The following day Julian had another session with Dr. Slovik, which Garak attended with him. Julian asked his husband if he wouldn't prefer checking on the shop, but Garak insisted that he would like to attend the session if Julian and Dr. Slovik had no objections. Neither man had any such objections and Julian was pleased that Garak wanted to be there. Julian didn't feel quite as compelled as before to have Garak in sight continuously, but he did feel more comfortable when the tailor was in the same room with him. Dr. Slovik was impressed by the recovery Julian was making, but he agreed with Garak in that it would still be some time before not only the physical effects subsided, but that also the emotional effects subsided before Julian would be able to return to work. Julian was a little discouraged by this, but Garak quickly reminded him that meant he had more time to spend with him and the baby.

  After the session, they decided to have lunch together.

  "Jahkim, I received a message from Commander Dax yesterday. It seems that she's wanting to throw a small get together to celebrate Ticana's deportation. I told her that I'd ask you and let her know," Garak remarked, taking a sip of the soup he ordered.

  "Jadzia will always find an excuse for a party won't she? I don't see what would be wrong with going," Julian answered, taking a bite of his sandwich.

  "Are you sure you feel up to it? I told her if she did want a party, that I would prefer it being only a small party for right now," Garak replied.

  "Yes, I'm feeling much better, Elim. I don't see what spending a couple of hours at a party would hurt," Julian assured the tailor. "Tell Dax that we'll be there," Julian said as he finished up the last of his sandwich. " I think I would like to use the holosuite for a couple of hours, interested in joining me?" the doctor asked.

  Garak took another sip of his soup, "I would, but I'm feeling rather tired. Right now a nap sounds absolutely wonderful."

  "All right, if you're sure," Julian replied hesitantly. "Are you sure?"

  Garak smiled , "I'm sure, you go ahead and run your program. I'll be there when you come home."

  Julian went ahead and left for Quark's and the holosuites as Garak remained and finished his lunch. After he was finished, the tailor went back to their quarters for a much needed nap. He hadn't told Julian anything of it because he didn't want the doctor to worry, but he had developed a pounding headache earlier and hoped that some rest would curb the aching before the party. After several hours of rest, a full bladder and a few well placed kicks from their little one woke the tailor quickly. After taking care of the prior problem, Garak noticed that Julian still wasn't back yet.

  "Computer, put voice transmission through to Dr. Garak-Bashir," Garak ordered and waited for his lover's response.

  "Bashir here," Julian answered.

  "Jahkim, is everything all right?" the tailor asked.

  "Elim? Where are you? I was playing racquetball when I grew tired. So I have been waiting here for you at the Replimat because I thought we were suppose to be having lunch. We are, aren't we?" Julian asked.

  "No Jahkim, don't you recall that we already did have lunch together? I told you to go ahead and run a holosuite program while I went back to our quarters to take a nap before we attend Commander Dax's party," the tailor replied. "Does any of this sound familiar to you?"

  "Now that you mention it, I do recall something about the party. . . Elim, I'm sorry it seems I've been so forgetful lately," Julian apologized.

  "Think nothing of it, Jahkim, it's only been a few short days since Ticana has left. It won't be long before you're feeling normally again," Garak assured him.

  "I hope you're right. I get nervous when I think that the drug's effects might be permanent," Julian confided in him.

  "Dr. Slovik assured me that is not the case at all," Garak promised. "Will you be home shortly then?"

  "In a couple of minutes," Julian answered.

  Julian arrived quickly, giving his husband an apologetic kiss before grabbing some clean clothes and rushing into the shower. As he heard the water running, Elim walked over to the closet to select his own clothing he would change into. Looking over the selection, he thought to himself that he was glad he was a tailor because he would be nearly broke by now if he'd had to actually buy all the clothing that had made it's way into their closet since the start of the pregnancy. As Garak reached out for a very handsome black and rust colored tunic, a sudden wave of dizziness hit him. He reached out to the wall to steady himself and was glad that the wave only lasted a few brief seconds. "Whoa there little one, if it's you that caused that, please be gentle on your father." Garak said aloud to the empty room as he rubbed his stomach with both hands. Slowly and with care, he stood up and went back to selecting his apparel. By the time Julian came out of the bathroom wearing a well-fitted black dress shirt and dark grey dress slacks, Garak was dressed himself.

  Once they arrived at Jadzia's, Julian sounded the chime. The door slid open to reveal a smiling Trill.

  "Hi, I'm glad you could make it," Dax said and moved aside to let the couple enter. They noticed that O'Brien, Worf, and Julian's parents had arrived already. "Okay boys, grab a plate and find a seat," Dax commented as their eyes fell onto the buffet of finger-type foods set up in the corner. Dax took her seat on the floor next to Miles as the Bashirs took up the small sofa. After Julian and Garak did as instructed and filled their plates up, Garak took a seat in one of the few chairs left while Julian made himself comfortable on the floor directly in front of him.

  Miles shot Julian a friendly smile before he turned his attention back to Richard. "So, now tell me about the problems you've been having?"

  "Well, it seems that although my architecture business is doing well, this large deal we have going needs something more. We have the designs for the buildings, that's not the problem, but the plans are definitely lacking something. I'm suppose to be making the presentation come next month and I'd like to have something special for it," Richard explained.

  "It sounds like you have something specific in mind," Miles commented.

  "Actually I do. If I could just find a way to present the designs in a three-dimensional fashion instead of on a plain lifeless computer screen, I'm sure it would make all the difference to our potential clients," Richard remarked.

  "Actually, that shouldn't be too hard to accomplish. If fact, I've been working on a program set up to do something very similar to that. I could show you the schematics if you'd like. Maybe together we could even get something up and running for you." Miles offered.

  "Are you certain? Do you think something like that would work?" Richard asked as enthusiasm for the idea filled his face.

  "Richard, it wouldn't be polite to impose on Mr. O'Brien. I'm sure he has much more important tasks to fill his time," Amsha chided her husband.

  "Oh bah," Miles interjected, "Anyone who knows me, knows how much I like to invent, especially to invent new computer programs. Ask Julian if you don't believe me," the Irishman replied.

  "What's that?" Julian looked up at hearing his name mentioned.

  "I was telling your Mum that I like nothing more than to invent new computer programs, isn't that right?" O'Brien prompted.

  "Well, I've always thought you've gotten along better with computers than you do Keiko," Julian answered with a grin.

  "Hey, at least a computer program won't get angry and make you sleep on the couch," Miles returned and then turned his attention back to Richard. "So, would you want to see those schematics tomorrow?"

  "It sounds good to me," Richard answered.

  Amsha decided to bring the attention to their hosts. "So, Jadzia, have you and Worf set the date yet?"

  "Not yet, everything is still in the planning stage," Dax replied with a smile and glanced over to her Klingon fiancé.

  "I'm sure you won't have any trouble with the plans. You did a spectacular job helping me with Julian and Elim's," Amsha replied with fondness. Julian looked up at the mention of his name and smiled at his mother.

  "Well, thank you, Mrs. Bashir. The reason I had no trouble with Julian and Garak's wedding was because you were so easy to work with," Jadzia remarked, ignoring her boyfriend's glare.

  "Oh? Are you and Worf finding it difficult to work on the wedding together?" Amsha asked.

  "Well, let's just say we don't particularly agree on too many areas where the ceremony is concerned," the Trill answered.

  "We would agree more often if you had similar views on having a traditional Klingon wedding," Worf interrupted.

  "Oh come on, Worf, lighten up, we can still have it be traditional and keep it interesting too. You don't have any sense of adventure where the planning is concerned. It should be fun, not just traditional and you refuse to show any interest in my ideas," Jadzia argued.

  "Jadzia, we are not getting married to have 'fun', we are getting married to mark a pivotal point in our lives. It should be regarded with all the respect due to such an occasion," Worf replied and watched Jadzia roll her eyes.

  Throughout the conversation, Garak noted with amusement how Julian kept moving his head from one person to the next in an attempt to keep up with the fast paced argument. Finally, the younger man laid his head back against Garak's knees, his hands rubbing at his forehead.

  "Is it going to be a small or large wedding?" Amsha asked out of curiosity.

  "Large," Dax replied.

  "Small," Worf answered at the same time. Smiles and chuckles filled the room as the Trill and Klingon looked at each other.

  "I thought we agreed that a small, personal wedding would be best," Worf stated.

  "No, you said it, but I never agreed to it. I told you that I wanted a large wedding where all of our friends and family would be invited," the Trill responded.

  "Well it seems we have quite a bit still left to discuss," Worf replied.

  Julian looked up at Garak, patting his husband's knee to gain his attention. "What are we going to discuss?" he asked as quietly as he could.

  Garak smiled, but it was Worf who answered. "Not you, Jadzia and myself." His voice was brusque.

  Dax shot a warning glance towards Worf, who immediately added in a more pleasant tone, "Our wedding, Doctor, we were discussing our wedding." Noticing the confused look on Julian's face, he thought to add, "Jadzia's and my wedding."

  "Oh, what about it?" Julian asked, just as O'Brien coughed to cover his stifled laughter.

  With a loud sigh, Worf turned away, folding his arms across his massive chest.

  "Did I say something wrong?" the doctor's voice sounded even more confused.

  "Answer him, Worf," Jadzia demanded.

  The Klingon turned back to face Julian, looking down at the younger man, he let out another exasperated sigh. He then began talking in a slow and deliberate manner. "Jadzia and I are having a disagreement over the size of the wedding."

  "That would be 'your' wedding, right?" Julian was trying to gather all the bits and pieces of conversation to make sense of it all.

  Commander Worf shifted uneasily in his chair, emitting a low growl.

  Amsha felt compelled to intervene. "Jules," she said softly, waiting for her son to look at her before continuing. "Commander Worf wants a small wedding but Jadzia wants a large wedding."

  "What difference does it make, just as long as they love each other?" Julian questioned before adding, "Mother, you and Jadzia did a wonderful job planning my wedding. I just don't see the problem."

  "Good point, Julian. Thank you," Jadzia replied as she glared once again at Worf with that 'We'll talk about this later' look.

  "Regardless of the size of the wedding, Commander," Garak interrupted, wanting to dispel some of the tension in the room. ". . .if you decide on having bridesmaids, I just wanted to tell you that I recently received a new program of designs that would be absolutely perfect for the occasion. Although many of them are suited to the comeback of Lamendian silk, if you don't like that I'm sure we can come up with something more than suitable."

  "Why thank you Garak, I'm sure working together, we can have something beautiful," the Trill responded. Garak noticed that Julian was now abnormally quiet. Looking down at his spouse, he noticed the doctor still looked slightly confused. Knowing this was due to the drugs still working it's way out of Julian's system, he merely put his hands on the doctor's shoulders and gently started to knead them, and smiled with encouragement when the doctor looked up.

  "I'm not sure I understand, Elim. Are you helping to plan Jadzia's wedding also?" Julian asked, glancing nervously Worf.

  Garak smiled, holding in the laughter not wanting to embarrass his husband. "No, no, Jahkim. I was just explaining to Dax about the styles of dresses for her bridesmaids."

  Worf snuffed. "A Klingon wedding has no need of 'bridesmaids'."

  "But Dax isn't a Kl. . ." Julian never had the chance to complete what he was going to say. Worf had slid down from his chair and was now facing Julian at eye level. Julian swallowed nervously, leaning back against Garak, whose arms instinctively came around the young man's chest.

  Worf stated firmly, "'I' am a 'Klingon', the wedding should be Klingon."

  Garak's eyes narrowed as he pulled Julian back between his legs. Leaning forward, Garak looked the Klingon in the eyes. "Commander," Garak's voice had an air of authority, "You are out of line. Julian is not opposing you, he is merely confused because of the drug in his system."

  As Richard began to rise, Jadzia leaned forward and whispered "Better apologize, Worf. I certainly don't want to have to explain to Benjamin why you got into a fight with a pregnant Cardassian."

  O'Brien could no longer contain it, his laughter burst forward. Doubled over and holding his sides, he looked at Worf. "This is the most ridiculous conversation I have ever heard. Just look at you ready to pounce on Julian, who doesn't even know what the bloody hell you're talking about! Ease up Worf, enjoy the party."

  Everyone was soon joining in on the contagious laughter. The tension slipping from the room. Worf, still sullen, sat back in his seat. Julian, laughed with the others, although, he wasn't quite sure what they were all laughing about. Garak's hands were gently massaging the doctor's shoulder's. For once, Garak was glad to have the chief there, for he had saved him from an awkward situation.

