Sacred Vows

  By: Diana Bloomfield

  dcb12313@ (c) 1997

  Julian and Garak were currently sitting across from each other at the Replimat sharing lunch together.

  "Doctor, I still fail to understand why you would want to stay at your quarters until after the wedding," Garak commented broodingly.

  " Garak, will you quit looking at me like that?" Julian hated it when Garak gave him that pouty expression that made him want to give in every time.

  "Like what Doctor?" Garak questioned, feigning innocence.

  "You know very well like what. I told you before that it's a Terran custom that the two people who are to be married shouldn't see each other before the wedding," Julian replied, explaining it to him again.

  "Yes you have but I still fail to see the point behind it," Garak replied crumpling his napkin up in his empty plate and standing up.

  "The point is that I would like an old fashion wedding and that includes sticking to customs that neither of us may like," Julian said following the tailor's lead and standing up as well. "Didn't we agree that we would share the customs of our cultures for this wedding?"

  "Yes we did Doctor, but..." Garak began.

  "And didn't I agree to having traditional Cardassian rituals in the ceremony?" Julian asked interrupting.

  "Yes you did Jahkim," Garak conceded with a tender smile.

  "Then is it really unreasonable of me to ask for you to follow a few of my own traditions?" Julian asked, sliding his hand inside the Cardassian's

  "Not unreasonable at all, just highly frustrating," Garak answered with a sigh.

  As they walked across the Promenade together Julian decided to change the subject. "How are your part of the plans coming along so far?"

  "Well, between your mother and Commander Dax taking care of most of the arrangements, there hasn't been much left for me to do," Garak commented, as they came to stop by the door of his shop.

  Julian couldn't help laughing. "Yes, I know what you mean. It's been the same for me too. Sometimes I wonder whose more excited about this wedding, them or us."

  Garak unlocked the door to his shop and stepped across the threshold, where he grabbed the doctor's hand and pulled him in and into his arms. "I have no doubts who's more excited." With that, he took Julian's mouth with long kiss.

  "Mmm, so I see," Julian teased as he put his arms about the Cardassian's neck. "Did you ask Jadzia if she would stand with you?"

  "I did, and the Lieutenant said she would be happy to be my 'best man'," Garak replied with a shake of his head. "What did Chief O'Brien have to say?"

  "Well, he said he would be delighted to my best man."A mischievous glint danced in Julian's eyes. " he also said something about getting a bachelor party together for me."

  "Doctor, I've heard stories about that particular Terran custom and I don't know if I approve," Garak replied growing serious.

  Julian couldn't help smiling at the concerned look on the tailor's face. "I'm joking Elim. Besides, you wouldn't have anything to worry about anyway. You know I'd never be unfaithful to you don't you?"

  "Well, eventually I think it may soak through my rather stubborn head," he said stealing another kiss. "Would you want to have dinner together tonight?" Garak suggested.

  "That would be nice as long as it's in one of the restaurants on the Promenade," Julian remarked, running his hands over the tailor's chest.

  "And just what would be wrong with having dinner in my quarters?" Garak asked, his own hands starting to travel up and down Julian's back.

  "Because," Julian said kissing the Cardassian a little longer than last time. "If you convince me to have dinner in your quarters, you'd also try convincing me to stay over."

  Garak looked at him with mock indignation. "Doctor, are you trying to tell me that you think I would resort to such manipulative measures for my own selfish purposes? That 'I' could possibly have alterior motives for wanting your company?"

  Julian just smiled unabashed at him. "I know so." Garak's hands traveled down to cup Julian's rear and gave it a firm squeeze. "You're learning Doctor, you're definitely learning."

  "Let's just say I've had a good teacher," Julian replied coyly. "Think of it this way," he offered, "It will definitely seem like it was worth the wait come time for the honeymoon."

  Garak groaned. "Doctor, right now that seems like an eternity."

  Julian rolled his eyes at the Cardassian's over-exaggeration. "Garak, one day does not qualify as an eternity."

  The tailor began nuzzling Julian's neck. "But Jahkim, an hour seems like an eternity if you're not with me."

  Julian's hands came up to grab the lapels of the tailor's tunic, not really knowing if he wanted to push him away or draw him closer. "Now stop it right there mister. All the flowery phrases this side of the Alpha quadrant aren't going to change my mind."

  "Are you so sure?" Garak challenged as he ran the tip of his tongue over the velvet skin of Julian's throat. Julian's eyes briefly closed as he let out a little murmur. Seeing Julian's resolve starting to falter and diffuse, Garak released him and smiled innocently at him. "But if you insist Doctor, who am I to argue."

  Julian let out a frustrated sigh. " Elim Garak, you are an intolerably infuriating man."

  "Just one of the many charming traits that you fell in love with," Garak replied with a seductive smile.

  "And don't you forget it," Julian said pulling Garak by his tunic to give him a kiss that he felt throughout his entire body.

  When the kiss ended, Garak's cool, blue eyes locked with the hazel eyes of Julian's. "How could I when you find the most delightful ways of reminding me?" Garak commented in a husky voice.

  "As I said...definitely worth the wait," Julian replied and seeing the familiar look in the Cardassian's eyes, he thought it would be a good thought to put an end to the teasing while he still had resolve to do so. " Now I really have to get back to the Infirmary before they start thinking I've gone missing."

  "As you wish Doctor," Garak connected and released his hold on Julian even though it was obvious he was aversed to the idea. "Shall we meet at 1800 hours then?"

  "I'll see you then," Julian replied before exiting the door to make his way across the Promenade to the Infirmary.

  When Julian had first wrote and published several articles dealing with the subject of neural implants, with Garak's permission of course, he honestly thought that would be the end of it. Now, within several months, Julian would be giving a presentation on it on Edigian Prime and wanted to work on his speech. Every time he tried though, thoughts of his fiancé lured his mind away from his task. He smiled at the data padd he was trying to write his speech on as he thought about the fact that if anyone had told him three months prior that he would be planning his own wedding at all, much less telling him he would be marrying the tailor, he would have asked to have them committed. Now he dreamily stared down at the data padd - the writing nothing more then a blur to him, thinking of how contented he was feeling.

  It hadn't been an easy tasked getting to that point, Julian reminded himself. At first none of his friends besides Jadzia had been very supportive of his decision to enter into a relationship with the tailor. Fortunately they had since come to realize that the relationship was not likely going to ending any time soon so they became more tolerant. What surprised and pleased him the most was how accepting and understanding his mother had been.

  His heart warmed as he thought of his mother. When she had come to see him after his accident on Bajor, he hadn't been too happy with her presence because he didn't feel like he truly knew her any longer. To his surprise, she had confided in him and gave him some advice that helped save his relationship with Garak. He now felt closer to her than he had in years.

  A frown creased his face as he thought again on the ridiculous argument he had gotten into with Garak a week ago. It had been entirely his fault, and he was still feeling guilty over it, but grateful too. Garak had not only accepted his apology, but proposed to him shortly after. Now with Jadzia's help along with his mother's, the two of them would be having a ceremony in tomorrow afternoon that would legally certify the bond that had already been proclaimed and accepted in their hearts long ago. His eyes traveled to the golden Bajoran Betrothal bracelet around his wrist that served as a constant reminder of that bond.

  He had to smile when thought about how excited Jadzia and his mother had gotten when they had announced the engagement. Between them, they had made most of the plans. Jadzia had reserved Quarks for the reception, contacted a professional caterer for the food, and booked the band. His mother had taken care of contacting the florist and placing an order for a traditional wedding cake. Garak was in charge of making the tuxes and getting the rings, not to mention creating outfits for those wanting to attend that wanted something new. Julian himself, had taken care of sending out the invitations, planning who the attendants would be, asking Chief O'Brien if Molly would be the flower girl, and planning a secret honeymoon that even Garak didn't have a clue about. He was more than satisfied how things were progressing, but it was definitely taking a toll. He was feeling fatigued from all the planning as well as taking care of things in the Infirmary, but it was worth it to him.

  Abruptly, Julian was pulled from his thoughts when his com badge beeped. " Bashir here."

  "Julian, one more of your guests have arrived,"Miles O'Brien said from the other end.

  Julian smiled. "All right, I'll be down at the docking ring in a second. Bashir out," he replied already on his way to the docking ring.

  He vaguely wondered who it was because most of his friends off station that he had invited had come in yesterday. Erib, Dr. Elisabeth Lense, and Felix had already arrived - not to mention several former friends from the Academy that he had invited. He smiled as his guest exited the runabout.

  "Data!" he exclaimed walking over to shake the android's hand, "I'm glad you came. How have you been?"

  "I have been doing very well. I was quite surprised when I received the invitation to you're wedding. I wasn't even aware that you had been seeing anyone seriously,"Data replied.

  "This relationship came to be as much of a surprise to me as well. I certainly didn't expected it to end up going as well as it has," Julian replied smiling broadly.

