Garak strode down the corridor of the habitat-ring. "Computer, put voice transmission through to Major Kira,"the tailor barked.

  "Kira here,"the Major replied.

  "Major, I would like to speak with you as soon as possible," Garak replied.

  There was a hesitation on the other end."I'll meet with you in your quarters in a few minutes," she replied finally.

  "I'll be waiting," Garak replied. "Out." Garak entered his quarters and began pacing irratatedly about the room until he heard the chiming of the door that announced the Major's arrival. "Enter," he called out. The door slid open, but Kira seemed to hold back from entering. "Please, come in," Garak finally offered and gestured for her to take a seat. She slowly crossed the floor.

  "What did you want?" she asked, sitting on the edge of the sofa.

  "Major, it has recently come to my attention that I have been led astray by someone bidding for my title of the station's deceiver," Garak replied, coming to stand in front of her.

  "What are you talking about?"Kira asked, though she had a good idea exactly what he was talking about.

  "There seems to be a conspiracy going on around here to make me believe that Doctor Bashir was planning on taking part on a project that would put him on a Klingon vessel for six months or longer. When I questioned him about, he told me the information was untrue and that I should question you," Garak replied, folding his arms in front of his chest. "So, I am."

  Kira was not about to let herself feel like she was being interrogated by a tailor. Squaring her shoulders, she looked him directly in the eyes. "Look Garak, maybe I and few others did intentionally misinform you, but we had to find some way to get it through that skull of yours that you made the wrong decision when you called off the wedding."Under normal circumstances, the astonished look on the tailor's face would have amused her.

  "But you said yourself that Julian was lucky to still be alive and reminded me how my past could only serve to bring him harm,"the Cardassian remarked.

  " Garak, you've never listened to me before. Why start now?"That drew a raised eyeridge from the tailor. "The fact is I didn't have any right to make that comment. I let personal prejudices to interfere in the life of a friend that I value without considering the consequences."

  "What exactly made you change your mind?" Garak asked cautiously. He still wasn't sure what to make of the entire situation.

  "Let's just say I've come to realize that for whatever reason, Julian cares about you and isn't concerned about the risks. The only thing that seems to matter to him is the fact that he loves you,"Kira replied.

  "So you're telling me you constructed this elaborate scheme just to make me realize that," Garak asked skeptically.

  "Would you have sat up and taken notice of anything else?"Kira challenged.

  "I see your point," Garak conceded and couldn't help smiling slightly. "I never would have taken you for having a devious side though. I must say, you are a surprise. Why though, didn't Julian go along with it?"

  "He refused to be dishonest with you," she said simply and shrugged her shoulders.

  The thought that the doctor couldn't bring himself to lie to Garak, truly touched him. After all the elaborate stories he fabricated about his past over the years, the doctor still wouldn't allow himself to mislead him. "All of you did seem to go through a lot of trouble on my account," Garak commented.

  "All it amounts to is that we care about Julian and want to see him happy. You seem to do that for him, so who am I to argue whether it's right or wrong?"Kira asked him.

  It still amazed him that all of Julian's friends would go to such extensive measures to try and initiate a reconciliation. If they cared that much about Julian, wouldn't also be willing to help protect Julian if it was ever needed? Thinking about Dax, O'Brien, and even Kira herself, Garak realized that they would always do their best to look after Julian's welfare. They did seem truly concerned about what was in his best interest. With so much corroboration on their side, how couldn't they stand a chance? ' The question is though Elim, is he going to be able to forgive you? Why should he after everything you've put him through? You pushed him away when he needed you most.' the small voice reminded him. He still cared for the doctor deeply, but had he caused too much damage to the relationship that it couldn't be rectified? He was suddenly called back to attention by Kira's voice.

  " Garak,"Kira could see the storm of emotions running their course in the tailor's eyes. "Go talk to him," she said softly.

  Talk to him? How would he be able to bridge the distance he had enforced between them? What would make Julian open enough to want give him a chance to explain everything? ' You have to make him remember when times were good between you.' he told himself. ' Bring back a memory of something special.' But what could he do? His eyes lit up when he suddenly had an idea come to mind. ' Perfect.' he thought as a plan outlined it's self in his mind.

  "Major," he said, bringing his attention back to his company. "I just want to thank you for all you've done."

  "Yeah, well just don't blow it because if I ever find out you've hurt Julian, you won't have to worry about Ruygo or anyone else for that matter because I'll take care of you myself," she promised before getting up to leave.

  Garak watched her walk out of his quarters before reminding himself of his idea and went into the bedroom where his travel bag from Ratuka was at.


  When Julian entered his quarters, all he wanted to do was take a shower and change for bed. Even though he was content to be back at work, it had been a very trying day. Part of his exhaustion was due to a lack of sleep he had been getting because of the nightmares he was still having and an inability to stop thinking about Elim - the other part was strictly due to a bustling Infirmary. He was also sure that the majority of his staff had called a meeting when he wasn't around and decided to take leave all around the same time - it was the only explanations for him starting to become short staffed.

  He flopped himself down on the sofa and was considering how good a hot bowl of soup and a warm shower sounded when he noticed something on his coffee table that hadn't been there when he left. Staring at him with glassy brown eyes was his stuffed bear, Kukalaka, and he was holding a long-stemmed red rose. 'What the...?' He picked the bear up and took the rose from it and noticed that Kukaklaka had been sitting on top of a data padd. Holding the bear in the crook of his arm, he picked up the padd and began reading it.

  Jahkim, Oh my gentle young friend, how I long to caress your golden skin and to claim those lips that call to me. I long to tell you, but where do I begin? I'm afraid you would turn from me, that I can't possibly be everything you need. To convince you of my love, what do I have to do? Lie, steal, cheat, borrow, beg, plead? Nothing you could ask would ever be too much. For you my young friend, have capture this old heart. I am only a simple man, but everything I have is yours. To share with you the gift of love, but where do I start? I am so unworthy of even having such thoughts. You're love is far too precious of a treasure. Oh, to be the one you would share it with though, would but be my life's greatest pleasure.

  Julian, I know I have no right to expect it, but if you would please consider meeting me, I have a few things I would like to discuss with you. Please do this thing that I ask and I will never make such a request again.


  Julian sat the padd down and carried the bear and the rose into the bedroom. After he set his bear back on his self, he walked over and set the rose in a small vase he had, then turned to look out the viewport. Julian couldn't help smiling at the thought of the rose and poem. He knew what Garak was trying to make him recall and it worked well. He still had the first poem Elim had ever sent him saved as this one would be. They had shared their first together and the next morning when Julian had arrived at the Infirmary, there had been a long-stemmed red rose and a poem waiting for him. The poem had not been written by the tailor as the one he received tonight had been, but it was none the less touching.

  ' This is what you wanted Jules, a chance to talk to him, so why are you waiting?' he asked himself. He was still angry that Garak had pushed him away, but after the several weeks they'd spent apart, much of his anger had burned itself out. He did agree that they had a good deal to talk about and it was about time it was done. He called for a voice transmission to be put through to the Cardassian.

  " Garak here,"came the response.

  "It's me, Julian,"the doctor replied.

  There came a brief pause."What can I do for you?" he asked.

  Julian thought his voice sounded slightly nervous, as if he didn't know how Julian would take his request. " Elim, I'd like to talk to you as well," Julian said softly.

  "When would be a good time," Garak asked.

  "Well, unless you are already busy, what about now? Julian suggested, wanting to do this as soon as possible.

  "Doctor, I'm not doing anything that can't be put off until another time. " Garak assured him.

  "Good, I'll see you in a few minutes then?" Julian asked with a small smile.

  "I'll be there shortly," Garak promised.

  Julian ordered a cup of Tarkalean tea and a glass Rokassa juice for the tailor. Bringing them over to coffee table, he sat them down and took a seat on the sofa to wait. It didn't last long because within moments, he heard his door sound.

  "Come in," he called and the door slid open to allow the tailor to enter.