  Everyone's attention turned to the door when they heard it chime.

  "Maybe that's Benjamin. I hope so because I told him to bring the dessert, and I, for one, am ready for some sweets!" Dax replied and then called for the door to open. The door opened with a hiss to allow entrance to the station's Chief Security Officer.

  "Hi, Odo, I though you couldn't make it tonight?" The Trill gave him a questioning look.

  "I couldn't," the shapeshifter replied. "but a visitor just arrived who seemed very interested in seeing Garak."

  "Who would this be, Constable?" Garak asked, his curiosity piqued.

  All eyes where on Odo as he moved out of the doorway to allow a elderly Cardassian woman with a kind looking face to enter the room. Six pair of confused eyes looked towards the tailor who's face had lit up in a broad smile.

  "Mother!" Garak exclaimed, as he pulled himself with a little difficulty from his chair. Walking over to the older woman, he was immediately enveloped in a hug. After he was finally released, he slipped an arm around her waist and turned towards the others in the room. "Everyone, this is my mother, Mila," he introduced. Julian got up from his seat on the floor to come and stand by Garak.

  "Ah, you must be Julian. I've heard quite a bit about you," Mila said with a bright smile.

  "I've heard quite a bit about you as well. It's nice to finally be able to meet you," he said and offered his hand to her.

  "Yes, I thought it was about time I came to visit my son and my son-in-law," she replied and didn't accept Julian's hand. Instead, she surprised the doctor by taking him into a hug as well. Julian hugged her back readily.

  After his mother released her hold on Julian, Garak introduced his in-laws. "Mother, these are Julian's parents, Richard and Amsha Bashir," he said and indicated the older couple sitting on the sofa.

  "Very nice to meet you," the Cardassian woman offered politely. Amsha rose and walked over to the elder woman and extended her hand.

  "It's nice to finally meet the mother that has raised such a fine man as Elim," Amsha smiled when Mila shook the proffered hand.

  "I could say the same thing of your Julian. Elim has nothing but kind things to say about your family," the Cardassian woman said, returning Amsha's smile.

  Garak noticed Julian was blushing furiously again and smiled himself before turning the attention back to Dax. "Commander, would you mind terribly if we took our leave for the evening? I have much to discuss with my mother."

  "Of course not, Garak, family reunions are always more important than parties," Dax replied with a grin.

  "Thank you, Commander," Garak returned and then looked at his in-laws. "You are more than welcome to come too,"

  "Why thank you, Elim. Are you ready, Richard?" Amsha asked her husband, who nodded in reply.

  Back in Julian and Garak's quarters, everyone made themselves comfortable in the living area.

  "So, Mother, might I ask how you were able to come here? The last time we talked, you said you still didn't believe it safe to travel here," Garak questioned.

  "Well, it still isn't really. Because of what I know about your father, and because of the reason for your exile, it is still rather dangerous for me to be here," Mila explained, ". . .but after you told me about not only the pregnancy, but later with the trouble Ticana was causing, I knew I had to risk it to come and see how you and Julian were faring."

  "So, Mrs. . . ." Amsha started out, not really knowing the woman's last name.

  "Please call me Mila, merely Mila," the older woman answered with a smile.

  "Mila," Amsha repeated. "So, where you able to travel here undetected?"

  "Yes," she answered. "It wasn't easy though. When I boarded the ship leaving Cardassia, I used a false name for the passenger's manifest. I then made a transfer on Inferma Prime, then on Mirir VII, and finally on Regulus III before finally making the final stop here, just on the possibility that I might have been followed."

  "Mother, it sounds like you've had quite a trip!" Garak concluded.

  "Yes, but it was worth it to be here for my son," Mila responded with an affectionate smile. "How is the baby, Elim?"

  "Your grandson is strong and healthy, we are all doing very well now that Ticana has been taken care of," the tailor assured her with a smile of his own. "Everything is ready for the baby's arrival."

  "That's right," Amsha responded. "Would you like to see the nursery?" she asked the older woman.

  "Why yes, I believe I would." Both women rose as Amsha took the lead, steering Mila in the right direction.

  "You must be tired from your long trip," Amsha commented as Mila admired the handmade quilt in the baby crib.

  "Actually, it was a very long trip," Mila answered.

  "Yes, well, I'm sure Elim appreciates the effort you've put forth. If you need any help at all getting settled in to your guest quarters or if you would like a tour of the station, all you need to do is simply ask, as I would love to show you around," Amsha replied.

  "Why, thank you very much," Mila responded. "I'm just glad I could be here for Elim and his family. I did so hate having to miss his wedding, but at the time it was unavoidable."

  "I understand. Elim had shared with me quite a bit about his past, so I know how things were rather complicated for you," Amsha replied seriously. "I also know how much your visit now means to him, he has missed you very much."

  "As I have him," Mila answered in return as she laid down the quilt and took Amsha's hand in hers. "That's why I have been grateful that you have been able to be here. Elim has told me how you have helped him on several different occasions and I was gratified in knowing that even though I wasn't able to be here, that he had someone to watch over him and help him as I would if it were possible."

  "Well, over the years I've come to love Elim as my own, so it was never difficult being there for him," Amsha responded fondly and patted the Cardassian's hands.

  Mila smiled at her before changing the topic. "Can you believe we're actually going to be grandparents?"

  "No, I can't," Amsha answered honestly. "I know I certainly don't feel old enough to be called a grandmother."

  "Nor do I," Mila commented. "You know, when Elim and Julian were married, I never thought that I would have the opportunity to see my son have children. I must say that I'm very happy I was wrong."

  "So am I. I think they are both going to be wonderful fathers," Amsha remarked.

  "I couldn't agree more," Mila returned.

  Once back in the living area, the room was filled with talking. Mila asked Garak more in-depth questions about how the pregnancy was progressing and the plans that had been made for their son's arrival. Feeling satisfied that her son was taking care of himself, Mila then discussed different topics with the Bashirs. She was very curious about them and found them rather interesting to talk to. Richard told her about his architecture business and was fascinated when Mila started discussing with him some of the history behind certain Cardassian designs. Several times, Mila and Amsha both noticed that Julian was still having a little difficulty following the discussion, each mother made the attempt to bring him into the conversation as much as possible. Garak also took note of his husband's confusion and would every so often offer a reassuring hug. As the night grew later, everyone was starting to get tired, so Amsha and Richard excused themselves and left Mila with her son and son-in-law.

  "Mila, I hope you'll not think me rude, but I think I'll retire for the night too," Julian replied some time after his parents left.

  "Of course not, Julian, you need your rest. I will still be around for quite some time anyhow," she replied.

  Julian got up from his chair and walked over to the older woman. Bending down, he placed a kiss on her cheek. "Thank you for understanding. I hope to see you tomorrow."

  She reached up and gave her son-in-law a hug. "Of course you will. Sleep well, son."

  If Julian was surprised at Mila calling him 'son', he didn't let it show, but he was smiling as he walked over to where Garak was sitting. He bent down and kissed the tailor soundly on the mouth. "See you in a bit," he said and made his way into their bedroom and shut the door.

  Mila faced her son. "Well, I must say, I am very happy to have finally met Julian. He seems like a good man and it's very obvious that you're happy with him."

  "Very happy," Garak answered with a smile.

  "You deserve to finally be happy, Dear," Mila said affectionately. "I am worried about him though. From what you said, the drug that Ticana gave to him could have been very dangerous. Are you sure he's all right?"

  "Yes, the doctor that is watching over him has told me that Julian will be just fine after all the drug has had a chance to work out of his system," Garak told her.

  "I'm glad, because I know how much he means to you. You've lost so many people in your life, I'd hate the thought of you losing another," Mila replied somberly.

  "Don't worry about that, Mother, I plan on doing everything in my power to make sure Julian is with me for quite some time to come," Garak assured her. "What did you think about the Bashirs?" he asked, wondering what his mother thought of his in-laws.

  "I am very fond of his mother. She seems to be wonderfully caring person and I know how much you love her, but I am not so sure what to make of Julian's father. He seems pleasant enough, but from what you've told me about Julian and his relationship in the past. . .well, I'm not sure what to think of him," the elder Cardassian replied.

  "Yes, Jahkim has had a problem in dealing with his father in the past, but I think it's all been caused by misunderstandings. Also, if it hadn't been for Richard's intervention, I'm not sure if Dr. Angelo would have been convinced to help us with Ticana," Garak responded.

  "Well, my son, I've always found your judgement in others to be well founded, and knowing that you don't trust others readily let's me know that you've given this a lot of thought. If you trust him, then I don't see any reason that I shouldn't," she replied.

  "Let's just say that I never care to see my Jahkim hurt and if I thought for one minute that Richard's arrival would cause Julian anguish, his stay would not be a long one." Garak replied in all seriousness.

  "Like I've said, I'm so pleased to see you so happy. It's been many years since I've seen you smile so much. And to think, soon you will have a son to love and complete the family," she said. Mila noticed that Garak was starting to look slightly uncomfortable and wouldn't meet her eyes. "Is something troubling you, son?"

  "It's just that I don't know if I'm going to make a worthy father," Garak replied, sharing with his mother one of his biggest fears.

  "Why would you not make a good father?" Mila asked.

  "Let's face it, Mother, you could say I definitely lacked a positive role model as a father myself. I'm just afraid I won't know how to raise my child better than my own father raised me," Garak replied.

  "Darling, you know your father was someone I did care about, but the truth of the matter is your father had many problems. Dealing with how to be a father was only one of them. He didn't know how to allow himself to love anyone except himself. You've known that for years." Mila told him.

  "Yes, I suppose I did. Still, I couldn't help thinking that while he was on his death bed that I might have finally broken through after all the years that had gone by," Garak replied sadly.

  "You probably did, darling. In his own self-obsessive paranoid way, he did love you, but you have to let go of the past and realize that you are 'not' the man your father was. You are better than he was and always have been," Mila advised.

  "Mother, I don't deny that father had many faults, but I have to ask why you stayed with him until the end if you were just as aware of the type of man he was?" Garak questioned.

  "No one can really explain the logic behind love, my love for your father is no different. I knew he had more than his share of bad qualities, but I was able to see past that into the potential of the man that he 'could' be. He needed someone to teach him how to love and I believed I was that person," Mila replied and then grinned broadly. "You know how I always did love a challenge."

  Garak smiled back. "Mother, sometimes I think I inherited more qualities from you than I give myself credit for.

  "You would be surprised," Mila suggested knowingly. "Now, dear, as much as I've enjoyed spending the evening with you and Julian, the trip did take quite a bit out of me. Would you care to walk me back to my guest quarters?"

  "Of course, Mother," Garak replied and stood up to leave.

  After seeing his mother to her quarters, Garak returned and opened the door to his and Julian's bedroom. The lights were out, but Garak knew instinctively that his lover was not yet asleep. Silently he undressed and slid under the covers when Julian pulled him into his arms and kissed him soundly.

  "I'm happy that Mila was able to come," Julian said after they broke the kiss. "I know how much you've missed her lately. She seemed very nice and I'm glad that my parents seemed to have liked her too."

  "Yes, I am glad she was able to come because she should be here for the birth of her first grandchild. Do you really think your parents liked my mother?" Garak asked.

  "Liked? My mother adores her, I can tell, and I think I can safely say my father liked her as well," Julian answered. He was happy that both of the women got along because he knew that like him, both women loved Elim in their own way. Julian kissed Elim again softly before nuzzling close against the tailor's body and shut his eyes to drift to sleep. Elim held the doctor tightly and closed his eyes, silently wishing that the headache from earlier would ease and allow him a decent night's sleep.


  The next morning, Julian woke up and turned over to find Garak still asleep. Propping himself up on his elbow, he simply just stayed quiet and watched his spouse resting peacefully. Even after the years that they had spent together, Julian had yet to grow tired of looking at his lover or waking up with the tailor by his side. He could scarcely recall a time when they hadn't been together or when Garak hadn't called him 'Jahkim'-- for he had always been Garak's beloved. It seemed that the tailor had always been there--a part of him that he hadn't even known he was missing. Garak was his as much as he belonged to the tailor and that still never failed to baffle him--how he had managed to be so fortunate to find what so many sought but could never hope to find. Now, he watched as Garak's large belly rose and lowered with each breath he took, Julian realized once again how blessed his life had been.