  Data analyzed the doctor's appearance. Julian seemed to have a happy, contented glow about him. "Becoming engaged appears to agree with you, Julian."

  "I'd like to think so," he commented reaching down to pick up Data's travel bags, "Now let's get you settled in the guest quarters." Data followed him down the corridor to the habitat-ring. Julian entered the access code in to the door of the quarters that Data had previously been assigned to. Julian sat his bags down inside the doorway, "So did you have any trouble requesting time off to come here?"

  "Oh no. I hardly ever request any time off, so Captain Picard didn't hesitate to grant it to me,"Data responded.

  "That's good to know," Julian replied with a half smile coming over his face, "By the way, how is he and that CMO of his getting along?"

  "The Captain and Beverly Crusher are still on a friendship basis only,"the android replied. "Sometimes human romance still alludes me."

  "Why do you say that?" Julian questioned, taking a seat on the couch where Data joined him.

  "It's just that it seems so obvious to anyone with any amount of observation skills at all that the doctor and Captain have feelings for one another that extend far beyond friendship,"Data reasoned.

  "Well, sometimes it takes quite awhile before they pick up on it," Julian said thoughtfully. "Besides, they might not want to ruin their friendship if it's lasted this long."

  "Is that what occurred between you and Mr. Garak?"Data questioned.

  Julian smiled fondly. " Garak, plain and simple,"Data raised his eyebrow. "And yes, those were a few concerns that we had at the beginning. It took years before we realized our friendship had turned into love and then we had to decide whether or not it was worth the risk of our friendship to take it further."

  "It would appear that you felt the benefits were worth the risk," Data surmised.

  "We did, but it hasn't been easy either. It took a lot of effort on both our parts to get us where we are now," Julian commented.

  "Are you nervous about tomorrow's ceremony?"Data asked.

  "Not really. Why do you ask?" Julian asked in return.

  "The reason I asked is because some time ago, Gordie told me that it was very common for humans to become nervous before they are to be married."

  "That's true, but it doesn't affect every human."Data gave him a skeptical look and it reminded Julian how strange it was to know an android capable of expression, "Well all right, so I'm a little nervous," Julian finally admitted to his friend, "It's just because I haven't come this close to making this major of a commitment before now. After tomorrow, there won't be any looking back or chances for backing out. I'll be committed to only one person from now on."

  "Does that trouble you?"Data asked, inflicting concern into his voice.

  Julian hadn't even shared these thoughts with Garak, not really wanting to think much about them - afraid that too much retrospection would cause him to back out. Now seriously pondering the question, he knew the answer,"No it doesn't. Even though marrying Garak will mean I'll be committed to only him from now on, it doesn't bother me because I think about all my relationships in the past and I know with certainty that no one would be able to make me any happier."

  "It definitely sounds like things are working out well for you," Data responded.

  Julian smiled at him with friendliness, "I'd say so," Julian noticed a somber look that crossed Data's expression, "How has your love life been going so far?"

  Data looked at him with sadness. "Well Doctor, I may have had Dr. Soong's emotion chip installed, but love is still one of the most confusing emotions to me."

  Julian patted his leg reassuringly. "Give it some time Data. Love doesn't happen over night, it's just the realization of it that hit's you like a phaser blast."

  "What do you mean Doctor?"Data asked, clearly confused.

  Julian smiled at him. "Don't worry about it yet Data. When it finally happens to you, you'll have no questions about what I mean," Julian attested. He then looked at the chronometer. "Data, I'd like to talk to you some more and continue catching up, but I'm suppose to meet my fiancé in ten minutes."

  "That's quite all right Dr. Bashir. I assumed you would be spending a good deal of time still planning for the ceremony, so I made plans to spend the evening with Lt. Commander Worf and Chief O'Brien."

  "All right then," Julian replied, feeling assured that he wasn't neglecting his long-time friend. "I'll try to see you tomorrow before the ceremony," Julian said walking to the door. As he departed Data's quarters to go to his own, he noticed the tailor waiting for him outside his door with something on a hanger covered in brown paper.

  "Hi hon, been waiting long?" Julian asked giving Garak a quick kiss and entering his access code into the door.

  "Actually I've just arrived. I've finished altering your uniform today," Garak replied handing over the garment to Julian.

  Julian smiled at him, "Good, wait right here and I'll be out in a minute."

  "I could wait for you inside," Garak offered hopefully. The only comment Julian made was a reproaching glare, "All right, you can't blame me for trying. At least I'm persistent."

  "And consistent," Julian added. "Now wait right here," he ordered making a point of indicating he meant the corridor by pointing a finger at the floor in front of the Cardassian's feet. He tried to keep from smiling at the sulking expression that the tailor had.

  As he walked into the bedroom to place the dress uniform in his closet, his eyes caught the few boxes sitting in the corner with several suitcases sitting beside them. He had packed what few of his belongings that weren't already residing in Garak's quarters, making it easy to transfer them after the ceremony tomorrow. The suitcases held what essentials he would be needing for the honeymoon they would be going on. Suddenly he became acutely aware that this wasn't just planning - that tomorrow he would actually be married. "This is actually going to happen," he said aloud to the empty room - reinforcing the finality of it. He still couldn't shake off the feeling of disbelief he was still feeling at times. He still had the notion at time that this was all some beautiful dream he was fulfilling, and that at the last moment something would wake him of his mind' s creation and his happiness would be taken away from him. "Stop that Jules. Garak was right when he said you do worry too much sometimes," Julian said out loud, chiding himself. He shook the thought off as he walked started walking out of the room. Distracted by thoughts, he didn't realize his fingers were playing with the bracelet around his wrist-the cool metal reminding him that he was indeed very much awake and all of this was very much real. By the time he reached the door to his quarters, he had pushed the thought far enough into the back of his mind that Garak could not see any signs on Julian's expression that would betray his thoughts.

  "Ready to go?" Julian asked with a charming smile.

  Garak gave a meaningful glance towards Julian's door. "If you insist."Then with a sigh, "Where would you like to dine?"

  "How about Quark's. I'd like to make sure things are ready for the reception," Julian suggested as they began walking in the general direction of the Promenade, their hands drifting together as they walked.

  Garak gave a nod of his head, "By the way, Mother came by the shop this afternoon to ask me if we would like to have dinner with her. I hope you don't mind that I declined," he asked looking at him out of the corner of his eye.

  "Of course not. I think we need a little time to ourselves before tomorrow when we aren't going to have a spare second,"then he added, "You really like my mother don't you?"

  " she is a remarkable woman, deserving of a great deal of respect," Garak replied with candor.

  Julian had been surprised at how quickly Garak and his mother had formed a bond of understanding and acceptance that Julian almost felt envious of. "You seem to have grown use to calling her mother fairly quickly," he observed with satisfaction.

  They entered Quark's and found a secluded table away of the prying eyes of the establishment's patrons. "I'm sure you know how important family is to Cardassians. You know too that since my father's rejection and my exile, I haven't felt like I belonged to a family in a long time. When your mother accepted me as another son, I can't begin to tell you how much that meant to me,"the tailor replied finally.

  Julian reached over and took Garak's hand in his. " she's very fond of you, you know."

  "And I am of her as well," Garak replied coughing a bit and looking around the room in embarrassment. Even after all this time with Julian, the tailor still wasn't accustomed to disclosing his feelings. Just then the waitress picked that time to come to take their orders.

  After she left Julian decided to change the subject. "Data arrived this afternoon," he commented, picking up some sand peas and popping them into his mouth.

  "Oh? How is he doing? I remembering you saying that it has been some time since the last time you've seen him," Garak commented, taking a drink of his Rokassa juice the waitress brought over along with Julian's ice tea. " he is the android right?"

  Julian nodded. "Yes, we talked a little bit this afternoon after he arrived."The waitress returned with a tray carrying Julian's order of Ratamba stew as well as Garak's order of Kohlian stew. "Actually our discussion turned rather interesting at one point," Julian remarked, unfolding a napkin and laying on his lap.

  Garak raised an eye ridge. "You don't say. What did you and the Commander talk about?" he asked curiously.

  "Oh, he just asked me if I was nervous about tomorrow," Julian said with his mouth full of stew.

  Garak kept his eyes on the plate of food in front of him. "Oh really? What did you tell him?" he asked a little too casually, Julian noted. Julian kept quiet, knowing curiosity would finally get the better of the tailor, until the Cardassian finally looked up. "Doctor?"

  Julian smiled in amusement. "I told him I was a little nervous, considering that this will put an end to my bachelor days, but that I can't imagine anyone else I would want to give up my bachelorhood for."A thought crossed his mind. "Are you nervous?"

  Garak took a bite of his own stew and chewed it with deliberate slowness. "Well..." he paused to ponder it for a moment, ".. I will admit that there are some aspects of marriage that makes me a little nervous."

  "Such as?" Julian asked in-between bites.