  Garak noticed that there was a small smile on Julian's mouth. He took that as a good sign that perhaps Julian would be receptive to what he had to say. He realized how much he had missed that smile. "Thank you for agreeing to see me," he commented, taking the seat next to Julian on the sofa.

  "What did you want to talk to me about?" Julian asked, handing the tailor's drink to him and taking a sip of his own steaming beverage.

  "It seems your friends have gone through a great deal of trouble to try to make me reconsider my previous decision," Garak replied.

  "I was thinking that you might be upset after you found out about their little plan,"Julia replied.

  "Quite the contrary actually. I was at first, but then I realized how much they cared about you and your happiness," Garak replied, soothing his throat with a drink. "What I did find curious though, is why you didn't take part in it."

  Julian turned to face him and looked him in the eyes. "After everything we've been though together, did you really think I could be capable of lying to you? I cared too much for what we had to do something like that."

  "You don't know how gratified I am to hear that," Garak told him.

  "That doesn't change the fact that you hurt me though when you pushed me away from you," Julian reminded him.

  Garak cast his eyes down to the ground. "I know that, and you'll never realize how truly sorry I am for hurting you like that."

  "Yes I would," Julian informed him and Garak looked at him curiously. "I remember how I felt when I pushed you away from me when I went blind from that virus on Bajor."

  "It seem that we have a problem when it comes to pushing each other away when things start to get rough doesn't it?" Garak commented.

  " Garak, I know you care about me and worry about my safety, and I'm glad to know you care so much about what happens to me, but you never know what could happen between now and tomorrow," Julian said, searching the Cardassian's crystal eyes.

  "You're friends tried pointing that very idea out to me and made me realize how right they were." Garak couldn't help himself from reaching out to gently stroke the doctor's cheek with the back of his hand. "The truth of the matter is, I'd rather have only one day with you in my life and have it be over than to spend the rest of my days without you."

  " Elim, what are we going to do about this?" Julian asked, taking both of the tailor's hands into his own. "Our problems are still far from being solved."

  "That's true Doctor, but I may have come up with an idea that could greatly help us out in times of trouble," Garak replied, stroking the back of Julian's hands with his thumbs.

  "What?" Julian asked curiously.

  "First," Garak said as his eyes searched the doe-brown eyes of the doctor. "I need to know if you could look beyond my rash behavior and would consider giving me another opportunity to earn your love."

  Julian's eyes softened," Elim, don't you know you can't earn my love? It's been yours since the first day we met. I've always loved you and I always will. Nothing is going to change that."

  A sudden look of relief and joy came over the Cardassian's expression. "Then does that mean you'll still agree to marry me?" he asked, squeezing Julian's hands.

  "I've told you once before that I'd be honored to be your husband and I meant it." Garak saw the sincerity and love reflected in Julian's eyes and the tailor felt a swelling wrap around his heart. All of a sudden, he felt like swinging Julian around in a circle, running through the corridors shouting out his happiness at the top of his lungs, and a myriad of other things came to mind. In the end, he settled for pulling the younger man onto his lap and covering his lips with his own.

  " Julian, do you know how much I love you?" Garak asked raspily after the need for air finally ended the kiss. He nuzzled the doctor's neck and wrapped his arms tightly around him.

  Julian gave his a boyish grin. "It'd better be enough to last for at least the next fifty or sixty years," he replied, his own breathing as labored as Garak's.

  "Count on it," Garak assured him, kissing him leisurely and quite thoroughly again. When the kiss broke, Garak's expression turned serious. "I have something that belongs to you," he replied and reached into his pocket. Pulling out the golden Betrothal bracelet, he took Julian's hand and clasped it shut around his wrist. "Promise me you won't take this off again. I don't ever wish to have it back."

  "Don't worry because I don't plan on returning it," Julian said with a smile and held the tailor tightly against him.

  "We're going to have so much to do. So much to reschedule. Of course your mother and Commander Dax will probably be more than willing to help out. I hope so anyhow, because I want to have the ceremony as soon as possible. Maybe in a couple of days? Do you think all the guests will be able to come on such short notice? And..." Garak started saying before he got interrupted.

  "Whoa, hold on a minute here." Julian wanted to laugh at the Cardassian's overzealousnous. "You never did tell me what this idea was on what could help us out."

  Garak realized that in all his excitement, that he had forgotten to tell Julian his idea. "It's really simple actually. Remember how we wanted to have both of our culture's traditions made part of the ceremony?" Julian nodded "Well, remember how I was planning on having the Cardassian Bonding Ceremony before the traditional Terran ceremony?"

  "Yes," Julian said slowly.

  "Well, I was thinking of leaving a part of the tradition out because I considered it rather outdated and a bit pointless. Since then I've reconsidered," Garak replied.

  "What part was that?" Julian asked.

  "I've decided that we should each have a Bonding Patron for the ceremony," he replied.

  "You didn't inform me of that particular part of the custom. What exactly is it?" Julian asked.

  Garak began to explain what a Bonding Patron was and what exactly their role would be in the ceremony. After he was finished with his explanation, he looked at Julian. "What are your comments on it?" he asked.

  "Actually, I like the idea and think it could help us out a lot. I believe I'll ask Jadzia if she would be interested in being my Bonding Patron. Do you have anyone in mind that you'll ask?" Julian questioned.

  "Actually," Garak began slowly, "I do and I believe I'll ask her right now," he replied and shifted Julian off of his lap before standing up.

  "You have to do it right 'now'?" Julian asked incredulously.

  Garak smiled down at him, "Jahkim, this ceremony has taken too long to come about as it is. I don't plan on waiting any longer than I have to in having you as my mate." he pressed his lips softly against the doctor's before turning to leave.


  Garak stood outside the door. Several times he lifted his hand to touch the pad that would announce his presence. Each time he backed down. 'What am I doing here? It's just a tradition, that's all, I don't really need to do this.' He tried to convince himself. ' No, I said I would do this for Julian and I'm not backing down from my word.' Garak let out a loud sigh. With a shaky hand he tapped the pad. As the door opened, he stood facing his adversary.

  "Oh, it's you. Well, what do you want? Do you realize how late it is?"

  "My sincere apologies Major, however, this could not wait any longer. May I come in? I promise not to take too much of your time, or have I come at an inopportune moment?"

  Kira reflexively tightened the belt of her silk robe. "I'm not so sure this is such a good idea Garak."

  "It is about Julian," Garak smiled pleasantly.

  "Oh," she hesitated, "Very well, but it better be quick."

  Kira led the way to the chairs which were grouped around a small table. Motioning for Garak to take a seat, she sat down opposite him.

  "First, Major, I wish to express my deepest gratitude for your efforts in bringing Julian and myself back together."

  "We've been through all of this already. I'm not Julian, I don't like games, now get to the point!"

  "Yes, well, Julian and I have decided to proceed with the marriage ceremony, with one change. We want to make sure that our union is recognized by both the Federation and Cardassia. So we want to include a Cardassian Bonding Ceremony in our plans." he paused, his mouth feeling suddenly dry. "Major, may I have some water please?"Kira sighed as she got up and returned with two glasses. Handing one to Garak, she plopped down into her chair. Her impatience was beginning to show again.

  "So what does this have to do with me?"

  After taking a slow drink, Garak cleared his throat. "Um, part of the ceremony includes each of us choosing a Bonding Patron. By tradition, it's someone of the opposite sex who stands by the newlywed in sort of a pledge to help him through the rough spots in a marriage." he took a deep breath before continuing, " Julian is planning on asking Lt. Commander Dax to stand with him. I...I would like to ask you to stand with me."

  "WHAT? You can't be serious? ME?"Kira spurted out, unfortunately spraying Garak with the water she had just been drinking.

  As Garak stood to wipe the liquid from his tunic, Kira also jumped up to help, but in doing so she only managed to knock Garak's glass out of his hand. They each instinctively bent to pick up the fallen tumbler. A chorus of Cardassian and Bajoran swear words were heard as heads collided. Both collapsed back into their chairs. Rubbing her forehead, Kira began to laugh.

