Once back in their quarters, Garak delicately laid his precious cargo onto the bed. Settling himself next to Julian, the Cardassian slowly began to massage the smaller man's shoulders and back.

  "Just when everything is going so well, I have to mess up again. What am I going to do, Elim?"

  "Hush, Jahkim, you need to relax now. I won't allow anything to happen to you. Don't worry about anything right now, I will think of something. For now, you should get some sleep. Rest now, Jahkim, everything will be all right."

  Julian turned to face his love. Running his hand over the pregnant belly, he smiled as the baby responded with a kick. Garak gathered Julian closer and wrapped his arms around him. Kissing him tenderly, Garak continued with his gentle ministrations until Julian's eyelids began to close.

  "I always feel safe with you, Elim. You are always here when I need you the most. I love you so much," Julian whispered as he drifted off to sleep.

  Garak held him close, gently running his larger hands over the tense muscles of his love's body. Soon, when Julian's steady breathing indicated a deep sleep, Elim pressed his lips to the young man's brow. He cautiously released and settled him more comfortably on the bed. Garak glanced lovingly at the sleeping form and then quietly left the room. Seating himself at the computer console, he allowed himself a sigh before calling Amsha.

  ************ Sisko sat unwaveringly behind his desk staring at Dr. Angelo. He had summoned the doctor to his office. Perhaps it was his years of experience, perhaps it was just plain instinct, a gut feeling, yet the captain felt without a doubt that something wasn't right with this entire predicament. Angelo had checked out with Starfleet and he had passed through all the security check for Changelings. Still, somewhere in the back of his mind, Sisko was aware that his Chief Medical Officer, his young friend, was being set up. His eyes observed the man before him, tall, middle-aged, and nervous. Angelo was nervous, he could see it in the slight twitching of the eyes, the pacing back and forth. What was the man up to and more importantly, why? He brought his attention back to what the other man was saying.

  "What you don't seem to understand, Captain, is that the sooner we get Dr. Bashir the treatment that he needs, the better the prognosis for a complete recovery."

  "It sounds like you've already made your diagnosis without the benefit of the evaluations. What's really going on here?" Sisko demanded. "Starfleet has never questioned Dr. Bashir's competency before. I've been his commanding officer for years, and I've never questioned his competency."

  "It's not just me, Captain, Dr. Zimmerman is in complete. . ."

  "It's been two years since Zimmerman's reports. Why are you so interested now?" Sisko continued to drill the doctor.

  "You can't deny that Dr. Bashir is extremely impressionable. He's undergone quite a lot since first being stationed here on DS9. For years, he carried a family secret that eroded his self-esteem and defenses, he's been captured and held prisoner, possibly tortured, by the Dominion--the Jem 'Hadar, his life has been threatened, he's been blinded, kidnapped and tortured by a crazed Cardassian. Are you prepared to state unequivocally that he has suffered no adverse effects as a result of all that has taken place? Just look at what's happening in his personal life! My God, the man is taking hormones so he can 'nurse' his child being carried by another male, a Cardassian yet! This entire situation is completely unbelievable and unacceptable. Let's be reasonable, Captain, your Chief Medical Officer requires psychological assistance."

  Trying to maintain his placid demeanor, Sisko responded with a deep and commanding voice, "Unacceptable? To whom? Psychological assistance? For what reason? Dr. Bashir is the most dedicated doctor I have ever met. His personal life, while unorthodox, has not proven to interfere with his professional life. If anything, his marriage to Garak has allowed a bridge to be crossed between the station's Bajoran citizens and their feelings towards Cardassians. You might say that the marriage is part of a healing process. The trust that Dr. Bashir has earned from the Bajorans is gradually crossing over to include Garak. The Cardassian is now accepted by more Bajorans than ever before. No, there's something else in the works here. Believe me, Dr. Angelo, I will find out what it is and when I do, you had better be prepared to answer all my questions."

  They stared at each other in eerie silence. Angelo took a deep breath, "I expect Bashir to report to the Infirmary tomorrow morning at 0900 hours. The evaluations should be completed by late tomorrow. I will inform you of my diagnosis when I am ready." He turned and confidently strolled out of Sisko's office.

  The captain glared at his office door for a few moments. 'I will find out just what's going on, and I will put a stop to this fiasco.' With resolve he called a meeting of his senior staff, with the exception of Dr. Bashir.

  The somber group listened as their captain relayed his conversation with Dr. Angelo.

  "Something is definitely not right," Dax finally spoke.

  Odo cleared his throat. "I have a friend at Starfleet who owes me a favor. It's time we found out just who this Dr. Angelo is and what he's really after."

  "Get on it now," Sisko ordered, "We don't have any time to waste. Kira, keep an eye on Angelo. I want to know where he goes, who he talks with, day and night."

  With a curt nod of her head, Kira left with Odo.

  "Chief, Angelo didn't arrive on a Starfleet transport. Check out the ship he came in on, where did he come from, what stops were made, was he traveling alone?"

  "Right away, Sir," O'Brien replied on his way out.

  "Dax, didn't you once say that you had an old friend who was a psychiatrist? If I'm right, then Angelo's up to something. We'll need a second opinion," Sisko stated matter-of-factly.

  "No problem, Benjamin, this is just the type of case that would interest him." She placed a hand on Sisko's shoulder. "I know that you're worried. You know, you always did have a soft spot for Julian. Don't worry, we'll get to the bottom of this."

  "I hope so, Old Man, I truly hope so."

  After Dax had left, Sisko paused to reflect. He did have a soft spot as far as the station's doctor was concerned. In fact, everyone did, even Odo, not that he would ever admit to it. That was just the kind of response Julian had evoked from them. But Angelo was right about one thing, how could all that has happened not have had an affect on the younger man? Julian had been acting extremely moody lately. Must be those hormones. Yet, the captain knew for certain, that if Julian were forced to leave Garak, it would break him. "I won't allow that to happen," he said aloud to his empty office.


  When Julian awoke, he was disoriented. It took a few minutes for the events of the day to come back to him. Confused and slightly dazed he thought he heard voices coming from somewhere. He rose unsteadily, grabbing hold of the wall for support until he was able to walk. He wandered out of the bedroom and found Garak talking with Dax and his mother.

  "There you are, Jules, are you feeling better?" Amsha escorted her son to a chair. "You had us very worried."

  "Yes, I'm fine now. I just can't explained what happened."

  "Well, no wonder you get upset so easily, with all those hormones you've been taking. Your body just has to have time to adjust to them, that's all." Amsha held onto her son's hand.

  "Yes, that must be it," Julian replied, however, in his mind he knew that wasn't it, but he couldn't seem to focus his thoughts towards getting the solution. He sighed, then looking at Garak asked, "What have you been talking about?"

  Dax smiled, "Julian, I have good news. A friend of mine, who is a psychiatrist, is on his way to DS9 as we speak. He's agreed to conduct his own evaluations of you. Now we'll have another opinion if Angelo pushes for a competency hearing." She didn't bother to mention what she had already told Garak and Amsha, about Sisko's suspicions concerning Dr. Angelo's motives.

  Julian sat back in his chair, "And what if he concurs with Dr. Angelo's diagnosis, that I'm incompetent to serve as a Starfleet doctor?"

  "Julian, he won't!" Dax exclaimed.

  "How can you be so sure?" Julian's voice was louder, his hands were shaking, and tears began to pool in the corners of his eyes.

  Garak reached over, grabbed Julian's jaw and gently turned the doctor's head towards him. Looking into Julian's eyes, the tailor said in a firm voice, "Because it isn't true. You are not incompetent, everyone who has contact with you already knows that."

  "I'm sorry, I don't know what comes over me sometimes. I guess I'm just a little nervous about all of this." Julian searched his husband's face for the approval he needed.

  Dax noted the flushed face and twitching hands. She made a mental note to have her friend give Julian a complete physical as well. Aloud she continued, "That's something you're going to have to take control of, Julian. You can't break down like this in front of Angelo. We'll all help you, but in the end it is all up to you."

  "Excuse me, Dax," Amsha patted Julian's hand as she spoke. "What good will your friend really do for Julian. Wouldn't it just end up as his word against Dr. Angelo's?"

  Dax smiled, "Well you might say that he's a very unique psychiatrist. He's a renowned expert in the field of Terran psychology. Angelo's field is criminal psychology, which doesn't really apply in this case. My friend has been called in to several competency hearings because of his unique status and ability to put all viewpoints into perspective."

  Garak had been watching Julian through the discussion. He too noticed the disturbing physical signs. He decided that he would like to be present with Julian during the testing sessions. He turned towards Jadzia. "Who is this friend of yours, Commander?"

  "I think, I'll leave that as a surprise," Dax responded with a twinkle in her eyes. "Trust me on this, Angelo doesn't have a chance."

  Amsha rose to her feet. "Very well, Dax, I will trust you." She looked down at her son, the worry showed in her face as she noticed the paleness and trembling. "Jules, you've slept for a long time, you must be famished. Why don't we all go out for a nice meal?" she suggested.

