Lonely Is The Night

  by Diana Bloomfield


  (copyright 1997)


  It had been a rather grueling day for Doctor Bashir. Two surgeries, several accidents in engineering, and dealing with patients showing signs of having a particularly contagious and debilitating strain of the flu of an unknown origin had occupied of most of the doctor's day. Though he didn't mind the occasional rush of patients, since he enjoyed staying busy, he was still looking forward to the end of the day.   He looked at the chronometer and noticed that his shift had ended and hour ago. 'That would explain my growling stomach. I shouldn't have skipped lunch,' he thought to himself. He left orders with Nurse Jabara not to disturb him unless it was a medical emergency, and headed towards his quarters. He took a shower, changed into his civilian clothes, and decided to do something about his protesting stomach. He didn't want to eat at the replimat, so he finally decided on having dinner on the Quark's. Julian abhorred eating alone, he always felt conspicuous, so he hoped he ran into a friendly face.

  It was a typical Friday night at Quark's. O'Brien was playing darts with an ensign from Ops--and by the smile on the Irishman's face--Julian didn't have to wonder who was winning. The Dabo tables were going, but there weren't as many customers as there would be later in the evening. People were talking, eating, and drinking as usual. Julian ordered a Falalian Tonic while he waited for his order of Gladst and took a seat at an empty table in back. Dax came walking in, eyed Julian, and worked her way through the crowd to his table.

  "Hi Julian, mind if I sit with you while I wait for Worf to finish his shift?" She asked, with a friendly smile, already pulling out the seat.

  "Good evening, Jadzia. Please, join me," he said, offering a hand out to the empty chair. "You look very lovely tonight." He commented, his eyes traveling over a rather flattering turquoise dress.

  She rolled her eyes. "Thanks. Worf said he had some mysterious plans for us tonight and asked me to dress up. I feel a little ridiculous," she said, taking a sip from the Black Hole she had ordered.

  "Mysterious isn't the first word I'd associate with Worf. You must be having an effect on him." Julian replied, mischievousness dancing in his eyes.

  "Well, I don't know about that. Anyhow, I think you look rather nice yourself." She replied taking in the crisp white shirt and well-fitted gray slacks he chose instead of his uniform. She gave him a smile of approval.

  Julian noticed that Jadzia seemed to have something on her mind.

  "Jadzia . . . is something troubling you?" he finally asked, when she hadn't said anything for a few minutes.

  " Well . . ." she started and then stopped as if trying to think of just how she wanted to phrase her answer. Leaning towards the doctor, she continued, "I don't know if you've noticed or not, but it seems that within the last few weeks, something has been troubling Garak."

  "To be honest, I haven't noticed anything, but then I have missed our weekly lunches recently due to the fact I've been extremely busy," he replied. It actually had been nearly a month since the last time Julian had dined with the tailor. "What exactly has he done to make you think something is wrong?"

  Frowning slightly, Dax answered. "He has been extremely quiet and distant lately. It's also been two days since his shop has been opened."

  Hearing that did surprise Julian. Garak was usually not remiss with his business. Seeing the concern on his face, Dax continued. "I think you should take some time and talk to him."

  "What makes you think that he would want to talk to me, even if something was bothering him?" the doctor asked.

  "Because you happen to be one of his closest friends," Jadzia replied, surprised he even asked such an obvious question.

  Knitting his brows together speculatively he replied, "I guess I could stop by his room later on tonight and see how he's doing."

  Dax stood and placed a hand on the doctor's shoulder. "I think it would make a big difference to him." She reassured him. Julian didn't notice as Jadzia left she had a small smile creeping across her face. 'It may be exactly what the doctor ordered,' she thought happily to herself as she went in search of Worf.

  Later on that evening, Julian found himself standing outside Garak's quarters. He still felt guilty for the lack of time he had spent with the tailor and wanted to check on him as Jadzia has suggested.

  When the door didn't open readily, he called out. "Garak, are in you there? It's Julian."

  "Go away," came a familiar, although very slurred, voice.

  "Please Garak, I'd really like to talk to you," Julian frowned at the door.

  "I said I didn't want any company! Can't you get that through your stubborn, human head!" growled the voice on the other side.

  Julian was tempted to leave when he heard crash coming from inside. "Medical override. Authorization Bashir 4121," Julian barked at the computer.

  His face flooded with relief when the door finally opened to him, but quickly returned to concern again as he assessed the scene before him. Garak was sitting on the floor in front of his couch with his head buried against his arm. On the coffee table were over a dozen glasses that Julian could tell had contained Kanar that hadn't been returned to the replimat. However, that didn't cause as much apprehension to the doctor as did the rather large, six-inch steel-bladed knife that Garak's other hand was resting on.

  Upon entering the room, Julian heard crunching under his feet. He looked down to find shards of glass on the carpet. Looking about, his gaze followed the trail of glass to a mirror on the wall that had been smashed by one of the glasses that had contained Kanar--no doubt the cause of the crash he had heard.

  "What in bloody hell is going on, Garak?" Julian asked as he headed towards the tailor.

  Garak slowly lifted his eyes and focused a pair of very dilated pupils on the man now standing beside him. "You don't seem to hear very well my dear Doctor," the Cardassian answered with a sneer.

