Sitting at his medical computer, trying to read the latest research on viral infections, Julian was finding it more and more difficult to concentrate. His mind kept drifting back to the conversation with his mother last week. Something was wrong and he couldn't imagine what. With a sigh, he turned towards the corner where Rochosh was playing. The little boy was using his teddy bear as his patient while playing doctor. Julian smiled remembering his own Kukalaka and the many 'operations' he had put that bear through.

  So lost in his thoughts, Julian didn't hear the comm beep the first time. "Dax to Garak-Bashir," the message repeated itself.

  "Here, I'm sorry, Commander," Julian instantly replied.

  "Julian, I just thought that you would want to know. . ." she hesitated. "You have a visitor who just arrived. Your father is here, Julian."

  "What? Father is here? What about my mother?" Julian questioned.

  "Just your father as far as I know. Is there a problem, Julian?" Dax's voice revealed her concern.

  "Uh, no, Jadzia. At least not one that I'm aware of, yet," responded the doctor. "Thank you for letting me know."

  "You're welcome, Julian. Just let me know if there's anything I can help with." Dax signed off, leaving the young man to wonder just what was going on with his parents.

  "Doctor?" Nurse Jabara interrupted his thoughts.

  "Yes?" Julian rose from his seat.

  "You have a visitor." She stepped aside allowing the older gentleman entrance to Julian's office.

  "Jules, it's so good to see you again!" Richard Bashir crossed the office to gather his son in a warm embrace.

  "Grandpa!" Little Rochosh jumped up running with arms raised to be picked up by his grandfather.

  "Rochosh, you have grown!" Richard held both of his boys in an embrace.

  "Dad, what's wrong? Why are you here?" Julian's natural suspicions took over.

  "Does something have to be wrong for me to visit my son and his family? Jules, aren't you glad to see me?" Richard set Rochosh down and stood back, facing his son.

  "Of course, I'm glad to see you, Dad. It's just that after talking to mother last week. . ." Julian paused when he saw the look in his fathers eyes.

  "Your mother isn't here, with you?" the elder Bashir questioned.

  "Dad, what's going on? Mother called last week to find out if you were here, and now you're telling me that you thought she was here!" Julian's voice was rising. He was starting to panic. He felt the baby move and started to feel more than a little sick.

  "Jules, are you all right?" Richard Bashir moved closer and helped his son back to his seat.

  "I'm fine, Dad," Julian responded with a shaky voice.

  "Daddy, okay?" Rochosh was now climbing up onto his fathers lap. "Grandpa, help Daddy. Grandpa bring Jayta back, make Daddy happy," the little boy pleaded. He looked at his grandfather with huge eyes all the while embracing his father in a tight hug.

  "Jules, what's going on here? What's the boy talking about, bring Jayta back? Where is he?" Richard had dropped to his knees and took his grandson into his arms, while staring at his son.

  "Rochosh," his grandfather began. "Grandpa is here now. Why don't you go and play while I talk with your Daddy." Rochosh wriggled free of Richard's arms and gleefully returned to his play.

  Richard continued to stare at Julian. "Son, it looks like you've put on some weight. It's about time, but you truly do not look well. Please, Jules, let me help if I can."

  Glancing over at his young son, Julian sighed. He breathe deeply to calm his nerves as well as his queasy stomach. 'What should I say? Do I tell him everything? Would he even understand? Oh gods, Elim, what do I do now?' Looking back at his father he made his decision. The doctor spoke in a low tone. "Elim has been arrested. They say that he killed someone."

  "What? Who?" Richard asked in an incredulous tone.

  "It was a Bajoran. But, Dad, Elim didn't do it, he couldn't have. He just wouldn't do such a thing." Julian's eyes begged for his fathers understanding.

  Sensing the hurt in his child's voice and eyes, Richard gently pulled his son into an embrace. "Of course not, Jules. Why would he do such a thing? He would never risk causing you any harm." His voice was soothing as he rocked his son, but in Richard's mind he wondered about the validity of what he was saying. He was going to have to speak to Odo or Captain Sisko to find out just what had happened. Until then he was determined to keep his Jules happy.

  Pulling back from the embrace, Julian wiped his tears. "You must be exhausted after your journey. Why don't we get you settled, then you can contact mother and let her know that you're here. She sounded very concerned when she called." Julian had risen and was gathering Rochosh and all the boy's paraphernalia as he spoke.

  Richard also stood and helped. Soon all three were on their way towards the guest quarters. *****

  Garak was restlessly pacing back and forth in his cell, deep in thought. Had this been a good idea? Of course it was, someone had to watch out for his darling Jahkim after all, and he certainly couldn't do an adequate job of it from behind a forcefield. Would Julian feel betrayed by what he was thinking of doing? Granted Dax, who had already known about the pregnancy, was trying to keep an eye on him, but Julian had been avoiding her for the most part since she had discovered their secret. Yes, he needed someone else to know who could watch Julian covertly; who wouldn't arouse the doctor's suspicions. He had to do it, after all, it was for Julian's own good. Garak knew his mate too well and knew that his younger husband would work himself into complete exhaustion if he wasn't careful. Julian always tended to throw himself into his work when he was upset and he knew how upset Julian was with him in here; he had seen in it his lover's eyes, even though the tailor knew the doctor had tried to hide it from him. Yes, this had to be done, for Julian and their unborn child. He only hoped Julian would understand in time, although if he never found out . . .

  "Garak, you wanted to see me?" The Cardassian turned to the red-headed Bajoran Major, who was currently standing in front of his cell with her hands on her hips. He had arranged a meeting with her earlier. "Whatever it is, you're going to have to make it quick, I'm only on break right now."

  "I apologize, Major, if I've caused you any inconvenience with your schedule, but there is a matter that I needed to talk to you about immediately," Garak replied, resorting to old tactics to mask the anxiety from both his face and voice.

  "Well, it did sound urgent, so what is it?" Kira asked with a touch of impatience in her tone, even as she pulled a chair under her to sit down on.

  Garak did the same before continuing, "Kira, I've asked you here, not to talk with you as a major, or the station's first officer. . .but as my Bonding Patron and hopefully a friend."

  A brief glimpse of surprise flashed in the large brown eyes before skepticism replaced it. "What is it, Garak?"

  "Well, it's quite obvious that while I'm incarcerated, that it's impossible for me to watch over Julian and his activities. I was hoping that as my Bonding Patron, that you would do me the favor of seeing over Julian and Rochosh," Garak told her.

  "Garak, why are you asking me this? I can understand you being concerned for your family, but Julian isn't incapable. He's certainly able to take care of himself until you're released," the Major reminded him.

  "Yes, but there are certain circumstances that could affect him and I want the assurance of knowing that there is someone watching out for him while I'm incapable of it," Garak told her.

  "Certain circumstances? Garak, what are you talking about?" Kira asked, wondering if this might have anything to do with Julian's strange behavior the last few months.

  Garak paused and looked down at his feet for several moments before meeting the major's brown eyes again. Taking a deep breath, he proceeded. "Julian is with child," the Cardassian replied. 'Please forgive me, my Jahkim.'

  Kira blinked several times and slowly shut her partially opened mouth. "Pregnant? Julian is having a baby?!?!"

  "That's right Major, Julian is having our child. He figured out a way to do it using my sac and combining certain hormones together," Garak explained briefly.

  Kira shook her head in frank disbelief as a slow smile formed on her mouth. "A baby." It shouldn't have come as a surprise to her, since she knew what Julian could accomplish with determination, but it still did. Although, it did go a long way to explain all the problems the doctor had been having. "How far along is he?"

  "He's beginning his sixth month," Garak answered.

  "Six months?!?" the Major exclaimed. "Why in the name of the Prophets hasn't he told anyone yet?"