  "Major, I see nothing funny in this unfortunate occurrence,"

  "I was just thinking of how many times I've wanted to knock some sense into your head." she was beginning to giggle uncontrollably, getting hiccups in the process. Garak began to worry and rose from his seat to assist Kira. Walking towards her, he forgot about the glass that still lay on the floor. As his foot came down, the glass shattered, causing Garak to lose his balance. He toppled over the table, crashing to the floor, hitting his head once again. "Oh, Garak, I'm so sorry,"Kira managed to say between hiccups and giggles. She started to rise.

  "NO! Major, please, just stay where you are," Garak's voice pleaded. He carefully raised himself and sat back into the chair barely managing to contain the moans.

  Kira wasn't fooled. "Looks like you could use a doctor! Kira to Bashir."

  "Yes, Major?"the soft accented voice responded.

  "I think 'hiccup' your 'hiccup, giggle' 'deep breath' services are needed in my quarters."

  "On my way."

  Garak held his head in his hands, looking at Kira. He began to see the humor in this unbelievable fix they had gotten themselves into. By the time Julian entered the room, Garak and Kira were laughing hysterically. Looking at the broken table, the shattered glass, and the two figures before him, Julian's eyes showed their confusion. Then he noticed the blood on Garak's temple.

  "What happened?" he asked, as his professional side took over and he deftly patched up Garak.

  Kira, who had been trying to breath deeply, managed to calm her hiccups. "You might say that we've been bonding." Garak looked up at her, his eye ridges raised questioningly. "Yes, Garak, I'll do it. After all of this, being your Bonding Patron can't be any worse."

  It was Julian's turn to sputter, looking up at Garak, "Kira? You asked Kira?"Then looking at Kira, he asked "You accepted?"His eyes went wide flicking back and forth from one to the other. Smiles crossed both Kira's and Garak's faces. "Isn't anyone going to tell me what's going on?" Julian demanded.

  "Yes, yes, Jahkim. I will tell you all about it - later. Right now, Major Kira and I still have some more to talk about. You go on, I'll be fine."

  "But..." Julian began to protest, just as two pairs of arms gathered him up and gently led him out the door.

  Alone once again, Kira turned to Garak. The laughter was gone from her eyes and her voice. Her tone was serious when she spoke. "Understand Garak, I'm not doing this for you, I'm doing it for Julian. You want me as your Bonding Patron, fine I'll do it. However, I will take this role quite seriously not just as a tradition. I will give my advice, asked for or not. It's my intention to make sure that you treat Julian with all the love and respect that he deserves."

  "Understood Major. I wanted to choose you because of that persistent nature of yours. Your honesty is what I will need. I will expect no less from you."

  "It was my honesty, that almost caused you and Julian to break up,"Kira interjected.

  "Ah yes, but it was also you who saw how much it was hurting Julian. You put aside your feelings to help him. That is exactly what I desire. Believe me when I say, that your intentions and mine are the same."With that said, Garak nodded. "Goodnight Major." he turned and left.


  The next two days caught Julian and Elim up in a swirl of activity. The wedding was to take place the following afternoon and everyone was rushing around trying to get everything rescheduled besides attending to their normal daily duties. Their friends had all showed their happiness when they found out the wedding was back on and offered to do anything they could to help out - an offer they had been taken up on. Julian had seriously thought his mother was going to start crying when he told her the good new. Instead, she had hugged the breath out of both of them and asked what she could do help. Julian was very pleased with how smoothly everything was running, given that it was such short notice. He was a little upset that some of his friends off-station wouldn't be able to make it on time, but they had sent their congratulations and blessings none the less. The doctor and the tailor had barely any time to see each other, but they did manage to share lunch and dinner together - and it was dinner they were on their way to share at the moment.

  "It was very nice of Mother to invite us over for a prewedding dinner," Garak comments.

  "I thought so too. I told her that we might be busy, but she said she didn't want to hear any excuses and wanted to make sure that we were here at 19:00 sharp,"the doctor replied with a smile. While one hand was linked with the tailor's, Julian raised his free hand to sound the chime.

  "Surprise!!!"came a chorus of voices when the door slid open. Standing in the living area, was Sisko, Dax, O'Brien, Odo, Worf, Kira, and Amsha Bashir - all with their arms full of gifts.

  "What the...?" Julian looked over to Garak who had a similar look of confusion on his face, and then to his mother. "What's going on? I thought we were here for dinner. "

  Amsha came forward and gave both of her sons a kiss on the cheek. "You are Jules, but we realized you boys never had a party to celebrate."

  "So we decided to give you one,"Miles piped in. "As your Best Man, it was my duty to throw you some sort of party, and this was as close to what I wanted that Keiko would let me get," he replied with a grin. "Take a seat and I'll open up the bar."The Chief then turned his attention to everyone else in the room. "Okay everyone, start calling out your poison."The group took their seats around the living area and called out what drinks they wanted. Miles bustled around a miniature bar area he set up with bottles coming from his private stock.

  Soon everyone had a drink in hand and talk and laughter filled the small quarters.

  "Hey, anyone have advice for the soon to be newlyweds about having a happy marriage?" Dax asked, getting everyone's attention.

  "Yeah, I've found out that the old saying 'never go to bed angry' is a good bit of advice to listen to," O'Brien said, taking a sip of his whiskey. "What about you Captain?" O'Brien asked Sisko.

  "I've always thought it was important to be honest with each other. No matter what," Sisko replied. "Your turn Mr. Worf. You were married before right?" he asked the Klingon, who was looking decidedly uncomfortable.

  "Yes, I was," he muttered. "I always felt that you should respect one another if a marriage is to work."

  "What about you Mrs. Bashir?" Dax asked Julian's mother.

  "Oh, I think they've already learned the biggest lesson I feel there is to keep a marriage running smoothly. To be strong enough to admit when your wrong," she answered and then smiled. "Do you want to open your presents now?" she asked, turning her attention back on her boys.

  "Yeah, open them," Dax encouraged.

  Julian shrugged his shoulders and picked up the box nearest him and looked at the card attached. "This is from Captain Sisko." he fastidiously tried opening the wrapping without ripping it, but with all of the tape around it, he finally gave up and tore into it. "It's cookware," Julian replied with a smile.

  Garak looked into the box as well. "Thank Sir. I'm sure will be most useful."

  "They say the way to man's heart is through his stomach, so I thought I'd prepare the both of you. I'm sure it wouldn't take long before you got tired of all those replicated meals." he then pulled out a isolenear rod and handed it to Julian. "This is a collection of some of my father's most renowned recipes to get you started on the right foot."

  "Thank you very much Captain," Julian replied and then noticed something else in the bottom of the box. "Oh, hold on there, here's something else," he said and pulled out a set of dark blue bath towels that had 'HIS' embroidered on them in white.

  "I had to end up getting two sets for those," Sisko explained with a smile.

  Dax poked Kira in the ribs. "Guess what we get from him as his next gift!"

  Garak picked up a brightly colored smaller package.

  "That one's from me,"the Trill called out with a grin.

  The tailor unwrapped the box and a slow smile curved on his lips as he opened the top. With care, he held up two pair of matching silk thongs for inspection of everyone else. "Why thank you Commander..these are most interesting."

  Her only attempt at a explanation was,"I just couldn't resist."

  Kira handed her two packages to the couple. One went to Julian while the other went to Garak.

  Julian opened his to reveal another isolenear rod. "It's a holosuite program on self-defense techniques," she explained and watched as Garak opened his gift from her.

  "Bajoran bath oils. How thoughtful of you Major," Garak remarked, not allowing Julian to see the note that came with it. It was a warning note reminding him what she would do to him if he every harmed Julian.

  Worf gave them his gift some Klingon Operas with Julian thanked him kindly for.

  "Here you go," O'Brien replied, handing them both individual packages as Kira had done. "Hope you like it."

  "I'm sure I will Miles," Julian assured him as he opened his box to reveal a bottle of authentic Irish Whiskey. "Why thank you Chief. We'll save this for a special occasion," Julian said with a smile.