  "Let's just say that I know making a marriage work takes a lot of effort and it's been quite awhile since I've had to deal with that. Also because of my ex-wife, you realize I have some issues of fidelity to work through,"the tailor commented taking a sip of his juice.

  Julian looked down into his ice tea , swirling the ice cubes around in the glass. "Do you think we're going to be able to make this last?"

  "Jahkim, I could easily lie to you and tell you that everything is going to be perfect for the rest of our lives, but you know that's not the case." Julian looked up to search Garak's eyes. "I think we stand a better chance than most since we are friends first, not to mention we don't have any misconceptions about each other. The fact that we are able to communicate easily will help too."

  Julian couldn't help smiling at the thought that there was a time when he doubted he would ever here such candid comments from the tailor. "You're right. It isn't going to be easy, but I think we at least have a fighting chance."

  Garak smiled in return. "More than a fighting chance in my opinion, but if you're wanting an excuse to back out before it's too late, you've come to the wrong Cardassian."

  Julian laughed. "If I wanted to back out I wouldn't need an excuse." His expression then turned serious. "I can promise you though, I have no intentions on going anywhere."

  Garak's eyes held a roguish gleam. "I fully intend to hold you to that promise Doctor."

  Julian had yet to become used to that particular tone that Garak could use that effected him stronger than a physical caress. "I'm counting on it," he countered. Hazel eyes locked with crystal blue ones, both mirroring the other's growing hunger that a simple plate of food would not be able to sate. Julian was relieved when the waitress showed up once again, this time with their slices of Larish pie, breaking the spell. He was going to have to put an end to their bantering if he was going to be able to carry out his resolution of not becoming intimate with Garak before the honeymoon, but presently he was finding it difficult to recall just why he wanted to enforce the tradition in the first place.

  Garak could tell Julian was struggling with his control, and knowing how important this custom really was to the doctor, he decided to relent. "Have you found a poem yet?" Garak asked taking a forkful of pie into his mouth.

  Julian grinned. They had both agreed to write their own vows for each other and Garak had told him he had been having some trouble with his. Julian had finally told him that they could pick a poem for each other to read instead. "I found one I liked last night. What about you?"

  Garak crinkled up his nose at him. "I still haven't found anything I really find suitable yet, but I still have a few more to look through tonight before going to bed."

  "You could always read the poem you gave me the morning after we made love for the first time," Julian offered, his mouth full of pie.

  "I would, but I would rather choose something I haven't given you before,"the tailor replied polishing off his last bite of pie. "I'd like it to be special."

  "I'm sure it will be," Julian assured him, wiping the corner of his mouth with the napkin and rising from the table. They started walking, very slowly, towards the habitat ring.

  "You know Doctor, you never have told me where we will be spending our honeymoon," Garak remarked.

  "I know that," Julian replied coyly, "You know I want it to be a surprise."

  "I wish you would end my curiosity," Garak commented as they came upon Julian's door.

  "The man of mystery doesn't like to be kept in the dark himself hmm?" Julian asked with a sly smile. "Don't worry, I'm sure you're going to approve."

  "As long as you're there with me, I know I will," Garak murmured, drawing Julian into his arms and softly kissing his lips. "Are you sure you wouldn't want me to come in to stay for a while longer? I promise to to respect your request and not try to spend the night."

  Julian pulled back slightly and looked into Garak's eyes to see whether or not he was being sincere. Julian was surprised to see that he was, but still replied, "I'd like to, but I still have a few things to take care before tomorrow and I want to get a good night's sleep to be well rested."

  "I'll bid you a good night then," Garak replied kissing him gently again. "Sleep well love."

  "I'll try. Sleep well yourself," Julian responded before the Cardassian finally released him.

  "I'll sleep better tomorrow night," Garak replied as he headed off to his own quarters.

  Julian watched him until he was out of sight before going into his quarters. He walked into the living area and picked up the data padd on the coffee table. Looking over once more the poem he had selected to read to Garak tomorrow, he smiled in satisfaction. He knew Garak would find his selection to be very touching. He padded across the room to the bathroom, turned on the shower, and stripped out of his uniform. As he washed, he though about what Garak had said to him earlier. He realized that marrying Garak was going to be quite a different relationship than simply living together. Until tonight, he really hadn't thought much about the differences, or how much work that would be involved in making a marriage last. He couldn't help thinking about his past relationships and how many mistakes he had made in them. He would have liked to thought that he had learned a thing or two from them so he wouldn't be making the same mistakes again, but he just wasn't sure. With Garak being the veteran of marriage in this relationship, Julian knew that he would have to follow Garak's lead when he wasn't sure himself. He reminded himself how much sense Garak had made when he reminded him that they do have a good deal going for them starting off with what many couples were missing from their relationship. He called for the lights to be turned off as he made his way over to bed. As he pulled the blanket up over his shoulders, he settled down and closed his eyes. Minutes went by, then an hour, but still Julian couldn't fall to sleep. Tossing and turning in his bed, blanket bundled up at his feet, he wondered if Garak was having the same difficulty sleeping as he was. Finally, some time after 24:35, the last time he looked at the chronometer, his restlessness eased up and sleep overtook him. Dreams filled with images of where they would be honeymooning occupying his subconscious mind.


  Amsha Bashir watched with loving eyes as her only son donned his Starfleet dress uniform. She couldn't help but think how handsome and dignified he looked to her. He positively glowed of exhilaration and happiness. When had he taken to looking so much like Richard when he was younger? Looking at her only child now, she could almost see Richard on the day they got married.

  "How are you doing Jules?" she inquired, pulling his attention away from the mirror he had been looking at.

  "I can't even begin to describe it Mother."How could he? His emotions kept going around in loops every other minute. One second he was feeling excited, and happy, the next he was feeling apprehensive, jumpy, and tease, then came trepidation and fear.

  Nodding her head in understanding, Amsha took her son's hand - trying not to pay attention to the slight quivering it had to it. "You know Jules, your father and I are really proud and happy for you. I am really glad to be able to be here for the wedding and I'm sure your father wishes he could be here as well."

  Julian arched a disbelieving eyebrow at the comment. "Father knows about the wedding?"

  "Of course he does. I told him directly after the two of you announced the engagement," Amsha answered.

  "I'm sure that went over well," Julian commented sarcastically.

  "Actually he asked me to tell you that he was happy for you and wanted to congratulate you. He's very proud of you, you know," Amsha replied, looking her son in the eye.

  "Forgive me if I find it hard to believe you Mother. There hasn't been anything I've ever done in my life that's pleased that man," Julian admitted, averting his eyes from his mother's.

  " Julian Subatoi Bashir, you're father loves you and respects you as well," she replied squeezing his hand.

  "Respects me? What are you talking about Mother?" Julian asked incredulity.

  "I'm talking about how much your father loves and admires you. He always has."

  "You sure could have fooled me. Nothing in his attitude has ever suggested that he has felt anything more then disappointment and disapproval of me."

  "Don't mistake stubborn pride for a lack of love son,"When Julian didn't say anything else, she continued, "Do you know that when you graduated from Starfleet that he told everyone how proud he was of you for weeks afterwards? "

  " he did?" Julian asked with frank agnosticism.

  "That's right, and you want to know something else that he confided in me son?"


  "Just before he went to prison, after our visit, he told me that he had a great deal of respect for you. He told me that he didn't know where you got your moral principals, but he knew it didn't come from him. He considered you to be a more honorable and ethical man then he could ever hope to be and hoped that one day you could come to understand his reasoning behind everything he did with the enhancements."

  "Why didn't he ever say anything before?" Julian asked, the words lodging in his throat.

  "Who do you think you inherited your willfulness from Jules? Your father has never had an easy time admitting when he's wrong to anybody. His ego won't let him apologize, especially to his only son," Julian remained silent, "Think about it Jules, would you want to tell your only child that you felt like you failed him as a father?"

  "I guess not," Julian admitted, hardly above a whisper. Amsha's serious expression gave way to a smile, "You know, when I told him about the wedding plans, your father wanted you to have something."

  "What would that be?" Julian asked, still having a difficult time lifting his somber mood.

  Amsha walked over to the bag currently sitting in front of the sofa, that she had brought with her. She took a large box out of it, and caring it with both hands, brought it over to her son. Handing it over, Amsha watched as Julian opened the box and lifted the object out of it. It was a large, bright, diamond-shaped ruby that was set upon the top of a sterling silver box with highly detailed designs marking the outside.

  "Your grandfather gave this to your grandmother on her wedding day, and she pasted it down to your father who gave it to me on our wedding day. Now, both your father and I would like you to give this to Garak."

  Julian was struck absolutely speechless. Not knowing any other way to show his gratitude and appreciation, he grabbed her in a tight hug and kissed her cheek.

  "Thank you Mother," Julian finally managed.

