention the medical concerns coming to his mind. "I don't know. I would be so worried that something would happen to you. It would be a procedure I'm not familiar with, and so many variables. . ." Julian's voice trailed off again.

  "Julian, if there's going to be any type of complications, I couldn't be in better hands. I'll be under the constant care of my own personal physician," Garak reminded him with a smile.

  "You have a lot of faith in me, don't you?" Julian asked.

  "Of course I do. I always have," Garak replied.

  "Well, as long as you don't have any doubts, the truth is, I rather like the idea too," Julian replied with twinkling eyes that showed his growing enthusiasm. The prospect of having a child that was completely created from himself and Garak with no other's help becoming necessary did excite him more than he would admit to himself.

  "Good, then are we going to start the process in the morning?" the tailor asked.

  "First thing," Julian assured him. "I'm going to have a quite a bit of research I'm going to be doing first, because I want to know for certain exactly what I'm going to need to do for this to work," he commented more to himself than Garak.

  "I'm not worried in the least. If it's possible, you'll find a way to make it happen," Garak replied. "Until then, why don't we go to bed," the tailor suggested, getting up from the couch and heading towards the bedroom he stopped and looked over his shoulder to see if the doctor would follow.

  "Good idea," Julian replied. "It's been a long day and I'm tired."

  "Not too tired, I hope," Garak commented with a mischievous smile. "We'll see," Julian replied knowingly and called for lights off. As the Cardassian pulled him into bed, Julian suddenly wasn't feeling quite as tired as he originally thought he was.


  The next morning found Garak sitting on a bio-bed with Julian running numerous scanners over him and subjecting him to a battery of tests. The tests were taking quite some time to finish.

  "Jahkim, is all of this really necessary?" Garak asked with a sigh that was showing the beginnings of frustration.

  "Elim, I'm not taking any chances with your health. I'm going to take every precaution I can to assure you're going to be fine," Julian replied running yet another scanner over his husband.

  "So what do all the tests show?" Garak asked.

  Julian smiled, "That you're in perfect health," he answered, leaning over to give the tailor a quick kiss.

  "I could have saved you all that trouble by simply telling you so," Garak replied with a smirk. "So are we ready to begin yet?"

  "Well, after checking the medical database, I synthesized the correct proportions of gonadatropins that your body requires to produce the ovum for fertilization, but it will be several hours before the cells are created and divide and grow large enough to be fertilized. That's when I'll insert my DNA into it with a procedure that's similar to an amniocentesis. After that, an embryonic sac will form around the ovum and allow the baby to develop." Garak nodded his understanding. Julian readied the hypospray with the proper amount of hormones and started to bring it to the Cardassian's throat, but hesitated.

  "Is something wrong?" the tailor asked.

  "You asked me the other night if I had any doubts whatsoever about becoming a father because you didn't want me to do this if I wasn't absolutely sure. Now, I want to be completely sure you have no doubts about this. Once this happens, there isn't going to be any turning back for us. If you have any concerns I want you to tell me now," Julian replied. "I want you to know I won't be upset in the least if you change your mind."

  Garak gave him a becharming smile. "Doctor, rest assured that if I had doubts I would have let you know that over an hour ago, so I wouldn't have had to sit through all these tests."

  Julian gave him a chastising look, but noted the seriousness behind the comment. "As I said, if you're going to change your mind, now is the time to do it." When Garak remained silent, Julian held the hypospray up to the tailor's neck and injected the serum.

  "Now we wait?" Garak asked.

  "Now we wait," Julian answered. "You could open the shop for a few hours," he suggested.

  "You're not going to worry for the next several hours, are you?" Garak asked.

  "I'll try not to," Julian promised. "That speech I'm suppose to give on Delone Prime still needs to be written. Hopefully, that will keep me busy," he replied with a crooked smile.

  Garak gave him a skeptical look and then gave Julian a quick kiss on the lips before climbing down from the bio-bed. "If you need me, you know where I'll be."