  Deciding to ignore the remark, Bashir went on. "What is the meaning of all this?" he asked harshly, taking the knife out of Garak's hand. In his current condition, despite all his blustering, Garak wasn't attempting to put up much of a fight.

  "Haven't you ever seen someone wanting to take his own life, Doctor?" he asked with sarcasm dripping in his voice.

  Julian's face visibly blanched at this comment, fully taken off guard by it. Dropping to his knees next to the tailor, he reached out his hand and tentatively laid it on the Cardassian's shoulder.

  Not knowing exactly what to say, he asked, "What's wrong Garak?"

  At this question, Garak gave Julian a mocking laugh and shook off the offending hand. "So, the young doctor would like to know what's wrong, hmmm? Well, how about this--can the doctor understand what it is like to live on this miserable station, surrounded by people who would sooner see you dead then speak to you?" Garak somehow managed to stand up and started pacing the room. "Well, do you?" he asked, turning to stare at Julian. When the doctor made no comment, he resumed his pacing. "Once, when I was on Cardassia Prime, I was someone of importance. I had a career and a family. I had prominence in the community and had exposure to art and education."

  Garak came to a stop at the corner of the room. Suddenly, he banged both of his hands against the wall with a strength that startled Julian, but still the doctor remained silent.

  "Now I'm here, where I'm constantly ridiculed and where no one cares whether I live or die!" he spat through gritted teeth. "And do you know what the worst part of is?" he asked turning around with pale eyes burning with such rage and pain that they held Julian captive.

  "What?" Julian asked barely audible, still unable to break the hold Garak had on him. He had not fully realized how devastating exile had been for his friend. He felt he was only now seeing a small fraction of pain that had agonized Garak for years.

  "The fact that being stuck here means that I will never again have the strength and security that comes from the companionship of a lover." Continued the Cardassian, his voice started to lower and become slightly unsteady. "To never know love again . . ." With that, a single tear slid down Garak's cheek as he turned from Julian. The doctor had gotten up, and now came to stand behind the tailor.

  "I had no idea you felt like this," he said quietly as he placed both his hands on the Cardassian's shoulders. He found himself unable to verbalize the feeling of loneliness and desertion his friend had been fighting for so long.

  "Yes, well now you do," the tailor replied with weariness in his voice. His anger had been spent.

  "You're wrong though," Julian said softly. When the Cardassian didn't say anything, but only looked at him suspiciously, the doctor continued. "You are worthy of love and will find it."

  Garak threw his head back and gave a contemptuous laugh at the comment. "Ah, my dear Doctor, and just who do you think could possibly come to love a Cardassian in this wretched place?"

  "Me." His reply was out of his mouth before he even realized what he was saying. 'Gods! Did I just say what I think I said?'

  Turning around at this, Garak came face to face with Julian. Surprise and doubt filled his eyes. "You?" He saw shock reflected in the hazel depths of the doctor's eyes, as if only realizing what he had admitted. Coupled with that shock though, was a look that contained such honest sincerity, it caused the tailor's breath to catch in his throat.

  Julian knew he could no longer deny the feelings that had been dwelling under the surface for months, possibly years. Now that he admitted them, albeit unexpectedly, he knew he couldn't take the admission back. In the back of his mind, Julian realized this sudden openness could possibly cause him embarrassment. He pushed this thought abruptly from his mind, determined to tell the tailor what he needed to hear.

  "That's right," Julian said with more courage then he actually felt. He was taking advantage of the tailor's temporary speechlessness to lead him back towards the couch. They took a seat and the doctor faced the tailor. "Tell me something, Garak. Do you really think I spent ten days with you during your withdrawal from the neural implant just because I was 'just' your friend?" At this a small smile played on Julian's lips. He figured he might as well go for the whole truth since he was confessing. "Of course I cared about your health and well being, but I also realized how lonely I would be without you in my life--and how much you meant to me," the doctor added, taking Garak's hand into his to help the tailor digest his words.

  "Why didn't you tell me any of this before?" the Cardassian asked when he was finally able to speak again. He hadn't been aware he had been holding his breath.

  "Because you never gave any indication that our friendship was anything more than platonic and you seemed quite happy with it that way. Besides, I didn't want to risk the embarrassment and possible ridicule from a rejection," Julian stated. Suddenly feeling very shy, he looked down to the floor. "I also didn't want to risk a friendship that's come to mean a great deal to me."

  "But now?" the tailor asked as he put a finger under the doctor's chin, tilting his head up, forcing him to meet his eyes.

  "But now, I wanted you to understand that there is at least one person on this station that cares about you more than you realize, or so it seems." Julian replied quietly.

  Not knowing what to say in response to the young doctor--who was offering more then the tailor ever hoped to imagine--Garak slowly leaned over and covered the doctor's lips with his own. Each closed their eyes, reveling in the taste and feel of the other. Julian's soft lips parted under the Cardassian's firmer ones. Garak brought his hands up to cradle the back of Julian's head, tangling his fingers in the dark curls at the nape of his neck. Julian in turn brought his hands up to gently caress the older man's chest. Each tongue entangled the other as they both battled to take as much of the other as they could. Each exploring the warm depth of the other, both trying to express the need that would no longer be ignored.