  "You're welcome, but don't forget it was your father's idea too," Amsha replied, fighting to hold back the tears stinging her eyes. "Now, if things in here are going to be all right, I'm going to go check on my other son," she said giving him a watery smile and kissing his cheek before heading out the door.

  After the door shut behind his mother, Julian carried the jeweled box into his bedroom. Trying to think of a good place to keep the gift until he could give it to Garak, he settled on the shelf of his empty closet. As he pushed the box into the back, keeping it from falling, he heard the door buzz.

  "Come in," he called out. It was probably Dax or Miles coming to check on him, or someone else wanting to give their congratulations before the ceremony.

  "Doctor Bashir I take it?" Julian didn't recognize the deep, throaty voice.

  "That's right," he acknowledged, walking into the living area to see two figures cloaked in a hooded outfit. One was tall and muscular while the other was slightly smaller and a bit heavier. "Can I help you?" Julian asked guardedly as he walked up to the two men. Suddenly the taller one drew back his fist threw a right hook that made contact to Julian's chin. Julian stumbled backwards slightly as the shorter guy threw a punch to Julian's abdomen then ripped his com badge off while he was doubled over. Julian stood up and slugged the taller man in the nose with his left hand while his right hand went for the guy's gut. As the guy groaned and bent over, Julian took the opportunity to aim a well placed kick to the stranger's temple. The smaller thug started to come towards Julian and he dodged to the side, grabbed the thug's arm and sent him into the wall. The taller one got some of his breath back and took a wild swing that Julian easily ducked while Julian took a swing that landed in the goon's adam's apple, causing him to start coughing and sputtering. Suddenly from somewhere behind him, he heard a deep voice say, "You guys can't do anything right can you?"

  Turning to the voice, Julian had enough time to see something coming towards his head before it made contact with his skull. White-hot pangs of pain racked his body at it crumpled to the floor before he slipped into the blissful state of unconsciousness.

  "Carter, go check the hallway to make sure it's clear,"the leader said.

  "It's in-between shifts. There's no one out there,"the shorter one replied.

  "I didn't ask you if it was clear or not, just do it!"the leader hissed, " here Baxter, put these on him,"the leader said, throwing a pile of clothes like their own at the taller man. "Hurry up, we have to get going. When we get into the ship, put him in stasis," he barked after a few minutes. After Julian was dressed, the leader ordered the two men bring him over to the wall and unsheathed a knife and slit Julian's index finger and held it up and wrote a phrase the other two didn't recognize on a bedroom wall. Making sure he was satisfied, he then pulled the hood down to completely hide Julian's face and motioned for the henchmen to follow him. Each with one arm supporting Julian's dead weight by holding him up under his arms, the henchmen followed the leader into the corridor. They were dragging Julian around the corner when the leader bumped into Rom.

  "Oh, I'm sorry, I should have been watching where I was going," Rom apologized in a friendly manner.

  "No problem,"the leader replied trying to push his way past the Ferengi.

  "Is there a problem with your friend there?" he asked pointing to Julian, whose face was down and covered by the cloak.

  "No, he's just had a little too much to drink,"the leader replied, his hand stealing underneath his cloak to rest on the leather holder that carried his knife - his fingers grasping the handle.

  Rom gave him a big smile. "I understand. Sometimes my brother doesn't pay as close attention as he should to how much he serves people," he replied and moved aside to let the strangers past. As they moved down the corridor, the leader looked back over his shoulder several times to make sure the Ferengi wasn't doing anything suspicious, but he was long gone. They made it to the airlock without any further incidences to the ship that was waiting for them.


  Garak stood and appraised his appearance in the full-length mirror in his bedroom. He smiled in satisfaction at the tuxedo he had designed. It wasn't a complex design by any means, a simple variation of a late twentieth-century in style, with the neck line broadened to accommodate him. Simple, but what pleased him most was how well he had created it to fit his body perfectly. ' You are a good tailor Elim.' he told himself and smiled with pride as his hands started to come up to the black bow tie that matched the vest under his jacket.

  " Garak, if you touch that tie one more time, I am going to slap you," Jadzia Dax replied irritatedly as she walked up to him. "You have straightened that tie three times in the last fifteen minuets and just make it worse each time." she grabbed him by the shoulders and turned him around to face her and roughly grabbed the tie in her hand and pulled forward hard enough to cause the tailor to take a step forward. Taking the two ends in her hands, she tugged at the corners. "There. Now leave it alone," she told him after arranging it to her satisfaction. Her own hands came down to smooth the skirt of her own outfit. She was currently wearing the cranberry dress that Garak had originally designed for her to wear to Rom and Leeta's wedding, but she was more then happy to be wearing it for this occasion. "You know, I never thought I'd live to see the day that I would see you nervous Garak."

  "I never thought I would see the day that I would be getting married again either Lieutenant," Garak countered.

  "You don't have anything to be worried about," Jadzia said trying to reassure the Cardassian, "Quark's is decorated, the quests are seated, the band has arrived...everything is going as planned."

  "I'm aware of that but..." Garak started to say, then paused, "Lieutenant, do you have the ring?"

  "No, I gave it to you," Jadzia answered frowning, "Don't you remember?"

  Garak patted down his pockets, getting increasingly anxious, until he reached the breast pocket. He sighed in relief and pulled out gold band and looked once again at the inscription. The phrase ' Eim adentra jahkim' was delicately etched into the metal. Placing the ring back into his pocket, Garak turned to Jadzia and was about to say something when his door buzzed.

  "Come in," he called and his face lit up in a smile when Amsha entered.

  " hello Garak, I've come to see how my second son is doing," she said with a warm smile, coming over to take him in a hug, nearly squashing his boutonniere in the process.

  "I'm doing fine Mother. How is Julian?" Garak asked when he was released.

  "A nervous wreck of course," Amsha responded with a laugh.

  " he can't be any worse then this one," Dax interjected, thrusting a thumb towards the tailor. "I swear I don't know how the carpet has managed to keep from getting a bare spot worn in it with all the pacing he's been doing since I got here."

  "Well, it's nearly time," Amsha commented looking over at the chronometer.

  "I'll see if Julian is ready," Jadzia offered, pressing the com badge pinned to her dress. She pressed it a second time and then a third." That's strange," Jadzia commented, " Julian isn't answering his hails."

  "Maybe he's left his quarters without his badge," Garak offered, "Perhaps Chief O'Brien has seen him."

  "It's worth a shot," Jadzia replied hitting her badge again.

  " O'Brien here,"came the voice on the other end of the badge.

  "Chief, it's Dax, is Julian with you?"

  "No, I haven't seen him this afternoon. I've been getting Molly ready."

  "Okay, thanks. Dax out." she then turned to Garak and Amsha. "Well, there's always one sure way to find him," she said with a smile, "Computer, locate Doctor Bashir."

  "Doctor Bashir is not currently on the station,"came the computer's reply.

  Jadzia bit her bottom lip as she watched Garak's cornflower eyes grow huge in their sockets. She didn't realize that Cardassians could get any grayer than normal, but Garak was absolutely pale. "Let's find out what's going on before we start to panic," she told the Cardassian, taking his arm as they all headed out the corridor towards Julian's compartment. They arrived the same time the Chief of Engineering did coming from the opposite direction. Garak entered Julian's access code and opened the door and they all entered. Amsha gasped, her hand coming up to her mouth, when she saw blood on the carpet and Julian's dress uniform wadded up on the floor.

  " Julian?" Garak called out, " Julian where are you?"His voice sounded strained.

  "Guys, you'd better come see this,"Miles called out from the bedroom.

  They all entered the bedroom and Dax grew pale herself when she saw the blood on the wall. The word ' Zakeya' was written in big block letters.

  "Does any one know what that means?" Amsha asked, first looking to each of the officers and then to the tailor.

  "It's Cardassian," Garak answered finally, his voice strangely calm and low-his eyes turning ice-cold. With the eyes of everyone else in the room on him, he continued, "Roughly translated to Starfleet Standard, it means 'Revenge'."

  Dax's hand came up to her badge. "Benjamin...Dax here. We have a problem."


  The first thing Julian noticed when he came to was the throbbing of his head. The second thing that Julian became aware of was the fact that his wrists and ankles were securely shackled to a cold, stone wall. With the little light that filtered in through the small window in the corner, Julian could see that floor was made out of dirt and there was no furniture. The air was damp and cold against his exposed skin. Whatever clothes his captors might have brought him in was gone, only his white briefs remaining.

  What do they want with me? Julian wondered to himself. He then though about Garak. He knew that the Cardassian would have discovered by now that he was gone and on today of all days. 'This is not the kind of thing that is suppose to happen on the day of your wedding.' Julian thought. Was there a search party out looking for him this minute? Would they even know where to start looking? How could they when he himself didn't even have a clue as to where he was. There was enough slack to the chains that he either sit, which was his current position, or stand if he so chose. Still feeling the pain and dizziness of his head injury, Julian climbed to stand. Pulling with what little strength he had, Julian tested the give to the shackles, seeing if there was a weakness to them. Finding none, he slid back down to sit against the cold wall. Apparently his movements drew someone's attention because he heard heavy footsteps clicking on the floor outside. The sound kept coming closer until he saw a shadow stop under the crack of the door to his cell. Julian watched as the handle turned and the wooden door opened slowly. The light filtering in from the hallway was blinding in comparison to Julian's ill-lit cell.