  In his shop, Garak found himself doing exactly what he was concerned Julian would be doing. He was unable to stop thinking about what would be happening in the next couple of hours. Soon he would be on his way to becoming a father. Julian was going to make wonderful parent but would he? Of course he loved children, but realistically, watching children for several hours was quite different from raising a child of his own. Who did he have to look up to as a role model for a father? Tain? There was no way he would ever allow himself to become the type of father to his child that Tain had been to him, but would he be able to avoid it? He was determined to avoid that scenario at all costs. There was a clear distinction between creating a being with a male's genetic heritage and being a true father. He only hoped he would be able to show his love and affection for his own child as Tain had been unable to do. As the chronometer ticked away, Garak found himself unable to concentrate, on the alterations he was trying to complete or on his books, long enough to get any inventory done. Finally, he decided to close up the shop for the remainder of the time and tried to concentrate on a novel Julian had given him. In a matter of time, he allowed himself to become so absorbed in the novel that it startled him when the computer announced that there was an incoming voice transmission from Julian.

  "Put it through," Garak ordered.

  "Elim, are you ready?" Julian asked him.

  "Of course I am, Jahkim," Garak assured him with more confidence than he felt.

  "Then it's time."

  "I'll be there momentarily," Garak told him, already laying the data padd aside and heading for the door.

  Once in the Infirmary, Garak was once again on the bio-bed he had been on previously. Only this time instead of having scanners running all over him, Garak was laying down flat, his shirt completely off, his pants pulled down far enough to expose his abdomen, and a small device placed on it that fed back to a computer screen in front of him.

  Julian started to approach him with an extremely large and ominous needle. "Are you ready?" he asked and noticed that lack of color in the Cardassian's face and lowered the needle. "Elim, are you nervous about going through with the procedure?"

  Garak swallowed, his mouth feeling extremely dry. "No, it isn't that exactly," Garak said slowly. "It's just that I don't have much of a fondness for needles--especially ones 'that' size."

  Julian reached down and took the tailor's hand in his. "I know it looks large and painful, but I did give you an anesthetic, so you're not going to feel anything except, perhaps, some pressure on your stomach as it enters." Garak still looked skeptical and Julian squeezed his fingers. "Have I ever lied to you before or do you believe I'd ever do anything that would be painful to you?"

  "No," Garak replied honestly.

  "Then lay back, watch the monitor, and it will all be over before you know it," Julian assured him. "That is if you're still certain you want to do this."

  "I'm still very certain," Garak reassured him confidently, but his bravado started to falter as Julian brought the needle closer and closer. Garak closed his eyes when he felt the tip of it make contact with his skin in preparation for the pain he instinctively felt would be coming--surprisingly none did. He did feel a momentary pressure on his stomach, but that was it.

  "Elim, open your eyes," he heard Julian whisper to him and he did. "Look at the screen, Love," Julian instructed him and the tailor's eyes focused on the computer screen in front of him. On the screen was an image of the inside of his stomach and the needle gliding it's way through. "See where I'm taking the needle to?" Julian asked as it headed towards a tiny little blister--sized bump.

  "Yes, I see it," Garak replied.

  "That's the ovum," Julian told him excitedly. Garak couldn't believe how infinitely small the cluster of cells were as he watched the tip of the needle push it's way through the outer covering surrounding the ovum. Julian pressed the top of the syringe and Garak watched in silent awe as the serum containing Julian's DNA was injected into the ovum's center and the needle started to be withdrawn. Within seconds, Garak and Julian both watched as the first division of the cells took place. Julian took the needle the rest of the way out and couldn't stop himself from staring at his spouse.

  "Did it work?" Garak asked still in disbelief.

  "It sure did," Julian answered him as a broad smile broke out on his mouth. "We are going to be fathers!"

  A sense of exhilaration and happiness flooded through the Cardassian as he started laughing and grabbed the doctor and pulled him down onto the bio-bed and into his lap where he kissed him so soundly that it left Julian struggling to catch his breath.