  Garak and stirred and slowly awoke to find Julian watching him.

  "Good morning. How long have you been awake?" the Cardassian asked as he pulled the doctor to him for a kiss.

  "A while," Julian answered.

  "And you've been watching me this entire time?" Garak asked skeptically.

  "Mmhmm," Julian murmured.

  "I still have yet to figure out what you find so enchanting about middle-aged Cardassian tailors, especially those who currently have a substantial weight problem," Garak replied with a slow teasing smile.

  "It's not all of them. Only one slightly older Cardassian tailor in particular that I happen to love very much, and who I think is even more handsome since he's had a 'substantial weight problem'," Julian replied returning the smile and leaned in for another much deeper kiss, gaining entrance to the tailor's mouth with a probing tongue as his hands started traveling over his body.

  When the kiss ended, Garak's arms closed in around the doctor as he looked into Julian's eyes. The dark umber eyes were clouded with the beginnings of desire and want, and Garak's hands strayed up and down Julian's back, then lower over his rear. "Jahkim?"

  "Hmmm?" Julian murmured as his lips found one of the sensitive spots on the tailor's throat.

  "When is your appointment with Dr. Slovik today?" Garak asked.

  "Not until this afternoon," came the doctor's throaty reply.

  "So, we have an entire morning free where neither of us is expected anywhere?" Garak asked with some surprise as his hands brushed over and began to massage Julian's thighs.

  "Mmmhmm," Julian's lips found their way upwards from the tailor's throat to gently graze an ear ridge.

  "And I'm getting the distinct impression that you have an idea in mind on how you'd like to spend the morning," Garak remarked facetiously, as his hand wandered lower until his fingertips brushed against the firmness of the doctor's obvious state of arousal.

  "A very astute observation, Love," Julian answered as his own hand worked it's way in between their bodies to discover the Cardassian in a similar state to his own.

  With fingers lightly stroking the doctor's rigid flesh, Garak bent over to capture his loves lips again. Julian's teasing fingers left the Cardassian's groin to cup the back of his head and tangle in his disheveled, thick, ebony hair. He sighed softly as Garak's strokes became firmer and Garak's hot mouth started blazing a trail from Julian's lips, down the expanse of his throat. Garak continued kissing and licking his way across warm caramel colored skin while the doctor's fingernails raked lightly across his shoulders. Garak then reached the doctor's slightly swollen, dark nipples and he teased them to taut hardness by flicking the tip of his tongue over the nubs of flesh. Julian couldn't help gasping when Garak took the nipples into his mouth and sucked firmly. Julian closed his eyes and tried to keep himself from squirming as he lost himself in the sensations that Garak's hands and lips were causing.

  Finally Garak moved his lips from Julian's chest to continue kissing and licking down his stomach while the pad of his thumb slowly ran over the moist tip of Julian's sex. Garak's mouth continued downward, stopping only a moment to dip his tongue inside Julian's navel. His hands parted Julian's thighs as his tongue came to brush across the sensitized skin before coming closer and closer to the doctor's groin. Julian's hands left the Cardassian's hair to tangle themselves into the sheets of the bed. With long, agonizingly slow strokes, Garak ran his tongue up and down the doctor's shaft. Julian let out a groan and looked down to see the tailor looking back up at him. With clear blue eyes locked with dark hazel eyes, Garak took the length of the doctor's sex into his mouth. Garak loved it when Julian watched him--he loved watching the waves of desire and pleasure that reflected in the umber depths that his touch brought. His own passion burned hotter when he saw how much he was pleasing his mate.

  Julian couldn't keep his hips still as they rose to meet the tailor's mouth in sync with the rhythm his husband set. Garak's fingers stroked and kneaded the doctor's testicles as Julian let out small moans of pleasure. Julian could feel himself being brought closer and closer to the edge and Garak noticed this as well. Feeling the muscles in the doctor's body grow tight and strained, Garak reached behind the doctor with his free hand and carefully inserted a finger into hot muscular entrance to the doctor's body. Julian was moaning quite loudly and when Garak's practiced fingers found and massaged the doctor's prostrate, he nearly had to force Julian not to buck against him as the doctor gave a ragged cry and spilled his warm, seed into the tailor's mouth.

  When his body finally stopped quivering, Julian pulled his husband up into his arms and kissed him firmly on the mouth, enjoying the fact that he could still taste himself on the tailor's tongue. His hands traveled over the Cardassian's broad chest and rounded stomach and behind to cup his firm rear. His fingers traveled lightly up and down the tailor's cleft. Garak moved his head slightly and began kissing and licking at the sensitive spot right behind Julian's ear, drawing a sigh from the doctor. Julian could still feel Garak's unanswered need pressed firmly against his thigh. Just the mere thought of the many ways Julian could rectify that particular problem had him feeling the beginning stirrings in his groin again.

  "Want me inside of you?" Julian asked softly, his exploring, agile fingers becoming demanding.

  "You have to ask?" Garak answered with a smile in a raspy voice. He could see the faint stirrings of desire light up again in the doctor's eyes and couldn't deny he was pleased. Although his ego liked to think that Julian's often times nearly inexhaustible ardor had more to do with the tailor than anything else, as Julian often claimed to be the reason, he also realized a lot of it had to do with the fact that he had fortunately chosen a mate with enhanced stamina. Regardless of the reason, he was delighted because he knew that meant that often times he could ravish and please the doctor to his content and still be assured of his own completion afterwards.

  With no more said, Julian turned over and reached for the night stand. Opening the drawer, he pulled out a very familiar amber vial. Garak reached out and Julian poured a generous helping of the slick oil into his palm. Garak warmed it in his hands and then set to work thoroughly covering the doctor's member with it. Julian's sex grew and became firmer and firmer with each sure stroke of the Cardassian's hands as it slid from base to tip, gaining a rosy hue once again. Julian pushed lightly on the tailor's shoulders, silently telling his husband to turn on his side, which he did readily.

  With his back to the doctor, Garak felt slick slim fingers once again probing the entrance to his body. He sighed as first one finger entered him, and softly moaned as a second joined the effort and began stretching the hot tunnel that grasped at the coated digits. Garak growled in frustration when Julian removed his fingers, but moaned softly when he felt the familiar tip of Julian's sex pressed against him. Shifting his leg, he gave Julian an easier access to his body and in one proficient movement, Garak felt himself entered and filled with the doctor's rigid sex. Julian eased into a gentle rocking motion as his hips moved to pull in and out of the tailor's tight channel. Garak groaned and pressed himself back to meet each thrust in unison with Julian's movements--enjoying the feel of Julian inside of him completely.

  Beads of sweat broke out and formed a thin layer over both of their bodies as they rocked back and forth, the air cooling their heated flesh. Julian's fingers stroked the tailor's chest. He drew another soft moan from the Cardassian as he teased a charcoal colored nipple to pebbled hardness by rolling it between his thumb and finger. Garak pressed back against Julian as the urgency grew inside him. Julian's hand tenderly caressed his swollen abdomen before daring lower to close around the tailor's throbbing member. Julian's pumping hand matched the rhythm of his thrusting perfectly.

  The blood coursing through Garak's veins felt like fiery ice and his breathing was labored in short pants--sounding similar to Julian's own breathing. He closed his eyes as he let the let the various sensations that he was feeling wash over him, knowing it was futile to fight against delicious torture as it drove him nearer and nearer, higher and higher, to the summit. Julian continued to drive into him harder as his hand pumped quicker and quicker. His muscles contracted and Garak cried out Julian's name as his pearly essence flowed out over the doctor's fingers, and he helplessly let the waves of pleasure crest and crash throughout his body. As he descended the apex of his completion, he felt the doctor jerk inside of him and heard him call out the tailor's name as the hot liquid essence of his own completion coursed and filled the tailor's body.

  They laid still for quite some time, Julian content to remain inside the tailor as he wrapped his arms around Garak's chest. Garak was just as satisfied to lay motionless and simply feel Julian's warm breath caress the back of his neck and feel the familiar rise and fall of Julian's chest against his back. Both of them would have happily spent hours in that position if Garak's stomach hadn't started rumbling insistently.

  "Elim, I take it that the baby doesn't approve of us skipping breakfast," Julian remarked with a smile.

  "No, I suppose not," Garak replied with a touch of remorse, knowing that they would have to actually move to be able to get something to eat and at the moment, he didn't feel like moving.

  Julian kissed the nape of his neck and removed himself from Garak's body as the tailor grumbled with displeasure. "Come on, why don't we take a shower and then find something for brunch?" Julian suggested and got up to head for the bathroom. With reluctance, Garak got up and followed after him. After they emerged from the shower, feeling clean and invigorated, Julian ordered their meals. Deciding on something light, he chose an order of their favorite soups and sandwiches while Garak took his seat at the table.

  As they ate, the doctor was chatting about several research projects he was looking forward to getting to work on again when he returned to duty when he noticed that beads of sweat were forming on Garak's forehead. "Are you all right?" he inquired.

  "Yes, it just seems to be slightly warm in here," Garak answered as he took a bite of his sandwich.

  Julian bit the inside of his bottom lip in concern. Garak never complained of being overly warm. . .cold yes, but warm no. "Are you sure you're fine? I'm sure I could have Dr. Slovik take a look at you during my session," Julian offered.

  "There's no need for that Jahkim, besides having the beginnings of a headache, I'm fine," Garak assured his younger husband, then clutched at his stomach when Rochosh decided to kick again. "Julian, I do think our son is deliberately trying to separate my ribs!"

  Julian smiled fondly at him. "Don't worry, Love, it won't be much longer at all before he'll be born and instead of keeping you up all night with kicking, he'll be keeping you awake with crying."

  "Oh, how I can hardly wait," Garak replied with mock annoyance, but both men knew that neither of them would really mind the lack of sleep--much anyway.

  They talked for awhile longer as Garak discussed the interest a few of his customers had shown in a new Ajilonian fashion phase. He also brought up a new novel that was released, written by a well known Cardassian author that he thought Julian might have an interest in. Julian was pleased to note that Garak didn't seem as warm as he did earlier, but when he reached over at one point to link his fingers with the tailor's, he noted that Garak's skin now was cooler and clammier than it naturally was. He brought up the subject of calling Slovik again, but Garak swiftly changed the subject, distracting Julian from his train of thought.

  Garak walked over to the replicator and ordered two pieces of Yirgish pie and bowl of Yamok sauce for himself and was about to set Julian's slice down in front of him when his hand started shaking. Before Julian realized what was going on, Garak fell to the floor as his entire body began shaking violently.

  "ELIM !!" Julian cried out as he stood up, knocking the chair over in the process. Falling to his knees, he tried to get close to his husband, but Garak's thrashing about wouldn't allow it. Somehow in the back of his mind, Julian realized that the tailor was having a violent seizure.

  "Bashir to the Infirmary, assemble an emergency medical team and send them to my quarters immediately!" Julian barked as he tapped his com badge, then tapped it a second time. "Bashir to Dr. Slovik, assistance needed in my quarters 'now'." He then moved the table back and any other furniture he could see that Elim might hurt himself on. "Elim, Love, hold on, they're coming," he said soothingly, trying desperately to keep a tight reign on his emotions. Seconds stretched into what seemed like eternity as the doctor helplessly watched but was unable to do anything to help his Elim. Suddenly, he heard the door hiss as it opened and admitted several members of his medical staff along with Slovik. Garak's tremor had stopped for a moment, but he was still unconscious when he was carefully lifted onto the anti-grav stretcher and taken to the Infirmary.

  Once there Julian grabbed a nurse and asked her to inform Mila as well as his own parents as to what was happening. He stayed by Garak's side as Dr. Slovik ran the tricorder over his husband. He was taken quite off guard when Garak started having another seizure before Slovik was done taking his readings.

  "What is going on?" Julian asked the Vulcan doctor.

  "It would seem to indicate that from these readings, that your husband is suffering a series of seizures brought on by a neural-toxic chemical found in his system," the Vulcan explained as he read the tricoder readings.

  "But how was it introduced to his body?" Julian asked, wanting to reach out to the tailor, but knowing it was better not to during the time being.

  "This particular neural-toxin must be induced directly into the blood stream, possibly by an incision, injection, or something similar," Dr. Slovik clarified. "Also, there is something else notable about this particular drug that might make the explanation a little easier, this drug is extremely slow and works on a time-released system. It usually takes three or four days before the symptoms to become obvious. Was Mr. Bashir-Garak injured in anyway three or four days ago?" Dr. Slovik asked.

