A week later, while Amsha was sitting at her table eating breakfast, she heard her door bleep.

  "Come in," she called out and the door slid open to reveal her son-in law. "Elim, come in, join me for breakfast," the older woman offered.

  Garak smiled graciously at her. "Thank you, Mother, but I've already eaten. I was just wondering if I could take a few minutes of your time."

  "Elim, you know your always more than welcome to spend some time with me," Amsha remarked. The tailor pulled back a chair and with a little effort, eased himself onto it. "How is the little one doing?"

  "Besides being a little restless last night, your grandchild has been just fine," Garak assured her, accepting the glass of juice she pushed his way.

  "Ah yes, I can remember all the sleepless nights Julian gave me when I was pregnant," Amsha replied as she thought fondly back to those days. "Speaking of which, how is Julian?"

  Garak's smile faded slightly and he looked down before meeting her eyes again. "That's what I wanted to talk to you about, Mother," the tailor replied.

  "What's wrong, son?" Amsha growing concerned by Garak's serious appearance.

  "That's just it, I don't know for certain that there is anything wrong, but Julian just hasn't been acting like himself lately," the tailor replied as he slowly sipped his juice.

  "How exactly do you mean, dear?" Amsha questioned.

  Garak frowned as he spoke, "He's seemed much more... emotional than he typically is. He'll come home from work and sometimes things are just fine, but then other times, I say one thing and he takes it the wrong way. I don't know. . .I can't seem to explain it," Garak replied. "I was just wondering if perhaps you've noticed this as well, or if I was simply reading too much into it. I haven't exactly been feeling normal myself in awhile," Garak replied as his hand absently came down to rest on his belly.

  A concerned frown shown on Amsha's face as well. "Now that you've mentioned it, I have noticed it too. Do you think it could be the hormones he's taking?"

  "He has assured me that the hormones are safe," Garak replied.

  "Yes, but even if they are safe, they could affect his moods," Amsha replied. "Or do you think he has simply been working himself too hard?"

  "That could be. He's still very short staffed and the stress may be getting to him," Garak conceded.

  "I remember when Julian was in high school, I virtually had to force him at times to take some time to himself just to relax. He always pushed himself far too hard and it seems like he's still doing it," Amsha remarked.

  "Do you think if I could perhaps suggest to Julian to take some time off of work that it may do some good?" Garak asked hopefully.

  "If you could convince him. . .that's the difficult part, but yes, I do think it would help," Amash replied honestly.

  "All right. I will try that and if that doesn't work, I will just have to come up with a different course of action," Garak replied as he stood.

  "I hope you don't mind if I leave, but I must open the shop on time. I will be having several customers wanting to pick up their orders first thing this morning."

  "Of course not, Elim. Any time you want to stop by, even for a few minutes, I'd be happy to see you." Amsha replied as she walked Garak to the door. He leaned forward and placed a kiss on her cheek.

  "Thank you, Mother," Garak replied.

  "Anytime, and Elim, if this still doesn't seem to work, let me know, all right?" Amsha asked. "You know how I worry about him."

  Yes, the tailor knew very well where Julian got his knack for worrying from. "I will, I promise," Garak told her before he turned to leave.


  Several hours later found Amsha entering Quark's. She was suppose to meet Leeta for lunch, but didn't see the former Dabo girl anywhere. She was still musing on the conversation with her son-in-law from that morning. She hoped that the advice she had given him was sound and that she hadn't dismissed the problem too quickly. She was still deep in thought when she heard her name called.

  "Mrs. Bashir!" She heard over the din of the lunch crowd and saw Dax smiling and waving at her. The Trill had apparently been having lunch with the Major and wanted her to join them. "Please, have a seat," Jadzia offered after she came closer.

  Amsha took a seat and gave her order to the waitress who was already waiting on the other two women. "So how have you two ladies been?" she asked with a smile that didn't quite reach her eyes.

  "Besides having to baby-sit the Kai when she showed up for visit, my day has been simply wonderful," Kira replied with obvious disdain.

  Jadzia chuckled and turned her attention to Amsha. "How are Elim and Julian doing? I bet as the due date gets closer, you're getting more and more excited," the Trill stated.

  "Well I am excited, but I'm also worried about Julian," the older woman confessed.

  "Why? Is something wrong?" Dax asked with concern.

  "No, not exactly," Amsha confided. "It's just that Elim came to me this morning with concerns about Jules."

  "What's troubling him?" the Major asked.

  "Well, it seems that Julian just hasn't been behaving as he normally would, or so Elim suggested. He's really worried about him and that gives me concern to worry," Amsha explained. "Have either of you noticed anything out of the ordinary?"

  "Now that you mention it, Julian does seem to overreact a bit more than he usually does," Dax answered.

  "I've noticed it too, but I think it just may be those hormones he's been taking," Kira replied.

  "You're probably right," Amsha replied "but do you think it could be more than that?"

  "He has been putting in a lot of overtime at the Infirmary for the past several months. . .maybe he's just exceptionally worn out," Dax offered.

  "Do you think it may have something to do with Elim and the pregnancy?" Amsha asked. "He's so worried about Elim and the baby's health that it could be causing him stress. Also, being short-staffed and having a lot to do to prepare for the birth doesn't help matters."

  "Perhaps," Kira remarked, but didn't sound satisfied with the answer.

  Dax could tell by the disturbed look on the older woman's face that she wasn't mollified. "Do you think it would help if we ruled out the hormones as a possible cause?" the Trill suggested.

  "We could run a spectral analysis on a sample," Kira replied and Dax nodded.

  "Would we be able to do it right now?" Amsha asked, wanting to get to the bottom of things as quickly as possible.

  "I don't see why not," Dax replied and shrugged her shoulders. "Julian is probably having lunch with Garak, so he won't even be in the Infirmary right now."

  "Let's do it then," Kira replied and rose from her seat. The other two women rose from their seats as well and followed the Major to the Infirmary. Most of the staff, what little there was, were occupied with their tasks and didn't take notice of the women when they entered and headed towards Julian's office. Sitting down at Julian's computer, it didn't take long for Dax to search his medical database and find the program he had been using to replicate the hormone serum. Calling the program forth, Jadzia replicated a vial of the hormones and the other two women watched as she put it through a series of tests.

  "Hmmm," Dax mused as she read the results. "While the compound is out of the ordinary, there's nothing to indicate that it's unstable in the least or that there would be anything within the compound to suggest that it would cause any adverse reactions in Julian."

  "Then he was right, there isn't anything dangerous in it?" Amsha asked.

  "That's what it looks like," Dax commented. Suddenly, the door to Julian's office slid open and in walked a startled dark-haired woman who's face turned angry when she spotted the other three women.

  "Excuse me, but just what are you doing in here? Dr. Bashir would not appreciate having anyone snooping around his office," the woman snobbishly stated.

  "Listen here, I don't know who you are but. . ." Kira started to say as she drew herself up into an imposing posture.

  "I happen to be Nurse Jacobs, Doctor Bashir's temporary head nurse and if you don't leave immediately, I'll be forced to call security," Hannah replied.

  "Why you. . ." Kira was intercepted by Dax who stood between the two women.

  "We were ready to leave anyway, but for your information, we happen to be very close friends with Doctor Bashir and his husband and this happens to be his mother. I would suggest you know the facts before making threats from now on," the Trill replied and headed for the door with Amsha following. Kira glared at the woman before taking her leave.

  "I can't believe how incredibly rude she was!" Kira exclaimed once they were back on the Promenade. "Actually threatening to call security on us!"

  "Kira, she's new on the station. I'm sure she had no idea who we were," Jadzia reasoned.

  "Temporary or not, she had no business acting like that," the Major remarked.