  They ate a quiet meal at one of the new Bolian restaurants on the Promenade. Garak wanted to avoid the noise and crowd at Quark's and the Replimat was unusually crowded for this time of night also. Julian barely touched his food, having to be reminded by both his mother and his husband to keep up his strength for the milk production. When his tea arrived, Julian sipped at the hot beverage and tried to relax.

  "This is good," he remarked, "but the tea that Nurse Jacobs makes for me is much better."

  Relieved that her son was finally trying to carry on a conversation, Amsha queried, "How is that, son, isn't Tarkalean Tea your favorite?"

  "Oh yes, but Hannah's tea, Karvarian, I believe it's called, has a special blend of spices added to it. It's really very delicious. She won't let me in on what the special blend consist of, says it's a family secret. But she says it is soothing for the nerves. She makes it all the time." Julian smiled at his mother.

  "Well, perhaps, she'll share the secret blend with me." Amsha smiled back tenderly. "That way I can continue to make it for you when she leaves."

  Julian took another sip of tea and then looked over and smiled at his husband. Unable to resist, Elim reached over and captured his beloved's face with his hand, stroking the cheek ever so delicately. "You look tired, Jahkim, perhaps we should call it a night."

  As they rose to leave, Garak glanced down at the table. Noticing Julian's unfinished cup of tea, something clicked in his mind. Smiling, he knew that tomorrow he would finally have some answers.

  The next morning, Garak accompanied Julian to the Infirmary for his evaluations with Dr. Angelo.

  "You know, you don't have to hover about me. I'll be fine, really, I will. Go open your shop. Try not to worry too much, Love, you don't want the baby to pick up on any tension."

  Garak's hold around Julian's waist tightened slightly. "Hmm, now you understand what I've been going through with your hovering." He smiled and gave his husband a hug. "I'll just make sure that you'll be okay. You can surely humor a pregnant man, can't you?"

  Julian laughed, and gave Garak a quick kiss. "I wish you could stay with me, but he won't allow it. Like Dax said, in the end, it is all up to me." They walked into the Infirmary together.

  "Dr. Bashir, it's so good to see you up and about. I had heard that you weren't feeling too well." A young dark-haired woman approached them. "Here, let me get you your tea." She soon returned with the cup of hot steaming tea, handing to Julian. "Is this your husband, whom I've heard so much about?

  "Indeed, I am his husband, madam. However, I am at a disadvantage here. You are?" Garak asked with his most complimentary smile, while his eyes took notice of every expression and movement from the young woman.

  "Oh, I'm sorry. Where are my manners?" Julian set the cup down on a bio-bed. "Garak, this is Hannah Jacobs. She's the registered nurse, who's filling in while Jabara takes care of the family emergency. I don't know what I would have done if she didn't happen to show up just when I needed her the most."

  Garak's eyes continued to survey the woman. She picked up the cup of tea and handed it once again to the doctor. She glanced once in the tailor's direction but then quickly looked away.

  "Dr. Bashir, Dr. Angelo said to tell you that he is set up for your session in the quarantine room. He figured that the room would be the most private for him to conduct his evaluations." She smiled at both Julian and Garak before turning to leave.

  "She really has been most helpful," Julian began speaking again, "She's always doing little things for me, like the tea. You know, she makes sure that I have a cup just at the right times."

  Taking the cup from his husband's hands, Garak gave him a hug and a long passionate kiss. "Remember, keep the emotions under control, Jahkim. I want to keep you around for a long time to come."

  Julian took a deep breath, squared his shoulders and walked back towards the quarantine room. Reaching the door, he hesitated for a moment, looking back at his beloved. He nodded his head towards Garak, then entered the room.

  Glancing about, Garak noticed that Hannah was busy working at a computer terminal in the back. He quickly turned and left. Walking with determination, the tailor headed, not for his shop, but for Dax's science lab. Upon entering, he found the Lt. Commander hunched over a lab table with some specimen dishes scattered about.

  Looking up when she heard the door, Dax was surprised to see the Cardassian standing there. "Garak, what are you doing here? Is something wrong with Julian?"

  "I'm not sure just yet, Commander, but I wonder if you might do me a favor?"

  "Sure, what is it?" Garak had roused her natural curiosity.

  "Test the contents of this." He held out the cup of tea that Hannah had given to Julian. His eyes shone brightly, and he had that mysterious smile on his face. 'Garak, the spy' was back. There was just something about that nurse that had disturbed him. Thinking back, he remembered, Julian's nervous twitches, the extreme mood swings, everything, all began the day of the baby shower. The same day that Nurse Hannah Jacobs had arrived. The same day she had introduced Julian to her specially blended tea.


  "Dr. Bashir, just answer my questions," Angelo's voice held a certain amount of contempt. "You're not being very cooperative. This will not look good for you in my report."

  Julian's eyes blazed. "I 'am' answering your questions. I just don't see how my sexual relations with my husband is any of yours or anyone else's business. What goes on in our bed is between us."

  These evaluations were beginning to wear Julian out. They were going on four hours without a break. He could feel the tension in his shoulders and back. Bringing up his childhood was bad enough, then making him retell, in detail, about his kidnapping and torture by Ruygo was enough to make Julian just want to run and keep running to get as far away from this doctor as possible. Now, the questions about his sex life, were just too much for him. This was getting too personal. He wasn't a psychiatrist but there was definitely something not right with the way Angelo was conducting these evaluations. Julian tried to focus on the questions, however, he was finding it extremely difficult. His mind would wander and he'd have to ask Angelo to repeat the question, which only served to make the other doctor angrier.

  "May we please take a break?" Julian pleaded.

  "In a moment, 'after' you answer my question." Angelo sat back with a look of triumph on his face. "You're very sensitive about this issue, aren't you?"

  "What issue?" Julian responded. When he saw Angelo's eyes darken, he quickly thought back to what they were discussing. 'Oh yes, now I remember." Aloud he added, "Like I said, it's none of your business." Julian reached over to the table and took the cup of tea in his hands. Hannah had thoughtfully provided some earlier in the sessions, and just kept refilling the cup as he needed more. His hands shook and his face was flushed as he placed the cup back down.

  Angelo leaned forward, taking hold of the younger doctor's arms. "Don't be so stubborn Julian, I'm only here to help you. After all, you can't help it, you've been corrupted by evil."

  Julian's eyes went wide and he could not hold back the shudder that ran through his body.

  "Wha. . .what did you say?" There was something oddly familiar about what Angelo had just said to him.

  "Really, Doctor, aren't you tired of this game? This will be written into my report. I said, 'You're very sensitive about this issue, aren't you?' Now, quit the games and answer my questions." Angelo was losing patience.

  "No, no, after that, what did you say after that?" Julian spoke in a whisper.

  "Doctor, I didn't say anything after that," Angelo replied.

  "But, I heard you, you said something about being corrupted by evil." Julian was becoming hysterical, he couldn't help it. His body began to shake, he tried to stand up, but couldn't get his legs to support him. 'Elim, where are you? What's happening to me?'

  "Dr. Bashir, are you all right? Nurse Jacobs, please come in here."

  Julian vaguely felt the hands as they half dragged, half carried him over to a bed.

  "Lie still, Julian, it won't be long now."

  "Hannah? Please call Elim," the young man asked in a frightened tone. 'Was that Hannah's voice?' Julian was slowly losing consciousness. He could hear Hannah and Angelo talking.

  "You've given him too much this time. I told you not to up the dosage, there could be permanent damage. Do you want to kill him?" Angelo stated in an angry tone.

  "Look, I did what I had to. He was fighting the effects, it must have something to do with his genetic enhancement. Don't worry, he'll be fine, I have no intention of letting him die." Hannah was busy preparing a hypospray for Julian.

  "Let's just get this over with, before that Cardassian comes around looking for his precious husband." Angelo moved closer to Julian.

  "Are you sure there's enough of the drug in his system to make this work?" Hannah held out the hypospray.

  "Get that away from him, I told you, he's had enough. Now let me do my job." The doctor turned Julian's face towards him. He lifted the young man's eyelids to examine his eyes. Julian could only moan.

  Nurse Jacobs continued, "I will be extremely disappointed in you, if you botch this up. And I won't be the only one you'll answer to."

  Julian tried to fight the effects of whatever they had given to him, 'I'm so tired. . .so very tired. . .if I could just rest for. . .' He slipped into the dark void of unconsciousness.


  When Garak walked into Sisko's office, he was surprised to find Odo, Kira, and O'Brien already there.

  "Please, have a seat, Garak." The captain pointed to the nearest empty chair. "I wanted you present to hear all that we've found out so far. Since I know that you'll want to get Julian from the Infirmary soon, we'll begin without Dax. I'll fill her in later."

  Odo started, "My sources tell me that Dr. Angelo is all that Mr. Worf had reported before. However, I did find out something very interesting." He turned to look at Garak as he spoke. "Dr. Angelo is involved with a research project concerning the psychoanalysis of the criminal mind. More specifically, those who have exhibited a perfectionistic view of good versus evil. He believes the cause to be a form of a chemical imbalance within the brain. Some say that he has developed a new experimental drug to counteract this chemical imbalance. That is all hearsay, as nothing has been approved by Starfleet Medical as of yet. Part of Angelo's research has taken him to several penal colonies to gather his data. His longest stay, of several months, was at the colony on Meldar I."