  Garak's mind was reeling with the thought of who he now was holding in his arms. He couldn't believe that after all the years of loneliness and all torturous nights, fighting fantasies he dared not hoped would come true, suddenly all his darkest desires were becoming reality. His dear doctor actually returned his affection, and it was almost too much to comprehend.

  They eventually broke the kiss, both breathing rapidly. Garak suddenly wondered how sure Julian was of this, since it had started so quickly. "Julian, are you sure you know what you're doing?"

  "Most definitely," Julian reassured him. If Garak still had any doubts, after looking deep into the doctor's hazel eyes which were clouded with desire and want, they were erased immediately.

  Garak answered the doctor's words by leaning in close and brushing his lips against the sensitive skin behind Julian's ear. Julian was unable to keep a soft moan from escaping his lips. Hearing this, Garak smiled with satisfaction and then proceeded to take the tip of his tongue and run it down the length of Julian's neck, gently nipping at the skin where his neck and shoulder joined.

  Julian reached up and tried unbutton the tailor's jacket, wanting to divest him of the barrier keeping him from the Cardassian's skin. He became irritated when he found his fingers to be too shaky to work the buttons. Realizing this, Garak brushed his fingers aside, unfastened the buttons, shrugged out of the jacket, and then removed his shirt. When he was finished, he continued to focus on the other side of the doctor's neck.

  Julian trailed his hands over the Cardassian's chest and back. The doctor was surprised at how soft and cool the silver-gray skin was. He ran his finger tips over the two trails of ribbing that started at Garak's neck and ran the length of his back, lightly scraping with his nails. He then snaked his hands around to tease both of the tailor's dark black nipples. At this sensation, it was Garak's turn to moan. Julian found the sound to be very erotic.

  In the recesses of his mind, Garak again wondered what in Great Gul was happening to him tonight. At first the loneliness had been plaguing him for days, and which today had been the worst, had nearly overwhelmed him. Now within the matter of a few precious moments, the only true friend he had made since the exile, had made a selfless gesture that could possibly abate all of the aching he had been feeling for what seemed to be millenniums. The doctor had said he was in love with him, but was that really possible? Did he actually have those feelings--or was Julian just trying to rationalize his attempts at trying to soothe a foolish, drunk Cardassian? Undoubtedly, Julian could have his choice of women on this station, so why him? And how did he himself feel? Did he really want to jeopardize their cherished friendship for a pleasure that could be just temporary? He yearned to believe the doctor's earlier words, but was apprehensive to do so.

  Garak hadn't noticed that as he became preoccupied with these thoughts, his caresses of the doctor had stilled. However, it hadn't gone unnoticed by Julian.

  Julian's own caresses stopped as he searched the older man's eyes for an explanation. "Garak, have you changed your mind?"

  "No, no," Garak rushed to say. "I . . .it's just that . . . I mean . . ." the Cardassian suddenly found his extensive vocabulary reduced to mere babblings. He sighed in frustration. He hadn't a clue as to how to explain the drastic changes in the emotions and thoughts that he had been forced to deal with today.

  Julian saw the confusion and uncertainly manifested in the Cardassian's ice blue gaze. A look of seriousness settled on his own face. He had an idea of what might be perplexing the tailor, "Do you trust me, Garak?"

  "Of course I do, Doctor," he replied without a moments hesitation. 'More than you're aware of,' he added silently.

  "Then, though it may be a lot to ask, please trust me enough to believe what I've told you tonight. Also, trust me enough to have thought this through adequately for my own peace of mind."

  'Can I possibly refuse you anything?' "I will try," Garak conceded.

  Julian rewarded him with a bright smile. "That's all I can ask," he replied, taking the tailor's larger hand into his own as he led him towards the bedroom.

  'Julian, I might not be sure of much tonight, but there is one thing I am certain of. I promise you that you won't regret this night,' the tailor vowed to himself.

  Once they found themselves standing at the side of the bed, Julian pulled Garak towards him, encircling him in an embrace. Their hips rubbed slowly, teasing each other with the promise of what was coming. Julian could feel himself hardening in anticipation and was pleased to feel the Cardassian quickly becoming equally aroused. Julian leaned back onto the bed, resting against the pillows. He reached up to pull the tailor's head towards his. His lips again sought out the firm mouth of the tailor's.

  This time the kiss was libidinous and less exploratory, filled with yearning and hunger. Without breaking contact, Garak, still standing, reached down and started unfastening the delicate buttons of Julian's shirt. He then pulled Julian into a sitting position to work the shirt the rest of the way off and unbuckled Julian's belt and persisted to unzip the pants. He broke the kiss only long enough to tug the slacks down the doctor's slim hips and the rest of the way off. He reached down and captured one of Julian's nipples with his teeth, lightly brushing his fingers over the doctor's erection that was now strained against his briefs. Julian raised his hips to try to gain a firmer touch, but each time he tried, Garak pulled back.

  After a few minutes of play, Garak slipped off the briefs, and threw them onto the growing pile of clothing on the floor. He took a moment to appreciate the sight that was before him. The caramel coloring of the young man's skin was accentuated by his thick dark hair, now disheveled. His eyes followed the more sparse hair of his chest downward to the delicious sight of his now prominent erection. He could smell the muskiness of Julian's arousal. Julian blushed under the scrutiny.