  "Well, at least we know now for sure that the hormones Jules is taking are safe," Amsha commented. "Maybe he just is overworked," she surmised.

  "I'll keep my eye on him and see if I pick up on anything," Dax replied.

  "So will I," Kira agreed.

  Amsha smiled at both of them. "I'm so glad that Jules has friends like you. It really helps put my mind at ease."

  "Well, I'm glad," Dax replied, returning the older woman's smile. "My lunch hour is over and I have to get back to Ops, but I'll let you know if I spot anything."

  Kira nodded, "Yeah, I've got plans to go over the security report with Odo this afternoon. He'll probably get a big laugh when I tell him what happened a few minutes ago." A wisp of a smile almost formed on her lips.

  "Thank you, girls, for helping to put my mind at rest somewhat," Amsha said and gave each woman a hug before they took off in different directions, Amsha finally spotting Leeta.


  Julian was exhausted. He had a most grueling day at the Infirmary, an emergency appendectomy, three cases of broken limbs from some new holoprogram of Quark's, and scores of Bajoran flu cases. The doctor had barely eaten part of his evening meal before he excused himself for the night.

  He undressed--leaving his uniform, uncharacteristically, in a heap on the bathroom floor--took a shower, and then climbed into bed. He had been sleeping peacefully, when he felt the bed shift as Garak turned in for the night.

  As he felt Garak's warmth against his back, Julian asked dreamily, "So, you decided to turn in early tonight? That's good, I love the company." Julian backed up nearer to his husband as he closed his eyes to drift off to sleep once again.

  Garak, however, had made different plans. He began to gently rub Julian's shoulders, kneading the tension from them. From there he moved down to Julian's back, working the muscles slowly.

  Julian moaned softly, "Hmmm, that feels so good. Oh yes, right there, yes." Julian had come to love his older husband's massages. They were always so relaxing and comforting. Garak was always so attentive to the doctor's needs whenever he gave Julian a massage. What Julian didn't see this time, though, was Garak's sly smile as he purposefully moved even lower down the younger man's slender body.

  Rubbing down Julian's legs to his feet, Elim then began to work his way slowly back up, paying special attention to the inner thighs, as Julian shifted his legs to allow better access.

  "Hmmm," Julian moaned again. He was fully awake now and very well aware of just where his husband was leading him. He was bone-weary tired but couldn't deny that certain areas of his anatomy were responding quickly to the maddening ministrations Garak was paying to his body.

  "Jahkim," Elim whispered in the younger man's ear, "I've had this special craving all day. It has been driving me to distraction. Do you think I might be able to indulge myself?"

  Julian felt the familiar touch of Garak's erection up against his backside. In response he lifted one leg slightly up and over to allow easier access to the tight entrance to his body. He then felt Garak's oil-slicked fingers preparing him, massaging him. He shifted back towards Elim once again, until they were both laying spoon style against each other all the way over on one side of the bed. Julian bent forward and Garak instinctively arched back to make the position more accommodating for their circumstance. Garak's stomach only produced a slight problem.

  His breathing becoming more and more erratic, Julian sighed loudly as Garak slowly slid his rigid member inside Julian's body. The doctor responded instinctively and pushed back just as Garak was pushing forward--making the entrance quicker and smoother.

  Now deep within the warm depths of his beloved, Garak reached around his husband to slowly massage and relax, first the slender neck, then the smooth upper chest, moving downward until his hands gently squeezed the hardening nipples.

  With a loud yelp, Julian's body spasmed, pushing back once again. Only this time Garak had no room to move back, as he was at the edge of the bed. Feeling himself sliding off the bed, the tailor grabbed onto the nearest solid object he could find, Julian. Unfortunately, gravity then took hold and they both tumbled to the floor.

  Hearing the loud thud, Sisko looked up from the dinner table. He and Lt. Commander Dax were having a late dinner after having spent the entire day and most of the evening dealing with some disgruntled visiting diplomats.

  "What was that?" Dax queried. "Isn't that Julian and Garak's quarters right above yours? What could be happening?"

  "Sisko to Bashir," Benjamin's voice boomed. When there was no response, he repeated his hail one more time, still no response--other than a series of quieter thumps heard above.

  Both Sisko and Dax were on their feet in a flash. Reaching the door to the doctor's quarters, the captain gained easy admittance using his emergency override authorization code.

  "Julian! Garak!" Dax called out as they entered the darkened quarters. Muffled voices and some more thuds could be heard coming from the bedroom.

  Rushing into the room, Sisko called for the lights, but was totally unprepared for the sight that greeted them.

  The bed was disheveled, the mattress half off the bed frame. On the floor, next to the far side of the bed, amidst a tangle of pillows, sheets, and blankets was the obviously naked couple. Julian was attempting to stand up, while Garak was just as determined to keep him down on the floor. Julian landed on his rear with a small thud. "Elim, not now, I could have sworn I heard my com badge, now, let me up!"

  Finally, noticing the lights, Julian glanced towards the door just as he was able to stand up. "C-Cap-Captain," he stammered now trying to pull up a sheet, a pillow, anything, to cover himself with. When the young man noticed Dax standing slightly behind Sisko, Julian's face turned an amazing shade of crimson, a color which slowly made it's way to every other part of his body, right down to the tips of his toes.

  By this time, Garak had also risen from the floor to stand next to Julian. Jadzia's eyes widened appreciatively, as there was no mistaking, the Cardassian was still quite aroused. Although Garak's stomach was a bit larger than his tunics showed him to be, it did very little to hide his desire.

  Garak very calmly and deliberately asked, "Ah, Captain, Commander, to what do we owe the pleasure of your visit?" Julian groaned as Garak quickly kicked aside whatever covering there was available to him.

  Benjamin cleared his throat, his eyes still riveted on Julian. "We heard a loud thud, when Doctor Bashir didn't answer his hail, we rushed up to see if there was a problem. I see that there appears to have been a slight mishap."

  "I told you, I heard a call come through," Julian mumbled to his husband.

  Garak was not unaware of the delectable sight his young husband presented to the station's commanding officer and to the Lt. Commander. His chest swelled with a certain amount of pride and yet constricted with even more jealousy--as both officers continued to look over Julian, gazing up and down, appreciation showing in their eyes. Julian for his part, was letting his hands offer what little cover they could while he shifted nervously from one foot to the other. His skin had that delightful rosy glow from the blush.

  The glow that had always made Garak's blood course faster through his veins. The Cardassian put an arm around the doctor's waist and pulled him closer, while using his other hand to turn Julian to face him.

  Dax smiled at this new view presented to her line of vision. The smooth golden caramel color skin, tinted with the crimson blush, Julian's long, slender back, the narrow waist, the taut little rear end glistening with whatever oil Garak had used for lubricant, and finally, the smooth shapely legs, also tinted with the glow of an ever reddening blush. 'Whew! It's getting warm in here,' she thought to herself.

  When her eyes had taken in their fill, she raised them only to lock gazes with Garak. His eyes twinkled as he pulled the younger man even closer and moved his broad hands down to protectively and possessively cover that oh, so tempting pert little can.

  To the captain, Garak merely shrugged his shoulders and said, "We had a slight accident. One of us became a little, shall we say, over enthusiastic. No one was hurt, we are both fine as is the baby. I assure you, we will be more careful next time."

  Julian pulling back slightly from Garak questioned, "Over enthusiastic? One of us? You mean 'YOU' don't you?"

  The tailor just smiled and squeezed the doctor's rounded bottom. "Yes, yes, Jahkim, you are right, but who was it that screamed and pushed me off the bed?"