  "Because, Major, the pregnancy comes with a grave risk of miscarriage and he wasn't wanting everyone to know and to become overjoyed only to lose the child." It still caused pain to radiate through Garak's chest to even think about that possibility.

  Kira nodded her head solemnly. "I understand, believe me." There had been times where she too, had worried about something happening to cause her to lose Kirayoshi years ago. She was aware that the risk was even greater to Julian.

  "So now you see why it is imperative that someone be there for Julian--for the sake of his health as well as our child's," Garak replied softly.

  "Of course I do, Garak," Kira answered without hesitation. "I will do everything I can to make sure that Julian stays as healthy as possible until you're able to be with him again."

  "Thank you, Major, you don't know how much I appreciate that. It truly helps to put my mind to ease--a bit at least. If I may, I need to ask one more favor of you though," Garak replied hesitantly.

  "Yes? What is it?" Kira questioned.

  "Would you mind keeping this bit of information to yourself for a while? Julian was so adamant about keeping the pregnancy a secret, so I would prefer it, if you would not let anyone else know that you are aware of this," Garak beseeched her.

  "Well, with Julian this far along, it won't be long before it will be very obvious to everyone that he's pregnant, but in the meantime, I'll do what I can," the Bajoran responded.

  "Thank you Nerys," Garak said, barely audible. "He's everything to me, you know."

  Kira understood the world of meaning behind that simple phrase. She herself had only found that meaning within Odo recently. "I know," she replied simply, not knowing what else to say, and left the tailor a little less restless. *****

  Julian returned to the table with a slight flush on his face. "I'm so sorry," he stated as he sat down in his seat next to Dax.

  The Trill patted the young man's knee. "Don't worry, Julian, sometimes the smell of Quark's concoctions makes me sick too."

  The doctor smiled weakly and stole a glance at his lunch companions. Kira was also smiling, but she wasn't laughing. She was just smiling and had a strange look in her eyes as she stared at him. Miles was also staring, but he had a frown on his face.

  "Julian," O'Brien began. "How about if we skip lunch today and head for the exercise holosuites. What do you say we play a few rounds of racquetball ?"

  "NO!!" Kira and Jadzia's voices blended together in perfect unison, their voices fading as they stopped to look at each other in surprise.

  Miles sat back stunned for the moment. Julian looked from one woman to the other. Jadzia's eyes narrowed as she looked over at Kira, while the Major simply shrugged and continued. "I mean, well, there isn't enough time," she spoke hesitantly as her mind worked furiously to come up with an explanation for her concern. "Julian, did you forget? You're supposed to see Garak right after lunch, he told me this morning."

  Julian looked at her, questions flashing in the depths of his hazel eyes. "Elim told you that?" he asked aloud. Kira nodded. "I must have forgotten," Julian's voiced trailed off as he tried to remember.

  Dax continued looking at Kira, "Well, that's settled then. Now let's order some lunch."

  Miles O'Brien sat still for a while longer, taking in what had just happened. 'Just what did happen?' he questioned silently. Clearing his throat he spoke again. "Well, Julian, how about later then? You were never one to stay away from exercising for so long. I'm sorry to say, my friend, but it looks like you could certainly use some exercise too."

  Kira glared at O'Brien, causing the man to move his chair further away from her. "How dare you!" her voice barely containing the anger her eyes were showing. "Julian may have put on a few pounds, but he looks . . ." she paused to take in the doctor's form, "He looks good, the extra weight looks well on him."

  Dax leaned forward to look at her friend, then at Julian. Nodding her head in agreement she also spoke in defense of the young man. "Miles, you just don't appreciate how nice Julian looks with some meat on his bones." She playfully squeezed Julian's arm.

  Julian's blush returned. He was ever so grateful when Quark finally came to take their order.

  But Miles just wouldn't let go of it. After Quark left, he continued. "I didn't mean to say he doesn't look good, I'm just not used to him having the extra pounds."

  "You should talk," Kira mumbled.

  "All right, forget I said anything," Miles grumbled right back at her. "You'd think the three of you were hiding something the way yer all acting." He dove into his freshly arrived food with a vengeance.

  Julian began eating his soup, oblivious to the stares Dax and Kira were giving each other. The silence at the table was broken by another voice.

  "Mind if we join you?" Sisko asked as he and Odo came up to the table.

  O'Brien looked up relieved to see a friendly face. "Just don't say anything about weight and we'll all be fine," he said as he moved his chair to make room for the captain. Fortunately for Miles, he moved to allow the captain to sit closer to Kira.

  Sisko and Odo took their seats each eyeing the foursome with curious expressions.

  "Well, Julian," Sisko started. "You're looking well. Are you sure that's enough for you to have for lunch?" Benjamin turned as O'Brien's fork hit the table. "Problem, Chief?"

  Miles looked around the table, Dax and Kira had stopped staring at each other and were now focused on the captain. Julian stared at his food, and Odo was leaning back watching everyone.

  "Ah, no, Captain. Everything's fine," the engineer spoke quietly. To himself he wondered, 'What the bloody hell is going on here?'

  Sisko ordered his lunch and sat back just looking at the doctor with a smile on his lips. Julian was starting to fill in that uniform more. The captain thought how absolutely glowing the young man looked. He then noticed Jadzia and Kira staring at him and he sat upright.

  "So what's the conversation about today?" Sisko asked innocently, looking around the table at his crew.

  Dax thought to herself, 'Kira knows, but Julian doesn't know that she knows. And Benjamin, how did he find out? Hmmm, O'Brien hasn't got a clue and Odo. . .This is all too confusing. Julian and I are going to have a talk, very soon.'

  Kira was thinking 'How did Dax find out? Garak said it was a private matter. The Captain has to know too, who told him? O'Brien doesn't know anything, and Odo, I'm not sure about. Garak and I are going to have to have a talk, very soon.'

  Sisko couldn't help but stare at Julian once again. 'Having a baby, he's so small, I hope he knows what he's gotten himself into. Maybe I could have him over for dinner more often? Can't be easy for him with Garak locked up. Dax is watching me again, better get a hold of myself, poor Julian is really embarrassed about something. Kira's looking too, she keeps watching Julian also, wonder if she's figured it out? O'Brien looks confused, no, he doesn't know, but Odo. . .hmm, Julian and I are going to have to talk about this, very soon.'

  Odo watched the facial expressions of all his fellow crew members. 'Something is going on here, I don't like being kept in the dark. It has something to do with Doctor Bashir, that much I'm sure of. Looks like the captain, Commander Dax, and Nerys are trying to hide something, but what? O'Brien's confused, doesn't know what's going on. The good doctor is embarrassed. He's been putting on some weight lately, most of it around his stomach, swelling in the hands and face. . .No, he couldn't be, he's a male. Terran males can't. . .but this is Bashir and if there were a way, he would be the one to find it. Maybe a few well chosen inquires to Garak? Yes, Garak and I are going to talk, very soon.'

  O'Brien couldn't believe it when Sisko suggested that Julian have more for lunch. 'Is the man blind? Julian has put on way too much weight, that uniform won't fit him soon at the rate he's gaining the pounds. Kira and Dax are acting very strange, defending Julian from me! His best friend! The way they act, you'd think the man was having a baby! Something's going on here. Why am I always the last one to find out anything?'

  Surprisingly, it was Odo who spoke first. "Captain, have you received any more information about the Tellarian delegation that's supposed to be arriving tomorrow?"