  "That's some good stuff too,"Miles replied with a grin. "Very hard to get ahold of and has a powerful kick to it."

  "I'll try to remember that," Julian replied.

  Garak worked on peeling the wrapping on his own gift. When he finally managed to tear into it, he got a slightly funny expression on his face. "Chief O'Brien, I appreciate your gift," he replied and pulled out a set of brand new darts. "But aren't these meant for Julian?"

  The Irishman shrugged his broad shoulders. "Well, I just thought if you'd ever want to join us..," he offered. His face turned a little flushed.

  "Why Chief, that is very kind of you,"the Cardassian replied. To help divert attention away from the Engineer, Julian lifted another present and began to unwrap it.

  "A book? '101 Ways To Please Your Man'. Who is this from?" Julian laughingly questioned. Garak picked up the book and begin glancing through it with Julian looking over his shoulder. Everyone shrugged and looked around until all eyes settled on Odo.

  "Is it inappropriate? I was told that we were to bring something that they could use in married life together. They both like literature so much, and the Major did tell me they need all the help they can get," the Constable replied. With a groan Kira slid down in her chair.

  "No, Odo I love it, I really do!" Julian exclaimed.

  "I like number 51!" Garak answered as he began to demonstrate on the doctor.

  "Whoa boys!" Dax pulled the two lovers apart, "There'll be plenty of time for that after the wedding! Hmm, let me see that, are there pictures too?"

  There was one box left on the table. As he opened the box from his mother Julian's faced turned a bright red .


  "You don't like them? Why your father always seemed to enjoy..."

  "Mother! Please, I um... it's just..."the childhood stammer returned to Julian's now whispered voice.

  Garak grabbed the box from Julian and looked inside, a smile spreading across his face, "Why Mother, you certainly are full of surprises, a commendable family trait I might add."

  Amsha leaned back with a grin, as Dax and Kira leaned forward to get a glimpse inside the box. Garak however was enjoying teasing Julian too much to let this opportunity pass. He gingerly began to remove the contents of the box, much to Julian's embarrassment. One by one, he pulled out the delicate male lingerie. First, a pair of black lace briefs, just barely Julian's size, then a matching larger pair. The sheer red pair was a favorite until, the different flavored edible pairs were finally shown to all. Licking his lips Garak pulled Julian closer until even Julian had to begin laughing.

  "I think now would be a good time for dinner,"Kira finally called, gathering everyone's attention. "And I'm not even going to ask what's for desert," she mumbled causing more laughter from everyone as they made their way to the table.

  The group took their seats around the table and Mrs. Bashir filled everyone's wine glasses as various dishes were passed around. Garden salad, fresh crisp vegetables, several types of meats, and fresh bread was all on the evening's menu. As the dishes got passed around and plates grew full, Amsha looked over at her son.

  "Jules, aren't you going to have any beets?" she asked, noticing he had passed them up.

  "Mother, you know I despise beets," Julian reminded her. His face turning gray at the mere thought of them.

  "But they're good for you," she remarked. Julian did his best to ignore the smiles coming from the others around the table.

  " Julian, I know you don't like beets, but you've never told us why," Dax asked, taking a mouthful of them herself.

  "It's a long story," Julian said, wanting to change the subject.

  "Richard was involved in a project some time back when Jules was just a boy," Amsha began, not taking notice of the glare Julian was giving her. "The project involved the promotion of beet products. His partner was sure they would make quite a profit on the venture and talked him into taking part in it. When the corporate sponsors backed out of the deal at the last minute, his partner and he were left with several shipments of beet products that they had to pay for it themselves."

  "We were eating beet soup, beet stew, beet pie, beet casseroles, beet salads and the like for most of the following year," Julian said moodily. "I haven't touched them since."

  The rest of the evening went by quickly, and all too soon Garak and Julian were saying their good-byes and giving their thanks for a wonderful evening and the lovely gifts. Julian had asked his mother if she would like him to stay and help clean up after the party, but she shooed him off saying he needed his rest before the wedding. Their arms heavy with gifts, the doctor and tailor walked back to their quarters. Entering the access code, Garak entered and laid his gifts down on sofa. He'd put them away later, he promised himself.

  "That was a wonderful party wasn't it? Very thoughtful of them," Garak replied.

  "Yes, it was. Although you still have one more present coming to you," Julian replied with a smile.

  "What do you mean?" Garak asked.

  "Wait here," Julian instructed him as he watched the doctor go into the bedroom. Moments later, he came out carrying a large box. Wordlessly, he walked over and handed it to the tailor.

  Garak gave him a curious look before opening the top of the box. Reaching inside, he pulled out the sterling silver box that Amsha had given to Julian. The ruby glistened under the artificial lights. " Julian, this is beautiful!" he exclaimed, turning it in his palm to examine the delicate designs etched in it.

  "It's been traditionally passed down in my family for several generations to the one we are about to marry. My mother passed it down to me as a prewedding present for you," Julian explained.

  Garak gave him a guilty look, sorrow filled his eyes.

  " Elim, what's wrong?" Julian asked

  "I wasn't aware it was Terran tradition to exchange gifts before the wedding," Garak explain apologetically. "I'm afraid I don't have a gift for you."

  Julian walked over to where he stood, took the sterling box out of the tailor's hand, sat it down on the coffee table, and wrapped his arms around Garak's waist.

  "I didn't expect you to know all the customs or to give me a gift. The fact is, you've already given me the best present I've ever received," Julian told him.

  "What would that be Doctor?" Garak asked, his own arms circling Julian's lean waist.

  "You've given me the gift of spending your life with me. What more could I possibly want?" Julian asked with a grin.

  Garak didn't know what to say to that. Shaking his head in wonderment, he questioned if the Doctor would always have the ability to make him speechless. Mutely he claimed the doctor's smiling mouth with his own, trying to express his happiness and gratitude.

  When they broke the kiss, Garak looked into Julian's flushed and happy face and couldn't help thinking about what a lucky man he was to be given such a loving partner as his dear doctor. "Jahkim, it's getting late and we need to be getting to bed. After we are going to be having a very busy day."

  "I knew we should have eloped," Julian teased, heading in the direction of the bedroom.

  "What, and let our family and friends miss the occasion? After tomorrow, everyone will know we're bonded. Just the way I want it," Garak replied, returning the smile.

  Julian's eyes turned serious as he stopped by the doorway of the bedroom. " Elim, we've always been bonded. Tomorrow is only making it official."

  "Very true Doctor, how very true," Garak replied as he took the younger man's hand and pulled him into his arms. Kissing him softly on the lips, he lead him to the bed. The tailor paused only long enough to call for lights off and resumed in showing Julian without words just how much that bond meant to him.


  Julian stood looking at his mother through the reflection of the mirror in his quarters. She smiled brightly at him before resuming her nervous pacing. Amsha had been with Julian the entire morning and afternoon, and as she watched him prepare for the ceremony, she had become more anxious then he was. Julian found it amazing, but where he thought he would be feeling like a bundle of raw nerves, he was actually calm and serene.

  "Mother, you could go check on Elim," Julian suggested to her.

  "Maybe I will in a few minutes," Amsha replied. "Wasn't Miles suppose to be here by now?" she asked, looking with worry at the chronometer.

  Julian walked over and took her hands in his and smiled at her. "Mother, you don't have to keep an eye on me. Nothing is going to happen this time. Take my word on it."

  "I'd just feel better if O'Brien was here," she replied squeezing his hands. "You can't blame me for worrying about you. It's in the job description."

  Julian was about to say something else when he heard the door chime. Relief flooded Amsha's face.

  "Come in,"they both said at the same time.

  Miles came in already dressed in tuxedo with a black bow tie and matching cummerbund.

  "Jules, I'm going to check quickly on a couple of things. I want to make sure everything is going to run smoothly," she replied and kissed him on the cheek.

  "So," Julian said as he turned to the Chief Engineer and his best man, "Is Molly ready?"

  "She sure is, and she looks so pretty too. Dax is keeping an eye on her at the moment,"Miles replied with a smile. "The question is, how are you doing?"