  Kira gasped, while Garak stood suddenly. "Ruygo," was all he said.

  "Yes," Odo responded. "It seems that our Dr. Angelo conducted several extensive sessions with Ruygo."

  Sisko's fist hit the desk. "I knew there was something wrong with all of this. But how could Ruygo have influenced Angelo? I need some proof, people."

  They sat in silence as Garak retook his seat.

  "I've traced back the origin of Angelo's trip here," O'Brien broke the silence. "It seems he started from Earth, but made a stopover on Risa. According to my information, he wasn't traveling alone when he left Earth. His wife was with him. Apparently, she took a different transport and left Risa long before he did. I don't know about any of you, but I find that very strange. If I took Keiko to Risa, I wouldn't stay while she left. After he left, there were several other stopovers, but I haven't found out if he spoke to anyone at those stopovers or not."

  Garak sat listening to all O'Brien had reported. "Tell me, Chief, is there a description of Mrs. Angelo?"

  "I didn't ask for one, but I'm sure I can locate one."

  "Well, he's kept pretty much to himself since arriving on DS9," Kira reported. "However, I did find one thing strange, he went to the Infirmary extremely early for his appointment with Julian today. Angelo was there at 0700 hours."

  "What was he doing?" Sisko's eyes narrowed.

  "I'm not sure, but it looked like he was just checking out the Infirmary. That new nurse, what's her name?" Kira paused trying to remember the name.

  "Jacobs, Hannah Jacobs," Garak supplied.

  "Yes, that's it. Nurse Jacobs was there also, apparently giving Angelo a tour of the Infirmary. Then they went into the back quarantine room. I couldn't follow them without being seen, so I have no idea what they did or talked about." Kira was about to speak again, when the doors slid open to admit a very out of breath Trill.

  "Glad you could finally join us. . ." Sisko stopped when he saw the expression on Dax's face.

  Dax turned her attention towards Garak. "Just where did you get that cup of tea? Do you have any idea of what was in it?"

  "Slow down, Dax, what are you talking about?" Kira demanded.

  "Garak brought me a cup of tea and asked me to analyze the contents. I found traces of Trihexalphosphomide, and a few other similarly related drugs. It's the Trihexalphosphomide that's the dangerous one. It's a very powerful mood altering drug. Too much at one time will cause convulsions and possibly death, but when given in small doses over a period of time, it can cause the person taking it to become extremely overactive. When combined with the other drugs also detected in the tea, the person taking the mixture will become an emotional wreck. He can become confused, disoriented, nervous, excitable, crying for no reason is another response." She paused before asking the others, "Sound familiar?" When no one answered she continued, "Physical symptoms of the drug mixture include hand tremors, flushing, and weakness in the legs, and there's the danger of extreme tiredness if given too much of the drug mixture at one time. There's no antidote, it will just have to work itself out of the person's system."

  "Julian," Kira whispered.

  "Just where did you get this from, Mr. Bashir-Garak?" Sisko's voice had a dangerous edge to it.

  All eyes looked to Garak as he jumped out of his seat and started for the door. "Nurse Jacobs gave it to Julian, this morning. Julian told me that she's been bringing him tea all the time. I'm going to get Julian and take him home, you may want to send security, Odo, as I'm not sure what I'll do to either Angelo or Jacobs when I get there."

  Odo swiftly followed.

  Sisko rubbed his eyes and looked exhausted. "You know what to do, we need proof of what's going on and why, let's get going." He looked over at O'Brien, "Get that description of Mrs. Angelo. Although I have this feeling she'll look exactly like a certain nurse."

  O'Brien left as Kira was rising. "I'll arrange to have both of them watched around the clock." She then left the captain and Dax alone.

  Dax stood in front of Sisko. " Benjamin, my friend's ship docks in five minutes. Want to meet him? I don't believe that Angelo or Jacobs will try anything while on DS9. I have no doubt that it's their plan to have Julian officially declared incompetent and then offer treatment off the station, to get Julian away from the safety of his family and friends. Odo will handle Garak, let's go."


  When Garak and Odo rushed into the Infirmary, they found Julian sitting patiently on one of the bio-beds. He was alone, and looked very much like a lost child waiting for someone to come and claim him.

  "Where are Angelo and Jacobs?" Odo inquired of the doctor.

  Julian smiled as Garak held out his arms to help the younger man down from the bed. "Angelo left a short while ago and Hannah's shift ended long before that. Why?"

  "Are you all right, Jahkim? How did it go?" Garak was searching his young husband's face for any signs of distress.

  "Actually, it went better than I expected. I didn't particularly like talking about my childhood, but other than that it wasn't too bad. Why are you staring at me like that?" The doctor's eyes went wide for an instant.

  "Oh, no reason. You just seem different, calmer." Garak replied cautiously.

  "Well, I have had time to calm down since Angelo left. I've been waiting for you for the longest time, Elim."

  "I'm here now, let's go home," the tailor responded with tenderness in his voice.

  Both Garak and Odo noticed the slight hand tremor as Julian took hold of Garak's arm. Just as he was turning to leave, the younger man's legs gave out from under him. Garak quickly gathered him into his arms. "You are making a habit of this, Jahkim," he teased, his eyes, however, reflected his worry.

  "Take him home, don't leave him alone. I'll post a guard outside your door." Odo watched with uncharacteristic concern as Garak carried Julian down the corridor. "Time to check up on a prisoner on Meldar I."

  Just as Odo was about to leave his instinct told him to check out the blinking light on the computer. Someone had just sent a message. Looking about to assure himself that he was indeed alone, Odo commanded, "Computer, play back previous message, visual and audio."

  On the screen before him appeared Dr. Bashir's distraught face, tears streaming from his redden eyes. "Dad, I hope you get this message, I don't have much time, they may come back. Please, Dad, I'm sorry, please come, I need you. Please." The transmission ended.

  Odo stared thoughtfully, at the screen. "If everything went all right, why the message, and to his father of all people?" Odo's question went unanswered in the deserted Infirmary.


  The passengers arriving through the airlock felt privileged to see the Emissary and his lovely companion waiting there. Sisko diplomatically greeted each one as they passed. The last passenger through the doorway was a very distinguished looking Vulcan.

  "Slovik, how nice to see you again," Dax beamed at her friend.

  "As it is to see you also," responded the Vulcan.

  "Benjamin, allow me to introduce Dr. Slovik. Doctor, this is Captain Benjamin Sisko." Dax indicated her commanding officer and friend with a flourish of her hand.

  "It is an honor to finally meet you, Captain. I have heard so much about you from both Curzon and Jadzia," Slovik offered his hand, an unusual gesture for a Vulcan to extend.

  Sisko shook the hand lightly, remembering a Vulcan's sensitivity to touch. "Thank you, Doctor. It is an honor to meet you also. I'm glad that you were able to make it on such short notice."

  "Yes, well one could hardly refuse the pleadings of a Trill who once saved your life. From what Dax has told me, this case does sound very intriguing. There are such extraordinary circumstances surrounding this situation. Captain, before I meet with the young man in question, I would like to be filled in on any pertinent information. Tell me, what are your suspicions of Dr. Angelo?"

  As they headed for the habitat-ring and Julian's quarters, Dax and Sisko filled in all the information they had obtained. Slovik maintained a passive expression throughout the conversation, occasionally raising an eyebrow as something peaked his interest.


  While Julian was taking a relaxing shower, Amsha arrived. Garak proceeded to fill her in on all that the senior staff had found out. Her face reflected shock and fear. "How, son? Just how did Ruygo manage to do all of this? You have to stay with him, Elim, he needs you to protect him. Please, son, don't let them hurt my Jules any more." Amsha held Garak's hands and squeezed tightly with emphasis.

  Looking into her eyes, Garak answered her concerns. "I will never leave Julian. I made that promise over two years ago on our wedding day. You also have my word that I will do everything within my power to prevent any harm from ever coming to him." The tailor thought back to when they were married and remembered his biggest fear, one that seem to be coming true. Once again Julian was in jeopardy because of him.

  Amsha sighed and released his hands. She stood as Julian came into the room. Garak watched mother and son as he thought, 'I should have killed Ruygo when I had the chance. By all the strength that I possess I vow to protect you, my Jahkim.' He felt the baby move within him and smiled. 'Yes, I will protect you also, my little Jahkim.'


  Kira watched as Angelo casually walked over to the table where Nurse Jacobs was sitting. Quark's was crowded once again tonight, fortunate for Kira in that she was able to move in closer without being detected. Yet, unfortunate for Kira as she was unable to hear their conversation above the noisy crowd. "Where's Odo when you need him?" she muttered to herself.

  O'Brien appeared at her side. "Want to see a picture of Mrs. Angelo?" He smiled as he brought out the data padd showing the woman in question. There on the padd was a photo of Nurse Jacobs. "Now all we have to do is connect these two to Ruygo, and figure out just what they're up to in the process."

  The major stared at the doctor and the nurse. "Oh, that shouldn't be too difficult. Just lock them in a room with Garak."