  "Elim! There 'are' other coworkers in the next room," Julian reminded him with a grin when he had the breath to talk again.

  "Jahkim, I really could care less. We're going to be fathers! Can you believe it?" Garak replied in a throaty voice, and settled his arms around Julian's waist.

  Julian chuckled. "Not really. I saw it but I'm still having a hard time believing it's real."

  "Well believe it, because it's happened," the tailor told him. "I told you I knew you could do it, that we could make this happen," Garak replied and kissed Julian again more softly this time.

  "You just love to be proven right don't you?" Julian replied teasingly.

  "No more so than you do, my darling Doctor," Garak replied in the same teasing tone before turning serious again. Garak turned Julian's face towards him so he could look deep within his eyes. "You know, Jahkim, the only other time I remember being this happy was when we exchanged our vows."

  "Me too," Julian replied and hugged the tailor closer to him and let out a deep sigh. "You know, don't you, that now we're going to have a lot to do before the baby arrives, setting up the nurseries, getting the supplies ready, telling our friends. . ." his voice trailed off and he started shaking his head. "Fathers, we're actually going to be fathers," he said, almost as if hearing it would make it more believable to him.

  "We're going to have plenty of time for all of that before the baby comes," Garak reminded him. "Nothing has changed with that."

  Julian brought his head up and looked at the tailor. "You know I'm going to be constantly monitoring you, don't you?"

  "Jahkim, it would come as a surprise if you wouldn't," Garak replied knowing how much Julian liked to worry.

  Julian gave him the familiar smile that never failed to affect him. "Good, just so you know." It was Garak's turn to smile and shake his own head. They sat together in silence for several moments before Garak finally broke the silence.

  After a few moments, he noticed Julian was staring at him, bringing him out of his thoughts. "What should we do now?"

  "I'd say we should go celebrate," Julian replied and begun untangling himself from Garak's arms. "Let's go over to Quark's."

  Together, they made their way out of the Infirmary and over to the busy, bustling, bar where crowds of people who just got off from their shifts milled past them. Julian spotted a table where O'Brien, Sisko, Odo, Kira, Dax, and Worf were all seated. Tugging on Garak's hand, Julian led the tailor over in that direction.

  "Mind if we join you?" Julian asked, noticing the table full of filled plates and glasses.

  "Of course not. I was just holding a informal Senior staff meeting," Sisko answered and waved his hand for them to take a seat.

  Julian and Elim both took a seat and Julian raised his hand to get Quark's attention. Quark took their orders and gave Garak a questioning look when he started to order Kanar, but quickly changed his mind to Rokassa juice. Julian grinned at him. Dax, Kira, and O'Brien all noticed it, as well, but said nothing and continued their conversation.

  O'Brien noticed that neither the doctor nor the tailor was saying much and they couldn't stop looking back and forth at each other. Finally, when Julian gave the Cardassian a huge Cheshire cat--type grin, the Irishman's curiosity got the better of him. "Okay, you two, what's going on? Julian, you look like the cat that's just swallowed the bloody canary!"

  Julian looked questioningly at the tailor who simply nodded at him. By now, every one at the table had stopped eating and talking as all eyes fell upon the couple. Julian cleared his throat before starting. "Well, since this won't be staying a secret for long, we suppose that our friends should here the news from us first. Garak and I are going to be fathers."

  Smiles broke out around the table as everyone got up and either hugged Garak and Julian or shook their hands. Everyone, even Worf expressed their congratulations and Sisko called for a round of drinks.

  "So when did you begin the adoption procedures?" Kira asked.

  "Oh, we're not adopting, Major," Garak answered.

  "Were you able to find another surrogate mother?" Worf asked.

  Julian smiled. "No, we're not using a surrogate mother either."

  Sisko cleared his throat. "Doctor, have you or Mr. Garak, um, have you found a woman who would carry your child, the um, the natural way?" he asked trying his best to be diplomatic.