  The tailor then attained a position straddling Julian, placing his knees on the outside of the doctor's, as he bent to gently kiss his way down Julian's chest and stomach.

  He proceeded lower, pulling Julian's legs slightly apart, tenderly licking and biting the now highly sensitized skin of Julian's inner thighs. Julian noticed with dismay that Garak was diligently avoiding the area that was most craving the attention. Involuntarily, he emitted a low groan and writhed, trying to bring Garak's mouth into closer contact.

  Knowing, even though he enjoyed the teasing, Garak realized that he couldn't keep the doctor in suspense, so with a mild reluctance he returned to his original position and swiftly took Julian's swollen member into his moist, warm mouth. He was very pleased at the responses he was receiving as he swiveled his tongue over the tip and around the shaft before taking it completely into his mouth and sucking firmly. Julian squirmed under the Cardassian's mouth. His fingers clutched the bedcovers while he instinctively arched his back. The tailor experimented with the use of his tongue and teeth finding out which sensations gathered the most reactions. Julian wondered if he wouldn't go insane under the delightful torture.

  Garak felt Julian's scrotum start to tighten and he brought him to the edge before backing off, lightly licking the shaft, and stroking Julian's thighs with his fingers to divert the building energy. Julian wailed in frustration having had the release so close, just to have it denied to him. All of Julian's former female lovers had their own talents for pleasuring him, but none compared with the tailor's apparent abilities.

  The tailor expertly brought him to the brink several more times until he could no longer stand it. Julian entangled his fingers in the tailor's soft, slicked-back hair, keeping the teasing mouth still. Garak took this opportunity to slip his hand under the writhing doctor and slid a finger to massage the entrance of his cleft. These sensations were too much for Julian to control and he found himself crying out Garak's name as he came, his warm seed coating the tailor's throat.

  Garak then studiously cleaned the rest off before allowing himself to be pulled up into Julian's arms for a slow, lazy kiss. Julian could still taste the saltiness of his juices on the older man's tongue as he slowly sucked on it, causing Garak to groan in response.

  Julian's fingers drifted down to graze the tailor's erection that was still straining painfully against his trousers. Garak involuntarily took a step forward to allow Julian to increase the pressure.

  "Elim . . . I want to feel you inside me," Julian whispered so quietly that Garak almost missed it . . . almost.

  Garak wasn't sure what surprised him more. Julian's use of his first name--or his request. Regardless, he wasn't planning on making Julian have to ask twice.

  With painstakingly slowness, Garak unzipped his pants and pushed them down past his hips to rest at his feet. He did the same with his briefs, releasing his swollen organ, then stepped out of both of them.

  Julian watched his disrobing with a curious fascination. Where Julian had fine body hair, the Cardassian was bare. The scales along his neck ridges was mimicked along his muscular legs, but other then that, his shimmering silver-gray skin was smooth. His erection didn't match Julian's in length, but it was considerably thicker in dimension, and flared out at the tip.

  Subconsciously, Julian licked his lips in anticipation. He had seen the tailor unclothed before during physicals, but circumstances were different tonight. Now, the thought of being taken by the older, more powerful, capable man was causing waves of desire to shoot through him. He marveled slightly at the fact that he was growing hard again so soon.

  He watched as Garak made his way over to the nightstand, opened the top draw to display an amber colored vial, and took a seat next to Julian on the bed. Julian started to turn over onto his stomach before Garak's cool touch stopped him.

  Julian looked quizzically up at him. "I'd . . . like . . . to watch you," he requested timidly, answering the doctor's unasked question.

  Julian nodded in understanding and turned again onto his back. Julian took the amber vial from Garak's hands and opened it up. The smell of oriental spices drifted up to fill his nostrils. Deliberately, Julian poured a liberal amount into his palms, and warmed it before applying it to the tailor's pulsing sex. Garak emitted a low moan at his touch.

  Once he was saturated with the lubricant, Garak took the vial from Julian's hands poured some of the liquid into his own hands. He then slowly moved his fingers between Julian's cheeks and paused at the muscular entrance. He cautiously slid one finger past the opening. The moan that escaped the doctor's lips reassured the tailor that he wasn't hurting Julian and he tried a second finger. Soon he was carefully stretching Julian. His movements were unhurried and easy. He was in no rush because there was no way he would take a chance in hurting his doctor. Julian was murmuring with pleasure.

  Garak looked into Julian's eyes to gauge his readiness. Julian's eyes were dilated with yearning, and passion. Garak took hold of Julian's slender legs and brought them up to rest on his shoulders. His hands stroked Julian's legs in an effort to keep him calm and relaxed as he pressed the tip of his hard sex to the entrance. When Garak felt no tension in Julian's muscles, he gently pushed. When the head of his sex passed the entrance, Garak stilled himself, letting Julian get past the initial burning sensation.

  Julian took hold of Garak's biceps, urging him forward. Garak complied by allowing himself to cautiously push another inch in, allowing Julian to get accustomed to his size a little at a time. Julian however, had other ideas, and with one thrust of his hips upward, took in the rest of the tailor into his body causing both of them to gasp in unison.