  "Well, it hurt when you grabbed my. . ." he suddenly stopped, remembering their audience. "Oh. . .we're truly sorry, Sir. . .if we disturbed you in any way," he said hesitantly, turning his head to look back towards Sisko. However, he made no attempt to leave his husband's protective embrace.

  "Quite all right, Doctor, as long as you're both not harmed," Sisko replied. "Tell you what, why don't we help you get things back in order. NO, NO don't move! Dax and I can handle it. Both of you just stay right where you are," he ordered.

  Benjamin and Jadzia set about straightening up the mess. When everything was back in order, they both bid a hasty goodnight and quickly left.

  Before they were out of the quarters they could hear Garak's voice almost pleading. "Jahkim, they know that we are married, surely they understand that we also have a sexual relationship. There's nothing to be so upset about. Now, just relax. There, doesn't that feel better?"

  In unspoken agreement, Sisko and Dax hurriedly left the quarters. When the door sealed behind them, both let out a sigh of relief.

  As they began to walk slowly towards the turbolift, Dax couldn't help but ask, "You're very quiet, Benjamin. What are you thinking?"

  The captain stole a glance back towards the quarters they just left. "You know, Old Man, I have often wondered why two men would become involved together. I mean, I understand it happens, and I accept it, but I just never understood why. Especially, with those two. I can see how they crave the companionship, the intellectual discussions, but could never really comprehend the physical, the sexual relationship."

  "And now?" Dax prompted.

  "Now, when I saw Julian like that, well. . ." his voice trailed off.

  Dax continued for him, "Now, you can at least understand why Garak is involved!" She too glanced back at the doctor and tailor's quarters. "And," she added, "Garak certainly presented quite an impressive sight also." She sighed audibly.

  They both stopped and looked back. "Old Man, I don't know about you, but I can sure use a nice cold drink right about now," Benjamin suggested.

  Jadzia smiled, "Quark's?"

  With a nod, Sisko pulled the Lt. Commander back toward the turbolift.

  "Well, I can't wait to tell Kira," Dax commented when they were walking down the Promenade towards Quark's.

  "Now, wait a minute, Commander. I will not tolerate gossip among my senior staff," Sisko stated firmly.

  "I just wanted to let her know the answer to a question we've been very curious about for several years," Dax replied calmly.

  "And what might that question be?" the captain asked suspiciously.

  "Oh, we've just been wondering if Julian blushed only on his face or if it went lower. And if so, how much lower?" Dax smiled mischievously. "We even had a bet riding on the answer."

  Benjamin finally smiled, "Who won?"

  "Me," Dax contended. "I just knew that blush went from head to toe and in every little nook and cranny in between!"

  "And you certainly did get a good view of every little nook and cranny in between, didn't you?" Sisko laughed heartily. "So did I, Old Man. So did I."

  They made their way to Quark's, who was pleasantly surprised, if not confused, when Major Kira bought a round of drinks for everyone present.

  Back in their quarters, Garak was still trying to pacify his rather disgruntled spouse. They were both sitting on the side of the bed and Garak was gently rubbing the younger man's shoulders. "Jahkim, you can't believe that this is the first time that Captain Sisko has come upon a couple in an awkward situation. . .after all the years he's been on this station?"

  "An awkward situation?" Julian balked. "I was standing in the nude! Do you know how humiliating it was to have my commanding officer see me like that?"

  "As I said before, they know we are married and it stands to reason that we would have a sexual relationship. Maybe what you found really embarrassing is that they know you would find someone like myself sexually attractive," Garak remarked.

  Julian turned to face his spouse. "Elim, you know very well by now that I am in no way embarrassed of you or our relationship."

  "Then there shouldn't be a problem. I assure you, they'll forget all about it by tomorrow morning," Garak promised.

  "I still can't see how you can be so casual about this. Aren't you even the slightest bit embarrassed?" Julian asked.

  "Embarrassed by the fact that Sisko and Dax have no doubts now that I am very much attracted to and in love with my husband?" Garak said with a sly smile curving at his mouth as he leaned in to cover the doctor's lips once again with his own. "Not in the least."

  "Elim, you're incorrigible," Julian replied as he smiled against the tailor's lips.

  "I don't seem to recall you minding before," Garak replied as he gently pushed his husband back onto the bed.

  "I didn't say I minded, I was merely making an observation," the doctor replied impishly and pulled the older man to his side. The couple began slowly exploring each other's mouth. Julian noticed that by the firm erection pressed against his thigh that the tailor's desire hadn't been impeded in the least by the interruption. Garak pushed Julian onto his back and slowly ran the tip of his tongue over the sensitive nubs of flesh on Julian's chest that had gotten him into trouble in the first place. Julian couldn't help moaning as Garak teased them to hardness. Garak's hand came in between Julian's legs to stroke the still semi-rigid flesh into it's earlier state of arousal. Julian kissed and nibbled down Garak's neck while his fingers dug into the Cardassian's back. This drew a moan from the tailor.

  Julian smiled as he moved around on the bed so that his lips were now level with the older man's achingly hard erection. Garak gasped as Julian teasing ran his tongue down the length of it from base to tip and then only drew the very tip of it between his lips. Garak tried to press his hips forward, but Julian's hands held him still. Only when Garak loudly moaned out his need did the doctor take the complete length of him into his mouth as his hand came up to gently manipulate the older man's testicles. Garak's hand came to stroke Julian's sex before taking it into his mouth and mimicking the doctor's pace. Garak drew the firm member in and out past his lips as Julian moved and arched towards him, encouraging the Cardassian to take the entire length of the doctor into him, which he did readily. Garak felt himself being drawn closer and closer to the edge and in not wanting to end things too quickly, pulled himself away from the doctor.

  "I want to be back inside of you," Garak answered the unasked question in Julian's eyes with a ragged breath.

  Julian turned himself around on the bed again so that Garak was once again behind him on his side. Being mindful of staying in the middle of the bed this time, Julian bent his leg and leaned forward to give the tailor easier access to his body. A probing finger gently made it's way inside past the muscular entrance easily because of the oil that still coated the opening while the other hand snaked around to rub and manipulate the muscles of Julian's chest and stomach. . .making sure to only stroke the taut nipples instead of pinching them. Julian let out a soft moan as the familiar finger inside his body moved around and found the sensitive spots that always drove him crazy. He pressed back against the fingers, wanting and needing more. He felt an absence when the fingers were removed until he felt the warm moist tip of Garak's member seeking entrance. In one movement, Julian felt the comfortable weight of the tailor inside of him, filling him. Sighing contentedly, Julian began pressing back as Garak pressed forward, setting up a unhurried rhythm, both enjoying the feel of the other. Julian felt the change when Garak's movements became more urgent. Julian thrust back harder against the tailor as the Cardassian's hand wrapped around his stomach, holding him close as Garak plunged harder as well. Garak's fingers came down between Julian's thighs to grasp his pulsing erection and began pumping it. Faster and harder they joined, riding the heat of desire higher and higher. Julian felt the Cardassian's body tense behind him as he cried out and filled the doctor's body with his warm seed. This caused the muscles in Julian's own body to tense as Garak continued to stroke him, driving him to his own release that quickly followed.

  Feeling tired, sated, and content, Julian rolled over into the tailor's arms and kissed him deeply. "Mmmm, think I satisfied that special craving of yours?" he asked impishly after they broke the kiss.

  Garak grinned unabashed at him. "Jahkim, that's one craving you know never gets satisfied. . .for long anyhow," the tailor replied as he pulled his beloved tightly against him and caressed his throat with his lips.

  "Hmmm, should I plan on arriving at work late tomorrow then?" Julian teased.

  Garak stopped his nibbling of the doctor's neck and looked at him with serious eyes. "Actually, Julian, there is something I've been wanting to talk to you about."