  The conversation drifted into work related bits and pieces of information. Julian relaxed more, glad to have the attention off of himself. He felt guilty about not telling Miles about the pregnancy. 'He wouldn't understand. The captain and Jadzia mean well, but Major Kira, does she suspect something? Odo does, he keeps looking at me. Oh Elim, what am I supposed to do? Should I tell them and just get it over with, but do I want to deal with it if you're not here with me?' His hand moved to his abdomen as he felt his baby girl shift within him. 'Well, there's always tomorrow. I'll just talk with Elim later and see what he says.' *****

  The following day as he walked slowly along the Promenade, Julian failed to notice the increased crowds of people shopping, or heading for one of the restaurants. His mind was preoccupied with thoughts of how his life had changed in such a short time. He would never admit it to his friends, or even to his husband, but Julian's enhanced stamina was wearing thin, he was tired, no--exhausted. The strain of work, the thrice daily visits with Elim, the long hours spent trying to disprove the evidence against his husband, taking care of Rochosh, his fathers strange behavior, all combined with the pregnancy to place Julian on the verge of collapse.

  He rubbed absently at the back of his neck as he stopped to stretch his aching back. Fortunately, his father had begun taking care of Rochosh during the day, allowing the young doctor a little more freedom. His half-day at the Infirmary was finished and now Julian turned to head towards Sisko's office, perhaps the captain had found some way to dispute the evidence against Elim.

  Stepping out into Ops, Julian headed towards the steps leading to his commanding officer's domain. Pausing at the foot of the stairs, Julian sighed. He just didn't have the energy needed to climb up the steps.

  "Julian?" the voice was soft and the hand placed on his arm gentle in it's touch.

  With weary eyes, the doctor turned to face Major Kira. "Yes, Major, what can I do for you?" He tried to keep his voice steady.

  "Julian, you don't look well, why don't you and I head back towards your quarters. You look like you could use a nice long nap." Kira began to lead the young man back towards the turbolift. Holding him by his arm and waist.

  "I-I-I have to see the captain," Julian stated.

  "Well, he's not in right now," Kira responded. "If you'd like I'll leave him a message saying you want to see him. However, right now, I think you need to lie down."

  Mentally and physically debilitated, Julian allowed himself to be led back to his quarters, where Kira helped him get his legs up on the couch and then made him some tea.

  "You need your rest," the major was saying as Julian began to drift off into a much needed slumber. She continued talking to him in a quiet voice, gently stroking his arms and brushing back his hair with her fingers. As Julian dozed, Kira's hand rested on his stomach and she began to rub in a circular motion. "Rest, Julian, you and your little one are going to need it."

  The door chime rang at that moment and Kira admitted the visitor.

  "Major, what are you doing here?" Sisko's deep voice questioned.

  Kira stood quickly and began to spread a blanket over the sleeping doctor. "Julian showed up at Ops looking for you and well. . .Captain, he just looked so tired. I convinced him to come back here for a rest," she explained hastily.

  Sisko walked over and looked down at Julian. The young man was stirring in his sleep, beginning to awaken. "It must be very hard for him with Garak being locked up and having to care for Rochosh. Then with the. . ." the captain hesitated. He cleared his throat adjusted the blanket about Julian's shoulders.

  Julian's eyes opened, he stared blearily at the two figures standing above him. "Captain? Major?" his voice barely above a whisper.

  Kira sighed and looked at Sisko. "Now look what you did, you woke him up." She moved to sit next to the younger man.

  "Doctor, how are you feeling?" Sisko asked, choosing to ignore his First Officer's comment.

  The doctor struggled to raise himself into a sitting position. "I was looking for you, Captain. Is there any good news about Elim?" Julian's soft voice coupled with his huge expressive eyes presented a waif-like image.

  Sisko sat next to his chief medical officer, gently placing an arm about the slender shoulders. "Odo has been trying, Julian. He's interviewed everyone he could think of, he's checked and rechecked all the evidence over and over again. Right now, I've succeeded in convincing the Bajoran courts to allow Garak to remain in our custody. They're pushing for a trial to be scheduled soon. I've managed to hold them off for a while longer." He squeezed the younger man's shoulders, as Julian's head dropped in frustration and sorrow.

  Kira placed a hand on Julian's leg. "Julian, Odo is trying. He's bothered by this whole mess, he's convinced it's a setup, but he can't find the missing link, the one piece of the puzzle that will lead us to the real murderer." Her own eyes filled with unshed tears as Julian's began to flow. "I swear by the Prophets, Julian, if there was anything I could do, I would. We just have to put our faith in the Prophets and let them guide us through this."

  Julian nodded his head. "I know, Major. I know that everyone is doing everything that they can, it's just. . .well, it's just. . ." His hands covered his abdomen, as he was unable to find the words needed to express what he was feeling.

  Sisko reached out his larger hand to cover Julian's just as Kira placed her hand on the doctor's. They both paused, looking at each other, then at Julian. The young man had sat back and closed his eyes once again, allowing the tears to flow freely down his face.

  In an unspoken agreement, the captain and Kira worked in unison to bring Julian's feet back up onto the couch. They settled him once more under the blanket. Kira remaining at the doctor's feet, while Sisko cradled the younger man's head in his lap. Each offering soothing words and touches to help calm Julian.

  When Julian had drifted off to sleep once again, Kira sat staring Captain Sisko. "You know, don't you?" she questioned in a hushed tone.

  "Yes, Julian told me after Garak was arrested. And you?" The captain's voice was equally hushed.

  "Garak told me. He was worried that Julian wouldn't be taking proper care of himself." She glanced back at the sleeping doctor. "I guess he was right. Julian does need someone looking out for him."

  Sisko smiled broadly as he brushed his fingers across Julian's cheek. "Can you believe it, Nerys? A baby? A little girl, this time."

  "Really? I didn't know that, Garak didn't tell me that much, just that Julian was pregnant. A baby girl, one that I suppose you'll spoil just as much as her brother." She laughed softly at Benjamin's look of utter innocence.

  The door opened and Jadzia Dax strolled in, pausing to take in the scene before her. "Looks like Julian has more baby-sitters than Rochosh," she quipped.

  Eyeing both of her commanding officers, Jadzia huffed. "All right, just how did the two of you find out? This was supposed to be a secret. Julian's going to think I told everyone!"

  Slipping off the couch without disturbing Julian, Kira came to stand by her friend. "You knew? I just found out, how long have you known?"

  "Ladies," Sisko interrupted. "Don't you think you'd better carry on this conversation elsewhere? Why don't the two of you go and discuss the whys and why nots of all of this. I'm off duty, so I'll just stay here with Julian until his father brings Rochosh back home."

  The two women nodded in agreement and left quietly. Sisko settled himself more comfortably and pulled out Jake's latest novel that he had been asked to preview. He smiled crookedly as he read the title, Miracle. "Just what I need right about now, Jake." Benjamin leaned back, tenderly adjusting Julian's sleeping form, and began to read. *****

  Kira made her way wearily to her quarters. It had been a very stressful day. She had dealt with several obnoxious delegates, one ruffled Kia, and a few other minor annoyances that Sisko hadn't had the time to be bothered with. All she wanted to do was to crawl into a hot tub filled with bubbles and relax, or not, if she could convince her lover to join her in the bath. She smiled at the prospect that either way, she was going to have an enjoyable evening ahead of her.

  Using her access code, her door opened with a swoosh. Even though the lights were not on, her senses immediately alerted her that someone was in her quarters.

  "Odo?" she called out. When no answer came forth, she called for the lights. As soon as they activated, she could see a blond woman standing in the middle of her floor with an easel in front of her.

  "Myral? Is that you?" Kira asked.

  The Bajoran major watched with confusion as her friend continued to have her back to her. Her friend took her slender hand and dipped it into a jar sitting beside her that was filled with red paint. Taking her fingers, Myral began painting on the easel. "Nerys, Nerys!! How are you? I've heard you've been looking for me, my dear friend, so I thought I'd surprise you with a visit."

  The Bajoran continued to paint with her fingers even as Kira slowly approached. "Yes, I have been looking for you, Myral. I've been very concerned about you since Johda's death. I've been worried about you and Anora."