  "No, Sir, we haven't," came Garak's reply.

  Miles started to speak. "Ah, Julian, I don't understand just how do you intend to. . .er, how. . .did. . ." he stumbled.

  Garak and Julian looked at each other and started to laugh. "Well, you'll have a hard time believing this, but you'd be amazed at the secrets Cardassian physiology holds." Julian's eyes twinkled as he looked over at Garak.   "Doctor, please explain," Sisko commanded.   Julian sobered up and briefly outlined the procedure he had done on the tailor in as close to laymen's terms as he could accurately relate. When he was finished, everyone stared at him in disbelief. The momentary silence seemed to drag painfully on until Dax was the first to break it.

  "Congratulations! I'm sure you'll both make fine fathers," the Trill toasted and raised her glass in salute as everyone else did the same and clinked their glasses together as cheers rang out through the establishment.


  After dinner and a few more drinks, Garak staying with his Rokassa juice, the tailor and doctor both bid everyone a good evening and thanked them again for the congratulations and made their way back to their quarters. Garak looked questioningly at the doctor when he made a straight line for the computer.

  "Jahkim, what are you doing now?" he asked.

  "I thought I'd send a transmission to my mother and give her the good news," Julian replied. Garak couldn't help smiling at how excited he knew she would be about it. He came to stand behind Julian as the signal was received and Amsha's face appeared on the screen.

  "Jules! Hello, darling, how are you doing?" she greeted brightly.

  "Wonderful, Mother," Julian replied with a smile.

  "You know, you really should keep in touch more often. Your father and I miss you terribly," Amsha chastised half-jokingly. "How's my Elim doing?"

  "Sorry, I haven't done a better job at keeping in touch, but it's been hectic in the Infirmary. Elim's doing terrific too. In fact he's with me now," Julian informed her.

  "Hello, Mother," Garak greeted.

  "Hi, darling! I've missed talking to you too, son," she called back with a smile.

  "Is father there?" Julian asked. He still wasn't completely comfortable around his father, but felt he should be there to hear the news of his grandchild.

  "I'm afraid not, Jules. Your father is in Los Angeles right now and will be for the next several months. His architecture firm, he started after being released from prison, has really grown," she explained. "Did you need to talk to him?"

  "Well, I. . .we. . .wanted to talk to both of you, but since he isn't there, then I guess we'll just have to share the news with you," Julian replied with a smile.

  "News? What news?" Amsha questioned.

  Julian looked at Garak, who smiled back at him, before he focused on the screen again. "You, Mother, are about to become a Grandmother," he informed her. Garak watched as his mother-in-law's eyes grew large enough to rival saucers and her mouth fell open slack-jawed.

  "A grandmother? A baby? How? What?" she mumbled when she found her voice again. Julian chuckled and went into the details of the pregnancy with her. "Elim's expecting?" she asked, still finding it difficult to comprehend.

  "That's right, Mother," Garak responded.

  "I can't believe this! A baby! I'm a grandmother!" she exclaimed when she finally started to realize what it all meant.

  "Not quite yet," Julian replied with a laugh, his arm wound around the Cardassian's waist.

  "Jules, I'm leaving on the first ship that leaves tomorrow morning and will get to DS9 as soon as I can," she replied.

  "Mother, you really don't have to do that. Everything is going to be fine," Julian assured her.

  "I don't care. First, your father is away and will be for several long months. Second, I'm sure I could be of some help to Elim. Third, if you think for one minute I'm going to miss the birth of my first grandchild, you, Julian Subatoi Garak-Bashir, are sorely mistaken!" she informed him with a grin.

  Julian knew that when his mother was determined, there wasn't any changing her mind. "All right. I'll make arrangements for your quarters."

  "Good, see I'll see both of you very soon. I love you, Son," she replied.

  "I love you too," they replied in unison. When the transmission was terminated, the last thing they heard was Amsha muttering to herself how she couldn't believe it and how there would be so much to do.