  Miles laughed, "Somehow, I don't think that's what the captain had in mind."

  Kira laughed also but thought to herself, 'If Garak doesn't get to them, I will. I made that promise long ago, nothing from Garak's past was ever going to hurt Julian again.' She frowned as Jacobs left Quark's leaving Angelo alone. Out of the corner of her eye, she noticed one of Odo's security people casually following the nurse. She sighed with relief as she continued to observe Angelo's movements.


  Sisko, Dax, and Slovik sat comfortably in Julian and Garak's quarters. Garak had just brought in some refreshments while Amsha was in the bedroom with Julian, trying to calm him down. Just before the Sisko and the others arrived, Julian had another nervous reaction and once again was in a state of total confusion with the tears flowing. Slovik watched Garak with interest.

  "Doctor, will the drugs have any long lasting effects?" Garak had been asking.

  "Once Trihexalphosphomide works it's way out of his system, the doctor should be back to normal. However, this particular drug combined with the others will take a long time to pass through the body's system. This of course, depends upon how much he was given, and it appears that he has ingested the maximum if not more of the drug. It may be weeks before he is able to rid his body of the effects of all the drugs."

  Garak nodded his head slowly as he continued, "I'm not sure how to ask this. . .however, it concerns me. Julian has been taking hormones to stimulate the production of milk in his mammary glands. He plans to nurse our child. Will traces of the drug mixture be found in the milk he produces?"

  Slovik raised an eyebrow. 'This is indeed a very interesting case.' Aloud he responded, "The combination of drugs induced into the doctor's body are designed to mainly affect the nervous system. I do not believe that there will be any traces found in the milk produced. However, it would be a wise move to have his milk tested before nursing the child."

  Amsha and Julian entered the room. Julian's eyes were bloodshot and he leaned on his mother to walk. After the introductions were made, Slovik rose from his seat. "Dr. Garak-Bashir, if you will come with me, I believe we should begin our evaluations."

  Julian looked to Garak, who asked, "Doctor, so soon?"

  "It is my understanding that time is of the essence, we have no more time to spare Mr. Bashir-Garak," Slovik responded.

  Garak looked at his Jahkim and nodded. "Pardon me Dr. Slovik, but would it be possible for me to stay with Julian? He has had a very rough day already."

  "I understand your concern for your husband. However, it would be most inappropriate for you to be present during the evaluation. I will take note of your concerns, the exam will not take long and I will not allow the doctor out of my sight. You may accompany him to my quarters and wait outside, if you so desire," Slovik offered.

  "I so desire," Garak affirmed as he took hold of Julian and escorted him to Slovik's guest quarters.


  Later that evening, the senior staff was once again pooling their resources. Odo's report was the most revealing. "Angelo stayed on Meldar I for an extended period of time. Considering that it is not the most hospitable place to live, there must have been a reason. Throughout his stay, Angelo concentrated his interviews with one prisoner--Ruygo. There's no audio record of those interviews available. The prison is only required to make visual records of all visitations. From Meldar I, Angelo went to Andoria, there he met and soon married his wife, the former Hannah Lyall. They returned to Earth soon after. Angelo began looking through Dr. Bashir's file about that time. It was almost as if he were searching for something. Something that he eventually found, in the form of those reports from Dr. Zimmerman, who incidentally, I also had checked out. I could find no evidence of Dr. Zimmerman ever meeting or communicating with Dr. Angelo. So I believe we can leave him out of this, for now."

  "Any background information on Jacobs, I mean Mrs. Angelo?" Kira asked.

  "I'm still checking. There doesn't appear to be much information about her. I can only conclude that she's either led an extremely quiet and withdrawn life or. . ."

  "She never existed before Angelo met her on Andoria," Dax finished for him. Odo nodded his agreement.

  It was O'Brien who broke the silence. "So what do we do now?"

  Sisko was silent for a moment longer. When he spoke, it was with a clear and decisive voice. "We wait and we watch. I believe Dax was right, they won't try to do anything to Julian here on DS9, not as long as his family and friends are around to take care of him. They plan to have him declared incompetent, remove him from the station under the pretense of providing treatment, and then. . ." he paused not sure how to complete the thought. "It will take a few days to set up the competency hearing, which I'm sure Angelo's test results will indicate is needed."

  Looking at each of his senior staff present, Sisko issued his orders.

  "Kira, I want those two watched. I want to know everything about who or what they see or speak to."

  "Dax, I want to know Mrs. Angelo's true identity. Slovik will have completed his evaluations soon, let's try to keep his presence on the station our secret for right now. Angelo won't be the only one planning a surprise for the hearing."

  "Constable, is there any way the prison officials could question Ruygo, find out what his involvement in all of this is, I need proof."

  "O'Brien, keep Garak informed of our progress, I don't want him leaving Julian unattended for any reason. Also, if possible, let's keep Garak away from Doctor and Mrs. Angelo. We have enough trouble as it is without adding more."

  "Let's go, people. We're almost out of time."

  They all filed out of the room leaving Sisko deep in thought. 'No one comes to my station, and harms one of my officers. No one!'


  Garak sat on the floor outside of Slovik's quarters. The guard, assigned by Odo, stood in front of the door. Leaning against the wall to ease his aching back, the Cardassian tried to relax. 'You're exhausted, better get some rest or you won't be able to help Jahkim when he needs you.' He stretched his legs and felt a sudden pang in his distended abdomen. 'Ah, so you're worried also. It won't be long, my little Jahkim, however, if you would just grant your father this one wish: Stay comfortable right where you are for a while longer, until I am able to secure a safe life for both of my Jahkims.' He closed his eyes then, but did not truly rest. Garak's senses were working overtime. He was well aware of every movement and sound along the corridor.


  About an hour into his session with Dr. Slovik, Julian began to show signs of mental confusion. The more Slovik probed, the more disoriented the younger doctor became. Finally, in exasperation, Julian sighed loudly.

  "Well, aren't you going to ask me?" Julian's voice shook slightly.

  "What is it that you wish me to ask you?" replied Slovik, studying the other man's reaction. Julian had become increasingly anxious during the evaluation. He was, however, being very cooperative, yet Slovik could feel the fear emanating from the young Terran.

  Julian's growing frustration caused him to almost shout back at the Vulcan. "I don't wish for you to ask me anything, but you will. He did, he kept asking and asking until I just couldn't think straight."

  "Dr. Angelo? What was it that he kept asking you?"

  Slovik's question put Julian off guard, he stared at the Vulcan, tears starting to form. He then shook his head as if to clear his head, "You already know the answer. You'll ask it too, I know you will."

  "Ask what?" Slovik repeated.

  "You know, about Garak and me, what we. . ." he hesitated, gathering his thoughts. "What we do in bed together. Does he dominate me, who does what, all that stuff. Well, I'll tell you what I told Angelo, it's none of your business!" He was tired, he just wanted to go home, go back to Garak. Why couldn't they see that? 'But they won't let you. You won't be able to stay with Garak. You're not well. Garak doesn't want you, not any more. He'll have the baby and you'll be sent away.' The voice inside his head was becoming more insistent. 'No, no it's not true. I won't believe it, Elim loves me, I know he does.' Julian pushed back the negative thoughts and replaced them with his knowledge of his husband's love for him.

  Slovik had watched the doctor's facial expressions change from fear and distrust to an almost peaceful look. "Julian," the Vulcan's tone was quiet yet forceful enough to require attention. "Is there a problem with your sexual relationship in your marriage?"

  "What?" Julian was startled by the question. "No, I'm very happy with Elim. I just want to stay with him, please." The last word was whispered with such sorrow, those expressive eyes of his shining with tears.

  "It is my purpose to make sure that you do stay with your husband as well as remain Chief Medical Officer of DS9. My questions are not meant to cause you any pain or distress, but rather are for me, to help me to understand what has brought you to this point. If you are content and your marriage causes you no harm, then you are right, it is not anyone's business. Why do you think Dr. Angelo was questioning your relationship with Elim?"

  "I. . .I don't know. He just kept asking and asking, and he wouldn't give me a break."

  "What happened afterward, did you finally answer him?"

  Julian stared at the Vulcan for a long time, his hazel eyes changing colors as his mind raced through the session with Dr. Angelo. Slovik noted the confused expression on the Terran's face. Then with a smile, Julian responded, "Actually, it went better than I expected. I didn't particularly like talking about my childhood, but other than that it wasn't bad."

  It was now Slovik's turn to stare. 'A controlled response.' He leaned forward towards Julian and studied his eyes. "Julian, tell me what happened when Dr. Angelo was pushing you to answer his questions."

  Julian's smile faded, he looked disoriented and bewildered. He tried to think of what had happened, tried to recall. . .'Something happened, Hannah was there, what was it?' The doctor struggled to remember but could recall nothing, his mind was a blank. Suddenly, his body convulsed, but quieted before Slovik was able to respond. Julian was standing in a flash, pacing about the room, as if nothing had occurred. "I already told you. Why won't you believe me? Please, let me go back to Elim. They're going to keep me from him, aren't they? My baby. . ." His ramblings became increasingly incoherent. Julian didn't feel the hypospray as it was pressed against his neck.