  "I. . .don't think so," Julian said hesitantly as he tried to recall the last several days. "Wait a minute, didn't Ticana scratch his face before she left. . .several days ago?"

  "Ah, yes she did. If the drug happened to be on her fingernails at the time, that would surely explain matters," the Vulcan replied.

  "What's wrong? What's wrong with my son?" Mila asked, drawing the doctor's attention to her. Amsha and Richard had both arrived as well and were listening anxiously. Amsha walked over and gave her son an encouraging hug.

  Doctor Slovik explained to the group about Garak's condition.

  "What are the risks to Elim?" Mila asked.

  "With any seizure, there is the risk of respiratory distress, cardiac dysrhythmia, and hypothermia. Mr. Bashir-Garak's blood pressure and pulse rate have already dropped, causing a decrease in his body temperature," Dr. Slovik informed them honestly.

  "Isn't there an antidote for it?" Julian asked.

  "Yes, there is an antidote and Garak needs it very soon or else he will not be able to survive the damage brought on by the consistent consecutive seizures," Slovik answered. "The only problem is that the amount of antidote needed to cure the seizures will prove fatal to the fetus."

  Dax and O'Brien came rushing in. "We came as soon as we heard," O'Brien stated calmly as Jadzia walked over to give Julian a hug.

  "Benjamin and Kira are busy with some trade disagreements, they'll be here as soon as they can get free. How is he?" Dax asked, her head tilting towards the Cardassian.

  Julian looked up, surprised to see so many people there, "Oh, Jadzia, what am I going to do? I may lose both of them." Julian's voice shook with worry. Dax stepped back as Amsha came forward to gather her son in her arms once again.

  "Slovik," Jadzia began, "what's happening?"

  Once again Dr. Slovik, explained the situation, adding the need for haste. "The only chance we have to save both of them, is to remove the baby as quickly as possible."

  Julian's voice was ragged, he leaned over Garak's prone figure, tears forming in his red-rimmed eyes. "Elim, Elim, my love, can you hear me? We have to deliver the baby now, there's no other choice."

  The Cardassian's eyes fluttered and opened slightly, reaching out he grasped Julian by the arm. With an effort he spoke "Jahkim, no. It is too soon, the sac is not ready. . ." His voice trailed off as he lost consciousness once again.

  Richard stood behind Julian, gently squeezing his son's shoulder. "What did he mean, the sac is not ready?" he asked.

  Slovik looked up from reading the diagnostic screens and answered in a swift efficient voice, "Under normal circumstances, an embryonic sac, upon reaching full maturity, would detach itself from the abdomen allowing it to be removed safely from the body. However, in this situation, the sac has just under three days before reaching maturity."

  "We can't wait that long, Doctor, Elim is dying!" Mila's motherly concern was unmistakable in her response.

  "We can detach the sac ourselves, however, it would be at a grave risk. Removal of the embryonic sac too soon may cause rupturing of the abdominal aortic artery, leading to internal hemorrhaging that would send the baby into shock and cause death for Garak." Slovik continued to take in the readings, as he spoke his hands moved furiously over the controls. "Another problem to consider is that Mr. Bashir-Garak may not survive a cesarean, his vital signs are too weak. Any amount of bleeding would be detrimental to his chances of survival."

  "What can we do, is there no other option?" Amsha had moved alongside of Julian.

  Julian looked up and stared at the readings above the bio-bed. He rubbed his forehead as he tried to think back on something he had recently read in a medical journal. His eyes sparkled as he remembered. "There is an option, the transporter."

  Everyone turned to face him. Dax shook her head and asked "Julian, what are you talking about? I've never heard of using the transporter to deliver a baby."

  "I 'do' remember reading about it. It was in. . ." Julian struggled to maintain control, he focused all of his energy on remembering. "The Starfleet Medical Journal, it was in an article. . .'Technological Medicine, Saving Lives With Standard Mechanics'." He smiled as he recalled the article.

  Dax went to Julian's office to locate the journal in question. Julian glanced down at Elim, and the smile faded as did Julian's energy. He slumped forward, only O'Brien's quick movements and Richard's nearness kept Julian from falling to the floor.

  Dr. Slovik quickly ran the tricorder over Julian. "It's the drug, there's still enough in his system to cause problems. The shock of everything that has happened has had an adverse reaction to his nervous system." Looking at Amsha, he added "Do not worry, he will be fine with proper rest. I suggest we keep him sedated until the child is born and Mr. Bashir-Garak is in better health."

  "No, Doctor," Richard's voice was forceful. "I will watch over Julian, but he needs to be aware of what is happening. If anything should go wrong, he would never forgive himself, or us for not allowing him to be near Garak. Perhaps, a mild sedative to calm his nerves, but he should be allowed to be conscious during this entire procedure."

  Amsha nodded her agreement, as did all the others. "Very well, as you wish," was all Slovik said as he prepared a hypospray with a mild sedative for Julian. The younger doctor smiled gratefully at his father, as the hypospray was pressed to his neck.

  Dax came back in from Julian's office. "I tried to access that medical journal Julian had mentioned, but I don't know the volume number."

  "I am aware of the article Dr. Garak-Bashir mentioned," Slovik stated. "It is a rather complicated procedure, I can explain the technical aspects of it, however, I am not versed enough in the mechanics to make all the necessary adjustments."

  O'Brien stepped away from the bio-bed Julian was sitting on. "If it's transporter mechanics, I'm the one you should be talking with. That's my area of expertise, and I'm the best transporter technician in Starfleet." His shoulders drew back as he smiled back at Julian. "Don't you worry, I'll see what I can do."

  "I'll help also. You might need some assistance in getting this done quickly, Chief," Jadzia volunteered.

  Doctor Slovik walked over to where Julian was still seated. Julian's eyes were focused on his husband. Slowly, Slovik reached down lifting the younger man's face with his fingertips. "Dr. Garak-Bashir, do you understand what we will be attempting to do? This procedure is very complicated and still in the experimental stages."

  Julian's eyes shifted back to Garak, then to Slovik, and finally rested on his father. Richard gave his son an encouraging squeeze to his shoulders. Closing his eyes, Julian took a deep breath. When he opened his eyes again, they were clear and focused. "I read the article. Please do what is necessary to save Elim and our son."

  "Very well, Chief O'Brien, Commander Dax, we have some preparations to make. Nurse, prepare the antidote for Mr. Bashir-Garak. It is to be administered only when I say. Timing is going to be of the utmost importance if we are to be successful in saving both lives."

  "Ladies, if you will have a seat in the office. Mr. Bashir. . ." Slovik's request never made it out of his mouth.

  "I have already said, I will stay with Julian. Amsha will you stay with Mila?" Richard requested.

  "Of course, please keep us informed of everything that is happening. Mila, come let's find some place to sit." After placing kisses on both their sons, the two women left together, while Richard helped Julian down from the bio-bed and over to where Garak lay.

  Dr. Slovik, O'Brien, and Dax had moved over to the computer console. Slovik began his explanation of the process. "In theory, the phase transition coils of a transporter can be recalibrate so that minute to large growths, organs, implants, or fetuses may be removed without causing damage to the host body. In this case, with the proper adjustments, we should be able to remove the embryonic sac and transport it to the incubator, without harm to Mr. Bashir-Garak."

  "When you remove the sac, won't there be some bleeding as a result of the separation of the attached tissues?" Dax's concern was evident.

  "Some of the energy used during the transport could be redirected to cauterize any lesions that may form during the process," came Slovik's quick response.

  "We'll have to use an annular confinement beam to ensure that the baby's matter stream doesn't disperse during transport." O'Brien's methodical mind was assessing all possible problems and solutions in relation to the transporter.

  "Agreed," Dax added. "While we're at it, let's add an extra pattern buffer, one that's operated on a back up energy source, just in case of a power interruption."

  "The autosequencers will also have to be recalibrated, we need to check the weight and dimensions of the sac. . ." O'Brien began to drag Dax off as they went to begin all necessary adjustments to the station's transporter system.

  Doctor Slovik began to make the needed preparations to the incubator. The embryonic sac would have to be removed as quickly as possible. The baby may require resuscitation. When all was ready, he moved back to Garak.

  "Nurse, be ready to administer the antidote on my mark," Slovik said as she approached with the hypospray.

  "If you don't mind, I'd rather be the one to administer it," Julian said as he held out his hand to the nurse. She looked over to Dr. Slovik for direction.

  Pausing a moment, he finally said, "As you wish, Dr. Garak-Bashir," and nodded to the nurse, who handed over the hypospray to Julian, who smiled in gratitude.

  Julian leaned in close to his husband's ear and in a low whisper that no one else could overhear said, "Listen here Elim Bashir-Garak, you fight, do you hear me? You don't only have me needing you, soon you're going to have a son to care for. We're counting on you."

  "Chief O'Brien, Dax, is everything online yet?" Dr. Slovik asked through voice transmission.

  "Sorry Doctor, the recalibration is taking a bit longer than expected. We're working as quickly as we can," came the Chief's reply.

  "Time is of the essence," Slovik stressed again. "I will be awaiting your confirmation."

  One of Julian's hands was wrapped tightly around the hypospray while the other hand grasped Garak's limp and very cool hand. He felt a touch on his shoulder and turned to see his father giving him a reassuring smile--one he was unable to return. Turning his head back around, he looked at Garak's face. 'Dear God, please let them be all right. They have to be all right.' The silence in the room was deafening. Julian could actually hear the beating of his heart, the sound pounding in his ears. A minute felt like an hour as they stood and waited for word from the Chief and Dax.

  "Dax to Slovik, transporter is up and we're waiting for your signal," came the Trill's voice. Julian's heart began beating even faster.

  "Are you ready?" Slovik asked Julian, who looked at his husband for a moment before nodding his head affirmatively. "Begin transport of the fetus. . . . . .now."

  The familiar waves of light patterns and sounds that came with transportation swept over Garak's prone body, but instead of scattering the tailor's molecular structure as the beam disintegrated, it left the tailor's body unaltered. Seconds later the same sounds and lights could be seen from inside of the incubator.

  "Transportation completed," came Miles' voice.

  Dr. Slovik turned to Julian. "Give him the injection now." The familiar sound of the hiss from the hypospray was heard as Julian gave his spouse the medication.

  "Nurse, how is our son?" Julian asked, unable to pry his eyes off the tailor.

  Running a scanner over the infant now present in the incubator, the nurse turned to Julian. "All readings show no complications. Respiratory pattern is normal, as is cardiovascular. He is doing fine."

  Julian gave a huge sigh of relief as his focus remained on his husband. Julian patiently waited for the drug to take effect. Minutes ticked away on the chronometer. Amsha and Mila came out of Julian's office to see what was happening. Mila came behind Julian and patted his hand encouragingly as she too watched over her son. Slowly the tailor began to stir. Blurred eyes tried to focus on Julian.

  "Ja. . .Jahkim?" Garak's hoarse voice asked as Julian took his hand.

  "Yes, Elim, I'm here," Julian assured him and squeezed Garak's fingers for emphasis.

  "What happened? The last thing I remember, I was getting dessert for us. What am I doing in the Infirmary?" Garak asked, clear blue eyes looking dazed and bewildered searching warm hazel ones for answers.

  Julian recalled that it was very common for seizure victims not to recall anything that had happened during the seizure. "Do you remember when Ticana scratched you?" The tailor nodded. "Well, it seemed she was trying one last time to try and take vengeance. When she scratched you, there was a drug under her nails that caused you to have seizures. Without the remedy, you could have died," Julian informed him, unshed tears stinging his eyes as he spoke.

  "Oh Gul! How is the baby?" Garak asked as he attempted to sit up, his hand automatically went to his abdomen. Julian slipped his arm under him to help him into a sitting position.

  "He's fine, Elim, he's fine," Julian assured him and then gave him a big smile. "In fact, I think he might want to be introduced to his father."

  "What are you talking about?" the tailor asked in confusion. He knew it would still be several days before the baby would be ready to be born.