  "What?" Julian asked wondering why the Cardassian had turned serious all of a sudden.

  "Well, I've noticed how tired you've been recently and I was wondering if there would be any way for you to take some time off of work or at least cut your hours down somewhat," the tailor replied.

  "I do get tired, but right now there just isn't a way for me to get away from the Infirmary. You know that they are understaffed as it is," Julian remarked.

  "Yes, but I just get concerned that your overtaxing yourself. You can't make up the lack of needed assistance all on your own," Garak replied as he brought a hand up to stroke the doctor's soft cheek. "I get worried about you, and besides that, you'll need time to rest before our son is born. It will be hectic for months after that."

  Searching the Cardassian's ice blue eyes, Julian saw real concern in them. "Elim, I promise you I'll be fine. If I feel myself becoming more stressed than I can handle, I will find some way to take a break. All right?" he asked with a reassuring smile.

  "All right," the tailor agreed reluctantly. He knew that was the best the doctor could do for the moment and that Garak would grudgingly have to accept it--for now. Julian kissed him, snuggled in close, and fell asleep within moments. As Garak watched his spouse sleep peacefully, he promised himself that he would keep a watchful eye on him for signs that things were becoming overwhelming at work for him and then if it did, he would go to Sisko and see what the Captain could do to make things easier on the doctor. With this thought in mind, the Cardassian followed his husband into a restful sleep.


  The next morning had been surprisingly slow in the Infirmary for Julian, so slow in fact that he had not only had time to work on the nursery next to his office, but also had the time to include his mother in helping as well.

  Julian was fiddling with the crib his father sent--wanting to find the perfect place to set it up at. Finally making his choice, he set it along the wall where he could see the crib easily from where he normally sat at the computer console. "Mother, hand me the crib sheets will you?" he asked.

  Amsha happily reached over and handed them to her son and helped to tuck them in after he unfolded them. "Is my grandson still doing fine?" Amsha asked, even though her thoughts were more towards her son than his unborn child at the moment. Julian looked tired and his skin was very flushed looking.

  Julian smiled. "Oh, he's doing just fine so far. Garak didn't even wake up last night. I'm glad because he really needed the sleep," Julian replied. A strange look crossed his face as his hand brushed against something under the mattress. "What the. . .?" His voice trailed off as he pulled out a red isolinear rod. "Mother, do you have any idea what this is?"

  Amsha cocked her head as she looked at it after Julian handed it to her. "More than likely it belongs to your father. He's always been lousy at keeping things organized that I'm constantly finding documents and old projects of his laying around. I'm sure that's probably one of them," she explained and tried to ignore the slight trembling of Julian's fingers as he took the rod back from her. Slipping it into a reader, Amsha watched as her son's eyes grew huge as he read a bit of it. "What is it dear?"

  "Umm. . .well, it seems to be a journal of some sort," Julian finally replied. "Seems to be mostly about. . .me," he replied softly as he handed the padd to her and she began reading the screen.


  My darling wife just informed today that I am going to be a father. I was so happy that I grabbed her and swung her around the room before I realized what I was doing. I can't believe that within nine months I'm going to be a father. I am never going to tell Amsha this, but I am actually scared to death at the idea a bringing a little helpless baby into this world that I'm going to be responsible for when I have absolutely no idea what I'm doing. Am I going to be a good father? A father my child can be proud of? I truly hope so. All I want is to make a good life for the three of us, but my luck with business has been far from profitable. My father says I have much to learn about providing for a family, as if I am the head of a major corporation as he is....... Amsha skipped forward.


  Jules and I were caught in an ionic storm. We were able to take shelter in a nearby house. The family we were with had a little six year old girl named Nala. She was gravely ill and died while we were there. Julian asked me why people had to die. I honestly didn't know what to say. How could I explain the death of an innocent child to my son? Julian told me that there was no reason someone so small and helpless should die so painfully and he told me he would find some way to stop it someday. Looking into those ten year old eyes, he had me believing that one day he just might.....

  Amsha handed the padd back to Julian, "Jules, does this surprise you? That your father would keep a record of important times in your life?" she asked, clearing her suddenly tight throat.

  Julian looked down at the padd before meeting his mother's eyes. "I. . .I just. . .didn't think he was the type of person who would do something like that," he replied barely audible.

  Amsha took her son's hands in hers as she looked him squarely in the eye. "Your father has many different sides to him that you might not often see because he doesn't always like it to show them, but that doesn't mean that they aren't there. He has always loved you, even when the things he's done may seem to prove otherwise, but he's always had good intentions where you're concerned," Amsha smiled at him fondly. "Now that you're going to be a father yourself soon, maybe you'll be able to understand some of the reasons behind the things that he's done in the past." She tenderly brushed a hand over his flushed cheek and pushed back a lock of hair that had fallen out of place. "I've always hoped one day that the two men I love most would become close again. Jules, I love you so much and so does your father."

  "I. . .I love him too, it's just that I don't know. So many years have gone by and I still don't know if I truly understand him. . . ." Julian's voice trailed off as he looked down at the padd again.

  Amsha opened her mouth to say something when Nurse Jacobs burst into the room. "Doctor Bashir! We have an emergency. Cardiac arrest on bio-bed two!" Whatever else Amsha was going to say was forgotten as she watched her son get up from the floor and rush out of the room with lightning speed.

  Later on that night, Julian was sitting on the sofa in their quarters waiting for Garak to come home. His Cardassian husband had informed him that he would be late again due to a new shipment of fabric that had to unloaded. Julian looked at the padd laying on the coffee table where he had put it earlier. Hesitantly, he picked it up and started reading it again. As he read it, he couldn't help feeling that he was reading an autobiography of his life. His father had written down every single momentous event that had ever taken place in Julian's life starting before he was even born. His father had written his thoughts on Julian's birth, his first steps, the day he started school. . .everything. Julian eventually got to the date that Richard had made the decision of the genetic enhancements, he had been incredibly nervous and hoped he was doing the right thing for his son because it hurt him too much to watch his beloved Jules going through the torment of being teased, watching him being passed up in his studies, struggling so hard when he knew his son didn't have to go through all of that. He had felt like it was his duty to try and give his son the best chance in life he could and only hoped Jules would understand when he was older. A lump formed in Julian's throat and a tightness settled in his ribcage before he managed to finish the passage. On and on it went, following Julian through high school, his admittance into Starfleet Medical and on up to the day he graduated with honors.


  Jules graduated from Starfleet Medical today. My only son was Salutatorian, can you believe that? A son of mine graduating second in his class. I am so proud of him that words can't even begin to express it. Jules has turned out to be such a fine upstanding young man. I wish I could take credit for how Jules turned out, but I know that I can't. I've never felt like I was much of a father to Julian when he needed one. I tried to be the best father I know how, but I'm afraid in the end I failed him. It seems I've always made the wrong choices in my life, especially where Jules is concerned, and I think it's finally pushed him away from me for good. He and his mother are the only two things I've ever treasured in this universe, but I've never been able to tell him that. I am so proud of that boy and love him so much, but when I try to tell him that, I find I can't. I don't know if it's the way I've been raised or just my stubborn pride that won't allow me to tell my boy how much he means to me. I only hope that one day he will understand why I made the decisions I have and he could start to forgive this foolish old man.

  Julian read the last line of the last entry with eyes blurred from hot tears that fell onto the screen in front of him. He couldn't believe that he had just read many of the things that he had longed to hear while he was growing up. His father truly accepted him, respected him. . . loved him--all of the things he had resigned himself not to believe since he could remember.   Had he been wrong all this time? Could he have possibly misjudged his father? 'Mom always has said you got your stubbornness from him. . .maybe she was right." Had he been so full of anger that he just couldn't see his father's intentions for what they were? Julian looked at the padd for one more brief moment before finally switching it off and laying it back on the table in front of him. He was wiping his tear stained face with the backs of his hands just as Garak entered their quarters.