  "What's happening to him, Doctor? That drug Elim told me about, is that what's causing all of this? What's wrong with him?" Mrs. Bashir tried valiantly to maintain her composure. The past few days had been a strain on everyone and Amsha was no exception. When Garak and Slovik had brought Julian home late last night, she was near the breaking point herself. In spite of this, she had stayed the night refusing to leave her son's side. Now, as she sat with Dax comforting her, Amsha looked and felt older. Slovik who had been conversing with Garak turned to face her.

  "Mrs. Bashir, I intend to be very honest with you. It appears that not only was your son given the Trihexalphosphomide but it was used to help induce a hypnotic state. Dr. Angelo must have planted some subconscious suggestions to make it look as if Dr. Garak-Bashir were having a nervous breakdown. Unfortunately, my questions concerning Julian's session with Dr. Angelo could have triggered some of those planted suggestions."

  "Can you help him?" whispered Amsha.

  "What type of suggestions would they have planted?" Garak demanded.

  At that time, Dax's com badge summoned her. They learned that Dr. Angelo had officially recommended a competency hearing to be held. The hearing was scheduled to be held in two days on the station. The place if the hearing, having been a request from Captain Sisko.

  Dax looked at Slovik, "Will you be able to help Julian by then? Is that enough time, he seems so far gone."

  "The effects of the drug may have worn off by then, however, it would be highly unlikely. And that is if, the tea were the only source. However, as for the implanted suggestions, I do know of a way to find out exactly what suggestions were made. By the same means, I may be able to rid Dr. Garak-Bashir of those particular thoughts and provide a means by which he can successfully counteract the drugs."

  "How can you do that?" Dax asked incredulously. It wasn't long before her eyes went wide with comprehension. "You intend to mind meld with Julian don't you?"

  "It would allow me to enter his mind with a logical detachment and determine what is causing his reactions. Once I locate the cause, or causes, I can then attempt to remove those suggestions from his mind, or plant new ones to assist in calming him. There is a danger that exist." Slovik looked from Mrs. Bashir to Garak. "In melding with Dr. Garak-Bashir, there will be a mixing of emotions, his uncontrolled and mine controlled. I will feel all that he feels, know all that he knows. In some rare cases, the human has allowed complete takeover of the mind, in essence losing himself in the process. I have been through extensive training with the human mind and with Vulcan melds. Julian is strong-willed, and has expressed an overwhelming desire to return to his husband. In fact, he is, in his own way, already fighting the suggestions. Therefore, I believe that the risk for him would be minimal if at all."

  A noise at the door caused all of them to look up. Julian had entered the room. He had the appearance of a child waking from a nightmare. He wore Garak's loose fitting robe about his slight body, his hair was wet from sweat.

  He headed straight for Garak and sat next to him. Putting his head on his husband's chest, Julian grabbed hold of Elim's tunic.

  "Don't let them take me away," the doctor spoke in a frantic voice. "Don't let go of me, if you do, they'll take me away and I'll never see you again. Please, Elim, I don't want to leave you. Please, I can get better." Julian twisted the fabric of the tunic tightly in his hands, pulling himself closer to the comforting embrace of his husband.

  Garak looked down at the younger man in his arms, he gently brushed the sweat drenched hair from Julian's eyes. Looking up he faced Slovik, determination in his eyes. "Very well, Dr. Slovik. Do what you want, but understand, this time I 'AM' staying with him through the entire process."

  "It will not be necessary for anyone to leave. It may even be better for Julian to know that you are there with him."

  "When do wish to do the mind meld?" With great difficulty, Amsha restrained herself from taking her son from Garak, to cuddle and protect him as she had always done when he was small.

  "I believe it best, to wait until tomorrow. That would allow more time for some of the effects of the drug to wear off. He is calmer when he is with you, Mr. Garak, Bashir-Garak," he corrected. "It would be best if you stayed with him."

  "Oh, I have every intention of staying with him and not leaving." Garak settled back into the chair, pulling Julian onto his lap in the process. It was awkward, considering Garak's pregnant belly, but neither of the men seemed to mind. One of Julian's arms came up and around his husband's neck, the other hand came to rest right where he could feel the baby moving.

  With a smile on his lips, Julian put his head back down on Garak's chest. "Can't let them," was all he said before his eyes took on a blank stare and he drifted off into his own private nightmare.

  Julian feeling safe in Elim's arms had slept through the rest of the day and night. He seemed no more alert than previously, and the apprehension of being taken from Garak had still remained. The weakness in the legs and the hand tremors had lessened considerably, much to Elim's relief. Yet, another problem had appeared to take their place. Julian would not release his hold on Garak the entire time. When Garak moved, or picked the doctor up to place him in bed, the grip tightened. The tailor had a difficult time as he washed and dressed himself and then had to do the same for his young husband. At breakfast, Garak found it easier to just feed Julian from his plate as well. Amsha had observed the entire routine with worry.

  "This is not good, Elim. If Jules continues to act this way, the panel will have no other choice than to declare him incompetent. Do you truly believe that Dr. Slovik can help?"

  "We have no other choice, Mother. Julian cannot appear in the competency hearing as he is now. Dr. Slovik is a trained professional. Besides, Mother, when have you ever known a Vulcan to lie? If Slovik says it will work, then we must believe that it must be so." He looked into her eyes and still saw the fear reflected in them. "Mother, if by chance, it doesn't work, we do have other options. If Jahkim is found incompetent, it does not mean that Dr. Angelo will be named the automatic guardian. Angelo is not aware that Dr. Slovik is on the station. Captain Sisko will appeal to the panel to allow treatment by Dr. Slovik while Julian remains in my custody. Slovik has agreed to remain on DS9 for as long as it takes."

  "Yes, but somehow, I can't help but worry. What if they won't give you custody of Jules?"

  Garak held up his hand. "If not me, then you. We will not allow Angelo anywhere near Julian. Now, we have a long day ahead of us. We must be ready for that hearing tomorrow, one way or another."

  Julian, who had been watching with listless eyes, twisted the tunic he held into an even tighter knot. Wincing slightly, Elim gently stroked his husband's hand until the grip loosened. "I promise you, Jahkim, I will not leave you. I will not allow anyone to take you away from me." Garak felt a small twinge of pain in his abdomen, 'Wait, my little one, wait just a while longer.'


  "We have a problem," Odo spoke the words to Sisko.

  "What now?"

  "Hannah Lyall never existed until two weeks before she met Angelo. I've managed to trace her back to Andoria."

  "We suspected that, so what's the problem? Get to the point, Odo," Sisko commanded.

  "While Hannah Lyall left the planet, she had never arrived in the first place. However, there was someone who did arrive just three days before the appearance of Hannah, and who coincidentally, disappeared just after--Ticana Volech." Odo shook his head as the captain stared at him in disbelief.

  "What?! She testified against her brother! What could she possibly be doing with Angelo?" Sisko had enough of this cat and mouse game, he wanted answers and he wanted them now.

  "Apparently, she's picking up where Ruygo left off. I believe that it's reasonable to assume her testimony against her brother was a ruse to allow her to be set free to continue with Ruygo's original plan--to take Julian away from Garak," Odo paused before continuing, knowing that his next remark would put Sisko in an even more irate mood.

  "Captain, Ruygo's parole hearing is coming up soon. Without Julian to testify, he may very well be set free. The prison officials state that he has been a model prisoner since arriving. By the way, Ruygo informed them that he only answered Dr. Angelo's questions during their interviews. Ruygo claims to know nothing about why Angelo is on DS9. He also claims to have not heard from his sister in months."

  Sisko's voice trembled with restrained fury, "We need to break Angelo. Slovik has to make sure that Julian is in condition to answer questions. If Julian can remember what Angelo and Jacobs did to him, or if Slovik can gather the information needed from the mind meld, we may be able to get Angelo to implicate Ruygo. In the end, it's really all up to Julian, isn't it. Thank you, Odo, for all your help. Oh, don't let either of our two guests leave the station. I'm far from being through with them."

  Odo nodded and left the room. Once again Sisko was left alone to contemplate the future of Dr. Bashir. He didn't want to think of what might happen to the young man if all their plans failed.


  The lights in the room were lowered, Garak held Julian in his arms as they sat on the sofa. Amsha was seated not far away, near enough to help Julian if necessary. Slovik pulled a chair closer to Julian. Leaning forward, he began by asking in a very soothing voice, "Julian, do you remember me? Do you know who I am?"

  "I am afraid that Julian has been unresponsive vocally since this morning, Doctor," Garak answered.

  Slovik nodded his head. "As I suspected, he may have been programmed to appear to have a nervous breakdown, then withdraw into a catatonic state. We must act quickly."

  Once again he leaned forward and placed his hands on Julian's face. Fingers spread to cover the temples and cheekbones. Slovik's eyes closed as he took in a deep breath. Slowly, Julian's grip on Garak loosened considerably, yet he still maintained contact. The tailor could feel his beloved husband's body begin to relax as the tension slipped away.

  "Your thoughts are mine, your mind is one with mine," Slovik repeated chantlike.