  Garak, having heard Julian cry out, stopped any movements of his hips, and brought his hands to Julian's chest to keep him still.

  "I'm okay Elim," Julian said reassuringly when he saw the concerned look on the older man's face.

  "Are you sure?" he asked still not confident. To his surprise, Julian responded by starting a slow undulation of his hips. The sensation caused the tailor to momentarily see stars. In his wildest fantasies, he never would have guess how good Julian's warm body would feel beneath him.

  He took Julian's hips with his hands and started out with a slow, steady rocking motion. The burning passion was slowly building in Garak's stomach, and he fought his desires to quicken the pace as much as possible. Soon though, the feeling of being buried in Julian's warm depths and hearing his soft moaning, were quickly sending him over the edge.

  Julian was matching him thrust for thrust, beads of sweat breaking out on his forehead and chest. His own erection growing strong. He could not remember a time feeling so absolutely filled as he did at this moment. Being with someone stronger than himself, made him feel like he could be completely uninhibited. He found something incredibly carnal in that knowledge, and found himself increasing the pace.

  Garak's control was faltering and even though he wanted to slow down, he found he couldn't. The intensity was getting to be too much and he found himself pounding into Julian's flesh. Pounding . . .pounding . . .stronger and stronger. Julian's head thrashed back and forth on the pillows, raising himself up to meet every driving thrust.

  Reaching down, Garak grasped the doctor's erection and pumped his hand up and down the already slick organ. Julian cried out something unrecognizable as he spilled his seed all over the tailor's hand. Julian's release caused his muscles to contract which stimulated Garak's own release. Julian's name was on his lips as he emptied himself into the doctor.

  When Garak was able to catch his breath, he gradually withdrew and laid down beside Julian and propped up on one elbow to face him and gently ran his hand up and down the younger man's hip and thigh. Julian let out a contented sigh and toyed with Garak's chest, a lazy smile playing on his lips.

  "That was quite an experience." He finally said, more to himself than Garak.

  Garak chuckled a little bit at that. "Well, I'm glad you approved."

  "Well, I can say with assurance that it wasn't like anything else I've ever experienced," Julian replied with a yawn. Unconsciously he reached one hand up to rub at his eye revealing his tiredness.

  The smile immediately left Garak's face as he looked down at the handsome man in his embrace. "Do you mean to tell me that you never before . . ." he let his words trail off. Julian's only response was a negative shake of his head.

  "Julian . . . why didn't you tell me? I could have hurt you and . . ." The tailor was abruptly silenced with a finger placed on his lips.

  "Garak, first of all, I wanted this as much as you did," the doctor replied smiling up for a moment, before having his face match Garak's serious look. "Second, I knew you could never hurt me."

  Garak sensed a double meaning masked in his words. "How could you be so confident in that?"

  Julian reached up to stroke the tailor's smooth cheek." Easy, it's called trust Elim," he replied softly.

  "How could you possibly trust me, Doctor?" he asked with disbelief. "I'm always misleading you at every turn. Can you honestly tell me you can believe anything I say?"

  Julian simply chuckled at him. "Garak, that's what makes you such a fascination for me. I know I may never know about your past, which is all right with me. I don't doubt though, that you're honest with me when it's something important."

  Garak said nothing. For what seemed like the longest time, he simply looked at Julian. His eyes held a look of childlike innocence, and genuine candor Garak couldn't remember having seen anyone else possess. He had never in his life, had anyone trust him so unquestioningly. He came to the realization at that moment, Julian would have no qualms placing his life in Garak's hands. What startled Garak, was that he realized he would do the same without question.

  In Garak's past, he was quick to learn misguided trust could get one hurt, duped, or worse. It was a lesson that Garak had taken to heart and relied on with a steadfast resolve that was unshakable . . . until now. Now he was looking into the face of someone so pure of heart, that it caused pangs of aching to shoot through his own.

  'Julian, I don't know what I possibly did to please the Great Gul, but apparently something went right somewhere along the way,' Garak thought to himself. Shaking his head, he rolled onto his back, pulling Julian onto his chest, and kissed the mop of disheveled brown hair on top of Julian's head. He thought about all the secrets he had locked up inside of himself over the years. Some he could never share with Julian for the doctor's protection as well as his own, but there were still others that were merely painful. 'Why couldn't I share a little about those?' 'Could it possibly hurt anything?' he wondered. Garak looked down at the pliant body that was currently wrapped around him, and realized that he owed Julian at least that much in return for everything he had received.

  "Doctor . . . would you like to know a little about my past?" Garak was amused at the startled expression on the younger man's face.

  "Are you serious Garak?" he asked incredulously.

  "Very, Doctor. That is, if you're interested in hearing a simple tailor's tale." He replied with a small smile.

  "I seriously doubt if anything is simple with you Elim," Julian responded smiling as well. "Seriously though, I am curious, but I don't want you feeling forced into saying anything if you don't want to."

  "Honestly Doctor, whenever have you ever been able to force any information out of me I didn't want to give freely?" Garak asked with mock sternness.

  "Point taken. Please go on now that you've gotten the better of my curiosity." Julian couldn't resist taking advantage Garak's sudden bout of openness.