  Dr. Slovik approached the couple with the tiny infant swaddled in a thermal blanket as Julian explained how Rochosh had to be delivered immediately and how they managed to use the transporter to do so. Garak's eyes changed from confusion to wonder as Slovik handed him their newborn infant son. The tiny child was no longer than his forearm. Tenderly, Garak gathered the baby close to him as he looked back and forth between the boy and his husband. He couldn't help but think they were the two biggest miracles in his life. Knowing well what Cardassian infants look like, Garak could immediately see traces of Julian in him. He had Julian's brown eyes, Julian's shaped nose, and mouth. Also, his face and body was slimmer like the doctor's.

  Elim could see himself in Rochosh as well, he had wisps of hair a touch darker than Julian's like his own, and his son also had his coloring and ridges, though not quite as prominent as Garak's. Most Terrans had a habit of describing male children as strong, feisty, or handsome, but to Garak, all he could think of was that this child of theirs was absolutely beautiful. He looked up into another smiling face that he also thought was beautiful to him.

  Eyes exchanged volumes wordlessly as Julian leaned over and captured the Cardassian's lips with his own. After they broke the kiss, both looked down at their son who chose that particular second to let out a wail of a cry.

  "What healthy lungs he has," Garak said with a smirk.

  "It sounds as though he is hungry," Amsha offered helpfully.

  Julian looked from the baby, to his mother, and then finally to his husband, who smiled slightly and moved over on the bio-bed to make room for his spouse.

  'What have I gotten myself into?' Julian wondered as he took the seat near his husband. Taking a deep breath, he unzipped the front of his uniform and slipped it down to his waist. He then unsnapped one of the shoulder straps on the undershirt Garak had made that he was wearing. When he thought he was ready, he hesitantly took hold of the baby as Garak transferred him.

  Seeing Julian's nervousness, Amsha walked over to the bio-bed and stood in front of her son. "Would you like a little help?" she asked with a warm smile. Julian returned it gratefully and nodded his head. She helped him shift the baby so he had him held tilted towards his chest. "This usually worked very well with you," she replied with a grin as she helped hold the baby's head to Julian's nipple. He looked her with a touch of concern when their son didn't start feeding right away. "Rub his cheek," she offered quietly. Julian did so and the baby turned his cheek to the rubbing and quickly found the nipple. His lips fastened to it quickly and he began sucking avidly.

  Richard and Mila watched silently with joy in their eyes as Julian looked up at Elim with tears shining in his eyes. Putting an arm around Julian's shoulders, Garak smiled at him knowingly as he pulled the doctor in close to him.   Almost as soon as Rochosh finished his first meal, Dax and Miles came bursting through the doors. Julian was glad that Elim had finished assisting him with getting his uniform back in place before the visitors had arrived.

  "Is everyone all right?" the Trill asked and stopped short when she saw the family sitting together on the bio-bed. She looked over to Miles, who released a sigh of relief when he saw that everyone seemed to be fine.

  "Considering the circumstances of the birth, the baby and Mr. Bashir-Garak are both doing well," Slovik informed the Trill and Engineer.

  "Well, I'm glad to hear that," Miles replied as he came to stand near his friend.

  Julian looked his friend squarely in the eyes. "Thank you, Miles, for helping to save Elim and our son," he said with quiet gratitude.

  "Don't thank me, Julian, it was your idea. I just carried it through," the chief relpied with a shrug of his shoulders and a smile. "Besides, you helped save Keiko and Kirayoshi. I was just returning the favor."

  "You and Commander Dax have my deepest graditude as well," Garak replied as he put a hand on the man's broad shoulder. Two pair of blue eyes locked onto each other and Miles could read the silent thanks in Garak's eyes.

  This made the Chief slightly embarrassed, so to cover it up, he cleared his throat and shifted his attention to the baby in Julian's arms. "Yeah, well as long as everyone's okay." Looking down into the child's face, the Chief had to admit that no matter what he thought about Julian and Garak's relationship, or how strange the circumstances surrounding the little boy's conception and birth, the kid was cute. He never thought that he'd feel that way about a Cardassian child, full blooded or not, but he couldn't help denying the truth. He thought the kid was adorable--he wasn't about to admit that to Julian though.

  Heads turned as Sisko and Kira entered the Infirmary. The nurse looked on in dismay at how overcrowded it was starting to get.

  "We came as soon as we could. What happened?" Sisko asked, his voice filling the room. Slovik once again went into the explanation of Garak's seizures and the urgency behind the delivery as Miles explained to him how they managed to use the transporter to deliver the baby. Dax and Kira gathered around the bio-bed to get a look at the newest member aboard the station, cooing and going on about how adorable he was the entire time. Garak and Julian looked at each other with pride.

  "May I hold him?" Dax asked with enthusiastic smile.

  Julian looked over to where his parents and mother-in-law were standing. "If you don't mind, Jadzia, I think the grandparents should have the chance to hold him first," he explained and looked over at Garak who nodded in agreement.

  "Oh, of course, I understand," Dax replied happily. "Just as long as I get my turn," she said with wink and went over to talk some more with Slovik.

  Julian looked at Garak and then at Amsha and Mila. "Would one of you like to hold him?" he asked.

  The two women looked at each other and Amsha smiled brightly. "Why don't you go first, Mila."

  "Are you sure?" the elder Cardassian woman asked with hesitation. Amsha, still smiling, gave a nod of affirmation.

  Mila walked over and took the baby from Julian's extended arms as he smiled and watched. Mila looked down at her brand new grandson for several very long minutes before finally looking up to seek her son's eyes.

  "Elim, you don't know how happy I am right now. Even though I doubt you do, I wish your father could be here to see his only son's child," she told him and looked down into the baby's face again, missing the pained expression that clouded Garak's eyes. His younger husband didn't miss it though, and slid his arm reassuringly around the tailor's waist and pulled him close.

  Not wanting to dominate the baby, when she felt she had held the boy long enough, Mila walked over and handed the baby to Amsha.

  "Look, honey, remember when Julian was that tiny?" she asked her husband.

  "I still remember the day we brought him home from the hospital," Richard remarked, unable to meet his son's eyes. Julian wasn't certain, but he thought he could see moisture in the older man's eyes. He remained silent as Sisko came over to his mother.

  "Hi there," Sisko said quietly as he looked down at the child. "Come meet your Uncle Benjamin." he said with a grin as Amsha transferred the baby into Sisko's large arms. He gently started rocking back on his feet as he patted the baby's back and would have quite happily continued to monopolize the baby, if Dax hadn't stepped forward some time later and demanded her turn to hold the baby. The nurse finally came up and took the infant away from the Trill, who loudly expressed her displeasure. Rochosh, tired of all the movement, finally let out howl of a cry.

  "I think it's about time for all of the visitors to leave Mr. Bashir-Garak and the doctor alone now so they can prepare to take the baby home," the nurse replied as she handed the squalling baby back to Julian.

  "Your probably right," Amsha replied. "It sounds like our grandson has had quite enough of meeting new faces today." Richard and Mila both nodded their agreement. After both mothers kissed their sons and grandson, they took their leave followed by O'Brien, Sisko, Dax, and Kira. Richard stayed behind as the others left. Walking over to the bio-bed where Julian and Garak still sat, he reached out and shook the Cardassian's hand. "Thank you, Garak, thank you for giving me a grandson."

  He then turned to Julian, who was watching astonished. Richard bent down and gently kissed his grandchild. Regaining his composure, he looked into Julian's eyes. Several times the elder Bashir opened his mouth as if to say something and each time he back down. Instead he leaned forward and placed a kiss on his son's forehead. Julian raised his face, with a questioning look in his eyes. Richard smiled and then turned and left.

  Alone at last, the new parents beheld their offspring. Rochosh had drifted off to sleep. Garak placed an arm around his husband's shoulders drawing him nearer. Julian placed his head on Garak's chest. The now strong heartbeat made his own beat faster. The doctor thought of how close he had come to losing both of his loves.

  A slight noise, a clearing of a throat, roused both men from their thoughts.

  "Jabara!" Julian was overjoyed.

  "I heard you were looking for a head nurse," she playfully stated, coming forward. Jabara glanced down at the sleeping infant. 'The child is absolutely beautiful,' she thought.

  "Jabara, this is our son. Isn't he beautiful?" Julian stated proudly.

  "Yes, yes he is," she replied honestly. "Now, if the two of you would accompany me while Dr. Slovik tends to the baby. We have some materials for new parents that you need to go over." Jabara assumed her professional role, taking the baby from Julian and handing him to Slovik. She then led the two fathers out, into Julian's office.

  "Jabara, I already know. . ." Julian started.

  "Doctor, you know as well as I do, that it is this station's policy for all new parents to be shown the proper techniques for caring for an infant. You and your husband, Doctor, are no exception." She was smiling as she spoke, but Julian knew there was no use trying to get out of it. Jabara could be quite stubborn. He and Garak settled down for their orientation.

  When they had finished, Garak and Julian were given the standard issue of supplies for new parents, including a holo-instructional program on how to feed, bathe, change, and care for a newborn.

  As they left the office, Dr. Slovik came over with the still sleeping child, who was now wrapped in a blanket. "He is in excellent health," the doctor stated as he transferred the baby to Julian's arms. Garak had opted to carry all of the supplies.

  "Are you ready, Jahkim?" Garak asked staring at Julian. He adored the way his lover looked holding their son in his arms.

  "Ready as I'll ever be," Julian replied.

  They left the Infirmary and headed for home. As they walked, the Cardassian placed a protective arm about Julian's waist and held both of his Jahkims close until they reached their quarters.

  Once inside, they headed straight for the nursery. Garak assisted Julian as he laid their infant son in his crib. They both stood watching the child sleep for a long while, until the tailor gently guided his young husband back towards their own bedroom.

  "I need a shower, Jahkim. Do you mind?" Elim asked. Julian smiled and shook his head.

  While his husband was taking a shower, Julian wandered back to the nursery. Pulling up the rocking chair, he sat watching his son sleeping. 'He's so tiny,' Julian thought. 'He's my little baby, and he's Elim's. I'm so happy.'

  Tears again formed in his eyes and began to flow freely as he sat and watched. Julian was so enthralled with his son that he was unaware his husband had entered the room. Feeling the warm hands touch him, the doctor looked up quickly wiping away the tears.

  "Jahkim, come. Rochosh will be fine. Come, you require rest also." Once again Garak led the younger man back to the bedroom, guiding him to the bed.

  Julian smiled fondly at the older man. "Thank you, Elim, thank you so much. Our son is so beautiful, I. . ."

  Garak sat beside the doctor, kissing him tenderly. "Hush, I should be thanking you."

  They sat together just reveling in the joy of having a son. Julian felt his eyelids begin to grow heavy and he stifled a yawn. Garak helped him into bed and placed another kiss on his lips. However, sleep was not to come easy, for just as Julian's eyes closed, a loud wail emanated from the nursery.

  The doctor's eyes opened quickly as he jumped up, both fathers racing toward their crying son.

  Garak called for lights on as Julian rushed towards the crib. Rochosh was wailing at the top of his lungs. Julian reached down to retrieve his son.

  "Is he wet?" Garak asked as Julian checked the diaper.

  "No, I don't feel any wetness," the doctor responded.

  "Anything else?" the older man inquired.

  Julian looked at his husband, then down at the baby, "Oh. . ." He quickly checked. "No, not that either."

  "Perhaps he is hungry again," Garak suggested.

  Julian promptly sat down in the rocking chair. As Garak held the baby, Julian unfastened the top of his uniform and unsnapped his undershirt. Taking the infant from his husband, Julian brought him up to his nipple just as instructed by his mother. Gently rubbing the baby's cheek, he tried to encourage him to take the offered nipple. Patiently, Julian continued for several more minutes, attempting to feed the screaming infant. When Rochosh made no attempt to suck after several more minutes, the younger father looked up at his husband.

  "Elim, what am I doing wrong? I did everything mother showed me. Why won't he take it?" Julian voice was desperate. As a doctor he knew in his mind that there were many reasons as to why a child would not feed. However, as a new parent, in his heart he was worried.

  "Jahkim, maybe he just isn't hungry. Here, allow me to hold him." Garak and Julian changed places. As the Cardassian sat in the chair, Julian handed the shrieking infant to him. Cradling his son in his arms, Garak began rocking back and forth. Still Rochosh continued to cry. His face was red as he struggled for breath between cries. Standing, Garak began walking and gently swaying with the screaming infant in his arms. This continued for several more minutes. Changing positions, rubbing the back, gentle cooing, nothing seemed to work.

  "Maybe he's too warm, we can remove the blanket and use a lighter weight one," Julian offered.