  "Believe it or not, I'm not really all that nervous," Julian replied.

  "Just wait until you start giving your vows and you will be," O'Brien replied. "You can always back out you know. It's not too late," he said with a grin.

  "Not on your life," Julian replied matching his teasing smile.

  Just then Miles' com badge beeped. " O'Brien here," he answered.

  "Is everything all right on your end?" he heard Dax ask.

  "Just fine. I'm just trying to convince him he still has time to back out yet. Don't think he's interested though,"Miles replied.

  "He'd better not be," he heard the Trill warn, almost seeing the smile at the other end. As soon as Dax cut the transmission, they heard the door chime again.

  "Enter," Julian called out and watched as Kira entered the room. Her dress was a deep emerald green. The scooped neck showed off her long throat and the floor-length skirt flowed as she walked. It clung to her figure and showed it off very nicely. "Kira, you look terrific."

  "I'll say,"Miles replied with a low whistle. The Major smiled in appreciation.

  "I just came from Garak's. He's doing fine,"Kira replied "Are you almost ready?"

  "I sure am," Julian replied and then turned back to the Chief. "Do you have the ring?"

  Miles felt around in his breast pocket and pulled out the gold band. It had been engraved as well, the words 'Tadem H'a Eim Tadem' carved into the metal. "Right here,"the Irishman replied.

  "I guess we're set then," Julian replied as a slight twinge of nervousness began to form in his stomach.

  "Good, because it's time,"the Major replied looking at the chronometer. "We'd better get going before the guests start wondering what happened this time." Julian nodded as he and the Chief followed the Major down the corridors to the holosuites.


  Kira and Julian met with Dax, Molly, and Garak outside of the holosuite's door. Kira and Dax each slipped on a mustard colored robe as was required of the Bonding Patrons to wear. Garak handed them both white candles that were to be used in the ceremony. Garak searched the doctor's umber eyes.

  "Are you ready Jahkim?" he asked in a low voice.

  "As ready as I'll ever be," Julian assured him.

  Garak handed Julian an ivory colored robe and slipped his own matching robe on over his tuxedo. Garak brought his hand up to touch the pad that would open the doors. They slid open in a woosh of air and a organ started playing processional music. The holosuite was programmed to resemble a Cardassian house of worship. Black benches along the sides held all of their family and friends. Tapestries rich in color covered the walls - each design represented a important moment in Cardassian history. Wooden carving of what Julian suspected were of the Great Gull filled small alcoves high on the walls near the ceiling. Starting at the door, was a royal blue carpet that lead down the center of the isle to a wooden pulpit where Captain Sisko was waiting patiently for them. He was dressed in a similar robe as Kira and Dax, only his robe was a bright gold. Behind the pulpit was a table that ran the length of the wall with multitude of small candles. In the center of the table, surrounded by the small candles, stood one silver colored candle that was five times the size of the smaller ones. In front of the pulpit stood a raised platform with an extremely large and plush looking ornate pillow laying on it.

  As the music continued, Dax gave a petrified looking Molly a little shove through the door. Swallowing hard, the little girl began walking down the isle tossing white rose petals in front and to the sides of her. When she reached halfway, Garak took Kira's arm in his and began walking down the isle. Julian and Dax waited several moments before entering as well. Everyone rose as they made their way down the isle until they came to rest facing ech other on opposite sides of the large pillow.

  All that attended took their seats when Sisko came to stand in front of the pulpit and began to speak.

  "Friends and family, we are here today to witness the bonding of Elim Garak and Julian Bashir. The joining of two bodies, minds, and hearts into one."

  He took Garak's left hand and Julian's right, and positioned their hands upright, fingers spread palms touching. Without breaking contact, each knelt down onto the pillow on their knees. Dax and Kira took their place behind them, one hand holding the candle while the other rested on their shoulder.

  In a calm and sure voice, Garak took his pledge. " Julian, I open my arms to welcome the warmth of your body to mine as we are joined as one. I accept the wisdom of your thoughts so we may entwine our minds as one. I open my heart to allow you entrance, so we may be as one love - forever,"Kira lit her candle.

  Julian's voice wasn't as sure as Garak's, but it vibrated with emotion. Jadzia could feel the tension in his shoulder and gently gave it a squeeze for encouragement. " Elim, I give my body to you to be joined as one. I give my thoughts to be bonded with yours as one mind. I give my heart, freely to yours, so we may be as one love - forever." Jadzia lit her candle.

  Sisko cleared his throat. "As witnessed by all present and by the laws of Cardassia, Elim Garak and Julian Bashir are now joined as one - forever." Dax and Kira both carried their candle past the pulpit to light the large silver candle.

  Garak and Julian both rose. They removed their robes, as did Dax. Kira collected them before taking a seat in the first row by a teary eyed Amsha. O'Brien stepped forward to stand by Julian, while Jadzia moved around to stand by Garak.

  "The couple will now take this moment to recite a poem they have chosen for one another to commemorate this sacred occasion," Sisko informed everyone.

  Garak took both of Julian's hands in his and looked deeply into his eyes and cleared his throat. "Yes, yours, my love, is the right human face. I in my mind had waited for this long, Seeing the false and searching for the true, Then found you as a traveler finds a place Of welcome suddenly amid the wrong Valleys and rocks and twisting roads. But you, What shall I call you? A fountain in a waste, A well of water in a country dry, Or anything that's honest and good, an eye That makes the whole world bright. Your open heart, Simple with giving, gives the primal deed, The first good world, the blossom, the blowing seed, The hearth, the steadfast land, the wandering sea, Not beautiful or rare in every part, But like yourself, as they were meant to be."

  Julian's eyes filled with unshed tears as he opened his mouth several times to say something, only to find his voice had left him. He looked over at his mother who was also now had silent tears rolling down her flushed cheeks and she smiled at him in encouragement as Kira handed her a tissue and taking one herself. Looking around, he saw a sea of happy supportive faces that he recognized as friends - knowing he had nothing to fear. Turing to face his mate and partner, he took in a deep, steadying breath and began to recite his poem in perfect Cardassian. "Suir kaay jor cujula, Ney rewa'yu rah'lam ta'h roh eim kegizo hya kiyori; (From this day forward, I choose you to be my partner in life;) ta'h liak nehn roh'lam rao lolara nehn roh'lam, (to live with you and laugh with you, ) ta'h jaor moa mias muuk rao roel hya mias nayj; (to stand by your side and sleep in your arms;) ta'h roh kadk ta'h mais tatem rao tuah ta'h mias kuaz; (to be joy to your heart and food to your soul; ) ta'h beim giaz tai viak roh'lam botaha; (to bring out the best in you always;) rao joa roh'lam, ta'h roh tai cacj niih ney pohn. (and for you, to be the most that I can.) ta'h lolara nehn roh'lam hya tai sieh ahian; (To laugh with you in the good times;) ta'h couata nehn roh'lam hya tai maj; (to struggle with you in the bad;) ta'h regura roh'lam daln roh'lam kah baeltademoen; (to solace you when you are downhearted;) ta'h tolb mias tujjo nehn eim iqaoh; (to wipe your tears with my hands;) ta'h delocak roh'lam nehn eim kuay, (to comfort you with my body;) ta'h sasumi roh'lam nehm eim koaj; (to mirror you with my soul;) ta'h sesy nehm roh'lam lar eim rixuhu rao kebihas; (to share with you all my riches and honors;) ta'h huek nehm roh'lam zuel daln roh'lam buaj cias, (to play with you even when you grow old,) rao botaha yesayo roh'lam sopaka rao fajela, (and always loving you sweetly and gladly,) sa'ho taar sa'ho jaj baaj liak" (as long as we both shall live.)

  The tailor stared at his doctor in wonderment and surprise as he felt his own eyes grow moist and tears threatened to spill forth.