  "Ah Kira, now why do you worry about us so? You should know I've always taken care of my own," Myral replied, her fingers working faster and faster over the canvas.

  "Well, I am your friend after all, and I had to wonder since when I tried to find you, reports had said you sold the farm and moved away," Kira replied, taking a few more steps closer.

  "I couldn't bear to live in that place any longer, it had far too many memories that I'd just as soon forget," Myral replied, making large sweeping motions over the white background of the canvas.

  Kira tentatively placed a hand on her friend's shoulder. "I'm sure it must have been very difficult for both of you after Johda's death. You have no idea how very sorry I am."

  Suddenly, Myral swerved around and captured Kira's hand with her own. That's when the Major realized that the warm sticky substance covering her wrist wasn't red paint--it was blood. "Sorry?!? You're sorry? What do you have to be sorry for Nerys, that you helped to kill my husband maybe? That you destroyed my family? Or that you betrayed me!!" her voice echoed throughout the quarters, growing angrier and angrier.

  "No, Myral, it wasn't like that!! You 'know' I'd never betray you or Johda!!" Kira protested.

  Myral held a bloody fingertip up to Kira's mouth. "Nerys, don't. Save your words because they make no difference to me now. I've already taken care of everything."

  "What are you talking about?" Kira asked, jerking her head back.

  "Everything is going to work out for the best," Myral promised. "Isn't that right, honey?"

  "Of course, my love," came a masculine reply from behind Kira. She whipped around to come face to face again with the deceased, decayed, corpse of her former friend.

  Johda walked around her to take his wife in his arms, the rotting flesh flapped as he slid them around her waist.

  "See Nerys? I told you Johda would never leave me, didn't I?" Myral said before turning her head to give the hollow corpse a warm kiss. Her bloody fingers tangling in what was left of his hair, leaving red streaks as they came down to caress his back.

  "I would always be here for my family, even if my death was all your fault," Johda replied.

  "Yes, all your fault," Myral said in turn, her eyes taking on a glazed stare.

  "All your fault Nerys, all your fault, all your fault, all your fault," Myral and Johda kept repeating in unison.

  Kira brought her hands up to her ears and let out a blood curdling scream at the top of her lungs.

  "Nerys!! You're all right!!" The familiar voice of her lover somehow made it's way through her subconscious. She wrapped her arms tight around him before even opening her eyes.

  "It happened again, didn't it, Nerys?" Odo prodded gently, still stroking the shivering form under his hands.

  "Yes," she replied simply, once her pounding heart settled back within normal limits.

  "Was it the same dream again?" the Constable inquired, placing a cool kiss on her damp forehead.

  "Not exactly. . .it was. . .different this time," Kira replied, trying to piece all the jumbled images together in her mind.

  "Different? How?" Odo asked.

  "I. . .I'm not quite sure. Odo, could we not talk about this right now?" she implored, not that she was wanting to go back to sleep anytime soon.

  "Okay, okay, we don't have to talk about it if you don't want to, at least not right now," the shapeshifter replied as his hands soothingly ran up and down her back. "However, tomorrow I think it might do you some good to talk to the captain again. Perhaps he'll be able to help give you some more ideas about what these dreams could mean."

  "Maybe", she answered noncommittally. She wasn't sure if she would want to drudge up the dream again, even with Sisko.

  "You just rest for now and we'll see what happens in the morning," Odo replied, pulling her head back down to his chest and running his fingers through the short red hair.

  She mumbled something he didn't quite catch before turning to place a kiss on his chest before snuggling down again. As he waited for her breathing to regulate and watched her eyes flutter shut, he thought about how much he wished he could help his lover. He hated seeing her going through something that was apparently very traumatic for her, yet not being able to do anything about it. He knew that he had always been extremely protective of the major, although he tried his best not to let it show because he knew that his feisty, red-headed, resistance fighter wouldn't approve of being protected and watched over. She really was more than capable of holding her own when threatened, but how he wondered, could she fight against a dream? *****

  Julian laid in bed staring up at the ceiling in the dark. The silence was deafening to his ears as the doctor kept trying to force his mind to settle down instead of thinking about trouble his husband was in. He tossed and turned in the large bed that seemed to grow larger each night Elim wasn't with him. Blankets bunched around his legs as he thought about these past weeks being the first time since they've been married that they hadn't been able to share the same bed. He missed the comforting feeling of Elim's arms wrapped around him keeping him warm, missed feeling the tailor's warm steady breath on the back of his neck, missed the sound of the Cardassian's soft snoring. . .he missed Elim plain and simple. A bittersweet smile tugged at him as he thought about that particular phrase.

  What was he going to do? There had to be some way to get his husband back home where he belonged, but the more Julian thought about it, the more he questioned how he was going to make it possible. The days were rough since the arrest, although he did have his friends, the Infirmary, and Rochosh to help make things a little easier. The nights however, were the most difficult to handle, as it allowed ample time for his mind to become active. He was so worried that they would not be able to find the evidence they needed to clear Elim of the charges and he didn't know what he would do if that happened. Julian was pulled out of his musing when the baby rolled and moved inside him. 'Don't worry, my little precious one, your Daddy will think of something,' he silently promised the growing child, as his hands came to rub his abdomen.

  He turned on his side and pulled the blanket all the way up over his shoulders and forced himself to shut his eyes. He laid there a full two minutes before flopping over to his other side.

  "Daddy?" he heard the familiar small voice call to him. He looked over and saw his son, who was clutching his teddy, standing at the doorway.

  "What is it, darling?" he called back.

  "Rochosh can't sleep," the boy replied.

  "Do you want to sleep with Daddy?" Julian asked. He didn't have to ask twice as his son bounced into the room and scrambled up onto the bed and into his daddy's arms. Julian settled Rochosh into place and pulled the blanket back over both of them.

  "Did you have a bad dream?" Julian questioned, as Rochosh huddled close to him.

  "No, Daddy," the young boy replied.

  "Then what's wrong, sweetheart? Why couldn't you sleep?" Julian asked, as he stroked the dark, soft, ebony hair of his son's, thinking again how much he reminded him of Elim.

  "Can't sleep cause I miss Jayta," the boy replied, looking into his daddy's eyes.

  Julian felt the stinging tears threatening to return to his eyes, but he pushed them back with effort. "Daddy misses Jayta too," Julian told his son as his voice shook.

  Rochosh's eyes searched and studied his fathers eyes for a long moment before speaking. "Daddy still sad. Rochosh is too," he announced.

  Julian knew it was pointless to try and lie to his son. "Yes, Daddy is still sad, but Jayta will be home sometime soon." 'I hope," he added silently.

  "Rochosh make Daddy not feel so sad," the small boy replied resolutely and scrambled out of his fathers arms and off the bed.

  "Rochosh? What are you doing?" Julian asked as his son walked over to a small table on the other side of the room.

  "Rochosh get something make Daddy feel better," the child informed him. Standing on tip toes, the boy stretched and reached for what was on the table until his little fingers finally wrapped around it. He pulled it off and climbed back into bed with his Daddy where he handed his father the stuffed bear he had brought with him. "Kukie make Daddy feel a little happier," Rochosh said, and pointed to Julian's beloved Kukalaka.

  Both father and son settled back into bed with their respective, nearly identical, stuffed brown bears. "Thank you, Son," Julian said in a soft voice.

  "Daddy welcome. Daddy more happy?" the boy asked, hugging his own bear to him.

  "Rochosh makes Daddy happier," Julian affectionately replied, giving the boy a hug.

  The small lad smiled brightly at that. "Rochosh want story," he declared.

  "You want me to tell you a story?" Julian asked, about ready to protest, due to the fact it was already well past the little one's bedtime.

  "No, Rochosh want to tell Daddy story," the little boy explained, still smiling at his father.

  Julian raised his eyebrow in surprise. "You have a story you want to tell?"