  "Doctor Bashir. It's nice to see that you're finally awake,"came a deep, rough, grating voice, as a figure stepped inside the room. As Julian's eyes adjusted to the light, he saw that the figure now standing in front of him was a male Cardassian who was taller, leaner, and looked considerably younger than his Garak.

  "Why did you bring me here? What do you want with me?"

  "Don't worry about it Bashir. Everything will be revealed in due time." Julian noticed for the first time that the Cardassian held a large whip made up of several long straps of leather, each a inch in width, braided together. "But first, we're going to have some fun."A menacing grin played on the Cardassian's lips before Julian heard the sound of the whip cutting through the air as it landed on his chest - the stinging leather bit into his tender flesh.


  Benjamin Sisko looked around at the faces of his senior staff and he knew he had a serious problem on his hands.

  "Okay, what exactly happened here?" Sisko asked, his deep voice filling the office.

  "We're not sure. When we went to check on Julian, he had disappeared," Dax told him.

  "How does a Starfleet officer get kidnapped off of a secured station?" Sisko asked more to himself than the others.

  "Well sir, I have my men checking all of the passenger manifests of every ship that has docked here for the last two weeks,"Odo replied.

  "I have had the crew doing sweeps for tackeon pulse traces and warp signatures,"Kira added.

  "I never should have left him," Amsha replied shakily. Her eyes were already red and puffy from crying earlier, and now unshed tears glistened in her eyes, threatening to come forth again.

  "It isn't your fault Mother. You had no idea what was going to happen, and even if you had, I highly doubt you would have been able to stop it," Garak replied soothingly, taking her in his arms. She laid her head against his shoulder and started a fresh stream of tears.

  "I know there has to be someone on this station that has some idea of what happened. That must have seen something," Sisko commented.

  "Sir, I'm sure you're right and I'm going to make sure my men do a thorough investigation, including questioning any and all crewmen in the vicinity of. Dr. Bashir's quarters at the time of the kidnapping,"Odo assured him.

  "All right then. Dismissed,"Benjamin replied as he watched his officers file out of his office.

  "Mother, I'd like to talk to the Captain alone for a minute. Will you wait outside for me?" Garak asked softly.

  "Of course son," she replied with a tiny smile. Wiping her eyes and squaring her shoulders, she walked out leaving Garak and Sisko alone.

  "Captain, may I ask your permission to exert my own investigative techniques?" Garak asked carefully.

  " Garak, you may use utilize any skills you have if it will increase the chances of getting one of my officers back," Sisko responded, "As long as it's within the law of course," he added.

  "But of course Captain," Garak assured and bowed his head slightly before heading to the door. He didn't want to leave Amsha alone for too very long.

  " Garak," Sisko called and the tailor turned around,"I'm sure we'll find him."

  Looking Sisko in the eyes, he simply said,"Captain I would stake my life on it."then turned and walked out the door, leaving Benjamin to wonder just how seriously to take that comment.


  Julian bit his lip so hard that he drew blood, but he was bound and determined not to give that Cardassian cretin the satisfaction of hearing him cry out in pain. Every crack of the whip, ever biting cut that tore into his flesh, just served to strengthen his resolve. Cuts and lacerations covered his body, blood oozing from the weeping sores, but he still hadn't screamed out. Finally, the Cardassian halted his attack and started walking around the doctor, scrutinizing him with a menacing stare.

  "My, it does seem that Elim has chosen a rather resilient mate," the Cardassian said sarcastically. "I must say, I am impressed."

  "What does Garak have to do with any of this," Julian asked, his voice sounding harsh and raspy from the pain.

  "Everything Doctor. He's the reason you're here actually," he replied, still circling Julian,"Although, I honestly don't see what attraction you could possibly hold for him, human. Maybe I should find out for myself," he replied and gave Julian's scrotum a hard squeeze through the thin fabric of his briefs. "On second thought, I think that would be simply too easy," Julian promptly spitted in his face, to which he received a punch to his stomach for. "I do believe we're going to have to do something about your obstinance,"the Cardassian commented and pulled out a hypospray from a his back pocket.

  "What is that?" Julian asked, trying to pull as far away as his chains would allow him.

  "Something to make you less troublesome," he replied as he advance on him. One hand pressed him back against the stone wall while the other one pressed the hypospray against his throat. Julian heard the hiss as the medication entered his system. Slowly a dull haze gathered around Julian. He wasn't positive, but he guessed he had just been given an hallucinatory drug.

  Hours later, Julian had a difficult time deciding which was worse, the beating he had sustained, or the drug playing havoc with his senses. At first the walls seemed to have melted around him, then he had sworn tiny spiders and other insects were crawling into his open wounds. Now he laid screaming as huge rats crawled around and onto his prone body and started gnawing off big chunks of his flesh with their sharp teeth, too weak to try to fight them off.


  Dax was over OPS when she saw an subspace transmission coming in.

  "Benjamin, we have an incoming from ...Karl Hudson? What could he possibly be wanting?" she asked curiously.

  "Put him onscreen and we'll find out," Sisko responded. She did so an soon Karl Hudon's image filled the screen in front of him.

  "Ah, Captain Sisko, I'd like to say it's a pleasure, but it's not," Hudson commented, his clipped voice sounding annoyed at even having to hail Sisko.

  "I can assure you that it's quite mutual. What can I do for you?" Sisko responded to the active Maquis member.

  "Look, I don't even want to bother with you, but I feel obligated to give you some information, "Hudson replied irritatedly. "I just received word that a couple of renegade Maquis has kidnapped one of your officers a couple of days ago. Something was said about trading your man for information on where the Dominion are holding some of our men prisoner."

  Sisko was stunned that Karl Hudson would willingly trade information when it seemed he had nothing to gain from it. There had to be some hidden agenda that he wasn't aware of yet. "Do you know where these men were heading?"

  "The last thing I heard is that they were heading somewhere near the Treba system,"Hudson replied. "I haven't heard anything beyond that."

  Sisko looked speculatively at Karl, wondering if he was indeed telling the truth or not. Not that he would benefit much from lying anyhow, considering that he hadn't had share as much as he had already with them. Still, he couldn't help wondering..."Hudson, why are you helping us out anyhow?"

  "I want my men back as much as they do. I actually have my own plans to rescue them, but I'm not willing to start a war with the Federation to do so. Besides, just because you turned your back on your friends and comrades at Starfleet doesn't mean I do the same..."Hudson cut the transmission.

  Dax raised her eyebrow questioningly at Benjamin, who simply turned towards Nog. "Nog, go get Garak and Mrs. Bashir. Tell them to come to my office."

  "Yes sir,"the Ferengi cadet responded and headed towards the habitat- ring.


  Garak sat across from his beloved's mother in her quarter pretending to eat breakfast. It had now been four days since Julian had been kidnapped, and he felt it had been the longest four days of his life. So far they were no closer in finding out who had taken Julian, or where they had taken him, than they had been when they first discovered the abduction. Odo's investigation was going painfully slow, while Garak had yet to hear from any of the former contacts he tried to reach. He had sent out several subspace communications, but so far no one had responded.

  Since the abduction, Garak had not really eaten anything and had only managed to catch a few precious hours of sleep. Every time he shut his eyes, he remembered all of the interrogations he had been part of during his time in the Obsidien Order - all of the various means of torturing someone. To say he had been effective was an understatement - he had been one of the best operatives Tain had ever seen. To think though, that his Julian being subjected to the same fate as some of his prisoners had been, was more than he could bear to consider. Each night brought about nightmares consisting of Julian suffering the same type of anguish his prisoners had at the hands of another Cardassian, and Garak would wake up in a cold sweat.

  "Son, you really need to eat something," Amsha commented over her glass of juice.

  Garak looked up from the plate in front of him - for the last ten minutes he'd just been pushing the food around with his fork. "I don't seem to have much of an appetite."

  A small smile touched the corners of Amsha's mouth. "I know. I don't either, but Julian would never forgive me if he came back to find out I had let you get sick."

  That image brought a tender smile to his lips. He didn't have a difficult time imagining Julian coming back from such an ordeal only to fret and worry over him for not taking proper care of himself in his absence. Looking over to Julian's mother, he had no doubt where Julian received his nurturing instinct that made him such a caring doctor. Her son was only Gul knew where, yet she was fussing over him. It truly made him miss his own mother. "You're right of course. I won't be much help for Julian if I put myself in the Infirmary for malnutrition," he replied and took an obligatory bite of his Regova eggs.