  Then both doctors were quiet, unmoving. Garak watched Julian's face. The young man's eyes were open staring blankly at Slovik. Julian's breathing had slowed. He went limp in Garak's arms.

  The quiet was unnerving, Amsha sat watching closely, worry and fear showing on her face. 'Jules looks so young, so vulnerable,' she thought. 'Please, dear God, let this work.'

  Slovik blinked once, then again. He released his hold on Julian. The young doctor slumped back into his husband's warm embrace, eyes closing. Garak looked at Slovik while Amsha rushed out of her seat to kneel by her sons, gently running her fingers through Julian's unruly hair.

  "Well?" Garak asked.

  "He is only sleeping right now," Slovik replied. "Sleep is what he needs most. He needs to gather the strength he has left to be ready for tomorrow. There is no doubt in my mind that he will be ready, weak and confused, yes, but ready to answer any questions."

  "What happened? Were you able to find out anything that could help?" Tension was evident in Amsha's voice.

  "Yes, I was able to remove all suggestions planted by Dr. Angelo." He glanced down at the sleeping form of the young man. "It is truly amazing how well he was able to fight those thoughts on his own."

  Can you explain?" Garak probed as he smoothly rocked his husband.

  "The suggestions were those of anger and fear, to be directed towards you," Slovik replied looking at the tailor. "There were a succession of imbedded ideas, one leading to the other. Dr. Bashir would slowly begin to withdraw from you, his friends, his family, his behavior becoming steadily erratic and finally violent. . ."

  "But that isn't what happened," Amsha interjected, "If anything, Jules drew closer to Elim."

  If a Vulcan were to smile, Slovik would have done so at this point. Instead, he nodded his head and continued, "I would venture to say that this is one time Dr. Bashir would be grateful for his genetic enhancement. His body was weak from the increasing doses of the medication, however, he continued to combat those effects. His mind was disoriented from the drugs and hypnosis, yet his subconscious refused to give in to them. Weak and confused as he is, he did the only thing he could do, he reached out to the one person he knew would not allow anything to happen to him, his husband. The one person that all Angelo's plans were geared to have Julian reject. His refusal to leave his husband was much stronger than any suggestion Angelo could have planted."

  Garak smiled at his Jahkim, "It would appear that Jahkim was a lot stronger than any of us took him to be." Hugging Julian's sleeping form, he added "You will always be an enigma to me, but what joy there will be in discovering all of your hidden talents!"

  Slovik cleared his throat before continuing. "Strange as this may seem to the two of you, there is one other means of survival that Julian attempted."

  "What do you mean, Doctor?" Amsha questioned.

  "Julian was aware that his condition was weakening, he was afraid that Angelo would not only try to hurt him but also Elim and the baby. Dr. Bashir reached out to someone else, someone he now knew would come to help, no questions asked."

  "Who could that be, all of his friends are here on the station. Did he contact Commander Data?" Garak recalled that the two were friends.

  "His father," came the simple response.

  "Richard?" Amsha was in shock, "Jules called for his father to come help?" She stopped and suddenly smiled, "That's wonderful!"

  It was Garak's turn to be confused. "I don't understand, Julian and his father have not spoken to each other in years. Why would he call for his father now?"

  "From what I could gather, it was something that he recently read, a journal?" Slovik looked to Amsha, knowing that it was she who should explain this to Garak not him.

  "Yes, the journal, Elim, didn't Jules show you?" Garak shook his head. "Well, we found the journal hidden in the mattress of the crib. It was Richard's, in it he wrote of Jules from the time he was born to the time he graduated from Starfleet Medical. He wrote of all the joys and sorrows he felt. I felt sure that Julian would have shared it with you."

  "No, Mother, he did not. However, it was something that should not have been shared until the two of them had a chance to talk. Apparently, Julian is ready to talk." He looked at the Vulcan, who merely nodded his agreement.


  Dr. Angelo entered Nurse Jacob's quarters.

  "Were you followed?" she asked.

  "What are you talking about? Of course not!" he replied indignantly.

  "I'm talking about that Bajoran Major. She's suspicious. Ever since that time I caught her and the others in the Infirmary, I felt her dislike towards me, as if she knows something." She went to the open door and checked the corridor before returning to the waiting doctor.

  "The panel members for the competency hearing have arrived," Angelo informed her. 'We need to go over the plans, just to make sure that nothing will go wrong."

  "Nothing will, if you have done your part correctly," Hannah replied with a sneer.

  "Look, I've lived up to my end of the bargain. You'll have your precious Dr. Bashir soon enough. Now, let's go over the plans," he ordered.

  "I give the orders here, and don't you forget it!" the nurse snapped. "You're in no position to take over, my dear husband. Or do you want Starfleet to know what you've been up to?" Her voice held an air of contempt.

  "All right, just take it easy. Look, you said it yourself, they're suspicious, at least the Bajoran is, I've seen her watching me. I just want everything to run smoothly." Angelo conceded authority to Hannah.

  "Humph, if you have done your job, at the hearing Dr. Bashir will violently attack his husband, then slip into a catatonic state. The panel will have no choice but to declare him incompetent. At that point, you will step in and request permission to provide treatment until he can be transferred to a psychiatric center on Earth. Being the only psychiatrist present on the station, the panel will grant you custody of the obviously unbalanced young doctor. All of them, including his devoted husband, will be so grateful to you for taking care of their precious Julian." Hannah's sarcasm seeped through the more she talked.

  "Yes, yes, I am aware of that, please, go over the other part, are you sure no one will get hurt?" Angelo pleaded.

  Nurse Jacobs sighed, "Very well, you and the doctor will leave on a transport headed towards Earth, later that day. I will take another transport and head towards Andoria. Unfortunately, your transport will be hijacked along the way. Everyone will testify as to how valiantly you fought to protect your powerless charge from being kidnapped, until you were stunned by phaser fire and the young man forcefully taken from you."

  What she neglected to tell Angelo was that the 'stun' from the phaser would be deadly. She had no intention of leaving a loose end around. Her brother had taught her well.

  "Then I'm through with this whole affair, right?" Angelo questioned.

  "Yes, you're through at that point." A smile crossed her face as she spoke.

  "Your brother will return the ah. . .evidence," Angelo was nervous. He had never been involved with such a plot before.

  "Ruygo," she replied, "will do as he promised. You will have the v ial returned."

  "And Dr. Bashir? I trust that no harm will come to him?" Angelo dreaded what he feared would happen to the young doctor. He wanted no part in an untimely death.

  Hannah smiled once again. "Concerned for his welfare? Well, what Ruygo has planned for his pet is none of your affair. I can assure you, however, that Dr. Bashir's death is not part of Ruygo's plan. Does that ease your conscious? Now, you had better leave before that Bajoran comes snooping around."

  Hannah waited a while after Angelo had left. She looked at the chronometer and sighed. "Better get to work and keep everything running as normal as possible." When she too had left, the plant on the side table began to change. Soon Odo had reformed himself, with a determined look on his face, he said "Odo to Sisko, we've got them."


  To avoid unnecessary suspicion, they met in Julian and Garak's quarters. Friends stopping by to visit the ailing doctor. Sisko, Dax, Kira, and Odo, each arrived one by one to the quarters. They now sat in whatever chairs they could find, even on the floor. Dr. Slovik and Garak sat with them. Amsha had taken Garak's place by Julian's side, neither of them wanting to leave the young man alone.

  When Dr. Slovik and Odo had finished relaying all that they had learned, Kira announced, "That's it, that's all the proof I need. Let's go get them, I'd like to get my hands on that so called nurse!" Jadzia nodded her approval and both began to rise.

  "No," Sisko's voice held them in their places. "What we have now is enough to implicate Ruygo and keep him in prison instead of being granted a parole. It would also send Ticana and Angelo to prison for a short while." He paused, looking at his officers, before continuing. "I want more! I want to know what hold Ruygo has on Angelo, and I want to know exactly what he had planned to do with Julian. I want enough evidence to put Ruygo away for the remainder of his life with no chance of parole. I want to see that sister of his, also put away for a very long time, and I want Angelo to be court-martialed and his license to practice revoked. I want to know that Julian will be safe from the likes of them for a very long time to come."

  They stared at the furious captain in silence, until Sisko spoke again, "Evidence, irrevocable evidence. Get it for me, people. Get it for Julian."

  "We could proceed with the hearing," Slovik suggested. "The panel could be made aware of the situation. Let Angelo and Ticana think they've won. There's no surer way to catch a criminal than to allow them to believe they are in control."

  "Right," Dax continued, "They're not aware that Slovik is on the station. When Angelo pursues his strategy, we come up with Slovik--that should shake Angelo up."

  "He was very nervous when he talked with Ticana," Odo supplied, "We may be able to get a full confession out of him, as well as further details--if he knows any."

  Sisko shook his head, "We wouldn't get Ticana's full confession. She's the one who knows all the details, she could implicate Ruygo as the mastermind, let us in on just what he planned to do with Julian. No, it's her confession we want, that's the one that would guarantee life imprisonment for Ruygo."