  "Yes, Jayta tell me it. Can I tell you, Daddy?" the little boy pleaded.

  Julian couldn't help but smile in the dark. "Okay, you can tell Daddy your story, but then we have to go to sleep all right?"

  "Okay," the little boy responded, snuggling in closer to his daddy's arms. "First, Daddy has to close eyes," the little boy ordered.

  "All right," Julian said with a smile, as he shut his eyes and laid back against the pillow.

  Rochosh watched his daddy just to make sure his eyes were shut before starting. Once he was satisfied, he began. "Long long time ago, was a spy who live on station like this one. He not able to live at home anymore. He sent away for being bad. Well, spy very sad cause he miss his home. Spy had no friends. Then one day, spy see very cute doctor. He do what you do, Daddy!" the boy exclaimed before falling back into the story. "Doctor all alone, so spy go talk to doctor. As soon as spy talk to doctor, spy know he love doctor. Spy wanted to tell doctor, but he too scared. Spy stay friends with doctor and keep love secret for a long long time. Then one day spy very very sad. He think about friend he love a long time ago who died. He so sad that he stay in his room all alone. Doctor come to see what wrong with his friend. Spy tell him to go away. Doctor no listen and make spy let him in. Doctor see sad spy and want make him happy again. Cute doctor tell spy he love him. Spy kiss doctor and they both very happy. Spy tell doctor he love him too, never want doctor to leave. Spy and doctor stay together and love each other forever and ever. The end," Rochosh finally said with a huge yawn.

  The boy looked over at his father. "Daddy like story?" he asked.

  Julian opened his eyes, and blinked back the few tears that he felt pooling in his eyes. "Daddy liked the story very much, sweetheart," he replied and kissed his son's soft cheek.

  "Rochosh glad. Want to make Daddy not be sad," the boy replied, remembering his promise to his Jayta to take care of his Daddy.

  "Let's go to sleep, sweetheart," Julian told him as he took his son and the two bears into his arms and held them tightly.

  "Night, Daddy. Love you," the little boy said, as his eyes drifted shut.

  "I love you too, darling," Julian replied, placing a kiss on the child's forehead and closing his own eyes again. 'Good night to you too, my love,' he called out silently to the tailor before falling into a dreamless sleep.

  The night was still and quiet. Garak laid on the cot in the holding cell, doing his best to remind himself that the walls weren't actually closing in on him. It wasn't working. He tossed and turned, grabbed his thin blanket and pulled it up around his shoulders. He was freezing and couldn't seem to get warm. He thought about calling to Odo to increase the temperature of the environmental controls, but he knew it wouldn't do any good. He knew what his problem truly was and a blanket or increase in the temperature wasn't going to help. . .he needed Julian. He missed curling up next to the doctor's warm and comforting body.

  A pang of sorrow spread through him as he thought about his spouse and how much he wanted to be there for the doctor now but couldn't. 'He needs me and I'm here stuck in this forsaken holding cell,' he thought with disdain as he turned once more and punched the pillow several times before settling down again. He shut his eyes, but his mind would not rest. 'He's carrying my child, bringing a baby girl of my blood into this life and I can't even be there to help him through it,' he thought to himself. And what about Rochosh? Elim missed seeing his bright-eyed cheerful smile every day, missed the hugs and kisses that he both gave and received. He thought about all the daily activities that he shared with his son that he missed so much now, helping him get ready for bed, playing with him, telling him bedtime stories, singing songs with him. . .he missed him terribly. 'It isn't right that I can't be with my son!' But what was he going to do about it? While he was incarcerated his hands were tied. He felt so helpless that he couldn't search for the answers that would free him. He had no doubts that he would be able to discover the identity of person or persons responsible for making it look like he was the murderer, but he very well couldn't put his agent's knowledge to use in a holding cell!

  Garak tossed again and fixed the pillow under him. Going to sleep was never this hard when he was with his lover. Sighing in frustration, he shut his eyes, but Julian's face kept floating around in his mind. It was frustrating and painful to think that his lover was not that far from him in distance at all, that they were only separated by the forcefield of the cell and people who thought he was guilty of a heinous crime. Oh, he couldn't blame the ones who thought he was guilty. . .with his reputation and the evidence mounted against him he would have thought himself guilty had he not known any better. While he was being honest with himself, it wasn't only his reputation in the Order, or the evidence that would make people doubt his innocence, the truth was he had committed a murder. Yes, it had been when he was much younger and he was enraged by his lover's death, but it was a murder nonetheless. Julian, Odo, Captain Sisko, they all knew about his past digression and he couldn't blame them for thinking he would be capable of doing it once again. . .after all, that Bajoran 'had been' threatening his pregnant spouse. It didn't bother him so much that Sisko and the others thought he might be guilty, what he wouldn't have been able to stand though was looking into Julian's hazel eyes to see that his lover thought him guilty. Without Julian's unshakable belief in his innocence, Garak wouldn't know how he'd be able to last. Julian had been nothing but supportive and understanding throughout all of it, but Garak could still see the pain and sorrow he tried so hard to hide whenever they talked. He worried so much about the younger man because he knew Julian didn't need the additional stress of dealing with this on top of the pregnancy. He had looked so tired the last time Elim had seen him. Julian had told him not to worry. Hadn't he known he was asking for the impossible? If Julian had lost the baby because of the stress he was putting him through, he'd never forgive himself.

  "Oh Julian, what am I suppose to do?" the tailor asked the thin air surrounding him. From his first days of exile he had felt distrusted and ridiculed from many people on the station. He had thought that maybe. . . perhaps in time, they would come to trust him as Julian had, but he knew how ridiculous such a notion was. 'Well Elim, the life you're leading is the one you made for yourself. . .a result of your past choices, so no one can be blamed but you," he reminded himself, and then he reminded himself that he wouldn't have changed any of it if he had it to do all over again. Had he not been exiled and sent to a Bajoran station to be surrounded with suspicion and disdain, he never would have known or loved Julian and he also never would have had such a beautiful son nor would he be having another child coming into his life. No, even though things seemed rather bleak at the moment, Garak would be lying if he had said he wanted it all changed. He only wished he shared his diligent spouse's belief in justice.

  The next morning, Julian awoke to the feeling of being tickled. Brushing his hands along the irritated spot he moved to turn over. The tickling sensation continued and Julian gave in and finally opened his eyes. Glancing down he saw the tiny fingers of his son playfully attacking once again. Grinning, Julian advanced his own attack and soon both father and son were lost in a tangle of sheets and giggles.

  "Daddy feel better?" Rochosh asked as the playful wrestling came to a rest.

  "Daddy always feels better when you're around," Julian answered truthfully. "Now come along, Rochosh. We need to hurry or Daddy's going to be late for work."

  As they set about preparing for the new day, Julian chuckled softly as his little boy rushed about determined to help his daddy.

  Once dressed and ready, Julian ran his hands slowly down the front of his uniform. It was feeling tight, too tight. With a sigh he realized that soon he would no longer be able to keep his pregnancy a secret, at least not from those he was close to. It was just the other day that Miles had asked if he was putting on weight. Even Quark said something when he ordered dessert with his lunch. Kira was also acting very strangely towards him, when Miles had asked about the weight, Kira nearly bit the poor man's head off. But she couldn't know, could she? Maybe he could hide it for a little longer, after all no one would really suspect that he was pregnant. Dax and the Captain were helping him all they could, but he was feeling very uneasy about keeping it from Miles.

  "Daddy?" the soft voice brought Julian out of his thoughts. "Daddy ready to leave?"

  Julian looked down and saw that Rochosh had already packed his day-bag full of everything he would need for a day at the Infirmary.