  Amsha smiled at him in satisfaction, but didn't last very long. "Have most of the guests left yet?" she asked sadly.

  "Yes, Commander Data and a few others took the last runabout today," Garak replied. It had been one of the hardest things he'd ever done when he informed all of the guests waiting to watch their ceremony that it had been postponed temporarily. Besides the staff that already knew, he figured it had been for the best not to go into too much detail until Julian was found and brought back safely. Amsha reached over and patted his hand understandingly. The silence was broke when they heard the door buzz.

  "Come in," Amsha called out and was slightly surprised to see Nog enter as the door slid open. "Nog, is everything all right?"

  "Mr. Garak, Mrs. Bashir, the Captain has asked for me to come and get you immediately. There has been some news regarding Dr. Bashir and he would like to see you in his office," Nog replied.

  Garak and Amsha pushed their chairs back and headed out the door and down the corridor with Nog trailing behind.

  "What's happened?" Garak inquired as soon as he stepped foot inside Benjamin's office.

  "I just received a rather interesting message from Karl Hudson. It seems that a couple of renegade Marquis were hired by someone who has affiliation with the Dominion. Apparently Julian was to be traded for information to where the Dominion was holding some Maquis prisoners," Sisko responded.

  "Where were they were last seen?" Amsha asked.

  "The Treba system," Sisko responded. "Do you know anyone around in that area Garak?"

  "No, I can't say that I do Captain," Garak replied after thinking about it for a few minutes.

  Sisko was about to say something else, but his door sounded. "Enter," he called out and watched as his head of security entered. "Odo, has there been anymore news on your investigation?"

  "Actually I just got through talking to Rom. He was in the vicinity of Dr. Bashir's quarters right after the suspected time of the abduction," Odo replied. "When I asked him if he has seen anything out of the ordinary, he told me the only thing he saw that he found odd was that he ran into three men in the corridor. Two of them was carrying a forth man who seemed to be unconscious."

  "And you think it was Julian?" Garak asked.

  Odo nodded affirmatively. "Seems that the third man said that he'd had too much to drink when Rom questioned him about it. I heard about the transmission from Hudson and he was telling the truth. At least to a certain point anyhow. I had Rom go through photographs and he was able to identify two of the men as belonging to the Maquis. The third man though, wasn't a known member."

  "Did you have anything on him?"S isko asked, walking behind his desk and took his seat.

  "Yes. The man Rom identified as the third man as Zaeg Kabano. He has list of crimes against him including extortion, weapons trading, smuggling, and murder, but the thing is that he is not just a two-bit criminal," Odo replied locking his blue eyes to the tailor. " he is also a former member of the Obsidian Order. Would you happen to know him?"

  "No Constable, I have heard the name before, but I have never had the pleasure," Garak sneered at him.

  "I think he has been hired specifically to target Dr. Bashir. I also think you know the person responsible. It must be related to your days with Tain," Odo replied.

  Garak was about to comment before Benjamin interrupted, " Garak, things do seem to be pointing in that general direction. Are you sure the name doesn't mean something to you?"

  "Captain Sisko, are you inferring that Elim has had anything to do with Julian's abduction? That's absurd. From what Garak has told me, it has been over a decade since he has had any involvement in that group," Amsha replied defensively.

  Garak smiled and patted her shoulder. "Thank you Mother, but Captain Sisko is right. I did make quite a number of enemies in the past and they are not usually very forgiving," Garak replied. "The Cardassian on the wall and a few other clues seem to indicate that the abduction was some sort of revenge aimed at me." He had been thinking so for some time, but he hadn't wanted to admit the possibility to himself.

  "Do you have any ideas on how to find out more information about who hired Zaeg?" Sisko asked.

  "I do have a couple of options that I've been hesitant to try, but now seems like I don't have much choice," Garak responded.

  "Would you mind to elaborate on that?" Odo asked, crossing his arms in front of his chest.

  "Actually, I would mind," Garak countered. "Captain, I will let you know as soon as I find anything out," Garak said turning back to Sisko. ' If I do.' he amended silently.

  "Very well," Sisko responded. "And good luck."

  "Thank you," Garak responded before he turned to leave to head towards his quarters. There might be one more person he knew of that could lead him to the truth.


  Julian woke up to the feeling of being famished and very thirsty. His captor hadn't given him anything to eat or drink since he had first been kidnapped. Watching the sun rise through the window, he knew he had been gone for at least two days already. He desperately hoped that Garak and the others were searching for him. He tried to remain hopeful, but after the incident with the Founders where he had been gone over a month with no one noticing didn't leave him feeling very confident.

  Casting that thought aside, he decided to concentrate his thoughts on a certain tailor. He missed Elim terribly and couldn't wait to be with him again. He had fallen asleep thinking about the day they first met at the Replimat. Gods, he could hardly believe how naive he used to be. It seemed like a lifetime ago to him now. He also had remembered the first time he and Elim had admitted to their feelings for each other after they made love for the first time - the night that had led to many others after he had moved in with the tailor. His mind ended up drifting to the memory of when Elim had asked him to marry him. The Betrothal Bracelet had come as a shock, but he was never happier then he had been at that moment in time. Then he thought about the honeymoon they would have been on this very day. He only hoped he would still get the chance to make all his plans a reality. 'Oh Elim, don't give up on me yet. ' he pleaded silently to himself. The Cardassian captor had tried to weaken him and beat him into submission, but so far he had managed to outlast him. Whenever his strength started to falter, he would picture Garak in his mind and it usually added the mental strength he needed.

  "Good morning," sneered the familiar voice of his captor as he entered the dark room. " here, eat," the Cardassian replied as he shoved a plate with some kind of gray soupy substance on it at him.

  "Why feed me if you're just going to kill me?" Julian countered with his own sneer.

  The Cardassian gave him a malevolent smile. "What makes you think I want you dead?"

  "Don't you?" Julian asked.

  "You still haven't figured it out yet have you?" he asked patronizingly. "I have no intention on killing you. I just want to make Garak suffer for what he did. I can see no better way to achieve that than through the one person he cares about." he walked over to Julian, who didn't let himself flinch when a hand reached out to grab his wrist and the bracelet around it. "Don't bother trying to deny your relationship with him either."

  Julian thrust his chin out defensively. "I won't. I happen to be proud of my relationship," he replied, pulling his wrist out of the other man's grasp.

  "Do you even know what kind of a monster Elim Garak is?" the Cardassian asked.

  "You're calling 'him' a monster!" Julian asked with disbelief.

  The Cardassian came to stand nose to nose with Julian. "So you don't happen to like what I've been doing hmmm?" he asked. "What would you say if I told you that your beloved fiancé has done the very same things to others?"

  "I'd say you were a liar," Bashir threw back at him.

  "You truly are naive aren't you Bashir?" the Cardassian responded. " Elim must have played on that to get you to believe anything he wanted you to . See if you can open your eyes long enough to digest this...I watched your fiancé murder my father."

  Julian looked at him for several seconds and blinked before saying anything. "What are you talking about?" he asked quietly.

  "My father was an officer in the Obsidian Order. He'd been a loyal officer for years and for as long as I could remember, it was his entire life. One day I came home and heard a lot of noise coming from inside the house, so I looked into the window. That's when I saw my father sprawled out onto the floor with Elim Garak holding a phaser on him. He grabbed him by the neck and hauled him out the door. I followed them to a wooden area, and made sure I was far enough behind so they wouldn't known I was tracking them. I hid behind a tree while I watched Garak tie my father up and beat him into unconsciousness. I was so scared and didn't know what to do, so I just hid and watched. "The Cardassian's voice lowered and for a brief second, Julian could see a glimpse of the pain cross his eyes before they became hooded with hostility again. "Before long my father regain consciousness. As soon as he did, Garak grabbed him and started yelling ' Why did you kill him, why? He didn't do anything to you!'. He kept yelling those same things over and over again. My father tried to pick up this heavy rock that was lying beside him to try and protect himself, but Garak grabbed it from him before he had the chance to use it. He was still yelling 'Why?' as he started beating my father in the head with it. I watched as my father begged for his life while Garak showed no mercy," Julian tried turning his face away, shutting out the sound of the Cardassian's voice in his mind, but the Cardassian didn't allow it - he grabbed Julian by the chin and forced him to meet his eyes. "Do you know what it's like for a fifteen year old boy to watch his father die and be able to do nothing to save him? I swore from that day forward that one day Elim Garak would pay dearly for taking my father's life. So I took my time, gathered powerful friends and allies, and waited for the prefect opportunity for retribution. When I heard of his engagement, I knew that the time had come." the Cardassian shoved Julian hard against the wall. "The only difference is that I'm going to show you more mercy than he did my father. You will live, but when I'm through with you, you're going to wish you hadn't," the Cardassian promised as he pulled out the hypospray and started to advance on him. Julian tried to fend the Cardassian off, but the hypospray hissed as the medication was injected into his arm.