  "Sorry I'm late Julian, but. . ." Garak halted whatever he was about to say when he saw Julian's wet, red, swollen eyes. "Jahkim, what is it? Tell me what's wrong," he said softly as came to sit down on the sofa by his younger spouse who immediately threw himself into Garak's embrace and squeezed him tightly, which startled the tailor and his concern grew. "Tell me what's happened," the older man probed as he hugged the doctor to him. When Julian made no move to say anything, Garak patiently held him close until Julian regained control once again.

  Finally, Julian pulled back and looked into the tailor's worried eyes. "I'm sorry, Elim, I don't know what's gotten into me. Maybe I have been working too many hours. . .that and the hormones I guess. . .I just don't know," Julian replied lamely. He knew it was a lie--knew it was his father's words that had provoked this response, but for some reason he couldn't explain, Julian didn't want to tell Garak about it yet. He wanted to sort out his own jumbled thoughts before he told the tailor what he had discovered.

  Garak looked skeptically at his beloved, but the pleading look in Julian's eyes not to probe the matter got the better of him. "It's all right," the Cardassian replied as he placed a soft kiss on the doctor's lips. "I told you I thought you've been overworking yourself." The Cardassian's hands soothingly ran the length of Julian's back. "Let me ask you something. What would you think about taking a vacation to Risa after Rochosh is a few months old. Wouldn't that be nice?"

  "Yes, it sure would," Julian agreed as he rested his head against Garak's chest. "You, me, alone, for several long weeks. . .sounds delightful."

  Garak noticed that Julian seemed to have settled down a bit. He was sure whatever was troubling the doctor, Julian would tell him in time. "Why don't you make yourself a cup of hot tea while I take a shower," the tailor suggested, reluctant to break his hold on the younger man.

  "Hot tea sounds good right now. I haven't had a cup since earlier this afternoon," Julian replied as he broke his hold against the tailor as the older man stood. Garak looked over his should and gave Julian one last reassuring smile before he entered the bathroom. When the Cardassian reemerged from the shower some time later, feeling clean and invigorated, he noticed that Julian had already shed his clothes and was waiting for him in bed. Sliding in between the covers, the tailor pulled the warm, honey colored body of Julian's next to him, cuddling close into the warmth he offered. They laid in compatible silence for quite awhile before Julian finally broke the silence.


  "Hmmm?" Garak murmured sleepily.

  "I've made my decision about Rochosh's middle name," Julian commented.

  Garak turned to face the doctor. "You have? And what have you decided?" he asked curiously.

  Julian pulled Garak against him tightly. "I think I like the choice of using Richard as his middle name."

  "Are you sure about this, Jahkim?" Garak asked, his hand stroking Julian's chest.

  "Yes, quite sure," Julian assured him, stifling a yawn.

  "I'm pleased to know our son's name will share both of our heritages," Garak responded.

  "So am I, Elim, so am I," Julian murmured as he drifted off into sleep.


  Quark's was unusually crowded. Several freighters were docked, each allowing their crews leave. Miles O'Brien and Julian had met for their weekly game of darts. A small crowd gathered around to observe the competition between DS9's resident players.

  Garak had opted to stay home for the evening, but had actively encouraged Julian to get out and enjoy himself. Dax, Worf, and Kira waited by the table enjoying their drinks while the match continued.

  "Julian, you're just not playing up to par tonight." Miles walked towards the dart board where the doctor was removing his off-target projectiles. "Are you feeling okay?" His hand came to rest on the doctor's shoulder. "You're looking sort of pale. Should I call Garak?"

  "Miles, I'm fine, really. I've just been under a lot of pressure in the Infirmary. With Jabara away, it's been tough trying to get all of the lab tests done and recorded. It's a good thing Hannah volunteered when she did, we've just barely caught up." He hesitated just a moment, "You know, Chief, it is rather warm in here." Julian adjusted the top of his uniform as if trying to pull the cloth away from his skin. The material was rubbing uncomfortably against his chest. Since he started taking the hormones, that particular area of his body was extremely sensitive.

  "Do you want to take a break and have a cool one?" Miles was worried about his young friend. He knew that Julian was overworked, however, the doctor was also involved with that foolish notion of his, taking hormones to stimulate the mammary glands. Imagine, a man nursing a baby. 'Well, Julian wanted adventure, I do believe that this is quite an adventure for him.' O'Brien led the way back to their table, motioning for Quark to bring two more drinks.

  "So, who won?" Kira asked as she looked from one man to the other.

  "Neither of us," Miles laughingly responded, "Julian needed to take a break, just when I was moving in for the win!"

  Kira laughed, but noticed Julian's pale skin. "Julian, are you. . ."

  The doctor cut her off, "I'm fine, it's just warm in here that's all."

  After the drinks arrived Julian took a sip of the cool liquid. "That's much better," he commented as he began to look around the crowded room.

  O'Brien noted with pleasure that the younger man's color had gradually begun to return to normal. The doctor leaned back folding his arms across his chest. He remembered not to press too hard as he felt the brief flash of pain, a result of his action. Noticing the flinch, Miles smiled as he began to speak. With a wink at Dax he asked, "So, Julian how are things going? I haven't really had a chance to talk with you all week. Dax tells me you're developing a 'tender' side, a very tender side!"

  "Jadzia has been talking with Garak," Julian stared at her intently as he flushed once again. He gently hugged himself, feeling a little self-conscious. "I'm doing just fine."

  "Sorry, Julian," Dax smiled as she spoke, "But you have to admit, you've been protective of certain 'sensitive areas' and you've been very moody lately."

  "Very," Worf added taking a sip of his prune juice.

  O'Brien couldn't help himself. He'd missed the playful banter he and Julian used to engage in from time to time. "Well, I have noticed lately, that you fill out your uniform a bit more than usual." His eyes twinkled with laughter as he watched the doctor fidget in his chair. Kira and Dax could barely contain their giggles. Worf looked away, obviously embarrassed.

  "I have not!" Julian blasted defensively. "Besides, the hormones don't work that way." Unconsciously, his lower lip had pushed out to form a pout. As he sat up, Julian let his arms drop back to his sides.

  O'Brien's eyes widened slightly at the sight his friend presented. "Ah, Julian. . .," he started.

  However, Julian wasn't finished. As he looked around the room, the doctor's voice was barely a controlled whisper, "Furthermore, I would appreciate it, if all of you would not get so personal. . ."

  "Julian," Dax interrupted her voice firm.

  "What?" a rather disgruntled voice asked as he turned to face her. Dax and Kira were smiling, while Worf was staring right at him. "What is it?" Julian asked again, looking back to Miles for an explanation. The engineer merely pointed at Julian's chest. Unfortunately, for the doctor, O'Brien was unable to keep from chuckling causing Kira to also chortle, as she tried desperately to stifle her laughter.

  "Doctor," Worf began, "You seem to have a. . .a. . ." He looked to Dax for help.

  "Julian, you appear to have a 'leak'," she filled in with compassion in her voice.

  Julian's eyes narrowed, when he finally understood, he lowered his eyes and glanced down. On his uniform were two very dark wet spots, corresponding to the location of his nipples. Horrified, Julian looked up to see the smile on O'Brien's face quickly disappear. The murmurs and laughter stopped just as abruptly as they noticed the terrified look in Julian's suddenly tear-filled eyes.