  Garak smiled to himself. As if having Julian worry about him wasn't going to be bad enough, now he would have two worried Bashirs to cope with. He seriously wondered how he was going to manage and keep his sanity. As he looked into Julian's joyful eyes, he was certainly glad he loved both of them.

  "Come on, Jahkim, I think I could use some rest."

  "Aren't you going to contact Mila?" Julian asked a bit surprised that Garak wasn't already on the console to his own mother.

  "I will send her a communiqué in the morning. It's still not a good idea to communicate with her directly," Garak explained and Julian nodded his understanding as he followed the Cardassian into the bedroom.

  After undressing and climbing into bed with Garak, Julian couldn't resist curling up behind the tailor and gently rubbing his flat stomach and thinking how in a matter of months it would be swelled with their growing child. Even as drowsiness set in, Julian was still astounded thinking that they were truly going to be parents.

  ******** It was only a matter of days before Julian received the news of Amsha's arrival on the station. He and Garak were both present when the ship docked. Both men were immediately engulfed in a hug that nearly took the breath from both of them before she started bombarding them with questions about the pregnancy, Garak's health, and the such. Garak started to reach for Amsha's luggage, but Julian got to it first.

  "Mother, your regular quarters is ready for you," Julian told her. "Oh, and I told Leeta about your visit and she's excited to see you."

  "Well, I will definitely see her, but I want to spend some time with Elim first," she replied with a smile and turned to her other son. "Unless of course you're busy with the shop."

  "I'm never too busy to spend time with you, Mother," Garak informed her with a pleasant smile.

  "I'm glad because I have a lot I'd like to talk to you about," Amsha replied as Garak and Julian followed her down the corridor to the habitat-ring. Once they entered the quarters Amsha often stayed in when she visited her boys, Julian set her bags in the bedroom.

  "Mother, I have to get back to Infirmary, but I thought it would be nice if you would join us for dinner this evening," he offered.

  "That would be lovely, dear. I'll make sure I don't plan anything with Leeta then," she answered, before giving her son a kiss on the cheek. Julian kissed her in return and then gave the tailor a quick kiss before leaving.

  Taking a seat on the sofa, Amsha gestured for Garak to join her. "All right, son, how are you feeling? Have you started taking good care of yourself?"

  Garak sat down and she took his hand in hers. "Yes, I have, Mother. Julian's been making sure I eat properly and has been taking readings every morning before he leaves for the Infirmary."

  Amsha smiled with satisfaction before her face turned serious. "I'm glad to see Julian is making sure you remain fit and healthy, but there is something that came as a concern to me."

  "What is it, Mother?" the Cardassian asked.

  Amsha looked a little embarrassed and seemed not to know exactly how to ask the question she had in mind. Finally, she looked Garak in the eyes and began, "Look, son, you know I love you and I'm happy to see you and Julian doing so well, right?"

  "Yes," Garak replied slowly.

  "Well, you know you're a bit older than Julian so I was wondering how this pregnancy might affect you. I don't know how exactly it work with Cardassians, but with human women, the age becomes a significant factor in risks to child and the birth parent. I just don't want to see anything happen to you," she explained, the concern showing on her face.

  "Mother, you have nothing to fear. I am under the capable care of the best doctor in Starfleet," Garak responded with a smile. "Also, a Cardassian's childbearing life is much longer than a human's. We are able to reproduce well into late adulthood. It's just that many find it more convenient to have children when they are younger, so that's why having children when a Cardassian is older is more of an exception rather than the rule. The risk of any harm to either of us is still no greater," Garak explained as he rubbed his stomach.

  Amsha seemed to be satisfied with that explanation and nodded her head. "Have you talked to your own mother yet?" Amsha asked.

  "Yes, I have. She was very excited about birth. She said she was both happy and proud to become a Yanna," Garak replied.

  "A Yanna?" Amsha asked with confusion.

  "Cardassian for Grandmother," Garak explained and Amsha nodded.