  "Now it is time to begin the traditional Terran ceremony," Sisko announced. Julian and Garak turned to face him. "Since the days of the first wooden sailing ships, all captains have enjoyed the happy privilege of joining together two people in the bonds of matrimony. And so, it is my honor to unite you, Elim Garak and you, Julian Subatoi Bashir, in matrimony here on Deep Space Nine." Sisko turned his attention to the tailor.

  "Do you Elim Garak, take Julian Sabatoi Bashir to be your lawfully wedded husband. For richer and for poorer. In sickness and in health. Till death do you part?"

  "I do," Garak answered with confidence.

  "Please place the ring on his finger," Sisko replied. Dax held out the ring to the Cardassian who slipped it onto the left hand of the doctor.

  "Do you Julian Subatoi Bashir, take Elim Garak to be your lawfully wedded hisband. For richer and for poorer. In sickness and in health. Till death do you part?"

  "I do," Julian vowed in a loud, firm voice.

  "Please place the ring on his finger," Sisko replied. It was O'Brien's turn to hand Julian the golden band that slid onto Garak's hand.

  Sisko then looked out into the crowd. "By the power granted to me by the Federation, I now pronounce you legally married. You may kiss your spouse." Garak pulled the doctor against him and Julian's arms circled the tailor's neck as their lips met and they kissed deeply, sealing the promises they had made. "May I present to you...ummm..." Sisko paused, not exactly sure how to introduce them. He looked helplessly to Dax who just shrugged her shoulders. " Julian and Garak," he said finally with a laugh and everyone else joined in - all standing to cheer for the newly wedded couple as they made their way hand in hand back down the isle to stand by the door. Amsha stepped forward, after hugging them both in congratulations, to help form the receiving line. Garak and Julian stood while all of their guests filed out of the pews, each stopping to give their good wishes to the couple. Morn, Leeta, Jabara, everyone that they considered friends had shown up for the occasion.  






  Quark's had underwent major renovations to accommodate the reception. Tables had been pushed back and moved around to make room for the band and to create a dance floor. The tables that were left were decorated with white and dark blue cloths with floating candles sitting on them. In the center of each table was a lovely floral centerpiece that was created out of white roses dipped in baby blue dye. One table held a numerous amount of wedding gifts while a second table was set up with a large crystal punch bowl that was filled to the rim, cookies, mints, and a huge five tier wedding cake made out of Dalavian chocolate. Julian couldn't help wondering where his mother had found a miniature replicate of a Starfleet officer and Cardassian figure to put on top of it.

  It wasn't long before the leader of the band announced for the newly married couple to have the first dance. Garak took Julian's hand and led him to the center of the floor. The band started playing a slow sensual instrumental piece as Garak's arms tightened and drew Julian close to him. Julian's arms came up and he linked his fingers around the Cardassian's broad neck. Slowly, their bodies began to sway and turn in time to the melody. Julian's body molded it's self against Garak's frame naturally. The sound of strings drifted through the air and Julian gazed with adoration into his husband's cool blue eyes. Unconsciously, every one else in the room disappeared. He wasn't aware of anyone or anything else except being surrounded by his mate's embrace.

  "We really did it, didn't we?" Julian asked barely above a whisper.

  "We certainly did Jahkim," Garak replied, the same adoration reflected in his eyes. "I'm making a promise on this day that I will do my best never to give you reason to regret it either."

  "I doubt you would be capable of making me regret it," Julian replied, surprising Garak who could see he truly meant the words. After everything that had happened, Julian still wouldn't believe that Garak would ever do anything to him that would make him regret marrying him. "I promise you though too, to do my best to make this work." he leaned forward to brush his lips against the tailor's. The tailor's hands traveled up the doctor's back and started to caress him through the formal dress uniform. All too soon, the song stopped, even though they didn't seem to notice. Suddenly Garak felt a tapping on his shoulder. He swung Julian around to see Amsha smiling at them.

  "The song's over and they announced the mother and son dance," she replied and her smile grew. "Don't worry, I asked for two of them," she informed her son-in-law, who with great reluctance broke his hold on his spouse.

  Julian took his mother in his arms and began guiding her across the floor. "You're a better dancer than your father. I know he wished he could have been here today," she informed her son.

  Julian smiled down at her. "I almost wish he could have been here too."

  Amsha looked at him in amazement. It was the first time he every expressed an interest in reconciling his differences with his father. "Oh Jules, you don't know how happy that makes me to hear you say that."

  Julian's expression became serious. "Now don't go getting your hopes up too much for anything right away to change between us. We still have a lot of problems to work through."

  Amsha's smile didn't fade. "I'm aware of that Jules, but every little step helps."They danced in silence for a few moments longer. " You know sweetheart, I'm so happy for you. You looked so happy when you were exchanging your vows today."

  "I was happy and still am," he replied. The song ended and Garak came forward to take Julian's place with Amsha. As the next song started, Garak took Amsha's hand in his and moved his feet to the music.

  "So what do you think of having me as a mother-in-law?" Amsha asked her son-in-law with a smile.

  "I couldn't think of any other one I would want if I had the chance to chose. I am honored to be part of the Bashir family," Garak replied.

  "I've told you before that your like a son to me and always will be. I think Julian is lucky to have found someone as special as you to share his life with. I couldn't be anymore please and I'm sure Richard would agree," Amsha confided in him.

  "I would have to disagree with you Mother," Garak informed her as she gave him a curious look. "I am the one who considers himself lucky to have Julian for a husband and to be part of such a wonderful family." Amsha beamed with pride at him. She felt someone tapping her should as she had Garak's. She turned to see Jadzia smiling at her.

  "You can't them to yourself all night. I want a dance with the groom too,"the Trill said and Amsha graciously allowed Dax to take her place as various couples came forward to fill the floor. She looked for her Jules who was currently twirling Kira around the floor. Seeing that both of her sons were in good hands, she made her way around the room to make sure the other guests were all well taken care of.

  The dancing took place for quite awhile before it came time to set up the buffet that had been catered. It was filled with appetizers, various cold and hot meats, vegetables, fruits, and deserts. Garak and Julian were the first in line, followed by the wedding party and Julian's mother. Once they were served, everyone else filled their plate. Julian and Garak took their seats at the special wedding party table and before they started to eat, Captain Sisko stood and clinked the side of his Champaign goblet with his fork.

  "Attention everyone,"his voice boomed, the crowd grew silent. "As Captain of this station, I would like to make a toast to the couple." he turned to the tailor and the doctor. "May the joy you feel today be but a pale shadow of that which is to come."

  O'Brien then stood up. "I have a toast for them too. Garak and Julian, may the road rise to meet you. May the wind be ever at your back. May the sun shine warm upon your face, the rain fall soft upon you fields, and until we meet again, may God hold you in the hollow of his hand." O'Brien then looked at Dax. "Would the other 'best man' have anything to add?" he asked with a smile.

  "Actually I would,"the Trill replied standing up and turning to face the smiling couple. "May you always be lovers but most of all friends and share with each other whatever life sends. May your lifetime together be full and complete and your kisses together be deep warm and sweet."With that, she raised her glass in salute and took a sip as everyone began clapping.

  After everyone had their fill of food and Champaign, the band began playing again. People dance, talked, and had a good time. Garak and Julian went their separate ways for a brief time to each talk to friends and coworkers separately, but found each other again before the cake cutting ceremony. Julian took the knife in one hand while Garak placed his on top of the doctor's and both cut the first piece of the cake. After all the slices were cut, a few chuckled when Julian took his finger and wiped the side of the knife clean of icing only to have Garak capture his hand and proceeded to fastidiously clean it off as his tongue wrapped around it. As the hour grew later, Julian and Elim were sharing another slow dance together.

  "We're going to have a runabout we need to make before much longer," Julian reminded Garak, whispering against his ear.

  "I know Jahkim," Garak took a nonchalant glance around the room. "Do you think we could risk a escape attempt?"the tailor asked with a smile.

  Julian too, looked around the room and nodded his head. "Let's find Mother."They found Amsha on the floor sharing a dance with Odo. Julian pulled her off to the side and whispered something in her ear. She smiled and nodded as Julian gripped the tailor's hand a tugged him to follow as they walked unnoticed out the door.