  "He is half Cardassian, Julian, surely he can't be too warm." Yet as he spoke Garak loosened the blanket, although he did not remove it completely. Still the child cried.

  "Jahkim, you are a doctor, what do you think is wrong?" the tailor asked of his husband.

  Julian tried to remember all he could about newborn infants. The day had been extremely long and stressful. Try as he might, Julian was unable to come up with a solution. "I'm so sorry, Elim, I just can't think straight."

  Sadly, the tailor realized that his young husband was still fighting the effects of the drugs in his system. He also began to notice the look of desperation in Julian's eyes. "Here, Jahkim, come hold him and try to feed him once again. I will call for help." Garak handed the baby to Julian, who once more tried to offer his milk to the infant.

  Garak headed towards the computer console. "Computer, voice message to Amsha Bashir." He relayed his concerns to his mother-in-law and then returned to the nursery to assist Julian.

  Upon reentering the nursery, Garak found Julian holding the wailing child in one arm while trying to operate a tricorder with his free hand.

  "What are you doing?" he scolded Julian mildly.

  "I thought I'd just check to see if there was a medical problem," Julian answered over the loud cries.

  "And. . ." Elim prompted.

  "That's just it, medically speaking, he's fine. I just can't figure out what's wrong. Elim, do you suppose that maybe Dr. Slovik and I have missed something?" Julian sounded worried.

  The tailor reached out to stroke his son's face. "No, Jahkim. There may be nothing wrong. Sometimes infants cry for no reason we know of."

  "But like this?" Julian's voice rose slightly.

  "Like this," Garak repeated.

  Just then they heard the door chime. Julian rose and carried Rochosh into the other room, while Garak allowed access to the visitor.

  Amsha and Mila entered first, and headed straight for their grandson. Richard followed close behind.

  Mila took the child from Julian while she and Amsha conferred.

  "Uh, Mother, we tried. . ." Julian stopped when Richard placed a hand on his arm.

  "Let them try their own ways, son. Believe me, it's no use, they'll just do whatever they want anyway."

  Mila sat on the sofa holding Rochosh, while Amsha loosened the blanket even more and raised the little undershirt. Gently, both women took turns using their fingertips to make circular motions over the boy's stomach. Within a minute, the howling infant quieted down and began to yawn.

  The two fathers and grandfather stood watching flabbergasted.

  "How did you know what he wanted?" Julian asked the women. "We tried rubbing his back, but that didn't work."

  'It's the woman's touch, Jules," Richard stated. "You were the same way with me. You'd scream and scream, then when your mother would come along, you'd quiet down."

  "We can't be calling mother every time our son cries." Julian l ooked at his husband seeking his agreement and reassurance.

  Before the older man could answer, Mila spoke. "It is not a woman's touch. It is just an intuition that you develop, Julian. You and Elim will acquire that same intuitiveness. It will just take some time. Right now, however, both of you are exhausted from today. It is only natural that you felt frightened and unsure.

  "Jules, Elim, " Amsha began. "Why don't the two of you get some rest. We'll stay and watch over our grandson. However, Jules, perhaps you should feed him first."

  Julian looked exasperated as he responded. "But he won't take my milk. I have tried and tried, he just won't take it. Maybe I was wrong to think I could do this." Julian lowered his eyes as he brooded.

  "Nonsense," Mila responded to her son-in-law. "Come here and sit down, young man." She patted the sofa beside her.

  When Julian had done as told, his mother-in-law continued. "Look, how much calmer your son is now. Now, observe the way his mouth is already starting to move, see how his lips smack. He is hungry."

  Amsha and Mila helped Julian prepare to feed his child, while Garak and Richard observed with amusement. Hesitant, fearful of having his son's rejection, Julian held Rochosh near the enlarged nipple. With no encouragement, Rochosh latched onto the nipple and began to suckle, taking his nourishment from his much relieved father.

  When their son had finished his second meal, the two obviously fatigued fathers retired. Garak slept soundly through the remainder of the evening. Despite his weariness, Julian was awakened once again for another feeding.

  Satisfied, at last, that all was under control, the grandparents placed their sleeping grandchild back in his crib. They then escorted Julian to his bed, where he promptly drifted off to sleep. Content that the men of the household were all bound to sleep through the night, the grandparents took their leave.


  The following evening, after checking on Rochosh for the night and settling down in bed, Julian snuggled close to his husband.

  Gathering the younger man in his arms, Garak began to run his fingers through the soft brown hair. "Jahkim?" Garak began uncertainly.

  "Hmmm?" Came the muffled response of the very exhausted doctor.

  "Jahkim, I have been thinking. I know that we have discussed not wanting one culture to override the other, but do Terrans have a. . ." Garak hesitated.

  Julian looked up, searching his husband's face. "A what, Elim?"

  "Well, I was just wondering if you had a Naming Ceremony. Our son needs to be properly introduced and claimed as ours." Garak gazed directly into Julian's sparkling eyes.

  "That's a wonderful idea, Elim. Terran religions have their own customs, but as Rochosh is half Cardassian, a simple Naming Ceremony would be very appropriate." Julian smiled at the relieved look in his husband's face. "Tell me, what is involved?"

  "It is customary to ask family friends to sponsor our child through life. Since being an orphan is such low status on Cardassia, if anything should ever happen to us, our child will have his Dahora or Dehara to claim him as family." Garak paused remembering his culture's unfair treatment of those with no family to claim them.

  "Dahora and Dehara? I have never heard those words before. What do they mean, Elim?" Julian sat up, his curiosity aroused.

  "Let me think of how best to explain them." Garak tried to think of the best terms to use to help Julian understand. "A Dahora is the male sponsor, who in the absence of the father would vow to raise our son, to be there to help him develop as a man. A Dehara is the female sponsor who is there to guide the child with the nurturing of a mother."

  "I understand now," Julian exclaimed. "We have the same thing in our culture, they're known as godparents, a godfather and godmother. The duties are the same."

  "Then, it is agreed, we will have a Naming Ceremony for Rochosh?" Garak inquired.

  "Oh yes, it is agreed!" Julian happily stated. "Now, who shall we choose as Rochosh's Dahora and Dehara?"

  Elim smiled at his enthusiastic husband. "If you have no objections, Jahkim, I would like for Commander Dax to be our son's Dehara. She has been a true friend to us through everything, and I can think of no one more appropriate to guide our son through life. She was after all, almost his mother!"

  Julian laughed at this. "That is true, Jadzia is the perfect choice. What about the Dahora?"

  "Ah, well, I did choose the Dehara and since this is an equal partnership, you should be the one to choose the Dahora," Garak stated.

  "Can't think of anyone, huh?" Julian chided his husband and gently kissed him. "Well, as I see it, our options are limited. There's Odo, O'Brien, Captain Sisko, and Worf." At the mention of the last name, Julian shuddered remembering that unfortunate incident at Jadzia's party.

  Garak looked at his husband, not failing to notice the shudder. " If I may, Jahkim, I would like to narrow the choices down a bit further. Of the four there are two who have stood by you through everything, Captain Sisko and Chief O'Brien. From what you told me the chief, really delivered our baby."

  "Don't tell him that! I'll never hear the end of it!" Julian responded. "Yes, I agree with your choices. Miles is a wonderful family man, with two children of his own, he's also been a friend to me. Captain Sisko is also a family man, I think he really regrets not having more children." Julian remained silent in thought, knowing that Garak had given him the choice, so it was his decision to make.

  The tailor waited patiently, his arms wrapped loosely around his husband. He began stroking Julian's arms. Julian leaned closer, placing his head on Garak's chest. Listening to his husband's heartbeat, Julian weighed the pros and cons of both his choices. In the end, there was only one choice, only one who would readily take a half-Cardassian, half-Terran into his home. Only one who would accept Rochosh for the person he will grow to be. Julian lifted his head and smiled.

  "I made my decision, and I truly believe that he will agree with no hesitation," Julian informed his Cardassian husband.

  Garak unconsciously held his breath. He had only mentioned the chief out of respect for Julian's friendship with the man. Secretly, he had no desire for the man to be a part of his son's upbringing.

  "Who did you choose, Jahkim?" The tailor's voice was steady, if his breathing was not.

  "Oh, I think you already know, Elim. I chose the one you wanted, of course, Captain Sisko. Or should I say Uncle Ben?" Julian giggled at the thought of his son calling the captain, Uncle Ben.

  Garak let out the breath he had held for so long. He pulled Julian into a tight embrace and lavished him with kisses. After the long day they had experienced, neither was in any condition to do more. The kisses and hugs were more than enough to lull them to sleep entwined together as they would always be.

  Garak was instantly woke up when he heard crying coming from the next room. Julian was still asleep, curled up in his arms. The tailor pressed his warm lips to Julian's neck. That evoked a sound of something like a murmur as as Julian turned over on his side and pressed his back against the Cardassian. Garak smiled and placed a kiss behind Julian's ear. his answer. "Mmmm, whatsit?" Julian's sleep slurred voice asked.

  "Our son is calling again," Garak whispered into Julian's ear.

  Julian's eyes reluctantly opened. "He is?" he asked and then heard the soft whimperings from the other room. Julian pulled himself free from the older man, swung his legs over the side of the bed, and grabbed the robe off of the floor. "I blame you for this you know. I swear you're the one he got his appetite from," he replied with teasing affection. Garak merely smiled as he watched Julian yawn several times and stretched his muscles before padding softly across the floor into the other room. Garak was still smiling when he rolled over and drifted back to sleep.

  Julian's eyes settled on his small son in his crib, who was insistently crying. His little face was scrunched up in frustration as tears ran down his cheeks and his fists were tightly clenched. "What's the matter, my boy? Are you hungry again already?" Julian asked as he put a hand under Rochosh's head and bottom and gently lifted him up and cradled him in his arms. Walking over to the rocking chair, Julian took a seat and with one hand, opened the front of his robe. Positioning Rochosh just so, the infant quickly latched onto the proffered nipple and almost instantly grew quite. "That's my boy. Daddy knows what you want," Julian cooed.

  Rocking back and forth, Julian patted Rochosh's back soothingly as his baby fed. Julian held Rochosh with one arm, while with his free hand gently stroked the fine, ebony, wisps of hair on his son's head that he knew someday soon would be as thick as Elim's. A single index finger lightly caressed each of the tiny ridges around his eyes.

  "I bet I know what you would like," Julian informed his tiny son. "Would you like a bedtime story?" he asked with a smile. The only response he received was the noisy smacking of lips as Rochosh continued his midnight snack. "I thought you might, and I have just the perfect story too," Julian settled back into the wooden chair, making himself comfortable. Rochosh seemed a little perturbed with all the movement. "All right. Once upon a time, a long long time ago, there was this young Starfleet medical officer fresh out of the academy who was assigned to a station far far away from his home. This young officer had a rather hard time making friends on this station at first because he never had many friends before. Well, also on this station lived a very handsome spy who was posing as a plain and simple tailor. Now, the doctor found this spy very attractive, but was too nervous to know what to say to the handsome spy because he thought he would never have the courage to talk to him. Then one day out of the blue when the Starfleet doctor was having lunch all by himself, the spy came up and introduced himself. Now the doctor couldn't believe that this very handsome spy had taken notice in him and he was nearly shocked speechless, but all the spy had to do was put his hands on the doctor's shoulders and the doctor could feel something magical about this man.

  This powerful magic had him so mesmerized that before he knew what had happened, he had agreed to a date for dinner with this rogue spy. So excited by this, the doctor felt he had to tell anyone who would listen that the station's spy had made contact with him, not realizing he was making a complete fool of himself until after the fact. Even though others looked at him as if he was crazy, the doctor didn't care. Some of his friends told him he was foolish, but he didn't pay them any attention. All he could think of was his tailor spy.........."

  Garak stirred in bed. He rolled over to pull Julian towards him and suddenly realized the bed was still empty. Opening an eye to the chronometer, he realized that it had been quite some time since Julian had gotten up for Rochosh's last feeding. Slowly pulling himself from the bed, he pulled his robe on and tied the belt before making his way into the nursery. He stopped at the doorway and couldn't help smiling at the tender scene before him. Julian's head was lolled back against the stiff head of the rocking chair, and soft snores came from his sleeping form. Rochosh was still laying peacefully in his arms, nestled close to Julian's chest, his eyes were shut and he was still suckling softly at the doctor's dark nipple. For several minutes he simply stood there, looking with affection at both his Jahkims. Finally, with soft steps, he walked across the floor and gently lifted his sleeping son from Julian's arms. He gently kissed his son's forehead before laying Rochosh into his crib. The tailor reached down and pulled the blanket over the boy, who didn't even stir or move. Lightly, he ran his finger across the infant's soft smooth cheek. "Sleep well, my little Jahkim," Garak whispered. Rochosh's little bottom lip quivered slightly and then he let out a tiny yawn.