  Kira leaned forward and in a serious voice said, "I understand completely, Julian. It's going to be okay. Perhaps you should consider wearing a br. . .," she felt Jadzia's swift kick under the table and quickly corrected herself, "a protective garment under your uniform."

  The amusement Miles had been feeling was replaced with concern as he saw Julian's face change colors until he felt that his friend's entire body was as red as a beet. Jumping quickly to their feet, both Miles and Jadzia were by Julian's side in a flash. The doctor had wrapped his arms about himself again. Gently, O'Brien helped his friend up, while Dax guided them towards the exit. The walk back to Julian's quarters went quickly and quietly. The doctor was too mortified to do more than whimper his dismay. Dax had to ring for entry as Julian absolutely refused to move his arms away from his body, as well as refusing to speak to either one of them.

  As they entered, Garak came forward. "What's happened?" Julian, head down, arms still wrapped protectively about his chest, headed straight for the bedroom. Garak looked quizzically at Dax and O'Brien.

  "He had a slight 'leakage' problem," the Commander responded, using her hands to indicate her chest.

  With a raised eye ridge, Garak politely thanked them, and promptly showed them to the door. Dax stayed behind after O'Brien had left. "I'm afraid we teased him. It was all in good humor, but Julian just took it the wrong way. Garak, what's wrong with him? Lately, he's been overly emotional and unpredictable. I checked those hormones, myself, they shouldn't be causing such a dramatic change in personality."

  Garak sighed and shook his head. "Unfortunately, I don't have an answer, Commander. Most of the time, he's fine, his usual self. However, sometimes, especially after coming home from the Infirmary, he's moody. He overreacts to the slightest comment. At times, I don't know how to say this, but at times, he's very suggestible. He responds automatically, to whatever I suggest. Not that I mind, but it's just not my Julian."

  "Maybe you should ask one of the Bajoran doctors to check him," Jadzia suggested.

  "He won't like it," Garak commented.

  "Yes, but he can't go on like this. You know, he really did respond too emotionally tonight. It was an accident, nothing to be ashamed of. No one meant to hurt him, we just found it cute. Take him to see the doctor when he's in one of those suggestive moods." Dax left as Garak made his way to the bedroom.

  Julian had already changed into his robe and was sitting quietly on the edge of the bed, arms still protecting himself.

  "Jahkim, do you want to talk about what happened?" the tailor probed cautiously.

  Julian looked up at him with red-rimmed eyes. "They laughed at me, and Kira suggested that I wear a br-br-bra," he barely managed to choke the words out coherently.

  Garak kept his smile hidden as he sat next to his young husband. "Jahkim, if you'll pardon me for being blunt, you are a doctor, weren't you aware that this could happen?"

  Julian looked at him, hazel eyes glazed with tears. "I-I knew it 'could' happen. I just didn't think that it 'would' happen. I guess I just refused to think it all through this far."

  "You know they really didn't mean to embarrass you. All of this is just as unusual for them also. Do you think that I don't get strange looks and hear laughter when I walk down the Promenade. I don't pay any attention to it, because I know that I am carrying our child. It was the only way. Your body is changing, Jahkim, but it is changing so you can help our child. Don't be ashamed of what our love is bringing out in you. Laugh with them, Julian, show them that you know what is important in your life." Garak had put his arm around Julian's shoulder and was gradually using his other hand to pull his husband's arms away from their protective hold.

  Julian smiled fondly at his love. "Well, it was kind of funny." He smiled as he remembered, "You should have seen Worf's face, I think he was more embarrassed than I was!" Julian laughed. The tailor smiled as Julian continued. "And Miles jumped out of his seat when Kira started talking about the bra. I never saw him move so fast." They were both laughing now, as Garak pushed the robe off of his beloved doctor, revealing the two offenders.

  'Slightly swollen and a little redder than normal,' Garak thought, as he asked aloud "Jahkim, do you know what caused the problem to occur?"

  "I think it was the friction of my uniform against my chest as I was playing darts. It was crowded and warm too, so my uniform was clinging to my body more than usual," he paused while Garak gently ran a finger over the swollen nubs.

  Gasping, Julian asked weakly, "Elim?"

  "Hmm," came the reply.

  "Elim, what are you doing?" Julian's nipples were hardening and moisture had formed at their tips as Garak continued the maddening stimulation.

  "Oh, just conducting my own experiment." Unable to resist any longer, the older man bent his head and took the nearest chocolate colored peak into his mouth. Sucking gently, he pulled Julian closer holding him firmly.

  "Elim, I'm really very tender there," Julian gasped between moans. "You don't want to deprive our son some of his nourishment do you?" he asked jokingly as he tried to relax and enjoy the new sensation he was feeling.

  Garak chuckled as he released one nipple and firmly planted his mouth over the other. He gently pushed his young husband back onto the bed. The room echoed with the suckling sound and gratified moans. Finally, Garak looked up at Julian's face. Licking his lips and smiling, he stated "Our little Jahkim will have some very tasty meals indeed!"

  "I'm glad you approve," Julian laughed.

  Garak then helped his beloved into bed. "Aren't you coming?" Julian questioned when Elim made no attempt to undress.

  "I need to finish a project first," he replied. "You get some rest now." When Julian started to object, Garak added more firmly "I'm fine, you should get some sleep 'now'."

  After placing the covers around Julian, Garak called for lights out as he headed back towards his work station, set up in one corner of their quarters. Using the computer, he called up some information on materials currently in stock. "Ah, there it is," he said to himself. "This should be perfect."

  He set about his task, working late into the night. When he finally went to bed, Julian was sound asleep. Garak quickly undressed, climbed into bed, and tenderly pulled the doctor's warmer body close to him. Julian sighed in his sleep as he turned over to get closer to Elim. Wrapped together, both slept peacefully through the remainder of the night.


  The next morning, the sleeping Cardassian was awakened to a shower of kisses being trailed over his shoulders, chest, and neck before warm, wet lips covered his thoroughly. The probing tongue made it's way into the tailor's willing open mouth as Garak's arms closed around the warm and willing body of the man that was showing him such ardent attention.

  "Good morning to you too," Garak replied when he finally caught his breath. "Not that I mind being awakened in such a fashion, but I have to ask what has gotten into you?"

  "Unfortunately, not you," Julian replied saucily as he renewed his efforts on the ridges of Garak's neck. "You don't know how much I wish I didn't have to work this morning." Garak in fact did have some idea as he felt Julian's firmness pressed up against his thigh. "Do you realize how long it's been since we've both had a day off where we could do whatever pleased us?"

  "A very long time," Garak answered. "Unfortunately, you don't have the luxury of indulging yourself this morning, because unless I'm mistaken, doesn't Sisko have a staff meeting planned in about an hour?" Garak asked as he stretched his neck to see the chronometer.

  Julian gave an over-exaggerated groan. "Don't remind me."

  Garak didn't suppress the smile as he thought about just how much Julian detested those staff meetings. He once said they were so boring that Julian was tempted to bring a pillow with him to the next one to make himself more comfortable when he fell asleep. "Well, at least we have time to share breakfast together before you go," the tailor noted.

  Julian heaved a sigh. "I suppose we do. What would you like?" he asked as he climbed out of the bed and grabbed for his robe.

  "An order of Taspar eggs sounds appealing," 'Not as appealing as remaining in bed with you though,' the tailor thought to himself as he followed Julian into the kitchen.

  Julian ordered himself a plate of scrambled eggs, toast, and juice. As he pulled his seat at the table back to sit down, he noticed that a package covered in multi-colored paper with a silver bow on top was in his way. "Elim. . .what is this?" Julian asked, picking up the package.

  "I would say that it's obviously a gift," the tailor commented, smiling over his glass of Rokassa juice.