  The day was moving slowly, but by midday Julian was feeling exhausted. His father had mentioned something about getting some business done and so Julian had taken Rochosh with him to work. Fortunately, Captain Sisko had come by to get Rochosh for their weekly ball game. Now as Julian dragged himself to the Replimat for a quiet lunch, he seriously thought about taking his lunch and eating with Elim. 'No,' he thought. 'I'd just hear another lecture about how hard I've been working. Elim doesn't need to be worrying about me right now. I'll eat something first, so I feel better. Then I'll go see him.' With his mind made up, Julian actually began to feel better already.

  The doctor was barely through the replimat entrance when he felt himself being pulled towards a chair.

  "You look horrible," the Chief of Engineering was telling him, as he led his young friend to a table. "Wait here, while I get you something to eat."

  When O'Brien returned he placed a bowl of hot soup in front of his friend. "Look, Julian, I know it's been rough on you with Garak being arrested, but you've got to start taking care of yourself. Just look at you, you're exhausted all the time, you've dark circles under your eyes, and don't think I haven't noticed how sick you've been getting either. With all that throwing up, I can't imagine how you've managed to put on some weight. Not that you don't look good with the extra pounds, you do, but you're a doctor for God's sake, you're making yourself sick."

  Julian smiled as he tasted his soup, listening to his friend ramble on. Swallowing the soup and taking a sip of the glass of juice Miles also provided, Julian made up his mind.

  When the chief had stopped to take a breath, Julian took his chance.

  "You're right, Miles. I. . ." the doctor began, but was unable to finish before the older man launched into another lecture.

  "I mean it, Julian. It's not going to do you, Garak, or Rochosh any good if you make yourself sick. I've had enough, and now I'm telling you what to do. You're going to finish that soup, then you're going back to your quarters to get some rest. I see that Dr. Slovik is back on the station, I'm going to go see him and together I'm sure we can make you come to your senses. I've sat back long enough, listening to Dax and the Captain, and even Kira making excuses for you, but no more, do ya hear?"

  O'Brien sat back and folded his arms across his chest, staring intently into his friend's eyes.

  Julian swallowed once again. "Yes, Miles, I hear you and I agree. I have been trying to do too much myself. Maybe a rest will do some good." He held up his hand to restrain O'Brien's comments.

  "Miles, there is something that I need to tell you, but I'm not sure just how you're going to take it. There's a reason for the exhaustion, and nausea, and yes, my weight gain." Julian paused to look at his friend. Miles had dropped his arms and was leaning forward a look of concern across his face.

  With a deep breath, the doctor continued in a low voice. "Miles, I. . . I'm-I'm . . . well. . .I'm pregnant."

  The Irishman leaned back in his seat, mouth agape, hands back across his chest. His eyes took in every single inch of the doctor's form. Finally, the eyes rested on Julian's abdomen. A deep frown strained his facial features. Without a word, he rose from his seat. O'Brien stepped behind Julian's chair and with strong arms raised his friend into a standing position. Silently, the chief led the way back to the doctor's quarters.

  Julian was dreading the silence. He knew what Miles had thought of the decision to nurse Rochosh, and Julian was afraid that this time O'Brien wouldn't understand. His friend despised him. This thought added to the already heavy heart Julian possessed. Unbidden tears began to form, as the doctor tried desperately to think of the right words to say to save his friendship.

  Once inside the doctor's quarters, O'Brien gently nudged the young man to have a seat. Taking his place next to him, O'Brien turned to face the younger man.

  "Bashir, I've been around for quite a while and I've thought I just about seen everything, but once again you have managed to prove that there's still some surprises left in this universe. My God, Julian, why didn't you tell me?"

  Julian released the breath he had been holding. "You, you're. . .you're not mad?" he asked in wonder.

  "Mad? Julian, if there's one thing I've learned after so many years with you, is to expect the unexpected. You've always wanted adventure, now you have it! The only thing that has me upset is that you waited so long to tell me?" His eyes took in Julian's stomach. "What are you five. . .six months?"

  It was Julian's turn to close his gaping mouth. "Yes, I'm in my sixth month. How did you. . ."

  "I've seen my share of pregnancies, you know. You know, for a while there, I really did think that you could have done such a thing, but then I thought no, there's no way. Should have listened to myself. If there's a way, Julian Bashir would find it." He glanced over at his friend, then revised in a more gentle tone "Julian Garak-Bashir would find it."

  It was the first time, Miles had ever acknowledged Julian's married name. The chief noticed the misty eyed look on Julian's face and quickly explained, "Well, if you're carrying his child, ya might as well carry his name."

  "Thank you," Julian whispered. He leaned back, it had been an exhausting day for him and it all was catching up to him once again. Julian opened his eyes as he felt his legs being lifted and his boots removed.

  "It's no wonder, yer walking so slowly. These boots just weren't made for swollen feet. Just lean back and relax, let me take care of this for you." Miles began to massage the swollen feet.

  The door opened and in bounded little Rochosh, followed by Captain Sisko. "Hi, Daddy." The little boy scrambled up to place a sticky kiss on his daddy's lips. "Rochosh all messy from ice cream. Need clean clothes." With that he jumped down and ran towards his bedroom.

  Benjamin sat on the chair opposite the two friends. With knowing eyes he took in the situation. "You know?" he queried O'Brien.

  The engineer nodded and continued with the foot massage.

  Julian leaned back and relaxed. With a pang, he remembered the time of Garak's arrest and how Elim had been massaging his feet then. The tears began to flow, releasing the pent up anger and frustration he had been feeling for the past few weeks.

  The massaging stopped as both older men looked worriedly at the doctor.

  "Julian, what's wrong?" Sisko asked coming up along side of the young man.

  "I'm sorry, I'm trying not to, but I can't help it," Julian sobbed between tears. "I miss him so much."

  "I'll take care of the boy," O'Brien said softly. He made his way towards Rochosh's room as the captain gently enfolded the sorrowful doctor in his arms.

  "Let it out, son, let it out," the big man murmured. "It's going to be all right, I promise you."

  "Daddy, okay?" the little voice quivered.

  Sisko looked up to see O'Brien carrying the little boy. He smiled and responded, "Daddy will be fine, Rochosh. Uncle Ben will see to it. Now, you have to be a big boy and listen to Chief O'Brien, will you do that for me?"

  The little head nodded up and down vigorously, as O'Brien left with the boy still in his arms.

  The captain looked back down at the still sobbing young man in his arms. The crying had ebbed somewhat, but it was obvious that Julian was suffering. "It's time to take some action, my young friend," he said aloud amidst the wails. Nodding his head, and setting his firm jaws, Benjamin Sisko decided to take command of this investigation. "Sisko to Dax," his voice boomed throughout the quarters.

  "He can't go on like this, Dax. The stress is getting to be too much for him. " Captain Sisko spoke quietly not wanting to disturbed the sleeping doctor in the next room.

  "I agree, the baby and all those hormones would have been more than enough for Julian to handle. Garak's arrest is just an added stressor that he didn't need." Dax was pacing the room as she spoke. "Benjamin, he hasn't even told his father yet! He's so afraid that Mr. Bashir wouldn't understand. Julian is trying so hard to be the one who can handle everything without any help. He just doesn't realize how much he needs someone to take care of him."

  Sisko nodded his head in agreement. "Dax, you know the only one he's going to want to do that is Garak. We have to find the real murderer and get Garak released before Julian loses that baby."

  "Odo hasn't uncovered any other evidence?" Jadzia asked taking a seat next to the captain.

  "He's like us, he knows that Garak is innocent, but can't find the evidence to prove it." Sisko sighed, leaning forward and placing his head in his hands.

  "What about the murdered man, this Orian Soban? Is there anything in his background that could point to someone else as having murdered him?" Dax was glancing through the data padd containing all the evidence against Garak.

  "He was a farm laborer, working odd jobs as he could find them," Sisko replied.

  "Then what was he doing on DS9?" Jadzia questioned.