  The tailor then turned his attention on his other Jahkim, who was still sound asleep in the rocking chair. He couldn't very well leave Julian to sleep there because he knew how uncomfortable that position looked to sleep in. He seriously considered waking the doctor up to come back to bed, but seeing how exhausted and peaceful his husband looked, he didn't have the heart. Finally, he slipped one arm under Julian's legs as the other slid behind the doctor's back and with ease, Garak scooped him up and carried him back into the bedroom. After laying Julian down on the bed and being surprised when he didn't wake up, Garak removed his robe and climbed back into bed. As soon as he laid down, Julian curled up into his arms. Garak fell back to sleep almost immediately.


  The next morning, after feeding Rochosh, the new parents relinquished care of their son to his grandmothers, while they sought out the two people who would hopefully become part of their unorthodox family.

  They found Dax at the replimat having breakfast with Worf. Jadzia smiled when she saw them and waved them over to join her. Worf nodded his acknowledgment as Julian and Garak sat down.

  "Well, you two look like you're on a mission," Dax noted between bites of pastry.

  Julian looked to Garak and gently nudged him with an elbow.

  Garak took a deep breath, looked at Worf and then at Dax. "Actually, you might say that we are, Commander. Julian and I have come to request a favor of you."

  Worf shifted in his seat causing Julian to move his chair a little closer to Garak. The Cardassian put an arm around the doctor's shoulders and glared at Worf briefly before continuing.

  "We were discussing, having a Naming Ceremony for our son. It is customary for the child to have a Dehara. Julian assures me that many cultures have the same custom of choosing godparents for their young. On Cardassia, the Dehara would be the godmother. We, that is Julian and I would. . ."

  "Yes! I'll do it," Jadzia interrupted. "I am very pleased to be chosen as godmother, um. . .Dehara, for your child. It helps me make up for not being able to carry the child for you. Oh yes! This is wonderful, I can't wait to tell Kira."

  Worf cleared his throat. Jadzia looked at him, that familiar warning look in her eyes. Worf ignored her as he turned to face Garak and Julian. "I am honored that you have chosen Jadzia to be a godmother to your child."

  Julian stared at the Klingon and then looked at Garak, who merely shrugged his shoulders. "Thank you, Commander, we appreciate your uh. . ." Julian looked at Jadzia, who was smiling broadly at Worf with tears in her eyes. "We appreciate your approval?" It came out as a question rather than a statement, but neither Worf nor Jadzia noticed. Julian felt Garak's arm squeeze his shoulder, he turned to face his husband.

  "Perhaps, we had better leave them to their breakfast," Garak suggested rising to his feet, bringing Julian up with him. "Thank you, Commander Dax, Commander Worf." He guided Julian out of the replimat. When they had gone a distance away, out of sight, Garak stopped and looked back. "Who was that?" he questioned jokingly.

  Julian turned back also and slowly shook his head. "I don't know, he looked like Worf, he had the same voice as Worf, but was that really him? Maybe we better have him checked out as a Changeling."

  They both laughed and turned to head towards Ops, where they knew that Captain Sisko would be. They were still laughing as the turbolift stopped at Ops. Stepping off, they each took the other's hand.

  Looking over at Kira, Julian asked "Is the Captain available?"

  "He was the last time I checked," the Major responded. She looked questioningly at the couple. "What are you two up to now?" she asked smiling at their obvious nervousness.

  "We need to ask the Captain a personal question," Garak responded.

  "Go ahead, it's been a slow day, I'm sure he'd like a distraction." Kira went back to her computer console.

  Julian and Garak mounted the steps leading to the captain's office. Garak knocked on the door, and they waited for their admission.

  "Doctor? Garak? Is there a problem? The baby's all right, isn't he?" Benjamin rose to meet his visitors.

  "Oh, everything is fine, Captain," Julian answered. "Elim and I have a question to ask, a favor that we need from you."

  "Oh? Well, come have a seat." The captain led the way to the chairs.

  After they were seated, it was Garak's turn to nudge Julian with an elbow.

  Julian cleared his throat. "Captain, Elim and I were thinking of having a Naming Ceremony for our son."

  "I would be happy to officiate at the ceremony. Just tell me where, when, and what to say, and I'll be there." Sisko flashed his brightest smile at them.

  "Well, thank you, Sir," Julian continued. "The Naming Ceremony is a Cardassian custom, which requires sponsors for the child, like godparents. There's the godmother, the Dehara and the godfather, the Dahora. Jadzia has agreed to be our son's Dehara and we were wondering if perhaps you. . ."

  "You want me to be the Dahora? Yes, I would be honored. You have no idea how much I have wanted the chance to have another child in my life. Jake is all grown now, and at the rate he's going, who knows when I'd be a grandfather. This is wonderful! Thank you for asking me. Julian, Garak, you won't be disappointed, I'll care for him as if he were my very own."

  Standing to say their good-byes, Garak and Julian were surprised when the captain reached out and pulled Julian in for a fatherly embrace.

  "You know, someone once told me that I had a soft spot for you, Doctor. They were right, I feel like you are my son and now I have a grandchild. Thank you." He released the blushing young man and returned to his desk.

  Julian looked at Garak who took his hand and guided him out of the office. Once away from Ops in the privacy of the turbolift, Garak laughed. "And just who was that?"

  The doctor joined in the laughter. "He looked like Captain Sisko, he sounded like Captain Sisko, but I don't know. Do you think it's contagious?"


  Several days later, Julian was nervously trying to dress Rochosh for his Naming Ceremony. "Elim, can you help? He's moving around so much, I can't get this shirt on over his head."

  Garak came up behind his husband. "Now, I wonder where he gets all that energy from?" He held Rochosh, allowing Julian to finish dressing him.

  Julian looked at Garak who was completely dressed and ready to go, he then glance down at himself, still in his robe. "It's almost time to go, and I still have to take a shower. Keep an eye on him, I'll hurry." Julian rushed back into his bedroom and towards the shower.

  Garak sat in the rocking chair, humming a tune to Rochosh, gently rocking back and forth. Little hazel colored eyes looked up at him, as he gently ran a finger over the eye ridges. "Someday, my little Jahkim, when you are old enough to understand, I will tell you the story of how you got your name and how your Daddy came into my life."

  Rochosh looked up at his father, his Jayta, his lips smacking, and his little arms reaching up towards him. Garak smiled as he lifted his son and held him on his shoulder, gently rubbing the infant's back. When Rochosh began to make some little noises, Garak brought him back down into his arms.

  "Ah, so you wish to see who is holding you? A smart choice, my son." Garak said, rocking back and forth, speaking quietly to his son. So involved was he, that Garak failed to noticed Julian's return.

  Stopping in the doorway, Julian smiled at the sight. The two loves of his life, what a beautiful picture they made. How lucky he felt to have found such a man as Garak, and now to have his child also. Tears began to form in his eyes at the thought.

  Garak looked up and saw Julian, noticing the tears he asked, "Jahkim, is everything all right? Why are you crying?" Silently he thought, 'What a beautiful sight. How I deserved such a beauty, I'll never know. And now to have his child, what a lucky man I am.'

  Julian quickly wiped away the tears. "There's nothing wrong, my love.Everything is right, I'm just so happy." He approached the chair and knelt beside them. Just then they heard the door chime. Rochosh let out a loud wail, as Julian rose to find Richard, Amsha, and Mila entering their quarters.

  "It's time to leave now," Mila stated. "Are you ready?" She waited her turn from Amsha before placing a kiss on Julian's cheek.

  Garak entered, carrying Rochosh. "We are ready, Mother." He stood quietly then as each mother took her turn kissing him and the baby. Garak noted with amusement, how Richard stood off to the side, shifting nervously on his feet. He walked over to the older man.

  "Richard, we would be honored if you were to carry your grandchild to the Naming Ceremony." The Cardassian tenderly placed his son in Richard's open arms, pleased at the immediate response from the man.

  Julian offered his arm to Mila as Garak offered his to Amsha. With Richard in the lead they left for the boardroom, which Jadzia had appropriated as the site for the ceremony.

  Entering the room, Garak and Julian stood for a moment, just staring at the changes that had been made. Apparently, Dax had done her research on the Cardassian Naming Ceremony. The lights were dimmer, the table had been removed, and the chairs were lined against the walls. In front of the larger viewport was a small table that held the lighted silver candle that had been used at their wedding. Next to it, lay a small unlit gold candle. In front of the table were several ornate pillows, similar to those used at the wedding. Kira stood by the table wearing the bright gold robe of a Cardassian cleric. If she was uncomfortable with her role, she did not show it as she smiled broadly while talking with Sisko and Dax, who were wearing the royal blue robes of the Dahora and Dehara. Standing in a group along the side were all the invited guests.

  Evidently, Rochosh was getting impatient with the wait, and let out a loud cry. Upon hearing this all the guests laughed as they took their places around the table. Kira stood before the table while Sisko and Dax each took a position on one side of the table.

  Kira held her head high as she began, "Honored family and guests, we are gathered here today to welcome into our fold, a child. This child comes to us an unknown. It is here, among his family and friends, that he shall be named."

  Taking a step forward and reaching out her arms, she continued, "Will the elder lineage of this child come forward."

  Richard gently handed his grandchild over to Julian. Then he turned and offered each arm to Amsha and Mila. Together they walked towards Kira and then separated, Mila taking a place behind Sisko and the Bashirs taking their place behind Dax.

  Kira once again raised her arms, and beckoned "Julian and Elim, we stand here before you, ready to acknowledge the gift of your offspring to our community. Please come forward."

  Garak placed his arm around Julian's waist and proudly guided his family forward. When they reached Kira, the guests closed the gap behind them, forming a complete circle about the family.

  Slowly, Kira stepped forward. "Who are you and what is it that you desire?"

  Garak spoke in a loud steady voice, "I, Elim Bashir-Garak, desire to have my son acknowledged and accepted as a member of his family and community."

  Julian, shifting slightly on his feet to provide a rocking motion to calm his son as well as his own nerves, spoke next. Not as loud, nor as steady, Julian nonetheless spoke clearly, "I, Julian Subatoi Garak-Bashir, desire to have my son acknowledged and accepted as a member of his family and community."

  Holding out her arms, Kira accepted the baby into her arms. She momentarily forgot herself, while she smiled and cooed at the child in her arms. As Sisko cleared his throat, Kira looked up slightly embarrassed, but ready to continue.

  "Who shall stand by this child, to claim him as their own if the time should come?"

  Sisko and Dax stepped forward as Garak and Julian moved off to the side. In unison, they replied "I will stand by this child."

  Kira placed Rochosh in Dax's arms, while Sisko place his hand on the child's forehead.

  Dax then began speaking, "I, Jadzia Dax, agree to be this child's Dehara, to guide him in his growth, to comfort him in his losses, to share his joy, to claim him as my own if need be." She then transferred Rochosh, who merely, smiled and smacked his lips, to Benjamin's arms. Dax then placed her hand on the baby's forehead.

  Gazing down at the child in his arms, Sisko spoke in a quiet yet commanding voice. "I, Benjamin Sisko, agree to be this child's Dahora, to guide him in his growth, to comfort him in his losses, to share his joy, to claim him as my own if need be."

  Rochosh let out a happy gurgle as he accepted the captain's finger into his mouth. Sucking happily, he was unaware of the importance of the ceremony going on around him.

  Kira looked at Garak and then at Julian. "Will the parents of this child come forward." Julian stood behind Dax, as Garak stood behind Sisko.

  Kira then asked for the grandparents, who took their respective places behind their sons.

  Turning towards the table, Kira picked up the small gold candle. Then Kira stated, "This child has been accepted into his family and this community. By what name shall he be known?"

  Garak leaned forward and whispered in Kira's ear. Kira then brought Garak forward by his hand and reached out to Julian. She placed their hands together, encircling the small gold candle. She stepped back as Julian and Elim went towards the large silver candle. Still holding the smaller candle together, they lit the gold candle. Garak then released his hand, allowing Julian to hand the candle back to Kira.