  "What did you say to her?" Garak asked once they were in the corridor, still holding hands.

  "Just that we had to make the runabout for our honeymoon and to give our thanks to the guests," Julian replied leading the Cardassian to their quarters to pick up their bags. Looking around quickly to make sure nothing was forgotten, they made their way to the docking ring and the runabout waiting for them.

  "Doctor, you still haven't told me where we will be going for our

  honeymoon," Garak remarked.

  "I told you it was going to be a surprise," Julian commented with a smile.

  "How do you know I won't simply question the pilot as to our destination?" Garak asked smiling back at him.

  "Because he has strict orders not to tell you," Julian replied mischievously.

  "I could always go up to the controls and watch as he lays in his course," Garak countered.

  Julian grabbed the Cardassian's hands and began leading him towards a private room in the back of the craft. "I have plans on keeping you otherwise occupied for most of the trip."

  "You know how my curiosity tends to get the better of me. How will you ever keep my attention?"the Cardassian remarked with a gleam in his eyes.

  "That my dear tailor, shouldn't be much of a problem," Julian responded as the door softly closed behind them. Garak looked around the small room in surprise. The small bed in the center of the room had been stripped of it's standard Starfleet issue white cotton sheets to be replaced by black silk. On top were sprinkled white and red rose petals. A soft glow bathed the room from the burning candles. A almost undetectable melody drifted through the air, piped in through the speakers of the cabin.

  "Is Captain Sisko aware of your attempts at interior decorating with his vessels?" Garak asked teasingly as he pulled Julian into the circle of his arms.

  "Since we have to be on the runabout until morning, I thought it would be nice to do something special for our wedding night," Julian explained to him.

  "It's a very touching gesture, but just remember that it doesn't matter where I am. As long as I'm with you, I'm more than satisfied."

  Julian reached his hands under the tailor's tuxedo jacket and slid it over his shoulders and down to the floor. He then when to work on the small black buttons on the shirt as his tongue traveled over the Cardassian's throat. Finally, the shirt opened to reveal the Cardassian's chest that Julian's fingers longed to touch, thumbs lightly rubbing charcoal nipples to hardness. Garak's hands slowly slid up and down the length of the doctor's back, gently caressing before his fingers found the hidden zipper of the uniform. He tugged it down and Julian pulled his arms free of it. It fell easily off of his hips and onto the floor. As he stepped out of it, Garak had another surprise when he realized Julian was wearing the snug fitting red briefs that they had received at the party. Garak smiled his approval of how well they fit over the doctor's curves as Julian smiled impishly at him. The flickering flames of the candle lights played off of the caramel coloring of Julian. Shadows of darkness licked at the doctor's features, almost hiding the wanting that Garak could see in his eyes.

  Pulling Julian to him, Garak softly kissed his lips as he guided him to the bed. Julian moved to the side more to make sure Garak had enough room as the Cardassian removed the formal trousers and his own briefs and laid down beside the doctor. They both turned to face each other on their sides as Garak kissed Julian's throat and neck before returning to kiss his soft lips. The tailor's hand brushed over the skin of Julian's side and hip and around to stroke his back as he continued kissing the doctor. Julian's own hand traveled over the Cardassian's chest and abdomen - lightly scraping his fingernails along the tailor's nipples. Garak moaned softly in Julian's mouth and took the doctor by his side and pulled him closer and onto his back. Garak's hands swept over the doctor's legs and thighs. Slowly and gently, his finger tips came to the center of Julian's groin. He took a single fingertip and traced the lines of Julian's straining form through the sheer red material and then back again. Julian moaned when Garak took the pad of his thumb and ran it over and around the head of his heated member with agonizing slowness as the briefs grew damp with preejaculate.

  As Garak's hand continued to tease Julian's aching groin, Garak's lips traveled a heated path from Julian's throat, down his sternum, over his stomach to kiss and lick his navel. Julian's fingers scraped against Garak's broad back and shoulders. The tailor's warm, moist mouth traveled lower still until it came in contact with the red fabric. Slowly his tongue snaked out to trace the outline of his organ through the material, until he ran his tongue firmly up his aching body. Julian was squirming and moving underneath the familiar mouth, his hands tangling themselves in the Cardassian's thick hair, trying to make more contact with the teasing mouth and groaning loudly. Garak silenced the groaning mouth with his own as his hand slipped into the briefs and began stroking Julian, who was now as hard as the tailor was. Julian's own hand came in between them and started caressing the Cardassian's firmness.

  "I won't be able to stand this much longer," Julian replied in a throaty voice that reflected his need. "I want to be inside of you so badly."

  Garak continued kissing him on the lips and down his jaw to his throat while his hand pushed the briefs down far enough for Julian to kick the rest of the way off and then moved down onto the bed to take Julian's freed erection into his mouth. He gently sucked and licked around the heated flesh while his free hand tenderly massaged his testicles. This lasted until he had Julian clutching at the black sheets.

  "What kind of mate would I be to refuse such a delightful request?" Garak asked his with a smile as he began to get up out of the bed, leaving Julian with a very frustrated look on his face. "Your not the only one who brought something from the party," Garak replied digging into his satchel of belonging he brought along. He then pulled out a vial of the scented Bajoran oil that the Major had given him.

  Walking back over to the bed, he sat on the edge while he poured a lavish amount of the oil onto his hands and rubbed them together to warm it up. He with great care and deliberance thoroughly coated Julian's member with it. The oil mixed with his own natural preejaculate until it slipped easily through the tailor's hand. Julian brought his legs up until his feet were planted on the bed and the Cardassian brought himself to straddle Julian while facing him. Using his hand as a guide, he leaned back against Julian's legs and lowered himself slowly down onto the doctor's rigid shaft. Julian couldn't help gasping for breath as the Cardassian enveloped him into his body, lowering himself more and more until Julian was complete inside of him. Garak used his legs to start to slowly begin to move himself up and down on the doctor. Julian used his hands to caress Garak's chest and stomach as he moved. Garak kept the pace unhurried at first, wanting to prolong the delightful feeling of having Julian inside him, but his control started to weaken as the passion and desire began to overwhelm him. His movements became quicker and more frantic until Julian finally had to grasp his hips to keep him steady. Julian's hips began bucking back and forth matching the tailor's rhythm thrust for thrust, wanting to drive him to the breaking point and beyond - finding himself racing to the same summit just as quickly. Garak's body squeezed around him, engulfing him in the heated depths. Garak was moaning as his thrusts became harder and deeper and Julian's hands closed around Garak's firm, pulsing shaft. Thin masterful fingers began methodically pumping the Cardassian's sex. Garak's head arched back as he felt his body begin to tighten. His eyes closed as he surged closer and closer to the peak, not wanting or caring about anything thing else in the universe besides the feel of his husband inside of him, filling him, completing him. He moaned loudly and called Julian's name as his hot seed spilled forth covering the doctor's fingers. A panorama of color and white light burst around him, making him oblivious to anything else besides the reaction of his own body. As his own body convulsed, the tightening caused the doctor to come inside of him mere moments later. When Garak finally opened his eyes, he discovered Julian's eyes were still shut. Slowly they fluttered open and the tailor could still see the smoldering embers of lust, desire, and love mingled in the hazy umber depths. Garak slowly raised himself off of the doctor came to lay at the doctor's side and drew him close, pressing his body snugly against the younger man's.

  "So, think you'll ever get tired of having me around?" Julian asked lightly with a smile, trying to sound nonchalant but failing. The tailor wasn't fooled by how much the answer would mean to him.

  "Doctor, I do believe I'll see my grave before I ever grow tired of your company,"the Cardassian answered and reassured him with a sound and thorough kiss.

  Julian looked at both the Betrothal bracelet he still wore and now the golden ring on his finger. "It's a good thing too because it's not likely that you'll be free of me anytime soon."

  Garak chuckled. "Now that's one sentence I have no problems carrying out." he pulled the doctor tightly against him. Julian laid his head on the tailor's chest and threw and arm and a leg over him and they both fell into a deep and restful sleep with neither stirring until morning.