  Surprisingly, Julian didn't feel fuzzy headed or weakened by it. "What did you give me?" he asked.

  "A neural transmitter stimulant," the Cardassian replied as he pulled out a large knife. Slowly, he ran the tip of the cold steel blade in a straight line down the center of Julian's sternum. "Within minutes, you will discover that impulses to every nerve in your body will be amplified by at least ten times. Including the ones to your pain center." A sinister smile pulled at the corner of his mouth. "It's a very old trick, but one that I've found to be 'very' effective."


  Garak stood near the computer terminal in his quarters. His hand poised over it as he contemplated making the connection he'd intended to. It was a dangerous call to make, not to him as much as the one on the other end of the screen. As much as he regretted thinking about it, he knew Odo was right. Whoever masterminded the abduction was someone from Garak's past, but he wasn't sure of who it could possibly be. If it was someone connected to the Obsidian Order though, he knew of one person that could be of tremendous help. The only person he trusted to help him with this. The only other one he trusted with his life besides Julian - the only one he trusted with Julian's life. His fingers played over the terminal before he had the chance to change his mind. In a fraction of a minute, a familiar, feminine face appeared on the screen.

  " Elim! This is certainly a surprise. It is so nice to see your face," the woman replied.

  "Mila, it's nice to see your face as well. I truly have missed you," Garak replied fondly, a smile played on his face.

  "I have missed you too dear one," the Cardassian woman replied with the same fondness, but the smile soon left and nervousness took it's place. "As much as I'm glad to see you, I'm sure you're aware of what would happen if I were to be caught communicating with you Elim."

  "I know that this puts your life in danger, but I would not have contacted you if it weren't important," Garak replied somberly.

  "What do you need?" Mila asked with concern.

  "I need to know if you can tell me who might have hired Zaeg Kabano recently," Garak replied.

  " Elim, if anyone knew I was giving you such information, you know that I could be killed," Mila replied.

  Garak knew that if anyone would know anything dealing with the Obsidian Order, that it would be Tain's former housekeeper and closest confidant. "Whoever hired him has kidnapped a Starfleet Officer and we desperately need to know where he is."

  " Elim, you're asking me to risk my life for a Starfleet Officer?" Mila asked in disbelief.

  " he's not only a Starfleet Officer...he's also my fiancé," Garak confided and watched as Mila's eyes widened in surprise. "Please Mila, you're the only one that can help me now!" he pleaded. " he's my Jahkim... my soulmate...please," he appealed quietly.

  "Oh Elim," she whispered so softly that he almost missed it. She looked down to the floor then locked her eyes with his. " Ruygo Volech. He's living on Ratuka now."

  Garak stared at her for several seconds in stunned silence. Ruygo Volech? The son of the man that had killed his beloved Rochosh all those years ago? He was snapped out of silence when he heard Mila call his name. "You don't know how important this is to me," he said quietly. "Thank you Mother."

  "You're welcome. I love you," she responded before cutting the transmission, leaving Garak to stare at a blank screen.

  Garak then strode across the room and out the door to Leeta's quarters. The Bajoran Dabo girl had been nice enough to keep Amsha company while Garak had seen to his business. He pressed the chime and patiently waited for the answering call to allow him in. Leeta answered and the door slid open. Garak saw both women on the sofa, talking over a cup of coffee. Both women stopped talking and looked at Elim. Studying the tailor's expression, Amsha knew immediately what had happened.

  " Elim, you found out where he is didn't you?" she asked, trying to keep the anxiety and excitement out of her voice.

  Garak confirmed her suspicions with a nod and then said, "Computer, put voice transmission through to Captain Sisko," Garak barked aloud.

  " Sisko here," came Benjamin's response.

  "Captain, I've just found out who hired Kabano and where he's keeping Julian," Garak replied. "Please have the Constable search his database for a Ruygo Volech." Even though he knew who Ruygo's father was, he still wanted information on just who he would be dealing with.

  "I certainly will. Good work Garak. Why don't you and Mrs. Bashir come to the wardroom where the senior staff and I will be waiting for you," Sisko replied.

  "Understood," Garak replied and followed Amsha as she headed towards OPS and the wardroom.

  Sisko's summons had been answered quickly. By the time Garak and Amsha had arrived, Kira, Odo, O'Brien, Worf, and Dax where already there.

  "All right Garak," Sisko began, "What exactly did you find out?"

  "I found out through a contact of mine that Kabano was hired by this man named Ruygo Volech, who is currently living on Ratuka," Garak responded.

  "Constable, what have you discovered about Ruygo Volech?" Sisko asked, turning his attention to the Chief of Security.

  "When I searched the database, I found out that he is a member of the Detepa Council with no prior records to speak of," Odo replied.

  "Why would he want to kidnap Julian?" Amsha asked.

  "I'm afraid the Constable was accurate when he said that this was meant as an act of vengeance towards me," Garak replied.

  "Why doesn't that surprise me?" Kira mumbled under her breath, drawing a reproaching glare from Jadzia.

  "You see," Garak continued, ignoring the Major's remark, "without going into too much detail, Ruygo is the son of an operative that I knew when I was in the Order. I'm afraid that he holds me responsible for his father's death."

  "How are we going to handle this?" Worf asked, deciding it was not his place to question Garak's innocents or guilt in the matter.

  "We aren't even sure Ruygo has Julian," Kira pointed out.

  "Yes, but he may have, and if he does and we wait around until we know for sure, it may be too late," Dax also pointed out.

  "I don't think the Cardassian government would look too kindly upon us making unfounded accusations, such as kidnapping, towards one of their prominent members," Odo commented.

  "You're right about that Constable," Sisko responded.

  "If he is there, we've got to try and rescue him," O'Brien piped in.

  Garak turned to aim his full attention at Sisko. "Captain, I don't mean any disrespect, but if I have to go to Ratuka on my own, I will."

  "You won't be on your own Elim, because I'm coming with you," Amsha informed him.

  "Absolutely not," Garak replied, coming out sounding harsher than he had intended. Softening his voice, he continued, "Mother, I know you want to find Julian as much as I do, but this could be extremely dangerous and I wouldn't be able to forgive myself if any harm came to you."

  "I'm perfectly capable of looking after myself Son," Amsha replied. The tailor gave her a placating smile. "I wouldn't doubt it in the least, but I won't be able to concentrate on finding Julian if I'm worried about you the whole time."

  Amsha cast him a speculative look. "I don't like sitting around, not being able to do anything."

  Garak nodded understandingly. "I know, but you'll be more help to Julian here than if you came along."

  "Whoa, hold it a minute. No one is going anywhere yet," Sisko interrupted. "Now Garak, if you plan on going to Ratuka, we will all go on the Defiant. After all, we'd just be going on this trip to ask him a few question about our investigation right? Dax and O'Brien smiled slightly. "Then there shouldn't be any problems right?"

  "No sir," O'Brien replied as the others shook their heads.

  "Good, now how long will it take to get to Ratuka?" Sisko asked, his eyes resting on Dax.

  "Traveling at top speed, I'd say the better part of two days," Jadzia replied.

  "Fine, inform the crew on the Defiant to be ready to depart within the hour," Sisko ordered.

  "Yes sir," Jadzia replied and took off for the docking ring.

  "Dismissed," Sisko said to the rest of the staff and watched them as they rose from their seats and left.

  "Thank you for being so cooperative Captain," Garak replied after everyone else had left.

  "There's no need to thank me Garak. I would have done the same for any member of my crew," Sisko responded.

  "I'm glad because I would have hated having to 'borrow' a runabout without your permission," Garak commented.

  "You would have too, wouldn't you?" Sisko asked.

  "Yes Captain, I would have," Garak replied honestly as he stood up and walked out the door. A small smile played on Sisko's mouth. He knew all too well what lengths people would go through for their loved one. He knew too, that he himself would have done the same had it been Jennifer or Jake that had been kidnapped.


  Droplets of bright, red blood colored the dirt floor as it dripped and pooled from the many cuts that covered Julian's arms, chest, and legs. The pain was more intense and excruciating than Julian had ever known in his life. Ruygo took perverse pleasure in running the razor sharp blade across his body with deliberate slowness. Unable to help himself, Julian cried out in agony as he tried to pull out of Ruygo's unrelenting grasp.

  "That's right, cry out. Your Elim is no where around to protect you is he!" Ruygo sneered at him.

  "Not now, but he will be and then you'll pay for this," Julian promised as he panted heavily, trying to ignore the pain running through his body.

  Ruygo threw his head back and gave him a contemptuous laugh. "What makes you think he even knows where you are?"

  "I wouldn't underestimate him if I were you," Julian replied. Ruygo took the tip of his index finger and ran it down the length of one of the worse cuts on Julian's biceps. Slowly rubbing it between his finger and thumb, he locked his cold, gray eyes with Julian's. " he really has gotten you blinded to the person he really is hasn't he?" he asked with disdain. " he would have had to in order to gain the kind of faith you have in him. Unfortunately, all your faith isn't going to do you a bit of good."