  She noticed a sense of sadness that came over him. "You regret not being able to talk to Mila more don't you?" she asked softly and took his hands in hers.

  "Yes, I wish there was some way she could come to see me and get the opportunity to meet her son-in-law and her grandchild in person, but her association with Tain makes that nearly impossible," Garak replied sadly.

  Amsha looked affectionately at her second son and reached up to stroke his cheek. "I'm sure if it were possible, she would be here. I can't imagine her not wanting to be here to share this time with you."

  Garak nodded. "I just hope I can make her proud by being a good father," he replied.

  A stern look came over Amsha's face. "Elim, now why wouldn't you make a wonderful father?"

  "Because a person learns parenting skills from their own parents and my father left a lot to be desired where raising children are concerned," Garak explained, expressing a fear with Amsha that Julian wasn't even aware of.

  Amsha smiled affectionately at the tailor. "Elim, first of all your father isn't your only parent that you can emulate. You had a very loving mother who I am sure helped you to become the generous kindhearted man you are now. Also, you aren't going to be raising the baby alone, Julian will be right beside you helping and encouraging you the entire way." Amsha patted the hands in hers. "If that isn't enough, you also have people like Kira, Dax, O'Brien, and of course, myself who will be more than willing to help you anytime you may need it."

  As usual, Garak found it difficult to dispute the older woman's arguments. "I guess I want to give our little one the best life possible," he replied.

  "Elim, it's quite natural to be having doubts. Every expecting parent wonders if they will make mistakes in raising their child and no one but you will be able to determine that because each child is quite different," she told him.

  The tailor was surprised how just a few minutes of discussion helped put his mind at ease. He was sure though he would probably continue to be plagued with doubts as the pregnancy progressed. "Thank you so much for taking the time to talk to me," Garak replied.

  "Elim, you've always been like a son to me and anytime you ever need to talk, I'll always be there," she replied and cleared her throat. "Now, I should probably go see how Leeta is doing. Is there anything else you'd like to share with me right now?"

  Garak smiled at her. "Not right now but I am looking forward to sharing dinner with you tonight," he replied.

  "Good. I'll see you both tonight then," Amsha replied and kissed him on the cheek before rising to leave.

  ******** Garak was sitting in his shop looking once again at the nursery he had just finished setting up that day. He could barely recall where all of the time had went from first day of the pregnancy until now. Days turned into week, weeks turned into several months, and Garak's body started to change with the pregnancy. His stomach was starting to grow, which led to backaches and occasionally sore feet, and he occasionally grew very tired. For the most part though, the tailor had never felt better. Julian had been a little surprised to find out that Cardassians would start to severely itch instead of, as Humans would, getting morning sickness or Bajorans would sneeze when pregnant. The doctor would always be more than willing to help his husband apply the topical ointment that would relieve that particular symptom.

  It had been a long day for the tailor since there was a Bajoran festival going on and all of the ladies were wanting new apparel for the occasion--leaving Garak with quite a bit of work besides getting ready for their child's arrival. With minimal effort, the tailor stood and stretched, feeling muscle fatigue in his legs and back. He called for the lights off, locked the door and headed towards the habitat-ring and looked foward to telling Julian about finally finishing the nursery. He entered the access code to their quarters, walked into the living area, and saw Julian sitting on the sofa reading a data padd. Noticing the tailor's arrival, Julian tossed the padd onto the coffee table.

  "Where have you been?" Julian asked frowning, his arms crossed over his chest. "You were suppose to be home three hours ago. What happened?"

  "Julian, you know there's the festival on Bajor. I had a lot of orders to fill," Garak replied and then smiled. "I also finished the nursery today as well."

  "Elim, I thought you promised me you would start making things easier on yourself, work less hours and such," Julian replied, his frown deepening. "You did promise me that, didn't you?"

  "Yes, I did, Julian," Garak replied.

  "Then just when were you planning on starting?" Julian asked rising from the couch to stand in front of him.

  "As soon as the festival is over," Garak promised.