  The next morning when they stepped off the runabout, Julian turned to his husband with a great big grin lighting his face. "Well, what do you think?"

  Garak raised his hand over his eyes to shield them from the bright light. Overhead was the sun beating down on them warm enough to satisfy his naturally cooler temperature. Looking around, he noticed that he was standing on a beach covered with glistening white sand. Palm trees dotted the landscape, the leaves rustled by a gentle warm breeze that caressed the tailor's face. Surrounding the beach was a body of water that seemed to spread endlessly into the horizon. Julian thought that the water had same blue color as Garak's eyes. The pounding foam capped waves breaking miles off shore came to gently lap at the beach's edge. Garak looked behind him to see a large white wooden house with bay windows wrapping around it was the only building in sight.

  "I think it's wonderful," Garak said simply and Julian beamed at him in delight.

  "I hoped you'd like it. I figured that you would appreciate a warm tropical climate. This is Davarius. The man that owns this planet was a personal friend of Curzon's and with a communications from Dax and I, it didn't take much to convince him to allow us to stay here for several weeks."The smile on Julian's face grew wider. "Besides us and the runabout pilot, who by the way has orders to leave immediately and not return for exactly two week, the planet is uninhabited and there is no communications equipment here. We won't have any disturbances for two solid weeks."

  "Now that's a delightful prospect," Garak replied smiling back at him. "Tell me though, if there isn't any communications equipment, then how did you manage to contact the owner of this planet?"

  "Oh he doesn't live here," Julian replied. " he lives on Gemulon V. He only vacations here occasionally," Julian answered and picked up his bags. "Come on, let's get unpacked." he headed up towards the house and Garak followed close behind. Garak found the inside of the house as marvelous as the beach outside. It was smartly decorated with plush carpeting and very tasteful furniture with a large stone fireplace for when it turned chilly in the evenings. Garak investigated the room off to the side to find that the entire room was filled with a large hot tub. The outside walls that encased the hot tub was constructed out of glass so that it looked towards the ocean. Hanging plants from the ceiling gave it the feel of a greenhouse. Garak found Julian in the bedroom unpacking his belongings. In the center of the bedroom was a large circular bed that faced a bay window that too looked out onto the beach. Light shown in and flooded the room and as Garak looked up, he saw the ceiling had a huge skylight that took up most of the ceiling itself. He knew that come nighttime, he would be able to hold Julian and look up to see the stars and the moonlight overhead. The mere thought of his beautiful doctor being bathed in moonlight was enough to create a nice warmth in the general area in his groin. No, there was no chance that he would ever grow tired of wanting his doctor. Julian finished unpacking and handed Garak a pair of swimming trunks that he had brought along and Garak looked at them skeptically until he watched Julian peel his own clothes off to be replaced by a tight pair of black speedos. He quickly changed and followed the doctor onto the beach.

  They spent the majority of the morning and afternoon taking walks along the beach, just talking. Garak spread out a beach blanket and set up an umbrella for shade while Julian went in to fix lunch for them. Julian came out with a platter filled with sandwiches, fresh crisp vegetables with dip and fresh fruit slices and sweet cream, and a pitcher of ice tea. After the sandwiches were gone, they decided that since Julian 'forgot' to bring any utensils with him that they would have to made do with feeding the vegetables and fruit slices to each other with their fingers. Garak 'accidentally' smeared some of the sweet cream all over Julian's lips, which he proceeded to kiss off. Of course Julian had an opportunity to retaliate when a glob of the cream fell from a strawberry onto Garak's stomach. After lunch was finished and cleaned up, they were laying together on the beach towel when Julian picked up his bottle of cocoa butter and began to rub some of it onto his skin.

  " here, let me do that," Garak replied, taking the bottle from Julian's hands and putting some of the lotion into his hands. He ran his slick hands over Julian's arms, chest, and stomach slowly and sensual to make sure he missed nothing. More lotion was spread onto Julian's legs and inner thighs. The tailor then nudged Julian onto his stomach and began rubbing the lotion over his shoulders and shoulder blades, down the expanse of the soft skin of his back, down to his waist, and up his sides. Starting at the soles of Julian's feet, he then ran his hands up Julian's calves and thighs until he reached the material of the speedos. Slowly his thumbs slid into the bottom edge of the swimware to caress the creases outline Julian's rear. Even though he was laying on his arm, the tailor knew the doctor's breathing was starting to become slightly erratic and he continued the teasing motions until the doctor finally turned over.

  "I think I need to take a swim," Julian replied in a husky voice. "Why don't you join me?" Julian stood up and looked down at the Cardassian.

  Garak looked out into the sea. "I don't think I will right now. It still looks rather chilly to me."

  "Oh come on. It's had plenty of time to warm up and besides, once your in it, you won't even notice the temperature," Julian said trying to persuade him.

  Garak made no attempt to move from the beach blanket. "Thank you, but I'm perfectly comfortable where I am."

  "Too bad. It could have been fun," Julian replied with a saucy grin and then while turning his back to the tailor, gripped the band of his speedos and slowly slid them inch by inch down and Garak sat watching spellbound as the sun glistened off of his oil soaked caramel skin. Garak brought his hand up to grab the doctor to pull him back down to him, but Julian took off running towards the surf.

  " Julian!" he called out after him, but his voice was lost in the breeze. Before he realized what he was doing, he found himself chasing after the doctor and nearly had him caught before Julian dove into the roaring waves. Heedless of the temperature, Garak went in after him and gasped with shock when his skin met the cool water. The shock didn't last long though as he saw the doctor's head bob up and Garak dove underneath the waves until he had captured the doctor's thrashing legs. Julian gasped as Garak pulled him under until the water was well over his head. When they both came up for air, Garak wrapped his arms around the doctor.

  "I'll teach you to run from me," he replied and covered Julian's mouth with his own. His hot tongue probing, gaining entrance into the doctor's who didn't seem to want to fight him. Garak's grasp loosened slightly as he began caress Julian's back while Julian's arms came up to wrap around his neck. They were pressed so closely that Garak could feel the hardness of Julian's body answering the hardness of his own body as the water lapped around their waists. Garak's hand's slid under the water to cup Julian's rear and pulled him even closer as he deepened his kiss. Julian let out a little whimper against Garak's throat at the touch and the fingers that were gently probing. His hips started rubbing against the Cardassian's. Taking Julian by surprise, the tailor suddenly grabbed him by the waist and hoisted him over his shoulder and started heading for the shore. When they were at the edge, Garak gently laid the doctor down onto the sand and settled his own body on top of Julian. Leaning over him, Garak continued to kiss his lips, throat, and neck softly, occationally using his teeth to nibble. Beads of water glistened on their skin and Garak was nibbling at the hollow of Julian's shoulder.

  " Elim?" Julian said in a horse whispered voice.

  Garak looked down into Julian's twinkling eyes and a mischievous smile curved on the doctor's lips. "Yes Jahkim?"

  " Elim, jlwuQ" he replied, unable to keep from laughing at the expression on the tailor's face.

  "Doctor, Cardassian's have a remedy for that particular ailment," Garak remarked in a low growl as he pinned Julian's wrists above his head.

  "Oh really? Then perhaps you should demonstrate this cure. After all, it's my duty as a medical officer to discover new and innovative techniques that have curative properties and.."Anything else Julian was going to say was cut off by Garak's probing tongue. After he left the doctor struggling to catch his breath, the tailor looked down into Julian's face. As the tropical sun shown high over head and the gentle breeze brushed across their damp skin, cooling it, Garak saw the teasing had disappeared from Julian's eyes. Taking it's place was an expression of a love and devotion that shone so strongly that it took his breath away and he realized that this man, his Jahkim, his mate, his best friend, would always be by his side. He knew that his days of loneliness and his nights of longing were over because this loyal soul had vowed to spend the rest of his days with him. Garak wasn't sure what he had ever done to be so fortunate, but as he had promised, he would do his best never to make Julian regret it.