  "You say you're doing this to get back at Garak, but why should I even believe that's real reason behind all of this?" Julian asked as Ruygo's grasp slipped and he pulled free to move as far away from the Cardassian as his chains allowed him to. "For all I know, you could be lying and making the whole story up."

  "Why would I go through all that trouble?" Ruygo asked scornfully.

  "How should I know? All I do know is that you told me this story with absolutely no proof to back it up whatsoever," Julian replied.

  "I truly could care less whether you believe me or not because it isn't going to change my plans any. If it's proof you want though, perhaps telling you my father's last name will help to convince you," he replied with an ugly smile. "After all, if you and Elim are so close, he may have told you about it." When Julian didn't say anything, he went on. "My father's name was Mulru Volech." The blood drained from Julian's face as he immediately recalled where he had heard that last name before. "So I see you are indeed familiar with the name," Ruygo said as he watched the recognition became obvious in Julian's eyes. "And you know that I am telling you the truth. Elim Garak is a cold-blooded murderer."

  "Garak may have killed your father, but it was only out of reaction to what your father did to him," Julian replied.

  "My father didn't do anything to deserve being killed like that!" Ruygo yelled. "My father was a honorable man! The best operative there ever had been! All he did was try to serve his homeworld the best he could!"

  "Oh? Now who's the one being naive?" Bashir asked sarcastically. "Tell me, what kind of a honorable operative would not only try to blackmail his partner, but have him killed when he wouldn't cooperate?"

  "That's a lie!" Ruygo shouted. "My father would never have done anything like that!"

  "He would've and he did," Julian spat at him. " he was trying to blackmail Rochosh because he was lovers with Garak, but when he wouldn't give in, your father had him killed and set it up to look like an accident."

  Ruygo brought his hand up and slapped Julian so hard that it caused him to take several steps back. His ears rang loudly and he hoped the neural transmitter stimulant would wear off soon. " Bashir, you're not in any position to be telling me anything," Ruygo commented hostily. "I think you need reminded just who it is that's in charge around here." Ruygo turned from him and tapped some type of communicator that Julian had never seen before. "Zaeg...bring me the electro-transmitter."

  Within a few minutes, a man that Julian recognized as his third attacker came walking into the dim room carrying a small black and silver box with dials on it. Ruygo took the two wireless electrodes from the top of the box and placed them on Julian's chest. As Ruygo flipped the switch, Julian could hear the machine making a soft humming sound and felt a slight tingling sensation through his body. Ruygo turned one of the dials and the tingling increased. He turned the dial more and Julian felt painful waves of electricity shoot through his body, as the hairs on his arms and legs began to stand up on end. Ruygo continued to increase the amount as Julian winced in pain. He would not allow himself to cry out or ask him to stop.

  "Who is in control here?" Ruygo asked him and waited. When Julian rebelliously said nothing, Ruygo turned the dial some more. Julian's muscles started to twitch and spasm.

  "Bashir, you can make this a lot easier on yourself. All you have to do is ask me to quit," Ruygo commented as he turned the dial up more.

  "I wouldn't hold your breath," Julian replied sardonically through gritted teeth. Ruygo only laughed and turned the intensity up more. Julian's muscles began shaking violently. The sizzling of the electrodes sounded loud in his ears. Julian could smell his flesh under the electrodes start to burn. He could feel his heart palpitating and skipping beats. His doctor's knowledge told him if this kept up he could suffer cardiac arrest and possible brain damage, but he just couldn't allow himself to give in. Julian teeth started chattering and he tried hard to keep from biting his tongue. He squeezed his eyes shut in an attempt to block out some of the pain and fought to maintain control over his own body. Julian opened his eyes again to see Ruygo turning the dial a little more as his body started convulsing. Julian hardly noticed through the pain as his bladder involuntarily relaxed, causing him to relieve himself onto the dirt floor.

  Suddenly Ruygo turned the machine off and watched as Julian crumpled to the ground. "Remember Bashir, I may have said I wouldn't kill you, but there is a lot you can do to a person without actually killing them." he then walked over to Julian and ripped the electrodes off of his chest and pulled out the hypospray from his pocket and gave Julian another dose of the pschotropic drug before turning to leave.


  Two hours into the trip, Garak found himself sitting alone in the cubical that would be his quarters for the next forty-six hours. To call it a room was a joke considering it's lack of space, but it would have to be sufficient, seeing as how he had been politely chased from the bridge. The Defiant was already cloaked and entering Cardassian space, so they didn't need him under foot. Normally his claustrophobia would have started making him edgy by now, but he hardly paid it any attention with his mind being preoccupied with Julian. He still couldn't believe the irony his life was taking. His beloved doctor was being held prisoner by the son of the man that had killed the first real love Garak had ever known - the only love Garak had known until Julian came into his life.

  A few days after Volech's death, Garak had received a communication from an unfamiliar young boy saying that he would eventually get even for his father's death. Garak had dismissed it as nothing more than an angry pubescent making idle threats that he could not possible carry out. He had not given it another thought either - until today. Now he couldn't help but to wonder how someone from his past could have gotten to Julian without him knowing about it. Had he simply be getting careless since his exile? When he was in the Order, he always knew exactly who his adversaries were and exactly what moves they were planning. He hadn't been able to afford any surprises, considering that they could've had deadly consequences. Now that he knew who had Julian and why, he couldn't help feeling that he had felt more comfort when he hadn't. At least when he wasn't sure of the abductor's identity, there was still a chance in his mind that Julian would be found safe and unharmed. Remembering the face of that angry youth from years ago, Garak wasn't so sure that chance still existed.

  He walked over to the small bed unit and picked up the small bag that contained a few of his belongings for the trip. Opening it up, he pulled out a small brown stuffed bear. He still wasn't sure why he had even packed it in the first place, but as he laid Kukalaka on the bed, it did offer him some comfort knowing that he had a part of Julian with him. Closing his eyes, Garak silently prayed to the Great Gul to send all of his energy to somehow find Julian. "Hold on awhile longer Jahkim, I'll be there soon," he said aloud, opening his eyes that came to rest on the stuffed bear.


  Moonlight poured in through the slit of the window as Julian leaned back against the stone cold wall. His body ached from exhaustion, pain, and hunger. He wished he had eaten the meager breakfast Ruygo had brought to him earlier. But no, instead of getting the much needed energy his body demanded, his stupid stubbornness kept him from eating. To take his mind off of his empty stomach let himself wonder how he managed to get himself into situations like this. What made him an easier target than anyone else on the station? He thought about what Worf, Sisko, or Odo would do in his present situation. 'They wouldn't have been stupid enough to have gotten caught in the first place.' the small voice inside his head reminded him. How could he have been so incredibly careless to have let someone into his quarters without even at least asking who it was? No..'Come in.' he had said. ' Why didn't you just roll out the bloody red carpet for them Jules?' the small voice harped. Even a first year cadet had more common sense than he had shown.

  What if it had been Worf, Sisko, Odo, or anyone else for that matter? The chances were any of them would have put up more of a fight than what he had. His Starfleet training should have told him that there had been one more laying in hiding for him. Always remain aware of your surroundings at all times during an attack. Had he? Nope, not in the least.

  Why did Garak have to be stuck watching after him all the time anyway? First he had to take care of him when he had the virus that caused his blindness, now he is having to come to rescue him from this. ' You're more trouble to him than your worth Jules.' the small voice told him bitterly. 'If he had good sense, he'd let you rot in here. He deserves someone he doesn't have to watch over all the time. ' He forced his eyes shut, willing the nagging voice to become silent, but it didn't relent. ' What kind of mate are you going to be for him? Do you really think you have what it takes to make him happy? Look at yourself. You haven't even made the first attempt to try and escape. Anyone else would have found Ruygo's weakness by now and used it to his advantage to try and get away. What are you doing? You with your genetically enhanced intelligence are sitting chained up in the dark bloody and bruised waiting on someone to come for you when they may not even know where to start looking!'

  If the truth were told, he almost hoped Garak wouldn't come for him any longer. He had until he knew why Ruygo had taken him. Now he would rather die on this planet rather than have Garak come and rescue him and put himself in danger. He knew Ruygo would have no qualms of taking Garak's life and he couldn't bare to think of that possibility. There wasn't anything he wouldn't do to keep him safe, but he wasn't really in the position to help anyone right now he reminded himself. ' If it weren't for your senseless stupidity, you wouldn't even have to be worrying about what Ruygo would do to Garak. You act like you've learned and grown so much over the years, but the fact is your still the same inept, naive Jules you've always been.' Sighing in frustration, he laid down on the cold dirt floor and let the sheer weariness his body was feeling overtake him enough to slip into a very light, and fitful sleep.