  "So, I suggest that we get her to talk," Garak finally spoke.

  Kira laughed, "Who's she going to talk to, you?"

  "No, not one of us, but she will talk to Angelo," Garak replied calmly looking at Kira.

  The rest of them turned towards the tailor. "Go on," Sisko prodded.

  "We pull Angelo in, let him know that we are aware of the plot. We make him more nervous than he already is, then we can get him to help us trap Ticana. Odo said that Angelo was so nervous that Ticana had to go over the plans with him. If he went to her and insisted that he know what was going to happen to Jah. . .Julian, then she just might tell him. What would she have to lose?" Garak sat back in his chair.

  "Why would she risk it? Angelo would spill everything if he was caught, Ticana knows that, Garak. For all she knows Angelo would go to the authorities after he got back whatever was in that vial," Kira stated.

  Garak sighed, "My dear Major Kira, have you forgotten everything you've learned about Cardassian tactics? She has no intention of letting Angelo live. I'm sure that the phaser fire won't be set on stun."

  "He's right," Odo commented. "It's the best plan I've heard so far."


  Garak had been right, Angelo buckled under pressure when brought in for questioning by Odo. The doctor had held out until he learned that Ticana was planning on leaving no witnesses. Angelo went on to explain how he was being forced into this scheme. He was being blackmailed by Ruygo, somehow the Cardassian criminal had acquired a vial of the experimental drug Angelo had developed for use with his patients. Angelo apparently had attempted to use it on Ruygo, wanting to see the drug's effects on a Cardassian. Unfortunately, for him, the drug proved useless in the treatment of Cardassians. Angelo claimed not to know what the plans were for Dr. Bashir once he was kidnapped off the transport. While being very open and forthright with his involvement in the plot against Julian, Angelo refused to assist in trapping Ticana. He expressed fear of retaliation from both the brother and sister.

  Captain Sisko was enraged. There was nothing that they could think of to do. As they stood in Odo's office debating the next step, the stress and tension of the past few days began to show.

  "We can't force him," Dax was saying in response to Kira's suggestion of physical coercion.

  Odo looked to the captain, "Do you want to try again? Perhaps you can reason with him."

  Garak snorted his disbelief. "Reason with him? He just doesn't care. Julian's life is at stake and this man, a doctor, would rather save his own pathetic hide than save another man's life."

  "Allow me to speak with him." Heads turned to face the new, yet strangely familiar, voice.

  "Mr. Bashir?" Dax asked obviously shocked.

  "I've just come from seeing Jules. My wife has filled me in on all of the business with Dr. Angelo. Let me try, I can be very persuasive, especially where my boy is concerned." Richard Bashir looked at the Cardassian. "Ah, Garak? I hope that you will forgive me, but when I received that message from Jules for help, I couldn't help but think that you had done something. His mother straightened me out on that point."

  Garak noted that while Richard's voice appeared friendly, the friendliness did not appear in his eyes and he made no attempt to shake hands, as was the Terran custom upon meeting.

  "It is a pleasure to meet you, Mr. Bashir. Although I can say I wish the circumstances were different." Garak placed a hand on his father-in-law's shoulder.

  "Yes, well, you may call me Richard."

  "Richard," Garak repeated.

  "As I was saying, none of you appear to have been able to get through to this Dr. Angelo. Please, allow me the chance," Richard requested once again.

  "Very well, Mr. Bashir. What do we have to lose?" Sisko conceded.

  "Julian," Kira mumbled. Everyone chose to outwardly ignore the comment.

  Upon entering the interrogation room, Richard sat opposite Angelo at the table in the center of the room.

  "Doctor," he addressed Angelo, "I was wondering if you could help me."

  Momentarily distracted by this unexpected strange man, all Angelo could think of to say was, "In what way?"

  "It's my son, you see, he's not well," Richard spoke evenly staring into the other man's eyes. "You are a doctor, are you not?"

  "Yes, yes I am." Angelo sat straighter in the chair. He could not figure out just where this conversation was going.

  "Well, my son has had a breakdown of sorts, I fear that something dreadful will happen to him if he is taken away from me. He's hurting here and here," the elder Bashir pointed to his head and then his heart. "He's been harmed by someone who took an oath, an oath promising to do no harm."

  "Who are you?" Angelo demanded, suddenly knowing the direction in which they were headed.

  "Pardon my forgotten manners, my name is Richard Bashir." Noticing the doctor's suddenly pale face, he continued, "Yes, Julian is my son. Now, I must ask do you, as a doctor, remember your oath, your pledge, to do no harm. I remember when Jules took his oath. He was so proud that day, were you, on the day you made your pledge?" Richard paused to let the words take affect.

  Angelo slumped back into his chair. "I was proud, once, but that was a long time ago. I have changed, not for the better, I fear." He looked at the older man's eyes, sensing more than seeing the accusation in them. "There's nothing I can do now, I've told them all that I know, there's nothing more I can do."

  "But there is, Doctor," Richard suggested in a mild voice.

  "I just told you, I've already informed Captain Sisko of everything that I know, what more do you want?"

  "I want you to save my son's life. You took a solemn oath when you became a doctor, what you did now was a mistake. Believe me, I know about making mistakes. I've made quite a few of them myself along the way. But my son made me see that it was all right to make a mistake as long as you took the responsibility for it. That's what I want you to do now, take responsibility for you actions. You can help my son, you can save him from whatever kind of life that Ruygo has planned for him."

  "Look! There's nothing I can do, I've already given them enough to keep Ruygo from getting his parole. Your son will be safe." Angelo spat out the angry words, but couldn't help think that this man was right, he was a Starfleet officer, a Doctor, he should be taking responsibility not trying to hide away because he was afraid.

  "And when his time in prison is over, do you really believe that he will leave my son alone then?" Richard was letting his anger take over also.

  The two men sat staring at each other, angry words spoken, angry eyes flashing.

  Bashir took a deep breath, "Do you think Ruygo would let you alone when he gets out? If you help us now, the man will be sentenced for life, with no chance of release. Both you and Julian would be safe."

  Angelo closed his eyes, he felt trapped, somehow this unassuming man before him had affected him more than the threats of an irate captain.

  "All right, all right, what do they want me to do?" Angelo's voice was weary.

  Watching on the viewscreen in Odo's office, Sisko whistled under his breath. "He did it! I saw and heard what happened, but I can't believe he did it!"

  Garak had also watched with interest. 'Yes, he did it. I can see where Jahkim gets his stubborn determination from. This reunion is going to be very interesting indeed.'


  It was in the early morning hours when Ticana answered the door chime. Angelo came in mumbling and nervous as ever. He had obviously been drinking, as he had with him a partially empty bottle of liquor with him.

  "What do you think you're doing, you fool?" Ticana asked angrily. "Do you want to ruin everything?"

  "I can't go through with it, I won't allow you to hurt that young man," Angelo's words were slurred and his breath reeked of the alcohol.

  "Look, I already told you, Ruygo won't kill him." Ticana was getting worried, this was something she had not anticipated.

  "Yes, yes, so you've told me, but there are some things that are worse than death. I need to know, I need to believe that he won't be harmed before I can go through with this plan. You need me Hannah, and I won't go into that hearing not knowing if I am condemning that young man to a fate worst than death." He set down the bottle he was holding and sat on the sofa. He pulled Ticana down to sit next to him.

  "Don't you see, Hannah, I've gone against every belief I once held sacred, I vowed once to do no harm."

  Ticana felt the unfamiliar rise of panic within her. Angelo was agitated, dangerously so. Unless she did something, and quick, he could ruin everything. Since she had no intention of letting him live, what harm would it do to tell him everything?

  "All right, stop whining. I'll tell you what you 'need' to know, but you had better fulfill your part of the deal," she emphasized the words with a wilting glare.

  Angelo nodded his agreement and sat back in his seat making Ticana turn her body to face him.

  "After being taken from the transport, Dr. Bashir will be brought to Andoria where I will be waiting. I've arranged for a secluded cottage for our stay. He will still be catatonic and I still have the Trihexalphosphomide in case I need to control him. Are you following all of this?" she asked sarcastically.

  "Yes, go on, please," Angelo requested, transfixed with the details of the plan.

  "With Bashir out of the way and Garak too busy with the baby and worry for his husband to bother, Ruygo's parole hearing will go unnoticed. Once freed, Ruygo will meet us on Andoria." She paused to observe Angelo before continuing.

  "Ruygo has been, shall we say, infatuated over the Terran for years. He plans to take his Julian, his 'pet' as he calls him and leave. Ruygo has not even told me where he plans to settle with his catamite. However, just before he leaves, Ruygo plans to make a holofilm of his 'activities' with the doctor. He will send this to Garak, letting him know just who has control of his precious Jahkim." The hatred in Ticana's voice caused Angelo to flinch.

  "Garak will be furious, he'll leave the child in the care of the grandmother and begin to search for his beloved husband. The family will be split. Garak will have lost his husband and his child. There, that's all that I know. I hope that you are satisfied," she asked.

  "Very much so," came a new voice. Ticana had been so enthralled with the details of her scheme that she had failed to notice when the bottle of liquor had morphed into the station's Chief of Security.