  'Ah, you're such a delight doctor,' he thought to himself as he settled himself once again to face Julian. To Julian, it looked like Garak's ice blue eyes went directly beyond him to the wall behind him, as they took on a glazed, far away look of someone traveling back through time itself.

  "Well, it all started about fifteen years ago when I was on a mission for the Order. I won't bore you with the details of the mission itself," Garak looked down at Julian who simply rolled his eyes at the Cardassian. "It will be sufficient to say, I had a malfunction with small shuttle I was piloting. My partner, Rochosh, and I had to make an emergency landing on a nearby class M planet. Rations were almost nonexistent, and I had sustained sever internal injuries. To make matters worse, we had landed in the polar region of the planet." Unconsciously, Garak's arms tightened around Julian as he continued his story. "Needless to say, the outlook wasn't positive for two reptilian life-forms. Somehow, Rochosh was able to find us shelter and tended to my injuries with the meager medical supplies we managed to salvage from the ship. Even though he built a fire, the heat from it still wasn't adequate to truly keep us warm enough to survive."

  "So how did you manage?" Julian asked having a basic idea, but he felt like asking anyway.

  Garak began stroking Julian's hair. "Rochosh suggested that we conserve body heat by sharing the same bed. Being injured, I was in no position argue and wouldn't have anyway because I knew how essential it was in keeping us alive. Well . . . the second night we had to go through this, he confided in me that he had a tremendous amount of respect in me as an officer, and found me extremely attractive as a male, then kissed me. I bet you could imagine my surprise since I had no idea that he felt that way." Julian nodded with agreement. "I had been without a lover for several years and I was in a very vulnerable state of mind, so I returned the kiss even though I had never been with another man before. We ended up developing a sexual relationship that night and continued it for the rest of the week we were stranded on planet, until another Cardassian shuttle came to pick us up. We had agreed not to see each other afterwards, because if the Order was to ever find out about it, they would have found a way to have both of us executed. Sex with other officers, especially between partners, was intolerable. Things were fine for a month, until one night, I received a communication from Rochosh, saying it was vitally important for me to see him. I went of course, and when I got there he proceeded to tell me he wanted to risk it to try to be together. Over the month, I had the time to try to sort out my own emotions, and realized that I had taken a liking to him as well. Even though it went against my better judgment, I started seeing him on a regular basis."

  "Were you two happy together?" Julian asked trying to stifle a yawn. He was finding this fascinating, but the late hour was starting to get to him.

  "We were very happy together. As happy as two people could be, who had to steal precious moments away just to be together. Actually, that added to the excitement of it all. I think there is a human saying, something about 'forbidden fruit tasting the sweetest'," Julian smiled while forcing his eyes to stay open. Seeing the fatigue etched in Julian's face, Garak asked, "Are you sure you wouldn't rather get some sleep Doctor?"

  "No . . . no . . . I'm fine. Please go on. I wouldn't miss this for anything," Julian replied, repositioning himself against the headboard so he was propped up.

  "Things went along well with us for over five years." Garak replied, picking up the story where he had left off. "We were both very careful in being discreet, and were still very efficient officers. Then one day, I got a communication from Tain himself, stating we were to be reassigned to different partners with no explanation as to why. Not a month went by, before I received word through a mutual associate, that Rochosh and his current partner had been at the location where a mysterious terrorist attack had taken place. Volech made it back unscathed, whereas Rochosh hadn't been so lucky." Garak hadn't noticed while he was speaking, the open hostility that still made itself known in his voice.

  "So, you don't believe it was exactly an accident." Julian remarked, sounding more like a statement then a question. He looked at Garak to see the tailor's original look of hate and pain had settled once again on his face.

  "I might have," Garak replied squeezing his eyes shut as if to block out the painful images in his mind's eye. "If it hadn't been but a week later, I received a letter delivered by his wife, Mashca, saying that if anything ever was to happen to him, that no matter what, he would never divulge our love and that he had no regrets for anything that happened." Garak was unaware at this point that he was clenching and unclenching his fist as he spoke. "I had found out later, through the associate who told me of the attack, that Volech had been trying to blackmail Rochosh with threats of going to Tain with 'evidence' of his relations with males. Volech had no idea of the identity of Rochosh's partner, and tried to get him to talk. Volech had told him all he would have to do was tell him the name of his partner and he wouldn't suffer any repercussions. You see, even though he didn't know who it was without doubt, he had a suspicion that the 'partner' was a senior officer, which would have gotten Volech a higher rank advancement for finding this out. When he realized that Rochosh would never talk, Volech had indeed, went directly to Tain. A week later Rochosh was conveniently dead." Garak could almost feel the bile churning in his stomach, threatening to come up, even after all these years.

  "What was the supposed proof Volech was threatening Rochosh with?" Julian asked, as he tried to soothe the tailor with gentle caresses of his arms and chest.

  "Apparently, when they were on an overnight assignment together, Volech discovered Rochosh liked to talk in his sleep." An ironic smile tugged at the corners of Garak's mouth.

  "And Rochosh never accidentally told him your name?" Julian asked, still amazed at how frank Garak was being.

  "Never," Garak replied with conviction. "He went to his grave protecting me. Even though he knew his own life was in jeopardy, he still tried to take care of me, as he always had . . . it was my fault he died," he said despondently.