  "I know that, it's just that it isn't my birthday or our anniversary or anything, so I was just wondering why?" Julian asked.

  "Is it a Terran custom that one's spouse can't give the other a gift unless it's a special occasion?" Garak queried.

  "Well, of course not, but. . . ." Julian answered.

  "Then open it," Garak interrupted, his eyes shining with anticipation.

  The doctor untied the bow and pulled off the ribbon before tearing into the paper. Pulling off the top and pushing back the tissue paper, he drew out a garment of white fabric. "It's an undershirt," Julian remarked as he fingered the extremely soft fabric in his hands.

  Garak smiled. "It's not just any undershirt Jahkim. It's made of a special Andorian fabric that not only extremely absorbent, but allows for evaporation," Garak explained as his smile grew. "You can wear it under your uniform comfortably and not have to worry about the incident from last night happening again."

  Julian held the garment up and examined it. "What are the snaps for?" the doctor asked noticing the snaps located at both shoulders.

  "That's for convenience," Garak explained. "That is so you can still wear it after Rochosh is born. It will make it easier for you when you have to feed him."

  Julian got up and walked around to Garak's side of the table and planted a firm kiss on the tailor's lips. "Elim, thank you."

  Garak wrapped his arms around his mate's waist and pulled the doctor down onto his lap. "Does that mean you like it?"

  "Very much so," Julian happily assured him.

  Garak gave him a pleased smile. "I'm glad because if this works well, I've made six others."

  "I'm sure they will work just fine," Julian assured him, touched by his husband's thoughtful gesture. "I don't know how to thank you."

  "I could think of a few interesting ways of showing your gratitude," Garak smirked as he ran a hand suggestively up and down the doctor's bare thigh. Julian leaned forward to cover the Cardassian's lips with his own.

  "Don't tempt me," Julian growled as he reluctantly pulled himself free of the tailor's grasp. "I have to go to work," he replied like a mantra more to himself than to his spouse.

  "So you do," Garak agreed and allowed the doctor his leave. "You'd better hurry or you'll miss that enthralling meeting." Julian dramatically rolled his eyes before he downed the rest of his juice and headed for the bathroom to ready himself.

  Before he entered, Julian turned and looked at Garak again. "Thank you again. I'll wear the shirt today."

  As Garak ate the rest of his breakfast in a leisurely pace, he smiled at the thought that his gift pleased Julian. He enjoyed doing things for the doctor that brought that handsome smile out. Their son rolled and placed a sizable kick under Garak's ribs. "Easy, my son. I haven't forgotten about you. I plan on seeing many smiles from you as well," he said aloud and soothed the moving stomach with his palm.

  Both Julian and Garak left for work, only having the time to meet for lunch as they discussed the morning's occurrences. Garak discussing all the orders he had been filling, saying that he may need to bring some of the work home, as Julian discussed how the Infirmary had been relatively slow. Before they separated, they made plans on having a very quiet dinner at home as Julian hinted at the promise of the evening not being 'too' quiet. Garak thought of that promise for the rest of the day that seemed to move painfully slow. Unfortunately, the evening didn't start out the way Garak had planned.

  "Doctor, why must we go through this again and again?" Garak was feeling very impatient with his husband. Julian was about to run his tricorder over him for the third time within the past half hour.

  "Look, just humor me, okay? I just want to make sure that everything is all right," Julian responded testily as he began to check the readings once more.

  Garak put aside the material and pattern sizer he brought home. Why he had to go through this again was beyond all logical reasoning. But then again, it was Julian, and the doctor had been not been acting in a logical manner for weeks.

  Every night for the past week they have gone through this same routine. Julian would insist upon taking scan after scan, and each time the results were the same. There was nothing wrong with Garak and there was nothing wrong with the baby. However, Garak felt sure, there was something wrong with Julian.

  "Jahkim, you are not making sense right now. I am fine, the baby is fine. Now, put down that tricorder, I have some work that needs to be finished. Why don't you contact Mr. O'Brien and see if you can talk him into a holosuite program or one of those exercise programs you like so much." 'Anything, just so you leave me alone,' Garak thought to himself.

  Julian stopped what he was doing and looked at his husband. His hands began to tremble and tears formed in his eyes. "You don't want me here?" he asked in a small voice.

  'Oh no, what now?' Garak thought, aloud he responded quickly, "Of course I want you here. I just thought that perhaps you'd like a chance to get some exercise." The tailor swiftly pulled Julian down to sit next to him, placing his arms around the slender shoulders and giving his husband a hug.

  Julian pulled back, his eyes wide and tears flowing down his face, he looked Elim straight in the eyes. "You said for me to go, you 'don't' want me around?" he asked again, the hurt evident in his voice. "Why? What did I do wrong?"

  "Jahkim," Garak responded with tenderness in his voice, "I 'do' want you around and you have done 'nothing' wrong. I just don't understand why you feel the need to constantly check me with that. . ." He pointed to the tricorder, now laying on the table. "I am fine, the baby is fine, there is no need to worry. Don't forget, I do have my very own personal physician." He squeezed Julian's shoulders in emphasis.

  They sat in silence for a while, Garak decided to approach the subject from a different angle. "Tell me, Jahkim, what is wrong? Lately, you have not been acting like your normal self." He gently rubbed his husband's back while drawing him closer into an embrace.

  The doctor's eyes were red from crying, although the tears had stopped. He looked up at the tailor, confusion showing in his eyes. His brow creased as he tried to think about what Garak had just said. Julian tried to focus but was unable to gather his thoughts in coherent form.

  "It's all right, Jahkim," Garak whispered, "I'm not upset with you. I just need to know what is wrong."

  "I-I-I. . ." Julian hesitated, "I don't know." Seeing the worried look on Elim's face, he hurriedly added, "It's not the hormones, Elim. I checked and rechecked, they wouldn't cause this type of reaction.'

  "Jahkim. . . are you sure? Perhaps we should have another doctor examine both you and the hormones," Garak suggested.

  Julian sat upright. "You don't believe me? Why won't you believe me?" The tears began to flow once again. "I know what I'm doing! You say that you're fine, and that the baby is fine. You expect me to believe you. Well, I'm fine too. There's nothing wrong with me," he declared this while wrapping his arms loosely about himself.

  Garak watched in disbelief as Julian began rocking back and forth, tears flowing freely, repeating over and over, "I'm fine," in a whispered voice. When the tailor reached over to touch his husband, Julian abruptly stood and announced, "I'm okay, Elim. I don't need nor want to see another doctor. I just need some rest, that's all. I'm going to bed." With that he turned and headed into the bedroom.

  Running his hand through his hair, Garak sighed loudly. Walking over to the computer console he sat down. "Computer," he began "send a voice only message to Lt. Commander Dax from Bashir-Garak." The tailor could feel his own tears moisten his eyes as he left the message for Dax. He sat staring at the closed bedroom door.

  'Great Gul, what is wrong with him? How can I help him?' His hands clenched into tight fists, drawing blood from the palms of his hands. "I will find out what is happening to you, my Jahkim," he said aloud more for his own sake than for his husband's.

  Dax came by immediately after her shift had ended. When she entered, Garak motioned for her to talk quietly.

  "I've just checked on him, he's sleeping soundly, but that may not last. Commander, I'm worried, no--and I hate to admit this--I'm scared. He's not well, he's not been himself. What can I do to help him?"

  "Garak, we've talked once before about this. Did you ever get him to go see another doctor?" she asked in a whispered voice.

  "He won't go. . .he tells me that he's overworked and tired. Yes, that is obviously true, but there is something more. Dax, you said before that you checked the hormonal serum. .." Garak paused.