  Benjamin rubbed his eyes as he responded. "Odo says that Orian dropped out of sight a while back. He started drinking and couldn't hold down any jobs. Apparently he thought he'd have better luck someplace else. He was waiting to get transport off the station when he was killed. Orian fought in the resistance during the Cardassian occupation, had a few friends and was well liked."

  "Wonder what caused him to start drinking?" the Trill inquired.

  "Guess we'll never know now, will we?" came the captain's weary response.

  "Benjamin, if he was in the resistance, why don't we have Kira check with a few of her former friends and see what she can find out about him? It's worth the effort," Jadzia suggested.

  Sisko looked up at his old friend with a smile on his face. "And if he was drinking, what better person to ask for information than a bartender? Now that one I'll leave up to you, old man. Quark always did have a soft spot for you."

  "What will you be doing?" Dax had risen from her seat and stretched.

  "I'll stay here a while longer until Richard comes back. Then Odo and I are going to do some door to door canvassing. Someone on this station, stole a laser scalpel from our Infirmary and apparently had some contact with Garak to gain access to hair and skin fragments. That someone was also present when Orian harassed Julian and heard Garak's request that he remove his hands from his spouse. There have to be witnesses to all of this. We just have to find them and ask for their cooperation." Sisko's dark eyes were shining with undisguised fury. "I've said this before and I'm vowing it again--no one comes on my station and threatens any of my people."

  Dax smiled and hugged her friend. "I'm glad that you're on our side," she stated. She left the room and Sisko made his way into the bedroom to check once again on the sleeping young man. *****

  During the following day, Garak was busy putting the finishing touches on a new outfit for Julian. His pregnant spouse was in desperate need of some clothes that would accommodate his expanding abdomen. He looked up as he heard the forcefield crackling.

  Captain Sisko stood inside the holding cell. "How are you doing, Garak?" he asked with his deep voice.

  "Captain, this is a surprise," the tailor responded with his usual courteous tone. "How am I doing? Well, I have been better. To tell the truth I miss Julian and Rochosh very much."

  Sisko indicated the bunk with his hand and sat down as Garak nodded his approval. "They miss you very much also. In fact, that's why I'm here."

  Garak turned to face the station's commanding officer. "Oh? Is something wrong with Julian?" The Cardassian was not able to keep the worry from his voice.

  "Julian is not doing well without you, Garak. He needs you more than he's willing to admit. His health is failing, he's exhausted, he reacts emotionally, he refuses to stop working, and he often doesn't follow Dr. Slovik's orders. Short of locking him up in here with you, we've begun taking turns on seeing that he gets his rest and follows doctor's orders." The captain's voice shook with despair. He stared directly into Garak's blue eyes.

  "Captain, why tell me all of this? If I had my way, I would be out there with Julian, helping him, caring for him. As it stands, I am forced to stay in here, separated from my love and my little boy. I thank you for all that you and the others are doing for Julian, but it causes me endless pain to think that I cannot be the one to attend to Julian's needs." Garak's fists curled at his sides. Anger shone in his eyes.

  Sisko watched the tailor for a few moments. Then in a careful voice suggested, "Garak, tell me, did you have anything to do with the murder of Orian Soban?"

  With no hesitation, Elim Bashir-Garak responded, "No, Captain, I did not have anything to do with the man's death."

  The captain slowly released the breath he had held as Garak answered. "I believe you," he stated. "Now, let's get busy on getting you out of here."

  "Just how do you propose to do that, Captain? I understand that all of the evidence points directly to me?" the tailor inquired.

  "That's just it, Garak, it's all too perfect. Let's talk about the customers you had about the time Orian appeared on the station."

  Sisko and Garak spent the next hour going over patrons of the tailor's shop and which ones might have had the chance to gather the necessary evidence to plant at the scene of the murder. *****

  Later on, Captain Sisko entered the boardroom and silently greeted his senior staff, excluding Julian. "Report," was all he said as he took his place at the head of the long table.

  Odo cleared his throat and began, "I have started a search of the names you and Garak came up with. So far, I have eliminated three and have two more to locate. One a Bajoran male, Davon Galin, whereabouts unknown. The other a Bajoran female, name unknown, whereabouts unknown." He stopped long enough to give Sisko his exasperated, you're expecting miracles look, before he added, "Don't worry, I'll find a way to locate them."

  Dax took the opportunity to give her report. "I've had a nice long talk with Quark. It seems that Orian Soban was involved in some kind of farming accident last year. Someone was injured and Orian was apparently overwhelmed with guilt. Quark didn't know the details of the accident, only that in some way Orian felt responsible."

  Sisko nodded his head. "That's a start, pursue it further, find out the details, maybe someone took out some revenge on Orian."

  "Chief?" Sisko questioned.

  O'Brien looked up. "Oh, well I've been going through all the transport records, checking out all strangers who came aboard DS9 during the time period Odo gave me. Everyone so far checks out, except for one Bajoran female. Seems the name she used was that of a woman who supposedly died during the Cardassian occupation."

  Sisko's eyes raised in curiosity. "Constable, could your unknown Bajoran female be the same one?"

  Odo looked at O'Brien, as the chief engineer just shrugged his shoulders. "I'll check it out immediately," the Changeling responded.

  "Captain," Worf interjected. "I believe that I would be of more assistance to you with a different assignment."

  Sisko smiled indulgently. "Commander, you have a very important job. One that I wish I could be doing, I trust you to do the best that you are capable of."

  The Klingon's shoulders slumped as he nodded his head. "As you wish, Captain. I have been limiting Doctor Bashir's movements about the station. He is allowed to visit his husband, father, and the Infirmary. When he needs something done, I, or one of the 'larger' security men, are there to see that it gets done." Worf looked at his wife, "Do not worry, I keep my distance, the sneezing is minimal."

  O'Brien and Kira could barely restrain their soft laughter. Both sobered quickly when the huge Klingon turned to face them.

  Kira began her report. "I've check with all of my former resistance comrades. Some have heard of Orian Soban, but did not have the resources to hire him. He was said to be friendly and a little slow in his thinking. I do have one friend who may have had the resources to hire him, but as of yet, I am unable to locate her." The major's voice trailed off as she thought of her old friend, Myral. She looked up as she felt Odo's hand on her shoulder.

  Sisko looked about the table. "You've all done well, but we still have a lot to get done. Let's check out all of our new leads. Dismissed." *****

  After passing through the security check for newly arrived visitors, Amsha Bashir made her way towards her son's quarters. It had taken a longer time to get to DS9 than she had expected. Her funds were limited and she refused to touch anything of Richard's. Just the thought of him, made her walk faster, her body rigid. Amsha forced herself to relax, she was bound and determined not to let Jules know that there was anything wrong between Richard and her. The poor dear had his own problems. Rochosh had said that Elim didn't come home. Had they had an argument? At this moment she was concerned only with her son's happiness. Lord knows he had grown up feeling that she hadn't loved him, how she could have let that happen, she wasn't sure. No matter, she would be there for him now.

  Reaching her destination, she rang the chime for admittance. The door opened at a command from inside and Amsha entered.

  "Yanna!" Rochosh scampered over to greet his grandmother. She bent to pick the little boy up in her arms, hugging him close. Turning to greet her son, Amsha stopped short, her breath temporarily taken.

  "Hello, darling," Richard stated simply as he rose to greet his wife.

  "Richard," Amsha acknowledged. "Where's Jules?"

  "He's taking a nap. He hasn't been feeling too well." Richard moved the toys he and his grandson had been playing with to make room for Amsha to have a seat.

  Still holding her grandson, Amsha sat facing her estranged husband. "Is he all right? What's wrong?"

  "Rochosh happy now, Yanna Amsha and Grandpa both come to help," the little boy interrupted. "Make Daddy no cry no more."