  Holding the lit gold candle in one hand and placing her other hand on the infant's head, Kira proclaimed, "To all who are present here and to all who will meet this child, we avow that he shall be hereafter known as Rochosh Richard Bashir-Garak. Welcome Rochosh, and may you have a joyful and productive life."

  All in attendance applauded. Richard turned slightly away from Amsha, and wiped away the tears that had formed in his eyes. Turning back he noticed that Amsha was looking at him with tears in her own eyes. She moved closer to him and placed a kiss on his lips.

  "Rochosh 'Richard' Bashir-Garak, that is a name our grandson should be proud to have. It sounds so distinguished, doesn't it?"

  Richard was still in shock from having his grandson bear his name that all he could do was nod and kiss his wife in return.

  The doors opened as Quark and his waiters began to bring in the catered food. Another of Dax's surprises.


  Several hours after the ceremony, Julian and Elim had returned to their quarters. Garak had said he wanted the chance to rest and had retired to their bedroom, leaving Julian sitting on the sofa to once again feed their son, who was avidly wailing his hunger until Julian got himself ready. As his small infant son sucked greedily at Julian's nipple, the doctor was struck again by the beauty of his and Elim's child. Dow brown eye so much like his own looked up at Julian, as the baby nursed and made an occasional cooing sound of contentment. How this little miracle had come to be still amazed the doctor. He gently caressed the silky soft cheek and started rocking back and forth on the sofa they were sitting on. He was so transfixed on the gentle motion and watching his son's tiny lips taking nourishment being offered by his body that Julian almost didn't hear when the door chimed.

  "Come in," he called out softly. The door opened with a swoosh and revealed his father standing in the doorway.

  "May I come in?" Richard asked hesitantly, not knowing for sure whether he should intrude upon his son and grandchild.

  "Please do," came Julian's response as he continued his rocking motion and patting Rochosh gently on the back. Richard made his way across the floor to take a seat near his son.

  "Where's Elim?" the older man asked as he looked around and noted the absence of his son-in-law.

  "He's in the bedroom resting at the moment," Julian answered and Richard nodded. Julian looked over at his father and noticed that he looked slightly uncomfortable. He was shifting around on the cushion and not meeting Julian's eyes. "Is something wrong, Dad?" Julian asked finally.

  "Hmm? Oh no, it's just that I wanted to tell you. . .that I wanted to say. . ." Whatever it was he had to say, Julian could see he was obviously having a difficult time with it.

  "What is it, Father? Just tell me," Julian said.

  "Well, it's just that I was a little surprised earlier at the naming ceremony," Richard said finally.

  "Do you not approve of Rochosh having your name?" Julian asked, looking down at his son who was nearly asleep. He switched positions slightly to keep Rochosh awake until he was finished.

  "No, it's not that at all. . .it just took me off guard is all," Richard replied and couldn't help smiling when he heard his grandson make a gurgling noise. He reached over with a finger that Rochosh latched onto immediately. He couldn't help remembering when Julian was that tiny. "What made you decide to use my name?"

  "It was originally Elim's idea, but what finally convinced me was when I discovered the journal," Julian explained.

  "The journal? What. . . ." A look of comprehension fell over Richard's face. ". . .oh, you found that?" he asked uncomfortably as a red tint of embarrassment colored his cheeks.

  "Yeah, I did. It was in the crib you sent from storage. Why didn't you ever tell me about it before now?" Julian asked curiously.

  "Well, you know me, Jules. I've never felt all that comfortable talking to you about things like that," Richard explained. "Especially when I feel like I failed you as a father," he added quitely.

  Julian was stunned that his father had actually vocalized this and it took several seconds before he was able to reply. "You didn't fail me, Father," Julian assured him.

  "Yes, yes I did. I took you in for those enhancements when you were too young to even understand what was going on. I never should have done it because I was being selfish," he admitted solemnly.

  "Dad, look at me," Julian ordered as his father brought his gaze up to meet his son's eyes. "If it hadn't been for those enhancements, I wouldn't have been able to fight the drug Ticana was giving me. Those enhancements very possibly not only saved my life, but kept me from doing serious harm to Elim as well. I don't regret them in the least," Julian assured him.

  "Do you. . .do you think you finally understand why I felt I had to do what I did at the time?" Richard asked, searching his son's eyes. "I didn't do it because I was ashamed of you, or thought you weren't good enough," he explained.

  "I know that, Dad. . .now," Julian remarked as he fondly looked down at his son nestled to him. "If there was ever a time where I would have to make a decision like that. . .to do something that would help my son, I would. I want to do everything in my power to assure that he has the best life possible."

  "That's right," Richard agreed. ". . .that's all I ever wanted for you too. I did what I thought was for the best, but I didn't realize that you would end up hating me for it."

  "I never hated you, Dad, you just never gave me the chance to understand you. You were always so distant and closed off that I never had the opportunity to know how you felt until I read the journal," Julian explained and looked at Rochosh who gave a little yawn.

  "I'm sorry if it seemed that way. I guess writing things down is easier than actually saying them aloud," Richard replied.

  "Well, I guess I'm no better at it where you're concerned either," Julian admitted. "You know how you thought that I hated you? Well, I thought that what you said earlier was true. I never did feel like I was good enough for you and that you were ashamed to have me for a son."

  "Julian, how could you think that? You've always been my pride and joy. There has never been a moment when I've been ashamed of you," Richard answered, turning to face his son more.

  "I never knew that because you never told me," Julian answered.

  "I always assumed you knew. My father never said anything like that to me either, so I thought for the longest time that was the proper way to be. It wasn't until you were much older when I realized my mistake and by then I didn't feel like I had the right to approach you. I felt you had every right to resent me," Richard explained. "If it's not too late now, " Richard started as he looked his son directly in the eyes. "Jules, I love you and you have always made me proud to be your father."

  Julian felt unshed tears start to sting his eyes. "I love you too, Dad."

  Richard put his arm around his son's shoulders and pulled him towards him. Julian rested his head on his father's chest while his son continued to suckle. "I only wish I could have been there for you more when you were growing up."

  "You've always been there for me when I've really needed you. After all, if it hadn't been for you convincing Angelo to turn on Ticana, we never would have gotten the evidence we needed to put her away," Julian replied.

  "Well, it was the first time in a long time that you've ever needed or wanted my help. There was no way I was going to disappoint you again," Richard replied as a lump formed in his throat. "I only hope you won't make the same mistake with Rochosh that I did with you. Tell him every day how much you love him."

  "Don't worry, Dad, I'm planning on it," Julian replied with a contented smile as he shut his eyes and continued to rest against his father's chest. Neither man were aware of the Cardassian tailor that had witnessed the exchange in the shadow of the doorway. With a satisfied smile playing on his lips, he discreetly moved back into the bedroom to continue his nap. 'I'm happy for you, Jahkim,' he thought to himself as he laid back down. Sadly he thought about his own father and his own wishes of reconciliation that would never come to pass. Even though this did cause him pain, Garak realized that he now had his own family that consisted of Julian, Rochosh, his in-laws, and his mother who he knew loved him dearly and realized once again just how lucky he was.


  The following day Garak left Rochosh and Julian, at the doctor's insistence, to tend to some neglected business at his shop. After logging the latest shipment of fabrics he received and filling a couple of orders he had put off for long enough, he shut down the shop again and returned to their quarters.

  As the tailor entered the living area, he realized that neither his husband or his son was anywhere to be seen and all was quiet. He was tempted to call out Julian's name to see if an answer came, but on instinct, he remained silent and made his way to the nursery. A soft smile curved on his lips at what he saw. Julian had his arms crossed over the railing of the crib and his chin was resting on his arms as he watched their son sleep. Creeping up behind him soundlessly, Garak wound his arms around Julian's waist.

  "I didn't even hear you come in," Julian said, turning his head slightly to meet his husband's kiss.

  Garak thought about mentioning it was a skill he learned as a operative to go about undetected, but decided against it. "Well, it seems you were a little preoccupied," he opted to say instead with a teasing smile. "It looks like you had an easy time putting him down for his nap," Garak commented as he looked over Julian's shoulder at the slumbering infant. Rochosh was laying quietly on his stomach, his little lips quivered and moved with each breath. Garak noticed with amusement and affection that his small fingers were tightly grasping the paw of the stuffed brown bear that Amsha had recreated from Julian's Kukalaka. The stuffed toy was nearly as large as he was, but Rochosh didn't seem to mind.

  "After he had his lunch, he just fell right to sleep in my arms. I just laid him down a few minutes ago," Julian replied in a hushed voice.

  "He looks so peaceful and content doesn't he?" Garak commented, his eyes still focused on the sleeping form.

  "That's because he knows he's safe and loved," Julian replied somberly.

  Garak turned Julian around in his arms and tightened his hold on the doctor. "Just as you will always be, my Jahkim," Garak vowed and covered the doctor's mouth for a very thorough kiss.

  "Don't forget that goes both ways, Elim," Julian informed him after the kiss ended. Intense hazel eyes focused on and held bright blue ones. "I am never going to let anything happen to you if I can help it."

  "I know that, Jahkim, I know," the tailor assured him, his hands traveling up and down the length of Julian's back.

  "No, I mean it, Elim," Julian insisted, still looking deeply into the tailor's eyes. "Do you know how much that scared me when I thought that I might lose the both of you?"

  "You mean when I had the seizure?" Garak asked quietly.

  Julian nodded. "It was nearly like watching that holo-projection of Ruygo's all over again." Garak looked at the doctor in surprise. Julian hadn't spoken of that particular incident in years, but it was no wonder with all that had occurred that it would bring the memory back. "I felt like I did then. The fear of watching you die with me not being able to do anything to stop it. . .completely helpless. . .I. . ." Julian's voice started to crack with the emotion the memories were bringing back. Everything had happened so fast with the birth and adjusting to Rochosh's arrival that it was the first time Julian had been able to stop and really think about it.

  Garak pulled his younger husband to him and hugged him tightly to his chest. One hand came up to gently stroke the back of his head, fingers tangling in the soft mahogany hair at the nape of Julian's neck. "It's all right, Jahkim, we're both all right now."

  "I know, I know," Julian said with a ragged voice. "We always manage to find some way to pull through regardless don't we?"

  "Yes, we certainly do," Garak answered as he held Julian back slightly to look in his eyes. He smiled brightly at his doctor as he brought his hand up to caress Julian's cheek. "And do you know why that is, Jahkim?"

  "Why?" Julian questioned, his own hands affectionately tracing the tailor's neck ridges.

  "Because when something is truly meant to be, there isn't an individual alive or any cosmic act fathomable that can keep it from coming to pass," Garak informed him simply.

  "What is will always be," Julian said, barely audible. "So you think the Fates are on our side then," Julian replied softly in understanding.

  "That's right, Love," Garak replied affirmatively. "I think our little Jahkim is proof enough of that," he responded as he nodded towards the crib.

  "I can't disagree with you there," Julian told him and smiled. His hands lazily crept lower and lower, until finally coming to caress the tailor's rear through the thick material of his pants. "Elim?"

  "Hhmm?" The tailor's own hands starting a similar assault on Julian's body.

  "Seeing as how you believe in Fate, what do you think that Fates have in store as far as playmates for Rochosh go?" Julian asked with a mischievous gleam in his eyes.

  "What do you mean, Julian?" Garak questioned, an eye ridge arched skeptically.

  "Oh, I was just wondering if when Rochosh gets older, that he might not mind having a little brother or sister around to keep him company," Julian commented, looking impishly up at his husband's amused expression.

  "Jahkim, as much as I adore you and our little one, I do believe that if Rochosh is to have any siblings, that it would be up to you to figure out how to carry a child yourself--after all, it 'is' your turn," Garak informed him before covering the grinning mouth with his own. Julian closed his eyes as their lips met.

  Despite the teasing, a sense of peace filtered in and surrounded the doctor as his mind drifted back to Garak's words and realized once again that the things that had happened in his life 'truly were meant to be'. Not only did he have the love of a truly extraordinary man in his eyes, he now also shared with him a darling, sweet, baby boy. He was no longer only part of a marriage, he now was part of a family. He rejoiced in that thought as his husband continued kissing him--the only sounds filling his ears were that of three beating hearts and the gurgling coming from their son.   The End