  "Yes, I did. He's right, there's nothing in the hormones that would produce this type of reaction. What we need to do is. . .we need to get a sample of his blood. We could have one of the other doctors or a nurse check for any abnormalities, anything that would give us a clue as to what's been happening to him."

  "It would have to be one of them to draw the blood sample also. I'm sorry, Commander, but if I were to try, the trust we have formed together would be jeopardized."

  "I understand," Dax responded. "I'll see if Hannah can do it. She seems just as concerned about him. He told me how she's always doing little things for him, and making that special tea that calms him down." Dax smiled and gently hugged the Cardassian. "I know how difficult it was for you to ask for my help. I won't let you down, I promise. The two of you mean so much to me."

  After Jadzia had left, Garak sat in his chair staring at the cup of tea he had replicated. Looking down at the light golden colored liquid, his mind began to pull all the little pieces of the puzzle together. 'The answer is so close, I can feel it, but what was it?' he wondered to himself.


  Garak was just about to close up his shop when the communiqué from Lieutenant Commander Dax came in.

  "Garak, we need you to come to Captain Sisko's office. . .there's a problem. . .Garak, it's Julian.'

  He felt the baby kick as his heart began to pound. Garak's thoughts turned to his beloved doctor as he hurried towards Ops. Julian had not been himself for quite a while now. The doctor had been working late to catch up on some reports before the baby came. When Jabara had left to care for her mother, Garak had thought then that Julian was pushing himself too hard to get both jobs done. Then that substitute head nurse arrived, a little late, as Julian's overworked mind and body appeared now to be on the verge of total collapse. Also, Julian had been becoming increasingly restless and would often overreact to the most innocent of statements. Julian had admitted to Garak that even he did not understand what was happening. Over and over, the doctor tried to assure Garak that the hormones would not cause such a reaction. The doctor had concluded that it must be stress related. Stress, yes, but surely even Julian had to admit that those hormones he'd been taking haven't helped with the situation either.

  The door to Sisko's office opened to admit the tailor. The scene before him was one of confusion. In the center of it all, was Julian, seated on a chair, crying almost hysterically. His eyes were unfocused, staring blindly, as his body rocked back and forth.

  'I knew those hormones would cause trouble.' Yet, as Garak was thinking this, he also took note of the reactions of the rest of the senior staff.

  Sisko was kneeling in front of the doctor, talking in an uncharacteristically soft voice. Dax sat on the edge of Julian's chair with her arm protectively around him, gently rubbing his shoulders. Kira was pacing back and forth, mumbling something about teaching someone a lesson he'll never forget. O'Brien was fumbling around looking for something, while Worf stood off to the side looking rather uncomfortable.

  'No. . .there's something else wrong.' Garak's face began to show his concern.

  "Julian, you need to calm down. This outburst isn't going to help. We need you alert, Doctor," Sisko was saying as Garak walked over and sat down next to Julian.

  "What happened?" The question was directed at Dax who released her hold on Julian.

  Very tenderly, Garak pulled his young husband closer. Julian rested his tear-stained face against the older man's chest, whimpering softly. Garak listened with as much patience as he could muster, while Sisko and Dax explained the situation.

  Sisko began, "Earlier today, I received a message from an old friend at Starfleet Medical, warning me that they were sending a Doctor Angelo to DS9. It seems that Dr. Angelo had expressed some concern over Dr. Bashir's ability to separate his personal and professional responsibilities. This came after a review of some previously made complaints from another doctor."

  "That's the most ridiculous thing I've ever heard. Julian is the most professional doctor I know, or have ever met," sneered Kira.

  "Yes, I said as much. However, it appears that the previous concerns were expressed by a doctor of very high standing. You may remember him, Dr. Zimmerman," Sisko's voice could barely keep out the sarcastic overtones. "Almost three years ago, Dr. Zimmerman filed a report with Starfleet Medical, stating his concerns that Dr. Bashir's genetic enhancement may be the cause of some neurosis which he had observed in Julian's behavior. A second report was filed after Dr. Bashir's bout with that Bajoran virus which blinded him for a while. That report reiterated the belief that Dr. Bashir was not acting in a rational and professional manner."

  "As if anyone would after all that," O'Brien interjected.

  Sisko gave him a knowing nod and continued. "As Dr. Bashir's commanding officer, I was made aware of those two reports. I, of course, filed my own stating that in my opinion, Dr. Bashir has always carried out his duties, as Chief Medical Officer and as a Lieutenant in Starfleet, in a most exemplary manner. Apparently, they agreed with me, as no further mention of those concerns were made. Until now, somehow, Dr. Angelo came across those reports and coupled with the news of the unusual circumstances of the conception of your child and Julian's desire to be a part of the process by nursing, well. . ."

  "He decided to pay a visit," Garak concluded.

  "There's more, I'm afraid." Dax looked sympathetically at Garak. "Dr. Angelo arrived a short while ago, and announced his intention to conduct psychiatric evaluations on Julian. These exams will be used to determine if there is a need to hold a competency hearing."

  Garak began to lose some of his well-fought for composure, "Just who is this Doctor Angelo?"

  Worf's deep voice gave the brisk reply. "Doctor Jacob Angelo is on the current Board of Directors at Starfleet Medical. He is also the head of the Psychology Department, and is considered Starfleet's foremost authority in the field of criminal psychology."

  "Criminal psychology! What does that have to do with Julian?" Kira protested to no one in particular.

  "Absolutely nothing, but he is the head of the department, and he is the one who's here." Dax paused as she reached over Garak's shoulder to brush away the strand of hair from Julian's forehead. "Julian handled the news just fine, considering the state of mind he has been in," she added with a knowing glance at Garak. "That is until, Angelo burst in here. The doctor brought up all those past occurrences especially that unfortunate incident with Ruygo."

  At the mention of Ruygo, Garak's hold on Julian reflexively became tighter and his eyes grew dark and foreboding.

  "Furthermore," Sisko continued, "being the ranking medical officer now on the station, Captain Angelo also relieved Dr. Bashir of duty until after the psychiatric exams and possible competency hearing. It's a good thing he left before Julian broke down. It all happened so quickly. After Angelo left we were discussing strategy when Julian suddenly became hysterical. Garak, are those hormones truly safe for him to be taking?"

  Through all of this, Julian had remained unusually quiet. He seemed content to recline in Garak's arms. As if he were first becoming aware of his surroundings, the doctor looked around, blinked several times, and then smiled sheepishly. He moved Garak's arms away and tried to stand. As his legs buckled under him, he sat down quickly, accepting his husband's embrace once again. "I'm sorry," he began, "I didn't mean for this to happen. Actually, I don't understand what came over me. The hormones shouldn't have this effect."

  He looked over at Garak as he continued to speak, "Elim, I am feeling very exhausted. May we go home now?"

  Garak rose to his feet, bent down, and slowly lifted Julian in his arms, cradling him as if he were a small child. At first, Julian struggled, but as he glanced up at the tailor, he instantly mellowed. One imperturbable glare from Garak and Julian knew better than to protest. He resigned himself to the shelter of his husband's strong arms.

  "Are you sure that you should be carrying him in your condition?" O'Brien asked Garak.

  With a loud sigh, it was Kira who responded. "Just because he's pregnant, doesn't mean he's incapable of doing anything. Garak works with bolts of fabric everyday. Honestly, look at Julian, there's nothing to him."

  Garak smiled and nodded his head at her, then he replied with an obviously controlled voice, "Really, I am fine. Julian is no burden at all. While this conversation has been most enlightening, I do believe that at this time Julian would be more comfortable with me. We will be in our quarters, Captain, should you feel the need to talk further." With that said, he smoothly turned and apparently with little effort carried his life's companion home.