  Julian gave a noncommittal grunt as he walked over and picked up his tricorder and began taking reading. "And I suppose you were lifting all the furniture and everything else for the nursery without any help, weren't you?" Julian said more accusingly than questioningly as he read the results on the medical instrument.

  Garak sighed in frustration, his patience wearing thin. "As a matter of fact I did just that."

  "Elim, how many times have I told you that I didn't want you exerting yourself like that. You never know what that kind of straining could do to you or the baby. Not to mention how working such long hours is putting stress on the both of you. I don't see how you can treat this so casually," Julian replied, his anger starting to build.

  Garak knew that if this kept up, they could easily escalate matters into an argument and he really didn't feel like doing that to either of them. "I know you're worried, but I've told you before that Cardassians have no trouble with physical exertion during pregnancy," the tailor replied taking a step closer to the doctor and lacing his fingers behind Julian's neck. "Besides, Jahkim, you know that I would never intentionally do anything that might harm the little one. Trust me enough to know what I can and can't do safely."

  Julian's hands came to rest on the tailor's hips. "You know that it's not that I don't trust you," the doctor said. "It's just that I can't help worrying about both of you," he replied with a sheepish smile.

  "I know you worry, it's part of that caring nature of yours that I love so much," Garak replied and bent forward to kiss the doctor tenderly before backing away and smiling at him. "Now, why don't you go see if Chief O'Brien needs some help practicing his aerial dog fighting maneuvers," he suggested.

  "Is that your way of telling me to get out of here and leave you alone so you can have some peace?" Julian replied with a teasing smile.

  "Ah, subtlety never has been lost on you has it?" Garak replied with another kiss. "Seriously though, you haven't spent much time with him since I've become pregnant. I'm sure he's missing your companionship and you could use some time out yourself."

  "Are you absolutely sure?" Julian asked incredulously.

  'Yes!' Garak wanted scream out loud, instead he simply gave him a patient smile. "I'm sure I'll be fine without your supervision and I could always hail you if there is a need to."

  Slowly, Julian started to seem convinced. "All right, but if you need anything let me know, okay?"

  "I will," the Cardassian promised.

  Julian leaned in to give the tailor a brief hug and started for the door. "By the way, if you don't find a way to cut back at least a little on your work load, I will issue you a medical order for bed rest."

  "Julian. . ." Garak said in a warning tone.

  Julian chuckled. "All right, I'm leaving, I'm leaving!" and the door opened. "Oh, Elim?"

  The frustrated tailor took a deep breath before answering. "Yes?"

  "Did you want me to bring you anything back from Quarks?" Julian asked.

  Garak couldn't hide the slow smile that formed on his lips. "Actually, if he has any Yirgish cream pie, I would like a slice of that with a side order of Yamok sauce."

  "Yamok sauce on Yirgish pie?" Julian asked trying not to make a face at the thought. He then just shrugged his shoulders. "If that's what you want, I'll see what I can do."

  Garak gave Julian one more kiss before sending him on his way to find O'Brien. The doctor made his way down the corridor and sounded the chime on the engineer's door. It slid open and Miles called for him to come in. The engineer's face looked surprised to see Julian standing in front of him.

  "Julian! How have things been?" Miles asked with a ready smile.

  "Oh, besides being short staffed in the Infirmary, not bad," the doctor answered. "I was wondering if you'd want to rent a holosuite for a couple of hours."

  A knowing look came onto Miles' face. "Garak kicked you out for the night didn't he," O'Brien replied matter of factly. "Bet you started fussing over him again and he needed a break. Am I right?"

  Julian smiled sheepishly. "That obvious, huh?"

  Miles stood up and slapped him on the back. "Nah, I just remember the way I was when Keiko was pregnant with Molly. In her eighth month I'm sure she would have loved to have strangled me with her bare hands if she could," he replied. "It's always that way with the first one."

  "Yeah, well I don't think he appreciates it much," Julian replied.