  Julian wanted to take Garak into his arms and ease his sorrow by saying things like 'there was nothing you could have done to stop it,' or 'he knew the risks and was still willing to take them.', but they sounded so trite--even to himself--that he refrained from saying them. He knew it would be to ease his own mind rather than Garak's. Even with his innate need to help others, he had realized that sometimes he had to relinquish control, and ultimately leave it up to the patient to heal themselves. Even though he would have liked to have been able to carry some of the burden of Garak's obvious guilt and grief, he knew that wishing for such a thing was futile. All he could do at the moment, was offer a listening ear and hope it was therapy enough. "I know what eventually happened to Tain, but what happen to Volech?" he finally asked.

  "A week after Rochosh's funeral, Volech disappeared. A body was never found." Julian caught the implication and looked at Garak to see a dangerous, almost feral, look dancing in the stone-cold, ice blue eyes. "'No one' harms, or even threatens to harm, someone I care about . . ." Garak threatened, not trying to hide the savageness resonating in his voice, ". . . without paying the penalty."

  Julian felt a sudden shiver run down the length of his spine. He somehow, instinctively knew the threat was far from idle. The same instinct also told him that Garak could, and would, carry out the threat without the slightest bit regret, remorse, or hesitation. He had never seen this vengeful, malevolent side of his friend before, and it frightened him, even though he knew it would never be directed towards him.

  Garak blinked several times, as if being dragged back into the present. He realized he had shared more with the doctor then he actually had planned. 'Be careful old man,' he told himself. "Would you like to know the reason I told you of all this?" he asked Julian, who merely nodded his head, "I told you this because it was ten years ago tonight that Rochosh was killed."

  "And that was why you were feeling so lonely," Julian finished for him. When he didn't say anything else, Julian pulled Garak on top of him, so the tailor's head rested on Julian's chest. As they laid in silence, Garak found that listening to the human's slightly faster heartbeat was relaxing and peaceful for him. 'I could possibly become accustomed to this,' Garak thought to himself, then right afterward, 'You're a fool to think could ever last that long,' he chided himself. Meanwhile, Julian couldn't help but to feel a little hurt. 'You're nothing but a substitute for him, you know.'; 'The only reason you shared what you did tonight was because you took advantage of him at a vulnerable time,' he angrily told himself, while the other part of him was desperately telling himself to shut up.

  Garak looked up in time to see the wounded expression on the doctor's face. "Julian, what's the matter?" He asked, almost in a perfect mimic of the same question Julian asked him earlier. When Julian looked away instead of answering, Garak's eyes suddenly filled with comprehension. "You don't think I told you that story to compare the two of you do you? Or that I possibly see you as some sort of replacement?" Looking into Julian's eyes, the tailor knew he had his answer, even though he still couldn't believe it. Garak sat up and took Julian's face between his palms. "Oh, my darling Julian, whatever am I going to do with you?" he asked, pulling the doctor onto his lap. "The reason I told that particular story wasn't to make a comparison between you and Rochosh," he said looking down into Julian's eyes with a reminiscent smile on his lips. "Although the two of you do share many of the same qualities. Rochosh was kind-hearted, intelligent, understanding, and had a loyalty not many possess as, you do. Not to mention the innocent enthusiasm for life, that makes me feel that simply knowing you, makes life a bit more bearable." After saying this, Garak bent to place a kiss on Julian's forehead. "That though, is where the similarities end. I told you about Rochosh to let you understand why I was hurting and felt so lonely, and how that makes what you've shared with me so important." Garak then placed an almost chaste kiss on Julian's lips. "If there is one lesson I gained from Rochosh's death is how fragile life is, and when someone is important to you, you never want to take them, or the time you have together for granted. I almost forgot that tonight. It took you to remind me. "This time he kissed Julian more soundly and with more passion. "Do you fully know how I feel about you, Doctor?" he asked huskily.

  "Tell me," Julian whispered.

  "Roh'lam kah eim adentra jahkim." Garak murmured in his native language into Julian's ear.

  "Elim, that's beautiful. What does it mean?" Julian asked, settling closer to Garak, resting his head against the tailor's chest. His eyes fluttered shut briefly. He wondered how much longer he could win the battle against the sleep that threatened to overtake him. He tried valiantly to stifle a yawn.

  "It means 'you are my cherished beloved'," Garak translated barely above a whisper. Seeing how exhausted the doctor was, Garak rearranged himself on the bed so he was once again laying down, while keeping a firm hold on Julian. Smiling, he reached down to the foot of the bed and pulled the blanket up around them.

  "Elim . . .?" Julian wrapped his arm around Garak's waist and let his eyes drift shut.

  "Hmmm?" Garak asked, letting a yawn of his own escape.

  "You are my adentra jahkim too," he replied, "There is an even better phrase to describe my feelings for you,"

  "What would that be Doctor?" Garak allowed his own eyes to close and simply concentrated on the sultry, accented voice of the doctor.

  "Tadem h'a eim tadem," Julian replied with a smile on his lips, and he could picture Garak's surprised face without even turning to see him.

  "Julian . . . where ever did you learn Cardassian?" Garak asked, his voice raspy due to the sudden tightness in his throat.