  Odo grabbed Ticana and held her arm firmly, as Sisko and the others were allowed access to the room by Angelo.

  "You fool, you stupid fool!" Ticana shouted at Angelo. "You've ruined everything, you are ruined." "I was ruined from the moment I agreed to be a part of this whole shameful business. At least now, I will be able to live with myself, knowing that young Dr. Bashir is safe from you and your brother." Angelo glared arduously into her eyes.

  Ticana struggled against Odo's grip as she tried to reach Angelo. Then Garak stepped forward from his place behind the captain. He stood face to face with Ticana. Ticana's head was held high, eyes blazing with fury and hatred. As Odo turned his head to give orders to his men, Ticana seized her opportunity. With a lightning flash movement she reached out and scratched Garak along the left side of his face, digging her nails into his skin. Odo quickly pulled her back and began to drag her away, when Garak asked him to stop.

  With the blood trailing down his cheek, Garak looked calmly at her as he spoke in an ancient Cardassian dialect. It was one that was taught to all Cardassian schoolchildren but one that could not be decoded easily by a universal translator. With restrained anger in his voice, Garak recited an ancient warrior's oath:

  "Baiah kauy, pasle, rao yenh ay caom ta'h mias cakatu renaho. Ney, Elim Bashir-Garak, tacro moa tai vahyu et eim cahonalao, niih ho bayisi rah'lam, el mias reneho lald voyheya eim torale el ala jucada et eim lezosa, rah'lam,maht sua tai vacto et l'a nuyajeho vatces et mias kauy rao koaj."

  'Hear this, woman, and pass it along to your craven brother. I, Elim Bashir-Garak, swear by the blood of my ancestors, that if either you or your brother ever approach my husband or any member of my family, you will die the death of a thousand deaths of your body and soul.'

  The gaze in his clouded eyes pierced deeply into Ticana as she cringed. She had understood the meaning behind the words and more importantly she had believed Garak would do just as he said. The tailor turned and walked from the room back towards his quarters, back to his husband. Still determined to hold on to what remained of her dignity, Ticana called after the Cardassian, "Perhaps you are too late, tailor." Her laughter echoed in the small room.

  The security team arrived and took both Ticana and Angelo into custody.

  "What did he say to her?" Dax asked.

  "Did you see his eyes? They made me feel afraid for her, that's for sure," Kira added.

  Odo looked at them both as he responded, choosing his words carefully. "He spoke the words of a man willing to do anything to protect his beloved and his family. Personally, I don't believe that she," he indicated the departing Ticana, "will ever be a threat to Dr. Bashir again. I also believe that Garak meant what he said to her, he would do it." Odo repressed the shudder he felt at the realization of just what the thousands deaths actually meant.

  They all stood silently for a moment before turning to leave.

  It was Kira who spoke at last, "I'm certainly glad that's over. I can honestly say, for a while there I really thought that Julian had lost his sanity."

  "Captain, what will happen now? O'Brien asked.

  Sisko stopped walking and the others turned to face him. "Angelo will be court-martialed and more than likely lose his license to practice any form of medicine. Ticana will be tried for attempted kidnapping, attempted murder, falsifying credentials, malicious assault against a Starfleet officer, blackmail, and whatever other charges Odo can come up with."

  "She'll spend a good portion of her adult life in prison, as long as I have anything to say about it," Odo responded.

  Sisko continued, "I'll also see charges brought against Ruygo, he masterminded this whole affair. This time, we'll see to it that he gets 'life' with no chance of parole."

  "What about Julian, will he be all right?" Kira questioned Dr. Slovik.

  "With proper treatment and time to rid his body of the drug, yes, I believe he should be back to his normal self soon," Slovik replied.

  "You will stay until he's ready to resume his duties, won't you?" Dax asked her old friend.

  "I would be honored, he is a very unique individual. I am very curious to learn more about him, and his husband." The others smiled and laughed as Slovik continued walking down the corridor.


  Elim Bashir-Garak entered the darkened bedroom of his quarters. Calling for a low level of lighting, he observed his husband asleep on the bed, curled up in his mother's protective arms, while his father sat in a nearby chair. Amsha's chin was resting on her son's soft hair when she looked up. She gently positioned her son more comfortably on the bed. Garak crossed the room and came to sit on the bed by Julian opposite Amsha. Tenderly, he caressed his beloved's face. Leaning in close to Julian's ear, Garak whispered, "It's over, Jahkim. You are safe, no one will take you away from me."

  "Elim?" Amsha questioned softly, tears forming in her eyes. "Is it true?"

  "Yes, Mother, Julian is safe now. He will soon be better." He glanced over at Richard who had tears of his own flowing down his cheeks. "He is safe, and I give my thanks to you, Richard, without your help we may never had gotten to Ticana."

  Amsha looked over and her husband, "Richard, you never said that you helped. I guess both of my boys are finally growing up."

  With relief, Amsha leaned over and hugged the tailor, before placing a kiss on Julian's brow. "Sleep well, my darling, you are safe. I am here, Elim is here, and your father is here. Together we will watch over you."


  When Julian awoke the next morning, he was still disoriented. Both Amsha and Garak noted the lack of the hand tremors and weakness in the legs. Julian was talking, but still unable to maintain focus for too long. While he did not cling to his husband as before, he never let the tailor out of his sight. Amazingly, Julian did allow his father to hold him and talk with him for a while.

  When Slovik arrived for his session with Julian, he informed the others that the prisoners were about to be taken from the station. Assuring Julian that all was well and that he would return soon, Garak and Richard headed for the docking bay. Both were anxious to see the cause of torment for Julian removed from the station forever.

  Once Garak returned to their quarters, he went into the bedroom where Julian was resting. Amsha, who was still keeping him company, discretely left the couple alone to talk. Garak came to sit on the bed as Julian moved so he was sitting in between the tailor's legs. Garak wrapped his arms around the doctor and Julian wrapped his arms around Garak's.

  "Are they finally gone?" Julian asked.

  "Yes Jahkim, I saw them board the ship myself," the Cardassian assured him. "It won't be long before she will be joining her brother for a very long time."

  "Do you think the drug will finally be out of my system in time for her trial?" Julian asked with some concern.

  "Dr. Slovik assured me that it wouldn't take very long at all for the drug to work out of your system. You will be more than fit when the time comes to do your part to put Ticana away. With Odo's, Dr. Slovik's, and your testimony, she won't stand a chance," Garak replied, glad that Julian was turned and could not see the hatred flowing in his eyes.

  "It never should have happened," Julian remarked solemnly. "It was all my fault."

  "Julian, what could possibly make you think that?" Garak asked with surprise.

  "Because as a doctor, I should have recognized that something was wrong with me, but I didn't," Julian turned to look at his spouse. "If it hadn't been for you, there would have been a good chance that I would still be drinking that drug."

  "Julian, with the symptoms being so obscure, there would have been no way to recognize that you were taking a drug. It could have easily been the hormones or nothing more than a simple case of overworking just as everyone suspected," the tailor replied, stroking the mop of brown hair.

  "Not everyone. Not you," Julian replied, pulling the Cardassian closer to him.

  "Jahkim, I've spent years developing my suspicious side and I'm glad to see it still serves me well," Garak remarked with a small smile.

  "Ah yes, once a spy always a spy, hmmm?" Julian asked affectionately, falling into the pattern of the familiar argument.

  "Julian, really, we've known each other for years. I've been your husband for over two of them and yet you still insist that my past was questionable," Garak replied with mock indignity, but let a smile curve his lips. ". . .but even if I were a spy, I would only put my talents to use when they served my interests," Garak's thumb traced Julian's lips before he leaned down to capture them with his own. ". . .and your welfare is definitely in my interest."

  Julian sighed. "That still doesn't help the fact that I should have known I was taking a drug."

  Garak hugged the doctor. "Jahkim, don't be so hard on yourself. In the end, it was you who was able to fight the drug's effects," he reminded.

  "Well, I still wouldn't have been able to do it without you. You helped give me the strength I needed to fight," Julian replied as he gently rubbed the tailor's protruding belly. ". . . you and Rochosh."

  "Julian, if the strength hadn't already been inside of you, there would have been nothing I or our little one could have done to help you through it. You did do it all on your own," Garak insisted.

  Julian mumbled something undecipherable and brought his hand up to gently trace the lines in Garak's face where Ticana had scratched him. "I wish you' let me patch that up for you," he replied, carefully probing the wound.

  Garak captured his fingers and brought them to his lips to kiss them. "Don't worry about it Jahkim, it's not enough to worry about and should heal quickly on it's own."

  "Are they gone?" Julian asked.

  "Who?" Garak asked with a puzzled look.

  "Ticana and Angelo, have they finally left?" Julian asked.

  "Yes, Jahkim, they are. We just discussed that a few moments ago," Garak gently reminded him. Julian gazed up at him with a slightly baffled look before settling his head back onto the tailor's chest.

  "I guess we did," Julian answered hesitantly as Garak stroked his silken mahogany hair. Garak could tell it was still going to take some more time before Julian would make a complete recovery, but he was more than happy to see him well on the road.