  "Oh, I'm sure he does. He just needs a little breathing room right now," Miles replied and then smiled mischievously. "You're just acting like an expectant father. . .in a typical Julian way."

  The doctor arched an eyebrow. "Now just what is that suppose to mean?"

  Miles shrugged his shoulders. "You know as well as I do that you have a tendency to become obsessive sometimes."

  "Well, if I do it's only because I care," Julian remarked defensively. "I just don't like him working so many long hours."

  "I know it's just because you care and I'm sure Garak does too," Miles replied placatingly. "Remember though, you've been working some pretty long hours yourself too." He slipped a friendly arm around the doctor's shoulders. "Now, let's go see what havoc we can stir up against Napoleon at Waterloo." Julian followed him out the door, down the corridor and to the holosuites.

  Quite a few hours later Julian returned to their quarters to find all of the lights already off. He set the box from Quark's down on the table and walked towards the bedroom. Garak was curled up on his side with Julian's pillow tucked under one arm and sound asleep. Julian stood in the doorframe and watched the Cardassian sleeping for quite awhile. He watched the steady rise and fall of his chest, listened to the familiar soft little snores, and the swollen abdomen hid by the covers. There was a look of contentment that graced the tailor's features that Julian couldn't seem to recall before--a settled peace about him that was missing until recently. Shaking his head, Julian couldn't accept the fact of how lucky he was to have Garak willing to go through so much for them to have a child. Of course he knew it meant as much to Garak as it did to him to have this child, but to actually be willing to carry and give birth to their child was a remarkable challenge that many wouldn't have the courage to face. Julian had helped in implementing the pregnacy of their child, but he felt it was insignificant in comparison to what Garak was doing. He couldn't help but wish he could do more. With that thought in mind, he stripped out of his uniform and crawled into bed next to tailor. Without waking up, Garak's arm came around Julian and pulled him in close to the sleeping Cardassian. Shutting his eyes, Julian wrapped his own arm around the tailor and settled into a dreamless sleep.

  Some hours later, Julian woke up to the realization that Garak's side of the bed was empty. Focusing sleep-blurred eyes on the chronometer, Julian read that it was 02:45. Swinging his legs over the side of the bed, he grabbed his robe and slipped it on. Making his way across the carpeted floor into the living area, he saw Garak sitting at the table in the dark with an empty plate in front of him.

  "Got hungry?" Julian asked groggily.

  Garak pushed the plate away from him. "I woke up and was unable to go back to sleep, so I came in here where I found the pie waiting for me. When our child informed me we were hungry, I couldn't resist," he explained rubbing his stomach.

  "Couldn't get back to sleep, huh? Come on back to bed and we'll see what we can do about it," Julian replied.

  Garak stood. "Just what would you have in mind for a cure to insomnia?" he asked with a smile.

  "You won't find out standing there," Julian replied and headed for the bedroom and the bed. Garak followed. "Lie down on your stomach," the doctor informed him, sitting on his knees on the bed. Garak wasn't exactly sure how he was going to manage that comfortably, but with the help of several large pillows, it was possible.

  Julian took off the tailor's robe and walked over to the night stand where he fetched a bottle of scented massage oil. Pouring a liberal amount into his hands, he rubbed them together to warm it before applying it to the tailor's broad back. The Cardassian couldn't bite back the moan that escaped his lips as the doctor rubbed and kneaded the taut muscles of his neck and back with broad strokes. Julian smiled with a touch of satisfaction at knowing he was obviously doing an adequate job by the sounds of pleasure Garak was uttering. He worked his way down the tailor's firm buttocks and continued down the muscled thighs and well-formed calves, until he finally reached the soles of the tailor's feet where he started his journey back upwards again, unable to resist the urge to tenderly kiss the trail his hands created. His hands traveled up and down the same path several more times before he whispered Garak's name in his ear and realized the tailor had fallen into a deep sleep. Smiling at a job well done, Julian settled onto his side of the bed and followed the Cardassian into sleep.