  "I felt I had reason to pick up a phrase or two over the years," he replied, a mischievous smile on his lips, "I have to keep you on your toes after all."

  "You will always be a constant source of wonderment for me," Garak replied, affectionately stroking Julian's soft, mahogany colored hair.

  "Well, I promise to try." Julian remarked, softly chuckling.

  "Julian . . .?" Garak placed a kiss on the back of Julian's neck

  "Hmmm . . ." Julian asked sleepily.

  "You're the 'heart of my heart' too," he whispered, closing his eyes again to welcome sleep. He settled into a contented, dreamless sleep and Julian soon followed with peaceful smile on his lips. The sound of two hearts beating lulling them to sleep, safe in the shelter of each other's arms.

  The next morning, as consciousness finally started filtering back to Julian, the first thing he realized was the he wasn't able to stretch as he normally would have. He discovered a large arm pinning him down, a slow smile came to his face as he remembered who the arm belonged to and why it was there. He couldn't remember ever feeling so satisfied and relaxed in a long time. It had been such a long time since he awoke to find himself sharing someone's bed.

  "Good morning Doctor," Garak's warm voice spread over Julian in a warm rush.

  "Did you sleep well?" Julian asked rolling over to give Garak a slow, leisurely kiss.

  "I don't think I've ever had a better night's sleep" Garak replied, running his hands over the length of the doctor's lithe body. Julian vaguely wondered if he had to be at work any time soon.

  "What time is it?" Julian asked running his tongue over Garak's earridge.

  "It's 0600," Garak replied, lifting his head to look at the chronometer.

  Julian let out unhappy groan. "I hate to do this . . . but I have to be in the Infirmary in an hour and I still have to take a shower and change my clothes. Nurse Jabara always gives me a hard time if I'm late," Julian explained, the reluctance evident in his voice, even as he was reaching down for his clothes from the previous night.

  "Of course, Doctor. I completely understand," Garak assured Julian, even though the disappointment was obvious in his tone.

  "Are we still on for our lunch meeting today?" Julian asked, trying to keep his tone light, as he pulled on his shoes. He was still unsure how to approach this new development between them.

  "But of course we are, Doctor. I still have much to discuss with you about the copy of 'War and Peace' you gave me," Garak smiled slyly, slipping on his robe, and following Julian to the door.

  "Good. . . ." Julian said, taking the tailor completely off guard by grabbing him and pulling him close for a sound, deep kiss, filled with an unspoken promise, ". . . because I wouldn't miss it for the world," Julian finished, turning to walk out the door, closing with a swoosh behind him, leaving a rather stunned, and exhilarated Cardassian out of breath.

  Julian left his quarters forty-five minutes later, clean from a shower and dressed in a crisp, fresh uniform. The doctor grabbed his medkit and headed towards the turnolift. Images of the night before came to his mind, and he was so absorbed in his own thoughts, he didn't even realize Dax had entered until she spoke.

  "Julian, you look to be in good spirits this morning." Jadzia commented casually, taking in Julian's radiant appearance, and the rather goofy grin that was spread across his face.

  "Hmmm? Ah . . . well . . . yes, this does look like it's going to be a good day," Julian remarked, pulling himself from his thoughts. "Did you and Worf have a good evening together?" he asked, with casual curiosity. Jadzia turned slightly to face him, making it the first time he saw the beginnings of a black eye, and a rather large bite wound on her neck. "Looks like you had a very good evening," he replied with a knowing smirk. She glared at him for a moment before turning back to face the doors.

  "Did you get the chance to talk to Garak last night?" Dax asked, keeping her eyes trained on the doors.

  "Actually, yes I did. Why?" Julian asked suspiciously.

  "Oh, I was just curious. Whatever you said to him must have cheered him up. He actually opened his shop almost a hour early today," Jadzia replied, finding it difficult not to smile.

  "He was going through a difficult time and needed someone to talk to. I'm really glad you suggested having me stop by," Julian stated in a serious tone.

  "Friends help friends," was the only comment Jadzia made, as she got off at Ops. As Julian watched her walk down the hallway, he arched an eyebrow. He could barely hear it, but he could swear Jadzia was whistling a old Earth tune of ' As Time Goes By'.

  Julian walked into sickbay ready to face a new day of challenges. For the first time in recent history, he was actually looking forward to putting in a good day of work. He smiled and bid Nurse Jabara a cheerful good morning and walked over to his terminal, ready to do some research, when he noticed a long-stemmed red rose laying on the console. Under it, there was a data padd. He picked it up to read it.

  My Jahkim,

  In your touch I find security,

  In your kiss a healing peace.

  In your laugh is my serenity,

  Your embrace is my release.

  Though the madness swirls around us,

  You are safety in the storm.

  Though the world is cold,

  Your love is evermore.


  Julian set the padd down, and brought the rose up to his nose to inhale the fragrant scent. He looked over across the Promenade to the tailor's shop, and thought again of the turn of events of the last twenty- four hours. Jabara eyed him with curiosity, when he started humming a tune to himself. He didn't know where things would lead, but at least for now, the future seemed bright with possibility, and regardless of the what the outcome would come to be, he had no regrets.  

 The End