  Amsha looked at Richard, putting aside her own anger at the man, she concentrated on her son's situation. "Where's Elim? Rochosh told me he didn't come home? Is there a problem?"

  Tiring of all the talk, Rochosh wriggled free and ran to get some more toys. Richard leaned forward, not quite knowing just how to talk with the woman before him. He still felt despondent over their last conversation, no argument. Concentrating on Jules instead of his own problems, the elder Bashir took a deep breath.

  "Amsha," he began. "Darling, there's a big problem. Garak has been arrested." Waiting for his wife to relax after her slight confusion, he began again. "There was a murder, it appears that all the physical evidence points to Garak as being the murderer. Both Constable Odo and Captain Sisko have assured me of their belief of Garak's innocence."

  Listening to her husband's explanation, and fighting back her tears, Amsha felt some of the pain that her Jules must be experiencing. "Jules? You said he wasn't feeling well?"

  "It's hard to explain," Richard started. "He's tired and has been sick to his stomach a lot. And then there's the weight gain."

  Amsha looked quizzically at Richard. Rising from her seat, she went into Julian's bedroom. Sitting on the bed next to her son, Amsha gently ran her fingers through his unruly hair. Checking, she found no fever from her touch, but she was concerned over his paleness, and yes, there had been considerable weight gain. Kissing her child's forehead, she quietly stole back out of the room.

  "Richard, has Jules seen a doctor? That's an awful lot of weight he's put on." Amsha's concern for her son brought her to sit next to her husband and take his hand in hers.

  Pleased with his wife's comfort in his presence, Richard chanced a smile. "That Vulcan doctor, Slovik, is back on the station. He tells me that Jules is proceeding nicely and that there's nothing to worry about. Not that I understand what he's talking about."

  "Well, I may go and see him tomorrow," Amsha replied. "Proceeding nicely? What's that supposed to mean?"

  Richard shrugged his shoulders helplessly in response to the question.

  "Grandpa! Yanna! Look at what Rochosh have." The small youngster raced over to his grandparents a box in hand. In the box were pieces of cloth of varying sizes, shapes and colors.

  "This is very nice, Rochosh, are you saving these for something?" his grandmother inquired.

  The boy shook his head up and down. "Jayta help me. He say we put pieces together to make blanket. You know, like one you gave to Rochosh."

  Amsha smiled and looked at Richard. "He means the quilt I made for him when he was born."

  "Well, Rochosh, that's nice that you and your father will make the quilt together," Richard commented.

  "Uh huh, baby will like too," Rochosh said.

  "Oh, you're making it for a baby?" Amsha asked. "What baby?"

  "Baby brother," Rochosh smiled as he spoke. "Jayta and Daddy make baby. Rochosh very happy." He giggled as his grandfather bent to pick him up.

  Richard steadied the boy on his lap. "That's wonderful, Rochosh. Your Jayta is having a baby." To his wife he added, "No wonder Jules is so upset, he's worried about Garak's health. Wonder why no one said anything?"

  Rochosh twisted in his grandfathers arms to face both of his grandparents. "You bring Jayta home, he make Daddy feel better. Daddy no feel good, baby make him sick."

  Amsha gently ran her fingers over the boy's cheek. "It's okay, darling, your Daddy will make Jayta feel lots better as soon as we get him home."

  Rochosh looked at his grandparents, his eye ridges scrunching and his nose wrinkling in thought. "Jayta feel okay. Daddy no feel good. Baby make Daddy sick," the boy repeated.

  "What's he talking about?" Richard asked his wife.

  Amsha shook her head slowly. "Rochosh, what do you mean the baby makes Daddy sick?"

  "Daddy no feel good, baby make him throw up," the child replied while playing with his grandfathers fingers.

  Richard's eyes clouded over and he stared at his wife. Amsha's mouth slowly opened as she began to realize what her grandchild was trying to tell them.

  "Sweetheart," she questioned. "Are you saying that your 'Daddy' is having the baby?"

  Rochosh giggled once again. "Jayta and Daddy make baby. Jayta put baby in Daddy's tummy."

  "What the bloody hell has that boy done now?" Richard demanded.

  "Richard, watch your mouth, the child," Amsha spoke quietly, yet firmly. She reached over to take hold of her grandchild and gave him a hug. "Darling, why don't you go put this box away and then play for a while. Yanna and Grandpa need to talk."

  After Rochosh had disappeared into his bedroom, Richard faced his wife. Angry eyes spoke of his feelings with no words being said.

  "Calm down, Richard. Getting angry isn't going to help matters and. Jules needs us more than ever now."

  "How can you be so calm when our son has done something so, so. . ." Richard sputtered.

  "And how can you be so cold-hearted. Our son is pregnant, we should be happy. . ." Amsha began.

  "Happy! Do you hear yourself, woman? Our 'SON' is pregnant! I knew it was a mistake to let this marriage go on," Richard's voice grew louder.

  "What? Who are you to judge this marriage, when you can't even keep your own from falling apart? Besides, you were happy when you thought it was Elim who was pregnant," Amsha shot back in a barely restrained voice.

  "Garak is not my 'SON'," Richard replied rising from his seat.

  "Mother?" Julian's voice interrupted any reply Amsha was about to give.

  "Jules, you're awake! Darling, how are you feeling?" Amsha rose from her seat to walk over and give her son a hug.

  Julian smiled and hugged his mother in return, but his eyes couldn't help but notice the change in his fathers demeanor. "Is there something wrong?"

  Amsha shot her husband a wilting gaze as she replied, "No, Jules, there's nothing wrong that your father and I can't handle. Come have a seat and tell me all about what's happening." She guided her son to a seat next to her on the sofa. Richard stood, arms folded across his chest, staring, lips pursed.

  "Julian," the elder Bashir began.

  "Richard, don't," Amsha warned. Julian looked from parent to parent feeling suddenly very alone and insecure.

  Richard continued despite the plea from Amsha. "Julian, tell us the truth. Are you pregnant?"

  The doctor's head jerked up and he found himself facing the father he had grown up with. The man for whom he was never good enough, not the loving father he had just recently come to know. He hung his head once again as he replied. "Yes," his voice small and almost childlike. His hands formed a protective bridge over his abdomen.

  When Julian looked up he saw his mother smiling, tears forming in her eyes, as she reached out to embrace her son. Turning his head, Julian could see that his father was now sitting, head in hands.

  "I don't understand, Jules. Just how did you accomplish such a. . .a miracle?" Amsha inquired.

  Julian gave her a brief account of the procedure and the hormone treatment. All the while he watched his father from the corner of his eyes. The older man sat hunched over, not looking at his son, but apparently listening. When Julian had finished, Amsha hugged him once again. Julian held his breath as his father stood and walked over to him.

  Richard Bashir stood over his son, his pregnant son, gazing into those impossibly huge eyes, the same ones that had always caused his heart to melt. The anger began to slip away, although the confusion remained. This was going to take some time to get used to. Jules was always doing the unexpected, he should be used to it by now. Reaching out with his hand he gently pulled his son forward.

  With an unsteady voice, Richard addressed his only child. "I cannot say that I understand what you have done or the reasons why. What's done is done. I am here for you if you need me, Jules." He sat next to Julian.

  Julian was mildly shocked, his father was accepting this and not criticizing him. In an uncharacteristic gesture, Julian reached out for his fathers hand and squeezed gently. "Thank you."

  Richard watched as Julian's eyes grew slightly larger and the young man smiled. Julian then guided his fathers hand to his distended abdomen placing it in one particular spot. Richard eyes glazed over as he felt the movement within his son. "The baby?" he asked.

  "Your granddaughter," Julian replied.

  Amsha breathe a quiet sigh of relief as she calmly stood and went into Rochosh's bedroom, leaving the two Bashir men to rediscover one another and the new female in their lives. *****